The Captain's (B)log

(|): Welcome To The Monkey House :(|)


Yesterday I attended a speaking conference with some good friends of mine, one of whom was competing. I will probably be in on the fall edition so I went to get a feel for the competition, amount of spectators present and to meet people but in the end it was a debate I had with one of the keynote speakers that was most memorable.

Michael’ (as we will call him because that was his real name ๐Ÿ˜€ ) has a Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling or some related branch thereof. He attempted a humorous speech entitled “Welcome To The Monkey House” and, after citing the title of his speech as a book by Kurt Vonnegut, proceeded to explain how animals (giving citations of vampire bats, hippos and wolves… what could go together better than vampire bats, hippos and wolves?) have a moral code, a system for right and wrong and imposed consequences. He referred to all of us in the room as mindless apes and from there jumped to the conclusion (so obvious to him) that we humans derived all sense of right and wrong from the evolutionary whim of the animal kingdom. Here I’d like to make two points.

#1- I’m a Christian. I believe in a Creator and intelligent design and as such I find it quite insulting to insinuate that my great great great great great (ad infinitum) grandma was a self replicating piece of crap. Isn’t that like the worst “Yo Momma” joke of all time?

#2- Isn’t it usually an insulting term to call someone a mindless ape? Now I KNOW that many of you will disagree with the content of this post (it’s the world we live in) but this blogger isn’t afraid of controversy or its repercussions. You guys have class and can debate in a worthwhile, discovering manner. Don’t prove me wrong.

Now, (getting back to my story) I had the opportunity to seek him out afterwards and after tapping him on the shoulder saying (and I quote) “Very intriguing speech and delivery. The only downside is that I disagree with 110% of what you said and the thought process that got you there.”

He humored me and within seconds a friendly conversation had escalated to heated debate. We took it out of the conference room, up the elevator and into the building’s foyer tracking back to the origin of moral law, the contradiction between evolution, Divine creation and the ever-present law of entropy etc. I won’t bore you with the tit for tat details but in the end the argument was reduced to this.

Me: “So you’re saying that no one actually knows how nothing became something?”

Him: “Well, the cellular structure of self replicating amoebas…”

Me (slightly interrupting): “So you have no answer for the beginning? The inception of everything we know?”

Him: “Well no one knows that but if I’m given a choice of A) A beginning to the world involving matter alone versus B) Matter + a divine being, I’m going to choose A every time.”

Me: “So you’re saying the world created itself? You see this wall? You said earlier that you and I could agree that this wall exists. It’s a fact and not an opinion correct?”

Him: “Yes…”

Me: “When you looked at this wall, you didn’t say ‘Oh what a random product of spontaneous molecular combustion! I must report this as the eighth wonder of the world!’ did you?”

Him (laughing): “No, I didn’t.”

Me: “It stands to reason that someone built this wall right? You have a degree, you know how complicated a cell is. Things like a cell and this wall don’t just happen. You’re criticizing faith and yet you don’t even know how ‘the big bang’ started’. It takes every bit as much faith for you to believe what you do as for me to believe what I do. What if you’re wrong? What if my answer to how the world started is more plausible than you drawing a blank? ”

Him (*thinking* and then): “Well it IS a possibility but not one I want to believe.”

Me: “That’s what it comes down to, I’ve made my point and that’s all I can do. Nice talking with ya Michael, gotta run!”

My ride was waiting for me and that was all the time I had but both the conversation and the pondering look on Mike’s face as I left him gave me a satisfaction peculiar to my usual arguments. I wasn’t trying to ‘convert’ him, far from it. I was testing his belief and sharpening my knowledge and communication skills by asking and provoking questions. I always hold to the Dale Carnegie quote that “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Debating always has, and always will be, an adventure and an opportunity to devastate the obvious.

P.S. The day they make a monkey out of me is the day I speed date Betty White, direct a hostile takeover of Timbuktu, stop loving peanut butter and start liking fried eggs.

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32 thoughts on “(|): Welcome To The Monkey House :(|)

  1. mjcache on said:

    Hey Capt. I’m a spiritfilled Christian so I loved this post. You whip those atheists!

  2. Another Christian believer here… well argued, my friend! Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. It’s a chicken and egg question. But I enjoy how you debated with your opponent.

  4. i think im as bit on the fence with this. i have had debates with people who are staunch believers in the big bang theory, but my argument is that there must be something more than that. i mean, if at the start of time there was nothing (absolutely nothing) but then there was a big bang, then there cant have been nothing, can there? what banged? i know this sounds a bit silly, but it just makes me think that something made it. just sayin

  5. Well, some food for thought in that direction. Human nature resists the thought of authority., that someone or something is in charge so most people have to get beyond that first. Recognizing that someone created us and everything means there’s rules to abide by and fallen man doesn’t like that.

    But consider this- The moon is moving farther away from the earth at a rate of 3.8 centimeters per year steady. This means that IF something was created from nothing so many billion years ago it would have been so close as to cause the tides to flood the entire earth not once but twice a day. Also, usually when somethings are thrown or spin away from something, don’t they usually spin the same way? Why then do the sun, the earth and the various planets all spin varying directions? (I have more but I’ll cut down for space sake, thanks btw to megan, leadinglight and mj for your support) You’re a very logical person belle. That’s all anyone can ask for. (I’m going to look into a site that could be very helpful to ya and post the link here inna bit) Thanks for the great comment!

    • well, i aim to please! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • An interesting argument – I do sit on the other side of the fence though. From what I understand, the planets are aligned as they are because gravity and mass make them so… for example, the moon is captured in the earth’s gravity (in orbit), and the effect of our gravity on the moon has caused its spin to slow and align with the earth. To answer your point above, yes, the tides may well have been much stronger in the past – but long before humans were around, and I don’t think the moon was ever close enough to cause the whole earth to flood twice a day (but I may be wrong).

      The universe began with chaos, but structure has been formed through gravity (and time).

      I can kind of see why people don’t want to believe that the whole of this wonderful universe was not created by something with consious thought. It can be hard to get your head around that something that ‘big’ could just happen.

      And you are correct that (as far as I know) nobody knows what was before the big bang, but I personally find the argument compelling (you can probably tell from my tone that yes, I am an athiest).

      Oh, one final point – apes aren’t mindless, whether you believe they were created by God or evolution ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I never said they were mindless ๐Ÿ™‚ I was called that by one of your fellow atheists. If he would have said ‘intelligent ape’ then no offense but I agree with you on the whole mindless thing ๐Ÿ˜›

        Ok so I understand how you can question those various points, a lot of it comes down to interpretation. However, neither you nor Michael have started to explain THE beginning. How can you say I’m wrong when you don’t have a better explanation for the START of life? We base our entire theory on our original premise and yours is based on nothing considering you have no initial premise. Not trying to be harsh, just calling it like I see it.

        • Well, he could argue the same thing right back at ya. Since you haven’t actually explained a beginning as such either, only another step in the chain. Who created God? This of course doesn’t disprove God either (not a point I’m trying to make).

          The Big Bang Theory is NOT about explaining the creation of the universe or doing away with the need for God, it is just based on the observation that a long time ago the universe was small and dense and since then it has expanded (and seems to be continuing to do so).

          The same goes for Evolution, it is not a war on religion. It is simply a theory of how lifeforms have changed over time based on observations.

          If God created the world (and the laws by which it is governed) then surely it is not such a great leap of faith to see these theories as how the universe he has created actually works? They have to work somehow!

          Interested to hear what you think ๐Ÿ™‚

          • I believe in the infallible Word of God and that answers all my questions in and of itself. Science just serves to back it up even more so. (see this link http://www.digisys.net/users/ddalton/creation_vs__evolution.htm) You’re right the BBT is not about creation or doing away with anything since it offers no explanation in this regard. Any religion (which I would argue Atheism is every bit as religious as Christianity, both require faith among other things) is based upon it’s origin and thesis of the beginning of all things. The beginning is something you should refer back to when any other part is questioned, just like the Constitution of the USA. In the case of evolution and the big bang it’s based on nothing. literally nothing, an ethereal void no one knows about.

            Until you or anyone answers the question of how life began further discussion is pointless. Since atheists have no beginning thesis their obvious conclusion is that life on this earth is pointless. You begin with nothing and end with nothing, surprise, surprise. On the other hand if you start with a clear created intent and Dominion Mandate given from the Almighty Himself to be fruitful, multiply, govern and replenish the earth you get a much clearer picture and mission. I cannot bring myself to even comprehend the thought of a pointless life. I would kill myself.

            You say Christianity does not rule out evolution. If you look at that link it points out some very poignant fallacies in your theory but here is the deal: if you believe in the Bible you cannot believe in evolution and you cannot be a Christianif you don’t believe the Bible. Simple. Show where evolution is backed up in the Bible and let’s go from there.

        • I’m not saying you’re definitely wrong – at least on the single point of ‘is there a God?’ – I’m just saying that I see it differently. I don’t see any problem with not knowing how life started… There are scientists that have theories, but I’m not up on conceptual physics enough to argue their points.

          Anyway, it’s the concept of a ‘God’ that made us in his own image seems so constructed to me… I admit that this is more an emotional response than a logical one, but it feels like a ‘story’ made up to explain what couldn’t previously be understood. It is human nature to do that – almost every culture has their own beliefs on how life started.

          Your earlier point about humans rejecting authority seems wrong to me too – humans naturally look for validation. I’m very sorry if I sound dismissive here, I don’t intend to – but it seems to me that God is another way of looking for validation of our own lives.

          • Well all I’m hearing now Ells is personal opinion which I will not try and force you to change but theres no facts, religious or written basis and you’re not wanting to get into science either so thankyou for your opinion! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Also, check this link I just found. It might present you with some more info.

        http://www.digisys.net/users/ddalton/creation_vs__evolution.htm

        • For some reason, it wouldn’t let me reply above….

          Anyway, yes – I admit that my last comment was personal opinion.

          I genuinely could get into the science and reasons why I’ve come to that opinion, but it seems irrelevent as clearly neither of us is going to change our minds.

          It’s not that I can’t defend my viewpoint, it’s just that I feel like at this point the only thing to do is agree to disagree and be friends anyway.

  6. I was weighing up the benefits of posting a response for seriously half an hour. I can already wager we are both the sort of person who has a retort for everything, especially when it challenges our beliefs. That and I don’t want to be offensive to you with how I reconcilled evolution as a Christian.

    Basically I was an anthropology student at Uni. I adore archaeology and evolution is a huge part of that when you are an undergraduate. There were plenty of openly Christian people in the class and I’ve always been agnostic about evolution. My pastor and I came up with a good way to think about this without necessarily accepting it. I’m all for God creating evolution – or at least the idea of it. I reckon the ability to come up with such a crazy scheme shows the awesome power of God. I can see how the idea of apes would offend you. I try not to look at any creature as being second class even if people were created to be their master.

    The only thing I can’t agree with is that people are inherently against authority and it’s because I spent a semester arguing (debating -.-) this point. If we were I don’t think we’d have come together to form organised communities. Even family groups wouldn’t make sense as the children would always be opposing the authority of their parents.

    Otherwise I really appreciate your point of view. It’s extremely brave of you to post something like this in a situation where troll can write back asking you how magnets work! I’m glad you are passionate about what you believe, I just caution you against using that passion to alienate people.

  7. Well articulated post! We just had a long discussion about evolution at my Christian small group and what we tell folks that believe it. I’m glad to meet a Christian not afraid of starting the conversation :).
    Awesome blog btw. K

  8. Rue. Thank you so much for sharing this comment. Just for future reference, feel no hesitancy expressing your own views on anything ever on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ I thoroughly enjoy and am prepared for it. Retorts can go on forever, you are correct unless thereโ€™s more to it than just a retort. (Also as a side point: the ape comparison was more comedic to me than enraging, I was just trying to make a point).
    See here’s the deal. I’m not about expressing my VIEWS on everything with no backup. That’s not what I did with the Atheist and that’s not how you debate. I have one question for you: You claim to be Christian and I don’t doubt that, you’re doing your best, but do all of your views come based on the Bible? Yes or no ๐Ÿ™‚
    I understand your point on authority. Perhaps i should clarify. Man’s way of government will always swing between anarchy (mob rule, rebellion from authority French Revolution style) and tyranny (dictatorship of one or many). It’s only when God’s government is put in place that true balance becomes evident. Man does have a natural propensity for SOME kind of government but at the same time no one wants to be told what to do in their soul of souls. That was my point. (And btw children inherently do challenge the authority of their parents, I’m the oldest of 11 I should know).
    Thanks for the kudos. I am passionate and that will never change but as strongly as I phrase things I’m not condemning (and this is to everyone>) You can always talk to me, I’m always open and I will always listen (you may have to bear with a response though).

  9. (@mybusinessaddiction) Thanks very much… K? Is that your name? Nope that kind of fear has never been a problem for me. Feel free to look around, there’s more than one dimension to the blog that’s for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I just wanted to make a quick comment that this is absolutely wonderful. Thank you for your posts but this is by far the best. When you use your wit to come up with something inspiring and has a (purposeful) point it’s fantastic. I love how you stand up for what you believe in, you’re a great speaker and I wish I could have witnessed this conversation. Keep it up ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Its A Design on said:

    Great blog Josiah. You did a fine job of pointing out to him the undeniable fact that essentially is ‘Where there is a design, there is a designer”. I was there at the speech contest and heard the speech myself. Michael was reaching from the very beginning and had some very poor examples, if they can be considered that at all, of moral righteousness in animals.

    I was insulted as well with the “we all descended from apes” which takes more faith to believe i than the Christian faith. Evolution is a religion and has many, many flaws. The goal of evolution is to explain away God and therefore have no one to answer to. Your right is your right and my right is my right.

    To think that any explosion could ever create as opposed to what is witnessed every time one occurs, which is destruction, is absurd. To say that we evolved when there is absolutely nothing in the fossil record of any transitional skeleton is blind stupidity. To look at the complexity of life in all its varied forms and say it all by chance is pure ignorance. Science does not explain God away but proves God exists.

    Interestingly enough the Bible let’s us know that all men are without excuse when it comes to seeing God exists as we read in Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world Godโ€™s invisible qualitiesโ€”his eternal power and divine natureโ€”have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    We must, in love, be willing to tackle the lie of evolution as God desires no man to perish but that all come to the saving knowledge of Him!

  12. I like your argument that the BBT requires as much faith as ID. I think what this really comes down to is what people WANT to believe and HOPE is true (just like you quoted him).

    You say that you find the idea of evolution insulting. Do you think this revulsion guides your opinion as much as your judgement?

    The God, Evolution/Big Bang theories surely do not have to be mutually exclusive? Could evolution be God refining his designs?

    • See that’s what some people have told me “I can’t talk to you because you believe that Christianity is diametrically opposed to evolution and I believe in both.” Here’s the deal.. I believe in the infallibility of the Bible and it says the earth was made in seven days and seven nights. If you’re a Christian that doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

      As for the revulsion shaping my opinions, absolutely not. I was a Christian long before I understood the whole evolutionary scheme. Also, as Christians, we should be opposed to evolution as a widespread theory God doesn’t exist. God has judged people for much less than assuming and proclaiming man’s triumph over His fictional existence.

  13. Pingback: … Cheerful aka “The God Debate and the internets” | Online being…

  14. Atheism is based on science right. The problem with this whole situation is that you guys are debating the “start from nothing” dilemma. Ok…here you go. Science doesn’t really acknowledge the exsitence of NOTHING!
    Nothing is not a term, low on masse, low in density, low intemperature etc etc, but it goes lower then that, the concept of “nothing” doesnt exist.
    philosophy, yes, language, yes, science? No!
    You want something to mess with your head more then the concept of nothing? This is based on the Uncertainty Principle, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrodingers_cat

    The way I see it, our minds are too feeble to grasp these things, we know dark matter exists, we just havent gotten to see and prove it. yet!

    Trying to understand the concept of nothing is scientifically null. There was always soemthing there, we just haven’t gone far back to see yet, but we damn well will in around 5 years.

    I’m sorry, but I have a hard time iving with the argument of “Where there is a design, there is a designer”. So whom designed the designer? The same (albiet pointless) argument crops up too. Where did god come from?
    I’m all for a higher power, believe me, it would explain a lot, but I’m afraid my heart cannot accept blindly believing in something.

    Without sounding rude too, this article (http://www.digisys.net/users/ddalton/creation_vs__evolution.htm) is…well…just look at the language used: heavy gravity? What is that?
    What does a smoothed out galaxy mean? what is the argument here?
    Jupiter, saturn and uranus ARE cold.

    “The magnetic field around the earth is getting weaker. Which means it used to be stronger.

    So…

    If we go back millions of years, the magnetic field would have been too strong to support life.”

    EH?
    What does that even mean? besides, the earth is over 3billion years old.

    Basing arguments with theories like the Inverse square law while there is a lack of basic understanding of core principles behind the theories, well, I’m sorry…thats just weak. it’s simply an unsubstantiated argument.
    I’m no Physicist, but that page is laughable.

    I don’t mean to be rude or disregard your argument, but..I feel strongly about this subject and will stand my ground.

  15. So there was never nothing? Thats what ur saying? Or there wont be till 5 years from now when some scientist can come up with an argument confusing enough to believe?

    Also you are wrong. SCIENTISTS say there never was nothing. Other scientists say there was. Your statement is comparative to saying people are Christians. It isn’t universally applicable.

    The design having a designer argument is so friggin simple. The only explanation to both your dilemna and mine is a supernatural being outside of our finite conciousness. Someone able to design such an intricate universe. Someone omnipotent and all present withno beginning or end. Only within such a Being’s design can something finite exist.

    You said blindly believing and while similar in some ways, faith is what it takes to be a Christian and believe in something our ears cannot hear and our eyes cannot see. It’s pointless without it and you wont get to the place you need to be. I dont expect u too.

    As far as gravity goes it again is SO simple it is laughable you can’t understand it. YOU’RE going on the assumption that we both believe the earth is billions of years old. I completely disagree. I’d say closer to 6 thousand. Disproving your billions of years is this: gravity is slowly weakening at a steady rate per year, also the moon is slowly moving further away. This means that they used to be CLOSER. Billions of years ago the earth wouldn’t have been suitable for many of the ridiculous notions you evolutionists have. Honestly you’re right, if you don’t have faith, if you don’t personally have a desire to believe anything, atheism, Christianity, Islam or what have you… you wont be able to, My point is that you are putting your faith in becoming a worthless piece of crap when you die. I have a lil somethin more to look forward to. (even if there was 100% conclusive factual evidence for evolution (an impossibility) why would i want to believe something so depressing??? It helps that my belief is true but still…)

  16. ok. great post. hahaha wow. I am feeling a bit odd after reading that huge list of huge words of comments. oh well!

  17. fefedefefessle on said:

    I hate to say it, but you’ve just dredge up all the old arguments that have already been used.
    No, we don’t know how the world started, but neither does religion. they made up a word for how god was made (begotten), and claimed that because this being could think himself into existence, then he must be able to control it.
    Your speech is the product of ignorance of the church’s history. Religion, in its purest form, IS science.

    Religion was invented to explain the world we live in. as we got smarter, we realised that some of what we believed in was wrong. so, we updated religion. this continued right up until about 4000 years ago, when religion was written so it could not be faulted. those who found fault in it were considered heathens and (usually) massacred. if you don’t believe me, watch the movie Angels and Demons, or read about the illuminati. Hell, or even play the game assassins creed, in which your so called quest to save religion is, IRL history, an attempt to stop people making a hub of peaceful protesters to non Muslim beliefs.

    and now, with religion parted from its original purpose of explaining the world, people like you spring up to defend myths and old stories.
    in the words of dara o’brien “okay, science doesn’t know everything. but that doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy-tales you like!”

    you said you wanted controversy, well, you got it.
    p.s. I used to be a devout Christian, then turned atheist because Christianity is about as foolish as trusting general grievous with your light-sabre. he’ll steal that sh_t and run away…

  18. fefedefefessle on said:

    because this needs to be said to have some balance,
    think back, before you were alive.
    why do you think religion started?

    was it because of a magical apparition?
    that’s called going delusional.

    did it start because people needed to explain the things around them?
    that’s called science.

    was it because people had to define morality?
    that’s called a conscience (developed through evolution).

    was it so some-one could spread the word of god and appoint himself the ruler of everything?
    that’s called greed.

    was it because some 4 billion year old ape had some homework due in so he fabricated the idea of a divine creator to pass his exam?
    that’s called school (which all religious people need to go back to.)

    give me something that doesn’t fall into one of the above categories and I’ll drop my sinful atheist ways and start doing moral things. like hate gays, massacre innocents in the name of god, keep and sell slaves, set fire to all of my money, drag my ass to a hollow building once a week, wait for 50 years to see some fake divine spirit in my toast, allow rape and theft to occur so long as my palms are well greased.

    these are all things you’re great religious leaders did in the name of their God.
    it makes me sick that in a world where religion does more harm then good, that people would still blindly follow it.

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