Creation Magazine: Giving young people career choices

This edition of  Creation Magazine has an editorial titled Giving Young People Career Choices. It starts by recounting the tale of a young boy who was crazy about dinosaurs, wanted to become a scientist to study dinosaurs properly, but was told by his church youth group leader that studying science would harm his Christian faith. The article continues:

It’s a common idea that science harms the Bible, but it’s the total opposite of the truth. In fact, science itself came from a biblical world view that teaches a divine Lawmaker…cultures without this world view could not develop real science. Most brances of modern science were founded by creationists.

Notice the clause there, “real science”. It’s preparing the ground for a no true Scotsman defence to anyone who may take issue with that statement.

Notice also another classic thing creationists do ALL THE TIME – they make a statement which is true on the face of it, but doesn’t mean what they imply. It’s totally true that most branches of science were founded by creationists, because the entire world was creationist until relatively recently in history. There is also the small matter of dissent with the creationist view at a time being a life-threatening point of view to hold. The quoted statement is like saying someone jumped off a pier and committed suicide when in actual fact someone else held a gun to their head and said: “Jump or get shot.” You’re not lying, but you’re certainly not telling the truth, either.

In particular, rather than causing harm, learning the truth about dinosaurs actually strengthens our Christian faith… Fortunately, a friend gave this young man books and DVDs that explained how he could understand dinosaurs from the history of the Bible.

You may find this statement astonishing, supportive of creationism, until you understand that “the truth about dinosaurs” means “our official point of view on dinosaurs”. That’s like the official newspaper of North Korea saying: “Rather than causing harm, learning the truth about Kim Jong Il’s wisdom and leadership ability actually strengthens our faith in him. Fortunately,  a colleague in the office of the Party gave a doubting young man books and DVDs that explained how he could understand the sublime genius of Our Glorious Leader’s foreign relations strategy.”

It gets better:

That was the experience of another young man who grew up on a diet of creation information, and thus understood how to look at the world from a biblical perspective…when young people know how to think biblically, they are free to follow their passion for science…

In other words, he was brainwashed from birth and was conditioned well enough to twist any new information he was exposed to, to fit into the creationist box. When young people are conditioned and trained to keep their thoughts within a predefined cage, you can let them go out into the world, knowing they’ll carry their prison with them in their minds.

This sentence, however, sums up the way creationism and other cults keep their followers brainwashed:

Many young people are drawn to science, and Creation magazine gives them solid ground to stand on, and a wall of protection.

That wall is not for protection.

‘Nuff said.

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Creation Magazine again

We have received our second copy of Creation Magazine. There are two general observations to make from this, about being an atheist in general:

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever read about or met someone who moved from the Christian point of view to another, who did so on a whim. It’s almost always a huge thing, and in fact most people try their best to find a reason to NOT change. However, the majority of Christians will assume you just arbitrarily one day decided to stop believing in what’s been the foundation of your existence for as long as you can remember, and will offer you the cast-iron thing that will make you go “Oh, wow, I never thought of that. I guess I believe in the existence of gods  this particular god after all.” You will most likely have thoroughly studied and examined this cast-iron thing, and be able to list the reasons it doesn’t convince you in your sleep. That doesn’t matter, it will still be offered to you again and again.
  2. You will, especially when you yourself become more settled and relaxed in your new headspace, find there are Christians who should be held up as the poster people for Christianity, who live their faith and are confident in God’s control of even your godless life and feel no need to offer you pamphlets, books, magazines* or blog comments. I hold their convictions in high regard, even though I don’t share them. Those folks are the ones I hang out with, to whom I listen, including their inevitable spoken and unspoken – and most importantly, unforced – testimony of their faith.

Examining the whole magazine is pointless, as at heart it repeats issues and arguments I’ve looked at so many times I’ve lost count. Instead, I’ll write about the editorial only, as it highlights an interesting truth about how religions like this one work.

*That is not an allusion to this particular arrangement of receiving Creation magazine, which is a mutual agreement to examine information about an opposing point of view.

Atheism is not a choice

Picture this: your colleague is in a wheelchair. She broke her back years ago, and is completely paralyzed from the waist down. There are some nasty people who claim she is not paralyzed after all, she can walk. You scoff at this: haven’t you seen with your own eyes how helpless she is? Hasn’t she explicitly said she is totally incapable of moving a muscle from the waist down? Then you go for a run one day and come across your supposedly paralyzed colleague doing the same. You’re stunned, shocked to the core, question your senses. Convince yourself you were mistaken. But you see her running again, and again, and again. You come up close to her and talk to her, question her in hope that it’s a case of mistaken identity. This is definitely the same woman you work with every day, who goes around in a wheelchair claiming to be paralyzed. She can walk, in fact, she can run, and this is not a doppelganger.

Your belief that she can walk – is that a choice?

If you were to claim my belief no gods exist is a choice, you would be making the same kind of claim. Where choice comes in, is if you’re faced with evidence and choose to run away, to stick your fingers in your ears and go lalalalalalala instead of facing the truth and its implications. Choice also comes in where you choose how to interpret what you observe. This is a complicated and delicate aspect of choice, which deserves a thorough examination of its own. Suffice to say that there is a difference between taking a certain perspective and living in denial. In my case, I lived in denial for at least a year before finally accepting the truth.

Let’s hope Lou will one day turn around at just the right moment, and do the same.

How not to evangelise to an atheist: Whale Shark Mystery

If you haven’t yet, read this, or this post won’t make sense.

If a WHALE SHARK dies, and falls to the seabed… it’s mealtime!

Researchers have found a deep-sea graveyard off the Angolan coast with the carcasses of four large marine creatures – a whale shark and three rays.

“It is extremely rare to encounter natural food-falls; in five decades of deep-sea photography and exploration only nine vertebrate carcasses have ever been documented,” the research team wrote. “To find four in such close proximity is unprecedented, suggesting that large food-falls are common in the region.”

What was not surprising was that the carcasses were being scavenged in a ‘food frenzy’…. Such scavenging on the seabed is both normal and widespread. Yet there are many fossils of exquisitely preserved aquatic creatures, raising the question: Why weren’t they scavenged? There’s clearly something awry about the frequently-made claim in evolutionary textbooks about fossil formation on the seabed.

….Where sharks go to die: Researchers find unique ‘underwater graveyard’ of giant fish, dailymail.co.uk 14 May 2014

So this happens time and again when I come across some terrible trump card a creationist holds up, convinced they’ve just collapsed the foundation of science. I do a Google search of about ten minutes, and come up with a plausible hypothesis which could explain the phenomenon without resorting to a stone age story shown in a hundred ways to be no more than a myth. Continue reading

How not to evangelise to an atheist: Secularism is Atheism part five

If you haven’t yet, read this or this post won’t make sense.

Countries that were once Christian have become secular (atheistic) in their public institutions. How has this happened? I think there are several factors:

1. The invention of a creation myth that allowed for aggressive atheism. This is cosmic evolution….

2. This materialistic creation myth took over the universities because it appealed to thee intellectual pride that thrives in such institutions…

From Creation Magazine, Vol. 37 No. 1 2015

When I read that, I am affronted. To claim the generally accepted scientific theories were invented by evil atheists with an agenda, and accepted due to intellectual pride, is to write off thousands of people who devoted their lives to a sincere, honest search for the truth, and were prepared to risk vilification, loathing, and often physical harm for it. It’s to basically defecate on the principle of approaching a question with a heartfelt effort to leave your preconceived notions and biases at the door.

The crowning glory is that this insult is dished out by people who examine the world from the platform of a foregone conclusion, who then twist everything to fit their already made up minds. Continue reading

How not to evangelise to an atheist: Secularism is Atheism part four

If you haven’t yet, read this, or this post won’t make sense.

‘Secularism’ was coined by British atheist George Holyoake in 1851. ‘Atheism’ evoked opposition, and therefore hindered the promotion of the godless worldview, and so Holyoake coined the term ‘secularism’. Atheists later adopted ‘secular humanism’ for the same reasons; it sounds much nicer than ‘atheism’.

From Creation Magazine, Vol. 37 No. 1 2015

Actually, the word has its origins in the 1300s, meaning at the time “living in the world, not belonging to a religious order“. So Holyoake’s use of the term was not de novo. Let’s also not forget that he was persecuted, imprisoned for his views, and this was Britain, not some backwater. I find it rich that a Creationist in an article arguing that Christianity is under siege from the evil atheists glosses over this fact. Continue reading

How not to evangelise to an atheist: Secularism is Atheism part two

If you haven’t yet, read this first, or this post won’t make sense.

Consequently, state institutions sponsored Christian celebrations. Parliaments had daily Christian prayers. School assemblies had prayers and Christian hymns, and the readers used for teaching reading contained many Bible passages.

This has largely been lost. Apparently we can’t have Christian activities anymore; …

From Creation Magazine, Vol. 37 No. 1 2015

I abhor dishonesty, despise it, and when still a Christian this was something which shocked me to the core when I first explored Creationism. Creationists lie. They lie, and they lie.

Continue reading