Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dinosaurs, Behemoths and the Great Biblical swindle

A few weekends ago, a friend of mine from Operation 513 (a dangerous terrorist organisation) made a statement that Job 40 proves that humans walked the earth at the same time as dinosaurs. For those of you who don't know, Job 40: states:-

40:15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
40:16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
40:17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
40:18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
40:19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
40:20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field
40:21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
40:22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
40:23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
40:24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

Now, I had previously read about this and it already appeared that the passage and following passage regarding the leviathan were pretty clearly just imaginings, not unlike faeries or the loch ness monster. Nonetheless, when dealing with fundamentalists it takes significant evidence to persuade them of the silliness of their position. For this reason, I began investigating the matter in detail, and, to my suprise revealed another example of propoganda and coverup which exemplifies the sickening intellectual dishonesty engaged in by the christian agenda.

It was no suprise to me that ancient Jewish legend does tell of three mythical beasts, the Behemoth of the earth, the Leviathan of the Sea and a third entity not mentioned in Job, Ziz, a sky creature of incredible power. The ancient Jewish mystic tradition (Haggi) these three beings would battle against each other at the end of the world.

Some readers consider the behemoth could be put down to some of the massive african fauna such as elephants or hippopotamus, however, this is usually discounted by the description in Job 40:16 that the behemoth has a tail "like a cedar tree". The counter argument to this was that an elephants trunk could be confused for a tail, which makes some sense in that the behemoth is said to never allow humans to get close "it can only be destroyed by its creator". Alternatively, it is noted that the skin of an elephant (or hippo for that matter) has the same texture as a cedar tree and this may be the detail referred to in the passage. Another interpretation is that the "tail" is a miscontruction of the word in Jewish which is more often used to describe a large male genetalia - of which elephants are well blessed.

Creationists, of course, consider the passage, in particular the reference to the tail, describes a large sauropod like apatosaurus or brachiasaurus, of which there are numerous fossilised examples. This is where the scholarship of christians comes into question. The passage above is from the King James Translation of the Bible, whereas newer translations state at 40:16:-

Behold now, his strength in his loins and his power in the muscles of his belly

So why would christians replace "his power in the navel of his belly" with "his power in the muscles of his belly"? The reason is simple, dinosaurs were birthed in eggs - that is, they do not have umbilical cords like humans. Accordingly, the behemoth - if a dinosaur - would not have a navel. This proves that behemoth was not a dinosaur and more likely a figment of imagination or forgotten description of an existing species of animal.

But, that alone is not the final word, it mentions that the behemoth eats grass. Yet, fossil records of dinosaurs show they had spoon like teeth and not molar teeth which are required to eat grass or chew cud "like an ox".

Furthermore, in the earlier translations, there is reference to behemoth lying below a lotus tree in Job 40: 21:-
He lies under the lotus trees, In a covert of reeds and marsh. The lotus
trees cover him with their shade; The willows by the brook surround him

It is perhaps ironic that of the lotus species, none of the plants grow to more than two meters high. Were these pygmy dinosaurs?

This highlights two points, firstly, the Bible does not describe humans and dinosaurs side by side. Secondly, christians (who are no doubt aware of these facts) are prepared to change their "interpretation" of their own holy text in order to preserve their point of view.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Creationism, Intelligent Design - What do the academics really think?

I often hear from creationists that there is substantial academic support behind intelligent design. This bizarre statement is at odds with reality - which is not unsuprising given its source. Nonetheless, I have done some basic research into the matter and found that several academic bodies in Australia and around the world have policies against the teaching of Intelligent Design and strongly rebuking creationism as a whole.

As you would expect, intelligent design policies are more heavily populated in areas which are subject to this vile academic schicanery, particularly geology and biology. Perhaps the best instance of this comes from the Geological Society of Australia who released its own Intelligent Design policy in March 2006 which was undersigned by the president and 18 former presidents of that society. The policy is strongly worded against the teaching of intelligent design:-

The Geological Society of Australia considers that notions such as Fundamental Creationism, including so called "Flood Geology", which disregard scientific evidence such as that based on repeatable observations in the natural world and the geological record, are not science and cannot be taught as science.

An essential element in the teaching of science is the encouragement of students and teachers to critically appraise the evidence for notions being taught as science. The Society states unequivocally that the dogmatic teaching of notions such as Creationism within a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of objective public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations.

In some parts of Australia, the advocacy of notions like Creationism is confronting the integrity and effectiveness of our national education system and the hard-won evidencebased foundations of science. The Geological Society of Australia cannot remain silent. To do so would be a dereliction of our responsibility to intellectual
freedom and to the fundamental principles of scientific thought. As a consequence, the Society dissociates itself from Creationist statements made by any member.

So the next time someone says there is academic support for Intelligent Design or Creationism. Tell them they are full of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Refutation of the First Cause argument from Hume (PS, Hume doesn't demand that you worship him - after all - he is not as proud as your God).

1. The first cause argument is dependent on causation
2. Causation is dependent on time
3. If there was ever no time then there would have been no causation
4. If time was infinite then it would never have gotten to today
5. Today exists
6. Therefore, time is finite.
7. Therefore, there was a point without time
8. Therefore, there was a point without causation

9a. The universe could be the result of a state of affairs without causation
9b. God/Allah could be the result of a state of affairs without causation who then created the universe
9c. Ockhams razor provides that the more simple explanation is most likely to be true.
9d. An uncaused universe is more simple than an uncaused god who then created the universe

10a. Therefore, it is more likely that the universe is uncaused; and,
10b. God does not exist.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Should Dahmer go to Heaven?

As many of you know, I previously finished a degree in justice studies where I developed an interest in how serial killers operate. Serial killers are different to most criminals. Helen Morrison, a United States psychiatrist who has studied many serial killers has hypothesised that serial killers lack a developed personality and generally have the emotional development of an infant of about 100 days. It is for this reason that they are capable of acting with complete intelligence and having no hesitation in carrying out vicious acts of torture which they usually describe as experimentation. That is, the killing is only incidental to seeing what will happen when the experiment is performed.

Whenever I am told by theists that there is objective morality in the world, I sometime think back to what I know of serial killers and laugh. If there is objective reality then these guys missed that lesson.

I turn now to Jeffrey Dahmer, an electrical worker at a chocolate factory, Dahmer killed 17 people, had sex with their corpses and occasionally ate the remains. Some body parts were found in a sewer drain near his house as well as in his fridge.

Dahmer, like most serial killers, is a very good liar and can construct powerful realities, just as actors do. However, Helen Morrison found that while such killers are often charming in person, their charm wears off if one interrogates them for several hours without a break. This is caused by strain - because their charm and personality are artificial, they cannot keep it up forever.

Here is a video interview where Dahmer describes his coming to believe in Jesus Christ:-

And if you believe that, you would be a good victim too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The flawed God

I am always amazed at the bloodthirsty nature of religion, but not so much as a young man on the weekend that proclaimed to me that his salvation came through the blood of an innocent man, ie Jesus. I do not understand how a person can reconcile that their own sins are set assunder because another man, who is supposedly completely innocent, was brutally tortured and crucified. How is it that blood can atone for sin? If anything, wouldn't we expect good works or the giving of love to rectify the imbalance we often perceive in our own behaviour. How can it be that thinking you are personally responsible for the death of an innocent person will somehow overcome your own flaws? I would have thought that it would just be another sin to add to your tally?

Perhaps it is fitting that Christians believe their patron was actually god in flesh. Does it not seem odd that one would consider that taking blood of an innocent person, that of their god, as a path to salvation, would actually be the exact route taken by their god's enemy? For it is not in the ressurection that these christians find their salvation but in the price paid in blood. How horrendous it must be to think that you are guilty for everything, including the death of your saviour?

And yet, I find nothing in the New or Old testament that points these people towards becoming better human being. Not in the words of a god at least. The kindness and love supposed to be shown through the christian tradition is not more than the kindness and love that the godless Greeks or the Egyptians or the Norse also considered to be virtuous. How is it that if this man was god in human form that he could not provide us with any greater guidance than that which had already been discovered by man?

Here, we examine the supposed pinnacle of Christian teaching, "do unto others as thou would have done unto yourself", and here we see the fatal flaw of this relativistic approach - what if I wish to be despised? Is this god in human form incapable of seeing such a possibility? I only have to walk down my local street to see children dressed in black and bearing profane banners with pride for me to see ones that wish to be despised and outcast from our group. So how does the "golden rule" aide them? It does not, rather, it provides a preface towards an ever spiralling descent away from our fellow man. How foolish was christ to make his provision for our actions dependent on our own flawed nature. And yet, that is probably the best evidence that he himself was flawed as any man and no god could be.