Charles Darwin Day

Today is Darwin’s 205th. birthday.  He turned our world upside down, and was one of the greatest scientists of all time.

I raise my glass and drink to his memory.

Ramen

Our Cousins The Neanderthals

Should Evolution Be Taught To Children

20,000 Year Old (?) Pottery From China

“Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say.

The findings, which will appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in East Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.”

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“Scientists took samples, such as bones and charcoal, from above and below the ancient fragments in the dating process, Wu said.

“This way, we can determine with precision the age of the fragments, and our results can be recognized by peers,” Wu said.

Shelach said he found the process done by Wu’s team to be meticulous and that the cave had been well protected throughout the research.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/pottery-20000-years-old_n_1635079.html

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE ANY OF THIS?

The Bible has the following either implied or stated as fact:

Our universe was spoken into existence out of nothing…by a floaty thing  in the sky
Plants were created before the sun was.
The first man was created from dust.
The first woman was made from a rib taken from the first man. (we both have the same number of ribs however)
They are in a garden that has ‘magic’ fruit, to make people live forever and be smart.
There is a talking snake.  (did it have legs I wonder)
Incest was used to jump start the population.
There are Angels…good and bad…and demons.
There are giants and Unicorns.
There are witches, wizards and magicians.
There are bad Angels that rape human women.
Human pregnancy/reproduction is possible with no human father. (just like some of the other gods around the time of Jesus).
People can rise from the grave and walk the streets. (Zombies anyone?)
People live as long as 900+ years.
Dinosaurs and people lived together.
God commits genocide by flooding the earth and only saving 8 humans. (apparently the thought of just starting completely over never occurred to Him)
God makes the Sun stay in the sky so a human battle can be completed.
There is a talking, burning bush somewhere in the mountains of the Sinai desert .
There is a talking donkey.
People (other than Moses) can change wooden staffs into live snakes
A man sees Jesus in a beam of light…and all of Jesus’ thoughts and wishes are downloaded to him. (Hollywood Blvd. anybody?)
There is a man that lives inside a fish for 3 days.
Insects are said to have 4 legs (would a God REALLY be this stupid??)
The cure for leprosy is dove blood sprinkled on the toes (REALLY??)
If you position mating livestock in front of a stripped stick, they will produce stripped offspring.

Today we can actually disprove most of these Biblical assertions/stories.

Do mainline Christians really believe any of this is true?  Or is it just the fundamentalists wackos among us.

Baylor University and Evolution

Baylor University in Waco, Texas is the largest Baptist University in the world, and has a pretty good science department.  I always thought the Baptists were creationists/fundamentalists…

From the Biology Department at Baylor University:

Statement on Evolution
“Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University, Waco, TX, teaches evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously.”  http://www.baylor.edu/biology/index.php…


From the Baylor University Geology Department:

“Whether biological evolution occurs has NOT been a matter of scientific debate for more than a century. It is considered a PROVEN fact. The specific mechanisms of biological change over time continue to be a topic of active research, and include mechanisms proposed by Charles Darwin as well as more recently developed ideas based on our growing knowledge of genetics and molecular biology. Using the methods of modern science, our knowledge of the fundamental mechanisms of life has grown enormously since the initial characterization of the role of DNA in reproduction, inheritance and evolution in the mid-1950s.”   My emphasis http://www.baylor.edu/geology/index.php…

DOWNLOAD the 1 MB PDF file Evolution and the Fossil Record by Pojeta and Springer.
http://www.agiweb.org/news/evolution.pdf

Evolution Fact or Theory

Don’t know the didfference between a scientific fact or theory or hypothesis…watch this video.

Should Religion Be Exempt From Criticism

“I look forward to the day when violence done under the influence of religious passion is considered more dishonorable, more shameful, than crimes of avarice, and is punished accordingly, and religious leaders who incite such acts are regarded with the same contempt that we reserve for bartenders who send dangerously disabled people out onto the highways.

I also look forward to the day when pastors who abuse the authority of their pulpits by misinforming their congregations about science, about public health, about global warming, about evolution must answer to the charge of dishonesty. Telling pious lies to trusting children is a form of abuse, plain and simple. If quacks and bunko artists can be convicted of fraud for selling worthless cures, why not clergy for making their living off unsupported claims of miracle cures and the efficacy of prayer?”
Daniel C. Dennett Co-director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University

And the Catholic Church keeps asking for free speech to be censored.  And the Republican religious right wants to put people in jail for blasphemy and other religious/church crimes.  The future is indeed going to be interesting…and maybe deadly.

Adam and Eve No Longer Tenable

Jason Rosenhouse over at EvolutionBlog details some of the theological twists and turns some religious writers are going through trying to explain a religious world with no Adam and Eve to blame original sin on.

“One of the many problems modern science poses for Christianity is the question of how to understand original sin. The traditional teaching, which holds that Adam and Eve were the only humans on the planet when they were created on day six of Creation Week, that the ground was cursed and they were expelled from Eden as a result of a specific sin they committed, and that this corrupted state was in some way passed down to all future human beings, is no longer tenable. A variety of lines of evidence make it clear that the human population has always numbered in the thousands and certainly never dipped down to two. Moreover, evolution makes clear that humans arose through eons of natural selection. There was no moment of creation, and there was no state of primordial perfection for them to sully.”  Jason Rosenhouse PhD, EvolutionBlog.  Full post Here    My emphasis
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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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