Oh, Eric…

A quick summary of the Herp-a-Derp from Eric Hovind’s Facebook page. As always, this wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if Hovind was just a regular idiot spouting in the comments section. Remember, he’s in charge of a fairly big evangelical ministry; you expect him to be well informed.

RT @richardwmnelson: “Giraffes provide no established evidence for the mode of evolution of their undeniably useful necks.” Stephen Gould

Here, surprise-surprise, Eric is retweeting a quote mine of Stephen J Gould. Gould was a frigging evolutionary biologist, paleontologist and science historian. Does anyone think he’d say something to the effect that evolution has no evidence as this quote mine suggests? Raise your hand if you think he would. Anyone? No? Good. Don’t be stupid.

The truth is far more interesting. Gould is making reference to the “browser” hypothesis – basically the just-so Sunday-School version of how giraffes evolved a long neck. The idea is simple; giraffes with long necks can reach higher trees to browse for food, so ones with longer necks survive. It’s textbook evolution by natural selection. Literally textbook. But actually examining some evidence, such as the fact that young giraffes are far shorter than their adult counterparts, or the fact that during some seasons giraffes browse for food on far lower shrubs, suggests that this explanation is bollocks. A competing hypothesis is that giraffe necks come from sexual selection, and are a side-effect of the “necking” fights that males engage in. This stuff is interesting, and is science adjusting its theories to suit evidence – i.e., working perfectly fine – but is far too complex a topic for Hovind and the sycophants who follow him. It certainly doesn’t invalidate natural selection.

RT @pastorlocke: Humanism says that God is good because he does stuff for us. Christianity says God is good simply because He’s God.

Now, the easy route to this would be to ask what retarded dictionary Eric yanked this definition of humanism from. It has little similarity to anything humanists would actually say. Humanism is a philosophy that suggests you can derive morality (how to act “right” and how to act “wrong”) from purely a human perspective. Note, the mere fact that you can even attempt to do this is a big kick in the balls for moral absolutism. It really doesn’t say anything about God doing stuff for us. Indeed, being a fairly atheistic form of philosophy it doesn’t have much to say about God at all.

But the second part, where “Christianity says God is good simply because He’s God”. That’s something else. This is called the euthyphro dilemma. The short version goes like this: is God good because God wants to be good, or is good good because God says so. If the former then morality is external to God, and can be skipped out entirely (hence we can derive humanistic morality) – God is just a messenger. If the latter, then we run into a lot of problems because God is very clearly written in the Old Testament as a complete and utter prick, and so morality becomes some arbitrary nonsense that doesn’t even mean anything useful to us. What interest should we have in being “good” if this arbitrarily defined “good” thing involves endorsing genocide or slavery? If you have 30 minutes to spare, Scott Clifton explains the entire thing nicely here.

How would YOU answer these questions?
Are any of the people in this video ‘real’ Christians?
Why or why not?

This is in reference to an overly long and mostly boring vox-pop video where people answer such hot-potato questions about what football team God supports.

This one is remarkably easy to deal with: No True Scotsman, for the love of your God, Eric, look it up. This is fallacies 101, here. Does it matter if these people aren’t your “real” Christian – what interest to they have in being held under that definition if this is how you treat them as people?

#Atheists. Here is a revealing question. If I could prove the God of the Bible exists, would you worship Him? See, not an evidence issue.

Now, putting aside him pre-supposing an answer in order to make a snide remark (because I do this all the frakking time), the problem here is that there is a massive difference between the proposal “God exists” and the proposal  “God should be worshipped”. No, really, there is a huge difference there. Is God worthy of worship? Do we get something for worship? Why does God even want worship, and why does it matter? If God has such an ego, then why is this thing still worthy of worship? The questions on this can come thick and fast, and have nothing to do with evidence presented for God’s existence. Indeed, Eric is right to say that it’s not an “evidence” issue, but not quite in the way he thinks it is. Go on, prove it to me (in a way that also can’t arbitrarily be switched around to prove that I should worship Allah instead) that your God exists, I’ll wait. If it’s managed sufficiently, I will probably respond with “oh, fancy that”. Is that a problem for atheists? No, they’re just going to adjust their beliefs and suck it up. Is that a problem for believers? Only if they conflate the need to assert the truth value of their belief system with the need to spread a specific doctrine about it – in short, for a majority with a working brain it’s not a problem.

The irony I do want to point out is that the Hovind’s are massively right-wing in their political views. They think that the world doesn’t owe you anything for merely existing. Consider not-a-doctor Kent Hovind’s rant about the economy, for instance. You exist, but you’re owed nothing because of it. So the question we need to ask is this: if God exists, why do we owe him anything?

#atheists Do you get upset with how much the players in the #SuperBowl give thanks to God?

Well, no. But someone is clearly pissed off with the concept of atheists even existing. Don’t worry, you might grow up one day, Eric.