philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
If anyone's been following Pharyngula, they will already know that Bill Nye has decided to debate a creationist. Lots of people think this was a bad idea because its easier for creationists to poke holes in science (not least because scientists are always actively looking for how to poke holes in the research themselves) than it is to defend science. Ignorant criticisms are short and easily stated, but decent explanations can be long and complicated.

It was also suggested that the creationists would just use this to promote themselves, which already seems to be demonstrated in that Ham's own organisation is going to be profiting from the DVD sales of this event.

Bill Nye, "the science guy" (from an American tv show), not to be confused with Bill Nighy, the British actor.

Anyway, some guy on Buzzfeed decided to ask creationists what questions they had for people who weren't creationists. Here's an example:

Oh dear... (and the use of 'their' rather than 'there' is not great either)

More images under the cut... )

(Pharyngula's post)
(More daft creationist questions in posed photos on Buzzfeed)
philosoraptor42: (Default)
John Milbank of the Radical Orthodoxy movement has written a new public article. After publishing an anti-feminist tirade (requesting that we set up a new feminism biased in favour of men) on The Guardian's "comment is free", John now writes in response to an extract from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book on

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's extract on that website is no longer available, but I was able to find a cached copy of it, which is copied under the cut. John Milbank quotes a chunk of it, so instead of posting that same chunk twice you will find it bolded in my copy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book extract below.Read more... )

So, I was surprised to find that, after an introduction which I found deeply dodgy, there are some parts where John Milbank talks a bit of sense. I guess he's less likely to have an article brim-full of fail when he's discussing religion rather than feminism. Below I have bolded parts which I find particularly dodgy and, in places, I have included links which I believe aid refutation of those statements (and I shall explain those links below). Those parts I find myself agreeing with or approving of are underlined as well as bolded, because I don't feel it is fair to only point out the bad points while ignoring the better parts.

Christianity, the Enlightenment and Islam
By John Milbank
ABC Religion and Ethics | 24 Aug 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali doubtless shocked many of her admirers and detractors alike when she concluded her recent article on the ABC's Religion and Ethics website, "Seeking God, but finding Allah," by praising Pope Benedict XVI's stance on Islam and calling for an alliance between atheists and what she calls "enlightened Christians" in their struggle against a common foe.
Read more... )

My Response

Read more... )
Another writer has also noticed the issues with John's article, decrying his article as "a throwback towards the more obscene forms of Orientalism and colonial arrogance".

Also there's another criticism of John Milbank here (on a different issue).

And he's found on a list of University Professors who have supported 9/11 conspiracy theories.

And if this didn't amuse you enough, here's a link to an old post of mine where I typed out a definition given by one of his Radical Orthdoxy contemporaries, Catherine Pickstock, of the concept of "transcendence".

philosoraptor42: (Default)
Update: Okay, there's a reason why this guy is able to put his arguments so simply and clearly while also being horrendously stupid at the same time. It turns out it's a parody. The guy never actually says so himself, but this video pretty much clinches it. Poe's Law strikes again!

A video from this guy was posted on atheism and one thing that was quite impressive was how simply they put their quite ludicrous arguments. Anyway, I checked out a few other videos in their account and this one was by far the funniest.

So yeah, I've got no big outrage here. I'm not worried about creationists undermining education. (Well, not on the basis of this guy anyway.) This is just pure comedy (from someone who, bizarrely, thinks they are making a serious point):

By the way, if you are going to watch the video you are probably best off not reading this stuff first. It's sounds much more idiotic when he says it.

"Animals can't decide that. They can't just say 'let's just do this, let's have longer necks.' And even if they could, they wouldn't come up with it - because they're stupid."

"God didn't want [giraffes] to have wings because if everyone's flying around with wings it's chaos. And everyone would have survived the flood, with Noah y'know?"

"We don't give everyone wings. I'm not crazy, c'mon!"

[On the big bang:] "As far as I'm concerned explosions usually destroy things. If I take a house and put explosives in it and blow it up, there's not going to be a better house. There's going to be broken house, which is a worse house. A worse house."

"See? .... So that's evolution put to rest. That's it. Thank you."

philosoraptor42: (Default)

Click on the super awesome image below for a ridiculous spech from Ken Ham made even more ridiculous by an excellent orchestral accompaniment!

(Super awesome image via blag hag)

(Song via Pharyngula - pictured above, sort of)

Also, so I don't feel left out....


(Cross posted to Atheism)
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Last time I wrote about this, Conor Cunningham was just releasing his documentary "Did Darwin Kill God?" I responded to Conor Cunningham's interviews on the subject, having not yet got around to watching the documentary itself. I have since seen the documentary and can say pretty confidently that the book is, in all likelihood, a load of pointless waffle.

Last time I checked out Conor Cunningham's arguments he was claiming that eugenics is the social consequence of Darwinism (because clearly the whole principle of killing off the weaker members of society would never have been considered prior to Darwin's theory of evolution).

The main reasons I didn't comment on the tv documentary were firstly because it was so awful that I didn't think it was worth critiqueing and secondly because comments I found on various blogs were much more apt than I felt I could be. In the end, what would have been the point in adding another commentary about an old documentary that no one was likely to take an interest? However, now that this documentary has won an award and a new book is coming out, I feel it is necessary to express precisely why I think Cunningham's argument is load of old tripe.

Genesis and Early Christianity

Read more... )

Ussher and the KJV

Read more... )

Fossils In The Nineteenth Century

Read more... )

Darwin's Atheism

Read more... )

The Scopes Trial

Read more... )

Modern Creationism

Read more... )


Read more... )

I don't really think there's much point in reading Cunningham's book, but I've got a horrible feeling I'm going to be hearing a lot about it in the future. *groan*

Quick irrelevant side-note:

In my research for this I was interested discover the following note from Mrs. Darwin (annotating Charles Darwin's autobiography):
Nothing can be said too severe upon the doctrine of everlasting punishment for disbelief—but very few now wd. call that 'Christianity,' (tho' the words are there.)

~If there is a problem with the information I've found in wikipedia links please correct me (and them too preferably).~
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Recent article in the Guardian from a guy called Alastair Noble:
As a former science teacher and schools inspector, I am disturbed that proposals for science education are based on near-complete ignorance of intelligent design.
This is in response to the rather awesome news that primary schools are going to be teaching evolution (along with the similarly awesome news that the BHA piped in their approval - YAY!).

I did a bit of research on Dr. Alastair Noble and thought I was going to conclude by saying "why did the Guardian even publish this guy?" Unfortunately, it looks like he's geniunely a scientist, genuinely used to teach science and genuinely used to inspect schools. The more I looked into it the worse it got.

First of all, on the religious nutcase side of things:
- Alastair Noble put his name to a rather daft letter to the Telegraph claiming that evolution doesn't explain the origins of life and that intelligent design does.
- He's a signatory on the Discovery Institute's "Scientific Dissent From Darwinism". (While there can't be more than 850 names on that list, a website has been set up to find scientists supporting evolution who have the name "Steve". It currently has over 1100 names.)
- He's written an apologetics book called "Is It True: The Case For Christianity" and in the book description it mentions that he belongs to the "Billy Graham Evangelistic Association".
- He also gives a 5-star review for Stephen Meyer's book "DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design".

However, on the positions of authority side of things:
- He has a PhD in Chemistry and is currently a research chemist.
- He works as an education consultant (for a Christian charity called CARE).
- He is a former secondary school chemistry teacher.
- He is a former school inspector.
- He has worked on educational programmes within the BBC, the CBI and the NHS.
- He is Field Officer of The Headteachers’ Association of Scotland.

In the end it looks like he has enough qualifications to entitle him to an article in The Guardian. Still, it isn't half depressing.
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Anyone who is not already familiar with Blaghag's excellent blog should check it out post haste! She's the president of her university's Non-Theist Society and the level of energy she puts into the role should be an inspiration to us all. She was quite heavily involved in the Creationist Museum visit with P.Z. Myers from Pharyngula.

Anyway recently she had her society doing some pastafarian preaching for 'dress like a pirate' day. The intention was to indicate to people how ridiculous a method street preaching is for putting forward your point of view and reminding people that religious views should always be open to criticism. It just so happened that there was some homophobic fire and brimstone preaching on the same day.

Anyway, they made into the local news:

And they also have their own footage of the event:

Sadly there was some misreporting from one of the local papers:

They didn't misquote me...they just completely made it up!
The Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University were at Memorial Mall by coincidence to talk about Pirate Day.
“When we found out he was here we made signs to refute his arguments,” Jennifer McCreight, president of the society and senior in the College of Science. “I don’t think it’s disrespectful that we’re here because it’s rude that he’s here.”
What the hell? I never said anything even resembling that. I got to talk to the reporter for about five seconds, and all she asked me about was how non-theists felt on Purdue's campus. I talked about our flyers being torn down, prayer at graduation, being in the minority...yet somehow they quoted me as saying that?
Maybe one of our members said that, but I most certainly did not...especially because it's false. We did not make signs to refute his arguments. We had the signs left over from last year. We didn't even know he was coming until after we planned our event. And the second line doesn't even make sense! Gah!
Bonus video: Blaghag's friend gives a quick Hebrew lesson in the Creation Museum:
Bonus vid... )
x posted to [ profile] atheism

philosoraptor42: (Default)
The alternative to Darwinism is, strangely, difficult for some to accept: that we have a Creator who still sustains and directs his world and universe. He is not like the vengeful or apathetic gods of some religions, but the loving, gracious, concerned God who has revealed himself to the whole world in the world's best-selling book, the Bible. In the words of C. S. Lewis "Is He safe? Oh no. But He is good".
Some people find the idea of life being created by God difficult to swallow. In the words of Richard Dawkins; the notion that a God "chose to create it in such a way that it looked as though he was not there" does not allow him the freedom to believe. This is where faith enters and sadly where Dawkins, amongst others, lack the understanding of its importance: God has chosen to remain hidden, for us to exercise faith; without which we cannot please him. Hebrews 11:6

Perhaps the most interesting (and also the most worrying) part of this whole thing is the apologetic rhetoric used by the Zoo owners:

''Our education policy is purely based around the National Curriculum.
Technically true I guess. They look at all the stuff they have to teach as part of the national curriculum, present it to the children and then contradict the bits they don't like.

''We are offering our visitors the chance to look at the evolution/creation debate.
Let's not forget that their visitors will often be young children. With signs like the one I showed above, how exactly are they being presented with a 'debate'?

''As it is a free country, that is within our right. Contrary to a small minority of people's claims we do not teach false science.
''This is clearly shown within the zoo, with one exhibition talking about Darwin and another offering another point of view.
We don't teach false science. We teach the correct science and then we contradict it with nonsense. That's acceptable, right?

''We are slightly different from popular Creationism and hold a view that the natural world around us is the product of both God and evolution.
''Although technically Creationists, we do not hold the stereotypical Creationist views that the world was created 6,000 years ago and there is no evolution.

''Out of 120,000 visitors we get approximately 10 complaints a year regarding this topic.

"Clearly the public do not share the British Humanist view point.''
I'd like to hope that this is because most visitors can't be bothered to write in and complain.

So yeah, the arguments are "we're just trying to teach science", "stop being thought police", "let us use our free speech to 'teach the controversy'" and finally Tony Blair's immortal "I'm very happy" apologetic:
Dr. Jenny Tonge (Richmond Park): Is the Prime Minister happy—[Hon. Members: "Yes."] Is the Prime Minister happy to allow the teaching of creationism alongside Darwin's theory of evolution in state schools?
The Prime Minister: First, I am very happy. Secondly, I know that the hon. Lady is referring to a school in the north-east, and I think that certain reports about what it has been teaching are somewhat exaggerated. It would be very unfortunate if concerns about that issue were seen to remove the very strong incentive to ensure that we get as diverse a school system as we properly can. In the end, a more diverse school system will deliver better results for our children. If she looks at the school's results, I think she will find that they are very good.

x-posted to [ profile] apololgetics
x-posted to [ profile] atheism
philosoraptor42: (Default)
A new article from Mark Lawson on recent events related to science and religion, but he really hasn't done his homework....

"The possibility of an afterlife may now be proved by looking down towards the ground. Doctors at Southampton University are placing pictures in resuscitation areas that can only be seen from the ceiling."

Yeah, except that the people running the research project are actually not expecting any such proof to come out of these tests:

"It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded.

"And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories.

"This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study."

Susan Blackmore did her own studies on astral projection in the past and discovered that the results pointed away from the conclusion that such projection was genuine. As such, it is hardly surprising that those running this study are already expecting similar results with near-death projection too.
More nonsense below the cut... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

 More absurdity under the cut... )


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