This is a direct response to the essay titled "Creationism versus Atheism", published in the News24 forum on Jul. 19, 2012, by "henkofaprinsloo". The arguments are not new to the essay writer, and are indeed found quite commonly in creationist rhetoric, which is why they should be addressed.
Of course, the problem with criticizing creationist rhetoric is its never-ending nature: No matter how many times you point out and explain their factual errors and fallacious arguments, they just keep right on regurgitating them. The errors and specious rhetoric is so pervasive in this essay, we'd almost have to write a short book to deal with all of it. I'll limit myself to dealing with only three specific issues.
'We speak for God.' Oh, really?
The writer "henkofaprinsloo" states, "The issue at stake is our desire to do whatever pleases us without having to be accountable to any other."
No, the issue at stake is the desire of an awful lot of people to try to impose their false beliefs and certain antiquated social traditions on other people by falsely pretending to be speaking for a god without any good evidence of the existence of any god in the first place and even on the basis of pretending that ancient texts written by men came from that god despite the real world facts which unequivocally demonstrate that these ancient texts teach all manner of false empirical ideas and notions of morality that are primitive and barbaric.
Note, by the way, that a huge segment of the Muslim community uses very similar rhetoric in regard to imposing their religious doctrines and primitive notions of morality on everyone, yet we don't see Christians such as the writer "henkofaprinsloo" buying this argument when the same argument is made by Muslims.
In fact, this piece of rhetoric is actually a form of the so-called "Pascal's Wager" argument (a well known fallacy). Even if it was true, which god are you talking about? Which religious doctrines are you talking about? Note that Christians can't even agree with each other on what it means to be "accountable". Accountable to what? To whom? According to what standards? There are only several hundred different Christian denominations precisely because Christians themselves are unable to agree with each other or determine what this is supposed to mean. The essay writer's argument here is both irrational and incoherent.
Not one of my three points, but I have to toss in a response to the essay writer's superfluous inanity that "But, not to believe in God, does not remove the reality that He is." Compare: "But, not to believe in the Loch Ness monster, does not remove the reality that it exists." This, of course, is the typical height of "logical argument" that leavens religious rhetoric.
Science is built on evidence, religion "bootstraps" on top of fabrications (faith)
The essay writer completely perverts what his religion beliefs represent, in comparison to what science is, turning the whole matter upside down. Along with most religious traditions, Christianity is based on all sorts of primitive anthropomorphications. The earth is at the center of the universe, create for man, who is the center (purpose) of creation (man was created first, then woman from man). The Old Testament is so parochial in its portrayal of the Yahweh god, that god is so primitive and barbaric that he choose one particular tribe of humans of a special tribe and commands them to take over a particular geographical territory and slaughter ("slaughter" is the word that is actually used in the Bible) all the children, women, and men who happened to have the misfortune of already living in the towns and village there. Just read the book of Joshua sometime.
Science, on the other hand, comes from the objectification of the real world outside of the emotions and desires and limited perceptions of humans, from the recognition through rational thinking that the world exists completely independently of the human psyche, and that how we feel about reality is utterly irrelevant to determining what the facts of the real world are. Reality is what it is regardless of how we feel about it. The universe is far vaster and more complex than anything comprehended in the primitive cosmogony of the Bible. Man is not the purpose of creation. The earth is not the center of the universe. Even our galaxy is but one of a trillion observable galaxies in the universe, and those are merely the ones we are able to observe.
The essay writer uses the popular religious rhetoric of attacking scientific investigation of reality by projecting and displacing the corrupt nature of Christian religious thought from religion onto science, which studiously ignoring the actual features of each. It is Christians who pretend that their ideas are from a god, without any good evidence of even the existence of any such god, and despite extensive evidence that their ideas are false. (Would a real god really be just as stupid as humans who routinely rely on self-justifications by appeals to irrational thinking?)
Perhaps the most important fundamental aspect of science that religious believers such as the essay writer find most antithetical to their belief system of religious faith is the principle of evidential testing. The reason religious believers are so generally antagonistic toward scientific thinking in regard to religious belief is precisely because scientific investigation of reality has not only never provided any good evidential justification for their particular beliefs but has provided all kinds of evidence falsifying one belief after another (or shown that a lot of religious rhetoric is just plain meaningless gobbledygook, such as the doctrine of Transubstantiation).
Ignore the facts, pretend it's just an atheist conspiracy
The essay writer pretends that evolution is merely some kind of religious doctrine promulgated by a worldwide atheist conspiracy. In fact, evolution is a scientific theory built on the foundation of an extensive body of scientific facts (from fields of science such as biology and paleontology). In the professional peer-reviewed science literature there are, quite literally, hundreds (if not thousands) of research articles about various aspects of evolution published each and every year.
Additionally, the scientific theory of evolution is accepted by hundreds of millions of Christians (not to mention other religious believers), precisely because it is the result of scientific research, just as Christians accept other scientific results, such as the fact that the earth orbits the sun instead of the other way around. Note how the rhetoric used by the essay writer - which is very popular among creationists - merely pretends that all of the Christians who accept evolution don't even exist.
So it's merely amusing to witness the clownish behavior of a man pretending that this voluminous scientific research doesn't exist, and pretending that the Christians who disagree with them don't exist - yet it is precisely these kinds of absurdly false claims that we've become quite accustomed to observing in the anti-evolution rhetoric of creationists all the time. Of course, they have no choice about doing so, because anyone who has determined to grant the precepts of his ideological agenda higher priority than the real world facts which contradict him is compelled to promote such a facade. What a tangled web we weave, when we choose to deceive.
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