Primordial Soup for the Soul

CellsA commenter on this here blog thingie, Mike, has challenged me to present him with the evidence for evolution. Mike evidently sees me as something of an expert on the theory because I’m convinced of its validity. I’m no expert, of course – I’m not even a scientist – but having read widely about evolution over the years, I’ve attempted a response. Having spent time creating and evolving it, I thought I’d add it as a post rather than tuck it away in the comments.

Mike wrote: When it comes to the hoax of Darwin’s evolution, I’ve read and observed his tree of evolution. It is TOTALLY and complete without evidence. It is a false theory that humanist ” scientist ” have brainwashed the public with.
If you think it’s hoax then you won’t, I take it, have shots that immunise you against the latest strains of viruses? And you’re not concerned that some microbes have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics? Modern medicine is predicated on the fact that organisms evolve but at least, Mike, you’re consistent and avoid it all, knowing as you do that evolution is a hoax. God keeps you well and heals you when he doesn’t. Doesn’t he?

I have debated and studied how his theory is genetically impossible. DNA cannot gain nor contain information necessary for Darwin to be true.
You’ve studied this have you? On Answers in Genesis? How about what real scientists actually say? Try this New Scientist article which explains how mutations in DNA produce new information and new species. As it concludes, ‘the claim that mutations destroy information but cannot create it not only defies the evidence, it also defies logic.’

I suggest YOU… who claim Darwin is true, produce some evidence to confirm his theory. It should be easy. Certainly the truth would be in the fossils. That is why I requested some transitional fossils that would back up his theory. Why is it up to me to provide you with the evidence you so resolutely refuse to look up yourself? Your original comments were a response to my post about Jesus and Paul’s gospels, so I can’t see why I’m under obligation to enlighten you about evolution. However, I have attempted to do so by directing you to material you might read. Of course I’m betting that even if you do, you’ll conclude it’s wrong, because… you know, God and stuff.

There should be millions (of transitional fossils). Should there be? Why? Because you say so? You do realise that not every creature who ever lived became a fossil? Very few did, only where the conditions were right, and of all the fossils we have, only 1% are of land animals. However, this still leaves us with plenty of examples of transitional forms. Take a look here, here and here.

There is however a problem with presenting the fossil record to creationists: say, for example, there are two related creatures, which we’ll call A and C, that lived a few million year apart. There appears to be a gap between them – a missing link if you like. One day a fossil is discovered which provides the link between A and C – let’s call it B – and the link is missing no longer. ‘Ah, but hold on,’ says the creationist, ‘where previously we had one gap, now we have two; the one between A and B and the one between B and C. Darwin disproved!’ The scientist cannot win when the more gaps the fossil record fills the more gaps the creationist thinks he can see.

Certainly if every living creature came from ONE swamp of micro organisms billions of years ago…. we should have SOME evidence that a single cell can eventually divide into ALL and every creature on earth. Overlooking your strange idea that it was just ‘a single cell’ that ‘divided’, we do know that all life evolved from those original formations, as presented in the article above as well as here and here.

I’m sure science can take a swamp of micro organisms, and produce… Yes, it can. It did so first in1953! And it didn’t even begin with micro-organisms, just chemicals and electricity.

…and show us different creatures coming out of the slop. As I’ve already explained, this is not how it works. Giraffes, peacocks and lizards did not clamber out of primordial soup fully formed. Millions of years were needed for very elementary lifeforms to evolve in the ‘slop’. These eventually migrated to the oceans and eventually onto land. Millions of years and still no giraffes or peacocks and certainly no humans. Billions more years were need before those appeared. To look at it another way, today’s life forms did not come directly from the single-celled creatures that first emerged in the chemical mix. They evolved from creatures not too dissimilar from themselves, which in turn evolved from creatures not too dissimilar from themselves, ad infinitum back through billions of years. Try Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale for a clearer picture of the long, painstaking process.

But first explain how life can come from nothing? I’ve already explained life didn’t come from nothing. It’s likely it emerged from groups of organised chemicals, which eventually evolved into RNA, then DNA, then, as this video explains, amino acids – the building blocks of organic life. A number of other scientific possibilities are explored here. Just because we don’t yet know precisely how the process worked, doesn’t mean everything we do know about the origin of life is rendered invalid. And it certainly doesn’t mean that a god must’ve done it.

Let’s say though that evolution is completely wrong. Does that make creationism – God creating life as we know it in six days, 6,000 years ago – the only alternative explanation? Of course not. The writers of the two creation myths in Genesis had no idea how life appeared on the Earth, suggesting as they do that humans had been around since a few days after its start. They may not even have regarded their stories as factual when what they were trying to explain was man’s apparent isolation from God. Science was as alien to them as the modern medicine I mentioned at the start of this post. I regret to tell you, but Genesis is not a scientific treatise.

You’re right about one thing – there’s no evidence for evolution as you perceive it. You condemn your own very limited understanding, not the theory itself. There is far more evidence for evolution than there is for a supernatural creator. There is no anti-God agenda to science or the theory of evolution. There is instead an attempt to discover how everything works, to get at the truth wherever the pursuit leads. That this has led away from gods and God is because of the nature of that truth, not to mention the nature of gods themselves.

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

PissImagine the outcry there would be from Christians if having decided to hold an open-air service, a group of atheists turned up and started shouting through tannoys at them as they attempted to enjoy their celebration. Imagine those atheists shouting ‘Hypocrites!’ and ‘Losers. You need to come to your senses!’ Imagine if they said they were only doing this out of love to break the spell the Christians were under, the spell of religion. Imagine they held up signs the entire time with text inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, like ‘Free yourself from your God Delusion’ and ‘ Religion Poisons Everything’.

Yes, imagine the outcry; the Christians would see themselves as persecuted by ‘militant atheists’ out to spoil their day. And, who knows, perhaps they’d be right, though perhaps persecution is overstating it, though we all know Christians like their martyrdom. So long as it doesn’t entail any actual… erm… martyrdom.

This didn’t happen at the weekend in my home town – I doubt it happens anywhere – but pretty much the opposite did. A bunch of Christians, complete with loud speakers and placards with scripture verses on them, turned up at the Gay Pride celebration in the centre of town and proceeded to tell those out to enjoy their day that they were sinners in need of Christ and his salvation. They kept this up, because, they said, they loved the people whose afternoon they were trying to disrupt, for at least two hours. These were not members of a local church; according to the young man I spoke to they had come from various parts of the UK and from the States specifically to interfere with the event, or ‘preach the gospel’ as he put it.

The LGBT people at the Pride were having none of it, of course, and drowned out the tired old rhetoric with whistles and good natured chanting until the Righteous Ones accepted the futility of their mission and packed up to go home… but not before they transplanted themselves near the stage to show off their signs again.

Now, how is this different from the scenario we started with?

Christians would object if others gate-crashed their events and attempted to disrupt their celebrations; yet they think they have the right to do just that to others, with their message of hell and damnation. They’d cry ‘persecution’ and see the same kind of actions as militant (when they have no idea what the word ‘militant’ actually means) and part of an ‘anti-Christian agenda’, if it was they on the receiving end.

It’s Christians themsleves who have the agenda – to judge, impose on and convert those with different beliefs and philosophies. They think they have special knowledge of The Truth that no-one else has and which has never been heard before when all they really have is a superstition, a belief in a sky god and magical incantation, much like any other superstition. Even if this weren’t the case, even if their beliefs were what the Christians think they are, that does not give them the right to exercise their arrogant, shouty agenda by rudely imposing themselves on others’ special days.

 

Update: Evangelist Dale Mcalpine says it wasn’t his merry little brand of preachers that invaded Pride. Oh no. According to Dale, a bunch of irresponsible LGBT people tried to spoil a bona fide Christian event that just happened to be going on nearby at the same time.

These people’s self-delusion knows no bounds.

 

Where was God?

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While they were communing with God, gunman Dylann Roof sat among them for forty-five minutes. Then he opened fire and killed nine of them. That’s forty-five minutes during which time God could have warned the Christians who believed he was listening to them that something terrible was about to happen. But he didn’t. The communication was all one way. They talked to him but he didn’t talk to them. He didn’t even listen. Why not? Because either he doesn’t care what happens to his people, despite what Jesus promised, or he isn’t there.

After the massacre, Christians across America resorted to pleading with this negligent God to comfort the bereaved and to help police find the killer. We can be sure God didn’t do any such thing because if he cared at all, he wouldn’t have let the massacre happen in the first place. 

Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee declared that if only some of those at the prayer meeting had been ‘pistol-packing’ themselves, they could have taken out Roof before he did too much damage. And he’s right – absurd as it sounds, one of them could have done. So why didn’t the God who never forsakes his people prompt one of them to take a gun to church? Perhaps because, unreasonably, he thinks it’s better to turn the other cheek. Either way, mark God down for another fail.

Fellow crank, the ‘reverend’ E. W. Jackson, blamed the shootings on liberals, gays and Obama. So, God – pissed with those who don’t support ‘Christian values’ –  allowed a gunman to mow down nine of his own. Makes sense.   

Debbie Dills, meanwhile, spotted the killer’s car on the freeway and informed the police. She later claimed this was God’s doing; the very God incapable of warning his loved ones they were about to be murdered. This God, who allowed his people to be massacred, directed Debbie Mills, who cannot see that she was just happened to be in the right place at the right time, to notice the killer’s vehicle and report his whereabouts.

Let’s get real: a God who can’t prevent the murder of nine of his children but then behaves like a third-rate Jessica Fletcher is no God at all. He is an impotent creation, a being of trivial pursuits, who fails to materialise when he’s really needed; a mythical figure who keeps his super-powers to himself, except in the most insignificant and coincidental of occurrences; a figment of believers’ imaginations.

Show us he’s not, Christians, why don’t you. Show us how he loves you, never forsakes you and protects even the hairs on your heads. Where is he? Where’s the evidence he exists, outside your inconsistent, fallacious scriptures and your own wishful thinking? Where in this real world? The people of Charleston really need to know.

Idiotic Stuff Jesus Said 12: My words will never pass away

AndersonThe premise of my first ‘Jesus’ book* is that while Christians profess to believe in Jesus, they choose to ignore most of what he taught while he was alive. While they claim a vapid super-hero Christ as personal saviour, they replace what the human Jesus had to say with words of their own choosing. In reality, they have about as much time for Jesus’ ‘eternal words’ as the average non-believer or atheist. You don’t have to look very far to see how much his words have already ‘passed away’:

Jesus said, ‘Don’t judge so that you won’t be judged’ (Matthew 7.1). Our representative Christian says, ‘LGBT people are filthy and wrong.’

Jesus said ‘Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5.44). Our representative Christian says, ‘I’m gonna pray a transgender person dies and goes to Hell.’

Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12.31). The Christian says, ‘The way to show love is to tell other people they’re going to Hell.’

Jesus said, ‘sell all you have and give to the poor’ (Mark 10.21). The Christian is concerned about where to buy jewellery: ‘…somewhere other than Tiffany’s, because Tiffany’s is gay friendly.’

Jesus said, ‘Forgive those who sin against you so you can be forgiven yourself’ (Matthew 6.14). Our believer rants, ‘LGBT people should be executed.’

Jesus said, ‘Don’t commit adultery and don’t get divorced’ (Matthew 5.27-28 and 19.9). Significant numbers of Christians , including our own Stephen Green, say, ‘that doesn’t apply to me.’

See what I mean? Christians regard the words of their saviour, not as having everlasting value, but as if they’re nothing more than worthless bits of fluff. Even if God were real, every word of the Bible true, every aspect of the Great Salvation Plan genuine, it wouldn’t change the fact that believers treat as optional almost everything Jesus commanded and live as if he never had.

 

* Why Christians Don’t Do What Jesus Tells Them To …And What They Believe Instead is available from Amazon worldwide (UK here, US here) but not, alas, from Tiffany’s.

The picture shows the deplorable Pastor Steven Anderson (linked above). He knows better than Jesus ever did.

 

 

 

Idiotic Stuff Jesus Said 11: Build Your Lives on the Things I Say

WhoDoJesus demanded you base your life on his teaching. It’s the only way, he said, that you’re going to find meaning, as well as the principles you’ll need when the going gets tough:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock (Matthew 7.24-25).

And what exactly were those words of his? Here’s what he taught:

  • The Son of Man was coming to the Earth to establish God’s Kingdom within the lifetime of his original followers (Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 24:27, 30-31, 34; Luke 21:27-28, 33-34);
  • His own people needed to be more ‘righteous’ in order to be part of this Kingdom (Matthew 5.20; Matthew 6.33; Matthew 13.49 etc);
  • Being righteous entailed some extreme behaviour; loving your enemies, giving away all you had, turning the other cheek, forgiving repeatedly, being perfect (Matthew 5.44; Matthew 5.42; Luke 6.29; Luke 6.37; Matthew 5.48; Matthew 19.21);
  • It was crucial to obey Jewish law, even if some of it could be reinterpreted (Matthew 5.17-18; Matthew 12.1-7);
  • Once the Kingdom arrived Jesus himself would be King of the world, aided and abetted by his pals (Matthew 19.28; Luke 22.30);
  • His followers would do even greater miracles than he did himself. Given he controlled the weather, healed the sick and raised the dead, that’s going some (John 14:12).

Anybody know anyone who believes all of this or lives this way? Anyone who operates on these exacting principles? I don’t know of anyone and never have. I didn’t even when I was Christian myself. Jesus demands are impossible. No-one can live according to them. ‘Of course not,’ say Christians. ‘You need supernatural help to live like this.’ So why don’t they, when they have God’s spirit living within them (John 14.16-17)? Why don’t we see Christians who perform spectacular miracles, who constantly go the extra mile, who give away everything they have, who are, as Jesus tells them they should be, perfect?

We don’t because no-one can live as Jesus insisted they should. Nor do we see Christians who believe his prophecies either, particularly the one about the Son of Man bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth two thousand years ago. Christians pretend he didn’t really say it, or if he did, that he meant something else entirely. They’ve changed his very words – the ones they should be building their lives on – to claim Jesus himself will be returning any time now (the synoptic gospels are confused about whether Jesus is this Son of Man, or someone else). When he does, they say, true believers will be going with him to Heaven. Never mind that Jesus teaches nothing of the kind and there’s absolutely no foundation for these beliefs in his words. As such, they’re the faith built on sand he tells them is worthless:

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall! (Matthew 7.26-27).

So, if Christians don’t do what Jesus tells them and don’t believe his promises or prophecies, then in what way can it be said they take his words as the foundation of their lives? Don’t they, rather, base them on Paul’s teaching, about a supernatural Christ who bears little resemblance to the zealous Jewish preacher they pretend is their ‘Lord’? Teaching that has nothing to do with that of the man who demands his pronouncements be the very basis of life? Paul doesn’t quote any of Jesus’ teaching.  The foundation Jesus speaks of is of no interest to him; so, naturally, this is whom Christians follow – not Jesus, but Paul and his mythical Christ.

Christians have no time for Jesus’ words – and who can blame them? All he offers is impossible morality, false promises and failed prophecies. Far better to go with what Paul offers, because that’s about what’s in it for them. But even Paul didn’t believe anyone was going to Heaven, so they ignore that bit in his teaching too.