Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Happy Darwin and Lincoln Day 2019

 

Today we celebrate two 210th birthdays. Both stood up to right wing religious fanatics and were attacked for it. One was assassinated.

The first birthday boy is Abraham Lincoln, who might have been the most famous aggressively pro-civil rights, do gooder, Social Justice Warrior president – except that secession began before Lincoln even took office. The slave states were so afraid of what Lincoln might do that they didn’t even wait to find out. They didn’t use any valid legal means to try to win their case, but essentially stated, We’re leaving and we’re taking these parts of America, because we believe they belong to us and secession is 9/10ths of the law. We double dog dare you to enforce the law – and just to comply with the wording of the Constitution of the United States, we are going to open fire on the United States Army. The hurt themselves and the rest of America by promoting secessionists’ devotion to enslaving those not white and the secessionists’ adamant opposition to states’ rights. Yes, the secessionists’ claimed to be fighting for states’ rights, but liars lie.
 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.[1]

 

Ironically, those who seceded were Democrats, but the parties have flipped and the Republicans are now the anti-civil rights party.

The following statement is from Sen. Barry Goldwater, who was the 1964 Republican and Conservative candidate for president, but now would be rejected by the Conservatives and the Republicans.
 

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.[2]

 

Modern America has moved so far to the right, that Goldwater would probably be accused of being a socialist and a communist by various members of the right wing media. Sen. Goldwater also opposed government intrusion into the personal lives of LGBT people, because he was opposed to the big government that much of the right wing wants to use to force their lifestyle on everyone.

At that time, the right wing media being condemned by Sen. Goldwater was just beginning a resurgence. The ironically named Moral Majority was preaching its Christian sharia law to gather a lot of followers. Jerry Falwell, Sr. was their leader and Barry Goldwater condemned that earlier, less powerful, Falwell. His son, Jerry Falwell, Jr. seems to be able to tell our current president what to do, but a lot of people manipulate the president.
 

I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.[3]

 

Since the Civil War, the propaganda machine of the secessionists has been more successful. They have been able to place statues of the traitors throughout the states they led in treason to show everyone that the secessionists still maintain power in spite of being defeated on the battlefield. Why don’t we have statues of Benedict Arnold?

We could celebrate Robert E. Lee for his opposition to secessionists after the war and for Lee’s unintentional(?) destruction of his cavalry at Gettysburg. Pickett’s Charge may have been the final straw for the Army Promoting Expansion of Slavery.

The second 210th birthday boy is Charles Darwin, who is remembered for explaining the diversity of life on Earth. Evolution explains the evidence showing the progression from the simplest life form to the current diversity of life – a diversity which appears to be decreasing due to our failure to value our children above our politics. Extinction is a part of that explanation. Extinction was once thought to be an argument against evolution, because it would violate God’s perfect plan, but eventually, extinction became undeniable, too. Oddly, people still deny biology. Evolution is so essential to biology, that Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote a paper titled, Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.[4]

It is interesting that the science denial that affects biology, Creationism, is promoted most aggressively in the same slave states Bible Belt that fought against the United States of America in favor of treating diversity as a justification for violence.

It was science that helped the liberal Christians to convince the rest of America that slavery is wrong – something that much of the often less Christian rest of world already understood.
 

Book that Changed America - cover 1
 

As I wrote in 2017:

Darwin provided scientific evidence for a common origin, which gave a scientific argument to those criticizing slavery. How is it moral to enslave other humans? Well, the Bible repeatedly endorses slavery and Jesus never criticized slavery. Jesus actually used slavery as an analogy for belief in God, with believers as slaves and the slave owners as God.

Contrariwise, those who focused on the good parts of the Bible and avoided the bad parts, used Darwin’s book as the basis for advocating for a more moral approach to our fellow humans. Those who read the Bible differently from the advocates of slavery saw that they were not along. Science also opposed the moral abyss of slavery.

Not to spoil the ending, but the abolitionists were not successful at reasoning with those in the Bible Belt to end slavery in America. We ended up with over 600,000 Americans dead over different interpretations of the Bible on how to treat humans.[5]

The anti-science of Young Earth Creationism, the most basic form of Creationism, is the belief that the particular version of the God of that sect of believers literally just poofed itself into existence, then created life in its current diversity and that mutation can never produce a beneficial outcome.

For some bizarre reason, this God has organs of evolution. A true only one of its kind creature would not be male, nor would it be female, but the plot holes are numerous and demonstrate the impossibility of the story, when promoted as accurate. What other creature(s) God need sexual organs for? How did this God evolve them? Most Christians seem to view the two contradictory Creation stories in Genesis (Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2) as metaphorical. How else do you defend something that dramatically changes when you turn to the next page? Hallucinogens? Hypoxia? Dementia? Metaphor – it is poetic, rather than literal. At least, that is the only reasonable approach.

Some Creationists take a shot at creating a middle approach. These not-so-literalists claim that microevolution is real, but macroevolution is impossible. These are real terms, but not the way the not-so-literalist Creationists use them.

These Creationists see that microevolution is undeniable, so they try to move the goalposts to try to protect their belief in Separate Creation.

Here is a further irony. These not-so-literalist Creationists claim that while they cannot deny that evolution happens on a small scale, they absolutely refuse to accept that it continues. Evolution is required to stop. Although they cannot provide any kind of evidence to support their claim and scientists provide plenty of evidence that evolution is not stopped, they continue to make this claim.

The irony gets even greater, because when you are dealing with apologists, the excuses will differ, thus the increasing disagreements among the dozens/hundreds/thousands of flavors of Creationism. Some of these micro yes, macro no Creationists claim that the restriction on evolution prevents the development of any new species, because they just can’t seem to understand that a lot of change can produce a dramatic difference. Other micro yes, macro no Creationists claim that this restriction prevents the evolution of any new genus. They claim that the story of the Ark saving 8 people from the murderous God of the Bible is the reason. This story is borrowed from the Babylonians, who taught the Israelites to write during the Babylonian captivity.[6]

Anyway, the story of the Ark mentions 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.[7] This is a justification for being able to put billions of creatures on one supposedly seaworthy vessel. Not everything had evolved at the time, some evolved after their kinds after they disembarked. Two contradictions attacked with one excuse. Brilliant!

Some of the not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new species, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.

Other not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new genus, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.

Still other not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new family, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.
 


Taxonomic Rank, from Wikipedia page
 

No matter what they have to invoke, all flavors of Creationist insist that there is some sort of artificial limit on evolution. Some Creationists insist that all evolution is prevented, while others accept varying amounts of evolution, rather than try to reject the overwhelming evidence.

We flawed humans must be explained, but their ambiguous creator must just be believed in all of its million different interpretations, and with all of its impossible contradictions – and all of the other Gods are just made up by people.

Footnotes:

[1] Constitution
Article III, Section 3
The Legal Information Institute
Article III

[2] Barry Goldwater
Wikiquote
 

Said in November 1994, as quoted in John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience (2006).

 

[3] Barry Goldwater
Wikiquote
 

Said in July 1981 in response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell’s opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, “Every good Christian should be concerned.” as quoted in Ed Magnuson, “The Brethren’s First Sister,” Time Magazine, (July 20, 1981).
According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the “nuts”, but the news media “changed the anatomical reference.”
Dean, John (2008). Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. Penguin Group. “I know because I was there when he said it.”(2006).

 

A further irony is that there is nothing in the Bible that is even slightly critical of abortion, but the Bible thumpers lie about this. If you claim that Thou shalt not kill applies to abortion, you have to find someplace – any place where the Bible refers to abortion as killing. The Bible does not make that claim. The Christian sharia promoters make far more judgmental claims (judge not, lest ye be judged), because irony knows no bounds among fundamentalists.

The Bible states that life begins with the first breath. Genesis 2:7 and Job 33:4 and that a fetus is not a person Exodus 21:22. The Biblical literalists need to reinterpret the words to massage the meaning to be able to come up with something that allows them to claim their interpretation of their God agrees with them.

There is condemnation of divorce, by Jesus, but the religious right has chosen to vote for divorced leaders in order to get the political power that they want. Almost everything Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is a condemnation of the goals of the religious right in America today, but that is not the only place where Jesus condemns the religious right in America today.

Why do so many right wing Christians hate Jesus so much that they blaspheme Jesus?

If you want more information than provided above, read these:

The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal
February 18, 2012
Fred Clark
Article
 

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

 

and

The Not-So-Lofty Origins of the Evangelical Pro-Life Movement
February 5, 2013
Jonathan Dudley
Religion Dispatches
Article
 

Although evangelicals were mostly silent on abortion after Roe v. Wade, they were not silent on other political issues. Paul Weyrich, one of the evangelical right’s most influential founders, recalls that the movement initially emerged to defend racially segregated Christian schools from government intrusion:

 

Abortion was chosen as the rallying cry, because the religious right were losing ground defending segregation. Now abortion is the headline, while the religious right still work for segregation by more politically correct means.

[4] Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution
Theodosius Dobzhansky
The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973)
Article in PDF format
 

I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.

 

Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.

 

[5] The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation
Randall Fuller

Read ‘The Book That Changed America’ for Darwin Day 2017
Sun, 12 Feb 2017
Rogue Medic
Article

and

Kirkus Review

and

January 24, 2017
Randy Dotinga
Christian Science Monitor
Review

[6] The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood
Irving Finkel

Kirkus Review

and

How the ark changed shape
13 February, 2014
Will Gore
Catholic Herald
Article/Interview

Here is part of that interview with Irving Finkel from Catholic Herald:
 

We also discuss the negative reaction that his theories might provoke in some Christian quarters. He admits that those who tend towards a literalist reading of the Bible will never be persuaded of its links to the Babylonian era.

He hopes, though, that he is handling the topic sensitively. He is at pains to point out, for example, that, despite what some headlines have suggested, he is not claiming the Bible story to be wrong and that Noah’s Ark should be round. He has, he says, simply traced the origins of the story found in Genesis.

Finkel has resolved to make sure he maintains a sense of humour when dealing with critics. He’s obviously very content with the conclusions he has drawn. Behind that big beard it’s not hard to detect a smile as he says: “I can’t imagine somebody will find something that proves my ideas wrong, so if people reject them it doesn’t matter. People often reject things they don’t like and not necessarily on logical grounds. If I give a lecture and people throw vegetables, then so be it.”

 

Here is a video of a presentation by Irving Finkel.
 


 

[7] Genesis 8:19
King James Version
Verse at BibleHub in all versions

.

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