Thursday 9 October 2008

The stupidest prize ever.

I'd never heard of Adnan Oktar before today. He's obviously heard of James Randi, though, as he's offering a prize of a quite staggering 4.4 trillion pounds "to anyone who produces a single intermediate-form fossil demonstrating evolution."

But this is nonsense. Thousands of such fossils have already been found, including fossils of creatures more human than chimpanzees and more chimp-like than humans. But no doubt Oktar is defining the word "intermediate" on his own terms, to mean something quite different to what it says in the dictionary. In other words, what he'll give you the money for is a fossil that changes his mind. And he'll never change his mind, because he has faith.

Besides, I don't get it. If you're religious, what, exactly, is wrong with the "God put the dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith" explanation? That's the whole point of faith: it doesn't depend on evidence. And the whole point of an omnipotent being who created the universe is that, if they exist, their existence explains everything — even things that might appear to be proof of their non-existence. When that's what you believe in, regardless of whether you understand the fossil record, why challenge it? Really, what's the point?

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