Dramatic readings of message-board posts about atheism from Christian fundamentalist message boards

If Atheists Ruled the World -- four minutes of dramatic readings from choice selections in various fundamentalist Christian online forums (see here for more).

If Atheists Ruled the World

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  1. Remember people. This is more a knocking of silly Fundies than the religion they belong to.

    Now, continue with your discussions.

  2. of course… fish in a barrel as usual, but amusing at some level and an important caution at another. Even allowing for the actor’s dramatic excesses, it is always alarming to realize the depths of unjustified hatred the fanatical will muster against people they’ve never met.

    What then is the sovereign can-opener for prying free a closed mind? Instead of taking the usual guilty pleasures in mocking the willfully ignorant, can anyone offer methods for education?

  3. Boy: Do not try to make the fundamentalist tolerant; that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Boy: There is no fundamentalist.
    Neo: There is no fundamentalist?
    Boy: Then you will see, it is not the fundamentalist that becomes tolerant, it is only yourself.

  4. As a dude who’s been in these forums a lot… this is exactly what they’re like. It’s a good time.

  5. #3 Takuan – Religious belief and faith are by definition irrational, so ontologically it’s not something you can argue people out of.

    Clearly the best tactics would be emotional, like mockery. The guilty pleasure lets you know it’s working.

  6. We’re told to beware the scary terrorists, to look for any sign that the people around us in our everyday lives might be trying to promote hatred. Here is hatred, here is ignorance, but are there going to be warnings about extremist christians on the evening news? Of course not. These kinds of people MAY be living in your neighborhood, just don’t expect them all to have a beard and turban.

  7. I’ve spent probably too much time doing my own impromptu dramatic readings of these exact same quotes. I always leave the spelling/punctuation errors in, though, so mine are a little less intelligible.

  8. When wearing my black atheist robes, which is mostly a comfort thing, really, I do make a rule of never nailing Christians to big X’es, unless I can make a lineup with representatives from all religions. Fair must be fair.

    Somehow I doubt, that people making statements like those dramatized in the video, will be any more interested in having their mind opened, than I would be in having mine tied down.

    A discussion I once had, with a Christian who definitely did not believe in evolution, though I hesitate to label him fundamentalist, showed me I cannot make any assumptions. Having spent a few minutes explaining the overlying principles of evolution, he interrupted me and said, “Wait. What you’re describing here is Survival of the Fittest. I understand how that works. What I have a problem with, is evolution.”
    It turned out that the only thing evolution represented to him, was mankind’s progression from ape to human. Being such a fervent opponent of evolution, I has assumed he at least knew what he was opposing.

  9. I only have one question for the true atheist… what do you call out during really good sex? “Oh darwin”?

    but seriously… I’m a “christian” a nostic christian to be sure but still I’m not on the fence… and thou I have met those who have shut their minds to reality… I’m not one of them… there are a few things that happen in this world that tell me that there is more out there…. but nothing to tell me that we did not evolve… only problem with this thought is that I fear we are currently de-evolving… going backwards from any real progress…

    I also see those who have shut their minds on both sides of the fence… an open mind is the key to life… and people with closed minds are very easy to control… and that holds true for everyone…

  10. RIDL, this is the video I was telling you about this morning. I totally forgot to forward it to you.

    Thanks for saving my butt, BB!

  11. The strangest/funniest thing that pops up repeatedly in the christian fundamentalist diatribes is the sense that religion imposes a morality which is otherwise absent in the world. Atheists are all obviously perverted criminals because the fear of hell does not perturb them from evil doings. I find this assertion the strangest to understand and suspect it can only come from a deeply entrenched religious upbringing where this sort of thing is repeatedly taught. Perhaps the concept of humanism and the existence of many similar societal laws across diverse cultures needs to be explicitly introduced in schools.

  12. #9 You cant really de-evolve but I think I get what you mean, your worried people are becoming stupider? I thought that for a while to but that’s going off a pretty big predisposition that previous generations where actually smarter. Its probably just now the combination of our daily observation and the ease it is with technology and the internet to see other peoples thoughts that a majority of the human population is and probably has always been pretty damn stupid, manipulatable, unquestioning and aggressive when confronted with difference or change. Technology, math, science, foundations good literature art and music seem to have always been built on an incredibly small minority and regularly meet with defiance from the majority. Bit sad but what can you do? But kind of like you said, if we can recognize our ignorance the next step is the will to grow.

    (PS. I call my self an atheist but honestly that is in reference to the disbelief in any western and most eastern concepts of god. While I have belief and thoughts on something greater I hate using the term god because the subject is mostly likely a very very different concept then recognized in religion)

  13. @13 It’s a feature of the Calvinist resurgence in American Baptist churches. One of the core Calvinist doctrines is that of depravity: because of the fall we’re all utterly corrupted by sin, and it’s only God’s choice to intervene that saves us. So it makes sense from their perspective, even though it has no bearing on reality.

  14. concept: win

    implementation: fail

    points for making a good effort though. I’d suggest that quite a majority of humans have beliefs they hold on to, and don’t like having questioned. How many ideas does the average person hold which are technically incorrect, but which help them construct a reality/belief system that makes it easier to get through the day. Should we all spend the time it takes to verify Every thing we believe in? What do we gain by this, individually and as a species? Is there a desire in Every person to be fully actualised and have every concept personally held dear lifted for intense scrutiny?

    If I believe that Metric is better than Imperial, am I more wrong if I live in the US than somewhere else in the world?

    Just as some people prefer to use French or Italian words to describe aspects of food, some people prefer to use religious concepts to explain their worldview and take on morality. Some questions are better answered using science, some not. Some questions cannot (yet?) be answered by science, and so sometimes we hypothesize answers that comfort us.

    Every community should take care not to allow its members to hold onto dangerous dogmatic ideals, but what about the ones that aren’t dangerous? And who gets to make that decision?

  15. i dont want to get into this one AT ALL –
    but ide like to point out that not all Atheists completely believe in “evolution”

    and also that the THEORIES of evolution and natural selection are based on VERIFIABLE OBSERVATIONS in a system that is at least as complicated and mysterious as BIOLOGY itself…

    but i dont want to get into this one…

    cuz i dont think ignorance or intolerance are joking matters ——————————–

  16. Three words: evolution is a lie! (And maybe math, too.)

    “Atheists are all obviously perverted criminals because the fear of hell does not perturb them from evil doings. I find this assertion the strangest to understand…”

    Classic example of argumentum ad hominem- if you disagree with me you are a degenerate, so I win.

    I note the frequent references to atheists as hypocrites, prejudiced, intolerant, etc. I’m guessing those are the criticisms that fundamentalists are most familiar with, so they turn them back outward- sort of like the grade-school taunt “I know you are, but what am I?”

  17. Frightening

    I had always thought that Christians had made the ‘leap of faith’, but remained (as did the biblical Jesus) forgiving and tolerant of others. No evidence of that here.

    I also had hoped for a level of intelligence or analysis; but not as far as I can tell.

    Having said that, it behoves (how biblical is that?) those of us who are not christians to remain respectful, to remain tolerant, and never to forget that it might be us who is wrong.

  18. ackpht — i understand -but i cant even consider it

    brain wont work that way

    i mean im mentally unable to give any kind of validation to it at all – even if it means labeling it and dismissing it –

    there are irrational dogmas – and there are extremists and fundamentalists – but i dont know how to participate –

    because unlike the intolerent – im truly concerned with ALL of humanity —– but as for taking sides, and creating enemies? – thats a kind of insanity whoze plugs should have been pulled a long time ago
    (to me its been dead a long time)

    i dont want to sound like i think im smarter – or like i think i kno better — (and im not this clueless either) – but fuck –
    lets get the grade-school kids to start a game of “red rover” with us – or something – or atleast try

  19. richard – i swear i posted my last post at the same time u posted urs – i swear – on my mothers eyes

  20. as for suggestions —–

    is there anyone that has any basic understanding of biology/geology/cosmology or any one of the environmental forces that surround us —- that can’t admit that there’s some quality of MAGIC to it? isnt that common ground????? arent even the cosmological-theorists and theoretical-physicists beginning to question the very existence of time?
    isnt this also some kind of semi-spiritual common ground? even fringe-neurologists are finding behavioral anomalies and strange qualities of neuron functioning that tend to allude to the presence of some other influence… like maybe… a soul…

    even to me the words God and Soul can make me cringe in the right context – but i dont have any problem with letting christians synthesize their belief into those areas of science that are beginning to approach THE TRUTH

    why does it matter – if in the end everyone understands?

    (am i drunk…?)

  21. “i´m gonna be late because i´m going to smoke pot with my friends since it´s not addictive”

    WTF! Christians do not smoke pot?

  22. The kinda sweet-faced neckbeard actor (third opinion) blinking sorta sassily at the end of his diatribe about how he doesn’t have to understand evolution to disagree with it sorta made me go FFFFUUUU, but then again, that’s the core base of all prejudice in the world, innit?

  23. My first reaction was to laugh at things like “how come we evolved from monkeys if our children are not born monkeys?” and many many preposterous others.

    But then I remembered that someone wrote that, really believing in it, and probably convinced someone with that, or a peer read it and agreed completely, thinking The truth is so Obvious!.

    Then I felt bad, really bad. I mean, sick, nauseous. Sad indeed.

  24. @9 Don’t worry. If you turn atheist, all the cuss words still work just fine. No, I don’t know why.

  25. ignorance isnt funny – but dont let urself get sick about it – *pats nauseous people on the back*

  26. I ask them:

    So, should I talk to a biologist about questions of theology? [There’s a misuse of a suffix if there ever was one!]

    – Of course not!, is the usual answer.

    – So why do you get your knowledge of what evolution is, from your pastor?

    This usually short-circuits the topic. They won’t listen to you, so don’t waste your breath too much.

  27. I have a problem with giving respect to religious beliefs, simply because they’re religious; if the Christian/Muslim/Ra-worship/whatever aspect was removed from the equation, we’d call those that believed it delusional. But no, it’s religious and therefore demanding of my respect somehow.

    Also, #31 – that’s going in my .sig file.

  28. The thing I have always found strange about the crazy end of the Xian spectrum is how hard core they are on the hate, retribution and pronouncing things abominations. Your deutoronomy schtick basically.

    Now I thought that JC the Nazarean Carpenter was New Testament, love and forgiveness, dies for your sins and basically a nice guy with some really good ideas.

    It just seems that the Fundies totally ignore their religions eponymous godling and zero in on the OLD TESTAMENT hate spite and blood letting.

    You’d think there would be a stronger adherence to the good shit that Galillean Chippy taught.

    See the truth is they couldn’t give a f*ck about jesus, they want to kill some people who are deemed wrong by their spittle flecked preachers.

    Gay, Adulterer, whore, wearing 2 differing patterns of cloth at the same time…what ever, as long as they get to define themselves as righteous, washed in the blood of the Sinners not Jesus, they couldn’t care less.

    Incidentally I have found most Xians are pretty much straight forward nice folks who believe in something ridiculous but hey, each to their own.

    The Fundies are not Xians, they are Old Testament maniacs.

    Sorry for getting a bit feisty, but these crazies totally rip my knitting.

  29. sooo… why are atheists always going after christians, and not other religions? Aren’t they all the same in the end? And what’s so wrong with people believing in something that others don’t, or having a different opinion? Aren’t those on the liberal side of the fence supposed to be “tolerant”? Because that side’s “tolerance” isn’t good enough for me.

  30. Spooky, funny, and still true. Living in Grand Rapids MI (World headquarters for the Christian Reformed Church), you run into these people quite often. Some of them you can see coming at you, others look like the hipster types from the vid. and boy oh boy you do not expect to hear that kind of blathering out of trendy youths!

    I tend towards mockery of fundies I can’t help it. There is no discussing these topics, and these are college students! They take their credits, do the work, and don’t believe a word. Very scary, they remind me of the feral cat problem in pre-Katrina New Orleans,,,if there just a few more of us we’ed eat ya.

  31. Genuinely trying to be respectful and open the discussion, NOT trying to be inflammatory. So if I come off that way, I do apologize.

    That being said, don’t you find it ironic that by meeting online and talking about “the crazy Christians” you’re kinda doing the same thing you’re mocking them for doing?

    Listen, here’s the thing: This stuff is funny. Some fundamentalists think that Atheists eat babies and punch the elderly and bathe in virgin’s blood. But some of these comments seem like the very self-righteousness that people constantly accuse Christians of. Don’t they? I mean, am I completely off base in thinking that comments 3, 20, 21, and 30, are kind of condescending to people that believe this?

    “it is always alarming to realize the depths of unjustified hatred the fanatical will muster against people they’ve never met.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    By saying you want to “pry their minds open” or whatever, you have to understand that that is the precise attitude they have towards you. It is two sides of the same coin, and saying “but I’m right” doesn’t make you right. These people want you to see their side just as fervently as you want them to see your side. They want to “liberate” you from your current attitudes and beliefs just as passionately as you want to free them from their “religious shackles.”

    To reduce this to a somewhat cliche concept, why do the “openminded” get to be closedminded to people who are a little more narrow in their beliefs?

  32. Funny, but that looong last one (“why are there two gay men fucking in the bedroom. Oh, I like to watch, honey.”) made the whole thing feel disingenuous–it was obviously a troll post and shouldn’t have been used. When they dramatically use the words of the true believers, its funny and scary and has a certain impact. The last post was just someone goofing on the fundies and garbled the whole thing.

  33. Also, MissJess..

    One reason is that some Christians speak from a position of power (like young white males, they have a priviledged position in society), but talk like they are oppressed by others who want nothing more than to be free from irrelevant Christian rules.

    How would Christians feel if, legally, all food sold had to be kosher/halal? Or blessed by someone else’s god?

    I bet they wouldn’t like it.. Look at the Christian salt guy. Do Christians (specifically as a group) not have scorn’a’plenty for atheism, complex-sexuality, other religions, drug-use, etc?

    And this video pokes fun at wilful (comfortable) ignorance, not just different beliefs.

  34. I think one thing missing here is that atheism isn’t based on -knowing- but rather on the realization that we as humans cannot know and any action prompted by faith alone is illogical. Wasn’t it Voltaire who said it just right: “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

  35. Having said that, it behoves (how biblical is that?) those of us who are not christians to remain respectful, to remain tolerant, and never to forget that it might be us who is wrong.

    It doesn’t behoove me anything of the sort. The intolerant uneducated whack jobs who write this crap are trying to take over the government and the schools. It behooves me to confront them until they are driven back into their holes. Intolerant religions seeking to subvert our governments and schools don’t deserve respect.

    Then there’s this jewel:

    sooo… why are atheists always going after christians, and not other religions? Aren’t they all the same in the end? And what’s so wrong with people believing in something that others don’t, or having a different opinion? Aren’t those on the liberal side of the fence supposed to be “tolerant”? Because that side’s “tolerance” isn’t good enough for me.

    It only looks that way to you, and no I don’t have to be tolerant of assholes.

    First, everyone needs to get this straight: Atheists wouldn’t give a tinkers damn about any of these religions if they would mind their own business; if they could mind their own business, they would be forgotten overnight. But they won’t, they can’t. Their holy books demand they interfere with the lives of those around them.

    Secondly, Christians are a target in the Western World, because they are the largest and most powerful religion in the Western World. They have been struggling to control the lives of the people and their governments for almost two thousand years.

    Now, let me tell you the truth in four words; we are at war. This is an ideological war for freedom from religion and superstition. We are fighting off the last shackles of the Dark Ages. We are fighting for knowledge and against fear and ignorance. These people don’t deserve any more respect than if they were trying to shutdown hospitals, think stem cell research.

    Think of the pope and the recent condom/AIDS controversy. Millions of people are dead because these whack jobs don’t believe in passing out condoms; a position supported by my government and financed with my tax dollars. Fuck Them.

  36. Ah yes, the Christian bigotry at BB continues…
    Strange, look who the author of the subject is. Keep up the good work Cory!

    I’m curious if some of you realize that you are acting in exactly the same ignorant and intolerant way as some of these “Christians” you seem to be so upset about.

    Blessings,
    JIMP

    1. Jesus is my pilot,

      You’ve made five comments on BB and they all say exactly the same thing. If you’d like to participate in the discussion rather than just showing up with a picket sign, contact me about reinstating your account.

  37. First, let me say that I’m not a person of any religious persuasion, and I find the opinions covered in the video to be pretty distasteful, however…

    You keep forgetting to slam cheap money-grabbing Jews.

    You keep forgetting to target the bomb-making Muslims.

    You keep forgetting to mock dance around the tambourine-banging Krishnas.

    You keep forgetting to flame the self-immolating Buddhists.

    How come you only (mostly?) pick out the foibles of Christians? (I’m not a Christian, Jew, or anything else.)

  38. davejohnston “Same thing, but with DailyKos, HotAir, HuffPo, and YouTube nutball commenters please.”
    Better: Boingboing commenters. DailyKos is kooky, but Boinboingers are out of their gourds.

  39. I never comment here, but I was really disappointed to see this. Cherry-picking dumbass comments from fundies specifically so you can ridicule them is not the sort of tack smart atheists should be taking. How difficult would it be to make a video that did just the opposite – hand pick myopic, idiotic quotes from so-called scientifically minded atheists and then dramatically re-enact them as though these were the best arguments non-theists could imagine. SO Clever!

    This is exactly what was wrong with Maher’s Religulous: Smart people shouldn’t find and ridicule the dumbest members of their opposition for humorous effect. It doesn’t provide any real support for your POV, it doesn’t win any new adherents. It just makes people who already agree with you feel good about themselves.

    I wonder why, in a world full of brilliant economists, scientists, philosophers and clergy, We invariably choose to listen to the dumbest arguments from the loudest, most obnoxious, and most egotisitcal among them. This makes us all very dumb. Blind belief in anything, even science, is foolhardy.

    DD

    PS – if you think you’re 100% correct on any aspect of this argument, from any angle, be prepared to re-examine your reasoning.

  40. ‘Aren’t those on the liberal side of the fence supposed to be “tolerant”?’

    Yes. Tolerant of those who do not deal in terms of idealogical perfection (religious or not). Tolerant of those who don’t sacrifice peace, love and brotherhood in the name of… well… anything.

    But some may say, “Certainly these people are not Hitler! Certainly they’re not the murderous Crusaders! Certainly they’re not the 9/11 bombers! And they certainly don’t deserve to be dismissed and shunned because of their choice of religion!”

    Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” If the word of God is used to serve hate be wary of what the seed grows into.

  41. Straw man.
    Religious themed post tend to be inflammatory (read “loooong comments sections) so I’m sorry for the almost certain repetition.

  42. This is the first post I’ve favorited in months.

    There is a fundamental philosophical basis for wondering, if there is no “god” or whatever, then why do we NOT commit whatever immoral acts we so desire. It’s covered in the theories of existentialism. The answer is that morals themselves, ie, values, ie “good and evil” are created by man in the first place (yes, paraphrasing Neitzche). So we atheists create (or retain from our upbringing) OUR OWN values and morals–which are almost always much more rigid than religious ones anyway, eg, we generally adhere to the concept of “thou shalt not kill.”

    I can’t believe that after all these years religion still even exists.

    Foetusnail: Hell yes, baby!

  43. Dbarack,
    Because most of us here come from a Christian normative background and while atheist may reject all religions most people here only have direct experience of rejecting this one religion, if any.

    And Islam or Judaism don’t hold the same sway over the laws of western lands in the same way Chistianity does.

    I’m theoretically against all religions, but some are more damaging to every day life than others. We have to start somewhere.

  44. what’s so wrong with people believing in something that others don’t, or having a different opinion?

    People have “different opinions” about whether Star War or Star Trek is better, or whether “The Clash” or “The Sex Pistols” were better.

    Someone starts using the force of law to make me do something because their god told them everyone should do it, then when people like you try to downplay that force by couching it in namby-pamby terms like “having a different opinion”, then you seriously, seriously, have no idea what the hell is going on around you in the real world.

    that side’s “tolerance” isn’t good enough for me.

    How in the world do you define “tolerance” such that christians can force kids to pledge allegiance to one nation under god, can force the ten commandments into public courtrooms where atheists and other religions are tried, can force their religious bigotry into state constitutions, can say stuff like God gave us Katrina and/or 9/11 because of “the gays”, and you say the victims of that bigotry are the ones being intolerant?

    If religion was just an “opinion”, something personal, something people didn’t feel the need to impose on everyone around them, then you’d hear no complaint from me. It’s when people use the force of law to impose their religion on the rest of us, and when people like you downplay that as “having a different opinion” that I get seriously ticked off.

  45. Some of these statements were slightly moronic, but I agree with the deceit of evolution.

    Like okay we figured out how we became human, we just changed from animals.

    That sounds immensely moronic.

    Fact is that it’s just adaptations that are the reason for all the variations in each species on Earth.

    If we came from animals then theoretically all the species of the Earth should be in a constant state of evolution… even us.

    (and please don’t confuse mutations with adaptations or evolution)

    As far as I can tell the same skeletons of the same species can be found for thousands of years.

    A chimp has remained a chimp, a dog a dog, and a whale a whale.

    Adaptations. Adap-freakin-tations.

  46. #52 posted by GregLondon

    The problem with starting with religions closest to us is that it gives the appearance of bias against one religion over others. Maybe the battle should be spread a little more evenly.

    #53 posted by zawan

    “If we came from animals then theoretically all the species of the Earth should be in a constant state of evolution… even us.”

    We ARE (animals included) in a constant state of evolution. It’s just very slow. A human generation is what, about 25 years? That means that in your lifetime, you’ll interact at most with four generations. That’s not much time for natural selection to make many changes apparent.

    The theory of evolution is, yes, a theory, but it’s the best explanation for what we see. If you can come up with a better theory, feel free to publish it.

  47. You know – I am a member of a number of different groups.

    I am first, a human being. Shockingly stupid and inane comments and beliefs can be attributed to a number (frighteningly, a majority I suspect) of my peers.

    I am a Canadian. Shockingly stupid and inane comments and beliefs can be attributed to a number (hopefully, not a majority!) of my peers.

    Among other things, I am also a Christian. Surprise! There are the mentally deficient among these of my peers as well.

    Society will tolerate any number of members of groups, from gay people to visible minorities to physically or mentally handicapped – mostly without comment, and sometimes those who do comment get slapped down for being ignorant. Good.

    I’ve been mostly quiet about it for quite awhile now, but I am getting mightily tired and pissed off at the “open season on Christians” prejudicical commentary that is tolerated and engaged in by otherwise thoughtful and kind people who participate in this and other online forums that I frequent.

    My ‘version’ of Christianity is based on the New Covenant. It’s very simple, and easy to follow. It doesn’t deny evolution. It doesn’t preach hatred of gays. It is simply this:”Love thy God, and Love thy Neighbour.” If you do those two things, and those two things only, you win. Even an atheist who omits the first aspect of the covenant at least does no harm to anyone but himself.

    Do I believe that he harms himself by denying God? Yep. Am I going to heckle him or harass him about it? Nope. I’ll tell him the Good News, which is that he is Loved and can be Saved, but it’s up to him at that point to decide for himself. God gave us free will. I will not be so rude as to attempt to wrest that gift from another. Nor will I judge him on his decision – it’s not my place to do so.

    I, and I suspect many others, would appreciate it if in this community at least, where I have found many kind and thoughtful commentators over the years that I’ve been mostly lurking, a certain amount of tolerance and understanding could be found for the real, normal people who have beliefs that don’t deserve to be treated as fodder for another’s amusement.

  48. zawan “Some of these statements were slightly moronic, but I agree with the deceit of evolution.”
    Dibs on doing the audio track of your comments!

    “Like okay we figured out how we became human, we just changed from animals.”
    I hate to be a bother, but we’re still animals. Some more than others. I, for example, am ever so horny. I’ve said too much.

    “That sounds immensely moronic.”
    Splinter, meet log.

    “Fact is that it’s just adaptations that are the reason for all the variations in each species on Earth.”
    Ah, but what about between each species? What about, in deep time, between species on the same branch of the Tree of Life?

    “If we came from animals then theoretically all the species of the Earth should be in a constant state of evolution… even us.”
    Yes. That’s why we’re still evolving.

    “(and please don’t confuse mutations with adaptations or evolution)”
    And please don’t bother to learn about ToE. Then you can continue to make statements like that.

    “As far as I can tell the same skeletons of the same species can be found for thousands of years.”
    Shorter zawan: “If evolution is so slow, why can’t I see it?”

    “A chimp has remained a chimp, a dog a dog, and a whale a whale.”
    Ah, but chimp ancestors (in deep time) weren’t chimps, same for dogs, and whale ancestors didn’t used to be so aquatic. Look at the cobbled together nature of life, and you’ll see the fingerprints of everything that preceded it.

    “Adaptations. Adap-freakin-tations.”
    So you accept bricks, but don’t accept walls. Kudos. (And, yes, I am a crank)

  49. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
    The fruit of the womb is a reward.
    Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
    So are the children of one’s youth.
    Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
    They shall not be ashamed,
    But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
    Psalm 127:3-5 (NKJV)

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102005062

    http://www.operationsaveamerica.org/47.htm

    http://creativecounterpart.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/trusting-god-for-the-size-of-our-quiver/

    http://www.kyrieology.com/drupal/goddoings/propheticwords/arrow

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

  50. #56 posted by Modusoperandi

    This is exactly what I mean. You make statements about things that you have no idea about. Like you know EXACTLY what existed in “deep time”. You have no idea but you have faith in what your scientists tell you.

    Humans are Thinkers and have morals. We may be mammals, but we are not animals.

    If a Human thinks long enough he will come to the conclusion that he knows nothing. To pretend like you know how life started and what existed before life is like trying to figure out what happens after death.

    Now please show me a chimp that is almost human due to a process of evolution that started several years ago.

    There HAS to be an overlapping time line if the ToE were even half true. Though it is a slow process things that began the process a million years ago would be finishing it today or tomorrow or ten years ago etc.

    Do you get what I mean? There is no MODERN DAY proof of something that have EVOLVED.

    Adapted to it’s environment, yes.

    Evolved NO!

  51. @21 richardp:
    “I had always thought that Christians had made the ‘leap of faith’, but remained (as did the biblical Jesus) forgiving and tolerant of others.”
    Well, some are forgiving and tolerant. Many believe in evolution as well. (Hell, the Pope believes in evolution — though I don’t think he falls in the “forgiving and tolerant” category.) But we’re not as over-the-top ridiculous, being normal and all, so we don’t make good blogging material.

  52. Fundies seem to be curious people. It’s sad, because most of their questions could be answered very easily with a quick wikipedia search.

    @DBARAK:

    “You keep forgetting to slam cheap money-grabbing Jews.
    You keep forgetting to target the bomb-making Muslims.
    You keep forgetting to mock dance around the tambourine-banging Krishnas.
    You keep forgetting to flame the self-immolating Buddhists.”

    Be careful with this approach.These are xenophobic, antisemitic, racist, stereotypes. Even a fundamentalist Jew doesn’t fit this kind of description, although I hate being the one to validate Godwin’s law in a thread, I have to remind you that this is fascist propaganda.

    Nobody forgets to target bomb-making fundamentalist Muslims aka Islamists. There are no bomb-making regular Muslims.

    You equal our justified critique and mocking of stupid attacks of fundamental Christians on basic scientific knowledge, with the unjustified stereotyping of people who belong to one big group or religion.

  53. JUSTDISGUY @ #51:

    [BLOCKQUOTE]
    I’ve been mostly quiet about it for quite awhile now, but I am getting mightily tired and pissed off at the “open season on Christians” prejudicical commentary
    [/BLOCKQUOTE]

    Please give us examples of your efforts to combat ongoing Christian attempts to overthrow our Constitution and secular government to make way for a Christian theocracy in the US. (You may be Canadian, but the majority of the posters here, and the original fundamentalist posters quoted in the video, are from the US, where the problem is most acute.)

    Prove that you do not use your religion as a battle axe to hack away at the rights of the non-religious.

    Until Christians stop waging war against our government and our civil rights, we’ll keep protesting, thankyouverymuch.

  54. Look this can go on forever.

    You can put the word “Evolution” at the end of Viral, female, comic books, hemorrhoids, wtf ever your heart desires, but you fail to realize that all these things adapt from their original state. Nothing evolves into something new.

    Like I said this can go on forever because you will always believe you are right and vice versa.

    I just want to leave you with one quote from your homeboy Darwin:

    “Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed. But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” (Origin of Species, 1859).

    um..yea

  55. @ZAWAN:

    “You have no idea but you have faith in what your scientists tell you.”

    One of the many differences between politicians, priests, businessmen etc, is that scientists belong to nobody. It’s not about an opinion, a philosophical perception, or an ideological view. A good scientist doesn’t give a fuck if Darwin said it, he prefers to verify if the claim is true. While in philosophy, the question “are human beings animals or not” is a valid one, in science it’s not a question.

    Science has no bias.

  56. Look this can go on forever.

    No, only as long as you and others like you refuse to even make an attempt to learn anything.

    Just as a simple example, your supposed quote from On the Origin of Species appears to be incorrect.
    Try

    Lastly, looking not to any one time, but at all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed; but the very process of natural selection constantly tends, as has been so often remarked, to exterminate the parent forms and the intermediate links. Consequently evidence of their former existence could be found only among fossil remains, which are preserved, as we shall attempt to show in a future chapter, in an extremely imperfect and intermittent record.

    There; he mentions a problem and suggests a likely explanation. And guess what? He was reasonably correct; the fossil record is sparse. Duh.

    Oh and contrary to the baa-ing of the blithering bibbleists, nobody with enough brain cells to read claims that Darwin’s original writings are the be all and end of of evolutionary theory. Science ain’t like religion; Truth is not handed down on high from some mythical sky fairy and worshipped as unalterable doctrine. Anything can be criticised if you have evidence to validate your criticism.

    Sheesh, I’m going to go and dip my brain in lysol to try to wash out some of the stupid I keep reading here.

  57. Zawan, you need to put more study into how the terms in the discussion are actually applied and intended.

    Firstly: religion IS a curable condition. Indeed,most here free of it were infected in childhood and got over it.

    Secondly: just as with substances that are abused by some are better controlled by harm reduction approaches rather than prohibition,so also does religion respond better to thoughtful treatment of the victim.

    Let me offer a possible therapy: In the course of normal human life we all face trials. Some are potentially terminal events and really outside any real control, hence the praying of atheists in foxholes as they are confronted with the utter reality of being irreparably maimed or blown to gobbets. This is not cowardice, just normal primate response. It is possible that at the moment of one these trials (the death of a loved one, the end of a dream for instance) a human infected by the organised religion meme could be set on the road to mental autonomy simply by kindness and support extended that is baldly free of whatever flavour of religion they carry.

    I would suggest introducing a cognitive dissonance in their typically unexamined belief structure that forces them to question why an infidel is more helpful to them than their supposed brethren. This could provide a beach head for reason and eventual cure.

  58. Hey ZWAN, want me to keep going and post the actual quote in it’s full context? Cause you weren’t even close.

    “Lastly looking not to any one time but to all time if my theory be true numberless intermediate varieties linking closely together all the species of the same group must assuredly have existed but the very process of natural selection constantly tends as has been so often remarked to exterminate the parent forms and the intermediate links. Consequently evidence of their former existence could be found only among fossil remains which are preserved as we shall attempt to show in a future chapter in an extremely imperfect and intermittent record.”

    Also, why would a chimp need to ‘evolve’ towards a human form? Is there some selective pressure that would trend toward humanity? No. We have a common ancestor with chimpanzees and that common ancestor had a common ancestor with gorillas and so on. We didn’t evolve from chimps or monkeys.

    I’m sorry, but you really need to learn what evolution is and the evidence that exists (just look at the massive fossil documentation of whales, for instance) before you paste together quotes from a book written 150 years ago to prove your quotes.

  59. To all those who wish to deny the evidence for evolution and make claims of some grand conspiracy of hundreds of thousands of scientists and teachers. A conspiracy that has as its goal the destruction of god and religion.

    What you see around you is the result of over four billion years of evolution. Though I suppose you also deny the age of our universe and Earth as well.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/change/deeptime/index.html

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/4/quicktime/l_034_04.htm

    Homeobox gene
    A member of a group of genes involved in controlling the development of the front and back parts of the body. Genes in this group contain a conserved stretch of DNA called the homeobox and are nearly identical in all species.

    http://www.hhmi.org/genesweshare/b120.html

  60. There’s no point trying to talk sense with these people. Not making sense is the whole point of being a believer. You believe it, so there’s no need to look at it ever again.
    Once you can believe anything, you can believe anything.

  61. #58 posted by zawan

    There are SO many flaws in your reasoning.

    1. “You have no idea but you have faith in what your scientists tell you.” It’s not faith, but we do have evidence. We don’t have evidence of God.

    2. “We may be mammals, but we are not animals.” Scientifically, we are. We may be the highest form of cognizant animal, but we are animals.

    3. “Now please show me a chimp that is almost human due to a process of evolution that started several years ago.” Since the changes are VERY slow, easily viewable changes take millions of years. However, delving deep enough into the DNA of two adjacent generations of chimps will absolutely show differences.

    4. “Though it is a slow process things that began the process a million years ago would be finishing it today or tomorrow or ten years ago etc.” There is no “finishing” of evolution, it’s an ongoing process. Sure, if the sun goes supernova, evolution will end at that point, along with life in general.

    It seems that you either don’t know or don’t want to admit that you know how (the theory of) evolution works. It’s actually pretty simple… if you think about it.

  62. zawan “Like you know EXACTLY what existed in ‘deep time’.”
    I don’t know exactly. Nobody does. We do know enough to form a pattern. That pattern is common descent and evolution. Everything that we learn conforms to that pattern.

    “You have no idea but you have faith in what your scientists tell you.”
    Excuse the foul language, but it’s a good thing to listen to the people who know what the fuck they’re talking about.

    “Humans are Thinkers and have morals.”
    So are bonobos.

    “We may be mammals, but we are not animals.”
    We are both. We are sometimes rational, sometimes emotional animals.

    “If a Human thinks long enough he will come to the conclusion that he knows nothing.”
    Don’t mistake not knowing everything with knowing nothing. Even Socrates’ “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing” meant that he knew one thing.

    “To pretend like you know how life started and what existed before life is like trying to figure out what happens after death.”
    I have no idea how life started, but that’s abiogenesis (which is a baby science).

    “Now please show me a chimp that is almost human due to a process of evolution that started several years ago.”
    No. I can’t. Chimps didn’t beget Man. They’re our cousins, not our parents. Common ancestory, not direct ancestory.

    “Though it is a slow process things that began the process a million years ago would be finishing it today or tomorrow or ten years ago etc.”
    Evolution has no goal. Evolution has no agency. When the leaf gets a little bit more toxic, those that eat it either stop eating it or they adapt to it. As such, the arms race continues.

    “Do you get what I mean? There is no MODERN DAY proof of something that have EVOLVED.”
    You have fish genes. Seriously. They don’t work anymore (because we aren’t fish anymore), but their fingerprint is still in your genetic code.

    “Adapted to it’s environment, yes.”
    So what were the ancestors of the whale adapted to? Land? Coast? Sea?

    “Evolved NO!”
    Evolution: yes we can!

    “Like I said this can go on forever because you will always believe you are right and vice versa.”
    I don’t believe I’m right. Far from it. I believe that ToE is close. Close isn’t right, but it’s far better than so-far-off-that-it’s-not-even-wrong.

    “I just want to leave you with one quote from your homeboy Darwin:”
    Hurrah! Creationist trope #17: No transitional fossils. Sadly for Creationists, many transitional fossils have been found since his day.

    “um..yea”
    Read the following books, so that you at least know what you’re arguing against. (note that this list is far from comprehensive):
    *Your Inner Fish
    *Making of the Fittest
    *Endless Forms Most Beautiful
    *Relics of Eden

  63. Look ZAWAN,

    “Humans are Thinkers and have morals. We may be mammals, but we are not animals”

    I´m sorry to tell you, but there are other species that think, or are even smarter than us in some specific niches (like chimps, elephants or octopuses).

    “To pretend like you know how life started and what existed before life is like trying to figure out what happens after death.”

    So scientist should not exist? Are not they humble enough?

    “Now please show me a chimp that is almost human due to a process of evolution that started several years ago.”

    Well, ALL chimps evolve, but not to human. Why should any animal evolve INTO another animal that already exist?

    “Though it is a slow process things that began the process a million years ago would be finishing it today or tomorrow or ten years ago etc.”

    You don’t understand evolution, EVERYTHING is evolving ALWAYS. There is no end, no objetive, just adaptation. In 200000 years(If we dont blow this planet)humans will not look like us, that´s for sure.

    What you dont seem to get is that:
    There is no end in evolution, no purpose apart from survive, we are not the peak of anything, just animals with an evolved social tendencies (just like dolphins, apes or meerkats).

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

  64. whistlejacket “wait. are we supposed to have robes?”
    Only after passing the Trials of Reality. Until then, you just get the atheist thong (agnostics get boxer shorts, and theistic evolutionists get the speedo. Just the one. They have to share).

  65. This is why I’m almost certain Zawan is a troll. All three of his examples of “things that never changed, really!” are themselves illustrative of evolution.

    We have a progression of ‘human’ skeletons that have more and more apelike as you go back. Hell, that an ‘animal’ like a chimp that’s more like us than other animals exists should alone tell you something.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution

    Dogs are an immensely varied species because of human selection, an excellent example of how plastic animals are under the influences of selection, natural or artificial.
    http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/dog2.htm

    And we have a great depth of knowledge of how whales changed over time. Heck, we have a progression of skulls where you can match one to the next how the teeth changed with their diet and the nostrils traveled up and turned into a blowhole.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_Cetaceans

    I hardly imagine a more absurdly false statement.

    —-
    A lot of people seem to have replied to Zawan while I wrote this. The whale evolution example also illustrates clearly, conclusively, and definitively, something of one type of thing changing into something else.

  66. Tim, it will go on as long as both sides find evidence through their own observations that their side it correct.

    And that will last forever, because all my observations lead me to the denial of Darwinian Evolution, and your’s lead you to the affirmation of it.

    Also, though now I don’t know which one of these quotes is correct, it’s still obvious we will both read the quote and come to our own explanation.

    See, though the fossil records may be sparse, we still find dinosaurs and pottery from thousands of years ago, but for some reason the “parent forms and the intermediate links” just aren’t there! …so convenient.

    Also, “Failix” “Science Has No Bias” ???

    Science, scientists, and scientific research thrive or die based on Peer Review. Many scientists have been discredited because of their views, in turn keeping their science out of the public.

    Many scientists believe in creationism, and they are not given the same favor as a fellow scientist that believes in evolution.

    There is always Bias.

  67. It’s not so funny if you think about the True Believers defense of teh American Free Enterprise System.

  68. all my observations lead me to the denial of Darwinian Evolution

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

    Many scientists have been discredited because of their views, in turn keeping their science out of the public

    Yeah, yeah, and the lurkers support you in email.

  69. OK, can’t take anymore after reading about the dinosaurs and pottery transitional fossil comment. But I leave you with this, not that it’s going to change your mind:

    Many scientists believe in creationism, and they are not given the same favor as a fellow scientist that believes in evolution.

    How many ZWAN? I recommend you look into project Steve.

  70. Scariest is the common idea that a fundamental part of the way the world operates can be dismissed without even an attempt to understand it.
    The claims that atheists are brainwashed into blindly following “scientists”, while seemingly ignorant of exhibiting the exact same behavior are a close second.
    And I would have the same visceral repugnance to anyone who stated opinions like these, no matter what variety of god they worshiped.
    Science isn’t a faith. It doesn’t ask you to believe things it hasn’t at least tried to explain in non-circular terms and using methods based on observables. Electricity doesn’t care if you pray every morning-it will shock you if you stick a fork in the outlet just because you can’t see the electrons flowing.
    And if all “unbelievers” were as amorally psychopathic as the the atheists described the world would be a lot deeper in shit than it is.
    I mean, how much better is it for a kid to be deprived of food and water when they won’t say amen at meals-when they’re 16 months old? And then to have their corpse prayed over in expectation of a resurrection? Bible believers one and all, those parents.

  71. zawan “…it will go on as long as both sides find evidence through their own observations that their side it correct.”
    Have you tried opening your eyes? I find that that helps.

    “And that will last forever, because all my observations lead me to the denial of Darwinian Evolution, and your’s lead you to the affirmation of it.”
    Read those books that linked earlier.

    “Also, though now I don’t know which one of these quotes is correct, it’s still obvious we will both read the quote and come to our own explanation.”
    Hint: if an incomplete quote changes the meaning, then using the incomplete quote is wrong. We, and by “we” I mean “everyone that isn’t Ray Comfort”, call that a “quote mine”. It’s like lying. Don’t do it.

    “See, though the fossil records may be sparse, we still find dinosaurs and pottery from thousands of years ago,”
    Yes. We keep finding more. More is good. Less is bad. Less makes me sad.
    Also, I’m hoping that was “dinosaurs” and “pottery from thousands of years ago”, rather than both dinosaurs and pottery being thousands of years old. If you’re a YEC, you’ve got bigger issues than just ToE. If you’re a YEC, you aren’t just fighting “Darwinism”, you’ve picked a fight with the entire universe.

    …but for some reason the “parent forms and the intermediate links” just aren’t there! …so convenient.”
    You haven’t been following the links that we’ve been giving you, have you? We’re trying to help but, and I can’t stress this enough, you have to be willing to learn.

    “Science, scientists, and scientific research thrive or die based on Peer Review. Many scientists have been discredited because of their views, in turn keeping their science out of the public.”
    Newton is famous for what, supporting what was thought to be true at the time? Einstein was famous for what, supporting Newton? Wrong. Scientists get famous for overturning theories, not supporting them.

    “Many scientists believe in creationism, and they are not given the same favor as a fellow scientist that believes in evolution.”
    That’s because they’re not scientists. Magic has no place in science. Is it unfair? No. This is because the only correct supernatural explanation is all of them. Science places conclusions last. Creation Science places them first. Science’s conclusions are tentative. Creation Science’s conclusions are unchanging.
    You can be religious and be a scientist, but you can’t be religious while being a scientist.

    “There is always Bias.”
    Yes, total objectivity is an unattainable ideal. Abandoning the very idea of the ideal because the data conflicts with your feelings/holy text/gut instinct, however, is a remarkably good way to come to the wrong conclusion.

  72. Zawan…You are (to be fair) valiantly defending creationism. But, you are arguing against ToE from a viewpoint of simply not understanding it. It isn’t that difficult..there ARE examples in the fossil records of myriad intermediate forms, there are animals that exist today that clearly display different stages of evolution (e.g. the Eye.) The evidence IS there, is overwhelming. Modern theorys of evolution may not be the final word..but those theorys are getting so close now that it’s just a matter of crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s.

    Oh..and, we aren’t descended from Apes..no-one said we were. We merely share a common ancestor with Apes.

  73. @#62 –

    Someone who proposes to believe in the scientific method ought to know it’s impossible to prove a negative.

    I am who I am, and I do what I say I do. If you still think it’s possible, prove I’m not.

  74. Wow, don’t I feel like a popular troll.

    I saw lots of refutations to my statements as well as anger and name calling, but it’s cool; I have thick skin.

    My comment about Dinosaurs and pottery was just an attempt to show that we can uncover opposite ends of the spectrum, but nothing in between…

    My problem with evolutionists is that they simply have no proof. Just like the religious people have no proof of God there is no valid proof of evolution.

    You have pieces that you THINK may fall within your theory.

    My statement about chimps, and dogs, and whales remains. The species did not change. They adapted to environment.

    Even after all of this flaming no one has shown me an example of evolution in process. I understand it takes forever (like any of you would ever be on either end of forever to actual prove this bullshit theory) but at least ONE of the species on Earth right now should be evolving into a new species.

    It’s fu#k!ng called adaptation!!!!

    And to Grampire, Scientists that believe Creationism:

    # Gerald E. Aardsma (physicist and radiocarbon dating)

    # Louis Agassiz (helped develop the study of glacial geology and of ichthyology)

    # Alexander Arndt (analytical chemist, etc.)

    # Steven A. Austin (geologist and coal formation expert)

    # Charles Babbage (helped develop science of computers / developed actuarial tables and the calculating machine)

    # Francis Bacon (developed the Scientific Method)

    # Thomas G. Barnes (physicist)

    # Robert Boyle (helped develop sciences of chemistry and gas dynamics)

    # Wernher von Braun (pioneer of rocketry and space exploration)

    # David Brewster (helped develop science of optical mineralogy)

    # Arthur V. Chadwick (geologist) [more info]

    # Melvin Alonzo Cook (physical chemist, Nobel Prize nominee)

    # Georges Cuvier (helped develop sciences of comparative anatomy and vertebrate paleontology)

    # Humphry Davy (helped develop science of thermokinetics)

    # Donald B. DeYoung (physicist, specializing in solid-state, nuclear science and astronomy)

    # Henri Fabre (helped develop science of insect entomology)

    # Michael Faraday (helped develop science of electromagnetics / developed the Field Theory / invented the electric generator)

    # Danny R. Faulkner (astronomer)

    # Ambrose Fleming (helped develop science of electronics / invented thermionic valve)

    # Robert V. Gentry (physicist and chemist)

    # Duane T. Gish (biochemist)

    # John Grebe (chemist)

    # Joseph Henry (invented the electric motor and the galvanometer / discovered self-induction)

    # William Herschel (helped develop science of galactic astronomy / discovered double stars / developed the Global Star Catalog)

    # George F. Howe (botanist)

    # D. Russell Humphreys (award-winning physicist) [more info]

    # James P. Joule (developed reversible thermodynamics)

    # Johann Kepler (helped develop science of physical astronomy / developed the Ephemeris Tables)

    # John W. Klotz (geneticist and biologist)

    # Leonid Korochkin (geneticist)

    # Lane P. Lester (geneticist and biologist)

    # Carolus Linnaeus (helped develop sciences of taxonomy and systematic biology / developed the Classification System)

    # Joseph Lister (helped develop science of antiseptic surgery)

    # Frank L. Marsh (biologist)

    # Matthew Maury (helped develop science of oceanography/hydrography)

    # James Clerk Maxwell (helped develop the science of electrodynamics)

    # Gregor Mendel (founded the modern science of genetics)

    # Samuel F. B. Morse (invented the telegraph)

    # Isaac Newton (helped develop science of dynamics and the discipline of calculus / father of the Law of Gravity / invented the reflecting telescope)

    # Gary E. Parker (biologist and paleontologist) [more info]

    # Blaise Pascal (helped develop science of hydrostatics / invented the barometer)

    # Louis Pasteur (helped develop science of bacteriology / discovered the Law of Biogenesis / invented fermentation control / developed vaccinations and immunizations)

    # William Ramsay (helped develop the science of isotopic chemistry / discovered inert gases)

    # John Ray (helped develop science of biology and natural science)

    # Lord Rayleigh (helped develop science of dimensional analysis)

    # Bernhard Riemann (helped develop non-Euclidean geometry)

    # James Simpson (helped develop the field of gynecology / developed the use of chloroform)

    # Nicholas Steno (helped develop the science of stratigraphy)

    # George Stokes (helped develop science of fluid mechanics)

    # Charles B. Thaxton (chemist)

    # William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) (helped develop sciences of thermodynamics and energetics / invented the Absolute Temperature Scale / developed the Trans-Atlantic Cable)

    # Larry Vardiman (astrophysicist and geophysicist)

    # Leonardo da Vinci (helped develop science of hydraulics)

    # Rudolf Virchow (helped develop science of pathology)

    # A.J. (Monty) White (chemist)

    # A.E. Wilder-Smith (chemist and pharmacology expert)

    # John Woodward (helped develop the science of paleontology)

    As for the rest of you, it’s clear that just like the religious zealots here you guys are no different. You can’t prove Evolution, but because its “close” to an explanation for who you are, you guys are head over heels for it.

    Evolution does not explain existence, it is simply something you are holding on to so you can live this life without fear of the unknown truth. The God people sort of understand that we do not know certain things. That there is someone in control of everyone’s life. And that after your last breath you will face all that you have avoided.

    Therein lies the situation. Evolution takes man away from any kind of divine realization. It takes away the miracle of life and demotes it to cells and bacteria. And it dehumanizes each and everyone of us by telling us that life created itself.

    *Whew*

    The only curable condition is denial. Death will solve all that Takuan.

  75. but for some reason the “parent forms and the intermediate links” just aren’t there! …so convenient.

    Just to clarify and highlight, in the whale evolution example, the scientists responsible for discovering and assembling that information are certain that they have the right chain of skulls leading from a land carnivore to a whale because of extremely distinct similarities from step to step. Every species teeth have a distinct shape arising from how they grow. There can be a large change in size, but related creatures will have identifiably similar teeth that are distinctly different from less related creatures. These sequential intermediates have the same fingerprint of teeth. They are *definitely* related.

    But it’s not just the teeth. The small bones in the ears have very distinct shapes from species to species also, or otherwise their hearing would suffer as skull size and shape changed over time. In closely related species, the shape will be mostly conserved. Again, independently of all other information, the ear bones in the whale precursors are clearly and definitely related, and also show how the progression from land to sea creature changed their hearing to adapt. This information just happens to agree with the teeth, and agree with the pelvic bone changes, and spinal changes, etc.

    And if you compare the DNA of modern whales with the other descendants of the precursor that didn’t become whales, unsurprisingly, it ALSO shows that they’re more closely related than other creatures.

    So how is it that every time someone actually looks for a different kind of data on whale evolution, it happens to agree with the same findings from other kinds of data? And they all show that these huge sea creatures evolved from a small land carnivore?

    (Ok, so I already think Zawan is a troll, but I can hardly resist an opportunity to spout off on neat things. Most of this info can be found in “Your Inner Fish” linked by someone above.)

  76. Scientists that believe Creationism:
    # Samuel F. B. Morse (invented the telegraph)

    Dude, seriously. Just stop. Just stop.

  77. Why do christian get mocked more than other religions?

    Because the people doing the mocking are predominantly from a christian background and one can only accurately mock what one knows well.

  78. Zawan..dude…

    “That there is someone in control of everyone’s life. And that after your last breath you will face all that you have avoided.”

    Really?

    Well, if it helps you sleep at night I suppose.

  79. Why are atheists so gung-ho about attacking organized religion? A belief in some form of god has nothing to do with evolution. Just because some people don’t believe in evolution, or some people are jackasses in general, does it mean that gives atheists a valid point to attack a belief in god?

    No.

    You can attack people for being idiots and believing in sensless fundie dogma but you cant argue about a belief in god.

    The existence of a god cannot be proven or disproved. It is a philosophical quandary that has little if nothing to do with any form of organized religion.

    Stop acting like evolution has anything to do with god. Trolls are trolls. Dont feed them.

    \WTF is up with the spell check in BB? It sucks!
    \\Im not a terrible speller, but i make mistakes. I would expect that a spell checker would atleast HELP me find them.

    1. WTF is up with the spell check in BB?

      Isn’t spell check a function of your OS? Mine is hyper-aggressive when I comment.

  80. Evolution takes man away from any kind of divine realization. It takes away the miracle of life and demotes it to cells and bacteria. And it dehumanizes each and everyone of us by telling us that life created itself.

    How could you possibly even consider evolution might be scientifically valid if it means that mankind must fall from the grace of god?

    Proof will never convince you if it means you have to give up your special relationship between you, mankind, and God.

  81. ZAWAN (I apologize for getting your handle wrong earlier).

    Even after all of this flaming no one has shown me an example of evolution in process. I understand it takes forever (like any of you would ever be on either end of forever to actual prove this bullshit theory) but at least ONE of the species on Earth right now should be evolving into a new species.

    What we’re trying to explain is that is takes thousands of generations for changes to be evident, which is why large, really obvious changes are most demonstrable through the fossil record. Please take a look at the evidence for whale evolution. It really is breathtaking and yes, it is thoroughly backed up with evidence. If you want something more ongoing, look into ring speciation: http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/irwin.html

    Thank you for posting the 56 (if I counted correctly) scientists that believe in creationism that you listed. I’d like to point out that many were not even around when Darwin published Origin, others aren’t biologists.

    Today’s count of scientists named Steve (approximately 1% of the US population)who believe in the theory of evolution stands at 1080.

    You can reject the actual evidence to your hearts content but to say it doesn’t exist is just false.

  82. Someone who proposes to believe in the scientific method ought to know it’s impossible to prove a negative.

    That’s blatantly untrue. For the simplest example, If A is true, then Not A is untrue. There, proved a negative. You’re talking about the rules of logic, and if you can’t prove a negative in a purely logical system, logic doesn’t even work.

    What people mean when they make that statement is that induction isn’t 100% certain. But that applies to positive as well as negative statements. I can say with equal certainty both that the earth DOES orbit the sun, and that it WILL NOT suddenly make a 90% turn tomorrow. But I can’t actually say for sure that all my observations of the sun aren’t being piped into my brain matrix style. But clearly that’s a ridiculous assertion.

    Induction is based on repeated observation. If I see the sun every day, I can say with some certainty that it exists. But I can observe a lot of things about teapots, how they come to be, the space-faring capabilities of those responsible for making them, and I can say with as much certainty that there is not a teapot orbiting Saturn.

  83. Can everyone PLEASE stop calling it the “theory of evolution?” Please? In 1859, when “On the Origin of Species” was published, it was a theory. Now, 150 years later, after extensive scrutiny via the scientific method, it is known as EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY.

    Science. An accepted, standard sub-field of biology. NOT a theory.

    Stop calling it the “theory of evolution.” Calling it a “theory” in 2009 makes you sound like an idiot.

  84. @Mikefinch.

    The bigger organised religions are merely tools of control and therefore attacking them is mandatory. Their roots however are in science itself. The first five books of the bible were (allegedly) written by Moses. They represent a scientific view of the nature of reality as understood by a leader of desert folk 4000 years(ish) ago. We now know that his theories are a little misguided and so they fall by the wayside (as is always the way with evolving theories). The bible’s usefullness as a scientic treatise is getting less and less…that doesn’t diminish its value as an historical document. But, all that aside…this business of God, Angels, Heaven, Hell etc is patent nonsense..Moses was mistaken (and he can be forgiven) but in a modern ‘educated’ society there really is no need to ‘muddy the water’ with piffle. Even if it does help Zawan to sleep at night.

    IMO

  85. “the scientists responsible for discovering and assembling that information are certain that they have the right chain of skulls”

    “They are *definitely* related.”

    See what I mean about being so definite on what your scientists tell you?

    Lots of animals that exist now share similarities. And we are HERE…NOW.

    We can observe what we know exists so we can get definite statements.

    But now you look at the lingering remains of thousands of years past and you come up with a theory or assumption then you introduce it as factual???

    Fact is, things change, animals, cosmos, plants, humans, human thought. But the definition of Evolution suggests all living species of
    plants and animals evolved in a slow process through random mutations and natural selection over the course of billions of years.

    And that does not exist. It’s all conjecture. And a million books with self derived information cannot stand up to one statement of truth.

    We Do Not Know.

    Things change to survive. But they do not become a new thing, they are always the same.

    We have always been humans, and we will always be humans.

  86. Scientific language describes actual things; just because you don’t understand the language or concept it describes, doesn’t mean it’s nonsense, anymore than someone speaking in Navaho is talking “baby talk.”

    If I showed up at a Bible reading and started discussing “the 14 Apostles” or the “6 Commandments” they would start laughing and/or feel sorry for me– that’s how scientists feel when they try to argue against evolution; their arguments show a profound lack of understanding, and yet they insist they are right and are vehement about it as well.

  87. The interesting thing is these believers have no problem believing the unsupported and undocumented ramblings of some unnamed desert rats from over 2500 years ago, but will deny the documented evidence and published works of thousands of scientist from a myriad of disciplines.

    Arguing evolution with them is just a distraction. Evolution is a given. The only reason they argue evolution is because if evolution is true, which it decidedly is, then their Torah and the other books based on Genesis are wrong. Since they take these works as inerrant, then this then calls the entire theology into question. This is not important for the rest of us, but does affect the believers doubt. In fact it calls into question the very foundation of the religions of over 3 billion people.

    Additionally, this is not even about whether there is a god; as far as I am concerned, arguing the existence of gods is also silly. What is decidedly dangerous is what people think their gods are telling them to do.

    These people are actively seeking to take over the world. Their ultimate goal is no different than that a any other fascist movement. Whether it is a anti-theist dictatorship or a theological dictatorship it is all the same to those excluded from its safety.

    These people are dangerous. They represent a real threat; a threat that given the chance would return our civilization to the beliefs of the Dark Ages. These religions have fought science from the beginning. These religious nut jobs, the clergy, live in fear of losing their jobs.

  88. Stop acting like evolution has anything to do with god.

    You’re getting it exactly backwards. As someone stated earlier, no one would care about creationists if they weren’t actively attacking the teaching of evolution in science classes.

  89. And that does not exist. It’s all conjecture. And a million books with self derived information cannot stand up to one statement of truth. We Do Not Know.

    pot. kettle. black.

    Evolution does not explain existence, it is simply something you are holding on to so you can live this life without fear of the unknown truth. The God people sort of understand that we do not know certain things. That there is someone in control of everyone’s life. And that after your last breath you will face all that you have avoided.

    Ever been dead? Anyone observe the afterlife? Seen gates with actual pearls on them? Seen the levels of hell? You know, observed?

    No?

    And yet, here you are, condemning observation of evolution and saying evolutionists are making up some story because they’re too afraid to face the fact that God is in control of their lives and they’re too afraid of having to face God after they breath their last breath.

    Meanwhile, you’ve got an entire mythology based on zero observation that a lot of non-religious folks would accuse you of holding to because you’re too afraid of the idea that there is nothing after you breath your last breath, and it all ends for you at that moment. Something you have absolutely no observatiosn for. Something that is based on nothing more than self-derived information in millions of religious books.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Except we can actually observe evolution.

    You want to condemn evolution because it doesn’t observe? You want to condemn evolution because you think evolutionists are too afraid to admit the truth about what happens when we die?

    Right back at you, bub. In spades.

  90. “Many scientists believe in creationism, and they are not given the same favor as a fellow scientist that believes in evolution.”

    When you say “many” do you mean like…five?

    First of, there are many fields in science, so a physicist could claim he can disprove evolution. But it’d turn out that it’s just the result of his lack of knowledge in biology. What I mean is that not every scientist is qualified to prove or disprove evolution.
    Second, most of these pseudo-scientists just have a strict Christian education, love their moms a little too much, and have a big mouth.

    So basically what you’re saying is a lie. There is no such thing as a real scientist, and a proponent of creationism at the same time in one person.
    If you find even two creationist scientists who can be taken seriously, I will apologize to you.

    Oh, and you don’t seem to understand “science has no bias”. If I had to explain it to a child, I’d say that nature/our environment/the world we live in doesn’t care about our opinions, facts are as they are, that’s why our goal in science has to be total objectivity. It may be not possible, but the scientific community is not as far from the goal as creationist “scientists” are.
    You don’t observe something and try to explain it by adapting it to your religious views. There are many Christian scientists who you can trust, but with whatever they do, they will have to separate their religious beliefs and their work…otherwise they would be subjective.

  91. actually, Nail, the reason why they “argue” creationism is they have to be noticed or they vanish. I prefer they vanish. You kill memes by forgetting them.

  92. zawan “Wow, don’t I feel like a popular troll.”
    We’re just trying to help. You are the turtle on it’s back and we are the turtle-flippers. Seriously, we got shirts made up and everything!

    “I saw lots of refutations to my statements…”
    …and you ignored them.

    …”as well as anger and name calling,”
    Not from me. Jackass.

    “I have thick skin.”
    Skull. The term is “thick skull”.

    “My comment about Dinosaurs and pottery was just an attempt to show that we can uncover opposite ends of the spectrum, but nothing in between…”
    Do you mean besides all the in-between that we do find? Whales are pretty recent. Mammoths were even more recent.

    “My problem with evolutionists is that they simply have no proof.”
    It’s patently obvious that you really aren’t following our links. We are trying to help, but you have to want to learn. Jackass.

    “Just like the religious people have no proof of God there is no valid proof of evolution.”
    Which logical fallacy is that? False equivocation? Tu quoque? Worse, it’s not only a fallacy, it’s wrong. “Proofs” are for math, not biology.

    “You have pieces that you THINK may fall within your theory.”
    No. We have facts that fit the theory. When they stop fitting, then the theory will change or be abandoned entirely.

    “My statement about chimps, and dogs, and whales remains.”
    That’s because you’re willfully ignorant. The evolution of whales clearly shows that they didn’t used to be whales.

    “The species did not change. They adapted to environment.”
    They did adapt to their environment. Entirely different environments, actually. When a land mammal over generations becomes a whale, that’s evolution, baby.

    “Even after all of this flaming no one has shown me an example of evolution in process. I understand it takes forever (like any of you would ever be on either end of forever to actual prove this bullshit theory) but at least ONE of the species on Earth right now should be evolving into a new species.”
    Hint: they pretty much all are. Even the ugly animals that nobody likes.

    “It’s fu#k!ng called adaptation!!!!”
    If you’re going to curse, at least fucking well do it properly. We’re all adults here. Even the kids. I shit you not.

    “And to Grampire, Scientists that believe Creationism:”
    A cut-n-paste from a Creationist site, hurrah! One that includes rocket scientists and people before Darwin/Wallace. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Thomas Jefferson was a creationist (small C). Better add him to the list, and quick!

    “As for the rest of you, it’s clear that just like the religious zealots here you guys are no different.”
    Unlike the zealots, my beliefs change when new evidence is found. I may not like it, but the real world doesn’t care what I like. It merely is.
    Unlike the zealots, who push religion in public schools, I don’t try to push science in church.
    Unlike the zealots, I try to minimize my ignorance, rather than hold it up as Truth.
    Unlike the zealots, I like a really nice dark-meat turkey on brown, with a little hot mustard and sliced pickles.

    “You can’t prove Evolution, but because its “close” to an explanation for who you are, you guys are head over heels for it.”
    Close is better than wrong. I can’t speak for all, but I don’t like evolution. It’s vicious. Luckily, it’s overseen/controlled/planned by no moral agent. Frankly, I can’t see how theistic evolutionists manage the disparity.
    I don’t like evolution. I accept evolution. I don’t much like gravity, either. Stupid gravity…thinks it’s so great…grumble…

    “Evolution does not explain existence,”
    Wait! Let me get this straight: evolution doesn’t explain things that aren’t evolution? Outrage!

    “…it is simply something you are holding on to so you can live this life without fear of the unknown truth.”
    No. Evolution simply is. And what’s an unknown truth, anyway? How do you know?

    “The God people sort of understand that we do not know certain things. That there is someone in control of everyone’s life. And that after your last breath you will face all that you have avoided.”
    Thor?

    “Therein lies the situation. Evolution takes man away from any kind of divine realization. It takes away the miracle of life and demotes it to cells and bacteria. And it dehumanizes each and everyone of us by telling us that life created itself.”
    No. Evolution is. If God is not then evolution is merely a ruthless, heartless, blind, bloody, ammoral is. If God is, then He’s working via evolution. It’s not the real world’s fault that His perfect plan apparently involves a mountain of suffering and oceans of blood. That’s for the theologist to muddle through, not me.

    “The only curable condition is denial.”
    Again. We are trying to help. You have to start listening.

  93. ‘Except we can actually observe evolution.”

    Where. Show me in ONE living thing the process of evolution. Or at least a part of it changing…that’s right we can’t. We can just say something is a certain way because of Evolution, not that here is evolution in action.

    Again for like the millionth time; that would be called adaptation.

    FAILIX. Yes, nature doesn’t care about our opinions, but what I am saying is if someone finds out something that is a 100% truth and 100% of his peers shun it, then it will be 100% out of sight.

    If I had to explain it to a child, I’d say that people/control/information.

    #103 posted by GregLondon

    This is where it gets personal, because I have spoken to people that have died. Simple as that. Hard to believe but simple as that.

    “evolutionists are making up some story because they’re too afraid to face the fact that God is in control of their lives”… I say No, I say They AVOID God, not fear him.

    If they feared him, they would attribute everything to him. We can see that’s obviously not what’s happening.

    “undocumented ramblings of some unnamed desert rats from over 2500 years ago”

    These ramblings, when taken to heart are the manual to your inner being. You have a soul and feel guilt, a major separator of humans and animals. These Holy Books tell man what to keep away from and what to be near, because unlike animals we have guilt, conciseness, love, and other things that ONLY humans encompass.

    So My friends I ask you, when exactly did our souls evolve? When exactly did that happen? Anyone take a look at the fossil record?

    What event happened that evolved us to “BE Aware”??

  94. Ups, my post is totally not up to date. Meanwhile, Zawan showed he isn’t capable of logic reasoning. Please try to ignore my politeness and patience in the post above please.

  95. mikefinch “Why are atheists so gung-ho about attacking organized religion?”
    They started it! *Pout!*

    “A belief in some form of god has nothing to do with evolution.”
    Tell that to the Texas State Board of Education. Tell that to the 40,000,000 Americans who believe that the Earth is 6,000-10,000 year old.

    “Just because some people don’t believe in evolution, or some people are jackasses in general, does it mean that gives atheists a valid point to attack a belief in god?”
    I don’t attack belief in God. I don’t care about that. It’s none of my business…up until the point where it gets pushed in public school or in law. Then I have every reason to act as a countering force. Like He-Man to Liberty U’s Skeletor.
    I didn’t tie God-belief to disbelief in the facts of the natural world (for them, defending evolution is attacking God. I can’t help that. I can try to help lead them to a rational view of thing. If not, fuck them if they can’t handle the real world. They can stay willfully ignorant up to the point where they try to push it on my kids).

  96. The vid was hilarious :)

    It seems like mockery is the tool of choice around here for addressing fundamentalist creationism. I’m fine with that procedure, and I’ve used it myself plenty of times, with reasonable success. Along the lines of what Takuan and DanTurner touched on — does anyone have data that could demonstrate the wisdom of using such tactics? Is there something in the social science realm that could shed some light? Surely a science-based approach to the origin of our species could be coupled with a science-based approach to educating (or de-educating) our species about such.

    On a side note, I’ve noticed people here express secular interest in the bible as a literary phenomenon, and I’d love to see that explored more on BB. One example would be Jack Miles’s God: A Biography, which explores the relationship between God and the bible as that of a literary character in a historically successful book.

  97. What Logical Reasoning? That things JUST happened? That a land creature, which you never saw turned into a water creature that you never saw. or a cell of bacteria that you never saw came fro the water and just turned into t-rex??

    And yes, thanks for all your help in making me understand. Those artists’ renditions completely changed my life now. I mean of course that Indohyus had spotted yellow fur based on the fossils they found.

    And of course all those skulls weren’t from different species, but the same species that evolved. Even though they look nothing alike.

    And yes, you guys are so fucking brilliant because you only believe the tangible.

    And yes after you die, that’s it. Nothing. All the fucked up shit you did in this life and all the good things you did in this life meant nothing.

    And yes, all this you see around you simply sprung up accidentally from that one cell 2 billion years ago… wait what, that’s not long enough, oh well, let’s just add another billion years to the Earth’s age..oh wait still not long enough? let’s just round the Earth’s life to 5 Billion to cover any overages.

    yep keep on living your life that way, you will see there is a process of spiritual evolution too. That man has been chosen from the Earth and there is NO EVOLUTION that leads up to what’s going on in our brains. What we have is a one off.

    And Modusoperandi , just because I follow a link jackass doesn’t mean it has convinced me. Or changed the truths I hold to be quite obvious.

    People have read the Bible, yet they live their life without following any of it’s teachings.

    I’m trying to help you understand as well, but apparently only you have things to teach.

  98. I think people like the z man need to have that faith in god. What would stop that kind of person from doing bad things. Maybe it’s better he stays a little blissful in his belief. He obviously doesn’t understand that just being a good person and trying to make the world a better place can be enough. Nooooo, he needs to be rewarded. Do you believe everything in the bible or just the things that suite you?? I think the bible needs a little evolving, if you want to use it in 2009.

  99. Fair plays Zawan…at least you’re prepared to stand on a box and shout what you think. But you are mixing up two different subjects. Of course you are entitled to believe in the existance of the soul, of your own spiritual evolution, the existance of a higher power…all those things. Your inner dialogue is entirely your own. However….Going around saying that the Earth was created in 7 days and denying the obvious isn’t doing your credability stance any favours. The existance of the soul is a least (at a push) a subject for debate, the Biblical theory of creation is just wrong.

  100. @Antinous / Moderator You’re joking right? This post was about Fundies….and we’ve flippin’ got one in the room!

    1. This post was about Fundies….and we’ve flippin’ got one in the room!

      Fine. It’s your stomach lining. Keep it civil.

      Zawan,

      If you don’t make a fresh point with every new comment, I’ll evolve them into invisibility. This is a discussion, not a soapbox.

  101. Now I know what Hell will be: an endless and expanding thread of atheist comments.

    But it will be better than Heaven.

    1. Now I know what Hell will be: an endless and expanding thread of atheist comments. But it will be better than Heaven.

      One traditional Jewish view of heaven and hell: Heaven is eternity studying the Torah with Moses. Hell is eternity studying the Torah with Moses.

  102. Anybody check out the PBS show on creation. How the Kansas school board tried to get it taught, but then there was a big backlash, because the smart, I mean, the non creation believers didn’t want it there. Bet u can finger out who won that fight. I thought it was so sad to see these so called christians lying to the judge, and threatening these teachers because they didn’t want creation taught in the public school. Ironic

  103. I’m not sure why, but I found this to be the most offensive thing yet in the thread:

    And yes, you guys are so fucking brilliant because you only believe the tangible.

    And yes after you die, that’s it. Nothing. All the fucked up shit you did in this life and all the good things you did in this life meant nothing.

    First, I’m not sure why people think that you can’t believe in (a) god just because you believe in evolution. Some of us still draw a line at what (we think) can’t be explained. Personally, that line is drawn at the “big bang” – god can “live” there (or really, before there).

    In addition, there is no reason that your life “means nothing” simply because you aren’t rewarded / punished for your actions. A lasting impression upon the world, no matter how minor, is certainly enough to give most people’s lives meaning.

    Additionally, I take significant issue with the concept that morality gained from some expectation of postmortem reward or punishment is somehow superior to morality gained from personal understanding and belief.

  104. Zawan, how exactly do you understand adaptation differently from evolution? Evolution=adaptation (chance mutation that increases fitness)+reproduction+time.

  105. Simply put morality gained from expectation of postmortem reward changes a human. It opens up the thought process to believe that not all is as it seems, and the individual strives to be his/her best knowing that something bigger something longer lasting is the reason and author behind creation.

    Morality gained from personal understanding and belief will wax and wane based on what that person is going through at that moment in his/her life.

    I don’t need religion to be a good person, but every good person will find his/her religion sooner or later.

    And thank you Antinous for your great skills at moderating.

  106. Where. Show me in ONE living thing the process of evolution. Or at least a part of it changing

    I… you… what????

    Dude, it’s a process. It’s not like some magical fairy comes down and sprinkles “evolution” dust on you, and suddenly you sprout wings. You get stuck with whatever DNA you are born with and whatever physical attributes that DNA gives you, and that’s it.

    It is impossible to point at ONE LIVING THING and say that ONE LIVING THING is going through the “process of evolution”. Evolution is temporal over generations and any ONE LIVING THING is essentially static in time. So, let me say this as clearly as I can, given your demand for ONE LIVING THING as proof of evolution, I can state without a doubt one simple fact:

    You don’t understand evolution.

    You don’t understand it, cause you don’t even know what to look for to prove or disprove it. You demand I point to “John Jacob Smith of 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA” and say, see, John just sprouted gills to breath underwater, Evolution!

    Uh, no. That isn’t how it works.

    You. Are. Wrong.

    And I know you like to portray you and your religious folks as being quite willing to acknowledge that there are things about the world that we don’t know. But this is one instance where you will clearly never acknowledge the simple fact that you are wrong. You don’t know anything about evolution. And everything you’ve said about it is based on a completely wrong understanding of evolution.

    This is where it gets personal, because I have spoken to people that have died. Simple as that. Hard to believe but simple as that.

    Oh? Really? Ever talk with someone who had a traumatic brain injury? Ever talk with someone who had alzheimers? Ever talk with anyone who was talking with anyone or anything who wasn’t there? Tell me, oh ye who is obviously not a neurologist, how do you separate the hallucinations of the mind from the divine experience of the afterlife? What objective means do you use to extract this knowledge?

    Me? I’ve dealt with people who were officially crazy. People who saw demons and pulled a butcher knife to defend themselves from the demons.

    Tell me, oh ye who condemns evolutionists for being so lacking in objective observation, how do you separate the crazy people from the folks who say they see angels? Does it involve any sort of objective sorting algorithm based on measurable Mass? Distance? Time?

    No???

    You just know they’re telling the truth???

    really????

  107. Does the “Prime Mover”/”First Cause” argument hold any weight with anyone here?

    Any time I think about matter existing infinitely backwards in time I get vertigo.

    (My ReCAPTCHA says “Wesleyan 98 1/8”)

  108. “Zawan, how exactly do you understand adaptation differently from evolution? Evolution=adaptation (chance mutation that increases fitness)+reproduction+time.”

    Evolution implies that a species will change into an entirely different species . Adaptation implies that the species does not change, it simply gains features the improve function based on environment.

    More simply, adaptation can exist in today’s environment. We can see it, we can observe it, we can demonstrate it. You cannot say that about evolution because we need an audience that has spanned millions of years to prove it.

    Also evolutionists have adopted the word adaptation to be synonymous with evolution. Not so to me; that is why I have a problem with interchanging them.

  109. Subrosa, I’ll go out on a limb and say that he probably believes in evolution of the existing animals from the original god-created kinds, or ‘baramin’, but THOSE were all really separate and unique.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Created_kind

    The problem is all these fossils that he likes to pretend don’t exist cross every single line you could possibly draw (as well as a lot of extant creatures in places that his ancestors didn’t hang around like Madagascar.)

    At the core, he’s trying to insist that we don’t know things we do, because we can’t see things that we can see. (We can see the fossils. They exist. We can classify them. We can compare them to one another. Really.) He tries to reinforce this by emphasizing personal experience, and somehow doubting the testimony of thousands of honest scientists who have done the work, and claiming that all these claims are just circular reasoning from books, which is utter bullshit.

    Of course, since we don’t (read: he doesn’t) know enough to prove evolution with mathematical certainty, then OBVIOUSLY DUR we have to believe with certainty that god created all the precursor creatures individually. It’s the king of stupid false dichotomy.

    His whole adaptation != evolution is just macro/micro evolution redux. It’s dumb and never was meaningful in the first place.

    Hell, if you just take his definition of ‘adaptation’, you can adapt, adapt again, and again, again again again, and you’ll eventually end up at another species.

    The whale example, for instance (yes zawan, we know you’re really incredulous. Stuff it – this is a story that fits the evidence we have found, not something we think is exactly what happened) – land carnivore starts hunting creatures that live in the shoals. It adapts to spending a little bit of time in the water, becoming a slightly better swimmer, changes its mouth a little to avoid drowning as often. Its adapted children start to hunt fish, and spend more time swimming in deeper water. It adapts to swim better, its nose gets higher so it doesn’t have to expend as much energy breathing. It now has access to a bigger food supply in deeper water, and spends more time there, adapts with bigger lungs, and spends more time there, adapting its limbs to swimming more than on land. Little adaptations pile on and on and on. Eventually it is uncomfortable on land due to adaptations to swimming and adapts its birth process, generation by generation, to no longer be on land.

    Guess what? Any ability of an organism to adapt inevitably leads to evolution. Huh. The distinction between them is impossible. Any small change gets big over time.

  110. GregLondon: I understand evolution. I understand it takes a long time. What you don’t understand it that I am saying we are not in a position to be 100% sure about it. We may have mistaken adaptations and genetic mutations for a theory that states it is the end all and be all of life.

    My question you answered perfectly because we CAN’T point at ONE LIVING THING and say that ONE LIVING THING is going through the “process of evolution”… My point EXACTLY!

    So how the hell do we get off attributing the entire population of plants, animals, and Humans to a system that we cannot readily prove?

    Furthermore this same system is subject to change based on any further evidence that may contradict it. So what basis is there anyway?? There is no foundation or an ever changing foundation.

    Maybe this is more of a metaphysical discussion then you may seem to understand.

    As for speaking to the dead, that was me. I spoke to the dead. I was not on any drugs or mentally unstable, I was awake and it was March 14th. But that’s just it. It doesn’t matter. That’s for me to live this life through MY observations. I am simply here to show you that side of it.

    The side many of you may have never been exposed to. That side where God says He made the world in 6 days and you understand it means 6 stages that could have spanned millennia.

    It’s a different world in everybody’s head. And in my world the idea of a Creator that creates with a reason is much more powerful than a world where existence is due to chance.

  111. @Zawan

    “…the individual strives to be his/her best…”

    You make the assumption that you are your best right now because you believe in fantasies. This is totally wrong. I can guarantee, you’d be a way better person if you didn’t lie all the time.

  112. zawan “If I had to explain it to a child, I’d say that people/control/information.”
    And if I had to explain it to a child, I’d say that you’re positing a 150+ year old conspiracy with literally thousands upon thousands of scientists from across a wide range of disciplines.

    “This is where it gets personal, because I have spoken to people that have died. Simple as that. Hard to believe but simple as that.”
    It’s not hard to believe at all. Upon waking in the middle of the night once, I saw Death (complete with hooded black robe) sitting and watching my TV (which, oddly, wasn’t on). Visitation by a spirit from beyond or potent hypnopompic hallucination? Personally, I lean to the latter. In boot camp, due to a lack of sleep, I saw a field of tall grass turn into giant grasshoppers. Buddy in the trench beside mine saw that same grass turn into giant dancing Coke cans. Which one of us was right?
    Also, while the argument from personal experience is powerful to the individual, it’s also in competition with all the other people and their personal experiences. If yours counts, so do Mohammad’s, Joseph Smith’s, that Hale Bopp guy, etc.

    “I say No, I say They AVOID God, not fear him.”
    No. They say “stuff evolves”. God doesn’t come into it, for most. Make no mistake, it is a powerful argument against a three O’d, all-loving Creator. That’s not the real world’s fault.

    “These ramblings, when taken to heart are the manual to your inner being.”
    No, these ramblings, when carefully parsed, in some places clearly show our common humanity. Most texts have this characteristic, holy or not. The Koran and the Book of Mormon and many other religious texts each have some passages that speak to our inner “us”. Does that make it True? No. That’s just an indicator that people wrote it. The butchery of the Tanakh? That too shows that people wrote it. The revenge fantasy of Revelations? Still people.

    “So My friends I ask you, when exactly did our souls evolve?”
    So my friends I ask you, what the hell is a soul?

    “What event happened that evolved us to “BE Aware”??”
    I don’t know. Did you ask the dolphin? Indian elephant? Chimpanzee? Bonobo? They’re all self-aware. Which god gave them that “spark”? Bonobo Jesus?

    “That things JUST happened? That a land creature, which you never saw turned into a water creature that you never saw.”
    No. Populations of that creature over many generations changed from one adapted to land to one adapted to the sea. Enough of them were both fossilized and found to show their pattern of change over time. Same (or similar) family line; different species.

    “And yes after you die, that’s it. Nothing.”
    Your evidence to the contrary is? Talking to the dead? Get them to talk to the rest of us next time, and your single anecdote will become multiple anecdotes. Still not facts, but slightly better.

    “All the fucked up shit you did in this life and all the good things you did in this life meant nothing.”
    And so? Not accepting evolution because it clashes (and it clearly does clash) with your beliefs in whatever comes next is, frankly, stupid. I’m not happy with just this one life, but we play the cards we’re dealt. You live on in the memories of those you touched. It’s not much, but it’s reality-centric and evidence-based.

    “And Modusoperandi , just because I follow a link jackass doesn’t mean it has convinced me.”
    Well, try the books then. If you’re following the links, you’re reading but not comprehending, because you’re still arguing with the same force of ignorance shit that you were earlier.

    “Or changed the truths I hold to be quite obvious.”
    So says every other religion. You don’t have a lock on truth. Nobody does. I’m sticking with Thor. That dude gets all the chicks.

    “People have read the Bible, yet they live their life without following any of it’s teachings.”
    Like the Golden Rule (which we do, or try to), or the bit about killing everyone in Canaan (which we don’t), or the post Gospel crap about shunning non-believers (which we don’t), or the bit about not planning because God is in control and Jesus is coming back really soon anyway (which we don’t, and after 2,000 years anyone who does has no sense of history)?

    “I’m trying to help you understand as well, but apparently only you have things to teach.”
    You’re helping us to understand that things that did happen did not happen because God something something something. Thanks. Let me introduce you to a Scientologist. Now those guys have a story!

    “Simply put morality gained from expectation of postmortem reward changes a human.”
    Ah, because greed and hubris work out so well on the mortal plain…

    Jonathan “It seems like mockery is the tool of choice around here for addressing fundamentalist creationism….does anyone have data that could demonstrate the wisdom of using such tactics?”
    You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you mock, “they” have a wicked persecution complex (backed up with biblical passages that say, roughly, that people will be mean to them). If you ignore, “they” will shout victory. That’s why I try to be helpful. I try. I really do.

    Antinous / Moderator “Why are you feeding it?”
    1. Fighting the good fight.
    2. Finding someone who is wrong on the internet.
    3. The only thing ignorance needs to win is for norance to do nothing. (on a side note, apparently “norance” isn’t a real word)

  113. Simply put morality gained from expectation of postmortem reward changes a human. It opens up the thought process to believe that not all is as it seems, and the individual strives to be his/her best knowing that something bigger something longer lasting is the reason and author behind creation.

    And morality gained from personal thought and experience broadens the mind and personal understanding. It allows the individual to feel important. It allows the individual to take responsibility for his actions – they are his own, for his own reasons, and not out of fear.

    Additionally, your own positions seem to show that supernatural repercussions do not “open up the thought process,” or if they do, only at the cost of cutting off other viable options.

    Morality gained from personal understanding and belief will wax and wane based on what that person is going through at that moment in his/her life.

    Just as, history shows us, morality gained from supernatural fears will wax and wane based on what the individual, or those who hold sway over him, is going through at that moment.

    I don’t need religion to be a good person, but every good person will find his/her religion sooner or later.

    Many, many people will disagree with you.

    Perhaps more would agree if you used the word “spirituality,” or “philosophy” instead.

  114. My question you answered perfectly because we CAN’T point at ONE LIVING THING and say that ONE LIVING THING is going through the “process of evolution”… My point EXACTLY!

    You’re point proves you don’t understand evolution. there is no ONE LIVING THING that is going through evolution. There are generations going through evolution and we can see those changes over time. We can see single mutations causing massive changes to an organism. Engineers use evolutionary algorithms to design antennas, and those algorithms end up producing better antennas than any human has ever designed. But it is an iterative process. Evolution is NOT VISIBLE if you look at one individual. It’s not even visible if you look at a single generation. You’ve got to look at it over time, over many generations.

    Miller-Urey put some base chemicals in a beaker, added heat and electrical spark, and ended up having a non-sentient process create complex proteins. The chemistry of it is understood. There isn’t anything magical. It’s just that when you have a process that is partially random and iterative, you can have things happen that seem the outcome of intelligent intervention.

    this same system is subject to change based on any further evidence that may contradict it. So what basis is there anyway??

    and then

    God says He made the world in 6 days and you understand it means 6 stages that could have spanned millennia

    So, you’re saying “6 days” is subject to change based on further evidence? What basis is there again?

    And in my world the idea of a Creator that creates with a reason is much more powerful than a world where existence is due to chance.

    Whatever floats your boat, as long as you don’t expect that to be taught in biology class.

  115. “So how the hell do we get off attributing the entire population of plants, animals, and Humans to a system that we cannot readily prove?”

    You’re starting to get annoying…honestly. At least four different posters linked to different evidence and literature about the evidence we have and why evolution isn’t a theory anymore…if you bothered to read them and stopped lying to yourself and were ready to open your mind, you wouldn’t even be asking.

  116. It’s tempting to jump in to refute Zawan’s points, but he’s not making rational arguments, so refuting him with logic or analysis or facts won’t work. And, in case the internet is new to anyone here, iterations of this same discussion can be found at about a million different forums. My informal survey of same indicates Zawan will just leave if you mock him enough. Let’s give that a shot:

    Zawan, your statement that you spoke to the dead is fascinating. I think we’re fellow travelers, you and I, because on June 12th the Flying Spaghetti Monster reached out and I was touched by his noodle-y appendage. Sure people may call me an idiot, a moron, an imbecile, willfully ignorant, uneducated, uncurious, and just plain dumb, but that’s for me to live this life through MY observations. I am simply here to show you that side of it.

  117. More simply, adaptation can exist in today’s environment. We can see it, we can observe it, we can demonstrate it. You cannot say that about evolution because we need an audience that has spanned millions of years to prove it.

    Except we have millions of years of fossils of things that are really really similar from one to the next, with slight changes, where the end product is very different from the beginning. There’s tons and tons of examples. See here:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

    Really, it’s not just circular arguments in books. You can often go look at these fossils in museums, and if you were really persistent, you could probably convince a scientist who worked on them to point out the chains of relationship.

    —–

    So, Zawan, what sort of evidence of active evolution are you looking for?

    How about a mother and father having a child that can reproduce, but not with the species of its mother and father? Is that a speciation event?
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-research.html#observed-speciation
    Because it’s been observed.

    More:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

    (And if you say you simply refuse to believe them because you weren’t there in the field trying to breed guppies yourself, you’re in for SUCH an eye-rolling)

  118. “Evolution implies that a species will change into an entirely different species . Adaptation implies that the species does not change, it simply gains features the improve function based on environment.”

    Exactly. Gaining features=change. The environment changes over time (are we going to argue about that, too?) and so the individuals that successfully adapt new “features” reproduce and pass those traits on to their offspring. Or not, sometimes, but when they do it can lead to speciation.

    If you need evidence of this sort of thing occurring over a human timeline there is plently of it from species that reproduce more rapidly than we do. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation

    As you correctly point out, adaptation is just one aspect of evolution and not the whole thing. You could start from the point of artificial speciation (i.e. animal breeding) to see that adaptations can be passed on through generations and thus lead to new species. Is it so hard to believe that this can happen in nature?

  119. It’s just that when you have a process that is partially random and iterative, you can have things happen that seem the outcome of intelligent intervention. – GregLondon

    The way I like to think of it is that brute force guess and check design is so stupid that even nothing can do it.

  120. Does anyone know how many wars were fought for Evolution? How many people died? Religion= Control.

  121. @Antinous ~133 — I like this one too:

    When you die, your arms stretch straight out to your sides and lock permanently into place. In Hell, everyone is skinny, because, when they eat, they grab their food in the hands of their straightened-out arms, flip it up in the air, tilt their heads back, and then try to catch it in their mouths.

    But in Heaven, everyone is fat, because they all just feed each other.

  122. Maybe Zawan thinks that an adapted creature is sort of a stretched form of some base creature. Like a giraffe isn’t a base-line giraffe, but that it’s really an orange cow with a long neck, and if you removed all the tall trees and predators, it’d go back to being a cow eventually. And that it can only adapt so far…

    (We need some sort of tag-team system. As it is we’re throwing so much at the poor guy that he only has time to pick a weak argument to respond to instead of defending himself.)

    Well, I’m probably out for the night. ‘s been fun :D

  123. Zawan: And in my world the idea of a Creator that creates with a reason is much more powerful than a world where existence is due to chance.

    I missed the larger significance of this statement. This gets to the very heart of the issue. The idea of science is “The world, whatever it is, wins”. If a scientist wants cold fusion, but can’t reproduce it, guess what? Then claims of cold fusion are considered false.

    What you stated right there is that your world is whatever you decide is more interesting, more “powerful”, whatever that means. Whatever moves you. You want a world where a Creator put life on the planet with a reason, so that’s what you go out looking for in the world. And everything you “observe” in teh world is filtered through the idea that you want a world where a creator put life on the planet for a reason.

    So, the bigger problem is not that you don’t understand the concept of evolution. The bigger problem is that you don’t understand science.

    At all.

    You demand observational data to “prove” evolution. And in the same post, you’re explaining how your view of the world is chosen not by what the world gives to you but by what you want to find there.

    That isn’t science. That’s the antithesis of science. It’s dogmatic religion.

    And until you can wrap your head around the difference between your religious dogma and science, this conversation is going nowhere.

    I will wager money that you don’t work in a scientific field. There is no possible way you can be this far off from the fundamentals of how science operates and be paid to do scientific work.

  124. ZAWAN “I understand evolution.”
    No, you don’t.

    “My question you answered perfectly because we CAN’T point at ONE LIVING THING and say that ONE LIVING THING is going through the “process of evolution”… My point EXACTLY!”
    See?

    “That side where God says He made the world in 6 days and you understand it means 6 stages that could have spanned millennia.”
    …with things that didn’t happen…
    …in the wrong order…

    “And in my world the idea of a Creator that creates with a reason is much more powerful than a world where existence is due to chance.”
    Does that make it true?

  125. I think the best way to deal with people who try to convert you to their religion is by taking a Pantheistic/Humanist approach.

    “I believe in God, I know he exists, I have seen his work in my life and others. I reject that it matters. Humanity is the end-all be-all of this world. Your God may be omnipotent, but he still doesn’t matter, otherwise he would strike me dead for even spouting such beliefs.”

  126. GTMoogle “As it is we’re throwing so much at the poor guy”
    It could be a single point, fed delicately on a silver spoon, and the reply would be the same. I hate to say that. It makes me sad. Biblical literalism makes me sad.

    “that he only has time to pick a weak argument to respond to instead of defending himself.)”
    Defence? Zawan’s defence: “Genesis, bitches!” Not even two full chapters of one great big book. Never have the first 46 lines or so of a book been so divisive.

  127. The way I like to think of it is that brute force guess and check design is so stupid that even nothing can do it.

    They use something sort of like that for FPGA place and route. (or at least they used to) You create a design. The tool coverts it into low level gates. Then it has to figure out how to place all the gates on the FPGA and wire them together. It used a process called “simulated annealing” which was sort of a brute force tweak it and check it process. But then once in a while, it would randomly throw all the gates around in the chip and try again. Totally random. You could even give it different seeds so that each run would produce different results.

    And damned if it didn’t work.

    It isn’t quite the same generational iterative process like evolution, but random+iterative+lots of time => some really cool things.

  128. Whew! Finally caught up with this runaway thread.

    Greg London, Foetusnail, Modus Operandi, GT Moogle: My hat is well off to you, o my brothers.

    Zawan: “Simply put morality gained from expectation of postmortem reward changes a human. It opens up the thought process to believe that not all is as it seems, and the individual strives to be his/her best knowing that something bigger something longer lasting is the reason and author behind creation.”

    Yeah, we know how well this has worked out throughout the span of human existence. While you’re catching up on your reading try a little history too for good measure.

    And next time you talk to the Dead, will you tell Jerry I said Hi? Thanks. You’re a pal.

    Mike Finch: Try using Firefox, dude.

  129. zawan: yep, your incessant mockery has changed my mind.

    Being told you’re wrong isn’t mocking, zawan. You came in here trying to tell all the evolutionists that they were wrong. But in doing so, you’ve made several things very clear: you don’t actully work in a scientific field, you don’t understand evolution, and you stated yourself that you view the world based on what is more appealing to you, not based on strictly the evidence that the world gives you, which means any information people present to you to help you understand evolution will be ignored because it doesn’t match what you want to see. And that is exactly what you’ve done so far.

    That’s just the facts.

    If you came back and told me those facts were wrong, like you said “surprise, I do genetics work for a bioengineering company!”, that would mean I was wrong. But you didn’t. Instead, you got all sarcastic and ignored all the facts presented to you and instead tried to frame it all as mocking you.

    It’s not mocking you. It’s just that you’re wrong about the world. And when you’re wrong about the world, the world wins.

  130. greglondon – he may have been referring to me. I was both mocking and advocating mockery.

  131. Takuan, I know a lie requires intent… but how can somebody be so wrong about everything, narrow minded, incapable of understanding what the others say, and somewhere within not kind of intend it?

  132. much of what we do here is like old time pantomime.
    It’s formalized, ritualistic and educational in intent.

    In any case, I look forward to the return of Zawrossiwanfumi,clad no doubt in streimmel and payiss next time – for the hat trick.

  133. he may have been referring to me.

    Could be, rabbit. Could be.

    My rule is that posts without context are fair game to interpretation.

    I am dissappointed that apparently he’s a doppleganger of some sort. Someone did an IP check or something I take it?

    oh well.

  134. I agree with danturner:

    You can’t persuade an irrational person (Zawan) that he’s wrong by using a rational argument. He can just say: “well the bible says it, so I believe it over any evidence you can show me”.

    The best you can do really is just mock them, like this video does.

  135. Good question Failix.

    Plato’s Cave

    Now imagine that those who hold the key to the chains are the priests and those objects whose shadows are viewed by the prisoners are purposely chosen so as to further confuse and control the thoughts of the prisoners.

    Then remember these beliefs were planted in the believers mind, before they had a mind. Everything in their life is founded on these implanted beliefs. It will take more than a good argument or even the facts to cause any of them to be brave enough to cut the cord.

    Huang Po

    Fear:

    Ordinary people look to their surroundings, while followers of the Way look to Mind, but the true Dharma is to forget them both. The former is easy enough, the latter very difficult. Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma.

    These people been thrown the bone for so long they don’t know a roast has meat.

  136. mockery is of limited use. Rather, give them room and reason to change their own minds. When I want to annoy fundamentalists, I’m kind to them.

  137. Yay, it’s pick on the fundies day! I love this shit.

    The existence of God is a fair subject for laymen to debate. Why? Because we have insufficient evidence to form a concrete, unassailable position. The existence of a soul. The existence of magic, telepathy, the power of prayer, the afterlife, all that good shit. I am totally and utterly willing to debate that stuff. There’s a pretty reasonable neurological explanation for it, but then the anecdotal evidence is pretty comprehensive, and when you’re talking about the unique subjective experiences of billions, it’s pretty sticky. All our spiritual experiences could very well be a series of hallucinations used to program the brain to work for the benefit of the individual as well as unite the tribe as a whole, a highly useful trait. Or maybe there are spirits from another dimension communicating with us and guiding us to ends good or evil or whatever, and the portion of the brain that reliably lights up during spiritual experiences is some sort of inter-dimensional antenna. I don’t know. It’s a good topic for conversation, regardless.

    But evolution isn’t one of those subjects. It’s not a theory, it’s a law. A theory becomes a law when it is widely accepted as the most reasonably plausible theory. It is the best available explanation. It’s not about KNOWING. It’s not about believing. It’s not about faith. AT ALL. I’m not saying there aren’t crazy dogmatic atheists, but they certainly don’t speak for me, and to my mind they aren’t properly scientific in their approach. The point of science is to make the most accurate models of the world that you can make, which you can use to make accurate predictions about cause and effect. Don’t confuse the map for the terrain, here. It doesn’t matter if any particular scientific principle is Truth. The point is getting as close as you can reasonably get. There are plenty of questions left to be answered in evolutionary biology. It’s a big subject. But the basis is understood as well as anything could reasonably be expected to. It’s as well understood as why airplanes fly, or how televisions work, and just as complicated. Do you know how your television works, specifically? I’ll bet you don’t. Why? Because you’re not a scientist, and it’s seriously fucking complex. If you want all the evidence or whatever, put aside your preconceptions and take a proper evolutionary biology class, and they will be answered. If you want to know, you talk to someone who has put in the work to do the research and properly evaluate the existing body of evidence.

    Science is inherently humble in its outlook. Is there bias? Fuck yes. It sometimes takes generations for important truths to become widely accepted. It took over 40 years for Peak Oil to become accepted, and that’s both pretty fucking obvious and directly applicable to business interests. No human system is immune to the effects of social pressures and games of status. But the scientific community, unlike nearly all other highly organized groups of people, has at its core, as its prime tenet, a commitment to objectivity. It’s not faith– it’s the observable reality that science as a system gives us the most accurate, objective model currently available for understanding that which can be effectively understood through measurement and outside observation. The idea that the statements of a group of people with a commitment to objectivity are somehow equivalent in truth and human relevance to groups who make arguments based on faith and received knowledge is not only absurd, it is a dangerous and foolhardy presumption that threatens the safety and security of all humanity. It is simply a matter of the lack of good moral values on the part of the religious. Without objectivity, there can be no rationality, there can be no truth. Without objectivity and impartiality, a human is just an ape, a ready slave to whoever programs them. Without the pursuit of objectivity, humans can have no moral guidance of their own, and require the stricture of rules and punishments from on high. Objectivity is the name of the fucking game, man.

    If God did create the world, then it is only through objectivity that we can ever understand God, because that basis is what is utterly and entirely required to expand our understanding of the universe. You can have all the spiritual experiences you want, but God is only going to speak to you in the language you understand, in metaphorical, symbolic language that corresponds to the world as you understand it. There’s a whole lot of different religions out there, and they all offer awfully similar religious experiences, yet they have fairly diverse beliefs, customs and practices, each supposedly ordained and determined by God. So if there is a God, and it is not just one particular group out of the thousands who supposedly has the Word, which I would consider to be highly unlikely, particularly considering the spiritual experiences I’ve personally had outside the bounds of religious determination, then it stands to follow that God can only be understood according to the world-view of those having the experience and trying to explain it to others. Your world-view inherently shapes your view of a spiritual experience, and it will tend to reinforce your previously held views.

    So, given that, it is only by progressively better understanding the nature of the universe that we can better understand our subjective, personal relationship with God. In other words, if you take the Bible at face value, if you’re not just someone who loves Jesus but a fanatical Bible literalist and denier of science, you have not only missed the purpose of Jesus’ mission, you spit in the face of God. It’s not just that you’re wrong-headed– it’s blatant hypocrisy and anti-Christian. It’s the inevitable result of thousands of years of misinterpretation and manipulation of the well-meaning Christians by those who have so led their people to perpetrate acts so utterly heinous that Hitler would be hard pressed to keep up. Christianity, like most organized religions, is an entity of social control. It is a mockery of its own principles. It stands in the way of God with all its actions.

    Christians have earned their scorn, every bit of it. And until you realize that, until you give up your irrationality and ignorance, until you repudiate the evil that men do in Christ’s name, until you seek in all earnestness the pursuit of truth, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    You know, if there really is one.

  138. Say “I love you” to your enemies.
    You will feel good about trying and you may make a friend.

    Hate is a lot of work, and still worship.
    Love is just nicer.

  139. Oh, well, the piñata turned out to be a sockpuppet. Pity, the candy in him looked like it was tasty, and I wanted to take a few whacks.

    Honestly, I have zero sympathy for people who won’t even listen to how you define WORDS, and who insist on arguing against some imaginary straw man of their own making and telling you that your quite different argument is “proven” wrong thereby.

  140. At least Zawan maintained a single identity throughout the thread, and wasn’t a hydra. Dunno if we can rightly even call him a sock puppet. Also, he gave answers that, while ignoring or denying the factual points (he already admitted he simply refused to believe contradictory evidence greater than second hand anyway), at least answered in ways that let us dig down to some of the inner reasoning.

    I kinda hope he’s still around and expounds on how he thinks adaptation != evolution, because there’s no barrier there to stop it from being evolution, so I’d like to know what he thinks the difference is.

    As for mockery, mockery is advocated as a good tactic to properly embarrass loud creationists into not pushing agendas. It’s not a tactic for getting through to one person, and there’s been very little mockery of Zawan in this thread imo.

  141. I agree with you Grimnir, I would never have been able to put it into words like you did though. Thanks.

  142. *runs into room, exhausted and out of breath*

    I heard there was a big thread on atheism and you had a live creationist… and… and.. did I miss anything?…..

    Oh crap.

  143. Oh, and thanks also to Failix for your enlightening contributions to this discussion. This made my day. XD

  144. ZAWAN:

    Surely it is obvious that adaptation (small changes from one generation to the next due to environmental factors) over the process of millions of years will lead to an organism that is hugely different to the organism you began with?

    I find it baffling that you accept adaptation but not evolution, when evolution is just the logical progression of adaptation.

    Fran

  145. You have to be careful when you argue with a fanatic, because they require someone equally fervent to fight with them effectively. You already accept that the fanatic is twisted. Do you really want to be just as monstrous, just for the sake of trying to win an argument?

    It seems easier to just let the nuts be nuts, no matter if they’re religious or atheist or what. It’s usually dim-wits who are fanatical, don’t you agree? Dim-wits, schizos and sociopaths. So let them have their causes. As long as they aren’t allowed to ruin our society with their madness, it’s not really a problem. As far as I can see from my American perspective, the US started off a lot more uptight and fanatical than it is today, but we’re slowly relaxing and getting more normal.

    Eh, just tossing my two cents out there.

  146. I see this from a somewhat different perspective (if I may be so vain).

    To me, an attack on religion is also an attack on imagination.

    Now, hear me out. I understand that religions in their all-powerful days weren’t big fans of imagination either. And there were plenty of atheist authors who wrote amazing, imaginative books.

    But, as we live in a free society, we must also preserve the freedom to think differently, and the freedom to view and interpret the world in a non-normative way.

    I would not want atheists enforcing their non-theistic beliefs down my throat and down my children’s throats anymore than some random religion with its theism. But there’s no joy in looking at another group of people and taking pleasure in “what a bunch of idiots” they are because they don’t think like you do, even if, in turn, they are pointing at you and saying the same thing. To me, that’s just buying into the war for control of your thoughts and imagination.

    We are in a unique position to explore all these philosophies from different perspectives and grow stronger from that freedom, just as freedom has made our lives better all other aspects of life. Even science requires a little imagination to form a hypothesis.

    To me, the first amendment is not just guaranteeing freedom from and of religion, but much more than that. It is the right to think about existence and the meaning of life in your own unique way.

    And believe me, as thought reading technology is slowly being developed, you’ll appreciate that guarantee all the more.

  147. It’s amazing to me all the interest in the Pope last couple weeks. I think it’s because of John Paul’s visit, personally, but, you know, whatever the reason, people are buyin’ these posters that show all of the Popes and people want to know what their names are, what their real names are, when they was livin’, when they died, all that stuff. And, going along with this Papal mania, I’ve kind of designed a contest about the Popes. [holds up a large photo showing a close-up of the surface of a pizza] It’s called “Find the Popes in the Pizza” … All two hundred and fifty-four Popes, they’re in here. … And, what we’re gonna do in about one minute, we’re gonna put a close-up of this on your screen and, you at home, all you have to do is get some, like, wax paper, any kind of paper you can see through and paste it to your screen — or tape it, whatever you want — and all you gotta do is get a pencil and draw a circle around every place you see a picture of a Pope. And, while we’re doing this–

  148. OrcOnTheEndOfMyFork, I agree, but Creationists who argue against evolution using what they purport to be science want to have it both ways.

    If you want to reject science and believe that the Bible is a factual description of events as revealed by God, I disagree with you but your decision has a certain logical consistency. You live in a separate reality from mine.

    If you want to believe that the Bible is a factual description of events as revealed by God, and maintain that you can support this by an appeal to the scientific method, you are wrong, and you’ve jumped into the reality I inhabit, where it is fair and just to call you wrong.

  149. I missed the whole discussion, but Foetus, can I just tell you that I drank a Blueberry Kombucha tea today and remarked it was remarkably like a beer but for the lack of alcohol. I also wanted to say I feel no love for the new pope and I think they should appoint a much nicer successor. This one is so weasely, I’m sorry, the name Ratzinger… there’s just nothing that good about this guy… Now, John Paul the II, he seemed like a nice person.

  150. Many people, like Zawan, really don’t seem to understand the concept of geological time, or the time scales evolution acts on. (Especially since they profess frustration at seemingly not seeing things changing around them on a regular basis.)

    I once heard an analogy that I found helpful to get the concept across, it goes like this:

    Imagine you are standing at the base of the Empire State building. You look up…this is a very tall building!

    Now imagine that the height of the Empire State building, from the base on the sidewalk all the way to the very tip of its massive antennae on top, represents all of Earth history. Where it starts up from the sidewalk is when the Earth was formed and cooled, and the very tip of the antennae on top is where we are today.

    Now imagine that you are magically floating all the way at the very tip top of that antennae. You can see where it ends, shooting up into the sky from this great height.

    You reach into you pocket and pull out a quarter. You place this quarter horizontally exactly even with the tip top of the antennae.

    THE THICKNESS OF THIS QUARTER, IN RELATION TO THE HEIGHT OF THE BUILDING, REPRESENTS ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY ON EARTH. From our earliest ancestors who first walked upright to you reading this today.

    That is what people mean when they talk about geological time, the age of the Earth, evolution, etc. It can be hard to wrap your head around, but I hope this helped.

  151. I drank a Blueberry Kombucha tea today and remarked it was remarkably like a beer

    An appropriate thing to do!

  152. There’s no way to confess that you find this utterly hilarious and not offend anyone, is there? damn damn

  153. Carl Sagan’s cosmic calendar is a really easy lesson plan. We took an old calendar and taped the months down a long hallway. Then we put the various events, (i.e. planets form, life begins) on post-its and posted them to the months according to the History of the Universe as 365 days formula. He does it way better, but, you could do this if you wanted to make it more interactive…

  154. Okay. This is freaky. Youtube, like wikipedia, is supposed to contain the totality of the universe, but a youtube search for “sctv carl sagan” comes up with nothing. Nothing for SCTV’s Battle of the PBS Stars, either. Nothing! Oh, well. If you could see it, you’d find it funny. I know you.

  155. I don’t want you to think that we forgot about you, Anonymous, so…
    Anonymous “Does the “Prime Mover”/”First Cause” argument hold any weight with anyone here?”
    Yes. Sort of. No.
    First Cause is fundamentally an argument from ignorance. First Cause implies a who, but at best it gets you to a what.
    We’re causal beings in a causal universe (above the subatomic level, anyway). As such, anything non-causal is Greek to use (if you’re Greek, then it’s something else). Talking about what happened before time is problematic, as “before” implies time. Nothing happened before time, because time came into play at the bang. Oddly, that makes the universe, in a sense, eternal (since eternal implies time and “before” bang, no time). It’s the kind of thought process that gives you a headache. This is, in part, why quantum physicists are all quite mad. Mad!
    So…something started it. Theists mistake “it” for “He”, much as they’ve done for everything that used to be Him but turned out to be germs or tectonics or whatever (we’re pretty good at applying agency to agentless things. That’s why you blame the hammer when you hit your thumb with it while nailing). Quantum foam, or any of the other weird, weirder, and oh-my-god-that’s-weird possibilities so far are things, not agents. If it is an agent, I suspect that it falls under the category of “none of the above”, or the deist god, which is like “none of the above”, except that some of the Founding Fathers believed in it, which makes it cool and hip with the kids these days. Deism, I don’t mind. I’m deist myself, on occasion. Deists don’t seem to be pushing their deism on everybody else, because their god really doesn’t seem to care whether you take the holy text that it didn’t give Man literally or not. The deist god is pretty laid back, man. It’s not even bothered by what two consenting adults do to each other in the privacy of their own home, even if they have matching genitalia! Crazy, I know.
    “First Cause” could be a lot of things. I’m pretty sure that everybody so far is wrong. It’s tough coming to a well-informed conclusion on a subject when the subject itself denies you the information that you need to be informed. To sum up, the only honest answer is “I don’t know.”

  156. Zawan, my brother,
    you must be exhausted. You’ve stood your ground against a thousand Philistines, Brave Warrior.
    It doesn’t really matter what they, or even we, believe about the origins of life. We know who dunnit. Good exercise, tho- this is a tough crowd.
    God bless you, my friend.
    Troof

  157. But what I still doesn’t understand is what have to do smoking pot with being atheists.

    Should I start smoking now?

  158. Wolfiesma, when it comes to the ancient art of the brewer, I’m a devout, boring fundamentalist. Thou shall not allow a blueberry to touch the brew.

    While not a connoisseur I highly recommend Samuel Smith Old Brewery Tadcaster “The Famous Taddy Porter”.

  159. JustDisGuy said: “Nope. I’ll tell him the Good News, which is that he is Loved and can be Saved”

    Look dude… this is why there is “open season” on Christians (and others). I’m glad you’re not the rabid type and I take my hat off to you for your composure. Nevertheless it is EXACTLY this kind of comment that makes most rational people think you suffered a brain injury during early childhood. What exactly is it about me that needs saving? The whole thing is a logical train wreck. I don’t need saved. The bible says nothing about “original sin” and even if it did it would clearly indicate that God is both a poor logician and an uncharitable asshole. In the immortal words of Galileo I do not feel obliged to believe that a God that endowed us with reason, sense and intillect intended us to forgo their use. So while I agree with the general senitment of “be nice” I feel absolutely no need to burden myself with the nonsensical ceremony and bagage that comes with being “a believer”. I have no need of a magic Jew on a stick to tell me to be nice or save me from his poorly reasoning old man.

  160. DudeManGuy, you’re exactly right. This self-righteous assumption that anyone needs saving, or can be saved by religious dogma, is ridiculous.

    The goal is to remove religions from our lives, to separate religious dogma and the belief in god, to separate religion and spirituality; to dispel the false idea that religion is the arbiter of right and wrong.

    In other words, remove the middleman, liberate people from dogma and give them an opportunity to develop their own understanding, independent of religious leadership.

    If gods exist, why do we need a religion to act as liaison? Religion should be recognized as superfluous to belief in god and spirituality. Religions should finally be recognized for what they are dangerous and divisive.

    Religions have murdered millions more people than they will ever save, even if they never killed another heretic or apostate until the end of time. Because religions have never saved anyone, we save ourselves. Fellowship is what we need, religion is what we got.

    We alone are responsible for our own salvation, our own enlightenment. This is what religious clergy don’t want us to know. This is what they don’t want us to believe. Having faith in our own ability is blasphemy. When we no longer depend on religions, they are out of a job.

    By removing religions from our lives, we will finally be united. Only then will we see we are all the same, we are all asking the same questions, we are all seeking the same understanding, whether we believe in gods or not.

  161. Troof@206: Who you callin’ a Philistine? I reject that a choice must be made between faith and reason; between a concept of godhood and evolution as a prime mover; between a mystical and a logical universe.

    And this was nothin’. Try holding your own here positing that 9-11 was an inside job without being labeled a tinfoil hat nutcase (-not an invitation to go way off topic. I’m just sayin’.)

  162. Takuan @ #149:

    to “lie” requires intent. To speak mistakenly is just an error.

    Zawan engages in willful ignorance. He’s not simply mistaken: he’s actively fighting against facts. There’s your intent.

  163. Greg 169: Someone did an IP check or something I take it?

    Yep. See below.

    GTMoogle 179: At least Zawan maintained a single identity throughout the thread, and wasn’t a hydra. Dunno if we can rightly even call him a sock puppet.

    While not being a hydra is certainly a virtue, Zawan was absolutely a sock puppet; he’s the previously-banned Rossifumi. A previously-banned person who comes back under another name is a) the core definition of a sockpuppet and b) automatically banned per the Moderation Policy.

    Accordingly, Zawan has been banned. Since he made it absolutely clear that he wasn’t here to listen or learn anything or even be open to the possibility that he might, I doubt he’s reading any comments made to him subsequent to his banning.

    [Mockery is] not a tactic for getting through to one person, and there’s been very little mockery of Zawan in this thread imo.

    Again, he made it clear that his answer to any refutation of his alleged arguments was “LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING,” so it was pretty clear, at least to me, that mockery was not being deployed in an effort to get through to him. It was done for practice, and because mocking a genuine willful blockhead is such fun.

  164. Listen up, you Philistine clowns.
    No, you don’t need saving, unless you’re trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building and the river is rising or the fire is spreading.
    If you don’t particularly care for the idea of living in Paradise forever, fine. No one is going to make you.
    But if you had wonderful news, would you want to tell your friends? Maybe not, seeing how sarcastically bitter a lot of you monkeys are. We have no desire to make any of you do anything. We just want you to know that you can live forever, if you’re interested. If telling you good news pisses you off, that’s your issue.
    God bless you all!

    1. Troofseeker,

      If I may paraphrase Gandalf: “What a lot of things you use God bless you for! Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off.”

  165. Orc: an attack on religion is also an attack on imagination.

    I just checked, and uhm, no. No it isn’t.

    troof: We have no desire to make any of you do anything.

    To quote Mrs. Miracle Max: LIAR! LIAAAARRRR!

  166. The effectiveness of a theological discussion is largely determined in how it is framed. Messageboards and blog comments do not produce the most open minded conversations. I , however, wanted to comment on Foetusnails post.

    When you say the goal is to “separate religious dogma and the belief in god,” you are making the strongest argument towards the purpose of religion then anyone has in this thread. Religion is constantly battling between maintaining its symbolic identity and falling into heresy or idolatry. This is why we have had the reformations in the Christian Church, because the symbols either stopped representing God or started to become their own god. In any true thoughtful religion it is necessary to acknowledge the primacy of God by an overt denial of the dogmas themselves.

    The next question of course is why have religion if religion needs to deny itself. Well, It is what you got to at the end. “We are all seeking the same understanding,” and “fellowship is what we need.” Rather than go it alone we have created religions for encouragement and fellowship and teach what has been discovered before.

    You said we will finally be united if we remove religion from out lives. I don’t see how this is possible. It has happened before, and been a great disaster. We can all recount the atrocities of the various religions, we are much more hesitant to recount the atrocities when religion is replaced with the doctrines of racism, or nationalism or wealth.

    If people who knew right from wrong acted on it I would have much more confidence in the atheistic position, however, people still willfully do wrong. I have little hope our enlightened utopia has been stopped purely by the dogmas of religion. I see it more as a result of the sinfulness of man.

  167. Yay! *enjoys delicious pizza; offers slices to all who would partake, listens to the music…*

    Preacherman, don’t tell me,
    Heaven is under the earth.
    I know you don’t know
    What life is really worth.
    It’s not all that glitters is gold;
    Half the story has never been told:
    So now you see the light, eh!
    Stand up for your rights. come on!

    (Chorus)

    Most people think,
    Great God will come from the skies,
    Take away everything
    And make everybody feel high.
    But if you know what life is worth,
    You will look for yours on earth:
    And now you see the light,
    You stand up for your rights. jah!

    (Chorus)

    We’re sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game –
    Dyin’ ‘n goin to heaven in-a Jesus name, Lord!
    We know when we understand:
    Almighty God is a living man.
    You can fool some people sometimes,
    But you cant fool all the people all the time.
    So now we see the light (what you gonna do? ),
    We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)

    And now we turn to the gospel of John:

    I told you before, stay away from my door
    Don’t give me that brother, brother, brother, brother.
    The freaks on the phone, won’t leave me alone
    So don’t give me that brother, brother, brother, brother. Ooooh!

    I, I found out!
    I, I found out!

    Now that I showed you what I been through
    Don’t take nobody’s word what you can do
    There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky
    Now that I found out I know I can cry

    I, I found out!
    I, I found out!

    Old Hare Krishna got nothing on you
    Just keep you crazy with nothing to do
    Keep you occupied with pie in the sky
    There ain’t no guru who can see through your eyes

    I, I found out!
    I, I found out!

    I seen through junkies, I been through it all
    I seen religion from Jesus to Paul
    Don’t let them fool you with dope and cocaine
    No one can harm you, feel your own pain

    I, I found out!
    I, I found this out!
    I, I found out!

  168. To Troofseeker: I cannot begin to tell you how ammsuing your comments are. If you could only see yourself in a mirror you would quickly discover that you are your own best evidence as to why what you say is silly. Ironic indeed but mostly just ammusing. Do you do childrens birthday parties?

  169. Ok, I am officially forming the unofficial non-joiner’s gathering of non-sectarian theists, universal microcosmic chapter. Our one dogma is that there is no dogma, and we reserve the right not to believe in anything, to believe in everything all at the same time, to believe in any combination of the above, or to believe in nothing at all. Who’s with me?

  170. DMStone 223: Religion is constantly battling between maintaining its symbolic identity and falling into heresy or idolatry.

    This otherwise-thoughtful (though I disagree with it in several particulars) post is marred by the phrasing here. You are using the word ‘religion’ as if it meant ‘Christianity’, and contrasting it with ‘heresy’ and ‘idolatry’. ‘Heresy’ is just a lack of adherence to dogma, and is what you advocate at the end of the paragraph (it involves choosing for oneself rather than obeying the Church; see Augustine, IIRC, who stated that if someone believed everything the Church taught down to the last comma, but did so out of personal conviction rather than out of obedience to the church, that person would still be a heretic).

    But the more important word here is ‘idolatry’. Idols, as Christians call them, are very much a part of daily worship for one of the world’s great religions, i.e. Hinduism. I don’t think you meant to say that Hinduism is not a religion, but that’s what your statement implies; either that, or that Hinduism has “fallen into” idolatry.

    An image of Ganesh-ji is Ganesh-ji; when I once foolishly proposed making one out of chocolate, the nice Hindu woman I was talking to exclaimed in horror: “He’s a god! You don’t eat him!” I did not have the guts, at that time, to tell her that Christians (some varieties) eat their god every Sunday. Theophagia (god-eating) isn’t all that uncommon; we Wiccans do it too. Try this statement (from the point of view of an imaginary Hindu): “Religion is constantly battling between maintaining its symbolic identity and falling into heresy or theophagia.”

    In any true thoughtful religion it is necessary to acknowledge the primacy of God by an overt denial of the dogmas themselves.

    Again, I’m certain you don’t intend to insult Buddhists, whose religion doesn’t contain a deity, or any of the other religions (including mine) who don’t worship any god whose name is ‘God’. Your statement implies that Buddhism (and Wicca) are not “true thoughtful religions.”

    Let me stress once more that I don’t think you intended to insult anyone. The thoughtful tone of the rest of your comment makes this seem unlikely. But please be aware that your religion isn’t the only one around worthy of the name, and that even if you think it is, saying so either overtly or by implication isn’t a good way to get people of other religions to listen to you.

    Just be a little more careful, is all.

  171. I had already joined and quit sometime ago. I think.

    In any case, I will continue to go forth and do what good I can and refrain from what evil I can. As I did before, as I did without help from any priest’s mongerings. My ethics and morality pre-dates any of the current recognized religions and can be had for free, for the taking, by any willing.

  172. Phikus “Ok, I am officially forming the unofficial non-joiner’s gathering of non-sectarian theists, universal microcosmic chapter.”
    Sorry. I’ve already joined that, quit, and formed the unofficial non-joiner’s gathering of non-sectarian theists, universal microcosmic chapter (reformed). You’re also in competition with the orthodox unofficial non-joiner’s gathering of non-sectarian theists, universal microcosmic chapter now, too.

  173. Xopher …Accordingly, Zawan has been banned”
    Oh, great. That’s just great. He had me this close to becoming a Southern Baptist.

  174. zawan @ #95

    You really should check and weed any list you copy’n’paste from a creationist webpage. From your list of ‘creationist’ scientists:

    ŨBER FAIL!!!!
    Dead before Darwin’s grandfather was born:
    Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban KC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626)
    Robert Boyle (25 January 1627 – 30 December 1691)
    Johannes Kepler (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630)
    Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623, France, Clermont – August 19, 1662)
    Nicolas Steno (Danish: Niels Stensen (11 January 1638 – 25 November 1686)
    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519

    Massive Fail!
    Dead before Darwin’s published On the Origin of the Species:
    (Some dead before Darwin was born…)
    Charles Babbage, FRS (26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871)
    Sir David Brewster, FRS (11 December 1781 – 10 February 1868)
    Baron Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier (August 23, 1769–May 13, 1832)
    Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet FRS MRIA (17 December 1778 – 29 May 1829)
    Michael Faraday, FRS (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867)
    Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878)
    Sir Frederick William Herschel, FRS KH (15 November 1738 – 25 August 1822)
    Carl Linnaeus (Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus (May 23 [O.S. May 13] 1707 – January 10, 1778)
    Matthew Fontaine Maury (January 14, 1806 – February 1, 1873)
    James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879)
    Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27., 1791 – April 2, 1872)
    Sir Isaac Newton, FRS (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727)
    John Ray (November 29, 1627 – January 17, 1705)
    Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann September 17, 1826 – July 20, 1866)
    Sir James Young Simpson (7 June 1811 – 6 May 1870)
    John Woodward (May 1, 1665 – April 25, 1728)

    Probably never read On the Origins of the Species:
    James Prescott Joule FRS 24 December 1818 – 11 October 1889)
    Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (May 28, 1807 – December 14, 1873)

    Regular Fail, Obvious Non-Science:
    # Gerald E. Aardsma (physicist and radiocarbon dating)
    From his website:

    “In 2000, with the nature of the Flood clearly understood for the first time, Dr. Aardsma began to turn his attention increasingly to the question of why people lived so much longer prior to the Flood than they do today.”

    And his proof that people lived longer before the it-never-happened Great Flood?

    # Thomas G. Barnes (physicist)
    You should read the Wiki page on him, it’s a hoot! Especially this section:

    Barnes’ scientific arguments are considered to be pseudoscience or fringe science, appearing in non-mainstream, non-peer-reviewed sources like Galilean Electrodynamics and Creation Research Society Quarterly.

    # Robert V. Gentry (physicist and chemist)
    From the Wiki page:

    His self-published book Creation’s Tiny Mystery was reviewed by geologist Gregg Wilkerson who said it has several logical flaws and concluded “the book is a source of much misinformation about current geologic thinking and confuses fact with interpretation.” He also noted the book contains much of an autobiography and explained “In general I don’t think educators will find its worth their time to tread through this creationist’s whining.

    # D. Russell Humphreys (award-winning physicist) [more info]
    Read the section on his Earth Cooling Model in his Wiki entry.

    # William Thompson (Lord Kelvin)
    http://zapatopi.net/kelvin/papers/interview_aeronautics_and_wireless.html

    Q: “Then it would appear that, in your opinion, we have no hope of solving the problem of aerial navigation in any way?”
    Lord Kelvin: “No; I do not think there is any hope. Neither the balloon, nor the aeroplane, nor the gliding machine will be a practical success. The balloon is the best of all.”

    # Rudolf Virchow (helped develop science of pathology)
    Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (13 October 1821 – 5 September 1902)
    From the Wiki entry:

    Despite these many accomplishments in medicine, Virchow’s reputation is blackened by his rejection of and hostility towards the theory that bacteria cause disease. His attacks on Ignaz Semmelweis’s advocacy of antisepsis delayed the use of antiseptics.

    # A.J. (Monty) White (chemist)
    From the Wiki entry on Monty White:

    In his autobiographical paper “My spiritual pilgrimage from theistic evolution to Creation,” White says:
    Each discipline should be dismantled, and, starting at the foundation, purged of unbiblical notions and rebuilt in accordance with biblical values and givens … If ultimately we will be fools in the eyes of the world anyway, why not at least be consistent fools, and uphold God’s Word in its undiminished entirety?

    Can you spell N-O-T S-C-I-E-N-C-E ? I knew you could..

    # A.E. Wilder-Smith (chemist and pharmacology expert)
    From the Wiki article:

    In 1965 he visited and promoted the false claims that dinosaur and human footprints existed at Paluxy River in Dinosaur Valley State Park. These supposed tracks were later discovered to have been forged by creationists who tried to claim humans and dinosaurs lived together.

    See the link here: http://www.toarchive.org/faqs/paluxy/tooth.html

  175. upon reflection, I am willing to whore my eternal soul for pizza. But there must also be beer.

  176. pizza….always pizza…. A definite recurring theme. I wonder what would happen if on a given day, at a given hour, all the faithful went forth and ordered a pizza a la bOING bOING? Think the mass demand would create a new flavor? What toppings would you find on pizza bOINGbOING? What kind of crust?

  177. Modusoperandi: Yeah, but we’re the One True Religion(tm). It says so on all our printed materials, which have pictures, so it must be true. Plus, we’ve spoken to a huge list of dead people who lived before Darwin, and they signed off on it. And our bible also says so, and we had it sent round the world, (at least to the genteel nations) and translated 101 different times for authenticity, so there’s no questioning it. And don’t forget our twisted flesh totem for the adept worshiper. And also, we have pizza. And bacon. You’ll be sorry when you’re in the Lake of Creosote and we’re nomming on delicious bacon flavored bacon pizza with bacon!

  178. DMStone, thankfully Xopher has already responded to most of the problems with your comment.

    First off, don’t cut and paste my comment. Fellowship has nothing to do with religion either. The Elk’s Lodge is a place of fellowship. A fellowship is also a grant. So in addition to seperating religion’s hold on gods, spirituality, and prayer, I must also add fellowship.

    None of these concepts or activities require religion. Religion, especially arrogant christians, have co-opted, or should I say, stolen these ideas and endeavors from the people.

    Belief has nothing to do with religion. Religion exploits our ability to believe. Gods have nothing to do with religion. Gods, which don’t exist in the first place, would if they existed have no need of divisive, intolerant religions.

    Which brings me to my next point. Listening to a christian talk about religion bringing us together is a hoot. There are almost 40,000 christian cults. Need I say more about the divisive nature of religion?

    You then go on to explain why we created religions. This is pure conjecture on your part. No one knows why we started religions. What is apparent now, is what religions have done. Religions have exploited the fear, insecurity, and ignorance of the people for thousands of years. Religion provides power and wealth to a ruling class of priests, who either directly control societies or work in conspiracy with the powerful and wealthy elite.

    Then you trot out this tired load, which starts with a snippet of my comment.

    You said we will finally be united if we remove religion from out lives. I don’t see how this is possible. It has happened before, and been a great disaster. We can all recount the atrocities of the various religions, we are much more hesitant to recount the atrocities when religion is replaced with the doctrines of racism, or nationalism or wealth.

    Well,of course you don’t see how this is possible, your up to your neurons in religious indoctrination. And the major sick and tragic thing christian indoctrination teaches is that we are all sinful pieces of shit. Christianity robs us of every bit of confidence we should rightly have in our own ability to live an ethical, moral life.

    Because religions, and especially christianity, need a reason for being. So they pretend to be the bringer of morals, the teacher of right and wrong when nothing could be further from the truth. Religion is a business, while some are better than others, most of them are self perpetuating. Religion learned right and wrong from the people. Religion then goes on to redefine right and wrong and along the way murders and divides the people.

    Remember this, the christian god is a lie. The christian god is not the god of forgiveness. If this lie were the god of infinite forgiveness, we would still be in the garden. Your god has been holding a grudge for 6000 years. Judaism is a lie. Christianity is a lie. Islam is a lie.

  179. Phikus “And also, we have pizza. And bacon.”
    *Pbbt!* Strip bacon! We have back bacon. It’s round. Round! (On a tangental note: strip bacon is an excellent game)

  180. bacon, a sliver of takuan, unicorn meat’s to hard to get…rotten shark amd Sardinian maggot cheese?

  181. I want to know how you play strip bacon. I’ve stripped my bacon before, of course, but it wasn’t a game.

  182. We just want you to know that you can live forever, if you’re interested.

    Thats bollocks Troof, and you know it. There are people here who want to argue that science allows as much room for creationism as it allows for evolution, and that claim is just flat out not supported.

    Messageboards and blog comments do not produce the most open minded conversations.

    But they do produce the most funnest.

  183. the bacon has to be cut out in the form of little copies of the old testament…. lego bricks…(I like the frogs)

  184. Anon@249: If it didn’t have frogs, it wouldn’t be crunchy…

    Xopher@250: Sounds exquisitely painful!

  185. I think Bacon and pizza are enough evidence of evolution.

    And to think some creationists actually eat pizza and bacon, while saying Darwin was wrong!

  186. This place is hoping!!!!

    Zawan – don’t pay attention to those bad atheists, they criticize you for what you say, but never give you credit for how loud or how long you say it…

  187. Addition to #205:
    The very term “First Cause” itself is problematic, as “cause” implies causality which requires time. Language, and indeed human thought, breaks down when trying to describe things outside our experience.

    Also, who ate all the pizza?

  188. *suddenly there’s a Big Bang, followed by several smaller ones*

    XOPHER: Who’s there?

    OFFSTAGE VOICE: Pizza delivery.

    *Xopher runs over and opens the door, and there, revealed in his glory, is a Pizza Boy. He’s not MADE of pizza or anything, but he’s in full leather, with a collar (hey, if you want a DOM Pizza Boy, get your own fantasy), and carrying seven pizza boxes, filled with all different kinds of pizza. Xopher tips him and invites him to stay.*

    XOPHER: Hey everyone, more pizza!

  189. Xopher:
    1. It’s not leather. I’m a nudist and have the “weathered” effect of a lifetime of too much sun. Like George Hamilton, but on my ass.
    2. I can stay, but won’t. I do have my reputation to think about, you know.
    3. I’m not a Pizza Boy. I’m a Pizza Man.

  190. Hope the pizza was good. I was busy stuffing my own face with toasted asiago bread with fresh sauce, a sizzling slice of butter fried pork roast and a few forkfuls of saurkraut on top. Is that like German pizza?

  191. Phikus: “…I reject that a choice must be made between faith and reason; between a concept of godhood and evolution as a prime mover; between a mystical and a logical universe.”

    Me too! I wanna join yer group- I’ll even pitch in for pizza I probably won’t even eat. Too greasy.

    ANTI- when I say God bless you, what I really mean is that I wish for God to bless you, nothing less, nothing else. I love you guys.

  192. Has anybody here actually read Darwin? He questions his own conclusions repeatedly and in particular wonders at how a moth with a 10″ long curved proboscis that matches a specific tubular flower curvature could have “evolved” since they are a unique pair in nature. The individual who claims that scientists do not give creationism any credence is simply wrong. Scientists like Einstein and more recently the head of the CERN atom smasher in Geneva who are looking at the depths of the universe both small and large come up with the only conclusion that there must be a God. Further, the concept that randomness forms into order is unproven and required for anything other than creation. Don’t just believe posts and commentary. Read the books yourself and get a deep understanding of the issues before jumping on the bandwagon.

  193. Hi Billy, your post misrepresents Einstein, Darwin, Science, Books and God.

    Nice effort for something so brief.

  194. Billy, good advice. You should try it.

    “From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist…. I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being.” –Einstein

  195. Troof: How could we refuse someone who wears a Gandhi loincloth and Lincoln tophat while blogging? Bacon pizza with bacon is greasy? Pshaw I say! *tithes to Xopher for extra pizzas with extra bacon*

    And may his Noodley appendage grace you with his piratey presence as well, sir! Shalom, and Hare Don Kirshner!

  196. robulus “Hi Billy, your post misrepresents Einstein, Darwin, Science, Books and God.”
    And it misrepresents bandwagons. And sentences. And ponies. Except for the part of his comment that used words, it was right friggin’ on, man.

  197. @Xopher and Foetusnail

    Xopher, You were right in that I was not trying to offend anyone, I also wasn’t trying to speak only for Christianity. I was only speaking for deity based religions, and I am sorry this came off wrong. I thought this discussion was mostly about Christianity and other deities so I went with that.

    My statement does not imply that Hinduism is idolatrous (though it might be, I do no know). All deity based religions seem to have used images at one point or another. It is how these images are approached that makes it idolatry or not.

    As far as the non-diety based religions, I again did not intend to offend. In a thread where religion is being slandered across the board, I did not expect my comment to be picked out. This was a shock.

    Again the misunderstandings all stem from what I said at the first. This is the wrong format for a theological discussion. Too many people have too many different ideas for them to all be addressed appropriately with a comment sent into the ether.

    Foetusnail, I guess, I wouldn’t want my nonsense quoted back at me either. Though if you don’t want someone to repeat your words you probably should not repeat theirs.

    I make no assumptions as to how ancient religions were formed, but you can read any church history and you will see it was built on fellowship and teaching. It only seems logical that older churches and religions might be started the same way.

    You are mistaken to think I have succumbed to religious indoctrination because I have a religious opinion differing yours. I could just as easily accuse you of Modern Anti-theistical indoctrination, of which you surely have the symptoms. Either accusation gets us no where.

    I would like to address some more of your comment, but it is a waste without being “allowed” to quote any of your choice rhetoric, so I will leave you with a quote by someone I am sure you feel you can trust and who probably can’t mind.

    “The degree of one’s emotion varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts: the less you know the hotter you get.”
    – Bertrand Russell

  198. DMStone, fine by me. And I do like that Russell quote; thanks (hard to find a line of Russell that isn’t a good quote, btw). He’s one of my favorite famous atheists.

    One slight clarification, though: I wasn’t so much saying that you were accusing Hinduism of being idolatrous as I was saying that Hindu worship is, at least in part, exactly what Christians call “idolatry,” and that far from being something they’ve fallen into, it’s basic to their worship and their religion.

    I understand what you mean about Christians and idolatry though; it’s a common criticism of Catholics by Protestant sects, and is the reason most of the latter have crosses, but not crucifixes, in their churches. Of course, you could have an image of Christ Crucified without using it in an idolatrous way, but the people who rubbed that saint statue’s toe in St. Joseph’s church in Manhattan until all the color came off were doing it in the belief that the statue contained his saintly power; that’s idolatry.

    Not that that bothers ME. I say puja to my Ganesh-ji every morning before breakfast. It’s only when Christians who do the toe-rubbing (or similar things) try to claim their worship is NOT idolatrous that I get all snippy.

  199. I apologize for not writing more clearly. What I meant was don’t cut-n-paste my words to create your own argument. You took snippets of my comment and rearranged them to suit your own purpose.

    What I meant when I wrote, “Fellowship is what we need, religion is what we got.” is we obviously did not get what we need, but what some manipulative elite portions out.

    As far as presuming to know why religions were started, it doesn’t matter why; what matters is what have they done and what are they doing now. When I speak of the beginning of religion. I think about this little story.

    Let’s take a trip, back to that magic moment when we stuck our heads up outta the mud, and immediately found our new found minds blown.

    Back to the time when the meaningless search for non-existent answers began…

    AT THE DAWN

    Thing 1: Hello.

    Thing 2: What’s goin’ on?

    T1: Nothing.

    T2: Where are we?

    T1: Here.

    T2: Why?

    T1: To enjoy.

    T2: That’s all?

    T1: Yup.

    LATER THAT DAY

    T2: It’s not that simple!

    T1: Yes it is.

    T2: No it’s not!

    T1: Why not?

    T2: Because there’s more to it than that!

    T1: Like what?

    T2: I DON’T KNOW, BUT THERE MUST BE MORE!

    T1: Huh?

    T2: That can’t be alllllll!

    But that was all there was and this is too much!

    Which came first, Panic or Religion?

    Now, after untold thousands of years and buckets of shit, where does this bring us?

    Back to the past after a whole lotta rigmarole?

    Right.

    LATER THAT NIGHT

    Thing 2: Hey, what’s goin’ on?

    Thing 1: Nothing.

    T2: May I sit here?

    T1: Please do.

    T2: It’s beautiful!

    T1: Yes it is.

    T2: Thanks.

    T1: Thank you.

  200. Xopher “…(hard to find a line of Russell that isn’t a good quote, btw). He’s one of my favorite famous atheists.”
    I particularly like:

    In 1959 I killed a hobo just to see if I could get away with it.” ~ Bertrand Russell

    Of course, that one is probably apocryphal.

  201. @Robulus:

    My point is to say that if you wish cling to “erroneous” beliefs, you should have every right to do so. This is ultimately what freedom of (and from) religion guarantees.

    My concern with over-zealous atheists is not that I don’t agree with their message, but rather, I don’t agree that steps should be taken to destroy religion. In a sense, it’s self-destructive. By trying to enforce only one way to look at the world, you also attack the freedom from which fresh perspectives emerge, a freedom that allowed atheism to emerge.

  202. excuse me? “a freedom that allowed atheism to emerge.” Get bent, WE were here first. Further, you and no one else “allows” us anything. Try to start taking our human rights by “granting” them and I really will be breaking out the x-shaped crosses. (bloody johnny come lately, pushy, upstart….

  203. Plato’s Cave is full.

    This is not about destroying religion, though it often sounds wonderful, this is about forgetting religion. This is about people coming full circle and living without religion and superstition. This is about reclaiming our self respect. This is about learning to live with mystery. This is about returning to us that which has been stolen and rendered unto imaginary gods and those who claim to speak for them.

  204. I’m still trying to get the courage to join the church up the street so I can organize a BIG reforestation project on their lot that abuts an auto-body shop. I need to create a thick vegetative barrier between the church and the smokestacks. Then we can work on putting in some fruit and nut trees. How about a community smoker so that if someone does trap small game or hot dogs (cough) or whatever, they could have a place to cook it. Someone is talking in tongues. I have to go.

  205. infiltrating failing churches and taking them over from the inside is an excellent idea. Get the real estate, get the tax free status and get most of the flock too since they will unquestioningly follow whoever is wearing the preacher hat. Why build your own cult when you can pick one up second hand for a song? After you’re in charge, you can do what you will.

  206. @Takuan

    Most constitutions of the Western world guarantee a freedom of religion. That’s because back in the bad old days we had state religions, and if you didn’t practice them as prescribed, terrible things would happen to you, your family, etc.

    I’m saying the freedom that allows atheism to flourish unchallenged comes from this freedom of religion. Destroying the freedom of religion is tantamount to going back to the bad old days, and who would want that?

    @Foetusnail

    I’m not opposed to your cause. However, consider that the hardest thing to accept about freedom is that it’s essential to protect the right of people to have an opposing opinion. If you revoke that right, then you’ve lost your own freedom.

    It’s easy enough to counter crazy religious ideas with basic scientific principles, and these cases should be made. But at the same, it should not done in the light that people who don’t believe what you do should then be considered lesser beings.

    There are plenty of wars among the theists that were started over lesser things.

  207. Okay, apparently it was just a dream. What I’m trying to say is that there are Christian church organizations that exist in every single city in the country. What better platform for launching the emergency safety net for people who are out of work and home? I’d like to see the discussion shifted to how we can inspire the well-organized and often well-heeled congregations to seriously reach out to the people in the community who are falling through the cracks. We can abolish all religion and dogma in time, but first let’s encourage church organizations to get a little more radical in their social outreach. That’s not meant to sound scary.

  208. freedom from religion is certain the basic right at issue here. Oddly enough,in practice we find that “freedom of religion” laws are twisted into forcing some religious “choice” on those who would really rather not be bothered. Better religion just be ignored in law. No special status, no tax breaks and no mention of any god in any public matter. Believe what silliness you will, just don’t bother anyone and don;t slice any bits off your children. They can make up their own minds when they are grown.

  209. the more the government can slough off its responsibility to the common people by letting churches carry the load, the worse off the people become.

  210. Wolfiesma, Christian organisations are almost certainly already actively helping the needy somewhere near you.

    There are a bunch of Christian organisations (like the Salvation Army) and city missions that actually feed, house and care for the needy to the full extent they are able.

    There are Christians who run around trying to convince everyone that God created the Earth 6000 years ago and gays are going to burn in hell, and there are Christians who freely give their lives to help the poor and disenfranchised, without judgement.

    I’ll let you guess who I reckon is following Christ’s example.

  211. Rob, you are right about that. But there are, as always, many many shades of grey between the two types of Christians you mention. Looking for the church office one time, I found a sign that said, “If you are in need of assistance go to” such and such address. The thing is, the address was on the other side of town. That little sign irked me more than a hundred crazy pro-life, anti-gay demonstrators. I think every single church should become like a way station and I think they might justly deserve some federal funding to do so. But I wouldn’t insist on that.

  212. Robulus: didn’t you know that Liberation Theology and the Social Gospel are both heresies? They’re all Commie-pinko ‘n’ shit. Unamerican, in other words. It’s all supposed to be about personal salvation. Jesus said that there would always be poor people. Besides, the destitute are the easiest to Witness and He will return in this generation anyway. The Fruits of the Holy Spirit (eg: not being a dink) are secondary to believing the correct thing. It’s a grace-based theology, not a work-based one, and that’s a good thing because you don’t have to put any work into it (except the mild labour involved in believing the correct doctrine, making sure that other peoples’ kids only learn abstinence-only, reducing taxes for corporations and the rich, and trying to push Genesis in public school science class).
    I suddenly feel a bit woozy.

  213. When are these guys going to add quotes from Zawan to their repertoire?

    See my comment at #162. He’s not Christian.

  214. MO – They don’t call it Communion for nuthin!

    Wolfiesma, yeah I know, you can’t just turn up on the Church doorstep around where I live either, you have to seek out the shelters. Its a bit… pragmatic.

    I used to play in a hardcore band, and the lead singer was the real deal. Full sleeve tattoos, mostly done by his mates, a prospect for the HA’s, and a monkey on his shoulder.

    Occassionally we’d do a cover and sometimes a song would come up that was critical of Christianity (they are quite popular within that genre). He just flat out refused and got more agitated than normal. Basically, when he got chucked out of home, picked up a nasty drug habit, and hit rock bottom, no one but the Salvos would have anything to do with him.

    And yeah, they prayed and asked him to join in, and you could see it as a recruitment strategy.

    But it is also a fact that our society spits out the poor and destitute like so much waste, and these guys provide the last thread of connection and acceptance within the community to people who are otherwise completely alienated.

  215. Antinous / Moderator “See my comment at #162. He’s not Christian.”
    But he’s sooo close. There are many branches of fundie, but they all seem to speak the same language.
    It’s probably for the best that they’re separated by their commonality.

  216. Antinous / Moderator “See my comment at #162. He’s not Christian.”

    Thanks for the clarification. The average Muslim is less enlightened than the most fundie Christian.

  217. non_croyant “The average Muslim is less enlightened than the most fundie Christian.”
    That’s a mighty broad brush you’ve got there.
    Keep in mind that that same sentence with different characters has been a bulwark of the small-minded for quite a while. Try it with French/English, Canaanite/Israelite, African/European, occidental/caucasian, religion X/Y, etc.
    I’m not saying you’re wrong, of course, but “chicks in burqas” comes from the same thought process as “Kinder, Küche, Kirche”, “barefoot and pregnant” or “Superbowl nipple! Outrage!”. It’s less shades of grey of enlightenment and more shades of ignorance. That Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk are arguing a position (“A woman’s place is in the home”) that would put them out of work doesn’t indicate that they’re more enlightened than the Iranian/Saudi courts that punished chicks for being out of the house without an appropriate escort; it indicates a mix hypocrisy and double-think (biblically, splinter vs log).

  218. Hmm. I think I muddied my comparison a bit. I’m easily distracted. Did I mention that when I was a blues singer, I went by the name “Muddy Comparison”?

  219. “French/English, Canaanite/Israelite, African/European, occidental/caucasian”

    No one is born a Muslim (despite what they say). I feel perfectly justified in judging a person by what he believes.

  220. Non Croyant 290: The average Muslim is less enlightened than the most fundie Christian.

    Where the hell are you getting THAT? Um…sorry, I mean “Gosh, NC, that sure doesn’t match my experience, but then I haven’t done a worldwide survey with a well-distributed and statistically significant sample of the attitudes of Moslems everywhere as you clearly must have, to make such a statement. Could you present your findings and methodology, please?”

    Or any evidence at all that supports such an idea. The American right-wing homeschooling* don’t-you-teach-my-kids-to-think loonies are every bit as wacky as the Taliban they so closely resemble (except for the beards), and I’m pretty sure the “average” Moslem in the world is distinctly more “enlightened” than the fucking Taliban.

    Given that statement, I suspect you don’t believe that there are people who think I should be put to death for being queer, for being Wiccan, or for speaking ill of George WPE Bush. There are. Trust me.
    ___
    *Not in itself an entirely bad thing, but often used to teach bullshit by these people.

  221. No one is opposed to people believing any crazy shit they want, but what we all seem to agree on is mind your own business. This means keeping all religious dogma out of the public school system and government.

    I would take this a step further and say I agree with others here who think raising your children in some of these willfully ignorant and intolerant religions is tantamount to child abuse. These religions are purposefully brainwashing and intellectually hamstringing their children in an effort to take over the world. Please see my comment @#64 about the bleeding lunatic fringe of this much larger effort, which is the focus of all fundamentalist religions and most mainstream religions.

    Intolerant and dogmatic theologies are a vestige of our ignorant past. We don’t need this religion to be charitable or ethical. We don’t need religion to enjoy life. We don’t need religion to share this experience with others. We don’t need religion to instruct us on right or wrong. We especially don’t need any soothing fairy tales to bridge the gap between knowledge and the unknown. And we certainly don’t need a manipulative clergy that seeks only power and wealth. A clergy that uses blackmailing dogma to control the lives and purses of almost every person on this planet.

    God was cut from our sub-conscious, and formed by imagination. When this imagined entity ceases to exist, we will once again be whole, as we always were. Religion cut from our hearts the best part of what it means to be human, turned our imaginations against us and created gods. All that is good was credited to god, while we were left with sin.

    The point of all this is to reconnect our split personality, to grow beyond religion just as a child one day grows beyond the bogeyman.

  222. @Xopher

    I still have no more understanding of Idolatries existence in Hinduism. Christians shouldn’t be throwing around accusations only the worshipper can know who or what they are worshipping. As you said, I would be hard pressed to defend the eucharist to someone of the Hindu faith. The idiosyncrasies of faith need to be recognized for what they are.

    The empty Cross in the Protestant churches was probably an initial reaction to Catholic symbolism. If you look, however at the focus of the different churches, you will see the different crosses representing their different theologies as well. Catholicism has a very strong focus on the Passion and the theology of the Cross, and therefore the Crucifix is a poignant reminder. The empty Cross is a symbol of Christ after the resurrection which is much more the focus of Protestantism. This is all of course a gross summary of the two, but it still is interesting how churches pick symbols that are meaningful to them.

  223. God was cut from our sub-conscious, and formed by imagination. When this imagined entity ceases to exist, we will once again be whole, as we always were. Religion cut from our hearts the best part of what it means to be human, turned our imaginations against us and created gods. All that is good was credited to god, while we were left with sin.

    Which, oddly enough, is my point. If God is a figment of our imagination, then the freedom of religion is the freedom of imagination. I think that freedom should be protected. I want to have the freedom to understand the world in my own way, and everyone else should have that freedom, even if they reach a different conclusion. I don’t think anyone should be persecuted for wanting to believe something different.

    Also, my point is that the absence of religion in the constitution is tantamount to the bad old days of state religion. Without that first amendment protection, someone like our dear President Bush, who wasn’t a huge constitutional fan to begin with, could have easily imposed a state religion and would have had the entire Republican-run federal government to back it. I’m pretty sure most of us would upset at being forced to church on Sunday and required to pay 10% of our income to the now “capital C” Church.

    Religious freedom simply must continue to exist, and those faithful or faithless must be allowed to coexist in peace. To rip-off Churchill, it’s been said that freedom of religion is the worst form of religious policy, except for all the others that have been tried.

  224. No one disagree with freedom of superstition. Religious persecution is predominately the business of religions and their proxy governments.

    The problem is religious fanatics injecting their religious beliefs into the secular world.

    Once again my hope is that within the next couple of thousand years we will finally leave all this prehistoric fear and dark ages dogma in the dustbin of history.

    Right now the citizens of the world are facing economic losses amounting to over ten trillion dollars. In the USA unemployment just hit 8.5%. Would anyone like to hazard a guess how much money is being skimmed out of the economy by religions? We support a deadbeat clergy and pay the rent on their temples, while we lose our jobs and can’t afford prescriptions.

    Religions, worldwide, suck untold trillions of dollars out of our pockets on a false promise.

    Between religions and the health insurance companies we piss away a fortune. They both feed on fear. They are both middlemen skimming a profit out of thin air. They both will deny your claim in a heartbeat. And we don’t need either one.

  225. Congratulations Foetusnail, for crossing the 300th comment mark in this thread! (*Confetti falls. People begin arriving and passing out a truckload of pizzas to everyone*)

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