Hitchens Again

In Tuesday’s post I commented that Christopher Hitchens is always reliable when writing about religion. As if to prove my point, the new issue of Free Inquiry turned up in my mailbox that night. It features an essay by Hitchens addressing the looming schism in the Anglican Church on the subject of allowing openly gay priests. Sadly, the article does not seem to be available online, so I have taken the liberty of transcribing its conclusion below the fold. Enjoy!

Not having space to go on about all that – much as I would like to – I merely point out that the same dilemma results in complete chaos in the religious interpretation. If homosexuality is alien to God, or to “nature,” then how can it be that a creator, or the “natural” world, has always allowed for a large homosexual margin within the natural order? What kinds of orders and commandments are these? “Hate the sin and love the sinner,” say the oily, monotheistic casuists. That’s a distinction without a difference, and it exposes the moral emptiness at the heart of religion. Try loving someone in spite of a “sin” that is part of his or her very identity. Or try hating just the identity and then loving the person. Untold misery has been caused by this idiocy, and it’s a sour joke that the misery was (and still is) so often inflicted by clergymen who had a repressed and dirty-minded share in what they ostensibly condemned.

As in all cases: make the assumption that we are a somewhat-evolved animal species, and no problem of moral fanaticism, or claim to impossible knowledge, can arise. Room can be made for all manner of “deviations” from an unknowable “norm.” Make the opposite assumption, that a god created us one way and then commanded us to be another, and you will have to redefine stupidity as well as prepare yourself for the tongs and pincers of yet abother perfectionist inquisition. I hope the Anglicans have their schism and that it wrecks their church and later wrecks all its competitors.

Comments

  1. #1 JohnC
    September 22, 2006

    While it is hard not to enjoy Hitchens’ rhetoric, I think we must disagree with his conclusion. A schism in the Anglican communion would unshackle the evangelical rightwing from the constraints they currently labour under. The Anglican Church both here(Australia) and in Britain has been in long-term decline both in terms of numbers and influence. But they still have their claws on a number of important institutions (particularly schools), which would undoubtedly fall into the clutches of the more vigorous right should there be a split. Their current state of internal dissension has done more to advance the cause of secularism than any rationalist campaign could ever achieve.

    More broadly, the alternative – a split – would simply propel matters into an American-style trajectory of innumberable sects of loony bigots acting unconstrained by the need to negotiate their positions with more moderate xtians. People really need to ask themselves why it is that in Europe and Australia religion has been in uninterrupted decline since WWII, while the reverse has been the case in the US. I am certain that part of the answer is that the established churches in places like Australia have illusions about “representing” and appealling to the general population. Protestant sects on the other hand, almost by definition, have an oppositional mindset that encourages the growth of extremism.

    As for the women, gay and other church members who are suffering from discrimination and worse, the clear message should be “get out!” This seems a clear case where evolution (or perhaps devolution) is achieving more than revolution.

  2. #2 David Heddle
    September 22, 2006

    Jason,

    I hope his argument, when viewed in its entirety, was more sophisticated than A reasonable God would not make us one way and then command us to behave in a contrary way and those arguing [for the conservative position] are often self-loathing repressed homosexuals.

    It sounds like he transcribed some late-night discussion in the hallway of a freshman dormitory at a rather unselective school.

    This conclusion that you have posted hardly supports your claim that “Hitchens is always reliable” when writing about religion. Or, if it does support that he is “always reliable,” it doesn’t send the message that I think you intended.

  3. #3 Comstock
    September 22, 2006

    The fact that we see homosexuality in every human culture and across the animal kingdom does seem to be a pretty good argument for why it makes perfect sense to accept it, rather than condemn it. Why do we need more convoluted arguments when we can keep it so simple?

  4. #4 Wilhiem
    September 22, 2006

    Comstock – exactly. Its in the genes. Pyschoanalysts in the mid 1800’s were convinced it was hereditary. Plains indians understood it was the Great Father who ordained it, etc.

    Who are we to judge God’s creation? People who argue that homosexuality is perturbed behavior are, as pointed out (and supported by independent research) probably self-loathing repressed homophobic latent homosexuals.

    One day, we’ll get it. Until then its a wedge issue.

  5. #5 Jason Rosenhouse
    September 22, 2006

    David-

    Speaking of reliable, I know I can always count on you to say something silly and irrelevant.

    I’m afraid you’ll have to explain to me why it’s a bad argument to say it is implausible and cruel that a just and loving God would create homosexuals, and then threaten them with damnation if they act on their desires.

  6. #6 David Heddle
    September 22, 2006

    Jason,

    It’s not so much a bad argument, as a very old argument–and it’s been addressed since antiquity. To repeat it as if it is a new insight worth publishing shows a lack of sophistication. The same debate is occurring on Ed’s blog so I won’t bother repeating myself.

  7. #7 JohnC
    September 22, 2006

    “It’s in the genes”

    No complex human behaviour is “in the genes” – one would have hoped people have learned something from the “gay gene” fiasco, not to mention the broader debate about socio-biology (aka evolutionary psychology). And branding homophobes as “latent” or “repressed” homosexuals is surely a discredited (and unintentionally homophobic) argument.

    In any case, the etiology of same-sex preference is beside the point here. The real problem is that the churches promulgate a moral code that is authoritarian by definition (since it stems from “god”) and to which they claim to have privileged interpretative access, which in turn invests them with the absolute duty to impose its strictures on everybody else. Religious homophobia is therefore only a particular instance of the systemic antipathy of Abrahamic religion to human rights, democracy and Englightenment values in general, the bleatings of “liberal” theologians notwithstanding. So as Dawkins might ask: why should the prelate have any more say over my sexual behaviour than the plumber? To engage in argument with churches on the why’s and wherefore’s of their moral proscriptions is already to concede that they have some standing on these issues denied the rest of us.

    Ultimately, religious folk can believe whatever fairy tales they like but they must be required to accept that all people, regardless of sexuality or gender, have the same rights (and obligations) as everyone else, including to fertility control, marriage and child-rearing.

  8. #8 JimC
    September 22, 2006

    Oh my gosh Heddle shows up in all these discussions to peddle ideas like this:

    It’s not so much a bad argument, as a very old argument–and it’s been addressed since antiquity.

    And addressed very badly and without sufficient cause to satisfy anyone who has not gotten used to swallowing bs. It simply makes no logical sense to make someone one way and then punish them for fulfilling there operation. But then again it doesn’t make sense to punish someone eternally either so if you accept one it’s a short hop to the other.

    It sounds like he transcribed some late-night discussion in the hallway of a freshman dormitory at a rather unselective school.

    Do you not realize that is exactly how your arguments sound? All your little put downs of those with whom you disagree do nothing but highlight the fact that your arguments are presumptive and lack any validity.

  9. #9 les
    September 22, 2006

    Shorter D. Heddle: We lost that argument a long time ago, so shut up already.

  10. #10 Frank
    September 22, 2006

    Comstock…

    “The fact that we see homosexuality in every human culture and across the animal kingdom does seem to be a pretty good argument for why it makes perfect sense to accept it, rather than condemn it. Why do we need more convoluted arguments when we can keep it so simple?”

    This is a weak argument (please note I am not arguing your point). This argument could also justify murder and potentially other unacceptable acts.

  11. #11 JimC
    September 22, 2006

    Frank,

    I don’t think so. Is there much murder in the animal kingdom?

  12. #12 Richard
    September 22, 2006

    David Heddle,

    The argument has never been refuted by you or anyone else. The “freshman” put-down is a bit tired, don’t you think?

  13. #13 Comstock
    September 22, 2006

    Frank, I acknowledge your statement about not arguing the point, so I imagine we’re on the same side. But I would point out that homosexual behavior doesn’t hurt anyone (in fact, lots of people do quite enjoy it). Certainly the argument would be silly if I were to say we should accept murder since it happens in all human cultures, because anybody can see that murder does a lot of damage. But the argument works for me when the behavior we are talking about is homosexuality.

  14. #14 David Heddle
    September 22, 2006

    Richard,

    What do you mean the argument has never been refuted? I’m guessing you mean, at most, to your satisfaction. And that is being charitable. The doctrine of original sin explains to many precisely how we are born incapable of obeying God’s commands–but are nevertheless judged for our disobedience. So to state “the argument has never been refuted” is absolute nonsense.

    So let me guess–you, Richard, are capable of mounting irrefutable attacks against Augustine, Aquinas, Jonathan Edwards, etc.–those great thinkers are like putty in your hands? Is that what you are saying?

    Have you even studied any of these men to the extent you can make a credible claim that “the argument has never been refuted?”

    I’m sure you must have studied their arguments, because only a fool would say the argument has never been refuted without doing any research.

  15. #15 JimC
    September 22, 2006

    because only a fool would say the argument has never been refuted without doing any research

    He who calls one a fool is in danger of hellfire.

    You miss the point David, the simplest question, the core question has not been answered to the satisfaction of someone who is using rationality as the basis for the answer.

    Look at your own reply as evidence of this.

    You answered:

    The doctrine of original sin explains to many precisely how we are born incapable of obeying God’s commands–but are nevertheless judged for our disobedience.

    This is no answer at all. It is simply another irrational assumption built upon other irrational assumptions.

    In short it isn’t an answer to the basic question.

    are capable of mounting irrefutable attacks against Augustine, Aquinas, Jonathan Edwards, etc.–those great thinkers are like putty in your hands?

    This is just an argument from authority. None of those men carry any weight per se. Only their arguments do. Hume did a plenty fine job refuting many of their assertions. And how do you know Richard isn’t the better of these men. You act as if these men where flawless in their thinking.

    The fact is they argued from an irrational assumption and pretending they didn’t simply isn’t honest.

    So to state “the argument has never been refuted” is absolute nonsense.

    I would say the correct wording is that a Christian perspective exists based on the assumptions of the belief system. But the argument hasn’t been refuted in any real world sense. You know the kind that matters to most of the planet. The kind in which you use in ones daily life before pretending the norms of common sense don’t apply to these discussions.

  16. #16 GH
    September 22, 2006

    Oh gosh heddles here also.

    And peddling the same tired, poor ‘arguments’ that he peddles elshwhere.

    He can’t see the flaws in it or the initial premise.

  17. #17 David Heddle
    September 22, 2006

    JimC, GH:

    What nonsense. Somehow I am not in the mood today. I wish people would learn how to argue. In a metaphysical debate, debating premises is useless. Otherwise, we might as well just do this:

    while (2 > 1) {
       heddle: My premise is that God exists.
       others: My premise is that God does not exist. Your premise is irrational, therefore any further arguments from you are wrong by assertion.
    }

    It appears that you (Richard, JimC, GH) have no interest in going any deeper.

    By the way, mentioning authorities (Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) is not the same as arguing from authority. If you’re going to take the easy way out: “whaa, whaa, logical fallacy, logical fallacy!” at least do it appropriately.

    It is perfectly reasonable to mention such experts if they have addressed the question at hand. Hint: If I had argued: since I agree with them, and they are smart, I am right then you would have a point.

    The men I mentioned have addressed this question in famous apologies. So in order to claim it has never been refuted, one should say: “Augustine said this, his logic was not self-consistent because of that,” etc.

    Simply asserting “it is one irrational assumption built upon other irrational assumptions, end of argument” is a display of appalling laziness. Of course it is much easier than actually constructing a substantive response.

  18. #18 GH
    September 22, 2006

    What nonsense. Somehow I am not in the mood today. I wish people would learn how to argue.

    Don’t you think you should look in the mirror here given your history? It’s not like you embrace solid logic and rationality.

    It appears that you (Richard, JimC, GH) have no interest in going any deeper.

    It’s impossible to truly go deeper when your starting from assumptions that make the rest of the discussion mute. But your wrong about that ascertion in any event.

    The men I mentioned have addressed this question in famous apologies

    What you seem incapable of comprehending is that these apologies do not adequately address this simple question.

    Simply asserting “it is one irrational assumption built upon other irrational assumptions, end of argument” is a display of appalling laziness. Of course it is much easier than actually constructing a substantive response.

    See what you again can’t comprehend is not everyone wants to spend so long refuting such silliness. Start by providing any pertinent evidence to support your claim that somehow babies are born sinful and the rest might be worth some time. Until then who cares what mood your in when you place such obviously clueless ‘arguments’ on a science website.

  19. #19 Grayman
    September 22, 2006

    Actually Heddle has a point when he reduces his first premise to ‘My premise is that God exists’ and asking us to go deeper. So David, let us go deeper. Right after you prove that your god exists. Now before you bring up the arguments from Aquinas Augustine and Anselm (and you really should haven mentioned Anselm), bear in mind that Hume trashed all of those approaches thoroughly in the 18th century. And of course I am not arguing from authority any more than you are.

  20. #20 C. Lathe
    September 23, 2006

    What’s amazing to me is that Mr. Heddle will continue to wear out the same sorts of arguments, in different forms, ad nauseam. For any of those willing to accept the ‘fact’ that arguing premises in metaphysics is pointless, you’ve got a long, hard road ahead of you if you continue to try to be rationa, as far as that is possible.

  21. #21 Ginger Yellow
    September 23, 2006

    John, the Anglican church has already lost its grip on the English school system to the “more vigorous right”, at least when it comes to “culture war” issues. Most new faith schools in Britain are evangelical (eg the Vardy academies) or Muslim. And the already existing Catholic ones are increasingly popular (see Tony Blair sending his kids to Brompton Oratory). The only real downside I can see to the schism is that it would abandon Africa to the bigots. But frankly homophobia is so entrenched in Africa, and Anglicanism in such decline anyway, that I really don’t think it will make any difference at all.

  22. #22 BigGeorge
    September 23, 2006

    And the already existing Catholic ones are increasingly popular

    Well this is relative. These schools where dying and the little blip they are getting now won’t last. Catholism as a faith is dying rather quickly in Europe. It may cling on as a cultural identifer for awhile however.

  23. #23 Tommy Paquette
    September 23, 2006

    I say, three cheers for the death of Chrsitianity! Watching that institution kill itself at every opportunity is one of the most wonderfully entertaining diversions I undertake whilst on the internet. While I wholeheartedly agree with all of the helpful guiding being given to it by the rational communities and those of it’s victims, the killing stroke was delivered long ago by science, and is repeatedly applied up to this very day. Thank you, EvolutionBlog. Better than coffee, this is. Im going to be lauging all day.

  24. #24 shiva
    September 23, 2006

    David declares “In a metaphysical debate, debating premises is useless.” You don’t know the first thing about metaphysical debates. Check out Lokayata for a debate on premises.

  25. #25 Calxaed
    September 24, 2006

    Surely arguing that challenging the premises of an argument is fruitless is tantamount to embracing relativism. If the premises of an argument cannot be challenged either empirically or logically then all assumptions are justified. In that case bothering to argue at all is irrational. We would be limited to emotivism, the statement of preferences and the demand that others acknowlegde them.

  26. #26 Ginger Yellow
    September 24, 2006

    I’m assuming Heddle means that in any metaphysical argument (indeed any argument) rests ultimately on premises that can’t be proved rationally – they have to be taken as given. It’s like Euclid’s postulates of geometry, or axioms in formal systems. In a metaphysical debate, the atheist and the believer (or the Christian and the Muslim, or whatever) are going to have at least some differing premises, and no amount of logical argument will shift either from them. This isn’t to say that all assumptions are equally valid – not all premises are ultimate premises, for a start, and even ultimate premises can be palpably wrong to both believer and ultimate believer.

  27. #27 386sx
    September 24, 2006

    The doctrine of original sin explains to many precisely how we are born incapable of obeying God’s commands–but are nevertheless judged for our disobedience.

    They couldn’t have known it was wrong to disobey because they didn’t know right from wrong. They couldn’t have known it was wrong to not know it was not right to believe whatever “God” said about anything period. They couldn’t have known it was bad for the serpent to trick them into doing what they didn’t know was right or wrong in the first place. Yada yada yada… The whole thing’s just stupid and cruel.

  28. #28 386sx
    September 24, 2006

    P.S., if the whole thing is all “predestined” anyway, then what’s with this pretense of the “original sin” excuse for doing what was already going to be done anyway. Just to give people some orthogonal stuff to argue about? The whole thing is so idiotic I can’t believe you guys buy that crap. But have a nice day though. Cheers!

  29. #29 Jon S
    September 25, 2006

    After reading the article I get the impression that Hitchins hasn’t put a lot of thought into this subject. I fail to see where he’s reliable writing about religion, unless you define reliable as anything that opposes religion.

    God has allowed a large homosexual margin for various reasons. We obviously don’t know the mind of God, but we do have His word and revelation to us. So what does scripture tell us? It tells us that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, God created everyone, and they are all born into sin. Each of us has our own sinful behaviors. Your struggles may be different than mine. God created some people with herterosexual desires, but they’re no less sinful than a homosexual, and if they indulge in adultery, or any other kind of sexual immorality, then they deserve death just like everyone else. That’s why ‘hate the sin, but love the sinner’ does make sense, despite Hitchen’s allegations. We’re all sinners, and we’re no better than anyone else. Not only does God hate sin, but He calls us to love our enemies and to love others as we love ourselves.

    Further, Hitchens thinks he has exposed the moral emptiness at the heart of religion. To some degree I will agree. If we define religion as man centered, then he has a point, because people in every religion will fail in one way or another simply because they are all sinners. Everyone, including Christians, battle against sin every day of our entire lives. But what Hitchens has failed to understand is that God is above all religions, and, despite the failings of man and religions, all of us will be held responsible for our own sin, even if it’s through no fault of our own. This is why we all need Christ, because we’re incapable of attaining salvation on our own.

    Hitchens says untold misery has been caused by loving someone in spite of a sin that is a very part of their identity. But that’s not true at all. What that individual needs to realize is that their identity should not rest in their sexual preference, any more than it should rest in their profession, athleticism, skin color, intellect, disabilities, or religousness, which can all be sources of sinful behavior. Our identity needs to rest in Christ alone. It might be tough to abstain from any particular type of sin or sexual immorality, but despite our successes and failures, our victory has already been won by Christ on the cross. Our salvation doesn’t depend on our perfection. God tests all people to reveal our hearts, and we need to recognize our dependence upon him, and love him for the price he was willing to pay for our sin. We can’t attain our own salvation, which is why Christ died on the cross. He knows we’re incapable of being completely obedient. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying. We just need to realize, once we’re saved, that, spiritually speaking, we’re dead to sin and alive in Christ, despite the ongoing sinful nature.

    Of course no one should condone hypocritical clergy. But none of us are perfect, and each one of us will be held accountable before God, so we shouldn’t let the sin of others stop us from turning to Christ, because man is not perfect, but Christ is. If your hope is in people or mankind, then your faith is in the wrong place.

  30. #30 JimT
    September 25, 2006

    I think somebody here or somewhere else earlier brought up the fact that arguing with the religious mind is like whack-a-mole. They just keep saying the same BS over and over again and you have to keep smacking ‘em down:

    God has allowed a large homosexual margin for various reasons.

    Impossible since there is no God.

    We obviously don’t know the mind of God, but we do have His word and revelation to us.

    No we don’t. We simply have ink on paper from thousands of years ago. Some yahoos wrote some junk down and a bunch of yahoos in the year 2006 believe it. Nothing there.

    So what does scripture tell us?

    Nothing to me. The same importance as any John Grisham novel.

    It tells us that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

    Fiction writers come up with all sorts of wild fantasies? How many of them do you believe?

    In other words, God created everyone, and they are all born into sin.

    There is no God. We evolved from earlier life forms.

    Each of us has our own sinful behaviors.

    There is no such thing as “sin.” The concept of “sin” is a concoction of religious people of no importance to me or any other rational thinking person.

    God created some people with heterosexual desires . . .

    There is no God to do such a thing. In the year 2006, we can WITNESS homosexual behavior in the human species and other species. In the year 2006 we CANNOT WITNESS God since there is no such being. If there were such a being, I think he would show himself to us and explain the rules to each of us HIMSELF not rely on texts thousands of years old, translated and mistranslated thousands of times.

    Not only does God hate sin, but He calls us to love our enemies and to love others as we love ourselves.

    There is no God so this is impossible.

    Everyone, including Christians, battle against sin every day of our entire lives.

    I don’t because there is no such thing as “sin.”

    But what Hitchens has failed to understand is that God is above all religions, . . .

    There is no such thing as God.

    . . . and, despite the failings of man and religions, all of us will be held responsible for our own sin, . . .

    No we won’t. We’ll all die and turn to dust.

    This is why we all need Christ, because we’re incapable of attaining salvation on our own.

    There is no such thing as salvation. We just live our lives and when it’s over, it’s over.

    This whack-a-mole thing is tiring . . . Sorry to sound so childish . . . but having a discussion about this is like arguing with an 8-year old child who believes in Santa Claus.

  31. #31 Jon S
    September 25, 2006

    JimT- Come on dude. I’ve played whack-a-mole with atheists many times over, and it does get tiring too. But I just keep whacking away.

    Too bad you’re not interested in discussion.
    “There is too a God.”
    “No there’s not.”
    “Yes there is!”
    “No there’s not”.

    Talking about arguing with an 8-year old child. Your arguments have been argued by atheits for centuries and have no merit, except to other atheists. Forunately, once in a while, there are atheists who do come to their senses and become believers. Hopefully, one of these days, you will too. Put away those fantasies of Santa Clause, evilution, and the tooth fairy and cross over to the light!

  32. #32 AJS
    September 26, 2006

    We obviously don’t know the mind of God, but we do have His word and revelation to us. So what does scripture tell us? It tells us that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, God created everyone, and they are all born into sin.

    If God created us deliberately short of perfect for his own amusement, unable to tell right from wrong and then punishing us anyway when we did something he didn’t approve of, that just tells me God is some kind of sick pervert.

    If some kinds of Sin do no real harm in this life, and some of use are quite content with this life, then why should we do anything about them? (For my part, I believe there is only one absolute regarding sexual behaviour: the Fully Informed Consent of all parties.)

    If God really exists then He should be destroyed. That really would be the simplest solution for all concerned. No more living up to an impossible promise. Of course it means having to forego Heaven; but since there’s precious little chance of someone like me getting in there, then that’s a small price to pay. Think about it ….. No more Heaven, no more Hell, no more Sin, no more religious warfare, everything John Lennon asked us to “Imagine”.

    All we have to do is kill God — and make sure He is Dead this time.

  33. #33 GH
    September 26, 2006

    Talking about arguing with an 8-year old child. Your arguments have been argued by atheits for centuries and have no merit, except to other atheists.

    This is a very funny comment. With no merit huh? He states a position fully supported by rationality and you respond with this triviality. His argument has merit and the fact you can’t refute it is telling. And I am no an atheist.

    Forunately, once in a while, there are atheists who do come to their senses and become believers.

    Ahhh, but the opposite happens much more frequently.

    Hopefully, one of these days, you will too. Put away those fantasies of Santa Clause, evilution, and the tooth fairy and cross over to the light!

    Oh so your an evolution denier. Figures. So I guess you are a Muslim correct? Hindu? Or are you a Christian?

    Do you not realize you rebuted not a single point he made? Your the equivalent of a kid who tosses rocks from behind a bush.

  34. #34 Jerry
    September 26, 2006

    GH:
    I think that you missed the point of JimT’s point entirely. He was arguing from a presumed known premise (not unlike a Donald Rumsfeld style “known unknown”) the way religious zelots presume God in their arguments. Although I think he sincerely doesn’t believe in God it should have been obvious that he was mocking the argument style by turning the premise on it’s head.

  35. #35 GH
    September 26, 2006

    Ahhhhh Jerry, I was responding to JonS so I don’t know what your referring to in your comment.

  36. #36 Jon S
    September 26, 2006

    AJS wrote “If God created us deliberately short of perfect for his own amusement, unable to tell right from wrong and then punishing us anyway when we did something he didn’t approve of, that just tells me God is some kind of sick pervert.”

    You assume some things that are contrary to what God has already told us. God originally created a perfect world without death, disease or suffering. It was man who goofed it up. Just because God allowed it to happen doesn’t make him an abomination. As a matter of fact, God has a plan that works for the good of his people (Romans 8:28). The important thing for us is to confess our sins and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior so that we can be part of his kingdom. You also assume we don’t know right from wrong. But scripture makes it clear that we do know right from wrong, good from evil (Genesis 3:5 & Genesis 3:22). So rest assured that God is holy, and not sick and perverted.

    AJS wrote “If some kinds of Sin do no real harm in this life, and some of use are quite content with this life, then why should we do anything about them? (For my part, I believe there is only one absolute regarding sexual behaviour: the Fully Informed Consent of all parties.)”

    All sin does real harm. You may not recognize the consequences immediately, but they are there, no matter how small. Even a little white lie can hurt someone. Just because you can’t detect the harm doesn’t mean all is good. And any sexual sin, such as adultery or homosexuality, does harm too, either to others or the individual. Some of the consequences might result in a divorce, STD’s, broken relationships, etc. The harm could be long term or short term. But even if the only absolute you personally believe in is full consent, what about those who don’t believe in that absolute? What makes you right and them wrong? Why wouldn’t rape be okay if it made someone content and happy in this life, and why would it be wrong to harm someone? Who are you to judge someone who finds real joy in harming others? At some point you have to admit there are absolutes greater than man. There really can’t be any right or wrong unless there’s a God whom you are ultimately sinning against.

    AJS wrote “If God really exists then He should be destroyed. That really would be the simplest solution for all concerned. No more living up to an impossible promise. Of course it means having to forego Heaven; but since there’s precious little chance of someone like me getting in there, then that’s a small price to pay. Think about it ….. No more Heaven, no more Hell, no more Sin, no more religious warfare, everything John Lennon asked us to “Imagine”.

    Perhaps you do believe that God should be punished for all the misery in the world. But what about our responsibility? Should we be excused and not held accountable for our actions? If so, then God would not be just, because he would be letting sin go unpunished. But he is just. And scripture makes it clear that God doesn’t tempt us to sin, so the sin is on our own heads, and we deserve punishment too. Remember that God became a man and subjected himself to our torture, and accepted execution, even though he was without sin himself. He was the perfect sacrifice. Through one man’s sin (Adam), we all died, but through another man’s life we obtain eternal life. So even though you paint a horrible picture of God, he was willing to suffer and die for us. And that makes him a loving and caring God. And finally, please remember that God didn’t die for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. So even if you think you have little hope of getting to heaven, you have as much hope as anyone that has ever lived. You simply need to ask Jesus into your heart.

  37. #37 Jon S
    September 26, 2006

    GH: Your comments were kind of funny too. JimT basically said ‘God doesn’t exist’ and ‘sin doesn’t exist’ in several different ways, and didn’t offer any proof of his allegations. I don’t see how that promotes discussion. It was all opinionated, void of any substance, and completely without merit. What position did he state that was fully supported by rationality that I missed? There was a reason I responded with triviality. I’ve responded to arguments like these in the past, and you’re welcome to look up my previous remarks, and then tell me if I can’t refute his statements.

    And yes, I’m an evolution denier, and proud of it! The evidence is overwhelming, if you’re inclined to investigate, as so many scientists have done already. And yes, I am a Christian, and proud of that too, because my identity is in Christ. What are you?

  38. #38 Kevin
    September 26, 2006

    I always think that people who assert the existance of entities that cannot be experienced through the human senses of external reality should be required to do the heavy lifting and provide some proof outside of the blatherings of themselves and their kind.

    and further, when they assert that this non-corpreal entity has effected physical changes, that they describe a repeatable testable mechanism that accomplished these effects.

    and when people assert the existance of something they call sin, and its collarary (sp), evil, and its pervasiveness as original sin, I ask if its like the “ink spot on your soul” theory that the nuns had and that if its too dark you go to hell and you need to confess to wash the black stain out.

    and so then I ask them to show me a “soul” and measure the blackness of a person’s foul heart and then locate this place of “hell” and then to define sin as something other than convention.

    ” ‘God doesn’t exist’ and ‘sin doesn’t exist’ in several different ways, and didn’t offer any proof of his allegations”

    allegations…HA.. You believer can believe but that does not mean that anyone else has to “prove” you are wrong. A fool can’t be shown wisdom and a believer in fairy tales is a fool.

  39. #39 GH
    September 26, 2006

    JonS-

    I am a Christian and an honest one. If your an evolution denier I don’t think you can say the same.

    His stance is rational. He doesn’t think anything exists and frankly he is correct. There is not one iota of evidence for my belief. Thats why it is a belief.

    and this proves your cluelessness:

    The evidence is overwhelming, if you’re inclined to investigate, as so many scientists have done already

    Really and how about the vast 99% who use it and understand it. All your doing is showing fringe elements exist in any field.

    I’ve responded to arguments like these in the past, and you’re welcome to look up my previous remarks, and then tell me if I can’t refute his statements.

    I’m sure it was more than impressive as a rebuttal.

  40. #40 Jud
    September 27, 2006

    JonS: “…then they deserve death just like everyone else….”

    That about says it all, doesn’t it?

    And you have a lovely day as well, sir!

  41. #41 AJS
    September 27, 2006

    You assume some things that are contrary to what God has already told us. God originally created a perfect world without death, disease or suffering. It was man who goofed it up. Just because God allowed it to happen doesn’t make him an abomination.

    Er, no, I’d say that makes Him entirely responsible. He should have seen what was going to happen before it happened. Either He is cruel, or he is lying about being omniscient. Either of those would be sufficient to disqualify Him from worship.

    All sin does real harm. You may not recognize the consequences immediately, but they are there, no matter how small. Even a little white lie can hurt someone. Just because you can’t detect the harm doesn’t mean all is good. And any sexual sin, such as adultery or homosexuality, does harm too, either to others or the individual.

    If two people want to have sex with each other, it’s really nobody else’s business but theirs. If one or the other are already in relationships with other parties, then they have to consider the effect on those other parties, but that comes under the “fully informed” bit in fully informed consent.

    Some of the consequences might result in a divorce, STD’s, broken relationships, etc. The harm could be long term or short term.

    And is one of the factors that must be considered in the course of giving consent: one consents to the sex act and all its consequences. And obviously one needs to take the appropriate precautions against STDs, unwanted pregnancy &c., because one is potentially consenting to all those things.

    But even if the only absolute you personally believe in is full consent, what about those who don’t believe in that absolute? What makes you right and them wrong? Why wouldn’t rape be okay if it made someone content and happy in this life

    Because the person on the receiving end is by definition neither happy nor contented. If they were, it wouldn’t be rape, would it?

    and why would it be wrong to harm someone? Who are you to judge someone who finds real joy in harming others?

    What, like the God of the Old Testament? He seems to find a lot of real joy in harming mortals.

    At some point you have to admit there are absolutes greater than man. There really can’t be any right or wrong unless there’s a God whom you are ultimately sinning against.

    Allow me to put it this way:

    Bollocks.

    When God is successfully destroyed — if He ever really existed in the first place — there will still be right and wrong. It will still be wrong to treat other people in a way in which we would not like to be treated. It won’t be wrong to wear a polyester/cotton shirt (Lev 19:19) — by the way, why was this forbidden, and has some major social or technological change in the intervening period rendered the prohibition unnecessary? If it was just one of God’s irrational dislikes, then it won’t matter once he’s dead.

  42. #42 Kevin
    September 27, 2006

    “It won’t be wrong to wear a polyester/cotton shirt ”

    er well actually it is wrong to wear a shirt with more than 9% polyester…….

    I’m a 100% cotton man myself…

  43. #43 Jon S
    September 27, 2006

    Kevin- There is overwhelming proof of the existence of God; the problem is that those who are unbelievers often fail to see it or recognize it. To believers God’s existence is obvious, otherwise they would be atheists too. You want proof that there’s a God? Then look at the fossil record, a strand of DNA, archaeology, embryology, geology, or biology. These can better explain the data than evolution and naturalistic processes. For example, polystrate fossils, the amount of helium in rocks and in the air, the distance the moon is from the earth, young earth ages for non-radioactive dating methods, complications with Miller’s ‘chemicals of life’ experiment, too much salt in the ocean, red blood cells and DNA found in dinosaur bones, etc. There’s all sorts of evidence for a young earth Kevin, the problem is deciding which worldview you’ll use to interpret the data. Do you put your faith in what atheists tell you, or will you put your faith in God’s word? Men make mistakes, but God doesn’t. You question things like sin, hell, souls, and assert that because you can’t see, feel, or touch them, then they can’t be real. Of course these are spiritual concepts, so you can’t measure them like gravity. But there are other things we can measure in the sciences that supply abundant evidence. If we can demonstrate the earth is young, say 10,000 years, or can demonstrate the impossibility for life to come from non-life, then that’s pretty good proof of the existence of God, and that what he says in the Bible is correct. There are also many former atheists that have either become Christians, or acknowledge that life is too complicated to happen by pure chance, so they must see something that you’re not willing to consider. Finally, with all the religions of the world, including Christianity, it’s silly to suggest that there is no God, or that there’s a God gene that had some kind of evolutionary advantage in the past. Well, what happened to your God gene? Is it broken? I suggest that man has religion because we innately know that there is a God.

  44. #44 Jon S
    September 27, 2006

    GH- I’m glad you’re a Christian, and an honest one. I consider myself an honest Christian too. In fact I’m attempting to be as open an honest as I can. And yes, I do deny evolution, at least when you define evolution as life appearing from non-life, and one kind of life becoming more and more complex until man comes along. If you can supply an example of this I’d be glad to listen. But I’ve never met anyone who can scientifically demonstrate, or who has observed an increase of genetic information where there was none present before. A one-celled organism does not have the genetic instructions to manufacture eyes, ears, blood, skin, hooves, brains, etc. Can you honestly say that you, or any other scientist, has ever observed such an increase? If not, then you believe evolution by faith.

    Anyway, I don’t find JimT’s previous argument rational. He says God doesn’t exist, period, end of argument. That’s irrational. If you want to make such a statement, that’s fine, but if you want a rational discussion, then at least explain why you believe that. Then there’s something to discuss. Now if you say you’re a Christian, and that you have not one iota of evidence, then I hope you’re willing to some research, because God doesn’t expect Christians to have a blind faith. He expects us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). As a fellow Christian, I urge you to examine scripture and see what it tells us about our origin. Afterall, God was there at the beginning and actually did the creating, while those who preach evolution weren’t around to observe or witness what God did during the billions and billions of years they claim the universe has been around. So who do you believe? God, or man? Jesus tells us in Mark 10:6 that God made man at the beginning of creation. This conflicts with evolution. So either Jesus was wrong, or atheists are wrong. We, as Christians, can’t have it both ways. Even the atheists on this website will suggest you’re being inconsistent if you’re a Christian who believes in evolution, because scripture doesn’t allow any room for it. Or do you disagree with the prominent atheistic apologists and their science?

    AJS- Even if you hold God responsible for allowing man to sin, then what do you think about God becoming a man and humbling himself to death on a cross? Surely if God was cruel he wouldn’t allow us to humiliate him and kill him. And if he really did come and die for our sins, then rise from the dead as he had prophesied about hundreds of years before, then that makes him both omniscient and all powerful, as well as merciful and loving.

    Your scenarios of sexual consent and not harming anyone seems very noble, but the problem with the world is that your scenario is not reality. If everyone were to comply with your expectations, then perhaps this would be a perfect and happy world, but the truth is we do live in a world with divorce, STD’s, and broken relationships. The only real cure is Christ, because he promises us a new heaven and earth that will be a real paradise without any suffering.

    Your final response to there being no right and wrong if there’s no God is weak. I still content that there wouldn’t be right and wrong if God didn’t exist. If God doesn’t exist, please explain why it’s wrong to harm others. Because they might not like it? Rubbish! Is it wrong to kill an ant, shrimp, lobster, bird, elephant, or plant? What about the psychopath who gains satisfaction from killing, raping, and harming others? What should we do to them? Punish them, execute them? But wouldn’t punishing them violate your own proclamation? So who’s to say your view of right and wrong is right? Because you say so? If so, then you’re making yourself out to be God, and whoever departs from your commandment is wrong. So really there can’t be a right and wrong unless there is an ultimate God to be accountable to.

  45. #45 AJS
    September 28, 2006

    Even if you hold God responsible for allowing man to sin, then what do you think about God becoming a man and humbling himself to death on a cross? Surely if God was cruel he wouldn’t allow us to humiliate him and kill him. And if he really did come and die for our sins, then rise from the dead as he had prophesied about hundreds of years before, then that makes him both omniscient and all powerful, as well as merciful and loving.

    Or — he didn’t do any of those things. There’s enough material going around on the premises that “Jesus existed but was not the son of God” or “Jesus was a Roman invention” — I’ll let you search for it. Here, let me offer up a “new” theory of my own: Jesus existed, but was just an ordinary person. He claimed to be the Son of God, performed a few elaborate conjuring tricks, and eventually sacrificed his own life so that people could finally believe that God was dead and get on with real life; but then somebody spoilt his plan by faking his ascent into heaven, and the rest became known as the New Testament.

    Your scenarios of sexual consent and not harming anyone seems very noble, but the problem with the world is that your scenario is not reality. If everyone were to comply with your expectations, then perhaps this would be a perfect and happy world, but the truth is we do live in a world with divorce, STD’s, and broken relationships.

    All of which can be traced back to one issue: Fully Informed Consent. If A is in a relationship with B, has sex with C and loses B, that just suggests to me that A should have asked B before having sex with C — the consent was not fully informed. Likewise, a suffer of a sexually-transmitted disease should inform prospective partners (and wear a johnny, for crying out loud! The only good reason not to wear a condom is that you want to get pregnant!)

    Divorce I don’t have a problem with; I believe relationships have a natural course to run and sometimes finish before we do. I’m forced to side with a religion here: Wicca. I find “for as long as love shall last between ye both” a very sensible duration for a marriage.

    The only real cure is Christ, because he promises us a new heaven and earth that will be a real paradise without any suffering.

    No, the cure is for people to step back and realise that there is NO christ, there is NO magic wand, only YOU can save yourself. You make your bed and you lie in it. If you can’t handle the consequences you shouldn’t do it in the first place. And if you see someone get hurt and then go out and do the same things they did, you deserve what you get.

    I still content that there wouldn’t be right and wrong if God didn’t exist. If God doesn’t exist, please explain why it’s wrong to harm others. Because they might not like it? Rubbish! Is it wrong to kill an ant, shrimp, lobster, bird, elephant, or plant?

    That depends entirely on your intentions. If you have some use for it in its dead state, it’s probably less wrong. If it’s a straightforward fight to the death, you or it, then it’s not wrong. Killing an ant just because it’s an ant and you don’t like ants is bad, killing an ant because you need some formic acid for an experiment is less bad, killing an ant because you will die if you don’t kill it is just the natural order of things.

    What about the psychopath who gains satisfaction from killing, raping, and harming others? What should we do to them? Punish them, execute them?

    Maybe put them with someone who gains satisfaction from being harmed, and let the pair of them sort it out for themselves? Study them, find out why they gain satisfaction from causing misery and attempt to prevent the same thing happening in future?

    But wouldn’t punishing them violate your own proclamation?

    No: simply in the way they have treated others, they have indicated their own belief in the acceptability of that behaviour. You can expect people to be nice to you if you are nice to them. You waive your own right to be treated nicely when you mistreat someone else.

    So who’s to say your view of right and wrong is right? Because you say so? If so, then you’re making yourself out to be God, and whoever departs from your commandment is wrong.

    How about a general consensus of all parties concerned, with each party’s input in direct proportion to the probability that, and extent to which, they personally will be affected by a particular act or its consequences? For instance, if I want to smoke a cigarette in a restaurant, it’s primarily a matter between me, the other diners and the staff (who potentially are inhaling many people’s smoke throughout a full shift); although the friends and families of all parties present may be affected indirectly if any one of us gets ill or dies. But some MP sitting in London, 200km. away is so unlikely to be affected by it as for it to be none of their business.

    So really there can’t be a right and wrong unless there is an ultimate God to be accountable to.

    But need there be right and wrong in the sense that you seem to be talking about? It’s obvious that mathematically right and wrong are absolutes; for instance, the angles of a triangle will always add up to a semicircle, and there will never be an effective copy-prevention system. But when you are talking about behaviour, things depend upon circumstances: there are different criteria for acceptable behaviour in a life-or-death survival scenario and a game of a competitive sport; in one’s own home and as a guest in someone else’s home; in a densely-populated urban environment and a sparsely-populated natural environment; when one is alone, around intimate friends and family and around strangers. For that matter, there probably is a case when sex without fully informed consent might be better than the only alternative, though I’m at a loss to think of it right now.

  46. #46 Ginger Yellow
    September 28, 2006

    “And yes, I do deny evolution, at least when you define evolution as life appearing from non-life, and one kind of life becoming more and more complex until man comes along.”

    No biologist defines evolution that way. Evolutionary theory says that given an initial self-replicator, it can explain all the diversity of life on earth. It does not deal with abiogenesis, which as far as evolution is concerned could have been God’s work. Nor does it necessarily imply increased complexity, except in so far as starting with a very simple self-replicator most changes will tend to increase complexity by the law of averages. Finally evolution certainly doesn’t say anything about growth in complexity stopping when “man comes along”. Mankind itself is continuing to evolve, and may become more or less complex in future, depending on the prevalent selective pressures. M If mankind dies out, there may be some more complex creature that replaces us. For that matter, the “only” thing that makes us as complex as we are is our brains, although our brains are truly wonderful things. Moreover, all the other organisms on the planet are evolving, becoming more or less complex as appropriate. Plenty of other organisms are more complex than us in other respects – the electrical senses of fish, the tentacles of an octopus or a star nosed mole, the effortless coordination of schools of fish, and so on.

    “What about God becoming a man and humbling himself to death on a cross? Surely if God was cruel he wouldn’t allow us to humiliate him and kill him.”

    Maybe God’s a sado-masochist. Maybe he had a momentary pang of guilt for all the suffering he caused. You Christians are the ones who claim his motives unfathomable to human minds.

    “You want proof that there’s a God? Then look at the fossil record, a strand of DNA, archaeology, embryology, geology, or biology. These can better explain the data than evolution and naturalistic processes.”

    Unless you ask geneticists, archaeologists, embryologists, geologists or biologists. It’s very simple. Scientists in these groups include atheists, mainstream Christians and young earth creationists, among many other religions. Both the mainstream Christians and the atheists look at the evidence and see an old earth, in fact exactly the same age earth. Only the YECs see a young earth. Funny that.

    “Finally, with all the religions of the world, including Christianity, it’s silly to suggest that there is no God, or that there’s a God gene that had some kind of evolutionary advantage in the past. Well, what happened to your God gene? Is it broken?”

    You do realise the majority of world religions are polytheistic (eg Hinduism) or atheistic (eg Buddhism), don’t you? Monotheism is a relatively modern invention. As for the gene question, why mightn’t it be broken? Why mightn’t a gene that predisposes for a certain trait be negated by local (cultural/environmental) factors? It happens with lots of other genes. Not everybody with a gene that predisposes them to being diabetic becomes diabetic.

    “So really there can’t be a right and wrong unless there is an ultimate God to be accountable to.”

    So how do you explain the fact that atheists all have moral codes? Do you really not understand the concept of social contracts and how the golden rule fits into that?

  47. #47 Jon S
    September 28, 2006

    AJS: “Here, let me offer up a “new” theory of my own: Jesus existed, but was just an ordinary person. He claimed to be the Son of God, performed a few elaborate conjuring tricks, and eventually sacrificed his own life so that people could finally believe that God was dead and get on with real life; but then somebody spoilt his plan by faking his ascent into heaven, and the rest became known as the New Testament.”

    But if you read and study what Jesus actually said, and look at what he did, you can’t come up with such a concept. I think it’s more believable that he’s exactly who he claimed to be… God.

    “All of which can be traced back to one issue: Fully Informed Consent.”

    Again, your view on the way the world ought to be is a utopia that doesn’t exist.

    “the cure is for people to step back and realise that there is NO christ, there is NO magic wand, only YOU can save yourself.”

    But the point is that no one can save themselves. We all die, and that’s the penalty for sin. Only Christ can truly save us, because he took the penalty for those who put their hope and trust in him.

    “Killing an ant just because it’s an ant and you don’t like ants is bad, killing an ant because you need some formic acid for an experiment is less bad, killing an ant because you will die if you don’t kill it is just the natural order of things.”

    But that’s your own personal view point. What about the individual who doesn’t think it’s wrong to kill an ant (or a human) for any reason at all, regardless of consent? What if they disagree with your philosophy? What if an entire society disagrees with your philosphy? Hitler and his people were convinced what they were doing was right, and that those opposing them were wrong. So is right and wrong subjective? If so, then there isn’t an ultimate right and wrong, because we’ll never have unity, unless there is a God who we’re accountable to.

    Ginger: “all the other organisms on the planet are evolving, becoming more or less complex as appropriate.”

    Can you give an example of an organism that is becoming more complex? The only scientific observations I’m aware of are organisms becoming less complex, which is what we’d expect if there was no evolution occuring as defined previously.

    “Both the mainstream Christians and the atheists look at the evidence and see an old earth, in fact exactly the same age earth. Only the YECs see a young earth.”

    Yes, that’s it! We all have the same evidence and come to different conclusions depending on our biases and worldviews. If you believe what God has revealed to us in scripture, then you will, in fact, see a young earth when you examine the evidence!

    “So how do you explain the fact that atheists all have moral codes?”

    Atheists have moral codes because they were created by God, just like everyone else, and scripture tells us that man knows right from wrong.

  48. #48 Ginger Yellow
    October 1, 2006

    “Can you give an example of an organism that is becoming more complex? The only scientific observations I’m aware of are organisms becoming less complex, which is what we’d expect if there was no evolution occuring as defined previously.”

    Sure. Panda’s Thumb just put up a great example: increasing hominin brain size http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/09/fun_with_homini.html

  49. #49 Jon S
    October 1, 2006

    Try again Ginger. Evolutionary assumptions aside, you haven’t shown any documented increase in genetic information. All you’ve done is assumed that man evolved from ape-like ancestors, which is another subject and can be demonstrated to be false. Nick Matzke does exactly what he complains creationists do… ignores counter evidence that shows no transitions and only focuses on cranial capacity. I’m asking for observational material, which is what real science focuses on. We can’t observe those supposed human ancestors evolving into man; evolutionists can only invent clever stories and try to make them fit the facts. Can you show where we observe cats developing the genetic material to alter their legs so that they can fly or breathe under water, or where dolphins fins are evolving hooves, or insects developing any kind of upward genetic material that was not present before? With all the generations of fruit flys and bacteria that have been observed, why haven’t we seen the appearance of a new organism containing additional genetic material not present before in an upward trend?

  50. #50 Ginger Yellow
    October 2, 2006

    Jon, how exactly do you explain the cranial capacity data? Were a series of entirely unrelated hominins poofed into existence, who just happened to become physically less like apes (with more features such as a pelvis adapted for vertical walking, the spinal cord entering the skull at the base rather than the back, reduced brow ridges, flatter faces etc) at the same time as their cranial capacity increased until it was roughly the same as ours?

    This is obsvervational material, and if you don’t accept that you might as well give up, because science isn’t going to ignore it just because you don’t like where it leads. It is precisely because the cranial capacity data comports with a wealth of other genetic and paleontological data that we have such confidence that mankind evolved from a common ancestor with apes over millions of years. The data, taken together, only make sense with that explanation.

    Why on earth would dolphins evolve hooves? They live in the water. Do any other sea creatures have hooves? What selective advantage would they provide? They don’t even live in shallow water – you may have noticed that dophins and beaches don’t mix. Why would cats evolve an ability to breathe underwater? They live on the land. Moreover, it’ s a hell of a long way from lungs to gills – dolphins and whales can’t breathe underwater and they’ve been living in the oceans for millions of years.

    What the hell is “upward genetic material”? If you mean more genetic material, gene duplication and mutation happens all the time.

    “With all the generations of fruit flys and bacteria that have been observed, why haven’t we seen the appearance of a new organism containing additional genetic material not present before in an upward trend?”

    We have, repeatedly. Here’s a good example: a bacterium that through the ADDITION of a single nucleotide to a gene that used to create an enzyme to digest carbohydrates instead creates a protein that helps digest nylon.

    http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/information.htm

  51. #51 Jon S
    October 3, 2006

    Ginger: There’s nothing remarkable on the charts about cranial capacity to impress anyone who doesn’t buy evolution. The cranial capacity can easily be explained as certain species of apes with certain anatomical features that are well equiped to their environment, and that’s it. It’s pure science fiction & fantasy that brings any evolutionary meaning to the charts. Evolutionists routinely ignore data indicating these apes are not human ancestors. You can make the case that this feature looks human and that feature looks ape-like, so it’s a human ancestor! But you could find similarities between humans and practically any organism and say the same thing. Homology doesn’t equal ancestery. You praise the features that are human-like, but ignore features making it an ape, such as the neck vertebra, hyoid bone, organ of balance, long, curved fingers, shoulder blades, and cranial capacity. Can you fathom how great a genetic obstacle it would be to have these features evolve through random mutations over time to become human when they’re already well-suited to their environment? It will be great to see what the rest of the foot looks like. The more we learn about these supposed ancestors of ours, the more we learn that they’re not related to us. The most recent find of Australopithecus promises to shed a lot of light on this subject.

    Then you make the normal evolutionist error and claim that cranial capacity is observational material. Of course the skulls and bones can be examined, but then comes the story telling, which cannot be observed, such as “this skeleton is 3.3 million years old”, or “this is a human ancestor”. Just because you can paint a pretty picture of human evolution does not confirm that the picture is fact or fiction. Evolutionists have worked very hard to make australopithecines a human ancestor, but it’s starting to unravel.

    Ginger says “Why on earth would dolphins evolve hooves? They live in the water. Do any other sea creatures have hooves? What selective advantage would they provide? They don’t even live in shallow water – you may have noticed that dophins and beaches don’t mix. Why would cats evolve an ability to breathe underwater? They live on the land. Moreover, it’ s a hell of a long way from lungs to gills – dolphins and whales can’t breathe underwater and they’ve been living in the oceans for millions of years.”

    Now you’re starting to get the picture. You’re making my point for me and are starting to sound like a creationist! Why would dolphins evolve hooves? Lets go a step further… why would any fish evolve legs and feet and hooves? Isn’t that what evolutionists believe happened anyway? So you tell me why dolphins would evolve hooves. Evolutionists actually believe it happened! And you’re right, it’s a long ways from lungs to gills, yet evolutionists believe that happend too! Isn’t that just crazy?

    Ginger says “What the hell is “upward genetic material”? If you mean more genetic material, gene duplication and mutation happens all the time.”

    Upward genetic material is what is needed to go from the simplest living organism to frogs, and finally man, and is exactly what you need to provide an example of. Gene duplication and mutations don’t provide that kind of genetic material. Where did lungs come from? Where did skin come from? Where did blood come from? If the genetic material does not exist, then an organism’s ancestors will not be able to give birth to an organism that does have that genetic material. This is exactly what we observe in genetics, but evolutionists must deny these observations. Try breeding dogs and see if you can breed a new feature that doesn’t exist into them. Sure, you could take genetic material from a duck and try to fuse it into the dogs embryo, but that just proves a dog won’t become a duck unless the genetic material exists in the first place.

    Ginger says “Here’s a good example: a bacterium that through the ADDITION of a single nucleotide to a gene that used to create an enzyme to digest carbohydrates instead creates a protein that helps digest nylon.”

    Try again. Yomo has shown that it is highly unlikely that any of the genes arose through a frame shift mutation, because such mutations (forward or reverse) would have generated lots of stop codons.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v17/i3/bacteria.asp

  52. #52 Uber
    October 3, 2006

    Upward genetic material is what is needed to go from the simplest living organism to frogs, and finally man, and is exactly what you need to provide an example of. Gene duplication and mutations don’t provide that kind of genetic material. Where did lungs come from? Where did skin come from? Where did blood come from? If the genetic material does not exist, then an organism’s ancestors will not be able to give birth to an organism that does have that genetic material. This is exactly what we observe in genetics, but evolutionists must deny these observations. Try breeding dogs and see if you can breed a new feature that doesn’t exist into them. Sure, you could take genetic material from a duck and try to fuse it into the dogs embryo, but that just proves a dog won’t become a duck unless the genetic material exists in the first place.

    This is the single most stupid paragraph I have ever read on a science website. You sir simply no nothing, I mean nothing about what your talking about. You should sit down and learn before typing such drivel. I can’t believe you feel you know enough to even discuss this with a layman let alone try and trash a theory you clearly have no knowledge of.

  53. #53 Ginger Yellow
    October 3, 2006

    “But you could find similarities between humans and practically any organism and say the same thing. Homology doesn’t equal ancestery. You praise the features that are human-like, but ignore features making it an ape, such as the neck vertebra, hyoid bone, organ of balance, long, curved fingers, shoulder blades, and cranial capacity.”

    Rubbish. It is precisely the way older specimens show more ape-like features and fewer humnan-like features than more recent specimes that allows us to infer a line of descent. There’s no reason for this pattern to exist under special creation, but it must exist for evolution to be true. It is because we see this pattern, and patterns like it all throughout the fossil record, that we have such confidence in common descent. We don’t see very human like apes from 6m years ago, in the same way that we don’t find the proverbial rabbits in the Cambrian. Again, if you won’t consider this evidence in good faith, then you might as well give up, because scientists will just laugh at you.

    “Then you make the normal evolutionist error and claim that cranial capacity is observational material. Of course the skulls and bones can be examined, but then comes the story telling, which cannot be observed, such as “this skeleton is 3.3 million years old”, or “this is a human ancestor”.”

    Again, in order to protect your worldview, you’re throwing out another entire branch of science, namely geology. We say the skeleton is 3.3m years old because that’s what techniques tried and tested in other contexts tell us. According to your approach it’s just a cosmic coincidence (or maybe Satan’s work) that these datings match no matter what approach we use, time and time again. Scientists are just, to use a favoured phrase of creationists, following the evidence.

    “y would dolphins evolve hooves? Lets go a step further… why would any fish evolve legs and feet and hooves? Isn’t that what evolutionists believe happened anyway? So you tell me why dolphins would evolve hooves. Evolutionists actually believe it happened! And you’re right, it’s a long ways from lungs to gills, yet evolutionists believe that happend too! Isn’t that just crazy?”

    No scientists don’t believe it happened. Scientists believe that feet in amphibians evolved from fins in fish. Hooves didn’t come until much, much later, when mammals had been living on land for some time. Similarly lungs most likely evolved from the swim bladder, which is considerably more like a lung than gills are.

    You have a spectacularly poor understanding of evolution,as your last two paragraphs demonstrate. Your talk of upward genetic material is gibberish. We observe genes duplicating and mutating all the time, creating new genes and new gene function. If you’re willing to put aside the demagoguery and really want to know where new features come from, I strongly recommend Sean Carroll’s book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, for examples of how identifiable, small changes in the genes that control development and in the switches that regulate them have resulted in many of the different forms we see today.

  54. #54 Jon S
    October 4, 2006

    Uber- It’s amusing to read your insult, but perhaps I can educate you. Evolution can be defined in various ways, such as “a process of change in a certain direction”, or “a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, to a more complex or better state”. Often evolutionists will try a bait-and-switch by defining evolution as any kind of change in an organism. But just any kind of change is not what I mean by evolution. If you believe that man evolved from some kind of single celled organism, then that is the kind of upward evolution I’m referring to and challenge. Where in science do we observe some organism changing from simple to more complex? Providing examples of an organism losing genetic material and calling that evolution is a tactic evolutionists like to use, but when an organism is as complex as it’s going to be, and then loses genetic information, that’s going in the wrong direction. Mutations and gene duplication don’t add complex features to an organism. Such mutations are almost always harmful, sometimes neutral, and rarely beneficial, but it’s never making the organism more complex, which is exactly what evolution requires in order to be believeable.

    Ginger says “It is precisely the way older specimens show more ape-like features and fewer humnan-like features than more recent specimes that allows us to infer a line of descent. There’s no reason for this pattern to exist under special creation, but it must exist for evolution to be true.”

    This kind of reasoning is subjective. It’s ape-like or human-like depending on how you wish to see it, just like looking at a cloud and claiming it looks like a person. Can you really not see how subjective your line of reasoning is? There’s very good evidence that australopithecines are not related to man, and that evidence is growing. What will you do when the scientific community finally admits it? Will you still boast how human-like the features are, or will you admit that scientists wrongly percieved and interpreted these patterns?

    Ginger says “We say the skeleton is 3.3m years old because that’s what techniques tried and tested in other contexts tell us.”

    But have you ever studied the counter evidence? The techniques you mentioned can be manipulated to fit the data. A dating lab will try to match the date with what you expect it to be, and if it doesn’t match, they use other methods until they get the date they wish. And if it still doesn’t match, they assume contamination. Many biologists admit that their belief in fossils being millions of years old is due to the age of the rocks, but then geologists will use index fossils to prove that radiometric dating is accurate. So biologists often get their dates from geology, and geologists get their dates from biologists. So your techniques being tried and tested are not as sound as you’ve been led to believe.

    Ginger says “Scientists believe that feet in amphibians evolved from fins in fish.”

    Of course that’s what scientists believe, but the point I was making is that the entire process of evolution is absurd, just as you viewed my argument that dolphins could evolve hooves.

    Ginger says “Your talk of upward genetic material is gibberish. We observe genes duplicating and mutating all the time, creating new genes and new gene function.”

    I hope I cleared up the gibberish in my reply to Uber, but I think you’re still missing the point. If it happens ‘all the time’, then give me an example of where anyone has actually observed an organism becoming more complex. Shouldn’t that be easy if it happens ‘all the time’?

  55. #55 Ginger Yellow
    October 4, 2006

    “It’s amusing to read your insult, but perhaps I can educate you. Evolution can be defined in various ways, such as “a process of change in a certain direction”, or “a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, to a more complex or better state”.”

    No biologist would define evolution in either of those ways. There are different defintions of “evolution” depending on the context, but they are either “common descent with modification” (the theory of evolution) or “the change of gene frequency in a population” (the technical definition of evolution). Neither implies direction or increase in complexity. That evolution has increased the complexity of organisms is simply a result of the earliest organisms being simple, giving only one direction for evolution to diversify into.

    “Mutations and gene duplication don’t add complex features to an organism. Such mutations are almost always harmful, sometimes neutral, and rarely beneficial, but it’s never making the organism more complex, which is exactly what evolution requires in order to be believeable.”

    Except they do, time and again. Read Carroll’s book. Just because you refuse to accept it do not make it so. And for your information, most mutations are in fact neutral.

    “This kind of reasoning is subjective. It’s ape-like or human-like depending on how you wish to see it, just like looking at a cloud and claiming it looks like a person. Can you really not see how subjective your line of reasoning is?”

    No. Humans do not have brow ridges. Apes do. Therefore fossils with brow ridges can objectively be described as having an ape-like feature. Similarly in humans the spinal column enters the skull at the base, whereas in apes it enters from the back. In hominin fossils, the earlier fossil skulls have holes in the back, whereas later fossils have holes in the base. Hence the progression from ape-like to human-like features. Similarly with pelvises adapted for either four-limbed or two-limbed gait – the fossils show a progression from former to latter, exactly as evolutionary theory predicts. This is not subjective.

    “? There’s very good evidence that australopithecines are not related to man, and that evidence is growing. What will you do when the scientific community finally admits it?”

    I will develop wings and fly.

    “But have you ever studied the counter evidence? The techniques you mentioned can be manipulated to fit the data. A dating lab will try to match the date with what you expect it to be, and if it doesn’t match, they use other methods until they get the date they wish.”

    I’d be very flattered if they did, but given that I’m a nobody I doubt they would.

    “Many biologists admit that their belief in fossils being millions of years old is due to the age of the rocks,”

    How reckless of them. My belief in my own age is due to the age of my body.

    “Many biologists admit that their belief in fossils being millions of years old is due to the age of the rocks, but then geologists will use index fossils to prove that radiometric dating is accurate. So biologists often get their dates from geology, and geologists get their dates from biologists.”

    Geologists also get confirm their dates with physicists and astronomers and paleontologists and geneticists. Remarkably they all confirm each others dates. Scientists call this evidence. You call it a conspiracy.

    “Of course that’s what scientists believe, but the point I was making is that the entire process of evolution is absurd, just as you viewed my argument that dolphins could evolve hooves.”

    Well in that case I’m convinced! Dolphins evolving hooves is absurd because hooves are an adaptation of land animals, not of sea creatures. Plenty of sea creatures, on the other hand, have feet, whether or not you accept that they were evolved. None of them have hooves, nor would any biologist expect them too. Hooves and sand don’t go together.

    “I hope I cleared up the gibberish in my reply to Uber, but I think you’re still missing the point. If it happens ‘all the time’, then give me an example of where anyone has actually observed an organism becoming more complex.”

    I did, repeatedly, and you refused to accept it. This is why scientists ignore and laugh at creationists. They hear the same arguments again and again again, and get very bored of refuting them again and again and again, not least because most creationists, like yourself, do not debate in good faith.

  56. #56 Uber
    October 5, 2006

    Often evolutionists will try a bait-and-switch by defining evolution as any kind of change in an organism.

    You are to ignorant to even respond to further. If you honestly think this is a bait and switch your hopeless.

    Where in science do we observe some organism changing from simple to more complex? Providing examples of an organism losing genetic material and calling that evolution is a tactic evolutionists like to use, but when an organism is as complex as it’s going to be, and then loses genetic information, that’s going in the wrong direction. Mutations and gene duplication don’t add complex features to an organism. Such mutations are almost always harmful, sometimes neutral, and rarely beneficial, but it’s never making the organism more complex, which is exactly what evolution requires in order to be believeable.

    Yeah right. It’s not believable because you can’t understand it. Ginger Yellow has shown you more than enough in this exchange but your replies are simply those of someone with their fingers in their ears.

  57. #57 Jon S
    October 5, 2006

    Ginger says “No biologist would define evolution in either of those ways. There are different defintions of “evolution” depending on the context, but they are either “common descent with modification” (the theory of evolution) or “the change of gene frequency in a population” (the technical definition of evolution). Neither implies direction or increase in complexity.”

    That tells me several things: the definition of evolution is self serving and therefore meaningless, and evolutionists are closed minded and unwilling to examine contrary evidence. The definition you give makes no distinction between what scientists actually observe (changes in organisms, such as bacterial resistence), and what scientists claim but have not observed (man evolved from ape-like creatures, which in turn evolved from single celled oranisms). These are two very different processes, but evolutionists have difficulty grasping that for some reason.

    “And for your information, most mutations are in fact neutral.”

    I’ll agree with you there, but neutral mutations are powerless to produce new genuine information. And yes, I will read Carol’s book. But I can assure you I’ll be able to find numerous scientists that will refute what Carol has to say. Ultimately, as you imply in a previous post, our interpretations depend on our worldview (and biases). The main problem with the evolution v.s. creation debate is that evolutionists are holding the power and refuse to acknowledge that not all scientists adhere to the worldview of Darwinism, and that it’s ok to have a biblical worldview. If that were possible, then we could all live in peace and pour our efforts into more meaningful pursuits. But that’s not something I ever expect to see happen as long as the world still exists.

    “Therefore fossils with brow ridges can objectively be described as having an ape-like feature.”

    I suppose that’s so, but so what? That doesn’t mean we evolved from apes anymore than it means that a human born with a ‘tail’ is related to a cat, or whatever organism you wish to claim. It’s simply your interpretation of the data, and not all scientists accept such faulty reasoning. So yes it is subjective.

    “My belief in my own age is due to the age of my body.”

    Good point. Do you realize there were humans there to observed your birth? I would accept that line of reasoning as valid. Do you also realize that scientists didn’t exist 3.3 billion years ago to observe their evolutionary claims? Due to a different worldview, as well as observed evidence, creationist scientists can confidently say that line of reasoning is invalid.

    “Geologists also get confirm their dates with physicists and astronomers and paleontologists and geneticists. Remarkably they all confirm each others dates. Scientists call this evidence. You call it a conspiracy.”

    No, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy. I think it’s a difference in worldview. Other scientists have refuted those dates that have supposedly been confirmed.

    “I did, repeatedly, and you refused to accept it.”

    I didn’t accept your examples because you failed to demonstrate any conclusive proof… only assertions that have been demonstrated to be false.

    “This is why scientists ignore and laugh at creationists. They hear the same arguments again and again again, and get very bored of refuting them again and again and again, not least because most creationists, like yourself, do not debate in good faith.”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, and we creationists get tired of the same whack-a-mole game too. But I think this subject is important enough to stay the course. Believe me, we creationists laugh at the same lame evolutionist arguments and shake our heads in amazement at how they miss the obvious.

  58. #58 GH
    October 5, 2006

    Other scientists have refuted those dates that have supposedly been confirmed.

    Really? Which ones? Where is the peer reviewed data?

    That doesn’t mean we evolved from apes anymore than it means that a human born with a ‘tail’ is related to a cat, or whatever organism you wish to claim.

    You are related to a cat doofus. Your ancestor is just further down the line than that of the closer ape.

    The main problem with the evolution v.s. creation debate is that evolutionists are holding the power and refuse to acknowledge that not all scientists adhere to the worldview of Darwinism, and that it’s ok to have a biblical worldview.

    And it’s ok to have a Koranic worldview and a worldview based on Scientology and a myriad of other religions. None of this changes the evidence that we evolved from other primates.

    Do you realize there were humans there to observed your birth? I would accept that line of reasoning as valid. Do you also realize that scientists didn’t exist 3.3 billion years ago to observe their evolutionary claims? Due to a different worldview, as well as observed evidence, creationist scientists can confidently say that line of reasoning is invalid.

    I think Uber is wrong. This is the most stupid paragraph I’ve read on a science website. By your ‘logic’ I guess any crime that is committed sans an eyewitness can never be solved. And a ‘creationist scientist’ is an oxymoron. What ‘science’ have they ever produced?

    Believe me, we creationists laugh at the same lame evolutionist arguments and shake our heads in amazement at how they miss the obvious.

    Yeah and with arguments like yours it makes me wonder as well. Don’t worry we’ll drag your carcass and your descendents into the coming centuries with us as we have since the enlightenment started. Feel free to continue in your unbridled ignorance we are guarding the gates for you.

  59. #59 Jon S
    October 6, 2006

    GH says “Really? Which ones? Where is the peer reviewed data?”

    Ginger was speaking in generalities regarding ancient dates, I believe, and so was I. If you want specifics, then give me a specific example where the dates geologists come up with have been confirmed by physicists, astronomers, paleontologists and geneticists. I’ll do some research and let you know if there are any scientists who have refuted such data.

    “You are related to a cat doofus. Your ancestor is just further down the line than that of the closer ape.”

    Sorry pal, but that defies reality and goes against scientific observations. No one has observed an animal changing into a cat, nor a cat changing into any other kind of animal. For your information, cats only give birth to cats. That’s a proven scientific fact. Aside from that, you failed to follow the point I was making. Of course I know evolutionists believe we’re related to all living organisms, so any similarity that humans have to another organism is what you call proof that we’re related, which is simply circular reasoning and doesn’t prove anything. That’s like me saying that similarities are due to the way God made life at the beginning. Such an argument would be meaningless to an evolutionist.

    “And it’s ok to have a Koranic worldview and a worldview based on Scientology and a myriad of other religions. None of this changes the evidence that we evolved from other primates.”

    Once again you missed the point. The point is that, if science really believed in following the evidence, then scientists should tolerate opposing views and criticism of sacred cows, such as evolution.

    “This is the most stupid paragraph I’ve read on a science website.”

    Hmmm, I think the same thing every time I read all the evolutionary gobbledygook and hocus pocus contained on supposedly ‘scientific’ websites. To be honest GH, I could care less if you and others find my arguments stupid or not. I just hope there may be some open minded individual out there that will see through your worldview and insults and will be critical of evolution and question what the evolutionary community has dictated for years. Why don’t you look past all the evolutionary indoctrination you’ve gone through and think for yourself instead of letting others think for you. That’s really what I’d like to see happen in class rooms across the United States.

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