Science Needs Good PR

My recent post on Project Steve brought several comments arguing that it's pointless to take a survey of scientists, like this one from Freidenker:Frankly, I have no idea whatsoever how many scientists accept or reject evolution, and furthermore - it doesn't matter: even if all scientists all over the world rejected evolution, the evidence for evolution is still really survey the scientific community for evolution support is truly a stupid thing to do: popularity has no bearing … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Facts About VD

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 1We pick up where we left off, with self-proclaimed former skeptic Lee Strobel interviewing a rural Appalachian community whose inhabitants were violently resisting the teaching of evolution. As we'll see, Strobel believes a person can be fully justified in advocating creationism. Yet it seems improbable that these isolated, deeply religious communities were thoroughly acquainted with the complicated philosophical and scientific arguments he deploys later in the … [Read more...]

Evolutionary Algorithms

One of the bedrock claims of creationism is that mutation can never create new information, that random changes can only make complex systems worse and never improve them. Although there are many examples of information-increasing mutations in the natural world that prove this claim false, there's an even more potent and understandable counterexample, one that I think defenders of evolution too often overlook. That counterexample comes in the form of evolutionary algorithms.Altshuler and … [Read more...]

Noble Africa

To those who are following the continuing genocide in Darfur, every day brings grim headlines:Fighting has prompted thousands of people in the southern part of Sudan's Darfur region to seek security and shelter at a refugee camp in the northern part of the war-torn area, according to the United Nations....An estimated 300,000 people in the western Sudanese region have been killed through combat, disease or malnutrition, according to the United Nations. An additional 2.7 million people have … [Read more...]

Answering Lee Strobel's Questions for Atheists

Friendly Atheist has posted the third part of a dialogue with Christian apologist Lee Strobel. In it, Strobel poses questions that he thinks would be the most effective at planting seeds of faith in an atheist's mind. In this post, I'll answer those questions. I've written on some of these issues at greater length in the past, and I'll also provide links to those essays where appropriate.Historian Gary Habermas: "Utilizing each of the historical facts conceded by virtually all contemporary … [Read more...]

The Age of Wonder

If you search the internet, it's not hard to find New Agers and others who think that the dawning of the age of reason was a mistake. They envision a more "holistic" approach, one that properly pays heed to the mystery and complexity of existence, and castigate science for being cold, unfeeling, heartless in its probing, reductionist scrutiny of the natural world. For example:The reason things are advancing so slowly... is that science has neglected the (spiritual) indications necessary for … [Read more...]

Jealous Gods

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god.—Exodus 34:14Many verses in the Bible, such as the one above, state unequivocally that Yahweh is a jealous and vengeful lawgiver. They warn of how he loathes idols, and graphically describe the dreadful punishments he will inflict on any of his chosen people who go astray and worship false gods. In fact, the prohibition on worshipping false gods is the very first of the Ten Commandments - more … [Read more...]

Ten Questions to Ask Your Pastor

The New York Times recently ran a depressing article about the obstacles faced by public school science teachers. I don't envy teachers their job, as important as it is: between surly and unruly students, cash-strapped school districts, incompetent administrators, and the regimented, monotonous teaching needed to drill classes for standardized testing, they have more than enough to deal with. But this outrage may surpass all the others: religious students who have been programmed by their … [Read more...]

Evolution Is Design

It's not often I disagree with Richard Dawkins, but I have to do so today. In the opening pages of Climbing Mount Improbable, he discusses what he calls "designoid" objects:Designoid objects are living bodies and their products. Designoid objects look designed, so much so that some people - probably, alas, most people - think that they are designed. These people are wrong. But they are right in their conviction that designoid objects cannot be the result of chance. Designoid objects are not … [Read more...]

Evolution and the Problem of Evil

In the opening chapter of The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins penned the following words:An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable … [Read more...]