Creationism is Bullshit! & The Bible is Bullshit!

For your viewing pleasure, here are two episodes of Penn & Teller’s TV show “Bullshit!”. The first episode is “Creationism is Bullshit!”. The second is “The Bible is Bullshit!”

Now, I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of Penn & Teller’s brand of Libertarianism, however their irreligiousness and their magic shows, I can definitely get behind.

In terms of the first video on Creationism, I think the episode was great, but could have been so much better had they interviewed Elliott Sober.

If you want to read the absolutely definitive work on why Intelligent Design is neither a scientific theory nor a viable alternative to evolution, I strongly recommend you read his chapter in the book Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Religion (edited by William Edward Mann).

Sober’s piece uses pure logic and mathematics to prove that the arguments of Intelligent Design theorists like Michael Behe (who does a lot of work on so-called ‘irreducible complexity’) are exemplars of a poverty of thought.

If you don’t have time to read Sober’s article (lazy bastards! lol), I’ll relay my favourite part of the chapter.

Basically, he proves, using Beye’s Theorem, that the argument for God’s existence based on Irreducible Complexity (or arguments based on other observed phenomenon such as ‘cosmic design’) are tautological, circular and useless.

For you math people in the crowd, basically it goes like this:

sober-intelligent-design-argument.gif

Now if you didn’t follow that, don’t worry, I probably wouldn’t have either. But read the chapter and then you can impress your friends by throwing that out there.

Anyway, without further adieu, I give you the glorious sacrilege:

Penn & Teller: Creationism is Bullshit!

Penn & Teller: The Bible is Bullshit!

 

24 Responses to “Creationism is Bullshit! & The Bible is Bullshit!”


  1. 1 janfromthebruce 14 April, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    My husband and I watched both of each. Thanks it reaffirmed our non-belief and gave us a good laugh.

  2. 2 paulitics 14 April, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Jan – glad you enjoyed it. I was actually really surprised that this post didn’t generate a lot more controversy like some of my other irreligious posts, so I’m glad to get some feedback on it.

    If you haven’t already seen Richard Dawkins’s two-part documentary on his book The God Delusion, I do recommend it. It’ll really reaffirm a secular view of the world (although admittedly he’s not as good as Penn & Teller at dishing out the laughs).

    I’ve posted both parts of the documentary here if you’re interested:

    http://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/02/06/in-defense-of-athiesm/

    Cheers.

    Paul

  3. 3 Darren 15 April, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I still don’t understand why evolution and creationism have to be at odds. Could not a supreme being have used evolution as an agent of creation? Isn’t there a design factor at play in evolution as it reveals life progressing toward a state of greater complexity and sophistication? Don’t Kepler’s laws of thermodynamics dictate that things naturally tend toward disorder and chaos? Evolution to me appears wondrously creative! I really don’t see why science has to be at odds with belief in God. To me, the scientists do more to reveal the true nature of God than any theologian. Just my two cents–

    • 4 David D. 23 July, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Why do ignorant people demand a “superior being”? Evolution and autopoiesis [self-organization] explain everything. Why complicate it unnecessarily? Remember Occam’s razor. But here’s the paradox: these creationists won’t go away. What we need to do is defuse them by letting them believe as they do. This accomplishes two things: it keeps them quiet and it clears the playing field for the intelligent Do we want these people “enlightened”? No we want them marginalized and kept out of the intellectual progressive advance. Such people have always existed in societies. They serve a purpose. But if we give them a pass [not persecute them] they in turn must keep their ignorance out of the public forum. It’s only fair.

  4. 5 Darren 15 April, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    P.S. – I’d like to think that even a lot of evangelical Christians are open to the idea that the Genesis creation account is allegorical. Christians need to open their minds and consider, to quote Shakespeare, “There are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” Evolution does not challenge the fundamental doctrine of salvation, Christ’s divinity and the idea that we are essentially lost until we repent of our sins. Please… I am a Christian, but I remember now why I stopped going to church.

  5. 7 Lina 17 April, 2007 at 2:31 am

    I watched both episodes of BullShit, and I call this (I apologize) lengthy rant:

    Why I’m Sick to Death of Hearing People Defend The Ten Commandments

    No one is born with values. Written “laws” such as the Ten Commandments seek to exhibit supposed ubiquitous moral standards. Setting aside the fact that “right” and “wrong” are dreadfully relative terms, cultural values are learned in three basic steps.

    Step 1: Incentive

    As children we acted in our own best interest. Two factors swayed our underdeveloped ethical base: anticipation of reward or praise, and the fear of punishment or scorn. We did not clean up our toys to “help out mum,” we did it to get a cookie (or in my case, to escape a brisk and efficient beating).

    Step 2: Because they said so…

    As we get older the disillusion that every “moral act” deserves a trophy begins to fade. With this, parental threats appear to be less of a factor. We start to do “the right thing” because it is “the right thing to do.” We don’t necessarily understand WHY, but we still act accordingly. The once external motivators have become internalized and we’ll start to feel pride when we follow “the code” and shame when we break it. This happens even when no one is looking!

    Step 3: Self-Actualization

    The final step to building a set of values is self-actualization. This is where you can finally strip yourself of unnecessary guilt, but more importantly, understand your set of morals to be relative and independent of other’s beliefs. You no longer subscribe to an ethical code because you are afraid of judgment or crave respect, instead your set of unique values enables you to strive for knowledge and self-fulfillment.

    So, if the ultimate goal to becoming a morally upstanding being is self-actualization, why do The Ten Commandments rely solely on steps one and two? Well, because self-actualization is NOT an Old Testament (or New Testament) goal. Religious “codes of conduct” keep people in a perpetual state of guilt and shame for something they’ll never truly understand. And, if all else fails, there is a cookie waiting for us in Heaven and a brisk and efficient beating awaiting us in Hell.

  6. 8 Darren 17 April, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Actually, theologians would argue the Almighty’s relationship with the human race is much like a parent’s relationship with his or her own children. We are displeased and saddened when our children break our rules, not simply because they disobeyed or defied us, but because we love them and we hate to see them suffer. We naturally want to protect our children. We set up rules and incentives out of love, not out of cruelty or hate.

    Ultimately, to understand the true significance of moral laws (rules, commandments) is to understand parental love. Mature and loving parents don’t want to shame their children. They don’t want to embarrass them or humiliate them or make them feel guilty; they don’t seek to punish them. Of course, children ultimately will do what they want to do–they are bestowed with free will–but as mothers and fathers we hope they follow our rules because we know that is what’s best for them. Our world is so much larger than theirs… our perspective so much broader.

    In the end, perhaps commandments and codes of conduct are there to help guide us, but we don’t need them to know when we’ve done something right or we’ve done something wrong. The codes are like road signs placed lovingly alongside the highway, but it’s really that innate moral compass inside us that keeps us headed in the right direction. If we find ourselves driving down the left side of the road, we don’t feel bad about that because some sign a mile back commanded us to KEEP RIGHT. We don’t feel bad because we disobeyed the bloody sign! We feel bad or uncomfortable about it because we know deep down inside somewhere that it was dangerous and foolish and any number of other things that are essentially unhealthy.

    In any case, this innate awareness, these feelings of right and wrong cannot all be learned behaviors. Perhaps there really are moral absolutes. If so, where do they come from? It’s an age-old question that brings many of us back to an age-old response. Beyond that, I would assert that for those of us who have experienced that arcane glimpse of the universe that only true faith and communion with the Almighty can deliver, self-actualization is really just another term for holiness.

  7. 9 paulitics 20 April, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Darren – Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your first two comments (I’ve been insanely busy as of late).

    You wrote that:

    “Isn’t there a design factor at play in evolution as it reveals life progressing toward a state of greater complexity and sophistication?”

    Evolution, if you truly understand the theory as evolutionary scientists do, would proceed towards greater complexity and sophistication irrespective of either a theistic or deistic agent.

    Thus, your question misses the point entirely. It’s not a matter of whether there could be a design element in evolution (of course there COULD be a design element… It’s also possible that aliens designed human life).

    The question is whether one can point to an element of design through physical, scientific evidence such as that presented by Behe (‘Irreducible Complexity’) and that’s what I was addressing in my post. The answer, to reiterate, is no.

    You go on to write that “Don’t Kepler’s laws of thermodynamics dictate that things naturally tend toward disorder and chaos? Evolution to me appears wondrously creative! I really don’t see why science has to be at odds with belief in God.”

    This argument of yours has been a fairly popular argument historically and is also utterly destroyed (usuing formal reasoning and mathematic proofs which are nevertheless easy to understand even nor non-mathematicians). This argument that you’ve made is merely an argument from cosmic design. In other words: the universe’s laws are so pristinely in tune with life that without they laws being exactly where they are, life couldn’t exist… ergo, God created the universe.

    This argument, if you’re interested in reading up on it, was popularized by Descartes and Paley.

    However, unfortunately, logically, it is tautological.

    ——————————————————————

    Lastly, I won’t discuss much of the substance of your retort to Alina due to the fact that it’s off topic from the subject at hand.

    However, I did want to discuss one comment you made. You wrote that:

    “In any case, this innate awareness, these feelings of right and wrong cannot all be learned behaviors.”

    This is patently false and there is any number of work in biology, anthropology and philosophy demonstrating this to be the case.

    I won’t bother going over a (long) bibliography of works disproving your unsupported contention. However, I have discussed this matter previously here:

    http://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/proof-that-organized-religion-stops-critical-thinking/

    I wrote to psychols:

    “Robert Trivers, Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer are just some of the very many philosophers who have written extensively on this matter (and it should be noted that in the field or moral and ethical philosophy, their work is often taken to be seminal and at the cornerstone due to the fact that they do not appeal to the concept of divine sanction). Moreover, there is ample scholarship in anthropology and evolutionary biology discussing the existence of a Violence Inhibitor Mechanism (VIM) which pre-dates the advent of systematized religious beliefs and can be found in many animal species.”

    In short, the existence of a VIM throughout the animal kingdom as an evolutionary device speaks directly against your point.

  8. 10 Darren 20 April, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Paul–

    You are alarmingly sure of yourself. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts. I never stated science somehow PROVES the existence of God, I merely stated science, and specifically evolution, ALLOWS for the existence of a transcendent creator. I was taking issue with the notion that evolution and creation are necessarily at odds. They are not, and your statement, “of course there COULD be a design element…” indicates you would agree with me on this point.

    As for my musings in regard to moral absolutes and codes, I was really just throwing the idea of divine command and thoughts about the nature of God out there for discussion. Ultimately, your bold dismissal of my suggestion that feelings of right and wrong cannot all be learned behaviors discounts belief in evolutionary morality, for example (see the work of de Waal and Hauser), which is gaining wider acceptance in the scientific community. There are plenty of biologists and anthropologists who would argue that we (both animals and humans) are hard-wired with common notions of right and wrong, of fair play, etc, as a necessary result of social evolution and/or group selection.

    Granted, belief in evolutionary morality does not require belief in God or moral absolutes per se (I know about the “naturalistic fallacy” associated with this), but in the end, if you believe evolution is (or COULD be) an agent of creation used by some divine being, then it’s unfair to reject all forms of divine command out of hand.

    I know my thinking may sound dull or unsophisticated to you, but what can I say? Ultimately faith is belief in that which cannot be proven. God has to be experienced in some very real and personal way for anyone to risk leaving the security of the scientific and material world (read The Brothers Karamazov). Having said that, I don’t think belief in God requires one to reject science anymore than belief in science requires one to reject God. In other words, science does not disprove the existence of God anymore than God disproves the existence of science.

    In that light, it seems to me agnosticism is a much more intellectually honest approach than atheism, as atheism, much like belief in God, requires belief in that which cannot be proven. Unfortunately, I think atheists are often influenced by disdain for the image of the “holier than thou” and often simple-minded evangelical (particularly in America), but that is clearly unfair. It goes without saying that to reject belief in God based on superficial observations and/or out of bigotry is tragically unsophisticated.

  9. 11 paulitics 20 April, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    I’m glad we agree that, as you worded it:

    “There are plenty of biologists and anthropologists who would argue that we (both animals and humans) are hard-wired with common notions of right and wrong, of fair play, etc, as a necessary result of social evolution and/or group selection.”

    That point (along with the point about the inherent circularity of Irreducible Complexity as demonstrated by Beye’s theorem of Irreducible Complexity) was the purpose of my response. As such, I never said that science disproves a supernatural being, nor would I.

    The furthest this argument could be pushed, if one were so inclined, would be to posit that, given the logical circularity of the ‘argument from cosmic design’ (à la Paley & Descartes) and the circularity of the argument from irreducible complexity (à la Behe), science is more and more confining experiences with a supernatural being to a so-called ‘god-of-the-gaps’ argument.

  10. 12 Darren 21 April, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Paul–

    I agree the common notion of intelligent design, as well as Beye’s Irreducible Complexity (basically another argument for a God-of-the-Gaps) is essentially tautological and ultimately pointless to debate. Also, in regard to God and Science, it is clear to me you never suggested one proves or disproves the other. What you did say is one cannot “point” to the other, which is a wholly different assertion and logically sound.

    The intent of my original post was to challenge the notion that creation and evolution are NECESSARILY disparate constructs. They are not. Unfortunately, the Penn & Teller videos, as well as much of the dialogue that follows (above), seem to equate hard scientific evidence of evolution with hard evidence of a Godless universe. As we have already established, this is not logical.

    Moreover, based on the antagonistic tone of the videos in which Penn (or is it Teller) repeatedly refers to evangelical Christians as assholes, etc., it’s easy to see a reasoned and logical pursuit of the truth is not their primary motivation. Frankly, I have little patience for such a boorish and clearly bigoted presentation of the argument. Why are these guys so angry? More importantly, why would any scholar or student of philosophy point to the Penn & Teller videos as a source for anything other than what they are: banal, slobbering diatribes with a few weak magic tricks thrown in for giggles?

    At any rate, it remains a given that the idea that evolution COULD have been used by a transcendent being as an agent of creation does not prove anything. Having said that, this idea DOES allow those who have made a leap of faith, so to speak, to square their belief in the unseen with hard scientific evidence. Honestly, I think only those “believers” who insist on a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account have a problem with Darwinian theory. Fortunately, they do not account for every Christian, every Muslim or everyone who believes in God. (Even Pope John Paul II believed in evolution as agent of creation.)

    As I stated before, I think science, and specifically evolution, reveals wondrous creativity and evidence of design. I’ve always maintained scientists reveal more about the nature of God than any theologian. Also, I think evolution squares nicely with both deistic and theistic worldviews. (Interestingly, Einstein himself was a pantheist.) In short, I don’t believe evolution delivers a deathblow to the teleological argument. (Please note the classic teleological argument does not claim scientific credibility, nor is it as pointedly theistic or confining as modern intelligent design theory.)

    You and Sober and Richard Dawkins can point to aspects of evolution that appear to refute the presence of design, but where is the indisputable proof? To use the old watchmaker analogy, does a watch that occasionally runs too slow or too fast or otherwise succumbs to seemingly random operational errors deny the existence of a watchmaker? The answer is no.

    Frankly, I think Dawkins and other atheists who attempt to foist what are essentially faith-based beliefs on the general public are just as annoying and ultimately intolerant as any fundamentalist Christian who accosts me on the street with fire and brimstone admonitions. Although the so-called gaps in science will continue to shrink and perhaps further challenge establish religious views, I firmly believe we will never reach the point at which we can DISPROVE the existence of a transcendent creator. Again, although I am not an agnostic, I believe agnosticism is a much more intellectually honest approach to cosmology and fundamental meaning than theism, deism or atheism. The latter “isms” all require a leap of faith.

    Oh, and as for the idea that a universal ethical grammar or innate awareness of right and wrong is the result of evolutionary processes, group selection, etc., I believe that also squares with my fundamental belief in a transcendent creator. As I stated before, I believe evolution was used as an agent of creation. Why couldn’t a transcendent being also have used evolutionary processes to instill within all humans and animals some universal code of ethics? Moreover, to address Lina’s post, why couldn’t a personal creator have revealed this code to us in more explicit terms?

    In any case, all viewpoints expressed in this blog require some measure of faith. My only real beef with the Penn and Teller videos and some of the comments I’ve read here is the alarming surety with which theistic and even deistic worldviews are dismissed. There is a sharp undertone of animosity and bigotry (especially in the videos) present on this site that I find offensive and wholly inappropriate in any forum where honest intellectual debate is truly revered and respected. Of course, it’s your blog, so you can post whatever you want.

    Darren

    “Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel

  11. 13 Darren 21 April, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Not sure why the post above appeared three times. Perhaps you can edit this for me.

  12. 14 paulitics 22 April, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Darren,

    We are arguing in circles.

    First, you write that:

    “The intent of my original post was to challenge the notion that creation and evolution are NECESSARILY disparate constructs.”

    If that was the purpose of your original post, then I don’t see why you bothered to post at all. I spent 13 years in a Catholic education system, and to anybody familiar with Catholicism and the position of the former pope, it is patently obvious that the RC Church had a favourable position on evolution. I and I believe most other people here are aware of that fact.

    I don’t see what that has anything to do with anything posted here.

    Second, you wrote:

    “What you did say is one cannot “point” to the other, which is a wholly different assertion and logically sound.”

    I don’t know where you got that from. I never wrote the word ‘point’ in that context and a word search on this page will confirm that relatively easily. Even if I did write that though, I still don’t quite know what you’re getting at with this point.

    Third, you wrote:

    “Moreover, based on the antagonistic tone of the videos in which Penn (or is it Teller) repeatedly refers to evangelical Christians as assholes, etc., it’s easy to see a reasoned and logical pursuit of the truth is not their primary motivation…. More importantly, why would any scholar or student of philosophy point to the Penn & Teller videos”

    I never said that these videos were good enough to be shown in university lecture halls and again, I don’t know where you’re getting the impression from me that I thought this was somehow a supurlative demonstration of an argument against creationism?

    I said in my second paragraph that I don’t idolize Penn & Teller and I said in my third paragraph that I found the episode lacking and that it could have been better.

    Now, you’re right that I do consider myself a student of philosophy, and the reason that I posted them was because I found them funny and a entertaining and even Athiests enjoy humour and to be entertained.

    Therefore, I don’t quite understand what your objection is on this point. Are you suggesting that I should only post excerpts from Sober’s essay and other academic, peer-reviewed sources on this blog and cannot post anything that’s also fun?

    Fourth, you write that:

    “At any rate, it remains a given that the idea that evolution COULD have been used by a transcendent being as an agent of creation does not prove anything. Having said that, this idea DOES allow those who have made a leap of faith, so to speak, to square their belief in the unseen with hard scientific evidence.”

    I agree entirely. Thus, if I wanted to contend, for instance, that it is God who causes a new kleenex to pop up out of the box when I pull on the one before it, nobody can stop me. Moreover, I can use anything else that I want to further validate my contention.

    Now, this does rapidly degernate into a ‘god-of-the-gaps’ argument, but if you still want to see God as dictating the laws of science, then, obviously, nobody can stop you due to the very fact that the existence of God is unfalsifiable.

    Fifth, you wrote:

    “I think only those ‘believers’ who insist on a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account have a problem with Darwinian theory.”

    I agree with you on this front and this was one of the reasons why I posted this in the first place.

    Sixth, you wrote:

    “You and Sober and Richard Dawkins can point to aspects of evolution that appear to refute the presence of design, but where is the indisputable proof?”

    There is no indisputable proof, nor can there ever be, because a belief in God is unfalsifiable.

    Moreover, you cannot hold the burden of proof on scientists since the god of Abraham is not a universally accepted truth. If you’re going to hold that there is a god, I could just as easily ask you for the indisuputable proof. Thus your rhetorical question there doesn’t further your case in the least.

    Seven, you wrote that:

    “As I stated before, I think science, and specifically evolution, reveals wondrous creativity and evidence of design. I’ve always maintained scientists reveal more about the nature of God than any theologian.”

    I can see why you can hold this position and still believe in evolution. I don’t consider it necessarily contradictory and its not my intention to argue that it is.

    But, as discussed above, I can use the same logic to demonstrate the “God of the kleenex box.” Under this logic, if I see ANYTHING that I can’t account for, (and even things that I can account for, such as evolution) I can attribute it to a divine creator.

    Lastly, you wrote:

    “There is a sharp undertone of animosity and bigotry (especially in the videos) present on this site that I find offensive and wholly inappropriate in any forum where honest intellectual debate is truly revered and respected.”

    Compared to the stuff that religious groups put out against atheists and agnostics, this was extremely mild and not at all even in the same ballpark.

    You seriously think you’re hard done by being in the vast majority with a minority of atheists and agnostics occationally lobbing a softball your way?

    If you want to truly experience bigotry, try being an Atheist or an Agnostic in a country where the House of Commons must pray every day at the start of the session and where not one of your kind has ever held high office due to discrimination and genuine bigotry.

    As for whether this was inappropriate for my blog, I still disagree. Penn & Teller did make an argument. I felt it wasn’t exceptionally strong nor was it as rigorous as I’d have liked, but it was an argument nevertheless and I enjoyed watching the videos and wanted to share them with my readers.

  13. 15 Darren 23 April, 2007 at 2:38 am

    Paulitics–

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    As for your assertion that scientific evidence cannot POINT toward elements of design, you wrote:

    “The question is whether one can POINT to an element of design through physical, scientific evidence such as that presented by Behe (’Irreducible Complexity’) and that’s what I was addressing in my post. The answer, to reiterate, is no.”

    To which I responded:

    “Also, in regard to God and Science, it is clear to me you never suggested one proves or disproves the other. What you did say is one cannot ‘point’ to the other, which is a wholly different assertion and logically sound.”

    Also, in regard to my point that creation and evolution are not necessarily disparate constructs, you wrote:

    “I don’t see why you bothered to post at all…I and I believe most other people here are aware of that fact.”

    Again, I was responding to the P&T videos. (Have you watched the videos recently?) The notion that God could have used evolution as an agent of creation is never addressed. The videos make it sound as if all Christians believe in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account, which is false, of course. Finally, I think you overestimate some of your readers.

    In regard to bigotry, you wrote:

    “Compared to the stuff that religious groups put out against atheists and agnostics, this was extremely mild and not at all even in the same ballpark. You seriously think you’re hard done by being in the vast majority with a minority of atheists and agnostics occationally lobbing a softball your way? If you want to truly experience bigotry, try being an Atheist or an Agnostic…”

    Sorry, Paul, but my heart doesn’t exactly bleed for you. And anyway, how do you know I haven’t experienced bigotry beyond anything you could possibly imagine? First of all, I’m guessing I’m old enough to be your father. Beyond that, I’ve lived on four different continents and spent a good part of my life in some of the largest and toughest cities in America. I’m a war veteran, I’m married to an ethnic minority and my kid is biracial. Don’t cry on my shoulder about how tough you have it. I read your bio…like it or not, you’re the poster boy for the bourgeois.

    Moreover, what does any of this have to do with your site? If you’ve been so horribly victimized by bigotry, then you of all people should be the first to condemn the kind of hate speech Penn and Teller are spewing in their videos. Okay… so it’s tough to be an atheist in the western world. Does that somehow make it okay for you to spew religious bigotry on your website? Hate is an ugly thing any way you slice it.

    And finally, you wrote:

    “Are you suggesting that I should only post excerpts from Sober’s essay and other academic, peer-reviewed sources on this blog and cannot post anything that’s also fun?”

    My answer is NO… I’m all for humor and fun. I’m just taking issue with something I believe to be in very poor taste. Honestly, based on this dialogue and the overall quality of your site, I think the Penn and Teller videos are beneath you. And honestly, they really aren’t that funny. You can do better, Paul.

    On that note, I should tell you I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and I will continue to visit. It is fresh and intelligent and there’s more than enough content to keep one occupied for a good, long time. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

    Oh, and I think I figured out why you’re an atheist. Here it is:

    “I spent 13 years in a Catholic education system…”

    I’m sorry that happened to you… no really.

  14. 16 paulitics 23 April, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Darren,

    You wrote:

    “Again, I was responding to the P&T videos. (Have you watched the videos recently?) The notion that God could have used evolution as an agent of creation is never addressed.”

    Yes I have watched the Penn & Teller videos and yes I was aware that the notion that God could have used evolution as an agent of creation was never addressed.

    There were any number of items that were never addressed by Penn & Teller. For instance, they never addressed much of the arguments either for or against irreducible complexity and they never addressed many of the other analyses of the historicity of the Bible.

    This is all the more reason why, as I discussed above, these videos don’t qualify to be shown in universities as a substitute for peer-reviewed, academic articles.

    Other than that, I was pleased to see that, after having read my 3 paragraph, 81 word bio on the sidebar, you were able to discern enough about me so as to pass judgement on me and my life.

    I also thought your observation that I’m “the poster boy for the bourgeois”, was especially astute.

    What tipped you off? Was it the picture of me in my suit at an annual dinner or was it the fact that I put myself through university or was it the fact that I volunteered at a local air cadet squadron for a year before being put on their (meger) payroll that tipped you off?

    I’m just curious.

    On a different note, however, I do respect your position when you write that “I’m all for humor and fun. I’m just taking issue with something I believe to be in very poor taste.” I have not, nor would I stop you from expressing this legitimate opinion. I happen to hold a different opinion, however, and I don’t feel that it is in poor taste.

    Lastly, you wrote that, “I think you overestimate some of your readers.”

    I think that is the height of arrogance. Some of the most brilliant people I know are listed on my sidbar and are contributors to this blog and I don’t believe my readers deserve to be belittled in that fashion.

  15. 17 Darren 23 April, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Paul–

    I don’t doubt there are many brilliant people who read and contribute to this blog. I was primarily referring to the hundreds (if not thousands) of casual surfers who undoubtedly stumble upon this site each month who may not be quite so learned or astute. These would be the people you don’t know or perhaps the scores of readers who’ve never left comments or feedback. I did say readers, after all. I don’t recall writing anything about your contributors.

    In any case, I meant no disrespect to anyone in particular. Honestly, I was reading through some of the dialogue on socialism and other political topics that appear on this site and I was extremely impressed. If I ever decide to wade through Marx and/or Engels again (or any other political theorist for that matter) I will know where to come with questions.

    As for your accusation that I’m arrogant (laughing out loud), if that’s not a case of the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is. This entire site reaks of arrogance from top to bottom. Oh, and if I mistakenly pegged you as a poster boy for the bourgeois based on your gender, ethnicity, nationality, 13 years of Catholic schooling, advanced degrees or even your pilot training, I apologize. I guess living and working in South Africa, Mexico and the Philippines (to name a few) has warped my judgment. What was I thinking?

    Again, best of luck in your future endeavors.

    Darren

    P.S. – Be very wary of confusing knowledge with wisdom.

  16. 18 paulitics 24 April, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Darren,

    First, a minor point, I get over a thousand hits per week, not per month.

    Second, on a more substantive note, I’m still astonished to see that you continue to assume that you know something about me. I suppose then that you’ve encapsulated me with your assessment of my life.

    I suppose you know then that, in Ontario, where I’ve lived my whole life, the Catholic school system is a parallel public school system to the secular public school system and thus is free and not a private school.

    I suppose you know then that I worked hard to earn scholarships from my university to go to school and that I’ve worked two jobs in order to put myself though school.

    Lastly, I suppose you know then that I was given the opportunity to be AWARDED a scholarship by the government of Canada and the Air Cadet League which paid for my pilots licences (I have two). Moreover, I suppose you’d know that this was awarded due to my extensive (unpaid) work with air cadets and commitment and that I had to compete with countless other people for the honour of that scholarship and that I had to work damn hard to get it.

    Now, I’m not trying to suggest that I’m Oliver Twist, because I’m not. There are people who are much worse off than me and that haunting reality animates much of the work that I do in both my academic work as well as here.

    Now, you scoffed at my suggestion that you were being arrogant in this latest post of yours, but consider this: I may be confident in the specific areas in which I’ve specialized, but I’ve never been so arrogant as to assume that I knew you after having spent zero days, zero hours and zero minutes with you. I’ve never been so arrogant as to assume that I know something about the readers who search for this blog when there is no evidence to suggest one way or another. Lastly, I’ve never been so arrogant that I decided to posit my international travels as evidence that I’m more genuine than somebody with whom I have a disagreement.

    I will continue to provide you with an unrestricted platform from which you can be free to attack my arguments, ideas, analyses and even ideals partly because I feel that you have insight which can benefit both myself and my readers, but more importantly, because censoring opinions does not agree with me. However, your profoundly unfriendly (and un-Christian) ad hominem attacks against me are unwarranted. Moreover, these attacks, and your attempt to engage in a game of ‘who’s suffering makes them more ontologically privileged’, does not further the debate here at all.

    Thus, if you continue to chose to further your argument by resorting to such techniques, I will be forced to moderate your comments.

  17. 19 darren 24 April, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Paul–

    All points well-taken.

    Darren

  18. 20 PENIX 9 May, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Fuck all you non believers! Fly Spaghetti Monster will smite thee!

  19. 21 Lachy 27 October, 2007 at 10:37 am

    The Religion vs Science argument cannot be proven by either side really. The theory of Creationism has no real relevance to science because it still involves a supernatural that is guiding evolution to an outcome and well unfortunately that is just NOT science. The theory can be taught in schools if students want to learn it but NOT in a science class. At the end of the day I don’t think Creationism will harm science considering it is essentially yet another THEORY and not a fact. I am not criticising creationism in any way or at least that is not my purpose in what I am saying. Just pointing out that creationism, while it claims to integrate evolution (science) and elements of genesis (religion), does not really fit the classification of “science”.
    PENIX your comments are really not necessary. I would dare to say that this conversation is too… intellectual… for you. (Now I sound just as bad as him *shakes head*)

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