I mentioned over on Atheist Revolution that I had been engaged in a discussion with a self-identified Raelian. You know, those crazy people who think that life on Earth came from the stars and we’re going to go home to these “gods” one day? Well, Iamanatheist, who does the excellent I Am an Atheist and This is Why blog, asked me to write a post about it so here goes.
It is surprising that there really isn’t much difference in tactics between the Raelian and almost any theist you might pick. They make the same kind of irrational claims, they lack any evidence whatsoever for their beliefs and they misuse science. In fact, this guy was only too happy to provide Christian creationist sources as proof against evolution. He provided a “reading list”, including creationist frauds Michael Behe and William Dembski, as follows:
Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,”Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Vol. 117(2):213-239 (2004) (HTML).
Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution,’”The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4):1-27 (December 2010).
Douglas D. Axe, “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds,”Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 341:1295–1315 (2004).
Michael Behe and David W. Snoke, “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues,”Protein Science, Vol. 13 (2004).
William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search,”Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Vol. 14 (5):475-486 (2010).
Ann K. Gauger and Douglas D. Axe, “The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway,”BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2011(1) (2011).
Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, and Ralph Seelke, “Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness,”BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2010 (2) (2010).
Vladimir I. shCherbak and Maxim A. Makukov, “The ‘Wow! Signal’ of the terrestrial genetic code,”Icarus, Vol. 224 (1): 228-242 (May, 2013).
Joseph A. Kuhn, “Dissecting Darwinism,”Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, Vol. 25(1): 41-47 (2012).
Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, and Robert J. Marks II, “Evolutionary Synthesis of Nand Logic: Dissecting a Digital Organism,”Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, pp. 3047-3053 (October, 2009).
Douglas D. Axe, Brendan W. Dixon, Philip Lu, “Stylus: A System for Evolutionary Experimentation Based on a Protein/Proteome Model with Non-Arbitrary Functional Constraints,”PLoS One, Vol. 3(6):e2246 (June 2008).
Kirk K. Durston, David K. Y. Chiu, David L. Abel, Jack T. Trevors, “Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins,”Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Vol. 4:47 (2007).
David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors, “Self-organization vs. self-ordering events in life-origin models,”Physics of Life Reviews, Vol. 3:211–228 (2006).
Frank J. Tipler, “Intelligent Life in Cosmology,”International Journal of Astrobiology, Vol. 2(2): 141-148 (2003).
Michael J. Denton, Craig J. Marshall, and Michael Legge, “The Protein Folds as Platonic Forms: New Support for the pre-Darwinian Conception of Evolution by Natural Law,”Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 219: 325-342 (2002).
Stanley L. Jaki, “Teaching of Transcendence in Physics,”American Journal of Physics, Vol. 55(10):884-888 (October 1987).
Granville Sewell, “Postscript,” in Analysis of a Finite Element Method: PDE/PROTRAN (New York: Springer Verlag, 1985).
A.C. McIntosh, “Evidence of design in bird feathers and avian respiration,”International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol. 4(2):154–169 (2009).
Richard v. Sternberg, “DNA Codes and Information: Formal Structures and Relational Causes,”Acta Biotheoretica, Vol. 56(3):205-232 (September, 2008).
Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig and Heinz Saedler, “Chromosome Rearrangement and Transposable Elements,”Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 36:389–410 (2002).
Douglas D. Axe, “Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors,”Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 301:585-595 (2000)
William A. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Now I’m pretty certain he just pulled that list off a creationist website, he clearly hasn’t actually read many, if any of these books, he hasn’t understood the content and it’s absolutely certain that he’s never verified anything in any of these articles. As with creationists, finding anything that purports to poke holes in evolution becomes their go-to source. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, even if those sources find your beliefs absolutely absurd.
So why does this guy believe in aliens? His very first post spells it out.
I am tired of looking for evidence of aliens to explain my lack of belief in God and evolution. I think there is enough biological information out there to promote some sort of intelligence speeding up the process so that we don’t have to waste all this time and it makes the earth more ecologically diverse that way. Proteins can even create other proteins. What do you guys think?
Yeah, after the smoke stops coming out of your ears and you stop shaking your head at the abject stupidity, then he goes into why he believes in Rael and all of that crap. Logic. He’s doing it wrong. But seriously, he looks for evidence of aliens because he doesn’t believe in God and he doesn’t believe in evolution. God I can understand, but evolution? Yes, it’s idiocy galore, exactly like the creationists. It all goes downhill from there. People ask him questions, he has no real answers, he just makes up more crap, just like Christians. It went into the same kind of irrational spiral that any discussion with theists goes in, with most people just giving up on having any kind of intelligent debate because the theist simply isn’t capable.
I really didn’t identify as many differences between this Raelian and your run of the mill theist, just as I don’t know that there’s much different between a theist and a conspiracy theorist or any other irrational believer. It isn’t the specific beliefs that are the problem, it’s the inane irrationality underpinning it all and there are only so many ways to do crazy, regardless of what you believe. Honestly, that’s kind of disappointing.