Pharyngula

Shermer at the Creation Museum

Feel in need of a purgative? Watch this video of Michael Shermer interviewing a creation “scientist” at the Creation Museum. I could only make it halfway through before closing it in disgust.

Ugh. Georgia Purdom is a blind weasel: for example, she berates Christian evolutionists for “interpreting” the bible instead of reading it literally, and then says, “We know from scripture that the earth is no more than 6000 years old:. The bible says nothing of the kind. That is a product of peculiar interpretations of the book.

Then when Shermer presses her on what kinds of experiments she would do to test her assertions, she says, “We wouldn’t do that because we know there’s no point in doing that, because the Bible has the answer.” There’s no science there; that’s a plain admission.

Comments

  1. #1 Mark
    March 16, 2009

    I actually feel sad for these people. When I discovered evolution, my “world-view,” or rather, interest in science, expanded rapidly. You learn to really appreciate the amazing fact that we can come to understand, and know, the universe.

  2. #2 IST
    March 16, 2009

    at least she’s an honest, blind weasel? I can’t watch this at work, but I’m sure it’s abhorrent… when I need a good dose of stupid, I’ll check it out.

  3. #3 Pierce R. Butler
    March 16, 2009

    Just looking at the still frame: obviously the Creation Museum management believes in uncomfortable pews chairs.

  4. #4 Fire Ant
    March 16, 2009

    Millions of dollars spent on this “museum.” Millions more spent (I’m assuming) to keep intelligent design/creationism folks around, working on State legislators to adopt “fairness doctrines” in their education systems. Not one penny spent on research to solve real-world problems.

  5. #5 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    I am a firm believer, but I couldn’t get through more than 2 minutes of this drivel. I am ashamed of people who try to rationalize their unfounded religious claims by using science. I am saddened by the fact that people like this are put in the same category as me, if only because they reputedly believe the same thing as I. Not all Christians (or religious people for that matter) are this naive and manipulative. She (and all religious people who believe in, and justify their “faith”, this way) does her beliefs such a great disservice by lessening the power ascribed to Divinity.

  6. #6 clinteas
    March 16, 2009

    Just remember Bill Maher interviewing Ken Ham at that place,told you all you ever wanted to know about it.

  7. #7 Jeeves
    March 16, 2009

    Is it too late to strip her of her degree?

  8. #8 Mark
    March 16, 2009

    Remi, I’d have to agree with you; I think creationism actually makes God look like nothing more than a conjurer of cheap tricks – a magician who periodically pulls rabbits out of his hat, or nickels from your ear. I used to be a creationist myself, and I can say from experience, that when you’re a creationist, you’re simply not interested in the truth (although you tell yourself this…”because Genesis is literally true!!!”), but rather, you’re merely interested in supporting your own bastardized view of scripture.

    I’m not suggesting God is a “guiding force” who directed evolution; I see no evidence for that, nor would there be a way to test it – it really is a blind process, but with Natural Selection filtering out malignant variations with a watchful eye.

    I mean, if they actually were interested in *objectively looking at the world, we could settle the “Noah question” right here and now. All you’d have to is point out that, according to the Biblical chronologies, “THE FLOOD” would have taken place in around 2400 BC – merely point out that the Egyptians were in their 3rd dynasty at this time, with hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more) inhabiting the country – both before, during, and after around 2400 BC. Why weren’t THEY hurt?

    And this is not to mention the countless other cultures who mysteriously stayed alive during the non-existent Deluge.

  9. #9 HumanisticJones
    March 16, 2009

    “I have a 5 year old daughter and she’s a guilty guilty sinner.”
    Oh yeah, look at that loving parent-child image promoted by religion.

  10. #10 Richard Wolford
    March 16, 2009

    All you’d have to is point out that, according to the Biblical chronologies, “THE FLOOD” would have taken place in around 2400 BC – merely point out that the Egyptians were in their 3rd dynasty at this time, with hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more) inhabiting the country – both before, during, and after around 2400 BC. Why weren’t THEY hurt?

    Don’t forget that sand tends to, you know, fall apart under water. Had there been a global flood, I doubt that structures built by the Egyptians would have survived. I’ve used this example, although usually to no avail; I get the miracle card played on me.

  11. #11 The Science Pundit
    March 16, 2009

    I watched the whole video and it doesn’t get any better after the point you stopped watching. The cognitive dissonance there is frustratingly fascinating.

  12. #12 Scote
    March 16, 2009

    You have to admit, though, she really sums up the Creationist position neatly with her admission that she would never test anything if her interpretation reading of scripture already has an answer for her

  13. #13 bobxxxx
    March 16, 2009

    “We wouldn’t do that because we know there’s no point in doing that, because the Bible has the answer.”

    That’s perfectly logical. God wrote the Bible. God is perfection. Why waste time testing God’s ideas? Well, perfectly logical for a drooling idiot.

    This explains why creationists refuse to make any effort to understand scientific evidence. It’s impossible to reason with a creationist for the same reason it’s impossible to reason with a Muslim terrorist.

  14. #14 clinteas
    March 16, 2009

    Ok,we can dump Barb now….

    People can just watch this vid to witness creationist insanity in all its glory.

  15. #15 AJS
    March 16, 2009

    Do people actually seriously believe this shit?

    The idea that the Earth is about 6000 years old (I believe 5769 is the accepted figure?) is preposterous on so many levels.

    Just the mental gymnastics that would be necessary to reconcile such obvious bollocks with observed reality must wear them out.

  16. #16 Kobra
    March 16, 2009

    ITT: You rage, you lose.

  17. #17 Marcus J. Ranum
    March 16, 2009

    Penn and Teller are way better than the jewish zombie act!

  18. #18 bobxxxx
    March 16, 2009

    Do people actually seriously believe this shit?

    Millions of Americans believe people, all other species, the earth, and the entire universe, were magically created less than 10,000 years ago. It’s for a good reason this country is called Idiot America.

  19. #19 Newfie
    March 16, 2009

    I guess then that this Mesopotamian/Babylonian Creation Myth can’t be true. It was written in the 12 century B.C. …8 thousand years before God created the universe.
    Satan testing our faith again.

  20. #20 AJ
    March 16, 2009

    I thought she made some very good points.

    Not.

  21. #21 frog
    March 16, 2009

    Remi: Not all Christians (or religious people for that matter) are this naive and manipulative.

    Not in toto, no. But what agent of your awareness makes you believe? Ever consider that that voice may sound to the rest of us a lot like this Creationist drivel if it was broadcast to the public?

  22. #22 Dustin R
    March 16, 2009

    Sigh, this woman received her PhD in molecular genetics from Ohio State…which is the doctoral program I am currently in. Our department is becoming infested with creationists. During our last recruitment, I ascertained that 3 out of our 9 recruits were creationists. Perhaps they are becoming attracted to our program after noticing that we graduated this nitwit.

  23. #23 writzer
    March 16, 2009

    Made it to :53 … wonder where she got her PhD. Patriot U? whose distinguished alumnae include K. Hovind.

  24. #24 writzer
    March 16, 2009

    Dustin R – Ouch! My condolences.

  25. #25 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    Shermer has the patience of a saint.

    That was like being bukakeed with stupid. The mental acrobatics involved in her constant denial of the very things she is using to try and help support her idiocy is painful. I mean do these people not even listen to themselves? She sounded like 4th grader trying to fake an oral presentation on a book she didn’t even read.

    And she actually brought up the Human Genome project at the same time denying evoltuion and the science used to support it. /sigh

    ugh

    pain

  26. #26 Strangebrew
    March 16, 2009

    SAD BAD MAD and DANGEROUS…but mainly sad with a twist of depression… that inspite of the evidence and not because of it this view is allowed to fester in society…tis verging on a criminal ignorance of life.

  27. #27 jm2
    March 16, 2009

    I find her absolutely fascinating because I?m used to hearing this drivel from ignorant relatives at family gatherings. To hear this from an eloquent and itelligent person is just as bizarre as it is awkward. It?s like an unpublished Pynchon work direct to Youtube. Her world must be a byzantine conspiracy of thought crimes against a book.

  28. #28 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Will no one speak up for that charming little mammal, the weasel? Whether it can see or not (and where’s the compassion for the poor little disabled ones?) it’s of vastly more worth than this babbling nincompoop.

    Her nasty, abusive comments about her little daughter were just heartbreaking and infuriating.

  29. #29 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Newfie – I’m getting a “page not found” on that link.

    AJS – obvious bollocks – check flies.

    As for Noah – what about all the animals indigenous to Australia? Did Noah go all the way there to collect two kangaroos, two platypuses, two koalas etc.? Then another trip to the Galapagos islands to collect the giant tortoises etc. Then he would have had to transport them all back to their respective habitats after the flood. What a herculean task!

  30. #30 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    I made it through the video. I know I’ve already posted, but on behalf of believers who use their God-given faculties, I want to apologize to anyone who might think that this woman represents what all believers understand. I thought of using Scripture to point out her inconsistent answers, but I soon realized I would more time and space. She is wrong, wrong, wrong. :(

  31. #31 Baby Jesus
    March 16, 2009

    How the hell did Ohio State give this woman a PhD in biology?

    Georgia Purdom = The Shame of the Buckeyes!

  32. #32 CosmicTeapot
    March 16, 2009

    Georgia Purdom is a blind weasel: for example, she berates Christian evolutionists for “interpreting” the bible instead of reading it literally

    But Sirius Knott says you have interpret it, and not read it literally. I do wish these cretinists would make up there mind instead of making it up as they go along.

    By the way, serious nut has made his blog log in only, so if you want a laugh, you have to go to the original material at AIG.

    Mark @8

    The Egyptian dynasty was close. According to Archbishop Ussher, the flood occured in 2348 BCE, which puts the 5th dynasty pharoah Unas on the throne. Obviously he must have been a good swimmer.

  33. #33 Evolving Squid
    March 16, 2009

    199 seconds before teh st00pid was hurting my brain.

  34. #34 Stooge
    March 16, 2009

    Watching this made me shudder to think that just a few years ago I was giving the same bullshit answers she gave. It’s amazing after learning a little to see how stupid I actually sounded.

  35. #35 Mr.Bojangles
    March 16, 2009

    There’s no way I can sit through 25 minutes of this.

  36. #36 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    @Remi — I’m always curious, when people claim to be True Christian whose beliefs are so much better than those Bad Christians — What exactly is there about Christianity that could be described as good or desireable. It strikes me as profoundly repulsive to believe that the universe is ruled by an invisible dictator. The Christian description of God is psychotic, soteriology is a Kafkaesque nightmare, and Christian morality is hateful and unjust. What is there of value in that illogical mess of a belief system?

    Just asking.

  37. #37 Glen Davidson
    March 16, 2009

    Her recent paper sounds like nothing but apologetics, how pathogens evolved from mutualistic interactions. Okay, evolution is implied there, but by definition it’s “microevolution.”

    Regardless, isn’t she really better than the IDiots? They don’t test their ideas either. They just try to make ID untestable, pretend that ID predicts complexity (of varying defnitions), and claim to be doing science.

    Her problem is that she’s frankly disavowing scientific methods, yet stating that she’s doing science. To be really honest, she’d just say that she’s trying to make her interpretations of the world fit with the Bible.

    She’s still more honest than the IDiots, I’d say, because they’re constantly vacillating between saying that they must change the definition of science, and saying that they’re already doing science without resorting to religion. The former is true as far as it goes, the latter is pure dishonesty.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  38. #38 Newfie
    March 16, 2009

    Newfie – I’m getting a “page not found” on that link.

    that’s odd… try this one

    http://www.cresourcei.org/enumaelish.html

  39. #39 Wes
    March 16, 2009

    I agree with BigDumbChimp. Shermer’s patience knows no bounds. If I had done that interview, I probably would have been reduced to screaming “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU???” in ten minutes or less.

  40. #40 Mobius
    March 16, 2009

    Clueless. So…utterly…clueless.

    The stupid. It burns.

  41. #41 Glen Davidson
    March 16, 2009

    Oh yeah, four and a half billion years is an “assumption” like Biblical assumptions.

    Tell me, Purdom, from whence comes this figure of approximately 4.5 billion years? Do we have sacred scriptures that said it, or, say, did the evidence lead us to that? You know, after years of thinking the world was hundreds of millions of years old?

    She can’t even begin to look at science in an honest manner, not even admitting that nothing other than the evidence leads us to our figures.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  42. #42 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @frog
    “Not in toto, no. But what agent of your awareness makes you believe? Ever consider that that voice may sound to the rest of us a lot like this Creationist drivel if it was broadcast to the public?”

    I imagine some of my beliefs would sound like drivel to those who do not share my view of life. But, this is why I have made it my personal goal to investigate all sides of this wonderful journey we call Life. I visit Richard Dawkins site on a regular basis, I am currently reading Language of God, by Francis Collins (which Michael Shermer paraphrases in the video), and I have read extensively in any and all fields that will widen my view of things. I do not believe in closing my mind to evidence, one way or another. As a sentient being with cognitive abilities that are best used when challenged, I know it is important to be honest with myself and others. I will listen to what others share, but at the end of the day, I hold to what I believe because of events and circumstances that have shaped my worldview. It just so happens that my view includes a divine being, but someone may come to a diffent conclusion based on the “facts” as presented. That’s why this dialogue must and should continue. Religion and science need not be mutually exclusive.
    Does that suffice as an answer to your questions?

  43. #43 bobxxxx
    March 16, 2009

    As for Noah – what about all the animals indigenous to Australia? Did Noah go all the way there to collect two kangaroos, two platypuses, two koalas etc.? Then another trip to the Galapagos islands to collect the giant tortoises etc. Then he would have had to transport them all back to their respective habitats after the flood. What a herculean task!

    For every good question the Christian retard has the same stupid answer: god-did-it. Mr. God herded those animals, magically transporting them to the Ark, and then exterminating all land animals, including human apes, who weren’t selected for the boat ride.

    It’s important to remember millions of Americans accept all Bible stories as fact, never questioning anything. They teach their children this nonsense, and they harass and threaten science teachers who try to teach their children anything that conflicts with the Bible. Stupidity is a serious problem in America.

  44. #44 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Glen — You’re exactly right, she’s intellectually dishonest. She’s a liar, but, as she says, her God doesn’t distinguish between Christians, all of whom are sinners, and sociopathic axe-murderers, all of whom are sinners, and little baby girls, all of whom are sinners. So what’s a few more lies in the grand scheme of things? As long as she calls upon the Magic Name of Jesus, she gets to live forever in bliss, and you’re going to hell. So there.

    Christian morality: devoid of morality.

  45. #45 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t think this woman is stupid so much as pig-headed — she explicitly rejects any empirical finding that contradicts her view of the Bible. See seems to understand the conflict, and simply refuses to cede her premise that the Bible is always right.

    I agree, though, that she is at least honest about her position — she’s very clear that her position is Bible-based, unlike the IDers.

  46. #46 raven
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t know why those creos like Ross, Wise, Nelson, Wells, and the AIG crowd bother to get Ph.D.’s. They never use them or do research afterwards.

    Instead they get positions at places like AIG, Liberty, Bob Jones etc.. and just repeat bronze age mythology over and over. A third grader could do it as well.

    Presumably, they think an advanced degree gives them more credibility. It doesn’t, just makes them look like deluded fools trying to lie to everyone else.

  47. #47 frog
    March 16, 2009

    Remi: Not all Christians (or religious people for that matter) are this naive and manipulative.

    No, not really. I’m perfectly willing to accept from your statement that unlike the Godbots, you are open and honest — a good-faith dialoguer.

    But that still doesn’t go your psychological motivations. Let me reverse it — what is the psychological motivations of those who are ultra-rationalists, dismissing anything that isn’t globally and externally true as being of little more value than a pulp novel? What is that voice?

    You see on this blog everyday the obverse side of the coin — it’s usually not as obvious as the Godbots, who are a collection of neurosis and projections that could give a therapist decades of case-studies. But the devaluation of the subjective, which is 99% of our mental life, does bespeak of a kind of rigidity that suggests to me an incomplete escape from the mental habits of their fundamentalist backgrounds (most of those folks are escapees, including I believe our host).

    So what is driving you? Why do you want and need to believe? Do you really think you believe because of “evidence”, or is a more primitive need the real voice? The evidence is not very good for that position, which would lead to someone who was purely looking for answers to at least withhold judgment — but that’s not your position. Why is your default position belief and not skepticism?

  48. #48 Clemens
    March 16, 2009

    At the time of The Flood, kangaroos (just like dinosaurs) lived among the other critters of the middle east. After the flood, a volcano catapulted them to Australia.

    You think this is a Poe? Go check Conservapædia.

  49. #49 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @AdamK
    “What is there of value in that illogical mess of a belief system?”
    I had a feeling that my posting on this site would cause this type of inquiry. Which is fine.
    I will be straight with you, AdamK. I find that most people who claim to be Christian have not the foggiest idea what it means. They usually hold to that moniker because that is all that they know. I was raised in a Catholic home where the word of God was the Law. I later left the faith because of the inconsistencies I saw, not in Christianity, but in the way it was being practiced. I later reevaluated the Bible in a different light, and with my ever-expanding scientific and humanistic understanding, I am confident in the fact that I can be a Bible-believing Christian and have a scientifically-supported worldview. Again, what the world knows of Christianity is the garbage in this video, the Crusades, Slavery, et al. But, I would be more than ready to challenge all of the “Christians” with those beliefs and point out to them that they are wrong. I believe that the onus is on me to present evidence for what I believe. And, hear me when I say this. No scientific evidence can prove or disprove God. Even Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins make it clear in their books that fact cannot replace faith. And, though this may be a sticking point for someone who only wants to argue from fact, it does not take away from the fact that some people have a genuine and legitimate religious life that enhances the world in which they live. People like Mme. Purdom can only hold to what they believe because, even though they claim to be reading the Bible without interpretation, they are arguing from a preconceived notion of what truth is.
    So getting back to your question, the value I find in it is what I see in Jesus. Forget the religious attributions that have been passed down over the centuries. Forget the cultural input that leached into the Bible because every biblical writer had a specific cultural view of their world. If we look at Jesus and the way he lived and taught, it is not a mess. It is clear, concise, precise, and uplifting. It has nothing to do with science, so anyone who tries to use the Bible for such purposes is already off track. Jesus spoke of living a life that would lead to a better place. Not only in the afterlife (whatever that may mean) but here on Earth while we use what time we have.
    Does that somewhat answer the question? (Sorry for the dissertation, but it’s a pretty loaded question.)

  50. #50 WTFinterrobang
    March 16, 2009

    Wow!! Talk about grade inflation: Purdom’s published a couple of non-first-author peer-reviewed papers and a dissertation. No wonder non-academics think PhDs are irrelevant if they let these wackjobs through.

  51. #51 jj
    March 16, 2009

    Wow, I have no clue how I did it, but I made it through the whole thing…

    …what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  52. #52 Marley Fitz
    March 16, 2009

    I made it to 11:21, all the while fantasizing that he would reach out and wrap his hands around her neck and squeeze. Just enough to shut her up.

  53. #53 Vic
    March 16, 2009

    If she’s so against testing and science, why did she bother to get her degree? Surely it means nothing in her world.

  54. #54 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    You think this is a Poe? Go check Conservapædia.

    Nice try, Clemens, but you won’t get me to increase their traffic that easily…

  55. #55 Theodore
    March 16, 2009

    So the six million Jewish men, woman, and children that Hitler gassed are in hell.

    These people are sick.

  56. #56 Evolving Squid
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t understand who people like that can even get PhDs. Doesn’t a PhD require advancing whatever field? So if you got a PhD in molecular genetics, you’d have to produce some original research that advances the field of molecular genetics.

    So how can you be a YEC and advance a modern, scientific field… especially *THAT* field? Wouldn’t the hypocrisy cause your head to explode? How could you complete and defend a thesis without having a “what the fuck was I thinking before?!” moment. Wouldn’t the very fact of their belief draw some question during the thesis defence?

    There’s a psychology PhD thesis topic: Cognitive dissonance in Young Earth Creationists who complete PhDs in scientific fields – how they get it done without imploding.

  57. #57 Pascalle
    March 16, 2009

    Well.. i didn’t manage more than 3 minutes.

    I don’t like looking down at people but boy.. she sounded so stupid.

    I can’t help but feel sorry for people like that. I wish they would open their eyes and really look at the world.. and history, and biology.

  58. #58 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @ frog
    “Why is your default position belief and not skepticism?”

    My initial position is actually one of skepticism.
    If I may, let me quote a biblical passage to show you why.
    “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
    I go to the Bible, not to justify my faith, but to confirm it. If I find something in it that I struggle with, it does not necessarily disprove it (just as finding new scientific evidence does not necessarily scuttle all scientific theory.) I am completely open to the fact that there may not be a God. But, again, no scientific evidence can yet tell me conclusively that God does not exist. My belief is rooted in the fact that as a human being I need a moral compass. Some may call it the Moral Law (C.S. Lewis). I simply look to Jesus as the Ultimate example of right living. Not only from a religious perspective, but moreso on a human level. Jesus never spoke of other faiths, or of science, because ultimately he was trying to help people to look to higher things. This does not make science ignoble. It is simply a different point of view. And in an age such as ours, science is gaining the upper hand. To that, I say finally. For far too long, people who have been religiously disingenous have held the mic. It is high time we expanded our sights and truly embraced the entirety of human experience. Does this conflict with what Christ taught? Not necessarily, but that would require another 45 minute discussion.

    And, to our gracious host Mr. Myers, thank you indulging my lengthy answers.

  59. #59 Lowell
    March 16, 2009

    Remi,

    How can you say anything about “the way [Jesus] lived and taught” and the things he “spoke of” without relying on “the religious attributions that have been passed down over the centuries” and the “cultural input that leached into the Bible”?

    Do you have some source of information about his life and teachings other than the Bible? Are you having visions?

  60. #60 Josh
    March 16, 2009

    This person is just Barb with a doctorate.

  61. #61 AmericanGodless
    March 16, 2009

    “We wouldn’t do that because we know there’s no point in doing that, because the Bible has the answer.”

    It’s not just a matter of wasting time and effort with experimentation, it’s a sin: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” The temptations of Jesus by Satan, and the story of Moses bringing forth water from a rock in the desert, and then warning his followers to never again ask for proof of the power of God; both old and new testaments clearly say that anything approaching a scientific investigation of matters of faith is sinful and forbidden. So, just how is Biblical religion supposed to be compatible with science?

  62. #62 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    @frog — I’m curious as to what you mean when you speak of “devaluation of the subjective.” I am someone who values the subjective very highly indeed, and I accord it so much respect that I strive to distinguish it as carefully as I can from the objective, so as to protect what is precious and unique about it.

    I have had experiences–one in particular that was intensely moving–of apprending a sensation of agency in the universe–as strong sensation of “being known,” of being, myself, perceived by an Other. The experience was entirely subjective, and I am happy to let it remain so. It had nothing in common with the rigid conglomeration of myth, fear and tribal hatreds that constitute “religion,” nor did it resemble empirical evidence for the supernatural.

  63. #63 gypsytag
    March 16, 2009

    I watched until she started calling her daughter a dirty little sinner. Can you imagine calling your child that?
    Telling your child that is nothing less than mental abuse. you might as well be a drunk telling your kids they’re going to grow up to be good for nothing drunks.
    Sadly Child Protection Services can do nothing about this.

  64. #64 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @Lowell
    “Do you have some source of information about his life and teachings other than the Bible? Are you having visions?”

    No, not at all. I have learned to differentiate between what people have said about the Bible (commentary) and what it actually says. Also, as to the cultural basis, I have studied mythology, archaeology, comparative religion, blah, blah, blah. One of the things that is evident from any text (yes, even the Bible)is that the author always puts his (or her) mark on the subject matter. What does this mean for the Bible? Well, I don’t think Moses knew much of quantum mechanics. Also, when Paul spoke of certain cultural requirements within the church structure, he was relying on his understanding of things from the perspective of a Jewish, Pharisaical student of his time. This does not invalidate the principles that one can glean from the words, but it allows me to put into context such scriptures as “man must not cover his head.” (1 Cor. 11:7) So, I do my best to live according to the principles found within the word, but I am not dogmatic with regards to ideas and beliefs that are biblically indefensible.

  65. #65 Alex McDonald
    March 16, 2009

    One minute 35 seconds. About the point where Shermer was going to ask his second question, and I realised that it was a “conversation” in free-fall.

    And then; posted by: Remi | March 16, 2009 11:50 AM #49;

    If we look at Jesus and the way he lived and taught, it is not a mess. It is clear, concise, precise, and uplifting. It has nothing to do with science, so anyone who tries to use the Bible for such purposes is already off track. Jesus spoke of living a life that would lead to a better place. Not only in the afterlife (whatever that may mean) but here on Earth while we use what time we have.

    Another kind of dissonance. The bible as a handbook for living your life? Clear, concise, precise, and uplifting? If you ignore all the death, destruction, petty jealousy, fire, brimstone, more death and right at the back, a drug fuelled revelation.

    You’re on a parallel track to Georgia Purdom. It’s a short step from where you are to her kind of insanity.

  66. #66 Drosera
    March 16, 2009

    She must be an android. I just can?t believe that a real human being is capable of getting a PhD in molecular genetics and at the same time is such a complete idiot. Can somebody please push her reset button?

  67. #67 JDaley
    March 16, 2009

    Kudos to Michael for not only his patience, but for remaining outwardly cheerful and friendly through that whole thing.

  68. #68 jimmiraybob
    March 16, 2009

    “As for Noah – what about all the animals indigenous to Australia? Did Noah go all the way there to collect two kangaroos, two platypuses, two koalas etc.? Then another trip to the Galapagos islands to collect the giant tortoises etc. Then he would have had to transport them all back to their respective habitats after the flood. What a herculean task!”

    I believe that you are forgetting to factor in Santa Claus and the magic reindeer.

  69. #69 Sam C
    March 16, 2009

    AdamK:

    What exactly is there about Christianity that could be described as good or desireable.

    I’m an atheist through and through, but there is some good and desirable stuff in Christianity, or at least in Jesus’s teachings. Jesus (the man) said lots of nice things, with a message that was broadly “love thy neighbour” and “turn the other cheek”, and generally preached peacefulness. And he was no respecter of following rules for rules’ sake, he was for taking a moral and humane approach to life rather than a legalistic adherence to imposed rules. And (in my view), that poor deluded guy even became an atheist (yea! one of us!!) on the cross when he cried out “God, why have you gone from me?” as he realised that the god bit was all a big mistake and he was headed for nothingness. Even the Jesus of the (heavily edited) bible never claimed to be a god, the idea would probably have appalled him as an observant Jew, who would respected their first commandment (that there’s only one god, not three).

    OK, that’s good stuff in Jesus’s teachings. I guess the problem is that that isn’t Christianity; Christianity is what Christians say and do, and that’s frequently obnoxious.

    Fundamentalist Christianity is just a movement of bullying stupid nastiness. That would not have appealed to Jesus. They are Christians, but they are not followers of Jesus.

  70. #70 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    @Remi — Thank you so much for your reply. I will reread it and consider it carefully.

    I am not convinced that “Jesus” was an actual historical person. I don’t know if that would be important to someone who looked to him for inspiration, since there are any number of fictional/legendary persons one might be inspired by as well.

    What remains of Jesus seems to me to represent some of the best of 1st century Rabbinical thought. But I think there have have been considerable cultural advances in ethics since then, to the degree that it seems to me to be of only historical value. And I find it glommed together with some really ugly primitive Hebrew and neo-Platonic values.

  71. #71 RevWubby
    March 16, 2009

    “Interpret”

    My apologies to Inigo Montoya

    “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means!”

    I found it amazing that anyone who would disagree with her view was “interpreting”, while she is simply reading and understanding. The slavery angle was a very good demonstration of this: anti-abolitionist were interpreting slavery INTO the bible, but she KNOWS that it didn’t mean that.

    I wish Shermer had whipped out Exodus 21:7, or 1 Timothy 6:1 and asked her how she “understands” and refuses to interpret them.

    Self deceit or pious fraud?

  72. #72 NewEnglandBob
    March 16, 2009

    “our starting point is really important in how we look at fossils….”

    Yes, if you believe in fantasies and are gullible and stupid, then you wont believe the truth, even when the overwhelming evidence is right in your face.

    Wow, is this woman prejudiced. Which podunckian school is her PhD dreamed up by?

    How could Shermer stand it?

  73. #73 Robert Bell
    March 16, 2009

    From what little I watched (I have class soon, so don’t have time to try and endure the whole thing), it seems like the argument she keeps coming back to is the idea that preconceived notions/world-view people have that lead them to specific interpretations of the evidence — which implicitly suggests that evolution/science is really no different from “creation [pseudo-]science.”

    When Shermer brings up Collins and AREs, she claims that even though he’s a believer in God, he’s rejected a literal interpretation of scripture and he’s a believer in evolution, and that leads him to a specific interpretation of the evidence. And yet, this is evidence that is predicted by evolution and is NOT predicted by scripture. Hence it can only be interpreted as evidence corroborating the theory evolution, and (at best) it does not necessarily conflict with her interpretation scripture.

    Creationists seem to try to employ this tactic to marginalize the evidence for evolution quite often, and I can see why some people are taken in by it. The idea that we’re all influenced by certain biases, prejudices and quirks of our world-view is certainly undeniable. It influences the way we look at facts and the conclusions we draw. However, creationists seem to think that because that is the case, facts are essentially meaningless, and that people ought to be allowed to draw whatever conclusions from the facts, no matter how strained their logic becomes — or that when logic fails, faith in the authority of a religious text is completely reasonable (or even preferable) substitute.

    “Since facts require interpretation, and interpretation is always spoiled by a person’s intrinsic bias, you should believe our interpretation of the facts because it is wrong to not believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, and our interpretations of the evidence are consistent with belief in the Bible.”

    Of course, the point that I think Shermer limply tried to make is that we’ve made scientific progress because some believers were able to put aside their preconceived notions about the world long enough to come up with, and eventually accept ideas about the world that are more consistent with the available evidence, and have more predictive power.

  74. #74 Nadine
    March 16, 2009

    This is infuriating. Why even bother doing science if you’re going to say “there’s no point in trying to figure out how God did it because the Bible just says he did.”

  75. #75 dogmaticatheist
    March 16, 2009

    You have more of a stomach for bullshit than I do, PZ. I had to click stop only a couple of minutes in to it.

    Listening to people like her is like listening to fingernails grating across a chalkboard.

  76. #76 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    No, not at all. I have learned to differentiate between what people have said about the Bible (commentary) and what it actually says.

    You of course mean your interpretation of what it says.

    Interpretation of the Bible or how to interpret it seems to be the sticking point across the board.

  77. #77 Bryson Brown
    March 16, 2009

    I think the most important trick in the whole nonsensical bag of tricks she’s trotting out is the appeal to skepticism about the past: we can’t observe it, so it’s beyond science to settle anything about the past. Of course the cherry-picked ‘testimony’ of her chosen holy book is exempted from this kind of scrutiny, so the skepticism is very selective. Back in the real world we know physical evidence is often much more reliable than testimony– especially testimony from people who really aren’t in a good position to know what they’re talking about. Our knowledge of the past is extremely well-tested, given the rich coherence of different dating techniques, the geological and fossil records, etc., etc…, while this nut bar relies on a single, narrow ‘source’ and demands that everything else be forced to fit within its (all too human) limits. Minimum mutilation of our evidential commitments (cf. Quine) this isn’t.

  78. #78 Timothy
    March 16, 2009

    How come all these lunatics (creationists, “race realists”, etc) all have these stupid accents? Are there sane people who talk like that or is it a byproduct of extreme brain damage?

  79. #79 Vlad Nistor
    March 16, 2009

    Shermer is far too nice to this fundamentalist. She doesn’t interpret the bible my ass. It’s tragic that she actually believes what she sais.
    Oh well, Natural Selection at work I guess…

  80. #80 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Bobxxxx – of course, how silly of me.

    But then if god arranged all the transportation for the world’s animals (2 of each only) then that begs the question, why did god need Noah at all? Why not just magically lift two of each “kind” 100ft above the waves until it was all over? In fact, why even bother with the water? God could have painlessly removed all the naughty humans and animals from the planet with a twitch of his almighty eyebrow, couldn’t he?

    When you start to think about this stuff, it falls apart like the ancient parchment that it is. God may be all-powerful, but he ain’t logical.

    /sarcasm

  81. #81 Dr Kite
    March 16, 2009

    I am interested in how/why a graduate student would undertake a PhD in molecular genetics at a major university when their world view and inability to understand science would make that effort ultimately futile. Was she intellectually dishonest as a student- like S. Wells, ‘cleverly’ submerging her views to obtain a larger religious goal? Or was her original goal to become an honest scientist subverted by a personal trauma? I’d like to know what her graduate mentor thinks about this apparent creationist droog (was her thesis work published?). But I still cannot understand how a person with her lack of critical thinking skills could not only be accepted to her grad program, but actually be awarded her degree. In this matter, in the absence of an explanation, I think her program and her advisor are tarred, as are all of us who have devoted years of our lives to teaching an research in the biological sciences.

  82. #82 Lee Picton
    March 16, 2009

    I made it to 17 minutes.

  83. #83 NMcC
    March 16, 2009

    This woman’s views and ludicrous nonsense were completely predictable. My problem is with Shermer. As is the case, it seems to me, with him all the time, he’s confronted with a complete creationist / religionist tithead and he’s simply incapable of sticking the verbal boot in when and where necessary. He even makes himself look foolish when he asks what it was that he personally did against ‘God’ and she was able to retort ‘have you ever disrespected your parents, have you ever lied’ etc. Christ! As if a blind man on a motorbike wouldn’t have seen that one coming.

    I honestly believe that Shermer is useless at dealing with these people. Each conversation or debate I’ve heard of his has been very badly conducted. I wish he’d prepare his contributions and questions a bit better and not have everything so ad hoc. He’s really not that incisively quick-witted off the cuff to ‘wing it’.

    Sorry…..bit of a rant there.

  84. #84 J Daley
    March 16, 2009

    My favorite part came when Shermer asks about confirmation bias, and she acknowledges that everyone has some starting assumptions, saying:

    Every science is biased…. So, you’re going to alter that and change it so it fits with your ideas, so there’s really no difference. Well, the difference is that ours is true. So that’s the biggest difference.

    Shermer: right…

  85. #85 jimmiraybob
    March 16, 2009

    On a serious note….well, on another note, there appears to be some contention among the creation “scientists” about whether everything was created around 10,000 or 6,000 years age – or somewhere in between. This seems like a legitimate line of potential “research” that does not have an absolute Biblical answer.

    Forgetting for a moment that this is a bit awkward if you believe the Bible provides absolute and infallible answers, why not press them on how they could use real science to evaluate the problem? What experiments would the design? What methods would they use? What base of prior research would the incorporate to evaluate the results?

    Or, would they consider this pointless or not possible in which case the whole science pretense seems useless. If science can’t resolve even Biblical conundrums then……

    Nevermind.

  86. #86 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @Alex McDonald
    “Another kind of dissonance. The bible as a handbook for living your life? Clear, concise, precise, and uplifting? If you ignore all the death, destruction, petty jealousy, fire, brimstone, more death and right at the back, a drug fuelled revelation.

    You’re on a parallel track to Georgia Purdom. It’s a short step from where you are to her kind of insanity.”

    And it’s this kind of personal attack that makes it difficult to engage in this type of conversation. At what point did I claim to believe in and live according to the Hebraic part of the Bible? “But” you’ll say “it’s all the same.” Wrong.

    Follow me, if you please.
    Jesus states “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44) Also, from Jesus, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Notice Jesus doesn’t say “I had to fulfill everything as it was written in the Torah.” He fulfilled that which was written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Everything else is historical context. Let’s not forget that Jesus frequently argued with the then current interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. This is why Paul say in Colossians that we live differently since Jesus “[has] canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)
    There is nothing of rape, murder, death and more death in Jesus’ life. As for Revelation, that again is an entirely separate 45 minute discussion.

  87. #87 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Tulse:

    Nice try, Clemens, but you won’t get me to increase their traffic that easily…

    Ditto here. Volcano indeed! Did all the kangaroos have hides impervious to magma back then? That’s just covering up one ridiculous notion with another one even more ridiculous. Pretty much explains religion as a whole, I suppose.

    … And PZ, I’m not even going to look at that video. I need all the brain cells I still have left!

  88. #88 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    @NMcC–

    I didn’t mind Shermer’s forebearance — any reasonable confrontation in that situation would most likely have ended the conversation. I was reading what he was doing as “interviewing” — eliciting response.

    What I found frustrating was that he was not a biologist. I would love to see that nitwit trying to hold up her end when dealing with an actual scientist.

  89. #89 jimmiraybob
    March 16, 2009

    NMcC – I believe that the official interview technique that Shermer was using is called the, give them all the rope they need and let the sane with strong stomachs sort it out later.

  90. #90 Your Name's Not Bruce?
    March 16, 2009

    jm2

    Her world must be a byzantine conspiracy of thought crimes against a book.

    Yes, if the biblical truth of a young earth is so obvious, then all those paleontologists, geophysicists, astronomers etc. must be really, really evil to suppress that truth, or really, really stupid to miss it. And to have managed to do so for at least a century and a half. That means that they are evil and/or stupid AND powerful. Yet creationists, when they think it’s to their advantage, will freely quotemine these evil or stupid people because they (the stupid or evil scientists) actually do science and the creationists need that patina of science because most people know that science works. Ironic that they so desperately need the imprimatur of science (which is evil and/or stupid by their own reasoning)to legitimize their “faith”.

    I feel sorry for the people who don’t know any better, who are fooled by the sciencey scent of creationist propaganda (some creationist’s “baraminology”, for example, sounds, to the unsuspecting vaguely like actual cladistics.) Who have put their trust in people who are not worthy of that trust. I feel sorry for the children who get sucked into this abyss of ignorance and deception. The people who “lead” this field, however, not so much sympathy there. They have to “know” all the “wrong” things that they have to keep their constituency away from, what they must explain away. Ignorance is one thing; willful, prideful ignorance and the dissemination thereof, that’s something else. That’s lying for Jesus.

  91. #91 Lowell
    March 16, 2009

    Remi,

    Thanks for your response. I guess I could have been clearer in my original questions.

    You said in #49 that you are able to put aside (“forget about”) the “religious attributions that have been passed down over the centuries” and “the cultural input that leached into the Bible” and focus on the text itself.

    But, how do you know which parts of the text are historical accounts of actual events and which parts are merely “cultural input that leached into” it?

    For example: the resurrection. There were many religious traditions at the time of Jesus (and before) involving gods who died and were resurrected. It was part of the culture of the Levant and surrounding areas in that period.

    Is it possible the story of Jesus’ resurrection is “cultural input that leached into the Bible” rather than a historical account of actual events?

  92. #92 John Kwok
    March 16, 2009

    @ AdamK -

    Shermer, as a former creationist, is ideally positioned to expose lunatic, irrational thought emanating from someone like Purdom. However, I wished he hadn’t accepted the Creation Museum’s offer to question Purdom – even if they paid him an ample stipend – since his presence there merely confirmed to that “museum” audience that there is indeed a “debate” regarding evolution’s scientific validity. Of course, as we all know – those of us who are not creationists of any flavor, whether YEC or IDiot – that there isn’t any “debate” regarding whether or not evolution is valid science.

    Regards,

    John

  93. #93 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Moreover, Harry Potter fulfulled everything that was said of him in the prophecy of Sybil Trelawney!

  94. #94 LtStorm
    March 16, 2009

    You should’ve kept watching, PZ! It turns into a train wreck at 17 minutes in when the crazy states that a 5-year old with leukemia deserves it because no one is innocent!

  95. #95 Pyrrhonic
    March 16, 2009

    The Bible speaks for itself, but DNA does not? What’s the rhetoric of DNA, rocks, plants?

    What’s scary about this is how well trained she is to answer these questions and, unfortunately, the fact that Shermer is unable to work her into a real corner. That is, we can see the problems her logic has, but someone with no background might see this as a win on her part.

    Also, her description of her lab work says that evolution never came into the picture, but her description seems to imply that God never entered the picture; experimentation allowed her to bracket all “ideology”–and I am not calling evolution an ideology.

    What always drives me nuts is that the kind of comments they make about interpretation–God “guarantees” their interpretation of the Bible– are very naive and, if pushed hard enough, always slip into relativism.

    What happens when two God-fearing people interpret the Bible differently and both claim that their interpretation is correct because the word of God is immanent in the Bible.

    Oh, this is great, the pro-slavery camp were “interpreting” the Bible. Excellent. Simply no mental capacity for irony.

  96. #96 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Shermer likes to poke things with a stick to see if they wriggle.

  97. #97 Ryan
    March 16, 2009

    People like the one in this video are the greatest enemy of religion. You atheists may try pretty hard, but nothing you do can compare to the damage done by evangelical Christians in the last 100 years.

  98. #98 Cuttlefish, OM
    March 16, 2009

    Bacteria will always be
    Bacteria; we?ll never see
    Another organism come
    From just a changed bacterium.
    We won?t see an amoeba grow
    A pair of fins, and so we know
    That evolution?s tale is wrong.
    We?ve known it, really, all along.

    Until a lump of lifeless mud
    Transforms itself to flesh and blood
    And starts to dance and sing a song,
    We?ll know that evolution?s wrong.
    The logic?s clear, and all it took
    Was looking at our holy book;
    The truth about our planet?s age is
    Written there within its pages.

    [snip*]

    I hope that Dr. Purdom?s work
    Includes a decent healthcare perk;
    It wouldn?t seem quite right to me
    To charge for her lobotomy.

    *er, the verse, not her frontal lobe…
    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/03/research-at-creationist-museum.html

  99. #99 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    How can anyone read the bile (or anything for that matter) without interpreting it? Reading is interpreting, there’s no getting away from it. Even if you go back to the original language (Aramaic?) you still have to interpret what is written on the page into concepts that can be understood. Your brain interprets the meanings of the words as they are read, and different people will inevitably interpret differently.

    Time flies like an arrow.
    Fruit flies like bananas.

    Or take the word “unionized”. Scientists generally read that word as “un-ionized”, a layman will see it as “union-ized”. It’s all in the interpretation.

  100. #100 Evolving Squid
    March 16, 2009

    @elwood

    In fact, why even bother with the water? God could have painlessly removed all the naughty humans and animals from the planet with a twitch of his almighty

    As should be obvious from the OT, God doesn’t like to do things sensibly – he prefers to cause torture, pain, and horror. The only thing worse than drowning everyone might have been burning them all to death. One might think that fish must have been sinless even after the fall since the flood wouldn’t have killed most of them (some, perhaps – all that freshwater rain would have affected ocean salinity).

    Yep, he could have just bleemed all the unbelievers away just like he bleemed them there in the first place, but that would be too easy and ungodlike. Let’s face it, he didn’t have to put the Tree of Knowledge there either if it was so damned important that nobody touch it. But god is kind of an asshole that way.

  101. #101 TheOutsider
    March 16, 2009

    This is disgusting. I went through my phase of being so “open-minded” that I was willing to entertain some pretty idiotic possibilities about the universe, but I always followed up my suppositions with some version of “how can I know whether or not this might be true?” How could this woman have navigated the path to a Ph.D. without the ability to ask that question and judge the resultant answers with intellectual honesty?

    Cases like this are largely responsible for the cynicism many people feel about the value of a university diploma. George W. Bush was a Yale man, every thief and robber baron in today’s headlines has an MBA from somewhere, and the frauds selling creationism to schoolchildren all have doctorates. There needs to be a backlash.

  102. #102 jimmiraybob
    March 16, 2009

    By the same token that we can’t go back to observe Pangea, she can’t go back to observe anything in the Bible. Therefore, by her own reasoning wouldn’t unobserved Biblical claims have to be dismissed?

  103. #103 Anon
    March 16, 2009

    NMcC @ #83–

    Agreed wholeheartedly. He does not have the chops for this. I’ve seen him as host at a number of different things, and have always been left wondering what people see in him.

  104. #104 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    But jimmiraybob, God wrote the Bible, and he was there, and he never lies (except when he puts fossils in the ground and retroviruses in the DNA and redshifts the light from other galaxies and stuff like that.)

  105. #105 Tualha
    March 16, 2009

    Hey, before berating Ohio State, why not check the evidence? Look up her dissertation, see if it’s garbage or not! You can do that, Dustin, you’re right there.

    I’m betting that she held her nose and produced some actual science to get that doctorate, then happily pranced across the aisle and revealed her true colors.

  106. #106 Pareidolius
    March 16, 2009

    Okay, the basic problem here is that all gods are assholes. They all basically suffer from borderline personality disorder. Narcissistic. Unstable. Paranoid. Egomaniacal. Insecure. Jealous. Loving and sweet one moment, sadistic and cruel the next. This isn’t just Yaweh’s problem either, though he takes the cake when it comes to borderline symptoms. Any god (Baal, Zeus, Allah, Lugh, Huitzilpotchitli et al.) that “intelligently” creates a universe *with meaning* and then allows the kind of unimaginable suffering that we see here on earth, is a total psycho-fucktard. The one who does this and then sends its creations to eternal punishment for not groveling around enough, is totally off the scale. Believing in these phantasms really says nothing about the gods and everything about the believer.

  107. #107 genotypical
    March 16, 2009

    Re #31, #81
    I’ve spoken briefly with Purdom’s PhD mentor about her, he says he had no clue she was like this as a grad student, he feels completely blindsided. Not sure if she became more of a literalist during/after her grad work, or if she was a total stealth student like J. Wells. The pubs from her Ph.D. work are perfectly normal biology, but at a very mechanistic, “micro-evolution” level, so I’m sure she just defines away the fact that those papers are firmly grounded in evolutionary ideas.

  108. #108 Chris
    March 16, 2009

    Remi, it would seem to me that the reason that people attack you is because you have hitched your wagon to a particular horse – and a pantomime one at that.

    I for one, have complete “faith” that christianity is a load of nonsense. it baffles me that anyone can actually believe it. HOWEVER, I would also agree that there are good points, jesus (not that he existed mind you) did mention love thy neighbour and that is to be commended. I feel we could all do with a bit more of that. My point here is that NONE of this is original to the bible, or even christianity! read Plato, Socrates, and many other BC era philosophers and a large majority of them can be found to be espousing the same ideas. If it is spirituality you seek then perhaps try Buddhism.

    This is not a personal attack on you by any means, that is not my intention at all. It is to be commended that you did read the background, other religious texts before making your mind up, but it is a bit akin to saying that the US version of THE RING is the correct and original one that is to be adhered to, when we all know about the Japanese version. great in practice, but difficult to defend intellectually.

    The one thing that annoyed me more than anything in this video is that guy in the background……STOP SHAKING THE FUCKING SALAD AND JUST EAT THE DAMN THING!!!!!!!!!!

  109. #109 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @Lowell
    “Is it possible the story of Jesus’ resurrection is “cultural input that leached into the Bible” rather than a historical account of actual events?”

    Is it possible? Yes. Of course. I am simply going off of what I read in the Scriptures (I know, I know, I’m a blind follower), but isn’t that what we do for any historical text for that period, and anything that came before? We believe in the Roman texts that speak of the grandeur of their empire because of historical and archaeological evidence. We accept that Ashurbanipal conquered must of the middle eastern world of his time. Why? The historical texts. Some will say that the Bible is not a historical text, but I believe many historians will have something to say about that. With regards to the resurrection, well, that is what everyone knows is called a miracle. It is an event that does not coincide with our current understanding of things. But, here’s the thing: can’t we look at Jesus life and still see something of value and truth? Then it will be said “But the resurrection is central to the entire story!” It is, if you choose to believe it. I can’t prove to you that resurrection is possible. I believe Jesus rose, and this is one of the reasons he is called Lord. Nothing has defeated him, not even death. Proselytizing? No, just stating the facts as found in the Bible. If you choose to throw it out the window, that is your choice. I have chosen to see in this “story” a cogent and meaningful account of the life of someone who has been like no one else, before or since.
    And, it has been stated that all of us “interpret.” Of course, this is true. Let me clarify my way of reading the Scriptures. When I read the Bible, I try to maintain an objective viewpoint. I don’t know what was meant when the words were written, so it is my goal to gain a deeper understanding of what I read. If I have “interpreted” a passage incorrectly, and I find evidence that forces me to change that belief, I gladly move to this new position. There is no glory in holding dogmatically to what is untrue and proven to be false. (I know I’m opening a can of worms with that last phrase, but I can’t find another way to put it.) Have at it. :)

  110. #110 Fernando Magyar
    March 16, 2009

    I found this from the University of Vienna school of Veterinary Medicine PhD programme regarding revocation of said PhD:

    13. Annulment of the promotion performance
    In case fundamental requirements for admission to the PhD studies have been violated or if the student has been found guilty of committing fraud during the study performance, the senate may annul the promotion performance.

    Since I am not a scientist and do not have a PHD I have to wonder if this is a pretty standard statement concerning the conditions necessary for revocation of a Doctorate from any major internationally accepted University?

    Doesn’t someone who get’s a PHD in Molecular Genetics and then professes to beleive in Creationism border on the fraudulent or is the standard for fraud have to be some form of improper manipulation of experimental data or outright plagiarism? So simply lying about ones personal beliefs doesn’t constitute fraud under this definition? If nothing else, in spirit, this sound like some sort of fraud to me. It is very disingenuous to say the least.

  111. #111 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    And Remi, when you’re taking Jesus as your moral exemplar, please try to refrain from blasting any fig trees or beating up any bankers. Thanks.

  112. #112 TheOutsider
    March 16, 2009

    @83,

    This is becoming a common complaint against skeptics and “New Atheists”: they keep bringing a chessboard to a ball-kicking contest. The ability to reason does not confer the ability to argue. Matt Dillahunty would have made this woman eat her own head in the first ten minutes.

    Consider, though, that Shermer’s goal here wasn’t deconversion or winning concessions to his points. He got a “researcher” at the Creation Museum to admit that she doesn’t bother to perform experimental science. I’m sure you can see the value in that; any organization opposing “academic freedom” legislation would eat that up with a spoon.

  113. #113 SteveM
    March 16, 2009

    And speaking of the flood, anyone ever point out to the creotards that it was an act of eugenics?. Yes, God was not happy with the way his pets were turning out, so he decides to drown all the bad ones keeping just the one family of “good” ones expecting their “goodness” to breed true in their descendants.

  114. #114 JohnFrum
    March 16, 2009

    The most important part was his question about how she squared her religious beliefs with what she was learning while getting her PHD in genetics.

    She said it wasn’t a problem because evolution didn’t come up and wasn’t a part of what she was doing. How is this possible? Did the university fail or is she lying?

  115. #115 4mattb
    March 16, 2009

    Well sorry to be so rude, but she showed what a worthless piece of trash she truly is when she said that even a one year old child with cancer is a sinner. There’s your answers in Genesis for you.

  116. #116 Matt
    March 16, 2009

    I feel so bad for her. She’s too cute to be a creationist.

  117. #117 Kitty'sBitch
    March 16, 2009

    Rev
    “That was like being bukakeed with stupid.”

    After the bacon thread, I didn’t think I could love you more.
    You are the wind beneath my wings.

  118. #118 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @Chris

    Thanks for your perspective, but I will hold to my pantomime because I haven’t been convinced otherwise. As for Buddhism, it seems to be based on an inherently flawed logic.
    Nirvana is achieved by living in such a way that we “escape” from this existence. We are trapped in this existence due to the fact that we did not live a “good” life in our previous one. Here’s the problem as I see it. If my current life is based on the fact that my previous one was errant, then my previous one was based on the fact that the previous one to that was also errant. We have an infinitely repeating pattern with no starting point. The only way one is born in this logic is that one has not lived correctly in the previous life. But at some point, I had to be born. Which means I was born with a flaw to start this whole process. So according to Buddhism, we are all put here because we are flawed. So my flawed birth was not of my choosing, which suggests that my getting out of this cycle might not also be of my choosing. (I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself clearly. I would love to receive clarification on this topic.)

  119. #119 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    it seems to be based on an inherently flawed logic.

    sigh

  120. #120 Rodney
    March 16, 2009

    Maybe, instead of “Creationists”, we need to start referring to these people as “Evolution Deniers”. You know; like “Holocaust Deniers”. That would help stress the fact that they’re denying a fact.

  121. #121 jimmiraybob
    March 16, 2009

    But jimmiraybob, God wrote the Bible, and he was there, and he never lies… – AdamK

    Drats, foiled again.

  122. #122 Porky Pine
    March 16, 2009

    I stopped at about 9 minutes. This was when she was trying to explain how she doesn’t “interpret” the Bible. But, I didn’t stop because I couldn’t take anymore, I was finding it difficult to hear anything over the noise of people coming in. Couldn’t they think of a better place to hold this interview than in the cafeteria?

  123. #123 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    After the bacon thread, I didn’t think I could love you more.
    You are the wind beneath my wings.

    I wish I could claim I coined that phrase, but I didn’t. Not sure where I heard it first but thanks!

  124. #124 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    So, Remi — You think progress is impossible because events are determined by their causes, and THAT’s your problem with reincarnation?

    Really.

    But consciousness survives neurological death, so reincarnation is plausible enough to argue against in this roundabout manner. I see.

    Do go on.

  125. #125 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @AdamK
    “And Remi, when you’re taking Jesus as your moral exemplar, please try to refrain from blasting any fig trees or beating up any bankers. Thanks.”

    Fig trees: metaphor (expressing one thing in terms normally denoting another)
    Beating up any bankers: only the CEOs of AIG et al. No, but seriously, Jesus was trying to clear house because these people had turned the temple into a place to make money. In other words, Jesus would not be fond of a lot of televangelists today.

  126. #126 Josh
    March 16, 2009

    …we need to start referring to these people as “Evolution Deniers”.

    Bingo. That’s exactly the way I’ve been starting to refer to them.

  127. #127 Tark
    March 16, 2009

    Thanks SteveM @ #113. That made my day. May have to run with that idea and really shake up a few literalists.

    Also,
    My observation is that Shermer plays for the long objective, not the immediate takedown. The garrote can be applied so that the victim barely notices ….

    Tax Religion.
    Tark

  128. #128 Baby Jesus
    March 16, 2009

    Doesn’t she look like an uglier, crazier version of the mom from Malcolm in the Middle? http://www.nndb.com/people/444/000025369/

  129. #129 Lowell
    March 16, 2009

    Remi,

    Those are pretty bad analogies, if you think about it. There is a lot of evidence for the Roman Empire and Ashurbanipal. Architecture, artifacts, contemporary texts.

    The resurrection of (or even the existence of) Jesus? Not so much. Nothing contemporary, in fact. I’m sure you can see the problem there.

    I appreciate that you’re trying to be flexible and not dogmatic, but your assertion that you’re “just stating the facts as found in the Bible” doesn’t jibe with that very well. That’s assuming what you’ve set out to prove, or “begging the question.” It’s also very preachy.

    As for your willingness to give up your beliefs in things that are “proven to be false”–a Noachian flood, for example—that’s admirable.

    I’d suggest a different test, though. Why don’t you believe in only those parts of the Bible that are supported by evidence? That’s probably the reasoning you apply to most things in your life. It works pretty well, doesn’t it?

  130. #130 D'oh!
    March 16, 2009

    Remi–

    What you appear to be saying boils down to this: “Don’t listen to those other Christians–I have the correct, true way of interpreting the Bible.”

    So, here is a simple, muliple choice question for you. What do you think our reaction wil be?

    a). OMG! Thanks to Remi, we finally have the true key to the Bible that will unlock True Christianity!
    b). (Collective eye rolling) Where have we heard that before?

  131. #131 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Remi – first of all, thanks for your input. I think I understand where you’re coming from. I also see a lot of good things in the Jesus story, but unlike you I don’t read them as actual factual events. I take Gandhi’s position: “I like your Christ but I don’t like your Christians”.

    For example: here is a list of biblical contradictions in the Resurrection story. There are plenty of other discrepancies too, such as how Judas met his end.

    Now you may dismiss these as trivialities, but for something so important and central to Christianity, how come these contradictions exist at all?

    And then there are the uncanny resemblences between Jesus and Mithras (amongst others). Mithras was apparently born on December 25th, performed miracles during his lifetime, and was “resurrected” three days after his death. (And we can already be 99.9% certain that Jesus was NOT born on that date!)

    I have long ago come to the conclusion that the entire Jesus story, nice and comforting as it is, is an amalgamation of several even older “saviour” stories that were around at the time. Jesus the man may well have really existed (although the non-biblical evidence is wafer thin), and may have been a good person with good intentions (despite him apparently saying “I come not to bring peace, but with a sword”!), but after his death these older myths were attributed to him by his followers. The evidence all points to that conclusion. BTW I was brought up as a Roman Catholic in the UK, but lost my faith gradually as I learned more and more about the religion that was foisted upon me at a young age.

  132. #132 recovering catholic
    March 16, 2009

    People like Purdom must be paid vast sums by aig and the discovery institute to prostitute themselves like this. That’s the only viable explanation.

  133. #133 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Remi — So, slaughtering animals to placate an invisible tyrant = a good thing, but is sullied by capitalism, which = a bad thing.

    These are the values by which you are impressed.

    And are you saying that Jesus didn’t actually use his magic wizard powers to kill the fig tree, and this part of the story is fiction, or that he did hex the innocent tree for no reason but to make an obscure point?

  134. #134 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    @AdamK

    As I said in conclusion, I’m not claiming scholarship on the ins and outs of Buddhism.
    I’m not saying that events aren’t caused. As far as I can tell, Buddhism rests upon the idea that we are born with desires that do not allow us to reach Nirvana. Where do these desires come from? According to this, I am born with desires inherited from a previous life. But, I am supposedly unaware of this previous life, yet I am responsible. I just don’t understand that. And, no I don’t believe that consciousness survives neurological death. (At least, not so that it can return to a new body and start all over.) I know, I know, souls, spirits. I’m in the deep end. Someone drown me now.
    Again, if someone wants to “school” me, I would welcome the lesson.

  135. #135 God Himself
    March 16, 2009

    “And BOOM you have all these different creatures”

    Now that’s a scientific sentence if I ever heard one.

  136. #136 raven
    March 16, 2009

    He got a “researcher” at the Creation Museum to admit that she doesn’t bother to perform experimental science.

    Yes, but we already knew that. A Ph.D. for a creationist is just a dead end.

    Which brings up the point, what do they do all day? They certainly aren’t running gels or sequencing DNA or labeling proteins. I guess some of them just teach lies to students at various pseudo-universities and flea bitten bible colleges. Or just sit around with framed piece of paper on the wall and look all sciency and stuff.

    Must get pretty boring. Since their 2 pages of bronze age mythology hasn’t changed in thousands of years, they just repeat old stories that everyone heard in sunday school over and over.

  137. #137 AnthonyK
    March 16, 2009

    Well she convinced me and I’m notoriously skeptical.
    I hope that Josh, in particular, never sees this because the pain of seeing his naive beliefs crumble would surely be too much to bear.
    On the minus side, I will miss his eloquent geological takedown of what I must now call Creation Science, without irony.
    On the plus side, as a creationist he will at least provide them with a formidable Pharynguloid mouthpiece.
    I’ll kind of miss him on the side of rationalism and knowledge, but I’ll applaud him from my new stance.
    Ooops – my bad, he has seen it. Well, I note that his post was very short. Licking his wounds, no doubt.

  138. #138 Fire Ant
    March 16, 2009

    Regarding her degree and time at the University, she must have had to pass several courses that dealt with evolution and natural selection directly, and so assume she passed those classes. Did she flat out answer written essays about evolution the “way the teacher wanted” just to pass the courses, obviously not caring for science at all? Why get a PhD then?

  139. #139 MZ
    March 16, 2009

    “We wouldn’t do that because we know there’s no point in doing that, because the Bible has the answer.”

    Whenever I hear lines like this I am reminded of a snippet of dialog from “Inherit the Wind” which, I believe, was taken from the transcript of the Scopes trial:

    Brady (Bryan): I do not think about things that I …do not think about.

    Drummond (Darrow): Do you ever think about things that you do think about?

    MZ

  140. #140 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Remi: I’m going to stop trying to annoy you, since you’re getting it from all sides. I like your posts and I don’t want you to be driven hence just because you believe nonsense. Thanks.

  141. #141 Jeeves
    March 16, 2009

    If a doctor went to Harvard Medical but practiced the “drill hole in head to rid the soul of demons” theory, they would be disbarred and prevented from working in the field again. How is this any different? She is giving people the idea that YEC is compatible with the science involved in recieving an advanced scientific degree.(Or a B.A. or any kind of reputable science for that matter.)She is a charlatan who preys on the uneducated. Her research is a sham. How is Ohio State not without bounds to do something? At the very least, release a statement that disowns her and her views.

  142. #142 Sigmund
    March 16, 2009

    Fernando Magyar, PhDs are granted on the production of a thesis of original research and the public (or private, depending on the local custom) defense of the results produced in these research papers. Science progresses on the basis of peer reviewed and defensible results, not in the belief or non-belief in a particular idea. If every PhD candidate was a raving creationist science would still progress under the current system as long as they played by the rules – as this woman and that Liberty University, Ross paleontologist fellow seem to have done.

  143. #143 Fire Ant
    March 16, 2009

    Raven, exactly! The wonder of science is the thrill of new discovery, adventure and learning. When I read about the unearthing of the Tiktallik fossil, that was exciting, and so when Georgia reads the same article, her reaction is…..what? Scorn? Fear? A “digging in” of dogma? A damn shame, all around…..

  144. #144 Ray S.
    March 16, 2009

    Remi@109

    When I read the Bible, I try to maintain an objective viewpoint. I don’t know what was meant when the words were written, so it is my goal to gain a deeper understanding of what I read.

    We also don’t know what the original words were, who wrote them, when they wrote them or why they wrote them. Given so few facts about the story of someone allegedly so special, why would you trust a story to be true that is so discordant with reality as you know it?

  145. #145 Kraes85
    March 16, 2009

    Yep. That’s pretty stupid and I feel a burning sensation.

  146. #146 Mike K
    March 16, 2009

    How the hell did Shermer keep a straight face?
    Man, I am impressed by his politeness and patience. Really impressed.

    And if Shermer wasn’t in it I would have to call POE.

  147. #147 AJS
    March 16, 2009

    Elwood @ #80,

    Exactly. My favourite one for making YECs squirm is to ask them about rainbows: How did God ensure there was no such thing as a rainbow before the Flood? I’ve heard a few answer that there was no rain before the Flood. Counter with: So, if someone had placed a large pan of water over a fire some time before the Flood and then slapped a lid over the pan, does that mean there would have been no condensation on the inside of the lid?

    The more we can show up the Bible for the obvious bollocks (although it might have seemed just vaguely plausible, to a particularly backward Middle Eastern goat-herding race in the Bronze Age) that it is, the better.

  148. #148 CJO
    March 16, 2009

    No, but seriously, Jesus was trying to clear house because these people had turned the temple into a place to make money. In other words, Jesus would not be fond of a lot of televangelists today.

    This is a common interpretation, but in my view it’s wrong. First of all, like just about every other passage in the passion narratives, there is an Old Testament reference, to Zechariah 14, which Mark is using as a prophetic proof text: “There shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord of Hosts on that day”. And then there’s the “den of robbers” bit. Note that their “den” is not where robbers do their robbing, it is a place of refuge. In Mark, “robber” or “thief” should always be read as “rebel” or “bandit.” Mark’s Jesus is condemning the Temple heirarchy and the people of Judea for supporting the Zealots in their ultimately disastrous revolt against Rome 66-70 CE.

  149. #149 Jadehawk
    March 16, 2009

    I’m mildly intrigued by those mysterious dating-methods that supposedly prove the world to be younger than 4.5 Gyrs.

    I bet one of them is “because the bible says so”

  150. #150 robotaholic
    March 16, 2009

    I <3 Michael Shermer

  151. #151 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Remi, I don’t want to annoy you either, you sound like a good debater. I just thought I’d give you a bone to chew on. It can get a great deal more aggressive in here though; I’m only a featherweight amongst some real flesh-ripping carnivours on Pharyngula – I’m the skinny one at the back going “yeah – come on if you think you’re ‘ard enough!”

  152. #152 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    “I, robotabholic”

    I always liked Asimov too.

  153. #153 jimvj
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t think Shermer asked her why she thinks that “the Bible” is the word of God. The reason I put quotes there
    is that there is no objective definition of a bible.
    Certainly, no bible – of any christian sect – defines itself.

    Remi, you should ask yourself that question too.
    Note that Jesus never asked his apostles to write down
    what he said. The four gospels were most probably written
    by people who never saw Jesus. They were selected (~380 AD
    at the Council of Rome) from among several gospels;
    similarly, the canonical tenets of Christianity were
    decided at the Council of Nicea in ~321 AD – by VOTE.

    The concept of a bible was essential to the heirarchical
    organization – the church in Rome. They needed
    to establish themselves as the keepers of the only “true”
    form of Christianity. So they decided what was canonical
    and they went on a spree destroying all other versions of
    gospels, epistles, and apocalypses (eg Revelations).

    Martin Luther, in order to supplant the authority of the
    Roman church, redefined the bible. But in doing so, he
    exposed the glaring fault with the very concept of a
    single bible: there is just no unique way to define a bible.
    He could not decide if “Revelations” belonged in the bible.

    Read books by Randel McCraw Helms and Bart Ehrman to
    learn more.

  154. #154 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Aargh – Carnivo. I am my own spelling/grammar patrol.

  155. #155 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Aargh x2 – Carnivore. Apparently I suck at HTML too!

  156. #156 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 16, 2009

    I always liked Asimov too.

    The guy with the side burns and bolo tie, and who takes up an oversized amount of my bookshelves?

  157. #157 Jaycubed
    March 16, 2009

    There is this constant noise from the “evolution deniers” that “modern science” conspires to promote evolution while denigrating “evidence” of creation/ID.

    But if you compare the literature published by both conventional peer reviewed science and “Creation Scientists” you’ll find evidence of something quite different.

    I am struck by the repetitiveness of the Creationist/ID ideas. In the same way that “talking points”, or the strict repetition of selected/approved words/concepts, replaced actual discourse in news & politics during the past decade or so; script reading has become the Creationist/ID Modus Operandi. Each “paper” presented by such pseudo-scientists looks like every other one due to the prevailing talking point. Right now we have repeated “papers” being presented on “Natural Evil” and predatory, pathogenic & parasitic behaviors being due to “The Fall”. Some are obviously cut & paste jobs as evidenced by identical phrases & copied sections of text. The occasional typo copy is a dead giveaway.

    Compare that with sites such as Science Daily and you’ll find a huge variety of peer-reviewed science on a vast number of unrelated topics.

    Such evidence, along with the formal statements of intent published by their various “Institutes”, supports the proposition that Creationists/IDers ARE engaged in a conspiracy to promote selected ideas promoting a cause. This is, of course, what they claim about “Science”.

    Science’s “agenda” is to follow all evidence wherever it leads with review by disinterested or even hostile parties.

    The Creationists/IDer “Agenda” is to promote a specific religious belief without any external review or criticism.

  158. #158 AnthonyK
    March 16, 2009

    Remi – nice to see a post from a an unapologetic Christian – I hope this is also true in a theological sense.
    Please though, if you’re going to post here:
    Don’t suddenly drop in a few apparently profound but really unbelievably stupid “questions” about evolution. These are invariably followed by the “surprising” revelation that the poster really was a Creationist all along.
    If you do that – and we know all the signs, you’ll be ripped to shreds. The fact that you would be just another lying Christian apologist entitles you to no mercy.
    Assuming you aren’t one of those unevolved lumps of slime, perhaps you could answer this question:
    You say you are a “Bible believing” Christian – shouldn’t that be a “Bible Interpreting” Christian, or a “Broadly Bible Accepting” Christian? From what you said, you don’t believe the Bible is literally true – so it’s just your interpretation – correct? Now how do you know that, even within Christianity, which one is the right Christainity. Hey, I bet, it turns out to be the one you personally profess! How fortunate! And you were probably raised in just this version, or a close approximation to it. But how do you know you’ve got the right Christ?
    This important – after all, in the middle ages tens of thousands of Christians were tortured to death because they would not accept that the host was the literal body of Christ – so how come you know you picked up the correct theology book?

  159. #159 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    Well it seems I’ve stirred the hornet’s nest. Which is understandable given the nature of the topic. Again, let me return to my original statement: I do not agree with what this woman believes. Science and religion can coexist, but there is a lot of dialogue that needs to occur before that can happen. I’ve just looked over the thread, and seen that I have been addressed on many issues. I’ll do my best to respond to all of them.

    @D’oh
    “a). OMG! Thanks to Remi, we finally have the true key to the Bible that will unlock True Christianity!
    b). (Collective eye rolling) Where have we heard that before?”
    Point taken. I was just trying to share, due to some of the inquiries, how I understand things. I’m not here to convince any of you. If, by sharing, you find yourself asking some questions, that’s great. It’s what I do too. That’s all.

    @Elwood
    Thanks for that list. I’ve read through those points, and believe me, it’s tough to explain. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s my place to pretend being able to justify all of those points. As for the Jesus/Mithras link, I agree with you. December 25th was not Jesus birth day, and many of the traditions found within Christianity find their basis from outside of the Bible.

    @Lowell
    “I appreciate that you’re trying to be flexible and not dogmatic, but your assertion that you’re “just stating the facts as found in the Bible” doesn’t jibe with that very well. That’s assuming what you’ve set out to prove, or “begging the question.” It’s also very preachy.”

    You’re right. Looking back at it now, that is some pretty circular reasoning. But, if I may, Christianity (and any religion for that matter) eventually comes to a point where more than fact is needed. I believe what I read, based on my understanding of things, and it works for me. I can’t point you to anything specific. It’s so much more than that. Again, it’s my belief, according to what I’ve come to. You’d have to walk in my shoes to know why I believe as I do. And, sorry about being preachy. I don’t mean to sound condescending.

    @AdamK
    God actually says in the Old Testament that he doesn’t desire the sacrifices. He wants a relationship with the people. And, no I didn’t mean that Jesus didn’t blast the tree. He did, but it was to prove a point.

    I think that’s it. I’m sorry if I’ve been derailing this discussion. I meant to simply state that I stand on the skeptics side when it comes to the Creationist argument, but I should have seen this coming. It’s okay though. It’s made me think about some things, and I see that I still have a lot of learning to do.
    Thank you to everyone for their comments and questions. I’m going to take off now to eat, so if I don’t respond, it’s not because I’m dodging, I’m simply away from my computer.
    Ta ta.

  160. #160 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    AJS – Like it. I hadn’t heard that one before.

    But speaking of water, where did it all come from in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at Genesis (no not the Phil Collins one):

    1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    So, Bible fans: Who made the “waters”?

    (Hope I got the blockquote right this time.)

  161. #161 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Ruddy blockquotes. I never get them right when there’s more than one paragraph. PZ, can you do something about that?

    1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

  162. #162 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    Okay, last one. For real.

    @AnthonyK
    I don’t believe in an entirely literal interpretation of the Bible, especially when it comes to Genesis and Revelation. My view of Christianity is exactly that: my view. There is a reason it is called a personal relationship with God. As I posted earlier, I was raised in the Catholic tradition, but soon realized that much of the trappings of that system were not what I read of in the Bible. As for the Christ. Well, what can I say? You’ve got me. I belive in Jesus the Christ as I understand him to be according to my limited understanding of his life and his legacy. There’s a reason the people who followed him were first known as his disciples. I am a student constantly learning as I go. As for the millions who died in the name of God, though it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, I am sorry for that. I know that there is nothing godly about the way we have treated each other in the name of religion, especially when it comes to Jesus. All I know is that I try to live in a way that will be beyond reproach, before men and God. But, it’s a process. I’ve got a long way to go.
    Did I answer all of your questions?

  163. #163 Remi
    March 16, 2009

    You guys are trapping me!!!! :)

    Water is a molecule made of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Those atoms probably came to earth in its primordial history from the cosmic furnaces of the heavens: stars.

  164. #164 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t believe in an entirely literal interpretation of the Bible, especially when it comes to Genesis and Revelation

    How do you chose what parts to take literally?

  165. #165 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    Thanks Remy, it’s been interesting. Do come back.

  166. #166 Dustin R
    March 16, 2009

    To answer someone else, Georgia actually did legitimate research on transcriptional regulation during bone development in a very high profile lab here at OSU. It is a huge embarrassment to our department. I’m not sure that she was “out” as a creationist while working in the lab, but I could find out.

  167. #167 JD
    March 16, 2009

    She starts off with endearing stupidity and picks up the pace towards pernicious insanity within minutes. Well done young lady, well done!

  168. #168 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Rev BDC — The part about Jesus blasting the fig tree was literal, because it’s not at all unscientific to believe in magical wizard powers.

    (The bibble doesn’t say whether he whipped out the Elder Wand and went “Reducto!” and smithereened the tree, or if he just went “Avada Kedavra” and drained out its magic life-force, but it was probably one of those.)

  169. #169 Gra
    March 16, 2009

    She’s right about one thing (at about 5:00)when she gives her opinion on liberal christians, like the ones who have posted here to tell us about their embarrassment over people like her:

    “… if we believe scripture is true when it talks about the resurrection and the virgin birth…science may say those things can’t happen either…. they’re being very inconsistent when they believe one part of the scripture but not another part of the scripture…”

    What’s the basis for accepting some supernatural claims but not others?

  170. #170 Newfie
    March 16, 2009

    Remi @49
    No scientific evidence can prove or disprove God.

    agreed, it’s impossible to prove that nothing exists, we can only be mostly sure because of lack of evidence. I haven’t seen or heard any convincing argument for the existence of pink unicorns, so I dismiss the possibility of their existence, though there may be plenty of literature and unprovable eyewitness accounts of pink unicorns.

    Remi@109
    No, just stating the facts as found in the Bible.

    Just because you believe something, doesn’t not make it fact.
    Show me some historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. I have yet to find any… the few lines of Josephus have been shown to be a forgery. I believe that Saul of Tarsis created the Jesus character. Later writers borrowed other traditional Son/Sun God myths, and applied them to the Jesus character. And the writers also threw in a little bit of history and real historical figures to give their writings some legitimacy.
    You’d call The Massacre of the Innocents under Herod, a fact, because it is written in the New Testament. Yet, this event never happened, and wasn’t written by anybody of the time. I’d call it a play to equate Jesus with Moses, in an allegory of leading people to the promised land, or in Jesus’ case, salvation.
    It’s actually quite interesting to see numerous stories attributed to Jesus, and then to find out that most of these stories were directly borrowed from other religions around the Mediterranean at the time and earlier.
    12 Disciples, water to wine, healing the sick, raising the dead, “lamb of god”, “I am the way, the light”, battling Satan in the dessert, crucifixion, crown of thorns, walking on water, loaves and fishes…. et. al.
    Everything that I was taught about a supposed real living human in Judea, were all plagiarisms which are easily shown.

    just thought I’d point out those facts.

  171. #171 Billy Whiskers
    March 16, 2009

    I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid spending eternity with people like Georgia Pudrom.

  172. #172 AnthonyK
    March 16, 2009

    Well it seems I’ve stirred the hornet’s nest.
    Oh, that’s not the hornet’s nest – it’s a little more to the left….no, no, behind that one…
    Evil fuckers, nature dept. link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Hornet
    Beat that!

  173. #173 AnthonyK
    March 16, 2009

    Well it seems I’ve stirred the hornet’s nest.

    Oh, that’s not the hornet’s nest – it’s a little more to the left….no, no, behind that one…
    Evil fuckers, nature dept. link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Hornet
    Beat that!

  174. #174 Bone Oboe
    March 16, 2009

    Could anyone please post a link to the video? My browser hasn’t been doing so hot with imbeded video clips.

    Thanks.

  175. #175 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    Weasels and hornets get no respect around here.

  176. #176 The Biologista
    March 16, 2009

    Posted by: Pascalle | March 16, 2009 12:00 PM

    …I can’t help but feel sorry for people like that. I wish they would open their eyes and really look at the world.. and history, and biology.

    Frankly, I reckon its a pretty strong instinct for these people to flee from that knowledge. If this woman were suddenly to fully understand how it all really works, I don’t think she’d survive the experience. A shame she feels the need to spread her delusion, I can’t imagine her terminally fearful sort represent a very large portion of the general population. Though perhaps I am being overly optimistic.

  177. #177 Jadehawk
    March 16, 2009

    Weasels and hornets get no respect around here.

    neither do nuts

  178. #178 Brendan White
    March 16, 2009

    At one point she said that you don’t use Greek to interpret Hebrew, then she came back and said you don’t interpret you just read, why bother to say not to use Greek at all?

  179. #179 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    I don’t know if Remy is still around but no matter. It seems to me though that as far as the bible is concerned, if you start to pick & choose what you want to believe out of it, what is your criterion based on? It has to be all or nothing as I see it, and since the book is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions, the only option left is “nothing”. If parts of it can be discarded, then what of the integrity of any of it?

    The same goes for morality; nobody nowadays believes that slavery is good, or stoning your own children is an effective punishment for disobeying their parents, so anyone who claims to take their morality from the bible is lying, plain and simple. But once you start to pick and choose (as you inevitably must), what is your moral compass for your choice? Your morality ultimately has to come from the society you live in and the people around you; not from any book, and certainly not from the Bible. There are some very good guidelines to be found there; certainly in the Gospels as Remy pointed out, but there are also plenty of horrific tales that totally counteract all that. So, it’s a matter of basic common sense and human instinct trumping biblical morality and teachings, and not the other way round.

    (Interesting that doing a Google search on the one word “inconsistencies” turns up this page as the top choice!

  180. #180 CJO
    March 16, 2009

    I believe that Saul of Tarsis created the Jesus character.

    It’s Tarsus. And, no, he didn’t invent any characters (though I agree with you that the character was an invention). If Paul invented anything, it was a theological justification for including Gentiles among “the elect” who were to be saved in Christ. Paul makes it plain that a Jewish proto-Christianity predated his conversion, as he recounts that he had persecuted the church, and he felt the need to go to Jerusalem to talk to the leaders there, who certainly were not converted by him. “The Jesus character” was likely an idea floating around at the time, inspired by midrashic interpretations of various OT texts like the suffering servant of Isaiah. Its “invention” was a process, carried out by many individuals over decades, and a historicized, narrative gospel set in the time of Pilate (Mark) didn’t appear until after Paul’s death. I submit that Paul and his contemporaries had no concept of Jesus as a recent near contemporary, but conceived of his earthly existence as an obscure martyrdom in the relatively distant (and hence mythical) past.

  181. #181 Phrogge
    March 16, 2009

    Oooooh, I have proof there IS a Benevolent Being taking a kindly action to preserve my sanity: In the very midst of my viewing the video, with my brain being overwhelmingly persuaded by what’s-her-face’s cogent arguments that Darwinism is teh Eeevol and the earth is teh yung, there was a sudden cessation of sound and an announcement that This Video Is No Longer Available. Miraculously my senses have been returned! Thank thee, O great green arkleseizure!

  182. #182 Michael
    March 16, 2009

    I always find that the interviewer in these types of interviews is far too kind, and doesn’t push the hard questions.

    Shermer asked her about Jews, and other people that hadn’t accepted Jesus. He never pushed the question that “Every religion thinks it is the only true one, and everyone else is going to be damned. They can’t all be right. How do you know that yours is the right one? Why is it that most people follow the religion of their parents? Why do you believe what you believe other than you were told by your parents, family, and others who believe the same thing?”

    As PZ pointed out, he also didn’t call her on her “facts” from the Bible that are her interpretations. Why didn’t her follow up on her dating arguments. If our assumptions are wrong, all the different dating methods would have come up with different answers not a close cluster. What was she talking about regarding dating Mt. St. Helen’s? Of course the rock/ash that was ejected was older than the eruption, just like if you blew up the pyramids they would be dated at the same age they are now. Can anyone explain this?

  183. #183 Julie Stahlhut
    March 16, 2009

    If a doctor went to Harvard Medical but practiced the “drill hole in head to rid the soul of demons” theory, they would be disbarred and prevented from working in the field again.

    IANAL, but here’s how I understand it, at least in the U.S.:

    If a physician commits gross malpractice, that physician’s license to practice can be revoked by the medical board. An attorney can also be disbarred for various forms of malfeasance. But the medical board does not rescind the incompetent physician’s medical degree, and the state bar does not rescind the errant lawyer’s law degree. Perhaps it is possible for a medical or law school to do so, but this is a rare occurrence and would probably require proof that the person obtained the degree fraudulently (rather than using it in a fraudulent or incompetent manner.)

    Since most academic Ph.D.s have jobs that don’t require professional licensure, it’s difficult for anyone to rescind anything in a way that has meaningful consequences. It can happen: The University of Konstanz, in Germany, revoked Jan Hendrik Schön’s doctoral degree in physics, because Schön had committed research fraud that almost certainly extended back to his student days. But proving “fraud” in a case where a person fabricated not data, but her entire attitude towards science, would probably be nearly impossible.

    Georgia Purdom has gotten away with a stunning display of stealth ignorance. Just one more depressing caveat emptor in the marketplace of ideas … ugh.

  184. #184 Elwood
    March 16, 2009

    battling Satan in the dessert…

    Mmmm… strawberry fool.

  185. #185 Acitta
    March 16, 2009

    Remi,
    you have an incorrect understanding of Buddhist doctrine. According to the Buddhist world view, we are stuck in the cycle of birth and death because of ignorance. We are ignorant of the impermanence and interrelatedness of all things. This results in us trying to hold on to what lacks inherent existence, including the idea of a soul or eternal self. Nirvana is the ultimate “realization” of the “emptiness” of the self. Karma is not sinfulness in the western Judeo-Christian sense, since there is no ultimate entity or god to sin against. The work “karma” simply means “action”. All actions have effects. Actions done out of ignorance ultimately have effects that we do not anticipate, producing suffering. Rebirth is not punishment (since there is no ultimate self to be punished in the first place), but the result of ignorance. Read this Wikipedia article, for further “enlightenment”.

  186. #186 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    That’s why Christian morality is such absolute crap. It’s based on a really horrible “moral” system to begin with — one that utterly devalues human beings. (As when the asshat in the video belittles her own child and rants about the Sin of Pride that ruins us all and the Original Sin that makes us all have to apologize constantly.)

    There is no use for Christian “morality” at all. The only half decent part is the Golden Rule (universal to human cultures) and the bits about loving thy neighbor and being kind to widows and orphans. Christianity is an immoral belief system and contrary to human decency.

  187. #187 hje
    March 16, 2009

    I would say I feel sorry for her, but I don’t. She will muddy the thinking of thousands, even inspiring others to exceed her in stupidity. She will likely live a long life and die dumber than the day she was born.

    “No one is innocent.” Wow, by her thinking little children are nasty little sinners and go to hell after they die of cancer. And don’t even ask about the Jewish kids that died in concentration camps (out of temporal misery, and straight into eternal torture).

    She is in the same class as Fred Phelps and Ray Comfort, nasty little people who worship the greatest evil as the greatest good. It’s bad enough they believe this kind of dreck, but unfortunately it influences the way they treat other people. Evil becomes them.

  188. #188 Phrogge
    March 16, 2009

    NOOOOOOOOO! Alas, the glitch was a mere spasm rather than a seizure of sanity, and that Voice has returned from the Void, bringing the void with it. And humungous helpings of burning Stupid.

    I flee to the safety of bacon.

  189. #189 Newfie
    March 16, 2009

    I’ve got 18 tabs, IM, and an email group going! Give the dumb Newf a break on the spelling and/or typos. :p

    hat tip to CJO, who seems to know the subject matter very well.

  190. #190 Patricia, OM
    March 16, 2009

    The gawd of the old testament doesn’t desire sacrifices… hum. Perhaps you should review Deuteronomy chapter 12 Remi. Then for an older version of sacrifice read page 19 in Hesiod’s Theogony.

  191. #191 AdamK
    March 16, 2009

    See, when Mt. St. Helens erupted the rocks were BRAND NEW because the earth is a flat rectangle held up above The Waters by pillars, and God was hiding underneath it, just for a lark, farting Brand New Rocks upward, just to disprove the devil’s scientific dating methods.

    And we know this because God Never Lies.

  192. #192 Tulse
    March 16, 2009

    As far as I can tell, Buddhism rests upon the idea that we are born with desires that do not allow us to reach Nirvana. Where do these desires come from? According to this, I am born with desires inherited from a previous life. But, I am supposedly unaware of this previous life, yet I am responsible. I just don’t understand that.

    As far as I can tell, Christianity rests upon the idea that we are born with original sin that does not allow us to reach Heaven. Where does this sin come from? According to this, I am born with this sin inherited from two people who lived thousands of years ago. But I did not commit this sin myself, yet I am responsible for it (as are newborn babies). I just don’t understand that.

  193. #193 Evolving Squid
    March 16, 2009

    STOP SHAKING THE FUCKING SALAD AND JUST EAT THE DAMN THING!!!!!!!!!!

    Salad tossing is an important ritual in certain kinds of Christianity.

    @remi

    Some will say that the Bible is not a historical text, but I believe many historians will have something to say about that.

    Indeed. Most will say that the Bible is naught but a story book with little historical foundation. Archaeological and documented historical evidence does not support very much of the Bible.

  194. #194 Brett
    March 16, 2009

    I love the screencap for this video.

  195. #195 Tristanm
    March 16, 2009

    @Remi – Go to http://www.atheist-experience.com/ take a look around, then call in during one of the weeks Matt D. is hosting.

  196. #196 raven
    March 16, 2009

    “… if we believe scripture is true when it talks about the resurrection and the virgin birth…science may say those things can’t happen either…. they’re being very inconsistent when they believe one part of the scripture but not another part of the scripture…”

    What’s the basis for accepting some supernatural claims but not others?

    Well, they do all do the same thing. The book is so riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies that they all do.

    1. The earth is flat and the sun orbits it.

    2. Pi is 3 and insects have 4 legs.

    3. Stoning disobedient children is mandatory but you can sell them as slaves.

    4. You can go to hell for eating shrimp, wearing mixed fabrics, or planting seeds of two different kinds in the same field.

    5. If you suspect your wife is sleeping around, take her to the temple. The priests will do some magic with a potion and she will come down with leprosy and malnutrition (thighs rotting and belly swelling) if she has. She will also end up sterile.

    6. Salvation in the NT is by faith, faith and good works, or good works depending on which chapter you read. There is nothing in the bible about abortion, evolution, or believing 2 pages of mythology explains the universe.

    7. In genesis, after god kills everyone but 8 people, he promises to never do it again, twice in fact. We learn in John’s excellent drug trip, Revelations, that god is going to show up again and kill everyone.

    All xians pick and choose among all the weird stuff in the bible. Including the wacko AIG toads. And anyone who actually followed the old testament laws these days would be doing multiple life sentences for a variety of crimes.

  197. #197 Marcus J. Ranum
    March 16, 2009

    Science and religion can coexist

    Yup. If you discard every claim about observable reality religion coexists just fine. But so does a comic book.

  198. #198 LadyH
    March 16, 2009

    I’m not sure where it was in the video exactly, but did anyone else hear her say that if god didn’t focus on us, we’d all disappear? She basically said that god forgetting us just a little bit is what’s caused our downfall and if he were to turn away we’d all go poof.

  199. #199 raven
    March 16, 2009

    The BS about Mt. St. Helens current eruption being dated old is just a creationist lie. A couple of creos did some dating without having any idea how to actually do geochronology. FWIW, goechronology is complicated and very smart people have spent decades getting it up and running.

    So they came up with some unreliable dates. One of the artifacts of dating is that eruptions frequently incorporate older material in a pyroclastic flow. So when you date them, you find when they were last melted instead.

    This is a common well known artifact. It is something to watch out for and control for. And if you date Mt. St. Helens using standard methodology, it turns out to have been recent. Which we already knew from the newspapers.

    In other words, Purdom is just using a standard creationist tactic. She is LYING.

    It’s funny how they will quote mine and pick and choose odd bits of science, including stuff they make up. And then, if you point out the overwhelming evidence from science that they are wrong, they retreat into mumbling about the literal bible.

  200. #200 Josh
    March 16, 2009

    What was she talking about regarding dating Mt. St. Helen’s? Of course the rock/ash that was ejected was older than the eruption, just like if you blew up the pyramids they would be dated at the same age they are now. Can anyone explain this?

    I haven’t seen the whole thing (including that part) and can’t right now, so cannot comment much on what she might have been going on about.

    In general, though, your pyramid analogy is partly right, but partly wrong. If you blew up the pyramids, then the material that made up the pyramids wouldn’t date to the date of the explosion, it would be older. It had just been messed around with on the day of the explosion. Mt. St. Helens is like if you wanted to blow up a pyramid with a giant mud cannon that was buried in the earth below the pryamid’s base and aimed up toward the top. The mud from the cannon would be splashed around on the day of the blast and would start drying on that day (the drying is analogous to the setting of the atomic clock when minerals crystalize out of a magma melt or crystalize into glass during a blast eruption). The material making up the pyramids wouldn’t change its age; it would just be moved around.

    The material that made up the mountain prior to the explosion would be older than the explosion (because it was crystalized/deposited during prior eruptions (this is the material that the pyramids were built out of)), but material brought up to the vent just prior to the eruption and ejected during the explosion would date to the date of the explosion if it’s magma that crystalized into glass/rock during the explosion (this is the mud in the cannon–this is the stuff you want to date if you’re trying to pin down the age of a particular eruption).

    The entire game, if you’re trying to date a particular eruption, is trying to figure out which material is which.

    I found this nice overview that, while technical, might still be understandable:

    http://www.obsidianlab.com/pdf/research_tephraproject_tephraintroduction.pdf

    Maybe that helps?

  201. #201 raven
    March 16, 2009

    I’m not sure where it was in the video exactly, but did anyone else hear her say that if god didn’t focus on us, we’d all disappear? She basically said that god forgetting us just a little bit is what’s caused our downfall and if he were to turn away we’d all go poof.

    Didn’t watch the video. Too busy and am eating lunch.

    None of that is in the bible. This woman is just wacko. She says the bible is not to be interpreted but just read. And then proceeds to make up a bunch of nonsense that has nothing to do with what the bible says.

    FWIW, Ham says his fake museum is not about evolution, it is to convert people. Well, really, in the short term it is more likely to deconvert more people. When xian becomes synonymous with Liar, Hater, Killer, and Brain Dead Wacko, who would want to be one? Who wants to pretend a pile of lies is reality.

    In the long term, it is certain to do so. The flat earthers are almost gone, the geocentrists are down to 20% of the population. The evolution deniers and their toxic Death Cults will follow someday.

  202. #202 BeamStalk
    March 16, 2009

    She said she is not interpreting the Bible, so my one question is where in the Bible does it say the Earth is around 6,000 years old? She can just point out that one passage and I will believe she is not interpreting anything.

  203. #203 islandchris
    March 16, 2009

    Well I made it through, but only by listening to it on another computer while working. I agree with the kudos to Shermer for his patience, and after dutifully reading this thread now have to get rid of images of “bukakeed with stupid”!

    However, there was one point in the conversation that Shermer didn’t pick up on, and I wonder if anyone can enlighten me: in discussing the putative age of the Earth, I thought she mentioned there were many different dating systems that give different ages. What dating method(s) did she have in mind that produce a 6,000 year old Earth – I mean apart from Biblical geneology.

  204. #204 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 16, 2009

    Don’t forget that sand tends to, you know, fall apart under water. Had there been a global flood, I doubt that structures built by the Egyptians would have survived.

    Huh? The ancient Egyptians didn’t build stuff out of sand. Do you mean sandstone? Sandstone doesn’t fall apart.

    It was written in the 12 century B.C. …8 thousand years before God created the universe.

    Oh, dude. A century is a hundred years, not a thousand — that’s a millennium!

    I simply look to Jesus as the Ultimate example of right living.

    So you might just as well be an Atheist For Jesus? One who admires Jesus the way an Epicurean would admire Epicurus?

    both old and new testaments clearly say that anything approaching a scientific investigation of matters of faith is sinful and forbidden.

    Except, of course, that the Old Testament contradicts itself on these matters, carefully describing several outright scientific experiments on precisely the existence and power of Yahwe: the stories with Gideon and the dew and the stories with Ezekiel, the 450 priests of Baal who were massacred when their hypothesis was disproved, and the burnt offerings.

    And (in my view), that poor deluded guy even became an atheist (yea! one of us!!) on the cross when he cried out “God, why have you gone from me?” as he realised that the god bit was all a big mistake and he was headed for nothingness.

    Nope. I’m told that’s a quote from a psalm (which I haven’t been able to find so far), which states very clearly that God is in fact there.

    Also, from Jesus, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

    What is finished?

    The verse doesn’t say, and the context doesn’t make it obvious either.

    The Bible speaks for itself, but DNA does not? What’s the rhetoric of DNA, rocks, plants?

    Rocks indeed. How ironic.

    Luke 19:

    39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
    40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

    to the original language (Aramaic?)

    Only for a part of the OT. The rest of the OT is mostly in Hebrew, with some books (all of which may count as apocryphal to Protestants, I don’t know) in Greek, and the entire NT is in Greek (Koiné of varying quality).

    Some will say that the Bible is not a historical text, but I believe many historians will have something to say about that.

    Everything before 2 Kings is completely forgettable as history, and so is much of the rest?

    the University of Vienna school of Veterinary Medicine

    No, the University of Veterinary Medicine. It’s a separate university that just happens to be in Vienna.

    This is becoming a common complaint against skeptics and “New Atheists”: they keep bringing a chessboard to a ball-kicking contest.

    Best description ever of why public debates with cdesign proponentsists are silly.

    And speaking of the flood, anyone ever point out to the creotards that it was an act of eugenics?. Yes, God was not happy with the way his pets were turning out, so he decides to drown all the bad ones keeping just the one family of “good” ones expecting their “goodness” to breed true in their descendants.

    How stupid of me not to have thought of this myself!

    As for Buddhism, it seems to be based on an inherently flawed logic.

    A peculiar claim from a Christian — concepts like the Trinity are explicitly and deliberately not based on any logic whatsoever at all! In an hour or something I’ll post a link to a work about the constant allusions to Epicureanism in the Pauline epistles. You’ll be surprised.

    Nirvana is achieved by living in such a way that we “escape” from this existence. We are trapped in this existence due to the fact that we did not live a “good” life in our previous one. Here’s the problem as I see it. If my current life is based on the fact that my previous one was errant, then my previous one was based on the fact that the previous one to that was also errant. We have an infinitely repeating pattern with no starting point. The only way one is born in this logic is that one has not lived correctly in the previous life. But at some point, I had to be born. Which means I was born with a flaw to start this whole process. So according to Buddhism, we are all put here because we are flawed. So my flawed birth was not of my choosing, which suggests that my getting out of this cycle might not also be of my choosing.

    Unlike original sin, karma is not supposed to be an either-or thing. The better you live your life, the higher the lifeform you’ll be born as next — and when there is nothing higher anymore, you reach nirvana. Real numbers, not just 0 and 1.

    may have been a good person with good intentions (despite him apparently saying “I come not to bring peace, but with a sword”!)

    I’ve always interpreted that as a lamentation, as an “is” statement, not an “ought” one.

    God actually says in the Old Testament that he doesn’t desire the sacrifices.

    Yes — after saying he does desire them.

    And, no I didn’t mean that Jesus didn’t blast the tree. He did, but it was to prove a point.

    Poor innocent fig tree, then. Reminds me of how Job’s children are massacred to prove a point to Job.

    And now the trick question for Remi (Rémi?).

    What does the Bible say about how to reach salvation? Which conditions are necessary, which are sufficient?

  205. #205 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 16, 2009

    “bukakeed with stupid”!

    No, islandchris, you don’t have the right to spell bukkake like that. Only the King of Typos does, whose name is Rev. BDC, KoT, OM.

    I submit that Paul and his contemporaries had no concept of Jesus as a recent near contemporary, but conceived of his earthly existence as an obscure martyrdom in the relatively distant (and hence mythical) past.

    Or perhaps distant in space, not time.

  206. #206 CJO
    March 16, 2009

    David: it’s Psalm 22

  207. #207 bunnycatch3r
    March 16, 2009

    Georgia Purdum deserves our support.
    She is intelligent, articulate, and most importantly honest. Unlike almost all of the ID charlatans we’ve dealt with in the past -she has nothing to hide! Although she is demonstrably wrong I give her high marks for her integrity.

  208. #208 Steve_C
    March 16, 2009

    Integrity? What are you smoking?

  209. #209 CJO
    March 16, 2009

    Or perhaps distant in space, not time.

    Yes, I’ve read Doherty’s stuff, and it’s quite thorough, I’ll give him that. But I lean toward “mythical” in the distant past sence over the cosmic sense, mostly because of creedal formulations like “born of a woman” in Galatians and others, where he seems to require that Jesus’s earthly existence was ordinary and unremarked upon at the time.

    The ancient mind is hard to fathom on points like this, though, which is why, I suppose, I find the whole question fascinating, in spite of myself.

  210. #210 OtherElwood
    March 16, 2009

    My Father in Law wants to take my four gifted, science-minded but young (ages 5 through 10) to the Creation “Museaum.” I already put my foot down, and this video has reinforced my position greatly. I consider myself a Christian, but if this is what Christianity is or has become, I’m going to have to reconsider whether to identify as Christian or even as theist.

  211. #211 Newfie
    March 16, 2009

    Oh, dude. A century is a hundred years, not a thousand — that’s a millennium!

    correct… I don’t know wtf I was thinking… it would have been after the Genesis Creation time of 6000 years ago… I must be suffering from senility today, or a case of the stupids…. maybe I’m possessed by a retarded ghost :p

  212. #212 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    David – Of course, Hebrew. I knew that, I just didn’t want to stop the conscious flow of my rant from brain to keyboard to put it right.

    Doesn’t alter the truth of my argument one jot though!

    And I’ve just checked back though the previous threads and came across your post concerning conditions for salvation. Very interesting. Must remember that one.

  213. #213 Marcus J. Ranum
    March 16, 2009

    if this is what Christianity is or has become, I’m going to have to reconsider whether to identify as Christian or even as theist.

    You slept through a lot of the 20th century, huh?

  214. #214 The Other Ian
    March 16, 2009

    I mean, if they actually were interested in *objectively looking at the world, we could settle the “Noah question” right here and now. All you’d have to is point out that, according to the Biblical chronologies, “THE FLOOD” would have taken place in around 2400 BC – merely point out that the Egyptians were in their 3rd dynasty at this time, with hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more) inhabiting the country – both before, during, and after around 2400 BC. Why weren’t THEY hurt?

    Waste of time, they’d just claim that the archaeological history is wrong, like this homeschooler does.

  215. #215 Elwood (the original)
    March 16, 2009

    My Father in Law wants to take my four gifted, science-minded but young (ages 5 through 10) to the Creation “Museaum.”

    Nooooooooooo!!!!!!

    Advice from Elwood I to Elwood II – don’t take those young impresionable minds anywhere NEAR that place! Seriously, you’ll be doing them a huge favour by treating the whole area as you would a nuclear spill site. Believe whatever you like, but please, don’t dump it on the children!

  216. #216 Patricia, OM
    March 16, 2009

    Why oh why did I go look up bukkake in the Urban Dictionary…

    Coming from the Chimp I just assumed it was bacon. *staggers off*

  217. #217 Phil T McNasty
    March 16, 2009

    For anyone who has not yet watched this video, learn from my mistake and DON’T drink milk while while watching, or you might spew it out of your nose.

  218. #218 DJ
    March 16, 2009

    PZ, you made it longer than I did… I could only watch for about 4 minutes before I had to turn it off.

    What an incredible idiot this “scientist” is! I can’t believe it is legal to misrepresent reality that way. Perhaps she should check herself, she may be bearing false witness and she certainly believes in that sort of thing.

    The St. Helens thing is easily explained and has been thoroughly debunked.

    The creationists requested a specific dating method be done on the sample…. the method used (shame on me for forgetting it) was a method that is inaccurate for material less than 250mil years old (guessing at actual numbers). That is why there are over 40 different types of dating, so that we can have redundancy and accuracy at given ranges. To say that the use of the wrong technique, without the use of others as well for the purpose of redundancy and verification, leads to an accurate proof of the inaccuracy of dating techniques is ignorant at best… a plain old lie at worst…. Damn creationists bearing false witness yet again.

  219. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    Sorry about that.

  220. #220 arachnophilia
    March 16, 2009

    PZ! you should know better! her point about christian scientists interpretting the text instead of reading it literally is entirely valid. i thought you were in the camp that holds that the two are mutually exclusive.

    “We know from scripture that the earth is no more than 6000 years old:. The bible says nothing of the kind. That is a product of peculiar interpretations of the book.

    well, it’s more like “arithmetic” than interpretation. although the arithmetic doesn’t always go so smoothly (there’s a rather large contradiction involving the time between the exodus and king david). but the “interpretation” here is that the bible is not speaking in gross metaphorical terms; that it was probably written as a literal story. good academic bible-as-literature study will back this up. the metaphorical day-age and gap interpretations of genesis 1 simply do not adequately fit the text, and betray certain functions of the text that a literal reading upholds.

    so, um, yes. the bible was (mostly) meant literally. and people who try to accept it and science are interpretting it away from the intentions of the authors. she’s absolutely right. of course, the problem is that she’s also absolutely wrong, because the bible is absolutely wrong. the bible is literal — just wrong. people who try to interpret it metaphorically are generally just trying to defend it as truthful.

  221. #221 D. Boyer
    March 16, 2009

    How might this charming woman explain light from stars that are very far away? I suppose they are all exactly 6,000 light years away.

    You find an astounding suspension of reality in a person like this. Stillborn fetuses and Jews in a gas chamber all go to hell since they didn’t accept Jesus. Incredible.

  222. #222 Kel
    March 16, 2009

    I’m going to need a few drinks to get through this one.

  223. #223 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    Patricia shocked? That’s rare.

    DJ: I knew there were a good few dating techniques, but over 40? Wow, Pharyngula truly is a house of learning (and that is with no trace of sarcasm btw.)

    And now that we appear to have two Elwoods as well as two Ians, I’ll use my full nym again for now. I’m the salt water variety, as I have been all along.

  224. #224 Jaycubed
    March 16, 2009

    1. The earth is flat and the sun orbits it.
    Posted by: Raven

    Actually, the bible never says the Earth is flat, merely that the Earth has “Four Corners” (Ezekiel 7:2, Isaiah 11:12).

    So, the alleged shape of the Earth is a Tetragon or Quadrangle. Not necessarily quadrilateral, rectangular or square as the angles and lengths are not defined. In fact, the lines could be curved rather than straight, as long as there are four angles/corners.

    Also, the bible never says the Sun & stars “orbit” the Earth, merely that they move across the sky above a “Fixed Earth” from East to West.

    http://www.fixedearth.com/sixty-seven%20references.htm

    Of course, I live on a spheroidal Earth elliptically orbiting the Sun due to the force of gravity and following Newton’s Laws of Motion.

  225. #225 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    D. Boyer: Don’t forget all the poor unfortunate souls who just happened to be born, lived and died before the time of Jebus! There must be at least… oh a dozen or two I reckon.

    Also, I was going to add: Over 40 dating techniques that presumably agree with each other over their respective ranges, and this is still not enough evidence for the YECs? Ignorance is pitiful, but that is grossly contemptible.

  226. #226 Norman Doering
    March 16, 2009

    JD wrote:

    She starts off with endearing stupidity and picks up the pace towards pernicious insanity within minutes. Well done young lady, well done!

    I was not so impressed with her… Or rather I should say that I’ve seen far more crazy and dangerous Christians than her. So have all of us. She actually comes off as semi-reasonable and nice compared to many I’ve encountered or that PZ has written of in the past (like the kooks who write him threatening letters).

    Want examples? Just go to the comments section on Ray Comfort’s blog and read what his supporters say. Now there are some flaming nut jobs, crazy and dangerous.

    Check out my quotes from Chris Geiser:

    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2009/03/zeitgeist-its-darker-than-you-think.html

  227. #227 SASnSA
    March 16, 2009

    I’ve got to say after seeing this, I’m surprised we don’t see a lot more cases of child stonings in America than in Muslim countries. I mean if she is so insistent that the Bible must be taken literally, she, and others like her, would have to take Deuteronomy literally as well, right?

  228. #228 Kendo
    March 16, 2009

    Elwood @99

    Reading is interpreting, there’s no getting away from it.

    Very true, and I like your examples.

    The New Testament was written in Greek, which had no punctuatioon. Consider a phrase translated into English as, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” Without punctuation, that phrase could be Jesus’ denial of himself as the messiah instead of its usual interpretation as a warning about other people claiming to be the messiah. Thus the entire mythology hinges on interpretation of how the original Greek should be punctuated.

  229. #229 Jim B
    March 16, 2009

    It seems people are tuning out early and using it as a badge of honor that they can’t stand the stupidity. That is a shame.

    Even though Mrs. Purdom may be catastrophically wrong, she represents a relatively rare opportunity to hear someone who can defend her creationist beliefs with some coherence. Listening to her gave me a much better idea of how, for her, her world-view is self-consistent. This is something I’d never get from some street corner preacher.

    How can you combat ignorance if you don’t understand the basis of their ignorance? Some in this thread have asked, “How could get get a PhD and yet believe this crap?”

    Shermer asked her and she answered it clearly: in her lab work, she studied things that were visible under a microscope, and what she analyzed and reported on didn’t superficially have anything to do with evolution.

    Don’t misunderstand me — I realize evolutionary processes are the underpinning of much of biology, but I can imagine how she got by without having to confront it. She was a data collection instrument looking at local phenomena, not studying the big picture. No doubt there is plenty of such work that needs to be done.

  230. #230 Rob Jase
    March 16, 2009

    That was a breath of fresh air.

    Because I watched a 2 hour video yesterday of Shermer debating Hovind.

    And 24 minutes of deranged psychotic babbling is better than 180 minutes of it.

  231. #231 JM
    March 16, 2009

    Elwood writes in #131:

    For example: here is a list of biblical contradictions in the Resurrection story. There are plenty of other discrepancies too, such as how Judas met his end.

    Now you may dismiss these as trivialities, but for something so important and central to Christianity, how come these contradictions exist at all?

    So, how do Christians explain these particular contradictions (each and every one)? They don’t seem like trivialities to me. (Remi’s apparent response at #159 seems a cop-out to me, but at least it is honest.) Remember; this text is meant to be inerrant. Never mind creation museums and smug misdatings of the Mount St Helens eruption – if they can’t even get their central plot consistent, what’s the point? If this sort of thing was in a murder mystery I was reading, I’d chuck it out of the window in exasperation!

  232. #232 Peter Sattler
    March 16, 2009

    This comment thread needs to start over with a different question — namely, why is Michael Shermer so terribly, terribly bad in this interview? He drops topics just when he should keep pushing, ignores the obvious follow-ups just when he should press on.

    Why not continue to press her about her concept of “interpreting” the Bible vs. just reading it: Where does it say, “God created prokaryotes? Where does it say that Gen 2 is an explanation of Gen 1? (If you’re going to discuss interpretation, stick with it.)

    Why not ask her to keep repeating how she determined which dating methods are sound — and, please, list those methods? (Not the “I guess what worries me” segue into discussions of bias, along with an admission that everyone has their bias.)

    Why not keep probing her sense of the questions that “we don’t have to ask” — and how do we know which ones those are? Why ask about pathogens, for instance, if you already “know” that they’re caused by the removal of God’s sustaining grace?

    Why not ask her for her own working explanation of the presence of “Ancient Repetitive Elements” (it cannot be anything other than “that’s how God did it”) and then dismantle that non-explanation?

    (“I would interpret that data [regarding AREs] different,” she says, “in light of my starting point.” His reply should be, “Well, how would you do that?” Instead he starts talking about Biblical passages.)

    Shermer would not have to be brutal or cruel — just persistent and smilingly insistent. He only has to get her, Socratically, to follow her own statements to their logical conclusions.

    But he doesn’t do this. He hardly tries. Instead, he switches topics again and again, usually stumblingly and with some phrase that sounds like, “Well, okay….” And when he turns to the question of theodicy, it’s pretty much over.

    If I were a young-earther, I would watch this video with a certain amount of pride, confident that a relative novice handed this science expert his head.

    What a shame. Shame on you, Shermer.

  233. #233 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 16, 2009

    Even though Mrs. Purdom may be catastrophically wrong, she represents a relatively rare opportunity to hear someone who can defend her creationist beliefs with some coherence.

    You call that coherence?

    I call that massive cognitive dissonance. Anyone with a PhD in molecular genectics from a major university should have the tools and education to know better.

  234. #234 Glen Davidson
    March 16, 2009

    She was a data collection instrument looking at local phenomena, not studying the big picture. No doubt there is plenty of such work that needs to be done.

    She’s also careful to break off the changes that she “allows” from the continuous set of data indicating evolution throughout life’s history and morphologies. That is, apparently she can’t ignore the fact that life changes, but she can put in artificial barriers to its proceeding “too far.”

    Phil Skell plays about the same game when he denies the importance of evolutionary theory to biology. Apparently, the mere fact that creationists accepted “microevolution” (whatever that means to them) after Darwin had pointed out its occurrence–as well as its similarity to greater changes in life–automatically makes it not a part of evolutionary theory.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  235. #235 Gra
    March 16, 2009

    “All xians pick and choose among all the weird stuff in the bible. Including the wacko AIG toads. And anyone who actually followed the old testament laws these days would be doing multiple life sentences for a variety of crimes.”
    You’re preaching to the choir Raven. I was wondering what the “science and religion” christians do to explain this though. You believe that Jesus rose from the dead and was born of a virgin, but you think a 6 day creation is obvious nonsense. Isn’t that inconsistent?

  236. #236 Ditch
    March 16, 2009

    Lovely Jesus? Matthew 5:28. Jesus can go fish. As bad with the bricks under hats as his Daddy.

  237. #237 Norman Doering
    March 16, 2009

    Speaking of how reading is interpreting and there’s no getting away from it, I wonder how some of these creationists interpret stories like the building of the Tower of Babel. Did God literally confuse the language of the builders and scatter them? Did languages start evolving only after that?

    Why would God find a silly tower threatening but doesn’t mind us going to the moon or living in space stations?

    And what’s this stuff about how God comes down from heaven to inspect the tower? Why does God have to go down and where is he coming down from? Did the writer really believe that God had to come down at all? Isn’t God everywhere already?

    If you’re going to take Genesis literally, don’t you also have to take the Tower of Babel literally too? I think Ray Comfort does, as well as the flood and the sun standing still too.

  238. #238 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    JM: here’s a much more comprehensive list. And I agree, they’re not trivialities. I said that to pre-empt the excuse that they could be read as such. But some of the ones in this extensive list are major fault lines that should be on every atheist’s map!

  239. #239 TheOutsider
    March 16, 2009

    Remi (hoping you come back to read this),

    Another poster pointed you toward The Atheist Experience, and previously I name-dropped the show’s host, Matt Dillahunty. You may find it enlightening to visit another site Mr. Dillahunty is connected with, a counter-apologetics wiki called Iron Chariots. You’ve already established that you’re not, for the most part, a dogma-bound literalist, so much of the site won’t apply to your worldview, but I think you’d benefit from a few minutes spent reading up on logical fallacies and re-checking your positions, especially those based on the authority of personal subjective experience.

    I also believe you’d genuinely enjoy this talk by Robert M. Price to Minnesota Atheists (part one, part two) in which Professor Price gets down to the mythological nuts and bolts of the Jesus myth’s origins and components. Really fun stuff, Price should be on everybody’s reading list.

    Thanks for your contributions today.

  240. #240 Jim B
    March 16, 2009

    Chimp #223 — “You call that coherence?” I said “some coherence”, and yes, I do think she is more coherent than a street corner preacher.

    Glen #234 — I agree, she does avoid the boundaries when it gets uncomfortable for her. She can accept micro evolution, although she can’t use the word. I think this is because she is smart enough to understand that microevolution and macroevolution are the same thing, not two different flavors. By refusing to label it microevolution, although she describes it well enough, she avoids (in her mind) being inconsistent. Less educated creationists can admit microevolution because they think macroevolution is somehow a different process, vs. an accumulation of smaller evolutionary changes.

    Look, I’m not defending her; I believe she is wrong. However, I learned something from watching the whole thing. Those who say, “Gak! I had to turn it off after 3 seconds it was so stupid” missed something, and aren’t “more pure” in their atheism because they couldn’t stand it. I don’t doubt many people didn’t watch the whole thing because they simply didn’t have time, but presumably they didn’t all triumphantly crow that they only made it 11 seconds or whatever.

    Shermer’s point wasn’t to convince this woman she was wrong. He probed her to understand her belief system. I learned something from it.

  241. #241 Norman Doering
    March 16, 2009

    Why not ask her for her own working explanation of the presence of “Ancient Repetitive Elements” (it cannot be anything other than “that’s how God did it”) and then dismantle that non-explanation?

    I think he was trying to draw her out and make her feel comfortable. In my experience if you ask the wrong question the Christian will shut down on you.

    For example, I was trying to get into it with a guy named Kenneth Hynek and he shut me off after I asked the wrong question:

    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2009/03/hell-argue-with-me-but-he-wont-tell-me.html

    The question was: “Why must a ‘First Cause’ be simple or immutable? And what does simplicity and immutability even mean in this context?”

    To which he replied:

    You demonstrate not only that the works of Plantinga and Aquinas are several degrees above your pay grade (I am speaking here of the difference in pay grade between janitor and CEO, in fact), but also demonstrate that your own position ? whatever it is ? is fundamentally unmoored from a basic understanding of reason itself.

    I don’t think he can answer the question.

  242. #242 Edgewise
    March 16, 2009

    ***HOLY*** SHIT!!!

  243. #243 Leanstrum
    March 16, 2009

    Okay, she’s an idiot and I honestly can’t believe someone with a PhD in molecular genetics could be so ignorant about it all.

    That being said, she and I agree on one thing: Christian evolutionists like Ken Miller and Francis Collins are being inconsistent.

  244. #244 CJO
    March 16, 2009

    But some of the ones in this extensive list are major fault lines that should be on every atheist’s map!

    Indeed. That’s a great list. And, as far as the ones specific to the gospel accounts, it’s important also to note that the contradictions are clearly a result of developing traditions changing along theological lines. For example, divergent passages where Luke and Matthew are using the same material from Mark for different audiences with different attitudes and expectations practically leap out at you. When you really get into it, this emphasis makes it clear that we’re not dealing with the vagaries of memory, or competing oral traditions with different slants on the same events, but active mythmaking in support of specific theological and apologetic programs. IOW, it’s myth and legend, all the way down.

  245. #245 JCsuperstar
    March 16, 2009

    6 min….
    … I’m out.

  246. #246 Anonymous Coward
    March 16, 2009

    I feel very wierd now. The way I started looking at her felt like watching a broken machine… If you can’t repair it, you throw it away. I really didn’t want to know I could think things like that.

  247. #247 Primewonk
    March 16, 2009

    Rev. BigDumbChimp@25

    “That was like being bukakeed with stupid.”

    Do you all have a central supplier of new monitors? The Diet Coke shooting through my nose fried my 21″ Viewsonic. Do I just submit a standard 3 part requisition and cross out where it says machine gun and write in 21″ monitor?

    I would recommend that you copyright the statement immediately. And then start selling t-shirts with that on the front.

  248. #248 Larry
    March 16, 2009

    When is their “rapture” coming to take these people away?
    Can’t be soon enough for me. That was ugly!!

  249. #249 Pascalle
    March 16, 2009

    You know, you guys are going to love the book by Paul Verhoeven when it’s translated into english.

    I read the dutch version and it’s refreshing :)

    (for those that don’t know, he wrote a book, Jesus of Nazareth about the historical jesus. He has done many years of research with the jesus seminair)
    More info in the 2nd article on this page:
    http://www.paulverhoeven.net/index2.asp

  250. #250 Katkinkate
    March 16, 2009

    Posted by: Newfie @ 19 “I guess then that this Mesopotamian/Babylonian Creation Myth can’t be true. It was written in the 12 century B.C. …8 thousand years before God created the universe. Satan testing our faith again.”

    12 centuries is only 1,200 years, so it was written 3,200 years ago, not 8,000. Writing itself has been around only 5,000 years. Sorry to be pedantic.

  251. #251 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    Didn’t you hear? The Rapture occurred last week but nobody qualified. Apparently even god doesn’t want the place overrun with wall-to-wall smug insufferable self-deluded wilfully ignorant cretins. (Was that too many derisive adjectives? Probably not.)

  252. #252 Primewonk
    March 16, 2009

    Rev. BigDumbChimp@25

    “That was like being bukakeed with stupid.”

    Do you all have a central supplier of new monitors? The Diet Coke shooting through my nose fried my 21″ Viewsonic. Do I just submit a standard 3 part requisition and cross out where it says machine gun and write in 21″ monitor?

    I would recommend that you copyright the statement immediately. And then start selling t-shirts with that on the front.

  253. #253 Rational World
    March 16, 2009

    @Remi
    After reading all the comments and the back and forth with Remi; Are not people like you and Ken Miller and Francis Collins still just a little worried about getting thrown into hell when you die by the great barbarian in the sky?
    Is that why you hold on to these beliefs?
    The world is just as beauitful/ugly, moral/corrupt, without the myths. I have not one ounce of fear of death. (The process is a little worrisome, but not death.)

  254. #254 Dean
    March 16, 2009

    So it seems that the first error is in the fact that she believes she graduated with an education in SCIENCE! I think that if that error were fixed the rest of this mess could be cleared up pretty quickly.

    As painful as that was to watch, it confirms my awe in the massive canyon between believers and non believers in relation to interpreting the world around us and do I dare say the perception of truth.

    Michael did a great job at restraining himself as I think I could see his blood boiling underneath his skin.

    Thanks for the post…

  255. #255 Josh
    March 16, 2009

    So I’m re-listening to this Georgia Purdom interview. She just should never ever ever open her mouth regarding geology every. She has no idea what she’s talking about. It’s just a bunch of AIG talking points. And she views science as a process where the starting point is the most important thing. She managed to get through a PhD while in a coma, I guess.

  256. #256 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    Pascalle #248 – wow, thanks for that info. That’s a book that’s definitely going on my “must read” list.

    Cue loads of jokes comparing Jesus with Robocop!

    Jesus Directives:
    1 “Serve the bread & wine”
    2 “Protect the meek”
    3 “Uphold the Bible”
    4 (Classified)

  257. #257 Somnolent Aphid
    March 16, 2009

    Pathogenic organisms didn’t exist as such before the fall?

    It’s not really evolution?

    It depends on how you define evolution?

    It is change on a very local level?

    Evolution needs a lot of time for it to happen, but it can’t happen anyway?

    Evidence speaks for itself? But DNA, rocks and fossils can’t speak so we have to speak for them?

    oh… how sad… she believes in the scriptures.. that’s the problem out at around 5 minutes in.

    I made it through 8 minutes.

  258. #258 Primewonk
    March 16, 2009

    Larry @247 said, “When is their “rapture” coming to take these people away?”

    Elwood @250 replied, “Didn’t you hear? The Rapture occurred last week but nobody qualified.”

    PW – Nope. The rapture happened October 12th, 1975. At that time I had been seriously dating a very “good”, very Christian girl for a couple years. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a “good girl” she was. It was my freshman year of college and she came to visit (her aunt lived in the same town). At that time it was legal to drink at 18 so she had alcohol for the first time. Later we were in my dorm room and she decided it was “time”. She was finally ready to give it up. I thought things were going splendidly. Until she suddenly yelled out “Oh God, I’m Coming”. At which point she grabbed her clothes and ran from the room. I never saw her again. I always figured that when she yelled to god that that she was coming, that it meant the rapture was happening and she got to go to heaven early.

  259. #259 Primewonk
    March 16, 2009

    Larry @247 said, “When is their “rapture” coming to take these people away?”

    Elwood @250 replied, “Didn’t you hear? The Rapture occurred last week but nobody qualified.”

    PW – Nope. The rapture happened October 12th, 1975. At that time I had been seriously dating a very “good”, very Christian girl for a couple years. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a “good girl” she was. It was my freshman year of college and she came to visit (her aunt lived in the same town). At that time it was legal to drink at 18 so she had alcohol for the first time. Later we were in my dorm room and she decided it was “time”. She was finally ready to give it up. I thought things were going splendidly. Until she suddenly yelled out “Oh God, I’m Coming”. At which point she grabbed her clothes and ran from the room. I never saw her again. I always figured that when she yelled to god that that she was coming, that it meant the rapture was happening and she got to go to heaven early.

  260. #260 elbuho
    March 16, 2009

    I gave up when they moved on to talking about ‘salvation’. I’m disappointed Shermer went down that path, he should have stuck to the science

  261. #261 Newfie
    March 16, 2009

    12 centuries is only 1,200 years, so it was written 3,200 years ago, not 8,000.

    we addressed this already.. I had a brain fart.

  262. #262 Canuck
    March 16, 2009

    Aaaaagh. I couldn’t take more than about 5 minutes of that. What a fucking moron. Talking about “the biblical history” in Genesis?? So, let me see, that’s the history that has the creation story twice, with things created in a different order in the two stories. Right. It’s history. Pick the one you want.

    Anyone who bases their worldview on the Bible, regarding it as “the literal truth” is a fucking idiot. Ditto Islam and the Koran. Ditto Mormonism and the book of Mormon. Ditto the rest of them.

    How long before these naked primates wake the fuck up? I’m so sick of religion and the religious.

  263. #263 Elwood Herring
    March 16, 2009

    Primewonk: Was her name Ruth by any chance? She did it to me too.

  264. #264 Joel Grant
    March 16, 2009

    I made it through 16 minutes. Shermer is a very nice and very patient man. I think he missed an interesting reaction to her statement about “the past.” We cannot go back to the past to see it with our own eyes.

    True, but hardly relevant. I would have pointed out that we cannot go back to the night she was conceived, but there she is. (I assume she knows how babies are made – no storks involved)

    And so on. This is a person whose first premise is always: The Bible says… she cannot be considered a scientist.

  265. #265 Flawedprefect
    March 16, 2009

    As much as I am disgusted by Ad-Hominum attacks… this woman is a retard. Nay – she makes me feel sorry for retards, who have not done anything to deserve being compared to this woman. I watched it all the way through. With popcorn. Shermer has patience!

  266. #266 Scott
    March 16, 2009

    Dear Pharyngolats, (or whatever the term of art is :-)

    I just wanted to thank you. Reading much of the exchange between you and Remi just goes to show that you guys can have a lively discussion without all the name calling. Remi was polite and undogmatic, and you were polite in return. You disagreed, you called him on his assertions, but in a respectful manner. Well, perhaps in a dismissive manner, but not a disrespectful one. It’s frustrating when the occasional creotard comes along here and then complains that all you guys do is yell names and make fun of people. That’s only when they deserve it. :-)

    Cheers!

  267. #267 Kristine
    March 16, 2009

    Studying “how bacteria become bad” [gaaa!] to what end? Why study something that “God did” if you have no intention of, well, undoing what “God did” (because that’s what Lucifer tried to do)? What is the how to this research, if it’s not evolution? If Goddidit, does it matter how Goddidit, if you can’t do anything about it (because then you might prevent Jesus from coming back).

    “We can’t go back to the past and see.” Well, let’s just trash our entire criminal justice system, then, and let everyone out of jail. “The jury is still out” on Scott Peterson – nobody saw him do it, we don’t know how he did it, we have no murder weapon, no DNA was found in his garage, and there may have been Satanists in a brown van prowling the neighborhood. Too many gaps!

    Of course, Peterson was arrested sporting a beard with his hair dyed blonde, his passport and $10,000 in cash, but that’s just the Darwinian interpretation.

  268. #268 Dr Kite
    March 16, 2009

    Thanks to genotypical @107 and Dustin R @166 for a little historical background from OSU on G Purdom, PhD. I like to think I have at least a cursory knowledge of my students thought processes and ability to interpret and extend the projects to which they contribute- I talk to them frequently about a wide range of subjects in the course of their tenure in the lab. I too would feel tremendously blindsided to find that I had no idea that a Mol Gen student that I had trained in her PhD was a YEC and could not examine those beliefs in the light of new information to which she was exposed. I guess it is less surprising that, like J Wells, she could competently perform basic procedures and produce publishable work during her training. Sad, though, that she could steal a position in a prestigious lab from a more capable student. My condolences to her advisor.

  269. #269 Charles
    March 16, 2009

    After a while I just left this playing in the background while I played some pacman. I’ve never seen someone talking so many times about evolutionary processes and then insist that it had nothing to do with evolution…this should go down as how to use evolution to TRY to “disprove” evolution…it doesn’t work though, obviously.

  270. #270 John M
    March 16, 2009

    I agree that Shermer has unlimited patience, but I was frustrated that he didn’t call her out on her numerous “interpretations”. This was about as awkward as Cramer on the Daily Show last week, only Jim Cramer looks to me to be much more honest than this windbag.

    Oh and I am sure that Ohio State’s biology department REALLY appreciates her dropping them a line here!

  271. #271 DLC
    March 16, 2009

    Too bad for the Buckey college.
    I know there’s a Hitler Zombie out there — Orac’s been tracking the thing for years. I wonder if there isn’t also a Fundamentalist-Jesus-Zombie. Eating out the brains of people.

  272. #272 kamaka
    March 16, 2009

    I’m tired, I worked long and hard this weekend.

    I lasted 1 minute 23 seconds.

    She’s a bonehead.

  273. #273 waldteufel
    March 16, 2009

    Shermer did a great job of letting Purdom make a complete and utter ass out of herself. This video beautifully illustrates the mindset that we battle here in Texas. My own State Board of Education representative, as is the board chairman (a wacko dentist), and our governor are all just about as stupid as Purdom.

    Thanks to Shermer for enduring the time he spent at Ken Ham’s roadside lizard show interviewing the dumbest of the dumb.

    Thanks to PZ for posting this.

    Amen.

  274. #274 No BS
    March 16, 2009

    I want a Tazer for just such occasions.

  275. #275 Kel
    March 16, 2009

    I’ll watch this tonight after I get home. I should make a drinking game out of it. Anyone who has watched this, can they make up a few rules that will ensure I get drunk enough to endure it but not succumb to alcohol poisoning?

  276. #276 MJMD
    March 17, 2009

    I made it through the video.

    I don’t feel well. It’s so sadly pathetic.

  277. #277 D. Anaya
    March 17, 2009

    I go semi-regularly to Cincinnati on business. I will have to lay in a couple extra hours next time and visit the Creation Museum and actually see this thing. Trouble is that they want an admission fee of about $20. I suspect I can afford this, but it galls me to think that I’d be contributing money to this crap. Does anyone know if they issue coupons or freebies?

  278. #278 Steve Ulven
    March 17, 2009

    What college did this dipshit go to school? I could use a cheap PhD.

  279. #279 Jenny Ashford
    March 17, 2009

    As much as I have a teeny crush on Michael Shermer, I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds. Creationists make me very, very tired.

  280. #280 ElitistB
    March 17, 2009

    I’m not sure I could make it though the Creationist Museum without vomiting. Do they have vomit stations spaced liberally about the facility?

  281. #281 Casey Smith
    March 17, 2009

    I find it fascinating that creationists now accept natural selection but manage to divorce it from evolution.

    I wish that Shermer had taken her to the mat on some of the blatant Bible interpretation she was doing, while condemning anything but a literal reading of the Bible. How can anyone know that pathogenic bacteria existed after, but not before the fall? I don’t remember microbes being mentioned at all in the Bible.

    The YEC interpretation of genetic, geological, and experimental evidence that supports evolution makes my head hurt. Haven’t they heard of Occam’s Razor, or perhaps they are exhibiting the perils of oversimplification.

  282. #282 waldteufel
    March 17, 2009

    DLC #271: There is! There is! His name is Doctor Don McLeroy, creationist zombie dentist from Texas and Chairman of the State Board of Education.

    He wanders the state, eating brains that he wished he had . .

  283. #283 Elitistb
    March 17, 2009

    Okay, actually started to watch the video…

    Originally I started to do a point by point against this video, but hey, I’m not on youtube here, expressing my frustration at her refusal to pay attention to reality is all that is necessary.

    She is mentally disconnected from reality to such a degree that she might qualify as a schizophrenic. She doesn’t know the definition of “Evolution”, she doesn’t know the definition of the term “Interpretation”, but she throws the terms around with absolute authority. Someone get this woman a freaking dictionary!

  284. #284 Riman Butterbur
    March 17, 2009

    Bone Oboe | March 16, 2009 20:19 #174

    Could anyone please post a link to the video? My browser hasn’t been doing so hot with imbeded video clips.

    I got a good fast stream here:

    http://aigbusted.blogspot.com/2009/03/michael-shermer-goes-to-creation-museum.html

  285. #285 sconnor
    March 17, 2009

    Dr. Fucktard. She is one sick puppy.

    –S.

  286. #286 Tassie Devil
    March 17, 2009

    I just subscribed to “the Atheist Experience” via iTunes.

    …where it’s filed under ‘Christianity’.

  287. #287 peter
    March 17, 2009

    The best I found on Mt. St. Helens and dating:
    http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/mt_st_helens_dacite_kh.htm

    Robert Bell @73:

    The idea that we’re all influenced by certain biases, prejudices and quirks of our world-view is certainly undeniable.< \blockquote>

    The irony is, of course, that it was originally Marx who made so much hay with this, and to this day left-wingers often see it as justification for presenting their own version of the facts.

    bunnycatch3r @207

    She is intelligent, articulate, and most importantly honest…………………I give her high marks for her integrity. < \blockquote>

    On the first two qualities, I agee. But her intelligence is applied to the trade of PR people, presidential speech writers, media consultants, i.e. weaseling, being economical with the truth, and downright dishonesty where it can’t be shown up for what it is on the spot.

    Primewonk @258 : best shaggy dog story of the thread.

  288. #288 Bone Oboe
    March 17, 2009

    Thanks Mr. Butterbur. It’s still a no go. Somethings buggered off. I was hoping for a URL. I’ll have to get up off my cyber-ass and Google it. There’re enough clues on this thread to point even Shaggy, Scooby and the gang in the right direction.
    Thanks again.

  289. #289 Kaz Dragon
    March 17, 2009

    A great majority of Christians these days hail their god as some sort of great, wonderous, hippy-love, wise, bearded fellow that looks after them all the time.

    That’s not the Christian god at all. That’s something they’ve replaced their god with in order to feel more warm and fuzzy inside.

    My personal view is that the Creationists actually have their reading of the bible correct.

    Which is why it’s so easy to point out what evil it is, and what rubbish it is.

  290. #290 antaresrichard
    March 17, 2009

    Even in my evangelical days, it would irk me to hear fellow believers each say they were only reading the Bible “as is”. The presumption: that all would come to the same conclusion when they rarely did!

    * * *

    Funny, the inconsistent chronology if Jesus’ cursing the fig tree was the very first biblical contradiction I recall reading as a born-again Christian. Thankfully doubt made it stick, giving reason, logic, and an appreciation for science and questioning a chance to win out.

    * * *

    No one save Purdom’s God was there at the beginning, but like it was stated in an earlier post, neither was she present to check up on God. She’s taking somebody’s word for it it all the way down.

  291. #291 Josh
    March 17, 2009

    peter wrote, in #287:

    The best I found on Mt. St. Helens and dating: http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.a/mt_st_helens_dacite_kh.htm

    I view .org websites with a very critical eye, because they are usually directly trying to advance an agenda. That said, this page that peter linked to in #287 looks pretty good (based, admittedly, on a quick once-through).

    It’s a nice overview of the whole issue regarding Steven Austin’s dating of recent volcanics from St. Helens, getting all kinds of screwy numbers, and then using those numbers to assert that radiometric geochronology itself is flawed. The link kind of presumes that you understand, going in, the point I was trying to explain in comment #200 (i.e., that if you’re going to try and generate a date for an eruption, then it’s critical to make sure you’re dating mineral grains that crystalized during the eruption you’re interested in, and not those that formed during earlier eruptions (some of which will be blown around and redeposited in subsequent blasts)). If you do understand that point, however, the discussion is pretty good.

    In particular, the last paragraph before the references nails it, nicely recapping the whole problem.

  292. #292 Norwonk
    March 17, 2009

    How did this woman get a degree in molecular biology? She doesn’t even understand the definition of evolution, let alone the scientific method!

    OK, I realize you can get through an exam by repeating stuff you’ve memorized, but I mean: Jesus Christ!

  293. #293 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 17, 2009

    Chimp #223 — “You call that coherence?” I said “some coherence”, and yes, I do think she is more coherent than a street corner preacher.

    Ok I guess you have a point. She was able to throw some sciencey sounding things and not go off into spittle flecked tirades.

    Still, she fumbles about through the whole thing (yes I watched every painful second of it).

  294. #294 soma
    March 17, 2009

    She’s lost it!
    Why don’t we rename her with her real name,
    Georgia Pure-dumb ?
    After all, the whole movement of creationist is composed by dumb or dumber neuro-degererative ‘creatures’…

  295. #295 RG
    March 17, 2009

    I thought she was very informative. She confirmed a suspicion that I had, that Creationists are insane. She pushed me further towards the atheist end of the agnostic scale. I’m now at a 6.999999999999999 on dawkin’s scale.

    There is no possible way I can believe what she’s saying without severe injuries to my brain. So when people say I have to believe or I’m going to hell, there is nothing I can do to change that. Its impossible for me to believe this woman.

  296. #296 Slugsie
    March 17, 2009

    She has a PHD, yet she can’t even see the contradictions and fallacies that she is actually saying? Wow, just wow.

  297. #297 Dustin R
    March 17, 2009

    I have a feeling that my department is repeating its mistake with Georgia. I know of another “closet” young earth creationist in a lab, but I feel like it isn’t my place to spread the news to her committee, yet at the same time I feel a moral obligation to prevent our department from granting these people degrees. Suggestions?

  298. #298 Benjamin Franklin
    March 17, 2009

    I’m going to get rid of my viagra and get me a bottle of
    “God’s Sustaining Power” ™

    please note, if you have a hard-on for Christ for longer than four hours, please see a priest immediately.

  299. #299 Pablo
    March 17, 2009

    It seems to me though that as far as the bible is concerned, if you start to pick & choose what you want to believe out of it, what is your criterion based on?

    This revelation was the beginning of the end of my belief in god. I came to the realization that, by picking and chosing the parts of the Bible I wanted to believe, I was basically just defining the religion I wanted, and the Bible didn’t actually give me any insight at all. I had already defined my beliefs on my own, and then chose the parts of the bible that concurred with them.

    At that point, I realized that my religion was, in fact, my own creation. Where did God come into the mix? He didn’t. He didn’t “teach me” anything through the bible. I figured it out on my own.

    Then I developed my Guide to Bible Interpretation
    1) If it is in the Bible and is verifiably true, it is true
    2) If it is in the Bible and is verifiably false, it is either metaphor or a translation error
    3) If it is in the Bible and is not-verifiable, it is true

  300. #300 Scott Hanley
    March 17, 2009

    Some people are just born dumb. But they’re not the truly sad cases … a mind is such a terrible thing to waste.

  301. #301 R Hampton
    March 17, 2009

    We wouldn’t do that because we know there’s no point in doing that, because the Bible has the answer.

    Confirmation bias is where we look for reasons, or supporting evidence, that matches our belief or thesis whilst disregarding or placing less weight on disconfirming reasons or evidence against it — John Jackson, UK Skeptics

  302. #302 Kristin
    March 17, 2009

    i have a question for those of you who know the bible better than i…

    if the bible doesn’t say that the earth is 6000 years old, where did the religious come up with that approximate number? does anyone know from where that idea stemmed? i would be very interested to know, if you can share with me!

  303. #303 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 17, 2009
  304. #304 Kristin
    March 17, 2009

    thanks nerd of redhead…

    wow. seems to me there a lot of empty holes that someone filled with hope and conjecture. considering those who follow that school of thought, however, i’m not surprised they haven’t done their homework.

  305. #305 normalityrelief
    March 17, 2009

    wait … she doesn’t care if it’s the jews or the greeks?

    pretty sure the primary religion in greece is greek orthodox, which – last time i checked – is pretty heavily christian.

    weird.

  306. #306 Josh
    March 17, 2009

    Speaking of the Creation “Museum,” I’m currently sitting in a hotel room in Cincinnati and a report on this just came on the local news. They’ve ratcheted up their “We Believe in Natural Selection, but Natural Selection isn’t Evolution” line.

    http://www.newarkadvocate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200990317023

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090317/ap_on_re_us/creationists_darwin

    http://www.kentucky.com/513/story/729124.html

    They made of point of noting that the new exhibit includes blind cave fish. I can’t wait to see how they explain those. Will it be as good as Nat’s explanation was?

  307. #307 perturbed
    March 17, 2009

    A priest who backs evolution needs to get up on the pulpit and SCREAM at these creationist slackjaws that THEY ARE LIARS AND HYPOCRITES, AND WILL BURN IN HELL IF THEY DO NOT RECANT THEIR LIES AND HYPOCRISY. Fight fire with fire, PZ: they’ll never listen to reason, but they might cut out their anti-science fuckery if someone starts them thinking about the whole Satan’s pitchfork/their arsehole conjunction.

  308. #308 Janis Chambers
    March 18, 2009

    The real question I want to ask her, “If the Bible justifies your entire view of science.. then what justifies the Bible?”. I’m sure she would pull out the old faith card, but then such a faith has Justified all sorts of insane ideas. In the end there is just no talking to a person that far down the rabbit hole. I look at these people and all I can see are people forever stuck in developmental arrest.

  309. #309 astrounit
    March 18, 2009

    Anyone can plainly see in the still frame that she’s shrinking back away from that devil Shermer.

  310. #310 elv8rdude
    March 18, 2009

    I made it all the way through! I’m not sure what that says about me, but I didn’t understand how she was able to say that we now know that there is no basis for saying there are genetic differences between races because science has show that not to be true.

    I just hate the pick and choose mentality. What about what science says about the age of the universe and our planet and etc. etc..

    They just piss me off, but maybe that’s just me.

  311. #311 craicmonkey
    March 18, 2009

    OW! My head hurts from hitting it against the brick wall that is her ignorance! She doesn’t interpret the Bible, she reads it. But “Greek shouldn’t be used to interpret Hebrew.” She acknowledges that the Bible was not originally written in English. Good for her! But, that means that at some point it WAS translated, and as soon as that happens, you get interpretation. As a father, I weep for her daughter whom she has already labled as a sinner. Oh, and it’s funny how she talks about the assumptions made in dation techniques. How about the assumption, the FECKIN’ HUGE ASSUMPTION she makes about taking mythology as literal truth. Do not talk about assumptions, my dear. Arrrgh! I love ya, PZ, but sometimes you don’t have to share.

  312. #312 Dutchdoc
    March 18, 2009

    The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche

  313. #313 Rik G
    March 18, 2009

    Made it all the way thru, woah! Michael Shermer is the most patient person in the world! She said many things that set my mind reeling (Why test when the answers are in the bible is a prime example), but two things really stood out for me. First, how could she get a PhD in molecular genetics and have so little curiosity about where the genetic code came from? Even if you believe “god did it”, how could you get to that level of study and not be itching to know HOW “god did it”? Secondly, her claim that even a one year old baby with cancer is guilty and a sinner! If she believes that all people are sinners, and presumably also believes that personhood begins at conception, then does she believe that zygotes and fetus’ are also sinners? I often hear right-to-life folks say that abortion kills “innocent” “babies”. Hmm…something doesn’t add up. I also wonder, what kinds of sin could a zygote be capable of?

  314. #314 Eclogite
    March 18, 2009

    GAH! The stupid! It burns!!

  315. #315 Darlene
    March 21, 2009

    This is absolute proof that Christianity is a brain washing cult.

  316. #316 Chris
    March 21, 2009

    Thank you for posting this video. I find it funny that creationist criticize Darwins theory and say it has no evidence but when we explain our answer they say so what god didn’t say that. I’m fifteen and am more intelligent than this female idiot.

  317. #317 Talented Chimp
    March 22, 2009

    How did the bacteria become bad!!! LOL. What utter unadulterated tripe.

    She doesn’t see her own hypocrisy with a starting point whose authorship and corroborative evidence is, at best, suspect.

    TC.

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