Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Featured! The Palaeobabbler Spreads....

Some of my writing is getting a bit more exposure at the moment. Originally this blog became a repository of my writing, mostly on the relationship between science and faith. Lately though I have been updating it more frequently, so some more attention might be good. Occasionally people stumble across this blog or on my Facebook posts (which I post here as well) and the feedback has been positive.

My first mention has been on the Palaeocritti site which I have mentioned before. This blog has been linked to on the links page.

My second mention appears to have come through Facebook. One of my short essays has been featured on an atheist site Atheists Concerned For America. It is an interesting selection as the site is predominately atheist as the name suggests. Christianity (and the faults they see in it) are the most common subject there. One thing which irked me was that they make no effort to discern between the different types of Christianity. A striking example is on the article Ten Lies Christians Exploit. It doesn't take long to realise that they are targeting a specific group of Christians and not all of them. Out of the ten "lies" how many do you think I can be accused of having told?

Well, number one is the belief that Christians have morals and atheists do not. I haven't told that one but have encountered it. The only place I have encountered it is from fundamentalists on Facebook. 0 out of 1 so far. The second purported lie is that homosexuals violate the sanctity of marriage. This is an awkward one. I personally am pro-homosexuality so this is 0 out of 2 for me, but I also do not think it is a lie. It is foolish to impose one's world-view on another and expect them to simply agree. Within the conservative Christian paradigm homosexuality is a sin and therefore against the sanctity of marriage. The authors of the essay can only honestly say that in their views there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, so the conservatives are wrong to them.

Number 3 is a complicated one as they raise a very valid point (check their article). The "lie" is that God is pro-life. Simply put, He is. God, in the Christian paradigm, is the author of life. To an atheist He is not, so here there is a clash in understanding. When discussing God causing death we must not forget that from God comes life and that Christians have hope for the future. By their standards I have told 1 lie out of 3 so far, but not by mine. Number 4 states that God did not create evil, we did, but then narrows its criticism to a literal rendering of Genesis creation. I have to say I have not done that, I don't have such simplistic views. The next couple are more I have never claimed and know few who have (end times are near and the Bible and science agree). 1 out of 6 so far.

Number 7 mentions homosexuals again and is more of an opinion than a fact. It is again about homosexuality, so conservatives are their target. Not surprising, number 8 is also against another daft conservative claim. 1 out of 8 so far. Number 9 is about America and I am British, so I don't particularly care. Finally, number 10 completely contradicts my position, claiming that evolution is false. What amuses me is the tone they have when discussing evolution. The word fact  is thrown around a lot, in fact, they shout it. During one of the essays I could not tell if they understood the meanings of fact and theory. Sorry, not fact, but FACT. It was more amusing when they made an error, though one I have also made in the past.

At the end of the Ten Lies article they state the idea of humans evolving from monkeys is absurd. This is not a dumb statement from them, but it is wrong. We did evolve from monkeys, but the qualification must be made that it was not a modern monkey. We share a common ancestor with all modern monkeys, but our distant ancestor would also have been identified as a monkey. Think of Ida; if it had turned out to be an ancestor, would we have stopped labelling it a lemur? By cladistic analyses we form a clade with all monkeys, the stem group of which were monkeys. Clades form nested hierarchies and we are within a nest in the monkey clade. Humans evolved from monkeys. Other mistakes made by proponents of evolution which I see often include "evolutionist is a word made up by creationists" which is false, it is used by a fair few scientists to refer to evolutionary biologists; and "scientists don't talk about micro and macro-evolution" which flat out ignores that even technical textbooks use the terms often.

Anyway, enough of that. You may be wondering why I have been featured on a site with a very anti-Christian bent. Well, the site clearly states that it has a zero bias policy and so they are featuring articles from others. I feel they have been very generous in featuring my essay. They even go as far to call it intellectual and rational. I was also impressed that they took the time to fit in links to Bible verses and even Americanised the writing (or should that be Americanized?). It is quite bizarre seeing my words with American spelling. The article in question was my Genesis Creation for the 21st Century piece, now known as Genesis Creation: A 21st Century Perspective. On the main page of the site it is linked to both as An Anonymous Christian's Take on Creationism and Christian Take on Creationism  (though when you hover over it with your mouse it throws in the word intellectual, oh I could blush....).

Check out the site, the essays are quite well written and make some good points. Most of the arguments are against conservative strands of Christianity, though even liberals will be challenged by some of their points and a challenge is a good thing.

So there I am, potentially being read by more people. Perhaps I should try to balance my blog between science and theology, I tend to swing one way quite heavily from time to time.

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