Bad arguments are bad arguments the world over

Uh-oh. A television station in the Philippines recently aired a program on human evolution. I don’t speak a word of Filipino*, so I can’t judge directly, but skimming through it it seemed to show evidence and discuss reasonable dates and was definitely enthusiastically sciencey, so it seemed like a good thing to me. But the Philippines, like the United States, is one of those countries with a fanatically Christian component to their population, and you can guess how some people reacted.

One commenter noted, Kung tayo ay galing sa unggoy bkit may unggoy pa hanggang ngayon? kht anong gawin ng science hnd parin nito kayang sukatin at abutin ang kapangyarihan ng ating Diyos (If we descended from monkeys, how come there are monkeys up to this day? No matter what Science does, it cannot measure the power of our God).

I had to laugh. This is one of the worst arguments ever against evolution — just yesterday, I challenged my introductory biology class with a list of common rebuttals to evolution, and this was one of the easier ones for them to knock down — and here it is, getting recycled in the Philippines.

This next one is just a variant:

Yet another commenter also stated, Unggoy pala sina Adam and Eve? Kalukuhan to di naman sa Africa ginawa ng dios ang unang tao… Ang scientists kailan lang pinanganak yan kaya mas maniwala tayo sa Bible kasi mas nauna ‘to (So Adam and Eve are monkeys? This is idiocy, as the first human were not created in Africa. Scientists were only born recently so we must believe in the Bible because it came first).

I wonder how this person would react to the news that there was no Adam and Eve, no individuals that founded the whole human species? There were populations, not named people. They also weren’t monkeys.

As I get older, though, I admit to appreciating more and more the argument that those born first are more correct than the young whippersnappers.

*By the way, Freethoughtblogs would love to represent freethinkers from the Philippines. Apply!


  1. says

    Of course you will find this same foolishness the world over. Much less of it, fortunately, in Europe, which shows there is hope for the cause of science.

  2. erichoug says

    Ah yes, one of many creationist “questions” that only serve to highlight how little creationists actually understand about Evolution.

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    They also weren’t monkeys.

    I think we are finding out with the recent developments in sequencing ancient DNA, including Neandertals and Denisovans, that if inter-breeding with monkeys was possible, it probably happened. Apparently our ancestors would fuck anything.

  4. says

    @5 Filipino is the official name for the version of Tagalog which is spoken in the Manila metropolis and is the official language of the country. It’s kind of like “Spanish” and “Castilian.”

  5. erichoug says

    Apparently our ancestors would fuck anything.

    Replace the words “our ancestors would” with “humans will” and you are way more accurate.

  6. kevinalexander says

    The main language is called Tagalog (ta-GAH-log) My daughter-in-law and granddaughter are from there.

  7. says

    @8 please see my comment at 6. From Wikipedia:

    In practical terms, Filipino is the official name of Tagalog, or even a synonym of it.[34] Today’s Filipino language is best described as “Tagalog-based”.[35] Use of term Filipino in this context is a metalepsis which suggests metaphorically that the national language is based on an amalgam of Philippine languages rather than on Tagalog alone. The language is usually called Tagalog within the Philippines and among Filipinos to differentiate it from other Philippine languages, but it has also come to be known as Filipino to differentiate it from the languages of other countries; the former implies a regional origin, the latter a national. This is similar to the concept of the names given to the Spanish language, where Castilian tends to be used within Spain, and Spanish in international settings.[36]

  8. joel says

    Yah. Spaniards, in Spain, tell everyone including tourists that they speak Castilian. Everyone else in the world calls it Spanish.

    I didn’t know it was the same with Tagalog/Filipino, but I’m not surprised.

  9. komarov says

    Regardings the second question: “[…] as the first human were not created in Africa.”

    Can I conclude from this that biblical scholars have worked out the location of the Garden of Eden? And does that location coincidentally shift depending on prevailing cultural or personal biases?

  10. says

    Because I live in Taiwan, I sometimes take vacations in the Philippines (and one extended period of time) for several reasons – proximity, cost, weather, buying stuff in English, etc. On a short term basis (a week or two) there isn’t much anti-atheist animosity, but spend a longer period of time there with people getting to know you, and you might experience some confrontation.

    There are atheist groups in Manila. I have tried to contact them but I never got any responses.

  11. says

    Sí. Y el castellano moderno no es el castellano de Ferdinand y Isabela, ni es el español de los paises de Latinoamerica. Similarly, Filipino is not exactly any version of Tagalog before colonization. (Also too, Spanish is widely spoken in the Philippines but it is not an official language.)

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    we must believe in the Bible because it came first).

    Read more:


    This person is Jewish? The Torah and even the Tanakh came before the New Testicle. Or maybe the person is Buddhist and is being translated as saying “bible” where they are referencing a holy book by Siddhartha that was decades older than the first attempt to stitch together a single Jewish holy book?

    You can’t have Judaism if Buddhism came first – it’s logic!

    BTW: If Christianity came from Jews, why are there still Jews?

    Clearly Christianity’s pretensions to descent with modification from Judaism are bullshit.

  13. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Forgot to delete the copypasta. Sorry.

  14. Holms says

    This person is Jewish? The Torah and even the Tanakh came before the New Testicle.

    Not to mention the multitude of even earlier religions! Zoroastrianism I believe being the first of the monotheistic ones. But then… if polytheism is even older, and therefore correct-er… etc etc.

    Also, I have no idea where that ‘see more’ thing comes from; I only quoted you to see if I got it as well, but it didn’t appear at all. Must be something to do with having noscript I guess.

  15. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Sí. Y el castellano moderno no es el castellano de Ferdinand y Isabela, ni es el español de los paises de Latinoamerica.

    Y no es ni catalan, ni gallego, ni euskera….

  16. mnb0 says

    “we must believe in the Bible because it came first.”
    Ooohh, I like this! The Bible came before Homo Sapiens! Or even all life. Even the theological consequences are dazzling. There is a missing verse in Genesis 1. Please add Gen 1:25a “And God wrote the Bible from the first letter to the last one, the very Book you’re reading now, and saw it was good.”
    One question though. How does this christian know the Bible came first? Was he there?

  17. grumpyoldfart says

    If you told them they were being ignorant they would agree with you. Christians wear their ignorance with pride. Remember this guy:

  18. moarscienceplz says

    My company has a subsidiary near Manila, and I have spent a few week there.
    It is, of course, folly to try to paint a whole region with one’s experiences of a mere handful of the residents (I have to keep telling myself that not all Texans are idiots, despite their elected officials perpetual efforts to convince me they are), but I have to say that every Filipino I met was warm and friendly to me. Literally, every one.
    Unfortunately, the Philippines have a big problem with poverty. People live in shacks made out of corrugated tin and bits of plastic sheeting literally inches away from cars rushing down major highways. I have to believe the Catholic Church’s stupid ban on contraception is a major factor in this. Unfortunately it is a self-perpetuating cycle: people live in desperate circumstances, so they pray and go to church to seek respite, but the church fosters the behaviors that contribute to the desperation. Very sad.

  19. madscientist says

    As in many places, the vast majority of TV programs are to entertain and enthrall people, not to educate. There are some brave public servants taking on the catlick church though despite the church’s relentless campaigns of vilification against those people. I knew one of those public servants many decades ago; he didn’t keep his job for long once he tried to push voluntary reproductive control. Fortunately his successors were also up to the task of ignoring the church. Unfortunately superstition preys on the ignorant and is also the greatest proponent of ignorance. In the past 30 years there has been a huge influx of various US cults bent on inflicting their superstition on people, so there’s no shortage of superstitions to choose from. I thought it was rather peculiar that the preachers only came over in droves at that time; the Philippines was a US Territory from around the Spanish-American War until shortly after the second world war when the USA ceded independence yet during that time there wasn’t such a large influx of cults. By the way, the Philippines has it’s own special cult: “Iglesia Ni Cristo” (church of christ). The main church seems to be some bizarre hybrid of Mad King Ludwig’s castle and the Salt Lake Temple. I think the cult even had a church somewhere in California back in the 1980s.