Sunday Confession of a Lapsed Priest

Dear Reader Michael Merren of the Religion, Philosophy and Other Oddities blog is a married man and a father of three. He also used to be a Catholic priest. Learning this, I asked Michael to write a guest entry on his personal history. And now I know whom to turn to with any theological question that might pop up.


i-a48c5a47e8fe587ab70f9cb7439bf58c-graduation3.JPGI don’t know where else to start than from the beginning. I was raised Roman Catholic and always felt drawn to do something to give back to humankind, to be great and benefit my fellow man in some way. Some might call that a “vocation” or a “calling” I suppose. As a Catholic boy the most obvious and highly encouraged manner of “ministry” is to enter the priesthood, especially in this day and age of priests’ shortage. It would be in my twenties that after reading Camus and Sartre and others that I realized even atheists want to “do good”, but when I was growing up I bought the demonizing portrayal of intellectuals and scientists promoted by some in my faith.

I mottled my way through school, always a little bored. I am from a small town and though my mother had a graduate degree and has done post graduate work since, I never really found anything to light that fire in me. Eventually, about my sophomore year of high school I started doing theatre; I found some enjoyment in it. I consequently met my wife while rehearsing for Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore that summer some 20 years ago. She turned me on to literature and art, her father was an English teacher. I began to read with fervor.

My undergraduate education was a bit of a floundering blunder as well. I had to take a semester off and work and regain my footing. I moved into a house with a couple of philosophy majors and that set me on the journey which eventually lead to monastic life and seminary, priesthood and back again to secular life, marriage and children.

I suppose you can say I’ve gone through stages in my development, but my path was not a typical one. Rather than being inspired by the life of some great saint, my inspiration for entering the Catholic monastic life actually came, in large part, from Siddharta by Hermann Hesse. I read the Pali Tipitaka and Bhagavad Gita as readily and willingly as I did the Bible. I found the writings of Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila to be no more spiritual than those of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

I was moved by the humanism of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, to study personalism / phenomenology and pursue theological studies, but being the extremist that I am I had to “go to the sources”. I decided after my undergraduate studies to enter seminary in Krakow, Poland and study under the professors of the Pontifical College founded by Wojtyla in his former See of Krakow. I entered a religious community that could make that happen for me, learned Polish and began those studies.

In my seminary studies in the monastery I had a great deal of time for study and reading and I eventually read myself out of Catholicism. By the time I had finished my seminary studies I already had a deep desire to leave and enter the Orthodox Church, which I felt embodied the Historical Christian Church and a more eastern mindset than Catholicism.

It didn’t help that all this time I had contact with my wife who was desperately trying to get me to leave the monastery to marry her. I had left her behind as a good Catholic boy is told he must do to “serve” and “minister”. I couldn’t bring myself to leave though. I went ahead with ordinations despite my growing doubts that I was cut out for a life of celibacy and the Scholastic / Thomistic framework of Western Christian theology. My distaste for Catholicism grew more as a young priest. I was serving as many as fifteen masses a week, in ten different locales, teaching in a school, leading numerous youth and prayer groups and all with a growing distaste for some of the very basic tenets of the faith. I felt prostituted, as if the monastery I belonged to had pimped me out to the local and neighboring dioceses. I left after just thirteen months as an active priest.

My wife and I were received into the Orthodox Church where we were married shortly afterwards. We spent seven years in the Orthodox Church and baptized our children there. I even repeated seminary studies. I won’t get into the gory details, but I was a square peg trying to fit into a very small round hole. My theology was obviously at odds with that of some of the more narrow-minded clergy and hierarchy, though I think you’d be hard pressed to find a great theological mind in the Orthodox Church who didn’t have a very eclectic background and tastes, e.g. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware or Rev. Deacon Andrei Kureav. Ultimately though it was the ethnic xenophobia that many Orthodox have towards “converts” that led to my recent decision to join the Episcopal Church.

I have long had a desire to reconcile science / reason with theology / faith. With varying degrees of success I have managed to do so and keep my faith though sometimes I’ve come to the brink of losing it.

Recently, my studies have been in reconciling the sound theory of Evolution with the Biblical accounts of creation, which as far as the symbolism involved in the Scriptures hasn’t really been much trouble at all. It seems to me that anyone who takes a six-day-creation viewpoint simply doesn’t understand mythology and hasn’t done enough non-biblical reading to grasp the heart of the story.

My most recent concerns present more of a challenge as I begin to look at the idea of Original Sin, which is key to the entire concept of a Christian soteriology or “Theory of Salvation”. If man was not created in the beginning as one pair, man and woman, Adam and Eve, then who sinned that humankind needs salvation? If we believe that man evolved over tens of thousands of years, maybe more, from a lower and less advanced animal, how on earth can we believe that one of those first sentient beings was culpable enough for his own actions to be responsible for “damning” all his progeny? If I manage to pull through this one with my faith I’ll let you know.

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Comments

  1. #1 Mattias
    November 30, 2008

    Interesting life story so far. I know many people who have done similar journeys and they tend to end up realising that the limitations of their minds prevent them from individually grasping all the factors of truth pertaining to this world. This man would certainly have been offered such a cautious outlook both in the Orthodox christian and in the secular humanist communities, but preferred to look elsewhere before accepting it, and so it will go on. Ever considered orthodox Lutheranism? :-)

    Much of what is described in relation to Roman-Catholicism here is generally referred to as ‘the false spirit of the second vatican council’ (meaning primarily ‘false interpretation of’) among traditionalists in the Western Church.

    “It seems to me that anyone who takes a six-day-creation viewpoint simply doesn’t understand mythology and hasn’t done enough non-biblical reading to grasp the heart of the story.”

    Yes, most importantly they have totally missed out on the Church fathers and mediaeval theology. For a lightweight start on biblical interpretation before the so-called ‘enlightenment’, start for example with Dante Alighieri’s letter to Cangrande della Scala. It always baffles how many secular humanists fail to recognise that exclusive literal interpretations of Genesis and evolution are more or less coeval.

    / Mattias

  2. #2 Martin R
    November 30, 2008

    I just knew you’d like this entry, Mattias. (-;

  3. #3 Michael Merren
    November 30, 2008

    “It always baffles how many secular humanists fail to recognise that exclusive literal interpretations of Genesis and evolution are more or less coeval.”

    I couldn’t agree more. You should see my post on Paul Davies at my blog for my opinion on such thoughts.

    “Yes, most importantly they have totally missed out on the Church fathers and mediaeval theology.”

    I agree here as well and have something forthcoming on my blog which discusses St. Basil’s Hexaemeron on the topic of Creation.

  4. #4 Shane
    November 30, 2008

    michael, that’s a heartfelt tale; I will be checking your blog. But don’t you think that it confirms that religion is purely a form of human expression, and has no handle on whether its gods or angels actually exist or interact with the universe? Maybe the problem is that many people *believe* their religion. Why not keep it, but recognise that it’s simply a cultural construct?
    Good luck in your journey!
    -shane

  5. #5 Mattias
    November 30, 2008

    I will certainly look up your blog, Michael – it looks very interesting, indeed.

    Shane: The question is not whether or not religion is (as it incidentally is, alongside all other types of knowledge and beliefs for which our minds and senses can account) a cultural construct. It is rather whether or not this type of knowledge and belief relates to a specific type (in Platonic sense) that is typically not accessible to our minds. To give an example, a particular facet of Newtonian mechanics exists as a cultural construct (everything that relates to what we think of it), but it also seems to correspond to something which pre-figures the earliest possible cultural context, and which therefore may exist regardless of all cultural contexts and which was equally existent before Newton.

    / Mattias

  6. #6 Michael Merren
    November 30, 2008

    “But don’t you think that it confirms that religion is purely a form of human expression, and has no handle on whether its gods or angels actually exist or interact with the universe?”
    I think that the answer to this question is both, yes and no and lies in the hang-up I would have in subscribing the word “purely” to the idea of religion as a form of human expression. In deed, what else would it be than a “form of human expression”? Religion, or better put perhaps religious expression, is in large part a “fabrication”, but that does not necessarily imply that it is “entirely” or “purely” a form of expression. There may well be, and I personally believe there is, much truth in the fable and realities and ontological beings “explained” or “wrapped” in human expression. That is to say the myth does not of necessity reduce or relegate the fact to fiction. Just because Homer takes liberty with the tale of Helen of Troy… does not mean that there was no Helen, no Troy, or furthermore that true love does not existence. I think that is how far you have taken the “myth-package” as proof of falsehood of religion as an expression of any and all possible higher truths. I suffer with institutional religion not because I do not believe in God, but because the institutions have made rules and practices of greater importance than God. On my intellectual journey I wish to separate fact from fiction, but to throw the proverbial “baby out with the bath water” is an error of equal magnitude. This is my humble opinion.

  7. #7 Pierce R. Butler
    November 30, 2008

    Michael Merren – Though myself a howling atheist, I’d like to offer a quote which you may find useful:

    “‘… organized religion, the formalities and routines, it’s like being marched in formation to look at a sunset.’”

    – John D. MacDonald, A Deadly Shade of Gold, pg 96

  8. #8 John A. Davison
    November 30, 2008

    What earthly good does it do to abuse those who are devout? Does anyone think that Louis Pasteur, a devout Catholic, was in any way inhibited by his religious convictions. Isn’t it more likely that they may have inspired him. I know of no great scientist who was so weak minded as to overtly declare that there is now and never was any role for a Creator. Yet that is precisely the posture of Paul Zachary Myers, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. They have abandoned any pretense at science to devote all their energies to the cause of Universal Atheism. It makes no sense to this investigator. Perhaps someone here can explain.

    For more of my “heresy” visit my weblog -

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  9. #9 Michael Merren
    November 30, 2008

    Some more examples John of what I think you are saying:
    Mikolaj Kopernik was a devout Catholic priest and was buried in Frombork, Poland in the Church he served.
    Gregor Johann Mendel was an Augustinian monk and Catholic priest, his work in the garden encouraged him to investigate the intricacies of God’s creation.
    Even Galileo, who struggled and suffered so much at the hands of the Church did not deny the “possibility” of a Creator, he had even sought entrance to a monastery, but reluctantly was disuaded from it by his father. His initial purpose in doing his work in astronomy was to provide an apology for the priest Kopernik. Galileo’s own daughter was a faithful Poor Claire Nun her entire life.
    Albert Einstein, a moderate / cultural Jew w/ little instruction in the faith of his family wrote: “I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness of and a glimpse of the marvellous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.” Einstein, Albert, “The World As I See It.” In Seelig, Cal (Ed.) Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1982, p. 11. And elsewhere: “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”Einstein, Albert, “The Religious Spirit of Science.” In Seelig, Cal (Ed.) Albert Einstein: Ideas and Opinions. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1982, 46.

  10. #10 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    November 30, 2008

    Well, John, I would hardly call you an “investigator” as you have all over the internet displayed your closed and clouded mind.

    I think that this is an interesting post, Michael; and as someone who grew up Catholic myself I, too, was stuck on the concept of a need for “salvation,” since I did not know what I had done to separate myself from God (before I was born.)

  11. #11 John A. Davison
    November 30, 2008

    Mike Haubrich, FCD
    Who are you and what does the FCD stand for or would you rather not say?

    I began publishing in refereed journals in 1954. I never heard of you and doubt you will enlighten me now.

    Michael Merren

    Thank you for the thoughtful comments.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  12. #12 Shane
    November 30, 2008

    Michael (and Matthias), I think it would be wise to check whether there is even a baby in the bathwater in the first place. Personally, I am satisfied that there is not a baby Jesus in the Christian bathwater, or at the very least, by dispensing with the *beliefs* of Christianity, one is not in any way distancing oneself from any god or gods that may exist in that tiny probability space that is left for them.
    For myself, having been a committed Christian for many years, and still describing myself occasionally as a Christian Atheist, I regard honesty very highly. And, honestly, the arguments for the existence of the gods are very very flawed, whether they are “ontological” or “cosmological” or whatever. I almost despaired at the dishonesty of John Lennox in “God’s Undertaker”, or the total ignorance of science in a recent talk I attended by Brian Leftow. Or the inane point-missing of Richard Swinburne in another talk a couple of months ago. And all of ‘em feel they have to get in the digs at Dawkins, who, in comparison, is a shining beacon of virtue and logic.
    In rejecting the rubbish arguments of the apologists, one is not rejecting “god” – just the arguments. If someone comes up with evidence, then it’s game on. If it’s trite sophistry, forget it. There can at most be One True Baby, and if you’re throwing out all the bathwater of all the other religions that have ever existed (assuming you’re doing that; you’ve at least two under your belt already ;-), you’ve no way of discerning whether the baby was in that vast discarded volume, rather than the small tub-full you’re still clutching.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, so just in case, I’ll take it from another tack, in that maybe you’re saying that the existence or otherwise of gods is not the primary concern – perhaps in religion we have a “wrapper” that holds together a lot of good humanistic things that operate well if we hold the pleasant conceit that there is a god, even if we know that conceit to be a fiction. You may have a point there – I’ve a certain amount of sympathy for that view. I definitely would not want, for example, to lose the joy of Christmas; indeed the whole imagery of the “Christ” figure, gospel music [I recently re-discovered an old Terry Talbot album on the Internet, and boy it brings me back!], beautiful church architecture & art etc. But that is what I mean by human expression. I do think we can retain that, even if we lose the bathwater of “belief”.

    That aside, however, nice post, and you strike me as the sort of chap that an honest atheist could have a reasonable discussion with. I’ll have to comment on a couple of your blog posts, because you need correction on some of the finer points of evolutionary biology ;-)

    Cheers,
    -Shane

  13. #13 Shane
    November 30, 2008

    Incidentally, John Davison, to whom are you levelling the strange accusation of “abusing” the “devout”? I can’t see any evidence of it in anyone’s postings above. Or does the very fact that some people *are* atheists cause you a problem? I’m confused.

  14. #14 Martin R
    November 30, 2008

    Maybe John doesn’t believe in atheists.

  15. #15 Shane
    November 30, 2008

    Yikes! I hope I don’t get thrown out with any bathwater then!

  16. #16 Martin R
    November 30, 2008

    Who knows, maybe it will cleanse you of sin?

  17. #17 Shane
    November 30, 2008

    No need – I transferred all mine onto a goat, which is tottering off into the desert as we speak. Covered in suds, mind. And with my rubber duckie stuck to its left horn…

  18. #18 Martin R
    November 30, 2008

    I’m afraid you really got John’s goat there.

  19. #19 John A. Davison
    November 30, 2008

    Whether one believes in a Creator or not has a firm congenital basis as the studies on separated identical twins have established. I recommend William Wright’s “Born That Way” for documentation. As near as I can tell many atheists abuse the devout. It seems to give them pleasure. Current examples are Paul Zachary Myers and Richard Dawkins. That is about all they do these days. Neither of have them has ever published a word on the major matter which has always been in question – the mechanism of a long ago terminated organic evolution. Atheist, Darwinian and ultra-liberal are for all practical purposes synonymous.

    Myers even brags about it with his letterhead which adorns each edition of his Pharyngula “hatespeech.”

    “…random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal.”

    I thought all ejaculations were biological. What a “jerk” if you get my drift. He also sports his “Dungeon” now on the first page. You will find me as one of the first inmates, a tribute I cherish more than you will ever know.

    I am still waiting for a reponse from Mike Haubrich FCD.

  20. #20 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    November 30, 2008

    I have too much respect for Martin’s blog to get into a stupid thread with you, John. FCD stands for “Friend of Charles Darwin.” It is a way for people who are not degreed to, for fun, add a suffix to our posts.

    There are people who are concerned for your mental health, John. I am not. I just think you are a crank. I don’t blame PZ for putting you in his dungeon because you clearly violated the terms he has posted at his site.

    I consider PZ a friend. He has been generous to me and to my kids as well, yet you have a weird obsession with him. I won’t respond any more because you have a bad history of hijacking threads and the subject of this post has nothing to do with the direction you are trying to take it. If you try to comment at my site I will block you.

  21. #21 Michael Merren
    November 30, 2008

    “There can at most be One True Baby, and if you’re throwing out all the bathwater of all the other religions that have ever existed (assuming you’re doing that; you’ve at least two under your belt already ;-)”
    Shane,
    Thank you for the kind words. Yes obviously we are coming from 2 very different places. I’d appreciate any biological / evolutionary correction you may be able to provide> I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes. That is the nature of our frail human nature unfortunately. A small correction on the statement above: I’ve only burned through 2 denominations of the same religion. Both Orthodoxy and Catholicism are denominations of the Christian faith, now I am trying on Protestantism, a third Christian denomination or rather a subset of Christian denominations.
    I tend to be a little more open to the truth inherent in other religions. I see a great deal of truth in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Spiritualism … I consider myself a student of all of them, an adherent of one in particular, but with no claim to knowing anything more than the next or perhaps even being sure that I have any more correct doctrine than the next. I’m really not that pretentious. I do think there is a baby in the bath water. I am looking in that murky tub. The packaging of faith means a bit to me obviously; Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal I like what I like. I’m interested in high church styling and doctrine, for sure. But, I am not convinced that there is nothing out there. I guess I’d have to disprove it to myself in the same manner you would want someone to prove to you there is a God/gods. I particularly enjoyed the wording “In rejecting the rubbish arguments of the apologists, one is not rejecting “god” – just the arguments. If someone comes up with evidence, then its game on!” I couldn’t agree more. I grow ill of some of the $#%@ that passes for Christian devotional or even theological literature today. I hope someone half as smart as you is able to give you that evidence someday. I spend my time trying to hold onto what I have come to believe.

  22. #22 John A. Davison
    December 1, 2008

    Mike Haubrich

    FCD = Friends of Charles Darwin eh?

    Darwinism is a hoax, a fantasy dreamed up out of thin air by an overactive human imagination. It dwarfs the Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics. There is not a word in the “Origin” that relates in any way to the title of the book – not a word.

    Myers is a sociopathic congenital atheist and a menace to society and the search for the truth. He and his fellow mystic, Richard Dawkins, have contributed absolutely nothing to our understanding of the MECHANISM of organic evolution which has always been the central problem.

    Allelic mutation, Mendelian Genetics, sexual reproduction, natural selection; none of these have ever had anything to do with either true speciation or the emergence of any of the higher taxonomic categories. As a matter of fact they are all anti-evolutionary and conservative as was recognized by Reginald C. Punnett. William Bateson, Leo Berg, Robert Broom and Pierre Grasse long ago.

    All creative evolution was emergent from within those forms capable of progressive change and took place on a predetermined schedule. Don’t take my word for it.

    “Everything is determined ..by forces over which we have no control.”
    Albert Einstein

    It is very revealing that you would block me from your site. You and everyone else are welcome at my weblog and will only be banished after you have established that you have absolutely nothing of value to contribute, or have proven to be incapable of civil discourse, whichever comes first. Your comments will remain. I have found this policy to very effective in maintaining a rational venue for the discussion of the great mysteries of ontogeny and phylogeny. Those who fail to participate do so for one reason only. They are afraid to.

    I recommend “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” by James E. Woods Jr. as an antidote to the hateful venom of PZ “randomly ejaculating” Myers, Christopher “hiccup” Hitchens and Richard “blind, watchmaking mountaineer” Dawkins.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  23. #23 John A. Davison
    December 1, 2008

    Woops.

    It is Thomas E. Woods Jr. Sorry about that.

  24. #24 RickrOll
    December 1, 2008

    if you want to know about origins, wiki “abiogenisis”. The mechanism of evolution is natural selection, you dunce. everyone knows that.

    watch all, and most importantly “think about it.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcAq9bmCeR0&feature=PlayList&p=F626DD5B2C1F0A87&index=0&playnext=1

  25. #25 RickrOll
    December 1, 2008

    oh and JAD, you’re obsession with PZ can be accurately summed up in one word: ragewanking.

    “You lose! Good Day Sir!”

  26. #26 JosephU
    December 1, 2008

    Part of the article states:
    “I was raised Roman Catholic … I have long had a desire to reconcile science / reason with theology / faith. … My most recent concerns present more of a challenge as I begin to look at the idea of Original Sin…If we believe that man evolved over tens of thousands of years, maybe more, from a lower and less advanced animal, how on earth can we believe that one of those first sentient beings was culpable enough for his own actions to be responsible for “damning” all his progeny? If I manage to pull through this one with my faith I’ll let you know.”

    An interesting Catholic article that addresses the reconciliation of
    “science / reason with theology / faith”
    and has helped many to
    “pull through … with (their) faith” intact
    is entitled:

    What does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins? http://www.kolbecenter.org/church_teaches.htm

    (Partial quote)

    - Genesis does not contain purified myths. (Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909)

    - Genesis contains real history–it gives an account of things that really happened. (Pius XII)

    - Adam and Eve were real human beings–the first parents of all mankind. (Pius XII)

    - Polygenism (many “first parents”) contradicts Scripture and Tradition and is condemned. (Pius XII; 1994 Catechism, 360, footnote 226: Tobit 8:6–the “one ancestor” referred to in this Catechism could only be Adam.)

    - The “beginning” of the world included the creation of all things, the creation of Adam and Eve and the Fall (Jesus Christ [Mark 10:6]; Pope Innocent III; Blessed Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus).

    - The body of Eve was specially created from a portion of Adam’s body (Leo XIII). She could not have originated via evolution. …

    - Adam and Eve were created upon an earthly paradise and would not have known death if they had remained obedient (Pius XII).

    - After their disobedience of God, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. But the Second Person of the Trinity would subsequently pay the ransom for fallen man (Nicene Creed).

    - Original Sin is a flawed condition inherited from Adam and Eve (Council of Trent). …

    - All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the Creation days were no longer than 24-hour-days. (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church)

    - The work of Creation was finished by the close of Day Six, and nothing completely new has since been created–except for each human rational soul at conception (Vatican Council I)

    - St. Peter and Christ Himself in the New Testament confirmed the global Flood of Noah. It covered all the then high mountains and destroyed all land dwelling creatures except eight human beings and all kinds of non-human creatures aboard the Ark (Unam Sanctam, 1302)

    - The historical existence of Noah’s Ark is regarded as most important in typology, as central to Redemption. (1566 Catechism of the Council of Trent)

    - Evolution must not be taught as fact, but instead the pros and cons of evolution must be taught.
    (Pius XII, Humani Generis)

    .

  27. #27 monk
    December 1, 2008

    1. Is it possible to leave out the flames at each other and those not part of this dialogue – who cannot defend themselves?

    Clever rhetoric post-modern ideas and terminology do not even disguise the schoolgirlish remarks aimed at each other – which by the way has nothing to do with the original article. Coming from adult males it is even worse – and then it is often thought women (alone) can act like bitches!

    2. Michael Merren could have saved himself a lot of trouble by converting to Spong-like Episcopalian and be a humanist or athesit in the first place.

    3. A site and book of a friend, Google for it: Spirituality Without God.

    4. I am onlooker at those who require any philosophy (secular or otherwise) or religion to give meaning to their lives, something to do and of course construct their world view (reality/ies and mindset). In the end, naturalists and devotees of scient-ISM, often act so superior to those with other world views and philosophies to construct their selves and realities – but scratch the surface and they reveal the same underlying pre-suppositions, assumptions, attitudes and values as there pre-historic, cave dwelling flat earth brethren and sisters! Or not?
    In a few decades, centuries and millenia, frames of reference or ‘philosophies’ you now regard as so superior and advanced – the heights of human intellect – will be dated and seen in your present North Atlantic socio-cultural context and mere products of that context – and mot as the eternal verities and universal ideas to save mankind you mistakenly perceive them as.

    In short – you suffer from illusions, perhaps different ones than the flat earth or six-day creatonists, human delusions (that you have realized THE absolute and final state of human intellectual insights and development). And to realize ‘enlightenment’ or self-realization simply means: to have no delusions anymore.

    Jean (a monk, beyond all religions and the need for any manmade philosophies).

  28. #28 ralph137
    December 1, 2008

    Seems like an essay answer to a multiply choice question. “None of the above” is the more correct selection.

  29. #29 John A. Davison
    December 1, 2008

    I am no more obsessed with PZ Myers than I am with any other Darwinian atheist. He just happens to be the most obnoxious example around and the one with the most rabid following. He invites the loathing of any human being who believes as I do that there was a purpose in the world we see around us.

    This blog is on trial just as every other blog I have entered was on trial. If it is different from the others it will not muzzle me. It is a simple as that. Do what has to be done. That is the way it is supposed to be, the way it was “prescribed” to be. We are all victims in a determined world. Some of us have been luckier than others.

    The ball is in the court of Aardvarchaeology.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  30. #30 Michael Merren
    December 1, 2008

    JosephU,
    Thank you for the recap of my more than 8 years of Catholic University study. I know what the Catholic Church teaches, I disagree! I am a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and a Theological Union under direction of a Pontifical Institution, I understand and realize that the views you present are Catholic through and through and I say to you that over the years and through intensive study I have gone through each of those ideas and passed it over as a falsehood. Joseph you are welcome to continue believing as you wish, I refused to be fettered by the scholastic and post-medieval latin theology of the Councils and Popes of Rome, which on so many levels are inconsistant not only with logic, reason, and science but with the Fathers of the Church.

  31. #31 Shane
    December 1, 2008

    John, for the record, I am an atheist, and I am a “Darwinian” (in the sense that I recognise that evolution occurs by selection and drift acting on the frequencies of genetic variations within populations). The former is because I see no evidence nor need for a god (personal/cosmological/ontological/whatever); the latter because I am a scientist. I have no problem with religious people, although I do not share the belief in a god, and I’m quite happy to kick the arguments about in the spirit of honest inquiry.

    I also have no idea who you are, nor any idea of your history, and I have to say I was rather shocked to see the unprovoked attacks on this thread on PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins, as well as your statement that Martin’s blog is “on trial”. I happen to like Martin’s blog a great deal (I don’t comment very often, though).

    At any rate, your comments relating to Michael’s article are neither relevant nor constructive, which is a bit sad, and I wonder why you felt the need to wade in. Still, it’s a free internet, so why not.

    Jean, you are no more an external observer looking in than anyone is. You have your philosophy too, though you seem to deny it. To extend Max Tegmark’s notions, we are all frogs; you are not a bird. The difference in the case of science (as a way of approaching the world) is that science revises its models, not in reponse to the sort of dogmatic claptrap that JosephU posted (which is probably best simply ignored; it is just nonsense, whether one thinks popes are fallible or not), but in response to rational analysis and rigorous testing of the evidence. It is a bit rich to claim this as “North Atlantic”, when so much of it started in Italy, via importation from the Islamic world, and is currently engaged in by brilliant scientists from every country in the world. Science is a global phenomenon, and it succeeds because it *works*. India did not use some spooky voodoo to put its space probe on the moon – it used the fruits of science – a truly international enterprise (and one in which our Indian colleagues are highly proficient, and hats off to them!). I think if you stick around for a few hundred years, you will see whether you’re right or wrong. I’m betting on the latter.

    Michael, I’ll have a dander over to your blog and make a few comments at some point – I don’t think our views are really that separate (apart from a few obvious areas). It sounds like you perhaps lie down a wee bit deeper in the bath than I do… At least you don’t stay underwater all the time like some of our contributors ;-) Keep it up (the head and the posting, that is!)

    Martin, thanks for opening this up. Very interesting.

    -Shane

  32. #32 John A. Davison
    December 1, 2008

    I invade every blog I can. I test them all. So far this one I find quite acceptable since it hasn’t muzzled me YET.

    How does that grab you?

  33. #33 David Marjanovi?
    December 1, 2008

    If man was not created in the beginning as one pair, man and woman, Adam and Eve, then who sinned that humankind needs salvation? If we believe that man evolved over tens of thousands of years, maybe more, from a lower and less advanced animal, how on earth can we believe that one of those first sentient beings was culpable enough for his own actions to be responsible for “damning” all his progeny? If I manage to pull through this one with my faith I’ll let you know.

    Er… what? I thought Catholic theology has had a ready-made answer for decades: because we’ve evolved from lowly, imperfect animals, we have a “sinful nature” and therefore too need a savior?

    (Not that it matters, but IMHO this even makes more sense than the traditional magical inheritance of nonmaterial sin as if it were a piece of DNA. Its basic premise still hangs in the air, though.)

    I know of no great scientist who was so weak minded as to overtly declare that there is now and never was any role for a Creator.

    Read more.

    For more of my “heresy” visit my weblog -

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    Have you found out how to make a new post in a blog yet?

    An interesting Catholic article that addresses the reconciliation of
    “science / reason with theology / faith”
    and has helped many to
    “pull through … with (their) faith” intact
    is entitled:

    What does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins? http://www.kolbecenter.org/church_teaches.htm

    Nonsense. All of this is older than the 2nd Vatican Council. It is of purely historical interest. They could get into trouble for naming themselves after Maximilian Kolbe.

    In the end, naturalists and devotees of scient-ISM, often act so superior to those with other world views and philosophies to construct their selves and realities – but scratch the surface and they reveal the same underlying pre-suppositions, assumptions, attitudes and values as there pre-historic, cave dwelling flat earth brethren and sisters! Or not?

    I smell a strawman. Please explain your statement.

    For the record, I don’t need anything to give meaning to my life. I’m perfectly happy with life being utterly devoid of meaning and purpose. Life is interesting, after all :-)

    [PZ] invites the loathing of any human being who believes as I do that there was a purpose in the world we see around us.

    Nonsense. He invites everyone to point and laugh.

  34. #34 JimC
    December 1, 2008

    It always baffles how many secular humanists fail to recognise that exclusive literal interpretations of Genesis and evolution are more or less coeval.

    I don’t think this is accurate with any concept of evolution I’m familiar with at this time.

  35. #35 GH
    December 1, 2008

    because we’ve evolved from lowly, imperfect animals, we have a “sinful nature” and therefore too need a savior?

    (Not that it matters, but IMHO this even makes more sense than the traditional magical inheritance of nonmaterial sin as if it were a piece of DNA. Its basic premise still hangs in the air, though.)

    I don’t think this makes more sense at all. The ‘sinful nature’ would’ve had to start with bacteria in your example and that just ain’t so.:-)

  36. #36 Michael Merren
    December 1, 2008

    Maybe all we need to remedy Original Sin is a good antibiotic! Or maybe it is viral, rather than a genetic birth defect, LOL! I still think St. Augustine was convinced it was a venereal disease, that would go a long way to explain why he and later St. Thomas Aquinas hated sexual intercourse so much! Just a bit of fun…

  37. #37 Shane
    December 1, 2008

    Maybe Augustine and Aquinas just loved their goats too much.

  38. #38 DianaGainer
    December 1, 2008

    If I might put in my 2 cents, since I read the literature of the contemporaries of the ancient Hebrews, I think the purpose of the Hebrews in writing Genesis was not to describe original sin, but to describe the nature of God. You see, all those others folks round about ancient Israel worshipped whole wagonloads of deities, great and small, each of whom had created something or other at some time, and the creation stories were full of generations of X gave birth to Y who made Z; then N gave birth to M who knocked Y off his throne and unmade Z and put P in its place. But those Hebrews (or Israelites, if you prefer) were trying to say that it wasn’t like that at all. There was only One Guy upstairs, and everything was due to One Power — all of creation, disasters like the Flood, everything! They weren’t anticipating Darwin telling us about evolution or warning us against learning science.

    With that bit about the Garden, they were saying that although God gives us a conscience, we go right out and yield to temptation (the snake) and do what we know we shouldn’t and so cause ourselves all sorts of troubles. One of those troubles is child-rearing. Now, I love my kids but it was a lot of work, let me tell you. And the other is working for a living. For most of us, manna doesn’t just fall from heaven, let’s face it!

    Now, if you ask me (and I realize you didn’t), THAT’s what we need saving from. All that constant bickering, all that piddling about the rules — eat this, don’t eat that, marry this guy, don’t marry that gal, move over here, don’t live over there. So somebody asked Jesus once what’s the most important rule. And he said something that my atheist dad thought was really important. He said, “Love God and love your neighbor.” He thought it was a single rule evidently. I think so too. Now if we could just get everybody on board…

  39. #39 RickrOll
    December 1, 2008

    DianaGainer, hate to break it to you, but Yahweh IS part of a pantheon of gods: the Canaanite gods!

    http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html

  40. #40 John A. Davison
    December 1, 2008

    Darwinism is the most failed hypothesis in the history of science. Allelic mutation, natural selection, sexual reproduction, Mendelian genetics, all of these were always, and still are, entirely conservative and anti-evolutionary, serving to preserve the status quo for as long as possible. Organisms reproducing by Mendelian, sexual means were doomed to ultimate extinction without further significant change as the fossil record so very clearly demonstrates. Don’t take my word for it.

    “The struggle for existence and natural selection are not progressive agencies, but being, on the contrary, conservative, maintain the standard.”
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 406.

    “Therefore evolution follows a DETERMINED direction. There is no chaotic variation, as was assumed by Darwin.”
    page 154, my emphasis

    I could go on and on but I suspect it is falling on ears deaf to what Einstein called the “music of the spheres.”

    “EVERYTHING is DETERMINED… by forces over which we have no control.”
    Albert Einstein, my emphasis.

    I temporarily rest my case in order to see what happens next.

    I love it so!

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  41. #41 RickrOll
    December 1, 2008

    Where’s your nobel prize John? There is 0 science to your inane babble, and merely saying lies over and over utterly fails to present any kind of science. It’s that simple. Have you bothered to watch those vedeos that i posted above? Oh, that’s right, they are based on science, and since what you spout makes no predictions, facing real science is like asking a vampire to face a garlic pasta lunch with a Bishop in the middle of the sahara desert.

    However, getting back to the topic of concern, it seems that catholics tend to be the highest turnout of athiests/agnostic in thier ranks. Even Mother Teresa for example: “Where is my faith? Even deep down … there is nothing but emptiness and darkness … If there be God–please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul … How painful is this unknown pain–I have no Faith. Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal, … What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”[Teresa, Mother (2007). Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385520379.]

  42. #42 John A. Davison
    December 2, 2008

    Wrong Rickr, whoever that cowardly anonymous blowhard is.

    I made several predictions in my last message.

    They don’t give Nobel prizes for evolutionary science and they shouldn’t. Alfred Nobel was very specific about what his prizes should be for.

    I have a whole thread dedicated to predictions on my weblog. One relatively recent one is that by next February clowns like Meyers and Dawkins will be nothing but embarrassing little footnotes in the history of biological science. Actually they already are but it hasn’t sunk into their precious little atheist hearts yet. Neither one of them has ever offered a constructive thought bearing on the only matter which has ever been in question, the MECHANISM of a long past and now finished organic evolution. Unable to defend the Darwinian fairy tale, they have both decided to attack the only conceivable alternative, a guided, planned and now terminated organic evolution.

    Click on the big red A on the opening page of Pharyngula and discover poor Richard Dawkins exhorting others to “come out” and join the “Atheist Movement.” Buy our Tshirts, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers all adorned with the big red A for Atheist.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    Once your two major heroes are history so will quickly follow all those blogs that worship them.

    Now just what are you going to do about it? Are you going to muzzle me or are you going to ask for more? I’m just getting warmed up. That choice is for whoever is running this blog.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  43. #43 Mattias
    December 2, 2008

    JosephU,

    Please be careful with the concept ‘Consensus Patrum’ – your account of “what the Church teaches” suggests (i) that you are not really familiar with central Patristic and mediaeval sources and (ii), which is more serious, that you trust evangelical creationists in philological and exegetical matters. The latter is extremely unwise, remember that most of these people are as poorly equipped with classical and semitic languages as is the typical natural scientist (if not even more so). You might as well bestow them authority in evolutionary biology!

    Look up, for example, Justinus of Flavius (‘Dialogus cum Tryphone’ LXXXI); Clemens of Alexandria (‘Stomata’ VI); Origenes (‘Contra Celsum’ VI) and Cyprianus of Carthage for only a few passages where a literal translation of Genesis is criticised. The reasons for not holding a literal interpretation in Patristic and mediaeval theology were both philological – “yom” (phonetic transcription), for example, not permitting an exclusive interpretation as “day” – and exegetical, standing in a tradition of treating old testament sources according to the classical modi of interpretation (historical, figural, allegorical, anagogical, moral &c.) which goes back at least to St Paul (see for example 1 Cor. IX:9-12).

    / Mattias

  44. #44 Martin R
    December 2, 2008

    This seems like an unnecessary circuitous approach to Genesis. My perspective on it is that the author is likely to have meant exactly what he wrote (he may actually have believed in it), and that he had no idea of how the world actually came into being. It’s mythology. You might as well grapple with the difficulties of believing in the Silmarillion’s creation account.

  45. #45 RickrOll
    December 2, 2008

    Just watch the damn videos John. I don’t really give a fuck about whether or not you have something to say. You keep insisting that PZ and Dawkins are blowhards, but i can only assume that this is a projection that comes from your own inadiquacies. Nopeno predictions, just empty words, and an argument from authority.

    Oh, and yes, Mother Teresa struggled for nearly 50 years with an insufferable void of the presence of god. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html

    Similarly, catholicism, being the most supercilious of all the denominations, creates a lot of wiggle room for doubt and apostacy. Maybe if they weren’t pagan and morally bankrupt this wouldn’t be the case. But the Protestant Reformation, i think, was the first in a series of nails on the coffin of the Xian religion.

  46. #46 RickrOll
    December 2, 2008

    Am i going to have to post this again? *sigh* Yahweh as we know him is two different gods. He is Ashtar of The canaanite pantheon, and was later reformulated as El (or, more accurately, a mimicry of El/ashtar), by the Authors of the Torah, Who because of anonymity, are merley referred to as J- the elder version- and P, the Preistly texts, hich emphasise yahweh’s ability to be placated by ritual and obediance to the Law. it’s all here: http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html

  47. #47 negentropyeater
    December 2, 2008

    “EVERYTHING is DETERMINED… by forces over which we have no control.”
    Albert Einstein, my emphasis.

    So what ? Where are the paper and the experiments that show that Einstein’s deterministic convictions were correct, ie that proposes and verify that a deterministic Grand Unifying Theory of Physics is the valid one ?
    Are you now going for the Nobel Prize in Physics and have such paper ready ?
    Looking forward to reading it…

  48. #48 Mattias
    December 2, 2008

    RickOll,

    Both your account of the Yahweh concept and what you call the ‘protestant reformation’ are unacceptably simplistic. The concept of Yahweh (why, incidentally, is it brought up here?) has relations to many mythologies, many of which are much more intertwined than they are made to look here (and Leonard’s work is much more acribious and tenatative than presented here).

    Do you really mean to state that the ideas of Münster, Zwingli, Cranmer, Luther, Petri, Calvin et al can be summed up as a ‘reformation’? As regards what we now call the Lutheran reformation, to take only one example which has had a major impact in ecclesiatical history, it was exactly an attempted “reformatio” and orthodox Lutheranism still functions under the principle ‘what has not been expressly abolished remains’.

    Martin,

    I am not sure exactly what you mean – I was describing early Christian interpretations of Genesis. ‘Mythological’ as an anthropological concept could be either anagogical or allegorical, or even historical and says, if not qualified by other factors, very little of HOW the Genesis account was conceived, only that it was not neccesarily intended as an exclusively historical account (on which we seem to agree).

    / Mattias

  49. #49 Mattias
    December 2, 2008

    By the way, I understand that the Quamran scrolls have moved back the dating of the Silmarillion account by several centuries. :-)

    / Mattias

  50. #50 Martin R
    December 2, 2008

    Mattias, I mean that to someone writing about the making of the world in the Bronze Age, the distinction between history and mythology was most likely moot. Looking at how theologians have interpreted the text through the centuries we learn more about them than about the original writer. Since I have no faith-based stake in the veracity or applicability of Genesis in any of the senses you enumerate, I simply see it as a pretty story. The Bible starts to become interesting to me with the historical books.

  51. #51 Mattias
    December 2, 2008

    Martin, I see what you mean. To avoid further confusion: I am talking about how these texts were received in nascent christendom, not what was intended by the orginal informant/scribe nor what you and I think about the texts.

    To deviate slightly from this topic (since we have already gone fast astray from Michael Merren’s nice guest entry) something that is interesting is the largely coinciding chronology proposed in the Genesis account and evolutionary biology, respectively: herbs – fruits – invertebrates – fish – birds – mammals – humans. The big deviance is reptiles, which in Genesis are mentioned first together with mammals. Please, friends, note that I do not mean to suggest that Genesis in any way prefigures the thought of ninteenth-century zoology, I only find it very interesting that, if we consider it as guesswork (as I assume many of you do) there must have been some type of observation as to progression in existing species among the Semites. We must also consider the increased difficulties Maupertuis, Lamarck and Darwin would have faced introducing their models, had these suggested another order than that traditionally accepted.

    / Mattias

  52. #52 Shane
    December 2, 2008

    John, your post lacks coherence; I think you need to do a bit more self-education in evolutionary biology, because you have got the wrong end of some weird stick that isn’t even the *relevant* stick. It strikes me as absurd to require Richard Dawkins or PZ Myers to provide an explanation for a *wrong* idea (i.e. that biological evolution has somehow “terminated” – that strikes me as nonsense – or, at the very least, something YOU would need to provide a lot of data in order to back up, and I’m talking about something of a completely different order from disembodied context-free quotes).

    You also appear to have a simplistic understanding of what determinism involves (and we’ll assume for the sake of argument that the universe is deterministic – our quantum colleagues might take a different view). Deterministic does NOT mean “pre-specified” or “predetermined”, or that the route was mapped out in advance. For example, many classically chaotic systems are entirely deterministic, but completely unpredictable, unless the starting conditions are precisely known to an absurd degree of accuracy that is in practice never attainable. Indeed, the classical Newtonian three-body problem is known to be unpredictable in this manner. This means that Einstein may have been right (although that is the subject of another debate), but YOU are wrong.

    Another area where you seem somewhat adrift is in what you say about natural selection as a conservative force – it is only such if the conservation prefers restoration of the original genotype, and that is manifestly not the case – what is selected is *phenotype*. Moreover, the rate of introduction of mutations into a typical organism per generation is significantly higher than the rate of attrition due to non-reproduction, so selection *cannot* act to restore something so specific as a single sequence within any half-realistic estimate of population and genome size. Furthermore, there is no “reference sequence” for selection to act against – all there is is phenotype vs the environment. Which is the modern understanding of Darwinian evolution – genes which confer *themselves* a reproductive advantage will become more frequent in the next generation of the population. All very Darwinian.

    If we are looking for failed hypotheses, and your viewpoint represents a “hypothesis”, I don’t think you even get off the starting blocks, and the sincerity with which you may believe modern biology to be flawed is no substitute for actual *evidence* (nor is a string of out-of-context quotes).

    Sorry to throw such a damper on you – like I said, I’ve never heard of you, and you may be a very nice person, as a lot of armchair enthusiasts are, but you need to do a bit more work on getting your head around biology – there are some very serious and fundamental deficiencies in your current understanding.

    Cheers,
    -Shane

    PS. I’m still somewhat at a loss as to what relevance this has to the original post, but hey-ho.

  53. #53 Dawkin's who?
    December 2, 2008

    Shane, you purport to conduct a reply to a post presented by Professor Davidson, is this issue addressed by you? You deliberated misrepresented your facts and intentions. You tell John “I think you need to do a bit more self-education in evolutionary biology” what is your background? As for your science it has very little to do with what evolution `scientists’ are about. You attack the credibility of Professor Davidson with a simple-minded ad hominem response. Your opinions are nothing less than moronic as your logic, if you were a man of science you would have challenged his theories. Shane, you might think of a better way of debating people than your typical ad hominem response, really if you don’t have the scientific knowledge to debate Professor Davidson you really shouldn’t go around pretending to be someone else. We can read your comments and tell you are nothing more than another Darwinbot who holds science not a field for discovery of truth, but a blanket to conceal your Pokemon religion. Thank you for entertaining us Shane, I am sure we can all see Shane as his face is obviously clued to Dawkins butt.

  54. #54 Shane
    December 2, 2008

    Thanks, friend. You’re so sweet. As you could see from my post, I actually did offer counter-arguments. So, if all “Dawkin’s who” (whatever that means) has to offer is that sort of dirt, it ‘s rather revealing. So John Davison is a “Professor”? I didn’t know that – like I said, I had never heard of him before.

    I see from the blog that he used to hold a position in Vermont, which is some place in America, from what I’m aware, and has written a couple of opinion pieces for an obscure publication with which I am unfamiliar. Ho hum. His contributions to this thread (and that’s as far as this needs to go) have hardly been supported with evidence of any kind. In particular, he has said things about evolution that are factually wrong. He needs to provide evidence for these statements/hypotheses.

    Perhaps Professor Davison would like to address the specific issues raised in my post – I’m sure he probably has substantially better manners and grace than you have, friend. I have no idea if you describe yourself as a Christian (which is the real topic of this thread, let’s be clear), but it is pretty evident that you’re a nasty immoral piece of work. If Satan existed, he’d be pretty proud of you. Go, girl.

  55. #55 John A. Davison
    December 2, 2008

    Thank you Dawkin’s who?

    for exposing Shane as the pompous ass he has proven himself to be. I especially relish the image of Shane’s face glued to Dawkins’ butt.

    Incidentally, if this will serve to furter inflame Shane, I am a baptized Roman Catholic myself but as a scientist I set aside my faith in order to more objectively consider the great mystery of phylogeny. I am confident that Pope Benedict XVI will understand why that is necessary.

    I have no intention of responding to Shane since my presence here is to promote my views of the “mechanism” of an organic evolution which I am convinced is now terminated and no longer in progress. As my signature states -

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    I have in my previous posts presented a summary of my convictions and do not feel they require further amplification as they are in complete accord with what we really know from the fossil record and the experimental laboratory. I have a weblog where my “heresies” are being presented and where all are invited to participate.

    I will be happy to defend my thesis here or anywhere else. I ask only that questions be presented in a civil manner. If that cannot be arranged I will remain silent as I have better things to do with my remaining days than to tolerate arrogant, anonymous trash like Shane, whoever that is.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  56. #56 Dawkin's who?
    December 2, 2008

    Thanks, friend. You’re so sweet. As you could see from my post, I actually did offer counter-arguments.

    Try to edit your responses of unnecessary material before attempting
    to impress us with your insight, your counter-arguments or should I say delusional and incoherent ramblings were a very revealing to your person.

    So John Davison is a “Professor”? I didn’t know that – like I said, I had never heard of him before.

    You are so clueless that if you dressed in a clue skin, doused yourself in clue musk, and did the clue dance in the middle of a field of horny clues at the height of clue mating season, you still would not have a clue.

    I see from the blog that he used to hold a position in Vermont, which is some place in America, from what I’m aware.

    Sorry Shane

    ~ You may think you can intimidate the whole world with that attitude but you don’t intimidate me. I grew up in hell! My grandmother’s got more attitude!~
    Frank Sachs

    Ho hum. His contributions to this thread (and that’s as far as this needs to go) have hardly been supported with evidence of any kind.

    Yes I know, you think the world is flat, Dawkins is a genius and American Idol is drama let me see did I miss any trends yeah, let me guess Shane you’re an Atheist??

    In particular, he has said things about evolution that is factually wrong. He needs to provide evidence for these statements/hypotheses.

    He has but you aren’t interest in that, you want to discredit him. Dude really your not fooling anybody. Your attraction to John isn’t scientific. He has squashed your theory and you don’t like it. You know what is even funnier, you don’t believe it either you just follow the trends.

    Perhaps Professor Davison would like to address the specific issues raised in my post –

    Shane you stringing together a bunch of insults among a load of babbling was hardly effective.

    I’m sure he probably has substantially better manners and grace than you have.

    I not sure Shane but he has definitely a vast more intelligence and honesty than you.

  57. #57 Martin R
    December 2, 2008

    Shane, both John A.D. and “Dawkins who?”/SkasasParadigm are listed in PZ’s killfile dungeon as incorrigible trolls. I suggest that everybody ignore them and interact with my charming regulars instead.

  58. #58 Shane
    December 2, 2008

    Martin, wilco. They do seem quite rare and prized specimens, though.

  59. #59 RickrOll
    December 2, 2008

    Mattias, you made a great assumprion of my beliefs regarding the Protestant/Lutheran Reformation. All i said was that it was essentially the biggest wedge in the power of the Church in the Western world. I don’t know what grounds you have to dissagreee. I made no such statement that all the thought of these prominant theologians be summed up as the “reformation”, as i was concerned with the Gutenburg press and the specific efforts of Martin Luther: ‘faith alone is sufficient.’
    Simplifying, yes, but i only wanted to convey the singular point that the anti-politicising power of Protestantism combined with the distribution of scriptural knowledge, was going to erode the power base of Christianity as a religion. This is very plain, looking at the present climate of religion throughout most of Western Europe, Japan, nearly all highly industialized nations.

    “Something that is interesting is the largely coinciding chronology proposed in the Genesis account and evolutionary biology, respectively: herbs – fruits – invertebrates – fish – birds – mammals – humans. The big deviance is reptiles, which in Genesis are mentioned first together with mammals.”- i assume it is based upon the intelligence and complexity of the beasties involved.
    Grasses, fruit- bearing plants/vegetables, invertibrates are very low on the intelligence scale indeed (though i assume at this point that they were indicating only land-dwelling onvertebrates), and then fish, slightly smarter and certainly more complex, birds- not tetrapods, so they are bumped down below mammals, and then the rest (lizards were 4-leggeg, so that would be my assumption for why they equated them). In addition, higher sustinance most likely made the higher mammals more sacred as well. They were an important part of life, those meaty creatures. remember, it was only significantly later that sanctions against certain animals were made. It follows pretty easily, albeit, far too intuitively to be entirely accurate, as we well know.

    I agree with Martin R that mythology/history were equitable in antiquity. This is well known (consider The Iliad), however, there was an entirely different conception of God in the original authors writings (by all accounts, J author[s] predate P). Listen, if you have a problem with the esaay, i can understand. But saying that the ideology is too simplistic is giving far too much credit to the ancient mythos. There wasn’t anything too complex about it, and the relation with the myriad other religions is somewhat of a tangent to the topic at hand- for that, i apologize. I know that Judaism is a mutt religion- as is evidenced by their constant referances to the goodness/evil of man’s heart, something which has it’s origins in ancient egyption lore, if i’m not mistaken. I am not the person to really get into it with in regards to the history of the Document Hypothesis, i suggest the esteemed David Marjanović, who along with Owlmirror, are very well-read on this discussion.

  60. #60 John A. Davison
    December 2, 2008

    Do I understand that Martin R, whoever that is, is in charge of this dog and pony show? I guess if one is in Myers’ dungeon he isn’t welcome here. Is that the gist of it? Don’t be shy. I thrive on trash that think that way. Now I expect an apology from the management here before I continue to enlighten this blog with any more devastation of the Darwinian fairy tale, the biggest hoax in the history of science.

    I’m listening.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  61. #61 Dawkin's who?
    December 2, 2008

    Umm, okay.
    I am really in trouble now.

  62. #62 Dawkin's who?
    December 2, 2008

    Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City “Sailor wanna hump-hump” bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.

  63. #63 John A. Davison
    December 3, 2008

    Dawkin’s who?

    Are you talking to me? It might be a good idea for comments to be addressed to specific targets to avoid any misunderstandings. I had the impression we might share a certain contempt for the Darwinian hoax.

    I love it so!

  64. #64 John A. Davison
    December 3, 2008

    I get Dickie Dawkins’ Newsletter and I see he is still peddling Tshirts. The guy is the laughing stock of the scientific world.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  65. #65 Mattias
    December 3, 2008

    RickrOll,

    Sorry for missing your point about sixteenth-century reformations in relation to the authority of the Church. You are perfectly right that these movements did diminish the secular/civic power of the Western Church by way of assimilation, that is: the secular/civic power usurpated the ecclesiastical authority (and still uses it in very much the similar way, at least in Scandinavia, where trust in the State also has continued to resemble that of anti-intellectual pietism).

    Yes, as you say, it was probably rather straightforward for ancient semites to conjecture an authority of species according to perceived intelligence. I find it very interesting that it gave rise (if we assume that it was not intended as an account of how things actually happened) to a mythos with species in this hierarchy appearing one after the other, don’t you think? Rather than representing different periods of time, alternative mythoi would be (i) space: that they appeared from different parts of the world or (ii) matter: that they represented different elements of the matter of the universe &c. It is an intriguing thought, that if such a myth would have become predominant instead, it would certainly have shaped the ensuing exploration of the universe accordingly.

    / Mattias

  66. #66 Dawkin's who?
    December 3, 2008

    No, Professor I wasn’t talking to you. I have the utmost respect for you and your abilities. Unlike Darwin hypothesis your PEH actually makes sense.

    I was actually revering to being put into the dungeon. You know the place where PZ Meyers and his followers are afraid to respond openly to you or Martin for that matter. So they go into a room together and see who can curse the most like a sailor. Except it’s little children who can’t think for themselves so they let PZ do it for them. It probably because Dawkins think there pretty pathetic too, and won’t lower himself to pay attention to them.

  67. #67 JimC
    December 3, 2008

    not permitting an exclusive interpretation as “day” –

    Of this they are correct there is no compelling reason to read it any other way.

  68. #68 John A. Davison
    December 3, 2008

    Dawkina’ who?

    Thanks for the clarifiction. I have a tendency towards paranoia which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    “Even a paranoid can have enemies.”
    Henry Kissinger

  69. #69 RickrOll
    December 3, 2008

    “Rather than representing different periods of time, alternative mythoi would be (i) space: that they appeared from different parts of the world or (ii) matter: that they represented different elements of the matter of the universe &c. It is an intriguing thought, that if such a myth would have become predominant instead, it would certainly have shaped the ensuing exploration of the universe accordingly.”

    AronRa had a good youtube video on this. It under the Foundational Falshood of Creationism series. Very good.

    Indeed, but i think that the latter had occured. I still wonder, given that most polytheistic representation of gods as animals, if this hierarchy was subject to those notions, or the reverse. I can further see why birds and fish would follow this line of reasoning: Flock/school behavior, which indicates a group intelligence, and diminishes the intelligence of the individual.

  70. #70 John A. Davison
    December 3, 2008

    “Birds of a feather flock together.”
    Cervantes

    That isn’t all they do together. Some of them peddle Tshirts, bumper stickers and coffee mugs all adorned with the big red A for Atheist.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  71. #71 John A. Davison
    December 4, 2008

    “In all the research since 1869 on the transformations observed in closely successive phyletic series no evidence whatever, to my knowledge, has been brought forward by any palaeontologist, either of the vertebrated or invertebrated animals, that the fit orignates by selection from the fortuitous.”
    Henry Fairfield Osborn, Darwin and paleeontology: Fifty years of Darwinism. New York, 1909, page 223.

    Osborn was the head of the American Museum of Natural History and a good friend of Robert Broom.

    Nothing has changed in the 99 years that have elapsed since that claim was made. So much for natural selection and the whole Darwinian fairy tale, the most persistent hoax in the history of science.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  72. #72 Shane
    December 4, 2008

    Hmmm. Looks like the consensus of informed opinion is that my face is glued to Dawkins’ butt.

    It’s hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    questiondarwin.blogspot.com

  73. #73 Mattias
    December 4, 2008

    Shane, what would the evolutionary advantage be of having one’s face so attached? ;-)

    / Mattias

  74. #74 Dawkin's who?
    December 4, 2008

    Hey Shane,
    Say hello to P.Z. Meyers while your there!

  75. #75 Shane
    December 4, 2008

    Matthias,

    I love it so! That is sufficient.

    “A glued-up posterior is undeniable; a velcro posterior unmanageable.”

  76. #76 Dawkin's who?
    December 4, 2008

    Do not be afraid to be free thinkers. If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to the belief in God.
    William Thompson

    Shane, Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”
    G.Carlin

  77. #77 Dawkin's who?
    December 4, 2008

    Hey Shane,
    When your done with your adolescence please make some point other that you don’t have one?

  78. #78 Shane
    December 4, 2008

    Oh look! I am now having my trolling actively solicited by Davison’s remora!

    It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    “A large cabbage is unpalatable, a plastic cornflake undigestible.”

    answersingenesis.org

  79. #79 John A. Davison
    December 4, 2008

    Shane is just a “prescribed,” “born that way,” “dyed-in-the-wool” loser, sort of like P Z “randomly ejaculating” Myers and Dickie “dead as a Dodo” Dawkins, the dynamic duo of Darwimpian damn foolishness.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

    I love it so!

    jadavison/wordpress.com

  80. #80 Shane
    December 5, 2008

    Gramps, a better word for your alliterative purposes would have been “dimwittery”.

    Nurse! More Aricept! And bring a thesaurus – STAT!

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

    I love it so!

    “A pasta pogo stick is unusable, a purple piglet uninflatable.”

    gobshite.wordpress.com

  81. #81 John A. Davison
    December 5, 2008

    Martin R

    You run a great blog here. Congratulations!

  82. #82 Dawkin's who?
    December 5, 2008

    Shane, Why to your persist? It is hard to believe how incredibly dumb and stupid you are. Dumb as a rock,that the other rocks make fun of.
    So Dumb that you have traveled far beyond dumb as we know it and into a new dimension of dumb.
    Meta-dumb. Stupid cubed. Trans-stupid stupid. Stupid collapsed to a singularity where even the stupons have collapsed into stuponium.Stupid so dense that no intelligence can escape. Singularity stupid.Blazing hot summer day on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one
    minute than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. It cannot be possible that anything in our universe can really be this stupid.This is a primordial fragment from the original big stupid bang. A pure extract of stupid with absolute stupid purity. Stupid beyond the laws of nature. I must apologize. I can’t go on. This is my epiphany of stupid. After this experience, you may not hear from me for a while.I don’t think that I can summon the strength left to mock your moronic opinions and malformed comments about boring trivia or your other drivel. Duh.

  83. #83 Dawkin's who?
    December 5, 2008

    Shane, Who picks your clothes – Stevie Wonder?”

    Don Rickles quote

  84. #84 John A. Davison
    December 5, 2008

    Shane, “if you were alive you would be a very sick man.”

    Henny Youngman quote.

  85. #85 Dawkin's who?
    December 5, 2008

    Shane,if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.

  86. #86 Alan Fox
    December 5, 2008

    I thought that was pretty good parody from Shane, if a bit cruel. But John does ask for it. Time to come in for your cocoa and meds, now, John.

  87. #87 Dawkin's who?
    December 5, 2008

    Wow, Alan.
    This is sad, to see you reduced to Prof. Davison’s stalker. I am sure Demski is glad he washed his hands of you.

    A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
    Benjamin Franklin

  88. #88 dublin1
    December 5, 2008

    Hello Mr. Fox.
    I don’t Mr. Fox? You attack Prof. Davison but I thought you believed in I.D., yet I see you making partnerships with Darwinian’s? Which one is it? If you are a Darwinian then we know what side you are on if it is as I believe you are a I.D. no matter what history you have had with Prof. Davison it should be your responsibility to come to his aid? I know almost anyone at the Discovery Institute would? I don’t mean to be cruel just verifying your stance. Thank you.

  89. #89 Shane
    December 5, 2008

    Remora boy, that was quite good. Well done. Gramps – one of your finest butterscotch sweeties for the little lad, if you’d be so kind.

    I lurve it so!

    “A plaster wetsuit is unwearable, a prescient rhinoceros unstoppable.”

  90. #90 John A. Davison
    December 5, 2008

    Alan Fox has always been obsessed with me. He follows me around like a dog, always casting aspersions. I believe he suffers from “geriatrophilia” – he loves old guys a lot.

    The best way to characterize Fox is to realize that he regards “Dawkins as a great read.” Can you imagine anyone so out of touch with reality as to regard Richard “blind mountaineering watchmaker” Dawkins with anything but contempt? I can’t. Dawkins, like his New World surrogate Paul Zachary “godless liberal, randomly ejaculating” Myers, lives in a world of his own deranged construction, a world devoid of purpose, empty of virtue, lacking in any semblance of order and substance: in short a world which exists only the warped minds of these two congenital, joined-at-the-hip, intellectual losers, each “prescribed” to become nothing but a pathetic insignificant footnote in the history of biological science. Actually they both already are but are so wrapped up in their misguided goal to convert the whole world to Universal Atheism that they are stone deaf to what Einstein called “the music of the spheres.”

    Pythagoras, three centuries before the birth of Christ, called it “the harmony of the spheres.” Some of us hear it loud and clear. Others, like Myers and Dawkins, are not so fortunate.

    Neither of them even mention the Darwinian model they still silently defend by attacking the only conceivable alternative, a planned evolution in which Homo sapiens became the terminal mammalian product.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    Like HELL it is!

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  91. #91 Dawkin's who?
    December 5, 2008

    Yeah Prof.
    I totally agree and once again you are right on the money!!!!

  92. #92 Alan Fox
    December 5, 2008

    I think we need to up his dose :)

  93. #93 John A. Davison
    December 5, 2008

    This blog attracts mindless TRASH like meat attracts flies. It differs little from After The Bar Closes and Pharyngula.

  94. #94 RickrOll
    December 5, 2008

    This blog attracts mindless TRASH like meat attracts flies. It differs little from After The Bar Closes and Pharyngula.

    Posted by: John A. Davison- describing self

  95. #95 John A. Davison
    December 7, 2008

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/12/i_get_email_23.php#comments

    I see that RickrOll is a regular at Pharyngula. That figures!

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  96. #96 RickrOll
    December 7, 2008

    As were you. Normally i wouldn’t talk to you, but activity is so low on Aardvarchaeology. By the by, who’s KC, KC2, KC4, KX……

  97. #97 John A. Davison
    December 7, 2008

    I was never a regular at Pharyngula. I was banished after one post. You will find me as one of the first entries in Myers’ DUNGEON. I have no idea what the rest of your message is about.

  98. #98 John A. Davison
    December 7, 2008

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/12/i_get_email_23.php#comments

    This letter and Myers’ response to it mark the beginning of the end for Myers. He is without question the most disgusting human being ever to head a weblog.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  99. #99 Dawkin's who?
    December 9, 2008

    KC, KC2, KC4, KX sounds like PZ’s paranoia working overtime. He thought everyone who posted against his believes (which is alot) was Prof. Davison. So why is he so paranoid about?

    I think Prof. is more a threat to P.Z. than his little followers would admit. Also Dr. Martin reading your little bio what do you mean by “been in reconciling the sound theory of Evolution with the Biblical accounts of creation”

    What form of evolution do you believe?If it is Micro yes I can agree as we observe micro evolution through random variations and natural selection it can be identify that change occurs rather gradually; there are no radical discontinuities from one generation to the next. However if we examine the fossil record it to reveals the inconsistency with Darwinian gradualism, and the few examples of transitional fossils Darwin bots have claimed to have found have failed to demonstrate that evolution occurred through a Darwinian mechanism.

    “Evolution” one means change in general. But if by “evolution” one means macro evolution through random variations and natural selection, then the evidence is underwhelming, at best

    Professor John A. Davison

    Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.
    Benjamin Franklin

  100. #100 John A. Davison
    December 9, 2008

    Thank you Dawkin’s who?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

  101. #101 John A. Davison
    August 17, 2010

    Well here I am again, a year and a half later and curious if this thread is still accepting comments. If it is, please email me as I would love to use this venue to further expose the biggest hoax ever perpetrated in the history of science.

    jadavison.wordpress.com