Pharyngula

If he isn’t already on it, that is. Here he is interviewing Antony Flew.

Flew gives the impression of being a nice old man in a muddle. Strobel is a badger for Christ.

Comments

  1. #1 noncarborundum
    November 4, 2007

    This is just painful. After a while (about 2 minutes) I just couldn’t watch any more.

  2. #2 The Science Pundit
    November 4, 2007

    So instead of being terrorized into belief, he is now being badgered by Strobel. What a snake!

  3. #3 386sx
    November 4, 2007

    If the Christian god exists, what would it have to do to convince people of that?

    The question of course implies that if it couldn’t convince anyone 100% for sure, then it shouldn’t even bother trying all that hard. Hmm, what a stupid freakin question, and a stupid freakin god. :D

  4. #5 Richard Harris
    November 4, 2007

    Yeah, I could only watch a little of this travesty. It was sad & painful. I read the N Y Times article earlier today.

    What a bunch of intellectually dishonest creeps the religiots are!

  5. #6 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    As you are probably aware Lee Strobel is a creationist.

    I would also remind you that you have multiple essays on Conservapedia which you have chosen to not defend in regards to reasonable criticism directed against those essays (For readers not familiar with PZ Myers essays against Conservapedia I suggest using the search function at this blog and doing a search on “Conservapedia”). Given Conservapedia’s article critical of theory of evolution it is not surprising that you would offer so many essays against Conservapedia. However, I do have a suggestion. Instead of writing so many essays against Conservapedia which you cannot or not willing to defend against reasonable criticism perhaps it would behoove you to focus more on addressing the central issue which is Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article located here: http://www.conservapedia.com/Theory_of_evolution If you could kindly point out a single factual error in Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article it would certainly be welcome as constructive criticism is certainly welcome. However, given that the article has been reviewed by many evolutionists already I am guessing that you will be unable to find a single factual error.

  6. #7 Steve_C
    November 4, 2007

    I found it interesting, that even with all the badgering, Flew didn’t sound at all interested in heaven or the coercion that christianity attempts to use with the threat of hell.

  7. #8 Steve_C
    November 4, 2007

    Pete.

    Bring your evidence and your argument. No one is going to the joke that is your site.

    Lee Strobel is an ass.

  8. #9 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Addendum:

    Dear PZ Myers,

    I do try to be fair. It occured to me that perhaps you are still not yet aware of the criticisms that have been directed against your articles on Conservapedia. If you could comment on those criticisms of your essays on Conservapedia it would certainly be appreciated.

  9. #10 Vinny
    November 4, 2007

    Badgering senile skeptics is not a new trick for Strobel. In the Case for Faith, he got octogenerian Alzheimer’s sufferer Charles Templeton to sob and admit that he “missed” Jesus.

  10. #11 Ian H Spedding FCD
    November 4, 2007

    I am glad we have the likes of Scott Hatfield here as evidence that not every American Christian is a piece of work like Strobel or Varghese or D’Souza.

    As for Anthony Flew, for God’s sake leave the man alone!

  11. #12 PZ Myers
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore,

    For the last time, cease your tedious, content-free whining. I am not interested in your collection of lies at conservapædia, and I’m not going to waste time with it. If you’ve got some specific argument you’d like to make, go ahead…but until then, you can stop yammering.

  12. #13 DamnYankees
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore,

    I haven’t combed through the article to look for specific errors yet, but a huge problem I noticed off the bat is lying by ommission. You simply only discuss what people think of as problems. You give zero evidence to support evolution at all, and only list negative ideas. It’s a total misrepresentation of what the evidence for evolution consists of.

  13. #14 j
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore said:

    As you are probably aware Lee Strobel is a creationist.

    Okay, stating the obvious, but at least it’s relevant.

    I would also remind you that you have multiple essays on Conservapedia which you have chosen to not defend in regards to reasonable criticism directed against those essays (For readers not familiar with PZ Myers essays against Conservapedia I suggest using the search function at this blog and doing a search on “Conservapedia”).

    Sharp right turn into the totally irrelevant issue that he wanted to talk about in the first place and couldn’t even link to the topic at hand. Follow up with a condescending remark suggesting that the average reader cannot is not aware of the proper use of the search function. Beautifully done, Peter. Beautifully done.

  14. #15 Dustin
    November 4, 2007

    If the Christian god exists, what would it have to do to convince people of that?

    Hmmm…. I’ve got one that would convince me.

    Dear Jesus,

    Please turn Lee Strobel and Peter Moore into frogs.

    Amen

  15. #16 sailor
    November 4, 2007

    If there is a Christian God why did he create Lee Strobel?

  16. #17 Blake Stacey
    November 4, 2007

    About the only stupid creationist claim missing from that Conservapædia article was Salvador Cordova’s attempt to smear Darwin as a puppy-killer. Can somebody put that in — it doesn’t matter where, since the organization of the article is so bad — so we can laugh with full derisiveness?

  17. #18 j
    November 4, 2007

    Oh, and I was going to start reading The Case for Christ this week. But I doubt I’ll be able to make it through the book if I can’t even make it through this video.

  18. #19 T_U_T
    November 4, 2007

    This settled it for me. Flew didn’t convet to theism, he converted to Alzheimerism.

    And any fundagelical rushing to exploit it is really a ghoul – an undead monster feeding on corpses. This time they feast on a really tasty intellectual corpse – a senile philosopher.

  19. #20 HeathenTV
    November 4, 2007

    To top all this off, I posted a clip the other day of Sean Hannity referring to Flew’s book during a recent interview with Dinesh D’Souza. Methinks there is a concerted push from the apologists surrounding the latest version of Flew’s book.

    And yes, it is disgusting. That’s propaganda for you.

  20. #21 Tatarize
    November 4, 2007

    Hm. What a troll. It seems a lot like leading some poor Alzheimer’s grandmother away with candy and a promise of knowing where your family is.

  21. #22 Ian H Spedding FCD
    November 4, 2007

    peter moore wrote:

    If you could kindly point out a single factual error in Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article it would certainly be welcome as constructive criticism is certainly welcome. However, given that the article has been reviewed by many evolutionists already I am guessing that you will be unable to find a single factual error.

    I am not a scientist but I have read that article and find it contains the same cherry-picked quotations, equivocations, strawmen, appeals to unqualified authorities and lies by ommission as other creationist screeds.

    It would be interesting to know, however, not just which “evolutionists” have reviewed the article but also which have reviewed it favourably.

  22. #23 Sven DiMilo
    November 4, 2007

    I thought the pictures of Darwin, Gould, Hitler, and Stalin were a nice touch though. Broke up thre quote-mining a bit.

  23. #24 Stanton
    November 4, 2007

    If there is a Christian God why did he create Lee Strobel?

    Because He has a warped sense of humor.

  24. #25 raven
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore creo troll lying:

    If you could kindly point out a single factual error in Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article it would certainly be welcome as constructive criticism is certainly welcome. However, given that the article has been reviewed by many evolutionists already I am guessing that you will be unable to find a single factual error.

    Posted by: peter moore

    Peter is a creo troll spamming his lies all over the net under a variety of names. He spammed this blog last night and PT last night among others. His conservapedia article is a collection of lies constructed by quote mining.

    I think they are spamming BS to try to increase their hit rates. Some people think laughing at lie collections are funny, I guess.

  25. #26 Sastra
    November 4, 2007

    “If the Christian god exists, what would He have to do to convince you of that?”

    And, after a long pause, Flew answers “I don’t know. After all, I’ve never thought about this at all … and I’m not eager to start. He would presumably know.”

    Never thought about this at all???

    Yes he has. I’m not going to comb through any of his books or essays right now, but there’s no way he hasn’t ever “thought about this AT ALL.” For crying out loud, he’s done professional debates. How many of us here who are atheists have never, ever heard or considered “what would make you believe?”

    Flew is a philosopher: he wrote on epistemology. That pause and admission are not coming from a mind which is drawing upon years of scholarship and reflection. He’s surprised by the question. In fact, he seems surprised by all the questions. Who did you say you are again, young man?

    Sad, sad, sad. And the point is to drag this poor failing mind out and use it to say “see, the science convinced even an atheist!” When Flew himself knows science is not his area of expertise, and once wrote eloquently about not going beyond one’s area of expertise in drawing conclusions.

    Shame, shame, shame…

  26. #27 raven
    November 4, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    I do try to be fair.

    Peter Moore lying some more. Pete no one is buying your lies. Try something different. At your age telling the truth is probably beyond your capabilities. How about finding someone very old with full blown Alzheimers to convert. And while your at it, have them donate all their money to you.

  27. #28 Zeno
    November 4, 2007

    No surprises there. Lee Strobel has been milking his Christian apologetics schtik very successfully for years. I had the decidedly creepy experience of reading most of The Case for Christ, a copy of which was pressed upon me by an exceedingly religious acquaintance. No one here is likely to be surprised to hear it is unmitigated trip. I wrote about it here last year, in case anyone is a glutton for more punishment.

  28. #29 ias
    November 4, 2007

    I very much dislike Strobel and his strident, self righteous, predatory mannerism. Strobel really grates on my nerves; maybe its because he’s so popular, and unfortunately, admired by theists, even some non Christian theists. But it was nice to see that Flew, despite his age and obvious difficulties, didn’t succumb to Strobel’s incessant yammering.

    If it had been me there instead of Flew, I’d have gone into a flurry about all of the many reasons why I wouldn’t accept Christianity. I guess Flew wasn’t interested in really challenging Strobel, but rather dismissing him. Flew just didn’t care much at all about Christianity in the first place. Its obvious Strobel wanted an uncertain sounding sound bite, so he could use it strategically or slip it into some future documentary of his.

    As if a conversion to deism was anything at all like this great mind swallowing the Christian religion. Ah well, thanks for sharing that, one more reason for me to think less of L.S.

  29. #30 No Moore
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Ken DeMoore is only posting here so he can insert links to his own pet articles at Vitriolpedia Conservapedia in an aim to drive up their Google rankings. It’s pathetic. As an administrator there he often resets the counts for more popular pages so that his own pages appear near the top in the statistics pages. The guy is obsessed with homosexuality – this is a list of articles that he largely “owns”:

    Homosexual Agenda
    Homosexual Couples and Domestic Violence
    Homosexuality
    Homosexuality and Genetics
    Homosexuality and Gonorrhea
    Homosexuality and Hepatitis
    Homosexuality and Homicide
    Homosexuality and Marriage
    Homosexuality and Mental Health
    Homosexuality and Parasites
    Homosexuality and Promiscuity
    Homosexuality and Syphilis
    Homosexuality in Animals Myth

    Sometimes it appears that those who shout the loudest have something to hide.

  30. #31 Mena
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore, what I think that PZ and everyone here is trying to say is this. It has been posted here before but yet it still comes in handy due to reality never seeming to sink in with you conservative types. Just because you are a conservative, even if you are only a Fox Brand TM conservative and not a real one, it doesn’t mean that you have to keep repeating the same tired arguments that never made any sense. You are allowed to learn something.

  31. #32 jorg
    November 4, 2007

    Dustin wrote: “Please turn Lee Strobel and Peter Moore into frogs.”

    No! I LIKE frogs. Turn them into P. falciparum, or something!

  32. #33 MartinM
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Ken DeMoore is only posting here so he can insert links to his own pet articles at Vitriolpedia Conservapedia in an aim to drive up their Google rankings.

    If that’s all he’s after, he can stop now. SB automatically adds the ‘rel=nofollow’ tag to links in comments.

  33. #34 Janine
    November 4, 2007

    An atheist late in life says that he now thinks that, perhaps, there is some kind of deity. Yet when asked by fundy christians, says he cannot buy into any form of an afterlife. In other words, Flew still does not buy into one of the bedrocks of their believes. Yet they still crow about him being on their side now?

  34. #35 Steve_C
    November 4, 2007

    Martin,

    That’s awesome.

  35. #36 Steve_C
    November 4, 2007

    He ven goes as far as saying he has no interest in praising some deity for eternity…

    does sound like slavery and torture.

  36. #37 Ed Darrell
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore,

    Your first sentence on evolution begins with this clause:

    The theory of evolution is a naturalistic theory of the history of life on earth . . .

    Errors:
    1. Evolution is not a “naturalistic” theory as you define naturalism; evolution says nothing at all about the supernatural, and assumes nothing at all about the supernatural.

    2. Evolution is not a theory of the history of life on Earth.

    Not past the first clause in the first sentence, and you’ve made two errors, assuming or stating things that simply are not true. You cite the Merriam Webster on-line dictionary definition of evolution in support of the point, but it addresses nether of the assumptions you make here.

    Quit wasting time. Get a clue. Conservapedia is an embarrassment to thinking people of faith everywhere, most of whom probably would think it a sin to prevaricate on the wholesale basis Conservapedia does. Heck, Conservapedia is an embarrassment to unthinking people of faith. It’s insulting to conservatives, to think they’d be affiliated with such a brainless, senseless, amoral excercise.

    Go away kid. You’re bothered.

  37. #38 Dan
    November 4, 2007

    I tried to post/contribute on Conservapedia ages ago, but I got blocked for mentioning homosexuality without condemning it in the same breath on a talk page.

    So, you know, if the conservapedia nutjobs want to debate things, they might stop being fascists, first.

  38. #39 thalarctos
    November 4, 2007

    What did frogs ever do to you, Dustin, to deserve that?

    May I suggest trypanosomes, instead?

  39. #40 Epikt
    November 4, 2007

    Oh, and I was going to start reading The Case for Christ this week.

    So all those Assembly of God churches finally got him built, and they’ve moved on to building a case for Christ? I hope they’re using a nice grade of hardwood.

  40. #41 tmtoulouse
    November 4, 2007

    Since Ken or the other fascists at CP will ban anyone that says a wrong word and I am not sure how much pollution Dr. Myers would want randomly strewn across his blog I offer up a neutral location for anyone wanting to engage Ken (aka “peter”):

    He has a talk page at RationalWiki as long as he is not afraid to discuss things where he can’t ban the dissent.

  41. #42 Boosterz
    November 4, 2007

    Hey Peter, here’s a free tip: When it’s impossible to tell a “serious” article apart from a satirical article that means there is something seriously screwed up with the “serious” article. If you notice, this seems to apply to about 99% of conservapedia. :-)

    Why do you think people were falling down with uncontrollable laughter when conservapedia first came out?

  42. #43 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    You wrote:

    Dear Peter Moore,

    “For the last time, cease your tedious, content-free whining. I am not interested in your collection of lies at conservapædia, and I’m not going to waste time with it. If you’ve got some specific argument you’d like to make, go ahead…but until then, you can stop yammering.”

    I am not aware of a first time you responded to me. Needlessly to say, I am puzzled by your “for the last time” comment. Perhaps, you can show your readers a first time but I do have my doubts.

    Secondly, given that the burden of proof is upon the claimant I do think it is reasonable for you to have pointed how my post at your blog were allegedly content free and I would certainly encourage your readers to examine the criticisms leveled against your articles on your blog concerning conservapedia which you have yet to respond to.

    Thirdly, I have asked you to point out one factual error in regards to the article on the theory of evolution at Conservapedia. If Conservapedia is a collection of lies as you contend surely you would should be able to find multiple lies in Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article if your contention has any merit and Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article is located here: http://www.conservapedia.com/Theory_of_evolution Your failure to take me up on my offer to find a single factual error in the conservapedia article on the theory of evolution is surely an indication that your essays on Conservapedia that I critiqued are rather spurious and that your contention that Conservapedia is a collection of lies is equally spurious. After all, why would you bother creating multiple essays on Conservapedia but fail to show a single factual error in Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article when asked?

  43. #44 John Ponder
    November 4, 2007

    This badgering of a senescent sage by religiots is reminiscent of the spectacle of the former pope, in his dotage, being called out by Mel Gibson sycophants to endorse his snuff film. The victims are vastly different, but the predators are cut from the same cloth.

  44. #45 Skemono
    November 4, 2007

    I am not aware of a first time you responded to me. Needlessly to say, I am puzzled by your “for the last time” comment. Perhaps, you can show your readers a first time but I do have my doubts.

    That would be here, you illiterate mountebank.

  45. #46 PZ Myers
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore,

    You have tried my patience sufficiently with your spamming on several threads, and you’ve just made an admission that you are throwing out these “challenges” and then ignoring subsequent comments replying to you. Since all you seem to care to do is to spam your idiotic conservapædia site, I’ve add the URL to your wiki for morons to the spam list.

    You’re free to actually offer a specific request to address something in your misunderstandings of evolution, but don’t bother to refer to conservapædia when you do so.

  46. #47 raven
    November 4, 2007

    Peter the lying troll:

    After all, why would you bother creating multiple essays on Conservapedia but fail to show a single factual error in Conservapedia’s theory of evolution article when asked?

    Maybe because reading lies from conservalie-apedia isn’t a good use of his time. Maybe he has to eat dinner and is afraid it will spoil his appetite. Maybe he has to feed the cat. There are a zillion more worthwhile things to do than laugh at internet trolls.

    BTW, these clowns are operating under the Bad PR is really good PR principle. Just spamming, writing nonsense, and being annoying trolls to try to get their hit rate up. Don’t fall for it.

    Dustin:

    If the Christian god exists, what would it have to do to convince people of that?
    Hmmm…. I’ve got one that would convince me.

    Dear Jesus,

    Please turn Lee Strobel and Peter Moore into frogs.

    Amen

    Posted by: Dustin

    Too funny. The fact that lightening bolts haven’t struck either of them is bad news for the god is real crowd.

    Frogs is much too generous a fate. Rats maybe. But how would anyone be able to tell the difference?

  47. #48 Dan
    November 4, 2007

    Conservapedia is a collection of lies.

    Here’s one:

    “Although Darwin is most well known regarding the beginnings of the evolutionary position, evolutionary ideas were taught by the ancient Greeks as early as the 7th century B.C.”

    The citation supporting it is, get this, from Answers in Genesis. Having read the article and the citation, I’m afraid the article and citation are both lies. The Answers in Genesis article is particularly funny, as it tries to equate ancient creation myths and obscure (mostly lost) philosophy about combining animal parts with evolution as a scientific theory.

    This is not even from the body of the article. The rest of the header is technically true, but full of quote mines, nonsequitors, and without meaningful context. I’m not going to dig for more blatant errors, as it’s just not worth the trouble. That I have to make this commentary here instead of on Conservapedia, where I’d be blocked, is a simple testament to the level of falsity you’re peddling.

  48. #49 Everybody in the World
    November 4, 2007

    “Your failure to take me up on my offer to find a single factual error in the conservapedia article on the theory of evolution is surely an indication that blah blah blah…”

    It’s an indication that you’re an ass and you’re being ignored in the hope that you’ll shut up and go away. Apparently you’re too much of an ass to take the hint.

  49. #50 Dan
    November 4, 2007

    God, I didn’t even notice that the AiG site claims Aristotle’s great chain of being is a form of evolution. Aristotle was the main piece of scholarly (and Christian) canon for centuries, you’d suspect biology would have had a meaningful presence before Darwin if he were teaching evolution. Even better, Mayan and other totemic religions are based in evolution. Who knew that men who thought they were “of the spirit of the turtle” were actually endorsing universal common descent with modification as the mode of speciation? I sure didn’t, and totemism is one of my primary interests.

  50. #51 Bert Chadick
    November 4, 2007

    The video was painful because it reminded me of what a couple of christo-fascist cousins did to my Dad in his last six weeks of life. A noncombatant skeptic all his life they took advantage of his decline to save another soul for their christ thingey. Thanks to a good lawyer, they couldn’t get to his estate, but they tried.

  51. #52 Dustin
    November 4, 2007

    Since all you seem to care to do is to spam your idiotic conservapædia site, I’ve add the URL to your wiki for morons to the spam list.

    What!? Peter dude, fuck you. Now I can’t link to my humorous conservapædia articles. What a typical asshole: ruin it for everyone else.

  52. #53 386sx :P
    November 4, 2007

    I am not aware of a first time you responded to me. Needlessly to say, I am puzzled by your “for the last time” comment.

    Simple. If you are not aware of something, that does not mean that the something of which you are not aware… is not something! Sometimes you have to search for the answers when you are puzzled by something of which you are not aware. Then you will become aware, my friend. :D

    Anywhoo, you’re probably lying about that anyway. :P

  53. #54 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear No Moore,

    A big part of search engine ranking is relevance. I think your post above partly explains why RationalWiki has such abysmal web traffic.

    For example, you contend that I “own” the article “Homosexuality and Marriage” at Conservapedia. I recall only making few edits to that article and there being multiple edits to that article. That is exactly what the case is and the edit log shows this matter and I encourage people to examine this matter for themselves.

    Secondly, you contend that I am acting here to merely raise Google rankings for the homosexuality articles I “own”. Well for the fun of it, I just looked up 4 of those articles and it appears as if they already are #1 ranked by Google (for example, homosexuality and homicide; homosexuality and hepatitus). Why would I be obssessed for getting higher Google rankings for the “pet” articles you listed when it appears many of the article are already ranked #1! Needless to say, your contention above is lacking in reasonableness. Perhaps, it is your own desperation to get top Google rankings that you are projecting on me. :)

    Next, I have created about 40 articles on Conservapedia and made edits to 50 or more articles. You contention that I am obsessed with subject of homosexuality isn’t much better than your other contentions to say the least. I would argue that some RationalWikians (though certainly not all) are obsessed with the notion that I am obsessed with homosexuality. It is my personal opinion that this obsession of yours is largely driven by the recent spate of web traffic that Conservapedia article on homosexuality has experienced.

    Lastly, you asserted the following: “As an administrator there he often resets the counts for more popular pages so that his own pages appear near the top in the statistics pages.” I don’t believe you demonstrated this contention nor do I believe you can.

  54. #55 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 4, 2007

    Dustin… frogs? Frogs? Frogs? Frogs? Frogs?

    Bad choice.

  55. #56 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 4, 2007

    Dustin… frogs? Frogs? Frogs? Frogs? Frogs?

    Bad choice.

  56. #57 woozy
    November 4, 2007

    My two cents:

    Strobel’s a nasty badger trying to lead and force an interview. Flew is old, gentle, and exceedingly and excrutiatingly *nice*. But he’s not as muddled and/or senile as PZ and the New York Time’s article make him out to be. He has *not* turned to Christianity; merely to a belief in a higher power. (I know as hard-core atheists we are opposed to beliefs in “higher powers” but we have to admit that there’s a huge step between believing there is an external consciousness and that said consciousness is the YAWEH of the bible and Christ was his manifestation on this 6,000 year old earth and belief in him is the only way to salvation.) He doesn’t believe in an afterlife and doesn’t *want* there to be an afterlife, not even heaven.

    He is muddled and seems to be unaware of (or too darn nice or maybe just too damned old and tired to resist) how he’s being manipulated but he still saying what he believes and not saying what stobel wants him to say.

    A pity how he was manipulated into that book though. His initial view that God was too vague a definition to have any meaning, switching to another view that God is still too vague a definition for “the creator” of the creationists but a belief in a vague higher power, is a far cry from the “conversion” the book is heralding.

    Still, I admire the man still even in his muddled 84-year old state.

  57. #58 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 4, 2007

    Hm. I just made a post with five links to Scienceblogs articles, and it’s being held for approval… not intelligently designed, that spam filter… The post is an attempt to teach Dustin something about frogs. :-)

    homosexuality and hepatitus

    I hope you actually spelled that hepatitis…

  58. #59 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 4, 2007

    Hm. I just made a post with five links to Scienceblogs articles, and it’s being held for approval… not intelligently designed, that spam filter… The post is an attempt to teach Dustin something about frogs. :-)

    homosexuality and hepatitus

    I hope you actually spelled that hepatitis…

  59. #60 Ken Cope
    November 4, 2007

    Badger for Christ?

    Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers!

    I do not understand how this thread got this far without somebody saying it before now.

  60. #61 Dan
    November 4, 2007

    Way to focus on wiki-drama instead of arguing any kind of scientific point. At this rate, conservapedia editors will be solving the world’s problems with science in no time flat. Their rare straight lies, prevalent lies of omission, and sweeping bannings cannot be defeated, for the barrier against meaningful discussion they erect is strong.

  61. #62 wrpd
    November 4, 2007

    Strobel is a snake. In his Case for… books he claims he is doing investigative journalism. What he actually does is he has one fundie nutcase present the fundie nutcase side of an issue then they have another fundie nutcase present what they think the opposing side would say. He never interviews anyone who has an opinion different from him and the rest of the fundie nutcases. Somewhere I read something about bearing false witness, but what do I know?

  62. #63 Ames
    November 4, 2007

    Dear site owner,

    I just thought you might want to know a few things… first of all, the “Peter Moore” with whom you’re dealing is actually Ken DeMyer, aka…
    – Ousted (l)user KDbuffalo from Conservapedia
    – Conservative, on Conservapedia,
    – Creationist, on CreationWiki, and,
    – Newton, on RationalWiki.

    He’s a quote miner par excellence, and you can learn more about him (http://www.conservapedia.com/User:Conservative) here. I wouldn’t bother, though: all you need to know you have probably already gathered from his above posts.

    Also, I’d like to let you know about our little site, RationalWiki. You might like it?

  63. #64 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    Given that I was addressing your essays on Conservapedia it was perfectly reasonable to cite Conservapedia and ask you to attempt to refute various conservative articles on Conservapedia. That you chose not to take me up on my offer is regrettable but not unexpected given the quality of the articles on Conservapedia you wrote which you are not willing to defend.

    Secondly, I do have a request of you. Please explain why the fraudulant work of Haeckel was allowed to be perpetuated for so long?

    I am referring to this matter:

    Stephen Gould wrote the following regarding Ernst Haeckel’s work in a March 2000 issue of Natural History:

    “Haeckel’s forceful, eminently comprehensible, if not always accurate, books appeared in all major languages and surely exerted more influence than the works of any other scientist, including Darwin…in convincing people throughout the world about the validity of evolution… Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities [between embryos of different species] by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases — in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent — simply copied the same figure over and over again….Haeckel’s drawings never fooled expert embryologists, who recognized his fudgings right from the start. Haeckel’s drawings, despite their noted inaccuracies, entered into the most impenetrable and permanent of all quasi-scientific literatures: standard student textbooks of biology… Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because…textbooks copy from previous texts…. [W]e do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks!” (see: http://www.creationism.org/caesar/haeckel.htm ).

    PZ Myers, are you ashamed the evolutionary community perpetuated this fraud for a century even though expert embryologist knew it was a fraud from this start? I do think this is a reasonable question and a lack of reasonable response on your part will certainly speak volumes.

  64. #65 Chris R.
    November 4, 2007

    For more on the exploitation of Antony Flew:
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,1831,n,n

    Sickening…

  65. #66 PZ Myers
    November 4, 2007

    I have NOT called Flew senile, nor have I suggested he has Alzheimer’s. He is an old man whose memory and abilities are failing, and that’s all we can tell at this point.

  66. #67 Dan
    November 4, 2007

    You’re not even reading any responses. You’re just posting links you want to show off and stupid arguments in a long string, devoid of regard for where you’re putting them, and then abandoning them and ignoring the obvious errors that are pointed out.

  67. #68 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Quick note:

    If anyone wants to verify a claim I made above I did want to give them the courtesy of knowing that I apparently typed in the word “hepatitis” incorrectly.

  68. #69 PZ Myers
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore,

    The lie there is the claim that the “evolutionary community perpetuated this fraud.” They did not. Your clue is right there in the Gould quote, where he plainly states that expert embryologists were not fooled by the omissions and errors in Haeckel’s drawings…they were evolutionary biologists too, you know, not creationists for the most part. I’ve actually written a fair amount on the Haeckel affair — the major source of fraud right now is the lying creationists who claim recapitulation theory was a major element in the foundation of evolutionary biology.

  69. #70 woozy
    November 4, 2007

    “If the Christian god exists, what would He have to do to convince you of that?”
    And, after a long pause, Flew answers “I don’t know. After all, I’ve never thought about this at all … and I’m not eager to start. He would presumably know.”
    Never thought about this at all???
    Yes he has. …. How many of us here who are atheists have never, ever heard or considered “what would make you believe?”

    Perhaps I’m stretching too far to try to still see the spark of integrity in this muddled old man, but that seems like the tired short answer.

    Yes, I’ve thought about it but truth to tell, I don’t know that there is anything God can do to convince me. It isn’t that I’m pig-headed and stubborn, it’s just that I think any definition or concept of God is too vague for me to honestly say “I believe in God”. If I looked into a telescope and saw his eyeball staring back and he dropped his blueprints of the creation on stone tablets into my yard, I’d classify and right it up into my repository of knowledge and then I’d wonder about things such as his blood pressure, his parents, did he ever experiment with chickens as a kid. But I couldn’t say “I believe in God” because god with his blueprints is now the creator next door and not God with a capital G. (So far, no-one has found the creator next door and I doubt they will.)

    If on the other hand I were to go hiking and stumble across a sublimely beautiful frozen waterfall and become utterly convinced there’s a higher power in the universe and it is intimately aware of me and everything in creation and it cares about me and active in my life, I *still* wouldn’t say “I believe in God” because what I’ve found myself believing in is too vague and intangible and subjective to have such meaning. (By the way, I have never had such an experience. I might but I hope not. I tend to go for the hippy-dippy touchy-feeley pop-psych bullshit but grounded in a very strong sense of subjective existentialism.)

    If it were more concrete enough to be objective rather than subjective, it’d be “the creator next door”. If it were more spiritual it’d be the vague personal “life is just …. too too”. It’s *always* either “the creator next door” or “life is just …. too too”

    Actually “he would presumably know” is a good answer. If God wanted me to believe in him, he’d know what would convince me and do it.

  70. #71 raven
    November 4, 2007

    Peter the troll:

    I do think this is a reasonable question and a lack of reasonable response on your part will certainly speak volumes.

    Yes, it says that PZ is way too nice to ban lying trolls. And he is smart enough not to take troll bait.

    Don’t you have some desperately ill senile old man to convert somewhere? Don’t forget to get him to change the will to you and your buddies. How are the MD assassination, family planning clinic bombings, and gay bashing going? Killed anyone? Lately, I mean.

  71. #72 Dustin
    November 4, 2007

    I’m not the first to point out that Peter can’t read. I mean, he loves Google so much that I’m sure he tried it, so clearly he just couldn’t read the results…

  72. #73 woozy
    November 4, 2007

    PZ wrote:
    “I have NOT called Flew senile, nor have I suggested he has Alzheimer’s. He is an old man whose memory and abilities are failing, and that’s all we can tell at this point.”

    I don’t think anyone is claiming you had. I take all mentions of “senility” and “alzheimer’s” as the posters’ own.

    He is an old man whose memory and abilities are failing but I think he still has a spark. I’d still listen to what he may have to say now (when not being manipulated by scrupeless leading interviewers) even though it probably isn’t as forceful or cogent as his work fifty years ago.

    That he was manipulated into putting his name on that book is nothing short of tragic though.

  73. #74 Unstable Isotope
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore,

    Why should Prof. Myers respond to Conservapedia? Conservapedia has no credibility as a source of facts, so why bother?

  74. #75 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Dan,

    Re: evolutionary ideas going back to at least the Greeks

    I don’t think that proof by mere assertion is valid. You don’t quote the article in question nor do you demonstrate your contentions.

    I have no interest in your throw a bunch of spaghetti against the wall in hopes something will stick modus operandi.

  75. #76 Pierce R. Butler
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore – maybe you’d get better results from your request to Prof. Meyers if you would just wait, and approach him very nicely in, say, 40+ years.

    Make sure not to resume this discussion then in the presence of his daughter – for your own safety.

  76. #77 Dan
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Pete,

    I think the word “yawn” should more than adequately describe the feelings of those here to your silly scribblings and even-sillier demands that we all pay attention to you.

    In other news, earlier today, my niece gave me one of those wind up monkeys who bobs his head and slaps a pair of cymbals together. The only thing keeping that little toy from reminding me of you, Pete, is the fact that the monkey isn’t wearing a snappy pink cardigan.

  77. #78 PZ Myers
    November 4, 2007

    I don’t think that proof by mere assertion is valid.

    I agree. So stop merely asserting that your lying collection of nonsense has serious objections to evolution: State some. Or bugger off.

  78. #79 DeWraith
    November 4, 2007

    I had the [mis]fortune of seeing Stroble live, for 30 minutes, at the Louisville Six Flags Over Jesus (just a short jaunt from Jesusland) the Saturday before Halloween. The guy is a certifiable fruitcake. He’s at the very least a fraud and at the very worst…. I’ll let you all decide. His whole premise is just laughable. He starts straight in the bible and he claims the gospels are “the biography of Jesus.” Yeah, he was an “Atheist” until he began looking at “the biography of Jesus.” Shit, anyone who starts with the premise as the gospels being true can’t help but become a xian. What a twit.

    He also claims he was a raving alcoholic that thrashed his apartment and alluded to doing the same to his wife. It wasn’t until he found religion that he got better. Curious, he also gave up the sauce at the time he found religion. I’m sure being sober had nothing to do with him being a nice guy. And I’m sure AA had nothing to do with him finding religion.

    Oh, I could go on and on about his lies, deceit, slander, libel, etc. I could almost write a book about his 30 minute talk peddling his fraudulent book. I was writing in a little notepad almost non-stop through the whole talk. He mentioned Dawkins once and referenced him as, “a famous Atheist once ______” at LEAST three times with the 4th maybe being Harris. It was a horrible train wreck: I wanted to look away but just couldn’t. This video was worse than that.

  79. #80 raven
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore the Death Cultist:

    I have no interest in your throw a bunch of spaghetti against the wall in hopes something will stick modus operandi.

    No one is taking your troll bait either. Peter Moore is a classic Death Cultist. Part of the lie and murder branch of Xianity. Hey Peter, who is on your To Hate and To Kill lists? For ideas here are some from the leaders of the Death Cults.

    The Death Cultists and their leaders frequently publish lists of groups they want to kill. They occasionally kill them.

    Pat Robertson: wikipedia
    Hugo Chávez” I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.

    We will find you, we will try you, and we will execute you. I mean every word of it.
    [Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, at the Aug 8, 1995 U.S. Taxpayers Alliance Banquet in Washington DC, talking about doctors who perform abortions and volunteer escorts My note. Terry’s sympathizers have, in fact, murdered more than a few health care workers.

    “Pastor Jerry Gibson spoke at Doug Whites New Day Covenant Church in Boulder.

    He said that every true Christian should be ready and willing to take up arms to kill the enemies of Christian society.

    bcseweb.org Rushdooney:
    Our list may not be perfect but it seems to cover those “crimes” against the family that are inferred by Rushdoony’s statement to Moyers. The real frightening side of it is the interpretation of heresy, apostasy and idolatry. Rushdoony’s position seems to suggest that he would have anyone killed who disagreed with his religious opinions. That represents all but a tiny minority of people. Add to that death penalties for what is quite legal, blasphemy, not getting on with parents and working on a Sunday means that it the fantasy ideal world of Rushdoony and his pals, there will be an awful lot of mass murderers and amongst a tiny population.

    We have done figures for the UK which suggest that around 99% of the population would end up dead and the remainder would have each, on average, killed 500 fellow citizens.

    Chalcedon foundation bsceweb.org. Stoning disobedient children to death.Contempt for Parental Authority: Those who consider death as a horrible punishment here must realise that in such a case as
    ….cut for length
    Rev. William Einwechter, “Modern Issues in Biblical Perspective: Stoning Disobedient Children”, The Chalcedon Report, January 1999

    When The Hate Comes From ‘Churches’
    ASHLAND, Ore. – A recent spate of crimes points up a growing connection between hateful actions and organizations calling themselves churches.
    Two brothers from northern California reportedly linked to such a group were charged this week with the killing of two gay men near Redding. Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams also are suspects in the firebombing of three synagogues in the Sacramento area last month.

    According to personal acquaintances as well as law enforcement officials, the Williams brothers were involved in Christian Identity, a religion that holds Jews and nonwhites to be subhuman and is closely tied to the Aryan Nations white-supremacist group based in northern Idaho.

    Meanwhile, officials are investigating the links between Benjamin Smith and the World Church of the Creator. Over Independence Day weekend in Illinois and Indiana, Smith shot Asians, Jews, and an African-American (killing two and injuring nine) before killing himself.

    Fundie cultists frequently publish lists of groups they plan to or would like to kill. From above quotes, we have MDs, “enemies of christian society” (whoever they are), heresy etc., disobedient children but only by stoning, gays, Jews, nonwhites, the topic of this thread-scientists and others.

    If the truth is ugly, way it goes. By their words, ye shall know them, The Book.

  80. #81 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    I certainly have no desire to be contentious and wish to be amicable in regards to your last post. With that in mind, I must respectfully disagree with your last post which was clearly false.

    You wrote regarding Haeckel’s fraudulent work and its perpetuation the following:

    “The lie there is the claim that the “evolutionary community perpetuated this fraud.” They did not.”

    Clearly this statement is false and I can clearly demonstrate this matter.

    I cite the following and please focus on the latter part of this quote:

    “Professor Gould then made this absolutely startling admission:

    …[W]e do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, IF NOT A MAJORITY, of modern textbooks! (p. 45, emphasis added)

    He then goes on to quote a colleague, Michael Richardson of the St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, who stated, “I know of at least fifty recent biology texts which use the drawings uncritically” (p. 45). (see: http://www.creationism.org/caesar/haeckel.htm ).

    Now is it your contention that these biology texts which cited Haeckel’s work as being evidence for the validity of the evolutionary position were being written and edited by creationists? If these biology texts weren’t being written and edited by creationists clearly your contention that the evolutionary community was not complicit in the perpetuation of this fraud is false. Next, why did the evolutionary community not stop Haeckel’s fraud from being perpetuated for 100 years? You clearly did not address this matter.

  81. #82 Hank Fox
    November 4, 2007

    I was thinking about responding to Peter Moore, but as I sat here mulling what he’s said, I decided to talk ABOUT him instead. He’s a sort of mini-course in fundamentalist religious thought and feelings.

    I used to review theatre for the A&E weekly I worked for in Flagstaff, Arizona. I figured out instantly that there were two totally separate scales of critique – there was a scale for professional theatre performed by adults, and a different one entirely for plays performed by youngsters.

    If I’d used the same scale for both, I would have probably lost my job in the first month. Judge a kid’s acting by adult criteria, and you sound like a vicious, arrogant killjoy. Judge adult acting by kid criteria, and you come off as a marshmallow – which makes your reviews worthless.

    If you judge Peter Moore by the adult criteria of reason and understanding, he comes off sounding like a slightly demented, officious Monty Python character.

    Yet to Moore and his Christian fellow travelers, who have a completely different scale in their heads, Moore is making big points, soundly crushing PZ and others with cutting, irrefutable arguments and rapier wit. And the rest of us sound willfully evil.

    Your failure to take me up on my offer to find a single factual error in the conservapedia article on the theory of evolution is surely an indication that your essays on Conservapedia that I critiqued are rather spurious and that your contention that Conservapedia is a collection of lies is equally spurious.

    If you don’t argue, I win. If you don’t fight back, it’s because you know you’re wrong. By any adult criteria, an argument like that is childishly off-kilter – the kind of thing your older brother used to pull on you when you were 9. (The same type of argument might precede date-rape: If you don’t say no, or if you don’t say it loudly enough, that means yes.)

    Making a childish taunt like that probably springs from considerable frustration that nobody will engage him in a way that he considers fair. Aside from that, though, Moore actually CAN’T TELL there’s anything wrong with his basic arguments.

    He literally can’t imagine the validity of any opinion contrary to his. He’s RIGHT, you see. People have told him he’s right, and nothing else – facts, the cooperative endeavor of science, an allegiance to objective truth – none of that matters.

    The type of reasoning that PZ uses, and that most of us here aspire to, is simply not in his head. I’d bet it never will be.

    Scary, huh?

  82. #83 John Pieret
    November 4, 2007

    I don’t know. I thought Flew made mincemeat of Stobel. The bit where Flew responded to Stobel’s phoney concern and promises that people were praying for him by saying that a lot of people were doubtless praying for the Queen but she doesn’t care either was very sly. As was Flew echoing Dawkins about scaring children with hellfire as an attempt to terrify them into belief. Being bored by an eternity of praising God was pretty counterproductive from Strobel’s point of view too. If that represents the best of what Strobel got, the interview will only be of use with the already committed believers.

  83. #84 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Raven,

    I do believe the most reasonable manner in regards to evaluating worldviews is to use the principle of comparison to give historical context. That you did not compare atheist run countries in terms of attrocities versus Chistianized countries in terms of their respective histories speaks badly on your part.

  84. #85 Blake Stacey
    November 4, 2007

    Anaximander of Miletos (sixth century BCE) was the first to propose that human beings developed from simpler forms of life. He did not, however, have a clear notion of heredity or natural selection. To quote George Sarton, grand old man of science history:

    We must still say a few words about Anaximandros’ theory of life. He thought that the first animals were created in water and were then surrounded by a kind of husk (phloios); later these animals found a new abode upon dry land, dropped their shells, and adapted themselves to the new circumstances (he had perhaps in mind the insects that issue from marine larvae). Man must derive from other animals, because his own period of immaturity is too long and too frail. In short, he had conceived not only a general cosmology but a theory of organic evolution. He was a distant forerunner (very distant indeed) of Darwin as well as of Laplace!

    That such thoughts found utterance as early as the sixth century [BCE] is almost incredible, yet the general meaning of the texts that have come to us is unmistakable. Scientists may object that gratuitous assertions, or assertions based on such flimsy, evidence, cannot be considered scientific achievements, and should be abandoned to metaphysicians or to poets. To be sure, such assertions would not be permissible today, but we must remember that Anaximandros made them before the purpose and methods of science had been formulated. His thoughts helped to prepare that formulation. He was neither a scientist nor a metaphysician in the modern sense of those terms; he was a philosopher or a physiologist in the Greek sense. He was the first to state some of the fundamental problems of science; his answers were too bald and premature, but not in their own background irrational.

    He was, in short, ahead of his time, trying to understand the beauty and diversity of Nature before the rigorous enterprise of science had found its feet.

    One wonders what Greek science could have become, had the Library of Alexandria and all its research been treated as something more than a pearl for the Ptolemies’ crown. We know that Berossus, a Babylonian priest of the third century BCE, had written a three-volume history of the world which was stocked on the Alexandrian shelves. Berossus wrote of calendar cycles 36,000 years long, and figured that 432,000 years passed between the creation of the world and the great flood of Babylonian mythology. How far could we have come had we shaken off the fable of the Young Earth twenty-three hundred years ago?

  85. #86 J Myers
    November 4, 2007

    peter moore translatorTM

    peter moore input:

    I do believe the most reasonable manner in regards to evaluating worldviews is to use the principle of comparison to give historical context. That you did not compare atheist run countries in terms of attrocities versus Chistianized countries [blah blah blah].

    peter moore translation:

    I am a giant douche.

  86. #87 Blake Stacey
    November 4, 2007

    Is anybody in the least surprised that Moore’s latest quotation from Gould has also been dragged out of context? Can the man do nothing but quote mine?

  87. #88 tinyfrog
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore:
    > Thirdly, I have asked you to point out one factual error in regards to the article on the theory of evolution at Conservapedia.

    What a joke. The introduction alone has plenty of errors. If you don’t see the errors, you’re definitely badly informed. The entry is basically a long, rambling, misinformed argument against evolution. BTW, have you guys at conservapedia made peace with Relativity yet? I seem to remember Andrew Schlafly (the site’s creator) making changes to the entry on Relativity to argue that Relativity is all fake. You guys are competing with the uncyclopedia.org and wikiality.com for the most bad information, right? Here’s a new slogan for you: “Conservapedia: holding up the stubborn ignorance of American Conservatives so that the whole world knows that 50% of Americans are stupid and don’t deserve to make major decisions that affect our world.”

  88. #89 CalGeorge
    November 4, 2007

    Strobel: “based on the evidence.”

    What fucking evidence?

  89. #90 DeWraith
    November 4, 2007

    “Based on the evidence” means, as I mentioned earlier, the gospels. You need to understand that Strobel is working on the presupposition that the gospels are 100% correct. That is piss-poor journalism. When investigating something, you look to see if outside data supports the claims. He is working from internal claims that [claim to] support the data. Also, he ignores inconsistencies, which investigative journalists always point out. He never ONCE mentioned that modern scholars have shown that X is the original writer of one of the gospels and the rest were plagiarized, and mangled, from him and contradict each other.

  90. #91 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Blake,

    The term quote mine is not widely used by scholars and it seems evolutionist have nearly cornered the market on this term. If you could refrain my unscholarly posts it would be appreciated. The Google scholar search for “quote mining” yields a paltry 13 entries as can be seen here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22quote+mining%22&hl=en&lr=&btnG=Search

    That evolutionary scientists make many embarrassing admissions and that many evolutionists cannot tolerate cognitive dissonance is certainly not a fault of creationists.

    I suppose you will deny the follwing regarding Pierre Grasse, an ex-president of the French Academy of Sciences who served as Chair of Evolution at Sorbonne University for thirty years:

    Pierre Grasse stated the following: “Some contemporary biologists, as soon as they observe a mutation, talk about evolution. They are implicitly supporting the following syllogism: mutations are the only evolutionary variations, all living beings undergo mutations, therefore all living beings evolve….No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.” Grasse pointed out that bacteria which are the subject of study of many geneticists and molecular biologists and are organisms which produce the most mutants are considered to have “stabilized a billion years ago!”.[4] Grasse regards the “unceasing mutations” to be “merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect.”

    Grasse also wrote the following:

    ” Through use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a pseudoscience has been created. It is taking root in the very heart of biology and is leading astray many biochemists and biologists, who sincerely believe that the accuracy of fundamental concepts has been demonstrated, which is not the case. – Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p.6

    Today, our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained phenomenon which keeps rapidly unfolding before us. Biologists must be encouraged to think about the weaknesses of the interpretations and extrapolations that theoreticians put forward or lay down as established truths. The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and the falsity of their beliefs. – Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p.8

    It follows that any explanation of the mechanism in creative evolution of the fundamental structural plans is heavily burdened with hypotheses. This should appear as an epigraph to every book on evolution. The lack of direct evidence leads to the formation of pure conjectures as to the genesis of the phyla; we do not even have a basis to determine the extent to which these opinions are correct. – Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p.31[6]

  91. #92 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Blake,

    My apologies. It appears as if I did not adequately convey what I wanted to in my last post.

    I meant to say above:

    If you could refrain from future unscholarly posts it would be appreciated. I would also point out that you did not demonstrate the Gould quote was pulled out of context. Merely crying “Quote mining” and slapping down a link is not a very persuasive argument to say the least.

  92. #93 CalGeorge
    November 4, 2007

    From Conservacrapia:

    “The concept of naturalistic evolution differs from the concept of Theistic Evolution in that it states God does not guide the posited process of macroevolution.”

    Even I, a non-scientist, know this is crap.

    Evolutionary theory has nothing to do with religion. It makes no claims about religion. It could give a shit about religion.

    Furthermore, how a “concept” can “state” anything is beyond me.

    I’m still hoping to hear why your “Theistic Evolution” includes reference to a being no one has ever seen, heard, felt, or tasted.

    That seems like a stupid way to proceed if one is trying to construct a plausible scientific theory.

  93. #94 raven
    November 4, 2007

    Peter confused as to place and time while evading the question

    Dear Raven,

    I do believe the most reasonable manner in regards to evaluating worldviews is to use the principle of comparison to give historical context. That you did not compare atheist run countries in terms of attrocities versus Chistianized countries in terms of their respective histories speaks badly on your part.

    That wasn’t the question.

    I’m not really that concerned about what happened during the crusades, reformation, or WW11, with the deeply Xian Germans. This is 2007 and I live in the USA. So, who is on your To Hate list? And To Kill list? All fundie Death Cultists have them.

    And really the most the most you cultists can do is destroy the USA.

  94. #95 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Blake,

    I did wish to add that the point of the Pierre Grasse quotes of 1977 is to provide an instance of a prominent and respected scientists who has expressed reasonable objections to the evolutionary paradigms that have a wide following in the evolutionary community. I don’t believe you can reasonably deny this matter.

  95. #96 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Raven,

    I believe you may not know your history in terms of atheist attrocities (Stalin, Mao, etc.) but more importantly you have demonstrated that you understand the value of historical comparisons to give context. Again if you want to do a side by side comparison of Christian versus atheist attrocities it would be much more relevant.

  96. #97 Steve
    November 4, 2007

    Peter Moore,

    How old in the Earth?

  97. #98 Steve
    November 4, 2007

    Sorry about the typo…

    “How old is the Earth?”

  98. #99 Hank Fox
    November 4, 2007

    Some more Moore-watching:

    Peter Moore NEEDS to be here … more than anyone here needs to be where he is.

    Whatever flavor of Christian he is, I wonder what they think of the field of psychology?

  99. #100 Frank
    November 4, 2007

    “Given that I was addressing your essays on Conservapedia it was perfectly reasonable to cite Conservapedia and ask you to attempt to refute various conservative articles on Conservapedia. That you chose not to take me up on my offer is regrettable but not unexpected given the quality of the articles on Conservapedia you wrote which you are not willing to defend…”

    Junior, have you ever heard ‘be careful what you wish for?’ I suspect PZ would administer an ass whuppin’ of epic proportions if he did deign to lower himself to review your toxic drivel. My advice is stop your sniveling, cut your losses and back very slowly away from the keyboard.

    I suppose you’ve also been haranguing all the other individuals and groups that have had unflattering things to say about Conservapedia? Here are just a few (have you whined to all of these?):

    http://www.ericdsnider.com/snide/something-wiki-this-way-comes/

    http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=41802&in_page_id=2

    http://www.thestar.com/sciencetech/article/190501

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/conor_clarke/2007/03/a_fact_of_ones_own_1.html

    Have you whined to Lewis Black, who ridiculed Conservapedia on the Daily Show back in June? How did that work out?

    All your blithering does is remind me of another saying: “Those that know the least know it the loudest.”

  100. #101 J Myers
    November 4, 2007

    peter moore botTM

    Dear Steve,

    The earth is between 55 and 61 years old. My grandpa made it out of clay (he lived on the moon before that, where there is lots of clay). Also, my cat’s breath smells like catfood.

  101. #102 Crudely Wrott
    November 4, 2007

    Strobel: “If the Christian god were to exist, what would he have to do to convince you . . .?
    Crudely Wrott: “Speak audibly, sensibly, in context and no atmospherics.”

  102. #103 *T*
    November 4, 2007

    Anyone who reads that quote by Pierre Paul Grasse knows he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Despite his title (“Chair of Evolution at Sorbonne University” – which I haven’t verified), and the title of his book (“Evolution of Living Organisms”), Pierre Paul Grasse is was an opponent of evolutionary theory, and “proposed an evolutionary theory in which living matter contains an undiscovered “internal factor” that compels life to evolve along predetermined lines.”
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Paul_Grass%C3%A9)

    Nevertheless, creationists have tries to turn him into “an evolutionist”. (Lookup his name on google, and notice how they attach phrases like “the great French evolutionist” or “Pierre-Paul Grasse, Evolutionist”.)

    It’s clear that he’s wedded to his own theory of life, which is in opposition to evolutionary theory. Are you going to quote Lamark, too, to show everyone that evolutionary theory was wrong?

  103. #104 Epistaxis
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore (even though I’m posting this as an off-topic comment instead of e-mailing you directly like a sensible person would do),

    Open any biology textbook, or any encyclopedia. Heck, even Wikipedia is okay sometimes. Compare their explanation of evolution with yours. You will see where you are wrong.

    One thing I notice about your article is that it’s very poorly written in addition to being wrong. If I happened to be trying to find out *what evolution is*, even in your alternate reality, it just wouldn’t help me. You start with a quote from a dictionary (what kind of encyclopedia quotes a dictionary, other than Samuel Johnson’s or Ambrose Bierce’s?), and then you proceed to explain why the thing you didn’t really describe is wrong. This out-of-context-quote + lie formula continues in every section, none of which actually *defines* the topic of the article. Inaccuracy aside, there’s just no cohesion to the writing. I can only assume it would be positively useless to anyone who came to your page legitimately trying to learn what (in your twisted view) evolution *is* rather than quote-mining your quote-mines.

    There are intelligent, literate people on the right wing. I’m glad none of them edit Conservapedia.

    P.S. I apologize in advance if this increases Conservapedia’s hits even slightly.

  104. #105 Ian H Spedding FCD
    November 4, 2007

    The futility of arguing with the likes of Peter Moore is summed up nicely by one of Henry Fonda’s lines from Twelve Angry Men: “He can’t hear you. He never will.”

  105. #106 JimC
    November 4, 2007

    That you did not compare atheist run countries in terms of attrocities versus Chistianized countries in terms of their respective histories speaks badly on your part.

    Not another goober who confuses athiesm with some form of government. No one killed for atheism. People have killed for their religion. Thats like saying they killed because they didn’t believe in ghosts. Men want power, religion gives men power over others. Hence the often easy alliance between religions who claim to have the ‘truth’ and men who seek to use it for personal gain.

    ‘Athiest’ nations that commit atrocities aren’t doing it for atheism. It offers nothing in the form of crowd control. It requires one examine things critically something a politician seeking power needs to conceal. Needless to say once the power of religion wanes so also does the need to conform to dogma. It’s not as if primarily nonreligious Sweden is out there committing crimes against humanity.

    Speaking of current atrocities, I’m pretty sure an at least nominally Christian nation is killing Iraqi’s for no real reason as we debate this twaddle. Make sure to add their names to the list of dead lest we forget them. Their lives count also.

  106. #107 Peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Steve,

    Before we digress from PZ Myers and my discussion and get away from the clear cut issue of Haeckel’s fraud and its inexcusable perpetuation for 100 years by the evolutionary community, I do want to give PZ Myers every opportunity to address my last post in regards to the evolutionary communities culpability in realtion to this fraud. I think this is important because if PZ Myers will not admit the obvious in regards to this origins issue, I do think this is a clear indication of PZ Myers being an unreasonable man rather than a reasonable man. And certainly I do want to give him every opportunity to show himself to be a reasonable man.

  107. #108 John Danley
    November 4, 2007

    Pete Mooron…go play with Ken Ham’s toy dragons.

  108. #109 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Epistaxis,

    You may have typed in your post before you had a chance to read my response to Steve about not digressing from the discussion between PZ Myers and myself.

    Therefore, out of courtesy for the time and effort you took to post, I will briefly state that I have listened to many suggestions from evolutionist regarding the article and made many changes to the article as a result. However, I would briefly state the article is not about “evolution” but about the “theory of evolution” and the issue of whether or not it is truly a scientific theory is also touched upon. Given what article states about this matter perhaps it would have been better to title the article “evolutionary hypothesis”. Lastly, I do think an adequate definition of the theory of evolution is was given.

  109. #110 Boosterz
    November 4, 2007

    The little shit stain is getting repetitive. He’s still harping on Haeckel as if Haeckle’s theories of recapitulation weren’t dismissed by the scientific community back when he first proposed them. The absolute BEST case scenario for him is that he might find a 30 year old text book that re-printed a copy of haeckle’s drawings. Apparently in his loony world, if a lazy editor copies a picture into a textbook that somehow translates into evolution being supported by a theory that was never accepted by the scientific community in the first place.

    To claim that the “evolutionary community” has been engaged in fraud for the past century over Haeckle’s theory of re-capitulation is nothing short of a bald faced lie.

    So far none of the bullshit he’s been spewing has risen above this level. I would bet that Jeff Foxworthy knows a few 5th graders that could school this silly git in basic science.

    See Peter, this is why you don’t get your information about evolution from crackpots like Jonathon Wells or any of the other nuts at the DI. Because if you do, you WILL end up making a fool of yourself. :-)

    p.s. Just for shit’s and giggles, how old do you think the earth is Peter?

  110. #111 Crudely Wrott
    November 4, 2007

    So, aah, Pete. Describe for me the voice of he who cannot be named. It’s the least you could do and if you did, your other arguments would be strengthened. (See my comment #99)

    Go to it, pal.

  111. #112 peter moore
    November 4, 2007

    re: the post above

    “evolutionist” should be evolutionists

    Also:

    It should read: Lastly, I do think an adequate definition of what the theory of evolution is was given in the Conservapedia theory of evolution article.

  112. #113 Crudely Wrott
    November 4, 2007

    My comment suddenly became #100. Is it late and my eyes are tired?

  113. #114 Crudely Wrott
    November 4, 2007

    Honestly, Mr. Moore. All you have done is complain about what people have said and how such speech is misinterpreted. Come now. We have all heard this. Tell us of the voice of god and tell us how it compels you to say all these other things that are bothersome.

  114. #115 Jsn
    November 4, 2007

    It’s time for my favorite aphorism: “Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes time and annoys the pig.” Obviously, PZ and quite a few of you are casting pearls before Moore.

    No amount of evidence, logic or reasoning will sway Moore from his ideological bent. He will abuse the quote from Gould as if it were the smoking gun to discredit evolution. How about a book which declares that a snake and donkey could SPEAK? I’m sure that physics, zoology and biology could be used to discredit that fairly routinely. What’s that you say? A MIRACLE happened and a GOD made it so? Holy Jeebus, I’m convinced now…
    Moore is a dogmatic demagogue; let’s let lying dogs sleep.

  115. #116 Marcus Ranum
    November 4, 2007

    Uh, Peter?

    So you think evolution’s a bad theory. What’s your alternative? And what evidence supports it?

  116. #117 Rjaye
    November 4, 2007

    An occasional “deist” scientist does not a consensus make, nor does it make that particular scientist right or believable. To say so and so believed “god” has a hidden plan for the universe is disingenuous, and the only person to defend or deny that stand is so and so herself.

    Also, since when are text books written by scientists? They are written by a very few publishing companies who cater to the school districts who buy them, and often are skewed to avoid the more controversial aspects of a particular subject. History texts don’t even come close to Wikipedia in reliability, and math texts are written so poorly, many teachers don’t even bother to use them though the district has bought them.

    And don’t get me going on how many useless texts are developed for higher education classes…

    Oy.

  117. #118 Crudely Wrott
    November 4, 2007

    Jsn, you may be correct. I am judging only by Peter’s silence. Unless he is writing an epic at the moment.

  118. #119 Rjaye
    November 4, 2007

    Oh, and Pete, what has what you want to talk about have to do with Lee Strobel, and what he did to A. Drew?

  119. #120 Steve
    November 4, 2007

    Oy vey, enough about embryos already. Everyone acknowledges that Haeckle’s drawings were fudged and were reproduced by lazy textbook publishers for far too long. One could argue forever about which parties were more responsible, and there would never be a resolution. All of this is a side show.

    How old is the Earth? It’s a simple question. And it’s not a side show.

  120. #121 qedpro
    November 4, 2007

    Strobel is such a noob.
    Notice how Flew says that god should know what it would take to make him believe and Strobel just lets it go cause he has no rebuttal.
    Although it was painful, i think Strobel didn’t get what he was looking for and Flew actually denounces christianity for the henious thing that it is.

  121. #122 Marcus Ranum
    November 4, 2007

    I get so tired of these evolution deniers with their nitpicks and niggles – chiselling away and building their intellectual false-fronts out of discredited research, quote mines, and all the other tricks of woo-woos.

    Peter, let me explain a thing about how science works – maybe it’ll help you. Science is about building a case for a theory that can withstand your own best attempts to discredit it. Because the scientist knows that he’s not going to have to defend his theory against laughable woo-woos; he’s going to have to defend it against other scientists who are bringing real evidence to the table. And one piece of evidence that contradicts a theory… *poof* – or (as we saw with the Burgess Shale interpretations) more likely *everything gets re-thought*.

    Now, instead of throwing rocks at evolution why not present evidence that could withstand similar scrutiny that supports your theory. Where is your evidence of the hand of god? If it’s supernatural, where’s your theory that explains how the supernatural affects the natural without being (by defintion) natural and therefore measurable? How do you explain what created the creator? Or, if the creator “just always was” what evidence supports your assertion of that and how does that evidence not contradict current cosmology? You demand to see transitional forms in evolution but you offer no explanation (or evidence) other than a bunch of assertions culled from a bunch of antique ravings.

    Don’t you see the contradiction, here? You want to ape the behavior of a scientist with your nitpicks and one-liners, but you’re incapable of offering anything beyond that. You have no theory. You have no evidence. You’re not a scientist – you’re a cargo-cult shaman shouting into a hollow branch pretending it’s a radio – because your understanding of science is so poor you think that as long as you’re spouting the right vocabulary, you must be a ju-ju man of science, yourself.

    Here’s a bit of “scientific” thinking you can apply to creationism. Answer this, then present evidence supporting your theory:
    – the bible presents a “theory” of how the universe was created
    – the bahgvad-gita presents a “theory” of how the universe was created
    – both of these books are alleged to be divinely inspired, though by different supernatural beings
    – both of these books are alleged to be correct as a consequence of their respective divine inspiration
    – since the bible and the bahgvad-gita contradict eachother,on what evidence do you argue one or the other is correct?

    In science, if you had two theories that purport to explain something, evidence is gathered until one theory or the other (or both) is contradicted by something observable. You’re trying to act like a scientist – so, then, tell us how you were able to disprove the baghvad-gita “theory” in favor of the bible’s “theory”? Hint: “I just know” is not evidence.

    In short, you weasely little twerps are just barely smart enough that you think you’re clever when you take little debaters’ shots at evolution. But you’re not anywhere close to smart enough to concoct actual theories of your own. You squeal about falsifiability and have probably even read a Wikipedia article about Popper (so you can write like you’re on a first-name basis or something) but you’re no more capable of producing a consistent, defensible theory of anything than my dog is capable of writing a symphony.

  122. #123 Epistaxis
    November 4, 2007

    The little shit stain is getting repetitive. He’s still harping on Haeckel as if Haeckle’s theories of recapitulation weren’t dismissed by the scientific community back when he first proposed them.

    Heh, I guess you could say Haeckel’s getting recapitulated.

    Dear Peter,

    Oops! I just realized I don’t have anything new to say this time. It would be an awful waste of your time and mine to repeat myself. Never mind.

  123. #124 Brian Macker
    November 4, 2007

    Flew seemed fairly sharp to me. I can live with his flaws. I do think when he first changed his mind the tiny bit he did that way more was made out of it than should have been. I wasn’t offended by the interview at all. I expect people to interview from their own perspective. There was nothing badgering about it at all so far as I could see, and Flew gave what should have been very disappointing answers to any Christian.

    Sounds like Flew has switched to a more Einsteinian viewpoint. Was Einstein a nice old man in a muddle?

  124. #125 Kristine
    November 4, 2007

    Indeed he did, qedpro. Strobel was prodding Flew about Jesus to no avail. (In addition he spoke to Flew as one does to a child. Ugh.)

    “If the Christian god exists, what would He have to do to convince you of that?”

    And even if God were to exist? Why would he merit any other kind of treatment or regard that anyone else merits? At least the ancients created pantheons that warred with each other; it is the Jews, Christians, and Muslims who insist that God must be “loved” [i.e., feared with a mortal dread, not just obeyed].

    Which leads me to another wrench in the works: isn’t it the case that, for the very reason that ancient religions portrayed the gods in conflict, that Flew has since become, I believe, a polytheist?

  125. #126 Crudely Wrott
    November 5, 2007

    Pity poor Peter
    Properly perplexed.
    Putative protestations, insufficient,
    Have left him pole axed.

    Posing preposterously,
    Piously pouting,
    Believing he’s pertinent.
    This Piss ant is tiring
    And also revolting.

    We are more than he perceives.

  126. #127 Tyler DiPietro
    November 5, 2007

    Shorter Peter Moore:

    PZ’s conclusive obliteration of my claims about Haeckel through several posts is completely negated by this one out-of-context quotation from a deceased paleontologist.

    Later Shorter Peter Moore:

    Blake’s link demonstrating that my Gould citation was a quote-mine is conclusively negated by this other quote-mine from a completely different author writing on a completely different topic.

    I’ve seldom encountered a more useless poster.

  127. #128 ias
    November 5, 2007

    Thats a really good point that I don’t think people bring up very much in the creation vs. evolution debate Marcus, probably because neither party really believes in the possible truths of non-western texts, but there is a valid argument to be made.

    The Indian scriptures are both more numerous and voluminous than the Bible; and the oldest Indian texts are even older than the old testament. So how exactly is the Bible in any way superior, and its story the true one? Because it has fewer Gods and a more charismatic(at least, at face value) God-man character? And how about the ancient Chinese belief system and genesis story, why is that one wrong? And the Native American genesis story? Why is it that the Abrahamic faiths are the only ones considered possibly true?

    The Biblical creationist has got to provide ample evidences not only that the theory of evolution is incorrect and that his theory is more correct, but also that all of the other conflicting religions’ theories are substantially flawed, before he can claim plausibility.

  128. #129 tim
    November 5, 2007

    I hope everyone here realizes that the pseudo-scientific Bible-thumping anti-intellectualism that Peter and those like him represent should not be taken as equivalent to Christianity. There are plenty of Christians out there (myself included) who have perfectly sensible views about science (evolution, Big Bang, etc.). If you folk want intelligent discourse about the intersection between (actual) science and religion, I hope you are not satisfied with dumping on Peter or on Strobel because he’s a Creationist.

    And to Peter (if you’re still there): I hope you realize that what you are doing here and at the website you promote simply perpetuates the idea prevalent in these circles that Christianity is anti-intellectual hogwash.

  129. #130 craig
    November 5, 2007

    “…perpetuates the idea prevalent in these circles that Christianity is anti-intellectual hogwash.”

    The “invisible magic old guy in the sky” stuff doesn’t help.

  130. #131 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Sure- I believe in the possibility of the supernatural; you don’t. Neither of us can prove our beliefs. But that doesn’t make me anti-intellectual. I don’t use my non-provable starting-point belief to say “Therefore, Science is wrong and evil!” forgetting the fact that if I believe God created my intellect then I believe He means me to use it properly. That’s what I mean by anti-intellectual.

  131. #132 MartinC
    November 5, 2007

    Peter Moore argues against the theory of evolution the same way I would argue against the grammatical structure of a particular Swahili novel if, 1) My life depended upon it, and 2) I had ten minutes to compose my answer.
    Its his earnest pleas in combination with his absolute lack of knowledge in the subject at hand that mark him out as a true creationist. Its the old fundamentalist catch-22 that trips up all religious extremists. In order to strike the crucial blow they need to actually attain some detailed knowledge of the subject at hand – be it biological theory or physics or chemistry. Unfortunately the problem with attaining a knowledgeable mind is that it allows you to think. And to pose questions.
    Peter, who created evil?

  132. #133 Michael X
    November 5, 2007

    Tim,
    To begin respectfully, while no one can “prove” much, if anything, in the way of scientific absolutes (making absolutes a useless bar to be measured by), we can test certain supernatural claims, and thus in a negative sense give added weight to the hypothesis that a god does not exist, or a supernatural realm doesn’t exist at all. After many, many years of such negative findings on a diverse set of supernatural dealing subjects, in order to remain intellectually honest, one must let go of certain beliefs systems as they begin to become too incoherent. In this case, christianity would be such a one.

    I see that you do not intend to attack reason itself, as say, Martin Luther did, but you do walk a “fine line” in what you must be willing to claim in order to be regarded a christian and what those claims require you to reasonably believe. I commend your appreciation of reason and logic and exhort you to take it to it’s final conclusions.

  133. #134 Hank Fox
    November 5, 2007

    Neither of us can prove our beliefs.

    Very 60s.

    “We all have our own reality. I just have my own beliefs, that’s all. I mean, you’re welcome to yours, but I just have my own.”

  134. #135 plonka
    November 5, 2007

    For a long time now, I’ve enjoyed reading this blog and the comments and ideas to be found here. I’ve always felt that in this arena of minds, so vastly superior to mine, I wouldn’t have a great deal to contribute.

    I still don’t, but Mr. Moore has raised my hackles and insulted what scant intellect I have.

    Peter,

    Grasse also wrote the following (Quoted from Talkorigins):

    Zoologists and botanists are nearly unanimous in considering evolution as a fact and not a hypothesis. I agree with this position and base it primarily on documents provided by palaeontology, i.e., the history of the living world … [Also,] Embryogenesis provides valuable data [concerning evolutionary relationships] … Chemistry, through its analytical data, directs biologists and provides guidance in their search for affinities between groups of animals or plants, and … plays an important part in the approach to genuine evolution.” (Pierre P. Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York, 1977, pp. 3,4,5,7)

    As you can plainly see, he unequivocally states that he agrees with the position of considering evolution as fact and he even has a basis for maintaining that position, which is more than I can say of the unmitigated drivel that’s to be found at Conservapedia.

    Misquoting is a very easy thing to do Mr. Moore. So instead of just applying a little google to the matter, try applying a little thought and imagination instead, you may just surprise yourself. Then again, you may not…

  135. #136 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Hank- That’s not at all what I’m saying. I happen to believe I’m right and you’re wrong, but I can’t prove it.

    And Michael- I have not encountered any such evidence that would render my beliefs incoherent. I’m curious as to what you’re referring to.

  136. #137 Pete
    November 5, 2007

    You nailed it, Hank, and you’re right; it is scary.

    That’s something we’d all do well to internalize and try to use to make some kind of meta-strategy. The kind of person who is dumb enough to accept creationism is also dumb enough not to know when they’re wrong. So most of our reasoning, our knee-jerk responses to mental children like peter moore, just goes to waste (like seeds on unfertile ground…). People like him are beyond hope of rescue. But there are others, less visible, who don’t spend so many of their waking hours typing at their computers, who really want to learn some science and could be talked out of their god-belief. Let’s not let the peters of the world discourage us from engaging those people. (As hard-nosed atheists, by the way — I’m not talking accomodation here.)

    And what’s the point of arguing with peter &c anyway? Even if you miraculously managed to convince him he was wrong, then what, would you invite him to coffee? Seriously, why bother?

  137. #138 Michael X
    November 5, 2007

    Tim,
    Your question of course hinges on what you believe as a christian. In the bible everything from a flat earth to a virgin birth are written as literal truth. Each of these are expressly rejected by science as their is no evidence for them and there is no evidence that any event or situation that is like them has ever existed or occured.

    Also we have logical problems like an all good, all knowing, all powerful god existing and evil existing. We also have a god who is three separate beings, but one. Jesus being fully god and fully human at the same time is as impossible as something being both completely red and completely green.

    Then we have the current scientific studies on prayer. The major peer reviewed studies show that prayer has no positive effect. (One even concluded that it had a negative effect.) Also the very fact that no amputees have never been healed is quite damning evidence that prayer is not what it’s cracked up to be.

    You of course may hold onto none of these dissonance producing beliefs. Which leaves me to then ask what beliefs you do hold that cause you to label yourself a christian? Are you, like Paul Tillich, a congregation of one? If so, why the label “christian”?

    The fact remains that mainstream beliefs held by christians are either scientifically disproven, illogical, or unevidenced. Such a situation would lead one who is dispassionatly reviewing the evidence to conclude that such a worldview isn’t worth retaining.

  138. #139 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    I have not encountered any such evidence that would render my beliefs incoherent. I’m curious as to what you’re referring to.

    There are fundamental contradictions in all religious. Christianity has more contradictions than others, yet most Christians seem to be strangely unaware of this, or else indifferent to the contradiction.

    Some branches of Christianity with a certain degree of intellectual awareness of paradox, calls some of the contradictions “mysteries”, yet they are contradictions nonetheless.

    Atheism is in part a rejection of the contradictions of religion as being simply incoherent.

  139. #140 Michael X
    November 5, 2007

    Whoops. The double negative of “no amputees have never been healed” is of course a typo.
    I also, for the sake being brief, left out Jesus’ ressurection, and the very idea of faith being the antithesis or reason, or how a christian believer reacts to equally spurrious statements made by other religions. Though such omissions are trivial in respect to what has already been stated.

  140. #141 Jon
    November 5, 2007

    Arguing against Darwin is like arguing against Galileo. Peter Moore you need to do some heavier reading and not just the regressive style of picking from the lesser intelligent adn prominent of the scientists

  141. #142 Lee Harrison
    November 5, 2007

    I’ve noticed a few times Peter Moore in reply to Raven has trotted out ‘atheist’ massacres compared to religiously inspired ones.

    Thing is, even if we grant that Stalin, Pol Pot (actually a buddhist, but anyway…) and others’ bad behaviour was as a result of their supposed atheism, that still doesn’t mean much. The fact that Hitler killed more people than the crusaders is purely an accident of history – Hitler had efficient weapons, modern training systems, modern means of transport, air support, missiles, along with, unfortunately, a means of tranporting millions of civilians to highly efficient death camps for ‘processing’.

    Lets compare that to what the crusaders had…

    Anyone seriously believe that the holocaust wouldn’t have happened a whole lot sooner if someone like, say, Torquemada had access to rail and Zyklon B?

  142. #143 Lee Harrison
    November 5, 2007

    And incidentally – the only nation to have slaughtered thousands of civilians in a single moment and then to do it again(!) currently seems to pride itself as a ‘Christian nation’ and was, at the time, led by a Christian.

    So why don’t you often hear the “Truman was a horrific mass murderer and he was Christian therefore Christianity is wrong” argument?

    Because atheists tend to recognise a bad argument when we see one and therefore **Refuse to Fricking Repeat It Ad Nauseam!**

  143. #144 Wolfhound
    November 5, 2007

    Re: 105

    This moron is worried about “the clear cut issue of Haeckel’s fraud and its inexcusable perpetuation for 100 years by the evolutionary community”? ONE HUNDRED YEARS?! His bullshit, fraudulent mythology has been inexcusably perpetuated for THOUSANDS of years! At least scientists were honest enough to reject Haeckel’s work when they examined it closely enough to determine Haeckel was wrong. Not so the Creobots. They stick to their idiocy in the face of evidence to the contrary. Talk about fraud!

  144. #145 Blake Stacey
    November 5, 2007

    Neither of us can prove our beliefs.

    Prove it!

  145. #146 raven
    November 5, 2007

    Peter Moore is just a serial lying creo troll. C’mon you expect someone associated with a pile of lies like conservapedia to be sane? He is wrong about atheists and atrocities like he is wrong about everything. Hitler was a devout Catholic and the roots of Nazi antisemitism date back to Martine Luther and before. Below are a few of dozens of quotes by Hitler enlisting god and Jesus into his cause.

    The association of Hitler and Nazism with German Xianity is well known and indisputable. So much that after the war, some Xian apologists forged documents to try to cover it up. Below are a few of dozens of similar quotes from the demon himself.

    Adolph Hitler:

    “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who – God’s truth! – was greatest, not as a sufferer, but as a fighter.”

    [ Hitler rallying his Nazi supporters in front of Church of our Lady in Nuremberg, circa 1928, photographed by Heinrich Hoffmann, from US Holocaust Museum.]
    “In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.
    Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.
    As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice . . .
    And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery.
    When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.”

    ——————————————————————————–
    Projecting an image of religiosity was so important to Hitler that he reinforced that image, over and over and over again, as in :
    “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 46
    “What we have to fight for. . . is the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator.” [Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 125]

  146. #147 raven
    November 5, 2007

    BTW, Peter Moore knows he is lying. That is the strategy of conservalie-apedia.

    1. Collect a mountain of creo death cult lies.

    2. Spam the internet, trolling all the way.

    3. Watch the hit rate go up as people click over to laugh at the evil, vicious, lying so called Xians.

    They are far more interested in building traffic and the lies are just a means to an end. It is an internet niche I suppose, but not much of one. If one cannot be smart and honest, might as well go for dumb and lying.

  147. #148 thalarctos
    November 5, 2007

    Pol Pot (actually a buddhist, but anyway…)

    Culturally, he grew up in a Buddhist milieu, but he was pretty clear on the point that he was no Buddhist. Kind of a quasi-Maoist would be a better capsule description.

  148. #149 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    Peter Moore is a young earth creationist.
    He is so detatched from reality that it’s pointless to have a discussion with him.
    He doesn’t discuss anything, if he did. he might become possessed by demons.

  149. #150 JimC
    November 5, 2007

    I hope you realize that what you are doing here and at the website you promote simply perpetuates the idea prevalent in these circles that Christianity is anti-intellectual hogwash

    You know this Peter Moore fellow may be goofy but this is no less so. It’s not an idea just prevelant in these circles as in the churches it’s not an idea at all. People don’t even think about it.

    Of course the religion is anti-intellectual, how can it be anything but? It asks you to buy into an entire host of unprovable ideas on the hope of more unprovable and improbable ideas to come. Now you can make an intellectual exercise out of it but you can do the same with Star Wars. Doesn’t make it anymore reality and I simply don’t understand how people can’t get that in their beaners.

  150. #151 CrypticLif
    November 5, 2007

    Wait. . . conservapedia’s not a joke?

  151. #152 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    It would be genius if it were.

  152. #153 Ryan F Stello
    November 5, 2007

    Peter Moore said:

    As you are probably aware Lee Strobel is a creationist.

    So, what does being a creationist have to do with being a “badger” or a “contemptible ghoul”?

  153. #154 Ryan F Stello
    November 5, 2007

    Oh, wait. I see the relevance. Thanks for pointing this out Petey!

  154. #155 Kagehi
    November 5, 2007

    Dear Peter moore. Point of fact about “text books”. Biologists have had damn near “no” input at all on what goes into them for years. Most “modern” text books, at least in the US, are created, examined and published “solely” by a small number of companies, who cater more to the whims of parents and religious groups than the opinions of scientists. Worse, 90% of the text books used right now, from my understanding, which I admit may be incorrect, for science come out of a few publishers in Texas, which are owned and operated almost universally by Christians. So.. What you are actually saying, if you actually pay attention to “who” is making these books and printing them, and the fact that they have for decades ignored scientists objections to their contents, is that *Christians* have been misleading people, not scientists.

    But then, that wouldn’t *fit* your interpretation of what is going on, would it?

  155. #156 Shelama
    November 5, 2007

    YAWN …I see very little in Flew’s interview to inspire anything else. Certainly nothing to merit either invective by us, or anything useful for Strobel.

    Flew’s answer to a question concerning ‘heaven’ actually was not too bad: Why want it in the first place? Especially a Christian heaven eternally “praising god”? How terribly boring and uninteresting. Sounds like a hell for Christians to me.

    As to the question “What would it take to convince you of the “Christian message/resurrection”, the best answer is: …It would take just exactly what it took for the personal disciples/apostles of Jesus in the Christian “New Testament” before they believed: a personal physical bodily appearance, in the presence of others, of a now resurrected Jesus, verifiable as previously dead, complete with wounds you can explore with your own fingers and hands. And then go enjoy a fish burger together. There is no reason to accept anything less.

    It is significant that the very people with whom Jesus supposedly spent 3+/- years teaching his message, including his personally predicted death and resurrection, still, even within the New Testament stories themselves, still did NOT believe in the “resurrection” UNTIL AFTER Jesus supposedly appeared to them. Paul also did not become a believer until AFTER a resurrected Jesus “appeared” to him. (Paul’s chosen term actually may mean nothing other than a revelatory epiphany “appearance,” rather than an actual physical bodily one.)

    Paul never even mentions an “empty tomb in those NT writings which might reasonably be concluded actually did come from him. And “Acts”, within its THREE (count’em) differing versions of the “appearance of Jesus to Paul,” also NEVER mentions a literal bodily appearance by Jesus either: only auditory or visual/phototic events heard only by Paul. Which, even in the words of Acts, sound suspiciously like hallucinations.

    Flew’s answer to the question actually wasn’t all that bad. In the end, it seems to me that he gave Strobel exactly nothing. Which is not to say that Stroble will not claim otherwise.

    Yawn.

  156. #157 HP
    November 5, 2007

    Is he gone? I think he’s gone…

    OK, forget about Peter Moore’s lies for a second. What kind of guest shows up uninvited and then starts making demands of his host? It would be like me showing up uninvited at his house at suppertime expecting to be fed, and then going into the kitchen and ordering people around while they prepare my food. This, more than anything “speaks volumes” about his character.

    I’ve read the whole thread now, and I’m adding Peter Moore to my killfile. PZ has been more than patient with Moore’s unconscionable rudeness, and I hope that the next time Moore shows up, PZ isn’t stingy with the banhammer.

  157. #158 Michael X
    November 5, 2007

    Kagehi,
    Coming in late to the thread with Peter I stood back (not wanting to add to the dogpile) and waited for someone to say what you just did. After claming that “experts” perpetuated the story, he then switches to textbooks, which are not in any way, shape or form the same as leading experts in the field. The textbook industry is a story all it’s own.

    It’s sad that the flaw in his one major example should be so easily pointed out. I can’t imagine that this is the first time it has ever been uttered.

  158. #159 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    I’m sure he’ll be back to defend the honor of conservapedia.

    Not that it has any.

  159. #160 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Michael-

    Actually the Ressurection is what the whole discussion rests on (not quibbles about whether the bible claims the earth is flat or not or whatever other inconsistencies one might pick out of the bible), so it’s not at all an unnecessary side note. If Jesus actually historically rose from the dead, then Christianity’s got something going for it; if he didn’t, then the whole thing’s pie in the sky.

    So did he? Whether or not you believe in the possibility of the supernatural, here are the undisupted facts surrounding the incident:

    (a) Jesus was a historical figure, who had a bunch of followers while he was alive

    (b) Jesus was crucified by Roman authorities

    (c) Shortly after he was crucified, his followers began claiming that he had risen from the dead. (And, if you accept Matthew as a legitimate historical document–whether or not you agree with it, think it was written by Matthew or whatever–then the tomb was also widely believed at the time of its writing to have been empty, even by non-Christian Jews: see Matt 28:11-15)

    (d) Those followers spent their lives in thankless toil and labor to spread the news of this event, and eventually went to their own deaths claiming their story (of claiming to be eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection) was true.

    So of course one is entitled to sort through these facts by beginning with the assumption that resurrection from the dead is impossible. In which case you can come up with some ad hoc reason to explain away the behavior of the first Christians (i.e. they were all masochists, they were severely deluded, etc.). But this of course can’t _prove_ the resurrection didn’t happen, because the argument _assumes_ it didn’t in the first place.

    Now if you’re willing to be open about the possibility of divine intervention in the world (not necessarily commit yourself to it just yet), then your task is to weigh the relative merits of the following scenarios:

    (1) Some or all of the facts (a)-(d) are false (I believe this is an untenable position).

    (2) The whole thing was an intentional hoax in some way on the part of the disciples: they stole the body and started spreading a false rumor that he had risen from the dead, which they insisted upon to their deaths (not much gain in that for them, huh?).

    (3) The whole thing was a hoax on the part of someone other than the disciples (i.e. the Romans or Jews stole the body and inexplicably failed to produce it to crush the whole “he rose from the dead” cult thing when it started getting out of hand.)

    (4) The disciples were severely disturbed in some way (grossly masochistic, deluded, insane, what-have-you) and yet still possesed the charisma necessary to account for the exponential growth of the early church.

    (5) The disciples’ story was true.

    Now, if the issue of whether the supernatural exists and whether miracles were possible were a neutral one, I think everyone would agree that (5) is the most reasonable conclusion (am I right?). Now of course, the existence of the supernatural is far from a neutral issue. So then I need something else to weigh [(1)-(4)] & [no supernatural] against [(5)] & [supernatural].

    Let me choose this:

    (6) Human experiences of love, beauty, and conscience (for example) result from nothing other than physical, chemical and biological processes as we understand them, and therefore humans are fundamentally no different from animals.

    (7) Human experiences of love, beauty, and conscience result do indeed manifest themselves in the physical world through what we understand as physical, chemical, and biological processes, but the ultimate origin of the existence of these phenomena in the human psyche (differentiating us from other animals) is the fact that God created us in his image; i.e. at some point in the evolution of Homo Sapiens, God breathed His spark of Life into a bipedal primate.

    Now, I choose to believe [(5) & (7)]. I would guess that most of you believe [(any of 1-4) & (6)]. Is it anti-intellectual to believe that there is another dimension to our lives that is manifested in things such as love, beauty, and conscience, or even just self-awareness in general? You may think so. But it doesn’t hinder scientific inquiry at all, it just frames it as discovering more and more about God’s creation.

    And if I accept that there is a supernatural dimension to the world, that necessarily means that there are things I cannot understand (the mysteries that you refer to: the Trinity, virgin birth, etc., as well as things like Beauty and Love). But this is not surprising. It would be pretty ridiculous to believe in the supernatural and then demand that it be completely comprehensible to us, would it not? The fact that supernatural things can be beyond our understanding is true by definition.

    And finally, I do not discount the significance of the many outstanding quesitons (the problem of evil, how to interpret Hebrew scripture, etc.). But these to me are secondary. They are necessary to grapple with only after accepting that the supernatural exists and that the Resurrection happened, and to be interpreted in that light.

    And I’m generally curious, what do most of you believe, out of the choices (1)-(4) above? Or are there other possibilities I’m leaving out?

  160. #161 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Shelama-

    “It is significant that the very people with whom Jesus supposedly spent 3+/- years teaching his message, including his personally predicted death and resurrection, still, even within the New Testament stories themselves, still did NOT believe in the “resurrection” UNTIL AFTER Jesus supposedly appeared to them. Paul also did not become a believer until AFTER a resurrected Jesus “appeared” to him.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. But to me that makes perfect sense. The disciples are relatively dim-witted throughout the Gospels, and didn’t want to believe that Jesus was going to die, so it’s not surprising that it took physical evidence to convince them of his ressurection. And Paul (Saul) was persecuting Christians and had no intention whatsoever of joining them, so of course it would take some catastrophically convincing vision to convince him.

  161. #162 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    That is to say, the “honour” of conservapædia.

    Because truth has a known liberal bias.

  162. #163 Bronze Dog
    November 5, 2007

    So of course one is entitled to sort through these facts by beginning with the assumption that resurrection from the dead is impossible.

    I generally avoid claiming anything is impossible. The reason I don’t believe in the resurrection is the lack of evidence.

    Now, if the issue of whether the supernatural exists and whether miracles were possible were a neutral one, I think everyone would agree that (5) is the most reasonable conclusion (am I right?).

    Nope. At least not with me: You left off a lot of alternate hypotheses. Example that comes to mind: His disciples managed to whip themselves up to the point that they believed that they received visions, not actual presence, and the story got exaggerated over generations, including a bit about the tomb being empty to ‘add credibility’ by pious fraud. That sort of thing. All that’s needed is human gullibility.

    Of course, even if we couldn’t come up with a natural explanation, the supernatural resurrection doesn’t follow. The evidence isn’t good enough.

    It’s like with UFOs: Just because I don’t know a ‘mundane’ explanation for what I saw doesn’t make the ‘alien spacecraft’ explanation any more credible. Sherlock Holmes’ philosophy only works if you know ALL the possibilities.

  163. #164 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    here are the undisupted facts surrounding the incident:

    Actually, even those “facts” are not undisputed. Some scholars have pointed out a suspicious lack of corroboration to Jesus’ historicity.

    I actually tend to disagree with that, if only because we have a lot of examples throughout history of personality cults that accrue around single charismatic figures. I think it makes that that happened in this case as well.

    But any, my point still stands: the existence of the individual and the surrounding events are definitely disputed.

  164. #165 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    Jesus MIGHT have been an historical figure. That’s as far as I’ll go. A minor one at that.

  165. #166 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    (the mysteries that you refer to: the Trinity, virgin birth, etc., as well as things like Beauty and Love)

    I disagree with the conflation of things like the trinity and virgin birth with beauty and love.

    The Trinity and the virgin birth are indeed examples of the sort of contradictory concepts in Christianity. Given that no sane explanation has been given or can be given for them, why should I not reject them as being utterly insane?

    Whereas beauty and love are complex concepts, and are deeply subjective, but can at least have examples in the real world; they may not be easy to define or explain, but they have no inherent contradiction like the religious concepts themselves.

    Speaking of the resurrection, that highlights one of the contradictions I’ve particularly noted about Christianity:

    Death, as understood by humans in the real world, always means complete and total permanent extinction of the personality and consciousness of a human. Yes, there were and are various concepts of an “afterlife”, but my point stands: That’s what death looks like to humans in the here and now.

    Yet for Jesus, according to the Christian mythology itself, did not suffer such a permanent extinction, and indeed, never could suffer such a permanent ending of self, since that self was part of God, and God did not die.

    So Jesus did not “die” for our sins, nor could have died. The most that can be said is that he suffered and was inconvenienced for a while. But death is the wrong term to use.

  166. #167 MartinM
    November 5, 2007

    (2) The whole thing was an intentional hoax in some way on the part of the disciples: they stole the body and started spreading a false rumor that he had risen from the dead, which they insisted upon to their deaths (not much gain in that for them, huh?).

    Same gain as for any other cult, one would think. Power over one’s followers.

    (3) The whole thing was a hoax on the part of someone other than the disciples (i.e. the Romans or Jews stole the body and inexplicably failed to produce it to crush the whole “he rose from the dead” cult thing when it started getting out of hand.)

    Inexplicably? You’re assuming that a) the whole cult thing started getting out of hand soon enough that the body would even have been recognizable, and b) enough people would have recognized said body to discredit the cult.

    (4) The disciples were severely disturbed in some way (grossly masochistic, deluded, insane, what-have-you) and yet still possesed the charisma necessary to account for the exponential growth of the early church.

    Like the founders of…well, pretty much every other religion.

    Now, if the issue of whether the supernatural exists and whether miracles were possible were a neutral one, I think everyone would agree that (5) is the most reasonable conclusion (am I right?).

    No. It’s still horribly unparsimonious, either way.

  167. #168 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Bronze Dog-

    The reason you don’t believe in the Resurrection is lack of evidence. Fair enough. Thomas was the same. As was Saul/Paul. They didn’t believe until they had the evidence. It’s a natural human response.

    Now I could choose to say that I won’t believe until I see Jesus appear in the flesh and lets me touch his hands and feet. Or I can choose to believe those who said they _had_ seen such evidence.

    There are many things I take for granted in my studies that I do not explicitly derive myself. I choose to believe those who are more qualified than I to speak to such matters. Similarly, those who lived at the time of Christ are more qualified to testify to whether or not they have seen the risen Christ than I am, so I choose to believe them.

    Of course, the situation isn’t exactly parallel because I COULD in principle (if I were smart enough) derive the things I take for granted in my studies, and I can’t time travel. So it then comes down to whether you’re comfortable with believing what you can’t personally verify or not. I am comfortable believing the apostles, assuming (as you point out, which is a good point) that the historical record has not been fundamentally tampered with. As I will hopefully become comfortable with _using_ Einstein’s field equations without having to have derived them myself.

  168. #169 MartinM
    November 5, 2007

    So Jesus did not “die” for our sins, nor could have died. The most that can be said is that he suffered and was inconvenienced for a while. But death is the wrong term to use.

    As someone once put it, ‘Jesus had a really bad weekend for your sins.’

  169. #170 MartinM
    November 5, 2007

    As I will hopefully become comfortable with _using_ Einstein’s field equations without having to have derived them myself.

    You certainly ought to sketch a derivation, at the very least. Being able to crank the handle and arrive at the correct answers is of secondary importance to understanding the machinery.

  170. #171 Blake Stacey
    November 5, 2007

    Some points:

    1. The reports of Jesus’ life for which we have anything resembling solid, extra-Biblical support do not distinguish his life from that of any other rabble-rouser with supernatural aspirations, such as Simon Magus.

    2. The Biblical stories of Jesus do not agree with one another, and from an empirico-rationalist standpoint, we cannot judge which elements scattered throughout those stories are true. Biographers of Jesus, whether “liberal” or “fundamentalist”, judge as historical those parts of the stories which agree with the portrait of Jesus they already carry in their heads.

    3. The popular conception of Jesus’ life currently extant in the United States is a bricolage of these inconsistent stories, smoothed together by selective presentation and aspartame-coated translations.

  171. #172 Michael X
    November 5, 2007

    Aw damn. I get a response 5 minutes before work.
    Well, Tim, I can say that I think you’ve missed a few things that I assume will be pointed out before I get back from work. But nevertheless about 8 hours from now I’ll be back.

  172. #173 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    As I will hopefully become comfortable with _using_ Einstein’s field equations without having to have derived them myself.

    Yet this is fundamentally different from your example of the apostles, because you could, in theory, learn the math and perform the derivation yourself.

    All of science is fundamentally dependent on the evidence and observations. While we honour the individuals who made the observations, they aren’t required to understand the observations. The observations, once made, can then be made again by anyone at all.

    Religion, by its very nature, requires trusting a long chain of individuals, and ends in… what? Some event which left no objective evidence at all.

    Under the circumstances, it makes far more sense to reject the chain as being hopelessly tainted. We can’t tell (well, except through occasionally tenuous literary analysis) if that chain of testimony was tampered with, and certainly not if the original witnesses were reliable. Given the absolutely extraordinary claims, the simplest explanation is that the original witnesses were indeed not reliable.

  173. #174 peter moore
    November 5, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    Previously I wrote the following:

    Dear PZ Myers,

    I certainly have no desire to be contentious and wish to be amicable in regards to your last post. With that in mind, I must respectfully disagree with your last post which was clearly false.

    You wrote regarding Haeckel’s fraudulent work and its perpetuation the following:

    “The lie there is the claim that the “evolutionary community perpetuated this fraud.” They did not.”

    Clearly this statement is false and I can clearly demonstrate this matter.

    I cite the following and please focus on the latter part of this quote:

    “Professor Gould then made this absolutely startling admission:

    …[W]e do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, IF NOT A MAJORITY, of modern textbooks! (p. 45, emphasis added)

    He then goes on to quote a colleague, Michael Richardson of the St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, who stated, “I know of at least fifty recent biology texts which use the drawings uncritically” (p. 45). (see: http://www.creationism.org/caesar/haeckel.htm ).

    Now is it your contention that these biology texts which cited Haeckel’s work as being evidence for the validity of the evolutionary position were being written and edited by creationists? If these biology texts weren’t being written and edited by creationists clearly your contention that the evolutionary community was not complicit in the perpetuation of this fraud is false. Next, why did the evolutionary community not stop Haeckel’s fraud from being perpetuated for 100 years? You clearly did not address this matter.

    Posted by: peter moore | November 4, 2007 8:09 PM

    Now with the aforementioned being said I don’t think you can deny that it is most plausible that evolutionists and not creationists wrote and edited the aforementioned biology texts which supported Haeckel’s fraudulent work.

    Now as mentioned previously Haeckel’s fraudulent work never fooled expert embryologist.

    That is why Stephen Gould wrote the following regarding Ernst Haeckel’s work in a March 2000 issue of Natural History:

    ” “Haeckel’s forceful, eminently comprehensible, if not always accurate, books appeared in all major languages and surely exerted more influence than the works of any other scientist, including Darwin…in convincing people throughout the world about the validity of evolution… Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities [between embryos of different species] by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases — in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent — simply copied the same figure over and over again….Haeckel’s drawings never fooled expert embryologists, who recognized his fudgings right from the start. Haeckel’s drawings, despite their noted inaccuracies, entered into the most impenetrable and permanent of all quasi-scientific literatures: standard student textbooks of biology… Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because…textbooks copy from previous texts…. [W]e do, I think, have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not a majority, of modern textbooks!” (see: http://www.creationism.org/caesar/haeckel.htm ).

    Now since it is most plausible that evolutionists and not creationists created the aforementioned biology textbooks this raises the question did these particular evolutionists perpetuate Haeckel’s fraud knowingly or though gross negligence.

    With the aforementioned being I have two questions for you:

    1.Do you personally believe the members of the evolutionary community who perpetuated Haeckel’s fraud did it knowing or more through gross negligence?

    2.I also think it is fair to ask you why you believe the perpetuation of the fraud went on for a full century.

  174. #175 Steve
    November 5, 2007

    And I think that it’s fair for me to ask you, Peter Moore, how old is the Earth?

  175. #176 raven
    November 5, 2007

    Oh gee, the Death Cult troll is back.

    Peter Moore is a young earth creationist.
    He is so detatched from reality that it’s pointless to have a discussion with him.
    He doesn’t discuss anything, if he did. he might become possessed by demons.
    Posted by: Stevie_C |

    Hey Peter, your reputation precedes you. You are crazy, insane, mentall ill. Not surprising, you have reinforced your standing by spamming blogs with nonsense.

    So, what is your diagnosis? Number of different drugs you should be taking per day and don’t? My guess is a low IQ coupled with obsessive compulsive disorder.

    When you are done with that, what is in your closet? Or rather who besides you. As a rabid homophobe, the chances that you will be found in a bathroom with Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, or Peaches is about 100%.

  176. #177 raven
    November 5, 2007

    Hey Peter, do you think Nazism and the Holocaust were an outgrowth of German Catholism such as that of the devout Catholic, Hitler or Martin Luther’s notorious antisemitism?

    Peter Moore is just a serial lying creo troll. C’mon you expect someone associated with a pile of lies like conservapedia to be sane? He is wrong about atheists and atrocities like he is wrong about everything. Hitler was a devout Catholic and the roots of Nazi antisemitism date back to Martine Luther and before. Below are a few of dozens of quotes by Hitler enlisting god and Jesus into his cause.

    The association of Hitler and Nazism with German Xianity is well known and indisputable. So much that after the war, some Xian apologists forged documents to try to cover it up. Below are a few of dozens of similar quotes from the demon himself.

    Adolph Hitler:
    “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who – God’s truth! – was greatest, not as a sufferer, but as a fighter.”

    [ Hitler rallying his Nazi supporters in front of Church of our Lady in Nuremberg, circa 1928, photographed by Heinrich Hoffmann, from US Holocaust Museum.]
    “In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.
    Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.
    As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice . . .
    And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery.
    When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.”

    ——————————————————————————–
    Projecting an image of religiosity was so important to Hitler that he reinforced that image, over and over and over again, as in :
    “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 46
    “What we have to fight for. . . is the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator.” [Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp. 125]

  177. #178 Rey Fox
    November 5, 2007

    In addition to all of this, one has to wonder how many other stories of such a personal nature do we really Know from such a long time ago? I think back to all the history I’ve read from long-bygone eras of Western civilization, and it’s all told in broad strokes: these people lived this way, they warred with these other people, they were eventually replaced or “evolved” into a different group of people. The only time that we get more specific names is when we’re talking about leaders of civilizations, people who were recognized and did acts that would be recognized by the whole body of people in that civilization at the time, or else scientist/philosophers or other creators, people who actually wrote down things or made things. And even with these people, there are still differing accounts and opinions regarding what they actually did.

    So why should I believe any detailed story about what one man, who was not a political leader and left no direct works (and who was, by the admission of his chroniclers, a mere carpenter) did two thousand years ago? The signal, if there ever was any, has been swamped by noise. It’s not something I’d want to base my life on.

  178. #179 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    I think PZ has addressed this quite well…

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/02/exorcising_the_spectre_of_haec.php

    Pharyngula is a much better souce that conservapedophilia could ever be.

  179. #180 Peter Moore
    November 5, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    In the link you provided above you wrote the following:

    One premise that Wells [Jonathan Wells] brings up with regularity in this chapter is that evolutionary biologists have relied on the false doctrines of Haeckel to prop up Darwinian dogma. He claims that Haeckelian theories “have periodically risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of empirical disconfirmation” throughout the 20th century. He uses section headings like “Resurrecting recapitulation” and “Haeckel is dead. Long live Haeckel.” He accuses biologists of a conspiracy of silence, hiding the flaws in Haeckel’s work on one hand, and using it as evidence for evolution on the other.

    None of this is true.

    This is so patently obvious that we only need to use Wells’ own scholarship to show it. He cites a number of authors who discuss Haeckel or the biogenetic law:

    Adam Sedgwick, 1894
    William Garstang, 1922
    Gavin de Beer, 1958
    William Ballard, 1976
    Stephen J. Gould, 1977
    Richard Elinson, 1987
    Jane Oppenheimer, 1987
    Michael Richardson, 1995
    Stephen J. Gould, 2000

    However, here is the surprising thing: all of these authors condemn the idea that embryonic development follows the evolutionary pattern in no uncertain terms! (see: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/02/wells_and_haeckels_embryos.php ).

    Now I think it is fair for you to bring up the work of Gould and others dismissing Haeckel’s fraudulent work. However, I believe it is fair to say that you are being quite negligent in not raising the much larger point of why the evolutionary community allowed the fraud to be perpetuated for a full century and why so many biology textbooks which were most likely composed by evolutionists were allowed to be published and distributed in public schools.

    PZ Myers, given the vociferous efforts of evolutionists to keep creation science and intelligent design textbooks out of public schools it is certainly fair to ask why that same vociferousness was not applied to keep Haeckel’s fraudulent work out of the biology textbooks which were most plausibly written and edited by evolutionists. Can you please answer this reasonable question?

  180. #181 raven
    November 5, 2007

    Peter Moore, who is your favorite Christian Terrorist? Tim McVeigh holds the recent record for people killed but lost points for attacking a day care center full of little kids. So really, your choice shoud be between Eric Rudolph and Paul Hill.

    When do you plan to kill the enemies of conserva-lie-apedia? And will it be a suicide bombing or are you going to go for those charming scenes where the perp shoots it out with the cops?

    Wikipedia; Christian Terrorism

    One of the most widely-reported Christian terrorists is Eric Robert Rudolph, an American who committed a series of bombings across the southern United States in the 1990s, killing three people and injuring at least 150 others, because he violently opposed abortion and homosexuality as contrary to Christian doctrine[7]. He may have been associated with the Christian Identity movement. While the movement influenced his actions,[8] Rudolph himself has said: “I was born a Catholic, and with forgiveness I hope to die one.” [9].

  181. #182 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    Peter keeps ignoring the fact that it was the Evilutionists that pointed out Haeckels issues… not creationists.

    And that was ALMOST A CENTURY AGO.

    Move on Peter. Evolution is fact.

    What’s your alternative? How many years ago did god poof us into existence?

  182. #183 Steve
    November 5, 2007

    “Can you please answer this reasonable question?”

    People screwed up. Shit happens. Does it matter? Has Haeckel now been tossed out? Yes. Does Haeckel’s fraud disprove evolution? No. Does embryology, non-Haeckel embryology, still support evolution? Yes. So who cares about the past?

    Science is not about always getting it right the first time. It’s about doing your best to understand the natural world as it really is. Science is ultimately self-correcting and the Haeckel story illustrates this.

    As the late, great Jacob Bronowski put it:

    “There is no absolute knowledge. … All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. That is the human condition.” …

    “Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible.”

    Why the obsession with the Haeckel story? Is it become the alternative young earth hypothesis is so very, very weak?

  183. #184 Peter Moore
    November 5, 2007

    Dear Plonka,

    I don’t want to create any misunderstandings. I wish to briefly state in regards to your post that I stated the following:

    “I did wish to add that the point of the Pierre Grasse quotes of 1977 is to provide an instance of a prominent and respected scientists who has expressed reasonable objections to the evolutionary paradigms that have a wide following in the evolutionary community.”

    While Grasse was certainly a staunch evolutionist (I did mention that he held the Chair of Evolution at Sorbonne University for thirty years) and it appears through your quutations that he considered macroevolution a fact, what I still stated had some relevance. Given Grasse’s views of mutations which I cited Grasse most certainly expressed objections to the evolutionary paradigm(s) that had a wide following in the evolutionary community.

  184. #185 Shelama
    November 5, 2007

    hmmmm…

    “…here are the undisupted facts surrounding the incident:…

    (c) Shortly after he was crucified, his followers began claiming that he had risen from the dead. (And, if you accept Matthew…the tomb was also widely believed at the time of its writing to have been empty…”

    UNDISPUTED? alternatives UNTENABLE? What is this, a junior Sunday School class?

    There is NO REASON whatsoever to believe that the original followers of Jesus (or Paul) believed in any “empty tomb” at any time. Or that the “empty tomb” was not a pure fictional creation of the author of “Mark”, plagiarized later by “Matthew”, decades after Jesus was dead. The “empty tomb” story survived ONLY because none of the principals were alive or otherwise in a position to correct the circulating story. The New Testament Gospels are NOT “history” in any meaningful sense, particularly the passion narratives.

    That some followers of Jesus BELIVED that he had been ‘resurrected’ is reasonable, but that did not require (and never involved) any “empty tomb” or walking talking corpse. If Jesus had been executed by Roman fire or Roman lions, his body completed destroyed, nothing left to bury, both his followers and Paul could still have believed in a ‘resurrection.’ Just as they could have if the body of Jesus rotted away on the cross as carrion meal for crows and dogs. Which is almost certainly what really happened to the body of Jesus. (Read “The Perfect Storm”, or another recent book about another fishing port tragedy at Gloucester, MA: the survivors SAW their dear dead departed, lost at sea, walking around the town. What is it about fishermen?)

    Pontius Pilate could not have cared less about Jewish burial practices re:sabbath when they involved an executed lower class criminal. That he “washed his hands” or would not have cynically and gleefully allowed Jesus’ body to rot on the cross (just like all those other 1000’s of 1st century Jewish victims of Roman crucifixion) is simply wishful hopeful thinking. And literary fiction artfully created long after the facts.

    As far as “?Where’s the body?”, that was a question that was not even asked (in the fictions of “Matthew”) until AFTER Mark had created the “empty tomb” fiction in the first place, decades after the body was dead and dust and everyone knew it. That Jews in Jesus day “knew of any empty tomb” or that they invented sinister lies about anyone “moving the body” is powerful STORY, with nothing to do with “hoax.” It was a faith/ hope/ belief creating itself thru STORY in an ancient world and culture where STORY was important. And also powerful polemic, propaganda and politics. With or without a little bit of history.

    ————–

    ” …(d) Those followers spent their lives in thankless toil and labor to spread the news of this event, and eventually went to their own deaths claiming their story (of claiming to be eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection) was true….”

    Again, totally NOT historically substantiated nor even particularly credible.

    We have no way of knowing how, when, or why anyone who actually knew Jesus died. With, thanks to Josephus, the possible exception of James the brother of Jesus. We have no way of knowing how many of his early followers bought into the BELIEF of a resurrection in the first place; no way of knowing for how long they stuck with the program and continued to spread the word; and no way of knowing how many eventually recognized the truth that Jesus was dead, was not the “anointed one”, and was not coming back.

    One can reasonably conclude that the Jerusalem community of Jesus Jews NEVER bought into the nutsy exegesis and gospel of poor confused Paul/Saul. That the Jerusalem community and their concept of Jesus and their program eventually died out or was totally marginalized, to be almost completely replaced by Paul’s nutsiness.

    Of course the Gospels portray the “apostles” as blind dummies: they are propagandist polemic, not history, and they were written (decades after the fact) by successors to Paul, to one degree or another buying into his ‘vision.’ Knowing full well that the original disciples rejected Paul’s later appearing nonsense. So, of course, the victors and their polemicists wrote the original disciples in as “blind.” (There is excellent reason that Paul could sell his stuff ONLY to pagan Greeks, and not to either the original followers of Jesus, nor to any Jew knowledgeable of Hebrew scripture or messianism.)

    And it has virtually nothing to do with “hoax” at all. It was a powerful mixture of BELIEF, STORY, HOPE and a pagan Greek population ripe for the seduction.

    Whether anyone who actually KNEW Jesus went to martyrdom is just unknown in spite of inspirational hagiography. And if they did, well, lots of “believers” of lots of things go to their deaths for what they BELIEVE: Jews, Muslims, Mormons, etc. etc. Evidence for truth?

  185. #186 Stevie_C
    November 5, 2007

    They still do. Mutations are part of evolution.

  186. #187 ngong
    November 5, 2007

    PZ Myers, given the vociferous efforts of evolutionists to keep creation science and intelligent design textbooks out of public schools it is certainly fair to ask why that same vociferousness was not applied to keep Haeckel’s fraudulent work

    Could it be that one issue is quite a bit more important than the other?

    I note that the Conservapaedia article is riddled with the same inability to weight various issues, to put it mildly.

  187. #188 Lurchgs
    November 5, 2007

    ok – late to the thread as usual.. and it’s such a fun one, too.

    How would the transmorgrification of a couple loonies prove the existance of God? Might not it also suggest that the wiccans have it right? or maybe one of the other manna-rich religions.

    Even if he were to bring my dead father back to life (no, he’s still alive, and going strong. Probably outlive me!) I’d be demanding proof that it was dad and not some clever imposter.. or that it was simply his will that accomplished the feat and not some fancy technology. I can conceive of no argument that would convince me.. but as Flew pointed out, He should know what it takes.

    Lessee – well, it’s been established that Moore is a fool. Is that a prerequisite to the name? Or are they biologically related, not just philosophically?

    There are two items I can think of that lead me to dismiss the bible as the ancient version of The National Enquirer:
    1) lack of evidence. As has been pointed out, there seems to be a fair bit of disagreement over the actual historical existance of Jesus of Nazareth. This, in a culture (Roman) where keeping records was *important”, begs one to seriously consider the possibility of out and out fabrication.
    2) Last I heard, it was all hearsay. Virtually all (if not all) of the books in the NT were written by some greek monk a generation after the death of Christ supposedly took place. As I recall, in not one instance did he converse with any of the actual apostles (or other witnesses).
    So, we have here a tale told by a monk interested in expanding his influence (through his religion) based on stories he’s heard over the course of his lifetime.
    Yup, must be the word of God, alright.

    Of course, this doesn’t negate the possibility of God’s existence. If you choose to believe, it’s… well, your choice. But taking the Bible as anything other than a set of contradictory moral guidelines is silly.

    (and what about this NT thing, anyway? For generation upon generation, God is full of fire and brimstone and the willingness to torture his subjects, and all of a sudden he’s the Stay-Puft Marshmallo Man? Did he fall and hit his head? Suffer a brain tumor that changed his personality? Lack of consistency is a *serious* problem, people! )

    and finally, I *love* the word ‘bricolage”. I had to look it up, and it is SO accurate!

  188. #189 windy
    November 5, 2007

    #158:

    And I’m generally curious, what do most of you believe, out of the choices (1)-(4) above? Or are there other possibilities I’m leaving out?

    Those choices are not exclusive. My guess is a mixture of mostly 1 and 4 with a heavy dose of 2 or 3 thrown in.

    I’m curious too: do you believe that Sathya Sai Baba is a modern miracle worker? If not, what choice out of (1)-(4) is your explanation for his millions of followers?

  189. #190 tim
    November 5, 2007

    So first I acknowledge that my “Einstein’s equations” example was of course imperfect. It was just at the forefront of my mind as I was quickly writing my last post before scurrying off to (GR) class. Maybe consider experiements instead. My point with that illustration was that while in principle we _could_ verify results of experiments ourselves, often we choose to believe that those closest to the experiment who could be considered “witnesses” are accurately reporting the results or whatever. And so with trying to figure out what happened at the turn of the modern era, it makes more sense to me to trust the sources who were there rather than suppose we know more than they did.

    The question of whether or not the documents themselves are reliable is a different issue; my background on the subject comes mostly from reading F.F. Bruce’s “The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?”, where one point I remember he makes is that from a historian’s perspective there’s just as much or more reason to consider the New Testament writings as authentic as there is to consider the writings of Julius Caesar authentic, for example. (I’m not in a position to defend this claim here; check out the book.)

    Now as far as whether the very first Christians were actually martyred or not, I’d always assumed that was generally recognized as true. Maybe it’s not; maybe it’s all after-the-fact fabrication. Hadn’t considered that, I admit. But if it is true, it’s very different from people dying for what they believe today; this would be people dying for what they claim to have _seen_ and directly experienced.

    And a quick point for MichaelM: First, I may have the chance to sketch a derivation if I ever start my problem set (haven’t looked at it yet….). Secondly, the founders of Christianity wanted to exert power over their followers by starting a religion that preaches equality, selflessness and sacrifice? Seems a strange choice…

    Anyway, like I said earlier, and as many of you have demonstrated, it is certainly possible to come up with alternative explanations for the rise of Christianity. I choose to take what I understand of the history, combine it with what I believe I’ve experienced of God working in my life and the lives of those whom I know (which you all are perfectly free to call psychological tricks), and believe that Christianity initally spread because Jesus actually did rise from the dead, and through the active work of the Holy Spirit.

    And once more (I forget whose post this is in response to), the fact that divine intervention in the world produces things (Trinity, etc.) which our minds can’t completely grasp is to be expected. If you say that the Trinity must not be true because we can’t fully understand it, that’s just equivalent to saying you don’t think there is any supernatural dimension to the world.

    And finally, it would be one thing if I were just stubbornly following this religion based on unverifiable history that had made no impact on my life, or had been weighing my life down with the responsibilities attached to it, etc. But it turns out that I have found that trying to follow Christ has brought my life peace, joy, and hope, not some burdensome yoke. Again, feel free to call all this tricks of social psycology, but that’s where I’m coming from.

    Oh, sorry, one more thing I just thought of–if Christianity wasn’t true at the beginning, i.e. if it wasn’t the work of the Holy Spirit that fueled the growth of the Church, what about it do you think was so compelling that it expanded so rapidly? Think pre-established church times; pre-Constantine, when Christianity started to become the official engine of the Roman Empire and everything that happened after that. What are the theories as to why it was so popular?

  190. #191 windy
    November 5, 2007

    if Christianity wasn’t true at the beginning, i.e. if it wasn’t the work of the Holy Spirit that fueled the growth of the Church, what about it do you think was so compelling that it expanded so rapidly?

    If Mormonism isn’t true, why has it expanded so rapidly?

  191. #192 Wolfhound
    November 5, 2007

    Or Islam? Or Scientology?

    More and more people are getting their nipples pierced, too. Does that make it a good idea, then?

  192. #193 peter moore
    November 5, 2007

    Dear PZ Myers,

    I do wish to add that I realize the whole evolutionary community was not complicit in the perpetuation of this fraud. So to say the evolutionary community was complicit in the perpetuation of the Haeckel’s fraud is certainly debatable.

    However, clearly fraud was committed. Also, given the fact that members of the evolutionary community knew the aforementioned work of Haeckel was fraudulent and given that a large number of biology text were being written and edited by evolutionists and distributed in public schools featuring Haeckel’s fraudulent work due diligence and vociferousness was not applied by the evolutionary community to keep Haeckel’s fraudulent work out of schools. At the same time vociferousness has been applied to keep creation science and intelligent design books out of schools by evolutionists.

    So it certainly is fair to say that the evolutionary community has been lax when it has come to the issue of fraudulent evolutionary material being taught to children through biology texts that have been written and edited by evolutionists.

  193. #194 peter moore
    November 5, 2007

    I wish to largely continue the Haeckel fraud debate here: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/02/wells_and_haeckels_embryos.php

  194. #195 Steve_C
    November 5, 2007

    Peter.

    How old is the earth?

    Where did Homo Sapiens come from?

  195. #196 Brownian, OM
    November 5, 2007

    Dear Peter Moore,

    I have written a short summary of Christianity. I would be grateful it if you would read it and point out any errors in it. Your inability or refusal to do so will speak volumes.

    Christianity is a religion named for a Jewish man named Jesus who was killed by Romans, likely during the third decade AD.

    Followers are taught that poverty cannot be eradicated.

    Many individuals, citing historical evidence, see Christianity as the cause of significant strife in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East over the past two millenia, though widespread consensus on this has not been achieved to the satisfaction of many.

    I trust that there is not a single error in the above description, and thus I hope that you will endorse its inclusion in Conservapedia.

    Thank you.

  196. #197 Brian Macker
    November 5, 2007

    Tim,

    If communism wasn’t the work of the Holy Spirit then what fueled it much quicker expansion. ;)

  197. #198 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    If you say that the Trinity must not be true because we can’t fully understand it, that’s just equivalent to saying you don’t think there is any supernatural dimension to the world.

    Sigh. And why should I, or anyone, think that there is any supernatural dimension in the world?

    And why does the Trinity get a “pass” in being accepted uncritically, as compared to other religions, or perhaps obvious superstitions?

    Are there any superstitions that you reject? Are there any that you accept?

  198. #199 Brownian, OM
    November 5, 2007

    Guys, be easy on Peter Moore and the others who insist on pulling out the Haeckel sketches and accusing evolutionists of lying. They’ve only got that one incident (whereas anyone who has ever discussed evolution with creationists knows that they’ll lie quicker than a kid caught stealing cookies.)

    It certainly says something about the evolutionary community if the only fraudulent work it has committed is over a hundred years old, wouldn’t you agree Peter?

    Of course you wouldn’t.

    Why do you people hate the truth so much?

  199. #200 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Owlmirror- I wasn’t providing any particular reasons that one should believe in the supernatural; I was saying that if one does, one shouldn’t be surprised if one runs into things that aren’t completely understandable by human reason. And as to your question, I’m not used to thinking of what I believe as superstitions, but if that’s what you want to call them, I’d say I accept the “superstitions” that are enumerated in the traditional Creeds (Nicene, Apostles’). There are plenty of superstitions that I’d reject; give some examples of what you mean and I’ll let you know.

    As for the rapid spread of Christianity, I didn’t ask the question as a “so there, Christianity obviously must be true because it spread rapidly!” I actually wanted to know if anyone had ideas. For example, one could say Communism spread rapidly because there were lots of poor working-class people to whom it appealed and dictators used this to gain power (or something like that–I’m not much of an expert on this). Or one might say nipple rings are spreading rapidly because they’re fun to play with or some celebrity has made them popular or something. Mormonism clearly continues to spread because of their extreme emphasis on dedicated proselytizing missionary work. I don’t know much about Islam.

    So I asked about the spread of Christianity because that’s what I know the most about, but I’ve always thought about its spread from the perspective that it was true. So if you don’t believe it, there must be some other reasons. Maybe because it also appeals to the poor and downtrodden? Maybe it was like an out-of-control hippie-movement of the first century? And remember, it’s not like Christianity made life easier for people…they were all persectued pretty harshly by Rome for the first few centuries.

  200. #201 Bronze Dog
    November 5, 2007

    If communism wasn’t the work of the Holy Spirit then what fueled it much quicker expansion. ;)

    Maybe it was just the consequences of not accepting it.

    Anyway, back to serious mode:

    And remember, it’s not like Christianity made life easier for people…they were all persectued pretty harshly by Rome for the first few centuries.

    Lot of people like an underdog. If you’re a superstitious person, and see people willing to go through all sorts of things before renouncing their deity, you might just see that as a big endorsement of how worthy that deity is to earn such loyalty. That’s one possible reason.

  201. #202 Owlmirror
    November 5, 2007

    There are plenty of superstitions that I’d reject; give some examples of what you mean and I’ll let you know.

    Eh, I meant the usual. Unlucky numbers (13, 666); black cats crossing your path; like that.

    Why accept some superstitions, and reject others?

    I guess the more basic question is, have you put any thought into trying to analyze why it is that you believe what you believe, and exactly what it is that you believe?

    It was doing that sort of intense and continual analysis that pretty much got me from religiousness to agnosticism to atheism. So perhaps you might not want to.

    Speaking of persecution and the spread of religions: consider that many religions have had persecutions, both of themselves, and of heresies that split off and became new religions. Mormons were persecuted a lot when they were first starting out; Falun Gong is even now prohibited in China. And so on.

    Yet humans often have weird psychologies. Call it perhaps the appeal of the perverse or the appeal of belonging to a group. This can outweigh official censure: Even when a movement is persecuted, it can maintain and grow.

  202. #203 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Windy: In response to your question about Sathya Sai Baba, I’d tend to guess (2) (that he’s hoaxing people with sleight of hand–this would be a hoax on his part rather on his followers’ part). Although I cannot completely discount the possibility that he is working miracles through some evil spirit–after all, if I believe in God I must leave such a possibility open.

    My turn to ask: if you actually saw Sathya Sai Baba perform one of these miracles such that there was no scientific explanation you could come up with, how would you react?

    Too bad the professor dude who wanted to investigate him wasn’t allowed.

    Which actually makes me wonder whether Jesus would have performed a miracle so a professor could scientifically verify it. My hunch is that he wouldn’t have. Which relates back to what someone said earlier about prayer studies. Reminds me of what CS Lewis says about Aslan in “The Chronicles of Narnia”: that “He’s not a tame lion…”

  203. #204 Pierce R. Butler
    November 5, 2007

    kagehi: Worse, 90% of the text books used right now, from my understanding, which I admit may be incorrect, for science come out of a few publishers in Texas, which are owned and operated almost universally by Christians.

    As Michael X said, “The textbook industry is a story all [its] own.”

    Short version: Public school texts in the US are, mostly, selected on a state-by-state basis. As one of the largest (in population) states, Texas is a big player in this field. The textbook publishers – most of which are nominally based in New York City, but are by now owned by the usual multinational conglomerates – learned that if they watered their material down to Lone Star standards (iow, dilute horse piss – ask any non-Texan beer drinker), none of the other, purportedly more progressive, states would take the effort to demand anything of higher quality (sound familiar?). Within Texas, a small clique of hyperchristians managed to seize control of the key textbook committee and held it for several decades, thereby dumbing down public education across the US.

    Please note that these people are nonetheless not responsible for the intellectual condition of The Decider, who spent only one year in a Texas public school.

  204. #205 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Owlmirror- I’d say that most of the number superstitions, black cats, ladders, broken mirrors, etc. don’t have much weight for me. However, I do firmly believe that if I miss watching an Ohio State football game this year then they’ll lose. Sports superstitions are totally fair game.

    Have I give much thought to what I believe? Certainly, and I won’t shy away from it for fear of where it might take me. I think that is a good point to bring up, though, and I think that fear is what keeps most Christians from actually engaging science rather than rejecting it outright.

    And why should I accept Christian belief and reject black cats and broken mirrors? I’d say it’s more evidence for Christianity than for bad luck from broken mirrors. (Now I know this brings up red flags all over the place–evidence for Christianity? What is this moron talking about…) So I’m not talking about scientific, repeatable-in-a-lab type of evidence. I’m talking about two other kinds of evidence. The first being historical, in what’s we’ve been discussing for awhile. The second being experiential: in my personal life and in my experiences in Christian community I have felt the power and beauty and grace and love of God. These are enough to convince me that I should consider Christianity at least more seriously than black cats and broken mirrors.

  205. #206 ngong
    November 5, 2007

    As PZ points out in his writings on the whole Haeckel fiasco, the pics don’t even support evolutionary theory, and haven’t for quite a long time. So this notion that evil biologists are conspiring to sneak the drawings into textbooks is ludicrous.

    Why do the pics persist in some small % of textbooks? Maybe part of the answer is simply that they’re quaint.

  206. #207 Rjaye
    November 5, 2007

    Well, bloody hell, the troll not only shows back up, but doesn’t read the comments that shredded his comments into compost. For crying out loud.

    Tim, bless your heart, for having a real discussion. I’ve got to give you that. The thing about the history of Christianity is that while we think it’s been around a while, it hasn’t been around as long as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism…Look at the Egyptians. Their religion lasted over four thousand years, and in a form much more homogenous than currently practiced religions.

    I personally think there was probably a Jesus (what’s his real name? I hate using something Greek or whatever it is), who had a group of followers during a time where there were lots of such preachers. He was executed by the powers that be, the end. Any woowoo was added later. I don’t think he rose from the dead. Maybe some of the followers who claimed to see his arisen body were full of grief. Shoot, that makes better sense to me. After my mother died, I had dreams so vivid about her, that when I woke up, I had to take a moment and get my bearings. It was like she was really there. I’ve had friends have similar experiences about departed loved ones. I have two friends who believe their loved ones ARE visiting them in their dreams.

    And the virgin birth? I don’t see why that’s necessary. Nope. That’s weird. I understand that many folks think sex is a defilement…but I don’t. I think it’s a great way to start little people.

    As for the “spiritual” being a supernatural kind of thing…I can’t see that either. I think there’s something to spiritual feelings, but I firmly believe they are a part of the one thing we are all a part of. It’s a natural part. As to exactly what it is, I believe it’s linked to one thing we can agree on: the mystery of the Universe. We may be able to explain it, but how do we explain existence? I don’t know. But it can be quite cool.

  207. #208 Pierce R. Butler
    November 5, 2007

    tim: …it’s not like Christianity made life easier for people…they were all persectued pretty harshly by Rome for the first few centuries.

    Historically, not true. Before Constantine “legalized” christianism in the early 4th century CE, there were six or seven episodes of persecution, and most of those were confined to areas under control of a given tyrannical governor or general. Considering the importance given to money by the Romans, and the potential economic disruption of a cult promising slaves and laborers that the world was about to end, most of the time those early christians were beneficiaries of liberal mollycoddling.

    (Btw, please don’t interpret my failure to address your multiple other historical errors as acquiescence in their factuality. Just about everything you cite in your post # 158 is highly questionable, but I don’t have time or energy to dissect it all now.)

    Suggested reading:

    Burton Mack, Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth
    G.A. Wells, The Jesus Legend, Did Jesus Exist?, & other titles
    Keith Hopkins, A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity
    Charles Freeman, The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason
    Weston La Barre, The Ghost Dance: The Origins of Religion
    Ruth Hurmence Green, The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible

    (The first four authors are historians; the fifth is an anthropologist, the sixth an uppity citizen.)

  208. #209 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Rjaye- I’m not sure what Jesus’ name would be in Aramaic. According to tradition his mother would have named him Immanuel (I don’t actualy know what language that is), but that’s according to tradition. In Hebrew, I believe Joshua is equivalent to Jesus. Maybe you could call him Josh?

    I certainly wouldn’t argue for the truth of Christianity simply because it’s been around a long time. I agree with you there. And it’s very interesting to hear about your mother and your friends’ experiences with dreams of deceased loved ones. Let me ask you this–if you would have another such extraordinarily realistic experience, and your mother in your dream would ask you to do something for her, something specific, such as call a lonely old friend of hers and ask her over for dinner, would you do it? And would you believe that it was actually her, or that you created it all yourself in your subconscious?

    The way I see experiences like this is that our subconcious is actually connecting with the supernatural, or if you like, the “mystery of the universe.” It’s all semantics to me, if you agree that we likely cannot explain everything in the Universe. In fact, I believe Jesus appears to people in visions also, in a similar way. Paul says he did, in dramatic fashion. And I have heard testimonies from people today who have had dreams in which Christ appeared to them. So then did the disciples all just have visions, or did Jesus actually return in the flesh? Well, they seem to go out of their way to make clear that their story is that yes, indeed it was in the flesh (Thomas sticking his fingers in the holes, Josh barbequing fish on the beach for all his buddies, etc.). So we may or may not believe the account, but that’s clearly what it is.

  209. #210 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Hi Pierce-

    Thanks for the suggestions. Would you mind giving a brief description of what each of the historians’ books addresses, and/or recommend one in particular? I’m interested, but don’t really have a whole lot of time for side reading.

  210. #211 ngong
    November 5, 2007

    Padmasambhava supposedly had a virgin birth, performed miracles, was killed (by burning), was reborn, and then disappeared into the “rainbow body”. Many Tibetans have visions of him.

    So what, Tim?

  211. #212 Alan Kellogg
    November 5, 2007

    #183 shelama,

    What do you know of the politics of that place and time?

  212. #213 tim
    November 5, 2007

    ngong- Like I said before, if I believe in the possibility of miracles I can’t allow them only where I want them. I believe it’s possible that Padmasambhava did perform miracles through some contact with the supernatural (again, if God exists, then other spirits exist too). As far as rebirth goes, I don’t know how all that works, but if it’s equivalent to bodily resurrection, I would ask if there are any historical documents written by respectable citizens from close to the time of his rebirth that chronicle it. And did Padmasambhava claim to be the Son of God, sent to save humanity and to be the fulfilment of a large body of previously existing prophetic scripture?

  213. #214 tim
    November 5, 2007

    Rjaye- Sorry, I forgot to respond about the virgin birth thing. I don’t know whether Jesus was a virgin birth, and there’s clearly no way to prove it. But my belief in the resurrection and in the divinity of Jesus leaves open the possibility–with God all things are possible. But if I somehow was able to time-travel and found that in fact the virgin birth didn’t happen but the Resurrection did, then I’d be OK with that. That’s the kind of thing in the Gospels that is more likely to be an after-the-fact addition, since clearly the writers are much further removed from Josh’s birth than his death. Again, I do believe it, but I wouldn’t consider it a fundamental cornerstone of my faith.

    And a quick note to Lurchgs point (2) from #186 above: Mark, according to tradition, wrote his gospel according to reports from the apostle Peter, who would have been an eyewitness. And scholars, as far as I can tell, seem to agree that Matthew and Luke were based at least in part on Mark.

  214. #215 Steve_C
    November 5, 2007

    None of the miracles happened, for the simple fact that miracles don’t happen.

    So really, why bother?

  215. #216 ngong
    November 6, 2007

    Did Jesus fulfill a prophecy of the Buddha? Did he live for 700 years and then dissolve into the rainbow body? Did he predict the coming of airplanes and nuclear bombs in “termas” that were later recovered? Huh, huh, huh?

    To be clear…I don’t believe ANY of this stuff. You probably think that the more outrageous the claims are, the more likely that religion is actually correct. Quite the opposite of science, and ordinary common sense for that matter.

  216. #217 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Um, I’m not sure what you expect me to say. No I don’t believe any of those things. And I don’t believe that the more outrageous a religion the more likely it is to be correct. I’m not sure where you would get such an idea.

  217. #218 Pierce R. Butler
    November 6, 2007

    Tim –

    I gotta say, you’re a pleasure to deal with, particularly compared to most of the more belligerent believers who often turn up here.

    To (too briefly) address your question:

    Burton Mack (Who Wrote the New Testament?) summarizes mainstream scholarly conclusions (or at least what I perceive as such) on christian origins in what he calls “the Jesus movement” of the 1st and 2nd centuries, the “Q document” (now lost, but believed to have been a basis for the writers now known as Mark, Luke & Matthew), Greek philosophers whose ideas turn up as sayings of Jesus, etc; a review of Paul’s writings, and why some of what’s in the N.T. is considered truly his and some is seen as forgery; the role of Marcionites & other sects now deemed heretics, etc. He writes clearly, though I wish he paid more attention to the influences on christianism from Egyptian and folk mythologies.

    George Albert Wells (The Jesus Legend, etc), an English professor, has written six books analyzing & challenging the historicity of Jesus. He relies mostly on linguistic analysis to demonstrate that the Gospels include errors that could hardly have been made by anyone present at the events described (e.g., “Hosannah” translates more like “Help!” than “Hooray!”). He rarely repeats in any book what he covered in an earlier one, but he does reply to the critics of the earlier works, so sorting out all the pieces of the puzzle can be challenging.

    Keith Hopkins (A World Full of Gods) mixes a straightforward description of the early Roman Empire, & the rise of the Jesus cult therein, with stories of two modern time travelers sent back to old Pompeii, Jerusalem, Ephesus, etc. Those parts are more like a fictionalized travelogue than a novel, but they help bring the history to life.

    Charles Freeman’s book (The Closing of the Western Mind) looks at Roman culture & religion, Paul’s career, the early christian communities, Constantine’s personal adoption of (his idea of) christianism, and how the newly empowered priesthood attacked all previous learning and contributed to the fall of the empire and the ensuing Dark Ages. The chapter on Jesus is only 19 pages.

    Having gotten this far, I’ll yield to temptation and add a couple of recommendations (left out earlier because they deal with the “Old” (Hebrew) Testament):

    Richard Elliott Friedman’s Who Wrote the Bible? combines linguistic & archaeological analysis to summarize secular scholars’ research into the origins of the first five books of the OT. It’s twenty years old now, but sfaik is still the best overview for beginners.

    Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman’s The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts not only knocks gigantic holes in the “history” told by the Torah (no evidence of anything like Exodus; Jerusalem an insignificant village during the supposed reigns of David & Solomon; etc), but fills in what was going on then, with suggestions as to where the later mythology was filled in – all backed by meticulously collected evidence.

    I appreciate that a physics student doesn’t have much time for reading ancient history, but I hope you’ll be able to get around to at least a couple of these titles eventually.

    Again, thanks for your open-mindedness.

    G’nite!

  218. #219 Reynold Hall
    November 6, 2007

    Well, if one wants to find out where that Conservapedia stuff is refuted, it seems that pretty much of it can be done, point by point.

  219. #220 Reynold Hall
    November 6, 2007

    Well, that link didn’t work too well, it did in the preview; anyway, here’s the site:

    http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    For the heck of it, to deal with the claims about evolution and anti-semtism and eugenics/racism, check out

    Eugenics
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/05/dr-west-meet-dr.html

    Anti-semitism
    http://www.talkreason.com/articles/Genocide.cfm

    Racism
    http://home.att.net/~troybritain/articles/darwin_on_race.htm

  220. #221 ngong
    November 6, 2007

    Tim…If you stand outside your religion, your beliefs seem quite outrageous. You’ve already claimed that your god had a son, who was sent to “save” humanity by the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. Yet you disbelieve Padmasambhava…ridiculous stuff, isn’t it?

    The only reason this stuff seems anything other than outrageous is because you’re enmeshed in it.

  221. #222 windy
    November 6, 2007

    As for the rapid spread of Christianity, I didn’t ask the question as a “so there, Christianity obviously must be true because it spread rapidly!”

    OK, and I don’t think people are trying to trip you up with snappy answers, it’s just that your question is kind of loaded and provokes counterexamples. Ideas can obviously spread rapidly without being ‘fueled by the Holy Spirit’. Ideas that are true don’t necessarily spread rapidly. Your assumption is unnecessary to explain the facts. And imagine that Christianity *hadn’t* spread rapidly for the first few hundred years, would you then not be a believer?

    Mormonism clearly continues to spread because of their extreme emphasis on dedicated proselytizing missionary work.

    Well, there you have it.

  222. #223 tim
    November 6, 2007

    ngong- I didn’t say I categorically dismissed Padmasambhava. My post in response to your initial question about him simply asked whether there are contemporary historical accounts about him comparable to what there are about Jesus.

    I don’t deny that the claims of Christianity can seem outrageous from an outsider’s perspective. The claims of quantum mechanics probably seem outrageous to those who have never studied it, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. (Note that this is not intended to imply Christianity is scientifically verifiable the same way QM is, but just illustrative of the point that you shouldn’t dismiss something just because it seems outrageous on the surface.) Investigate deeper and judge for yourself, no?

  223. #224 Reynold Hall
    November 6, 2007

    Nuts, the formatting didn’t work:

    The “point by point” rebuttal is this:
    http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    Some minor points from Conservapedia rebutted:

    Darwin and eugenics:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/05/dr-west-meet-dr.html

    Darwin’s supposedly racist views:
    http://home.att.net/~troybritain/articles/darwin_on_race.htm

    Evolution leading to anti-semitism:
    http://www.talkreason.com/articles/Genocide.cfm

  224. #225 tim
    November 6, 2007

    windy-

    To answer your question, if Christianity hadn’t grown significantly until several hundred years after Jesus’ life, I think it would indeed be less likely for its spread to be attributable to its validity, and the intellectual basis of my faith would indeed be more shaky.

    I do grant that it seems possible to explain the spread of Christianity without assuming it’s true, just as it’s possible to explain the Universe without any reference to God. I just don’t find it the most satisfactory explanation. And the spread of Christianity in itself isn’t enough for me either (clearly; otherwise I’d have to believe that anything that spread rapidly is true, which is ridiculous). It’s just one of the puzzle-pieces.

  225. #226 Michael X
    November 6, 2007

    Ok! And I’m back. Well Tim, I’m glad to see that you’re still up and kicking and that the asshole wolves have yet to descend. You’ve lucked out tonight with the reasonable crowd like Bronze Dog, Blake Stacy, Owlmirror, etc.

    But onto the issues. You’ve made quite alot clearer so far, so thanks for that. In regards to the trinity, it isn’t simply that my dismissal of the supernatural leads me to dismiss the trinity, or a misunderstanding, or an incomprehesion of it, it is the logical impossibility of it. Just as I stated before in reference to Jesus being all god and all human. It’s logically impossible just like an all red and all green ball. To believe a logical impossibility in regards to a major tennant of ones deity seems to be pushing it. I’m sure you would say the same about another religion who believed that their god was all knowing, but somethings he didn’t know. It’s a simple contradiction and a point against the divine.

    I will briefly comment on your idea of the Ressurection. First, you seem to be taking Lee Strobel’s angle on the whole thing. Hinging it all on the ressurection, and then hoping that if the writers weren’t crazy, or liars, they were telling the truth. Yet this of course gives no aid. Just the same way that I don’t believe the Pope is a liar, or crazy, (technically) he is still persisting in telling people that his ball (read: Jesus) was both all red and all green. Also related is the perfect honesty of UFO abductees. They believe all their equally unevidenced claims about aliens. They don’t appear to be lying and they are perfectly sane (most of them). You must give more credit to human delusion and our social instinct to trust authority figures. It is perfectly natural to assume that the writers of the gospels, like so many religious writers before them, were actually not experiencing what they claimed even though they may have believed they were, like UFO abductees. These myths then went along for centuries with similar proofs as you’re giving today. While it may sound harsh, delusion is indeed a very strong force in the human mind.

    Also you’ve commented that if you believe in Jesus’ miracles you would also be inclined to believe, or at least entertain the possibility of, other religions miracles. This leads to one major problem that you must face. All other religions have both of the evidences that you name in post #203. Namely, historical facts and believers experiences of the “divine”. This must lead you to question what evidence you can bring that will counter their own mirror evidence. If you have none, you must admit the thin ice you base you beliefs upon.

    As for historical evidence itself, you must admit that evidence of New York actually existing is in no way evidence for spider-man. So even if everyone and every place named in the bible existed, it still gives no weight to the fiction of the miracles. So without evidence of the miracles themselves, I’m not at all inclined to any religions claims as they are mutaully contradicting and equally unevidenced. Any dispassionate observer would agree.

    Also you must consider the fact that each major religion is basically broken up geographically. Hindus experience visions of people whos skin is blue. Muslims see their prophet and you see Jesus. All claim divine presence and most likely regard the others as being visited by “other” spirits. So do you simply take it for granted that you lucked out by being born in the correct country or family?

    All this of course makes sense if we step back and regard religion as a man made phenomenon, that is for the most part, inherited from our families or those in our community. You experience, just like I experienced when I was in church, not the supernatural, but a shared human experience. Namely: conflation of the unknown and awe inspiring into a shared idea of the divine, often handed down by families to their young evolutionarily-programmed-to-accept, children. I don’t slight you for being a christian. I do though hold you accountable for your own claim to be a reasonable man. You must be aware of your apologetic acrobatics through this posting alone. Though if for a moment you assume the existance of no god(s) then religions begin to make much more sense, without the rationalizations.

    Forgive the length, I’ve been gone a while.

  226. #227 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Michael- I’ve just read the beginning of your post, but something jumps out at me immediately.

    Is it a logical impossibility for an electron to be both a particle and a wave?

    OK, I’ll continue reading now.

  227. #228 Michael X
    November 6, 2007

    You’ve made a slight scientific faux pas. For what we know currently, light acts in ways that are like a particle and a wave. We may find that in light alone, particles and waves are not mutually exclusive.

    That is the crux of the point. All human, all god, are mutually exclusive. If if could know for certain that particles or waves had to be either one or the other, then we could say that yes, it is an apparent contradiction that we have yet to work out empirically.

    This is in stark contrast to Jesus. Who we have no way of testing, and who blatantly contradicts usages of the words.

  228. #229 ngong
    November 6, 2007

    Investigate deeper and judge for yourself, no?

    Well, there are really no alternatives to QM in terms of the ability to make predictions. Religion is a different matter, with all religions engaged, to some degree, in a supernatural/metaphysical pissing contest, each one contradicting the other, predicting little. My 2,000 year old miracles are better than yours.

    I’ve lurked over enough Muslim vs. Christian online debates to know that nobody walks away with a “win”. The debates are endless, because they have only the scantiest grounding in evidence. There’s very little to “investigate”.

  229. #230 wrpd
    November 6, 2007

    Re: Jesus’ appearance after his death, how many people have seen Elvis since he died? There is no evidence outside the bible that Jesus or anyone else fulfilled prophecy. Also, if you read the Jesus prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures, you will find that most of them are ripped out of their original context and were never regarded by Jews as prophetic.

  230. #231 ngong
    November 6, 2007

    Oh, in terms of Padmasambhava, you can Google him. He also goes by the name “Guru Rinpoche”, if you can’t find him. His existence is not particularly questioned, though I decline to believe that he subjugated demons the size of mountains with rays of light emanating from his chakras.

    Travel through Nepal and Tibet, however, and the locals will point to the damns he created with his powers, and the footprints he made in solid stone. What to believe?

  231. #232 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Hi Michael; welcome back. I don’t know how much longer I can responsibily keep this up given the problem set sitting in front of me, but I’ll give another whirl.

    With regard to the Trinity, I’ll say again that if God exists it would be very surprising if we lowly humans were able to fully understand Him. Hence it doesn’t surprise me that our reasoning fails to fully grasp the mystery. And, as I alluded to above, what seems like a logical impossibility on the surface of QM actually turns out to be quite reasonable, given sufficient understanding of the topic. Thus we might suppose that with sufficient understanding of God we would see how the Trinity works.

    And I’ve never read Lee Strobel, but I’m not surprised that he would hinge everything on the Resurrection; in fact, I would say that anyone who claims to be Christian should hinge everything on the Resurrection, as that is the single central defining event of Christianity. If it happened, we’re right; if it didn’t, all bets are off. And perhaps I don’t give enough weight to the power of human delusion. Believing the writers of the Gospels were deluded is certainly a valid choice of belief, and indeed almost a necessary one if you believe miracles are impossible. But again, if the issue of miracles were a neutral issue I’d think the non-delusional situation is simplest.

    With regard to other religions, I find it perfectly reasonable that people outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition have had experiences with the Divine. I would be more surprised if this weren’t the case. With regard to the historical evidence of the central claims of a given religion, I still contend that Christianity has a leg up on any other religion in this respect. If you have a counter-example, let me know.

    The fact that different religions contradict each other doesn’t bother me, clearly, so I don’t have much to say about that.

    As to the geographic distribution of religions, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take from that. Of course religion is mainly passed down within families. Would you expect anything different? Completely new revelation with every generation? This in itself is certainly no argument against religion. I should also mention (as you bring up dreams) that a friend of mine who’s worked as a missionary with an NGO in the Muslim world for several years now has met people (Muslims) who have shared with him dreams they’d had in which Jesus appeared to them, so Jesus also apparently appears to Muslims.

    Do I consider myself fortunate to have been raised in a Christian family? I certainly do. Would I be a Muslim if I were raised in a Muslim family? Probably. If I were born a Muslim and given the choice between Christianity and Islam, which would I choose? Who knows? I’d probably stick to what I was used to, since that is human nature, unless I had some sort of divine nudge to push me toward Christianity.

    And sure, in the same way one can explain our deepest emotions in a purely biological and psychological framework, one can interpret religion as simply a social phenomenon. But again, I simply don’t find such an explanation satisfying.

    And at this, I think I’m done. Apologies to anyone I may not have addressed. And thanks to all for a stimulating conversation and for the book suggestions.

  232. #233 Michael X
    November 6, 2007

    Well Tim, I do thank you for being a good sport.

    In the end you’ve produced exaclty zero evidence to convince anyone who isn’t already a christian.

    I’ll state it again much as you did. It’s not a misunderstanding regarding the trinity. It’s the out and out IMPOSSIBILITY. Were talking about situations of round square kind of logic. Not situations where we define a phenomena and then upon further study must redefine it. God does not allow us to redefine his essence through empirical testing. Otherwise we’d be done with this decades ago.
    This objection cannot be fobbed off on an insufficent understanding of god. It is relayed to us in his word. The word of god. Inspired by himself. If a perfect, all knowing deity chose to represent himself in contradictory terms that is not my fault. Though it is much more easily understood if we suppose that religion is man made.

    You mistake, like many christians, QM uncertainty for any uncertainty in religion. Like I previously stated, religion is nothing like science. If we find for example that a given phenomenon has properties like both that of wave and particle, we must either regard particles and waves as not mutually exclusive, or we must now come up with a new property altogether. Religion provides no such recourse. Either the bible is true and god is what it says he is or he isn’t. The plainess of it is all to easy to grasp and I grow tired at the multitudes who claim an intellectural bent tapdancing around what is plainly evident.

    Understand that I do not come to this conversation with the predetermined view that miracles are impossible. I have actual testable evidence backing my beliefs that no religious apologist that I’ve ever met can rival. Every claimed miracle either is disproven as a fraud or delusion or has no evidence that can’t be explained naturally. Therefore, I do not simply claim that Jesus miracles are void a priori. I have the entire scientific enterprise behind me. As Carl Sagan once said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” In these two days you’ve provided perfectly none.

    As for other religions you’re contention that you have a leg up falls flat. You have a contention with no reasons that could not be given by a mormon. Everything you’ve said can be said by a muslim apologist right back at you. If you cannot grasp why this is a flaw in your reasoning then I doubt your claim of rationality. You seem all the more to be one who rationalizes, while ignoring reason.

    As for the geograhic distribution of religions, you’re supposed to take away that if the christian god were true, then other regions would follow suit in belief, because they too would see the truth of christianity’s claims as opposed to their own. And not instead look like the superstition was made up in that particular region and then disseminated throughout the land via hereditary lines as we would expect something that has nothing to do with the supernatural to do. Mentioning scant cases of muslims seeing Jesus, or Christians seeing Shiva doesn’t count as anything other than statistically expected exceptions to the mean.

    And then to end you simply confirm what I just stated. You would nautrally believe what you were given by your family/community, leaving you no grounding to claim that your beliefs are rational in the least. They are inhereted. And you, like thousands of apologists before, are attempting to rationalize them.

    To conclude, as to what you find satisfying, that has nothing to do what is true.

  233. #234 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Michael– I thought I was done, but one final note: I’m fine with being disagreed with; I have less patience for being blatantly misread.

    “You mistake, like many christians, QM uncertainty for any uncertainty in religion.”

    This is not at all what I was doing, and please don’t lump me with people who use QM in an ignorant and presumptuous manner. Go back and read carefully. Here is what I was saying, in an expanded version:

    Imagine you are someone who has never heard of quantum mechanics, and someone comes up and tells you that light can act like both a particle and a wave. To someone who has never studied or doesn’t understand QM, this _seems_ like a contradictory statement. However, as we both know, once you begin to understand QM, you see how what initially may have appeared contradictory is in fact, completely internally consistent.

    My parallel to the issue of the Trinity makes no claim about science being the same as religion, or Christianity being like QM. It was simply to illustrate that an ignorant outsider presented with the wave/particle thing sees a paradox where there really isn’t one, and so similarly we may see a paradox in the Trinity where if we understood God perhaps there wouldn’t be one.

  234. #235 Reynold Hall
    November 6, 2007

    Bummer. The post I make where I mess up the link formatting shows up, the posts where I give the link itself to avoid that happening do not show up.

    Anyhow…the “point by point” rebuttal to the Conservapedia site:
    http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    As for some other claims there:
    Darwinism and racism:
    http://home.att.net/~troybritain/articles/darwin_on_race.htm

    Darwinism and eugenics:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/05/dr-west-meet-dr.html
    (see the comments also!)

    Darwinism and anti-semitism:
    http://www.talkreason.com/articles/Genocide.cfm

  235. #236 ngong
    November 6, 2007

    It’s weird how these Christians (not necessarily Tim) will say that Christianity is somehow the most grounded in evidence of all the religions, and then reject evolution, relativity, the big bang, neuroscience, ad nauseum.

    They tell you to be “open-minded” and investigate religion for yourself, when there’s not the slightest chance that they might reconsider their own religion.

    In fact, of the “big 5″, is there any doubt that Christianity is most at odds with science? Living here in Thailand, I don’t see any Buddhism vs. evolution conflict. In fact, the Buddhists embrace it…there’s a sense of gradual improvement that is in concord with some of their beliefs. Nor is there a young-earth hangup when you measure time in “kalpas”.

  236. #237 Michael X
    November 6, 2007

    And Tim, no disrespect was intended, nor was a misreading needed to show that in order for your idea to fly, the idea you have of god would have to be come about like that of the seeming contradictions in QM.

    But the idea of the Trinity was not invented after empirical experiment and so the comparison falls flat. It was declared as such and has never changed and never can. All that can be done is find more elusive ways of dealing with it’s inherent contradiction. To make the break clearer between the two: The Trinity is false by its own definition and not seemingly contradictory at our present state of understanding. There is no test that will clear up a definitional contradiction, nor could you create one in regards to the essence of a non-existant deity.

    Religion declares, science describes. To assume that a greater understanding of a dogmatic declaration will clear up a definitional contradiction, is to confuse the process of science with that of religion.

  237. #238 RickD
    November 6, 2007

    It seems sad to me that the ferocious god of the Old Testament has been reduced to a god of the gaps hiding in quantum mechanics. Where’s the fire and brimstone? Where are the pillars of salt? Where are the fiery ladders from heaven? The burning bushes? The parting seas?

  238. #239 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Good morning.

    You want that God, Rick? Stick around for judgment day and I’m sure we’ll all get a satisfactory dose of Him….

  239. #240 Randolph Carter
    November 6, 2007

    Tim: “You want that God, Rick? Stick around for judgment day and I’m sure we’ll all get a satisfactory dose of Him….”

    It always comes down to this in the end for you people, doesn’t it? Brush away that thin veneer, and beneath it lies the threat of the mailed fist.

  240. #241 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Relax, Randolph. It was tongue-in-cheek. I don’t claim to know what will happen at the end of time. There are certain things I hope for, but I’m not threatening you with anything. I figured I should just add a fair measure of fire and brimstone to my contributions just for completeness, since at least Rick seemed to be missing it.

  241. #242 Randolph Carter
    November 6, 2007

    Well unfortunately, as has been mentioned before, it’s all but impossible to differentiate between the satirical and the serious with you people…

  242. #243 tim
    November 6, 2007

    If I had one goal with my presence in these comments it would be to show the community here that it’s actually possible to be thoughtful and Christian. So I hope you’re not lumping me in “you people” with the Peter Moores of the world.

    Do Christians often post here satirizing themselves?

  243. #244 Randolph Carter
    November 6, 2007

    Tim: “Do Christians often post here satirizing themselves?”

    Do you mean intentionally or unintentionally?

    You say that you wanted to show that it is possible to be thoughtful and Christian, I think that what you’ve actually shown are the lengths to which the otherwise intelligent can bend their minds to rationalize arbitrary and unsubstantiated supernaturalism.
    We’re not saying Christians can’t be clever, only that they can’t be consistent.
    You demand such and such a standard of evidence in all aspects of your life except for one. Why the disconnect in that one area? And why do you demand standards of proof and evidence for us who oppose you that you do not demand of yourself in your own examination of your position?

  244. #245 Stevie_C
    November 6, 2007

    With almost all christians there does seem to the this place they will not go…

    they rarely ever say “I know my belief that “Jesus, the son of god, but also god in human form who died, resurrected and physically rose to heaven.” is completely based on faith and on accepting something that is too incredible for most people to believe. BUt I believe it anyway.”

  245. #246 tim
    November 6, 2007

    Randolph: I’m not demanding standards of proof or evidence for you to defend your position. I understand it pretty clearly, and I can’t directly argue it.

    I think one way to describe my difference in approach is not that I don’t demand evidence; it’s that I admit more kinds of evidence than hard scientific evidence when evaluating my beliefs when they can’t be scientifically verified or falsified. Personal experience, for example, the testimony of friends, or the hunch that humans are qualitatively different from animals. Call it the hunch that breaks the degeneracy (between supernatural/no supernatural) for me.

    And before you say that hunches don’t happen in actual science, recall that Albert Einstein formulated his special theory of relativity based on his gut feeling that the universe should be simple and beautiful; that there shouldn’t be asymmetries in the description of Maxwell’s equations in different reference frames. This was an a priori desire for Einstein that informed his work. (reference: “Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought,” Gerald Holton.) Of course, relativity has since been verified, while my beliefs have not; I just present this as an example that making important decisions at least partially based on hunch is not necessarily an awful thing.

  246. #247 Stevie_C
    November 6, 2007

    He accepts delusions as evidence.

    We got it.

  247. #248 Randolph Carter
    November 6, 2007

    tim:
    “it’s that I admit more kinds of evidence than hard scientific evidence when evaluating my beliefs when they can’t be scientifically verified or falsified. Personal experience, for example, the testimony of friends, or the hunch that humans are qualitatively different from animals.”

    The trouble is that there is little to support those kinds of evidence you mention as non-scientific. They simply aren’t reliable. Senses are easily deceived. Friends lie, exaggerate, downplay, forget, mis-remember, etc. Your one example of a hunch that panned out fails because that hunch was verifiable (and verified) through the very scientific process that you assert cannot be brought to bear on the claims that you make.
    As to your comment about humans and animals, are you suggesting that humans are superior to non-human animals? Or not? Are we subjectively superior, or objectively superior? If it’s objectively superior, by what metric do you propose to measure that superiority, and why is it not merely subjective?
    It seems from where I’m sitting that all this is just more of the same: A person educated enough to know that supernaturalism is hokum, instead bringing to bear their education in an attempt to rationalize or obfuscate the issue enough that their beliefs can’t be assailed. The trouble for you is that it seems to also make them contentless.

  248. #249 Owlmirror
    November 6, 2007

    Do Christians often post here satirizing themselves?

    Occasionally, there is a comment, or string of comments, from the very silly people at http://landoverbaptist.com

  249. #250 Owlmirror
    November 6, 2007

    A few linguistic and historical notes:

    “Immanuel” means “God with us” in Hebrew, as you ought to know if you read your bible. Ahem. “El” means “God”, “Im” means “with”, “anu” means “us, “Immanu” means “with us”.

    “Jesus” would have been pronounced “Iesus” in the original koine Greek, and Yeshu or Yeshua in the original Aramaic or Hebrew. There’s a linguistic link between that name and the word “Hosanna”, which would have been pronounced “hosha-na” – “hosha” means “save”; “na” means “please” – “hosha-na” means “please, save [us]“.

    He relies mostly on linguistic analysis to demonstrate that the Gospels include errors that could hardly have been made by anyone present at the events described (e.g., “Hosannah” translates more like “Help!” than “Hooray!”).

    The above criticism seems wrong to me. The ancient Jews were looking for salvation — just not salvation from “original sin”. Their nation had been conquered, and after regaining it in triumph, they were threatened with conquest again, defeated the invaders (the Seleucid Greeks), yet after achieving victory, succumbed to terrible infighting and civil strife, and then were invaded yet again, this time by the Romans.

    They wanted the salvation of the Messiah; the anointed king who would bring political victory against outside enemies, and religious certainty and unity in a world where divisiveness was the rule. Hellenistic materialism had been embraced by many Jews, and there were various factions who, as usual, disagreed on how to interpret the scriptures and properly worship God.

    If they thought that Yeshu might well be that messiah, they would call out for him to bring the hoped-for salvation.

    See also: The Bar-Kochba revolt, which took place some years later.

    Another book recommendation: Doubt, a history, by Jennifer Hecht

  250. #251 Pierce R. Butler
    November 6, 2007

    Owlmirror: put the “hosannah” in context, such as Mark 011:009-010 –

    And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
    Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

    I don’t recall what the original of “in the highest” might have signified, but you can’t blame any King James Version reader for thinking that Hosannah meant “Whoopee!” This was just one of the analyses Wells gives showing that the oldest gospel account was equally amiss and that the Greek-speaker who wrote “Mark” was unfamiliar with Jewish language and culture.

    (I wish I could recall which of Wells’s books make(s) this particular point, so I could connect you with the longer argument from which this assertion came – but alas I read library copies, and own none for present reference.)

  251. #252 Owlmirror
    November 7, 2007

    Yeah, in that context, “Hosanna in the highest” doesn’t make grammatical sense. It’s probably a typo or error of some sort, that just kept getting propagated down the line.

    Although who knows if the mistake was made by Mark originally (assuming Mark was a real person), or by some later scribe.

    It was probably something originally like “Hosanna, God the highest”.

  252. #253 Reynold Hall
    November 7, 2007

    Bummer. The post I make where I mess up the link formatting shows up, the posts where I give the link itself to avoid that happening do not show up.

    Anyhow…the “point by point” rebuttal to the Conservapedia site:
    http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    As for some other claims there:
    Darwinism and racism:
    http://home.att.net/~troybritain/articles/darwin_on_race.htm

    Darwinism and eugenics:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/05/dr-west-meet-dr.html
    (see the comments also!)

    Darwinism and anti-semitism:
    http://www.talkreason.com/articles/Genocide.cfm

  253. #254 Reynold Hall
    November 7, 2007

    Ok, I finally found out why I couldn’t make my second post…more than one A HREF tag. Ok, I’ll just make one link to a post I’ve made elsewhere which has what I wanted to say. It has the link to the TO Index to Creationist Claims that I tried to post last time.

  254. #255 Pierce R. Butler
    November 7, 2007

    Owlmirror: It’s probably a typo or error of some sort…

    Now, now – if we’re going to be this historically pedantic, let’s not introduce anachronisms here. After all, typos were only invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century.

    My initial thought on contemplating that “in the highest” was that it might interpreted as “help! to the max!” – but then again, I’ve been running a fever the last few days…

    If your Greek is better than mine (i.e., exists), you might figure something useful out from the blueletterbible presentation of the Greek versions. You might also just enter “Mark 11:10″ at blueletterbible.org and use the buttons to the left of the verse for other commentaries & resources.

    Personally, I consider it unwise to mix anything biblical with mental disequilibrium (very liberally assuming no redundancy there), so will dig no further – except to note that it seems so far Prof. Wells’s suggestion still stands.

  255. #256 Owlmirror
    November 7, 2007

    After all, typos were only invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century.

    Fine then, a manugraphical error.

    Huh, someone else besides me came up with that word first, or so sayeth Google.

    Man, I’ve made many a manu.

    Heck, for all we know, a lot of the goofy stuff in the bible are manus. Although there’s probably a few thinkos as well.

    (“Ezra, did you really write “insects that go on all fours“? Have you never even bothered to count how many legs insects have?”)
    (“What, they have six legs? Oy, is my face red. Look, my eyes aren’t too good, and insect legs are so teeny-tiny. But it’s too late now. We’ve said this is the holy word of God; we can’t just go making fixes to God’s words!”)

    But I digress.

    If your Greek is better than mine (i.e., exists), you might figure something useful out from the blueletterbible presentation of the Greek versions.

    I was looking at the PDF available here:

    http://www.septuagint-interlinear-greek-bible.com/

    Which is nice because it has the Greek and the English directly interleaved.

    But the original Greek doesn’t look helpful. All I can say is that it still looks like words were indeed left out between “Hosanna” and the phrase “in the highest”, leading to confusion.

    I’ll have to check out Wells and the other commentators myself at some point.

  256. #257 Pierce R. Butler
    November 7, 2007

    … a manugraphical error.

    A nice line, pre-empted or not.

    Heck, for all we know, a lot of the goofy stuff in the bible are manus.

    Didn’t Isaiah foretell exactly that? (rim-shot!)

    No doubt you’re already aware of Bart Ehrman’s works on the history of the Bible as a text. I should’ve recommended those to Tim as well, but seriously expected others to chime in with same.

    As for the numerous goofs in the gospels (also including erroneous placement of cities, etc), what reason is there to think that these are all copyists’ mistakes introduced into flawless originals?

    While I’m not endorsing Wells as the Authoritative Debunker, he certainly makes the strongest scholarly case for no-historical-Jesus that I’ve run across. His sixth such book, The Jesus Myth, goes so far as to concede that in fact there may have been such a person, but if so he contributed little more than a name to the repackaged miracle stories and aphorisms bubbling around the Jewish and gentile-underclass proto-sects of his successors’ day.

    It was a review mentioning that concession (perhaps at infidels.org) that persuaded me Wells was non-dogmatic enough to be worth looking into – an opinion I still hold, though I haven’t yet recovered from the involution of trying to read his arguments in reverse order.

  257. #258 Keith Douglas
    November 10, 2007

    Dan: Wow, that’s crazy. Have they read Lovejoy on that subject?

    Hank Fox: I just hope that we can “get” enough kids before they turn into such beasts …

    Blake Stacey: Don’t forget also that Empedocles a few generations later actually DID have evolution by natural selection stated. Unfortunately also his notion of heredity was a bit ridiculous. Moreover, he did not accumulate evidence carefully enough and there was some countervailing trends.

    On Jesus and the US – actually, worse. I suspect that most Americans have many “folk ideas” about the supposed doings of their religious figures that do not exist in the text. Some of these smooth over contradictions and some just are largely oral tales.

    Stevie_C (#243): But there is an honest Christian, or was once, anyway – Kierkegaard – who does admit all of it sounds insane.

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