Friday, 15 June 2012

Response to an anonymous reply to my essay on Evolution

This post is a response to a reply on my post about evolution to which a reader named only "anonymous" responded with the following quoted comments, the original post may be found here:

Rationalising the Bible: Discussing evolution

Flies go through their generations faster than humans do, but that doesn't mean the fly evolves into anything other than what it already it; a fly. There may be genetic variations, but those variations are limited to what the fly already contains in its DNA.

This is a common error made by people who do not understand evolution. It is not a matter of one thing changing into another in a generation, but rather adaptation by an organism to its environment, as Darwin pointed out with birds on different islands on his travels. If a bird could conceal itself on one island using certain feather colourings, and it happened to arrive on another island where its colouring didn't suit the flora of the island, and thereby placed it at risk of easy detection, it would, after a few generations, adapt the feather colouring to become undetectable.

You never pointed to any transitional stages but only said that having a comparative anatomy explains common ancestor. I would rather hold to the fact that their is a common designer. It's not that this designer (God) couldn't make creatures look vastly different. He choose to make them look similar in some parts and different in others.

My post was merely an overview. As I explained above, the bird, in adapting to its new environment would go through a series of changes, and then the feather colouring that suited the environment would survive, whereas the early incarnations of the feather colouring would not, demonstrating natural selection and survival of the fittest. Those that didn't survive, if it were possible to trace them over the period of the transition, would be the "transitional" versions you are speaking about. You may hold to whatever opinions you have but if you're looking for "facts" you're not going to find them in a theologically based hypothesis as the one you've suggested.

These different species that you say evolved after the flood have common ancestors, which when counted would be about 16,000. In the story of Noah and the flood, God said that Noah take two of each kind, not species. The small variations that occurred to produce the vast amount of species we see today could happen because the genetic material in the DNA of that comment ancestor 'kind' allowed it to happen.
Interesting that you should mention Noah. Please explain, seeing that the fictional story of Noah was set in a time after the continents had moved away from each other, how Noah was able to bring animals from isolated places that he didn't know existed, and then after the flood was able to again place them back there. I would refer you to my essay about the flood which may be found here:

Rationalising the Bible: The Flood
Please explain the evolution of chemistry (how the elements on the periodic table evolved), evolution of life/organic evolution (how that which is alive came from that which isn't alive), stellar evolution (how stars evolved), cosmic evolution (where time, space, and matter came from), and macro evolution (animals evolving past what their DNA, the genetic code, allows them to.
I'm not a physicist and I am not prepared to do research and write essays about things for which I'm not qualified to discuss. I'm also not prepared to do the research for someone who chooses to remain "anonymous" on the internet. However, I refer you to this post: 
Rationalising the Bible: A bedtime story...

To believe the religion of evolution takes more faith than to believe in the creator God.

You make an assertion about the Theory of Evolution being a "religion" please explain what rituals are involved in the worship of Evolution, what deity is worshipped, and what books and theology is written about this "religion." Calling it that demonstrates nothing other than ignorance about not only the Theory of Evolution but also about what "religion" is. The Theory of Evolution was formulated on thorough, properly examined evidence and peer review. Faith in a creator god is nothing other than a belief in the thumb-sucking of ancient goat herders.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Center of the Bible - A Must See

I belong to several atheist groups on Facebook. This morning on scanning through the messages that were posted overnight, I came across the following one, which I thought was worth sharing with my readers.
The actual presentation referred to, may be found here.
An acquaintance sent me an e-mailed PowerPoint presentation, “Center of the Bible - A Must See. BREATHTAKING”. Here is my reply.

Dear Neil

I am sure you meant no harm in sending me your chain-letter e-mail promoting religion, the bible, and prayer. No doubt you believed it was a Good Thing to do. Let me explain why I find it reprehensible.

Imagine that you got an e-mail from me inviting you to a festival of the Sun God, based on ancient Egyptian writings. We will offer prayers and, to ensure good rains and a bountiful crop, will be sacrificing some first-born: Yours might be lucky enough to be included. You should command your wife and slaves to attend as well.

I’d expect a sharp reply from you castigating me for my barbarism and superstition, pointing out that the Sun is a common star with no supernatural powers, that praying and sacrificing to it will not influence the weather or crops, that your wife is an adult who makes her own decisions, and that no decent person today owns slaves.

Now, make two changes to my hypothetical invitation: Replace “Egyptian writings” with “Bible”, and “Sun God” with your name for God.

Human sacrifice is a theme running through the Bible from Isaac to Exodus to Jesus: Indeed, it is a central tenet of Christianity that it is a good thing to torture an innocent man to death in the place of the guilty. Civilised? I don’t think so.

The Old Testament gives detailed commandments for the keeping of slaves, including the requirements for selling your daughter into slavery. The New Testament supports it. The “Good Book’s” attitude towards women is that they are possessions: Witness Lot’s willingness to give his daughters to a mob to be raped. Good? I don’t think so.

As with many other books, the Bible contains its share of wisdom, but there is a lot of bad stuff there too. If you take the Bible as the word of a God that must be obeyed, you would murder me for speaking against Him, and kill everyone you know for working on the Sabbath.

I am worried when an educated 21st-Century person advocates the Bible as anything more than a myth from the infancy of our species. Today anybody with matric knows more about the universe than the authors of the Bible did. Yet your opinion of me is so low that you think I follow it.

The god depicted in the bible is a nasty piece of work: Rigid, jealous, angry, sectarian, misogynist and genocidal. Fortunately it is obviously also fictitious.

Prayer is at best a waste of time, and may well be counter-productive, as shown by scientific studies (STEPP, for example). You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

In an age when religious fanatics who welcome Armageddon can get hold of nuclear weapons, you are doing our planet a grave disservice by spreading superstition. Please reconsider.

Rick Raubenheimer

Rick may also be found on his website here.