The God of Creationism

Believe it or not, as an atheist I don't see this as an irrefutable text.

As far as atheists are concerned, I think I come off being rather tame.  I have never suggested that religion is some horrible institution that should be burned to the ground and I have been quite outspoken with my fellow skeptics about my belief that there are forms of belief which cannot ever be debunked through skepticism.  That said, creationism bothers me on multiple levels.  Last week, I wound up spending an inordinate amount of time arguing with a creationist on this very blog and I came to the conclusion that reactive defense of evolution was not going to win an argument with someone who refuses to look at evidence.  So I’ve decided to go on the attack on this one.  My reason is simple: whether there is a god or not, the specific God of Christian Creationism is logically impossible. … continue reading this entry.

A Non-Scientific Argument Against Intelligent Design

I was at Drinking Skeptically on Wednesday, trying to talk to people about how they should write for the Gotham Skeptic, because frankly, I get tired sometimes and I’d like to share that terrifying “it’s Wednesday/Sunday at 9:00 and I still don’t know what I’m going to write about” feeling that has become such a regular part of my week.  I was talking with Mitch, who if you’re a regular member of the NYC Skeptics, you probably know, and he’s telling me about this story he’d like to write all about “what if Intelligent Design was real.”  I’m not going to go into it too much because that’s his thing, but I had a question on it, he encouraged me to write about it here, and that’s what’s been done and what I’m doing. … continue reading this entry.

Lessons in evolutionary theory for all

From Charles Darwin's 1859 book "On the Origin of Species "

In spite of (or perhaps because of) the prolific amount of posts PZ Myer’s pens for his blog Pharyngula over at Scienceblogs, I have trouble being a frequent reader. He focuses on a wide variety of topics, many of them uninteresting to me, but one that I find him to be a terrific source of entertainment: evolution. In an uncharacteristically long post over the weekend, PZ delved into an easily digestible essay on just a few of the more complex and frequently misunderstood aspects of evolutionary theory. Given the attention that TQM paid yesterday to a journalist’s misunderstanding of Intelligent Design, I thought it was worth continuing the conversation.

PZ is correct that evolutionary theory is now a rich field of study that is commonly distilled down to an inadequate sound-bite for mass consumption. … continue reading this entry.

Some Words Actually Have Meanings…

Would you look at this man and say he ISN'T monkey-like?

I don’t know why, in spite of almost all evidence to the contrary, I continue to expect an educated press.  I read an article this morning in USA Today highlighting an evangelical woman who’s recently published a book about her transformation from creationist to defender of evolution.

The majority of the article, written by Bob Smietana of the Nashville Tennessean, isn’t bad.  The woman in question, Rachel Held Evans, is from Dayton, TN, home of the Scopes Monkey Trial.  Her message is that one does not have to decide they believe their religion or science, and that she can love her deity while accepting that the world is older than 6000 years.  Great.  I’m always happy to have religious people accept science, because I’m of the opinion that it’s a more helpful way to examine the world and that the lens of scientific naturalism is the best one for understanding the world around us.

Where Smietana pisses me off is around the middle of his article where he drops this whopper.

Instead of choosing sides, some prefer the middle ground of intelligent design, which claims God designed how life evolved. … continue reading this entry.

Science-Based Veterinary Medicine?

Science-based medicine is a familiar term to most skeptics. It is an approach to medicine and medical research that can only improve our health care system. But lately the science-based focus has broadened to other disciplines. At skeptical events I’ve met dentists that are pushing for more science-based practices, and today I stumbled across a nice [...]

Hot Beverages and Hot Weather, Friends or Foes?

Mmmm, nothing like hot kopi on a hot Indonesian day.

Mmmm, nothing like hot kopi on a hot Indonesian day.

As spring gives way to summer and the heat and humidity settle upon us I find myself often thinking of the old-wives tale that drinking a hot beverage on a hot day is more cooling than drinking a cold one. Our understanding of the physiology of thermoregulation, which I will discuss in a moment, indicates that this really isn’t true. We often like to think that myths like these must have been passed down over the ages because they had a bit of truth to them, the same argument is made for traditional remedies, and sometimes this is the case, but often it is not. … continue reading this entry.

Undivine DNA

(THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB snoozes in his lounge chair.  ARCHANGEL MICHAEL storms in and slams a newspaper down on God’s lap, waking him up.)

GOD

Aaaaah!

MICHAEL

Have you seen what they’ve done now?

GOD

What!?  Who?!  I’m taking a nap, you slam a paper on my lap and ask me these questions!

MICHAEL

The monkeys, sir!  Who else? … continue reading this entry.

When Idealists Piss Me Off

Does this juice make me look pretentious?  As pretentious as drinking Pom?

Does this juice make me look pretentious? As pretentious as drinking Pom?

I’ve started a new job working in a park with kids, and I’m really liking it.  Much better than the crappy government work I was doing before in an office.  The place I’m working out of now is very recycle happy, and on the whole, I’m okay with it.  I know that recycling is sort of a sticky issue with a lot of skeptics.  It’s difficult to make it actually work, maybe even impossible with many materials.  Personally though, I’m of the opinion that if we keep on working on the infrastructure, maybe the science will be able to find a way to make the raw materials last longer and all those systems we’ve developed to help recycle will actually come in handy.  So I’m okay, on the whole, with the green people.  In fact, there’s only one thing about them that really pisses me off.

Their utter disdain for genetically modified organisms. … continue reading this entry.

Science Patriotism? Enlist Me!

While I am happy to discuss and argue dissenting viewpoints in the interpretation of data or the conclusions based on concrete evidence, I usually leave the critiquing of people’s more philosophical arguments to those better suited to it. But after reading a review of the most recent book, Nonsense on Stilts, by Massimo Pigliucci, Chair of Philosophy Department at the City University of New York-Lehman College and fellow NYCS board member, I am eager to try my hand a picking apart the arguments of the author that are so full of holes you could drive a truck through them. The review in The Chronicle of Higher Education, written by Carlin Romano, was intended to critique Massimo’s hidden bias but instead merely exposed the author’s own. … continue reading this entry.

David Shenk fails to deliver

Genius in all of usOn Saturday, March 13, David Shenk, the author if The Genius in All of Us delivered a lecture to the New York City Skeptics.  The book’s press release promised a lot, saying Shenk would give us reason to “Forget everything you think you know about genes, talent, and intelligence.”  Shenk said there was a “mountain of evidence” for a level of “talent abundance” that we had previously not known about.  The talk totally failed to deliver on these promises, as did his book. … continue reading this entry.

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