Just a very quick comment because I’m totally absorbed in work right now and really shouldn’t allow myself to think about anything else, but I just read this short editorial by Maggie Ardiente in the Amercian Humanist Association newsletter and it saddened me enough to want to share it:

Last weekend I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has become one of my favorite cities in the United States. I love it all: the history, the culture, and the food—oh, the spicy New Mexican food! I particularly enjoyed a visit to the Petroglyphs National Park, where our tour guide Luke talked about the history of the area and how the rock formations developed over 200,000 years ago. After the tour, I asked Luke if he ever encountered fundamentalist religious groups that challenge his 200,000-year-old claim. Not only did he say yes, but that because of his commitment to accurate scientific data, he’s no longer assigned to lead tours by such groups! We were lucky to have him.

Wait. What? I’ve been to Petroglyphs National Monument too. It’s part of the otherwise entirely splendid National Park Service. But this guy is seriously being pulled from leading groups that don’t want their infantile fantasies to be challenged? Really?

So there is one truth for reasoning people, but faith-driven people are to be allowed their own truth? They don’t have to be exposed to the actual facts if they don’t like it? Shame on you, NPS!!!! Shame on you. Your bounden duty is to stand up for what the national parks represent. The rocks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, for instance, really are two billion years old and they’re going to stay that way whether people like it or not. If they don’t want to hear it then they have absolutely no business being there. You don’t pretend it’s not true just to avoid upsetting them.

You can’t pander to people like this without being hypocritical. You guys know why the features in these wonderful places are the way they are, and to tacitly hide the truth from people just because they don’t want to be faced with it, is dishonest and cowardly. Of course, the primary fault lies with the morons who want to gawp at things but don’t want to understand what they’re gawping at, but that’s no excuse. The NPS has a duty to uphold, so if Luke’s interpretation of events is correct, somebody at Petroglyphs National Monument should be ashamed of themselves and the NPS needs to reassess its policies to make sure it keeps its finger in the dam. Train staff in ways to handle dissenters with diplomacy by all means, but please don’t allow ignorance to breed.

By the way, I took the following photo at Petroglyphs National Monument. It clearly shows a space alien, proving without a shadow of a doubt that scientists are TOTALLY lying to us about global warming and vapor trails and evolution and Noah’s Flood not really having happened and… and… and stuff.

What did God do before he made the universe?

Seriously. How did He spend his time? It’s got to be boring, being omnipotent and omniscient and all that stuff whilst having to sit there in the dark with nothing to do. Heaven must have been pretty lonely up until now. All that real-estate sitting empty until Judgment Day. Although, to be fair, God does have a son, and presumably therefore a significant other. I wonder why they only had one kid in all of eternity? The Rhythm Method, presumably.

It’s a serious question, though. I’ve decided I’m sick of defending evolution while creationists try to pick holes in it: I’m going to admit defeat, accept their apparently far more convincing alternative theory and become a creationist Christian. If you can’t beat them, join them.

So, where do I sign up? What should I believe first?

Uh-huh? So God made the entire universe? And He did the whole thing for the sake of the human race? Really? In seven days? Six thousand years ago? Wow!

My, that’s quite a lot to take in. If he did it six thousand years ago then the visible universe can’t be more than 12,000 light-years across. Given the number of galaxies we’re aware of and how many stars they contain, it wouldn’t all fit in and still leave  room for the galaxies to be separated. That’s a snag, isn’t it? No, OK, whatever you say. I’m being a bit “scientific”, aren’t I? Sorry. Faith, yes, I see.

So all those trillions of stars out there, the vast majority of which we can’t even see without a billion-dollar telescope; let’s say 99.999999999999999999999% of the universe;  God made all of that just to light up the night sky?

“Mysterious ways”, yes, I’m beginning to get the hang of this.

Gosh, I feel really important now. Ten million species of plants and animals, not to mention all those fungi and bacteria and stuff; all put on this earth for the benefit of me and my species? I only wish I knew what to do with them all, but gee, thanks!

I guess Noah said something like that when God commanded him to collect them all together. I hope he had a lot of warning. After all, at one species per hour that would take over a thousand years. Hey, and while I’m nit-picking, you mentioned the universe was created in seven days, right? And on the first Day God just made light. So I’m a bit baffled by how you measure a day when there’s no Sun to rise and set. Just wondering.

But still, I’m one of the Chosen Ones, huh? Awesome!

There must be a downside, surely? Hell, yes, I’ve heard of that. That’s the devil, right? No? It’s Jesus and His band of avenging angels. Really? 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8. Ok, I’ll remember that. Eternal torture for those who don’t follow the Gospel. Wow, that’s a bit mean, isn’t it? God sure bears a grudge.

But you’re saying that Hell is a real place, right? That’s an essential part of the theory – otherwise pretty much none of the Bible makes sense. Yes, of course, you’re right: don’t focus on the negatives. I get what you’re saying. Heaven, yes, I’ve heard of that, too. That’s also a real place – it’s where God lives, isn’t it? That sounds a lot more fun. Actually I confess I was considering going Muslim and claiming my 72 virgins, but then I decided it wasn’t really fair on the virgins. And anyway, what does a virgin suicide bomber get as her reward? More virgins?

No, I’ll stick to eternal bliss. It kinda sounds fun. At least, maybe. Being happy ALL the time could get a bit wearing after the first billion years or so, don’t you think? What do we actually DO in Heaven? Wander round smiling inanely at each other? Can I at least have a hobby?

God made Man in His own image, though, right? So He needs legs and a stomach and stuff too. I guess that means Heaven is a bit like Earth. Quite a lot like Earth, in fact. Rather like the Middle East, probably. Well that’s good – I’d hate it to be like Mars or something. I suppose if God made Man in His own image, that explains why He’s such a cantankerous old git. But really: why is He so moody and petulant? I don’t get that. It doesn’t fit with the idea of being perfect, does it? And why does He make mistakes?

Don’t ask so many questions. Yes, I’m sorry. I’ll do my research…

Aha! According to Conservapedia, “God exercises eternal and righteous judgment of the wicked in hell, because of an inherent problem in the human heart, namely Sin.” And yet in the previous paragraph He’s described as omnipotent and omniscient. So why don’t human hearts work properly if God’s so smart? It doesn’t say.

Oh I see, it’s not that we’re faulty by accident – He put those bugs in the system deliberately. Free will, huh? So that we have to choose for ourselves to worship Him? Clever.

But in that case why does He spend so much time in the Bible commanding us to worship Him, with threats of eternal damnation if we don’t? That’s kind of more like slavery, isn’t it? And why is He so seriously insecure in the first place? What’s the point in creating an entire universe and populating it with life-forms, just so that a handful of them can be coerced into singing your praises? Doesn’t that seem a bit narcissistic to you? Then again, I suppose it’s the kind of thing I’d do myself, if I were terminally bored from sitting in an empty nothingness for all eternity… Although now that I think about it, if I was omniscient and knew everything that was going to happen it would kind of spoil the surprise…

You know, this just isn’t working for me. I haven’t even got on to the Flood yet, let alone prayers and miracles and the logical conundrums they present. It all sounds a bit, well, medieval. Kind of like the sort of thing primitive peoples who didn’t know any better would think? Or is that just me? Throw me a bone. Surely SOME part of your theory makes sense? If not, why do you believe it? It can’t just be because you read it in some old book, can it? You wouldn’t be that stupid.