Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Passage of Time

As body of water recedes, the aquatic life is left without an environment. As time goes on, the remains calcify and help transform the ground into rock.

Acid rain falls to the exposed ground and is soaked in by the newly formed limestone. The acidic water trickles down into the cracks and slowly eats away at the relatively soft rock.

Over millions of years later, an eight mile cave forms.

I sit beside my seventy-one year old mom as we beheld the product of that wonderful phenomena. We traveled 400 miles to visit our hometown-- to visit old landmarks, old friends, and family members from far way. Between visits with friends and family, we stopped to admire this amazing monument of nature.

As we sat there, my mom tells me about how she met my dad there at the cave. Live bands played during parties which were held at the entrance of the cave. A concession stand used to be there and a popular hotel and swimming pool were once nearby. A wide open space in front of the cave seemed to provide a naturally made dance floor. This cave was a happening place decades ago. My future dad asked for my soon-to-be mom's phone number during one of these popular dances.

Since I probably wouldn't exist if my parents never met, this cave somehow felt like my true birth place (as opposed to the hospital that was only a few miles away).

I wondered what fossils were inside this cave. Were there any cave drawings? (I found out later that the cave does contain drawings and glyphs.) I wondered how the trees on top of the cave entrance stayed in place. Were the roots inside all of that rock? How did the trees and other vegetation survive being rooted in the shallow dirt resting on top of rock?

I wondered how many millions of years were represented by the exposed strata of limestone. The layers were reminiscent of rings from a tree stump; these neat slabs of rock were reveling the timelessness of our Earth.

I placed my hand upon the rock and knew that I had touched millions of years.


I touched the passage of time.

_____

Something similar happened when I visited the church from my childhood. Youthful people that I watched as a child had now become elderly. Silver hair had replaced the once dark hair. Sunken cheek bones replaced the full, round youthful faces that I once remembered.

New faces from the upcoming generation were taking charge of the church now. The pastor of thirty years had passed away now. I was a little child when I watched him preach Sunday after Sunday. But he's gone now and another youthful face has come to fill his shoes.

I was handed a visitor's card when I sat down in the pew. I didn't know what to do with it. After all, I don't plan to come back-- I'm no longer religious. Also, the church is 400 miles away from where I currently live. This is just a vacation with my mom and son. Also, I grew up at that church; I went there decades ago. I sat right there in that pew, about 3 decades ago-- Sunday after Sunday for years.

Then I look over at my mom to see if she wanted to fill out a visitor's card. She looks so different now. Not the same youthful woman that I sat beside when I was a little boy in church. Then I observe my own son sitting beside my mom as I once did.

After service, everyone (who remembered me) commented on how my son looked just like me. Just like when I was a child.


Then I realized that I was witnessing first hand the passage of time.

____


While in my hotel room, I decide to catch up on some reading. I brought some recent National Geographic issues with me on our trip. All of them featured something from the ancient past. I read the article about the Ice Baby that was found in superb condition. I caught up on the article about the Sicilian mummies preserved from only a few centuries ago. I looked at their faces with amazement. Some of them only have skulls for faces. Others look as though they are only asleep and could wake at any moment. Others look as though they are already turned into dust. Yet somehow, they still maintain human faces and hair on their heads. Their sunken cheeks look hauntingly familiar. They bare the cheek bones of my aging loved ones. I will have them too, should I live long enough to develop them.

When I took in all of these experiences, I wondered what happens to us after we die. Where do we go? What happens to our consciousness?

Looking back at aged and lost loved ones gives us a hint. Peering back into the passage of time at mummies, fossils, caves, and exposed limestone strata seems to give an answer that constantly haunts humanity.

Given enough time, we simply become one with this Earth.

Rather than be filled with glum, I walk away with these experiences eager to make better of my life-- starting today.

I want to ensure that the passage of time that will encompasses my life truly counts.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Atheist Test: The Final Exam

This post will serve as the "final exam" in my series of The Atheist Test posts.

If you'd like to see a copy of the test yourself, you may visit the following link: The Atheist Test pamphlet

To review any of the previous posts in this series, follow any of the links below:

The Atheist Test
The Atheist Test: Test One
The Atheist Test: Test Two & Three
The Atheist Test: Test Four & Five


Where is Your Faith?


The author has presented arguments intermingled with the various tests as I have discussed in previous posts. Now, the author makes a final appeal to the reader by asking his audience to consider the nature of faith.

In one of his final analogies, the author parallels faith with the unseen workings of a television. Despite not being able to see television signals, we can know they are there. The average television viewer may not understand the workings of a TV set, but viewers still turn it on and trust that it works. Faith in God is similar. We may not understand, but we can know and trust that faith in God will work.

The author then suggests that in the same way a television receives signals, people must turn on their personal receiver in order to perceive God.

If you love God and keep his commandments, that is the moment God will manifest himself to you. Only after you believe, will you have proof that God exists within your heart. God will make himself known once you give faith a try. (Um . . . you mean, like a placebo effect?)

Just like the first time you turned on a television, you should turn on your faith and try God for yourself. If it works, enjoy it. If it doesn't, forget it.

Actually . . . this argument here isn't too bad. Faith appeals to the emotions. That's the nature of religion in my opinion. I think this is the only place where the pamphlet becomes honest and respectable.

I personally feel that if the tract only had these last few pages within it, I wouldn't be so critical about this whole thing.

Even so, I still have issues with his television analogy.



Wonderful . . . Digital Television is Here.



For starters . . .

A television will not pick up the channels if the signal doesn't exist.

The author obviously doesn't know about the signal switch-over from analog to digital television.

I cannot simply turn on my television and get channels because my television only receives analog. Faith will not work here. Sorry. I tried. Got nothing but snow.

I ended up having to connect (and fumble with for about 30 minutes) a digital converter box that now only gives me three channels-- PBS, PBS wide screen, and ABC.

Television signals are invisible, but they are measurable and testable. My digital converter box didn't work until my antenna found the location of the strongest signal. My converter box happened to have a meter that told me when the signal was stronger or weaker (that's why I fumbled with the box for so long-- looking for a signal).

I ultimately had to tape my antenna high above my TV and up against the wall just to pick up the few channels that I do receive.

You can't quite measure God like that. A lot of agnostics and atheists would become very interested if someone could conjure a valid "God meter" that worked like the digital signal meter on my converter box.

While one doesn't need complete understanding of TV signals to enjoy a television, one does need to know a few facts. You need power. You need the right kind of television, or a converter box to accommodate your outdated television's shortcomings, to name a few.

Or, you will need to have wherewithal to order cable, satellite, or Netflix with a Roku set top box. (can you tell which option I picked?)

So, the author's analogy of faith being likened to turning on a television is flawed in my view.

Besides, a lot of science went into making the television work.

Someone had to figure that stuff out. Someone had to know how to wire your home for electricity. Someone had to know how to build your television. And you have to have enough knowledge to make sure it's plugged in and hooked up to a digital converter box, cable box, or your Roku set to box that streams Netflix over your private wireless network (that you set up yourself).

Faith isn't simply believing in the invisible. Science acknowledges that invisible things exist, too. Invisible doesn't mean that it cannot be measured.

Faith is trusting in someone or something without any evidence beyond the evidence you have within your heart. Perhaps for some, faith rests within the words of a religious text. And I would be remiss if I didn't also mention one's own personal experiences which can fuel faith.

Those sources of faith make religion quite personal and may account for why we have so many religions in the world.

Is faith bad?

I don't mean to say such. Faith can be bad. People can laps when too dependent upon faith. In such moments, very bad things can happen because faith alone was chosen over much needed action. But faith has help many people survive their darkest hours and cope with some serious hurts and fears.

Nevertheless, we certainly cannot look down on someone who doesn't feel comfortable with walking by faith in God.


Come to Jesus

Note that this portion of the tract that I will discuss does not appear in the Atheist Test link that I posted. My copy of the tract seems revised.


Now the author begins to ease his way into the classic assertions of Christianity.

If you're an atheist, do you disbelieve in God because you don't want to be accountable? Much like a thief who cannot find a policeman?

Are you running from God because you love your sin too much?

The author of the tract hints that atheists and agnostics don't have any sense of morality. I won't even go there. You can check out my thoughts about that argument here: So, now I can be an Axe Murderer, Right?

You know-- that link is only if you just can't get enough of reading my stuff.
(As if . . .)

I won't post the sixth and final test here. But what the test does is challenge the reader to contemplate whether or not he or she is guilty of sin. Each question in test six ask you if you've committed certain acts or neglected certain observances which are typically considered part of God's law.

Are you guilty of breaking any of his commandments?

Of course, you are. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So, you automatically fail the last test.

As a result, you must decide to become a Christian today or you will face eternal judgment.

This scare tactic is typical of many religions: Turn to God now, or feel the wrath later.

Fear tactics concerning hell don't work so well at keeping Christians in line. How much less will such a fear tactic work towards an atheist who doesn't even believe God exists?

Oh, so close-- yet so far!



The Final Exam


I want to express here that I take no issue with someone who wishes to share religious faith. We have freedom of expression and religion in the United States. I have no issues with people passing out religious tracts or pamphlets. I am not critical of this tract simply because it makes an invitation to become a Christian.

I have a very low opinion of The Atheist Test because I believe the pamphlet is filled with intellectual dishonesty. A test is supposed to be an assessment of knowledge or skill. This series of tests are only designed to influence someone's opinion largely by misrepresenting information. As a result, the author of this pamphlet will probably only accomplish reinforcing current believers with this literature. This pamphlet could reach someone who is unsure of his or her religious outlook. After all, some atheists and agnostics have not really thought through the inner workings of their doubts. And sometimes their non-belief may be emotionally founded in feelings such as anger, hurt, or a personal sense of worthlessness. This pamphlet may attract such non-believers since faith can make a strong appeal to one's emotions.

But for someone who has thought long and hard about leaving faith, The Atheist Test plainly and simply comes across as a sham rather than a compelling appeal for the Christian faith.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Atheist Test: Test Four & Five

If you'd like to see a copy of the Atheist Test for yourself, you may visit the following link: The Atheist Test pamphlet

To review any of the previous posts in this series, follow any of the links below:

The Atheist Test
The Atheist Test: Test One
The Atheist Test: Test Two & Three


No Gold in China

This portion of the test will assess your knowledge of gold in China. But first, the test is prefaced with a short explanation concerning "absolute statements". The author begins by claiming that the statement "There is no God" is known as an absolute statement. And furthermore, he argues that in order for an absolute statement to be true one must have absolute knowledge while making such statements. By this, he means to say that one must be omnipotent to make correct absolute statements.

Then he gives another example by saying, "There is no gold in China".

One would require absolute knowledge of China to know for sure if thar's gold in them thar hills.

This could possibly be the author's most flawed argument.

Why?

Because . . . if one must have absolute knowledge in order to declare that "There is no God", then . . .

wait for it . . .

wait for it . . .

One needs to have absolute knowledge to declare that "There is a God".

And furthermore, to declare that God's name is YHWH and that he can only be accessed through Jesus Christ alone would require absolute knowledge as well.

And also, one must have absolute knowledge to declare that the Bible is God's word and the claims are completely true.

The same goes for one's interpretation of the Bible as being absolutely correct when compared to any contradictory interpretation.

Thus, one would also need absolute knowledge to make statements such as "Thor is not a real God". Or, YHWH is the only true and living God".

The author cannot have his cake and eat it, too.

Having said that, let's take test four:


Test Four


What do I need to have for that statement [there is no gold in China] to be true?


__ A. No knowledge of China.
__ B. Partial knowledge of China.
__ C. Absolute knowledge of China.


The author asserts that "C" is the right answer.


Well, I can have my own little test right here:


My Test


What do I need to have to make the absolute statement "There is a God"?


__ A. No knowledge of the Universe.
__ B. Partial knowledge of the Universe.
__ C. Absolute knowledge of the Universe.
__ D. An ulterior motive.


Some may choose "D" as the correct answer. But, keep in mind that not everyone who pushes religious belief in God has an ulterior motive. No doubt the religious world has plenty of charlatans and confidence men (and women). But sincere and honest people can be found within the religious world.

In that vein, I will also assert that "C" is the correct answer. Also, since the author insisted that "C" was the correct answer to his test, I'll will say that "C" is the correct answer in my test as well.


More on Absolute Knowledge



Now the author attempts to further his argument about absolute statements. He says openly that these statements require omniscience. He then suggests that even if you had one percent of all knowledge of all the Universe, you must realize that God could exist somewhere within that realm of your ignorance.

I agree with that last part. And that's the nature of agnosticism. I will agree that God could exist somewhere in that realm of information of which I am ignorant. But, the theist is also bound by the same problem once this argument is introduced. Somewhere within the theist's realm of ignorance could rest information that proves God is an artifice of our social and cognitive development by way of evolution. An atheist feels quite confident of this idea already, while an agnostic generally finds this notion quite compelling. Agnostics often lean towards the same conclusions as atheists. However, the agnostic still takes into account that possible margin for error-- even when the possibility of error might be somewhat small.


Agnostics Think Buildings Don't have Builders


Now, for my favorite part. The author follows with the argument that an agnostic person cannot be an atheist. Also, he argues that agnosticism is no different from declaring that one can never know if a building ever had a builder.

Oh, and by the way, the agnostic is standing there looking at the building in question while making such a statement.

Agnostics and atheists may not be the same. The author finally makes an interesting point! I may have to change my label from atheist to agnostic as a result.

I think I'll officially label myself as an atheistic leaning agnostic.

Even though the author has made a good point, he doesn't waist time going astray. Agnosticism is about admitting the lack of knowledge or information. A good agnostic will admit that enough information is not available to make "absolute" statements. But, an agnostic person isn't necessarily agnostic about everything. Not every agnostic will not look at a house and wonder if it had a builder or a construction crew. Ample evidence from every day experience shows us that artifacts require human hands.

And here is where the author revisits a previous argument-- everything with order must have a designer. This may be true with everything people invent. Again, an artifact requires human hands; however, the processes of nature and the formation of our Universe as we know it may not need a designer.

Remember, "everything with order must have a designer" is an absolute statement. Does the author claim to have absolute knowledge of everything?

Generally, an agnostic simply realizes that the insistent claims of God's existence could be flawed. After all, God doesn't seem to come forward and make himself overtly apparent to everyone. Nor does he make his preferences clear as to which religious faith he wants everyone to accept. Science doesn't disprove God, as I've said several times before. But, science seems to show that the Universe has evolved in a way that doesn't quite correlate with the claims of mainstream religious texts and their followers.

What's an agnostic to do?


Test Five


The man who sees a building and doesn't know if there was a builder is:


__ A. Intelligent
__ B. A fool
__ C. Has an ulterior motive


The only purpose of test five is to misrepresent agnosticism by making it look stupid.

But to me, agnosticism is an intelligent and honest option under these circumstances.

An agnostic mindset endeavors to be open minded by recognizing the limits of human knowledge. Yet, the agnostic mindset still continues collecting more knowledge.

The method of good scientific practice seems very much like this, in my opinion.

And I also think that someone who endeavors to achieve intellectual honesty is less likely to be full of ulterior motives.

So, can we say that the author of the Atheist Test pamphlet is without ulterior motive?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Atheist Test: Test Two & Three

If you want to see the pamphlet for yourself click the link: The Atheist Test Pamphlet

This post will deal with the second and third "tests" from the Atheist Test pamphlet.
TEST TWO

A. Do you know of any building that didn't have a builder?
___ YES ___ NO

B. Do you know of any painting that didn't have a painter?
___ YES ___ NO

C. Do you know of any car that didn't have a maker?
___ YES ___ NO

If you answered "YES" for any of the above, give details:
_____________________________________________
_____________________________________________


As I've already mentioned in my previous post, The Atheist Test: Test One, the author resorts to underhanded persuasion methods at times. However, in the test quoted above, I cannot blame him too much for making the following argument:

Complex things demand a designer or maker.

This argument is compelling, I admit.

But consider again Natural Selection and the formation of the heavenly bodies. Complex things could possibly come about without an intelligent mind.

Humans are unique among all life. The human mind can invent. Other animals may build and use tools. But to invent something is uniquely human.

Does that mean we are made in God's image?

If God made us or set evolution into motion, then yes, I suppose so.

But evolution doesn't seem to require an intelligent mind. Rather, the intelligent mind seems to have evolved through Natural Selection.

Perhaps we humans think that everything complex requires a creator because we are creators ourselves. We impose personification upon everything around us. Cartoons have talking birds, rabbits, or insects with human personalities. People gaze up at the moon and see a shadow of a human face. People throughout history have worshiped the Sun, the planets, and the stars as though they had human personalities.

And God seems quite human, too. He gets angry. He loves. He expresses regret. He gets jealous. And people often depict God as a man sitting on a throne with long white hair and a long white beard. Even when God is depicted as being an invisible spirit, he seems human.

Is that because God made us like him, or because we imagined him like us?

The ultimate problem with Test Two is that the author totally dismissed the possibility that natural phenomena can happen automatically. Again, the author leads the reader to assume the notion of Evolution theory and Big Bang theory is utterly foolish. But the evidence around us says that these two theories at least deserve some consideration.

TEST THREE

A. From the atom to the universe, is there order?
___ YES ___ NO

B. Did it happen by accident?
___ YES ___ NO

C. Or, must there have been an intelligent mind?
___ YES ___ NO

D. What are the chances of 50 oranges falling by chance
into ten rows of five oranges? ______________________

If you answered "YES" for any of the above, give details:
_____________________________________________
_____________________________________________

Here are some more sleazy persuasion tactics. I keep saying this because psychology research has found that when a person is coaxed to answer "yes" to the first question in a series, that person is more inclined to answer "yes" to every other question that follows.

For example, lets say a sales person calls and asks you the following:

Do you have any children in your home?
(assume you're a parent and answer "yes")

Do you care about the mental development of your children?
(yes, of course)

Do you believe that reading to your children is very important?
(of course, you dumb ass! why are you asking me this?)

I'm so glad you asked, because I have here these wonderful books designed to accelerate your child's reading abilities. Perfect for ages blah, blah, blah . . . Wouldn't you want your child to have books like these in his or her library-- books that will help your child become an excellent reader in the years to come?
(why, it would be dumb to answer no. so, yes.)

So, will you order one of these books today to enrich you're child's future?
(aw, damn. alright, I'll order some. I'd feel stupid saying no to books I just admitted were good for my children.)

My son pulled this trick on my when he was only in kindergarten! The conversation when like this:

Son: Daddy, don't you care about my artwork?
Me: Why of course son? Why would you ask a thing like that?
Son: Well, do you like the pictures I draw?
Me: Yes son. You draw very well.
Son: Well, if you care about my artwork, why don't you buy me some more markers. Please . . .


Keep in mind that my son had lost the last five packs of markers that I bought him. So all of a sudden, I felt duped at the way he played on my parental tenderness. But this is what persuasive people sometimes do.

Yeah, he eventually got the markers. And my son lost that set, too.

Grrrrr . . .

Anyway, I digress.

Many people are swayed by this line of questioning. Sales people use it often. Pay attention to the next few times someone makes a sales pitch at you. Listen to the questions they ask and see if they are phrased in such a way that they solicit a "yes" answer. This happens in sales literature, too.

These tests use this same tactic. The questions aren't designed to draw out common sense thinking. These questions draw only on proven tactics of influence in order to manipulate how you think.

That's why I keep using the word sleazy.

And that's why I feel driven to compose my commentary on this pamphlet.

So then, I do agree that from the atom to the universe there is order.

Um, but I don't think we can say that about quantum physics; Stuff smaller than the atom. That's a whole new world which has physicists baffled. Total chaos going on down there in quantum land!

Did it all happen by accident? Maybe. But not over night. Who knows how long things were brewing before the Big Bang might have happened. This universe may simply be a set up for the next bang that might come along.

I like the way question "C" is phrased: Or, must there have been . . .

The author is being manipulative again.

Or he found a really good sales copywriter to help him with the wording of his pamphlet.

Fifty oranges in rows of ten

Now, the author challenges you to believe that someone could drop 50 oranges and they fall to the floor in perfect rows of ten.

Of course you won't see that happen. That's why he asked.

But, the author implies that astronomers and evolutionists claim that the universe and life began in this way. Existence just fell in place in the same way that 50 oranges would fall into perfect rows of ten after being dropped.

You do know that biologists recently developed sperm cells from stem cells, right?

Did you know that all the building blocks for life can be found floating in outer space, between all the stars?

Humans could possibly be Mother Nature's chemistry experiment. (And there I go; I'm even projecting human qualities upon chemistry by calling it Mother Nature.)

Chemistry and biology may only need enough time and the right conditions to do amazing things.

I can't say the same for dropping 50 oranges into perfect rows of ten.

Or maybe one can. Any chaos theory experts out there?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Atheist Test: Test One

My personal life has prevented me from working on any posts lately.

But this "Atheist Test" pamphlet has continued to stay on my mind.

I will preface my commentary by pointing out the layout of the pamphlet. The pamphlet is structured in such a way that the reader is presented with various arguments which attempt to refute atheism. Mixed in with various arguments are short multiple choice "tests". These "tests" are given to "assess" the reader's "understanding" while reading through the pamphlet.

This post will deal with the first set of arguments surrounding "Test One".

To see a sample of the pamphlet for yourself, you can visit the following link: The Atheist Test

Now for my rebuttal.

The theory of evolution of the coke can

Ah, here is my first problem with this pamphlet.

The misuse of the word theory:

the-o-ry:

1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.

4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.

5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.

6. contemplation or speculation.

7. guess or conjecture.

Before you get excited about definitions two, five, six, and seven, the same entry takes time to clarify the usage of the word theory:

1. Theory, hypothesis are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis.

(Only the bold emphasis is mine)
A theory explains natural phenomena. Evolution, for example, is a theory-- not a wildly cooked up idea that Darwin pulled out of his . . . well, you know. Darwin had reasons to think that evolution was occurring. Natural phenomena in the form of fossils is only one supporting fact that supports the theory of evolution. Darwin's theory in a sense predicted findings in other sciences such as geology, genetics, and physics. Darwin was before his time in many ways.

Consider the Big Bang theory. Natural phenomena supports the idea that a huge explosion happened before the known universe formed. Microwaves still linger in space that seem to be the consequence of a really big explosion. The heavenly bodies seem to be cooled material from coalesced particles.

How did all that hot lava get deep inside the earth's belly, anyhow?

Studying natural phenomena leads us to build a reasonable idea of how things might have happened. That becomes a hypothesis. After more evidence is found and the hypothesis is proven to be consistently true, we have a theory.

Otherwise, we have a bad hypothesis. Time to go back to the drawing board.

Now, the pamphlet goes on to suggest that a coke can evolved directly from a big bang event billions of years ago and evolved into the coke can we see today.

Of course, the author knows that this idea sounds silly. And the author then attempts to take that silliness and pin it to the Big Bang and Evolution theories.

And even if you are only satisfied with calling the Big Bang theory a hypothesis, such a hypothesis has more merit to it than a coke can evolving from it's own big bang event.

Regardless, scientific theories and hypothesis are not comparable to the pamphlet's "theory of the coke can". Why? Because natural phenomena tells us someone designed and created a coke can. And at the same time, natural phenomena seems to say that life in our universe happened through Evolution. The known universe came about from a massive explosion. An accident? Serendipity? Intelligent design? Honestly, science can't say for certain. And based on the evidence, theologists can say for certain, either.

While one can assert that god exists without beginning, the same can be said about physical matter in general. This leaves room for the idea that matter could simply exist without beginning, like the notion of an eternal god. And furthermore, matter could exist independent of a necessary being referred to as god.

The Evolution and the Big Bang theories don't disprove god's existence. But given natural phenomena, god seems to operated very differently from what the Bible claims.

Perhaps agnosticism is more intellectually honest when compared to theism and atheism.

So, god could be out there. Maybe. But, I don't think the evidence supports the traditional god of the major Abraham based religions.

Or any other sort of religion, either.

If god is out there, he or she is being very, very quiet.


The Banana: The Atheist's Nightmare


Not quite.

Natural selection is a reasonable enough explanation for why a banana has it's shape and is easy to eat.

I can also think of a few other things shaped like a banana, but wasn't necessarily meant to go into one's mouth for eating.

Either way, the notion that evolution was an accident that happened over night is a misrepresentation. The author's outlook is misleading and he is attempting to convince his readers of his flawed outlook.


Test One

The person who thinks the Coca Cola can had no designer is:

___ A. Intelligent
___ B. A fool
___ C. Has an ulterior motive for denying the obvious

The first "test" continues the unscrupulous persuasion tactics I pointed out above. This "test" now attempts to make you feel like a dope for not agreeing with the "obviously correct" answer.

In my first post about the Atheist Test, the gentleman who offered this pamphlet started a conversation with me only as an opportunity to witness. His attempts to create a flimsy connection came across as fake.

Just like the tests in this pamphlet.


Darwin admits his theory is absurd!!!!

Huh? When did Darwin do that?

Why, Darwin denounces his whole theory in the following quote:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

Did you see that?! Did you see that?! Darwin admits his own goofy idea of Evolution is absurd!!!
Oh, wait . . . the author conveniently forgot to cite the rest of the quote:

When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei ["the voice of the people = the voice of God "], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

In other words, Darwin says that he realizes evolution sounds absurd at first. But so did the idea of a round Earth after evidence was obtained.

Natural Selection is no different.


Einstein, the Christian Theist


The pamphlet had no problem misrepresenting Darwin. Why not Einstein, too?

Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe—a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble.

But, Einstein also said:

I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
And, he also said:
The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
Einstein may have been a theist. But his theism is watered down to near agnosticism at best.

I could go on and on with quotes that show why Einstein shouldn't be quoted within this pamphlet as a defense of a personal god. But, this post is getting long enough already.


A recent Gallup poll proves God exist!

George Gallup, a famous statistician says:

I could prove God statistically; take the human body alone; the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen, is a statistical monstrosity.

Guess what! I agree!

The human body didn't "just happen". Evolution doesn't say or mean that. Humanity came along over time. Millions of years of small changes.

Millions of years.

That's a lot of time. Take a pen and try writing from one to 1,000.

After that, do you think you would want to write from 1,000 to one million?

Millions of years give enough time from the human body to evolve from a less complex form of life into what we observe today.

Besides, did George Gallup actually sit down and do the math or did he just pull that idea out of his . . . well, you know.

And come to think of it, to say god created man is pretty close to saying that the human body "just happened". So, does that notion make god a statistical monstrosity?

I noticed that throughout the whole pamphlet, the author suggests that anyone who disagrees with his little "tests" is unintelligent or has an ulterior motive.

But with the pamphlet's misuse of ideas, misquotes, and sleazy sales tactics, one must wonder who really has the ulterior motive.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Liberty Enlightening the World

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.

-- John Adams


Our nation absolved allegiance from the British Crown in order to rule itself on July 4th, 1776 by issuing the Declaration of Independence.

This event makes every Fourth of July special. Each Fourth of July marks one more year that this nation has remained free. And today, we've reached 233 years now.

Let us all contemplate how wonderful liberty is. Let us all appreciate our freedom by learning about where it came from in the first place.

Let us be grateful for all servicemen and servicewomen who sacrifice and join our all-volunteer military so that our freedom is protected.

Be grateful for the democratic process and our elected officials who participate in this great political experiment. And be grateful for our justice system. Even with the flaws and frustrations of our legal system, we could be worse off.

And be grateful that we can complain to our elected officials and even poke fun at them when it suits us, because we have freedom of speech and expression.

And, thank your God, should you believe in him (or her) -- exercise your freedom of religious expression.

And if you are a non-believer, breath in the fresh air of freedom because you may exercise your freedom of personal expression and freedom of any sort of religious oppression.

Think of how ancient Greece and Rome once stood as beacons of light to the rest of civilization. Then consider how these empires fell and plunged the world into the Dark Ages. Consider the events which characterized the Dark Ages, then think on the Age of Enlightenment and how it emerged from that period of darkness. Consider how great minds, great discoveries, and great words of expression re-kindled the flame that illuminated the dark world once again.

Know that liberty is the cornerstone of enlightenment; Liberty enlightens the world.

Think on the original name of our great Statue of Liberty. Consider how it was a gift from the French who helped us during our Revolution. Then take time to contemplate the French's role in the Enlightenment era. And take time to think about how a French sculptor took symbols from the best of world civilization and embodied them in our greatest monument of freedom -- a token given to our country to celebrate it's centennial birthday.

Celebrate this day. Eat some potato salad and barbecue. And if your vegan, eat some barbecue tofu in honor of this day.

If you had to work today, I hope you can still take time to celebrate. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your freedom -- even if you have to take a rain check and celebrate tomorrow.