Posts Tagged “creationism”

Imagine No ReligionIn news that’s sure to ignite the rage and fury of religionists throughout the country, a Harris poll shows that religious belief is declining in the U.S. (WebCite cached article):

A new Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Also, while majorities also believe in miracles (72%, down from 79% in 2005), heaven (68%, down from 75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (68%, down from 72%), the resurrection of Jesus Christ (65%, down from 70%), the survival of the soul after death (64%, down from 69%), the devil, hell (both at 58%, down from 62%) and the Virgin birth (57%, down from 60%), these are all down from previous Harris Polls.

Belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution, however, while well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47%, up from 42%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,250 adults surveyed online between November 13 and 18, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

I can hear Christianists’ bellicose, sanctimonious whining now: People are worshipping Darwin instead of our Gawd! they’ll shriek. I know I’ll be chuckling when I see/hear it!

The news isn’t entirely good, however. An awful lot of Americans cling to a wide range of other nutty metaphysical and/or irrational notions:

The survey also finds that 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, 36% each believe in creationism and UFOs, 29% believe in astrology, 26% believe in witches and 24% believe in reincarnation — that they were once another person.

42% believing in ghosts? That’s almost half the country believing in something that doesn’t exist!

I note that the Harris Poll story refers to “belief in UFOs” … but what they really mean is “belief in extraterrestrial visitors to earth,” because no one questions that “UFOs” (i.e. “unidentified flying objects”) exist. People do occasionally see flying things they can’t readily identify. What they don’t see, are extraterrestrial craft breezing through the atmosphere.

I note that Harris admits these results were drawn solely from online respondents. As such, they may well reflect the beliefs of Internet-connected Americans; but it can’t be safely assumed they reflect the beliefs of the entire population. So everyone — myself included! — must take this report with more than a grain of salt.

Photo credit: JasonTomm, via Flickr.

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Cry BabyEven a century and a half after the emergence of evolutionary science, Christians are still incensed and even outraged that there are so many insolent people who dare talk about it as though it’s valid. In their eyes, it’s intolerable … a wicked, profane plot to separate humanity from God. Why, that kind of thing simply must be outlawed (or so they think). Marvin Olasky, editor of WORLD Magazine, vented his rage at this unacceptable chatter, labelling it “propaganda” (WebCite cached article):

The center of the front page of today’s New York Times proclaims, “Rat-Size Ancestor Said to Link Man and Beast.” [cached] Accompanying a cute illustration … is this lead: “Humankind’s common ancestor with other mammals may have been a roughly rat-size animal that weighed no more than a half a pound, had a long furry tail and lived on insects.” …

But wait a minute—what exactly is the evidence for the rat-size animal being our ancestor? “The animal had several anatomical characteristics for live births that anticipated all placental mammals and led to some 5,400 living species, from shrews to elephants, bats to whales, cats to dogs and, not least, humans.”

So because the animal apparently gave birth a bit like mammals and humans give birth, that’s proof of ancestry? Hmm. Couldn’t it be evidence for intelligent design, with God having a group of His creatures giving birth in similar ways?

Oh the outrage! How dare these so-called “scientists” arrive at a conclusion that Mr Olasky personally disapproves of, merely because it violates his own metaphysics! It can’t be allowed! It’s horrible Left-wing “propaganda” from the Times, which — quite obviously, in his mind — is trying to abolish religion and destroy all devout believers!

Let me clear up a few facts for Mr Olasky and other militant Christianists:

  1. Evolution is valid science. Don’t like it? Tough. You don’t have to like it. But you do have to grow up and live with it.
  2. We have something called “freedom of the press” in the US, meaning the Times is free to print whatever it wants to, whenever it wants to. Don’t like it? Too bad. But you do have to grow up and live with it.
  3. It’s true that “freedom of the press” also means Mr Olasky is free to whine about the evil evolutionist “propaganda,” too. But the rest of us are, furthermore, free to conclude he’s a sniveling little crybaby.

Petulant, childish gripes about “propaganda” cannot and will never change the veracity of evolution. It truly is both a theory and a fact. Dour Christianists like Mr Olasky can’t prevent people from accepting it as valid, nor can they stop scientists from pursuing it, nor can they prevent media outlets from reporting on it. What’s more, they cannot and will never change the fact that Creationism is a religion, not a science. Nor can they change the fact that referring to it as “intelligent design,” as Olasky does in his whine, is itself a lie, intended to make it seem scientific when it’s not. For Olasky to accuse the Times of publishing “propaganda,” while he uses the propaganda trick of calling Creationism “intelligent design,” makes him a hypocrite … in spite of the fact that his own Jesus clearly and unambiguously ordered him never to be hypocritical.

Photo credit: TheGiantVermin, via Flickr.

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Human-evolution-manI blogged about the anti-scientific religiofascism spewed by Paul Broun, R-GA. The problem with is that he ran unopposed, so he didn’t have to suffer any consequences from his idiotic remarks. It seems that some voters in his district nevertheless used this election to offer a kind of protest against him, as the Augusta Chronicle reports (WebCite cached article):

Charles Darwin, the 19th century naturalist who laid the foundations for evolutionary theory, received more than 4,000 write-in votes in Athens-Clarke County in balloting for the 10th Congressional District seat retained Tuesday by five-year incumbent Republican Paul Broun.

A campaign asking voters to write in Darwin’s name in the 10th District, which includes half of Athens-Clarke County and takes in a swath of eastern Georgia, began after Broun, speaking at a sportsmen’s banquet at a Hartwell church, called evolution and other areas of science “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

“I can’t ever remember seeing a (write-in ballot) report that long,” Athens-Clarke County Elections Supervisor Gail Schrader said after releasing the write-in numbers to news media Thursday morning.

Broun still won re-election — given that he was unopposed — but 4,000 people making the effort to write in the name of Broun’s mortal enemy against him on the ballot as a protest, is significant. My guess is, Broun will dismiss them as wicked, Satan-inspired “secular progressives” who “worship” Darwin because they hate Broun’s almighty God, but I still find it remarkable.

Photo credit: José-manuel Benitos via Wikimedia Commons.

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Hoaxed photo of the Loch Ness monster from 21 April 1934.We’ve seen that Creationists will stop at nothing to indoctrinate school children with their irrational, non-factual, hyperreligious dogma. They’re ferociously angry at the idea that anyone might actually accept evolution (what they often call “Darwinism”*). That evolution is currently the only valid scientific explanation for the diversity of life on the planet, doesn’t matter to them. They’re still outraged that science has validated evolution. (“Science,” you see, in their minds is an insidious diabolical conspiracy designed to destroy them.)

An example of just how far these people will go in their sanctimonious effort to promote Creationism and discredit evolution, can be seen in this Scotsman report about a Louisiana outfit that claims the Loch Ness Monster refutes evolution (WebCite cached article):

Thousands of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real — in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature. …

One ACE [Accelerated Christian Education] textbook called Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc reads: “Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.

“Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur.

These are lies, of course. The putative Loch Ness Monster has never been recorded by any imaging device, ever … not by sonar, and not even by photograph — for example, the famous “surgeon’s photo,” above, is a known hoax (cached). Over the last few decades, a number of expeditions have tried to locate and image “Nessie,” but all have failed to do so. If “Nessie” exists, then she’s done a remarkable job of hiding herself from all of these efforts. Maybe this is because she’s aware she’s being searched for and is purposely avoiding detection, specifically in order to deprive skeptics of evidence of her existence …!?

In short … one can’t possibly use “Nessie” as proof evolution isn’t true, because “Nessie” does not even exist!

It’s one thing for private Christianist schools to want to teach this nonsense to their children. They’re free to do so, even if what they’re teaching is wrong. The problem here, as The Scotsman explains, is that public funding is financing the education of some of the kids who’ll be indoctrinated this way:

Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the [ACE] schools — which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.

So Louisiana taxpayers will be picking up the tab for some of this religious indoctrination. I’m sure Louisiana’s devoutly religionistic governor, Bobby Jindal, doesn’t view this a a problem, but those of us with brains know otherwise.

* Use of the term “Darwinism” as a label for evolution is a rather transparent — not to mention juvenile — attempt to discredit it. It implies that evolution is merely “the teachings of Darwin,” rather than a valid field of science. Calling a field of science by the name of the person who first brought it to light, is simply not done. We do not, for example, call relativity “Einsteinism,” nor do we call quantum mechanics “Planckism.” Nor is classical physics called “Newtonism.” Really, Creationists need to grow up already and put “Darwinism” to rest, ferfucksakes.

Hat tip: Skeptical Inquirer.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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Gallup (graph) / In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human OriginsI don’t normally consider poll or survey results to be newsworthy, but a recent survey paints a sobering picture of how Americans think. It seems we still have a long way to go before we can emerge from the Dark Ages. Gallup reports that about as many Americans believe in Creationism today, as believed in it some three decades ago (WebCite cached article):

Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.

Stupefyingly, the Gallup report makes statements that would be obvious even without having to conduct a survey; such as, “the most religious Americans are most likely to be Creationists.” I mean, seriously … did they think they’d get any other results? Gimme a break! Also, Gallup makes this observation about the disparity between acceptance of Creationism by Republicans and others:

The major distinction is between Republicans and everyone else. While 58% of Republicans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, 39% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree.

While Gallup considers this is a huge difference, I don’t. That 41% of Democrats and 39% of independents are Creationists, is still not comforting. 39% of any sizable block of the population believing in nonsensical ancient fairy-tales is by no means an achievement to be trumpeted aloud. Quite the contrary, it’s a fucking disgrace!

The scientific consensus … which back in 1982 had already long settled on the idea that the Earth is billions of years old, that evolution happens, and that it produced humanity … has only solidified since then. Yet the general population remains unconvinced. This sure looks to me like an example of the backfire effect at work, something I’ve blogged about before. People with false beliefs tend to resist correction, even when the correction is irrefutable. In fact, the more compelling the refutation, the more strongly they resist it. This is why, for example, there are a lot of people who still insist that Barack Obama is not a US citizen, even though it’s been demonstrated — with compelling and unassailable evidence — that he most assuredly is a citizen. Birthers just dig their heels in on the matter, and like tiny little children, simply refuse to listen to anything that runs contrary to their screwy thinking.

It works the same for Creationists. They simply define the science that proves them wrong, as “a tool of Satan” designed to lead people astray from what they view as “the Truth.” The more science — and scientists — keep insisting they haven’t a fucking clue what they’re talking about (which, quite obviously, they don’t), the more convinced Creationists become that science and scientists are tools of the Devil, to be derided and condemned as such, and to be viewed as a dire enemy. There’s no amount of refutation they’ll accept, because they’ve chosen in advance to dismiss any possibility of refutation.

Which is why I find it odd that so many of them whine and bellyache about how “closed-minded” skeptics and scientists are. In truth, they are the ones who are “closed-minded.”

Hat tip: CNN Belief Blog.

Photo credit: Gallup.

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StateCapitolIndianaI guess I can add Indiana to the list of states that are falling under the sway of Christofascism. The AP reports via the Ball State Daily News that Indiana’s senate is set to take up a bill permitting Creationism to be taught in that state’s public schools (WebCite cached article):

Indiana’s public schools would be allowed to teach creationism in science classes under a bill endorsed Wednesday by a state Senate committee.

The Senate Education Committee voted 8-2 in favor of the bill despite experts and some senators saying teaching creationism likely would be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court.

Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said he sponsored the bill because he believes creationism should be taught among the theories on the development of life and that the proposal wouldn’t force any changes in schools teaching evolution.

Sen. Kruse claims there is more than one “theory on the development of life.” What he does not understand — or perhaps he does, and is simply lying — is that science has only one such theory: Evolution. All of the other “theories” that have been posited, including Creationism, are not scientific and thus do not belong in a science classroom. Kruse is appealing to the “teach the controversy” notion, which is invalid, because in science, there is no controversy about evolution; no more of a “controversy” about it, than there is about whether the sky is blue, water is wet, or 2+2=4. To claim there is one, and then use that supposed “controversy” as an excuse to present non-scientific alternatives, is disingenuous. Really, evolution is both a theory and a fact, and it is currently the only scientific explanation for the development of life. Militant Christians like the senator may not like that, but it’s true, and no amount of stamping their feet, thumping Bibles, or screeching and wailing about the evils of “Darwinism” (whatever that is) can ever change it.

That the bill is written so it “permits” school districts to “opt in” to teaching Creationism, is already being used an evasion of responsibility by its supporters:

“This is a local option and the local school board decides,” Kruse said.

There, you see? Kruse is not, himself, explicitly “making” anyone teach Creationism. If it’s taught anywhere, it will solely be on the heads of local school boards … he’s staying out of it. I’m sure he sees this as politically convenient, but this is a transparant dodge; there will no doubt be plenty of school boards in a red state like Indiana where the local communities are Christianist enough that they’ll apply pressure to teach evolution. And Kruse is counting on that, I’m sure.

What these Christofascists don’t care about that Creationism has already been forbidden to be taught in public schools by the U.S. Supreme Court, for example in Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), among other cases. It’s possible they’re hoping to revisit one or more of these decisions and have the current religionist-majority Supreme Court overturn them, but my guess is that’s not going to happen — even if they think it will. (This is another example of the Christianists’ delusional reasoning.)

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Faithful gather in St. Peter's Basilica during the Easter Vigil mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, at the Vatican, Saturday, April 23, 2011. The pontif began Saturday night's ceremony by lighting a candle that symbolizes the resurrection of Christ, which the faithful mark on Easter Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)Not to be outdone by the Religious Right armies which at the moment are stomping around the US rolling the country back to medievalism, Pope Benedict XVI used his Easter Vigil homily to leap aboard the Creationism bandwagon, as the AP reports via Google News (WebCite cached article):

Pope Benedict XVI marked the holiest night of the year for Christians by stressing that humanity isn’t a random product of evolution.

Benedict emphasized the Biblical account of creation in his Easter Vigil homily Saturday, saying it was wrong to think at some point “in some tiny corner of the cosmos there evolved randomly some species of living being capable of reasoning and of trying to find rationality within creation, or to bring rationality into it.”

“If man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature,” he said.

This is a curious development, since as the AP article notes, the Catholic Church hasn’t been opposed to evolution, and does not support Creationism:

Church teaching holds that Roman Catholicism and evolutionary theory are not necessarily at odds: A Christian can, for example, accept the theory of evolution to help explain developments, but is taught to believe that God, not random chance, is the origin of the world. The Vatican, however, warns against creationism, or the overly literal interpretation of the Bibilical account of creation.

It’s interesting that Benedict used the adjective “random” as a way of trying to discredit evolution. That particular rhetorical trick has been Creationists’ stock in trade for decades now. This is why his remarks appear to support Creationism. As for the validity of calling evolution “random” … I suppose one might call its results “random,” however, that’s just a subjective value judgement having no objective basis. So really, it means nothing other than that the person speaking doesn’t like evolution.

The trouble with that, of course, is that the veracity of evolution doesn’t depend on whether anyone likes it or not. Its veracity has, time and again, been scientifically demonstrated. In the end, to not like evolution is akin to not liking the fact that the sky is blue. There isn’t much doubt that it’s the case, and there’s absolutely nothing one can do to change it.

What sane person would rant and rave and bluster and fume over the fact that the sky is blue? No one. It would make no sense; no one else would listen to such a person. It’s time for humanity to mature to the point where we can finally admit the same thing about Creationism … that it’s irrational, that time and energy spent on it is wasted, that nothing human beings say or do can ever make Creationism true, and that we need to stop paying heed to it and giving comfort to its delusional, childish proponents.

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia (cached).

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