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Some of Us Are Closer to Primates Than Others…


I couldn’t possibly count on all of “God’s” appendages how many crazy fundie opinions I have read or heard through the years,  but this one might take the cake.

Sean McDowell at WorldViewTimes.com has written a brilliant article on the recent “Monkey Attack” in Connecticut. His article  ingeniously illustrates why Charles Darwin was directly responsible for this animals savagery.

Allow me to quote Sean:

Nevertheless, we need to ask a basic question: How could something like this happen? How is it that we live in a culture where people think it’s safe to have a chimpanzee as a pet? Where do people get the idea that we ought to take a wild animal and treat it like a human being? The chimp owner treated the animal like a son who ate at her table, slept in her house, and even drove her car.

Ideas do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, there is one culprit for the idea that human beings and chimps are really not that different and should be treated that way: Darwinism.

Yep, Darwinism!  Sean’s article seemed silly enough so as not to even deserve rebuttal… but I couldn’t help it.  Sean is right about one thing. Ideas don’t exist in a vacuum. Blind faith exists in a vacuum. To blame a scientific theory (Darwinism) for an animal attack is silly, but to suggest that this theory alone makes the case that we are similar to chimps is insulting. Darwinism, by itself, doesn’t suggest we are similar to apes. It is evidenced by our own DNA! We share 95% of our DNA sequence and 99% of the coding of DNA sequences with primates. Sean continues:

Yet, ironically, this week we witness a brutal act that seems to logically follow from Darwin’s ideas. You may be wondering how I can possibly link Darwin to this atrocious event. But think about it, if humans are deeply related to chimps then why not expect them to act that way?

The attack, “logically follows Darwin’s ideas?!?” Crazy person says what? This last statement almost sounds crazier than the rantings of The Banana Man himself, Ray Comfort (Monkey story = Banana Reference).  Sean wants to know why, if we are so “deeply related,” chimps don’t act more human? We need to first identify which humans Sean is referencing. I guess Sean “disremembered” these world class examples of God’s work:

  • David Berkowitzz – aka “Son of Sam” and “The .44 Caliber Killer”; convicted of six murders in New York
  • Bloody Benders – family who killed guests at their inn in Labette County, Kansas in 1872
  • Robert Berdella – convicted of killing six men in 1988 in Kansas City, Missouri; sexually tortured and dismembered his victims
  • Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, Jr. – aka the “Hillside Strangler”; killers of 13 women and possibly involved in three other killings
  • Richard Biegenwald – convicted of killing five people in the early 1980s in the Asbury Park, New Jersey area; suspected in at least  six  other murders
  • Arthur Gary Bishop – Utah man who murdered five young boys; executed in 1988
  • Terry Blair – Kansas City serial killer and rapist; active 1982–2004
  • William Bonin– aka “The Freeway Killer”; with several accomplices, claimed the lives of 20 boys in California
  • Robert Charles Browne – convicted of two murders in Colorado; confessed to 48 murders
  • Jerry Brudos – aka “The Lust Killer” and “Shoe Fetish Slayer”; killed at least five women in Oregon
  • Ted Bundy-law student who raped and murdered more than 35 women in six states

These are just the B listers from the United States.  Did Sean forget that even humans are capable of “animal like” savagery? Sean’s expedition into the absurd ends with a condemnation of “Darwinism” being wrong (a little presumptive) and corrosive (unlike Christianity, which in all of it’s history never hurt anyone… *wink*… *wink*). Considering some of the humans God saw fit to include in his plan for the earth, I think Sean owes all chimps an apology for comparing them to mankind.

“Prayer hotline… Please hold.”

PrayerPrayer is such an important part of religious life. Whether it’s praying to thank a god for bestowing his blessings or praying to ask for something or praying to help someone else, prayer is used constantly and touted as being the “direct line to God” for those who pray.

It seems the fact that it doesn’t actually do anything is irrelevant. I will acquiesce and admit that perhaps prayer helps the mental state of the one doing the prayer, much like meditation, but other than that… nothing.

Even Christians know that prayer doesn’t work, but you won’t get them to admit it. Daniel Florien at Unreasonable Faith makes this point that really drives it home. If Christians (and practitioners of other religions) really believed that prayer worked, they wouldn’t have to bother doing many things that the rest of us take for granted: see the doctor, drive to work, pay the bills, go to school, etc. They could just pray.

I recently had someone tell me that while working with Habitat for Humanity building homes in Louisiana (quite admirable), the heat was almost overwhelming (she’s around 65) and she didn’t think she was going to be able to continue working. She sat down and said a little prayer to God to help her with this and “He sent a gentle cool breeze that was so refreshing.”

This same person told me that one day, after repeated failed attempts to load a lawn mower onto a truck by driving it up some ramps, she was so frustrated that she stopped, said a little prayer, and successfully drove the mower onto the truck the very next try.

Divine intervention?… or perhaps coincidence in the first case, and “taking a deep breath and calming down” in the second case. Why didn’t she pray for God to instantly create an already-built house in Louisiana? Why didn’t she just pray for God to fix the mower so she wouldn’t have to load it onto the truck?

Because prayer doesn’t work.

Prayer is the ultimate random cold reader. Guys like Derren Brown and Penn Jillette (both magicians) use cold reading in their acts to show they have psychic powers. They don’t and they say they don’t, but the way cold reading works is by using a shotgun approach to gaining information, repeatedly “missing” and eventually getting to a “hit,” making the target think that his mind was just read. Using this approach produces many, many more misses than hits, but more of a big deal is made out of the hits, and the audience, focusing mainly on the hits, is amazed.

Prayer works the same way, but less efficiently and more randomly, with considerably more misses than hits. The hits are touted as incontrovertible proof that God is listening while the misses are explained away as not being “God’s will” or as a test of faith. Sometimes, the misses are even explained away as hits, such as praying for a sick person to get better, only to have them die, in which case they got “better” by being taken home to Jesus.

Two anonymous quotes to sum it all up…

The hard work of one does more than the prayers of millions.


Nothing fails like prayer.

Amen to that.

Attempted “Logic” Fails

On the website CantonRep.com, Ron L. Dalpiaz wrote a letter to the editor about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Imagine No Religion” billboard in Canton, Ohio. The letter appeared on December 18th, 2008.

Mr. Dalpiaz evidently does not approve of the billboard, nor does he approve or agree with the FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor’s comments about religion. That’s understandable. I don’t always agree with everything she says, either, even though I’m a FFRF member. One of the wonderful things about this country (the USA) is our freedom to disagree and express our disagreement. The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees that.

In that light, I would like to point out the logical failings of Mr. Dalpiaz’s statements and show that, in numerous cases, his statements are the exact opposite of what is actually true. Sadly, I see this kind of illogical rhetoric all the time and it’s frustrating to say the least.

Here’s the letter (quoted) along with my comments.