Much of Religion is Falsifiable

Fal si fi a ble
“Able to be proven false, and therefore testable; as, most religious beliefs are not falsifiable and therefore outside the scope of experimental science”  Webster’s revised unabridged Dictionary

 The Christian religion makes many falsifiable claims about itself. It likes to tell its members that prayer is answered and is effective in curing sicknesses and helps in almost any situation.  Your pastor or priest or rabbi will not tell you about all the studies that have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that prayer is totally useless, other than as a ‘positive thinking’ or placebo exercise.

Those unlucky people who have had an arm or leg amputation, have never had their prayers answered to regrow said limb…in all of earthly recorded history.

Those two undeniable ‘facts’ completely falsify the Christian claim that prayer does work.  So I wonder why this is?  It seems that Christians would have caught on by now.  Remember Texas Governor Perry having his little prayer meeting trying to get some rain in the state to relieve a terrible drought?   The fires broke out and Texas has had the worst fire season ever…way to go god.

1.  Prayer is a falsifiable claim of Christianity. And it has been proven false.

Since the 1600’s or so science has been relentlessly working on many many projects that have inadvertently invaded the claims and assertions of religion.  Other than the people who write for the Biblical Archaeological Review the scientists whose field is archaeology, paleontology, biology, geology, physical anthropology, or radiometric dating do not work to try and prove the Bible…nor do they work to disprove it.  They simply do their job and report what they find without prejudice.

Likewise the field of genetics, although a relatively new science, it, along with other earth sciences, in just a few short years has made tremendous strides in defining our humanness and ancestry and giving us a sense of history that defies and falsifies what religion has been telling us for thousands of years.

What these sciences together have done is falsify most of the books of Genesis and Exodus.  We now have convincing scientific evidence that falsifies the stories that generation after generation was brainwashed with and told were true history.  From about 500+- AD when the Bible was canonized till the middle of the 20th century, people who doubted the Christian religion and God were mostly without proofs of what they believed…not any longer.

Now we know where all of us humans came from…Africa…and most likely the Ethiopian area…and most likely about 50,000 + years ago.  Archaeologists and paleontologists have been saying this for years, and just in the last few years genetics and DNA has confirmed this. We have found proof that our ancestors mated successfully with Neanderthals.  There is new evidence (that is not fully confirmed yet), that our ancestors mated with some other ancient hominids.  The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable…we are not guessing anymore…we have the proof to back it up.

We don’t need a physical ‘missing link’ anymore…we can follow our history in the blood and DNA.  We are the last surviving representative of the genus Homo…which is estimated to be 2.3 to 2.4 million years old…we have really ancient ancestors, we can no longer deny this.  We are not related to a mythical ‘Adam and Eve’ or to the mythical sons of Noah.

2.  Adam and Eve is a falsified claim of Christianity…they are just a Biblical myth. ***

This is going to cost the Christian community a big case of heartburn.  Because of Paul inventing ‘Original Sin’ in the New Testament and placing the blame on Adam and Eve’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.  ***There are additional falsified claims in Genesis.

Because of ‘Original Sin’ concept Christianity needs the first couple…badly.  The whole of the need for Jesus was Paul saying that through Adam and Eve’s disobedience and downfall, sin passed down to all of mankind, Jesus had to provide a blood-sacrifice to expiate the sins we humans all have.  Think of this…a blood sacrifice to a god…how insane and silly is that?

Does any of this sound suspicious and slightly familiar?  Didn’t the old civilizations in South America and the really old cultures in the Middle East, and elsewhere kill people as sacrifices to god or the god’s?  Blood sacrifices…like Jesus.

From Wikipedia:
“In Trinitarian Christian teaching, God became incarnate in Jesus Christ, sacrificing his first-born son to accomplish the reconciliation of God and humanity, which had separated itself from God through sin (see the concept of original sin). According to a view that has featured prominently in Western theology since early in the 2nd millennium, God’s justice required an atonement for sin from humanity if human beings were to be restored to their place in creation and saved from damnation. However, God knew limited human beings could not make sufficient atonement, for humanity’s offense to God was infinite, so God created a covenant with Abraham, which he fulfilled when he sent his only Son to become the sacrifice for the broken covenant. In Christian theology, this sacrifice replaced the insufficient animal sacrifice of the Old Covenant; Christ the “Lamb of God” replaced the lambs’ sacrifice of the ancient Korban Todah (the Rite of Thanksgiving), chief of which is the Passover in the Mosaic Law.

3.  The need for Jesus as a blood sacrifice for ‘Original Sin’ is falsified by the non-existence of Adam and Eve.

Most archaeologists and earth scientists have known for years that there was never any evidence of the Hebrews (a million + strong) living in and subsequently leaving Egypt.  Repeated surveys of the Sinai desert by the best scientists in their field has never found the slightest bit of evidence for the Hebrew passage and their camping out for 40 years. There are no Egyptian records or writings supporting the myth of half or more of their population leaving suddenly. This is a non-event…it has no scientific attestation at all.

4.  The truth of the Exodus and the supernatural events that follow in the myth has been falsified by over a hundred years of searching for the slightest evidence…and not finding any.

In the thousands of years of human history, magical or supernatural explanations of phenomena have never once been proved…and natural explanations have ALWAYS worked. Never the other way round.

There is more to all of this, but it’s past my bedtime. 🙂

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleontology
http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/forensics.shtml
http://www2.estrellamountain.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/BioBookDNAMOLGEN.html
https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/lan/en/atlas.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution
http://humanorigins.si.edu/
http://www.becominghuman.org/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/human/human_evolution/index.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice#Judaism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_violence.

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The Missing Links

Some of our missing links and when they lived.
Note that some or all of these times and general information may change as new data emerges or new finds are made.  Sorry, that’s the way science is.

Ardipithicus ramidus
The Ardipithecus specimen, an adult female, stood four feet tall and weighed about 120 pounds, almost a foot taller and twice the weight of Lucy. Its brain was no larger than a modern chimp’s. It retained agility for tree-climbing but already walked upright on two legs, a transforming innovation in hominids, though not as efficiently as Lucy’s kin.  4.4mya to ??

Australopithecus afarensis
The most famous member of the species is Lucy, an adult female skeleton discovered in 1974 and nicknamed after a Beatles song. Lucy lived about 3.18 million years ago and was fully capable of walking and running on two legs.

Australopithecus africanus
A. africanus was an early descendent of Lucy and lived in Southern Africa between 2 million and 3 million years ago. Its brain was larger than Lucy’s and its facial features were more human-like.  Recent finds are probably going to push this timeline further back in time.

Paranthropus aethiopicus
This early ape-like hominid walked on two legs and lived between 2.8 million and 2.2 million years ago. Based on skull measurements, scientists concluded this species had the smallest adult hominid brain ever discovered.

Paranthropus bosei
It is believed that P. Bosei split from the line leading to modern human some 2 million years ago and lived alongside our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years, but died out after failing to adapt their diets.

Homo habilis
Many scientists believe H. habilis is the missing link between the ape-like hominids like Lucy and the more human-like ones that came after. They had long ape-like arms, but walked on two feet and were capable of creating tools.  2.2 mya to 1.6 mya

Homo ergaster
Scientists can’t decide whether this African hominid is just a failed predecessor of H. erectus or the rightful ancestor of modern humans. It had a thinner skull than H. erectus and was more proficient at making tools and using fire.  2 mya to 1.5 mya

Homo erectus
H. erectus is generally believed to be the direct ancestor of modern humans and also the first hominid to live in caves and tame fire.  2 mya to 400,000 years ago.

Cro-Magnon/Homo sapiens
These people were modern humans and lived in Europe from about 65 to 50,000 BC to present. They are found in Africa from about 200,000 years ago to present. Found in Australia from about 50,000 years ago to present.  Their cave paintings, petroglyphs, and sculptures are the earliest known examples of art by a prehistoric people.

Neanderthal
Stocky, muscular, squat and well suited for the cold, Neanderthals looked distinctly different from modern humans. But they were like us in other ways: they buried their dead, cared for their sick and injured and were probably capable of language and music. Bones of Neanderthal have been found in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Scientists not long ago put together a complete Neanderthal skeleton, and have just this year (2009), completed their genome. They have a 99.5% gene match to us humans.  250,000 years ago to about 30,000 years ago.

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Christianities Contribution to Civilization

My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race. I cannot, however, deny that it has made some contributions to civilization. It helped in early days to fix the calendar, and it caused Egyptian priests to chronicle eclipses with such care that in time they became able to predict them. These two services I am prepared to acknowledge, but I do not know of any others.

The word religion is used nowadays in a very loose sense. Some people, under the influence of extreme Protestantism, employ the word to denote any serious personal convictions as to morals or the nature of the universe. This use of the word is quite unhistorical. Religion is primarily a social phenomenon. Churches may owe their origin to teachers with strong individual convictions, but these teachers have seldom had much influence upon the churches that they have founded, whereas churches have had enormous influence upon the communities in which they flourished.

To take the case that is of most interest to members of Western civilization: the teaching of Christ, as it appears in the Gospels, has had extraordinarily little to do with the ethics of Christians. The most important thing about Christianity, from a social and historical point of view, is not Christ but the church, and if we are to judge of Christianity as a social force we must not go to the Gospels for our material. Christ taught that you should give your goods to the poor, that you should not fight, that you should not go to church, and that you should not punish adultery. Neither Catholics nor Protestants have shown any strong desire to follow His teaching in any of these respects. Some of the Franciscans, it is true, attempted to teach the doctrine of apostolic poverty, but the Pope condemned them, and their doctrine was declared heretical. Or, again, consider such a text as “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” and ask yourself what influence such a text has had upon the Inquisition and the Ku Klux Klan.

What is true of Christianity is equally true of Buddhism. The Buddha was amiable and enlightened; on his deathbed he laughed at his disciples for supposing that he was immortal. But the Buddhist priesthood – as it exists, for example, in Tibet – has been obscurantist, tyrannous, and cruel in the highest degree.

There is nothing accidental about this difference between a church and its founder. As soon as absolute truth is supposed to be contained in the sayings of a certain man, there is a body of experts to interpret his sayings, and these experts infallibly acquire power, since they hold the key to truth. Like any other privileged caste, they use their power for their own advantage. They are, however, in one respect worse than any other privileged caste, since it is their business to expound an unchanging truth, revealed once for all in utter perfection, so that they become necessarily opponents of all intellectual and moral progress. The church opposed Galileo and Darwin; in our own day it opposes Freud.

In the days of its greatest power it went further in its opposition to the intellectual life. Pope Gregory the Great wrote to a certain bishop a letter beginning: “A report has reached us which we cannot mention without a blush, that thou expoundest grammar to certain friends.” The bishop was compelled by pontifical authority to desist from this wicked labor, and Latinity did not recover until the Renaissance. It is not only intellectually but also morally that religion is pernicious. I mean by this that it teaches ethical codes which are not conducive to human happiness.

When, a few years ago, a plebiscite was taken in Germany as to whether the deposed royal houses should still be allowed to enjoy their private property, the churches in Germany officially stated that it would be contrary to the teaching of Christianity to deprive them of it. The churches, as everyone knows, opposed the abolition of slavery as long as they dared, and with a few well-advertised exceptions they oppose at the present day every movement toward economic justice. The Pope has officially condemned Socialism.

Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?,  By Bertrand Russell–1930

Truth Saves

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