Drawing a Straw Man

Here’s a perfect example from some Bezerkley English Professor who is railing against Christianity and evangelical Christianity in particular:

Fundamentalist Christianity is essentially anti-modern. It holds that truth became manifest two thousand years ago, and everything since—Copernicus and the solar system, the work of Galileo and Michelangelo, the scientific discoveries of Newton, Bacon and Locke, Wollstonecraft and the rights of women, the abolition of slavery, Darwin and Wallace, anesthesia, vaccines against smallpox and polio, progress in civil rights and social justice, the invention of the automobile, bicycle, telephone, airplane, radio, television, computer—is of no consequence. Even though most fundamentalist Christians (unlike the consistent Amish) enjoy the advantages of modern discoveries, inventions, and medical care, they do not acknowledge human ingenuity. (If pressed, they will say God is responsible for all material forms of human progress.) The highest achievements in mathematics, music, painting, sculpture, and literature are of no compelling significance or interest.

Now, compare this with the hysterical cries of “denier” thrown at anyone who even questions the word of the Great Idiot – Algore (Cursed Be His Name).  Do you even know any evangelical Christians Miss Intellectual Snob?

I know lots of them and absolutely none believe that the bicycle is some mythic invention.  In fact, I don’t know of anyone who believes that bicycles are non-existent.  And all evangelicals believe that phones and televisions and medicine exist and have improved the lives of all – even lame-brained idiots in California.

And if you check your history you will find that lots and lots of Christians gave their lives in the ending of slavery in this country – and it is Christians who today are bringing up the inconvenient fact that slavery is rampant in Muslim countries like Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

Why, I even know evangelical Christians who paint and play music and understand mathematics.  I don’t know any who sculpt, but then how many sculptors does anyone actually know of?  There are about 6 world-wide who can make a living at it, so probably not a talent you run into a lot.

And I know of absolutely no evangelical Christians who are violently anti-anesthesia or anti-vaccines or anti-civil rights.  However, let’s get to what seems to have really gotten under the skin of Miss Straw Man:

In so far as it takes any interest in science, fundamentalist Christianity is defensive, attempting either to reconcile the Bible with, or to subvert, science. Its main preoccupations appear to be the control of female sexuality and reproduction (no birth control, no possibility of abortion), the criminalization of homosexuality, access to government funds for its “faith-based initiatives,” and the injection of a primitive Christianity into all aspects of the public sphere, from government ceremonies to first-grade classrooms.

Yes – evangelical Christians have morals and believe that killing babies is murder.  They also believe that homosexuality is immoral and say so.  They believe that destroying marriage at the whim of gays is destroying the major building block of civilization itself.  And I don’t mean one of, I mean the major building block of civilization is marriage and family.  Without that we are all just a pack of raping pillagers and looters who’s major achievement is survival to the next minute and nothing else.  No painting, no mathematics, no music, no sculpture.  Just weapons and death.

And not only do we understand this – we are actually willing to stand up for our moral beliefs and say that others are wrong.  That is the true itch under Ms. Bezerkley’s skin.  She is really angry that anybody would tell her she is wrong.  She knows it in her heart, but she resents the fact that someone else knows it and might actually reprove her for her moral failure.

As for the rest, most evangelical Christians wouldn’t touch government “faith-based initiative” money with a 10 foot pole.  Unlike college professors, these people know that taking their money means having to live by their rules.

Oh yes – and we will continue to resist evolution as a theory of “magic”.  Right up until you can put a bunch of chemicals in a test tube and get them to come up with even ONE cell.  The still unknown mysteries of DNA, RNA, mitochodria, cellular membranes, and all the workings of one living cell are a big obstacle to “it just sort of happened” explanations.  Even if you do have some cool dude with a beard to front the operation.

The Riddle

clipped from www.cosmicfingerprints.com

The starting point of this discussion is my central thesis, which is:
1) DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern; it is a code, a language, and an information storage mechanism.
2) All codes are created by a conscious mind; there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.
3) Therefore DNA was designed by a mind.

If you can provide an empirical example of a code or language that
occurs naturally, you’ve toppled my proof. All you need is one.

Perry Marshall
The discussion continued for more than 4 months and 300 posts. At the
end, nearly all participants dropped out, having failed to topple my proof or produce any new objections that had not already been addressed. In the course of a very detailed and vigorous discussion my argument did not suffer the slightest injury.
There were six major counter-arguments to information as proof of intelligent design. You can follow these links for a thorough summary of the discussion threads:
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1. The objection that DNA is not a code (it is, by universal definition)
2. The objection that information is not real (it is, because it produces real effects)
3. The objection that information has no objective meaning (it does, because a message produces results that are just as objective and specific as the message itself)
4. The objection that random processes can create information (they can’t)
5. The objection that codes do occur naturally (they don’t)
6. The objection that the nature of the Designer cannot be determined (in very broad terms, it can)

When To Care For, Abandon, or Eat Your Offspring

A new suggestion for Thanksgiving dinner?

clipped from americandigest.org
Ah, what would we do without science to keep us on the moral path?
cannibalidss.jpg“When to care for, abandon, or eat your offspring: the evolution of parental care and filial cannibalism,”

….highlights the potential importance of a range of factors in the evolution of filial cannibalism using a mathematical model of analysis. It is potentially affected by the ability to selectively consume lower quality offspring, preferences associated with mate choice, density-mediated survival, and population dynamics. Professor Michael Bonsall, a Royal Society Research Fellow and University Lecturer in Mathematical Biology at Oxford University, said: ‘This sort of behaviour – cannibalising your offspring – is widespread amongst different animal groups. We show that there is not a single benefit to eating your offspring, and it depends on several factors and explanations.’

Unless, of course, you are stranded with a kindergarten class on a desert island in Colorado after global warming kicks in.

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