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This Week in Stupidity 31 May 2009

Posted by Jessa in Religion, Science, This Week in Stupidity.
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Today’s Theme: Moronic arguments purporting to refute evolution

Before we begin, I should note that there is a possibility that Poe’s Law is in effect. I am leaning towards believing that these people are not Poes, given that one of the examples comes from a person that goes by the name “supersport”, who has been spewing forth ridiculous statements like these all over the internet for quite a while. So s/he is either really that ignorant, or is the best Poe ever. Either way, I’m going to treat them as serious, because I know that there are at least a few people out there who would seriously make these kinds of arguments. So, on to the show!

Gem #1, we don’t constantly drool, therefore God exists:

Ok, I have an Evolution Challenge for you. Make your mouth produce a bunch of spit, let it dribble down your face and time how long it is before you simply have to wipe it off. Go ahead; try it! I promise you it won’t be very long. It’s extremely uncomfortable to have it sit there.

Think about the babies in your life. Have you ever thought about the fact that they stop drooling after the first couple years of life? Have you ever imagined what life would be like if we didn’t stop? Some, sadly, know what this is like. Children with cerebral palsy that don’t stop drooling or those that begin drooling due to loss of facial muscle control know the horrors of this. Have you had to endure watching people stare at your parent or child as they experience this humiliating social embarrassment? Have you tried to alleviate the irritating sores that develop from skin being constantly wet? Have you tried to keep them in presentable clothing when saliva keeps staining their clothes?

What evolutionary advantage is there to developing the oral neuromuscular control at age 18-24 months? What if drooling, the default condition at birth, was the way our lives always are? How would you like to date, make love, run a business meeting, ride horses, grocery shop and take care of kids while drooling? How cool would you feel driving your fancy car down the road with sunglasses and drool? How would your wedding go with everyone trying to be discrete with their designer drool cloths or bibs?

The human body is designed to give us dignity. These specific designs and abilities point to a Creator who cares about even whether we are embarrassed or not. There’s no evolutionary advantage to not drooling. It’s the gift of dignity.

So this person spends several paragraphs giving examples of why drooling might be evolutionarily disadvantageous, yet then claims there’s no reason why not drooling is evolutionarily advantageous?  It’s all just about the fact that God doesn’t want us to look undignified?

Onto gem #2, by the über-troll supersport:

So moms are everywhere in nature. Females often go to great lengths to feed, save, and protect their young. Many construct homes and shelters…(all without knowing/understanding she’s even pregnant) and do so with great care and attention to detail.

So I’ve got two questions about this:

1) What is the evolutionary advantage of mothers doing everything they can to feed/protect their young? And remember, mothers often give food to their young that they might otherwise eat. And going out into the world to look for food is often dangerous — she could be killed looking for food. Wouldn’t there be an advantage to her personally just to forget about the kid and go about her own business of eating and finding a mate? Why the unnecessary risk? Why go to the trouble of building a nest to protect the young? Wouldn’t it be easier just to skip all that? I thought evolution was all about being selfish……….so why do so many animals put others’ needs before themselves? What’s the advantage to that?

2) Why wouldn’t it be an evolutionary advantage for mothers to eat their young? I know it sometimes happens in nature…..but not as a general rule. As a general rule, mothers and fathers very rarely eat their young…even when they’re hungry. But wouldn’t an animal be more likely to breed if it didn’t starve? Mothers should be consuming their offspring everywhere in nature — afterall, it would advantageous getting that extra nourishment.

How do the evolutionists here get around this? Where does this “love” or devotion for child come from? Got a gene you can show me? What’s the evolutionary advantage for all this? And remember — evolution cannot plan ahead.

This is a classic example of misunderstanding what the Theory of Evolution is about.  We are all familiar with the term “survival of the fittest” (which is not strictly true, but too long to get into right now).  What people fail to comprehend is that when scientist talk about “survival”, they’re talking about reproductive survival.  It doesn’t matter if a mother lives to a ripe old age through starving/eating her babies – if she dies without leaving offspring, her genetic information dies with her.  So any propensity to behave in a selfish manner would have died out quickly.  Mothers with altruistic behavior, who care for their offspring until they’re mature enough to survive on their own and reproduce, will pass on their altruistic behavior through successive generations.  It’s not difficult to see how altruism towards offspring might become prevalent in a species, assuming you’re not willfully ignorant.

H/T: PZ

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I Call Poe on ChristWire 23 May 2009

Posted by Jessa in Atheism, Religion.
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3 comments

Here’s their 404 error message:

Our holy servers are currently experiencing miraculous amounts of high traffic and atheistic evils.

Why do 404 error messages occur?

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe 404 Error message was created by an unholy menagerie of vile atheists, Democrats, liberals and Godless Soviets in the Year of our Lord 1992. We’re told through electronic pathogens and demonic incantation rituals, they managed to create ways to electronically limit the amount of lost souls and seekers of truth that ‘web servers’ could process in a given minute.

Though their machinations are evil and everlasting, through hope, prayer and clicking refresh you can eventually overcome these wicked limits during times when tens of thousands of people flock to ChristWire per hour to discover the works of True Christians.

Bill Maher Nails It 03 May 2009

Posted by Jessa in Humor, Religion, Science.
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5 comments

On last Friday’s episode of his show Real Time, Bill Maher urges Creationists to put their money where their mouth is:

Absolutely.

If you believe that evolution is untrue, you’ll stay away from modern medicine, since it is based on the theory of evolution.  Don’t rail as loudly as you can against science and then scurry to the doctor or pharmacy when you get the sniffles.

Heaven Has Too Many Tribbles 13 Apr 2009

Posted by Jessa in Religion.
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I guess I was about 7 or 8, and I was riding with my best friend to her parents’ house.  Her grandmother was driving.

Her grandmother was a Southern Baptist, and she knew I wasn’t.  I was Methodist, which, in my area, was about on par with being a godless heathen.  She asked me how I was baptized.  I told her that I was sprinkled on my head, as was the tradition in my church.

I remember vividly her reply: “Well, then only the top of your head will go to Heaven, since that’s all you had baptized.”

And all I could remember thinking was that there must be a lot of tops of heads crawling around in Heaven, like tribbles on the Enterprise.

Not Gonna Happen 01 Apr 2009

Posted by Jessa in Religion.
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The president of the Italian Catholic bishops’ conference wants us to knock off making fun of the pope.

My reply: no.  Especially since the pope has demonstrated a keen ability to make inane, wrong, mock-worthy statements.  How are we supposed to take seriously a person who claims that condoms will worsen the AIDS epidemic in Africa?

This one’s for you, Joey.

Pope Palpatine

Pope Palpatine

Just Nisbet Being Nisbet 30 Mar 2009

Posted by Jessa in Atheism, Religion, Science.
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Poor Matt Nisbet.  He still doesn’t get it.

First off, he wags his finger at Richard Dawkins for sharing his opinion on religion:

Dawkins, for example, argues as a scientist that religion is comparable to a mental virus or “meme” that can be explained through evolution, that religious believers are delusional, and that in contrast, atheists are representative of a healthy, independent, and pro-science mind. In making these claims, not only does Dawkins use his authority as the “Oxford University Professor of the Public Understanding of Science” to denigrate various social groups, but he gives resonance to the false narrative of social conservatives that the scientific establishment has an anti-religion agenda.

How dare Richard Dawkins speak an opinion about anything other than science!  It’s not like there’s some sort of clash between science and religion.  Oh wait, there is.

The whole NOMA thing doesn’t work.  Religion has tons to say about things that are within the “science magesterium”, and scientists have every right (and, I might add, an obligation) to push back at statements that flatly contradict scientific observations.  And the people who think that “the scientific establishment has an anti-religion agenda” have had that belief cemented into them long before Dawkins came along.

And then he goes off about Expelled, and how awful it was for the cause of science:

The conflict narrative is powerfully employed in the 2008 anti-evolution documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. By relying almost exclusively on interviews with outspoken atheist scientists such as Dawkins and the blogger PZ Myers, Expelled reinforces the false impression that evolution and faith are inherently incompatible and that scientists are openly hostile to religion. In the film, the comedic actor Ben Stein plays the role of a conservative Michael Moore, taking viewers on an investigative journey into the realm of “Big Science,” an institution where Stein concludes that “scientists are not allowed to even think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator.”

[snip]

One leading example from the film is an interview with Myers, a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Morris, and author of the Pharyngula blog. Myers’ comments in the film reflect much of the content of his blog, which is estimated to receive over a 1 million readers per month. Interviewed in his laboratory, against a backdrop of microscopes and scientific equipment, Myers offers the following view of religion (see YouTube clip):

Religion is naiveté that gives some people comfort and we don’t want to take it away from them. It’s like knitting, people like to knit. We are not going to take their knitting needles away, we are not going to take away their churches, but we have to get it to a place where religion is treated at a level that it should be treated. That is something fun that people get together and do on the weekend, and really doesn’t affect their life as much as it has been so far.

In a follow up, when prompted to discuss how he believes this goal might be accomplished, Myers offers a line of reasoning that reflects the deficit model paradigm, arguing that science literacy is in direct conflict with religious belief:

Greater science literacy, which is going to lead to the erosion of religion, and then we will get this nice positive feedback mechanism going where as religion slowly fades away we will get more and more science to replace it, and that will displace more and more religion which will allow more and more science in and we will eventually get to that point where religion has taken that appropriate place as a side dish rather than a main course.

How quickly Matt forgets.  Dawkins and Myers were duped into talking about religion during their interviews.  They were told that the film was about the intersection of science and religion, so it’s not as if their opinions about religion were unsolicited.  I’m sure that, if asked only about science, they could probably manage not to veer off into an anti-religious screed.  Matt apparently thinks that they are incapable of  refraining from unsolicited statements about religion.

So how, exactly, are people like Dawkins and Myers supposed to act in Nisbet-world?  Are they just supposed to sit idly by as people try to push religion into science?  Are they supposed to act like it’s okay for people to say that the earth is 6000 years old?  That humans and dinosaurs co-existed?  That evolution is false?

This Week in Stupidity 22 Mar 2009

Posted by Jessa in Atheism, Humor, Religion.
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And the winner is….Pastor Chris Fox of Kendalls Baptist Church in New London, NC.

He tried to pull a reverse-Poe at a blog written and read by atheists.  Hilarity ensued.

PROTIP:  You will get caught if you Lie for Jesus.

On a related note, lolcats nail it:

God Upset at Kentucky Legislators 08 Dec 2008

Posted by Jessa in Humor, Religion.
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In a stunning move, the Almighty Creator of the Universe broke His millennia-old silence to speak out against a piece of Kentucky legislation that appears to require Him to protect their state.

At issue is a 2006 law which states that the state Office of Homeland Security’s initial duty is “stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”  In addition, the legislation requires the posting of a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center that begins, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

When asked for comment, God replied, “Well, seeing as I’m omnipotent, I was already protecting them.  But to require me to protect them by legislation?  Who do they think they are?  I created them. They’ve got some nerve thinking they can tell me what to do.”

Ironically, the Almighty supports the actions of the American Atheists in their attempt to remove references to Him from the legislation.  “While I obviously take issue with their belief that I don’t exist,” God stated, ” I appreciate their efforts to take my name off this ridiculous law.

“After all, if a terrorist attack were to happen in Kentucky, I could technically be charged with breaking the law.  I’m too busy with, you know, keeping the universe running – I don’t want to get bogged down in a lawsuit.  Especially in Kentucky.”

Southern Baptist Bookstores Pull Magazine Featuring Women Pastors 21 Sep 2008

Posted by Jessa in Politics, Religion.
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From the Christian Post:

Over 100 Christian bookstores run by the Southern Baptist Convention have pulled from their shelves this month’s issue of Gospel Today Magazine, which features a cover story about female pastors.

Customers to Lifeway Christian Bookstores, located mostly in the Bible Belt with a handful of locations along the West Coast, will now have to request to buy the Sept./Oct. issue of Gospel Today Magazine, which have been placed behind the stores’ counters.

The front cover of the latest issue of Gospel Today, an urban publication with a circulation of nearly a quarter of a million, features five smiling female pastors and was titled “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Female Pastors.” In the cover story, the five preachers talk about their roles and responsibilities, struggles and successes.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s second largest Christian denomination, officially opposes females serving as pastors. In 2000, the denomination overwhelmingly adopted a revised statement of faith that said the pastoral role should be restricted to men.

“We have removed the September/October issue of Gospel Today from our shelves because the cover story, featuring female pastors, clearly advocates a position contrary to our denomination’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message,” Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, told The Christian Post.

The Baptist Faith and Message declares that “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

Teresa Hairston, the magazine’s publisher, could not be reached for comment. But according to reports by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Associated Press, Hairston said she was just reporting on an emerging trend in churches, and not trying to promote women pastors.

“They basically treated it like pornography and put it behind the counter,” said Hairston, according to AP. “Unless a person goes into the store and asks for it, they won’t see it displayed.”

Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also weighed in the topic of women serving in leadership roles in his recent commentary on women and the election.

He rejected misunderstandings that the denomination wants women to be “subservient” to men, citing the SBC’s confession of faith that states woman and man are “equal worth before God.”

But he drew from teachings in the New Testament to support the Southern Baptist position on women pastors. In 1 Timothy 2:12, “the Apostle Paul instructs that ‘a woman is not to usurp authority over the man,'” explained Land.

“Most Southern Baptists have understood this to mean that women are not to be pastors of local churches, since the pastoral office is a position of authority,” he said.

And the kicker:

Although the denomination doesn’t agree with women serving as pastors, said Land, it does not oppose women serving in leadership roles in public service, such as the vice presidency.

Emphasis mine.  So women pastors on the cover of a magazine = bad.  But women serving in the second-highest office in the country = fine.

Pastafarians Scare Off WBC Protesters 21 Sep 2008

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It’s good to see that my brethren in my hometown of Little Rock are putting the power of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to good use.  They managed to scare off a group of protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church:

What do you do to make a bunch of soulless nutcases abandon their post at the Convention Center? Send in the pirates!

Yep, the cuckoo Phelps hate group walked the plank this morning after a happy bunch dressed like pirates and holding signs saying “God hates shrimp — Leviticus” and “God hates cotton-polyester blends” stood opposite them at the corner of Markham and Scott streets. The group, made up of Central Arkansas Pastafarians, waved swords and growled “Arrghh!” in a manner that would have made Abbie Hoffman proud.

With cars honking and waving at the pirates and a TV crew giving them all the attention, the Phelps group — with a child in tow, sadly — picked up their “fag” epithets and went away. Pitiful.

May they forever remain touched by his noodly appendage.  RAmen.