Why are science and religion in conflict? Because changing ideas and new knowledge are sacrilegious.
This display from Ken Ham’s Creation “Museum” says it all: the ultimate source of knowledge is “God’s Word”, the Bible. They have an old book with the whole story laid out, literally, as the creationists like to claim, and by their definition, all observations of the natural world must be accommodated to it. In contrast stands human reason, which dares to contradict the Bible, dares to show great truths not encompassed by the Bible stories, and most horribly, proposes an alternate, better source of knowledge than a body of ancient myths.
That’s a major theme throughout the “museum”, that science defies the word of God, and that the only valid knowledge must be reconcilable with the Bible; Scripture is the sole arbiter of truth.
In a biblical worldview, scientific observations are interpreted in light of the truth that is found in the Bible. If conclusions contradict the truth revealed in Scripture, the conclusions are rejected.
It’s obvious to that mindset that insisting on the primacy of evidence other than the Bible is heretical — another theme at Answers in Genesis, for instance, is that even the phrase “millions of years” is a signifier of gross, un-Christian error, since the Bible clearly (doesn’t it?) explains that the earth is only 6,000 years old.
But, you might say, isn’t fundamentalist Christianity a kind of pathological religion that carries its claims to absurd extremes? Is it fair to judge faith in general on the basis of this one radical example? Yes. Because it isn’t at all unusual. How about that well-known 16th century theologian, Martin Luther?
Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.
Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but — more frequently than not — struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
Note that last objection: this is not just the opinion of some radical Protestant, but was an idea shared with the Catholic church, which similarly resisted the conclusions of astronomers. Islam also promoted geocentrism, despite the fact that the Qu’ran is claimed to be without error and contradiction. That’s the problem with having a source claimed to be infallible, but actually written by people who knew next to nothing about the world around them…the stories don’t hold up.
Unfortunately, the religious strategy for coping with this conflict is not to maintain the kind of flexibility of science, where we adapt to new information, but to instead strain to restrict new knowledge, and to condemn it when it contradicts tradition.
At the very least, religion’s fear of honest information about the world leads to stagnation, but at its worse, it is destructive to any culture that values scientific advances and the education of its children. Here’s a nightmare to contemplate: the staff of Answers in Genesis teaching children about science.
I’m beginning to think that child abuse is simply a tenet of the Abrahamic religions. That clip is a horror.
So here are some more sacrilegious acts you can commit. Learn something new. Teach something new. Question dogma. Challenge tradition. Laugh at the quaint myths religion offers us.
Jadehawk, OM says
well, while my clock still says it’s Sunday, the blog-timestamp clearly disagrees; you missed Sunday by 4 minutes. Therefore, this is more like Monday Sacrilege :-p
hermetically sealed says
“…then hows come…”
Not only do they not understand science, theys don’t understands grammar either. Yeehaw.
Doug Little says
Well that’s 4:49 that I’ll never get back!
Fuck the HAMster with a rusty dick.
Me needs a bucket of brain bleach.
PZ Myers says
Sorry for the lateness. Really buried in work right now.
I was listening with my 10 yr old son to some Christian radio station with a debate between some Creationist and Reggie Finley, the Creationist says humans existed alongside dinosaurs. My son says, “Dad that’s not true he’s off by millions of years.”
Then I said, yeah a smart kid like you knows that.
Then he says, “Dad, even a dumb kid should know that.”
That, then would mean that holy books (you know which ones) reject out of hand the conclusions made by Quantum Mechanics (QM) about the behavior of matter at the atomic and subatomic levels.
Furthermore, science has a built-in error-correcting mechanism.
Long time reader,first time commenter.
That video was really depressing.Those kids really aren’t at a point where they can distinguish facts from bullshit and it’s difficult to undo the damage done during such an impressionable age.
Elf Eye says
Gee, Ken Ham doesn’t seem really keen on accommodationism here.
Thats like a breath of fresh air, after the doses of religion I need to deal with everyday.
I have insisted that tradition is often an excuse given to glorify a mistake committed for generations.
Here in India, any change is opposed vehemently by playing the Indian Tradition card.
Some one speaks up for gay rights ? play the card.
Pre marital sex ? yes play the ‘its against our tradition you are bringing in western culture’ card again.
Carry on with the same card when you hear the voice against beating up women who pub till late nights- It was their fault, they broke Indian Tradition.
Inter caste marriage ? – IT ! Bingo !
An actor from south india had to face 21 cases against her for saying that women having premarital sex is okay, as long as they are educated about protection etc. When the Indian Supreme Court quashed the charges against her as baseless, some of the crowd went as far as calling the SC- the Sick Court for not upholding- you guessed it, Indian Tradition.
Scarcely do people here realize dowry, sati (widow burning) , child marriage, the caste system and a host of other evils were also a part of Indian Tradition, dowry and caste still very much are. Some of the worst traditions were done away with by the social reformers of the 19th century. Those are spoken about in hushed tones. Scarcely do people realize that we do not need a century old moral compass called tradition to guide us today. Religion as usual, gives tradition the rigid support it requires. Most traditions are after all, religious traditions.
You know what; now that they’ve explained it all, I’m convinced.
Evolution is so difficult to understand, but The Flood and fossils and stuff is so easy even a child can be made to believe it. It’s just so simple it must be true! Everyone knows the simpler something is the truer is it.
And added to that evolution is so mainstream, and my grandaddy was no ape-like creature!
Dinosaur IS a new word!
Why am I only learning all this now?
Glen Davidson says
Religion is rarely, if ever, very welcoming of new ideas. But I think the Abrahamic religions became especially wary of changing one’s mindset with the influx of Greek ideas with their “eternal forms” and belief that everything we see is wholly dependent upon some unseen “Truth.”
Still, that even helped to open up some minds, since one can get some idea of the “True” by looking at the temporal order. It’s not all bad, then.
For the Xian who is filled with theistic ideas alone, however, the sense that you’d ever question “eternal Truth” is anathema, and the mind stays forever closed. Where your mind closes depends upon what you think is the “core Truth,” meaning that the IDiots draw the line elsewhere in the Bible than at each word in Genesis.
Which doesn’t change the fact that the Bible is yet the “Truth” to which they adhere, even if it isn’t Sola Scriptura for an intellectual whore like Behe.
If you want to be pedantic, humans did live alongside dinosaurs. I’ve had several pet dinosaurs myself, in fact, and in most areas you probably encounter at least a few yourself ever day.
Lasted 33 seconds before I wanted to reach through and strangle Ham, condescending prick (“who here thinks that XXX…. oh dear”)
I personally would categorize that “lecture” as a form of child abuse; I guess the parents involved would see it as some way of “redressing the balance”.
Ick. Tolerance for the beliefs of others can be hard some days…
Caine, Fleur du mal says
This, probably more than any other aspect of religion, disturbs me the most. The outright fear and rejection of knowledge leads to death. Religious leaders knowingly promote views (and demand obedience to those views) which keep people ill, in poverty and all too often ends in premature death.
The constant emphasis on an afterlife gives them justification for the misery they inflict. They see no point in knowledge and in many cases, fear it because education tends to increase the quality of life, in particular, of those who
godthey don’t consider to be fully human: women, non-hetero people and people with the wrong skin colour.
This is even more despicable when they don’t turn away from science and advances (in particular, medical advances) when it comes to themselves, Such as Mother Terese.
It makes me sad that we live in a world where idiocy like this is commonplace – and frustrated because there’s so little we can do to stop them.
I’m one of the lucky ones.
Growing up I was taken to church a lot and, of course, soaked it in like everyone else. Jesus and god sound like the most natural ideas in the world to a six year old.
But somehow, when the church leaders told me that man and dinosaur lived together even my child brain knew something about that didn’t add up. And hear I am today.
The best part is, one of the church leaders told me that he’d seen a living “brontosaur” during a trip to Africa. What a lying douche bag.
In the end though, we have to remember that not all these kids are doomed. Some, like I did myself, will see through the bull very easily on their own.
Is there a hidden commandment somewhere in the Bible saying: ‘Thou shalt abuse thy child’s easily impressionable mind’?
there just HAS to be a way to get these clowns arrested for fraud or something!
Please, clever people, especially those of law, find a way.
Awesome, I feel enlightened, Behemoth = Sauropod. Now if only we could find references to the other 8,999 species. Maybe that Jebus guy they keep going on about is the T-Rex and Moses was a Stegosaurus…
There’s a reason that “jet airplane” and “computer” are brand new words, and there’s a reason why “dinosaur” wouldn’t be a brand new word if we were fucking riding on them 6000 years ago. God, this stuff is horrible.
Funny thing about Prometheus. He was getting up Zeus’ nose for all sorts of things (tricked Zeus when it came to dividing the sacrificial animal gods and humans, gave humans back the fire, told his son to build and Ark when Zeus drowned the world etc) but do you know for what was he nailed on Mount Caucasus?
There was a sea deity called Thetis, who was being chased after by both Zeus and Poseidon, but Prometheus stopped the both of them because he knew that any son of hers would be much stronger than his father and he wouldn’t have that. He didn’t explain why, so off to the mountain he went.
Eventually he revealed the truth after being released by Hercules, that’s why Thetis was married off to a human (Peleas) and she gave birth to Achilles.
(Sometimes I think ancient greek mythology was the soap operas of the ancient world)
A wonderful post all in all. I couldn’t bear to watch the video first thing in the morning, I may tackle it later. But It is exactly why science does and should always do trump religion: because it’s not revealed truth but accessible to all and everything has to be reproducible, in spite of one’s personal beliefs.
Any change you can tag these threads as ‘Sunday sacrilege’ so we can read them all?
“If you want to be pedantic, humans did live alongside dinosaurs. I’ve had several pet dinosaurs myself, in fact, and in most areas you probably encounter at least a few yourself ever day”.
The 10 year old boy probably meant non-avian dinosaurs. The “teachers” at the Creation Museum certainly meant the dinosaur “kind”, because “obviously” dinosaurs can’t evolve into birds, as evolution is morally wrong.
It actually makes me want to cry at the fact that America is forcing religion down the throats of children. Especially at that age when they have not learned how to think critically and just take whatever is given to them.
That’s why I’m so glad I was shown the light of reason at an early age in South Africa. I am also very glad that we don’t have any of that evengelical bullshit here, only some mild religion – but it’s religion that is not forced down your throats, so I can kinda accept that.
Oh and @Rocky: And Elijah was a Velociraptor, or course! :D
Kel, OM says
Speaking of which, this morning I walked out of my house to go to work, and there were a pair of Gang Gang cockatoos in the trees happily foraging away. Beautiful birds, it made my day!
While it is horrible, it isn’t as bad as it could be.
Some of those kids will discover that their leaders and elders lied to them. That they are kooky old men pushing a weird delusion.
They often toss the religion with the mythology-is-real idea. Happens often. According to the Southern Baptists, 70% of their young people drop out at age 18.
Creationism is just a variant of flat earthism. While the flat earthers are almost but not quite gone, there aren’t enough around that anyone cares anymore.
You’re absolutely right, McCorvic. though it is harder in some places than others.
I’ve lived in Oklahoma all my life. Creationism and inconsistently applied fundamentalism is definitely the norm around here. All the philosophers claiming that the “new” atheist arguments are directed at straw-men, need to fly to Will Rogers World *snicker* Airport, rather than over it and see how many sophisticated workers they find around OKC. I would anticipate a massive culture shock and a reversal of opinions about “mainstream” xianity.
This stuff is socially reinforced here. Before the internet, atheists were like intelligent civilizations, separated by thousands or millions of willfully ignorant light-years and unlikely to ever meet, serendipitously or otherwise.
Martin Luther, extreme fail as a thinker and a human, but even worse as a reformer.
I’d trust Charles Manson before Martin Luther, the guy was fucking evil.
I have nio idea why I said “sophisticated workers”. Should be ” sophisticated believers”. It must be the long hours and the beer.
I don’t understand why they find dinosaurs to be a problem, really. Why not simply declare that they are as mythical as the age of the Earth or (do they really believe this?) heliocentrism?
Is it just because kids love dinosaurs? Surely there are some Creationist action figures they could market in their stead – I’m a lifelong atheist, but I reckon a toy Noak’s Ark with all the little animals would probably be a fun toy for kids to play with.
Huh. Shouldn’t give them ideas I guess.
I wanted to throw up when I saw this. What motivates parents to Hamm-string their children by teaching them science is less reliable than centuries-old mythology? Especially while using microphones, amplifiers, projectors, buildings and transportation all invented by means of scientific experimentation!
I would think that to be completely free of any sign of hypocrisy they would at least hold such sermons without the aid of science.
Caine, Fleur du mal says
Googlemess @ 23, just input Sunday Sacrilege: into the search field at the top right of the main page.
Martin Luther was a crackpot and not a nice person.
1. Diseases are caused by demons.
2. Women only exist to bear children and if they die of it, frequent at that time, no big deal.
3. He hated the Jews and wrote a book detailing a Final Solution. Which was carried out several centuries later.
4. He was anti-science before science even got going.
A founder of my former xian sect and they never, never taught us that in sunday school along with never teaching us the real bible. Not someone I would call a hero or look up to.
I watch that video and I think “there but for the grace of God…” Inappropriate, I know. Maybe I should say “there but for a horrible contingency that I shudder to a imagine go I?”
This kind of thing is child abuse, whether it is legally child abuse or not. The people who make this assertion shouldn’t soft-peddle it by saying stuff like this might or should be child abuse. That’s what makes this video so ugly. You’re watching, impotently, as children are abused.
“… the Bible clearly (doesn’t it?) explains that the earth is only 6,000 years old”
That is correct. The 6,000 year old earth was a delusional fabrication of the bishop James Ussher in the 17th century. Known records suggest that a genuine systematic approach to determining the age of the earth may have begun with James Hutton in the 18th century (who observed deposition and erosion and wrote at length about geological features) and later Charles Lyell in the 19th century (who concluded from known geological processes and features that the earth must be pretty damned old if one assumes that the geological processes have always been at work and plodding on at the same rate). Lyell’s estimates were way off but way older than 6,000 years and it would be yet another 100 years before others would conclusively demonstrate that the earth is far older than ever imagined. Despite all these discoveries which took many generations to establish, some imbeciles would rather believe a 17th century cleric who had proceeded from an unreliable source (the bible) and used thoroughly faulty reasoning to arrive at utter nonsense – worse still, these same imbeciles claim that the bible states the age of the earth despite the fact that it was clearly a claim made by a priest who didn’t know what he was talking about.
Caine, Fleur du mal says
It’s certainly a nasty thing to do and I would class it as a form of abuse, especially when you get into things like Jesus Camp. The problem is, parents are allowed to fill their children’s heads with anything they like.
@Elf Eye #9: I disagree; how can you miss the obvious? Look again and you’ll see that Mooney has convinced Ham that creationism is wrong – the bible says so!
I could even managed 30 seconds of that video. Are you Americans so gutless to allow this idiot to continue to infect kids with this rubbish. Sure you are a small group against a extremely large horde of Christians and other religious types. But surely you can use these alleged freedoms of yours to counter this evil. Or do you just bash in the glow of being cats one is unable to herd.
If you want to be free of these types of diseases you will have to do some work to get rid of them, they are not going to go away by themselves.
Oh yes, you doing stuff to fix this, guess what I can come back here in six months and see similar, and that is a given, and some of you will be Proud of this. Some freedoms need to be limited by common sense. Buy some, please, or end up like the Muslim enclave of England.
This is why groups like Christian Scientists and the Amish rate higher in my estimation than these creotard idiots – they are consistent in that they eschew (almost) all science, not just the parts they don’t like.
Every time I see that Creation Museum diagram (or one of the many others like it), I can’t help but be bewildered they think it helps their case.
Take a good look, and have a think about it:
On the left, we have an incredibly complex tree representing all life on Earth, including many extinctions over millions of years. (I didn’t know the source of the diagram until I checked just now; I’m a little surprised how accurate their reproduction really is.)
On the right, we have a grossly oversimplified representation of life, even assuming it accurately represents the Biblical version.
While the phylogenetic tree represents the major evolutionary pathways for all organisms with some specific examples indicated, the Creation version consists solely of a few examples. How many “kinds” are in the “orchard”? Which current species came from independent kinds, and which are descendants of a common kind?
And even more ridiculous (which has only registered with me on this viewing), is it shows every kind being reduced to a single extant branch at the flood. I guess that means Noah had to bring on board the Ark not only pairs of every animal, but also insects (possibly only one representative species?), sea worms (#5), trees, fungi, and single celled organisms (#3)! Yes, dysentery is Noah’s fault. (It seems there are also many more varieties of insects than microbes.)
And apparently, not only did man live alongside dinosaurs, but even they were brought upon the Ark; and repopulated for some time afterward, only to die out all on their own at a later stage. So, uh, if the flood didn’t kill all the dinosaurs off in the Biblical version of events, what did?
All the other signs were the same. On the left, we have the reasonable answer, and on the right we have an absurd reduction that doesn’t even visually gel with the real world. You could pretty much collate their diagrams into a book, without change, and use them to make the case against Creationism!
Armchair revolutionary @ 39,
I can never watch this shit, just can’t, it makes me ill.
You’re forgetting that the people who do this, and allow this, are politically and otherwise the majority.It’s not comparable to a small group of muslims, say, somewhere, brainwashing their kids in a western country.This is the western country.
And the minority are doing all they can to change things.
Now lean back in your armchair and plan a revolution somewhere else.
Ken Ham = practitioner of mental paedophilia.
What a fucking sick motherfucking motherfucker!
Only managed 10 seconds before heaving started. Nuke the cretination ‘museum’ and all the perverts running it!
Not according to the delugionists who appeared in one of the early endless threads; some of the life on earth survived by clutching on to floating fallen trees, vegetation mats and so forth.
Pointing out to them the vast number of logical flaws in this assertion – including that it would mean certain creatures escaped the wrath of their god, which kind of undermines his omnipotence – had the predictable lack of impact upon the iron walls of their stupidity.
But it was fun to see the contorted, convoluted explanations they came up with…
I was talking with a co-worker, and got onto the topic of evolution. She thought it was all wrong, and was quoting Harun Yahya at me (she’s Muslim). Apparently Yahya had it all worked out.
The worst part of it is that we work at a department of one of the major Australian universities, and she had just gotten her PhD. In neuroscience. Using primates to model human diseases.
When I had picked my jaw up off the floor, and realised that she was deadly serious, I asked why bother using a primate model for human diseases? She replied that since they had to perform very similar functions (motor control, sensation, etc), it was only to be expected that the “equipment” would be very similar, but that was no reason to expect that they would share a common origin.
Sigh. And I didn’t want to grill her because I work with her in some things and she’s very nice and I didn’t want to end up being the prickly asshole yet again, so I let it drop.
How about: Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for I shall fuck up their minds beyond all recognition?
Phasic @ 45,
This is a problem, and I haven’t figured out the right way to deal with it yet, although I am becoming less and less inclined to “just be nice” at work, in the face of people clearly being stone-agey in their private lifes.
I work with plenty muslim and a few jewish docs, and so far have refrained from ever getting into any religion debate.
Awesomely, it’s the 21st century emancipated confident females at work, who laugh at the jewish doc when talk comes to his family, that he’s never cooked, and never looks after the kids, and they don’t shy away from calling him a Neanderthal, for all to hear and see…:-)
I think if I followed the warped logic correctly, that loon just told the children that Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden together with dinosaurs, jet airplanes and computers. Right?
I was under the impression that Adam and Eve WERE jet airplanes.
So maybe that works for a few random animal “kinds”. (Not well, but what do we expect?)
Doesn’t work so well for, say, fungi and protozoa. Especially if they’re all shown as being reduced to one species of their “kind”.
Unless, of course, their diagram has been simplified so much that it doesn’t even accurately reflect what they’re claiming; in which case it’s still an own-goal — given a museum dedicated purely to spreading their message, the evolutionary diagram remains more accurately represented than their own…
Obviously. But it’s one thing to fail to state your case coherently, and another to go so far as to directly present your idea’s failings in chart form…
I think you guys are looking at this ENTIRELY the wrong way! I mean, it’s exactly this sort of thing that keeps the competition for grant money down. It’s competitive enough as it is – almost impossible to get tenure anymore without huge grants lining the financial nests of departments and colleges, and grant money scarce as hen’s teeth out there. And that was ONE BIG ROOM full of people who have NO CHANCE of ever taking up any of that grant money.
Oh, wait a minute – let me get my meds. I forgot to take ….
Craig M says
And that observation has been around for a very long time. Galileo laid out the problem beautifully in his letter to the Grand Duchess Christina in 1615 (http://www.disf.org/en/documentation/03-Galileo_Cristina.asp). As he puts it (quoting an earlier writer): “the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how heaven goes”.
Biblical literalism isn’t just harmful to science; it also critically undercuts religion itself.
(of course, whether or not that is a bad thing is another matter…)
I’m 99% sure I had a Noah’s Ark as a young(er) lad, but it was almost certainly commandeered by my GI Joes.
I seem to remember a friend’s toddler having a Noah’s Ark set in the past few years. Then again, his name was Noah, too.
Sheesh, Luther’s screed against reason tells me more about his attitude toward women than it does his venom against skepticism. That guy is one sick, perverted puppy.
@ Rider 1: There is a way to arrest them for fraud… Kent Hovind discovered it. Just look through their tax records. Also worked on Al Capone. :p
Also join my pro-blasphemy page on FB. I’ve set this up in response to the Mohammed Censorships, along with my contribution, a picture of Mohammed. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=120123871340063&ref=mf
Harry Varty says
IIRC creationists get around the difficulty that Noah would face in having to collect up to seven of each species, even the species that have not yet been (re)discovered, by allowing ‘kinds’ to evolve a bit (micro-evolution), as long as they do not evolve into new species. (Noah must have been the greatest collector of all time.)
Another bit of squirming is the distinction that is being made between ‘operational’ and ‘historical’ science, which allows them to use microphones, projectors etc. This is a new one on me.
Arrrrgh. Eurgh. That video was revolting.
Creationists are insane. :-(
Duckbilled Platypus says
Sorry, they’ve just got three archetypical Bloody Big Beasts: one for land (Behemoth), sea (Leviathan) and air (Ziz). No further speciation required because obviously dinosaurs are not nearly as fascinating to fuss about as, for instance, cattle.
I also think there is a missed chance there. I mean, T-rexes would have occasionally barged through a village here and there and generally caused havoc. But when God decides to teach some pharaoh a lesson, what does he send him? Frogs! Man, those Egyptians probably couldn’t believe their luck. No wonder it took that God person a few other plagues to finally get the message across.
That makes me sick to my stomach.
I don’t advocate violence in any form for any reason but I really wanted to punch that guy in the face…
I had a Noah’s ark as a kid, even though my parents are decidedly non-religious. Seems to me the local gas station used it as a gimmick: each week you got a different pair of plastic animals, and you could buy an ark separately at any time. I certainly remember pestering my parents to buy gas there so I could get some more additions to my set. Perhaps this explains my penchant for spending time in boats?
TB Tabby says
Sounds like you people could use, as Web Soup calls it, a Palate Cleanser.
David Marjanović says
Not going to watch the video.
Not “up to”. It’s both a pair of every species and a pair of every unclean species plus seven pairs of every kosher species. At the same time.
Forget the trivial nitty-gritty chores of collecting. Noah was up against math itself.
Cactus Wren says
I posted something about this on the JREF Forums a while back:
David Marjanović wrote:
I think this might have been a huge barrier to my acceptance of the flood story.
When you grow up in Australia surrounded by so many weird creatures (koalas, echidna, platypus, wombats, kangaroos and other assorted hopping creatures) that, by their very oddness would have been mentioned in the bible had they been present, you tend to find such nonsense, well, nonsensical.
Well, obviously Luther was not a true Lutheran.
Duckbilled Platypus says
Ken Ham is Australian, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the lack of mention of Aussie Metazoa in the Bible.
To paraphrase Saint Ignorant the Loyal “Give me a boy until he’s seven and he’s buggered for life”
As much as we feel sorry for these kids, maybe we should look at it from an evolutionary perspective. Only a few of them will keep believing in this nonsense when they grow up and those that do will be handicapped by their refusal of reality.
Your kids will have the advantage in the struggle.
I feel bad for the kids in the video. I’m sure if someone spoke to the kids 1 on 1 and tried to tell them these silly religious lies, the kid would have some very choice and pointed objections (I’m always amazed at how skeptical little kids can be). But when you have them all in the same room, encouraging them to chant together, it’s so much less likely for them to question what they’re hearing. Their parents, their peers, and the nonthreatening man with the microphone are all telling them it’s the truth; it’s difficult for a kid to grasp that all of those people could be wrong.
Unfortunately, the only thing I find more terrifying than the prospect of preachers in a room with a group of kids is the prospect of a preacher spending any alone time with kids.
Ok, Martin Luther was bad, but wasn’t Calvin worse?
That’s the first time I’ve seen Ham speak.
He’s very creepy. I get a whiff of sadism watching him. I think he gets off on being able to manipulate people so easily.
Mostly, that video is just so sad.
Dornier Pfeil says
Which is exactly the point to the creotards like Ham. They WANT to do their damage before the kids can think for themselves. The only good I can ever see coming from it is when the rare kid is able to discover he was lied to and realizes what a psychoticly dangerous thing religion is when it is abused by the know-nothing, power-hungry, money-grubbing mind killers.
“were you there” when Jesus was resurrected, Mr. Ham?
If not, maybe you should think twice about that story.
Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad says
I think I could actually become a creationist.
All I need is massive doses of Haloperidol, Chlorpromazine and perhaps a prefrontal lobotomy.
These people literally mean “if it isn’t in the bible it’s not science” ?
Are you kidding me? They use public address systems, electric lights, video projectors and slide shows on laptop computers to tell people that if it isn’t in the bible it isn’t so?
Is anyone else out there wiping the spit-take off their monitors ?
none of the crap they use to say “if it isn’t in the bible it’s not real” is in the freakin bible!
by the way, Ken, where does God say Thou Shalt illuminate thy abode and all the places thou goest with lamps powered by electricity ?
Could you point that out for me, Ken ?
Oh the hell with it.
It’s also horrible, because to better ourselves as humans is a great and glorious thing. To become more egalitarian, to find ways to better the lives of the species as a whole, to learn and explore what makes this world work, to invent whole new methods of capturing the immense potential imagination of the human mind, all of these are almost the ideal we should all be striving for.
Religion by claiming that the tradition of a past state was what was perfect and anything new is dangerous or at least negative prevents any growth, any newness, and most critically any life. A life lived without learning, without growing, without improvement, and with carefully shut off empathy for the suffering of anyone fucked over by the status quo is as I’ve said before a hideous way to live one’s life. It’s an empty way to live one’s life because one ends up having little impact on the world and is scarcely impacted by the world.
One can’t measure themselves by how they’ve helped improve things or how they’ve been connected and enriched by the inventions, ideas, and expressions of others or the world itself.
It all becomes sacrilege.
Life becomes sacrilege.
And from that, life becomes a means of waiting to die as any change will only take us further from perfection. This is what breeds the psychos. The petty bullies of the religious right, the sad patriarchs of meaningless family empires, the people who need us to bomb a country to get it up in the morning, and the schizophrenics and death-cults such as the Rapturists.
Because if life has nothing to offer and all of life is preventing change until you go “where everything is perfect”, why bother living?
It all stems from this fear of rationality, of answers from progress and the future. And I want to tell everyone held under this boot that life is not your enemy, knowledge is not your enemy. You can grow, evolve, love, live in the true sense of the world. There are no monsters in the darkness that you need fear.
As the philosopher Louis Armstrong said, “(It’s) a beautiful world.”
The greatest damage is not from teaching bad science, but from teaching that knowledge comes from authority. This idea leads kids to associate curiosity, investigation, rational analysis and open discussion with guilt and human hubris. First, they are afraid to say what they think, then they just stop thinking.
I was the sound person at a progressive Lutheran church yesterday. (Yes, I know I need to get out of that gig, friendship or no friendship.) While there, I watched a creepy display of child abuse, progressive christian style.
The children’s worship leader had the kids lie on the floor on the front of the “sanctuary” during the “service” in front of the congregation and say what animals the little kids could see in the patterns in the wood knots and shadows of the ceiling. She then brought in the scripture reading of the day, the one about Peter seeing a sheet of animals in the sky in a dream. This was how god told Peter that god loves all people. (Yep, she redacted that story a tad.)
So, if these kids, age 2–10 years, start thinking that shadows and patterns on walls are talking to them, or otherwize bringing messages to them, because Miss R says that’s how spirits like god’s spirit do it–damn! She’s taking a child’s natural inclination to do this sort of thing and she’s telling them the spirits are real!
So, this is how the progressives do it. Harmless progressive christianity, my ass.
Kel, OM says
Why oh why did I think it a good idea to watch that video? I need an icepick lobotomy…
No conflict between science and religion my arse!
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that that video makes my head hurt.
In fairness they would probably stop buggering him when he turned twelve or started to develop body hair.
At this point, tonstant weader fwowed up.
The kids looked bored. I wonder if they were bored due to the science, or due to the fact the were being spoon-fed boring-assed fairy tales.
Of course, I only made it 30 seconds into the video. My constitution is not that strong.
that is so stupid, it hurt my head. nearly as bad as this douche in the video, telling kids to ignore reason and evolution.
taking one quote out of a whole lifetime, ignoreing the historical background and everything else is just as stupid as taking a quote out of the bible shouting “BELIEVE IT”.
yes, martin luther was wrong about a lot of things, he was sexist and a fundamentalist. but that was 500 years ago. he and is friend melanchthon reformed the church, but more important reformed the system of education in germany too, forming the basis of science in europe.
And the war rages on.
I will have to keep a sharp eye on my grandkids’ educations. Fortunately my own kids know the truth.
David Marjanović says
Not in that respect. He was IIRC silly enough to defend geocentrism, but Calvinism consists of accepting something like 5 articles of faith against reason and then using all your reason to find out if you belong to the Elect according to those 5 articles.
And that counts as progressive??? Where, in the USA?
If you want to be pedantic, humans did live alongside dinosaurs. I’ve had several pet dinosaurs myself, in fact, and in most areas you probably encounter at least a few yourself ever day.
Even my 10 yr old knew this Creationist was not being pedantic, the general use of dinosaur was well understood by everyone but you.
David Marjanović says
There’s a very good passage in a book called ‘The Irrelevant English Professor’ about this.
I’ve actually kind of gotten so I view even liberal Christians – and the more rightwingy of us atheists – with a fair degree of fear-tinged vigilance.
Are you referring to the Aves clade? Strictly, yes, they are dinosaurs, specifically descendants of the maniraptorans, but… dude, they’re birds.
Gus Snarp says
That video was the most disgusting and disturbing thing I’ve seen in about a month. The nerve of these people to stand up and teach outright lies to impressionable children. And the parents wanting their children taught these things. What could be the point of sending your children to this class? To stop them from asking questions you can’t answer. That is made clear by the woman saying “it’s just easier to understand”. Of course it’s easy, that’s because you’re ignoring the details. The human mind has a real problem grasping numbers like millions and billions, especially when they’re applied to years, so if you ignore the details it’s certainly easier to understand a system that gets rid of millions and billions. But it’s still wrong.
And somehow I always missed the fact that Ham Australian. I guess he couldn’t find enough people to go to a Creation Museum in his native country so he had to come here where there are more gullible people. I wish he’d go build his museum in the Outback and stop embarrassing my region.
The greatest damage is not from teaching bad science, but from teaching that knowledge comes from authority.
Agreed but another aspect of the damage is that these kids will associate “science” with boring recitations of non-facts and may never learn how to have fun exploring the world and learning new things. Not that creationists are alone in this kind of abuse: my daughter complained that her science class at what is supposed to be the best public school in Manhattan was boring because the teacher never led them find things out for themselves. Sigh. Ok, this is a kid heavily propagandized in the hypothesis testing methodology at home, but still.
It is also a new LIE of theirs. The lie is that evolutionary biology is a historical science.
It is. It is also very much an experimental science. Who knows how many meso scale, micro scale and so on evolution experiments are being run right now, hundreds thousands? Most people have heard of the Lenski evolve a new catabolic pathway experiments but there are always many more running. A new type is outdoor multihectare experiments, meso scale.
Plus there are always myriads of natural experiments running. The new swine flu, pathogens becoming resistant to anti-whatevers, emerging diseases, invasive species. Every HIV+ and cancer patient is an example of test tube evolution. The current model of oncogenesis which will kill 100 million of the 300 million people alive in the USA today is a somatic cell evolutionary biology one.
About the only science that is mostly historical is astronomy. We haven’t gotten to the point of running experiments at the solar, stellar, and galactic scales. Yet.
Catchy song, though.
Bohemouth was a dinosaur
his fleece was white as snow
and everywhere that Job went …
Argh … “do you believe the scientists or god?”
Spoken into his radio mike, as he taps on his laptop whilst standing in front of a large screen in a purpose built air-conditioned auditorium … I could go on but I’d start frothing at the mouth.
It’s quite scary to see the children repeating the garbage they’ve just heard. Thankfully my flavour of indoctrination was Church of England. Bad enough but mild in comparison.
This does really boil my blood. They’re not just lying to them for the short term. Their goal is to undermine the very foundation of knowledge so that they will never trust anyone but them. It’s a little slave camp.
One of my minor quibbles about fundie xian creationism: It forces people to lie and be evil.
As science it is a lie. As religion, it is a malevolent perversion that does far more harm than good IMO.
Most xian are in sects worldwide that dropped creationism decades ago. Nothing happened. No lightning bolts from god or jesus. The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse didn’t ride in. People in those sects didn’t start worshipping Baal or eating their children. In fact, the fundie xians always score low on the socioeconomic scale and high on social dysfunctions such as divorce, abortion, STDs, teen pregnancy.
It is a minor quibble because there is a lot more wrong with fundie xianity than creationism. Many of them are xian Dominionists who hate the USA and democracy, will destroy it if they can, and set up a hell on earth theocracy.
I disagree with the previous poster who said these children are too young to think rationally about what’s happening. While some are, I believe many are not. Watch the face of the last child the filmmaker is questioning. I was about his age when I started having serious doubts about many of the things my parents believed. When he is asked what he believes there is an obvious pause, and a shadow of concern crosses his face before he answers that ‘God created the earth.’ He looks even more troubled when he tells the filmmaker he believes this because his parents told him.
I saw a growing skeptic in that child’s eyes.
I find it very telling that despite the extreme emphasis Ham gave it during his little indoctrination session, the child says his parents told him, not God. Some kids are plenty smart to see thru the bullshit.
The sad part is the damage in the parental relationship sure to ensue when this child realizes the truth.
You’ve got it backwards. True cowardice is the violence of forcing your viewpoint on others, either through laws or at gunpoint. Short of wholesale slaughter, force has never been an effective tool to educate and enlighten a group of people.
True courage is helping people change their own minds; the kind of courage to speak the truth about religion when you know the majority of your fellow citizens think you are the devil incarnate; to do so despite the vitriol, hatred and threats of physical violence. This, not violence, is true courage.
i am sorry to say, that i am no student of history, therefore i have no general view on literature for quoting. and i am german, so i can´t deliver english quotes, but there is a good book on this topic, exlaining details:
So. When I was 8, the nice lady in our 3rd grade Sunday school told us a story about this GIANT flood, and a HUGE boat, and how ALL the animals were gathered inside….
And I thought to myself, “that couldn’t have happened.”
Viola! Instant atheist.
You don’t even need to look a the video clip. Just look at the photo. See how many of those kids are BORED TO TEARS. It’s nonsense and THEY know it.
taking one quote out of a whole lifetime – Kurt1
Ah, the wonderful Luther! Author of On the Jews and their Lies, which came close to advocating the “final solution”, and “Against the Murdering, Thieving Hordes of Peasants”, in which he justified slaying rebels “openly or in secret”. Nor were his attacks on reason limited to “one quote” – PZ gives three, and there are many more.
reformed the system of education in germany too, forming the basis of science in europe
Do you know, I somehow hadn’t realised the rise of science in Europe was limited to Germany! Thanks for telling me! Still, when I think about it: Copernicus, Leonardo, Galileo, Brahe, Steno, Newton, Leewanhoek, Hooke, Boyle, Descartes.. yes, sure enough, every one of them German!
Yes, in a happy clappy woo-infested “progressive” Lutheran church in Ohio, USA.
Obligitory Bill Hicks.
I do wish we didn’t treat our kids as if they were our own little etch-o-sketch minds on which to doodle fucking craziness. How does someone like Ken Hamm convince himself of this insane bullshit? Is it really so easy to believe that, if there is a god, he doesn’t want us to use our eyes and mind? And what kind of perversion drives him to attempt the brainwashing of kids?
I will never understand humanity. Never.
When I went to Catholic school (which was around the time of Martin Luther if I recall correctly) we were taught that the Bible was attempting to teach us lessons. The garden of eden wasn’t real but what is the story trying to tell us? The tower of Babel wasn’t real but what is the story trying to tell us? Noah wasn’t real but what is the story trying to tell us? The nun who taught us science didn’t for one second try to make us believe in creationism. The nun who taught us religion explained that evolution was controlled by god to lead to humans but that evolution really happened.
So, yes, it is possible to reconcile religion and science if you keep them each in their own domains.
Dr. Myers is right.
This is sick. This is child abuse.
I thought (naively) for a moment that there might be a saving grace – that the kids were bored.
But the sad news is that it may already be too late for them. To perpetrate stupid unto the next generation…
What those jackasses were doing to those poor kids is NOTHING short of indoctrination. And they have the balls to say that WE’RE indoctrinating.
Bollocks to them all
I remember being a middle schooler and complaining to my mom that Doubting Thomas was treated as a bad guy. It was pretty apparent to me that being skeptical that somebody rose from the dead is a normal, rational, appropriate reaction. Her (and my pastor’s) discomfort at my observation was the beginning of the end of my faith. I was uninterested in any group that discouraged me from using my brain to figure stuff out.
It is odd, I used many of those same points to show the bible is full of shit when my sister was visiting last week. The fact that the bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs or airplanes or the germ theory of disease or DNA or… proves that it was written by people who only knew what a group of desert tribespeople would know. If it was the word of god then it should have information they couldn’t have known.
If I knew a kid who had an ark, I would start buying little animals until the animal collection was about 10 times bigger than the ark. Then I would ask the kid how Noah jammed those animals in there.
So why not use mice, something smaller and easier to find and care for?
Make her think on her reasons.
Dude’s got a thing for whores. Did he not realize that if he got drunk, she might take his money and car keys and leave him in the motel? Boy Martin must have been really drunk — it’s the only way to explain his contribution to the West.
And on a lighter note, for TheBlackCat @#13, et. al. : My 9yo boy can discuss at some length the scientific bases for connecting dinosaurs to modern birds. He’s also fascinated that they very likely came in a large variety of colorations. (Who ever decided they were gray, anyway? Just about nothing alive is gray — his point.)
I think he’s probably doomed; he is aware that komodo dragon females can be parthenogenetic. That messes up the whole pure sex issue, and real sexuality is also apparently anathema to religion.
I remember seeing a quote about one of the Noah Ark recreations, where one of the visitors said that he didn’t know it was so big. WTF? How is it that *small*?
Gus Snarp says
@frisbeetarian – I like your ark idea. Someone should make a scale model ark that comes with two of every animal (or enough to make the point), to scale, so that they have this ark packed with animals, plus a bag of animals that won’t fit. Make the packaging and ad copy look very Christian themed and see how many Christian bookstores and such we can get to carry it. Maybe we can get the Creation Museum to place a big order before they realize what it really is. Also would be really cool if it came with a bag of forty days and nights worth of plastic scale sized animal poop.
When I first read Gould’s proposal of NOMA, I thought, “Yeah. I’ve always felt this way.” I was young, and married to a fundamentalist. How an atheist and a fundamentalist ended up married is beyond me, even if I was one-half of the equation.
As I’ve grown older, and realized the problems with religion (from basic epistemology through the use of religion as social control), I’ve come to realize that science and religion cannot be reconciled. At all.
Science is about measuring uncertainty. Almost all the protocols in the practice of science are there to help determine how uncertain we are about our ideas. Religion is about being certain in the face of uncertainty.
The instant a religious claim is made concerning observable reality, it encroaches on the bailiwick of science. Since reality is observable by definition, this pretty much means everything. And since religion can’t help but make claims about reality, this puts religion and science at odds.
If religion would simply stop making claims about reality, I’m hopeful the tension between faith and science would disappear. However, any religion that made no claims about reality would be a rather impotent religion.
Now… While I think Ham is a raving lunatic, I also think he is much more honest than your everyday Christian. If you actually believe that there is a god, and that that god is the one in the Christian bible, then it makes sense:
2)God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent (That’s his position on god, right?)
3)the Bible is the word of God
ergo, the Bible would be an inerrant text, and the only honest position to take is that the science is in error. As for the contradictions in Genesis 1 and 2… I imagine he would just say something like “Well, we may not be able to understand it, because it’s beyond our comprehension, but of course both of these stories are true. God said so.”
But anyway, I will stop playing the god’s advocate now. It makes my head hurt.
That is obviously because they were never True Christians™ in the first place; they were already gay heretical atheists possessed by the devil. God’s wrath was already directed at them full-bore (he’s getting weak in his old age)
So, yes, it is possible to reconcile religion and science if you keep them each in their own domains. – thomas.paul
Indeed so: religion in the domain of fantasy, and science in the domain of reality.
What??? A comment??? I can comment! At long last I can comment!
I tried signing up for the 20th time (over the last year) last night and this time it worked. I am shocked. Now, to use the comments for my own dark, nefarious purposes…
In that sense, it is possible for them to not interfere. However, at this point of dilution (homeopathic God?), the religion is unimportant. It’s basically taking things we know, and adding a god element to them, which can never be empirically tested for falsification or confirmation, and that is unscientific.
Furthermore, I would argue that if you’re out to learn lessons, hurl the bible into the ocean and find a better book; you can get lessons in pretty much any other book, and the bibles lessons are not so good, IMO.
Gus Snarp says
Hmm, would Prometheus make a good name for an atheist/skeptical/science organization? e.g.: The Prometheus Society. Has this been done already? Or is the use of a god’s name sort of unacceptable for an atheist organization?
And-U-Say . . . I feel polluted by your post.
I feel infected by the evil you subliminally injected into your post, and must cleanse myself.
I feel the dark tendrils of your atheism seeping through the Internet directly towards my brain in an attempt to cause me harm.
No, wait . . . I think that was all just the memories I had from reading the bible.
Lynna, OM says
Ken Ham used photos from his family album (Grandfather and Grandmother) to illustrate the fact that he is less intelligent than his audience. I thought that part worked well.
One thing that does warm my heart is Ken Ham’s own “Already Gone”. By his own research (whose accuracy we will not question at the moment) some 2/3 of christian kids are already gone by high school. There may be hope for the human race yet.
I would like to challenge everyone who has posted a comment here to make a difference rather than (or, as well as) merely being voracious verbiage vamps.
My challenge to you is to check your local school’s library and see if they have evo books for children. Plus buy an evo book a year for your local school. Insist that evo books for children are necessary.
Charliesplayhouse.com has suggested titles. I have purchased their evo timeline activity book (it opens up to 18 feet) and my little students who come to my music school love it! It is virtually bomb proof. They make a fort with it and can walk the timeline.
Go. Now. Quit telling these nutbars that they need to read more (as I often do.) Help supply the children with tools to question the guilt ridden garbage they are fed.
Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says
Ugh. I can’t stand to watch children get infected by these liars.
That we’re bad little girls and boys and we need to be saved.
That we’re bad little girls and boys and we need to be saved.
That we’re bad little girls and boys and we need to be saved.
Jesus saves! when shopping at Wal*Mart.
Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says
Which is an interesting “research” since another display at the “museum” stated that Christianity was the fasted growing religion which somehow makes it more true than other religion. Ken needs a consistency check.
rainbow jeremy says
Yes. Proverbs 22:6
This verse is very popular among locals as a lawn placard, second only to “We ARE One Nation UNDER GOD”. I think you can buy ’em at the local Bible Book Center. What you see in the video is their understanding of this verse.
Oh, and remember why gays are so dangerous, so sinister? THEY WANT YOUR CHILDREN!!!
Mere Ignorance is lamentable but easily curable. Wilful ignorance is detestable. Programming and propagating ignorance into defenceless children is loathsome and unforgivable.
Eamon Knight says
Yep, they start in on that theme right in the first gallery (I recognize that poster). I blogged about it here:
Brownian, OM says
So Jehovah can’t do better than 33%? That’s some impotent omnipotency if your save percentage can’t get you into the NHL.
Forget “fundie death cult”. A more apt description for Abrahamists would be “Worshippers of the Limpdicked Deity.”
That the xian god is an incompetent idiot. He made us in his own image and we immediately screwed up. So he decided on a crude fix and killed everyone but 8 people.
He is also a genocidal maniac. As all powerful he could have just gone poof and fixed the humanoid ants in his ant farm. Instead he has to wipe out nearly everyone on earth with a lot of collateral damage including 99+% of the species that didn’t make it through the flood and became extinct.
And even his crude deity with a hammer looking for a nail solution didn’t work so well. He eventually sent himself down to be killed as jesus. That didn’t work very well either. AFAIK, we are roughly the same as we always were.
Next on the schedule. The ultimate genocide where god kills 6.7 billion people and destroys the earth any day now.
For an all powerful being, the xian god is remarkably ineffectual and unoriginal. His solution to the problems he himself created usually involve violence and mass murder on a global scale.
I think that was the point. Religion is not scientific. If you attempt to renounce science by something you read in the Bible then you are wrong. If you are attempting to understand Kepler’s laws of planetary motion then don’t look in genesis.
And if you look at all the suffering we allow in the world that probably isn’t too far from the truth.
broboxley OT says
@erador #107 Im glad your boy can do that. when I was young (im an old fart) and in discussions over brews with uni professorial types I brought up that my thinking was that birds were decended from dino’s and that dinos may well have been warm blooded. All of the physical Science profs laughed and boohooed that idea as the stupidest thing they have ever heard. So its not only fundie xians you have to watch out for is the secular religious orthodoxy in the Universities as well.
Robert H says
couldn’t you use a ***TOXIC VIDEO ALERT*** sign for your more horrific offerings? That was the worst 50 seconds I’ve ever experienced looking at a monitor. Utterly foul!
well that’s a depressing way to start the week.
I am reminded of the quote:
Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, and the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools, our libraries and our homes.
– Isaac Asimov
It’s funny how the “creation orchard” is more scientifically accurate than its creators (ha!) might have intended.
They’ve just forgotten that their orchard is an Aspen, and the ground that hides the root system is a metaphor for their religion. Rock of Ages indeed.
Well, this is human nature. We are a storytelling species, and our favorite stories become integral parts of our self-identity. We cherish them, and giving them up or even altering them slightly is difficult and painful and exhausting. We are also cowardly, lazy asses who will tend to try and avoid anything that is difficult and painful and exhausting.
But on the one hand you have a system that recognizes this as a drawback, and puts in safeguards to self-correct for this as much as possible. And on the other hand you have a system that celebrates this, codifies it, and ossifies it for all time.
pete d says
This will be a little long, but maybe help give some perspective on how effective this kind of indoctrination can be.
My parents and 10 younger brothers and sisters (we used to be Catholic) are all currently born again Christians (Wesleyan by denomination) who buy into this shit without question. I did, too. It was all I was taught growing up. Nothing that we learned in school contradicted what we learned in Sunday school. Granted I was not a very attentive student after 7th grade, so I could have missed those things or failed to connect them. Everyone else around me believed in this stuff, too.
During college, I had a lot of questions concerning evolution and the creation myth that I answered by turning to the ICR. I trusted them because they shared the same fundamental views that I did. They were good Christians, they would be honest! I brought these things up to my professors who dismissed them so quickly that I felt they were simply doing so because they did not believe like I did and I didn’t bother to listen to their explanations.
Even though I was a chemistry major and had learned how to do science I ignored it in this case because I was fucking brainwashed since I was a little kid. There was simply no connection to me between the science I practiced outside of religion and the implications of my religious beliefs. It was only after I started to investigate the claims of the ICR following one particular discussion with my P. Chem professor that I realized the ICR was lying outright and by omission. It was still hard to reject my beliefs even after seeing all of the evidence because I was fucking brainwashed since I was a little kid.
You know what changed my outlook? My fiancee at the time (a good Christian woman who fucked like a porn star) broke up with me. Yeah, we convinced ourselves that premarital sex was OK since we were going to be together foooorreeverrrr! This is the fucked up mindset that you get when you brainwash kids to reject reality. Stupid, I know, but that was my turning point. It made me question everything from then on.
Now I have my PhD from a top grad school, an outright disgust with religion in general, and I am skeptical of everything (while trying to avoid cynicism). I like to think it was a slow process of discovery that led me to reject the ignorance of religion, but I’m afraid that it could have been the rejection I felt from someone I saw as the embodiment of all I believed (as contradictory as that may have been)!
So I have experienced hypocrisy and deception from those I trusted, but it was primarily due to rejection that I opened my eyes. To see the seeds of religious credulity being sown in little children disgusts me.
So many good comments; I don’t have much to add other than I was mortified watching the video. Ken Ham is evil enough, but how can parents willing subject their own children to such mind-crippling nonsense? How can any adult with a morsel of brain &/or free will actually believe this stuff? How can so many people be raised to be soooo stupid? Talk about creating one’s own hell. The hierarchy of mind control from preacher to ‘flock’ is absolutely numbing.
Bill Dauphin, OM says
Ah, if only that really were the worst of it. But I fear religion’s (and esp. Abrahamic monotheism’s) commitment to the notion that all change is a corruption of the eternal, unchanging divine is destructive not only to “any culture that values scientific advances and the education of its children,” but to any culture <FullStop>: By equating the Good with the (unchanging) divine while we live in a constantly changine world, religion identifies everything “wordly” — beginning with, but certainly not limited to, sexuality — as inherently corrupt and ultimately evil. Not just scientific discovery and education, but any human agency becomes something shameful, leading to a cultural matrix — a sort of cosmic background radiation — of suppressed self-loathing that is so pervasive it infects the lives even of unbelievers.
Or as Cerberus (@75) so eloquently put it…
(Aside to Cerberus: The philosopher Armstrong didn’t exactly say it was a beautiful world, but a wonderful one.¹)
I don’t think so. While it’s true that a fairly large majority of Americans profess some form of god-belief, and a majority believe god had a hand in human development (i.e., including beliefs in the various flavors of theistic evolution), most polls do not show a majority of Americans believing in the YEC position. And even among those who do profess a belief that “God created humans essentially as they are, within the last 10,000 years,” it’s hard to know what percentage are hardcore fundy activists who are pulling their kids out of schools or advocating for changes in laws and curricula (but it’s reasonable to guess that measurably fewer than 100% of the people who pick the YEC option on a poll question are activists for the YEC/ID cause).
The fact remains that virtually all public schools (even in places like Texas and Florida) do teach evolution and do not teach ID: The notable cases like Dover and the Texas SBOE actions are notable precisely because they’re not the norm. If a majority of U.S. citizens were truly committed to ID/YEC advocacy, we’d see far more and deeper inroads into government and schools.
I also think polls generally overstate the religiosity of the American public: It’s perceived as virtuous to believe in god (which is itself a problem, to be sure), and thus I think people are predisposed to answer polls in a pro-religion way, regardless of what beliefs are actually functioning in their day-to-day lives. Even for people who are nominally religious (i.e., due to family tradition, or just out of force of habit) but actually waste no time thinking about god, telling a pollster “no, I don’t believe there’s any god that had any role in creating the world” is, in this culture, a daunting step. However, I would guess that a large fraction of respondents who align themselves with the theistic evolution poll choice (i.e., “I believe in evolution, but god had some role”) nevertheless live their daily lives in an essentially rationalist way, and support good science education. I know from personal experience2 that plenty of people are nominally Christian, and may even attend church regularly, without living even one moment of their lives based on the proposition that the Bible is literally true, or even that god intervenes in this “dull sublunary” sphere.
FSM knows we Americans have a large hill to climb in advocating and defending secular humanism in our public life… but to suggest that the most extreme religious fundamentalists represent the majority of our society is simply misleading.
¹ As usual from me, that’s a blind YouTube link; hope it’s a good version.
2 Yes, yes… I know “personal experience” isn’t data about how prevalent the phenomenon I’m describing is… but it is at least evidence that the phenomenon exists.
How does an oppressive theology help to eliminate suffering?
pete d says
@Sasha – Parents of these children believe this stuff so they see it as teaching their children truth. They are as brainwashed as their children will become…or as braindead.
Bill Dauphin, OM says
The question is what we need to be saved from: IMHO, the primary thing humans need to be saved from is the notion that “we’re [inherently, inescapably] bad little girls and boys,” and the only savior we can look to is ourselves.
And if you look at all the suffering we allow in the world that probably isn’t too far from the truth. – thomas.paul
On the contrary, it’s poisonous bilge. Nothing and no-one is going to “save us”: we have to sort things out for ourselves. Perhaps the greatest among the many evils of religion is this idea that some external agency can make everything all right.
Sunday Sacrilege on a Monday morning? ATHEIST SACRILEGE!!!
@Gus Snarp #115
Here in Finland we have Prometheus Camp, which is basically a secular alternative to the Lutheran church’s confirmation camps. And Prometheus wasn’t actually a god but a titan, although one could argue if there is much meaningful real difference between them in the Greek mythos (except that the gods won).
As the original greek gods were children of titans, I guess that means the distinction between the two terms is like the distinction between Baby Boomers and GenX’ers.
Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom says
The only alleviation to that suffering comes from humans, not your nonexistent sky fairy.
You do realize that the statement “evolution was controlled by god to lead to humans” is a scientific claim, don’t you? So much for keeping science and religion in their respective domains.
I’m also pretty sure the nuns at your school expected you to believe that Jesus really did come back from the dead, not just to learn something from the story.
where did i say, it is limited to germany? this seems to be a big problem some of you guys have, thinking in absolutes. personally i don´t believe in god, and even less in the church or other religious institutions. but i don´t condemn people who believe. and i refuse to believe, that martin luther was an purly evil force within europe in the 15-16th century. of course he had some stupid believes, and said many stupid things. of course he seems deluded, from this point of view. but times where different, and you have to see it that way.
luther fought the pope and the established doctrine, that money brings salvation. he made the exegesis of the bible a public thing by translating it into german. so people could learn to read that way and became more independent.
there is no black and white, if you start to see things that way, you are no better than stupid people who choose to not “believe” in science, because it seems to complicated for their simple lifes. as if science is something, one must believe for it to be real.
@ Pete D: I fear we are going back to the middle ages.
Hypatia's Daughter says
#70 If you want to laugh, to cry, to fall into deep despair, check out Kent Hovind’s science video. He continuously reels off science facts (while berating scientists for getting it all wrong because their conclusions are anti-Biblical); then proceeds to spin his own (ahem) scientific theory of vapor canopies around the Earth (source of all the flud rains, dontcha know) and comets (that froze the mastodons where they stood) – while all the time admitting “I don’t have any science to back up my theory but it’s how I think it happened.” Because the opinion of a devout fundie trumps real scientists & scientific theories every time!
Dr. Kent Hovind – The Age of the Earth – http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8463129851563631666#
What I really wonder is…why were Martin Luther’s closets so dirty?
I haven’t read through all the comments, yet, but am I the only one who noticed that AiG used a Triceratops as the basal dinosaur? Assuming that it was only supposed to represent the ceratopsians, couldn’t they at least have used a Protoceratops or Psittacosaurus? Or is their version of post flood ‘adaption’ that features can only be lost, not added, so the original ceratopsian must have had horns? Or am I just fighting a losing battle trying to understand creationist logic?
Bill Dauphin said:
Another way to say this is there is difference between belief in God and religion. I tend to agree with you in that I believe (I should say I know) many people who say they believe in a God of some sort, but aren’t even a bit religious. Many even harbor great disdain for the orgainized religions of the world.
How many of them actual believe in a God simply because they are to lazy to seek the truth or don’t actually believe but are unwilling for familial/societal reasons unwilling to admit to atheism is another matter.
As an aside, I watched Milk on HBO the other night. It’s a movie starring Sean Penn portraying Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the US. It was a campaign tactic of his to encourage his supporters to ‘out’ all of their closeted gay friends and acquaintences. His reasoning was if you out enough gays, eventually everyone will know someone who is gay, and knowing a gay person will make everyone more accepting of all gay people.
where did i say, it is limited to germany?
You clearly implied it, saying Luther:
reformed the system of education in germany too, forming the basis of science in europe
Why is the education system in Germany “the basis of science in Europe”, when most of those who formed that basis were not German, and hence were not educated in it?
i refuse to believe, that martin luther was an purly evil force within europe in the 15-16th century
It is cretinous to “refuse to believe” anything: believe it if there are good grounds for believing it, and not otherwise. The Reformation would have happened, and modern science would have arisen, if Luther had never lived. Both owed far more to the invention of the moveable type printing press – for which, of course, a German (Gutenberg of Mainz) can take the credit – than to any single religious nutter or proto-scientist.
Dornier Pfeil says
It is much worse than that, the ark was allegedly sealed shut for 365 days.
ok you got me wrong, i´m sorry. what i meant was “forming part of the basis…”. i need to write more clearly. it is (and was) an complex process but melanchthon and luther both played an important role there. as i said, luther translated the bible from latin into german, making it possible for uneducated people learning to read. and of course gutenberg played an essential role too, because printing made books cheaper, so more people could afford them.
as i said, luther was no saint, neiter was melanchthon, but starting a witchhunt and condemn people for what they did wrong is nothing educated people on both sides, science and religion, should do.
That video is making me wretch.
A story can’t be trying to tell us anything. What meaning we derive from that or any other story comes from within. From our own minds, our own will.
Unless, of course, you are attributing agency to the story? In which case you are practicing idolatry, and your idol is a stack of inked paper.
If you say that evolution happened as the evidence shows it to have happened, but was controlled by god, what does that, in practice, mean?
It means god was controlling the mutations that generate variation (in a manner which we humans cannot distinguish from stochastic). But if his goal was to produce humans then over the course of some 4 billion years he has produced a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion mutations that had nothing at all to do with humans. That’s either a scatter-brained god with the attention span and forward planning capacity of a gnat (apologies to the gnats), or a god whose goal has nothing at all to do with humans.
Or it could mean a god that manipulates selection (in a manner which we humans cannot distinguish from natural environmental processes). This is a god who scrutinizes every creature, great and small, and mercilessly smites any and all that do not fulfill the arbitrary criteria of his goal, 99.999999999% within the first few hours of their infancy. In short, this is a god that slaughters babies on a cosmic scale, for kicks.
Or it could mean that god was doing both simultaneously, which makes him a scatterbrained idiot and a omnicidal maniac both at the same time.
condemn people for what they did wrong is nothing educated people on both sides, science and religion, should do. – Kurt1
So we shouldn’t say anything nasty about Joseph Stalin? Al Capone? Ted Bundy? Sheesh.
What a terribly sad video. Of course, the faith-pushers know they need to get ’em while they’re young to make their beliefs stick.
It was so infuriating, yet so familiar listening to the woman near the beginning.
A lifetime of this kind of muddled thinking is what these children are given to aspire to. I wish they could all break free of these intellectual shackles. Unfortunately, probably fewer will than won’t.
– Gliewmeden @119 – great idea, let’s give up on preaching to each other and do something constructive, get some good reading into the schools, etc. where it might be benificial.
Gregory Greenwood says
Creationists; premier producers of little zombies since *insert preferred date within last 6000 years*.
This video is grotesque. The smug, lying bastards deliberately warping the minds of children with their slick brainwashing routine make me sick to the pit of my stomach.
When I got to the section with the cretin going on about ‘spiritual warfare’ you could just tell how earnestly he wished that he could simply kill all unbelievers and be done with it. The fatwah envy was palpable.
Kind of already been done. Prometheus Books publishes a lot of scientific/skeptical materials, most notably on that front, the works of James Randi.
Oh, for pity’s sake – that’s a typical way of asking people to think about meaning in literature, be it cultural mythos or Shakespeare. “Story” is a metonomy for “author(s)”.
I would also disagree with your assertion – authors frequently try – consciously or not – to “tell” their readers something; what one gets out of a story is partially dependent on what’s lying around one’s brain, but the stimulus is in the story. The way words are used, the particular words that are chosen, are very important to the success of the author’s attempt to convey a particular worldview/point.
If the nun is being quoted correctly, she didn’t say ‘What is God trying to tell us with this story?’ She conveyed that the stories were not literal, not “real” – and asked her class to think. That way lies reason, and, one hopes, skepticism. Whether she had to temper the idea that evolution is “true” by adding God into the mix because she didn’t want the kids to recount God-less teachings to their parents or because she believed it is something we can’t know. But judging from the tales many folk I’ve known who went to Catholic school and had to take remedial sciences in summer school to get into college, this nun was atypical.
yeah great one, don´t mind taking the whole scentence, half of it conveys the meaning quite well, doesn´t it?! but again, scince it seems so hard to get me, if you just try hard enough: some people here start a witchhunt, everything that has to do with religion is bad bad thing, because all religious people are crazies who want to burn scientists and textbooks about evolution. and that is just wrong, because there were and are good things deriving from religion. and yes i am not stupid or religious, there were and are a whole lot of bad things, like this Mr. Ham here (seriously, how can you try to convince people, that man did not evolve from apes, when you look like him?!). and yes i also know, that it does not need religion for these good things to happen. but if there are religious people happy and helping, let them, even if you find their believes silly or stupid. perhaps in a 150 years people will look back at us and laugh about things we did, which they consider stupid.
all i´m saying is, that you have to look at the whole picture to criticise, and not just pick what you don´t like and whack it real hard. because it´s never that easy, these events are linked. you can say, that the discovery of radioactivity was a really bad thing. i mean the bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki, the cold war crisis, all that would have been a lot less scary without it. but the energypolitical benefits are enormous. then again, radioactive waste is a big problem, and so on. in this case, there is no black and white, and the same applies to martin luther.
Quick glance through the comments, I’ve only seen references to the devil and Prometheus, but as far as I know (not a lot, mythology isn’t a strong point of mine) every being that has given knowledge (“light”, “fire” etc) to humans have been punished by the “powers that be” of the particular myth:
Rabbit and/or Raven in the Native American stories.
Loki for the Norse.
Lucifer/Morningstar (bringer of light) for the Abrahamic myths. (Included again for the names other than Satan/Devil)
The reason they were punished is that the powers that be were afraid of humans would threaten them. Xian specific: The whole bit with god making the various tongues was that god was afraid of united humans and what we could accomplish (Genesis 10:6).
The other characteristic in common is they are all tricksters of some sort, which given the double edge of knowledge is appropriate.
Can anyone add some beings that “helped” humans gain knowledge/light/fire from the the Near/Far East or South American creation stories?
@Raven #128: That was Big Crack #2 in my xian upbringing: God is incompetent.
#1 was everyone who doesn’t believe goes to hell, even if they never heard of this god and no matter how “good” this person was.
Basic attitude now is that god is an egotistic asshole.
Notice that all these gods, no matter how “perfect”, have the same failings, emotions, etc as humans. If that isn’t solid evidence that gods are human made, I don’t know what is.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Capital letters beginning sentences in long paragraphs are your friend.
Well don’t burn yourself lighting that strawman on fire. Please do be careful
If the religious would only keep to themselves or “help” people (and that’s up for a debate on someones definition of “help”) then we wouldn’t have a problem, but they do not. By a long shot.
'Tis Himself, OM says
Biblical literalists need a 6,000 year old earth with an actual Adam and Eve eating a piece of fruit and so committing the first sin. If there wasn’t the Original Sin&tm; then there’s be no need for Jesus to show up 4000 years later to die as a redemption for sin.
Scientists are condemning folks like Ham to Hell by not accepting Biblical literalism. I’ve been given this argument by a creationist. He honestly believed it.
No, but Luther certainly was.
(Someone mentioned Calvin – Calvin actually did have someone burned alive).
Bill Dauphin, OM says
Oooh… that figurative language talk is hawt! Can I convince you to meet me for a synecdoche after work?
The vapor canopy idea isn’t a creation of Ham’s. Apparently it was created way back in 1912 by some Quaker named Isaac Vail. I doubt Ham has ever come up with something original as far as creationist silliness goes, merely appropriated the works of others to make his point.
Oops, I see it was Hovind who was promoting vapor canopy nonsense, not Ham. My comment still stands, and no doubt applies to him as well.
yes i am not stupid – Kurt1
I beg to differ.
When I used the general term “we”, I am implicitly including both author and audience. Because the story cannot make any sense unless author and audience share an internal psychology through which the language of the story is interpreted. The story is a vehicle for communication, but the substance originates in the author’s mind and is transferred into the audience’s minds, wherein it is more often than not transformed in some way or another.
Still, it is all internal to our minds (again, “our” refers to both author and audience together – literature is a shared cultural experience). The story doesn’t tell us anything. It is a vehicle through which a message is transferred.
You cannot reference a message in a story without consideration of an author. The story is a vehicle, not a generator, of meaning. Without specifying an author, the question “what is the story trying to tell us” is meaningless. And if you ask it in a context that demands that meaning be assigned, then you are implicitly assuming an author. In that circumstance – catholic school, nun as teacher, bible as source, not mentioning an author is the same as implying the author is god. Thus, in that context “what is the story trying to tell us” is the same as “what is god trying to tell us with this story” which boils down to the the same thing as “the story is god”. (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was of God, and the Word WAS God?).
Therefore she is NOT asking her class to think, she is asking her class to imagine an implied authority, determine its will, and OBEY. If she wanted her class to think, the proper question to ask was “what does the story mean to you?” or “what do you think the story means?” That is asking the students to think for themselves.
Regardless of reason, she has attempted to compromise, accommodate, if you will, between things which are incompatible. As a result, neither her science or her theology is sound, and she has done her students no favors.
So we can think of these people as delugional?
Since I have been an atheist since 1968, it isn’t exactly my sky fairy.
So the story of the fox and the grapes conveys no message to you?
You’re assuming facts not in evidence. The fact that this woman was a nun does not imply that she thought the bible was authored by God.
As DominEditrix pointed out, but which you seem to ignore with long digression into unnecessary quibbling, “what is the story telling us” is a typical metonym (especially when speaking to children) for “what message is the author trying to convey with this story”. Which, for all intents and purposes, is equivalent to saying “what do you think this story means” or even “what does this story mean to you”.
Most myths have no known author. In fact, most myths were orally transmitted long before they were written down. You suggest that they therefore have nothing to communicate? Bullshit. Do we look at a painting and think “Hmm. What message do I suppose Monet was sending to me.” Of course not! In essence we think “What does this painting say to me” — the artist isn’t really a very important factor in the equation.
And by the way, the Word of the Johannine gospel has nothing to do with scripture. The Word=the Logos of Hellenistic philosophy not the bible. The transcendent Good must have a go-between in order to create the material world. The idea in God’s mind becomes material by being spoken/expressed as Logos, and is evident in the universe as Order and in the human mind as Reason. John takes this one step further and says that Jesus was the Logos incarnate.
173/174: Oh, the implicit “we” – whilst ignoring the point that people frequently use figurative language, that ‘what does X say to us’ is common phraseology – what does the painting say to us, what does this orchestral movement say to us. Of course there is a source for any expression, but that’s somewhat beside the point. By not explicitly crediting, say, the story of Noah to “God” [‘What is God trying to tell us?], the nun in question [hereinafter, the NIQ] is taking care not to attribute the story to Godly inspiration. Given the setting, one might have expected her to do so. And despite your damnation of “accommodation”, if there were an enlightened nun who chose to be a teacher in a Catholic school, the NIQ would have to practice a certain amount of accommodation to keep her job. Getting young minds to file away the thought that not everything in the Bible is “real” is a step in the direction of inculcating skeptic thought.
I’ve met a nun or two who wasn’t particularly religious, in the way that nuns are supposed to be. They were smart women in a patriarchal trap who were doing their best to subvert the dominant patriarchy [as it were]. They both taught school and both did their best to dissuade girls from seeing their own futures as containing no fate but becoming brood mares for the Vatican. The good they did depended on not getting sacked from Saint Whatsit High.
What? Have we metaphor? Whathehell, come over and aporia a coffee. I must warn you, however, that it’s allegory season and I’m suffering from constant synesis.
Posted by: thomas.paul | May 3, 2010 9:57 AM
Thats what I thought when I was a Christian (and later when I was a religion-respecting agnostic).
However, I eventually came to realize there were thee major problems with that view:
1) None of those events are remotely true, and a metaphore/analogy that is based on a completely false understanding of the world is unlikely to be useful for teaching anything.
2) In all three cases, “what the story is trying to tell us” is “don’t think for yourself or step over the bounds of authority, or else God will kill you/fuck you over, and everyone else as well”. Which means if there is a God he’s an evil bastard, and if there isn’t a God, the moral of the story is even more messed up.
3) A substantial proportion of Christians do treat it as literal truth. Including a substantial proportion of the (former) governing party of the world’s sole remaining nuclear superpower.
Oh, just realized there was another point I meant to make at #181:
4) If Creation, the Fall, Cain & Abel, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Lot, the Virgin Birth, etc etc are all just metaphores intended to convey a “meaning”, might that not also be the case for the Ressurection, Heaven, and indeed the concept of God itself?
Surely this also falls under “child abuse”?
The story of the fox and grapes has a completely false understanding of the world. It is based on the idea that foxes can talk and that foxes can think the way humans do. But does that make it a useless story?
That’s a rather extreme view. It discounts all mythology and most pre-20th century literature. Everything from the Odyssey to Beowulf to Hamlet (not to mention all the fables, myths and folktales that have ever been created in every culture). Do you have the same response to art and architecture that are “based on a completely false understanding of the world”?
Or how about this: when we seek to gain knowledge, there are always sacrifices we have to make? Or: with self-awareness (the tree of knowledge), we also become aware of our mortality (give up access to the tree of life)?
Sure, on a literal level, those stories are rather repulsive (e.g. “God” making knowledge the only forbidden thing), but there are many ways to interpret myths and derive something useful from them.
This is a problem, but surely that situation is improved by treating (teaching) the bible stories the same as other myths.
Yes. And isn’t this (again) a good thing to plant in the minds of the young?
Another note on your number 4: I just noticed that you wrote “metaphors intended to convey a ‘meaning'” implying that the original author(s) thought of these as metaphors. This is not necessarily the case. By the time the Noah stories were recorded in writing, it’s pretty safe to assume that the authors probably thought they were writing down a true history of events. Nevertheless, we know that they are not factual and can view them as metaphors. In such cases “what is the story telling us” and “what was the author intending to convey” are in fact two very different questions.
Um, the Noah stories, for example…
Do we really know that this is true? The Naked Archaeologist seemed to be suggesting that the authors knew they were writing myths.
You know, PZ, that posts like this one are leaving a lot of fans exquisitely anxious for your book… ^__^