Creationists claim +/or disown Crick

Sparked by a May post and comments on Hells Handmaiden’s always-interesting blog. Hell’s Handmaiden was reasonably challenging the absurdity of Denyse O’Leary’s claim that Francis Crick (one of the people who discovered the double helix structure of DNA, do keep up) would not get tenure today because he propounded the theory that human life was seeded by aliens. This post brought out a pretty incensed series of anti-PC comments from one Wakefield Tolbert. (I admit to being impressed at the Pythonesque surname, fitting so well with my mental picture of the commenter.)

I googled for evidence, with a half-thought out idea that the alien seeding idea was more associated with Fred Hoyle – a former Royal Astromer (thereby giving the lie to the “no honours for eccentric scientists” idea) – and Chandra Wickramasinghe.

Creation Web seems pretty clear that Crick is the enemy:

Long before he ever discovered DNA’s structure, he held strong atheistic views. The news article even reported that Crick’s distaste for ‘religion’ was one of the prime motives that led to his discovery, and also said, ‘The antipathy to religion of the DNA pioneers is long standing. In 1961 Crick resigned as a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, when it proposed to build a chapel.’

They then attack him for suggesting at one point that life is seeded through the universe.

Cross-currents go further in that they try to claim Crick for a slightly misguided one of their own:

What he proposed is, of course, Intelligent Design without a Divine designer—essentially putting off the question of Who or what (be that a Designer or spontaneous process) created life structures able to develop the space-travelling aliens….There’s certainly a lot more evidence for the Hand of G-d than there is for visiting space aliens—but none other than Sir Francis Crick was willing to grab for the latter in order to avoid the former.”

Well, no. There isn’t much evidence for either as far as I can see.

Except that Panspermia itself doesn’t exactly require a belief in visiting space ships. It seems a perfectly rational hypothesis as defined by Answers. com

The theory that microorganisms or biochemical compounds from outer space are responsible for originating life on Earth and possibly in other parts of the universe where suitable atmospheric conditions exist.

There are some fundamental issues of logic here.

Firstly, Crick was indulging in scientific speculation, as the discoverers of the double helix did. They had to test that theory and it proved to fit the observations. If they had found out that DNA molecule was connected in the shape of a teapot or a Mobius strip, they’d have changed their views. Crick did in fact come to modify his views on Directed Panspermia.

Secondly, the reliable authority fallacy is rearing its head again. Crick was successful in one area of thought, ergo, everything he says must be equally respected. I bet Francis Crick was probably not a good breakdancer. That is not to say that he couldn’t try a few fancy moves, if he so chose. However, being part of the team that discovered the structure of DNA would not, in itself, reflect on his skill as a break-dancer. He wouldn’t win an MTV B-boy competition just on the basis that he’d published a Nobel-prize-winning paper on molecular structure.

So, why do ID-proponents care about Crick’s speculations on the origins of life? Because they get a bit miffed that any respected scientist (read – an Authority) is an atheist.

Any potential Authority is going to get dragged in to support their arguments – from Einstein (because he spoke using the odd spiritual metaphor) to Chuck Norris (because he was in a film with Bruce Lee once.) So Crick is no exception. Try to get him on-board somehow.

From the Wikipedia entry on Crick and Creationism

It has been suggested by some observers that Crick’s speculation about panspermia, “fits neatly into the intelligent design concept.” Crick’s name was raised in this context in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial over the teaching of intelligent design. However, as a scientist, Crick was concerned with the power of natural processes such as evolution to account for natural phenomena and felt that religiously inspired beliefs are often wrong and cannot be trusted to provide a sound basis for science……In a 1987 case before the Supreme Court, Crick joined a group of other Nobel laureates who advised that, “‘Creation-science’ simply has no place in the public-school science classroom.”

Obviously, if you are trying to claim the advantages from borrowing Authority (e.g. those trying to use Crick to support the Dover School Board) you’re stuck when your Authority opposes you. So you have to deAuthoritise them pretty damn quick.

Agnosticism – rational or not?

I was reading an interesting post on the excellent “The Mary Blog,” titled “Agnostic Atheism.” In this post, Mary puts forward the argument that Atheism is not the most rational choice to make and requires an element of belief very similar to theism – in that the Atheist has to believe the non-existence of God without any evidence to support the idea.

Unusually, Mary also explains that Agnosticism is not entirely rational either and concludes that the rational position is about half way between Agnostic and Atheist. The whole post puts forward a reasonable argument for people seeking a middle ground between what is increasingly seen as “Militant” atheism and the “reasonable” agnosticism.

Sadly, while I consider myself a rational person, I have to disagree and, personally, I find the arguments for Agnosticism a bit “wet” (for want of a politer word). Before I go on, there is always the risk that this could simply be a case of semantics, so I think some definitions are required. To me, Atheist is not a religion and it certainly is not a dogmatic belief structure. My view of the term “Atheist” does not preclude the fact that if, tomorrow, Thor knocked on my door and introduced himself, I would believe he existed. In common parlance, Atheist is used to mean “doesn’t believe in the Christian God” but, personally, this is inaccurate.

Right, that said, I can explain why I feel Agnosticism is not rational and, often, seems to be a way people avoid any stigma associated with being called an “Atheist.” (Sorry if this seems to rehash some ground from a previous debate with Parabiodox over the terms 😀 ).

Often blogs claiming Atheism is irrational will use the argument that the Atheist believes God does not exist, while the Agnostic says “we don’t know if God exists or not.” In this form, the Agnostic view point does appear more rational but closer examination may change this.

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Believing in Unbelievers

The latest entry from the Department of Missing the Point Completely is by Fr. Robert J. Carr and titled “Making Fool’s For Satan.” (Big hat tip to the Friendly Atheist)

In a nutshell, Father Carr has decided to rant against the Blasphemy Challenge but obviously has not been guided by his invisible friend as he does so. As a result, he not only misses the point about the challenge, but seems to get a bit confused over the whole issue of belief and what the Christian church teaches (or at least did when I went to school). Friendly Atheist has done an excellent job of fisking the (ahem) article so I wont do that here, but there are a couple of points I want to pick up on. Continue reading

The bio-chip 666 of the Beast

I’ve been a proper hardcore atheist today, scouring the net for things not to believe.

And there really is a wealth of them. The problem is that this blog is so easily suckered into believing that spoof sites are real that it’s hard to credit that some of these exist. It’s quite tough to work out which rapture ready site is funnier than the next.

Well, with my back covered when this turns out to be an abstract joke and not just a scam, this site must be close to a winner. It’s called Bible Prophesy: Mark of the Beast. (I’ve put the URL despite my best intentions, just to prove this site exists.)

666: The Mark of the Beast

What is it? Many Christians believe the 666 mark will be a biochip implant to create the cashless society of Revelation 13.

Why is it so bad? All who take the mark will be damned by God to be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Why will those who take the mark be damned? I think it’s because God made Silver and Gold as honest weights and measures to be used as money! Money is NOT paper (which is a promise), not electronic credits, not chips, not a mark, nor a number!

The Use of Paper Money Violates All of the Ten Commandments

For more on the nature of gold and silver and why they are real money, please read my other site,

Without quoting any more of this,basically, it says the Book of Revelation predicts bio-chips that will be used to store ID details and serve as money. But, these are the Mark of the Beast and anyone who gets one won’t be a candidate for the rapture.

Phew, glad I haven’t got one then.

(In fact, it’s a probably a stroke of luck that my access to folding money is so limited, given how rapture-unready use of non-metallic currency seems to be according to this site …..)

Wait, a lightbulb moment! Anyone looking for a good defence for not getting the new national ID card can probably claim to be a follower of this belief system. Where do I sign up?

[tags]atheist, crackpot, gold, money, rapture, religion, revelation, silver, society, mark of the beast[/tags]

Gods and evolution

There are some comprehensive lists of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses in Gregory Flood’s Lists of Roman Godds and Goddesses.

These were people who didn’t mess about, if they found themselves without a handy god for any occasion. They just made one. There’s a god called Scabies, ffs. (of Itching, in case you wondered).

How did we get from the complex and changing pantheons of the Greeks and Romans and Vikings and Yoruba and Egyptians and indigenous Americans, etc, etc. to the dull God of Abraham? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

There’s an analogy between loss of diversity in species and loss of diversity in beliefs. As humans have shaped more and more of the environment, more unique and colourful species tend to give way under human pressure on their habitats. So, we see the lowest common denominator species prospering. The rat, the cockroach, the pigeon, the housefly all doing very well. (Basically all grey and able to live on s.ite.)

Pantheons reflect a human-centred worldview – a capacity to look for patterns in the universe and human society and to express our innate capacity for transcendence. The list of available gods can be revised in an ongoing basis to accommodate new ones when the old ones don’t work. Human rulers were happy to promote themselves to Godhood, whenever they felt the need.

This suggests that many people were aware that their religions were human constructs but could square this with the social and psychological benefits they got from their rituals. Compared to this, worship of one God seems willfully unsophisticated, and leads to inherent logical contradictions and a need to smite the ungodly.

The one God has expanded to take over the mental and social space we have for deities, dominating whole societies and lives. As far as I can see, this represents an flattening of mental diversity, as when one species – that can live well amongst humans whether we like it or not – replaces the variety that could co-exist in a more fertile environment.

Too easy a target

Was enticed to visit WorldNetDaily via a post on Richard Dawkins which reproduced their article on teachers who felt they were being forced to promote atheism.

The article turned out to be as silly as you’d expect. Even more hatstand but with more intrinsic comedic value is Chuck Norris’s article on this very topic. (You can get there from the WND homepage by clicking on his big dumb face in the right column.)

How to outlaw Christianity (Steps 2 & 3)

So even good old z-list action movie stars can see the wisdom in banning religions? Well. that seems a bit extreme to me but I am not gifted with the action hero’s can-do spirit. So, I am prepared to be persuaded, although the Roman empire’s failure to manage this example suggests it may not be the way to go.

No wait, fool. This is a warning of the powerful atheist conspiracy to do just that. Bah. This blog wasn’t even invited. Word must have reached Atheist Conspiracy Central of our weak revisionist tendencies.

Some representative content:

Step 2: Target younger generations with atheism

Atheists are making a concerted effort to win the youth of America and the world. Hundreds of websites and blogs on the Internet seek to convince and convert adolescents, endeavoring to remove any residue of theism from their minds and hearts by packaging atheism as the choice of a new generation. While you think your kids are innocently surfing the Web, secular progressives are intentionally preying on their innocence and naïveté.

What’s preposterous is that atheists are now advertising and soliciting on websites particularly created for teens. The London Telegraph noted that, “Groups including Atheists for Human Rights and Atheist Alliance International – ‘Call 1-866-HERETIC’ – are setting up summer camps and an Internet recruiting campaign.”

YouTube, the most popular video site on the Net for young people, is one of their primary avenues for passing off their secularist propaganda. Another antagonistic and self-proclaimed “blasphemous” site even beckons youth to record their anti-Christian beliefs on it.

Blimey. You think your kids are innocently surfing the web for goatporn or anorexia-promotion sites. You find that they are being suckered into rational philosophy sites. What parent wouldn’t be worried sick?

Thanks for the tip off, Chuck. Chuck Norris! I’m so pleased he has managed to crown his distinguished movie career with a new role as the moral watchdog of the religious right.

My god, the man has pretty well defined z-list acting since the 70s so I had to consult the biog on the IMDB to get the full flavour of his achievements.

Both his parents were half Irish and half Cherokee

Oh come on. Both? Surely the entire current Irish-Cherokee gene pool must consist of him and his bothers. (Wieland and Aaron, since you asked)

His real name is Carlos Ray. This is already a mystery. Why would anyone change the inoffensive Carlos to the ludicrous Chuck? Or Ray to Norris. Norris, ffs. It’s a mere step away from Norbert. Carlos Ray is Charles King in Spanish almost – if you ignore the spelling. He could have chosen that as a nom-de-action-movie if he thought his given name was too Hispanic. (Or Man-who-fights-bad-guys O’Shaughnessy, reflecting his background.) But he went straight for an English-sounding name that seems to have any residual human intelligence sucked out of its very syllables. The human equivalent of the Mazda vehicle called the Bongo Friendee. (Google it if you don’t belive me.)

The only watchable film that he was ever in, to my knowledge, was the one where he fought Bruce Lee in the Colliseum (watchable because of Bruce Lee rather than Mr Norris) This is called Meng long guo jiang, with what I consider excessive pedantry, by IMDB. And he was comically chest-and shoulder-hair-covered in that.

Everything else in the list of his movies brings the old phrase “straight-to-video gem” to mind.

Let’s see the upside here, fellow evil conspirators. If Chuck’s illustrious film career makes him the best-known celeb that the religious right can field to be the star face of a major blog, they really have had to scrape the barrel.

Let’s redouble our efforts to turn the youth to our godless ways.

Do Christians have a sense of humour?

It is never easy writing blog posts on a Friday, too much to do in the run up to the weekend, so please forgive the “easy” targets today. Yesterday I took a cheap shot at a post on the unique Parabiodox blog. I knew it was a bait post but I was bored and couldn’t pass up the chance to poke fun at what came across as a very self-important Theist post.

Parabiodox has responded to my comment and seems to damn me with faint praise (more of that later), but oddly seems to continue the “self important” tone I thought the original post had. Do Christians have a sense of humour or was he just all cut up over the death of Jerry Fallwell…(*) Anyway, trying to claw my way back to seriousness, in a nutshell, Parabiodox (paraphrasing the luminary Ayn Rand…) asked a question about which faith/belief system spends it’s time attacking others to hide the fact it has nothing to offer. It was fairly obvious this was a poor attempt to attack Atheism (agnosticism etc) and that is the answer the Theist wants to get.

The reality is far from the truth (for example, Atheism is not a faith nor is it a belief system) so, I pointed out that if you are not a follower of the Abrahamic myths, then they seem to spend a lot of time attacking others in an effort to mask the fact they offer nothing of value. The irony of the very question did not go unnoticed here… How does Parabiodox respond?

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