Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What is fundamentalism?

I'm not sure what to make of this capsule bio from a user on a Spanish-language learning site:

Hola! Me llamo William. Soy de Florida de Los Estados Unidos. Me gusta aprender espaƱol. Religious Beliefs: I believe the Bible. Period. I believe the Earth and universe were created in 7 literal days not too many thousands of years ago. I consider the fossil record to be a result of Noah's Flood, not billions of years of evolution. I reject outright ideas that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, that life arose from non-life, or that all living things evolved from a common ancestor. In establishing rock ages, scientists don't have facts. They have facts + assumptions = guesses. All they can do is measure the current amounts of various isotopes in a rock. They can never know how much of each isotope the sample STARTED with. Nor can they know how much of the isotopes in question entered or left the rock after formation. Without that information, all they can do is guess at the age of the rock. Fossilization is a process that requires rapid burial. If an animal or part of an animal is not buried rapidly, it cannot fossilize as it will be eaten or it will decompose. Yet, evolution would have us believe the very rock layers that contain the fossils developed slowly. I do accept that species can experience variation within their species (also called micro-evolution) to a point but will reach certain limits. For example, all the different finches Darwin discovered in the Galapagos had a common ancestor...a finch! I don't believe the DNA information storage-retrieval-blueprint-maintenance system, which is responsible for encoding all kinds of amazing things including the human brain, could have arisen by pure chance. DNA ENCODES an organism. The only encoding systems whose origins we know of were all designed. (The alphabets, computer languages, jpeg encoding, mpeg encoding, etc.) I don't believe the human vision system, which, at the eye, focuses and separates light into intensity, blue, red, and green components, converts those components to electro-chemical impulses (data) and then sends them to the visual cortex to be recombined -- bearing in mind, too, that the visual cortex receives input from two 2D devices (each eye) and from that input assembles a single 3D, high-definition, color image. When scientists try to prove that the eye was not designed, they always gloss over the retina saying utter nonsense like "First you get a row of light sensitive cells" like a retina is no big deal. But, that's like proving that flat screen monitors weren't designed by saying, "First you get an LCD matrix." The only thing analogous to the eye, whose origin we know, is the modern digital camera (coverts light to electrical impulses and sends those impulses to a computer for further processing), and it was designed.

Obviously, this fellow is a lot more complicated--and intelligent--than the stereotype of the fundamentalist. It's worth thinking about what makes William tick--and what it is that we believe, "period."

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