Friday, August 31, 2012


A couple of years ago I started to really look into the "Evolution/Creationism" debate. One of the things that I noticed right away is that very few people were in the debate. There are a few reasons for this. First, the argument is one-sided. The creationists make claims and challenges and scientists are forced to respond. Most scientists I have seen are annoyed by the wild claims and assertions from groups like Answers in Genesis, who created a museum in Kentucky displaying humans and vegetarian velociraptors living harmoniously together before Noah's flood. It seems that those who side with evolution just want the other side to go away since they haven't presented any convincing arguments for creationism (such is the problem of faith-based beliefs).

The second thing I noticed is that many on the side of creationism no longer call it creationism. The new(-ish) term is "Intelligent Design." The primary reason for this distinction is that creationism has been shown in a court of law to be religious--not science--and therefore, cannot be taught in science classrooms in public schools. There are some other minor differences between creationism and Intelligent Design. For instance, ID does not really make any claims, but rather focuses on holes in evolutionary theory. After enough gaps have been punched in, they then say, "See, doesn't it makes just as much sense that a Supreme Being created everything out of thin air as evolution?" Of course this is just another incarnation of the "god of the gaps" logical fallacy, but the interesting thing about this is that it is merely an argument for deism, not theism.

Groups like the Discovery Institute seek to give ID credibility through science. Most often they do this by grasping at the straws of Irreducible Complexity, which they claim would prove the necessary existence of a deity or prime mover. But, as you might have guessed, every attempt they make at showing how irreducibly complex a chemical process or biological system is, it is met with overwhelming evidence by dozens of reputable scientists that this is not the case.

One of the most compelling displays of this "David and Goliath" battle of wits is the Kitzmiller v Dover trial of 2005. So great was the intellectual arse-pounding given by Scientists such as Ken Miller (videos below) to the ID supporters trying to get their religion into public schools via legislation, that the Discovery Institute failed to show up as originally planned. Let that sink in for a minute. Furthermore, the judge at the trial (who was a Bush-appointed conservative) was so disgusted by the ID supporters and their lack-luster arguments that in his 139 page ruling denying the teaching of ID in public classrooms, he stated that ID was just another name for creationism and was, therefore, religious in nature and not scientific.

As you might imagine, when I found out about this trial I was tickled pink. But as I continued my research, I stumbled upon a site which tickled me even pinker. But first, some background. Also in 2005 (it was a good year for science), the Kansas School Board was trying to pass similar legislation to allow the teaching of ID in public schools. One day they received a letter from a college student named Bobby Henderson offering support for their efforts. After championing their cause he adds the following:

"Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him."

"It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith."  [emphasis added]

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

As I have said before, if one religious view is supported by the government, then all religious views must also be supported. Mr Henderson went on to found the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which is one of the best things I have ever stumbled upon on the Internet. Seriously, check it out. And just in case you get the impression that it is an atheist fan-boy site, Mr Henderson says the following: 

"Let me make this clear: we are not anti-religion, we are anti- crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels."

To close, I would like to bear my testimony of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, sauce be upon Him. For I have been touched by his noodly appendage and look forward to the day when I shall see him in heaven amid the stripper factory and beer volcano.



Here is Ken Miller explaining common ancestry:

And one more of Ken Miller debunking Irreducible Complexity:

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