Response To Republican Big Ideas

25 02 2009

Yeah, I think you can say some were underwhelmed.

Evolution 101

21 02 2009

For any of you who doubt the veracity of evolution, or perhaps simply don’t understand it, this straightforward video should shed a little light on the topic in a far more informative and less offensive way that I generally would.  I know, I’m a big jerk.  Whatever.  But this is my attempt to make a more civil offering to the discourse.

Comments are always welcome.

It’s A Good Thing God Is Real…

19 02 2009

…otherwise this would look really silly.

Muslims, They Do Love Their Irony

18 02 2009

Oh those silly silly peace loving Muslims.  Is there no length you won’t go to be Ironic?

And if you wait for it you’ll soon hear the Christians start to chime in about how even radical Christians are loving, accepting, and peaceful compared to Islam.  Ah yes, and don’t forget your Christian based hate, segregation, isolationism, myopic nationalism, and historic revisionism.   Practice hypocrisy much?

Philosophical Straw Men: There Is No Morality Without God

17 02 2009

I recently read a post that asks “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”  The gist of the argument is if actions are determined solely by the chemical interactions in one’s brain, which are in turn determined by DNA, then isn’t any action performed completely a-moral?  It isn’t right or wrong, it’s just what my DNA has me do.

Yeah, because a God that wiped out every man woman and child in a flood (excepting of course Noah) is a true moral compass.  Sorry, I digress.  It does seem to be an interesting question though doesn’t it?

Actually no, it isn’t.  Like most of these arguments it’s a stilted straw man of an argument rigged to favor the scientific ignorance of the religious masses disregarding the actual science that’s been done and the growing understanding we have.

The question assigns too much influence on a limited concept like DNA alone. The reality of the mechanisms that promote survival of certain genes is more nuanced and complicated than the raw survival of the fittest “kill or be killed” rules typically attributed to the oversimplified concept of natural selection.

Like many other species our survival and general ascendancy has happened because of our ability to form cohesive social structures in which we can specialize our roles and work together to improve our collective existence. These abilities of course have been enhanced by the genetic natural selection that promoted a multitude of attributes like speech, empathy, and complex reasoning.  Without these genetic predispositions we would not be able to work together as a society. So while some individuals have greater or lesser ability to do these things it is our collective ability to cooperate that is essentially embedded in our genes and allowed us to flourish as a species.

Ethics and Laws (the religious can call it Morality if they wish) are simply the codification of the social contracts that have proven the best at maximizing our survival.  Some of us have more advanced “Morals” than others.  One need only look at the doctrines of stoning women in Muslim cultures or the bombing of family planning health centers to see…oh wait, that might be a bad example.  Well, I think you get the thrust of what I’m getting at anyhow.

In any case this is a very limited venue for such a weighty topic.  If you really want to understand more about the evolution of social behavior in ours and other species I would encourage you to go get “Our Inner Ape” by Frans De Waal from your local library. It’s a great read.

Super J.

You have a big brain, use it!

You have a big brain, use it!

Kirk Cameron, Just Too Stupid To Be An Atheist

17 02 2009

He tried, yes he really really tried.  Despite his best efforts he just wasn’t smart enough to grasp the simple evolutionary science of his high school biology class.  The basic concept of natural selection was way too complicated, I mean that shit sounded like he might have to read or study or something.  Kirk was way too cute to be wasting his time reading.  Yet to get his acting career really going he desperately wanted to be looked at as an intellectual, you know, because actors are usually so smart!

“I know!” he whimpered, “I’ll call my self an Atheist, then people will automatically think I’m smart!”  And it would have been the perfect plan if only Kirk had the vaguest idea that an Atheist generally understands the illogical suppositions of the superstitions he disregards.

Luckily for Kirk he found Christianity in the nick of time.  This was all new and different.  Heck, he didn’t even have to read the Bible if he didn’t want to because there were all sorts of people who would read it for him and tell him what it said!  It even came prepackaged with all sorts of simple and easy to understand answers for all of life’s complicated questions, all with none of the messy questions/hypothesis/testing that the evidence based world requires.

Where did the world come from?  God did it!  Where did all the animals and mankind come from?  God did it!  Where did the all the bananas we see in the grocery store that were genetically modified through hundreds of years of selective breeding for consistent flavor, superior shelf life, and beautiful color come from?  Um, well…God did that too!

See how easy it is!

And with everyone around you bleating the same answers you never have to feel exceptionally stupid again, because you appear to be exactly as stupid as everyone else!  For Kirk, it was the perfect solution.

Best of all, with no real acting skills he can now play dress up with his other friends and there is a waiting flock of sheep waiting to watch his “intellectual” musings.  I mean, sure, you’re not convincing anyone who doesn’t already believe the same thing you believe but we all understand that a guy has to make a living however he can.  Good luck with selling those pamphlets Kirk.

But For The Ignorant And Religious

13 02 2009

On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, a new Gallup Poll released a new poll about Evolution.  Here are a few of the more interesting graphs.

Yes, overall only 39% believe in evolition and 1% saw something shiny on the floor and forgot to answer the question altogether.

I know, shocking isn’t it.  Not the fact that people with less edumacation believe it only 21% of the time, but that people who have advanced degrees still don’t believe it 11% of the time.  Huh, I wonder why that might be?

Oh wait…nevermind.  I think that last one might have cleared it up.

The Truth Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster

13 02 2009

We have written proof!   Bwaaaaaaaaa!!!

Wait, wait…in the interest of fair time here’s the sophisticated counter argument from the Christian right.  I may have to take it all back because I bet they make a compelling case against Evolution here.

Oh wait, they used the irrefutable counter argument of “Nuh uhhhhh, did not”.

Yeah, well, hard to argue with that kind of solid logic.

Darwin Birthday Tribute

12 02 2009

I was trying to think of the best way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.  I just couldn’t think of one thing because the writing on this blog, as any regular reader knows, is an ongoing celebration and defense of the ideas Darwin first brought upon the scientific stage.  So with that in mind I simply offer some of my favorite Darwin and Evolution related posts.

Happy 200th Chuck!

Church Confesses Darwin Was Right, There Is No God

Evidence For Evolution: Eyes

I Have Your Transitional Species Right Here

Evolution Conclusively Proven Wrong

NOVA: “Judgement Day – Intelligent Design on Trial”

God Makes 216 Million Americans Scientifically Illiterate

50% of Americans Don’t Believe Evolution

Abraham Lincoln Was No Jesus Freak

12 02 2009

“Mr. Lincoln was never a member of any Church, nor did he believe in the divinity of Christ, or the inspiration of the Scriptures in the sense understood by evangelical Christians.

When a boy, he showed no sign of that piety which his many biographers ascribe to his manhood. When he went to church at all, he went to mock, and came away to mimic.

When he came to New Salem, he consorted with Freethinkers, joined with them in deriding the gospel story of Jesus, read Volney and Paine, and then wrote a deliberate and labored essay, wherein he reached conclusions similar to theirs.”

— Colonel Ward H. Lamon (a religionist and Lincoln’s longtime friend), Life of Abraham Lincoln, pp. 486, 487, 157 (1872), cited by Franklin Steiner in The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents

Happy Birthday to you Mr. Lincoln