Pharyngula

There were Muslims lurking about here at the Dublin conference, and I spent a few minutes talking to them and grabbing some of their literature. I can tell you this: don’t bother. They were boring and utterly unoriginal — everything they said was the same old crap, patently cribbed from the Christian creationists, with the new stuff (what little there was) being incoherent and inane.

Here’s an example. I picked up a pamphlet titled “The Man in the Red Underpants”, and the only novelty in it was the title annd the weird metaphor that was briefly mentioned and then dropped. The titular man is part of a story: you are awakened at 2am by a knock at the door, and when you get there, it’s a man wearing nothing but red underpants who says he’s there to read your gas meter. You’d send him away, right, because “you’d use reason, logic, and common sense to make sense of the man in the re underpants, just as we do for most things that happen in our lives.”

Now that the booklet has convinced you that you are obviously a reasonable human being who values evidence and reason, it asks you to use those virtues to determine that Islam is the one true religion and that God, not evolution, created life on earth.

Wait, you might have been thinking, the man in the red underpants isn’t a metaphor for crazy religious people with ridiculous claims? Nope. It’s apparently a metaphor for science. And the rest of the book is a chattily-written, sloppy rehash of tired old arguments for creationism.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. “What if I told you that I was walking along in the desert of Arabia (where there is lots of oil and sand) and picked up a mobile phone which I found just lying there…” yeah, seriously: watches and heaths are so 19th century, let’s update it to cell phones and deserts.

There’s more. They trot out fine-tuning, the Big Bang, the first cause argument, la de da, the same old stuff we’ve heard a thousand times from Christian ignoramuses. It’s nice to know we don’t face any real challenge here, but dismaying that we’re going to be stuck hammering away at the same stupid arguments for the next 20 years. These people are impenetrably dense.

Then there is a longish section that “proves” Islam is the one true religion, because by defining god as the being with the properties asserted by the Quran, they can show that the Quran precisely predicts and describes God. They also explain that — again, stop me if you’ve heard this before — we have a choice whether Mohammed was a liar, deluded, or the one true prophet of Allah, and since the first two are obviously false, you must agree that he really was the Messenger of God.

One mildly interesting bit: it freely admits that the Quran says men can beat their wives, that women’s testimony is worth half of men’s, that men can marry multiple wives, and that there are apparently barbaric laws with “hand chopping for thieves, and death for apostates and adulterers…and homosexuals”, but that you can’t use that to argue against its divine origin. “Does the fact that the Quran teaches certain things the customs and norms that we are used to, mean that it is not from the Creator?”

That’s quite right, it doesn’t. The author suggests that “perhaps the Creator doesn’t like modernity or any other man-made ideology.” That’s also quite true.

So what they’re arguing is that their One True Faith involves worshipping a medieval tyrant who doesn’t like women and does love mutilation and murder. At this point, I don’t even care whether their god is true or not; I’m not going to worship their barbarian despot.

I’m impressed, though, that Islam seems to be yet another religion where the more I learn about it, the more I despise it.