Common Falsehoods of Predatory Creationism

As a former crazy fundamentalist religionist, I’ve always tried to give people the benefit of the doubt. We all have strong reasons for clinging to our beliefs, after all, and one can understand why an individual might grasp at the proverbial straw in order to hang on to a cherished though false belief.

There is probably no reason to extend such a courtesy to professional pseudo-science religionists, though. Especially if they have any scientific training, because they know better. The people who know better but deliberately mislead as part of their religious career are hypocrites and worse; they are predators.

Professional creationists prey upon the gullible, the ill informed and the desperately religious. They are the reason America is slowly slipping into third world status: They don’t have these silly arguments in more advanced countries. And without a proper understanding of science, America’s youth is basically doomed to life of servitude, permanently indentured to those who DO understand science and how to use it. Just thinking about the damage caused by these predators makes me angry.

The pseudo-scientists creationists don’t really care about facts – they care about making money. “Learn how to defeat evolutionists, get my latest book” – that sort of thing.

On a personal note, I’m really tired of hearing the same high-sounding but totally fake arguments like “irreducible complexity” (doesn’t exist) or “evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics” (if they ever read that law, they would realize that it describes the behavior of matter in a closed system without any outside energy input. We live on the EARTH and have lots of energy input from the sun).

I suggest a reading of creationism’s false arguments, which elaborates on some of the more common predatory deceptions by professional myth-promulgators.

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Life After Death, The Near Death Experience and Easter

For many years, I preached a special Easter sermon that had people wowed, on their feet, and full of joy. I meant it, too. I thought there was nothing more important than our faith…. well, it’s true.

That’s how I felt back then. But I was also a sincere seeker of TRUTH. Faith is the assurance of things HOPED for (Hebrews 11:1) — or put another way, faith is the culmination and actualization of wishful thinking..

Our reference reading for today is a Newsweek article: Can Science Explain the Concept of Heaven? – – and the truthful answer can be called, literally, a no-brainer.

The thesis here is very simple: heaven is not a real place, or even a process or a supernatural event. It’s something that happens in your brain as you die.

When you get into actual research instead of relying on the many and varied stories people tell themselves, it starts to get very simple. In fact, basically, this is one of those things that is so obvious that nature is rubbing it in your face. It’s just that the meaning is too uncomfortable for us, so we run to our fantasy fiction tales instead.

I sympathize with the strong desire to believe that we are worth more than just a lifetime; that we have to have an existence beyond this or life would be pointless. I was an ordained minister, after all, because I believed in all of that. If you care about the truth, though – I mean, REALLY care – then you need to move beyond your comfort zone and look at the evidence.

You know how conscious you are in dreamless phases of sleep, right? When you dream, you’re in your own alternate reality inside your head. But between REM dream states, there is a whole lot of nothing. This is evidence from your own life, which you can test on a daily basis.

The Empirical Evidence: If you’ve ever been under general anesthesia then you have an even bigger clue. Full anesthesia is as close as we ever come to death while being able to tell others about it – and here is what we learn: When your brain isn’t working right, you don’t exist. Even time doesn’t pass. The Anesthetist tells you to start counting backward, you get a couple of numbers out and then you notice you’re staring at the ceiling of the recovery room …and it’s like 8 hours later. With just a little chemical inducement, your conscious existence ended. You were extinguished. Your mind ceased to exist. And it stayed extinguished until the chemical wore off.

What kind of leap of back-assward logic does it take to say that – sure, you cease to exist under deep anesthesia, but once your brain is completely gone THEN all of a sudden you are going to be conscious again!”?

That doesn’t even rise to the grade of retarded logic. Seriously. BUT we have a strong personal incentive for denying what is in our face and readily apparent when it makes us uncomfortable..

We all want to believe that our lives are bigger than the here and now, even though that belief is demonstrably false. So we cling to these things anyway and will even become angry when someone points out the patent absurdity of our beliefs. It is not uncommon for religious people to even threaten to kill those who point out the truth and sometimes they even act on their threats. That’s how desperate they are to avoid the facts in evidence.

I know because I was one of them.

Back to the article: It’s sad to see scientists shucking and jiving in the way you see in this article: They can’t just come out and say, “yeah, we do know what happens when you die – you can even figure it out for yourself with no help from anybody if you think about it for 5 minutes.”

They can’t do it because they would be publicly vilified, probably threatened with violence, and perhaps even actually targeted with violence. So they say they can’t prove it (yes you can) and “we can’t be sure” (yes you can!) …because they are afraid. That part makes me very sad. But I also understand that there are believers out there who are willing and even eager to kill anyone who challenges their fantasies with facts. It’s something a reasonable person should fear, I suppose, but it certainly says something unfortunate about the state of human intelligence.

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God’s Humor, A Wrap Around

Oh, the humor of God! He’s a real cut-up, that’s for sure. A comedian’s comedian. Nobody can play practical jokes like kids being born with no face or with a condition that causes them to eat their own lips. Nope, no human could (or would) come up with the practical jokes that God invents. A caring god would not have designed us like this. He is the Master of Comedy.

We’ve talked about the teenage girl who looks like an old woman or another whose muscles are mutating in to bone. These things don’t come from people but from the nature of creation itself. So if God is the creator of the universe, then all of these things come from God. So He’s quite the practical joker.

We all just hope to avoid being the butt of His jokes.

Oh yes, I’ve heard silly arguments about how it’s all the victims’ fault. Sin, you know. Adam’s DNA was perfect, but it became polluted because of sin… totally missing the point that DNA is what MAKES us. Either God made DNA or he didn’t (assuming God exists, of course). If he made us, then he made DNA, which means he made all the bad stuff that’s in there -the things that cause conditions like we’ve talked about. If he didn’t make the DNA with all its built-in horrors then He didn’t make people. The whole argument wreaks of desperation: It is saying, “I’ll do anything – ANYTHING – to avoid admitting that my faith in fantasy fiction has been misplaced.”

All of that twisted, sick back-flipping “logic” is only designed to avoid the obvious conclusion that humans evolved and were not created by anyone. If they were created by someone then that someone would have be be a sick asshole or incompetent.

Left with no logical argument, some believers will say something like, “Well, why wouldn’t God design life with built in flaws? I mean, those uncertainties are part of the flow of life, we wouldn’t know what to do without them.” The problem is, that’s not what your storybook says about your God. Now we’re talking about a whole different being than the one you claim to worship (if you believe in the Bible, Torah, Quran, etc.) … I am no longer a promoter/purveyor of these stories so I can’t help you with this.

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It’s not a Christian Nation

Magazine Preview – How Christian Were the Founders? –

The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation’s Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn’t merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions.

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Every show has to have a Halloween episode – this is mine. Mine isn’t funny and it is only scary if you think that human stupidity will kill us all. It might be more informative, however.

Ghosts stories are a popular form of entertainment and Halloween is the official day for such stuff, so we might as well talk about it. If you look at things from a rational, analytical point of view, there’s nothing to any of the stories of the supernatural that people like to tell. Ghost stories, UFO abductions, angels, fairies and Jesus – it’s all the same: Stories that help people feel like there is something bigger to life than just our brief moments of existence here on earth – but completely lacking in reality. – Scientifically Haunted House Suggests You’re a Sucker.

To test whether it’s possible to artificially induce paranormal experiences — or, from a different perspective, to technologically summon a spirit — researchers at London’s Goldsmith College and architect Usman Haque designed a scientifically haunted room.

I enjoy a good story but I’m disgusted by the wide-eyed credulity with which alleged NEWS programs report on hauntings and spooky stuff at this time of year. Come on, people, at the very least I would say that lying to your audience makes calling yourself “news” a bit of false advertising.

Let’s make this clear – how you feel about things is not evidence for those things. Feelings are generated internally and can be triggered my many things including your expectations. From the article, “People tend to think about what they’re told to. Asked to track strange feelings, they started noticing them. And the participants’ response rates indeed followed what’s predicted by models of suggestible behavior.”

If you missed that, I will reiterate; people experience hauntings at the rate predicted by scientific models of behavior. Which means, there’s nothing to it – it really IS just you.

It reminds me of the boredom of my youth… I remember as a young teen picking up a random ceramic jar with a cracked lid. It was a recent acquisition from my aunt Marcella. Nothing to it, but I just started telling a story how it was supposed to be cursed so you really couldn’t open it without bad things happening to you. That was how my aunt died, I said. …Well, I guess I told the story well because I couldn’t talk any of my friends into opening it.

We need to grow up. Remember Kiri-it-tha’s first law of metaphysics: That which is unreal does not exist.

Whatever we choose to call “the supernatural” is nothing more than cognitive dissonance as far as anyone can tell and by its own definition, the supernatural does not exist. Yes, I know we’d all like to feel that there is something more out there. Living in a universe that is just a physical realm where things exist for a while and then cease to exist doesn’t seem like much fun or particularly edifying but it is reality.

That which is unreal does not exist.

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That Carnival of Belief

Back in the good old world of pareidolia, we have a minister who wins the award for seeing something in nothing: Minister sees Jesus in her curtains | | Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater. I mean, I talked about MANY stupid stories with Jesus on toast, Mary in a driveway stain. You name it. It’s all about the same but at least in most of them you can sort of see where there is an optical illusion of a face. In this case, though, I can’t even vouch for that much!

As I’ve also said, though, we know it must be true because 25,000 children starve to death every single day, and hundreds just got killed by a tsunami in the very-Christian Samoa …clearly God must be extremely busy doing something other than helping people in desperate need of a miracle.

Making vague faces on curtains may be the only viable explanation as to why God doesn’t really give a shit about all the suffering in the world – Not even devout believers with dying kids for that matter, as yet another child is sacrificed on the altar of Christian faith healing: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son | Philadelphia Daily News | 10/08/2009

On the last day of Kent Schaible’s life, his parents and pastor intensely prayed over his 32-pound body, which, unbeknown to them, was ravaged by bacterial pneumonia.

When the 2-year-old boy finally died at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 24 inside the family’s Northeast Philadelphia home, the pastor called a funeral director to take the boy’s remains to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.

Yep, that Jesus, what a comedian! You think he’s going to heal your kid but he’s really going to kill him. Oh what a sense of humor. After all, you’re just doing what HE told you to do, right? But haha, the joke is on you.

You’ve got to think that God and Jesus are just fucking with you when they have you pray for your child to live. They are God, after all, so they already know they aren’t going to do jack shit – they just didn’t bother to tell you about it!

Or you know, maybe that stuff is all just stories people like to tell each other to try to make sense of the world and there is no objective reality involved…. that works really well, too.

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Earthquakes and the End Times

Before I start hearing all those, “it’s a sign of the end” hysterics, or any of the self-righteous holy folk confidently telling us that some earthquake happened because God hates Samoans or something – I thought I’d pass this along: Two Deadly Quakes: Is Earth Unusually Active?

Between the earthquakes that struck the Samoas and Indonesia yesterday and the temblor that devastated L’Aquila, Italy earlier this year, it might seem like Earth has been particularly shaky this year.

But that’s not the case: “This is not out of the ordinary as far as the year goes,” said John Bellini, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

I know, we’ll get that bullshit anyway, but I have to do what I can!

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Another Young Person Dies For Religion

I’ve mostly given up on doing these stories because they are so depressing. If you really want to read about innocent kids killed for Christ, though, you don’t have to look that hard: On a very regular basis you’ll find some story about a poor kid who died of a treatable illness because his/her religious fanatic parents believed that Jesus would heal their child. And of course, they were wrong as usual. Hey you know, there’s a reason medicine was invented.

Before the modern age of antibiotics and vaccinations, people didn’t have much better than a 50/50 chance of making it from birth to adulthood. What, you think they were just all heathens or God would have healed them?? My, you ARE delusional. Religious fanatics have always been a dime a dozen.

Well, we had a similar case to this one in my home state. They convicted one of the parents of a lesser charge but then jurors complained they were misled into thinking this would teach them a lesson so they’d never do it again (it didn’t).

In the case cite here, the parents probably don’t have anything to worry about because they live in one of many states where there is a religious exemption to homicide laws: You’re allowed to kill your kids as long as you say Jesus told you to do it. Questions still linger over Carlton boy’s death.

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Intelligent Design Wrong Again

I know, like this is news? Intelligent Design aka creationism has always functioned at the edge of knowledge. It exists to say… “Oh, you don’t understand how this particular thing works. Well then, it must be GOD!!!” It’s a simple formula, really; one answer for every question. Its only problem is that those questions tend to get answered eventually. So now ID/creationism retreats yet again…. More ‘Evidence’ of Intelligent Design Shot Down by Science.

Intelligent design mavens once cited flagella as evidence of their theory. Scientific fact dispelled that illusion. The mitochondria study does the same for protein transport.

“This analysis of protein transport provides a blueprint for the evolution of cellular machinery in general,” write the researchers, led by molecular biologist Trevor Lithgow at Australia’s Monash University. “The complexity of these machines is not irreducible.”

Yes, I realize that facts never get in the way of a good creationist story but we have to keep repeating the facts ANYWAY in hopes that they will sink-in with those who value truth over creative fiction.

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Christian Values in REAL Life, Part #$&*

As we’ve mentioned before, when is the last time you ever saw an avowed atheist charged with something really horrible, hmm? It must happen sometimes but usually it’s Christians and the more devout and crazily religious they are, the worse their crimes: Evangelist guilty of taking minors across state lines for sex.

Why is that? Well, as a former religious nut myself, I can tell you that there seems to be a lot of license involved in Christianity. Among fundamentalist pastors, it seems like everyone was porking everyone elses’ wives ..and no, I’m not exempting myself from the debauchery.

There is a general concept from Calvinism that God chose you, and therefore as a chosen one whatever you do will be forgiven and blessed. King David is often cited as an example of this. So then Jesus’ sacrifice has turned into permission to do whatever crazy shit comes into your head. It must be okay, after all, because God picked you over so many other people to be His special chosen child. And remember, it’s a blessing on whatever YOU do; you still get to sit in judgment of everyone else, especially non Christians. That whole judgment thing is the reward for being chosen.

It happens all the time. And as a matter of objective statistics, Christians are more likely than non-religious people to be arrested for spousal abuse, get divorced or murder a family member. The more religious a person is, the more likely they are to approve of war and torture as counterintuitive as that might seem. Or mabye it isn’t contraintuitive, it’s just contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

I think this all flows from a sense of moral superiority one acquires from believing that one has a unique insight into the true will of God and that one has God’s ear for ones prayers. What should be humbling becomes enabling.

Now whatever you think must be right because God is in you and your thoughts must be His thoughts.

There are and continue to be non-judgmental movements within Christianity but they haven’t seemed to be able to take hold for the last 2000 years. After all, taking the judging others and the sense of moral superiority out of Christianity takes all the fun out of being a Christian!

Clearly the average Christian – and in this case the average big-name EVANGELIST – doesn’t know jack shit about what Jesus actually taught and stood for. If they did they wouldn’t going off 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

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