This is a developing story (see links below). Joe Sonka, who may nor may not be gay, and his “date” who happens to be a straight guy, went to the Creation Museum “Date Night” on the evening of the 11th. They were not allowed in. I was explained to them that being gay was very un-Christian and they were trying to maintain a Christian environment. The implication was that if straight Christian people were forced to eat in the presence of two men eating together, they might ….. well, who knows WHAT could happen!?!?!?

One thing that is interesting about this is that you can’t get a State Tax Break if you discriminate in hiring. Well, allowing people in the room for dinner is not the same as hiring, but if I was the State of Kentucky about to give the Creation Museum a 40 million dollar tax break, I’d investigate their hiring practices very closely on the grounds of what happened two nights ago. By purely random chance, there MUST BE some gays and/or lesbians or SOMEBODY who is not straight working there, right? The state of Kentucky needs to find them and see how many of them there are and if they are being discriminated against. And so on and so forth.

Joe’s blog is here: No same sex couples allowed at the Creation Museum Date Night (UPDATE)

More details here: Date Night at the Creation Museum

And then this: Same sex couples denied entry to Creation Museum’s “Date Night”

And this: Men Thought To Be Gay Couple Refused Entry To Creation Museum

Read more: Men thought to be gay refused entry


  1. #1 starskeptic
    February 13, 2011

    I. am. shocked!

  2. #2 Jeff
    February 13, 2011

    They aren’t anti-gay. They are pro-Bible (duh!) which clearly states that adulterers and fornicators are an abomination to God. You (and these two men) may not like it but so what? It is what it is. Romans 1:24-32 of God’s word (not man’s) is very clear about sexual sin – hetero or homosexual. BTW, these two men went to cause trouble and need to repent but there is good news. Jesus paid the sure and just penalty for crimes against our Creator. If we repent of our sins against Him, He will forgive and accept us as His own. We then have peace with Him and can live for Him and not against Him. There is a day of judgement coming when your knee WILL bow before Him – willingly or unwillingly. Dear reader, you monitor these blogs written by these very smart men of science. You are clearly interested in the truth and not fables or myths. Be wise and turn to the only one who can forgive you and give you eternal life.

  3. #3 dean
    February 13, 2011

    Jeff, if not a faker, demonstrates just how high a bar of ignorance reason must overcome to reach these people.

  4. #4 Sondrah
    February 13, 2011

    I am a bit surprised they didn’t want the opportunity to convert them. It must have been a special event/fundraiser because I’ve seen videos on youtube with atheists touring the museum and they certainly don’t support that life choice either.

  5. #5 starskeptic
    February 13, 2011

    Sondrah: great point…I hadn’t even thought of that – but it’s obviously worth asking why they’d pass up an opportunity like that…

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2011

    Sometimes I think gays, atheists, secularites, leftists, etc all go to these places just so they can bitch about not being let in when they probably had no intention of seeing it in the first place.

    I’m sure that’s true, and why not? That is how the fabric of society operates.

  7. #7 NJ
    February 13, 2011

    FoS @ 6:

    Pepsi is anti-straight. So is Ford Motor Company.

    Ah. That explains why they have billions in sales by refusing to sell to heterosexuals.

    Oh, wait…

    In reality everyone in existance is guilty of the same crime – sin I have so little brain function, mere breathing should be considered a major achievement.


  8. #8 mad the swine
    February 13, 2011

    So, we as lyers, adulters, etc., are no different than the gayists. However, when a sexual sin involved you sin gainst God and your own body.

    All sinners are equal, but some sinners are more equal than others?

  9. #9 etruscanshades
    February 13, 2011

    So would the bouncers at the Creation Museum have turned Jesus and his disciples away? I hope so – we don’t want any of that same sex nonsense spoiling a family occasion.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2011

    Especially at supper.

  11. #11 Ahcuah
    February 13, 2011

    Sorry, but Kentucky’s anti-discrimination laws do not include sexual orientation. Furthermore, as a general rule religious organizations are allowed to discriminate for any reason except solely race, color, or national origin. See Section 344.130.

    So, despicable as it is, there’s not a darn thing that can be done about it, legally.

  12. #12 Jeff
    February 13, 2011

    Jeff, the Bible is anything but clear about sexual sin in Romans. The book was written in Greek, which does not have a word for orientation, but instead uses words for specific sex acts. Since these words don’t appear often in ancient texts, interpreters can only guess what the words mean. Combined with the fact that the word “homosexual” didn’t appear until the mid-1800s, and you’ll find that scholars will tell you that no admonitions against same-sex monogamous couples likely exists at all in the Bible. Before you quote a book, it would be nice if you understood the basics of it.

  13. #13 evilDoug
    February 13, 2011

    Some suggestions for experiments for next year:

    Couples (simply arriving together, not holding hands or the like) consisting of:
    two men, both wearing yarmulkes
    a woman with a man who is wearing a yarmulke
    a woman and a man, both in “muslim” attire

    These people would all be quite readily identifiable as (presumed to be) non-Christian. Would they be expelled?

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2011

    Jeff: Good point.

  15. #15 qutye
    February 13, 2011

    The bible made mention of homosexuality being wrong/sin way before the new testament. Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because of sin and based on the text in Genesis homosexuality was rampant and one of the main reasons for the destruction.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2011

    qutye, do you know the word for “homosexual” in Aramaic? I just looked it up.

  17. #17 I can't think for myself
    February 13, 2011

    If God dwells inside us like some people say, doesn’t that make god gay when gay people perform gay acts?

  18. #18 wrpd
    February 13, 2011

    The fabric of society is now muslin.

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    February 13, 2011

    Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because of sin and based on the text in Genesis homosexuality was rampant and one of the main reasons for the destruction.

    Comprehension fail.

    You really need to go back and actually read your Bible.

    Especially since the Sodom and Gomorrah story doesn’t condemn fathers offering up their virgin daughters’ for gang rape to appease a pack of troublemakers who might otherwise cause unpleasantness for the property holders and some male visitors. My, my, isn’t the version of “morality” the Bible promotes rather interesting! Either “God” is really misogynistic – or Sodom and Gomorrah should not be used as a source of moral teaching.

    And if you start to comprehend how different that is from what you’ve been taught the story means, then you can go and re-read the OT texts that are oft-quoted as “proof” that homosexuality is forbidden. When you do, ask yourself why the OT writers – who were highly conscious of written form and structure – embedded those texts in a long list of prohibitions of pagan worship rituals. Perhaps they are not sudden unrelated asides condemning homosexual behaviour being evil everywhere and always, but instead condemn pagan worship practices just like all of the surrounding context does…

    …and at that point you might ponder the fact that, even if you treat those texts as applying outside of pagan worship scenarios, that they only talk about man-on-man action. As far as I can tell there’s no prohibition at all of lesbian sexual relationships – so apparently God’s just fine with some forms of homosexuality, and couldn’t get worked up enough about others to make his disapproval eminently clear.

  20. #20 Sondrah
    February 13, 2011

    I believe Lot was the only adult saved from Sodom and Gomorrah — but he went on to have sex with his daughters in the King James version of The Bible, but Lot does not do this in The Koran.

  21. #21 Vince whirlwind
    February 13, 2011

    People and organisations should be entitled to embrace social conservatism without harassment from people who happen to disagree with them.
    If “Date Night” to them meant an event for conventional (presumably Christian) couples, then why shouldn’t they turn away troublemakers and non-conformists at the door? What gives you the right to try to ruin their event and make the other attendees unhappy?

    Just because they’re idiots doesn’t mean you should be mean to them.

    And frankly, as a general rule, real practising Christians are a whole lot more gratuitously nice, kind, and generous to others than are certain other sections of the community.

  22. #22 Achrachno
    February 13, 2011

    Jeff1:They aren’t anti-gay. They are pro-Bible

    They’re primarily anti-gay, and they just pick and choose verses to justify their bigotry. They can’t even find any words attributed to Jesus to justify their blind hatred of others and so have to go back to Leviticus and the like.

    Jeff1: which clearly states that adulterers and fornicators are an abomination to God.

    But so are shellfish, apparently. A fact conveniently ignored.

    BTW “God” is less than imaginary, so who cares what some book that was plainly written by amazingly ignorant men claims about this undefined word?

  23. #23 Tybo
    February 13, 2011

    Re: Sodom and Gomorrah: I’ve always understood it to be a LOT more about the lack of hospitality (drawing on myths of the Athenian gods visiting homes, if I recall), than having anything to do with the particular sexual inclinations of the residents (except, y’know, that it’s generally not considered hospitable to rape visitors).

    And there is a correct technical point above that sexuality is not included in Kentucky’s protection statues. HOWEVER, religious belief is (by federal law, no less, but also respected by Kentucky statute), and this gives the Ark Encounter two options: drop its requirement for a statement of faith, or lose funding.

    I have a feeling the loonies will do the former, but then raise hell whenever someone they don’t like *does* infiltrate as a non-YEC-Christian and get fired for not complying with that which the Ark Encounter group is not legally allowed to force compliance with.

  24. #24 anon
    February 14, 2011

    Is this a science blog? I was looking for a science blog.

  25. #25 Ichthyic
    February 14, 2011

    If we repent of our sins against Him, He will forgive and accept us as His own.

    I didn’t:

    -flog him with a nasty whip
    -nail him to a tree
    -stick a spear in him to see if he was done

    I think I’m still good with Jesus.

    I’m also good with Dumbo, Peter Pan, Zeus, Loki, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    I need no forgiveness.

    but then, I don’t really consider working for the good graces of fictional characters to be worth my time anyway.

  26. #26 Ichthyic
    February 14, 2011

    I was looking for a science blog.

    and what would you do if you found one?

    yeah, that’s what I thought.

  27. #27 echidna
    February 14, 2011

    Homosexuality is a sin, just li[k]e adultery, lying, stealing, murder, rape, incest, etc.

    Part of Christian doctrine is that all are sinners – so why pick on one particular sin, which garners very little mention in the bible? Ken Ham lies every time he talks about science. Should he also be excluded?

  28. #28 DuWayne
    February 14, 2011

    Vince@22 –

    And frankly, as a general rule, real practising Christians are a whole lot more gratuitously nice, kind, and generous to others than are certain other sections of the community.

    Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

    The real practicing Christians in my community drove a devoted and active member of one congregation I was a part of, out of the church, because he spent some time helping a fledgling church get off the ground. Not only did they drive him out, they did so using the excuse that he was once a substance abuser (clean five years @ the time) and they couldn’t have him working as a leader in a children’s group.

    Another congregation I was a part of – after we left the aforementioned church, shunned a young woman in the youth group because she got pregnant. Note there were several other kids who were sexually active and the youth leader was aware of at least two of them – but they didn’t get pregnant. So at the time she needed her church the most, they drove her out. They also drove me out, because I got pissed and very publicly criticized the core membership of the church for their actions – they actually served a restraining order on me.

    Some other real, practicing Christians I know, refuse to let their children play with mine, because I’m an atheist. Never mind that my children aren’t. Never mind that they actually attend church and are respectively nine and three years old. Their dad is an atheist and that’s enough for them.

    That is not to say that there aren’t a lot of great people out there who happen to be Christians – even some awesome churches (I have attended a couple). But there are also a lot of secular and even overtly non-theist organizations out there who do all the good things that good churches do – without the discrimination.

    An organization I am affiliated wit (CFIMichigan), for example, does a great deal of charity work the same way a lot of churches do. Many of the people who are involved with CFI MI are great people who practice the whole “love your neighbor” thing, just as well as any Christian. Only they do it because they genuinely care about their fellow humans (as do many Christians), not because some god tells them to.

  29. #29 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2011

    Vince:People and organisations should be entitled to embrace social conservatism without harassment from people who happen to disagree with them.

    Absolutely not. All institutions have a stated reason for existence, and in this case, it is education. But it is a sham. This is a perfect place to apply social pressure. Their “conservative values” are essentially minor hate crimes, anyway.

    Anon: Is this a science blog? I was looking for a science blog.

    Well, you found a science blog, and we discuss science education and the issue of evolution/creationism here. Also, a key word you seem to have not noticed even though you used it is “blog.” My blog, I blog what I want. Any more questions? No? Good.

  30. #30 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    I have to disagree with you on this Greg – “Their “conservative values” are essentially minor hate crimes, anyway.” If we determine that all views must be completely open and agreeable to anything then where is the freedom in that? And eventually you’ll have extreme lifestyles clamoring for their equality – I know you’re not a fan of pedophilia – but they can and will make the argument that they too should be accepted and loved. And perhaps a conservative would look at an extreme liberal and say their “liberal values” are a crime against morality.

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2011

    Sondra: The hate crime reference was a barb at the individual who posted the comment to which I responded. I just wanted to see his response. (see below)

    In any event, regardless of how much many people would like to think that “hate crime” refers to some amorphous scary thing that will get us all in trouble if we don’t kill the idea right away, the concept is as clearly and unambiguously described and understood legally as any other sort of crime, so there really isn’t an issue. It is also fully implemented in our current judicial system. Many thousands of hate crimes are investigated, many prosecuted, every year by the FBI. It is routine. For the last data set available, 2007, just under 10,000 hate crimes were recored as having occurred by the FBI.

    A hate crime in this case would be the following: Someone at the Creation Museum, or the museum itself, commits a crime … something that is an exiting violation of criminal statute against a person … against one or more people specifically because they are a member of a “protected group.” Crimes motivated by bias against race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, and/or disability count. The reason we bother with hate crimes instead of just prosecuting the crime itself (which usually does happen as well, by the way) is that a hate crime is a crime that affects all members of the group. There are people who don’t think children should be used as models or actors. Say a person who feels that is also crazy and smashes the cars and damages the homes of anyone they know of who does that. Every time you heard yet another story of that sort of thing happening you would be personally affected, in a sense terrorized. It would be reasonable in that case for law enforcement to go the extra mile to stop that from happening because of all those children and their parents affected. The way hate crime laws work is more conservative than that. It works only with protected groups (listed above), and protected groups can’t be some economically or professionally defined group (that could lead to some pretty unsavory legal politics where, for instance, lobbyists are more protected than auto workers etc… we do this to some extent with public elected officials getting extra protection in the law, but not generally).

    Every time someone burns down a house because black people live in it, it is an act of arson, and that’s bad enough, but by also being a potential hate crime, the FBI can become involved, bring their resources in, allow investigation over larger areas to see if there is a pattern, etc. Since many such hate crimes could be carried out by an organized illegal or semi-illegal group, which is often a matter of federal level data and investigation, it is appropriate for that reason.

    Not letting someone into your private fund raiser is not a criminal act, necessarily. Discriminating against a protected class of people does put you in a special category, however. The fact that the Creation Museum is in a politically backwards state so they can get away with it does not remove them from a fundamental conflict with many other social and political entities. For instance, if they applied for a grant from the Smithsonian to improve their museum, it could be denied on these grounds if the case in point is proven to have happened. They could not do what they did in Minnesota and maintain their tax status (I’m pretty sure).

    Vince: Having said the above, not letting someone into your fundraiser because they are gay IS a despicable act, and I disagree with you (as if that is your actual name!) that we should not apply public pressure. Without social pressure applied to despicable acts, we’d still have Vlad the Impaler in charge! (Well, not the actual Vlad, but his great great great great great great great grandson.)

    About half the hate crimes in the US are over “race” but another 14 percent over “ethnicity or national origin” and 17 percent over “religion” which is almost all against Jews. The way concepts of race and race-related hatred work in this country, that really means that over 80 percent of hate crimes are related to racism. A small percent, about one or less, is over disability. But all of the rest are over sexual orientation and that is mostly against gay men (60%), some against gay women (13%, 24% against both).

    So while the Creation Museum is probably not committing a hate crime they are participating in the perpetuation of a widespread social problem and deserve severe social sanction for that.

    And I am a social SCIENTIST and that is why I blog this stuff on my Science Blog, Mr. Anon.

  32. #32 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Thank you Greg and as always, your points are taken and help expand my understanding. Interestingly enough, HUD is adding LGBT to the list of protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. And while a fair housing violation isn’t called a hate crime outright or in the courts, I suppose you are correct in that is what discrimination in housing is about. I had never really thought about it in that light.

    Currently lesbians, gays and transexuals are not a protected class when searching for a home or applying for a mortgage unless protected at the local or state level. You may be interested to know that source of income is protected in many areas – so landlords cannot discriminate against someone poor using section 8 vouchers or someone rich living on a trust fund.

    Anyway, I think the Creation Museum existing is fine although I think they should be The Creation Museum Church to clarify that their beliefs and exhibits are in fact based on religious beliefs and not necessarily scientific discovery. You must have faith to see their “facts” as truth and therefore it becomes more of a church than a museum. I think most people in this neck of the woods see it as such anyway.

    And you should check out their blog and fb page – they occasionally post interesting stuff — they posted a picture of Bill Nye (the science guy) in their parking lot taking a picture of the museum a couple weeks ago. Apparently he didn’t come in.

  33. #33 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2011

    Ha! So, now we know that somewhere between your car and the museum, you might get your picture taken and plastered all over the internet! Nice.

    Its also worth looking at the documentation from the visit involving PZ Myers a year and a half ago. It turns out that their guards are not just guarding the valuable relics on display.

    First, this:

    Then, this:

  34. #34 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Greg – I would have sent a similar letter as the head of security sent, I would imagine they were worried and rightfully so. If their only fault is calling their place a museum, then I say scientists need to get over it. I do not believe in their view of our world, but I do believe in God. I also believe there are statistics that would show enormous numbers of people from all over on our planet believing in God, and The Bible. Faith is hard, but worthwhile for me.

    I suppose the only way an atheist and a scientist would ever truly “explore” Creationism or Christianity for that matter would be to pray. And I’m thinking that isn’t going to happen.

  35. #35 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, what in this discussion about discriminatory practices leads you to think the only problem is that this building calls itself a museum?

  36. #36 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Stephanie — In the second link to a PZ Myers blog post that Greg included in his comment is a discussion of the Creation Museum in which PZ Myers argues that it is in no way a museum. My reference was to that argument.

  37. #37 sidhe3141
    February 14, 2011

    Yes, Sondrah, but the question is why you think scientists think that’s the only problem.

  38. #38 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, calling it a museum certainly is a problem, but it’s hardly the only problem, as this post illustrates. And it would be less of a problem without the other problems. Calling this a museum denies that this is strictly a religious institution, and it does it strategically.

    The Creation Museum and the associated planned Noah’s Ark theme park ask for and receive public assistance and promotion that no straight-forwardly religious institution would receive without serious scrutiny. Yet, when the time comes to step up and act like a non-religious institution, as in when they are asked to behave in a nondiscriminatory fashion, they fall back on their religious purposes to exempt them from civilized behavior.

    The problem is not that they’re religious. The problem is not what they call themselves. The problem is that they’re cheats. The problem is that they demand treatment they won’t reciprocate.

  39. #39 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Stephanie – I’m pretty sure the NAACP receives federal funds and they discriminate against me. Government assistance, grants and funds aren’t only for organizations that agree with a particular point of view. It is what makes this country great. And as to what treatment they won’t reciprocate – I went there and I didn’t see them turn anyone away. I don’t agree, was in a bad mood when there and they still let me in. They do have certain events that are membership only and the date night was an RSVP event for members from what I saw.

  40. #40 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, your comment is factually wrong on two counts. The NAACP receives no federal funding. The male couple who was turned away from the dinner had tickets.

    The treatment they won’t reciprocate was laid out in my comment, but I can make it more clear: They ask to be treated as a nonreligious institution for purposes of funding. They will not act as a nonreligious institution when it comes to how they treat guests and prospective employees.

  41. #41 Rob
    February 14, 2011

    I also believe there are statistics that would show enormous numbers of people from all over on our planet believing in God, and The Bible.

    Yeah, and Twilight and Britney Spears are both popular. Your point?

  42. #42 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Stephanie – The NAACP is classified as a charitable organization and while they do not receive funding -you are correct, they get tax breaks, just like The Creation Museum. They also influence government on where and who to give money to on a regular basis. Toyota Motor Manufacturing is in Kentucky and they get enormous tax breaks from the state. I would imagine some would be upset that a foreign company is given such big breaks.

    I wonder if the couple explained they would be a gay couple when reserving the tickets or if their sole intention was to test whether or not The Creation Museum would let them in to the party. Seems like the later to me. I really just don’t see the big deal. The Commonwealth of Kentucky residents are by a majority Christian. I don’t think most of us here are upset that The Creation Museum receives tax incentives to bring jobs and an attraction to the state.

    And it seems that many protesting or upset by The Creation Museum are more offended and appalled at the believers than the Creation Museum believers would ever be at atheists or non-believers. The discrimination and words of disgust and disbelief directed at the believers can be considered discriminatory and hateful too.

  43. #43 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Rob – Seriously? You’re comparing Britney Spears to Christianity? Being so dismissive of beliefs that belong to such a large percentage of our planet demonstrates a closed minded perspective that is laden with superiority and an apathy to understanding and accepting your fellow man.

  44. #44 anon
    February 14, 2011

    You’re a social science, which means anything and everything is fair game, and you are master of all of it? ‘Cause when I took classes in social sciences, that’s not what I was taught.

    I think if this is a science blog, you may wish to make a good distinction about what is the science and what is just your own personal feelings. But hiding behind such a weak claim, “I iz a social scientist”, is probably not the best argument.

    Also, for all your fuss about their letter to PZ, he basically completely agreed with them that their letter was on topic and relevant, and He (annoying capitalization intended) laid down the law in that blog post to His followers.

    It’s a problem they call themselves a museum? Really? Maybe we should get federal regulation for that. Have you ever driven across America? Good luck on your drive to eliminate non-science based museums.

    It’s an enormous hypothetical strawman for you to play games like, “If the Creation Museum applies to the Smithsonian for funds, ….”

    You’re on much better grounds to make sure they don’t discriminate in their hiring practices.

    Dude, it’s a private institution, they themselves acknowledge they are part of a religious group.

    If you want to know why people think zealous atheists are annoying and probably no better morally or ethically than anything faith based group and just as dangerous to the population, check out this url:

  45. #45 anon
    February 14, 2011

    Related to your need for Federal Regulation of the word “museum.”

    In many ways, I wholeheartedly endorse your proposal.

    To me, “deli” is a sacred name that is profaned by millions of convenience stores across the land that do not, cannot, will not make me a nice corned beef sandwich on rye, with deli mustard and a pickle.

    Those are the SOBs I want to go after.


  46. #46 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2011

    You’re a social science, which means anything and everything is fair game, and you are master of all of it?

    Thank you, what a nice thing to say.

    I think if this is a science blog, you may wish to make a good distinction about what is the science and what is just your own personal feelings.

    Imma let you finish telling me how to blog and stuff, but I’m sorry that I won’t be reading the rest of your comment because, well, I already know how to blog. Thanks though!

    Related to your need for Federal Regulation of the word “museum.”

    I don’t think I suggested that, but having worked for years in museums, I can tell you that there is defacto federal regulation of what a museum is when it comes to funding from the feds. For real.

    As far as deli goes, we are on the same page here. I’m from New York. If you wanted a sandwich, getting one not at a deli was hard. I now live in the Twin Cities. I have to keep checking with my relatives as to where the current not-out-of-business deli is so I can get lox now and then. Convenience stores are not deli’s and the fucking gas station is definitely NOT A DELI!!!!

  47. #47 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, the Ark theme park is getting government funding, not just the tax breaks that all nonprofits get. They’re doing it at the same time they’re claiming exemptions from legal requirements that Toyota isn’t allowed to claim. That’s material, and that’s what’s being objected to. It’s cheating. They get to pick one or other, not both.

    The fact that the people you agree with are in the majority is great for you. It’s called religious privilege. However, those you agree with are not the only people whose interests are protected under the Constitution. If you’d like to change the Constitution so no religous views are protected, you can work to do that. I sincerely hope you don’t succeed and have to face the consequences that history tells us will follow, but you have that option. Suggesting that those of us who are defending that part of the Constitution are just being tetchy isn’t going to help your argument, though.

    Now, what kinds of discrimination are those creationists facing? What events are they being turned away from, either at the point of purchasing tickets or at the door?

  48. #48 sqlrob
    February 14, 2011

    Seriously? You’re comparing Britney Spears to Christianity? Being so dismissive of beliefs that belong to such a large percentage of our planet demonstrates a closed minded perspective that is laden with superiority and an apathy to understanding and accepting your fellow man.

    Beliefs that don’t mesh with reality = delusion.

    Why shouldn’t delusions be dismissed?

  49. #49 Robert
    February 14, 2011

    The fact that the people you agree with are in the majority is great for you.

    The majority of people on this planet are not Christians. Just saying.

  50. #50 Jason Thibeault
    February 14, 2011

    Yeah, Sondra, I’m sure the tax breaks for an institution that brings jobs to the state is well and good, but when that institution has an avowed purpose — to inculcate religiously derived nonsense as somehow being scientific fact — I think you can see where there’s a problem. At least if you were judging by any honest metric of what might constitute a “problem” when it comes to governments and religion.

  51. #51 Jason Thibeault
    February 14, 2011

    True, Robert@50, but the majority of people on this planet don’t get a say in Americans’ Constitution and their governmental spending habits.

  52. #52 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Absolutely true, Robert. Always worth remembering for those who take comfort in being in the majority.

    Sondrah, the point of the Britney Spears comparison is that numbers don’t equate to being right. It’s much easier to see that when something ridiculous is used.

  53. #53 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    The Ark project is not being built with government dollars – Read this –

    and this –

    The separation of church and state is not as clear as many would like. I enjoy seeing President Obama going to church, I like that our currency says “In God We Trust”. I don’t want to change the constitution and I don’t believe our earth is 6,000 years old either. But I am fine to leave to each their own when it comes to religious organizations and their “museums”. And am sorry to say but believe The Creation Museum had a right to turn away who they want. I am Catholic and women can’t be priests, but I am not running to The Vatican to protest that either.

    My apologies to Greg for littering up his blog. I admire and respect his brain, his views and his entertaining yet educational style.

  54. #54 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011


    Beliefs and Faith do not draw from concrete, hold in your hand objects and facts. They are not based on science. To believe you must have faith. You cannot disprove the existence of God anymore than I can prove it. I just have faith.

  55. #55 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, the Ark Encounter statements about funding are misleading. They’re correct that the money they’ll receive won’t be going through state coffers first. However, what they describe is the same kind of state financing that is used for businesses, etc. that do have to adhere to the rules regarding discrimination. I’m not terribly impressed with them that they’re trying to make some distinction between this and public funding when this is what’s generally meant when someone talks about states funding businesses. Either way, it’s still a “drain on state revenues.”

  56. #56 Stephanie
    February 14, 2011

    I’m a marketing gal and it has been a long time since I’ve had a civics or economics class for that matter, and never a graduate level class or understanding on taxation and industry. Regardless, we can agree to disagree and eventually I think we’ll see if it brings in the tourism dollars that they say it will. I have a hard time imagining it.

  57. #57 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    The above post is by Sondrah — Sorry – meant to say @Stephanie and am doing four things at once.

  58. #58 Vince whirlwind
    February 14, 2011

    “Not letting someone into your fundraiser because they are gay is a despicable act”.

    I don’t see why. This is a fundraiser conducted by a group which runs itself according to a specific moral code.
    If a bunch of Satanists turned up at the door to a Christian fundraiser, would turning them away be a despicable act? You’re essentially advocating open slather for anybody to not just disrespect anybody else’s beliefs but actually harass them on account of their beliefs.

    To me, this is an ideal example of what Voltaire was on about – there is nothing quite so idiotic as a “Creation Museum”, therefore making it the perfect object for my support against the sort of social nihilism you advocate.

  59. #59 Robert
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, the point of the Britney Spears comparison is that numbers don’t equate to being right. It’s much easier to see that when something ridiculous is used.

    But is there something specifically “wrong” with Britney Spears?

    Regarding the majority, that was my point. Muslims plus hindus plustaoist/Buddhist >> christian. So in the big picture sense, if the majority thinking a certain way means that squeaky little minorities such as people who believe in evolution have to stuff it, then more generally speaking, Christians have to stuff it when their way of seeing things conflicts with the actual majority. IOW be careful what you wish for, Sondra.

  60. #60 wockrassa
    February 14, 2011

    What the goddists seem to forget is that there is no place anywhere in the Bible that has Jesus Christ himself saying anything about homosexuality. In fact, he doesn’t mention sex at all.*

    You’d think that if he was really the son of some god, and his dad was really all that concerned about it, he’d have mentioned it.


    * No. Paul does not count. Neither do the old testament scribblings.

  61. #61 Shari Lewis
    February 14, 2011

    “The above post is by Sondrah — Sorry – meant to say @Stephanie and am doing four things at once.”

    Aha! Proving that Stephanie and Sondrah are sock puppets of each other!!!!!! This is not helping! This is not helping!

  62. #62 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, I’m always happy to agree to disagree on the subject of theistic belief. It’s not the sort of thing that will ever be settled by argument.

    Economics and civics are subjects that bring out the geek in me, though. It’s much harder to let those lie. 🙂

  63. #63 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2011

    My apologies to Greg for littering up his blog. I admire and respect his brain, his views and his entertaining yet educational style.

    Sondrah, you’ve not littered my blog. Or, I suppose one could argue that this is what blogs are for…

    Vince: I don’t see why. This is a fundraiser conducted by a group which runs itself according to a specific moral code.

    Its a despicable moral code.

    Shari: I know both of them in meatspace and they are not sock puppets of each other!

  64. #64 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Vince, you seem to be arguing that all moral codes should have equivalent standing. Is that a position you want to stand behind while talking about “social nihilism”?

  65. #65 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2011

    Vince, what exactly is the equivalence between mythical satanic worship and real life gayness?

  66. #66 wockrassa
    February 14, 2011

    Greg@ 66:

    Come on, that’s easy. All you have to do is think like a religidiot:

    Satan likes to poke people in the butt with his pitchfork. Gays like to poke people in the butt with their whatsiedoodles. Therefore, Satanism and homosexuality are completely, totally, and entirely equivalent.

    See? That wasn’t so hard. If you’re willing to accept the idea of Satan, it’s not very difficult to ignore everything else that’s wrong with the foregoing, even though every sentence is factually false.

  67. #67 sqlrob
    February 14, 2011

    Beliefs and Faith do not draw from concrete, hold in your hand objects and facts

    Yeah, they do.

    “God Created the Universe” – trying to claim an observable fact.

    “World was flooded and Noah saved pairs / sevens of each animal” – trying to claim an observable fact

    “Jesus performed miracles” – trying to claim observable fact.

    Those have all been disproven to a high degree. You’re believing in something that is actively false. That’s delusion, not faith.

  68. #68 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    sqlrob, you do understand that if you’re telling Sondrah (or anyone else) what specific doctrines she believes based on the fact that she’s a Christian or even a Catholic, you’re going to get a bunch of stuff wrong, yes? You’re straying into Vince territory here.

  69. #69 Jason Thibeault
    February 14, 2011

    Stephanie, I’m pretty sure sqlrob’s point is that you can believe whatever you want, but as soon as your belief starts making material claims about how this world works, and those beliefs are in direct contradiction to observable facts, one can’t hold up “faith is not something you need facts to prove” as a shield against the charge that they believe in nonsense.

    But then again, I’m telling you what sqlrob believes, so I’m just as bad! 😀

  70. #70 sidhe3141
    February 14, 2011

    FoS- Contradiction of observable facts: Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Ethanol is composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. The nuclear transformations required to obtain carbon from water require decently high energies. Water therefore cannot be transmuted into wine except under very specific conditions. Postulating that “Goddidit” is one of those conditions requires you to prove the existence of God under laboratory conditions.

  71. #71 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    sidhe3141 –

    If God has the power to create the universe (big bang or not), create the elements, the building blocks of life and all things we know — I think the water to wine thing would be pretty easy. Just saying.

  72. #72 NJ
    February 14, 2011

    FoS @ 72:

    Oh wait. that has been disproved by some high minded college intellectual who has all knowledge of the universe and cannot be wrong on anything. College professors can never be wrong. They are the all knowing, all seeing power of the universe. Idiots.

    …and the green-eyed monster appears. Predictable, really.

  73. #73 sidhe3141
    February 14, 2011

    74- In other words, Goddidit. I expect proof under laboratory conditions will be forthcoming?

  74. #74 sidhe3141
    February 14, 2011

    “God exists, therefore this argument for his existence is valid” is a circular proof. In case you didn’t pay attention to the URL, this is a science blog. In science, when you propose an explanation, you have to prove under controlled conditions that each proposed step is valid. So far, you haven’t managed to prove the “Goddidit” step.

    Oh, and to answer your question: Atomic theory. Antonine Lavosier. 1789. Composition of ethanol. Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure. 1808. Nuclear transmutation. Ernest Rutherford. 1901. You can look this stuff up yourself.

  75. #75 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    Let’s approach this from the other side then. Using all that science has – create breastmilk for me.

  76. #76 sidhe3141
    February 14, 2011

    Okay. Just give me a tissue sample from the area in question, a dish of nutrients, and some prolactin. Or, if you want a running factory, I’ll need a second dish, a gene sequence coding for the hormone in question, lab-strain E. coli, and some ECO-R-1. Simple.

  77. #77 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    sidhe3141 – It can’t be done. You know it and I know it. And the argument on either side cannot be won. You will hold your truths dear to you and mine to me. I hope to see you in the afterlife to discuss.

  78. #78 sidhe3141
    February 14, 2011

    Why can’t it be done? The required chain of events is: (ECO-R-1 + prolactin gene -> prolactin plasmid + E. coli ->) prolactin hormone + human mammary tissue -> milk. Where’s the bad link?

  79. #79 Sondrah
    February 14, 2011

    sidhe3141 – You need to alert the media that you can recreate human breastmilk from scratch – oh wait, you can’t. Your synthetic breastmilk would be akin to synthetic blood and just not the same. Your proteins would become inactive, your breastmilk would not compare and besides that, your formula requires components that in and of themselves you can’t create. You asked me for the breast tissue – create that from scratch. Again, you can’t. Whether you like it or not, neither man nor science can do this.

  80. #80 Achrachno
    February 14, 2011

    Fabr: Disproved? Dear sir, please explain in specific detail just how the miracles of Jesus has been disporoved.

    No one can establish that there ever were any “miracles of Jesus” or that Jesus ever existed — even as a mere mortal. The preponderance of the evidence is that Jesus is just another mythical figure, similar to Zeus and the gang. That’s why you’re reduced to relying on “faith” — if you had any actual evidence you’d use that instead. Zeus is to be considered imaginary until strong evidence is presented for his existence, especially if miracles are claimed for him. Same story for Jesus and a couple of thousand other “gods” that people have dreamed up at various times. IMO, miracle claims are pretty much proof by themselves that any being to whom they’re attributed is fictional.

  81. #81 Stephanie Z
    February 14, 2011

    Sondrah, I’m confused about what your breast milk challenge is supposed to accomplish. Is there any process that doesn’t require cells to create breast milk? Are you suggesting a deity will create some for us now without the cells? Are you saying that since the current state of scientific understanding can’t also produce the cells from scratch it will never reach that point? What are you defining as “scratch” and how long a time period do you think is reasonable for this challenge?

  82. #82 Vince whirlwind
    February 15, 2011

    Firstly, Robert, as I understand it, the 4 elements of the New Testament are not particularly reliable documents about what Jesus (if there was any such real person) did or didn’t say – 3 of them were written in Greek, almost one hundred years after Jesus’ death, by Greeks who had never met him.
    As for Jesus’ actual concerns – along with the hundreds of similar dissenters of the time, he was fighting against the authority of a repressive military occupation and its local quisling Jewish administration, so people’s sexual perversions were probably not even at the bottom of the list of the things he was agitating about.
    Additionally, Christianity in general is only very loosely based on anything that once happened in the middle east – as the formal authoritarian religion of Western Europe, it is based on the politics of the overthrow of the Merovingians and subsequent euro-centric political shenanigans.

  83. #83 sidhe3141
    February 15, 2011

    Yeah, I’m a bit confused too. How the f*** did we get from homophobia to biotech?

  84. #84 Vince whirlwind
    February 15, 2011

    Stephanie – in what way do I advocate “equal standing” for different moral codes?

    The point is, some people who are strongly opposed to Satanism/Homosexuality/Science/Whatever threw a party and some Satanists/Homosexuals/Scientists/Whatever decided to cause trouble.

    That’s not exactly “despicable” but it is puerile, hypocritical, and disrespectful. If you don’t respect their stupid religious sect, how can you honestly expect them to respect your stupid sexual perversions?

  85. #85 Stephanie Z
    February 15, 2011

    What is telling me I must respect their views in order to get respect for mine doing but putting their bigoted views on an equal footing with a respect for equality? Well, that and being wrong, because nothing I do with respect to their views will cause them to view me with anything but fear and contempt. Nor do I expect it. What I expect is that the bigoted breed will eventually die out while the rest of us go on living happy lives without any help from them. “Them” including you, who calls something perfectly common and natural a perversion.

    And just what “trouble” were the attendees (nice conflation of evil, science, and homosexuality, by the way) going for? Where were the great plans for disruption shared? Did everybody get the results they were looking for?

  86. #86 amphiox
    February 15, 2011

    Using all that science has – create breastmilk for me.

    C’mon. That’s easy. Just raise yourself a dairy cow.

    Last I heard, Animal Husbandry is a science.

    Using science =/= in a lab =/= in a petri dish =/= from “scratch”.

  87. #87 sidhe3141
    February 15, 2011

    91- That’s cheating. She (I assume) meant human, and besides the fundies say that dairy cows are a “kind” that has existed from the Garden onward.

  88. #88 Vince whirlwind
    February 15, 2011

    Stephanie, you only seem to have one perspective on this: yours.

    From your perspective, *they* and their religion are bigoted and wrong.
    From their perspective, *you* and your perversion are immoral and wrong.

    I don’t have a foot in either camp, and I know hypocrisy when I see it.

    I’d like to add that as far as I can see, religion is at least as “common and natural” as homosexuality.

  89. #89 sidhe3141
    February 15, 2011

    Vince, what they’re doing is pretty much the dictionary definition of bigotry, claiming that being (suspected of being) different in a way that does not interfere with others means that someone deserves neither equal access to services nor access to services that they have already paid for nor
    a refund for services that they are being denied.

  90. #90 Stephanie Z
    February 15, 2011

    Vince, are you still trying to tell me you’re not advocating for equal standing for moral codes? If you’d like to make this a bit more, oh, thoughtful than “neither of them people likes the other,” you might want to (1) look up “hypocrisy” and (2) do some thinking about public and private spheres and beliefs. I couldn’t care less what you believe privately. I do care about how you treat people publicly. For example, you can stop calling a large percentage of the population “perverted” any time now.

    Any of the religious folks reading along care to address Vince’s conflation of religion and bigotry?

  91. #91 Sondrah
    February 15, 2011

    Stephanie – My point was to counter the “you can’t turn water into wine” discussion that implied if science can’t do it, it can’t be done. It was the best I could come up with using my tired, non-science brain. That there are some mysteries, some things that no matter how well we know the components and can attempt to create, we just can’t do it. God doesn’t ask that you give up science. I don’t discount science at all and I do not believe in creationism. I also don’t think atheist are immoral or perverted.

    But to circle this back around – the atheists and others (including the gay couple only attempting to create a scene) who attempt to force people to accept their lifestyles, their beliefs and their choices are no better than the people they say are trying to do the same on them. Whether you call it a museum or not, it is an attraction that brings in tourists and therefore qualifies for tax incentives. It is okay that it is based on The Bible – it is as much a historical document as a religious one. Is it really worth all your anger and disgust?

    Finally, I realize that atheist wholeheartedly believe it is ridiculous to believe in God. They can see no proof so it cannot be. Here’s the kicker – you can see no proof because you don’t believe and aren’t even open to it. What a miracle it would be if you gave God a chance.

  92. #92 Greg Laden
    February 15, 2011

    Vince, I LOL’ed when I read that you have a problem that Stephanie has only her own perspective. Very funny.

    I’m sorry I’m not keeping up with this thread … yet … I was teaching last night, and we have a strep throat plague going on so daycare is closed, so I’m on round the clock parenting duty for the moment…

    Quickly I’ll say this about breast milk, which is a topic I know something about. If bacteria could be engineered to produce breast milk, we’d be producing it now. The problem is that they can produce it but then they infect it right away. We easily produce estrogen using bacteria.

    Anyway, a living cell has not quite yet been created from scratch, but close. there’s only a couple of labs doing this, and the basic tools needed to do it are new. It will take time. The tools needed to produce the sun in a “lab” were available for decades before the first sun was replicated on earth at Bikini. And, out of necessity, it was a small sun.

    The point is, we know exactly how mammal breasts produce milk, there are no mysteries there. A cell, however, is incredibly intricate and complex and all the parts are very very small. We only barely have the tools to even see inside a cell. There is no more significance to the inability of science to replicate cellular function than for Columbus to have drawn an accurate map of the New World the week after he was discovered wandering on the beach by Caribbean natives.

    But, I must say, the question of why science can’t make breast milk is an excellent starting point for discussion.

  93. #93 Stephanie Z
    February 15, 2011

    Ah, I understand better now, Sondrah. Yes, the “there can’t be miracles because they’re not something else” argument is pretty silly. I noticed it myself when it was brought up. There are much better reasons to doubt the existence of miracles, such as the track record for investigations of claimed miracles (decidedly terrestrial in origin) and understanding that unlikely doesn’t mean impossible.

    I would be careful, though, about suggesting anything in general about atheists. I know plenty of them who were not only open to believing but who agonized for years over not being able to believe. Saying they simply don’t want to believe is minimizing their struggle.

    I’m still curious why you think the couple who was refused entry was trying to cause trouble. Reading the accounts, I see only evidence to the contrary. Their companions even told the guards that they were not romantically involved, having been stood up by female dates. They did everything they could to appease those at the museum and were thrown out anyway.

  94. #94 heironymous
    February 15, 2011

    I’ve been lurking on this blog thread for the past day or so. It’s very welcome to see a relatively civil discussion from diverse viewpoints.

    From my perspective, the breast milk argument is just another God of the gaps argument. In essence it boils down to “whatever science can’t explain or do, god did it”. Back in the day it was, “Why does the sun come up? I don’t know. Mighty Apollo gets up every morning, wakes up his flying horses and pulls the sun around the earth in his chariot.” (Don’t fly too close to the sun, your wings will melt.)

    Now the argument has moved on to “Where did we come from?” Well – evolution shows how that happened. A large segment refuses to believe that because it violates their religious beliefs. Others trust in the science and say “OK, well then who started the process, who created the big bang – someone had to do it.” (As if this somehow proves, god, _his_ army of angels, his son, the veracity of the bible etc.) It also ignores the question if “God” created the big bang, where did he come from and who created him. – but I digress – sometimes it feels like playing religious wack-a-mole trying to counter the various belief systems.

    The point is that I am perfectly comfortable with Science coming back with the answer “We don’t know, here’s what we do know and here’s our best estimate as to how this works” God of the gaps says religion comes back with “AHA – there’s something you don’t know. Some mystical force must have done it. And not just any mystical force, my GOD. And this proves that what’s written in this book many centuries ago is true.” logic – fail

    Oh and SondraH – I was raised Christian (Roman Catholic to be exact) When I was younger I believed. When I was in high school and college, I defended faith against all comers – whenever the topic was brought up. I worked under the assumption that god was real and all the quirks of the bible etc. were just man muddling it all up.

    But as I grew older, I studied more history. I traveled a fair bit and saw other cultures’ religions. I saw the evolution of religion throughout the years. I still wanted to believe, but I struggled with it. Finally one rigorous proof pushed me to agnosticism:

    Imagine a perfect god.
    A perfect god would have created a perfect world with perfect people.
    Is the world perfect? No.
    Hence there is no perfect god.

  95. #95 sqlrob
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah – you’re making the positive claim of the miracles, show the evidence.

    There’s no mention in contemporary histories, and things like the earthquake and zombies on the resurrection would kinda be a noted event.

  96. #96 Sondrah
    February 15, 2011

    Stephanie – I would imagine that battle is tough when you end up on the side of atheism. My battle ended in the other direction, as did my husband’s. And during that battle, it was the little miracles that pushed us both toward our faith.

    heironymous- There was a perfect world and then there was sin. And it isn’t a mythical force and it isn’t because of the mysteries that science can’t prove yet that cause me to believe in God. It is easier not believing – really it is. Faith is hard, Believing in God can be too – but I know it to be true and all the discussions in the world won’t change that. I am sorry you lost your faith because you could not fathom something outside the realm of science or because free will exists and messed up the perfect world.

    sqlrob – There are lots of everyday miracles and modern miracles and I don’t have time to lay out the work of God in the world today – but I assure you it is there. I posted this on my facebook the other day – I would dare to say it is pretty miraculous –
    But none of that matters because I could show you a thousand miracles and you’d find justification or rationalizations for why they aren’t a miracle, why prayer didn’t work and why God can’t be. That’s okay – he loves you anyway.

    You know what I really need… what really messes with my faith, is Ghost Hunters. I need someone to explain captured voices and images on tape for me. Can someone help me there?

  97. #98 Stephanie Z
    February 15, 2011

    I love that AIG’s “evidence” that there was any planned disruption is an appeal to sponsor tickets to sate readers’ curiosity about the lecture to be given inside. How is reporting on the lecture compatible with creating a disturbance? (Right. Logic. Like noting that if it were someone’s intent to send in a flamboyantly gay couple, he might actually send a gay couple instead of at least one straight guy. I realize I live in Minneapolis, but flamboyantly gay couples just aren’t that hard to find.)

  98. #99 NJ
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah @ 101:

    I need someone to explain captured voices and images on tape for me. Can someone help me there?

    Expand the explanations at both links to include the non-religious supernatural.

  99. #100 Sondrah
    February 15, 2011

    Greg – After reading The Creation Museum’s article – I have to say, I think they did the right thing. Joe shouldn’t have been an ass a month before the event saying he was going to cause trouble. Pretty sophomoric in my opinion and deserving of not being allowed entry.

  100. #101 Greg Laden
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah, all it really says is that they are selective about who they “welcome” and their first paragraph demanding that scientist be more accepting of other points of view (which are explicitly anti-science and unsupportable, as you know) is hypocritical.

    They are saying you can be gay, just don’t look gay. One possible equivalent, just as a thought experiment, might be: You can be Christian, just don’t wear a cross.

  101. #102 Sondrah
    February 15, 2011

    Greg – I wasn’t talking about their policies, I was meaning that they denied him entry based on his blog post from a month earlier stating he was going to find a way to attend and cause disruption. Regardless of politics or beliefs, denying entry to someone you know is there not to enjoy the evening makes good sense to me.

    I also think the fact that he didn’t even get out of his car and tried to report it as if he was in the museum entry speaks a great deal too.

  102. #103 Greg Laden
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah, that may be why they did it and that may be what should have happened. But in their description of the event they explicity state that they did not wan a “flamboyant gay” person on the premises. I find that troubling.

    Look, are you really trying to defend an organization that has been on the record as lying and cheating since it started to exist that promotes a view of the world that is totally incorrect with the intention (explicit) to push it into public schools in the area? We know what AIG and Ham and the rest of them are up to because they have been doing it for years, and we know their methods because they are unabashed in using them.

  103. #104 Warren
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah @101:

    “I would imagine that battle is tough when you end up on the side of atheism.”

    One would presume so, from the perspective of a believer. However, my atheism actually came as a relief.

    I wondered how it could be so relieving for a while, since it seems so sterile from a believer’s point of view, and eventually settled on the idea that as a person who believed – and then became agnostic – I’d been clinging to a hope that wasn’t provable. That’s really a false hope, a kind of delusion, and letting go of that false hope helped make me less delusional.

    Since the hope wasn’t provable, it left me in a constant state of anxiety. I was concerned that I might misbehave and make some deity angry, which would then get me in trouble; I was concerned about what the idea of an afterlife or reincarnation might mean; I was basically worried about a lot of things, as a result of my belief.

    For instance, let’s digress into the afterlife idea for a moment. In what form do we manifest? As “perfected” versions of ourselves? At what age? What about small children – what afterlife form do they take? Are these bodies really so superb that a “perfected” form is one we’d want to inhabit forever? Wouldn’t that get boring after the first few trillion years?

    There’s a verse from the hymn “Amazing Grace” that strikes me as a bit chilling:

    When we’ve been there ten thousand years
    bright shining as the sun,
    we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    than when we’d first begun.

    Think about that. Ten thousand years of singing praise … coupled with the knowledge that this is going to go on forever.

    Well, okay, so maybe that’s not the form that the afterlife takes. Maybe it’s more like the Mormon idea, eternal progression – you keep growing and developing, eventually going on to be a god yourself, and creating your own universe, planets, etc., populating them with your own versions of souls and so on. So this primate-derived form we hold now – this is going to be it, for ever, in every universe that will ever be? That strikes me as being a poverty of creativity.

    Now reincarnation might make a little more sense, but what’s the mechanism by which the soul is transmitted? If it’s something that inhabits physical beings, how is it physically undetectable? Nothing that exists in this universe can meaningfully be undetectable. The electromagnetic spectrum is complete; there are no “holes” anywhere for unknown forms of energy. So where would the soul lie along this spectrum? If it’s not on this spectrum, how can anyone say that it exists in a way that can interact with any part of this universe?

    This leads to another question that affects both the single-soul and multiple-lives belief: Why don’t we remember anything that happened before we were born?

    Among my earliest memories, I know I was in an oxygen tent, racked by pneumonia; I know I got an allergic scratch test (ouch!); I know I drank a glass of scotch-and-water, believing it to be merely water (early lush, I suppose). Before that, I don’t have any recollection of anything. I don’t have memories, I don’t have the coherent narrative that awareness eventually brings.

    How is this possible, if I have a soul, and that soul somehow keeps an indelible record of everything I’ve ever been? How is it that I can’t access its memories and experiences?

    If there’s only one life, when did that soul come into being? At fusion of sperm and egg? Thing is, that’s not a discrete event. The fusion takes a while. It doesn’t happen in a twinkling of an eye. So did it develop afterward somehow? When? Or was it decanted into my body at some time?

    And what can it possibly mean to speak of souls as being eternal, if there is a definite time at which they come into existence?

    If the soul’s “memory” or history is not accessible, what does it mean to die? How does this reflect on the forms available in the “afterlife”? How can I meaningfully have a “perfected body” made up of soul, when it doesn’t appear that this soul is anywhere near human comprehensibility?

    These are hard questions, and a genuinely thoughtful person of faith will spend time struggling with them. Odds are they struggle because none of the answers they receive are actually satisfying. It was struggling with these questions that more or less shoehorned me into agnosticism, and eventually into atheism.

    In the end, taking that final step from agnosticism to atheism was really just one of realization. I’d been self-identifying as agnostic for some time, but at last I realized that I was thinking, acting, and speaking as if there were no gods – and had been for a while. So I’d actually been atheistic for some time before I understood that I actually am an atheist.

    What’s (possibly) counterintuitive about all of this is that I’ve come to a place absolutely vast with freedom, possibility, and awe. Looking at the complexity and diversity of life, how it’s filled pretty much every ecological niche on a small ball of rock and stone spinning around a fusing sphere of gas, in a universe utterly inimical to life in the first place, is simply astonishing.

    Knowing the mechanisms by which stars form and explode, releasing heavier elements into the cosmos to accrete around other stars, eventually to develop into a living soup that one day stands up and argues about where it all came from … this doesn’t take anything away from me or my perceptions. It ties me inextricably to the universe itself. We are the universe, contemplating itself, exploring and understanding itself. What could be more awe-inspiring than that simple fact?

    Atheism has also freed me to enjoy the philosophies of many different religions, without having to feel tied to their dogma, and without having to buy into their implicit xenophobia. I don’t have to believe in the literal divinity of Jesus Christ – nor even that he existed – to find value in his putative words as contained in the first four books of the new testament. I don’t have to reject his divinity to find meaning in the books of the Koran. I don’t have to be Hindu to see the merits of Indra’s web. And I don’t have to believe in rebirth to make use of Buddhist meditation practice. I get to cherry-pick the best of religion’s fruits, without having to suck down the bitter dregs.

    So to my mind, no, atheism isn’t hopeless, it isn’t hard, it isn’t empty, and it’s certainly not joyless. It’s the most sensible perspective I can imagine right now, and it’s served to make my life a hell of a lot less encumbered.

    Finally, your reply to heironymous lacks an important understanding. A perfect god, having created a perfect universe, disallows the possibility of imperfection via sin. By positing free will, you’ve essentially made room for entropy, which is imperfection – order cascading into chaos.

    Thus the universe could not have been perfect at any time, or else there wouldn’t have been any room for sin to insinuate itself – unless you’re willing to attribute to “Satan” the same kind of creative power ordinarily reserved for “God”.

  104. #105 Sondrah
    February 15, 2011

    Greg – I am okay they don’t want flamers at their dinner parties – it goes against their beliefs and they are entitled to their private events. I don’t think you’d want a group dressed up like Jesus and his disciples crashing a party just to be obnoxious either. Now if they turned them away during normal operating hours for the public – I’d be upset and think they were wrong. If that is truly their mo during operating hours, they need to change it -but I’ve seen video of them letting in all types of people.

    As to their tactics – I have not witnessed it, so you would know better if they lie on a regular basis. But I will offer this as evidence to a contrary belief that lying furthers their cause — when Ri did that commercial, they didn’t want scripts, they didn’t want people telling the kids what to say – they wanted genuine & honest testimony. Or that is what we were told. Seems if they could get away with lying anywhere, it would be in a commercial.

    I also haven’t seen them push their agenda at schools. Our schools teach evolution, but I do not know about those up and around the museum in Northern Kentucky. We are fortunate to be in the best school district in the state and even though the overwhelming majority of tax payers in this district are Christian, I do not believe a creationist view would ever make it into the curriculum.

    Finally, I am not defending their beliefs, I am defending their right to hold their beliefs, to operate their facility and to expect opponents to not openly try and force an opposing lifestyle or belief on them because they feel self-righteous about it. Joe didn’t do this to try and convert any creationists, Joe did it because he wanted to say “YOU ARE WRONG” in a really loud, obnoxious way. Not cool in my book, but what do I know, I’m just a middle aged, midwestern working mom doing my thing.

    I really don’t even have a horse in this race as I am neither an atheist or a creationist and last I checked, I am not a gay man. Although, I wouldn’t mind being one for a day because the lead on USA’s White Collar is so fine.

  105. #106 Stephanie Z
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah, you keep saying you know why these tickets were purchased. Yet you’re ignoring evidence to the contrary. You’re ignoring the actual fundraising message, and you’re ignoring the fact that this was no more a private event than the museum is a private business (that is to say, they’re both private to the same degree).

    You’re also ignoring the fact that Joe provided a link to a description that states he was not at the door, adding clarity to his description of “We were turned away.” Instead, you appear to prefer calling him dishonest. It might be time to examine how your biases are affecting which facts you’re processing.

    I understand that it’s sometimes difficult to comprehend that people who say they’re doing things in the name of their religion are, at base, really crappy people. However, that happens to be the case here. Greg isn’t remotely exaggerating AIG’s history of lies, and you can see it here if you’re willing to look even at what they say about Joe’s words.

    You just have to be willing to look.

  106. #107 Greg Laden
    February 15, 2011

    As I’ve said, if this was a private event they have a right to sell tickets to anyone they chose. Once they’ve sold tickets, they may have a right to then refuse people who they think might be gay-looking, but if they do that, it makes them anti-gay dicks and for that they get my … well, my blog post calling them anti-gay. Up to them.

    My main objections have been addressed above in the comments: They do in fact play a slimy game getting public funding or support of some kind when our laws of separation of church and state should apply (and many churches do that and they should not be allowed to either) and their intention is to damage science education, not just hold alternative beliefs.

    You see, they are AIG, and I see the pain and suffering that biology teachers have to endure, and the disruptions to their classrooms, when kids come into class not only spouting AIG rhetoric but handing out AIG literature in class and along with their parents making various sorts of threats. Science teacher have lost thier jobs over this, and they did not deserve this. One person very close to me was essentially threatened by a schoolboard member to do what he wanted (pass his creationist son) or the entire course she tought would be eliminated from the curriculum. And so on.

    They are not professing their beliefs. They are doing everything they can to disrupt science education. And while they’re at it, they are pandering to the right wing with their faux anti-gay stance. Not OK.

    Yes, I’ve not seen Jesus show up and disrupt an event, but science teachers across the country have bible thumping children TRAINED BY THE SAME GROUP THAT MAKES THIS MUSEUM disrupting their science classes every day across the country. There are about 4,000 science teachers teaching about 5,000 science classes every semester in this country, and there are disruptive activities organized by this group in about half of them at any given time.

    Not. OK. Ever.

    That is all.

    Sondrah, I do appreciate the fact that you are not a creationist, but you could be a bit more against them. They do not need your defense. The need, rather, to dry up and blow away in the breeze. I’m not talking about beliefs. I’m talking about willful, intentional, often illegal disruption of science education in this country at exactly the worst possible time for that to happen. This is not about beliefs.

    That is really all.

  107. #108 Sondrah
    February 15, 2011

    Stephanie – he really did imply it and only now has added clarification. Any normal person would have assumed he himself, was told no by creation museum staff.

    Greg – I promise to not have so much apathy on the subject of creationism in the classroom anymore. It hadn’t affected me and to be honest, apathy gives me more time. HOWEVER, I just googled and discovered we’ve got issues in the commonwealth – here is a fun blog post about it –

    So I’ll do my part to ensure teachers in my area are not pressured nor required to alter their curriculum. We are however really well sheltered here in the burbs of Louisville. We just don’t get the extremist or quacks – religious or otherwise.

  108. #109 Stephanie Z
    February 15, 2011

    Sondrah, that first update that links to his friend’s post is referred to in the AIG post, and has been there since Greg posted his link above, but AIG is still claiming Joe is lying by saying “we.” That’s a crappy way to behave.

  109. #110 heironymous
    February 15, 2011

    A perfect god wouldn’t have allowed sin. A perfect world would be a utopian society.

    And don’t feel sad because I overcame the fantasy. I am not. At first I worried about how I was going to teach my children morals without the community structure of a church. But then I realized that there were several tenets of the church I flat out disagreed with (the homophobia being discussed here among them). My children learn their moral values primarily via their mother and me. Every night rather than reciting a prayer by rote, I tell the story of their day. We discuss how it was nice for E to have done this and why it was bad that H did that.
    Because there’s a basis for morality and ethics that has nothing to do with religion. It’s the golden rule. Yes it’s written out in the bible “Love thy neighbor as thyself” But there’s also some _horrible_ ethical stories in the bible. Unless you think it’s okay to sell your daughter into slavery (Exodus 21) – or to take joy in smashing children’s heads (Psalms 137) – or to have (2) bears eat 42 children because a prophet is being mocked (2 Kings 2).

    Do you condone these? Do you accept them as part of your morality? If not, why do you reject these and not the nonsense in Leviticus about abomination and confusion.

    I’ve always wondered why “christians” ignore the basic doctrine of Jesus. He sets two rules far above all the others: Love the lord thy god with all they body and soul and Love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s very clear that he doesn’t care what you do with your naughty bits – as long as your not hurting anyone.

  110. #111 rene smyth
    February 15, 2011

    Funny. I am a christian. I attended the date night and had a marvelous time. I met many people and got along with everyone. Oh, by the way. I am a male to female transsexual. Wow! what a shocker. I was treated like a wonderful christian lady. No one knew. Hmmmm. I wonder how many secret adulturers and fornicators were there “poisoning” the museum!! My oh my. I guess the museum needs to invent a DNA machine to detect transexxuals, fornicators? Hmmmm. I truely love Jesus. If the people that run the Creation museum really loved Christ, they would allow all to enter. Let Christ judge. Let Him decide. All deserve to be in His presence. Shame on the Creation Museum.

  111. #112 NJ
    February 15, 2011

    FoS @ 116:

    Homosexuality is a sin. end of story. it’s not up for debate.

    According to your preferred interpretation of your preferred translation of your preferred set of religious writings from > 2000 years ago.

    FoS does seem appropriate as an appellation for some reason…

  112. #113 heironymous
    February 16, 2011


    Not true! They are professing beliefs. Being black is a sin… End of story.

    Oh and Jesus never kicked _any_one_ out of any event. He was _always_ completely inclusive. The hated Samaritan, the unclean women, the dreaded tax collector – always invited to the party.

    So in our analogy here, the all-male couple (the disturbers) were acting Jesus-like and the Ham-group were the Pharisees.

  113. #114 Greg Laden
    February 16, 2011

    Homosexuality is a sin. end of story. it’s not up for debate.

    Actually, if we are debating it, it’s up for debate.

  114. #115 Warren
    February 16, 2011

    FoS: Jesus said precisely nothing about homosexuality. Not once. Ever.

    Do you know why he cast the moneychangers out? It was because they were disrupting the peace of the synagogue, which was meant to be a place free of worldly concerns.

    You’d think that if homosexuality mattered to him, he’d have behaved in a similar way toward those who indulged it.

    But he did not.

  115. #116 Frik
    February 18, 2011

    Just a quick question, why is it that gays and lesbians strive for Christian acceptance? Why do you need to go to gatherings where you know Christians do not welcome you? Why get married and insist that it should be in a church where God resides. You clearly denounce God and His ways with your life style. So why get upset? Why the fuss? It is not for me as a Christian to tell you how to live your life (I can warn you, but the choice is ultimately yours), so don’t enforce your ways upon us. Respect us in that. That is all we ask.

  116. #117 Stephanie Z
    February 18, 2011

    Really, Frik? That’s all you, as a representative Christian, want? How much money was spent by churches on Proposition 8? How much is spent in the name of religious beliefs every year on similar discriminatory legislation?

    Christians don’t get to have it both ways. If you don’t want the public intruding so rudely on your religion, don’t talk to any of us. It won’t do any good. Start telling the religious to keep their religious proscriptions out of public life. If you want privacy, make sure everybody has it.

  117. #118 Greg Laden
    February 18, 2011

    Stephanie, you misunderstand frisk. S/he is saying:

    “the choice is ultimately yours … don’t enforce your ways upon us .. Respect us .. ”


    ” the choice is ultimately one’s own, yours or mine. Don’t enforce your ways upon us, we not on you … Respect us, and we will respect you.”

    To put a finer point on it, s/he is saying:

    “the choice and the blame is ultimately yours, so don’t enforce your ways upon us, but we will enforce on you whatever we want. Respect us or else but don’t expect respect in return. That is all we insist on and if you don’t give it to us we will buy it or force it.”

  118. #119 Stephanie Z
    February 18, 2011

    Oh, I know exactly what Frik is saying. There is the vaguest possibility, however, that Frik did not.

  119. #120 Frik
    February 18, 2011

    Firstly, marriage was designed by God not man. A holy union between God, a man and a woman. Unfortunately today it is more seen as a form of social status, with the obvious legal contract to protect oneself. So again, why do you need recognition in marriage? Are you so unsure of your union, that when the other party leaves you can sue him/her for everything they have? And without a state approved marriage, there is no ground for that lawsuit?

    But putting that aside, the question is, if this was not a Christian establishment, but let’s say a heathen (not Christian or Jewish) establishment, will you still have even read this article? Will there have been the same amount of fuss about it? No. And that reason being is that somewhere deep in every humans mind, you know there is a God. You know that when you die, there is still a change that He is going to judge you. And no matter if every person on this earth tells you it is ok to do the things you do, that will not count in your favour at all. It is between you and the Big Boss upstairs.

  120. #121 Eric
    February 18, 2011

    A holy union between God, a man and a woman.

    A threesome?

  121. #122 john
    February 24, 2011

    What the gay men intended to do was disrespectful. If they want gay acceptance/tolerance that is not the way to go about it…So imo the gay men were there to cause trouble, simple as that. And I support their decision to bar entry to the gay couple.

    Besides that, it is widely known that that Museum is a Bible/Christian based museum and they follow the belief that marriage is between a man and woman only. This was also a Date night…And the gay men, who I am sure knew the Museum’s beliefs, bought tickets to laugh at and make fun of the Christian couples there.

    In other words, they expected to go into that Museum, which was having a event for Christian couples and to disrepect and belittle them. I am sure they planned on kissing in front of everyone to. If you put yourselves in the shoes of the Museum and take into account their beliefs…You will easily see how it is disrespectful of the Gay couple to expect to be allowed in, and will also realize the gay couple had other motives than simply enjoying the museum.

  122. #123 Julia
    February 24, 2011

    If you put yourselves in the shoes of the Museum and take into account their beliefs…You will easily see

    …. that they are intolerant dumbasses?

  123. #124 john
    February 24, 2011

    “…. that they are intolerant dumbasses?”

    Because they have their beliefs and stick to them, that makes them intolerant ? Thats a pretty biggoted statement for you to make. And have you ever heard of Freedom of Association…We are free to associate with whoever we want, and that includes private businesses such as that Museum [ie- a lawsuit will go nowhere].

    Also define “Tolerance”. Your view, obviously is a one sided affair. How tolerant do you think the Gay couple are of those who disagree with their lifestyle ? Obviously not much. Otherwise they would not have disrespected that religious group and tried to force their views on them. Seems to me that that gay couple needs a few nights in a tolerance camp.

    On the other hand, that Religious group did not go out of its way to harass the gay couple. They tolerate the gay lifestyle just not in their home, and especially not during a religious dating night intended for Christian couples.

    Also, to turn this away from Christians for a moment [since its ok to hate Christians but not anyone else]. Would you be ok with a Orthodox Jewish Synagogue that was hosting a Jewish date night having to accomodate Muslim couples ? Probably not, afterall that is a date setup for Jewish couples and not for Muslims. Likewise this Museum’s event was setup for Christian couples [who in their defintion does not include gays, boo hoo].

  124. #125 NJ
    February 25, 2011

    john @ 131:

    Otherwise they would not have disrespected that religious group and tried to force their views on them.

    Two people of the same sex showing up at an event for which they paid = forcing their views on people. At least according to john. Note that there doesn’t appear to be any evidence they engaged in any behavior that indicated their sexual preferences outside the event (feel free to link to correct if this is in error) and as they were denied entry, they clearly did not engage in any during the event.

    In john’s world, the only problem with gays is that they exist. It’s going to be fun* watching nutcases like him as the rest of us migrate to a more tolerant society.

    *Reminder to invest in companies producing BP meds, as these freaks will be mainlining the stuff.

  125. #126 Jorge
    March 12, 2012

    I don’t really get the non-sense of the religion and the all gay thing. What I’m sure about is that USA is a free country and your sexual preferences shouldn’t get in the way of you doing things. Meanwhile, while you’re waiting to enter to the museum or not, you should check out GuySpy app. The newest gay dating app. Who know, you might find someone around and well the museum might not be as interesting as before.