Pharyngula

The real expulsions

A fair number of creationists must be leaving a certain propaganda movie and getting on to the internet to find targets of their ire, because I’m getting a little surge in hate mail — mostly short, petty whines and accusations. For any who find this site in addition to my email address, I have two suggestions for you:

  1. Look up the actual stories of the “expelled”. It seems their martyrdom has been grossly exaggerated.

  2. Then compare those stories with more serious case of religious persecution against those who favor evolution.

Creationists, much as I’d love to smack down every one of your silly arguments, I can’t possibly do it one by one. Hang around, ask questions in the comments, and take your turn: we’ll eventually get around to dismantling your ludicrous claims.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    April 19, 2008

    Oh, oh. PZ just said, “Bring it on!”

  2. #2 Ted D
    April 19, 2008

    I bet there’ll hardly be any comments in this thread. *shifts eyes*

  3. #3 Dave C
    April 19, 2008

    LOL, Ted. You’re just trying to incite a swarming mob of creationist antics, aren’t you?

  4. #4 syntyche
    April 19, 2008

    This’ll be fun.
    /grab popcorn

  5. #5 Mercurious
    April 19, 2008

    Maybe we can lure them here with the tales of us eating babies, and our wanton sexploits.

  6. #6 Zeno
    April 19, 2008

    As long as they’re here praying for PZ’s conversion from atheism (although they’ll spell it “athiesm”) and the salvation of his soul (and ours!), they won’t be doing any actual mischief anywhere else. Or perhaps instead they’ll be ignoring the Biblical injunction “judge not, lest ye be judged” and condemning PZ to hell for his lack of faith. That’s fun, too. No doubt there’ll be some collateral condemnation from the sanctimonious shrapnel. Incoming!

  7. #7 Matt
    April 19, 2008

    Right.

    Who’s first?

  8. #8 AllanW
    April 19, 2008

    Oh man, this is gonna be good. I may pull an all-nighter to watch this in realtime :) (puts a bucket of coffee on to help stave off sleep).

  9. #9 MikeM
    April 19, 2008

    This was inevitable, wasn’t it?

    Lots of these people never heard of you until last night, now they think they know everything about you. I’m sure you’re the devil to them.

    I think you should post some of your more ludicrous responses, and I bet it won’t be easy for you to pick, say, a top 5.

  10. #10 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    Margaret Cho did a great bit in her “Assassin” routine about gaining the ire of the Right. She said her mail went something like this: “GODDAMN FAGGOT DYKE GOOK COMMIE FAGGOT DYKE. YOU SUCK. JESUS SAVES!”

    Sound familiar PZ?

  11. #11 Brian K.
    April 19, 2008

    I like your “take a number” approach, PZ. There must have been a lot of people going to see ‘Expelled,” as it opened at #8.

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/?sortdate=2008-04-18&p=.htm

  12. #12 Derik N
    April 19, 2008

    The movie’s every bit as terrible as advertised.

    Of course, these are the same fools that are convinced by a Kent Hovind video…so what do you expect intellectually.

  13. #13 Zeno
    April 19, 2008

    Derik: The movie’s every bit as terrible as advertised.

    Derik is right. I totally agree.

  14. #14 Derik N
    April 19, 2008

    I actually paid to watch another movie, then snuck into this one after mine was over.

    Yeah, I know I know, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually spend money supporting/watching this garbage.

  15. #15 room101
    April 19, 2008

    Planet Killer……..come out to playyyyyeeeeeyyyyyaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!

  16. #16 Bifrost
    April 19, 2008

    Zeno said… atheism (although they’ll spell it “athiesm”)

    You are implying that “i before e except after c” is only a THEORY instead of a LAW. Help me Jebus.

  17. #17 Steve_C
    April 19, 2008

    Bring on the comic sans!!!

    I don’t suspect the sheep that are bused to the movies to be bathed in the inanity and droning of Ben Stein will be very interesting.

    Does the 3 comment rule still hold?

  18. #18 Zeno
    April 19, 2008

    Bifrost: You are implying that “i before e except after c” is only a THEORY instead of a LAW.

    Actually, Bifrost, I think it’s worse than that: “i before e” is a social construct, nothing more than a convention. But not to worry: this problem will go away. When our current generation of msg txtrs grow up, vowels will be vestigial or vanished.

  19. #19 tacitus
    April 19, 2008

    I actually paid to watch another movie, then snuck into this one after mine was over.

    Oh, you are *so* going to Hell because of that, Derik.

  20. #20 raven
    April 19, 2008

    Blake Stacey’s blog has a good essay on scientists being persecuted and even killed by creationists. Unlike the made up cases in Expelled, these are people getting fired, beaten up, and threatened for real by religious bigots. Well worth the read.

    One such horror story out of 12 is below. Really, what kind of animal beats up on a female college professor for teaching evolution.

    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626

    Gwen Pearson taught biology at the Permian Basin branch of the University of Texas, located in the city of Odessa. Her three years as an assistant professor ended with assaults on her integrity and her physical self:

    “This all became a great deal more serious when I began to get messages on my home answering machine threatening to assist me in reaching hell, where I would surely end up. I also received threatening mail messages: “The Bible tells us how to deal with nonbelievers: ‘Bring those who would not have me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ May Christians have the strength to slaughter you and end your pitiful, blasphemous life!”

    An envelope containing student evaluations from my evolution class was tampered with. A student wrote a letter to the president of the university claiming that I said in class that “anyone who believes in God gets an F.” Despite the fact that she had never been in my class, and it was clearly untrue, a full investigation of the charge ensued.

    There were other problems. Often I arrived in class to find “Dr. Feminazi” scrawled on the blackboard. An emotionally disturbed student assaulted me on campus. In town, Maurice Sendak’s award-winning book Where the Wild Things Are was removed from school libraries, as it might “confuse children as to the true nature of Beelzebub.” The California-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) preached in the county stadium to 10,000 local people.

    I finally resigned when I received an admonition from the dean in my yearly reappointment letter to “accommodate the more intellectually conservative students with a low threshold of offensibility” in my evolution course. Rather than compromise my academic freedom, I chose to leave what seemed to be a dangerous place.”

  21. #21 flame821
    April 19, 2008

    I don’t know where this movie is even playing. They don’t seem to have a link to it on Fandango and that even lists the drive in theaters in my neck of the woods.

  22. #22 James Briggs
    April 19, 2008

    I only have one question Dr. Myers. Has anyone every actually observed spieces to species evolution. In other words have we ever watched one kind of animal like a dog become another kind of animal like a cat. This is only an example I just want to be clear that I do not mean cross breeding between dogs or cats but actually new species. If so I would love to know when and where this happened, and where I might be able to see the evidence, so that I might look at that information.

  23. #23 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    . Has anyone every actually observed spieces to species evolution.

    sure, it’s quite easy, all you have to do is move the “i” after the “c”.

  24. #24 flame821
    April 19, 2008

    I’ll let my more knowledgeable pharyngulites deal with the yutz @22.

    However Zoologix has an interesting article up about rapid reptile evolution (please disregard the poking-fun-at pictures below the fold) Italian lizards

  25. #25 James Briggs
    April 19, 2008

    Sorry for the typo my friend. However it doesn’t change my question.

  26. #26 Stanton
    April 19, 2008

    Planet Killer……..come out to playyyyyeeeeeyyyyyaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!

    I doubt that Planet Killer can hear you, what with that tremendous plank still stuck in his eye.

  27. #27 flame821
    April 19, 2008

    James, are you truly serious?

    Do you honestly believe that evolution is the metamorphosing of one distinct species into another? Do you not understand what evolution is and how it works?

  28. #28 William Paley
    April 19, 2008

    Riddle me this, O compatriots in reason! What are the conditions under which you would find it reasonable to infer that creature was indeed the creation of a God? That is, what are the general features that indicate design? Are they not complexity, utility, and organization? Do we not find these in nature? Why then, companions, are we not justified in making the inference to design? Do not spare me your thoughts. Pray tell me.

  29. #29 Falyne
    April 19, 2008

    Yikes.

    That’s… wow. Impressive juxtaposition. And, sigh, it’s hard to smack down every last argument. I mean, yeah, the arguments themselves are stupid, but there’s so many of them and it’s hard to logically counter the completely illogical.

    If the person reading this would like to make an argument for creationism or ID, please please please do us all a favor and go here first to see if your argument’s on the list:

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

  30. #30 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs, it is difficult to observe this because there is not an agreed on definition of “species”. If you say that a species is a population that can only breed with itself because of gamete(Egg and sperm) incompatibility then yes this has been observed. Look at the wikipedia article about “hybrid species” It has been observed that animals like mules,domestic horses, wild horses(including weird pygmie horses of mongolia and indonesia) and Zebras can sometimes reporoduce and create offspring that can reproduce only with hybrids like themselves, not either of their parent’s species.

    The biggest barrier to observing evolution in action is that diverse speciation take a long time to happen. Many intermediate generations need to be born and reproduce in order to be selected into different forms.

    So the question is: is a Zebra the same as a horse?

  31. #31 Joshua Arnold
    April 19, 2008

    @ James Briggs.

    I’m not the authority on this, but I think the answer to your question is no. And the reason for this is simple. We have been around as a species for, maybe 100K years. We have had writing for only the last 7000-ish years. Evolution is a slow process–to slow for anyone one person to see a radical dog-to-cat change, let alone even a civilization.

    Of course, there is plenty of fossil evidence of just this kind of change. And we see evolution all the time. Just look at the flu virus. Different every year.

    (And just to preempt here: the distinction drawn by ID fans between micro and macro evolution is a false dichotomy. They differ in degree only. There’s not some magical chasm between them–as Behe would like us to believe.)

  32. #32 Mena
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs #22:
    Of course it has. You guys just call it “microevolution”, thinking that it’s a gotcha. Things take time. By the way, acting smug about that cat evolving into a dog argument is going to get you reamed. It’s what we like to call a “tired canard”. Dogs may change into something else over TIME, so may cats, but no one is directing cats to turn into dogs or vice versa. Quack quack, yawn.

  33. #33 Christian
    April 19, 2008

    @James Briggs

    Why do you actually expect that an extant species evolves into an other extant species?

  34. #34 JJ
    April 19, 2008

    James – yes, it has been observed.

  35. #35 Steve_C
    April 19, 2008

    Ummm. Mr. Briggs.

    You are obviously not well versed in the science of evolution.

    You should pick up a book on evolution by Dawkins or Gould, there’s a lot of them out there.

    Or just get the basic by looking up speciation on wiki or talkorigins.

    Then come back if anything has confused you.

    And a quick answer to your question is, YES speciation has been witnessed in the wild, but not as you misunderstand it.

  36. #36 James Briggs
    April 19, 2008

    Flame 821,
    I will begin by admiting that I am not a Scienctist. I have take science classes but have not degrees. I am merely an individual who seeks answers.
    When I say Evolution I am not refering to the microevolution that comes from a species changing to better suit its environment. I only meant what I would consider Macroevolution which would need to be distinct species to distinct species for Darwinism to be true. The original Single celled organism could not always remain a single celled organism. If I am wrong please educate me to what is right.
    Thank you
    James Briggs

  37. #37 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Riddle me this, O compatriots in reason! What are the conditions under which you would find it reasonable to infer that creature was indeed the creation of a God?

    what are you, a fucking comic strip villain?

    anywho, let me answer your question with another question:

    How does an anthropologist go about determining whether a particular artifact is man-made?

    If you spend a little time figuring out what the answer is that question, your original question will also be answered.

    Now, when you have that figured out, come back and tell us how we can determine how a deity of your choice actually acts in the world, and then pick a random organism, and we can get started hypothesizing whether said deity did or did not have a hand in its “creation”.

    simple.

  38. #38 Christian
    April 19, 2008

    The biggest barrier to observing evolution in action is that diverse speciation take a long time to happen.

    And then there’s also the problem that if you witness the change you’ll run into this< .

  39. #39 Steve_C
    April 19, 2008

    Paley.

    An organism that is genetically impossible to have evolved from any current life form or share an ancestry with a previous life form.

    Like a human with wings, and perhaps a nice halo around it’s head.

  40. #40 Falyne
    April 19, 2008

    James:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC214.html

    William:

    There is no proof against the universe being designed. There *can* be no proof against it. You are fully justified in believing that the world was created last Thursday if you so wish. Now, we all have memories of last Wednesday, but those could have been implanted by an omnipotent creator, now couldn’t they?

    ANYTHING could indicate design. That’s the fundamental reason it’s not within the boundaries of science. Science can *only* deal with the natural world; it’s part of the definition. So, while many many scientists hold personal religious beliefs, no actual scientific hypothesis can depend on the supernatural or divine. ESPECIALLY not when we have valid, workable models with tons of evidence to support them that point to a materialistic solution.

  41. #42 Falyne
    April 19, 2008

    Because I *know* it’s coming soon, and I’m going for food, here’s “irreducible complexity”:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200.html

  42. #43 PatrickHenry
    April 19, 2008

    To James Briggs, re #36, where you said: “I only meant what I would consider Macroevolution which would need to be distinct species to distinct species for Darwinism to be true.”

    James, macro is nothing but a whole lot of micro. It takes time. It can be seen, after the fact, in the fossil record. Properly understood, it’s like a time-lapse movie, but with a lot of missing frames.

  43. #44 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    In other words have we ever watched one kind of animal like a dog become another kind of animal like a cat.

    well, I’ve seen a cat-dog; does that count?

    http://www.retrojunk.com/img/art-images/cat_dog.jpg

  44. #45 Damian
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs said:

    I only meant what I would consider Macroevolution which would need to be distinct species to distinct species for Darwinism to be true.

    James, take some time to read these:

    29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent

    Observed Instances of Speciation

    In fact, take a good look around the Talk Origins site. :)

  45. #46 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs, I thought of another example of evolution that has been observed. It’s not as dramatic as my “Zorse” , “Hebra” and “donkey” example.

    Some fungi and bacteria are one celled and are found in environment “A”. Lets say that environment “A” is slightly acidic and rather moist. the fungi/bacteria in environment “A” reproduce by each cell dividing itself asexually.

    The same species of cells are found in enviroment “B” but “B” isin’t as acidic and drier. The cells in environment B only survive if they cluster together and share moisture.

    If the conditions are right the cells in the “colony” will specialize. The ones on the outside will be selected to be more resistant to water loss or UV light. The ones on the inside might specialize in making sure that a beneficial acidity is maintained in the colony or some other homeostatic condition.

    That can be observed in a laboratory. Over time these colonies will increase in specialization to the point that the cells will take on different forms, maybe even start to diverge genetically but share the same environment.

  46. #47 James McGrath
    April 19, 2008

    I would like to draw attention once again to the irony that my complaint about my own experience of being expelled from Uncommon Descent is still posted in that part of the Expelled web site. :)

  47. #48 raven
    April 19, 2008

    James:

    If I am wrong please educate me to what is right.

    Rapid species to species changes have been observed. There are many, a long list.

    Two familiar ones. YOUR DOG. Dogs are descended from wolves and fairly recently. Some dogs look a lot like wolves. Some don’t. Does a chuhuahua or pekinese look like a wolf?

    Corn. Corn was derived from teosinte and almost within historical time frames. We’ve even been able to trace the mutations that change teosinte into corn. An ear of corn and the seed stalk of teosinte don’t resemble each other very closely.

    Tasmanian facial tumor. A dramatic evolutionary jump from a tumor to a transmissable disease that happened a few decades ago. Some call this the creation of a new phylum.

    I don’t believe you are interested in learning. Your question is a creationist fallacy that was answered a century ago. Just a trolling creo.

  48. #49 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    well, I’ve seen a cat-dog; does that count?

    Nothing, however, compares to the glory of the Jackalope. Wall Drug Forever! (god I hope to never end up in that part of SD again).

  49. #50 flame821
    April 19, 2008

    James, I think the primary problem is that damned fish to man poster. There is NOT a straight line from a one cell organism in primordial ooze to us via the way the poster shows.

    It is a tree with many branches, many dead branches. Some species survived, adapted, evolved and reproduced, most did not.

    The ‘dogs evolving to cats’ question you posed is very much like the ‘if humans came from apes, why are there still apes’ comment we hear quite often.

    We didn’t come ‘from’ apes, we share a common ancestor with them, they are our cousins not our grandparents. Many of our other cousins didn’t survive because they couldn’t adapt or evolve quickly enough, we sometimes find their fossilized bones and that, along with Dr. Myers evo-devo studies, is how we learn their history and pieces of our own.

    Please, if you are TRULY interested in learning about the basic concepts of evolution go to talk origins and follow the links that Falyne has provided. They can explain things much better than I can.

  50. #51 Gary Bohn
    April 19, 2008

    James@22

    Others have addressed the concept of species and the saltational requirement of your question, so I’ll travel a different route.

    Why do we need to directly observe one species giving birth to another to have knowledge that it happened? Is the evidence from the fossil record, homologous traits, molecular evidence such as shared ERVs, shared ‘broken’ genes, and so many others, not enough for us to conclude common descent?

    If that is the case – that we require direct observation in all things – then many sciences, and those nice people on CSI, are in deep shit.

  51. #52 swill
    April 19, 2008

    Well…baby is in bed and the wife is away. Looks like I’ve found my entertainment for the evening.

    Thanks Fundy Claus…just what I wanted!

  52. #53 Gregory Kusnick
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs: Ring species provide examples of gradual transition from one species to another before our very eyes. Read the full article for details, but briefly, population A interbreeds with population B, which interbreeds with population C, which interbreeds with population D, but populations A and D, althought they may overlap geographically, cannot interbreed and are legitimately considered separate species.

    Speciation over time is simply this same process write large.

  53. #54 Sili
    April 19, 2008

    Mr. Briggs,

    No. None has ever seen a dog change into a cat or vice versa. Nor would we expect them to. In fact, such a (well-documented) conversion would be solid proof that something is very very wrong with the way we understand the world. You might even call it a miracle.

    But we have seen dogs speciate, for instance. I dare you to bread a Chihuahua with a Great Dane.

    It might be enlightening to look at Australia too. There we’ve seen marsupials change to fill ever niche that are otherwise filled with mammals on the other continents.

    The Tasmanian tiger or wolf (&c &c) are not in any way closely related to felines or canines, but they have evolved to pursue similar lifestyles and as a result they’ve come to look (a bit) like their mammalian namesakes. It’s an example of convergent evolution in that these diverse species have ended up with similar ‘designs’ – this in turn tells us that these shared aspects of their appearance must be near-optimal for their ways of life.

    On the other hand – canines and felines are obviously different but fill similar niches (both are obligate carnivores for instance). Thus we can learn a lot about what aspects of their anatomy are important to their shared way of life by finding their shared traits.

  54. #55 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Rapid species to species changes have been observed. There are many, a long list.

    based on his original post, I don’t think the responses he’s been getting will answer his question.

    Think in terms of baraminology.

    He’s asking if a cat has been observed to evolve into a dog, and because of the utter BS he has been fed previous to coming here, is thinking that it’s a necessary precondition for the theory of evolution to be applicable.

    He’s confused about how life itself works, at a most basic level.

    those that respond to him have to address the idea that barminology is false to begin with; there are no “kinds”.

    then you have to explain the general idea of common ancestry.

    seriously, this boy needs a basic biology course, and the best thing you can do for him is simply to tell him to read a good biology text, and spend some time at TalkOrigins or, perhaps better still for basic understanding, here:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

  55. #56 Sigmund
    April 19, 2008

    A ‘species’ is often defined as a group of organisms that can interbreed. As such the formation of a barrier to interbreeding, such as chromosomal alterations, can lead to seperate populations – that will, in turn diverge due to genetic drift. This is quite common amongst isolated mouse populations – such as those on islands. Heres a link if you are really interested in scientific evidence.
    http://tinyurl.com/6zjuda
    Alternatively, if you’re not ……. http://tinyurl.com/5u6nn9

  56. #57 dkew
    April 19, 2008

    Hold back, Glorious Atheist Cabal for the Propagation of Immorality! So many wasted electrons for the first trolling nitwit! Save some for the rest of the herd of totally non-evolving scrapie-lesioned sheep.

  57. #58 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    @ Christian #38
    That’s exactly the point. Short of a “soul” the idea of species is totally subjective. When does a horse’s children stop being “horses”? Well it doesn’t matter unless your a taxonomist

  58. #59 amk
    April 19, 2008

    William Paley,

    Why then, companions, are we not justified in making the inference to design?

    Can we not also infer design in the designer? Does it not also display complexity, utility, organisation?

    So that leaves us with…
    Nature had a designer.
    The designer had a meta designer.
    The meta designer had a meta meta designer.
    The meta meta designer had a meta meta meta designer.
    The meta meta meta designer had a meta meta meta meta designer.
    The meta meta meta meta designer had a meta meta meta meta meta designer.
    The meta meta meta meta meta designer had a meta meta meta meta meta meta designer.
    Etcetera etcetera.

  59. #60 Corey Schlueter
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs:

    The dog to cat/cat to dog analogy is a common misunderstanding of evolution. These two species along with humans have a common ancestor, a mammal.

  60. #61 Nerdette
    April 19, 2008

    @ 49 –
    I agree with you partially. Wall Drug was depressing to say the least, but I had to do a lot in the name of the infamous UChicago Scav Hunt (including ride a Jackalope). But I would revisit the Black Hills and Badlands in a heartbeat.

  61. #62 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Save some for the rest of the herd of totally non-evolving scrapie-lesioned sheep.

    well said.

    don’t fill up on appetizers.

  62. #63 Reginald Selkirk
    April 19, 2008

    “Expelled” gets a negative review from the Waco Tribune. Do you happen to know this “P.Z. Meyers” they mention?

  63. #64 flame821
    April 19, 2008

    Actually, if things had an intelligent designer, I would expect the world to look much more like IKEA.

    Simple, clean lines. No excessive and useless garnishing, no junk DNA; just clean and sparse with no left over, useless (vestigial) parts (like the appendix) …

  64. #65 Sili
    April 19, 2008

    Re: dog-cats. We have those in Danish actually.

    It’s only because ‘female’ and ‘dog’ sound alike, though – /hun/ and /hun?/ respectively. But it does mean that in Danish a female cat is a ‘hunkat’.

  65. #66 Gary Bohn
    April 19, 2008

    Raven@48

    Just to waylay the typical creationist response that the artificial selection of dogs by humans has not produced a new species of dog in all the years we have been intelligently designing them, the selection process we use, just as in nature, is not designed to produce novel features but to restrict the variance in a specific breed. Only occasionally will a mutation produce something of interest to a breeder (munchkin cats), or will a breeder attempt to produce something new, and even then changes are small and targeted.

    The vast majority of dog breeding (and cat breeding) is designed to limit change, not produce it.

  66. #67 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    What’s “bitch” in danish?

  67. #68 Patricia C.
    April 19, 2008

    Please PZ do take some care for your self and your families security. If that news article about you was released here in redneck of the woods, Oregon and you lived here – you would be in the crosshairs.
    Having said that, I’ll now retire to my corner, lick my chops, sharpen my claws and purrrrrr over the feast to come.

  68. #69 harmfulguy
    April 19, 2008

    The meta meta meta meta meta designer had a meta meta meta meta meta meta designer.

    And from there, it’s turtles all the way down.

  69. #70 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    In the beginning, God said “Let there be turtles!”
    And it was good.
    “I like turtles”

  70. #71 michael fugate
    April 19, 2008

    James,
    Look at the work of Loren Rieseberg on hybridization in sunflower species. He and his collaborators have been able to recreate the hybrids that form new species in the lab.
    This is truly speciation in action and is documented genotypically and phenotypically.

  71. #72 Dan
    April 19, 2008

    But it does mean that in Danish a female cat is a ‘hunkat’.

    Posted by: Sili

    Damn! I’d kill for a good Danish right about now. I think a cheese Danish and a nice cup of tea, and then wait for the inevitable onslaught as that clown-car of a movie lets out.

  72. #73 sidelined
    April 19, 2008

    I have enjoyed watching the parade of silliness on the part of the “friends of Ben” episodes that have played out on the net,however, I seriously have no more left brain cells left to dole out either rational thought or even civil tongue to these people anymore.

    I will take any further enjoyment of this simply in following the events that may appear in the courts over the theft of copyright and simply ignore the rantings of those that,having viewed the film, feel they are now qualified to make statements out of ignorance.

    To those that feel they will ever be able to remove the foundations and structure of the theory of evolution I can only say… Molon Labe.

  73. #74 JRQ
    April 19, 2008

    Paley:

    “What are the conditions under which you would find it reasonable to infer that creature was indeed the creation of a God?”

    Perhaps if you explain how exactly God creates, and how exactly his methods of creation differ from well-known, well-described mechanisms of biological evolution, we might know what to look for. Until then, we don’t really have enough to go on.

    “That is, what are the general features that indicate design? Are they not complexity, utility, and organization?”

    Well if they are, then I’m afraid the “god” hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself from plain-old naturalistic, mutation+selection, which most certainly does generate these features.

    Here is one you can answer for me:

    If I can have complexity, utility, and organization without “God”, what bloody use is he?

  74. #75 Paul Burnett
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs asked: “Has anyone every actually observed spieces to species evolution. …I would love to know when and where this happened, and where I might be able to see the evidence, so that I might look at that information.

    This may help you, James: Please read http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2007/ZZ/47_meet_padian39s_critters_5_3_2007.asp – the transcript of Dr. Padian’s testimony and his slideshow provide answers you may be able to understand. Please let us know what you think after you have looked at this material.

  75. #76 Loudon is a Fool
    April 19, 2008

    Expelled, refreshingly, does not focus on the question of whether it is neo-Darwinism or ID that accurately describes the origin of the species. It’s about the intolerance, bigotry, arrogance, and ignorance on display by the likes of Messrs. Myers and Dawkins.

    There was an unfortunate period (and a brief one) in the history of religion where religion and philosophy were at odds with science and philosophies rooted in empiricism, and religion arguably played the part of the bully (owing mostly to the influence of heretical sects). We have entered a new unfortunate period where religion and science are again at odds, and, not surprisingly, the heretical sects are still doing the persecuting.

    The message of Expelled is that dogmatic atheism poisons good science, and its truncated understanding of human nature and human possibility is dangerous. We have seen historically what happens when scientific materialism triumphs over a belief in the soul. It leads to great tenderness and love for humanity. And as Walker Percy has noted, tenderness leads to the gas chambers.

    So good luck with that, gents.

  76. #77 Psycho Atheist
    April 19, 2008

    To this day I am still amazed that individuals can sit at a computer and type such uninformed drivel as James. Do Christians (TM) have some sort of theistic firewall* that prevents them from actually accessing the myriad of information available on the WWW that would educate them and just possibly bring them into the 21st century?

    *Of course I know that people like James are born with an inbuilt theistic firewall kindly provided by their ‘Intelligent Designer’.

  77. #78 cff
    April 19, 2008

    #75 must be a hoax, right? But, it does remind me of how even Kepler, who had really wacky views about religion, still had to, perhaps anachronistically, divorce those views from his calculations. Science is best done independently of religious conviction, whatever the motivation for doing the science may be.

  78. #79 Sili
    April 19, 2008

    What’s “bitch” in danish?

    Posted by: Amplexus

    ‘Hunhund’ /hun.hun?/ – literally ‘shedog’. But if you want all the connotations it’s ‘tve’ (works for cats too, actually).

    More Danish!

  79. #80 iwdw
    April 19, 2008

    #75 needs to try harder to troll. You can’t get serious responses by going that far off the deep end.

  80. #81 Corey
    April 19, 2008

    @ Loudon is a Fool:

    1. There is no such thing as “dogmatic” atheism. Atheists have no dogma. Atheists think the dogma of religion is incorrect, but this is hardly dogma itself.

    2. “It’s about the intolerance, bigotry, arrogance, and ignorance on display by the likes of Messrs. Myers and Dawkins.” -Intolerance, bigotry, arrogance, and ignorance are four words I would use to describe religious fanatics, not Dawkins or Myers.

    If you consider science’s rejection of ridiculous ideas to be intolerance, you need to remember that science is not operated as a democracy. Good ideas survive, and bad ones (intelligent design) are dismissed. With good reason.

  81. #82 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    In the beginning, God said “Let there be turtles!”
    And it was good.
    “I like turtles”

    actually, looking around he more likely said he likes beetles.

  82. #83 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    actually, looking around he more likely said he likes beetles.

    I was thinking bacteria.

  83. #84 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    There was an unfortunate period (and a brief one)

    yeah, right, tell it to the people trying to get the legislatures in Florida, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas (among others) to actually change the definition of science itself so that “astrology” would be considered science too.

    can you morons do anything but project?

  84. #85 Kia D
    April 19, 2008

    #81 “actually, looking around he more likely said he likes beetles”

    or nematodes – lots and lots of nematodes…

  85. #86 john abbott
    April 19, 2008

    Thanks for the link to sunclipse.org; hopefully that info will be incorporated into the expelledexposed.com WWW site as well.

    What a long and sobering list.

  86. #87 Ian H Spedding FCD
    April 19, 2008

    James Briggs wrote:

    I only have one question Dr. Myers. Has anyone every actually observed spieces to species evolution. In other words have we ever watched one kind of animal like a dog become another kind of animal like a cat.

    No, “we” haven’t, because none of us live for hundreds of thousands of years.

    That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, though, does it?

    No one alive to day saw the Battle of Gettysburg or the War of Independence. Does that mean they never happened?

    Are you claiming that if we ourselves do not observe something directly, it does not exist?

    I do not expect an answer, by the way.

  87. #88 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    The message of Expelled is that dogmatic atheism poisons good science

    no, it isn’t.

    you at least have to start off with what the movie purports to represent if you wish to be taken at all seriously.

    there is NOTHING in the movie that shows atheism working against good science.

    not a goddamn thing.

  88. #89 CalGeorge
    April 19, 2008

    “I only have one question Dr. Myers. Has anyone every actually observed spieces to species evolution.”

    They are so desperate for evidence when it comes to evolution, so unconcerned about evidence when it comes to “God”.

  89. #90 Aegis
    April 19, 2008

    “we’ll eventually get around to dismantling your ludicrous claims.”

    PZ, this is pretty big of you, since you seem to give them hope that this hasn’t already happened! Every ludicrous claim has already been dismantled, and has been for decades or more. They just haven’t the education and/or intelligence to know it yet.

  90. #91 John B. Sandlin
    April 19, 2008

    As posted by harmfulguy on April 19, 2008 9:56 PM

    The meta meta meta meta meta designer had a meta meta meta meta meta meta designer.

    And from there, it’s turtles all the way down.

    Nice – but I think it might be “And from there, it’s Meta+…+Meta Designers” all the way down.

    My Meta-Designer is bigger than your Meta-Designer! :P

    JBS

  91. #92 William Paley
    April 19, 2008

    Ichthyic writes:

    How does an anthropologist go about determining whether a particular artifact is man-made? If you spend a little time figuring out what the answer is that question, your original question will also be answered.

    Oh, but I anticipated this in my original post. Complexity, utility, and organization are the signs of design for an anthropologist. We see this in nature. Thus, I infer that we have a designer.

    Steve_C writes:

    An organism that is genetically impossible to have evolved from any current life form or share an ancestry with a previous life form.

    Is that the way you always use to infer design, Steve? You see whether a thing is impossible to have arisen from a previous design? Seems unreasonable (and disingenuous) from the start.

    Falyne writes:

    There is no proof against the universe being designed. There *can* be no proof against it. You are fully justified in believing that the world was created last Thursday if you so wish.

    Really? I’m justified, am I? So you’re saying there’s no way to argue against the design inference? So it is meaningless for me to infer from its complexity that my computer was designed, is it? And from the lack of complexity in rocks that they weren’t designed? That is not reasonable to you?

    Science can *only* deal with the natural world; it’s part of the definition.

    Well, that’s what I’m asking you: What signs in the natural world indicates design? Now do we find these signs in nature? Yes or no?

    amk writes:

    Can we not also infer design in the designer? Does it not also display complexity, utility, organisation?

    What’s this? You’ve found the designer?! Then by all means, let us investigate his parts and determine whether they are designed! Where can I investigate this designer you have found? Seriously now.

    JRQ writes:

    Perhaps if you explain how exactly God creates…

    But I don’t know. What I am asking is, How do we generally infer human design in the everyday world? Then, let us apply the same principles to the natural world and see whether it is not reasonable to make an analogous inference. This seems a plainly scientific venture, wouldn’t you say?

    If I can have complexity, utility, and organization without “God”, what bloody use is he?

    To answer, allow me to restate your question: If you can explain all of civilization by appealing to natural processes, what bloody use is it to invoke the existence of humans to explain civilization? The answer in both cases is, Well, perhaps none…, but the question remains, Are we getting at the truth?

  92. #93 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Complexity, utility, and organization are the signs of design for an anthropologist. We see this in nature. Thus, I infer that we have a designer.

    *buzz*

    that’s only PART of the answer.

    here’s why…

    We see this in nature. Thus, I infer that we have a designer.

    If i see a dam across a river, am I to infer that humans built it?

    why or why not?

    How does an anthropologist determine whether something has utility?

    well?

    I know I can get you there eventually.

  93. #94 gleaner63
    April 19, 2008

    As a former history teacher at the high school level we would sometimes discuss the topic of why historians got things wrong. For example, why were the Hitites of the Old Testament once considered mythical when now they are accepted as historical?
    Secondly, why do people themselves sometimes misread what now to us seems so obvious? During one class, the students were divided into American and Japanese military leaders leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. “Intelligence” reports were then given to both sides. To the group that played the Americans, none of the information given to them led any of them to finally suspect an attack on their naval base. The point is that people make mistakes and perhaps more intriguing is why. During our Pearl Harbor class the Americans misread all of the intelligence and the “Japanese” side didn’t beleive a surprise attack was workable.
    Here are two recent examples to ponder; a Boston University geologist, Robert Schoch, believes the Sphinx is far older than originally assumed. A well known Egyptologist responded that this was impossible; “…there are no surprises left for us to discover…”. Item 2; there has been much controversy over something referred to as the “Topper site”. It’s an archaelogical dig on the SC/Ga border and deals with the earliest inhabitants of the New World. The lead archaeologiost at the Topper site, Dr. Goodyear, thinks his discoveries may push back the dates of the peopling of the Americas back tens of thousands of years, well past the “Clovis Horizon”. When another archaelogist was asked how any such information could have been overlooked, he simply responded; “…because nobody looked…”. The point I’m trying to make by all of this is we often learn more about things when we fail than when we are successful. My respectful question to those who are evolutionists is this; if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct, there is no common descent and the earth is young, where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes? Methodology? Bias? Misreading of data? Comments please.

  94. #95 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    Actually, Aegis I’ve noticed a strange new type of ID argument lately that I haven’t heard before and actually has me stumped. It goes something like “What if nested hierarchies didn’t exist?” Would evolution still be valid?
    or “what if the planets were arranged in a perfect cubic grid” would gravity have been united by newton?”

    My mind can’t bend like that since I don’t take LSD anymore. I just can’t answer questions like that because if one thing in the natural order of things was different, wouldn’t the ratios of the forces of nature ALL have t be different to keep matter and energy from just flying apart?

    I just see everything that’s observed as being a manifestation of the laws of physics.

  95. #96 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    What I am asking is, How do we generally infer human design in the everyday world? Then, let us apply the same principles to the natural world and see whether it is not reasonable to make an analogous inference. This seems a plainly scientific venture, wouldn’t you say?

    No, I wouldn’t say so. You’re extrapolating human design to non-human processes and potential designers, and there’s no reason to engage in such anthropomorphization. Additionally, complexity isn’t a useful hallmark–ever seen chopsticks or a fork or a good knife? Useful, but hardly complex.

    nature isn’t an engineer.

  96. #97 iwdw
    April 19, 2008

    #93:

    If, for the sake of argument, you beat your wife, where would you hit her? The face? The stomach? Would you break her arm or her leg? Please, tell us.

  97. #98 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Perhaps if you explain how exactly God creates…

    But I don’t know.

    and there lies the rub.

    until you DO know, we can’t even begin to formulate a testable hypothesis as to whether or not projected deity might have had a hand in something.

    An anthropologist has living examples to work from.

    so, the idea of supernatural design is an entirely vacuous non-starter.

    Now, the moment Mr. Spock comes down to inform us how aliens have adjusted biologic processes, or Zuess appears to inform us where and when and how he created pegasi, or your judeo-xian projection manifests and explains how it works in the world, come back and ask your question again.

    but then it will be science.

  98. #99 APJ
    April 19, 2008

    @ John B Sandlin

    How does an anthropologist go about determining whether a particular artifact is man-made? If you spend a little time figuring out what the answer is that question, your original question will also be answered.


    Oh, but I anticipated this in my original post. Complexity, utility, and organization are the signs of design for an anthropologist. We see this in nature. Thus, I infer that we have a designer.

    I don’t believe that you did anticipate this at all you glib ninny.

    To whit: An anthropologist finds an artefact.
    Complexity, utility, and organisation are the signs of design for an anthropologist.
    The artefact shows complexity, utility and organisation.
    Therefore the anthropologist knows that the artefact is designed.

    You claim that nature is designed. Because nature shows complexity, utility and organisation.
    How then can an anthropologist tell an artefact from a natural object?

    He cannot using your criteria…

  99. #100 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    what bloody use is it to invoke the existence of humans to explain civilization?

    simple:

    we exist.

  100. #101 APJ
    April 19, 2008

    Ooops,

    # 98 should start @ William Paley.
    Now who’s a ninny?

  101. #102 Aegis
    April 19, 2008

    Wow, Will Paley! I would have thought that after being dead and all (and possibly in the realm of the holy spirit or what have you) that you might have obtained a better argumentitive position by now. In any case, welcome back from the dead.

    In any case, this is hilarious:
    “So it is meaningless for me to infer from its complexity that my computer was designed, is it? And from the lack of complexity in rocks that they weren’t designed? That is not reasonable to you?”

    …since you seem to imply with this that god/designer/whatever designed only “complex” things. In actuality, he would have had to designed a rock as carefully as a rhino, if not more so. In fact, “designing” a set of universal laws that would allow energy to condensate into matter, forming stars needed to form even heavier elements that form eventual ‘rocks’, which in turn contain the elements that are used to make further designs, seems quite a bit harder to me – not to mention needing an explanation for the designer to begin with, which is always hand-waved away by creationists.

    Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that, since ID is non-intellectual, shallow rubbish.

  102. #103 pcarini
    April 19, 2008

    Anyone who says rocks aren’t complex hasn’t looked at one closely enough.

  103. #104 Tyler DiPietro
    April 19, 2008

    “So it is meaningless for me to infer from its complexity that my computer was designed, is it?”

    It is, actually. We infer such facts because of our preexisting familiarity with its history, use and manufacturing process, all of which were created in comparatively recent history by humans. You infer nothing from its “complexity”.

    It’s also worth mentioning that such devices are distinct from biological organisms in very important ways, such as the fact they do not reproduce (on their own) or inherit traits from their ancestors.

  104. #105 John B. Sandlin
    April 19, 2008

    #91 where William Paley on April 19, 2008 10:33 PM said:

    Oh, but I anticipated this in my original post. Complexity, utility, and organization are the signs of design for an anthropologist. We see this in nature. Thus, I infer that we have a designer.

    Where you see complexity, we see 1,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 trial and error experiments.

    By the way, I made that number up. We don’t actually know the number of trial and error experiments. But given 4,500,000,000 years (x 365 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds x however many reactions per second * the number of simultaneous reactions possible…. and so on) – it’s bound to be a really large number. There isn’t a one and done or anything like it. Of course during the time I wrote this, there have probably been a few billion more trial and error experiments around the world.

    Now, the reason we don’t see a designer in all this complexity? Maybe because we’d give that designer a failing grade for work presented if such a designer turned our genome in as homework.

    JBS

  105. #106 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes? Methodology? Bias? Misreading of data? Comments please.

    holy crap, but that would be a fucking LONG list that included things like:

    mineralogy
    geology
    radiometrics
    genetics
    physics
    chemistry
    ….

    note I’m not even including things related to biology itself.

    In short, you’d have to scrap about half of everything science has learned in general over the last 500 years.

    does you question seem silly at this point?

    if not, go here before you ask again:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46

  106. #107 raven
    April 19, 2008

    My respectful question to those who are evolutionists is this; if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct, there is no common descent and the earth is young, where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes? Methodology? Bias? Misreading of data? Comments please.

    That is just silly. Evolution is consistent with all other sciences whereas creationism conflicts with all of them, physics, astronomy, geology, paleontology etc.. If we got it all wrong, we would still be living in the Dark Ages and dying at 40.

    Science works whether you believe in it or not. Your car starts, the computer boots up, antibiotics work, your tap water won’t kill you in a few days, space ships still launch into orbit, pathogens and pests evolve resistance to whatever we treat them with.

  107. #108 russell
    April 19, 2008

    @93

    sorry, there’s no reason to grant that creationists are correct because there is so much evidence to the contrary, hence this is not a line of thought worth pursuing.

    One might as well discuss “for the sake of argument let’s assume that the moon is made of green cheese, which bacteria caused the cheese to become green and how many mouse-years would it take to convert it into murine waste?”

  108. #109 Amplexus
    April 19, 2008

    JBS, I’m actually quite satisfied with my own genetic complexity. I give god a B+

  109. #110 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    If, for the sake of argument, you beat your wife, where would you hit her? The face? The stomach? Would you break her arm or her leg? Please, tell us.

    Is Paley still beating his wife?

    tsk, tsk.

  110. #111 semi
    April 19, 2008

    #93

    For example, why were the Hitites of the Old Testament once considered mythical when now they are accepted as historical?

    They weren’t considered “mythical” in the sense that a unicorn is consider mythical. There were no scientists claiming that the Hittites never existed. Science, through the field of archaeology, demonstrated their existence. When evidence surfaced, science accept their existence.

    there has been much controversy over something referred to as the “Topper site”. It’s an archaelogical dig on the SC/Ga border and deals with the earliest inhabitants of the New World. The lead archaeologiost at the Topper site, Dr. Goodyear, thinks his discoveries may push back the dates of the peopling of the Americas back tens of thousands of years, well past the “Clovis Horizon”.

    The Topper site is far from accepted in mainstream archaeology. The so-called evidence is very weak. Nothing has been positively demonstrated.

    My respectful question to those who are evolutionists is this; if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct, there is no common descent and the earth is young, where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes?

    Ah, I was wondering when you’d get to the money question. This is a stupid hypothetical. The question you should be asking is “which theory has more evidence in support of it?” Nothing else matters.

    You’d might as well ask, “But what if the moon was REALLY made of green cheese, wouldn’t that be a problem for our astronauts if they don’t wear cheese-proof boots?”

    or

    “What if gravity just suddenly turned off? Would that affect property values in my neighborhood?”

  111. #112 Aegis
    April 19, 2008

    Amplexus (#94)
    The reason that you are stumped is likely because the arguments are so fatuous. The Obvious answer is that wonderful Dawkins summation of all such arguments:

    “If things had been different, then things would be different!”

    Sometimes, an argument is so insipid that it just shocks an intelligent person. If the Orbits were cubic (a ridiculous concept anyway), then Newton wouldn’t exist, or anything else resembling humans for that matter. If ‘nested hierarchies’ didn’t exist, and we saw dogs giving birth to fish, then evolution would be proven false. We never, ever see this, so it can be dismissed (like all of ID) out of hand.

    Why not ask them this question back: If I had blonde hair, would I still then have brown hair?

  112. #113 semi
    April 19, 2008

    Damn, Russell…you beat me with the moon cheese analogy!

  113. #114 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    The reason that you are stumped is likely because the arguments are so fatuous.

    I find myself posting this a lot this week:

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

  114. #115 russell
    April 19, 2008

    and I was about to ask you, semi, to join me in spreading the green cheese theory of lunology. Actually, let’s call it a law instead of a theory. sounds better.

  115. #116 John B. Sandlin
    April 19, 2008

    #100 as posted by: APJ on April 19, 2008 10:48 PM said:

    Ooops,
    # 98 should start @ William Paley.
    Now who’s a ninny?

    I wondered how I got attached to that – since 1) I didn’t quote Ichthyic, and 2) my response to W. Paley came later that yours…

    So, are we getting so dyslexic we’re trying to disprove doG, yet?

    JBS

  116. #117 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    I’m rather fond of this, myself.

  117. #118 rmp
    April 19, 2008

    What type of crackers are best served with green cheese? Should it be warm or cool?

  118. #119 Ooparts
    April 19, 2008

    This hasn’t been said yet in this thread, but it should be noted that weakening one position does not automatically strengthen another position.

    More specifically, even if the creators of Expelled and those of like minds succeeded in eroding the theory of natural selection as a means for the development of diversity of life on this planet through their shallow pokings based on limited understanding and personal biases, their counter-proposal of “magic man dun it!” would not become any less ridiculous.

  119. #120 APJ
    April 19, 2008

    @ John B Sandlin

    I’ve got no beef with doG, as long as he keeps his (wet sniffy) nose out of my business.

  120. #121 Screechy Monkey
    April 19, 2008

    “if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct, there is no common descent and the earth is young, where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes? Methodology? Bias? Misreading of data? Comments please”

    If, for the sake of argument we grant that the moon is made of cheese, what kind of cheese would it be?

    To answer more seriously: there would have to be multiple errors on a massive scale in varying fields like genetics, paleontology, geology, astronomy, radiology, etc. That’s precisely why evolution is such a well-established theory; there’s not just a lot of evidence for it, there’s a lot of separate sources of evidence.

    And “bias” just doesn’t cut it as an explanation. There have been, what, thousands, tens of thousands, maybe more, scientists in these fields who would LOVE to upend the scientific consensus. Some of them would want to do so for religious reasons, some for self-interested reasons (getting published, getting tenure, winning prizes and fame and fortune), some for the sheer thrill of discovering something new.

  121. #122 Reginald
    April 19, 2008

    James, it’s really very common to have questions about evolution! At it’s deepest it’s a very complex science with very specialised information. But as complex as it gets, I like to think it’s still very simple to understand the basic underlying principles.

    For example, let’s take this whole macroevolution/microevolution thing creationists love to bring up. Now creationists like to say they accept microevolution, small changes, but not macroeveolution – big changes. They are, actually, one in the same.

    Think of it this way. Say you have a blank mr. potatohead, now add a plastic ear – Creationists accept this small change. Add another ear – creationists acccept this small change. Add eyes – a small change that creationists accept, and finally a hat and some feet. Creationists acccept that each minor change can occur, but we’re at a drastically different species than what we started with! Of course, evolution doesn’t work quite so cleanly or simplistically, but you get the point.

    A person starts at one side of the yard and in the snow takes 10 steps to another side of the yard. Creationists accept that each individual footprint in the snow occured, but won’t accept that the person who walked is now in a different place from where he began.

  122. #123 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    and I was about to ask you, semi, to join me in spreading the green cheese theory of lunology. Actually, let’s call it a law instead of a theory. sounds better.

    google fu says:

    http://www.planetfusion.co.uk/~pignut/cheese.html

  123. #124 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    What type of crackers are best served with green cheese? Should it be warm or cool?

    I’m fond of some simple cracked pepper water crackers. I think that if you first coat the cheese with herbes de provence, and then wrap it in phyllo and bake it for about 10 or so minutes at 350….well, you’ll have a very nice time.

    If you serve it cold, I’d recommend apple and pear slices, and a few fresh berries.

    And always a nice red wine…..and avoid creationists for a particularly nice evening.

  124. #125 Screechy Monkey
    April 19, 2008

    Hmm… seems that while I was typing my response, the question was answered. Green cheese.

  125. #126 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    More specifically, even if the creators of Expelled and those of like minds succeeded in eroding the theory of natural selection as a means for the development of diversity of life on this planet through their shallow pokings based on limited understanding and personal biases, their counter-proposal of “magic man dun it!” would not become any less ridiculous.

    from the wedge document:

    The objective (of the wedge strategy) is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.'”

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

  126. #127 Joshua Arnold
    April 19, 2008

    @118

    Exactly. Prime example of the False Dichotomy fallacy.

    Even without their destruction by the evidence (which is thorough), most ID arguments fail the tests of plain old logic.

  127. #128 semi
    April 19, 2008

    and I was about to ask you, semi, to join me in spreading the green cheese theory of lunology.

    There’s plenty of cheese to go around! Screechy Monkey joined the party too.

  128. #129 rjb
    April 19, 2008

    @93 (gleaner63)

    In an attempt to seriously answer your question, evolutionary theory IS constantly being questioned. Right now, as we speak, while this thread is going on, there is a conference at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at Santa Barbara that has brought in lots of people to discuss the underlying principles behind the evolution of the brain. Having spoken with individuals attending the conference, I can assure you that there are TONS of people questioning different evolutionary ideas. People thinking WAAAAY outside the box of the current thinking of evolutionary biology are there tackling some very difficult problems (how, and why, did a very large brain evolve?). There are spirited debates, disagreements, new ideas, and all sorts of inquiry ongoing. So your question makes no sense.

    Evolution did not stop with Darwin. We know so much more now than we did then. The difference between the questioning that is going on at the Kavli Institute, and the so-called questioning that is going on regarding intelligent design, is that the questioning going on in the scientific community is based on data, analysis, evidence, and interpretation… NOT dogma.

    Oh, and to show you that this doesn’t happen in some sort of wierd secret society, these talks are all available as podcasts online below:

    http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/activities/auto2/?id=836

  129. #130 thalarctos
    April 19, 2008

    Speaking of food, I miss your blog, Jeff–I was going to try some of your canning recipes, but didn’t get to it before you took it down. :(

  130. #131 russell
    April 19, 2008

    Thanks Ichthyic!

    semi, our Law not only has Evidence, but it is gaining in popularity!!! In just a few minutes rmp, Ichthyic, and Screechy Monkey have recognized it!!!!! But the best is that even MAJeff is on board!!!!!!! He’s got a Molly, so we MUST BE ON TO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ok, I’ll stop hijacking the thread now. :)

  131. #132 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    Sorry thalarctos…I decided that in order to devote more time to finishing the dissertation I just needed to be rid of it, and deleting it altogether was the best way to accomplish that. I did make some chipotle-corn soup a couple weeks ago, and am thinking about a saag paneer-style spinach soup in the next week or so, and I’ll probably need more tomato-fennel (I’m always amazed that I managed to create a recipe that good). There’s no contact info on your blog, so I can send ‘em to ya…..

  132. #133 pcarini
    April 19, 2008

    So many predators, so few prey ;(

    William Paley, if you’re still around, what do you think of this quartz crystal designed?

    By your criteria:
    1) Complexity – It’s definitely complex, it’s created out of countless atoms of Si and O. The shape is remarkably complex.
    2) Utility – It’s pleasing to look at, and I’ve heard the ID argument that a painting implies a painter, so I’ll take it. It probably could be used as a weapon or a tool in a pinch..
    3) Organization – Big wins here, a countless number of Si and O atoms have to first combine to create molecules of SiO2, and then line up just right in order to get that crystalline structure.

    So, Mr. Paley, is that crystal designed or did it just form that way “completely at random” as you IDists like to say?

  133. #134 Stanton
    April 19, 2008

    semi, our Law not only has Evidence, but it is gaining in popularity!!!

    Green cheese, crackers, and red wine?

  134. #135 Sastra
    April 19, 2008

    “It’s about the intolerance, bigotry, arrogance, and ignorance on display by the likes of Messrs. Myers and Dawkins.”

    They compared religion to KNITTING!!! And said God was “highly improbable!”

    O the inhumanity!!! It’s another HOLOCAUST taking place right before our eyes!!!!

  135. #136 rmp
    April 19, 2008

    Hey Screechy Monkey, what was your nom de plume before the framing from hell thread over at ‘the intersection’? You not an existing Molly winner trying to collect yet again are you?

  136. #137 sangfroid
    April 19, 2008

    @94

    Actually, Aegis I’ve noticed a strange new type of ID argument lately that I haven’t heard before and actually has me stumped. It goes something like “What if nested hierarchies didn’t exist?” Would evolution still be valid?
    or “what if the planets were arranged in a perfect cubic grid” would gravity have been united by newton?”

    The problem with this is that it dabbles with hypothetical universes. These universes may or may not have been designed, and since they don’t actually exist we can’t demonstrate it either way. And also, since these are constructed hypotheticals that obviously go against the real world, they have no bearing on evolution/abiogenesis/cosmology.

  137. #138 John B. Sandlin
    April 19, 2008

    #108 as posted by: Amplexus on April 19, 2008 10:59 PM where they did say:

    JBS, I’m actually quite satisfied with my own genetic complexity. I give god a B+

    I may be somewhat biased in my grading.

    I have a chronic genetic disease that has no cure – it’s a race to see which kills me first, the disease or the drugs to treat the symptoms and perform the functions my body doesn’t want to do on its own. Hopefully the disease was caught early enough that the irreversible damage to my body is minor and I can look forward to another thirty years or so before I completely fall apart (that would be living a normal life span). If I’m really fortunate, a cure will be found by biologists (well educated in genetics and evolution) in the next few years and I can get off the drugs. Then they can start working on reversing the irreversible damage :-)

    JBS

  138. #139 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    He’s got a Molly

    *sniff*

    so do i…

  139. #140 Adrienne
    April 19, 2008

    @119: “Hell, if I were dyslexic, I’d even hate Dog too.”

  140. #141 rmp
    April 19, 2008

    JBS, always remember that it’s a loving god.

  141. #142 Sastra
    April 19, 2008

    My respectful question to those who are evolutionists is this; if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct, there is no common descent and the earth is young, where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes? Methodology? Bias? Misreading of data? Comments please.

    In your scenario, I think the biggest mistake the advocates of evolution would have made was in being tricked by the space aliens into thinking the virtual-reality hologram world they had been secretly trapped in was the real planet earth.

  142. #143 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    and am thinking about a saag paneer-style spinach soup in the next week or so, and I’ll probably need more tomato-fennel (I’m always amazed that I managed to create a recipe that good). There’s no contact info on your blog, so I can send ‘em to ya…..

    I have good spam filters, and I can forward it on to her (as well as enjoying it myself!):

    fisheyephotosAThotmailDOTcom

  143. #144 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    But the best is that even MAJeff is on board!!!!!!!

    For cheese? Fuck, yeah! Just don’t pasteurize my brie!

  144. #145 Derik N
    April 19, 2008

    I predict about 1k comments for this

  145. #146 craig
    April 19, 2008

    Helpful hint: criticizing someone’s ideas is not bigotry. It can be incorrect, or it can be correct, or it can be a matter of opinion depending on the particulars. But it’s not bigotry.

  146. #147 Tyler DiPietro
    April 19, 2008

    “He’s got a Molly”

    We wouldn’t have this problem if people would wear their “OM” tags…

  147. #148 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    So many predators, so few prey ;(

    a little surprising…

    I’m betting it will draw a bigger crowd tomorrow… after church.

    However, I’ve been thinking I need to go on a diet lately anyway.

    creationists are so full of sweet irony I’m worried about getting type II diabetes, too.

  148. #149 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    Ichthyic,

    There should be a recipe in your mailbox

  149. #150 thalarctos
    April 19, 2008

    There’s no contact info on your blog, so I can send ‘em to ya…..

    SQQUUUUEEEEEE!!!!

    researching.massage AT gmail DOT com

    /SQQUUUUEEEEEE!!!!

  150. #151 Falyne
    April 19, 2008

    There is no proof against the universe being designed. There *can* be no proof against it. You are fully justified in believing that the world was created last Thursday if you so wish.

    Really? I’m justified, am I? So you’re saying there’s no way to argue against the design inference? So it is meaningless for me to infer from its complexity that my computer was designed, is it? And from the lack of complexity in rocks that they weren’t designed? That is not reasonable to you?

    Yes.

    Yes, if you’re willing to accept supernatural explanations, you are justified in any and all lunacy.

    Correct, once we venture into the supernatural, science is invalidated.

    Complexity is really quite irrelevant as to whether a computer was designed; the important matters are the amount of evidence that points to human construction and the lack of an alternate theory.

    Complexity is also quite irrelevant to the ‘design’ of rocks; the fact that there’s no scientifically valid way for them to have been designed and the existence of naturalistic processes that would arrive at the same result IS!

    And, no, this whole debate isn’t reasonable at all.

  151. #152 William Paley
    April 19, 2008

    APJ writes:

    You claim that nature is designed. Because nature shows complexity, utility and organisation. How then can an anthropologist tell an artefact from a natural object?

    Easy: By distinguishing between God and humans. Are you suggesting that one cannot tell apart different authors of design simply because the criteria of the design is always the same? Surely you realize that the method for determining whether an object is designed is different from the method used to determine a creation’s designer, don’t you?

    Ichthyic writes:

    simple: we exist.

    Indeed, your answer is simply… Because it clearly begs the question. In the analogy, we are trying to infer whether civilization was created by intelligent designers or caused by natural processes, and you go straight to the conclusion that the inference was supposed to show. To make it more realistic and understandable, suppose that while travelling space together we were to come upon some abandoned civilization on another planet. We never see the creators of its cities, buildings, roadways, etc. But are we not still justified in making the inference that they indeed had designers? Or would you rather that we avoid the conclusion simply because we can create a narrative in which nature herself formed together the buildings and roadways?

    Aegis writes:

    In actuality, he would have had to designed a rock as carefully as a rhino, if not more so.

    No no, I am not taking it for granted that God designed anything, let alone rocks or the laws of the universe. What I am asking is, When is it reasonable to infer that God designed some thing? It seems to me that complexity, organization, and utility of function are good signs of design. Is that so unreasonable?

    pcarini writes:

    Anyone who says rocks aren’t complex hasn’t looked at one closely enough.

    Rocks have nothing like the complexity of life. That is my point. But let us even say rocks are complex; they still don’t meet the other two qualifications for a design inference, which are 1) honed utility for some specific function, and 2) organization.

    Tyler DiPietro writes:

    It is, actually [meaningless for me to infer design from complexity]. We infer such facts because of our preexisting familiarity with its history, use and manufacturing process, all of which were created in comparatively recent history by humans. You infer nothing from its “complexity”.

    Well, I should have added “organization” and “utility” to “complexity” as criteria, but your point is taken. But then, what if we are not familiar with an object’s history, use and manufacturing process at all? Take the case above (of discovering an abandoned civilization on another planet): are we not justified in inferring a designer simply because we aren’t familiar with the history of the buildings, or the alien race that ostensibly produced them? What is the difference between this case and the case of our looking out into nature for signs of design?

    John B. Sandlin writes:

    Now, the reason we don’t see a designer in all this complexity? Maybe because we’d give that designer a failing grade for work presented if such a designer turned our genome in as homework.

    Are you suggesting that since you personally aren’t satisfied with the quality of the design, that therefore there was no designer? Do you also expect teachers who do indeed give papers a failing grade to infer that those papers were therefore spun together by natural processes?

    pcarini writes:

    William Paley, if you’re still around, what do you think of this quartz crystal designed?

    I agree that it has organization, but I think it fails at meeting the criteria of complexity and utility. Yes, it is “useful” and “complex” in the senses that you mention, but those are true of all things. The utility that suggests a designer is one that is honed for a specific purpose, and the complexity that leads to a similar inference is one that includes multiple parts that work together to form some sort of mechanism. For those reasons, I think it is reasonable to avoid inferring design in the crystal.

  152. #153 Tyler DiPietro
    April 19, 2008

    Eh, crap. I’m in the wrong friggan thread.

    Ignore comment number 146…

  153. #154 Blake Stacey
    April 19, 2008

    So that’s why I suddenly had 2000 visits and a pile of comments.

  154. #155 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    We wouldn’t have this problem if people would wear their “OM” tags…

    but then I would be using an inconsistent pseudonym, and would be labeled a troll by Greg Laden!

    :p

    besides, it’s not like it’s hard to figure out who has one around here (there’s that big linky thing on the top o the page).

  155. #156 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    You too thalarctos.

  156. #157 Sili
    April 19, 2008

    Well, Ichtyic,

    If the diabetes gets you fast enough, you needn’t worry about being eaten first at least.

    I’m sorta looking forward to this. I’ve been here long enough that I feel a bit of responsibility in having to help clear the house of infestations. And I hope I’ve picked up enough knowledge to be able to do so.

    Of course, all you so much wittier and cleverer people are hard to compete with.

  157. #158 rmp
    April 19, 2008

    William Paley
    “Are you suggesting that since you personally aren’t satisfied with the quality of the design, that therefore there was no designer? ”

    Just that it was a poor designer!

    Are we now arguing about god’s competence?

    Ok, maybe he’s not a great designer but hey, give the guy a break, this is his first universe.

  158. #159 Adrienne
    April 19, 2008

    William Paley wrote:

    The utility that suggests a designer is one that is honed for a specific purpose…

    What is the specific purpose of rocks, then? Or crystals for that matter? Here you are arguing crystals aren’t designed, yet presumably crystals are part of the natural world that you are claiming could have been designed by a a “Designer”, yes?

    …and the complexity that leads to a similar inference is one that includes multiple parts that work together to form some sort of mechanism.

    Crystals are made up of multiple parts, in a lattice of atoms that can be pretty darn complex, actually.

    For those reasons, I think it is reasonable to avoid inferring design in the crystal.

    So you are shooting your own theory in the foot, then, essentially, claiming something that occurs naturally wasn’t “designed”. But if there is a Big Designer, shouldn’t he/she/it have played a part in designing crystals too? And rocks? Other things without a “finely honed” purpose?

  159. #160 John B. Sandlin
    April 19, 2008

    #125 where by Ichthyic posted on April 19, 2008 11:18 PM and said:

    More specifically, even if the creators of Expelled and those of like minds succeeded in eroding the theory of natural selection as a means for the development of diversity of life on this planet through their shallow pokings based on limited understanding and personal biases, their counter-proposal of “magic man dun it!” would not become any less ridiculous.
    from the wedge document:

    The objective (of the wedge strategy) is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to ‘the truth’ of the Bible and then ‘the question of sin’ and finally ‘introduced to Jesus.'”

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

    Thank you, Ichthyic, that probably needs to be said a lot – I may have to add that to my blog, too.

    To my view, if there were ever a pronouncement that should lead to atheism, this is it. If the faith cannot survive the acceptance of the Theory of Evolution, then such a faith is useless. The Discovery Institute is essentially claiming that God does not exist because the Theory of Evolution is so powerful no god or faith in a god can withstand it. I posit that a true faith and a true god would not only survive it would flourish.

    My reasoning? Simple – they’re quite fond of saying “The Truth shall set you free.” Since it is quite obvious from the geologic, genomic, and any other pertinent record, that Evolution does occur (whether the current Theory of Evolution is fully adequate to explain it or not), then that is a truth – and will set us free. If the Christian faith (at least that which requires a literal interpretation of Genesis) cannot abide the fact of Evolution… well that speaks for itself, doesn’t it.

    JBS

  160. #161 Stanton
    April 19, 2008

    Ichthyic, thalarctos, would it be possible if you could forward my recipes for squid and goldfish to MAJeff, too?
    {/off topic}

  161. #162 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    April 19, 2008

    Note that originally, greene cheese was a reference to an unripe cheese, which would have been white in colour.

    There, now the information resistant evolution doubters may have encountered something here that can get past their faith filter.

  162. #163 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Because it clearly begs the question.

    are you sure you understand what that means?

    here, let me help you:

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

    you really are a comic strip villain, aren’t you.

    In the analogy, we are trying to infer whether civilization was created by intelligent designers or caused by natural processes, and you go straight to the conclusion that the inference was supposed to show.

    no, one YOU were.

    two, it wasn’t an analogy.

    three, it wasn’t even the question you asked.

    move goalposts much?

    Well, I should have added “organization” and “utility” to “complexity” as criteria,

    you did. it still doesn’t help.

    But are we not still justified in making the inference that they indeed had designers?

    what you miss is that NOW you are inferring the design based on your own personal knowledge of HUMAN architecture.

    why is it so hard for this to get through that thick skull of yours?

    Last chance:

    If you ran across a dam of logs across a river, what would you infer as to how they got that way?

    why?

    How could you tell if your inference was accurate?

  163. #164 Sioux Laris
    April 19, 2008

    This thread looks pretty clean, but could I suggest an honor system promise not to attempt any parodies of the chockfullo’nuts crowd on this sort of “invitational” thread?

  164. #165 russell
    April 19, 2008

    Sorry, Ichthyic, I know you do and you even got it first. I realized it right after I hit post. I need to be more thorough in my research before I publish. Although that might inhibit the spread of the Law, so perhaps I’ll just skip the research. Seems to work so well for others….

  165. #166 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    Ichthyic, thalarctos, would it be possible if you could forward my recipes for squid and goldfish to MAJeff, too?

    not a problem on my end.

  166. #167 Derik N
    April 19, 2008

    “Ok, maybe he’s not a great designer but hey, give the guy a break, this is his first universe.”

    Nuh huh, you can’t prove it was his first!

  167. #169 MAJeff, OM
    April 19, 2008

    Squid?!

    As long as I don’t have to clean it…

  168. #170 Ichthyic
    April 19, 2008

    I need to be more thorough in my research before I publish.

    no, not at all. I think pure gut instinct will further the cause of Green Cheese just fine!

    carry on.

    :p

  169. #171 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @ William Paley
    Your “argument” is rubbish:

    1. I propose that this item is too complex to not be designed.
    2. Therefore it had a designer.
    3: The “design” is clearly not human
    4: Therefore the designer was not a human.
    5: Therefore Goddonit.
    6: Therefore there is a God.
    7: QED

    Or does it go more like this?:

    1: I believe in God.
    2: Therefore I must try to discredit all theories that don’t need God.

  170. #172 Stanton
    April 20, 2008

    Squid?!

    As long as I don’t have to clean it…

    Obviously, you don’t know me very well…
    Hehehehehe…

  171. #173 MAJeff, OM
    April 20, 2008

    got the goldfish and squid recipes :)

    This is turning into a bizarre thread; and I’ve developed this weird role here. I start by creating some drinking festivals and am now a recipe center. Well, i suppose there are much worse ways to spend life.

  172. #174 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    If the diabetes gets you fast enough, you needn’t worry about being eaten first at least.

    I don’t.

    I worry about NOT being eaten first.

    :)

    I wonder if the diabetes would make me taste sweeter?

  173. #175 Tyler DiPietro
    April 20, 2008

    “But then, what if we are not familiar with an object’s history, use and manufacturing process at all? Take the case above (of discovering an abandoned civilization on another planet): are we not justified in inferring a designer simply because we aren’t familiar with the history of the buildings, or the alien race that ostensibly produced them?”

    You wouldn’t be operating on complete ignorance. When talking about an “alien civilization” you merely stretching out already familiar, anthropomorphic concepts, not the highly generalized notion of “design”.

    “What is the difference between this case and the case of our looking out into nature for signs of design?”

    Two reasons:

    1. Because the “design” you speak of is too highly generalized to make specific predictions about what would be found.

    2. Because in most obvious cases you are drawing false inferences. The objects you are talking about do not reproduce, do not inherit traits from their ancestors and are subject to no natural selection pressure, where the opposite is true of biological organisms.

  174. #176 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    OK, all this talk about cheese and squid recipes is driving me crazy. What are these recipes (skip the goldfish).

  175. #177 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    If the faith cannot survive the acceptance of the Theory of Evolution, then such a faith is useless.

    hence why the Catholics are busily writing new apologetics on a monthly basis trying to reconcile.

    …and YES I even mean Ken Miller, but that’s a story for a different thread.

  176. #178 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    MAJeff, I wish I had your recipes, too. Unfortunately, my email address is pretty obviously name- and school- based, and I’m, heh, still desirous of maintaining pseudonymity. I’ll post it for a few minutes over at my place so I can delete it, I guess. ^_^

  177. #179 Stanton
    April 20, 2008

    OK, all this talk about cheese and squid recipes is driving me crazy. What are these recipes (skip the goldfish).

    Actually, the recipe is for shrimp dumplings that are shaped to looking celestial-eyed goldfish… The Chinese stopped eating (domestic) goldfish centuries ago.

  178. #180 Sastra, OM (ok I put it on)
    April 20, 2008

    Paley’s analogy simply doesn’t work. How do you tell the difference between an artificial man-made rabbit and a natural rabbit? You look for signs of artifice and intentional design: are there stitches holding the fur on, is it filled with organs or with cotton, and so forth. We know what natural rabbits look like, and what artificially constructed ones look like. If we have an object which could, on first observation, be either, we look at it more closely to see which category it falls under.

    You cannot then go on and use the same criteria on the original natural rabbit we knew wasn’t artificially constructed to see if it is really an artificial natural rabbit. Artificial Natural?

    We have no examples to work with in the third “artificial natural” category, and no idea what the heck to look for.

  179. #181 Tyler DiPietro
    April 20, 2008

    “besides, it’s not like it’s hard to figure out who has one around here (there’s that big linky thing on the top o the page).”

    That would take way too much energy for me.

    :P

  180. #182 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Well, i suppose there are much worse ways to spend life.

    certainly less productive.

    e.g., bothering to respond to someone calling himself “Paley”.

  181. #183 Blake Stacey
    April 20, 2008

    Hey, I hope you guys don’t mind, but I closed comments on my “expelled for being an evolutionist” thread and directed everybody back here. I just don’t have the time or the energy to mediate troll-heavy discussions right now. In fact, what I’d really like is a week’s vacation from science blogging. Ben Stein and his craptacular movie couldn’t have come at a worse time for my personal schedule. . . .

  182. #184 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    now your telling me the recipe includes shrimp, fsm, I must know this recipe!

  183. #185 MAJeff, OM
    April 20, 2008

    OK, a couple people have asked about it, so here’s the tomato-fennel soup recipe I mentioned. If you can, like I do, put it in pint jars and process at 10psi for 15 minutes.

    [/obsessive off topic foodie]
    [return to creo-bashing]

  184. #186 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    That would take way too much energy for me.

    what’s the point of getting a “major award” (hearkens back to the plastic woman’s leg-lamp in “Christmas Story”) if one can’t force the peons to do some extra work?

    :P

  185. #187 thalarctos
    April 20, 2008

    I wonder if the diabetes would make me taste sweeter?

    Well, you know how they used to diagnose it pre-blood tests, and why they call the diseases “diabetes mellitus” and “diabetes insipidus” respectively, right? So the answer would seem to be yes.

    (if you haven’t encountered this, briefly, doctors used to taste the patient’s urine–sweet urine meant diabetes mellitus [from the word for "honey"]; relatively tasteless urine was “insipidus”.)

  186. #188 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Hooray for MAJeff!

  187. #189 JakeS
    April 20, 2008

    I picked a good day to start reading Pharyngula again…

  188. #190 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    What the easiest/soonest way of determining the opening weekend success (or lack thereof) of the movie?

  189. #191 molliebatmit
    April 20, 2008

    rjb, #128:
    Holy cow, that talk schedule looks totally awesome. I’m going to have to watch some of those lectures, and I’m going to have to share the link with my labmates.

  190. #192 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    My only excuse is that I have no brains on the weekend.
    I only just twigged who “William Paley” was following Ichthyic’s comment at #181.

    The watchmaker guy…

    Christ. Our “William Paley” has taken the baton from the original WP and is running with it. But where is he running?

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

  191. #193 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #151 William Paley on April 19, 2008 11:47 PM did post:

    John B. Sandlin writes:

    Now, the reason we don’t see a designer in all this complexity? Maybe because we’d give that designer a failing grade for work presented if such a designer turned our genome in as homework.

    Are you suggesting that since you personally aren’t satisfied with the quality of the design, that therefore there was no designer? Do you also expect teachers who do indeed give papers a failing grade to infer that those papers were therefore spun together by natural processes?

    Actually, I’m suggesting no intelligence was involved.

    Also, one need not infer a designer when natural processes are sufficient. You claim it’s too complex for nature. I claim it isn’t. I claim no intelligence was involved in creating the complexity. If a paper is turned in by a student that then receives a failing grade, does that not imply intelligence was not involved in creating the paper (or at least insufficient intelligence).

    So, our creators, who are outside the universe, hollow be their name, are supposed to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. So why such poor work on the various credited designs? I only see sufficient complexity to be accounted for by trial and error, no specific design, no intelligent plan, no vast and powerful creation – just nature taking its course.

    Now, the Big Bang and the alignment of all the proper specific constants of the universe – that might have a chance in my grading system. Might. I’m an agnostic on that, however.

    If I survive a car accident – how am I lucky? I’d have been much better off if said accident never happened! If I’m in a plane crash where 20 people died and I’m the lone survivor – how am I lucky? We’d all twenty one of us have been better off if the plane had not crashed! If I beat the odds and am one of the few to have a specific genetic disorder how am I lucky? I’d be better off never having the disease to begin with!

    Evolution isn’t about luck. Evolution isn’t about chance. Evolution isn’t about miracles. Yes there are things that happen randomly – but the non-random factors drive the apparent complexity, the against all odds results. Your god is an awesome god. Mine is awesomer.

    JBS

  192. #194 Screechy Monkey
    April 20, 2008

    “Oh, and to show you that this [serious discussions of evolution] doesn’t happen in some sort of wierd secret society….”

    for that matter, some of my favorite parts of Dawkins’s book The Ancestor’s Tale were the ones that discussed some of the “live issues” being debated (e.g. bipedalism). I think one of the reasons I’ve become more interested in science in recent years is that I have a better appreciation for science as an ongoing process rather than just a textbook full of facts and equations.

    @rmp: I used to go by “jdb,” which I was never very happy with as there appears to be a “jd” and a “jb” around here as well. So I was pleased to grab my new monkey moniker.

  193. #195 Master Mahan
    April 20, 2008

    Well, that second list looks decidedly more substantial, but then I freely admit my strong bias against self-deception.

  194. #196 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    (if you haven’t encountered this, briefly, doctors used to taste the patient’s urine–sweet urine meant diabetes mellitus [from the word for "honey"]; relatively tasteless urine was “insipidus”.)

    ah, so then that 15 year old in R. Kelly’s apartment was doing.

    She was just testing him for diabetes…

    http://www.kewego.com/video/iLyROoaftMlk.html

  195. #197 Dan
    April 20, 2008

    Damn, Russell…you beat me with the moon cheese analogy!

    Posted by: semi

    Moon-Cheese simulpost, FTW!

    I never thought I’d see it here. I think I can now die a happy man.

  196. #198 semi
    April 20, 2008

    What the easiest/soonest way of determining the opening weekend success (or lack thereof) of the movie?

    Here’s a pretty good site:

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=expelled.htm

  197. #199 William Paley
    April 20, 2008

    rmp writes:

    Just that it was a poor designer!

    Alright, fair enough. That is a subjective opinion with which I am comfortable for the moment. All I am arguing is whether there was a designer. I’m not arguing anything about that designer’s ostensible qualities yet.

    Adrienne writes:

    Here you are arguing crystals aren’t designed, yet presumably crystals are part of the natural world that you are claiming could have been designed by a a “Designer”, yes?

    No, I’m not arguing that point yet. I’m just wondering whether the design inference is not justified in the case of living things.

    Crystals are made up of multiple parts, in a lattice of atoms that can be pretty darn complex, actually.

    Fair enough. I would call that a high degree of organization, but I understand what you mean. I’m using the term “complexity” as referring to an object’s possession of mechanisms, specifically.

    But if there is a Big Designer, shouldn’t he/she/it have played a part in designing crystals too?

    It’s a good point, but you’re getting ahead of the argument. For now, I’m just trying to focus on whether the design inference is justified in the case of living things. Again, I’m not taking it for granted that God designed everything. So we can come to rocks and crystals later.

    Ichthyic writes:

    move goalposts much?

    Fair enough, I will take it that my original point was not clear. I raised the civilization example as a way of trying to infer the existence of humans by looking at civilizations. I apologize for not being clearer.

    what you miss is that NOW you are inferring the design based on your own personal knowledge of HUMAN architecture.

    Very good! So why can I not make a similar inference of design in nature from my personal knowledge of human machinery?

    If you ran across a dam of logs across a river, what would you infer as to how they got that way? why? How could you tell if your inference was accurate?

    I would infer design from my knowledge of human dams. I would know it was an accurate inference if it was the best among competing explanations. And I would know it was “best” by whether it explained the most with the most parsimonious set of assumptions.

    APJ writes:

    Your “argument” is rubbish…

    Alright. Are there any conditions in nature that you can conceive of that would convince you that some being designed life on Earth? If not, then how do you infer that anything is designed? Or do you always avoid this inference?

    Tyler DiPietro writes:

    You wouldn’t be operating on complete ignorance. When talking about an “alien civilization” you merely stretching out already familiar, anthropomorphic concepts, not the highly generalized notion of “design”.

    Alright, fine. So why are we not justified in doing the same thing in nature?

    Because the “design” you speak of is too highly generalized to make specific predictions about what would be found.

    I don’t understand this. Why is it invalid to make an inference based on a generalization? Can you explain this?

    Because in most obvious cases you are drawing false inferences. The objects you are talking about do not reproduce, do not inherit traits from their ancestors and are subject to no natural selection pressure, where the opposite is true of biological organisms.

    This seems in my view only to reinforce the design inference, not weaken it.
    Besides, computer processes have all the traits you mentioned (they reproduce offspring, inherit traits from their ancestors and are subject to genetic algorithms), and those are clearly designed, right? (If you’re not familiar with how computer processes do this, I can explain.)

  198. #200 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    What the easiest/soonest way of determining the opening weekend success (or lack thereof) of the movie?

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/movies/box_office.php

  199. #201 Tapetum
    April 20, 2008

    Mr. Paley – if utility is the sign of a designer, what, pray tell, is the utility of life?

    A multitude of philosophers await your reply.

  200. #202 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Rocks have nothing like the complexity of life. That is my point. But let us even say rocks are complex; they still don’t meet the other two qualifications for a design inference, which are 1) honed utility for some specific function, and 2) organization.

    Ok, so you’ve moved the goalposts on 1) from “utility” to “honed utility for some specific function”, and you concede organization for crystals later on. I’ll still play, though. Is a painting “honed” with “utility for some specific function”? It’s certainly man-made but I can’t really say its functional beyond being something to look at.

    Lets compare a painting with, say, a geode that I found already broken open. They’re both complex and organized (or can be), and equally functional, from an artistic perspective. As an outside observer who knew nothing of paintings or geodes, how would I tell that one was “designed” and the other just formed that way?

    It seems to me that the only way I’d realize that the painting was an artifact from a human culture is my previous knowledge of humanity. Without that I’d probably choose the geode as more functional, since it’s less likely to break when I use it to, say, smash a lizard’s head in.

  201. #203 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    I raised the civilization example as a way of trying to infer the existence of humans by looking at civilizations.

    IOW, you raised the issue of inferring the existence of civilization… by referring to civilization.

    wait, who was doing the question begging again?

    Very good! So why can I not make a similar inference of design in nature from my personal knowledge of human machinery?

    because a fish is not a mousetrap, you gibbering, smarmy ass.

  202. #204 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    OK, I gotta admit I didn’t see it coming that someone might acknowledge that god isn’t a very good designer. I don’t know how to respond. arrrrrrrrgggh.

  203. #205 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    I would infer design from my knowledge of human dams.

    and if it just happened to be the case that it was a natural log jam?

    what if it was constructed by beavers?

    how would you eliminate these possibilities?

  204. #206 Patricia C.
    April 20, 2008

    Wow MAJeff your advice on herbs de provence was spot on. As a 3rd generation farmer growing the stuff – kudos! Have you tried baby red potato’s & lavender, or corn bread baked with lavender and lavender honey? (Sorry my apron is showing…)
    Hey Ichthyic, you’re mythic tonight. *grin*
    I can’t wait for the Saucy Hell-Hated Minnow & Bride of Shrek to wade in.

  205. #207 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    This seems in my view only to reinforce the design inference

    projection’s a bitch, ain’t it?

  206. #208 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    Screechy Monkey, much more memorable than just using your initials. Now I’ve got to come up with something.

  207. #209 Tyler DiPietro
    April 20, 2008

    “Alright, fine. So why are we not justified in doing the same thing in nature?”

    Because it is by no means immediately obvious that the same conclusions apply in non-familiar, non-anthropomorphic environments.

    “I don’t understand this. Why is it invalid to make an inference based on a generalization? Can you explain this?”

    I never claimed such, I said that if something is too highly generalized to make testable predictions (read: ad hoc) it is useless for making such inferences.

    “Besides, computer processes have all the traits you mentioned (they reproduce offspring, inherit traits from their ancestors and are subject to genetic algorithms), and those are clearly designed, right?”

    Two problems:

    1. The body of software itself does not reproduce in evolutionary computation, certain components are iteratively subject to variation and selection in hopes that one can converge upon a solution to a predefined and enumerated problem. Substantially different from that which I mentioned.

    2. They are only “clearly designed” because we have, once again, written them so that they can be understood as such. By no means does such apply in biology.

  208. #210 molliebatmit
    April 20, 2008

    rmp writes:

    Just that it was a poor designer!

    Alright, fair enough. That is a subjective opinion with which I am comfortable for the moment. All I am arguing is whether there was a designer. I’m not arguing anything about that designer’s ostensible qualities yet.

    But it’s relevant that genomes don’t look designed because no designer would be that stupid and sloppy.

    It’s at least a little reasonable to use the argument from incredulity, as creationists do, when you’re looking at a whole organism. It’s big, it’s complex, it looks pretty well put-together. But when you closely examine the genome, you see that it’s a hodge-podge of disorganization: introns, exons, defunct transposons and other parasitic sequences, pseudogenes, duplications — it’s an utter mess on a genomic level, not to mention on a transcriptional level.

  209. #211 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    I don’t know how to respond.

    how about:

    what use is a sloppy engineer?

  210. #212 Block_Stacker
    April 20, 2008

    Lets compare a painting with, say, a geode that I found already broken open.

    God: “I give unto you the Geode, my greatest design, so that Thou might have something cool for Show and Tell.”

  211. #213 Janus
    April 20, 2008

    Even if there was zero evidence for evolution, it’s not logically possible to explain organized complexity by saying it was designed by an intelligent being, because if a being is intelligent it’s an instance of organized complexity.

  212. #214 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic @ #202:

    …because a fish is not a mousetrap, you gibbering, smarmy ass.

    Ah, but a cat is a mouse trap! Thus Goddidit. QED.

  213. #215 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    “Rocks have nothing like the complexity of life. That is my point. But let us even say rocks are complex;…”

    [yawn]

    Have you considered renting yourself out as a soporific?

  214. #216 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Ah, but a cat is a mouse trap! Thus Goddidit. QED.

    oh, very clever, ya run rings around me logically!

    Now it’s time for the penguin on top of your television to explode.

  215. #217 A. Rice
    April 20, 2008

    William Paley,
    So that were all on the same page, would you please define some of your terms: complexity, utility, organization and designer.

    Please be as specific as you can.

    -A. Rice

  216. #218 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic, I’m afraid that this might be a whole new line of argument. We’re not saying god is perfect, just saying that something did it. This is almost a back door into my religion of the month, Pantheism. Personally I think if you take equal parts of dark matter and dark energy, you get a soul.

  217. #219 ShemAndShaun
    April 20, 2008

    I have been watching this issue over the past week or so, and I can’t help feeling that this exercise in polarization is going to back-fire.

    I am bemused by the debate myself, as I have never been exposed to any arguments against the theory of evolution. I was aware that there were people in the USA that questioned it, but this is the first time I have actually explored the issue. I mean no offense, but I find it all truly bizarre and strangely fascinating.

  218. #220 semi
    April 20, 2008

    All I am arguing is whether there was a designer. I’m not arguing anything about that designer’s ostensible qualities yet.

    Maybe we can classify this as the Argument from Mediocrity. If something looks like it was poorly designed, then you can automatically assume a bad designer. If this is the case, then the dodo is proof positive of a supernatural, underachieving being.

  219. #221 Tyler DiPietro
    April 20, 2008

    “Personally I think if you take equal parts of dark matter and dark energy, you get a soul.”

    Via the same process, I think you get butt seks.

  220. #222 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    er, I guess there ARE some who wouldn’t have a clue what an exploding penguin looks like…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnObI25aN1k

  221. #223 semi
    April 20, 2008

    oh, very clever, ya run rings around me logically!
    Now it’s time for the penguin on top of your television to explode

    Look at the bones!

  222. #224 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    The message of Expelled is that dogmatic atheism poisons good science
    –Loudon is a Fool

    no, it isn’t.

    you at least have to start off with what the movie purports to represent if you wish to be taken at all seriously.

    –Fishything

    No doubt, Ichthyic, you were seething throughout the film and had difficulty digesting the point. Were you calm, probably still you would have had difficulty given that your mind appears to have all the nuance of a country cured ham sandwich washed down with a warm can of Olympia.

    I’ll speak with fewer syllables that you might understand.

    Hatred blinds. Your hatred of God (no doubt stemming from a difficult relationship with your father, regarding which I am very sorry) would, had you a scientific inclination, make your science suspect. It would not only be outcome determinative. But your atheistic outlook would predispose you to be unable to take data as it comes. It’s odd, because typically an orientation towards skepticism (properly understood) might incline one towards thoughtfulness. But ye God-haters are not skeptics. You’re dogmatic. You might reject such a label. But I would encourage you to look at the evidence. Read through this thread.

    The bad news is, as Ichthyic noted at 125, the issue of evolution has been elevated from a conversation among nerdy, beard-wearing evolutionary biologists (who, if we are to be frank, are not in the fore of technicians who are providing shiny new products for the betterment of our lives), to a fight between “science” and the many. Given that some 70% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ not only lived but is in fact God, science (properly understood) will be the casualty of your childish spat with the Almighty. It’s a simple matter of boots on the ground. And your side is disadvantaged because you spend Saturday nights blogging, rather than dating. That is unfortunate. But I guess it’s natural selection. And ye boors will have only yourselves to blame when scientists are viewed with the same revulsion as the leech-wielding barbers of yesteryear.

  223. #225 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    ShemaAndSharon, as you follow this thread/issue, make sure you differentiate the god/atheist argument as different from the evolution/YEC argument. There are more than a few theist evolutionists out there. Maybe not here exactly, but out there nonetheless.

  224. #226 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    As an outside observer who knew nothing of paintings or geodes, how would I tell that one was “designed” and the other just formed that way?

    Posted by: pcarini | April 20, 2008 12:30 AM

    Easy – through enough observation, you could come up with preliminary hypotheses about how each came into existence, then perform experiments to try to understand the processes which might have caused them to exist. Once those are done you could refine your hypotheses to fit the evidence. And, once the studies of both items had advanced to the necessary level, you’d be able to scientifically affirm that the geode was a natural occurrence, while nature could not produce on its own anything like the painting. Which, of course, should lead you to the conclusion that nature did not make the painting. (But this is where the deception lies with the ID movement. It seems to play off of a false dichotomy that if we can’t currently explain how nature created something, supernatural agents or causes are at work. This claim is misleading at its very core, because at one time – based on the limited nature of human travel of the globe and communication across it – the Earth was believed to be flat. Only until we proved beyond a shadow of a doubt – through natural means, not through guesses at supernatural influence – that it was not flat was this fact accepted as canon. The same will no doubt eventually prove true for our current gaps in knowledge, as long as we stick to the impartiality of the scientific method.) And this is all completely beside the fact that paintings are usually representations of things seen in the world, so – even absent knowledge of humanity – it would probably be somewhat recognizable as a two-dimensional reproduction – or attempt thereof – of something seen in the natural world.

    In short, the easy way to tell is to apply the scientific method to the study of both of them. That’s the neat thing about the scientific method – if you use it correctly it can answer these same questions that keep getting asked time and time again concerning the argument from design.

  225. #227 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Personally I think if you take equal parts of dark matter and dark energy, you get a soul.

    Erm. Herm. Ok, rmp, once again, I can’t disprove this, but, uh, it seems a little… woo for my tastes. I’m going to be nice and leave it at that.

  226. #228 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    you get a soul.

    and if you take a catfish, fillet it, coat in cornmeal, and deep fry, you get soul food.

  227. #229 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    er, I guess there ARE some who wouldn’t have a clue what an exploding penguin looks like…

    Oh I knew, but it’s been some time.. I remembered the Mary Queen of Scotts bit more than the exploding penguin, though.

    Back on topic, Occam’s Razor treats your mediocre designer the same way it would treat a perfect designer. Since we can explain the complexity of life just fine w/o a shoddy designer, who needs one?

  228. #230 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    The logic against God (or any other designer), used by everybody from Hume to Dawkins.

    Occam’s Razor: discard all unnecessary premises. Or, if presented with two explanations for a phenomenon, choose the one that entails the least assumptions.

    If the present world could have come about through natural processes, there is no reason to infer a god. Search the literature (for creationists, this means read more than what the DI and Behe put out) and you will find god is most unecessary. Thus, though one cannot disprove god’s existence (neither can we disprove the FSM) we can be reasonably sure there is no such entity and thus carry on with lives as though he/she/it/them did not exist. (See Russel’s Teapot)

  229. #231 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Were you calm

    LOL

    yeah, tell us about how calm the writers were as they strung together visions of holocaust Europe intermingled with interviews with scientists.

    get lost, dillweed.

  230. #233 Amplexus
    April 20, 2008

    @RMP- So the souls of people are manifest as quantum entanglements with predetermined outcomes? And when we die our dark matter/energy souls leaves our body and flies around the cosmos?

    Beautiful idea!

  231. #234 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    Falyne, please don’t take me to literally. It’s just my little story that I tell myself to reconcile my 48 plus years in the Lutheran church with my brain. I think it’s a reasonable compromise.

    Not that I want it to be part of a Science curriculum.

  232. #235 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    God: “I give unto you the Geode, my greatest design, so that Thou might have something cool for Show and Tell.”

    LOL

    actually, that does bring back some childhood memories.

    I still have those geodes, even.

  233. #236 molliebatmit
    April 20, 2008

    #223, Loudon is a fool

    And, yet, puzzlingly, the graduate student who shares a bay with me in the lab is a devout Catholic. We use the implications of evolution in our lab (which studies repair of the central nervous system) every day.

    Evolution isn’t about the rejection of religion. Evolution is about biology. That’s all.

  234. #237 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Heh, whatever floats your boat. A little woo, but then again, I have a weakness for cryptozoology myself. ;-)

    And now I can’t stop watching my own video! Yay image macros put to German nerdcore, at least at 1 am. Internet, LOL Internet…

  235. #238 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    “The bad news is, as Ichthyic noted at 125, the issue of evolution has been elevated from a conversation among nerdy, beard-wearing evolutionary biologists…”

    Actually, Loudon, the bad news is that for all your posturing and name calling, you have actually just proved the point (not that you’re the first, by any means) that if ID belongs in school, it belongs in a philosophy class. It seems that every time one of your fellow believers gets angry, out comes the “spat with the Almighty” rhetoric, laying bare the inseparability of ID from religion.

    And your further points show how unqualified you are to speak on anything involved in science. The fact that you equate a theory’s scientific efficacy and accuracy with the simple numbers of those who believe that theory is perfectly hilarious, and bad science all the way around. Whether or not Jesus lived cannot – and likely will never – be verified with any sense of certainty. It is, and always will remain, a matter of personal faith.

    And I don’t have a spat with any Almighty — just people who claim to know that there is one, and that they know his(her) wishes.

  236. #239 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    “But ye God-haters are not skeptics. You’re dogmatic.”

    Guilty! It’s hatred of the stupidity of people like you that drive me. I admit it.

    “Given that some 70% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ not only lived but is in fact God, science (properly understood) will be the casualty of your childish spat with the Almighty.”

    Fortunately, we have a system of education that still cares about standards, despite the best efforts of ignorant people like you who want to undermine it from within and without.

  237. #240 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @ William Paley

    Alright. Are there any conditions in nature that you can conceive of that would convince you that some being designed life on Earth? If not, then how do you infer that anything is designed? Or do you always avoid this inference?

    You put the cart before the horse. You have first postulated the existence of a designer, and then you wish to find evidence for the existence of such a designer.

    I would require a demonstration of why all the masses of evidence that we currently have for evolution was in fact completely wrong before I would be able to give any weight to new evidence that another process (or mythical being) was responsible for the diversity of life that we observe on earth.

    Your god is not necessary in our explanation.

  238. #241 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    And I don’t have a spat with any Almighty — just people who claim to know that there is one, and that they know his(her) wishes.

    funny, but that’s exactly why I’ve always wondered why xians don’t claim intelligent design is heresy.

    there’s no way to hypothesize about design without knowledge of the designer, and, IIRC, doesn’t the book of Job rather warn against such heresy?

    *shrug*

    OTOH, far be it from me to accuse the religious of being consistent.

  239. #242 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    and if you take a catfish, fillet it, coat in cornmeal, and deep fry, you get soul food.
    Posted by: Ichthyic | April 20, 2008 12:56 AM

    bravo, ichthyic — that one was priceless…

  240. #243 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    [cynic]

    CalGeorge: we do?

    [/cynic]

  241. #244 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    “Given that some 70% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ not only lived but is in fact God, science (properly understood) will be the casualty of your childish spat with the Almighty.”

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

  242. #245 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    “based on the limited nature of human travel of the globe and communication across it – the Earth was believed to be flat”

    Really? The book of Genesis declares earth is round…when it was penned 3,000 years ago. Perhaps those “flat-earthers” should have pick themselves up a copy?

  243. #246 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #223 where “Loudon is a Fool” on April 20, 2008 12:55 AM spewed:

    Hatred blinds. Your hatred of God (no doubt stemming from a difficult relationship with your father, regarding which I am very sorry) would, had you a scientific inclination, make your science suspect. It would not only be outcome determinative. But your atheistic outlook would predispose you to be unable to take data as it comes. It’s odd, because typically an orientation towards skepticism (properly understood) might incline one towards thoughtfulness. But ye God-haters are not skeptics. You’re dogmatic. You might reject such a label. But I would encourage you to look at the evidence. Read through this thread.

    Why is it assumed that Evolutionists hate God? Do you also assume we hate the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus? Maybe you think we hate Speed Racer… or perhaps it is Satan we hate. Think about that for a minute. That may not be long enough – thinking might be difficult for you. I’ll give you a week to think about it. But honestly, think about it!

    I don’t hate Zeus. I don’t hate Saturn. I don’t hate Quezecoatal. Why should I hate your God? Mayhaps we have thought about the evidence, looked skeptically at it – and still came to the conclusion that Evolution happens. Why are you so closed minded?

    If you respond sooner than a week, I’ll know you are a troll – since you couldn’t possibly have thought it through that quickly.

    JBS

  244. #247 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    #235, Your lab partner is increasingly in the minority, in large part because of the hostility shown by the likes of Myers, Dawkins their ilk as presented in technicolor on this blog.

    Neo-Darwinism, the dogmatism attacked in Expelled, is about the rejection of religion. Read the words of your compatriots. Would the devout Catholic who shares your bay view your friends as men of reason?

    And I don’t quite understand how the random Godlessness of the universe informs your understanding of the nervous system in a way that is helpful to scientific inquiry. But maybe you mean something else by evolution.

  245. #248 JRQ
    April 20, 2008

    All I am arguing is whether there was a designer. I’m not arguing anything about that designer’s ostensible qualities yet.

    But don’t you see? it is only by specifying some qualities that “designer” becomes an explanation at all….it is precisely the qualities of the designer (and their consequences) that would do the explaining.

    The reason one can infer design in human-made artifacts like watches is because we know something about the qualities of human designers, and the mechanisms they employ in watchmaking. We can identify a human signature because we know how with great precision how the signing is done.

  246. #249 rmp
    April 20, 2008

    OK ichthyic , now I want some recipes from you as well.

    Actually, I’ll check for them in about 8 hrs. I’m shot.

    Good night everyone!

  247. #250 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    brokenSoldier @ #225 (observation, scientific method, etc.)

    I appreciate your post, but I wanted to clarify mine… I wasn’t suggesting that there would be no way to tell which of those objects was a human artifact and which wasn’t, I was simply trying to point out that W. Paley’s criteria aren’t sufficient.

  248. #251 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    All I am arguing is whether there was a designer. I’m not arguing anything about that designer’s ostensible qualities yet.

    Argumentum ad not yetum?

  249. #252 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    for the recently arrived, here are some things that will help you quote others more clearly:

    every time you see [ or ] substitute an angle bracket instead (the shift of the , and . keys, respectively).

    [i] = italics

    [b] = bold

    [blockquote] = will indent and highlight text

    examples:

    [i]italic[/i] gives you:

    italic

    [blockquote] isn’t this tedious? [/blockquote] gives you:

    isn’t this tedious?

  250. #253 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    Brokensoldier,

    I certainly do not believe that in numbers lie truth. But in a democratic society you can’t fight the numbers. So, although you deserve to lose, you will not lose because you deserve to lose. But you’ll lose nevertheless, which is good enough for me.

  251. #254 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    In #239 I said “…postulated the existence of a designer”.
    I of course meant “…accepted without question the existence of a designer”.

  252. #255 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    “Whether or not Jesus lived cannot – and likely will never – be verified with any sense of certainty”

    Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible. Seriously, ask your local atheist historian. No doubt their face will contort, but they will admit its the Bible. So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?

  253. #256 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    OK ichthyic , now I want some recipes from you as well.

    I make a mean chicken florentine, sound good?

  254. #257 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Really? The book of Genesis declares earth is round

    hmm, I do believe at least one translation has it as “circular”, which could be a flat disk.

    care to elaborate?

  255. #258 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    “Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible…There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?”

    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 1:19 AM

    Okay, seriously…I’m going to consider that statement a clear example of Poe’s Law. Because otherwise, someone has been getting their facts from a Discovery Institute pamphlet.

  256. #259 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    A Real Expulsion–from a Texas restaurant
    Some good ol’ boys who didn’t appreciate the Berkeley Unix “daemon”: http://www.mckusick.com/beastie/

    Newsgroups: alt.humor.best-of-usenet
    Subject: [comp.org.usenix] A Great Daemon Story
    From: Rob Kolstad
    Newsgroups: comp.org.usenix
    Subject: A Great Daemon Story
    Linda Branagan is an expert on daemons. She has a T-shirt that sports the daemon in tennis shoes that appears on the cover of the 4.3BSD manuals and The Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD UNIX Operating System by S. Lef?er, M. McKusick, M. Karels, J. Quarterman, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, MA 1989. She tells the following story about wearing the 4.3BSD daemon T-shirt:
    Last week I walked into a local ”home style cookin’ restaurant/watering hole” in Texas to pick up a take-out order. I spoke brie?y to the waitress behind the counter, who told me my order would be done in a few minutes. So, while I was busy gazing at the farm implements hanging on the walls, I was approached by two ”natives.” These guys might just be the original Texas rednecks.
    ”Pardon us, ma’am. Mind if we ask you a question?”
    Well, people keep telling me that Texans are real friendly, so I nodded.
    ”Are you a Satanist?”
    Well, at least they didn’t ask me if I liked to party.
    ”Uh, no, I can’t say that I am.”
    ”Gee, ma’am. Are you sure about that?” they asked.
    I put on my biggest, brightest Dallas Cowboys cheerleader smile and said, ”No, I’m positive. The closest I’ve ever come to Satanism is watching Geraldo.”
    ”Hmmm. Interesting. See, we was just wondering why it is you have the lord of darkness on your chest there.”
    I was this close to slapping one of them and causing a scene–then I stopped and noticed the shirt I happened to be wearing that day. Sure enough, it had a picture of a small, devilish-looking creature that has for some time now been associated with a certain operating system. In this particular representation, the creature was wearing sneakers.
    They continued: ”See, ma’am, we don’t exactly appreciate it when people show off pictures of the devil. Especially when he’s lookin’ so friendly.”
    These idiots sounded terrifyingly serious.
    Me: ”Oh, well, see, this isn’t really the devil, it’s just, well, it’s sort of a mascot.”
    Native: ”And what kind of football team has the devil as a mascot?”
    Me: ”Oh, it’s not a team. It’s an operating–uh, a kind of computer.”
    I ?gured that an ATM machine was about as much technology as these guys could handle, and I knew that if I so much as uttered the word ”UNIX” I would only make things worse.
    Native: ”Where does this satanical computer come from?”
    Me: ”California. And there’s nothing satanical about it really.”
    Somewhere along the line here, the waitress noticed my predicament–but these guys probably outweighed her by 600 pounds, so all she did was look at me sympathetically and run off into the kitchen.
    Native: ”Ma’am, I think you’re lying. And we’d appreciate it if you’d leave the premises now.”
    Fortunately, the waitress returned that very instant with my order, and they agreed that it would be okay for me to actually pay for my food before I left. While I was at the cash register, they amused themselves by talking to each other.
    Native #1: ”Do you think the police know about these devil computers?”
    Native #2: ”If they come from California, then the FBI oughta know about ‘em.”
    They escorted me to the door. I tried one last time: ”You’re really blowing this all out of proportion. A lot of people use this ‘kind of computers.’ Universities, researchers, businesses. They’re actually very useful.”
    Big, big, big mistake. I should have guessed at what came next.
    Native: ”Does the government use these devil computers?”
    Me: ”Yes.”
    Another big boo-boo.
    Native: ”And does the government pay for ‘em? With our tax dollars?”
    I decided that it was time to jump ship.
    Me: ”No. Nope. Not at all. Your tax dollars never entered the picture at all. I promise. No sir, not a penny. Our good Christian congressmen would never let something like that happen. Nope. Never. Bye.”
    Texas. What a country.

  257. #260 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    He lived.

    We know next to nothing about him.

    Except that a bunch of bullshitters sought to make him into a saint.

  258. #261 Amplexus
    April 20, 2008

    Why would a book claiming to be the word of god make any comment on things that might be found out later? “Circle of the Earth”

    Lack of foresight?

  259. #262 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible.

    ooops….

    http://mnatheists.org/component/option,com_seyret/task,videodirectlink/Itemid,61/id,16/

    better known as:

    “How Archaeology Killed Biblical History”

    care to continue flaunting your ignorance of how accurate your favorite bed-time story is?

  260. #263 Block_Stacker
    April 20, 2008

    From an engineering standpoint, any design is created first and foremost to perform some function. In engineering, as in mathematics, a function is defined as process which receives one or more inputs, and generates a different output.

    Simplified examples: Input gasoline into a car and it will output your ride to work. input light into a camera and it will output a picture.

    For a design to be considered functional, all instances of the design must produce the desired output given the correct inputs.

    Thus, assuming a class of similar objects, for instance human beings, have been designed, the purpose of said design may be derived by examining the outputs and inputs of the same.

    The inputs and outputs of human beings differ greatly from human to human. Some people output art or literature, others output only meaningless blather. Some people input only plants and minerals, others input large amounts of toxic substances.

    There is however, one output that every living human regularly produces given a few basic inputs. I submit that if humanity were designed by a creator, we were designed chiefly to perform that basic function that is common to all instances of humanity.

    Therefore, if there is a God, and humans are his greatest creation, then he/she is primarily concerned with the performance of this one fundamental function.

    Behold! I have read the Mind of God! The Lord demands your Dookies!

  261. #264 Janus
    April 20, 2008

    Eh, don’t get too heated up, I’m pretty sure Loudon is an atheist trying to have fun at our expense.
    It’s mostly true that it’s impossible to distinguish between creationists/fundamentalists and parodies of them, but in this particular case I think we can. Real fundies will at least try to make it look like they have some understanding of science and its method, but Loudon is going out of his way to show that the opposite is true in his case. The demonstration of stupidity is too thorough and too blatant to be real.

  262. #265 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    Mr. Sandlin,

    If you have thought about this issue at any length, I am surprised you would make this argument. Maybe you should take some more time. Or bounce your ideas off a friend. Maybe this is a case of two minds (one not being your own) being better than one.

    Dawkins did not write The Grass Delusion. I am sure (net, net) he is ambivalent about grass, having no strong feelings one way or the other. So he didn’t write a book about it. Protests about your really not caring about God are less convincing in light of the continued protests.

  263. #266 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @ 254
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?

    I just checked my Yahrzeit Calendar, and the date is 15th of Nisan, 5768.

    Which calendar do you use most often?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_calendars

  264. #267 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Protests about your really not caring about God are less convincing in light of the continued protests.

    ever thought that the protests relate to YOU personally?

    some of us are just highly amused at complete idiots that can do nothing but communicate via projection.

    OTOH, the amusement tends to wear off quickly.

    tomorrow is another day, and hopefully there will be fresh meat.

  265. #268 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    You use this word (projection) a lot, Ichthyic. I don’t think you know what it means.

  266. #269 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    Hat tip to Ichthyic #251:
    I gave up when [quote][/quote] didn’t work.
    [blockquote][/blockquote] duly noted.

  267. #270 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Loudon is a Fool @ #@264

    Dawkins did not write The Grass Delusion. I am sure (net, net) he is ambivalent about grass, having no strong feelings one way or the other.

    OK, that solves it for me.. Loudon is obviously trying to yank our collective chain.

  268. #271 tosser
    April 20, 2008

    My respectful question to those who are evolutionists is this; if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct, there is no common descent and the earth is young, where, in retrospect, would the advocates of evolution had made their greatest mistakes? Methodology? Bias? Misreading of data? Comments please.

    For young earth creationism to be true, the scientific method would have to be entirely useless. Creationism is truly anti-scientific, and believing in creationism entails believing in what can only be called magic, even if most creationists won’t phrase it this way because they know how silly it sounds.

  269. #272 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    I realize I am an ignorant Christian, but I am struggling to understand something. Can you enlighten me?

    As evolutionists, you may only believe in the material world. You believe in natural selection removing the weak in all species. You believe that no moral authority or morality for that matter exist (you can’t in a material world). The concepts of equality, truth, and purpose also cannot exist (don’t press this point, even your beloved Hawkins freely admits).

    And I arrive at my question!

    Do you believe all men are created (I mean evolved, sorry!) equally? Let me pose it another way, did all races evolve equally?

    More specifically, Are blacks and whites equal? After all, Africans have contributed very little to science, technology…really little to the advancement in any arena of science, culture, or civilized government. The African continent has always been awash in brutal infighting and war. Little production of anything relevant has escaped the continent. Also, the white Europeans conquered black Africans and used them as slaves and only gave up slavery by choice (not because Africans gained an advantage and used superior force to free themselves). Is that natural selection?

    Following the logical conclusion of Darwinian theory, whites are then naturally superior to blacks, right?

    Let me answer for you.

    Either you answer as you must and say yes, based on the imperial evidence of history, whites are indeed superior to blacks. This conclusion would make you a Racist. Or option two, you say that indeed all men evolved equally…and thereby admit Darwinism is false.

    So what have-you? Racist or Wrong?

    Or you could just ignore my post…who wants to be caught in such an uncomfortable predicament!

  270. #273 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Loudon is a Fool on Amazon, reviewing Candide:

    This is a french book. French books are, of course, often french, but this one is frencher than most. Ah, Pierrot! Reading this fine french book makes me the sad clown of life. Could Voltaire be any frencher, you ask? I doubt it. I am a sad clown, I say. Even when he criticizes the French he does so in a, how do you say, french way. Oui, oui! So come, bring along your Jerry Lewis video tapes and we will read this very french book together. It is frencher than a Quebecer at a Steisand concert. Frencher than Little Richard at an amfAR banquet. Frencher than Richard Simmons at a french pride parade. Read Candide and you too can be a very french sad clown. Sacre Bleu!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/review/RX3PX4CQZDIZ4

    Ugh!

  271. #275 Blake Stacey
    April 20, 2008

    If you take equal parts dark energy and dark matter, you get a block of what looks like empty space. Neither feels the electromagnetic force, so there’s no way they can perturb the delicate chemical interactions which underlie neural processes. Dark matter only interacts via gravity (and, possibly, the weak nuclear force), so all it does is clump together and, well, play like it’s a lump.

  272. #276 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan said:

    There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived.

    At this moment, most serious scholars do indeed believe that Jesus was a historical character. However, it looks like there is a debate to be had, once again, after Earl Doherty produced, “The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?”

    While not scholarly in its presentation, it is one of the most thorough and historically accurate explorations of its type. The question is most certainly not answered, conclusively, that’s for sure.

    Most atheists don’t care whether Jesus existed or not. You have still got all of the work ahead of you, even if he did. Unless, of course, you expect us to believe that all historical accounts of magic men are true?

  273. #277 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Loudon is a Fool (Plano, TX) on Amazon, reviewing Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry

    The men supporting the claims of this book come from a wide range of political views and economic strata. They share, not a distaste for Democrats and their policy goals (in fact, O’Neill has contributed three times as much money to Dems as GOPers over the course of the last 30 years), but a distaste for a man: John Kerry. And that distaste was born through interactions with John Kerry during his short four months in Vietnam in which time he proved to be an arrogant, immature, undisciplined, and incompetent leader. A combination of characteristics which caused him to be a danger to the men he served with, and a holy terror to non-combatant Vietnamese who happened to wander across his path. And when this woefully deficient sailor returned to America, rather than being humbled by his incompetence in serving, he strutted onto the political scene, crowing about his heroism and declaiming his fellow sailors and soldiers to be war criminals. No wonder these men dislike John Kerry. They know him. Do you? Read this book.

    You’re right. He is pulling our leg. No one could be this stupid.

  274. #278 Martin
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan began:

    I realize I am an ignorant Christian…

    Congratulations, that’s the only thing you got right in your whole dipshit post.

    Come back when you have some better straw men to kick around.

  275. #279 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    For Ryan:
    Yes, you are very ignorant, and very, very racist. Here’s a list of black scientists who made HUGE contributions to science.

    http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmscientists1.html

    Your ignorance of science and history is staggering. Africans had great civilizations, before they were colonized by European powers, and kidnapped to be slaves. Africa is in the state it is in because of wealthy European nations trying to steal as many natural resources as it can. I can’t believe you wrote that post. The list of incredible black statesmen, diplomats, scientists, and authors are staggering. It was in the northern regions of Africa that algebra was first developed. Read a book beside the bible you racist (insert bad word here)!!

  276. #280 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan (#271), you claims are absolute bullshit. Modern science has done more than anything else to definitively debunk racism. The Human Genome Project has shown that there is no genetic marker for race. Race is an abstract construction, made by human beings.

    As for equality and truth and all the rest, why is the existence of the supernatural a necessary precursor for their existence? It is a non sequitur to say that naturalism/materialism must lead to nihilism.

    The “darwinistic” defense of racism you offer is not Darwinian. It’s a cheap manipulation, fabricated by someone who obviously doesn’t really know the theory.

    I’ll freely admit that justice and freedom are ideas we made up (or are products of our brain chemistry). This does absolutely nothing to lessen their worth. Equality and freedom have value because we value them. Having a celestial Big Brother enforce these doctrines does not empower or improve them. In fact, by making their fulfillment chore instead of self-imposed duty, Big Bro cheapens them as only the divine can.

  277. #281 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #264 one “Loudon is a Fool” on April 20, 2008 1:28 AM pronounced:

    Mr. Sandlin,

    If you have thought about this issue at any length, I am surprised you would make this argument. Maybe you should take some more time. Or bounce your ideas off a friend. Maybe this is a case of two minds (one not being your own) being better than one.

    Dawkins did not write The Grass Delusion. I am sure (net, net) he is ambivalent about grass, having no strong feelings one way or the other. So he didn’t write a book about it. Protests about your really not caring about God are less convincing in light of the continued protests.

    I certainly did not expect such a quick response. But the speed of the response is reflected in its quality.

    I’ve never read Dr. Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and do not require his atheism to inform my opinion of the Theory of Evolution. Your assumptions are premature.

    The continued protests result from the continuous assault. One does not stop complaining about the fly in one’s soup until the soup has been replaced. One does not stop promoting the Theory of Evolution until the assault by the devious Discovery Institute ends.

    Perhaps we should stop the assault on childhood diseases because everyone is weary of the fight. Perhaps we should stop standing up for what is right because so many are opposed to it. Perhaps we should allow the United States to descend into the Dark Ages because everyone hates science.

    Or perhaps not.

    I don’t give up because others are too ignorant to understand. I don’t give up because I’m called names or cursed at. I don’t give up because IDiots think I should.

    JBS

  278. #282 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    “I appreciate your post, but I wanted to clarify mine… I wasn’t suggesting that there would be no way to tell which of those objects was a human artifact and which wasn’t, I was simply trying to point out that W. Paley’s criteria aren’t sufficient.”
    Posted by: pcarini | April 20, 2008 1:16 AM

    – My apologies – I let my tired eyes commit the sin of omission while reading through the posts. I see where I was way off base concerning your point.

    hmm, I do believe at least one translation has it as “circular”, which could be a flat disk.
    care to elaborate?
    Posted by: Ichthyic | April 20, 2008 1:22 AM

    Just to elaborate a bit, I believe first you have to choose WHICH of the two contradictory creation stories within Genesis (1st account – Genesis 1:1 to 2:3, 2nd account – Genesis 2:4-25) to begin with. But it’s not even worth addressing unless Ryan cares to cite the passage in the Bible that he is talking about. (That’s the general practice when offering something up as support for your point — you at least have to tell everyone else what it is that you’re referencing. Even aside from that, I have read the Bible many times over and know for a fact that it does not – anywhere within – assert that the Earth is round. But even if it had, those “flat-earthers” you so condescendingly called out were Christian theocrats in the first place, who definitely had a better understanding of the text than you display, yet still maintained the position that the Earth was flat.

    I certainly do not believe that in numbers lie truth. But in a democratic society you can’t fight the numbers. So, although you deserve to lose, you will not lose because you deserve to lose. But you’ll lose nevertheless, which is good enough for me.
    Posted by: Loudon is a Fool | April 20, 2008 1:18 AM

    Science is not a democratic society – it is an empirical, methodological search for information that explains the natural phenomena we see in the world, and it is best represented and best performed while its pursuants are protected by the freedoms of a democratic society.

  279. #283 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    Admittedly the review of Unfit for Command is not my best work. But steer clear of my review of Stranger in a Strange Land, CalGeorge. I don’t want to shatter your science fiction dreams of nerds getting the ladies in the end.

  280. #284 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    “Really? The book of Genesis declares earth is round

    hmm, I do believe at least one translation has it as “circular”, which could be a flat disk. care to elaborate?”

    My response. Good question, my text says round, which is the NIV translation. I cannot address your answer accurately without reviewing the original greek text. I don’t have a copy so I cannot answer you.

  281. #285 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    Brokensoldier,

    Admittedly the humanities are challenging. Their mastery may be beyond your mechanistic skill set. But I would ask that you at least attempt to read before you respond.

  282. #286 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    #272 Ryan
    So far, at least, the strawman champ of the evening. If he really believes any of those things, I pity him.

  283. #287 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    I saw the film “Expelled” this evening. When Ben Stein asked Dr. Hawkins where the origins of life came from he said the most logical explanation is SPACE ALIENS! (the seed theory) I kid you not!

  284. #288 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Either you answer as you must and say yes, based on the imperial evidence of history, whites are indeed superior to blacks. This conclusion would make you a Racist. Or option two, you say that indeed all men evolved equally…and thereby admit Darwinism is false.
    So what have-you? Racist or Wrong?
    Or you could just ignore my post…who wants to be caught in such an uncomfortable predicament!
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 1:39 AM

    False Dichotomy = unsound argument. Next?

  285. #289 semi
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan #272

    Either you answer as you must and say yes, based on the imperial evidence of history, whites are indeed superior to blacks. This conclusion would make you a Racist. Or option two, you say that indeed all men evolved equally…and thereby admit Darwinism is false.

    Ok, based on this question, I know what conclusion I have come to.

    I have concluded that you are a moron.

    Your question is simply a false dilemma.

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

    Where did you learn logic? At Sunday school?

  286. #290 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    Hey Ryan, you nitwit, Dr. Dawkins was inferring that space aliens were just as likely as a creator as “god”. Considering you are a racist windbag, I imagine that may be over your head.

  287. #291 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    @ Ryan.

    Expelled?

    What’s that.

    Seriously, dude. We know all about the aliens business. It was said in response to the question “Is there any situation where ID could be possible?” The response you’ve quoted was followed by “Of course, then those aliens would have to be designed, or arise by natural processes.”

    Context is fun.

  288. #292 Martin
    April 20, 2008

    Welcome to the world of creative editing, Ryan. The producers of Expelled punk’d Dawkins, and they’ve punk’d you. Here’s Dawkins on the interview:

    This technique of arguing against a theory by setting up its most plausible version and dismissing it is commonly used in science and philosophy. The late, great evolutionist John Maynard Smith used it in his 1964 attack on the then-popular theory of “group selection.” He set himself the task of devising the best possible argument for group selection. The details don’t matter; he called it the Haystack Model. He then proceeded to show that the assumptions that the Haystack Model needed to make were highly unrealistic.

    Everybody understood that this was an argument against group selection. Nobody twisted it to trumpet to the world, “See? Maynard Smith believes in Group Selection after all, and he thinks it happens in Haystacks, ho ho ho!” Creationists, by contrast, never miss a trick. When I have raised the science-fiction olive branch to try to argue against them, they have twisted it — most recently in a movie scheduled to open this week — in order to proclaim loudly, “Dawkins believes in intelligent design after all.” Or “Dawkins believes in little green men in flying saucers.” Or “Dawkins is a Raelian.” It’s called “lying for Jesus,” and they are completely shameless.

  289. #293 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #286

    Ted, I appreciate your point to “pity” me if I did believe what I laid out in my argument. As a biblical Christian I believe that God created all men in His image equally. My point was, at least I think, a good one. Darwinism, when followed to its logical conclusions, leads to ugly places.

    Will you allow me my point?

  290. #294 semi
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan, I am having a hard time just keeping up with your stupidity.

    I saw the film “Expelled” this evening. When Ben Stein asked Dr. Hawkins where the origins of life came from he said the most logical explanation is SPACE ALIENS! (the seed theory) I kid you not!

    It’s Dawkins not Hawkins, you idiot.

    And Dawkins was probably referring to the theory of Panspermia.

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

    You know, if you would read more instead of drumming your fingers on your keyboard, you might actually learn something.

  291. #295 ajani57
    April 20, 2008

    “if, for the sake of argument we grant that the creationists are correct…

    For the sake of argument let’s say that god really did do it. He created everything and caused everything 6000ya. Proven beyond all doubt. Everyone alive accepts this as fact.

    Now what? Do we replace the math and science textbooks with bibles praise jesus? Probably not a good idea because I assume that harmful diseases will still exist, and we will still want our computers and toilets to work, so we will want people to figure out the biology and physics. So do we put goddidit in every sentence? Are all science test questions now in three parts?

    Part one: What causes diabetes?
    Answer: God.

    Part two: Why does God cause diabetes?
    Answer: We are sinners.

    Part three: How does God cause diabetes?
    Answer:

    In our little scenario, the answers to parts one and two will always be the same so couldn’t we, as a species, just get on with part three? The science-y part? Why do you want to waste so much breath, time, and ink on something you are already very sure about? Also, what difference will it make if the cure for a disease YOU have comes from an atheist, a muslim, or a voodoo lady in Haiti? Do you currently research all your medicine to make sure only godly christians were involved in its inception, funding, creation, and distribution? I hardly doubt you checked on the church habits of the thousands of people who brought you your advil, so you must agree that science is science. Advil works even if nary a christian worked on it.

    Next time you are sick, go to church and thank god if you want, but also thank a scientist for the cure. And if there is no cure, instead of helping the group that only wants to focus on parts one and two, try helping the group who wants to work on part three.

  292. #296 RebekahD
    April 20, 2008

    William Paley said, “What I am asking is, When is it reasonable to infer that God designed some thing?”

    When “God” is defined and its design mechanisms are described; when a workable hypothesis is produced and tested which ends up showing that this “God” and its mechanisms are the best explanation of what we see in nature, then it might be reasonable to infer that “God” designed some thing.

    Just defining “God” would be quite helpful, since it would allow us to avoid the false choices in Pascal’s Wager by letting us all know which “God” is the one we should be giving design credit to and worshipping! As it is now, there are so many “Gods” to define, each of which, presumably, has so many different design mechanisms, that you creationists should probably start by narrowing down the “God” possibilities. I suggest you get together with representatives of all the available “Gods” and hash that definition part out first. That might take a while. Then get back to us and we can guide you on the next step.

  293. #297 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #291

    Wrong. His answer regarding seed theory was a direct question about the origin of life, not about ID. That question came afterwards. Have you seen the film?

  294. #298 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    No, Ryan. That’s exactly the point. You’re not following Darwinism to its logical conclusions. You’re going way beyond.

    The logical conclusions of Darwinism are “life arose by natural processes.” That’s it. From that statement neither racism nor equality follows. It is up to us, men and women, to figure out how to conduct ourselves. And we damn sure don’t need a celestial overlord who slaughters women and children (except the virgins, of course) and convicts us of thought crime.

    By the way: those are Numbers 31:17f., Matthew 7:21f.

  295. #299 jsn
    April 20, 2008

    I logged on a few minutes ago, looked at the thread title and the # of comments. 260!!!
    I thought, “AWRIIIIIGHT, the shit is ON.”
    Yaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwnnnnnn….
    No crazy-ass trolls, just a couple of young’uns without much dogma free schoolin’ and an obstinate guy who just doesn’t want to let go no matter how articulate and measured the responses.
    All this heavyweight intellectual fire power wasted on a mere apologist. Maybe it’s a ruse, perhaps the IDers are creating a diversion and are attacking elsewhere. Oh well.

    Good recipes though…

  296. #300 Dutch Delight
    April 20, 2008

    Hi Ryan, I’ll give you a little tip. Every organism alive on this planet right now, is just as evolved as you are.

    If that doesn’t make sense to you, you should reconsider if you know anything at all about evolution.

  297. #301 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    Stand corrected. Dawkins and not Hawkins. It’s late.

  298. #302 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    We’ve done you one better, Ryan. We’ve got the eye-witness account of the man in the interview. Here.

  299. #303 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    Sabrina,

    If that is Dawkins opinion, it differs from the clear presentation of the design theory he found “interesting” in the film. His argument was that if it is found that design is present in the human organism, it would be plausible that the presence of design is evidence of panspermia. Mr. Stein did not press to discover whether Dick is an advocate of directed panspermia.

    Better yet was the theory that life was created by Shirley McClain and a pocket full of crystals. Perhaps after she was visited by space aliens. It was all very scientific.

  300. #304 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    How exactly does a scientific theory lead to ugly conclusions? Do you have so little faith in humanity, that if everyone believed in common descent, we’d start killing people? I think the bible and other religious texts can prove a lot more harmful that scientific theories.

    I don’t really expect a competent answer from someone who thinks black people haven’t contributed anything to the world. I guess you never had a blood transfusion, or received cortisone. Again, read a book, get back to us.

  301. #305 Martin
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan:

    Darwinism, when followed to its logical conclusions, leads to ugly places.

    Will you allow me my point?

    Only to inform you it’s full of BS.

    Natural selection only refers to the process by which organisms that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to have successful offspring and survive.

    There’s no real “logical conclusion” to this that you could paint as “ugly,” unless you were prepared to warp it beyond all recognition…which is what you anti-evolution, anti-science, anti-intellectual types are all too eager to do, of course.

    There’s a big difference between the process of natural selection, which is a simple fact of biology, and some crazy ideologues using misguided ideas they think represents “Darwinism” as some kind of moral imperative, to justify doing something bad that they were prepared to do anyway.

    In short, whether “Darwinism” inspired racism or not — and it didn’t; the ugly scourge of racism has been with us throughout the whole history of civilization, and the Church has been carrying out all manner of vile pogroms against the Jews going back centuries before Hitler — that would not have any bearing on whether or not it was true.

    And the Bible has been used to justify atrocities down through history, too. Now, would you say that’s the Bible’s fault…or the fault of the people using it to their own ends?

  302. #306 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    @ Ryan.

    The argument you offer (“the ugly conclusions of this theory”) places no faith in humanity whatsoever. As you are an admitted Christian, and therefore I assume believe in original sin and some version of total depravity, I guess I’m not surprised that you think we’d all be killing and raping each other if it weren’t for that darned God-given moral code.

    More specifically: anyone who says “without God I wouldn’t know right from wrong” is fucking nuts. Everyone, not suffering from brain damage, knows right and wrong. Murder, theft, perjury, infanticide, genocide, rape, etc.–all these are self-evidently wrong to functional homo sapiens.

    Interesting to note they’re also all on Jehova’s resume.

  303. #307 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    284: “Really? The book of Genesis declares earth is round…”

    “I cannot address your answer accurately without reviewing the original greek text.”

    Original Greek text. Of Genesis.

    I suppose one could be charitable and speculate that he meant the earliest of the various translations of Genesis into Greek, but that would raise (not “beg”!) the question: why would such a translation be any more accurate than a modern translation into English?

    Enough. I’m going to go and watch a movie that is advertised as being fiction.

  304. #308 Autumn
    April 20, 2008

    I am a dogmatic non-stamp-collector. Today I will not collect stamps really, really, hard.
    I hope this pisses off the foolish stamp-collectors.

    (satire… I am adding this addendum just in case a Young-Earth-Stamp-Collector feels the need to go ballistic on my anti-stamp stance)

  305. #309 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan said:

    My point was, at least I think, a good one. Darwinism, when followed to its logical conclusions, leads to ugly places.

    Read this: Appeal to consequences

    And this: Expelled Exposed

    You can be a “biblical Christian” if that is what you want to be. But be warned, you reflect badly on all Christians, and the religion in general, when you make appallingly ignorant arguments.

    Also remember that the decision to refer to yourself as a “biblical Christian” has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth or falsity of a proposition, including whether life evolved. Evidence decides that, and if you choose to ignore the evidence for evolution, I fail to see in which sense you can claim to be living a life of truth.

  306. #310 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    Loudon, have you ever heard of editing? Also, Dr. D. was lied to about what the film was about, and was taken aback at the questions. Plus, evolution has nothing to do with how life began!!!

  307. #311 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    I am taking some good shots hear. Some deserved, some not. Stimulating to say the least. Let me address the historical accurateness of the Bible. I’m not talking about inspiration but the historical reliability.

    The bibliographical test for text accurateness of antiquity documents is the measure of the number of copied manuscripts in existence (MSS)and the time interval between the originals and the extant copies. There are 24,970 original copies of the Christian New Testament within 350 years of Christ’s death. The second most accurate antiquity document is the Lliad by Homer with 643.

  308. #312 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    I am taking some good shots hear. Some deserved, some not. Stimulating to say the least. Let me address the historical accurateness of the Bible. I’m not talking about inspiration but the historical reliability.

    The bibliographical test for text accurateness of antiquity documents is the measure of the number of copied manuscripts in existence (MSS)and the time interval between the originals and the extant copies. There are 24,970 original copies of the Christian New Testament within 350 years of Christ’s death. The second most accurate antiquity document is the Lliad by Homer with 643.

    Very…interesting, Ryan.

    But what does that to do, in any way, with the ongoing discussion?

    Regardless, all this proves is that people made and preserved lots of copies of a book. There’s many more than 25K copies of the Da Vinci Code. By your argument, we must now concede it is divine truth.

  309. #313 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    “I don’t have a copy so I cannot answer you.”
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 1:52 AM

    You’re one step away from the correct statement – that you do not know the answer.

    “Admittedly the humanities are challenging. Their mastery may be beyond your mechanistic skill set. But I would ask that you at least attempt to read before you respond.”
    Posted by: Loudon is a Fool | April 20, 2008 1:53 AM

    Since you referenced nothing that I posted in that last one of yours, and instead simply resorted to the tired tactic of ‘insult, then claim victory,” then I shall spell it out that when you argued for the inability to fight against numbers, you were very clearly stating that – though you somehow don’t believe truth lies in numbers – truth is irrelevant because numbers always win. I won’t even go into the logical fallacy farm that was the remainder of that post, but I will agree that the humanities can be difficult – but before even scratching their surface, you have to possess a working understanding of the tenets of logic, which your post severely lacked.

  310. #314 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    It’s the Illiad, btw.

  311. #315 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    I recommend you watch the film, Sabrina. Dick’s representation of the interview is inconsistent with his demeanor on the big screen. I don’t want to suggest he is now lying in his reconstruction, but he is an atheist. So . . . .

  312. #316 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #284

    Ted, I am being fair. My the version I am looking at is the NIV which is a “thought for a thought” translation. There are other more accurate translations such as the NASB which is a “word for a word” translation directly from the greek. Because translations from one language to another can be awkward the technical accurateness can be lost in the NIV. Therefore, I am saying that although my English version says “round” I agree that it is possible the Greek word (whatever it is) might more accurately be translated as circular. I can’t know based on my English translation.

  313. #317 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    I recommend you watch the film, Sabrina. Dick’s representation of the interview is inconsistent with his demeanor on the big screen. I don’t want to suggest he is now lying in his reconstruction, but he is an atheist. So . . . .

    And you know us Atheists, no morals. We just love to pillage and rape and lie because we can, and there’s no god to stop us.

    I see your bullshit and raise you Sweden. 80% nonreligious, some of the lowest crime rates and some of the highest charitable giving in the industrial world.

    So what was that about atheism leading to immorality????

  314. #318 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    I can’t believe the Christians can’t get this right…

    GENESIS WAS WRITTEN IN HEBREW.

    NOT GREEK.

  315. #319 Reginald
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan 272:

    Actually, evolutionary theory would more likely conclude that a greater diversity is a better condition of survival of a species. Genetic similarity equals death. Hence, many races is a good thing. That said evolution doesn’t go towards one supreme goal. It just occurs, and there is no such thing as a ‘master’ race – just organisms better suited for a particular environment than others. That can change at any moment if the pressures on natural selection change.

    Please do not call me a racist because I am a scientist. That’s very un-humane and unabashedly divisive for no rason but to score political points. I am most assuredly not white and I get a little upset when people purport to tell me who the racists are.

  316. #320 Loudon is a Fool
    April 20, 2008

    Uhhh, Joshua. I’ll see your Sweden, and raise you . . . Sweden.

  317. #321 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #312

    I am not asking that you accept the bible as divine truth, just that it is accurate to its original as it was first penned. Plus the dead sea scrolls preserved a good chunk of several Old Testament books. Our modern day texts are true to those manuscripts, which predate Christ.

  318. #322 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    OK. It’s accurate to the original. So what? All your work is still ahead of you. So far you’ve got a well preserved bronze age book.

    What does any of this have to do with Darwin or Expelled?

  319. #323 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @312
    You can copy a made-up story as many times as you like.
    Doesn’t change the fact that it is made up.

  320. #324 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    dammit
    #323 should read:

    #321
    You can copy a made-up story as many times as you like.
    Doesn’t change the fact that it is made up.

  321. #325 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan said:

    There are 24,970 original copies of the Christian New Testament within 350 years of Christ’s death.

    “There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament [...] The number of variants is as high as 400,000.”

    - Bart D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.

    Admittedly, many are not important, but it hardly instills confidence in the accuracy of the current copies of the New Testament, does it?

  322. #326 SKFK
    April 20, 2008

    “Plus the dead sea scrolls preserved a good chunk of several Old Testament books. Our modern day texts are true to those manuscripts, which predate Christ.”

    So Ryan is now saying that Judaism is a truer religion than Christianity, right?

  323. #327 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #319

    Reginald, please accept my apology. I recant..I am not calling you or anyone a racist. But nor was I talking about diversity. Maybe I have a pea brain as many posters have eluded. However, I once heard an evolutionist make that argument. That africans, as explained by Darwinism, were inferior to europeans. And honestly, besides attacking my apparent logical fallacy, I have not heard anyone answer the question.

    Have all men evolved equally?

  324. #328 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    @ 326

    Well, it came earlier, and since they love their (misunderstood) Second Law of Thermodynamics, since Christianity came after Judaism, Judaism must be better. Otherwise that would evolution–and that violates the aforementioned rule?

    Course, then Hinduism wins, being far older.

  325. #329 Arion
    April 20, 2008

    Actually, evolution is proven by an old creationist video, the one about the banana. In the beginning, it was nothing like it is today, but, through hundreds (if not thousands) of years of ‘selective’ breeding, became the fruit w see today. No it’s not one species turning into another but, by definition, it s still evolution.

  326. #330 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    @ Ryan (#327)

    Evolving equally is a loaded term. Equality doesn’t arise from evolution. Equality is something we have chosen to value and thus we work to make it a reality. The only role evolution has in that is shaping our makeup (particularly our brains) which allow us to even conceive of “equality”, let alone fight for it.

    No. Of course all men (and women, which Christians always manage to forget) did not evolve equally. We’re obviously not uniform species. My room mate is some kind of Baseball prodigy. I can barely run.

    But again, none of that has anything to do with equality. Equality, as an idea, comes from people. Equality, as reality, will only come from people.

    Evolution is how we got here. It does not absolutely determine where we are going.

  327. #331 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    I am not asking that you accept the bible as divine truth, just that it is accurate to its original as it was first penned.

    Its pieces were penned over a very long time by very many people. Also, the “Bible” as we know it was assembled by people with an agenda.

    What are you trying to say?

  328. #332 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #326

    I guess I’m not the only dumb one here. Jesus was a Jew. According to Christianity, He came to fulfill the Jewish Law, or the Old Covenant with the New Covenant. And the Old Testament is in the back of the Christian bible. Continuation.

  329. #333 Ian H Spedding FCD
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan wrote:

    Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible. Seriously, ask your local atheist historian. No doubt their face will contort, but they will admit its the Bible. So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?

    There are two possibilities here, either you are ignorant – whic is the more charitable assumption – or you are lying.

    Yes, it seems that the preponderance of academic opinion is that there was a preacher called Jesus who lived at that time and in that place.

    But there are no contemporary references to him. According to the Bible, he was a very prominent figure, yet we have no mention of him from anyone who was alive at the same time – not one.

    As for few other events or people for which we have, as yet, no evidence:

    – The creation of the Universe somewhere between 6000 and 10000 years ago

    – Adam and Eve

    – The Garden of Eden

    – The Great Flood

    – The enslavement in Egypt

    – The Exodus

    – Saul

    – Solomon

    – The Great Temple of Solomon

    – David

    Any atheist historian or (honest) Christian historian will tell you that while some Biblical accounts have been corroborated by archaeological evidence, it is absurd to call it “the most accurate historical text ever written”. I am assuming you are aware it is not a single text by a single author but a compilation of many different texts written at different times and in different places?

    Your problem, however, is that you are relying on the very same scientific method to find evidence supporting the Bible as has already provided overwhelming evidence for the theory of evolution. You cannot admit one and deny the other, not if you are being honest.

  330. #334 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @ 327

    Please, please, read this: How Biology Refutes Our Racial Myth

  331. #335 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #272 the singular Ryan posted this on April 20, 2008 1:39 AM:

    I realize I am an ignorant Christian, but I am struggling to understand something. Can you enlighten me?

    I’ll give it a shot. But you will only get out of my response what you take from it. I can not provide enlightenment where the mind’s eyes are blind.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    As evolutionists, you may only believe in the material world. You believe in natural selection removing the weak in all species. You believe that no moral authority or morality for that matter exist (you can’t in a material world). The concepts of equality, truth, and purpose also cannot exist (don’t press this point, even your beloved Hawkins freely admits).

    You mangled the precepts of the theory.

    1) I am allowed to believe in an immaterial world. I may not bring that belief into the world of science as it works to explain what we see around us. There is a difference between this and what you claim..

    2) There are other mechanisms at play, and it isn’t always the weakest that are “removed.” The theory says the genes of the individuals that pass those genes to the most decendents will exist in the largest portion of the population. If I have 20 kids and die of a genetic disorder, and everyone else only has 1 child – my genetic disorder will have a disproportionate representation in the population (especially if that disorder also involves my decendents having more children). This is not survival of the fittest. It is survival of the most fecund. This is only part of natural selection, however.

    3) Your assumption for no moral authority is also baseless. It is the same moral authority that informs all human documents, that produced the “Golden Rule” (and no, not the one that says “He who has the gold makes the rules”). People have been refining civilization for thousands of years. There are key concepts that allow society to work, to improve, and some that do the opposite. These evolved into the “Don’t Kill, don’t steal, don’t cheat, don’t lie” that underlie most religions – and lead to, “Do for the people you meet as you would have them do for you.” That is the moral authority we all operate by.

    4) And who is Hawkins? Do you mean Dawkins? He is not my beloved. I haven’t read his books and know very little about him.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    And I arrive at my question!

    Good a question – I have answers – though I warn you, I might just make them up from whole cloth… you should do some research and read some books on ethics and evolution and atheism, and a whole host of other topics. I’ll start you off by pointing you at Carl Sagan’s “The Demon Haunted World.”

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    Do you believe all men are created (I mean evolved, sorry!) equally? Let me pose it another way, did all races evolve equally?

    Yes. All humans have the same rights as all others. Based on the assumption that any other human is a moral operator, then I must treat all humans as equals. To do otherwise is unethical.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    More specifically, Are blacks and whites equal? After all, Africans have contributed very little to science, technology…really little to the advancement in any arena of science, culture, or civilized government. The African continent has always been awash in brutal infighting and war. Little production of anything relevant has escaped the continent. Also, the white Europeans conquered black Africans and used them as slaves and only gave up slavery by choice (not because Africans gained an advantage and used superior force to free themselves). Is that natural selection?

    Africans haven’t what? Look up African scientists. Heck, look up African-American scientists. They are quite well represented in the patent office, in literature, in any area that matters, the people you consider the “blacks” have made important contributions. Were I to use the ethics I mentioned before I would have to conclude White’s have behaved quite badly – and I have to wonder what mindset, what frame of reference, what theology, allowed them to do so. You are attempting to use a paradigm that does not exist in the Theory of Evolution to discredit the Theory of Evolution.

    By the way, slavery predates Darwin. Darwin also spoke against slavery.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    Following the logical conclusion of Darwinian theory, whites are then naturally superior to blacks, right?

    Wrong. The Theory of Evolution concludes that because humans came from Africa that humans came from Africa. It makes no moral assumptions about those that continued to exist there. For all you know, those are the most evolved humans (as if there could be a more or less evolved, but that is a different argument…). You very obviously do not know anything about the Theory of Evolution – or at best you hold the same misconceptions the Eugenics advocates did.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    Let me answer for you.

    I’m glad that you don’t answer for me. That would lead to grave tragedies and injustices in our world.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    Either you answer as you must and say yes, based on the imperial evidence of history, whites are indeed superior to blacks. This conclusion would make you a Racist. Or option two, you say that indeed all men evolved equally…and thereby admit Darwinism is false.

    You create a false dichotomy. You can’t possibly understand the concepts of Evolution if you can believe the scenario you’ve built. An understanding of the Theory of Evolution leads one to conclude there are no difference between the “races” and that all humans are, in fact, human. Except Creationists – they don’t believe in evolution and strive mightily to not be included in it’s conclusions. They might be considered a sub-species – but I digress.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    So what have-you? Racist or Wrong?

    You are the one wrong. I have to wonder what frame or mindset you come from, what philosophy allows you to believe such incredibly wrong ideas. It is a mindset we obviously do not share. All humans have equal rights – and that is the heart of basic human philosophy – which the Theory of Evolution is a part of. We share this planet, our fates are tied – we must follow the Golden Rule.

    #272 the singular Ryan continued:

    Or you could just ignore my post…who wants to be caught in such an uncomfortable predicament!

    I can only ignore your post if it would do no further damage, if it would lie peacefully and quietly in the dark. It does not. Many will read your post and if it goes unanswered would believe you are correct. You are not, and so I cannot ignore your post. I would think you, posting in the lion’s den, would be in the uncomfortable predicament. Regardless, you have much to learn about the Theory of Evolution.

    JBS

  332. #336 Lulu
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan, your question was answered in #279 and #280. The Human Genome Project concludes that there is NO GENETIC MARKER FOR RACE. Race is just a construction: humans don’t evolve according to race. Give it up. Jesus. We’re not social Darwinists. We just think that life evolved. We still care about being moral people, we have concern for the poor and differently abled, etc.

  333. #337 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #330

    Thank you for the response. However, our desires for equality and the conclusions of natural selection are different. And to me frightening. At least according the Ben Stein, many Nazis were Darwinist and used that belief system to ride the world of the weak, and exterminate 6 million in the process. Just a thought.

  334. #338 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    John Derbyshire making sense over at the National Review.

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NzkzMzk3OGJkNjJkM2YyZjJjYjlkMzM5NjBjY2FmZDQ=

    “As so often with creationist material, I’m not sure what the point is. Darwin’s great contribution to human knowledge, his theory of the origin of species, is either true, or it’s not. … It is a true fact that E = mc2, and the Iranians are right at this moment using that true fact to construct nuclear weapons. If they succeed, and use their weapons for horrible purposes, will that invalidate the Special Theory of Relativity? …

    And, as always when the Darwin-Hitler business comes up, I note that guilt by association cuts two ways. Islamic fundamentalists are Darwin-hating creationists to a man.”

  335. #339 Militant Agnostic
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan – text accurateness has nothing to do with factual accurateness. Factual accurateness is where the bible fails and fails miserably as archeologists are continuing to discover. I will leave it those here who are more vesrsed in middle eastern archeology than I to point these out. However as an engineer I can assure that the idea of building a wooden ship that could accomdate 2 (and sometimes 7) of every animal species is absolutely ridiculous.

    Louden is a Fool –

    As an engineer I can easily determine the characteristics of intelligent design (unnecessary complexity isn’t one of them) and living organisms do not exhibit them. Simplicity, not complexity is the hallmark of design. Compare a high performance glider to a bird – the glider is much less complex. Living organisms are massive kluges.

  336. #340 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    Oh, poor Ryan, he must live in a world without google, or history textbooks. Ryan, seriously, the Nazis were not Darwinists; most were seriously religious, which is why they didn’t like the Jews. Read some books on Hitler, and how much he referenced God in his speeches and writings, read how he thought secular schooling was the worst thing you could do to a society, how he thought religion was the base for morality. You know why they killed the Jews, apparently they thought they killed this guy called Christ. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.

  337. #341 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    At least according the Ben Stein, many Nazis were Darwinist and used that belief system to ride the world of the weak, and exterminate 6 million in the process. Just a thought.

    (Bold, mine)

    And there’s problem. Why is Ben Stein the expert on Nazism? Why is an ACTOR the voice of authority? Read historians, read holocaust surviors, watch this video to figure out what really drove Hitler–it wasn’t Darwin.

    Hitler used the word Darwinism, just like you have, without really understanding it. He took it out of context and used it to empower the antisemitism already available.

  338. #342 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @ #272:

    As evolutionists, you may only believe in the material world.

    Many, many people of all faiths, including many scientists, have no trouble believing in both modern science and their faith. Don’t continue to conflate atheism and evolution, it makes you look like a hopeless moron. Many of the posters on this board are atheist or agnostic, but not all.

    Ryan @ #272:

    You believe in natural selection removing the weak in all species.

    Not quite.. the current understanding is that mutations create changes in individuals of a species. Weakness or strength doesn’t factor into an individual’s survival, only suitability to the current environment. Some luck also, but luck isn’t a heritable trait.

    You believe that no moral authority or morality for that matter exist (you can’t in a material world). The concepts of equality, truth, and purpose also cannot exist (don’t press this point, even your beloved Hawkins freely admits).

    You’re still conflating evolution and atheism. One’s views on the evolution don’t necessarily have any bearing on their religious/moral/philosophical views. From a strictly materialistic viewpoint: as social animals we wouldn’t still be around if every individual acted with complete disregard for the group.

    There are no atheist prophets. I’m free to disbelieve your, and everyone else’s, gods regardless of whether I agree or disagree with Hawkins, Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchens. I don’t have to give a flying fuck what Hawkins has to say about equality, truth, and purpose.

    Ryan @ #272:

    Do you believe all men are created (I mean evolved, sorry!) equally? Let me pose it another way, did all races evolve equally?

    Equal in what respect? I’m not dissembling or being snarky here. If you mean equal in “worth”, that’s a moral concept that can’t be determined genetically. My personal take is that a person should be judged by his/her actions, not by any biological criteria.

    If you’re talking about genetic equality, there is none. Each member of a species has its own distinct genotype. Most people are fit enough to survive in their current environment, and modern technology has given us the ability to ensure that many who wouldn’t be still survive.

    More specifically, Are blacks and whites equal?

    Genetically different, by definition, but otherwise equal.

    After all, Africans have contributed very little to science, technology…really little to the advancement in any arena of science, culture, or civilized government.

    The fuck man? And you’re about to accuse evolutionists as being racist? I’d really like to see which data you think support this, along with a better explanation of how you feel it proves that Africans haven’t contributed to the arts, sciences, and humanities.

    …Little production of anything relevant has escaped the [African] continent. Also, the white Europeans conquered black Africans and used them as slaves and only gave up slavery by choice (not because Africans gained an advantage and used superior force to free themselves). Is that natural selection?

    Again, back up your assertion about the production of “anything relevant” from the African continent. Any advantage the European slavers (and later colonizers) had was due to better technology, not fitness for survival in any evolutionary sense. I hope I’m not being too subtle when I add that this technological advantage was directly due to an increased emphasis on education and science among the Europeans, at the expense of ignorant obedience to the priests and their stone-age god.

    Following the logical conclusion of Darwinian theory, whites are then naturally superior to blacks, right?

    Nope, and fuck you.

    Let me answer for you.

    No thanks and fuck you.

    Either you answer as you must and say yes, based on the imperial evidence of history, whites are indeed superior to blacks. This conclusion would make you a Racist. Or option two, you say that indeed all men evolved equally…and thereby admit Darwinism is false.
    So what have-you? Racist or Wrong?

    I believe I’ve adequately explained why your dilemma is stupid, boneheaded, and about as tangible your big daddy up in the clouds. Also, did you really just type “imperial evidence”? That’s the best laugh I’ve had all night!

  339. #343 tes
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan, what would happen to you, your social standing, your relationship with family and friends etc, if you should have some similar experience to the one cited below?

    “In 1974 I matriculated at Pepperdine University as a born-again Christian who rejected Darwinism and evolutionary theory, not because I knew anything about it (I didn’t) but because I thought that in order to believe in God and accept the Bible as true that you had to be a creationist. What I knew about evolution came primarily from creationist literature, so when I finally took a course in evolutionary theory in graduate school I realized that I had been hoodwinked. What I discovered is a massive amount of evidence from multiple sciences — geology, paleontology, biogeography, zoology, botany, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, genetics and embryology — demonstrating that evolution happened.” Michael Shermer.
    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/08-04-17.html

    Are you actually free to change your view? How much have you got to loose? I know this is one thing that keeps some people from checking out the facts. Being caught actually studying the enemy standpoint could be socially unacceptable… Loosing friends etc is no fun.

  340. #344 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    “Darwinism is against slavery”

    How? You presume morality. A higher moral authority. Where does that come from? Where do right and wrong come from?

    If we all came from primordial gue would not our only aim in life be like every other species…survival and reproduction?

    In what part of the evolutionary process did love develop? Sadness? Joy? The sense of right and wrong? Why is it acceptable for certain species to eat their own, but is considered “wrong” by humans?

  341. #345 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    “I can’t know based on my English translation.”
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 2:20 AM

    – Almost there… The answer is that you do not know. Whether that can be remedied by a reading of a different translation or not (something I also doubt) is immaterial – you made a statement that you can’t show support for, therefore you do not know the answer to the question of whether or not that is actually posited in the bible’s text.

    “I am not asking that you accept the bible as divine truth, just that it is accurate to its original as it was first penned. Plus the dead sea scrolls preserved a good chunk of several Old Testament books. Our modern day texts are true to those manuscripts, which predate Christ.”
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 2:27 AM

    1. Even if you could somehow verify its composition when “it” (a collection of books written across the span of a millenia) was first written, that would still offer no evidentiary value towards its historical accuracy, which has already been discredited – see for yourself the contradictions and inconsitencies laid out verse by verse:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

    2. The Dead Sea scrolls did not preserve Old Testament books – it added to the books that were already canon, and in doing so caused a major controversy over their true origins and the manner in which they were hidden. While SOME of the works predate the time of Christ, it is wildly misleading to characterize the entire set of documents that way because the majority of them were written after the time Christ was said to have lived. And our modern day texts are not faithful to the Dead Sea scrolls, because the entirety of this set of documents – by necessity of their being hidden away from the world – was excluded from canon in all three major Abrahamic faiths, aside from the few sections of texts that were copies of then-existing passages. And even just considering our canonical books, both the Catholic Church’s Council of Nicaea of 325 AD (which began the practice in Christianity of bishops determining canon, then selecting which texts fit that canon – this was the method which the Catholic Church used to decide what got into their bible and what did not) and the Anglican Church’s separation from Rome and subsequent publication of the King James Version of the bible, still further pared down to fit someone else’s perception of what should be included or excluded. This is hardly the solid foundation that a historically accurate document – much less “the most historically accurate text ever written…” The claim is simply false.

  342. #346 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    “At least according the Ben Stein, many Nazis were Darwinist and used that belief system to ride the world of the weak, and exterminate 6 million in the process.”

    They should have consulted with Hitler:

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

  343. #347 Dutch Delight
    April 20, 2008

    One wonders if some people never ever look over their own fences. They would know to avoid the whole religion is good for morality BS if they knew the actual statistics.

  344. #348 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    You presume morality. A higher moral authority. Where does that come from? Where do right and wrong come from?

    It is a non sequitur to assume a moral authority must be higher.

    Morality comes from natural processes. It’s evolutionary benefit is demonstrable.

    If you’d like a scientific explanation of just that, go here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html

  345. #349 Wanglese
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan, many NAZI’s were Christians, and wore “Gott Mit Uns” on their belts. Google it.

    Additionally, they used their interpretation of Christianity to do the horrendous things you accuse “Darwinists” of.

    Now no-one is equating Christianity with Nazi philosophies.

    It’s prety obvious creationists want to equate Evolution with Nazis. Now why, do you think, would that be?

    Just a thought.

    But I doubt you will understand it.

  346. #350 John
    April 20, 2008

    Ian – you wrote:

    ” Yes, it seems that the preponderance of academic opinion is that there was a preacher called Jesus who lived at that time and in that place.

    But there are no contemporary references to him. According to the Bible, he was a very prominent figure, yet we have no mention of him from anyone who was alive at the same time – not one.”

    If there is an academic consensus on the question, then what it your point? Anyway, there are letters from Pontius Pilot mentioning the man and the trouble he was causing.

  347. #351 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @ 337

    From, Hitler & Eugenics

    Summary

    Expelled’s inflammatory implication that Darwin and the science of evolution “led to” eugenics, Nazis, and Stalinism is deeply offensive and detrimental to public discussion and understanding of science, religion, and history.

    The Claim

    “Darwinism” led to Nazism, the Holocaust, and other heinous historical events.

    The Facts

    Since the 1920’s, a narrow group of Christians who rejected the modernizing changes made by mainstream Protestants, have wrongly tried to blame evolution for the ills of modern society. After World War II, this narrow group added Nazism to the horrors supposedly caused by evolution. Such claims occur in the writings of the young-earth creationist Henry M. Morris, a founder of the modern creation science movement, and have been repeated by intelligent design advocates and creationist Christian organizations such as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, and Coral Ridge Ministries.

    Understanding the history of Nazi Germany and how the Holocaust could happen is obviously a very serious, and, in an era when ethnic cleansing and genocide are resurgent, a critically important subject. The public interest is not well-served by the efforts of sectarian groups to advance their own narrow agendas through distorted and simplistic explanations of horrific events.

    Any serious attempt to understand the Nazis’ rise to power in the 1920’s would consider the devastation suffered by all of the belligerent countries in World War I, especially Germany, and the resulting deep political, social, and economic crisis in that country. The huge military losses (more than 2 million soldiers killed), the extraordinary number of civilian casualties, the fragmentation of German politics, the economic consequences of reparations Germany was required to pay to the war’s victors, and the exploitation of deeply rooted anti-Semitism are some of the factors that a serious history would address.

    Anti-Semitic violence against Jews can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages at least, 7 centuries before Darwin. As Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany in the aftermath of World War I, they distorted and abused anything they could in their despicable campaigns to foment hatred of Jews and others they stigmatized as “asocial” or “outside society.” The Nazis appropriated language and concepts from many sources, including evolution, genetics, medicine (especially the germ theory of disease), and anthropology as propaganda tools to promote their perverted ideology of “racial purity.”

    In 2006, the Anti-Defamation League sharply criticized a Coral Ridge Ministries film, Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, that purported to link Hitler to Darwin in much the same way that Expelled does. Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham H. Foxman stated:

    “This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.” (Press release August 22, 2006)

    Genocide has been an all too frequent occurrence in human history and the fanaticism that drives it does not require the writings of Charles Darwin. By obscuring that fact, Expelled betrays either profound ignorance or a willful disregard of historical reality in service of its ideological agenda.

    The Claim

    Evolutionary biology leads to eugenics

    The Facts

    The eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th century relied on simplistic and faulty assumptions about the nature of human heredity. Expelled erroneously implies that all biologists were eugenics supporters during that period. A large percentage of geneticists certainly were, yet during World War I, leading geneticists and evolutionists like Thomas Hunt Morgan were already distancing themselves from eugenics which they saw was based on shoddy science.

    In the 1920s and 1930s, clergy and secularists, as well as scientists, in the United States began to speak out against eugenics on scientific and social grounds. Clarence Darrow, famous for defending the teaching of human evolution in the 1925 Scopes trial, wrote this in a scathing repudiation of eugenics:

    “We have neither facts nor theories to give us any evidence based on biology or any other branch of science as to how we could breed intelligence, happiness, or anything else that would improve the race. We have no idea of the meaning of the word “improvement.” We can imagine no human organization we could trust with the job, even if eugenists [sic] knew what should be done and the proper way to do it. (Clarence Darrow, “The Eugenics Cult.”” The American Mercury vol VIII, June 1926, p. 137)

    Darrow concluded his article by writing:

    “Amongst the schemes for remolding society this is the most senseless and impudent that has ever been put forward by irresponsible fanatics to plague a long-suffering race.” (Clarence Darrow, “The American Spectator” vol VIII, June 1926, p. 137)

    By the 1930s, scientific support for eugenics continued to wane in the United States as it became clear that human genetics was far more complex than had been realized thirty years earlier. Evolutionary biologists were in the forefront of developing this understanding, another fact which Expelled ignores.

    In recent decades, Harvard evolutionary biologists Richard Lewontin and the late Stephen Jay Gould have been among the most outspoken critics of crude biological determinism and eugenics. Gould’s book, The Mismeasure of Man (1981, 2nd ed. 1996) is an excellent and readable account of the history of misuses of science to support racist ideologies, and why modern evolutionary biology does not support these ideologies. Not in Our Genes, by Lewontin et al. argues for extreme caution in making claims about the genetic basis of behavior.

    Controlling Human Heredity, 1865 to the Present, by Diane B. Paul (1998) gives a full and critical account of the eugenics movement in the United States and internationally. See also In the Name of Eugenics (1985, 1986, 1995) by Daniel Kevles.

    The Claim

    Charles Darwin advocated eugenics in the Descent of Man.

    The Facts

    In Expelled, Ben Stein reads a passage (omitting ellipses) that was also read by anti-evolutionist William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes trial:

    “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick, thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.”” (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871.)

    But Stein does not quote the very next passage in the Descent of Man which makes clear that Darwin was not advocating eugenics. Rather, he remarked, “The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.” (emphasis added)

    These are hardly the words of someone arguing for the sort of totalitarian eugenics practiced by the Nazi state, as implied by Expelled.

  348. #352 raven
    April 20, 2008

    ryan lying:

    Thank you for the response. However, our desires for equality and the conclusions of natural selection are different. And to me frightening. At least according the Ben Stein, many Nazis were Darwinist and used that belief system to ride the world of the weak, and exterminate 6 million in the process. Just a thought.

    The movie was one Big Lie. Even the newspapers and some Xian organizations got that one right. Ben Stein is a right wing kook liar who wrote speeches for Richard Nixon.

    Who killed the Jews? German Xians. Most real historians, Jewish and Xian identify German variety Xianity as one of the main reasons. Martin Luther was a notorious antisemite who advocated the destruction of the Jews 200 years before Darwin was even born. Telling lies repeats nothing. It does prove you are a creationist though. When your world view is a lie, lying just seems normal.

  349. #353 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    Hey Ryan, actually your bible advocates for slavery; it even lists the prices you should pay for slaves. Heck, you can even sell your daughter as a slave. So, where do you get your morals again?

  350. #354 John
    April 20, 2008

    Brokensolder – you wrote:

    “And even just considering our canonical books, both the Catholic Church’s Council of Nicaea of 325 AD (which began the practice in Christianity of bishops determining canon, then selecting which texts fit that canon – this was the method which the Catholic Church used to decide what got into their bible and what did not) and the Anglican Church’s separation from Rome and subsequent publication of the King James Version of the bible, still further pared down to fit someone else’s perception of what should be included or excluded. This is hardly the solid foundation that a historically accurate document – much less “the most historically accurate text ever written…” The claim is simply false.”

    Sounds like peer review to me.

  351. #355 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @344

    “darwinism is against slavery”

    You just made that quote up!
    Darwin was against slavery.

    There is no such thing as Darwinism.
    It’s not a religion you know.
    The theory of evolution is an idea which was developed by a man named Darwin to explain the natural world.
    It’s a good idea because it has proven to have much explanatory power, and has not yet been replaced by a better idea.

  352. #356 John
    April 20, 2008

    APJ – you wrote:

    “There is no such thing as Darwinism.”

    Richard Dawkins uses the term. What’s up with that?

  353. #357 Leigh
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @337, Stein’s understanding of history is as poor as his grasp of science.

    The big majority of Nazis were Christians. Is it therefore true to say that they used that belief system to rid the world of Christ killers?

    Wait. I take that back. That’s exactly what they did do, following the lead of that notorious antisemite Martin Luther.

    See where this line of reasoning takes you? Do you really want to go there?

    Or would it make more sense to say that the Nazis perverted Christianity as much as they did science?

  354. #358 Leigh
    April 20, 2008

    Raven @352, post 357 was written and posted before I read your comment.

    Note to self: REFRESH before commenting.

  355. #359 Dutch Delight
    April 20, 2008

    #344

    This should be obvious, but then some people are pretty thick.

    In what part of the evolutionary process did love develop? Sadness? Joy? The sense of right and wrong?

    Quite a while ago, given that even my dog has those emotions covered.

    Why is it acceptable for certain species to eat their own, but is considered “wrong” by humans?

    If you hadn’t exiled yourself to the barren moral wasteland known as theism you would know what it means to be human and not asked such a pretentious and silly question.

  356. #360 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @ 356

    My lack of knowledge of philosophy has let me down.

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

    I don’t like the term. It makes respect for the theory of evolution sound like a personality cult.
    from Wikipedia:

    The term Darwinism is often used in the USA by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement [2] to describe evolution…
    However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish modern evolutionary theories from those first proposed by Darwin, as well as by historians to differentiate it from other evolutionary theories from around the same period.

  357. #361 John
    April 20, 2008

    Damian – you wrote, quoting Darwin:

    “Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.”

    How can our nature be characterized as noble if there is no free will, as the materialists here would say? Or did he really mean expedient?

  358. #362 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    Obviously I am out numbered. Further, this discussion has degenerated into name calling. I’m sure you would all like to fire bomb my house.

    The truth is I was once an intellectually satisfied atheist. Through most of college, actually. I began reading about science and the bible…astronomy, etc. I concluded there is far more evidence to support creationism and Christianity than Darwinism. I never found a remotely plausible explanation for the origin of life. Micro-evolution of species, of course, but not the origin of life. Although I have not laid out a good argument in support, because I am too tired to page through books, their is massive support for biblical accuracy, inspiration, and revelation. There is significant biblical archaeological evidence especially for the old testament. The book of Acts alone…the five porticoes of the pool of Bethesda by the Sheep Gate (John 5:2), the pool of Siloam (9:1-7), Jacob’s well at Sychar (4:5), Solomon’s porch in the temple precincts (10:22-23) have all been found.

    But alas, we all make a choice. Probably the most significant evidence I have found is having witnessed Jesus Christ change lives. Testimony is powerful.

    We all make a choice.

  359. #363 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Hi Leigh,

    You said; “The big majority of Nazis were Christians.”. Could you please provide us with some support of that statement? It is very difficult to reconcile what the Nazis did with the version of Christianity that I am familiar with. When you say that the Nazis perverted Christianity that seems a lot closer to the truth. The Nazis used parts of Christian belief to help them accomplish their immediate goals. This seems to be a normal thing for politicians of all stripes.

  360. #364 Joshua Arnold
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan:
    We all make a choice.

    And some of us choose to make a choice based on the evidence.

  361. #365 longstreet63
    April 20, 2008

    “And ye boors will have only yourselves to blame when scientists are viewed with the same revulsion as the leech-wielding barbers of yesteryear.”

    Happily, at such a point, society will have again embraced leech-wielding barbers to mitigate their short, brutish lives. And scientists will only be remembered by the barely literate monks who burned the last books that mentioned them.

    Steve “And Homeopathic Chiropractors” James

  362. #366 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    John said:

    Richard Dawkins uses the term. What’s up with that?

    Dawkins has admitted recently that he should stop using it. In Britain it is perfectly normal (referring to a particular stance on biological evolution), but since it has been co-opted by creationists and subverted in their attempt to make it sound like a religion, it has been frowned upon in the United States for some time.

  363. #367 Skemono
    April 20, 2008

    Re: #271

    Following the logical conclusion of Darwinian theory, whites are then naturally superior to blacks, right?

    Ah yes, ye olde “evolution is racist!!!11eleventy-one” shite.

    No, it’s not.

  364. #368 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @ Ryan #362

    The Da Vinci Code features many real buildings and locations in it’s plot.

    It is fiction though.

    The Bible features real buildings and locations, but this is not evidence for it’s truth.

    You have turned your back on reason for fairy tales, yet you try to reason with those who have not.
    You’ve brought a knife to a gunfight.

  365. #369 John
    April 20, 2008

    APJ – you wrote:

    “I don’t like the term. It makes respect for the theory of evolution sound like a personality cult.”

    I appreciate your retraction, but your initial assertion used to ridicule someone else is typical of both the facts and tone that is too often found here. I really don’t understand why all you smart science-types spend so much time here – is this fun? I find it to be a place not of learning, but of ill will and oneupsmanship.

  366. #370 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    It does seem to me that many of you enjoy making personal attacks. Greatly appreciated.

    I will leave you with this quote from your fallen Poster-Child Anthony Flew. I doubt any of you forget the shock he caused by declaring himself a deist. Not a Christian, but at least admitting the existence of a creator God.

    Flew:

    “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I’ve never been much impressed by the kalam cosmological argument, and I don’t think it has gotten any stronger recently. However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.”

  367. #371 Rick R
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan ejaculated “I’m sure you would all like to fire bomb my house.”

    Projection. Along with an over-inflated sense of his own importance.

  368. #372 Autumn
    April 20, 2008

    I am trying so fucking hard to not collect stamps right now…

  369. #373 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    APJ – you wrote:
    “There is no such thing as Darwinism.”

    Richard Dawkins uses the term. What’s up with that?

    Posted by: John | April 20, 2008 3:12 AM

    It’s simple. Darwinism is Charles Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species. Inasmuch as their is no religion set up on Darwin himself, and added to the fact that we have progressed (with the help of his prescient theory) way past Darwin’s time, there is no such thing as institutional Darwinism. As Dawkins used it, it was a term referring exactly and only to the theory of evolution, and definitely not some secular religion. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/darwinism

    Again, its definition is the same as the definition for the Theory of Evolution, nothing more, and nothing less. If you cannot see that APJ was trying to make the point that there is no such thing as what Darwinism is ACCUSED of being – a “secular religion” bent on dominating science – then you’re just not paying attention. And if you did recognize his aim, then you’re deliberately diverting the argument with meaningless semantics.

  370. #374 tes
    April 20, 2008

    Do go easy on poor Ryan.
    I pity the guy.
    He’s just repeating what he has been told to think. He probably thinks you are doing the same thing. I mean, education is just memorizing the stuff in the textbooks, right? The book is the final arbiter of truth, right? If you want to know the truth, you will have to check in the book, right? So it is essential to have a book you can trust, one with a established reputation, perhaps.
    Going out and checking things for yourself and such is risky stuff. Who knows where that may end up?

  371. #375 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    #363: http://www.nobeliefs.com/speeches.htm

    By the way, to all you Christians/creationists, stop demanding proof from us. I would have way more respect for Christianity, if I actually heard of Christians reading books (besides the bible). Read any book on Egyptian history, and there will be no mention of Jewish slaves or an exodus. In fact the New Kingdom (supposedly the time of the exodus) is one of the times where Egypt was at its most powerful. If you want to disprove evolution, read a book about it. You guys always have the same questions, which have been answered over and over again.

    Plus, the gist of your argument is, life is complex, there must be a designer. Well, why the leap to the Christian God? Why not Allah, Vishnu, why not Jainism, why not Zues, why not Odin, why not Buddha, why not Xenu; I could go on and on. When it comes down to it, you all argue for a god of deism; well, fine, leave it at that. Your argument could be used to prove purple space monkeys, God, or Isis. And testimonies are not evidence; I have met very spiritual people, and they have not all been Christian. And everyone of them will say they know because they’ve “felt” fill-in-the-deity, they’ve seen same deity change lives, etc, etc,etc.

  372. #376 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #344 posted by Ryan on April 20, 2008 2:55 AM

    “Darwinism is against slavery”

    Who are you quoting here? Was it me? I said:
    By the way, slavery predates Darwin. Darwin also spoke against slavery.

    #344 posted by Ryan:

    How? You presume morality. A higher moral authority. Where does that come from? Where do right and wrong come from?

    The moral authority comes from humans, and human experience, and human civilization. No higher source required. What is it you do not understand. A civilization proceeds based on it’s laws. A civilization will collapse if those laws are poor. It will flourish if they are good. We are raised from birth to follow the laws of our civilization. That is the source of our moral authority.

    The US surived quite well until the 1950’s with no “In God We Trust” on the money, and no “Under God” in the pledge of allegience.

    #344 posted by Ryan:

    If we all came from primordial gue would not our only aim in life be like every other species…survival and reproduction?

    It would be had we not developed oversized brains and a sense of consciousness. With a conscience comes a sense of right and wrong.

    #344 posted by Ryan:

    In what part of the evolutionary process did love develop? Sadness? Joy? The sense of right and wrong? Why is it acceptable for certain species to eat their own, but is considered “wrong” by humans?

    It is considered wrong by humans because it does not promote an advanced civilization. There is a feed back mechanism in civilization. When we live close to one another, we develop rules to do so. The rules that work tend to improve the civilization. This has nothing to do with the Theory of Evolution per se. You need to read the philosophy of ethics and also about how civilizations develop. Get some real education. Of course you probably avoid such courses since they’re called the “Liberal Arts.”

    JBS

  373. #377 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #368

    I will comment shortly. Let me sharpen my knife.

  374. #378 raven
    April 20, 2008

    Hi Leigh,

    You said; “The big majority of Nazis were Christians.”. Could you please provide us with some support of that statement?

    Hitler was a serious christian. He talked about Xianity and Jesus as much as any fundie Death Cultist. Check wikipedia. Read Mein Kampf. In Mein Kampf, Hitler uses the word christian 32 times. Darwin was…. zero.

    Read wikipedia. Martin Luther wrote a book advocating a Final Solution to the Jewish problem. Luther hated Jews with a murderous passion. At Nuremberg, many Nazis said they were just carrying out Luther’s plan.

  375. #379 John
    April 20, 2008

    Damian – you wrote”

    “Dawkins has admitted recently that he should stop using it. In Britain it is perfectly normal (referring to a particular stance on biological evolution), but since it has been co-opted by creationists and subverted in their attempt to make it sound like a religion, it has been frowned upon in the United States for some time.”

    I think the British have it right, but so it goes.

  376. #380 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Let me sharpen my knife.

    I hear sandpaper works well to sharpen popsicle sticks.

  377. #381 APJ
    April 20, 2008

    @ John #369

    I’ve spent my whole life learning. I learn something new every day. I come here because I like the attitude of the posters here. Sometimes I learn something (as did re: Darwinism), sometimes I don’t. But I do like the tone here.

    You don’t like the tone?
    I have a suggestion for you then.
    Care to guess what it might be?

  378. #382 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    In my opinion, although Mismeasure of Man* is a pretty good source, Not In Our Genes is problematic for a number of reasons. (I won’t go into detail here. But check out Dawkins’ review, which is on the internet somewhere.) I have my own disagreements with Dawkins, but I think it’s a little funny that an anti-Expelled website would recommend a polemical attack on Dawkins and allies as a corrective for a polemical attack on Dawkins and allies.

    *One of the ideas from that era that Gould preserves is the now-discredited neoteny theory of human evolution.

    Furthermore, it is close to the naturalistic fallacy to suggest that opposition to eugenics requires opposition to sociobiology (evolutionary psychology, behavioral ecology, whatever) or extreme skepticism of behavioral genetics. I see the logical connection between genetic determinism and eugenics, but it’s not a binding one. One could believe that behavioral and psychological propensities are highly genetically influenced and still be an anti-eugenicist. And one could believe that the genetic inheritance of personality and mental differences is fairly weak and favor eugenic public policies.

    I recommend the chapter by Diane B Paul (mentioned above) in The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, ‘Darwinism, social darwinism, and eugenics,’ which presents a complex picture of the ideas of the era.

    Dawkins’ fondness for the term “Darwinism”: OK, Dawkins, we get it – selection is a powerful algorithm, etc. But enough already.

  379. #383 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    Holy hell, this thread is like a flash-bang grenade of stupidity.

    Guys, it’s like arguing with a woodchuck. You can explain whatever you want to it, but there’s no way it’ll understand anything you’re saying.

  380. #384 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Sounds like peer review to me.
    Posted by: John | April 20, 2008 3:09 AM

    It is, and it is exactly how the church decided what would go into the bible and what would ultimately be left out.

  381. #385 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    Raven, are you really quoting wikipedia as a reliable source? Really?

  382. #386 John
    April 20, 2008

    Sabrina – you wrote:

    “Plus, the gist of your argument is, life is complex, there must be a designer. Well, why the leap to the Christian God? Why not Allah, Vishnu, why not Jainism, why not Zues, why not Odin, why not Buddha, why not Xenu; I could go on and on.”

    It doesn’t have to be the Christian God. Call it the First Cause or the Universal Mind, if you want. One step at a time.

  383. #387 Mercurious
    April 20, 2008

    @ Ryan:

    Obviously I am out numbered.

    Remember you came here. Also your arguments have been debated here time after time, and ripped to shreds every time. Many of the commentors here are professional scientists / professors who’s lively hoods require them to really know the material inside and out.

    I’m sure you would all like to fire bomb my house.

    To this I can promise you not one single person here would want to cause you one instant of harm to your person or property. Unfortunately there are a large number of very religious people who do not feel the same way. Ask any atheist or science blogger just how many pieces of hate mail / death threats / shouts of glee for burning in hell, these commentors receive. Now tell us who as the better moral code?

  384. #388 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    JBS #344

    Heard those all before. Overly simplistic is being too kind.

  385. #389 John
    April 20, 2008

    Brokensolder said:

    “It is, and it is exactly how the church decided what would go into the bible and what would ultimately be left out.”

    Yes, I got that point, but you missed mine.

  386. #390 Candy
    April 20, 2008

    I find it to be a place not of learning, but of ill will and oneupsmanship.

    Why do you stop by, then? Don’t you have free will?

    I always love this particular line from trolls. They come to a web site and whine, “This place is boring. You people are mean. Don’t you have lives? Why are you here on Saturday night?” And yet, troll in question is here, spouting nonsense, on a Saturday night himself. Again, it is shown that by their projection you shall know them.

  387. #391 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    @ Ryan:

    I don’t want to fire bomb your house. There seems to be a serious misconception that scientists and people who choose not to believe in the myth of God are somehow angry at God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    However, we do take issue when people from whatever cult or religion want to turn back the progress that humanity has made over the years in favor of a 13th century education.

  388. #392 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Raven, are you really quoting wikipedia as a reliable source? Really?
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 3:37 AM

    Nope, I’d say Wiki’s just the quick source at hand, but I bet if you’d read Mein Kampf, you’d realize that the info on the Wikipedia ppage about Hitler and his religion is extremely reliable…because it came – in great part – from Hitler’s own hand IN Mein Kampf.

  389. #393 raven
    April 20, 2008

    ryan being stupid:

    But alas, we all make a choice. Probably the most significant evidence I have found is having witnessed Jesus Christ change lives. Testimony is powerful.

    We all make a choice.

    You made a choice to be stupid and evil because of Jesus? What was the point of that? It’s OK, we see that every day. BTW, most Xian sects are OK with evolution and science, Catholic, Protestant, many Evangelicals, Mormom. You don’t have to spout lies about science and reality to be a Xian. You don’t even have to be stupid and murderous. Even the Pope says this.

    Roughly 40% of all scientists in the USA including some prominent evolutionary biologists identify themselves as….Xian. Evolution is taught at most large Xian universities, BYU, Notre Dame, Texas Xian, Baylor, Calvin, Pacific Lutheran, and so on. Your fundie Death Cult version is just a twisted perversion of the religion that found Jesus,…..and kicked him out, as far as they could.

  390. #394 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    John said:

    How can our nature be characterized as noble if there is no free will, as the materialists here would say? Or did he really mean expedient?

    Ever heard of anthropomorphizing?

    Anyway, I doubt that anyone here would suggest that there is no free will. Just a little less than was once thought, that’s all.

    gleaner63 said:

    Could you please provide us with some support of that statement?

    From The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945:

    “A number of studies have examined the relationship between Nazism and the German Christian churches (most notably Klaus Scholder’s well-known The Churches and the Third Reich). There are, of course, also studies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth and others that explore the relationship between the Reich and the church in terms of the Christian protest against Nazism. Steigmann-Gall, a history professor at Kent State, adds a new chapter to the story by investigating the way that Christianity functioned within the Nazi party itself. Using party pamphlets and writings of key members, he demonstrates that as early as 1920 the group declared that it represented the standpoint of a positive Christianity, which provided the tenets of its anti-Semitic and antimaterialist stance. Many of the Nazi elite believed that their own party doctrine and Christianity shared common themes such as the opposition of good against evil, God against the devil and the struggle for national salvation from the Jews and Marxism. This positive Christianity enfolded both Catholicism and Protestantism, for the Nazis believed that confessional disunity presented the greatest challenge to national unity. Steigmann-Gall examines the leaders of the party and shows how many of them contributed to the view of an intimate relationship between Nazism and Christianity. He also explores how the Nazis identified the Jews with the Devil and believed that God would liberate them from this evil.”

    Also, The Christianity of Hitler revealed in his speeches and proclamations

  391. #395 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @ somewhere:

    Obviously I am out numbered. Further, this discussion has degenerated into name calling. I’m sure you would all like to fire bomb my house.

    Here we go with the persecution complex yet again. Yawn. And what’s with thinking we’d want to firebomb your house? We’re adults here, we can disagree without violence.. Of course you christers have a a long history of doing violence to those who don’t believe, so I can kind of see where you’re coming from.

    Also, who called you names? I said “fuck you” in direct response to you trying to call all evolutionists racist. I feel rather justified in that, though.

    The truth is I was once an intellectually satisfied atheist. … etc. etc. etc.

    How many times do we have to hear this? Out of perhaps 50 times I’ve read this in the past month, I’ve not once been convinced. While you may be sincere, I very much doubt that everyone who has used that line recently is. Many are probably lying for Jesus, hoping they can convert us with their testimonies.

  392. #396 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Raven,

    You state; “Hitler was a serious Christian”. “He used the word Christian 32 times…[in Mein Kampf}”. Raven, anyone can claim anything and that doesn’t make it so. For example, what if I told you I was chairman of the history department at Harvard, would you believe me? I’d think you’d want to check out the facts first. Likewise, merely using the term Christian in a book doesn’t make one a Christian. The validity of anyone’s claims to being a Christian rest almost exclusively on how they live their lives in accordance with what Jesus taught. Condemning entire populations of people to death *isn’t* Christian. I am almost 100% positive that everyone involved in this discussion would agree that there is a wide gulf between what people claim and what they actually *are*. Again, look at the average American politician. They are all things to all people. Hillary says shes is an evangelical Christian…next week she’s at a gay pride parade, favors abortion on demand…

  393. #397 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #387

    I am saddened by religious people claiming to be followers of Christ yet acting in hateful ways. Proclaiming Christ but not following His ways brings my faith a bad Name.

    Back to science…when I look at DNA and the many machines functioning inside a cell ie flagler modem I see Design. Just like I do when I look at a skyscraper. This is a very broad statement, especially for this blog. How do you not see design?

  394. #398 Candy
    April 20, 2008

    Ask any atheist or science blogger just how many pieces of hate mail / death threats / shouts of glee for burning in hell, these commentors receive. Now tell us who as the better moral code?

    Yes, and the providers of women’s health care who have been shot, or had their clinic bombed, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Fundies are dangerous, scary people.

    Ryan thinks we’d like to firebomb his house. Again with the projection.

  395. #399 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    @Ryan #397

    News Flash: We’re not buildings.

  396. #400 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #388 Ryan | April 20, 2008 3:41 AM

    JBS #344

    Heard those all before. Overly simplistic is being too kind.

    Well, wasn’t that a scathing and erudite rebuttal! Perhaps you think that hurts me somehow.

    I was simplistic so that you, or someone like you, might understand. If you’ve heard them before, then perhaps you are thicker than I thought and need real help. I might have mentioned you’ll get out of this exactly as much as you take. You obviously aren’t taking.

    What exactly is it about the Theory of Evolution you don’t find compelling?

    That it provides an excellent model from which to build our understanding?

    That it ties so well with all the other branches of science?

    That you’ve been lied to time and time again by theologians?

    JBS

  397. #401 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    “Condemning entire populations of people to death *isn’t* Christian.”

    Pope Whatshisface (paraphrase): “Kill them all; God will know his own.”

    (Don’t tell me that you’re one of those “Catholics aren’t really Christians” Christians.)

    You’re confusing a descriptive (historical, sociological, etc) definition of Christianity from your particular prescriptive definition of Christianity. (Razib would probably explain it more elegantly.) As for theology, we all know that can be interpreted any which way. Kind of like Darwinism.

  398. #402 SKFK
    April 20, 2008

    “Raven, are you really quoting wikipedia as a reliable source? Really?”

    Wikipedia by itself is not reliable, but if you had spent any significant amount of time there, you would have noticed that many articles have this section called “references” which point you to other reading material that provides more in-depth information about the topic in discussion, so you don’t have to take Wikipedia’s words at face value.

    But then again, I probably shouldn’t assume that you’re capable of independent confirmation of facts.

  399. #403 John
    April 20, 2008

    Brokensolder said:

    “If you cannot see that APJ was trying to make the point that there is no such thing as what Darwinism is ACCUSED of being – a “secular religion” bent on dominating science – then you’re just not paying attention. And if you did recognize his aim, then you’re deliberately diverting the argument with meaningless semantics.”

    APJ has already acknowledged the misstatement, but thanks for your help.

  400. #404 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Yes, I got that point, but you missed mine.
    Posted by: John | April 20, 2008 3:41 AM

    No, no I gotcha on the peer review joke– It’s so late that I’m just kind of…glazed. (My apologies!) It was a nice zinger, and being a former Catholic, I do enjoy the humor they draw.

  401. #405 longstreet63
    April 20, 2008

    “Why is it acceptable for certain species to eat their own, but is considered “wrong” by humans? ”

    It isn’t considered wrong by all humans, although most of the societies with that opinion have not done well of late…which is a telling point.

    There is, for instance, the fact that consumption of human meat carries a high risk of infection unless very well cooked. You get what the meat died of. This is unlikely to have escaped the early ancestors who promulgated the prohibition. Ergo, ‘wrong.’ Some societies have similar issues with pork, for similar reasons.

    Steve “It’s hard to get a pig well done over a camel dung fire. Let alone long pig.” James

  402. #406 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    @Ryan #397

    I assume you’re referring to the “flagellar motor.” I assume you must be familiar with the ins and outs of the Dover case.

    This is yet another anemic ID argument that’s been completely refuted.

    Do your research.

  403. #407 Mercurious
    April 20, 2008

    Autumn care if I join you in not collecting stamps?
    /lurking device reactivated

  404. #408 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    WooHoo, the they’re not REAL christians argument. My favorite!!

  405. #409 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    Oh dear. If only time zones permitted a poor Englishman to take part in this discussion in real time.

    To my view, if there were ever a pronouncement that should lead to atheism, this is it. If the faith cannot survive the acceptance of the Theory of Evolution, then such a faith is useless.

    Christians who deny evolution are weak in their faith. I pity them. Not only are they in the clutches of the church but fail to measure up to its standards. No wonder they lash out at those things that might make them question their faith.

    Hatred blinds. Your hatred of God (no doubt stemming from a difficult relationship with your father, regarding which I am very sorry) would, had you a scientific inclination, make your science suspect.

    I call Loudon is a Fool a parodist. Surely no real god-botherer would project so much.

    However, I’m skeptic enough to at least consider the possibility that Loudon is for real. I am constantly surprised by the monstrousness of a faith that can preach peace in one breath and, as Blake Stacey chronicles, threaten people’s lives in the next.

    So for the benefit of godly who might be nodding in time to Loudon’s beats, let’s begin with this: I don’t hate any god. They do not exist, so there is nothing to hate. However, I distrust and sometimes fear the godly, for they live in error, their morals distorted by their faith. History has shown them to be prepared to kill over small matters of doctrine, over such trivialities as altar rails and priestly garments. So I have every fear that if unleashed they will prove to be less kind to us godless.

    It’s odd, because typically an orientation towards skepticism (properly understood) might incline one towards thoughtfulness. But ye God-haters are not skeptics. You’re dogmatic. You might reject such a label. But I would encourage you to look at the evidence. Read through this thread.

    We reject the label because it is manifest nonsense. We have weighed the evidence and determined that the universe can exist without need of a creator and until evidence appears otherwise we will assume the truth of this. This is the proper product of inquiry. There can be no dogma because this is a conclusion, not an assertion of doctrine that we force upon pain of Perdition everyone to accept.

    Most (not all, but most) atheists reach their position through a journey of inquiry. There is no atheist creed that we follow, no dogma handed to us by priests. Indeed, quite a few of us have escaped the dead hand of the church to be where we are, so we are well placed to distinguish between skepticism and dogma.

    The bad news is, as Ichthyic noted at 125, the issue of evolution has been elevated from a conversation among nerdy, beard-wearing evolutionary biologists (who, if we are to be frank, are not in the fore of technicians who are providing shiny new products for the betterment of our lives), to a fight between “science” and the many. Given that some 70% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ not only lived but is in fact God, science (properly understood) will be the casualty of your childish spat with the Almighty.

    Argument from popularity is a laughable fallacy. By that reasoning you will have an issue with those who believe in UFOs, because the last Fox survey I saw on the matter put the number of Americans who believe in UFOs in the 30-something percentile. Which suggests that many of your Christers also believe in extraterrestrials.

    Excuse me while I move to the back of the bus to avoid both.

    It’s a simple matter of boots on the ground. And your side is disadvantaged because you spend Saturday nights blogging, rather than dating. That is unfortunate. But I guess it’s natural selection. And ye boors will have only yourselves to blame when scientists are viewed with the same revulsion as the leech-wielding barbers of yesteryear.

    Surely this is evidence for Loudon-the-parodist? Or does he really hate scientists with the peurile glee of the sports jock who loves to beat up on the nerds? I vote for the former. But I’ll lay odds that at least one of the godly read this and nodded his agreement.

  406. #410 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #398

    Candy, again, refer to my above statement. And I can assure you I am not a “dangerous, scary person.” And since you just had to venture into the “A” word debate (I assumed that would be off limits here) I must ask you just how many “fundie” attacks there have been on such facilities? Less than a handful in 30 years? Doesn’t really compare to the killing off of an entire generation does it? We have our own Dachau’s in this country. The Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting.

  407. #411 raven
    April 20, 2008

    Adolph Hitler Mein Kampf:

    “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 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.”[25]

    Ryan the troll, I quoted wikipedia, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and Martin Luthers book “On the Jews and their Lies”, where he advocates destroying them.

    You are boring, just repeating your cult lies. Try something new. What was it about Jesus Christ that made you decide to become stupid, evil, and ignorant and lie a lot. Or were you always this way and just gravitated to a malevolent religious cult with evil people?

  408. #412 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    “Condemning entire populations of people to death *isn’t* Christian.”

    Of course. It’s not like there was ever any god-sanctioned genocide in the bible…

  409. #413 SKFK
    April 20, 2008

    #396

    “Condemning entire populations of people to death *isn’t* Christian.”

    Maybe you should look up this book called “The Bible” that Christians are so fond of talking about.

    “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”

    1 Samuel 15:2-3

  410. #414 John
    April 20, 2008

    Damian said:

    “Anyway, I doubt that anyone here would suggest that there is no free will. Just a little less than was once thought, that’s all.”

    Well that’s good to know and not wanting to drift off topic too much, but its really a qualitative, not a quantitative, question.

  411. #415 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    @Ryan #398:

    The assertion that Darwin’s theory is even remotely connected to the Holocaust is absurd. If anything, Christianity is the supreme offender for how it has been used by many to slaughter whole populations throughout the centuries.

  412. #416 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    APJ has already acknowledged the misstatement, but thanks for your help.
    Posted by: John | April 20, 2008 3:52 AM

    I saw no such admission – only a statement that he doesn’t like the term. All APJ did was give the same definition I offered.

    If you’re going to cut and paste quotes, I’d at least request that you make sure that posters’ names are spelled correctly.

  413. #418 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    John in #394,

    Thanks for the reference. As a lay-historian, of course I am aware that Hilter and his followers had many “ties” to Christianity. The question then becomes at what point do you believe what someone claims and what they actually do? To use a modern example, I have known men who abuse their wives but claim also to love them. How is that possible? I would say it is not. At some point you would have to say to the abuser; “I don’t believe you. You *say* one thing and yet you *do* something else…”. There is a disconnect somewhere here. Or what I heard someone call mental gymnastics. To a rational person with no axe to grind, Hitler and his followers were at best delusional, at worst monsters. Perhaps that’s what the Bible meant about “wolves in sheeps clothing”. In a nutshell, not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian…

  414. #419 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #399

    You’re right Alex, we are not buildings. We are far more complex. Care to explain how unintelligent sources lead to information and DNA?

  415. #420 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    And now we have veered from a thoughtful, intellectual debate about evolution (I’m sort of missing William Paley) to fundie-crazy land. We now have the “they’re not real Christians argument”, the “abortion is a holocaust argument”, “atheists have no morals argument”, etc. By the way, Ryan the Racist, abortion is a woman’s right issue, and I can see how that contrasts with the biblical view of womanhood, you know, how we have to right to breed, birth, and breastfeed. By the way, did you know that making abortions illegal does not lower the abortion rate, did you know in countries where abortion is illegal women are three times more likely to die in childbirth, or from pregnancy related disorders. Or do you not really fucking care?

  416. #421 Mercurious
    April 20, 2008

    /delurks

    Ryan at #410

    Doesn’t really compare to the killing off of an entire generation does it? We have our own Dachau’s in this country. The Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting.

    And yet…. most of the women who received abortions are christians. (waits for the “But they weren’t REAL Christians)

    Don’t you just HATE it when reality reaches up and bitch slaps you?

    /lurking device activated.

  417. #422 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    “The Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting.”

    Wow! That’s seven times the toll of murdered Jews by the Nazis! Of course, each aborted fetus is morally equivalent to a murdered Jewish man, woman, or child.

    But God did both the Nazis and the American abortuaries one better, Ryan. The Darwinonazis merely killed the Jews. But God, in His wisdom, made them burn in Hell, in agony, forever.

    Or did He?

    If He did, then such a monstrously evil entity is not worthy of worship – no matter how powerful He is.

    If He did not, then salvation by confessing that Jesus is Lord is false, and hence Christianity (as defined by certain fundamentalist sects) is false.

    So which is it, Ryan – did God make the murdered Holocaust Jews burn eternally, or not?

  418. #423 BicycleRepairMan
    April 20, 2008

    Raven, are you really quoting wikipedia as a reliable source? Really?

    Wikipedia IS a pretty reliable source, actually, it measures up quite nicely to “real” encyclopedias, but in the sense Raven used it, that is more or less irrelevant. These are widely known facts, uncontroversial bits of information that could be found anywhere.
    Case in point, read Luthers “On the Jews and their Lies”:
    http://www.humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/documents/luther-jews.htm

  419. #424 raven
    April 20, 2008

    Gleaner the Twisted Xian Cultist:

    Raven,

    You state; “Hitler was a serious Christian”. “He used the word Christian 32 times…[in Mein Kampf}”. Raven, anyone can claim anything and that doesn’t make it so.

    There is a huge volume of this on the web. Use Google. Someone put Mein Kampf through a search program and Xian came up 32 times. Darwin was zero. In other words, they counted the words. You are simply lying to escape a fact.

    There are pages and pages of Hitler quotes about his xian faith. BTW, you are also using the No True Scotman fallacy. No true Xian would lie either, would they. Therefore you are not a Xian either. Read the quote below, Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf. There are many more, all saying the same thing. Hitler was a serious, devout Xian who used the religion to kill 6 million Jews.

    Adolph Hitler Mein Kampf:

    “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 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.”[25]

  420. #425 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #411 Raven.

    Wow, that is some serious hatred. How does following Jesus make me evil?

  421. #426 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    @Ryan #399:

    Honestly, Ryan, there’s no point. You’ve made up your mind to reject the scientific method. You know that. We know that. This conversation is utterly pointless, but fun in its own way. But sure, I’ll humor you. Even though the answer is resoundingly obvious: Evolution.

    Of course, we’re sort of going into a nebulous zone here – if you’re asking me how the universe began, no one knows. If you’re asking how humans developed, I’d start with Darwin.

  422. #427 natural cynic
    April 20, 2008

    We have our own Dachau’s in this country. The Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting.

    Not at all proud. Anyone caught aborting Aryan babies would have been killed. More soldiers to wear Gott Mit Uns on their belt buckles.

  423. #428 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #410

    Your claim is ridiculous, unless you polled 40,000,000 women. Please state your source.

  424. #429 Candy
    April 20, 2008

    Gleaner63, there is NO consensus among Christians on what a Christian is, as far as I can see. All of your sects have different ideas on that score. Some say it’s a sin if you love someone of the same sex, others are marrying gay couples in their churches,with full rites. Some say you shouldn’t celebrate any holidays, some are all about holidays. Some say animals aren’t ensouled, others say variations of “all dogs go to heaven.” Some say a woman should submit to her husband – including getting smacked around, apparently – others say it’s a sin. The bibble says you should stone errant rug rats, and I’m guessing you wouldn’t go for that. So until and unless there is some definitive idea of what a True Christian believes, that all the Christians agree upon, I imagine that you just have to take someone’s word for it when they say they’re a Christian.

  425. #430 MB
    April 20, 2008

    Louden and Ryan are pulling your collective chain – no one that stupid would write that much here… (and gleaner, too – see sabrina’s exasperation with the “they’re not real Christians argument.” – gleaner’s right and Hitler was wrong – tell that to a few million Germans in 1939).

    Before launching into a defense of evolution against creationists, isn’t it fair to let them show (prove is probably too strong a word) why their god should be the creator? For example, Muslims say “There is no God except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

    If the creationists don’t think Allah is the creator can they show which god is the creator before they ask scientists to disprove a creator? Which creator are they expecting to be disproved? If they say, sure, it’s Allah, (not likely) then what about Brahma? Going to Odin or Zeus might be a little too offensive (ok, nothings really too offensive), but there sure are a lot of Hindus. (And where, exactly, does the book of Mormon fit in? Christian? And must we talk about Thetans?)

    Shouldn’t creationists at least be required to slam the other myths before expecting a response from science?

    So if you guys aren’t simply pulling chains here, why Allah (the Abrahamic god) and not Brahma?

    Sorry, but I must add…. He’s an intellectually satisfied atheist? How many of the posters here are intellectually satisfied, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh? So it was good for you?

  426. #431 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Wow, that is some serious hatred. How does following Jesus make me evil?
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 4:09 AM

    Following Jesus doesn’t make you evil. The racist, anti-semitic, and hateful tones in your posts are what causes people to draw that conclusion about you.

  427. #432 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #421 Posted by: Mercurious|April 20, 2008 4:05 AM

    /delurks

    Ryan at #410

    Doesn’t really compare to the killing off of an entire generation does it? We have our own Dachau’s in this country. The Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting.

    And yet…. most of the women who received abortions are christians. (waits for the “But they weren’t REAL Christians)

    Don’t you just HATE it when reality reaches up and bitch slaps you?

    /lurking device activated.

    You know, if they’re going to keep using the “They weren’t REAL Christians” maybe we should start using “They weren’t REAL Darwinists.” It’d make just as much sense. And just as little.

    The fact is, whether Hitler was Christian or no, most of his troops and staff were and thought he was. What they used from Darwin was as poorly mangled as their understanding of Christianity (Unless the Christians start claiming he was a good Christian). Luther might have been right about “Indulgences” – but he was wrong about the Jewish people and especially the solution he proposed.

    JBS

  428. #433 Dutch Delight
    April 20, 2008

    #410
    We have a trick for that where I live. We tell kids before their teens how procreation works, turns out that helps bring down unwanted teen pregnancies and abortions. I suppose this is a hard deal for the moral theists, either tell your kids how their bodies work, or endure the abortions and teen pregnancies if you don’t. Wow, such a moral dilemma…

    The biggest source of abortions can’t really be stopped I’m afraid. It seems your god is intent on killing a hefty percentage of all babies developing in their mothers womb.

  429. #434 raven
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan the lying death cultist:

    Wow, that is some serious hatred. How does following Jesus make me evil?

    Got me. If I knew the answer to the question, I wouldn’t have asked it. You aren’t going to answer it either, probably because you don’t know or care.

    My best guess is that you aren’t a Xian, know nothing about the religion and could care less. Just a bored teen ager trolling the internet to waste a few hours.

  430. #435 Glazius
    April 20, 2008

    Back to science…when I look at DNA and the many machines functioning inside a cell ie flagler modem I see Design. Just like I do when I look at a skyscraper. This is a very broad statement, especially for this blog. How do you not see design?

    …you mean, how do I not classify a cell as a “designed thing”?

    Uh, I can’t exactly get into specifics of neurochemistry at this point, or specifics of psychology, but I’d recommend Eleanor Rosch’s paper “Basic Objects in Natural Categories” and its associated references, particularly earlier works by Rosch, for the phenomenon of object classification by humans.

    When you see a skyscraper, you classify it as a building, because you have learned that a skyscraper is a building. And you know that all buildings were designed, because you have also learned this. Therefore, you classify a skyscraper as a thing that is designed.

    One of the prime determiners of classification, particularly classification of largely unfamiliar objects, are the physical features of the classified objects. Because the elements inside the cell appear similar, or can be drawn similarly, to other objects which you know have been designed, the simple assumption you make is that these unfamiliar objects are in the same category and share the same fundamental characteristics.

    But bats and birds both have wings and fly, and yet I think you will agree with me that bats are not birds – they bear live young instead of laying eggs, for instance, and this is a more relevant indicator of whether something is a bird than whether or not it can fly.

    You “see design” in the cell because you’re looking at it through naive, general-purpose perceptual filters. People who study the cell and know that its workings are much less deterministic and fine-tuned than the diagrams and 3D models make them out to be don’t draw these shallow parallels between the structures in the cell and human machines. Put another way, you are doing the best you can with the information that you have available right now.

    My advice? Find more information. You can start by looking up some talks by Ken Miller, on YouTube or elsewhere.

  431. #436 John
    April 20, 2008

    brokensoldier said:

    “I saw no such admission – only a statement that he doesn’t like the term. All APJ did was give the same definition I offered.”

    Well he didn’t use the word “admission.” Good catch.

  432. #437 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Raven,

    Why the need to call me names? Have I called you a name? I think I’ve been very respectful of you. However, the key point of my post was not answered. To put it another way; is the only evidence you need for one’s christianity is a claim in writing to make it so? What other claims on any subject would you accept on this sole basis? I cannot accept Hiler’s *mere words* as proof that he was a Christian. I am sorry but I require more proof than that.
    Let’s agree to disagree but let’s be civil about it. I bet that if we do that we’ll find some common ground somewhere. What say you?

  433. #438 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    John @ #418

    In a nutshell, not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian…

    Our best historical guide to a person’s motivations will always be what they said, both in public and in private.

    Christianity was one element only of Hitler’s fucked-up witches’ brew of a belief system, but it definitely played a part. One thing he definitely was against was the theory of evolution. The Nazis banned Darwin’s books. He also couldn’t have risen to power without an overt belief in Christianity. Most of the Nazis doing the killing were Christians also.

    Of course you’re going to say that none of them were “True Christians” either.. they certainly believed themselves to be. Who gets to be the arbiter for these disputes about who the True Christians are?

  434. #439 kevinj
    April 20, 2008

    Colugo:
    to be fair that was not a pope but a papal legate who gave the kill them all speech and it is contested.
    His claim (in the report back) was they were trying to sort out the good (eg catholics) from the bad (the cathars) when the crusaders got bored and killed everyone.

    i find the albigensian crusade one of the more charming ones, it really puts an edge on that “no true christian” approach.

  435. #440 Alex
    April 20, 2008

    As much as I’d like to continue this circus, it’s obscenely late here.

    Ryan, I don’t know what time zone you’re in, but if you’re in the US, shouldn’t you be in bed by now? Don’t you have to gather in some building to practice your tribal rituals in a few hours?

  436. #441 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Back to science…when I look at DNA and the many machines functioning inside a cell ie flagler modem I see Design. Just like I do when I look at a skyscraper. This is a very broad statement, especially for this blog. How do you not see design?
    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 3:48 AM

    It doesn’t even seem as if he was TRYING to make sense here. Using completely incorrect words, a faulty comprehension of science, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences all inside a three-line post is definitely a feat.

  437. #442 natural cynic
    April 20, 2008

    RyanThe Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting.

    We can’t even hold a candle to God or Nature or whatever as abortionists. Depending on the source, somewhere between 30 and 70% of all zygotes end up spontaneously aborted.

    Many of these spontaneous abortions occur because of the failure of that “well-designed” genetic machinery. Not exactly good evidence for omnipotent powers of design.

  438. #443 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    #437: So, if someone says they’re a Christian, promotes Christianity, kills Jews because of Christianity (the whole Christ killer thing), bans Darwinism because of Christianity, wants Christianity to be the moral base of his country, he is not a Christian. Oh. Hmmm. Wow, can’t argue that.

  439. #444 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    gleaner63 @ 418

    That was me.

    I certainly don’t mean to disagree with you, as Hitler used all manner of things in his attempt to rationalize what he did, but that is known as the No true Scotsman fallacy.

    How do you differentiate between a real Christian and not? At which point is the cut-off? And who are you dumping these evil people on if they can no longer be thought of as Christians? :)

    I agree with you, however. I certainly don’t see Hitler as a reflection of Christianity.

  440. #445 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    “I don’t believe you. You *say* one thing and yet you *do* something else…”.

    I find this to be a common trait amongst Christians. There is a long list of the dead at the hands of Christians who say one thing and yet do another. In my country men were killed because they believed there should be altar rails in churches and priests should wear vestments. Archbishop Laud was executed for this belief.

    Gleaner, the problem you have in advocating that these were ‘not true Christians’ is that this does seem to be a pathology of Christianity. It is the mode of behaviour and not a rare exception. Furthermore, it makes you the arbiter of who are godly and who are not, an error of the exact same kind that led to the death of Laud and many others like him.

    That you might not take up arms is not the point. There are many who will on your behalf.

  441. #446 MB
    April 20, 2008

    So what sect is the TRUE Christian sect?

  442. #447 Ryan
    April 20, 2008

    #434

    Raven, I shouldn’t let you get to me because obviously something has happened to you or someone has hurt you to harbor such venom toward someone you do not know. But you have.

    I am not a teenager. I am a 32 year old attorney in Chicago. I am not a scientist and am obviously out of my league. But I am well read, far more than most.

    Raven, you confirm my view of the angry liberal atheist feminist that protests any and every chance you can get.

    Take a deep breath.

  443. #448 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #438 Posted by: pcarini | April 20, 2008 4:19 AM:

    Of course you’re going to say that none of them were “True Christians” either.. they certainly believed themselves to be. Who gets to be the arbiter for these disputes about who the True Christians are?

    Therein lies the crux of the matter. The members of the KKK probably consider themselves true Christians. The polygamists in the recent Texas raid probably consider themselves true Christians. It is entirely possible that Hitler thought he was a true Christian (although it is also quite possible it was a shrewd political ploy – we may never be certain).

    We only have your word against theirs. Who are we to believe? And what arbiter do we engage to make that determination. Understand that some Christians that do not believe in celebrating holidays (Holy or otherwise) consider any Christians that do to be deluded and in serious spiritual trouble – and might not consider you a true Christian if you do. You certainly won’t be part of the Rapture.

    JBS

  444. #449 MB
    April 20, 2008

    oops, I guess that should be the true CHURCH… there’s only ONE of them!!!

  445. #450 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    Sorry pcarini – I didn’t mean to point that at you when I said “you” in my second paragraph … LOL

    JBS

  446. #451 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Hi pcarini in #418,

    You make at least two excellent points; “They certainly believed themselves to be so (Christians).” I have no doubt of that. As I am sure you will agree and have had the experience, people believe and claim *all* types of things, from alien abductions to ESP. Your second statement “Who gets to be the arbiter for these disputes about who the True Christians are?” is an excellent question. As far as I understand it, the only reliable information about what Jesus taught is contained in the New Testament. I would say that would be a good place to start. ALthough I don’t remember the verse, there is something about knowing Christians by their “fruits”, and a definition of what that fruit was; which was certainly not what Hitler did.
    In a way, we deal with this sort of problem everyday, what people say, what they do, and their justification for it…

  447. #452 Kseniya
    April 20, 2008

    How can you not see design?

    It’s natural to see design, but it’s possible to do so without inferring a designer. Not only is it possible, parsimony demands it.

    Several months ago, on a thread here, I posted the following:

  448. It’s rhetorically perilous to make analogies between evolution and known design processes such as software or automobile design. For even though these analogies nicely illustrate how selection applies both to naturally evolving and to human-designed entities, they play into the design assumption of the creationist – as Sullivan clearly demonstrates when he claims (with such original insight, *eyeroll*) that everything looks, and therefore is, designed.
  449. I proceeded to propose an admittedly flawed alternate analogy for evolution (involving the course of a river and how its path was determined by factors in the environment of which the river was a part) from which any suggestion of design was conspicuously absent. The venerable truth machine [no caps!] responded thus:

  450. But the proper approach is to embrace the designedness of biological systems, but reject the teleology — the insistence upon intent or “intelligence”. Biological systems are, for all intents and purposes, designed to solve problems for the organism — but they aren’t intelligently preplanned, they are unintelligently selected from among randomly produced alternatives.
  451. Examples like rivers fail because there’s no fitness function. As Daniel Dennett points out, we take a “design stance” toward biological systems — we can make strong predictions about them by assuming they are “for” something. This works because natural selection guarantees that biological systems solve some problem for the organism. The only apt analogies are to things for which the design stance is appropriate, and other than human artifacts the only thing we know of is evolved biology.
  452. This comment (quoted without permission of the author, *cringe*) concisely addresses the apparent-design question. Thanks, t.m., wherever you are.

    “Embrace the designedness!”

  453. #453 Kseniya
    April 20, 2008

    (That was for Ryan’s question @ #397)

  454. #454 Corey
    April 20, 2008

    “JBS, I’m actually quite satisfied with my own genetic complexity. I give god a B+

    Posted by: Amplexus | April 19, 2008 10:59 PM ”

    I’ve skipped all the subsequent posts, so if others have said this, I haven’t read it yet: I have to say that this post was the single funniest thing I’ve ever read. Amplexus, I am in your debt.

  455. #455 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    Thanks for the historical correction, kevinj.

    Good point on spontaneous abortions, natural cynic.

    pcarini” “One thing he definitely was against was the theory of evolution.”

    Let me gently dissuade you from that approach. To be sure, the Nazis were generally opposed to Darwinism’s lack of teleology and materialism. (That’s right; they were pro-teleology and opposed to materialism – is that more like creationists, or more like atheist evolutionists?) But the larger context of the relationship between evolution (not synonymous with Darwinism – there were non- and anti-Darwinian evolutionists) and Nazi ideology is more complex. Some commenters have made statements that are oversimplifying inverses of the creationist’s false claims.

  456. #456 Sili
    April 20, 2008

    To put it another way; is the only evidence you need for one’s christianity is a claim in writing to make it so? What other claims on any subject would you accept on this sole basis? I cannot accept Hiler’s *mere words* as proof that he was a Christian. I am sorry but I require more proof than that.

    Errrr, gleaner. Does this ring any bells?:

    Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

    *hint* *hint*

  457. #457 MB
    April 20, 2008

    Colugo, you don’t think most of the Nazis thought god was with them? Not only in eliminating the Jews but the entire “race war” that was WWII from the Nazi perspective?

  458. #458 Mercurious
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @ #428

    This research was undertaken to test the premise: “Christians have fewer abortions than non-Christians”. This topic was chosen in response to the very-public stance of certain far-right Christian groups, who assert that abortion is an evil perpetrated by the non-Christian left.

    The results disproved the premise. It transpires that Christians have just as many abortions as their non-Christian counterparts. The study concludes that in the year 2000, Christians had approximately 570,000 abortions. Within the Christian segment, Catholics were found to have abortion rates significantly higher than the national average.

    The orignal study was done by Center for Reason. It appears the site is gone now, but I did find a few links to the report with some quotes here.

    http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/articles/christianity_abortion.html

  459. #459 Dutch Delight
    April 20, 2008

    Now that my anti stamp-collector ideology has been firmly established, i will retreat and give it my best shot at not collecting stamps thus far.

  460. #460 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    Doesn’t really compare to the killing off of an entire generation does it?

    You are right, they don’t compare. Not at all. Because they are not remotely comparable. In the Holocaust, a storm of bigotry and hatred, fed by Christian prejudice amongst other things, led to the extermination of a population of adults and children for reasons of religion, homosexuality and race.

    This does not compare with early-term abortion, in which there is no bigotry or hatred. Indeed you are more likely to find love in there somewhere. So the best you can do is contrast them. You can contrast a monstrous hate-driven crime with a minor tragedy in which people, often in straightened circumstances (such as myself and my wife, who had to make just such a decision) decide to reject an embryo while it is still an unformed mass of cells. Aborting an unviable embryo has no parallel with killing a living, breathing human being. And as the Guttmacher Institute figures show, such decisions are, for the most part, made responsibly and with no hatred.

    To say otherwise is sick and to my mind immoral. It would suggest I and my wife are butchering murderers and I reject that allegation. I regard people who state such things to be hateful scum.

  461. #461 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    angry liberal atheist feminist
    Yes, Raven, why so angry? He’s only insinuated that you have no morals, women who get abortions are like Nazi’s, Darwinism led to the holocaust, blacks have contributed nothing to the world, and that you want to firebomb his house. You crazy, angry feminist…why don’t you go find a nice man that will have you, stop all your book learning, and start making babies. Does that about cover it, Ryan? Did I leave anything out?

    By the way, you are top notch in my book, Raven:)

  462. #462 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Damian. Pcarni, John and others in this thread (getting late hard to keep up with all the posts!.)

    It seems we’ve perhaps drawn these questions doqn to a basic few. In this case, who decides who is a Christian and who is not? Ryan, in this thread would probably be able to shed light on this better than I, but I used to work in the deed and plat room in the county court house. Although I have no legal training whatsoever, I became somewhat familiar with certain court procedures. One was that South Carolina had a “rules of evidence” book of what could be introduced in a SC court of law and what could not. I am not sure, but I don’t every state uses the same book. In a similar fashion, the same applies to Christianity as to what source we should use to decide thses things. A good modern example might be a 2nd ammendment case which has just been argued in the US Supreme Court. I am sure, since we know who wrote the second Ammendment and the underpinnings (English common law?), both sides will go to great lengths to use this as evidence. Anyway, I think that has been a worthwhile thread…
    -Clarence

  463. #463 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    As far as I understand it, the only reliable information about what Jesus taught is contained in the New Testament. I would say that would be a good place to start. ALthough I don’t remember the verse, there is something about knowing Christians by their “fruits”, and a definition of what that fruit was; which was certainly not what Hitler did.

    Unfortunately for you, almost all sectaries claim biblical authority. The puritans and independent sectaries who conspired to have Archbishop Laud slain in 1645 had the exact same justification for their actions–that they were reforming the church from error and returning it to its purest essence, to the state described in the bible. And they had plenty of scripture to justify their use of the sword in doing so.

  464. #464 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Religious belief being a personal thing, it seems like an impossibility task to determine someone’s “actual” belief. Anybody could put up a false appearance, and as long as they seemed sincere who’s to know?

    Since somebody could lie to me about loving Christ as easily as they could lie about loving Barry Manilow I have to forgo trying to find objective truth and take them at their word.

    gleaner63 @ #451

    ALthough I don’t remember the verse, there is something about knowing Christians by their “fruits”, and a definition of what that fruit was; which was certainly not what Hitler did.

    Matthew 7:20: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

    I don’t think that one line gives Christians the freedom to disown anybody that does anything horrible in Jesus’ name. Hell many sects believe that accepting Christ is all that is needed for their eternal reward, regardless of what atrocities they commit. At no point in the bible does it say “If they bear bad fruits than they totally aren’t True Christians.”

  465. #465 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    It seems we’ve perhaps drawn these questions doqn to a basic few.

    More like the thread has been hijacked. But as a willing conspirator in this maybe I should not protest too much.

    Your law analogy is opaque and nonsensical to me. I would still like a clear explanation of who is a true Christian or not, when almost all godly zealots claim and quote biblical authority and scripture for their heinous actions.

  466. #466 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    “Colugo, you don’t think most of the Nazis thought god was with them? Not only in eliminating the Jews but the entire “race war” that was WWII from the Nazi perspective?”

    Absolutely, the majority thought God (however they viewed God) was with them, whether they were followers of Positive Christianity – a very weird variant of Christianity – for much of the Nazi elite and traditional Christian antisemitism for most of the lower level Nazis. I’m just saying that this is complicated; Nazism was a very syncretic ideology and its genocidal impulses had multiple motivations and rationales which were not at all mutually exclusive.

    Roger Griffin on Nazism: “an alliance of unique blends of nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Marxist socialism, technocratic and anti-urban thought harnessed to a vision of national palingenesis within a new order.” Modernism and Fascism, 2007, p 275.

  467. #467 Planet Killer
    April 20, 2008

    Evolution is meaningless. The really cool stuff is in
    Quantum Physics.

    The Double Slit experiment is awesome. Who would have thought that the entire experiment would change in realtime only due to observation. They have tried every way to observe and it does change the outcome when nothing else has changed. Sounds like some intelligence there on some level at least. That will be of course denied by our Atheists friends and all kinds of damage control coming up.

    Evolution is crap, you can’t observe it. With QM you can observe it and it is in the here and now. Not yesterday’s news but today’s and you can actually move forward with this. How can we move forward when we are stick stuck in reverse with Evolution.

    Well, I suppose at least Atheists can get a job with evolution looking at million year old fossils while what I put above can change the entire planet.

  468. #468 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    I agree with Colugo. Extreme nationalism, as well as religion, played a part, along with centuries old anti-semitism, racism, plus a crumbling economy and loss of world status. At the time, Germany was the loser in the first world war, and had to pay huge repartions to the French as well as others. It was easy to play on people’s baser instincts, as well as the “glory of Germany”, to have them becoming willing participants in atrocities.

    I don’t think anyone here is really disagreeing with your assessment, Colugo. I think what they’re objecting to is that Charles Darwin had anything to do with it. It over simplifies the complex emotions and politics that were going on at the time, and uses the lives of millions of Jews as a pawn in their ideological game. Thats what we here have a problem with.

  469. #469 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    Thank God Planet Killer has finally arrived to bring some rationality to the discussion.

  470. #470 MB
    April 20, 2008

    What’s most irritating about trying to tie Darwin to Hitler is that the people doing it want to hide the fact that god was with the Nazis and Luther was clearly more of a direct influence on the Nazis than Darwin could have been.

    Christianity, no matter how you write it, had more influence on the Nazis – especially their shock troops – than any of the other items pointed to above. It was only their destiny because god was with them… they were good Christians until they lost the war and the Allies got to write the history…

  471. #471 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #466 Planet Killer | April 20, 2008 5:04 AM

    Evolution is meaningless. The really cool stuff is in Quantum Physics.
    The Double Slit experiment is awesome. Who would have thought that the entire experiment would change in realtime only due to observation. They have tried every way to observe and it does change the outcome when nothing else has changed. Sounds like some intelligence there on some level at least. That will be of course denied by our Atheists friends and all kinds of damage control coming up.
    Evolution is crap, you can’t observe it. With QM you can observe it and it is in the here and now. Not yesterday’s news but today’s and you can actually move forward with this. How can we move forward when we are stick stuck in reverse with Evolution.
    Well, I suppose at least Atheists can get a job with evolution looking at million year old fossils while what I put above can change the entire planet.

    PK, do you even understand yourself? You misunderstand QM. Most people do. The Double Slit proves that the method of the experiment matters, not the mind of the observer. One would think you buy into that Ramtha garbage.

    And the double slit experiment most certainly is yesterday’s news, too. At least I’ve known about it for a while. And yes, it is muy frio.

    JBS

  472. #472 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood at #464;

    You stated “your law anology …is nonsensical”. When I was majoring in history a student once stated; “…to me history means HIS STORY…”. She meant that, in reality, no one *really* knew what they were talking about when it came to history; it’s just he said and she said. The professor responded that was an odd way to view things. That’s why historians use terms like primary sources and secondary sources. As I am sure Ryan could elaborate on, some types of evidence can be admitted in a court of law and some can’t, or else you have a three ring circus. The analogy was just a way of saying “Let’s go to the source, it’s our best hope. If you want to know what the second ammedment means let’s go the person who wrote it. If you want to know about the life of Robert E. Lee, he dictated (if I rmember right) his biography to a second party after the war (Colonel Long?). We don’ haver to use secondary sources like Catton or Ken Burns. If we have no sure way of asceratining what is write or wrong about any subject, we are all in serious trouble.
    Gotta run,
    -Clarence
    (will be back tonight if the is thread contiues…think I ;earned a lot)>

  473. #473 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    Sounds like some intelligence there on some level at least.

    Actually, it doesn’t. But don’t let us stop you anthropomorphizing.

  474. #474 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    sabrina: “I think what they’re objecting to is that Charles Darwin had anything to do with it.”

    Have you forgotten about Darwin’s Time-Travel Engine (built by his friend Charles Babbage) – which enabled him to travel decades into the future, find a young corporal dead in a trench, assume his identity (aided by an aether-powered Countenance Transfigurer), and become the Fuhrer of Germany, Adolf Hitler?

    Seriously, though, I agree with you.

  475. #475 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    It’s impressive to watch these hardcore Christians backpedal and dissemble at the slightest suggestion (well supported by historical evidence) that the Nazis had Christianity as at least part of their beliefs. It’s also funny that Stein and co. are trying to lay it on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, when the evidence for that connection is nebulous at best.

    I guess once you’ve identified a scapegoat there’s no reason you shouldn’t go all out, right?

  476. #476 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    In this case, who decides who is a Christian and who is not?
    Posted by: gleaner63 | April 20, 2008 4:48 AM

    The simple, cold truth is that no one gets to determine after the fact whether or not someone belonged to a certain faith or not – the only valid source for that information is the person in question (in this case, Hitler) or people who knew him personally. You can debate all you want about how well you think Hitler EMBODIED what you see as the true principles of the Christian faith, but the mere fact of Hitler’s belief and commitment to Christianity (however his mind constructed it) is irrefutable. It is sad that such a horrible human was aligned with the Christian Church, but it isn’t something that can be erased from history by discounting his very profession of faith. The fact is, we do NOT get to choose who professes belief in what faith. That would be similar to me saying that since I do not believe that Dick Cheney embodies the will for civil liberty and individual freedoms that this country is founded on, then that disqualifies him from being considered a real American. I have no more right to say that than someone has to say Hitler was not Christian. Cheney is American, and we ALL have to live with that.

    All any belief system can do is hope that it is not vulnerable to being perverted to the will of the believers within. In Hitler’s case, he stated clearly that he believed he was following God’s plan for him. (Whether that was a political ploy or not, plenty of Germans and other citizens of the world at the time believed him, so we – almost 70 years later – have no grounds to debate whether or not he was Christian.)

  477. #477 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    The analogy was just a way of saying “Let’s go to the source, it’s our best hope.

    And again we return to your problem, which is that all sectaries claim biblical authority and quote scripture like it is no tomorrow. Both Reformation and Counter-Reformation quoted the exact same source at the same time as they were butchering each other. So your call to return to the source means very little when all godly men can interpret it as they will, with quotes and citations, to justify both peace and murderous conflict.

    How am I even to know that YOU are a true Christian? For you appear, at first blush, to be an exception to the rule.

  478. #478 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    To Colugo: Darn, you’re right, I did forget to mention Charles Darwin’s time traveling exploits in my rundown on conditions in pre-WWII Germany. It should also be noted that Darwin used his machine in Russia and assumed the persona of Stalin, then he jaunted down to Chile and was a guy named Pinochet for a while, and then went really far back and took on the persona of Pope Urban II. That crazy Darwin:)

  479. #479 Mercurious
    April 20, 2008

    So what appears to be the final tally?
    Lions 4
    Christians 0

    Anyone got a toothpick? I seem to have some grizzle stuck in my teeth.

  480. #480 Samantha Vimes
    April 20, 2008

    Rocks only seem non-complex to a person who doesn’t know or care about rocks.

    And anyway, what kind of zealot believes *life* is designed, but rocks just happened?

  481. #481 kevinj
    April 20, 2008

    gleaner63:
    good question of trying to figure out who is a Christian or not and which sect is true.
    in the past it was easier since it came down to who had the most men and hence could enforce the punishment for heresy*.
    tad more difficult now with all the boring laws preventing burning at the stake and full on crusades.

    *this relies on not being to bothered about a few innocents being butchered, since accusations of heresy were pretty effective at getting rid of the opposition.

  482. #482 Elf Eye
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan, you wrote:

    [blockquote]…Let me address the historical accurateness of the Bible. I’m not talking about inspiration but the historical reliability.

    The bibliographical test for text accurateness of antiquity documents is the measure of the number of copied manuscripts in existence (MSS)and the time interval between the originals and the extant copies. There are 24,970 original copies of the Christian New Testament within 350 years of Christ’s death. The second most accurate antiquity document is the Lliad by Homer with 643.[/blockquote]

    1. Each MS was handcopied from an earlier MS. In the course of handcopying, errors are introduced, and, like genetic mutations, these errors accumulate. If ten copies are made in ten years, each a copy of the preceding one, the end result is a MS that likely will contain as many errors as a MS that is the final one in a series of copies made over the course of twenty years. The mere passage of time is not in itself predictive of accuracy or lack of accuracy. But consider this scenario: ten MSS are copied in a ten year period versus twenty MSS copied in the same period. In both cases, each MS is copied from the preceding one in the series. The tenth MS copied in the first instance would likely have fewer errors than the twentieth MS in the second instance. To turn now to the MSS of the various books that were at length collected into the anthology known as the New Testaments: given the multiplicity of manuscripts produced over the 350 year period you reference, one would expect numerous textual variants–and textual variants are exactly what one finds. The phrase “text accurateness” is thus a misnomer. [Interesting side note: In textual studies, scholars demonstrate how a given text 'evolves' by creating the equivalent of 'family trees'. I used to have a lot of fun creating these.]

    2. You conflate textual accuracy with historical accuracy, but textual accuracy tells us nothing about historical accuracy. We have extremely accurate texts of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but the accuracy of the text has no bearing on the question of whether or not Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, and Hobbits have any existence outside the pages of Tolkien’s tale.

    3. Now as to actual historical accuracy, no doubt the Bible does contain much that is historically accurate. So does the Iliad, of course. Its text allowed an archaeologist to uncover the remains of Troy. Similarly, Beowulf contains descriptions of both material objects and cultural practices whose accuracy is either corroborated by other texts or confirmed by archaeological evidence. However, the same could be said of virtually any narrative unless its author is deliberately setting it in an alternative universe. I would therefore ask, why [b]wouldn’t[/b] the Bible be historically accurate? Historical accuracy would be the default setting, so to speak. I would next ask, so what? Are you planning to worship Zeus because the Iliad is in some respects historically accurate? Are you planning to adopt the ancient Danish gods as your own because in some respects Beowulf is historically accurate? No, I didn’t think so. No doubt you are able to recognize the fallacy of this argument: The Iliad is historically accurate, therefor Zeus. Yet you seriously suggest that folks should believe in a bronze age tribal deity because in some respects 5,000 year old stories capture the reality of life at that time? The Bible is historically arcurate, therefor Yahweh? Seriously?

  483. #483 Elf Eye
    April 20, 2008

    Aaargh! To be accurate, ‘arcurate’ should be ‘accurate’ in the last line.

  484. #484 Peter Mc
    April 20, 2008

    Kevinj: The Albigensian crusades – it was a complete, religiously inspired extermination of a culture in the days where there was only one church, one authority. There were no Cathars left to relate the the words of the Bishop, and the winners tend to write the history. It’s he kind of thing your average blood-lusty might have thought up.

    ‘Kill them all God will know his own. I just tossed off an epigram! Write that down for posterity!’

    Ryan @255. If the Bible’s so damn historically accurate, why can’t it tell us when your Jesus had his bad Good Friday and was – the core of all your bullshit – raised from the dead? Dates and verifiable documents (last time I studied history) were the nub of it all. The mobile date of easter when you lot get all mopy that God sent his only Son to die for our sins was set by a bunch of people – people – in my local town in 644. None of your precious ‘historically accurate’ four new testaments can give give us a date, a firm nailed-down (oh, sorry! My bad.) date for the crucifixion? I think that’s four cornerstones gone.

    You know where the word ‘testament’ comes from, don’t you? Men holding onto their bollocks when asserting something to be true. And that’s what your claim about the historical accuracy of the bible is. A complete handful of bollocks.

  485. #485 grinch
    April 20, 2008

    I think we should try to get the term “yorked” into common usage, referring to attacks by crazy creationists.

  486. #486 Wanglese
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan, So far you have stated that “many of you would like to firebomb my house”.
    NO one has presented themselves as wanting that. People who burned other people at the stake, did so because their religion told them that was a good thing to do.

    Now obviously, Stalin, and various other political atheists did terrib;ler things. But it was their extreme philosophy that did so.

    So, Not *all* Christians are idiots who want to burn people at the stake, or want to deny basic fundamental science.

    You further claim to have studied Astronomy. Well, I doubt any of it made sense to you. Why? Start witht he value of PI. USe it to calculate the distance to the Sun. From there, use parralax to determine the distance to the nearest star. Then caluclate the distance/brightness relationships. Then calculate the distance/periodicity relationship of Cepheid Variables. Then calculate the distance ot either thr Magellenic Clouds, or the Andromeda Galaxy. The INDEPENDENT ability to do this, is available to ANY amateur astronomer these days, including the equipment. The maths works, and NO tired light nonsense works in basic mathematics and algebra, because that’s all you need.

    Finally, The H-R diagram describing Stellar evolution *works* it’s maths is incontrovertible, and it’s independantly verifiable. Now we never have seen a star coalesce from a dust and gas cloud, switch on, (and for instance)go through main sequence, to Red Giant stage, to Nova, to White Dwarf…. because the time frames are too long. But we can see the various stages. Abnd from that, and basic maths, we can infer how it happens, and fill in the gaps as we get more evidence.

    Just a thought. It will probably go right thrpugh you head. So I’ll finish with this: “Telling lies for God is still a sin”.

  487. #487 Wanglese
    April 20, 2008

    dammit. Red wine, a good meal, and annoyance at ignorance leads to keyboard disasters.
    Apologies for the spelling errors. MOst know what I’m getting at.

  488. #488 kevinj
    April 20, 2008

    peter mc

    that quote also comes from the winners but it is a tad controversial.
    The context is all though, it was uttered outside Beziers when trying to decide how to determine which inhabitants to massacre or not (considering the catholics in the town had sided with the cathars i suspect it didnt even come up for discussion)

    incidentally the albigensian crusade didnt wipe out the Cathars, they finally fell a hundred or so years later after a long campaign by what became the inquisition.

  489. #489 Epikt
    April 20, 2008

    Loudon is a Fool:

    I don’t want to shatter your science fiction dreams of nerds getting the ladies in the end.

    Well, I have to admit that we male nerds have a harder row to hoe than you fundies. After all, we don’t select our potential mates from pools of terrified pre-adolescents locked in walled compounds.

  490. #490 Nick Gotts
    April 20, 2008

    how many “fundie” attacks there have been on such facilities? Less than a handful in 30 years? Doesn’t really compare to the killing off of an entire generation does it? We have our own Dachau’s in this country. The Nazi’s would be proud. 42 million abortions and counting. – Ryan@410

    You are truly disgusting. Most abortions take place before the fetus has a functioning nervous system, and the decision to abort is made by the mother (forced abortion is of course an abominable crime), who will otherwise have to go through the dangers of pregnancy and childbirth, and the terrible experience of bearing a child she does not want to bear. The Nazis mass-murders were carried out, on fully conscious human beings, from motives of hatred, political advantage and greed. You are trivialising the suffering of their victims – but this comes as no surprise, considering your readiness to defend lying filth like Expelled.

  491. #491 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    I *heart* male nerds:)

  492. #492 herrflick
    April 20, 2008

    Who wants to go forward?

    Who wants to go back?

  493. #493 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    April 20, 2008

    Gleaner,

    I just compared your statement:

    The analogy was just a way of saying “Let’s go to the source, it’s our best hope.

    With:

    As far as I understand it, the only reliable information about what Jesus taught is contained in the New Testament. I would say that would be a good place to start.

    It has only just occurred to me that what you may have clumsily been suggesting is that we go back to Jesus’s words as the inerrant source of Christian teaching. Does this then mean that you, and we, and all Christians, should ignore the Old Testament and the Pauline ministry? For Paul is certainly where much of that deep line of hatred and hatefulness within Christianity seems to derive. While at the same time he is the primary source of the claims for Jesus’s divinity.

    If so, are you not playing that game that all sectaries indulge in, of picking and choosing what parts of the text you will live your life by?

  494. #494 Mavaddat
    April 20, 2008

    Fergawdsake, people.

    You have to surround your quoted text with <blockquote>text</blockquote>. You DO NOT use [blockquote]text[/blockquote]. That was shorthand used by Ichthyic because he didn’t know how to do angled brackets in HTML. The same goes for <b>emboldening text</b> and <i>italicizing it</i>.

    Srsly!

  495. #495 Nomad
    April 20, 2008

    This really has been a remarkable demonstration of compartmentalized thinking. “Darwin is to blame for the Holocaust because Hitler said something about natural selection” followed immediately by “he wasn’t a real Christian, so Christianity isn’t to blame”.

    So what, do I get to respond by saying that Hitler wasn’t a real evolutionary biologist, so evolution isn’t to blame?

  496. #496 windy
    April 20, 2008

    To use a modern example, I have known men who abuse their wives but claim also to love them. How is that possible? I would say it is not. At some point you would have to say to the abuser; “I don’t believe you. You *say* one thing and yet you *do* something else…”

    That’s a good point. One could ask the same thing of God (if he existed and all)

  497. #497 MAJeff, OM
    April 20, 2008

    Will you allow me my point?

    Not until you make a good one.

  498. #498 russell
    April 20, 2008

    Jesus Christ people! It’s obvious who gets to decide which self-professed Christians are True Christians(tm) and which are poseurs: GOD! All we have to do is go ask Him.

    Oh.

  499. #499 The Ridger
    April 20, 2008

    “an entire generation”?

    So, there’s like a twenty-year gap in ages in the world? Or just this country? No kids at all?

    Wow. I must get out more. Or wait. Not me – Ryan. Because I see the kids everywhere.

  500. #500 ShemAndShaun
    April 20, 2008

    @rmp
    ShemaAndSharon, as you follow this thread/issue, make sure you differentiate the god/atheist argument as different from the evolution/YEC argument. There are more than a few theist evolutionists out there. Maybe not here exactly, but out there nonetheless.”

    My alias refers to the sons of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (Finn McCool) … but whatever.

    Don’t worry, I can distinguish the two. I personally profess no faith. I find the concept of science as religion as absurd and, as such, phrases like “faith in evolution” make no sense to me. I have been taught the theory of evolution for as long as I can remember and I have never been exposed to anyone who doubted the validity of the theory. I was not born yesterday. I am over 40 years old, AND I was brought up in a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools. My uncle is a Jesuit priest. Neither at home, at school nor in Church was there ever any doubt expressed about the theory of evolution.

    Did that make me Godless? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to have affected my brother, who is quite attached to his faith.

    The church had lots to say about divorce and abortion. These were the hot topics when I was growing up.

    My guess is that the Catholic Church knew better than to get into debates on purely scientific matters. What I am saying is that I grew up in a world where there was no possibility of confusing atheist/theist/YEC/evolution. Here on the other hand it seems to have conflated into a single argument. The people who want to believe in a god have backed themselves into a corner on a scientific issue.

    I haven’t seen this movie and unless I catch it on TV, I doubt I ever will. There is enough money on the ID side to turn any “scientist” capable of coming up with a legitimate argument for ID into a very wealthy man. Does anyone who believes in evolutionary science work for the Discovery Institute? If someone who worked there expressed doubts about ID, would they be “Expelled”?

  501. #501 Cuttlefish, OM
    April 20, 2008

    In an hour or two, I’ll be fine–
    It’s just too much burritos and wine–
    But for right now, oh boy, let
    Me get to a toilet:
    I’ve got to expel some ben stein.

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/04/friday-limericks-expelled.html

  502. #502 Mike
    April 20, 2008

    Honk your horn if you love the fact that a bunch of ignorant hicks in Texas live in a place called “Permian Basin” and even probably have that place name on all their churches. Heehee. Ignorance is piss.

  503. #503 MAJeff, OM
    April 20, 2008

    Wonderful closing line from today’s Boston Globe Review:

    Besides, religion has mucked with scientific principles for millennia. “On the Origin of Species” has only held sway since 1859. Ben Stein et al., all we are saying is, give Darwin a chance, for God’s sake.

  504. #504 Reginald
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan @ 362,

    You’ve finally done what all people who hate science do. People give you tonnnnnes of evidence as to why you’re wrong (evolution does not promote racism despite your claims).

    Then you just say that it’s turned into name calling, you have your bible and i guess we all make choices.

    No one called you names, we just proved you wrong. Hopefully you’ve learned something from this experience despite your running away from the issue when prevented with the truth.

  505. #505 Kseniya
    April 20, 2008

    Oh geez. The true downside of Expelled! *jazzhands* is coming clear: All those people showing up here to Tell Us What They’ve Learned.

    O_o

  506. #506 Iain M
    April 20, 2008

    A bit off topic, but just to add to Wanglese at #486:

    Are Creationist astronomers allowed to see anything further than 6,000 light years away?

  507. #507 Rick Schauer
    April 20, 2008

    Loudon,
    here’s your ring:
    Now, what causal factors lead to the eugenics movement during WWII? And Ben Stein, wants us to consider this god as part of science? Ben is completely confused about the persecution of his own people. Sheesh! *shaking head*

  508. #508 Ian H Spedding FCD
    April 20, 2008

    John wrote

    Ian – you wrote:

    ” Yes, it seems that the preponderance of academic opinion is that there was a preacher called Jesus who lived at that time and in that place.

    But there are no contemporary references to him. According to the Bible, he was a very prominent figure, yet we have no mention of him from anyone who was alive at the same time – not one.”

    If there is an academic consensus on the question, then what it your point? Anyway, there are letters from Pontius Pilot mentioning the man and the trouble he was causing.

    The point is that an academic consensus, based on documents written between sixty and several hundred years after the event, that a person called Jesus probably lived and preached in the Middle East at that time is not the same as evidence that he was the Son of God sent to Earth to save mankind.

    As for the Acts of Pilate, there are serious doubts about their authenticity.

  509. #509 Meltwater
    April 20, 2008

    Look, people, there are no good arguments against evolution. It’s a fact, extremely well supported by multiple independent lines of copiously published evidence, which rival theories of evolution compete to explain. Learn to live with it. If any compelling challenge to the neo-Darwinian consensus does arrive, it’ll come from a materialistic, naturalistic, scientific theory like that of Margulis and Sagan, certainly not from the Intelligent Design fad or any other Chrislamic effort to expel biology from our children’s classrooms.

    If you really want to argue for divine design the smart thing would be to concede the factual truth of evolution completely. Frankly, you should concede also that evolution is completely unguided, since many biological details point that way.

    You may be tempted to situate your divine intervention claim just prior to evolution, at the moment of abiogenesis, but I advise against that as well. Indeed, the likelihood that some design-free scientific explanation or other will be found for abiogenesis has become so great that a retreat even further back in time than abiogenesis will sharply improve your chances of successfully arguing design.

    Due to evidence that our universe had a beginning, the next understandable temptation is to claim that divine design preceded and ignited the Big Bang. Unfortunately, the likes of John Allen Paulos, Victor Stenger and Richard Dawkins have made very strong arguments against that kind of deistic design. We’ve already seen such an argument well presented on this thread, by amk in comment #59.

    If even the origin of our universe offers no refuge, where then can anyone possibly seek, or claim to find, persuasive evidence of divine design? I recommend trying an impressionistic argument based on the beautiful nonsimple continued fraction representations of irrational numbers like ? (pi) and e. Evidence of these numbers can be found in our universe, but the geometry to which they belong could even be older than our universe is. Their continued fraction representations sure do look designed! They even look designed by a nonhuman intelligence, one more comfortable with infinities and less preoccupied by integers and ratios than human math teachers typically are. Moreover, there isn’t yet an abundant scientific literature of design-free explanations for how those numbers came to have such obviously nonrandom and perhaps non-arbitrary values.

    Give it your best shot. It may be design’s last chance.

  510. #510 Ian H Spedding FCD
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan wrote:

    I am not a teenager. I am a 32 year old attorney in Chicago. I am not a scientist and am obviously out of my league. But I am well read, far more than most.

    Okay, then, speaking as an attorney, if you had to go to court and prove the existence of Jesus, for example, using the Bible as evidence, how do you think it would stand up? Keep in mind that we have no original texts, only second-hand copies at best. Would that make them hearsay? The accounts are inconsistent or contradictory and, in some cases, show evidence of having been tampered with by later authors. Wouldn’t any competent attorney be able to expose all this on cross-examination, fatally undermining the Bible’s credibility as a reliable historical document?

  511. #511 Iain Walker
    April 20, 2008

    I’ve come late to this thread and I haven’t read all the way through the comments, so forgive me if someone’s already made these points:

    William Paley (Comment #28):

    That is, what are the general features that indicate design? Are they not complexity, utility, and organization?

    No, no, and no. We identify design by experience, specifically of things that we already know to be designed. This provides us with a set of empirical criteria which allows us to distinguish between things that are artificial and things that are natural. In fact, the key to detecting design is being able to make a meaningful artificial/natural distinction. Thus, for example, one criterion for identifying design is whether or not it is made of materials that are typically found in nature. For example, if something is made of plastic, or stainless steel, then that is a good indicator that it was designed (or at least manufactured). Similarly, we can look to see if the components of the object are arranged in a fashion that is typically found in nature – again, if they are not, then this tends to indicate that they are artificial.

    Consequently, any attempt to define some a priori criterion for design is doomed to question-begging failure. If you insist that X is an a priori criterion for design (i.e., that one can identify something as being designed purely from it’s having characteristic X, independently of our actual experience of designed things), then the onus is on you to demonstrate a correlation between X and design (i.e., to demonstrate that designed things typically have characteristic X, and that non-designed things do not). But to do that, you need some other criterion to identify design independently of X, and the only reliable criteria we have are the empirical rules of thumb outlined in the previous paragraph.

    So even if characteristic X is present in most of not all objects that we know to be artificial, if X is also present in things that we know to be natural, then it cannot be a criterion for design. And if X is also present in things that we don’t independently know to be designed, then we cannot tell if X is a reliable criterion for design, because we can’t establish the necessary correlation.

    Let’s consider complexity, and let’s assume that it is an open question as to whether or not living organisms are the products of design. Let’s look at the things we do know to be designed – human artefacts. Well, some are complex, but some are very simple, so right off we can tell that complexity on its own is not a necessary indicator of design. Let’s look at nature, in particular living organisms. Well, these are certainly pretty complex, by any definition of the term. But can we infer from this that living things are designed? No, we can’t, because we have not established that complexity is typically correlated with design. Why? Because there are a vast number of complex things in the world which we do not know to be designed – those self-same living things. And if we don’t know if these are designed, then we don’t know if complexity indicates design.

    The same applies for your other criteria – utility and organisation. These characteristics may be found in most things we know to be designed, but they are also found in living organisms, which we do not know to be the products of design. But since the very question at stake is whether living organisms are designed, we cannot use the fact that they exhibit complexity, utility or organisation as grounds for supposing them to be designed. To do so would be to beg the question in the worst way possible – of assuming that X indicates design in order to prove that things that exhibit X must be designed.

    In short, the real William Paley’s argument for design is fallacious because it implicitly assumes its own conclusion. Worse, it undermines its own premises. Unless we can make the empirical distinction between artificial and natural, we have no grounds for assuming the watch on the heath to be designed in the first place, because our ability to recognise it as being designed depends on our background knowledge of what kinds of materials and arrangements are found in nature and which are known to be produced by designers. But if Paley’s conclusion is true, it follows that this experience-based artificial/natural distinction is no longer a meaningful one, which means that the argument can never get started in the first place – since unless we have some independent, reliable means of detecting design at the outset, the watch analogy falls apart.

    Anthony Flew, back in the days when he was still compos mentis, made a not dissimilar point about Paley’s “Watchmaker” argument:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/antony_flew/design.html

    So even if we didn’t have an alternative explanation for organic complexity in the form of evolution, the argument for design would fail, simply because it is an invalid inference.

  512. #512 wazza
    April 20, 2008

    Iain M: Apparently, when god created the world, the speed of light was higher, and that’s why things further away than 6000 light years can be seen

    it’s funny how they twist their theories to fit the facts, except in biology, where they twist the facts to fit their theories.

  513. #513 Bobber
    April 20, 2008

    MAJeff,

    As a transplant from my beloved New England to backcountry North Carolina, I was expecting my local paper to print a more generous review of “Expelled” than I suspected the Boston Globe would.

    I was, thankfully, oh so wrong.

    When he blurts out in one “interview” — apparently he didn’t actually sit and confront some of these people himself, the film is just edited that way — “Where’s the data?” you can almost hear him choke on the irony.

    Where’s your data, Ben? Got any? Any at all? Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone?

    “Expelled” relies on the viewer’s inability or unwillingness to wrestle with a complex corner of science, double-talking its way toward a “must be a miracle” solution to anything that science may not claim to have an answer for. Dismiss that for having no basis in fact, and you’re infringing on “academic freedom.”

    That’s not it at all, Ben. And really, when academia, the courts, the opinions of the educated have all weighed in on this subject on that “other side,” who’s the real monkey in this “debate”?

    Full review at the News & Record.

    Now that they’ve finally released this piece of tripe, the larger community can now enjoy shredding it into tiny little propagandistic meatballs. Salud!

  514. #514 Peter Mc
    April 20, 2008

    kevinj, you’re right, of course. Montsegur did for the bulk of them, the rest were mopped up by the inquisition. Including one bedridden old lady lashed to her bed and thrown on a pyre while priests sang! Quite right too. You can’t have these heretics being all happy and singing. The religious persecution of the Cathars was also a cover for a papally-sanctioned land-grab by the northern barons.

  515. #515 peter
    April 20, 2008

    At a mass meeting in 1934, Nazi Deputy Party Leader Rudolf Hess stated, “National Socialism is nothing but applied biology.”

    http://www.trufax.org/avoid/nazi.html

    I don’t know why I do this: like playing the devil’s advocate?, contrarian nature? or I just get fed up with irrelevant matter being dragged into a discussion on whether evolution is correct, and I wish like the guy at the link in #338, we could just keep our logic straight.
    It seems undeniable that biology does lend itself to abuse by people with a perverted creed, just like a lot of religions in fact.
    Peter

  516. #516 mkuriluk
    April 20, 2008

    Peter: Not knowing your background or having the time to sift through the previous 500 posts, they main question in response to yours would be…what doesn’t lend itself to abuse by people with a perverted creed? I think a lot of ID’ers with their inclination towards self-righteousness tend to forget that when they try to “Nazi-ize” darwin etc…

  517. #517 arensb
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic @#37:

    How does an anthropologist go about determining whether a particular artifact is man-made?

    As far as I can tell, it goes something like:

    – Gee, this artifact looks kinda like a wooden bowl.
    – All the humans I know like to eat.
    – There is extensive documentation on humans eating out of bowls.
    – This artifact would serve well as a bowl, as I can demonstrate by eating soup out of it.
    – If this artifact was made by a human in one of the cultures who lived in this area around the time the alleged bowl was made, it might have been made by chiseling out the inside of a piece of wood, using stone chisels and wooden hammers.
    – Hey, looky what I found: chisel marks on the inside of the artifact.
    – Oh, and looky here: long narrow stones that can be used as chisels.
    – So until someone shows me a better explanation, I’m going to call this a manmade wooden bowl.

    Notice the obvious parallels with the ID approach:

    – Gosh, lookit all them, you know, chemicals and stuff those godless scientists have found inside cells.
    – Therefore, Magic Man done it!

  518. #518 Citizen Z
    April 20, 2008

    At a mass meeting in 1934, Nazi Deputy Party Leader Rudolf Hess stated, “National Socialism is nothing but applied biology.”

    Rudolf Hess was not a biologist, so his opinion is worth squat. Yes, it seems biology certainly is abused by people who are ignorant of it.

  519. #519 Iain M
    April 20, 2008

    Iain M: Apparently, when god created the world, the speed of light was higher, and that’s why things further away than 6000 light years can be seen

    it’s funny how they twist their theories to fit the facts, except in biology, where they twist the facts to fit their theories.

    Posted by: wazza

    Heh. Figures.

    I find it amusing that they spend so much time complaining about biologists poking holes in their myths, and yet don’t seem to notice the astrophysicists and geologists carrying the pneumatic drills.

  520. #520 Citizen Z
    April 20, 2008

    Incidentally, peter (#514), that is a wonderful citation on your part. I went to trufax’s welcome page, they have great selections on books like Matrix 6: Wayfarers of Reality – The Quest for Experience about the incarnational experience, and The Abduction and Manipulation of Humans Using Advanced Technology, “…perhaps the most influential piece of work that has ever appeared on the planet on the subject of the alien-human interaction issue.” Some deep thinking going on there.</sarcasm>

  521. #521 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    “Darwin is to blame for the Holocaust because Hitler said something about natural selection” followed immediately by “he wasn’t a real Christian, so Christianity isn’t to blame”.

    I’ve found the answer! Bro. Buddy says: Satan is to blame!

    The reason Hitler wanted to kill the Jews is due to the power of Satan. Satan knows that redemption history works around the Jews. If he could eliminate the Jews, then the testimony of Jesus Christ and the prophets would be done away with. So Satan found a man to carry out his purposes. You can compare Satan to Haman in the Bible. (Read the book of Esther.)

    Once again, the Bible has the answer.

  522. #522 peter
    April 20, 2008

    Citizen Z #519
    ..yes, that link doesn’t look very impressive does it? I’d had that quotation in the back of my mind for some time, remembering it was what some Nazi grandee had said, and just now googled it, and found the attribution to Hess. The link I provided was top of the list: I’d never been there before: but there are enough other hits to make the authenticity of the quote look pretty likely. I’ve now done it in German, and the following link looks more confidence-inspiring (if your German’s up to it):

    http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/deadlymedicine/german/

    It’s an unappetising business trawling for something like this: I found myself in a blog with David Irving.
    Peter

  523. #523 Citizen Z
    April 20, 2008

    Fair enough peter. (Of course I stand by my first response.)

  524. #524 BoxerShorts
    April 20, 2008

    Most of those stories seem to have happened at religiously-affiliated institutions, which is disappointing but not entirely unexpected. But the first one caught my attention: The professor who was fired from an Iowa community college for failing to teach the Adam and Eve story as literal truth. Fired from a community college. Aren’t community colleges part of the public education system, and as such, aren’t they supposed to have no religious affiliation?

    Maybe there are exceptions. Maybe there is such a thing as private, religious community colleges. But this would be the first I’ve ever heard of them.

  525. #525 Eric
    April 20, 2008

    This just in…

    Expelled is not an “anti-evolution” movie.

    http://kevinwrites.typepad.com/otherwise_known_as_kevin_/2008/04/expelled-is-alr.html

  526. #526 raven
    April 20, 2008

    Most of those stories seem to have happened at religiously-affiliated institutions, which is disappointing but not entirely unexpected.

    You need to count them. Of the 12 cases of Xian fundie mediated persecution, only 4 involved private religious colleges. That isn’t most, that is 1 out of 3.

    Bitterman really got shafted at the Iowa CC. As he said, he was fired because he didn’t teach that western civilization (his class), didn’t start with a…..talking snake!

  527. #527 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    I posted this already, but it needs to be used again for that Kevin Miller claim….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzjbV-yTomY

  528. #528 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    Eric:

    I checked out the website. This highlights a major weakness in the ID/creationist camp: utterly mutually incompatible worldviews are calling themselves ID. There are young earthers, evolutionary creationists, and whatever else under the same writhing tent. I wonder how Biblical literalists will respond to Kevin Miller’s endorsement of Behe-style divinely guided evolution. (Which is very different from the theistic evolutionist view, since evolutionary creationism requires an immense number of divine interventions.)

    These differences within the ID camp should be exploited. Taunt Young Earthers – who pride themselves on piety – with the fact that their so-called allies are promoting “evilution,” the anti-God doctrine of man from monkeys. Ridicule evolutionary creationists – who imagine that they are sophisticated – for their association with pathetically childish seven-day creation and other literalist fairy tales.

    ———————

    Ryan never answered my question on whether God condemned Holocaust Jews to Hell.

  529. #529 SC
    April 20, 2008

    Concerning Hitler:

    “In his vision of the thousand-year Reich he placed will over education as the driving force of the national state: science in the schools, he declared, was to blame for the fragmentation and chaos of the Weimar Republic. Writing on education policy in Mein Kampf, he cited scientific and technical education as a reason for ‘the plague of our present-day cowardly lack of will’. But his grasp of what science was and what scientists do was narrow and ill-informed. He vaguely understood that scientific propositions, unlike those of metaphysics, were provisional, that scientific research should be allowed freedom unhampered by the need to teach, but he had a poor understanding of the nature of experimental and empirical method, and tended to identify scientific training with mere accumulation of facts, with scant appreciation of how those facts were obtained.

    Once in power, he wrote, he would change the curriculum: ‘The scientific school training which today is really the beginning and end of all state educational work can with only slight changes be taken over by the volkish state’. The volkish state, he emphasized, ‘will have to put general scientific instruction into an abbreviated form, embracing the essentials’. He was convinced that Germany was passing through a ‘materialized epoch’, meaning that ‘our scientific education is turning increasingly towards practical subjects – in other words mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.’ These preoccupations, he warned, were ‘dangerous’ since they implied a neglect of an ‘ideal’ education and the renunciation of ‘forces which are still more important for the preservation of the nation than all technical or other ability’.

    All the same, although he would change his views about technical innovation during the war, he believed through the 1920s that the Fatherland’s best defence ‘will lie not in its weapons, but in its citizens…a living wall of men and women filled with supreme love…and fanatical national enthusiasm”… (John Cornwell, Hitler’s Scientists, 2003, pages 31-32)

    What this is getting at, and many commenters above have alluded to it as well, is that Hitler and his supporters were idealists, substituting the Race-State for God. They were antimaterialists. In this, they resemble the Marxists and the market fundamentalists, who both substitute History for God. The dangers of all of these forms of idealism were articulated quite well by Mikhail Bakunin in 1871:

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_archives/bakunin/godandstate/godandstate_ch1.html

    The dominance of idealism in political life leads not only to bad science (in the case of the Nazis we can be thankful for this, since their scientific and technological weakness proved a great disadvantage in the war), but also to the commission of horrific acts, as we have seen time and time again.

    By the way, if you’re looking for an example of a murderous twentieth-century regime operating in the name of Christianity, you need look no further than Franco’s Spain. In the years of and following the Civil War and Revolution, they struck a blow for their ideals in the form of mass killings (the evidence of their crimes continues to grow, but the victims are now thought to number in the hundreds of thousands), mass imprisonment and slave labor camps, the kidnapping and brainwashing of the children of people on the left, and massive abuses of the rights of women and gay people. Franco’s was a confessional state, and this was all done with the collaboration and blessing (sometimes literal) of the Catholic Church. Last year, one bishop tried to offer an apology for the actions of the Church in these years. He was not supported by the pope, and at the same time they chose to beatify around 500 Spanish priests and nuns, regardless of the crimes in which they had participated. Many in the Church to this day consider Franco a hero whose acts were justified in defense of Christianity from atheism and Communism. Sinverguenzas.

    P.S. Ryan, I don’t want to firebomb you, but I am seriously considering reporting you to the Apostrophe Protection Society:

    http://www.apostrophe.fsnet.co.uk/

  530. #530 raven
    April 20, 2008

    ryan the Death Cultist troll:

    Raven, I shouldn’t let you get to me because obviously something has happened to you or someone has hurt you to harbor such venom toward someone you do not know. But you have.

    I shouldn’t bounce the troll anymore but this guy is way, way out there and it is amusing in the light of day. Nothing much happened to me because of Xian terrorists.

    But it was unnerving watching 7 of my colleagues being killed by them, 17 attempted asassinations, and over 200 wounded some seriously. Then the fundies started trying to sneak their wingnut mythology into our kid’s science classes. While attempting to destroy the USA, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the Dark Ages.

    Sorry, ryan, I like living in a democracy where people aren’t murdered for their beliefs. The Dark Ages aren’t too appealing either.

    I am not a teenager. I am a 32 year old attorney in Chicago. I am not a scientist and am obviously out of my league. But I am well read, far more than most.

    Raven, you confirm my view of the angry liberal atheist feminist that protests any and every chance you can get.

    Ooh, name calling. You got 1 out of 4 right. I take it you don’t like women very much. Not unusual but weird. Your mother, sisters, and daughters might be….women. Sorry to break the bad news, but reality is what it is.

  531. #531 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Ben is completely confused about the persecution of his own people. Sheesh! *shaking head*
    Posted by: Rick Schauer | April 20, 2008 9:12 AM

    The sad thing is that he has already proven he possesses an intelligence level that would indicate he knows basic history and its contexts, and this necessarily prevents me from believing the assertion that he is merely confused about this. I think it is pretty obvious that he is twisting facts to fit the truth the movie wants to portray, and in the course of doing that he is making claims that I don’t even think he believes, and worse is the fact that the claims he is making are false attributions concerning the pogrom that just about wiped his religion from the face of Europe. Intellectual dishonesty at its finest, folks!

  532. #532 Ted D
    April 20, 2008

    #522
    I’d had that quotation in the back of my mind for some time, remembering it was what some Nazi grandee had said, and just now googled it, and found the attribution to Hess. The link I provided was top of the list: I’d never been there before: but there are enough other hits to make the authenticity of the quote look pretty likely.

    Quantity, quality, why quibble over a couple of letters’ worth of difference?

  533. #533 Colugo
    April 20, 2008

    Good point about Francoist Spain, SC. And one of the ID authorities valorized in Expelled is Maciej Giertych, a Polish geneticist and politician who admires Franco.

  534. #534 Gustav Nystrm
    April 20, 2008

    Someone really should have called Godwin on this thread long ago.

    Apologies if someone has already done so and i missed it.

  535. #535 raven
    April 20, 2008

    And one of the ID authorities valorized in Expelled is Maciej Giertych, a Polish geneticist and politician who admires Franco.

    Giertych is also a notorious antisemite who wrote an article on why he hates the Jews.

    Got to hand it to Stein. He hangs around with a nasty group of Xian Dominionists who will probably throw him off the bus first chance they get, plus the odd crackpot and antisemite.

    I can’t believe he did it just for the money. Must be a very lonely guy or something.

  536. #536 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Uh-oh. Looks like a fair number of people are choosing to see Expelled.

    Top Movies
    1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
    2. 88 Minutes
    3. The Forbidden Kingdom
    4. Smart People
    5. Superhero Movie
    6. Street Kings
    7. Nim’s Island
    8. Prom Night
    9. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
    10. Zombie Strippers

    http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/boxoffice/daily/2008/04/17/

  537. #537 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #534 Gustav Nystrm | April 20, 2008 1:28 PM

    Someone really should have called Godwin on this thread long ago.

    Apologies if someone has already done so and i missed it.

    It is the movie that invokes Godwin’s Law. This thread cannot help but reflect that if we are to discuss the movie and the points it attempts. The movie conflates Darwin and Hitler – saying the Holocaust was not possible without Darwin’s theory. Should we, as advocates of the Theory of Evolution thus declare victory from the outset because Ben Stein calls on Hitler?

    Read the reviews of people who’ve seen the movie from a Christian mindset, they wholeheartedly bought the “Evolutionists are Evil” message and are going to do their best to spread it around, to their family, their friends, their neighbors, and their co-workers. From the perspective of an advocate for the Theory of Evolution, I say this cannot be allowed to stand.

    We should not, and cannot legally, do as Ben Stein suggests we have, expel the IDiots. We can, however, demonstrate what a load of tripe their ideology is. This is not a good time to sit by passively and think, “This, too, shall pass.” Should we do so, we may find ourselves included in that passage. This is the time to speak out, to evangelize, if you will, the message that Intelligent Design is a morally bankrupt ideology, has no basis of truth within, and has as its goal the elimination of honest scientific pursuits.

    JBS

  538. #538 rjb
    April 20, 2008

    I think Godwin is implied, once you start talking about “Expelled”.

    Maybe “Stein” can become a new corollary of “Godwin”. In the context of linking Darwin/evolution to Nazism/Hitler, we shall deem this “Stein”.

    Anyone? Anyone?

  539. #539 Glazius
    April 20, 2008

    “Quantity, quality, why quibble over a couple of letters’ worth of difference?”

    You want some Hitler? I’ll give you some Hitler.

    “[Genocide is] the same sort as the battle waged, during the last century, by Pasteur and Koch. How many diseases have their origin in the Jewish virus! We shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jew.” (Konigsberg)

    Pasteur the germ theorist and Koch the brilliant immunologist, cited by Hitler as inspirations. Yet no one is proposing a less Nazi-friendly alternative to the germ theory of disease! How odd.

    Unless, y’know, scientific theories don’t actually have any inherent moral implications, but what are the odds of that? It’s not like they’re founded in methodological naturalism and exclude teleology or anything.

  540. #540 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Comparing box office of Expelled to other docs:

    The only other newcomer in the Top 10 was conservative commentator Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed which makes the intelligent design argument. Playing in 1,052 theaters, the pic distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures fell over the weekend from 8th to 10th place after earning $1.2M Friday and $989K Saturday for a $2.9M weekend. But the per screen average for Friday was a feeble $1,145 and for Saturday $940 (and $2,830 for the entire weekend), showing there wasn’t much pent-up demand for the film despite an aggressive publicity campaign on right-wing media. So much for the conservative argument that people would flock to films not representing the “agenda of liberal Hollywood”. (Just for comparison purposes: Michael Moore’s most recent Sicko did $4.4 mil its opening weekend from only 441 theaters, and his Fahrenheit 9/11 did $23.9M its opening weekend from 868 venues.)

    Not so good!

  541. #541 Nick Gotts
    April 20, 2008

    Read the reviews of people who’ve seen the movie from a Christian mindset, they wholeheartedly bought the “Evolutionists are Evil” message and are going to do their best to spread it around, to their family, their friends, their neighbors, and their co-workers. From the perspective of an advocate for the Theory of Evolution, I say this cannot be allowed to stand. – John B. Standlin

    Indeed, and also from the perspectives of human decency, of freedom of expression, and indeed of opposition to anti-semitism and fascism. If we allow this insolent obfuscation of their deep roots in European culture, we weaken our ability to fight these dangerous social pathologies.

  542. #542 James F
    April 20, 2008

    CalGeorge at #536 and #540

    I am personally rooting for Zombie Strippers. It is clearly a bigger critical success than Expelled, as seen at Rotten Tomatoes:

    Zombie Strippers: all critics, 40%; top critics 38%
    Expelled: all critics, 9%; top critics, 0%

    Note, too that the drones at Rotten Tomatoes are trying to boost Expelled’s ratings:

    Zombie Strippers: community rating: 44%
    Expelled: community rating: 54%

  543. #543 Rick T
    April 20, 2008

    “Whether or not Jesus lived cannot – and likely will never – be verified with any sense of certainty”

    Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible. Seriously, ask your local atheist historian. No doubt their face will contort, but they will admit its the Bible. So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?

    Posted by: Ryan | April 20, 2008 1:19 AM

    I am not a teenager. I am a 32 year old attorney in Chicago. I am not a scientist and am obviously out of my league. But I am well read, far more than most.

    The best I can do is say that you are ignorant and a liar. You don’t know a damned thing about the Bible and not nearly that much about how it came to be and even what biblical criticism has to say on the subject.
    As to the claim that you are a 32 year old attorney I would have to say that you certainly don’t demonstrate the maturity nor the education that would indicate this claim of yours is true. Your behavior and lack of education and critical thinking skills give attorneys a bad name and they already suffer from bad PR.

    Kseniya,
    Your reputation as an insulter par excellent is known in Pharangula and your stature in this field is trending much the same way as Cuttlefish and his expertise in poetry. Just as commenters ask Cuttlefish to compose a poem I ask you to compose an appropriate insult in Ryan’s honor. I don’t want to tell you how to do it but could it reflect his ignorance, seeming lack of intelligence, his racism, and the fact that he claims to be an attorney.
    Thanks Kseniya, it would be fun to read.

  544. #544 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Zombie Strippers!

    Check out the trailer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVkQCDfIe38

    Looks pretty good!

    And it has cool science dialog:

    “The virus is based on the human X chromosome, so it stays more pure from woman to woman.”

    Must. Visit. Isohunt.

  545. #545 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    CalGeorge:

    I’m pretty sure all of those movies are projections put out by the studios. I don’t think we get the actual numbers or any approximation until Monday, at least.

    Slate had a pretty good explanation of this a while back:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2133482/

  546. #546 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #541 Nick Gotts | April 20, 2008 2:06 PM

    Indeed, and also from the perspectives of human decency, of freedom of expression, and indeed of opposition to anti-semitism and fascism. If we allow this insolent obfuscation of their deep roots in European culture, we weaken our ability to fight these dangerous social pathologies.

    Ah, the old “Appeal to Human Decency” ploy. You know, it just might work!

    Thank you for pointing this out. I’d gotten so tied up in the misrepresentation of science, I missed the larger issues. Indeed, this movie is an attack on basic human decency, an attack that is as likely motivated by racial hatred as bad science – and Ben Stein is in the middle of it.

    No matter how hard they try to claim their love for the Jewish people, it rings of insincerity. It appears that these people are unwilling to admit the deep heritage of hatred they carry with them.

    JBS

  547. #547 kev_s
    April 20, 2008

    @Ryan #272

    Ryan you are still copy/pasting the same rubbish with same wrong name in that I saw you pasting into threads months back! Please can you at least correct “Hawkins” in the gibberish you copy/paste? Please.

  548. #548 pcarini
    April 20, 2008

    Me: @ #545
    “I’m pretty sure all of those movies are projections put out by the studios.”

    Well, that’s kind of obvious.. what I meant to say was that I’m pretty sure the box office numbers are projected by the studios.

    I also can’t help but wonder if their Sunday ticket sales aren’t quite going to hit their projection…

  549. #549 Ted D
    April 20, 2008

    Quantity, quality, why quibble over a couple of letters’ worth of difference?

    Posted by: Ted D | April 20, 2008 1:06 PM

    “You want some Hitler? I’ll give you some Hitler.”
    Posted by: Glazius | April 20, 2008 1:56 PM

    Um, thanks, I’m good anyway. I was pointing out that verifying the source of a quote based on the number of google hits you get is a bit dodgy. If there was any way to misread my pedantic little post, I’d have thought it was possibly that I was implying that Nazis didn’t reference biology in their speeches at all. (Which, for the hard of understanding, I am not saying, I’m sure they misused biology in their rhetoric.)
    Reading comprehension. It’s not just for wimps.

  550. #550 Gary T.
    April 20, 2008

    Dear Dr. PZ Myers,

    I think it is hysterical that you were denied entry into the screening of the movie that you starred in. I would consider that a badge of honor.

    About four or five years ago, I was banned from anncoulter.org for displaying a list of Egyptian Pharaohs that were NOT killed by Noah’s Flood.

    Oh well.
    Later.

  551. #551 BlueIndependent
    April 20, 2008

    So have the Expelled apologists leveled the “liberal media” charge yet, now that they’re suffering the intellectual beating they dared intelligent people to give them?

  552. #552 Matt
    April 20, 2008

    “About four or five years ago, I was banned from anncoulter.org for displaying a list of Egyptian Pharaohs that were NOT killed by Noah’s Flood.”

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face, after wading through such crap from creationists in this thread.

  553. #553 James F
    April 20, 2008

    #551 BlueIndependent,

    From the news section of the Expelled site:

    “Big Science Academy” is proud to have the support of the “Mainstream Press” in stifling the rise of freedom of speech in our science classrooms. In so many ways, “Big Science” and “Big Media” are on exactly the same page, when it comes to making sure that dissenters and troublemakers are properly expelled.”

    And the conspiracy widens…

  554. #554 John
    April 20, 2008

    Gary T wrote:

    “I think it is hysterical that you were denied entry into the screening of the movie that you starred in. I would consider that a badge of honor.”

    Obviously, that’s why PZ told the story, but I find it hard to believe this happened. Why would anyone care if he went to the movie, unless he was causing some sort of commotion. The biologist on a rampage – scary.

  555. #555 sabrina
    April 20, 2008

    James F. Wrote:
    “Big Science Academy” is proud to have the support of the “Mainstream Press” in stifling the rise of freedom of speech in our science classrooms. In so many ways, “Big Science” and “Big Media” are on exactly the same page, when it comes to making sure that dissenters and troublemakers are properly expelled.”

    And the conspiracy widens…

    I think its pretty funny that no matter who knocks them, its a conspiracy against ID. You know, because once a year, movie reviewers, network executives, scientists, teachers, and the general public get together to scheme how we can keep “Darwinism” alive; and then we sacrifice a goat to him or something. (/eyesroll)

  556. #556 John
    April 20, 2008

    Iain M said:

    “I find it amusing that they spend so much time complaining about biologists poking holes in their myths, and yet don’t seem to notice the astrophysicists and geologists carrying the pneumatic drills.”

    Like Stephen Barr?

  557. #557 BlueIndependent
    April 20, 2008

    @ James F:

    My question was rhetorical, but thanks for filling in the gap anyways. Nothing like a good old persecution complex to pat ones’ self on the back with. The DI, AiG, Expelled crew, etc….willing martyrs for their pet BS. And they keep telling me how they’re just so god at this self-reflection and betterment thing. Such allergic reactions when real truth comes home for dinner.

    The other thing I notice is, they tend to be of the conservative political stripe, one that is highly critical of the concept of pure democracy, labeling it as “mob rule”. How convenient that the mob rule charge only apply to perceived Earthly human organizations, but not to pious, unproven, unevidenced powers worshipped unquestioningly by “mobs” that gather at specific locations every first day of the week?

    The next time a creationist/IDist charges Big Science with some form of “mob rule”, laugh and point derisively.

  558. #558 Longtime Lurker
    April 20, 2008

    Paley, you’re right!

    “The utility that suggests a designer is one that is honed for a specific purpose”

    ID theory has finally discovered the reason for Intelligently Designed male nipples!

    Subordinate males nuzzle the nipples of alpha males to indicate submission, and a cessation of conflict.

    http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blbushmccainhug.htm

  559. #559 John
    April 20, 2008

    Meltwater said:

    “If you really want to argue for divine design the smart thing would be to concede the factual truth of evolution completely. Frankly, you should concede also that evolution is completely unguided, since many biological details point that way.”

    I completely agree with you and I wish some religious folks would have a better understanding of the real issue (and yes, I’m a God-believer too). Personally, my only “complaint” about the evolution topic is simply the scope of what it explains. Its been conceded here before that it does not explain the origin of life and less certainly, origin of species. (I’m sure this is debatable, and I also realize that some hold that evolution will someday explain the origin of life, but that is only a belief at this point.)

    Within the scope of what has been proven about evolution, there is no argument/conflict between evolution and belief in a god. The problem comes up when science is used to project(intentionally or unintentionally) unproven things to make a case against God and secondarily, against religion (which is a man-made organization and thus subject to many faults as are regularly brought out here).

    This site is listed under scienceblogs.com, but it really should be under materialists.com, or anti-god.com. If one concedes that there is any spiritual, non-physical reality, which is by definition outside of the scope of science, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.

  560. #560 MAJeff, OM
    April 20, 2008

    A cheer for John.

    Gimme an N
    Gimme an O
    Gimme an M
    Gimme an A

    What’s that spell?

    Not much of value.

  561. #561 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Ok, I think this is the fundamental confusion: science is about understanding the laws and mechanics of the universe, not ‘Ultimate Truth’. You’re free to believe that science doesn’t explain everything, and many scientists do have a religious or spiritual belief in supernatural power. We don’t really care, even if some of us DO in fact believe that science encompasses all that their is to encompass.

    What’s critical is the realization that as soon as anyone ventures into the supernatural in their quest for ‘Truth’, they have left behind science. Science is by definition the study of the natural world. I don’t care whether or not Stephen Barr believes he sees the hand of a creator in particles, although I would much rather he not call that conclusion scientific.

  562. #562 James F
    April 20, 2008

    Sabrina @ 555

    Don’t you know? It’s the Pentaverate!

  563. #563 Longtime Lurker
    April 20, 2008

    This little tidbit is even richer and more delicious than MAJeff’s tomato and fennel soup:

    “Your hatred of God (no doubt stemming from a difficult relationship with your father, regarding which I am very sorry)”

    What’s with this insistence that the omnipotent, omnipresent, incorporeal Supreme Being has a dick and balls? What’s with these people?

  564. #564 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Er, ok, that was in response to John’s next-to-last comment, not the one where he basically makes the same argument I do before holding up a shiny shiny mirror and mixing up a word salad.

    We’re not bringing science into religion, we’re trying to keep religion out of science. Also, having it be recognized that atheism does not equal immoral depravity/Un-American-Behavior would be nice, too. And sometimes, the ways in which some people reject reality and substitute their own is egregious enough that they really should be called out on it. Furthermore, we don’t try to disprove God using science, as that is fundamentally impossible, but we’re well within reason to use philosophy to point out the fact that we don’t find much evidence for his existence, and that we feel our worldview is significantly improved by this.

  565. #565 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    We don’t really care, even if some of us DO in fact believe that science encompasses all that their is to encompass.

    Errr, my apologies. All that THERE is.

  566. #566 Nick Gotts
    April 20, 2008

    Its been conceded here before that it does not explain the origin of life and less certainly, origin of species. (I’m sure this is debatable, and I also realize that some hold that evolution will someday explain the origin of life, but that is only a belief at this point.)

    Within the scope of what has been proven about evolution, there is no argument/conflict between evolution and belief in a god. – John@559

    First, “evolution” does not explain anything whatever: evolution is a natural process occurring over time. The theory of evolution, on the other hand, explains an enormous mass of what would otherwise be unconnected facts.

    Second, it is not “conceded” that the theory of evolution does not explain the origin of life, any more than it is “conceded” that general relativity does not explain Napoleon losing the battle of Waterloo. The origin of life is simply outside its scope. The origin of life may indeed eventually be explained as due to processes having a good deal in common with those that explain its evolution once originated; but natural selection, the most important evolutionary mechanism, cannot operate until at least one population of self-reproducing entities exists.

    Third, the modern theory of evolution most certainly does explain the origin of species, in the sense that it describes a number of processes which can lead, and in many cases have been observed to lead, to the development of a new species from one or more existing ones. There is still debate about the details of some of these processes, their relative importance, and whether there may be more as yet undiscovered.

    Fourth, you’re right, there is no logical conflict between belief in a god, and acceptance of the theory of evolution. However, the theory does undoubtedly remove a powerful reason for believing that some external intelligence was necessary to produce life as we now see it; and in practice those who study it often become atheists.

  567. #567 Katie
    April 20, 2008

    I’ve been watching the Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Expelled…my favourite one yet?

    “The film shows that Intelligent Design should be on the table for discussion. But if you’re looking for ammo to argue your Darwinist friends under the table, look elsewhere…” from Christianity Today.

    Hehehehee. No shit.

  568. #568 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    #327 Ryan

    Maybe I have a pea brain as many posters have eluded.

    elude: to escape from, to avoid

    allude: to make oblique reference to, to suggest

    Have all men evolved equally?

    What is your metric? What is it that you consider different people have done “more” or “less” of? If, for example, you mean number of changes in the genome since some specific time in the past, well, that’s pretty much evenly distributed. In that case, the answer to your question is Yes. On the other hand, if you meant expected number of offspring reaching reproductive age, then the answer is It Depends. For people living in an area where there’s lots of malaria, there’s a particular genetic change that will give its possessors a big advantage. For people living elsewhere, it gives them serious odds of having sickle-cell anemia.

    But these are only examples. What is your metric?

  569. #569 John
    April 20, 2008

    Nick Gotts said:

    “Fourth, you’re right, there is no logical conflict between belief in a god, and acceptance of the theory of evolution. However, the theory does undoubtedly remove a powerful reason for believing that some external intelligence was necessary to produce life as we now see it; and in practice those who study it often become atheists.”

    Until the THEORY (better?) of evolution does in fact demonstrate a process by which a species is created or science in general finds a natural process by which life is created, then your use of science to make such a conclusion about the non-physical world is mere dogma.

  570. #570 Eric
    April 20, 2008

    John@559:

    If one concedes that there is any spiritual, non-physical reality, which is by definition outside of the scope of science, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.

    No, that’s not the point that is conceded. If there is a non-physical reality, science cannot study it. That does not imply its existence.

    The problem comes up when science is used to project… unproven things to make a case against God

    Can you give an example of this sort of argument, coming from anywhere?

  571. #571 Dee
    April 20, 2008

    Ryan:

    Have all men evovled equally?

    Ted @568

    What is your metric? What is it that you consider different people have done “more” or “less” of?

    Which only considers that Ryan meant ‘evolved equally’ in a biological sense. I got the impression from his post that he might have had something more political in mind, although his writing wasn’t clear enough to tell. If he meant it biologically, it’s nearly impossible to answer because the question is poorly stated/defined. If he meant it politically, it’s a non-sequiter, since biology has nothing to say about political constructs.

  572. #572 John
    April 20, 2008

    Falyne said:

    “We’re not bringing science into religion, we’re trying to keep religion out of science.”

    “Furthermore, we don’t try to disprove God using science, as that is fundamentally impossible, but we’re well within reason to use philosophy to point out the fact that we don’t find much evidence for his existence, and that we feel our worldview is significantly improved by this.”

    I see it the other way around. If Darwinism (sorry, but if Richard Dawkins can use it so can I) had not FIRST been used to “explain away” the need for a god, then the backlash by the religious would not be going on now.

    On the second point, everyone is certainly free to express philosophical conclusions or defend their worldview, but they should not be presented as though science can authoritatively back them up until that is in fact the case (beyond a mere belief that proof will occur at some future date). Again, its a scope issue for me.

  573. #573 kevinj
    April 20, 2008

    @john
    you seem to be getting a tad confused between evolution and abiogenesis, if you search using that you might get further.

    and wtf is “non-physical world” anyway?
    oh and while we are on this proving thing malarkey, how about you provide just a tincy weeny bit for your position.
    among the things i am curious about is why god doesnt make personal visits anymore – you know parting seas and such like. is it she has got bored and found another world?

    and religious backlash? give me a fecking break, what is it with the persecution complex.

  574. #574 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Until the THEORY (better?) of evolution does in fact demonstrate a process by which a species is created

    For the love of god, Montressor! This has been DONE!
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html

    or science in general finds a natural process by which life is created,

    We’re not quite there yet, but there’s no reason to even suspect that we won’t
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB050.html

    then your use of science to make such a conclusion about the non-physical world is mere dogma.

    It doesn’t prove or disprove a damn thing, no. It’s mere dogma to conclude that God didn’t create an older-seeming world last Thursday. But it does at least imply that a Creator was not a necessary condition for the origin of life or species (or anything, for that matter).

  575. #575 bpr
    April 20, 2008

    Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible. Seriously, ask your local atheist historian. No doubt their face will contort, but they will admit its the Bible. So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?

    It makes baby Jesus cry when you lie, Ryan, even thirty-two year old attorneys from Chicago aren’t exempt from this rule. Somewhere, it’s raining, the devil is beating his wife, and the bears are getting married because of your lies.

    Since you’re a professional attorney at law perhaps you would like to produce for us a list of the other “almost most accurate” history books in the history of the world that come close, but fall short of the ultimate history book prize? Maybe a top ten? And if you can’t do that, perhaps some qualifications for “the most accurate history book” ever. I await your response with bated breath – and some degree of bemusement, that a professional attorney of thirty-two years of age from Chicago would make such a claim. Please, enlighten us with your professional knowledge.

  576. #576 Falyne
    April 20, 2008

    Dawkins uses “Darwinism” because the UK, being less populated by creationists, hasn’t had the word co-opted by the same. That’s besides the point, though.

    If the religious didn’t argue that atheists “hate God” or are horrific immoral beasts or in denial or just plain looney, then we wouldn’t be trying to justify ourselves.

    If the religious weren’t forcing us to make oaths (Pledge of Allegiance) we disagree with or putting religion in science class or lose out on scientific advances due to funding cuts or diverting funding into ‘faith based initiatives or sabotaging sex education or AIDS prevention or letting children die for want of a blood transfusion or eliminating the right to choose or blowing up clinics or preventing consenting adults from marrying or forcing children to marry or flying planes into buildings…. (deep breath)

    Shorter John: You guys started it.
    Shorter Me: NO U!

  577. #577 Nick Gotts
    April 20, 2008

    Until the THEORY (better?) of evolution does in fact demonstrate a process by which a species is created or science in general finds a natural process by which life is created, then your use of science to make such a conclusion about the non-physical world is mere dogma.

    As I said, some processes at least by which new species form are quite well-understood and exemplified. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html.
    Before the development of evolutionary theory, it could quite reasonably be said to atheists that they could not account for the origin of humanity and other existing species, or the adaptation of organisms to their environments, or the operation of the eye. All these things appeared to require the operation of an external superintelligence. Now, they clearly don’t. Hence, powerful reasons (I should have used the plural) for believing in such a superintelligence have indeed been removed. It is true that the origin of life remains unexplained, but I think theists would be unwise to count on this continuing to hold – the case of evolutionary theory, among others such as the disappearance of “vital force”, indicates that the “God of the gaps” is vulnerable to being squeezed into ever fewer and smaller niches.

  578. #578 Moses
    April 20, 2008

    Until the THEORY (better?) of evolution does in fact demonstrate a process by which a species is created or science in general finds a natural process by which life is created, then your use of science to make such a conclusion about the non-physical world is mere dogma.

    Actually, John, what you wrote is “dogma.” Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from. Since all science is, by the nature of science, provisional and is only as accepted as the last experiment failed to disprove it, there is no dogma with scientific theories. To the extent scientific theories can rebut dogma, they still do not take on the characteristics of “dogma.”

    For example, it was believed that the continents, at one time, were not joined, but that they’d been this way forever. This was believed because the best evidence of the day said you couldn’t move them. In the early 1900’s some made the case for Pangaea. It was rejected because there’d been no evidence presented for the MECHANISM of forcing the continents apart. It wasn’t until they discovered sea-floor spreading did the Pangaea theory become accepted.

    At one time Newton’s theory of gravity was tops. Then came Einstein and general relativity. Now it’s the quantum theory of Gravity. And so it goes. Science always takes the best theory. But you’ve got to have a better one. And saying “gravity doesn’t work, it’s Angels holding us down” is weak sauce and we’re not interested.

    Especially when bible-thumpers, like you, are so devastatingly ignorant of the origins of your religion. Rare is a Christian that knows at one time Judaism was a POLYTHESITC RELIGION. Rare is a Christian that knows God had a Wife and Kids. Rare is a Christian who knows most of Exodus, including the bondage and escape of the Israelites, is made up to cover-up the kicking out of the Hyksos from Egypt.

    Hell, John, I could go on for HOURS about all the things you don’t know about your religion. How your bible is cobbled up from all kinds of religions, including the whole Jesus myth. Then, after being cobbled up, it was severely edited.

    Why does he need a moldy Bronze-Age book of religious stories cobbled together from the many, many religions in the area when he could have written one from scratch? Why does he need to commit adultery and fuck Mary when he could create his son, just poof him into existence? Why did the Christians change the old testament to make it agree with the doctrinal mistakes they made? Why did Mark get it wrong? And Luke? Why don’t the genealogies agree? Why does the bible talk about cities that weren’t in existence when the events allegedly happened, some of of these cities, btw John, only existed in the 7th Century BCE when the Jews totally REVAMPED their religion under Josiah.

    Did you know this John? Did you know that, by-and-large, your entire religion is ripped off from other religions that were in existence hundreds of years before Judaism and Christianity? That the way it is practiced today is lies based on the stories told by the priest/rulers of Israel, then Europe, to keep control of the populace? That the final origin religion of Judaism was actually a hybrid religion of the EL polytheists of Israel and the small JHVH (predominantly monotheist) cult from Judea?

    By the way John, her name (God’s wife) is Asheroth. You here her voice in Genesis 1 when God makes Adam and Eve out of dust. And God says:

    “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

    That was in the feminine voice. Even though Asheroth was written out, her voice remained. Because in the ancient Hebrew texts, that was written in the female plural, not the male plural.

    John, there’s so much you don’t know because someone told you something. Something without proof. Something based on lies and alterations handed down for century upon century.

    And that, John, is dogma.

    Not a scientific theory that, if someone ever finds a better one (and the original has been improved and modified over time) will hit the dustbin faster than the Ptolemaic theory of the Universe.

    Hell, John, modern biblical archeology is killing the origin of the bible stories you people tell yourselves. You don’t read these books and papers. You’re not interested — better, in your minds, to be certain than face the truth. Because if you faced the truth, you’d feel abused and manipulated and lied to and angry.

    You, like me, might become an atheist. You, like me, might walk away from the priest hood. You, like me, might remain pissed for decades because much of your life was built on lies.

    Then, someday, like me, you can remain an atheist and go back to Church even. Because once you get over the anger, The Unitarian-Universalists will be happy to take you. They’re happy with me, and I’m an avowed atheist.

    Plus, they’re, unlike most Christian denominations, pretty cool about the whole religion thing. And they’re definitely not into finger pointing and blaming and controlling and hating others. Why, they’re just like the vast majority of atheists I’ve met: accepting of people. Even if they don’t believe what you believe.

    And, thus, you get to have the positive things you missed from your religious up-bringing, without the bullshit.

  579. #579 Dutch Delight
    April 20, 2008

    Every organism living today has had equal time to evolve since the earliest common ancestor. Thats what i meant at least.

  580. #580 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Until the THEORY (better?) of evolution does in fact demonstrate a process by which a species is created or science in general finds a natural process by which life is created, then your use of science to make such a conclusion about the non-physical world is mere dogma.

    Non-physical world? What’s that?

  581. #581 Matt
    April 20, 2008

    So something Moses said does make sense after all.

  582. #582 Etha Williams
    April 20, 2008

    #578 —

    Thank you for those very interesting bits of biblical history. After reading all the bits of IDiocy on this thread, it’s nice to actually learn something new.

  583. #583 CalGeorge
    April 20, 2008

    Oh, I get it now. Gary Zukov on non-physical reality:

    Non physical reality is our home. We came from non physical reality and we will return to non physical reality when we die. When this personality, body and intuitional structure, which perfectly suit the evolution of our soul for this time in the earth school, passes, we will return home. We will come back into the waiting arms and loving arms of our non physical guides and teachers. There we can look back on all of the things that we have done, we will see our lives in detail, minute detail, all of the things that we experienced. Most of which we have forgotten. We will see it. How these things affected us and how they affected others. We will see the exquisite pattern of interaction with which we met other souls. We will see how our actions influenced them and how their actions influenced us. We will see how we learned together. We will see those lessons that we have yet to learn. We will see the consequences that we created but we have yet to experience and these will form the basis of ;yet another journey into the earth school.

    Quantum wooooooooooooo!

  584. #584 Etha Williams
    April 20, 2008

    “If one concedes that there is any spiritual, non-physical reality, which is by definition outside of the scope of science, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.”

    This statement is utterly vacuous as it rests entirely on a false premise (the acceptance of a spiritual, non-physical reality). Basically, all you are saying is “if one accepts god, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.” Nice try.

  585. #585 Q
    April 20, 2008

    Yay Moses @ 578!

    BTW, I thought you were a myth.

  586. #586 Gary T.
    April 20, 2008

    # 410

    “I must ask you just how many “fundie” attacks there have been on such facilities? Less than a handful in 30 years?”

    Yeah, less than a handful…

    7 murders
    3 kidnappings
    17 attempted murders
    383 death threats
    153 assault & batteries
    655 anthrax threats
    41 bombings
    173 arsons
    91 attempted bombings or arsons
    619 bomb threats
    1630 trespassings
    1264 vandalisms
    100 stink bomb attacks

    …so lighten up there, Candy.

  587. #587 Monado, FCD
    April 20, 2008

    I’m going to start referring people to The Pocket Darwin (PDF) to save energy. Read that first, then come back and argue. Read Michael Shermer’s Why Darwin Matters. Look at the long list of transitional fossils and transitional forms that actually exist – more than 300 of them in the vertebrates alone. Read the newspaper stories about the new species of mosquito that developed in the London subway system over the last 150 years. DON’T complain that it didn’t evolve into something else — nobody expected it to. And for heaven’s sake, learn something about the actual theory of evolution, not that cardboard cut-out you’ve been told about: Read Carl Zimmer’s Evolution. Then you can criticize it properly.

    Otherwise you’re as far off the mark as I would be if I criticized you for worshipping donkeys.

  588. #588 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    #447 Ryan

    But I am well read, far more than most.

    Yet, according to you (#284, #316), the original language of Genesis was Greek.

  589. #589 Etha Williams
    April 20, 2008

    “How? You presume morality. A higher moral authority. Where does that come from? Where do right and wrong come from?”

    As previous posters have pointed out, morality in no way implies a higher moral authority. And in fact, I would go so far as to say that a well-reasoned, independently derived humanistic moral code is LESS HARMFUL and more beneficial to humankind than your ‘higher power’ derived morals.

    In the former case, morality is something people can debate in an intelligent fashion. Based on empirical evidence of how a particular set of morals do (or do not) help society to function well in a variety of situations, these humanistic values can be changed to create a better, more egalitarian society.

    In the latter case, morals are dictated by an invisible, unreachable ‘higher power.’ So Hitler says “I think God tells us all the Jews should die” (whether Hitler was in fact Xian is debatable; however, he certainly used it in persuading the masses that it was a good idea); and you can say ‘God says it is wrong to kill 6 million Jews.’ Unfortunately, since there is no way to get God to come down and tell people who is right, and the Bible and other holy books are so self-contradictory that they offer no help, so no one will ever be able to settle which of these is in fact God’s will, and the argument will go back and forth in perpetuity with no hope of resolution.

    IN SUM: *Anyone* can say that *anything* is God’s will, and there’s no way to prove them wrong or right. Subjective/humanly-derived morals are not the problem. Objective/God-derived morals are.

  590. #590 Blake Stacey
    April 20, 2008

    Moses:

    Any good books you know of about early Israelite polytheism and all that? I’ve picked up lots of bits and pieces, but it’d be nice to have a consolidated reference I can add to the book piles growing around my house.

  591. #591 amy
    April 20, 2008

    “That is, what are the general features that indicate design?”

    From my experience, it’s a little label with washing instructions…

    /me inspects her dog for such an item.

  592. #592 Moses
    April 20, 2008

    Uh-oh. Looks like a fair number of people are choosing to see Expelled.

    Top Movies
    1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
    2. 88 Minutes
    3. The Forbidden Kingdom
    4. Smart People
    5. Superhero Movie
    6. Street Kings
    7. Nim’s Island
    8. Prom Night
    9. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
    10. Zombie Strippers

    There’s a couple of things here. First, this is “weak release” time. There aren’t any holidays to bump up theatre participation. No spring break. No summer vacation. No winter break. So, movies that aren’t likely to gain attention release at this time, when there is far, far less competition for the movie goers.

    Second, $3 million in box is really pathetic. And its big day was Friday and it already dropped on Saturday, which is NOT a good thing as Saturday should be the biggest day on a on a weekend box.

    Third, if it had a typical documentary budget of $10 million, it’s got a chance to cover, but I’d be skeptical. I just don’t like the second day drop of about 10% instead of the bump of 5%.

    And, while I’m sure they’ll be “proud” of their #9 opening, and we’ll here all about it, it’s really pathetic. I don’t see this challenging Bowling for Columbine which took in $58 million world wide when ticket prices were, on average, $1.01 less than they are today. Or Sicko that took in $30ish million. Heck, I’m not entirely sure it’ll over-take Roger & Me that was released in 1989 in just 256 Theatres. That grossed about $7 million, but tickets were a full $3.00/seat cheaper than today’s $6.82 average.

    Anyway, once that’s done, you also have to look at the profitability of the film. Unless they’re huge block-buster films, like the Star Wars series, studios only take 55% of the gross. Which means Expelled “the producers” have made about $1.7 million against their costs.

    And why they haven’t yet released their full production costs, and I heard it was low budget to the max, they still haven’t covered the rumored amount I read. (In the $3 million range to produce.)

    All-in-all, I’m expecting a (Pyrrhic) “victory proclamation” which will be a real-world loss. BTW, my numbers from a different source:

    1 N The Forbidden Kingdom LGF $20,870,000 – 3,151 – $6,623 $20,870,000 – 1

    2 N Forgetting Sarah Marshall Uni. $17,348,000 – 2,798 – $6,200 $17,348,000 $30 1

    3 1 Prom Night (2008) SGem $9,100,000 -56.3% 2,700 – $3,370 $32,564,000 $20 2

    4 N 88 Minutes Sony $6,800,000 – 2,168 – $3,136 $6,800,000 – 1

    5 4 Nim’s Island Fox $5,650,000 -38.0% 3,277 -241 $1,724 $32,857,000 $37 3

    6 3 21 Sony $5,500,000 -47.5% 2,903 +167 $1,894 $69,984,000 $35 4

    7 2 Street Kings FoxS $4,000,000 -67.9% 2,469 +2 $1,620 $19,879,000 $20 2

    8 6 Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! Fox $3,500,000 -40.9% 2,670 -539 $1,310 $144,407,000 $85 6

    9 N Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed RM $3,153,000 – 1,052 – $2,997 $3,153,000 – 1

  593. #593 Etha Williams
    April 20, 2008

    #255 —
    “Really? Ever care to investigate what is the most historically accurate text ever written? The Bible. Seriously, ask your local atheist historian. No doubt their face will contort, but they will admit its the Bible. So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?”

    First of all, I’d like to learn how to find my local atheist historian. Is there a special section in the yellow pages? And if so, is it under “A” (atheist historians) or “H” (historians, atheist).

    But in all seriousness, the calendar year doesn’t prove the existence of Jesus; it simply proves that a mythology spread far enough and into powerful enough circles (the Roman Empire) that it was incorporated into the way we describe dates — about 525 years after the fact. (And in fact, while the system was devised in the year 525 AD, it only began to be widely accepted in Western Europe in the year 800.) If Scientologists gained power and renamed our dating system to AX (‘After Xenu’) would that be historical proof of the existence of Xenu? Hardly.

    However, all of this debate over the historicity of the existence of Jesus is occluding the real point: it doesn’t matter if every verifiable event described in the Bible actually happened. That doesn’t lend *any more* credibility to its unverifiable theological claims. Even if we had incontrovertible historical proof that Jesus was born and died at age 33 due to crucifiction (we don’t), that would not make the theological claims about him (born of a virgin, son of God, died for our sins, rose from the dead, performed miracles, etc) any more credible. Just like if I wrote a paper full of valid scientific findings and then put in a few sentences to the effect that “God did it,” it wouldn’t make my theological claims any more valid.

    Wow. I feel like a right regular atheist historian now. Maybe I should look into getting that yellow page listing….

  594. #594 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Blake Stacey at #590;

    Of interest to you might be a televised debate between Dr. Gerald Larue and Dr. Walter Kaiser, two scholars who debate some of the issues you mentioned. It is available from John Amkerberg Ministries. Both come across as well-versed and are gentlemen to boot. I find sometimes that I get more out of a debate like this rather than a book written from a single point of view.

  595. #595 Monado, FCD
    April 20, 2008

    Apologies: I was wrong! I got my wires crossed between two books I’ve been reading. I don’t know how many transitional vertebrate fossils there are. Same-sex sexuality has been observed in more than 300 vertebrate species.

    I’m pretty sure TalkOrigins has a list of more than 200 transitional forms. And that’s not counting organisms that aren’t fossils but but are transitional forms or show transitional features.

    The real problem, I think, is that people don’t understand evolution and think that if they start to believe in it, or even learn too much about it, they’ll lose their faith. Or they’ll become bad people…. as if becoming a Christian made you a pedophile like many a Catholic priest or a drug-using homosexual like Ted Haggard.

  596. #596 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    #559 John

    Its been conceded here before that it does not explain the origin of life and less certainly, origin of species.

    Not so fast. That was not a concession, it was a complaint about misrepresentation. Evolution simply does not address the origin-of-life issue. The claim that it purports, but fails, to do so is a straw man. Calling people on a straw man argument does not constitute “concession”–it constitutes dealing with an ignorant and/or dishonest debater.

    As for “origin of species” a species does not necessarily have a clear-cut origin. Google “ring species” (with the quotes).

  597. #597 Rick Schauer
    April 20, 2008

    brokenSoldier said, “…and worse is the fact that the claims he (Stein) is making are false attributions concerning the pogrom that just about wiped his religion from the face of Europe. Intellectual dishonesty at its finest, folks!”

    I aqree, well said! The only conclusion I can draw for Stein’s deep delusion is Israel which, as you know, is founded on old testament drivel.

    Do you think Stein and the Israeli military-industrial complex is capable of a shitty PR campaign like this to keep their delusional citizens in a nuclear dream? Personally, I wouldn’t doubt it.

  598. #598 alex
    April 20, 2008

    @Moses,#578
    fantastic post. any further reading on this you’d recommend?

  599. #599 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    #596 (me)

    Evolution simply does not address…

    Make that, “The study of evolution simply does not address…”

    Evolution, per se, does not “address” anything, it’s a process that just happens.

  600. #600 Tulse
    April 20, 2008

    John wrote:

    I see it the other way around. If heliocentrism had not FIRST been used to “explain away” the need for a god, then the burnings by the religious would not be going on now.

    (Well, OK, maybe that was edited a bit…)

  601. #601 ryogam
    April 20, 2008

    Commenter Paley here, taken the name of a famous Creationist, asks the same damn question asked by every Creationist ever. PZ’s commenters do a pretty good job answering the questions, but the question really plagued me for it’s vacuity. He sets the lowest hurdle a designer can be made to jump. His designer is assumed a moron. Find the marks of an incompetent designer, he argues, and, PRESTO, you’ve found GOD. What do I mean by this? Well, Complexity can be a mark of design, but simplicity without loss of function is better. Utility can be a mark of design, but greater utility with reliability is better. Organization is a catch-all term with no real meaning. What we want is GOOD organization.

    And this is where Intelligent Design fails. Unintelligent, Incompetent or Malevolent Design Theory can still be argued. But to do that, one has to concede that the Designer/God is Unintelligent, Incompetent or Malevolent.

    Ah, but where is the evidence, the IDiots ask, of Incompetent design. The answer to that is everywhere. But, here’s a statement that makes a simple and memorable refutation of the theory that humans are intelligently designed:

    Every tool used by man is evidence that the human body is not intelligently designed.

    What does that mean? Well, first, “tools” as defined here is “everything man’s uses on a daily basis to live.” How do these “tools” prove poor design? Let’s give a few examples. Our clothing is proof that we are poorly designed for living in the elements. A properly designed human would not need clothing to survive. Glasses are proof that our eyes are poorly designed. A properly designed eye, an intelligently designed eye would have perfect vision, every time. Shoes are proof that our feet are poorly designed. Screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers are proof that our hands are poorly designed. Houses with heating and air conditioning are proof that our bodies are poorly designed for bad weather. Cars are proof that are bodies are poorly designed for travel. Why can’t humans run 60 miles per hour for hours at a time? Poor design. Every pill ever made to address a health concern is proof that our bodies our poorly designed. Every one. It doesn’t matter how complex or partially useful our bodies are. It is still shockingly poorly designed. And that is enough to refute intelligent design theory. That’s all that is needed.

  602. #602 molliebatmit
    April 20, 2008

    So, ryogam, would you call that the anti-Panglossian paradigm? :)

  603. #603 Malcolm
    April 20, 2008

    I notice a lot of people calling Ryan out on his claim of biblical accuracy. Whenever Creobots try to tell me the bible is accurate, I just point out that the Australian Aborigines didn’t notice their flood. If the bible were the most accurate history book ever written, as our deluded friend claimed, the flood would have to have happened within the last 6,000 years. The Aborigines have been in Australia for at least 40,000 years.

  604. #604 ryogam
    April 20, 2008

    I like that. We might not be in the Worst of All Possible Worlds, but, Lordy, we sure ain’t in the best.

    My relatives would call it “The Talking Out Your Ass” Paradigm.

  605. #605 mkuriluk
    April 20, 2008

    @moses #578:
    awesome.

  606. #606 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Ryogam in #601;

    You state; “A properly designed eye, an intelligently desgined eye would have perfect vision every time”.
    I am not sure there are many engineers or designers out there who would agree with that. Although I am not an engineer by trade, I work with engineers in an engineering environment who design things. What I’ve found so far is that no mechanical device is 100% efficient or works perfectly every time, but that does not mean they aren’t “good” designs. We use two 500,000 watt shortwave transmitters and my guess is, properly maintained, they have on on air efficiancy of 90+%. Not perfect, but very, very reliable.
    In the US Navy, the base I was stationed on had as it’s main aircraft an F/A-18 Hornet, one of the best fighter craft in the world at that time (mid 1980s). Did we have to sometimes put them in the shop? You bet. There Full Mission Capable status as I remember was better than 70%.
    Anyway, just my two cents:)

  607. #607 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    I notice a lot of people calling Ryan out on his claim of biblical accuracy. Whenever Creobots try to tell me the bible is accurate, I just point out that the Australian Aborigines didn’t notice their flood. If the bible were the most accurate history book ever written, as our deluded friend claimed, the flood would have to have happened within the last 6,000 years. The Aborigines have been in Australia for at least 40,000 years.

    the problem lies in the fact that rarely do xians who use this argument differentiate between accuracy and precision.

    the bible has horrible accuracy (most xians don’t know this, which is why I like to link again and again to theolgians who actually HAVE studied the relevant history and archeology*), but starting from at least later translations, could be said to have at least as good a precision as the Iliad.

    Now, the question becomes:

    Why in the fuck should anyone care if a book based on mostly oral storytelling is as precise as another book based on oral storytelling?

    *see re: Hector Avalos

    http://mnatheists.org/component/option,com_seyret/task,videodirectlink/Itemid,61/id,16/

  608. #608 Mark A. Siefert
    April 20, 2008

    Gee, 605 posts and not one of the Creationists here have even tried to bring up the OP (i.e. 1)The mythology that ID supporters are persecuted by academic, 2) the very real treatment of evolution’s defender’s by Creationists).

    I guess you really can’t defend the indefensible.

  609. #609 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    @517:

    I award you the A+ for doing the creobots homework for them, since they would not do it for themselves.

    I understand why they inevitably fail to answer the question correctly, but it’s always humorous to see them flail at it in exactly the same way every time.

  610. #610 bpr
    April 20, 2008

    Malcolm have YOU PERSONALLY RADIO-ISOTOPE dated a aborigine? Have you READ THEIR HISTORICAL BOOKS? RYAN HAS. HE’S VERY WELL READ. GODDAMNIT, he’s a thirty-two year old attorney at law from Chicago! DOESN’T THAT MEAN ANYTHING, ANYMORE?!?

  611. #611 Etha Williams
    April 20, 2008

    Rather late on this one, but:

    #22: “In other words have we ever watched one kind of animal like a dog become another kind of animal like a cat. This is only an example I just want to be clear that I do not mean cross breeding between dogs or cats but actually new species.”

    Actually, if anyone’s demonstrated cross-breeding between dogs and cats, I would love to see *that*. I’ve always wanted a cat-dog….(cog? dat?)

  612. #612 Dave M
    April 20, 2008

    Also from #22: “I only have one question Dr. Myers.”

    Doesn’t that just say it all?

  613. #613 Rick Schauer
    April 20, 2008

    Moses, #578…very nice job!

    You said to John,

    “Did you know that, by-and-large, your entire religion is ripped off from other religions that were in existence hundreds of years before Judaism and Christianity? That the way it is practiced today is lies based on the stories told by the priest/rulers of Israel, then Europe, to keep control of the populace? That the final origin religion of Judaism was actually a hybrid religion of the EL polytheists of Israel and the small JHVH (predominantly monotheist) cult from Judea?”

    Let us not forget Mithra/Mithraism and Zoroastranism (yes, John the zorasters (magi) from jebus’s birth.) One of the early monotheistic faiths from approximately 1000-800 bce. They featured baptism, the 12 deceivers…I mean, ahh, er, disciples, Mithra was born in a cave and jebus was buried in a cave. Mithra was born on December 25th, too. And, as I’m sure you know Moses, it was one the main religions of the Roman army. It acted as a replaced for Mars veneration, which btw, was where we got the word march..as in armies marching. I’m happy to say, studying Mithrism was one of my xtian-to-atheist tipping points!

    Isn’t knowing religious shit cool? You can see how people have been controlled by this crap for eons. However, I humbly wish we’d get over this mularky already and move on to something a little more concrete…such as evolutionary theory!

  614. #614 Ted Powell
    April 20, 2008

    #601 ryogam

    Well, Complexity can be a mark of design, but simplicity without loss of function is better.

    And that’s why “irreducible complexity” is to be expected from our understanding of evolution. At some point, or even at multiple successive points, in the development of some feature, bits of previously-essential scaffolding become redundant, and are no longer selected for. In many cases they will either drift out of existence, or even be selected against as a waste of resources. If this happens enough, after a while there will be nothing else that can be removed without loss of functionality. Irreducible complexity–a sign of natural selection at work. (Sorry, Behe; apparently you didn’t think this through.)

  615. #615 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Let us not forget Mithra/Mithraism and Zoroastranism (yes, John the zorasters (magi) from jebus’s birth.)

    Hey now, Dagon says you shouldn’t forget the Philistines!

  616. #616 John
    April 20, 2008

    Etha Willaims said:

    “”If one concedes that there is any spiritual, non-physical reality, which is by definition outside of the scope of science, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.”

    This statement is utterly vacuous as it rests entirely on a false premise (the acceptance of a spiritual, non-physical reality). Basically, all you are saying is “if one accepts god, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.” Nice try.”

    While I’m really impressed that you found a way to use the word vacuous, no, a spiritual, non-physical world could contain aspects other than god. And I can certainly posit such a reality just a well as folks here can posit that natural processes will “someday” explain the origin of life. Nice try yourself.

  617. #617 mkuriluk
    April 20, 2008

    If anyone cares to carry the debate elsewhere I could use a hand RE: posts 127 and 130 at http://science-community.sciam.com/topic/Six-Things-Expelled-Ben-Stein/Six-Things-Expelled-Ben-Stein/580000711?start=120&#msg570001975

  618. #618 Sastra
    April 20, 2008

    John #559 wrote:

    This site is listed under scienceblogs.com, but it really should be under materialists.com, or anti-god.com. If one concedes that there is any spiritual, non-physical reality, which is by definition outside of the scope of science, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.

    Is “spiritual, non-physical reality” really outside the scope of science? Or is it simply something which could, in theory, be confirmed scientifically — but hasn’t been?

    Consider the following possibilities:

    In the next few years

    ESP experiments are successfully replicated.
    Psychokenesis is repeatedly demonstrated in labs all over the world.
    Studies reliably show that mediums can indeed talk to the dead, and psychics can predict the future with pinpoint accuracy.
    Prayers for healing cancer are found to always succeed if done by priests wearing purple on Friday.
    The evidence for reincarnation and actual Out of Body Experiences is verified through the most stringent criteria.
    The ‘Law of Attraction’ (that your intentions manifest reality to attract what you concentrate on) gets off The Oprah Winfrey Show, and onto the cover of a special edition of Nature.

    Convincing data from some or all of the above passes peer review, persuades skeptical scientists, and is then incorporated into mainstream scientific models of reality, generating an enormous amount of new research and testable theories as scientists strive towards new discoveries.

    Now — given this, the theory that there is a “spiritual, non-physical component to reality” would, I think, become rather popular. Materialism is desperately playing redefinition catch up, and losing. Don’t you think?

    So, was it really “outside the scope of science?”

  619. #619 Reuben
    April 20, 2008

    Moses, #578, that was wonderful, thankyou!

    I’ve never been religious so never had to go through the loss of faith that you did (I did read the Bible once – quite a trip), but I am certainly fascinated by the bizarre history of the Xian religions.

    I am still constantly amazed that anyone can read the Bible and consider it to be accurate about anything.

  620. #620 Rick T
    April 20, 2008

    For those of you who wanted to read where Moses learned so much about the history of the Bible here are a few books that I found to be very good.

    Did God Have A Wife? Archaeology And Folk… by William G. Dever is one of his 4 or 5 books on what archeology tells us about Israel. He mentions Asheroth and shows where the Bible alludes to it also.

    Secrets of the Exodus: The Egyptian Origins of the Hebrew People by Messod Sabbah and Roger Sabbath is one of my favorites that I think Moses should read that I found very persuasive. Briefly it shows that the Hebrew alphabet came from Egyptian hieroglyphics rather than the Phoenician alphabet. Furthermore by reading the cartouches of the Armanian pharaohs you can get hints as to who the biblical characters were referring to when they rewrote the Old Testament upon their capture and exile into an anti-Egyptian Babylon. By that I mean they had to disguise their writings to conceal their Egyptian heritage because the Egyptians were the enemies of the Babylonians. This rewriting is referred to in the Bible BTW as well as in other ancient Jewish writings. Plus, there are more bombshells in this book that need to be checked out. I’ve read many books that made interesting claims that couldn’t be proven but this book is not one of those. The last quarter of the book is basically a linguistics course in the Egyptian/Hebrew language and cultural similarities and derivations.

    Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman is one of several of his books that reveal just how accurate the Bible is (not very). One factoid is that there are more discrepancies between the many Biblical texts that exist than there are ancient texts themselves. He says that no 2 texts are identical which flies in the face of claims made by Christians that the Bible is the most accurate book ever written.

    Finally, as Ichthyic mentioned, Hector Avalos wrote “The End of Biblical Studies” which I just finished and sums up the topic nicely. The Bible is flawed and is not even a good work of literature. It basically is a relic of the past and deserves no more study.

  621. #621 Damian
    April 20, 2008

    Moses @ 592

    That’s not how Randy Olson is looking at it over at Shifting Baselines: Meet Ben Stein, the New Spokesman for the Field of Evolution

    “It’s a dark day for the subject of evolution in the U.S. Two years ago I made a pro-evolution movie, “Flock of Dodos,” trying to warn the evolution community they are not good with mass communication, and that the people behind the attacks on evolution are VERY, VERY good. This weekend Ben Stein’s anti-evolution movie, “Expelled,” had a HUGE opening, estimated to rake in over $3 million dollars. One of the top five openings EVER for any documentary.

    At the end of Dodos my old buddy Eddie, the sound guy, looks down on the table of evolutionist poker players and says, “I’m just curious whether you’re going to do anything about these attacks on your profession.”

    To counter the blockbuster power of “Expelled,” the National Science Foundation, NAS and AAAS are organizing a panel discussion about putting together a committee to look into the possibility of creating a brochure that tells the public how to make a website for a petition that says evolution is fun.

    That should probably take care of the problem”

    I have to say that I am slightly confused by what it all means, to be honest. What exactly are we supposed to have done to counter the nonsense?

    He’s added plenty more in the comments section. I can understand his frustration, but it still pisses me off that we are living in a time when presenting the facts and exposing deceit is seen, at best, as irrelevant, and at worst, as helping the enemy.

  622. #622 ryogam
    April 20, 2008

    Gleaner63 at 606,

    It’s not that simple. It does not matter that a fully human, limited, person can not design some object that works with 100% efficiency.

    The IDiots want me to believe in a creator that is PERFECT in knowledge and all powerful. Surely, a creator with those attribute could design “the Perfect 100% Efficient Eye.” The eyes we’ve got, where 60%+ (?) of the population needs corrective lenses, don’t even come close to Good Design.

  623. #623 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    It does not matter that a fully human, limited, person can not design some object that works with 100% efficiency.

    that sparks a recollection of something fun the next time someone talks about Behe’s “irreducible complexity” via the mousetrap analogy.

    I give you, the REDUCIBLE mousetrap:

    http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mousetrap.html

  624. #624 windy
    April 20, 2008
    “If one concedes that there is any spiritual, non-physical reality, which is by definition outside of the scope of science, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.” This statement is utterly vacuous as it rests entirely on a false premise (the acceptance of a spiritual, non-physical reality). Basically, all you are saying is “if one accepts god, then the whole anti-god argument falls apart.” Nice try.

    While I’m really impressed that you found a way to use the word vacuous, no, a spiritual, non-physical world could contain aspects other than god.

    If so, considering a non-physical reality would not automatically cause an anti-god argument to fall apart, contrary to your previous claim.

    You can posit non-physical realities all you want, but once you say that the non-physical interacts with the physical, you are stepping on the realm of science.

  625. #625 Kagehi
    April 20, 2008

    I find it amusing that they spend so much time complaining about biologists poking holes in their myths, and yet don’t seem to notice the astrophysicists and geologists carrying the pneumatic drills.

    We should make a counter movie to these nitwits, containing *real* cases of abuse against those with scientific views, along with, if possible, crime photos of the victims, where appropriate. But, by someone that knows how to do it right. And, some where in there, make this point, maybe with a high quality CG cartoon, where some “defender” for the gates of creationism stops the guy (the biologist) with a bow and arrow at the gates, for “carrying an obvious weapon”, while waving through the guys with a crate full of gear marked “geology and astronomy equipment”, who happen to, oddly, be all dressed like Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell and loaded down with jack hammers, and other such stuff. The punch line? When asked what they are doing there, the super secret spies tell the guard, “Oh, we are just here to fix the plumbing.”, and the moron falls for it.

    Ok, may need a bit of work, but you get the idea. lol

  626. #626 MTran
    April 20, 2008

    @447 ryan

    “I am a 32 year old attorney in Chicago.”

    I tend to concur with Rick T, you sound more like a kid pretending to be an educated professional. But if your statement is true, yikes! It makes your conclusory reasoning even more inexcusable. To say nothing of your failure to understand the nature and reliability of scientific evidence.

    “I am well read, far more than most.”

    You’ve provided no evidence for that assertion. Based on your responses here, you don’t seem to read well at all. I suggest you start reading some materials that are written in a form with which you should be familiar if you are what you claim to be.

    First, Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District (M.Dist Pa. Case No. 04cv2688) 400 F. Supp. 2d 707, 727 (M.D. Pa. 2005)

    Then try Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals 509 US 579 (1993), regarding the admissibility of “expert” science opinion as evidence in the federal courts.

    Whether you like the results of Daubert or not, it reflects the US Supreme Court’s efforts to distinguish between legitimate science and crack pot quackery. And there is a difference between science (e.g., the theory of evolution) and crack pot notions (creationism).

    “I am not a scientist and am obviously out of my league.”

    Yes, which means that you are commiting intellectual malpractice when you make assertions that are not well founded in fact, evidence, or reason.

    Look, Ryan, you may earnestly believe in the Creationist tripe and hateful propaganda that excreted “Expelled,” but don’t pretend that your belief is based on anything other than willfull ignorance and wishful thinking. Because there sure ain’t no science, reliable data, or sound logic supporting it. And very little intelligence showing in your comments.

  627. #627 sirfab
    April 20, 2008

    I wonder if anyone here, particularly Prof. Myers, has the energy to refute this article:
    Break Down The Wall.
    I have posted many detailed refutations of the claims made by IDers in support of ID, and of the movie Expelled, on The Constructive Curmudgeon. I have provided links to Expelled Exposed. Nothing works.

    It is obvious that Dr. Groothuis, the Discovery Institute ideologue who runs the blog The Constructive Curmudgeon and teaches at Denver Seminary, has not taken the time to read any of the refutations (or he has read them and he just does not care about the truth), because he has now posted his favorable review of Expelled. Help! I feel overmatched! (In numbers only, not in arguments.)

  628. #628 gleaner63
    April 20, 2008

    Ryogam at #621,

    I agree that nothing is ever simple. As far as I can tell, not everyone on the ID side believes the “designer” is a perfect being in the mold of the Christian diety. I think you will find that Dave Scott, one of the mods at UD is an agnostic. To those who believe in some type of directed panspermia, the creators themselves were mortal, imperfect, alien beings, therefore their designs would be imperfect also.
    According to what I *think* I know about the theistic IDers, in this case those that are Christian, they hold that originally God’s designs here on Earth were perfect, but the Edenic curse has caused a steady “running down” of everything. I think some would call this a type of “divine entropy”. To illustrate look at the condition of the civil war warship USS Monitor in 1861, and when it was raised off the coast of NC several years ago. Except for the turrent it was in an advanced state of decay. But in it’s day it was maybe the most powerful, sophisticated warship afloat.
    I’m a backyard “tinkerer”. I have a wood lathe and eventually will be getting a metal cutting lathe. I have fun and like to build things, some that work and some that don’t. I also like observing how other things work and how they are designed. So let me respectfully ask you this; in principle, are you opposed to the idea of directed panspermia as a means for the origin of life on earth?

  629. #629 John`
    April 20, 2008

    Moses said:

    “Actually, John, what you wrote is “dogma.” Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from. Since all science is, by the nature of science, provisional and is only as accepted as the last experiment failed to disprove it, there is no dogma with scientific theories. To the extent scientific theories can rebut dogma, they still do not take on the characteristics of “dogma.””

    I understand what the word means, Mr. Moses, and I used it properly. While, like ELF, the scientific community may not be an “organization,” the balance of the definition applies. Science is as you say, is provisional, but the materialist positions taken here are not. To put it any way, my argument is that the banner of science has been misused to support philosophical positions that have not been supported. Its a misuse of the label of science for the advancement of some other agenda.

    The remaining 90% of your response has nothing to do with anything I said and is therefore intellectually dishonest – or you have ADD. Furthermore, the history of religion has nothing to do with the fundamental question of whether there is a creator/god, and whether science has any bearing on the question.

  630. #630 Rick Schauer
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic,
    Hell no…how could I forget/ignore the Philistines!

    Philistines were (and still are) an ancient people, John. Moses, heck, tell John, weren’t they around way before jebus? And as I recall, they’ve been a secretive yet prominent historical assembly seemingly, forever! I have not studied them much but I recall they go way, way back…before, I believe, the biblical moses, even…maybe back to adam and eve.

    As far as I know (and because of how secretive they are,) we could still be living amongst a slug of them right now…In fact, if jebus would deliver us from the land of Philistine, I’d be a true believer!

    I swear, the pope, Ben Stein, John, Planet Killer, Bryan Fisher, Behe and all the rest of the lurking creos are doing the best Philistian impersonation I’ve ever seen!

    I wish they’d quit, however and get a REAL fricken education. Thanks for the reminder, Ichthyic…it made my day!

  631. #631 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Nothing works

    a quick glance at the article shows lies popping up like crabgrass everywhere.

    You’re simply not going to convince someone like that with an evidentiary argument.

    all you can do is point out the lies and misinformation, put or post links to the correct information, and hope whatever visitors he has manage to see your posts and maybe have some second thoughts about this guy’s honesty.

    tell him, if he thinks ideas so impermeable, that if he thinks there REALLY is a “scientific” side to ID, that he should come HERE and defend it himself.

    He won’t, most likely, and at least you can show him to be the liar and chickenshit he is.

  632. #632 John
    April 20, 2008

    Windy said:

    “If so, considering a non-physical reality would not automatically cause an anti-god argument to fall apart, contrary to your previous claim.”

    Yes, it would, because the existence of a non-physical reality opens the door for god, with both being outside the realm of science. My point was that the ideas of non-physical reality and god are not identical concepts, that’s all.

  633. #633 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    Science is as you say, is provisional, but the materialist positions taken here are not.

    you mean the “materialist” philosophies that you project on to us?

    get a grip.

  634. #634 John
    April 20, 2008

    Sastra said (#618):

    “So, was it really “outside the scope of science?”

    Thanks for the response, Sastra, and what you conjecture may come to pass. It would be most interesting for people on both sides of this argument (actually, I think there are more like 5 sides to this argument).

  635. #635 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    (actually, I think there are more like 5 sides to this argument).

    THAT i can concur with.

  636. #636 Rick Schauer
    April 20, 2008

    John,

    My point was that the ideas of non-physical reality and god are not identical concepts, that’s all.

    Perhaps you’d care to point out the differences? Something non-physical like dark matter, for instance? Something we infer?

    Go on, you could be on to something here: but I warn you; we take enough interest in things here to actually hash them out and research them…least we act like Philistians.

  637. #637 Sastra
    April 20, 2008

    Science is as you say, is provisional, but the materialist positions taken here are not.

    On the contrary, materialism is simply a working theory, and falsifiable. Depending on the definitions, Naturalism would be readily discarded in favor of Supernaturalism by most scientists — if the evidence warrants it.

    There’s no such thing as “methodological naturalism” — not as a basic tenet of science, at any rate. That would be dogmatic.

  638. #638 sirfab
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic at #630:

    I am afraid you are right. One can only hope to dissuade his visitors, which is why I have kept posting on his blog in spite of the endless string of inaccuracies and lies it provides to its readers. I could use some help, though…

  639. #639 RamblinDude
    April 20, 2008

    John,
    To put it any way, my argument is that the banner of science has been misused to support philosophical positions that have not been supported. Its a misuse of the label of science for the advancement of some other agenda.

    You keep saying science has an agenda to disprove God. It doesn’t. That’s not its agenda. You don’t know what the agenda of science is. You’re just making stuff up.

    What scientists want to believe is irrelevant to science.

  640. #640 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    One can only hope to dissuade his visitors, which is why I have kept posting on his blog in spite of the endless string of inaccuracies and lies it provides to its readers.

    It’s great that you do, and your only reward, if you ever see it, will be some lurker thanking you for pointing out the misinformation presented on that blog (at least until the blog owner finally decides you are troublesome).

    I’d help, but I find this blog occupies too much of my time already. However, I wouldn’t discourage you from repeatedly trying to generate interest.

    I can’t think of a better place to ask.

    also try over at the Panda’s Thumb:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/

    you will find science fans with a more xian bent there, which might help your cause even more than an old atheist like myself.

  641. #641 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    What scientists want to believe is irrelevant to science.

    indeed, just ask Francis Collins or Ken Miller.

  642. #642 Robster, FCD
    April 20, 2008

    Hell’s bells, what baloney. The second most accurate historical book is the Iliad, but all the defensiveness is on the side of this latecomer JHWH, not the Titans or Olympians. Then I learn that the original Genesis was in Greek.

    With all that out of the way, what of pathogens? Did some god/ess/s make them to cause suffering? If life is created, then so are pathogens, and all the suffering that they cause is the intent of the creator. All that meaningless suffering is the fault of this malevolent creator.

    And with that is the poor design of our bodies, a heart without backup circulatory plumbing, a backwards wired eye with a blind spot, a spine well made for quadrupeds but not bipeds, the list goes on… So we have a malevolent creator that anyone with a basic knowledge of physiology could outdo on design.

    Epicurus (the ancient philosopher, not a commenter here) wrote

    Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then is he impotent?
    Is God able but not willing? Then is he malevolent?
    Is God both able and willing? Whence then is evil?

    So we either have an impotent, malevolent or evil creator, and add unskilled to the mix, or we have everything we expect to see from an unguided process producing good enough for survival but not perfection by any measure. Is it a false dichotomy? Sort of, but you can select unskilled impotent, unskilled malevolent, unskilled evil, or none of the above. Are there other unspoken options? Perhaps a disinterested deistic creator, a watchmaker who offers no warranty on craftsmanship?

    If you pick from the first set of options, then I weep for Christianity. If you accept that the bible is in no way a book of science, and decide to follow the better parts of your religion, leaving the demand behind that reality constrain itself to the understandings of a bronze age mythos, then perhaps you join the rest of humanity in the enlightenment.

  643. #643 John
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic said:

    “you mean the “materialist” philosophies that you project on to us?

    get a grip.”

    No, I’m referring to the ones that have been stated here, obviously. And unlike some here, who have called me a bible-thumper and a moron when I have not said a single word in support of any religion, I would not presume to project anything on “us” as I regard each person here as an individual with individual beliefs. What was that moral code you had again? Something about the golden rule?

  644. #644 Blake Stacey
    April 20, 2008

    Rick Schauer (#629):

    Dark matter is physical. There’s more of it, by far, in this Universe of ours than there is of the matter of which we are made. It’s just not easy to see. If that makes something “nonphysical”, then the inside of a brick is nonphysical. As Feynman once pointed out, break the brick open and all you see is more surface. That the brick has an interior is just a theory.

  645. #645 robert estrada
    April 20, 2008

    When was the firs/last time a scientist murdered another scientist etc… wiped a rival school of thought or teaching institution, because of a disagreement over science. I am sure it might have happened. At least on tv.

  646. #646 windy
    April 20, 2008

    Yes, it would, because the existence of a non-physical reality opens the door for god, with both being outside the realm of science.

    This is just a circular argument: “non-physical reality” is defined as being outside of science, so science can’t touch it, because it’s outside science.

    But like I said, anything that AFFECTS THE PHYSICAL WORLD is not by definition outside the realm of science. A non-physical reality may or may not interact with the physical.

  647. #647 Ichthyic
    April 20, 2008

    What was that moral code you had again? Something about the golden rule?

    what was that about you not projecting morals on to the rest of us again?

    how do you know I’m not a church-burning, ebola spreading gang member?

  648. #648 brokenSoldier
    April 20, 2008

    Did we have to sometimes put them in the shop? You bet. There Full Mission Capable status as I remember was better than 70%.
    Anyway, just my two cents:)

    Posted by: gleaner63 | April 20, 2008 8:53 PM

    Having been an XO for a Cavalry Troop, I know what you mean about keeping up with military maintenance, but I don’t think you can reasonably cite this as support for to God’s efficacy as a designer. As you well know, no engineer, designer, or contractor in history that has ever designed and produced products for the military claim to be omnipresent and omniscient. If these men HAD been all-powerful, as God is purported to be, then his creations would necessarily have been 100% effective – they very definition of all-knowing and all-powerful necessitates this fact. In this situation, if it is posited that there is a all-knowing and all-powerful God that ‘designed’ the universe, then he would necessarily be free from the foibles in human engineering that cause our own equipment to become faulty either through defect or prolonged use. If you believe in God, in a situation where there are obvious flaws in nature and the “design” of its inhabitants, there can only be two logical conclusions:

    1. There is a God that is all-knowing and all-powerful, and he designed the universe with its flaws deliberately.

    OR

    2. There is a God, but he is neither all-knowing nor all-powerful.

    Each seem quite unappetizing to me…

  649. #649 amphiox
    April 20, 2008

    Re: #645

    Definitions can be kind of arbitrary here, but I would argue that anything that interacts with the physical world can be defined as being part of “physical” reality.

  650. #650 John
    April 20, 2008

    Rick Schauer said:

    “”John: My point was that the ideas of non-physical reality and god are not identical concepts, that’s all.”

    Perhaps you’d care to point out the differences? Something non-physical like dark matter, for instance? Something we infer?

    Go on, you could be on to something here: but I warn you; we take enough interest in things here to actually hash them out and research them…least we act like Philistians.”

    Well, I’m not sure I could come up with anything that you’d agree could be inferred, but I’ll try. How about these questions:

    Are there any forces in nature/the universe that cannot be explained by cause and effect?

    Is there an innate “sense” of right and wrong in human beings of a different nature than the mere survival instincts of other animals?

    Is there such a thing as human consciousness — are humans unique in their ability to confront themselves and if so, what does this imply?

    Is thinking a merely chemical process, or do “values” come into play?

    Can one can heal the body through positive thought and/or access to internal “chi” forces?

    Is such a thing as “luck” and if so, can it be controlled?

    Plus, I think these were possibly sarcastic, but the things listed above by Sastra (I quote):

    ESP experiments are successfully replicated.

    Psychokenesis is repeatedly demonstrated in labs all over the world.

    Studies reliably show that mediums can indeed talk to the dead, and psychics can predict the future with pinpoint accuracy.

    Prayers for healing cancer are found to always succeed if done by priests wearing purple on Friday.

    The evidence for reincarnation and actual Out of Body Experiences is verified through the most stringent criteria.

    The ‘Law of Attraction’ (that your intentions manifest reality to attract what you concentrate on) gets off The Oprah Winfrey Show, and onto the cover of a special edition of Nature.

  651. #651 John B. Sandlin
    April 20, 2008

    #642 John | April 20, 2008 10:55 PM:

    Ichthyic said:
    “you mean the “materialist” philosophies that you project on to us? get a grip.”

    No, I’m referring to the ones that have been stated here, obviously. And unlike some here, who have called me a bible-thumper and a moron when I have not said a single word in support of any religion, I would not presume to project anything on “us” as I regard each person here as an individual with individual beliefs. What was that moral code you had again? Something about the golden rule?

    Actually, I’m the one that posted the comments on the Golden Rule. Do you let your friends drive drunk? Think about this then, a skeptic doesn’t allow friends to believe fairy tales. If I’m wrong, I expect to be corrected. And if I see someone I believe is wrong, I try to correct them – within reason. That follows the golden rule. Some people may be a bit more blunt, or “colorful,” in their method. Plus, these folks are human – they may not follow the Golden Rule perfectly ;)

    A world view that supposed humankind cannot be its own moral authority hasn’t looked outside it’s own world view. I chose to use the Golden Rule because nearly every culture that has ever existed for any appreciable length of time has developed, independently or otherwise, a synonymous rule to the Golden Rule. Some of those cultures were essentially godless.

    JBS

  652. #652 DCN
    April 20, 2008

    Meltwater @ 309:

    Don’t forget that according to the Bible, pi is exactly three. ;-)

  653. #653 John
    April 20, 2008

    Ichthyic said:

    “what was that about you not projecting morals on to the rest of us again?
    how do you know I’m not a church-burning, ebola spreading gang member?”

    You gave me permission to do so by referring to yourself as part of “us.” Another part of “us” stated that his morality was the golden rule, or something along those lines.

  654. #654 DCN
    April 20, 2008

    And by “309,” I of course meant 509.

    I still can’t get over Ryan’s race argument. “Black people are really stupid and primitive, and if you believe they got this way because of evolution then you’re a racist.” Thanks for the biggest laugh of my weekend.

  655. #655 John
    April 20, 2008

    JBS said:

    “Some of those cultures were essentially godless.”

    I’m not arguing that this could not occur, but do you have any examples?

  656. #656 windy
    April 20, 2008

    Are there any forces in nature/the universe that cannot be explained by cause and effect?

    Some quantum events, at least as it now appears. Such events are neither non-physical, or outside the realm of science.

    As for the rest of your examples, first of all, why should we assume that any of these involves anything “non-physical”? (compared to Sastra’s)

  657. #657 John
    April 20, 2008

    Windy said:

    “Some quantum events, at least as it now appears. Such events are neither non-physical, or outside the realm of science.

    As for the rest of your examples, first of all, why should we assume that any of these involves anything “non-physical”? (compared to Sastra’s)”

    As to the quantum events, such as?

    For the rest, we don’t assume. We look into it.

  658. #658 Vic
    April 20, 2008

    So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?

    2008, C.E. I’m surprised a supposedly well-read lawyer doesn’t know that. And what C. E. has to do with christ is beyond me…

  659. #659 David
    April 20, 2008

    I have been following this thread since it started it was most entertaining and enlightening. I usually don’t post because others do a far better job of refuting idiocy than I could. Which brings me to the point. Someone posted a link to another debate on this subject on the Scientific American boards. Unfortunately there it actually looks like. (from a quick scan) That the arguments are not as cogent as they are here. I would love to see some of the more articulate posters here, correct some of the errors there. They keep calling ID a Theory, it makes me shudder.

  660. #660 John
    April 20, 2008

    Windy said:

    “But like I said, anything that AFFECTS THE PHYSICAL WORLD is not by definition outside the realm of science. A non-physical reality may or may not interact with the physical.”

    Agreed, but do we know whether the scientific method is useful in evaluating any such interactions?

  661. #661 windy
    April 20, 2008

    As to the quantum events, such as?

    Such as vacuum fluctuations.

    For the rest, we don’t assume. We look into it.

    How do we look if something is non-physical?

  662. #662 Etha Williams
    April 20, 2008

    “While I’m really impressed that you found a way to use the word vacuous, no, a spiritual, non-physical world could contain aspects other than god. And I can certainly posit such a reality just a well as folks here can posit that natural processes will “someday” explain the origin of life. Nice try yourself.”

    From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    spiritual: 1.a Of or pertaining to, affecting or concerning, the spirit or higher moral qualities, esp. as regarded in a religious aspect.

    When you spoke of a ‘spiritual, non-physical’ reality, this is the meaning I took spiritual in; if it does not imply god, it certainly strongly suggests it. Next time, if you don’t want to imply a god, you might want to leave out the ‘spiritual’ and just go with the ‘non-physical.’ Though even this argument remains fairly meaningless, since all you are saying is, “If you believe in a reality outside the realm of science, then you can hold unscientific ideas without being philosphically inconsistent.”

    I’d also bring up amphiox’s rather good point in #648 that anything that interacts with the physical world (to originate life, for example) should probably be considered part of that physical reality.

    As for positing that natural processes will someday explain the origin of life — of course we can’t be certain of this, but there is mounting evidence. For example, a paper in 2002 (Brooks et al — J Mol Biol Evol) demonstrated that conserved genes (genes that exist in multiple distantly-removed species and thus probably existed in our common ancestor) are enriched in codons for those amino acids that were believed to be most abundant in the prebiotic environment. This, combined with the Miller-Urey experiment (which was *not* a failure, contrary to claims by the likes of Stein; while it did not produce new life, it did produce amino acids), strongly suggests that life could have spontaneously originated out of the environment of prebiotic earth. So to say that it is likely that science will one day be able to conclusively explain the origin of life is not unreasonable at all.

  663. #663 Sastra
    April 20, 2008

    John #649:

    I think I’d grant some of your examples as evidence for “non-physical, spiritual” reality, and not others. Even if human morality and consciousness have unique features, this doesn’t necessarily imply special cosmic significance or supernatural forces at work. And my understanding is that virtual particles at the quantum level don’t seem to follow the usual cause and effect laws we’re familiar with — but physicists don’t therefore draw spiritual conclusions (though New Agers who misunderstand quantum theory may.)

    Healing energy, chi, and “luck” are pretty good, though.

    Though a bit humorous, my examples were seriously intended. As I define it, the word “supernatural” is used to indicate a top-down view of reality where pure mind or mental properties (such as values) somehow precede or ground nature, and are creative forces which can’t be reduced in any significant way to matter/energy.

    Theism would be included as one possible supernatural hypothesis. Other examples would be disembodied souls, ghosts, ESP, psychokenesis, magical correspondances, vitalism, karma, prana, cosmic consciousness, mind as “energy force,” a universal tendency towards the harmonic balance of Good and Evil, progressive evolution towards Higher States, mind/body substance dualism, and holistic nonmaterialistic monism.

    “Natural,” on the other hand, indicates the bottom-up view of reality in which complex systems, including minds, have arisen from lifeless material processes. Yes, the definitions are a bit stipulative, and can be argued with — but I think they capture the basic significant differences.

    As Dembski put it, “Is reality fundamentally mindful and purposive or mindless and material?” Or, as Dennett puts it, skyhooks vs. cranes.

    Our intuitions favor the first view — and early scientists in the 17th and 18th century assumed that this is what was going to be confirmed. It’s not what happened — and mind/brain dualism, vitalism, and related theories are pretty much discarded today. And we’re seeing that complicated things, including our minds, appear to be the result of mindless, cumulative processes.

    But if there were good new evidence which materialism and naturalism couldn’t be stretched to fit, then they’d be discarded. All conclusions — even naturalism — are provisional. I think that putting up a boundary on what science can or can’t study is a bit hasty.

  664. #664 windy
    April 20, 2008

    Agreed, but do we know whether the scientific method is useful in evaluating any such interactions?

    Prayer represents a hypothetical interaction between the physical and non-physical. The (non-)efficacy of prayer has been scientifically tested. So, apparently it is.

  665. #665 Etha Williams
    April 21, 2008

    An interesting quote that came up when I reloaded the page (under the ‘Random Quotes’ section in the left column):

    “Atheism does not entail the theory of evolution, and evolution does not entail atheism. Many theists are evolutionists. They believe that god has guided evolution. So of what use is an attack on evolution when the target is atheism? Zacharias seems to think that if he can show that belief in evolution is unwarranted that this shows that the “atheistic” worldview is untenable as a whole. Perhaps this is the ‘existential’ hurdle mentioned earlier. But that approach is doomed. Even if the theory of evolution could be shown to be false, this would not affect atheism. True, one who rejects supernatural explanations would want a naturalistic explanation of human origins, but there could be any number of other naturalistic explanations of human origins besides evolution.”
    Atheism does not entail the theory of evolution, and evolution does not entail atheism. Many theists are evolutionists. They believe that god has guided evolution. So of what use is an attack on evolution when the target is atheism? Zacharias seems to think that if he can show that belief in evolution is unwarranted that this shows that the “atheistic” worldview is untenable as a whole. Perhaps this is the “existential” hurdle mentioned earlier. But that approach is doomed. Even if the theory of evolution could be shown to be false, this would not affect atheism. True, one who rejects supernatural explanations would want a naturalistic explanation of human origins, but there could be any number of other naturalistic explanations of human origins besides evolution.”
    -Doug Krueger, ‘That Collosal Wreck’

  666. #666 Etha Williams
    April 21, 2008

    John @ 659:
    “Agreed, but do we know whether the scientific method is useful in evaluating any such interactions?”

    What are your criteria for a method to be ‘useful’ in evaluating something?

  667. #667 Frank Mitchell
    April 21, 2008

    Just more fuel for the fire: Brent Bozell III of the Media Research Center has a *glowing* review of “Expelled”:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/uc/20080418/cm_uc_crbbox/op_235852;_ylt=Ak2jgsJQ8cm8zPyODH9_jQ4EtbAF

    I didn’t recognize his name, so I googled him. He seems like a lovely person.

  668. #668 Etha Williams
    April 21, 2008

    Frank Mitchell @#666 –

    Wow. I’m just…stunned. That read like a self-parody. Apparently he’s serious, though.

  669. #669 Mac Wilson
    April 21, 2008

    I had to laugh when I loaded up this thread and saw it had 666 comments.

  670. #670 Damian
    April 21, 2008

    I don’t know if everyone has seen this ( Open Letter to a victim of Ben Stein’s lying propaganda
    by Richard Dawkins
    ), but it seems to be a sad consequence of Expelled. If true, of course.

    Someone sent Michael Shermer a letter, essentially claiming that “atheists and Darwinists” are all for the odd Holocaust, as long as we get to believe that life evolved. :(

  671. #671 Etha Williams
    April 21, 2008

    Re: 664 (me)

    Just realized that I posted that quote twice (overzealous command-z’ing). Sorry.

  672. #672 Sastra
    April 21, 2008

    John wrote:

    Agreed, but do we know whether the scientific method is useful in evaluating any such interactions?

    I need to get to bed, but I’ll tell a quick story here. I’m probably getting some details wrong, but here’s the gist:

    Ray Hyman, a psychology professor who has made a special study of how to set up studies, once helped evaluate some guy who was using “applied kinesiology,” a bit of pseudoscience where people who hold things that are “bad” for them will be unable to keep their arm up when it’s pressed on (because the body magically senses the ‘badness’). As I recall, they were testing responses to different kinds of sugar. It “worked” just fine when the subjects knew whether they were holding the GOOD sugar or BAD sugar — arms firm under pressure when holding natural, falling weakly when holding artificial. But when the experiment was run again under Hyman’s strict and well-controlled double blinding conditions (where neither the administrator nor the subject knew which was which), the results were pure chance.

    The applied kinesiologist immediately turned to Hyman and said “You see? THAT’s why we never test under double blind conditions. The tests don’t work!”

    If the “scientific method is not useful” in evaluating spiritual, non-physical realities — how do we know that the problem is that science is inadequate? Maybe the tests don’t work because we’re wrong.

  673. #673 Frank Mitchell
    April 21, 2008

    “You see? THAT’s why we never test under double blind conditions. The tests don’t work!

    I remember Randi’s NOVA special in Russia featured a “scientist” who made the same excuse … that scientific techniques were “too crude” to detect the effect.

    Contrast this to the Michaelson-Morley experiment, where the “failed” experiment surprised and dismayed the scientists … but they published their results anyway. Those results became one of the foundations for Einsteinian Relativity.

    Or, to quote Philip K. Dick (again), “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

  674. #674 Rick Schauer
    April 21, 2008

    Blake Stacey said,

    Dark matter is physical. There’s more of it, by far, in this Universe of ours than there is of the matter of which we are made. It’s just not easy to see

    Thanks Blake, I agree. However, that was just an example (and perhaps a poor one) of something we know is there (since Zwicky’s observations in ’33) yet it is “seemingly non-physical” as in we’re unable to directly observe it with our naked eye like a tigerfish mutation…except of course, by gravitational lensing and other gravitational measurements.

    Dark matter like Feynman’s brick analogy -lol- you’re right, again. At least until we’re able to, for example, break a neutralino in two and observe its inner qualities! Who knows, we might be suprised…we might find god or little chunks of jebus’s toenail.

  675. #675 Etha Williams
    April 21, 2008

    Definition of ‘physical’, from the OED:

    “Of or relating to natural phenomena perceived through the senses (as opposed to the mind); of or relating to matter or the material world; natural; tangible, concrete.”

    The ‘of or relating to’ here is still rather vague, though…I would agree that things like the inside of a brick, or dark matter, which we can infer from those things that we perceive through the senses, are physical; and things that interact with the observable world — and thus, whose interactions should be observable — ought to be considered physical as well.

  676. #676 Mark A. Siefert
    April 21, 2008

    #669: What I consider ironic about that letter is that Shermer wrote several chapters debunking Holocaust denial in “Why People Believe Weird Things.”

    Also, I still see none of the Creationists on this thread have addressed the OP. How do you justify what has happened to the people mentioned in the Blake Stacey’s blog?

  677. #677 Hap
    April 21, 2008

    Loudon #285:

    That is really funny – I think you owe my wife a new keyboard. You are projecting so well I can your thoughts from here – but I think that you should try visualizing them in something other than crayon next time.

    Please avoid bringing a spork to a gunfight next time.

  678. #678 amk
    April 21, 2008

    Meltwater,

    We’ve already seen such an argument well presented on this thread, by amk in comment #59.

    Thank you. An anecdote:

    I first heard this argument… in my school’s chapel. As part of a sermon. And it was left unanswered. The fellow giving the sermon was a guest brought in by the school, who told us that Christianity as a world view stood or fell with the reality of the resurrection, and that if we examined the historical evidence then we would be compelled to accept its reality. This rather contradicts the position of faith as a virtue and doubt as a vice found in Christianity. As discussed above, there isn’t really any conclusive evidence even of Jesus’ existence, never mind his crucifixion and resurrection. Combined with the unanswered regression argument, I’m left wondering whether this speaker wanted to sabotage the school’s faith. This all happened around the time I rejected a religious world view, but I don’t remember this as an important factor.

    gleaner63,

    To those who believe in some type of directed panspermia, the creators themselves were mortal, imperfect, alien beings, therefore their designs would be imperfect also.

    So let me respectfully ask you this; in principle, are you opposed to the idea of directed panspermia as a means for the origin of life on earth?

    Panspermia simply moves the problem of the origin of life off Earth. It solves nothing. Unless you allow that life can independently arise from non-life, you’re back into the above regression (#59).

    Turtles all the way down

    Moses,
    Like others, I’m interested in a bibliography on the origin of Abrahamic religions. I offer this comparison of the Horus and Jesus stories, but can’t vouch for its accuracy.

  679. #679 Ed Flanders
    April 21, 2008

    Evolution is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the world, and yet for all the conspiracies needed to keep it going, and all the supposed “evidence” (lies), it is tremendously easy to refute!
    The peerless Creation scientist Ray Comfort, http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/ has destroyed the “theory” using only the humble banana! Imagine that, God was in your fruitbowl all along, what a thought!
    Though everyone here may hate him, God is very real and to go against his word can lead only to ruin!
    To name just four, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark. Secular countries all, they have turned their backs on God and are now suffering the consequences.
    Crime rates in those countries are through the roof, and the people huddle in their homes afraid to leave for fear of being robbed or worse!
    It’s such a tragedy that after the rapture all of these supposed “intellectuals” will be left behind to lament their foolishness!

    Peace be with you.

  680. #680 APJ
    April 21, 2008

    @ Ed Flanders # 678

    I can’t speak for Australia, Sweden or Denmark, but in a speech given 2 days ago (19/04/08) the Police Minister in New Zealand, Hon Annette King, described how crime has actually fallen in almost all categories since 1992:
    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/sensible+sentencing+trust+conference

    The recent International Crime and Victimisation Survey shows that overall levels of victimisation dropped over the period 1992 to 2005.
    And, even more encouragingly, the survey shows a decline in almost every offence category, excluding robbery.
    Contrary to what is often claimed, particularly in the media, latest crime statistics also provide signs of encouragement. The incidence of recorded crime in the 2007 calendar year has remained at roughly the same level as in 2006, and has actually reduced 0.5 percent on the basis of recorded offences per 10,000 of population.
    Violent offences have increased, but, as the pie graph shows, the increase in violence offences is attributable mainly to recording of family violence offences which increased 31 percent from 18,448 in 2006 to 24,258 in 2007. That increase was the highest annual increase in ten years.
    Increased reporting and social intolerance of domestic violence is likely the single biggest factor in explaining this increase. The heightened focus of Police on domestic violence and the success of media campaigns such as the “It’s not okay campaign” have also encouraged reporting and reduced tolerance, and I am encouraged that more women are coming forward and have confidence in Police.
    The next slide may be a surprise for regular readers of daily papers because it shows that murder is actually on the decline. Last year there were 45 murders, the lowest figure for the last 10 years. And it is worth noting, sadly, that 15 of the 45 murders last year involved family violence. Murders have decreased 32 percent from 1997 and have steadily declined since 2005, but, of course, even one murder is one too many.
    This brings me to the other old chestnut of the gloom and doom merchants: youth crime. Youth crime is not out of control. You can see from this chart that youth crime has been relatively stable over the past decade and that overall youth crime has actually fallen.

  681. #681 wrpd
    April 21, 2008

    “So who is ignorant? There is no serious debate in an academic circle questioning the life of Christ. He lived. Check your calendar friend, what year is it?”
    What day is it?

  682. #682 wanglese
    April 21, 2008

    wrpd.

    Ignorant lies for God are still Lies.

    The date is dependant on your cultural settin.
    Orthodox Jews, The Chinese, Buddhists, Sri Lankans, Maori’s, Muslims, etc have a different dating scheme.

    Your ignnorant idea that the whole world is the Christian US just demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the world.

    It further demonstrates that you proceed from the silly beleif that the Bible translation you adhere to is the final undeniable word of God. You discount utterly anything that predates or postdates that.

  683. #683 wanglese
    April 21, 2008

    I forgot to add:

    YOu know that Pope Gregory changed the calendar, don’t you?
    You know where we get the days of the week from?

    Do you know why we celebraqte EASTER, Christmas, etc?

    IOW, your using a calendar as proof that JC exisited is laughably inept, and it puts the rest of us Christians in a bad light.

  684. #684 RebekahD
    April 21, 2008

    What I consider ironic about that letter is that Shermer wrote several chapters debunking Holocaust denial in “Why People Believe Weird Things.”

    Michael Shermer not only wrote a couple of chapters about Holocaust denial, he also wrote an entire book: Denying the Holocaust.

  685. #685 robert estrada
    April 21, 2008

    I am a mechanical engineer and and I work directly in the field of design. Every Day. 8+ hours a day. In design there are numerous artifacts. They begin with specifications and requirements, proceed to research and review of resources, prior art and other input. Multiple solutions are explored and simulations and analysis are performed on them. Documentation is developed during all phases of this and subsequent activities. Then during the elaboration of the design, material is processed, by something, somehow. There are leftovers, traces, scrap. there are tooling marks. Proof marks. Traces.
    Unless Id apriori asssumes all the charactoristics of the designer to be a god I would expect to see them at least start to organizze a search for those things that are the common result of design as we understand it.
    To Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, damn! I wish I could speak as cogently as you Brits!
    Robert Estrada- Meyers (in the Spanish tradition)

  686. #686 Zarquon
    April 21, 2008

    wrpd was quoting someone else, ya wally.

  687. #687 APJ
    April 21, 2008

    @ Ed Flanders # 678

    I’m probably wasting my time arguing with a troll who is long-gone, but…

    A little Googling reveals that crime statistics in Australia don’t support the assertion that crime rates are “through the roof”.
    I live in Australia and this reflects my experience here. Crime is not “through the roof”.

    source: Australian Government – Australian Institute of Criminology
    http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/facts/2007/facts_and_figures_2007.pdf

    ?The trend in the rate of recorded assault increased steadily from 1996 to 2006. The rate in 2006 was 829, compared with 623 per 100,000 in 1996. The 2006 rate was the highest recorded since 1996.

    ? The rate for robbery peaked in 2001. Following a subsequent decline, the rate has levelled out to 84 per 100,000 in 2006.

    ? The rate of kidnapping remained between 3 and 4 per 100,000 between 1996 and 2006.

    ? The homicide rate was 1.9 in 1996 (which includes the 35 victims of the Port Arthur massacre) and was at its highest in 1999 at 2.0 per 100,000. By 2004 it had dropped to 1.5 and has remained stable since then.

    ? The rate of recorded sexual assault increased between 1996 and 2006 from 79 to 88 persons per 100,000. However, the increase has been much less marked in more recent years.

  688. #688 wanglese
    April 21, 2008

    Ed Flanders:
    I’m in Australia. Neither my wife nor I “huddle in their homes afraid to leave for fear of being robbed or worse!”

    I have no idea where you cherry pick the rubbish you rabbit on about.

    OH, yeah I do, you got it from Comfort. Figures. How much have you given to “the cause”? I think it costs about $19.95 US for the whole set of pamphlets doesn’t it? YOu can get themn on remainder for about $2.00

    But then telling lies for God comes naturally to you doesn’t it?

    Also Comfort is NOT a scientists, in *any* sense of the word. He’s a hack preacher, and even he has backed away from the nonsense he was spouting about Bananas.

    You *do know that telling lies for God is still a sin, don’t you?

  689. #689 wanglese
    April 21, 2008

    Zarquon:

    OOPS!. Apologies all round. I got carried away by the firing in the trenches, and took a random shot over the ramparts.

  690. #690 Robert Estrada
    April 21, 2008

    APJ
    Off subject
    I was in Adelaid for 10 weeks in the end of 2004 and found it to reminded me of the San Francisco of my youth. Open kind people. Honest, I lost my camera in the airport and, SHOCK!, it was turned into the lost and found at the airport. I love my country but that does not elevate it above anywhere else. Barcelona is great too! Rhone valley! The French alps! Frankfurt! Munchen! (forgiveness please I am too tired to look up how to print an umlaut) Aschaffenburg. even Paris. Places loaded with godless and god fearing folk

  691. #691 amk
    April 21, 2008

    Ed Flanders was an obvious parody, guys. Sweden and Denmark are famous for having fewer social problems than most developed countries. Even other creationists are embarrassed by Comfort’s banana argument.

  692. #692 Ed Flanders
    April 21, 2008

    The fact there is a FEMALE police minister only serves my point!
    God intelligently designed men for certain roles, (Muscles for physical labour) and intelligently designed women for others (a lower centre of gravity for child-rearing).
    Evolution is a load of bunk, again as scientist, prolific author, television host and educator Ray Comfort points out, where are these half and half transtional forms that should litter the fossil record?
    When I see say, a half-beaver and half-duck, (see this artist’s conception of what such a fantastical creature would look like) http://www.learnanimals.com/platypus/pictures/platypus-03-swimming.JPG

    THEN I’ll believe in evolution.
    But not before.

    Peace be with you.

  693. #693 APJ
    April 21, 2008

    @amk #690

    I took the bait.
    This is pretty good though:

    …and intelligently designed women for others (a lower centre of gravity for child-rearing)

  694. #694 APJ
    April 21, 2008

    My problem with IDists/YECs/other fundies is I just can’t tell who is a loonie and who is a jokester taking the piss.

    It all starts to sound the same.

    Is that part of their wedge strategy too – “make up such ridiculous shit that the non-believers will exhaust themselves arguing with the parodists, thinking they are arguing with us?”

  695. #695 amk
    April 21, 2008

    My problem with IDists/YECs/other fundies is I just can’t tell who is a loonie and who is a jokester taking the piss.

    This is Poe’s Law – “Without the use of a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to make a parody of Fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”

  696. #696 Elf Eye
    April 21, 2008

    I suspect that Ed Flanders is Ned Flanders’ twin. Okely dokely, Ed.

  697. #697 Mark A. Siefert
    April 21, 2008

    STILL no explanation by the Creationists for the cases mentioned in Stacey blog. Just the same tired rehashes of long debunked tripe.

    Come on Chrisitians! Stay on topic. Do you guys need Ritalan?

  698. #698 Gustav Nystrm
    April 21, 2008

    @537″It is the movie that invokes Godwin’s Law. This thread cannot help but reflect that if we are to discuss the movie and the points it attempts. The movie conflates Darwin and Hitler – saying the Holocaust was not possible without Darwin’s theory. Should we, as advocates of the Theory of Evolution thus declare victory from the outset because Ben Stein calls on Hitler?”

    I see that my sad attempt at humour was misunderstood. Yes, I am quite aware what Expelled is doing, I even followed that monster-thread PZ wrote about being expelled from Expelled. Irony!

  699. #699 Ryogam
    April 21, 2008

    Ah Gleaner at 627,

    Yes, the Edenic curse, last refuge of the scoundrel who refuses to give up their assinine belief in a “Perfect” designer when the evidence of piss-poor design is staring at them right in the face. Let’s examine the Edenic curse, shall we?

    Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    003:017 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    003:018 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    003:019 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    Hmmm, nothing about glasses, or cataracts, detached retinas, blind-spots, or glaucoma being a curse. Nothing about “divine entropy” at all. Surprise. Why, one could accuse the Bible-Thumpers of pulling their hypothesis straight out of their asses, huh? Hell, I accuse them of just that. The “Divine Entropy” hypothesis is pulled straight from their ass and no where else.

    Eyes are undesigned kludges. They work, but, because of lack of real intelligent design, they are full of defects. They are proof that either there is no designer, or the designer is imperfect. It’s that simple.

  700. #700 Gustav Nystrm
    April 21, 2008

    Also, I realise of course that refrences to Hitler and the holocaust are pretty much unavoidable when that is what the movie seems to be about.

    I have never really had a problem with people alluding to Nazis, especially not when it’s called for. Ben Stein’s juxtapositioning of evolution and the holocaust – as if one lead to another – is not, however, called for.

  701. #701 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 21, 2008

    Evolution is a load of bunk, again as scientist, prolific author, television host and educator Ray Comfort points out, where are these half and half transtional forms that should litter the fossil record?

    Scientist?

    BWWWhahahahahahaha

    More like deluded ignoramus. The drivel that comes out of his blog has to be some of the most ill-informed, willfully ignorant, pig-stupid garbage that is on the Internet at any given moment.

    There are transitional fossils a plenty. Get your nose out of your bible and do some actual research, Ned.

  702. #702 Wallace Turner
    April 21, 2008

    The peerless Creation scientist Ray Comfort,http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/ has destroyed the “theory” using only the humble banana! Imagine that, God was in your fruitbowl all along, what a thought!

    Ah, the old atheist’s worse nightmare argument. This is a wind-up isn’t it?

    Sorry but bananas are a rather good example of evolution in action (albeit of the man-guided cultivation variety).

    Here’s a challenge to all creationists who reject the theory of evolution and want proof of intermediary species etc.

    How do you explain the DUCK-BILLED PLATYPUS?

  703. #703 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 21, 2008

    Sheesh. Color me dummy.

    Only 2 hours of sleep has my parody detecting abilities at nil.

  704. #704 Mena
    April 21, 2008

    Of course our bodies are intelligently designed. Who wouldn’t put a recreation area in the middle of the waste disposal sites, as the saying kind of goes.
    I’m still snickering about how they always think that one species has to go to another species which already exists in order for evolution to be true. No, parrots, it’s new species that are being created.

  705. #705 MikeM
    April 21, 2008

    Ray Comfort Food.

    Dang, I got it right away. It was immediate.

    As BigDumbChimp pointed out, his ability to detect satire was compromised by a lack of sleep. Perhaps there’s a corollary to Poe’s Law in there somewhere.

    We have blogs4brownback, blogs4huckabee, TD Gaines Crockett…

    The rise of the satiriblog. It had to happen.

    PZ, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the “better” emails you got regarding that POS movie, “Expectorated” (or whatever it is we should be calling it by now).

    Its good opening weekend was easy to see coming; the second weekend will be a disaster. And it’ll be fun to see them have to give XVIVO and Yoko most of the money.

  706. #706 Epikt
    April 21, 2008

    Vic:

    2008, C.E. I’m surprised a supposedly well-read lawyer doesn’t know that. And what C. E. has to do with christ is beyond me…

    What are you talking about? 2008 CE means that it’s been 2008 years since christ wasn’t born.

  707. #707 alex
    April 21, 2008

    John:

    I think you will find that Dave Scott, one of the mods at UD is an agnostic.

    i’ve seen DaveScot proclaiming the gospels many times on the UD threads. he comes across as slightly less fundamentalist than O’Leary.

    the existence of a non-physical reality opens the door for god, with both being outside the realm of science.

    i don’t think you have a proper definition for “non-physical” here. is it just a dimension full of things that don’t exist? or of things that have no impact on the real world. as soon as God splits the moon in half, science has something to go on. it’s nigh-on impossible for something to exist without haveing any discernable, distinguishable properties, however inscrutable those properties may seem. physicality is, as far as we know, apparently a requisite for real objects.

    Are there any forces in nature/the universe that cannot be explained by cause and effect?

    possibly quantum events. this is not supernatural, just very difficult to understand. there is a difference.

    Is there an innate “sense” of right and wrong in human beings of a different nature than the mere survival instincts of other animals?

    yes. this is not a syptom of the supernatural. there are many differences between all sorts of animals. a more complex intellect is one of the differences between humans and other animals. eagles have better eyesight than us – are they godly?

    Is there such a thing as human consciousness — are humans unique in their ability to confront themselves and if so, what does this imply?

    it certainly does not necessitate the supernatural.

    Is thinking a merely chemical process, or do “values” come into play?

    as far as we know, thinking is related to the physical nature of the brain. damage the brain and you damage the thinking process. i don’t understand what you mean by your use of “values” in such a way.

    Can one can heal the body through positive thought and/or access to internal “chi” forces?

    no. “qi” is just air. the Chinese used to believe veins carried air through the body and that certain practices could help the flow of “qi”. not supernatural, no longer relevant even in China.

    Is such a thing as “luck” and if so, can it be controlled?

    there is such a thing as chance. sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen. they happen more or less as you’d expect if there were no gods in the universe (or even “outside” the universe).

  708. #708 Vic
    April 21, 2008

    What are you talking about? 2008 CE means that it’s been 2008 years since christ wasn’t born.

    Well, you know that and I know that, but remember that this well-read lawyer was originally positing the calendar year as proof of jeebus’ existence (I’m assuming the ‘reasoning’ was something like ‘we call it 2008 AD, and AD means anno domini, which means in the year of OUR LORD, therefore god exists. I’ll have to check that list of god’s proofs to see if this one is on there… lol ).

  709. #709 spencer
    April 21, 2008

    Ryan @ #447:

    I am not a teenager. I am a 32 year old attorney in Chicago.

    No you aren’t. Your command of written English is nowhere near what it would have to be to graduate from law school.

    I don’t know if you’re a teenager or not, but you are definitely not an attorney.

  710. #710 Jamdark
    April 21, 2008

    \delurk

    Never have I loved and hated this site more then this post and the comments with it. Loved it for the fact that now I’ve just spent an entire day bemused at the content of said comments (and also the added bonus of feeling just a bit smarter), and hated for the zero productivity today that has followed with it. Thank you!

  711. #711 Numerical Thief
    April 21, 2008

    Hmm, this comment here got me thinking a bit:

    i don’t think you have a proper definition for “non-physical” here. is it just a dimension full of things that don’t exist? or of things that have no impact on the real world. as soon as God splits the moon in half, science has something to go on. it’s nigh-on impossible for something to exist without haveing any discernable, distinguishable properties, however inscrutable those properties may seem. physicality is, as far as we know, apparently a requisite for real objects.

    If you’ll allow me to wax philosophical for a moment, one might consider that abstract entities ‘exist’ and yet are non-physical, i.e. numbers could be said to exist and yet have no physical substance. Not that I’m suggesting God (indeed, I’m an atheist). More of a curious thought, I suppose.

    Additionally, someone brought up Dark Matter earlier, which asks the question how does one define when something is physical? I prefer the definition that a physical entity is an object that interacts via the fundamental forces (or at least one there of). In this case, even Dark Matter is physical, as it interacts via Gravity. This also has the rather nice effect of pulling god, if such an entity existed, out of the aether and into the real world were it to perform any sort of supernatural act.

    Of course, we’re all actually just a computer simulation anyway…

  712. #712 cicely
    April 21, 2008

    Ryan,

    You say (in comment 362) that
    [blockquote] I never found a remotely plausible explanation for the origin of life. Micro-evolution of species, of course, but not the origin of life.[/blockquote].
    If you were expecting to find one in studies of evolution, you were looking in the wrong place. Evolution isn’t about the origin of life; that would be abiogenesis, which is a whole ‘nother story. Evolution is about how life (meaning, living organisms) changes over time within it’s environment.

    In other words, we aren’t having the same conversation. :)

  713. #713 cicely
    April 21, 2008

    Okay. Clearly I haven’t got this blockquoting thing whipped. Could somebody please tell me where I went wrong?

    [i]Test[/i]
    [b]Test[/b]
    [i][b]Test[/b][/i]

  714. #714 cicely
    April 21, 2008

    Okay. TOTAL fail.

    Help?

  715. #715 Ichthyic
    April 21, 2008

    you need to change the square brackets to angle brackets.

    the angle brackets are the shift of the , and . keys

  716. #716 Falyne
    April 21, 2008

    [i]fail?[/i]
    success!

    Alligator brackets. ;-)

  717. #717 Ichthyic
    April 21, 2008

    btw, have there actually been ANY comments regarding the actual topic of the thread (the real expulsions) from the creationists yet?

    Is it really the case that the actual reality of the situation has finally shut them up?

    say it ain’t so!

  718. #718 Mark A. Siefert
    April 21, 2008

    So, STILL no explanations from the local Cdesign proponentsists about the firings, harassment, threats against, and (in one case) murder of defenders of evolution.

    Come on guys, even a lame excuse would do.

  719. #719 cicely
    April 21, 2008

    Test
    Test
    Test

  720. #720 cicely
    April 21, 2008

    Oops. I meant to add, thank you, Ichthyic! :)

  721. #721 Quentin Long
    April 21, 2008

    You’ve almost got it right, Cicely! The sticking point is, you need to type angle-brackets, not square-brackets, into the “comments” box. So rather than this
    [i]Test[/i]
    — you type, instead, this:
    <i>Test</i>
    The idea here is, the angle-brackets are being used here as a marker for what might be called “stage directions”; when the vast and satanic Scienceblogs Comments Engine sees “<i>” in a comment, it thinks “Okay, time to start italicizing the text.” Likewise, when the v&sSbCE sees “</i>” in a comment, it thinks “Right — no more italics now.” It’s the angle brackets that do it. So how did I manage to get the v&sSbCE to put real angle-brackets in this comment, instead of misinterpreting things as ‘stage directions’? Answer: I cheated. What I actually typed was “&lt;”, and when the v&sSbCE sees that gibberish, it thinks “Oh — right — this guy really does want to put an honest-to-Cthulhu angle-bracket in his post.”
    Hope this clears things up a bit for youj, Cicely…

  722. #722 Triphesas
    April 21, 2008

    Looking above, there was the report that Expelled pulled in $2.9m over the weekend. Anyone have any idea how much it cost to make/advertise the movie? It’d be interesting to see whether or how much they’ve lost on it.

  723. #723 wrpd
    April 21, 2008

    If the date 2008 AD is proof of Jeeses, Do the days of the week and some of the months prove the existence of other gods?

  724. #724 Prof MTH
    April 21, 2008

    One counterexample is glaringly omitted from Expelled–Bush’s Council on Bioethics. Every single member is a Creation/ID proponent. Leon Kass, its once chair, even published a book entitled “The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis”. Why is this not featured in Expelled? Because it undermines the “conspiracy”. There is only a “conspiracy” because the minority cannot have its way unchallenged at all times.

  725. #725 John B. Sandlin
    April 21, 2008

    #655 John | April 20, 2008 11:37 PM

    JBS said:

    “Some of those cultures were essentially godless.”

    I’m not arguing that this could not occur, but do you have any examples?

    Sure. I can give a few examples.

    JBS

  726. #726 Prof MTH
    April 21, 2008

    Crap, I accidentally deleted part of my post in editing.

    Leon Kass at least was a tenured professor. All members working on the Bioethics Council hold academic positions. You can read brief synopses here:
    http://www.bioethics.gov/about/members.html

  727. #727 Ichthyic
    April 21, 2008

    This weekend Ben Stein’s anti-evolution movie, “Expelled,” had a HUGE opening, estimated to rake in over $3 million dollars. One of the top five openings EVER for any documentary.”

    …and will have just as rapid a demise, based on how fast the revenues are decreasing on a daily basis.

    people who don’t know shit when they smell it, certainly do when they have it rubbed in their faces.

  728. #728 Laser Potato
    April 21, 2008

    Thursday was named after Thor. Does that mean Thor exists?

  729. #729 John B. Sandlin
    April 21, 2008

    #655 John | April 20, 2008 11:37 PM

    JBS said:

    “Some of those cultures were essentially godless.”

    I’m not arguing that this could not occur, but do you have any examples?

    Oh – You probably wanted me to actually give you those examples! Here are two (from http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm)

    Confucianism:
    o “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” Analects 15:23
    o “Tse-kung asked, ‘Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?’ Confucius replied, ‘It is the word ‘shu’ — reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'” Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
    o “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.” Mencius VII.A.4

    Buddhism:
    o “…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?” Samyutta NIkaya v. 353
    o Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

    There were also some of the ancient Greeks, though because of the pantheism, it’s tougher to determine that the Golden Rule was devised by man and not by Zeus and just picked up by the handful of humanist Greeks, so I left them out.

    Another thought, the bit from Confusius is from 500 years before Jesus.

    I supposed I’ve been to general with the application of the Golden Rule. There is this one small detail that isn’t in the formalized and made pretty version of the Golden Rule. And it works like this: You start with the standard golden rule, treating everyone with respect when you first meet them, as you would wish to be treated. However, if they abuse that respect and generally don’t play nice in return, you get to scold them for it or perform some other form of “Return the Favor” (could also be called “Tit for Tat”). If they start playing nice again, all is forgiven (sort of) and you go back to be playing nice.

    We are at that stage when we’ve played nice that that playing nice has been abused. We’re returning the favor.

    JBS

  730. #730 tim gueguen
    April 21, 2008

    I have nothing to add here. I just want to get in on the fun, and perhaps get my hit counter to spin a bit more.

  731. #731 Laser Potato
    April 21, 2008

    So, does Thursday prove the existence of Thor the same way Anno Domini “proves” God exists?
    Anyone?
    *crickets chirp*

  732. #732 John
    April 21, 2008

    Sastra #663:

    “I think I’d grant some of your examples as evidence for “non-physical, spiritual” reality, and not others. Even if human morality and consciousness have unique features, this doesn’t necessarily imply special cosmic significance or supernatural forces at work. And my understanding is that virtual particles at the quantum level don’t seem to follow the usual cause and effect laws we’re familiar with — but physicists don’t therefore draw spiritual conclusions (though New Agers who misunderstand quantum theory may.)”

    Sorry, hope you didn’t you were dealing with a disappearing troll, but I had to go to work today.

    Thanks for the thoughtful answer. Certainly the things I mention don’t “necessarily” imply anything. My original point is simply that if anything non-physical exists, then there are truths out there that science seemingly can’t touch. Even if we can observe the physical manifestations of these things, it would still not be the thing itself. For example, each mini-process necessary for the brain to think is a mechanical/natural event, but is there some guiding constant behind it all that we don’t see (such as the mathematics that seem to guide the entire universe to the point where Einstein could have predicted the Big Bang theory if had believed his own equation)?

  733. #733 Epikt
    April 21, 2008

    John B. Sandlin:

    I supposed I’ve been to general with the application of the Golden Rule. There is this one small detail that isn’t in the formalized and made pretty version of the Golden Rule. And it works like this: You start with the standard golden rule, treating everyone with respect when you first meet them, as you would wish to be treated. However, if they abuse that respect and generally don’t play nice in return, you get to scold them for it or perform some other form of “Return the Favor” (could also be called “Tit for Tat”). If they start playing nice again, all is forgiven (sort of) and you go back to be playing nice.

    John, is this a veiled reference to the prisoner’s dilemma computer tournaments a few years ago?

  734. #734 John
    April 21, 2008

    JBS said:

    “And it works like this: You start with the standard golden rule, treating everyone with respect when you first meet them, as you would wish to be treated. However, if they abuse that respect and generally don’t play nice in return, you get to scold them for it or perform some other form of “Return the Favor” (could also be called “Tit for Tat”).”

    Or “giving the benefit of the doubt.” Thanks for the examples – I readily agree with Confucianism, but I’m not so sure Buddha isn’t regarded as a god (walked on water, virgin birth).

  735. #735 Sastra
    April 21, 2008

    John #732 wrote:

    My original point is simply that if anything non-physical exists, then there are truths out there that science seemingly can’t touch. Even if we can observe the physical manifestations of these things, it would still not be the thing itself.

    I think your point got lost, then, because at least some of the examples of non-physical phenomena you gave seemed testable to me — chi energy and “luck,” for instance. You had also included ESP and PK. Even if we can’t observe “nonphysical mindpower” directly, we could — at least in theory — be able to measure and predict its effects. That counts. And these effects would be very difficult to explain under either mind/brain physicalism or materialism in general. We’d have to give naturalism up. Science itself would lead to that.

    A “nonphysical” or supernatural force which always and forever lurks mysteriously behind natural material processes and does nothing to draw attention to itself, on the other hand, might be outside of science’s ability to “touch” — but it also seems outside of our ability to touch at all. Why do we infer it? Should we?

    I think you’ve got the same problem I mentioned in my post somewhere back there on Ray Hyman and Applied Kinesiology: how do you tell the difference between a phenomena science is not adequate to discover — and us being wrong?

  736. #736 John B. Sandlin
    April 22, 2008

    #734 Epikt | April 21, 2008 10:26 PM

    John B. Sandlin:
    I supposed I’ve been to general with the application of the Golden Rule. … “Tit for Tat”). If they start playing nice again, all is forgiven (sort of) and you go back to be playing nice.

    John, is this a veiled reference to the prisoner’s dilemma computer tournaments a few years ago?

    I didn’t think it was that veiled… :D

    However, the results of the games, and how we do act in the real word are a much better fit than the ungarnished version of the Golden Rule.

    JBS

  737. #737 John B. Sandlin
    April 22, 2008

    #734 : John | April 21, 2008 11:12 PM

    Or “giving the benefit of the doubt.” Thanks for the examples – I readily agree with Confucianism, but I’m not so sure Buddha isn’t regarded as a god (walked on water, virgin birth).

    At the time Siddh?rtha Gautama had his revelations, things for him were still fairly secular (well, at least in the version I learned). He was a prince out for a stroll, saw life wasn’t so good for the ordinary people, and had to think about things (this is the condensed, condensed version). It was during this time that the Buddhist version of the Golden Rule developed.

    That he became venerated and worshipped almost as much as Elvis is a later occurrence. Well, some people I know worship Elvis, anyway, and I’d swear they treat it as a religion, shrine and all.

    (I just noticed I cribbed the wrong post number on my reply to Epikt – his was #733).
    JBS

  738. #738 John
    April 22, 2008

    Sastra said:

    “how do you tell the difference between a phenomena science is not adequate to discover — and us being wrong?”

    We likely never will, at least not before the world ends in 2012. (That’s a joke 8^).)

    Thanks all for the conversation. I’m returning to my normal life now. I particularly enjoyed being introduced to vacuum fluctuations. I had always assumed that an electron didn’t fly away from a proton due to an offsetting gravitational pull, just like a mini solar system – oops.

  739. #739 brokenSoldier
    April 22, 2008

    Posted by: gleaner63 | April 20, 2008 10:22 PM

    To those who believe in some type of directed panspermia, the creators themselves were mortal, imperfect, alien beings, therefore their designs would be imperfect also.

    This would necessarily place them higher on the list of probable originators of our current situation than God. Regardless of the specious claims made by most ID proponents that they do not assume to suggest the identity of the designer, the clear ridicule of Dawkins displayed in Expelled betrays the fact that while ID claims to not hypothesize as to who or what the designer might be, whenever a theory alternate to God as the designer is introduced, it is dismissed as lunacy. And if concrete proof is your requirement for considering this claim (and this seems odd to me, with your preference for faith in the face of such proof), here is a link to an ID proponent’s position paper that clearly portrays God as the designer (the proof of this is in his final sentence). And this man is no exception, though I will not clog this board with other examples of viewpoints like his — they are not hard to locate at all.

    http://www.idahovaluesalliance.com/papers.asp?id=112

    Continuing my point, God is – and always has been – portrayed (by those who believe in such a being) as omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. I would think that the flaws in our nice little system here on Earth would necessitate a flawed designer rather than a perfect one, placing Panspermia’s “E.T.’s” as more logical candidates for the role of ‘designer’ than God in the speculation and disinformation that is being marketed as ID theory.

    According to what I *think* I know about the theistic IDers, in this case those that are Christian, they hold that originally God’s designs here on Earth were perfect, but the Edenic curse has caused a steady “running down” of everything. I think some would call this a type of “divine entropy”. To illustrate look at the condition of the civil war warship USS Monitor in 1861, and when it was raised off the coast of NC several years ago. Except for the turrent it was in an advanced state of decay. But in it’s day it was maybe the most powerful, sophisticated warship afloat.

    Entropy is an observable, natural process that has been verified again and again by experimentation and the data from it. The so-called “Edenic Curse” is just as supernatural and unverifiable in origin as Intelligent Design and Creationism, and therefore is not a sound premise to use in a debate of a scientific nature. And the condition of a ship that sank into salt water almost 150 years ago is directly attributable to oxidation and other forms of natural degradation of manmade materials, and is in no way even remotely connectable to something as mystical and unverified as the “Edenic Curse.” Besides, the only individuals who would even be able to verify that God’s designs were “perfect” here on Earth prior to that mystical curse would be Adam, Eve, and their family, and I’d imagine that it might be a bit difficult to find any information they might have published on the topic.

    So let me respectfully ask you this; in principle, are you opposed to the idea of directed panspermia as a means for the origin of life on earth?

    Respectfully (and I honestly mean that), I am not opposed to the idea of Panspermia, just as I am not opposed to any scientifically possible hypothesis of our biogenesis here on this planet. In the cases of these ideas of how we came to be, they are not contradictory to the observable laws of nature, and therefore I have no scientific grounds to dismiss them. If Intelligent Design and its proponents were truly open to the idea of Panspermia and began programs of research attempting to delve deeper into this possibility, I would lend it a bit more credence. But it appears that the entirety of effort on the behalf of most ID proponents – the Discovery Institute being the biggest perpetrator of this intellectual dishonesty – seem bent on shoehorning ID into the curriculum (with the idea that God is the designer cleverly NOT excluded), while ridiculing any alternate hypothesis as to the identity of their ‘designer.’ It is for this very reason that ID does not receive – and in its current state, does not deserve – to be part of scientific curriculum.

  740. #740 mparker
    April 22, 2008

    There is a reason that these people need to disprove science. It’s because they have no faith in god. Try as they might to believe, they do not, and so they desperately grasp for some proof. That in itself is blasphemy and a rejection of their faith.

  741. #741 Stryder467
    April 22, 2008

    I can hardly wait. I’m already tempted to make a short video of a Soul Caliber-esque Fight Loading Screen of you versus… yeah. :D

    Just discovered your blog today… got lots of reading to do.

  742. #742 Stephen Couchman
    April 22, 2008

    All you design advocates, ESPECIALLY the watchmaker theorists: gird yourselves for horror and despair, and do a google search for “harlequin baby.” Look at the photos. Read about the poor wretches on wikipedia. Ask yourself what designer, especially what omnipotent, omniscient, supposedly benevolent designer, would inflict that miserable existence on its creations, for however thankfully brief a span.

    More erudite persons than myself have served you with elegant argument and attempts at educating you. I just want you to ask yourselves what kind of god would either create these pitiful creatures, whether by special creation or by establishing a system that would bring them into being.

  743. #743 Epikt
    April 22, 2008

    John B. Sandlin:

    I didn’t think it was that veiled… :D

    Did I miss something in a previous post?

    However, the results of the games, and how we do act in the real word are a much better fit than the ungarnished version of the Golden Rule.

    The first of those (prisoner’s dilemma) tournaments that I know about did indeed show that the golden rule, or at least the tit-for-tat version of it, was one of the most successful strategies, and that the “nice” strategies were generally more successful than the “not-nice” ones. I remember wondering if there were some sort of broader, fundamental principle here–morality from game theory, so to speak.

    But it turns out that those results weren’t necessarily definitive. The next tournament had a different collection of strategies, and in that different environment, the results did not favor the nice strategies. In other words, what constitutes success depends on the environment–on the way everybody else behaves. So whether the golden rule works depends on whether enough other people are doing it; I doubt that that surprises anybody.

    I guess this moral relativism in silico suggests that what nonbelievers have said all along–that we make our own morality based on the kind of world in which we want to live–reflects the way the universe operates.

  744. #744 phantomreader42
    April 22, 2008

    Ryan, Liar For Jesus?, @#272

    I realize I am an ignorant Christian, but I am struggling to understand something. Can you enlighten me?

    No, we cannot. Because you clearly have no interest in learning anything. We can show you the evidence. We can explain it to you. We can point out where each of your laughable excuses for arguments are wrong. But as long as you willfully reject reality, it accomplishes nothing. You will remain an ignorant christian because you WANT to remain an ignorant christian.

    Ryan, lying again:

    As evolutionists, you may only believe in the material world. You believe in natural selection removing the weak in all species. You believe that no moral authority or morality for that matter exist (you can’t in a material world). The concepts of equality, truth, and purpose also cannot exist (don’t press this point, even your beloved Hawkins freely admits).

    Ah, now we see! Ryan is a sociopath! I don’t mean that as an insult (though it is one), I mean it as an accurate descriptioin. You’re trotting out the tired old “atheists have no morals” lie. This claim says nothing about atheists, but a lot about you. It shows that your only reason for not going out and murdering anyone who dares disagree with you is that your imaginary friend hasn’t given you permission yet. It shows that YOU really don’t have a conscience, you don’t have any respect for your fellow human beings, you just pretend to have these things out of fear that the invisible man in the sky will do mean things to you if you don’t. Deep down, you realize your own moral deficiency, but you can’t admit it to yourself, so you project it on everyone else.

    Ryan the sociopath:

    More specifically, Are blacks and whites equal? After all, Africans have contributed very little to science, technology…really little to the advancement in any arena of science, culture, or civilized government. The African continent has always been awash in brutal infighting and war. Little production of anything relevant has escaped the continent. Also, the white Europeans conquered black Africans and used them as slaves and only gave up slavery by choice (not because Africans gained an advantage and used superior force to free themselves). Is that natural selection?

    Ah, not just a sociopath, but a RACIST sociopath. Here you demonstrate that you know nothing whatsoever about the actual accomplishments of black people, nor it seems about the brutal wars started by WHITES. Again, you don’t know because you don’t WANT to know. If you knew, you’d have to give up your belief that your race is somehow superior. So you voluntarily turn off your brain. You refuse to face the evidence in front of you.

    Ryan the racist sociopath:

    Following the logical conclusion of Darwinian theory, whites are then naturally superior to blacks, right?

    LOJIC: U R DOING IT RONG!!11

    This is NOT “the logical conclusion of Darwinian theory.” It’s just your own racist bullshit reflected off a funhouse-mirror misrepresentation of evolutionary science. You don’t know the first thing about how evolution really works, because, once again, you don’t want to know.

    Ryan the irrational racist sociopath:

    Let me answer for you.

    Fuck you very much. Answer for your own damn self. And you already have, you just won’t let yourself see it.

    Ryan the arrogant irrational racist sociopath:

    Either you answer as you must and say yes, based on the imperial evidence of history, whites are indeed superior to blacks. This conclusion would make you a Racist. Or option two, you say that indeed all men evolved equally…and thereby admit Darwinism is false.

    False dichotomy and projection.

    Ryan the arrogant irrational racist sociopath:

    So what have-you? Racist or Wrong?

    You are both racist and wrong.

  745. #745 brokenSoldier
    April 22, 2008

    I appreciate your post, but I wanted to clarify mine… I wasn’t suggesting that there would be no way to tell which of those objects was a human artifact and which wasn’t, I was simply trying to point out that W. Paley’s criteria aren’t sufficient.

    Posted by: pcarini | April 20, 2008 1:16 AM

    pcarini,

    I caught this admittedly late, but I wanted to rectify it anyway… My apologies – I definitely didn’t pay enough attention to figure out who your post was for and what its aim was. And thanks for being so composed about it, too. Maybe I can fry up some bacon to go with the egg on my face… :P

  746. #746 lurker
    April 23, 2008

    Is it just me, or does this thread contain an unusually high density of unintentionally hilarious typographical errors?

    “Can you bread a chihuahua”
    No, but you can wrap one in a flour tortilla.

  747. #747 AC
    April 23, 2008

    What a thread! Just one comment – not sure if anyone else pointed this out:

    #235, Your lab partner is increasingly in the minority, in large part because of the hostility shown by the likes of Myers, Dawkins their ilk as presented in technicolor on this blog.

    Assuming the poster was not a Loki troll, he should learn that his cart is before his horse. Hostility to religion is not why there are relatively fewer religious scientists today. That trend came first, then the religious backlash, and now the anti-religious backlash saying, essentially, “Yes, we have no need for your God hypothesis. If you want to keep it, then keep it to yourself.”

    Religious scientists who agree to those terms can be successful and proceed undisturbed. Contrary to Expelled‘s propaganda, non-religious scientists don’t mount purges or pogroms against religious scientists. They do often tire of being attacked themselves by the ignorant and/or mendacious, however.

  748. #748 John B. Sandlin
    April 23, 2008

    #743 Epikt | April 22, 2008 9:41 AM

    I guess this moral relativism in silico suggests that what nonbelievers have said all along–that we make our own morality based on the kind of world in which we want to live–reflects the way the universe operates.

    I’m not as familiar with the newer games – so I’m not sure how the changes to the algorithm affected the outcome. The point, though, is that the Golden Rule works at least in some conditions.

    I always take the Prisoner’s Dilemma gaming with a grain of salt. The changing rewards and punishments expected for the specific decisions can dramatical change the outcome.

    Humans evolved in social groups – so it should be no surprise that we also developed social rules (ethics and morals) as part of that.

    As I final point, I didn’t actually follow the game tourney’s – but rather read about them in an ethics study. The game was a side bar – so either the book was written prior to the second set, or the author elected to ignore them.

    JBS

  749. #749 Kseniya
    April 24, 2008

    Good grief. What have I done?

    Kseniya, Your reputation …

    … appears to be grossly inflated. I was just trying to come up with a string of piquant put-downs that wouldn’t get me thrown out of a sword-and-sorcery RPG. :-)

  750. #750 markmier
    April 28, 2008