Posted by: cjobrien | 29 December 2010

Correcting Creationists Is Always Infuriating

I always struggle with trying to correct creationist information when I see it on various websites. It’s not that I find the information compelling (it never is); it’s that I know the proponents are not interested in serious examination of the evidence for evolution. Until they can at least show an honest understanding of what evolution is all about, I find myself not even desiring to correct them. Why bother? I really don’t care if they agree with evolutionary theory, but at least be able to tell the truth about what the theory says and what the evidence is or isn’t. You really can’t effectively debate creationists because you spend so much time correct the inaccuracies, lies and deceptions they present.

However, as my graduate advisor used to say…it’s not about changing the proponent’s mind; it’s about showing everyone else in the audience who is sitting on the fence why and how the proponent is incorrect. That’s what I find, time and again, in my anthropology course. The reaction I hear at the end of the class every semester and most often is, “Great class…I never knew all that information about evolution”. Most students either are never exposed to it correctly in high school biology, or have been lied to by their parents and ministers.

So, with that in mind, I came across Gregg and Part XVII of his series on Darwinian Evolutionary Frauds. Once again, I had to roll my eyes and shake my head at the inaccuracies, misinformation and outright lying that Gregg does about Darwin, evolution and the fossil record and wonder “why bother?” When I came to his “assessment” of Lucy’s anatomical characteristics and what they mean, I couldn’t hold back. Gregg has absolutely no interest in understanding science, evidence or anything about the fossil record and is clearly only interested in protecting his god from the evil evolutionists (why god would choose someone like Gregg as a spokesperson just verifies that I’m on the right track with my atheistic tendencies). Gregg identifies eleven “facts” (I assume he considers them factual) about Lucy’s anatomy that should make anyone reading his column suspicious of evolutionist claims. Below the fold I underline each of his “facts” and then comment on the actual data as we currently know it….

Read More…

Posted by: cjobrien | 28 December 2010

If Humans Evolved from Apes, Then Why Are There Still Apes?

Via Afarensis I connected to an article by William Meikle and Eugenie Scott addressing a very typical creationist question: if humans evolved from apes, then why are there still apes (or monkeys…variation on the same theme)? Meikle and Scott of course get right to the heart of the matter. Such a question demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how evolution works, specifically in regard to the erroneous expectations that modern species represent evolutionary stages in linear fashion (and are not themselves the result of their own evolutionary trajectories) and that ALL ancestors are replaced by the descendants…every time. Meikle and Scott spend time to explain the issue using analogies with your own cousins (as opposed to your direct lineal descendants, mom/dad, grandma/grandpa, etc.). It’s a good teaching tool (I actually have a T-shirt with a primate phylogeny on it that says “Monkey’s Cousin” at the top – I have to explain it frequently). However, I have a fundamental problem with anyone asking “why are there still apes”?

It’s a stupid question.

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Clergy and their churches need to start paying their share of the taxes in this country…or they need to shut up! I saw this a lot when I attended the Catholic church: bishops wearing gold rings while asking the rest of us to tighten our belt and give till it hurts, priests taking multiple vacations to Hawaii and Europe while the rest of us were to make sure the coffers were kept full, etc. I was starting to feel like a peasant in a Three Musketeers movie.

Posted by: cjobrien | 12 April 2010

Palin/Bachmann in 2012

Greg Laden seems somewhat worried that the future of America could sit with a Palin/Bachmann ticket in 2012…but commenter Uncle Bob reveals the awful truth:

I don’t remember who said it, but it was in reference to Palin running for president in 2012. “About 20% of republicans support the idea of Palin being the nominee. 100% of democrats support the idea.”

Bachmann is just icing on the cake. Bring it.

And can’t you just wait to get one of these bumber stickers? Read More…

Posted by: cjobrien | 11 April 2010

The Church’s Deeper Problems

From Andrew Sullivan, a reader writes regarding his recent experience with the Catholic Church:

My grandfather, a devout Catholic who attended Mass every morning at 7 am, died late in the afternoon on Easter Sunday after a brief, unexpected illness. While he was truly at peace with the coming end, for our family those few days (Holy Week) were filled with sadness and uncertainty.

Early Sunday morning, my mother and some of her sisters were invited to attend Easter Mass in the hospital chapel. They did so gratefully. During the homily, rather than offer words of comfort and hope, the priest launched into a tirade about how the Church was under attack from those looking to destroy it, how the Pope must be protected at all costs, how the birth control pill destroyed American society and threatens the future of the Church because Catholic women are not having enough children, and how Evangelical Christians must be supported and revered because they alone are trying to save the unborn.

Not one word of his homily was dedicated to the physical or emotional pain of the hospital’s patients and their families. 

That’s the point where I’d have walked out the door and never looked back… Read More…

Posted by: cjobrien | 31 January 2010

A Tea Bagger By Any Other Name…

A very funny video instructing you how to speak “Teabag” has prompted death threats from the “enlightened” populist Tea Party movement. Interestingly, I was listening to an NPR political talk program just a day or two ago and I heard a conservative caller berate the panel for use of the word “tea bagger” as a pejorative label that should not be used. Excuse me? Attend any tea bagger rally and tell me the participants are not walking testaments to the God of Pejorative Labels! Read any intelligent design website and tell me the constant use of “Darwinist” is not meant as a pejorative. I have every intention of continuing to use the phrase “tea bagger” as a descriptive term for these people. Once their vocabulary extends beyond “socialist”, “communist” and “Nazi” I might re-think my use of the term.

Posted by: cjobrien | 31 January 2010

Medical Students Need To Understand Evolutionary Biology

Some important new research suggests that our medical professionals should be well trained in evolutionary biology if they wish to stay ahead of the curve for innovations in medical treatment and public health:

Read More…

Posted by: cjobrien | 23 January 2010

Soldiers for Christ…or Terrorists?

There has been a lot of discussion lately in the blogosphere regarding Trijicon’s practice of inscribing bible references on weapon sights used by our military. There is so much that is disturbing about this practice, but Ed Brayton reports on why this issue is so important. The bottom line is that we soldiers in our military who envision themselves as “soldiers of Christ”, not as representatives of the US nor as defenders of the constitution.

The NCO described in this letter is a vile human being. It is difficult to envision this person as a representative of our military. He simply lacks the integrity and humanity necessary to be considered part of the human race. If this is the real face of Christianity, then the Christian religion is a morally bankrupt doctrine. If this is the face of our military, then we as a nation and others around the world, have much to fear. This man, and others like him in the military, poses the same threat to liberty as Islamic terrorists. These men are terrorists; they wield their personal belief as a weapon and feel free to pass personal judgment on any and all with whom they disagree, using whatever means are at their disposal.

Read More…

Posted by: cjobrien | 23 January 2010

Update on PZ Myers’ Visit to CSU Chico on January 25

I’m getting requests for information on PZ Myers’ visit to CSU on Monday. I’ve checked the CSU calendar, the Secular Student Alliance website, and CSUC’s chapter of the SSA on Facebook. I can’t seem to find any information on when or where the event will be held, however I notice that a number of people are asking the same question. I’ll post any new information I receive here…

UPDATE 24 January – CSUC SSA just announced the plans for Myers’ visit to Chico tomorrow. The meeting will be at The Graduate (400 W 1st Street) at 4 pm.

Posted by: cjobrien | 20 January 2010

PZ Myers Is Coming To Chico…

Sure wish I could be there, but my anthropology course is that night and I need to work the creationist/ID propoganda out of our local students. It’s great to see that we have a Secular Students Alliance chapter at CSU – we should probably start one at Lassen Community College!

Hope they take PZ to “The Bear”….

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