Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Some YEC-y dialog with A.R.

Here's part of the monstrosity that's turned into its own monstrosity!
` This post refers to the discussions I've been having with my ArchRival (see
previous post), who is a Young-Earth creationist.
` I figure this might as well double as public web material, I thought I would put more of it on display so that I can at least have something on one of my blogs. After all, I've already done the the hardest part -- writing it in the first place!


Leaving off from the last post, here's the next message I sent to 'AR':
I've always thought how strange it was that the more I learn about an unfamiliar subject, the more I realize I don't know. For example, when I started doing some research about the bible, I thought I knew squat. Now I know that I know even less than that!
` For example, in the past I might have said "Didn't Jesus say 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is wrong?' Well, doesn't that mean that God was wrong?" But now I know that doesn't make sense because that was meant to be a law to the magistrates, saying that if a man kills a king, you only kill the man, not the man's whole family, because the family didn't do anything. What Jesus was criticizing was that people were taking this action into their own lives and exacting revenge on others, when it wasn't meant for that. [?supposedly?]
` I don't remember if it was you who told me that or some Anglican bishop or whoever, but now I know that's wrong and won't make such a criticism. Of course, I'm learning about it not so that I can make better criticisms of it, but all the same it shows the danger of making false claims, especially if they form the basis of some criticism. I should know better, so I'm always trying to be more and more careful!

I bring this up because, as I've said, creationists (that is, creationism proponents) make criticisms about evolution that similarly make no sense. Such as, in the last message, Hovind saying that "scientists think a non-dog can come from a dog" and of course they don't! I've read about Hovind saying that a duck laying a tomato instead of an egg would prove evolution. No, that would prove magic! The only thing that scientists have EVER said is that species diverge gradually into slightly more and more different species until the descendents can no longer breed with the ancestors.
` Yet, no matter how many times scientists tell him, "That's not what we think, Hovind!" he would continue with the same arguments, claiming that "evolutionists can't disprove me!" As though it's really true! The other creationists do the same thing, which I'd like to try demonstrating to you.

However, something I do know about is evolution and basic science, which these creationists continue to misrepresent -- except Hovind because he's in Federal prison for fraud.
` They're never going to teach you about science because no matter how many times you correct them, they won't learn from their mistakes. Which then, must mean that those aren't mistakes but are intentional -- even if they're debating a biologist and the biologist has already disproven them by showing them that their argument is based on a false assumption, they continue on with their script as though nobody had challenged them at all. And yes, some of the creationists in the audience DO notice this -- and some don't!
` I get the idea that these creationism proponents know they're lying, but as with people who say fraudulent holy relics are real, they are probably just committing 'pious fraud' in order to get more converts (and make money, like those 'faith healers' on TV!). I can't help but think that if Jesus were here, he'd be trying to shut these people down!

While I already have plans for Hovind (see my email and accompanying video I sent a couple weeks back), I wanted to ask you if you would be open to learning more from me, and also informative videos that I know are accurate from what I've learned from science books/magazines and classes. (And, almost all of which I discovered AFTER I told you I'd be emailing you some videos! I had no idea they were even out there until I started watching Hulu and then YouTube instead of Netflix....)
` Learning more about what Hovind and Ham say, I can tell that if you actually believe them -- and many creationists DON'T -- then you really know about as much about evolution as I know about the bible. (So, I'll continue learning about that!)

I'm an honest person, so I'm actually working on correcting my mistaken assumptions about things I don't know. I have been for years because it's so hard to do anything in the world if you're operating on false assumptions about reality! If a cliff is there in real life, and I think it's not really there, that won't stop me from falling off it anyway! Okay, that's a silly analogy, but I think you know what I'm saying.
` I can guess that, since you're an honest person (I'd think!) that you would want to actually know what scientists "really think" and what evolution "really is" -- and I can give this to you, in smaller bits, not big ones like before!
` Also, if you'd like to direct me to some articles or videos or whatever, about something you want to correct ME on, I'll go for that! What do you say?
AR's response to my message:
"Let God be true, and every man be a liar." I for one do not personally believe that those who espouse creationism or intelligent design have any ulterior motives (beyond winning souls to Christ - and let's face it, that particular motive is shared by the church at large). While there are plenty of "not-for-profit" organizations out there looking to turn a buck on people's faith (I'm lookin' at you, Pat Robertson), one must bear in mind that the ultimate goal of God's people is in fact to help people to know God - everything else we do ought to be directed toward this end (Acts 20:24).

Frankly, I feel you've invested far more time and effort in this particular matter than I can afford. I applaud your efforts, and you've given me plenty to ponder and investigate. Unfortunately, I lack the time to invest in this endeavor, what with everything else going on in my life. I don't mean to negate your own efforts, but it may be a while before I am able to produce a satisfactory answer. And by "a while," I mean an indeterminate amount of time which could range from a few days to several months. I need to do my homework, too - and I'm beginning to think the reason I never got a job in journalism has to do with my inability to abide by deadlines.

I suppose the real question at hand here is this: Even if the Genesis account of creation is in error, does this in any way negate the greater truths of Scripture? On the one hand, as previously explored, it does - no Garden means no Tree, no Tree means no Fall, no Fall means no sin, no sin means no need for grace, no need for grace means Jesus died for nothing. In order for the Bible, for Christianity as a whole, to make any sense whatsoever, one must accept not only that Man came into being according to God's design, but moreover, that he abandoned God to pursue his own, and that since then God has been trying to bring man back to Himself - an effort culminated in the Man Jesus.

On the other hand, as I'm sure even Lucas would point out, while many of the ideas of Scripture may relate either directly or indirectly to this main idea, the main idea serves only as a primary motivation for holding to these ideas. Love and compassion for one's fellow man, respect for life and property, selflessness and self-sacrifice, faithfulness and loyalty, obedience to authority, diligence in one's work, honesty and integrity in one's dealings, grace and forgiveness - these are all Christian principles, and they find their motive in a love and respect for God, who has made Man in His image; thus by respecting man, do we respect God. However, I have on many occasions, and frequently to my own surprise, seen these same virtues practiced by those who did not share my faith. Perhaps their motives were different from my own, but the results of their actions - that they met the needs of their fellow man - are no less admirable. Many know what is right, and seek to do it for no other reason than it is the right thing to do. I believe the Bible shows us why these things are right - because God says so! Take that away, and any argument as to the "why" of righteousness becomes flimsy, just as easily disproved as it is proved. But even as Jesus Himself said, "Those who are not against us, are for us."

I approach this matter from a philosophical angle, because I consider myself more a philosopher than a scientist. As I've mentioned before, I believe scientists must consider carefully the philosophical implications of their theories and findings, and must also understand that they will always interpret their findings according to their own worldview - one's perspective ultimately determines what one really sees (Hovind especially hits this one home). You can separate philosophy from science, but you cannot separate one's interpretation of science from their philosophy. "Facts" will always be seen through the filter of "truth."

I will attempt to answer your questions in due time. Do understand, though, I have no intention of changing my own opinion on this matter. I have seen to much to convince me of my own stance in this matter to be unconvinced now. I figure if my God says He made the world a certain way, then I'm in no position to argue with Him - He is God, after all, not exactly someone one would want to have a disagreement with. Nevertheless, I do seek to address your concerns when time allows.

As of completing this, I have about 20 minutes to get to work. We'll talk to you later. Thanks again.
My very patient response to him:
Thanks for your response! My goal here is not to show you that Genesis is in error, only that people like Hovind are telling falsehoods about evolution and everything he can associate with it, in order to make it look bad, whether or not he knows he's doing this or not. If he is, it may indeed partly be to make money, which would explain why he lied to the government about how much money he made.
` You said you are surprised to see the same Christian virtues practiced by non-Christians? This statement puzzles me, since these are the same values that most people have, as far as I can tell, and I am never surprised when I see non-Christians practicing them. So, I have to ask; what would you expect to see instead?

You say you think right is right is because God says so. Does this mean that if God said that doing something horrible is good, would you do it? Forgive me if this is based on false assumptions again, but doesn't the Bible say that God told Moses that it was righteous for him and his followers to destroy other tribes and to rape the virgins and kill everyone else? Would you do that if you were Moses?
` Even things like slavery are condoned in both the Old and New Testament -- this I am also pretty certain of. Does that make slavery right? In the 1800s, that's what a lot of anti-abolitionists said -- God says slavery is right, so that means it is right! It took human beings, including Charles Darwin BTW, to use science and reason to show that racism and slavery are irrational and immoral.

Hovind is just misrepresenting science again here -- the whole point of science is to pursue knowledge without a filter of 'truth', no matter what people may think of it. That's what the scientific method is FOR. Different people from all around the world can see the same data and the same facts, and come to some sort of consensus. Personal philosophies can get in the way, however.
` Take the Darwin-denying Lysenkoists, who had to agree that it was Lamarck's theory of evolution that was right, not Darwin's, and that DNA didn't exist -- or they would be sent to the gulag! Hitler also banned Darwin's books and, as I've been reading, talked at length about how evolution of any kind was ridiculous and that only God could have created all life on earth, using typical creationist arguments.

Misrepresenting and suppressing science in order to support one's ideals is something I'm against, and there are a lot of people out there making ridiculous arguments about how the earth is flat and how the sun is really small and goes around the earth, because the Bible or the Quran says so, and they distort science just as Hovind does in order to support that. ;)

Anyway, I'm glad I've given you plenty of things to ponder and investigate! What kind of homework do you predict you'll have to do? I can help you with stuff like that, you know, streamline the process.
` Actually, there's this university site called 'Understanding Evolution', which contains an 'Evolution 101' that Hovind really could have used. The first page says:

"Biological evolution is not simply a matter of change over time. Lots of things change over time: trees lose their leaves, mountain ranges rise and erode, but they aren't examples of biological evolution because they don't involve descent through genetic inheritance."

Hovind, and a lot of other creationists, don't show an inkling that they even understand this and repeat that all changes, from human society to natural phenomena having nothing to do with genes are all just 'evolution', one and the same.

That aside, it also contains a section that I think will interest you a whole lot because it covers the history of (the real) evolutionary theory, and I think will really appeal to your philosophical side! I urge you to read some of it now, just to see what I mean!

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/history_01

I've actually stopped to read some of it (again), and it goes by pretty fast, so you'll probably have time to get through a couple of centuries before you have to move onto something else.

It actually starts out with one of the points I've made here: Vesalius and his challenge of actually checking to see whether Galen was right about human anatomy or not. What Galen wrote was considered 'truth' in Vesalius' time, but science is not about having the truth, unlike what creationism proponents will say.
` On the contrary, we have science because we don't know, and will never quite arrive at, the truth. Its purpose is not to reveal truth, but to fumble around until we can find some theory that can reliably predict what other facts will be uncovered and what else will happen in reality.
` That is as close as scientists can ever hope to get to 'the truth'.
His response to that:
Okay, let's back off Hovind for a minute. I obviously don't know this cat's backstory, so that means I'll have to do some digging on my own later. Let's get back to the source material here.

First of all, the thing I find surprising - not shocking or amazing, just surprising - is that people in this culture can actually be selfless sometimes. Let's face it, this is not a culture that espouses selflessness; I highly doubt a consumerist culture could ever hope to thrive in a society that promoted a selfless mentality. While I realize Christianity is not unique in teaching selflessness (again though, it gives a more concrete reasoning behind the idea), that such things are not entirely lost on humanity gives one a certain degree of hope.

Second of all, what am I really saying when God says something is right? Let's break that down, elaborate a little. I'm saying, that the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of everything that exists in the entirety of not only the universe, but all things that exist beyond the space-time continuum (i.e. eternity), has decreed by His own authority as the infinite, uncreated, Master of all He surveys, that there are points of conduct that He has prescribed to mankind, whom He has made in His own image that they might know Him, and that by adhering to these decrees, one might not only bring due glory to this same God, to whom all is due, but might also benefit himself and be a blessing to his fellow man. Moreover, the converse could be said about that which God has commanded man not to do; that such things are not only an offense to God, who is holy, but they are made even more offensive by the fact that they are harmful to oneself and one's fellow man, who are again made in the image of the living God. Because man is made in God's image, to harm one's fellow man is an affront to God Himself. Some people think spitting on a Bible or cussing in a church would tick God off; not nearly as much as actually doing harm to the masterpiece of His creation - us.

Which segues nicely into the whole Moses debate. A lot of people have said a lot of nasty things about Moses, especially in our little forum (remind me to send Mike what I'm about to try to lay down here). To understand what God asked of Moses as He was using him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land, one must first understand God's underlying motive. Simply put, God desired a people not only to wear His stamp of approval, but to represent Him to their fellow man on this earth. He understands the weakness of the human heart, and He knew (and would later be proven right) that the Israelites would be drawn into the idolatrous cultures that had taken over the land He had promised to Abraham in the time since his descendants had gone into Egypt, should those peoples have been allowed to remain. (It should be noted, the "pagan" cultures that God commanded Moses and the Israelites to drive out were NOT nice people - these were peoples whose religions involved human sacrifices, up to and including infant sacrifices; sexual rites that included mass orgies and bestiality; and all manner of other things which God strictly commanded His people to not engage in, not only so they wouldn't be drawn into those cultures, but also because, well, such things were pretty dark to begin with.) God commanded His people to eradicate these other nations so that His chosen people would not become in any way tainted by a culture that had long since abandoned Him. Moreover, God wanted His people to deal peacefully with neighboring nations, representing His justice and mercy to them, while at the same time maintaining sovereignty and not allowing outside influences to corrupt the culture God sought to cultivate in His people. (It should also be noted that, because the Israelites did not follow through and completely wipe out all the nations God had commanded them to, that the remnants of those nations would later return and corrupt the Israelite people - even as God had warned them.) Simply put, there was no way the Israelites could have brokered any sort of deal with these nations that would give them the land God had promised, allow the Israelites to maintain national sovereignty, and prevent them from being completely absorbed into the peoples and cultures surrounding them. The purge of the various pagan peoples from the promised land was the only way to ensure God's chosen people would have any chance of remaining in the land He had promised to Abraham and would not be swallowed up by those same peoples. That said, this was never a desirable outcome - God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, for they too are still human, still made in His image. God took drastic measures to ensure that His ultimate plan for Israel - and indeed, for all mankind - would not be thwarted, but that His people would flourish and eventually bring forth the Messiah, the seed of Eve that would crush the serpent's head, even as He had promised Adam and Eve all the way back in the Garden. (Have we yet established that the Genesis account has to be true in order for Christianity to have any validity whatsoever?) This same Messiah would later elaborate and bring to fruition the things taught by Moses, becoming the completion of the Law and the fulfillment of the Prophets.

The Bible actually contains ideas that wouldn't gain any real popularity in Western culture for several centuries after canonization, such as the idea that the Earth is round or that it floats freely in space. Scholars either conveniently ignored these passages or glossed them over for the sake of their reputations in popular culture, which at the time held that the earth was flat and sat on the back of some great beast or giant. Science, it seems, has always been limited by the perspectives and ideas of men. Having said that, Moses was kept from entering the promised land because he himself misrepresented God, and I would expect similar things to befall those who invoke His name to justify ungodly, even dishonest, practices - Hovind being no exception (and again, I'll look into your claims). The thing about God, He's completely honest about everything He is and does; what He says today will not contradict what He has said yesterday, He is the same forever and ever. His commands must be understood in the greater context of Scripture as a whole, and any command that would run counter to the Spirit of that Word should not be seen as having come from God, and thus ought to be ignored. But those who ignore that which He has commanded will be subject to judgement, if they refuse to repent and change their ways.

I hope this adequately addresses a few of your questions, and we will try to answer more when time permits.
My next response:
Interesting, and thanks, I think I can understand this a little better. You have a point about this consumerist culture not promoting selflessness -- and so many people make fun of it and rebel against it. They must know better, and there's probably a lot of different reasons why this is, including religious reasons.

Why do you think Christianity gives a more concrete reasoning behind selflessness than other ways?

I guess I understand what you mean about Moses -- and don't forget to send this to Mike if you think it will help! ;)
` So, God wanted all these wicked people GONE so the Israelites could get away from people practicing child sacrifice and things. But, that just leaves me with more questions. I thought that God is supposed to be able to do anything, like create the universe!
` If that's true, then couldn't God have stopped those people from being the way they were, or at the very least get rid of them himself? Why did those other nations need to exist if God wanted them all dead? Did they exist just to be killed/raped by Israelites?

I suppose the bible may describe something that can be construed as a round earth -- on the one hand, the earth is said to hang upon nothing, but in other instances, it is said to rest on foundations, and other very unscientific ideas.

For example, according to this article,

http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/febible.htm

the bible also describes the earth as unmoving, and not rotating and orbiting the sun, as you would think the bible would if the bible is true. It also says that there is a vault above the earth containing the sun, moon and stars, and that above this dome is water, which is where rain comes from.
` The book of Enoch, which is not included in the bible, Enoch describes going to the ends of the earth and coming to the edge of the dome covering the earth in several points, each time seeing a gate of heaven that is opened and spouting weather phenomena, as well as the store-rooms holding the sun and moon, which come out of different openings depending on the seasons, and that they are guided by the stars.
` In actual bible verses, a height is described that one can look down and see the WHOLE world, and in Daniel, a tree is described that could be seen from the farthest reaches of the earth, which is only possible if the farthest reaches do not curve around in a sphere.
` And what about the stars singing together, and in Isaiah, when the morning star seeks to put his throne above God and the other stars. In Daniel, Matthew and Revelation, stars can fall from the sky, and are small. Deuteronomy notes that stars were made to be worshipped by other people.
` Also in the book of Enoch, the stars that don't rise and set on time are thrown into a fiery abyss, and there are descriptions of stars, having sexual organs as those of horses, being bound hand and foot and thrown into this abyss!
` Clearly, this is ridiculous. Astronomers understand that, although gas does tend to spread out in a vacuum as you may know, when the gas is swirling a bit, it instead forms lumps, which accumulate mass and thus gravity (even you and I have gravity!).
` Even just a little gravity will pull in more gas, which makes more concentrated gravity, and pulls in more gas toward one point until this process creates a giant sphere of gas (somewhat like our gas planets), which emits enough radiation that it would quickly kill any nearby human.
` When it reaches ten times the size of Jupiter, the atoms fuse, creating thermonuclear reactions (i.e. sunlight), which would vaporize any unprotected human, and it's called a star/sun. This is what astronomers know today about star formation, and they can see this happening within staggeringly large gas clouds which dwarf the stars that form in them.

If the bible were right about stars, it might describe them as distant and mighty suns, but instead they are described as being small and contained within the sky dome.
` This is what I mean by people using the bible as evidence that the earth is flat. These things aren't true, but if the bible's right about the facts of the world, then what purpose are these descriptions?
` The historical/theological explanation for this, as I understand it, is that the bible is written by people who believed the earth was flat (and also believed that slavery was the way things should be). Whether or not they were inspired by God, they wrote what they wrote because of their human biases.
Later on, AR and I spoke about this. He said the flat-earth arguments from the bible had all been debunked. Ironically, just earlier, AR had asked Lucas something like "Why are you guys getting on me about evolution? Why is that so important?" and Lucas said something like, "Because it's as dumb as Flat Earther arguments!"
` Lucas is not so nearly patient as I am.
` AR also told me to check out Kent Hovind's digging up dirt on (translation: crazy conspiracy theory about) the Smithsonian. Later on, I wrote:
I've been up here trying to figure out what's going on with Hovind's conspiracy theory about the Smithsonian having thousands of murdered Australian aborigines in their basement, which I assume is most of what you were alluding to earlier.
` The only information I can find, outside from people repeating Hovind's claims, is people repeating Hovind's claims so as to expose Hovind's 'craziness', so that's hardly helpful.
` I'm actually seriously investigating into the matter further at this time, so I'll hopefully be back with something of substance.

[Later:]

I found Hovind's whole spiel about the Aborigines... yeah, I think I can come up with a good response to this one. Time for karate class, though!

As I've said before, Darwin was raised anti-racist and according to this article, which I just found, he may have based his theory of evolution on his anti-racist worldview -- the idea that the races are not different species, but 'brothers':

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article5562488.ece


Here are some of Darwin's words on the matter:
http://www.ncat.edu/~univstud/Charles%20Darwin%20on%20Slavery.pdf

I'll probably write about Hovind's crazy conspiracy theories some other day, but let's just say, I'm not impressed.
` Later on, we had another discussion. I don't really remember which one this was, but I refer to it in my next message.
You brought up the term 'dumb on purpose' to me today, implying that scientists who accept evolution are guilty of this, according to Kent Hovind's attempts to make them look like willfully ignorant fools.
` As I have spent the past two months (when not sick or working) examining an important document of Hovind's, not one but three times, I wanted you to have some small inkling as to the flavor of my response.

Not long ago, I found this video (by the same science journalist/editor who did the video on sloppy science journalism) which examines creationist claims that modern objects can quickly become petrified.
` Besides being very informative, it is also quite 'entertaining', and I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj0s4-v0bPE

Please take these ten minutes to see why there's a difference between the well-understood phenomena of becoming clogged up with minerals (concretion) and actually becoming replaced by minerals (fossilization), and ask yourself who looks most like they're being dumb on purpose.
AR's real-life response largely consisted of giving me a knowing look and winking very slowly. I guess it was way too harsh for him, and wanted to apologize, but really didn't think that was appropriate, either, because I wasn't sorry.
` In my message I just thought I'd explain this to him as best I could, also referencing some of Potholer's other videos, which I wish he'd see (along with a whole slew of others) but I doubt he ever will:
I understand that this video upset you for being smug, but I didn't anticipate it would be so hard for you. See, I WATCH CREATIONIST VIDEOS and this is what I see:
` "See, this is how stupid scientists are!" they say. "Look, they believe that [insert ridiculous bullshit that scientists actually don't think], and that's ridiculous bullshit! Therefore these scientists are idiots and their theories are bullshit!"
` Well, they WOULD be idiots if they DID think that, but the truth is they DON'T, so the argument is null. I'm surprised these creationists don't constantly get sued for libel.

Try to picture in your mind someone up on stage slandering Christians. "Christians are evil atheists who eat babies and worship a flying zombie! The bible is totally crazy!"
` You damned well know you don't believe that, and would see the people in the audience eating this up and think to yourself, "How can they BELIEVE THAT! If they just read the bible, they would know better!"
` Let's say that you try to tell this speaker that they are wrong about Christianity, but in the end they don't listen and keep giving the same message. It seems, no matter what you do, it doesn't make a difference what you say.

This is how I feel when creationists misrepresent science and scientists. [This is not to compare the two otherwise!] I willingly watch and read their material and find it to be horribly offensive, not because they are putting their viewpoint forward, but because they have to lie about science in order to cut it down so that seemingly their own argument is more reasonable.
` I guess I didn't think this video was so smug because compared to creationist videos, it really isn't.

This is one of the reasons I wanted you to see this video; it EXPOSES how creationists discredit evolution, and the first segment, which you must have seen, is a great example of that.

Remember that guy? He says that well, either it was Noah's flood, or aliens brought hammers to earth and dinosaurs evolved hands to use them!
` That's a logical fallacy called 'false dichotomy'. He is also (if jokingly) implying that scientists are STUPID ENOUGH to believe some ridiculous story to explain away the 'truth' of the flood.

Of course the scientific explanation ISN'T a bunch of dumb bullshit, but no creationism proponent will ever tell you what that explanation really IS!

In this case, the REAL scientific explanation, as you'll recall, is that stalagmites form all the time along the path of mineral-rich water, and sometimes they form around human-made artifacts.
` Geologists understand this process well, but to say that there's no reasonable explanation for artifacts encased in stone, and that scientists are STUPID not to believe it was caused by Noah's flood and rapid fossilization, BECAUSE they don't have a REAL explanation, and therefore must be AFRAID OF THE TRUTH... well... isn't THAT smug?

(Well, it's still better than those people who really DID think that aliens were behind this stuff! LOL!)

Sure, Potholer54 may be making fun of the creationists, but notice... he doesn't have to lie once! It's the creationists that lie, like the one who displays and reads this text:
"The two new fossils were found in a pit in what was once a cave, their bones preserved by a hardened sediment that buried them in a flood shortly after they died..."
` After reading this aloud, he says, "See? It says it hardened shortly after they died! It's rapid fossilization!"
` But, as that is not what the text says, right in front of you, he's making it plain to HIS AUDIENCE that he is lying, or at least has a seriously distorted sense of reality.

That's called 'exposing' not 'misrepresenting', right?

Potholer also makes it clear that concretion ALWAYS happens to objects which are left in water, as archaeologists know. They have to scrape minerals off of artifacts, just as one scrapes off the mineral deposits in one's shower!
` Think about it -- they couldn't scrape the minerals OFF if the artifacts were fossilized, because then the artifacts would actually BE the stone! Right? That's why they're NOT fossilized!

He gives us some examples like the hat that was left in a flooded mine shaft; the mineralized water soaked into the hat and it became hardened.
` And then, at the end of the video, WHO do we see? Why, it's Kent Hovind, proclaiming that this is a "petrified hat", along with other examples!

Is Potholer misrepresenting Hovind here? That is what he SAID, isn't it? That's not a LIE, is it?

Then, Hovind explains (quite smugly!) that some kid sent him some acorns, which had been left in a bucket of water on his back porch for some months and "turned to stone".
` Oh yes, those scientists sure are stupid and obstinate not to accept what you say, Mr. Hovind! Ha ha, yes, they're fools, but creationists KNOW BETTER and can sit there, smug in their knowledge that only they know the truth!

Hovind has been told of 'mistakes' like this, time and time again, but he's never acknowledged this in his lectures. He just goes on and on, "I know the truth but those scientists want you to believe that you can't have a petrified hat because it can't possibly be fossilized!" No they don't Kent...
` They want you to believe that you can't have a petrified hat because it's NOT PETRIFIED, there's a difference!

"Oh, scientists want you to believe that trees were buried upright in strata for millions of years without decaying, or else grew up through solid rock!" No they don't, Kent:
` They actually want you to believe that these trees, which were in a marsh, stood dead for a hundred years or so, just like dead trees in marshes today, while various floods came along and gradually buried them, which also happens today. The rocks don't date millions of years between the bottom of the tree and the top, only hundreds, so that makes sense.

"Oh those scientists want you to believe that you can't carbon date a dinosaur fossil because it's too old!"
` No Kent, they want you to believe that you can't carbon date a dinosaur fossil because it's completely replaced by minerals! There's NO carbon in it, period!
` "This guy carbon dated a Tyrannosaurus bone and it dated to 20,000 years!"
` That's because it was covered with carbon-based shellac, not because there was any carbon in the bones!

He just goes on and on, as though he has all the answers and that scientists are a bunch of dipshits with their heads in the sand or are making this huge cover-up of bad data or something, when there's really nothing strange going on at all!

So, who's being smug?

If these creationists genuinely just don't care enough, then they have kicked themselves out of rational discourse. What can you do? Scientists and science educators are at a loss to stop these people because they literally don't respond to being corrected.

I've actually watched a debate in which the paleontologist anticipates all the creationists' arguments, explains why none of them make sense, and then the creationist (it was Duane Gish) just went on with his arguments, word-for-word, from the script, exactly has he always has done, without even acknowledging that the paleontologist had said ANYTHING!
` It was really quite surreal, like watching a monologue! Did Duane even hear anything the guy said? My guess is yes, but he didn't act as though he did. (Some of his fans DID notice, though, and thought it strange that he never responded!)

But, I digress. My point is, it's very frustrating what these creationists are doing, making a comedy out of science by lying about what the scientists' arguments are. By doing this, they are actually making a comedy out of THEMSELVES by exposing just how false their OWN arguments are.
` It is therefore no surprise to me that some people like to help these comedies along, such as Potholer54. If you can't reason with creationism proponents, at least expose them for lying in a humorous way!

One more thing... when I asked you if you'd seen this video, what was your reaction? Do you remember that?
` You got this look on your face, like you were... maybe smug? Amused? (Well, I told you you would find it... 'entertaining', didn't I? LOL! I guess it was too painful, huh?) And you kept winking at me in a knowing way. Remember that?
` Would you care to tell me what that was all about?

[Later:]
P.S. While I was writing that last message, I was thinking about these debates with Kent Hovind on YouTube that show that no matter what you do, you can't get your point across to him.

His opponents were describing, for example, how common descent predicts that the common ancestor between plants and animals would be a single-celled organism that is neither plant or animal, and when you compare the DNA of any plants and any animal, it shows that this ancestor lived 500 million years ago during the time of single-celled organisms, before plant and animal fossils are known.
` This explains, they said, why animal and plant fossils are always either plant or animal, and so therefore finding some sort of animal/plant hybrid would contradict common descent.

They kept having to explain this again and again to Kent, because Kent kept insisting that finding a half-plant half-animal would SHOW common descent! "Where's pine cone man? Where's the dragonfly banana?" he kept asking, and they said, "Kent, a half plant half animal would contradict evolution!"
` HE KEPT INSISTING that we should find half plants and half animals, and that their existence would be evidence toward evolution, again and again and again! They kept explaining that no, that would be evidence against evolution.
` It was much like a conversation with my dad, or a wall. Kent kept insisting that you SHOULD find pine cone man, and they kept explaining why this is not how common descent works. It went around and around like this for something like 20 minutes, and eventually they gave up. (These are two separate incidences, the same thing happening both times.)
` Because they could not get across this concept to Kent, he concluded that because there is no man with a pine cone growing out of his head, then evolution is false -- after they explained SO MANY TIMES WHY the opposite would be true.

Kent concluded, then, that he had won the debate. What does that say about Kent? I can't believe at this point that Kent is so thick he doesn't understand what they're saying.
` He acts as though he is, but I think it is basically his main debate tactic -- keep misrepresenting evolution until they give up trying to correct you, and you've won! Again, that's basically lying because it's disingenuous.

Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest before getting off to the gym, and I hope you understand a little more about why I think of Kent Hovind in the same way that I think of those nice folks on FOX News.
I also later described to him how Hovind came off in the debates I'd seen, completely failing to acknowledge that anyone was trying to correct his assumptions -- he didn't even say "no, that's not true", he just kept repeating himself over and over as though he was by himself.
` If he'd just acknowledged the other person's argument, he would have been forced to change his position. A debate is supposed to involve responding to your opponent, not blocking them out.
` Before I explained this to him, however, he had this to say to me:
Look, I appreciate the time and effort you've put into this, and do regret being unable to put an equal effort forth myself in this endeavor. The bottom line here, I'm not in a position to answer your arguments, either to confirm or refute them. I've directed you to my sources, and if you have found them to be in error, than that is truly unfortunate for the both of us. I suppose I need to find better sources, but again, I just don't have time right now.

It has become apparent that further discussion on this topic would only cause discord in our relationship; I am as convinced of my side of the argument as you are of yours, and neither of us shall be swayed anytime soon. To each their own; I don't hold people's beliefs against them. If I did, that would be most hypocritical of me, especially when I hold fast to the freedoms of this country which allow me to follow my faith as I see fit. Who am I to deny that same freedom of anyone?

You really want to know why I believe God made the universe in six days? Because God told me He made the universe in six days. I have His word on the matter. Therefore, if you believe differently, your argument is ultimately not with me or any other man, but with Him. If you don't believe He exists, again, you're welcome to that belief. But I would appreciate it if you and those of similar opinion did not think less of us for either believing in God or trying our best to live our lives according to His word. We are seeking in our own way to make the world a better place, even as you are seeking to do so in your own way. While there are certainly those on both sides of this particular fence who would impede both our efforts, I am of the belief that we ought to put our disagreements behind us, and focus instead on the things we can agree upon. There is nothing wrong with working for a better world, and while our definitions of "a better world" may differ, I believe those among us who are working to such ends agree that they start and end with helping improve the quality of life for our fellow man.

One of the main reasons I pointed you to "Expelled" to begin with was not so much to demonstrate arguments against evolution, but also to show how Darwinistic ideas had been used in the past to justify the evil deeds of evil men. Yes, I realize men with similar evil motives have in times past used Scripture to try to justify their deeds, and that much of this continues even today (thank you, Westboro Baptists, may you burn in the same fires of judgement you condemn everyone else to). I believe one of our chief goals, no matter what side of the idealogical fence we occupy, ought to be calling people on the carpet for misusing and misrepresenting ideas that are meant for the betterment of the human condition. If that means people like Ham and Hovind need to be corrected, then so be it. If that means people like Dawkins and those Zeitgeist clowns require correction, then I hope they're humble enough to receive it. I myself will strive to regard people based not on the content of their creed, but of their character. I would expect similar courtesy from my fellow man.
Then:
I apologize if the tone of my previous comments has been harsh. I'm writing this while barely conscious, in a state of utter exhaustion and exasperation. I do wish to again express my deep appreciation for all your hard work; indeed, you've given me much to investigate and ponder, and when I might find the time to do so, I shall. But I believe it would be best to let this matter rest for now. You've made your point, but I myself am not inclined to agree with it at this time. Upon completion of my own findings, I may get back to you, whereupon we might continue this discussion after we've both had an opportunity to regain our energy and patience.
I wrote back to him:
I don't think any less of you for believing in God, any more than I think less of myself for ever believing that spirits were telling me the truth of the universe, which I no longer believe.
` This has nothing to do with ideology. Evolution has not even been used to justify the evil deeds of anyone, as far as I know. Hitler was assuredly a creationist, as I've been reading about in his own words and had Darwin's books burned because he didn't want anyone to learn about evolution, which he thought was silly.
` In Communist Russia, they denied Darwinistic evolution and denied that DNA had been discovered. In one of my books, I think it was 'Discarded Science', this Lysenkoist doctor comes to America where they show him DNA (i.e. deoxyribonucleic acid), and he says, "Acid is liquid, but this stuff is powder! Therefore it can't be DNA! Therefore it's a hoax!" Anything to deny Darwin, or otherwise he'd be thrown in the gulag!

What does Dawkins have to do with Zeitgeist? Really, I think it's insulting to think they have anything to do with one another, especially a supposed ideology, not least because Dawkins of course thinks all that stuff is BS!
` Before you said anything about him, I didn't know much about Dawkins but now I know that he is indeed an anti-theist, and he's actually really nice about it! He really respects Christians and Jesus, and has been misquoted by creationism proponents to look more like The AntiChrist!
` I was actually reading this little article on him the other day:

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-myth-of-dawkins-as-an-intolerant-atheist-crusader-is-just-that-myth-2669926.html

Says, in part:

"The popular meme of Dawkins The Bigot is the creation of the Christian Creationist Right, who loathe him for the power of his advocacy of the idea that Darwinian natural selection is the sole creator of our living world.

I spent the two weeks before meeting him immersed in his works, before which I was a great sceptic of Darwinism. I am now largely -- but not entirely -- persuaded of its essential correctness. ..."

Then he goes on to explain some really interesting things he's learned and ends with:

"Dawkins is simply not the austere and proselytising dogmatist of myth. Such people expect and almost seek confrontation, whereas he merely wishes to make his case.

Moreover, he is quite clearly baffled by the extraordinary vituperation to which has been subjected, usually by the nameless thugs and religious skinheads who stalk the lightless slum-corners of that strange and troubled city, the internet. Take my advice. Forget the meme. Buy the books."

That way, you'll know what Dawkins REALLY thinks! I have one of his books, and have been meaning to finish it.
` I've also been watching many videos with Dawkins teaching people about science and other videos where he discusses religion with religious people and atheists and for the most part he seems like such a nice person, why would anyone think he's not?
` If you just see him for yourself, he really doesn't put people down. He's only been misquoted, as I've also seen, to make him seem that way, and well, I think THAT is horrible and dishonest. Why isn't Dawkins suing these people for libel, I don't know, LOL!

Well, anyway, I guess that's enough of this subject, as you say. ...
After churning for three weeks with more thoughts on this subject, I turned my mind inwards to look for a deeper reason as to why this is pissing me off more than I would expect. I suddenly realized that there is more to explain here:
...I had something on my mind. I wanted to thank you for spurring my research into creationism, which is mostly what I wanted in the first place because there's just so much of it that, well, I needed a place to start, and currently I'm up to my armpits in it.

I also wanted to apologize for being not a good science educator and, well, getting rather heated over it. [I'm actually referring to the previous posts. Do they really seem that heated, for the most part?] I think I've figured out why.
` I react to being insulted, as I'm sure you do. Watching Kent Hovind reminds me of how my dad used to humiliate me in front of other people, and I still have that reaction.
` For example, when I was four, my grandpa gave me piggy-back rides, but then I grew and was too big for that, and I never thought about doing it again.
` Then when I was 13 (and 120 pounds) and was going to introduce a friend to my grandpa, who could barely walk, my dad said, "Don't be climbing on your grandpa's shoulders! He can't carry your weight!" I assured him that I was not that stupid that I would ever think of doing such a thing, but he kept insisting that I would.
` To think that he was trying to tell my friend that I was that stupid and blind to other people's needs really horrified me. It's like that with you. It's like these creationists are telling you that I would believe these crazy things that I wouldn't, and the thought of this is very hard to take.

So yes, I take it more personal than maybe I should be. That does not mean that I'm not being rational at the same time, but still I feel insulted.
` For example, I know from my studies and college and things that each sedimentary layer in the geological strata begins with heavier particles like gravel at the bottom and has lighter particles like silt and clay on top. This is because heavier particles sink to the bottom, as you know.
` Each individual layer is like this, with gravel, sand, fine particles, and gravel again with the bottom of the next layer, and sand, dirt, fine particles, and the next layer starts with gravel, etc. like a nut and yogurt parfait. This can only happen naturally if these layers are laid down at different times, otherwise ALL the gravel would be at the bottom instead of interspersed at the bottom of each layer!
` Also, some of these entire strata themselves are far heavier and denser than the ones below them, as they are not in any particular order of density. The only way this could naturally happen is if the denser [strata] were laid down after the less dense one below them solidified first.
` Even more, there are coral reefs and desert sandstone and coal deposits on top of one another, each with its own unique fossils of flora and fauna. This can be explained by the changing of the landscape, and by the raising and sinking of land.
` As I learned in Oceanography class, the geological column floats on top of heavier rock, and if you take weight off of it, as with erosion, it just floats higher. Also, the land pushes itself up, as with the Himalayan mountains rising 5 millimeters per year because India is being subducted underneath of Asia. Surveys over the past couple of hundred years show that the continents are moving, and this explains other features of which layers have what in them. Etc, etc, etc.

My point is, when I see Kent Hovind or someone mixing up a bunch of flood sediment and it settling into different densities, he proclaims these are like separate strata just like the geological record in nature. But they are not. There's gravel at the bottom and silt at the top, just like ONE layer in ONE stratum in the geological record as it exists in nature.
` Am I biased to say that what I see is one layer and not many? Of course not, because you can look at layers and see that each one starts with bigger particles and is topped with smaller particles. That's how it is in nature.
` Creationists who do this stunt say, "Hey, I just disproved that the geological strata were laid down at different times! It's that simple!" thus, implying that the scientists who say otherwise are even simpler! Really, this is meant as a mockery of science.

Is it because of some evil conspiracy that I'm not convinced that they have disproven it? Am I blinded by atheist ideology? Are all the geologists and paleontologists in the world so dumb that they don't notice it's so easy to disprove?
` Or is it just that I know better? I know the facts that contradict this, so when they say, "Hey, these are separate layers!" My BS detector goes off.
` I used to buy into this 'scientists are stubborn anti-spiritual bigots' when I was into all that New Age crap. They said the exact same things as creationists do, but you don't believe New Ager's claims, do you? That people can move objects with their minds and such?
` Mainstream scientists are not ignoring this 'reality', but rather, have found the [pseudoscientists'] 'experiments' to be highly flawed and sometimes even faked. Then, the New Agers refuse to publish their 'research' in scientific journals, claiming that scientists wouldn't accept it because of their anti-spiritual ideology and persecution of New Agers.
` They claimed that because psychic phenomena have an effect on the world and can be controlled and utilized, that they aren't supernatural, but rather natural. They claimed the only reason why scientists object is because of their anti-psychic ideology.
` So on and so forth, just like creationists, as well as cold fusion 'researchers' and people who claim that the oil industry is suppressing the 'science' of energy sources that break the second law of thermodynamics (Mike the mechanic believed this--not surprising!).
` Once I learned how science works, I realized that these fringe people weren't being treated unfairly, or persecuted, that industry [or ideology] does not rule science. I also learned that minorities who show their ideas are right do so by the scientific process, not by backing out of the scientific community and declaring to the world that scientists are basically like Nazis.

It is this finger-pointing and the claims that mainstream science is blinded by ideology which is a substitute for real research. I have given you many examples of why arguments meant to destroy the scientific history of earth actually don't address it, but rather distort it, attacking a straw man instead.
` ALL creationist and ID arguments are like this, not just some. And evidence that there's a conspiracy is similarly fake. Just like with New Agers [i.e. parapsychologists and such] taking quotes out of context and making up things about scientists, creationists do the same thing.
` Recently, I've investigated a quote about a biologist whose last name is Keith (too lazy to look it up at the moment) saying something to the effect of 'the only reason biologists believe evolution is to support their atheistic ideology'. This quote is all over creationist websites, including Hovind's. Most weren't sourced, but some were, saying it was written for the 1959 edition of Origin of Species.
` I found that it was not in that, or any edition of the book. Even more, Keith had died in 1955, so unless he was a zombie, I don't see how this is possible. I could find no source at all for the quote except for creationist websites. I suspect that it was made up by someone, such as Henry Morris, and attributed to Keith, JUST to smear the credibility of biologists.
` Other inflammatory quotes, such as by Stephen Jay Gould and Darwin himself, are quote mined, and I've already given you some examples of how such quotes can be edited to mean the opposite of what they are supposed to mean.
` This HAS TO BE INTENTIONAL, because you can't read the original quotes and not realize what they mean before you decide that you should display parts of them in such a way to mean something quite different.

As a person who studies biology (not as much as I should, I admit) I am used to these insults, but it still hurts my feelings, not because they attack science but because they aren't true. Young Earth Creationist websites remind me of when my dad would just talk about me in front of other people FOR HOURS, totally misrepresenting me and I was punished for trying to correct him.
` So yes, maybe I'm reactionary because of my trauma. I'm sorry. It just wakes up the abused part of my mind. I'm sorry if I've insulted you as well. Educating people about the coolness of science as well as how people can be deceived (and how crazy the media is) is part of my identity, just as your Christian practices are part of your identity.
` I know it must hurt your feelings somewhat when someone accuses you or Christians in general of believing something you don't believe, because they don't have a picture of who you are, or because they're making fun.
` That's why I like to ask you questions, although I'm still learning how to do this well due to so-so social skills. I recognize that I don't know what you, or other individuals really think, so I try not to brand people as believing things they don't believe. In other words, I think I'm getting the hang of not judging people. I hope. I actually care about what other people think, but my communication skills aren't up to par to be an interviewer of sorts, to say the least.

Someday maybe I will, and maybe I'll have a critical thinking podcast in which I interview people and can be sensitive without also being a pushover. LOL! You can be a guest, too!
` Speaking of which, someone expressed [a podcaster's possible] interest in interviewing me at Skeptics in the Pub the other day, for having the brainwashed background that I've had! I KNEW it would count for something!
` Also, Evan Bernstein, co-host of Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, is going to call me soon, at 9 o'clock tonight over Skype and I'm going to help him set up a blog so he can be a science blogger like me! [Yeah, if I can keep putting up posts, right?]
` I'm finally moving into the skeptic community at quite a clip and it's improving my social skills! Now that I have a support group, maybe I won't be so reactionary and feel depressed that creationists are lying about science to people who don't understand it as well as they should ([considering that] I do).

[A]s this is my career, it's my job to know about science more than most people, although I'm still rusty. That's because there's a looooooooooot I've forgotten! That's because there's a loooooooooot to know. And to learn about creationism alongside evolution, that makes it a loooooooooot more! Thanks for reminding me of this!
The next time I saw him, he had a somewhat dejected or preoccupied look about him, but neither of us mentioned anything about this. A little later, I sent him this message:
My conversation with Evan was quite uplifting. He thinks I'm really cool and we have a similar sense of humor, and we'll probably talk again very soon.

It really helps me feel understood when I talk to such people. I could tell them all this and they would understand what I mean.

It's the same if I were to tell you about how, when I was 17 and I was talking to this guy dressed as a Klingon (named Motag), and I was giggling and winking at my dad to show him I didn't think this guy WAS a Klingon. No 17 year-old should have to do this, but I did!
` Then later, we were walking into my dad's brother's house and he turned to his brother and said, "I'm not sure, but I THINK she realized he wasn't a real Klingon."
` I felt such shame [and outrage] that I stopped walking. I wanted to cry. How DARE he make me look like an idiot when I had tried so hard not to look like one?

Or what about the time someone told me to get something that could be used as a blindfold. I said I'd get a pair of shorts, and by the time I was tying them around my head, my dad was coming up the stairs with a tea towel.
` He said, "Oh, when I heard the word 'shorts', I thought you were going to come out with a ratty old stained-up pair of your underwear tied around your head and I wanted to spare you the embarrassment."
` I almost cried when he said that. Since when would I equate 'shorts' with underwear? And why would I be so STUPID as to wear [such a thing] across my face? He was just trying to humiliate me.

You understand this very well. You know it's not right to tell lies and embarrass other people. That's, well, not what Jesus would do. And Jesus would not distort science so that it looks stupid and then say, "Look how stupid it is! Hey, Troy, Spoony believes this stupid shit! She's brainwashed!"
` But I don't, so how can I be brainwashed? They're not going to tell you what *I* believe. There's a huge world of historical science out there, which you clearly don't remember and/or didn't learn much of when you were a kid, but they're not going to tell you anything about it. They're just going to pick thousands of little distortions that kind-of-almost sound right, [close enough to what you may remember], and present that as though it somehow resembles what they're arguing against.
` So-called psychics and other 'fringe' folks also do the same thing, so it's not just creationists!

As part of one of MANY groups that understands what's going on here, I'm surrounded by people who understands the outrage one another is feeling at stuff like this, and can actually try to do something about it.
` When this happens, in the case of anti-vaccine people, they demonize their opponents as baby-killers, even though THEY are responsible for the deaths of babies from disease outbreaks! The host of SGU, Dr. Steven Novella, was once depicted on a prominent anti-vax blog as EATING A BABY for Thanksgiving, and much uglier things, too!
` Reporters and suspected unbelievers also get kicked out of anti-vax conventions because they are seen as evil people who are deliberately spreading misinformation in order to hurt [the believers'] children.

In the creationists' case, they demonize their opponents as atheism-proponents. The National Center for Science Education is one such target because it mainly focuses on evolution education and not much else. That must mean its ulterior motive is to force atheism on kids, right?
` Not at all: Have you ever heard of a movement to distort chemistry, or physics? Those fields are just as 'atheistic' as evolution, geology, genetics, etc. Such movements exist, but they are not in the public sphere as creationism is.
` The point of the NCSE is merely to defend science from the religious right when they try to mess with evolution education, as well as global warming education, and education about how science works.
` (I mean, come on! You can't have kids being taught that one geologic layer is many, that kind of thing. It's ridiculous!)
` The religious right also claims that stem cell research is being taught in grade school, and they want it banned, except it's NOT being taught, so that's just a smear campaign. The NCSE also has to deal with this mess.

The ID folks also tried to get the definition of science changed, as it is taught in schools, so that its methodology can include more than just natural explanations.
` That actually isn't possible to do, as you cannot empirically study something that is outside of nature, hence that is not the scientific method, hence this cannot be taught to children AS the scientific method.

Don't believe the Discovery Institute is a Republican Think Tank? Challenge your view by looking at this! (It's well-sourced.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_institute

I actually sent you an email of this long, long ago, as well as blogging by these two girls who went to pay Casey Luskin a visit at the DI, which is an annex on the side of a 24 Hour Fitness building.
` They actually succeeded, but only after they had to LIE in order to get in the door, because the DI does not welcome anyone who doesn't agree with them.
` They said they saw a bust of Ronald Reagan and all kinds of creationist and scary FOX News-esque books and said that Casey said some... well... laughable [political] things, I don't recall exactly anymore, but it was in the email.

I also said in the email that I would like to do the same investigation for myself this summer. Maybe I will, with my skeptic friends, and maybe even tell these other girls who did this about it.
` I'm sure I can find some people who are more than willing! You're also welcome to come along to see it for yourself!

[Figuring I still had plenty of points to present, I sent him another message.]

Also, wanted to clarify... that of course hurt feelings aren't my only motivation for my opposition to creationism -- I just wanted you, personally, to know where I'm coming from and why I get upset at these people sometimes. I'm not upset at you, just them, because they lied TO you.
` I also want you to know that if you have been misrepresented, or if I have misrepresented you, you can tell me. I DO understand, and am interested in knowing.

My main concern is preventing the public from being misinformed, because that's what this is really about.

It really does hurt, though. It's almost like racist propaganda against scientists, evolution and atheists. To say these are religions or ideology is a typical trick of the [Religious] Right -- they even say that there's a 'homosexual agenda' to convert children, as though it's an ideology and not a largely-genetic condition one is born with!
` Of course this 'evil gay conspiracy' thing is ridiculous and based on ideology and not science or facts at all! It also really hurts gay people's feelings for obvious reasons -- it's a lot like racism!
` It's also extremely damaging in that it causes parents to disown their children -- I know someone who can't tell his mom because of that. Such is the hatred that some gay kids kill themselves.
` Once there was this gay guy who had a couple of shops on Colby, and I asked why the police were there earlier and why he had bloody bandages on his head. He said his co-worker's son went into his shop with a baseball bat and his homophobe friends for some gay-bashing. This is the damage that propaganda does, or at least exacerbates!
` Even some heterosexual people have been attacked and killed by homophobes because they APPEARED to be gay. I think that spreading awareness is the best way to fight this sort of thing, just as it did for women's rights and the rights of other minorities.

The anti-atheist hate speech on FOX News, and even some local news shows (which enrages me) is very similar to anti-atheist hate speech of creationism proponents (and are often one and the same). SO many people hate atheists, and that's why we're "in the closet", like in that article I put on your Wall.
` I often hear about people, even kids, being beaten up because they are atheists. At least one person I know of, Larry Hooper, was murdered because he had a crazy roommate who unfortunately took the anti-atheist propaganda a little too seriously. According to one article:

"Shelton sounded calm and prideful when he told the dispatcher he had just shot "the devil himself" with a revolver and a shotgun because "he (Hooper) didn't believe in God." Shelton told the dispatcher he was "still armed and ready to shoot again in case he moves. I want to make sure he's gone." When the dispatcher asked how many times he shot the victim Shelton replied, "hopefully enough."

...When the police arrived they were confronted with the grizzly scene of Hooper sitting upright on the couch with his head blown away and his brain lying on his hand."

True, we are all born atheists, but atheist-hatred isn't like racism or homophobia in that way. It's unfair because atheists (and most were formerly theists) cannot bring themselves to believe in a theistic God. Why? Because "they know too much" in some way or another and just can't convince themselves any more than you or I could convince ourselves of other things we don't believe in, like Vishnu or that truth comes out of Glen Beck's mouth.
` It's not really the atheist's fault, it just happens spontaneously, for the most part, with these people following their own questions. And what does that get them? Crazy hate speech, like, "These evil atheists hate God and are helping the devil to push our children away from God." Replace 'God' with 'Zeus' and 'the devil' with 'Hades' and, well, that's basically what I hear. I can't make myself believe in gods, much less hate them!
` It is similarly the case with "you don't believe in God because you don't want someone telling you what to do, and because you're too proud to admit there's something bigger than you that knows what's right, etc."
` You have to assume that God exists to begin with to think that atheism has anything to do with hating God, priding one's self over God, or wanting to not believe in God so they can sin. ONLY A THEIST can have this perspective, and atheist CANNOT.

Let me spell this flawed logic out to you:

1: God exists.
2: Atheists don't believe in God.
Conclusion: These atheists are rebelling against God.

Here's what atheists REALLY think:

1: A theistic God probably/maybe doesn't exist.
2: I might as well be on my own.
Conclusion: I'd better take care of my own life and the people in it because who else will?

Do you see the difference? And yes, some kids are sometimes disowned or beaten by their parents because they can't make themselves believe in God, or even pretend to.

This offensive and destructive propaganda is why I make a point to try to correct whatever misconceptions you may have -- at the same time, I know I must make wrong judgments about other people, so I try to ask questions so that I'm not wrong about them, either. It's very tough to sort out, but I'm pushing my way through!

I'm sure you've heard plenty of hate-speech against yourself, and you can share that with me if you like. It's really okay! I want to know!
` In any case, I didn't tell you all this before because being offended doesn't make an argument -- facts do.
` And, speaking of which, my link in the last message was the wrong one -- the one I sent in my email many moons ago was this one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Science_and_Culture
Since them, I've sent him more stuff, but it delves into subjects more personal than this. It all seems very surreal, as I don't even know whether he can understand how destructive this propaganda is.
` Talk about introspection of a struggling mad science writer! I'm going deep into my own psychology, and I must be mad to struggle to get at least a few of my points across to this guy.
` In doing this exercise, I understand this whole thing better than before. In reading this, my readers also may as well, hopefully better than AR probably ever will!

5 comments:

KB said...

I also find that writing somethng down gives me a better understanding of it than I had in the first place.

Tor Hershman said...

I betz me wee video makes it a bit less lonely....
http://www.youtube.com/v/_m6qC6FCiY0?fs
Ain't that a god/satan hoot?

S E E Quine said...

Indeed, KB, that's what makes it good practice for a career of writing!

LOL, Tor, that's special! In a good way. And maybe also in a Special Bus way, too, :P

Charles said...

[` This explains, they said, why animal and plant fossils are always either plant or animal, and so therefore finding some sort of animal/plant hybrid would contradict common descent.]
Hmm. Maybe someone should point out the slime molds and other Protoctista? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/phenom_mar01.html shows some, Wikipedia is a good place to start for more about them.

Charles said...

Well, it describes some, rather.