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10 Myths About Evolution

By | Evolution | 7 Comments

I first found this article on Tumblr, but tracked the source down to the Skeptics Society. A downloadable PDF version with pictures is also from Atheism Resource.

If you have been looking for a simple, easy to follow quick guide to evolution, this is it. Below is the text. Learn it. Share it. Enjoy it… it’s science. It’s true. There isn’t a “debate” anymore over this stuff, so stop letting creationists say otherwise.

Original Text:

1. If Humans Came From Apes, Why Aren’t Apes Evolving Into Humans?

Humans, apes, and monkeys are only distant evolutionary “cousins.” We come not from apes but from a common ancestor that was neither ape nor human that lived millions of years in the past. In fact, during the last seven million years many human-like species have evolved; some examples include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo neanderthalensis. All of these went extinct at different times, leaving just us to share the planet with a handful of other primates.

2. There Are Too Many Gaps in the Fossil Record for Evolution to Be True

In fact, there are lots of intermediate fossils. Archaeopteryx, for example, is one of the earliest known fossil birds with a reptilian skeleton and feathers. There is now evidence that some dinosaurs had hair and feathers. Therapsids are the intermediates between reptiles and mammals, Tiktaalik is an extinct lobe-finned fish intermediate to amphibians, there are now at least six intermediate fossil stages in the evolution of whales, and in human evolution there are at least a dozen intermediate fossil stages since hominids branched off from the great apes six million years ago. Considering the exceptionally low probability that a dead plant or animal will fossilize it is remarkable we have as many fossils as we do. First the dead animal has to escape the jaws of scavengers. Then is has to be buried under the rare circumstances that will cause it to fossilize instead of decay. Then geological forces have to somehow bring the fossil back to the surface to be discovered millions of years later by the handful of paleontologists looking for them

3. If Evolution Happened Gradually Over Millions of Years Why Doesn’t the Fossil Record Show Gradual Change?

Sudden changes in the fossil record are not missing evidence of gradualism; they are extant evidence of punctuation. Species are stable over long periods of time and so they leave plenty of fossils in the strata while in their stable state. The change from one species to another, however, happens relatively quickly (on a geological time scale) in a process called punctuated equilibrium. One species can give rise to a new species when a small “founder” group breaks away and becomes isolated from the ancestral group. This new founder group, as long as it remains small and detached, may experience relatively rapid change (large populations are genetically stable). The speciational change happens so rapidly that few fossils are left to record it. But once changed into a new species, the individuals will retain their phenotype for a long time, leaving behind many well-preserved fossils. Millions of years later this process results in a fossil record that records mostly stability. The punctuation is there in between the equilibrium.

4. No One Has Ever Seen Evolution Happen

Evolution is a historical science confirmed by the fact that so many independent lines of evidence converge to this single conclusion. Independent sets of data from geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, embryology, population genetics, genome sequencing, and many other sciences each point to the conclusion that life evolved. Creationists demand “just one fossil transitional form” that shows evolution. But evolution is not proved through a single fossil. It is proved through a convergence of fossils, along with a convergence of genetic comparisons between species, and a convergence of anatomical and physiological comparisons between species, and many other lines of inquiry. (In fact we can see evolution happen – especially among organisms with short reproductive cycles that are subject to extreme environmental pressures. Knowledge of the evolution of viruses and bacteria is vital to medical science.)

5. Science Claims That Evolution Happens by Random Chance

Natural selection is not “random” nor does it operate by “chance.” Natural selection preserves the gains and eradicates the mistakes. To illustrate this, imagine a monkey at a typewriter. In order for the monkey to type the first 13 letters of Hamlet’s soliloquy by chance, it would take 26 (to the 13th power) number of trials for success. This is 16 times as great as the total number of seconds that have elapsed in the lifetime of the solar system. But if each correct letter is preserved and each incorrect letter eradicated, the phrase “tobeornottobe” can be “selected for” in only 335 trials, or just seconds in a computer program. Richard Dawkins defines evolution as “random mutation plus nonrandom cumulative selection.” It is the cumulative selection that drives evolution. The eye evolved from a single, light sensitive spot in a cell into the complex eye of today not by chance, but through thousands of intermediate steps, each preserved because they made a better eye. any of these steps still exist in nature in simpler organisms.

6. Only an Intelligent Designer Could Have Made Something as Complex as an Eye

The anatomy of the human eye shows that it is anything but “intelligently designed.” It is built upside down and backwards, with photons of light having to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells, before reaching the light sensitive rods and cones that convert the light signal into neural impulses, which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns. For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards? This “design” only makes sense if natural selection built eyes from available materials, and in the particular configuration of the ancestral organism’s pre-existing organic structures. The eye shows the pathways of evolutionary history, not intelligent design.

7. Evolution is Only A Theory

All branches of science are based on theories, which are grounded in testable hypothesis and explain a large and diverse body of facts about the world. A theory is considered robust if it consistently predicts new phenomena that are subsequently observed. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are explanatory ideas about those data. Constructs and other non-testable statements are not a part of science. The theory of evolution meets all the criteria of good science, as determined by Judge William Overton in the Arkansas creationism trial:

  • It is guided by natural law.
  • It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law.
  • It is testable against the empirical world.
  • Its conclusions are tentative.
  • It is testable and falsifiable.

If you can find fossil mammals in the same geological strata as trilobites then evolution would be falsified. No one has ever found such contradictory data.

8. Evidence for Human Evolution Has Turned Out to Be Fake, Frauds, or Fanciful

Eager to discredit evolution, creationists ignore hominid fossil discoveries and cherry pick examples of hoaxes and mistakes in the belief that mistakes in science are a sign of weakness. This is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of science, which constantly advances by using both its mistakes and the successes. Its ability to build cumulatively on the past is how science progresses. The self-correcting feature of the scientific method is one of its most powerful assets. Hoaxes like Piltdown Man, and honest mistakes like Nebraska Man, Calaveras Man, and Hespero-pithecus, are, in time, corrected. In fact, it wasn’t creationists who exposed these errors, it was scientists who did so. Creationists simply read about the scientific exposé of these errors, and then duplicitously claimed them as their own.

9. The Second Law of Thermodynamics Proves That Evolution is Impossible

The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to closed, isolated systems. Since the Earth receives a constant input of energy from the sun – it is an open-dissipative system – entropy may decrease and order increase (though the sun itself is running down in the process). Thus, the Earth is not strictly a closed system and life may evolve without violating natural law. As long as the sun is burning, life may continue thriving and evolving, just like automobiles may be prevented from rusting, burgers can be heated in ovens, and all manner of things in apparent violation of Second Law entropy may continue. But as soon as the sun burns out, entropy will take its course and life on Earth will cease.

10. Evolution Can’t Account For Morality

As a social primate species we evolved a deep sense of right and wrong in order to accentuate and reward reciprocity and cooperation, and to attenuate and punish excessive selfishness and free riding. As well, evolution created the moral emotions that tell us that lying, adultery, and stealing are wrong because they destroy trust in human relationships that depend on truth-telling, fidelity, and respect for property. It would not be possible for a social primate species to survive without some moral sense. On the constitution of human nature is built the constitutions of human societies.

The Sexist Bible

By | Bible | 104 Comments

It constantly amazes me how little Christians know about their holy book. Whether it’s faithful ignorance, wilful ignorance, or they simply choose to put on a brave face in the midst of adversity, you will never hear a fundamentalist Christian say that the Bible is anything less than the word of God.

Any honest, thinking person reading through the bible cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity towards women, but most Christians are bible illiterates – they only hear the palatable verses from the pulpit and blindly accept that the bible emanates goodness.

The simple fact is, it doesn’t. Certainly, when you go to church, all you will hear is the message of love. And sure, those verses are in the Bible, but so are a litany of examples of intolerance – sexism, racism, homophobia and cruelty – that reflect the Hebrew society of that time.

Which begs the question, why take your moral code from only parts of the Bible? If you don’t agree that wives should submit to their husbands, women should be silent and dress modestly, or that the pain of childbirth is punishment for Eve’s original sin, (let alone, all of the sexual abuse) why hold the Bible in such high esteem. Surely, there are more modern works that better reflect your own moral code? Or perhaps, just perhaps, you already know what’s right and wrong, and don’t need a book to tell you that at all…

Put your pre-conceived notions aside for a moment, and read through the following list. Whether there is a god or not, is the Bible really a book you want to take literally?

GENESIS

2:22 Eve created from Adam’s rib.
3:16 Eve cursed with painful childbirth and domination by husband.
4:19 Man marries two wives.
12:13-19 Abraham prostitutes wife.
19:1-8 Rape virgin daughters instead of male angels.
19:26 Lot’s wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying god.
19:30-38 Lot impregnates his two daughters while drunk.
20:2-12 Abraham prostitutes wife – again.
25:1-6 Keeping many concubines is OK.

EXODUS

20:17 Wife as property.
21:4 Wife and children belong to master.
21:7-11 OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex. Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set “free” without payment of money.
22:18 Kill witches.

LEVITICUS

12:1-8 Childbirth unclean, Women need to make atonement after childbirth.
15:19-32 Menstruating women are unclean.
20:10-16 Death penalty for homosexuality and various sexual transgressions.
21:7 Priests must not marry prostitutes or divorcees.
21:9 Burn daughters.
21:13-14 Priest must marry virgin, not “used” woman.

NUMBERS

1:2 Census lists only men – women do not count.
5:11-31 Fidelity test for women only.
30:1-16 Woman’s vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband.
31:17-18 Kill all except virgins. Keep virgins for yourselves.
12 Miriam punished for rebuking Moses.

DEUTERONOMY

20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder.
22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride.
22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim.
22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim’s father compensated for depreciation of his property.
25:11-12 Cut woman’s hand for touching foe’s penis.
24:1-5 Man can “send” wife from HIS house. Man must not marry “used” woman.
28:18 The FRUIT of your womb will be cursed – eclectic “pro-life” verse!

JUDGES

5:30 Women are spoils of war.
14:20 Samson gives wife to another man.
16:1 Samson visits prostitute.
CH 19 Concubine pack-raped and butchered.
21:10-12 Slaughtered all inc. women and children. Saved virgins for wives.
21:21 Abducted girls for wives.

1 SAMUEL

15:2-3 Attack Amalekites, kill men, women, children and livestock.
22:19 Kill all inc. infants and livestock.
21:4-5 Men avoid defilement with women.

2 SAMUEL

5:13 David took many wives and concubines.
CH 13 Ammon rapes his own sister.
16:21-22 Absalom sleeps with his father’s concubines.
6:20-23 Mischal punished with bareness.

1 KINGS

11:3 Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

2 KINGS

9:30-37 Brutal murder of Jezebel.

2 CHRONICLES

15:13 Put to death unbelievers.
11:21 Hoards of wives and concubines.

ESTHER

CH 1-2 Queen Vashti dethroned for disobedience; setting “bad” example to all other women.

PSALMS

51:5 Sinful since conception.
127:3 Sons are heritage from god.
137:9 Seizes infants and dashes them against rocks.

PROVERBS

CH 5 Beware of wicked women!
CH 7 More of the above.
6:24 As above.
31:3 Do not waste strength on women.

ISAIAH

3:16-26 Lord punishes haughty women.
4:4 Filthy women.
13:16 Ravish wives, dash infants.
19:16 Will be like women! (insult to Egyptians)

EZEKIEL

9:6-7 Slaughter all including children.
CH 16 Prostitutes, stoning, promiscuity…
CH 23 Tale of two adulterous sisters – reads like the script of a pornographic film. I bet you weren’t told this story at Sunday school!

HOSEA

13:16 Rip pregnant women, dash little ones. (Another “pro-life” verse!)

NAHUM

3:4… wanton lust of a harlot… prostitution… witchcraft.
3:5 I will lift your skirts over your face!
3:13… Your troops are all women. (insult to Nineveh)

MATTHEW

5:32 Husband can divorce wife for adultery. Can wife divorce husband for the same?
CH 25 Sexist tale of ten virgins.

LUKE

2:22 Mary must be purified after birth of Jesus.
2:49 Jesus rebukes his mother.

I CORINTHIANS

11:2-10… Woman created for man.
14:34 Women must be silent in churches.

EPHESIANS

5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.

COLOSSIANS

3:18 Wives submit to husbands.
3:22 Slaves must obey masters in everything.

I TIMOTHY

2:11-15 Woman must not have authority – she must be silent. Women can be saved with childbearing.
5:9-10 Widows should be faithful to husband and must wash saints’ feet.

1 PETER

2:18 Slaves submit to masters, even masters who are harsh.
3:1 Wives submit.
3:5-6 Sarah calls husband master.

REVELATION

CH 17 Destroy great prostitute.
14:4…they did not DEFILE themselves with women but kept themselves pure.

Bill Maher On Islam and the South Park “Muhammad Bear Suit” Controversy

By | Islam | No Comments

This is an issue from last year, but Maher makes some good points about assimilating other cultures into our own:

Bill Maher: “While America likes to think it’s number one, we have to admit that we’re behind the developing work on at least one thing – their religious wackos are a lot more wacko than ours. When Southpark got threatened last week by Islamists incensed at their depiction of Muhammad, it served – or should serve – as a reminder too all of us that our culture isn’t just different than one that make death threats to cartoonists, its better.”

I can only hope that people like Bill Maher, who look at these issues from the lighter side and don’t let political-correctness force them to sweep the issue under the carpet, open our eyes to the way religion forces an “us-vs-them” paradigm on any society in which it permeates. This is the danger of an “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” thought process. And where have we heard that before…?

“Speaking of Muslims, the vast majority are law abiding, loving people who just want to be left alone to subjegate their women in peace. But I gotta tell you, civilized people don’t threatened each other; we sue each other. Threatening? That’s an old school desert shit, and I’m sorry, you can’t bring that to the big city. I’m very glad that Obama is reaching out to the Muslim world, and I know Muslims living in America and Europe want their way of life to be assimilated more. But the Western world needs to make it clear: some things about our culture are not negotiable and can’t change. And one of them is freedom of speech. Separation of church and state is another. Women are allowed to work here and you can’t beat them. Not negotiable. This is how we roll, this is why our system is better…”

After No Rapture, ‘That was awkward’ Billboard Pops Up

By | Christianity | No Comments

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – As promised, a user at reddit.com responded to Harold Camping’s billboard campaign proclaiming the Rapture with a billboard campaign of his own in Greensboro, North Carolina.


The digital billboard, which could be seen near Interstate 40 and Gallimore Dairy Road in Guilford County on Sunday, said “That was awkward” and included a verse from Matthew 24:36 stating “No one knows the day or the hour…”

The billboard was the result of a lengthy discussion on reddit.com where Redditor xtcg123 posted a picture titled ‘Thinking of renting a billboard on May 22. Thoughts?’ The picture/thread received over 1,508 comments with suggestions and comments about the billboard.

On Sunday, the billboard went live in Greensboro.

In a thread on reddit.com, the user explained his decision to put up the billboard message.

“The point here…is that if you’re going to use any source (in this case, the Bible) to promote an agenda, you can’t just leave out the part that completely goes against what you have just ‘guaranteed.”

The billboard was funded through an online campaign that encouraged online users to donate money to help pay for the billboard campaign.

According to a post within the original thread, the user said the billboard cost $250 for a one-day campaign in Greensboro.

“Best part is the billboard rep ended the e-mail with “… that is, if we’re still here,” user xtcg123 said in the thread.

Redditor xtcg123, who lives in North Carolina, was not identified.

Vatican says iPhone apps won’t forgive your sins

By | Catholicism | No Comments

VATICAN CITY – Just in case Catholics are wondering if a new iPhone app might be able to forgive their sins, the Vatican has issued a clarification: No.

“One may not speak in any sense of confessing via iPhone,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy’ See Press Office, said in a statement this week.

According to its U.S. producers, “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” is designed to help users prepare for confession through a “personalized examination of conscience for each user, password protected profiles, and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament.”

The Indiana-based company, Little iApps LLC, says its app is the first to receive an imprimatur, or official permission for publication, from a Catholic bishop – in this case, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Lombardi said the “Sacrament of Penance necessarily requires the relationship of personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor and absolution by the confessor present.”

“This cannot be substituted for by any information technology application,” he said.

Atheism – Good enough for these idiots

By | Science | 10 Comments

You know, it’s really frustrating going up against the “head-in-the-sand” mentality most religious-types have.

In all honesty, I don’t care what beliefs someone has, as long as they don’t infringe on my rights, which being lucky enough to be a citizen of a first world country, should be exactly the same as everyone else.

I think it’s just sad when someone will reject solid science because it doesn’t sit well with their “beliefs”.

It seems obvious to me – if your belief doesn’t gel with the science, then there’s probably something wrong with your belief.

Man 1, God 0 in school chaplains case

By | Christianity | One Comment

By Jenny Dillon from The Daily Telegraph

A FATHER won the first round in his historic battle yesterday to have government-funded chaplains thrown out of [Australia’s] public schools.

Ron Williams journeyed from Toowoomba to Sydney yesterday for a directions hearing in his challenge and was thrilled to hear that his case could be heard in the High Court over three days in May.

“This is a very important moment,” a jubilant Mr Williams said yesterday.

The father of six, who has four children attending Queensland public schools, said his main argument was that the funding for chaplains in schools breached Section 116 of the Australian Constitution, which states that the “Commonwealth not legislate in respect of religion”.

“This is not about getting chaplains out of schools, it’s about the government funding them, which I believe is against the Constitution,” he said.

If Mr Williams wins his challenge, government funding for chaplains would be removed.

The National School Chaplaincy Program was introduced in 2006 by former prime minister John Howard.

The national program won support from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an atheist who, just before the election last year, pledged $222 million to extend the program for four years.

More than 430 schools in NSW get up to $20,000 each a year for their chaplain services, totalling almost $12 million, and more than 2500 school across Australia now have chaplains at a cost of more than $151 million.

The chaplain program is run in Queensland by that state’s branch of the Scripture Union.

In NSW the program is run by the National School Chaplaincy Association which is based in Western Australia.

A spokesman for the association said yesterday it was not appropriate to comment.

NSW Greens MP John Kaye said yesterday’s decision was good news for those who believed in separation of church and state. “The anger felt by many of us at the use of public money will now at least be tested in the court,” he said.

“There will now be an opportunity to hear in court why this program so deeply contradicts the integrity of the Australian Constitution.”

Why The Salvation Army Doesn’t Deserve Your Money

By | Christianity | 5 Comments

Is your donation to the Salvation Army supporting an evangelical church that hates homosexuals and Harry Potter..?

Everyone knows the Salvation Army. Whether it’s the secondhand goods at their thrift stores or their collection kettles outside department stores, the Salvation Army is ubiquitous to the holiday season.

However, the Salvation Army’s virulent opposition to gay rights both in public and through persistent legislative lobbying raises the question how donations intended for the needy are being spent. Many people forget that the Salvation Army is in fact an Evangelical church, and as such, it tends to have a hard-right social agenda.

In fact, the Salvation Army goes so far as to say gay people shouldn’t be having sex. You can find this nugget on their website: “Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.”

Read the entire article at Prose Before Hos.