And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
That’s Mark 16, verse 15 (KJV). It also happens to be the impetus behind Christians going out and knocking on doors at 9:00am on Sunday mornings. As bad as that is, I don’t have a problem with it. I think if they’re that compelled by an ancient book that can’t even maintain internal consistency, then bring it on.
What I’m not ok with is lying to gain converts. Deceiving children, no less. Lying to parents and the children in order to get a few more baptisms under your belt. I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t keep a scorecard, or a running tally on what church gets the highest number of baptisms or converts.
Last month (August 26, 2009) Breckinridge County High School (Kentucky) football coach Scott Mooney led a group of players from their school’s football team to see what he told the parents and children would be a “motivational speaker” and a steak dinner. What Mr. Mooney failed to mention to anyone was the fact that this “motivational speaker” was the pastor of his church, Ron Davis (Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church). And the “steak dinner” was, in fact, a mass baptism and the teammates were to accept Jesus Christ as their “Lord and Savior” as a way to, as coach Mooney said, “bring the team together.”
So coach Mooney used peer pressure to get all of those teammates baptized in his church. He lured them under a false premise of going to see a “motivational speaker.” Not only this, but he used a public school bus, with the expressed permission of superintendent of the district, Janet Meeks.
What seems to be at issue here is the fact that believers take Mark 16:15 and use it as an excuse to do whatever is in their power to force their religion on everyone they can, honestly or not, willfully or not. If you have to lie, cheat and deceive to get a few more converts, then all the better for the receiving church.
Thankfully, one of the teammates parents is considering legal action against the school district. A lawyer, Bill Sharp, from the ACLU was contacted and he said that…
The message conveyed to the students is there’s an official endorsement.
And also that…
There’s certainly a coercive element. He’s in a position of authority.
I think one of the biggest tragedies of all wasn’t even the fact that these kids were corralled into a big baptism fest. The biggest problem for me was the fact that when one of the kids was asked by his parents, after returning from the trip, what baptism actually means, he hadn’t a clue. This entire process was nothing more than a “getting saved” assembly line. Pump ’em through the system and get them into the fold as quickly as possible, before they realize what’s happened to them.
I think this is a big problem with the mentality of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. They’ve got this mindset that they have to get everyone saved as quickly as possible. They just need to get as many people as possible to say a certain prayer as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not they understand what’s going on. The important part is that the person says the words just right.
Anyway, if all goes well and the parents follow through with their legal action, hopefully any faculty involved in this incident will be fired, including the coach and the superintendent.
The public school system is not a place to push your religion on children. And more importantly, without permission from their parents – and that means ALL of the parents… not just the Jesus lovers of the group.
My conclusion? Believers, stick to knocking on doors at 9:00am on Sunday morning. Keep your religion out of the school system. Also, Mark 16:15 doesn’t condone lying, cheating or deceiving in order to follow through with that verse. Remember the 10 Commandments? Bearing false witness?
First off, I’m not here to write an extensive review of this book; exposing all of the false, misleading or incorrect information contained in it. Eugenie Scott, of National Center for Science Education (NCSE) fame, already wrote an excellent review doing just that.
I’m here simply to express my frustration with what I perceive as great intellectual dishonesty (lying for Jesus).
I suppose one of my main problems with Johnson’s thesis is that he doesn’t offer any alternatives to evolution in his book. Well, no alternatives other than magic (God).
He also plays a good bluff. You’d think, with his apparent extensive knowledge of evolutionary biology, that his case is quite relevant. This is not so. He merely states the same old misconceptions in a more eloquent, sophisticated manner. He is a lawyer, after all (Truth Modification Engineer?). One of my favorite quotes in Scott’s review of Johnson’s book says:
Johnson has grasped the general picture of evolutionary biology, and even some of the details, but he lacks the deep understanding that is required to make the criticisms he makes. A deep understanding of a field comes from careful study of relevant literature, including primary sources, and communication with specialists in the field.
Johnson also quotes heavily from the “big names” in evolutionary biology, such as Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins. But, his quotes aren’t taken from the biological literature found in journals. They’re found in writings these men provide for a layperson audience. And, taken out of context, these “simpler” renditions could look suspicious to the layreader. Scott says…
…but the works Johnson cites are usually those written for laypersons, such as Gould’s Natural History columns. A casual reader would necessarily miss a great deal of the detail and nuance of the arguments, though perhaps acquiring an understanding of the broad sweep of contemporary evolutionary science.
And I think this is wherein lies Johnson’s hopes. He hopes that the average layperson will take his arguments at face value. That no one will take the time to investigate what’s been said. To take the time to really critique his arguments. And he’s got a pretty good chance of that happening, to a large degree.
It would take the average person countless hours to thoroughly research and learn all of the various nuances and details involved; the sheer depth of effort required to grasp the current state of evolutionary biology is not something you can do in an afternoon.
Johnson’s got the easy job. Make a complicated subject seem easy to understand, poke holes in his misunderstood conceptions of that subject (the Straw Man logical fallacy), and convince those who don’t understand the subject to begin with that he knows what he’s talking about.
I mean, think about it. Seriously. People in this field spend their lives studying this material. They’re out in the field analyzing, pouring over countless fossil samples, looking at all of the evidence and actually placing it in context. Not only that, but the peer-review process is grueling. Their fellow scientists are looking to poke holes in their work all along the way – contra to what Johnson claims in his book. So they’d better make sure what they claim stands up to scrutiny. They don’t need Johnson’s illegitimate criticisms along with all of that.
And yet, Johnson thinks he’s going to put all of this research to rest with a single book? How arrogant. You couldn’t possibly give a thorough, honest, accurate account of the “flaws” or “errors” in any field in a 170-page book. This whole thing wreaks of lying for Jesus. Like there aren’t enough examples of that to go around.
This is why we need more scientists to be “popularizers.” People who bring science to the public. To help people to understand what science is all about. To show the masses that science isn’t some secret ritual that takes place in a laboratory, where the priests and bishops are men in white coats privileged to esoteric information. That with a little effort, one can grasp concepts like evolution for what it is, from a scientific perspective.
Granted, you probably won’t know enough to be an evolutionary biologist, but what you will know is enough to understand the arguments and whether or not a criticism is likely or not to be valid.
On that note, although I didn’t like this book, I recommend you read it to get a feel for what the current state of Intelligent Design (Creationism) logic is. It’s quite informative.
Read a book. It’s good for you.
Every once-in-a-while I like to dabble in points of view other than my own. Especially when it comes to religion. I wouldn’t be able to consider myself an Atheist if the only thing I knew was Atheism. Makes sense, right? Can’t say the same thing for most, let’s say, Christians.
Take, for example, the book I’m reading right now: Darwin On Trial by Phillip Johnson. I can’t say that I’m enjoying it, but I’m at least taking a stab at it with an open mind. Do you know of any Christians reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins? Reading books which speak badly about God is a sin. It’s only a step above the original Church position of keeping the common man from reading anything at all… the pre-Martin Luther (The Father Of Protestantism) days. Pre-religious totalitarianism, mental slavery days. You know, the whole burning of and killing of “witches,” people who think the world is round, people who work on Sunday, children who disobey their parents.
If you have any questions about these things, read the book of Deuteronomy. You can get the gory details for yourself. In fact, here’s a quote from EvilBible.com:
The act of murder is rampant in the Bible. In much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, there are laws that command that people be killed for absurd reasons such as working on the Sabbath, being gay, cursing your parents, or not being a virgin on your wedding night. In addition to these crazy and immoral laws, there are plenty of examples of God’s irrationality by his direct killing of many people for reasons that defy any rational explanation such as killing children who make fun of bald people, and the killing of a man who tried to keep the ark of God from falling during transport. There are also countless examples of mass murders commanded by God, including the murder of women, infants, and children.
And if you’re one who says that “that’s in the Old Testament. Jesus made it so we don’t have to do that anylonger,” then you haven’t really read the Bible. In particular, Matthew 5:17-19:
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
That’s right… even the least of commandments. Killing your kid when he or she talks back to you.
Anyway, back on topic. Any other worship than Jesus and reading the Bible is considered “Devil Worship.” If you don’t believe what they believe, you’ve already been classified and shelved away – your opinion summarily blocked out. And how can they possibly do that? Not being well versed in any other opinion other than their own? They can’t. And that’s what makes a good portion of the Christian community ignorant. It’s also arrogant to assume knowledge of absolute truth.
Anyway, the point of this entry is to talk about some things I heard on my local Christian radio station last night: WZXV – “The Word Radio.” So let’s get to it…
Humans Cannot Reason For Themselves
This first particular segment contained a whole bunch of psychological woo-woo nonsense. Not that the second segment didn’t. But this particular brand of woo-woo seems, to me, to be very detrimental to mental development.
A woman called in asking for some advice. She wasn’t sure about where God wanted her to go in life. She wasn’t sure which path in life was “in His Will.”
This seems incredibly weak-minded, to me. And, while this isn’t the main point of this subsection, I will say that it seems people use Christianity as a way to avoid dealing with problems or issues in their life. Christ will shoulder your burden; you don’t have to.
Where should you be going in life? I don’t know. No one does. Go where you want to go. That’s part of being a human. Making your own choices. Not leaving it up to some invisible man in the sky. I think that’s what an intelligent, loving God would want for you. Toughen up and deal with your problems.
I understand that people desire to feel stable, in control, safe. But, when you go to lengths of creating false mental constructs to support your instability, only bad things can result. Where does “God” want you to go in life? It’s a recipe for destruction.
The host went on to tell a story about a recent event between her and her child. This is the part that really disturbed me. The following was her method for determining “what God wants” in your life.
She talked about how her child, one night before bed, said, “Mommy, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Lord speak to me before.” She responded that certainly, her child had heard him. The child responded with, “No, I don’t think so.”
Skip forward to the next day.
The child apparently grabbed a golf club from the garage and proceeded to hit bark (tree bark?) in the back yard, knocking a big piece through a window.
When sitting down with her child, she asked if he heard a voice inside saying, “You shouldn’t be doing that?” When her child responded back in the affirmative, she stated that that voice was, in fact, “the Lord.”
Now, what’s wrong with that? A lot of things. First of all, it establishes in the child’s mind that sense of shirking responsibility, of developing false mental constructs.
Instead of telling her child the TRUTH, that the voice he was “hearing” was himself… that he already knew that he shouldn’t be doing what he was doing, she decided to let “the Lord” take credit for that tendency to do right.
This is a turn for the worse in this child’s life. Instead of realizing that he knew the right choice to make all on his own… instead of cultivating that; his mother is telling him, essentially, that he has no idea what the right thing to do is, and he has to depend on “the Lord” for making right decisions. He can’t rely on himself any longer. He has to wait for signs from “the Lord” to do anything. Essentially rendering him mentally impotent.
And what form does “the Lord” take? In the Christian community, it could be a pastor telling you to give money to the church. It could be a “Christian Academic” telling you that evolution has no evidence to support it, and to ignore any other points of view – declaring them “the Devil’s work.” There are endless other forms of mental slavery that this leads to.
Christians Still Resort To Bronze-Age Superstitions
This second segment was of particular interest to me. It was about a group of people who were planning an outdoor viewing of The Jesus Movie for a large group of teenagers.
Now, I’d never heard of the Jesus Movie before, but apparently it’s a pretty significant film. The site has this to say about it:
Every four seconds, somewhere in the world, another person indicates a decision to follow Christ after viewing the “JESUS” film.
Every four seconds… that’s 21,600 people per day, 648,000 per month and more than 7.8 million per year! That’s like the population of the entire city of Seattle, WA, coming to Christ every 27.5 days. And yet, if you are like most people, you may have never even heard of it.
Called by some “one of the best-kept secrets in Christian missions,” a number of mission experts have acclaimed the film as one of the greatest evangelistic tools of all time. Since 1979 the “JESUS” film has been viewed by several billion people all across the globe, and has resulted in more than 225 million men, women and children indicating decisions to follow Jesus.
Those are some pretty mind-blowing stats. I wonder where they came up with them? I’m sure they aren’t lying for Jesus, or anything like that. That would be dishonest. I bet they don’t lie for Jesus in that movie, either.
Anyway, let’s get to the real meat of this story. This radio segment was presented as one of those “Breaking News” type of things. Like a “FOX News Alert” or something. And you won’t believe what they had to say.
Allegedly, where they were showing this film, there was a witch doctor who didn’t want the film to be shown in the community. And, also allegedly, this witch doctor made it rain every time they tried to have this gathering.
A witch doctor? Are you kidding me? Absolutely incredible. Magic spells and everything. I bet if they turned on the Weather Channel, they would have known about the witch doctor’s “magic spells” ahead of time.
I must say, the story about the witch doctor “turning to Jesus” is priceless. After probably a lifetime of doing magic spells, he all of a sudden believes in Jesus after watching some movie? My “lying for Jesus” sense is tingling.
What nonsense. Absolute nonsense. And people ask what the harm is in believing in the “supernatural.” What harm can it do for people to believe in, and take literally, a book written 2,000 years ago, deeply rooted in magical thinking?
This is the harm it can do.
People believing in utter lunacy (witch doctors changing the weather), and disillusioning themselves. Teaching their children that their own conscience, their own sense of reasoning, of right and wrong, is actually “the Lord” speaking to them.
Lying. Deceiving. Anything to get a few new converts to Christianity. And for what? Does it boost our ego? To have another join the flock. Does it make people feel better when they rope in another convert?
I almost wonder why I even bother listening to Christian radio. It honestly makes me angry hearing these types of stories. It’s almost as though these people have such utter disregard for actual truth, that they’re willing to say or do anything in the name of Jesus; regardless of the negative impact it has on those around them… especially their children.
If it were up to me, religion wouldn’t even be allowed to be taught to children until they were 18. And it’d be a different world if that were the case. If they were actually allowed to understand what they were having shoved down their throats.
Try telling someone of sound mind and body, and of legal age that their sense of right and wrong is “the Lord” speaking to them, or that witch doctors change the weather because they don’t like a Jesus movie. Good luck with that one, buddy.
You’re better off taking advantage of little children who don’t have the capability of understanding. Get them while their heads are still soft enough to shove that crap in there.
Ok, so that’s enough of my rant. And yes, I do get a little upset about this type of garbage. Probably because I used to be a Fundamentalist Christian; it upsets me to see how deceived and duped I was. This is how I release some of that anger.
So anyway, read a book. It’s good for you.
So I came across this post last night, displayed prominently on the WordPress homepage. Proof Dinosaurs Lived With Man. Great title. How could anyone resist checking it out?
Here’s the video posited in this post as “proof” that dinosaurs lived with man…
I’m not sure about you, but I could barely stomach the first 5 minutes of this video… John Pendleton is an idiot. And by the way, what is a Chemist doing making Geological or Archeological claims? Is this some sort of argument from authority? If so, that’s a big logical no-no.
I’d left a comment on this guy’s blog, but I guess it wasn’t worth approving. I suppose it’s because I offered actual scientific evidence against his claims… this supposed “proof.”
The Scientific Refutation
Now, far be it for me to just make claims like this without evidence. Here are a few critiques of Mr. Pendleton’s works.
Critique Number 1
Critique Number 2
The interesting thing about these critiques is that there are actual references given at the end of each video, providing sources for the information posited.
This is the antithesis of Mr. Pendleton’s work. He merely makes random, religious claims, not based on his experience or work as a Chemist, but from references to the Bible. How scientific of him. Using the Bible as scientific proof – when the Bible has yet to be scientifically verified to contain any historical truth.
Not once does he offer a reference where you could look up the information he’s expecting us to believe. We are expected to just take his word for it. Not very scientific. Is he even an actual scientist? Or does he just own a white coat?
Even the pictures Pendleton offered in his video are not evidence. He is a Chemist. He is not qualified to analyze Archaeological data. It would not be prudent of one to simply trust his opinion over someone who is specially trained in the required field. Just because he has a degree in Chemistry does not mean that he has a degree in everything. You can’t just take his word because he’s a scientist with a white coat on.
The religious community is very loose with their definition of “proof,” and what they consider to be proof of a claim. In particular, Christians are more than willing to lie for Jesus. Why? I couldn’t begin to guess, since it violates one of their precious commandments. And for a scientific reference, see Exodus 20:16 (KJV):
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Now, there might be a fuzzy line here. Is Mr. Pendleton intentionally misleading people with his lies, along with the likes of Ken Ham, or that jail-bird Kent Hovind (an excellent example of a Jesus Liar)? Or, is he really ignorant as to the lack of veracity of his claims? Well, to use an expression, that’s between him and God.
Whether he’s intentionally lying, or just ignorant of the facts, Mr. Pendleton is, to say the least, a disgrace to the scientific community. I would no more trust the words of Mr. Pendleton than I would, say, of that mythical Devil those guys always speak of.
The most important thing to take away from this is the fact that you can’t just take someone’s word for it. If they are making claims, especially scientific in nature, you cannot just take their words at face value. Ask questions. Look for evidence to back up their claims. At least ask for references.
To take one guy’s opinion over the consensus of the entire scientific community is ignorant and intellectually dishonest. It boils down to a standard of proof, and whether or not proof even matters to you.
Read a book. It’s good for you.
What does this look like to you? Some type of sports memorabilia? An inspirational story about your favorite basketball players? Some type of “self-help” book?
No, it’s a stupid Bible. The New Testament to be exact…
“A Sports New Testament.”
I found this little jewel on one of the tables in the break room at work the other night. And I have to say, I was a little surprised – and pissed off.
There are a lot of sports fans that work at McLane’s. So, I figured it was probably some type of sports statistics book, or maybe some kind of inspirational book – like a Chicken Soup For The Soul type of thing. I figured someone probably forgot it on the table when they left.
No. It’s Bible propaganda. And what strikes me about this is how much of a lie the whole concept really is. The entire purpose of this cover, the sports theme, is to trick the unsuspecting reader into thinking it’s got something to do with sports. Its purpose is to lie to the unsuspecting reader. (Doesn’t that violate one of the Ten Commandments? Lying? Bearing false witness?)
Exodus 20:16: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
Now, what’s wrong with this “Sports New Testament,” besides the fact that it violates the 9th commandment? What would anger me about this? Well first off, the reason anyone would pick up this book would be based on a lie. The unsuspecting reader is expecting to find information about sports. Possibly they recognize the player on the cover? And even the little subtitle on the bottom, “A Sports New Testament” doesn’t truly let one in on what the real content of this book is. It might simply be construed as a player’s philosophy of the game.
I guess my main beef with this book is that if the Bible is so believable, and it’s supposedly so obvious that the Bible is “God’s Word,” then why would you have to lie and deceive people in order to get them to read it? This approach reminds me of what a sleazy car salesman would do. The old bait and switch technique.
Here’s an example of the bait and switch technique used on car lots all across the country. This is from an interview with a man only known as “Joey” on Edmunds.com.
Edmunds: How does the bait and switch work?
Joey: What they do is select the cheapest and the most stripped-down version of a model. That’s the car they advertise. Then they calculate the payments with the assumption that people have an A+ credit history for the longest finance or lease term possible. Once the customer is on the lot, they switch them to a different vehicle.
Edmunds: Can you give me an example?
Joey: You see an ad in the paper for your favorite SUV showing a monthly payment of $299 a month. It looks like a great deal, since, either according to simple math or someone you know who recently got this vehicle, the payment should be more like $500 a month. Keep in mind, people never read the fine print. You are very excited to get your new SUV for this low, low payment and show up on the lot. You mention the ad you saw in the paper. Lo and behold, the salesman regretfully informs you that the particular car has already been sold —
And this is exactly what this Christian did with this book. They got the potential reader interested in reading a sports book, only to find out that, unfortunately, that information isn’t available – but hey, wouldn’t they rather read the Bible instead?
As for me, no! I would not rather read the Bible instead. If I wanted to read the Bible, I would have looked for a book that said Holy Bible on the cover.
To conclude, I would just say that I took this book home with me. I’ve prevented anyone else from experiencing the deceit imposed on the people at my place of employment by this wretched Christian. This person is obviously willing to lie and, to say the least, be dishonest in order to recruit more people into his religion. And I don’t think that lying is a good way to spread the “Word of God.”
What would this person say at the Pearly Gates after he died?
Lord, I tricked a whole bunch of people into reading the Bible by putting totally irrelevant pictures on the cover of it. These were pictures of things that had absolutely nothing to do with your message – but pictures which I knew would lure people into reading it. I know that I’m a liar, but at least I got people to read the Bible.
What exactly is this person expecting to get out of leaving this book out for people to see? That someone would stumble upon it, take a quick look and decide that it really is God’s Word, take it home and force Christianity on their family? Have a modern-day version of the Crusades?
To be honest, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Christians started making pornographic videos which had intermittent Bible verses inserted into them, and began uploading them on the internet. You know… in order to spread the gospel.
Anyway, read a book. It’s good for you.
For anyone who’s read my previous post concerning Ken Ham, you’ll have gotten a pretty good idea of how ignorant he is. Well, he’s either ignorant, or he’s a liar. I’ll let you decide.
In any case, in keeping with the scientific method – providing evidence to support one’s claims, I have more nail-in-the-coffin evidence that Ken Ham is either (a) ignorant, or (b) lying concerning evolution.
On his Answers In Genesis website, he has a “Media” section with audio, video and pictures of creationist propaganda in easy-to-access, easy-to-use, ignorant form. Of course, it’s all nonsense, lies and misrepresentations of actual science and reality. But, one of these especially caught my attention.
The title of this segment is called “Neptune’s wonders… “proof” of creation?” Here is the segment in question, for your listening pleasure.
The first quote from this work of genius is priceless…
You know, even though the incredible planet of Neptune can’t be explained by evolution, at the same time it really is strong evidence for a young universe. You know why? Well, you see, Neptune is a planet that can’t be explained by long ages of time.
Wow, Ken Ham! Your complete lack of understanding of what evolution is… it’s awe inspiring. I’ve never known someone to so brazenly take their own ignorance of a topic and recklessly use it against people who spend their entire lives studying that particular field. Is tithe money running low?
According to Ham, Neptune “can’t be explained by evolution.”
This just kills me. Okay, let’s take a look at what Ham’s statement actually means.
How about, to elucidate on just how ignorant this quote is, we substitute the word evolution for evolution’s definition. Evolution can be defined as change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.
Now, let’s put this quote into context.
You know, even though the incredible planet of Neptune can’t be explained by changes in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next, at the same time it really is strong evidence for a young universe. You know why? Well, you see, Neptune is a planet that can’t be explained by long ages of time.
Ken Ham, you are an idiot. Neptune can’t be explained by changes in alleles within a gene pool?
I suppose next you’re going to say that calculus doesn’t explain elephants, and that this is “proof of creation.”
- First of all, as far as we know, Neptune does not have volcanoes.
- Secondly, Neptune does not actually generate heat. It’s surface temperature is -218° Celsius. Pretty cold, if you ask me. (Neptune’s core is around 7,000° Celsius, which is similar to most planets in our solar system.)
- Thirdly, it is actually Neptune’s moon, Triton that has the volcanoes on it. And volcanoes on Triton are perfectly explainable by the gravitational effects of Neptune on Triton’s core. And these are not ordinary volcanoes. They aren’t spewing lava, or molten rock. It’s actually liquid nitrogen, dust and methane compounds.
Hey, Ken Ham. Maybe you should try doing some research on your topics before going off on some kind of nonsense tangent. I get tired of having to interrupt your nonsense with real, verifiable facts.
Now, Neptune may not be explainable by changes in alleles within a gene pool, but it sure can be explained by astronomy, geology and physics.
Ken, how about you try explaining things with regard to the field that they are actually involved with?
The Logical Fallacy
Technically speaking, Ken Ham’s argument, in this case, would be considered a straw man argument. You take a position A (evolution), construct a weaker position B (the “straw man”), and attack that position, instead of position A.
But Ham commits this offense so often, that I have now renamed this fallacy – naming it after Ham. It is now, officially, referred to as the argument from douche-baggery.
Ken Ham is a douche bag.
Read a book.
To start this post off, I’ll refer you to an excellent article by my good friend Aaron, the YouTube Skeptic. Watch the video. It’s really something. David Berlinski explains how, basically, evolution couldn’t have happened because the odds are against it happening. A textbook example of post hoc, illogical reasoning.
If any of you have checked out my “Books” section, you’ll have noticed that I’ve just started reading “A Tour Of The Calculus,” by David Berlinski. I’d actually purchased this book a few years ago. Didn’t really know who Berlinski was. This is strangely ironic, as I had just finished reading a book by another Creationist nutcase, out of my own choosing. And now, out of pure coincidence, I’ve found myself reading Berlinski!
I had no idea as to the degree of Berlinski’s ignorance, or willingness to be intellectually dishonest. Not only that, but Berlinski is apparently just good at math. He’s written a few books and articles, but has not really contributed anything to the mathematical community. Basically, he just knows how to do math.
Aaron makes a great analogy to Berlinski’s reasoning process as it concerns evolution:
I’ll draw a simple analogy to prove my point. If finding out how we got the diversity of life on earth as we now know it was winning the lottery; then genetics is the winning ticket. Genetics explains how things are related, how they change, how often they change, etc. So, with that in mind here is what Berlinski would like to do – You bought your lottery ticket, watched with anticipation to see if you won and you did! You go down to the lottery office to cash in your winnings, but there sits David Berlinski. Mr. Berlinski looks at your ticket and says, “That’s interesting, but let’s look at it purely from a mathematical stand point to find out if you won. My calculations show that the probability of you winning the lottery were astronomical so you don’t win – couldn’t have happened.
And that’s what we’re left with from this mathematical genius. Not, “Did it happen?” But, “Could it have happened?” Post hoc reasoning. Berlinski bases his belief in Creationism on the odds of something happening, not whether or not it did happen.
Evolution is not a math problem. So, Berlinski, stick to what you know! You’re not an evolutionary biologist. Here’s a mathematical problem for you: How many logical fallacies are in in your reasoning process?
In conclusion, I’m only part-way through this book, and have yet to be exposed to any Creationism nonsense. But, it’s still too soon to make any predictions. If I was going on the odds of it happening, I’m willing to bet that “A Tour Of The Calculus” will give me a tour of Jesus, or some crap like that. But, I’m only basing that on the odds of it happening, a hallmark of Berlinski’s logic. It’s important to be consistent, right?
On that note, read a book.
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