"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
So said Mark Twain upon hearing of the reports of his own demise in the New York Journal.Those who believe that the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch *, were written by Moses must not have noticed the following in Deuteronomy 34:
5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. 6 He buried him [b] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.
And so it goes for another five verses. Are we to assume that, like Mark Twain, Moses would have said that reports of his death and burial (by who?) were greatly exaggerated after he laid down his quill after Deuteronomy 34:12?
12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
Rather arrogant of him, if so!
In fact, the consensus amongst unbiased biblical scholars is that the books attributed to Moses actually had 4 sets of authors, J, E, P, and D **. This interpretation of the evidence is know as the Documentary Hypothesis.
The central fact of these sources and editing remains the dominant model among critical scholars, though not among most fundamentalist or orthodox scholars, who remain committed to traditional beliefs.
The phrase "traditional beliefs" is a euphemism for stubbornly ignorant, in my opinion. It is no surprise that fundamentalist and orthodox scholars are in denial of any and all evidence that indicates that the Bible is an internally inconsistent, human invention.
* Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
** J and E in the flood story
Numerous studies demonstrate an inverse or negative correlation between religiosity and:
► educational level
► education in science
► liberal moral attitudes
► acceptance of the fact of biological evolution
* "Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one's intelligence and/or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold "beliefs" of any kind." ~ Bell, Paul. "Would you believe it?" Mensa Magazine, Feb. 2002, pp. 12–13
"In 1998, most members of the National Academy of Sciences rejected the notion of God, with the highest rate of disbelief noted amongst biological scientists." Table. ~ Larson, Edward J.; Larry Witham (1998). "Leading scientists still reject God". Nature 394 (6691): 313. Available at StephenJayGould.org, Stephen Jay Gould archive.
However, intelligent, rational indoctrinees seem to be the more likely to deconvert. My impression is that fundamentalism loses more indoctrinees than mainstream religion, but this might be a false impression that results from the resentment towards religion that many fundamentalist escapees feel. Deconversion can be very painful and protracted for fundamentalists, and can result in alienation from family and friends. Resentment and a desire to help others through deconversion is understandable.
The past 30 years or so have been an age of endarkenment. It has been a period in which truth ceased to matter very much, and dogma and irrationality became once more respectable.Colquhoun is author of the Improbable Science blog in which he expands upon his exposition of the reasons that we should be concerned about the "New Credulity.":
This matters when people delude themselves into believing that we could be endangered at 45 minutes' notice by non-existent weapons of mass destruction.In my opinion, the root causes of this problem of fashionable ignorance lies in a number of failures:
It matters when reputable accountants delude themselves into thinking that Enron-style accounting is acceptable. It matters when people are deluded into thinking that they will be rewarded in paradise for killing themselves and others. It matters when bishops attribute floods to a deity whose evident vengefulness and malevolence leave one reeling. And it matters when science teachers start to believe that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.
Apologetics: concocting fancy excuses for the reality that there is no evidence for any deities.
Belief: mental state that is equivalent to knowledge if 1. the Bible says it's TRUE, 2. enough fellow believers agree that it is true.
Cognitive Dissonance: an uncomfortable feeling that arises when creationists are faced with facts and logic; a feeling that elicits classic creationist coping strategies.
Coping Strategy (Creationism): see entries for crealogic, creation science, critical thinking, education, evidence, PROOF, theory, or invent your own.
Crealogical: see entry for Logic (Creationism)
Creation science: science fiction for those who literally swallow godidit myths
Critical thinking: negative thoughts about any unwelcome idea
Education: anything regurgiquoted from AiG or a similar website
Educational Qualifications (Creationism): anything that can be purchased online, or claimed to have been attained, without a requirement for learning (similar items can be purchased by online ministers).
Educational Qualifications (Science): something to be approached with derision or incredulity.
Evidence (Creationism): anything taken, or invented, to supports one's favourite belief.
Evidence (Science): something that must be denied, derided, or twisted to creationist purposes.
Faith: creationism must be RIGHT because lots of fools believe in it.
Falsification: 1. declaring ad nauseam that unwelcome facts are WRONG, 2. inventing misinformation for the sake of making an illogical argument against a scientist, evolutionist, or atheist, 3. Lie-orama.
Godidit (also Goddidit)
Godidit (also Goddidit): of course He did!
Knowledge: any strongly held belief, regardless of intrinsic truth value.
Lie-Orama: expensive falsifications that depict dinosaurs cavorting with humans.
Logic: 1. quoting cherry-picked scriptures, 2. regurgiquoting misinformation, 3. resorting to fallacies of logic, particularly in emotional arguments.
Logical argument (Creationism): using creationist logic (aka crealogic) and making irrelevant, negative remarks about the holder of any unwelcome idea.
Logical argument (atheism, science): dangerous, faith-testing arguments from generally better-educated evolutionists, scientists, and atheists.
PROOF: declaration that CREATIONISM IS RIGHT and GOD EXISTS.
Refutation of creationism: something that must be ignored, or denied, at all costs.
Theory: the latest desperate creationist invention that is intended to deny reality.
Another Unpaid Advertisement: MacLiar's Guide to Disreputable Colleges and Universities, the definitive guide to unaccredited purveyors of false qualifications or should-not-be-accredited religion-affiliated institutions of lower learning.
"They are starting to piss me off,they earth is not billions or millions of years old.They have no proof that the big band theory is true,but they teach it like it really happened."
(That's fair. Creationists piss me off. Have done for a long time.)Um, it's the Big Bang, not a mega-orchestra.
"The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."
It did not surprise me that she does not comprehend that evidence demonstrates something, strictly does not prove anything other than its own existence, and that one does not 'prove evidence'. Other than that, she is completely incorrect. The evidence demonstrates the fact of biological evolution. It happened. The evidence falsifies the metaphysical claims in Genesis.
"The evidence has been proven against evolution."
"As a student, as a free-thinker, it's important to be open-minded. And see both sides of the story without actually subscribing to one or the other."
A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there?*
"No matter how large an environment considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. Troops of monkeys thundering away at random on typewriters could not produce the words of Shakespeare, for the practical reason that the whole observable universe is not large enough to contain the necessary monkey hordes, the necessary typewriters, and certainly the waste paper baskets required for the deposition of wrong attempts. The same is true for living material."
"We know the answer in all cases: these were painstaking inventions (also by trial and error) of mankind, and were the the work of many hands, and are still "evolving." This is what makes piffle out of the ignorant creationist sneer, which compares evolution to a whirlwind blowing through a junkyard of parts and coming up with a mumbo jet. For a start, there are no "parts" lying around waiting to be assembled. For another thing, the process of acquisition and discarding of "parts" (most especially wings) is as far from a whirlwind as could conceivably be. The time involved is more like that of a glacier than a storm. For still another thing, jumbo jets are not riddled with nonworking or superfluous "parts" lamely inherited from less successful aircraft. Why have we agreed so easily to call this exploded old nontheory by its cunningly chosen new disguise of "intelligent design"? There is nothing at all "intelligent" about it. It is the same old mumbo-jumbo (or in this instance, jumbo-mumbo)." ¬ Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto (2007), pp 85-87.
* F. Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York (1983), p. 18.
For a video of a thought experiment that demonstrates that clock components could indeed self-assemble into clocks, provided only that they could mutate and undergo natural selection, see Tick Tock.
Elsewhere: Are IDiots Creationists?Atheist Genius...DEBUNKED!
Undoubtedly, this will prove upsetting to those who resort to challenging taunts of "give me proof", but who, in their eternal love affair with argumentum ad ignorantiam, deny all evidence presented.
Having thus exhibited their profound self-obsessed bias toward obdurate ignorance, creationists will almost certainly proceed on to whining that we atheists are "mean" to them for noting that they are more often less "bright" than atheists.
Why are they?
We are almost all raised within one religious tradition or another. Those who think rationally about the utter lack of evidence are more likely to deconvert than are those who do not think critically.
The IQ discrepancy would be even greater were it not for the fact that some individuals adopt atheistic attitudes for purely emotional reasons.
Since creationists repeatedly, publically demonstrate their poverty of logic, lack of education, or blatant intellectual dishonesty, they have no reasonable grounds for accusations of unfair labelling as being less intellectual than most atheists. End of story.
I make no apologies for the fact that I do not respect ill-founded, prejudiced, opinions that reflect an obsession with personal salvation, but which are typically accompanied by hypocritically anti-social attitudes.
People are entitled to their own opinions only in so far as it is impossible to alter the opinions of a person who is immune to evidence and logic. That is, the reality is that we are stuck with religiously-motivated ignorance. This does not mean that we must afford unwarranted respect to stubborn manifestations of a cognitive disorder. In fact, I think that we should not even feign respect for ignorant, biased opinions. Society can no longer afford to mollycoddle stupid ideas.
This is not to say that believers should be personally disrespected. It is to say that their uninformed notions should be refuted. Even though creationists almost never admit, let alone see, that they have been refuted, bystanders might benefit from having light shone on someone else's cognitive errors.
Franzen JL, Gingerich PD, Habersetzer J, Hurum JH, von Koenigswald W, Smith BH (2009) Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology.