Monday, May 19, 2008

Sudden darkness at midday. Judgement Day? No...

New England's darkest day (literally). Feared as a sign of God's wrath in it's day--but now finally explained over 200 years later. This is something to keep in mind whenever the 'unexplainable' happens.

May 19, 1780: Darkness at Noon Enshrouds New England

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Questions for Christians who accept the Theory of Evolution

Questions for Christians who accept the Theory of Evolution

Do you believe in a literal fall of man? According to the Biblical narrative as a whole, as I was taught, Christ came to reverse the curse that was brought on the world by the sin of Adam. (See Romans 5:12-21) The whole idea that god himself needed to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins was based on this idea. So, if there was no literal Adam and no literal fall from grace and no curse, how do you make sense of the idea that Christ needed to die for our sins?
Even if there were a literal Adam at some point in the history of the world, the whole history of the world before he evolved would have included death and pain and decay. So what of the idea that it was due to the sin of man that death and suffering came into the world? (See Genesis Chapter 3).
Do you believe that an all powerful, and all knowing God would use a process as cruel and arbitrary as natural selection to shape life on earth? Would god have purposely created some species only to go extinct? I personally have no moral objection to natural selection itself, but only because I see it as having no sort of conscience foresight or intent guiding it—it is a totally natural process. The Blind Watchmaker, as Dawkins puts it. But is this the route you really think an all-powerful and all-knowing, not to mention loving God would use?

I think these are all good reasons to think that if evolution is real—and we have an abundance of evidence that says it is—then the God described in the Bible could not exist and the whole narrative of Christianity makes no sense at all. But I don’t want to just assume that I’ve come to the correct conclusion about this without hearing what the other side has to say. So, any Christians out there who accept the theory of evolution, how do you reconcile the implications of evolution and natural selection with your faith? Please feel free to respond by comment or video.


Ben Stein Pwned!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Review of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"

I went and saw Expelled today, and I can tell you I am sickened and fired up. I’ve known all along that the Creationists, and that is what they are, are shameless, but they have really undercut my lowest expectations with this one. Well, not really, because my expectations were really that low.

The premise of this film is that within the scientific community there has been such a crackdown on intellectual freedom that for any one but anyone to challenge the theory of Darwin is for them to put their reputations and job on the line. They then show a series of about ½ dozen people who have lost their job in some academic institution or another and claim that it was because of their view on intelligent design that they were fired. All the evidence given for these claims is shots of letters where you are not allowed to actually see the whole letter (not long enough to read it at any rate) but only shown a few highlighted remarks about ID. None of these stories are reported on or examined in any sort of depth or detail. These folks just say they lost their job due to ID, and that is good enough for Stein. They do, at least, mention that the decision makers at all these institutions deny it all. Humm . . . I wonder why that is?

At some point in the film they mention the Scopes trial and how ‘Evolutionists’ consider that to be a victory. But no, it was a loss for them because the law against teaching evolution was upheld in Tennessee and Scopes was found guilty. Now, where is their upholding of academic freedom? A teacher being barred for teaching ID is being persecuted, but if a teacher is prosecuted for teaching evolution it is the upholding of the law? I smell a double standard.

After this the majority of the film is a mishmash of emotional manipulation confusing social Darwinism with the scientific Darwinist theory and basically blaming Darwin for the Holocaust. Someone Stein interviewed even said that while Darwinism was not a sufficient condition for the Holocaust, it was a necessary condition. Hold on just a moment. Is he saying that all the centuries of the persecution of Jews in Europe was not sufficient in itself? Martin Luther lived long before Darwin and you can already see serious signs of the hatred of Jews in European Christendom long before Martin wrote his “The Jews and their lies.” I have provided a links regarding this in the sidebar. I also have provided a link to the Expelled Exposed site which shoots down the “Darwin leads to Eugenics” argument. Also, check out the other material on their site—they examine the Expelled augments in much more depth than I do. At this point I’ll let the historians pick this argument apart.

There were also other little subtle things I picked up on. For one thing, Stein goes to great length to explain that all this Intelligent Design stuff is not about just about God, but in the end it’s all about God. And of course, Evolution necessarily leads to atheism. That is really what this is all about, after all. And He claims that ID has been misrepresented in the media as saying stuff like “life is to complicated so god must have done it” but a few scenes later he and his friendly interviewees go on the record as really saying exactly that! They use a cell animation to boggle the minds of their audience with the vast complexity of the inner workings of the cell and say, “this is too complicated to have come about without an intelligent designer.” Like the in the example of the Scopes trial above, they again show their hypocrisy.

Not that I expect their followers will not question anything they say. But then again, some of those followers just might question. I, after all, was weaned on creationist propaganda—even in my home school high school biology textbook. A major bit of what lead me to my atheism was learning about all the lies and shameless distortions the creationists use to advance their cause. So, to all of those out there who really think that Ben Stein and co have made some good points—don’t just believe everything they say. Read, research and find the answers for yourself. Do what Ben Stein claims he does. QUESTION AUTHORITY AND GET TO THE TRUTH!!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

1000 Cathedrals do not make a God happen

I found this vid on YouTube and I want to pass it on. I love Gothic architecture myself. Beautiful testimony to human creativity and engineering. Nothing supernatural though.