There has been a crop of beautiful books on atheism and the stupidity of ID/creationism over the last six months or so. The God Delusion, the new edition of Atheist Universe, Letter to a Christian Nation, God: The Failed Hypothesis, Why Darwin Matters, Why Intelligent Design Fails, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, and others (!)

In any case, some of these books have been constituting my reading material while I take the bus to work each bloody morning and back each exhausted evening…Finally, someone at work asked me, with a slightly offended air, if I only was ever interested in one side of the argument and whether that did not constitute an indication of a closed mind on my part. That was funny. But, honestly, of course I read the opposition. I’ve read Phillip Johnson and laughed. I read Duane Gish and fell out of my chair, weeping with merriment. Their kind perform a useful purpose: they lift up our spirits by showing how perfectly idiotic humans can be; they ignore science, misrepresent its conclusions, come up with their own rather strange philosophical concepts and generally spend their time standing in the corner blocking their ears with their hands and shouting “Nyaah Nyaahh I can’t hear you”. Very funny.

I knew that that wasn’t the kind of response my questioner wanted to hear, but what the hell? OK: I’ve read Behe and Dembski, and they weren’t even really funny, although they also committed most of the aforementioned fallacies. They just did it in a very self-importantly aggrandazing and serious way. Those two are difficult to laugh at, but, really, their suggestions have been debunked rather thoroughly: just for starters, a whole bunch of articles are here. Easy enough.

But what about “sophisticated” theology? Well, indeed. Just finished reading Haught’s Deeper Than Darwin, and am now plodding through McGrath’s Twilight of Atheism. But not on the bus!!! See, I want something fun on the bus, and since I do not find appeals to revelation and subjectivity convincing and informal logical fallacies of various stripes no longer even make me very angry, McGrath would just put me right to sleep (in fact, if it were less generally unpleasant, I’d be reading this kind of material before going to bed: gently relaxing one’s critical faculty and helping one shut off one’s brain). Haught is a bit more contentful, but even so, if that is the best that “sophisticated” theology can throw at us, we are not in any trouble (logically, anyway). Nobody but believers would be convinced by any of the arguments therein; books like that serve only as a confirmation, a support of sorts: see, somebody out there thinks like you do, you are not alone, we can make silly errors and be confused together.

Blecch. Today, however, no such fun. My bus reading will consitute papers on evolution of photosynthesis and possible detection of such in extrasolar planetary atmospheres. Hey: it may not be funny, but it will be exciting!

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One of the most annoying (and disappointing) things that happens to me fairly regularly is this:

I’d be in a bar, chatting up some comely wench. The wench would ask-“So, what did you study in school?”

“Astrophysics”, I’d tell her, uncomfortably, dreading what may come next.

“???”

“Well astronomy, you know”, I’d try to explain.

“Oh, ASTROLOGY…

At which point I would no longer want to be chatting her up but, rather, kicking her in the head with steel-toed boots. Another ripening romance gone to shite. I would excuse myself and flee.
Sometimes the dreaded word would pop up much later, as in “This is my friend Jorg, he is an ASTROLOGER“. At least, by that point I may have had a chance to get what I wanted, but then I would feel curiously dirty.

In any case, we all know that America isn’t really up there as far as the knowledge of science and, y’know, general facts of life, is concerned. What is interesting, however, is that apparently our scientific knowledge has been getting better, but, at the same time…well, here. Tell me this does not disturb you and…we’ll see what and.

The Discovery Institute is at it again, as you can see in this piece. They, and…whatchamacallit…Bob Jones University (whose dress code alone is ground for some serious chuckles) would be truly hilarious underneath all the dishonesty, with the pure unadulteratedly no-really-malicious-but-maybe-just-a-little-bit-so laughter one reserves for village idiots, except for the fact that a lot of people believe that crap. Indeed, the village is in imminent danger of being taken over by the said idiots.

See, I am actually linking to the cretinous submammals, lest anyone accuse me of one-sided approach to the subject. Yeah, check them out: if you actually think that there are valid points about evolutionary theory on those sites, let me know, and I will try to explain. Cos there ain’t. That is pure and simple bullshit, and calling them idiots is the kindest thing anyone can do. The alternatives are “lying scumbags”, “evil power-addicted fuckwads”, et al. You get the picture.