Friday, May 07, 2010

The Caveman in Us All

"To be human: To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."

Hogfather (1997) by Terry Pratchett

BBC reported yet another incidence of science marching on yesterday as the majority of humanity still cling on to the literal interpretation of a bunch of doggerels started by a tribe of superstitious shepherds in the fucking Bronze Age, and was added to by four followers (who, by the way, can't seem to get their stories straight) of a Jewish Magic Man in Pontius Pilate's Judea who was his own father, born of a virgin, went dead for a weekend and is devoured every Sunday ever since by his believers in the form of little holy crackers. I usually say all of this in a ridiculous sing-song falsetto.

No, I don't think I'm being too offensive or disrespectful here. After all, I'm talking about a belief system which clearly insists people like me should be tortured in hellfire for all eternity. Feel the Christian love, yo.


No time to argue about the contradictions in said books. This will save everyone a lot of time.

Anyway, the short of the newsflash is this; a team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany - over a 4-year period - discovered that up to 4% of our genome were contributed by the Neanderthals. For the chronically unschooled, the Neanderthals were a separate species of hominids from ours (or a subspecies, depending on who you ask) and we started to part ways with them on the evolutionary tree about 600,000 to 350,000 years ago but according to Christian and Jewish Young Earth creationists, our planet is at most 10,000 years old only. I'm not saying that all Christians and Jews are as batshit as these kooks, but those that are make a sizable team indeed.

Now, our ancestral story started in Africa when a small number of anatomically modern Homo sapiens (us!) migrated out of Africa and went on to populate the rest of the world, replacing other more "archaic" species of humankind like the H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis - there's debate on how this happened exactly. Did our great, great, great... great, great grandparents simply out-hunted and out-bred the competition? Were they assimilated into our family through some hot interspecies homo-on-homo action? Or did we simply eat them with some fava beans and a nice Chianti? *hissss*

Prof. Svante Paabo et al. now have definite proof that, yes, most of us have some amount of H. neanderthalensis within us. Search your feelings, Luke, you know it to be true.

Let's take a gander at the lineage tree, shall we?

Neanderthal
I, uh, improved upon it.

I find it interesting that the Han Chinese people (yours truly included) descended from the original progeny of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis cross-sub-species love and can't wait to see if the Neanderthal Genome Project will uncover any Neanderthal-specific traits that my genealogical tree inherited from those unions. I'd like to look at some of the published papers that inspired this BBC news piece, but I haven't had much luck with Google Scholar so far.

Today, scientists are battling conservative Christians in the United States who seek to sideline (and eventually eliminate) the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection from their high school biology curriculum by replacing it with some scriptural-derived bullshit called Creationism - a hypothesis that essentially says "Godidit". Here in Malaysia, Muslim conservatives ensured that even the merest idea of evolution is suppressed from our high school biology textbooks and my very first exposure to the most important theory in biology occurred late in college. This is ludicrous because nothing in biology makes sense outside the light of evolution.

Even in college, I've met extensively brainwashed godbots that still reject evolution in spite of all the evidences presented to them. There was an intelligent Christian girl I knew in my A-levels biology class who remained adamant that evolution is bunk. I asked her, "If you don't think it's true, why study it?"

Her reply went something like this; "To get a degree, to be successful in life and to glorify God."

The same girl has parents who forbid her from reading the Harry Potter series because they think it's the work of Satan. Funnily enough, she disobeyed them behind their backs.

Likewise, a great number of my Muslim and Christian colleagues in med school stubbornly dismiss evolution while being bombarded daily with proofs that evolution had occurred in the human body - proofs like the inside-out configuration of the human eye necessitating a blind spot; the tendency for humans to suffer from lower back pain due to our upright bipedal posture; the difficulty women experience while trying to give birth through a very narrow birth canal (another downside to being bipeds); the pain and trouble we often experience at the eruption of our wisdom teeth because our jaws have shrunk; our primate inability to synthesise vitamin C unlike other mammals; the neotenous capacity to digest milk which some of us retained into adulthood (while others are lactose intolerant); the long long list of vestigial organs we still possess like the third eyelid, the vermiform appendix, the tailbone, Darwin's tubercle, the small external ear muscles, the terminal nerve or cranial nerve zero, Jacobson's organ, the plantaris muscle, the male nipple... and I can go on for a long time on all the etceteras I remember from the top of my head but I advise you, intrepid reader, to go look them up for yourself. After 4 years in med school, I realise that if God really designed us... let's just say that he shouldn't have taken that day off after all.

And the way most bacteria and viruses develop resistance to antibiotics and antivirals? That's one of the biggest challenges the medical fraternity faces today,
and it has basis in the Theory of Fucking Evolution by Natural Fucking Selection. The way these people ignore the obvious makes me want to scream through a megaphone at the top floor of a skyscraper while dressed entirely in traffic orange. Or something.

Christians have a long history of fighting science and progress because some of the things scientists uncover went contrary to Biblical "facts". Remember when Christians placed Galileo under house arrest for heresy because he supported Copernicus' theory that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way round in the early 17th century? The verses they used were Joshua 10:12-13, Habakkuk 3:11, Psalms 19:4-6, Ecclesiastes 1:5 and many, many more. Giordano Bruno was burned alive and screaming at the stake by Christians for daring to discover that, gosh, stars are suns just like ours! And that there are planets revolving round those suns too! The list of vindicated scientists who were wrongly persecuted by Christians in their times included big names such as Rene Descartes, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Edmond Halley, William Buckland, Charles Lyell, Adam Sedgewick, Louis Agassiz... and dear ol' Charles Darwin. That list reads like a Who's Who of science, doesn't it? The Christians' feud against science spanned centuries, and every single time, it's the Christians who have to suck it and admit that yes, they fucked up. Why, after being wrong for so fucking long, Christians still have the gall to oppose human advancement? How dare they?

I was invited to a church sponsored Christmas party in 2007 where a pastor denounced evolution and FUCKING LIED to his congregation that Darwin recanted his ideas and converted to Christianity on his deathbed - while all the stupid sheeps in the room just nodded smugly in agreement, drinking it all up. Similarly a year ago, I was at a church dinner as a guest of a Christian paediatrician where some guest superstar pastor from Singapore FUCKING LIED that his prayers helped a child grow a brand new kidney - something which would be heavily publicised in the medical and scientific community if true - just to win his Lord Gourd more new, stupid, unquestioning zombie converts.

A Muslim girl in my class simply explained, "Well, I'm a Muslim so I can't believe in evolution."

Well, I like to see how far Malaysia can go in the field of biology and biomedical science with its fingers in its ears going "La la la, I can't hear you!"



P.S. HERE's a useful beginner's read to evolution for anyone who's interested in learning more. While I strongly studying it sequentially, I find Part 2: Past History to be the most accessible section for even people with a rudimentary understanding of biology.

P.P.S. I am not against anyone practicing their own religion but when religion encroaches upon the territory of science and progress, I go marching on the warpath. I welcome anyone to comment and to argue with me, but be warned: I don't play nice.

P.P.P.S. Note that the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection does not explain the origin of life; only the diversity of life. I find that opponents of evolution frequently confuse it with the Theory of Abiogenesis. If I'm a charitable person, I'd say that it's an easy mistake to make - but I'm not, so quit confusing the two, you twits.



Achieved the Age of Reason,
k0k s3n w4i

34 comments:

Zzzyun said...

science and religion is not a good mix. thats it.

btw, cranial nerve zero! very interesting...! havent heard of it before!

Pam Song said...

Give Ravi Zacharias' work a read. He makes pretty interesting remarks when it comes to Science Vs. Religion. Good stuff for the logic-minded, fact-driven Homo sapien. =)

Quote: He founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in 1984 to pursue his calling as a "classical evangelist in the arena of the intellectually resistant."

- yuhhui - said...

Agrees with you. =)
Like this line '
And the way most bacteria and viruses develop resistance to antibiotics and antivirals?' It's obviously, duh - evolution!

k0k s3n w4i said...

Zzzyun: there was a good, long write-up on it in one of last year's Scientific American (or Discovery Magazine, I can't really recall now). it's that issue dealing with the physiology and neurology of love. so, i'm guessing it was the february issue.

Pam Song: I read about some of Zacharias' beliefs in his Wikipedia page and I found that he supports long debunked myths about evolution. He has no qualifications in any real scientific field whatsoever and all his supposed arguments stemmed from bizarre reasonings and personal opinions. For example, he claimed that the fossil record is inadequate when the theory of evolution by natural selection managed to predict every single supposed "gap" in the tree of life, ever. Every single fossil ever found strengthened the case for evolution without a single one disproving it (as a scientific theory, it's deemed overwhelmingly sound). He pulled that bullshit about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, saying evolution doesn't obey it when CLEARLY, earth is not a closed system as it constantly receives energy from the sun and cosmic rays. If anyone's intellectually resistant, it's Zachy boy. "Good stuff for the logic-minded, fact-driven Homo sapien" Really, Pam? I suggest that you start getting your scientific education from actual science books (or mags, as a start), rather than from some unqualified pastor who talks as if he had not attended a single biology class in school. Unless that wiki page is wildly inaccurate about his ideology (in which case I apologise), I'll have to dismiss Ravi Zacharias as yet another liar for Jesus. Just like Ray Comfort. Just like Ken Ham. Just like Kent Hovind. Just like every single Christian apologist I was told to check out.

- yuhhui -: most creationists will claim that "microevolution" explains drug resistance, while "macroevolution" never occured and never will. they concede that point because there's no denying that natural selection does result in drug resistant bugs. what they can't seem to grasp is that a whole lot of micros will and does eventually add up to macro.

Pam Song said...

Think I hit a nerve. Oh well... Shouldn't have bothered.

Pam Song said...

Ooo ooo! Just noticed that the comment here's different from the one in my inbox. Haha. Think I like this alternate ending better. =)

mg said...

wow.. interesting read. *like*

k0k s3n w4i said...

Pam Song: This is a subject I get particularly defensive and reactionary about, so I expect to have my nerves touched (while making sure I touch some back). Anyhow, I reread the first incarnation of my reply to you and realised that using capitalisation for emphasis can appear too much like I'm shouting. I also get frustrated when people keep telling me to read the writings of people who are abysmally underqualified (in comparison to myself even) to comment on a scientific theory. Science requires impartiality. These Men of God are biased down to their holier-than-thou nads - and I DESPISE them because they sow misinformation to their followers about subjects they know nothing about. Try reading the works of Christian evolutionary biologists (people who don't need to pander to God in order to earn a salary) - at least they know what they are talking about. The Language of God by Francis Collins, a Christian, is a good place to start (though I disagree with his theistic views). He headed the Human Genome Project and is currently director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

mg: if you like this, try typing "evolutionary medicine" in amazon.com's search :)

nis said...

Theory (Facts) of Evolution is gaining popularity. It'll be only a matter a time when some big guy in the religion to stand up and accept the fact.

Well, Giordano Bruno did not die in vain.

Kenny said...

There are some things the finite mind cannot grasp when it comes to an infinite God, so we need to have to understand in order to believe. "There is an explanation for everything"...except the brilliance of science (so-called progress) have not made man a morally better being. That cannot be progress. At the end of the day, what you acquire in your head means little when compared to what's precious in your heart, which I feel is all about relationships.

All the knowledge a person acquires in this world cannot save him from death, so you need to look at life from the perspective of what is of value to you. I know what I value.

k0k s3n w4i said...

nis: the official position of the catholic church is "evolution did happen, but god is the mastermind behind it" (tho' it's still a vile organisation that protects child rapists and spread bullshit about AIDS and condom use). it's mostly the protestants that are resistant.

Kenny: look through the pages of history, kenny. look back when men only had religion, faith, god and superstitions - and tell me that you honestly believe that those were morally superior people. science does not say what is moral or immoral. it's an unfeeling process. what you dismissively called "so-called progress" is what stopped christians from treating women like shit (lev 21:9, 1 cor 11:3, 1 cor 11:8-9, 1 tim 2:11-14, deut 22:28-29...), killing people for worshiping another god (ex 22:20, deut 13:13-19...), and enslaving other humans (lev 25:24) just to name a few - so yes, progress have made man a morally better being (making your statement an outright lie). besides, all the religion in the world cannot save a person from death either. to claim otherwise with any degree of certitude is to be a liar because everything that is promised to you in the "afterlife" has to be taken purely on faith. i've accepted the fact that my life is finite and i'm not to waste it worshiping one of the most sadistic, cruel beings ever conceived by the human mind (which i am sure does not exist anyway). to bow to an omnipotent tyrant is cowardice, much like how a lot of non-nazi germans stood by and let the holocaust happen. i am no less moral than anyone who worships a deity - and i would argue that i might be more so because i do not believe in karma or repercussions in the afterlife if i don't lead a moral life. and there's absolutely no reason why a person cannot value the mind as much as he or she values the heart (and no reason why both can't be valued outside of religion). are you saying atheists and agnostics do not care about goodness, emotions and relationships? anyhow, i've addressed most of your oft-parroted platitudes HERE. come back when you would like to argue about the actual subject matter of this post.

Kenny said...

No, I am not interested in engaging in any kind of argument. And you are right, religion does not make a person morally better. Just look at how Jesus responded to the religious teachers of His time. Because, religion is man's futile attempt to find God and that is not possible as you rightly expressed, men have and continues to be wicked, not just in acts and deeds but also in intent.

If you think science does make men better, you are living a lie because in the barbaric days of old, at least you see eye to eye the person you slaughter while today, you can destroy thousands with the push of a button in comfort and security far away from the battlefield. Does that technology make a person more civilised? Just because one don't see blood doesn't mean it's not shed.

Are Christians morally better people? No, and that is why Jesus said there are sheeps and goats in the fold so He is not not putting a blanket approval that all who are called Christians ARE Christians.

So what is the difference? A follower of Christ found a RELATIONSHIP (remember I said what I value most?) with God. It cannot be explained, it can only be experienced. And when a day comes in your life when you realised perhaps in my foolishness in believing a God whom I have never seen... I could be right, you will remember these words... Jesus does love you. He died for a reason, you being one of it.

If like you said, I am living a lie, I have nothing to lose, because I would have lived a good li(f)e and can look myself in the mirror and be contented, and die just as you will, but if you in all your wisdom is found wrong, does have eternity to reflect over your mistake of discounting a God your mind simply cannot comprehend.

I can tell you will make a wonderful Christian because you are intelligent (of all of creation, only man is a creature of intelligence ruled by a decision making process that you for eg wield so well, while all other living creatures are ruled by instinct...hmmm I wonder why the evolutionary process is so biase toward man) and full of conviction to your believe system. Coupled with faith in God, you can impact many lives. I pray that day will come, God works in mysterious ways.

Do not stop your pursuit for scientific knowledge, it is after all a discovery of what is already there. You will find the journey exciting but do not be dissappointed when proven theories keep changing as new discoveries are made. That is science... we learn as we go along.

You have a whole life ahead of you. Make it a fruitful one, impact people with your knowledge and love. This is coming from man in his 50s who have found meaning through a relationship with a loving God.

Like I said, I will not debate because who is right is not my concern. But for your sake, I hope you are right because if you are wrong, there's much to lose.

A long long time ago, I embraced science and is an evangelist for the then "Theory of Evolution". There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of this knowledge. But someone impacted my life with deeds of love so I made one simple act of faith against my better judgement when alone. I PRAYED. It was humbling but I asked "God, if you are real and is interested in me, I want to know you". That was all, and things began happening that changed the course of my life. Like I said, it has to be experienced. Who knows, one day you might want to try praying. If He is real, you have nothing to lose by reaching out to Him. Jesus made that invitation long ago. But it takes a childlike faith to come to God. I can only tell you it is beyond science. Take care.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Kenny:

ONE i am in no sense living a lie. i did not say progress eliminated human barbarism. killing of people, whether in person or en masse, is the same expression of human savagery we've seen through the ages, but you conveniently ignored my other points about gender equality, slavery, etc which your church have perpetuated through the ages. and here you are coming here and talking to me about morality. you christians are hypocrites.

TWO whatever your fantasy is, i simply do not care. good for you if you think it fulfills you and stuff. i'm angry because some of your people, in order to bolster their fantasies, persistently opposed science and education without so much as a college degree to back their claims, misleading billions of people. this is yet another expression of christian hypocrisy - denouncing things that have benefited them greatly. you're 50, and i'm sure you've benefited in some ways through the scientific process and modern medicine as well

THREE what you're making is pascal's wager - saying that i have everything to lose if i'm wrong. what if you're wrong about the other religions? have you ever thoguht about that? what if the jews and muslims were right? then you too have everything to lose. pascal's wager makes a false dichotomy - you're fifty and you still haven't figure that out? i disbelieve your statements about you being a scientific minded individual when you're younger - because you obviously lack any real capacity to think critically.

FOUR i'm quite sick of this "jesus died for you" bullshit. a sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless you actually lose something. he lost zilch. and he pretty much set adam and eve up, necessitating the so-called sacrifice in the 1st place. but all this doesn't matter anyway because all the proof you have is a bunch of contradictory texts written by ancient people that thought diseases were caused by demons. you can feel spiritual or connected to god (a well documented cerebral phenomenon in the human mind, godly or godless), but you can't claim that you got this whole die-for-your-sin con job story from personal revelations. you got it from a lousy, unverifiable old book.

FIVE the scientific field is ruthless, and any wildly theory that don't pass muster will quickly be eliminated, and the person who brought it down will win great accolades, renown and loads of grant money. all it takes is one single indisputable evidence to trash evolutionary science, and after 150 years, it still withstand every test we throw at it. we use it to make fossil predictions, to found the field of genetic and evolutionary medicine, and to advance the field of biology to its current level. unlike you, i don't take things on faith. it's mental laziness of the highest degree.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Kenny:

SIX stop making assumptions about me you can not possibly know (how like a christian of you, i must say). i was religious once. i read the bible more thoroughly than most of the christians i know. i even went to church and prayed sincerely. then i grew up. there's nothing wrong in studying all the evidence of evolution - a lot of religious people found no problem in reconciling it with their faith. also, billions of people find the same fulfilment and satisfaction you find professing to other gods as you do in jesus. seem to be all in your minds to me, unless every religion in the world is true.

SEVEN "I can tell you will make a wonderful Christian because you are intelligent (of all of creation, only man is a creature of intelligence ruled by a decision making process that you for eg wield so well, while all other living creatures are ruled by instinct...hmmm I wonder why the evolutionary process is so biase toward man) and full of conviction to your believe system."

you've started babbling nonsense. based on your description, i'm the opposite of what makes a good christian. and you've made another UNINFORMED statement about man being the only creature capable of intelligence. you obviously have not read up on the latest researches into corvidae and cephalopod intelligence, into primate language systems and the social sophistication of dolphin communities, amongst many, many others. expressions of intelligence are abundant in nature, except your brain can't see pass scripture long enough to recognise them. and the fact that you think evolution is biased towards mankind is evidence how little you actually understood it - and i am more convinced than ever that you lied about being an adherent of the scientific process. you probably blindly believed what you read about scientific research, and then repeating it without understanding anything. the fact that you call yourself an "evangelist" for evolution is a telling clue. evolution does not work towards intelligence, or any specific goals at all, and had it been the octopodes that have evolved the degree of intelligence we have, these octopodes might make the same fallacy as you, mistakenly saying that evolution is biased towards them. and let's not even go into the neuroscience of human instincts and the more primitive parts of our brains. and you called evolution a "belief system"? goodness, you really have no clue what you're talking about, haven't you?

EIGHT But it takes a childlike faith to come to God

you are obviously in your second childhood then.

sunita said...

your girlfriend lau le na looks alien in your previous post. coloured contacts don't suit her.

k0k s3n w4i said...

sunita: WHAT!?! you mean her irises aren't actually that colour?!! she and i are going to have WORDS!!!1! grrr

Kenny said...

"UNINFORMED statement about man being the only creature capable of intelligence. you obviously have not read up on the latest researches into corvidae and cephalopod intelligence, into primate language systems and the social sophistication of dolphin communities, amongst many, many others."

Hmmm...no wonder the primates are still living amongst trees and dolphines still roam the oceans (sometimes beaching themselves to death) while man have moved from huts to skycrapers, taken to the skies, explored space and the depths of the oceans. The fact that you study the things you know tells me you are different from these "intelligent" creatures. I know the bible says man is made to have dominion over all these creatures and I believe that is true in more ways than one.

I will sign off now and sorry if what I write offended you in any way. There is no malice in them. Chill.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Kenny: I didn't say that they are as smart as men. I'm saying that there are degrees of intelligence. There are empathy and social components, along with problem-solving skills, tool making, language - and many more parameters of intelligence I care not to list here. It is an observable FACT that intelligence does exist in animals, but to a lesser magnitude.

"dolphines still roam the oceans (sometimes beaching themselves to death)"

And humans for all their intelligence also do end up killing themselves while doing very, very stupid things. I've seen it in the emergency rooms in various hospitals and I've read it often in the news. And for a sampler of just how stupid men can be, look no further than the infamous Darwin Award. For plain human ignorance, look no further than the nearest mirror.

I am not different from these creatures. I have the same type of intelligence as most of these animals. The only difference is that I have a lot more of it - and there are sound explanations for why this is so through the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection if you only actually bothered reading any book on evolutionary anthropology or sociocultural evolution. Our distant ancestors lived, loved, warred and bred much like how modern chimpanzees do; we just outraced them, is all.

Your Bible is a vile piece of writing that has been used for millenia to justify genocides (deut 2:33-34, lev 26:7-8, judges 1:1-8), slavery (lev 25:44-46, exo 21:2-6, eph 6:5-9, luke 12:47-48), racism (gen 9:20-27), the subjugation of women... and more recently, it's been used by the conservative right of some countries to justify the rape of natural resources, the stubborn denial of anthropogenic global warming and needless cruelty to animals - and they use that same dominion line you just used, Kenny. You sicken me. You just want to think you're some divinely-endowed being that's more than an animal but I have news for you; you need to survive, feed and fuck just like all animals do, just that you have a smarter brain than them to facilitate all that. The fact that animals have not evolved the same level of intelligence as humans is because they have managed to pass on their genes to their offsprings without the need for that much smarts (I'm simplifying this and putting this in laypeople terms for you). There is no goal to evolution, only what works. It's blind and inelegant, as evidenced by the flawed human body and every creature we see today. I stand by my assessment; you are UNINFORMED and UNQUALIFIED. In the scientific community, sarcasm and polemics won't get you anywhere. Only quantifiable facts and research will. You're just like those lying ministers and pastors I detest so much, and you offend me because you used such an immoral piece of shit to justify your morality. I make it a point to speak my mind in these sort of conversations, and considering I have no idea who you are, you know that it's nothing personal. Good bye.

Reubz said...

What's your opinion on the mind? Do you think it exists?

k0k s3n w4i said...

Reubz: if you're a christian, i know where you're going with this, Reubz. i've heard that same start to that same argument a million times (i've been debating theology for awhile now). the mind/consciousness exists, and some religious people consider it to be proof of a soul of some kind. first off, there is no need for any supernatural explanation for the human mind, or the minds of any sentient creatures. i hope you have a basic understanding of neurology because you'll need it in order to understand everything i'm going to say next. our minds/brains learn and remember by forming new connections between neurons. basically, if we map every connection that every brain cell makes in a person's head, and upload it to a computer of comparable processing power - we'll have a copy of that person's working mind in said computer. that copy will have all of that person's memories and knowledge - a mental clone, so to speak. not that we're capable of doing that (yet) but i am merely trying to impress on you the material nature of consciousness and the mind; having no need for a god to explain it. we know enough of cognitive neuroscience that we can predict exactly what sort of mental/emotional/physical disabilities a person would experience depending on where that person's brain is injured. have i answered your questions?

Reubz said...

err, did you get my reply on this thread? must be the darn streamyx again!

k0k s3n w4i said...

Reubz: evidently no. try my gmail if you really want to ask or tell me anything. also, the comment box has a word limit - comments exceeding 2000 something (or 4000, can't remember) characters won't get through.

Terri said...

po darling, you were unnecessarily abusive to the kenny guy up there. i was nodding along with the points you made, but you kinda went overboard towards the end by taking out everything wrong/bad/stupid with christianity on some poor defenceless 50 year old dude xD

some of his incredibly stupid statements made me want to bang my head on my desk and it was fun watching you tear him to shreds... xD but don't you think the aggro was a bit too much?


i think you secretly enjoy the drama and purposely post something about religion whenever you're feeling bored. :P

Terri said...

PS - i'm convinced your blog attracts stupid people. all the strangers who've commented on my blog have been fairly intelligible. *smug*

the chinese link spammers don't count. spam doesn't count. shut up. xD

Kenny said...

Hi Sen Wai. I found some time (weekend) :) and felt it fair to you and your readers that I should address the issues you brought up when quoting scriptures. I will not want to use incendiary statements, because it is not about an attack of a person/persons regardless of his/her beliefs. Some thoughts.

Be respectful to what we believe - You don't have to agree with Christianity. But you need to realize that if you, for example, insult Jesus our Savior, use profanities all you do is make yourself look bad, get people defensive, and make atheists, as a whole, look like an obstreperous lot. I am pretty sure not all atheists are like that.

Read biblical passages in context - Just jumping on a standard "contradictions" or scripture without researching the context is inaccurate and dangerous. The bible text is historical with cultural significance that must be considered.

Don't use emotionally laden terminology - This only detracts from the argument. For example, terms like stupid, name calling like liars, magic man etc., when attacking Christianity. Such terms only close the doors of communication and make this look like kindergarten fights in the playground.

"conveniently ignored my other points about gender equality, slavery, etc which your church have perpetuated through the ages"
I will get to this in the scripture references you made.

"christians from treating women like shit (lev 21:9, 1 cor 11:3, 1 cor 11:8-9, 1 tim 2:11-14, deut 22:28-29...), killing people for worshiping another god (ex 22:20, deut 13:13-19...), and enslaving other humans (lev 25:24) just to name a few"
"Your Bible is a vile piece of writing that has been used for millenia to justify genocides (deut 2:33-34, lev 26:7-8, judges 1:1-8), slavery (lev 25:44-46, exo 21:2-6, eph 6:5-9, luke 12:47-48), racism (gen 9:20-27), the subjugation of women"

I will post comments on these scripture later, probably early next week.

"because all the proof you have is a bunch of contradictory texts written by ancient people"

First off, there is nothing wrong with texts written by ancient people. They were there, and some were actual witnesses of events that took place there and then. This makes the historical account reliable.

The bible is the best-selling book for a reason. It impact lives. And more than any other book, it has been attacked, examined and ridiculed over the centuries, yet held its ground. In fact, Josh MacDowell set out to disprove the bible and became a Christian (According to McDowell, he was as an agnostic at college when he decided to prepare a paper that would examine the historical evidence of the Christian faith in order to disprove it. However, he converted to Christianity, after, as he says, he found evidence for it, not against it. - Wikipedia). There were many others like him.

The Unique Origin Of The Bible

The Bible is one of the few books that claims to be God's Word. It makes this claim over 2000 times. Over 40 men, on 3 different continents, writing in 3 different languages wrote the 66 books of the Bible as God directed them to. The Bible is 66 books written by many men, yet inspired or "breathed out" by God. II Peter 1:21. II Timothy 3:16. The original writings of the Old and New Testaments had absolutely no scientific, historical, or doctrinal errors.

Kenny said...

Greek New Testament
How do we know that the Greek New Testament Texts we have today are essentially the same as the original copies?

1. There are over 24,000 old manuscripts, that is hand written copies, of portions of the NT today. Over 5,000 of these old manuscripts are in Greek, the language the NT was written in. Many manuscripts are in Latin, Syriac, or another language.

2. The NT was completed around 95 AD when John wrote Revelation.

3. There are more surviving manuscripts of the NT than there are of any other piece of ancient literature.

4. The oldest surviving manuscripts of most of the ancient Greek authors are dated at least 700 years or more after the author's original work compared to the NT which was 95 AD.

5. Scholars believe that in essence we have the original works of the ancient Greek authors, so why wouldn't one believe we have copies of the writings of the New Testament authors?

6. God inspired or "breathed out" through human writers and their personalities the entire original NT so that it contained no errors of any kind. II Timothy 3:16. Copy errors are scrutinized. So today, the Greek manuscripts we have of the NT are not all exactly the same. They do have some minor variations or differences. Where differences appear in Biblical manuscripts very intelligent people who are fluent in a number of the appropriate languages study these ancient documents and apply the science of textual criticism in an effort to determine which text is the closest to the original text.

7. "The Interlinear Bible" by Jay P. Green contains the entire NT in Greek and English on 229 pages. The Greek text he uses is commonly called the Received Text. None of the possible differences in the Greek affects or changes any teaching or doctrine in the NT.

8. The early Christian leaders, usually called the early church fathers, often quoted from the NT in their letters and writings. We could construct all but a few verses of the entire NT from their writings. Read the writings of the earliest church fathers. Many of the writings of the early church fathers are also available on CD.

Hebrew Old Testament
Here is some evidence that the Hebrew Old Testament (OT) texts are in essence the same as the original copies.

1. Until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew OT was dated around 1000 A.D. We also had large portions of the OT that were written around 900 A.D.

2. The Dead Sea Scrolls were written between 200 B.C. and 68 A.D. Among other things they contain portions of every book of the OT except Esther.

3. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain a copy of Isaiah. That Isaiah which was written 125 B.C. is 95% the same as the Isaiah written around 916 A.D. and with our Isaiah today. Most of the differences are just obvious copying and spelling errors.

4. The Masoretic or Hebrew text that the OT in our English Bibles is translated from is very close to the Septuagint or Greek translation of the OT made from the Hebrew text around 250 B.C.

5. During the 5th century B.C. the first five books of the OT were written in the Samaritan text. This text agrees with our 10th century copy of the Masoretic or Hebrew OT.

6. We have over 2000 manuscripts of the OT.

Apart from these texts, there are many archaeological verifications of biblical events and places. Remember, no archaeological discovery has ever contradicted the Bible. Therefore, since it has been verified over and over again throughout the centuries, we can continue to trust it as an accurate historical document.

Kenny said...

"... and more recently, it's been used by the conservative right of some countries to justify the rape of natural resources, the stubborn denial of anthropogenic global warming and needless cruelty to animals - and they use that same dominion line you just used"

This I find disturbing. Please do not put a blanket accusation on all Christians for wrong doings. As Christians, we are to be good stewards of God's creation and value all living things. Cruelty is cruelty, whether it's to another human being or to an animal. If God did not care about the animals, he would not have instructed Noah to build an ark to house and care for them. In fact in Gen 2:15, God instructed Adam in the Garden of Eden to "tend it" and "keep it".

Tend (Hebrew 'abad) means "to work or serve," and thus referring to the ground or a garden, it can be defined as "to till or cultivate." It possesses the nuance seen in the KJV's choice in its translation: "dress," implying adornment, embellishment, and improvement.

Keep (Hebrew shamar) means "to exercise great care over." In the context of Genesis 2:15, it expresses God's wish that mankind, in the person of Adam, "take care of," "guard," or "watch over" the garden. A caretaker maintains and protects his charge so that he can return it to its owner in as good or better condition than when he received it.

After the flood, once again God gives man dominion over all other life on the earth, and with this renewed authority comes the implicit responsibility to tend and keep what was explicitly given to Adam. In this post-Flood world, God gives mankind a second chance to use and preserve the resources He had so abundantly provided. To that end Noah, after 120 years as a preacher and shipwright, took up farming and planted a vineyard (verse 20). We can assume, from what we know of human nature, that this attitude of stewardship did not pass to very many of his descendants.

Abuse of nature, our environment and animals are sin initiated, not tied to any religious belief. Dominion over animals is NOT interpreted as abuse, you have wrongly interpreted the phrase. As Christians, we are held accountable for how we treat God's creation.

Sen Wai, I mentioned my age because I wanted to tell you it was a long long time ago that I believed in the "Theory of Evolution" after being taught in school (Cambridge Syllabus). I then subscribed to "New Knowledge" periodicals and became even more convinced. I was just 15, a nominal Buddhist then and fervently told my friends why I believe our ancestors were from the primates and how we are constantly evolving. I even believed we may look like the aliens portrayed in "Encounters of the Third Kind" in the future with oversized brains and frail bodies :). Of course, the knowledge and information was not as complete then. Please do not misunderstand that I was despising your youth or stressing my seniority.

God and science can be reconciled. If you or your readers like, visit http://www.godandscience.org/ for some interesting articles.

On another note, how do I apply HTML tags? Can't seem to get it right.

PS I like your latest post.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Terri: welcome to the internet, darlin' - where 50 year old men might very well be 12 year old girls and (more disturbingly) vice versa. And as bruce willis proved in live free and die hard, 50 year old men are by no means defenceless.

while i agree it's wrong to be as abusive as i was, but was it really unnecessary? all in all, I called him uninformed, unqualified, immoral, childlike (tho' this one he pretty much admitted it outright) and... is that it? i'm sure i called him more names but i'm far too lazy too sift thru what i wrote now. and i justified each thing i called him before doing so.

now, as to why i think it's necessary to be as rude as possible to people like him is because he continuously use his feelings, scripture and personal opinions to make scientific statements. i can easily see that they aren't valid, of course, but to an untrained listener? it sounded reasonable, sounded like common sense. and this kenny is representative of the entire foundation of the anti-science, anti-evolution movement. to give him any respect is to give his stupid remarks an air of respectability.

as to why i lost my temper - he said i'd make a good christian. it's like hitler telling me i'd make a good schutzstaffel.

besides, i have never been polite to these proselytizers. they prey on the gullible and always show pretensions to a moral high ground.

k0k s3n w4i said...

ONE "This I find disturbing. Please do not put a blanket accusation on all Christians for wrong doings."

Gods above, can't these people read? I did not blame modern day Christians for the wrongdoings of their elders. What I said was that using scriptures to justify things have very often ended in atrocities - and the least modern christians can do is be less arrogant, stop being such holier-than-thou dicks and show some regrets for the shit the institution they now represent did in the past. Perhaps, you think you shouldn't feel sorry for what your forbears have done? I thought your god has this thing about punishing innocent people who descended from sinners, or are just associated with them? (gen 9:21-25, gen 20:18, exo 20:5, deut 5:9, 1 sam 3:12-13 and my personal fave deut 13:13-19).

TWO As for the dominion line, you are really an idiot aren't you? I don't care what your god say or meant because fuck me, he's not real to me anyway. What is real to me are Christians interpreting (or misinterpreting, whatever) verses to justify their own bigotry and agendas. You disgust me because you used a verse to validate a scientific opinion you made about human intelligence - the same thing the American evangelical preachers do to mislead people . I did not mistake the word dominion for abuse so stop putting words in my mouth, you twit.

THREE Don't worry your head about it, buddy - I never gave a fuck about your age to begin with anyway. So no need to explain. Again, stop talking about how you used to believe what or how you believe it - it neither prove or disprove anything. The Cambridge biology syllables, while quite accurate, were quite brief on the subject of evolution. I studied that too but i didn't automatically swallow it and go parroting it around like one would do spreading a religion. I was intrigued by it and spent 5 more years after college studying it and now, as a 4th year med school student, I am finally writing my opinions on it for the first time. You see, I like getting those sticky things like facts straight before I go around telling people things. What a stupid way to go about academic subjects, amirite?

FOUR On html tags, use "i" for italics, "b" for bold... type <> at the start of the text you want to alter and < / i > to close it at the end. Write like how i just demonstrated but remove the spaces I put in the codes.

FIVE You must be the hundredth godbot to tell me that archaeology have proven the Bible to be accurate again and again (godbot is a term of endearment I use for some christians that kept reusing the same ol' disproved arguments over and over again. Hope you don't mind, Mr 50-years-old GodKennyBot, sir). I can spend thousands of posts trying to disprove your claims one by one but instead I'll just tell you that everything you've written are a complete waste of time; just because you've committed one eensy teensy fallacy - and because I'm feeling charitable today, I shall demonstrate what you just did.

k0k s3n w4i said...

My favourite book is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (awesome read - much better than the Bible, IMHO) and it's a fantasy novel set in 19th century England. Napoleon Bonaparte and his campaign against the British Isles is in it, as is the Duke of Wellington, the Battle of Waterloo, the aristocracy... basically, perfectly accurate descriptions of historical events and persons of the time. Then, there's also the two titular magicians and boy, were they mindblowingly awesome! (must read, I highly recommend it!) So, just because there are historically accurate facts in that book, I must now accept that the two magicians and all their acts of magic are true as well? I challenge you to bring me one single undeniable archaeological proof in a real academic publication that all the OMG MAGIC stuff in the Bible happened. Go fetch, I'll wait.

Do you want me to point out another fallacy?

"Remember, no archaeological discovery has ever contradicted the Bible".

There are also no archaeological or historical evidence that contradicts the existence of fairies, pink fluffy unicorns and your intelligence - so all these things can technically exist right? I know, hard to swallow right?

Same can be said about the Quran about its historicity - and the Quran says Jesus ain't the son of god. BAM!

Want ketchup to go along with those fallacies?

So what if the Bible was unchanged since the day its books were conceived? (incredibly unlikely but as i said, I'm feeling charitable so I'll grant you this) something that's unaltered or unchanged doesn't automatically make it true. And so what if the books in the Bible are old? You're old too and you pretty much single-handedly proved that it's no guarantee of anything. BUT on a more serious note in case anyone say later that I am only interested in insulting people; the Epic of Gilgamesh is older than the Old Testament, but does it make it any truer than the Bible? the Bhagavad Gita's plenty ancient too.

k0k s3n w4i said...

You want to know another fallacy you made?

you said "God inspired or "breathed out" through human writers"

And I say; my anus inspired or "breathe out" through your mouth so you can make all this fantastic claims with no proof whatsoever.

Mora fallacies?

"The Bible is one of the few books that claims to be God's Word. It makes this claim over 2000 times. Over 40 men, on 3 different continents, writing in 3 different languages wrote the 66 books of the Bible as God directed them to. The Bible is 66 books written by many men, yet inspired or "breathed out" by God. II Peter 1:21. II Timothy 3:16. The original writings of the Old and New Testaments had absolutely no scientific, historical, or doctrinal errors. "

At this point I can only marvel at your evident mental disability. Are you saying that when something claims ITSELF to be the word of god, we're suppose to swallow it whole? Shit, in that case, I hereby claim that I am actually writing this entire blog (comments and all) as per direction of your LORD GOD. He says you're a ninny, by the way.

All that and your previous disastrous appeal to Pascal's Wager really shows that you don't have a very firm grasp of logic. I admire your determination but, please, go bother someone more gullible. I'm waaay too sharp for your tired, repetitive bullshit.

As for giving you and your religion respect... GO FUCK YOURSELF. Do you realise WHAT you're asking me to respect? You are asking me to respect a system of belief that calls for MY eternal torture just because I'm not one of its sheeple. You are asking me to respect an institution that has perpetrated some of the greatest injustices to humanity for centuries. You are asking me to respect a fairytale book filled with murder, intolerance, misogyny, homophobia and massacres. Come, let me hear you ask for my respect one more time now.

I can't stop you from coming back and I never censor comments unless I absolutely have to - but as owner of this blog, I politely request that you refrain from returning here. I thank you in advance.

Kenny said...

Sen Wai, this was how I started my comments.

Be respectful to what we believe - You don't have to agree with Christianity. But you need to realize that if you, for example, insult Jesus our Savior, use profanities all you do is make yourself look bad, get people defensive, and make atheists, as a whole, look like an obstreperous lot. I am pretty sure not all atheists are like that.

This was how you about ended it

As for giving you and your religion respect... GO FUCK YOURSELF.

It says a lot about you to me and whoever read your posts even though I don't know you personally. So I guess your request would be gladly granted. Bye.

PS Thx for the tip for HTML tags.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Kenny: Nope. This is how I ended it.

"As for giving you and your religion respect... GO FUCK YOURSELF. Do you realise WHAT you're asking me to respect? You are asking me to respect a system of belief that calls for MY eternal torture just because I'm not one of its sheeple. You are asking me to respect an institution that has perpetrated some of the greatest injustices to humanity for centuries. You are asking me to respect a fairytale book filled with murder, intolerance, misogyny, homophobia and massacres. Come, let me hear you ask for my respect one more time now."

Quote me in full, please, since you're so big on context. And while you're at it, ask Jews to respect Nazis and Mein Kampf too.

And you know why I know you are immoral? You are disturbed by my lack of respect but are apparently okay with your "loving" god torturing innumerable decent people with differing beliefs and people who have had no exposure to the so-called Gospels for ETERNITY without RESPITE. Religion has poisoned your mind and blinded you from telling the real difference between right and wrong, Kenny.

P.S. Oh, you're welcome. Glad to be of service :)

Anonymous said...

you're my hero. Kenny, suck my dick you're an ignorant bigoted prick just like all your like-minded fellows. Stand up for science till the end, you're one of the few voices out there, personally I've found it to be extremely discouraging at the vast number of religious/superstitious people, so smug in there faith and ready to numb there senses to any concept of science that challenges what they blindly follow. It takes so much time and effort to be completely ignored after thoughtfully cramming there holes with evidence and reason... I salute you.