Thursday, February 15, 2007

Scientific Creationists: Oxymorons and Just Plain Morons

Since I have been all but trapped in my house for the last couple of days due to Ole' Man Winter's rearing his ugly head, I have had a lot of time to cruise the web catching up on a lot of things. During my travels I came across an interesting article posted on the Telegraph's website. According to this article, which is a month old, a group of Evangelical (a.k.a. fundamentalist) churches in Kenya is banding together to try and force Kenya's national museum to hide its collection of hominid fossils from the public. These fossils represent decades of archaeological finds in Kenya's Great Rift Valley by people such as Dr. Richard Leakey, and his family, and are considered to be the " clearest record yet discovered of the origins of Homo sapiens."

Basically, what this means is that Evangelicals want the Kenyan museum to hide all of the evidence that they have debunking the idiocy commonly called creationism. The churches' argue that their doctrine is "not that we evolved from apes...", so therefore don't want the fossils displayed, because it runs contrary to that doctrine (evolution from apes to man is also not the doctrine of evolution as anyone who has actually halfway researched it knows). Dr. Leakey said the group's plans were "the most outrageous comments I have ever heard."

But, unlike Dr. Leakey, I live in the American mid-west, and have the misfortune of seeing and hearing such tactics regularly. When Bible thumpers here are hit with something that runs contrary to their mythology, they make serious attempts to hide the opposing viewpoint. Here they generally go after children by trying to supplant real science with so-called "scientific creationism," or as it is called now, "intelligent design."

Such ideas are neither scientific, or intelligent, so their attempts generally fail, or are overturned later. The problem is that during their attempts many children are denied true knowledge that they would need to succeed in real Universities, and become so bombarded with un-substantiated and irrational claims that they spend years if not all their life confused and mis-informed about real science.

But, confusion and dis-information are the only things that creationists have on their side to "prove" their outrageous, and outdated claims that the fairy-tales found in Genesis are true. They claim that the Bible is scientifically accurate, and that its stories of divine creation, a world wide flood, supernatural sources for linguistic differences, etc. are true. But, when pressed to show their evidence they tend to take the course of attacking the other side, and pointing to the Bible as the truth. The "evidence" presented by proponents such as Duane Gish amounts to collections of attacks, unsubstantiated claims, misquotes, and , quite often, downright lies.

The tactics of the creationists involve instilling a fear of eternal pain, making sensationalist claims and statements, and the knowledge that your average person won't think to ask for sources, or won't take the time to seek them out. I have a great deal of experience with these methods, because they were used on me throughout my childhood by my father. He would force me to read nonsense such as a pamphlet from his preacher of choice entitled "Did Humans Evolve from Lower Life Forms, or Did God Create Adam?" (I still have my original copy), but then forbid me to read anything that presents the other side. I remember one instance when I was in middle-school, where dear ole' Christian Dad beat me silly for bringing home a book from the school library about evolution, and then burned the book because it was "evil and full of Satan's lies."

What Dad, and other creationists, didn't count on was that I, like so many others, had the ability to read, ask questions, and do my own research on the subject. Not only did I read and research the evolutionist viewpoint, but also read and researched the creationist side. I found the creationist side severely lacking any proof at all, and further found that their only documented source of information, the Bible, was so messed up that I eventually got to the point that I not only could no longer believe the darned thing, but couldn't believe that I had been so blind as to have ever believed it in the first place.

To present all of the evidence for the evolution side of the debate would not only take more time and space than I have here, but would be senseless, because an indoctrinated creationist wouldn't read it to begin with. But, I do have the space and time to present documented evidence for my claim that the Bible is as far from a reliable scientific document as you can get, and provide links at the end for further information about evolution, and other ACTUAL scientific studies--This is a hell of a lot more than any creationist is willing or even able to give about their claims. Besides, they want to use the Bible as proof, so I will go their route and challenge them to support their evidence.

The Bible is rife with statements, stories, and claims that are easily proven wrong by science, but it also full of statements that are easily proven wrong by a trip to the zoo or even your own backyard. I present just a few of these idiocies here. The entries here are just some of what I saw when I was checking a reference to "proof" of the Bible's being scientifically accurate left in the comments section of one of my previous posts.

All you need to double check my assertions and statements are a Bible, a brain, two eyes (one eye would suffice), and the ability to read (which you obviously have, otherwise these squiggly lines mean little or nothing to you).

Four-legged birds?

In your entire lifetime, how many four-legged birds have you ever seen? Weird dreams and sci-fi movies don't count. I have never seen a single one. I have seen fossil evidence that birds evolved from four-legged animals but have never seen any evidence for a four-legged bird. According to the Bible--there are such things.
"All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination to you." [Lev. 11:20 KJV Bible emphasis mine]

Feathered Bats?

I have seen many bats in my lifetime. I used to crawl into some caves behind my grandmothers house and catch them; a past time that Granny severely disapproved of, especially since I occasionally brought them into the house. But, none of the bats I ever caught, and in fact no bat ever recorded, caught, or photographed by anyone, had feathers. This is because they aren't birds--they're mammals, and mammals don't have feathers. But, the bats in the Bible are birds:
"And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls ... the stork, and the lapwing, and the bat." [Lev. 11:13-19 KJV Bible emphasis mine]

Hoofed rabbits?

Rabbits are something else I have seen a lot of. There are currently three living in my backyard, and I used to hunt them with a girl-friend's father when I was in high-school (the things a guy will do for a girl, huh). But, alive or dead, I never saw a rabbit with hooves. I have never seen pictures of hoofed rabbits either. I have seen jackalopes mounted, but I thought they were novelties constructed by taxidermists: I never knew they were mentioned in the Bible:
"And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you." [Lev. 11:6 KJV Bible emphasis mine]
I am not sure that rabbits or hares chew their cud either, because I do know that they can't regurgitate, which is part of the "cud" process--I will research this.

Camel hoof?

There is a reason for the term "camel toe." The reason is that camels have feet with two toes. They don't have hooves. Granted, the only camels I've actually seen are ones in the zoos I've been to, but I have never seen pictures of camel hooves either, and according to everything I have ever read about them, they don't have hooves. Well, everything I've read but the Bible:
"... the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you." [Lev. 11:4 KJV Bible emphasis mine]

Four-legged Insects?

To the chagrin of my Grandmother, I also liked collecting insects when I was young. Being the type of person that tends to research anything I become interested in, I learned that all insects have six legs, and that grasshoppers, locusts, and beetles are insects. My children knew these things before they could even write. But the "scientific" writers of the Bible didn't know it:
"Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind."

"But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you." [Lev. 11:22-23 KJV Bible emphasis mine]

Then there are stories about boats holding representatives of every animal on the planet when the boat wouldn't have been large enough to hold two of every insect much less two of every other animal, a family, and a year's worth of the food needed for the family and animals. Stories about every human, of every race on the planet being from one family in Turkey who lived 4,000 years ago. And, other outlandish stories that are supposed to be accepted as history, not fairy-tale.

The Bible can't even get its first story straight, much less be intelligently considered scientifically accurate. But, its deluded proponents continue to try to convince people that they have the only true source of information about everything even though they have no evidence for their claim, and try to hide the evidence against it.

And, as for the passage I mentioned above that was presented to me as "proof":

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood... ." [Lev. 17:11 KJV Bible]
Genesis 2:7 says:

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

These guys can't even decide if it's breath, or blood that is gives life. Scientists claim that it is both, but what do they know?

Evolution links as promised above (some contain explanations in simple language, some are scholarly, and some contain articles about creationism, but all are documented, cited, and refer you to their sources):

Evolution site at Berkeley

National Academies of Science evolution pages

The complete works of Darwin from Cambridge

Tree of Life project--Web collection of douments about the evolution of damned near everything

TalkOrigins archive--Many documents debunking creationism

National Center for Science Education "Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools"

No Answers in Genesis: collection of anti-creationism documents

Leakey Foundation

Evolution Sciences versus Doctrines of Creationism and Intelligent Design

Their are many, many more places to find information on this subject. Just run a search for evolution and you will find thousands of documents and links.

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Michelle said...

Not much to say about any of this.. I don't exactly have any arguments, though I'm sure I'll think of some later:), just that you might like this guy's blog, if you haven't seen it already..

I didn't see it on your blogroll, but if you want to keep up with the whole creation/evolution thing that's a good place to look.

R Nicolas said...

Thanks. I'll check it out as soon as I shovel the snow out of my driveway (fun times)--provided I don't suffer a massive coronary.

Anonymous said...

Four-legged bird:

R Nicolas said...

I stand corrected. I had heard of polydactal people and cats, but didn't know of similar mutations in chickens.