Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lies make your cause look bad.

A recent article from something called the Christian News Network reminded me of why religion gets on my nerves.  If you don't feel like clicking the link - and I wouldn't blame you - the headline reads:  "Groundbreaking Genetic Discoveries Challenge Ape to Human Evolutionary Theory".  Oh my!  This is the sort of thing that should completely destroy everything we know!  Quick, somebody call the Smithsonian and tell them to pull down that whole human evolution exhibit that they have!

What?  They're leaving it up?  They're probably not even paying attention to this article in the first place?  Well, they should!  After all, it cites a study that was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, a scientific journal.  You'd think that scientists all over the world would take note of this startling development. Got that, evolutionists?  It's game over for you!

Here's the funny thing though, the study doesn't do what the Christian News Network is claiming it does.  It doesn't call into question the fact that humans and modern apes share a common ancestor.  Instead, it's stating that some of the mechanisms as to HOW it happened need to be reconsidered, not THAT it happened.

So, that basically means that the person who wrote the article for the Christian News Network either didn't understand what he was reading (very likely, as it's filled with all kinds of scientific jargon) or he had an agenda to disprove basically the foundation of modern biology in order to further a particular Christian theology.  (Because it should be noted that there are plenty of Christians out there who accept evolution just fine and would find this to be as dishonest as anybody else.)  Of course, these two reasons don't necessarily contradict one another.

What gets me about the whole thing is in the comments section.  There are a few people who step in and point out the deception that the article is committing.  And what do we get?  A retraction?  Nope.  Christians commenting and saying that they don't appreciate being misled like this?  Nope.  Basically it all turns into another pointless debate over the theory of evolution between the scientifically literate and the scientifically illiterate.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot here.  I know that there are a lot of atheists out there who like the movie Zeitgeist, as it has a pretty thorough debunking of Christianity in it.  The problem though that I, and a lot of prominent atheists, have with it is that it's full of crap.  Skeptic Magazine critiqued it pretty harshly.  The Atheist Experience blog refers to it as a "an unscholarly, sophomoric, horribly flawed, over-simplification".  In other words, you'll find that atheists resent it when somebody uses a bad argument to further their cause.  The movie is fairly well-done, and it might even convince a person who didn't know any better, but I would never recommend it.  If I knew that the Pope would deconvert after seeing it, I still wouldn't recommend it to him.  I came to atheism because I wanted to be honest with myself about what was true and what wasn't, and lying isn't exactly the way to get there.

My memory is getting fuzzy, but I remember when I was still sitting on the fence between a vague sort of Christian agnosticism and atheism, I would read and listen to debates online.  I quickly noticed that this was an all-too common tactic on the part of theists - especially when it comes to the whole issue of evolution.  So many of these lies still get thrown around, from "there are no transitional fossils" to "we're just interpreting the evidence from a different point of view".  I guess in a way I should be thankful, as it's probably the sort of thing that will continue to push people over to the atheist side of the fence once they wise up and realize that they're being lied to.

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