Do Not Resuscitate: May 2008: Archives

May 22, 2008

Bad Day To Be A Climate Change Denying Christian Creationist? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis

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Try as they might to undermine science, those who reject evolution and downplay the impact of man-made climate change will have to work overtime to deny newly revealed evidence of both.

Time and again, creationist's contend that the fossil record lacks the transitional forms of life to support the theory of evolution. Unfortunately, time isn't on their side since each passing day seems to reveal another piece of the evolutionary puzzle. With the discovery of a creature that seems to be a combination of a frog and a salamander (frogmander), creationists will have another formidable hurdle to overcome.

From Yahoo News:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The discovery of a "frogamander," a 290 million-year-old fossil that links modern frogs and salamanders, may resolve a longstanding debate about amphibian ancestry, Canadian scientists said on Wednesday.

Modern amphibians -- frogs, salamanders and earthworm-like caecilians -- have been a bit slippery about divulging their evolutionary ancestry. Gaps in the fossil record showing the transformation of one form into another have led to a lot of scientific debate.

The fossil Gerobatrachus hottoni or elderly frog, described in the journal Nature, may help set the record straight.

"It's a missing link that falls right between where the fossil record of the extinct form and the fossil record for the modern form begins," said Jason Anderson of the University of Calgary, who led the study.

The fossil suggests that modern amphibians may have come from two groups, with frogs and salamanders related to an ancient amphibian known as a temnospondyl, and worm-like caecilians more closely related to the lepospondyls, another group of ancient amphibians.

Many of these same individuals have also taken to denying the existence of man-made climate change ...arguing that God is in charge and has a plan for his creation and that means we needn't spend time and money fretting about carbon emissions or minor shifts in temperature that scientists consider significant. With the finding that western oceans have a rapidly expanding acidity as a result of greenhouse gas pollution, these deniers may want to consider the possibility that God, in granting us free will, expects us to use our brains to preserve the planet on which we live.

From Wired:

Greenhouse gas pollution has acidified the coastal waters of western North America more rapidly than scientists expected, says a study published today in Science.

In a survey of waters stretching from central Canada to northern Mexico, researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Richard Feely found cold, unexpectedly low-pH water "upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf." In some locations, the degree of acidification observed had not been expected to occur until 2050.

Ocean acidification is a side effect of excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide, lesser-known but no less troubling than climate change.

In September of 2005, Feely was among the authors of a Nature article predicting that acidication would claim Antarctic Ocean waters by 2050, spreading into the subarctic Pacific by 2100. "Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously," they wrote.

"Water already in transit to upwelling centers is carrying increasing anthropogenic CO2 and more corrosive conditions to the coastal oceans of the future," write the authors. Ocean acidification "could affect some of the most fundamental biological and geochemical processes of the sea in the coming decades." If anything, the clinical language of science only makes their words more disturbing.

No doubt these two findings are part and parcel of the march towards science fully eclipsing the validity of Bible based beliefs that often form the basis of religious doctrine. Regardless, each discovery appears to generate a new rationalization intended to preserve the literal interpretations that have proven so effective in granting and maintaining the authority of religious leaders and the institutions they promote.

I suspect these two items will simply give fuel to those religious leaders who suggest that we are entering the period that will culminate in the Rapture...the final piece of an end of days prophecy that is also derived from the Bible. Nothing like bending each and every fact to fit a faith based fallacy.

Unfortunately, I'm not yet convinced that the manipulated masses will be willing to follow these zealots into their vision of the fatalistic abyss...even if they promise to deliver the lot of them into the perpetual happiness they guarantee is just beyond the horizon. In the end, I expect most mortals will choose the surety of science over the abstract assertion of an after life.

Tagged as: Bible, Climate Change, Creationism, Evolution, Fossil, Frogmander, Global Warming, God, Intelligent Design, Rapture, Religion, Transitional

Daniel DiRito | May 22, 2008 | 6:35 PM | link | Comments (0)
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May 14, 2008

An Experiment In Critical Thinking: Is Religion Battered Woman's Syndrome? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

The following video asks an interesting question - Is religion battered woman's syndrome? While provocative on its surface, the creator of the video makes a number of thoughtful observations.

More than an effort to connect religion with battered woman's syndrome, it is an attempt to force people to consider the pretext upon which they adopt their religious beliefs and to what extent that may be a flawed construct.

In my opinion, all too often people accept the religious beliefs of their parents without ever taking the time to fully understand exactly the meaning of the concepts they're assimilating into their own understanding of the world in which they live.

No doubt beliefs can serve a valuable purpose in a person's life...but they can also preclude the individual from exploring other possibilities...particularly if one has adopted their beliefs as a result of blind acceptance or forcible infliction. Hence, the similarity to the process by which a woman is able to adjust her thinking to accept the abuse of her abuser and forego her rightful ability to make determinations on her own and in her best interest.

I am always amazed at the seeming lack of suspicion with regards to religious ideology. Time and again I witness people refusing to take much of anything they encounter on face value...yet those same individuals are somehow able to compartmentalize their faith such that it is beyond reconsideration or reproach.

I've always felt that the fear of death, and the unknown quality it holds, is an immensely powerful tool in the arsenal of religious institutions. Regardless, it's as if people abdicate large swaths of their lives in order to avoid the fear of losing them. In the end, isn't that little more than a subservient march towards the very death they fear?

Come to think of it, perhaps the comparison is insufficient. After all, many women find the strength to break free of their overlords. The same isn't always true of those who acquiesce to other iterations of divine beings.

Tagged as: Battered Women, Critical Thinking, Death, Domestic Abuse, Faith, Fear, God, Religion

Daniel DiRito | May 14, 2008 | 10:53 AM | link | Comments (3)
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