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.

Let’s see what we can do with this internet

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 [...]

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.

Rationally Speaking Podcast: Guest Eugenie Scott on the Status of the Creationism and ID Wars

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 [...]

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.

Agnostic Intelligent Design

This is totally proof of... something

This is totally proof of... something

I was cruising around the mighty internet when I found an article about Sarah Palin and Creationism over at the Atlantic. There’s not much to talk about here. Yeah, she’s a creationist, we’ve known it for a while, and the fact that America almost put such a scientifically illiterate person into one of the highest positions of power we have in this country still has me experiencing night terrors. But this really isn’t the proper forum for that type of political talk, and so instead, I want to address your attention to one of the more ingenious comments made on the page.  … continue reading this entry.

Thoughts on design

This postcard book, Rube Goldbergs Inventions!, was compiled by Maynard Frank Wolfe from the Rube Goldberg Archives. The cover illustration shows Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin.

This is the cover illustration of the book, Rube Goldberg's Inventions!, was which compiled by Maynard Frank Wolfe from the Rube Goldberg Archives. The illustration depicts Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin. (from Wikipedia)

I’m lucky, I guess, if you are the type that believes in luck, that I’m a designer. Meaning, that’s what I do for a living, a decently-compensated living at that. I’m privileged enough to get paid to think about, plan, and execute solutions for abstract ideas. Ideas that take the form of problems. Most of those ideas consist of arguments for why you should chose a particular brand or service. That’s a practice that can be fairly manipulative; therefore, that’s where the money’s at. Other more esoteric problems I might work on may be how one visualizes the abstract concept of an internet search, or to give reasons as to why that handle is a particular shade of red. These problems that are a bit more benign, and therefore less lucrative. And yet we are plagued by some pressing problems in need of solutions, like global climate change or the energy crisis, well ,no one is getting paid to work on these (I speak in hyperbole, of course). These social and environmental issues have yet to be completely solved by design, but that doesn’t mean design hasn’t offered some solutions, piecemeal, and for a long time. … continue reading this entry.

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