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.
What do you write on the Critical Thinking chalkboard?
Driving back from the debate on Friday, Steve and I got into talking about critical thinking. I don’t remember how it happened. Talk about the debate moved to discussing what I wished I’d been able to say in the debate, to “here’s what I think skeptics believe [...]
If homeopaths were correct, looking at this man would cure my headache every time.
I made a mistake. I read an article by Deepak Chopra. Now I have to talk about it in order to exorcise the stupid.
The article is about Stephen Hawking’s statement that God is not necessary to explain the universe. As most commentators have already done, Deepak decided to say that Hawking was saying there was no God, making a metaphysical statement. Chopra goes on to rail about how Hawking has pointed a way to abolishing metaphysics all together. I would personally say that abolishing a purely speculative and totally unprovable discipline wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but that’s not what Hawking was doing. Hawking was making the statement that science always makes: whether there is a god or not is irrelevant. The universe is explainable without one.
Deepak seems to suggest that science is being unfair in terms of its discussion with religion.
The modern world is willing to throw out any number of beliefs about God if the facts don’t fit. Science isn’t willing to throw out a single piece of data, however, to satisfy an article of faith. The net result is that science has become bolder. … continue reading this entry.
You say sniffing this kills brain cells, but I say it smells terrific. Let's teach kids the controversy!
Our old friends, the creationists, appear to no longer be content to spread their sadly not so unique garbage around just our country any longer. Recently a new “educational” attraction in Bristol England was awarded a “quality badge” by the British Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. The attraction’s name? “Noah’s Ark Zoo.” Of course, we shouldn’t just assume that they’re religious because a) The Guardian says so or b) the name. So let’s take a look at their website where they talk all about how Noah’s Ark Zoo is a working farm. Oh what’s this? A section on their website devoted to “Evolution & Creation.” Hmmmm… … continue reading this entry.
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.
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.
Our special guest this episode is Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, the premiere organization fighting for sound scientific educational standards in this country, and a permanent thorn in the ass of creationists and IDers nationwide.
Genie updates us on the status of the ID and creationist [...]
Yesterday Page brought your attention to this New York Times story about the hardship being put on John Freshwater: an innocent scientist who just wants to have the right to have his bible on his desk and teach creationism. Okay, that’s not completely true. He just wants to teach that kids shouldn’t trust evolution and that scientists make mistakes “because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin, and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner.” This was in reference to the idea that homosexuality may be genetic. And what eighth grader struggling to accept his or herself and finding out that they may have a sexuality different from their peers wouldn’t want their science teacher telling them that they’re a sinner? So obviously, I’m behind John. Maybe you don’t understand that. Well maybe you would if you’d been through what he’s been through, like I have. … continue reading this entry.
Won’t someone please think of the elephants? Not out in Africa, you bleeding heart ninnies! No, our LOCAL elephants. Their herding patterns are becoming more erratic and they seem to be flitting about with more and more strange wild fauna. I think you know as well as I, the Republican Party seems to be going mad.
The Republican party has had a long and storied history in this country. It began as the party of abolition. Lincoln was one of it’s first leaders, he as certainly the first Republican president. As time went on, the party re-centered itself around the values of smaller government and lower taxes. But this was before the civil rights movement. This was before the DixieCrats (Southern Democrats) felt that their own party had become too soft on black people and so they switched over, taking their beliefs with them. This was before Newt Gingrich’s brilliant plan of taking over the national lexicon, pushing towards value driven thinking over evidence-based intellectualism. This was before the Republican Party had been taken over by fringe “value voters” and they started having conventions together to celebrate that fact. … continue reading this entry.