Answers in Genesis, the reprehensible creationist outfit that created the Creation Museum in Kentucky, has a section of their website dedicated to spreading creationist idiocy to America’s children. One way you can tell just how badly AIG warps the minds of its followers is by the type of questions its own readers write in:
My son brought a book home from school today about whales. It states that whales are mammals like us and that “a mammal is an animal that has lungs and breathes air,” etc… My son asked, “So we’re mammals too?” I wasn’t sure how to answer this because the definition in the book started by saying mammals are classified as an animal that… I tried to help him understand that we are not animals but wasn’t sure how to answer whether or not we are mammals. Could you help me know how to answer this? Are humans mammals?
– B.F., Wisconsin
“I tried to help him understand that we are not animals but wasn’t sure how to answer whether or not we are mammals.”
Let that quote sink in for a bit. It’s like saying, “I assure you we don’t live in New York, but I’m not sure about whether or not we live in Brooklyn.” This is the position that AIG puts creationist parents in, where they’re telling their children that they aren’t in the bigger circle on the Venn diagram, but are utterly confused about whether they fall in the smaller circle that is entirely contained within the big circle.
Any sensible person would answer, “‘Mammal’ is a subset of ‘Animal’. Having body hair, lactation, inner ear bones etc. makes us mammals. Also, genetics shows that ‘mammals’ form a monophyletic group. A fortiori, we are animals.” The sensible person might also point out that having lungs and breathing air is not an exclusive characteristic of mammals–birds and lizards and even some fish have lungs, but they are not mammals. The distinction between mammal and non-mammal (at the phenotype level) has more to do with the structure of the jaw bone(s) than it does with the lungs. This could be a learning moment for the child in question, if the parent were getting his/her information from anything even vaguely representing a reputable source. But they’re getting their info from AIG, so they get this:
Thanks for sending in this question. It’s great to see that you and your son are carefully examining the book about whales together.
The son asked a sensible question. The parent got confused because the dogma he/she wished the feed them was clearly self-contradicting. That’s not “carefully examining” by any rational standard whatsoever.
The word mammal is man-made
All words are man-made. We’re the only species on this planet that talks. And, no, you don’t get to point to god or angels or demons as other beings that talk. FIRST, you have to prove that they exist at all. Then you get to say that they talk.
meaning that it is a method of classification defined by people.
Again, all methods of classification are defined by people. For instance, “Christian” and “Muslim” are classifications of people, and these classifications were created by people. Until we meet another species that can talk, this remains true for every single classification we ever discuss.
Generally speaking, mammals are defined as animals that are warm-blooded, usually having hair or fur, and giving birth to live young, which they nurse by producing milk. According to this definition, people and whales are both classified in the category of mammals.
Live birth is not a very good criterion, as monotremes (definitely mammals) lay eggs, whereas many different species of fish and snakes (definitely not mammals) give live birth. The best way to draw the line is to use comparative morphology and genetics, but then that leads you right to a nasty little thing called evolution. And of course you can’t mention those jaw bones, because there’s actually a quite compelling fossil record showing them transitioning from multiple bones in the jaw to one jaw bone and multiple inner ear bones. Oops!
God has a different way of viewing people and animals.
No. Humans say that god has a different view. God himself hasn’t said shit. It’s always a human (usually white and male) who does the talking.
First of all, God created men and women in His image.
Have you thought through what this implies about your precious “Marriage = One man + One woman” slogan?
This makes people unique and special.
Actually, it makes us a carbon copy of something else.
God did not create any of the animals in His image.
So long as we ignore the fact that humans fit the definition of animal exactly, and only humans claim to have any messages from God.
You can also see from these verses that God gave people authority over all animals, including whales.
Fuck you, whales! I’m in charge, bitches!
Another difference between people and animals is that God gave the gift of salvation to people.
Hear that, kids? That adorable porpoise you saw at Sea World? Going straight to hell.
Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and marred the special relationship they had with God. As a result, all people have a problem with sin and a broken relationship with God.
God is a douchebag. That’s really the only explanation there is for this crap. Remember, God is omnipotent. This relationship could have gone any way at all, and he CHOSE the broken path of his own free will, even though he didn’t have to. And, as a result, trillions and trillions of human beings will be tortured and burned forever. And he blames us for this. Asshole.
Jesus’ death on the Cross provides the only way for this relationship to be repaired.
And Jesus’ followers expect us to take this contrived situation seriously. It’s like watching a Twilight movie. I just have to laugh.
Jesus, who is God, came to earth as a human, lived a sinless life, died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose again.
That clarifies nothing. If anything, it only raises more questions. But given how poorly you handled “Are Humans Mammals?”, I don’t foresee anything like a reasonable answer to those questions coming any time soon.
And speaking of which, how the fuck did we start with the question “Are Humans Mammals?”, and end with “The omnipotent ruler of the entire universe created you exactly as you are, and due to the flaws he created you with condemns you to hell, so the only way you can avoid eternal torture is to believe that said omnipotent ruler of universe turned into a person and got killed but came back”? Christian logic is weird.