August 26, 2011

A theists' straw man red herring attack on atheism

It's overly long, it's very rambling, and it's bloated with irrelevant remarks. And, yes, the criticism of atheism that Frank Cronin presents is both a straw man and a red herring.

He writes, "For the tools of reason and the weapons of rhetoric are indigenous to a world and a cosmos that includes intangible dimensions, that blends and harmonizes the tangible and the intangible", and the reason atheism must be wrong is because "[atheists] do not believe in the actual and factual reality of thinking or consciousness or reason" because those are "intangible" ("The Blind, Irrational Faith of Atheism", National Catholic Register, 8/25/2011).

Well, I'm an atheist, and Cronin's statement that the world includes intangible things is exactly correct. The universe includes the "intangible", such as the emotions and thoughts of the human mind, which is generated by the operation of the human brain. Cronin's argument against atheism relies on nothing more than an absurd straw man misrepresentation of atheism in the first place, pretending that our problem is that we deny the existence of the intangible.

But that has nothing to do with it. It isn't the existence of intangible things atheists have a problem with. What atheists have a problem with is people who just make things up and pretend they exist when in fact there isn't any good evidence for them. Pretending this is some kind of argument about accepting the existence of intangible things is nothing more than a red herring used to sidestep the real issue: Producing good evidence to substantiate what you claim. This is a fundamental aspect of epistemology.

Theists claim the existence of a god (or gods). Christian theists claim the existence of a particular sort of god, but the problem they have is that they are incapable of producing good evidence to back up that belief. But since they want to believe it anyway, despite the lack of good evidence, they like to fake people out, such as using rhetorical tricks to try to pretend that the problem atheists have is that they deny the existence of the intangible, despite the fact that the tangibility or intangibility of it isn't even the issue.

Nice try, Frank. Kudos on a good diversionary trick.

August 18, 2011

That would mean Christianity is "vain philosophy"

In the comments section of the article "Fall From Grace" by Scott Jaschik (Inside Higher Ed, 8/15/2011) about yet another professor being forced out of a religious fundamentalist college/university for acknowledging the scientific facts (which contradict the religious doctrines of the orthodox), a fundamentalist minister, Larry Robinson, writes, "The creation is central to Christian belief and anyone who seeks to dismiss it is in effect dismissing Jesus. All you are left with is vain philosophy."

Uh... Actually, any philosophy that requires its adherents to deny reality and cling to falsehoods is a vain philosophy. If Christian belief does in fact rely on the belief that the world was created merely 6,000 years ago (even while, just for example, through astronomical observation we literally witness events that took place in the distant past in the universe millions and billions of years ago), then that would simply prove that Christianity is a vain philosophy.

Obviously an awful lot of fundamentalists don't seem to realize the logical conclusions of their own arguments.

August 17, 2011

Will Christians lie to attack the criticism from atheism?

Response to "Will Atheists Lie To Promote Their Doctrine?", by Heath Stapleton (Heath's Blog, Kountze Church of Christ, Kountze, Texas, 5/13/2011).

Well, there's Christian anti-atheist rhetoric, and then there is reality.

First of all, there's the rhetoric that atheism is a "doctrine" (or another "religion"), but the reality is that that's a false pretension used by promoters of religious belief who seriously don't like it when people don't even accept the basic premise of religious faith in the first place. Portraying atheism as a "doctrine" is like pretending bald is another hair color. Atheism in the most commonly used sense simply refers to the position of "I don't buy this belief in a god that you're peddling because you just haven't backed up the idea with good evidence" - in other words it's based on a basic perspective of critical thinking and critical scrutiny. Portraying the rejection of religious doctrine and religious faith as a religious faith is an incoherent contradiction.

Second, Christians like to pretend they have an objective standard, but the reality is that no such objective standard exists, and Christians certainly are incapable of finding one since they're contradicting each other all the time on what this alleged "objective morality" is supposed to be. (Even the Church of Christ itself is splintered into various sects who refuse to "fellowship" each other because they cannot agree on what the supposed "rules" laid down by God are supposed to be.)

Third, atheists tend to have a higher conception of morality precisely because they don't buy into the Pharisaical tendency of trying to legislate moral principles with religious rules. As a direct specific example, lying, per se, is not in itself wrong, but it is what the purpose of the act that determines its effect. When a Nazi knocked on the door of a German citizen hiding a Jew in the attic, full-blown lying deception would have been at that moment the apex of virtue.

Fourth, in regard to dealing with reality, the problem - at least predominantly in the United States - isn't atheists lying to promote "the greater good" (whatever that's supposed to mean), but Christians, typically on the conservative side of the religious scale, lying to promote their religious doctrines - such as denying the scientific facts of astronomy and geology and falsely pretending that the universe and the earth didn't even exist more than about 6,000 years ago.

Belief in falsehoods required to be a True Christian

Here's another good example of the obviously fallacious thinking that permeates creationist/religious beliefs.

"If man is evolved, then he's evolved lower than he ever was."

Huh??? [cue Scooby-Doo sound here]

"If humans evolved, the Bible would indicate as much."

Just like if the earth goes around the sun rather than the other way around, the Bible would indicate as much.

Yeah, we know. [cue Disney's Tinkerbell's giggling here]

Of course, for those who know how to think straight, here's the real argument, the one that creationists/fundamentalists avoid/evade precisely because their religious belief isn't based on or for the purpose of truth-seeking:

If the Bible was true - or more pointedly, if what the Bible says really, actually, came from a god - then the superior knowledge of reality that it contained would be absolutely obvious (i.e., it would teach what is empirically true).

The whole endeavor of "Christian apologetics" is to try to generate whatever rhetoric is necessary to try to portray belief in the Bible coming from a god as being reasonable despite the fact that the real argument based on reason and truth-seeking has long since been determined to be negative (i.e., the Bible does not show obviously superior knowledge but instead teaches false ideas about reality, such as the idea that Adam was the first man, created instantaneously out of dirt only about 6,000 years ago, and that the entire human species was wiped out by a worldwide flood only about 4,300 years ago).

It isn't just that fundamentalists get their facts wrong all the time, using misinformation and misrepresentation to try to prop up their religious belief, it's that the very arguments they use demonstrate that they don't even know how to think straight in the first place.

"Is the answer to the age-old question found in faith, science or both - and what do we teach our children?" (by Irie Price, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 8/13/2011)

The Rev. Ron Cruddas, pastor of Word Aflame United Pentecostal Church in Lubbock, believes theory is incompatible with his biblical beliefs.

"A true Christian believes in creationism," Cruddas says when asked about Christians who say they adhere to evolution's claims. "How can we say we're a Christian when we don't believe the Bible and take it literally?"

A literal view holds the belief God created humans and all living things in their present forms, Cruddas says.

"Man did not evolve," he says.

Citing social ills like criminality, Cruddas says, "If man is evolved, then he's evolved lower than he ever was. But that's not true, because man was created and man has a choice," namely the choice to believe in a creator.

Cruddas believes if humans evolved, the Bible would indicate as much - just as the Bible notes other changes, like the New Testament removal of Old Testament prohibitions on consuming certain types of food.

A change in the understanding of human origin presented in Genesis is not presented in the Bible, Cruddas says. He believes the Genesis understanding of creation is affirmed in New Testament verses like Mark 10:6, which states, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female"....

August 12, 2011

No, we should condemn religion too

An awful lot of Christians love to play word games (aka, engage in sophistry) to try to prop up their religious beliefs. This happens to be precisely because religious belief isn't reality-based, either in terms of pragmatism (commerce, politics, and other social organization for enhancing social interactions) or science (whether technical or academic).

Marc Leverett's diatribe against atheism ("Condemn extremism not religion", Coloradoan, 8/12/2011) is certainly no exception to this. First of all, atheism isn't a religious "faith". It's exactly the opposite.Pretending atheism is a faith is like pretending bald is a hair color.

Second, while it's certainly true that atheism was part of the "party line" of Communism Stalin and his cohorts were engaging on a murderous rampage because of the political totalitarianistic nature of their Communism, not because of atheism. In regard to Nazism, frankly we're tired of the ludicrous attempt to place extremist anti-Semitism at the feet of atheism. It is precisely religious prejudices that are among the primary factors of the antagonism against Jews at that time. It's simply absurd to pretend it had anything to do with atheism. Adolf Hitler was, by the way, a Catholic.

Additionally, the Nazis were not Darwinian evolutionists at all. They were racists, and they made a corrupted form of ideas about evolution to opportunistically prop up their racism in their propaganda. Now, check your history, and see if racism began in 1859. Oh. Right. It didn't. And in fact the history of religious literature, including especially in the United States, contains numerous examples of religious doctrines based on the Bible being used to justify racism.

Furthermore, atheism isn't even an ideological framework. It isn't some kind of overarching philosophy. There are no edicts, no precepts, no divine entities, no divine books, no priesthood, no churches. The core of atheism is merely and simply this: "I don't buy into this god you claim exists, because you haven't produced good evidence to adequately justify such a belief in the first place." So in principle you cannot get any justification or motivation for murdering people en masse on the sole basis of a rejection of a religious belief that doesn't have good evidence for it.

So the only thing we can thank Leverett for is demonstrating by example, like so many other Christians in their rhetoric, their penchant for using slander and all kinds of other straw man rhetoric to try to disparage those who disagree with their religious beliefs (whether it's atheism in particular, or simply scientific results that contradict their religious beliefs) and who dare to openly criticize the nature of religious belief itself by pointing out the inherent and pervasive empirical and conceptual errors of religion.

August 9, 2011

Ken Ham is right - the jungle of fallacies is the real issue

In "A young Earth - it's not the issue!" (Answers in Genesis, Jan. 1998), Ken Ham writes:
Recently, one of our associates sat down with a highly respected world-class Hebrew scholar and asked him this question: 'If you started with the Bible alone, without considering any outside influences whatsoever, could you ever come up with millions or billions of years of history for the Earth and universe?' The answer from this scholar? 'Absolutely not!'

Let's be honest. Take out your Bible and look through it. You can't find any hint at all for millions or billions of years.

Take out your Bible and look through it. You can't find any hint at all for the earth orbiting the sun rather than the other way around.

Take out your Bible and look through it. You can't find any hint at all for the moon reflecting light from the sun rather than producing light itself.

Of course, it's obvious that we learn about the characteristics and properties of the real world which are determined by the real world itself. In other words, if someone says something about the real world, but when we look at the real world itself what we observe contradicts what the person said about it, then what that person said is wrong.

So whether or not "You can't find any hint at all for billions of years for the Earth and universe" in the Bible is utterly irrelevant to the facts of the matter, the relevant facts being determined by the relevant features of the earth and the universe themselves.

What we're witnessing in the rhetoric above ("Take out your Bible and look through it. You can’t find any hint at all for millions or billions of years.") is another manifestation of the standard fallacy of circular logic that is a fundamental component of young earth creationist belief: 'The Bible says X, so X is true, because the Bible says it, and it cannot be wrong, because the Bible is God's Word, because it says it is, so we're going to believe X no matter what the actual real world evidence is.' ("By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record" - Answers in Genesis religious faith statement.)

Ken Ham is right, the *real* fundamental issue isn't the religious doctrine of young earth creationism per se. The real issue is the manner in which religious faith itself relies on belief in ideas people have made up without good evidence for them and then relying on a jungle of fallacies to try to fake a lot of people out about such beliefs supposedly making some kind of sense. The heavy reliance on circular logic is one prominent example of the failure of religious belief.

Circular reasoning can't combat anything

In addition to his main essay "Combating Atheism with Sola Scriptura" (Christian Post blog: Recession-proof Christian Life, 7/22/2011), Olabode Ososami posted a follow-up response that is actually a good summary of the thrust of his argument, so I'll respond here by directly addressing his comments in that response post.

"If salvation is based on argument ...don't you think a future superior argument or logic will eventually derail the saved who needs an assurance of His salvation."

If "salvation" (i.e., a religious doctrine) isn't based on reality (i.e., if it's just fantasy) then it can't be derailed because it was never on the rail to begin with.

"The Bible says the just live by faith..."

Yes, of course, the advice of every snake oil religion salesman on the planet. Of course, the reason most atheists are atheists is because they require actual, you know, EVIDENCE to back up what is claimed. The "just live by faith" argument is so heavily relied on these days by promoters of religious belief precisely because the 'our religious beliefs are backed up by the real world evidence' argument hasn't worked out so well, to put it mildly.

"we accept many things by faith including getting on the flight and believing and expecting the aircraft is fine and crew are competent without confirmation."

False. We don't do anything of the sort. The flight industry is built on science, engineering, preventative maintenance, standardized testing, etc. "Competent without confirmation" is an utterly bogus remark.

"The Bible says whatever is not of faith is already sin."

Sticking with the facts is a sin? This demonstrates the lack of credibility of the attitude of religious faith.

"Meditate on the merit of this."

The religious proclamation that testing your claims against, oh, actual evidence is A SIN demonstrates a serious lack of merit.

"The taste of the pudding is in the eating. Christians have found faith works."

Really? (Tell that to the geocentrists and the young earth creationists.) Christian religious belief, which totally dominated the perspective of scientists over two hundred years ago in the infancy of the age of science, now doesn't even exist in science. This is precisely because even those scientists who believed in the religious beliefs couldn't produce good scientific evidence for them. If they had, we'd be discussing the scientific facts backing the empirical truth of the claims of Christian religion, not being regaled with 'you must rely only on blind faith', and witnessing people making ridiculous declarations out of sheer hubris that expecting evidential backing for empirical claims in the first place is a "sin". If Christians seriously think that this attitude that blind faith is a virtue while testing ideas against evidence is a sin somehow justifies their religious belief, then atheists are right on the money - and we have to thank Ososami for backing us up. Not only is it impossible for the circular logic of Ososami's "Sola Scriptura" argument ('The Bible is God's Word, because it says so') to combat atheism, it's exactly what atheists point to as a case-in-point example of the fallacious nature of religious belief in the first place.

January 23, 2010

Typical creationist, talks out of both sides of his mouth

In his Jan. 3, 2010, blog entry "Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in School?", Dr. Jay Wile writes, "if a science teacher wants to teach what is clearly a science-related topic (either to promote it or oppose it), that teacher should be able to do so."

Apparently Wile thinks we should be letting science teachers in public school who happen to be Jehovah's Witnesses lie to their students that blood transfusions are a bad thing (because they consider blood transfusions to be sinful according to their religious doctrine).

So, no, Wile's comment here is just wrong. It depends on what is really going on. Is the teacher doing the right thing in regard to science considerations and educating his students about science, or is he playing games as motivated by his religious beliefs?

Of course, the problem is precisely that intelligent design isn't a science-related topic. It is anti-evolution pseudoscience cooked up by creationists as motivated by their religious beliefs and falsely portrayed as science. Where is the intelligent design science? Where are the research articles supporting intelligent design, with field work or experimental data and mathematical analysis, in the professional science literature?

Wile also writes, "many of those who want to forbid the teaching of intelligent design or creationism in schools aren't interested in academic freedom. They aren't even interested in strengthening education. They are simply interested in trying to defend an outdated, scientifically inaccurate view by censoring all other ideas."

Funny, funny. Previously Wile had said he didn't "necessarily" want intelligent design taught in schools, but now he portrays it as "censorship" if you don't. Apparently he's having difficulty making up his mind. Or - more probably, since he's a creationist after all - he's talked out of both sides of his mouth for so long that he forgot that it's a good idea to keep your story straight at least within a single essay and only contradict the portrayal you're trying to give one audience to put one over on them when you're talking to a different audience who likes you and agrees with your approach of pretending things are what they are not in order to promote the common agenda.

And we're not just a bunch of rubes, so you have to laugh at a guy who falsely portrays his religion-motivated unscientific sentiments against evolutionary biology as "strengthening education", while at the same time he's pretending that his critics "aren't even interested in strengthening education" for daring to oppose pseudoscience. Having basic standards is good - unless you're a creationist, obviously.

In fact, the issue with respect to anti-evolution and intelligent design and public school science classes is precisely that (1) intelligent design isn't science and (2) it is anti-science propaganda used by religious believers to promote their religious beliefs (such as pretending their beliefs are scientific even though they are not) - which is why it is in fact illegal as per the First Amendment. This has all been hashed out in quite some detail in a number of court cases over the last few decades, most recently and notably in regard to the claims of intelligent design proponents in particular in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case in Pennsylvania in 2005.

The claims Wile makes in his essay have already been covered and hashed out and shown to be wrong over and over and over again (such as in the Kitzmiller case), yet here we are years later with Wile and other creationists using the same old rhetorical canards, as if they've never been dealt with before. As if no one ever even thought about and brought up the problem that teachers shouldn't be promoting nonscientific ideas (including anti-evolution ones) motivated by religious beliefs in public school science classes, tricking kids into thinking that it is genuinely scientific concerns that are being addressed when we adults know that it's all motivated by the religious beliefs of certain religious people, and that, oh by the way, there's this statement in the federal constitution that restricts government institutions (which includes public schools) from promoting religious beliefs (not from teaching about religious beliefs, but from promoting them in a sectarian manner).

We don't have to wonder what would happen in court and how the First Amendment restriction would apply because it's already been done and hashed out in detail and we know the result.

Creationism (including intelligent design and the anti-evolution attacks) isn't science. It's pseudoscience propaganda generated by people because of their religious beliefs, who use it to, among other things, falsely portray their ideas as scientific for the very purpose of trying to get around the First Amendment so they can shove their beliefs down kids' throats in public school science classes.

Creationists have played their games, and lost. Repeatedly. But they refuse to accept the conclusion, and so ignore it, and want to keep on playing the same old games they've lost numerous times already.

But that's exactly how creationists have been operating for decades. Why stop now?

December 20, 2009

Religious belief inspires impudent hubris based on ignorant certainty

Jon Skillman, a deacon at Grace Baptist Church in Oroville, California, decides to spout off in the media venue of the local paper about his creationist beliefs ("The evolution of evolution", Oroville Mercury-Register, 12/19/2009). As is so typical of these "Joe Blow" creationists in various communities around the country, they love to make bold proclamations about science, and it is their remarks by which they show everyone the dismal ignorance about science that seems to run rampant in our society. Of course, it's not merely the poor science education that's the problem, but the antagonistic attitude toward learning that a lot of churches directly promote in what they teach and preach to their congregations.

You always have to laugh when religious believers challenge aspects of science they despise because those particular areas of science happen to contradict some religious beliefs they cherish and in doing so demonstrate not only their lack of comprehension of the areas of science they attack, but also demonstrate a lack of comprehension of the meaning of words in the English language.

Skillman refers to the theory of evolution like this,

Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution... you know, theory, as in unproven. Intellects like to drop that pesky "theory" word from the conversation because it could, you know, cause doubt or even questioning. They prefer to accept evolution on faith.

Oh, geeze. Nothing like a creationist following the time-honored creationist tradition of repeating statements that have been refuted for decades. "Theory." Look it up in the dictionary. The colloquial meaning of "theory" is a guess or speculation ("an assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture") The scientific meaning of "theory", as in "scientific theory of evolution" or "scientific theory of gravity" is quite the opposite ("a set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."). But creationists can't even get the meaning of the word right, because they don't know how it's used in science (as they demonstrate), and don't want to know, and inspired by their devotion to empirically false religious dogma and the attitude of glorifying ignorance that it induces are just having too much fun using the wrong meaning of the word for the purpose of misrepresenting evolution to actually pause for one moment and bother to correct themselves about so little an error as getting the contextual meaning of a word wrong.

Skillman again,

Science has found no evidence to support evolution as the origin of any species.

The Baptist deacon obviously doesn't have a clue that there are all sorts of scientific research papers published in the professional science literature that present the data and discuss the evidence. Just for example, there are many studies of the evolution of the numerous species of stickleback fish. (An awful lot of creationists also seem to be oblivious to the fact that you can find such articles almost literally at the click of a button by using the "Google Scholar" search, which is what the previous link is, by the way.) How is it that a Baptist deacon who apparently doesn't even know that these research articles exist thinks that he is so much more knowledgeable about the subject than the professional scientists who actually do the scientific work? What is it about belief in religious dogma that inspires such impudent hubris based on ignorant certainty?

Skillman again,

Not one transitional fossil has ever been found. But hey, let's not bother intellectuals with the facts... they innately know better.

This statement is a mantra of falsehood that creationists love to repeat over and over and over again. Of course, there are literally thousands of examples, large and small, of transitional fossils. Here I'll just mention a few: Acanthostega gunnari. Tiktaalik roseae. Thrinaxodon liorhinus. Trirachodon. Liaoceratops yanzigouensis. Velociraptor mongoliensis. Microraptor gui. Ambulocetus. Rodhocetus. Gomphotherium. Orohippus. Duchesnehippus intermedius. Not only is the statement "Not one transitional fossil has ever been found" an unadulterated falsehood, it demonstrates a horrible ignorance of paleontology.

Of course, creationists cannot be bothered to actually learn about the scientific facts (which the Baptist deacon unwittingly admits with his offhand remark that he refuses to be "dragged off to academia") and tell the truth about them. They have their belief in their religious dogma, and to them that's all that matters.

April 30, 2009

The dishonesty of creationists' arguments

The dishonesty of creationists' arguments
Below is a response I wrote on April 28, 2009 to a reply made by young earth creationist Arv Edgeworth to an article here:

Creationists' arguments against evolution, for intelligent design show dishonesty
by Jason Hoskin
(The Daily Toreador, 4/27/2009)

Bear in mind that young earth creationists fill their rhetoric with all kinds of pretensions regarding truth and honesty, promoting the idea that professional scientists and pro-science critics of creationist propaganda are the ones engaging in a dishonest conspiracy to put one over on people about evolution. Of course, it is exactly the rhetoric that creationists themselves use that demonstrates that it is they themselves who show (much) less than zero interest in truth and honesty, because they are the ones pushing their particular religious agenda on the basis of their particular religious concerns, based on which they generate all sorts of anti-science and pseudoscience propaganda. It is their own pervasive and flagrant use of deceitful rhetorical trickery that shows the sheer hypocrisy that is an integral aspect of the creationist attitude today. Whenever creationists proclaim or insinuate that scientists and pro-science critics of creationism pseudoscience and rhetoric are the ones being dishonest, one should always immediately point out the facts, delineate exactly how creationists are misrepresenting matters, and set the record straight - and then throw their claims of dishonesty right back in their faces. There certainly are ethical standards of truth-seeking and honesty, and creationists are so far below the bar they're not even in competition. These days creationists - but especially young earth creationists - have earned themselves a strong reputation for dishonesty.

By the way, I didn't mention this in my response to the Edgeworth's reply because it wasn't relevant to me dealing with his nonsense rhetoric, but the man parades himself as "Dr." Arv Edgeworth. After writing my response I learned that he uses the "Dr." title purely for bogus credibility (isn't it bizarre how these guys pretend to be so concerned about truth and honesty, yet we see them engaging in all sorts of these little deceptive tricks like this?) - it's nothing more than an honorary degree in Divinity (and it's hard to tell what organization even gave him the honorary degree, because he keeps that under wraps), and so not only has absolutely nothing to do with science but also does not even signify any kind of record of accredited academic achievement. These are the slimy ways of the young earth creationists.

Arv Edgeworth wrote (April 27, 2009):
Mr. Hoskin is not being honest in his attempt at showing that creationists are being dishonest. First, he says: "Fortunately, the pro-science advocates were successful in preventing the adoption of the "strengths and weaknesses" clause with respect to the theory of evolution." The "strengths and weaknesses" clause had already been in there for twenty years. They did not prevent anything from being added, they actually removed wording which could do great harm to scientific inquiry.

Well, actually, it has been widely reported in the media - incorrectly, as Arv Edgeworth points out - that creationists were trying to add the phraseology. So it's true that Jason Hoskin screwed up in not getting the details right, but hardly dishonest.

Discussing strengths and weaknesses is at the heart of the scientific method.

Discussing genuinely scientific strengths and weaknesses is at the heart of the scientific method. Using rhetorical trickery to throw in unscientific anti-evolution arguments based on religious motivations and pseudoscientific canards creationists have used for decades that have been refuted a hundred times over is not at the heart of the scientific method, and indeed has nothing to do with science. And it's dishonest to pretend that it is.

These are not "pro-science" advocates, they are "pro-evolution" advocates that may bring great harm to real science.

Evolution is part of modern science, just like meteorology, or chemistry, or astronomy, or other fields of science. Those who respect science are focusing on issues regarding evolution, precisely because that is the field of science being attacked by creationists.


You also have to laugh at the irony of a creationist mouthing concern about bringing harm to real science, since that is exactly what creationists deliberately try to do.

Secondly, Mr. Hoskin says: "This clause falsely implies there is scientific evidence in favor of intelligent design creationism or against evolution." How does examining the strengths or weaknesses of a theory, which has been a part of science from the very beginning, imply there is evidence for or against anything? Mr. Hoskin is blowing smoke and not being honest about the issues.

In fact, it is Edgeworth and other creationists who are blowing smoke with their "strengths and weaknesses" rhetoric. This is because the "strengths and weaknesses" phrase is used by creationists to refer to their long-refuted pseudoscientific anti-evolution arguments, and not to genuinely scientific controversies that are being dealt with in the professional science literature. So we know who it really is who is not being honest about the issues, which is why they're using rhetorical trickery.

Mr. Hoskin is also not being honest by saying if you "teach the controversy" you would have to allow for all the minor myths about creation to be taught. The fact they are called "minor myths" should settle that issue. When over 50% of the population in America believes man was created and did not evolve, I would say that is a controversy.

Of course, that doesn't mean it's a scientific controversy, which is, after all, the whole point. And it's not being honest to pretend otherwise. Scientific exploration, experimentation, analysis, and discovery is not a matter of public opinion. The determination of scientific facts is not a matter of popular opinion. It's dishonest, and scientifically illiterate, to pretend otherwise.

Mr. Hoskin, and others like him, do not want students to know a controversy exists, and that is being dishonest.

What is dishonest is engaging in false pretensions to try to fool children in public school science classes that something is a scientific controversy when not only is it based on religious motivations but is also based on pseudoscience arguments creationists have used for decades which have been refuted at least a hundred times over. Indeed, as we saw most recently in the Tammy Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in Pennsylvania in 2005, it is well known that creationists use this specific strategy of trying to pretend that their religious concerns are "science" for the specific purpose of trying to get around the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment so that they can do this. The depths of the dishonesty that creationists engage in to do this is quite audacious.

He also clearly has a pre-conceived bias in this issue by declaring creation to be a myth.

Oh, well gee, we're talking about people whose ideas are based on a story in the book of Genesis in the Bible, which is a religious myth. It's a religious story told in mythological language related in a religious book. For example, it tells about God creating a firmament in the sky, separating the water on the planet by putting some of the water above the firmament, and placing the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament. There's a supernaturally created Adam and Eve formed out of the dirt, a talking serpent, miracle fruit from a Tree of Life (like the Fountain of Youth), and an Angel with a Flaming Sword keeping people out of the Garden of Eden.

I don't know about you, but I haven't heard about any scientific discovery of an angel with a flaming sword keeping people away from a garden lately. In fact, I've never heard of any such discovery at all. I'll bet you haven't either. So, yep, that's religious mythology all right.


I also laugh at the irony when creationists start making complaints about other people having a "preconceived bias", when in fact we all know that it is creationists themselves who possess the preconceived bias of their particular religious beliefs which lead them to attack scientific results they don't like to try to prop up their religious beliefs. The young earth creationists in particular are most notorious for this, denying not just evolutionary science, but also denying geological science and astronomical science, as well as denying related areas of chemical science and physics. (And note that the Discovery Institute works hand in glove with young earth creationists - indeed, many of the Fellows of the Discovery Institute are explicitly young earth creationists.) So it's pretty dishonest for creationists to pretend that it is anyone other than they themselves who possess the problem of preconceived bias.

The common claim by evolutionists is: "There is no scientific evidence for intelligent design." When the smallest cell is more complex than a space shuttle, the most complex machine ever designed by man, I would challenge Mr. Hoskin to point to "anything" in the world around us that is not evidence of intelligent design.

Complexity doesn't imply design. We know that Edgeworth, a creationist, can repeat all sorts of creationist canards, but the fact of the matter is that none of these creationist arguments are found in the professional science literature. This is because bad arguments and bad data tend to die out rather quickly under the withering scrutiny of detailed logical and scientific analysis.

Besides, I never have yet seen a space shuttle get pregnant and lay eggs or give birth to baby space shuttles. (The point being that Edgeworth is, with this argument, precisely ignoring evolution - ignoring natural selection - and it certainly isn't scientific to deliberately ignore the scientific facts that contradict your argument. No, in science you take the scientific facts into account, and if your idea has been falsified, then - if you're concerns are genuinely scientific rather than religious - you'll move on from your bad data and bad arguments and modify your ideas accordingly. Something creationists don't do, which is why they're still throwing out these old anti-evolution arguments that have been refuted over a hundred times.)

Some humans at times may not use a lot of intelligence in the conclusions they arrive at, but that does not mean they were not intelligently designed.

This is an argument?

Some humans at times may not use a lot of intelligence in the conclusions they arrive at, and that means their conclusions are unjustified, which Edgeworth is good at demonstrating for us, as so many creationists are.

Thirdly, Mr. Hoskin says: "Clearly, the "teach the controversy" refrain takes as its premise that all ideas and belief systems are equally valid in a sense, so long as there are people endorse them." The whole basis for his support of evolution is because the majority of scientists endorses it.

Nope. The whole basis for his support of evolution is because the scientific discoveries and results support it. The fact that the (vast) majority of the scientists who work in the relevant fields of science that due to their very professional they would be most knowledgeable about the relevant details, and they accept that evolution is correct because of this, is just a secondary indicator.

By the way, it's dishonest to pretend that the scientific research and results don't exist and that scientists merely took a vote.

But the fact is, not all scientists do endorse it. Thousands of scientists from reputable universities with advanced degrees in science believe that Darwinian evolution is so flawed it cannot be repaired. But if someone doubts evolution, the evolutionists try to claim they are not really scientists. That is being dishonest.

Actually, what is being dishonest is to first argue that it's wrong to think that things are based on a vote, and then to turn right around and make an argument based on a vote - and a vote by creationists who have never published any scientific research on the subject no less!

It's also dishonest to pretend that the personal opinion of some guy who is a hydraulic engineer and who has never in his life conducted or published a single piece of scientific research in the professional science literature relevant to the subject in the first place, and whose opinion is based on the preconceived bias of his religious beliefs, and not on scientific research, is relevant to science.

Evolutionists - i.e., everyone who is not a creationist and who respects genuine science - do not claim they are not really scientists. They simply point out the fact that the personal opinions that scientists have, that are not based on the results from the kinds of scientific research that they themselves actually conduct and thus work with on a genuinely scientific basis, are not science.

And "thousands", huh? Well, first of all, young earth creationists simply don't count. Any scientist, even a scientist who is a psychologist, or food biology researcher, or cancer researcher, or perfume chemist, who believes that the universe and the earth did not exist more than about 6,000 years ago, by that very act proves that the preconceived biases of his religious beliefs have made his personal opinions incompetently irrational when it comes to dealing with scientific subjects that contradict his religious beliefs. So when it comes to their anti-evolution, their opinions are utterly irrelevant, precisely because they are not over genuinely scientific about evolution (their concerns derive from their religious beliefs and are thus scientifically irrelevant).

Creationists such as Edgeworth can play rhetorical games all day long, every day for the next hundred years, just like they've done for the last hundred years, pretending that "evolution is so flawed it cannot be repaired", but the fact of the matter is that they cannot produce the scientific research in the professional science literature that backs up their assertion. (And, yes, creationists really have been proclaiming the imminent scientific demise of evolution for over a hundred years, which is another example of the lack of credibility of the rhetoric they like to use.)

So all this nonsense about "thousands of scientists" is, again, just another example of the kind of dishonest rhetorical trickery that creationists love to use, just another smokescreen.

The most dishonest thing about this whole issue is evolutionists stating that evolution is science, and creation is just a belief system. They claim they have the scientific evidence, and creationists just have faith. That is not only dishonest, it is an absolute lie.


The fact of the matter is that in the professional science literature there are literally hundreds of research articles about all kinds of different aspects of evolution published each and every year. Therefore, one of the most dishonest "arguments" creationists love to make is falsely pretending that this scientific research doesn't exist and thus absolutely lying that evolution is not science.

Both groups are looking at the exact same evidence. Both creation and evolution are an interpretation of evidence, not the evidence itself.

And thus does Edgeworth give us yet another example of the dishonesty of creationist rhetoric. Just as one example, we have hundreds of examples of transitional fossils in the fossil record showing the evolution of organisms over time, yet in their rhetoric creationists are frequently found to be making the false claim that "there are no transitional fossils". There is also the simple fact that when we're talking about science, then we're talking about scientific interpretations of the evidence based on rational, scientific analysis, not unscientific mythological elements dreamed up in the religious imagination. But obviously Edgeworth wants us to ignore the distinction.

When a creationist starts talking about the dishonesty of his pro-science critics, you know the irony has only just begun.