To fling a light into the future

I believe that if and when are to go extinct, the whole sum of human
knowledge and culture should be preserved somehow for future
civilizations to see. If future sapients arise on Earth, then the
knowledge preserved could be a huge boost to their civilization,
depending on their level of advancement, if alien species were to come
to Earth, then the knowledge preserved could shed light on the
mysterious structures still apparent far into the future, such as Mt.
Rushmore, and on the species who built them, us. On a more short-term
scale, if humans are long-lived as a species, then we should do more to
warn our future descendants about the dangers of nuclear silos,
essentially signs saying “Keep Out: Dangerous Radiation Within”.

If our future descendants somewhere along the line had lost
civilization, only to rebuild it, then we should both make sure they
know to stay away from nuclear sites as well as making it even more
prudent to preserve our knowledge in case disaster strikes. After all, it is imperative that we find some way to preserve our knowledge to serve as our ultimate legacy, for millions of years from now it won’t matter what the color of your skin was, or what creed you adhered to, the only thing that will matter will be the collective memory of mankind, in this way, we are all remembered, even if not individually, certainly as a species.

The Problem of Evil

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not
omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he
both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor
willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicurus

This is a fundamental problem that theists have grappled with for
millennia, if God is all good, then why is there evil in the world?
There has never been a satisfactory answer to the question. This doesn’t
affect all types of deities, since there are some literal gods of
evil, or for believers of misotheism, that God is actively malevolent.
But it does affect the Abrahamic God, who is perhaps the most worshiped
deity in the world today. The Abrahamic God is supposed to be
omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, but several of
those contradict each other. If God is omniscient, then he knew about
the Holocaust, and he knew that billions of people would be sentenced to
Hell for all eternity for crimes that aren’t infinite in nature, and
many of them had no way of knowing they had committed any damnable sins
in the first place.

Therefore, if God is omniscient, he is not omnibenevolent, and while
some will bring up that God gave people free will, then why punish
people for the sins they’ve committed if he gave them the means to
commit those sins in the first place, and knew about them committing
those sins. Shouldn’t God be held responsible? Furthermore, why is an
all-powerful being, so far above us mere mortals, so narcissistic as to
punish people for not believing in him? Is he that pretty?

If God is omnipotent, then he is not omnibenevolent, since he had the
means to stop evil from ever taking place. If God is omnipresent, then
he is not omnibenevolent, since he supposedly sees everything and is
everywhere at any given time, he would see evil taking place, and if he
is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then he would stop those sins
from taking place, but he doesn’t.

God never answers the prayers of people praying that genocide wouldn’t
come onto them. Billions of people across the world are still living in
soul-crushing poverty, and God never helps them, even after they pray,
and pray, and pray for some relief. But God does give a shit where
your car keys are, or whether your local sports team wins the game, but
he doesn’t give a shit about nuclear disarmament, or preventing
nuclear war, or stopping climate change, or ending world hunger, or
ending poverty. Why?

“Were you there?”

Creationists like to use this as a “gotcha” argument against so-called “evolutionists”, but in reality the question is fallacious at best, and utterly meaningless at worst. First thing’s first, one can easily reverse this question and ask the creationist if they were “there” at the creation of the earth by God, of course they’ll say “God was there”, ignoring the fact that the only “evidence” they got is a book shown to be completely unreliable about damn near everything back to front, their God couldn’t even get his damn creation story straight, so why should we view the Bible as reliable since the whole damn thing is riddles with contradictions?

The second problem with it is that it assumes that eyewitness testimony is the most reliable form of evidence, when we know for certain that the case is the exact opposite of what they believe. Eyewitness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence, not only because memory is prone to error, but because the supposed “eyewitness” may have biases or illicit motivations that may cause them to commit perjury and lie about the events they witnessed.

The third problem is that it, probably unwittingly, disses the forensic sciences. Why do all that work investigating a crime scene when the eyewitness said some random person do it, and if eyewitness testimony is the most reliable form of evidence, they must be right, right? Science is nothing more than forensics, we uncover what happened in the past based off of the evidence left behind, there’s always a trail to follow, and that trail doesn’t go away, no matter what the irrational, paranoid, bigoted liar for Jesus wants you to believe.

Explaining homology

Homology is the study of shared features between taxonomic clades, such as how all tetrapods, from amphibians to mammals, possess fingers, and is something that can only be explained by evolution. For example, what intelligent designer would give whales fingers and leg bones enveloped inside of a fleshy membrane, complete with shoulders, instead of giving them fish fins, and what intelligent designer would give whales lungs instead of enabling them to filter oxygen through the water like fish do?

These are the hallmarks of evolution, not creation. Evolution explains homology, Creationism doesn’t. It is as the late, and great, eminent Ukrainian evolutionary biologist Theodosius Doubzhansky once said:

Biology only makes sense in the light of evolution.

Homology is just one of many things in modern biology that can only be explained by evolution. Homology is indicative of common descent, not common design, as some Creationists like to claim. No intelligent designer would give whales lungs, after all.

Homology as a science was first devised by the great French anatomist and paleontologist Georges Cuvier himself, widely regarded to be the “Founder of Paleontology”, and who also happened to be a creationist, albeit not a young-earth creationist, he died a quarter of a century before Darwin published his seminal masterpiece On the Origin of Species (1859).

This is the second entry of a series of essays explaining basic evolutionary biology, the first can be found here.

A Basic Definition of Evolution

There are still tons of misconceptions floating around out there about what evolution is, and what it isn’t, so I think I should take it upon myself to provide a basic, and accurate, definition of evolution consistent with what we actually know to be true about evolution.

Evolution is simply the change in the frequencies of allele variations in any given population over time. An alternate definition of evolution is that evolution is simply descent with inherent modification, and the two separate definitions aren’t mutually exclusive.

Notice that neither of those definitions have anything to do with a “kind turning into a completely different kind”, such as the infamous Crocoduck of Kirk Cameron’s imagination, nor does it have anything to do with abiogenesis, the big bang theory, planetary formation, stellar nucleosynthesis, and the like. Evolution is solely an explanation of biodiversity, that’s it.

Perhaps the reader will be confused by how abiogenesis and evolution are two completely separate phenomena, so let me explain: Abiogenesis is about how life got here, while evolution only has to do with what happens after life got started in the first place. In other words, one needs a genome to evolve, something that prebiotic organic chemicals lack.

So it’s perfectly logically and theologically consistent for one to believe in both a deity and acknowledge evolution as the sole valid explanation for biodiversity, despite what the Fundies would have you believe.

A good source for understanding basic evolutionary biology can be found in the link below:

Understanding Evolution

Biblical contradictions #1

This is the first of a multi-part series of essays highlighting the numerous contradictions that the Bible possesses, the first one is going to focus on the contradiction in creation accounts between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

In Genesis 1, the creation myth goes as this: Over an undefined period of time, the cosmos, all the animals, and everything is created before humans are, and when humans are created, the two sexes of humanity are created at the same time. Contrast that with the creation myth presented in Genesis 2:

Over a period of seven days, the universe is created, and then Man is created, the beasts are created after Man is, to show Man’s dominance unto nature, and then Man gets lonely, so Woman is created from Man’s Ribs.

In the first myth, animals are created before humans, and females and males are created at the same time; in the second myth, humans are created before the animals, and woman are created after men.

This presents a problem for Biblical literalists. Clearly both cannot be true at the same time, for that would be a paradox, which is true? If only one of them is true, then that shows that the Bible cannot be infallible, for some parts of the Bible are obviously false, being not true. If both of them are true, then that creates a logical paradox for Biblical literalists, rendering them both false.

In reality, it’s blatantly obvious that the authors of Genesis compiled two separate creation myths into one half-assed whole, with poor editing, or else we wouldn’t notice the inherent contradictions in the Bible now, would we?

Dating the Book of Job

The traditional scholarly consensus is that Job is the oldest book in the Bible, with a date of origin in the Bronze Age, around 1500 BCE, but recently I noticed a few problems with this, which I will explain below.

If the King James Version translation of Job 20:24 is correct, then the references to “iron” and “steel” in that verse rule out a date of origination in the Bronze Age, for iron and steel were utterly unknown to Bronze Age peoples, for obvious reasons of course.

Therefore, the date when Job was written should be placed in the Iron Age, rather than the Bronze Age, in line with the other books of the Bible. So if I`m correct, the view that Job is an outlier is wrong, and needs to be corrected in light of Job 20:24.

I should note that I’ve received some criticism over my dating of the Book of Job, with some commentators noting that the oral traditions that the Bible is ultimately based upon are most likely far older than the works of the Bible themselves, and while I acknowledge that as likely as well, I should mention that my dating only takes place to when the oral traditions of Job and the other books of the Bible were put to writing, not when the oral traditions they are based upon first came into being.

The entirety of the verse of Job 20:24 is placed below:

He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.