The Integrity of Creationism

Creationists, in general, like to point out that speciation has never occurred, they do this by pointing out that no one has ever seen a crock-a-duck or a dog change into a swan or a fox morph into mosquito! However, by framing speciation in the context of biblical kinds, it is the creationists who are making the straw man argument. No scientist familiar with evolutionary theory would ever claim such a thing is possible, in fact, evolutionary theory and common descent would actually argue against it happening.

Creationists, when speaking in public, in churches or on blogs, try to make it appear that scientists are lying about speciation, yet their audience (the general public), rarely has sufficient scientific background to realize that the definition of speciation being attacked is not the speciation of evolutionary science, but rather a hybrid or chimera of evolutionary terminology blended with creationist theology.

Above all else, this truly irritates me about the creationist movement. They are perfectly aware that the scientific community does not support the idea of speciation as morphing between “Biblical kinds”, yet they persist in using that “criteria” to prove speciation has never happened, relying on the fact that their audience isn’t aware of the deception.

From my perspective, that is just being outright dishonest and deceitful. It’s as though the ends justify the means (the deception is justified, ’cause in the end we can bring em to Jesus and save their souls, or at least bring them into the creationist camp).

I have many born-again Christian friends and acquaintances. I enjoy discussing both science and theology with them. The conversations are challenging and in many cases eye-opening on both sides because both sides have integrity and are honest both about what they know and what they don’t know. I have found very few in the creationist camp who I could honestly describe the same way.

Science Doesn't Know Everything!

A little humor on the subject...


Faith in Evolution

Terminology is one of the major difficulties you encounter when discussing topics between believer's and non-believers. It is all too common for people to take a word which has multiple meanings and apply it in a very misleading way, possibly with the hope of ending or maybe avoiding the actual topic under discussion.

Take for example the word faith. Now we all know that faith has multiple definitions and meanings and they are NOT the same as can be seen from these definitions taken from Webster's dictionary...

  1. Belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
  2. The trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
  3. Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
  4. Belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

To play the old of these is not like the others?

There is little more frustrating then having a religious person make a statement which goes something like this..."Sure I have faith in the bible, but remember that scientists also have faith, the only difference is that their faith is in evolution and our faith is in God"

Well, that certainly seems to put both players on an equal playing field doesn't it? I mean if science has faith in evolution just like Christians have faith in God or creationism then what's the difference? Actually there is a huge difference. Saying that scientists have faith in evolution is a very misleading statement, intentional or not.

What the word faith means in the context of science and evolution is more akin to confidence or trust (#3), it is NOT religious faith (1,2 or 4). Scientific confidence is based on evidence, testing, observation, predictive ability and critical analysis. Religious faith, on the other hand is, well the author of the book of Hebrews said it best when he wrote in Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

I am not saying that one is better or worse than the other, but they clearly have different domains of use. To apply the religious definition to a secular statement is clearly an attempt to mislead people or to confuse matters...not to see them more clearly.

Peer Review and Science

Without a doubt one of the best and most thoughtful videos on what peer review actually is, how it works and what it means to be a scientist. I learned a great deal from this video and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. If you really want to know why ID and creationism fail as science then watch this.


Transitional Fossils

Creationists on blogs are forever asking to see just one transitional fossil. While there are thousands, let's start with a common one. One which was in fact discovered during Darwin's own lifetime: Archaeopteryx lithographica

Here is a list which lists features diagnostic of both dinosaurs and modern birds showing which features Archeopteryx had from each group.

Dino-6, Archeopteryx-6, Bird-11-23
  • The Sacrum (the vertebrae developed for the attachment of pelvic girdle) occupies 6 vertebra (reptilian

Dino-Absent, Archeopteryx-Present, Bird-Absent
  • Premaxilla and maxilla are not horn-covered (reptilian
  • Trunk region vertebra are free (reptilian)

Dino-Absent, Archeopteryx-Present, Bird-Present
  • Opposable hallux (Avian Feature)

Dino-Present, Archeopteryx-Present, Bird-Absent
  • Cerebral hemispheres elongate, slender and cerebellum is situated behind the mid-brain and doesn't overlap it from behind or press down on it (reptilian
  • Neck attaches to skull from the rear as in dinosaurs not from below as in modern birds (reptilian)
  • Center of cervical vertebrae have simple concave articular facets (reptilian)
  • Long bony tail with many free vertebrae up to tip (reptilian)
  • Premaxilla and maxilla bones bear teeth (reptilian)
  • Ribs slender, without joints or uncinate processes and do not articulate with the sternum (reptilian)
  • Pelvic girdle and femur joint is archosaurian rather than avian (except for the backward pointing pubis as mentioned above) (reptilian)
  • Metacarpals (hand) free (except 3rd metacarpal), wrist hand joint flexible (reptilian)
  • Deltoid ridge of the humerus faces anteriorly as do the radial and ulnar condyles (reptilian)
  • Claws on 3 unfused digits (reptilian)
  • The fibula is equal in length to the tibia in the leg (reptilian)
  • Metatarsals (foot bones) free (reptilian)
  • Gastralia present (reptilian)

Dino-Present, Archeopteryx-Present, Bird-Some
  • Nasal opening far forward, separated from the eye by a large preorbital fenestra (reptilian)

Dino-Some, Archeopteryx-Absent, Bird-Present
  • Bones are pneumatic (reptilian)

Dino-Some, Archeopteryx-Present, Bird-Absent
  • Pubic shafts with a plate-like, and slightly angled transverse cross-section (reptilian)

Dino-Some, Archeopteryx-Present, Bird-Present
  • Feathers (Avian Feature) 
  • Furcula formed of two clavicles fused together in the midline (Avian Feature)
  • Pubis elongate and directed backward (Avian Feature)

It can be seen that Archeopteryx possesses many more characters which are present in dinosaurs and not in birds, than it does characters which are present in birds but not in dinosaurs. This is why Archeopteryx is a true transitional species, because it shares some characters which are diagnostic of one group whilst still retaining characters diagnostic of its ancestral group. Anyone who claims that Archae is 100% bird is wrong. Anyone who claims that Archae's skeleton is even predominantly bird- like is wrong. Anyone who claims Archae has a "totally birdlike" skull is wrong.

To your comment about a deer to a whale or a deer with flippers...that's just asinine! It's like the creationists that want a crock-a-duck. It shows a total lack of understanding of evolution...if you could actually find one of those it would prove evolution is wrong, not right.


Atheist and Agnostic

Since many people seem to be confused about the difference between theism and agnosticism, at least it seems so from the widespread misuse of the term agnostic. I offer this simple explanation of what the terms mean and how they can be used.

Agnostic does not mean someone who doesn’t care or is ambivalent toward the existence of God, nor is it a midway point between theist and atheist. The word agnostic refers to knowledge or a claim of knowledge while the words theist and atheist refer to what you believe or have faith in, regardless of what you may know for certain.

A person therefore can be a:
  • theist/agnostic (Belief in God / Does not claims to know for certain that God exists)
  • atheist/agnostic (No belief in God /  Does not claims to know for certain that God exists)
  • theist/gnostic (Belief in God  / Claims to know for certain that God exists)
  • atheist/gnostic (No belief in God / Claims to know for certain that God exists)

Now, not to complicate what I have just explained, but an additional note should be added when we talk about being agnostic. For some people, whether they are agnostic or not, may depend on your definition of God. For example, some people will assert that they know for certain that the Christian God does not exist because they perceive there to be irreconcilable conflicts in the definition of the Christian God's attributes, or some other logical fallacy which would prevent Him from existing, but they may be agnostic toward a definition of God which is defined differently.

Hope this helps...

Evolution and DNA Evidence

Reenacted scenes from the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial which was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts against a public school district that required the presentation of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution as an "explanation of the origin of life."

This second video is not from the Dover trial, but rather expounds and clarifies the significance of Chromosome #2 in Homo Sapiens


The Golden Crock-A-Duck Awards

Sad but true, someone made these cute video's to try and figure out which of the young earth creationists say the most ridiculous, ignorant and foolish things...I strongly recommend that you have a a beer at your side while listening.


The Church and Battered Women's Syndrome

The Church, the bride of Christ - Suffering from battered women's syndrome?


Response to man's Sinful Nature

I think there are two things you are not considering when you look at humankind’s behavior. The first is the timespan, you mention programs in the inner city, but really I look at our history over centuries not individual lifetimes. We are, in many nations, far more civilized now then ever before in our history. We no longer chop off a hand for stealing a loaf of bread, we no longer beat women because they are not virgins, we no longer drown children because they are not the right sex or because they are born with a deformity. There will always be individuals who are problematic, because of trauma, birth defects and environmental causes, we can’t stop nature from screwing up sometimes, but as a whole we have progressed eons from the behavior we exhibited only a few centuries ago.

Ironically, the societies which seem to have made the most progress are the ones where reason and humanism can flourish without being crushed underfoot by religion. It began with the enlightenment and has continued to this day. For comparison look at the nations where religion rules with an iron fist, where you cannot, raise a voice in defiance of the established religion and see how much moral progress is to be found…precious little.

When you look at people and determine that they are deeply flawed it is only because you look through a lens which is crafted, like the old circus mirrors, to give that impression. Humans are greedy, selfish, aggressive, possessive, tribal and prone to violence. They are also compassionate, tender, caring, nurturing and protective…these are the traits given to us by evolution, by our need to survive. They have served us well in the past, but the changes in our societies easily out pace evolution’s ability to keep up. What we now have is a society and civilization in transition. We need to find ways to reapply or refocus our natural tendencies in a more productive manner. Religion cannot help us in this quest because it is non-changing, by definition its morals are timeless, its methods inflexible, it will not serve us, it will only slow us down, increasing the likelihood that we will not find a way to refocus our tendencies in time. I mentioned a lens earlier…if you take a man with all of his traits and tendencies and then fashion a lens from religion, one which makes the very actions which define us as evil, then it is with little wonder that when we look at humanity using that lens that we appear to be flawed and hopelessly lost. When however you remove the lens you see humanity for what it is, as Hamlet spoke…

“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!”

We are not flawed beings, in any sense of the word, we are a spectacular creation of nature, we are made from the dust of the stars themselves. No religion, no belief in any God or gods can give us more nobility and specialness of purpose. We are literally the universe itself becoming sentient.

You spoke of being grateful that you had a place to take your guilt. I would make the case that there is no need of someone to release you from your guilt. Guilt is only an indicator, a litmus paper of the mind to prick my conscience when I do something which I know to be wrong, for selfish purposes. I learn from it, and dispose of it when no longer needed, I do not carry it around like some albatross around my neck looking for someone else to rid me of it’s stench. I take responsibility for the decisions I make which were wrong and I rejoice in the ones I make correctly and I continually strive to better myself for my own benefit and those around me. No magical gods, no angels and no fairy tales. Just myself, those who journey with me in this life and the world around me. These are all the companions that I need to have an incredible, wondrous life filled with passion, joy, inquisitiveness and love. Who could ask for any more…


In Response to a Christian Blogger

Oh yes, by all means pray, stay at and home pray all day....rally others in the streets and hold massive prayer meetings, synchronize prayer times over the internet so not one moment of time is lost without prayers being offered. As an atheist I wholeheartedly approve and support that idea, because as long as you are praying you are not doing anything which can actually affect the rest of the world.

I won't bother to try and show you that the founding fathers of this country were primarily deists, not Christians. There is probably no point in saying that Obama is not a socialist but rather a Neo-Keynesian and I doubt there is much point is demonstrating that our society of scientifically illiterate children and adults is primarily the result of teaching biblical creation mythologies to our children and of the recent republican administration's actions of gutting the scientific intelligentsia from government.

Nope, you just go on praying, it's the only way you can participate in our government's workings without screwing it up for the rest of us.

An Atheist's View of Himself

This incredible video reflects my belief of who I am and my place in the universe. Please watch it and enjoy.


Creationism in a UK classroom

Is this what you want your child learning instead of science? Do you think this will prepare them better for the world they live in? If this isn't a form of child abuse I'm not sure what is.


Is the Bible the Word of God?

An interesting viewpoint. The inability of men to differentiate dogma from deity...


Is Evolution a Religion?

The speaker make a very thorough case that neither science nor evolution can be considered in any probable way a "religion".


Is Creation Science - Science?

Lots of talk going on these days. Many people seem to believe that creation science, the belief that the Genesis account is scientific fact, is actually a valid form of scientific inquiry. Watch the video, listen to whats presented, then you decide.


A Plethora of Transitional Fossils

Creationists love to talk about there being no transitional fossils. Well, kick back and take a look at thousands of them!


Evolutionary Evidence for Common Descent

OK, this guy talks WAY too fast, he is spewing out information like, well...FAST! Listen till the end, after a bit you get into the rhythm and can actually start to follow him. A great presentation!!


Abiogenesis - How It All Could Have Started

A nice video which shows, just using chemistry, how the whole process could have started.


How our Brain Synthesizes Happiness

Not the usual drivel. A fascinating look at how our brain synthesizes happiness and the repercussions of it, in our day to day decision making processes.


A Scientific Basis for Morality

This is one of the more thought provoking videos I've seen. Sam Harris argues at a TED conference for the ability, not only of science to help formulate our morality but also form a more restrictive view of what should pass as "acceptable" morals. Maybe a better way to say it is that not everything that people or cultures have to offer should automatically be accepted as a viable possibility in terms of creating a flourishing society of well adjusted people.

I would dearly like to hear what others think of Sam's presentation. I believe it would make an excellent foundation for further discussions. I'm looking forward to the comments.



Schools Kill Creativity

His humor is a bit strange at times, sometimes you find yourself waiting for a point to be made, but I promise, if you watch it faithfully to the end, you'll never forget what he has to say. Incredibly inspiring and touching. It has changed how I view the world and my place in it.


An Atheist's Call to Arms

I couldn't even begin to be as articulate or as eloquent as Mr. Dawkins, so grab a cup of coffee or maybe a hot chocolate and without further ado


Teaching Creationism in Schools

The basic question is does creationism or one of its variants such as intelligent design have any place in the science classroom?

I would argue that it shouldn't be taught, but this is not a religious objection like you might expect. I object to it first and foremost because neither creationists nor the proponents of intelligent design can put forth anything which could be rightly considered a theory, at least not in the scientific sense.

The defining characteristics of a scientific theory are the following:
  • It makes falsifiable, testable predictions.
  • It is consistent with pre-existing theory.
  • It is supported by many strands of evidence, rather than a single foundation.
  • It is tentative, correctable and dynamic, allowing for changes as new facts are discovered.
Science examines data in the real world and then forms laws or short statements which describe what has been observed. Theories are structures of ideas, built upon these laws that explain and interpret facts.

For example, imagine you are sitting under an apple tree and witness several apples falling to the ground (sound familiar?). You might, if curious, make some more observations along with some measurements and jot down a few laws, along the lines of, an object (apple) when dropped, if not inhibited by an outside force, always falls toward the earth; secondly they fall at a constant rate of acceleration of 32.2'/sec/sec. We now have two laws which explain what happens. Neither of these laws explains the why, they are only descriptions of what we saw. When we later come up with a reason for what happened, i.e. that there is an invisible force exerted by each object on every other object based on the mass of the objects, we then have a theory, it explain why and makes predictions. For example, if our theory is true, it predicts that I will weigh more on Jupiter than I would on our moon. As you can see this prediction would not be obvious from the laws alone, and it is also easy to falsify my theory by simply taking a trip to Jupiter (ok, there is probably an easier way…), but the point is that a good theory is falsifiable and makes testable predictions.

Theories become accepted by a process of being peer-reviewed in journals, a process that can take months or years. By having other scientists examine the same data, doing experimentation, particularly experiments which will disprove or falsify the theory, and ultimately it gains acceptance by the majority of the scientific community. Given the grueling process that a new theory must go through in order to be validated it is extremely rare for a new theory to totally replace an existing and accepted one.

Creationism and Intelligent Design differ from real scientific theories in that:
  • They derive from doctrinal belief instead of data and then look for facts to support the premise. 
  • They are not falsifiable. If God spoke, it must be true so any evidence which doesn’t fit the theory must be skewed or misinterpreted. 
  • It makes no useful predictions. Saying “God did it” says nothing about what He might do the next time, it provides no useful information for learning more about the universe. 
  • Neither theory has even attempted to be peer reviewed in scientific journals.

Biological evolution is a fact which is not disputed by any reputable scientist. The definition of biological evolution is, quite simply, "the occurrence of inheritable changes in the gene pool of a population over time". Facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty.

Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. Humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.

Creationists and those who support Intelligent Design are doing nothing more than trying to advance religious dogma under the guise of scientific inquiry. They want to skip over the vetting process that gives theories their credibility and turn our high school classrooms into the new crucible of scientific truth.  Their motives are plain to see, they have no evidence which can stand up to the rigor of peer review and they wish to gain a foothold in the lives of our children by teaching religious ideologies at the expense of good science.

Please, do not permit this to happen, keep ideologies in the philosophy, comparative religions or sociology classes, but not in the science classroom.


In the Shadow of Sharia Law

A sad and tragic truth expressed with compassion and beauty...


Islam in France

This is where we are headed folks. People who want to take all the advances of the 21st century and throw them away to live in a theocracy where women have less rights than men, where education is not according to science but rather religious dogma that is 1000's of years old.

Islam is not alone in this, though I think at the current time they are certainly one of the worst. Fundamentalist Christians are also trying to transform our society into a theocracy.

Watch and learn, the French have something to tell us.


Bishop Eddie Long Accused of Molesting Young Men

US bishop Eddie Long alleged victim speaks

Well, here we co again. Yet another anti-gay preacher of the Holy Gospel accused of molesting young men. What amazes me in the video is the Church of thousands jumping up and down, clapping and cheering for a man who has just been accused of molesting young men.

They seem to have no concern for the accusations, no idea that if true, this is hardly the man you want to follow as your spiritual advisor. This happens over and over again, and people just amaze me with their naivet√© and gullibility. When will we wake up and smell the roses...come on people!

Even if the pastor is ultimately found innocent, these types of accusations, I would think, require a least a modicum of restraint. I would certainly be distancing myself from the pastor until I had more facts. But in contrast, these wild crowds of people in the church seem totally oblivious to what has just happened.