“I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. Continue reading
Category Archives: science
In praise of flip-floppers
In a recent post titled “Down the Creationist Rabbit Hole,” I remarked that I grew up creationist and later changed my mind due to the evidence in favor of evolution. Regarding the difficulty of getting people to seriously consider evidence, a commenter replied,
I wish it was just a matter of presenting the evidence and waiting for it to sink in for most people; unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case. I do understand that nobody wants to look like a fool and nobody wants to lose face while debating, but it seems like people should eventually let other superior opinions seep in and change their mind… perhaps I’m being to idealistic.
Lawrence Krauss: Our godless universe is precious
Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss says that science shows us that “we are more insignificant than we ever could have imagined,” and that “the future [of the universe] is miserable.” So why isn’t he bothered by this? He explains in this two-minute video. Continue reading
Down the creationist rabbit hole
I don’t normally go to creationist blogs looking for fights, but when a church posted a little animated video yesterday, titled, “Evolution is impossible, really funny!!” temptation got the better of me. At any rate, it’s an opportunity to share something really cool (if you don’t already know about Tiktaalik roseae, the “fishapod”) and to say something about the peculiar style of argumentation that’s become common among evangelicals.
The post is here, with a video that features a cartoon fish who gets the idea to jump up on land and evolve into humans. As the fish flops around helplessly on dry land, the ‘camera’ pulls back to reveal the bones of other fish who have apparently tried the same thing.
Ha, ha! See? Evolution is impossible! A fish would die on dry land!
I rolled my eyes. I grew up with this kind of pat-yourself-on-the-back ignorance. Continue reading
We are all stupendous badasses
I’m reading Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson’s 1999 book that’s been described as the “ultimate geek novel.” Apropos of nothing, Stephenson begins a chapter with a surprisingly funny and concise summary of evolution. Enjoy: Continue reading
Napoleon on religion and inequality
“There is only one way to encourage morality, and that is to re-establish religion. Society cannot exist without some being richer than others, and this inequality cannot exist without religion. When one man is dying of hunger next door to another who is stuffing himself with food, the poor man simply cannot accept the disparity unless some authority tells him, ‘God wishes it so…in heaven things will be different.’”
—Napoleon Bonaparte, quoted in John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe from the French Revolution to the Present, Second Edition (2004), p. 522.
Is it an accident that conservative politics keeps such close company with religion? Continue reading
Why? Because we’re human. This is what we do.
Today I watched a man ride a balloon up to 128,000 feet — and jump out. The picture above is a still from the video shown on the BBC. As of this writing, we’re still awaiting official confirmation that Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier with his body. [Update: Yes he did.]
The media refer to Baumgartner as a daredevil, and he certainly is that. You could call his jump a stunt, call it foolhardy, call him an adrenaline junkie — and maybe all those things are true. But while watching the broadcast I couldn’t help but think, This is who we are. This is what we do. Continue reading
A dose of C.S. Lewis’s intellectual snake oil
Here’s a quote posted recently by The Armchair Apologist:
There’s a time to suggest politely, “While I don’t find Mr. Lewis’s logic entirely persuasive…,” and there’s a time to point out that this is what passes for a reasoned argument from a man who, fifty years after his death, remains one of the most respected Christian intellectuals out there. Continue reading
Bill Nye, and why creationism will not go away
Last week the Creation Museum responded to Bill Nye’s recent video, “Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children,” with one of their own, and yesterday the Huffington Post reported Nye’s response. (Short version: Creationism is not science.) I wrote favorably about Nye’s video and received a long comment from a fellow blogger known as “The Janitor,” who argues that Nye’s remarks are a “jumbling mess of assertions that are ambiguous and don’t make much sense.”
Arguments in a blog’s comments section usually aren’t post-worthy in themselves, but I want to look at one part of this comment because it’s a good example of some things I’ve noticed when Christians argue about science.
Janitor complains that Nye is hopelessly vague in his terms:
But Mr. Nye never actually tells us what he means by “evolution.” In these sorts of debates the “creationist” side has been careful to specify exactly what they are denying and what they are not denying with “evolution.” Continue reading
Can a little awe change your life?
“A Flight Through the Universe,” a two-minute video based on recently-released galaxy data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and featured at NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.
As a follow-up to last Friday’s post, I ran across a post at Epiphenom in which Tomas Rees describes new research on a sense of awe and its effects: Continue reading