NOOOOO!!! ALL HOPE IS LOST!!!

Gov. Fallin is asking Oklahomans to turn to a higher power this Sunday, July 17, 2011 and pray for rain.

“I encourage Oklahomans of all faiths to join me this Sunday in offering their prayers for rain,” Fallin said. “For the safety of our firefighters and our communities and the well-being of our crops and livestock, this state needs the current drought to come to an end. The power of prayer is a wonderful thing, and I would ask every Oklahoman to look to a greater power this weekend and ask for rain.”

Rick Perry of Texas already TRIED THIS. Texas prayed for rain back in April. And God answered.

F*CK YOU!! *flipsTXthebird*

We are so screwed now.

When will Evangelicals learn? Their god is nuts, and its usually best not to do anything to draw His attention. Especially when He has a fancy for SIDEWAYS BASEBALL SIZED HAIL.

Comments

  1. #1 rnb
    July 15, 2011

    We’ve already had 30 days of 100F weather…….

  2. #2 feralboy12
    July 15, 2011

    One should probably specify “water” when making such a request of god. Liquid water. Not frogs, not fire…also, be sure to uncheck the box that says “dead people walking around.”

  3. #3 Rob Jase
    July 15, 2011

    “I encourage Oklahomans of all faiths to join me this Sunday in offering their prayers for rain,” Fallin said”

    Probably inviting ALL faiths so that she can blame the non-Christians (like Muslims & Catholics) for when the prayers fail or they get whacked by giant hail.

  4. #4 bibliovore
    July 15, 2011

    Suppose it rains in Oklahoma. How will this be interpreted? That Texans are heretics? That the One True Christian Sect is somewhere in Oklahoma? And how many obscure Baptist pastors (Bapstors?) will claim responsibility for having uttered the magic words in the proper sequence? Ridiculous. Skinner’s pigeons, all of them.

  5. #5 Patrick
    July 15, 2011

    Up here in Colorado we’ll pray to send our rain your way. we’ve had enough.

  6. #6 Eddie Janssen
    July 15, 2011

    “…and its usually best not to do anything to draw His attention.”
    Funny!

  7. #7 Eddie Janssen
    July 15, 2011

    Although I hope it will rain soon (being a farmer’s son), an interesting experiment would be to call for one group of believers to pray to their God not to let it rain.
    If we repeat this often enough we would would have a winner in the end!

  8. #8 Rhology
    July 15, 2011

    One of the best things about reading this blog is the naked cluelessness with which ERV writes.

    Their god is nuts, and its usually best not to do anything to draw His attention.

    You can’t make copy like this up.

  9. #9 Justicar
    July 15, 2011

    Apparently, they’re playing Pascal’s Wager to the max: one of these fuckers must be the right god. Hey, everybody, pray in a random direction!

    Next week: hey, I’m asking scientists of every field to go home and work on solving cancer this weekend.

    Fucking idiots.

    @feralboy, that’s a hoot. How about “liquid light” from “sacred geometry”?

    Bibliovore, I like the “Bapstors” thing. You could do a series for all of them. For instance, Father + Priest =, well, that one’s too easy.

  10. #10 vhutchison
    July 15, 2011

    Rho: When you can PROVE that praying for rain works, let us know.

  11. #11 Jim
    July 15, 2011

    Mary Fallin is not a spokesperson for Evangelicals. I’m grateful that that’s the case.

  12. #12 Phillip IV
    July 16, 2011

    Rhology @ #8:

    One of the best things about reading this blog is the naked cluelessness with which ERV writes.

    So ERV is clueless about religion? Woah, that sounds serious…wait a moment, let me check where religion racks on the list of things you should have a clue about.

    Hm, can’t find it in the Top Ten…

    scrolling down…

    scrolling down…

    scrolling down…

    ah, there it is!


    (…)

    384349. having memorized all of the actors who played the character Renfield in a movie adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

    384350. knowing a bit about religion

    384351. being able to assign a picture of a smurf to the decade of its creation by the shape of the hat

    (…)

    Well, perhaps it’s not that serious a problem after all.

  13. #13 Jack Knight
    July 16, 2011

    Maybe Mary and Rick Perry, TX Gov, can get on their cumulative knees and “pray” together.

  14. #14 Sean Gillespie
    July 16, 2011

    @8

    One of the best things about reading this blog is the naked cluelessness with which ERV writes.

    “Their god is nuts, and its usually best not to do anything to draw His attention.”

    I will drown all of you, except for those few that I am going to put on a boat with 2 of every animal! Chop your foreskins off so that I can identify your descendants! I am going to sacrifice myself to myself so I can forgive you for doing something you didn’t know better and I should have prevented. The list of insanities goes on and on…

    Oh yes..their god is the epitome of rational behavior. I would suggest checking out the source documents and actually reading them. I would hardly call that statement clueless.

  15. #15 Achrachno
    July 16, 2011

    ERV “When will Evangelicals learn? Their god is nuts, and its usually best not to do anything to draw His attention. ”

    Their God is barely even imaginary and there’s nothing anyone an do to draw its attention, as thousands of years of prayers have amply demonstrated. It’s their religion that’s nuts.

    That’s what you meant isn’t it? :)

  16. #16 Tommykey
    July 16, 2011

    wait a moment, let me check where religion racks on the list of things you should have a clue about.

    Hm, can’t find it in the Top Ten…

    @ Philip IV.

    I disagree, if only because since those of us who are secularists live in a world with billions of religious people of varying religious faiths, denominations, and degrees of commitment and fervor, it would behoove one to understand at least a little bit about what they believe and why.

    In terms of religious belief as a social phenomenon, it probably does fall somewhere in the Top Ten, especially concerning its impact in terms of domestic social policy and foreign policy, particularly with Muslim majority countries.

    Plus there’s the impact of Christianity on Western European society, encompassing its laws, literature, art, philosophy and so forth since the late 4th century. I’ve been reading a lot of 16th century literature lately, such as the works of Erasmus, Rabelais, and Montaigne. Their writings are infused with Christian themes and references, as are many works of Renaissance art. It does help to have at least some clue about Christianity to understand and appreciate them, even if the reader or viewer, such as myself, does not believe in the claims of Christianity.

    That being said, if you are a biologist, geologist, astronomer, etc., then Biblical creation stories do rank somewhere around 384350.

    With regard to whether or not prayer can make it rain, I believe our resident Christian friend would argue that God has already determined whether or not it will rain on a certain day in Oklahoma, and that it does not require a criticial mass of Oklahomans to pray in order for precipitation to occur. “Ooh, lookie! There’s 100,000 people praying! That’s the minimum number I needed!” Rather, the act of prayer is an act of supplication on the part of the believer that God controls everything and the hope that the thing prayed for is in accordance with what God intended to do all along.

    As for not drawing God’s attention, I gather a Christian believes that God is constantly watching us all the time and that we constantly have its attention whether we seek it or not. I’m guessing that is at least in part what Rho, from his perspective, meant by ERV being clueless on religion.

  17. #17 Spence
    July 16, 2011

    Bwahahaha

    I am so glad we’ve largely eliminated religion from our primary elected legislature here in the UK (the house of commons).

    We’re still working on the unelected upper house though (the house of lords), still too many grown men believing they have a connection to god, and using it to tell us what we should and should not be doing.

  18. #18 Phillip IV
    July 16, 2011

    Tommykey @ #16:

    it would behoove one to understand at least a little bit about what they believe and why.

    That’s true, but that’s exactly the point – in order to understand what billions of faithful believe you don’t have to go any deeper than ERV does here, simply because it doesn’t go any deeper.

    Christian theology as taught in seminaries and at universities is highly sophisticated and intellectual exercise in pointless mental wankery – a wondrous sight to behold in its complexity and sophistication, but ultimately an edifice erected on a foundation of nothing. But it’s also not worthwhile to know with a view to understanding faith as a sociological phenomenon – simply because the actual faith held by the vast majority of actual faithful is way cruder and in many cases childishly simple. If you’d carefully read and fully digest the wikipedia article on Evagelicalism, you’d already know more about it than the majority of people who officially subscribe to it.

  19. #19 Rhology
    July 16, 2011

    @Philip #12,

    384350. knowing a bit about religion

    That doesn’t stop her from writing about it, now does it?
    Not knowing about it is one thing. Acting like she does when she in fact doesn’t is something entirely different.

    @Tommykey #16
    Thanks for the fair comment.
    You were sort of right about your description of prayer and sort of wrong. Yes, there’s an element that is supplication, but broadly speaking prayer is me talking to God.
    The cluelessness to which I refer is the “their god is nuts” and “best not to draw his attention”. As if she has any objective standard for “nuts”, and the “attention” quote is pretty much incomprehensible.

  20. #20 Phillip IV
    July 17, 2011

    Rhology @ #19:

    That doesn’t stop her from writing about it, now does it?
    Not knowing about it is one thing. Acting like she does when she in fact doesn’t is something entirely different.

    ERV isn’t writing about religion, she’s writing about idiocy.

    The idiots in question might be religious idiots, but that doesn’t mean you have to understand academic theology in order to point out that their idiocy is idiotic. Especially since the vast majority of religious idiots operate under the kindergarten version, anyway – you have to judge a societal phenomenon by its reality, not by its theoretical superstructure.

  21. #21 Spence
    July 17, 2011

    Rather, the act of prayer is an act of supplication on the part of the believer that God controls everything and the hope that the thing prayed for is in accordance with what God intended to do all along.
    Is there any way to read the above sentence without sounding ridiculous?

    Seriously, though. The author of the “nuts” statement is an atheist and doesn’t believe god exists. The sentence was clearly not meant to be read literally, but in a sardonic tone. If some people are offended by that, well, don’t take this the wrong way, but maybe you could come back to mine later for coffee and we’ll talk about it more.

  22. #22 Tommykey
    July 17, 2011

    The author of the “nuts” statement is an atheist and doesn’t believe god exists.

    And so am I, or did you overlook the part where I wrote

    “I disagree, if only because since those of us who are secularists”

    and

    “even if the reader or viewer, such as myself, does not believe in the claims of Christianity.”

    And I got it that ERV intended to be sardonic. I was commenting on the discussion that arose following Rhology’s comments.

    As Rhology kindly noted above, I was striving to be fair and point out that not all Christians, which I believe includes Rhology, don’t believe that assembling a critical mass of Christians to pray for rain will cause God to say “Okay, I guess I’ll make it rain now to make them happy.”

    BTW, did it rain today in Oklahoma?

    You were sort of right about your description of prayer and sort of wrong. Yes, there’s an element that is supplication, but broadly speaking prayer is me talking to God.

    Thank you for the clarification. I endeavor to be correct in my understanding.

  23. #23 Tommykey
    July 17, 2011

    I guess it didn’t rain, and the next few days don’t look promising either, if this is anything to go by:

    http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Tulsa+OK+74103?par=igoogle&site=www.google.com&promo=currrentconditions&cm_ven=igoogle&cm_cat=www.google.com&cm_pla=forecastpage&cm_ite=CityPage

    As the 3rd century BCE Chinese Confucian philosopher Hsun Tzu noted, “If people pray for rain and it rains, how is that? I would say: Nothing in particular. Just as when people do not pray for rain, it also rains.”

  24. #24 Spence
    July 17, 2011

    TommyKey

    The second para of my comment was not directed at you. Apologies if that was not clear.

  25. #25 Tommykey
    July 17, 2011

    Thanks for the clarification Spence. We’re good.

  26. #26 Tommykey
    July 17, 2011

    And I realize I was guilty of a double negative above. I meant:

    As Rhology kindly noted above, I was striving to be fair and point out that not all Christians, which I believe includes Rhology, don’tbelieve that assembling a critical mass of Christians to pray for rain will cause God to say “Okay, I guess I’ll make it rain now to make them happy.”

  27. #27 Tommykey
    July 17, 2011

    Damn, the strike tag didn’t work. Strike the “dont” between “Rhology,” and “believe.”

  28. #28 John Greg
    July 17, 2011

    Rhology, a couple of questions.

    After close reading of the bible, in which “God” enacts the most vile, cruel, and horrifically bloodthirsty punishments on myriad innocent folks who simply happen to be in the neighbourhood, do you really maintain that “God” is not nuts?

    And furthermore, after all that blood and guts pouring out of those hallowed pages, do you also maintain that it might not perhaps actually be a very good idea to not draw his/her/its attention to, er, well, anything at all?

    Also, are you actually trying to maintain that there is, in fact, any meaningful function in prayer other than making the prayee, as it were, feel good?

    Lastly, you say: “Yes, there’s an element that is supplication, but broadly speaking prayer is me talking to God.” So, I’m curious, if I “pray” to the invisible flying pink dragon — and yes, even though I cannot see him/her/it, or hear him/her/it, or smell him/her/it, etc., I know he/she’s pink because he/she told me; yes, that’s right, I cannot actually hear him/her/it, but nonetheless, he/she/it told me; don’t ask how ’cause there is no rhyme or reason to it, it just IS — does that mean I am, broadly speaking of course, actually talking to the invisible flying pink dragon?

    Or does it just mean I’m delusioned?

  29. #29 John Greg
    July 17, 2011

    “… other than making the prayee….”

    Whoops. That should have been … “other than making the prayor….” (I think), i.e., the she/he/it doin’ the prayin’.

    Maybe not.

    I am so confused now.

  30. #30 Prometheus
    July 17, 2011

    Nothing is more hilarious than the pawning off of well deserved disdain as ignorance where religion is concerned.

    Apparently someone has spent the last couple of very hot days with Berlitz tapes for Galilean Aramaic, Koine Greek and Hebrew.

    This is, of course, based on the assumption that we are talking about expertise in, at least, Christianity.

    G’wan then, let’s have “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in Mishnaic Rabbinic One and no skimping on the preterite, make it sound like Qoheleth on a bender.

  31. #31 Rhology
    July 18, 2011

    @Philip #20

    ERV isn’t writing about religion, she’s writing about idiocy.

    (What she thinks is) idiocy in the context of religion.
    Let’s not be dense here. You’ve conceded my point.

    @Tommykey #22

    BTW, did it rain today in Oklahoma?

    No, but I fully expect it will rain someday in Oklahoma.
    The question is: will we give God the credit when He sends the rain, or will we give credit to “nature”?

    Just as when people do not pray for rain, it also rains.

    Really? How would anyone know that? When have people not prayed for rain?

    @John Greg #28

    in which “God” enacts the most vile, cruel, and horrifically bloodthirsty punishments

    …but this is definitely not a loaded question, right? ;-)

    on myriad innocent folks

    Oops, full stop.
    Romans 3 says:
    “None is righteous, no, not one;
    11 no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
    13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
    “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
    14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
    15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
    17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
    18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    So, the 1st question suffers from a fatally flawed premise.

    after all that blood and guts pouring out of those hallowed pages, do you also maintain that it might not perhaps actually be a very good idea to not draw his/her/its attention to, er, well, anything at all?

    You apparently read only a little bit of the BIble and missed the extremely large portions that clearly discuss how to escape the wrath of God, which we all fully deserve. And yes, that includes high-minded scientismist types like yourself. Not thinking about Jesus doesn’t make Him go away.

    are you actually trying to maintain that there is, in fact, any meaningful function in prayer other than making the prayee, as it were, feel good?

    Yes, and I have seen that conviction confirmed in my own life and in others’ lives as well as having every rational justification for thinking it’s the case.

    if I “pray” to the invisible flying pink dragon … does that mean I am, broadly speaking of course, actually talking to the invisible flying pink dragon?

    Yes, it follows you’re actually talking to it.
    However, it does not follow from that that the ifpd actually exists.
    Sounds like you need to do some supplemental reading.

    Or does it just mean I’m delusioned?

    Yes, it means you’re delusional, b/c you’re praying to an entity that does not exist.
    Romans 1:18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

  32. #32 ERV
    July 18, 2011

    Sorry, Rho– you got hidden in a pile of ‘best-finance-blog’ spam this morning, and I didnt see your comment, just caught it, sorry :(

  33. #33 Tommykey
    July 18, 2011

    Really? How would anyone know that? When have people not prayed for rain?

    People who live in Seattle?

  34. #34 Spence
    July 18, 2011

    The question is: will we give God the credit when He sends the rain, or will we give credit to “nature”?

    Well, will we also give Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, the credit? How about Thor, the Norse god of lightening and rain? And let’s not forget about Tefnut, the Egyptian goddess of rain, she deserves some credit here as well. There is also Takitsuhoki, the Japanese god of rain, as well as Anzu, the Sumerian god of wind and rain. I hope you’re going to give them some credit, too.

    Sheesh. With some gods it’s all “me, me, me”, isn’t it.

    Personally, I’m going to put it down to phase changes of water, atmospheric dynamics and cloud nucleation, mixed with a dash of entropy maximisation of hydrological cycle dynamics for good measure. Which god is responsible for maximisation of entropy again? I forget. But that is probably because I’m clueless about religion.

  35. #35 Fred
    July 18, 2011

    Rho,

    In the the extremely large portions that clearly discuss how to escape the wrath of God, which we all fully deserve, does it explain how a two year old escapes the wrath of God?

  36. #36 Tommykey
    July 18, 2011

    In the the extremely large portions that clearly discuss how to escape the wrath of God, which we all fully deserve, does it explain how a two year old escapes the wrath of God?

    It would help if he had Rho as a father.

  37. #37 Eddie Janssen
    July 18, 2011

    Did it rain?

  38. #38 ERV
    July 19, 2011

    No, but a water-pipe broke, resulting in the Capitol and a hospital campus and the surrounding neighborhoods not having water/had low water pressure Sunday–>now. The Capitol actually had to be shut down today because their air-conditioners need water to work, and the toilets didnt flush.

    So, again, the Evangelical god is NUTS.

    “You want rain? I WILL TURN YOUR TOILETS INTO OUTHOUSES!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

  39. #39 Rhology
    July 19, 2011

    ERV,

    No problem, thanks for publishing it.

    @Spence #34,

    Well, will we also give Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, the credit?

    I don’t see why we would, since
    1) it doesn’t exist, and
    2) nobody asked it for rain.

    I’m going to put it down to phase changes of water, atmospheric dynamics and cloud nucleation

    Me too. God uses those means to bring about the ends – rain.
    I simply recognise that sometimes effects have more than one cause. Imagine that.
    See? Even ERV concedes that – #38, connecting God’s work to the increase of pressure in a water pipe that broke the pipe.

    @Fred #35

    In the the extremely large portions that clearly discuss how to escape the wrath of God, which we all fully deserve, does it explain how a two year old escapes the wrath of God?

    Yes, just like anyone else – the grace of Jesus.

  40. #40 Fred
    July 19, 2011

    The grace of Jesus? Seems a little vague.

    According to the link you provide, one must pray a little prayer, or in some other manner, ask for ticket to the heaven ride. How does a two year old do this (let alone, a newborn)? How did this work during the Israelite conquest of Canaan? (It’s pretty certain that there was no conquest, but for the sake of argument, we’ll pretend that it happened.)

  41. #41 Rhology
    July 19, 2011

    Fred,

    A two year old doesn’t do that.
    The Bible doesn’t really tell us for sure what happens to young children who die, so I don’t speak where God has not spoken.

    How did it work during the conquest of Canaan? That’s far simpler – those who had requested grace from the One True God receive it, and those who didn’t, don’t receive it.
    And yes, I’m sure you have outstanding evidence that it didn’t happen. You know, b/c sand never shifts in that area. And archæologists never miss stuff, never make new discoveries. That’s so full of bologna.

  42. #42 Fred
    July 19, 2011

    God doesn’t tell us what happens to young children who die? Holy shit! Don’t you think that this is a really, really big omission?

    Maybe the problem isn’t that “God hasn’t spoken”. Maybe the problem is Christian theology is badly flawed, so you have to duck the question.

    Is it really “full of bologna” that’s it’s very unlikely that there was a conquest of Canaan by the Israelites? Well, there’s a well-supported argument. Personally, I prefer to base arguments on the data.

    It’s not nearly as much bologna as you may think. You need to keep up with the literature. This is a part of the world that’s been pretty thoroughly surveyed, and it’s looking really good for the “no conquest hypothesis”. But I guess you can keep hoping for the best. Some people play the lottery, some people hope that Indiana Jones will find Joshua’s Sword.

  43. #43 Rhology
    July 19, 2011

    Don’t you think that this is a really, really big omission?

    Yes, certainly it’s big, but not as big as the Final Answer to, say, the tension between election and freewill, or the mystery of the Incarnation. Sometimes God doesn’t show all His cards, and that’s His business, call, and prerogative.

    Maybe the problem is Christian theology is badly flawed, so you have to duck the question.

    OK, I’m happy to let you expound on that. Flawed compared to what? And on what basis do you know it?
    How do you know it would be better for God to reveal that particular mystery to us?

    Is it really “full of bologna” that’s it’s very unlikely that there was a conquest of Canaan by the Israelites? Well, there’s a well-supported argument.

    A well-supported argument that bears the weight of a conclusion of a universal negative?
    Cool! Do all the logicians and philosophers of the world know that universal negatives are actually possible?

    You need to keep up with the literature.

    Élitist gobbledygook. I’ve given a perfectly good reason to doubt “the literature” (which I doubt you’re actually very familiar with), so I’d like to ask you to go ahead and respond to my challenge before introducing any more red herrings.

  44. #44 Fred
    July 19, 2011

    “Sometimes God doesn’t show all His cards.”

    Yes, yes, I know. It’s a mystery. It’s always a mystery.

    Much of the New Testament is all about getting into heaven, Christian parents worry constantly about whether or not their kids will go to heaven, but God isn’t going to answer the question about kids going to heaven? It simply doesn’t make sense that this question would be left unanswered.

    Flawed compared to what? It’s flawed compared to a theology that could answer the question of what happens to kids who die. The flaw is that you can’t find answer to this critically important question. The flaw is that the answer cannot be derived from the “goobledygook”.

    Is the archaeological literature really elitist gobbledygook? Only to the aggressively ignorant. For the rest of us, there’s nothing elitist here. Anyone can understand the evidence if you chose to try.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “a well-supported argument that bears the weight of a conclusion of a universal negative”, but I think that you misunderstand my point. I’m not saying that I know with absolute certainty that we will never find the evidence you need to support the conquest hypothesis. However, when one repeatedly fails to find what one expects to find, when one fails to find what really should be there if a given event really occurred, then it’s fair to say the the hypothesis is almost certainly false.

    For example, you might claim that a given city was burned to the ground in 1805. So I dig down through the ruins of the city from the 1910 level to the 1720 level, and there is no evidence of burning anywhere between these two horizons. In that case, yes, the negative evidence strongly contradicts the hypothesis of a burning in 1800. The statement that the city almost certainly did not burn in 1800 is a very well-supported hypothesis. In the case of the conquest of Canaan, the repeatedly failure to find evidence to match the hypothesis leads to the well-supported conclusion that it almost certainly didn’t happen.

    “I’ve given a perfectly good reason to doubt “the literature”

    God told you?

  45. #45 Rhology
    July 19, 2011

    No, not even close to always. It’s just that you happened to name a mystery; what am I supposed to do but correctly identify it?

    Much of the New Testament is all about getting into heaven, Christian parents worry constantly about whether or not their kids will go to heaven, but God isn’t going to answer the question about kids going to heaven?

    Correct.

    It simply doesn’t make sense that this question would be left unanswered.

    Oh. Well, I’m glad you’re here to correct God.

    Flawed compared to what? It’s flawed compared to a theology that could answer the question of what happens to kids who die.

    Alright, now take the next step.
    You know that a theology that explicitly describes their fate would be superior…how?

    Is the archaeological literature really elitist gobbledygook?

    Only the parts of it that
    1) think that they can give good reason to believe a universal negative, and
    2) are blind to history enough to think that there are no more new discoveries to be made.

    when one fails to find what really should be there if a given event really occurred

    1) Have you ever heard of sand? And thousands of years? And the conjunction of the two?
    2) Further, you beg the question against the biblical account by assuming it is not a dependable witness to those events. It says they occurred; why not accept that they did occur until proven that they didn’t? As it stands, you’re rejecting that they occurred based simply on biased assumption, and that’s hardly fair.

    you might claim that a given city was burned to the ground in 1805. So I dig down through the ruins of the city from the 1910 level to the 1720 level, and there is no evidence of burning anywhere between these two horizons.

    That’s so funny, though, b/c I’m not claiming a given city burned to the ground in 1805.
    Sorry, not a very good analogy. You forgot to include a vast area of shifting sand, and thousands of years.

    God told you?

    I decided to be helpful and went ahead and repeated my reasons in this comment, b/c you apparently missed them the first time. Reading is important.

  46. #46 Fred
    July 19, 2011

    “You know that a theology that explicitly describes their fate would be superior…how?”

    If I lost an infant child, I want desperately want to know. I would really consider a theology that gave me an answer to be far superior to a theology that didn’t, especially when so much of the theology is, in fact, all about getting into heaven or suffering eternal torture. This really is the key point. You create a theology focused on the central question of the afterlife and then you fail to answer the question.

    I assume that you’ll say “that’s just your opinion”, but it’s also just your opinion that the theology is not flawed. It’s your opinion that the absence of an answer is just fine. It’s all just opinion. So, I guess we’re stuck. I guess if you want to believe that the theology is flawless, I doubt if any arguments to the contrary will change that.

    “Further, you beg the question against the biblical account by assuming it is not a dependable witness to those events. It says they occurred; why not accept that they did occur until proven that they didn’t?”

    Not true at all. See Willian Dever’s approach. Oh, I forgot. That’s elitist goobledygook.

    Besides, your argument is that we can’t prove that something didn’t happen. Why not start with the assumption that every historical account of every culture on Earth is accurate? Now we’re going to have to accept every historical account of every culture as accurate, because we can never prove that something didn’t happen.

    “…Are blind to history enough to think that there are no more new discoveries to be made.”

    Can you point to an archaeologist who says that there are no more new discoveries to be made?

    “That’s so funny, though, b/c I’m not claiming a given city burned to the ground in 1805. You forgot to include a vast area of shifting sand, and thousands of years.”

    Sigh. You don’t know much about ANE archeology and ANE archeological sites, do you? The magic sand is going to fix everything for you. It’s clear that you have no interest in learning more, and you’re going to reject the archaeological evidence as “elitist goobledygook” before we start, so I suppose that brings this to an end.

  47. #47 Spence
    July 19, 2011

    I asked…
    Well, will we also give Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, the credit?

    Rho replied…
    I don’t see why we would, since 1) it doesn’t exist

    Oh, right, I see now when you dinged Abbie for being rude about religion, you were only referring to your own religion, and that rudeness about any other religion is entirely fair game. Glad we cleared that up.

    Reminds me of a half hour stand up TV programme in the UK by Stewart Lee about religion. He started the show with this one:

    “Well, if you are religious, don’t worry. There are going to be jokes about religion tonight. But they probably won’t be about your religion. They’ll be about one of the other religions. You know, the ones that are wrong

    You can see it in the first twenty seconds of this clip. Lee’s delivery is dry and slow and may not be to everyones taste. This one little joke encapsulates so much about what is wrong with religion in such a short space.

  48. #48 Bacopa
    July 19, 2011

    I’m just glad no one has blamed the winter/spring drought in Texas on those sinful voters who elected Annise Parker as mayor of Houston. BTW, has anyone sent Parker an invite to the Texas Freethought Convention? I’d love to get a picture of her and PZ togetherPure fanboy squee.

    I plan on going to the protests for Perry’s prayer rally in August. I’m really hoping that we have a hurricane evacuation and the airports shut down. A near miss that cancels the rally would be perfect.

  49. #49 Rhology
    July 19, 2011

    I would really consider a theology that gave me an answer to be far superior to a theology that didn’t

    Thanks for the insight into your mind, but you’re exactly right: that’s called your opinion. I was thinking more along the lines of an argument.
    and in point of fact, I have lost an infant child, and it tore me up. But *I* prefer a theology where it’s all for a reason and Jesus saves me, a wretched sinner.
    So, back to square one. Got an argument for us?

    I guess if you want to believe that the theology is flawless, I doubt if any arguments to the contrary will change that.

    Well, without an argument from you to the contrary, one might be forgiven for thinking that you don’t have a good reason for thinking what you do.

    Willian Dever’s approach.

    And how does he know which parts of the narrative are fictional and which aren’t?

    Why not start with the assumption that every historical account of every culture on Earth is accurate?

    For those of us who are NOT total neophytes in the study of history, that IS in fact what we must do: start with the presumption of innocence and only with good reason reject parts or the whole. But that’s hardly what you’ve done.

    Can you point to an archaeologist who says that there are no more new discoveries to be made?

    The point sailed meters over your head, it would appear.
    Let me spell it out for you – since your argument was that no evidence of the Israelites’ psg thru the desert etc has ever been found, therefore it’s improbable it happened.
    And that’s just it – HAS BEEN found. Past tense. Archaeologists have made premature judgments about the Bible’s unreliability numerous times throughout history and then made to look silly by later discoveries. You’d think such a history would produce a little humility, but Fred is either too ignorant or obstinate to let facts get in the way of his biased hubris.

    You don’t know much about ANE archeology and ANE archeological sites, do you? The magic sand is going to fix everything for you.

    never said anything about “magic”.
    But I would suggest that, you know, sand moves. And archaeologists don’t have billions of dollars to dig up the entire Sinai.

  50. #50 Rhology
    July 19, 2011

    Spence,

    You may never have talked to a knowledgeable Christian before, and so I forgive you for your nonsensical and thoughtless remark.
    I have plenty of reason to believe what I believe and plenty to believe that the things I believe are wrong are wrong. Hop on over to my blog; you might learn something.

  51. #51 Tommykey
    July 19, 2011

    archaeologists don’t have billions of dollars to dig up the entire Sinai.

    Quite true, but satellite imagery is making it easier to pinpoint sites buried under that desert sand.

    http://www.history.com/news/2011/05/27/satellite-images-provide-blueprint-for-ancient-egypt/

    The coming years could prove mighty interesting for Egyptian archæology, as well as other places around the world.

  52. #52 Tommykey
    July 19, 2011

    Darn, my comment got stuck in moderation. Hopefully ERV can send it through soon.

    Rho, satellite imagery is making it possible to locate potential sites for digs. For example, in Egypt, they’re finding pyramids they didn’t even know were there. Who knows what interesting finds await discovery!

  53. #53 Fred
    July 19, 2011

    Got an argument for us?

    First, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your child. Had I known, I might not have raised the point in the first place. However, as to the argument, I’ve made the argument. A theolology that makes the afterlife, heaven, hell, etc., a central focus is flawed when it fails to provide an answer to the question of the fate of infants.

    As I said, it’s an astonishing omission. It strongly suggests a theology created by the flawed human mind. I understand that it does not prove beyond all doubt that the theology is human-created, but it does suggest this. If you chose to not see this as a flaw, then that’s your choice. I understand that this will have no impact on your belief. This is your choice and your opinion.

    As to Dever, if you’d read his books, you’d know that Dever starts by assuming that a give passage of the Bible could certainly be true. He then tests the hypothesis that a given description of a given event is accurate. If he finds evidence to support the narrative, he says so, and he thinks that much of the later history of the Old Testament is accurate. On the other hand, if a considerable amount of evidence is clearly pointing against the accuracy of the narrative, he says that the narrative is not accurate for a given event and time.

    “For those of us who are NOT total neophytes in the study of history, that IS in fact what we must do: start with the presumption of innocence and only with good reason reject parts or the whole. But that’s hardly what you’ve done.”

    So, now you’re a trained historian who knows how historians do their reseach? I think that you’ll find that many historians do not start with a “presumption of innocence”. Good historians are far more skeptical than this.

    Regardless, many ANE archaeologists have, in fact, started with a presumption of innocence! They did the very thing you say that they should do. After all, ANE archaeology was started by believers, not skeptics. It’s the evidence that turned the believers into skeptics. Parts of the narrative were, in fact, rejected for good reasons. Again, see Dever as an example of someone who was changed by the evidence. I think that you should become familiar with the evidence before you draw your conclusions about what I have done or about what ANE archaeologists have done.

    “Archaeologists have made premature judgments about the Bible’s unreliability numerous times throughout history and then made to look silly by later discoveries. You’d think such a history would produce a little humility, but Fred is either too ignorant or obstinate to let facts get in the way of his biased hubris.”

    Uh, no, I’m aware of the cases to which you refer. Please do not jump to conclusions about my knowledge of the subject. (Hittites, right?)

    How many times do I have to repeat it? I’m NOT saying that I know with absolute certainty that we will never find the evidence you need to support the conquest hypothesis!!! Yes, I know that new discoveries can change things. How many times do I have to say this before you notice that I’m saying it?

    However, when one repeatedly fails to find what one expects to find, when one fails to find what really should be there if a given event really occurred, then it’s fair to say the the hypothesis is almost certainly false. Yes, sand moves. But occupation sites do not. If you find a site occupied throughout the period in question and you dig down through the layer that dates to the time of the alleged conquest and you DON’T find a burn layer, then what can you conclude? When you do this at occupation site after site, and you find the same result, what do you conclude? This cannot be explained away by “moving sand”. I’m not being obstinate. At the moment, the conquest hypothesis appears to be strongly disproved, and that’s a fact. You really, really need to dig into the available data.

    Again, I don’t think that you are fully aware of the degree to which the region has been surveyed, and the narrative tested. I’m not just talking about the passage through the desert. I’m talking about the pre-exodus from Egypt period, the conquest of Canaan, and for that matter, the global flood as well. Keep in mind the degree to which the modern Israel ties its identity to the (Hebrew) Bible and justifies its political views and actions by reference to the Bible. This nation has poured significant resources into the effort to prove that things like the conquest of Canaan occurred. I don’t know if it’s billions, but I’ll bet the investment could be measured in the hundreds of millions. The land has been surveyed and surveyed again. Nobody, repeat, nobody wants to find the evidence to support the narrative in its entirety more than the Israelis. But it’s just not happening. The evidence continues to directly contradict significant parts of the narrative.

    In the end, you’ve already told me how you respond to the evidence. “Elitist goobledegook. So, what more needs to be said? What’s the point of showing you evidence? You’ve made up your mind before examining the evidence, which, ironically, is what you keep accusing me of doing.

  54. #54 Spence
    July 20, 2011

    You may never have talked to a knowledgeable Christian before, and so I forgive you for your nonsensical and thoughtless remark.
    Rho, I was raised Catholic, and have spent long hours in one-to-one discussions with Catholic priests. I’m well aware of many things about Christianity (such as not believing in false gods, i.e. “the other ones”)

    However, your assertion is still rude about other people’s beliefs. As it happens, that doesn’t bother me. I’m just curious about the double standard you apply.

    Abbie was rude about Evangelical beliefs, and her sardonic tone follows from her own views on religion.

    You were rude about another religion, and your rudeness extends from your own views on religion.

    Of course, you are entitled to this double standard. We have free speech, and you are fully entitled to both complain about something and do it at the same time. But applying such double standards are only likely to reinforce my atheism, not challenge it.

  55. #55 Rhology
    July 20, 2011

    @TK #51

    The coming years could prove mighty interesting for Egyptian archæology, as well as other places around the world.

    I’m gonna make a prediction here: That when the archaeological finds (once again) confirm the biblical history, it won’t change your mind any more than the previous confirmatory finds did.

    @Fred #53

    First, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your child. Had I known, I might not have raised the point in the first place.

    Thanks.
    It’s OK, though; I brought it up, fighting blind emotionalism with clear-sighted emotions.

    A theolology that makes the afterlife, heaven, hell, etc., a central focus is flawed when it fails to provide an answer to the question of the fate of infants.

    Prove it. How many times do I have to ask you to prove it?

    It strongly suggests a theology created by the flawed human mind.

    Based on what standard, precisely?
    If you choose to not answer my questions, then that’s your choice. I understand that this will have no impact on your belief. This is your choice and your opinion.

    On the other hand, if a considerable amount of evidence is clearly pointing against the accuracy of the narrative, he says that the narrative is not accurate for a given event and time

    OK, well, thanks for the assertions.

    now you’re a trained historian who knows how historians do their reseach?

    1) Never said I was a trained historian. Apparently you’re a bit of a neophyte in the art of debate as well.
    2) You yourself said a few lines ago:

    “As to Dever, if you’d read his books, you’d know that Dever starts by assuming that a give passage of the Bible could certainly be true.”

    3) And yes, I do happen to know it b/c I’ve listened to historians lecture.
    4) And that approach makes way more sense than the approach you’ve been proposing, upon analysis. Just throw out EVERYthing we think we know about history if we’re going to approach it with a radical skepticism like that which is the logical conclusion of your proposal. Have fun with that, though; I’m sticking with the idea that people actually sometimes wrote true things and had a reason for it.

    Please do not jump to conclusions about my knowledge of the subject. (Hittites, right?)

    That’s one example, yes.

    Yes, I know that new discoveries can change things. How many times do I have to say this before you notice that I’m saying it?

    I’m just waiting for you to do more than say it once; I’m waiting to see you apply it consistently throughout your discourse.
    How many times do you have to say this before you notice that you’re saying it?

    when one repeatedly fails to find what one expects to find, when one fails to find what really should be there if a given event really occurred, then it’s fair to say the the hypothesis is almost certainly false.

    Or your reading of the text/location/age was flawed.
    You know, I’ve read the OT pretty extensively and more than a couple times. It doesn’t give exacting specifications or locations for where its narrated events took place.
    Further, you need to prove that it’s possible to prove that one has the right depth to dig, for example. How does one know one has dug far enough? Self-referential appeals to “strata”? Please.
    Also, you may have heard this before: sand moves. Did you know that? How can that possibly be accounted for with any degree of probable knowledge? We’re talking thousands of years, during which nobody was around to record the shifting of sand.

    But occupation sites do not.

    LOL! How could you possibly know that?

    You really, really need to dig into the available data.

    I tend not to waste my time with “data” until I have a good reason to think the people giving me the data have reasonable assumptions. So far, you’ve given me every reason to think otherwise.

    Nobody, repeat, nobody wants to find the evidence to support the narrative in its entirety more than the Israelis.

    You’re aware that modern Israel, ever since its founding, has been a highly secular nation with very few true believers living in it? I’m supposed to have confidence that they’re not operating on faulty assumptions…why?

    In the end, you’ve already told me how you respond to the evidence. “Elitist goobledegook.

    B/c I’ve had this convo before and you’re repeating the way it went last time(s). I keep waiting for you to prove me wrong, to give some good reason to think you may be on to something, and I keep getting disappointed.
    Presuppositions always doom the naturalist since naturalism as a system is itself fatally philosophically flawed.

    What’s the point of showing you evidence? You’ve made up your mind before examining the evidence, which, ironically, is what you keep accusing me of doing.

    That’s so funny, b/c I can show you scads of evidence for the existence of God. But what’s the point of showing you evidence? You’ve made up your mind before examining the evidence, which, ironically, is what you keep accusing me of doing.

    @Spence #54

    have spent long hours in one-to-one discussions with Catholic priests

    I’m sorry to hear that.
    It’s not discussion with a knowledgeable Christian, no. Not even close.

    your assertion is still rude about other people’s beliefs

    It should go without saying that sometimes painful truths are regarded as rude by the shallow.

    Abbie was rude about Evangelical beliefs, and her sardonic tone follows from her own views on religion.

    I know she’s rude; I read this blog regularly.
    My problem is that she was IGNORANT, and it makes her rudeness that much more ridiculous.

    But applying such double standards are only likely to reinforce my atheism, not challenge it.

    Nobody can make you think these things through consistently, sadly. But hopefully my explanation here will clarify for you.

  56. #56 Spence
    July 20, 2011

    My problem is that she was IGNORANT
    Indeed, and you are ignorant about other people’s beliefs. And incredibly arrogant about your own. But your continued double standards and hypocrisy is great entertainment. This one is a gem, because it is so self-descriptive:
    It should go without saying that sometimes painful truths are regarded as rude by the shallow.
    Please carry on.

  57. #57 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    I’ll keep this short, because I’ve had enough of banging my head against a wall.

    “Just throw out EVERYthing we think we know about history if we’re going to approach it with a radical skepticism like that which is the logical conclusion of your proposal.”

    NOT at all what I’m saying, and you know it. I’ve cited Dever as an example, and this is not at all what Dever does.

    “You’re aware that modern Israel, ever since its founding, has been a highly secular nation with very few true believers living in it?”

    You obviously know nothing about the sponsorship of archaeology by the Israeli government. More aggressive ignorance.

    “How does one know one has dug far enough? Self-referential appeals to “strata”? Please.”

    Please, please, please take the time to learn something about archaeological methods.

    For crying out loud, I give up. You refuse to try to understand what I’m saying and your ignorance of the subject it too much for me to overcome. You prefer to reject the evidence as “elitist goobledegook”, and that’s that. What a waste of time. I’ll leave you to your fairy tales.

  58. #58 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    A disccusion with a Catholic priest is “not a discussion with a knowledgeable Christian, no. Not even close”?

    Oy, vey. Did you really have to throw in some anti-Catholic bigotry, too?

  59. #59 Tommykey
    July 20, 2011

    I’m gonna make a prediction here: That when the archaeological finds (once again) confirm the biblical history, it won’t change your mind any more than the previous confirmatory finds did.

    Change my mind about what?

  60. #60 Rhology
    July 20, 2011

    Spence #56

    you are ignorant about other people’s beliefs

    I challenge you to substantiate this assertion.

    hypocrisy

    Hasn’t been shown to be present.

    Fred #57

    NOT at all what I’m saying, and you know it. I’ve cited Dever as an example, and this is not at all what Dever does.

    It’s the logical conclusion of what you’re saying. I’m sorry you haven’t thought it thru sufficiently.
    Besides, you said:
    It’s pretty certain that there was no conquest, but for the sake of argument, we’ll pretend that it happened.

    But as we’ve seen, you have no idea whether it happened and have no way to access that fact. Doesn’t stop you from making these pretty strong assertions about it, though, does it?

    Please, please, please take the time to learn something about archaeological methods.

    Please, please, please answer my questions.

    . You prefer to reject the evidence as “elitist goobledegook”, and that’s that.

    Fortunately, anyone can read our conversation and see how accurately you’ve summed it up here. Ta ta.

    Did you really have to throw in some anti-Catholic bigotry, too?

    Ignorance. You have no idea how much I know about RC theology, but you apparently don’t care whether you cast ignorant aspersions, as long as you’re doing it to a Christian.

  61. #61 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    “But as we’ve seen, you have no idea whether it happened and have no way to access that fact. Doesn’t stop you from making these pretty strong assertions about it, though, does it?”

    Sigh. Not going to learn any archaeology, are you? ‘Kay.

    “You apparently don’t care whether you cast ignorant aspersions, as long as you’re doing it to a Christian.”

    Er, nope. It’s more that I had my fill of the “Catholics aren’t Christians” canard in my Southern Baptist youth. This is what causes holy wars…fights over which end of the egg to crack.

  62. #62 Wolfhound
    July 20, 2011

    Yeah, everybody knows that the Flood of Noah really happened ’cause the bible is true history. One day we’ll find that ark, I just KNOW it, and then you atheists will have to admit you were wrong!

    Tard.

  63. #63 Tommykey
    July 20, 2011

    To follow up on my unanswered question @ 59 (I had to start work and didn’t have time to go into detail), you seem to have lumped me in with the “Just because it’s in the Bible, it must not be true” camp.

    I do consider the books of the Bible to be historical documents, though not necessarily in the same way and for the same reasons as you do.

    For the most part, the OT describes real geographic settings, real peoples and real places. Archaeological findings can either be supportive, contradictory or simply inconclusive with regard to some Biblical events, like the Canaanite conquest that Fred seems to be focusing on (and to think this post was originally about the governor of OK praying for rain!).

    What archaeology cannot do is provide evidence that in the time of Joshua, the sun stood still in the sky for a day, or that God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of a burning bush, or that God created the Earth before the sun around which it orbits, and so forth.

    When considering ancient source documents (as well as modern ones too), one has to take into account the biases of the author, the reliability of the information that he or she is relying on, the possibility that certain things are embellished, exaggerated, are meant for propaganda purposes, etc.

    So for myself, it’s not a matter of rejecting what’s in the Bible 100% or accepting what’s in it 100%. There are things that can be pretty much established as being true, things that are possibly true, and then things that seem unlikely to me to be true.

    Surely you would agree that we have to have some kind of internal criteria to determine if things are true and false. When it comes to events in the Bible, I am perfectly willing to accept that which can be verified to my satisfaction, which is the same criteria I apply to other areas of my life as well.

  64. #64 Tommykey
    July 20, 2011

    One day we’ll find that ark, I just KNOW it, and then you atheists will have to admit you were wrong!

    Seriously though, even if there WAS a Noah’s Ark, there is no reason to think it would still be sitting around somewhere waiting to be discovered.

    If one takes the story at face value, with the entire Earth flooded for many days, the only source of wood once the flood waters subsided would have been the Ark itself. Noah and his family would have had to cannibalize it for shelter and for barrels to store all that wine he supposedly liked to drink.

  65. #65 Prometheus
    July 20, 2011

    1. William G. Dever is not an historian.

    2. Archeology is an academic practice not an academic discipline.

    3. Biblical archeology (whatever the hell that is this week) is neither an academic practice nor an academic discipline.

    I really can’t parse what you guys are debating. Hittites? You know the bronze age civilization at Hattusa and Neša got called Hittite by German scholars (aristocratic hobbyists) because it was a handy name in the bible…right?

    We still don’t know what Hattusa and Neša’s relationship to the Israelites was, if any. They sure didn’t write about one in Akkadian.

    It is like Schliemann (not an historian) calling something “The Mask of Agamemnon”.

    Or Napoleon claiming to be crowned on the “Throne of Dagobert” (the chair, not the popular line of toilets it inspired).

    There is a Greek vase in the Ashmolean with particularly odd gryphons on it that we called “Thing One” and “Thing Two”.

    That isn’t some sort of discovery that proves the historicity behind Dr. Seuss.

    Classical and biblical references are handy dandy naming sources that cross lines in western academic language salad. It is a taxonomic not an attribution.

    The Molossian Hound sculpture in the British Museum has been dubbed Scooby by British school children. This should not be used as a grant justification in a quest for the ancient Roman historical inspiration for “The Mystery Machine”.

    Can everybody please stop watching Simcha Jacobovici on the History Channel and reading back issues of “Bible and Spade”.

    They really have less to do with interpretation of source documentary and material record than “Swamp People” or “Toddlers in Tiaras”.

  66. #66 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    “So for myself, it’s not a matter of rejecting what’s in the Bible 100% or accepting what’s in it 100%. There are things that can be pretty much established as being true, things that are possibly true, and then things that seem unlikely to me to be true.”

    Well put. I agree.

  67. #67 Prometheus
    July 20, 2011

    P.S.

    RE: Tommy Key@#63

    “What archaeology cannot do is provide evidence that in the time of Joshua, the sun stood still in the sky for a day, or that God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of a burning bush, or that God created the Earth before the sun around which it orbits, and so forth.”

    But it will try…. In Rho’s defense (yea I’m shocked too) the better description of 20th century archeological confirmation bias in the Middle East was not biblical but theosophical cosmology and metaphysics.

    As crazy as self described biblical archeologists can get (Hell, Joseph Smith had a sad little sideshow Ptolemaic mummy he said was Pharaoh Neco) they look like the very model of discretion compared to the search for underground reptilian cities, Atlanteans, Lost Lemuria, Vril and the super metal Ishtar’s sister wielded over her dark minions.

    There is a big hunk of that metal in the form of a frieze at the British Museum that was better guarded that the crown jewels because so many whack jobs thought it would make them telepathic.

    All because a fat old fraud named Blavatsky started making stuff up before we understood plate tectonics.

  68. #68 Rhology
    July 20, 2011

    TK,

    What archaeology cannot do is provide evidence that in the time of Joshua, the sun stood still in the sky

    Agreed.

    When considering ancient source documents (as well as modern ones too), one has to take into account the biases of the author, the reliability of the information that he or she is relying on

    Agreed, and I do all that, for all documents including the Bible.

    Surely you would agree that we have to have some kind of internal criteria to determine if things are true and false.

    Yes, I do agree.

    Noah and his family would have had to cannibalize it for shelter and for barrels to store all that wine he supposedly liked to drink.

    Yep.
    And apparently he did so pretty well.
    Although it does seem that he celebrated the Beaujolais a little much… maybe he figured he didn’t have a great storage system and figured “Well, bottoms up! Can’t keep much of this around!”
    Certainly questionable priorities, though – everyone is dead and you plant a vineyard?

    Prometheus,
    Um, thanks?

  69. #69 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    Rho,

    So, you really think that there was a global flood and that the human population of the world was reduced to eight people? God killed all of the other humans? Noah and his family were the best humans to save? Every population of every terrestrial vertebrate species was reduced to two or seven individuals? When did this happen?

    I’m not sure I want to argue about this as I think it’s probably futile, but I am curious about your beliefs.

  70. #70 Tommykey
    July 20, 2011

    So, you really think that there was a global flood

    So, we’ve gone from talking about a lack of rain to getting too much rain!

  71. #71 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    “So, we’ve gone from talking about a lack of rain to getting too much rain!”

    Weird, isn’t it? Or ironic. Or both.

    Oklahomans had better pray carefully lest they get more than they bargined for. I would suggest praying for a specific rainfall total, maybe one inch per day for one to two weeks. I think that the previously cited busted water pipe is proof that the Old Testament God has a wicked sense of humor!

  72. #72 John Greg
    July 20, 2011

    Rho said:

    I can show you scads of evidence for the existence of God.

    No. You. Can. Not.

    Yes, you can show endless amounts of anecdote, speculation, confirmation bias, endless arbitrary and contradictory interpretations of biblical (talmudic / koranic) passages, false correlations, endless rants by bigoted theist fanatics like yourself, etc., etc.

    But evidence?

    Nope. No. Nada. Not a chance in heck.

    To everyone else, I apologise for feeding the theist fundy-troll, but Rho got my goat.

  73. #73 bossmanham
    July 20, 2011

    Apparently the more virulent of the scientismits skeptics here missed the empirical evidence they’ve been looking for regarding God and rain prayer. Does that mean that sciency folks missed some crucial evidence in coming to a conclusion!?!?! Say it ain’t so!!

  74. #74 bossmanham
    July 20, 2011

    @John Greg, apparently you define evidence differently than most people. I define evidence as something that is present that makes a hypothesis more likely than if it wasn’t there. That being the definition, there’s plenty of reality that is evidence for God. There are plenty of good arguments that serve as evidence of God.

    Further, this “speculation” you speak of, it’s about something, I assume. I mean you can’t speculate unless there’s something to speculate about, right? So isn’t the speculation about the evidence for God?

  75. #75 John Greg
    July 20, 2011

    In reply to bossmanham #73 and #74.

    If you define that nonsense as empirical evidence … well, I kind of hate calling people names, so I’ll just say your evidence and argument are nothing more nor less than idiocy, stupidity, vacuuos confirmation bias, and the B follows A logic fallacy (I forget what that one is called).

    You can define any word in any way you see fit. But that most emphatically and most certainly doe not make your definition correct. And your definition of “evidence” is most emphatically and most certainly not correct.

  76. #76 Rhology
    July 20, 2011

    Hey John Greg,

    Can you show me evidence for
    1) the laws of logic
    2) naturalism
    3) the existence of other minds?

  77. #77 Rhology
    July 20, 2011

    Fred,

    Yes to all, except “best humans to save”. God chose them b/c He wanted to be kind to them, out of love.
    Happened, IDK, around 6-7K years ago, I think. Hard to tell.

    You’ll laugh, and I couldn’t care less, but I would like to ask you to give me a good reason to think this is incorrect. Not assertion. Argument.

  78. #78 Prometheus
    July 20, 2011

    I envy the hard sciences because they can afford dismissals but as an historian I know that nothing bites you on the butt faster than dismissing a myth system as archaic baseless flights of fancy.

    “Ship burials? Bullshit! Wait, they dug up what in Woodbridge…”

    The ark story is often held up as the ultimate example of biblical lore completely detached from reality.

    Is it accurate…no. Did it happen…probably.

    Šuruppak son of Ubara-tutu seems to have done a very cool thing that saved his family, court, cattle and crown in 2750 B.C..

    Something we probably would not have noticed and pursued if not for all the people trying to prove and disprove Noah’s Ark.

    The fist instance of the historical Šuruppak son of Ubara-tutu entering the realm of cosmological legends the Akkadians called him
    Atra-Hasis. translation: Prometheus aka father of Deucalion, the Greek Noah.

    See how there are so few absolute answers?

  79. #79 John Greg
    July 20, 2011

    Oh Jeebles. I knew I shouldn’t have started, now I’m caught in the whirpool of noodles.

    In reply to Rho #76.

    False equivalency. That’s all: False equivalency.

  80. #80 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    Bossmanham,

    Wasn’t Rick Perry preying for rain to end the drought? Drought over yet?

    Yes, fires were mentioned, but the rain event you’re pointing to didn’t even end this paricualr fire. As one man noted, “I’m a believer in God and so I believe God listens. He hears our prayers, he knows we need it, BUT WE NEED MORE,” Burns said.

    What about this part of the proclamation?

    “WHEREAS, the state of Texas is in the midst of an exceptional drought, with some parts of the state receiving no significant rainfall for almost three months, matching rainfall deficit records dating back to the 1930s.:

    How’s the drought in Texas these days? Is it over yet?

    More from Perry’s proclamation.

    “WHEREAS, these dire conditions have caused agricultural crops to fail, lake and reservoir levels to fall and cattle and livestock to struggle under intense stress, imposing a tremendous financial and emotional toll on our land and our people”

    How’s Texas agriculture doing these days?

    You want empirical evidence of the effectiveness of the Perry prayer proclamation? Look around. Remember, you’ve got to count the misses as well as the random hits.

  81. #81 Fred
    July 20, 2011

    “Yes to all, except “best humans to save”. God chose them b/c He wanted to be kind to them, out of love.”

    God didn’t want to be kind to any of the other humans? Not a one of them, whether they were better than Noah or not? If Noah, et al., aren’t the best, then it appears that Noah’s selection was quite arbitrary. Noah just won the lottery.

    “Happened, IDK, around 6-7K years ago, I think. Hard to tell.”

    Yeah, I can imagine that it’s hard to tell. However, it’s interesting that you don’t go with the AiG date of 2500 BC.

    “You’ll laugh, and I couldn’t care less, but I would like to ask you to give me a good reason to think this is incorrect. Not assertion. Argument.”

    Well, let’s see. I could give you archaeological evidence, but you reject archaeology. Geological evidence? Paleontological evidence? Genetics? Biogeography? These would be rejected, rejected, rejected and rejected.

    So what’s the point? Maybe someone else is in a masochistic mood, but my head is still sore. I just wanted to confirm my suspicions.

    I’m not laughing. This is too sad for laughter.

  82. #82 Rhology
    July 21, 2011

    Fred said:
    you’ve got to count the misses as well as the random hits

    And what if I asked you to prove that the hits were random?
    Do you think that Christianity holds to some sort of “prayer -> affirmative reply” necessary connection?
    It’s sort of ignorant, really.

    God didn’t want to be kind to any of the other humans?

    Yes, there were 7 others in the ark.
    But no, not any of the others.

    Not a one of them, whether they were better than Noah or not?

    There is no one good, no, not one.

    Noah just won the lottery.

    Gosh, I could’ve sworn I said that God chose him out of love and mercy. Not “lottery”.

    However, it’s interesting that you don’t go with the AiG date of 2500 BC.

    Chalk that up to my lack of interest in a solid date for the Flood. 2500 BC is fine with me.

    I could give you archaeological evidence, but you reject archaeology

    What ridiculous statements.
    I have asked you specific questions, and you’ve chosen mockery rather than substantive answers. Let the reader judge whether what I’ve said = “reject archaeology”.

  83. #83 Prometheus
    July 21, 2011

    “Do you think that Christianity holds to some sort of “prayer -> affirmative reply” necessary connection?
    It’s sort of ignorant, really.”

    Like pray for rain -> anticipate rain?

    Are you accusing Mary Fallin of Ignorance?

    If so, what is your real objection to ERV’s observations?

    Why precisely would you pray then, other than to beg forgiveness or give thanks?

    Most of the Christians I know seem to be praying for things/circumstances in hopes of an affirmative and preferably positive answer.

    Are they ignorant?

    I’m not picking on you I am trying to make sense of what your idea of what prayer is supposed to be and what it is supposed to do because your message gives the appearance of contradicting itself.

  84. #84 Fred
    July 21, 2011

    “And what if I asked you to prove that the hits were random?”

    How about looking at climate data for April in Texas? You know, it does occasionally rain in Texas. There does not appear to be anything the least bit unusual about what happened in April. You want me to prove beyond all doubt that God didn’t make it rain in April?

    In the meantime, three months after the prayer proclamation, the drought is more severe, Texas is experiencing one of the hottest, driest summers in history, and Texas agriculture is in the crapper. If we’re going by the “empirical evidence”, I would have to conclude that if God made a little rain in April, he seems to have lost interest since then. Texas is screwed, blued and tattooed.

    “Do you think that Christianity holds to some sort of “prayer -> affirmative reply” necessary connection?”

    Actually, I don’t. This would subject prayer to the possibility of testing, and prayer would not hold up well. Christians are not so stupid as to put prayer to the test when they know how the testing would go.

    “Yes, there were 7 others in the ark.”

    Yes I know. Do you see the “et al.”?

    “Gosh, I could’ve sworn I said that God chose him out of love and mercy. Not “lottery”.”

    Since Noah was no better, or at least, not the best, his (and the family’s) selection is arbitrary. It’s like winning the lottery.

    “What ridiculous statements. “

    Ridiculous? The minute I mentioned mainstream ANE archaeology, you rejected it as “elitist goobledegook” before we even started to discuss it. This is not rejecting archaeology?

    I started to try to explain how archaeology could be used to test the conquest hypothesis, but you rejected the key and essential concept of stratigraphy right off the bat. Reject stratigraphy and you reject archaeology and and that ends the discussion.

    “I have asked you specific questions, and you’ve chosen mockery rather than substantive answers. Let the reader judge whether what I’ve said = “reject archaeology”.”

    And I quote Rho…”You have no idea whether it happened and have no way to access that fact.” See any rejection there? Since much of our ability to understand what happened in the past is based on archaeology, and since you claim that I have “no way to access” past events, what else am I supposed to conclude about your attitude towards archaeology?

    Yes, let the reader judge. You started with “elitist goobledegook”, and went downhill from there. I tried to give you substantive answers, but as I said, you reject the use of stratigraphy in archaeology, so what’s the point? You will always conclude …”you have no idea whether it happened and have no way to access that fact.”

    I have no doubt that a discussion of geology, paleontology, genetics and biogeography would go the same way.

    Pointless.

  85. #85 Rhology
    July 21, 2011

    Here, Prometheus.

    Fred,

    How about looking at climate data for April in Texas?

    And you can prove it’s random…how?

    You want me to prove beyond all doubt that God didn’t make it rain in April?

    Well, you said He didn’t, so I’m just asking you to step up and substantiate your assertions.
    I know, atheists hate it when I ask that, but I like asking it.

    if God made a little rain in April, he seems to have lost interest since then.

    …or maybe He didn’t lose interest at all, but is withholding rain for some other reason(s).
    You’re free to speculate, of course, but it’s all just your bare opinion.

    This would subject prayer to the possibility of testing, and prayer would not hold up well.

    …and you’re ignorant of the biblical doctrine of man’s sinful limitations vs God’s holy sovereignty, such that we often pray bad prayers and God answers No.

    “Yes, there were 7 others in the ark.”

    Yes I know. Do you see the “et al.”?

    Ah, sorry. I missed the et al. Fair enough.

    Since Noah was no better, or at least, not the best, his (and the family’s) selection is arbitrary. It’s like winning the lottery.

    Yeah, it’s not much like winning the lottery. God chose them. Lottery = random. God’s choice = intentional choice.

    you rejected it as “elitist goobledegook” before we even started to discuss it.

    And for the 6th time, i gave reasons, which you haven’t dealt with.

    Reject stratigraphy and you reject archaeology and and that ends the discussion.

    Let me translate:
    Reject the assumptions archaeologists make without evidence and you reject archaeology and and that ends the discussion.
    Cool, glad we had this little talk. Argument from unsavory consequences, you got it!

  86. #86 Fred
    July 21, 2011

    “It’s all just your bare opinion.”

    And it’s just your opinion that God is listening and/or responding in any way. There’s no evidence and no proof. So we’re back to opinions all around.

    “And for the 6th time, i gave reasons, which you haven’t dealt with.”

    And the 7th time, I tried to deal with some of your “reasons”, and it quickly became clear that you were going to reject my responses, explanations, evidence and arguments before I even provided them. Sad, but what can one do?

    If you’re truly interested in learning about archaeology, in general, and ANE archaeology, in particular, there are plenty of sources of information. Lots and lots of information. Primary sources will explain the methods in detail, secondary sources will summarize much of what has been found, archaeology courses will tell you how archaeology is done. It’s up to you, but as long as your knee-jerk responses are going to be “elitist goobledegook”, ”you have no idea whether it happened and have no way to access that fact” and variations on the theme of “no one was there to see the sand move”, then there is no value in “dealing” with your reasons.

  87. #87 TylerD
    July 21, 2011
  88. #88 Fred
    July 21, 2011

    Tyler,

    That was perfect! I’m a D.C. boy, and I’ve been a Kornheiser fan since the 1980s.

    You’re right. Goodbye, Rho.

  89. #89 TylerD
    July 21, 2011

    Fred,

    Check out /sp/. Kornheiser (and Costanza) macros galore.

  90. #90 Tommykey
    July 21, 2011

    If you’re truly interested in learning about archaeology, in general, and ANE archaeology, in particular, there are plenty of sources of information.

    And apropos of that, there’s an ad in the sidebar for an M.A. in Archeology. Just remember, “X” never marks the spot.*

    Plus, there’s a movie in the works about Noah, tentatively titled “The 500 Year Old Virgin.”

    * Who picked up on the Indiana Jones reference?

  91. #91 John Greg
    July 21, 2011

    I’ve been praying hard and fast for Rho to fall out of the sky and rain on the tinder dry fields of Texas.

    ….

    I don’t think it’s working.

  92. #92 Rhology
    July 22, 2011

    TK,
    I picked up on it. I like those movies. ;-)

    Thanks everyone, and thanks Fred. I’m more than happy with the way this conversation turned out. I wish you would understand the power of presuppositions and the problem of having really bad ones and refusing to justify them.

  93. #93 Fred
    July 22, 2011

    Rho,

    You’ve demonstrated the the power of presuppositions very nicely. Thank you.

    If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white. Good night, Canada.

  94. #94 Tommykey
    July 23, 2011

    Fred, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Rho is really an atheist. But he finds it much more entertaining to pretend to be a Christian and debate other atheists. He’s really trying to train us to be better at arguing with Christians. Thank goodness he’s on our side. ;-)

  95. #95 bluharmony
    July 23, 2011

    Hi, I’ve been out of town for two days. I was wondering if someone could catch me up in a sentence or two as to what’s been happening in the latest revenue generator for Watson? Much appreciated if you can. Hope EG is doing well, if he even exists.

    — Gender Traitor

    (Also, if anyone wants to join me on Facebook (or G+). please search for blu harmony and reference ERV in your invite. ERV is, of course, most welcome. Or follow bluharmony @ twitter. This is not an ad — I’m not selling anything or forming groups, I would just like to know more like-minded people.

    xoxo

  96. #96 Rystefn
    July 23, 2011

    So, I don’t think there’s really a way to send an invite message on G+… it just kind of looks like you jam someone into your circle and hope they care. Am I missing something basic?

  97. #97 windy
    July 25, 2011

    maybe God/Tlaloc/Freyr does answer prayers, it’s just that he has a really shitty aim. It’s raining so much here that I have earthworms coming up on my living room carpet. Stop praying, already!

  98. #98 Woden
    July 26, 2011

    I tried to post this last night, but a power outage erased all my progress. =/

    ERV:
    Rick Perry of Texas already TRIED THIS. Texas prayed for rain back in April. And God answered.

    Let’s not forget that Bob Riley (of Alabama) and Sonny Perdue (of Georgia) (sadly not surprising, the Bible Belt being what it is) tried this back in 2007, with similarly bad results. However, to put it delicately, the sort of people who will call for state-wide prayers as a solution to problems don’t exactly seem to be the same sort of people who would do any research in to how effective something has been in the past…

    Rhology @ 31:
    That Triablogue link which is “rebutting” the FSM is rather uninspiring, primarily because it ignores how easily applicable a number of those arguments are to a biblical God. For example, it questions where the FSM’s energy comes from, but does not address where a biblical God’s energy comes from. Critiquing the flaws of an alternative explanation while ignoring almost identical flaws in your own is not a very strong debating tactic.

    Also, while I realize that this will most likely look like an asshole thing to post: I find it hard to keep a straight face when reading passages such as the following.
    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa44/Woden87/demotivational_god_chariots.jpg

    Tommykey @ 70:
    So, we’ve gone from talking about a lack of rain to getting too much rain!

    Well, obviously, before the great flood somebody had been praying for rain. ;)

    John Greg @ 75:
    […] and the B follows A logic fallacy (I forget what that one is called).

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    Rhology @ 85:
    Yeah, it’s not much like winning the lottery. God chose them. Lottery = random. God’s choice = intentional choice.

    So, instead, it’s like eeny-meeny-miny-moe? By your statements, he picked them out of “love and mercy,” but given that there was (by virtue of them being “no better” than anyone else alive at the time) no real distinguishing characteristic which would make them any more deserving of that love and mercy, it is indeed an arbitrary choice. I fail to see how that can be characterized as “love and mercy.” It’s as if you think that God was saying “I love you and will show you mercy, anonymous indistinguishable human #10,438, plus any family.”

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