What’s the matter with you, Hat?

What’s the matter with you, Hat? is a song by Pink Munky which is basically just a bunch of samples of recordings of L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology saying crazy, racist and just plain stupid things.

Did you know that not smoking enough causes lung cancer? I guess either Scientologists haven’t heard the more crazy things Hubbard said or they’re just so brainwashed that they have to try to explain away the most ridiculous parts rather than recognizing them for what they are and seeing the whole tapestry start to unravel. That seems to be the way it goes with a lot of religions/cults though…

Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

Even those of us who have managed to divest ourselves of religion are not automatically immune to all forms of psychological trickery. This is an important point to remember, and it is very valuable to learn how to spot pseudoscience, logical fallacies and all manner of cons.

Although this is not something you can master in 40 minutes, the 40 minute movie “Here Be Dragons” is a good introduction to some of these issues. It may be too basic for some, but if you don’t already know the material it covers then it’s very much worth watching, and even if you think you know it, a fun little refresher course can’t hurt!

Piranha Morals

Religious people often ask where morals could possibly come from if there were no gods (or more often if their god wasn’t real). This video is not a complete explanation, but it should be enough to make more open-minded believers take another look at the issue of what morality is and where it comes from.

Saucers and Masons and Tares, oh my!

Wow, I intended to give Christians a break and post video of someone who believed in something completely crazy and unrelated, and then I picked one and watched a few of his videos and realized that I had failed. He’s actually some kind of a Christian too, he just believes that the world is run by reptilian aliens and Free Masons on top of it.

At first I was tempted to believe that he was making a very long and elaborate joke, but the more I watched the more I realized that I actually see someone on a fairly regular basis who seems to share some of the same beliefs!

I’m going to have to look into this whole reptilian/Free Mason conspiracy thing in more detail, especially since this guy claims that 99% of businesses are run by one or the other, and I’d hate to think I was funding a global conspiracy to destroy us, but for now let’s just sit back and enjoy the crazy.

Evolution vs. Creationism: Listen to the Scientists

Today we have something a little different. We often have lay people refuting creationism (which only shows how easy it is to do), but this time we have a whole series of videos with well spoken scientists who know more about their respective fields than almost anyone in the world explaining the basics of science, evolution and more.

Many of you will already be familiar with much of the material presented in these videos, but it is still good information and it is presented in a way that most people should understand it. I would recommend that creationists in particular watch some of these to clear up misconceptions that are encouraged by most of the popular creationist sites.

To start with, here’s one that many of the creationists I talk to should watch:

The Age of the Earth

The rest of the Evolution vs. Creationism series:

  1. Listen to the Scientists
  2. Is Evolution Just a Theory?
  3. No Controversy
  4. “Teach the Controversy”
  5. Is Hearing Both Sides Fair?
  6. Experts vs. Scientists-Peer Review
  7. The Process of Science
  8. Epistemology
  9. Purpose & Goals of Creationism
  10. History of Evolution v Creationism
  11. Evolution Essential to Education
  12. Pragmatic Value of Evolution
  13. Creationism’s Negative Effects
  14. Science Teachers Challenged
  15. Biblical Literalism
  16. The Age of the Earth
  17. Scientific Explanations & God
  18. Freedom of Religion
  19. Gaps in the Record & Complexity
  20. Origins of Cellular Life
  21. Some Beliefs in Creationism=50%
  22. Abuse of Science & Democracy
  23. Position of Science in U.S. Today
  24. Scientists Responsibility to Speak

Pesky Preaching Penis

In part 19 of his “Why do people laugh at creationists?” series of videos, Thunderf00t responds to the claims made in a creationist video where an animated creationist teacher who looks like a giant penis bashes “evilution” and convinces a skeptical kid to accept creationist Christianity.

As usual, the creationist arguments are thoroughly destroyed.

Bad Claims: Population Supports Global Flood

In their attempts to prove the Bible true and to disprove evolution, I have heard creationists make many bad claims, but one of my creationist friends has recently taken to using three specific claims which he seems to think are unassailable. Yesterday we took one apart (the recession of the moon). Today the next comes down, and it comes down in a much worse way for creationists.

The claim is that if we trace the population of the world back, assuming that the population grows at a specific rate which they make up to fit with the story they are trying to prove, then at the time they believe the Biblical flood happened there would have been 8 people just like the Bible says. This idea is completely unsupportable.

Not only does the population of the world today not in any way prove that a global flood happened 4,400 years ago leaving only 8 people, 7 of each “clean animal” and 2 of each “unclean animal” alive, the population of the world shortly after this time proves that it could not have happened. Once again, creationists hang themselves by attempting to use science.

The video does not cover everything that’s wrong with this ludicrous claim, but it should do more than enough to put it to rest in most people’s minds.

Bad Claims: The Recession of the Moon

 

 

Of course, some presentations of this are worse than others. In this one Thunderf00t lambastes a particularly bad example of the claim/argument, but he does cover rather tidily the issues involved.

 

 

And here’s one where Desertphile does an excellent job of explaining why the extrapolation based on no evidence is outright intellectually dishonest; he also goes into some of the evidence that makes the extrapolation obviously incorrect.

This bad argument has been floating around for some time. It’s a gross misunderstanding of astronomy promulgated by Answers in Genesis to the credulous and those with little scholarship in any of the sciences needed to comprehend it. The biggest problem with this argument—and it’s not really an argument; it’s more like an unsupported claim—is that it rests on a faulty premise: The moon has been receding from the Earth at the same rate since it’s inception.

Really? Do you have evidence that it has been receding at the same rate ever since whatever event generated our moon? The answer isn’t just a resounding, “No,” it’s a resounding, “There is evidence that the moon had been receding by much less in the past than it is today.”

There are a number of poorly framed arguments and bad claims made by Creationism that involve unsupported extrapolation in this manner. It’s a great deal like looking at how the temperature has risen by 20 degrees between 6am and noon—and then extrapolating that the entire universe must have been frozen solid a few days ago and that we’re all therefore going to die in a fire within a few days ourselves. Without either direct observation of the temperatures from midnight to 6am; or at least evidence to permit us to extrapolate those temperatures making claims that temperatures will continue to rise or had in fact risen from absolute-zero would be laughed at.

These claims and arguments are, of course, not being published in any peer reviewed journals on the very subjects of geology, astrophysics, or physics because they’re blatantly wrong and wouldn’t even make it past the editorial phase. Instead, they are being spread instead in the political sphere; taking a the low road of attempting to convince a credulous and unstudied population to make them “true.” They can’t make it with these claims in places where people will actually put them to the test.

When people resort to cheating and misrepresentation to make their point, it’s time to either take them to task or dismiss them.

The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System (Tim Thompson, 2000)

Instruction Manual For Life

Do you have the right manual?

Hopefully this video will remind us all to be kinder and more understanding when dealing with people who have different beliefs.

Whether we realize it or not, every one of us can learn something from every other person if we can be reasonable and open to new ideas. Even if we never agree on religion or other issues, we can still be friends.

Shunning people who don’t share our beliefs can hurt us even more than it hurts them.