Category Archives: Atheism

Atheist in Wonderland

At some point or another many on-line atheists are drawn towards an enticing rabbit hole. A singularity of rabbit holes among the broad array of rabbit holes to be found in the bazaars of bad sectors and binary bullshit the the Internet has to offer. Shock and horror awaits, lurking in dark dot coms and netherworld news feeds. Snatched up by a search engine from the gallows of Google, it forms, sucking you in like the brutal after effects of a supermarket shootout, you cant look away, you can’t escape.

“Hey atheists, if evolution is real…”

And so it begins. Your body and mind stretch as things become blurred and time becomes meaningless, as you’re drawn into the black hole of intrigue, lies, betrayal, and conspiracy. As the gravitational pull stretches your mind to the limit, even the simple becomes complex.

“Evolution is a proven scientific fact!”

Logical laws collapse in the infinity of fallacy which has led you thus far. You passionately defend all you know about science and evolution in the face of conspiracy theories, equivocation and talking animals.

Image Source

Meanwhile, your opponent wasn’t talking about evolution. Also lost in the infinite singularity was that the question is irrelevant. An even more distant issue from your mind is that the pseudoscience involved has little to do with biology.

Lets face it, many times we find ourselves defending evolution, the issue is the origin of life and the argument a statistical one, not a biological one. Given the reams and reams of crap out there about evolution, you’ll probably be shocked that an article on a page opposing pseudoscience would say what I’m about to say. I really don’t think there is much reason to bother with defending evolution against deniers, because the problem is normally not evolution, the origin of life, or any other scientific issue. The problem is that there exist beliefs which are held as irrefutable by many, and which are in direct opposition to certain biological and cosmological tenets of modern science.

“Surely this is a good reason to debate them?” You may well ask. No, because the dogma is too strong. To borrow from (ironically) a Biblical parable, seeds that are sown in hard ground don’t grow. Although I’m a big fan of “Thank You For Smoking” and the debate lessons it gives (the crucial acknowledgement of the audience in the ice cream debate), I feel more can be achieved even among debate audiences, if a different approach were considered.

This is a site focused on science and empirically observable phenomena, but I think certain things need to be covered before empiricism takes hold of us. What is the logical reasoning being applied? For example, we will assume the origin of life is in question and the argument is “what are the chances of life randomly forming without being directed by an intentional force?”

  • The origin of life is the question, evolution is what happens to life that has formed. Don’t defend evolution, you’re defending the wrong thing.
  • The question isn’t about biological research into the origin of life, it is about the statistical probabilities of random events leading to a particular event assuming all possible events share equal probability. Don’t defend biology, this isn’t the field for which a pseudoscience is being built.

Having established this, it is easier to proceed:

  • How do we know all the random events have equal probability?
  • How do we know the events are random, and that due to the ways particles interact, some are simply not going to happen given the environment available?
  • How do we know that this isn’t the only possible outcome and isn’t random at all?
  • At what point mathematically is an event considered impossible?

Unfortunately n=1. There is only one universe that we have observed, so we only have empirical evidence that one like this can exist, all the other possibilities are merely hypothetical.

It is also true that the origin of life wasn’t observed, and that this is equally problematic for biologists and theologians. It is easy for believers to claim that they don’t accept a natural origin of life because it has never been observed. This is ironically an “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” argument. Aside from this, it would be entirely rational and intellectually consistent to then conclude that one must also reject the idea of a divine origin for life, as it has also never been observed. While possibilities abound on this matter, the honest answer is, “I don’t know”.

At this point, one may say that the response to the above is usually an appeal to ignorance, “that we don’t know, is proof that ancient people with livestock did know.” So what? Point it out and read on for more.

The entire premise hinged on a false alternative. Simply broken down, it either happened completely randomly, or gods did it. This cannot eliminate other possibilities (some I alluded to earlier). Perhaps this is merely a simulated reality designed for us. We can’t prove this, but we can’t rule it out, and thus saying it must be a god or random process is fallacious. But either or arguments need to be exhaustive, life was made by god/s, or it wasn’t; it is random, or it isn’t and so on. The argument here would require a kind of omniscient awareness of every possibility available and what rules them all out. This is the reason why any theological debate about evolution is fallacious. even if the subject were evolution, this response is still the most valid, and simplest, and doesn’t land on the hard ground of evolution. Formal logic isn’t as easy to deny, as we all make basic day-to-day assumptions based on it. but the rational response if the subject is evolution is revealing this fallacy.

If we answer the final question in the list, then we have a simple answer. According to most modern stats textbooks, impossible events have a probability of zero, but the converse is not the case. Mathematical reasoning can assign a zero probability to a possible event. This would normally involve an infinite countable set, like the rational numbers between 1 and 2, and an equal assignment of probability to each member of the set randomly being called. The thing is, the origin of life is not an infinite countable set, but a finite countable set, and thus will produce a positive probability, although miserably small. The event is possible.

Another issue is that while origins of life are improbable unusual events, by gods or nature, they are not less likely than any other of the possible events, given complete randomness. Something had to happen with reacting chemicals, and all the possibility had equal probabilities, then a low probability outcome is the expected result. Therefore, we have an event with an expected probability. Given that origin of life was a random event, the mathematical probability is what we would expect it to be.

I’m going to wrap this up. Perhaps you think I should offer more. I haven’t won, I have proved nothing, I have merely provided some possibilities, and pointed out that the stats aren’t unexpected, given the information they provided. I also mentioned the false alternative, and how the question doesn’t bear much relevance to being and atheist, or that it is very helpful in providing a good reason to believe in god. I have merely planted some seeds in the softer soil beneath the hardened surface of the anti evolution movement.

Image source

From Superstition to Reason: Journeys to Humanism/Atheism by HAPI

 

 

At long last, the very first secular book has come out from the printing press in Manila, Philippines. Soft launching is today, Good Friday for the Roman Catholics all over the world, a symbol of death for them, while it is a symbol of  love and education for us in HAPI (Humanist Alliance Philippines, International).

This book took about 6 years to make, with bittersweet memories, headaches and sleepless nights. We are lucky to have found a better personnel this time in HAPI, who made this book a reality. A long and grueling collaborative effort, with down to earth leadership, we finally did it.

With over 70 different journeys, from tearjerker to something serious and noble : from being religious to agnosticism and finally atheism,  and to make it better, we call it  humanism, as an act of love to our fellowmen in the Philippines.

It is only available via HAPI based in the Philippines for now,  at PHP 300 equivalent to $ 6 USD.

The profits,  if any,  will be utilized to buy more prints of this book to be donated to local libraries of schools and universities.

Education is our route in combating religiosity in the Philippines and for exponential growth.

My legacy will continue, I can die anytime.

I am not afraid.

By:

Marissa Torres Langseth, RN, MSN, ANP, Retired

Chairwoman Emeritus

HAPI Founder

 

https://hapihumanist.org/events/catch-em-young-exponential-growth-vision/

Mob behavior and the feeling of being right

People don’t want to understand, people want to feel they are right.

herdMentality

Disagreeing online has become a dangerous thing to do, the internalization of beliefs and the fanatization of those who hold said beliefs puts an end to rationality and opens the door for visceral discussions.

“Attacking my beliefs is attacking me, as I am what I think”

When a person disagrees with the notion a group holds dear, the usual reaction includes personal disqualifications, personal attacks, public mocking and exposure of personal information to shame that who dared to have a different opinion.

This happens because when a person feels the support of a group in which he or she is part of the majority, what the majority believes is taken as the truth.
If you were to go to an online group or forum dedicated to a certain topic, whether it is politics, conspiracy ideas, social movements, even fan clubs, and said “I’m not X”, sooner or later the conversation would devolve into an insult fest, in the case that the post is not deleted from the site and the user banned before the mob notices the one that is different.

I’d like to attach this behavior to those who I disagree with, but I’ve seen this kind of irrational and tribalistic behavior occurring within certain circles I’m part of, ending up forming eco-chambers where differing opinions and cognitive growth go to die.

“Understanding why the other person thinks he is right is more important than being right oneself”

Maslow constructed his model based on how people behave and what they need to do in order to achieve self-realization, forming part of a group and feeling one belongs is one of the most important factors in the process of achieving self-realization.
I’m mentioning this part because peer-pressure and the desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves is usually the reason why we, as humans, tend to behave in certain waves that include attacking those who are different, those who disagree, those who don’t have opinions and beliefs like ours.

Are we really far from our cousins the chimps or are we still following our instincts in order to survive while we keep self deluding ourselves into thinking we are “the rational ones”?

groupsInternet

How I became an Atheist in Pakistan

Pakistani Muslim students attend a religious madrassa, or school, to learn the Quran, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Religious schools in Pakistan, most of them in mosques, are the only source of education for thousands of children. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore at dusk.

 

This story is being posted on behalf of a member of the AAPN community. Our friend Adeel.

I am no different from anyone around me. Being born in a Muslim family I was no different from every other Muslim baby. When I was born my parents felt that I was blessing of Allah forgetting that in fact it was completely their effort. The first words I ever heard were “Azzan”, which is said in my right ear and ” Aqamat” which was said in my left. Being the first boy of the family I got a lot of love and attention from my family. This included religious indoctrination. While growing up the first word I learned was “Allah”. Muslim parents love to hear “Allah” as the first word from their baby’s mouth. When I learned to speak, the first class I had was about the Koran. I was like every other kid, waking at 5:30 AM in the morning to go to the nearby “Madrassa” (Islamic School) before going to primary school. Even primary school stressed religious instruction.

The girls, 5 to 5 years old, were supposed to wear “hijab” as part of their training. I was taught to pray when I was 7. We learned the prayers through nursery rhymes. We also attended a mandatory class called Islamic Studies. This was where we were brained-washed with Islamic stories and so-called Islamic values. We were not to question our religion nor its concept of a God. As I was to find out, there is no space for question in religion. Like every other Muslim child I was indoctrinated with their concept of heaven, about how beautiful it is and about the many beautiful women I would get if I lived my life acting on the rules of Islam. Like every other kid I was told that only Muslims are going to heaven because God loves only Muslims and he created heaven only for Muslims. Like everyone else I was told to hate other religions. I was to feel proud for being a Muslim. I was told how important it is for girls to wear hijab so that no man can see them. I was conditioned so well to accept this that I started to force the women and girls in my family to wear the hijab. As a teenager I joined Islamic groups who travel from city to city to invite people to Islam. I grew the beard and I was happy that I was born a Muslim; imagining myself going to heaven and getting 72 virgins gave me great motivation to become even more devoted to my religion.

Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul…Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN – Tags: RELIGION)

This was all to change. It shocked me when I started to study other religions and I realized that every religion has the concept of heaven and hell, and every religion promises its followers to let them enter into heaven. I read that every religion tells its followers to hate other religions and that followers of every other religion are going to hell. This opened my eyes and really made me question my own beloved Islam. I began to see how all the Islamic sects spread hate against the other sects. The more I read the more the more I started to hate my own religion, to hate any religion. I tired of it all, though I didn’t lose my faith in God.

Then when I was 20 my grandfather had an attack of paralysis. I visited him in the hospital. That visit to the hospital was a game changer. I was walking through the childrens ward, thinking of my grandfather, when I heard some children crying in pain. This event really made me question my beliefs about God. I wondered how God could really exist if he could not help these children. After that visit I saw several accidents on the road. As I saw that they were all man-made accidents, it dawned on me that really God, too, is just a creation of man’s own mind. Later I began to see that this concept of a God is also something that is used to help rulers control the poor, for a few to exert power over the rest of mankind. I saw that religion is used to divide people and make them fight each other for personal gain and advantage.
So this is how I turned from being Suni Muslim to an atheist. I will never look back.

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The Illuminator Comic: Bob the believer!

I created this character called Bob the Believer (Believer Bob),  the quintessential religious, Bible thumping, fundamentalist  whack job.
Believer Bob tries unsuccessfully to stump Triangle Head every time.  You’ll notice that Bob totally rejects every scientific theory and favors Creationism at every turn. Cognitive Dissonance!
Enjoy! 🙂

Also on Instagram @the_illuminator_comic
http://www.theilluminatorcomic.com

What is The Illuminator Comic?
“The Illuminator”, is a character driven comic strip by Chris Pinto, that turns Religion, Politics and Conspiracy theory on it’s head.
The Protagonist, Triangle-head is an evil dude, with a soft heart. He is a member of the Illuminati. Join him on a quest to keep things real, while raising his three year old son Baltar, to someday lead the New World Order.
~ by Chris Pinto

The Illuminator Comic: A few decision trees.

Here are a couple of decision tree strips I did.

 

Also on Instagram @the_illuminator_comic
http://www.theilluminatorcomic.com

What is The Illuminator Comic?
“The Illuminator”, is a character driven comic strip by Chris Pinto, that turns Religion, Politics and Conspiracy theory on it’s head.
The Protagonist, Triangle-head is an evil dude, with a soft heart. He is a member of the Illuminati. Join him on a quest to keep things real, while raising his three year old son Baltar, to someday lead the New World Order.
~ by Chris Pinto

The Spectrum of Knowledge and Belief

The Spectrum of Knowledge and Belief

I have at times accepted the Agnostic Atheist label I did so in part as an assertion of the scientific principle of uncertainty (I was never indoctrinated and haven’t experienced the doubts I have heard from those who struggled from the grasp of such). So it was definitely not being doubtful, just trying to be scientific. Sounds good? nods,  but I also felt uncomfortable with the agnostic angle because as generally used  it implied doubt which I didn’t in any way feel. Now I  have come to think I was fundamentally missing the point and confusing the issue. The core problem comes from the definition of knowledge and belief.

So let’s look at a philosophical definition of knowledge as quite honestly when we are doing with this labelling game. We are dancing with philosophy. (Pragmatic types just left the room)

Defining Knowledge

Plato defined knowledge as a “Justified True Belief” 

This might be modelled thusly

circle_diagram3
Platonic Model of Knowledge

This brings us to the bit…

Knowledge and Belief
are not purely distinct things

In fact knowledge is just a specialized case where a claim meets standards of evidence sufficiently to match our acceptance as knowledge threshold. (we do not have any handle on plato’s truth not really so lets ignore that for now sigh)

Presenting them as different axis like they are  often done might be seen as rather deceptive.

No distinction

Perhaps we could argue they are different markers along a path of differing degrees of justification.

<insert image reflecting this model>

Justification aka Evidence.

We could define this as a range of evidence quality with markers showing where we decide that belief becomes knowledge  (and aside from errors generally there should have strong correlation with plato’s truth).

Standards of Evidence

What amount of evidence or lack there of (where evidence would reasonably be expected ) do you require to consider a belief to be knowledge?

This question is the core of that scale.  But it gets tricky  do you have different standards for different things well yes of course you do but are they appropriately  contextual like how the scientific axiom of  “Extreme assertions requiring extreme evidence”  as popularised by Carl Sagan  calls it. Or are those standards influenced by something else (like fear tactics embedded in the religious doctrines themselves or a desire to get along and not be in conflict with dominant religions).

There is also of course differences in evidence quality like subjective vs objective experience . (let’s just avoid Descartes anti-pragmatic it is all subjective hole for now).

Beyond that we come down to the nature of the claim…

Multitudes of Definitions
– Changing/Moving Goal Posts

One of the reasons we see where people assert they do not believe but they do not know (ie agnostic atheism) may be occurring because of the lack of precision in “the god claim” , but I think it is not just that there are a variety of claims ( for this reason I have a fondness for Ignosticism ).

As even focusing on what is supposedly a broadly speaking singular modern claim. you see serious changing definitions over time and those changes have a pattern that should itself be a clue about the nature of the claims.

It seems very apparent that the religious salesmen and apologists have been intentionally redefining their magic sky daddy premise and moving goal posts to remove expectation of evidence.  He was in the sky and liked the smell of burning flesh till humans were able to fly beyond the world, now he is some interdimensional out of time being. They aren’t gaining new knowledge they are refining a manipulative scam a con game. The con-men want you to give them freedom to sell their crap.

I personally won’t be buffaloed in to not calling it crap because of some extreme vague white washed deist possibility that simply put does not correspond at all to what the religions are actually selling.

Logic, And Why God Isn’t The Answer

Originally published by our friends at www.answers-in-reason.com Jan 10 2016

I have come across many different types of believers in my time. Those that believe because of Indoctrination, those that believe because of fear, those that believe because of personal experiences, and many more. But the one thing that I struggle with understanding more than any other are those that believe that God is the logical conclusion, otherwise intelligent people who genuinely believe that a belief in the supernatural god is logically sound.

I have to assume that this is because of a misunderstanding of logic itself. Just because you have intellectually justified something, does NOT mean that it was done so through logic.

To demonstrate this, I will guide you through the three different types of logic first, and then explain why God cannot be the conclusion for them.

Deductive:

Deductive Logic is the most accurate way of finding a definitive answer. It is looking at a complete set of information that unquestionably points to a specific answer.

For Example: I have left a chocolate cake alone in a room with my son. I have locked the door when I left, and there are no windows in the room. When I return, the cake is gone, the room is clean, my son has chocolate crumbs around his mouth, and a stomach ache from a sugar crash.

In this example there is enough evidence to point to only one answer. My son has definitely eaten the cake.

Inductive:

Inductive Logic is a good way of predicting results, but is not definitely right. It is looking at an incomplete set of information, but that is enough to indicate a pattern from which we can estimate other results.

For Example: I have repeated the example from the Deductive Logic section several times, and the result has always been the same. I repeat the actions again. I leave my son locked in a room with a chocolate cake. As I approach the door I can hear him moaning in pain on the other side.

In this example it is entirely reasonable for me to induce that my son has eaten the cake again. But the important difference is that I don’t actually know. He may have fallen over, or had a sudden onset of Appendicitis.

Abductive:

Abductive logic is another way of figuring out what is likely, but not necessarily true. It is making an observation, and working out the simplest answer to fit.

For Example: Similarly to the original example, I have left a cake in a room, but this time I have left the door unlocked. When I return i see my son hurrying away from the door, and find that the cake is gone.

In this example the simplest solution is that my son has eaten the cake, and hurried away so as to not get caught. But there is no way of proving this with the information that is available at the time.

And now why God cannot be the reasonable conclusion for any of these.

Deductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Deductive Logic, we would have to have an amount of evidence that CANNOT be attributed to anything else. The evidence would have to point to God as the ONLY possible solution.

Inductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Inductive Logic, we would have to have empirical evidence of the supernatural. For a supernatural entity to be the conclusion through Inductive Logic, there has to be proof of enough supernatural happenings or entities to indicate a pattern.

Abductive:

For God to be the conclusion for Abductive Logic, it would have to answer more questions than it raises. Where this may have been the case in the past, in times when science hadn’t answered so many of the fundamental questions that we have, it is certainly not the case anymore.

Conclusion:

You may be able to find a way, as a Theist, to intellectually justify your belief in God. But PLEASE stop saying it is logical. It isn’t. You are doing a disservice to logic, and you are doing harm to your own intelligence in the eyes of people who know how logic works.

Kriss Pyke

Debunking Summary of Scientific Evidence for Creation (Part I & II) Duane Gish, Ph.D.

Debunking Gish
Prof Duane Gish

Originally published at www.answers-in-reason.com Jan 2016

I do dislike sharing links from such sites as www.icr.org and www.answersingenesis.org but for the purposes of this, and the debunking other articles, it is unfortunately unavoidable. The article I would like to address in this article is http://www.icr.org/article/summary-scientific-evidence-for-creation/

I guess firstly I should introduce you to Duane Tolbert Gish, Ph.D.

For a person with a Ph.D, I would expect better, but when a person will turn his back on the scientific method and make claims he cannot support while putting forward arguments in debate and citing it as scientific then we have a problem. He has a worldview which he promotes and will stoop to new levels to try to this worldview in with science. We have all heard of the Gish Gallop technique of bombarding your debating opponent with far too much information to debunk thereby swamping them with too many rebuttals to present, often the information are half truths, if they even make it to being a truth at all. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, named after our friend Prof Gish. It seems Duane knew his comments would not stand up to scrutiny so he would make a comment and not dwell on it.

Gish is well known in debating circles for several huge gaffs:

  • Claiming there are no fossil precursors to the dinosaur Triceratops (despite obvious precursors such as Protoceratops being well-known since the 1920s). Gish made other similarly incorrect statements about the fossil record, including claims about transitional forms, the fossil record for birds and the status of Archaeopteryx.[5][6]
  • Claiming that Solly Zuckerman had access to modernknowledge of Australopithecus yet still stated they were not ancestors of Homo sapiens — Zuckerman’s original conclusions were based on evidence available before the Lucy fossil was discovered, revolutionising the field of physical anthropology.
  • Claiming that Neanderthals were modern humans, “fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me,” which is false given the morphological difference between modern humans and Neanderthals. (Well, the “homo sapiens” part is false; Neanderthals were fully human, just not the same species of human as us)
  • Claiming that evolution by natural selection is rendered impossible by the second law of thermodynamics.
  • Claiming that the dinosaur Parasaurolophus used its distinctive crest as a mixing chamber for breathing fire.

Source: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Duane_Gish

Another one worth mentioning is his “Bullfrog Affair”.

The Bullfrog Affair itself starts with the KPBS production, “Creation vs Evolution:  Battle in the Classroom”, which aired 7 July 1982.  After Dr. Doolittle related his story of the chimpanzee blood proteins, Dr.Duane Gish responded:  “If we look at certain proteins, yes man then, it can be assumed that man is more closely related to a chimpanzee than other things.  But, on the other hand, if you look at certain proteins, you will find that man is more closely related to a bullfrog than he is to a chimpanzee.  If you focus your attention on other proteins, you’ll find that man is more closely related to a chicken than he is to a  chimpanzee.”  This was immediately followed by Dr. Doolittle’s response, “Oh bullfrog!I’ve heard that gibberish before, I have to tell you.” This was the first recorded use of “Bullfrog” that I am aware of.  Then Doolittle indicated abook full of amino acid sequences from thousands of proteins taken from many hundreds of species and offered Gish all his worldly belongings, a ’63VW and half a house, if Gish could find just one protein in chickens or bullfrogs that is more closely related to human proteins than chimpanzee proteins.     Robert Schadewald, then Minnesota Committee of Correspondence liaison andpresently editor of _NCSE Reports_ (formerly _Creation/Evolution Newsletter_)watched that show.  Since Gish’s claim sounded like nonsense, he checked it outwith a few biochemists, who had never heard of such proteins.  So Schadewald started a three-year-long quest for Gish’s source. Doolittle responded to Schadewald’s letter with extensive documentation for his statements about human and chimpanzee proteins.  Requests for Gish to dolikewise were met with evasion, obfuscation, and silence.

As far as I know Gish did not respond to requests before his death other than saying he will present relevant documentation to support his claim, but such documentation has never actually surfaced.

Source: http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/bullfrog.html

Poisoning the well, ad hominem I hear you cry but in all honesty merely alerting the good readers as to the lengths this guy will go to in order further the creationist cause.

Let us now dive in to Gish’s Summary of Scientific Evidence for Creation(SOSEFC).

“The creation model is at least as scientific as the evolution model, and is at least as nonreligious as the evolution model.”  Duane Gish

The problem with this is they start with a premise that there is a creator deity. They then take known scientific facts such as the sudden expansion of our universe and try to work backwards using retrodictive techniques to align this with scripture. This is not science. This is the opposite of science and a technique I have seen employed by Islamic charlatans like Zakir Naik. A vile practice.

To compare that with an actual scientific theory, which has been worked on for 150 years and which has been added to and finally supported by the quite recent science of gene mapping. That is DNA evidence, the same type of evidence used to show familial ties in court rooms globally now shows familial ties between us and our fellow primates. The fossil record ties in nicely and supports predictions made by the modern model of evolution.

Gish goes on to say, “The scientific model of creation, in summary, includes the scientific evidence for a sudden creation of complex and diversified kinds of life, with systematic gaps persisting between different kinds and with genetic variation occurring within each kind since that time. “

Kinds? I fail to find anywhere in my biology textbooks the mentions of kinds. Phylogeny and taxonomy may still be debated topics in the real science world but to mention the biblical kinds makes a mockery of biology.

“The creation model questions vertical evolution, which is the emergence of complex from simple and change between kinds, but it does not challenge what is often called horizontal evolution or microevolution, which creationists call genetic variation or species or subspecies formation within created kinds.“

From this I see deflection from the creation “theory” and an attempt to discredit the theory of evolution. They are agreeing with parts of the theory they cannot argue against, admitting evolution happens but then try to employ the micro and macro argument. The problem is that macro evolution is supported by the fossil record. Creationists in my experience tend to gloss over the fossil record and completely ignore the various dating methods which work independently of each other and support each other

We can also explain vertical evolution and the adding of information in DNA, gene duplication explains this perfectly.

Back to the claims of Gish:

The Universe and the Solar System Were Suddenly Created.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total quantity of matter and energy in the universe is constant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that matter and energy always tend to change from complex and ordered states to disordered states. Therefore the universe could not have created itself, but could not have existed forever, or it would have run down long ago. Thus the universe, including matter and energy, apparently must have been created. The “big-bang” theory of the origin of the universe contradicts much physical evidence and seemingly can only be accepted by faith.1 This was also the case with the past cosmogonies theories of evolutionists that have been discarded, such as Hoyle’s steady-state theory. The universe has “obvious manifestations of an ordered, structured plan or design.” Similarly, the electron is materially inconceivable and yet it is so perfectly known through its effects,” yet a “strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electrons as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer.” “The inconceivability of some ultimate issue (which will always lie outside scientific resolution) should not be allowed to rule out any theory that explains the interrelationship of observed data and is useful for prediction,” in the words of Dr. Wernher von Braun, the renowned late physicist in the NASA space program.

Ahhhh, the beautiful Physics, much more my preferred flavour of science.  I am not sure when this was first presented by Gish but recently Prof. Mir Faisal of the University of Toronto showed using Inflation Theory and Double Special Relativity how the universe could have come from the spontaneous appearance of a single virtual particle. Mir Faisal is a creationist but an honest one.

Also the laws of physics only come in to play a Planck unit of time after the sudden expansion. The laws of thermodynamics cannot be quoted and meaningfully to pre-big bang to say it could not have happened. No rules means anything goes. We observe the spontaneous appearance of virtual particles in a vacuum with no apparent creator involved so Gish is very much falling foul of presupposition of a deity without reason to assume one. As far as we can tell one is simply not needed. At the time of writing this was also most likely an argument from personal ignorance.

As for the big bang being faith based, if it were not for the cosmic background radiation, our universe expanding from a single point in all directions and red shift then this may be true, however we do have those facts so it is silly to claim no physical evidence. I can only call it a lie, relying on the gullible to just accept his claim.

He goes on to mention the apparent order in the universe. We can look firstly to Douglas Adams Puddle analogy to refute this claim;

“This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

― Douglas AdamsThe Salmon of Doubt

And again Gish relies on presupposition of a creator without actually showing one to exist. Simply fallacious. Now you can quote fallacy fallacy however we can show no deity needed so in this instance pointing out the fallacious nature of his argument which he needs to do to support his worldview is perfectly justified.

He is correct however that the universe is at a pretty perfect level in every way for it to exist as it is…. Think about it for a second, if it was not at the balanced state it is what would there be, either no universe because it could not sustain itself or the universe would simply be different. But it is not different and it does exist, that just shows it is how it is and doesn’t collapse on itself. It does not mean it MUST have a designer.

Life Was Suddenly Created.

Life appears abruptly and in complex forms in the fossil record,2 and gaps appear systematically in the fossil record between various living kinds.3 These facts indicate that basic kinds of plants and animals were created. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that things tend to go from order to disorder (entropy tends to increase) unless added energy is directed by a conversion mechanism (such as photosynthesis), whether a system is open or closed. Thus simple molecules and complex protein, DNA, and RNA molecules seemingly could not have evolved spontaneously and naturalistically into a living cell;4 such cells apparently were created. The laboratory experiments related to theories on the origin of life have not even remotely approached the synthesis of life from nonlife, and the extremely limited results have depended on laboratory conditions that are artificially imposed and extremely improbable.5 The extreme improbability of these conditions and the relatively insignificant results apparently show that life did not emerge by the process that evolutionists postulate.

How does fossilisation occur?

When animals, plants and other organisms die, they typically decay completely. But sometimes, when the conditions are just right, they’re preserved as fossils. Several different physical and chemical processes create fossils, according to the New York State Geological Survey.

Freezing, drying and encasement, such as in tar or resin, can create whole-body fossils that preserve bodily tissues. These fossils represent the organisms as they were when living, but these types of fossils are very rare.

Most organisms become fossils when they’re changed through various other means.

The heat and pressure from being buried in sediment can sometimes cause the tissues of organisms — including plant leaves and the soft body parts of fish, reptiles and marine invertebrates — to release hydrogen and oxygen, leaving behind a residue of carbon.

This process — which is called carbonization, or distillation — yields a detailed carbon impression of the dead organism in sedimentary rock.

The most common method of fossilization is called permineralization, or petrification. After an organism’s soft tissues decay in sediment, the hard parts — particularly the bones — are left behind.

Source: http://www.livescience.com/37781-how-do-fossils-form-rocks.html

Considering this we are lucky to have the thousands of fossils which we have now. It is not a simple process. What we do have are transitional fossils. Now I would argue that each new generation born is a transitional form from the last but it is very difficult to see the tiny changes. In  fig 1 below you can however see transitional skull fossils showing the transition of a forward breathing nostril to a mid skull breather to finally the recognisable nostril of the modern dolphin and whale.

Debunking Gish

fig 1

I see another argument from ignorance with regards to RNA and DNA and complex proteins not being able to evolve, He is not wrong because that is not the claim of science. Prof Jack Szostak winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Med, Prof of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at same, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Alex. A. Rich Distinguished Investigator, and member of Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital would show how life could begin.

Oh an appeal to authority booms from the voice boxes of the theist throng – Well yes it is and for good reason. He is just that. And my appealing to his authority does not refute nor debunk his work on abiogenesis. I would love for you to give over 9 minutes of your time to watch this simple video from the Origins collection, The Origin of Life.

Other Molecular biologists speak out here

And probably the biggest breakthrough to date, self replicating RNA forms in lab which is recreating old earth environment . I can only guess these experiments were not carried out by the time of Gish’s publishing this pamphlet.

Also he calls molecular biologists “Evolutionists”. How uncouth, pandering to an audience and trying to cast dispersions through a fabricated title.

All Present Living Kinds of Animals and Plants Have Remained Fixed Since Creation, Other than Extinctions, and Genetic Variation in Originally Created Kinds Has Only Occurred within Narrow Limits.

Systematic gaps occur between kinds in the fossil record. None of the intermediate fossils that would be expected on the basis of the evolution model have been found between single celled organisms and invertebrates, between invertebrates and vertebrates, between fish and amphibians, between amphibians and reptiles, between reptiles and birds or mammals, or between “lower” mammals and primates. While evolutionists might assume that these intermediate forms existed at one time, none of the hundreds of millions of fossils found so far provide the missing links. The few suggested links such as Archoeopteryx and the horse series have been rendered questionable by more detailed data. Fossils and living organisms are readily subjected to the same criteria of classification. Thus present kinds of animals and plants apparently were created, as shown by the systematic fossil gaps and by the similarity of fossil forms to living forms. A kind may be defined as a generally interfertile group of organisms that possesses variant genes for a common set of traits but that does not interbreed with other groups of organisms under normal circumstances. Any evolutionary change between kinds (necessary for the emergence of complex from simple organisms) would require addition of entirely new traits to the common set and enormous expansion of the gene pool over time, and could not occur from mere ecologically adaptive variations of a given trait set (which the creation model recognizes).

Nope!!

Speciation experiments have shown this is just not true in real time experiments.

Gaps in the fossil record are to be expected but to say there are no transitional fossils between the types mentioned is the biggest lie so far. Here is a list to peruse.

// The few suggested links such as Archoeopteryx and the horse series have been rendered questionable by more detailed data.// Citation needed please good professor!!

Stating gaps means a sudden creation is weak to say the least, there are gaps yes but this was explained earlier in this article. Because of the process involved we are lucky to have the evidence in the fossil record which we have.

In the Fruit fly speciation link I provided we can see new information was acquired and later generation of fruit fly grew 2 extra sets of wings

Mutation and Natural Selection Are Insufficient To Have Brought About Any Emergence of Present Living Kinds from a Simple Primordial Organism.

The mathematical probability that random mutation and natural selection ultimately produced complex living kinds from a simpler kind is infinitesimally small even after many billions of years. Thus mutation and natural selection apparently could not have brought about evolution of present living kinds from a simple first organism. Mutations are always harmful or at least nearly always harmful in an organism’s natural environment.9 Thus the mutation process apparently could not have provided the postulated millions of beneficial mutations required for progressive evolution in the supposed five billion years from the origin of the earth until now, and in fact would have produced an overwhelming genetic load over hundreds of millions of years that would have caused degeneration and extinction. Natural selection is a tautologous concept (circular reasoning), because it simply requires the fittest organisms to leave the most offspring and at the same time it identifies the fittest organisms as those that leave the most offspring. Thus natural selection seemingly does not provide a testable explanation of how mutations would produce more fit organisms.

Here we have a misrepresentation of probabilities. It may have been unlikely but not impossible.

As for survival of the fittest, another strawman. It need not be the fittest but the best adapted.

Man and Apes Have a Separate Ancestry.

Although highly imaginative “transitional forms” between man and ape-like creatures have been constructed by evolutionists based on very fragmentary evidence, the fossil record actually documents the separate origin of primates in general, monkeys, apes, and men. In fact, Lord Zuckerman (not a creationist) states that there are no “fossil traces” of a transformation from an ape-like creature to man. The fossils of Neanderthal Man were once considered to represent a primitive sub-human (Homo neanderthalensis), but these “primitive” features are now known to have resulted from nutritional deficiencies and pathological conditions; he is now classified as fully human.15 Ramapithecus was once considered to be partially man-like, but is now known to be fully ape-like.16 Australopithecus, in the view of some leading evolutionists, was not intermediate between ape and man and did not walk upright. The strong bias of many evolutionists in seeking a link between apes and man is shown by the near-universal acceptance of two “missing links” that were later proved to be a fraud in the case of Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus) and a pig’s tooth in the case of Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus).

Yes there have been some hoaxes, but who was it that discovered the hoaxes, the very “evolutionists” Gish tries to discredit. Corrections were made and the truth shown. 1 or 2 hoaxes do not mean all human ancestry fossils are hoaxes. Dishonest to make out they are. Each one must be taken and assessed on its own merits. That is science Prof Gish

I would also point you back once again to the fused chromosome peer review I posted earlier which proves ape ancestry and familial ties between homo sapien  and other primates

The Earth’s Geologic Features Were Fashioned Largely by Rapid, Catastrophic Processes that Affected the Earth on a Global and Regional Scale (Catastrophism).

Catastrophic events have characterized the earth’s history. Huge floods, massive asteroid collisions, large volcanic eruptions, devastating landslides, and intense earthquakes have left their marks on the earth. Catastrophic events appear to explain the formation of mountain ranges, deposition of thick sequences of sedimentary rocks with fossils, initiation of the glacial age, and extinction of dinosaurs and other animals. Catastrophism (catastrophic changes), rather than uniformitarianism (gradual changes), appears to be the best interpretation of a major portion of the earth’s geology. Geologic data reflect catastrophic flooding. Evidences of rapid catastrophic water deposition include fossilized tree trunks that penetrate numerous sedimentary layers (such as at Joggins, Nova Scotia), widespread pebble and boulder layers (such as the Shinarump Conglomerate of the southwestern United States), fossilized logs in a single layer covering extensive areas (such as Petrified Forest National Park), and whole closed clams that were buried alive in mass graveyards in extensive sedimentary layers (such as at Glen Rose, Texas). Uniform processes such as normal river sedimentation, small volcanoes, slow erosion, and small earthquakes appear insufficient to explain large portions of the geologic record. Even the conventional uniformitarian geologists are beginning to yield to evidences of rapid and catastrophic processes.1

Again a misrepresentation. The palates of the earth shift which causes changes on the surface, hance why mountains grow a matter of inches in 1 year. For sure catastrophic events have an impact on physical features of the planet but Gish makes out that these are the only events which shape our planet. For sure in some areas such as Joggins, Nova Scotia there were floods but that does not prove a global flood. It just show that yes there were floods in Joggins.

The Inception of the Earth and of Living Kinds May Have Been Relatively Recent.

Radiometric dating methods (such as the uranium-lead and potassium-argon methods) depend on three assumptions: (a) that no decay product (lead or argon) was present initially or that the initial quantities can be accurately estimated, (b) that the decay system was closed through the years (so that radioactive material or product did not move in or out of the rock), and (c) that the decay rate was constant over time.20Each of these assumptions may be questionable: (a) some nonradiogenic lead or argon was perhaps present initially;21 (b) the radioactive isotope (uranium or potassium isotopes) can perhaps migrate out of, and the decay product (lead or argon) can migrate into, many rocks over the years;22 and (c) the decay rate can perhaps change by neutrino bombardment and other causes.23 Numerous radiometric estimates have been hundreds of millions of years in excess of the true age. Thus ages estimated by the radiometric dating methods may very well be grossly in error. Alternate dating methods suggest much younger ages for the earth and life. Estimating by the rate of addition of helium to the atmosphere from radioactive decay, the age of the earth appears to be about 10,000 years, even allowing for moderate helium escape. Based on the present rate of the earth’s cooling, the time required for the earth to have reached its present thermal structure seems to be only several tens of millions of years, even assuming that the earth was initially molten.24 Extrapolating the observed rate of apparently exponential decay of the earth’s magnetic field, the age of the earth or life seemingly could not exceed 20,000 years.25 Thus the inception of the earth and the inception of life may have been relatively recent when all the evidence is considered.

There are so many dating techniques available to science now. Many work independently of the other and when they all come to the same conclusion it is fair to say we can supply accurate dates. None of which point to a young earth theory being even close to being correct.

Gish concludes: “There is scientific evidence for creation from cosmology, thermodynamics, paleontology, biology, mathematical probability, geology, and other sciences.”
“There are many scientists in each field who conclude that the scientific data best support the creation model, not the evolution model.”

My conclusion:

Prof Gish, at no point have you actually shown a creator or designer deity. You still assume one because of your incredulity of the universe. This is simply the cart before the horse. Fallacy follows fallacy. The appearance of design can be explained and does not mean a deity MUST exist. Not by a country mile. You appeal to population argument yet 98% of American scientists say evolution happen. Clearly you are guilty of cherry picking argumentum ad populum when suits your cause. I find this most dishonest

The evidence from cosmology and various other branches of the sciences do not prove a deity. In fact science removes the hand of a god with every new breakthrough. No longer do we assign demonic possession to a person that fits and suffers seizures. No longer do we sacrifice virgins to the angry volcano god. We understand the tides and need no longer hope Neptune will not send a wave to take a ship and we know that doing a rain dance will serve no purpose.

What established and respected scientific journal has ever passed a paper or article which shows a god exists? None…

You know why????

Alan the Atheist

The Hamza Tzortiz handbrake u-turn on scientific miracles in quran

The Hamza Tzortiz handbrake u-turn on scientific miracles in quran

Originally published on www.answers-in-reason.com March 2016

 

I was more than shocked having recently read Hamza Tzortiz’s essay stating:

Regrettably, the scientific miracles narrative has become an intellectual embarrassment for Muslim apologists, including myself.

Full paper can be read by clicking here

I take my hat off to his honesty. I respect the effort he actually put into his essay in putting forth the arguments against scientific miracles in quran:

There are an array of reasons of why the above expressions of the scientific miracles are problematic and incoherent. These include,

  1. The Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle

  2. Inaccurate History

  3. Teleology of the Qur’ānic Verses

  4. Scientism, the Problem of Induction and Empiricism

  5. “Unscientific” Verses

  6. Miracles, Simplicity and A Note on Qur’ānic Exegesis

I hope he has not received any negativity and especially the violent rhetoric afforded to people that speak out on such matters as this is a massive statement to make considering he was such a high profile advocate and apologist for the scientific miracles in quran since its publication in 2013.

A short bio on Tzortiz:

Hamza Andreas Tzortzis was born 21st September 1980. He is an international lecturer who has lectured in many universities including USA, Australia, Netherlands, Malaysia, Canada and Lebanon. The lecturer has authored many books and articles on his personal blog. As a debater he has debated many popular professors including Professor Lawrence Krauss, Professor Simon Blackburn, Professor Ken Gemes and Professor and Dan Barker. Hamza heads up a team called iERA,(Islamic Education and Research Academy).

As honest as Tzortiz has been, his group are still selling a publication called The Man in the Red Underpants. In this publication is stated:

Actually what is remarkable about the Quran is not only that it does not contain any contradictions , but in fact it seems to be making statements about history, theology, philosophy, law and the natural world that defies a normal human explanation..

The pamphlet goes on to talk about, inter alia, the Big Bang Theory, embryonic development and plate tectonics and concludes,

It is easy to understand how the Creator would know about the common origin of the universe, the details of embryonic development and that mountains have roots but it is not easy to explain how Muhammad managed to include the information in the Qur’an unless we accept his claim to be a Messenger. It would seem that accepting this would be the most sensible thing for a rational, sincere person to do.

In my opinion this publication needs to be revised to no longer include this. This has been for too long an argument used and still used by imam in the mosque or parent to child or proselytiser, and the bane of my life, the internet debater with no knowledge of the science they are attempting to talk about. Oh and lest we not forget Zakir “The Snake” Naik.

scientific miracles in quran

A New Approach

Ohhhh, things seemed to be going so well until Tzortiz mentions his new approach. That being:

How to articulate this in a simple way

For those concerned on how to articulate this in a simple way I suggest a simple step process:

1. When talking about Divine revelation speak about:

  • the fact that there are historical statements that are mentioned in the Qur’ān were not known at the time

  • the linguistic and literary miracle of the Qur’ān

  • the fact that Qur’ān is preserved

  • the meaning and message of the Qur’ān

  • the Qur’ān’s concept of God

  • other remarkable features of the Qur’ān

I believe the same logic applied by Tzortiz can be levelled at the historical statements which are claimed could not be known. Why stop there Hamza?

I don’t get the linguistic part. there is a part where Muhammed is asked to write a divinely inspired poem. It is rubbish. It keeps repeating the same line over and over again. This to me is the nature of the quran. Lots of filler statements regarding allah repeated over and over and over and over and over and over.

The meaning and message of quran is much like, in fact almost cargbon copy of the fire and brimstone god of the Old Testament.

His concept is straight out of OT also.

Remarkable features? Not sure what they could be. Islamic rhetoric!!

Effects of his essay

It speaks volumes that its greatest proponent will make such a statement however it seems very little positive effects because of this, apart from Tzortiz making things right publicly with the scientific community. The debates mention quran’s scientific miracles still flow. His book is still available to download with no revision. The imams still preach it from the mosques and the young minds are still fed it at home and in madrassa. The islamic world seems to either have not noticed their chief proponent has made this u-turn or choose to ignore it. Why on earth would they do that?

Is islam that weak that they can not embrace the fact that the quran contains no scientific miracles?

I wonder whether the punishment for apostasy would apply to someone that was duped into accepting islam on the back of these purported miracles and have lost faith because they are no longer to be considered miracles? Also I got no apology for those duped or misled.

All in all an effort was made but really a half assed attempt. We want an apology, we want a fatwah exempting anyone that leaves islam on the back of this revelation and we need the Red Underwear publication revised!! Until then my hat firmly replaced on my head and tipped gently to all readers….

You may wish to check out this article published on www.answers-in-reason.com a short while ago http://answers-in-reason.com/religion/islam/is-the-quran-perfect/ as well as the other great articles produced here at www.thescientificatheist.com

Wishing you all a godless and logic based March 2016

Alan The Atheist