Last month I withdrew from the teacher training course I was on as I felt it wasn't for me. Towards the end I was working constantly day and night trying to keep up with the workload. With that in mind, I'm glad I left the course as it has considerably improved my life. However, I have been left with the utmost respect towards teachers with their considerable workload. So if you ever see one of your old teachers in the pub, buy them a pint. After all, they spent hours trying to drill into you, knowledge that you need for later life, thinking of the best ways to do it, whilst coping with political demands for how they should run their jobs and losing a lot of social time during it. Especially as you may have been taught by them during puberty, a period of development that most parents dread, nevermind the less respected teacher...
I would go through the news, however, I feel places such as Bad Science which are mentioned on my blog, give far more detail than I could manage here.
However, I thought I would have fun with a dissection of idiotic drivel and a humorous post making fun of the concept of Pascal's Wager. Please note dear reader (in case you are one of the people unable to read the motto) this is only a satire and I do not think these highly respected and elderly individuals would get up to such energetic disputes. They might have a heart attack!
Here is an email my girlfriend got at work. If you receive this email, you may wish to write back with the following criticisms.
Sorry, i was wrong!In the age of fifty years Mohammed married a six years old girl (Aisha bint Abu Bakr), the apostle of the Islam started to sexually abuse the child when it was nine years old. Aisha was the daughter of Abu Bakr and one day when Mohammed visited Abu Bakr's house, he got to know her. Aisha was a cheerful, liveliest small girl and Mohammed was very impressed of her kind, so he started joking with her . . . Sahih Bukhari 7,62,64: Aisha told that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death) (1). Mohammed was a friend of slavery and was caught by one of his many wifes, when he had sexual intercourse with his slave Maria al-Qibtiyya. Maria herself was a present of someone . . . The holy Quran (24:33): "If your slave girls desire to keep chaste, you shall not force them to prostitution. And whoever forces them, then Allah, seeing that they are forced, surely is Forgiving, Merciful."Muslim 8,3371: Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri: 0 Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger mentioning al-'azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger on the expedition to the Bi'l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wifes, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them . . . But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger, and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born (1). Muslim 8,3432: Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hanain Allah's Messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's Messenger seemed to refrain from having sexual intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, sent down regarding that: "And all married women (are forbidden unto you), except those whom your right hands possess" (Quran Sure 4:24). This means that Mohammed, the apostle of the Islam, and his friends have raped defenseless, married women and that Mohammed really tried to justify this through religion (1)! Rape of married women, child abuse through an over fifty years old man and a live full of blood, fear, violence, oppression, massmurder, dispossession and slavery, Mohammed surly had also many good ideas, but of course he wasn't one of the holy messengers of God, it never has given a need for five Islamic prayers a day, for Ramadan, to wear a headscarf . . .There are two different opinions regarding to the emergence of this world, some people think, that this world with all live and all events would be a tiny part of the logical causal chain which started with the big bang, the others are convinced of it, that it is finally the fault of Adam and Eve because they have not observed the one holy law of God: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her . . ." According to the religious view the big bang is a willfully deception of God, a scientific explanation for the emergence of this world which was given, because without the doubt in God, it wouldn't be possible to test the faith and unbelief of mankind and the sense of this world would get lost. On the other hand, a causal chain out of cause and effect can not have a beginning respectively emerge out of nothing, this contradicts to the laws of science, therewith there's not only no cause before or for the big bang, but also no energy which would have been necessary for the big bang, even not a tiny disbalance between anything. If two fingers are pressed together, is nothing between them or rather no matter, thrust therein that the universe, the human himself and the bright world which surrounds the human not emerged out of the completely harmless nothing between two fingers or without God, this is simply an imagination which was invented by some humans and which is finally impossible. In the first states of the USA such stories were deleted already successfully from the curriculum, so that they weren't taught any more to the children in the schools. Depriving children of their faith is a serious crime, it's in the hands of our generation to stop the systematic and unfair education of many million children to the unbelieve!If the big bang could have happened without God, practically everything could have emerged out of this, but this universe was build exactly so, that the suppositions for live are given, for example without voltage no brainwaves could flow, without radiation this world would be dark and ice-cold, without atoms and the possibility to build molecules live would be impossible, the same would be without many other chemical properties and reactions or without elements like oxygen or carbon or hydrogen or . . ., also the lost of continuity or time or space or matter or the three states of matter or movement or physical or chemical energy or different agencies or . . . would make live finally impossible. Without intelligence something absolute senseless would have emerged out of the big bang or out of nothing, but of course no live. Yes, the frightening recognition is, that the universe was constructed deliberately exactly so, that the suppositions for live and higher live are given!For the alleged chemical evolution of live, a first living and survivable unicellular organism would have been necessary, but a just 10 µm large cell, a very complex, perfectly compound, three-dimensional puzzle or a survivable machine out of at least 10 quadrillion pieces (16 g/mol), atoms of different kind and attribute, impossibly could be washed together in an unrealistic puddle out of cytoplasm, be bound together in the same second by many different chemical processes into a flexible unit and get enliven also in the same moment, to start to breathe, to eat, to grow . . . and to produce randomly complete and living self-copies, which will grow up some day to intelligent structured humans. If we are honest we must admit, that even not only one single dead DNA strand could be washed together in a liquid. Already the DNA strands of the first survivable cell must randomly have conformed exactly to the cell construction, beside this DNA strands are written in a very high programming language, until today nobody can understand how or by which encoding systems this codes get transcribed into commands, movements and material constructions. For the DNA strands and for every of the different cell organelles of the first survivable cell must also have been directly there the belonging to copysystems or already the first cell division would have been impossible, the human even wouldn't be able to build the technology of only one material system which could copy itself, try to build a computer which could copy itself!The functions of cells partially happen on the molecular and atomic level, if the dateless old atoms, out of which we and the cells are set together, would be as big as table tennis balls, an average human brain with 1250 to 1375 g would take in a little bit more space than the whole planet earth with its diameter of 12700 km (13,5 g/mol, the volume of a table tennis ball is 33,5 cm^3), it's a wonder that a grown thinking machine of such complexity ever could work without going defect. If the 10 quadrillion atoms of a 10 µm large unicellular organism would be as big as table tennis balls, this unicellular organism would take in the whole city Tokyo by a hight of more than 500 meters. If God would build a machine out of 10 quadrillion atoms of different kind and attribute, this machine wouldn't die any more after its commissioning, because it really would start to breathe, to eat, to grow, to move . . . to survive independently in its world and to divide itself many trillion times, to conquer the planet and to travel to the moon. If God would construct a machine with such properties, it would be so small, that we even couldn't see it with our multicellular eyes. We have got no idea about the intelligence of God, the creator out of nothing, but surly it's not grateful to use the by God constructed brain to say, that a dirty puddle was the inventor of live.A just 10 µm large unicellular organism is a very complex, perfectly compound, three-dimensional puzzle out of at least 10 quadrillion pieces of different kind and attribute, but a chemical evolution even wouldn't be able to wash correctly together a DNA string or a two-dimensional computer program character string out of 1000 signs, which is written with only 10 different letters, because with every sign, which will be attached after the first sign, the probability that the program was written correctly sinks by the factor 10, so the probability that a computer program out of 1000 signs will be written correctly by random or will be washed together in a dirty puddle is 10^1000 (a 1 with one thousand 0). In contrast to this, today we know, that the whole universe contains less than 10^100 atoms totally and that it is less than 10^18 seconds old. If the universe would be 100 times smaller or younger, the chance that the chemical evolution really happened would be 100 times less, if the 1000 sign computer program would be 100 times shorter, the chance that the chemical evolution really happened would be 100 times bigger, so we can stroke out the zeros: 10^1000 - 10^100 - 10^18 = 10^882. We have reduced the whole universe to one atom and an age of one second through only 118 letters! So the iron proof for the absolute impossibility of a chemical evolution was written down!A long time ago was created a world which seems to be produced and controlled by random and in which we can decide without the fear of God, so it would be good to decide just like Jesus would have done (1,2). Even if this world seems to be produced and controlled by random, Jesus told us that God decides about everything, even on which side a coin will fall or when a bird will die. Jesus said that whatever a man sows, this he will also reap, so the good and the bad that we effect, in any way will also be our own destiny. It was also said that the good what we can reach for God in this world, will be our own richness in the eternal Paradise. The live in this world seems to be real and its existence is also only a wonder, so are we the causal chain out of nothing, a network in the dark which thinks about itself and starts to believe in God or are we made by an insidious and everything-observing intelligence? Some humans will be happy for 100 years and some will be sad for 100 years, but when this life ends the eternity will begin, so why to life for a worthless dust particle when it comes about the entire universe.This chain letter was sent to millions of people worldwide and can also be published or forwarded.This email was sent over an anonym remailer string and can't be answered.
2. The author of the email does not know anything about the science behind the Big Bang. Physicists have been pondering what caused this sudden expansion and have derived a number of scenarios including string theory. The problem is testing these ideas, however, Turok has some interesting ideas on how to do this...
Wired article here
The great thing here is that it underlines the whole beauty of science. Fundies, such as the author of the email, have an answer. They stick to this answer because it explains things very neatly to them, however, it does not answer a lot of questions nor does it become useful in any particular way. Science on the other hand, demands some way of testing these answer, to attempt objectivity and restrict personal bias. It allows people to think and question interpretations and in general, make people aware of how brilliant things are as well as keeping us humble with what little we know.
3. So before I was even conceived of as an idea, never mind my parents or grandparents or great grandparents, two people condemned us to be sinners because they were told by the ultimate power not to eat some fruit? Shouldn't this power have already anticipated and expected this? To me it seems rather sadistical. And lacking in evidence.
If two fingers are pressed together, is nothing between them or rather no matter, thrust therein that the universe, the human himself and the bright world which surrounds the human not emerged out of the completely harmless nothing between two fingers or without God, this is simply an imagination which was invented by some humans and which is finally impossible.
If anyone can interpret this sentence I would be grateful. I honestly don't understand it. All I can say is that there is loads of space if we consider it, between the fingers. The electrons in the atoms are repelling each other apart, this means nothing ever touches each other.
5. In the United States, the founders intended to separate Church from State, to ensure that no religion is able to be more influential than the other. This First Amendment protects this fundies rights along with everyone else in this country. I feel it is a justified law which goes far in respecting a child's right to learn about other ways of life and not be blindly indoctrinated as the author suggests.
6. The author makes the mistake of assuming that because the conditions are right on this planet for Earth, God exists. This is the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy which equates this to firing three shots and drawing bullseyes around them before declaring yourself an expert marksmen. A dose of Douglas Adams is highly recommended.
. . . imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.
Furthermore, I have just read Stephen Jay Gould's amazing book: Wonderful Life which argues against this idea that everything is set in stone in elegant prose. I recommend it to everyone.
7. The author then mistakes Evolution with abiogenesis. Evolution simply explains the diversity of life and how it evolved from one cell. Abiogenesis is the field which examines how life arose. This is not relevant and many theists believe that Evolution works.
8. This paragraph is a bit of a Gish Gallop, so this might take some time. The author makes the argument from design using irreducible complexity. This idea is flawed in many ways, not at least as scientists look at structures, they often find that IC is disproven. This idea stems from lack of knowledge, we don't know how this happened at the moment, so we won't find out later. This is what science should always avoid as it is clear that given enough time, something new will be found out. Abiogenesis is a fairly new science and extremely exciting. It has been proven very recently that we can create artificial life, i.e., using scientific equipment and methods to construct a cell, see this exciting article for more. With this and the research carried out on abiogenesis, it shows that it is possible to produce good ideas of how life arose.
9. Now the author says that DNA is too hard for us to understand therefore, life could not arise naturally. I find this extremely arrogant and amusing. I spent a minute on wiki before finding a relevant article which shows how DNA works, suggesting the author is making arguments from personal ignorance. Considering we have only had knowledge about how DNA works for less than 60 years, I think this is an "I dunno" argument. This should be ignored or extra information asked for.
10. Besides the usual, "this is so complex it couldn't have happened naturally" argument, the author begins to discuss chance. Now the problem is, as most people know about Evolution, it isn't chance. Evolution has natural selection selecting positive traits with some neutral mutations also occurring. So if something is advantageous, it will be fixed into the DNA because of the principle that if you can survive to breed, it is passed on. Richard Dawkins discusses this in the Blind Watchmaker, using the computer program generating random letters to form the words "Methinks it is like a weasel". I'll let Dawkins explain the rest:
We again use our computer monkey, but with a crucial difference in its program. It again begins by choosing a random sequence of 28 letters, just as before ... it duplicates it repeatedly, but with a certain chance of random error – 'mutation' – in the copying. The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the 'progeny' of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL.
By repeating the procedure, a randomly generated sequence of 28 letters and spaces will be gradually changed each generation. The sequences progress through each generation:
- Generation 01: WDLTMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO P 
- Generation 02: WDLTMNLT DTJBSWIRZREZLMQCO P
- Generation 10: MDLDMNLS ITJISWHRZREZ MECS P
- Generation 20: MELDINLS IT ISWPRKE Z WECSEL
- Generation 30: METHINGS IT ISWLIKE B WECSEL
- Generation 40: METHINKS IT IS LIKE I WEASEL
- Generation 43: METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
The exact time taken by the computer to reach the target doesn't matter. If you want to know, it completed the whole exercise for me, the first time, while I was out to lunch. It took about half an hour. (Computer enthusiasts may think this unduly slow. The reason is that the program was written in BASIC, a sort of computer baby-talk. When I rewrote it in Pascal, it took 11 seconds.) Computers are a bit faster at this kind of thing than monkeys, but the difference really isn't significant. What matters is the difference between the time taken by cumulative selection, and the time which the same computer, working flat out at the same rate, would take to reach the target phrase if it were forced to use the other procedure of single-step selection: about a million million million million million years. This is more than a million million million times as long as the universe has so far existed.In essence what Dawkins is saying is that natural selection decreases the time taken significantly in this program. This highlights the flaw in the author's argument, Evolution and abiogenesis are not random, if something works just slightly better than the rest, it will be selected. Change is gradual, not sudden.
11. The author finally ends up with a meaningless paragraph stating that God controls everything. So why did he make two humans that were without choice, eat an apple that he knew they would do and controlled them to do so before punishing them? Furthermore, how does the author know he is right, or for that matter, how does he know the Bible is God's word?
I feel that this is required and furthermore, accurately demolishes the author's illogical argument.
Any comments or any requests to gain access to Craig Venter's paper just email.