Questionable Motives

June 2, 2011

Could Adam and Eve have been real people?

Filed under: belief,Bible,Evolution,Faith,Genesis,NOMA,Science — tildeb @ 3:20 pm

No.

The evidence is clear – from a scientific perspective. And this is incompatible with the claim from Genesis that there was an Adam and there was an Eve living in the same place at the same time that brought about an act that upon which human sin and the need for redemption hinges.

It’s factually wrong.

These individuals – humans in the modern sense and not apes or australopithecines – are claimed to be literally true and this means that this claim is open to scientific investigation and verification. So what does the science actually tell us to a very high degree of certainty?

From Why Evolution is True (and a contest!):

Mitochondrial DNA points to the genes in that organelle tracing back to a single female who lived about 140,000 years ago, but genes on the Y chromosome trace back to about 60,000-90,000 years ago, and nuclear genes all trace back to different times—as far back as two million years.  This shows that any “Adam” and “Eve” must have lived thousands of years apart, but also that there simply could not have been two individuals who provided the entire genetic ancestry of modern humans, for each of our genes traces back to different ancestors, showing that, as expected, our genetic legacy comes from many different individuals.  It does not go back to just two individuals, regardless of when they lived.

So there you have it. Now we can sit back and watch (and wait) for some new theological argument to revisit Genesis and ‘properly’ reinterpret it in this scientific light of fact.

But please note that the theology based on a belief claim (like Adam and Eve as the parents of the human race) doesn’t correct itself. It has no self-correcting mechanism to do so, no means for honest and knowable inquiry; instead, we find the science of methodological naturalism stepping into the knowledge void – maintained and often violently protected by those who assume that respect for religious beliefs is an equivalent respect for what is true and knowable by a different means (NOMA) – and providing us with honest and knowable answers. But there is no way we can determine if such faith-based beliefs are true unless and until we invest our respect into a method of inquiry that allows us to test and verify these kinds of claims. Faith-based beliefs are insufficient and whatever pseudo-answers they provide are untrustworthy. Belief in a literal Adam and Eve is a typical example of a faith-based belief that seems like an answer but is, in fact, simply wrong.

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36 Comments »

  1. From Genetics Home Reference: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/basics/mtdna

    Mitochondrial DNA contains 37 genes, all of which are essential for normal mitochondrial function. Thirteen of these genes provide instructions for making enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. The remaining genes provide instructions for making molecules called transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), which are chemical cousins of DNA. These types of RNA help assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into functioning proteins.

    DNA provides instructions. I think everyone will agree that DNA is some complex stuff.

    Based on the Theory of Evolution, where did the information come from that was in the first DNA molecule?

    How do scientists date the genes that are being compared in you post?

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 2, 2011 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

    • Based on the Theory of Evolution, where did the information come from that was in the first DNA molecule?

      See here and here.

      How do scientists date the genes that are being compared in you post?

      Regarding the dating of genes: it is my understanding that this has to do with the comparing of nucleotide sequences and amino acid sequences in proteins. In this case, several different genes have different homology, meaning that their ancestry is from different times. The more distantly related two species or genes are, the less homology they share. Put another way, if we had a single progenitor pair and were ‘created’ at the same time, then the homology of different genes would be identical. But they’re not.

      Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Reply

      • Thanks for helping answer my questions. I want to read more on DNA and the dating of genes so I can understand it better.

        This is an interesting article from talkorigins.

        http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB010_2.html

        “Nobody knows what the most primitive cells looked like.”

        “Nobody denies that the origin of life is an extremely difficult problem. That it has not been solved, though, does not mean it is impossible. In fact, there has been much work in this area, leading to several possible origins for life on earth:” (talkorigins Claim CB010.2)

        Comment by Steven Denney — June 3, 2011 @ 9:25 am

      • Balance those later quotes with the starting premise: Biochemistry is not chance. It inevitably produces complex products, and qualify the problems with what is known: self-replicating molecules need not be all that complex (Lee et al. 1996), and protein-building systems can also be simple (Ball 2001; Tamura and Schimmel 2001). By doing so you can understand that challenges and difficulties in evolutionary theory are recognized honestly and dealt with accordingly… not with claims to god-sanctioned authority but by attention to the details with studies, experimentation, peer review, repeatability, and so on. Now compare and contrast that attention to details to how well religious belief honestly admits problems and rectifies changes to previously erroneous truth claims. See? There isn;t any. Religious belief only changes by dragging the faith-based beliefs kicking and screaming into the light of what’s true and knowable. The reason why you doubt evolution is strictly and solely because it successfully meets the burden of proof that no creator was necessary, whereas the links you have provided do not seek what’s true but attempt to protect certain beliefs from these challenges by saying, “Quick, look over there!” That’s not a comparable inquiry if one wishes to know what is true.

        Perhaps now you can begin to see why the two remain incompatible methods to honest inquiry?

        Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  2. Another study on mitochondrial DNA.

    http://www.icr.org/article/mitochondrial-dna-recent-human-origin/

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 2, 2011 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  3. Do fossils really show that we evolved from an ape?

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/humans-evolve-apelike-creatures

    Science does not have near enough evidence to write off Adam and Eve.

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 2, 2011 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

    • From WEIT:

      …the scientific evidence shows that Adam and Eve could not have existed, at least in the way they’re portrayed in the Bible. Genetic data show no evidence of any human bottleneck as small as two people: there are simply too many different kinds of genes around for that to be true. There may have been a couple of “bottlenecks” (reduced population sizes) in the history of our species, but the smallest one not involving recent colonization is a bottleneck of roughly 10,000-15,000 individuals that occurred between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. That’s as small a population as our ancestors had, and—note—it’s not two individuals.

      Did you actually read the WEIT link? Jerry Coyne is a highly respected evolutionary biologist and knows a fair bit about his subject.

      Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 1:17 am | Reply

    • So it must be a ‘cool design’ – right?

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — June 4, 2011 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  4. Steven, I see you are using links to notorious creationist websites to address your shortcomings in understanding evolution. I have previously sent you a link to TalkOrigins – a well-known site dealing with the science of evolution – to help you better understand why these creationist arguments fail. You have decided to trust in theological arguments against a scientific theory not on any scientific merit but merely because they seem on the surface to defend the truth claims of an ancient book. The problem remains, however: many of those claims are factually incorrect. Do you really think that we should put aside what is true and the method we use to determine what that is to better protect your beliefs from honest inquiry? Is that really what you want?

    Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 1:13 am | Reply

  5. Interesting methodology from Steve.

    1) Pick a science topic that is universally accepted by the scientific community. A topic that is accepted because it is backed up by hard work over many decades that has passed the process of peer-review.
    2) Find a website that denies it and asks you to take their assurances on faith. (trust us, we are part of your tribe).
    3) Bask in the sweet glow of victory.

    Based on the Theory of Evolution, where did the information come from that was in the first DNA molecule?

    What work have you done to ensure that this question would even make sense to a biologist? How do you know that it’s not just some creationist talking point?

    2.Another study on mitochondrial DNA.

    Done by who? From where? What do you mean by “study”?
    Or did you just pluck it off the internet because it reinforces your presuppositions? Why blindly trust them?

    3.Do fossils really show that we evolved from an ape?

    Same deal with this one. Why are you using those sources? What makes you zero in on them and ignore mainstream science?
    How are you any different from the Muslims that casually dismiss science too?

    Richard Dawkins debunks “Atlas Of Creation” by Harun Yahya (1/4)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 3, 2011 @ 8:26 am | Reply

    • DNA must replicate to pass on the information to offspring. That information is necessary for reproduction. Based on the Theory of Evolution, where did the information come from that was in the first DNA molecule?

      Is Richard Dawkins 100% sure?

      Comment by Steven Denney — June 3, 2011 @ 9:02 am | Reply

      • 1. No scientist worthy of the name would claim 100% certainty about anything for the simple reason that such certainty closes the mind to contrary evidence. Being less than certain is considered a strength in critical thinking. Being less than certain in the religious sense of faith is considered a weakness. Also, in science the claim to the insertion “…and so god does something miraculous here…” is considered a vice because it is meaningless as a testable and repeatable part of some explanation, whereas in religious belief it is central to the faith-based belief itself and is considered a virtue. Obviously, the two approaches are simply incompatible ways of inquiring about the universe.

        2. Are you seriously thinking that the much panned movie featuring Stein is somehow equivalent to arguing from knowledge? See here for why this movie is a travesty of misinformation and misleading quote mining – once again supporting the notion that it’s somehow okay to lie for jesus.

        Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    • The video Cedric has sent along (thanks, CK) is a bit old but it drives the point home: creationism – whether christian or muslim or from any other faith-based belief – adds not one bit of knowledge to our understanding of how life has come to be what it is today. All it does is attempt to undermine biology with fairy tales that may look reasonable but, upon examination of the details, are absolutely wrong.

      The video spends the first 7.5 minutes preparing for the counter argument to creationist lie that no evolution has taken place (by comparing pictures of ancient fossils to modern live versions) promoted by books like The Atlas of Creation. Unfortunately, the video cuts off at a key moment: the picture offered up by Harun Yahya, the Atlas‘ ignorant promoter, to contrast a Caddis fly trapped in ancient amber is actually a fishing lure! Yet it has made its way into a creationist pseudo-science hi gloss book distributed for free (but made at considerable publishing and distributing costs) as if it were a legitimate yet alternate science text. Obviously, it is no such thing. It is a 700+ page advertisement for creationist lies intended to be swallowed by the gullible – like the modern example of the Caddis fly – hook, line, and sinker.

      That’s creationism at work: competing badly and losing even with its intentional lies and necessary distortions to our honest knowledge derived from the amazing and difficult work produced by those who toil in evolutionary biology (while having their subject vilified by the religiously deluded). Clearly, these vastly different methods of inquiry – one supposedly undertaken through the authority of theology and the other extracted by modern science from the natural universe – are not compatible… if we honestly seek what is true. Nor does it serve in the pursuit of what is true for anyone to pretend out of some warped sense of tolerance and respect that they are.

      Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  6. I do have shortcomings, as you proudly point out, probably more than you realize. I think it is best for everyone to look at both sides of the story and not throw mud at one another. A theory does not hold absolute truth. Jesus Christ claimed to be the Truth. I think that is something worth looking into. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened Matthew 7:8 ESV).

    What’s not true about the information given in these two links I previously posted?

    http://www.icr.org/article/mitochondrial-dna-recent-human-origin/

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/humans-evolve-apelike-creatures

    Can you help me find answers to the questions I previously asked?

    Based on the Theory of Evolution, where did the information come from that was in the first DNA molecule?

    How do scientists date the genes that are being compared in your post?

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 3, 2011 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  7. If Ben Stein lied about something in the movie, then he is wrong for doing so. No one should ever lie, especially lying for Jesus.

    If scientists would never claim with 100% certainty about any of their findings, then that should leave room for belief in God. Richard Dawkins believes in any possibility but God.

    What if God came down to earth so everyone could see Him and He explained to everyone that He was the God of the Bible? What would change in secular science the very next day?

    It would look a lot like this- http://www.icr.org/

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 3, 2011 @ 10:32 am | Reply

    • It may leave room, Steven, but the god hypothesis still needs evidence to differentiate it in any meaningful way from a delusion. And Dawkins, you no doubt already know, has placed his suspicion that there is no god on a scale from 1 to 7 (1 believing there is and 7 believing there isn’t) at a 6. To drive that down to 1 would require very good reasons supported by very strong evidence… you know, like the kind that informs the theory of evolution.

      Most evangelical christians don’t think of their statements of ignorance and delusions as lies so much as statements of their faith… as if that religious qualification naturally altered them from being any different than lies. (By the way, I use those words ‘ignorance’ and ‘delusion’ not to offend but to be honest about state of knowledge that informs a faith-based belief and the quality of its conclusion.) You yourself offer a choice example with this link to the Institute of Creation Research. Let’s think about that title for a moment. It’s a dedicated organization to the oxymoron ‘creation research’. There is no research in the sense of scientific inquiry that informs creationism. That’s why every court case in the US declares creationism in all its cdesign proponentssists costumes to be nothing more and nothing less than religious belief.And there’s the intentional lie right there in the title.

      Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  8. 6.If Ben Stein lied about something in the movie…

    If? Why “if”?
    Are you not interested in the truth? Or do you just want to shrug your shoulders and move on and ignore lies?

    No one should ever lie, especially lying for Jesus.

    Yet people do. All the time. Evangelical Christians such as ICR decieve and promote falsehoods and half-truths all the time. Do you really want to have your faith supported by such deception? Doesn’t it make you feel just a tad uncomfortable?

    If scientists would never claim with 100% certainty about any of their findings, then that should leave room for belief in God.

    All science is tentative. That doesn’t mean you get to ignore or that it somehow doesn’t count.
    (Smart people listen to their doctor when the doctor tells you about the health risks of diabetes).
    It certainly doesn’t mean that you get to make up stuff as you go along to willy-nilly fill in the gaps of knowledge.
    That’s just childish.
    Indeed, there is a very old argument called “God of the Gaps”.

    What if God came down to earth so everyone could see Him and He explained to everyone that He was the God of the Bible?

    What if Baal came down to earth so everyone could see Him and He explained to everyone that He was the God of the Bible?

    What if Ra came down to earth so everyone could see Him and He explained to everyone that He was the God of the Book of the Dead?

    What if Santa came down to earth so everyone could see Him and He explained to everyone that He was the fat guy with a beard in the poem “Twas the night before Christmas?

    (shrug)

    As Christopher Hitchens said “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

    The God Of The Gaps (by Neil deGrasse Tyson)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 3, 2011 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  9. “Are you not interested in the truth? Or do you just want to shrug your shoulders and move on and ignore lies?”
    Most people try to dismiss God without personaly going to God themselves. Take your disbelief to God. Ask Him to help you believe and understand.

    Jesus Christ, the son of God, said He was the Truth.

    The question is, do you want to know the Truth?

    For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:8 ESV).

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 3, 2011 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  10. @Steven

    I must confess to my starting to feel a bit of aggravation, which, if you ask those who I regularly converse with on here will attest to, takes a lot. I understand that you are a Creationist and this is not what I am frustrated with. My frustration stems from the fact that you seem to only reference Creationist websites – websites, by the by, that have actually prompted the creation of ‘counter-websites’ to try and neutralize the misinformation that is spread by the Creationist websites that you have cited thus far. Furthermore, not only have you only referenced Creationist websites, but tildeb and myself (and probably others) have provided websites that specifically tackle nearly every assertion that you provide, yet you still make the same claims. Are you not reading through everything that we provide(I encourage you to re-visit talk-origins)? You seem genuine with your responses, yet your actions say otherwise. If you are really interested in understanding the theory of evolution, then please re-visit the websites we have provided as it would seem that we save a lot of time not arguing the same points over and over again.

    Comment by Oscar Rivera — June 3, 2011 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

    • Very politely written, OR. I’m beginning to suspect an agenda from SD that has nothing to do with finding out and respecting what’s true but everything to do with the Sensuous Curmudgeon‘s definition of the Creationist’s Scientific Method:

      1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
      2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
      3. Ignore all other evidence.
      4. That’s it.

      Then again, my suspicions may be wrong and I sincerely hope they are.

      Comment by tildeb — June 3, 2011 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

    • Sorry to aggravate you Oscar. It is more important to me to win a friend than make someone so mad as to hate me, not saying that you hate me, all in the name of winning an argument. Although, I know that I can’t always please everyone. I want to give everyone, and their info, the respect they deserve no matter what their belief, or lack thereof, may be. If at anytime I am not doing that, then I need to be called out on it.

      I have read some of the info on the talkorigins site, but not all of it. There is a lot on there to read. I started my comments with a reference that I thought was not a creationist site. My second reference was from talkorigins. I do reference a lot from creationist’s sites. I do that because I think a lot of what they say on there is true and it is always good to look at both sides of the debate. I think it is safe to say that there are things that ICR could be wrong about, just as easily as any other scientist could be wrong about too. I have noticed that there are sites that refute some of the things talkorigins say. So where do we go from here. I am truly interested in understanding the theory of evolution and I am constantly reading and talking with others about it. I do think it is good to go to an evolution science website to learn about the theory of evolution. But like I said before, I think it is best to look at both sides of the debate.

      Tildeb, I am not familiar with Sensuous Curmudgeon’s definition of the Creationist’s Scientific Method. If I was doing that, it was unknowingly. Can you point out what I was doing that fits into this method?

      Comment by Steven Denney — June 4, 2011 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

      • Well, Steven, you kind of hit the nail on the head with this comment. I ask two questions:

        1) Is it true, and
        2) How do we know?

        You’ll notice the validity of the answer to the first question is determined by the second.

        How we know something is determined by the what method we use and this is where religious and scientific thinking are incompatible because the methods of inquiry are incompatible. The term we use to describe how we know something is epistemology… a method of thinking. What we think – the conclusions derived – is called ontology. In religious terms, for example, what we think (Jesus was the son of god) is true is by the epistemology of authority… usually based on scripture. Jesus was the son of god (what we believe) because scripture tells us (how we justify that belief) he was the son of god. If we grant authority of what is true to scripture, then all scriptural claims are true. See? Perfectly simple. And for many people this is enough. The problem arises when other methods of thinking reveal that scriptural claims are false. For example, the bible makes some 60 odd claims that the earth is the center of the universe. How do we know this claim is true? Well, for those who believe in the authority of bible, it simply is true.

        Many religious folk assume that those who don’t believe in the authority of the bible must necessarily rely on some other authority and presume this to be science… sort of a religious substitute. But this is grossly mistaken. The epistemology of science is based on a method of inquiry that uses natural reality and not supernatural authority as the benchmark. We establish what is true based not on opinion nor authority but on the scientific method… a method that must produce conclusions that are independent of the people doing the asking but still produces reliable, consistent, testable, and falsifiable answers… answers we can reproduce here AND there, answers that are just as consistent today as they were yesterday, that we can test by predicting that we’ll get the same results tomorrow, answers that are valid for everyone everywhere at anytime who uses the same method. You probably know this scientific method as cause and effect by a natural mechanism.

        When someone does science, they use this method of establishing cause and effect by natural mechanism. You do science all the time: where are your keys? You will not appeal to authority to supply you with an answer. You will inquire. You will look. You will figure out a chain of causes that lead your keys to where they are right at this moment and will not for one second entertain any notions about supernatural forces interacting with the physical universe to move your keys. If you wish to find them, you will not slaughter a goat to read its entrails or burn a bull to appeal to invisible forces to provide you with a sign to their whereabouts. You won’t break out the tarot deck or read the tea leaves nor hold a midnight mass to ask the god of keys to reveal the location of yours to you. This is nuts. This is superstitious nonsense. You will, like any non-deluded person, go find them based on where you think you last put them. Finding them – like you have every single time you misplace them – is good evidence that your method of inquiry produces reliable and consistent results that work in this universe. If someone were to suggest that you looking for your own keys without making overtures, prayers, and tithing to this so-called god of keys therefore made you immoral or the instrument of the devil, you’d raise an eyebrow at that person’s sanity. You just want to find your keys and this method of actually looking for them makes pretty good sense… especially when the test of this methods yields you the location of your keys.

        So the difference in methodology is what truly informs the difference between religion and science. Religious epistemology comes with no means for testing, no means for validation. That’s why it requires ‘faith’ in the religious sense… belief without evidence. Faith-based beliefs are actually allowed dispensation from having to prove themselves true by social privilege, we are told over and over again by religious leaders, because such faith is a virtue of your moral character. These religious claims are simply true and that’s that. Your keys, in other words, are in god’s hand and he will reveal their location to you (or not) based on his whim because god, we are assured, created all the keys and own them all and can do with them as he wills because his ways are not the ways of thee and me, and blah, blah, blah. I find that ‘explanation’ entirely insufficient because it is equivalent in all ways to what I call Made Up Shit.

        The honest answer to my original question Is it true cannot be answered by religious epistemology. I don’t want someone else’s authority to believe something is true. I want to know what IS true. I don’t care about other people’s claims that supernatural critters intervene in this world over issues of where my keys are; I just want to find my damn keys and am quite willing to grant respect to the method of inquiry that consistently and reliably provides me with their real world location. More importantly, I’m not willing to pretend for one second that some else’s supernatural beliefs about mysterious forces acting on my keys are worthy of any respect whatsoever.

        Creationism answers no questions with anything I can test and creates no new knowledge at all. Evolution actually does. And upon this understanding of how life has come to be we have today medicines and technologies that work reliably and consistently well in the real world. In any honest comparison, creationism lacks not only in method but in product except for promoting superstitious nonsense that perniciously affects real world medicine and real world technologies in the scope and breadth of their research.

        Comment by tildeb — June 4, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

  11. Q: “Are you not interested in the truth? Or do you just want to shrug your shoulders and move on and ignore lies?”

    These were genuine questions on my part. You chose to use them as an opportunity to start preaching rather than give an honest answer. That’s a sign of weakness in your position.

    A: Most people try to dismiss God without personaly going to God themselves. Take your disbelief to God. Ask Him to help you believe and understand.

    See? This is you preaching.
    We still have no idea if it bothers you that Ben Stien lied for Jesus. Haven’t lifted a finger to find out for yourself. You are just waving your hands in the air and muttering magic incantations. You are not engaging with anybody. Take the time to read what people have written and respond to it. Don’t just ignore it and carry on regardless. That’s the tactic of a dishonest person and it’s easy to spot. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that all the other commenters here have seen this kind of stale dodge before.
    You are doing nothing except encouraging cynicism.

    Most people try to dismiss Bigfoot without personaly going to Bigfoot themselves. Take your disbelief to Bigfoot. Ask Him to help you believe and understand.
    Bigfoot, the son of Daddy Bigfoot, said He was the Truth.
    The question is blah, blah, preach, preach, blah, preach, blah…

    Most people try to dismiss Santa without personaly going to Santa themselves. Take your disbelief to Santa. Ask Him to help you believe and understand.
    Santa, the son of Santa, said He was the Truth.
    The question is blah, blah, preach, preach, blah, preach, blah…

    Most people try to dismiss Krishna without personaly going to Krishna themselves. Take your disbelief to Krishna. Ask Him to help you believe and understand.
    Krishna, the son of princess Devaki, and her husband Vasudeva, said He was the Truth.
    The question is blah, blah, preach, preach, blah, preach, blah…

    We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. – Richard Dawkins

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 4, 2011 @ 4:49 am | Reply

    • Sorry for not answering one of your questions.

      I makes me mad that they would manipulate things and lie to make their point. If all of that in the article is true, then I wish I could confront Ben and ask him why he made a movie like that.

      We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. – Richard Dawkins

      How do you define atheism?

      Jesus walked this earth. People saw Him before and after the resurrection. Jesus said He was the Truth and the only way. It would seem to me that that would be something worth looking into before trying to dismiss it.

      Comment by Steven Denney — June 4, 2011 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  12. Hi Steven,

    “How do you define atheism?”

    Atheism is the non-belief in theism. It is a statement of ‘non-belief’ in god.

    “Jesus walked this earth. People saw Him before and after the resurrection. Jesus said He was the Truth and the only way. It would seem to me that that would be something worth looking into before trying to dismiss it.”

    You see – it is exactly this type of argument that gets me down. Religious people ‘think’ that atheists have casually dismissed ‘god’ – when actually the reverse is often true.

    You need to watch this film (here is a short clip): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTRzyWGF2NU&feature=relmfu

    Did Jesus walk the earth? Or are you basing this knowledge on one story on one book – that has been translated, edited over thousands of years – and has horrendous inconsistencies in it. Do you really believe a book that is at least 2000 years old, when we can not even believe what was written in the newspapers yesterday?

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — June 4, 2011 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  13. If all of that in the article is true, then I wish I could confront Ben and ask him why he made a movie like that.

    Again with the “if”.
    Did it ever occur to you to find out for sure and do some investigation on your own?
    Either Ben Stien is lying for Jesus or he is not.
    Nobody here is asking you to just take our word for this. Investigate, man!
    Rouse your stumps and look into it. Draw a conclusion. Reach a judgement under your own steam.
    Enough with the “if”. Either you care about the truth or you don’t.

    How do you define atheism?

    Don’t play word games. Please.
    Atheism is not some murky, strange word that teases at the edge of definition.
    MUR came up with a workable definition in the blink of an eye.
    You could have done the same.
    Instead, you chose to do some foot-dragging.
    Don’t play word games. We can all see what you are doing. You are not fooling anyone.

    Jesus walked this earth. People saw Him before and after the resurrection.

    Think about this. How do you know any of this is true? Have you applied any critical thinking to this at all ever in your life?
    (MUR’s video clip is excellent by the way.)
    If a Muslism started waving their Koran in your face, would that seal the deal for you or would you start asking some serious questions first?
    (You should!)

    It would seem to me that that would be something worth looking into before trying to dismiss it.

    Astounding. Do you really believe that atheists haven’t taken the time to investigate religious claims? Where on earth do you think many atheists come from in the first place? Disengage from creating caricatures. Look at the actual work that has already been done.

    In the same vein…

    The Bible Is Not the Word of God – The Atheist Experience #483

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 5, 2011 @ 12:04 am | Reply

  14. Check out these links if you want. They do a good job of explaining how the Bible was put together and why it is considered by Christians to be God’s word.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/canonicity-scriptural.html

    http://www.gotquestions.org/search.php?zoom_sort=0&zoom_query=bible+canon

    Comment by Steven Denney — June 6, 2011 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  15. I always read Adam and Eve as a figurative story anyways, not literal in the sense we can find some Adam and Eve fossils…more that we are Adam and Eve and we come from other Adam’s and Eve’s (ie: we’re all human).

    The very wording of the names Adam and Eve probably shed the most light on this thing – Adam = earth/dirt (from which he came, his toil, and to where he returns) and Eve = life (since she births children). In their names alone we see two aspects of basic human life – earth & birth.I am not sure that story was meant to be taken literally.

    Comment by SocietyVs — June 16, 2011 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

    • As a figurative story (read myth) Adam and Eve’s offers us a lesson about ourselves, how to live well. That’s the good news. Try reading it with no preconceptions about meaning other than what you assign to the symbols. One gets a whole new story applicable to enhancing the quality (through understanding) of one’s life and the role of suffering.

      The bad news is for christians: it makes the death of jesus unnecessary. I mean, what does it do to the theology if jesus suffers and dies for a metaphor? Nope, christianity requires an historical Adam and Eve and we know the requirement is factually wrong. (Reminds me of Sesame Street’s learning song, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here!”)

      Comment by tildeb — June 16, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  16. “I mean, what does it do to the theology if jesus suffers and dies for a metaphor?” (tildeb)

    Metaphor or not, the concept behind Adam and Eve is true to human nature. We all have our choices to make more or less. That being said, I don’t even believe in the atonement theory anyways, its really an un-needed piece of Christian theology.

    Comment by SocietyVs — June 17, 2011 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

    • What… that we’re curious? That husbands tend to do what wives tell them to do? And without atonement, then why did jesus have to die? I don;t think you can slough off the Genesis myth/reality problem all that easily without it directly challenging the core tenet of the faith… that jesus was necessary for redemption (or are you suggesting redemption is still valid but only metaphorically redeemed?).

      Comment by tildeb — June 17, 2011 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

    • Star Trek has morals and values that are true to human nature – but if went around trying to pass laws based on the values of the Federation, Klingons and Vulcans, I think people would question that belief wouldn’t they?

      Religion is fiction, it has no value over and above any other work of fiction.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — June 18, 2011 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  17. No scientist worthy of the name would claim 100% certainty about anything – correct Tildeb!!

    So why argue this – this is not 100 percent certainty on it as you have said. http://whynotcatholicism.net/view.php?i=18

    Comment by 4amzgkids — June 19, 2011 @ 8:04 am | Reply

    • A believer has no sound reason to doubt Adam and Eve so the burden of proof is on the skeptic to show that Adam and Eve were not real. No-one has ever disproved Adam and Eve. All the current study of the human genome, all the current knowledge of genetics in no way contradicts the teaching that we are derived from one first pair of humans.

      That burden of proof has now been met. The homology should be the same if Adam and Eve were real. To maintain a belief in conflict with good evidence that the belief is factually wrong is what is called a ‘delusion’. As for the author’s statement I’ve quoted and upon which you post as if it were relevant, what we read is clearly a case of lying: a believer has sound reasons for doubting Adam and Eve ever existed, there is excellent evidence to support they never did, that the claim has been successfully contradicted. Now the burden falls on believers who choose to continue to believe in a literal Adam and Eve to explain the different homology. For some help on this, atheists to the rescue! Try here for a great list of possible rebuttals to the facts.

      Comment by tildeb — June 19, 2011 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  18. wow…whose ignoring the facts here? Wow!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — July 12, 2011 @ 12:36 pm | Reply


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