Monday, September 14, 2009

Attaccabottoni (Italian)

attaccabottoni (Italian): a sad person who buttonholes people and tells long, pointless stories of misfortune (literally, "a person who attacks your buttons").

Even though this is my 100th post, it is nothing special. It is more for me, really. I like the fact that I am free to write about anything I want to write about on this blog, and the fact that you bear with me even during my dry spells (periods of time in which I find it difficult to post anything any of you smart people will find interesting). The word above has no specific value really. No relevance to anything here. Except for me. I've realized that (while not much on this blog), I'm an "attaccabottoni". I tell people about my problems, without addressing them. I put too much focus on my own stresses in life, and don't always realize other people have their own problems. Today I put an end to that. That is the "for me" part of this blog post.

With that said, I also decided that I'd like to share with you a few posts from a couple of fellow bloggers that have caught my interest in the past few days, and I hope they have the same effect with you as well. I hope it is a sufficient 100th post.

The Red Ferret has recently posted about an article on the matter of belief in god being natural... and even if it is true, it doesn't constitute the belief being true. Also, he delves into the Gideon's bible for some pretty neat biblical truths (like what to do when our hard drive crashes).

Sparrowhawk draws attention to something that I thought deserved more attention in the first place (or, I should say, good attention). Obama's education and stay in school speech. Is Sparrowhawk trying to promote indoctrinating our students? Not at all. He also points to another president that has done something like this as well. Take a look. While I thought that some may find the speech Obama gave to students cheesy, I thought it was inspirational to some degree. Do well in school. That's the only doctrine I tasted while reading the transcript of it online.

The Secular Thinker has posted on the definition of some terms people throw around in argument (which I think is good, part of the argument is knowing what's being said). He also touches upon the first cause argument. And the (often mind stressing) TAG.

The New Atheist had a post 3 days ago about September 11. The ending paragraph deserves attention:
September 11th ought to be a day when we reflect on role religion plays in our societies, not come together to praise the same God who abandoned us all eight years ago. The events of this day are irrevocably intertwined with religion. It is a fact that 9/11, and a multitude of other historical atrocities, wouldn’t have happened in a world of atheists. And no, Hitler wasn’t an atheist. So save it.
The rest of the post is good, too. Also, sometimes people don't take kindly to civil discourse and rational discussion. No matter what political party they associate themselves with, they may look a bit like this.

To 100 posts. Enjoy yesterday's Non-Sequitur.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Evolution draws us closer to God?

I just read an article in Relevant Magazine (some hipster Jesus magazine) about the divide that Christians make between evolution and faith in God. First of all, I congratulate the author for being open to the idea that a scientific theory should not be discounted on the grounds that it does not mesh with what was written down in an old book thousands of years ago.
Arguing for God being the Creator of the universe doesn’t necessitate an attack on the theory of evolution. Don’t misunderstand me; some evolutionists (particularly some of the neo-atheists like Richard Dawkins, who argues in his new book people who don't believe in evolution are on the same level as Holocaust deniers) have gone ape over their theory (forgive the pun) to the point that they seem to forget it is a theory, and refer to it as if it is an undeniable scientific fact. (Please note: when I speak about evolution, I’m referring to Darwin’s macroevolutionary theory: life began millions of years ago from a kind of primordial ooze that gave rise to single-celled creatures, which then evolved into more complex ones, all the way up to we humans.)
Unfortunately, we find our first problem here (and it is an issue of semantics). Ed Gungor seems to make the mistake of claiming evolution is “just a theory”; the theory of evolution is a scientific theory, which is not on par with a hypothesis. While a scientific theory is falsifiable, it is also backed up by evidence. Another thing I am getting tired of is people who talk about evolutionary theory bringing up “neo-atheist” Richard Dawkins. While I appreciate what Dawkins does, I have never actually read any of his books. How about you ask any real scientist in the field that believes in the theory of evolution a question you’d ask Richard Dawkins (in regards to science, mind you), and you’ll find that you may get the same answer Dawkins would give. Also, it is not only Darwin’s theory; why people revert to calling it exclusively Darwin’s theory is beyond me. Darwin was greatly influential, this I’m sure, but the theory of evolution has evolved (forgive the pun) far beyond what Darwin first professed. Now let’s move on, I’m afraid I’m becoming too nitpicky with Mr. Gungor.
Is the theory of evolution true? It definitely has its problems, but whether it is or isn’t true doesn’t impact the notion that God is the Creator of the world. Scientific theories about origins simply talk about how things came to be, not whether God was behind it. For Christians to argue about scientific theory—any theory—because they think it attacks the notion that God is the Creator seems silly.
Mr. Gungor claims evolution has its problems (and I agree to a point). The theory of evolution has only one problem, and that is that it has limitations. This does not make the theory any less valid, but is a testament to the fact the science is ongoing and ever seeking new knowledge. Also, while I do agree that the theory of evolution does not answer the question of whether a god was or was not behind it, I would say it does if the theory is in conflict with a God who had created everything in 6 days the way it was 6000 years ago (unless you take Genesis poetically).

Mr. Gungor goes on in the following paragraphs to make the point that being a Christian does not mean you have to adopt the view that the Earth is young, and that evolution is not true. In other words, science should not be the enemy of faith. Often times, though, it is faith that does hold back knowledge and understanding of scientific notions.

Mr. Gungor then goes on to make the argument from design-
One could say that the order of non-living things—the laws that govern physical objects, the earth orbiting the sun, the seasons coming and going, the laws governing atoms and the subatomic universe—is enough evidence to assert that there is a God who designed things to be the way they are. But the most compelling evidence—the evidence that seems to scream: THERE IS A GOD! — comes from things that are alive.
We all know that this does not demonstrate that there is a God. The laws of physics do not prove God exists. The next two paragraph talk about how DNA is a language, a coded message written by God. Or at the very least, it had to be. The thing is, it does not, and until you demonstrate how this is the case you cannot say “God must’ve done it”. You can study science, and then come up with a sound conclusion instead.
British chemist Leslie Orgel once said, “Evolution is smarter than you are,” to which atheist Christopher Hitchens responded, “But this complement to the ‘intelligence’ of natural selection is not by any means a concession to the stupid notion of ‘intelligent design.’”

Why not? Why couldn’t evolution have an intelligence that was put in it by God? That Hitchens (along with the other neo-atheists) can make no “concession” to the possibility of God being involved is evidence of a silly prejudice. It is not a logical observation.
I do not know the context of what Mr. Gungor quoted from Christopher Hitchens, but I have a feeling Hitchens was talking about the Discovery Institutes idea of intelligent design (which is different from theistic evolution). I may be wrong, though.

I will end my post on this note- the idea that Mr. Gungor can observe the world around him and conclude that there just has to be a God is evidence of silly prejudice. When you look at the world around you, you find that there is no god above. The world as we know it operates as if there is no god, so why make the assumption there is a god without any evidence? That wouldn’t be a logical observation.