The rugged gentleman on the left is Captain Ahab (as played by actor Gregory Peck), the obsessed whaler who hunts down Moby-Dick, the great white symbolic whale. The individual on the right is Australian-born conservative Christian, Ken Ham, the crazed founder of the infamous, Kentucky creation ‘museum’. Is it just me or is there a slight similarity between the two –in appearance and obsession level? If you don’t see it, then just pretend for the sake of the cartoon.
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It might have been more educational if Richard Dawkins –or that over-simplified museum chart– had explained that paleontologists aren’t so much concerned with complete transitional fossils –or intermediates– but the transitional characteristics displayed in the fossils. Fossils are after all collections of physical traits. But Dawkins is countering creationists, who are so often ridiculously literal in their interpretation of evolution that they imagine the fossil evidence for the transition between two distinct species as an exact in-between –for example, half dinosaur and half bird. Evolutionary history, though, is bushy and convoluted; a particular species may only bear an ancestral trait(s) that’s been slightly modified, or a novel trait(s) that is in its incipient state. That a species of dinosaur had proto-feathers –and not necessarily fully functional wings– is in itself profoundly informative. No cartoonish hybrid is needed as proof of evolution. The same goes for those floating pigs of the sea, those media hogs, those cousins of the hungry hungry hippo –the whales.
Comedy courtesy of DesertPhile
Prepare to sigh with frustration at how effortlessly an idiot can gain a political seat. Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen (R) says the Earth is 6,000 years old. Surely, the turnip truck that delivered her into this world yesterday can just as easily take her back as defective merchandise; she must have been bruised when she fell off the back.
What I find most irritating about debating creationists isn’t their ignorance of general science; we all don’t know things. What’s most annoying is their apparent lack of curiosity. If I don’t know something I like to do research. But if creationists don’t know something, they often pretend that they do know it, proudly and dogmatically, even if it’s blatantly wrong. This behavior reminds me of something Ron Reagan once said about his father, former president, Ronald Reagan:
He knew what he knew, and he didn’t want to know any more.
Well, I found a post titled The Great Debate: Genesis or Science? by Allen Epling, a man claiming to be a former, public school, science teacher, and believer in the inerrancy of the Bible. He begins by declaring his apathy toward science:
Why is it so important that we know how man got here? To believers it shouldn’t matter so much HOW [his emphasis], as much as WHY.
He then resorts to revisionist history to make religion appear accommodating.
In the past 300 years we have seen several instances where true science has advocated an opinion that is different from the Church’s, with the result that the Church has adjusted its interpretation of the Word of God to reflect a more modern view.
The Catholic Church has adjusted its position, reluctantly and belatedly, on several issues, like evolution. But how have fundamentalist Christians –who believe the Earth is 6000 years old and who think The Flintstones is a documentary– ever adjusted their “interpretation of the Word Of God to reflect a more modern view”? Biblical literalism doesn’t sound objective.
Allan Epling’s continues with another historical inaccuracy:
Galileo was threatened with excommunication from the Church if he didn’t recant his statements that the moon was full of craters, even though his telescope clearly showed their existence.
No, Galileo was accused of heresy for stating that the Earth revolved around the sun in his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. After being threatened with imprisonment and death, he recanted, and was given the lesser sentence of house arrest, which lasted almost 10 years. In 1992 –350 years later– the Catholic Church apologized for the incident.
And as a former, physics teacher, Allan Epling should know better than to make the following ridiculous statement, which turns an aspect of quantum physics into philosophy.
Many scientists firmly advocate a “certainty” that there is no God, in spite of believing ‘religiously’ in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal. In the forefront of today’s science is a body of evidence, catagorized[sic] as Quantum Mechanics, that makes clear that nothing in the entire universe is certain but is determined by a “probability factor”. Any scientist that is certain about anything is admitting hypocracy[sic] to his own field of study.
All Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle states is that “the more precisely the POSITION [of a particle] is determined, the less precisely the MOMENTUM is known”. It has nothing to do with the general reliability of scientific evidence.
And where would creationists be without quote mining. Allen Epling delivers with the ubiquitous Einstein citation.
The truth must come from both sides without the barriers that now exist that prevent us from seeing that truth. Einsten[sic] said that “Religion without science is blind, and science without religion is lame”. How true.
It’s fairly obvious Einstein wasn’t specifically paying homage to Christianity, but to the fantastical nature of religion in general, as a source of inspiration and imagination. Nowhere in Einstein’s work will we find the religion variable; there is no equation E=MC2 + God.
The last paragraph of Epling’s post sums up creationism in a nutshell:
Each week a new topic will be dealt with presenting, hopefully, a balanced, educated viewpoint, while ALWAYS upholding the divinity and sanctity of the Bible. The basic tenet of this article is that every word of the book of Genesis is factually, historically, and scientifically true.
What Epling is really saying is that science should accommodate Christianity, while Christianity should concede nothing.
This afternoon, after wasting several minutes of my life being appalled at Glenn Beck’s smarmy self-satisfied monologue on FOX News, I decided to surf the channels for some old-fashion creationism. Within a few touches of the remote button, I came across CMT (Country Music Television) –not a channel I’ve ever cared to watch before, for fear of having to hear Toby Keith sing about kicking liberals in the head with his cowboy boots. But what I stumbled upon was a reality show called Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy. In the episode (titled, Chaffee/Hornaday) a liberal mommy from Georgia, who is also a die-hard, Star Wars fan, temporarily switched places with a mommy from a conservative Christian, Kentucky family. One particular moment stood out.
The conservative husband while driving the liberal mommy through town pointed out his family’s church as a place of interest. And that was enough to broach the subject of religion and evolution.
She said she didn’t care for churches.
He asked if she was an evolutionist.
She said yes; her family accepts science and Darwinism.
The Kentucky man then spoke up in a solemn tone and asked if he may say something on the subject. Without a thought he outright claimed there is no “absolute proof” for evolution. He knows so because his family subscribes to a Christian periodical called Creation Magazine. He then invited the liberal mommy to read it for herself –his family keeps a copy in the bathroom.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. How beautifully appropriate. I can see it now –the juxtaposition of the crinkled heavily-read pseudo-scientific magazine against the shine of the toilet bowl; it speaks to me like a Monet seascape. It’s perfection. And yes, I can spare a square; I mean a page.