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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christians Are Just More Rational

Posted by jlwile on September 28, 2009

My favorite atheist, P.Z. Myers, gets very upset over many, many things. A while ago, he got really flustered over the fact that Obama appointed Francis S. Collins to head the National Institutes of Health. You see, Collins is a vocal Christian. Myers can’t stand it when a scientist of faith is (a) significantly more knowledgeable and accomplished than he is and (b) is promoted to a very high-profile position. It destroys his whole “If you believe in religion you are an idiot” argument. Here is what he said when Obama’s appointment of Francis S. Collins became official:

We can also trust him to drape Jesus over every major announcement, use the office as a platform for promoting religiosity, and otherwise taint the whole business with embarrassingly inane nonsense…just as he did with the human genome press conference. Isn’t it about time our government promoted secular values that work over these antique and ineffective superstitions that just make their proponents look goofy? 1

This is a common theme throughout the “new atheist” movement – Christians believe in superstition. Well, like most things the new atheists say, such nonsense is demonstrated wrong by the data.

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Lobsters Aren’t So Stupid After All!

Posted by jlwile on September 26, 2009

My grandparents lived in the wonderful little town of Ipswich, Massachusetts. My family would visit them nearly every summer, and I loved it. It was right near the beach, and the seafood was amazing! I remember the first time I saw this kind of device there:

An unlucky lobster in a "trap"
(Photo licensed through www.clipart.com)

I asked my parents what it was, and they told me it was a lobster trap. I was skeptical. After all, it was just a wooden cage with some netting, and the netting had a big hole in it. I asked my parents how it could trap anything. After all, if something could crawl in the hole, it could crawl right back out again, right? My parents told me that lobsters were too stupid to do that. They would crawl in the hole to get the bait inside, but they would not know enough to back out of the hole, and since they couldn’t turn around in the small enclosure, they would end up being trapped. I remained skeptical, but I asked lots of people in that small New England town, and they all gave me the same story my parents gave me. After all, it was “well known.”

Of course, science has a way of telling us that lots of “well known” things are 100% incorrect!

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Did Darwin Promote Racism?

Posted by jlwile on September 13, 2009

In Darwin’s Racists, authors Sharon Sebastian and Raymond G. Bohlin try to make the case that Darwin’s ideas promote racism. They tie Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and Planned Parenthood to Darwinism. In Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, he tries to tie Darwinism to the holocaust. Answers in Genesis says, “Although racism did not begin with Darwinism, Darwin did more than any person to popularize it.” On the other hand, in Darwin’s Sacred Cause, Adrian Desmond and James Moore argue that Darwin’s main motivation for his scientific investigations was his hatred for slavery. According to these two authors, Darwin wanted to prove that all men have a common ancestor to show that all men should be treated equally.

So who is right? Was Darwin a racist? Did his theory promote racism? Was Darwin an abolitionist who attempted to show that all men are part of the same, happy family? The short answer is that Darwin was a racist, but neither he nor his theory promoted racism. In the same way, neither he nor his theory fought against racism. The long answer, of course, is much more interesting.

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Was There Animal Death Before the Fall?

Posted by jlwile on September 8, 2009

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows two things about me. First, I am a young-earth creationist. Second, I am skeptical of most young-earth creationist theology. For example, as I have written before, while I believe that the days in Genesis 1 are 24-hour days, I do not think they must be interpreted that way. Indeed, a good number of early church fathers didn’t interpret them that way. They didn’t think the days in Genesis 1 had anything to do with time. Instead, they thought the days were simply a means by which Creation could be ordered. Since many in the early church were willing to think that the days in Genesis 1 were not 24-hour days, why do many modern young-earth creationists insist that they must be 24-hour days? Is there something that today’s young-earth creationists know that Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius of Alexandria, Augustine, and Hilary of Poitiers didn’t know?

Unfortunately, the shoddy theology of most young-earth creationists doesn’t stop with the insistence that the days in Genesis must be 24-hour days. Another unfortunate claim most make is that there was no animal death before the Fall. Like the insistence that the days in Genesis 1 are 24-hour days, this claim is based on an incredibly inept view of Scripture.

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