Pharyngula

TSTKTS

Carl Wieland, the creationist clown from Australia, wrote a bitter article denouncing atheists and scientists for refusing to give him a platform to yodel nonsense on, and one of the things he did was link to my my public refusal to debate him. Unfortunately, what that meant is that all of his Too-Stupid-To-Know-They’re-Stupid acolytes came charging over to declare that creationism was too scientific, evolutionism is a religion, scientists are afraid to debate their pet idiots, you’re all mean poopyheads who call us names, yadda yadda yadda. It’s turned into a regular storm of argument that has filled up the thread with over 1100 comments.

I’ve closed the thread and added an invitation to resume in this one, if they must.

One thing I’d like to see the creationists consider is a simple fact. When scientists make interpreting the totality of the evidence their priority, with even the believers among scientists regarding the natural world around them as part of their god’s message to human beings, they come to the conclusion that the book of Genesis is a myth or a non-literal parable of some sorts, because it does not line up at all with the physical evidence. The rocks speak out against the earth being less than ten thousand years old, and the molecules in our bodies all speak for billions of years of descent from a common ancestor. The only ‘evidence’ for a young earth is a very specific, and rather skewed, interpretation of one book written by a scattered conglomeration of non-scientific priests, accompanied by a lot of unfounded ‘revelations’ by seers, mystics, and obsessed numerologists (oh, and a related question to you creationists: how many of you are aware that many of the details of the creation myth that you regard as gospel truth have their source in the visions of the Seventh Day Adventist prophetess Ellen White and her agent, George MacReady Price?).

Now be honest. If you peel the Bible away from the argument, just pretend for a moment that it doesn’t exist, do you appreciate the fact that there is no independent evidence to support the story you draw from it? Think like a heathenish pagan who has no respect for biblical authority, and you’ll realize why your claims have no weight. What creationists are always trying to do is to cobble up some of that evidentiary support for their beliefs, while refusing to acknowledge that their entire claim rests on a presupposition that the bible is a valid source of prehistoric information.

If you did honestly try to separate your beliefs from your religion, you’re probably a bit dizzy and nauseous right now. Go ahead, go back to embracing your clumsy old book…but realize this. Here, you’re arguing with a group of people who not only disbelieve your crutch, but actively despise it as a source of lies. You can try to pretend that the source of your doubts about science are polonium halos and the Grand Canyon and missing transitional fossils, but we see right through you: we know the only thing propping up your absurd beliefs is the Bible.

And guess what? It’s just another cranky old book written by cranky old men who tried to replace their ignorance with a foolish certainty.

Comments

  1. #1 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    My day has officially begun!

    Thanks, PZ!

  2. #2 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Let the whining begin!

  3. #3 Nebula99
    January 6, 2010

    Looking forward to continuing this discussion if it does continue. I didn’t get to refute one of their “arguments” on the old thread, I always showed up too late and found somebody else had got there first. And now I’m here early. :)

  4. #4 Celtic_Evolution
    January 6, 2010

    josh queried to our bumbling creationist moron:

    Okay, fine. Explain how the possession of teeth by the avian Archaeopteryx doesn’t represent a transitional feature with respect to the evolution of birds from non-avian dinosaurs.

    That has never happened that I can remember… and I doubt it will start now… creationists don’t come in here to debate unique, fresh topics. No… if it didn’t come from one of the mind-numbingly stupid wells of already existing creationist talking points, it is not going to be discussed, except to outright dismiss it with a hand-wave, or insist those evidences are merely forgeries or tricks of the debul…

    Yet another reason why it’s pointless to debate creationists. They stick to the handbook, use the method of “repetition leads to truth”, and refuse to engage in discussions about evidence that goes outside of the standard creationist arguments.

  5. #5 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Ah, being able to load the thread on that @#$%%^^&&** piece of ancient history at work. Heavenly ;)

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    January 6, 2010

    Gaze at Archaeopteryx and cry, cretins and IDiots.

    Believe me, while it’s not the impossible-to-live intermediate that you clowns try to claim transitionals have to be, it’s by no means the sort of design that you’d like to think your favorite magical invisible ghost would make. It’s just a reptile clothed in feathers with dinosaur (most likely) bones modified for flight.

    It’s everything you wish didn’t exist, a transitional, and the kind of thing no known intelligence would produce–but exactly what evolution would have to “make” if it were ever to get to birds.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  7. #7 vanharris
    January 6, 2010

    …how many of you are aware that many of the details of the creation myth that you regard as gospel truth have their source in the visions of the Seventh Day Adventist prophetess Ellen White and her agent, George MacReady Price?).

    PZ, surely those two nutjobs were well beaten to it by a bunch of Mesopotamian goat-herders back in the Bronze Age?

    How can anyone take the crap in the bible seriously? (Rhetorical question.)

  8. #8 Kamaka
    January 6, 2010

    Wow! That thread kept burning? Goats Afire!

    I bailed at about 500 comments. A guy can take only so much stupid.

    The random quote I’m seeing is perfect:

    Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God holds others in contempt. Ingersoll.

  9. #9 NotExactly
    January 6, 2010

    I was looking through some old photos of myself, when I realized that I could not pinpoint an exact transitional form between the adorable baby I once was and the ugly lump of man I am today. At no point do I have, for example *picks features arbitrarily* a baby’s head attached to a 5’11″ body frame.

    Rather than form the logical conclusion that every form I have taken is just slightly different than the forms before and after it, and therefore all are effectively transitional, I have concluded that all of those baby pictures my mom loves to show me are forgeries, and all familial anecdotes concerning my once-cuteness are satanic lies. After all, why don’t they have pictures of every second of my life handy, isn’t that a reasonable request?

    I like my family, too bad everything they say is apparently maliciously false based on my blinkered, crippled powers of reasoning. :(

  10. #10 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    That has never happened that I can remember…

    No, I can’t remember it happening, either. By far most of the time the dishonest assholes just ignore the challenge completely. Occasionally one will respond with something helpful and substantive like “Those aren’t transitional features.” But we’ll see if there is anyone out there this morning willing to put their money where their mouth is.

    Indeed, let’s see. I will re-post comment #1141 from the previous thread:

    ….scientists who lament the lack of any transitional life forms, which the religion of evolution says must exist

    *yawn*

    Okay, fine. Explain how the possession of teeth by the avian Archaeopteryx doesn’t represent a transitional feature with respect to the evolution of birds from non-avian dinosaurs.

    Explain how the possession of feathers by the dromaeosaurid (a non-avian theropod dinosaur) Microraptor doesn’t represent a transitional feature with respect to the evolution of birds from non-avian dinosaurs.

    Explain how the possession of a wishbone by Microraptor doesn’t represent a transitional feature with respect to the evolution of birds from non-avian dinosaurs.

    That’s probably enough to start with.

    Aaaaaaaannnnnd go.

    And for shits and giggles, I will also go ahead and re-post comment #1143 from the previous thread:

    Of course, you also have to believe in the supposed millions and billions of years concept (which changes with the weather)

    Really? How about you show me where anything has come out in the geological literature since the 1930s or so (when radiometric age dating was first really systematically put toward the question of the age of the Earth) where the resolution in the reported dates has swung from millions to billions of years.

  11. #11 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    I read somewhere on teh interwebs a month or two back that some of these creationist diploma mills are getting the ‘students’ to post their copy-and-paste nonsense from AiG on forums like this as a mandatory exercise (in stupidity?) for some of the courses. I think they perceive it to be the theistic equivalent of lab or field work.

    That could explain the influx of creotard trolls who cruise in (without reading any of the prior posts) to leave a few of their droppings, and disappear like a shot when we ask them to put their cards on the table.

    Pity, they can’t even do the simplest of exercises correctly. The objective is supposed to be stick around and try to get some experience ‘debating’ scientists… but when your only tool is the hammer of faith, I suppose every valid scientific claim looks just like a nail.

  12. #12 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    You are wrong and very misleading to say that creationists find science “bizarre”. As you well know, creationists do not object to factual, objective science.
    ______

    As we well know, YECers do object to factual objective science.

    They are ignorant of how science truly works so they disgracefully cherry pick both the body of scientific knowledge and its accompanying and crucial method (the examining of evidence).

    If science was conducted the way they want it to be conducted, it would no longer be science and we would not be able to advance our societies. They are dangerous hypocrites and pathetic freeloaders which the rest of us have to carry on our backs. They do not deserve the fruits of scientific labor done by clear headed people, both theists and atheists. They are despicable. Not to mention, since they are lying that they themselves risk going to the hell in which they believe.

  13. #13 Cerus
    January 6, 2010

    I wonder if it has to do with the “is” in “islam” screwing up the parsing for that word. A handful of other words starting with “is” also failed to populate the suggestion fields.

  14. #14 MrJonno
    January 6, 2010

    Creationism is a 20th century (mostly American based) invention.

    A the time of Darwin’s Origins few educated christian took Genesis literarly. They didnt like evolution, not because it said the world and life was old only that nature was cold and ruthless. Most these days accept life is cold and ruthless and they need to do something about it

  15. #15 johnbebbington
    January 6, 2010

    “a scattered conglomeration”

    Qué?

  16. #16 Cerus
    January 6, 2010

    Oh sure, redirect my first ever comment why dontcha. *grumble*

    That was meant for the previous thread.

  17. #17 cervantes
    January 6, 2010

    The fundies use a formulation called “horizontal” vs “vertical” reasoning. (Huckabee has discussed this publicly.) We blasphemous scientists reason horizontally, from observation through analysis to conclusions. Those who know God, however, reason vertically, from revealed premises to the explanations of the world they provide.

    A simpler way to put it is, they reason backwards, first stating the conclusion and then marshaling the “evidence,” such as it may be.

  18. #18 Free Lunch
    January 6, 2010

    Evolution deniers really have nothing to stand on, but it is much more important that someone stroke their ego than that reality be treated as more important than their self-absorbed claims about the Bible.

  19. #19 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    1100 comments of juicy, ravenous debate?

    Ahhhh, I love the smell of burning neurons in the morning!

  20. #20 NotExactly
    January 6, 2010

    #11, is that the same hammer the servants of Allah will use to punish the wicked in the grave?

  21. #21 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Someone suggested on the other thread to invite these dangerously deluded maniacs and pathetic lying fools because they could be contained in an audience of mostly atheists. Why should we waste any time at an conference focused on atheism? Atheism has nothing to do with the fact and scientific theory of evolution. It stands alone on its own splendid, interlocking, superbly elegant evidential basis.

  22. #22 Michael Suttkus, II
    January 6, 2010

    If you peel the Bible away from the argument, just pretend for a moment that it doesn’t exist, do you appreciate the fact that there is no independent evidence to support the story you draw from it? Think like a heathenish pagan who has no respect for biblical authority, and you’ll realize why your claims have no weight.

    You don’t even have to try to pretend, just look around the world.

    There isn’t a single Hindu scientist who has seen any evidence of a big flood circa 4000 years ago.

    There isn’t a single Buddhist scientist who has found any sign of a 6000 year old universe.

    There isn’t a single Shinto scientist who has found evidence of “baramins”.

    None of these other religions have any particular attachment to evolution, and yet around the world, the view of all religious scientists can be summed up in one of two positions:

    A) The scientific consensus is correct, the earth is 4.5 billion years old and evolution explains life’s diversity!

    B) BAH! All the evidence shows that MY RELIGION was right all along!

    Now, just imagine for a second that any of these religions was correct and the scientific consensus wrong. Surely, there would be some scientist somewhere in the world looking at the evidence who is open minded enough to see it. If Hinduism is correct, we’d expect some Christian scientist to see evidence of an infinitely old, unchanging universe, right? It couldn’t be that EVERY Christian scientist was completely closed-minded. But this doesn’t happen, so it seems fairly clear that the evidence is against Hinduism (literally taken) being correct.

    And the fact that not a single Hindu scientist has spotted evidence of a global flood says exactly the same thing about Creationism.

    The evolutionary scientist has no confusion on this point. Scientists around the world who accept the evidence accept evolution, or they reject the evidence and cling to their pre-existing religion. From the creationist perspective, it requires that every other scientist who clings to a different religion be closed-minded, while every single scientist of another religion who accepts evolution is somehow close-minded and open-minded (after all, they accepted something outside their religious framework) at the same time.

  23. #23 balagan
    January 6, 2010

    Of course there is no evidence for evolution happening, if there was you’d see things like Orcas demonstrating diversification on there way to becoming two distinct species

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8440000/8440002.stm

    Free Willy kills the credo cretins

  24. #24 RBH
    January 6, 2010

    PZ wrote

    Think like a heathenish pagan who has no respect for biblical authority, and you’ll realize why your claims have no weight.

    See here for an explanation of why creationists find that to be an impossible task.

  25. #25 vanharris
    January 6, 2010

    Josh, #9, I recently read “Darwin’s Century” by Loren Eiseley, (anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer), in the late 1950′s. He quotes the age of the Earth as about three & a half billion years, back then.

  26. #26 tony.bubbles
    January 6, 2010

    (I *used* to be nigelTheBold, but the fucking broken login system no longer works with TypePad. Oh, it offers TypePad as an option, right enough. But that’s merely adaptive coloration.)

    Y’know what I’d like for next Christmas? A creationist who bothered to study the epistemology and methodology of science, who then dug through existing data & evidence, leading ultimately to an informed debate about the viability of creationism as a scientific discipline.

    Y’know why? Because that would be unique. It would be refreshing. Sure, it would mean debating the validity of empiricism, as well as the effectiveness of other forms of epistemology. (That part would be short: there are no other effective epistemologies, so bite me.)

    Y’know what else I’d like? A dwarf apartment T-Rex.

  27. #27 Rachel Bronwyn
    January 6, 2010

    My favourite argument from the previous thread came from our friend andre. He told us evolution is complex and difficult to understand. Creationism is simple and, therefore, is of more scientific merit.

    Wait, what?

  28. #28 Martin
    January 6, 2010

    PZ, inspired by your headline, I’ve created this stylish piece of evowear for all your scientifically sartorial needs.

  29. #29 mmelliott01
    January 6, 2010

    how many of you are aware that many of the details of the creation myth that you regard as gospel truth have their source in the visions of the Seventh Day Adventist prophetess Ellen White and her agent, George MacReady Price?

    Can someone explain what PZ is talking about?

  30. #30 a.human.ape
    January 6, 2010

    Creationists are welcome to visit my new blog:

    http://darwin-killed-god.blogspot.com/

    I’m an atheist but another person who visits my blog speaks your language because he used to be a minister. Now he’s more interested in evolution than religious ideas.

  31. #31 Sastra
    January 6, 2010

    What creationists are always trying to do is to cobble up some of that evidentiary support for their beliefs, while refusing to acknowledge that their entire claim rests on a presupposition that the bible is a valid source of prehistoric information.

    Thus the common tendency among all pseudoscientists to fall back on an extreme relativism. There is no neutral common ground; there is no possibility of being objective; there is no such thing as an honest process of inquiry. We all start out with a “world view” which we seek to confirm. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with starting out with the Bible, and presuming it’s true. After all, atheists start out presuming it’s false.

    No we don’t. That was our conclusion. We know what would change our minds.

    Creationists think science has to do with individuals going around looking for supporting evidence for what they already believe. They don’t get it. In the big picture, that’s the opposite of what the scientific method is about.

    They also don’t seem to get that their eager embrace of epistemic relativism done to confirm creationism is going to undermine their entire argument that only God lets us escape from moral relativism. Once you throw out the idea that there can be a common, neutral ground from which skeptical inquiry may reach consensus, then it’s just gone as far as you’re concerned. You can’t take it back later to show that God grounds morality, or whatever.

    Think, people. Think it through…

  32. #32 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    balagan @ 23

    Nice try. If there are two different kinds of killer whale, then it is obvious that god created them separately (on porpoise :-)

    Oh shit, now this thread has me projecting like a creationist. Arrggghhhh!

  33. #33 vanharris
    January 6, 2010

    MrJonno #14,

    Most these days accept life is cold and ruthless and they need to do something about it

    Most folks are doing something about it. It’s called anthropomorphic global warming.

    (Sorry – bad joke.)

  34. #34 Martin
    January 6, 2010

    #29: Google the names. You’ll find that Price, an Adventist with no background in the sciences whatsoever, cobble together the whole idea of “flood geology”.

  35. #35 Lynna, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Cerus @16: Well, at least you didn’t spell Myers as “Meyers”. Some of us did just that on our natal day of commenting — take a few deep breaths, and then start again.

    Regarding the observation up-thread, (actually, several observations, if you count the previous thread), about “truth by repetition”: this is the biggest problem, the most stubborn sticking point, I come across when discussing Intelligent Design or Creationism with mormons. They are highly trained in the “truth by repetition” mode of thinking. If they’re looking for evil, teaching people to think (or fail to think) this way, and then pretending that it’s a virtue is a great Evil.

    I’d like to hear from neuroscientists (or psychologists, perhaps?) on how one might bust up the mental concrete that protects the repetition channels.

  36. #36 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    Well, shit. This is just an Atheist circle-jerk. BRING ON THE TRUE BELIEVERS!

  37. #37 Will E.
    January 6, 2010

    Creationist lies are effective with non-creationists as well. To the non-scientific layman–even an intelligent one–their claims sound plausible. I’ve had secular friends mention those polonium haloes, or family members express sophomoric doubts about evolution. Each time I’ve tried to set them straight, but the thing is, they think scientists just have *opinions.* They simply have no clue how science works and, alas, are many times too lazy to even pick up an actual book on the topic. So even though these people don’t think of themselves as creationists, they think there’s still some debate, and think scientists are arrogant and dismissive. In that way, the creationists have done their job, which is anything that will erode trust in science.

  38. #38 JackC
    January 6, 2010

    Bible? What “bible”? No one has ever been able to prove the existence of a “bible” and I have never been shown one. It can’t exist because it is not logical to conclude that it CAN exist. There has never been one shred of evidence to support such a claim.

    Hey – if they can do it…..

    Jc

  39. #39 Icarus
    January 6, 2010

    I wish the creationists would take their noses out of their ‘holy scriptures’ for just a little while and actually look at the world – they would surely see that the real 4.5 billion-year-old world is far more exciting and interesting than any banal mythology; they would see that evolution is far more fascinating than the magic their supposed deity supposedly used to poof it all into existence. How could any religious fiction even come close to being as compelling as the reality of our amazing, intricate universe?

  40. #40 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    Josh, #9, I recently read “Darwin’s Century” by Loren Eiseley, (anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer), in the late 1950′s. He quotes the age of the Earth as about three & a half billion years, back then.

    Yep. The formation age of the Earth dating to some millions of years B.P. was ruled out pretty fast when they finally turned radiometric dating toward that question in a systematic way (which, if I recall correctly, started happening in the ?late 1920s).

    It’s just a reptile clothed in feathers with dinosaur (most likely) bones modified for flight.

    Unless I missed some major paper that everyone is on board with whereby Archaeopteryx is currently being classified as a very derived non-avian, then it’s not proper to be calling it a reptile (unless you’re including birds within Reptilia).

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_10

  41. #41 Lynna, OM
    January 6, 2010

    @1140 on the previous thread, a link was provided to an explanation from Richard Dawkins on why it is a waste of time to debate creationists. It’s a great read.

    In the comments, a creationist says (among many other numbingly stupid things), “We know why evolutionists are ordered not to debate and why they must not contend for the Life Science Prize. They are eminently unqualified as scientists…”

    Because creationists are used to living with overseers who dictate their every move, indeed, their every thought, it’s amusing to see them projecting that kind of existence onto non-believers. “Ordered not to debate…” Okay, which one of you is ordering everyone else around!?

  42. #42 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Lynna, the repetition heard from godbots come from their programming, which can be don to them by others or by themselves or by a mix of the two influences.

    Basic deprogramming techniques are: (gotten from the wiki art):

    1. Discredit the figure of authority: the cult leader
    2. Present contradictions (ideology vs. reality): “How can he preach love when he exploits people?” is an example.
    3. The breaking point: When a subject begins to listen to the deprogrammer; when reality begins to take precedence over ideology.
    4. Self-expression: When the subject begins to open up and to voice some of his own gripes against the cult.
    5. Identification and transference: when the subject begins to identify with the deprogrammers, starts to think of himself as an opponent of the cult rather than a member of it.

  43. #43 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    This polonium haloes thing is new to me. I must be out of the mainstream. Though, I just did a modicum of research on it (from the perspective, of course, of a non-believer) and found a very simple argument against Gentry’s claim.

    It’s really not that hard.

  44. #44 MrJonno
    January 6, 2010

    The main assumption in science is there is some sort of order in the universe and and our brains are capable of at least attempting to understand it.

    I mean I suppose it could be wrong but I rely on that assumption every time I get into a car or an aircraft. I make that assumption every time I log on to a computer.

    I certainly don’t make the assumption that the bible is bollocks and christianity is a hate filled death cult I just come to that conclusion after examining the evidence and relying on my initial assumption

  45. #45 Michael Suttkus, II
    January 6, 2010

    @ 29

    Can someone explain what PZ is talking about?

    Simplifying the matter, literal Genesis had been abandoned by scientific types long before Darwin, and replaced with a variety of Genesis-like systems, such as the idea that the Genesis creation/destruction (flood) story was just the most recent of a long series of creation/destruction events God had performed. This long series of creation/destruction cycles could, it was thought, be aligned with the geological record, which a singular Genesis story could not.

    Then comes Darwin and the need for such a model dies.

    Post Darwin, the only people still worried about making the evidence match the Bible were the creationist literalists. They’d never been happy with the cycle model, and without the intellectuals pushing for it, they fell back on the old ways.

    It was George MacCready Price who formalized YEC into a pseudo-scientific endeavor. He took the Genesis elements and tried reading geology into them, using a combination of long abandoned flood geology ideas and combining them with the latest (circa 1920s) in science to come up with a scientific-sounding swill of weirdness which Henry Morris popularized (without credit) 40 years later in “The Genesis Flood”.

    The fact that YEC is almost entirely based on the work of a man most YECs would consider a total heathen blasphemer has been the source of much amusement to me.

  46. #46 alysonmiers
    January 6, 2010

    Therefore, there is nothing wrong with starting out with the Bible, and presuming it’s true. After all, atheists start out presuming it’s false.

    I think all books should be presumed fictional unless there is evidence of their veracity. Otherwise I can go and promote my novel as a prophecy of the future rather than just some shit I made up in my copious spare time. Any jackass can write a book. Any jackass can write a book that claims its own veracity. If it really is TRUFAX, they should be able to point to evidence outside their own writing. Therefore, the null hypothesis is to assume a narrative is fiction.

  47. #47 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    Any jackass can write a book. Any jackass can write a book that claims its own veracity.

    Dan Brown, for instance.

  48. #48 VegeBrain
    January 6, 2010

    I’m glad PZ Meyer has finally put his finger on it: modern creationism is the intellectual progeny of Ellen White who the Seventh Day Adventist church says is a prophet of God.

    As an ex-Adventist myself who has read most of what Ellen White wrote and read several of George MacReady Price’s books while I was still a believer I can vouch for the veracity for what PZ Meyer’s has written at the beginning of this thread. This is why when the Discovery Institute and others after their kind blather on and on I just snigger and know from whence cometh their message.

    There also ample evidence Ellen White was just another pious fraud among many, just in case some devout Adventists are reading here. Like the Mormons, the Adventists have a prophet who is now an embarrassment to them.

    Creationism is a fraud. Ellen White was a fraud. Religion is a fraud. I hold them all in utter contempt.

  49. #49 daarong
    January 6, 2010

    RBH: “See here for an explanation of why creationists find that to be an impossible task.”

    Actually I was a creationist who could and regularly did think from the perspective of non-believers. During college my interest was in apologetics, and my creationist beliefs were from my private school and my home church.

    It’s not too terribly difficult for those who value “truth” (aka objectivity and rationality), and for those in apologetics understanding the opposition through their eyes is the only way to successfully debate.

    When it came to creationism… I did finally see the light. It was merely a long educational process.. I jumped from one “what about this” to another until finally all of my questions were answered.

  50. #50 Nebula99
    January 6, 2010

    PaleGreenPants said:

    Well, shit. This is just an Atheist circle-jerk. BRING ON THE TRUE BELIEVERS!

    Seconded. While we’re waiting, I highly recommend RBH’s link in post 24, with a question for anybody who’s read it: How can I tell when I am doing the same thing as the creobots(selectively ignoring evidence) but on a different topic?

  51. #51 Sven DiMilo
    January 6, 2010

    (unless you’re including birds within Reptilia)

    If you’re using the term “Reptilia” at all these days, you’d better be.

    I think most prefer “Sauropsida” for that clade, though, which does of course include birds.

  52. #52 Romeo Vitelli
    January 6, 2010

    Just turn the argument back on the creationists: remind them that there are TWO accounts of creation in the Book of Genesis that are mutually irreconcilable. For one to be right, the other has to be wrong. Make them pick one.

  53. #53 daarong
    January 6, 2010

    Nebula99: “How can I tell when I am doing the same thing as the creobots(selectively ignoring evidence) but on a different topic?”

    When you assert “you’re wrong because of such-and-such”… the opposition’s response is either non-sense or you learn something. As a former creationist, I constantly learned when I debated against science. Today as someone who accepts modern biology, I still go out and read articles from such places as AnswersInGenesis and it’s crystal clear that they’re speaking non-sense, ignorance, and sometimes even lies.

  54. #54 Sven DiMilo
    January 6, 2010

    oops. trigger-happy.

    As opposed to the colloquial English term “reptiles,” which is still usually understood to exclude birds.

  55. #55 Ubi Dubium
    January 6, 2010

    @Tony.Bubbles #26

    Y’know what else I’d like? A dwarf apartment T-Rex.

    They’re easy to come by. I have a two of them myself, a blue one and a yellow one (Melopsittacus undulatus). They think they’re roaring and being all scary, we just hear it as chirps and twittering.

  56. #56 Glen Davidson
    January 6, 2010

    Well, shit. This is just an Atheist circle-jerk.

    Why yes, I’m glad you like it.

    BRING ON THE TRUE BELIEVERS!

    Oh…, you think that’s a bad thing…

    Well, whatever you think of my hobbies, hell yes, bring on the TRUE BELIEVERS, for I would mock them.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa30

  57. #57 Eamon Knight
    January 6, 2010

    Quoth PZ: If you peel the Bible away from the argument, just pretend for a moment that it doesn’t exist, do you appreciate the fact that there is no independent evidence to support the story you draw from it?

    …which, if you recall, is essentially admitted (though not in so many words) by AiG, right in the first gallery of Ham’s House of Hooey, as I point out here.

  58. #58 Glen Davidson
    January 6, 2010
    It’s just a reptile clothed in feathers with dinosaur (most likely) bones modified for flight.

    Unless I missed some major paper that everyone is on board with whereby Archaeopteryx is currently being classified as a very derived non-avian, then it’s not proper to be calling it a reptile (unless you’re including birds within Reptilia).

    And if I said that we’re just modified fish, you’d be complaining that humans aren’t classified as fish.

    Read for comprehension.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  59. #59 Will E.
    January 6, 2010

    I didn’t know about the Seventh Day Adventist/creationism link! Wow, that clears up something that’s rattled in my head for decades: when I was a kid at a family picnic, I caught a little garter snake. My Russian grandmother, who was Adventist (altho’ I had no real idea what that meant) asked me if snakes ate dirt. I was pretty confused, but I told her they ate insects and other snakes. So I’ve always wondered where she got that –of course, the fucking bible, Gen. 3:14. Ugh.

  60. #60 Herman Cummings
    January 6, 2010

    Mr. Meyers writes this comment: ?When scientists make interpreting the totality of the evidence their priority, with even the believers among scientists regarding the natural world around them as part of their god’s message to human beings, they come to the conclusion that the book of Genesis is a myth or a non-literal parable of some sorts, because it does not line up at all with the physical evidence.”

    The above is not true. First, it is imperative that Mr. Meyers differentiates between ?creationist clowns? (young Earth/young universe), old universe/younger Earth, or old Earth/younger universe. I represent the old Earth/younger universe, which holds the view that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.

    I?ve contacted Mr. Meyers before, but he fails to address the issues which I bring to the table. Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death. All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality. The truth about Genesis is that the seven days are not linear, and are in ?biblical order?.

    For example, the correct reading of Genesis chapter one reveals that 1) the only day of Creation Week that Moses saw was the Fourth Day, and 2) mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years. This view is called the ?Observations of Moses?. Stop being deceptive, Mr. Meyers. Scrutinize someone that is more formidable,
    rather than just the ?clowns?.

    Herman Cummings
    Ephraim7@aol.com

  61. #61 MrFire
    January 6, 2010

    I missed out on that 1000+ thread. Knowing my luck, they’re too cretarded to find their way over here.

  62. #62 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    I think most prefer “Sauropsida” for that clade, though, which does of course include birds.

    And there you go again, Sven, demonstrating how you elitist evolutionists change your theory whenever it runs up against something it can’t explain* just so long as the religion of evolution is not questioned.

    *Yes, I know. They don’t know…

  63. #63 Harry Tuttle
    January 6, 2010

    Their argument really boils down to “God is too dumb to use metaphors”. A lot of their arguments are implicitly insulting to the idea of a puissant deity since they project their ignorance onto their god.

  64. #64 PZ Myers
    January 6, 2010

    Read some of the history of creationism — in particular, Ron Numbers’ book. At the time of the Scopes trial, for instance, most creationists had a, well, I can’t call it a sophisticated theology, but it was a little less batshit insane than what people like Ken Ham and Carl Wieland peddle now. They didn’t flat out reject the conclusions of modern science, but tried to fit their god into the incontrovertible evidence of nature.

    The Seventh Day Adventists, though, had a prophetess, Ellen White, who had mystical visions and claimed to have witnessed in spirit all the events of the book of Genesis, and proclaimed that it really was a week of seven 24 hour days. Most of the early 20th century creationists repudiated that — it wasn’t just dumb, it was heretical, since it came from a self-proclaimed prophetess from a religion that was just another wacky cult. George MacReady Price was an SDA who lived a long, long time and constantly pushed this view of the Bible, colored by crazy visions.

    It all got whitewashed in the 1960s. Whitcomb and Morris came out with a book, The Genesis Flood, that was basically warmed-over Price, except that it left out Ellen White and SDA dogma. This is the view of creationism that has taken off in the last 50 years. What Carl Wieland is trying to push off on his followers is the fantastic imaginary scenario of a deranged 19th century cult leader, with the embarrassing cult omitted.

  65. #65 Rorschach
    January 6, 2010

    @ 61,

    Who is this Mr Meyers you speak of??

    I represent the old Earth/younger universe, which holds the view that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.

    bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha !

  66. #66 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    And if I said that we’re just modified fish, you’d be complaining that humans aren’t classified as fish.

    Would I? Really? And you have evidence of this from exactly where?

    Read for comprehension.

    How about you write for clarity?

  67. #67 Free Lunch
    January 6, 2010

    Mr. Cummings:

    If you learn to spell the name of your host correctly, you won’t annoy as many people.

    All attempts to claim that Genesis is ‘true’ fail because Genesis is a collection of myths that have nothing to do with history or science. Your claims aren’t very interesting, not even in a crackpot sort of foolishness.

  68. #68 Eamon Knight
    January 6, 2010

    Herman Cummings @61: No, as long as you’re getting your natural history from Genesis, you’re just another clown, albeit in different face-paint.

    And to all and sundry: let me echo the hearty recommendation for today’s Panda’s Thumb post referenced at #24.

  69. #69 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    I represent the old Earth/younger universe, which holds the view that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.

    Well sure one could think that until they started thinking about things like the speed of light and other insignificant facts.

  70. #70 TheBlackCat
    January 6, 2010
    Y’know what else I’d like? A dwarf apartment T-Rex.

    They’re easy to come by. I have a two of them myself, a blue one and a yellow one (Melopsittacus undulatus). They think they’re roaring and being all scary, we just hear it as chirps and twittering.

    I would rather face a T-rex than our parakeet any day. That thing was pure evil.

  71. #71 RickK
    January 6, 2010

    @Herman #61

    So all of this:
    http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/12/hubble_space_telescope_advent_1.html

    by the god of a tribe of creatures living here:
    http://www.humanistsofutah.org/images/PaleBlueDot.jpg

    Yeah – that makes total sense – to someone with a truly cosmic-sized ego.

  72. #72 MrFire
    January 6, 2010

    Holy Shit! Just as I write 60, #61 turns up! Woo-hoo! There is a non-god!

    I represent the old Earth/younger universe, which holds the view that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.

    WTF? Which can only be corroborated by your discredited bible, and is therefore meaningless.

    1) the only day of Creation Week that Moses saw was the Fourth Day,

    If you like. It’s about as believeable as anything else in there. The problem is, we have no authoritative, independent corroboration of Moses’ existence.

    2) mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years.

    Er…..0.2 timecube?

    Mr. Meyers

    Oh wait. You must be a Poe. Is this your secret signal?

  73. #73 lynxreign
    January 6, 2010

    Herman Cummings @61

    Scrutinize someone that is more formidable,
    rather than just the ?clowns?.

    I’m sure he would, if he could find any. You’re just exiting a different door of the Creationist Clown Car.

    Rather than just stating your ludicrous position, why not post your “reasoning” and “evidence” so we can all have many more laughs than we’ll get from your one-liner there?

  74. #74 Michelle R
    January 6, 2010

    @PaleGreenPants: “Dan Brown, for instance.”

    Damn right. My sisters and mother are all about the damn guy’s book, saying how good it is. I read the DaVinci code and I was beyond bored at his lack of talent and the easy plot. It’s easy to make a controversial book, just shove a religion in it. No need to make the plot good.

    Gawd I can’t believe I spent 15 bucks on that book..

  75. #75 Rorschach
    January 6, 2010

    Every time a creationist spouts nonsense about Genesis myths some sumerian priest spins in his grave…
    Talking snake, forbidden fruit and fall, global flood, all myths already present before Abraham.

  76. #76 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    PZ what sort of influence did the various essays on Evolution and “Darwinism” in The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth have on the whole movement?

    Particularly the ones from Beach and Wright.

  77. #77 Glen Davidson
    January 6, 2010

    Would I? Really? And you have evidence of this from exactly where?

    Are you really that dumb, Josh? The point is that it’s the same idiotic whine either way. If you’re unable to understand idioms, that’s not my problem.

    How about you write for clarity?

    Did, but mindless pedants can fault anything.

    And I don’t need to bother with your incomprehension and pedantry further in this thread.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  78. #78 MrFire
    January 6, 2010

    Rather than just stating your ludicrous position, why not post your “reasoning” and “evidence” so we can all have many more laughs than we’ll get from your one-liner there?

    Herman Cummings has written this.

  79. #79 Shirakawasuna
    January 6, 2010

    Josh, Reptilia is a paraphyletic group (to the ire of many people) which does not include (most) dinosaurs or any avians. Many people refer to dinosaurs as reptilian, adding to the confusion. While the technicalities of a naming scheme may be occasionally misunderstood, the actual facts and relationships are plain for anyone who isn’t afraid of actually learning about them.

    I have serious trouble seeing how classifying birds as non-reptile, given their dinosaur ancestry and the specific clades within Reptilia, constitutes a reaction to something anyone couldn’t explain. Instead, it arose from a better understanding of birds’ relationship to dinosaurs and a more technical application of paraphyletic taxonomy. In the future, you should make cogent points rather than declaring your conclusions and attaching buzzwords or nonsensical vitriol.

  80. #80 vanharris
    January 6, 2010

    Herman, is that three Earth days, three Jupiter days, or three days on the third planet out from the major component of the binary star system Alpha Centauri?

    Or is the three days how long it is since you last took your meds?

  81. #81 Michelle R
    January 6, 2010

    @Ubi Dubium and @BlackCat:

    I have FOUR Budgerigars. FOUR. My girl is the fattest, most territorial bitch on the block. Her first son’s called Godzilla. I called him that because of his destructive behavior in the nest.

    He turned out bigger than his mom. I’m scared here. What if HE reproduces?!

  82. #82 386sx ¾
    January 6, 2010

    I?ve contacted Mr. Meyers before, but he fails to address the issues which I bring to the table. Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death.

    I think what you mean is that your liberal ad hoc interpretation of Genesis lines up perfectly. That’s what you mean, but you didn’t say it. So, yep, you get to wear the clown hat too! Sorry!!

  83. #83 Sven DiMilo
    January 6, 2010

    I represent the old Earth/younger universe,

    And I represent the Lollipop Guild.

    mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years. This view is called the ?Observations of Moses?. Stop being deceptive, Mr. Meyers.

    *speechless*

  84. #84 Drew
    January 6, 2010

    come on people you’re so hungry for someone to argue with you take the bait of an obvious poe @61?

    Come on, you really think that guy is serious?

  85. #85 Michelle R
    January 6, 2010

    @Drew: Yea, he can’t be serious. I mean, his name’s Cummings.

  86. #86 Harry Tuttle
    January 6, 2010

    Ah Herman. Perhaps most Christians’ doxies are orthodoxies but the fact that your doxy is a heterodoxy doesn’t change the fact that we’re talking about a whore.

    You’re not right, you’re just differently wrong.

  87. #87 Sven DiMilo
    January 6, 2010

    I have serious trouble seeing how classifying birds as non-reptile, given their dinosaur ancestry and the specific clades within Reptilia, constitutes a reaction to something anyone couldn’t explain. Instead, it arose from a better understanding of birds’ relationship to dinosaurs and a more technical application of paraphyletic taxonomy. In the future, you should make cogent points rather than declaring your conclusions and attaching buzzwords or nonsensical vitriol.

    Can’t parse that first sentence, second one either, but the third is off-base.

  88. #88 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years. This view is called the ?Observations of Moses?. Stop being deceptive, Mr. Meyers.

    Things are very colorful in your world aren’t they

  89. #89 PZ Myers
    January 6, 2010

    If Mr Cummings has contacted me before, his ravings have merely been unnoticeable examples of the same old crazy talk I get in my email every day. I’ll have to look to see if I’ve got anything from him buried in the archives, but more likely, that kind of lunacy just got trashed.

  90. #90 TheBlackCat
    January 6, 2010

    I represent the old Earth/younger universe, which holds the view that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.

    This is wrong, and only marginally better than YECs. There are things we can see that are almost three times older than the Earth. Unless you reject the speed of light, in which case you are no better than YECs.

    I?ve contacted Mr. Meyers before, but he fails to address the issues which I bring to the table.

    This is wrong. PZ has addressed all of your points before. And it is “Myers”.

    Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death.

    This is wrong. There are two Genesis stories, neither of which bears any similarity to the geologic history of the Earth or to the history of life on this planet. For instance the first Genesis story says mammals developed before fish, which goes directly against the fossil record which shows mammals ultimately evolved from fish.

    All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality.

    This is wrong. Some creationist views, like yours, deny both.

    The truth about Genesis is that the seven days are not linear, and are in ?biblical order?.

    I don’t know what you mean. Do you mean that they are of different lengths, which means the order is wrong, or do you mean that they are out of order, which contradicts the the words in the story and the scientific evidence since Genesis has things happening on the same day when in reality things on other days happened between them (such as the stars and moon being formed on one day, and the Earth being formed on another, when many of the stars formed first, then the Earth, then the moon).

    For example, the correct reading of Genesis chapter one reveals that

    On what grounds do you say this is the correct reading?

    1) the only day of Creation Week that Moses saw was the Fourth Day,

    How could Moses have seen any of them when he lived centuries later?

    2) mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years.

    This is wrong. This is over two orders of magnitude longer than humans have been around. Not only did humans not exist back then, but no ape did. As best as I can tell it was even long before the first monkeys. Further, that was only 5 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

    This view is called the ?Observations of Moses?. Stop being deceptive, Mr. Meyers. Scrutinize someone that is more formidable,
    rather than just the ?clowns?.

    We would love to, if such a person were to present himself/herself. But so far it is all just different types of clowns.

  91. #91 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death. All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality. The truth about Genesis is that the seven days are not linear, and are in ?biblical order?.

    Ok, I’m game. Show us the timeline, and how it lines up with the Genesis account. Which Genesis account are you using, btw?

  92. #92 Shirakawasuna
    January 6, 2010

    A lie from the first page, MrFire:

    “Secular science is dogmatic about trying to establish evolution as an undeniable fact, and is not interested in accepting or exploring other possibilities, no matter how plausible they may be.”

    This is a common claim by creationists and it’s utterly vacuous. Creationist claims get consideration, in fact far too much consideration given their track record, and are soundly dismissed (emphasis on *soundly*). They are almost never plausible, as implied by the quote, and when they are remotely plausible they lack the two most important aspects of evolutionary theory (and any strong theory): they account for a vast amount of current observations and they are predictive concerning future observations. Typically, the very best creationist claims account for a very small subset of data and even then they usually make mistakes (or are outright dishonest).

    No, ‘secular science’ (which is to say science), despite dealing with far too many creationist claims and finding them inferior to the vast majority of middle school science projects, concentrates on ideas which generate data, which make predictions and can be tentatively confirmed or denied as a result. Look at that word, tentatively: that’s the results you get from the best science available, from the science your computer is built upon. Creationist claims haven’t even gotten that much support experimentally. There’s a reason the best creationists have to offer is AnswersInGenesis, a wholly dishonest enterprise: they are *not* interested in science nor a critical examination of their claims when it comes to their personal, wacky religious beliefs. There are rare exceptions, but they are the ones who admit that creationist claims lack scientific value.

    So, to soundly rebut a lie listed on the first page of an article you didn’t even write, it was necessary (to properly cover the issues) to write several paragraphs. I won’t be continuing on that article, as merely quoting another lazy person simply gives me work that you should’ve done to begin with. If you find something particularly good, write it out in your own words (so that we know you understand it) and prepare to defend it.

  93. #93 Jim
    January 6, 2010

    Please, you all must tell me right now, truthfull, that Herman Cummings is just a troll. Please please please say that he doesn’t really believe that. I’m not sure my brain could take the fact that someone believes that.

  94. #94 PZ Myers
    January 6, 2010

    Hey, Cummings did send me something back in August! It was more of the same, marked “For publication”, and with the dire threat that after I published part 1 of his biblical refutation of young earth creationism, he’d send me part 2.

    I ignored it. Just another clown.

  95. #95 amphiox
    January 6, 2010

    Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death.

    Before it is even relevant to for me to even start considering the veracity of this claim, you must first demonstrate for me how Genesis 1 lines up with Genesis 2.

  96. #96 Louis
    January 6, 2010

    Herman Cummings #61

    “Scrutinize someone that is more formidable,
    rather than just the ?clowns?.”

    {Enters in dilapitdated car, exists car, closes door, car falls to pieces} HONK HONK EHEH HONK HONK {throws pail of whitewash} EHEH [dee dee diddle diddle dee dee dah dah] HONK HONK {slips on banana skin}.

    I spy over-large shoes, a red nose, green hair, an horrendously made up face, is it….Auntie Ethel?* No! It’s another clown!

    Louis

    * The temptation to pick prolific female posters of Pharyngula and cause an ensuing pun/joke/flame fest (delete as appropriate) was nearly overwhelming. I am proud of myself that I didn’t. I shall reward myself with a beer and some bacon.

    P.S. Who the fuck is this Meyer/Meyers bloke people keep mentioning? The owner of this blog is Bpii Shzzheaddh Gnmaellars, please spell it correctly.

  97. #97 Drew
    January 6, 2010

    Hey, Cummings did send me something back in August! It was more of the same, marked “For publication”, and with the dire threat that after I published part 1 of his biblical refutation of young earth creationism, he’d send me part 2.

    I ignored it. Just another clown.

    so you mean to say that either he’s serious and not a poe, or he’s perpetrating a really elaborate joke?

    Hmmm…I’d like to think better of humanity than to think that a person could believe such a thing as this…but I’ve been let down so many times.

  98. #98 Sven DiMilo
    January 6, 2010

    thank you, Louis, for your uncharacteristic restraint

  99. #99 tony.bubbles
    January 6, 2010

    I’m not sure my brain could take the fact that someone believes that.

    Bah. He’s strictly second-rate as far as whacked-out beliefs go. Let me up the ante.

    I believe that I am around 14 billion years old, but the universe and earth is only 42 years old. How do I know this? Because the earth (and time) only began to exist for me about 42 years ago. Ergo, since I myself am 14 billion years old, it is the rest of the universe that is only 42 years old.

    Dinosaurs began to have been existed when the world was 4. At about 8, the pharoahs had begun to have once ruled ancient Egypt. When the universe was 12, the best thing to have happened in my 14 billion years occurred: computers. When the world turned 19, I invented something better: sex.

    You, Jim, are unfortunately only about 10 minutes old.

    Now, until Mr. Cummings can beat that, his belief is merely dolled-up superstition. It’s not even whacky. It will never have been considered true.

  100. #100 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Hmmm…I’d like to think better of humanity than to think that a person could believe such a thing as this…but I’ve been let down so many times.

    If this is the case I’d stay far away from this place, the frequent kooks that show up here will be a huge let down for you.

  101. #101 Shirakawasuna
    January 6, 2010

    *reads Sven DiMilo’s comment, agrees, cites Poe’s Law regarding Josh*

  102. #102 Nebula99
    January 6, 2010

    For a Poe, Cummings wrote a 4-page screed laying out his personal (rather odd, to put it mildly) creation myth. Mr. Fire linked to it in #78. I think Cummings is serious–his loony ideas are no loonier than the standard YEC nonsense.

  103. #103 amphiox
    January 6, 2010

    We start with the fundamental assumption that reality is real. What we see (observe/measure/etc) is what we get. Thus, if the bible (or any other source, sacred or otherwise) does not match reality, then the bible must be a lie (or an allegory/metaphor/whatever).

    But the fundamentalist YECs do not share this basic assumption. They start with the assumption that their bible (or their personal interpretation of it) is real. Thus, if reality does not match the bible, then reality must be a lie. Or at best, a metaphor. And the parts of the reality that even YECs must concede to work, work because those aspects of reality are particularly good metaphors.

    Debate is not possible if the two sides cannot agree on a basic foundation upon which both may anchor their claims. Otherwise all you get is two people talking past each other.

  104. #104 Louis
    January 6, 2010

    @Sven #98:

    Uncharacteristic? Buddy you don’t know the half of what I’d like to say had I the time or inclination…

    …And I suspect you’re rather glad about that! ;-)

    Louis

  105. #105 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlw4oH0l6k2YD0NCQUeu7nC2owgujUl77U
    January 6, 2010

    Hello, Herman. So Moses witnessed day four, eh? This is you interpretation of the translations of the inscribed, older oral tales told in a set of bronze age myths, recounting a vision of Moses (who may or may not have been loosely based on a real person), and assuming he had a vision of God, and was not merely hallucinating. Okaaay… no chance for errors there.

    I assure you that claiming the stars are three days younger than the Earth is at odds with just about every field of science except maybe library science. Your only “evidence” is your own unique interpretation of religious texts from one of many religions currently available.

    The reason there are so many religions, and why they continually fracture into more and more sects, is because none of them are testing their claims against reality.

    If you want to found a religion of one, fine; you won’t be the first. But stop asserting that it’s science, or even compatible with science. That’s just clown talk.

    Kermit,
    not that horrible google string above

  106. #106 MrFire
    January 6, 2010

    Shirakawasuna:

    Easy tiger! Friendly fire (no pun intended). I was linking to his blatherings, after suggesting @72 that he might be a Poe.

  107. #107 jcfitzner
    January 6, 2010

    @61

    OMG! Bwahahahahahaha indeed.

    The universe is YOUNGER than the earth? Really?

    That’s just… wow. Just so insane. That makes even LESS sense than a young earth claim. There is not a single thing in reality which could possibly support that. You can’t have a planet without a solar system first, which requires a sun which are formed from hydrogen and other light elements created after the big bang and baryogenesis. It is not physically possible to have a universe younger than the earth. It’s like saying you were physically born before your mother.

    OMG the insanity.

  108. #108 CTC
    January 6, 2010

    I always wondered what specific flavor of batshit insanity the 7DAs added to the Christian kookiness – and now I know. At least *someone* in this thread will have learned something!

  109. #109 Maslab
    January 6, 2010

    Perhaps Mr. Cummings is also a faithful believer in the existence of tachyons?

  110. #110 lose_the_woo
    January 6, 2010

    Amphiox @ 103

    Well said.

    The view science takes on reality is contingent on reality. This causes the scientific view to self-correct when new information is discovered, thus furthering the progress of knowledge about reality. This kind of honing makes the scientific view a better approximation of truth than any other method known.

    The creationist’s view of reality is contingent on static 2000 year old scribblings based on even more primitive knowledge and fable. They presume these ancient documents are inerrant for no rational reason other than their presumption. Anyone doing this while expecting to be take seriously is a clown.

  111. #111 edivimo.wordpress.com
    January 6, 2010

    One day I was browsing a ID document, and I find the picture of the Archeopteryx and I thought “WTF, a picture of a transitional fossil in an ID document!!”, and then I read what was the document saying about this fossil, it was something like:

    “This is the Archeopteryx, some evolutionists believe that this is a transitional fossil between reptiles and bird but that was disproved long ago“(emphasis mine)

    No citation, not a clue of who or how was “disprove it”, they disguise their unfounded asumptions like science without make the attemp to do a mere citation. They have no proofs, only stupid believers.

  112. #112 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Icarus @ #39 wrote:

    I wish the creationists would take their noses out of their ‘holy scriptures’ for just a little while and actually look at the world – they would surely see that the real 4.5 billion-year-old world is far more exciting and interesting than any banal mythology; they would see that evolution is far more fascinating than the magic their supposed deity supposedly used to poof it all into existence. How could any religious fiction even come close to being as compelling as the reality of our amazing, intricate universe?

    Well, yeah. Exciting yes, but evolution (or any aspect of reality revealed through science) neither makes you feel all special and loved, nor does it provide impetus for denigrating and loathing whole groups of others. Butch and Linda Babyfactory from Topeka who still can’t understand why they’re struggling to make ends meet when just three short years ago they were voted Homecoming King and Queen probably couldn’t care less about the exciting reality of the planet they live on as much as finding someone to blame for their lack of material success, and scientists with their refusal to slot the world into simple black-or-white dichotomies are just shills for the liberal homosexual Ayerab-lovers’ agenda.

    Take the dipshit comment at #61: Cummings’ comment effectively says nothing other than, “I’m special! Really! Listen to me!” Consider the hubris required to write something like “All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality.” So Cummings’ loving god created all of the universe and wrote a special book for his favourite creations only to have it grossly misunderstood by skeptics and believers alike, save for Cummings and his ilk? Please. And how does Cummings account for his ‘special’ knowledge that’s beyond the ken of nearly everyone else in the world? Why, he simply makes it up as he goes along. “The problem with trying to reconcile the bible with science, see, is that the bible is written not in scientific or historical order, but ‘biblical order’. That’s why it doesn’t line up. But if you just move this phrase over here, and cross out that word over there, and add in this phrase, it dovetails perfectly. Well, perfectly when you consider that the facts in the bible aren’t scientific or historical facts, but ‘biblical facts’. Take all of that into consideration, and the book is practically a physics textbook. But nobody understands that but me.”

    We really need to stop poking fun at Christianity by calling it a Skydaddy cult, because it’s not about Yahweh or Jesus or Mary or the saints or any of those: it’s about each individual believer, and how the whole universe was created just so people like Cummings can feel like they’re at the centre of the whole thing. Honestly, it’s the most narcissistic belief system ever invented.

  113. #113 Frankencone
    January 6, 2010

    Ah yes, for the good old “Well you are just AFRAID to debate” – ‘argument’…

    No. Not really.
    You see, I have a ten to twelve hour working day as a journalist. When my three year old nephew is coming around to tell me his new Power Rangers figure is, in fact, the greatest thing in the history of everything, I will probably nod my head to him for a few minutes with a gentle smile, but then send him on his way. I will, and can, not spend hours upon hours debating the greatness of his Power Rangers figure. For I have, in fact, more important stuff to do.

    And really, it is just the same with scientists being “invited” to debate a creationist. If you elect to dwell in a self selected cesspool of ignorance, that is your free decision. But don’t you dare knocking on our door and steal our valueable working time just to get us to ease your worries about your new sparkling toy indeed being more than merely a batch of plastic with a bad theme song.

  114. #114 Strangest brew
    January 6, 2010

    #61

    “Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.”

    Easy meat…You are a fucking idiotic clown with shit for brains!

  115. #115 JackC
    January 6, 2010

    @85:

    Yea, he can’t be serious. I mean, his name’s Cummings.

    My mother’s name is Cummings :-(

    It was pretty cool when she worked for a certain Diesel Engine manufacturing plant in Indiana. Of course, they were missing a letter in the name.

    Sigh, she also believes that we are on Earth because aliens flushed the toilet as they were passing by… It must be the name.

    JC

  116. #116 sudomabinusri
    January 6, 2010

    I have, at times, considered the possibility of arguing to creationists that the biblically derived age of the earth is just a misunderstanding, i.e. that god told the scribes how old the earth was, but they didn’t understand “billions”, so he just said, “Write something down, they’ll figure it out later.” Along comes Mr. Cummings to illustrate the law of unintended consequences: he takes that basic idea and goes somewhere… else.

    I think I’ll leave that argument alone now.

  117. #117 Shirakawasuna
    January 6, 2010

    *resigns to failure after getting accidentally Poe’d twice*

  118. #118 MadScientist
    January 6, 2010

    @vanharris #7: I think PZ means all the pretend geology which the creationists rely on is from McReady-Price (see Eric Hovind’s Grand Canyon story for example – 100% pure McReady-Price).

  119. #119 JackC
    January 6, 2010

    Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death.

    … for significantly large values of the phrases “line up” and “perfectly”.

    (I actually typo’d that second word above as “significan’tly” – something I probably should consider rather more accurate…)

    JC

  120. #120 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    It’s been a while since I commented here. I should probably spend a bit of time ridiculing Herman (or at least read everyone else’s good job of it).

    The funny thing I wonder about Herman is if he believes the speed of light went up. Kind of funny: E=mc^2. If you increase c, m goes down very quickly. Essentially, believing the speed of light used to be faster requires believing the Earth once weighed about as much as a grain of rice.

    Of course, he could say that God decided to override E=mc^2, but, of course, that would be tantamount to saying the universe is a random, chaotic place where any rule could be overridden by the moment-to-moment whims of their stone idol, who was created by a random nothing storm randomly stirring up a bunch of nothing and perfectly assembling a being with the inexplicable desire and ability to create this particular universe.

    Of course, requiring the laws to change doesn’t speak well of his intelligence, since it means he wasn’t smart enough to get it right the first time.

    Also, the only reason Creationists offer for why he would speed up the light from some stars would be to deceive us: Creationists believe their god is a pathological liar who only deceives to revel in his ability to get away with it.

  121. #121 MadScientist
    January 6, 2010

    @Metz’OMagix #11: You might be thinking of this same blog where PZ wrote that Ray Comfort (or was it someone else) gives extra credit to “students” who post nonsense on blogs such as PZ’s.

    What *do* we call Comfort’s acolytes? Students or apprentices is not apt; who wishes to study to be a fool?

  122. #122 Endor
    January 6, 2010

    I can’t take anymore creationist crazy. Been dealing with it IRL.

    it really sucks when you realize that you can’t talk honestly about a subject with some one close to you because they know you have the evidence to prove them wrong, and they’d rather be wrong then change their minds.

  123. #123 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 6, 2010

    @Metz’OMagix #11: You might be thinking of this same blog where PZ wrote that Ray Comfort (or was it someone else) gives extra credit to “students” who post nonsense on blogs such as PZ’s

    No, that was Dembski not Comfort.

  124. #124 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I like your analogy Frankencone, but there’s a further difference between a creationist and your nephew: your nephew isn’t engaging with you solely in the hope that he’ll trip you up and expose you as a tool of Christ-denying abortionists and masturbators. We have, on occasion, had creationists here who were honestly curious about the theory of evolution and the evidence supporting it, but they’re rarer than fossil hominins. The rule is to allow everyone three comments before signaling the rest of the wolf pack that it’s time to feed, but it usually takes fewer than that to reveal the motivations of a mendacious creationist armed only with what they think is a ‘Gotcha!’ overheard at their bible study group.

    What *do* we call Comfort’s acolytes? Students or apprentices is not apt; who wishes to study to be a fool?

    Growing Pains.

  125. #125 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Brownian @112: Well said about the arrogance.

    Of course, arrogance is pretty much what Creationism is all about.

    I humbly accept that the universe could have turned out very differently, and that I wouldn’t exist in those hypothetical universes. I’m just glad to be here.

    Creationists, on the other hand, assume that this universe that contains them is infinitely more special than any other hypothetical universe. Why? Because it contains them. Because they can’t accept that it even *might* have turned out differently, they invent a God who exists for the sole purpose of creating them, the pinnacle of all possible universes.

  126. #126 Louis
    January 6, 2010

    Endor #122

    Know the feeling. I had homeopathy and magnet therapy touted as the next best thing since sliced bread by some of the more credulous members of my family over the holidays. I was a good boy….for about the first three times, then I kinda rose to the bait and may have made a point or two. With refrerences.

    Bad, bad Louis. Bad Louis. I imagine we’ll all be speaking again by March.

    Louis

  127. #127 Abdul Alhazred
    January 6, 2010

    When a creationist speaks of “true” science, that means the set of random unconnected scientific factoids that do not obviously contradict Genesis.

  128. #128 Hurin
    January 6, 2010

    Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death. All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality. The truth about Genesis is that the seven days are not linear, and are in ?biblical order?.

    For example, the correct reading of Genesis chapter one reveals that 1) the only day of Creation Week that Moses saw was the Fourth Day, and 2) mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years. This view is called the ?Observations of Moses?. Stop being deceptive, Mr. Meyers. Scrutinize someone that is more formidable,
    rather than just the ?clowns?.

    Herman Cummings

    Your worldview is novel, but the fact that it contradicts two less scientific facts than the other creationist ideas out there does not make it more formidable. The main problem with your schtick is aptly noted by Dr. Myers in his generalized debunking of creationism above:

    What creationists are always trying to do is to cobble up some of that evidentiary support for their beliefs, while refusing to acknowledge that their entire claim rests on a presupposition that the bible is a valid source of prehistoric information.

    Unfortunately your viewpoint does not differ from any other in creationism in this regard. You’ve rearranged your interpretation of the bible so that it no longer contradicts the age of the earth as determined by geology or the amount of time life has existed on earth. On the other hand the basis of your cosmology is still the Bible, and still in contradiction to much of observable reality (the speed of light and immensity of the universe, and the non-existance of a 60 million year fossil record of humanity to name a couple). That puts you in exactly the same defective philosophical boat as the YECs.

  129. #129 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 6, 2010

    You know, I’ve been thinking why debates with creationists, climate change denialists and other anti-scientists always degenerate into shouting matches.

    In science, it is all about the evidence interpreted in a naturalistic framework. We can debate precisely what the evidence means, but only within a narrow range. And we keep having to come back to the evidence. There is only so personal a debate can become under these rules of engagement.

    Now introduce into that paradigm somebody for whom talking snakes and virgin births are simply matters of course. There simply is no common framework for interpreting evidence.

    With evidence out of the picture, it becomes a matter of authority. By any objective measure of authority, a scientist ought to win that one hands down when it comes to his own subject matter, right? So, all that is left to the anti-science nutjob is character assassination and ad hominem attack. Their only hope is to so discredit the scientists that the audience also begins to doubt the evidence gathered by the scientists.

    There’s no point in debating such people–you’re playing football, while they’re playing calvin-ball.

  130. #130 CJO
    January 6, 2010

    And guess what? It’s just another cranky old book written by cranky old men who tried to replace their ignorance with a foolish certainty.

    Well, it’s a step up from “Bronze-Age goatherds” anyway. But I would submit that it was written by men who simply lacked the concept of empirical truth altogether. It took the Scientific Revolution for people to begin to imagine that there were actual, reliable ways to know about things like what causes the tides? much less the origins of the Earth and the solar system. To the priest who wrote Genesis 1, such matters were the province of Gods, and the way for humans to talk about these things was in the idiom of myth.

    Biblical literalism is like empiricism’s evil twin. Once rigorous empirical inquiry got started in earnest, and scientists and engineers could use its techniques to demonstrate convincingly, to anyone, that the universe was governed by regularities explicable with mathematics and logic, God’s word, being The Truth, after all, had to partake of that kind of truth too, or so said many. But much before that, I suspect that if you told a believer that the evidence contradicted his myths, he’d just be puzzled. He would not disbelieve your evidence willfully, in the manner of the modern creationist, and find rationalizations; he just would not consider the question meaningful.

    It’s standard these days to assume that pre-modern cosmogonies and origins myths were primarily devised as aetiologies, that they were intended as a filler for the pre-empirical epistemic void. But I don’t think this is right. I doubt that the void was experienced as such, as a lack or a deficiency in one’s ability to acquire knowledge. Such myths have a social dimension that is underappreciated. The salient anxiety addressed by such narratives was not empirical curiosity about the natural world but what it meant to be a moral actor in an indifferent universe and a grossly unfair social world that was nevertheless believed to be a reflection of the will of God. A myth is a way of saying “It was like this when I got here.” Less “foolish certainty” than a timorous whistling past the graveyard.

  131. #131 Lynna, OM
    January 6, 2010

    RBH, thanks for the link @24. Like others, I enjoyed the presentation. The explanation of how people manage to believe things that aren’t true, or to believe concepts for which there is no evidence was good. I had read previously the research by Sam Harris et. al. that was mentioned. However, understanding how people got that way, or are that way, doesn’t necessarily answer the question of how to get them out of the rut(s).

    A subsequent comment listed some practical steps, beginning with discrediting the source of the information (discrediting the Prophet or pseudo-authority, for example). I’ve tried that with Joseph Smith. Some people respond by funneling any mention of the name of their prophet into their ready-made channel of “worship, honor, obey, do NOT question”. They seem to be more receptive if they come upon discrediting information on their own. The internet works well for this. If you search for LDS or mormon, you’re bound to come up with debunking sites as well as the usual official lies.

  132. #132 Endor
    January 6, 2010

    Louis #126 -

    Oy, family! i don’t even bother why my family! They watch Glen Beck. And think he’s telling the truth! There’s no hope for them.

    This person actually said to me “that evolution is correct is YOUR opinion” complete with a glare.

    i give up. I’m going back to not talking to people about anything of substance. They always turn out to be freakazoids who believe in stupid things and are absolutely certain they’re right, even though they haven’t spent a single second investigating it.

    is canada this bad? I need to get away from good ol’ muricans.

  133. #133 Abdul Alhazred
    January 6, 2010

    C.S.Lewis was buddies with Tolkein, and you know how evil that is.

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

  134. #134 Abdul Alhazred
    January 6, 2010

    Oops wrong thread. ;)

  135. #135 vanharris
    January 6, 2010

    MadScientist, # 118, thanks for that. Someone else explained it earlier as well.

    But how the hell does PZ find time to read the superstitious crap as well as all the good stuff? Is there a mole in the Theology Dept? A lot of people who study theology do end up atheists.

  136. #136 Joffan
    January 6, 2010

    I find Cummings’ position even more bizarre than YEC. He’s almost there, with regard to the age of the Earth anyway – why stop there when you’re within an order of magnitude for the Universe? If you can twist Genesis enough to slide 4.3 bilion years in there, what is the issue? Surely the rest is easy?

  137. #137 SteveM
    January 6, 2010

    So, how about this? Consider the universe as a 4 dimensional “sculpture” being created by this “god” guy. So, the first day he starts working on it he turns on his work lamp (let there be light) and starts pushing around the light and dark parts of the sculpture. On the second day he inserts various features into the 4 dimensional object, etc.

    Now within the sculture we see things occurring in a certain order, but since god is “outside” he can put things wherever (whenever) he wants. So the “days” of creation are god’s days, not days “within” the “sculpture” of the universe.

  138. #138 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Sadly, I hear a lot of Creationists using that argument, SteveM.

    Of course, they argue that their stone idol did all that stuff out of sequence in order to deceive us into thinking the universe is consistent and predictable, when it’s really being tinkered with for the sake of randomness. And all that randomness just coincidentally lines up with what we expect from an orderly, predictable universe.

  139. #139 Herman Cummings
    January 6, 2010

    It?s sad that only #91, and #95 had a sensible comment. Before inserting your foot in your mouth, find out what a person is talking about first. Sorry about misspelling your name Mr. Myers. And yes, you refused to print my rebuttal of young Earth and old Earth doctrines.

    Genesis has no creation accounts. Chapter one is God?s rendition of geologic history, given to Moses, revealing seven days which occurred in seven different geologic ages. Each day was taken from the first week of that particular geologic age. For example, in chronological order, the Fourth Day (Wednesday) was taken from Creation Week which was 4.6 billion years ago. Next came the fifth day (Thursday), which was taken from the first week of restoration following the Permian extinction in 245 Million BC. This is when God created the first birds and giant marine reptiles (?sea monsters?, not ?great whales?).

    Next came the sixth day (Friday), which was taken from the second (next) week of restoration which followed the Cretaceous extinction in 65 Million BC. This is when God created herbivores, giant mammals, and changed the likeness of mankind to what he is today (in God?s image).

    The next day which was revealed was the seventh day (Saturday), taken from the third week (next) of restoration which followed the extinction of 25 Million BC. It goes on from there. Each week of Divine activity (1 Creation, 6 restorations), God put a different dispatch of mankind on Earth and life forms, which would be destroyed after a period of time. The first such instance was after Lucifer lost the war in Heaven (245 Million BC), and came back to Earth to engage in retaliatory destruction of our solar system.

    The reappearing of life forms, which secular science defines as ?evolution?, is actually God restoring life on Earth after corruption by Satan. There?s more to it than that, but that?s all I?ll say here, since most of the audience here is not serious. As far as chapter two is concerned, it conveys the origin of modern mankind (Adam & Eve) which began in 7200 BC. That?s why the sequence of events is different than the sixth day in chapter one.

    In closing, there where seven days, taken from seven weeks, which were the first week of seven different geologic ages. So stop saying that the text has ?creation myths?, because you have not been trained in this area. Genesis is a book of prehistoric history, advanced math and science.

    Herman
    Ephraim7@aol.com

  140. #140 mazyloron
    January 6, 2010

    Slightly off-topic, but not really.

    A YEC fail made it onto Failblog (assuming it’s not a Poe’s):
    http://failblog.org/2010/01/06/field-trip-fail/

    You’re not misleading my children into beleiving that the Earth is older than 6,000 years! And I’ll make sure they don’t even do their homework completely unless the assignment is Biblically correct.

  141. #141 Capital Dan
    January 6, 2010

    Time is Cubic. The universe is Cubic. Four sides!

    Sorry… I just had to Time Cube the hell out of this thread.

  142. #142 TheBlackCat
    January 6, 2010

    @ CJO: What particular point in history are you referring to, and what evidence do you have that people at that time actually thought that way?

    One of the main jobs of priests in early civilizations was predicting the seasons based on the positions of the stars, and in some cases errors resulted in execution. The idea that such people could base their careers around analyzing evidence yet still somehow were not at all concerned for evidence seems contradictory to me.

  143. #143 Joffan
    January 6, 2010

    Mr Cummings, who came up with this interpretation of Genesis? Was it you, or did you learn of it from someone else?

  144. #144 Strangest brew
    January 6, 2010

    So it appears Cummings came by to release a pressing faecal dump, declined to wipe his ass and wondered off to stink up other areas of his tawdry and oh so woefully ignorant existence elsewhere.

    As is the the modus operandi of every cretinist, Old or Young, makes not a jot of difference.

    oh and by the by tis revealing on how Y/O ecisms really relate to each other with that ‘ol black magic xian ‘lurve!
    You are dismissing all your fellow believers in fantasy with the comment…

    “All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality.”

    Where is your religious respect?
    When you would, all to glibly, accuse atheists of such a lack towards yourself and demand ‘respect’ towards your inherent load of codswollop that you preach as gospel…what a classic Clown!
    We reserve exclusively the right to display a certain amount of COULROPHOBIA to an amateur sub section of that esteemed calling!
    The reasons being obvious, your idiotic cult, and you by default, are mad, bad, and dangerous to bother with, you are also twisted with it.

    But just on the dubious likelihood that the wannabee clown might reappear for an encore.

    “Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth”

    Erm!…nope not a smidgeon!..although lying and making up nonsense to shoe horn it like an African rogue elephant into a tight size 8 red pencil line skirt with bust hugging garish pink blouse with obligatory smeared mascara and tatty peeka-boo bra to pimp it might explain a few things.

    Then you have the singular lack of rationality to wonder why folks laugh and point and unanimously dismiss your offering as a cheap and unsatisfying dollop of trash….wise up ‘Sherlock…your hoer is past it…and the price is too high even if you were giving her services away!
    Even atheists have standards!

    That is of course if you read it correctly…

    And while there which creation myth, according to your analysis, is true the chapter one or the chapter two version in Genesis?

    And if one outweighs the other…then why claim the tawdry pamphlet as error free?

    Curious minds wish to know…and some of the others just want a giggle!
    Do oblige…we are seemingly awaiting ‘Goddo’ here!

  145. #145 KOPD42
    January 6, 2010

    Think like a heathenish pagan who has no respect for biblical authority, and you’ll realize why your claims have no weight.

    Unfortunately, very few of them seem capable of performing the Outsider Test on their own beliefs.

  146. #146 Rorschach
    January 6, 2010

    Delusional clownshoe @ 139,

    The first such instance was after Lucifer lost the war in Heaven (245 Million BC), and came back to Earth to engage in retaliatory destruction of our solar system.

    Wrong thread Herman, wasn’t that meant to go into the “The’re coming for us” thread?

  147. #147 Harry Tuttle
    January 6, 2010

    So the “days” of creation are god’s days, not days “within” the “sculpture” of the universe.

    An appeal to an infinite regress of increasingly strained metaphors is hardly convincing.

  148. #148 vanharris
    January 6, 2010

    Herman, you seem to have reinvented a Catastrophist geological doctrine along with a Progressionist biological doctrine!

    Why? This sort of superstitious thinking was discredited back in the 19th C.

    Please go take your medication.

  149. #149 co
    January 6, 2010

    There?s more to it than that, but that?s all I?ll say here, since most of the audience here is not serious.

    *cough*

  150. #150 Strangest brew
    January 6, 2010

    #139

    “In closing, there where seven days, taken from seven weeks, which were the first week of seven different geologic ages”

    Seriously dude…you are a clown!..and a rather confused one at that.

  151. #151 negentropyeater
    January 6, 2010

    Hermann “foremost living terrestrial authority on Genesis” Cummings #139

    Genesis is a book of prehistoric history, advanced math and science.

    advanced math ? Give an example.

  152. #152 David Marjanovi?
    January 6, 2010

    I wrote most of this before this thread was even created? :-)

    I was wondering if anyone was going to bring up scandentians and dermopterans. If you neglect them, however (and most lay people would consider them “rodenty” anyway),

    Those? Rodenty? That would be stupid.

    I’d be interested in taking a peek at the article you refer to, incidentally — what’s the DOI?

    Two papers:

    Tom S. Kemp: Acoustic transformer function of the postdentary bones and quadrate of a nonmammalian cynodont, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(2), 431?441 (12 June 2007)

    Luo Zhexi, Chen Peiji, Li Gang & Chen Meng: A new eutriconodont mammal and evolutionary development in early mammals, Nature 446, 288 ? 293 (15 March 2007)

    Kemp (2007) is about Chiniquodon, Luo et al. (2007) is about Yanoconodon and can be found at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1038/nature05627 .

    Pretty pictures in both of them.

    I just read elsewhere on Scienceblogs that you don’t even need genes (or technically even life) to get evolution by mutation and natural selection.

    There’s a mechanism for inheritance and one for mutation, so evolution by mutation and natural selection is inevitable.

    Languages evolve, too. And so do certain computer programs (genetic algorithms).

    it’s hard to tell at times where Papal infallibility ends and personal opinion begins.

    It’s actually very easy. Papal infallibility has only been invoked twice so far (immaculate birth of Mary, bodily assumption of Mary into heaven*) and came with pompous ceremonies both times.

    * “The wages of sin is death.” Somehow this got turned around into sin being the only possible cause of death. Mary being sinless (see “immaculate birth”), she can’t have died, but must have moved to heaven in the flesh just like her son. See? Logical. <vehement nodding> It certainly helped that this idea had already been a tradition for centuries.

    I’m sure there are many Catholics who believe in evolution and still a literal Adam & Eve and a literal Fall. I’m sure there are still creationist Catholics out there who are hoping that there’s an endorsement of ID.

    Yes. Almost all of them sit in the USA, though, “where even the Catholics are evangelical”.

    If mice/kangaroo/banana are have x% in common with our genes, what is the simplest way to explain to a layman why we look so different?

    We look different?

    The outwardly visible differences between us, mice, and kangaroos are mostly limited to proportions, all the same body parts are there for no functional reason.

    Most of the outwardly visible differences between all these and the bananas disappear at the cell level, and remember that genes are templates for RNAs and proteins, not for body parts.

    Homology all over the place, inwards, outwards, forwards, backwards.

    The reason I find this ambiguous: You’ll notice that there are two similar but distinct clauses, first the “in the image of God created he him”, which clearly only applies to Adam, then “male and female created he them”.

    Adam? What Adam? There is no Adam in that entire story! Adam belongs to the other creation tale!

    Except?

    ?that the normal word adam just means “human being”, and it just so happens to be grammatically masculine like its correspondents in German (Mensch), Russian (???????), and KJV English (man) for instance. Therefore “him” rather than “it”.

    Reading your stupid comments especially by the evoretards barking from behind the nick names,one can understand why evolutionists lost and will be losing any scientific debates in the future. You simply can not provide any scientific evidence for evolutionism. Blind faith confessions is what I have seen so far.Occasional abuse of the opponents in dominant style of the major prophets and apostles of your faith…

    You have overlooked comment 626 and lots of others.

    In case you did not know there was another fraud perpetrated by the evo zealots.It is called betularia the peppered moth. In it Darwinians,to trenghten their scientific case for evolutionism glued some white moths on the dark bark of the trees to show that white ones were more easily visible by the birds and eaten. The problem with betularia is that during the day it sleeps under the leaves and does not come out at all.

    <yawn> If I don’t forget, I’ll post a link to a highly interesting paper later today. Thine eyes shall pop out as usual.

    I finally realized that I have an emotional connection to the incarnation, the Emmanuel God-with-us thing. The idea that God’s love is expressed so concretely and the intimate language of family really appeals to me.

    So you believe what you want to be true?

    Is that it?

    If so, isn’t that the greatest logical fallacy of all?

    lack of non-introduced placental mammals in Australia

    Except for bats (flew in) and mice (rafted in twice).

    But considering it’s the only widely held alternative view to evolution, then why not squash it once and for all with a public debate?

    Haven’t you noticed that controversies within science are never decided by debates? Haven’t you noticed that scientists never hold debates with each other, not even at their conferences?

    Have you never thought about why this is?

    I can easily tell you. In a debate, the better rhetor wins, not the best-supported idea. In science, we want the best-supported idea to win come hell or high water.

    Why a debate? Easy. There’s nowhere to hide.

    Of course there is ? the Gish Gallop and a long list of other rhetorical tricks.

    Scientists write scientific articles instead to figure out which ideas are wrong. Such articles contain references to the necessary evidence, unlike debates. There’s no time limit on them, so the Gish Gallop isn’t possible ? there really is time to deal with every single argument. And finally, there’s peer review: every manuscript sent to a journal gets sent out to colleagues of the authors who are supposed to check if there are errors or omissions in the manuscript. Only when they approve is the manuscript published.

    There is at least one young earther to which I have referred to in an earlier comment. However, I can’t recall his name. I was hoping that someone here could identify him. He is a scientist who advises his fellow young earthers not to be so daft as to deny the evidence for evolution, but instead to stick to the faith spiel when presenting their (non) case.

    Todd Wodd. Check out comments 778 and 780 of this thread.

    I just don’t understand how they’re okay with behavior from God that, from their neighbor, would result in a fast call to Child Protective Services.

    Because you simply don’t get to judge whether the behavior of the LORD God Almighty is OK. He gets to judge you.

    They don’t believe what they want to believe. Remember Barb, who had a better sense of morals than her god, and who we got to admit this almost explicitly shortly before she was banned?

    Firstly your outrageous personal criticism of the intellect of creationists you don’t know anything about. Carl Weiland who offered the invitation to debate the atheists at the conference is a doctor with degrees in medicine and surgery.

    How does that qualify him to shoot his mouth off about biology? BTW, he’s spelled Wieland and might even be pronounced accordingly (with “ee” rather than “eye”).

    His colleague Dr Jonathan Sarfati has a PhD in physical chemistry.

    Then why does he try to meddle in biology?

    Jonathan is also an accomplished chess player and is a former New Zealand Chess Champion, representing New Zealand in three Chess Olympiads (and drew with Boris Spassky, world champion 1969-1972).

    <yawn> And I can finish a lowest-level Minesweeper® game in 4 (four) seconds and a highest-level one in 104. Who cares?

    Assuming it’s even the same type of intelligence that’s necessary for chess and science, intelligence can’t get anywhere without knowledge. You can’t just make the necessary facts up as you go along. You need to learn about them.

    In 1988, the International Chess Federation awarded him the title of F.I.D.E. Master (FM). For the fun of it, he regularly accepts challenges from multiple players while he is blindfolded. He then plays from memory with up to 12 players simultaneously.

    Congratulations to him for this. At the same time, shame upon him for his refusal to learn about biology before talking about it. :-|

    In fact of the 13 Australian CMI (creation ministries international) speakers 10 have doctorates in fields such as engineering, plant physiology, geology etc. Only ignorant fools could claim they are ignorant or foolish.

    Engineering is completely irrelevant. Plant physiology is a sufficiently narrow field that a sufficiently imperceptible mind could do it without noticing the evidence for evolution it contains (?especially if that’s someone who doesn’t know enough about evolution to recognize it in the first place). Geology has nothing to do with evolution except for needing the same amount of time? and the one creationist geologist I know about, Andrew Snell, is well known for writing one thing (old Earth) in the scientific literature and another (young Earth) in creationist journals. Snell is almost certainly lying in one of them, probably in the latter.

    In terms of published peer reviewed papers go to Journal of Creation, and review to your hearts content.

    Explain their peer-review process, please.

    How did the first replicating bacteria type life form came about? It seems to me you have a theory without a beginning.

    Completely irrelevant. Evolution is descent with heritable modification (?something tells me you didn’t read comment 626). Therefore it starts with the first self-replicating entity. How that thing got into existence just doesn’t matter to the theory of evolution.

    Seriously. If Yahwe poofed it into existence, that wouldn’t change anything. (Even though recent advances in chemistry show what an unlikely possibility that is.)

    If DNA mutates it degrades

    Methinks you don’t even know what DNA is, chemically speaking. Please, please, please look it up.

    where did the new genetic information come from to grow scales, fur, internal organs, eyes etc?

    Duplication of existing genes followed by mutations in one of the copies.

    There isn’t anything truly new in the living world. It’s all just endless variations on the same old.

    If it is not to offensive to continue with some further facts and resources read Professor Antony Flew’s latest book, ?There is a God?. For decades this atheist wrote and debated against creationists and has now become a theist. He said “It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism.” Surely his scientific journey is of interest to the open minded.

    First of all, Flew is a deist, not a theist.

    Then, let me submit the humble possibility that Flew might be simply wrong. In fact, I think he’s completely wrong. Some have wondered if he’s going senile, so strange and incoherent are his new arguments; but “evolution of the first reproducing organism” (a contradiction in terms, as I just explained) is just ignorant.

    Professor Paul Davies an Australian theoretical physicist, now teaching in the US, who posits God as one of 5 theories to explain the universe.

    The theory of evolution doesn’t even try to explain the universe. Next!

    The ‘Expelled’ documentary

    You’ve been had.

    Finally there is the creation.com web site with a host of lay/scientific articles all comprehensively referenced.

    Oyyyy, referenced! Sorry, that’s cargo-cult science what creation.com is doing.

    I am no more claiming to be a qualified scientist than any of the other bloggers on this site

    ?

    <ehem>

    Many of us here do claim to be qualified scientists. That starts with our esteemed host, a professor who teaches evolutionary biology and development biology at the University of Minnesota in Morris. Off the top of my head, there’s also Josh, who has a doctorate in geology; me, a doctoral student in paleobiology (fossils, you know); never mind the chemists like Nerd of Readhead or the physicists like a_ray_in_dilbert_space?

    The world is waiting for an answer!

    World? What world? Creationists are very hard to find except in the Third World and the USA.

    these 101 evidences.

    Only Christian apologists use the word “evidence” in the plural anymore.

    Here is one of the 101.

    Origin of agriculture. Secular dating puts it at about 10,000 years and yet that same chronology says that modern man has supposedly been around for at least 200,000 years. Surely someone would have worked out much sooner how to sow seeds of plants to produce food. See: Evidence for a young world.

    Agriculture can only be developed in places and times with reliable rainfall patterns. This means it can only be developed in some interglacials, basically once every 400,000 years. In other words, agriculture was invented immediately as soon as that became possible.

    Why have the Australian Aborigines never developed agriculture, when people on every other continent did? Because the Australian climate is too unreliable. There are a couple of tribes who occasionally sowed before the rain and came back to harvest after the rain, but they never relied on this first stage of agriculture, because they just can’t.

    dispare

    Despair.

    The main assumption in science is there is some sort of order in the universe and and our brains are capable of at least attempting to understand it.

    That’s the only assumption science makes ? and it is itself a scientific hypothesis that is being tested in every single observation all around the world without interruption! Science really does pull itself up by its bootstraps. :-)

    As opposed to the colloquial English term “reptiles,” which is still usually understood to exclude birds.

    “Colloquial English term”?!? It has always been a highly technical term that most people don’t understand. In an hour or two I’ll post a link to a news article about salamanders that feels it necessary to state that “salamanders are amphibians, not reptiles”.

    2) mankind has been on Earth, in his present likeness, for over 60 million years.

    Wow. That’s the age of Primates as a whole. What sense does it make to deny the entire fossil record of that group?

    You might be thinking of this same blog where PZ wrote that Ray Comfort (or was it someone else) gives extra credit to “students” who post nonsense on blogs such as PZ’s.

    It’s William Dembski at “Liberty” “University” (yes, two pairs of scare quotes).

  153. #153 Apolipoprotein E
    January 6, 2010

    I have a concern. It seems to me that you are giving Wieland too much attention. That?s all people like him wants. He was never serious about presenting scientific debate, he just want the ?authority? that comes from having debated scientist, which is why he is so angry that you rejected his offer. Now you?ve dedicated at least three post to this vain conman and his sychophantic fans which only offer them fodder for their flock. They?re probably braging to to their congration about how vulgar and evil proponents of evolution are and they (the flock) will buy into that fallacy without considering that they have no scientific merits. So I say we just end this here and now. Don?t give them the attention that they crave.

  154. #154 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    Sorry about misspelling your name Mr. Myers. And yes, you refused to print my rebuttal of young Earth and old Earth doctrines.

    He’s not a publisher. And this is a blog. If you want to have your arguments aired on this blog, all you have to do is post them. But you seem to have figured that out now. Well done.

    Genesis has no creation accounts.

    Ok. That’s not how most people read it, though. Do you have an explanation for why there are not (two) creation accounts, and why it should mean something else, other than because you say so?

    Chapter one is God?s rendition of geologic history, given to Moses, revealing
    seven days which occurred in seven different geologic ages. Each day was taken
    from the first week of that particular geologic age. For example, in
    chronological order, the Fourth Day (Wednesday) was taken from Creation
    Week which was 4.6 billion years ago. Next came the fifth day (Thursday),
    which was taken from the first week of restoration following the Permian
    extinction in 245 Million BC. This is when God created the first birds and
    giant marine reptiles (?sea monsters?, not ?great whales?).

    And you know this how? And what happened in the first three days?

  155. #155 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    And what happened in the first three days?

    I don’t know.

    THIRD BASE!

  156. #156 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I?ve contacted Mr. Meyers before, but he fails to address the issues which I bring to the table. Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death. All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality. The truth about Genesis is that the seven days are not linear, and are in ?biblical order?.

    No it doesn’t. A few “out of order howlers” The sun came before the earth. Day and night are caused by the rotational spin of earth in relation to the sun. How could there be day and night if the sun was created on day four? The moon is not a light in the sky, it reflects sunlight. Hence solar eclipses. Hence moon phases. Hence lunar eclipses. And as for the stars? There is a star in our galaxy that is 3 times the age of the earth, we’ve seen distant galaxies where the light that has left the galaxy was 3 times the age of the earth. And plants come before the sun? lol, that’s quite laughable. One word: photosynthesis.

    To take genesis as a history of the planet, you either have to ignore the parts that don’t line up or ignore the science that doesn’t line up. Genesis and history do not match, but that’s not a big deal. Genesis is a mythic account, not a scientific history of the planet. Taking it as the latter misses the point of what the myth is meant to be – that is a culture trying to understand its place.

  157. #157 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Before inserting your foot in your mouth, find out what a person is talking about first…
    There?s more to it than that, but that?s all I?ll say here, since most of the audience here is not serious.

    Oh, a thousand pardons, most enlightened Sir. You see, we get hundreds of creationist morons here, each with his or her own Absolutely True Interpretation of Genesis (Unlike All Those Other Creationists’ Interpretations)™, and thus we erroneously assumed yours was just another of those, probably because it sounds exactly like all of those other beliefs–aside from subtle and meaningless differences in which aspects of science the believer fails to comprehend, of course. So please, accept our humblest apologies.

    Okay, I got my pencil and I’m ready to jot down your genius for all posterity. Please do continue.

  158. #158 CJO
    January 6, 2010

    @ CJO: What particular point in history are you referring to, and what evidence do you have that people at that time actually thought that way?

    One of the main jobs of priests in early civilizations was predicting the seasons based on the positions of the stars, and in some cases errors resulted in execution. The idea that such people could base their careers around analyzing evidence yet still somehow were not at all concerned for evidence seems contradictory to me.

    Well, in my view, the idea that astrology was just proto-astronomy or alchemy was proto-chemistry is just wrong. Priest/astrologers were concerned with evidence, in a way, yes. They searched the skies for evidence that the gods had certain dispositions, or were likely to behave in some specified way in the near future. In the course of this enterprise, of course, they managed to assemble an impressive knowledge of the movements of the planets and etc., and from that body of observations it became possible later to apply systematic reasoning and make general conclusions. But such conclusions had to wait for the very concept of regularity as natural law, for the idea of empiricism, as I’ve been saying. The astrologer’s conclusions are all specific and situational, not general. Each case must be judged in the context of everything that’s of interest to the questions being asked. It’s all anecdote, and as with all pre-modern methods of divination, the highly subjective nature of the interpretation given to whatever natural events was integral to the practice, not the shortcoming it would be if the ideal was to form universal conclusions about causality and natural law. There just was no concept of replicating others’ observations or falsifying hypotheses.

    As for evidence that pre-modern people thought this way, look no further than the Aristotelian system that persisted throughout the West for the better part of two millennia. Aristotle’s physics is not empirical, and it’s riddled with dicta that are trivial to disprove with the simplest of actual observations. Before empiricism, though, rhetoric, metaphysical self-consistency, and the prestige of an ancient authority counted for much more than systematic observation of a material world that was believed to be chaotic and unreliable. Eternal truths trumped whatever happened just now, and it didn’t matter how carefully you were watching.

  159. #159 Sven DiMilo
    January 6, 2010

    “Colloquial English term”?!? It has always been a highly technical term that most people don’t understand.

    Bullshit. It’s used in colloquial English all the time, as are algae, monkeys, lizards, apes, etc., all of which are technically para- (or, for algae, poly-)phyletic but which are understood unambiguously anyway. Seriously, dude, you’re going to tell me about colloquial English?

    It’s William Dembski at “Liberty” “University”

    Dermbski’s not even at “Liberty.” He works at a Baptist seminary in Texas.

  160. #160 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I?ve contacted Mr. Meyers before, but he fails to address the issues which I bring to the table. Genesis DOES line up perfectly with both the 4.6 billion year geologic history of Earth, and the 650+ million year fossil record of death. All other creationist views either deny literal scripture, or deny scientific reality. The truth about Genesis is that the seven days are not linear, and are in ?biblical order?.

    The moon it seems was created very early on in earth’s history, an impact some 4 billion years ago. Yet the biblical account says it happened after the coming of plants. How is this possible?

    Again someone taking myth as history…

  161. #161 Hurin
    January 6, 2010

    The reappearing of life forms, which secular science defines as ?evolution?, is actually God restoring life on Earth after corruption by Satan. There?s more to it than that, but that?s all I?ll say here, since most of the audience here is not serious. As far as chapter two is concerned, it conveys the origin of modern mankind (Adam & Eve) which began in 7200 BC. That?s why the sequence of events is different than the sixth day in chapter one.

    1) If this is actually what the Bible means, then why doesn’t the Bible actually say any of this? Can you produce the scripture (or even better the empirical evidence) that shows that “Lucifer lost the war in Heaven [in](245 Million BC)”? With all due respect, you made this shit up. There isn’t any reason (not even a Biblical reason) for us to take it seriously.

    2) Why is it necessary to postulate regular interventions of God and Satan into our world at all? The development of life and its major extinctions can be explained rather more elegantly using only natural phenomena. There is a guideline in science and philosophy called Occam’s razor that states that you should never make a hypothesis more complicated than it needs to be to explain a phenomenon. There isn’t any evidence that the dinosaurs went extinct because God and Satan flattened the earth and used it to play tennis 65 million years ago, and no reason to add that rather improbably complication. A simple, mundane asteroid is much better suggestion, and there is a actual impact crater to back it up. Occam’s razor butchers your ideas.

    Here, read this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

    It might help you. (But probably not)

  162. #162 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    Llewelly posted this over at WEIT and I thought it fit here.


    When the Lord Our God sent rain down to the Earth for Forty Days and Forty Nights, Satan, the Deceiver, secretly poisoned God?s Holy Rain with all manner strange and unearthly creatures ? Anomalocaris, Hallucigenia, Trilobites, Marrella, Opabinia ? all were created in Satan?s foul realm, for his foul purposes. God saw Satan?s evil act, and turned these strange creatures to stone, so that they would harm no-one, and caused them to buried deep in the Earth.
    Sadly, today?s scientists, in their overweening arrogance, have dug up Satan?s dangerous creatures. Even now, Evil radiates from the Burgess shale. Nonetheless, scientists, hard at work in Area 51, seek to weaponize these creatures. They hope, in their desperate vanity, to use them in their secret war against the Derros, who are beginning to emerge from the Hollow Earth. Indeed, even now as we speak the Derros are melting the Antarctic Ice Cap, in order to reveal the largest and most terrible of the portals to Hollow Earth. The Derros will use these portals to invade and dominate the unfortunate surface world, in preparation for the arrival of the Alien Planet Nibru, which will destroy the Earth in 2012. The Derros, having foreseen this terrible event through Necromantic Augury (by the power of Satan), plan to board Nibru in the nick of time, and thereby escape to another Solar System, and spread their Evil throughout the Galaxy.
    Now I hope you all understand the Cambrian Explosion and the Terrible Truth it represents.

  163. #163 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    The moon it seems was created very early on in earth’s history, an impact some 4 billion years ago. Yet the biblical account says it happened after the coming of plants. How is this possible?

    Jeez Kel, how dense can you be? He already said Genesis is laid out in ‘biblical order’. You have to use ‘advanced math’ to get it.

    Sorry about my colleague here, Mr. Cummings. He isn’t serious.

    Now, please do go on.

    I’m especially interested in the first war with Lucifer. Did they ever find his weapons of mass destruction? If you’ve got any photos of Archangel Michael standing in a flight suit atop an aircraft carrier under a banner claiming “mission accomplished!” I’d dearly love to have a copy for my scrapbook.

  164. #164 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Jeez Kel, how dense can you be? He already said Genesis is laid out in ‘biblical order’. You have to use ‘advanced math’ to get it.

    Is that the maths that enables time travel?

  165. #165 Celtic_Evolution
    January 6, 2010

    Chapter one is God?s rendition of geologic history, given to Moses, revealing seven days which occurred in seven different geologic ages. Each day was taken from the first week of that particular geologic age.

    Nothing new here… you’re just one of those “genesis day = geologic age” idiots.

    So ummm… how many geologic ages can plants (day three) survive without any source of light (day 4)?

  166. #166 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    More interruptions by Hurin:

    1) If this is actually what the Bible means, then why doesn’t the Bible actually say any of this?

    It does. It just says so ‘biblically’. You need a special kind of glasses to read it, and Herman Cummings has the only pair.

    2) Why is it necessary to postulate regular interventions of God and Satan into our world at all?

    Advanced math and science. You need to be trained in this area to understand.

  167. #167 Michelle R
    January 6, 2010

    @Brownian: The WMDs were hidden in Saddam’s Heavenly Chocolate Chip Factory I believe?

  168. #168 Rey Fox
    January 6, 2010

    “Now introduce into that paradigm somebody for whom talking snakes and virgin births are simply matters of course. There simply is no common framework for interpreting evidence.”

    Worse yet, they consider this to be a virtue. They always chide us for not opening our minds to the particular presupposition of the Bible being an accurate document (rather than just one of a great many compendia of myth). If we just clapped our hands and really believed in fairies, then we’d understand!

  169. #169 Paddy-O
    January 6, 2010

    I’d like to say that for anyone voicing concerns over providing a forum for nonsense, please think a little broader. I’m pretty much a n00b when it comes to anything scientific (my college lab was literally titled “Plant Biology for Non-Science Majors), yet still managed a BS in business. How I get a BS, I don’t know.

    My point is that this is all very informative to me, as I have recently developed an interest in the basics of biology, and find many of the comments/creotard-shredding to be very satisfying not only in verbal smackdown (which I love, being a lawyer) but also satisfying in the knowlege provided. In my line of work, the only science knowlege I’m ever able to gain is through paid expert witnesses, etc.

    Ok, I’ve managed to ramble enough, but the basic point, I think, is clear: these discussions are far more helpful than you may realize.

    Oh, and BTW, Louis – “The owner of this blog is Bpii Shzzheaddh Gnmaellars, please spell it correctly.”

    Win. Pure and simple.

  170. #170 TheBlackCat
    January 6, 2010

    @ CJO: I am not talking about astrology, I am talking about calendars. A major role of priests in early civilizations was to make and maintain calendars for the purpose of planning the agricultural tasks that the society depended on. The conclusions they drew were essential to the society’s survival, and there are documented cases were errors resulted in execution. You make assertions but these assertions appear to me to be inconsistent with the actual role of the priesthood in early civilizations.

  171. #171 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    The first such instance was after Lucifer lost the war in Heaven

    Milton is part of Scripture now?

  172. #172 Mike in Ontario, NY
    January 6, 2010

    Why do the people who hate and fear middle-Eastern misogynistic assholes cleave so closely to a book authored by an older collection of middle-Eastern misogynistic assholes? My new mantra for people who insist that we “teach both sides” or “teach the controversy” is to insist that we also include the Islamic version of creation in schools. It’s fun to watch them get all hot and pissy about it, since so very few of them know that the Islamic and Xian creation myths are identical.

  173. #173 Maslab
    January 6, 2010

    Brownian seems to be telling a collection of very intelligent people that they don’t have an education…

    Makes sense, what with all those nasty “colleges” and “universities” and “research” brainwashing people.

    I’m so glad I can figure all this out just by going to the fiction section of the library!

  174. #174 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    since so very few of them know that the Islamic and Xian creation myths are identical.

    Makes sense that they are. I thought islam split from Jews at Ishmael.

  175. #175 gr8hands
    January 6, 2010

    Herman Cummings, in #139 you chide PZ:

    So stop saying that the text has ?creation myths?, because you have not been trained in this area.

    Well, I am someone who has been trained in this area, at a seminary. I, and other people “trained in this area” have educated PZ to the point where he can claim to have been trained in this area.

    Although it doesn’t take much special training to see that “In the beginning, god created the heavens and the earth” is a creation myth.

    There is no advanced math in the bible. Anywhere. What little math there is, frequently is wrong. There is little science in the bible, and what little there is, frequently is wrong. Same with medicine – what little is there, is mostly wrong. (If you believe this is wrong, it is up to you to provide the book, chapater and verse as evidence — but there are far too many of us who have spent years studying the bible, and already know such verses do not exist.)

    When you claim there are no creation myths in genesis, you are either simply wrong, amazingly ignorant, deliberately lying or insane (or some combination).

    Or, to translate this into your native language: Honk honk hooonk hnk honk-honk honnnnnk, HONK, honk honkk, hoonnk h honk.

  176. #176 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    The point is that it’s the same idiotic whine either way.

    OK, except that you didn’t have any evidence that I would actually make the second one.

    Look, I love the way you wrote it: “just a reptile clothed in feathers.” It gets at the transitional (and not-bird-defining) aspect of feathers quite nicely. Or at least it does to me. But you didn’t appear to be writing to us. It seemed that you aimed comment 6 squarely at people who tend not to know what a transitional form is (hell, most of them don’t appear to actually know what evolution is, which you hinted at in the first part of comment 6). It seemed to me that you were addressing the people who make no distinction between transitional form and transitional feature and have no apparent understanding of the fossil or rock records (or, actually, any real understanding of science). To say “we’re all really just modified fish” is a fine way to put things if you understand phylogeny. I like it. However, I don’t know what good it does if the words sail high over the heads of the people you’re saying it to, and I think that’s what will happen here. The people in question are a long way from sitting down to read Your Inner Fish (if they would, which I doubt), and I don’t think phrases like this help in sound-bite discussions with complete novices and deniers*, which is why I commented as I did re: reptile. Lots of people hold a concept of the word reptile, but I don’t think “dinosaur” is the first place most of them go–and I really don’t think we’re helped if people come away envisioning feathered lizards. To me that smells a little crocoduck. I’m willing to be convinced though…

    *Which again, is the group at which comment 6 seems to be aimed.

  177. #177 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Every culture has their own creation myth. How is it that all other cultures (besides the Babylonians) are just myths while the one that originated in the middle east is anything but?

  178. #178 PaleGreenPants
    January 6, 2010

    The honk language seems far more succinct than English. I should learn it.

  179. #179 Hurin
    January 6, 2010

    @Brownian, 166

    Can you tell me what kind of cereal box I should be saving to get these special bible decoder glasses? I want to see all the PDEs and advanced math stuff next time I pick that book up. It sounds a lot more interesting than the stuff that is actually written there.

  180. #180 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    The people in question are a long way from sitting down to read Your Inner Fish

    Which is a shame, that book was a really good read. Not just informative, but fun to read.

  181. #181 Celtic_Evolution
    January 6, 2010

    The honk language seems far more succinct than English. I should learn it.

    The tenses and genders can be a bit confusing… for example I regularly confuse hooonk with hoonkk, which, as any learned honkarian knows, is just silly.

  182. #182 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    One thing I find funny was just yesterday I got off on a rant-planning session where I was planning to describe humans (and all land vertebrates) as “modified fish”. It’s certainly true.

    Of course, with Creationists like Cummings, the dictionary is holy writ.

  183. #183 gr8hands
    January 6, 2010

    David Marjanovi?, in regards to a small portion of your comment #159.

    “Adam” is Hebrew for “from the ground” (“from the earth” or “from the dirt” or “from the dust”). It was a description, not a name like Steve or Joe. It later became the word used to express ‘man’ like mensch.

  184. #184 Celtic_Evolution
    January 6, 2010

    …advanced math

    Reminds me of an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:

    Calvin: Here’s another math problem I can’t figure out. What’s 9 + 4?

    Hobbes: Ooh, that’s a tricky one. You have to use calculus and imaginary numbers for this.

    Calvin: Imaginary numbers?!

    Hobbes: You know, eleventeen, thirty-twelve, and all those. It’s a little confusing at first.

    Calvin: How did you learn all this? You’ve never even gone to school!

    Hobbes: Instinct. TigersCreationists are born with it.

  185. #185 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Brownian seems to be telling a collection of very intelligent people that they don’t have an education.

    Not at all, Maslab. I’m telling a collection of very intelligent people that, despite being utterly indistinguishable from all the other run-of-the-mill creationists, Herman Cummings actually has the Only Correct Interpretation of Genesis™ (how do I know this? He told us in comment #61) and we should all stop pestering him with contrary scientific evidence and simply listen to what he has to say without reservation (something all creationists implore us to do, even though Mr. Cummings is Different From All Other Creationists Because He Says So™, and therefore such similarities are purely coincidental.)

    Please, Mr. Cummings, do go on.

  186. #186 alysonmiers
    January 6, 2010

    Too-Stupid-To-Know-They’re-Stupid acolytes came charging over to declare that creationism was too scientific, evolutionism is a religion, scientists are afraid to debate their pet idiots,

    Great, it’s the “evolution is a religion” trope again. Ever notice how when it’s their pet belief system, religion is what makes life livable, but when the “religion” label gets slapped on a science, then suddenly it means something negative and dismissive?

  187. #187 SteveM
    January 6, 2010

    re Harry Tuttle@147:

    An appeal to an infinite regress of increasingly strained metaphors is hardly convincing.

    Sorry, wasn’t trying to be convincing.

  188. #188 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Priest/astrologers were concerned with evidence, in a way, yes. They searched the skies for evidence that the gods had certain dispositions, or were likely to behave in some specified way in the near future. In the course of this enterprise, of course, they managed to assemble an impressive knowledge of the movements of the planets and etc., and from that body of observations it became possible later to apply systematic reasoning and make general conclusions.

    hmmm…. somehow I don’t think that’s how it worked. the concept that the stars can predict the future has emerged independently in many cultures. This is likely no accident. And if you consider that in a way, the stars CAN predict the future: calendar making was precisely this: telling where along the cyclical movement among the stars the sun is, and thus being able to tell if “spring” will be in one month or in five. Astrology seems to have developed as an extrapolation from this, since the ancient priests had no concept of why the movement of the stars predicted the seasons, they assumed various interpretations of why the future is written in the stars, and assumed this was true for other areas of life, too.

    You’re right though that modern science, which creates theories to explain WHY/HOW something happens via falsifiable hypotheses is a thoroughly modern concept. those old priests didn’t do theories. they merely collected the facts/observations/evidence; explanation was completely free-form, and the concept of a TESTABLE explanation was probably meaningless to them.

  189. #189 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    holy crap, what a grammatical clusterfuck my last post is…

    ah well :-p

  190. #190 Owlmirror
    January 6, 2010

    “Adam” is Hebrew for “from the ground” (“from the earth” or “from the dirt” or “from the dust”).

    Nits: “Adam” is not exactly “adama” (ground); “from the” is not part of the word “adam”; “dust” is definitely not right since there’s a separate word used specifically for “dust” (“afar”).

    It later became the word used to express ‘man’ like mensch.

    I’m suspicious of this putative late etymology, given that the following verses do not make sense unless “adam” is translated as “man”:
      Gen 1:26 says: “????? ????? ???? ???”; “And God said ‘we shall make man’” (no article prefixes the word, and ground, “adama”, is not mentioned in Gen 1)
      Gen 1:27 says “????? ????? ???????” ; “And God created the man” (the article is used). Note that this verse also describes “them” as being created male and female.
      Gen 2:4 says “???? ??? ???? ????????” — “and there was no man (‘adam’) to work the ground (‘adama’)”, and most of Gen 2 refers to Adam as “????”; ‘ha-adam’; “the man”.

    Which certainly looks like “adam” meant “man; mensch” very early. So, anyway, if you have a citation in support of “adam” not meaning “man” at first, I’d like to see it.

  191. #191 Maslab
    January 6, 2010

    “Herman Cummings actually has the Only Correct Interpretation of Genesis”

    Yeah, him and the other, what, 300,000 different sects of Christians?

    “we should all stop pestering him with contrary scientific evidence and simply listen to what he has to say without reservation”

    Discard reality?

    I sense a “poe”, I believe the term is here.

  192. #192 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    I sense a “poe”, I believe the term is here.

    Well, yes, in the strict definition of the term. Brownian is being sarcastic.

  193. #193 Maslab
    January 6, 2010

    I’m very bad at noticing sarcasm much of the time.

  194. #194 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    In the future, you should make cogent points rather than declaring your conclusions and attaching buzzwords or nonsensical vitriol.

    Ignoring the fact that I don’t think the assertions in this are accurate, I seem to have completely missed the award ceremony where you were presented with the coveted maroon beret* of Pharyngula Traffic CopTM.

    And, if the rest of comment 79 is any indication, then I’d argue that you’re among the last people who should be lecturing me in any aspect of theropod phylogeny.

    *You’re gonna wanna cut the lining out of that thing, shave it, and mold it to your head wet. Otherwise, it’s just not gonna look right. Molding it while in the shower works well.

  195. #195 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Apolipoprotein,

    I have a concern. It seems to me that you are giving Wieland too much attention.

    Noted.

    That?s all people like him wants. He was never serious about presenting scientific debate, he just want the ?authority? that comes from having debated scientist, which is why he is so angry that you rejected his offer.

    We already know that, Wieland is just the most recent example.

    They?re probably braging to to their congration about how vulgar and evil proponents of evolution are and they (the flock) will buy into that fallacy without considering that they have no scientific merits.

    Not ‘probably’, it is a certainty (look at their comments). But this was going on before any posts. :)

    So I say we just end this here and now. Don?t give them the attention that they crave.

    If you’ve read the threads, you’ll note how they come in with bluster, and how quickly they wilt when confronted.
    Perhaps you subscribe to the belief that any attention is good attention, but clearly Pharyngula doesn’t.

    So I say we just end this here and now. Don?t give them the attention that they crave.

    But we like giving them attention… keeps our pelts sniny and glossy, dontcha know!

    We offer them the opportunity to ‘debate’ here, and much hilarity ensues. :)

  196. #196 Stuart
    January 6, 2010

    The above is not true. First, it is imperative that Mr. Meyers differentiates between ?creationist clowns? (young Earth/young universe), old universe/younger Earth, or old Earth/younger universe. I represent the old Earth/younger universe, which holds the view that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger.

    Mr. Cummings, do you really believe the above is more formidable?

    LOL. Science can date Stars as well as the Earth. And It can date the age of the Universe as well. It is far older than 4.6 billion years.

  197. #197 Leigh Williams
    January 6, 2010

    “But we like giving them attention… keeps our pelts sniny and glossy, dontcha know!”

    No, no, John: It makes our FANGS sniny and our PELTS glossy.

    Nutrition is very important to the growing minion; we need to keep these things straight!

    “We offer them the opportunity to ‘debate’ here, and much hilarity ensues. :)”

    Sunshine is to Vitamin D as debating creationists is to Vitamin H(ilarity), and Vitamin H is VERY important for healthy minionship!

  198. #198 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    MadScientist and GHP,

    Thanks for the tip about where trolls are coming from. Indeed it was this very blog:

    So that’s where some of our trolls come from…

    Way back in August, as it turns out. BTW, I did post a useful link just before PZ capped the previous thread. Lynna referenced it earlier in this thread. It was the link to an article by Dawkins himself explaining why he will no longer debate creationists:

    Why I Won’t Debate Creationists (2006)

    Now if only we could get some of the whackjobs to read that and comprehend it…

  199. #199 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Another way to put it: Herman believes in a Young Universe: A mere 4.6 billion years old + 3 days, instead of what the evidence says: About 13.7 billion years.

    He’s willing to accept the scientific evidence for one thing, but as soon as it contradicts his “squint and look at the bible sideways” point of view, suddenly science is automatically wrong, even if you’re using the same methodology for either.

  200. #200 KOPD42
    January 6, 2010

    Herman thinks the Bible is metaphorical or figurative, except the parts he thinks aren’t. And he thinks science is correct, except when he thinks it’s wrong. His view is all perfectly logical and consistent, except when it’s not.

  201. #201 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Well summarized, KOPD42.

  202. #202 Apolipoprotein E
    January 6, 2010

    John Morales,

    while creationist falter when they are confronted with evidence, it has been my observation that this somehow reaffirm their faith in creationism. It?s like they have some sort of confusion and consider evidence against their claim as evidence for it.

    P.S. Please forgive my misspelling. The word that I typed as ?congration? should be ?congregation.?

  203. #203 David Marjanovi?
    January 6, 2010

    “Colloquial English term”?!? It has always been a highly technical term that most people don’t understand. In an hour or two I’ll post a link to a news article about salamanders that feels it necessary to state that “salamanders are amphibians, not reptiles”.

    Here is the LiveScience.com report that specifically mentions: “Salamanders are amphibians, not lizards.” I had slightly misremembered. It’s even worse. <headdesk>

    Next came the fifth day (Thursday), which was taken from the first week of restoration following the Permian extinction in 245 Million BC. This is when God created the first birds and giant marine reptiles (?sea monsters?, not ?great whales?).

    The Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction was 251 million years ago, but never mind. The first seriously big marine “reptiles” only date to the Late Triassic, some 230 to 200 Ma ago roughly, and the first birds are (under a generous definition of “bird”) not much more than 150 million years old, Late Jurassic.

    Incidentally, the first giant mammals are about 50 million years old, not 65.5… and the text doesn’t even say anything about “giant”, but mentions “creeping things” instead!

    changed the likeness of mankind to what he is today (in God?s image)

    0.6 Tc for this alone.

    The reappearing of life forms, which secular science defines as ?evolution?

    Fail.

    Bullshit. It’s used in colloquial English all the time, as are algae, monkeys, lizards, apes, etc., all of which are technically para- (or, for algae, poly-)phyletic but which are understood unambiguously anyway. Seriously, dude, you’re going to tell me about colloquial English?

    “Reptiles” is used as often as “algae”?

    Seriously?

    The moon it seems was created very early on in earth’s history, an impact some 4 billion years ago.

    4.51 billion last time I read about it.

    I thought islam split from Jews at Ishmael.

    <facepalm> That’s supposed to be the split between the Hebrew and Arab peoples, not the religions most of them have today! Check out the similar (though more peaceful) story of the three brothers Lech, Czech and Rus.

    Islam dates to the 7th century and appears to be mostly based on a badly translated Christian lectionary.

    “Adam” is Hebrew for “from the ground” (“from the earth” or “from the dirt” or “from the dust”). It was a description, not a name like Steve or Joe. It later became the word used to express ‘man’ like [M]ensch.

    It was the word for “human being” from the start, and it’s related to “earth” (a connection also found in Indo-European languages). Gen 2 tries to explain why this is ? it’s an etiological myth like most or all of Genesis ?: it claims that the first human was made from earth and given that as his name, and that we carry that name forthwith.

    All of Genesis is chock full of puns. “The snake was naked, but smarter than all beasts of the field” ? why “but”? Because “naked” and “smart” are yet another pun in the original Hebrew. Abram (abi-ram “my father is exalted”) getting his name changed to Abraham (ab-raham “father of the crowd”) is yet another, and so on and so forth.

    the other, what, 300,000 different sects of Christians?

    38,000. Only.

    I sense a “poe”, I believe the term is here.

    <headdesk> At long last the clue train has arrived! It should be renationalized without delay.

  204. #204 CJO
    January 6, 2010

    @ CJO: I am not talking about astrology, I am talking about calendars. A major role of priests in early civilizations was to make and maintain calendars for the purpose of planning the agricultural tasks that the society depended on. The conclusions they drew were essential to the society’s survival, and there are documented cases were errors resulted in execution. You make assertions but these assertions appear to me to be inconsistent with the actual role of the priesthood in early civilizations.

    Maybe we need to move past generalizations like “early civilizations” and “priesthoods” and talk about specifics. In my first comment, I was talking about the perspective from which Genesis 1 was written and from which it was understood and accorded sacred status by its audience. I don’t know of any of these executions for calendrical errors, though that sounds interesting (educate me if you’re inclined, as a cursory Google search turned up nothing obvious), but it sounds like you’re talking about the Mesopotamian civilizations. If so, it wasn’t just, and perhaps not even primarily, “agricultural tasks” that were on the minds of the first Sumerian astrologer/priests who observed the heavens for the purpose of making calendars. It was a function of the new mode of specifically urban living, in which the ancient city was conceived of as a mirror for the heavens, and the priests were in charge of the calendar for liturgical reasons. If you didn’t keep track, the seasonal religious ceremonies for propitiating the gods would drift against the months of the year. This is a mythic and cult-oriented kind of empiricism, if that’s even a valid term for it. What was “essential to the society’s survival” was the maintenance of a social order believed to be based on a cosmic order, reflected in the heavens and ordained by the gods.

    Okay, so, given this take, is it fair to say that these priests were ‘unconcerned with evidence’ or ‘had no concept of empirical truth’ (giving these as paraphrases of what in my thesis you seem to be taking issue with)? Strictly, no, I suppose, and so I will concede that you have a point. However, returning to one of the points of my first comment, notice the social dimension to all this imaginative effort that is ostensibly directed at the natural world. I still maintain that, for ancient peoples and in ancient literary and cultic productions, regularities in the natural world were salient only insofar as they found a reflection in the social order. The heavens could ‘explain’ the social order, but no effort was made to explain the movements of the heavens in objective or empirical terms.

  205. #205 Maslab
    January 6, 2010

    “38,000. Only.”

    Thanks for the clarification.

    At long last the clue train has arrived! It should be renationalized without delay.”

    Not sure whether I should be taking that seriously or as sarcasm but thanks again anyway.

  206. #206 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    Apolipoprotein E,

    Congration. I like it. It’s obviously the heartfelt appreciation that people have for what they think a con man has done for them… just before they realise they’ve been conned.

  207. #207 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Apolipoprotein @202, think of it as adding to their cognitive dissonance — something that ignoring them won’t achieve.

    Leigh, d’oh. I’m blushing with embarrassment! :\

  208. #208 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    Damn. Hit submit too soon.

    Congration is the term that will heretofore be used to describe Ray Comfort’s followers ;-)

  209. #209 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Not sure whether I should be taking that seriously or as sarcasm but thanks again anyway.

    Don’t take that too seriously, Maslab. I’ve been around for awhile, and most of the regulars know me well enough to know when I’m being sarcastic, satirical, or parodying (not always, though, as many of the comments responding to this comment demonstrate). But good on you for calling a spade a spade as you saw it.

  210. #210 Dahan
    January 6, 2010

    Hey PZ! I didn’t know you were aware of The Seventh Day Adventists and their contributions to the crazy. Most people don’t. I was raised on Nellie Black and her special brand of myth. I think it made leaving religion easier because it was so obviously wrong, but it would have happened no matter what.

  211. #211 Maslab
    January 6, 2010

    Alright Brownian. I think I’ll try not responding to your comments, or at least see how others respond first.

    And @MetzO’Magic; I thought the term was “sheep”? Congration seems a bit… uplifting.

  212. #212 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Brownian OM #166

    You need a special kind of glasses to read it, and Herman Cummings has the only pair.

    Are those the special glasses that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Moron?

  213. #213 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Maslab, you should note that’s Brownian, OM.

    Look at the Commenters link at the top of the page (or this link if you feel lazy).

  214. #214 Dahan
    January 6, 2010

    So I can’t help but wonder how many ex-Sevies there are here. Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as. Hmmm.

  215. #215 SEF
    January 6, 2010

    @ David Marjanovi? (various down to #203) re:

    As opposed to the colloquial English term “reptiles,” which is still usually understood to exclude birds.

    Yes, it really is used as a colloquial English term in English English. Perhaps like “theory”. I’d say it was used more often than “algae” by normal people – and perhaps also more frequently used incorrectly (even given its colloquial meaning), since the habitually incorrect people are less likely to know/recall the term “algae” at all.

    However, in one context “reptile” very much does include birds – when referring to certain female politicians etc.

  216. #216 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 6, 2010

    gr8hands @ 175

    I don’t quite know why I find that post as funny as I do but BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!

    I had something to add to Kenneth Higgs’s rantings on the previous thread (may it rest in pieces) but as he’s buggered off it’s not massively vital I may not bother.

    However, due to beer I may. Meester Heeggs seems to mention at #whateverthefuckIthinkitwas1029 that he has some sort of qualification in IT. Having a rather unmarvellous BSc in Computer “Science” I can quite happily say that computer science has fuck-all to do with science… period.

    A hardware based degree involves electronics and maths, software is basically maths/algorithms and creative problem solving. All things “IT” were just for girls and people who couldn’t count (Yeah.. I’m taking the piss… vaguely!)

    Soo… as a supposedly qualified computer scientist I can pretty much say that Higgs’s qualifications are precisely arse-all when it comes to, well, science.

    Being English I am now brewing a nice pot of Earl Grey. So nuts to the lot of you!

  217. #217 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Dang, got stuck with briefing the new sales force all afternoon, and now no creobot to use as a chew toy. *mutter*

  218. #218 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    Frist.

    Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as. Hmmm.

    RCC here. 8 years of catholic primary school with alternating years of nuns (yes Sister Mary Elephant, I’m thinking of you) and lay teachers. Won a free scholarship to catholic secondary school. Turned it down… and then I really was free.

  219. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Genesis has no creation accounts. Chapter one is God?s rendition of geologic history, given to Moses, revealing seven days which occurred in seven different geologic ages. Each day was taken from the first week of that particular geologic age.

    And from what do you base that hilarious assertion on?

  220. #220 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    All things “IT” were just for girls and people who couldn’t count (Yeah.. I’m taking the piss… vaguely!)

    What the fuck does that even mean?

  221. #221 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Are those the special glasses that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Moron?

    No. Glasses were not involved. An Angel told me Smith was high as fuck on ‘shrooms. Of course, by ‘Angel’ I mean An-hel, the Latino guy who sells me weed. He’s about as reliable a source as any in the Abrahamic texts.

    So I can’t help but wonder how many ex-Sevies there are here. Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as. Hmmm.

    Ex-Catholic. Was an altar boy and even went to Catholic school until Grade 9. I missed being confirmed in Grade 6 with the rest of my classmates due to a family vacation and distinctly remember ‘forgetting’ to reschedule with the Archbishop as a bet-hedging strategy.

  222. #222 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Having a rather unmarvellous BSc in Computer “Science” I can quite happily say that computer science has fuck-all to do with science… period.

    Indeed. Though in my degree, I had to do physics (kinematics), psychology (cognition) and a subject about processing sensory information – so it wasn’t all just maths, algorithms, and that boring computational theory that is somehow necessary to make a Computer Science degree.

    I tend to refer to the degree a degree in applied logic.

  223. #223 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    [I guess this is just about an open thread now... :)]

    Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as.

    Catholic, me. I was an altar-boy until around 15 years of age, but I was a firm atheist from around 13 y.o. — go figure. And, if I say so myself, I was a virtuoso at swinging the thurible (not to mention at lighting it up!).

    BTW, I know for a fact at least two other altar-boys were also atheists.

    (I wasn’t stupid, outing myself was not the go at the time; I didn’t need the grief.)

  224. #224 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Catholic, me. I was an altar-boy until around 15 years of age, but I was a firm atheist from around 13 y.o

    jesus I’m an asshole

  225. #225 Joffan
    January 6, 2010

    What the fuck does that even mean?

    Rev BDC, I think hairychris was well under the influence of the aforementioned beer, but I’d interpret the phrase you question as meaning that he looks down on “IT” qualifications (a sweeping generalization of course), concedes that he is inelegantly overstating his case (“taking the piss”) but retains a belief that there is a grain of truth in there as well(“… vaguely”). YMMV.

  226. #226 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    ok

    I of all people should be able to translate drunk speak, but I was confused there.

  227. #227 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    MetzO’Magic,

    (see the end of the original closed thread for reference)

    I read this message you linked and I’ve thought a bit on it and the comments here in general.

    What I tend to find is, anyone wants to know something as a fact; as truth; as reality. Whether it be through an infallible source, the name of science, or some amazing revelation, there are many who will go a long way just to prove that theirs is the correct idea.

    Rather than considering the issues for what they are, taunts arise from both sides. Everyone knows it all and their opponents are, well, I will allow you to insert the derogatory term you find appropriate. Reason?…REASON?? No. Stating that “this is true” does nothing for this thing you call reason. Many times, neither side is reasonable–Clans form where the one group learns how misguided and silly the other is, while this evil opponent is conniving similar schemes. I’m sorry to not have an example of the other side’s possible flaws at present, but the following quote was most convenient to recite:

    “But that is better than supplying the creationists with what they crave: the oxygen of respectability in the world of real science.”

    Just as we, the steriotyped “creationists” deserve no such thing as “respectibility” in the world of the almighty *real* science, “athiests” certainly have no bearing in reality because such ideas have no foundation; no beginning. Of course, “evolutionists” know this deep-down and are only “scared” to submit to the truth.

    This isn’t reason. None of it is. Is there a place in this world where people can truly express ideas to each other with a non-biased, never-ending desire to understand? I think not.

    It’s a shame. It’s a damned shame (and I hate to use that term, but it’s appropriate here I hope). Yes I’m a Christian, but not because we know it all. Just read the book we glorify; read it once. If you forget the rhetoric surrounding it, there are some amazing words there.

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important? Or is the evolutionist/creationist dilemma just another invention of man for those who cannot live in this world without thinking and believing that his knowledge and understanding is superior to that of his fellow creatures.

    Regards,

    Mr. Christian

  228. #228 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as.

    Easter/Christmas catholic. Considered myself catholic until I went to Canada and realized what that actually means. turned out I had been agnostic for years at that point already.

  229. #229 Dahan
    January 6, 2010

    Early on, sounds like the Ex-Catholics may be strongly represented here. VegeBrain came out as an Ex-SDA earlier in this thread, so I know I’m not the only one here though.

    Ya know, Come to think of it, I’ve been visiting this blog for 2 years or so and don’t even know what PZ was raised as, don’t remember coming across that.

    Anyone know?

  230. #230 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Just read the book we glorify; read it once.

    and another one who thinks atheists have never read the bible. *sigh*

    dude, reading the bible all the way through is a leading cause of atheism!

  231. #231 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    What I tend to find is, anyone wants to know something as a fact; as truth; as reality. Whether it be through an infallible source, the name of science, or some amazing revelation, there are many who will go a long way just to prove that theirs is the correct idea.

    Please enlighten me how anyone can eversupport let alone “prove” that their divine [amazing] revelation is fact, is truth, is reality?

    They two “ways of knowing” are not equal. They just are not.

  232. #232 mythusmage
    January 6, 2010

    You’re all wrong. The universe is actually a computer simulation being run on a server at a high school. It’s been run for a few years, and has undergone a fair number of upgrades and had a few reboots. The current session is number 5 and has been running for the last 3 real years.

    We’re scheduled to switch to a whole new computer technology in a few of your years, where we’ll finally be clearing out the data base for real. No more Moses, no more Egypt and Set and Osiris. A whole new start with a new world, new history and legends, new operating system. It should take about three weeks real time before the new sophonts are ready for your coding, some 12 billion years in simulation time.

    It wouldn’t take so long if we kept the mechanics to what you have now, but we’re trying out a more interventionist God, and setting the mechanism in place for working magic. We figured, after your performance this go around, you needed the help. Adult supervision alone should make a huge difference. So the new simulation requires more processing power, even with the new technology (based on new scientific discoveries I might add) the speed increase is not going to be all that spectacular.

    Critical reasoning and the scientific method will still work, you’ll just have new tools to use with them. We’re not about to fundamentally change the foundations of reality. (We tried that once, that computer is hidden deep in the Earth and in actuality may not be reachable by any means known to us. We think H. P. Lovecraft may have tapped into it for his Cthulhu Mythos stories.)

    Why am I telling you this? Because it won’t make a difference. You’ll be starting off your new lives with a clean slate, so this news will have no impact on your future lives. I’m doing this because I felt like messing with your heads now.

    (Yes, not only am I weird, I’m proud of it. :) )

  233. #233 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 6, 2010

    What the fuck does that even mean?

    BDC #220, the university that I studied CompSci at opened an ‘IT Institute’ around my final year. Us mathematical CompSci-ers looked down our noses at the folks who spent their days writing presentations are now corporate directors & etc… :-) Let’s just say that they had the last (pay/career related) laugh! Lost control of the English language there.

    Kel @ #222

    I learned a bunch of languages, all the formal methodology and a goodly chunk of logic and related math. The logic was a lot of fun. Most of the rest wasn’t. I loathed formal methods. By the time I hit my final year I was thoroughly annoyed by the whole situation. No interesting physics or ‘real people’ stuff.

    About the most entertaining thing about my whole degree was that our sysadmin was a bona fide Hells Angel. You didn’t fuck with the department’s network…

    Sorry, I digress.

  234. #234 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as.

    I wasn’t really raised as anything. Dad wasn’t religious, Mum was into New Age stuff, and in school I was put in a liberal protestant scripture class. Became an explicit atheist at age 12, though I never really believed before then.

  235. #235 mythusmage
    January 6, 2010

    BDC, #231

    Science is not a way of knowing, science is a way of learning.

  236. #236 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    THE two ways….

    grumble

  237. #237 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Science is not a way of knowing, science is a way of learning.

    Yes, hence my quotes because. It’s a common claim of creationists / religious is that they just have another way of knowing.

  238. #238 Distind
    January 6, 2010

    I just have to say, I’ll be quoting this for a while as you absolutely nailed the crux of the problem in one simple sentence.

    Think like a heathenish pagan who has no respect for biblical authority, and you’ll realize why your claims have no weight.
    – PZ Meyers

    It’s almost beautiful, if only I thought they’d actually understand it and not write it off as us wanting to discount them to make ourselves feel better.

  239. #239 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Just read the book we glorify; read it once.

    Been there, done that, and the two year old tantrums and amoral warlord mentality of Yahweh started me toward atheism. Also, no evidence for the exodus, flud, and even jebus can make one doubt the book, resulting in the conclusion it is simply a book of myths, nothing more.

  240. #240 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah,

    thisAll-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important?

    Whether it is or not is not important, but whether our knowledge of reality is accurate or not is extremely important in the modern world, in which technology is the overwhelmingly most important reason why we can sustain a population approaching 7 billion people.

    The different scientific disciplines and the evidential basis from which the age of the Earth and of the cosmos have been determined have been tested thoroughly and have not been falsified; to deny them in one context yet accept them in others is intellectual dishonesty.

    In short, if you place any value on intellectual honesty and in pragmatic concerns for the welfare and sustainability of the human species, yes, it is important.

  241. #241 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Yes, hence my quotes because. It’s a common claim of creationists / religious is that they just have another way of knowing.

    wtf

    sigh. Today the typos are flying free and fast. I am not a multi-tasker. Trying to edit 400 shots from a photo shoot today while trying to be snarky on a blog just isn’t working out.

    ANYWAY

    BDC #220, the university that I studied CompSci at opened an ‘IT Institute’ around my final year. Us mathematical CompSci-ers looked down our noses at the folks who spent their days writing presentations are now corporate directors & etc… :-) Let’s just say that they had the last (pay/career related) laugh! Lost control of the English language there.

    Being an IT slave myself, I can understand that in a most painful way.

  242. #242 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    but I’d interpret the phrase you question as meaning that he looks down on “IT” qualifications

    One of my mates at university referred to IT students as “Computer Science wannabes without the brains”. Though I wouldn’t go as far to call them CS wannabes… ;)

    We shared classes with IT students, and some of them weren’t that bad. What really surprised me, however, was the logical abilities of those in my psych class. To get all anecdotal up in here, take the proposition “All men are intelligent. Bob is a man. Therefore Bob is intelligent” – is this logical? Well not according to the responses of the psych students “I think that’s wrong because women are intelligent too” was one memorable response. Frustrated, the lecturer proceeded to ask us Computer nerds at the back of the room. I answered it is logical… I’ve never had so many death stares from women in my life, who turned around to look at me as if I just made the statement that a woman’s place was in the kitchen.

  243. #243 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 6, 2010

    Boy howdy. I love that “Read the bible!” thing,

    It’s a cultural-god-damn-icon for Merika. Even Atheists have read it. For my part, I believed in Christianity until I read the Old Testament. “You mean to tell me that colossal dick was supposed to be Jesus’ dad? I disbelieve.”

  244. #244 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Mr. Christian: Just read the book we glorify; read it once.
    ______

    Oh geesh, just about everybody who posts here has read the Bible. How can you be so ignorant and dense about that? And you wonder why we get irritable with the lot of you. What tiny world do you live in?

    Holy books are a dime a dozen. Have you read them all? Lots of people here have. Have you read the Torah, the Koran, the Gita, etc.? Do you know that the Golden rule was already established way before the writing of your particular holy book? That Jesus ripped off the love your neighbor theme from an older culture? There is nothing uniquely valuable in the bible or in Christianity.

    And yes, science is in a class of its own. It does not have or need to share the spotlight with religion. It is an independent way of discovery, accumulating knowledge, learning from mistakes, and improving the quality of life for all. Christian beliefs belong in the private, personal world of any adult who chooses to embrace it. And that is about it. If you think Christian beliefs are so special, you are wrong. They are not. However, there is nothing like science. And we will keep drumming that into your thick skulls.

  245. #245 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    John Morales,

    Yes, I agree, but it seems there are more pressing concerns. I meant to point to the silliness of spending a lifetime in pursuit of proving an opponent wrong when the age of the world, though possibly of some importance, is certainly not the most pressing concern in this era. It seems like semantics to me, when I look at it, and I wonder why so much time–time that could be used to develop treatments for disease or devise new theories of the (present) world in which we live–is spent on this idea.

    To everyone:

    Please read my former statement, post 227, for what it is. Read all of it. You may notice an apparent flaw or two, as I’m sure they are present, but please take into account the entirety of what I (attempted to) express.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  246. #246 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 6, 2010

    Just read the book we glorify; read it once.

    Unfortunately I only got as far as the crazy-assed prophecy stuff at the end of the old testament. My bible went AWOL in a recent apartment move. I needed mind-bleach after Deuteronomy so I really can’t wait for the so-called main event.

    This is most annoying. I love books, and that even cvers the bible which admittedly I was given at my baptism.

    That ended well, etc.

  247. #247 Distind
    January 6, 2010

    Gah, and I of course screw up the last name here where I can’t edit it.

  248. #248 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Bill, if you believe the fictional babble, and that your imaginary deity exists, then you have nothing of interest to say to us. You are a delusional fool. No more is expected from you. You won’t obtain cogency until you realize all your beliefs in god and babble are a lie.

  249. #249 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion?

    I dunno. Does it bother you when someone lies to school kids? It bothers me. We force them to spend the early years of their lives there. We promise them that we’ll make them better equipped to face the world. And then some asshole, when he has them as a captive audience, lies to them and tells them that the Earth is six thousand years old? Yeah, that bothers me.

  250. #250 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,

    I meant to point to the silliness of spending a lifetime in pursuit of proving an opponent wrong when the age of the world, though possibly of some importance, is certainly not the most pressing concern in this era.

    You’ve just described creationism in general, and the Discovery Institute in particular, to a T.

    Strangely enough, scientists themselves spend their time testing others’ theories in general, and their own hypotheses in particular, to see if they can be falsified.

    Please notice the difference between ‘testing’ and ‘proving wrong’!
    It’s basically the difference between skepticism and dogmatism.

    PS Radiometric Dating; A Christian Perspective.

  251. #251 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 6, 2010

    Ah found it.

    Isiah 5:22 (RSV)

    “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink”

    Oops. That’s me buggered then!

  252. #252 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important?

    It is important, yes. It’s important because the underlying science is the backbone of our civilisation. It’s important because science matters to our lives, to our prosperity, to the continued survival of our species. And most of all, it matters because it is what is empirically true.

    The age of 4.58 billion isn’t just pulled out of thin air, it has come from measuring and understanding how nature works. The same science behind the age of the earth is the same science behind nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. The same science behind the age of the universe is the same science as is behind the fact that you’re able to read this text. e=mc² isn’t just a formula to convey the notion of intelligence, it describes the underpinnings of nature itself. Science tells us not what we want to hear, but what can best be learned from making models and predictions of how the world works. And given you’re sitting on a computer, I’d say you’re a fan as much as anybody else here.

  253. #253 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    I wonder why so much time–time that could be used to develop treatments for disease or devise new theories of the (present) world in which we live–is spent on this idea.
    ___

    Creotards have done much damage to science education in America and in other countries. You just don’t get it. We are forced to waste time like was squandered at the Dover Trial so we can keep these FUCKING MORONS contained. And all you are concerned about is that we are making a big deal over nothing. Well, we are not. We are fighting to keep science intact so we can develop treatments for disease, etc.

    You waffling, passive, limp types drive me nuts.

  254. #254 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    Josh,

    That’s certainly valid to say. I would be very disappointed if someone lied to be blankly, however trivial the matter.

    Now I may be childish to suggest this, and I may learn better from future experience, but I hate to assume the worst in men. Though someone’s claim may be false (the world can’t be both six thousand and six million years old, I figure), this doesn’t mean–and I don’t like to think that–they mean to speak falsely in their claim.

    Misguided? Perhaps, but for a human to purposely falsify a claim and hold that knowledge in him for a lifetime? Seems like too much sacrifice, if only to supress a simple truth.

    It seems, though, that focusing on the age of this earth–and forming opposing sides who ever-taunt the other–really serves little purpose other than a satisfaction that “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

    Thanks for the reply,

    Bill

  255. #255 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 6, 2010

    @BDC @Kel

    I think that the point I was staggering towards was that even in academia things that are called ‘science’ aren’t necessarily so… Although anyone who’s been taught with any rigour should be as aware of what they don’t know as what they do.

    Apologies for being obtuse. Being a smart-arse without the smarts isn’t particularly complimentary!

  256. #256 Sastra
    January 6, 2010

    Kel OM #242 wrote:

    What really surprised me, however, was the logical abilities of those in my psych class. To get all anecdotal up in here, take the proposition “All men are intelligent. Bob is a man. Therefore Bob is intelligent” – is this logical? Well not according to the responses of the psych students “I think that’s wrong because women are intelligent too” was one memorable response.

    Many people can’t reason their way out of a paper bag, because they translate technical terms into sloppy social analogies. If something is “logical,” then that has to mean it’s right.

    Or, perhaps, the opposite. It must be wrong. Your anecdote reminded me of a discussion I once had with a group of spiritual, new-age-ish friends. They were arguing that logical contradictions were possible. When I asked for examples, they gave me things like “Joanne is both nice, and not-nice, depending on the situation, and on who is doing the evaluating.” I tried to explain that no, that wasn’t an actual logical contradiction, because the terms were unclear — but they could not see my point. The more I tried to explain the need for clarity, the more they saw me as being “judgmental” and incapable of seeing nuances, or allowing other points of view.

    They then explained that my own unambiguous examples of A = non-A were therefore also possible. Logic is “Western thinking.” It’s too narrow. It’s wrong.

  257. #257 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    As another note, I am not under the impression that “Christians” (understood as a generalization) disagree with scientific theories as a whole at all! Yes, there’s an issue with the age of this world, but that doesn’t mean those who believe this cannot believe in atoms, force, or elements!

    My point is not that science is unimportant–far from it. My point is that, though it’s valuable to understand how this world works, it seems that the devotion to the idea of creation vs. evolution in the age of the world takes up time that could be spent doing much more productive operations, in the advancement of current scientific technology.

    Thanks again (and please notify if I have seemed to overlook important responses; I’m not the best at keeping track of posts),

    Bill

  258. #258 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Now I may be childish to suggest this, and I may learn better from future experience, but I hate to assume the worst in men.

    As Napoleon said, “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

    Of course those who say 6,000 years old for the most part aren’t doing so because they know better and are lying to children deliberately, the problem is they don’t know better and don’t know they don’t know better (google Dunning Kruger). There can only be one true age of the earth, the problem is that people are putting faith into adding up a whole bunch of begets and taking mythology as historical fact. When one instead chooses to measure the earth, the story is vastly different.

    It’s not about saying I’m right and you’re wrong, there’s a lot more than having bragging rights. Science is successful, the methodology works. Secondly it’s dishonest to ignore the facts when they are inconvenient. This “different interpretations” nonsense doesn’t cut it, it’s basically alleging that the distance between New York and San Francisco is about 10 yards. Are you honestly suggesting that those measuring the age of the earth are so wrong that they are off by a factor of close to a million? That’s not off by a million, but a factor of a million. It’s like trying to determine the time of a murder within a 30 minute period and getting an answer around the time the Shroud Of Turin was made.

  259. #259 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Science can’t be cherry picked. If evidence is rejected and ignored, science stops being science. what part of that do you not get, Mr. Christian?

  260. #260 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I think that the point I was staggering towards was that even in academia things that are called ‘science’ aren’t necessarily so.

    Inane claim. Where is your evidence. Until then, nothing but hot air…

    My point is that, though it’s valuable to understand how this world works, it seems that the devotion to the idea of creation vs. evolution in the age of the world takes up time that could be spent doing much more productive operations, in the advancement of current scientific technology.

    Just like you scientists don’t do their work 24/7. They also like to relax. And what better way to relax than to take idjits who believe in imaginary deities to task for their delusions…

  261. #261 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah @ 240

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important? Or is the evolutionist/creationist dilemma just another invention of man for those who cannot live in this world without thinking and believing that his knowledge and understanding is superior to that of his fellow creatures.

    Several other people have already responded (gee, you go away for a few minutes to make a pot of tea when the thread appears to be dying, and look what happens) in much the same way that I will, but I’d like to give you my slant on the situation.

    If the fundie christians, primarily in the U.S., weren’t trying to push their religious agenda into the science classrooms, then many of us here couldn’t give a toss what they believe. But they are very forcefully trying to do that. Look up ‘fatwah envy’ while you’re at it.

    And look at all that science has given us, like that computer you’re typing on. Modern medicine, et. al. Think religion could produce those things? If the fundies had their way, we’d eventually be back in the next Dark Ages hoping for another Renaissance.

    Maybe a little OTT what I said there, but the anti-science camp with their religious/political agenda are beginning to have a serious detrimental impact on people’s decisions regarding issues that have a strong body of scientific evidence behind them, like, oh I dunno… AGW? Vaccination? Getting this stuff right is crucial to our survival as a species.

    Anyway, thanks for being civil and (apparently) taking the time to listen, It sounds like you might stick around for a while.

  262. #262 SC OM
    January 6, 2010

    take the proposition “All men are intelligent. Bob is a man. Therefore Bob is intelligent”

    Please.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0PIdWdw15U

  263. #263 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,

    It seems, though, that focusing on the age of this earth–and forming opposing sides who ever-taunt the other–really serves little purpose other than a satisfaction that “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

    You seem to misapprehend the issue, which is epistemological at heart. On the one side, their holy text dictates what is factual; on the other, empiricism does.

    As another note, I am not under the impression that “Christians” (understood as a generalization) disagree with scientific theories as a whole at all!

    Christians, in general, don’t. Biblical literalists, however, do — and then only when they can’t reconcile science with their interpretation.
    Alas, this leads them to be selective in their acceptance of physics, chemistry, geology, biology etc.; to assuage their cognitive dissonance, they must perforce dismiss those parts of science they cannot accommodate in their dogma.

    Yes, there’s an issue with the age of this world, but that doesn’t mean those who believe this cannot believe in atoms, force, or elements!

    The only issue is that, for YECs, science contradicts their interpretation of the Bible.

    PS Have a look at the link I provided @250.

  264. #264 Sastra
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah #254 wrote:

    It seems, though, that focusing on the age of this earth–and forming opposing sides who ever-taunt the other–really serves little purpose other than a satisfaction that “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

    Generally speaking, people who insist that issues always come down to one side trying to “win” over the other side are themselves obsessed with their own personal status. If you care so little about what’s actually true here, I am surprised that you’ve bothered to go to so much trouble forming a theory and writing about it.

    Or are you afraid that your theory won’t stand up to critique, so you deflect the issue to one of personalities and motivations? That’s a possibility.

  265. #265 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    My point is not that science is unimportant–far from it. My point is that, though it’s valuable to understand how this world works, it seems that the devotion to the idea of creation vs. evolution in the age of the world takes up time that could be spent doing much more productive operations, in the advancement of current scientific technology.

    Again, that’s the problem. Modern medicine relies on the fact that evolution occurs. The creation / evolution battle is a distraction and it is one that takes away from the scientific knowledge of the day. Instead of being taught science, there’s a constant battle to put non-science alongside science with the phrase “teach the controversy” said as if there were scientific controversy. There ain’t.

    There ain’t a scientific controversy over whether evolution happens and that we evolved. There ain’t a scientific controversy of the age of the earth. There ain’t a scientific controversy over the universe being old. Yet the theories that are the underpinnings of science are constantly being called into public scrutiny because some fool in the 18th century thought that you could get an age of the universe by adding up a whole bunch of begets and take the reused Babylonian myth as a historical account. Sound reasonable to you?

  266. #266 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Mr. Christian, your mistaken focus that this is about bragging rights show me that you are one superficial person. If you can’t see the real damage that creotards have done to science, then you, too, are the enemy. Would you like not to be the enemy since you seem to be an obsessive peace maker? Then open up your peepers and take sides. What’s that your Lord that you worship said, something about puking up the lukewarm people (like you)?

    And are you a YECer?

  267. #267 Sastra
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah:

    Oops. I mistook you for the Creationist Mr. Cummings. I should have checked back before I responded.

    My apologies.

  268. #268 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion?

    It matters because the methods and evidence we used to arrive at the figure of 4.6 billion years can be used to actually do stuff to help people.

    Creationists would have us believe that rolling dice and coming up with random answers is more helpful than actually learning. That’s what they propose as an alternative to science: Random chance and the impotence that comes with it.

    Which will put food in a poor person’s mouth? Scientific methods of increasing farm yields, or your apathetic dice rolling?

  269. #269 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I think that the point I was staggering towards was that even in academia things that are called ‘science’ aren’t necessarily so…

    Indeed, though “social science” and “political science” should be dead give-aways of that.

    Although anyone who’s been taught with any rigour should be as aware of what they don’t know as what they do.

    Recently I remember seeing an advery of some followers defending their dead paedophile cult leader, and so many people in list of supporters put their qualifications up no matter how minor. Like a “CEO” of a cleaning company (it’s a one man company), bachelor degrees, etc.

    I was reminded of the show Red Dwarf where the main character Rimmer was so obsessed with status that he used to sign his name B.SC, S.SC – which stood for Bronze Swimming Certificate, Silver Swimming Certificate. Thereby I propose anyone who signs their name with any degree of qualifications from now on should be referred to as a “Smeghead”

  270. #270 echidna
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,
    Of course the fight detracts from our current capacity to do productive things – but not fighting will detract even more from future generations, if the scientific literacy of the student population falls too far.

    Allowing religious notions to interfere with the cabability of the research community is not the hallmark of a civilized country.

  271. #271 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    But Sastra, Bill Hannah did write that quote in your #264. I am confused.

  272. #272 SC OM
    January 6, 2010

    Many people can’t reason their way out of a paper bag, because they translate technical terms into sloppy social analogies. If something is “logical,” then that has to mean it’s right.

    Or, perhaps, the opposite. It must be wrong.

    I think this is true. I also think that a good teacher, with all of the myriad examples to choose from, could think to select one that won’t likely be heard as dismissive or insulting to several students in subordinate groups (imagine substituting a racial or national group); then, when clearly faced with this situation, rather than compound the problem by turning to members of the dominant group flattered by the example, alter that example or choose another. Sucky lecturer, if you ask me.

  273. #273 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    echidna,

    Bill,
    Of course the fight detracts from our current capacity to do productive things – but not fighting will detract even more from future generations, if the scientific literacy of the student population falls too far.

    For a good example, look at the repercussions of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union.

  274. #274 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    Kel (#258),

    You do make a good point. These theories are vastly different when it comes to the conclusions drawn by the evidence (so-called: I’m not attempting to reinforce or refute the “evidence” at present). Both sides of the coin offer reasons for their claims, whether it’s Carbon dating, geological formations, or the testimony of an ancient manuscript. It all comes down to what evidence you find *credible* or most accurate.

    Carbon dating –

    With the exponential decay of C-14, many objects have been dated at tens of thousands of years old (maybe older; not the point). While many point to this as a proof of a very old world, some note the variables of climate conditions, atmospherical differences, and past catastrophes as evidences to the contrary (suggesting that this decay rate is not necessarily consistent over time).

    Geological formations –

    Early on, rock layers were dated by the specimens (fossils) found in them. Though some, now extinct, seem to be of times long past, evidences such as the non-extinct Cealocanth(sp?) are commonly cited to counter this idea.

    Many rock formations, vast as they are, have been linked to a great span of time for their completion. On the other hand, some point to quickly-forming (relatively small) canyons, streams, and volcanic deposits as evidence of a young world.

    The testimony of manuscripts -

    Of course, there is likely the most skepticism and room for argument when it comes to this witness.

    Some point to truths of certain portions of one area in such writings as proof of the validity of other claims in them. Others points to things that seem to go against the text at times, as well as pointing to the simple fact of likely inaccuracy to support their ideas.

    Though one side may seem more convincing to you, it’s really an idea of perspective. Which evidence is *better* and which will you trust. That’s really where you and I butt heads, as it were. I do respect your ideas and opinions, but I simply, at this point, find myself lead towards the evidence that you do not.

    I certainly don’t mind if you present facts as a means of showing me your standpoint, but I hopefully have conveyed to you the reason that my beliefs come contrary to yours–It’s not that there isn’t evidence, it’s that the evidence I find most reasonable differs greatly from the evidence you find the best.

    Michelle B (#259),

    The above information may give you a slight light into the reasons I believe what I believe. Otherwise, I would like to let you know that I do generally believe the majority of information known under the category of “science.” Respectfully, though, I am not convinced that an old earth and an evolutionary view of the world is a true representation of reality.

    Redhead (#260),

    Fair enough, I guess.

    Again, thanks, (need to catch up reading responces, probably, I’m not very quick at this)

    –Bill

  275. #275 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah #254

    It seems, though, that focusing on the age of this earth–and forming opposing sides who ever-taunt the other–really serves little purpose other than a satisfaction that “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

    If it were a simple difference of opinion that didn’t make any difference, like “I think baseball is more boring than cricket” and “no, cricket is much more boring than baseball” then you’d have a reasonable point. But when we’re arguing facts, and the facts are vital to the future prosperity of humanity, then there’s more at stake.

    Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria which not only causes certain forms of pneumonia but also meningitis, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, peritonitis, pericarditis and sepsis. It’s a heavy duty bug that can definitely screw you up or even kill you. But there’s a problem with this critter. In the 1960s, nearly all strains of S. pneumoniae were susceptible to penicillin, but since that time, there has been an increasing prevalence of penicillin resistance. Certain strains are also resistant to cephalosporins, macrolides, tetracycline, clindamycin and the quinolones. This antibiotic resistance is due to S. pneumoniae evolving.

    But the creationists don’t want evolution taught in school. Some of them won’t even accept that S. pneumoniae is evolving, even though the proof is readily available and obvious to anyone paying attention. So what happens when creationists get their wish and evolution is replaced with GODDIDIT? Research for antibiotics cease and we go back to witchdoctors praying for cures. Do you really want to return to the Dark Ages? Because that’s where the creationists want to lead us back to. And no, that is not hyperbole.

  276. #276 Sastra
    January 6, 2010

    Michelle B #271 wrote:

    But Sastra, Bill Hannah did write that quote in your #264. I am confused.

    Yes, but I thought that the person who wrote #264 had also written #61, etc. I was surprised that someone who had gone to such pains trying to prove that “the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and the remaining celestial objects in the universe are three days younger” was suddenly saying that it didn’t really matter, what was the big deal, can’t we just move on? I see now, that he wasn’t.

  277. #277 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 6, 2010

    Bill H

    The issue from my side of the fence is that the creationists, while accepting scientific method when it related to every other aspect of observable reality make an exception for the bits that they don’t like.

    Now I’m not a scientist. However I do value consistency, and inconsistency really bugs me (I’m not a fun guy to go to the cinema with as I am a continuity freak). I honestly don’t get why conclusions that come from the same methodology are treated in different ways.

    Young earth creationism is – if you accept that out reality is consistent – moronic. I think that the proper phrase is ‘fractally wrong’. The maths and methodology that allows those idiots to post on-line is the same maths and methodology that makes their world view extremely unlikely.

    There is also nothing wrong with saying ‘I don’t know’ if the answer is not known. What happened before Planck time? Who knows. What is outside our universe? Possibly an incoherent question but again, who knows. How did the first replicating entity appear? There are a few ideas but no-one knows for sure.

    Replacing ‘I don’t know’ with ‘God did it’ does not answer the question. All that you do is put it down to magic and seal the line of enquiry off from further research. ‘God’ is not an answer, it’s an excuse. It doesn’t actually explain anything in a form that is useful. A lot of questions are left begging – more then if ‘god’ was not brought up in the first place.

    I’ll be perfectly happy if the average creationist would discard all of the tools provided by scientific method and live in a cave as a result. They’d be stupid, but at least they’d be consistent. But they don’t do this. And what makes it more nauseating, as an observer, is the self righteous certainty that is regularly displayed. No, as I mentioned before, the same process that has confirmed the age of the earth from multiple sources is the same process that put food on the table, electricity to the wall socket and a computer for all this bullshit to be typed on.

    I don’t know who originally said “You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts.” but they’re dead on.

  278. #278 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    Bill, no I don’t think that one date, the formation age of the planet, is super important in and of itself. I referred to it because I was replying to your earlier comment where you mentioned it. That one fact is merely symptomatic.

    It’s the concept of deep time itself that we’re actually fighting over, and that concept is extremely important. An understanding of the antiquity of the Earth underpins geology in the same manner that an understanding of evolution underpins biology. Everything we know about the Earth is dovetailed with the concept of deep time, from how volcanoes work and plates move, to landscape and soil development, to the building and weathering away of mountains, to how rivers move silt, to recharge rates of aquifers, to the residence times of water molecules within the sea. Indeed, it is impossible to divorce any study of the Earth from the notion of time. All of it dovetails with deep time or is dependent on deep time.

    And there has never been a point in the history of humanity where an understanding of geology has been more important to technology and civilization than now. Most of society is ignorant of how much geology contributes to everything they do, but it remains a fact nevertheless. The concept of deep time isn’t a small thing. It’s all of it. To say that the earth is young is to say that we don’t understand soil formation at all, and that’s wrong. We have a very good understanding of soil formation. To say that the earth is young is to say that we don’t understand sedimentology at all, and that’s wrong. We have a very good understanding of sedimentology. And so on and so on.

    The notion of a young earth in this day and age is insane. It just is. It’s as nuts as the idea that the earth isn’t a spherical body. It’s a profound denying of reality that’s absolutely crazy and the only place you will find support for the idea is within the YEC literature*; a young earth is just simply not supported by the entire body of scientific thought within geology. To assert otherwise isn’t just a difference of opinion, it’s false. We know this shit; we’ve built civilizations using this knowledge (e.g., we use our understanding of evolution, in part, to help prospect (successfully) for petroleum; this understanding of evolution is rooted in deep time).

    So whereas I understand you not wanting to believe the worst of people, the fact is that there is simply no earth science course that a teacher candidate could have been provided with in the last half century where the teacher can teach the age to be 6000 years and not be willfully ignorant or lying. You simply cannot be in a position where you know enough about the earth to be teaching it to others (Christian school or not) where the concept of deep time hasn’t been tied in to everything you’ve read and seen. It’s just not possible except in the case where you can find me a teacher who is teaching about rocks but has never studied them. The people who know enough earth science to be teachers who remain in the YEC camp are being willfully ignorant because of their YEC biases, or they are lying.

    *Yes, I know that there are YECs out there who call themselves geologists, including some who have managed to secure degrees from otherwise respectable programs. I’ll go on about these “scientists” in a later comment if you like.

  279. #279 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    suggesting that this decay rate is not necessarily consistent over time

    Wrong, the formation rate has varied over time. The decay rate is consistent. Something you would know if you truly knew the fact of the science. Your ignorance makes what you say unreliable.

    I believe what I believe.

    And if you believe in delusions, we don’t believe you. What part of this are you having trouble with?

    Respectfully, though, I am not convinced that an old earth and an evolutionary view of the world is a true representation of reality.

    You may try to be polite, but you have presented no evidence for your ideas, and inane questions or opinions are not evidence. That requires citations to the peer reviewed scientific literature. And you supply none. Ergo, you have nothing cogent to say, and we have no reason to pay any attention to your meanderings.

  280. #280 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Which is more helpful?

    A) Using biological evolution to predict and prevent drug resistance in germs.

    B) Going back to believing that disease is caused by the random whims of a capricious boogeyman in the sky.

    Which is more helpful?

    A) Using geology to develop methods predict earthquakes.

    B) Going back to believing that natural disasters are caused by the random whims of a capricious boogeyman in the sky.

    Which is more helpful?

    A) Using physics to study new possibilities in energy production.

    B) Performing voodoo dances in hopes that a boogeyman in the sky will someday get to randomly solving problems?

    Which is more helpful?

    A) Learning about the world with the scientific method, spreading that knowledge, and using it to help people.

    B) Rolling dice to determine which parts of some old book written by superstitious bronze age people are taught to children.

  281. #281 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    OK, I can’t stand this Mr. Christian (Bill Hannah), but it is clear that many of you are how can I say focused on being polite and nice. So I will go mute, because this guy is slime in my book. He is the same as all the creotards that have posted here recently except his nonsense is puffed up with an oppressively polite air to his stinking relativism.

    Have fun (I will continue reading of course!).

  282. #282 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Thanks, Sastra, that clears it up for me.

  283. #283 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I don’t know who originally said “You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts.” but they’re dead on.

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  284. #284 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Bill @274, you haven’t read the link at #250, have you? ;)

    From the introduction (my emphasis):

    The next few pages cover a broad overview of radiometric dating techniques, show a few examples, and discuss the degree to which the various dating systems agree with each other. The goal is to promote greater understanding on this issue, particularly for the Christian community. Many people have been led to be skeptical of dating without knowing much about it. For example, most people don’t realize that carbon dating is only rarely used on rocks. God has called us to be “wise as serpents” (Matt. 10:16) even in this scientific age. In spite of this, differences still occur within the church. A disagreement over the age of the Earth is relatively minor in the whole scope of Christianity; it is more important to agree on the Rock of Ages than on the age of rocks. But because God has also called us to wisdom, this issue is worthy of study.

    Does it bother you at all to be dismissing science on the basis of ignorance?

  285. #285 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 6, 2010

    The age of the Earth matters for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it is essential to understanding where to find minerals, petroleum, coal and other valuable resources. It matters because an old Earth is essential to understand evolution, which in turn is essential to understanding biology, medicine, agriculture… It matters because it is essential to understanding how Earth fits into the cosmos, and allowing us to see how unique, fragile and precious the planet is. It matters in our reconstruction of past climates so that we can see how we are altering the climate ourselves and thereby threatening the continued viability of our civilization. It matters because it is a part of the truth, and each truth in science is inter-related to all the other truths.

    A story, Bill: When the Soviets were struggling to build an nuclear bomb to counter the American nuclear threat after WWII, they knew they didn’t have time to enrich Uranium. Their spies had managed to relay the information that element-239 (later plutonium) was also fissionable and could be separated from spent fuel by chemical means. But what was the chemistry of the trans-uranic elements. Well, according to the periodic table, it ought to be similar to the Rare Earth elements. There was only one big problem. Chemists in the workers’ paradise had been forbidden from studying the Rare Earths because they were… well, rare. Luckily for the Russians, one chemist had defied the ban, conducting his research late at night in his lab. Copies were made of his handwritten notes and these were distributed to the chemists, and the Soviet Union lived another 45 years.

    The point is that you never know what particular fact is going to be absolutely crucial.

    Also, Bill, as a scientist, I have implicitly agreed to be bound by the evidence. When the preponderance of the evidence becomes sufficiently cogent, my decision is made. It doesn’t matter whether I like the truth or not. The thing is, by agreeing to go with the evidence, science ceases to be personal. We have a standard by which scientists can debate, and as long as we stick to the evidence, the debate tends to remain civil. If someone comes along who doesn’t believe in evidence or how to interpret it, there is no common foundation for debate.

    Finally, Bill, I would think it would matter to you whether your religious beliefs were founded on truth or falsehood–or perhaps more to the appropriately, truth or poetry.

  286. #286 MetzO'Magic
    January 6, 2010

    After reading a few more of Bill’s posts, I’m inclined to take Michelle B’s view of things. In fact, Bill, it’s one of the best shots at concern trolling I’ve ever seen.

    Nice try, come back again later when you don’t deny any facet of science that doesn’t agree with your YEC world view.

  287. #287 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    It’s a shame. It’s a damned shame (and I hate to use that term, but it’s appropriate here I hope). Yes I’m a Christian, but not because we know it all. Just read the book we glorify; read it once. If you forget the rhetoric surrounding it, there are some amazing words there.

    Read it. More than once. Along with pretty much everybody else here, I should imagine. Why would you think otherwise?

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important?

    The number itself isn’t as important as the means by which we arrive at it. The most important question to be asked of anybody with a belief about the age of the universe, or any other concrete factual assertion, is “and how do you know that?”.

  288. #288 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    On the other hand, some point to quickly-forming (relatively small) canyons, streams, and volcanic deposits as evidence of a young world.

    No, these things are not evidence of a young world. They represent evidence of fairly rapid processes. YECs love to assert that “uniformatarian geologists” insist that everything that happens on earth is gradual. This is a lie. We assert no such thing.

    The speed at which a stream cuts through a hillside has virtually nothing to do with the age of the planet upon which the hill is sitting.

    The Old Man in the Mountain collapsed, as far as we can tell, overnight. You know what the speed of that collapse has to say about the formation age of the Earth? For the purposes of our discussion here, nothing.

    Perhaps consider the first two paragraphs of this comment?

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/i_have_no_idea_what_this_threa.php#comment-1544519

  289. #289 Josh
    January 6, 2010

    Oh, and despite how often YECs jump up and down about it, we actually use C14 dating methods for precious few things. Geochronology is much more diverse and complex than C14 methods.

  290. #290 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    The problem with people who doubt radio isotope dating: It usually involves an assertion that nuclear physics is wrong, which in turn, implies that they believe all our atomic clocks and nuclear power plants operate purely on dumb luck.

    Dumb luck. There’s so much Creationists will attribute to dumb luck.

  291. #291 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    You do make a good point. These theories are vastly different when it comes to the conclusions drawn by the evidence (so-called: I’m not attempting to reinforce or refute the “evidence” at present). Both sides of the coin offer reasons for their claims, whether it’s Carbon dating, geological formations, or the testimony of an ancient manuscript. It all comes down to what evidence you find *credible* or most accurate.

    Carbon Dating goes back at most about 80,000 years. There are dozens of different radiometric dating tools that all point to the same picture. Even dating the sun using what we know about the life cycle of stars points to the same age. Not to mention the vindication from non-radiometric methods (such as fossil corals combined with the slowing rate of spin of the earth, or tectonic drift combined with the changes in earth’s magnetic field causing polarising formation of iron in newly formed rock)

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with a problem. One group is using science, and the other group is not. What’s the problem again? You’re admitting as such that it’s science versus non-science which is what people here are trying to tell you.

  292. #292 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    OK, I can’t stand this Mr. Christian (Bill Hannah), but it is clear that many of you are how can I say focused on being polite and nice.

    That’s only because I haven’t chimed in yet. A few well-placed F-bombs should convince Mr. Hannah he fought the devil and won, and he can slink off to his pals to cry about the viciousness of atheists and evolutionists.

    Most likely he’s gonna do it anyway (where do you think “Hitler was an atheist!” comes from?), so this’ll save us all some time.

    Carbon dating -

    With the exponential decay of C-14, many objects have been dated at tens of thousands of years old (maybe older; not the point). While many point to this as a proof of a very old world, some note the variables of climate conditions, atmospherical differences, and past catastrophes as evidences to the contrary (suggesting that this decay rate is not necessarily consistent over time).

    Stop listening to your bible study buddies. They’re wrong, and repeating what they say just makes you look like a fool. The upper bound for carbon dating is only about 60,000 years, and is limited to objects containing (or coming into contact with) carbon. But that isn’t the only dating technique used. In fact, it’s not even the only radiometric dating technique. Others include uranium-lead, samarium-neodymium, potassium-argon, rubidium-strontium, uranium-thorium, fission track, dendrochronology and photoluminescence, and–surprise!–they all work pretty consistently, given limitations in age and materials dated.

    Early on, rock layers were dated by the specimens (fossils) found in them. Though some, now extinct, seem to be of times long past, evidences such as the non-extinct Cealocanth(sp?) are commonly cited to counter this idea.

    The rocks are used to date the fossils and the fossils are used to date the rocks, so it’s circular, right? Hallelujah, praise Jesus!

    In general, fossils (particularly index fossils, which you’d know about if you weren’t talking out of your fucking ass) were used (among other things) to tie geological formations separated by space together. While scattered examples of mistaken assumptions like the presumed extinction of the coelocanth exist, on the whole the process worked pretty well. Bring in radiometric dating to confirm and shore up the dates, and bingo! We’ve got a science that makes predictions that are verified.

    But you wrote:

    As another note, I am not under the impression that “Christians” (understood as a generalization) disagree with scientific theories as a whole at all!

    And then you wrote:

    Respectfully, though, I am not convinced that an old earth and an evolutionary view of the world is a true representation of reality.

    So what the fuck was the point of bringing up “Christians” as a generalisation if only to later demonstrate that you’re not like them?

    Nice try at the ol’ bait-and-switch Bill, but we seen your kind here more times than you’ve had prayers ‘answered’.

    Brain Hertz wrote:

    Read it. More than once. Along with pretty much everybody else here, I should imagine. Why would you think otherwise?

    Someone here once noted that it’s almost as if they think the words on the page are somehow ‘magic’, and will compel you to get down on your knees and pray before you finish reading “…created the Heavens and the Earth.”

    I’d suspect this viewpoint is limited to Christians who are generally religious illiterates, otherwise they’d know that the Bible is no more persuasive than the Baghavad Gita, the Diamond Sutra, or the Popol Wu’uj and they wouldn’t make such an idiotic appeal.

  293. #293 RickK
    January 6, 2010

    @227

    You said “All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion?”

    I thank Lauren Becker of the Center for Inquiry for this – and it sounds much better coming from her:

    Why is the evolution/creation or religion/science argument important? What does it matter what people believe?

    It’s a fair question. It really only matters when the two come into contradiction. When a fundamentalist Christian teaches children that Genesis is a scientifically factual account of how the world was formed, then the conflict arises.

    Why does it matter if a rock is 6,000 years old, or 300,000,000 years old? It’s still a rock.

    How does believing a 300,000,000-year-old rock is only 6,000 years old become dangerous? Because it is a reflection of how we know things.

    A 300,000,000-year-old rock is the answer resulting from decades of observation, research, field study, laboratory testing, comparative studies, physics, and critical peer review.

    A 6,000-year-old rock is the answer because God said so.

    Believing a 300,000,000-year-old rock is only 6,000 years old is to completely surrender to an argument from authority (in this case, Archbishop Ussher’s math), regardless of what logic, reason and your senses tell you.

    Is the accurate age of a rock really that important? Maybe not.

    But what if the question is about treating polio? Should we perform analysis, experimentation, scientific study, develop a vaccine, test it, and eradicate a global plague? Or, should we read the Bible and pray?

    What if the question is whether women should have the same rights and opportunities as men? Should we study the intelligence of men and women, statistically examine the success of men and women in different endeavors and societies, research gender differences in school children, critically review the work, publish the results and respond to the criticism? Or should we instead accept the authority of Sharia Law?

    If you wish the freedom of a representative democracy because you don’t wish to surrender completely to a dictator’s authority, why would you surrender completely to religious authority when considering the truth of our origins?

    Humans are wonderful at deceiving themselves and each other. The middle-aged, overweight, sun-starved father of five who sucks in his stomach, looks in the mirror and says “Not bad!” is practicing self-deception. And influencing the minds of others is the whole point of marketing, politics, and much of entertainment. People are influenced all the time by what others tell them, by their own beliefs and biases, by differences in perception.

    How do we avoid being deceived when we want to really know the truth about something?

    The best way we’ve found so far is the scientific method. It consists of questioning current assumptions, hypothesis, experimentation, theory, critical peer review, refinement, and questioning all over again. It is designed to put our biases aside, to cut through the smoke and mirrors, to honestly seek critique of our assumptions, and find the real truth. Constant questions, constant testing. If an idea doesn’t work, we ruthlessly throw it out. There is no surrender to authority because authorities make mistakes. As Sagan says – “intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong.” It is through this thinking that we’ve harnessed the atom, built the communication network, power grids, eliminated plagues, and so many other advances.

    When you’re buying a used car, do you take the car the salesman wants you to buy at the price he wants you to pay? Or do you research what car you want, compare to other shoppers, develop an understanding of what you’re going to buy, question the salesman, then get your wife/husband/partner/parent’s opinion before you pay?

    If you are willing to employ your own version of the scientific method for something as trivial a car, why wouldn’t you use it for developing your world view and your understanding of our origins?

    Many people believe that science is some great conspiracy – that nobody can go against the current wisdom of science. But that’s completely false. Science awards its highest honors to those who break new ground, who overturn the status quo. But only if the PROVE it, only if their ideas or models WORK.

    Back to the that dangerous rock. It’s just a little rock, but as you can see, it’s a BIG metaphor.

    Creationist geologist Kurt Wise puts it very clearly: “As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.” As Professor Wise says, the dogma of creationism forces him to put aside his Harvard education and all the evidence, and surrender his intellectual honesty.

    Isn’t it bad when something conflicts with honesty?

    When you allow a person or institution to declare itself beyond question and without error, you’ve created a form of monarchy, exactly what the United States was designed to avoid. When you are forced to ignore the evidence, to deny logic, to be blind to things that are demonstrably true, you’ve surrendered your greatest gift – your intellect.

    So the age of the rock, the validity of evolution, the age, size and motion of the cosmos – all of these things are symbols of the battle over the meaning of truth, the use or denial of intellect, and the freedom to ask questions. And what makes it even more important is that the battle is not being fought between leading thinkers in each field, it is being fought with and around our children, in public school staffrooms and classes. One side is using evidence, reason, and logic, while the other fights with public relations, lawyers, and with lies, distortions, false information and badly flawed arguments. Those are not my adjectives, they are the adjectives used by Judge Jones in the Kitzmiller v Dover Intelligent Design trial.

    If you surrender your intellect to organizations like Answers in Genesis, you are buying into the PR, believing the hype and drinking the coolaid. You’re essentially taking the used-car salesman’s first offer.

    Some of you may not think this is important. Some may not even be bothered to read this. But our collective intellect is the only resource capable of getting this world beyond its current problems, capable of reducing suffering, capable of navigating a safe, prosperous and healthy future from among the many unpleasant possibilities.

    Sorry, I wrote a lot, because I think the intersection of science and religion, of our origins, and of how we use our intellect are some of the most important things we can discuss.

  294. #294 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Both sides of the coin offer reasons for their claims, whether it’s Carbon dating, geological formations, or the testimony of an ancient manuscript. It all comes down to what evidence you find *credible* or most accurate.

    Or repeatable, demonstratable and supportable.

  295. #295 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Indeed, though “social science” and “political science” should be dead give-aways of that.

    *sigh*

  296. #296 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    RickK, when setting off a quote (especially one comprised of multiple paragraphs, use <blockquote>quoted text</blockquote> so we know what you’re quoting and what you’re writing.

    Otherwise, thanks for comment #293. I started writing much the same thing, but your comment (or Lauren Becker’s) said it as well as I could have.

  297. #297 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    And it’s not just radiometric dating either. The fossil record shows a gradual progression over time. You don’t see any animals in ancient rock, and in the rock that is seen, there is a general progression. Fish before tetrapods (including fishapods), synapsids before mammals (including transitions), dinosaurs before birds (including dinobirds), non-humans before humans (including transitions), land mammals before cetaceans (including transitions) – the list goes on.

    I want all young earthers to consider the following. In 1987 a supernova exploded, well it didn’t explode in 1987 – it was seen from earth in 1987. This star exploded in a nearby galaxy, a dwarf galaxy that orbits the one we reside in. Anyway, this star had a ring around it, so when the light from the supernova reached the, scientists were able to use triangles (remember SOHCAHTOA?) to work out directly how far it was away: 168,000 light years. So that means the explosion happened 168,000 years ago.

    Now how do people who believe in a young earth explain that? You can’t increase the speed of light because of e=mc², you can’t bring the object close enough to earth because of the gravity 10,000,000,000 stars would have on our orbital system. The only thing you can do is either believe that there is an old universe or that God faked the light.

    If the universe (and earth within) are only 6000 years old, then we shouldn’t see anything more than 6000 light years away (we shouldn’t see anything at all because it takes light about a million years to escape the sun, but that’s besides the point), so any light we do see must by definition be an illusion. That God created photons of light en route to earth. So for that star in the LMC, it must mean that God not only created the illusion of the star, but the illusion of a supernova too – and one which was able to give us an absolute distance for a nearby stellar object. Now that galaxy is only 28 times as far away as light needs to travel, there are galaxies over 2 million times as far away as light needs to travel.

    So consider this. The universe looks old, that either means that the universe is old or that it has the appearance of being old. So if the biblical accounts are accurate (which come off it, they aren’t nor are they meant to be) then it would mean that God is lying to us, and such a being is not worth worship. If you believe in a young earth / universe, then you believe in a dishonest deity.

  298. #298 Miki Z
    January 6, 2010

    The Lord Works in Mysterious WaysTM

  299. #299 A. Noyd
    January 6, 2010

    Romeo Vitelli (#52)

    Just turn the argument back on the creationists: remind them that there are TWO accounts of creation in the Book of Genesis that are mutually irreconcilable. For one to be right, the other has to be wrong. Make them pick one.

    Yeah, I’ve tried that. Apparently, even to a Biblical literalist, the second story is a reiteration of the first and the switched up order is a “literary device.” (But claiming other literary devices such as allegory is wrong.) Of course, that particular nitwit claimed you could have non-contradictory paradoxes and non-autonomous free will. So he was quite skilled in denialism.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    lose_the_woo (#110)

    The creationist’s view of reality is contingent on static 2000 year old scribblings …

    Not exactly static. They can always rewrite it, as with the Conservative Bible Project. Which doesn’t detract from your point about presumption one bit.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    alysonmiers (#186)

    Ever notice how when it’s their pet belief system, religion is what makes life livable, but when the “religion” label gets slapped on a science, then suddenly it means something negative and dismissive?

    By pretending evolution is a religion, they don’t have to give it special consideration; they can dismiss it automatically like they do all religions besides their own.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Dahan (#214)

    Actually, it’d be interesting to see the break down of the regulars here concerning what they were raised as.

    Episcopalian, then Unitarian, then Neo-Pagan. So uh… I guess you could say I was raised in the Church of the Liberal Post-Modern Clusterfuck.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Brownian (#292)

    samarium-neodymium

    I read that as “smarmium.” That would be the perfect creationist element.

  300. #300 KOPD42
    January 6, 2010

    Just read the book we glorify; read it once. If you forget the rhetoric surrounding it, there are some amazing words there.

    Read it? Hell, I gave a guest sermon or two from it. Not all atheists have always been atheists. That should be obvious.

  301. #301 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    Kel,
    Supernova 1987A was the subject of considerable discussion over at Christian Forums (IIRC) a year or two back.

    There’s a commenter there that explained that our conclusion was messed up because we were using “childish” math, and it would all work out and show the possibility of a 6,000 year old universe if only we all used “G-d’s math” (sic) instead.

    Obviously he wasn’t actually able to show us “G-d’s math”, because, being mere humans, we wouldn’t be able to understand it, and since he was a mere human too he wasn’t privy to it either. Nonetheless, he felt sure that we would all find his argument convincing.

  302. #302 A. Noyd
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah (#245)

    I meant to point to the silliness of spending a lifetime in pursuit of proving an opponent wrong…

    Yes, evolution, geology, cosmology, etc., people only work in those fields to prove creationists wrong.

    (#254)

    Though someone’s claim may be false…this doesn’t mean…they mean to speak falsely in their claim.

    I bet that trust gets even easier the less importance you give to having an objective method of establishing truth claims.

    (#257)

    My point is not that science is unimportant–far from it.

    The creationists’ selective approach to accepting scientific facts shows quite clearly how little regard they have for how science works or why how it works is important. You don’t get to simultaneously pretend you value science while rejecting those scientific facts that conflict with your religious beliefs.

    My point is that…the devotion to the idea of creation vs. evolution in the age of the world takes up time that could be spent doing much more productive operations….

    If you honestly want scientists to lay off the whole debate, then help get it through to people that the only reason there’s a debate at all is because creationists are trying to sell their non-scientific religious agenda. It’s really that simple.

    (#274)

    It all comes down to what evidence you find *credible* or most accurate.

    Wrong. The evidence is the evidence. It comes down to which theories best explain all the evidence.

    It’s not that there isn’t evidence, it’s that the evidence I find most reasonable…

    If you’re picking and choosing the evidence, you’re doing it wrong.

  303. #303 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    Sastra & Michelle,

    My point was not to herald the idea of being right, but to simply note that the disposition of opponents and a desire to be “right” is common in the field of evolution/creation debate. I agree that such a position is not the proper perspective when it comes to discovering and understanding the truth.

    I am not familiar with the term YEC(er).

    Tis Himself,

    Again, I’m generalizing, but Creationists do not desire to disregard science and return to the Dark Ages (though I’m sure there were more than a few sunny days within that time).

    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    That quote is great, by the way:

    “I don’t know who originally said “You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts.” but they’re dead on.”

    Chris,

    Did you notice post #227? I mentioned that I as well do not admire the tendency of mankind to state as fact what is not truly known. It’s very important to maintain the respect to say “I don’t know” when faced with an unfamiliar difficulty.

    Now again, I don’t attempt to simply ignore scientific evidence. I have seen a great amount of it. On the other hand, I believe that the evidence supporting creation has credibility to it. On the other hand, it’s hard to say you know what happened x-thousand years ago. As you say, “I don’t know” the day the world began. I have simply concluded in my mind, at this point in time, that the evidence of which I am aware points more strongly to a “young” world than an “old” one.

    Remember, I certainly don’t mind evidence of the perspective you tend to believe. I would appreciate it, in fact.

    Please remember, though, that science–empirical science–has its limits. When it comes to years before men kept any record, it’s not easy to be sure of what is fact and what is fiction. For all we know, a planet-sized eagle could have slashed the Grand Canyon. Now I have my doubts about that, for obvious reasons, but my points is that even science has its limits, especially with that which we can no longer directly perceive.

    Josh,

    Christians don’t tend to disagree with understandings of the current structure and movements involved in this world. Instead of a deep time understanding, though, a great many who believe in the idea of a young earth also agree that catastrophies played an important role in the formation of this world. I already mentioned this in the short section on geological formations, of course.

    Please, if you would, take into consideration the above and respond if you feel necessary. I may be evaluating your statements too quickly in my attempt to catch up.

    Redhead,

    If you note, my initial comment was in no way an attempt to prove creationism. In case you missed it, the post is #227. My goal, at this time, is certainly not to convince you all that evolution is wrong, though such may be my belief (at least in part).

    Also, I’m certainly not a scientist – Please forgive my incorrect statement.

    Bronze Dog,

    That’s certainly nowhere close to the Christian understanding of science. Those who believe in the truth of the Bible also very much believe that there is unity in nature. We do not devalue science because it’s some pagan ritual–in no way at all.

    Saying this, though, the common understanding in “Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science and, on the other hand, that there is substantial evidence for a young world even regardless of the Biblical account.

    John,

    Nope, I just got back on and I’m desperately trying to keep up.

    Again, I am not forgetting science. I simply don’t believe that science truly backs up the claim of deep time to the extent that you claim. Remember, science has its limits, however helpful it may be.

    A Ray,

    This belief in the age of the earth does *not* mean that creationists just throw out theories and calculations commonly associated with deep time study. Again, saying that the earth is not millions of years old does not throw away science, it simply challenges your interpretation of the evidence.

    To everyone:

    Though responding to the many recent comments directed at me, I feel you all have taken me as a Bible-totin’, God-fearin’, I-don’t-care-if-science-says-this type. That’s certainly not the case. Firstly, please re-read my post #227 if you would. I did not come here to prove creationism.

    I respect those who do not wish to discuss these ideas with me. Please don’t think that I mean nothing I say, though, it’s quite the opposite–I came here to post #227 because I truly believe what I said and thought it important to convey.

    Thanks for reading,

    –Bill

  304. #304 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 6, 2010

    Saying this, though, the common understanding in “Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science and, on the other hand, that there is substantial evidence for a young world even regardless of the Biblical account.

    There is?

    For our benefit and so we know where you are coming from can you please provide us some citations and / or links to this substantial evidence?

  305. #305 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I already mentioned this in the short section on geological formations, of course.

    *psst* Josh is a geologist.

  306. #306 WowbaggerOM
    January 6, 2010

    Actually, I’ll put my hand up as an atheist who hasn’t read the bible – not, at least, at length; I have, however, read bits and pieces when I’ve felt it necessary to understand the context of something someone quoted.

    That being said I haven’t read the Q’uran, the Kalevala, the Edda, the Bhagavad Gita or the Egyptian Book of the Dead either.

  307. #307 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Again, I’m generalizing, but Creationists do not desire to disregard science and return to the Dark Ages [1](though I’m sure there were more than a few sunny days within that time).

    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method[2]. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window[3]. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence[4] that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    all the evidence, not just your preferred subset of it. and the 4.5 year-old earth does precisely that. the 6000 year-old earth does not.

  308. #308 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Bill, you are doing nothing but trying to muddy the waters. That makes you a creobot in all but name only. If you had any background in science, you would have shut up many posts ago, as we know much more than you do. If you really had evidence, you would have presented it. As it is, you are a persistent but meaningless godbot in your posts. For meaning, you need that crucial evidence that you lack.

  309. #309 A. Noyd
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah (#303)

    the field of evolution/creation debate

    No such field.

    In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window.

    It means you aren’t being scientific.

    On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    Because you’re cherry picking the evidence to fit your religious beliefs which goes against how real science works.

    Please remember, though, that science–empirical science–has its limits. When it comes to years before men kept any record, it’s not easy to be sure of what is fact and what is fiction.

    It’s a lot more reliable than you make it out to be, but you’re apparently quite fond of mistaking your ignorance for the state of reality.

    For all we know, a planet-sized eagle could have slashed the Grand Canyon.

    Oh, this will be fun; I can’t wait to read all the reasons why we know that’s impossible. To which you will predictably reply that you don’t actually think it happened to avoid acknowledging the point.

  310. #310 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    I’ll respond to just a couple of these…

    I am not familiar with the term YEC(er).

    YEC = Young Earth Creationist. The bounds of the term are typically set so as to include anybody who thinks that the universe is less than 10,000 years old or so…

    Tis Himself,
    Again, I’m generalizing, but Creationists do not desire to disregard science and return to the Dark Ages (though I’m sure there were more than a few sunny days within that time).
    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    These two statements are not compatible. There just isn’t any way to consider the world (as you put it) to be 6,000 years old or thereabouts and not claim to be wanting to toss science out of the window.

    I appreciate that you may not agree with and/or understand this. Not being funny, but what exactly is your source of information that implies differently? This would seem to be rather important.

    That quote is great, by the way:
    “I don’t know who originally said “You are entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts.” but they’re dead on.”

    Indeed.

    One more thing: the age of the universe is not a matter of opinion.

  311. #311 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    crap, blockquote fail. might as well make this a long one, then.

    Again, I’m generalizing, but Creationists do not desire to disregard science and return to the Dark Ages [1](though I’m sure there were more than a few sunny days within that time).

    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method[2]. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window[3]. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence[4] that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    [1]for all intents and purposes, yes they do
    [2]yes they do, and so do you when you claim that this is all a matter of “picking your preferred set of evidence”; it isn’t. science doesn’t work like that
    [3]see above
    [4]what contrary evidence? once again: a viable theory must explain all the evidence, not just your preferred subset of it. and the 4.5 year-old earth does precisely that. the 6000 year-old earth does not.

    On the other hand, I believe that the evidence supporting creation has credibility to it. On the other hand, it’s hard to say you know what happened x-thousand years ago. As you say, “I don’t know” the day the world began. I have simply concluded in my mind, at this point in time, that the evidence of which I am aware points more strongly to a “young” world than an “old” one.

    please look up the Dunning-Kruger effect. what you’re saying is that your knowledge is equivalent to the knowledge of scientists, and therefore your conclusion is as valid as theirs. it is not. you’re clueless of the vast majority of evidence that exists for the theory of evolution (evolution itself is an indisputable, observable, and well-documented fact), and you’re ignorant of all the evidence that exists to refute every single creationist claim ever made. have you ever read anything at Talk-Origins? do you understand why their refutations of creationist claims are more than just an “opinion”?

    Saying this, though, the common understanding in “Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science and, on the other hand, that there is substantial evidence for a young world even regardless of the Biblical account.

    this “common understanding” is based on ignorance, nothing else. see the response above.

    I simply don’t believe that science truly backs up the claim of deep time to the extent that you claim. Remember, science has its limits, however helpful it may be.

    your belief is not relevant. for that matter, my belief or the belief of any individual scientist isn’t either. if you believe in science, you’re doing it wrong. and your idea that evidence is supposed to “back up” a scientific claim is backwards. evidence is what leads to scientific claims, not the other way round.
    And what precisely do you imagine the limits of science to be? because from where I’m standing, it’s significantly less limited as a form of learning about reality than any form of “revelation”, especially not 2000-year-old, severely redacted “revelation”

    This belief in the age of the earth does *not* mean that creationists just throw out theories and calculations commonly associated with deep time study. Again, saying that the earth is not millions of years old does not throw away science, it simply challenges your interpretation of the evidence.

    you can repeat this claim until you turn blue in the face, and it still won’t be true. disbelief of the scientific conclusion that the earth is 4.5 billion years old IS throwing out all “the theories and calculations” of science that lead to that conclusion. and there’s more of these theories, facts and evidence than you evidently know about.

    I did not come here to prove creationism.

    true enough. you came here with your dunning-kruger syndrome to convince the scientists on this blog that your conclusion (based on incomplete and even fradulent and long-debunked information) is equivalent to the conclusions of well-informed experts in the fields of geology, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and archaeology (and probably a whole host of other scientific fields).

  312. #312 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Saying this, though, the common understanding in “Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science and, on the other hand, that there is substantial evidence for a young world even regardless of the Biblical account.

    The problem is that when those people in those “Christian circles” come around to debate me, they invoke random chance so often:

    They say so-called “micro” evolution doesn’t add up to “macro” evolution because some magical barrier of dumb luck prevents accumulation.

    They say it’s dumb luck that every chain of evidence adds up to the same tree of life.

    They say it’s dumb luck that we and chimps just happened to be infected by the same endogenous retroviruses in the same locations, where they were deactivated by the same errors, and they just happened to acquire fixation in both species by sheer, enormous dumb luck.

    Luck. That’s what Creationism boils down to. Of course, they have to disguise it in rhetorical trickery, but that’s what it is. I just choose to call a spade a spade.

  313. #313 WowbaggerOM
    January 6, 2010

    Saying this, though, the common understanding in “Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science and, on the other hand, that there is substantial evidence for a young world even regardless of the Biblical account.

    Which is exactly as rational as saying “in Christian circles, heliocentrism has not been proven by science…and there is substantial evidence for an earthocentric* galaxy, even regardless of the biblical account”.

    The evidence for both the age of the earth and evolution is just as strong for heliocentrism. To deny that this is so is nothing short of blatant stupidity.

    And there is no evidence for a young earth. We have documented human civilisations older than the age of the earth as calculated by that nitwit with the bible and a pen and pencil in the other. Read the Wikipedia article on Çatalhöyük.

    There’s no more reason to believe the earth is 6,000 years old than there is that you can fly by flapping your arms really hard – choosing to ignore that fact doesn’t change that**.

    *Apologies; I can’t remember what the correct word is.
    **Douglas Adams notwithstanding.

  314. #314 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    Brownian,

    What do you mean in saying that I claimed no to “be like” Christians? I didn’t follow that point.

    Kel,

    Regarding transitionary forms, such evidence is very sketchy. It is not argued that animals cannot adapt at all, of course, but simply that there are limits, in a creationistic viewpoint. It’s easy to say that a bird looks like a land animal when you’re looking for it, but there are certainly major differences between species. There are definitely similarities in all animals.

    The Christian viewpoint (it’s annoying to generalize, again, but I will do so for simplicity’s sake) is that, though animals can adapt to their environment, there are limits in this adaptation.

    KOPD,

    Yes, I understand that – Many have already noticed that and I appologize for the largely-incorrect generalization.

    Kel & Brian,

    I’m not very familiar with this specific phenomenon. I will look that up at a point, but I’m running short of time at present.

    A. Noyd,

    I certainly didn’t mean to say that scientific fields of thought are unimportant because of the idea of deep time–not at all. I was simply mentioning that this idea regarding evolution vs. creationism seems rather trivial in the scheme of things.

    …also, science is not perfect. To say that my disagreement with “scientific facts” is rejecting science simply assumes that these are, firstly, facts, and secondly, scientific. Though evidence has been offered from the field of science, they are not facts that the world is old. It is evidence, not fact.

    “Wrong. The evidence is the evidence. It comes down to which theories best explain all the evidence.”

    Good distinction – I meant to refer to the strength of the different parts of “evidence” rather than saying that you could throw some of it out at will. I agree with the above statement, but simply disagree in my assessment of the correct explanation for the evidence provided regarding the age of this world.

    “It’s not that there isn’t evidence, it’s that the evidence I find most reasonable…

    If you’re picking and choosing the evidence, you’re doing it wrong.”

    Again, that’s fair – When I said evidence, I don’t necessarily mean valid evidence. I am referring to those things used as evidence. Sometimes, though someone may say that evidence x supports a claim, others will find that it does not truly support the theory (for one reason or another). This is the distinction I meant to make.

    Again, I think it would be best to simply stick to the statement I gave at post #227. I am not trying to prove you all wrong. In fact, I don’t find that the importance of the issue is relatively low in the scheme of human progress. On the other hand, though, I think it fair to present with I do believe about the age of the earth.

    Thanks,

    –Bill Hannah

  315. #315 Capital Dan
    January 6, 2010

    It’s most certainly not on account of “contradictory evidence.” Creationists have no evidence. What you have are the fabrications and fantasies of an ancient people with more fear than knowledge, and those tales have been used by fraudsters to scam equally fearful and unknowing people for thousands of years.

    I still think the problem with many creationists is simple pride, and I suppose I can’t blame them. They’ve worked very hard and lied a lot to accomplish nothing. Walking away from such a failure is probably much harder to do than perpetuating the lie.

  316. #316 Jadehawk, OM
    January 6, 2010

    but simply that there are limits, in a creationistic viewpoint.

    and the evidence for the existence of this barrier is… what precisely?

    but simply disagree in my assessment of the correct explanation for the evidence provided regarding the age of this world.

    this is only because you don’t even know of the existence of most of the evidence* for an old earth, nevermind what this evidence is and why it’s impossible for it to be explained with a young earth

    On the other hand, though, I think it fair to present with I do believe about the age of the earth.

    you can present it all you want; but to claim that your beliefs are equivalent to the conclusions of 200+ years of scientific research is hubris and arrogant ignorance of the highest order.

    —–
    *most of which, incidentally doesn’t have shit to do with evolution. the age of the earth is a question of geology and astronomy, not biology. but YEC’s seem to think that “evolution” is a catch-all phrase for all the science they disagree with. it isn’t. ironically, a 6000 year-old earth wouldn’t even disprove the Theory of Evolution, and conversely, disproving the Theory of Evolution wouldn’t mean the earth is any younger than 4.5 billion years. those are two completely unrelated issues. they just agree with each other, just like many other strands of evidence do, because they happen to reflect reality; which is consistent with itself.

  317. #317 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    “One more thing: the age of the universe is not a matter of opinion.”

    No, it’s a fact, but a fact which we have yet to fully agree upon the reality of (i.e. when it occured).

    Okay guys, I definitely have brought about the wrong impression. I am not here to prove you all wrong, nor am I here to agree with you, but simply to explain my opinion on the issue.

    Though I’ve said a number of things since, it’s probably best to check out post 227 where I outlined my take on this idea.

    Also, in saying what I’ve said I am in no way trying to say “I know it all; you don’t.” I’m certain the majority of you have a very strong background in this study. Again, though, this does not mean I agree on the subject. Telling me that I’m wrong doesn’t do a lot, providing evidence does (and if I were trying to prove my point, the same applies to me, of course). Thanks for that instance of the 1987 supernova, I will certainly check out the accounts of that event.

    Nice to chat with you all, have a good rest of the day/night.

    Cheers,

    Bill Hannah

  318. #318 SC OM
    January 6, 2010

    geocentric

  319. #319 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Regarding transitionary forms, such evidence is very sketchy. It is not argued that animals cannot adapt at all, of course, but simply that there are limits, in a creationistic viewpoint.

    No, it’s not very sketchy. When you see forms like archaeopteryx or the sequence between land mammals and the cetaceans, it’s pretty damn clear. If you want a good account of the fossil record, read Evolution: What The Fossils Say And Why It Matters by Don Prothero.

    The Christian viewpoint (it’s annoying to generalize, again, but I will do so for simplicity’s sake) is that, though animals can adapt to their environment, there are limits in this adaptation.

    I really wish you wouldn’t refer to it as the Christian viewpoint, as the majority of Christians support evolution. But as for the whole “we accept microevolution thing”, it’s nothing more than a slight concession while still engaging in special pleading. You have to break the cycle of life to intersect a deity in, while the evolutionary explanation has structure emerge from selection.

    I’m not very familiar with this specific phenomenon. I will look that up at a point, but I’m running short of time at present.

    It would be good to look it up. Google for SN1987A. And remember that it is a dwarf galaxy nearby. The nearest full galaxy is over 2 million light years away! And that’s only one of about 100,000,000,000 galaxies that exist in the observable universe.

    The universe is big, very big. Very very big. Very very very big. And a big universe necessitates an old universe unless one again wants to engage in special pleading.

    On the other hand, though, I think it fair to present with I do believe about the age of the earth.

    In which case, you shouldn’t be surprised when it is picked apart mercilessly. As has been suggested, look up “Dunning-Kruger effect”. When you give the same justifications that have been debunked time and time again by the scientific community to the point that anyone who has seen this argument before can answer on autopilot, it shows something wrong in your understanding. When you’re trying to tell a geologist that his science is wrong (as you did with Josh), you really need to be talking from more than a point of ignorance on the matter. Perhaps before you bring up an argument, see whether it has a response on TalkOrigins.org – that way you cna at least get an idea about what you’re echoing which is utter purile nonsense.

  320. #320 Dahan
    January 6, 2010

    Wowbagger,OM,

    Actually, I’ll put my hand up as an atheist who hasn’t read the bible – not, at least, at length; I have, however, read bits and pieces when I’ve felt it necessary to understand the context of something someone quoted.

    Well, as I’m sure you’re aware, it’s… shall we say, somewhat overrated? Lol! I’m glad you’ve done other things with your time. Wish I could have those hours back.

  321. #321 WowbaggerOM
    January 6, 2010

    Good distinction – I meant to refer to the strength of the different parts of “evidence” rather than saying that you could throw some of it out at will.

    Except that all ‘evidence’ is strong – it has to be, by definition; if it’s not strong then it isn’t evidence – it’s just speculation.

    That’s the real difference between science-based evolution and faith-based religion: science is based entirely on including all the evidence observed to forumalate the ‘bigger picture’; religion is based on assuming the presupposition about the ‘bigger picture’ they already have (i.e. from the bible) is true and then trying to find ways of demonstrating that.

    Creationism, of course, has presented absolutely zero evidence for its side and instead relies entirely on attempts to discredit the science underlying the evidence of evolution. It’s never ‘creationists find x, which is evidence for creationism’; it’s always ‘creationists claim x is a problem for evolution’.

  322. #322 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I meant to refer to the strength of the different parts of “evidence” rather than saying that you could throw some of it out at will.

    All scientific evidence is as strong as it gets. All opinion and/or religious belief, like you keep trying to present as evidence (it isn’t) is low grade, and essentially irrelevant to a scientific discussion. You need to understand that. That is why peer reviewed scientific literature is considered the gold standard for evidence, as it has been checked as being correct. And it has a million or so papers showing evolution is correct, both directly and indirectly, and the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Only more science, in the peer reviewed literature, can refuted the present science. So write those papers and submit them instead of posting your nonsense here. That is the only way it will be taken seriously.

  323. #323 Rincewind'smuse
    January 6, 2010

    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    This is the crux of the problem; in the face of multidisciplinary evidence across many countries throughout the world and in light of the lack of true dissent among scientists qualified to review said evidence people are still out there who say THIS. This is not two sides with differing conclusions over the same facts.What you call contrary evidence is not evidence at all(prove me wrong with your evidence)Those facts that contradict the creationist view are inevitably ignored ; when they can’t be ignored false, meritless arguments are used to disparage well documented and verifiable techniques(see radiometric dating). This is important because similar arguments with similar logical fallacies are launched with identical modus operandi by the same people even when the consequences may affect our near future( see climate change).Might this be an example of “the more important things” you refer to? The attempt to dumb down our youth to the point that we no longer have a significant population of critcal thinkers simply because you have a personal agenda they must fulfill or because questioning your view of the universe makes you uncomfortable certainly is a reason in and of itself to fight this way of thinking.This type of “all evidence is equal” thinking is antithetical to the scientific method.I’ve read your post; all it means is that you’ll be happy to accept anything sciencey unless it’s implications make your christian sensibility queasy, at which point you’ll vigorously seek out contrary opinion, no matter how flimsy the opposing “evidence” provided.This lack of honest treatment of the evidence is the root of the problem.

  324. #324 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Oh, this will be fun; I can’t wait to read all the reasons why we know that’s impossible. To which you will predictably reply that you don’t actually think it happened to avoid acknowledging the point.

    One of the common misunderstandings of science is that it’s somehow a collection of disparate and unrelated factoids that are of limited utility outside of a trivia quiz or a bar bet.

    In fact, it’s much the opposite; the strength of the evidence is not in any individual piece of it, but instead how it fits together to present a cogent story.

    Brownian,

    What do you mean in saying that I claimed no to “be like” Christians? I didn’t follow that point.

    That was my mistake, Bill. I misread your comment “As another note, I am not under the impression that “Christians” (understood as a generalization) disagree with scientific theories as a whole at all!”, thinking you meant most Christians don’t disagree with any (widely-accepted) scientific theories, and of course there are many Christians of that sort. I thought you were claiming to be one of those, which is inconsistent with also being a creationist, and thus were being intentionally misleading.

    I see that was not what you wrote, and so I apologise.

    However, I still disagree. You may think you and similar creationists have no problem with science, but rather only the evidence pointing to an ancient earth and evolution, but unfortunately that’s like saying you have no problem with the existence of buses, but you don’t believe in cars because car wheels are so implausible. The same scientific tools used to provide evidence for the theories you don’t have a problem with are the same tools used to provide evidence for evolution and an ancient earth. Such evidence is unambiguous, and it doesn’t point to a young earth. Whatever you think that evidence is, it isn’t scientific, and the people who’ve told you it is are either liars or simply ignorant. It’s not a matter of perspective; they’re just wrong.

  325. #325 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    Thanks guys, but I do really have to go.

    I may come back to respond, but this is taking far too much time and I need to get to other things.

    I thank you all for your opinions and responces,

    Bill Hannah

  326. #326 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Bill Hannah, you do not deserve the fruits of scientific labor. The rest of us will have to continue carrying your freeloading self and your ilk on our backs until your deaths. Enjoying the high quality of life that science has given you does not get you off the hook for being a freeloader. You deserve to live in a cave, but you won’t have to because of what authentic science has accomplished (and not what you think science is). You don’t get to cherry pick science and then unconvincingly insist that you are not anti-science just because you enjoy the comforts that science has given you.

    You are probably one of the slimiest creobots I have ever encountered. Your intellectually dishonest, repugnant, despicable implicit deal is since you are not trying to convert us, you are reasonable in demanding to be allowed to wallow in your willful ignorance. Your lack of morality and ethics actually fools you into thinking this is a peacekeeping and fair approach. All it is demonstrates is your pathetic cleaving to fantasy.

    You do not get to have your own facts. The old age of the earth and evolution are facts. And you are denying them. The majority of Christians accept the old age of the earth and evolution. You are the enemy and will remain so until your short (but much longer than if scientists regarded science in the butchered, disgraceful manner in which you do) life ends.

    Just because you are responding to most questions, does not mean that you have answered any of them without weaseling out especially regarding the dangerous reality that science education is being sabotaged.

    Have your beliefs, it is your right, but don’t expect that your slippery crapola will not be identified for what it is or not we will not fight your kind every step of the way.

  327. #327 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 6, 2010

    “Regarding transitionary forms, such evidence is very sketchy. It is not argued that animals cannot adapt at all, of course, but simply that there are limits, in a creationistic viewpoint. It’s easy to say that a bird looks like a land animal when you’re looking for it, but there are certainly major differences between species. There are definitely similarities in all animals. ”

    Why is that evidence sketchy? Are you denying the existence of Archeopteryx or Tiktaalik? Be specific when you make these claims…

    Actually that’s pretty much all you’re doing. You repeat talking points that cast doubt on what we know. Which actually would be fine if you could A: Be specific, and B: show us the evidence you derived your doubts from.

  328. #328 WowbaggerOM
    January 6, 2010

    Dahan wrote:

    Wish I could have those hours back.

    I realised not that long ago that between work and my other activities I don’t have anywhere near enough time to fit in reading all the good books I’d like to read – let alone squeezing in the hours for particular piece of poorly-edited fan-fiction.

    Maybe when I retire (if such a thing still exists thirty years in the future) I’ll think differently.

  329. #329 siriusknotts
    January 6, 2010

    The funny thing is: PZ is a coward. That’s the entire reason he refuses to debate a creationist. He can hurl all the elephants he wants. If he reeeeeally wanted to demonstrate that creationism is invalid, he’d take that debate and use it to make his point once and for all. He’d want to make a gazingstock of us.

    But he’s not.

    He’s essentially hiding behind the whole schoolyard, “I could take you if I really wanted to, but I’m not gonna waste my timr,” which bluster and bravado we all know from experience typically hides a glass chin.

    As luck would have it, I wrote about this very issue of atheist/evolutionist cowardice just yesterday before someone sent me a link to this post:

    http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/the-evolving-post-darwin-evolutionism-darwins-glass-chin/

    This is priceless! Ha!

    -Sirius Knott

  330. #330 Rincewind'smuse
    January 6, 2010

    “One more thing: the age of the universe is not a matter of opinion.”

    No, it’s a fact, but a fact which we have yet to fully agree upon the reality of (i.e. when it occured).

    Who is we? Geologists? Plumbers? Hottentots? If by we you are implying those educated in the sciences then, yes, the VAST majority of that “we” does in fact agree.

  331. #331 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Damn blockquote fail.

    In case it’s not evident, the part where I stopped quoting Bill and began writing for myself in the comment above begins with “That was my mistake, Bill.”

  332. #332 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Yawn, it appears the boring evidenceless troll finally leaving. I always have to laugh how these idjits think they can cast doubt on the science without citing the scientific literature. Somewhere in their peabrains the concept of how science is done, and refuted, is absent. Trying to cast doubt does nothing. Only by doing and publishing more science in the proper forums will scientific theories be modified. And since creobots are too stoopid to do either, they will get nowhere.

  333. #333 Malcolm
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,
    You say that you aren’t saying that science is wrong, but the moment you say that the Earth is 6,000 years old, you are saying that our understanding of atomic theory is wrong.
    What you don’t seem to get is that the exact same calculations used to work out the date of the Earth are also used to run atomic power stations.
    So, either the creationists are dead wrong, or nuclear reactors are controlled by blind luck.

    So far you are definitely living up to the title of this post.

  334. #334 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    Hannah Okay guys, I definitely have brought about the wrong impression.
    _____

    You have made the wrong impression only in the sense that you failed to fool us.

  335. #335 Joffan
    January 6, 2010

    Though someone’s claim may be false (the world can’t be both six thousand and six million years old, I figure), this doesn’t mean–and I don’t like to think that–they mean to speak falsely in their claim.

    It’s important to understand the limits of this, Bill. There are people who are mistaken, and express their mistaken understanding, that nobody would get upset about. But as soon as people claim to be an authority on a subject, and continue making elementary mistakes in that subject, they are lying. Wilful ignorance is intentional deception, and intentional deception is lying. This applies to teachers, lecturers, broadcasters and other media professionals, politicians and presidents (among many others no doubt). These are people who have a huge influence on the standards of both truth and technology that we live with.

    Please don’t be a liar. Be informed and correct your understanding. Ask yourself what would persuade you to change your mind; and check it for yourself. Ask yourself who told you the things that all of us here are disputing, and check how they know, and look to see how accurate they are.

    Here’s hoping you can take those difficult steps.

  336. #336 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    He’s essentially hiding behind the whole schoolyard, “I could take you if I really wanted to, but I’m not gonna waste my timr,” which bluster and bravado we all know from experience typically hides a glass chin.

    You mean, like the evidence the creationists keep saying they’re going to provide? What exactly has the Discovery Institute discovered?

    How about the claim that Christians are more moral?

    Is there any bone of yours that isn’t glass?

    Nice try at blogwhoring, though.

    Whore.

  337. #337 Michelle B
    January 6, 2010

    And Hannah’s constant referral back to his original post despite it being eviscerated by many commenters just shows you how deep his ostrich head is mired in denying reality.

  338. #338 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    He can hurl all the elephants he wants. If he reeeeeally wanted to demonstrate that creationism is invalid, he’d take that debate and use it to make his point once and for all.

    Got the burden of proof around the long way. Creationism has been discared academically for a long time now. If creationists want to prove that their ideas have any merit whatsoever, they would stop hiding behind public rhetoric and fight for their ideas in academia among learned people in the relavant fields. Instead they rely on the ignorance of the masses (and we are all ignorant on most things, ignorance is not a crime – just not a place to argue from or pander to) and challenge respected scientists for the celebrity of the spectacle.

    If creationists weren’t running scared, they’d stop talking “science” in public and fight for their ideas among scientists before telling people with absolute certainty that they know the absolute truth – whereas anyone who is learned in any relevant field can see otherwise. Why is it creationists are so scared to engage academic issues academically?

  339. #339 Malcolm
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,
    You say that you aren’t saying that science is wrong, but the moment you say that the Earth is 6,000 years old, you are saying that our understanding of atomic theory is wrong.
    What you don’t seem to get is that the exact same calculations used to work out the date of the Earth are also used to run atomic power stations.
    So, either the creationists are dead wrong, or nuclear reactors are controlled by blind luck.

    So far you are definitely living up to the title of this post.

  340. #340 pdferguson
    January 6, 2010

    The Christard, Herman Cummings burbled:

    Each day was taken from the first week of that particular geologic age.

    Wow! Geologic ages can be identified down to the specific week where one ends and the next begins! Who knew?

  341. #341 Brownian, OM
    January 6, 2010

    That’s the entire reason he refuses to debate a creationist.

    I’ve been to a debate between PZ and a creationist, and the reason I suggested to him he not do that in the future is because in general, you’re a bunch of lying pieces of shit who can’t cut it in a lab so you retreat to the only forum you know you can succeed at: shilling snake-oil in front of an impressionable audience.

    How’s it feel to be the intellectual equivalent of Paris Hilton?

    Whore.

  342. #342 Rincewind'smuse
    January 6, 2010

    @ 329, as usual creationists bluster then ignore all the answers; it’s been done,there’s no winner because a debate does not decide the merits of the argument, only the persuasive abilities of the speaker which is not related to the validity of the evidence;what part of this idea is difficult to understand?There is no “once and for all” when you don’t listen, it will just be a rehash of the same non-arguments next year with an appeal for the debate to end all debates.

  343. #343 Bill Hannah
    January 6, 2010

    Sorry Rutee, my initial purpose coming here wasn’t anywhere close to explaining my viewpoints on creationism. Check out post #227.

    “You are the enemy”

    I’m sorry you feel this way.

    My intention in coming here was not to make enemies. I will not regard you as one and I hope you can respect that, though I understand if you think differently.

    Guys, please read my initial post…I’m not trying to press my point of “creationism” at all. I initially mentioned how I didn’t think it all-too-important in the scheme of things. Please don’t think that my coming here was an attempt to cast doubt, I’m not silly enough to think that the opinion of one person will change an entire chatroom. You all have researched a lot more than that, I’m sure.

    Joffan, I’m very sorry, but please refer back to previous postings…I didn’t expect so many responces and I have to get to other things.

    Michelle, please understand the point of my first statements, in post 227. I was not trying to prove creationism at all, if you do read it. I’m simply commenting in the idea that facts are not as well-known as sometimes perceived.

    Okay, I need to be done…

    Goodnight,

    Bill Hannah

  344. #344 Feynmaniac
    January 6, 2010

    Kel, OM

    Though in my degree, I had to do physics (kinematics), psychology

    You had to take psychology for a Computer Science degree?

  345. #345 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    “One more thing: the age of the universe is not a matter of opinion.”
    No, it’s a fact, but a fact which we have yet to fully agree upon the reality of (i.e. when it occured).

    Ok then. Glad we have it straight that we’re talking about matters of fact, not matters of opinion.

    Okay guys, I definitely have brought about the wrong impression. I am not here to prove you all wrong, nor am I here to agree with you, but simply to explain my opinion on the issue.

    Holy shit. What were we talking about, like, 10 seconds ago?

    Though I’ve said a number of things since, it’s probably best to check out post 227 where I outlined my take on this idea.

    Yes, I’m pretty sure just about everybody here read it in full, and it’s kind of annoying that you keep on mentioning it as if we didn’t. Several people, including me, responded to what you said in that post because you say some rather wrong-headed things.

    Yes, the universe is older than 6,000 years old. Much, much, older. There isn’t any way of claiming otherwise without tossing out just about every branch of science, contrary to what you claim, and this is not a matter of opinion.

    In support of your claim, you’ve managed to run through several items from the list of creationist pseudoscience talking points (carbon dating springs to mind…) which, in case you hadn’t figured out already, we’ve all encountered many times before. Many here recognize them, and are aware of the source of these ridiculous claims, which is why I asked a few posts back what your source of these points was.

    I understand that you have a strong belief. I understand that you think there is no conflict between science and these beliefs, because you’ve been told so, and you’ve been shown a bunch of arguments (see above, under “we’ve seen these before, and we know from whence they came”) which sound convincing.

    You’ve been had. Sorry.

  346. #346 WowbaggerOM
    January 6, 2010

    sirisknotts wrote:

    The funny thing is: PZ is a coward. That’s the entire reason he refuses to debate a creationist.

    The funnier thing is, siriusknotts is a dumbass. He doesn’t seem to realise that science is never – and has never – been determined by debate.

    If he reeeeeally wanted to demonstrate that creationism is invalid, he’d take that debate and use it to make his point once and for all.

    He doesn’t need to demonstrate that creationism is invalid; creationism is already demonstrably invalid and will remain so until it meets the definitions of what science is – things like the presentation of evidence to support its hypotheses, the explanation of the processes involved, falsifiability and so forth. Publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal would be a good first step.

    He’s essentially hiding behind the whole schoolyard, “I could take you if I really wanted to, but I’m not gonna waste my timr,” which bluster and bravado we all know from experience typically hides a glass chin.

    Please link to wherever it is you believe you read that PZ claimed that the reason he does not debate creationists is because ‘he could take one if he really wanted to’, because it’s a direct contradiction of everything he’s said about the issue.

    The reason he, and most other scientists, don’t debation creationists is – as they have all said, over and over and over again – because creationism isn’t science. It’s like a cryptozoologist challenging a zoologist to debate which is faster, a horse or a unicorn.

    If you, siriusknotts, have the arguments to support creationism, why not present them right here and now? What’s stopping you?

  347. #347 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Guys, please read my initial post…I’m not trying to press my point of “creationism” at all.

    Then shut the fuck up. You are pressing creationism indirectly until you do so, as that is what you are doing by trying to raise doubt on science. What part of that don’t your understand? That makes you an even worse liar and bullshitter than the standard hit and run creobot, but you are still a creobot without any evidence. You need to put up the right information from the peer reviewed scientific literature, or shut up. These are actions of person of honor and integrity. Those who can’t put or shut up, are con men. You degraded and keep degrading yourself with your inane, irrational, and dishonest behavior.

  348. #348 Malcolm
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,
    You say that you aren’t saying that science is wrong, but the moment you say that the Earth is 6,000 years old, you are saying that our understanding of atomic theory is wrong.
    What you don’t seem to get is that the exact same calculations used to work out the date of the Earth are also used to run atomic power stations.
    So, either the creationists are dead wrong, or nuclear reactors are controlled by blind luck.

    So far you are definitely living up to the title of this post.

  349. #349 Bronze Dog
    January 6, 2010

    Debate. The coward’s first refuge. So easy to cover up science’s answers by calling time when the scientist explains why the drivel the Creationist spouts out is wrong.

    If the Creationists ever want to grow a spine, they should publish to a science journal, where everything’s wide open and there’s nowhere to hide.

  350. #350 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 6, 2010

    Kel, Siriusknotts has been a Poe in the past. He hasn’t been around for a while.

  351. #351 Brain Hertz
    January 6, 2010

    You had to take psychology for a Computer Science degree?

    Why would that be surprising?

  352. #352 Malcolm
    January 6, 2010

    How annoying.
    While trying to apologise for the double post, I somehow managed to instead post the same thing for a third time.

  353. #353 Kel, OM
    January 6, 2010

    I’m simply commenting in the idea that facts are not as well-known as sometimes perceived.

    Maybe not to you, but the science behind the age of the earth and age of the universe is pretty solid. This is aanother subsersive problem of creationism, it’s not the “denial of knowledge” type, but the “trivialising of knowledge” whereby what is very solidly supported is cast into doubt.

    Do you think that astronomers, astrophysicists, and cosmologists are off by a factor of over 2 million? Do honestly think that those measuring distant galaxies, the age of ancient stars and looking at such things as cosmic background radiation are that badly off that it would be like mistaking the width of the continent of north america to within a few yards? Do you honestly think that geologists, nuclear physics and astronomers are so off about the age of the earth that it’s like mistake the width of the continent of North America to within 10 yards?

    One of the triumphs of modern physics is the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics. Scientists are able to predict the effects of electromagnetism at a quantum level to such a degree that it’s like being able to measure the width of North America to the width of a single human hair! That’s how powerful the theory is. Yet with nothing but a look at a book of mythology, you can triumphantly proclaim on your computer and onto the global telecommunications network that utilises the theory that scientists don’t really know what they know as well as they think they know it.

    The distance of galaxies, the absolute age of rocks, these things have an error bar – but you’re suggesting the error bar should be millions of times greater than what it is, and for what? Because some book of mythology can be interpreted to say “well it all should be young”?

  354. #354 John Morales
    January 6, 2010

    Bill,

    Guys, please read my initial post…I’m not trying to press my point of “creationism” at all. I initially mentioned how I didn’t think it all-too-important in the scheme of things.

    I and others directly addressed that post; in fact, to my initial reply that it was “Whether it is or not is not important, but whether our knowledge of reality is accurate or not is extremely important in the modern world”
    you responded “Yes, I agree, but it seems there are more pressing concerns.”

    Are you now retracting your initial agreement that it is extremely important, regardless of whether other things are even more so?

    Are you going to read the Christian perspective on radiometric dating, to at least see what a Christian scientist explains?

    Are you, in fact, going to examine your beliefs about the science on the age of the earth (if nothing else) now that a number of experts (and I too) have unequivocally stated they’re contrary to science (and have been for many decades!)?

    Or are you going to willfully avoid exposing your beliefs to any criticism?

    Because, if so, I note that the truth has nothing to fear from examination; that is the province of untruth.

    “siriusknotts”, is your pseudonym an indication you are a parody? :)

    Serious, not.

  355. #355 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Sorry Kel, my #350 should have been addressed to Wowbagger. Time for bed.

  356. #356 Bronze Dog
    January 7, 2010

    What you don’t seem to get is that the exact same calculations used to work out the date of the Earth are also used to run atomic power stations.
    So, either the creationists are dead wrong, or nuclear reactors are controlled by blind luck.

    I’m glad someone shares my assessment of that particular point.

  357. #357 Michelle B
    January 7, 2010

    Hannah: “You are the enemy”

    I’m sorry you feel this way.

    ______

    Well I am not sorry that I have the ability to identify the enemy. And if you were truly sorry then you would work on not being an enemy.

    Nobody fell for what you what trying to do here.

    Again you have the right to your delusion, but you do not have the right not to be criticized for it no matter how much you regard yourself as being low key, inoffensive, and downright limp.

  358. #358 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    So easy to cover up science’s answers by calling time when the scientist explains why the drivel the Creationist spouts out is wrong.

    Exactly. Understanding science take effort, because a lot of it involves concepts that we* don’t all grasp that easily – deep time and genetics and so forth.

    ‘Goddidit, with magic’, on the other hand, is very easy to grasp if you don’t choose to think any further about it. ‘Goddidit, with magic, because you’re special and he loves you‘, is even better, ’cause not only do you not have to think, but you get to feel all warm and fuzzy at the same time.

    *By ‘we’ I mean we laypeople, not Pharyngulites – mostly because I know some of you freak genius bastard people probably don’t find it as brain-achingly complex as I do.

  359. #359 Jadehawk, OM
    January 7, 2010

    I’m simply commenting in the idea that facts are not as well-known as sometimes perceived.

    yes, yes. and we keep on trying to explain to you that this claim of yours is incorrect. it is a claim based on your arrogant and ignorant belief that you know all the facts. you do not, and we’ve been trying to explain this to you, and even point you to places where you could learn the facts.

  360. #360 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 7, 2010

    “Sorry Rutee, my initial purpose coming here wasn’t anywhere close to explaining my viewpoints on creationism. Check out post #227.”

    Assuming honesty for a minute, that’s fucking immaterial. My original intent in going to college was to get a CompSci degree, but that doesn’t change the reqs on a legal studies degree.

    “Guys, please read my initial post…I’m not trying to press my point of “creationism” at all.”
    No, assuming honesty, you were in fact trying. In fact, the post I quoted from you is in fact you doing that exact thing, from the standpoint of Creationism (It has been correctly pointed out that Creationism’s strategy is not to make positive assertions, but to cast doubts on Science’s claims.) You were pointing out perceived weaknesses in Evolution. That is in fact exactly what you say you didn’t intend to do.

    Stop doing it, if it’s not your intent.

  361. #361 Kel, OM
    January 7, 2010

    You had to take psychology for a Computer Science degree?

    Yep, part of this wasn’t that my degree wasn’t a straight Computer Science degree. It was Computer Science (Game Programming). So not only was there a decent helping of mathematics, Computation theory, data structures, and general programming subjects. There was also game technology specific subjects, such as using game technologies, doing physics related to motion, learning how the body processes information, and a psychology subject I think called Game Cognition. Which was shoving us in third year psych lectures on Cognition, and having practicals more on the types of psychological concepts relevant to what we do.

  362. #362 Kel, OM
    January 7, 2010

    yes, yes. and we keep on trying to explain to you that this claim of yours is incorrect. it is a claim based on your arrogant and ignorant belief that you know all the facts. you do not, and we’ve been trying to explain this to you, and even point you to places where you could learn the facts.

    Yeah, that’s exactly it.

    Basically what he is alleging is that the margin of error scientists are out by is like a scientist standing in a room, and when asked the distance to the wall the scientist replies that it is ~5000km (~3000 miles). That’s the scope of the allegation, that scientists who measure it are off by so much that they are seeing what should be a really tiny distance to be gargantuan. Of course when they are just numbers on a screen, 4,500,000,000 doesn’t look that much bigger than 6,000 – but the scale is enormous, and he has no problem alleging that those who measure it are out by that huge factor.

    And thus the bullshit of creationist rhetoric, denial of evidence is one thing, but playing down the significance of well established fact is utter absurdity. Yet he continues to look for means to play down what would be a gargantuan error by those who base their conclusions of measurement and scientific theory. Why is it that the most learned men and women over the last 100 years who have spent their lives studying on the matter can be so wrong as to think that a room that is 9 metres (~10 yards) across is really 5000km (~3000 miles)? It doesn’t make sense, this whole line of playing down the significance makes no sense.

  363. #363 A. Noyd
    January 7, 2010

    Bronze Dog (#312)

    They say it’s dumb luck that we and chimps just happened to be infected by the same endogenous retroviruses in the same locations, where they were deactivated by the same errors, and they just happened to acquire fixation in both species by sheer, enormous dumb luck.

    I usually see them “explain” this one by claiming “humans and chimps can get many of the same diseses.” Which makes for one of the most concise and brazen examples of Dunning-Kruger ever.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Wowbagger (#313)

    There’s no more reason to believe the earth is 6,000 years old than there is that you can fly by flapping your arms really hard

    I believed the latter… when I was four. I even tested it. And concluded that I just couldn’t flap hard enough.

    I’m so glad I’m no longer four.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Brownian (#324)

    One of the common misunderstandings of science is that it’s somehow a collection of disparate and unrelated factoids that are of limited utility outside of a trivia quiz or a bar bet.

    Errr? I know that? Not sure why that was aimed at me.

  364. #364 A. Noyd
    January 7, 2010

    Bill Hannah (#314)

    There are definitely similarities in all animals.

    Which can be arranged into family trees based on their degree of similarity and those trees will be almost identical to trees based on genetic relatedness. Which is some of the evidence for evolution that you apparently don’t know exists.

    I was simply mentioning that this idea regarding evolution vs. creationism seems rather trivial in the scheme of things.

    Well, it’s a debate entirely manufactured by creationists. Ironically, that you, both a victim and a perpetrator of the manufactroversy, are here to trumpet your beliefs, shows that the issue isn’t trivial. And if you really do feel less time should be spent on it, then go learn real science, learn why that science supports an old earth and evolution, and then go educate your buddies.

    …also, science is not perfect.

    It doesn’t have to be. We can still use it to discover and verify facts.

    To say that my disagreement with “scientific facts” is rejecting science simply assumes that these are, firstly, facts, and secondly, scientific.

    To reject that there are facts shows yet again you do not understand the scientific method. You don’t get to redefine “fact” and “science” into some meaningless relativistic mash that supports your religious beliefs. That’s exactly the sort of behavior that makes it obvious you, like all creationists, don’t genuinely respect science.

    Though evidence has been offered from the field of science, they are not facts that the world is old. It is evidence, not fact.

    It’s true that “evidence” is not “facts.” Nice straw man argument. However, that you selectively accept scientific facts is evidence you don’t understand science.

    Good distinction – I meant to refer to the strength of the different parts of “evidence” rather than saying that you could throw some of it out at will.

    Talking about the “strength of the different parts” and scare-quoting “evidence” is just a weaselish way of retaining the idea of “what evidence you find *credible* or most accurate.”

    I agree with the above statement, but simply disagree in my assessment of the correct explanation for the evidence provided regarding the age of this world.

    Then you aren’t considering all the evidence. And given how many talking points you’ve regurgitated, it’s blatantly clear you have no idea what the evidence is, so you’re not qualified to judge which explanation is correct.

    Again, that’s fair – When I said evidence, I don’t necessarily mean valid evidence. I am referring to those things used as evidence.

    More weasel words. Evidence is evidence. If there’s something problematic with a piece of evidence, that has to be established on some basis other than it failing to jibe with the theory* in question. Creationists don’t do that. Real scientists do.

    Sometimes, though someone may say that evidence x supports a claim, others will find that it does not truly support the theory (for one reason or another).

    The evidence doesn’t support a young earth. Everything we’ve found so far supports both an old earth and evolution. All the apparent exceptions have reasonable explanations. Denying this just shows you’re ignorant of the evidence.

    In fact, I don’t find that the importance of the issue is relatively low in the scheme of human progress. On the other hand, though, I think it fair to present with I do believe about the age of the earth.

    Well, we find presentation of beliefs about factual matters to be of even lower importance than you accord to debating the age of the earth. If you want to stop wasting our time, cough up some evidence for a young earth. Otherwise, be satisfied that you’ve successfully appraised us that you’re an ignorant fuck who puts beliefs before reality and go slither back into your science-proofed lair. Though, I’d much rather you followed my other suggestion and got an education.

    (#317)

    Telling me that I’m wrong doesn’t do a lot, providing evidence does…

    When you refer to fossil evidence as “sketchy,” it shows you a) haven’t actually checked the fossil evidence, and/or b) aren’t competent enough to understand why you’re wrong about it. How will pointing you towards any other bit of evidence** work to educate you if you think you’ve looked at the fossil evidence honestly? Hell, you don’t even understand what evidence is. I’d have better luck teaching a bear to tapdance.

    …………………….
    *Not that there are any theories in creationism.
    **Why don’t you start with talkorigins.org and Prothero’s book which have already been suggested?

  365. #365 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    I agree with the above statement, but simply disagree in my assessment of the correct explanation for the evidence provided regarding the age of this world.

    Oh okay. Thanks for your roundabout way of saying you have the mentality if a pile of rocks!

  366. #366 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    Please, if you would, take into consideration the above and respond if you feel necessary.

    Oh okay. Yeah I’m sure those are some salient points up there.

    I may be evaluating your statements too quickly in my attempt to catch up.

    Yeah, you keep on “evaluating” things.

  367. #367 Brownian, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Errr? I know that? Not sure why that was aimed at me.

    Sorry A. Noyd. I actually meant to use your comment as a jumping off point to the paragraph you just quoted, but I excised the story that would have related the two.

    A few years ago I got in an argument with a flake about conspiracies. He was telling me of some piece of Sumerian writing that was dated to 60,000 years old. When I replied that that was impossible, he chided me with “the mind is like a parachute: it only works if it’s open.”

    Until then, I’d never had to take a deep breath and count to ten before.

    Instead of carnage, I spent the next twenty minutes calmly describing every piece of information I had that would have to be refuted for me to accept his claim. It was kinda a ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and here’s why your claim is extraordinary’ thing. I think he actually got it in the end.

    The part of your comment that I quoted reminded me of that incident, particularly “I can’t wait to read all the reasons why we know that’s impossible.” Sorry about the confusion.

    I blame the small roach I smoked earlier.

  368. #368 Rachel Bronwyn
    January 7, 2010

    Ummmm…. how is it the same evidence regarding the earth’s age can result in two vastly different conclusions (one of which conveniently lines up with superstitious belief held prior to the evidence becoming available)? There’s only one way to determine the age of geological features, to my knowledge.

    And how on earth is one supposed to provide evidence of an old earth when the person demanding evidence rejects the verifiably accurate process of determining the age of geological features?

    The same is true of evidence for evolution. If you believe your interpretation of the fossil record being sketchy is more valid than that of the entire scientific community (no, pseudoscientists aren’t part of it), there is no reason whatsoever to provide you with fossil evidence.

    You haven’t so much as provided a reason for why the way we interpret these things is incorrect. You’ve simply dismissed our conclusions. What method is it you use to determine what it is evidence, be it geological or chemical or biological, is stating? What is it we’re missing? Why does your method result in the more logical outcome?

    Don’t pretend you’re genuinely seeking truth when your fingers are actually stuck firmly in your ears.

  369. #369 A. Noyd
    January 7, 2010

    Brownian (#367)

    The part of your comment that I quoted reminded me of that incident, particularly “I can’t wait to read all the reasons why we know that’s impossible.” Sorry about the confusion.

    No worries. And good story. I wish I were better at explaining the nature of knowledge and why science is priveleged, myself. Living in Seattle, I run into a lot of people who say things like your flake. It would be nice to have a more coherent response than going all owl-in-a-box.

  370. #370 DebinOz
    January 7, 2010

    OTT, but I just have to share.

    My children have just received their xmas presents from their creotard grandparents. They received a book entitled ‘Glory in Tribulations: Suffering in the Life of the Believer’, written by their grandfather, and published by a vanity press.

    In the chapters ‘The Man Born Blind – John 9′ and ‘Blindness and Refusal to See’, there are references to my blind son, followed by pointed comments about educated people (me and my ex), who refuse to see the way of the lord.

    How rude is that?

  371. #371 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    Though responding to the many recent comments directed at me, I feel you all have taken me as a Bible-totin’, God-fearin’, I-don’t-care-if-science-says-this type. That’s certainly not the case. Firstly, please re-read my post #227 if you would. I did not come here to prove creationism.

    You came to deny science. That’s all I see in your statements about the “limits” of science: you asserting that science is absolutely false if it contradicts your religious dogma.

    Regarding transitionary forms, such evidence is very sketchy.

    How do you know? What palaeontological studies have you personally made?

    It is not argued that animals cannot adapt at all, of course, but simply that there are limits, in a creationistic viewpoint.

    How are these limits determined? What scientific evidence demonstrates these limits?

    It’s easy to say that a bird looks like a land animal when you’re looking for it,

    What are you trying to say here?

    but there are certainly major differences between species.

    So what?

    The Christian viewpoint (it’s annoying to generalize, again, but I will do so for simplicity’s sake) is that, though animals can adapt to their environment, there are limits in this adaptation.

    It’s obviously not the ‘Christian’ viewpoint since there are Christian evolutionary biologists. It is only the anti-evolutionist viewpoint — which is based on dogma, not science; bare assertion, not evidence.

    also, science is not perfect. To say that my disagreement with “scientific facts” is rejecting science simply assumes that these are, firstly, facts, and secondly, scientific. Though evidence has been offered from the field of science, they are not facts that the world is old. It is evidence, not fact.

    It is fact that it is evidence. And inasmuch as it is the only empirical evidence that we have, it is fact. It can only be adjusted or modified with additional empirical evidence; additional facts.

    What does “fact” even mean to a science-denier like you?

    I agree with the above statement, but simply disagree in my assessment of the correct explanation for the evidence provided regarding the age of this world.

    Right, because you deny science when it contradicts your dogma.

    Tell me, can you read Radiometric Dating : A Christian Perspective (this is the same essay linked to above by John Morales), and explain what aspect of the evidence for the age of the world you disagree with, and why?

    When I said evidence, I don’t necessarily mean valid evidence.

    So what is the “invalid” evidence?

    . I am not trying to prove you all wrong.

    You’re not even bothering to try proving — you’re simply asserting that science is wrong.

    Okay guys, I definitely have brought about the wrong impression. I am not here to prove you all wrong, nor am I here to agree with you, but simply to explain my opinion on the issue.

    If your opinion is not based on facts, then what is it based on? Dogma, right?

    Also, in saying what I’ve said I am in no way trying to say “I know it all; you don’t.” I’m certain the majority of you have a very strong background in this study. Again, though, this does not mean I agree on the subject.

    In other words, you’re saying that your opinion trumps science.

  372. #372 Miki Z
    January 7, 2010

    Perhaps classes in epistemology would be helpful. I don’t see anything about it (as its own topic) on talk.origins, and many of the creationists coming here could use a primer.

  373. #373 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    “One more thing: the age of the universe is not a matter of opinion.”

    No, it’s a fact, but a fact which we have yet to fully agree upon the reality of (i.e. when it occured).

    Yeah, that doesn’t sound like an opinion at all. Dude, you are seriously warped (assuming you ain’t a trolling.)

  374. #374 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    Deb, that sounds like a book that should meet the same fate as one given to my husband Mr. Science by family members I shall not name (because I am ashemed of them). The book was entitled “How to Raise a Boy” or some such, and its author was that eminent evangelical asshole James Dobson. Its primary theme was “how to sure your son doesn’t get infected with teh gay or get ensnared by an uppity woman”, and it was even more disgusting than it sounds.

    And I, for the only time in my life, helped my husband tear that book to shreds, bagged it up, and sent it to the landfill.

  375. #375 Kel, OM
    January 7, 2010

    It would be nice if there were a way we could get creationists to read primers before we post, or even just having a link for primers on particular topics in general. Much like pointing at that radiometric dating article, but for all kinds of topics including the basics on evolution, palaeontology, transitional fossils, abiogenesis, epistemology, logical fallacies, astronomy / cosmology, Dunning-Kruger effect, geology, etc. And maybe a reading list too on these topics, good beginner, intermediate and advanced books on the matter so that one can further their education. TalkOrigins FAQ is pretty reactionary as opposed to being explanatory.

  376. #376 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    “The snake was naked, but smarter than all beasts of the field” ? why “but”? Because “naked” and “smart” are yet another pun in the original Hebrew.

    That’s not quite right The words are similar, but not identical, and the one used in Gen 3:1 is “‘arum” (“??????”) meaning only “subtle” (or “clever”, or “crafty”, or “shrewd”). In Gen 3:7, they are “‘eyrum(im)” (“?????????”), meaning “naked” (plural). There’s not only a shift in the vowels, but a difference in which mater lectionis is used and where (vav in one and yod in the other).

    But using those two words in proximity could well have been a deliberate pun based on the similarities of the two words. In earlier manuscripts, there may not have been mater lectionis.

    Gen 3:1 — “??????????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????????”

    Gen 3:7 — “??????????????? ?????? ????????? ?????????? ???? ?????????

  377. #377 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    Bill Hannah:

    Saying this, though, the common understanding in “Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science and, on the other hand, that there is substantial evidence for a young world even regardless of the Biblical account.

    Bill, I don’t know what “Christian circles” you run in, but I can assure you the dogma you’re hearing now is NOT the majority viewpoint in Christianity. The big majority of Christians are not Biblical literalists; most of us have no problem with science.

    The Christian viewpoint (it’s annoying to generalize, again, but I will do so for simplicity’s sake) is that, though animals can adapt to their environment, there are limits in this adaptation.

    NO. That is not the Christian viewpoint, it’s an eisegesis of Genesis adopted by your sect.

    You most emphatically do NOT speak for all Christians. The very fact that you presume to do so tells us that you are not only ignorant about science, but also ignorant about Christianity. And arrogant, to boot.

  378. #378 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    I prefer “warped”. Obviously dude has some seriously deep reality issues!

  379. #379 Krystalline Apostate
    January 7, 2010

    Slogging thru the commentary, this cracked me up.
    Mr. Bill doth quote:

    For all we know, a planet-sized eagle could have slashed the Grand Canyon.

    Or a pterodactyl w/a helluva pituitary gland problem.

    Now I have my doubts about that, for obvious reasons, but my points is that even science has its limits, especially with that which we can no longer directly perceive.

    Nice try @ the ‘god of the gaps’, but no cigar. We use induction to make deduction, Mr. Bill. As for the rest of your opinion, well, you seem a pleasant enough fellow, but as Harlan Ellison put it: “You’re NOT entitled to an opinion, you’re entitled to an INFORMED opinion.”
    Do go out henceforth, Mr. Bill, & get informed.

  380. #380 DebinOz
    January 7, 2010

    Funny you should mention Dobson there, Leigh.

    My ex grew up in Arkansas, and had Focus on the Family firmly rammed down his throat daily. I never knew some people didn’t ‘believe in dinosaurs’ until I met his looney-tunes family.

  381. #381 Rorschach
    January 7, 2010

    Hey Creationists,

    Explain this !

  382. #382 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    Hey Creationists,

    Explain this !

    I hope you do you do realize that they are masters of denial. You’re asking then to do what they do best. Deny stuff! Not a problem for them at all, I’m sure.

  383. #383 Richard Eis
    January 7, 2010

    It is a shame that people forgot we have already discussed day/age creationism.

    A little reading gift for Mr. Cummings.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/12/day-age_creationism_is_almost.php

  384. #384 SEF
    January 7, 2010

    @ Kel #375:

    It would be nice if there were a way we could get creationists to read primers

    If they were able and willing to read stuff honestly and for comprehension then they wouldn’t be creationists in the first place.

    Of course, this isn’t a simple binary situation. The ones with at least middling ability and willingness are those who are already uncomfortable with their previous creationist indoctrination and have been struggling to slowly work their own way out of it (typically under huge social penalties from their fellow fundies for doing so). Just occasionally one of those does show up here (eg an ex minister bod last year).

  385. #385 SEF
    January 7, 2010

    @ Bill Hannah #303:

    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world. … I believe that the evidence supporting creation has credibility to it.

    Having read through the thread, this bit doesn’t seem to have gained the attention it deserves:

    What [contrary] “evidence supporting creation” and why do you find it credible? You haven’t specified any such evidence yet as far as I could see. Give us an example. Make it your best one. NB fairy-story books, such as the Bible, don’t count as evidence.

    Meanwhile, other people have already pointed out that you keep switching to pretend that you are in the majority of Christians with your belief in a mere 6,000 year old world. Polls suggest that YECs are not even a majority among UnSAnians, let alone the rest of the world. Where’s your evidence that Christians in general (ie some sort of majority) hold this view? Or do you just not count as “true” Christians all the ones who don’t agree with you?

  386. #386 Josh
    January 7, 2010

    Josh, Christians don’t tend to disagree with understandings of the current structure and movements involved in this world.

    I disagree, based on extensive experience. That disagreement is fundamental to the YEC position. I’ve had YECs (=proponents of a young earth) assert to me that tectonic plates aren’t moving, and that various mountain building events aren’t actually happening. I’ve had YECs tell me that we’re interpreting wind-blown sandstones in the rock record incorrectly, despite the fact that those interpretations are based on watching those same kinds of deposits form in real time now. I’ve had YECs tell me that we require “millions of years” for particular rock formations to form, when in numerous cases we require no such thing. It goes on and on. YECs absolutely do in fact disagree with understandings of the current structure and movements involved in this world. It’s how they are YECs.

    Instead of a deep time understanding, though, a great many who believe in the idea of a young earth also agree that catastrophies played an important role in the formation of this world. I already mentioned this in the short section on geological formations, of course.

    It’s a YEC talking point that “uniformitarian geologists” require all processes on the Earth (now or in the past) to be gradual. This is at best a straw man argument, as we require no such thing. These are words that creationists put in our mouths, so to speak. But they can repeat that junk all day long if they like. They’re still lying.

    Catastrophes are a fact. It isn’t as though we were all on a Martian holiday when St. Helens erupted in 1980. It wasn’t as though the 2004 tsunami was some sort of earth-shattering surprise to us. It wasn’t as though geologists weren’t expressing concern about a Katrina-like event happening in New Orleans for years before that particular hurricane arrived in town. It’s not YECs who have proposed impact hypotheses for any extinction event. It isn’t YEC “geologists” who figured out how to read high-energy debris-flow deposits in the rock record. Catastrophes happen. So what? That they occur doesn’t provide anymore support for a young earth than does the existence of John Kerry. Proposing catastrophic-hypotheses for the formation of the earth is fine, too. We have no problem with that. Propose away. But we probably are going to be kind of obnoxious in requiring that your hypotheses are based on that pesky evidence thing and that they don’t violate various laws of physics.

    *And despite the fact that they don’t usually have a problem when we use the same methodologies to show them that things like limestone are water-lain…

  387. #387 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 7, 2010

    I’m simply commenting in the idea that facts are not as well-known as sometimes perceived.

    Yes but the things we do know with a relative certainty totally destroy any notion of a young earth and creationism.

  388. #388 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 7, 2010

    Nerd of Readhead @260

    Inane claim. Where is your evidence. Until then, nothing but hot air…

    Um, I have ‘science’ written on my batchelors certificate but I wasn’t taught any of the scientific method that phys/chem/biol/etc folks were. I did computers, which on my course was half maths & half creative problem solving. My comment was no dig at True Scientists(TM?), just that calling something science doesn’t necessarily make it so. :-) I’m considering myself chastised though!

    Bill Hannah @303

    Er, wow. I’m assuming that the ‘Chris’ part was addressed to me. I’m only looking at a couple of points as the thread has moved on.

    I mentioned that I as well do not admire the tendency of mankind to state as fact what is not truly known. It’s very important to maintain the respect to say “I don’t know” when faced with an unfamiliar difficulty.

    Religious consistency fail. So you, and a christian, call your god (to some degree) unknowable and then dare to give it attributes? Hahahaooops. My brain hurts.

    Please remember, though, that science–empirical science–has its limits. When it comes to years before men kept any record, it’s not easy to be sure of what is fact and what is fiction. For all we know, a planet-sized eagle could have slashed the Grand Canyon. Now I have my doubts about that, for obvious reasons, but my points is that even science has its limits, especially with that which we can no longer directly perceive.

    Palm, meet face.

    Turn this argument back on your own beliefs, mate. You have more problems because of less physical evidence!

  389. #389 CunningLingus
    January 7, 2010

    That Bill character is just as retarded as the other creotards. He may try to hide his lunacy behind a veneer of platitudes and piety, what he’s actually asking for is recognition of his pathetic beliefs. To have his ass hattery put on an aqual footing with actual science, then he can say “look the scientists agree, I have a valid point, and i’m entitled to ignore any, or all evidence, .. we should in that case teach our bullshit, along with evolution”.

    Fuck him, and the stump he rode in on !

  390. #390 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Hairychris, idjit bill meant that he didn’t consider some of the sciences real, so I challenged him on that. Show that biology, paleontology, geology, etc. aren’t real sciences.

    With degrees, you are correct. The Redhead has a BS degree, but her major is art. Apparently, where she attended, a BS or BA depended on how my credits were required for the major.

  391. #391 Feynmaniac
    January 7, 2010

    Bill Hannah,

    Again, I’m generalizing, but Creationists do not desire to disregard science and return to the Dark Ages (though I’m sure there were more than a few sunny days within that time).

    Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.Christians do not counter scientific observation or the process of the scientific method. In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    Whatever goes on in creationists’ heads doesn’t interest me much. In their minds they may think that what they are doing doesn’t going against science (or at least whatever they picture science to be). Hell, they may even enjoy learning about the natural world (as long as it doesn’t contradict their beliefs). However, their entire enterprise is anti-science, whether they recognize it or not. Let’s not pretend that both sides have both derived their conclusions based solely on the evidence. The creationists have drawn their conclusions of what the truth must be based on the Bible and they work backwards to make the evidence fit, no matter how twisted, self-contradictory and unsatisfactory that explanation may be. That isn’t science.

  392. #392 KOPD42
    January 7, 2010

    Yes, I understand that – Many have already noticed that and I appologize for the largely-incorrect generalization.

    No apology necessary – at least not for me. I just don’t understand why this generalization is so common among believers. You’re hardly the first Christian to come to a forum populated largely by atheists and suggest they read the Bible. A lot of atheists are former believers. Many have read the Bible. Some more than others (and at least for me, that had something to do with my departure). Ever heard of Dan Barker? Maybe not. I hadn’t until after I figured out I was an atheist, but I’m very grateful for having had the chance to meet him. His is a very interesting story. Anyway, I know of atheists who went to seminary. I know atheists from the three Abrahamic faiths plus Hinduism. And I’m far from unique in this. I own two Bibles, a Book of Mormon and the Bhagavad Gita. I still haven’t finished the last two, but they seem just as credible as the Bible. Personally, I’d ditch all three of them for the Iliad. It’s a much more interesting work, and it makes a lot more sense.

    I’ve wandered away from my point. My point is that while Christians don’t seem to think so, we have indeed read the Bible. There are people on this thread who can read it in the original languages. We’ve read it and the other “holy” books. But we read them all with an open mind. We read the good parts and the bad. We don’t just try to explain away the bad. What we see is an incoherent mess. It leads us to the conclusion that the god described therein is either an idiot, or non-existent. Then we go find something better to do with our time. After all, life is too short to waste it believing in fairy tales.

  393. #393 tony.bubbles
    January 7, 2010

    @Bill Hannah, #303 said:

    Remember, science has its limits, however helpful it may be.

    Sure.

    However, in the area of discovering things about the way the universe really works, it is the only effective tool at our disposal. Understanding the limits of science, and working within the limits of science, is part of the world of all scientists. That’s why there’s so much emphasis on statistical analysis of data, of minimization of errors, and so on.

    Science is extremely rigorous in analysis of data. It is this rigor that allows scientists to say, “We are 98.3% certain that young-earth creationists are mentally deficient, according to all available data.” That sort of thing.

    Yes, science has its limits.

    What you fail to mention, though, is there is no other way of gaining knowledge that is effective. Period. Not “as effective as science.” Simply, “effective.”

    If you have a method of learning about the universe that is effective, please share it with us. “Read the Bible,” is not viable — the Bible is internally inconsistent, let alone consistent with observable reality. The Bible is congruent with a bronze-age cultural understanding of how the universe works, which is far from reality.

    So, here is your challenge: describe the limits of science. Provide another effective epistemology. Then explain how that epistemology overcomes the same limits from which science suffers.

  394. #394 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    Remember, science has its limits, however helpful it may be.

    This statement is completely meaningless unless you are fully qualified to understand how science works and what those limits actually are and how they apply.

    You have demonstrated clearly in your faulty understanding of things like radiometric dating, geology, cosmology, evolution and transitional fossils that you are far from qualified to make any informed statements about how, exactly, science has its limits.

    Making such a statement while being so clearly deficient in the knowledge and application of science is nothing more than hand-waving dismissal of that which does not support your indoctrinated, pre-supposed beliefs.

  395. #395 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 7, 2010

    Bill Hannah says:

    This belief in the age of the earth does *not* mean that creationists just throw out theories and calculations commonly associated with deep time study. Again, saying that the earth is not millions of years old does not throw away science, it simply challenges your interpretation of the evidence.< \blockquote>

    Sorry Bill, but truth in science does not come cafeteria style. Science even has methods for telling you how much faith you can place in a given result–and guess what: the 4.5 billion year old Earth is among the most rigorous. The same methods that go into determining this age also apply to a variety of very important issues–how stars work, nuclear power, prospecting for minerals and on and on.

    If we could be so wildly wrong about the age of the planet, something would be so seriously wrong with that science that it’s doubtful it would be useful for anything else.

    What is more, if you can reject a scientific conclusion just because you don’t like it, then science would be impossible. One of the most valuable purposes it serves is forcing us to confront truths we find unpleasant.

    Sorry, Bill, but cafeteria-style science isn’t science at all. It’s self delusion.

  396. #396 MetzO'Magic
    January 7, 2010

    Wowbagger @ 313

    Thanks for that link to the Çatalhöyük Wikipedia entry. A well-documented 9000+ year old civilisation. Absolutely fascinating. On the lighter side, I enjoyed The Onion’s take on the alleged young earth creation date:

    Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

    (though no doubt most of the regulars here have already seen that one)

    I learned a lot from this thread, and also appreciated the ‘Why is the age of a rock important?’ editorial from Lauren Becker that RickK posted.

  397. #397 975robocop
    January 7, 2010

    227: All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important?

    This Christian answers “yes” both because of what it says about God and because of what it says about us.

    Everything we are able to see and discern with respect to the universe demonstrates that it is far older than your worldview allows. It’s more on the order of 4.6 billion years old, I think. Everything we can see, test and experience, from the grand (what we can see in the outer reaches of space) to the infintesimal (at the level of cells and even of subatomic particles) speaks to the error of your viewpoint. This difference in worldviews has very practical consequences too. To pick an easy example, if your view of the world were true, we couldn’t treat disease the way we do (and our ability to do so and the manner in which we create and adjust vaccines shows why and how your view cannot be correct). At its basest level, a God who would create a 6,000 year old universe with all the physical characteristics of one that is 4.6 billion years old is a charlatan and a fraud. A God involved in such trickery is not one who could proclaim to be the Truth.

    Your view says something about ourselves too. But I can’t say it as well as Augustine so I’ll leave it to him (from more than 16 centuries ago):

    “It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are.” The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19?20.

    For some reason, much of American Christianity chooses to ignore great Christian works of the past. In this instance, I pray you won’t.

  398. #398 leepicton
    January 7, 2010

    This comment is for Leigh Williams (if you are still reading):
    Are you acquainted with the works of John Shelby Spong? He has a view of Christianity that seems to be aligned with yours. If I were not an atheist, I would find his arguments both persuasive and seductive. I do understand what he is trying to do, but it would take relatively little to discard even his position in favor of atheism. But for those who just can’t leave the security blanket of some kind of Christianity, I think his interpretation of the Christian message offers a “soft place to land.

  399. #399 Bronze Dog
    January 7, 2010

    I’m not sure about my dad, but my mother spent a long period of time as a very “liberal Christian” and introduced me to Spong when I was in a similar phase. It definitely helped to see someone like him hovering at the edge of atheism for many of the same reasons I was there.

    Sometime I should consider rereading some of those books. I think he’s an atheist in denial. Did like his point that Fundamentalism is born out of ignorance of the Bible. Every time I read something new from the Bible, I got closer to atheism.

    Since then, I crossed that line and haven’t regretted it. I’ve learned an appreciation for truth that won’t let my ego get in the way. I may not have the shallow comfort of belief in the afterlife and such, but if there is one, it’s the scientific method and openness to evidence that’ll find it, not the egotism of wishful thinking or the unbridled arrogance of faith.

    I’d rather be honest with myself than build a fortress of fiction for the sake of stroking my ego. The pursuit of truth allows us to understand and solve the problems our fellow beings face. Self-delusion for the sake of self-idolatry only compounds those problems.

  400. #400 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    Amen, Brother 975robocop. To further address the problem St. Augustine so admirably sums up, I also wish my literalist fellow Christians would consider the effect their ill-conceived YEC dogma has on young people brought up in this belief. What will happen to those kids when they go to college and discover that they’ve been taught lies?

    Well, some of those kids will simply avoid science so they won’t have to confront the problem; I know this is true because I’ve seen it happen in my own family. So . . . no biologists, no doctors, no geologists, no chemists, no physicists. Some of the most rewarding of human endeavors are forever closed to these poor kids.

    Others will be greatly attracted to science, and their fascination with its wonders will lead them to those very science courses that will disprove your YEC dogma. What will happen to their faith when this false dogma based on Biblical eisegesis and lies comes crashing down around their ears? You literalists are creating a brittle faith that can’t co-exist with reality. What will these young people think of you when they realize you’ve diligently taught them a tissue of lies?

    Your kids have no way of knowing that yours is a minority view within Christianity. They have no way of knowing that millions of faithful Christians don’t worship a book, but the living God whose Word isn’t on paper, but is instead the Christ and the universe He spoke into being.

    God’s own handwriting is in the spectra of stars, the geological column, the fossil record, and the DNA that all living things on this planet share.

    The silliest and most counterproductive thing we Christians can do is to keep lying about His handwriting. And creation itself tells us that the earth is very, very old and that God used the process of evolution to create life.

  401. #401 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    They have no way of knowing that millions of faithful Christians don’t worship a book, but the living God whose Word isn’t on paper, but is instead the Christ and the universe He spoke into being.

    I’m sorry Leigh… I’m glad that you accept science and that you appear to be mostly rational… but this still made me throw up in my mouth a little.

  402. #402 Bronze Dog
    January 7, 2010

    Your kids have no way of knowing that yours is a minority view within Christianity. They have no way of knowing that millions of faithful Christians don’t worship a book, but the living God whose Word isn’t on paper, but is instead the Christ and the universe He spoke into being.

    God’s own handwriting is in the spectra of stars, the geological column, the fossil record, and the DNA that all living things on this planet share.

    I most definitely like hearing from non-literalist Christians like you. I may have a few snippy things to say on the debate table, but you still have your heart in the right place, and that earns my respect.

    You’re very much right about the literalist idolatry: They worship a book written by humans as infallible, and deny the truth of the world around them.

    If there is a god out there, I would much rather learn about it through the testimony of the universe itself: the evidence we as a people dig up, not some ancient collection of stories written by superstitious bronze age people who claim to have innate, unquestionable authority.

    Fundamentalists trust in the arrogance of humans.

    If the universe was authored by some being’s hand, the scientists will be the first ones to find and trust his pencil marks. Faith will only serve to blind people to that possible (if unlikely) discovery.

  403. #403 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    God’s own handwriting is in the spectra of stars, the geological column, the fossil record, and the DNA that all living things on this planet share.

    Evidenced how, exactly?

    The silliest and most counterproductive thing we Christians can do is to keep lying about His handwriting.

    But insisting you have some special knowledge about “His handwriting” that exists nowhere and is not evidenced in any way is somehow better? Maybe, but only by a matter of degrees of wrong.

    And creation itself tells us that the earth is very, very old and that God used the process of evolution to create life.

    Wait… what? What does that even mean? I understand you are trying to reconcile your beliefs with what science has told you about the natural world, but what you are saying here is just gibberish. I don’t mean to pick on you, because generally what you write is thoughtful and rational, from what little I can remember reading… but you are making assertions here as if they were unquestioned fact, without qualifying it by noting that what you are saying is pure, unsubstantiated, unsupported belief. I can’t just let that go by unanswered, despite how rational you might otherwise appear.

  404. #404 David Marjanovi?
    January 7, 2010

    You do make a good point. These theories are vastly different when it comes to the conclusions drawn by the evidence (so-called: I’m not attempting to reinforce or refute the “evidence” at present). Both sides of the coin offer reasons for their claims, whether it’s Carbon dating, geological formations, or the testimony of an ancient manuscript. It all comes down to what evidence you find *credible* or most accurate.

    Creationists keep saying everyone looks at the same evidence and comes to different conclusions.

    That’s wrong.

    In fact, the creationists don’t even know that most of the evidence even exists. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Carbon dating -
    With the exponential decay of C-14, many objects have been dated at tens of thousands of years old (maybe older; not the point). While many point to this as a proof of a very old world, some note the variables of climate conditions, atmospherical differences, and past catastrophes as evidences to the contrary (suggesting that this decay rate is not necessarily consistent over time).

    The decay rate is absolutely constant.

    The production rate of 14C is not constant, but its changes through the time in which 14C dating works is now known in quite some detail due to things like ice drill cores. Did you know there are close to 800,000 yearly layers in the longest ice cores recovered so far?

    Geological formations -
    Early on, rock layers were dated by the specimens (fossils) found in them. Though some, now extinct, seem to be of times long past, evidences such as the non-extinct Cealocanth(sp?) are commonly cited to counter this idea.

    <headdesk>

    Coelacanths have never been used as index fossils, because they’re rare and because they haven’t changed much since the middle of the Carboniferous (though they had quite some diversity before that).

    You should, further, learn the difference between relative and absolute dating. Index fossils provide relative dating.

    And only Christian apologists use the plural “evidences” anymore.

    Many rock formations, vast as they are, have been linked to a great span of time for their completion. On the other hand, some point to quickly-forming (relatively small) canyons, streams, and volcanic deposits as evidence of a young world.

    Guess what? The science of geology exists. There are people out there who can look at a rock and tell how it was formed. Some rocks form very quickly, others very slowly?

    Though one side may seem more convincing to you, it’s really an idea of perspective. Which evidence is *better* and which will you trust.

    “Truth cannot contradict truth.”
    ? Pope John Paul II

    That’s really where you and I butt heads, as it were. I do respect your ideas and opinions, but I simply, at this point, find myself lead towards the evidence that you do not.

    That’s because you don’t know most of the evidence yet.

    I certainly don’t mind if you present facts as a means of showing me your standpoint, but I hopefully have conveyed to you the reason that my beliefs come contrary to yours–

    You don’t know most of the evidence, so you aren’t capable of forming an opinion about it.

    Or what have I missed?

    Otherwise, I would like to let you know that I do generally believe the majority of information known under the category of “science.”

    Science isn’t a list, it’s a method.

    Indeed, though “social science” and “political science” should be dead give-aways of that.

    *sigh*

    Like medicine, sociology and politology can be done as science. I’m sure MAJeff’s thesis contains a defensible idea or two <skillfully evading thrown frying pan>.

    Even more than medicine, however, they often aren’t done as science. “The closer you get to humans, the worse the science gets.”

    My point was not to herald the idea of being right, but to simply note that the disposition of opponents and a desire to be “right” is common in the field of evolution/creation debate.

    The debate among scientists ended in the 1870s when the last two or three creationists (and Old Earth Creationists they were, with views that came remarkably close to the theory of evolution ? Richard Owen, Louis Agassiz) died.

    In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window.

    It’s not a deliberate attempt to do so, alright.

    But it’s simply not possible to believe in a 6000-year-old world without contradicting science. You can’t help it. There’s no way around it, no matter your intentions.

    On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    It’s on account of lack of knowledge of evidence on the part of creationists.

    I mentioned that I as well do not admire the tendency of mankind to state as fact what is not truly known.

    Definition of “fact”.

    On the other hand, I believe that the evidence supporting creation has credibility to it.

    Except you don’t know enough of the evidence to be able to form a belief about it.

    For all we know, a planet-sized eagle could have slashed the Grand Canyon.

    That was a rash statement.

    Let’s see?

    Where would such an eagle come from? Where’s the population? Where are footprints, feathers, whatnots? Where’s the evidence?

    How can a living being attain such a size? Why doesn’t its mass destroy it ? and, depending on which value of “planet-sized” we’re talking about, the Earth as well? (Do you know what happened last time the Earth encountered a planet the size of Mars?)

    Redhead,

    That’s his wife. He is the Redhead’s nerd.

    If you note, my initial comment was in no way an attempt to prove creationism.

    It had better been!

    When n ideas contradict each other, this alone proves that at least n ? 1 of them are wrong. We scientists find it interesting, fascinating even, to find out which ones are wrong. If that’s not your intent, what is your point? Why bother commenting?

    to the Christian understanding of science

    There is no single Christian understanding of science. Nowhere near it.

    the common understanding in “[American evangelical] Christian circles” is that the idea of deep time evolution has not been proven by science

    Nothing has been proven by science.

    Science cannot prove, only disprove.

    Science can, however, prove beyond reasonable doubt? it has done that to a few things without you noticing. Try to keep up. :-)

    A Ray,
    This belief in the age of the earth does *not* mean that creationists just throw out theories and calculations commonly associated with deep time study. Again, saying that the earth is not millions of years old does not throw away science, it simply challenges your interpretation of the evidence.

    They absolutely do, and it absolutely does, regardless of whether YECs are aware of what they’re doing.

    Regarding transitionary forms, such evidence is very sketchy.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Oh, dude. Have you been living under a rock ? a basaltic rock ? for the last 20 years?

    Forget Archaeopteryx, cool as the 10th specimen is. The following well-known fossil animals are more closely related to today’s birds than to the crocodiles and the pterosaurs, ordered from least to most closely related to today’s birds ? note that this is a small sample of the total, I just picked the most spectacular fossils off the top of my head:

    Silesaurus, Heterodontosaurus, Tawa, Coelophysis, Dilong, (Compsognathus + Sinosauropteryx + Sinocalliopteryx + Huaxiagnathus), Beipiaosaurus, Shuvuuia, Protarchaeopteryx + Caudipteryx (about 3 species), ((Microraptor (2 species) + Sinornithosaurus (2 species) + Graciliraptor + Velociraptor (2 species)) + (Mei + Anchiornis)), Epidendrosaurus/Scansoriopteryx/Epidexipteryx (1 to 3 species in total), Archaeopteryx, Rahonavis, Jeholornis/Shenzhouraptor/Dalianraptor/Jixiangornis (1 to 4 species in total), Yandangornis, Sapeornis, (Confuciusornis (several species) + Changchengornis), (Protopteryx + Hebeiornis/Vescornis + Iberomesornis + Enantiophoenix + (Longipteryx + Longirostravis) + Eoenantiornis + Cuspirostrisornis + Sinornis), Aberratiodontus, Archaeorhynchus, (Yanornis + Yixianornis), Gansus, (Baptornis + (Parahesperornis + Hesperornis)), Ichthyornis.

    Can you even find old Archie in there? ;-)

    It is not argued that animals cannot adapt at all, of course, but simply that there are limits, in a creationistic viewpoint.

    Ah, Hitler’s “iron law of nature” again.

    Where do those limits come from?

    Which miracle is it that tells DNA polymerase: “no, you mustn’t repair this missing adenine by filling in a guanine, this site has already had its allotted number of changes”?

    You need to postulate a god to prevent evolution from accumulating.

    It’s easy to say that a bird looks like a land animal when you’re looking for it,

    Even when you’re not.

    but there are certainly major differences between species. There are definitely similarities in all animals.

    Why are these similarities arranged in a tree shape?

    Why aren’t they in a line, a tape, a circular line, a cross, a square, a circular disc, an 8, a pentagram, or whatever? Why a tree? Why exactly the one shape that the theory of evolution predicts?

    “Wrong. The evidence is the evidence. It comes down to which theories best explain all the evidence.”
    Good distinction -

    You praise us on getting the most utterly basic parts of science theory right? It’s sad.

    The funny thing is: PZ is a coward. That’s the entire reason he refuses to debate a creationist. He can hurl all the elephants he wants. If he reeeeeally wanted to demonstrate that creationism is invalid, he’d take that debate and use it to make his point once and for all. He’d want to make a gazingstock of us.

    How often do we need to repeat it?!?

    Debates are won by the person who is best at rhetorics. Scientific discussions are won by the idea that is least wrong.

    Debates have a time limit, making the Gish Gallop possible. Scientific discussions are done in writing and are not limited, which allows the participants to reply to every single argument.

    Have you never noticed that scientists never organize debates to settle their disagreements? Even at conferences scientists don’t debate each other. That’s because debates are completely beside the point. Debates tell us who is the best speaker, not which idea is most consistent with what we know about reality, yet the latter is what we want to find out.

    I believed the latter… when I was four. I even tested it. And concluded that I just couldn’t flap hard enough.

    You were right. Flap 850 times faster next time.

    and sent it to the landfill

    You still don’t recycle paper in the USA or at least burn it? ~:-|

    using those two words in proximity could well have been a deliberate pun based on the similarities of the two words.

    That’s what I mean. And the plural of mater is matres. :-)

    millions of faithful Christians don’t worship a book

    Hundreds of millions even.

  405. #405 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    Please remember, though, that science–empirical science–has its limits.

    Oh okay thanks. We’ll remember that. Thanks a lot, you warped creationist wacko. Thanks for the lecture, dude.

  406. #406 pdferguson
    January 7, 2010

    Bill Hannah blathered:

    In saying that we believe in a six thousand year old world (in general), this does not mean that this is an attempt to toss science out the window. On the other hand, it’s simply on account of contrary evidence that we find credible in the situation of the age of this world.

    It isn’t contrary evidence, it’s FUCKING BRONZE AGE MYTHOLOGY, YOU IDIOT!

    Sheesh…where do these Christards come up with this shit? And how does religion make them so brain addled they can’t even understand something as basic as what constitutes evidence?

    Just read the book we glorify; read it once. If you forget the rhetoric surrounding it, there are some amazing words there.

    We have read it. Nearly every book ever written contains some amazing words, even The Cat in the Hat. That doesn’t mean I turn to Dr. Seuss to learn about the age of the earth.

    All-in-all, does it matter all that much whether the world is six thousand years old, or six million, or six billion? Is it really important?

    Of course it matters. You Christards love to blather on about knowing “the truth” (excuse me, “The Truth”) don’t you? If you can’t understand why believing the earth is only 6,000 years old is so far from “The Truth” as to be utterly laughable, then you are a defective human being, plain and simple.

  407. #407 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 7, 2010

    You have to admit that science doesn’t work too well with imaginary evidence though.

  408. #408 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    Just read the book we glorify; read it once. If you forget the rhetoric surrounding it, there are some amazing words there.

    Oh okay. Yeah, nobody ever really read that book before, you mental looney case, you.

  409. #409 Bronze Dog
    January 7, 2010

    I should write up one of my own blog posts: Not only does the Bible contain some outrageously bad morals, superstitions, and random, arbitrary rules, it just strikes me as so alien:

    So many of the characters act in a manner that’s just downright strange. They don’t act like you would expect from people with fears, desires, and real emotions. If I were to see people behaving in some of those ways in movies, it would wreck my suspension of disbelief.

  410. #410 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    leepicton, I am indeed very familiar with Spong’s work. Marcus Borg’s Jesus, A New Vision is also a favorite of mine. I am currently reading Bart Ehrman’s The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.

    Bronze Dog, thank you for sharing your journey. My own path has been somewhat different. Unlike you, I was brought up in a traditional Southern Baptist church in which blood atonement and Biblical inerrancy were taught. My mother was, however, more liberal in her thinking. When I shared with her my deep misgivings about the apostle Paul, for example, her advice was to ignore his misogyny as a mistake: “Just bleep over that stuff, and don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” she said. That was my first clue that Biblical inerrancy was a false doctrine.

    It is greatly to my mother’s credit that when I declared, at thirteen, that I was an atheist, she didn’t freak out. She asked that I continue to accompany the family to church while I remained at home, and assured me that my beliefs were mine to own. She did ask that I continue to think about the issue and to seek more information. At that time, however, no additional theological information was available to me; so I went to church and, during the sermon, read the Bible rather than listening — an activity that merely confirmed me in the belief that the whole rigamarole was purest nonsense.

    My mother died when I was twenty. If wishful thinking could bring faith, surely then I would have believed . . . but it did not happen.

    I did not become a Christian until I was in my thirties. I wish I could recount some dramatic road-to-Damascus style conversion story, but it was more mundane than that, more a series of small “signs and wonders” that we are not alone on this earth.

    The choice of Christianity as a faith was, at first, merely a matter of cultural milieu. Later, when I had an opportunity to read theologians like Spong and Borg and studied the Bible in the intensive “Disciple” series offered by my Methodist church, it became an informed choice. I believe that Jesus reconciles the whole world to God, in universal salvation, and in the Wesleyan sanctification, that is, becoming more like Christ in service to humankind through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Even so, I sometimes hover on the point of unbelief. The whole proposition is, we must admit, so very unlikely. Against its unlikeliness I set my experiences of communion with God, which come when I least expect them (the first came when I didn’t even believe in God!) and my general sanity, which seems to be intact in spite of my unfortunate tendency towards mysticism. My own faith is hard-won and my belief in doctrine (other than what I mentioned above) is tenuous at best; but you mustn’t think that the points you raise, Bronze Dog, are things I haven’t considered very carefully.

    Your points about self-delusion and being honest with oneself are well-taken. I think that any thoughtful Christian must address these questions. It disturbs me very much that so many Christians do not ever seem to interrogate their own beliefs, but continue all their lives in self-satisfaction, and yes, arrogance. These are the people who most boast of their “Christian humility”. I find their company almost unbearable.

    To be perfectly honest, I often wish to be in the company of clear-eyed atheists, who mirror my general outlook and political views far more closely than do my familial co-religionists. Thus my presence here at Pharyngula, where on threads such as this I am certainly a fish out of water.

    I made this point before, but I want to be clear: I am in no way a Christian missionary on this board. When we are discussing the manifold weakness of YEC dogma, I bring up my faith to minister to the YECs and to lurking Christians who may be undecided, not to you.

  411. #411 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    I did not become a Christian until I was in my thirties. I wish I could recount some dramatic road-to-Damascus style conversion story, but it was more mundane than that, more a series of small “signs and wonders” that we are not alone on this earth.

    Oh okay. I thought previously you said that you had first hand empirical evidence, or something to that effect. I forget, but it sounded like a lot more than a series of small “signs and wonders”. I guess maybe you were exaggerating a little. (That’s one of the best ways religion propagates. People exaggerate stuff, and then other people believe them so that they don’t feel stupid.)

  412. #412 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    Celtic Evolution, I’m sorry I made you throw up a little.

    My words aren’t addressed to you, but to the unknown Christian lurkers who may be on the fence about creationism.

    I don’t mean to imply that I have special knowledge when I talk of God’s handwriting. I am addressing my co-religionists in a language I hope they will understand.

    Knowledge about the universe is, of course, gained through science, not through revelation. That is what I’m trying to convey to them.

  413. #413 Strangest brew
    January 7, 2010

    #391

    “Let’s not pretend that both sides have both derived their conclusions based solely on the evidence. The creationists have drawn their conclusions of what the truth must be based on the Bible and they work backwards to make the evidence fit, no matter how twisted, self-contradictory and unsatisfactory that explanation may be.”

    And then they lie about the actual reason of their interpretation like Behé and Comfort!
    Although a notable few are not adverse to admitting they would choose the biblical over the science , simply because it is biblical,
    Which in one way is a far more honourable confession then the majority of their cult that deny biblical preference and witter about scientific doubt as a prime causal and try and sound knowledgeable in front of their minnions about radiometric dating techniques…but being ever so careful of not mentioning the myriad other techniques that confirm the uncomfortable fact.

    The whole point seems to be that they are spouting trash more as a ‘dog whistle’ to their own legions of hard of thinking clones that drool over their words and nod empty heads sagely.
    presumably trying to rally the hearts more then the mind of the deluded.

    They only ever seem have the oldie but goldie points of ‘evaluation’ to fling into any discussion that have been debunked repeatedly.

    One would think they might get the message that their ‘gem of proof’ they so proudly and pompously deposit is always…without fail…is a bogus dollop of wishful thinking that has been fouling the atmosphere since Bish Ussher had a rather severe and embarrassing brain fart!

    No matter how patiently and rigorously the ‘red herring’ is explained as an aberration of desperate and insincere grasping at fictitious straws that meme continues to bounce around the hard of thinking as a ‘factoid’ of great import.

    Mainly because they do not have that many ‘factoids’ they can drop from their hysterical lexicon of ‘alternative interpretations’.

    Even with AiG cautioning devotees that certain ‘examples’…like Paluxy man..does not best serve the campaign.

    The Earth is not 6.000 or even 10.000 years old, there are civilisations that pre-date Genesis waffle by thousands of years.
    The Homo Sapien v Homo Neanderthalis local derby pre-dates the formation of recognisable civilisation by almost 100.000 years the cretinist snake oil claim.
    This stuff is so well documented and researched by so many investigations it is a little indication that creationists are not only illiterate but arrogant with it.

    Vacuous and complete idiots are welcomed to believe in fairies at the bottom of their garden, but they should not and do not get to introduce that belief addled twaddle to indoctrinate kids, doing so is tantamount to mental abuse and the cretins should be prosecuted for it!

    Only the truly scientifically blind could and do promote Genesis as ‘fact’.
    Either through stupidity ignorance or woefully incompetent education, possibly a combination thereof…there is a percentage that are just plain lying of course.
    That they are obviously mentally unfit is a tragedy, but pleading for utmost respect for the delusion is really taking the piss!

  414. #414 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    I said: “and sent it to the landfill”

    David asked :You still don’t recycle paper in the USA or at least burn it? ~:-|”

    Of course we do! and normally I recycled books by taking them to Half-Price Books or giving them away.

    But that particular book was so pernicious and evil that I didn’t want to take a chance on someone else reading it. Suppose it fell into the hands of some gullible Christian whose son happened to be gay? Or worse yet, into the hands of a vulnerable gay teen steeped in fundamentalist Christianity?

    No, the thing had to be destroyed. I couldn’t burn it, so I tore it up and consigned it to the bowels of the earth.

  415. #415 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    I made this point before, but I want to be clear: I am in no way a Christian missionary on this board.

    Fair enough, and I have not accused you of such behavior… I’m simply calling out your assertions of the clear “hand of god” in nature. I’m sorry, but you simply can’t reconcile such a statement with any sort of “truth” in any way other then to simply assert it. Which, scientifically speaking, carries as much weight as asserting that the universe was burped into existence by a cosmic fluffy bunny.

    But I would like to address something you did say from your last post:

    I wish I could recount some dramatic road-to-Damascus style conversion story, but it was more mundane than that, more a series of small “signs and wonders” that we are not alone on this earth.

    I have two questions for you:

    First, you claim that you were an atheist from age 13 until your conversion… did you ever truly and fully dismiss the idea of god, or were you more of an agnostic or doubter claiming to be an atheist? I’m not trying to make assumptions either way, just asking if you’ve really asked yourself this question. Most I’ve come across who claim to be atheist converts to christianity were never actually atheists, but agnostics or indifferent in general.

    And second, concerning the small “signs and wonders” that led you to believe in the existence of god… imagine if you will that you had never heard of, or been taught about god… would it ever have occurred to you to assign these “signs and wonders” to anything but mere coincidence? Serendipitous perhaps but coincidence nonetheless? Would you have HAD to have inferred supernatural cause or intervention? If you had not experienced these “signs and wonders”, as many people do not, would you therefor dismiss the existence of god? Is either scenario, in the end, a reasonable or rational method for determining the existence of any supernatural deity?

  416. #416 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    No, the thing had to be destroyed. I couldn’t burn it, so I tore it up and consigned it to the bowels of the earth.

    Hmm. I’m having a hard time with that one. I suspect there might be some “exaggerating” going on there somewhere. :P

  417. #417 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010
    And creation itself tells us that the earth is very, very old and that God used the process of evolution to create life.

    Wait… what? What does that even mean? I understand you are trying to reconcile your beliefs with what science has told you about the natural world, but what you are saying here is just gibberish.

    It’s not entirely gibberish. There is a logic to it, albeit a problematic logic. It follows from science…

    [Observation: Human beings exist, and the best empirical explanation for human beings existing is by evolution by natural selection over 3.8 billion years.]

    … and from a completely non-parsimonious and arguably internally inconsistent premise.

    [Assertion: There exists a benevolent personal powerful knowledgeable God that desired for humans to exist and used the natural laws and processes that humans observe in order to bring about humans existence.]

    You may well disagree with the assertion, and point out its non-parsimonious inconsistency, but combining the assertion with other scientific observations leads logically to the conclusion.

  418. #418 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    And then they lie about the actual reason of their interpretation like Behé and Comfort!

    I wouldn’t put it that strongly. Maybe “exaggerate” would be a nicer way of putting it. I don’t think they would outright “lie” about things. Surely their intentions are more honorable than that. Maybe they would “exaggerate” a little though.

  419. #419 pdferguson
    January 7, 2010

    The choice of Christianity as a faith was, at first, merely a matter of cultural milieu. Later, when I had an opportunity to read theologians like Spong and Borg and studied the Bible in the intensive “Disciple” series offered by my Methodist church, it became an informed choice. I believe that Jesus reconciles the whole world to God, in universal salvation, and in the Wesleyan sanctification, that is, becoming more like Christ in service to humankind through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    This doesn’t sound like an informed choice at all. You really are deluding yourself to think so. In your adulthood you have fallen back into Christian beliefs, no doubt instilled in you as a child. You give no indication of seeking spirituality outside the framework of Christianity. Have you spent the same amount of time studying the Koran? Buddhism? Shintoism? Scientology? Have you ever considered that Christianity is little more than a brand, no different than Coke or Honda? That your superhero on a stick, Jesus, is nothing but a spokesman for that brand?

    All I hear in what you have written is just parroting the messages of that ubiquitous marketing machine known as Christianity, nothing more.

  420. #420 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    I believe that Jesus reconciles the whole world to God, in universal salvation, and in the Wesleyan sanctification, that is, becoming more like Christ in service to humankind through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Oh okay. Yeah, that does sound like it makes a lot of sense. Doesn’t sound self-delusional at all.

  421. #421 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    It’s not entirely gibberish. There is a logic to it, albeit a problematic logic. It follows from science…

    No… I do understand the logic behind “supernaturally catalyzed evolution” thought process… and no, of course, scientifically, I can not say for certain that it’s impossible, but it IS unlikely, and is not supported by any evidence whatsoever. Further complicating things is that there is nothing written in what is the ONLY authoritative literature governing christianity (the Bible) that supports such a proposition… in fact it directly refutes that possibility in its own accounts (unless one gets very, VERY creative with interpretation, like our loony friend Cummings).

    But that aside, it’s not the logic of the thought process I was commenting on, it’s the wording of the specific sentence I referred to:

    And creation itself tells us that the earth is very, very old and that God used the process of evolution to create life.

    What does it mean, creation tells us anything about the age of the earth? And how, exactly, does creation tell us anything definitively about what process god used? I get the logic that leads one to say “I believe in god, I accept evolution, therefor god uses evolution” (regardless of it’s flawed reasoning), but the sentence I referred to is, in my opinion, gibberish.

  422. #422 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    No, I was not an agnostic or indifferent. I was a convicted and passionate atheist rationalist.

    If I had never heard of a God, what would I have made of those experiences? I suspect that we’re wired for them, and that’s where the idea for a God or gods comes from in the first place.

    Thus it’s entirely possible that the whole God notion is an artifact of human brains which perceive a pattern where there is none. Our brains are wired for pattern recognition, after all, but we must put forth some effort to ensure that the patterns are real.

    On the other hand, it may be possible that I’m apprehending something that is true. The proper course of action, it seems to me, is to reserve judgment and wait for more evidence. I did, and more evidence accrued, and so here I am.

    Let me emphasize in case anybody is misunderstanding: I have no hard evidence. Everything I’ve got is subjective and personal, some of it so personal that I’d rather describe Mr. Science’s most excellent virility than to talk about it in public.

    I invite you most cordially to dismiss everything I’ve said. In fact, that’s what I myself would do (or more accurately, would have done twenty years ago); I certainly won’t take offense if you tell me I’m full of crap.

    My purpose on threads like this is to invite other Christians to cast off the shackles of false doctrine and to embrace science. I have no objection to answering your questions about my faith, though unfortunately answering honestly probably doesn’t further my primary goal of reaching lurking Christians, since I’ve no doubt those answers reveal me as (gasp) a LIBERAL and thus an apostate.

  423. #423 Strangest brew
    January 7, 2010

    #418

    “Maybe “exaggerate” would be a nicer way of putting it. I don’t think they would outright “lie” about things. Surely their intentions are more honorable than that. Maybe they would “exaggerate” a little though.”

    In this day and age with the scientifically valid and accurate body of evidence complied from every facet of the scientific endeavour for at least a century and all reported tested and perused and available for falsifiable protocol and accepted by the significant majority of the scientific establishment and a vast majority of their own prime delusion that there is NO excuse for their woefully ridiculous assertions.
    That they continue to do so indicates more about their supposed ‘Honour’ then you would seem to admit.
    And if they do “exaggerate” then that says more about their trustworthiness then a whole blog of atheists could ever manage.

  424. #424 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    pdfurguson:

    You give no indication of seeking spirituality outside the framework of Christianity. Have you spent the same amount of time studying the Koran? Buddhism? Shintoism? Scientology?

    I mentioned this on the first iteration of this thread, so you probably missed it.

    I looked most closely at the Baha’i faith, but I also investigated Buddhism seriously. I rejected Islam at the outset because as a young woman I had friends from Saudi Arabia and Algeria, and I knew about the misogyny.

  425. #425 Strangest brew
    January 7, 2010

    #422

    ” I did, and more evidence accrued, and so here I am.Let me emphasize in case anybody is misunderstanding: I have no hard evidence.”

    Spoken like a true Christian !

  426. #426 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    I have no objection to answering your questions about my faith, though unfortunately answering honestly probably doesn’t further my primary goal of reaching lurking Christians, since I’ve no doubt those answers reveal me as (gasp) a LIBERAL and thus an apostate.

    Nothing unfortunate about that. Liberals should stand and be proud of it. That way there would be more liberals evident, and thus, due to the pack sheep mentality of religion, more will be converted to liberalism.

    The winners in demagogic belief systems like religion are the people who yell the loudest. You don’t convince people to be liberal by fearing that they will know you are liberal! This is the way the pack mentality of religion works since it is all based on a puff of smoke, unfortunately.

  427. #427 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    The proper course of action, it seems to me, is to reserve judgment and wait for more evidence. I did, and more evidence accrued, and so here I am.

    See… I think this is where you go off the rails…

    The proper course of action, for a person of reasoned logic, regardless of the experience, is to assume natural processes and mere coincidence (even striking, incredible, odd-defying coincidence) and dismiss that for which there is no evidence whatsoever until such evidence clearly presents itself. And by clearly I mean observably, falsifiably, and testably presents itself.

    It does not follow logically that your experiences MUST be assigned to the supernatural. It is only your prior indoctrination that even gives you the target on which you decided you must land.

    I’m not trying to de-convert you here… I respect much of what you say… it’s just always troubling to me to see intelligent people suspend rationality and reasoned logic because our brains are wired to see patterns even where none exist, and then assign odds-defying events as supernatural signposts.

    So I’ll leave you with just those thoughts and a hope that you’ll someday follow your rationality back to stripping a creator from an incredibly wondrous universe that doesn’t require one to be so.

    Peace.

  428. #428 Leigh Williams
    January 7, 2010

    In real life I’m very “out” as a liberal, mainly as an example to my very conservative family.

    But young Christians in fundamentalist sects have been taught to demonize liberal Christians; so the effectiveness of my attempt to win them from the dark side may be blunted by that label.

    I don’t really give a rat’s ass what other people believe; what I do care about is the integrity of science education, which has been horribly damaged here in Texas by fundamentalists.

    We’re about to have some very cold temperatures here in Austin, and I’ve got to do some work outside to secure my greenhouse and set up for unaccustomed Arctic weather (maybe as low as 16 degrees F, which just stuns us with its severity). Feel free to laugh; but my poor plants must be protected.

    I’ll look in later this evening.

  429. #429 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    What does it mean, creation tells us anything about the age of the earth?

    I infer that “creation” was used as a noun, in the sense of “the universe and everything in it”. The term of course begs the question, and the word as such is used more rarely nowadays, but it is still an existing definition.

  430. #430 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    I infer that “creation” was used as a noun, in the sense of “the universe and everything in it”. The term of course begs the question, and the word as such is used more rarely nowadays, but it is still an existing definition.

    Hmmm… ok… I guess… :-/

  431. #431 SEF
    January 7, 2010

    @ Leigh Williams #424:

    I rejected Islam at the outset because as a young woman I had friends from Saudi Arabia and Algeria, and I knew about the misogyny.

    But that means you were only rejecting it because it was personally distasteful to you and not because you had any “good” “reason” (ie within the religious game-rules something such as a random brain-fart revelationary moment) not to believe Islam was the one true religion.

    You haven’t said how any of your alleged “signs and wonders” (which you won’t specify!) ruled out Islam etc and absolutely had to imply some flavour or other of Christianity.

    You’re not being consistent and honest in your approach. This ought to concern you. Does it not?

  432. #432 pdferguson
    January 7, 2010

    Thus it’s entirely possible that the whole God notion is an artifact of human brains which perceive a pattern where there is none. Our brains are wired for pattern recognition, after all, but we must put forth some effort to ensure that the patterns are real.

    It’s not only possible that God belief is purely a product of human imagination, there is compelling, hard evidence for it from a broad range of scientific and social disciplines. Once you recognize that, you can evaluate your own feelings in the context of human cognition more objectively.

    On the other hand, it may be possible that I’m apprehending something that is true. The proper course of action, it seems to me, is to reserve judgment and wait for more evidence. I did, and more evidence accrued, and so here I am. Let me emphasize in case anybody is misunderstanding: I have no hard evidence.

    If it were true, don’t you think there would be hard evidence?

    What you are describing is simply, as Dennett put it, belief in belief. You may have been an atheist for a while, but you have not been able to get past your own desire to believe, which consequently pulled you back into the warm childhood embrace of religion. It may be genetic, it may be environment, or more likely a combination of the two. In any event, it doesn’t lend any credibility to your beliefs, no matter how strongly you may feel them.

  433. #433 Michelle B
    January 7, 2010

    Leigh, Like others I support you in your efforts to show YECers that a sister Christian can pinpoint also the same problems inherent in their nonsensical perspective as atheists can, both from a scientific and a religious view (that they are ridiculing the very god they claim to worship by not using the brain that the god in which they worship gave them in order to see its creation, that is, nature, as deeply and clearly as possible).

    Regarding your Christianity:

    Do you use your religious shorthand (I believe that Jesus reconciles the whole world to God, in universal salvation, and in the Wesleyan sanctification, that is, becoming more like Christ in service to humankind through the power of the Holy Spirit) as a means to keep in awareness on a routine basis that you want to do your best, fulfill yourself as much as is possible, learn from mistakes, and work with others (and alone) to further the cause of humanist ideals?

    Human awareness wanes and waxes. There are cognitive techniques available which one can apply to ground ourselves in this regard. I regard your religious stance to have more in common with such techniques than actually straight-out religious worship. Jesus and the Holy Spirit which are meaningful, though certainly fanciful mental and emotional subjective constructs, provides the cognitive structure for you to function at your best. You have clothed these constructs in the religion in which you are the most familiar.

    What you are doing is more embracing a non-rational view than an irrational one. It sounds fine to me. And really it is none of my business even if it did not! You are keeping your non-evidential beliefs private. What more could an atheist ask?

  434. #434 Kel, OM
    January 7, 2010

    If they were able and willing to read stuff honestly and for comprehension then they wouldn’t be creationists in the first place.

    Perhaps, but still seeing the level of ignorance they possess and the expectation of a greater ignorance that they have of us…

  435. #435 robinsrule
    January 7, 2010

    I have no hard evidence. Everything I’ve got is subjective and personal…

    You have evidence that a god exists, but you can’t share it?

  436. #436 CanonicalKoi
    January 7, 2010

    @ 370 – That’s when you have the kids craft a loving “thank you” note to Grandma and Grandpa for the lovely toilet paper. Their only request is that next time they send individual sheets as the custom-crafted cover made it difficult to use for its intended purpose.

    Gads! Have you considered just cutting them out of your lives completely? Trying to affect both your relationships with your kids as well as undermining their education is going more than a little too far.

  437. #437 Michelle B
    January 7, 2010

    Ah, Leigh, I have just recently wrapped my borderline plants in our garden in the southeast of France with tons of voile d’hivernage (insulating cloth). The poor shivering babies!

  438. #438 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    You have evidence that a god exists, but you can’t share it?

    That is what makes it iron clad, you have to take it on faith. And faith is the most wonderful thing in the big sky daddy’s universe.

  439. #439 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    Ah, Leigh, I have just recently wrapped my borderline plants in our garden in the southeast of France with tons of voile d’hivernage (insulating cloth). The poor shivering babies!

    I have no such worries, as here in my neck of western NY it has been snowing for 1,374 consecutive days.

    Ok… that may be an exaggeration… it just feels that way.

  440. #440 975robocop
    January 7, 2010

    419: This doesn’t sound like an informed choice at all. You really are deluding yourself to think so. In your adulthood you have fallen back into Christian beliefs, no doubt instilled in you as a child.

    432: You may have been an atheist for a while, but you have not been able to get past your own desire to believe, which consequently pulled you back into the warm childhood embrace of religion. It may be genetic, it may be environment, or more likely a combination of the two. In any event, it doesn’t lend any credibility to your beliefs, no matter how strongly you may feel them.

    Fascinating diagnosis. Why take her word for what happened when your preconceived notions about what had to have happened are so much more sanctimoniously satisfying? Do you suggest intensive therapy or might medication be enough?

    Whatever the treatment, we plebeians can never hope to reach your exalted state. Our inate defectiveness, so well evidenced by our susceptibility to infantile delusions that anyone with even half a brain ought to spot as such, simply precludes it donchaknow….

  441. #441 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Oh bobocop, I see one of your great strengths is being able to read a few posts and knowing everything about those people. Your powers of perception is astounding.

  442. #442 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 7, 2010

    This is why I hate atheists (Don’t take pleasure in that, Robocop, I hate Theists too).

    Just because you’re actually supported by evidence doesn’t give you a right to irritate people who are going out of their way to be legitimately inoffensive and keep their beliefs in private.

    This is distinguished from the guy earlier, who was denying science in public.

  443. #443 notconfused
    January 7, 2010

    I have read the comments on this thread. I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall. Specifically read Genesis and than anaylze who geology actaully lines up with it. Finally, if evolution happened how could the fagellum possibly retian it?s motor mechanism?

  444. #444 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 7, 2010

    Are you parodying Creationists? It doesn’t matter whether or not geology lines up with Genesis, only whether it lines up with reality.

    As to the ‘fagellum’, Might I assume you meant “Flagellum”? The Flagellum IS a motor mechanism. It would retain it because if you remove the motor mechanism from a flagellum, you would need to remove the flagellum because it’s a waste of energy to grow and maintain it if it’s not providing any actual motor.

  445. #445 mythusmage
    January 7, 2010

    Observation:

    It’s all microevolution.

  446. #446 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    So sorry, Rutee, I just had a rather unpleasant run in with bobocop. So sorry it makes me detestable to you.

    Notconfused, I think your moniker is ironic.

  447. #447 Josh
    January 7, 2010

    Specifically read Genesis and than anaylze who geology actaully lines up with it.

    I’ve spent years doing it, sport. Genesis fails.

  448. #448 Kel, OM
    January 7, 2010

    I have read the comments on this thread. I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall. Specifically read Genesis and than anaylze who geology actaully lines up with it.

    I have more experience with astronomy than geology, and when I read genesis chapter 1, all I could think was “What a load of rubbish” – it didn’t match with what we know about the universe at all. Forget trying to match geology (how do you get a building to see all the lands on earth? It’s physically impossible), it doesn’t fit with astronomy.

  449. #449 975robocop
    January 7, 2010

    It’s my new motto, Janine: My powers of perception is astounding. Robert Downey, Jr. will play me in the movie.

  450. #450 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    notconfused,

    Most of us have read the Bible. Reading the Bible is precisely what moved many of us away from faith. Specifically Genesis. Not sure “who geology actaully lines up with it.” Finally, I’m not sure which kind of flagellum you’re talking about (assuming you didn’t mean to type fagellum), but even Wikipedia has a nice summary of current theory on the topic.

  451. #451 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 7, 2010

    “So sorry, Rutee, I just had a rather unpleasant run in with bobocop. So sorry it makes me detestable to you.”

    I don’t care if you mock him, because he doesn’t appear to be trying to keep it private, and appears to be trying to be smug towards Atheists. I’m more worried about Leigh, who to my observation has been fairly private with her faith EXCEPT when telling YEC-rs to STFU about Christ. I don’t understand why anyone would need to attack a Christian for their faith when they take very small liberties with reality and to boot keeps it to themselves.

  452. #452 mythusmage
    January 7, 2010

    Notconfused, #443

    Compared to crafting religious doctrine legislation is honest and straight forward.

  453. #453 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Go for it, bobocop. Only you have demonstrated that you will apply motive to people when you have shit to back up what you are saying.

    Oh, wait, I am only saying that because I hate all christians.

  454. #454 negentropyeater
    January 7, 2010

    Leigh Williams #410,

    Even so, I sometimes hover on the point of unbelief. The whole proposition is, we must admit, so very unlikely. Against its unlikeliness I set my experiences of communion with God, which come when I least expect them (the first came when I didn’t even believe in God!) and my general sanity, which seems to be intact in spite of my unfortunate tendency towards mysticism. My own faith is hard-won and my belief in doctrine (other than what I mentioned above) is tenuous at best

    I’ve been hovering on the edge of atheism for my entire life. Always rejected all religions. Fervent admirer of the discoveries of Science.

    But over the last couple of years, some strange things have been happening to me. I don’t really like to talk about it. I’ve only spoken about it with my mother and my boyfriend, both staunch atheist, and they just think I’m being crazy. They might well be right.

    There’s most probably a very good explanation for it (other than some kind of personal communication with some kind of God). But it is like something pushing me from inside of my brain to do things that I would have never done, at the most unexpected moment, and with a resulting very emotional reaction.

  455. #455 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    @Robocop:

    Have you read the link first given @#24 yet?

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/01/an-ill-wind-in.html

    Note that he does not exclude intelligent atheists/scientists from having mental ruts, or being in mental ruts.

    And have you given up on the discussion in the thread from November, or are you still pondering it? Just wondering, given the long silence from before we resumed.

  456. #456 notconfused
    January 7, 2010

    you didn’t answer the question. How did the flagellum evolve? Also I am appauled by the vulgarity on this site.

  457. #457 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    This is why I hate atheists (Don’t take pleasure in that, Robocop, I hate Theists too).

    Just because you’re actually supported by evidence doesn’t give you a right to irritate people who are going out of their way to be legitimately inoffensive and keep their beliefs in private.

    If you’re referring to the conversation that developed with Leigh, well, I’m afraid you’re way off base.

    What Leigh posts, for the most part, is just fine, but she went out of her way, unprompted, to make broad claims about god’s hand in the creation of the universe. The discussion the evolved from that point is frankly not for you to judge.

    How again is it not my right to call that out? And how is doing so “irritating” her, anymore then her blithely ascribing supernatural agency to the universe on an atheist blog anymore “irritating” to the rest of us?

    Seriously… I think you’re out of line… but hey, if it makes you feel better…

    Your concern is noted.

  458. #458 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    you didn’t answer the question. How did the flagellum evolve?

    Through the process of natural selection, same as everything else.

    Also I am appauled by the vulgarity on this site.

    Those of us with English degrees are appalled by your lack of spell-check.

  459. #459 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    Also I am appauled by the vulgarity on this site.

    I am appalled by your lack of basic spelling skills. No-one is forcing you to come here, so fuck off.

  460. #460 negentropyeater
    January 7, 2010

    Michelle B #437,

    I have just recently wrapped my borderline plants in our garden in the southeast of France with tons of voile d’hivernage (insulating cloth).

    Just did the same on my Lemon and Mandarine trees… Where about are you ? I’m near Antibes.

  461. #461 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    What is it about creationist trolls that also makes them tone trolls. Are those traits related?

    Fuck you, notconfused. You are an oxymoron.

  462. #462 CanonicalKoi
    January 7, 2010

    @ Leigh Williams #410 -

    I did not become a Christian until I was in my thirties. I wish I could recount some dramatic road-to-Damascus style conversion story, but it was more mundane than that, more a series of small “signs and wonders” that we are not alone on this earth.

    If you haven’t already read it, might I recommend, “Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists”. He has quite a lot to say on the subject of “signs and wonders”.

  463. #463 KOPD42
    January 7, 2010

    you didn’t answer the question. How did the flagellum evolve?

    Um, that wasn’t the question. You asked:

    if evolution happened how could the fagellum (sic) possibly retian (sic) it?s (sic) motor mechanism?

    Evolving and retaining function are different things. It evolved by means of mutation and natural selection, probably. It has retained its function because it hasn’t been selected against.

  464. #464 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    you didn’t answer the question. How did the flagellum evolve?

    Smug stupidity is still stupidity.

    Read, moron… then come back and explain, scientifically, why what you read is wrong.

    Looking forward to it…

  465. #465 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Those of us with English degrees are appalled by your lack of spell-check.

    What about those of us who do not have English degrees, dustlund? Can we also be appalled?

    ‘raspberry’

  466. #466 notconfused
    January 7, 2010

    Celtic Evolution,
    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more so that you don’t delude youself. I guess I’ll go then since I not wanted and I’m far above engaging in childlish namecalls.

  467. #467 RickK
    January 7, 2010

    It seems the criteria for determining the source of a voice in someone’s head is based on what the voice is saying.

    If the voice says “Your neighbor is a shy person that you should get to know better” then the source of the voice is God.

    If the voice says “Your neighbor is a giant lizard in disguise” then the source of the voice is a neurochemical imbalance and possibly an early sign of schizophrenia.

  468. #468 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall

    Been there, done that, and now I’m an atheist. It is all mans word, that is a work a fiction, and cobbled together well after the fact for political reasons. Your deity, who was invented by man 2500 years ago, also is a work of fiction. You have presented no conclusive physical evidence to support either a deity, or that the babble isn’t a work of fiction. Until you do, you are nothing but a delusional fool without any redeeming cogency. Evidence, none is found in fictional works like the babble.

  469. #469 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    it was more mundane than that, more a series of small “signs and wonders” that we are not alone on this earth.

    Just saw that. Really? I can think of a few “signs and wonders” that would do a lot of people a lot of good. As an ex-Christian myself, I feel the urge to point out that your personal deity is vain, capricious, and often malicious, unless of course you define Him as either not omniscient, not omnipotent, or not loving.

  470. #470 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more so that you don’t delude youself.

    BINGO!

    I win! I win!

  471. #471 Celtic_Evolution
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more so that you don’t delude youself.

    By quoting something you don’t understand at all? Something that has been refuted a thousand times over and is one of the more pathetic arguments against evolution that exists?

    I gave you a link that explains it. I’m guessing you won’t read it because if you were actually interested in learning anything you would have discovered it yourself long before now.

    Do you actually even understand the question you asked or did you just pull that one off of some ridiculous creationist website like AiG?

  472. #472 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    LOL @Janine of Many Names,

    I didn’t mean to talk down my nose; I suppose it’s just as painful for anyone trained in reading and/or writing when someone who doesn’t/oughtn’t know how to do either tries and fails.

  473. #473 KOPD42
    January 7, 2010

    I just learned about Creationist Bingo today. When I get some free time I think I might create a random board generator. Probably in Java. It might make reading YouTube comments tolerable.

  474. #474 DaveL
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more

    You don’t seem to understand what is meant by the term ‘theory’ in science. A theory is not a guess. It is a falsifiable explanation that ties together a wide variety of facts in one cohesive framework with predictive power. A theory is the highest form of explanation that exists in science. The atomic theory, the germ theory of disease, and Newton’s theory of gravity are all theories.

  475. #475 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Destlund, after I called you dustlund, you should have asked, “Who?”.

  476. #476 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more so that you don’t delude youself.

    Oh? You don’t say! Wow! Thanks. Now that I’m on the right track, I need to get started explaining biology using your alternative theory. Oh, wait..

  477. #477 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    Jaine, their id a lvel of mispellings taht I cna reaf thrugh bef9re I notus.

  478. #478 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more so that you don’t delude youself.

    You are the deluded one. Evolution is a scientific theory, which means it is well supported by the evidence. A million or so scientific papers, both directly and indirectly, support evolution with physical evidence. You have nothing but a book of mythology. Who is the real delusional fool? It isn’t the scientists…

  479. #479 Josh
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more

    A theory as opposed to what? The Theory of Evolution will always be a theory (theories do not get promoted to laws after repeated successful testing), and that’s great! In science, we seek to explain phenomena. That’s what theories do; they explain. It doesn’t really get much better than the theory; it’s what the really ambitious scientists dream of devising. Theories are touchdowns at the end of a bowl game.

  480. #480 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    There’s most probably a very good explanation for it (other than some kind of personal communication with some kind of God). But it is like something pushing me from inside of my brain to do things that I would have never done, at the most unexpected moment, and with a resulting very emotional reaction.

    As a sort of tangent, Mary Roach wrote in Spook about transcranial magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe. Some people had profound experiences; others felt a presence; still others had little or no reaction.

    Part of your brain may be changing or have had something happen to it, and this can result in changes in what you feel and the way you think. It might be the result of something relatively benign, internally, but you might not want to take that for granted, either.

    If it’s something that can be detected (and you can afford to have it detected), having that knowledge would be better than not having it, I think.

    If it’s not something that can be detected (or you can’t afford it), or (if there is something detected) it’s something that may not be easily fixable, then you may just have to cope.

  481. #481 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 7, 2010

    BINGO!

    I win! I win!

    No you don’t. I called bingo first in the last thread. That toaster is MINE.

    I have read the comments on this thread. I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall. Specifically read Genesis and thanthen anaylze whohow geology actaully lines up with it. Finally, if evolution happened, how could the fagellumflagellum possibly retian it?s motor mechanism?

    Stupid Pharyngula SIWOTI, preventing me from listening to the professor. lol

  482. #482 David Marjanovi?
    January 7, 2010

    Homo Sapien v Homo Neanderthalis

    Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis. The italics and the capitalization are part of the spelling.

    But that means you were only rejecting it because it was personally distasteful to you and not because you had any “good” “reason” (ie within the religious game-rules something such as a random brain-fart revelationary moment) not to believe Islam was the one true religion.

    Let me just repeat this. I have already addressed this issue in comment 152, twice (…and got no reply, though that comment is so long I can easily imagine it just got overlooked!).

    I think we have here a case of what Sastra calls “nice people believe nice things”.

    What more could an atheist ask?

    Nothing. Absolutely nothing. We just have SIWOTI syndrome. :-)

    Many of us are scientists, you see. :-)

    It’s all microevolution.

    Where “it” is evolution? Yes, of course.

  483. #483 Joffan
    January 7, 2010

    Also I am appauled by the vulgarity on this site.

    Good. Er – you did mean “applauded”, didn’t you, as in made to feel welcome and special? Or is “appauled” a new word indicating a road-to-Damascus style conversion?

    Alright, cheap digs at spelling aside, the flagellum, based on this link, already given, which you should follow. As I understand it, basically the flagellum evolved from a secretory pore on the cell membrane that evolved a rod (good for increased area) which then evolved to wiggle about (good for increased dispersion, possibly some motion) that then evolved to vary its speed according to health indicators (good for leaving unhealthy areas).

    ———-

    This is in danger of becoming a second undying thread… I suggest a merger.

  484. #484 Sven DiMilo
    January 7, 2010

    I was just trying to show you that evolution was just as theory and nothing more so that you don’t delude youself. I guess I’ll go then since I not wanted and I’m far above engaging in childlish namecalls.

    don’t let the metaphorical door hit you in the theoretical ass, poopyhead

  485. #485 975robocop
    January 7, 2010

    455: Have you read the link first given @#24 yet?

    Yes. I read it last night and thought it was quite good. I think he’s surer than he ought to be that he’s not in a mental rut, but I would wouldn’t I?

    And have you given up on the discussion in the thread from November, or are you still pondering it? Just wondering, given the long silence from before we resumed.

    My apologies. I’ve been checking in on that thread regularly. But I read (misread) your “I’m going to take a break here…” as meaning you would come back to it when you were ready to resume. I’ll go back to it and have a post for you up as soon as I can. My daughter is getting married in nine days and everybody starts arriving this week-end, so apologies in advance if I don’t get to it quickly or have to take a break myself (probably to sign more checks).

    Thanks for inquiring. I have enjoyed that thread a lot.

  486. #486 Rorschach
    January 7, 2010

    Janine @ 461,

    What is it about creationist trolls that also makes them tone trolls. Are those traits related?

    Someone at work last night called me “angry”, so I held an impromptu poll asking the question “do you think the truth value of a statement changes depending on the tone it is presented in” ?
    I got 4 “Yes” out of 4.Also one ” if you think it doesn’t then you don’t know the english language”.

  487. #487 KOPD42
    January 7, 2010

    Someone at work last night called me “angry”, so I held an impromptu poll asking the question “do you think the truth value of a statement changes depending on the tone it is presented in” ?
    I got 4 “Yes” out of 4.Also one ” if you think it doesn’t then you don’t know the english language.”

    So it wasn’t really Sparta?

  488. #488 'Tis Himself, OM
    January 7, 2010

    notconfused #443

    I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall.

    What makes you think most of us haven’t read the Bible? I read the thing cover to cover, including all the begats and leprosy of houses, three times. That’s what convinced me that Yahwehism and Jebusianity were crocks of shit.

    Specifically read Genesis and than anaylze who [sic] geology actaully [sic] lines up with it.

    Finally, if evolution happened how could the fagellum [sic] possibly retian [sic] it?s [sic] motor mechanism?

    This example of Michael Behe’s “irreducible complexity” was refuted years ago. Here’s how biologist and Christian Ken Miller takes this argument apart.

    That’s easy. None of the above.

  489. #489 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    I (for one) don’t have a problem with Leigh’s Christianity, since she freely admits that it doesn’t have a rational basis. It’s only when Christians try to argue that their faith is the product of reason (an impossible task) that I feel there’s any need to object to it.

  490. #490 975robocop
    January 7, 2010

    480: As a sort of tangent, Mary Roach wrote in Spook about transcranial magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe. Some people had profound experiences; others felt a presence; still others had little or no reaction.

    Mark Salzman has an excellent novel that covers this territory. It’s called Lying Awake. I recommend it highly.

  491. #491 Rorschach
    January 7, 2010

    Leigh’s christianity is a bit like a person who knows they should stick to a certain diet but just can’t deny themself the guilty pleasure of that raspberry icecream every now and then….They know it’s wrong and bad for their figure but can’t help it.

    So it wasn’t really Sparta?

    Huh?

  492. #492 KOPD42
    January 7, 2010
  493. #493 Sven DiMilo
    January 7, 2010

    I (for one) don’t have a problem with Leigh’s Christianity, since she freely admits that it doesn’t have a rational basis. It’s only when Christians try to argue that their faith is the product of reason (an impossible task) that I feel there’s any need to object to it.

    heddle?

  494. #494 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    heddle?

    What? Like weaving?

  495. #495 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    Sven DiMilo wrote:

    heddle?

    No, more Piltdown Man, Robocop and a few others who like to cite page after page of tired post hoc rationalisations and the steps of other combination handwaving/tapdancing routines that they seem to think pass for reason.

    Besides, heddle’s a Calvinist – according to his particular theology his god simply makes you believe with a wave of his magic wand and a pinch of fairy dust. If you don’t believe in his god then it’s because his god doesn’t want you to. Reason doesn’t come into it.

    As nuts as it is, at least it’s consistent. And he doesn’t pretend that you can reason your way to belief.

  496. #496 negentropyeater
    January 7, 2010

    Owlmirror,

    Mary Roach wrote in Spook about transcranial magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe

    Thx, I’ll check that.

    Part of your brain may be changing or have had something happen to it, and this can result in changes in what you feel and the way you think.

    It’s as if my susceptibility to mysticism has increased significantly over the last couple of years.
    For instance, I visited a few months ago the basilica of Assisi, which is absolutely magnificent with its frescoes from Giotto. So I go down to the crypt, where there is the simple stone tomb of St Francis, and suddenly, in this very serene and dark atmosphere, I felt strongly compelled to kneel and pray. I didn’t even know what I was doing, and there I was, crying like a little baby. I was really surprised with myself, why had I done this ?

    It seemed to me at first a very profound mystical experience, which I can imagine some would easily interpret as a sign of the divine.

  497. #497 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    It seemed to me at first a very profound mystical experience, which I can imagine some would easily interpret as a sign of the divine.

    I would interpret it as a successful execution of applied architecture. I love visiting cathedrals and holy places for just this reason.

  498. #498 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 7, 2010

    Those of us with English degrees are appalled by your lack of spell-check.

    I wonder what this means for me?

  499. #499 Brownian, OM
    January 7, 2010

    @notconfused:

    I have read the comments on this thread.

    No you haven’t, you fucking liar. If you had, you wouldn’t have written this

    I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall.

    Because you would have read Bill Hannah’s comment #227 “Just read the book we glorify; read it once”, and the comments after it.

    Here’s a challenge for you, you borderline illiterate douche: why don’t you demonstrate to us that you’ve read the bible, huh? We’ll have a little contest to see who knows their bible better. And don’t even think about trying to lie to us anymore, notconfused, you’re way too fucking stupid to fool anyone but yourself.

    Fucking asshole.

  500. #500 Sven DiMilo
    January 7, 2010

    he doesn’t pretend that you can reason your way to belief.

    No, right; I was giving heddle as an example of another Christian who is upfront about it being irrational, and yet he’s still pretty annoying about it.

  501. #501 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 7, 2010

    Brownian. Are you feeling ok? That was rather restrained for you.

  502. #502 Josh
    January 7, 2010

    I have a huge urge to hug Brownian right now.

  503. #503 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 7, 2010

    And don’t even think

    I don?t think he was thinking at all. lol

  504. #504 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    Sven DiMilo wrote:

    I was giving heddle as an example of another Christian who is upfront about it being irrational, and yet he’s still pretty annoying about it.

    Indeed. He does love the No True Christian™ defence – whenever anyone cites examples of Christians being clueless about their belief system his argument is that he’s never met a Christian who didn’t know the bible from top to bottom and backwards.

    Oh, and he loves to claim that all the findings in science are evidence for his god’s existence, despite this making precious little sense. Then again, when believe you’ve been given magic woo-glasses by a god then I guess you’ll believe anything.

  505. #505 pdferguson
    January 7, 2010

    notnotconfused blabbered:

    Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall.

    The Bible is “God’s word”? That’s so adorable! Reminds me of being seven years old, sitting in Sunday school…

  506. #506 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Poor Brownian. So shy about expressing himself. We’ll have to work on that…

  507. #507 Sven DiMilo
    January 7, 2010

    I have a huge urge to hug Brownian right now.

    Wait til you see this one

  508. #508 Josh
    January 7, 2010

    Heddle is actually pretty nice and reasonable in person. I enjoyed talking to him (we discussed science and politics–I don’t think religion came up at all).

  509. #509 Josh
    January 7, 2010

    Wait til you see this one

    That can perhaps be best described as:

    *smack*

  510. #510 A. Noyd
    January 7, 2010

    negentropyeater (#454)

    But it is like something pushing me from inside of my brain to do things that I would have never done, at the most unexpected moment, and with a resulting very emotional reaction.

    Sounds like something’s changed or changing in the way your brain functions. (Damn you, Owlmirror, for getting there first!) Wouldn’t be at all odd in my book to interpret a change in your inhibitions, emotions and patterns of thinking as something mystical since there’s very little other context offered by our culture, and the alternatives, such as mental illness (which is probably technically wrong in your case), are generally stigmatized.

    Paying attention to my brain is something I was taught to do as part of monitoring my emotions. Thanks to that, I have a decent, if completely informal (and not at all constant), awareness of how I think. I can exploit the disinhibition in the mode between sleep and waking to boost my creativity; I can catch myself unintentionally making up a rationalization to explain a random observation; I notice that my use of language in thought varies–sometimes I think almost entirely without words, and sometimes I compose my thoughts into fully grammatical English sentences. Periodically (earlier today, even), I experience mild disassociation and will feel like a back seat driver to my body which keeps acting like the “normal” me, following all the same social cues, using all the same words, even though “I” am not at the wheel. Most of all, I notice that the brain is strange and what we consider normal consciousness is an elaborate illusion.

    So while I am crazy, I don’t think you are; I think your brain function is changing and your usual illusion is fraying a bit. And I think a lot of “spiritual” stuff (chanting, meditation, fasting, solitude) has been developed and retained precisely because it hacks the illusion. If you indulge in that sort of stuff, it’s like you’re poking even wider holes in the places your illusion is coming apart. I second Owlmirror in that you’d do well to see if you can find a cause, but whether you find one or not, don’t hesitate to play with your own head!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Rorschach (#486)

    Maybe use this for your next poll:
    Do you think stupidity is best fixed with:
    a) a chainsaw
    b) a hammer
    c) a pitchfork
    d) a hatchet

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Brownian (#499)

    No you haven’t, you fucking liar. If you had, you wouldn’t have written this

    He might be telling the truth there. Do we have any reason to suppose he’s a troll who believes what he says rather than one who says it with the specific intent of getting everyone riled up? I’m not asking that rhetorically, either. He smells like a phony to me, but I could always be wrong.

  511. #511 Jadehawk, OM
    January 7, 2010

    I have read the comments on this thread. I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall.

    these two sentences are contriadictory. if you really HAD read the comments, you’d know that a lot of people here have already read the bible.

  512. #512 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Wait til you see this one

    …eight, nine, ten. Raises Brownian’s glove…

  513. #513 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    Heddle is actually pretty nice and reasonable in person. I enjoyed talking to him (we discussed science and politics–I don’t think religion came up at all).

    Oh, I don’t doubt it. While I disagree with much of his reasoning, I like what heddle brings to discussions and he’s certainly far less odious (or ignorant) than the many of the other Christians who post here.

    Some object more to the Calvinism he espouses than they do him as a person (just ask Patricia what she thinks of heddle), but that’s not how I feel – as far as I’m concerned the god of any Christian sect is a vile monster; it’s just a matter of scale.

  514. #514 pdferguson
    January 7, 2010

    bobocop blathered:

    At its basest level, a God who would create a 6,000 year old universe with all the physical characteristics of one that is 4.6 billion years old is a charlatan and a fraud. A God involved in such trickery is not one who could proclaim to be the Truth.

    Why not? The Bible is God’s word after all, ain’t it? What if your God has a god-sized sense of humor, and is just fuckin’ with ya? Maybe the YECs are right, and everything we know about the age of the earth is an elaborate hoax so that your imaginary father figure can have a good laugh at everyone’s expense.

    And frankly, I don’t think your God is gonna take too kindly to you calling him a charlatan and a fraud, His sense of humor only goes so far…

  515. #515 Brownian, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Heddle is actually pretty nice and reasonable in person.

    Other than holding what most of us here would consider pretty reprehensible beliefs, he’s pretty nice on here too.

    Sorry about the lack of restraint above, but this dude can’t abide patent fakery. And I’m cranky because I’m trying to write an algorithm for random rounding in SAS for data confidentiality (where a number ending in 1 has an 80% chance of being rounded down to zero and an 10% chance of being rounded up to five, a number ending in 2 has a 60% chance of rounding down to zero and a 40% chance of being rounded up to five, and so on). Goddamn SAS.

  516. #516 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    But I read (misread) your “I’m going to take a break here…” as meaning you would come back to it when you were ready to resume.

    I meant break off my post to think about the topic; I didn’t mean a break from the entire conversation itself.

    At any rate, I’ve completed what I wanted to address, for now.

  517. #517 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 7, 2010

    Sorry about the lack of restraint above, but this dude can’t abide patent fakery. And I’m cranky because I’m trying to write an algorithm for random rounding in SAS for data confidentiality

    Hugs!!!!!!!!! (trolls annoys me too)

    still not paying attention to professor.

  518. #518 Jadehawk, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Paying attention to my brain is something I was taught to do as part of monitoring my emotions. Thanks to that, I have a decent, if completely informal (and not at all constant), awareness of how I think. I can exploit the disinhibition in the mode between sleep and waking to boost my creativity; I can catch myself unintentionally making up a rationalization to explain a random observation; I notice that my use of language in thought varies–sometimes I think almost entirely without words, and sometimes I compose my thoughts into fully grammatical English sentences. Periodically (earlier today, even), I experience mild disassociation and will feel like a back seat driver to my body which keeps acting like the “normal” me, following all the same social cues, using all the same words, even though “I” am not at the wheel. Most of all, I notice that the brain is strange and what we consider normal consciousness is an elaborate illusion.

    same here, but with the distinct difference that I had to learn to monitor the vagrancies of my brain on my own*. I’ve had these sublime reactions negs is describing, as well (though, in my case they were prompted by nature rather than religious architecture), and it’s not only overwhelming, it feels like it could be addictive once you get past the first (“cleansing” so to speak) emotional outbursts.

    —-

    *which probably just means my crazy is smaller than your crazy; anyway, my method is decidedly not to be recommended, if only because the learning process was 15 more or less miserable years

  519. #519 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    pdferguson wrote:

    Why not? The Bible is God’s word after all, ain’t it?

    Ah, but you have to remember that the Christian god knew all about this thing called genre, and when he was inspiring the bible, he made sure that some things were written in genres that indicate that people are to take the words literally – but he also threw in a few words here and there which ended up being written in genres that let people know that they’re only metaphorical.

    Determining which is which, of course is easy nowadays – everything that makes the bible look like a collection of folk tales formed out of the imagination of middle-eastern tribespeople is written as a metaphor; everything that can be backed up by science, and/or reflects the current sociopolitical climate and attitudes of the individual Christian reading it, is written to be taken literally.

    You want to know how clever that god was? He even managed to switch back and forth between genres within the verses themselves! That’s why it’s still okay to hate teh gays but it’s okay to do so while enjoying a fine lobster dinner while wearing clothes of mixed fibre after engaging in your favourite Sunday afternoon sport of picking up sticks.

  520. #520 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    I held an impromptu poll asking the question “do you think the truth value of a statement changes depending on the tone it is presented in” ?
    I got 4 “Yes” out of 4.Also one ” if you think it doesn’t then you don’t know the english language”.

    It occurs to me that the respondents might have been thinking of the implicit inversion of meaning that correlates with a sarcastic/ironic tone.

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

    [heddle] And he doesn’t pretend that you can reason your way to belief.

    And I was surprised to see him even assert (in a thread from summer 2009) that he “doesn’t buy any of the God proofs”.

    Although since he was contradicting himself a lot, it’s possible he got confused.

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

    So I go down to the crypt, where there is the simple stone tomb of St Francis, and suddenly, in this very serene and dark atmosphere, I felt strongly compelled to kneel and pray. I didn’t even know what I was doing, and there I was, crying like a little baby. I was really surprised with myself, why had I done this ?

    It seemed to me at first a very profound mystical experience, which I can imagine some would easily interpret as a sign of the divine.

    Wow! That sounds almost exactly like some of the descriptions of temporal lobe epilepsy that I’ve seen/read.

    However, I am not a neurologist. This is not a diagnosis.

    This might provide more information as well:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2003/godonbrain.shtml

    Also, Phantoms in the Brain by V. S. Ramachandran.

    And this essay by Ramachandran.

  521. #521 Sastra
    January 7, 2010

    WowbaggerOM #489 wrote:

    I (for one) don’t have a problem with Leigh’s Christianity, since she freely admits that it doesn’t have a rational basis. It’s only when Christians try to argue that their faith is the product of reason (an impossible task) that I feel there’s any need to object to it.

    I see it as Scylla and Charybdis: if you avoid one, you run into the other.

    Christians who argue that their religious beliefs are not just reasonable, but well supported by empirical evidence and even science will accuse atheists of stubbornly refusing to acknowledge what ought to be plain to them. There’s an argument here — and it plays out just like arguments against pseudoscience. Both sides recognize the debate.

    But Christians who agree that their religious beliefs are irrational, and that their faith is a matter of personal choice, have now shifted what they consider the most important belief in life into the area of personalities. They choose to believe because they have an affinity to the source of all Goodness and Love, and humbly seek the divine connection — and looks like the atheists don’t. There’s no debate. There’s no reasoning. You are either the kind of person who recognizes God, responds to His presence, and embraces the purpose of existence — or you aren’t. The atheist’s problem lies with the heart. Fortunately, it’s not their place to judge.

    I’m not so sure this second sea monster is the nice one. I think I’d rather someone thought I was being stupid.

  522. #522 Hurin
    January 7, 2010

    I have read the comments on this thread. I would like to present you with a challenge. Read the Bible, it?s God?s word afterall. Specifically read Genesis and than anaylze who geology actaully lines up with it.

    Really? You think there is geology that lines up with Genesis? There were Geologists contradicting that idea over a hundred years ago.

    I also have a challenge: you read the Bible. Read Genesis, Deuteronomy, Matthiew, and Revelation especially, then spend five minutes thinking about it and tell me if you still think it was written by a deity. Then if you aren’t daunted by that challenge take a class in Geology or Biology at your local community college. If you manage all of that and learn something in the process, you might not look like such an asshat next time you come around here.

    Finally, if evolution happened how could the fagellum possibly retian it?s motor mechanism?

    I suppose you think this is terribly witty, but it is actually kind of sad. The Flagellum would not have started as a motor but would have evolved as separate proteins that eventually came together in a synergistic fashion to produce the modern structure; probably through at least one less functioning (but still beneficial) intermediate. Physiological features that evolve independently can sometimes come together in ways that produce more than the sum of the original (still beneficial) parts. Such is the case with the flagellum, the eye, the immune system, and all the other silly examples Micheal Behe likes to drum up when he is milking your ignorance for a payday. The answer is that the flagellum didn’t always exist in its current form, but the proteins that make it up always conferred a benefit to the bacteria that carried those genes.

    Now you: how does a creationist model account for the domestication of crops by artificial selection? If “Goddidit” how would your model suggest we improve our agricultural yields?

  523. #523 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    I’m not so sure this second sea monster is the nice one. I think I’d rather someone thought I was being stupid.

    Since I’ve never been a Christian (or a religious believer of any kind) I’ve never been able to truly understand how someone who believes in god (or magic, or astrology or whatever) thinks – only hypothesise and extrapolate.

    One of the reasons I like coming here is because it exposes me to how contemplative Christians think – this adjective is significant; while there are plenty of Christians around me the majority of them are like the majority of Christians worldwide – they don’t think any more about what makes them Christian than I think about what makes me Australian; i.e. it’s an accident of birth, not the result of any conscious decision on their part.

    For me the hardest part of understanding how a Christian like Leigh thinks is that there is (as I see it) a fundamental problem with making the leap from believing in a god to believing in the specific god of the Christian religion. While my atheism applies to all gods; I have a specific dislike of Christianity, which I find flat-out illogical.

    While I could accept a god who was somewhat coy about revealing him or herself, I couldn’t cope with one who isn’t logical.

  524. #524 386sx ¾
    January 7, 2010

    I’m not so sure this second sea monster is the nice one. I think I’d rather someone thought I was being stupid.

    I’ll take being stupid over being wantonly ignorant any day. I’ll take being stupid for a hundred, Alex!!

  525. #525 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    But Christians who agree that their religious beliefs are irrational, and that their faith is a matter of personal choice, have now shifted what they consider the most important belief in life into the area of personalities. They choose to believe because they have an affinity to the source of all Goodness and Love, and humbly seek the divine connection — and looks like the atheists don’t.

    I don’t see this, at least not in Leigh’s statements. It’s not about personality; it’s about personal experience — which I think she acknowledges might very well be something that happened only inside her brain (perhaps a temporal lobe seizure?). And it is/was entirely contingent on circumstance: If she experienced God, it wasn’t because she had any particular “affinity for the source of all Goodness and Love”; it was that “the source of all Goodness and Love” reached out and contacted her. That’s not something that she even implicitly claims that she had any control over or natural ability for — at least as I read what she writes.

    I still think she’s making logical errors in her religious beliefs, but since she’s not putting those beliefs above empirical reality, and acknowledges up-front that those beliefs may not be based on empirical reality… I could argue with her about parsimony and consistency, but if she’s aware of the inconsistency and failure of parsimony, I’m not sure what else I would have to say.

  526. #526 Brain Hertz
    January 7, 2010

    While my atheism applies to all gods; I have a specific dislike of Christianity, which I find flat-out illogical.

    I was about to type a response to this, and then I realized that the sentence is ambiguous. Do you mean that Christianity specifically is flat-out illogical, or your specific dislike of Christianity as compared to other religions is flat-out illogical?

  527. #527 Hurin
    January 7, 2010

    But Christians who agree that their religious beliefs are irrational, and that their faith is a matter of personal choice, have now shifted what they consider the most important belief in life into the area of personalities. They choose to believe because they have an affinity to the source of all Goodness and Love, and humbly seek the divine connection — and looks like the atheists don’t. There’s no debate. There’s no reasoning. You are either the kind of person who recognizes God, responds to His presence, and embraces the purpose of existence — or you aren’t. The atheist’s problem lies with the heart. Fortunately, it’s not their place to judge.
    I’m not so sure this second sea monster is the nice one. I think I’d rather someone thought I was being stupid.

    In some ways I prefer the fundie who thinks that the Bible is 100% empirically valid if you just have the right interpenetration. These people might be crazy and misguided, but at least they seem to think that the world view they choose should have some degree of truth to it. This indicates to me that they value the truth, but haven’t their heads around the idea that they could be misinformed by a perceived authority.

    The other kind have already conceded that there is no merit to the Bible other than the fact that certain ideas within it happen to make them feel good; ergo, they don’t give a shit about reality as long as the lies have a pleasant flavor. I keep hearing that these are the good ones, since they usually don’t try to teach kids that fossils are actually Lincoln logs left around by Satan. To me it just seems like an unprincipled outlook.

    Of course the fundies have a talent for being the most OBNOXIOUS people on earth, so there is that too…

  528. #528 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    My position is this: the failure of any and all revealed religion to provide compelling reasons to believe in any gods means that either they do (or once did) exist but don’t care whether or not we believe in them; or, alternatively, that they don’t exist at all and never have.

    I live my life as if it were the latter, but I’m not going to be all that upset if I somehow find out it’s the former.

  529. #529 Kel, OM
    January 7, 2010

    In terms of Christians trying to show that their beliefs are rational, I remind you of facilis who tried to argue that 2+2=4 is proof that Jesus died on the cross, for how else could 2+2 be prevented from being -328.57? And I also remind you of John Knight who argued that the problem of induction could only be resolved if there were someone to maintain the laws of physics, i.e. Jesus died on the cross for our continued accurate measurement of gravity.

    Then there was Silver Fox who argued argumentum ad Dox Day, apparently that Dawkins made a claim about religion being child abuse not correlating with suicide rates means that God exists. And who could forget Vox Day himself, with his ultimate argument for god (or was it against atheism?) which he hadn’t bothered to write it down yet so he needed to have a radio debate with PZ. And someone (I can’t remember) had the fascination with Gödel’s Ontological Proof. And not to forget Randy Stimpsons’ teleological argument for the existience of a deistic God – evolution violates shannon entropy and it’s just biologists aren’t good mathematicians so they hadn’t worked it out yet.

    And those are just the few big ones I can remember, gotbotters and creationists are just dime a dozen. Yes, I’ve already heard the Word and the Word ain’t that good. And no, your objections to evolution are not sufficient grounds to overturn the cornerstone of biology; I first you suggest you learn what evolution is before triumphanting too hard. And despite Plantinga’s status as a philosopher, his evolutionary argument against naturalism doesn’t really make the case against being a naturalist, beliefs can be tested by intelligent evolved agents as we are.

  530. #530 Hurin
    January 7, 2010

    In terms of Christians trying to show that their beliefs are rational, I remind you of facilis who tried to argue that 2+2=4 is proof that Jesus died on the cross, for how else could 2+2 be prevented from being -328.57? And I also remind you of John Knight who argued that the problem of induction could only be resolved if there were someone to maintain the laws of physics, i.e. Jesus died on the cross for our continued accurate measurement of gravity.

    Holy fucking shit.

  531. #531 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 7, 2010

    Holy fucking shit.

    By George, I think you got it. Sophistry ad nauseum, all presented earnestly at our doorstep, so to speak. No wonder we get a bit cranky now and then…

  532. #532 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    Brain Hertz wrote:

    Do you mean that Christianity specifically is flat-out illogical, or your specific dislike of Christianity as compared to other religions is flat-out illogical?

    The former: that Christianity is flat-out illogical. I can’t say with all certainly that other religions are or aren’t because I know next to bugger-all about them.

  533. #533 SEF
    January 7, 2010

    someone (I can’t remember) had the fascination with Gödel’s Ontological Proof.

    The ones I vaguely recall were quite a while back! Local search suggests it was Penrose who set them all off on that imaginary track a couple of years ago. Eg here and here.

    Quack films are the sorts of places they get their nonsense if not more directly wound up and told to go forth by AiG, Chick tracts etc.

  534. #534 Brain Hertz
    January 7, 2010

    The former: that Christianity is flat-out illogical. I can’t say with all certainly that other religions are or aren’t because I know next to bugger-all about them.

    Thanks for the clarification. I’d certainly agree that Christianity is flat out illogical, but add that so is every other religion I’ve looked at for any length of time. I wouldn’t actually single out Christianity as especially illogical.

    I suppose theoretically I could just keep looking at more religions in the hopes that eventually one of them will turn out to have a rational basis, but after the first few I start to sense a pattern…

  535. #535 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    I suppose theoretically I could just keep looking at more religions in the hopes that eventually one of them will turn out to have a rational basis, but after the first few I start to sense a pattern…

    I consider all religions to be illogical in the sense that they base themselves on deities who wants us to be worshipped and revered and so forth, but do very little to help us reach the conclusion that they do exist. Then again, I consider the very idea of a super-powerful being desiring worship to be illogical to being with.

    I’d give far more credence to any religion that posited a miserable, evil, piece-of-shit monster than I do to any that paint their deity as an all-loving, all-powerful good guy. Despite the former making far more sense, no-one seems to base a religion around it – at least not anymore; the early Church made sure of that.

    Of course, when worshipping a piece-of-shit monster god doesn’t make him any less likely to smite your pious ass than the non-believer down the road, what the hell’s the point anyway?

  536. #536 Sastra
    January 7, 2010

    Owlmirror #525 wrote:

    I don’t see this, at least not in Leigh’s statements. It’s not about personality; it’s about personal experience — which I think she acknowledges might very well be something that happened only inside her brain (perhaps a temporal lobe seizure?).

    Oh, I wasn’t pointing to Leigh in particular, only addressing Wowbagger’s larger category of those Christians who admit that their faith has no rational basis, it’s a choice to believe. Actually, if I understand Leigh’s rationale correctly (haven’t read the whole thread), she’s claiming some sort of empirical private evidence — and admitting uncertainty in her interpretation — so the emphasis isn’t on just being the sort of person who can recognize God in those places where the hard-hearted blindly pass Him by.

    Whenever faith is made into a great virtue of the heart, those without it are automatically diminished. They “don’t want to believe.” When the fundamentalist tells me that I just don’t want to believe that there is a God who created a heaven and hell, they do have a point. It’s not the underlying reason I’m an atheist, of course, but they’ve at least hit on something we can agree on. In fact, I’m rather proud that I am the sort of person who would rather not have most of humanity condemned to eternal torture (and more than a little suspicious of those who think this situation absolutely delightful.)

    But the more Sweetness and Light and No-Bad-Consequences the God, the worse it is, to be the sort of person who “doesn’t want to believe.” What kind of monster wouldn’t want universal, eternal, bliss, bliss, bliss to be true? I almost prefer the cranks who have their mathematical proofs and fulfilled prophesies, to those who smile blandly and smugly agree that it’s all Faith.

  537. #537 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    Sorry about the lack of restraint above, but this dude can’t abide patent fakery.

    The knave abideth.

  538. #538 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    And someone (I can’t remember) had the fascination with Gödel’s Ontological Proof.

    He was a morpher, who called himself Peregrinus at that time.

    But he did inspire the Owlmirror Ontological Proof of Omni-Pony-ness.

    Granted the postulation that there exists an equality of desires with equines, it would logically follow that we would all have ponies.

  539. #539 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    (Not that the general idea was original to me, but then, the Ontological Argument wasn’t original to Gödel)

  540. #540 Owlmirror
    January 7, 2010

    Whenever faith is made into a great virtue of the heart, those without it are automatically diminished. [...]

    But the more Sweetness and Light and No-Bad-Consequences the God, the worse it is, to be the sort of person who “doesn’t want to believe.” What kind of monster wouldn’t want universal, eternal, bliss, bliss, bliss to be true? I almost prefer the cranks who have their mathematical proofs and fulfilled prophesies, to those who smile blandly and smugly agree that it’s all Faith.

    OK, I see. Yeah… that’s way syrupy-smug.

    Still, for the “Sweetness and Light and No-Bad-Consequences” sort of God, it occurs to me that one might rebut them with a sort of reverse Pascal’s Wager:

    If the believer is right, then there’s no harm in the long run in not having faith. After we all die, this nice fuzzy-puppy sort of God will welcome us “home” as prodigal children. Faith won’t be important anymore, because we’ll all know — and those who didn’t have faith in life will be just as welcome as those who did.

    If the believer is wrong, though, then they’ve been fooling themselves. They’re spending their entire life fooling themselves, while you’ve been spending your entire life trying to not fool yourself.

    They may not agree that not fooling yourself about God is a good thing… but if there’s no Bad Consequences to not believing, then how is it a bad thing?

    It may be that under that sort of rhetorical stress, the sweetness and light of the God being argued for might slip — but that gets you back to a condemning sort of God, which contradicts their original premise, and knocks the smugness down a bit: They actually do believe out of fear, not because they’re “nice”.

  541. #541 WowbaggerOM
    January 7, 2010

    Sastra wrote:

    Oh, I wasn’t pointing to Leigh in particular, only addressing Wowbagger’s larger category of those Christians who admit that their faith has no rational basis, it’s a choice to believe.

    That isn’t, however, the way heddle and the Calvinists see it – they see it as neither a choice nor the result of a rational process; they claim to believe because their god changed them into believers. They’ve found a few verses that support this and that’s enough for them.

    And that, to an extent, is fine with me; by that logic their god, if he exists, doesn’t want me to believe in him – and if he is, as they claim, just, he therefore can’t punish me for doing so.

  542. #542 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    I can’t say with all certainly that other religions are or aren’t because I know next to bugger-all about them.

    It’s pretty safe to say that they are all illogical. My favorites, however, are deliberately so, as if they were designed to defeat our human spiritual gullibility, or at least to stop us inventing useless myths about how/why things are the way they are. Pity it didn’t work.

  543. #543 destlund
    January 7, 2010

    I’d give far more credence to any religion that posited a miserable, evil, piece-of-shit monster than I do to any that paint their deity as an all-loving, all-powerful good guy.

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

  544. #544 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 7, 2010

    “And that, to an extent, is fine with me; by that logic their god, if he exists, doesn’t want me to believe in him – and if he is, as they claim, just, he therefore can’t punish me for doing so.”

    I’m pretty sure Calvin considered him to be a jackass.

  545. #545 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Folks, there is no need for anyone to defend me, though I appreciate your concern for my feelings.

    Here’s the deal: I first came to Pharyngula from a link on the Beliefnet Origins of Life forum, where I was engaged in defending the ToE from the creationists there. Good times and very good people; small audience.

    Pharyngula gets, what, a hundred thousand hits per day? Plus, PZ gets a large number of links from creationist sites. That makes this blog a prime battleground in the war against science.

    I’m a foot soldier in the battle. My interest is, and always has been, in defending the integrity of science education. I don’t have the scientific background that many posters have. My utility, as I conceive it and such as it is, lies in the possibility that I can convince my fellow Christians that their religious beliefs need not preclude an understanding of and appreciation for science. At the very least, I hope to sow a seed of doubt in the minds of those lurkers who are starting to shake free of their indoctrination, and show them that the demonization of science they’ve heard is a lie.

    I know that when I talk about my faith, I’m going to take some friendly fire; this is an atheist blog. I just don’t see that I’m much use if I don’t talk about it when an appropriate occasion arises.

    It’s okay. I’m not mortally wounded.

    I’ll be back a little later; Mr. Science and I are taking in the Chuck marathon on SciFi, as all good nerds should be doing.

  546. #546 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “It’s pretty safe to say that they are all illogical. My favorites, however, are deliberately so, as if they were designed to defeat our human spiritual gullibility, or at least to stop us inventing useless myths about how/why things are the way they are. Pity it didn’t work. ”

    Oh hay, I didn’t notice this.

    Actually, I’m willing to say it worked out pretty well, but only because China and Japan are weird.

    The common people blend together several belief systems. This may be why Japan is so hilariously flippant about Religion in general. What you’ll see from them doesn’t quite match the Theologians, or rather, their equivalents. From what I understand, what you’d see from a Taoist Priest or Zen Buddhist Monk would be varying amounts of professed faith in the other belief systems of the area, but very little attempt at applying those other belief systems. For instance, the Monk might profess a belief in Kami, but they’re not really going to figure into his koans or his thought process.

    Of course, I could be wrong, as I’m just an interested amateur rather then say, an Eastern Studies major or whatnot.

  547. #547 Owlmirror
    January 8, 2010

    I’m pretty sure Calvin considered him to be a jackass.

    Getting heddle onto the matter of evil per Calvinism was an interesting experience.

    1) God is definitely all good.
    2) The heart of humanity is naturally evil.

    But God, being all good, could not have been the source of the evil in the human heart.

    So where did the evil come from?

    heddle says “I don’t know”, and refuses to discuss the matter any further.

  548. #548 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 8, 2010

    Of course, I could be wrong, as I’m just an interested amateur rather then say, an Eastern Studies major or whatnot.

    You’re on track. Easter Religions are rather fluid. A Taoist can enter and worship in a Buddhist temple and vis versa. Of course there attempts to segregate worship, such as the arrival of Neo-Confucianism and Shintoism after the Meiji Restoration. However, it?s still the case that ?faith? isn?t solid, and where a Taoist chant doesn?t cover what you want, you can always turn to Confucianism, Buddhism (which ever sect is fine, apparently), Mudang, Shinto, and so on. A professed ?faith? is just whatever was convenient for you at the time. Southeast Asia is slightly different issue, since most of the native animism was absorbed into either Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Catholicism.

  549. #549 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    January 8, 2010

    …there are attempts…

    *eyeroll

  550. #550 Pareidolius
    January 8, 2010

    Okay, I’ve had way too much pasta and Zinfandel, but here goes, Netanyaupeter@454 or whatever your name is, they’re called emotions, and yes, we all have them. I cry at Hubble images, certain pieces of music and any story with love across time and space as the theme (STTNG Inner Light is a great example). Why? Who the fuck knows? But I don’t think that because there are emotions filling me with awe or sadness or deep love, that some god exists (though, in all fairness, I once did). With feelings of awe or reverence, don’t ask why, it just kills it. Just enjoy being a human. Now if you’re actually hearing voices, get to a neurologist pronto.

    Sastra, your prose is absolutely silken, you must be a writer.

  551. #551 WowbaggerOM
    January 8, 2010

    heddle says “I don’t know”, and refuses to discuss the matter any further.

    Actually, that was one rather irritating thing about heddle – he’d go on, at length, about what different parts of the bible meant and how it supported every conceivable aspect of his belief system without any shred of doubt; however, hit a hot-button topic like ‘whence evil?’ and all of a sudden he’d become the soul of humilty and insist that his god’s revelations were shrouded in mystery and far beyond the ken of a mere human like himself.

  552. #552 destlund
    January 8, 2010

    The last few posts are very interesting, but seem to confirm my belief that said epistemological challenges do less to (in my assumption) destroy superstition than to supplement a grab-bag belief buffet. Sure, it’s fun to observe, but it fails to deliver thoughtful, skeptical, fully developed human beings. I do give it credit, however, for obeying the laws of natural selection when it comes to belief systems, which no Western religion has done so far.

  553. #553 Rorschach
    January 8, 2010

    Pareidolius @ 550,

    Netanyaupeter@454 or whatever your name is

    A well known commenter here, do make an effort at common courtesy will you.

    they’re called emotions, and yes, we all have them.

    I think it is blatantly obvious to anyone who can read that Neg was referring to more then an emotion like watching the end bit of “Titanic” when he experienced that.

    Now if you’re actually hearing voices, get to a neurologist pronto.

    Hearing voices/auditory hallucinations is a cardinal symptom of schizophrenia, which puts it in the realm of psychiatry, not neurology.

    Sastra, your prose is absolutely silken, you must be a writer.

    She’s not writing prose here, and I suspect she would be slightly offended at the term “silken”…:-)

  554. #554 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Michelle B @ 433 — You have articulated, far better than I’ve yet managed to do, my relationship with my chosen set of religious metaphors. My principles are almost entirely humanist; my beliefs about ethical behavior are not derived from the Bible.

    It’s the emotional content of the later description of God’s relationship to humanity that I find attractive, particularly the bald statement from the elderly apostle John, who just states that God is love . . . and that if we don’t love one another, we can’t be loving God.

    I have found that I have become more loving, more patient, and more tolerant (or at least, more able to love people where they are, and not where I think they’re supposed to be, in their personal development). I have been surprised to find that I’m therefore more effective in introducing new ideas, and perhaps even in softening some of their more authoritarian/judgmental stances.

    I speak here of my family, in which I’m the sole exemplar of a liberal and a liberal Christian, not of the Pharyngula community, though I hope that I have influenced some of our visitors.

  555. #555 Kel, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Holy fucking shit.

    Indeed. facilis was especially stupid, his proof that it was Christianity was the impossibility of the contrary (if all cars ain’t red, they must be blue), and when it was pointed out to him that his position was circular (a death kneel if ever there was one when arguing logic), his only response was “How can you say its circular if you cannot account for it being circular?”

    Ended up getting banned for deciding to parody a fundamentalist and it was indistinguishable from his normal rhetoric.

  556. #556 John Morales
    January 8, 2010

    Rorschach,

    She’s [Sastra] not writing prose here, and I suspect she would be slightly offended at the term “silken”…:-)

    Sorry, but in my view Sastra’s comments can be iron fist in a silken glove; she is the 800-lb gorilla around here. No-one does it better.

    Wowbagger,

    I’d give far more credence to any religion that posited a miserable, evil, piece-of-shit monster than I do to any that paint their deity as an all-loving, all-powerful good guy. Despite the former making far more sense, no-one seems to base a religion around it – at least not anymore; the early Church made sure of that.

    Sounds like Gnosticism.

    Leigh,

    Folks, there is no need for anyone to defend me, though I appreciate your concern for my feelings.

    You’re Mollyworthy, even!

  557. #557 Emir Jay
    January 8, 2010

    Another (Aussie) ex-Sevvie here.

    One of the experiences that helped me escape the cognitive clutches of the church teaching was an address to a bunch of (nominally) SDA uni students by a couple of “creation scientists”. (Heck, it could have been Wieland or one of his cronies for all I know – it was a while back now and I didn’t bother remembering their names.)

    One of them told us – amongst other things – that when a lecturer talked about (say) evolution (as opposed to the church’s version of the creation story) we should stand up and ask if they had a witness account of their version – because we did, in the Bible, so his must be wrong.

    And he was rather surprised when some of us found ourselves standing up and telling him that was a rather stupid idea – and why :-)

  558. #558 John Morales
    January 8, 2010

    Leigh,

    I have found that I have become more loving, more patient, and more tolerant [...]

    Have you considered you might have equally done so without god-belief, through your own efforts alone, as you’ve grown older and wiser?

    It’s not as if you have a control to judge by…

  559. #559 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    David Marjanovi? @152, quoting me:

    I finally realized that I have an emotional connection to the incarnation, the Emmanuel God-with-us thing. The idea that God’s love is expressed so concretely and the intimate language of family really appeals to me.

    I’m sorry, David; you’re never tl;dr for me, but I somehow overlooked the question (though I remember the rest of the post, and I assumed your later question was rhetorical).

    He asks:

    So you believe what you want to be true? Is that it? If so, isn’t that the greatest logical fallacy of all?

    I didn’t ever find that wishing to believe God exists was worthwhile. After my mother’s death, I would like to have believed, and for a while I tried to persuade myself . . . but it was impossible.

    But after I began to believe that God does exist — then, yes indeed, I looked for a religious community. And yes, I chose a belief system. Some I looked at and discarded; if some set of dogma did not accord with my ethical foundation, I chose not to believe it. I settled on Christianity, but as you may have noticed, I haven’t embraced a lot of the dogma and doctrinal baggage that many perhaps more-traditional Christians find no fault with. The doctrine of Hell, for example, is utterly pernicious, and poorly supported Biblically to boot. Not that it would matter to me if it were; I’d still reject it.

    You may find my God rather pink and fluffy, completely silly, heretical, or merely the product of brain farts I’m too naive to properly evaluate. That’s okay by me; I like him a lot, and you’re doing fine without him, so I guess we’re each following our own path successfully.

  560. #560 Rorschach
    January 8, 2010

    You may find my God rather pink and fluffy, completely silly, heretical, or merely the product of brain farts I’m too naive to properly evaluate. That’s okay by me; I like him a lot, and you’re doing fine without him, so I guess we’re each following our own path successfully.

    Reminds me of the Law & Order episode from last night, bad trashy white girl kills cop, gets convicted, “finds god” in prison, gets sentenced to death, human rights groups protest coz she’s cute and “found god”, gets executed anyway and is fine and dandy with it coz jebus will look after her and lead her to a better place….

    That’s okay by me; I like him a lot, and you’re doing fine without him, so I guess we’re each following our own path successfully.

    Your god sounds just like my Beck’s beer Leigh.

  561. #561 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM @ 438:

    You have evidence that a god exists, but you can’t share it?

    I was wrong to have used the word evidence; you’re right, we should reserve it for its use in science and law. Say rather that I have personal experiences that are convincing to me, but that cannot be reproduced, some of which could perhaps be construed as coincidence or serendipity . . . and others which could, of course, be temporal lobe seizures. I do assert that I still seem to have my faculties, haven’t been deteriorating over a what is now a period of twenty years, and haven’t engaged in any aberrant behavior other than this unfortunate tendency towards mysticism.

    That is what makes it iron clad, you have to take it on faith. And faith is the most wonderful thing in the big sky daddy’s universe.

    Oh, no, even the Bible, flawed document though it is, doesn’t say that:

    But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

  562. #562 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Hurlin,

    In some ways I prefer the fundie who thinks that the Bible is 100% empirically valid if you just have the right interpenetration. These people might be crazy and misguided, but at least they seem to think that the world view they choose should have some degree of truth to it. This indicates to me that they value the truth, but haven’t their heads around the idea that they could be misinformed by a perceived authority.

    I don’t see how a fundie who interprets the bible literally can indicate to you that he values the truth.

  563. #563 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Sastra @ 521: Perhaps that second sea monster exists, but I am not he. The condition of your heart seems to me to be just fine, with or without God. There is nothing wrong with atheists; in fact, I find them to be people who think a lot about what it means to be ethical, who strive to uphold our (shared) humanist principles, who are working for a more just society, and who are passionate about rationality. These are good things that we should encourage in our society.

    I wish more of my fellow Christians could emulate these qualities. There might well be fewer of us, but we wouldn’t be so dangerous.

  564. #564 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Rorschach @ 491: Too bad I don’t believe in telepathy: you made an eerie hit on the raspberry ice cream. Actually, it’s raspberry ices I’m a fool for. Mr. Science brought in two different brands for my birthday. I was in heaven.

    and @ 560, you said:

    Your god sounds just like my Beck’s beer Leigh.

    Odd, I like Beck’s, but I don’t remember it being pink and fluffy. Are you sure you’re not thinking of the raspberry ice cream?

  565. #565 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Pareidolius,

    like everyone, I’ve had many emotional reactions to various situations in my life. It was the unexpectdness of this particular situation and the strength of the emotion that surprised me.
    I have visited many beautiful works of architecture before, many beautiful churches, but never felt compelled to kneel and pray and cry. This was a first (I’m 45 years old).
    I didn’t hear any voices.
    I didn’t conclude : God is pushing me to do this, as I have always considered the existence of Gods an unlikely possibility.
    So I’m just trying to find a rational explanation, and I thank Owlmirror for having provided me with various directions to look into.

    My comment was in reaction to Leigh’s comment. I understand where she is comming from, but I advise her to do the same, knowing that she seems to have a hightened susceptibility to mysticism, she should try to investigate further and challenge her interpretation of the various signs.

    I think believing in God in such situations is easy, it’s searching for the truth that’s hard. But much more rewarding.

  566. #566 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Negentropyeater @ 562:

    It is entirely possible that something in your brain has become wired a little differently than it was before. If the symptoms begin to worry you, become more frequent and seem to represent an uncomfortable break with reality, perhaps you should seek medical help.

    But your experience at the tomb of St. Francis is similar to some that I have had. Over time, you may come to see these experiences in religious terms. But you certainly need not; rational explanations are at hand, and you may find those more congruent with your overall belief system and with the way you choose to live your life.

    The crying can be rather disconcerting; I know, because I do it too. The first Symphony of Science video brought me to tears repeatedly. Standing before the Great Buddha in Nara was a profound and solemn experience for me.

    These experiences are yours to interpret. I have no desire to proselytize you, but if you should ever want to discuss them, you can reach me at leighwilliams at austin.rr.com.

  567. #567 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Negentropyeaster, our last two posts crossed; mine was not in response to your # 565.

    The invitation stands, however. Some very interesting work is being done in neurology, particularly in fMRIs, that probably bears on our situation.

  568. #568 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Owlmirror, I like your idea of the reverse Pascal’s Wager very much.

    If my fluffy pink God is what I believe him to be, you’ll be pleasantly surprised after death. And I’ll get to meet you face-to-face, which I will enjoy very much.

    If he doesn’t exist, and I am self-deluded, then I’ll die. Being dead and finished, I will not care a bit.

    If I am wrong in a different way, and God is not fluffy and pink, I’ll see you in Hell. We probably won’t like the climate, but the company will be good.

  569. #569 Modder
    January 8, 2010

    Dear prof Myers,

    Seeing that you clearly come from an intellectually superior position, why did you have to resort to the tactics employed by a 13-year old when challenged by creationists? Surely you have evolved more than that. I was under the impression that you were some or other world leader (otherwise you wouldn’t be one of the main attractions at the Atheist Convention in Oz), yet you act like a pre-pubescent teen. Apologies for the snide nature of the following, but no wonder at age 52 you still haven’t received a full professorship.

    Similar to a large portion of the commenters here, I strongly suspect that the only reason you call yourself an atheist is to tick off your parents. Why don’t you try a similar stunt (the finger picture) with a muslims? Come one! Be a man and put a picture of Mohammed eating pork while watching some naked women dance on your front page. Show some conviction for your position.

    Then to all the atheists who say that theirs is not a faith/religion. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (despite what you may think, the actual authority on the English language), atheism is defined as “belief that there is no God”. Any word ending in -theism implies belief. Therefore atheism is your religion. Any argument to the contrary shows ignorance towards the English language.

    To everyone harping on about peer-review and especially Malcolm (previous thread #415) who said “science is not subjective”. Ever heard of Climategate? If you try and publish something that goes against the current paradigm, no matter how good your scientific credentials/research/facts/whatever, it will be disregarded. Scientists have to defend their grants, as well as the political and religious ideologies associated with those grants.

    Science has long since lost its objectivity.

  570. #570 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Leigh Williams,

    it seems we’re wired the same way :-)

    So far, this hasn’t changed anything to my everyday life, nor my general worldview and my strong repulsion to anything religious. It doesn’t bother me in any way. I just find myself doing small things that I didn’t do before, like praying before I go to sleep, without actually believing that it has any effect. I just seem to do it as a kind of superstitious reflex.

  571. #571 Miki Z
    January 8, 2010

    @569: CJD is a bitch. You have my sympathy.

  572. #572 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,

    Ever heard of Climategate? If you try and publish something that goes against the current paradigm, no matter how good your scientific credentials/research/facts/whatever, it will be disregarded.

    Explain how Richard Lindzen gets some of this published then ?

    The rest of your comment is more of the same, just a big pack of lies.

  573. #573 John Morales
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,

    Seeing that you [PZ] clearly come from an intellectually superior position, why did you have to resort to the tactics employed by a 13-year old when challenged by creationists?

    Guess he was reduced to their level, so as to make it plain what he meant.

    Surely you have evolved more than that.

    You don’t know what evolution is, do you? :)

    I was under the impression that you were some or other world leader (otherwise you wouldn’t be one of the main attractions at the Atheist Convention in Oz), yet you act like a pre-pubescent teen.

    Have you read the post?

    Have you read any other posts on the site?

    Have you read the comments to this post?

    I thought not.

    Do you always base your opinion on what you’re told, not on what you’ve seen? :)

    Science has long since lost its objectivity.

    And your evidence for this is what, exactly?

    Are you even aware of what scientists do, i.e. what is the Scientific method?

    Heh. TSTKYS!

  574. #574 Rorschach
    January 8, 2010

    Lying kook @ 569,

    Similar to a large portion of the commenters here, I strongly suspect that the only reason you call yourself an atheist is to tick off your parents

    Not bad as an example of how to try to cram as many lies and fallacies into one statement as possible, but not the worst we’ve seen….

    Any word ending in -theism implies belief. Therefore atheism is your religion.

    * Facepalm*

    Dont tell me this guy is an aussie please…

  575. #575 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    John asks me in post 558:

    Have you considered you might have equally done so without god-belief, through your own efforts alone, as you’ve grown older and wiser? It’s not as if you have a control to judge by…

    I’d like to think I’d have mellowed some, but honestly, I don’t think I’d be who I am today.

    Michelle B. said @ 433:

    Do you use your religious shorthand (I believe that Jesus reconciles the whole world to God, in universal salvation, and in the Wesleyan sanctification, that is, becoming more like Christ in service to humankind through the power of the Holy Spirit) as a means to keep in awareness on a routine basis that you want to do your best, fulfill yourself as much as is possible, learn from mistakes, and work with others (and alone) to further the cause of humanist ideals? . . . Jesus and the Holy Spirit which are meaningful, though certainly fanciful mental and emotional subjective constructs, provides the cognitive structure for you to function at your best. You have clothed these constructs in the religion in which you are the most familiar.

    That may be the right explanation. I do believe I had spiritual help — those metaphors and constructs have meaning for me — but certainly being mindful was very important. Perhaps that alone was enough.

  576. #576 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Dont tell me this guy is an aussie please…

    5 to 1 he is one, or at least an Ozresident :

    (otherwise you wouldn’t be one of the main attractions at the Atheist Convention in Oz)

  577. #577 John Morales
    January 8, 2010

    Leigh,

    [me] Have you considered you might have equally done so without god-belief, through your own efforts alone, as you’ve grown older and wiser?

    I’d like to think I’d have mellowed some, but honestly, I don’t think I’d be who I am today.

    That reply has all the hallmarks of an extemporaneous response — hence, I take it as “no”.

    I take it then you don’t consider any other belief could have achieved what change you’ve experienced since picking a religion.

    (PS Do Methodists say the Credo¹? I can’t see how you could do so honestly).

    ¹ as Catholics do.
    (The Nicene Creed, basically).

  578. #578 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Modder, my dear kook, if you hold a ridiculous position riddled with fallacies and contrary to everything known about the real world, you should expect to get ridiculed. QED, dear boy.

    And if you think the so-called Climategate proves that AGW is wrong, you’ve just demonstrated all over again that you haven’t a clue about science and about how it’s done. In what conceivable way could a small group of researchers manipulate every climate scientist in the world and have the power to control what’s published? And for what possible purpose? How can anyone with enough functioning neurons to post on the internet possibly be so gullible as to swallow this absurd proposition?

    You are aware that it was the Chinese who hacked those emails, are you not? Their goal was to derail the Copenhagen talks because if the Communist leadership doesn’t keep that economic engine going on the backs of coal-fired electricity plants, they’re going to face a revolution.

  579. #579 SEF
    January 8, 2010

    Re #569:

    Why don’t you try a similar stunt (the finger picture) with a muslims?

    Way to fail at background research! See crackergate.

    Any word ending in -theism implies belief. Therefore atheism is your religion. Any argument to the contrary shows ignorance towards the English language.

    I’m sure there was one of those retards around here quite recently (ie ridiculously misunderstanding in that manner how the term “atheism” is actually constructed). Could it be the same one or have they gone forth and multiplied (at least meme-wise)? :-/

  580. #580 Kel, OM
    January 8, 2010

    I’ve just got to express my fondness for Becks beer. Though I’ve only ever drank the “brewed under licence” stuff I can get in Australia. That’s still quite good, though I have a german becks sitting in my cupboard awaiting me to get an aussie brewed becks for a direct comparison.

    On the flipside…

    Any word ending in -theism implies belief. Therefore atheism is your religion.

    No, theism is not a suffix. Theism conveys a particular belief, atheism is the negation of that.

    Take the word moral. Now amoral implies without morals, not moral of itself. For moral isn’t a suffix…

  581. #581 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    John, we say the Apostles’ Creed. I’m okay with it as a tradition, except the “resurrection of the body” part which I view as a holdover from Judaism. I like traditions, even if I think of some of elements as metaphorical. I like the liturgical calendar, too.

  582. #582 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Oh, and specially for Modder, who seems to be too stupid to search the Oxford English Dictionary, here’s the concise version :

    religion>/b>

    ? noun 1 the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2 a particular system of faith and worship. 3 a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.

    ? ORIGIN originally in the sense life under monastic vows: from Latin religio ?obligation, reverence?.

    Please explain how atheism, the belief that there is no God (or better, the absence of belief in any God), matches the above.

  583. #583 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    You are aware that it was the Chinese who hacked those emails, are you not? – Leigh Williams

    Do you have a source for this, Leigh? I hadn’t heard that even suggested before.

  584. #584 SteveM
    January 8, 2010

    Then to all the atheists who say that theirs is not a faith/religion. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (despite what you may think, the actual authority on the English language), atheism is defined as “belief that there is no God”. Any word ending in -theism implies belief. Therefore atheism is your religion. Any argument to the contrary shows ignorance towards the English language.

    you must be a moron to quote a definition without even understanding what you are quoting. To say “-theism” is a suffix indicating a belief shows a profound ignorance towards the English language.

    “Theism” is the root word, meaning “belief in god”, the “a-” prefix signifies negation, so atheism is “without belief in god” or alternatively, “belief in no god”.

  585. #585 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    knockgoats,

    the dailymail came up with that story.

    But it’s the dailymail, and they are very fond of baseless speculations. The evidence they present is very thin, to say the least.

  586. #586 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    sorry, here’s the working link

  587. #587 Josh
    January 8, 2010

    Scientists have to defend their grants, as well as the political and religious ideologies associated with those grants.

    Spoken like someone who has never actually been awarded a grant.

  588. #588 Modder
    January 8, 2010

    Regarding atheism. So you have different theories of word formation. All fine and well. Just remember that even though theism can stand on its own (meaning the “belief in gods or a god, esp. a god supernaturally revealed to man” from the Oxford) it always implies some or other form of belief when combined with different prefixes. Therefore, whether you see it being used in conjunction with different prefixes or as a suffix (which is immaterial actually), it always refers to a belief. In terms of what the word means, go and consult the Oxford Dictionary (any version from Pocket through to full size). It will tell you the same thing. Atheism is a belief. Period. Unless you know better than the dictionary compilers, of course.

    I suspect you actually mean agnostic. agnostic ?n. person who believes that the existence of God is not provable. ?adj. of agnosticism.

    SEF, thanks for the link to crackergate. That was remarkably brave (said in a sarcastic voice). A whole rant and rave about catholics (long enough to make anyone doze off) and right at the end a blurry picture of a banana peel and a Quran thrown in for good measure. I am talking about something in your face like the finger picture. But I guess that is too much to hope for. He can do the math.

    Correction Leigh. No chinese hackers in Climategate. Whistle-blower. Why don’t you read http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/Monckton-Caught%20Green-Handed%20Climategate%20Scandal.pdf ?

    It is written by a skeptic and slanted against AGW, that I will concede. But despite that, if what is contained in this article doesn’t make you sit up and wonder, then I don’t know what will. And yes, it is possible for a handful of people to exert that kind of influence. Anyway, what difference does it make whether it was a chinese hacker or a whistle-blower that brought the information to light? The information remains the same. Read that document (it is a bit long at 43 pages, but that shouldn’t be a problem for a highly educated scientist like yourself).

    You say that I do not have a clue about science. Interesting, seeing that I work in the environmental field, responsible for the design of environmental solutions for new plants and to ensure that these new plants conform to the latest and greatest (IFC or local, whichever is stricter) environmental standards. This includes atmospheric dispertion modelling, which is model-based. Nothing like a good fudge factor to get the results you desire. The GIGO principle is in force.

    Oh yes, I know about Salem’s Hypothesis. No need to bring it up.

  589. #589 Miki Z
    January 8, 2010

    You say that I do not have a clue about science. Interesting, seeing that I work in the environmental field, responsible for the design of environmental solutions for new plants and to ensure that these new plants conform to the latest and greatest (IFC or local, whichever is stricter) environmental standards. This includes atmospheric dispertion modelling, which is model-based. Nothing like a good fudge factor to get the results you desire. The GIGO principle is in force.

    Just because you fake your data to fit your desired result doesn’t mean that others do.

  590. #590 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,

    compare what you wrote :

    #569 : atheism is defined as “belief that there is no God”. Any word ending in -theism implies belief. Therefore atheism is your religion.

    #588 : Atheism is a belief. Period.

    See the problem ?
    Hint: I underlined something to make it easier for you.

  591. #591 Modder
    January 8, 2010

    negentropyeater, I humbly withdraw the atheism =faith/religion comment. It should be substituted with atheism = faith. Humble apologies. I stand corrected.

    In defence though: faith n. 1 complete trust or confidence. 2 firm, esp. religious, belief. 3 religion or creed (Christian faith). 4 loyalty, trustworthiness. [Latin fides]

    By the way, I have the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary on my computer. I don’t even have to consult the internet. I have the actual application, copyright Oxford University Press.

  592. #592 Miki Z
    January 8, 2010

    If you’re in a humbly withdrawing mood, how about we continue with the next sentence:

    Therefore atheism is your religion. Any argument to the contrary shows ignorance towards the English language.

    I suppose you’re used to agreeing with the ignorant, though.

  593. #593 Modder
    January 8, 2010

    MikiZ, I don’t fake data. If the dispersion model shows a larger than expected footprint, we go back to the drawing board and look for better environmental solutions. If it becomes to expensive to build the new plant and conform to environmental requirements, then there is no project.

    At present one of the projects that I work on (expected capex of just under $1b) is in limbo due to the much larger than expected cost of environmental compliance. This excludes and CCS solutions. We haven’t even looked at that yet. We must first see if we actually have a project.

    Oh, Miki. Go and read the document that I have provided a link to above.

    Josh, there is an old adage that says: those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. My master’s degree research was done with a grant. No idea where the money came from, but the university provided me with the funding. And my results differed from what was widely expected. Got some flak at a conference in August where I presented the results because I made the wrong people look good.

    Rorschach and negentropyeater. I am not an Ozzie. Not even close. Never been there. Large time-zone difference as well. Why does it matter? Do you have a problem with Ozzies?

  594. #594 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 8, 2010

    But despite that, if what is contained in this article doesn’t make you sit up and wonder, then I don’t know what will.

    Nothing of smoking gun nature there. That proves your a less than truth teller, a troll trying to create doubt where there is no need for any.

    You say that I do not have a clue about science.

    As a working scientist for 30+ years, your science and use of science is weak/none-existent.

    The GIGO principle is in force.

    Yep, your posts are a good example of GIGO. Example, atheism is a religion. Utter garbage.

  595. #595 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,

    It is written by a skeptic and slanted against AGW, that I will concede.

    Why don’t you read Monckton’s interview with Associated Press and see for yourself what kind of lying nutcase beyond parody he is.

  596. #596 Modder
    January 8, 2010

    As for Richard Lindzen’s publications.

    Anything that he published before 1998 when Michael Mann’s hockey stick became gospel with the IPCC was still fairly easy. And he published lots before then.

    Since then his articles have mellowed quite a bit, except when he published in economic or energy focused publications. Those are much easier to publish AGW articles in because their agenda allows for that.

  597. #597 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,

    I humbly withdraw the atheism =faith/religion comment. It should be substituted with atheism = faith.

    Still wrong.

  598. #598 Miki Z
    January 8, 2010

    I’m not the one who put these two sentences next to each other, in the same paragraph:

    This [work] includes atmospheric dispertion modelling, which is model-based. Nothing like a good fudge factor to get the results you desire.

    In the most generous interpretation it’s an unfortunate conjunction. In the most obvious one, an admission of fraud.

    I looked at the pdf you linked. Any “paper” which uses the phrase “science hate-crime” is deeply deluded. If you’ve been the victim of a hate crime, you’ll know why.

  599. #599 Emir Jay
    January 8, 2010

    I wish there were a market for betting on the veracity of Monckton’s public statements. I’d make a mint reflexively betting against him. He’s a pompous puppet for propagandists preying on the perplexible portion of the public.

    I’ve also had direct correspondence with him on a semi-public mailing list where he clearly lied about things he did not understand.

  600. #600 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Yawn, denialist is still an evidenceless denier. What an idjit. There is a reason we prefer the peer reviewed scientific literature for information. The chances for bald faced lies is much, much reduced compared to denialist rants…

  601. #601 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 8, 2010

    In defence though: faith n. 1 complete trust or confidence. 2 firm, esp. religious, belief. 3 religion or creed (Christian faith). 4 loyalty, trustworthiness. [Latin fides]

    If you think atheism is faith based off that definition of faith, then your ignorance is only outweighed by your smugness.

  602. #602 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,

    read :

    Lindzen told Associated Press after the Q&A that his paper appeared last August in Geophysical Research Letters and said Monckton’s summary of his work was correct. However, the study has been challenged by other scientists, including Roy W. Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who wrote: “I predict that Lindzen and Choi will eventually be challenged by other researchers who will do their own analysis … and then publish conclusions that are quite divergent from the authors’ conclusions.”

    So your statement that papers that challenge the consensus view of AGW can’t get published is incorrect.

    When they have some merit, they do get published. And, if necessary, they can get challenged afterwards. That’s how science works.

    The problem is that there have been very, very few papers submitted for publication by scientists that go against the consensus view that have any merit at all.

  603. #603 Emir Jay
    January 8, 2010

    So you have different theories of word formation.

    Yes, mine is based on conformance with reality – what words mean in general usage. How about yours?

    You’ll get yourself in a lot of trouble if you try to claim the word “atheism” implies “faith” in the sense that you use the latter word.

    The word “atheism” quite happily encompasses “a current state of disbelief in theism that the disbeliever concedes might change were additional compelling evidence to arise”. This method of updating one’s assessments of the likelihood of some position being true based on the currently available evidence is pretty much what science does. It’s also pretty much the opposite of what religion does – i.e. profess to hold a belief to be true regardless of any evidence or lack of it (and consider it a virtue to do so). And *that* religious mode of belief is what most people think of when they hear the word “faith” – and hence why applying it to the atheistic position I described at the start of this paragraph is utterly wrong.

  604. #604 SC OM
    January 8, 2010

    I settled on Christianity, but as you may have noticed, I haven’t embraced a lot of the dogma and doctrinal baggage that many perhaps more-traditional Christians find no fault with….

    You may find my God rather pink and fluffy,…

    Leigh, the god of the Bible is not “pink and fluffy.” This isn’t a matter of dogma or doctrinal baggage.

  605. #605 Modder
    January 8, 2010

    NerdofRedhead, I come to a different conslusion than you and that makes my science weak/non-existent? Interesting! Of course, since you are old and a long time scientist you are infallible. My bad!

    By the way, you appear to be a bit slow. I already retracted the atheism is your religion statement in #591. Atheism is your faith. The concepts of faith and religion often get intertwined as can be seen from the definition of faith in the Oxford.

    I know you despise that statement, but it is true.

  606. #606 Miki Z
    January 8, 2010

    Yes, keep up, Nerd of Redhead, lest his galloping leave us in the dust. Oh, and you’re old! Ha, old! Old!!!! OLD! Maybe that’s why you’re also SLOW! Modder is YOUNG and FAST!

  607. #607 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Atheism is your faith.

    No, you are showing what an unintelligent liar and bullshitter you are. Atheism is disbelief in deities. Period, end of story. The fact that you behave like a creobot and come to a conclusion, then try to find evidence for the conclusion says all I need to know about your lack of scientific credentials. What a liar and bullshitter. Now is time to present your creobot ideas.

  608. #608 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “NerdofRedhead, I come to a different conslusion than you and that makes my science weak/non-existent?”

    No, you /fail to provide evidence/ and your science is weak. You’re an idiot. Do you understand what evidence is?

  609. #609 WowbaggerOM
    January 8, 2010

    Atheism is your faith.

    Yes, just like Sir Patrick Stewart’s hair colour is bald, or the reason there’s a complete absence of stamps from my house is that my hobby is not collecting them.

    Could you be more wrong? I’m going to say you couldn’t, but I’m not going to be that surprised if you demonstrate otherwise.

  610. #610 Louis
    January 8, 2010

    @ Nerd #607:

    Tiny (but significant) semantic nitpick:

    Atheism is not necessarily the *disbelief* in deities (although it can include this), because disbelief (at least in some senses of the word)implies the active belief that deities do not exist. Atheism is the lack of belief in deities, a subtly different but philosophically distinct position. It’s the old weak/strong atheism thing…again! ;-)

    Belief of lack =/= lack of belief. Etc ad extreme nauseum!

    Louis

  611. #611 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 8, 2010

    *wheezing old man voice*
    Faith is used when evidence for something can’t be found. There is no evidence for deities. Ergo, disbelief is the parsimonious position, and is not based on belief (faith), but rather evidence. Still no real evidence presented, just delusions of evidence.
    *shakes cane at Miki Z :)*

    Now to breakfast and cleaning the snow off the driveway.

  612. #612 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 8, 2010

    Atheism is your faith.

    Even from the definition of faith you outlined above, atheism isn’t even close to being faith.

    Please explain.

  613. #613 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 8, 2010

    *Waits for a Godwin*

  614. #614 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    I always wonder why so many religious people seem to insist that Atheism is a religion, or a form of faith…

  615. #615 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    Honest answer: Because they can’t fathom any different thought process. See: Brit Hume saying ‘Tiger should be a Christian!’.

  616. #616 Josh
    January 8, 2010

    Josh, there is an old adage that says: those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.

    It’s true that there is such an adage. Like most old adages, however, it’s full of shit. A very large portion of the total amount of scientific research that gets done is done by people who are employed in teaching positions.

  617. #617 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    Modder:

    Let me ask you something… what does “asexual” mean… then tell me why I’m asking you that.

    Asshat.

  618. #618 Hurin
    January 8, 2010

    Hurlin, I don’t see how a fundie who interprets the bible literally can indicate to you that he values the truth.

    Its because they care whether what they believe is true (whether or not it actually is). Unfortunately, it happens that their beliefs are FAR, FAR from true, which is what inspires all the bizarre mental gymnastics about “biblical order” or “we need Jesus so that 2+2 can equal 4″. They need to feel that they have proved their beliefs intellectually.

    What the fundies don’t value is science. They tend to feel that truth is something dictated by the most powerful authority and to them science is just another authority alongside the bible (read God). Of course God has to be the most powerful authority, so anything that contradicts “the biblical truth” is obviously a trick, and you are an idiot for believing satan’s lies etc. etc.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that a fundy is someone who values the truth, but has a totally closed mind, and can’t come to truth because he won’t consider new evidence.

    On a personal note, I started my world view in a similar place; I knew the bible was literally true because people whom I trusted told me it was. When I was about 12 I started reading the bible because I wanted to understand what God wanted of me, and I got pretty freaked out given the level of coercion, weirdness, and inconsistency I found. I eventually turned to science, but initially I trusted it as an authority, and then later developed intellectually to the point where I could understand why I should trust science as the best method for obtaining information and drawing conclusions.

  619. #619 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Rutee,

    so does that mean they think nobody can be non religious ?

    Or is it because they think deep inside that their faith is weak and get comfort from thinking that atheism is just another weak form of faith ?

    I can understand that an atheist doesn’t like to be referred to as religious. Afterall, chances are if he’s atheist, he doesn’t like religions. But why would a religious person insist on calling atheism a religion, is it a pejorative term for him ?

    Why does it seem to be important for so many of them ?

  620. #620 MrFire
    January 8, 2010

    Atheism is your faith

    IT’S THE NULL FUCKING HYPOTHESIS

    There go you basic science credentials

  621. #621 llewelly
    January 8, 2010

    You may find my God rather pink and fluffy …

    “pink and fluffy”?

    HOORAY!!

    Finally someone has offered some specifics about God. Now if you will just tell us where to point the spectroscope so we can test this hypothesis …

  622. #622 MrFire
    January 8, 2010

    There go your basic science credentials

    *mutter*

  623. #623 KOPD42
    January 8, 2010

    disbelief (at least in some [less accurate] senses of the word)implies the active belief that deities do not exist.

    Fixed. Disbelieving means to withhold or reject belief. In other words, not accepting a claim as true. Believing a claim is false also falls under that definition, but that does not exclude the state of being undecided. Then again, I’m basing this off an American English dictionary. Yours could be different.

  624. #624 MrFire
    January 8, 2010

    Why bother with Modder,
    The theistic hack?
    Whose reasoning’s odder
    Than a bull on its back
    And from watching him plodder
    Through the usual cack:
    This Godder is fodder
    For Pharyngula’s pack.

  625. #625 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “Rutee,

    so does that mean they think nobody can be non religious ?”

    Well, I can’t speak on all nuts without qualifications anyway, but the understanding I have of the evangelical loonies in Merika is indeed something similar to that. I’ve been following a reading of Left Behind that also annotates why these things are there. For instance, the One World Faith in that stupid series is because of an honest belief held by the jackasses who wrote it that nobody actually believes in their religion, unless they’re Real, True Christians. Everyone knows that Jesus Christ is the only REAL god, therefore nobody else can honestly, sincerely believe in anything that doesn’t follow him. Including Christians who aren’t REal, True Christians.

    I don’t say that to specifically claim it’s what’s at work with Modder (Though his retraction of Athiesm as a Religion may be based on it), but as an example of a complete lack of understanding of others’ motives, of the worldviews of anyone not-you, that Evangelicals and other fundies appear to have.

  626. #626 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    609: Yes, just like Sir Patrick Stewart’s hair colour is bald, or the reason there’s a complete absence of stamps from my house is that my hobby is not collecting them.

    Could you be more wrong?

    Yes, he could, and you’re not nearly as right as you presume.

    Traditionally, theism and atheism are seen as poles on a continuum where agnosticism occupies a middle ground. Thus theism encompasses those who believe in a god, atheism encompasses those who think no god exists and agnosticism encompasses those who take no position on the question of gods. In recent years, many atheists have sought to alter this traditional view. They want atheism defined as a mere lack of belief in any gods. Pursuant to such a rubric, anyone without a current god-belief ?- like a Christian sleeping or thinking about something else, someone who is mentally ill, a baby, or even a rock -? is an atheist. Moreover, they want to say that agnosticism isn?t about belief at all, but relates to knowledge. Accordingly, a Christian who doesn?t claim certainty (who doesn?t claim to know — which should be all of us — is also an agnostic.

    Let?s be clear that an argument as to the better definition of atheism is perfectly appropriate. But many atheists want to avoid that discussion altogether and presume that the argument is already decided and to accuse theists (usually Christians) of dishonesty for not having yielded to their favored definition. This thread provides evidence of such behavior.

    As best as I can tell, current dictionaries are split over whether atheism is a mere lack of belief or whether atheism includes a specific denial. However, the more specific professional works, such as philosophical dictionaries and encyclopedia, all define atheism as something like ??[a]theism? means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.? (J.J.C. Smart in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

    The OED defines atheism as ?[d]isbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God? and, to be clear, defines disbelief as ?[t]he action or an act of disbelieving; mental rejection of a statement or assertion; positive unbelief.? Accord, Random House Webster?s Unabridged Dictionary (2nd Ed. 2001)(atheism is ?the doctrine or belief that there is no God? {#1} and ?disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings? {#2}, while disbelief is ?the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true?). The Compact Oxford agrees (atheism is ?the belief that God does not exist?). So does Merriam-Webster (atheism is ?a disbelief in the existence of deity?; disbelief is ?the act of disbelieving: mental rejection of something as untrue”). Moreover, no less an authority than Michael Martin (in Atheism: A Philosophical Justification) makes the same admission: ?If you look up ?atheism? in the dictionary, you will probably find it defined as the belief that there is no God. Certainly many people understand atheism in this way. Yet many atheists do not, and ?[Martin goes on to argue for his preferred definition].? Even the Skeptic?s Dictionary concedes the point: ?Atheism is traditionally defined as disbelief in the existence of God. As such, atheism involves active rejection of belief in the existence of God.?

    Some atheists wish to stress the point that some dictionaries include the passive definition of atheism. True enough. Activist atheist efforts have borne some fruit. Moreover, comprehensive dictionaries are more descriptive than prescriptive and tend to include all possible options. But concise dictionaries, designed to provide the most common and best definitions without all the baggage, go the other way. See, e.g., Merriam-Webster?s Collegiate Dictionary (atheism is ?a disbelief in the existence of a deity? while disbelief is ?the act of disbelieving?); The New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd Ed. 2005)(atheism is ?the theory or belief that God doesn?t exist?); allwords.com; Cambridge Advanced Learner?s Dictionary; and the American Heritage Dictionary.

    Note that in his famous ?The Presumption of Atheism,? Antony Flew (ironic, no?) concedes that the new atheist view requires that atheism ?be construed unusually. Whereas nowadays the usual meaning of ?atheist? in English is ?someone who asserts that there is no such being as God?, I want the word to be understood not positively but negatively.? The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd Edition 1999) addresses this very point. It provides that ?atheism [is] the view that there are no gods. A widely used sense denotes merely not believing in God and is consistent with agnosticism. A stricter sense denotes a belief that there is no God; this use has become the standard one.?

  627. #627 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    Hurlin

    I’d think anybody who believes something (type : the earth is X number of year old) thinks it’s the truth. Otherwise he wouldn’t believe it.

    What does it mean “to value the truth” if what you believe in is evidently false ?

  628. #628 SEF
    January 8, 2010

    @ negentropyeater #614:

    I always wonder why so many religious people seem to insist that Atheism is a religion, or a form of faith…

    It’s because they (at least some of them*) secretly do know that faith is an inferior/bad thing and they want to try and pretend their betters are really down on their own level.

    * This can be seen from other things they say. It’s similar to the way some of them want to have their own science because, deep down, they do know that science is the bestest thing ever. They want that science label (without going to the trouble of actually meriting it, of course) and they want to falsely force the faith/religion label onto the opposition (ie those who don’t deserve that demerit).

  629. #629 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    Oh, I didn’t answer the direct question. Yes, I do think they think you MUST rely utterly on faith in an authority, and any claim to, say, reality, or to an equally dogmatic stance not based on anything but blind faith, because evidence can’t enter into it. Why? Because they do.

  630. #630 SEF
    January 8, 2010

    @ MrFire #620:

    Hmm… basic credentials but an acid test. Alkali won’t really have made it as a cool word until it has a similar colloquial use or phrase in some hot topic.

  631. #631 KOPD42
    January 8, 2010

    #626

    “Just because somebody doesn’t understand the subtleties of a philosophical argument doesn’t mean they can’t go write a dictionary definition. And they do.”
    –Matt Dillahunty

    no less an authority than Michael Martin

    LOL!! An atheist authority?! You are too funny. You’ll find the word “authority” carries little weight here.

  632. #632 Sven DiMilo
    January 8, 2010

    Of all the arguments from authority, the Argument from Webeter’s is the stupidest.

    Pursuant to such a rubric, #62 is pretty damn stupid.

  633. #633 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    Modder,
    Is my aleprechaunism (disbelief in leprechauns) a faith?

    negentropyeater,

    Having recently spent some time arguing with some fairly sophisticated Christians at the BioLogos blog, I think the reason for the bizarre “atheism is a faith” trope is the recognition among many such people (although I think Modder’s just parroting a debating point he doesn’t understand), that theism (and a fortiori Christianity) cannot supply rational arguments for its claims, and so must be accepted on non-rational grounds. It therefore becomes rhetorically necessary to maintain that atheism and naturalism are similarly dependent on a non-rationally motivated choice. However, this ignores the justification of atheism and naturalism as defeasible assumptions, made on the grounds of parsimony. As I’ve hinted to Modder above, my grounds for disbelief in gods in general (doctrinally orthodox Christianity is necessarily false, due to the doctrine of the hypostatic union) are exactly the same as my grounds for disbelief in leprechauns, and I’ll revise either disbelief if presented with good enough evidence or arguments. As part of the arguments mentioned, I specified numerous occurrences that would lead me to question and indeed abandon naturalism – and found one of them arguing that I would not have to abandon naturalism if – say – the Rapture took place or the stars suddenly rearranged themselves to spell out “I AM THAT I AM”!

    The rhetorical strategy they have adopted does have the consequence that faith (in the sense of non-rational belief) is considered both a supreme good (when it’s Christian faith), and a weakness (when it’s atheist “faith”). It can be most amusing to watch as they switch back and forth between the two as occasion demands, without any apparent awareness.

  634. #634 negentropyeater
    January 8, 2010

    note to robocop:

    all you’ve written doesn’t make atheism a faith (which was Wowbagger’s and many others point).

    Also note I didn’t correct Modder @590 for wiritng that atheism is a belief.

    See also Louis’ comment @610

    So what was the purpose of your comment ?

  635. #635 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    631: You’ll find the word “authority” carries little weight here.

    Indeed, Martin could be in error as to what the favored/standard definition of atheism is. So could Flew. And the OED. And the Cambridge Dictionary. And the Stanford Encyclopedia. And the Skeptic’s Dictionary. And….

    Laugh all you’d like, but unless and until you provide some actual evidence that they’re wrong, your laughter is more than a bit foolish.

  636. #636 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    634: So what was the purpose of your comment?

    While I don’t argue that atheism is a faith, a common argument made as to why it isn’t is that atheism is devoid of belief — that it’s a mere lack of belief. That argument, at least as it relates to the favored/standard definition, is patently false.

  637. #637 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    Robocop #626.

    Well, that was… long.

    But many atheists want to avoid that discussion altogether and presume that the argument is already decided and to accuse theists (usually Christians) of dishonesty for not having yielded to their favored definition. This thread provides evidence of such behavior.

    Bullshit. You may decide that’s what it provides because it lends you a platform from which you could launch that diatribe of yours. What a small part of this thread (which is in fact two threads) provides is a very brief debate with doofus modder that atheism is not faith.

    Where in that screed of yours do you conclusively show otherwise?

  638. #638 SEF
    January 8, 2010

    @ 975robocop #626:

    Traditionally, theism and atheism are seen as poles on a continuum where agnosticism occupies a middle ground.

    No, agnosticism is on a separate axis – of how well you can know something, not what that “knowledge” is (ie gods or no gods). Agnostics used to be people who believed that god(s) did exist but that it was impossible to know his/their nature.

    So, agnostic atheist is the default position (encompassing both axes).

  639. #639 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 8, 2010

    Modder @569, Ah yes, scratch a creationist and a climate denialist bleeds (not a bad thing, mind you).

    Let’s look at your beloved “climategate” Modderfucker. A hacker broke into an email server at East Anglia University and stole well over a decades worth of email. A decade of email for a whole department–that’s a lot of email. But then, for some reason, they decided to release only 50 MB. Hmm, now why would that be. And what is more the emails released are isolated single emails divorced from their context and conversation. The released emails were specifically selected to make it appear as if there was something untoward going on. And yet, every independent review, including one by Associated Press, found no evidence of any serious wrongdoing. None. Pettiness? Sure. Injudicious language? Yup. Frustration with and disparagement of denialists? You betcha! But no manipulation of data or the peer review process, no questionable scientific behavior. Bupkis.

    So what we have here is a situation where even given a release of an edited set of emails selected specifically to raise doubt, only the most jaundiced of eyes can find any suggestion of wrongdoing.

    And what is more, as Leigh and others have pointed out–there’s absolutely no effect on the mountains of evidence that tell us we are irreversibly altering the climate of the only known habitable planet!

    So Modder, I’m afraid you will have to find some explanation of the utter failure of anti-science types like you to have any impact in science. One could posit lack of intelligence, but I suspect that not all creationist/denialists are as dumb as you are. No, I figure that the utter ineffectiveness of creationists in biology/geology and of denialists in climate science arises because you don’t have anything constructive to add. Your refusal to examine evidence critically leads you to reject critical ideas for understanding the phenomena under study.

    What is more, since science is about evidence, and you guys refuse to acknowledge evidence, and because none of you have any authority because of your woeful failure to contribute anything useful to the discussion, any “debate” between scientists and anti-science types will inevitably degenerate into name-calling and character assassination.

    So, PZ is actually being nice by declining yall’s invitation to debate. It saves him the trouble and you the embarassment of having him tell you to fuck off in person. Have a nice life.

  640. #640 MrFire
    January 8, 2010

    Indeed, Martin could be in error as to what the favored/standard definition of atheism is. So could Flew. And the OED. And the Cambridge Dictionary. And the Stanford Encyclopedia. And the Skeptic’s Dictionary. And….

    Tired semantic sophistry games. I don’t know where you’re going with this. We’re not at odds with dictionaries here. I don’t ‘believe’ in the absence of gods in the same way that theists ‘believe’ in gods. I ‘believe’ in the absence of gods the same way I ‘believe’ in gravity. No article of faith there, no trusting in things unseen; just an induction based upon the information I have before me. And if I had no information to process, if the hypothesis had never been presented to me, I would similarly have no belief in gods. You say so as much yourself @626 in your ridiculous attempt at some kind of reductio ad absurdum:

    Pursuant to such a rubric, anyone without a current god-belief ?- like a Christian sleeping or thinking about something else, someone who is mentally ill, a baby, or even a rock -? is an atheist.

  641. #641 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    January 8, 2010

    Robocop,

    OK, I am an agnostic, so I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, I would suggest that atheism can run over a broad spectrum. To see this, it may help to look at the issue from a Bayesian point of view. Certainly, we can all agree that the question of the existence or nonexistence of any particular deity cannot be settled with empirical evidence.

    One could be an atheist by simply asserting he believed there is no god. He would in effect be assigning a probability of zero to the existence of said deity. If this were the case, no amount of evidence would convince him. He would find some other way to explain it. That is a faith.

    It is quite another thing to simply say that deities are one of many things for which we have zero evidence. And why should one have to take a position on something for which there is simply no evidence? Why not simply “not believe” in the deity. In this case, one doesn’t even assign a prior probability to the existence of said deity. That is not a “belief” or a “faith”, and it certainly is not a religion. It is merely a recognition that even Maximum Entropy won’t allow you to pick out a Prior for that one–and that’s why Pascal’s wager is bunk.

    My wager is that most of the atheists here would fall into the latter category–their a-the-ism is the same as Knockgoats a-leprechaun-ism.

  642. #642 Hurin
    January 8, 2010

    What does it mean “to value the truth” if what you believe in is evidently false ?

    It means you are in denial.

    My initial point was related to the difference between people who earnestly want to believe that the Bible is true (probably overgeneralized as “fundy”), and people who will try to tell you that believing is useful because it makes them feel good. Both of these types are in denial. It seems to me that the former kind is more in denial, because they don’t like the idea of entertaining “useful” falsehoods.

    I also don’t like the idea of entertaining useful falsehoods. I would tell you that’s because I value the truth, but I dropped the Bible when it started to look like a book of falsehood, so your pointed questions about what it actually means to value the truth are valid.

    What I am getting at is that a lot of the fundies seem distinctly more uncomfortable with the idea that their holy book might be a bunch of crap, than a lot of the “mainline Christians”, who are always babbling about how “useful” it is and how it “makes you a better person” to believe the stuff. I’ll drop any claims about valuing truth since I’m not here to lawyer for Christians of any stripe.

    BTW, its “Hurin” not “Hurlin”. Its a Tolkien reference.

  643. #643 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    640: Tired semantic sophistry games. I don’t know where you’re going with this.

    I’m more inclined to think it’s aspiring to precision and accuracy rather than sophistry. Does atheism include a denial or is it entirely passive? The traditional view is that a denial is required. Many atheists today want a broader definition. Possible reasons include a simple belief that it’s the better definition, a desire to inflate numbers, an effort to avoid a proof burden, or some combination thereof. There may be others I’m not thinking of. As for where I’m going with this, this spat is a pet peeve of mine. I also find the irony delicious that there are so many dogmatic assertions about what the real definition of atheism is that are so ignorant of the actual evidence. These are often made — not surprisingly — by those who proclaim the strongest possible commitment to evidence.

  644. #644 KOPD42
    January 8, 2010

    robocrap:
    I don’t think you understand why I was laughing.

  645. #645 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    Certainly, we can all agree that the question of the existence or nonexistence of any particular deity cannot be settled with empirical evidence. – a_ray_in_dilbert_space [emphasis added]

    No we can’t! I specifically stated that it is my atheism with respect to gods in general that parallels my aleprechaunism. The existence of evil is extremely strong evidence against the existence of an omnipotent and benevolent god; conversely the existence of good is extremely strong evidence against the existence of an omnipotent and malevolent one. Many gods have specific, testable claims made for them, so their non-existence at least can be established empirically. However, there can by definition be no empirical evidence against the existence of an omnipotent and infinitely shy god, whose purpose is to conceal its existence.

  646. #646 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “I also find the irony delicious that there are so many dogmatic assertions about what the real definition of atheism is that are so ignorant of the actual evidence”

    You’re really going out of your way to look for proof of hypocrisy, aren’t you?

    There’s no evidence for or against a definition of a word. Words are human constructs. Do you not understand the difference between seeking evidence of objective reality, which goes on whether or not we find that evidence, and changing the definition of words, which only mean what we as humans say they mean?

  647. #647 TheBlackCat
    January 8, 2010

    @ 975robocop: First, I am going to call you out on quote-mining. You say:

    Even the Skeptic?s Dictionary concedes the point: ?Atheism is traditionally defined as disbelief in the existence of God. As such, atheism involves active rejection of belief in the existence of God.?

    What it really says is this:

    Atheism is traditionally defined as disbelief in the existence of God. As such, atheism involves active rejection of belief in the existence of God. This definition does not capture the atheism of many atheists, which is based on an indifference to the issue of God’s existence. There is a difference between disbelief in all gods and no belief in God. I’m not sure there is even any meaning to the former.

    (emphasis added)

    Second, if you are so hung up on the original use, technically everyone is atheist because in the original use atheist referred to anyone who denied the existence of the pagan gods. So Christians are atheists, and were commonly referred to as such initially (or the Greek or Latin version of the word). So your argument from the original use of the word is pretty silly.

  648. #648 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    Does atheism include a denial or is it entirely passive?

    If (theoretically) a person is raised with no knowledge whatsoever of god and no concept of religion, is that person an atheist? Is active denial required in this instance?

  649. #649 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    641: I am an agnostic, so I don’t have a dog in this fight.

    I don’t either, particularly because I am generally sympathetic to the idea that adherents of a particular viewpoint ought to be able to define what it is and what it means (it’s off-topic, but I react strongly to claims made by atheists as to what faith really is, in part at least, for this very reason). I tried to be careful to emphasize what the favored/standard definition is rather than make a claim as to what the better definition is. I also think your Bayesian continuum idea has merit (though I confess to a far less than good understanding of Bayesian statistics — I found Unwin’s The Probability of God fairly interesting, however).

  650. #650 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    647: First, I am going to call you out on quote-mining.

    Like Martin, the Skeptic’s Dictionary has a preferred definition which doesn’t comport with the standard definition. Since I make no claim as to what definition <1>ought to be used, it wasn’t quote-mining to omit it.

    [I]f you are so hung up on the original use….

    I’m indifferent to original use and am well aware of why Socrates was put to death. My point relates to the standard/favored definition. So your argument based upon the original use of the word is pretty silly.

    648: If (theoretically) a person is raised with no knowledge whatsoever of god and no concept of religion, is that person an atheist?

    By the standard definition, no. Similarly, babies aren’t atheists and I, while watching the Chargers and not considering these matters at all, don’t (magically?) morph from Christian to atheist.

  651. #651 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    As for where I’m going with this, this spat is a pet peeve of mine. – robocrap

    *yawn*

    Yes, robocrap, we’ve noticed that you have the kind of petty, limited mentality that believes debates about the meaning of words are important. Most words (like “atheist”), have a range of related meanings, and what is important is not to use words outside this range (because that is misleading), and to be willing to distinguish within this range where necessary, for clarity. For most purposes, it doesn’t matter in the least whether you define atheism as “lack of belief in gods” or “believe that there are no gods”: both states of belief can be expected to have much the same effects on behaviour.

  652. #652 MrFire
    January 8, 2010

    I’m more inclined to think it’s aspiring to precision and accuracy rather than sophistry.

    Yeah but this argument can’t be settled with a dictionary. As Rutee points out, it’s a word, not an arbiter of reality.

    Does atheism include a denial or is it entirely passive? The traditional view is that a denial is required.

    Ok. I do not possess a belief in gods, and will not entertain or muse upon the notion that there are, until convincing evidence comes along. How would you classify me? A Schrodinger’s theist? I don’t know if you’re trying to say “There’s no such thing as a real atheist” here, but if you are, what’s the point? And if you’re not, what are you trying to say?

    Many atheists today want a broader definition. Possible reasons include a simple belief that it’s the better definition,

    Would you have a problem with this in of itself?

    a desire to inflate numbers,

    That’s not the atheist dogma as I understand it, but I’ll pay a visit to atheist HQ during my teabreak and get back to you.

    an effort to avoid a proof burden

    No more burden to prove there is a god than there is to prove that there are no leprechauns, as Knockgoats pointed out.

  653. #653 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    robocop –

    the argument that started this whole debate was idiot modder asserting that atheism = faith.

    You have come in and decided to change the facet of the discussion into a semantic quibble over definition, for reasons only you know…

    We get it, and we’ve heard it from you before… except that there was no need for your rant here.

    Atheism is not faith, that was the argument and you are not arguing against that position (as far as I can tell)… so wtf??

    Just move on already.

  654. #654 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    I found Unwin’s The Probability of God fairly interesting, however – robocrap

    You will persist in providing further evidence of your idiocy, won’t you?

  655. #655 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Just move on already.

    Amen Brother.

  656. #656 David Marjanovi?
    January 8, 2010

    And I was surprised to see him even assert (in a thread from summer 2009) that he “doesn’t buy any of the God proofs”.

    Although since he was contradicting himself a lot, it’s possible he got confused.

    :-D

    However, I’m not surprised at all. The idea is widespread over here that a god that could be proved would be a rather miserable being ? puny enough to be grasped by the puny minds of Puny Humans?, as opposed to infinite, omnimax, and ineffable. In fact, there are teachers of Catholic religion that hold to it.

    And despite Plantinga’s status as a philosopher, his evolutionary argument against naturalism doesn’t really make the case against being a naturalist, beliefs can be tested by intelligent evolved agents as we are.

    But no, Plantinga goes on: how can you test anything without trusting your imperfect senses and your monkey brain unless God guarantees your perceptions and thoughts are reliable?

    That’s because Plantinga doesn’t know about evolutionary epistemology ? the idea that those whose senses and reasoning faculties were too unreliable have all already died out because reality killed them. “Status as a philosopher” my ass.

    And I also remind you of John Knight who argued that the problem of induction

    Fuck the pseudoproblem of induction. Why do I think the sun will rise tomorrow? Not because I induce it from previous observations ? I don’t. Instead, I deduce it from the laws of physics (gravity, conservation of impulse, etc. etc. etc.) and the fact that if anything planet-sized were to come along before tomorrow morning and mess with the Earth’s rotation and/or orbit, we’d already have detected it.

    And that, to an extent, is fine with me; by that logic their god, if he exists, doesn’t want me to believe in him – and if he is, as they claim, just, he therefore can’t punish me for doing so.

    I’m pretty sure Calvin considered him to be a jackass.

    You mean he loved Big Brother and believed everyone should?

    But God, being all good, could not have been the source of the evil in the human heart.

    So where did the evil come from?

    heddle says “I don’t know”, and refuses to discuss the matter any further.

    Strange that he doesn’t take it one step further. After all, God could just create evil ex nihilo, as Isaiah 45:1?7 says:

    45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
    45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
    45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
    45:4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
    45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
    45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
    45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    Of course that would raise the question “why does God create evil?”, and heddle would again have to retreat to ineffability.

    they’re called emotions, and yes, we all have them. I cry at Hubble images, certain pieces of music and any story with love across time and space as the theme

    ?though? most of us have emotions that aren’t that easy to trigger that far. Or at least not the same ones. Crying? At a Hubble image? I just sit and stare and stare and stare, trying to discover more and more in the detailed picture?

    You may find my God rather pink and fluffy, completely silly, heretical, or merely the product of brain farts I’m too naive to properly evaluate. That’s okay by me; I like him a lot

    But what makes you think he’s likable? What makes you think he’s “pink and fluffy”? What makes you think you’ve understood him that far? Where do you take that knowledge from?

    That’s what I don’t get. I don’t understand why you think the belief system you (and I) like best is the most likely* one to be true.

    Sure, I don’t need to understand it, as you demonstrate beautifully in comment 568. But I’m a scientist. I want to understand it anyway. :-)

    * Pun intended.

    so I guess we’re each following our own path successfully.

    You are following a path. I’m not. <broad grin> Indeed, I have yet to see evidence there is a path in the first place!

    Surely you have evolved more than that.

    That word? it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    I was under the impression that you were some or other world leader (otherwise you wouldn’t be one of the main attractions at the Atheist Convention in Oz)

    :-D

    Apologies for the snide nature of the following, but no wonder at age 52 you still haven’t received a full professorship.

    Dude, how many full professorships in development biology did you believe there are in the world?

    Then to all the atheists who say that theirs is not a faith/religion. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (despite what you may think, the actual authority on the English language)

    FAIL.

    The OED is a descriptive dictionary, not a prescriptive one. It records usage instead of making it up and ordering people to imitate it.

    Random fact: Did you know the OED is a historical dictionary, which means that the first sense given for any word is the one that is attested first, no matter if it even survives at all?

    as Catholics do.
    (The Nicene Creed, basically[.|)

    Where I come from, Catholics recite the Apostolic Creed in Sunday mass, and the very lengthy Nicene one (which basically alludes to every single heresy that had occurred till then) only at Easter. Oh, and, “of the body” doesn’t occur in the Apostolic one at least in German.

    So you have different theories of word formation.

    You don’t even get the meaning of the word theory right. A theory is something bigger!

    Concerning Climategategate (the scandalous quote-mining of hacked e-mails), it has been discussed all over ScienceBlogs (not just this one blog) throughout December. Go and read.

    And my results differed from what was widely expected. Got some flak at a conference in August where I presented the results because I made the wrong people look good.

    And? As long as you managed to defend your results, I don’t see a problem.

    Finally someone has offered some specifics about God. Now if you will just tell us where to point the spectroscope so we can test this hypothesis …

    :-D :-D :-D

    Day saved. :-)

    Accordingly, a Christian who doesn?t claim certainty (who doesn?t claim to know — which should be all of us — is also an agnostic.

    And indeed, agnostic believers exist. They’re called fideists.

  657. #657 MrFire
    January 8, 2010

    Me @652:

    No more burden to prove there is a no god than there is to prove that there are no leprechauns, as Knockgoats pointed out.

    Ach, now that line means something.

  658. #658 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    651: Most words (like “atheist”), have a range of related meanings, and what is important is not to use words outside this range (because that is misleading), and to be willing to distinguish within this range where necessary, for clarity.

    Modder was challenged based upon a non-standard and disfavored use of a word. Since that challenge doesn’t follow using the standard/favored definition, the claim was and remains highly misleading, even though (in my view) a refutation is acheivable on other grounds.

    652: As Rutee points out, it’s a word, not an arbiter of reality.

    I’m not as sure Humpty Dumpty was right as you seem to be.

  659. #659 Louis
    January 8, 2010

    Oh for gibbering hairy fuck’s sake:

    Words, people, are not magical. Their definitions depend on context and can be (shock, horror, quick fetch the fainting couch and smelling salts) altered by the user.

    It’s trivially obvious that if a user of a word wishes to be understood by others then they had either a) better use that word in a manner, and with a definition, that is commonly recognised or that they can refer to, or b) define the word they are using very clearly and unambiguously.

    Read the philosophy surrounding and about atheism, theism, deism etc etc etc and you will find the word “atheism” used in both the sense of “lack of belief” and “belief of lack”. In the sense of “lack of belief” it’s (again) trivially obvious that babies are atheists, they lack a belief in a deity. Mind you babies lack anything other than an appreciation of fodder, faeces and immediate family! Moving the line from “god: general” to “god: specific”, it’s trivially obvious (again) that christians (or jews, sikhs, hindus, muslims etc etc etc) are “atheist” with regards to, say, Thor, i.e. they lack a belief in Thor (they may even actively believe in a lack of Thor).

    But so what? This isn’t some atheist inclusiveness, this is a simple recognition of a specific state. This fact doesn’t swell the ranks of atheists, it is merely a very simple refutation of the (oft heard) claim by certain theists that babies are members of a religion from birth or that atheists are somehow a breed apart. Someone ignorant of a specific religion’s deity is obviously an atheist with respect to that deity. It is hardly the same species of “atheism” as that of an informed adult who has considered the available evidence and philosophy and come to a conclusion either that god(s) do(es) not exist or that they do not believe in god(s). Getting one’s panties in a bunch about this is nonsensical simply because if *this* is where the debate is, then the debate, such as it is, is epically fucking stupid.

    Luckily, the atheism/theism debate is not tangled up in trading definitions of words or attempts to appeal to common prejudice. It’s rooted in the much more satisfying areas of epistemology and formal logic.

    {takes a big drink}

    Sorry, but the asinine word games of the perpetually benighted annoy the living piss out of me. And yes, I know that that and many other things make me a bad person! ;-)

    Louis

  660. #660 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    Modder was challenged based upon a non-standard and disfavored use of a word. – robocrap

    Where? I may have missed it, but I don’t see a challenge to Modder that depended on the “no believe in gods” sense of atheism.

    BTW, it is highly “non-standard” to use either “religion” or “faith” in a sense that includes atheism, however defined – indeed, it is simply a currently fashionable Christian rhetorical device. How odd that that did not evoke your wrath.

  661. #661 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “652: As Rutee points out, it’s a word, not an arbiter of reality.

    I’m not as sure Humpty Dumpty was right as you seem to be.”

    You’re going to argue that we as humans created words and chose their definitions? That their definitions change with time, and as culture changes (Example: Negro. Racial Slur in Merika, absolutely bog standard word for the color Black in the Spanish-speaking world)?

  662. #662 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    Louis (#659), you make an excellent point but for one major problem. If you visit a predominantly atheist discussion board, in my experience if someone even suggests the possibility that atheism includes a denial, the hordes will descend not to claim that it’s a bad suggestion. Instead, they will suggest that it’s a demonstrably false and pernicious suggestion. A representative example of a dogmatic claim that atheism doesn’t include a denial can be seen here (with related links).

  663. #663 SteveM
    January 8, 2010

    Modder, in what version of English is it possible that “without belief” means the same as “with belief”? If you are without something, how can you be said to have that something?

    robocop,

    as was already pointed out, agnosticism is not the wishy-washy middle ground between theism and atheism. like light and darkness, theism and atheism are not two competing belief systems, but the quality of either possessing one or not. To use Augustine’s metaphor about good and evil, there is no “source” of darkness the way that there is a source of light. Dark is just the absence of the light. Atheism is the lack of theism.

    Agnosticism is not simply being undecided about whether you believe. It is a philosophy about whether it is possible to know anything about god at all. Agnosticism is the oppposite of Gnosticism which believes it is possible to “know” God directly (and without priestly intervention). Agnostics believe that the existence (or non-existence) of god cannot be known by man.

    These are two different things entirely, the first (theism/atheism) is whether or not you believe god exists, the second (gnosticism) is whether or not it is possible to know (not just believe) that god exists.

  664. #664 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Bobocop just cannot get his little pointed head around the idea that the reason why atheists dislike the use of denial is because it implies that a big sky daddy exists and that atheists are denying it’s existence. It is very funny when used by Terry Pratchett in his Discworld novels but really annoying when someone is serious about it.

  665. #665 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    If you visit a predominantly atheist discussion board, in my experience if someone even suggests the possibility that atheism includes a denial, the hordes will descend not to claim that it’s a bad suggestion. Instead, they will suggest that it’s a demonstrably false and pernicious suggestion. A representative example of a dogmatic claim that atheism doesn’t include a denial can be seen here (with related links).

    Which has fuck-all to do with what w.r.t. this discussion, initiated by modder, that atheism = faith?

    Christ on a cracker, robocop, are you saying you came in here looking for a semantic throwdown because some other thread on some other blog got your knickers in a wad?

    The point that is trying to be made here, over and over again, is that the only person all that concerned about the word-games regarding the “One True DefinitionTM” of atheism is apparently you. The rest of us are just annoyed by it.

  666. #666 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 8, 2010

    Fine then. I’m not an atheist.

    I’m a “Up to this point I’ve seen exactly shit-all as far as anything coming even remotely close to suggesting there is a higher power and so following that I have no reason to think there is one. However should anything amazing come about that is strong evidence for a higher power I’ll take it into consideration.ist”

  667. #667 975robocop
    January 8, 2010

    660: Where? I may have missed it, but I don’t see a challenge to Modder that depended on the “no believe in gods” sense of atheism.

    Every challenge which claimed that atheism couldn’t be a faith because atheism is, by definition, a mere lack of belief fits the bill. My favorite was the one I quoted (“just like Sir Patrick Stewart’s hair colour is bald, or the reason there’s a complete absence of stamps from my house is that my hobby is not collecting them,” but “IT’S THE NULL FUCKING HYPOTHESIS” was very good too).

    BTW, it is highly “non-standard” to use either “religion” or “faith” in a sense that includes atheism, however defined – indeed, it is simply a currently fashionable Christian rhetorical device. How odd that that did not evoke your wrath.

    My wrath wasn’t necessary as that point had been amply conveyed by others.

    661: You’re going to argue that we as humans created words and chose their definitions? That their definitions change with time, and as culture changes (Example: Negro. Racial Slur in Merika, absolutely bog standard word for the color Black in the Spanish-speaking world)?

    No. But I would argue that dictionaries serve both descriptive and prescriptive purposes.

    664: Bobocop just cannot get his little pointed head around the idea that the reason why atheists dislike the use of denial is because it implies that a big sky daddy exists and that atheists are denying it’s existence.

    I have no objection to your dislike and no objection to your use of and arguing for your preferred definition. My objection is to misrepresenting that definition as standard and dispositive.

  668. #668 Walton
    January 8, 2010

    I’m not as sure Humpty Dumpty was right as you seem to be.

    “Glory” means “a nice knock-down argument”, indeed.

  669. #669 SteveM
    January 8, 2010

    re 666:

    Congrats, BDC on getting the perfect comment number for that!

  670. #670 Knockgoats
    January 8, 2010

    robocrap,

    Atheism is your faith. – Modder

    Yes, just like Sir Patrick Stewart’s hair colour is bald, or the reason there’s a complete absence of stamps from my house is that my hobby is not collecting them. – Wowbagger

    Wowbagger does not specify what he means by atheism in that comment, nor do the words imply the meaning you stigmatise as “non-standard”; it would only do so if you claim that all beliefs are faith – and I’m doubtful even you can be that dim. Nor does “ITS THE NULL FUCKING HYPOTHESIS” rely on a meaning of atheism that excludes belief that there are no gods, although this does use “NULL HYPOTHESIS” in a way that does not conform to formal scientific use: “default hypothesis” would be better. That there are no gods is indeed the default hypothesis, just as is the case for leprechauns: in general, if someone claims that a particular type of entity exists, we ask for evidence: in the absence of evidence, we might say that we do not believe in such entities, or that we believe there are no such entities, and in the general case, no-one will quibble about the difference.

  671. #671 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    My objection is to misrepresenting that definition as standard and dispositive.

    Allow me to channel MAJeff…

    fap-fap-fap….

  672. #672 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Yawn, Robocrock is still a boring fool, without any physical evidence for his imaginary deity. His deity is like the Higg’s particle, still spectulative. One can’t be in denial over what doesn’t have evidence of existence. However, with the LHC ramping up, the evidence for the Higg’s particle might be found. The same can’t be said for Robocrock’s deity, which is vaporware.

  673. #673 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    January 8, 2010

    Allow me to channel a kakapo…

    flap-flap-flap…

  674. #674 Celtic_Evolution
    January 8, 2010

    Janine –

    Heh. that made me laugh unexpectedly loudly… I’m not entirely sure why.

  675. #675 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “No. But I would argue that dictionaries serve both descriptive and prescriptive purposes.”

    Would you argue that it’s absolute?

  676. #676 Sastra
    January 8, 2010

    Owlmirror #540 wrote:

    Still, for the “Sweetness and Light and No-Bad-Consequences” sort of God, it occurs to me that one might rebut them with a sort of reverse Pascal’s Wager:

    One might do this, but one won’t: people who believe in the “Sweetness and Light and No-Bad-Consequences” sort of God, virtually never bring up Pascal’s Wager — at least, not the wager where Hell is involved. If they believe in Hell, then they don’t believe in the Sweetness God.

    If they make a wager at all, it would be “why not try acting as if you believe in God, and see if this doesn’t help you start to believe in God, and see if this doesn’t start to make you a better person, which will make you believe in God even more.”

    The value of believing in God is taken as a practical matter, and isn’t seen as God’s test for salvation.

  677. #677 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    John Morales asked me:

    I take it then you don’t consider any other belief could have achieved what change you’ve experienced since picking a religion.

    Not at all. I feel quite sure that the Baha’i faith, gentle and loving as it is and full of spiritual discipline, would have been very efficacious. Buddhism, also, can lead to enlightenment for a devoted practitioner. A UU church would have been a good place for me.

    As Bahá?u?lláh said, ?The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.?

    Unfortunately, in deep East Texas I would have been quite alone in those spiritual practices, and I find it’s helpful to have guidance and company along the path.

  678. #678 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    January 8, 2010

    Louis (#659), you make an excellent point but for one major problem. If you visit a predominantly atheist discussion board, in my experience if someone even suggests the possibility that atheism includes a denial, the hordes will descend not to claim that it’s a bad suggestion. Instead, they will suggest that it’s a demonstrably false and pernicious suggestion. A representative example of a dogmatic claim that atheism doesn’t include a denial can be seen here (with related links).

    Well, probably because ‘the hoards’ are aware that strong atheism – the active denial of gods – is a positive claim that has to be supported as such.

    I think that you will find that the majority of atheists tend to be of a softer sort – no belief because of insufficient evidence to believe rather then active belief in the opposite.

    HOWEVER you can be a strong atheist with regards to specific gods whilst holding a weaker position generally. Certainly that’s how I look at things, when not describing myself as an ignostic apathist

  679. #679 Sastra
    January 8, 2010

    Wowbagger #541 wrote:

    That isn’t, however, the way heddle and the Calvinists see it – they see it as neither a choice nor the result of a rational process; they claim to believe because their god changed them into believers. They’ve found a few verses that support this and that’s enough for them. And that, to an extent, is fine with me; by that logic their god, if he exists, doesn’t want me to believe in him – and if he is, as they claim, just, he therefore can’t punish me for doing so.

    It’s not all that fine, I think. The Calvinist interpretation of God’s “justice” isn’t going to fit in with this happy view, because they define it as “whatever God does” — and so it needn’t meet any human concept of “fairness.” God is allowed to “punish” unsaved mankind for doing what it cannot help but do on the principle that 1.) He is the Boss and 2.) there’s nothing morally unjust about flushing a toilet. The damned are basically plot devices.

  680. #680 David Marjanovi?
    January 8, 2010

    I would argue that dictionaries serve both descriptive and prescriptive purposes.

    Oh man. That stopped in the 1950s or something.

  681. #681 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 8, 2010

    “The damned are basically plot devices.”

    Ah, the Left Behind principle.

  682. #682 Sastra
    January 8, 2010

    robocop #643 wrote:

    The traditional view is that a denial is required. Many atheists today want a broader definition. Possible reasons include a simple belief that it’s the better definition, a desire to inflate numbers, an effort to avoid a proof burden, or some combination thereof. There may be others I’m not thinking of.

    I generally avoid getting into semantic debates on what terms like “atheism” and “agnosticism” really mean, because, like most philosophical terms, the meanings are flexible and varied. Plus, I’m tired of them.

    But, aside from habits of clarity, atheists often care about the definitions because they are trying to preempt 3 all-too- common bad arguments:
    1.) Everybody is born believing in God.
    2.) God exists, and atheists are denying a known fact.
    3.) Atheists are positive that God can’t exist, and wouldn’t believe no matter what.

    If you don’t make these bad arguments because you can see they’re bad, I wouldn’t worry too much about why atheists feel the need to argue against their semantic tricks.

  683. #683 Leigh Williams
    January 8, 2010

    Rutee, it is impossible to number all the evils of Ellenjay’s craptastic series (although Fred’s doing a heroic deed of cleaning the stables over at Slacktivist.

    But one thing I’ve noticed is that in Apocalyptic Fundyworld, people are merely plot devices. That’s as true for the alleged good guys as it is for the damned.

    Some are toilet paper, and some are shit, but really everyone is flushable.