March 1, 2015

Filipino Christian (And Former Atheist) Says The Earth Is The Center Of The Universe

George Marcelo, an avid believer in Jesus Christ and a project manager in a BPO company in Manila says he has some information that can "shatter your worldview". That is if you believe, like most rational people would, that the Earth revolves around the sun. You see, Marcelo is a subscriber of the belief that the sun, moon, and stars revolve around the Earth. This belief is popularly referred to as geocentrism.

Marcelo made a video wherein he tried to push what he perceives are the merits of geocentrism. He uploaded said video on YouTube. Here's the problem (which has always been the problem with geocentrism): Marcelo relies solely on the words of the Bible to prop up his assertions.

According to Marcelo, the book of Genesis proclaims that God created the Earth and the heavens first and the rest of the universe second. So according to Marcelo, this means that the Earth is the center of the cosmos.
Of course, we all know that it's an established fact that the Earth revolves around the sun so Marcelo is gravely mistaken. Thanks to the mathematicians, physicists, and astronomers who've shown how the universe works. But then Marcelo discredits scientists by saying, "Scientists don't really know because they weren't there. They are speculating on the positions of various things." Marcelo took a page from creationist Ken Ham's apologetics book right here.

As if that wasn't enough, Marcelo drops this bomb: "The entire cosmos is rotating around the Earth. How does this coincide with all of the scientific data and findings. This is where the physicists are having a debate. It turns out that I think the physicists have a very good case. I don't really understand all the math but there's definitely a debate there. But I don't need to understand all that because I have the word of God. If God says that the Earth is in the center, then the Earth is in the center."

The above jumble of sentences perfectly encapsulates the thinking process of creationists and geocentrists. They keep saying that there's a debate among scientists about the position of the earth and other scientific ideas like evolution and climate change when in fact there is no debate at all within the scientific community. 99% of the scientific community agrees that the Earth revolves around the sun, that evolution is a fact, and climate change is really happening and man-made.

And then of course, there's the gem of Marcelo saying that he would literally ignore everything that scientists say because he has the word of his God. God said that the Earth is the center of the universe. So it's what he will believe in even though the notion completely crumbles when put under a scientific microscope.

Marcelo ended his video by saying, "The Bible is a lot more interesting than many people realize and this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many truths in physics that are being revealed through the pages of the Scripture." So there you have it, in the eyes of Marcelo, the Bible is not just the word of God, it's also a science, physics, and astronomy book.

It's also worth mentioning here that in his YouTube profile, Marcelo says that he is a former atheist. "When Lord Jesus saved me from my atheism, I was extremely surprised," he says. Me too. I was surprised how someone can transform from being an atheist to believing that the sun revolves around the Earth. That's a humongous leap, if you ask me.

Bill Nye The Science Guy Says He Has Revised His Outlook On Genetically-Modified Food

People who felt their love and respect for Bill Nye considerably decrease because of his anti-GMO stance can breathe a sigh of relief. The Science Guy recently made an appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. After the show, Nye was joined backstage by Real Time's Miles Leicher to talk about the former's recent book titled Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.

During the conversation, Nye divulged that after spending time with scientists and experts on genetically-modified food, he has decided to revise the chapter in the book about GMOs. Chapter 30 of the book is titled Genetically Modified Foods - What The GMF? Nye's arguments in said chapter have ruffled the feathers of a lot of experts and scientists who work in fields related to GMOs. He was even challenged by some of said scientists to public debates but Nye hasn't accepted any of them.

Well, unknown to most, Nye has taken it upon himself to spend time with scientists on Monsanto and learn more about what they do and do not do. Nye has obviously learned or unlearned some things during the visit meriting the change in his views.

Nye told Leicher of Real Time, "There's a chapter in there which I am going to revise. I've spent some time on it and I'm very, very excited. It's about genetically-modified food. I went to Monsanto and I spent a lot of time with the scientists there and I have revised my outlook and I'm very excited about telling the world."

Below is the video of Nye and Leicher's conversation backstage. The part where Nye talks about his change of views with regards to GMOs starts at the 3:37 mark.

YouTube screenshot / HBO.

February 25, 2015

Watch What Happens When An Atheist Talks About Dinosaurs With A Dinosaur-Denier

There are Christians who are against dinosaurs. They have a website. They also have a Facebook group page. As of this writing, the members in the Facebook group page number to 14,500. Not all of them are dinosaur-deniers of course because as Facebook groups go, many people join out of curiosity and other reasons beside sharing a common thing with most of the members.

Several days ago, dinosaur-deniers got a lot of media attention courtesy of a video uploaded on YouTube wherein a female dinosaur-denier claimed that dinosaurs and fossils are hoaxes. The woman's name is Kristen Auclair, a member of the group Christians Against Dinosaurs or CAD.

At first, many people thought that Auclair is a satirist, a performance artist. Many pointed out the fact that she works in an insurance company. How can someone with her education believe that fossils are hoaxes and that dinosaurs never existed.

Well-known atheist Aron Ra who is pretty knowledgeable in the field of paleontology also thought that Auclair is a satirist. But he had to be sure so he contacted her for a one-on-one interview via Google Hangouts. Auclair said yes to the interview. You can watch Ra and Auclair's conversation below. It runs for over an hour so grab a cold one or a bag of popcorn.

If you haven't seen Auclair's dinosaur-debunking video, here it is. As of this writing, it has about 370,000 views. That is not to mention the views of copies of the video that were uploaded on Facebook.

February 24, 2015

Catholic Cardinal In Bangkok, Thailand Says Secularism Is The Face Of The Devil

Sometimes I wonder if religious folks who trample on the concept of secularism really understand what it's all about. If you sit down and read a book about secularism, you will understand that it is not an attack on religion or the free exercise thereof. It simply calls for the separation of church and state. Government institutions and people holding public office should not in any way endorse or promote a particular religion.

Whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, or a Buddhist, you are free to believe in a deity and practice religious activities related to your beliefs. Just keep it separate from your duties as a public official. And don't in any way try to impose your faith on others using government institutions and funds.

Still, it's disappointing to regularly come across Church officials who spout their thoughts about secularism and paint it as something evil. Just recently, Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanji of the Catholic Church in Bangkok, Thailand said in an interview that secularism is the face of the devil.

"Secularism is the new way the devil presents himself in the modern world," Cardinal Kriengsak told the Catholic News Agency.

The irony of the Cardinal's statement is the fact that secular countries tend to be more peaceful and more prosperous compared to their religious counterparts. What does this say about the devil? If being peaceful and more developed is the face of the devil then I wouldn't mind him influencing the affairs of my country.
Photo by Mark Anderson via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

February 17, 2015

Juanita Szafranski, A Self-Proclaimed Ultra-Sensitive Psychic Gets Credit For Discovery Of Missing Man

A missing person being found through the help of a psychic. This is a story we encounter too often. I promise you that in another month or two, there will be another story of its kind creeping up your Facebook news feed.

This phenomenon wouldn't be a problem if psychics indeed help in finding missing persons. That they without the shadow of a doubt led the searchers to where the body of the missing person was dumped. Unfortunately, every single report of these stands on very shaky ground. They're just not true.

Last January, a psychic named Juanita Szafranski in New York reportedly helped the family of a missing man in pinpointing where the man can be found. Szafranski calls herself an ultra-sensitive psychic.
Nicolas Cage (right) plays a psychic in the 2007 film Next.
The most perfect response for this report giving Szafranski undue credit came from Sharon Hill of Doubtful News.

In a blog post about the report, Hill wrote, "There has never been a well-documented case of psychic directly finding a missing person or crime victim. Even the best cases are full of holes. You don’t hear about the misses, obviously, but they are eager to take credit for really vague associations they declare as “helping”. Stories such as this one in the media give worried families false hope that so-called psychics have some special sensory powers. They don’t."

Very well said.