Philosopher Graham Oppy, whose book Arguing About Gods is well worth reading, has written an interesting survey of work by atheist philosophers over the last sixty years. Here’s a taste:

The last sixty years have been a very fertile period for academic atheist philosopher critiques of theistic arguments. Among large-scale works that have attempted to establish that theistic arguments are unsuccessful—i.e. not such as ought to persuade non-believers to change their minds—we should certainly mention: The Existence of God (Wallace Matson, 1967), The Miracle of Theism (John Mackie, 1982), Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (Michael Martin, 1990) The Logic of Theism (Jordan Howard Sobel, 2004), and God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason (Herman Philipse, 2012).

Jack Smart’s contribution to his debate with John Haldane—in Atheism and Theism (2002)—was a natural development from the views expressed in his 1955 papers; but, by then, he had thoroughly rejected the idea that theistic arguments appeal to something deep-seated in our nature, and professed embarrassment that he had ever written such nonsense.

Apart from works treating theistic arguments collectively, there have also been attempts to provide thorough examinations and refutations of particular theistic arguments or families of theistic arguments, as for example, in The Cosmological Argument (William Rowe, 1975). Unsurprisingly, there are no academic atheist philosophers who suppose that there are successful theistic arguments, i.e. arguments that ought to persuade academic atheist philosophers to become theists.

Right on! Ontological arguments inevitably come off feeling like simple word games, while cosmological arguments are just as inevitably based on dubious metaphysical assumptions.

Still, it seems like a high bar to say that an argument is only successful if it compels someone on the other side to change his mind. I would think that no matter how good the argument either for or against God, it is always possible to retreat into mystery. Thus, a theist might agree that the prevalence of evil and suffering is hard to explain, but also believe that God provides a cogent explanation for so many other things that his inability to explain evil and suffering is not enough to change his view. Likewise, an atheist might have responded to William Paley’s argument by acknowledging that the complexity of organisms is hard to explain without God, but that atheism is so satisfying on other grounds that one mystery is not enough to change his view.

This becomes relevant later:

In 1979, in `The Problem of Evil and some Varieties of Atheism’ (American Philosophical Quarterly, 1979), William Rowe published an evidential argument from evil that replaced Mackie’s logical argument from evil as the canonical atheistic argument from evil. In the face of theistic responses—in particular, sceptical theist responses initiated by Plantinga and William Alston—many academic atheist philosophers have since retreated to the view that we do not yet have any successful arguments from evil, i.e. arguments from evil that ought to persuade believers to give up their theism.

Moreover, while some other arguments have risen to prominence—e.g. John Schellenberg’s argument from hiddenness, which was given its canonical formulation in his Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason (1993), and Paul Draper’s various arguments from evil, starting with the one outlined in `Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists’ (Noûs, 1989)—there are at least some academic atheist philosophers who are sceptical that we yet have any successful arguments against theism, i.e. arguments that ought to persuade theistic believers to give up their theism.

Sceptical theism, as applied to the problem of evil, is the idea that our limited human perspective is such as to preclude our ability to comprehend God’s motives in allowing evil and suffering. This, to me, has always seemed like a very weak response to the evidential argument from evil.

First, it is essentially an admission that we do not, in fact, have any good explanation for why God allows evil and suffering. If you have a workable theodicy, you do not retreat to skeptical theism. Moreover, is it really plausible that what we perceive as great evil and suffering, of a sort that any of us would stop if we could, actually serves a higher divine purpose that no one has been able to conceive of? Are our moral intuitions really so untrustworthy, and is God’s reasoning really so deep and obscure, that we must accept this? I have a little more confidence in human reason than that. I think if there were compelling reasons to think that evil and suffering are necessary to achieve God’s noble purposes, someone would have come up with them by now.

Since there is so much that is mysterious in this area, I would tend to think of a successful argument somewhat informally as one that makes an advocate for the other side feel uncomfortable. I think the problem of evil simply has to do that to a thoughtful theist. I would say that Paley’s argument was such as to make an atheist uncomfortable in the early nineteenth century, though Darwin and those who followed him have entirely defanged it. Nowadays the fine tuning argument is the best that theists have, but this, I think, is just a much weaker argument than what Paley served up.

At any rate have a look at the whole lengthy article. It certainly provides a useful reading list!

Comments

  1. #1 eric
    May 11, 2015

    is it really plausible that what we perceive as great evil and suffering, of a sort that any of us would stop if we could, actually serves a higher divine purpose that no one has been able to conceive of? Are our moral intuitions really so untrustworthy, and is God’s reasoning really so deep and obscure, that we must accept this? I have a little more confidence in human reason than that. I think if there were compelling reasons to think that evil and suffering are necessary to achieve God’s noble purposes, someone would have come up with them by now.

    Its a double problem; not only must there be some good in these apparently evil acts, but the theist must also posit that there is some good in God keeping us ignorant about why they are good rather than evil. I would think that this is particularly troublesome for traditional Christians, since they assert that God came down to earth and tried to teach humans right from wrong for 20 or so years. If God doesn’t want us to be ignorant of what constitutes good and what constitutes evil, and God is is capable of communicating this to us, and God is a perfect communicator (omni communicator?), then we could not be ignorant of what is good and evil. Yet at least some humans clearly are, as we often disagree about what’s good and what’s evil. So one of those statements must be false.
    .

    our (God given?) reasoning be so wrong,

  2. #2 See Noevo
    May 11, 2015

    Atheists, like homosexuals, have lived in every era.
    But why is it that after about 5,000 years of recorded history, both atheists and homosexuals still make up such a small portion of the human population?

  3. #3 Jason Rosenhouse
    May 11, 2015

    See Noevo-

    I’ve been more than generous allowing you to comment here, even to the point of letting you hijack one post after another. But no more. This post is about Oppy’s survey. Keep your comments relevant and I’ll allow you to continue commenting here. Otherwise I’ll ban you.

  4. #4 GAZZA
    May 12, 2015

    I think a significant problem with things like the ontological argument and the cosmological argument are that AT BEST they only get you to deism. Even if you assume that you can convince an atheist of such an argument’s validity, the result is that they are induced to believe some sort of powerful being created the universe – it doesn’t get you anywhere near arguing that this powerful being is the one your particular religion represents.

    Of course this is well known; it’s practically the standard rebuttal to Pascal’s Wager.

  5. #5 zebra
    May 12, 2015

    Eric, and JR:

    Moreover, is it really plausible that what we perceive as great evil and suffering, of a sort that any of us would stop if we could, actually serves a higher divine purpose that no one has been able to conceive of? Are our moral intuitions really so untrustworthy, and is God’s reasoning really so deep and obscure, that we must accept this? I have a little more confidence in human reason than that.

    Not a very strong argument. What exactly is “moral intuition”? How do you get from “intuition” to “reasoning”, whether human or divine?

    This is the problem with the whole concept of “morality”; since it is inherently meaningless, debates about it are what– meta-meaningless?

    If the criterion for evil and suffering is that “any of us” would stop it if we could, then, how do you categorize death? Would you stop it if you could, given how much suffering it causes?

  6. #6 eric
    May 12, 2015

    @6: My argument doesn’t rely on moral intuition, it can work without it. Its really an argument that any religion which posits ‘some of the evils we see around us are ultimately good, and god is Omni-etc and wants us to know good from evil’ is making contradictory claims and is thus not internally self-consistent. There are many many flavors of Christianity; this argument may not apply to some, but it seems to apply to many if not most of the ones common in the US and Europe.

  7. #7 eric
    May 12, 2015

    @4:

    Of course this is well known; it’s practically the standard rebuttal to Pascal’s Wager.

    The other being: any argument which leads to an infinite number of mutually contradictory conclusions is not an argument that can be rationally used to support a specific belief or course of action. Its useless for decision-making (including deciding what to believe).

  8. #8 zebra
    May 12, 2015

    Eric,

    If your argument doesn’t apply in general, then what exactly is the point? JR is making a philosophical case, not bashing some specific sect.

    I would be interested in hearing JR’s answer to the question about death.

  9. #9 Sean T
    May 12, 2015

    @seenoevo,

    That question is really beneath you. You have done better in the past. That’s just a simple “argument ad popularum” fallacy. I would hope you’re better than that.

    However, it seems fairly clear to me why religious belief is popular. It’s easy and comforting. Religious believers don’t really have to think about anything; all they need to know about everything is right there in one book. Further, we are all going to die. Very few people want to die. Religion, in general, is mainly about stories that imply that we aren’t really going to die, despite the appearances to the contrary. For Christians, it’s resurrection in heaven. For Hindus, it’s rebirth on earth, but in most religions, there’s some way in which we really won’t die. Obviously, that’s going to be a very popular belief system. That doesn’t mean it’s right, though. It’s just comforting.

  10. #10 Sean T
    May 12, 2015

    Seenoevo,

    One more point. Using your own logic, why would anyone believe in Christianity? After all, after over 2000 years of preaching and conversion, over 68% of the world’s population is non-Christian. If Christianity is actually true, why would Christians be only a minority of the population of the world?

    Obviously, you will find that argument unconvincing, as you should. That’s how convincing your original argument was to atheists.

  11. #11 Tulse
    May 12, 2015

    is it really plausible that what we perceive as great evil and suffering, of a sort that any of us would stop if we could, actually serves a higher divine purpose that no one has been able to conceive of? Are our moral intuitions really so untrustworthy, and is God’s reasoning really so deep and obscure, that we must accept this?

    This problem is even deeper than that, as it potentially allows that what we humans think of as good and evil may be completely orthogonal to what a putative god holds. If one argues that human moral reasoning is incapable of understanding divine morality, then what warrant do we have that divine morality looks anything like what we think of as “morality”? One can’t both say that “God is good” and at the same time argue we don’t know what “good” actually is.

  12. #12 zebra
    May 12, 2015

    Tulse, #12

    No, you are back to the question of whether something is “good” because God wills it, or, does God will it because it is “good”.

    Which brings us back to my point that “good” and “evil” and “moral” and “immoral” are meaningless concepts.

  13. #13 eric
    May 12, 2015

    If your argument doesn’t apply in general, then what exactly is the point?

    That it’s a valid counterargument for most of the theists you will encounter and common theistic belief?

    There’s no need to make perfect the enemy of good here: I’m not doing anything particularly different than other nonbelievers, when they point out that arguments do not have to address sophisticated theology’s ‘ground of being’ type God in order to be relevant to the type of religious belief most Americans have.

    By all means, spend your time coming up with counter-arguments that apply equally well to all philosophically possible gods and pantheons if you like. More power to you, though I don’t think you will be able to do it. I’m content to argue about the beliefs of actual believers.

  14. #14 eric
    May 12, 2015

    See Noevo @2: you might take a look at the latest Pew survey before making an argumentum ad popularum. Not only is it fallacious, but nones now make up 22% of the US population and are the fastest growing group across most sub-groups (by race, by age, by income, etc…). For every RCC convert, 6 people leave the church; in contrast, for every none who converts to a faith, 4 more people become nones.

  15. #15 Tulse
    May 12, 2015

    you are back to the question of whether something is “good” because God wills it, or, does God will it because it is “good”.

    Which brings us back to my point that “good” and “evil” and “moral” and “immoral” are meaningless concepts.

    Right, but that position in itself isn’t going to be convincing for someone promoting skeptical theism, which presupposes the validity of the concept of evil. The point of my comment was to argue that skeptical theism doesn’t get what folks think it gets, which in itself is an argument that their notion of evil is incoherent or ungrounded.

  16. #16 zebra
    May 12, 2015

    OK, I’d have to say that if you accept the concept that there is some absolute evil, then I would side with the theists.

    I go back to the question of death, which so far has received no answer. It suits God’s purpose, however much it makes us suffer.

  17. #17 Alex SL
    http://phylobotanist.blogspot.com
    May 12, 2015

    I have read Mackie’s Miracle of Theism, and while I found it very interesting I doubt that one really needs to read two of those books; surely after one has seen all the relevant proofs of god dismantled the first time diminishing returns kick in? As that review discusses, they don’t really seem to change, they merely go in and out of fashion.

    And honestly it seemed to me as if Mackie used a lot of words to discuss what are really quite straightforward ideas. “Oh come on, surely you realise that something doesn’t exist just because you can imagine it”, “so where does God come from if, as you claim, everything needs a cause?”, “but if something doesn’t need a cause, why can’t it just be the universe?”, “sure, that gets you some mysterious first cause, but not the god of the bible”, and similar objections are rather obvious and occur even to a bright kid, and they are irrefutable except by special pleading or intellectual dishonesty, so it was rather weird to see them developed across page after page after page…

    I guess I am just not used to philosophical writings.

  18. #19 sean samis
    May 12, 2015

    See Noevo; Intelligent people “have lived in every era. But why is it that after about 5,000 years of recorded history, [intelligent people] still make up such a small portion of the human population?

    It is a mystery.

    sean s.

  19. #20 ?
    May 12, 2015

    I was wondering why I was forced to change my name from “Happy Easter!!!” to “?” in a previous thread! We have a dictator here (@3) who shuts down the kind of free speech that doesn’t tickle his ears. Like homosexuals, shouldn’t Christians be allowed to be/express themselves? The hypocrisy!!! Keep on sowing, See Noevo – you have an audience and you’re instigating the most important type of dialogue.

  20. #21 sean samis
    May 12, 2015

    Dear ?,

    Everyone should “be allowed to be/express themselves”, but not every time and every place. If they distract from an on-going conversation, the moderators of that conversation space are within their rights to ban them. I have been kicked off a religious thread even though my comments were topical; they just didn’t like where I came from. I’ve seen people escorted out of churches where their real prayer requests were regarded as unacceptable.

    Jason is within his legitimate rights to manage these threads; your free speech rights don’t trump his rights nor the rest of ours.

    ==============================================

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

    Theists regularly assert that if there were no deity, there could be no morality. But it is useful to flip that over: given the moral systems we have, if there are no deities, where did these moral systems come from? They must be the product of tens of thousands of years of experience humans have in the problems of living together in families, clans, tribes, and communities.

    Differences in moral systems can be understood simply as the different solutions different cultures came up with to solve the moral issues that all human communities experience. Many people focus on the differences and determine that there’s nothing useful to learn from them. Others focus on the things these moral systems do have in common and find the basis of a rational, debiased “natural law” system. I favor that last approach myself.

    I think the best conclusion is that “evil” (understood as behaviors to be avoided or condemned) can be pretty well defined. I’ve posted it here before.

    “Good” is a category of not-evil behaviors and results which are not generally definable; what is “good” for X might not be “good” for Y. Obviously there can exist a large category of behaviors and results which are not clearly good, but are probably not evil.

    sean s.

  21. #22 Michael Fugate
    May 12, 2015

    ?, Grow up, please.

  22. #23 ?
    May 12, 2015

    Michael, wise up, PLEASE!!!

  23. #24 Tulse
    May 12, 2015

    I wonder if there is actually any real difference between Skeptical Theism and Divine Command Theory. Skeptical Theism seems to say that we mere mortals can’t know what is moral, so whatever the Christian god says goes. Divine Command Theory seems to say that the Christian god defines morality, so whatever the Christian god says goes. I suppose that Skeptical Theism argues that the Christian god is “good” in some external objective sense, whereas Divine Command Theory simply says that the god defines the good, period, and there is no external measure. But in practice, they seem to have identical outcomes.

  24. #25 sean samis
    May 12, 2015

    Tulse,

    Your question is valid; perhaps there is some subtle difference, but imho it matters little. Both are pretty much useless. Unless one is a Christian (I am not.) neither one makes sense. Both generate null definitions of “good” or “evil” which should be senseless even to a Christian.

    sean s.

  25. #26 MNb
    May 12, 2015

    @SN: then I have a question for you. Every single religion has only one and only one origin in the past. How come that atheism at the other hand occurred at least twice independently? Here is the other one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cārvāka

  26. #27 Alan Feuerbacher
    New Hampshire
    May 12, 2015

    The terms “good” and “evil” are slippery enough that some theists refuse to go further. I’ve had some success posing these arguments in terms of “a loving God”. Everyone has some notion of what a loving father would and would not do, so asking questions like, “Do you think it’s reasonable that a LOVING God/Father would do such and such?” can be effective in getting someone to realize there’s a problem.

    I often use the notion with non-young-earth creationists. They agree that macroscopic life has existed for more than 600 million years, and generally accept that predation has existed that long. I sometimes explain about predator/prey “arms races” along with the fact that after certain major extinction events, these arms races start anew. This is independent of whether the person believes in God-guided or naturalistic evolution. Then I ask if God is a LOVING creator. Then the hemming and hawing and avoidance of answering begins. That proves the person really understands my point.

  27. #28 easter eric christmas eric passover eric
    May 12, 2015

    I was wondering why I was forced to change my name from “Happy Easter!!!” to “?” in a previous thread! We have a dictator here (@3) who shuts down the kind of free speech that doesn’t tickle his ears.

    Test…
    Nope, ?, you appear to be wrong.

  28. #29 sean samis
    May 12, 2015

    eric,

    did you test the bang (!) signs? Maybe they are not permitted in the Name field.

    sean s.

  29. #30 eric!!!!
    May 12, 2015

    Let’s find out.
    In any event, I think the original point is disproven; Jason isn’t blocking posters with religious references in their names.

  30. #31 Happy Easter!!!
    May 12, 2015

    final test.

  31. #32 Happy Easter!!!
    May 12, 2015

    that was me.

    “?” is just wrong. Now let’s see if an apology is forth-coming!

    sean s.

  32. #33 Happy Easter!!!
    May 12, 2015

    Test from ?

  33. #34 Happy Easter!!!
    May 12, 2015

    I swear I tried posting comments under “Happy Easter!!!” 5 times using 3 different devices and it wouldn’t post. I recently tried using “Evan the Evangelist” and got the same disappointing results. It could be my Mac products, who knows? In any event, I do owe you an apology Jason as you’ve always seemed like a fair man every time I’ve visited. Forgive me kind sir as God forgives the willing.

    “It seems fairly clear to me why religious belief is popular. It’s easy and comforting.”

    Though it most certainly is comforting, there is nothing easy about being a Christian Sean T. Toughest job on the planet because it requires the denial of self, service and rejection of the illusion that materialism is thorough. Try dropping your pride and holding yourself to the Standard of Jesus and see wait you get; fail (like me and everybody else). There’s nothing harder than perfection as NO ONE can attain it – and only one Individual to date has succeeded in having the reputation and ongoing legacy of doing so. Hard work! Thank God for providing you life and all it’s benefits, then say; “if You’re up there, I hungrily want Your will to be done over my own.”

    Did you do it? Did you mean it? Not easy is it?

    “Religious believers don’t really have to think about anything; all they need to know about everything is right there in one book.”

    Funny. I’ve yet to see one animal transform into another or observe ANY convincing evidence that such a thing ever took place. Where are the transitional fossils that prove this (sometimes) God excluding theory? I’ve researched and I can’t find a single one. Now I’m thinking (give me a second)….

    I’ve arrived at the conclusion that macro evolution is horse shit. I see no evo.

    Not thinking: us and everything else in the universe occurred without intention or Intelligence. A scribble on a piece of paper, an iPhone, an airplane, an omelet all get recognized for being made – but the human beings who make such things don’t? Smelly horse shit. I understand the need to come up with explanations that don’t include God because as I explained; it’s hard work submitting to Authority, but don’t abandon Intelligence dear brothers. The homing device, the soul, the conscience, the connection is within – so all that, along with EVERYTHING ELSE around and within us leaves us without excuse. You’re right, that much is easy.

    Belief in God(s) is nearly universal excluding less than 5% that are atheist – with Christianity leading the way with 32% of the present population professing. This indicates that most KNOW of an Authority worthy of appreciation and praise, while only a few suppress and/or deny their Source. All don’t have the Identity right, but at the very least there’s some common sense (thinking) going on around the globe.

    And I do love that we’re all engaged in wishing each other a “Happy Easter!!!” as it’s pretty much a year round celebration for me 🙂

  34. #35 eric
    May 12, 2015

    Funny. I’ve yet to see one animal transform into another

    That’s because that doesn’t happen. Do you really think what you’ve just described is evolution?

    an iPhone, an airplane, an omelet all get recognized for being made

    Well, yeah, because we observe intelligent agents make them, AND they don’t reproduce with variation on their own.

    It doesn’t surprise me that you use scatological references to describe evolution, either. There’s been a study or two that show conservativism is associated with heightened concern over personal contamination. Its such a strong indicator that I believe one scientist claimed he could show just one picture to a subject, monitor brain patterns, and predict who was going to vote GOP consistently in the next several elections. You might think you have rational reasons for rejecting evo, but it appears a lot of it is just an ick factor.

  35. #36 Phil
    May 12, 2015

    “I’ve yet to see one animal transform into another”

    Butterflies.

  36. #37 eric
    May 12, 2015

    Pretty sure he meant an animal of one species turning into an animal of a different species. But if he just meant a large phylogenetic/morphological change during the lifecycle of an organism, then yes there are lots of examples of that happening.

  37. #38 Sean T
    May 13, 2015

    @Happy Easter!!!

    Yes being a Christian is easy intellectually. You don’t have to think about any scientific problems. Goddidit is the answer to everything. You don’t have to have debates about morality – it’s already been decided for you. You don’t, as a practical matter, even have to live up to the ideals of Christianity. You’re all sinners, right? Therefore, nobody really expects you to live up to all the ideals anyway.

    It’s all a very simple and satisfying world view. It explains everything very neatly and simply. It even means we don’t really have to die. What’s wrong with that? Well, I have been a scientist for over two decades now. In my experience, any time someone comes up with a simple, neat, and uncomplicated solution to a very complex situation, that turns out to be wishful thinking. The universe is an extremely complex place. Why should the answer that WE want to be true be the actual truth?

    It may be the case that Christianity is true. I admit that this possibility cannot be ruled out definitively. However, to believe that, I would need evidence. If God is all-powerful and wants me to believe in him, he should be able to do what it takes to make me do so. Don’t give me the “you have to have faith” excuse. God, if he existed, would know full well that there is a large segment of humanity that would require more definitive proof to believe. If we believe the Biblical stories, God used to provide such proof. He did send Jesus to earth. He created a burning bush that didn’t burn up and talked to Moses directly. He spoke directly to others in the OT. Why did He quit? Unless, of course, there is not God and all those stories are just that, stories.

    As for your criticism of evolution, well it’s pretty laughable. I won’t really tackle most of it because it’s nonsense. One species giving birth to a completely different one would actually be a falsification of evolution, not evidence for it. I will deal with transitional fossils, though. They are out there. You creationists just move the goal posts on the issue. If there are species A and B existent today, and someone shows you a fossil of species Z, which has characteristics of both A and B, you just come back with, “Where are the transitional fossils between A and Z and between B and Z?” The process never ends, so you get to claim that transitional fossils don’t exist.

    For a real discussion try http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html. This site gives a large number of real transitional fossils that have been found.

    Just to try to pin the goal posts in place, though, would you agree that all hominid fossils can be classified as either fully human or fully ape, and that there aren’t any “in between” type fossils? I would think that as a creationist, you should be able to agree with that. It is only evolution, after all, that predicts that there should be fossils intermediate between modern apes and humans. Creationism should predict no relationship between the two, right? I’ll assume therefore, that you would agree with the premise. Would you also agree, then that there should be no difficulty in classifying a given hominid fossil as either ape or human? Again, I would assume that you’d agree with that. Would you then call a fossil that was difficult to classify as either ape or human a transitional fossil?

  38. #39 See Noevo
    May 13, 2015

    While I thought my comment #2 had a bearing on this topic (and it elicited several responses from others), JR rules, and so I’ll move on.

    JR writes:
    “Moreover, is it really plausible that what we perceive as great evil and suffering, of a sort that any of us would stop if we could, actually serves a higher divine purpose that no one has been able to conceive of?”

    What if evil and suffering were not “great”, but rather not-so-great? In other words, what if the worst we could expect from life were things like scraped knees and getting “B”s instead of “A”s on a test? Would these minor sufferings be enough “proof” for atheists that God doesn’t exist?

  39. #40 eric
    May 13, 2015

    That depends. In this hypothetical world, are there believers running around claiming God knows about every skinned knee before and while it happens, that He doesn’t want us to suffer skinned knees, and that He is fully capable of preventing us from suffering skinned knees? Because if that’s the case, then yes, skinned knees would be strong evidence that their posited God doesn’t exist.

  40. #41 See Noevo
    May 13, 2015

    Here’s what may be a novel idea on theodicy: God’s plan for drama and jobs.

    On drama:
    Where would film/literature drama be without good guys vs. bad guys, without the attention-holding tension of risk of great evil and suffering?

    Who would watch the Super Bowl or any competition grand or small if there be no losers (who are a necessity for winners)?

    What would everyday life be like with an incessant stream of goodies, with not even a chance of struggle, loss, or rejection? A bunch of psychically anesthetized zombies wandering around, without even so much as a smile. (Yes, smiles would be history, too. Why smile about something “good” if everything is good all the time? It would just cause wrinkles (except wrinkles would be history, too!))

    On jobs:
    Without diseases and broken bones, all the doctors and nurses would out of a job.
    Without crimes and natural disasters, police and first responders would be history, as would all the mainstream media news industry (for a current example, witness the non-stop coverage of the Amtrak disaster).
    Without problematic questions/issues to wrestle with, would this website even exist?
    With no clouds there are no silver linings. The Bible says as much in different words (cf. Romans 8:28).

  41. #42 eric
    May 13, 2015

    See Noevo, are you seriously claiming that cancer is good because it keeps surgeons and doctors employed?

  42. #43 See Noevo
    May 13, 2015

    To eric #40:
    Here’s a perspective on the trends you cite. One of the author’s more salient points is that many have abandoned religion because it has been politicized, and that, contrary to media memes, such politicization has been perpetrated by the Left, not by conservatives.
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/05/13/why-americans-are-abandoning-religion/

  43. #44 See Noevo
    May 13, 2015

    Correction: The comment above was for eric #14, not eric #40.

  44. #45 See Noevo
    May 13, 2015

    To eric #40:

    Then I hope in the future you’ll refrain from bringing up all sorts of tragedies and catastrophes in making your case against God.

    I hope you’ll be honest and just say something like “Things happen in life which I don’t like, therefore, God doesn’t exist.”

    And maybe JR and others here could do the same.

  45. #46 Tulse
    May 13, 2015

    What would everyday life be like with an incessant stream of goodies, with not even a chance of struggle, loss, or rejection?

    Heaven? Isn’t that what the Christian heaven is literally supposed to be, an eternity of not struggling, not losing, not being rejected? An infinitude of bliss, which would render the significance of a few decades of suffering to infinitesimal meaninglessness. If suffering were so essential to meaningful existence, you’d think your god wouldn’t be so quick to pass out eternal life without it.

  46. #47 Phil
    May 13, 2015

    Alan Feuerbacher,

    “Everyone has some notion of what a loving father would and would not do, so asking questions like, “Do you think it’s reasonable that a LOVING God/Father would do such and such?” can be effective in getting someone to realize there’s a problem.”

    There is more than a forward slash between God and Father. He is Creator of all, but He is not the Father of all. We are not all God’s children.

  47. #48 zebra
    May 14, 2015

    Eric, Tulse,

    I think SN got you there, demonstrating why I don’t think argument from evil really works.

    Think “God is your personal trainer”.

  48. #49 eric
    May 14, 2015

    #45:

    I hope you’ll be honest and just say something like “Things happen in life which I don’t like, therefore, God doesn’t exist.”

    It doesn’t sound like you understood the logic of @40, so I will walk you through it. Believers make claims about the nature of their God. Those claims lead to rational expectations of outcomes: if God can prevent suffering, wants to prevent suffering, and knows when suffering is going to occur (in time to act on it), then we would expect him to prevent suffering. We observe the world and see if that outcome occurs. It does not. So at least one of those claims must be wrong; a God that has all three properties is inconsistent with observation. That’s the analysis I’m doing – it has nothing to do with my likes and dislikes, it has to do with your claims and a rational analysis of what they imply.

    To show this is not about my likes or dislikes, I’ll point out that if you were to remove any one of those claims, I would then agree with you that such a God is not inconsistent with observed suffering. I.e., that the existence of evil is no longer a refutation of the existence of such a God. If you posit a god that doesn’t want to help, the presence of suffering is no longer evidence your God doesn’t exist. If you posit a god that can’t help, the presence of suffering is no longer evidence your God doesn’t exist. If you posit a god that is unaware of our suffering, the presence of suffering is no longer evidence your God doesn’t exist.

    I hope this shows you how the strength and validity of the problem of evil has nothing to do with my likes or dislikes; it has to do with believers’ claims about God. Claim different things, and theodicy as a problem goes away.

  49. #50 eric
    May 14, 2015

    I think SN got you there, demonstrating why I don’t think argument from evil really works.

    Think “God is your personal trainer”.

    I have no idea what that means. Theodicy is a refutation of some conceptions of God but not others, it all depends on what you claim about God. Its not all that complex: if I invite you out on a date and you say “I would love to go, and I can go, and I know everything necessary to meet you there,” and then you don’t show up, I know one of those statements must have turned out to be false. Your absence is evidence that you became unwilling, or became unable, or got lost, or were initially lying. Theodicy is (IMO) just a philosophical version of this fairly reasonable and easy to follow logic.

  50. #51 zebra
    May 14, 2015

    Eric,

    God knows what’s good for you. That’s the answer to anything you might wish to posit. (Personal trainer, get it? No pain no gain?)

    So, it is correct that what you interpret as “suffering” is irrelevant.

  51. #52 eric
    May 14, 2015

    Its not my interpretation I’m using, its the believers’. If a believer wants to say “suffering” is nonexistent or none of the stuff Jason brings up counts, then I would agree that sort of God has little to no theodicy problem. This is a case of: you define suffering, you define God, then we’ll discuss whether your concepts are consistent. If you want to take the deist route, they probably will be. If you want to take the mainstream Jesus route, they probably aren’t.

  52. #53 zebra
    May 14, 2015

    Eric,

    It is silly to suggest that suffering doesn’t exist, or that its existence is inconsistent with a theist position. You appear to be creating a strawman if that’s what you are saying.

    God can cause suffering, like your personal trainer, because God knows what’s good for you. No inconsistency there.

    We’re talking about theism as a concept here, not what “some believer on the internet” said.

  53. #54 eric
    May 14, 2015

    God can cause suffering, like your personal trainer, because God knows what’s good for you. No inconsistency there.

    This is exactly what Jason is calling ‘skeptical theism as applied to the problem of evil,’ see his last four paragraphs. Your idea is inconsistent with yet another claim made by many theists, that we have reliable moral intuitions (which come from God). If you want to give that up, then yeah, that at least partially solves theodicy too.

  54. #55 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    I’d like to comment on a rationale theists have been posting here recently: that suffering is “necessary” for we humans; that we cannot learn or grow without suffering. zebra suggests we think of God as a personal trainer; that “No pain no gain” applies.

    These excuses don’t work.

    Personal trainers are human beings, they can only do what they can do. Is God “just a man”? Nope? Then the excuses of a mere human do not excuse God.

    Why do we need suffering to learn? Why do we need pain to gain? Why are we so defective?

    Because if God made us, He made us this way; He made us defective. This was not necessary; any God worthy of the title could have made us so that suffering and pain were unnecessary. Whatever God may have created us must have WANTED us to suffer. There’s no way around that except to assert that God is a poor craftsman, or that there is no God.

    Regarding See Noevo’s question about whether “not-so-great” suffering bears on this question; eric’s reply is correct. No suffering–not even the slightest–has intrinsic value. If a deity permits it without a necessary purpose, then the deity is blameworthy. But nothing is necessary for a deity, so even the slightest suffering permitted by a deity seems blameworthy. See Noevo’s tries to minimize minor suffering as being merely “things that happen that we don’t like” but of course, that’s folly.

    Also, Phil writes that “We are not all God’s children”. Really? Since most Christians would disagree, I guess the rest of us should wait to see if Phil can convince other theists to agree before bothering with this. Phil’s disagreement is with other Christians; I don’t have a dog in that fight.

    sean s.

  55. #56 eric
    May 14, 2015

    zebra suggests we think of God as a personal trainer; that “No pain no gain” applies.

    These excuses don’t work.

    Personal trainers are human beings, they can only do what they can do. Is God “just a man”? Nope? Then the excuses of a mere human do not excuse God.

    Moreover we know it (suffering) is not philosophically necessary personal growth because we know of counter-examples even available to limited humans who aren’t omnipotent. I “gain without pain” all the time; it’s called reading.

  56. #57 zebra
    May 14, 2015

    Eric, Sean,

    God knows best. Your opinions about what is needed or not for growth are irrelevant. Your opinions about what God shoulda/woulda/coulda done are irrelevant. God knows best.

    Look, your arguments are really a bit naive. You want there to be some kind of good/evil, right/wrong, moral/immoral, and that makes you the same as the people who wrote the bible.

    Yours is essentially just another sectarian position– catholic/protestant, sunni/shia, god/no god. Certainly not philosophy.

  57. #58 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    zebra

    You can deny logic, and place blind trust in some unspecified deity, I cannot do that. And I have no reason to accept the truth of anything you’ve claimed.

    I have no reason to believe that any God exists, and plenty of reasons to doubt that whatever God “knows what’s best”.

    You say it’s naïve to want there to be “some kind of good/evil, right/wrong, moral/immoral” and it appears you think the bible was written by similarly naïve persons. Well, that sounds like a dispute between you and virtually every Christian. I’ll let you try to persuade them.

    Morality does exist imho; and it can be reasoned out. You may prefer to just let some deity dictate morality to you. I cannot. Good luck.

    sean s.

  58. #59 See Noevo
    May 14, 2015

    To eric #49:
    “Believers make claims about the nature of their God. Those claims lead to rational expectations of outcomes…”

    Yes. But keep in mind that while God is the author of rationality, He is also BEYOND rationality. Similar to “time”. We His creatures cannot FULLY understand Him. But we can grow in our understanding.

    “…rational expectations of outcomes: if God can prevent suffering, wants to prevent suffering, and knows when suffering is going to occur (in time to act on it), then we would expect him to prevent suffering.”

    I think such a human expectation would negate God’s greatest gift – free will (For true love is impossible without free will.). God gives us the power to choose, to make real choices with real consequences. But if God took away even the possibility of negative consequences of our choices, then all choices would be “good”, and the very idea of choice, of free will, becomes nonsensical.

    I think Catholic theology would say God CAN prevent suffering (and often does) and WANTS to prevent suffering. More precisely, God WANTED (past tense) to prevent suffering, but with our free will we effectively CHOSE suffering (the doctrine of original sin and its effects). Suffering in this world is now a given. And the only way to overcome this suffering is to go THROUGH suffering. God, in Jesus, showed us the way, and gave us the possibility of hope. He did so on the cross.
    “And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” [Luke 9:23-24]

    An imperfect analogy of this might be the old saying “No pain, no gain.”

  59. #60 Happy Easter!!!
    May 14, 2015

    Testing, testing, 1 2 3

  60. #61 Happy Easter!!!
    May 14, 2015

    I forgot about butterflies, Phil. I understand metamorphosis in a single lifetime to be completely different than species to species evolution over generations. I know we’re on the same page in appreciating God’s creativity.

    Eric,

    “That’s because that doesn’t happen. Do you really think what you’ve just described is evolution?”

    No, I realize (according to your theory) that no one could ever observe evolution because macro takes billions of years to transpire. All things considered, I still smell horse shit.

    Care to comment on this video? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ynXwAo9V_pY – it adds to my skepticism about macro evolution.

    I think that proponents of this theory are misinterpreting whatever data leads them to believe in it. If there are similarities between created organisms, I conclude that they have a common Creator rather than ancestor.

    “You might think you have rational reasons for rejecting evo, but it appears a lot of it is just an ick factor.”

    There’s no ick factor, though I am a fan of truth seeking and admittedly have an aversion to non-truth force fed as fact. If I saw convincing evidence that we evolved from other creatures, I’d shut up and accept it. Gratitude, my conscience, my life/soul, my intellect and the resonating Personality of Jesus Christ aka the Holy Spirit would still lead me to conclude that God did it, but if I saw that He used an evolutionary process to get us here, I’d just say that’s the way it went down and praise Him for it. However, I see no such proof, but often an excuse to explain God away. Adam named the animals and was given dominion over them, they weren’t his relatives the way I understand it.

    If it were true, evolution should be obvious, but (to me) it’s not. The transitional fossils should be PLENTIFUL and easily assembled, but they are not. I’ve visited site after site (Talk Origins included), blog after blog, watched video after video, debate after debate – and whether it’s Richard Dawkins or some less famous atheist, I always come away thinking their explanations are nonsensical and ultimately unconvincing.

    Jason suggested that we stay on topic, so regarding evil in the world: I agree that it’s a mystery (though satan deserves a mention) and a tough question for both sides to answer. However, in Jesus we have Someone who endured the highest evil (bearing everyone else’s sin/evil) despite being the most undeserving of it (innocent, perfectly righteous, God). In His crucifixion, believers take comfort in knowing He experienced pain, suffering and evil for us – earning us an existence or reality where such things don’t exist. Which is what we all want, right? The Scripture says in Isaiah (centuries before Jesus ever got here):

    “Yet, it was the Lord’s will to crush Him with suffering. When the Lord has made His life a sacrifice for our wrongdoings, He will see His descendants for many days. The will of the Lord will succeed through Him.”

    Another translation says “it pleased God to bruise His Son.” It PLEASED Him? Considering the harvest of spiritual offspring it bought the Father (billions and counting), it makes sense. If you’re a parent, it might please you to enforce justice and discipline your child understanding that a future profit and/or your family’s overall well being is at stake. Jesus wasn’t in need of discipline by any means, but we are, and a staggering amount of love was demonstrated through His suffering. We can’t thoroughly answer why God allows evil to exist, but we have Jesus as The Solution. Atheism offers no such solution or hope.

    I’ve discovered that suffering, in some cases, IS necessary and profitable – contrary to recent posts. The people I have the most admiration for (FDR, MLK, Jesus, etc.) endured hell and suffered greatly for the character they’re now appreciated for. Likewise, I see that some of my best traits and ideas were born out of pain and problem solving. If we don’t have evil, sin or suffering, we never get the Godsend of Jesus – who many would argue is the best thing to ever happen to the world. God (of course) has it all figured out:

    “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

    Sean T,

    “You don’t have to have debates about morality – it’s already been decided for you.”

    Amen. It has been decided for me and for you too. We can and do debate it all the time, but if God has spoken, God has spoken. Your conscience, for the most part, is a homing device leading you to that ultimate truth. The laws of gravity don’t bend for people without parachutes and morality doesn’t bend for people who want to break the Law.

    “You don’t, as a practical matter, even have to live up to the ideals of Christianity. You’re all sinners, right? Therefore, nobody really expects you to live up to all the ideals anyway.”

    You do expect me to try – as a professing Christian – because if I step too far out of bounds, you’ll likely hold me accountable by quoting whatever Scripture passages you know (even if you yourself don’t believe). Jesus did the heavy lifting and is a spotter when we’re struggling, but we Christians are called to make an effort and can’t help but do so. God expects us to try the way you expect your children to try. Even if you know they can’t be perfect, you want to see some A’s and B’s, obedience, effort.

    “In my experience, any time someone comes up with a simple, neat, and uncomplicated solution to a very complex situation, that turns out to be wishful thinking.”

    No one “came up” with Jesus, justice, or heaven as wishful thoughts – God did and we can be glad about it.

    “The universe is an extremely complex place. Why should the answer that WE want to be true be the actual truth?”

    The truth is what it is independent of our wants. That goes for both of us.

    “It may be the case that Christianity is true. I admit that this possibility cannot be ruled out definitively.”

    That is encouraging to hear from you. If it is true, man oh man, we really want to take advantage of the bargain and pardon. It’s too good a deal, and to dangerous to reject. Eternity vs 8 or 9 decades is quite the disparity.

    “However, to believe that, I would need evidence. If God is all-powerful and wants me to believe in him, he should be able to do what it takes to make me do so.”

    I’d argue that He’s done quite a bit already. We can’t see Shakespeare and never physically met him, but we know he was here because of his work and legacy. God has done A LOT of work – of which you are a beneficiary.

    “Don’t give me the ‘you have to have faith’ excuse. God, if he existed, would know full well that there is a large segment of humanity that would require more definitive proof to believe.”

    I can’t speak for you when it comes to what it might take to satisfy you, but I can predict that you will get (more) proof one way or another. You’ve got an open line of communication, so make some requests, reestablish a prayer life (if you haven’t already), SEEK and let Him in when He knocks. All I can do is pray you don’t miss the door.

    “If we believe the Biblical stories, God used to provide such proof. He did send Jesus to earth. He created a burning bush that didn’t burn up and talked to Moses directly. He spoke directly to others in the OT. Why did He quit? Unless, of course, there is not God and all those stories are just that, stories.”

    He hasn’t quit, I assure you. Still showing signs, doing miracles and wonders. Still communicating through the Bible and outside of it. I’m somewhat envious of John, Peter, Thomas, etc., because I would have LOVED to be breathing the same air as Jesus, but they saw what they saw and we can’t all have it that way. You may wonder; “how could this idiot be so sure?”, but I’m walking my God confirming walk and His existence is indisputable from my perspective. I believe that Moses, Jesus, Paul walked their walk to share something of MAJOR importance with me and everyone else – and I’ve walked mine to share this conversation with you. Just a little nudge of hope is what I aim to provide, encouraging you to anticipate the meeting of all meetings.

  61. #62 eric
    May 14, 2015

    @57 and @58 – I think Zebra is aping arguments he sees coming from the religious side. All I can say is, yes you can always reply to the theodicy argument with blind faith or ‘Gods ways are mysterious; you don’t know them.’ That’s not going to convince anyone but you, but you can do it. Jason’s entire post presumes a religious person actually wants to try and make arguments that may make sense to nonreligious people; that they want to engage the theodicy argument at all. Zebra’s response is, essentially, “I pass on doing that.”

  62. #63 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    @59: Regarding, “… keep in mind that while God is the author of rationality, He is also BEYOND rationality. Similar to “time”.

    Time is not beyond rationality. If your God is, then you must cease using reason or logic to explain you God. Otherwise you contradict yourself

    We His creatures cannot FULLY understand Him..”

    FULL understanding is not required. Based on what we already know and what believers claim about their God, theistic claims are incoherent.

    As for the notion that Free Will requires suffering, that must be one of those “beyond reason” things because it’s an absurd idea. If the principle contribution of free will is that it permits suffering, then FW would not be a ‘gift’ in any meaning of the word; it would be a curse.

    If all free will gives us is suffering, it is nonsensical.

    If free will gives us something else, then we only need understand what prevents your God from giving us that something else without suffering.

    The doctrine of original sin is based on the story of the Fall, which is deeply flawed. The principle of the Fall is that information destroys freedom; which is a loopy idea.

    As before, if your account is correct, God imposes the pain on us for no good reason; no gain justifies that.

    sean s.

  63. #64 eric
    May 14, 2015

    See Noevo:

    I think such a human expectation would negate God’s greatest gift – free will (For true love is impossible without free will.). God gives us the power to choose, to make real choices with real consequences. But if God took away even the possibility of negative consequences of our choices, then all choices would be “good”, and the very idea of choice, of free will, becomes nonsensical.

    1. Free will is not a valid defense of natural evil such as the suffering caused by earthquakes. Or Jason’s go-to favorite: millions of years of evolutionary bloodsport.

    2. The bible tells of many divine interventions. Either those people lost their free will when God intervened, or God’s intervention doesn’t cause people to lose free will (in which case he could intervene to prevent suffering today). A third option is: all those biblical stories of divine interventions are untrue. Which one are you going with?

  64. #65 Sean T
    May 14, 2015

    Happy Easter!!!

    With all due respect, your response is a cop out. God HAS, if the Bible is true, provided just the type of evidence I am asking you about. Did Jesus not appear physically to Thomas after He died and allow Thomas to put his hand in Jesus’ spear wound? Thomas needed actual physical evidence, and God gave that evidence to him. Why did he single out Thomas for that treatment? Why does God not provide such evidence to all humans? There would be no doubt about it, for instance, if God wrote “Read the Bible and Believe!!” in huge letters on the face of the moon for everyone to see, for example.

    I’m sure that you sincerely believe what you believe. However, religious belief has adapted to scientific progress in the past. For instance, if taken literally, the Bible claims that God made the sun stand still for Joshua. That implies that the sun normally is moving. Certainly, an ancient Hebrew reading that story would have believed this in the very literal sense. However, with our modern understanding of science, if you believe that story, you believe that God actually made the earth stop rotating so that the sun would appear to stand still, not that He actually made the sun stand still.

    Now let’s apply that to the question of evolution. The Bible says that God created everything. That’s true enough. But God did not do it instantly (as He surely could have), did He? No, it took time, six days if you want to believe the literal word. However, that isn’t necessarily what all Christians do believe. Many believe that the creation took longer than six days. The main point, though, is that the Bible says that the creation of humans and all other life on earth involved a process. Guess what. Our best modern scientific understanding also says that the development of all modern life required a process. Why could a believer not modify his or her understanding of the Bible to reflect the possibility that God actually created the conditions here on earth that allowed an evolutionary process, such as the process that forms our current scientific understanding of evolution, to occur resulting in all the life on earth?

  65. #66 eric
    May 14, 2015

    HE!:

    If it were true, evolution should be obvious,

    Why? Why should a billion-year process be obvious to humans that live 100 years? The calculated compound interest of our bank accounts is not obvious to us. Nuclear decay is not obvious to us. Which celestial objects orbit the others is not obvious to us. I think you make a huge, unwarranted, and somewhat human-centric narcissistic assumption in thinking that the way the world works should be obvious to you.

    The transitional fossils should be PLENTIFUL and easily assembled, but they are not.

    Again, why? Why do you think the fossilization rate is high? Why do you think it is constant across time and place? Why do you think all species would last equally long periods of time on earth? All of which ignores the other point, that Sean already stated: we can line up fossils from various organisms that show a sequential change in traits, and you’ll just reject it as not sufficient and proclaim none of them are transitional. Creationists do that with whales, with horses, and with hominids. Maybe you can help me out with that one: describe what you think the traits of a true transitional fossil would have, for the transition from lobed fish to walking vertebrates. What would meet your standard?

    If we don’t have evil, sin or suffering, we never get the Godsend of Jesus – who many would argue is the best thing to ever happen to the world. God (of course) has it all figured out:

    I thought the fall was a mistake and that the ideal world was one where we lived without suffering (but still had free will, yada yada). Your explanation sounds a bit like “I had to hit you so that I could administer your bruise with love.” Its awful. No, I find nothing divine, noble, or loving in the thought that God has to permit massive suffering and evil because sending Jesus to save us from it is so wonderful. He had to burn down the village to save it, eh?

  66. #67 Tulse
    May 14, 2015

    SN:

    if God took away even the possibility of negative consequences of our choices, then all choices would be “good”, and the very idea of choice, of free will, becomes nonsensical.

    Is there free will in heaven? Are there negative consequences in heaven?

  67. #68 zebra
    May 14, 2015

    Eric, @62

    Yes, I’ve been saying all along that you are engaging in rhetoric, not philosophy.

    You are arguing for your faith against people arguing for their faith. Like all rhetorical, sectarian arguments, they are meaningful only to the person making them.

    And to someone not in either camp, both appear childish and naive.

  68. #69 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    zebra;

    eric and I are engaged in rhetoric about philosophy, which is part of how philosophy is explored.

    I cannot speak for eric, but I’m not trying to change your beliefs, only to explore the implications of comments made here. It turns out that some comments on this topic are incoherent or even contradict each other. Noticing that and pointing it out is how philosophy is developed.

    To someone who does not care about reason, this must seem silly. But that’s not important to me. I don’t do this to change your mind, I do it to teach myself.

    zebra, if you came here to preach, don’t expect much.

    sean s.

  69. #70 See Noevo
    May 14, 2015

    To sean samis #63:

    Me: “… keep in mind that while God is the author of rationality, He is also BEYOND rationality. Similar to “time”.”

    You: “Time is not beyond rationality. If your God is, then you must cease using reason or logic to explain you God. Otherwise you contradict yourself”

    What I meant is that God created rationality and works through our rationality but is at the same time beyond/outside of rationality; the same way that God created time and space and works through time and space but is at the same time beyond/outside of time and space.

    The gift of rationality is vitally important, but it is not ALL important. Rationality by itself can not lead us to all the answers. The Catholic Church has always taught that we need rationality AND Faith. See the encyclical Fides et Ratio.

    “As for the notion that Free Will requires suffering, that must be one of those “beyond reason” things because it’s an absurd idea. If the principle contribution of free will is that it permits suffering, then FW would not be a ‘gift’ in any meaning of the word; it would be a curse. If all free will gives us is suffering, it is nonsensical.”

    I did not say that.
    I said that free will is the greatest gift from God because free will is required for true love. To be clear, free will is a necessary but not sufficient condition for true love. That is, with free will we could also choose NOT to love. Our choices are real and have profound consequences. This ain’t no virtual reality video game.

    “The principle of the Fall is that information destroys freedom; which is a loopy idea.”

    Perhaps you’re referring to God’s command to not eat of the tree of “THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL”.

    I’ve long been fascinated with this description. It’s not ‘the tree of knowledge’. It’s not the ‘tree of evil’. But rather, it’s “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

    Does this mean God does NOT want us to know good from evil? No, for we must know them in order to be able to choose correctly the former.

    What could this mean then? I think it’s something deeper. I think God was saying don’t go for that tree because if you do you’ll be demonstrating the PRIDEful, sinful desire to BE GOD. Why? Because only God truly knows good and evil. We know good and evil in an imperfect, secondary sense, through our God-given consciences. Is God in favor of our learning, our growing in knowledge? Yes. Is He in favor of us trying to make ourselves God? No.

  70. #71 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    See Noevo;

    Regarding, “… free will is the greatest gift from God because free will is required for true love.”

    Unnecessary suffering is the antithesis of true love.

    Someone who truly loves another does not try to gain their affection by coercion (as your God supposedly does), they gain it by explanation and patience and acts of love (as your God does not do).

    Regarding, “This ain’t no virtual reality video game..”

    Neither is it True Love. You do not inflict unnecessary suffering on those you truly love. You do not coerce them. Your God acts like a thug, not one who loves us.

    Regarding, “I think God was saying don’t go for that tree because if you do you’ll be demonstrating the PRIDEful, sinful desire to BE GOD..”

    Problem: this statement you propose is nowhere in the Bible. If that’s what God was saying, why didn’t he say it? Why do we have to strain the words looking for answers?

    This comment by you is not an explanation, it is a rationalization, a story fabricated to explain away a very big problem that you cannot otherwise deal with. Why would anyone give your rationalization credence?

    Regarding, “ We know good and evil in an imperfect, secondary sense, through our God-given consciences. Is God in favor of our learning, our growing in knowledge? Yes..”

    Then why does your God use threats and coercion instead of TEACHING? Y’know, with words? If we don’t understand good and evil, it is because your God hides them from us, and then punishes us for not knowing what He hides. That is not love.

    sean s.

  71. #72 See Noevo
    May 14, 2015

    To eric #64:
    “Free will is not a valid defense of natural evil such as the suffering caused by earthquakes. Or Jason’s go-to favorite: millions of years of evolutionary bloodsport.”

    Free will, exercised sinfully, brought far-reaching evil and suffering into the world. It’s your opinion vs. God’s as to how far “far-reaching” should have been. That said, one can see natural disasters as wake-up calls to repentance. I think St. Augustine said ‘God promises His forgiveness for our repentance, but He does not promise tomorrow for our procrastination.’ (Regarding Jason’s “go-to favorite”, as you probably know, I don’t believe in it.)

    “The bible tells of many divine interventions. Either those people lost their free will when God intervened, or God’s intervention doesn’t cause people to lose free will (in which case he could intervene to prevent suffering today).”

    Divine intervention NEVER takes away free will. Divine intervention can bring temporary relief from the consequences of the Fall (e.g. Raising Lazarus from the dead, knowing Lazarus would eventually experience death again; Jesus commanding the storm on the sea to cease, knowing storms would occur again.).

    To Tulse…
    #46: “If suffering were so essential to meaningful existence, you’d think your god wouldn’t be so quick to pass out eternal life without it.”

    Suffering is not a divine end in itself but rather a means to an end. Heaven is the end. Once in heaven, suffering is no more.

    #67: “Is there free will in heaven?” Yes. “Are there negative consequences in heaven?” No.

    In heaven we will be LIKE God. Like God, but not God. As such, the saints in heaven will have free will and will suffer no negative consequences (similar to Adam and Eve before the Fall) just as God has free will and suffers no negative consequences. A poor description, no doubt. It’ll be indescribable: “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” [1 Cor 2:9]

  72. #73 Tulse
    May 14, 2015

    Suffering is not a divine end in itself but rather a means to an end. Heaven is the end. Once in heaven, suffering is no more.

    So suffering is only important for a literally infinitesimal time. How does that possibly make sense?

    the saints in heaven will have free will and will suffer no negative consequences (similar to Adam and Eve before the Fall)

    I thought the whole point was that Adam and Eve’s free will could cause negative consequences. How do the “saints” avoid this in heaven? Is it impossible to sin in heaven, or is sin just not punished?

  73. #74 See Noevo
    May 14, 2015

    To sean samis #71:
    “Someone who truly loves another does not try to gain their affection by coercion (as your God supposedly does), they gain it by explanation and patience and acts of love (as your God does not do).”

    God has been explaining and been patient and been loving for the last 5,000 or so years. But He knows He will never gain affection by coercion. You are living proof, for you have no affection for Him.

    Me: “I think God was saying don’t go for that tree because if you do you’ll be demonstrating the PRIDEful, sinful desire to BE GOD..”

    You: “Problem: this statement you propose is nowhere in the Bible. If that’s what God was saying, why didn’t he say it? Why do we have to strain the words looking for answers?”

    First of all, I said I THINK this is what he meant. It’s also consistent with explicit warnings in the Bible, for example:

    “So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold.” [Exodus 32:31];

    “For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. [Romans 10:3];

    “for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” [Romans 1:21-22]

    “Then why does your God use threats and coercion instead of TEACHING? Y’know, with words?”

    There is virtually no end to the words. You could start by reading the book which the Catholic Church canonized (i.e. the Bible), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  74. #75 See Noevo
    May 14, 2015

    To sean samis:
    I forgot to add something in my #74.

    You wrote “Problem: this statement you propose is nowhere in the Bible. If that’s what God was saying, why didn’t he say it? Why do we have to strain the words looking for answers?”

    The funny thing is when God IS explicit, as in the quite detailed account of creation in Genesis 1, YOU (and even many Christians) STRAIN the words to mean something else.

    I get slammed for interpreting non-explicit Scripture verses (while that interpretation is consistent with other verses which ARE explicit), and I get slammed for believing verses which ARE explicit (e.g. Genesis 1). It’s like “Heads you win, tails I lose.”

  75. #76 zebra
    May 14, 2015

    Sean #69

    I think you don’t understand what “rhetoric” means.

  76. #77 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    See Noevo;

    Regarding, “God has been explaining and been patient and been loving for the last 5,000 or so years..”

    Then your God is an incompetent teacher. He’s never explained anything to me. If He’s patient while inflicting suffering, then He’s not loving, He’s cruel.

    Regarding, “There is virtually no end to the words. You could start by reading the book which the Catholic Church canonized (i.e. the Bible), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church..”

    I’ve read it. And even among Catholics there is disagreement about what it means. Among Christians there is violent disagreement. If this is your God’s way of telling us stuff, then again: He’s an incompetent teacher. It’s a poor teacher who, after 5,000 years blames the students for not figuring out the mess the teacher heaps on them.

    Regarding, “… when God IS explicit, as in the quite detailed account of creation in Genesis 1, YOU (and even many Christians) STRAIN the words to mean something else..”

    We do that because even that is not explicit: there are two different creation stories in Genesis. They are not the same. And the Bible is full of problematic books. If your God wanted to be explicit, He would be explicit. He is not. Again, your God seems to be incompetent, and then blames His audience. A loving God would not befuddle us with many words, He’d be clear.

    I get slammed for interpreting non-explicit Scripture verses (while that interpretation is consistent with other verses which ARE explicit), and I get slammed for believing verses which ARE explicit (e.g. Genesis 1). It’s like ‘Heads you win, tails I lose.’.”

    You get slammed because you seem to be in denial: the scriptures are more of a problem than answers; they are murky or contradictory, and completely fail to guide toward moral conduct.

    sean s.

  77. #78 sean samis
    May 14, 2015

    I think you don’t understand what “rhetoric” means.

    rhetoric; noun;

    the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques; language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

    Yep, that’s what I thought, and what I meant.

    sean s.

  78. #79 See Noevo
    May 14, 2015

    To sean samis #77:

    “Then your God is an incompetent teacher. He’s never explained anything to me.”

    Say what you will about His competency, but He sure was prescient. He says over and over in Scripture that most people won’t get it. Or rather, that most won’t accept it. Examples: Genesis 18:23-32; Matthew 7:13-14.

    Me: “There is virtually no end to the words. You could start by reading the book which the Catholic Church canonized (i.e. the Bible), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church..”

    You: “I’ve read it.”

    I assume by “it” you mean the Bible. But have you read the Catechism? Bible readers often need help in understanding what they’re reading (cf. Luke 24:25-27,32; Acts 8:27-35; 2 Peter 3:16).

    “And even among Catholics there is disagreement about what it means.”

    No, there is not. At least not among true Catholics (i.e. Catholics who believe and strive to obey ALL that the Church teaches. True Catholics are a small fraction of the billion or so self-identified Catholics. The rest are effectively Protestant, Catholic-in-name-only.)

    “Among Christians there is violent disagreement.”

    Yes, but again, not among true Catholics.

    “We do that because even that is not explicit: there are two different creation stories in Genesis. They are not the same.”

    But Genesis 1 & 2 are not in conflict. Gen 2 is just a re-telling with different emphasis and focus.

    “Again, your God seems to be incompetent, and then blames His audience. A loving God would not befuddle us with many words, He’d be clear.”

    The Catholic Church is for everybody. And everybody in full communion with it, from the mentally-challenged to the intellectually-brilliant are not befuddled. You don’t need to be a genius. Just have faith…and reason.

    “You get slammed because you seem to be in denial”

    I don’t agree that I’m in any kind of denial. I WOULD agree that in my life I’ve demonstrated that I’m open to change, though. I was nominally Catholic through my teens, became non-religious and essentially agnostic, if not atheistic, for about 15 years, came back to Christianity in my early/mid thirties, and became a committed Catholic re-vert about five years after that. I’m 59 now, and would rather die than be anything but Catholic.

    “…the scriptures … completely fail to guide toward moral conduct.”

    Congratulations. You’ve come up with a statement I’ve never before seen in my life. A true first.

  79. #80 Phil
    May 15, 2015

    sean samis,

    “Phil writes that “We are not all God’s children”. Really? Since most Christians would disagree, I guess the rest of us should wait to see if Phil can convince other theists to agree before bothering with this.”

    Well, I’m not sure if ‘most Christians’ would disagree or not. I hope not, but there is grand ignorance in our ranks.

    I suppose lots of people think that people become angels when they die, that people go to heaven because they were good boys and girls, that God is omnibenevolent, and that we are our brother’s keeper. But these are all gross, pop-culture misperceptions.

  80. #81 zebra
    May 15, 2015

    #78 Sean,

    So you agree with me that what you and eric are doing is lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

    OK, carry on.

  81. #82 sean samis
    May 15, 2015

    zebra;

    No. Rhetoric is normally sincere and meaningful. Some people presume it to be insincere, but that is not a given. That is not the norm, in this case it is just an expression of your bias.

    sean s.

  82. #83 sean samis
    May 15, 2015

    See Noevo,

    You wrote that God “sure was prescient. He says over and over in Scripture that most people won’t get it..”

    It’s no great trick to predict that people won’t get confused, muddled writing. Somebody predicted that, but we don’t know it was God; it could just as well have been some human.

    You asked, “have you read the Catechism?.”

    … so the Bible is so poorly written that we need another book to explain it to us? And I’m sure there are books to explain the Catechism…

    I’m not a catholic, I don’t share your religious beliefs in the church or its writing. If the Bible is so unclear that it need’s a dummy’s guide, then my criticisms are validated.

    No, there is not [disagreement among Catholics about what the Bible means]. At least not among true Catholics (i.e. Catholics who believe and strive to obey ALL that the Church teaches. True Catholics are a small fraction of the billion or so self-identified Catholics. The rest are effectively Protestant, Catholic-in-name-only.).”

    Chuckle. In other words, all the Catholics who agree with you (the “true ones”) agree with you. As I said, even among Catholics there is disagreement. It’s not for me or you to decide who is a “true” Catholic. Much less who is a “true” Christian.

    Gen 2 is just a re-telling with different emphasis and focus..”

    i.e.: they are not the same, just what I said. And grand doctrinal points are often built on minor differences in emphasis and focus.

    I wrote something that began with “Again, your God seems to be incompetent ….”

    You replied with “The Catholic Church is for ….”

    The Catholic Church is not God. Or at least not a god I recognize. The Church may work diligently to mask the apparent incompetence of their God, but they cannot hide it.

    You wrote that you “would rather die than be anything but Catholic..”

    Pick any religion: there are people who’d rather die than give it up; your profession of faith is unremarkable.

    It’s the truth that matters to me. I won’t embrace something I cannot in good conscience believe to be true. I hope I’d rather die than embrace falseness, but in truth one cannot know until that moment.

    You’ve come up with a statement I’ve never before seen in my life. A true first..”

    You’re welcome.
    If the scriptures were a reliable moral guide, why are so many believers just as sinful as others?
    If the scriptures were a reliable moral guide, why do they predict so many “won’t get it?”
    If the scriptures were a reliable moral guide, why does the Catholic Church feel it needs to write books to explain books that explain the Bible?

    This seems a pretty crappy moral guide to me. If your God exists and cares, He would do better. Ergo, either He does not exist or He does not care. It ain’t rocket science.

    I know you’d rather die than accept any of this. So be it.

    sean s.

  83. #84 sean samis
    May 15, 2015

    Phil, you wrote, “ Well, I’m not sure if ‘most Christians’ would disagree or not … [blah blah blah] … these are all gross, pop-culture misperceptions..”

    As I said, you disagree with most other Christians on the question of being “children of your God” so there’s nothing for the rest of us to comment on. I don’t have a dog in that fight.

    sean s.

  84. #85 MNb
    May 15, 2015

    @72 SN: “That said, one can see natural disasters as wake-up calls to repentance.”
    My, that’s one of the silliest theodicies I’ve ever met. Natural disasters already happened when there were no sentient beings around capable of repenting. In fact the Apocalypse has happened on Earth several times already:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event#List_of_extinction_events

    So tell me SN, what did all those animals have to repent for?

  85. #86 See Noevo
    May 15, 2015

    To seam samis #83:

    “… so the Bible is so poorly written that we need another book to explain it to us? And I’m sure there are books to explain the Catechism…If the Bible is so unclear that it need’s a dummy’s guide, then my criticisms are validated.”

    Perhaps your criticisms would also be directed to all the books and fields for which Dummy’s books are written. And in your world there is no need for Supreme Courts to interpret the Constitution. Nor for teachers in the classrooms (The students already have the text book. Can’t they read?)

    “In other words, all the Catholics who agree with you (the “true ones”) agree with you…It’s not for me or you to decide who is a “true” Catholic.”

    You’re correct on both counts, in a sense. I’m a true Catholic and so those who agree with me on all points Catholic are true Catholics. HOWEVER, the trueness of my Catholicism is NOT SUBJECTIVE. My communion with the Catholic Church is OBJECTIVE. I didn’t make up the Catholic Church, Christ did. And He founded His Church on the Apostles and their successors. Objectively, I am true to it, in the sense that it can be demonstrated that I believe in and strive to follow ALL of the Church’s teachings.

    “As I said, even among Catholics there is disagreement.”
    And as I said, among true Catholics there is NO disagreement. That is, no disagreement on what the Church has taught authoritatively on matters of faith and morals.

    Regarding another point, to repeat: You wrote: “Again, your God seems to be incompetent, and then blames His audience. A loving God would not befuddle us with many words, He’d be clear.”
    I responded that many, such as you, are befuddled, but those in the Catholic Church are NOT befuddled.For you to say that I and other true Catholics are befuddled and “work diligently to mask the apparent incompetence of their God” does not make it so. I know, and God knows, you are wrong.

    “If the scriptures were a reliable moral guide, why are so many believers just as sinful as others?
    If the scriptures were a reliable moral guide, why do they predict so many “won’t get it?””

    Let me try to help. Here are three different and distinct things: 1) a reliable moral guide, 2) belief in the reliable moral guide, and 3) obedience to the reliable moral guide.

    Even those who buy into the first two will fail on the third at times.
    Here’s an analogous question: “If the National Basketball Association’s rules are clear and make sense and everyone agrees with them, then why do they have referees and why are players always committing fouls?

  86. #87 sean samis
    May 15, 2015

    See Noevo;

    You wrote that “Perhaps your criticisms would also be directed to all the books and fields …

    These other books weren’t written by your God, or are you now saying that your God is just a human, as flawed and imperfect as any human?

    Your several paragraphs of religious doctrine mean nothing to me. I am not bound by any of it. If your God wanted me to be clear on these questions, He’d have made sure I was. I’m not because either He doesn’t care or He doesn’t exist.

    You asked “an analogous question: “If the National Basketball Association’s rules …

    Again, you are excusing your God as being no better than flawed humans. Is that what He is? A flawed human?

    Is your God just a man? If not, then the excuses of men do not apply to Him.

    You also wrote @72 that “one can see natural disasters as wake-up calls to repentance.”

    This excuse makes your God sound like a petulant, cruel child to whom I want to say “USE YOUR WORDS!”

    sean s.

  87. #88 See Noevo
    May 15, 2015

    To sean samis #87:

    “These other books weren’t written by your God, or are you now saying that your God is just a human, as flawed and imperfect as any human? … Again, you are excusing your God as being no better than flawed humans. Is that what He is? A flawed human?”

    No, God is not a flawed human. But He knew that He, through his prophets, was communicating to flawed humans. And He knew flawed humans will even argue over, to quote a past president, what the meaning of “is” is.

    “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” [Isaiah 5:20]

    “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” [Matthew 15:14]

  88. #89 Phil
    May 16, 2015

    “In fact the Apocalypse has happened on Earth several times already”

    Only one time actually.

    But in the confused fantasia of evolutionary thought, these extinction events opened up lots of resource-rich niches for random DNA replication errors to exploit. Beautiful…and so gushingly rational and believable.

  89. #90 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 17, 2015

    to See Noevo
    “You could start by reading the book which the Catholic Church canonized (i.e. the Bible), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church..”
    “He sure was prescient. He says over and over in Scripture that most people won’t get it. Or rather, that most won’t accept it”
    So, if you have the free will to read all the instructions in the Bible but you ignore them, that’s why you won’t have an end to your suffering? Or is it just that you don’t have a brilliant explanation for your suffering? (Eve made the decision for everybody. God is not merely an ineffectual teacher, despite being able to move mountains, but the kind of teacher who will make the whole class stay in detention for one child’s misbehaviour, for generations.) If all these biblical rules are immutable why did God not see fit to pass them on to, say, fifth-century Japanese or remote tribes in the Andes who must have been busily breaking all sorts of Biblical laws? Perhaps by making the correct instructions so cryptic and/or unavailable, God pretty much guarantees that Heaven stays an exclusive club.
    So loving, this God, and so just, to allow so much of his creation to stagger about blindly in pain for so long – before Christ, out of Christian (oops, sorry; True Catholic) reach, and born into competing ideologies.
    “Let them alone”, those flawed humans, to hash it out among themselves. It’s just a coincidence that this laissez-faire attitude bears such a strong resemblance to indifferent nature.

  90. #91 MNb
    May 17, 2015

    @Phil: “Only one time actually.”
    If you rather rely on a badly outdated book finished 2000 years ago iso on scientific evidence plus twist the meaning of the word rational I suppose indeed that this is believable.

  91. #92 See Noevo
    May 17, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism #90:
    “So, if you have the free will to read all the instructions in the Bible but you ignore them, that’s why you won’t have an end to your suffering?”

    Well, you’ll still have suffering in THIS life, regardless. But an afterlife of suffering would seem fairly assured. Pretty basic, orthodox Christian teaching.

    “Perhaps by making the correct instructions so cryptic and/or unavailable, God pretty much guarantees that Heaven stays an exclusive club. So loving, this God, and so just, to allow so much of his creation to stagger about blindly in pain for so long – before Christ, out of Christian (oops, sorry; True Catholic) reach, and born into competing ideologies…It’s just a coincidence that this laissez-faire attitude bears such a strong resemblance to indifferent nature.”

    Speaking of indifferent nature, the Bible says much can be gained from observing it, even without Scripture:
    “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” [Romans 1:20]

    Similarly, the Church in the Catechism states
    “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    “This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

  92. #93 Phil
    May 17, 2015

    MNb,

    “If you rather rely on a badly outdated book finished 2000 years ago iso on scientific evidence plus twist the meaning of the word rational I suppose indeed that this is believable.”

    Well, the canon was completed before the second century, but it records lots of projections in both testaments that are still pending…perhaps looming. With presidents and popes siding with the enemies of the apple of God’s eye, I think we can expect a reaction.

    The expectations and demands on mutations are simply not realistic. Random means random which for RM/NS means very unlikely. If you try to actually imagine billions of concurrent developmental scenarios occurring as the result of replication failures, it should become apparent that there is nothing rational about such a pitiful idea. It is just all that is available. The best materialist loser is still not a winner.

  93. #94 eric
    May 18, 2015

    Zebra:

    Yes, I’ve been saying all along that you are engaging in rhetoric, not philosophy

    I disagree. I’ve argued to you and to SN and others several times that there is an internal logical inconsistency in the claims put out by many believers. This is not rhetoric, it’s philosophy: analyzing arguments for validity is part of philosophy. You could respond by saying they apologetic side isn’t sound regardless of validity, but you don’t. You could respond by saying I’m wrong and there’s no inconsistency, but you don’t. You could respond by saying I’m right about the inconsistency, but you don’t. Heck, you could even respond that you don’t understand what inconsistency I’m talking about, and I would try and explain it to you further…but you don’t do that either. No, in response, you merely meta-carp about how the whole conversation is useless. Well, that’s nice, we know your opinion on the matter. Repeating it over and over again contributes nothing, so I probably won’t respond to any additional repetitions of this point by you in the future.

  94. #95 eric
    May 18, 2015

    SN:

    That said, one can see natural disasters as wake-up calls to repentance.

    One can. What an awful God that is; destroying entire ecosystems and doing billions or trillions of dollars of damage to human civilivations just to tell nonbelieving humans to repent. Especially when you yourself say that he could just POP! appear in front of us and tell us to repent. Because you say…

    Divine intervention NEVER takes away free will

    Well then, natural suffering is unnecessary. As is any human suffering not necessary for learning. Because what you’re saying here is God could directly intervene to prevent it and we wouldn’t have our free will compromised by that.

    [Sean] If the Bible is so unclear that it need’s a dummy’s guide, then my criticisms are validated.”

    [See Noevo] Perhaps your criticisms would also be directed to all the books and fields for which Dummy’s books are written. And in your world there is no need for Supreme Courts to interpret the Constitution. Nor for teachers in the classrooms (The students already have the text book. Can’t they read?)

    The difference is, we don’t claim the authors of human books and communications is perfect or even necessarily benevolent. The “unclear message” argument is a problem for tri-Omni communicators, not human communicators. Its especially a problem given your comment above about divine intervention not posing a free will problem, as you have just kicked the legs out from underneath the ‘we don’t see him intervene to help guide us because….’ defense against theodicy.

  95. #96 eric
    May 18, 2015

    Phil:

    It [the TOE] is just all that is available. The best materialist loser is still not a winner.

    Wrong: the best theory in science is the current winner (and materialism has nothing to do with it). To get creationism accepted you’re going to actually show its worth as a scientific hypothesis, not just talk about all the problems you find in Evolution. The door is open.

  96. #97 sean samis
    May 18, 2015

    See Noevo,

    In #88, you return to an earlier theme; your God created us flawed, so that’s our fault. Blame the victim. Some do so because they fear to speak truth to your God’s Power.

    I am not afraid to do so, either your God does not exist, or your God is so incomprehensible that we can say NOTHING about Him, or your God is evil and we’re all screwed anyway.

    And how is it that your omnipotent God can’t figure out how to get past our flaws? To justify you God’s failures, you blame His creations, deny His power, and impugn His character.

    And you wonder why you can’t convince us.

    sean s.

  97. #98 See Noevo
    May 18, 2015

    To eric #95:
    “Because what you’re saying here is God could directly intervene to prevent [suffering] and we wouldn’t have our free will compromised by that.”

    And analogously, one could say that a parent could directly intervene to prevent ANY negative repercussions of his child’s disobedience and bad behavior, and the child wouldn’t have his free will compromised by that. And the child would likely continue to disobey and misbehave.

    “The difference is, we don’t claim the authors of human books and communications is perfect or even necessarily benevolent. The “unclear message” argument is a problem for tri-Omni communicators, not human communicators.”

    How about a problem not for human communicators but rather for human listeners and readers? Because many of them see “I and the Father are one” [John 10:30], and hear ‘I and the Father are NOT one’, and many see “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” [John 14:6], and hear ‘I am NOT THE way, and NOT THE truth, and NOT THE life; EVERYONE can come to the Father, by other means.’

    It’s like Slick Willy said: “Depends what the meaning of “is” is.”

  98. #99 Tulse
    May 18, 2015

    one could say that a parent could directly intervene to prevent ANY negative repercussions of his child’s disobedience and bad behavior, and the child wouldn’t have his free will compromised by that. And the child would likely continue to disobey and misbehave.

    What parent would let their child run into the street? Or climb into the lion pen at the zoo? Or drink poison? According to you, we humans can use our free will to sin, which will cause us to be tortured horribly for all eternity. What parent would be such a monster as to allow their child to end up like that?

  99. #100 See Noevo
    May 18, 2015

    To sean samis #97:
    “In #88, you return to an earlier theme; your God created us flawed, so that’s our fault. Blame the victim.”

    I never said God created us flawed. He created us sinless and good, actually VERY good (cf. Gen 1:31). But with free will, the greatest (and scariest) gift.

    “Some do so because they fear to speak truth to your God’s Power.”

    Fear to speak truth to the One who IS Truth? How deluded, arrogant and pathetic.

    “And how is it that your omnipotent God can’t figure out how to get past our flaws?”

    But He did figure it out. He’s called Jesus Christ.

  100. #101 See Noevo
    May 18, 2015

    To Tulse #99:
    “According to you, we humans can use our free will to sin, which will cause us to be tortured horribly for all eternity.”

    WILL cause? Not according to me, nor to Jesus Christ, nor to His Church.

    “… For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” [Mat 9:13]

    “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” [John 3:17]

  101. #102 Tulse
    May 18, 2015

    So there is no hell, SN?

  102. #103 Phil
    May 18, 2015

    eric,

    “the best theory in science is the current winner”

    I wasn’t really talking about the theory at large, just the mechanism that it depends on.

    “materialism has nothing to do with it”

    Oh, it has everything to do with it. Playing the game according to the rules of materialism is precisely how absurd notions about mutations are perpetuated and shielded from the rigors of actual science. As I’ve noted before, this is not about evidence or facts. The game is rigged to keep the core elements of the theory from being scrutinized.

  103. #104 eric
    May 18, 2015

    See Noevo;

    And analogously, one could say that a parent could directly intervene to prevent ANY negative repercussions of his child’s disobedience and bad behavior, and the child wouldn’t have his free will compromised by that. And the child would likely continue to disobey and misbehave.

    In fact parents do intervene quite often to correct behavior, because we love our kids and because no matter what the value of the ‘learning experience,’ it is not worth some costs to the kid or to potentially others they might hurt. In fact, I would be considered an unfit parent if I acted like God, and never intervened to correct behavior, to prevent my kid from seriously hurting themselves, or to prevent my kid from seriously hurting others. So I do not think the analogy explains God’s absence, it makes it less understandable, less reasonable, and less loving.

    How about a problem not for human communicators but rather for human listeners and readers?

    So, you’re saying God is impotent to communicate clearly to imperfect human listeners? He is unable to communicate clearly and obviously to me?

  104. #105 eric
    May 18, 2015

    Oh, it [materialism] has everything to do with it. Playing the game according to the rules of materialism is precisely how absurd notions about mutations are perpetuated and shielded from the rigors of actual science. As I’ve noted before, this is not about evidence or facts. The game is rigged to keep the core elements of the theory from being scrutinized.

    There are thousands of peer reviewed journal articles written every year contesting various aspects of evolution. The role of selection vs. genetic drift is a great example, as selection is one of the ‘core elements’ of Darwinian evolution. Horizontal gene transfer is another.

    But go ahead, wow me. I’ve said several times now that you need to develop an alternative hypothesis if you really want to challenge evolution. Lay it on me Phil; what’s the who, what, where, when, and how (mechanism) of your preferred non-materialist yet “actual science” mechanism? Is “poof, God did it” actual science to your way of thinking?

  105. #106 See Noevo
    May 18, 2015

    To Tulse #102:
    “So there is no hell, SN?”

    Sure as hell there is. How the hell could you ask that? Do you know nothing about Christ’s teachings?

    To eric #104:
    Me: “And analogously, one could say that a parent could directly intervene to prevent ANY negative repercussions of his child’s disobedience and bad behavior, and the child wouldn’t have his free will compromised by that. And the child would likely continue to disobey and misbehave.”

    You (with MY EMPHASES): “In fact parents DO intervene quite often to correct behavior, because we love our kids and because no matter what the value of the ‘learning experience,’ it is not worth some costs to the kid or to potentially others they might hurt. In fact, I would be considered an unfit parent if I acted like God, and never intervened to correct behavior, to prevent my kid from SERIOUSLY hurting themselves, or to prevent my kid from SERIOUSLY hurting others. So I do not think the analogy explains God’s absence, it makes it less understandable, less reasonable, and less loving.”

    I can see your response only as a smoke screen to hide what you really believe, namely, that you don’t believe in Christ BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE SOME THINGS IN LIFE.

    “Seriously” hurting themselves? What, like disobeying and running out in the street and getting killed by a passing car? Yes, that’s serious. Life is serious (and more than you even know). But your true feeling is you have a problem with ANYTHING (i.e. even the not-so-serious) bad happening. You’ve already said so: “Because if that’s the case, then yes, skinned knees would be strong evidence that their posited God doesn’t exist.”

    Smoke. What a joke.

    “So, you’re saying God is impotent to communicate clearly to imperfect human listeners? He is unable to communicate clearly and obviously to me?”

    No, He’s not impotent. I guess you’re just more “imperfect” than those it’s clear to.

  106. #107 Phil
    May 18, 2015

    “There are thousands of peer reviewed journal articles written every year contesting various aspects of evolution. The role of selection vs. genetic drift is a great example..”

    Yeah, I read Moran occasionally. But those are safe zone issues because they are just opinions. Nobody will get upset because there is no way in hell to test either idea.

    Can you find a peer-reviewed journal article that seriously evaluates even the most fundamental problems with the mutations idea?

  107. #108 See Noevo
    May 18, 2015

    To phil #103:

    I’m not at all confident you’ll be able to change eric’s materialistic mind. Eric is blind, blinded by the “light” of materialist science. He wants and will accept ONLY those answers that come from his “light”, materialistic science.

    I think again of that joke:
    A guy named Phil is walking down the street at night and sees a guy named eric on his hands and knees searching the ground under a street light.

    Phil: “What are you looking for?”
    eric: “My cell phone.”
    Phil, after surveying the well-lit ground for a minute: “How long have you been looking?”
    eric: “About 30 minutes.”
    Phil: “Are you sure this is where you lost your cell phone?”
    eric: “No. I’m almost positive it fell out of my pocket back there in the dark woods.”
    Phil: “Well, why are you searching here!?!?”
    eric: “Because, you idiot, this is where the LIGHT is!”

  108. #109 See Noevo
    May 18, 2015

    “Is it possible for a well-intentioned and intelligent person to get everything wrong, in the very matter upon which he sets his mind most energetically? If he begins from false principles, and if he is relentlessly logical, and if he looks askance at common sense, at traditions that are the distilled wisdom of many generations and at the evidence of human affairs around him, he not only may get everything wrong; he must get everything wrong.” – Anthony Esolen, from “Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching”

  109. #110 ?
    May 19, 2015

    Sean T,

    “With all due respect, your response is a cop out. God HAS, if the Bible is true, provided just the type of evidence I am asking you about. Did Jesus not appear physically to Thomas after He died and allow Thomas to put his hand in Jesus’ spear wound? Thomas needed actual physical evidence, and God gave that evidence to him. Why did he single out Thomas for that treatment? Why does God not provide such evidence to all humans?”

    Why are Jews the chosen people, and why wasn’t Jesus born to a Chinese mother? Why do other planets have less going on, while earth teems with diverse life and awesomeness? I honestly don’t know, and you’re asking believers to tell you why for every mystery of God’s decisions when you know we can’t know His ENTIRE mind. We’re on a journey of discovery ourselves, but we’ve seen enough of the puzzle to encourage you to not be content with your lack of belief. Some believers believe that God stopped doing those type of jaw dropping miracles, signs and wonders after Jesus’ resurrection and the initial building of the church (the book of Acts, Pentecost, etc.). I’m not that type of believer, but I can’t tell you why Jesus hasn’t shown up in the flesh at your door step to let you touch His nail-scarred hands.

    “There would be no doubt about it, for instance, if God wrote ‘Read the Bible and Believe!!’ in huge letters on the face of the moon for everyone to see, for example.”

    Nice! That would most certainly be something to see, but again you’re being rather bold in your requests. You haven’t even acknowledged Him for the miracle that YOU presently are, but you want Him to write on the moon for you? Again, I can’t answer why He hasn’t made that choice, but I can answer why He made you; to serve, fellowship and worship. And equally important; to be loved by Him.

    “The main point, though, is that the Bible says that the creation of humans and all other life on earth involved a process. Guess what. Our best modern scientific understanding also says that the development of all modern life required a process. Why could a believer not modify his or her understanding of the Bible to reflect the possibility that God actually created the conditions here on earth that allowed an evolutionary process, such as the process that forms our current scientific understanding of evolution, to occur resulting in all the life on earth?”

    God does use processes (even today in our growth and spiritual evolution) and the length of the 6 days is up for debate, but I do not believe that macro-evolution is a process He used. God, in giving Adam a spirit, and then having him name the animals is making a HUGE distinction between human beings and animals. There is no mention of them evolving into each other or being relatives.

    Eric,

    “Why? Why should a billion-year process be obvious to humans that live 100 years?”

    I don’t mean obvious in that I need to see it happen, I mean obvious in the sense that it makes sense. I notice you skipped over commenting on the fresh dinosaur tissue video; https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ynXwAo9V_pY that potentially throws a monkey wrench in your timeline. How long does it typically take collagen to decay? Could the tissue really preserve all these years without a ziplock bag and a freezer?

    “Maybe you can help me out with that one: describe what you think the traits of a true transitional fossil would have, for the transition from lobed fish to walking vertebrates. What would meet your standard?”

    I’d expect to see a more put together puzzle that doesn’t require guesswork, and/or assumptions. Speaking of the aforementioned dinosaurs, we have no problem assembling their bones (or gathering their fresh/gooey tissue for that matter), but they’re older than us – so why can’t we do that with all these alleged transitions between species? I know you’re going to say that the changes were small and incremental, but you guys are talking about some real sci-fi stuff here. So amazing a theory that fossils that confirm it should amaze the observer – even if the changes were incremental. When I digest the info on Talk Origins, it reads like unverified nonsense with no convincing ideas or “facts” or photographs of discovered fossils. Insufficient (as you predicted I’d say). I mostly get drawings and a scrapped together hypothesis as I look around for proof. I’ve seen the Tikaalik and it could be any extinct fish, I’ve seen Lucy and the skulls on Talk Origins and nothing conclusive there either.

    “I find nothing divine, noble, or loving in the thought that God has to permit massive suffering and evil because sending Jesus to save us from it is so wonderful. He had to burn down the village to save it, eh?”

    We’re arguing that sometimes good things come out of bad situations. You seem to be saying in your posts, that pain and suffering have little to no purpose to educate and we’re saying that it can and does. “No pain, no gain” is sometimes an observable PROCESS.

    The fall was an unfortunate transpiration, as is the subsequent evil and pain unleashed into the world – but it hasn’t all been in vain. Jesus/God were good before it happened, but now that it has, we know a depth of love that wouldn’t otherwise be comprehended. We now see how far God was willing to go to showcase His love, and how much we’re truly worth. A father or big brother who showers you with gifts every minute is great, yeah, but a father who disciplines and a big brother that lays down his life for you gains an even deeper affection and appreciation.

    “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Your life has to be in danger and in need of saving before you can experience this (GREATEST love of all), and yours is. You’re dying, at which point all this will sink in in ways you’ve yet to grasp.

  110. #111 ?
    May 19, 2015

    And I’m sorry for the name change again fellas, but I ran into the same problem with the “Happy Easter” name. Comment wouldn’t post and I don’t really know what the hell is going on. No accusations this time, no worries as I’ll just roll with “?” as we finish the conversation. It’s easier to type anyway 🙂

  111. #112 ?
    May 19, 2015

    Eric,

    “Maybe you can help me out with that one: describe what you think the traits of a true transitional fossil would have, for the transition from lobed fish to walking vertebrates. What would meet your standard?”

    To further educate myself, I’m currently watching a documentary on the Smithsonian Channel concerning “the transition from lobed fish to walking vertebrates”, dinosaurs, birds – and it’s failing. I’m giving David Attenborough a fair shake, but again I’m not convinced. As I expected; computer graphics and assumptions to fill in the blanks of a crazy story. It was said earlier that my criticism of evolution was “laughable” and I’m thinking the same thing about what I’m watching.

  112. #113 Sean T
    May 19, 2015

    ? (or Happy Easter!)

    Creationists, not scientists, are the ones who insist that all hominid fossils must either be apes or humans. Scientists would allow for intermediate forms. Creationists, therefore would be compelled to look at an extinct hominid fossil and attempt to classify it as “ape” or “human”. So far, nothing controversial here.

    If you read over at the talk origins site, there is one article that discusses hominid fossils and the response of creationists to them. It turns out that all the prominent creationists do indeed classify all of these hominid fossils as either “ape” or “human”. The kicker, though, is that the prominent creationists cannot agree for any particular fossil which classification is correct! Some creationists look at a fossil and claim its an ape. Others look at the same fossil and claim its a human. If that’s not a transitional species, then I don’t know what in the world you are looking for when you make the claim that there are no such transitional species.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/compare.html

  113. #114 Tulse
    May 19, 2015

    “So there is no hell, SN?”
    Sure as hell there is. How the hell could you ask that?

    You said:

    one could say that a parent could directly intervene to prevent ANY negative repercussions of his child’s disobedience and bad behavior, and the child wouldn’t have his free will compromised by that

    My question about hell is this: What parent would stand by and let their child act in a way that would get them tortured for all eternity? What parent would actually create the circumstances that allowed their child to be tortured for all eternity? What sort of monster would do that? What possible behaviour by a child would justify that sort of action by a parent? If a child tells his father “I don’t love you”, can the father have the child flayed alive? You’re arguing that it is OK for your god to do essentially that. And that’s monstrous.

  114. #115 Tulse
    May 19, 2015

    ?:

    Why are Jews the chosen people, and why wasn’t Jesus born to a Chinese mother? Why do other planets have less going on, while earth teems with diverse life and awesomeness? I honestly don’t know, and you’re asking believers to tell you why for every mystery of God’s decisions

    and…

    I’d expect to see a more put together puzzle that doesn’t require guesswork, and/or assumptions.

    So it is OK to have to guess about what your god wants, but not OK for scientists to have a coherent but incomplete picture of the specifics of the evolutionary history of individual species.

  115. #116 eric
    May 19, 2015

    See Noevo:

    I can see your response only as a smoke screen to hide what you really believe, namely, that you don’t believe in Christ BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE SOME THINGS IN LIFE.

    This is a complete non-answer and basically an ad hom. Try again: with humans, direct intervention some of the time is seen as more moral and loving than intervening all of the time or none of the time. But when it comes to God, you claim direct intervention none of the time – no matter what the cost to the individual – is perfect love. That’s inconsistent with the parental model. How do you explain the inconsistency?

    But your true feeling is you have a problem with ANYTHING (i.e. even the not-so-serious) bad happening. You’ve already said so: “Because if that’s the case, then yes, skinned knees would be strong evidence that their posited God doesn’t exist.”

    Nice way to strip off the conditional part of my point. I’ll make the complete point again: IF a theist tells me their God wants to prevent skinned knees and can prevent skinned knees, then yes its evidence against their belief that skinned knees happen. If a theist tells me God doesn’t care about skinned knees, then no skinned knees are not theodicy-type evidence against that God. The strength of the theodicy argument all depends on what you, the believer, claim about God. It has nothing to do with my preferences. If someone came along and told me that their God was capable of preventing flying animals and wanted to prevent flying animals, I would respond “look, a bird.” This doesn’t mean I’m opposed to birds, it means I am pointing out an empirical counter-example to their claims. The same is true with suffering and – for this case – skinned knees. I’m not saying I demand God intervene to stop them; I’m saying their presence is a counter-example to any theistic claim that there is an omnipotent God who hates skinned knees.

    [SN] “So, you’re saying God is impotent to communicate clearly to imperfect human listeners? He is unable to communicate clearly and obviously to me?”

    [eric] No, He’s not impotent. I guess you’re just more “imperfect” than those it’s clear to.

    Right. I’m imperfect, so I hear him wrong (or not at all). God either chooses not to or cannot overcome my hearing him wrong. Which is it?

  116. #117 eric
    May 19, 2015

    Phil:

    Yeah, I read Moran occasionally. But those are safe zone issues because they are just opinions.

    I wasn’t talking about Moran’s blog, I specifically said peer reviewed journal articles. These are manifestly not “just opinions.”

    Can you find a peer-reviewed journal article that seriously evaluates even the most fundamental problems with the mutations idea?

    There are many thousands of journal articles that use genetics to show how mutations do in fact occur and do in fact change phenotype in a way that helps an organism survive. So no, there are probably no journal articles questioning or examining the question of whether that happens, because we observe that it does happen. But if you want an article questioning stuff like “does natural selection (always) play a key role in changes in allele frequencies,” then yes, there are articles like that. Here is one article where the answer is “no” – natural selection does not always drive the observed changes in allele frequencies.

    And yet again, you have decided not to answer my question about your alternative but instead to try and find fault in evolution. C’mon man, step up to the plate. Give me your alternative “actual science” mechanism for the development of new species on Earth. Do you even have one?

    ?:

    [eric]“Why? Why should a billion-year process be obvious to humans that live 100 years?”

    [?]I don’t mean obvious in that I need to see it happen, I mean obvious in the sense that it makes sense

    Well evolution makes perfect sense to me and a lot of other people. A single point mutation in DNA causes TTT to change to TCT. This changes the amino acid in the produce protein (from Phenylalanine to Serine), resulting (in some cases) in a change in development that leads to a different phenotype. If the new phenotype is better adapted to its ecology, that critter is likely to have more kids and propagate the genetic mutation through the population. If the new phenotype is not as well adapted, the critter will likely have less offspring and the mutation will not propagate through the population. If its neutral, it could go either way. Importantly for creationists and IDers, it is impossible for only deleterious or neutral mutations to occur, because there is no possible way – absent time travel – for the chemistry of the single point mutational event to be affected by the future phylogenetic development resulting from that mutation. Your “no positive mutation” claim requires time traveling information.

    But on a bigger point, NO, the universe does not owe you mechanisms that ‘make sense’ to you (in the vernacular meaning). QM does not make sense to a lot of people, even scientists. It is far more arcane and counter-intuitive than the TOE. Yet it appears to be true. Science does presume that the collection of laws and rules governing what we observe will not be contradictory or paradoxical. Theories are required to “make sense” in that sense. But they are not required to “make sense” in the sense of “seem intuitively correct to humans.”

    I would also point out that you appear to accept QM, even though by really any standard imaginable it makes less sense than the TOE. So it seems to me that “making sense” is not your real criteria. Your criteria seems to be nothing more than “consistent with my religious beliefs.”

    I’d expect to see a more put together puzzle that doesn’t require guesswork, and/or assumptions.

    I expect part of the problem here is that you are not a biologist or paleontologist; what sounds to you like an assumption or unsupported claims is in fact a very well supported claim to a biologist. So for example, it is a fact that Tiktaalik’s skull is not connected to its shoulder bones. You hear some biologist claim this is a transitional trait, but that sounds like an assumption or unwarranted claim to you…because you don’t know much about fish and amphibian biology.

    Tulse’s point also applies. You seem perfectly willing to accept Christianity even though it requires some guesswork. Science requires less, but you’re unwilling to extend it the same courtesy. Why the double standard?

    I know you’re going to say that the changes were small and incremental, but you guys are talking about some real sci-fi stuff here. So amazing a theory that fossils that confirm it should amaze the observer – even if the changes were incremental.

    You are confusing evolution with saltation or special creation. There is no reason to think there is any amazing change between very closely related species because evolution does not predict there will ever be massive changes between a parent and child. Tik will closely resemble any recent ancestor and immediate daughter species. Having said all that, you don’t find a species with lungs AND gills to be amazing and transitional? How much more transitional could Tik’s respiratory system be?

    ? @112: you didn’t answer my question. Let’s take the example of fish->amphibian since we’ve both been talking about it. Define for me what you think a transitional trait would be like. Fish have gills, amphibians have lungs, don’t you think a critter with both gills and lungs is transitional? What else would you expect?

  117. #118 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 19, 2015

    To See Noevo # 92
    Yes, I am aware of what the Catholic church’s position is on ignorant infidels versus deliberate infidels. You’re missing the point: If these rules are so deathly important to follow, why wouldn’t a supreme being impart them to all cultures in all corners of the earth? Presumably, if homosexual acts cause him distress, why not tell all those folks in Asia by sending them a prophet, rather than waiting centuries for it to trickle over from a tiny patch of land in the Middle East? Is God just a procrastinator? He meant to tell matriarchal societies that they were doing it all wrong, but just didn’t get around to it until recently? It’s undoubtedly very good of him not to punish all those people his evangelizers haven’t got to yet, but if he’s fretting every time a woman tells a man what to do, he might think about choosing some more efficient means of spreading the word.
    The constant analogies to parenthood, or, even sillier, personal trainers, do not stand. People use the methods they have at their disposal, not having super-powers. If I could make any child I have looked after magically understand that he should not smack his brother, I’d choose that rather than a tedious series of time-outs and explanations of why this is not a good idea. And, being the person who has more knowledge and power, I’d make a serious effort to give a clear explanation appropriate to the child’s understanding. If I threw furniture, poured water over him, gave him boils, or used language the child could not understand, I’d be a lousy parent.
    As to the fate of the informed infidel, eternal torture seems a little drastic for choosing to stay in the faith of one’s birth, despite evangelizing. After all, supposedly God created human nature to be as it is: loyal to family, reluctant to consider or switch ideologies, and not so incredibly energetic as to be able to sort through the mass of ideologies thrown their way.
    When it comes to the study of nature, far more people who study it end up convinced of evolution than not, so perhaps the hand of God is not all that “clearly perceived” as you might like to think.

  118. #119 sean samis
    May 19, 2015

    See Noevo;

    In # 100, you wrote, “I never said God created us flawed. He created us sinless and good, actually VERY good (cf. Gen 1:31). But with free will, the greatest (and scariest) gift.

    OK. So your God didn’t make us flawed, but He did give us free will which makes us flawed, so we are flawed because of what your God did. And for what He did, we are to blame because we cannot blame your God for what He did.

    Certainly you have said we suffer because of our flaws, and that suffering is due to the “gift” of free will because God so loved us that He made sure He’d have to inflict suffering on us.

    We know that your God chose this evil outcome because your God is all-knowing and all-powerful.

    Hmm. Your logic makes perfect sense; but only if your God’s name is Satan. How else to explain that the works of this “love” are evil?

    If you repudiate Satan and all his works, then we have to repudiate your twisted logic in which all suffering and evil are the product of your God’s love for us.

    sean s.

  119. #120 See Noevo
    May 19, 2015

    To eric #116:
    “But when it comes to God, you claim direct intervention none of the time – no matter what the cost to the individual – is perfect love.”

    Please don’t try to put words in my mouth.
    I NEVER claimed God does not intervene. He intervenes constantly – through Scripture, through the Church, though other people, through our consciences. And sometimes, He intervenes in more startling ways (i.e. miracles). I only claimed that His intervention NEVER takes away our free will.

    “That’s inconsistent with the parental model. How do you explain the inconsistency?”

    Every criminal is the child of parents. In many, if not all, cases, those parents were loving and did everything they could think of to protect that child and lead him to a good, even virtuous, life. But the child grows up and makes his own choices. Now, that child is a properly convicted criminal, maybe in prison for life. Did the parents put him there? No. Essentially, HE PUT HIMSELF THERE. Seems to me the parental model is consistent.

    “The strength of the theodicy argument all depends on what you, the believer, claim about God. It has nothing to do with my preferences… The same is true with suffering and – for this case – skinned knees. I’m not saying I demand God intervene to stop them; I’m saying their presence is a counter-example to any theistic claim that there is an omnipotent God who hates skinned knees.”

    Let’s say someone says eric is a good parent and eric himself says he would do anything to prevent his child’s suffering. But someone discovers eric’s child has scraped knees from cavorting in the playground. That someone might very well say eric is a bad parent and a liar. That someone might say eric could have kept his child inside with knee pads in a padded room, forever. But eric didn’t. So, eric is a bad parent and a liar.

    “… so I hear him wrong (or not at all). God either chooses not to or cannot overcome my hearing him wrong. Which is it?”

    Probably neither. He chose to overcome your hearing problem and overcame your hearing problem. You heard. And you said “No.”

  120. #121 sean samis
    May 19, 2015

    See Noevo;

    In # 100, you wrote, “Fear to speak truth to the One who IS Truth? How deluded, arrogant and pathetic.

    Excellent. Then here is the truth: a “gift’ that brings suffering and evil is a gift to repudiate. It is not a gift, it is a curse.

    The one who gives such a ‘gift’ is like someone giving a snake to a child (Luke 11:11); a poison to an acquaintance. Saying that your God’s ‘gift’ of free will is the source of our suffering is to call your God evil. To pretend that this is not so is to act the fool.

    If X gives something to Y,
    and X knows that something will harm Y,
    X has done evil EVEN IF X IS A GOD. ESPECIALLY if X is a god.

    sean s.

  121. #122 Michael Fugate
    May 19, 2015

    I am pretty sure from reading the text that humans did not have free will before they sinned. Consciousness and free will were an effect of that sin – not a cause.

  122. #123 sean samis
    May 19, 2015

    See Noevo;

    In #120 again you make the argument that your God is just a human, having no greater power or foresight than any human parent. Why on earth would any of us give your weak, merely human “God” any regard?

    If this is not your point, then comparisons of human parents to your God are meaningless. You cannot have it both ways; if your God is all-powerful and all-knowing then human excuses are not available to Him. If human excuses are available to Him, then He is merely human and unworthy of worship.

    sean s.

  123. #124 See Noevo
    May 19, 2015

    A lot of talk above about “transitional” fossils. I think the evolutionary community needs to do a better job of word choice. To denote a fossil as “transitional” adds nothing to the conversation. Because in evolution, EVERY fossil, and indeed every living thing, is “transitional”. That is, everything is or was in the process of becoming something else. For evolutionists, YOU are a transitional species. (They just don’t know with certainty what human beings transitioned FROM and have no clue what humans are transitioning TO.)

    “Intermediate” is just as inadequate. A ’tweener or in-between’er? In any case, the term requires it be coupled with the specific pre and post things.

    Also, the evolutionary proposition that everything is or was in the process of becoming something else seems in severe conflict with Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy, specifically with the A/T idea of substantial being and its permanence.

  124. #125 Tulse
    May 19, 2015

    To denote a fossil as “transitional” adds nothing to the conversation. Because in evolution, EVERY fossil, and indeed every living thing, is “transitional”. That is, everything is or was in the process of becoming something else.

    SN, this is actually a very good insight about the nature of evolutionary theory. Indeed, every species is continually evolving, and so every species is a transition between its earlier progenitor species and what species it will give rise to.

    the evolutionary proposition that everything is or was in the process of becoming something else seems in severe conflict with Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy, specifically with the A/T idea of substantial being and its permanence

    See, you did so well there at the beginning, and then ruin it with this drivel.

  125. #126 sean samis
    May 19, 2015

    See Noevo wrote in #124, that, “the evolutionary proposition that everything is or was in the process of becoming something else seems in severe conflict with Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy, specifically with the A/T idea of substantial being and its permanence.

    Absolutely true. Notions of permanence in nature were disproved long ago. Extinction disproves the notion as much as evolution.

    sean s.

  126. #127 Michael Fugate
    May 19, 2015

    Morphological stasis ≠ genomic stasis.

  127. #128 See Noevo
    May 19, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To Auntie Eurocentrism #118:
    “Yes, I am aware of what the Catholic church’s position is on ignorant infidels versus deliberate infidels. You’re missing the point: If these rules are so deathly important to follow, why wouldn’t a supreme being impart them to all cultures in all corners of the earth?”

    You SAY you’re aware, but either you’re actually NOT aware or you didn’t read what I posted in #92. I’ll repost the relevant portion from the CCC:
    “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

    You say “Presumably, if homosexual acts cause him distress, why not tell all those folks in Asia by sending them a prophet, rather than waiting centuries for it to trickle over from a tiny patch of land in the Middle East?”

    I think the folks told themselves, through their innate but imperfect sense of natural law. Homosexual acts have met with disapproval throughout human history. I think about the only times they had a significant measure of acceptance or tolerance was in ancient Greece and Rome, during the collapse of those civilizations. Homosexual acts have been performed among a minority throughout history. So have acts of prostitution and murder.

    “After all, supposedly God created human nature to be as it is…”
    Supposedly, in YOUR world and theology.
    ……………………

    To sean samis #119:
    “So your God didn’t make us flawed, but He did give us free will which makes us flawed, so we are flawed because of what your God did.”

    How do you get the idea that the very fact of having free will makes us flawed?

    “Certainly you have said we suffer because of our flaws, and that suffering is due to the “gift” of free will…”

    How do you get the idea that suffering is due to having free will?

    “We know that your God chose this evil outcome because your God is all-knowing and all-powerful.”

    No, we don’t. God didn’t chose evil. We did.

    “If you repudiate Satan and all his works, then we have to repudiate your twisted logic in which all suffering and evil are the product of your God’s love for us.”

    Hmm. Your logic makes no sense.
    …………….

    To sean samis #121:
    “Saying that your God’s ‘gift’ of free will is the source of our suffering is to call your God evil.”

    Perhaps.
    But, of course, I didn’t say that. Free will is NOT the source of our suffering. Analogously, guns are NOT the source of murders.
    ………………

    To sean samis #123:
    Your post has 5 or 6 sentences. For which I respond with 5 or 6 “False” s.
    ………………..

    To Tulse #125:
    Are you saying Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas put out “drivel”?
    ……………….

    To sean samis #126:
    “Absolutely true. Notions of permanence in nature were disproved long ago. Extinction disproves the notion as much as evolution.”

    By ‘permanence of substantial being’, I (and I think Aristotle and Aquinas) do NOT mean a living being lives forever. What is meant is that a living being’s SUBSTANCE, its ESSENCE, does NOT CHANGE during its existence. Thus, extinction is irrelevant to substantial being. Stated differently, the death of a being has no bearing on the fact that that unique being existed.

    Evolution, on the other hand, says that substantial being is fluid. A true evolutionist would say that the same being/essence who is “sean samis” now may not be “sean samis” tomorrow. I guess you feel that way. That’s too bad.

  128. #129 Tulse
    May 19, 2015

    Are you saying Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas put out “drivel”?

    In this context, yes.

  129. #130 MNb
    May 19, 2015

    Message from Earth to See Noevo:

    Science has thrown Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy out of the window a few centuries ago. When they conflict with Evolution Theory they are simply wrong. Because science has the superior method. Because science compares hypotheses with empirical evidence and Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy is contradicted by empirical evidence whenever it was possible to compare.

    “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
    Richard Feynman. First rule of science. You can safely replace experiment with observation.

    You accept this rule or you reject science. There are no other options. What’s your pick? If it’s the latter you should never turn on your computer again.

  130. #131 See Noevo
    May 19, 2015

    Message from See Noevo to MNb #130:

    “… When they conflict with Evolution Theory they are simply wrong. Because science has the superior method. Because science compares hypotheses with empirical evidence…”

    But you then try to support this with Richard Feynman’s “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

    Well then, by your criteria, Evolution is wrong. Because no experiment has ever produced it. Nor has Evolution ever been observed.

    Oh… and even though you’re apparently oblivious to it, the fact is that all scientific endeavors are founded upon philosophy – upon philosophical, non-scientific assumptions. But all philosophies are not created equal. Your philosophy, and that of many scientists today, is flawed. And so flawed science results.

    P.S.
    I think science – real science – is wonderful.

  131. #132 eric
    May 19, 2015

    See Noevo:

    Every criminal is the child of parents. In many, if not all, cases, those parents were loving and did everything they could think of to protect that child and lead him to a good, even virtuous, life.

    That’s right. So why does God, who is supposed to love us even more than our parents, not do everything he can?

    Let’s say someone says eric is a good parent and eric himself says he would do anything to prevent his child’s suffering. But someone discovers eric’s child has scraped knees from cavorting in the playground. That someone might very well say eric is a bad parent and a liar. That someone might say eric could have kept his child inside with knee pads in a padded room, forever. But eric didn’t. So, eric is a bad parent and a liar.

    And if eric was omnipotent and omniscient and claimed to want to prevent skinned knees, that would be a fine judgement. That’s why the theodicy argument applies to God.

    Of course, nobody (including me) claims eric is omniscient nor omnipotent, and millions of people starving to death, suffering from disease and famine, being killed by natural disasters is not skinned knees. So while the theodicy argument doesn’t apply to me, it still applies to God.

    He chose to overcome your hearing problem and overcame your hearing problem. You heard. And you said “No.”

    So, when I say I’m a nonbeliever and don’t hear God, and ask you why, your response is basically to call me a liar? Is this true of every other person who ever lived and disagreed with Christian theology? Did the Aztecs hear God’s message clearly and just choose not to listen? Do Buddhists and Hindus? There’s approximately six and a half billion people on this planet and approximately 2-2.5 billion of them are Christian. Are you saying that the other 4 billion people really did hear God telling them the way to salvation, they’re just all lying about it?

  132. #133 Phil
    May 19, 2015

    MNb,

    “Because science has the superior method. Because science compares hypotheses with empirical evidence…”

    There are, of course, exemptions, as in the case of DNA replication errors, which cannot be molested by facts or subjected to scrutiny. They fall into the “too big to fail” category.

  133. #134 See Noevo
    May 20, 2015

    To eric #132:
    “So why does God, who is supposed to love us even more than our parents, not do everything he can?”

    Because the God who is Love chose to create men of free will, and not robots. Robots have no capacity to love.

    “Of course, nobody (including me) claims eric is omniscient nor omnipotent, and millions of people starving to death, suffering from disease and famine, being killed by natural disasters is not skinned knees.”

    Another blow of the smoke screen. Enough already with the starving and the death and the famine hysterics. Just say “God allows skinned knees, thus He doesn’t exist.”

    Me: “He chose to overcome your hearing problem and overcame your hearing problem. You heard. And you said “No.””

    You: “So, when I say I’m a nonbeliever and don’t hear God, and ask you why, your response is basically to call me a liar?”

    Jesus: “You have said so.”
    [Mat 26:25; Mat 27:11; Mark 15:2]

    You end by throwing around a lot of population numbers in the billions. Is that supposed to sway God, or even me, in some way? Human history has probably seen tens of billions of people. I wouldn’t be surprise if the great majority end up in hell. What kind of percentage range do you think “few” covers in the following passage? “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are FEW.” [Mat 7:13-14]

  134. #135 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 20, 2015

    To See Noevo, #128
    “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”
    “…to that faith (Christianity) without which it is impossible to please him”
    These two ideas are mutually exclusive. If it is impossible to please God if you are not a Christian, then it is not possible to achieve salvation by simply being good according to your conscience. Perhaps God is declaring them Christians posthumously, and that’s where the Mormons got the idea.

    If you have never conceived of any god, or have multiple gods, then you cannot be seeking God as a Christian understands it. If God has his own ways of imparting grace to those ignorant foreigners despite all their lack of adherence to his rules, then how do we know which rules are really important to him?

    “I think the folks told themselves, through their innate but imperfect sense of natural law. Homosexual acts have met with disapproval throughout human history. I think about the only times they had a significant measure of acceptance or tolerance was in ancient Greece and Rome…”

    So you think, but you are wrong. Japan only had laws against homosexuality for a few years (ten or less), and those were a direct result of Western influence in the nineteenth century. For centuries, a variety of shoguns, samurai, writers, etc, etc. had same-sex lovers with impunity (and in some cases, great honours). Taoists and Buddhists and Hindus have had no such proscriptions. The Inuit and Native Americans met Christian evangelistic attitudes to sexuality with bewilderment and/or resistance. While not having the same type of written legal documentation for Westerners to reference as other cultures, we can see from pantheons of hermaphroditic and two-spirit figures that they had a more fluid idea of sexuality than the Abrahamic faiths. The same goes for Africa before white incursions, and even for some time thereafter. Clearly, they weren’t “telling themselves” the same things Christians told themselves. It seems almost unkind to disabuse you of the notion that everyone agrees with you, historically or currently, about which minority groups to punish, but the fact is, they don’t.

    “I wouldn’t be surprise if the great majority end up in hell. What kind of percentage range do you think “few” covers in the following passage? “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are FEW.”

    You DO like the idea of Heaven being a select club! And do you anticipate looking down and gloating, as the revolting bishop Newcomb, Aquinas and Tertullian suggested? A passing delectation indeed.
    “Evolution is wrong. Because no experiment has ever produced it. Nor has Evolution ever been observed.”
    Actually, there have been several experiments done that indicate natural selection is taking place. When fish were moved experimentally to another part of a riverbed with colouring that did not provide camouflage for them, they showed changes within a few generations in favour of colouring and patterns that provided better camouflage for their new situation. Or maybe it was just a miracle.
    I never said I think God created human nature; I said “supposedly” because the religious tell me constantly that God created people, and unless they’re mistaken and the devil did it, then God’s responsible for making them, warts and all. He must have known how free will would play out, so he must enjoy all that writhing in hell as much as the good church fathers.

  135. #136 Tulse
    May 20, 2015

    I wouldn’t be surprise if the great majority end up in hell.

    Man, your god is an asshole.

    Seriously, you genuinely believe that the great majority of humanity deserves to be tortured for all eternity? You think that most of your fellow human beings should experience excruciating pain, like being burned alive, literally forever? Based on what they do for a few years on earth? You really believe that?

    On second thought, it’s not only your god…

  136. #137 Tulse
    May 20, 2015

    the case of DNA replication errors, which cannot be molested by facts or subjected to scrutiny

    What “facts” do you possess that hundred of thousands of trained biologists over the years have not? What “scrutiny” are you aware of that an entire field of science has apparently endeavoured to intentionally suppress? Your position requires there to be a vast conspiracy of biologists, all not only denying truth, but literally actively hiding it from the public. Doesn’t that sound a bit insane to you? Do you really think that everyone in biology departments all across the globe decided to trick you? Seriously?

  137. #138 eric
    May 20, 2015

    See Noevo:

    “So why does God, who is supposed to love us even more than our parents, not do everything he can?”

    Because the God who is Love chose to create men of free will, and not robots. Robots have no capacity to love.

    I feel like I’m going around in circles with you. You already said that no divine intervention can eliminate our free will, so why isn’t God not divinely intervening to help us out in every way he can? And the answer cannot be, “because he gave us free will,” you’ve already admitted such interventions would not prevent us having free will.

    [eric]“Of course, nobody (including me) claims eric is omniscient nor omnipotent, and millions of people starving to death, suffering from disease and famine, being killed by natural disasters is not skinned knees.”

    [See Noevo] Another blow of the smoke screen. Enough already with the starving and the death and the famine hysterics. Just say “God allows skinned knees, thus He doesn’t exist.”

    Your conception of an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God who doesn’t want us to suffer X is inconsistent with any empirical observation of X happening. That’s the argument. It applies for many X’s, though if you want to exclude skinned knees, I’ll be okay with that. You have basically said nothing substantive to refute the overall argument.

    You: “So, when I say I’m a nonbeliever and don’t hear God, and ask you why, your response is basically to call me a liar?”

    Jesus: “You have said so.”

    Stop hiding behind quotes and tell me See Noevo’s plain opinion. Do YOU believe that me and all the other non-Christians throughout history (be they billions or tens of billions) are lying about not hearing God’s message? Some biblical passages may imply that, I understand that’s the point you’re making. What I want to know is if you, See Noevo, are saying you believe that implication or biblical claim to be true.

  138. #139 eric
    May 20, 2015

    Ack html fail. Sorry.

  139. #140 eric
    May 20, 2015

    I wouldn’t be surprise if the great majority end up in hell. What kind of percentage range do you think “few” covers in the following passage? “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are FEW.” [Mat 7:13-14]

    I would have to agree with Auntie here; this is not a bit of your theology I would be trumpeting. Its not support for a claim that God is benevolent and forgiving, it actually supports the reverse claim.

  140. #141 See Noevo
    May 20, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism #135:

    ““…to that faith (Christianity) without which it is impossible to please him”
    These two ideas are mutually exclusive. If it is impossible to please God if you are not a Christian, then it is not possible to achieve salvation by simply being good according to your conscience.”

    No. Your insertion of the parenthetical is incorrect. These people obviously do NOT have the Christian faith. Immediately prior, the Catechism describes these people as “through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church”. Their faith is innocently incomplete, but is consistent with the Christian faith.

    “If God has his own ways of imparting grace to those ignorant foreigners despite all their lack of adherence to his rules…”

    Rules such as what?

    “Japan only had laws against homosexuality for a few years… a variety of shoguns, samurai, writers, etc, etc. had same-sex lovers with impunity…Taoists and Buddhists and Hindus have had no such proscriptions. The Inuit and Native Americans met Christian evangelistic attitudes to sexuality with bewilderment and/or resistance… they had a more fluid idea of sexuality than the Abrahamic faiths… Clearly, they weren’t “telling themselves” the same things Christians told themselves. It seems almost unkind to disabuse you of the notion that everyone agrees with you, historically or currently, about which minority groups to punish, but the fact is, they don’t.”

    I agree 100%.

    Me: “Evolution is wrong. Because no experiment has ever produced it. Nor has Evolution ever been observed.”
    You: “Actually, there have been several experiments done that indicate natural selection is taking place.”

    “Natural selection” is NOT Evolution. So-called natural selection is largely just a common sense explanation for “SURVIVAL of the fittest.” NS does NOT explain ARRIVAL of the fittest.

  141. #142 Phil
    May 20, 2015

    Tulse,

    “Your position requires there to be a vast conspiracy of biologists, all not only denying truth, but literally actively hiding it from the public.”

    Well, I don’t know what all individual biologists actually think, so I don’t know about motivations. But I do know a little about what is published and what is not, for whatever reason.

    I would ask you, do you personally see any problems with the idea of random accidents resulting in extremely complex systems? Any at all? Is that a perfectly reasonable notion, backed up by observation/experiment?

    If you choose to answer, you’ll have to think in terms of radically complicated features and characteristics, not fish fins and E coli. I can give you some examples if necessary.

    ===

    eric,

    “Its not support for a claim that God is benevolent and forgiving, it actually supports the reverse claim.”

    God does not reveal Himself to be benevolent towards evil or people who hate Him. His policy of forgiveness is sweeping and comprehensive, but the basis of His mercy is atonement, which He provides. Reject the atonement, and you reject mercy and forgiveness.

  142. #143 eric
    May 20, 2015

    NS does NOT explain ARRIVAL of the fittest.

    That goes right up there with ‘Adam and Steve’ as one of the most vapid catchphrases I’ve ever heard. You make it sound like the TOE predicts well adapted species pop suddenly into existence; implying to the reader the question, how could that be? Answer: it isn’t; sudden arrival of fit species is not evolution at all. That’s the process of special creation, and if it seems highly flawed and unlikely, good, it is. Hold on to perfectly reasonable skepticism the next time some priest tries to convince you of the sudden popping-up hypothesis of species origin.

  143. #144 Tulse
    May 20, 2015

    I do know a little about what is published and what is not, for whatever reason.

    So you know of empirical work that undermines our current understanding of evolution? Really?

    I would ask you, do you personally see any problems with the idea of random accidents resulting in extremely complex systems?

    No, given that a) we’re not just talking about “random accidents”, but also filtering by natural selection,and b) vast amounts of time. Your incredulity at the outcomes of these processes really is no more relevant that an inability to believe in the weird nature of quantum mechanics (or for that matter arguing that mountains must have been specially created because no one has ever seen geologic processes produce a mountain). You need more than just your inability to understand — you need an actual argument, preferably with actual empirical evidence.

  144. #145 eric
    May 20, 2015

    do you personally see any problems with the idea of random accidents resulting in extremely complex systems? Any at all?

    No.

    God does not reveal Himself to be benevolent towards evil or people who hate Him.

    So, not omnibenevolent then. Benevolent only to some people.

    His policy of forgiveness is sweeping and comprehensive, but the basis of His mercy is atonement, which He provides. Reject the atonement, and you reject mercy and forgiveness.

    Comprehensive: I do not think it means what you think it means. Comprehensive would mean not leaving anyone out. If you leave out those who don’t atone, its not comprehensive.

    Mercy: another term that does not mean what you think it means. The whole concept of mercy is treating people better than they deserve; giving them good treatment they haven’t earned. If God is setting a price on his good treatment (such as: atonement) and then treating those who meet the price well, that isn’t mercy, its just payback. Mercy would be God saying: you haven’t met my atonement price, but that’s okay, I’ll save you anyway.

  145. #146 sean samis
    May 20, 2015

    See Noevo;

    So let me see if I get you right.

    We humans are not flawed, we are good, Very Good actually (your #100) and apparently free will does not make us flawed (your # 128). And you say that free will is not the source of suffering (your # 128)

    But free will is why we sin (said or implied numerously) so our sin is not a flaw. Your God gave us free will so we could sin. And the bad consequences inflicted by your God on us for doing what He wants are the source of our suffering. Your God punishing us for doing as He expected is why there is suffering.

    So we were made to sin, our sinfulness is intended by your God, as is the suffering He inflicts.

    Yet you say your God “didn’t chose evil.

    So whence evil? We are not flawed (you say), we are Very Good (you say), and your God hates evil, and yet the world is full of the very thing your God hates. Evil acts are being committed by your God’s Very Good creatures who are acting as He intends (because they are not flawed).

    Also, at the end of #128, you wrote that “Evolution, on the other hand, says that substantial being is fluid. A true evolutionist would say that the same being/essence who is ‘sean samis’ now may not be ‘sean samis’ tomorrow. I guess you feel that way. That’s too bad.

    Evolution does not say anything of the source. Being a rejector of evolution, you have no standing to say what a “true evolutionist” would say, no more than I have standing to put words into the mouth of “true catholics”.

    sean s.

  146. #147 See Noevo
    May 20, 2015

    To multiple addressees:

    To Tulse #136:
    “Seriously, you genuinely believe that the great majority of humanity deserves to be tortured for all eternity? You think that most of your fellow human beings should experience excruciating pain, like being burned alive, literally forever? Based on what they do for a few years on earth? You really believe that?”

    I didn’t say I believe the great majority of humanity is going to hell. I said it wouldn’t surprise me, based on Jesus’ words (cf. Mat 7:13-14; Mat 22:14; Luke 13:23-24).

    And let’s clear away some of the smoke from your screen. Enough with the big numbers. You reject Christianity because you reject the idea of hell, EVEN IF ONLY ONE person was to go there.
    ……..

    To eric #138:
    “Stop hiding behind quotes and tell me See Noevo’s plain opinion. Do YOU believe that me and all the other non-Christians throughout history (be they billions or tens of billions) are lying about not hearing God’s message?”

    I can’t speak to all the others, but you are clearly lying about not hearing God’s message. You read the Bible, know what it says about Jesus Christ, and reject it.

    I hope that’s clear enough for you.
    …………

    To sean samis #146:
    “So let me see if I get you right. We humans are not flawed, we are good, Very Good actually (your #100)…”

    No, you don’t get me right. Are you trying to set a record for putting false words in another’s mouth (i.e. my mouth)?

    I did NOT say humans are NOT flawed. I said God CREATED us sinless and good (i.e. flawless), but with free will. In Man’s subsequent exercise of free will some evil choices were made. The penalty for such an evil choice (specifically, the choice to try to BE God) was the introduction of evil into the world (e.g. death, suffering). And part of this evil is that humans NOW have a fallen nature. We have good in us and we are still in the image of God, but NOW we ARE flawed, and in many ways. But we are not beyond the hope of salvation.

    “But free will is why we sin (said or implied numerously) so our sin is not a flaw.”

    That’s like saying going into the batter’s box is why a baseball player strikes out, so striking out is not a flaw. Or like saying free will is why we do good, so our doing good is not good thing.

    It’s like, ridiculous.

    “Your God gave us free will so we could sin.”
    No, He gave us free will so we could love and do good.

    “And the bad consequences inflicted by your God on us for doing what He wants are the source of our suffering.”

    That’s probably the most ridiculous, twisted statement I’ve read in weeks.

    “Your God punishing us for doing as He expected is why there is suffering.”

    Analogously, a parent EXPECTS (i.e. anticipates, is not totally surprised by) his children to misbehave and disobey, yet punishes/disciplines his children when they actually misbehave and disobey. Shocking!

    “So we were made to sin, our sinfulness is intended by your God, as is the suffering He inflicts.”

    False, false, and false.

    “Also, at the end of #128, you wrote that “Evolution, on the other hand, says that substantial being is fluid. A true evolutionist would say that the same being/essence who is ‘sean samis’ now may not be ‘sean samis’ tomorrow. I guess you feel that way. That’s too bad.” Evolution does not say anything of the source. Being a rejector of evolution, you have no standing to say what a “true evolutionist” would say…”

    My statement is true. [And do your words contain a… mutation (“source” s/b/ “sort?)?]
    ……

    To all the evolutionists out there:

    Speaking of evolution and arrival of the fittest, a nearby article by Greg Laden on evolution titled “How the bird got its beak” has elicited virtually no comments. I started things off with “From the linked article: “So how did beaks evolve? … we are nearly clueless.””

    Priceless.

  147. #148 Dean
    May 20, 2015

    Sn, the brashnes of your misrepresentstion of what greg said would be astounding for most people, but is merely your usual level of habitual dishonesty. As he pointed out to you on his blog, here is the full quote-the one you misrepresented.

    “So how did beaks evolve? Recent research provides some important information necessary to begin to address this question, but this and other parallel research, on the other end of birds (the tail) also serve to tell us something very important: when it comes to understanding how evolution actually happened (of birds or anything else) we are standing at the very start of a long and uncertain journey. In other words, we are nearly clueless.”

    It is truly astounding how consistently integrity free you are.

  148. #149 Phil
    May 20, 2015

    Here we go…and right on time:

    “Arguing for the rights of scorned and misunderstood groups is never popular, particularly when they are associated with real harm.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/pedophilia-a-disorder-not-a-crime.html?_r=1

  149. #150 Phil
    May 20, 2015

    Tulse,

    “No, given that a) we’re not just talking about “random accidents”, but also filtering by natural selection,and b) vast amounts of time.”

    This is what I was expecting. These are standard canned answers which do not adequately address the question, and that is about as far as it ever goes. DNA replication failures and natural selection can do absolutely anything, given enough time. Even things like this:

    “The work illuminates basic facts about the genome’s 3-D structure, including that it forms around 10,000 loops. It also sheds light on how genome structure influences gene expression, as looping DNA brings promoters and enhancers into close proximity….They confirmed that loops often bring together distant enhancers and promoters and that these pairings often lead to changes in gene expression.”
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41653/title/DNA-Loop-the-Loops/

    So you have a DNA molecule two meters long in every cell with a nucleus. And the particular arrangement of the loops in this compacted wad is involved in cell differentiation.

    The article didn’t mention evolution, and it would have been awkward to do so. But it does mention mutations, playing their natural, predictable, reliable part as disease-makers:

    “Detailed 3-D genome maps are crucial for the interpretation of disease-associated variants in the genome,” said de Laat. Genome-wide association studies “often identify risk variants located in non-coding intergenic sequences, making it difficult to understand how they drive disease,” he noted, adding that 3-D genome maps could help researchers to find the targets of regulatory elements….We’ve associated the genes with the distal regions that control them,” said Rao. “[Now] we can actually start to make sense of all the mutations that we weren’t able to before.”

    ===

    eric,

    “Comprehensive: I do not think it means what you think it means. Comprehensive would mean not leaving anyone out. If you leave out those who don’t atone, its not comprehensive.”

    They can’t atone for themselves. The Bible likens human righteousness to used menstrual rags (which is what unbelievers will try to defend themselves with at the judgment). Atonement is a divine accomplishment. It is an all-God show. The only human input is volition, acceptance/belief/faith. Atonement is comprehensive in that it renders a person impeccable. But it is a gift, and can be rejected. It does not mean the goats get a pass.

    “The whole concept of mercy is treating people better than they deserve; giving them good treatment they haven’t earned.”

    Better stated, mercy is not getting what you deserve. It can be juxtaposed with grace, which is getting what you don’t deserve.

  150. #151 Tulse
    May 20, 2015

    Phil, against the literally tens of thousands of empirical studies on evolution, and the consensus of the entire field of biology, you continue to offer nothing but an argument from your own personal incredulity. Sure, biology is amazing, and it is incredible how cells and organisms work. But, once again, your personal inability to understand such workings, and how they arise via natural selection and time, is not an actual argument against the theory of evolution, any more than your incredulity at wave-particle duality is an argument against quantum mechanics.

    It is extremely easy to create empirical tests for the validity of evolution,and to specify what evidence would call it into question (such as the “rabbit in the Precambrian”). Yet you offer no evidence from such tests or evidence that question its validity. Until you do, until you meet science on its own terms, all you are doing is claiming ignorance as your argument. And that is always a losing strategy.

  151. #152 Tulse
    May 20, 2015

    You reject Christianity because you reject the idea of hell, EVEN IF ONLY ONE person was to go there.

    It is extremely impolite to presume about my beliefs, See — I reject theism (not just Christianity) for many, many reasons.

    But yes, since you suggest it, it would indeed be the actions of a monster if even a single person were condemned to an eternity of unimaginable, unendurable torture, without the possibility of relief or pardon, based on their behaviour during their infinitesimally short time on earth. Such action, causing literally infinite pain because of finite alleged transgressions, would be indefensibly cruel, unjust, and horrific. That doesn’t mean such a god doesn’t exist, but it does mean that if it did, it should be opposed with all the force we puny humans can muster. Such a monstrous being certainly shouldn’t be worshipped and praised.

  152. #153 See Noevo
    May 20, 2015

    To Dean #148:

    Dean, I am so surprised to hear from you!
    Because in your comment #19 from http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2015/04/22/earth-day-in-the-universe-synopsis/ on 4/24/15 you wrote:
    “I’m done responding to sn. itis clear he has no interest in honest representation of facts, or in attempting to learn anything. TheRe isn’t enough time to counter his multiple falsehoods.”

    I guess I was foolishness enough to take you at your word. If I may borrow some of your words, “It is truly astounding how consistently integrity free you are.”

    P.S.
    “So how did beaks evolve? [Blah, blah, blah.] In other words, we are nearly clueless.”
    http://10000birds.com/how-the-bird-got-its-beak.htm

  153. #154 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To Tulse #151:
    “Phil, against the literally tens of thousands of empirical studies on evolution, and the consensus of the entire field of biology, you continue to offer nothing but an argument from your own personal incredulity.”

    Would you please provide here a link, a url, to one of these empirical studies? Ideally, it should be one of your best, or their best. Your favorite, most convincing study. Would you, please?

    Because in over 12 years of reading the literature, I have yet to find one pro-evolution paper/article which didn’t have at least one scientific and/or logical problem.

  154. #155 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To Tulse:

    Are you OK with certain convicts receiving a sentence of life without parole?

  155. #156 Phil
    May 21, 2015

    Tulse,

    “Phil, against the literally tens of thousands of empirical studies on evolution”

    No, this is another retreat into jargon. There are no such empirical studies. This is a belief. You provide examples, and I will show you what is missing.

    There is a long list of severe statistical problems with the mutations idea. There is also an enormous data collection that show what mutations actually do, as opposed to what you think they have done. The research does not match the fantasies.

    “It is extremely easy to create empirical tests for the validity of evolution, and to specify what evidence would call it into question”

    No, this is just more jargon. The actual production mechanism of evolution has not, and will not be disturbed by tests, and you cannot produce literature which actually does so. There is an enormous investment in the preposterous notion that chaos can result in exquisite organization. I just showed you an example and you brushed it off. This is how the game is played, and it has nothing to do with science. It is about religious belief.

  156. #157 Dean
    May 21, 2015

    Yes sn, I remember that, as well as your huge explosion of personal insult that resulted when when it was painted out that you had said nobody should ever study anything that had no immediate application, denied that, and tried to claim it isn’t what you meant when your exact quote of such was given. I didn’t respond there.
    But this is the second time you’ve tried the creationist tactic of lying by removing the context of a quote. Greg pointed out your tactic as well.
    Lies seem to be your standard method of attempting to make a case. If only there were some recommendation from the goat herders whose writings you claim to follow that said something about that not being a good path.

  157. #158 Tulse
    May 21, 2015

    Are you OK with certain convicts receiving a sentence of life without parole?

    Yes, but I would not be OK with them being continually burned alive for all eternity. As I understand it, most conceptions of Christian hell involve not just imprisonment, but torture, and not just for a finite lifetime, but literally forever. There is no justice in subjecting someone who has done finite transgressions to infinite suffering.

  158. #159 Tulse
    May 21, 2015

    There are no such empirical studies. This is a belief. You provide examples, and I will show you what is missing.

    Phil (and SN), you can start with Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, which provides a very strong overview of all the various types of evidence.

    But let me turn this around — what evidence would you accept as a demonstration of the truth of evolutionary theory?

  159. #160 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To Tulse #158:
    What if a certain convict felt that the worst possible torture for him would be imprisonment?
    Would you still be OK with that certain convict receiving a sentence of life without parole?

    To Tulse #159:
    I’ve read Jerry Coyne and recall him being unscientific, illogical and biased to the extreme. U of Chicago PhD or not.

    And I didn’t ask you for a book.
    I asked you for ONE primo paper/article, internet-accessible (so we all can read it in real time). You must have a favorite one at the ready, given the tens of thousands you’ve read or heard of.

    “But let me turn this around — what evidence would you accept as a demonstration of the truth of evolutionary theory?”

    Off the top of my head, seeing one KIND of being give birth to, or mutate into, a different KIND of being. For example, in the 5,000 or so generations of fruit flies experimented on, maybe once produce a gnat or bee or mosquito, or SOMETHING other than another fruit fly.

  160. #161 Tulse
    May 21, 2015

    SN:

    What if a certain convict felt that the worst possible torture for him would be imprisonment?

    Tell you what, you find someone who things that a few decades of imprisonment are worse than a literal eternity of torture, and then we can talk.

    I’ve read Jerry Coyne and recall him being unscientific, illogical and biased to the extreme. U of Chicago PhD or not.

    So you think that a practicing biologist understands the area less than you do?

    And there is no one single paper that somehow proves evolutionary theory, just as there is no one single paper that proves quantum mechanics, or plate tectonics, or the germ theory of disease. What there is a huge body of observations that are consistent with the theory, which is precisely how science works. Paleontology, biogeography, embryology, molecular biology, physical homology among related species, vestigial organs, patterns of “broken” genes in related species (e.g., most mammals produce vitamin C, but in primates that gene is non-functional), changes in species morphology and/or functionality over time (such as the development of antibiotic resistance, or Lenski’s work on the acquisition of citrate metabolism in bacteria), even degree of changes in non-coding DNA that track with hypothesized time that species have been separate, all of this huge mass of evidence fits together only because of evolutionary theory — there is absolutely no reason such disparate areas would be coordinated if they did not reflect the common mechanism of evolution.

    Your demand of:

    seeing one KIND of being give birth to, or mutate into, a different KIND of being

    indicates pretty darned clearly that not only don’t you understand evolutionary theory (which, by the way, has never argued for, and indeed was developed in opposition to, the kind of “hopeful monster” view you’re promoting), but that you don’t have any clue about how science itself actually operates.

    At this point, SN, I don’t think there is any chance that either one of us will convince the other. So I’m going to leave it there for now.

  161. #162 sean samis
    May 21, 2015

    Free will does not make humans totally and solely responsible for their choices because free will (if it exists) is limited. Under even the best of circumstances, humans can only choose things they are aware of. Human choices can only be made in consideration of effects and consequences we are aware of. But our information is never complete. Many human choices are made by compulsion or under the threat of coercion; none of those are free choices.

    If we were not made flawed, then all our behaviors (including evil) are intended by our Maker because that’s what “not flawed” means.

    If our evil behaviors are not intended by our maker, then we were made flawed because that’s what “flawed” means.

    If we humans were made flawless but subsequently “became flawed” because of our choices, that does not change the math. If our maker intended us to make evil choices, then those choices and their consequent flaws actually come from our maker. If our maker did not want us to make these choices, then we were made flawed.

    The flaws of any created thing are the fault of the maker; the creation is never to blame because it was powerless in its own creation. It’s a bad craftsman who blames his tools or his product.

    LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS: WE ARE NOT WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY. If we are created things (made by a deity) then we are only responsible for free and informed choices to the extent that we actually were free and that we actually understood the implications and consequences of our choices. To the extent that we act under coercion, compulsion, ignorance, or misinformation; we are not responsible for our choices.

    So, in #147 See Noevo wrote that, “God CREATED us sinless and good (i.e. flawless), but with free will. In Man’s subsequent exercise of free will some evil choices were made.

    Since we were created flawless (says SN) our choices were in accord with our Maker’s plan. The evil choices and their consequences were SN’s God’s intention. If they were not, then we would not have made those choices. We would not have been able to.

    SN wrote that “He gave us free will so we could love and do good.” That cannot be because instead of love and good we principally do sin and evil; so we WERE flawed from the outset.

    Maybe SN’s God intend us to do “love and … good” but then we are not doing what SN’s God intended. There could only be a disconnect between this God’s intention and what actually happens because we were made flawed. However, SN insists that we were made flawless, so what we do now must conform to SN’s God’s plan. SN’s God wanted evil, or so it seems.

    SN wrote that “a parent EXPECTS (i.e. anticipates, is not totally surprised by) his children to misbehave and disobey, yet punishes/disciplines his children when they actually misbehave and disobey. Shocking!

    Actually, this is shocking: YOUR GOD IS SUPPOSEDLY NOT MERELY HUMAN. Human parents have no conscious influence on the birth-attributes of their children; generally speaking they get what they get. If human parents deliberately cripple their children, they’d be considered evil monsters. If they punished their children for their disabilities, they’d be considered monsters. If they hid information from their children and then punished them for their ignorance, they’d be considered monsters.

    SN’s God (if He exists) has total control over our birth attributes, and what we know. If SN’s God punishes us for our disabilities or ignorance (our flaws) then SN’s God IS A MONSTER.

    SN excuses his God because human parents are imperfect. True ‘nuf, BUT THIS GOD IS NOT A HUMAN PARENT! Human excuses don’t apply. We give excuses and allowances to children we never give to adults. Likewise, excuses that apply to humans do not apply to Gods.

    I wrote “we were made to sin, our sinfulness is intended by your God, as is the suffering He inflicts.

    SN replied, “False, false, and false.

    Nope. My statements are True, True, and True.

    SN, this all comes down to a set of simple questions:

    Did your God intend for us to disobey?
    Did your God intend for evil to occur?
    Did your God think his messages to us were clear?
    Did your God think we’d do better than we actually are?
    Does your God value the freedom of the sinner more than the welfare of the sinner’s victim? As an extreme example; does your God care more for the rapist’s freedom than for the victim’s welfare?

    If we are not flawed, if we are actually Very Good, then we are doing pretty much what your God intended and wants. All evil and suffering are what your God wants, what your God intended.

    If evil and suffering are blameworthy, then the blame attaches to your God.

    sean s.

    ps. I’ve tried to be consistent in indicating that I am commenting about See Noevo’s satanic view of his God. I do not think many Christians or theists agree with See Noevo, and if I make any statement that seems to be a slam against every possible view of God, that is unintentional. Most theists, Christians, and Catholics have a much more level-headed and rational view of God. At least, that is my experience.

    ss.

  162. #163 sean samis
    May 21, 2015

    What if a certain convict felt that the worst possible torture for him would be imprisonment? Would you still be OK with that certain convict receiving a sentence of life without parole?

    Sure, if the crime fits and the criminal cannot reasonably be expected to ever rehabilitate. Whether the criminal thinks this is excessive is not relevant.

    Torturing someone to death, or for all eternity is inherently evil.

    sean s.

  163. #164 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To Tulse #161:
    But if I look at any one single paper in paleontology or biogeography or embryology or molecular biology or physical homology or vestigial organs, etc., I find at least one scientific and/or logical problem. And the retort is always something like your saying there’s “all of this huge mass of evidence.”

    It’s like that old joke about the consultant telling the store owner “You’re whole business model is screwed up, er, I mean, suboptimal. You’re losing money on every sale.” To which the store owner responds “That’s OK. We’ll make it up in volume.”

  164. #165 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To Tulse:
    You say my demand of seeing one KIND of being give birth to, or mutate into, a different KIND of being “indicates pretty darned clearly that not only don’t you understand evolutionary theory (which, by the way, HAS NEVER ARGUED FOR, and indeed was developed in opposition to, the kind of “HOPEFUL MONSTER” view you’re promoting), but that you don’t have any clue about how science itself actually operates.”

    Contrary to what you say, some PhDs who actually believe in evolution ARE arguing for “hopeful monsters”:

    “… geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, in 1940, envisioned subtle developmental mechanisms producing great leaps of adaptation, but his use of the phrase “hopeful monsters” was misrepresented as extreme saltationism (perfection in one jump), and equated with belief in miracles. But through fish in the murky depths of a British Columbia lake and through bacteria in the flasks of a Michigan lab, the monsters have returned. Experimental evidence has shown that individual genetic changes CAN HAVE VAST EFFECTS on an organism without dooming it to the evolutionary rubbish heap.”
    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100217/full/463864a.html

  165. #166 Phil
    May 21, 2015

    Tulse,

    “you can start with Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, which provides a very strong overview of all the various types of evidence.”

    I’m familiar with Coyne. But I’m not interested in overviews, or various types of evidence. I would like to dwell on just one issue, that being whether or not DNA replication errors could actually produce novel biological complexity. So I have some questions.

    The DNA replication process, as I’m sure you know, is initiated and carried out by an impressive suite of complex enzymes. Without getting into the details, there is a very strong functional tendency towards perfect fidelity in the process, to the point that errors are detected, removed and repaired.

    There are at least two problems here. One is the chicken/egg dilemma whereby the RM/NS process would have to be the agency that produced the replication enzymes. There is nothing else to appeal to. No enzymes means no replication, which means no random mutations, which means no natural process that could have produced the enzymes.

    The other problem is the paradox involved with the enzymes functioning to prevent the errors that evolution depends on. In other words, they are always hostile to the mechanism that supposedly produced them.

    So my questions would be, what scientific basis would anyone have for believing that replication enzymes are the result of a random process? What empirical data would support such a belief?

  166. #167 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To sean samis #162:
    “Free will does not make humans totally and solely responsible for their choices because free will (if it exists) is limited. Under even the best of circumstances, humans can only choose things they are aware of. Human choices can only be made in consideration of effects and consequences we are aware of. But our information is never complete. Many human choices are made by compulsion or under the threat of coercion; none of those are free choices.”

    I think I could agree with much of that. This is similar to the conditions the Church sets for what is called mortal sin. ALL of these conditions must be met: 1) grave/serious matter (e.g. murder), 2) full knowledge (e.g. individual knows murder is a serious sin), and 3) full consent of the will (e.g. the individual wasn’t coerced into pulling the trigger).

    “LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS: WE ARE NOT WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY. If we are created things (made by a deity) then we are only responsible for free and informed choices to the extent that we actually were free and that we actually understood the implications and consequences of our choices. To the extent that we act under coercion, compulsion, ignorance, or misinformation; we are not responsible for our choices.”

    I think I would add that we are ALWAYS responsible for our actions, however, the degree of guilt for our actions CAN be lessened, depending on extenuating circumstances such as coercion, compulsion, ignorance, or misinformation. On the matter of “ignorance”, for example, there is invincible ignorance and there is vincible ignorance. There’s an old saying in secular law that goes something like: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse for the law breaker.”

    “SN, this all comes down to a set of simple questions…”

    To which I answer, in order, No; No; Yes; No; No; No.

    As to rest of the points and questions of your post, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend it’s due to invincible ignorance.

  167. #168 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    Addendum to my #167:

    Mr. sean samis writes:
    “I do not think many Christians or theists agree with See Noevo…”

    In the spirit of “bi-partisanship”, I’ll reach across the aisle and tell you: Here, I think you’re correct!

  168. #169 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To sean samis #163:

    Me: “What if a certain convict felt that the worst possible torture for him would be imprisonment? Would you still be OK with that certain convict receiving a sentence of life without parole?”

    You: “Sure, if the crime fits and the criminal cannot reasonably be expected to ever rehabilitate. Whether the criminal thinks this is excessive is not relevant.”

    Do you believe that this life of ours on earth is our eternity? That is, do you believe that the only “eternity” we will experience is in our life on earth?

  169. #170 See Noevo
    May 21, 2015

    To Phil #166:

    Isn’t another chicken/egg paradox the fact that DNA is made up of proteins but proteins are made by DNA?

  170. #171 Phil
    May 21, 2015

    SN,

    Not quite. Proteins are composed of amino acids, while nucleic acid structural units are different compounds called nucleosides.

    But the biggest float in the chicken/egg parade is ribosome. It is a super-complex machine, composed of dozens of proteins and RNA molecules, and its role is protein synthesis.

  171. #172 eric
    May 21, 2015

    SN @147:

    I can’t speak to all the others, but you are clearly lying about not hearing God’s message. You read the Bible, know what it says about Jesus Christ, and reject it.

    In #132 I’m clearly talking about direct communication. God speaking directly to me, such as through revelation. I haven’t had any. Are you claiming I have and am lying? Are you making the somewhat uncommon (but not rare) fundie claim that all nonChristians are secretly believers in the Christian God, and we just pretend to nonbelief so that we have an excuse for following our sinful ways?

    Phil @150:

    Atonement is a divine accomplishment. It is an all-God show. The only human input is volition, acceptance/belief/faith. Atonement is comprehensive in that it renders a person impeccable. But it is a gift, and can be rejected. It does not mean the goats get a pass.

    Bzzz, goalpost move. You did not claim the atonement was comprehensive in its effects, you claimed God’s forgiveness was comprehensive. It obviously isn’t, as he doesn’t forgive those who choose not to ask for it. As I said, not omnibenevolent.

    Heck, that’s not even mediocre benevolent: your average human would probably not require belief or volitional atonement – the way God does – before saving people from eternal hellfire.

  172. #173 Phil
    May 21, 2015

    eric,

    “You did not claim the atonement was comprehensive in its effects, you claimed God’s forgiveness was comprehensive.”

    The basis for forgiveness is comprehensive. Every sin of every human was covered. There is an easy verse that backs this up:

    “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    This is in keeping with universal condemnation being the result of Adam’s sin. Atonement is universal as well. The issue now is unbelief. I could go further and say that it is a matter of incompatibility. But it is not about the sins. Those were dealt with at the crucifixion.

  173. #174 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 21, 2015

    To See Noevo #141
    “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
    “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30).

    Now, this is crystal clear, unlike that recent sop to other groups that maybe, possibly, they are not destined for Hell. That is, IF they are seeking God, and trying to follow his orders, or “without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God”, however one evaluates blame. Apparently, they might have been blameworthy before 1964. The Lumen Gentium is never terribly specific how much blame accrues to you if, say, there was a church/temple a few miles away but you never felt it call to your soul.
    It would also seem from the Lumen Gentium that it is entirely possible that someone like a Shinto priest having sex with a male acolyte, which he thinks will possibly bring him closer to religious enlightenment, would more easily enter into Heaven than a Christian gay couple, however kind and altruistic, who have been told their sexual congress is wrong. Ditto an Aztec or Mayan conducting a human sacrifice, who is trying to please his particular pantheon.
    “Rules such as what?” Are you kidding, or just unbelievably disingenuous? Your church is festooned with rules, as are any of the Abrahamic faiths singled out by the Lumen Gentium as most eligible for heaven. Rules to pay tribute, rules about who can be in the priesthood, rules about diet, dress, monogamy, speech, rituals… The entire concept that God has things he does not like and that you have a duty to please him means that there are rules. If you decide (rather late in the game) that ignorance of what God wants is an excuse to break those rules, it does not change the fact that God’s rules exist, according to your concept of him. If God hates women in the priesthood, then that is clearly a rule that other cultures do not follow. It is illogical to believe that the rules you have all come from God through your apostles/saints, and are true and immutable, and believe simultaneously that God is okay with other cultures following different rules. At best, he must sorely grieved by acts such as Shudo (sex between male senior and acolyte) but yet allows such things to persist for centuries. While this went on, the Catholic church taught children that if they swore “Jesus Christ” and then died suddenly without repenting that they would go to hell. I don’t know if you’re aware of what these priorities look like to outsiders, but I think they’re strangely devoid of a sense of proportion, among other things.
    If you believe that God the father is entitled to do horrific things to his children to save their imperilled souls, where do you stop with your own children? Just shy of honor killings? This is a very peculiar view of teaching human beings, who do not learn well when they are suffering or traumatized. If they are dead and being roasted for eternity they have no chance of learning at all, so doing that sounds a lot more like revenge than education. If God considers a 24 year old apostate ripe for hell because he has had plenty of time to repent, yet allows human sacrifice to persist for centuries, this is not a being I would look to for ethical direction.
    If you make a statement like “The folks (i.e. foreigners) told themselves” that homosexuality was wrong, and someone demonstrates that this is not true, and then you say you agree 100% that many other cultures have different beliefs, why make such a silly statement in the first place? I don’t imagine I’ve really given you news you didn’t have before, unless you live on a deserted island. If you still really think that everyone else despises homosexuality as much as your group, then at least be honest about it.
    Re natural selection: Natural selection plus genetic drift, mutation, and migration are all things that play a role in evolution, and all have been the subject of experiments that tend to confirm the validity of the theory. NS is not an “explanation” of survival of the fittest, it is a more accurate expression to describe the phenomenon. If your requirement for accepting the validity of evolution is to witness it personally for a million years or longer, then I expect either you’ll view it from heaven, or you’ll never know. At least no one is likely to deprive you of your civil rights, your freedom, or your life for admitting that you doubt evolution.

  174. #175 See Noevo
    May 22, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism #174:
    Me: “Rules such as what?”
    You: “Are you kidding, or just unbelievably disingenuous? Your church is festooned with rules…”
    My question was regarding those who, through no fault of their own, had never heard of Jesus Christ nor His Church, nor the Church’s rules. My question followed YOUR “If God has his own ways of imparting grace to those ignorant foreigners despite all their lack of adherence to his rules…”
    So, I’ll ask again: Rules such as what?
    “If God hates women in the priesthood, then that is clearly a rule that other cultures do not follow. It is illogical to believe that the rules you have all come from God through your apostles/saints, and are true and immutable, and believe simultaneously that God is okay with other cultures following different rules.”
    God is not okay with much of what goes on in other cultures and in our culture. As to other cultures having females in their “priesthood”, well, those females aren’t priests of the Church and their “priesthood” is not the priesthood of Christ’s Church.
    Speaking of females and the Church, the Catholic Church holds Mary up as the greatest of the saints, the Queen of heaven. As mother, Mary brought Jesus Christ into the world. Mary was the first disciple, and the first Christian evangelist (cf. John 2:5). The Church has always celebrated the Mother of God, as well as motherhood in general.
    Relating to this, you began a question with “If God hates women in the priesthood…”
    Do you think God hates men in the motherhood? In other words, is God being unfair and hateful to men by not allowing men to be mothers? If not, why not?
    You sure do talk a lot about sex, especially sexual perversion. I could almost imagine you as a gay ex-Catholic who left the Church over matters of sexual morality. (But then, the Scriptures do talk a lot about sex, too.)
    “If you believe that God the father is entitled to do horrific things to his children to save their imperilled souls, where do you stop with your own children? Just shy of honor killings?”
    Well short of honor killings. Have you seen any stories lately about Catholic parents conducting honor killings? Have you EVER seen such stories about Catholic parents?
    “This is a very peculiar view of teaching human beings, who do not learn well when they are suffering or traumatized. If they are dead and being roasted for eternity they have no chance of learning at all, so doing that sounds a lot more like revenge than education.”
    You must have some interesting ideas on transforming your country’s justice system. I’d like to hear them.
    Do you think the prisons should be closed, and perhaps transformed into education systems (i.e. ethics schools and job training programs)? Perhaps make them into comforting rehab compounds, like the ones on that TV show “Intervention”? Do you think the police should be disarmed? After all, they might shoot a gun-wielding 24 year old “apostate”.
    “If you make a statement like “The folks (i.e. foreigners) told themselves” that homosexuality was wrong, and someone demonstrates that this is not true, and then you say you agree 100% that many other cultures have different beliefs, why make such a silly statement in the first place?”
    Yes, and I STILL agree 100%. I agree 100% that homosexuality has been practiced throughout history by a minority, and so was outside the norm world-wide. I also said a relative minority throughout history have engaged in acts of prostitution and murder. Silly me.
    “At least no one is likely to deprive you of your civil rights, your freedom, or your life for admitting that you doubt evolution.”
    At least not yet.
    But storm clouds have been forming:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-j-reid-jr/no-evolution-deniers-in-the-white-house_b_6710102.html
    http://ncse.com/news/2013/08/deniers-rebuffed-kentucky-0014950
    and on a related junk science topic…
    http://gawker.com/arrest-climate-change-deniers-1553719888

  175. #176 See Noevo
    May 22, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism:

    I submitted a fairly lengthy response to your #174, but it was moderated away by the moderator. I have no idea why.
    Oh, well.

  176. #177 Phil
    May 22, 2015

    “If they are dead and being roasted for eternity they have no chance of learning at all, so doing that sounds a lot more like revenge than education.”

    In all candor, this is a legitimate grievance. I rarely engage in either discussion or debate with other Christians on the subject of eternal punishment. Regrettably, most of them just hold inherited beliefs that they cannot defend, not unlike atheists who have just picked up a collection of quips about evolution. But there is, in my view, a strong scriptural case for the possibility of annihilation rather than eternal punishment.

  177. #178 See Noevo
    May 22, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism #174:

    Me: “Rules such as what?”
    You: “Are you kidding, or just unbelievably disingenuous? Your church is festooned with rules…”

    My question was regarding those who, through no fault of their own, had never heard of Jesus Christ nor His Church, nor the Church’s rules. My question followed YOUR “If God has his own ways of imparting grace to those ignorant foreigners despite all their lack of adherence to his rules…”

    So, I’ll ask again: Rules such as what?

    “If God hates women in the priesthood, then that is clearly a rule that other cultures do not follow. It is illogical to believe that the rules you have all come from God through your apostles/saints, and are true and immutable, and believe simultaneously that God is okay with other cultures following different rules.”

    God is not okay with much of what goes on in other cultures and in our culture. As to other cultures having females in their “priesthood”, well, those females aren’t priests of the Church and their “priesthood” is not the priesthood of Christ’s Church.

    Speaking of females and the Church, the Catholic Church holds Mary up as the greatest of the saints, the Queen of heaven. As mother, Mary brought Jesus Christ into the world. Mary was the first disciple, and the first Christian evangelist (cf. John 2:5). The Church has always celebrated the Mother of God, as well as motherhood in general.

    Relating to this, you began a question with “If God hates women in the priesthood…”
    Do you think God hates men in the motherhood? In other words, is God being unfair and hateful to men by not allowing men to be mothers? If not, why not?

    You sure do talk a lot about sex. I could almost imagine you as an ex-Catholic who left the Church over matters of sexual morality. (But then, the Scriptures do talk a lot about sex, too.)

    “If you believe that God the father is entitled to do horrific things to his children to save their imperilled souls, where do you stop with your own children? Just shy of honor killings?”

    Well short of honor killings. Have you seen any stories lately about Catholic parents conducting honor killings? Have you EVER seen such stories about Catholic parents?

    “This is a very peculiar view of teaching human beings, who do not learn well when they are suffering or traumatized. If they are dead and being roasted for eternity they have no chance of learning at all, so doing that sounds a lot more like revenge than education.”

    You must have some interesting ideas on transforming your country’s justice system. I’d like to hear them.

    Do you think the prisons should be closed, and perhaps transformed into education systems (i.e. ethics schools and job training programs)? Perhaps make them into comforting rehab compounds, like the ones on that TV show “Intervention”? Do you think the police should be disarmed? After all, they might shoot a gun-wielding 24 year old “apostate”.

    “If you make a statement like “The folks (i.e. foreigners) told themselves” that homosexuality was wrong, and someone demonstrates that this is not true, and then you say you agree 100% that many other cultures have different beliefs, why make such a silly statement in the first place?”

    Yes, and I STILL agree 100%. I agree 100% that homosexuality has been practiced throughout history by a minority, and so was outside the norm world-wide. I also said a relative minority throughout history have engaged in acts of prostitution and murder. Silly me.

    “At least no one is likely to deprive you of your civil rights, your freedom, or your life for admitting that you doubt evolution.”

    At least not yet.
    But storm clouds have been forming:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-j-reid-jr/no-evolution-deniers-in-the-white-house_b_6710102.html
    http://ncse.com/news/2013/08/deniers-rebuffed-kentucky-0014950
    and on a related junk science topic…
    http://gawker.com/arrest-climate-change-deniers-1553719888

  178. #179 See Noevo
    May 22, 2015

    To Phil #176:

    “But there is, in my view, a strong scriptural case for the possibility of annihilation rather than eternal punishment.”

    “Annihilation”, according to Merriam-Webster, means “to destroy (something or someone) completely.”
    I get the impression it means more than being killed, because mere death could lead to an afterlife. It seems more like eliminating from existence altogether. This lacking of existence would also be the case for a person yet to be conceived and born. Prior to these things, the person and his soul do not exist.

    What do you make of Jesus’ words about Judas Iscariot? “The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

    It sounds like Jesus is saying Judas’ state is worse than annihilation (i.e. no longer existing, as before you’re born).

  179. #180 ?
    May 22, 2015

    Tulse,

    “So it is OK to have to guess about what your god wants…”

    The Template has been revealed, no need to guess. We are humans, and there was an Individual that did the human being thing better than anyone before or since. What God wants is laid out in Jesus Christ, period. Repent, follow and obey. Accept and be like Him; the image of God, His original intention. Clear enough. You wanna evolve into something? Evolve into Him.

    I mentioned the Holy Spirit earlier; know that such a Person would be unmistakable to those who encountered Him. An all powerful God who created everything and everyone can’t be missed once He makes an introduction and begins to draw you in. Immaterial, but He’s a clear and discernible Person that we enter into RELATIONSHIP with. We can reject marriages, friendships, and this The pinnacle of relationships, but a Hand has been extended:

    “I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you.”

    Jesus made good on that.

    God has eliminated the need to guess by laying out the blueprint for our lives and beyond. You can ignore Him (Christ and the Bible), but you’ve been given directions for walking a clearly defined (narrow) road.

    You have a sense of justice, and know that it’s tough to get away with Lawbreaking in any legal system – God’s system of order is no different. There’s no way you get out of this without accountability, Tulse. Jesus took your lashes – take it or leave it – but justice is good and it is due. As it stands, you’re separated from God (obviously), but the gift of reconciliation has been offered through that famous execution. I encourage you to not be content with your lack of belief.

    “…but not OK for scientists to have a coherent but incomplete picture of the evolutionary history of individual species.”

    Incomplete indeed, and far from coherent from my view. It doesn’t come together for me. I have no problem understanding God (from a mere human perspective) – but I do have problems understanding such an incomplete and incomprehensible picture.

    Eric,

    “Well evolution makes perfect sense to me and a lot of other people.”

    Well Christianity makes perfect sense to me and a lot of other people. We can go back and forth all day on what makes sense to us, it’s obvious where we each stand and what we understand. The important question is: what is the ABSOLUTE truth? Is there a God? Who put us here, why did They, how should we live, and where are we headed?

    “I would also point out that you appear to accept QM, even though by really any standard imaginable it makes less sense than the TOE.”

    To you maybe, but quantum physics is a rabbit hole that leads to God from my view – and I know God. He spoke everything into existence, He made Adam from the dirt and QM fits right in with that explanation:

    “By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

    Things are immaterial before they’re material, supernatural before natural, conceived before realized and subatomic particles are the Builder’s building materials. I can’t understand QM completely, but I have a clue where it leads. Evolution, not so much.

    A great point was brought up about this earlier in comment #124; where the hell is evolution headed? What do humans become next if we evolved from lesser creatures? You’ll say you can’t know where it leads (like much of it’s backstory, it’s unclear), but do you have any glimmer of a clue what the destination is? If I’m ever engaged in a conversation with believer in the TOE that’s not a scientist or professor, they can barely explain it. They have no clue how it happened, where it’s going, or where to even find conclusive proof that it did happen. That tells me something. Highly educated Christians, Christians with G.E.D.’s, kid Christians have no problem explaining their position, but a lot of your theory’s proponents are often unable to articulate it when pressed for details – or explain why they even believe in it in the first place. I would say that highly educated proponents can explain it, but from the bottom to the top, it’s tough getting anything thorough or convincing.

    “I expect part of the problem here is that you are not a biologist or paleontologist; what sounds to you like an assumption or unsupported claims is in fact a very well supported claim to a biologist.”

    One shouldn’t have to be a paleontologist or biologist to understand where they come from. Anyone who can read should be able to describe their origin. My pizza delivery guy should be able to break it down since his “education” told him it explains him.

    “So it seems to me that ‘making sense’ is not your real criteria. Your criteria seems to be nothing more than ‘consistent with my religious beliefs.”

    If my beliefs are true and your beliefs are false, that makes sense. Now, I’m blocking my beliefs from my mind for a moment…

    Okay, and the TOE still doesn’t make sense. Things grow, they sometimes go through metamorphosis, but I find it hard to believe that they transform into entirely different species over x amount of years. As I said before, I think proponents of the theory are misinterpreting whatever data leads them to believe in it. Common Creator, not so sure about a common ancestor.

    Am I ever going to get a comment on that T-Rex video? The scientist featured in the clip is both an evangelical Christian and an evolutionist (I think) so I can’t get a read on her, but I’m curious to know what your thoughts are. According to your timeline, does it really make sense to find fresh dinosaur tissue in the 21st century? Anything less than millions/billions of years officially debunks the TOE, so I understand your reluctance.

    According to that documentary I mentioned entitled; “Rise of Animals – Triumph of the Vertebrates”, the evolutionary progression for human beings was:

    1). A worm like creature in the sea
    2). Then, fish emerged themselves
    3). Then, we turned into amphibians
    4). Then, we turned into hadrocodium – a rat like creature
    5). Then, we turned into primates or monkeys
    6). Then, we turned into humans

    Is that about right? Our ancestors were rats? Tough sell. It never covered any of the inner man stuff; the soul, love, morality, joy, conscience, peace, goodness, kindness, justice, etc. – and I wasn’t expecting it to, but I’d love to hear a scientific explanation for all that God (oh, I mean good) stuff. For most, these things are the fabric of life, so can evolution explain where they came from? Maybe someone here can fill in the blanks, because as Tulse admitted, the evolutionary history for LIFE is incomplete.

    “Tulse’s point also applies. You seem perfectly willing to accept Christianity even though it requires some guesswork. Science requires less, but you’re unwilling to extend it the same courtesy.”

    As explained, no guesswork required on this end. Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father, except by Him.” Follow Him, do your best to walk in His footsteps and you reach your full potential. A proven fact for many.

    “Why the double standard?”

    There is no double standard. I recognize that I am an eternal life parked in a material shell with a shelf life:

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    It appears that Jesus knew a thing or two, and eliminated the need to guess about what’s important. Now, extending the same courtesy to evolution: can it tell me who I’m supposed to be today and where I’m headed in the GRAND scheme of the universe? Maybe that’s too much to ask, so let’s lower the standard: can it tell me what my descendants are going to be physically, and how they should handle this thing called life? “Science requires less guesswork”? You believe it to be further along than it actually is. The God stuff is still outside of it’s purview and God is EVERYTHING, as we all find out one way or another.

    “There is no reason to think there is any amazing change between very closely related species because evolution does not predict there will ever be massive changes between a parent and child.”

    That was clearly put, I understand. In hindsight, “amaze” may have been too strong a word. “Overwhelm” is better. There should be an OVERWHELMING amount of transitional fossils and evidence that amaze the world as indisputable proof of evolution. I count the Tiktaalik, Archaeopteryx, and a skull line up you guys like to point to. What did I miss? This has been going on for BILLIONS of years now, so where’s everybody else? The above are not convincing.

    “You didn’t answer my question. Let’s take the example of fish->amphibian since we’ve both been talking about it. Define for me what you think a transitional trait would be like. Fish have gills, amphibians have lungs, don’t you think a critter with both gills and lungs is transitional? What else would you expect?”

    And:

    “Tik will closely resemble any recent ancestor and immediate daughter species. Having said all that, you don’t find a species with lungs AND gills to be amazing and transitional?”

    Amazing, yes – God is creative. Transitional? Not necessarily. An extinct creature from yesteryear had lungs and gills – that doesn’t mean it was transitioning from something into something else. It just means an extinct creature had lungs and gills. Seals and other animals operate on land and water today, so it’s not surprising that creatures from the past were EQUIPPED with the same capability through different means.

    As I admitted, I was being unreasonable in demanding amazement. Due to the “incremental changes”, I’m never going to see a crocoduck as someone once put it. I don’t believe I’m being unreasonable in asking for an abundance of fossils that PROVE the theory, however. One animal with one set of features that evolutionists label as “transitional” doesn’t prove anything. It seems I’d be wasting my time defining features I’d expect to see, because everything is between a stage according to the theory (as See Noevo astutely pointed out). But with as large a megaphone as you guys have (through our school systems, the media, etc.), I’d expect to see more conclusive evidence. Throwing the word “fact” around for macro evolution seems like a bit of a stretch.

  180. #181 eric
    May 22, 2015

    Phil:

    Atonement is universal as well. The issue now is unbelief.

    Fine, the issue now is unbelief. Your God allows people to burn eternally for the “crime” of mere unbelief.” That’s horrifying. Certainly not omnibenevolent. Not even mediocre benevolent, for as I said, I doubt many regular human beings would be so unmerciful or uncaring as that.

    ? @178:

    A great point was brought up about this earlier in comment #124; where the hell is evolution headed?

    Scientific theories don’t have to “head” anywhere (in terms of theology). They need to be accurate and useful descriptions of the observed world. If one or more of them doesn’t lead to a metaphysics or doesn’t lead to a specific metaphysics you like, that’s just tough luck. They don’t have to lead to a metaphysics; that’s not a criteria we use for theory selection.

    What do humans become next if we evolved from lesser creatures? You’ll say you can’t know where it leads

    No, I say the whole “lesser creature” thing is a misunderstanding and misnomer, the old ‘ladder’ fallacy rearing its ugly head. A modern day fungi is just as evolved as you are. It is the product of 3.5 billion years of selection, competition, and descent with modification just as you are, and thus it is as ‘advanced’ as you are in its own way. Fitness is local, a measure of success in a specific ecology. There is no global fitness measurement and thus no such thing, even in theory, as some one ‘perfect’ or ‘superior’ organism. There is no ladder; evolution is not leading anywhere in terms of some specific organism.

    As Gould pointed out, even the appearance of a drive to more complex organisms is just an illusion caused by our focus on large creatures. In reality, large creatures are merely the long tail in a distribution (of complexity) that is adequately explained by a random walk. Meaning: no drive or force creating more complex organisms is needed to explain the distribution and pattern of life on Earth.

    do you have any glimmer of a clue what the destination is?

    There’s no destination. No singular goal. Or maybe its equally as valid to say: there are a near-infinite number of destinations, many for every ecological niche, and as those niches change, so do the destinations. As Darwin said, evolution produces “endless forms most beautiful.”

  181. #182 Sean T
    May 22, 2015

    ?,

    I must say that the documentary you refer to must be a very piss poor piece of work. First of all the title – “Triumph of the Vertebrates”? Really? In what universe did vertebrates triumph? We think that only because we are looking at things through the lens of our own experience, but from a biological point of view, the vertebrates are a very minor branch of the evolutionary tree. There are far more species and individual organisms in the phylum arthropoda (includes insects, crustaceans, arachnids, scorpions, centipedes, and millipedes), for instance, than there are in phylum chordate (the vertebrates). Even more prominent are the members of kingdom Monera, (the bacteria and blue-green algae). Further, vertebrates are much more fragile in terms of their environments than are the monera. Bacteria can live in all kinds of environments that would wipe out most vertebrates. Biologically, bacteria are likely the most successful group of organisms, not vertebrates.

    On to the “summary of human evolution” that you claim the documentary presents. Very flawed. No creature turns into any other creature. POPULATIONS of creatures become isolated from each other. These populations change and at some point become different enough that we regard them as separate species. One characteristic of a speciation is that the members of the two new species cannot successfully interbreed. That leads to further genetic isolation and therefore changes that can occur independently among the populations. We did not turn into monkeys (the correct version would be apes, BTW. Monkeys are not on the direct hominid lineage that produced modern humans). Two populations of primates long ago became isolated. In one of these populations, traits such as modified pelvis structure, larger skull, more delicate jawbone, larger brains, etc. arose. That population was the one ancestral to modern humans. In the other, changes occurred that led to the traits of modern chimpanzees. It was not true that a chimp turned into a human.

    If you are still insistent upon the notion of “kinds” please do yourself a favor an take a good look at the link I posted for you above (#113). I would assume that a universal belief among creationists would be that humans and apes represent separate “kinds”. Therefore, there could be no confusion about whether a given individual organism is an ape or a human. That link displays skulls of various different hominid species. It also gives the opinion of creationists about which “kind” the species belongs to. For several of them, creationist cannot agree on which “kind” is the right one. If “kinds” represent such a clear distinction, why is it that even creationists who believe in the notion of “kinds” cannot agree on the proper classification of organisms.

    Of course, biologist harbor no such notion of clear and immutable “kinds”. Intermediate forms are accepted and are indeed evidence of the type of genetic changes that I outlined in my second paragraph above. The link I provide shows a series of closely related organisms and it takes some pretty severe mental gymnastics to fail to see that the organisms are related and that somehow there is a hard and fast qualitative distinction separating those organisms into two distinct “kinds”.

  182. #183 Phil
    May 22, 2015

    SN,

    “I get the impression it means more than being killed, because mere death could lead to an afterlife. It seems more like eliminating from existence altogether. This lacking of existence would also be the case for a person yet to be conceived and born. Prior to these things, the person and his soul do not exist.”

    This is part of the case for annihilation, and it can be fleshed out a lot more. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 lists the three elements of a believer; body, soul and spirit. The last one is exclusive to regenerated humans who have been born again (John 1:12-13; 3:3-7).

    Unless this happens to a person, they are dichotomous, body and soul only, without a spiritual dimension. Everyone since Adam was, or is, subject to physical death, and with One exception, dead bodies are gone forever; no longer in composition; out of existence. But souls live on. (Luke 16:22-26 reveals a lot about the sensory attributes of the soul.)

    Conceptually, the souls of unbelievers could be subject to the second death which is mentioned Revelation 20, and this could be a final and complete death.

    There is a lot to this study, and I am by no means dogmatic about all this, but as I noted above, a case can be made for the idea.

    “What do you make of Jesus’ words about Judas Iscariot? “The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”…It sounds like Jesus is saying Judas’ state is worse than annihilation (i.e. no longer existing, as before you’re born).”

    Judas is a curious figure, and he will no doubt suffer peculiar punishment. There is a theory that associates him with the antichrist. Both are, and nobody else is, called “the son of perdition” (Comp John 17:12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). Revelation 13 shows the beast coming from somewhere, and a theologian by the name of Arthur Pink developed a case for the beast actually being Judas revived. I don’t know, but it is interesting.

    ===

    Sean T,

    “The link I provide shows a series of closely related organisms and it takes some pretty severe mental gymnastics to fail to see that the organisms are related”

    The article you linked to does not mention or consider size, whether the specimens were juveniles or adults, dating or locales. This, like most everything else TO pimps, is crafted deceit. There is considerable subjectivity involved in reassembling, artistically rendering or interpreting skull fragments. The changing storybook about Neanderthal, which had larger braincases than we do, well illustrates that the study of hominid fossils is a confused enterprise.

    The most severe mental gymnastics come into play in trying to link fossils like these together with changes resulting from DNA replication errors, which TO writers will never mention. If you disagree, then perhaps you will undertake to address what kind of mutations, actually what series of random mutations, would enlarge the brains and the skulls simultaneously.

  183. #184 sean samis
    May 22, 2015

    I asked in #162:

    Did your God intend for us to disobey?
    Did your God intend for evil to occur?
    Did your God think his messages to us were clear?
    Did your God think we’d do better than we actually are?
    Does your God value the freedom of the sinner more than the welfare of the sinner’s victim? As an extreme example; does your God care more for the rapist’s freedom than for the victim’s welfare?

    See Noevo answered in #167 “in order, No; No; Yes; No; No; No.

    OK. So SN’s God …
    did not intend for us to disobey,
    did not intend for evil to occur,
    thought His messages were clear,

    and yet SN’s God …
    did not expect us to better than we are,
    and does not value the freedom of the sinner above the welfare of the victim.

    Added together, SN’s God appears to be incompetent, and we are flawed from the outset.

    SN’s God we are told did not intend for us to disobey nor intended for evil to occur and yet SN tells us that his God did not expect us to better than we are. In other words, SN’s God knowingly made us to do things He did not want.

    Worse, SN’s God thought His messages were clear and continues to believe this in spite of 5,000 years of failure (per SN in #74). An old saying about the definition of insanity comes to mind; perhaps SN’s God is not incompetent but merely insane… Hmm.

    If we are doing things SN’s God did not intend OR EXPECT, if we are not able to understand messages SN’s God thought were clear, then that fits the very definition of flawed; of being CREATED FLAWED.

    That SN’s God values the welfare of the victim above that of the sinner’s welfare, and yet does nothing to stop crime indicates further incompetence (or evil) by SN’s God. All He’d have to do is drop a dime, and much suffering would be alleviated. But no, SN’s God cannot be bothered.

    Blaming the creation for how it was created is a hallmark of incompetence. So either SN is wrong, or SN’s God is incompetent, or both. Certainly the former, even SN acknowledges in #168 that most Christians and theists don’t agree with SN’s doctrinal statements.

    SN’s arguments are simply not credible. SN’s religious doctrines are his own peculiar opinions. SN’s arguments for them are so poor that even most theists disagree with them. Those of us who are not theists are justified to be skeptical of them. I believe that SN’s description of his God is incompetent; that SN’s incompetence extends so far that there’s no point in trying to reason this out further except for the debating practice.

    See Noevo asked in #169 “Do you believe that this life of ours on earth is our eternity? That is, do you believe that the only ‘eternity’ we will experience is in our life on earth?

    I don’t know if there’s anything “after life”; I don’t have any credible evidence that there is.

    But either way, it does not matter to this topic. If there is eternal damnation, then it is excessive, futile, and evil. If there is eternal salvation, then suffering now is unnecessary and therefore evil.

    sean s.

  184. #185 sean samis
    May 22, 2015

    Phil wrote that “there is, in my view, a strong scriptural case for the possibility of annihilation rather than eternal punishment.

    I’m glad you acknowledge this problem, but if you give it much thought then you must realize that this problem persists even if eternal punishment is replaced by annihilation. What can the annihilated sinner learn from their errors? What does your God gain? Did He not know who would and would not be saved?

    Humans rely on punishment as a teaching tool because, being mere humans, our choices are few. No deity can make that excuse.

    sean s.

  185. #186 Phil
    May 22, 2015

    sean samis,

    “What can the annihilated sinner learn from their errors?”

    Nothing, but you seem to think that it is all about rehab, and it isn’t.

    “Did He not know who would and would not be saved?”

    Of course He does. Would you like to see how we know this?

    —-“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

    —-“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”

    —-“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”

    —-“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…”

    —-“brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation”

    I expect that you will be irritated with the idea that the elect are chosen but the evidence of that having happened is belief. It looks like this:

    —-“…as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

    That was Acts13:48b, a very important verse in understanding the dynamic.

    Don’t tell me, let me guess: If you were God, you wouldn’t have done it this way, because you would be fair, and you would be sweet to everyone. But this is because you’ve been steeped in ideas like conceptual equality, where losers get gold medals. You seem to think God should be an amalgam of Ghandi, Santa Claus, MLK, Bernie Sanders and perhaps Barney Frank. But He is not. Unlike the mutations deity, He is anything but random. And when the smoke clears, He will have been impeccably just…”after the counsel of His own will”.

  186. #187 sean samis
    May 22, 2015

    Phil wrote in #186 “I expect that you will be irritated with the idea that the elect are chosen.

    Not irritated; offended by the manifest injustice of it. Your God creates people to whom He gives hope and then annihilates them (or punishes them for eternity) and they never had a chance. They exist, endure the travails of life for no purpose, and then are disposed of.

    That’s not any kind of justice or “tough love”, it’s just evil.

    Phil also wrote that “when the smoke clears, He will have been impeccably just…’after the counsel of His own will’.

    That’s laughable.
    SATAN IS IMPECCABLY JUST AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILL!
    SO YOUR GOD IS MORALLY INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM SATAN!
    What a joke!

    Your God cannot be meaningfully just unless his “justice” is measured against the justice He purportedly demands of us and that we demand of each other. If your God fails the Golden Rule then He simply is blameworthy; just like the rest of us. You endeavor to find your God just by holding Him to a Lower Standard.

    Have a good weekend.

    sean s.

  187. #188 MNb
    May 22, 2015

    @131 SN: Like the true creacrapper you’re dishonest. You minequoted, which is a violation of your very own 9th commandment. You omitted

    “You can safely replace experiment with observation.”
    So this

    “Because no experiment has ever produced it.”
    is irrelevant. And this

    “Nor has Evolution ever been observed.”
    is simply not true. Speciation has been observed. Mutations have been observed. Fossils have been dug up – hence observed.
    Then you finish with this brilliant piece of creacrap:

    “I think science – real science – is wonderful.”
    ie the no true science fallacy.

    @133 Phil: thanks for displaying your ignorance. I simply don’t need to add anything to that wonderful blooper of yours. I could suggest you to consult some actual scientists, but I trust you not do so no matter what.

  188. #189 MNb
    May 22, 2015

    Oh, my dear foolish SN, I almost forgot. You could say indeed that science is build on philosophy. Shall we get specific? Theoretical science is build on the philosophy of Descartes. Empirical science is build on the philosophy of Hume. They have been modified, but let’s skip that for the moment. Note that the names of your two big heroes Aristoteles and Thomas of Aquino are totally lacking.
    That’s because they are either wrong or irrelevant for science – or both.
    Thanks for confirming by argument.

  189. #190 MNb
    May 22, 2015

    General question: have more people noticed how many apologists need to declare how much they love wonderful science?
    I don’t. I think biochemistry a complete bore. I just accept its results.
    To me statements like “I think science is wonderful” are a trigger warning for “but I reject it when I don’t like its results”.

  190. #191 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 22, 2015

    To Phil #177
    Compassion! Understanding of the point about what punishment is supposed to achieve! Perhaps See Noevo would understand it if you explained it; I daresay I can’t be thought to be making a good point since I am suspected of being a pervert…
    To See Noevo #175
    Pease allow me to introduce myself, I’m… a straight person in a thirty-year long monogamous marriage who was not raised in any particular faith. Can I guess about you? A Catholic priest, possibly, as you like to use the simile of disciplining children but you seem to have absolutely no idea as to what that really entails and what results you will get if you are viciously harsh.
    “So, I’ll ask again: Rules such as what?”
    And I’ll say again: HIS rules, i.e. God’s rules, which you claim are pretty much represented in YOUR scripture, and which Christians claim are the objective rules for the entire universe and beyond. Of course other cultures have other rules; my point is that Christians do not think these are the right rules, or God’s rules. Therefore, God must be offended by these transgressions, even if they are unintentional. If these infractions are serious enough to call for capital punishment on earth, and deserve eternal torture, it just seems peculiar to me that God should allow something to persist on earth which is vile, corrupting and grievous to him in one part of the globe, while determinedly sending his envoys to aggressively wipe it out in another. Granted, it can strike me as peculiar ‘til the cows come home, and this might still actually be the nature of any putative God.
    The fact that the church celebrates motherhood doesn’t impress me in the slightest; I know they want good little soldiers for God- Abbé Groulx’s “Revanche des Berceaux”, or Revenge of the Cradle. Please don’t compare apples to oranges with silliness about men bearing children. They cannot carry children in a uterus, but they can certainly have and enjoy children. Women cannot have and enjoy a variety of careers in a variety of countries, even if they need them to feed their families. The satisfactions of parenthood are available for men.
    I don’t remember if they were specifically Catholic, but I did see news items about Christians who had their children kidnapped and spirited away to places that “deprogrammed” them when they did not follow their families’ Christian rules. We’re talking about hiring people who were strangers to these teens who bundled them into cars with physical restraints and then drove them for hours to their destination without explaining what was happening. I don’t know if you’ve ever loved a child, but the people who plan such things deserve to lose their children and should be considered dangerous.
    I am actually fascinated by the question of what to do about bad behaviour, and I hear a lot of nonsense from both right and left wing camps. Some points I would make: we don’t necessarily know how much biology affects some behaviours, but that doesn’t make the person any less of a danger to others, and both aspects should be considered when imposing a sentence. Much as my gut reaction to these Christian “deprogrammers”, or anyone who would terrorize children is that I would not be sorry to see any of them run over by a bus, that kind of emotional lashing out is not a practical solution. It is all about risk: balancing the possibilities of rehabilitation with the risk to offenders’ potential targets. Ignorance and superstition should not come into this kind of decision. I don’t have a TV subscription, so I don’t know the shows to which you refer. As to comfort in prisons, I don’t really care how someone like Charles Manson spends his time in prison, and whether it’s on a bed of nails or clean sheets. If we are going to keep people incarcerated for a lifetime, we should not keep them like pigs. We must be realistic about the budget. We should not allow them to pull in acolytes, either. If we are going to execute them, we should ruddy well not make mistakes. I would give first degree murderers the choice between death or lifelong imprisonment, because I don’t think captivity is necessarily more humane.
    The fact that homosexuals are a minority “outside the norm”, has nothing to with whether or not they are despised. People with blue eyes are a minority. Please listen to the point: other cultures have not made homosexuality taboo. Many have never felt they received instructions to make it taboo. The reason your doctrinaire condemnation appals me is that I know homosexual people who live in happy, monogamous relationships where they bring out the best in their mates. You may equate it with prostitution and murder (or suggestively link it in a sentence) but these people are not harming or exploiting anyone, are volunteers in their communities, productive, and compassionate.
    I have not had time to investigate your links, but I am aware that the drive for conformity comes from left and right. I just hate mindlessness and unfairness, no matter which direction it comes from.

  191. #192 Michael Fugate
    May 23, 2015

    So nice to see a “Catholic” country like Ireland vote for marriage equality. The lies and distortions of “think tanks” like the Iona Institute no longer work as they did in California when proposition 8 was on the ballot – amazing how much the world has changed in 6 years.

  192. #193 Phil
    May 24, 2015

    Yes, and good to see that the concerns of a severely oppressed 2-3% are getting proper attention. Perhaps now, they can shift the focus the the remaining paraphiles who continue to be marginalized, ostracized and disenfranchised. Nobody should have to endure such things on account of who they are attracted to, be it children, animals or even dead bodies. An orientation is an orientation, and the sooner broad approval and liberation comes, the better.

    I scaled up Ireland’s national debt to ours, and I calculated they would be about $16.7 trillion relative dollars in the hole. (You can check the figures for yourself. I can make mistakes when I’m nauseated.) But you have to wonder about priorities when people are preoccupied with shit like this.

  193. #194 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 24, 2015

    To Phil #193
    I guess we all have differing levels of compassion. You’re a little put off by the idea of eternal hellfire as revenge for non-compliance, but apparently perfectly all right with one member of a gay couple (who have been together for decades) dying intestate and having his or her estate scooped up by family; funeral and interment arranged by them, even if said family have been estranged for years and the person would have preferred his or her mate to be the inheritor. If you check out the current price for lawyers and notaries, you will see that the option of an ironclad will that bypasses the blood relatives is not available to everyone.
    The day that children, animals and corpses have the same capacities as an adult to give meaningful consent to sex, then they can go ahead and have it with the adult of their choice.
    Every time any person does not have civil rights that are the same as the general population we should be concerned, whether they are 2.5 or 25 percent of the population. Legal challenges have been mounted, and governments are responding. When some serious potential problem that you have only represents 2.5 percent of the population, although it directly affects your well-being, we can blow it off, right?

  194. #195 See Noevo
    May 24, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism #194:

    “To Phil #193
    I guess we all have differing levels of compassion. You’re a little put off by the idea of eternal hellfire as revenge for non-compliance…”

    I’m more than a little put off by the idea, too.
    That’s why I’m doing what I can to keep others and me out of it.

    As far as all that legal stuff, I think a person should be able to will his estate to whomever he/she/other desires.

    “The day that children, animals and corpses have the same capacities as an adult to give meaningful consent to sex, then they can go ahead and have it with the adult of their choice.”

    Don’t forget bridges: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2356774/Australian-woman-Jodi-Rose-marries-bridge-France–gets-mayors-blessing.html
    They’re hard all the time.

    And gay threesomes: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/03/05/worlds-first-three-way-gay-marriage-takes-place-in-thailand/

    A couple winters ago, a guy confronted me on the sidewalk in Philadelphia and asked me “Do you support gay rights?” (He was carrying a pro-gay rights sign.)

    I told him “No, I don’t. I support equal rights for all.”

    And I continued on the way.

  195. #196 ?
    May 25, 2015

    Eric,

    You skipped over the questions I cared most about, dear brother. I asked you about that TRex tissue (I think 4 times now) and you haven’t so much as commented – and you’ve refused to tell me how long it typically takes collagen to decay. Yet, you proceed to say: “…it is the product of 3.5 billion years of selection, competition, and descent with modification just as you are” as if you’ve said something factual. If you don’t have those 3.5 billion years, everything you typed is dung and you’ve wasted precious time, brain power, and life on this nonsense. Shut me up by answering my question, please: does it make any sense to find fresh dinosaur tissue in the 21st century according to your evolutionary timeline? Educate me.

    I also asked you about science’s explanation for these fruits: conscience, justice, love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, etc., and no answer there either – skipped right over it. How did these things “evolve” into our lives or do you not know?

    “Scientific theories don’t have to ‘head’ anywhere (in terms of theology). They need to be accurate and useful descriptions of the observed world. If one or more of them doesn’t lead to a metaphysics or doesn’t lead to a specific metaphysics you like, that’s just tough luck.”

    I wasn’t as concerned with what science had to say about heaven, souls and/or metaphysics (I know who I’m dealing with here) as I was in getting a projection for the anatomy and capabilities of human beings in future generations. Contrary to your whole “we’re on the same evolutionary level as fungi” nonsense, there is quite a disparity between humans and fish or humans and apes for that matter (in terms of creativity and intelligence). So, my questions were to get an idea for how much more creative, more intelligent, more sophisticated our species will become – considering we made it this far from biological goop. Of course, I believe we have those attributes because we’re made in the image of God – and He is love, obviously creative, kind, good, just, etc., and subsequently gifted us with these things, but I was curious if evolutionary science had put any thought into predictions or projections. I see you only have “blah blah blah” for an answer there as well, because in truth; the “image of God” is about as far as you can go on an “evolutionary” scale. In other words, we started out as what we are.

    “As Darwin said, ‘evolution produces endless forms most beautiful.”

    As God said; “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    Sean T,

    “I must say that the documentary you refer to must be a very piss poor piece of work.”

    Oh yes, we’re in agreement on that. We finally agree on something!!! That’s the good news, the bad news is if you, Eric or Darwin himself had produced and presented it, I would have still labeled the content as piss poor and false.

    I’ve lost faith in getting an answer to any of the crucial questions from Eric (but, maybe he’ll prove me wrong), so can you help me? Do you have an answer for these aspects of life: love, morality, joy, conscience, peace, goodness, kindness, etc.? These things are important to most people and I’d assume to you too, so can evolution explain where they came from?

  196. #197 Phil
    May 25, 2015

    “…having his or her estate scooped up by family; funeral and interment arranged by them, even if said family have been estranged for years and the person would have preferred his or her mate to be the inheritor.”

    Relatively easy arrangements can be made. I would recommend a living trust.

  197. #198 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 25, 2015

    To Phil #197
    “While a trust sounds appealing, there are drawbacks. A living trust is more expensive to set up than a typical will because it must be actively managed after it is created. Most importantly, however, a living trust is useless unless it is funded. A living trust only can control those assets that have been placed into it. If your assets have not been transferred or if you die without funding the trust, the trust will be of no benefit as your estate will still be subject to probate and there may be significant estate tax issues.”
    “This article does not address all the intricacies associated with last wills and living trusts. Consulting with a competent attorney can help you make the right decision.”
    Source: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/will-vs-living-trust-whats-best-for-you
    Typical cost of consulting with an attorney where I live: $100.00 per hour and up. Legal Aid is available to the truly indigent, but at risk of being defamatory, proper case management is a bit of a crapshoot. (This is mostly because of time constraints, not lawyers’ knowledge.)
    Cost of a living trust according to the website with this information: $249.00 and up. For me, (and many other people), this is more expensive than my groceries for the month, and that is the low end. Poor people may have less to leave but it is therefore needed all the more – replacing furniture and appliances is generally out of the question.
    I have worked in a family law office, and I don’t know how many times the lawyer had to tell people “Common law is not the same as marriage. Common law marriage does not even exist in the following places…” Civil unions and living trusts are not the same either.
    What you are proposing is so-called “separate but equal” treatment, but anything that is more costly for another group is patently NOT equal. This, of course also takes for granted that the population that you have consigned to a different set of rules are actually educated enough to know how to make good use of them. There are also fewer precedents, and the legal system tends to draws out disputes when this is the case. Effectively, you create a system where only wealthy, educated homosexuals are likely to enjoy the same legal protection as you.
    To See Noevo #195
    The above addressed to Phil may help you understand the “legal stuff”. If you like anecdotes, here’s one: A woman who had been cohabiting with her schizophrenic de facto spouse for several years went to the hospital after he had been admitted by emergency services in a state of psychosis. She (his primary caregiver) was refused information by the nurse on duty because she admitted to not being married to him, in what was probably a case of cover-your-ass mixed with religious disapproval. Subsequently, she scraped up the money required for an ultra-cheap wedding (not easy when your mate doesn’t work), and was thereby protected from all future officious dimwits. A gay friend whose lover is schizophrenic did not have this option, although he is the primary caregiver and has committed the same number of years to his mate. Equal rights? You don’t know the meaning of the expression.
    I don’t know how complicated the estate settling of your biblical patriarchs with their multiple wives and concubines was (not to mention their sex lives), but various Christians see them as shining examples nonetheless. As far as inanimate objects go, as long as you own it you can attempt sexual congress with it if it pleases you. And if somebody would like to marry my toaster and leave it a million dollars, I’d be delighted to be the trustee.

  198. #199 dean
    May 25, 2015

    “That’s why I’m doing what I can to keep others and me out of it.”

    Except for the fact that you’re a congenital liar.

  199. #200 Michael Fugate
    May 25, 2015

    How long does it take collagen to decay?

    It depends.

  200. #201 Phil
    May 25, 2015

    AE,

    “Cost of a living trust according to the website with this information: $249.00 and up.”

    Done correctly, it will cost a lot more than that, and you do have to be diligent about spelling everything out and moving assets to the trust. There are attorneys and management companies that specialize in LT’s. Money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

  201. #202 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 25, 2015

    To Phil #201
    I did kind of imagine that “starting from” coming from a law firm wasn’t a good sign. “Rights” that cost thousands to exercise aren’t really rights at all. Given the number of people living well below the poverty line, I maintain that this is an option that is not available to many. I appreciate your honesty about the cost, however. A lot of people who are Libertarian or Conservative get very annoyed when the government is cavalier about spending someone else’s (i.e. their) money; I wish they could extend the same courtesy to gay people – or any other social issue where it is suggested that other people have money to throw at the solution.

  202. #203 See Noevo
    May 25, 2015

    To Auntie Eurocentrism:

    You said “Japan only had laws against homosexuality for a few years (ten or less), and those were a direct result of Western influence in the nineteenth century. For centuries, a variety of shoguns, samurai, writers, etc, etc. had same-sex lovers with impunity (and in some cases, great honours). Taoists and Buddhists and Hindus have had no such proscriptions. The Inuit and Native Americans met Christian evangelistic attitudes to sexuality with bewilderment and/or resistance. While not having the same type of written legal documentation for Westerners to reference as other cultures, we can see from pantheons of hermaphroditic and two-spirit figures that they had a more fluid idea of sexuality than the Abrahamic faiths. The same goes for Africa before white incursions, and even for some time thereafter.”

    But did any of these societies or groups – pre-19th century Japan, the Taoists and Buddhists and Hindus, Inuit and Native Americans, Africa before white incursions – recognize “marriage” for homosexuals?

  203. #204 Phil
    May 26, 2015

    “Given the number of people living well below the poverty line, I maintain that this is an option that is not available to many.”

    Good grief. If they are living below the poverty line, I don’t think the distribution of their estate will be a significant issue. A managed LT might set a person back for around half of what a typical funeral will cost.

    “A lot of people who are Libertarian or Conservative get very annoyed when the government is cavalier about spending someone else’s (i.e. their) money”

    We are due a very painful reckoning. I suspect that you are not at all prepared for it. But at least you’ve identified who you intend to blame when it happens.

    “I wish they could extend the same courtesy to gay people”

    Why? Given terminally ill or crippled children, blind or deaf folks, veteran suicides, all kinds of people who have all kinds of problems, what is it about this tiny, screeching, abnormal element that has captured your bleeding heart?

  204. #205 dean
    May 26, 2015

    “We are due a very painful reckoning.”
    That clearly shows why you are a frigging idiot.

    “Given terminally ill or crippled children, blind or deaf folks, veteran suicides, all kinds of people who have all kinds of problems, what is it about this tiny, screeching, abnormal element”
    And that summarizes how truly despicable you are. How did you become such a horrid person?

  205. #206 Sean T
    May 26, 2015

    ?,

    Why do you ask for evolution to answer those questions? You don’t require answers to those questions from relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic theory, germ theory of disease, or any other scientific theory, do you? Those questions are outside the realm of evolutionary theory. (Although some progress as to explaining WHY we behave in ways that can be described using those terms can be made from evolutionary hypotheses). Ultimately, though, that’s just not what evolution is about. Evolution is about why there is all the diversity of life that exists on earth instead of just bacteria or just algae or just something else. That’s it. Evolution is the explanation for the origin of the different species that exist. It does not cover the origin of life, the meaning of life or any of the deep philosophical questions that people are concerned with. It is a scientific theory, limited in scope and applicability as are all scientific theories.

  206. #207 eric
    May 26, 2015

    ? @196:

    Shut me up by answering my question, please: does it make any sense to find fresh dinosaur tissue in the 21st century according to your evolutionary timeline? Educate me.

    Okay, look here. Then go out and educate yourself: that article is from 2013 and could’ve been easily found if you’d just googled “t-rex soft tissue.”

    So, my questions were to get an idea for how much more creative, more intelligent, more sophisticated our species will become

    There is no overarching direction in evolution; we will only become more creative, or intelligent, or sophisticated as a species if the people with hose traits are more successful (than others) at leaving successful offspring, and if those traits are genetic.

    I was curious if evolutionary science had put any thought into predictions or projections.

    I don’t know of any “hard science” predictions related to those subjects; those are fairly abstract concepts. One of the more recent trends in human evolution is the ability of adults to produce lactase and thus digest milk products. We’re up to 35% of the world’s population being able to do that, and AFAIK the numbers are increasing rather than decreasing.

  207. #208 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 26, 2015

    To Phil #204
    I may have been mistaken about that flash of compassion I thought I saw. My heart does bleed equally for the terminally ill, the blind, the deaf, and the suicidal veterans who are also “abnormal” if you speak English; their situations are not the norm. They are in fact, with the exception of the terminally ill, tiny minorities. Perhaps when you refer to homosexuals you mean “unnatural”, which is also highly disputable but undoubtedly what you have been taught. You have also been taught that they are less deserving than the other groups you mentioned, which is why you would like to put them at the bottom of the priority list.
    You remind me of the friend who suggested I get an expensive piece of technological equipment because it was a better value than the cheaper one; he couldn’t conceive of the fact that I had X dollars to spend and simply could not extend my budget to a larger purchase. What do you mean by “I don’t think the distribution of their estate will be a significant issue”? Significant to whom? If someone comes and takes away the washing machine, the second-hand computer, and my mate’s meagre savings because they officially belonged to him/her, and I live at a level where it is a challenge to replace walking shoes or eyeglasses, or repair appliances, will this not affect my life? Will I not, if I have just lost the person I love, be as tempted to put my head in the oven as your veteran exemplar? Why are you so annoyed by the “screeching” of people frightened by the potential for worse injustices than they have already suffered? You appear to be quite comfortable instructing them to take expensive measures you do not personally have to bother with. If you were of a religion that the majority considered infidel, and as such not qualified to inherit if one of their kind made the mistake of cohabiting with you, and they came and removed half of the belongings you shared with your mate upon her death, I daresay you would screech too. If you had been born into poverty instead of into the relative affluence you obviously enjoy (as no poor person would consider thousands of dollars a mere bagatelle), you would probably screech at being told to spend where other people can save.
    To See Noevo #203
    The Native Americans did have ceremonies that allowed a man to live with another as his spouse. A Zuni Berdache called We’wha was a spiritual leader married to a man, if you want a specific example. In the Ming dynasty, ceremonies coupling two females and two females were performed. The Theodosian Code prohibited same-sex marriage in 342 AD, before which, such unions were legal in Ancient Rome. Japan had (and has) the Koseki system, where one could add a person to one’s family register. Before that in Japan, arranged marriages were generally the ones sanctioned, and heterosexuals as well as homosexuals who refused them could only cohabit without benefit of law.
    Regardless of what marriage has looked like historically and elsewhere – although it would do you good to stop navel-gazing – societies can decide to be more egalitarian for ethical reasons. The arguments “We have always done it this way” and “I’m in the majority” are fallacious, as you might discover if you try to undergo 18th century dentistry or move to a place where you are no longer in the majority.

  208. #209 Phil
    May 26, 2015

    “They soaked one group of blood vessels in iron-rich liquid made of red blood cells and another group in water. The blood vessels left in water turned into a disgusting mess within days. The blood vessels soaked in red blood cells remain recognizable after sitting at room temperature for two years.”

    So that’s it. “scientists had thought proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions”, but since blood vessels are still recognizable after two years, this means that soft tissues can last for 65 million years.

    That is some heavy-duty work right there, and now we know we should ignore taphonomists since the rigors of science have proven that they are as stupid as rocks.

  209. #210 Auntie Eurocentrism
    May 26, 2015

    correction to post #208: It should be
    “In the Ming dynasty, ceremonies coupling two males and two females.”
    …more tired than I thought…

  210. #211 Michael Fugate
    May 26, 2015

    Here are the big problems with creationism as advocated by phil, see noevo, and ? formerly know as Happy Easter: 1) creationism is not science – it might be true, but even if it is, it is still not science. It wasn’t determined by scientific discovery and was recorded long before humans ever developed scientific thinking. 2) If it were true, it would render all of science useless. Science as practiced the world over points overwhelmingly to and old earth and descent with modification. If evolution were wrong then all science becomes untrustworthy. You can’t pick and choose the scientific results that match your religious or political beliefs – which is what creationists would want you to do.

  211. #212 eric
    May 26, 2015

    Phil:

    The blood vessels soaked in red blood cells remain recognizable after sitting at room temperature for two years.”

    So that’s it. “scientists had thought proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions”, but since blood vessels are still recognizable after two years, this means that soft tissues can last for 65 million years.

    What’s the problem here? They observed the iron slowed down cellular decay by (approximately) a factor of 365. Then you get incredulous when they conclude it could be responsible for preservation 65x longer than expected?

    What, did you expect us to watch red blood cells for 65 million years? Chemists have been doing kinetics studies on loads of stuff for decades; if you show some additive slows down the rate of a chemical reaction in the lab by a factor of 100, its perfectly sensible to expect that when that additive gets into the same sort of reactants in nature, its going to slow down that same reaction by that same factor of 100.

  212. #213 sean samis
    May 26, 2015

    MNb wrote in #189 that “Theoretical science is built on the philosophy of Descartes. Empirical science is built on the philosophy of Hume.

    I think it’s better to say that Hume and Descartes’s philosophies describe those areas of science, but those areas are not built on either of those philosophies.

    I doubt most scientists spent much time studying Descartes or Hume when learning their professions. They built their practices on practical and logical needs, not on the basis of any philosophy.

    Philosophy is to science what ornithology is to birds: descriptive, not foundational, much less necessary.

    sean s.

  213. #214 Michael Fugate
    May 26, 2015

    Philosophy is to science what ornithology is to birds: descriptive, not foundational, much less necessary.

    Seriously? Someone needs to get out more.

  214. #215 couchloc
    May 26, 2015

    Descartes’ philosophy is central to the development of science in the 1600s through today, because his views were the basis for explaining how scientific explanations work. Just see the book by historian Peter Dear on modern science, which has a whole chapter on Descartes.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/revolutionizing-the-sciences-peter-dear/1101640556?ean=9780691142067

  215. #216 Phil
    May 26, 2015

    eric,

    “What’s the problem here?”

    Oh, there isn’t a problem now. The problem has been disposed of. If blood vessels can still be recognized after 700 days, what reason would anyone have to think that they shouldn’t be intact after 23 billion days?

  216. #217 See Noevo
    May 26, 2015

    To eric #212:

    Skip the 65 million year soft tissue issue.
    That’s child’s play.

    How about a 360 million year soft tissue issue?

    Title: “The Oldest Shrimp (Devonian: Famennian) and Remarkable Preservation of Soft Tissue”

    “… The shrimp specimen is remarkably preserved; it has been phosphatized, and the muscles of the pleon have been preserved completely enough that discrete muscle bands are discernable.”

    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1651/09-3268.1

  217. #218 eric
    May 27, 2015

    Phil @216: you seem to think a bigger number changes the science. It doesn’t. If the presence of iron or some other substance slows a reaction rate by two orders of magnitude, that’s going to apply just as well to reactions that normally take 1 mya (now taking 100 mya) as it will reactions that normally take 1 millisecond (now taking 100 milliseconds).

    @217: LOL your quote contains the scientific explanation for this unusual fossilization, yet you still somehow miss it. From your own citation: “it has been phosphatized.

  218. #219 Phil
    May 27, 2015

    eric,

    “If the presence of iron or some other substance slows a reaction rate..”

    This is just like Lenksi’s bacteria cultures. It is grasping at straws. What was found in MOR 1125 shouldn’t be there.

  219. #220 ?
    May 27, 2015

    I lost my ability to present counter arguments fellas, but glad to see the discussion going strong. Do check out what creationists have to say as you do your google searches, Eric.

  220. #221 sean samis
    May 27, 2015

    Regarding #214, as always Michael, the brilliance of your logic and the charm of your persuasion astounds us all. We bow to your genius.

    Not.

    You may be right, but you give us no reason to think so.

    Regarding #215; thank you couchloc, I will check out the book you recommend. Hopefully it’s available on Kindle.

    sean s.

  221. #224 ?
    May 27, 2015

    Sean T,

    “Why do you ask for evolution to answer those questions?”

    Evolution/materialism has (in some cases) been sold as a thorough answer for LIFE and can (in some cases) effectively convince the gullible that God, their origin and destination is not of importance. I’m concerned about that. Just digging for the thorough and ABSOLUTE truth – for the sake of knowing.

  222. #225 MNb
    May 27, 2015

    @213 Sean S: you fail to recognize how Descartes and Hume influenced the way scientists worked. Before Hume it was still acceptible to include some supernatural elements (like Newton did for instance in his model of the Solar System); after him that practice was put in the dustbin called pseudoscience. Your doubt is irrelevant – scientists do not have to know why indeed. They only have to remember that the scientific method is only about naturalism.
    As for that silly quote of yours I refer to

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2014/06/23/physicists-should-stop-saying-silly-things-about-philosophy/

  223. #226 sean samis
    May 27, 2015

    MNb;

    I recognize that the nature of science (as an activity) has changed over time, but I am skeptical that philosophers influenced it as much as recorded it. I’m sure there are philosophers who think they did. Success has many fathers. Couchloc suggested a resource on the topic; I’ll follow-up on that.

    As for your reference to a “silly quote of yours” I am not sure what you refer to; there was no quote in my comment #213.

    Perhaps you dispute my comment that “Philosophy is to science what ornithology is to birds: descriptive, not foundational, much less necessary.” Ah well, it’s not a quote from some physicist, or even someone else.

    And if people should stop saying things about philosophy because you think they are silly, you should lead by example. If my comment is wrong, you could say something non-silly against it; a link to someone else’s opinion is pretty lame.

    If we wanted to end the speaking of silly things about philosophy, we’d need to muzzle nearly all the philosophers.

    sean s.

  224. #227 See Noevo
    May 27, 2015

    To eric #218:

    “LOL your quote contains the scientific explanation for this unusual fossilization, yet you still somehow miss it. From your own citation: “it has been phosphatized.”

    You’re probably right.
    They probably should have said something like ‘The Oldest Shrimp (Devonian: Famennian) and Remarkable Preservation of IMPRESSIONS of Soft Tissue’.

    But it just said “Preservation of Soft Tissue”.

    Can you even imagine a more misleading headline?
    The creationists probably ran wild with it. The careless or stupid editor was inadvertently giving ammo to those crazy creat… wait…maybe the stupid headline was NOT inadvertent. Maybe it was a trick, getting creationists to take the bait of the headline, and then snapping the trap with ‘How stupid can you creationists be? Don’t you even read beyond the headline?’

    But that’s getting a little crazy and conspiratorial. Better to think it was just an excusable mistake for a precision-minded science mag editor. Do you think he/she was fired?

    Anyway, what a relief, huh?
    I mean, how would you and they have possibly been able to explain the existence of soft tissue – not an imprint in bone/“stone” of soft tissue, but rather actual tangible soft tissue, in a fossil supposedly millions of years old? Or rather, 360 million years old.

    Whew! Thank goodness you don’t have to do that. That would be a like a migraine and nightmare rolled into one. I mean, for an evolutionist.

  225. #228 couchloc
    May 27, 2015

    sean samis,

    As a philosopher, I would merely suggest you look at the book from Dear on the history of science. He can explain Descartes’ contributions better than me. For reference these include:

    -the theory of the reflex
    -co-discoverer of the sine law of refraction
    -developed an accurate model of the rainbow
    -invented coordinate geometry
    -invented vortex theory of physics (rival to Newton’s physics in 1600s)
    -created mechanistic theory of the body (dominant view of physiology in late 1800s)
    -early statement of analytical method in science (see his “Discourse”)

  226. #229 See Noevo
    May 27, 2015

    To couchloc #228:

    Much of your reference list looks more like scientific experimental or theoretical end results, as opposed to the philosophical underpinnings of that work.

    I thought your recent posts were trying to get at what is called “philosophy of science” (a subject which I think is very important yet greatly overlooked or ignored). I probably misunderstood.

  227. #230 couchloc
    May 27, 2015

    There is some truth to what you say. I was replying specifically to the point about whether philosophers “influenced” science or merely “recorded” it. The case of Descartes is complex. Several of his influences were experimental results, as you say. But some on the list were not merely experimental. The last two described are philosophically based because you can’t understand them apart from Descartes’ broader philosophy or philosophy of science.

  228. #231 Phil
    May 28, 2015

    SN,

    “You’re probably right.”

    I think Eric was correct about no original tissue being intact. But the paper you linked to hardly supports evolution. It says that:

    “The specimen lacks any diagnostic features of the primitive Paleozoic eumalacostracans, including caudal furca, but possesses the characteristic form and preservational style of the Superorder Eucarida, particularly the Superfamily Penaeoidea”

    In other words, it is supposed to be 360 million years old, but it doesn’t have the tail feathers, or anything else, to link it to supposed primitive ancestors. What it actually resembles is Penaeoidea, which can look like this

    http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Penaeoidea

    which looks like what we find in fish markets right now, which is a sorry commentary on descent with modification. It is just another stunning example of what the fossil record reveals…stasis, no evolution, bad luck in the mutations lottery.

  229. #232 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To Phil #231:

    You mean the shrimp that’s said to be 360 million years old is virtually indistinguishable from today’s shrimp?

    They must think they’re coelacanths.

    Amazing! Evolution is so full of surprises.

  230. #233 ?
    May 28, 2015

    I’m hungry!

  231. #234 eric
    May 28, 2015

    Phil:

    What was found in MOR 1125 shouldn’t be there.

    Are you saying that iron can’t possibly be incorporated into cellular structure or inhibit various reactions? On what basis – your say-so?

    Phil:

    It is just another stunning example of what the fossil record reveals…stasis, no evolution

    If it were static, we would fund those shrimp at all layers going back even to the Precambrian. We would find rabbits and flower pollen and humans all other sorts of modern plants and animals in all those early layers too. We don’t. The fact that we find an invertebrate sea critter first arising in the period known for its wide diversification of sea life doesn’t support YECism; it supports evolution. If you want support for YECism and stasis, find me a bunny from the Devonian. Find me tulip pollen from the Precambrian.

  232. #235 Sean T
    May 28, 2015

    ?,

    No, I believe evolution was immediately looked upon as a threat by religious believers. Sure, some people might have misunderstood evolution as having something to do with the origin of life, but not evolutionary scientists. Evolution does not encompass the origin of life. God creating life is perfectly compatible with evolution, for instance, so long as that life has the ability to reproduce inexact copies of itself and that those inexact copies have different levels of reproductive success.

    That’s all that is involved with evolution; changes occur and sometimes the new variant out-reproduces the old one. In that way, the new variant becomes dominant in the population. Such processes can be seen all the time in areas such as dog breeding and plant hybridization. The only difference is that the selective force in those instances is human intervention, whereas natural selection occurs in evolution. There’s no difference in the mechanism, though.

    In my personal experience, it’s always been religious believers who want to try to make it into more than what it is. I don’t expect you to give up your religious beliefs. I don’t know what your particular religious beliefs are, so forgive me if I’m wrong here, but I will assume for the sake of this post that you don’t insist on a literal reading of the Bible. If you do please ignore the following since it is inapplicable.

    Evolution is not really incompatible with religious belief. That’s the big lie that you’ve probably been told for a very long time. Even Pope John Paul II held that Catholics are free to regard evolution as true so long as they recognize that God infused humans with a soul. That proposition has its problems, and as an atheist, I don’t believe a bit of it, but it does not actually contradict the science of evolution.

    Consider the Biblical story of Genesis. Treat it as a poetic account of creation and you can get several main points from it.
    1. God created the universe – can’t really say this contradicts science since science can only deal with natural phenomena, not supernatural ones. Create me a God-o-meter so I can measure the influence of deities in the universe and maybe then we can do some science regarding the supernatural, but until then, such ideas are non-scientific. Not that I believe this, but it doesn’t directly contradict science.

    2. God created all the species of organisms on earth. At first blush, this might seem to contradict science, but it really does not. Consider an analogy. I build a machine. That machine produces widgets. Who created the widgets? Would we really say that the machine created the widgets, or would we say I did? I would maintain that I was the one who created them. Analogously, it does not contradict the science of evolution to say that God created the conditions that would lead to the evolution of the various species of life we observe. If God indeed set up his “machine’ and allowed it to run, and the result was the various different species of life, including humans, why would we not say that God created all of it?

    3. The creation of the universe involved a process. Did you never wonder why it took God six days in the Bible to create everything? Why would Genesis indicate quite clearly that the creation was not instantaneous? Surely, a God that can simply speak things into existence would not have to take any time at all to finish His creation. This point is quite compatible with science, obviously, so long as you regard the Genesis story poetically and not literally.

    As stated before, I am personally an atheist. I don’t see any evidence at all that God exists. However, if someone came to me and said that they believe that God does exist and that He set up the earth in such a way that life would arise and that once it existed, that it would evolve in the way described by the theory of evolution, I would not have a science-based argument that I could use against that proposition.

    You can’t just ignore the evidence, though, because you think it violates your religious beliefs. It has been a slow process, but the truth is that it is the religious beliefs that have changed in the face of scientific evidence, not that the scientific theories have been invalidated because of religious beliefs.

  233. #236 eric
    May 28, 2015

    @235:

    Evolution is not really incompatible with religious belief. That’s the big lie that you’ve probably been told for a very long time. Even Pope John Paul II held that Catholics are free to regard evolution as true so long as they recognize that God infused humans with a soul.

    I think that’s quite an oversimplification. The factual claim of an old earth and that new species arise via descent through modification will be incompatible with faiths that make factual claims that contradict these; and faiths are allowed to make factual claims. Gould and others are (IMO) just plain wrong to imply that making factual claims isn’t or shouldn’t be part of theology. Of course a theology can make such claims. It doesn’t have to, but it can…and many do. As an example, in the same encyclical where the Pope defended evolution, he said that the descent of all current humanity from two real people was a RCC, non-negotiable claim. Modern genetics says its wrong; there was never any evolutionary human bottleneck smaller than about 10k people. Likewise, YECs make many other factual claims that are incompatible with the findings of science.

    There is also an incompatibility of method: many religions claim that revelation or authority are legitimate methods of coming to knowledge/understanding. Empiricism basically shows they are unreliable. So if a theology says this method of knowing is reliable for learning stuff about souls and salvation, that’s an incompatibility. Again, any given religion doesn’t have to make such a methodological claim, but many at least imply it.

    your

  234. #237 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To eric #234:

    “If you want support for YECism and stasis, find me a bunny from the Devonian.”

    Ahh, the oft-heard bunny tale. The tale of the tail.

    I am highly confident that if such a wascally wabbit was ever found, evolution theory would still reign from the throne. Darwin’s queen would just be modified a bit. New duds, a new doo. Whatever. Whatever it takes to keep her on her seat. And sit she will.

    I can just imagine it in now: “What a surprise! Scientists have discovered the fossil of a rabbit in the Devonian. HOWEVER, SOME scientists are NOT in complete agreement that it was a rabbit, or that it was Devonian. This will, OR COULD, drastically change our understanding of….. [page down],
    … how….[page down again, past the advertisement]
    …. EVOLUTION HAPPENED.”

    Just witness the contortions evolutionists are making about the soft tissue. No change to evolution, of course. Just ‘We have so much more to learn about… fossilization.’

    Unlike in real science, in the pseudo-science world of evolution (biological and cosmological) no matter how many apple carts are tipped, the theory remains sacrosanct. No matter how many things are discovered and observed (and published!) which shouldn’t exist if the theory was true, the theory is still embraced. No matter how many things must be invented to hold the theory together, the theory remains dogma.

    Bunny, my butt.

  235. #238 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To Sean T. #235:

    “… so long as that life has the ability to reproduce inexact copies of itself and that those inexact copies have different levels of reproductive success. That’s all that is involved with evolution…”

    Eh, eh. What’s up, doc? Ya see, the Mosquito and the Man are just inexact copies of somethin’. That’s all that’s involved. And that’s all, folks!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E12ykihvCHk

  236. #239 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To Sean T. #235:

    “It has been a slow process, but the truth is that it is the religious beliefs that have changed in the face of scientific evidence…”

    Quite true.
    It’s almost like a slow process of religious dominoes falling.
    All because of solid, scientific, so-called evidence. Like 65 million year-old soft tissue.

    “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
    [Mat 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33]

    “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me.”
    [John 5:46]

  237. #240 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To eric #236:

    “…the Pope…said that the descent of all current humanity from two real people was a RCC, non-negotiable claim. Modern genetics says its wrong…”

    And yet, putting aside the issue of timing for now, I think all scientists have come to agree that all human beings on this planet right now trace their biological heritage to one and the same woman (i.e. “mitochondrial Eve”.).

    And I read recently that scientists are saying the common male ancestor is now thought to have existed in the same time frame as “Eve”. (The scientists had previously said this guy lived long before “Eve”.)

    “… there was never any evolutionary human bottleneck smaller than about 10k people.”

    I’ve always found this contention puzzling. We all can agree there was a time (X) when no human beings existed. You’re saying that at time X + 1 second at least 10,000 human beings suddenly came into existence. That would be some remarkable “coordination” of, I guess, alleles?

    One day you have no human beings, and the next day you have 10,000. Amazing.

    Who says evolution takes a long time?

  238. #241 Michael Fugate
    May 28, 2015

    If one studies history, one finds that theists have not had a problem with and have long been on the forefront of progress in both science and philosophy. The retreat into biblical literalism and inerrancy is a recent movement and all it does is make theists seem hopelessly backward and ignorant. Which has never been a universal. Take a look at the Scottish enlightenment where Hume was a rare non-believer in a sea of believers – individuals like Francis Hutcheson, Adam Ferguson, John Walker, and Adam Smith. The influence on the US revolution was enormous – see for instance John Witherspoon as president of Princeton and signer of the Declaration of Independence. While Scottish Protestants embraced both science and other enlightenment principles, Catholics still struggle with portions of the enlightenment – things like equality, democracy, and empiricism.

  239. #242 eric
    May 28, 2015

    See Noevo:

    Unlike in real science…

    You and Phil won’t even discuss what your “real science” alternative is. But go ahead, prove me wrong: what’s your alternative mechanism for the arrival of new species on earth, and what pattern among fossil deposits and genetic relatedness does it predict?

  240. #243 eric
    May 28, 2015

    And yet, putting aside the issue of timing for now, I think all scientists have come to agree that all human beings on this planet right now trace their biological heritage to one and the same woman (i.e. “mitochondrial Eve”.).

    That’s not the same thing at all. For example, my cousin and I are descendants of the same woman (our grandmother), but we are not descendants of a single same pair of grandparents. We each have two pairs, and one of those pairs is different.

    “… there was never any evolutionary human bottleneck smaller than about 10k people.”

    I’ve always found this contention puzzling. We all can agree there was a time (X) when no human beings existed. You’re saying that at time X + 1 second at least 10,000 human beings suddenly came into existence. That would be some remarkable “coordination” of, I guess, alleles?

    No, that would be special creation, which YOU believe in. Its really amusing how you keep doing that; pointing out the ridiculousness of an assertion thinking it’s evolution, when really its special creation.

    Under evolution populations evolve. So there was a population of non-human hominids. One is born with a mutation that makes it more human-like; this passes through the population. A different one at a different time is born with a mutation that makes it more human-like, and this also passes through the population. And so on, and so on. The whole group as a collective slowly, over many generations, becomes what we now call human.

  241. #244 Michael Fugate
    May 28, 2015

    @242 Whatever it is – it won’t be science; science requires predictable causes – ones that are observable and/or controllable.

  242. #245 Sean T
    May 28, 2015

    eric,

    I agree it’s an oversimplification, but I really meant that evolution need not be in conflict as a matter of course with religious belief. That is, it should be possible to adapt one’s religious beliefs to accommodate evolution, at least so long as one does not insist on literal reading of scripture. It has happened historically. At one time, for instance, the story of Joshua was taken quite literally, implying that the sun normally does move around the earth and that God made it stand still. Once heliocentrism became accepted, though, a less literal meaning became attached to the story, the interpretation being that the earth’s rotation was stopped by God, not that the God made the sun stand still.

    In similar vein, I can forsee some religious believers accommodating their religious beliefs to incorporate the factual evidence for evolution. If you read the entire post I made, I gave one possibility for accommodating the Genesis story to it. One does have to give up the literal truth of the story, but one does not have to give up the main message of the story, namely that God created everything via a process. I think that many religious believers are told that evolution is incompatible with a belief in God, which causes them to reject evolution out of hand no matter what evidence is presented. That was really my point. Religion in general can be accommodated, not that all particular religious beliefs can.

  243. #246 Sean T
    May 28, 2015

    SN,

    You are a Catholic, IIRC. Do Catholics still hold ALL the same beliefs that they did in 1000 AD? Is it still true that the Church holds, for instance, that heliocentric theory is contradictory to the Scripture? Does the Church really believe that the sun is normally moving, but that God made it stand still for Joshua, or has that story been reinterpreted to match scientific understanding and now it is understood that the earth’s rotation was stopped by God?

    I never claimed that ALL religious beliefs have been changed by scientific understanding. That could never happen because the majority of religious teaching is not amenable to scientific investigation. It is only in areas where religious teaching involves factual matters about the physical universe that scientific understanding can lead to change in religious belief. I defy you to come up with a single example where scientific understanding of such an issue differed with religious teaching and the religious teaching was eventually found to be accurate and science changed accordingly. I have presented you with a couple of examples where the reverse occurred.

  244. #247 Sean T
    May 28, 2015

    Phil,

    Do you work in a factory that manufactures scarecrows for farmers? I think it’s likely since you are pretty good at building straw men. Where does the theory of evolution predict that all organisms MUST change over time? A relatively stable environment will lead to relatively stable morphology over time. Of course, unchanged external features do not imply stasis at the molecular level, so do be careful with your claims that certain fossils indicate stasis.

  245. #248 MNb
    May 28, 2015

    @SN 240 “… there was never any evolutionary human bottleneck smaller than about 10k people.”

    “I’ve always found this contention puzzling. We all can agree there was a time (X) when no human beings existed. You’re saying that at time X + 1 second at least 10,000 human beings suddenly came into existence.”
    Thanks for showing how difficult it is for you to get simple concepts.
    Just google “bottleneck evolution definition” and you’ll learn that it implies that before the bottleneck there were more individuals – in this case more than 10 0000. Hence saying that

    “… there was never any evolutionary human bottleneck smaller than about 10k people.”
    is exactly the opposite of saying

    “that at time X + 1 second at least 10,000 human beings suddenly came into existence”.
    Plus the term humans is incorrect. They were likely proto-humans.
    Pay close attention, SN, and you might learn something. Evolution Theory is all about gradual change. So as soon as you use words like “suddenly” you’re simply dead wrong and show us your lack of comprehensive skills.
    Sean T is right. Your very own pope has accepted Evolution Theory – about 60 years ago. Your very own current pope has confirmed that a year ago. Here is a prominent catholic evolutionary biologist:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_R._Miller

    You might read his books. You don’t have to trust atheists like me on this subject.

  246. #249 eric
    May 28, 2015

    @245:

    I agree it’s an oversimplification, but I really meant that evolution need not be in conflict as a matter of course with religious belief.

    Sure, it need not be. The question is not whether there can in principle be a religion that is fully consistent with science; the answer to that is a clear yes. The question is whether the actual religion professed by the people in these conversations is consistent with science, and the answer to that is often no.

    Even with the most liberal or fact-claim-free religions, however, you are still probably (but not necessarily) going to run into the methodology conflict. Empirical science says revelation and authority are not reliable ways of gaining understanding about the world. Anyone claiming they know God is real because of their personal experience of him or because the bible is authoritative on the subject is rejecting this fairly well supported conclusion of empirical science. Or they are at least carving a theology-sized exception out it. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of religious people put some stock on revelation and/or textual authority. After all, that’s pretty much the only reason one would believe that a person was born of a virgin, walked on water, resurrected, etc. If I claimed my grandfather did those things, nobody would believe me and they would cite a need for evidence before such claims should be believed.

  247. #250 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To eric #243:

    Me: “And yet, putting aside the issue of timing for now, I think all scientists have come to agree that all human beings on this planet right now trace their biological heritage to one and the same woman (i.e. “mitochondrial Eve”.).”

    You: “That’s not the same thing at all. For example, my cousin and I are descendants of the same woman (our grandmother)…”

    You need to read more about it. Here’s one:
    http://www.livescience.com/10015-age-confirmed-eve-mother-humans.html

    Me: “One day you have no human beings, and the next day you have 10,000. Amazing. Who says evolution takes a long time?”

    You: “Under evolution populations evolve.”

    Yes, I’ve heard that many times before. Usually it’s after I mention something about AN organism or AN individual evolving. At that point, many an evolutionist has screamed at me “You idiot! Individual organisms do NOT evolve. POPULATIONS evolve. Don’t you know anything about science?!?”

    And I ask: Well, populations are comprised of individuals, so, how can a population evolve if individuals don’t evolve?

    Then they scream some more.

    But then, sometimes after reading something like “Under evolution populations evolve”, a sentence or two later I’ll read something like “ONE is born with a mutation that makes it more human-like; this passes through the population. A different ONE at a different time is born with…”

    And at that point I often take a break and check what’s on TV.

  248. #251 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To Sean T #246:

    “Do Catholics still hold ALL the same beliefs that they did in 1000 AD?”

    That’s a poorly phrased question.

    Let me offer a corrected version: Does the Catholic Church still hold ALL the same beliefs that it did in 1000 AD?

    Yes.

    “Is it still true that the Church holds, for instance, that heliocentric theory is contradictory to the Scripture?”

    Several points:
    1) As has often been said, the Church and the book it canonized (i.e. the Bible), is about telling people how to go to heaven, NOT telling people how the heavens go.
    2) Whether the earth revolves around the sun or vice-versa has ZERO effect on human life.
    3) I’m not aware of any Scripture verses that insist on geocentrism or heliocentrism. If you know of some, please pick your favorite and post it. Just one.
    4) I’m also not aware of any authoritative Church teaching which EVER required the faithful to believe in geocentrism or heliocentrism. If you know of an encyclical or catechism or papal bull or council or something else which did, please cite it.
    5) I have no plans to get into yet another tired Galileo riot. I’ll say only that Galileo got into trouble (i.e. hard time involving house arrest in palatial surroundings with freedom to read, write, publish) NOT for proposing a new theory but rather for a) his insisting on its truth when the technology of the time was incapable of validating its truth, b) his arrogance and impudence in insisting the Church should modify its theology for his unproven scientific theory, and c) his basically being an a** hole and biting the hand that fed him (Popes had been his friends, and as I recall had supported and funded his work).

    “I defy you to come up with a single example where scientific understanding of such an issue differed with religious teaching and the religious teaching was eventually found to be accurate and science changed accordingly.”

    Hebrews 11:3 says “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.”

    I’m guessing that this verse seemed pretty unbelievable, or at least mucho mysterious, to those who called themselves natural philosophers (and later called themselves “scientists”) BEFORE the relatively recent scientific discoveries of bacteria, viruses, molecules, atoms, electrons, Higgs bosons. “Things which do not appear” (i.e. Things we can’t see with the naked, unaided eye.).

    “I have presented you with a couple of examples where the reverse occurred.”

    I don’t recall that. My apologies. Would you please re-tell JUST ONE example? Thanks in advance.

  249. #252 eric
    May 28, 2015

    how can a population evolve if individuals don’t evolve?

    Then they scream some more.

    I don’t think I’ve screamed once. Maybe you have conversations with other nonfundies in RL and they scream at you? Or is this a hypothetical nonfundie.

    But then, sometimes after reading something like “Under evolution populations evolve”, a sentence or two later I’ll read something like “ONE is born with a mutation that makes it more human-like; this passes through the population. A different ONE at a different time is born with…”

    And at that point I often take a break and check what’s on TV.

    Do you take a break because you don’t understand it? I can try and explain it better.

    The many many mutations that make us human (rather than cro-magnon) did not arise at all in the same generation. They did not all arise in one individual. Rather they propagated through the population over many generations until the a large group of descendants shared all of them.
    Let me know what part of that you don’t understand, and I’ll try and explain it to you further.

  250. #253 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To MNb #247:

    Regarding the population of what we call “us”/“human beings”, what was its approximate smallest size ever?

    “Sean T is right. Your very own pope has accepted Evolution Theory – about 60 years ago. Your very own current pope has confirmed that a year ago.”

    Our very own current Pope has also confirmed that he likes pizza.
    ……

    To eric #249:

    “Empirical science says revelation and authority are not reliable ways of gaining understanding about the world.”

    I disagree. If “empirical science”, at bottom, is making observations and confirming observations and handling/touching observations, then I disagree.

  251. #254 See Noevo
    May 28, 2015

    To eric #252:

    “The many many mutations that make us human (rather than cro-magnon) did not arise at all in the same generation. They did not all arise in one individual. Rather they propagated through the population over many generations until the a large group of descendants shared all of them.
    Let me know what part of that you don’t understand, and I’ll try and explain it to you further.”

    What was the approximate smallest number EVER of the organisms we call “human”?

  252. #255 Phil
    May 29, 2015

    eric,

    “Are you saying that iron can’t possibly be incorporated into cellular structure or inhibit various reactions?”

    Apparently it can. If you take ostrich blood vessels, and incubate them in a concentrated solution of red blood cell lysate, they can last for two years at room temperature.

    Florists can give you tips on how to make fresh cut flowers last longer, but not for 20 years.

    “There is also an incompatibility of method: many religions claim that revelation or authority are legitimate methods of coming to knowledge/understanding. Empiricism basically shows they are unreliable.”

    Empiricism? Empiricism is what shows that the core mechanism of evolution, the one that is supposed to link all the fossils together, is not only unreliable, it is not possible. Just using the word isn’t good enough.

    ===

    Sean T,

    “The creation of the universe involved a process. Did you never wonder why it took God six days in the Bible to create everything? Why would Genesis indicate quite clearly that the creation was not instantaneous?”

    Because a six day creation followed by a sabbath is a prophetic projection of human history, the sabbath representing the millennium. Not many Christians go with this idea, but then not many of them know you-know-what from apple butter about eschatology.

    “I would not have a science-based argument that I could use against that proposition”

    True enough, but in reality, you don’t have actual science-based arguments for lots of things. What you have is speculation that goes way past facts and empirical evidence. Hanging a hypothesis tag on a sappy idea does not make it scientific. Show me the science behind the prevailing ideas about origins of the moon, earth’s water, and earth’s oxygen, and I will show you jack-and-the-beanstalk level fairy tales.

    “You can’t just ignore the evidence, though, because you think it violates your religious beliefs.”

    And you can’t lose track of what actually constitutes evidence. I’ve asked many, many times for for anything coming from the literature that looks at the plausibility of random DNA replication errors actually producing complex biological functions. Everything you believe about evolution, actually your entire worldview, hangs on whether or not this is actually possible. To date, you have nothing to offer but matchless faith in this unproven, untested and unmolested idea.

  253. #256 eric
    May 29, 2015

    See Noevo:

    What was the approximate smallest number EVER of the organisms we call “human”?

    About 10,000, and that bottleneck occurred about 3 million years ago. Genetics also shows that when some humans left Africa, that group could have been as small as about 1200 people. This was 20k-40k years ago (so, all asians and european descendents went through a smaller bottleneck, but since that’s not all humans, it may not be what you were asking for.

  254. #257 Sean T
    May 29, 2015

    SN,

    Where did I mention Galileo? I don’t care why Galileo was prosecuted. Simple question, in the late 16th century and early 17th, was it not the official doctrine of the Catholic Church that geocentrism was true and that the teaching and promulgation of the idea of heliocentrism was contrary to Church doctrine? Another simple question, is the teaching and promulgation of heliocentrism today considered to be in violation of Church doctrine? I believe, and if you are honest about it you will admit, that the answer to the first simple question is yes and the second is no. Why did the Church’s teaching on the matter change?

    I am not claiming and never have claimed that what most would regard as core beliefs of Catholicism have ever or will ever change with increased scientific understanding. I would not expect them to since the core beliefs are non-scientific in nature. No scientific discovery will lead the Church to give up belief in the Trinity, in the resurrection, original sin, the doctrine of salvation or in transubstantiation, just for some examples. None of those are really subject to scientific scrutiny, however.

    Belief in a literal direct creation is not a core belief of Catholicism. Belief in creation by God is, but as you put it the Bible is about how to get into Heaven, not about the Heavens. The Genesis story is compatible with evolution, as I outlined before. That was my point. Evolution is not incompatible with Catholic belief. If you were taught differently, then take it up with John Paul II (of course you’d need a Ouija board to do it).

  255. #258 Sean T
    May 29, 2015

    Phil, really? Likening a Papal statement that a scientific theory, despite appearances, does not contradict Church doctrine is the same as the Pope saying he likes pizza? Come on, you’re better than that. The Pope is the leader of the Church on earth. When he makes a statement regarding Church doctrine, that is considered definitive. He wasn’t speaking ex cathedra (AFAIK) regarding evolution, so it’s not considered infalliable, but it would take an extreme backlash amongst the Catholic leadership in disagreement with a Pope’s statement regarding doctrine for that statement to be overturned. Such a statement certainly carries a lot more weight than “I like pizza.”

  256. #259 See Noevo
    May 29, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To eric #256:
    OK. You agree. There was a time (X) when no human beings existed and then at time X + 1 second at least 10,000 human beings suddenly came into existence.
    One day you have no human beings, and the next day you have 10,000.

    As I said, no one should say evolution has to take a long time. It can be in instant.
    ….

    To Sean T #257:
    “Simple question, in the late 16th century and early 17th, was it not the official doctrine of the Catholic Church that geocentrism was true and that the teaching and promulgation of the idea of heliocentrism was contrary to Church doctrine?”

    Simple answer, it was not the official doctrine of the Catholic Church that geocentrism was true and that the teaching and promulgation of the idea of heliocentrism was contrary to Church doctrine.

    “Another simple question, is the teaching and promulgation of heliocentrism today considered to be in violation of Church doctrine?”

    A simpler answer: No.
    Similarly, the teaching and promulgation of the benefits of pizza are not a violation.

    “Belief in a literal direct creation is not a core belief of Catholicism.”

    Not true. Creation includes the making of man. What makes man truly man, what makes man different from the apes and other animals, is his soul. Humani Generis declares that “the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.”

    “Evolution is not incompatible with Catholic belief.”

    The Church has said that at least some aspects are incompatible. See again Humani Generis, particularly 36 & 37. http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis.html
    ….

    To Sean T #258:
    I think your retort was meant for me, not Phil. (Although Phil might like pizza, and my pizza comment, too.)

    “The Pope is the leader of the Church on earth.”

    Yes.

    “When he makes a statement regarding Church doctrine, that is considered definitive.”

    No, not always.

    “He wasn’t speaking ex cathedra (AFAIK) regarding evolution, so it’s not considered infalliable…”

    Correct.

    “…but it would take an extreme backlash amongst the Catholic leadership in disagreement with a Pope’s statement regarding doctrine for that statement to be overturned.”

    Which statement(s), specifically?

  257. #260 Phil
    May 29, 2015

    Sean T,

    “Where does the theory of evolution predict that all organisms MUST change over time?”

    I wasn’t commenting on whether or not organisms must evolve. I was noticing that according to evolutionary dates and data, they don’t. Only modest variation occurs.

    “Phil, really?”

    I don’t know what you were referring to here.

    ===

    MNb,

    “Evolution Theory is all about gradual change.”

    If it is, it should not be. Gould and Eldredge were very candid about the fact that the fossil record supports saltation.

  258. #261 Sean T
    May 29, 2015

    SN,

    John Paul II in October 1996 stated to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: “Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis.* In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.statement about evolution.” Sure sounds like John Paul II doesn’t believe that evolution contradicts Catholic doctrine, does it? In fact, it sounds more like John Paul II believed that evolution is likely the mechanism by which the human body came to be formed. He, of course, does add some non-scientific disclaimers to this, such as that the soul was created directly by God, for instance. However, those are non-scientific questions which do not affect my point that evolution and Catholic belief do not inherently conflict.

    “In March 1616, the Church’s Congregation of the Index issued a decree suspending De revolutionibus until it could be “corrected,” on the grounds that the supposedly Pythagorean doctrine[40] that the Earth moves and the Sun does not was “false and altogether opposed to Holy Scripture”: quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_science

    That quote sure seems to be indicative that the Church held that heliocentrism was not in accord with Church doctrine. What changed since 1616, since the Church obviously does not hold this anymore? Increased scientific understanding rendered the 1616 stance ridiculous on its face.

  259. #262 Sean T
    May 29, 2015

    SN,

    BTW, the context of the first part of John Paul II’s quote I gave above is referring to Pius XII’s Humani Generis that you referred me to previously. In Humani Generis, Pius XII concedes that evolution is a possibility. John Paul II certainly implies that it’s more than just a possibility, it’s the likely best explanation for the diversity of life. That would be another example of scientific understanding changing theological understanding. You still have not pointed out to me any examples where religious beliefs have made it clear that accepted science is wrong and caused scientific consensus to change.

  260. #263 Sean T
    May 29, 2015

    Phil,

    “Gould and Eldridge were very candid that the fossil record supports saltation”

    “I was noticing that according to evolutionary dates and data, they don’t. Only modest variation occurs.”

    Which is it? Saltation = large abrupt changes. You claim in the second quote that only modest variation occurs.

    Of course, you may be misunderstanding what Gould and Eldridge claim. I believe that they are punctuate equilibrium opponents, which is an idea that makes sense and is open for scientific inquiry. That idea basically states that it is large and significant environmental changes that drive large-scale evolutionary change. Absent such major environmental changes, organisms will tend to remain essentially the same (explaining, of course the organism that you were complaining didn’t evolve earlier). However, evolution occurs rapidly (which is a relative term, in terms of the fossil record a change taking tens of thousands of years is rapid) when there is major environmental change. Since major environmental changes occur fairly rarely, they predict that the fossil record should show long periods where organisms remain relatively unchanged followed by relatively brief periods where new variants are found.

    It’s still an open matter of debate the extent to which this idea holds true. However, it most certainly is not an argument against evolution, just a disagreement about the details of the process. It is still natural selection of existing variants that drives change.

  261. #264 Phil
    May 29, 2015

    Sean T,

    “Which is it? Saltation = large abrupt changes. You claim in the second quote that only modest variation occurs.”

    The second. I only mentioned saltation in response to MNb’s statement about gradualism.

    “…Gould and Eldridge…I believe that they are punctuate equilibrium opponents, which is an idea that makes sense”

    They were proponents, and originators of the phrase. PE is an interesting idea, but not because it interprets the data. It was formulated to contend with the fact that there isn’t any.

    “That idea basically states that it is large and significant environmental changes that drive large-scale evolutionary change.”

    Right. In other words, suitable DNA replication errors occur because of the environment. Nice try, but significant changes can only be the result of random, inadvertent, accidental alterations to a genome. And, as we all know, changes that have a noticeable effect are almost exclusively deleterious.

    “It is still natural selection of existing variants that drives change.”

    This is the standard line, but it is entirely false. I think it is perpetuated in order to avoid having to confront realities about mutations. Natural selection just removes organisms ill-suited for their environment. It cannot drive novel features into existence. New genes, new features, new functions, do not appear on account of natural selection.

  262. #265 Michael Fugate
    May 29, 2015

    Here’s a question for our crack team of creationists.

    If God created whales on day 5, then why do the most resemble morphologically and genetically artiodactyls produced on day 6? Would the extant sister group of cetaceans – hippopotamuses – which are semi-aquatic have been created on day 5 or day 6? I am thinking amphibians were day 5.5?

    In a like manner were aquatic arthropods, molluscs, annelids created on a different day from terrestrial members of the same phylum or class or order?

    How does one explain this creationally?

  263. #266 See Noevo
    May 29, 2015

    To Sean T #261:

    “… my point that evolution and Catholic belief do not inherently conflict.”

    And my points include:
    1) Until relatively recent times, the “mind of the Church”, which includes the thought of its people, was that Genesis conveyed actual historical events.
    2) In its allowing the introduction of considerations of evolution theory, the Church has NOT declared wrong the traditional understanding of Genesis. One can believe in a literal Genesis (and consider evolution false) and be a faithful Catholic in full communion with the Church. Conversely, one can hold to evolution theory, within certain limits, and be in communion with the Church at this time.
    3) I find laughable the tortured contortions (i.e. supposedly scholarly Scriptural interpretations) to harmonize Genesis and evolution theory.
    4) I find laughable the twisted imaginings (i.e. supposedly scholarly scientific interpretations) to harmonize empirical data and evolution theory.
    5) The Church, like many large bodies, can be slow to move. For example, although the mind of the Church has probably always been that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven, the Church did not declare this dogmatically/infallibly until 1950. Perhaps one day the Church will declare definitively on the truth or falsehood of evolution. (It just might be worthwhile, too. I personally know people who said they lost their faith, even their Catholic faith, for one primary reason – they came to believe evolution is true.)

    “In March 1616, the Church’s Congregation of the Index issued a decree …That quote sure seems to be indicative that the Church held that heliocentrism was not in accord with Church doctrine.”

    It might SEEM so to you. But it’s not. http://www.catholictradition.org/Easter/easter46-3.htm

    “You still have not pointed out to me any examples where religious beliefs have made it clear that accepted science is wrong and caused scientific consensus to change.”

    Not true. Re-read #251, beginning with “Hebrews 11:3…”

  264. #267 See Noevo
    May 29, 2015

    To Sean T #263:

    “…you [Phil] may be misunderstanding what Gould and Eldridge claim. I believe that they are punctuate equilibrium opponents, which is an idea that makes sense and is open for scientific inquiry. That idea basically states that it is large and significant environmental changes that drive large-scale evolutionary change. Absent such major environmental changes, organisms will tend to remain essentially the same…”

    No, I think YOU may be misunderstanding Gould and Eldridge. In fact, I’m over 90% certain you are. For two reasons:
    1) Gould and Eldridge were NOT opponents but rather collaborators in proposing “punctuated equilibrium.”
    2) Punctuated equilibrium theory is driven by geographical isolation NOT by environmental changes.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/5/l_035_01.html

  265. #268 ?
    May 29, 2015

    Eric,

    Do you REALLY (deep down in your heart) believe that the presence of iron caused the tissue to preserve for 65 MILLION YEARS? You’d shoot somebody to hang on to your beliefs, wouldn’t you?

    Sean T,

    “No, I believe evolution was immediately looked upon as a threat by religious believers.”

    A personal question (if I may): were you an atheist before you were convinced of the TOE? There are people out there who would be persuaded to abandon belief in God for a cozy delusion because it doesn’t require God to work as an explanation. Evolution isn’t a threat to God as you acknowledged, but it is a threat to those gullible enough to denounce their Source. Not to mention, it appears false to quite a few folks.

    “Sure, some people might have misunderstood evolution as having something to do with the origin of life, but not evolutionary scientists. Evolution does not encompass the origin of life.”

    Clear enough. But, those “some” are a lot of impressionable people who don’t have a clue – and as I mentioned before, a lot of the (nonscientist) proponents don’t even understand the TOE or understand how limited science is in the GRAND scheme of things. The theory offers them a path to say “God didn’t do it”, when in fact, He did. And again, I don’t believe evolution is the way He did it.

    “As stated before, I am personally an atheist. I don’t see any evidence at all that God exists.”

    You do SEE evidence that God exists, you just refuse to acknowledge it as evidence. Proof is literally everywhere, including you yourself – and you can’t bank on using; “I didn’t know” or “You didn’t do enough to prove Yourself to me” when your court date comes. Scratch that defense from your planned testimony, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” A part of “what’s been made” is you and your life/soul – so that’s the start, then everything else of wonder around us is bonus proof. You’re stuck without a defense, but there is a Way out of the gravest of sentences.

    Despite your atheism, there is a lot of God (good) stuff happening on this earth, and I doubt you’d enjoy a permanent existence separated from all things God; love, joy, life, peace, creativity, wisdom, hope, justice, goodness, kindness, etc. (all those things you and Eric couldn’t provide me an origin for). You’ve got believers consistently making their presence felt in these threads, so you’ve had people witness to you. You’ll, therefore, be without excuse in more ways than one – having seen plenty and heard plenty.

    “You can’t just ignore the evidence, though, because you think it violates your religious beliefs.”

    What evidence? I see none. Those skulls on Talk Origins are not evidence, and you’re getting no yards on that play each time you run it. The Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx are not convincing either. So, how could I be ignoring non-evidence? Am I missing some other “transitional” fossils? If so, please refer me to them. I tested myself several times in this debate and honestly asked myself; “are you giving evolution a fair shake?”, and I come out of each exchange more convinced that the theory is science-fiction. It should be the other way around if the TOE were thorough and ultimately true – but it really is a tough, TOUGH sell. You need to show conclusive proof to convince the world outside of your consensus group and you have not. There are at least 3 people here who are not convinced and see no such evidence, and I’m sure billions more across the globe. We’re not debating the indisputable fact that gravity exists or that the world is round, but a disputable theory that organisms evolve from one species into another. Not proven, not fact, but assumed.

    “It has been a slow process, but the truth is that it is the religious beliefs that have changed in the face of scientific evidence, not that the scientific theories have been invalidated because of religious beliefs.”

    Is it not true that Aristotle and other scientists once thought that the universe had no beginning and was just something that always was? The Bible stated otherwise (“in the beginning…”) and, of course, science eventually caught up discovering that the universe had a start and God’s writing was accurate. Is it not true that everything is made up of invisible subatomic particles, and the verse cited earlier (“what is seen has been made from things that are not visible”) accurately described this before we could confirm it? Lucky guess for a (pre-microscope) writer not inspired by God? The Bible had a jump on what we were made of before we could confirm it – and the same is true for it’s assertion on the existence of souls, eternal justice and/or rewards. You yourself stated: “it may be the case that Christianity is true. I admit that this possibility cannot be ruled out definitively.” And what a shame it’d be to miss the boat, Sean. God is God, and science will always be catching up to Him as He is eternally correct – unlike certain scientific theories.

    “I don’t expect you to give up your religious beliefs.”

    I do expect you to (inevitably) give up yours, and come to belief – one way or another. But in the meantime, have a great weekend full of love, joy and gratitude 🙂

  266. #269 eric
    May 29, 2015

    OK. You agree. There was a time (X) when no human beings existed and then at time X + 1 second at least 10,000 human beings suddenly came into existence.
    One day you have no human beings, and the next day you have 10,000.

    No, that’s completely and utterly incorrect. Cro-Magnon A has a human-like gene. B has a different one, as do C-Z. They pair up and have babies, A’-Z’, who on average have a greater collection of human-like genes (but no specific individual need have any, or all). Of course hominids don’t just have sex with people of exactly the same age, so A could also pair up with Z’ and have babies which have a double-chance or double-dose of some human-like genes. This continues generation after generation, with lots of lots of couples having babies that contribute genes to the next generation’s gene pool. Eventually all descendents have all such genes, but its not through being descendents of some one couple or one first human being, and it’s not a “mission accomplished, now we’re human!” event. You might have been born with all such genes and had 1 kid that didn’t have them all. But that kid might have kids that do. Or you might have had 5 kids all who died in child birth, while some other family several generations later has a bunch of kids who do.

    But no, there was never any single second when 10,000 proto-humans suddenly and spontaneously became human. Evolution works through descent with modification, not some sudden genetic transformation of adults. That’s not evolution, and if you think it is, someone has radically misinformed you.

  267. #270 eric
    May 29, 2015

    ?:

    Do you REALLY (deep down in your heart) believe that the presence of iron caused the tissue to preserve for 65 MILLION YEARS?

    I’m a chemist, and yes I REALLY deep down in my heart believe that different chemical environments can slow down the kinetics of various reactions by two orders of magnitude.
    Do you REALLY deep down in your heart think that a two-order-of-magnitude slowdown in a chemical reaction due to the addition of some compound or element is impossible?

  268. #271 eric
    May 29, 2015

    Sean T, here is the relevant section of Humani Generis, my bold:

    36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

    37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

    JPII did not contradict #37. No Pope has. So the official position of the RCC is pretty clear here: material evolution of A&E is okay, but God ensoulled them and we are all direct descendents of them and nobody else but them. This latter part is a factual claim in contradiction to current scientific understanding. Thus official RCC doctrine is inconsistent with science. Yes, it’s consistent with science on some other claims, such as the evolution of the human species from previous species. But saying it agrees with science on A is not a reason to ignore the fact that it doesn’t agree with science on B.

  269. #272 Michael Fugate
    May 29, 2015

    I assume the CCT is still working on my earlier question.

    Here’s another little task – there are about 2 million described species, please determine which day of creation each was created. Explain on what basis you placed each species on a specific day.

    Was there a single day when everyone started speaking modern English or was it a gradual alteration over many generations – each of which could communicate with each other, but it is unlikely the ends could.

  270. #273 Phil
    May 29, 2015

    eric,

    “Cro-Magnon A has a human-like gene. B has a different one, as do C-Z”

    Where did they get these human-like genes? Did they get them before or after they left Africa?

  271. #274 Phil
    May 29, 2015

    Michael Fugate,

    Things designed to live in water, and things designed to fly were created on Day 5.

    All the terrestrials, including “creeping things” (not to be confused with the Clintons), and mankind, were created on Day 6.

    This means that eagle kinds and ostrich kinds were probably made on different days. Same with bats and rats, butterflies and crickets.

  272. #275 See Noevo
    May 30, 2015

    Re: #269:

    Can anyone else out there help me?

    Let’s start over.
    Let’s start fresh and try to find common ground.

    I found it!

    We ALL AGREE there was a time on earth with ZERO human beings.

    OK. Let’s move forward.

    MORE AGREEMENT! Earth now has billions of human beings. (Isn’t “bi-partisanship” wonderful?)

    OK. Let’s move forward further still.

    The gentleman across the aisle says “But earth NEVER had fewer than 10,000 human beings.”

    [Murmur, murmur.]

    Is the distinguished Democrat from the state of Oz saying earth never had, say, just two human beings?

    “Yes! Earth never had fewer than about 10,000!”

    [Murmur, murmur, murmur.]

    Never 200?

    “Yes! Earth never had fewer than about 10,000!”

    Never even 2,000?

    “Are you deaf or just stupid? EARTH NEVER HAD FEWER THAN 10,000 HUMAN BEINGS!!!”

    [MURMUR, MURMUR, MURMUR, MURMUR.]

    Well…what steps… I mean… how much time…did it take to go from no human beings to ten thous… Mr.Chairman! Please restrain the distinguished Democrat from Oz!! Where are the Capitol guards! Mr. Chairman!

    Order! Order!!

    [MURMUR, MURMUR, MURMUR, MURMUR, MURMUR, MURMUR.]

    Oy, bi-partisanship. We hardly knew ye!

    Help!

  273. #276 sean samis
    May 30, 2015

    Wow. A like totally fabricated disagreement. Must be nice to have so much free time.

    sean s.

  274. #277 chris moffatt
    May 30, 2015

    Everything you deists and atheists think you know about ‘god’, or rather the concept ‘god’, came from humans not from any ‘god’. The plain fact is that nothing is known of this god at all. If evil exists and isn’t caused by humans or other earthly creatures then it exists because that is what ‘god’ wants. god doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about whether humans understand this or not, it just is. That’s how it rolls. If it wanted humans to know about it it would give some certain information about itself – not the wild dreams of a desert bandit or of a jewish schizophrenic or of another jewish weirdo who had a psychotic incident and fell off his horse; and especially not the crazy hallucinations of somebody who thought it spoke to him out of a burning bush and had so many rules and regulations to deliver that it took three books to contain them all.
    Since it has not chosen to reveal itself in any way whatsoever and science has found no trace of it anywhere, it might as well not exist. Nothing meaningful can be said about it and philosophers and theologians might as well just stop all this mental wankery and go get real jobs.

  275. #278 Michael Fugate
    May 30, 2015

    Phil,
    Why were two closely related things made on different days? Why are flightless birds so similar in every way to flighted birds? Yet made at different times? How does creation explain this?
    You only have about 1,999,995 to go.

  276. #279 Phil
    May 30, 2015

    Michael Fugate,

    “Why were two closely related things made on different days?”

    They only appear to be closely related. You’re trying to impose evolutionary trees, bushes and vines which don’t apply.

    “Why are flightless birds so similar in every way to flighted birds?”

    They aren’t. Does this look like chicken to you? http://www.uniquelyemu.com/emu-meat-4.htm

  277. #280 Phil
    May 31, 2015

    Michael Fugate,

    Evolutionary thinking demands that ostriches, ducks and budgerigars be related because they are all birds. On the surface, that might make sense. But when if you really put some thought into it, and try to imagination DNA replication errors whittling an ancestral form into extreme specialties, it doesn’t make sense at all. Any reasonable estimate about how many mutations separate exquisitely adapted forms (which is all we really see) has to be an enormous number. If you honestly apply all the factors involved, it is not a workable idea. It’s just dumb.

  278. #281 sean samis
    June 1, 2015

    Regarding, “Any reasonable estimate about how many mutations separate exquisitely adapted forms (which is all we really see) has to be an enormous number. If you honestly apply all the factors involved, it is not a workable idea..”

    The problem being that creationists don’t employ reasonable estimates appling all the factors involved. They use SWAGs based on what little they know.

    The truth is that there’s no particular reason to think that the mutations needed exceeds in number or quality what evolution would require. Nature is full of tricks we have not even begun to figure out.

    And given the unverifiable status of all deities, evolution is the only rational choice.

    sean s.

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