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Christianity, Religion, Theist Wackiness

Christian Argument Dismantled

Yesterday’s little rant about what I flippantly called the vagina clown car movement drew the ire of one of my readers, Russ.  Rather than simply respond to his post in the thread, I’ve decided to use it as the subject of today’s post.  I thought it might do my nonreligious audience some good to see the process by which we can dismantle bad arguments and expose them for what they are.

In order to get fully on board, you should probably read my post from yesterday.  The first thing we need to do is establish what I’m saying — the point of my rant.  (If we were talking about a formal argument, we could call it a contention.)  Since my post was not framed as a formal argument, it’s a little difficult to pick out my main points, but here are some context clues.  Look for statements of fact and ignore gratuitous information.  Neither my headache nor the “stupidity that won’t stop” are significant, so you can basically ignore them.  Within a few sentences, you can also see that I’m not saying anything particularly important about the book by the ALL CAPS WOMAN.

The first statement of fact that looks relevant is where I say that there’s a growing movement of women who think sperm is magic.  I go on to mention a specific family that has eschewed birth control and decided to have as many children as “God gives them.”  The next paragraph asserts that this belief is stupid and environmentally irresponsible.”   I also imply that this practice will result in more ignorant, scientifically illiterate fear mongerers.  That’s pretty much it.  So, in a nutshell, here’s yesterday’s post, distilled into relevant information:

  • There is a growing movement of women who refuse birth control and have lots of children as a result.
  • This practice/belief is stupid and environmentally irresposnible.
  • This practice will lead to more ignorant and scientifically illiterate fear mongerers.

I apologize if that’s a little tedious.  The actual mental process takes only a few seconds, but writing it out is not so ergonomic.

Anyway, let’s look at the conversation with Russ:

Russ wrote:

Let me get this straight. A married couple decides to have a big family teach their children things like, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” and this causes you to become so angry that you can’t speak. Are you sure that they are the ones with the problem?

Can anybody spot the first problem?  It’s a seductively good deflection, but it’s a deflection.  Which of my points is Russ addressing?  He’s conceded (but not defended) the decision to have a big family, and implied that I object to parents teaching their children to love their neighbors.  He’s then implied that I have anger issues.

Now, go back to my post and re-read it if you need to.  You’re looking for any reference whatsoever to teaching children about loving their neighbors.  I’ll save you the time.  It’s not there.  In only one paragraph did I imply anything about education, and I mentioned two things specifically:  ignorance and scientific illiteracy.  Under which category does “love your neighbor” fall?  In my book, that’s ethics.  It certainly doesn’t take science education to know that it’s a good idea to be nice to your neighbor.

So that whole (emotionally appealing, to be sure) sentence is irrelevant.  It has absolutely nothing to do with my argument.  This is a very common technique used by theists when defending themselves against rational arguments.  They simply change the subject from the get-go.  They also follow Russ’s pattern here by trying to bait their opponent into defending himself.  Notice that he has implied that I have a problem, and that my anger is misplaced?  Harsh words, but they don’t actually say anything of value.  What problem is Russ suggesting that I have?  He hasn’t said.  He’s just used the emotional appeal of accusing me of a problem to (again) deflect from my original points, which he still hasn’t even touched.

Let’s see how I handled that:

Yes. You have it exactly straight. Have you read any of the other posts on this blog? How about the one where I write that religious indoctrination is the equivalent of child abuse? Have you checked out Endhereditaryreligion.com? It’s in my links. Yes, Russ. I am of the belief that the combination of environmental irresponsibility, the teaching of Bronze Age superstitious, misogynistic, authoritarian dogma, and the blatant biogtry displayed by the couple at that website is worthy of great anger. They are teaching their children to be ignorant bigots. I find that horribly offensive.

Rather than engage in a constructive debate, I’ve responded with anger.  This was my first mistake.  My anger at his post shows through, but look at what’s happened.  Russ never accused me of anything specific.  He never addressed my argument at all.  He just used emotional appeals to try to win the day.  In truth, that’s why I was angry.  I’ve seen this kind of deflection for years, consistently, and it’s aggravating to see someone so flippantly ignore everything I’ve just said.  Nevertheless, I played his game instead of mine.

Even so, I did not succumb to his ploy with regard to “love thy neighbor.”  Instead, I reiterated my initial point while adding another bit of information.  I asserted that Christian teachings are bigoted.  So, we can add that to our list of things Russ could address.

Now, Russ’s reply:

This is the fruit of your religion – hate. Hate toward a loving family that you do not even know.

The fact is that home schooled children outperform government schooling hands down in every area of study. Yet you see a couple raising their children according to their time tested beliefs in a free country as offensive unless they teach exactly what you believe. It is the atheists who are intolerant, judgmental and predigest – not people of faith.

In the United States there is (for now) the freedom of religion and generally that means Christianity for that is our heritage. If teaching Christianity makes people ignorant salves, why is the most Christian nation also the most successful, influential, powerful, free and wealthiest nation on the face of the earth? Why haven’t the atheist nations bypassed us if hatred is the answer as you propose?

Russ is pulling out the big guns.  Apparently, I hate the family in this blog.  Very emotionally damaging to me, right?  I’m a hater.  Or… am I?  Have I said that I hate them?  Have I implied that I hate them?  No.  I have not.  I have said that their belief is stupid and that they’re raising ignorant, scientifically illiterate children.  Is that hate?  No.  It’s not.   Just ask any good Christian family if “tough love” is sometimes appropriate.  Shouldn’t good Christians “tell it like it is”?  Yes, they should, according to their own documents.  Unfortunately, to be consistent, the same rules have to apply to me.  I can be tough and direct, and it can be an act of love — of caring for these people and their children, and wanting them to grow up healthy and intelligent.

Let’s also note that Russ has slipped in the claim that atheism is a religion.  Curious, is it not, that somehow, this is being used as a perjorative?  Why, I wonder, does he feel the need to label atheism a religion?  Does it change any of the facts of any of the arguments?  Or… perhaps it plays upon the notion of blind religious zealotry.  Perhaps he wants readers to associate my behavior with unthinking herd mentality.

Ironic.

The deflections and naked assertions continue.  Which homeschooled children outperform which government schools in all subjects?  Russ doesn’t say.  He just asserts.  I, for one, am pretty certain that children home schooled by Young Earth Creationists do not outperform children in either ancient history, geography, earth science, or biology, for they must be taught untruths about all of these disciplines for their religious beliefs to make any sense.

Apparently, according to Russ, I have also stated that unless parents teach exactly what I believe, I find them offensive.   Very emotionally damaging — but not contained anywhere in my post or subsequent argument.  Again, I have asserted that a particular type of education — religious and nonscientific — produces scientifically illiterate bigots.  Since Russ has not addressed my inherent claim that Christian homeschooling ignores science and teaches bigotry, my point is still unopposed.

Almost to the climax, Russ plays the trump card.  Freedom of Religion in the Grand Old United States of America.  One must wonder if Russ actually grasped my argument at all, or whether he was just responding emotionally himself.  I didn’t, in any way, suggest that these people are not free to practice their religion.  I asserted that they are raising scientifically ignorant bigots as a result of choosing to practice their particular version of religion.  I have not called for the government to end freedom of religion.  I have decried the practice of a particular religious freedom on moral grounds.

Finally, the coup de gras.  If Christianity is so awful, why is America so great?  This is a really great emotional appeal.  Russ has implied that I’m un-American already, and now he’s driving the point home.  I must be some kind of pinko commie, right?  (I know, he didn’t say that explicitly, but do you think someone might be thinking it?)  Perhaps I even hate America for its freedom of religion.  Perhaps I’d like to impose atheism on everybody and ban the bible.

Let’s get off that emotional bandwagon for a second.  “If America is so great” is an awfully loaded statement.  First, we’re not really that great when it comes to education.  I think at last check, we were something like 37th overall among industrialized nations.  In any case, it’s certainly not very high.  Regardless, this analogy is flawed to begin with.  America might be great because we have more resources than anybody else, or because we import our greatest minds from other countries, or because we have more universities than any other country.  It might not have anything to do with Christianity, and in fact, there’s the possibility that we are great, but would be much greater if we were not a predominately Christian population.

All that claptrap, and not a single, valid objection to even one point that I made.  Not one.  Russ got himself in a tizzy and probably drummed up some righteous indignation among fellow Christians who read his response, but in the end, we see that there’s absolutely no logical content to it at all.  It’s just preaching.

As a final thought, I’d like the readers to know that I’m not doing this to Russ to embarrass him.  I’m hoping to use his misguided emotional appeals as an example to both Christians and non-believers.  We skeptics are often lured into heated emotional debates with theists, and when that happens, we often lose — not because we don’t have the correct position, but because we’re not playing to our own strength.  We’re playing their game — emotion — when we should be playing ours — reason.

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Discussion

56 thoughts on “Christian Argument Dismantled

  1. My point was that you are intolerant of other people unless they hold your belief system. I still hold that this is true.

    This is a free country and couples are free to have large families if they choose. If this is irresponsible then generate legislation that will outlaw it.

    I concede that I jumped to conclusions or addressed things that you had not specifically addressed. I made mistakes, you made mistakes. We are even.

    But the problem remains. You are angered (your own word in your original post) by people do not see the world as you do.

    I do not believe that birth control is wrong and as adults we should have responsibly sized families. However, I believe that we are free to live within the laws of our country including having a large family if we choose. (By the way, I am 49 and only have one child after 27 years of marriage to the same wonderful woman.)

    Why not blog about octo-mom if you want to talk about irresponsibility? Why not? I do not know for sure but I could venture a guess that she is not a Christian (that I know of) and therefore does not fit your hidden agenda of portraying Christians as, “ignorant and scientifically illiterate fear mongerers.” (It is mongers, Mr. Literate.)

    Your hatred, intolerance and predigest are all products (fruits) of your world view.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. – The teaching of Christianity.

    Posted by Russ | March 13, 2009, 2:45 pm
  2. Russ, I’m sorry I don’t have time to give this response the full treatment right now. However, with any luck, my readers ought to be able to spot the same mistakes in this response as those I dismantled earlier.

    Thanks again for being a guinea pig. You’ve been marvelous.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 13, 2009, 2:57 pm
  3. Congrats Russ. You have proven that the author of this blog is exactly the same thing he accused you of being. No actual responses, just anger and hatred. There is no arguing with people who are full of hate.

    Posted by radcliffelion | March 13, 2009, 3:06 pm
  4. Russ,

    It is predjudice, Mr. Literate.

    Let us read of some of the teachings of the Christ about love, joy, and peace from his own words:

    Luke chapter 19 verse 27

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

    Posted by Watcher | March 13, 2009, 4:54 pm
  5. Radcliff, I think you might get some dissent on that opinion from readers familiar with formal argument and debate. I’ll give you the cliff notes version:

    Hambydammit: X is Y, and it makes me angry.

    Russ: C, D, E, and Hamby is a bad angry person.

    Hambydammit: C, D, E, and accusing me of anger are unrelated to X or Y.

    Russ: F, G, H, and oh yeah… Hamby is angry.

    As you can see, the substance of the argument, “X is Y” has not been addressed. So no, your assessment is incorrect. All Russ has done is prove that he cannot or will not address actual arguments, and prefers to appeal to emotional, but unrelated, innuendo.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 13, 2009, 5:32 pm
  6. Russ,

    …Legislation? Are you serious? That’s the outcome you’d prefer?

    Do you know much about Chinese history, by chance? Unfortunately, they skipped-out on the opportunity so simply make an intelligent choice and stick to 1 to 2 kids per family; as a result, when there simply was not enough space to go around, the government was forced to enact rather brutish policies to keep population growth in check.

    The idea is *not* to look at your current legislation and say, “Well, geez, I have the right to have as many kids as I want, so I may as well have fifteen while the getting’s good,”; the idea is to make an informed decision that allows you to maintain your current rights.

    Education is almost always preferable to simply slapping a law in place.

    We’re sitting at somewhere around 7 billion human beings on the planet right now, with the population exponentially growing year by year. We will likely peak-out at 9.5 billion people in 2050, if current trends continue.

    THIS IS NOT VERY INTELLIGENT. There is only so much hydrocarbon fuel, topsoil, fish, cattle, ore, etc; giving birth to five kids and teaching them to do the same is essentially *guaranteeing* that a large generation down the line is going to experience immense suffering in a world of overwhelming scarcity.

    This is not just a matter of opinion, either. It’s a demonstrably factual statement.

    And since your deity is apparently such an almighty panacea to the ills of the world, perhaps you can ask him to conjure-up another planet for us from the void for after we’re done gobbling-up this one?

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 13, 2009, 8:06 pm
  7. Hello Hambydammit. In fairness, you did use some rather inflammatory language. Remember that, while predictable, you are treading sensitive ground when you question a person’s religion. Rather than demand proof of Divinity, you might want to try showing were we would be without science since it is science that creationists fear most. For instance, if not for science, Russ would not have been able to plug in his computer and respond to your post in the first place. In this manner, I believe we can open an honest and fear-free dialogue instead of simply accusing each other of bad behaviour.
    Peace/

    Posted by Attrus | March 13, 2009, 8:20 pm
  8. Attrus, I invite you to look through my website and note that in about 95% of my posts, I avoid inflammatory statements and stick to the facts as well as I can represent them.

    The thing is, sometimes niceness isn’t the best course of action. Some behaviors are so damaging and so inflammatory in and of themselves that they must be addressed with equal vigor. Suppose a cult was routinely locking its children in closets for weeks at a time, and authorities were turning a blind eye. Wouldn’t such an abuse demand extreme reactions? (I’m not comparing having 8 kids to locking kids in closets. I’m simply attempting to demonstrate that politeness is not always the best course of action.)

    The thing is, I believe in the long term, the attitudes adopted by these couples are at least as dangerous and irresponsible as short term abuse. For one thing, as Kevin Brown has pointed out, assuming these children follow in their parents’ footsteps, they are knowingly causing exponential population growth, which is demonstrably harmful. Supposing Kevin is right about 2050, a family of five children, each of whom has five children, each of whom has five children, would produce 5X5X5, or 125 people (and 525 in the next generation) by the time resources are running so low that people are genuinely suffering. I consider that kind of reproduction to be grossly irresponsible and inhumane, and it is serious enough in my mind that I believe it needs vehement objection.

    Are you telling me I don’t have the right to determine which issues are critically important?

    I stand by my harsh criticism. What these people are doing is short sighted, ignorant, and irresponsible.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 13, 2009, 9:10 pm
  9. Hello again Hambydammit. You misunderstand me and I apologize for being unclear. Of course you have the right to determine which issues are of critical importance. We all do.

    I understand your perspective completely. I share it. My point simply suggests education. Particularly since there seems to be a large majority of religionists involved in politics…and since that incongruity escapes them, I suggested education as an attempt to break through their constricted thinking. We need to educate or we will, in the long term, accomplish nothing. You may believe me when I say that I also share your immediacy, and I always remember the expression about attracting more flies with honey.

    As you suggest, I will look through your site. Thank you for the invitation.
    Peace/

    Posted by Attrus | March 13, 2009, 10:21 pm
  10. Thanks for the clarification. I think you’ll discover that my blog is about 95% education. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that this post was the first that you saw, because it is uncharacteristically emotional for me. In any case, despite the attached emotion of the original post, I hope you see that I’m trying to break down the argument itself and help to educate my readers as to exactly what was taking place in a logical sense.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 13, 2009, 10:44 pm
  11. I believe Hamby would agree, Attrus, that education is our most important weapon.

    Personally, I think what he wrote here is a wonderful education piece.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 13, 2009, 10:55 pm
  12. The current birth rate of America according to the CIA factbook is 14.18 per 1000 people.

    While I do agree that overpopulation/consumption is the problem, I think our evolutionary desire to procreate has doomed us all.

    Also, for the record, home schooled children out scored other children by 30 to 37 percentile in all subjects.

    http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp

    Posted by Alison | March 14, 2009, 12:14 am
  13. Hello again…and to you as well Kevin R Brown. Yes hambydammit, I did in fact recognize what you were doing.

    I do so understand your emotion. I have experienced it myself. I like to call it astonished-exasperation for how can anything Russ said be other than astonishingly exasperating?
    Peace/

    Posted by Attrus | March 14, 2009, 12:20 am
  14. Oh and just to add, yeah I think we need more education to perhaps put a wrench in the problem.

    Posted by Alison | March 14, 2009, 12:20 am
  15. Alison, four things:

    1) The subjects included in “all subjects” were math, language, and reading. I just skimmed, but I didn’t see any science in there.

    2) Those studies are all 15 years old or so.

    3) I didn’t see any breakdown between children taught with religious curricula and “standard” curricula.

    4) Many states do not have consistent standards for reporting home-schooled children to the state. In other words, there are possibly large numbers of children who are being home schooled but were not available for these surveys.

    I’m not saying the average home schooled child doesn’t score better on math, reading, and language. Maybe they do. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really tell us much about this particular class of home-schooled child — the ones being raised by fundamentalist Christians with religious curricula.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 14, 2009, 1:37 am
  16. Yeah, it would be interesting to see the stats from the ‘red states’ like Alabama and Texas.

    Posted by Alison | March 14, 2009, 2:03 am
  17. I don’t personally have an outright objection to homeschooling. I *do*, however, have (for obvious reasons) objections to parents opting to homeschool their kids *simply because they will be taught proper biology / critical thinking / science* if they go to a public school.

    I suppose, upon thinking about it, I’m not really opposed to home *schooling* at all (personally, I finished my final two years of high school via correspondence):

    I’m opposed to people indoctrinating their children.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 14, 2009, 2:48 am
  18. The 14.8 figure jives with my source, roughy:

    http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2006/WPP2006_Highlights_rev.pdf

    Again, the problem isn’t merely local; that actually wouldn’t be too bad. It’s a *global* issue – all across the planet, human beings are eating themselves out of house & home. Yes, this is a problem created by our evolutionary heritage; no, that doesn’t really count as a valid excuse to do nothing about the problem, IMHO.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 14, 2009, 2:57 am
  19. (Sorry for posting three times in a row; I accidentally hit submit before getting to the data points)

    Take a look at the fertility rates in America and Canada, for example (they start on page 74). As harsh as I tend to be on North Americans, and as critical as Hamby and I may get of Clown Car Vagina folk, we’re actually doing a damn good job:

    About 1 and a half kids on average per female in Canada, about 2 kids on average per female in America. Perfectly sustainable numbers.

    Now, look at what happens in underdeveloped countries with, essentially, no access to information (and as Christopher Hitchens so correctly points-out time and time again, little to no rights for women):

    Afghanistan – almost 7 kids per woman.

    Chad – 6 kids.

    Congo – 7 kids.

    Etc

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 14, 2009, 3:13 am
  20. Good Day: Please read the article at the link below.
    It speaks only to catholicism, and I think you could replace that word with the name of any other religion easily enough.

    http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/mindelle_jacobs/2009/03/10/8690296-sun.html

    Posted by Attrus | March 14, 2009, 11:22 am
  21. If they score better in math, won’t they ultimately do better in science as well?

    Posted by Russ | March 14, 2009, 12:17 pm
  22. Notice anything about those countries? Wherever Christianity goes it set people (especially women) free.

    Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

    Posted by Russ | March 14, 2009, 12:24 pm
  23. Here is a scientific equation for you, Attrus,

    Catholicism ≠ Biblical Christianity

    Posted by Russ | March 14, 2009, 12:28 pm
  24. I’ve never understood how homeschooled students do science. We did gel electrophoresis in biology this week and I can’t imagine a parent being smart enough to get that together and then paying for the materials, procedures, etc.

    Posted by fuckyourfavoritedreams | March 14, 2009, 2:24 pm
  25. I never said we shouldn’t do anything about it. I did say education is the best approach.

    And Kevin you should also take into account the death rate in those countries. They probably have lots of children so that at least one of them can survive.

    Posted by Alison | March 14, 2009, 2:34 pm
  26. It’s always amusing when different sects of christianity start fighting with each other over who the true christians are.

    Its like watching retarded children fight.

    Posted by Watcher | March 14, 2009, 3:15 pm
  27. Russ: No, knowing your way around mathematics is *not* a guarantee that you’ll also know your way around science. Greek civilization is a textbook example of this.

    Also – take a look at the figures for Jordon, Egypt, China & Japan. These are hardly countries with an overwhelming Christian influence, and in the case of Jordon, *still* harbor rather oppressive cultural values.

    That aside, how would you possibly relate such a correlation to your deity even if said correlation was actually there? What would be your causal mechanism, and how could we test for it?

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 14, 2009, 11:54 pm
  28. That’s just the thing, Kevin. Christianity and “freedom for women” don’t go hand in hand. We just have to look at history to see that. Russ is making the mistake of supposing that since there is (allegedly) now a correlation between countries that have received Christianity and increased rights for women, that the increased rights for women are caused by Christianity. A cursory look through Russ’s own Bible, and more importantly, the history of the church, will show that advances in women’s rights have come in spite of Christianity, and Christianity has adopted them after the fact.

    Russ still has not (nor will he) address the possibility that women’s rights, and “America’s Greatness,” whatever that might mean, would be even greater were it not for the presence of Christianity. Simply pointing out that Christianity and some measures of freedom and “greatness” coexist is hardly saying anything at all.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 15, 2009, 12:16 am
  29. Alison: The death rates are in the document as well – and no, they do not sufficiently address the problem of overpopulation in underdeveloped countries… which really should give you pause to think long and hard for a few minutes – not you in particular, Alison, you as in the average reader. As rampant as the AIDs epidemic is in Africa, as bad as the poverty and malnourishment is on the unprivileged hemisphere of the planet, we are *still* shooting our population through the roof of sustainability! HIV could *never dream* of having (from a viral agent’s perspective) the success it’s being handed on a silver platter in Africa *anywhere else, at any time*, and we’re *still beating the damnable bugs*!

    This should be a truly horrifying thing to behold if you care about the future. Disease is one of the few agents for population control (grisly as it is) that has proven effective at corralling human population growth, and even *it* is losing it’s ability to do that – even when it’s hitting us *directly at the level of reproduction* – because we’re spawning so many offspring.

    There are the barriers and safeguards, and beyond those, there’s the wall. Right now, we’re headed straight for the wall. If there’s one thing that reproduction cannot get around, it’s available resources – and if we choose to go ahead a slam right to a final rest at the foot of mass starvation (and nuclear annihilation; make no mistake, the two will go hand in hand) I think the situation currently faced by Africans will be looked on with eyes full of envy by generations to come.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 15, 2009, 12:16 am
  30. Curriculums are established and defined by state/local government and the student must demonstrate comprehension of the material, evolution included, regardless if the child is homeschooled or not. Therefore, home schooled children are presented with all of the claims of evolution and with the supporting evidence. The only difference is that most homeschooled students are also taught critical thinking. So, when they are presented with a graph of the ten strata systems that geologists use (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary) that compose the “standard geologic column” for example, they will not only consider the supporting evidence, the will also be taught to think critically and to also consider contradictory evidence like this:

    The notion that the earth’s crust has on “onion skin” structure with successive layers containing all strata systems distributed on a global scale is not according to the facts. Data from continents and ocean basins show that the ten systems are poorly represented on a global scale: approximately 77% of the earth’s surface area on land and under the sea has seven or more (70% or more) of the strata systems missing beneath; 94% of the earth’s surface has three or more systems missing beneath; and an estimated 99.6% has at least one missing system.2 Only a few locations on earth (about 0.4% of its area) have been described with the succession of the ten systems beneath (west Nepal, west Bolivia, and central Poland). Even where the ten systems may be present, geologists recognize individual systems to be incomplete. The entire geologic column, composed of complete strata systems, exists only in the diagrams drawn by geologists!
    Read more…

    http://www.icr.org/article/ten-misconceptions-about-geologic-column/

    Posted by Russ | March 16, 2009, 1:47 pm
  31. Oh, my, Russ. It’s worse than I thought. I’m afraid you’ve been reading something the more scientifically literate people of the world call *propaganda.*

    I’m afraid I don’t have time or space to give you an appropriate entry level course on this subject, but I do have one example I can give you to explain why the kind of thinking you’re demonstrating is both ignorant and illogical.

    It’s going to take a blog entry, though. You have a talent for inspiring me, Russ. Thanks again.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 16, 2009, 2:59 pm
  32. Ah. The Institute for Creation Research. No agenda there. It is much more likely that there is a world-wide conspiracy on the part of geologists, evolutionists, and paleontologists to actively disprove the book of Genesis.

    Under the direction of Satan I am sure.

    Posted by Watcher | March 16, 2009, 4:24 pm
  33. To Watcher re: The institute for creation research. Your wit had me laughing out loud.

    To Russ: The bible uses the word “submission” far too often regarding women to suit me…or my wife.
    Catholicism is a Christian sect…because the one has a different name means nothing in the end. I leave the equation to you and, show your work please.

    Posted by Attrus | March 17, 2009, 12:35 am
  34. If you have real evidence to the contrary, why not just present the evidence instead of attacking someone’s character? My main point, however, was simply to point out that home schooled children are required to learn and understand the theory of evolution – and most likely score higher on the subject than government schooled kids.

    Attrus,

    Submission is a real part of life. On a daily basis you (should) submit to the local traffic laws, your employer, the government and you require your children to submit to you.

    Posted by Russ | March 17, 2009, 10:52 am
  35. Russ, who do you think is attacking your character? I’ve re-read every post and can’t find anything regarding your character.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 17, 2009, 12:26 pm
  36. Hamby,

    No, you did not attack my character but several comments attacked the character of the folks at ICR – which is why I said – present the real evidence that debunks the statements made by ICR instead of attacking their character.

    ICR says, “Only a few locations on earth (about 0.4% of its area) have been described with the succession of the ten systems beneath (west Nepal, west Bolivia, and central Poland). – To which several people on this blog made demeaning comments about ICR instead of just presenting the correct scientific data.

    Posted by Russ | March 17, 2009, 6:52 pm
  37. Methodology is the important aspect we need to pay attention to. The method of all creationist proponents is to already have the conclusion firmly decided upon and then to go about collecting evidence to support the presupposition.

    Therefore it is a heavily biased and flawed way of going about things. Especially if they are trying to come across as scientific.

    The only people that give them the time of day are the willingly ignorant.

    Posted by Watcher | March 17, 2009, 7:12 pm
  38. Well, it turns out the ICR folks really are scientifically ignorant, and they really haven’t produced a single falsifiable prediction or a single testable hypothesis. The proof is simple. Try to find one. Take your time. Dig through the entire internet. Go to their offices if you want. Ask them yourself. They are not doing science.

    Russ, I don’t mean to sound condescending, but evolutionary theory doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker or a blog post. It’s a very difficult science. If you’re really interested in the scientific proof that ICR is full of shit, here are some web links which, if you read them in their entirety (it’ll be a big task) will give you the foundation for understanding just how wrong ICR propaganda is. You could also just grab yourself a textbook off of Amazon, or enroll in college for a degree in evolutionary biology. Anyway, here are some links to get you started:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icr-visit/bartelt1.html
    (You need to hit continue at the bottom… it’s a long series of webpages, and you need to read them all.)
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html#CD
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024&page=9
    http://www.tim-thompson.com/radiometric.html

    I’d also suggest Climbing Mount Improbable and The Blind Watchmaker as very good introductory books explaining evolutionary theory in laymen’s terms.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 17, 2009, 8:08 pm
  39. Oh, also Russ, I explained in some detail why one of the ICR arguments is bunk. Did you read my blog post about gaps in the fossil record and ring species?

    Posted by hambydammit | March 17, 2009, 8:11 pm
  40. Russ: re: submission is a real part of life. You actually will say anything, won’t you.
    I would be interested to learn how you came to the conclusion that women and traffic laws are synonymous. Does religion instruct in the ways of misogyny?
    Is that what religion has taught you?

    I would also be interested to learn why you ignored the latter part of my post
    ??

    Posted by Attrus | March 17, 2009, 10:55 pm
  41. Hamby,

    I’ll take it then that the statement made by ICR is 100% accurate seeing that you still have not presented us with any scientific evidence to the contrary. Instead, all we get is your typical character assassinations.

    Attrus,

    I am answering multiple objections from multiple people. I only have so many free hours in the day to write.

    Catholicism is a sect of Christianity. It is not logical to conclude that the practices of one sect pertain to all sects.

    Posted by Russ | March 18, 2009, 10:30 am
  42. Russ wrote: “I’ll take it then that the statement made by ICR is 100% accurate seeing that you still have not presented us with any scientific evidence to the contrary. Instead, all we get is your typical character assassinations.”

    Russ, did I just move into a parallel universe where I didn’t write a blog addressing the ICR’s claims regarding fossil gaps? Am I looking at the same blog as you, because I see a series of links, easily clickable, which were written for the sole purpose of refuting the ICR? They’re right here. On this page.

    Are you only going to accept the answer that the ICR is full of shit if I take the time to write a book report for you? Other people have done what you asked for, and I pointed you straight to their web pages, and recommended two full length books.

    Am I to assume that you’re going to be ignoring evidence from now on? If so, I will take that as your concession of defeat.

    And again with the accusation of character assassination. Put up or shut up, Russ. Quote me attacking your character or stop accusing me of it.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2009, 1:16 pm
  43. We are not (or were not) talking about ICR as a whole. We were talking about ONE thing that ICR said:

    For the third time, here is the quote we are talking about:

    “Only a few locations on earth (about 0.4% of its area) have been described with the succession of the ten systems beneath (west Nepal, west Bolivia, and central Poland).

    In response to this, you attacked ICR as a whole instead of just refuting this one quote. Do you have evidence that refutes this or not? I don’t have time to read all FOUR of the links, each with multiple pages of material that you provided. Just provide one link that refutes this ONE fact otherwise I conclude that this is true.

    Posted by Russ | March 18, 2009, 2:57 pm
  44. Russ, I wrote a whole blog on gaps in the fossil record. Didn’t you read it?

    http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/gaps-in-the-fossil-record/

    You asked for evidence against the ICR. I provided it. If you choose not to read it, you lose by default. I’m really sorry that you don’t have the time to become educated. Science is hard. It’s the reality of things.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2009, 3:27 pm
  45. Russ,

    [quote]
    First, as I have noted before, the concept quite prevalent among some Christians that the geologic column does not exist is quite wrong.

    Morris and Parker (1987, p. 163) write:
    Now, the geologic column is an idea, not an actual series of rock layers. Nowhere do we find the complete sequence.

    They are wrong. You just saw the whole column piled up in one place where one oil well can drill through it. Not only that, the entire geologic column is found in 25 other basins around the world, piled up in proper order.

    These basins are:

    The Ghadames Basin in Libya
    The Beni Mellal Basin in Morrocco
    The Tunisian Basin in Tunisia
    The Oman Interior Basin in Oman
    The Western Desert Basin in Egypt
    The Adana Basin in Turkey
    The Iskenderun Basin in Turkey
    The Moesian Platform in Bulgaria
    The Carpathian Basin in Poland
    The Baltic Basin in the USSR
    The Yeniseiy-Khatanga Basin in the USSR
    The Farah Basin in Afghanistan
    The Helmand Basin in Afghanistan
    The Yazd-Kerman-Tabas Basin in Iran
    The Manhai-Subei Basin in China
    The Jiuxi Basin China
    The Tung t’in – Yuan Shui Basin China
    The Tarim Basin China
    The Szechwan Basin China
    The Yukon-Porcupine Province Alaska
    The Williston Basin in North Dakota
    The Tampico Embayment Mexico
    The Bogata Basin Colombia
    The Bonaparte Basin, Australia
    The Beaufort Sea Basin/McKenzie River Delta
    (Sources:
    Robertson Group, 1989;
    A.F. Trendall et al , editors, Geol. Surv. West. Australia Memoir 3, 1990, pp 382, 396;
    N.E. Haimla et al, The Geology of North America, Vol. L, DNAG volumes, 1990, p. 517)
    [/quote]

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/geocolumn/

    Posted by Watcher | March 18, 2009, 3:44 pm
  46. Hmm… It just occurs to me that you may not understand how my blog refuted — by default — that statement you quoted. My apologies. One of the reasons that statement doesn’t cause any waves is that it doesn’t really say anything of any consequence. So what if there are only a few spots on earth with “ten systems” depth? Complete records in one location are not necessary to prove evolution. In fact, only someone lacking basic science training would expect such a thing to be necessary. The proof of evolution is not the geologic column, Russ. The column corroborates things that have already been proven, but it’s absolutely unnecessary. Even if there were no places at all with “ten layers,” we could prove evolution with equal certainty.

    Russ, evolution is right in front of your nose. It is the foundation of all modern biological sciences. Without it, medical science, food production, and pharmacology would still be a hundred and fifty years in the past. You rely on evolution every day of your life, Russ. If you want, you can witness it first hand by taking a trip around the world and watching, in front of your own eyes, one species melt gradually into another species. (Didn’t you read about ring species, Russ?) That’s evolution. It’s a complete “transition” species.

    In other words, that statement from CRI, even if true, is completely irrelevant, and doesn’t even present an argument against evolution.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2009, 3:46 pm
  47. Russ…Hambydammit is quite right. You simply cannot ignore science.

    If you desire it, your beliefs can co-exist with science.

    When you use your religion to try and deny science, you show little more than ignorance. Science is based on fact. As hambydammit stated…it is right in front of you. You cannot ignore it and expect to be taken seriously. I consider myself a spiritual person and so I do not argue against your belief in something “greater”. I will not attempt to deny you that…will you then deny concrete, measurable, scientific proof that evolution is correct? It is everywhere. You accuse me of ill-logic, how logical then is it for you to deny the overwhelming abundance of evidence in support of evolution?

    Intelligent design is false. It stands in contradiction to the facts…any reasonable person must be able to see that.

    Real evidence Russ…not some biblical sayings that offer no tangible proof of any kind…not unmeasured, untested and unproven hypotheses from the untrained who pose as scientists.

    Posted by Attrus | March 18, 2009, 6:21 pm
  48. A species that forms a ring remains the same species – gulls for example. The fact that they no longer interbreed is evidence of entropy, not evolution. Lack of the ability to breed is evidence of being less “fit” for survival for as the ring breaks up, there are fewer population that are able to interbreed which makes the entire population more prone to extinction.

    Posted by Russ | March 18, 2009, 6:22 pm
  49. Russ, you’re just starting to look silly now. You’re going to tell me that you know that a heron gull and a lesser black backed gull are the same species? And you’re going to invoke entropy? And when you’re done with that, you’re going to prove that you don’t even know what “fit” means?

    Seriously, Russ. You should quit while you’re way, way behind. So far, your entire argument consists of:

    1) Evolution is wrong.
    2) I’m not going to read anything to the contrary.
    3) Entropy, species, fitness. See? I know science!

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2009, 6:29 pm
  50. This blog is not about science. It is about why people would get furious because a loving family had the audacity to have more than 2 children. Remember?

    Posted by Russ | March 18, 2009, 6:35 pm
  51. Russ, you crack me up. Good answer, buddy. Please, carry on with your scheduled religion. Don’t let me get in your way with the facts.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2009, 6:44 pm
  52. …evolution is right in front of your nose. It is the foundation of all modern biological sciences. Without it, medical science, food production, and pharmacology would still be a hundred and fifty years in the past. You rely on evolution every day of your life, Russ…

    I could not disagree more. The study of evolution has not ever produced a single benefit to mankind. I challenge you to prove you statement.

    The Definition of Evolution in this context is limited to the study of origins.

    Posted by Russ | March 18, 2009, 6:48 pm
  53. Russ wrote: I could not disagree more. The study of evolution has not ever produced a single benefit to mankind. I challenge you to prove you statement.

    Are you serious? Really? That statement is so absurd… I almost think you’re pulling my leg. I’ve already given you plenty of examples that you ignored. Nearly every piece of food that you put into your mouth has been engineered using principles of evolution. Every antibiotic you’ve ever taken was designed from evolutionary principles. It’s not just antibiotics, either. The entire pharmacological industry would collapse if evolutionary theory didn’t work.

    Russ, you’ve proven yourself completely ignorant of evolutionary science. I can’t help you on a blog post. You need to stop cruising the internet, buy yourself a book, and read it. I can’t help you if you won’t help yourself. I’ve already recommended two very good books. I think you should start with those because you’d be horribly lost in a biology textbook.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 18, 2009, 7:03 pm
  54. I was watching the family with 17 kids go to a creationist museum and look at exhibits of dinosaurs and humans living together. And then they go on to elaborate that evolution has no scientific proof, that it is just a theory man made. I often enjoy, Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal quote, “I see. We must make an idol of our fear, and call it God.”
    Creationism is a belief. And I can never believe that the world is only 6,000 years old, when carbon dating and facts show dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago. I do not have that much faith. I only believe in the two, investigation and analysis.

    Posted by Betsy | March 18, 2009, 7:13 pm
  55. [quote]
    Russ wrote: I could not disagree more. The study of evolution has not ever produced a single benefit to mankind. I challenge you to prove you statement.
    [/quote]

    My heart…

    *blinks*

    Is he serious?

    Posted by Watcher | March 18, 2009, 8:05 pm
  56. Russ: “I don’t have time to read all FOUR of the links, each with multiple pages of material that you provided. Just provide one link that refutes this ONE fact otherwise I conclude that this is true.”

    Okay, Russ? Cool your jets for a moment.

    I know & agree with you that some of the technical information Hamby linked to is a bit dry – but, as he said, science isn’t about easy or cozy answers. It’s about learning.

    Sometimes, learning is a real challenge and not a lot of fun.

    What the ICR is claiming is simply not true. Here, look for yourself:

    (Drumheller badlands)

    The different layers of sediment are perfectly visible. There can be no doubt at all that the geological column exists because, well, it’s right there.

    I am very sorry if it clashes with the way you frame the world (it’s painful to be wrong), but our every observation tells us that the world is far more than 6,000 years old and the universe is yet older still. I mean, Hell, every element heavier than hydrogen is formed via fusion in the heart of stars – and even the largest stars do not go nova for at least a few million years. Where did all of the carbon, iron, uranium, potassium, nitrogen, tungsten etc come from to form our planet if not from a long-deceased star?

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 19, 2009, 11:53 am

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