Sunday, 24 November 2013

Beliefs

WARNING: IF YOU ARE A DIE-HARD CREATIONIST, TURN BACK NOW.  THIS POST WILL PISS YOU OFF AND YOU WILL BE ANGRY AND WANT TO ARGUE WITH ME (you will lose) AND NEVER BELIEVE ANYTHING I SAY EVER AGAIN.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

In case you haven't guessed by now, I love to think.  Using my brain is very satisfying, and unlike most of the people about whom I write, I do it often.  The best part about my brain is that it doesn't take much to get it buzzing.  I overheard a discussion between two radiology technologists a few days ago that got my brain gears spinning.  I'm paraphrasing a bit here, but this is the gist of the conversation:

Tech #1: You know, I just read a theory that Eve wasn't created from Adam's rib.  No really, some people think he was actually created from her.
Tech #2: Nah man, Adam was created from dust, and she was made from his rib.  It says so in the Book.
Tech #1: I know exactly what it says, but that's what I just heard.

After a few seconds of this clearly sarcastic debate, I smiled and said, "I thought we evolved from monkeys", knowing full well that monkeys and humans evolved from a common ancestor and thinking I was making a mildly-amusing joke to go along with theirs.

They looked at me like I had two heads.  My smile faded.  They weren't kidding.

"You actually believe that crap?" tech #2 asked me.

"You don't?" I replied, my eyebrows raised so high that they were threatening to burst through the top of my forehead.

I won't bore you with the remainder of the conversation, because, well, there wasn't one.  They looked at each other, wordlessly deciding that I was a lunatic and not worth talking to, and promptly changed the subject to football or something else equally uninteresting.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I got an email from Aaron (not his real name) some time back that I've been holding on to.  It went a little something like this:

Hi DocBastard,

Love reading your blog and all the comments on FML. You definitely sound like a pretty interesting person!  In your last blog you mentioned evolution.  Now even though I know it isn't related to medicine a whole lot, I would love to hear you give us your opinions on evolution in general.  I've always been fascinated that people can dispute evolution despite all the evidence (and basic logic) pointing toward it and I bet you'd be able to write an awesome article on it.  If that's too tough a subject to write about maybe how the human body could have evolved over the last couple thousand years.  Or even if you could talk about how the field of medicine has changed too.  I'm sure you'd have a lot of insight on all those topics!  Keep the blog coming!
Thanks.
I will admit that I am no expert in the field of evolution, nor do I have an advanced degree in theology.  However, I have done a fair bit of reading on the subject of Young Earth Creationism, mainly because I find it fascinating that there are people (ie batshit-crazy crackpot nutcase fruitcakes) who believe in it.  Now if there are any creationists who failed to heed my initial warning and have actually read this far, I WARNED YOU, YOU IDIOT!  Now please don't misunderstand me.  I don't think you're stupid, just misguided.  And maybe a little bit stupid too.

There are creationists who think that evolution is stupid, and they go to great lengths to explain just how stupid they think it is.  Allow me to introduce Dr. Kent Hovind.  (He fancies himself a "doctor" because of his three degrees in Christian education, all from non-accredited institutions - his opening line in his most recent "doctoral" thesis was "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind."  Seriously.)

In case you aren't familiar with the difference, I am not referring to so-called theistic evolutionists who believe that evolution is real, but that it was started and subsequently guided by a Supreme Being.  Intelligent design is a similar concept.  I'm talking here about died-in-the-wool, real-world, actual Young Earth Creationists like Dr. Hovind who believe that the world was created by God some 6,000 years ago.  Some, Dr. Hovind included, even believe dinosaurs co-existed with man a few thousand years ago:
I'm not sure where they think all those dinosaurs went or why they vanished, but they have several absurd theories that explain everything.  For example, "The oldest tree is 4,300 years old and the oldest reef is 4,200 years old; therefore, everything on earth must be younger than that."  If you're in the mood for more laughs, here are some direct quotes from Dr. Hovind:
  • Communism is a direct offshoot of evolution.
  • The stars would have to evolve.  There's an awful lot of stars out there folks, but nobody's ever seen one form . . . I think it is scientifically impossible.
  • Macroevolution . . . is when an animal changes into a different kind of animal.  Nobody has ever seen a dog produce a non-dog.  But the evolutionist believes that a dog came from a rock.
Uh . . . ok, Kent.  Whatever you say.  If you're still in the mood for a laugh and have two hours to spare, I'd strongly encourage you to watch this video of Kent's "100 Reasons Why Evolution Is Stupid".  Needless to say, all of his 100 reasons are . . . well, stupid.  The volume of evidence for evolution is massive and incontrovertible, so I see no reason to present it here.  There are thousands upon thousands of articles to read showing how animals, plants, continents, planets, solar systems, and galaxies form and evolve.  None of them, I'm quite certain, explain how a rock turns into a dog.  Sorry to disappoint you, Kent. 

While we're on the subject of human evolution, however, I did find something that some people may find interesting.  Dr. Alan Kwan, who has a PhD in computational genomics (whatever that is) predicted how humans will continue to evolve over the next 100,000 years, including developing larger heads, larger eyes, darker skin, and thicker eyelids:
Admittedly the end result is a bit freaky, but I'm sure Neanderthals 100,000 years ago would have thought the same if they saw a picture of a modern human, especially if that human was Dennis Rodman or Sandra Bernhard.

Regardless of my obvious disdain, I believe that everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want, regardless of how preposterous it is, as long as those beliefs aren't foisted on me.  In the words of W.C. Fields, "Everybody's got to believe in something.  I believe I'll have another beer."

52 comments:

  1. Few minutes after I finished reading this, I received an sms saying a student in my college went to fight in Syria. It was so disturbing.
    Thinking of it now. I feel guilty not to challenge his thinking, to talk to see if we can reach a ground.
    Few hours ago I was happy to know they are not trying to impose their beliefs in me. Now I am afraid it is not enough. What if they said nothing but act.

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  2. But is that to say that you don't believe in any type of higher power? I understand believing in evolution, there is too much evidence to argue it's not real. But as far as Faith goes, were you implying you have none at all? Surely as your hands are doing their job as a surgeon, there has to be something that keeps them from slipping. Something that keeps even the most doomed of patients alive. I never would peg you as having a God complex, I'm just curious.

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    1. I don't see how trusting in years of training and practice is having a god complex.

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    2. Which is why I said I didn't see him having one?

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    3. "Surely as your hands are doing their job as a surgeon, there has to be something that keeps them from slipping. "

      His grip and his training as a surgeon are really good ones.

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    4. I understand that... It was just "picking his brain". I have no doubts in the Doc's talent or skill. I apologize if it came off that way...

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    5. It came off just fine, Ashly. I won't discuss my personal faith here, but suffice it to say that there is some.

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    6. Thank you for the polite response :) I didn't figure you would go into detail. It was just food for thought :)

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  3. This does beg the question: What faith is the bastard? This question I fear will never be answered do to regional implications.

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    1. Religion doesn't bring with it a regional implication. 99% of hospitals with that capacity are probably in countries that have religious freedom. And even if he wasn't in a country with religious freedom, he would still be assumed to be. Doc probably just doesn't want to answer for fear of being thought of as an infadel.

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    2. Infidel, and also though 99% of the places he would be may have religious freedom, 99% of them also have a common religion as a part of their culture. If he were Muslim I could say Middle East. Confucianist I could say China. Hindi I could say India. Unless if it's America and he's Christian or Atheist, I could probably get pretty close to his location.

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    3. Still, I would think that doc would be a more common religion than Confucianism. Most of those religions, like Islam, can be found all over the world. The most likely reasons are not wanting to be seen as an infidel, not having a decided religion, or believing that religion is a private matter. However, I was kind of surprised that a post titled "Beliefs" would have disclosed this information.

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    4. Though Islam may be spread about the world it is centered in certain areas and if doc lived in one of those areas he wouldn't tell us his religion. I don't think doc cares about being seen as an infidel after making a post against creationism. Get off of my comment or I will walk the all of two feet it takes to come over to you and deal with you. Yes, he is right $&%@ing next to me as I am typing this right now.

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    5. Calm down there bro. No need to "come over" here and "deal with" me. I'm just saying that even if doc were Islam and in one of those areas, it still wouldn't give away his location. He would probably refrain from it anyway just because it would give someone somewhere to look, but I highly doubt that Doc is part of a regional religion such as Islam. Even if he is, most places with I don't see why most people think getting drunk means you deserve a toilet seat slammed on your dick. religions that correspond with them are less developed because people of other religions might not want to live there. Therefore, it would not be one of the most likely reasons that we do not know his religion.

      However, as with most personal questions for Doc, we might as well just not focus on it because it isn't going to matter anyway. Something about what Doc says makes me think that he believes in a higher power, but I think that he would accept that there is no single solution that can be considered correct. If so, he could be said to be agnostic or just theistic.

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    6. I need to calm down? You're the one slamming people's dicks on toilets. By "deal with" I meant it as in "Deal - the act of making an agreement." Not "Deal - to beat the shit out of." And you agree that he wouldn't tell us if he were in that region. I see nothing contradicting me whatsoever.

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    7. Aaaaaaaaaaaand scene! Great job you two, great job. Now take 5.

      This has been a truly fascinating discussion, but that is the end. I think I've made it very clear that my location is neither important nor up for speculation. Any further discussion on the matter will be immediately deleted.

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    8. What do you mean I'm slamming ducks in toilet sea- OMG WTF

      Okay… I think I know what happened. Yesterday I was trying to comment on an FML, but after I typed my reply I realized I was replying to the wrong person. So I copied my comment over. When I went back and proofread my comment, I must've accidentally pasted it in, and then moved on because I had already proofread the part that I pasted it into. That was quite a fail.

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    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    10. Right. I've been a (mostly) silent observer of this place before either of you two ever found the blog. Since that time I have watched the speculation of DocBastard you have engaged in, and frankly I've had enough. I don't sugar-coat anything, and since DocBastard is obviously too polite to say anything directly, I feel like I have to make a stand.

      You, SkyGuy32 and Barrett Gaertner, are trolls of the worst sort. Despite the apparent desire for secrecy and asking his audience MANY times, there are still twits (replace "a" for "i" and it'll still be accurate) like you who are disrespectful enough to disregard his wish for privacy. You obviously don't understand why, so I shall reiterate: he's trying to protect himself, his family, his patients, his privacy, and his livelihood.

      If this was my blog, you two (and others) would have been banned long ago. Your childish arguments and constant queries do nothing but annoy the rest. You think if you ask him often and hard enough that he'll tell you? WRONG. It's obvious you do not respect others or their wishes, and that you cannot be trusted.

      Go home to your parents, younglings. You're obviously not old enough to be playing on the internet.

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    11. While I don't know how long you have been reading the blog, it isn't safe to assume that you are the only one who observed the blog before you commented, as I and Barrett did so for over a year. As for the speculation, I was trying to show Barrett that it was probably not regional implications holding Doc back from saying his religion. While it wasn't a worthwhile argument, I never dreamt that it would actually become an argument. I have tried to stop Barrett's speculation in the past, mostly by talking to him rather than commenting. (He is my identical twin, and is actually the one who told me to read the blog). I usually try not to partake in speculation, and would/have never tried to locate Doc. I didn't intend to speculate about Doc's religion, but at the time I really just wanted to get the argument over with.

      I am quite insulted by your generalization of me, although maybe it's just because I'm sensitive to it after many years of being (in my mind) wrongly judged. Either way, I feel your comment was unnecessary after the conversation was over. (as well as Doc's comment).

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    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. I believe that evolution exists, but I belive that there has to be a God. Who created the universe? Who created the first life forms that then evolved into humans? Things don't just randomly appear.

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    1. I agree with your questions, as I believe most people ask themselves that, too. But if you think that God created the universe, them who created God? Is the universe God's doing, or is it God himself? I, just as everyone else, have no definitive answer to any of these questions, but I suppose it is interesting to ask yourself anyway. After all, they're not called the eternal questions for nothing.

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    2. Does something have to create God? The universe started in an explosion 14 billion years ago. It was created. Why would god have to have a start?

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    4. Natural selection and quantum mechanics. I can go into some detail but I encourage people to do their own research.

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    5. Barrett, people believe in god because tge the universe can't just appear. That goes both ways. Did god just appear? If so why is it okay for god to appear but not the earth.

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  5. All -

    Please keep your comments civil. I don't mind arguing, and I encourage an open discourse. But the only name-calling here will be done by me.

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  6. Hey I was just wondering - unless people with light skin, small eyes, small heads and thin eyelids start dying off, how can we evolve into the form Dr Kwan predicted? Modern medicine has suppressed natural selection in humans so much. Even people with genetic defects like Huntington's are living to pass on their genes.

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    1. I just can't see humans evolving any further unless some cataclysmic event occurs to alter the gene pool. Or to prevent people practicing medicine.

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  7. The pictures are interesting - they don't represent where we are likely to evolve to. They represent where we may want to move to if we have control over human genetics.

    Human evolution at the moment is probably going in the reverse direction - the people who are most educated and successful, in first-world societies at least, tend to have children later and have fewer of them. That means that unchecked human evolution will tend towards idiots with no drive or attention span because they are the ones that go off and have a dozen kids by the time they are 30.

    There is going to be an interesting debate once we have the tools and understanding to control human development (and we will pretty soon). People are going to have to decide whether they will accept and allow human genetic manipulation. I think they will have to because some country somewhere will allow it and in the days of global travel, that will be enough.

    Once we are able and willing to manipulate human development, we will suddenly see those who are successful and can afford it paying to have their children slightly smarter, stronger, longer lived etc than average. So they are now more likely to be successful and afford the same for their children etc. Pretty soon we are looking not only at a rich/poor divide, or even a class divide, but actually a species divide as rich "humans" become so much more advanced than "normal" humans.

    I might write a novel!

    Ugi

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    1. Sounds like something out of Gattaca or Brave new world

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    2. Yes, the future genuinely could be much like that, but in Gattaca they only screened for the best combination of your parents' genes.

      There's no reason why, within our lifetimes, a kid shouldn't have Usain Bolt's muscle fibres, Brooke Shield's facial structure and Steven Hawking's brain layout (maybe even "intelligence if that's actually meaningful). There's a lot of nurture involved in making a person so that doesn't guarantee individual success but that's one hell of a start in life! If you could afford it, would you turn down the chance to give your kid that combination?

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    3. Many things address this with no real answer. Some movies like Idiocracy, and the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution would be two different outcomes.

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    4. I'd be really interested to read a book with that premise. Write your novel!

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  8. I posted a comment at 10:41. It showed the time it was posted as 8:41. Might this imply your timezone to be 2 hours earlier than mine, in which case you would live on the western end of the United States or so, the last place we would expect? That would be a perfect hiding place.

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    1. Probably not. I chose a time zone at random, and I just changed it to another random time zone.

      I hope you know me well enough to realise that I thought of that.

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  9. Now that really is QUITE ENOUGH.

    I used to find the speculations and debate about my whereabouts to be amusing, but that game is over. I chose to keep the comments here open so anyone can post whatever s/he liked, but if this continues any further, I will change it so that all comments are moderated. I do NOT want to do that, so I implore EVERYONE here to think very carefully before posting. A light joke here and there is fine, but anything more than that will be deleted, and all further comments by that user deleted.

    I hope we are all clear on this. Please do not take the fun out of this blog.

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    1. That's the spirit, Ashly!

      Doc - speaking of comments... Why does it require a captcha every single time? Do you have a serious bot problem? And can't it give me a break after, I dunno, five legit comments?

      Happy than-- actually, chances are you don-- then ag-- AAAAAAAAAARRRGHHH THIS IS HARD!!!

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    2. I don't know why everyone wants to know. I don't want to know, because then every time I go to the hospital I can pretend my doctor is secretly you. this is even more effective if they're awful, because then I'm like "OH, he's just writing an awesome/scathing blog post in his head, I forgive him. I can't wait to get home and see if he mentioned me!"

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    3. I think that "everyone wants to know" simply because he has made it so unknowable. It's trivial, really, but the fact that we aren't allowed to know makes us want it all the more. Pretty basic human urges, really.

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  10. I love how he claims all the time, that evolution is stupid becaase there is no proof, when his only proof is a book (and nobody knows who wrote it).

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    1. Lots of people wrote it. There are some pretty good claims as to the authorship of the individual books comprising the whole Book. The history is really quite fascinating...

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  11. Ahhh, Dr. Hovind. My siblings and I grew up watching his videos. The younger kids idolized him. I thought he was funny sometimes, but mostly just a dick. But I'll admit it-- until a few years ago I was a dyed in the wool, Young Earth Creationist. It was the way I was raised. Not that I'm a convert to the theory of evolution now, but I'm just more of an "Eh, does it MATTER? Look at how cool all of this stuff is and stop bitching at each other!"

    What interests me MOST about this post is that apparently we are evolving into anime characters. This is acceptable to me.

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    1. Hi Doc, my name is Cybille. I'm 14 and currently live with my best friend Emma and her mom. Growing up, my parents were extremely religious - Christian Scientists. When I was eight I started having horribly painful headaches, and would get sick and throw up a lot. My parents told me to pray, so I did. A few weeks later I started blacking out for short periods of time. We didn't believe in medical treatment so nothing was done. One day at my friend' house for a sleepover, I woke up and I couldn't see. My screaming woke up everyone and Emma's mom drove me to the hospital. A lot of terror later (I don't remember all that happened) and I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in the occipital lobe. Thankfully it wasn't too late to get help. My parents were so angry at me for going to the hospital they essentially kicked me out and gave custody of me to my godmother - the woman that saved me. That's why I will still be religious, but not to the point where it endangers my or my future family's lives.

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