Religion

Anybody? Bueller?

CNN.com has a special section posted (www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/lgbt.america/) that covers issues pertaining to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people. The comments emailed in from around the country make interesting reading and show a wide variety of opinions. And, because certain politicos and their puppetmaster religious leaders have made gay marriage an issue in the past 2 major elections, the section also has a rundown of where the major presidential candidates stand. That's interesting too, but a bit predictable. Only the true longshots—oh, let's face it, calling them longshots is generous—support full gay marriage. The rest are "civil union" fence-riders or against it.

My Religious Views

On one of the Web forums that I'm a member of, a thread was started asking the members what their religious background was.

One of the of the members wrote a lengthy post about being agnostic. Many of the points that he made I actually agree with, but he ended by saying that atheism is to him "presumptuous". That, of course, sparked an even lengthier reply from me enumerating my atheism.

Dan Savage On "The Great Mate Debate"

I don't always like Dan Savage's writing, at least the examples that I've seen in the Savage Love column he authors. He's often funny, but he often pushes a little too far into the realm of snarky. Snarkiness can be entertaining, but taken too far and done too often, it gets a little tired. He is, however, an incredibly intelligent and thoughtful individual who actually bothers to study and analyze topics before he comments. That scholarship, however is at times lost under the excessive layer of wit. Even when I disagree (as I do with some of his views on adoption), I still respect that his opinions are coming from a rational, well-considered thought process and not from bigotry, ignorance, or doctrine.

Creationism v. Evolution - Conclusion

So, while I know that my ranting against religion, against creationism, is primarily a cathartic release for me, it's an exercise in logic and reason for me as well. In the end, it is logic and reason that drives my atheism and it is the absence of logic and reason that perplexes me about religion generally and creationism specifically. I find it especially troubling that educated and otherwise intelligent, competent individuals will completely abandon reason in favor of religion. The folks that I work with, whom's intellect, business, and technical acumen I respect greatly are among those that baffle me!

Creationism v. Evolution - The Theory Of "Irreducible Complexity And Design"

Simply stated the argument of "irreducible complexity" is that if a system is complex to the point that removing a single piece of it causes the system to fail it indicates a designed, rather than gradually evolved, system. A common example of this is the eye. On a very basic level, the components of the eye are, the eyeball, the lenses, the light receptors, and the optic nerve. If you take one of these elements away, the entire system is useless, so how could this be the result of gradual evolution? Not one of those pieces serves a purpose unto itself so there would have been no reason for anyone of those pieces to have evolved. Clearly, some "intelligent force" designed the eye as a single unit.

Creationism v. Evolution - Scientific "Theories" Are Only "Theories"

This argument goes something like:

    Well, they call it the "theory of evolution" because it's only a theory; they really don't know if it's true or not. Since it's just a theory, alternative theories should be taught along side it, like the "theory of intelligent design".

On the surface, it's a strong argument. It's an especially strong argument for those who are not familiar with scientific concepts. When the wording is changed from "creationism" to "the theory of intelligent design", the argument becomes that much more compelling as it suddenly loses the trappings of theology and wraps itself in the mantle of "scientific theory".

Creationism v. Evolution - Evolution Requires More "Faith" Than Creationism

The argument that evolution requires more faith than creationism is a tough one to tackle because it is far more subjective and hinges entirely on that nebulous thing called "faith". Even so, this argument is not based on reason and rationality, it is based on subjective simplicity.

Basically, creationists argue that it is an incredible leap of faith to believe that the billions upon billions of accidents that would have had to happen from the beginning of time forward to produce intelligent human life actually happened. The odds of any one of those accidents occuring are astronomical, they claim, and the odds of all of those accidents happening is simply unbelievable. Comparatively, in the creationists' view, faith in God is much more intuitive.

Creationism v. Evolution - Where Are The New Species

The "where are the new species" argument is an interesting one in that it does not try to justify creationism, rather it tries to discredit evolution. In summary, this argument states: "if evolution is true, then how come there aren't new species and mutations happening now? If they are happening, where are they? What proof do you have?"

What I particularly enjoy about this argument is that it takes exactly the same approach to discredit evolution that I have taken in the past to discredit god/religion. I've jumped to the offensive with: "The Bible talks about miracles and God talking to people all the time, how come there are no miracles today? How come God doesn't talk to people today? God used miracles and fulfilled prophecies to convince people of his existence and power in the Bible, how come God doesn't do something miraculous to try to convince me now?"

Creationism v. Evolution - The Watchmaker Argument



The "Watchmaker" argument is compelling on an emotional/feeling level. You look at the human machine or a sunset/sunrise or whatever and you're struck with the majesty and complexity to the point of awe. In fact, whatever it is that has struck you strikes you so deep that you feel moved by it. Surely something so incredible can not be an accident! Surely the complexity of the human body or the ecosystem or the solar system or physical laws must be created or designed! Surely the beauty of a sunrise over the mountains or the fog hanging over a bay or the greenery of a rainforest must be the act of an artist! We've all had moments like that; I'm no exception.

Creationism v. Evolution - The Gaps In The Fossil Record Argument

One of the creationists favorite arguments is to point out that there are gaps in the fossil record. They claim that if humans descended from apes that paleontologists would have found fossils of all the intermediary steps. Further, they argue that if evolution is true then all of the species would have their intermediary forms documented in the fossil record.

They claim that the absence of such intermediary forms, in spite of 150 years of desperate searching by Darwinists, is proof that evolution is untrue.

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