Tuesday, July 16, 2013

on evolution


Creation.com challenges evolution by asking 15 questions. These questions are supposed to be impossible for evolution theory to answer, and are therefore posited as “gotcha” rhetoric. However, most of them are easily answerable with a basic understanding of evolution, or are unanswerable because the begin with false assumptions and therefore hold no inherently valid question. The questions are listed below, followed by answers.


Evolutionist Professor Paul Davies admitted, “Nobody  knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cell.” Andrew Knoll, professor of biology, Harvard, said, “we don’t really know how life originated on this planet”. A minimal cell
needs several hundred proteins. Even if every atom in the universe were an experiment with all the correct amino acids present for every possible molecular vibration in the supposed evolutionary age of the universe, not even one average-sized functional protein would form. So  how did life with hundreds of proteins originate just by chemistry without intelligent design?

1A. This is called abiogenesis. It’s actually different than evolution, as evolution theorizes on how organisms evolve over time--not how life was created in the first place. It does not bode well for your argument against evolution when you begin with questions that don’t involve evolution.

While it is unlikely we will ever know the exact circumstances under which Earth’s abiogenesis was created, we can theorize some very plausible conditions that have been proven to create the building blocks of life.

Perhaps the most famous experiment in this field was the Miller-Urey experiment, in which inorganic compounds (water, methane, amonia, and hydrogen) were allowed to mix with each other and an some electrical conductivity. Given primordial Earth’s composition and atmosphere, these conditions would have been present. The result was as they hoped: a significant number of amino acids--the very sort responsible for building proteins--were formed... enough to prove that Earth’s primordial “soup” easily contained the right conditions to create enough proteins for single- and later multi-cellular organisms.

For additional research that proves the possibility of abiogenesis, please see:
“Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions.” By  Matthew W. Powner, Beatrice Gerland & John D. Sutherland. Nature, Vol. 460, May 13, 2009.
“Systems chemistry on early Earth.” By Jack W. Szostak. Nature, Vol. 460, May 13, 2009

The code is a sophisticated language system with letters and words where the meaning of the words is unrelated to the chemical properties of the letters—just as the information on this page is not a product of the chemical properties of the ink (or pixels on a screen). What other coding system has existed without intelligent design? How did the DNA coding system arise without it being created?
2A. This is classic logical fallacy. In fact, it’s one of the most famous creationist fallacies, slight repackaged. This is called the “Watchmaker” argument, and it attempts to argue that complex things (or what we subjectively refer to as complex) could not have formed on their own. The reason this is fallacious is because it presents no true argument, using one’s ignorance as a basis for assuming there must be magic at work.
It also uses a backwards analogy: in this case, you are relating DNA to a coding structure, saying that since our computer codes are artificially created, DNA codes must also be. This is equally fallacious, as you are creating an abstract connection between these things that carries no inherent weight. By this reasoning, I could make the following argument: DNA is a type of blueprint, and since our blueprints are on paper, DNA must contain paper. Obviously, this is a false statement, as we know what compounds DNA comprises. However, as scientific research continues, we will gradually come to understand the other ways in which DNA is/was formed.  

How could such errors create 3 billion letters of DNA information to change a microbe into a microbiologist? There is information for how to make proteins and also for controlling their use—much like a cookbook contains the ingredients as well as the instructions for how and when to use them. One without the other is useless. See creation.com/meta-information. Mutations are known for their destructive effects, including over 1,000 human diseases such as hemophilia. Rarely are they even helpful. But how can scrambling existing DNA information create a new biochemical pathway or nano-machines with many components, to make ‘goo-to-you’ evolution possible? E.g., How did a 32-component rotary motor like ATP synthase (which produces the energy currency, ATP, for all life), or robots like kinesin (a ‘postman’ delivering parcels inside cells) originate?
3A. First, let’s address a fundamental misconception in this question. Whether accidentally ignorant of how DNA works, or whether you are being purposely misleading, it’s necessary to clarify what “3 billion letters of DNA” means:
- There are 3 billion base-pair sequences in the human genome.
- These sequences, individually, are responsible for different traits. HOWEVER:
- They are called “pairs” and “sequences” because they are not all unique, individual letters.
- A base pair is a sequence of only 4 different nucleotides: A, T, C, G, in varying permutations.   
Thus, if you are attempting to present DNA as 3 billion different letters, all independently formed and extant, you are wrong. It is far more reasonable (and correct!) to view the human genome as a very long sequence of a few chemicals. Our complexity comes not from the quantity of our parts, but the quantity of ways in which they are arranged.

Now, moving past your initial error, the answer to how mutations result in organic variety is the most basic, fundamental fact of evolution. I won’t go into the entirety of Darwin’s work, but suffice to say “survival of the fittest” is a very fitting term.


By definition it is a selective process (selecting from already existing information), so is not a creative process. It might explain the survival of the fittest (why certain genes benefit creatures more in certain environments), but not the arrival of the fittest (where the genes and creatures came from in the first place). The death of individuals not adapted to an environment and the survival of those that are suited does not explain the origin of the traits that make an organism adapted to an environment. E.g., how do minor back-and-forth variations in finch beaks explain the origin of beaks or finches? How does natural selection explain goo-to-you evolution?

4A. Your question stems from a basic misunderstanding of what evolution is. This is explained in the first question, but I will repeat myself: Natural Selection is evolution. Abiogenesis is not evolution. Therevore, evolution is taught as evolution. Natural selection explains how animals adapt to their environments over time, thus “evolving.”

It is also worth noting that natural selection is not recognized by all creationists. Perhaps many creationists do recognize it, but do not discount what other creationists believe. They, at least, are fully committed to their lore.


Every pathway and nano-machine requires multiple protein/enzyme components to work. How did lucky accidents create even one of the components, let alone 10 or 20 or 30+ at the same time, often in a necessary programmed sequence? Evolutionary biochemist Franklin Harold wrote, “we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”

5A. It’s true that Charles Darwin did not have a full understanding of cellular microbiology. This is likely due to the time period in which he lived. However, if you are willing to accept scientific accounts after the 1800s, there is much proof of evolution on a microbiotic scale. The fact that humans evolve tolerances and immunities to drugs and diseases is the very essence of evolution; the fact that African Americans are more likely to have sickle cell anemia (as being predisposed to it once proved evolutionarily advantageous against the African spread of malaria) is a prime example of evolution from a microbiological perspective.

Of course, not every accident is “lucky.” In fact, most mutations are either harmful or negligible in the survival of a species. However, if something is harmful, that mutation will not live long to be passed on to another generation, while the beneficial ones will. Add 3.5 billion years, and you have a long time for beneficial traits to thrive and become common. Once again, this is a basic tenant of evolution that is either being overlooked or ignored.


Richard Dawkins wrote, “biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.” Francis Crick, the codiscoverer of the double helixstructure of DNA, wrote, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” The problem for evolutionists is that living things show too much design. Who objects when an archaeologist says that pottery points to human design? Yet if someone attributes the design in living things to a designer, that is not acceptable. Why should science be restricted to naturalistic causes rather than logical causes?

6A. This is, once again, the Watchmaker argument. It is, once again, fallacious. Complexity does not necessarily imply intelligent design, no matter how many complex man-made things you can name. If this logic is not apparent to you, here’s a good break-down of it, complete with comics:


How did cells adapted to individual survival ‘learn’ to cooperate and specialize (including undergoing programmed cell death) to create complex plants and animals?

7A. Simply put, single-celled organisms that worked together had better survival rates. It was not a conscious decision on their part, obviously. Cells don’t “learn” the way we do; they just survive. And those whose habits (however random and incidental they may have been) increased their survival are the ones who thrives and thus continued to spawn. This is survival-of-the-fittest on a very basic, cellular level. If you’re actually interested in the science and proof behind it, do some research:

Velicer, G. J. and Y. N. Yu. 2003. "Evolution of novel cooperative swarming in the bacterium Myxococcus xanthus." Nature, 425, 75-78.
Rainey, Paul B. and Katrina Rainey. 2003. Evolution of cooperation and conflict in experimental bacterial populations. Nature 425: 72-74.
King, Nicole, Christopher T. Hittinger and Sean B. Carroll. 2003. Evolution of key cell signaling and adhesion protein families predates animal origins.Science 301: 361-363.


8A. I’m not an expert on the origins of sex, so I’ll defer to someone who is. This is what good students, thinkers, and citizens do: when they don’t know something, they look it up. They shouldn’t use their ignorance as a claim that something is unanswerable.

Walt Brown, 1995, writes: “The variety of life cycles is very great. It is not simply a matter of being sexual or asexual. There are many intermediate stages. A gradual origin, with each step favored by natural selection, is possible (Kondrashov 1997). The earliest steps involve single-celled organisms exchanging genetic information; they need not be distinct sexes. Males and females most emphatically would not evolve independently. Sex, by definition, depends on both male and female acting together. As sex evolved, there would have been some incompatibilities causing sterility (just as there are today), but these would affect individuals, not whole populations, and the genes that cause such incompatibility would rapidly be selected against.

Many hypotheses have been proposed for the evolutionary advantage of sex (Barton and Charlesworth 1998). There is good experimental support for some of these, including resistance to deleterious mutation load (Davies et al. 1999; Paland and Lynch 2006) and more rapid adaptation in a rapidly changing environment, especially to acquire resistance to parasites (Sá Martins 2000).”

-- Brown, Walt, 1995. In the Beginning: Compelling evidence for creation and the Flood. Phoenix, AZ: Center for Scientific Creation, pp. 14-15.


Darwin noted the problem and it still remains. The evolutionary family trees in textbooks are based on imagination, not fossil evidence. Famous Harvard paleontologist (and evolutionist), Stephen Jay Gould, wrote, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology”. Other evolutionist fossil experts also admit the problem.

9A. Every fossil is a transitional fossil. Every organism that has ever existed represents a distinct stage of that species’ (or genus’, or kingdom’s) evolution. We have found fossil of our not-so-distant ancestors, as well as species that were an off-shoot but closely branched to our own. Likewise, dinosaur fossils are the transition between reptiles are birds. It seems every time a new species is discovered, creationists want to see a new fossil linking it to another species. But what they fail to realize is that these fossils are, themselves, transitional. By definition, all organisms are always evolving--albeit gradually and, within our lifetimes, not very noticeably. Regardless, each new fossil shows the links between the characters of divergent species. To ignore the links between each species and those in between is to ignore reality.


Professor Gould wrote, “the maintenance of stability within species must be considered as a major evolutionary problem.”

10A. Interesting that you should quote Gould, as he later developed a theory that addressed this. Ironically, the theory is not universally accepted in the scientific community, which leads one to wonder how strong a scientist Gould was in the first place.

Still, the answer is simple: Not all species will definitively evolve into new ones within a given period of time. Remember: evolution is a product of environment and survival. If a species is surviving well in its environment and thriving, mutations will not have as a dramatic impact on its survival rate. Humans, for example, have many methods in place to recover from negative mutations, and will not necessarily pass on more beneficial mutations as our survival rate overall is pretty great. Similarly, earthworms have found a very comfortable niche in their biosphere(s). Still, evolution is abound and ever-present. We, as a species, will certainly look different in a millennium from now, just as we’ve changed from humans a millennium ago. Maybe not greatly, but we’ve changed.


If everything evolved, and we invented God, as per evolutionary teaching, what purpose or meaning is there to human life? Should students be learning nihilism (life is meaningless) in science classes?

11A. This presents no case for or against evolution, so I’m not sure why it’s included on this list. This seems more like a personal, existential dilemma. If the meaning in your life was solely and entirely derived by religion, then I can see why you’d be upset. I’m sorry for your imaginary loss.


Evolutionists often use flexible story-telling to ‘explain’ observations contrary to evolutionary theory. NAS (USA) member Dr Philip Skell wrote, “Darwinian explanations for such things are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive—except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed—except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.”

12A. The fact that evolution is complicated does not mean it is wrong or falsifiable. It doesn’t even make it “supple”; it just makes it complex. These are not exceptions to rules; these ARE the rules, with different applications and outcomes, depending on contextual factors. Aggression may be a beneficial trait in one species at one time in one geographic location, while being negative when any/all of those factors are differentiated.

If I described our planet as “a giant sphere of rock in space, orbiting a star,” you might agree that those distinctions are true. But upon learning that Jupiter is not made of rock, but of gas, would you then proclaim, “Aha! Jupiter’s a planet and it’s not made of rock! Planets don’t exist!”? Of course not. It’s simply a new factor and distinction to broaden our understanding of planets. Science is complicated. But that doesn’t mean we should throw our hands up in the air and pretend it must be wrong.

Besides, you should not bring up the notion of hypocritical, malleable, interpretable story-telling if you want to argue for creationism.


Dr Marc Kirschner, chair of the Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, stated: “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.” Dr Skell wrote, “It is our knowledge of how these organisms actually operate, not speculations about how they may have arisen millions of years ago, that is essential to doctors, veterinarians, farmers ….” Evolution actually hinders medical discovery. Then why do schools and universities teach evolution so dogmatically, stealing time from experimental biology that so benefits humankind?

13A. This is not a logical question. Evolution is a scientific theory, but not an entire field of science unto itself like biology is. Granted, you can look at biology, chemistry, and physiology from an evolutionary standpoint, and there are subsets of these sciences that pertain to evolution. However, one theory will not produce infinite breakthroughs, as it’s a breakthrough unto itself.

You are also creating a strawman argument by claiming evolution is not involved with scientific discoveries. It is. All the time. Would you like me to link to all of them, or can we just accept that this statement is a false assumption out of ignorance?


You cannot do experiments, or even observe what happened, in the past. Asked if evolution has been observed, Richard Dawkins said, “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”

14A. Evolution has happened, it is happening, and will continue to happen. We test it based on observing history and comparing it with what we know about the present. These are not arbitrary conjectures that are unscientific in nature; these are facts that are demonstrable. I’m sorry if your idea of science requires an immediately visible test tube reaction, but there are many forms of science and scientific theory. This is one of them.


15A. Just because you may not understand, have the patience for, or want to hear the evidence does not mean it is lacking. This question is absurdly fallacious, as it makes an outright false claim (that evolution lacks evidence and is religious), then questions why. This is called a straw man fallacy. In the spirit of mutual respect, I’ll retort with a similarly logical question:

Why is someone who did not even graduate high school spending his time writing questions about evolution?   

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

on falsifiability

There are lots of things that I believe in. 

I believe in the planet Mars. I believe in Morgan Freeman. I believe in the yucca plant. Even though I have not been to Mars, I have not met Morgan Freeman, and I have not seen a yucca plant, I believe in these things because there is a wealth of evidence for them. I could go into the evidence specifically, but I don't want to waste my time trying to prove something that most likely everyone can already agree upon.

The reason I bring up these examples is to show that I have belief. I can put my faith in the certain existence of many things, provided there is enough indisputable, reliable, tangible, corroborative evidence for them. Therefore, I have difficulty believing in things that lack this sort of evidence and stand upon claims that are disputable, unreliable, intangible, and uncorroborated.

Basically, what we're talking about here is the burden of proof. In short: a burden of proof (at least as far as philosophy and theology are concerned) demands that in order for an idea to be adopted as logical and sensible, the person claiming that idea must prove it to be logical and sensible. It is unreasonable to present an idea and then demand that others disprove it, not having adequately proven it in the first place.      

And that's really the point of this post. It's a common theist practice to claim that the notion of God's existence cannot be disproved, and use that as rhetorical leverage. I submit the following video as just one of many examples: 

And there you have it. Can you disprove God? Well, no, not really. It's rather difficult to disprove something that cannot be proven in the first place. The common attributes of a monotheistic god involve existing on a level outside of human perception and not making his presence known in modern history. That's sort of religion's focal point: having complete, unmitigated faith despite a lack of tangible, realistic evidence.

If any one religion had compelling enough evidence, there would not be so many religions (or sects, for that matter) and not nearly as many atheists. Therefore, the burden of proof has never been fulfilled by theists. How can an atheist--or, really, why should an atheist--spend his time trying to disprove something that is presented as unfalsifiable? We'd be sent on a juvenile wild goose chase; cue Benny Hill music.

Paraphrased theistic rhetoric: 

I believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing being who created the universe. He is a conscious entity who has done the following things [insert biblical text here]. We cannot perceive him, however, and the only personal proof of his existence is witnessed after death. Since you cannot disprove such an entity, that is further reasoning for His existence.

I'm sure that my wording sounds like condescension or at least simplification, but that's the crux of the argument for a god, and it's silly. There's really no better word for it: it's silly. This is the sort of game 5-year-olds play when they want to win an argument through annoyance: 

"You can't prove that I ate the cookies. You just think I did."
"Well, if you didn't eat them, then who did?" 
"A monster." 
"A monster? Well, where is he now?"
"He's invisible."

And despite all evidence to the contrary, as long as a theory can't be disproved, children and theists will think it reasonable.  

Besides, mountains of contradictions and falsifications have arisen from the bible, and yet somehow that is not enough to disprove its validity overall. We can say, with near certainty, that the following tenets of Judeo-Christianity are wrong: 

  • The planet was created in seven days.
  • Human beings have existed since the beginning of our planet. 
  • The Earth is only a few thousand years old. 
  • The Earth doesn't move.
  • All stars were created at the same time. 
  • The solar system is geocentric.
... and we're not even out of Genesis yet. But (aside from biblical literalists, who will still somehow assert these things) Christians will simply dismiss these ideas as outdated or even metaphorical, and continue on to say how God Himself cannot be disproved. Even when disproving the validity of the primary textual source for a deity, its followers will still hold firm to the belief in said deity. Why? 

Because it cannot be disproved. 

In that case, I have an invisible-monster-catching-net to sell you for 500 dollars. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

on ralucric

I've never been a particularly gullible man. I've always tried to examine the world with a critical eye and look at all sides of an equation. I've even been called cynical from time to time. So when I hold firm to a belief, you must trust me when I say there's evidence to back up my claim.

With this in mind, let me tell you about an eye-opening experience I've had. In fact, it changed my entire world view. Go ahead, laugh at my sentimentality, but once you understand what I've come to accept as truth, you'll be standing right beside me on this issue.

Specifically, let me tell you about Ralucric. Ralucric is a planet in the galaxy of Gninosaer, many lightyears away from us, in a section of the galaxy still undiscovered by our technologies. You may question how I know of this place, and in time I will impart this knoweldge. What you must first know, before all else, is that Ralucric is a wonderful place. It has a topography not unlike our own, and its inhabitants are not dissimilar in appearance. By all initial accounts, one might believe that Earth and Ralucric were one in the same. But upon closer investigation, it becomes apparent that the Ralucric people live a much happier, more perfect, life. Suffering and dishonesty are absent from this world; death is not feared so much as embraced, though not morbidly so; there is no competition beyond that of friendly sport; education and progress reign supreme. I could continue with the goings on of this place, but I believe you already understand just how superior Ralucric is.

If this seems doubtful to you, as it once did to me, grant me one more incredulous detail before I prove my claims. Although this planet is unimaginably far from our own (I reiterate: it is empirically unknown to our best astronomers), it is not wholly absent from our lives. In fact, it is my understanding that nearly a third of our population visits this place on a daily basis. Our worlds are so closely connected in spirit (if I may use such an abstract term), that we are able to project ourselves there as we sleep. In short, a pleasant dream is likely the result of one's consciousness landing on the planet of Ralucric, and experiencing the pleasantries therein. It is, after all, a very similar planet to our own.

But enough of my fawning. I'm sure, at this point, you are simply itching for how I've come to know this place and my proof of its existence. In the interest of brevity, I will grant you just that.

Everything I've come to understand of Ralucric is explained in great detail within a book. This book was penned over many years by a collection of people who witnessed (in their sleep, of course) the interactions between humans and the Ralucric people. While I certainly cannot recount everything in this book, I will gladly cite its text as necessary to underscore my points. Before you object, please allow me to address the questions I also had at first, and frequently hear from skeptics:

How can you trust a book without knowing its authors?

How do we trust any book, or any source for that matter, without personal affiliation? When the evidence is sensible enough, we must trust that the author is not making blind claims. This book is one of the oldest texts in our history, and as such, must be treated as a historical document. It is not written as a novel or piece of fiction, and in the absence of any contradictory texts of similar origin, we are left to trust this book.

What actual proof is there of Ralucric?

It's impossible to physically prove something that is physically unobservable. But your body does not require proof. It is your consciousness that seeks "proof," and it is our consciousness that visits this place. If you needs to climb aboard a space vessel and step foot on Ralucric before accepting its existence, there are many celestial bodies you should start discounting.

Besides, the book answers our doubts in chapter 4, sentence 17: Believe in Ralucric, for it is written by those who know it best - those who have no doubts of their own.

So I should believe in Ralucric because the book says so, and I should believe the book because the book says so?

No. You should believe in Ralucric because the book explains it very clearly, and the book was written by people who understood Ralucric very well.

And what happens if I still don't believe?

You go on living your life as you have been: in the dark. But if you reject the book and the idea of Ralucric, you probably won't get to visit it at night. Therefore, you'll have nightmares as long as you live. The book explains this pretty obviously in chapter 6, sentence 225: If you do not believe in such a place as Ralucric, it shall be further from your heart and harder to visit in slumber. On the other hand, if you accept this place, you'll be able to go more often and have wonderful dreams.

So you only have good dreams, and now I will only have bad ones?

Not necessarily. It's a fact that humans have many more dreams than they remember each night. I will have more good dreams than bad, and vice versa for a nonbeliever, but what I remember may not accurately reflect this.

I guess that doesn't leave me much of an option. I should start believing in Ralucric.

Wonderful to have you aboard. If you'd like to join our nightly collective slumber, it's only a suggested donation of $20 per night.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

on options

Let's play a game. 

I will give an overview of a religious icon--life events, associations, consequences--and you can try and guess whom I'm referring to. I'll try and give details that may sound familiar to you. Ready?

Icon A:

This bearded religious figure is often associated with being a shepherd. Although loved and revered after his death, many of his contemporaries were jealous and conspired against him. As a result, he was mutilated, tortured, and killed. Thankfully, by the grace of divinity, he was resurrected. After resurrection, he joined the heavens and remained as a symbol of divinity. He is assumed to pass judgment over his people and allow them entry into heaven, reject them and send them to eternal torture, or an in-between place where they must atone before entering heaven. It is also worth noting that there is a woman in this story who was supernaturally impregnated with the son of a god, and was thus viewed as a symbol of maternity, nurturing, and love.

Icon B: 

Like Icon A, this figure is bearded and robed, but is from a different culture. He was born of a virgin mortal woman who was made pregnant by the mightiest of gods. After dying, he was reincarnated by his father, the god. He is often associated with miracles and wine, notably when he turned water into wine for his followers. After claiming to be a god (or, at least, the son of one), he was put on trial before the state, as led by the state's ruler (a certain someone beginning with the letter "P"). After his death, he gained a devout following that introduced a sort of monotheism to a previously polytheistic culture.

Icon C: 

This figure was born quite unnaturally, without any human conception, through the intervention of a god. He was born out in the wild, and his birth was attended by shepherds. His birthday is celebrated on December 25th. He became known as a symbol of redemption, able to absolve humanity of sins. The practice of baptism became associated with him, as a way of cleansing one's soul and being reborn. After taking part in a symbolic death, he ascended to heaven. Prior his ascent, he had a divine meal with his closest peers, composed of bread, meat, water, and wine - this scene is the most common artistic depiction of him.

Unsurprisingly, many scholars claim that these religious icons influenced the Christian mythos. After all, there are certainly some common threads between these figures and Jesus Christ. I will freely admit there are discrepancies and, besides, some themes are simply commonplace among all religions. However, my intent is not to claim that Christianity is a "knock off" religion or that it is completely unoriginal. 

Instead, I simply want to note that there are religions with strikingly similar ideals, symbols, figures, and practices. With this in mind, I'd like to posit a question: 

Why Christianity? Why Judaism? Why Islam? Why Hinduism? 

Why are any of these religions more credible and believable in today's world than, say, Zeus and his Olympian contemporaries? Why has Egypt abandoned Ra? Why has the prehistoric practice of animal worship not caught on? At least animals can be seen and undisputed. We've gone from worshiping real creatures, to worshiping gods that represent real things and walk among us, to worshiping an abstract god who relies entirely upon our faith of him. It seems that the most popular and convincing religions are the ones that require the greatest suspension of disbelief.

So again, I ask: What makes one religion more believable than another? If aliens visited our planet and studied all of our religions from the dawn of man, what could they possibly see in one that another does not offer? Similarly, if a devout Christian of today were born into a religious family in third century India, would s/he not be just as devout toward Vishnu?  No religion has more intrinsic credence than any other. This includes the Church of Latter Day Saints and Scientology, by the way.

It also includes our noodly friend watching over us:

For posterity, I ask one final time: Why should Jesus Christ, or any religious figure, be chosen over the multitude of figures that preceded him? All religions have "historical texts." All religions include supernatural events that allegedly occurred. All religions have followers who unwaveringly believe that they are right and others are wrong. If history is any indication, then there will eventually be a new religion that somehow claims all other religions of the previous 2 million years were wrong.  

I would encourage any religious folk to ask themselves why they believe in their god or gods. Do they believe because they've made an honest and thorough investigation of all religions, and find theirs to be the most believable? Or is it simply how they were raised?