Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Atheists convene to invite others to "Come out!"

This weekend, the American Atheist national convention is being held in Washington D.C. Admission is $199 - $30 with a student I.D. (That’s a big discount… apparently they really want to reach students. Hmmm…) The theme is “Come out,” presumably an invitation for closet atheists to proclaim their non-belief.
Their keynote speaker will be professor Richard Dawkins. Before you plunk down your 200 smackers, you may want to know more about him:

In his book, The Selfish Gene, he speculated that in the beginning, Earth had an atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and water. There is absolutely no proof that Earth ever had such an atmosphere – it’s simply the only thing that fits with his theory. Then, through energy supplied by sunlight, and perhaps by lightning or exploding volcanoes, these simple compounds were broken apart and then they re-formed into amino acids.
Now, granting him his first assumption about the composition of the atmosphere, then granting him his second assumption about the energizing of it, we are still faced with a problem: the amino acids thus formed would have immediately begun breaking down again and returning to the compounds of CO2, methane, ammonia and water from which they supposedly formed. But not in Dawkins’ world. Somehow, a variety of these amino acids gradually accumulated in the sea and found each other and combined into protein-like compounds.
Then, according to Dawkins’ description, “a particularly remarkable molecule was formed by accident”—a molecule that had the ability to reproduce itself. His origin of life theory continues that similar molecules, having somehow miraculously found each other clustered together. Then, again by an exceedingly improbable accident, they wrapped a protective barrier of other protein molecules around themselves as a membrane to prevent the amino acids from being reabsorbed into the methane/ammonia soup.
Then what, Mr. Dawkins? Does it end, ‘and they all lived happily ever after’?
Though he admits that such an accident was exceedingly improbable, he maintains that it must nevertheless have happened. Why? Because we are here.
Wait, that’s not the scientific method I was taught in school.
  • Theory: The Moon is made of green cheese.
  • Test: Fly men to the moon.
  • Result: Men bring back rock samples, no cheese.
  • New theory: The Moon is made of green cheese covered in rocks…
How many trips to the Moon does it take, how deep do you have to dig, before you formulate a new theory that doesn't include green cheese?
Dawkins’ theory – and that's all it is – was proposed some time ago. Not surprisingly, a line in the preface of that book read: “This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction.”
More recently, Robert Shapiro, professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University, said that Dawkins’ theory of the spontaneous popping into existence of self-replicating nucleotides was exactly that: fiction. “No nucleotides of any kind have been reported as products of spark-discharge experiments,” he said.
And not for lack of trying. Scientists have been trying every combination of ingredients and energy they can think of for over a century; no luck.
Shapiro stated that the probability of such a self-replicating RNA molecule randomly assembling from a pool of chemical building blocks “is so vanishingly small that its happening even once anywhere in the visible universe would count as a piece of exceptional good luck.”
Nevertheless, Shapiro, Dawkins, and many other scientists believe that this or something like it happened. How is it possible that the intelligent design of thousands of (presumably) intelligent scientists has failed, where blind chance is believed to have succeeded?
Dawkins’ improbable fairy tale about self-replicating RNA and organic soup having been completely discredited, and with no realistic alternative being offered by any other evolutionist, one would think he would at least consider the possibility his pet theory is wrong. But no. According to him, “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane or wicked.” Well, nice to see he’s keeping an open mind.
Dawkins claims that evolution “is as much a fact as the heat of the sun.” Really? I can apply the scientific method to measuring the heat of the sun. But how do I measure evolution when the only theory of life’s origins – spontaneous generation and reproduction of amino acids in an organic soup – has been shot down and no other origin theory has been proposed to replace it? And don't talk to me about Earth being 'seeded' by a meteorite from outer space. That doesn't solve the problem, it just moves it to another place.
In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins admitted that “some species of the unjustly called ‘primitive’ amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1,000 Encyclopædia Britannicas.” Yet he blindly, fervently maintains that such encyclopædias evolved from the already disproven life-origin fairy tale.
Here’s another Dawkins gem: “Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colors.”
National Geographic referred to the fossil record as “a film of evolution from which 999 of every 1,000 frames have been lost on the cutting-room floor.” They weren't lost, any more than cut film is lost. It is deliberately removed because it doesn't fit the vision of the movie maker. Similarly, the 'lost' fossils were tossed because they didn’t fit with the preconceived notions of the evolutionary paleontologists who dug them up.
Says zoologist Henry Gee (an evolutionist, by the way): “To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”
To be fair, it must be pointed out that, while Dawkins has always been an evolutionist, his atheism only became rabid after 9/11. He said: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”
But saying there is no God because some – or even most – religionists are hypocritical hate-mongers is throwing out the baby with the bath water.
Dawkins, if he has read the Bible at all, claims it is “just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.”
Well, it was written over 16 centuries, not nine, and Dawkins clearly knows nothing of the care the copyists took to pass it on accurately. And the fact that its message, from “love your neighbor as yourself” in Moses’ day to “love covers a multitude of sins” 1600 years later in Paul’s day argues against Dawkins’ characterization of it as ‘a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents.”
“Yahweh,” he says, "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
We can forgive Dawkins not knowing what godly jealousy is. But as for the other pejoratives:
Unjust: He gave Adam and Eve better clothes than they had made for themselves even after they had just trespassed on his property and stolen from him. He granted the first murderer, Cain, immunity from the death penalty that Cain believed was his due.
Megalomaniacal:When the population of Babylon defied His command to disperse, a “megalomaniacal” god would have destroyed them; He simply confused their languages.
Racist: He caused it to be recorded that all humans descended from the same family – something, by the way, that your god, Darwin, did not believe; and that Darwinian belief, that the races were different, was a cause of much of the racism that has persisted down to our day.
Misogynistic: Why were the books of Esther and Ruth written? Why record the accounts of Sarah, Rebekah, Miriam, Jael, Hannah or Abigail?
Infanticidal: In the account of Moses’ birth it was Pharaoh who was infanticidal, not God.
Ethnic cleanser: Sure… the Canaanites were wiped off the face of the earth at God’s command. What Dawkins and his fellow atheists overlook is, first, that God gave them 400 years in close association with His people to learn to change their ways (Genesis 15:16); secondly, their way of life, much like the world we live in today, had become a Sodom and Gomorrah on a large scale, centering on disgusting sexual practices and zero respect for life. Archaeological digs turn up a multitude of evidence of infanticide, torture, and temple prostitution. According toHalley’s Bible Handbook: “Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”
Unforgiving:Seriously?
As to some of the other adjectives, “homophobic” refers to fear of homosexuals; God fears no one. “Filicidal” refers to killing one’s own son. Technically, it was the Romans who killed God’s son. “Sadomasochistic” has to do with getting sexual pleasure from giving or receiving pain… I got nothing. I can't think of a single passage that could be twisted to paint God as sadomasochistic. I think Dawkins was caught up in his own rhetoric.
True, religious nuts have given Dawkins plenty of ammunition. Another of his famous quotes: “Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, distinctly heard the voice of Jesus telling him to kill women, and he was locked up for life.” But, Mr. Dawkins, as you say, “he was locked up for life.” You say Sutcliffe’s craziness proves God doesn’t exist, I say the jury’s justice proves He does. Just last week the NatGeo channel told the story of a “murder” within a troop of chimps. The murderous chimp wasn’t brought to justice. He continued interacting with the rest of the chimps as if nothing had happened.
In Dawkins’ own words, “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.”
If there is no justice, no rhyme or reason to life, why get out of bed in the morning? Why try to prolong life, try to improve one’s mind, manners, or lot in life? For that matter, why spend the $199 to attend an atheist’s convention?
As I've said in previous articles on the subject, atheists are whistling in the dark. Their vociferousness doesn’t prove the absence of God. The louder they get, the more they prove their real meaning: they wish they could prove God doesn’t exist, but they know they can’t wish Him away.
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