Questionable Motives

November 30, 2011

Is atheist anger necessary?

Filed under: anger,Atheism,faith-based beliefs,Religion — tildeb @ 10:43 am

Yes. And it’s important to realize why.

Greta explains why atheists speak anger to power: because we have compassion, a strong sense of justice, deep concern for suffering, because there is something right with us.

(h/t deadwildroses)

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128 Comments »

  1. She didn’t say she was angry at God.

    Comment by Daniel — December 1, 2011 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

    • No, she didn’t, because there’s no such thing Daniel. She’s angry at what effect BELIEF in god looks like in action.

      Comment by tildeb — December 1, 2011 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  2. She didn’t say she was angry at God.

    You noticed? Good.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 2, 2011 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  3. Tildeb, this probably won’t come as any great surprise – but I’m angry at all that stuff too!! Religion and injustice really do go hand in hand. FAR too often, and in ways that are absolutely, sickeningly inexcusable. And yes, she is quite right that the appeal to “invisible authority”, or threat of “eternal punishment” etc. can make the problem extremely intractable. I think that when we pursue love and relationship with one another, we move in a different direction, however. (and no, by that I don’t mean “tone it down” – we are right to be angry at those things.) When we seek to end injustice, and work in community with others who may be different to ourselves, we are actually on the same page.

    Comment by Kerry Miller-Whalen — December 5, 2011 @ 12:57 am | Reply

    • I agree. I think religion divides people into sectarian gangs rather than unite people in a common purpose. For example, humanity’s response to anthropomorphic global warming is significantly affected by the religious notion that god wouldn’t allow us privileged critters to cause our own demise, representing his image as we supposedly do, so we do nothing. Many religious folk don’t necessarily buy into that line of vacant reasoning because they’ve been inspired by their religious indoctrination to think we are born broken and flawed and we deserve whatever misfortune we bring upon ourselves for this original sin. So they do nothing. If you look at the most ardent deniers of the very real and growing problem we face – problems like over population, sexually transmitted diseases, AGW, resource depletion, wealth imbalances, energy use, food production, and so on – you will quickly run into those who simply refuse to believe what reality is telling us, people who prefer, instead, to believe in the magic of wishful thinking, that all these very real problems don’t really matter. So my focus is to insist that reality does matter, that what’s true and what’s knowable is far more important than respecting beliefs to ease the consciences of the religious. Love of truth leads to wisdom and that means we must start by respecting what is true. And that means we have to respect the method of inquiry that is demonstrably able with finding out what that is. Faith-based beliefs including the religious kind fail on all accounts to reveal what’s true and this is easy to show: over 80% of us believe we are above average drivers… even after we are shown why this cannot be true in reality!

      Comment by tildeb — December 5, 2011 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  4. […] video of Greta Christina’s presentation at Skepticon IV was posted by tildeb on his blog, Questionable Motives.  Every second of the video merits close attention, but here are some highlights: I’m angry that […]

    Pingback by Why Atheists Are Angry — December 7, 2011 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  5. You may think that your anger is justified — but it is self-defeating. If you claim to be a champion of reason and logic, and then meet your opponents’ arguments with ridicule and sarcasm,, ad hominem attacks and caricature, you undermine your own credibility. Your readers will wonder who the real bigot is. If you are truly going to advance your cause in the marketplace of ideas you will have to do more than just sling mud.

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 10, 2011 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

    • My cause is your cause, Bob… whether you know it or not, but of course you will refuse to see it this way. Your religious freedom depends on keeping it out of the public domain, you see, although it’s difficult to convince people who willfully disregard the rights of others in order to privilege their own… and believe themselves exercising proper piety. Anyone who stands against this out of necessity must be vilified. That’s what you’re trying to do.

      The reasons against privileging religious beliefs are many and starts with asking the fundamental questions of religious truth claims that state something about the reality we share, Is it true, and how do you know? The unmitigated failure by those who accept some equivalency of religious truth claims – no matter how incompatible they may be with one another – to be knowledge as well as an accurate description about reality is complete. The arguments put forth by religious supporters are insufficient and have been shown to be insufficient adequately as well as across the religious spectrum..You don’t know if the religious truth claim is true and you don’t even care. Yet still these supporters of delusion soldier on with very poor reasons, very poor arguments, and nothing that can be attributed to religious belief alone justifies such privilege. There are many excellent reasons and plenty of good arguments and much that can be directly and causally attributed to religious belief to be force against knowledge, against human rights and political freedoms, against establishing human dignity in law and deed, against moral decency and ethical responsibility, and an unequivocal influence for justifying multiple abuses in all these cases. Yet still many of the religious demand privilege in the public domain on no other basis that they believe it should be so.

      So what’s left?

      Well, certainly ridicule and sarcasm are warranted. After all, “‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence,” says The Hitch, but simple dismissal doesn’t get the religion that IS privileged in the public domain OUT of the public domain. For that we need commitment, a sustained action of reasoned criticism against religious privilege, and anger is an excellent motivator. Of course you’ll consider all of this justified anger as ‘mud-slinging’ because you don’t care about what’s true in reality; you care about privileging religion, and if that means lying and misrepresenting and slandering those who argue against your wishes, well, so be it. If you can present yourself as the victim, so much the better… not that it’s true in reality, although many atheists do say some rather nasty things about the religious positions put forward as if they were true. What is typical, however, is for these same supporters to hold atheists to much higher standard of polite conduct than they do the religious supporters who say very nasty things about atheists as immoral people. Note the distinction.

      But again, religion and it’s supporters don’t care about what’s true but only about they believe is true, so it doesn’t matter if religious belief privileged in the public domain is a villain in reality as evidence from around the globe reveals in nauseating abundance. All that matters to the religious is that religious privilege be at least allowed to continue in the public domain unimpeded and even expanded if possible. Any constraint to this goal are thus vilified. That’s all you’re really doing: being the villain while pretending to be the victim.

      Comment by tildeb — December 10, 2011 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

    • Bob – don’t confuse intellectual anger with blind rage, because the two things are distinct.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 14, 2011 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  6. If you claim to be a champion of reason and logic….

    Reality.
    We are the champions of reality.
    Say it with me slowly….
    Reality!
    (As opposed to nutty stuff like magic, invisible sky daddies and flying snakes.)

    …and then meet your opponents’ arguments with ridicule and sarcasm…

    Nothing wrong with ridiculing the ridiculous. Sarcasm can be well deserved.

    …ad hominem attacks…

    If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this complaint from religious morons on the internet, I’d be a wealthy man.
    Find out what an “ad hominem” actually is.
    Look it up.
    Then come back to us and reveal the specfic ad hominem that you spotted.
    Remember, find out what an “ad hominem” is BEFORE you start complaining about it.

    …caricature, you undermine your own credibility.

    You are your own caricature.
    Remember these recent brain farts of yours?

    Bob Wheeler | December 7, 2011 at 12:26 am | The fact of the matter is that polls show large majorities of people throughout the world believe in God, and that atheists only make up a very small minority. So what we have here is a claim on the part of the minority that the majority doesn’t exist! Who’s being delusional now?

    Deep fried stupid. It’s a wonder you can tie your own shoes. Do you even read what you yourself write?

    But there’s more…

    But the sovereignty of God also limits the power of the civil authorities. Consider the Queen’s coronation oath. In addition to promising to respect the laws and customs of the various peoples of the British Commonwealth, she also promised, to her power, to “cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all [her] judgments.” She completed the oath by placing her right hand on a Bible and saying “So help me God.” Herein lies the whole difference between a Christian monarch such as Queen Elizabeth and an atheist tyrant such as Joseph Stalin or Mao Tse-Tung. You have much for which to be thankful , my friends, who live in the British Commonwealth!

    …………………………………….

    But the sovereignty of Ra and Orisis also limits the power of the civil authorities. Consider Great Pharaoh’s coronation oath.
    In addition to promising to respect the laws and customs of the various peoples of the Egyptian Empire, he also promised, to his power, to “cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all [his] judgments.” He completed the oath by placing his right hand on a jade scarab blessed by the priests of the Temple of Set and saying “So help me Bast.” Herein lies the whole difference between a religious monarch such as Great Pharaoh and a barbarian tyrant such as Piyusti or Piye. You have much for which to be thankful , my friends, who live along the blessed shores of the Great Nile.

    (Damn but I’m good)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 10, 2011 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  7. Ha! Cross-posted.
    I guess I should call out “Snap”. :)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 10, 2011 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

  8. Ah Cedric, we meet again in another dark den! You are just the person to prove my point exactly! With enemies like you, who needs friends? The readers of the post will understand that Cedric and I have encountered each other before, and Cedric met every argument of mine with ridicule, sarcasm and abuse. But in the end he proved absolutely nothing, because he refused to deal with the central question in the debate “is it true and how do you know?” And yes, indeed, I do Know Latin. Have you ever taken the time to read anything by Thomas Aquinas? Or any other Christian apologist for that matter?

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 11, 2011 @ 6:56 am | Reply

    • A dark den? This site seems much brighter to me in both colour and commentary than yours, Bob. Why are you being so militant, so aggressive, so angry?

      Cedric took me to task on another site – Open Parachute – for my stance regarding global warming and climate change. Like you, I was subject to his criticism, which can be very harsh. But he also offered me oodles of information to back up his position and, over time, I found out that his position was in fact informed by better reasons and better evidence than my own… so I changed my position. It’s rather liberating to be able to do that, Bob, and Cedric played a part in bringing it about. That’s not a bad thing.

      If your position is strong, based on good evidence and solid reasons, then Cedric is not your enemy. If your position is weak, based on poor evidence and unstable reasons, then learn from him and you’ll find an ally. It’s really just that simple. You see, it’s not Cedric’s job to change anyone’s mind. But he feels – like many on this site – passionate enough about certain issues to express criticisms that do, in fact, reveal core problems in the position being held by others if you truly examine what he is saying. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I know, but it really is a benefit even if the medicine tastes rather bitter. Rejecting it is actually your loss if you fail to understand the point being made.

      Comment by tildeb — December 11, 2011 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

    • Cedric met every argument of mine with ridicule, sarcasm and abuse.

      Ridicule and sarcasm? Mmm, probably.
      Abuse? Nope. Everybody gets a fair chance at the beginning. You get torn a new one only for specific acts of derpness.

      But in the end he proved absolutely nothing, because he refused to deal with the central question in the debate “is it true and how do you know?”

      Why lie? Your words are there for all to see.
      You are writing checks your brain can’t cash.

      And yes, indeed, I do Know Latin.

      Ah, basic reading comprehension fail. I don’t care that you “know Latin”. Nobody give a damn.

      …and then meet your opponents’ arguments with ridicule and sarcasm,, ad hominem attacks…

      See? That’s what you said. I called you on it.
      Nobody has used an ad hominem attack against you. Not me, not tildeb and not poor old Thomas Aquinus.
      Find out what an “ad hominem” actually is.
      Look it up.
      Then come back to us and reveal the specfic ad hominem that you spotted.
      Remember, find out what an “ad hominem” is BEFORE you start complaining about it.
      What’s the hold up?

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 11, 2011 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  9. Bob,

    Cedric frequents my site as well, all the while adding little original content to the conversation. If he would converse I might enjoy it.

    Comment by Daniel — December 11, 2011 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  10. …all the while adding little original content to the conversation.

    All I do is switch the labels around. The entire point is to accurately and fairly represent what you yourself have said. No strawmen allowed.
    Behold:

    Daniel
    December 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    “Cedric,
    If God existed, and you knew him, how would you describe him? Feel free to use you imagination.”

    Cedric Katesby
    December 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    “If Santa existed, and you knew him, how would you describe him? Feel free to use you imagination.”
    (shrug)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 11, 2011 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  11. “If your position is strong, based on good evidence and solid reasons, then Cedric is not your enemy. If your position is weak, based on poor evidence and unstable reasons, then learn from him and you’ll find an ally. It’s really just that simple.”

    This line is so crazy. Hey, everybody, Cedric is the one measure by which the world knows whether they’re right or wrong.

    Comment by Daniel — December 11, 2011 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

    • Hey, everybody, Cedric is the one measure by which the world knows whether they’re right or wrong.

      That’s not what tildeb said.
      Not even close.
      You are creating a strawman. It’s a sign of weakness and a disregard for the truth.
      Shame on you.

      The “Straw Man” Fallacy

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 11, 2011 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

      • No. I’m just taking his words to the point of absurdity. And I’m mocking him. When you do it, he loves it. And since you’re a fan of both of these strategies, I should think you’d have nothing to say about it. And if what I’m doing is a straw man, then what you do is straw man.

        Comment by Daniel — December 11, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  12. No. I’m just taking his words to the point of absurdity.

    It’s called building a strawman.
    Honest.
    I even gave you an easy-to-follow video to carefully explain what is a strawman.
    You can’t bring yourself to acknowledge the truth and so you compound your first lie with another lie.
    Shame on you.

    And since you’re a fan of both of these strategies…

    Why do you lie?
    I go to great pains not to build strawmen. I take your exact same words to the last detail. I don’t need to twist them at all. All I do is just switch the labels around.
    The struture of your argument remains completely intact.
    That’s the whole point.
    Your arguments are absurd to being with. I don’t need to “take them to the point of absurdity”.
    They are already there.
    Religions are always like that.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 11, 2011 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

    • Good video Tildeb, she summarises my anger relating to religion. And I agree anger is important for social change, this is one of the reasons I am vocal with my anger – a very well thought out argument, Greta points out the real reason why atheists are told not to be angry.

      She is also right, that atheists are on the up – it is coming out of the closet, people normal people are getting confident; they feel free, and liberated. I just hope it is not replaced with homeopathy!

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 14, 2011 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  13. In short, Daniel, I try to explain why your reasoning is poor by arguing that belief is insufficient to describe reality. Cedric demonstrates how your reasoning can be translated exactly, word for word, to all kinds of superstitious nonsense… nonsense that you DON’T believe in. But the reasoning, he shows, is identical. That you conclude his contribution is lacking is incorrect; it’s bang on.

    Comment by tildeb — December 11, 2011 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

    • Just because you can transform something into nonsense doesn’t mean you should. If Cedric’s substitutions are indeed identical it means that every supernatural being has magically conformed to my understanding of God. It would also mean that you know enough about my understanding of God to know that Baal and faeries have conformed to my God’s identity. And it would also mean that Cedric’s arguments aren’t nonsensical because they are identical to my understanding of God which doesn’t change the truth of my arguments one bit. If his substitutions do not change the truth of my arguments, as he himself states, then what contribution has he made except to state what I said in a different way.

      Comment by Daniel — December 15, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

      • I didn’t say his substitutions were identical; obviously they are composed of different names. What I did say was Cedric demonstrates how your reasoning can be translated exactly, word for word, to all kinds of superstitious nonsense… nonsense that you DON’T believe in. The point, in case you STILL fail to appreciate it, is that the identical reasoning is used by you to support belief here but not there. Why the inconsistency? Surely if the reasons were good ones to support one belief it should be good enough for you to also believe these other objects. But you don’t. How can this be?

        Well, if you were intellectually honest, you’d realize that you are making a mistake not in the OBJECT of your reasoning but in the REASONING ITSELF somewhere along the way to arrive at your belief. Yet the reasoning you use works identically well for all the substitutions Cedric makes yet you cherry pick which one to believe in and feel perfectly justified rejecting all the others. On what grounds? None, as far as I can tell. except solely on the basis of your choice to believe in this but not that. What Cedric shows is that the object of your belief – and the objects you do not believe in – precedes any reasoning you have presented to defend the truthfulness of the belief itself. This makes your reasoning here nothing more than a post-belief rationalization that fails utterly to show why you do believe here but not there. I don;t think you know. I think you believe because you’ve been trained to believe.

        Clearly, Cedric demonstrates repeatedly that your reasoning works just as well for OBJECTS you don’t believe in as it does for the one you DO believe in. In other words, your reasoning fails. That’s Cedric’s contribution and I think it is valuable. Whether or not you use his input to seriously re-examine on what basis you believe in your belief rather than some other or no belief is completely your choice.

        Comment by tildeb — December 15, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

      • Daniel – you repeatedly tell people what you believe in, but you do not explain why you believe in it.

        The point of the substitution of your God with another God in your reasoning statements – that Cedric has provided, is that the statements themselves do not explain your belief, and can be used to justify a belief in anything.

        The same thought process is used in the writing of horoscopes – this can be tested. If I get horoscopes and change the names and their titles (e.g. Cancer becomes Pisces etc.) and ask a random set of people to read them and ask them if they are accurate (i.e. do they fit your personality and forecast your life) – you can bet that the same responses will come back if I had not tampered with them. They are written in such a way that they can mean anything to anyone. This is the same with religious texts and their interpretation by people who cherry pick what bits they want to fit their personal beliefs and prejudices.

        Detaching your own bias and belief from the information you consume is important – because it allows you to make informed decisions using all the available information rather than just the information that you like or want to see.

        Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 17, 2011 @ 6:48 am

  14. If I get horoscopes and change the names and their titles (e.g. Cancer becomes Pisces etc.) and ask a random set of people to read them and ask them if they are accurate (i.e. do they fit your personality and forecast your life) – you can bet that the same responses will come back if I had not tampered with them.

    Hmm, I believe I have that particular experiment on video…

    (…searches….)

    Ah, here it is.
    Enjoy.

    Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! Astrology experiment.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 17, 2011 @ 10:24 am | Reply

    • Great video… the only problem with it is the date of first experiment… I did this in an English language class when I was about 13… which was long before 1993.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 17, 2011 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  15. Not going to get involved in all the comment debates.

    I just wanted to say thanks for posting up this video. It was very thought provoking.

    What more can you ask for!

    Comment by Trick Brown — December 19, 2011 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  16. You say, “Cedric demonstrates how your reasoning can be translated exactly, word for word, to all kinds of superstitious nonsense… nonsense that you DON’T believe in. But the reasoning, he shows, is identical.”

    Reason – A statement presented in explanation of a belief.

    If you change a word in my statement, you have not represented my reasoning. It’s not the same statement, therefore not the same reason. You’re contradicting yourself too. How can a statement that has a word changed in it, be exactly word for word? Also, kinds of superstitious nonsense are not things that can be identical. You’re confusing form and substance. A red rubber bouncy ball and a blue rubber bouncy ball have the same substance but not the same form: red versus blue. So, it would not be correct to change the statement “I have a red ball” to “I have a blue ball” and call the reasoning identical.

    But Cedric’s confusion is an even worse one because faeries, elves, Baal, and Jesus not only don’t have the same form, but also don’t have the same substance. Cedric is like a man who confuses a TV with a fork and calls it fair and accurate.

    You say, “the identical reasoning is used by you to support belief here but not there. Why the inconsistency?”

    First, I support the freedom of all people to believe in whatever deity they want. So, I’m not inconsistent. Second, my personal reasons for believing what I do are not the issue here and were never the issue of my post. I suspect that changing the subject to why I believe what I do is a way not to evaluate the truth of my post.

    I also suspect that modern atheists such as yourself thrive on misunderstandings of anything outside of material things. Even when presented with correct explanations, they deny the explanation and reiterate their misunderstandings. In the words of Paul Manata to Dan Barker (with some adaptation): Your reason is inconsistent because you have rejected the Lord of reason. You have turned your back on the Lord Jesus Christ and the only worldview that makes sense of rationality. You see, this is the intellectual challenge of the Gospel, Tildeb. You need to turn and repent to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask him to forgive you of your sins and your violation of God’s law in this universe. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to see the effects of sin in your reasoning, and then pay for those effects in the life to come. Turn to Jesus Christ. He can save your intellect and your life.

    Cedric, I hope you do the same but I suspect that you’ll just continue to substitute words into paragraphs and confuse forks with TV’s.

    Comment by Daniel — January 6, 2012 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

    • If Cedric’s substitutions are indeed identical it means that every supernatural being has magically conformed to my understanding of God.

      How on Earth did you draw that conclusion?
      Think about what you are saying.

      “If Cedric’s substitutions are indeed identical it means that every supernatural being has magically conformed to my understanding of pixies”

      It would also mean that you know enough about my understanding of God to know that Baal and faeries have conformed to my God’s identity.

      I don’t care about your “understanding of God”.
      It’s the “God” bit that’s the interesting part.
      Let me explain that using a simple example:

      “It would also mean that you know enough about my understanding of pink invisible unicorns to know that Baal and faeries have conformed to my pink invisible unicorn’s identity.”

      Spot the amazingly basic problem.

      And it would also mean that Cedric’s arguments aren’t nonsensical because they are identical to my understanding of God which doesn’t change the truth of my arguments one bit.

      Not getting through yet? Ok.
      Let’s have another example:

      “And it would also mean that Cedric’s arguments aren’t nonsensical because they are identical to my understanding of Vishnu which doesn’t change the truth of my arguments one bit.”

      Oops.

      If you change a word in my statement, you have not represented my reasoning. It’s not the same statement, therefore not the same reason.

      Epic fail.
      People expose faulty reasoning all the time by applying it to different scenarios. Professors do it all the time at university. It’s not just about magical superstition.

      You’re contradicting yourself too. How can a statement that has a word changed in it, be exactly word for word?

      Because only the label has changed? The actual argument itself is left intact.

      Also, kinds of superstitious nonsense are not things that can be identical.

      You don’t get this whole “changing the labels” thing at all. Sad.
      Superstitious nonsense is superstitious nonsense.

      A red rubber bouncy ball and a blue rubber bouncy ball have the same substance but not the same form: red versus blue.

      You can buy a red rubber bouncy ball.
      You can buy a blue rubber bouncy ball.
      You can put the two side by side and look at them. You can do the same with forks, TV’s and other household appliances.
      It’s not the same as making claims about magic pixies.
      Honest.
      “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – Carl Sagan

      Your reason is inconsistent because you have rejected the Lord of reason. You have turned your back on the Lord Jesus Christ and the only worldview that makes sense of rationality. You see, this is the intellectual challenge of the Gospel, Tildeb. You need to turn and repent to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask him to forgive you of your sins and your violation of God’s law in this universe. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to see the effects of sin in your reasoning, and then pay for those effects in the life to come. Turn to Jesus Christ. He can save your intellect and your life.

      Ah, the gift that keeps on giving.

      “Your reason is inconsistent because you have rejected the Muppet of reason. You have turned your back on Yoda and the only worldview that makes sense of rationality. You see, this is the intellectual challenge of the Star Wars Franchise, Tildeb. You need to turn and repent to Yoda and ask him to forgive you of your Dark Side and your violation of The Force’s law in this universe. Otherwise, you’re going to continue to see the effects of the Dark Side in your reasoning, and then pay for those effects in the life to come. Turn to Yoda. He can save your intellect and your life.”

      So beautiful. So very beautiful.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 7, 2012 @ 12:40 am | Reply

      • What Cedric generally doesn’t understand is that Monotheism is not interchangeable with polytheism. They are two fundamentally different ways of looking at reality. The one is not the logical equivalent of the other.

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 7, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

      • I can’t believe I have to explain this, but you seem determined to miss the point Cedric keeps making: the line of reasoning used does not work to explain or justify or clarify why whatever the point being made is justified. Cedric demonstrates that the line of reasoning is not affected in any way by substituting other similar nouns (which it should be if the reasoning was in fact connected to the specific noun), which demonstrates that the line of reasoning works IDENTICALLY for any substitution, and IDENTICALLY not at all! To get hung up on whether the specific noun is similar enough (like your monotheism/polytheism issue) misses the point he is making – over and over again.

        For example, Daniel calling my reasoning inconsistent because I have rejected what he inserts here, namely, the ‘Lord of reason’ – whatever that may may be IN HIS MIND – (or, in Cedric’s case, the equally absurd notion of the ‘Muppet of reason’) in no way shows how my lack of it in this hypothetical ‘Lord of reason’ DEMONSTRATES how my reasoning ITSELF is inconsistent. He simply makes a claim unencumbered by anything of intelligible substance… as if it is only belief in the Lord of reason who determines inconsistency of reasoning. This is absolutely incorrect and demonstrably so. It’s utter nonsense. It is an empty and meaningless claim. It is a criticism without merit, without justification, without evidence, without demonstrable use. It is a statement of belief alone, EXACTLY like calling this hypothetical entity something EQUALLY absurd, like the Muppet of reason, and EXACTLY as useless.

        Comment by tildeb — January 7, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

      • What Cedric generally doesn’t understand is that Monotheism is not interchangeable with polytheism. They are two fundamentally different ways of looking at reality. The one is not the logical equivalent of the other.

        Bob, I’m not sure how to reach you.
        tildeb has been eloquent as usual but I fear that you are just going to blank out what he’s said again.

        I don’t mean to sound sarcastic (no, honestly) but…I am confounded that you would feel it necessary to even mention monotheism or polytheism. It’s just wierd.
        You can’t get there from here.

        It’s as wierd as you objecting to my switching of labels by pointing out that Yoda is…green.
        (It’s a genuine WTF moment.)
        You are missing the point.
        A point that has been very carefully and patiently explained to you.
        It’s not like we are being mean and nasty or creating a strawman or being unfair or anything.

        Both your claims and Daniel’s claims, together with an endless host of waffley hand-waving theologians, all make the same basic flawed arguments.
        The flaws in those arguments are exposed by the simple switching of labels while been scrupulously careful not to change anything else at all.
        Monotheism or polytheism or anamism is neither here nor there. It changes nothing.

        ATHEIST!!!!!!!

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 8, 2012 @ 12:00 am

    • I’ve just noticed that my post on Daniel’s site (identical to the one here in reply) was first held in moderation and has now vanished.
      Shameful.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 8, 2012 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  17. Hi Cedric and tildeb,
    As I see it, Daniel made a statement that is consistent with Christianity, so if Christianity is true it is a valid statement. I would say that Christianity takes as an axiom that the Bible is true, and the question is whether this is confirmed as being reasonable and logical when considering the evidence. I believe this is the case, as argued at places such as http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org and http://www.creation.com. The acceptance of axioms is necessary in any philosophical
    position, the question is whether the axioms make sense when examined.

    If someone believes that truth and reality are found in Star Wars or pixies or ancient Egyption paganism, it doesn’t take any
    time to demolish this position as unreasonable. These things just don’t hold up logically. This means that there is an element
    of straw man in Cedric’s substitution method, because he tries to show that because these other beliefs are hollow, any and all beliefs must be hollow. The difference is that Christianity does stand up to an examination of its claims, using both logic and history. Arguments are made against this statement that I’m sure you enthuse over, but the fact is that there are reasonable responses available if you are willing to consider them.

    Comment by MarkD — April 2, 2012 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

    • It’s fine to posit any hypothesis is if were true; the rub occurs when you use it to explain all the evidence for and against, and show how this accumulation reveals compelling evidence to support it.

      The bible has no such compelling and overwhelming evidence that everything it claims to be true about reality is in fact true. Nor does it clarify which bits are metaphorical and which bits are literally and historically true. Neither does it establish any reliable method to do so. It has myths, stories, revelations, and third party witnesses. None of these are compelling even in total.

      What I typically find are faithiests who cherry pick historical evidence that seems to support the geography or locations or positions of people in power found within the stories to be presented as a kind of verification process that then assumes an association between these elements as evidence for knowing anything verifiable about some divine agency intervening in the world with men who can fly on winged horses, men who can raise the dead, men who can cure illnesses by magical touch, men who defy gravity and walk on water, men who can suspend cellular decay and come back to life, men who avoided sperm donors in their genetic makeup, etc., all attributable to this one specific and knowable divine agency. Claims about it range from capricious and immoral to loving and beneficent. Of course, factual discrepancies in somewhat similar historical accounts are not explained in any satisfactory way; they are often excused simply for convenience… usually with metaphorical/literal gambit. But at the end of the day, all we’re really left with are the same hypotheses lacking compelling evidence to elevate one clear winner above the tens of thousands of contestants for The Truth (TM).

      MarkD complains that Cedric’s terminology switch doesn’t work, you see, because the bible is true and we should take that truth to be an axiom. Yet that is the very point: there is no compelling evidence to make any such assumption; all we are left with after years of studying the Courtier’s Reply is that we know the bible is true because the bible tells us it is true so therefore we know the bible is true. Is it any wonder that we grow dizzy with the circular arguments? That we know that the bible contains many factually incorrect claims apparently doesn’t matter one whit; those can be excused on a number of explanations and perspectives and interpretations where, if we first assume that up really means down, we can see why white really means black and so the false claim is really a true claim if only critics were so open-minded that their critical faculties fell out. MarkD is fine with that kind of approach because it aids his faith, which is true because it’s true, you see, and remains a good axiom to begin an inquiry. From a reasonable perspective on methodology, it is a recipe for no honest inquiry at all… but an empowerment by only the faithful to maintain a strong anti-intellectual, dishonest, interfering, anti-scientific, anti-life, anti-human, misogynistic, bigoted moral hypocrisy to impose in the public domain under the accommodationist apologetic claptrap known as respect for religion.

      It’s turtles all the way down, a shell game to fool the foolish and promote ignorance as ‘another way of knowing’.

      Comment by tildeb — April 2, 2012 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

      • “The bible has no such compelling and overwhelming evidence that everything it claims to be true about reality is in fact true.”

        The Bible IS the evidence, Tildeb. Belief in its truth is based on experience of that truth. If you can find a defeater of that experience, you might have a good case against a particular person’s experience but not all believer’s; for it’s not a group dependent experience. Evidence for the evidence can be found in Biblical scholarship, but you’ve already swallowed the atheist party line about this evidence championed by the likes of Bart Erhman. You can assume the truthfulness of Erhman, and believers can experience the truthfulness of the Bible.

        Comment by Dan O'Brian — April 4, 2012 @ 7:36 am

      • No, Daniel: REALITY if the arbiter of claims made about it and not some ancient collection of texts that make claims we know are factually wrong. To assume biblical inerrancy is to jettison any respect for what’s true in reality. To then argue that claims about reality are justified on the basis of factually incorrect source material is a gigantic circular error in thinking. There is no escape in determining if the claims about reality from the bible are, in fact, true but an assumption made before any inquiry can begin. Such an assumption exempts the bible from any honest test and claims for revelation that the assumption is correct means nothing. The problem remains that we actually do know that many biblical claims are factually incorrect, showing that biblical inerrancy is the WRONG assumption unsupported by reality. That’s why such a belief is equivalent in all ways to being delusional. You intentionally reject reality, reject what’s true about reality, in order to privilege an assumption to an authority that you know is false.

        Comment by tildeb — April 8, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  18. tildeb, you say “there is no compelling evidence to make any such assumption”. I disagree, and so do many minds far greater than mine. I can’t repeat all of http://www.creation.com and similar sites here, but it’s there if you want to visit it. And I’m not talking about absolute proof: if the Bible is true then God has decided there is a value in faith and we can’t wish that away. What I’m talking about is reasonable consistency and logic that backs up the assumption that the Bible is true. If you have made up your mind to reject any logical defense of Christianity that’s up to you: but I disagree about this being due to an absence of valid reasoning. It has much more to do with defending a position you’ve chosen.

    Comment by MarkD — April 3, 2012 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

    • Faith-plus-reason quickly deteriorates to rationalization supporting preconceived beliefs. There is no mechanism to keep one honest. This is the epistemological difference I point out that renders claims made from faith to be equivalent to making shit up. If this were all there was to religious belief then nobody would care. But from the rationalizations through belief comes claims in direct conflict with the scientific claims such as a founding couple for humanity. There is contrary evidence to this historical and literal claim that Adam and Eve as parents to the human race were real. This evidence works in all other applications for everyone everywhere all the time and yet to serve the faith in a literal Adam and Eve, suddenly we are told that this science is inadequate. What is inadequate is the faith claim that has ZERO evidence to support it and stands in conflict with compelling genetic evidence against it. This is where the problematic rubber of religious epistemology leads to claims that are in conflict with reality and inevitably meets the solid road of science that is informed by reality. To be clear, the religious claim is wrong; there was no founding couple. But rather than respect reality’s role in this determination, the religious contract back into their pseudo-world of faith and pretend that the science in this case is somehow lacking. This is dishonest and deceitful and self-serving. It is nothing more than an attempt to make reality fit into the preconceived notion that the creation myth of Genesis is factually true when it is not. That position is intellectual cowardice to face what’s true and substitute a a rationalization to support a preconceived belief. The biblical account is factually not true. Pretending it is true in spite of compelling evidence it is not is delusional, as is continuing with the false premise that if the bible is true (and we know it is not) then God has decided there is value in faith. To maintain the premise is not reasonable consistency and is not logical; it is a stubborn refusal to admit the biblical claim is factually incorrect.

      So if one admits the bible is factually wrong here, where else is it factually wrong? More importantly, how can a believer know when to differentiate between a claim – now known to be factually incorrect – as metaphorical and literal? By what method can a believer establish that Adam and Eve are not historical but Jesus’ resurrection is? You see the problem? The bible does not come equipped with any such handy tools for you to boldly proclaim that ‘it’ is true. All you have is your faith that it is so, a faith that refuses to allow reality to dictate which claims are and are not historically and literally true. And you then arbitrarily assign your faith to be the arbiter of what is and is not reasonably consistent and logical. I have no reason to be as confident in your faith’s ability to detect what is and isn’t true about reality as I do with the methodology of science that continues to expand our knowledge and produce applications and technologies I can trust. Unlike you, I cannot find it reasonable or logical to have both your faith and reality be co-authors of what is true about reality. That you maintain this juggling act when claims between them come into conflict is not an indication of intellectual honesty or logic or compatibility between your faith and science; it is an indication of the fundamental problem between religious belief and reality: deciding which incompatible method to respect because you cannot respect both without jettisoning intellectual integrity.

      Comment by tildeb — April 4, 2012 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  19. tildeb, you say “to be clear, the religious claim is wrong; there was no founding couple” but the point I am making is that this is not anywhere near being proven. The useful science which develops technology is something we both share and appreciate. When we look at unrecorded history, it has consequences for our worldview but it has very little effect on useful science. To evaluate a theory of origins we make assumptions about the past and then test our model against the evidence around us. You assume that natural processes are all that exist, and you try to fit the evidence into this framework. My axiom is that the Bible is true, and when I see if the evidence can be fitted into this, I find there is a huge amount of correlation. In both cases we have limited understanding, with problem areas that need further investigation, but the intellectual dishonesty you accuse me of would only apply if the Biblical model cannot make any sense.

    On the contrary, the Biblical model makes plenty of sense. Adam and Eve would have had lots of created diversity meaning
    that I would not be looking for mutations to supply the variability we see. The Biblical flood result in there being few differences
    between human Y chromosomes and most likely 3 main mitochondrial DNA lineages, which matches what we see. Estimates of mutation rates derived from assumed common descent would not apply in the Biblical model, so it is not held to.your suggested dates for gene coalescence.

    The historical model we use can inform our avenues of investigation, I agree. But a creationist perspective would not have assumed thyroid glands were useless vestiges, which would have been the right call. A creationist perspective would not expect much junk DNA, and assumptions made regarding junk DNA may well have been a mistake. Early scientific pioneers were inspired to look for the ordered rules governing the universe on the basis of a Biblical worldview. I have no need to be ashamed of how belief in creation would guide future work.

    I am not trying to prove evolution wrong and the Bible right (although this is clearly what I believe). What I am saying is the
    evidence fits a Biblical model sufficiently well that it is reasonable and logical to accept the Bible as true.

    Comment by MarkD — April 5, 2012 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  20. MarkD writes, you say “to be clear, the religious claim is wrong; there was no founding couple” but the point I am making is that this is not anywhere near being proven

    Proof is something used in logic and math based on axioms. The scientific method does not deal in such proofs. The method deals with reality and comes up with reasonable explanations about compelling evidence that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time. My faith-based beliefs and your faith-based beliefs have no say in this matter. Reality – meaning in this case genetic evidence – is the arbiter whether or not the biblical claim about a founding couple is factually correct. And it’s not. The biblical story about Adam and Eve is fiction. It is not true or the evidence would be different from what it is. Your beliefs don’t change this uncomfortable fact. To reiterate, the bible in this case is not factually correct; it is in error. It is wrong. The story does not align with reality, with what is true. I think this matters. You do not.

    You do not have the luxury, Mark, of simply making up your own facts any more than I do. Your religious beliefs claims do not determine what is true about reality. Reality does. Yet that is exactly what you propose we should do – to assume the bible is factually true even when reality provides compelling evidence that some of the claims found within it are factually incorrect. And you think this shows respect on your part to the method of science. It doesn’t. It waves it away in the name of faith. Faith matters more to you than what’s true. And that’s a fact than no amount of metaphysics can ameliorate.

    So here’s the thing, Mark: you can’t have it both ways. You either respect reality or you do not. There is no middle ground. You have to choose. The reasons you bring forth to ignore reality – ignore what’s true about it – are not justifiable if – and here’s the bottom line – you are honestly concerned about what’s true. In effect, what you’re trying to argue is that you respect what’s true right up until some inconvenient fact about it is contrary to your faith. The then you side with faith. Imagine if a husband argued he IS faithful to a wife… except when he’s not… but still wants to be considered faithful as if it were a legitimate compromise. But no comprise is possible without rejecting what the word actually means. In the same way, you cannot pretend that the bible respects what’s true – until it doesn’t – and still be considered true. Like the cheating husband who claims to be faithful, once the claim for an historical Adam and Eve is made, it is either true or not. The evidence from genetics clearly shows that we do not descend from an original couple. That’s the truth.

    Pretending there is some wiggle room for compromise between an incorrect truth claim and what’s true doesn’t make you an ally of the best method we have for exploring reality called ‘science'; it makes you two-faced in the name of your faith where what’s true about reality is not as important to you as upholding your faith when it stands in conflict. In other words, you respect what’s true only when it is convenient. When it’s inconvenient, as in the case of Adam and Eve, you quite simply discard it and continue to suggest that some biblical truth claims are true when you know some are not. And if you will do it here, there is no reason you won’t do it there. Sure enough, one of the best informed theories in human history is also waved away – evolution – to make room for the fiction that your biblical ‘truth’ is true in reality regardless of the scope and value of the multiple lines of evidence that all point to evolution by natural selection.

    In effect, to maintain your faith in the truth of the bible, you are willing to prostitute your intellectual honesty and reject what’s true in reality. Any faith that demands this much is not worth anything.

    Comment by tildeb — April 5, 2012 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

  21. I dispute your conclusion that there was no real Adam and Eve. That conclusion rests on assumptions about the past and since your assumptions are wrong, your conclusion is wrong. I claim that in reality, there was a real Adam and Eve as recorded in the Bible. I claim that the Biblical model of history makes sense in the light of the evidence: even more sense than evolution does. I agree that natural selection is an observable part of nature but the kind of change through natural selection that we can see around us is very much part of the Biblical model.

    Once again, your argument about the usefulness of science is talking about empirical science which deals with present-day observable phenonema and gives us modern technology. Your claim for truth in saying there was no original human couple does not rest on this kind of science. To get to this statement, you assume there is no God and therefore only natural processes could have brought us into being. My faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Creator, Saviour and Lord does have a vital element of experience but I am not arguing that my experience proves that I am right. I am saying, yet again, that in the light of the scientific evidence my faith is confirmed as being reasonable and logical.

    You have made up your mind to reject this, and the reason you reject it is your philosophical worldview of atheism. It is not because the science itself must lead to your conclusion.

    Comment by MarkD — April 7, 2012 @ 11:17 am | Reply

    • Again, Mark, it’s not MY conclusion. You can’t seem to grasp this point. The conclusion is based on genetic evidence that should have markers in place that correspond if true. As Coyne points out succinctly, these genetic markers 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.

      Further, looking at different genes, we find that they trace back to different times in our past. Mitochondrial DNA points to the genes in that organelle tracing back to a single female ancestor who lived about 140,000 years ago, but that genes on the Y chromosome trace back to one male who lived about 60,000-90,000 years ago. Further, the bulk of genes in the nucleus all trace back to different times—as far back as two million years. This shows not only that any “Adam” and “Eve” (in the sense of mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA alone) 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. Each of our genes “coalesces” back to a different ancestor, 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.

      These are the scientific facts. And, unlike the case of Jesus’ virgin birth and resurrection, we can dismiss a physical Adam and Eve with near scientific certainty.”

      Either that, or the science of genetics is wrong.

      This – not me and any attributes you think influences me – is what you have to contend with, MarkD. You are claiming GENETICS is simply wrong. So… show compelling evidence why this science is wrong.

      You could try to go the Peter Enns route for trying to make compatible the incompatible. Peter Enns of BioLogos fame writes, “If evolution is right about how humans came to be, then the biblical story of Adam and Eve isn’t. If you believe, as evangelicals do, that God himself is responsible for what’s in the Bible, you have a problem on your hands.”

      Sound familiar? You – not me – have a problem on your hands when you deny the science of genetics that works consistently and reliably well for everyone everywhere all the time but stands in conflict with your religious beliefs.

      As Jason Rosenhouse points out, “There are good reasons why mainstream evangelicals are mostly not buying what the scholars are selling. Once you accept that science flatly contradicts the foundational stories of scripture, you seem to have two options.

      You could go Enns’s route, and summon forth a tortured model of Biblical inspiration in which God chose to communicate fundamental truths of the human condition in a manner so confusing that normal people cannot read them on their own. Instead they need assistance from the local departments of archaeology and ancient civilizations, and to have it explained to them that what certainly appear to be factual accounts of human origins are actually something else entirely. We are left to sympathize with all those generations of honest seekers laboring prior to the advances of modern scholarship, who simply had no hope of coming to a correct understanding of God’s word.

      Against this you have the possibility that the Genesis stories are purely human constructions, and that they seem naive from a modern perspective because they were not written by people with any special insight into much of anything.

      Which possibility do you really think is more plausible?”

      You see, MarkD, I understand that you WANT to believe the story of Adam and Eve are historically true. But that doesn’t change the fact that reality has shown this not to be the case. What you are tilting at are not windmills of your mind produced by your religious faith but the method of science itself. And in this joust you will lose… except in a mind that refuses to accept reality. We call this mental state a delusion. And that’s what you’re trying to hold up: your – not my – delusion.

      Comment by tildeb — April 7, 2012 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  22. “Either that, or the science of genetics is wrong.” I could also say that you do not seem to be able to grasp my point: the argument you have referred to is based on a set of assumptions about where the diversity comes from which is derived from an evolutionary model. I am referring to articles such as http://creation.com/noah-and-genetics and http://creation.com/historical-adam-biologos and http://creation.com/bible-time-human-genetic-diversity among others, which defend a Biblical model. Since Biologos isn’t arguing for a Biblical model, I am not citing them as an authority in defense of my position. Their statements do not represent my position either.

    None of this would prevent us from working together on useful genetic research using empirical science. My belief that Christianity correctly represents reality is reasonable and logical, and does not threaten any useful scientific progress. It does, however, represent the true source of hope for humankind.

    Comment by MarkD — April 8, 2012 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

    • Wrong on two accounts:

      1) You’ve already rejected the science of genetics, yet want to use it when it doesn’t conflict with your beliefs, making you a fair-weather friend of science – or a hypocrite… take your pick, and
      2) I would hope reasonable people appreciate that respecting what’s true must first respect what that term actually means and then show a dedication to respecting its products even when it produces facts contrary to our beliefs. Creationists do not do this without undermining their beliefs in the inerrancy of the bible. This means you can’t have it both ways and reject what’s true to suit your beliefs and then try to make the serious claim that you respect what’s true. It’s not true. That’s simply what is called ‘Lying for Jesus’ in the christian tradition.

      In order to support biblical inerrancy, one must reject the method of science in order to reject the science of genetics in order to reject the genetic evidence that shows Adam and Eve were never historical figures and were not the founding couple. I’m sorry if you think otherwise, but the facts here speak for themselves. The biblical claim about Adam and Eve is factually wrong if genetic evidence is true and the genetic evidence is true if the science of genetics is true and the science of genetics is true if the method of science can be relied on to reveal what’s true about reality By holding fast to biblical inerrancy, creationists reject what’s true and replace it with what they believe is true. What you believe is not compatible with what’s true because we have reached conflicting conclusions that cannot both be right. Siding with biblical inerrancy is your choice. But don’t think for one second that what you believe is a necessary condition for supporting the ‘true’ source of hope for mankind involves anything to do with what’s true in reality for you have already made your substitution of what’s true with your faith-based belief – a belief we know doesn’t respect what’s true. Your ‘true’ source for hope is your belief and we know your belief is in conflict with what’s true. Your belief remains factually wrong and you’re okay with this. I’m not because I respect what’s true more than I respect anyone’s contrary beliefs.

      Comment by tildeb — April 8, 2012 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  23. “reject what’s true to suit your beliefs”? You equate truth as equal to what comes out of evolutionary assumptions. That’s not a definition of truth.

    Although we can’t agree on much it seems, at least anyone reading this can decide what they think for themselves.

    Comment by MarkD — April 10, 2012 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • You equate truth as equal to what comes out of evolutionary assumptions.

      Assumptions. You keep using that word. Yet I do not think it means what you think it means. If you think that The Theory of Evolution is based on assumptions then whip up that scientific paper and claim your Nobel Prize.

      An inconceivable Montage

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 10, 2012 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

      • Obviously I mean ‘a statement taken for granted’. The theory of evolution certainly assumes that there has been no supernatural intervention in the origin of life, and also draws on uniformitarianism to develop long timescales in support of the theory. You don’t need to write a scientific paper to see that. The evolutionist Professor Richard Lewontin has written:

        “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

        There is no argument about using operational and empirical science to understand the world around us and then applying the physical laws to produce technology, but applying a materialistic philosophy to historical origins is neither necessary nor useful. You only want to do this to support your atheistic worldview: you are not compelled to do it by logic or reason. If you want more detail, read at least the first part of the article at http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-chapter-1-evolution-creation-science-religion-facts-bias.

        People lose their jobs for pointing out the flaws in the theory of evolution: it’s not that the flaws aren’t there but challenging the ‘sacred cow’ which underpins secular humanism tends to upset people. Upsetting people doesn’t get you a Nobel Prize but this doesn’t remove the existence of problems in evolutionary theory.

        Comment by MarkD — April 16, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

      • The theory of evolution certainly assumes that there has been no supernatural intervention in the origin of life

        No, no, NO! This is NOT an assumption. There is no positive evidence for supernatural intervention. None. Zero. There could be evidence if it were true; there could be all kinds of inexplicable evidence for intervention. But there is no such evidence. Why not? If intervention occurred, as you keep on suggesting it actually and historically did, then why is there no evidence for this causal claim, no evidence for effect, no mechanism by which Oogity Boogity intervenes in natural selection and causes this effect you are determined to put there?

        How can any intellectually honest person insist that something is true in spite of no evidence for it and much evidence against it? Well, perhaps the person doesn’t understand the meaning of certain words being used, words like ‘assumption’. To add insult to injury, you then claim that those who respect what the science has revealed about nature – natural selection as an unguided process – are the ones making an ‘assumption’ that what you insist is true without evidence is false. But that’s not an assumption evolutionists make and we’re not the ones actually assuming anything. You are. Remember, there could be evidence for intervention by some external agency but if so, then it’s YOUR job to present it, to back up what YOU in the meantime pretend is real. You are the one assuming that your beliefs rather than reality arbitrate what is true about reality.

        If we can just get this first bit straightened out – to mutually agree to respect reality’s role in arbitrating what is true about it – then the rest of your creationist argument simply evaporates along with the clouds of superstitious nonsense you have wrapped around your beliefs in your make-believe world where you pretend that there are flaws about evolution because it doesn’t match up with your beliefs in Oogity Boogity. Produce good evidence in support of your beliefs and they will be treated accordingly with the same respect used for any other reality arbitrated causal claim… regardless how secular humanistic someone might be (that you incorrectly assume to be a negative connotation).

        Comment by tildeb — April 16, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      • Let me put it this way: If the Bible is true, then would the world look like it does today? Does the evidence fit the claim of the Bible being true? I say that despite the incompleteness of our knowledge, the world we see around us and the evidence available are more easily reconciled with the Bible’s history than with evolution. This doesn’t prove the Bible is true, but it means that the usual assertion that evolution is the only reasonable explanation is not correct. And it means that Christians are not intellectually dishonest.

        As I said in comment 21, natural selection is very much part of the Biblical model. If you want to avoid the fallacy of ‘bait and switch’ you should read up on the Biblical model.

        Comment by MarkD — April 19, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

      • MarkD asks an excellent question:

        Let me put it this way: If the Bible is true, then would the world look like it does today? Does the evidence fit the claim of the Bible being true?

        It could be true. It might not be true. How can we find out?

        Well, the way science works is by letting reality tell us. So we gather evidence. Good evidence. Piles of evidence. Consistent evidence. Evidence that matches up with all other evidence. This evidence could endorse the biblical account – in testable and verifiable evidence that agrees with biblical truth claims made about the earth, its geology, biology, chemistry, human origins and lineage, physics and its astronomical explanations, etc., or it may not.

        It is here where we run into some problems. Oh sure, if the gathered evidence supported biblical truth claims in all, some, or even one of these areas, believers would be shouting it from the rooftops.

        But it hasn’t turned out that way, has it?

        The evidence has not supported biblical truth claims about how the world really is, how it has come to be the way it is, what the solar system is really like and how it operates, how humanity has evolved to become the predominant primate on this speck of dust in the cold and brutal cosmos. What we find in the bible are claims we would expect to find from the writer’s time and place based on knowledge of those times and places.

        So what is a believer in the inerrancy of the bible to do? Admit this ‘holy’ book is factually wrong?

        Well, there are several approaches that can be taken to insert the square peg of biblical causal claims about the world into the round hole of reality… none of which involves admitting the truth, that the books of the bible are known to be factually unreliable in these causal claims.

        First, alter scripture from being a ‘literal’ account to some kind of ‘representative’ account… from historical to metaphoric or mythic or allegoric. This is all about interpretations (apologetics), of twisting straight up biblical claims that are now clearly shown to be factually wrong (but previously held to be literally true) to be meant as something else entirely, stories of ‘deep’ insight that can be molded into fitting within reality that the evidence has shown us to be true.

        Second, ignore the problems entirely and pretend biblical truth claims about causal effects don’t really matter because the religion is all about something unrelated… like love.

        Third, pretend that the evidence is somehow suspect, somehow lacking in this one particular application, while ignoring its applicability in all other areas. Pretend that the true believer is exercising ‘critical thinking’ and ‘skepticism’ about doubting well supported explanations that work for everyone everywhere all the time but accept with no equivalent skepticism claims that are extraordinary and involve supernaturalism.

        Fourth, pretend that anyone who cares about what’s true in reality and dares to hold fast to what reality has shown to be true is somehow a bad person, a militant, strident, shrill god hater who eats babies and would probably vote for Hitler’s return. And the worst of these hell-fodder lost souls are atheists with their religion of science led by their high priest Dawkins.

        Nowhere is this intellectual dishonest played out by believers than it is regarding evolution… meaning natural selection (which means no Oogity Boogity is allowed because it’s a natural process, with no evidence for any directing agency, no evidence for any designed purpose, no evidence for specific meaning, no evidence for intervention from any supervising agent). About three out of every four people make room in the reality we share for believing that some agency at some time could have intervened with creative intentions… even though there is absolutely no evidence for this assertion and nothing but evidence against it. This makes all these people who wish to believe what is contrary to what reality has to say in the matter hostile to respecting what’s true, hostile to respecting the best method we have for finding out about the world we share. There is a clear incompatibility between respecting religious belief and respecting science in methodology, and this matter a very great deal. As PZ Myers writes,

        science is a process for figuring out how the world actually works. If you short-circuit the process and declare that you already have the answer, you just have to believe, then you are an enemy of science. If you simply assert your desired conclusion, and ignore the fact that reality is rarely about the answer you want, you’re an enemy of science. Truth is often uncomfortable, you have to value it because it is true, not because it makes you feel good.

        So this is the crux of the matter. One EITHER respects what’s true or one does not. That is our individual choice, but consider this:

        Why listen to and offer up respect for people who knowingly spin yarns contrary to what is true, make stuff up and insist it’s true, demand respect for a book that is known to be factually wrong and expect to be taken seriously promoting it as another way of knowing what’s true about the universe, and then demand that believing in all this to be the means to establish a higher moral ground in pronouncements about human behaviour, when you know they are unwilling to care about what’s true and dismissive of the very best method we have for determining what this may be?

        Comment by tildeb — April 19, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

      • “The evidence has not supported biblical truth claims” – I disagree, as you know. Nor do I “pretend that the evidence is somehow suspect, somehow lacking in this one particular application, while ignoring its applicability in all other areas”. You are unable or unwilling to see the difference between empirical science which is tested with repeatable experiments in the present, and origins science which tries to fit the available evidence into a particular framework. I direct you again to http://www.creation.com for details of the Biblical position: try typing ‘does science need evolution’ into the search box. Evolution in the form you are using does not equate to natural selection. This is a ‘bait and switch’ fallacy. Type ‘natural selection’ into the search box for plenty of information on how and why this is the case.

        This takes us back to comment 18, i.e. we are not talking about proving our positions. We are talking about what is reasonable and logical to put your faith in. I remain convinced, with good reason, that my faith in God as revealed in the Bible is both reasonable and logical. Your charge of this being dishonest is untrue.

        Having come in a circle already I think further discussion between us on this point is unlikely to be useful…

        Comment by MarkD — April 24, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

      • MarkD, Cedric raises a very important point for your consideration: believing in young earth creationism MEANS you will not respect the findings of all the physical sciences. By rejecting these mutually supportive and consistent findings you reject the validity of the same method used for all sciences. There is simply no middle ground here.

        Now consider the cost: you reject the science genetics, the science of geology, the science of chemistry, the science of physics, the science of biology. You cannot accept any of them in all other areas of your life and pretend your belief warrants rejecting this method in order to maintain your religious beliefs and think you are not deserving of the charge of being a hypocrite. You reject the best method we have for finding out what is true in favour of empowering your belief in what you assume must be true.

        You cannot expect to be taken seriously if you simply do not care about what is true in reality, because in reality there is no evidence using any of these methods of inquiry that supports your religious creationist beliefs. You can pretend there is and quote creationist sites all you want, but the fact is you are not willing to have any intellectual integrity and honestly admit that your beliefs are contrary to what all these scientific pursuits have produced; instead, you reject that which empowers your knowledge about the world, that produces applications that work, that inform the medicines and therapies you receive. This is what you are rejecting. I think it is very, very foolish.

        Comment by tildeb — April 24, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

      • The fact remains that I do not reject, and do not need to reject, the application of all the sciences in relation to useful science – work that yields the technology we use and works with repeatable phenomena in the present. Since my opposition to the historical models which are generally accepted is based on sound arguments, the unpopularity of the arguments does not invalidate them. There are philosophical reasons for the rejection of my arguments, rather than scientific ones. Once again I will point out that I’m not trying to prove that I am right, but I am saying that my position – which I admit is informed by my faith – is intellectually honest, logical and reasonable.

        You only seem to have two parts to your argument: refusing to hear what I am saying, or rejecting my view because it is in the minority. Neither is valid.

        Comment by MarkD — April 27, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

      • You have trouble comprehending, don’t you? No one is suggesting that you must reject the applications you find so darned handy; you are, however, pretending that the method that develops this handy dandy applications is untrustworthy and flawed because it has yielded knowledge different from claims made by your magic book. This makes you a hypocrite because you do not seem intellectually capable of appreciating the fact that THE SAME METHOD OF INQUIRY informs your cell phone as it does the age of the earth, your medical therapies as it does evolution. What you are willing to accept for convenience you reject for in the name of your theology. This is intellectually dishonest, illogical, and unreasonable. It is, in fact, deeply prejudiced only where knowledge stands contrary to your trust in the inerrancy of your magic book. Again, though it bears repeating, your magic book contains many well documented errors that you already admit are errors. Your commitment to other known errors – like a young earth and creationism – is bizarre and shows a problem with you being able to respect what’s true over what you believe is true. Your beliefs are demonstrably an impediment to clear thinking, an enabler of hypocrisy, and a denial mechanism to suppress knowledge, inflate ignorance, and call this travesty pleasing to god. It’s turtles all the way down.

        Comment by tildeb — April 27, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      • I totally disagree. My position has not impeded clear thinking or suppressed knowledge in the past and it will not do so in future. The difference between present repeatable science that we use for technology and the study of the past where it teaches who and what we are, is a real difference and my position does no violence to useful science. I do not accept your claim about errors in the Bible, either. The issues that are raised in this regard can be answered.

        Comment by MarkD — May 1, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

      • MarkD writes that present repeatable science that we use for technology and the study of the past where it teaches who and what we are, is a real difference.

        By ‘present’ you mean what works. By ‘past’ you mean what conflicts with your beliefs. This is dishonest because, as I’ve said many times, the same method of inquiry informs both. Put another way, why does the method work now but not then? For this you have no answer… other than a wish that it is so to allow you wiggle room to pretend that the 60+ some biblical references to the world being at the center of the universe don’t reveal exactly what we would expect to find from people who simply didn’t know any better and had no method to test and verify this assumption. The same is true for biblical references about the earth being flat. The same is true for biblical references of a global flood, of creation, of man’s special status. These are all testable and shown by compelling and consistent evidence to be false. Yet you hold on to them not because there is any compelling evidence from reality to show that they are true – or even likely to be true – but because you believe that the biblical account must be true. The question then becomes, why doesn’t reality back these claims up with compelling and consistent evidence? Your answer is that the method of inquiry is somehow inadequate for the job, but quite adequate for all the applications and technologies and therapies you entrust your life to.

        You cannot have it both ways, MarkD. Either the method is reliable or it is not – regardless if the method is used today or yesterday or tomorrow. You see, the arbitrary distinction you attempt to apply against the method working to explain the ‘present’ but not when it comes to explaining the ‘past’ is facetious. The present is directly informed by the past. We don’t get to today except by passing through yesterday. And the method worked yesterday, just as it does today, just as it will tomorrow. The evidence gathered to create what works today only comes from yesterday. Your job is to explain how the method demonstrably breaks down with enough ‘yesterdays’. But keep in mind that if radiometric dating, for example, is wrong when it comes to explaining ‘past’ geological evidence, then atomic theory that works today which is directly based on this understanding in all its fields (like medicine) is also wrong. And yet it works for everyone everywhere all the time… How can you explain this? All you’re doing is simply waving your intellectually hand and dismissing without cause the explanations that we know works, claiming instead that you really, really, really do exercise clear thinking about this discrepancy. Well, you don’t. If you did, you’d recognize the hypocrisy and dishonesty necessary to arbitrate what’s true on biblical references only when convenient for the theology but which stand contrary to evidence upon which rely on that informs our applications and technologies and therapies that work.

        Comment by tildeb — May 2, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

      • ‘Why does the method work now but not then?’ Because the method studies existing physical laws that we can test with repeatable experiments. The age of the earth, how much catastrophy was involved in creating the earth as we see it now, and how we get so much biological complexity are avenues of enquiry which are not open to repeatable experiments. If your framework of enquiry is based on atheism then you will try to develop a model which works and you will exclude a priori any alternative explanations from the Bible. If you are a Christian then it makes sense to not only believe in God as revealed in the Bible, but to believe the foundational history of the Bible as well. Neither of us can prove our point, but I contend that neither can you accuse me of having no credible alternative to your view. There are plenty of unknowns in both models, but I remain convinced that the Biblical model is reasonable and logical.

        ‘The question then becomes, why doesn’t reality back these claims up with compelling and consistent evidence?’ I believe that http://www.creation.com does a good job of this.

        ‘But keep in mind that if radiometric dating, for example, is wrong when it comes to explaining ‘past’ geological evidence, then atomic theory that works today which is directly based on this understanding in all its fields (like medicine) is also wrong’. No, Bible believers like me can work with atomic theory that works today just as well as anyone else. Our rejection of the ages yielded by radiometric dating does not affect our useful work, related to today’s technology, one little bit.

        Comment by MarkD — May 3, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      • Okay. Once more … but with more feeling (as my conductors might say): The. Method. Is. The. Same.

        You continue to claim that the method studies only existing physical laws. Well, yeah. How is it you have access to know about different physical laws from the past? Revelation?

        Look, when there are perfectly good explanations that do not require the addition of Oogity Boogity, then it does not produce any practical knowledge or advantage to pretend there really, really, really was some Oogity Boogity at work causing effect. This is an unnecessary complication you want to ADD to explanations that work consistently and reliably well… well enough, in fact, to power the technologies and applications and therapies that work for everyone everywhere all the time. You insist there there is some moment in the past where these explanations stop working because the physical laws of today were somehow different then. This is crazy talk. You have no evidence for this. The only thing you have is religious belief that stands contrary to what we know works today for everyone everywhere all the time. That’s it. That’s the sum of your revisionist historical explanation for your magical agency responsible you say for POOF!ism. All this belief does, in effect, is cause you to try to privilege your intentional ignorance to the level of compatibility with the method of inquiry we call science. But the fact is, your kind of ignorant belief based on demonstrably false presumptions stands contrary to and in conflict with actual explanations that work to explain how things are the way they are today.

        I notice you do not try to tell us that everything really does revolve around the earth, that the earth really is flat, that pi really is 3, that whales really do swallow people, that Adam and Eve were historical, that intercessory prayer causes effect, that faith moves mountains, and so on. You put all these factual claims shown to be wrong aside and blithely pretend that the bible is still reliably true. How can you continue to do this and think yourself intellectually honest enough to say you really do respect the method of science when you discard exactly this at the first sign of discrepancy with the bible?

        Comment by tildeb — May 3, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

      • Yes, a Christian believes the Bible is a revelation from God and that it is therefore a reliable account of the past as well as telling us how to find salvation. This is the framework within which a Christian operates and it is fair to evaluate whether it is a reasonable one or not. If the Bible is true, then the evidence we see around us will be consistent with the Bible’s account of history – and it is. As you have said before, we are not dealing with proof, only reasonable explanations – we have imperfect knowledge and there is still much that needs to be investigated further. You can point to details that I may struggle to explain, and I can do the same with an evolutionary framework, but neither is getting us very far. I have not taken the position that your belief is entirely unreasonable, even though I am convinced that it is wrong. At the same time, I do not accept your accusation that a Bible-believing Christian is taking an unreasonable position.

        You seek explanations for the history of origins which use purely naturalistic mechanisms, but if the true history is in the Bible, those explanations are wrong. Based on your philosophy of humanism, only natural explanations are permitted to be included for consideration. It is not a logical requirement to exclude the Bible’s history, only a philosophical one.

        Intellectual honesty is not defined as the process of finding the best naturalistic explanation. If the evidence around us can be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the Bible, and the Bible is actually true, then anyone who believes the truth is intellectually dishonest by your definition. You have not provided compelling arguments that the Bible is false, so there is no foundation for your false accusation that believing the Bible is intellectual dishonesty.

        Despite the creationist beliefs of great pioneers of science, despite the ability of a modern creationist to contribute fully and unhindered to useful science, despite the lack of any disadvantage to progress resulting from belief in the Bible, you try to fight the Christian faith because it is a major obstacle to your chosen worldview of atheism.

        The Bible does not teach that the earth is flat or that everything revolves around the earth: we use convenient expressions today that reflect the observer’s perspective without being accused of believing a lie. There is more than one explanation for the reference to a circumference and diameter in the Bible – from rounding of numbers to how it was measured – that show there is no argument for falsehood there. If the Bible is true then God is free to perform miracles and the ability of whales or sharks to swallow people is irrelevant to what happened to Jonah. You already know (see comment 22 etc) that I consider it reasonable to believe that Adam and Eve were real people. I don’t know what form your argument against prayer takes, but I doubt it is capable of proving your point. I see no reason why a Christian is intellectually dishonest as a result of believing the Bible in relation to these points or others.

        Comment by MarkD — May 8, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

      • Yes, a Christian believes the Bible is a revelation from God and that it is therefore a reliable account of the past

        There.

        Right there.

        You admit this ‘reliable account of the past’ is not based on reality but on BELIEF. This is an epistemic FAIL. It is not a reliable account on its own merit but dependent on your beliefs. Your beliefs, as much as you might prefer, do not determine reality and do not inform knowledge about it. There are only two options regarding knowledge: knowing and not knowing. Your beliefs play no part in the former and directly promote the latter, which is why your beliefs about the compatibility between the method of science to yield knowledge and the method of belief through revelation from scripture as a source of knowledge ignore all evidence from reality that they are not. You just continue to wave your hands and say they are without accounting for the very real and fatal discrepancies from each other that they produce.

        If the Bible is true, then the evidence we see around us will be consistent with the Bible’s account of history – and it is. This is the hand waving I’m talking about. It is not related to reality when we consider many biblical truth claims made about reality. But we know that when we rely on belief to guide our way, we have unplugged any method to relate knowledge about reality to reality; instead, we have spliced it into our beliefs. Anything that stands contrary to our beliefs – like evidence from reality – can then be summarily dismissed. And this is what you’re doing, over and over again: ignoring reality because it doesn’t comport with your beliefs. Your beliefs about the inerrancy of the bible are demonstrably false. Because you reject reality’s role to determine what is true about it and rely instead on your belief that biblical revelation must be true, you have rejected the epistemic basis of why the scientific method – and all its applications – works. At the same time, you discard any means to be able to differentiate your beliefs from delusion.

        Comment by tildeb — May 9, 2012 @ 9:42 am

      • tildeb, you dismiss “biblical truth claims” as not relating to reality, but reality in the context of historical origins does not logically have to be limited to what you can figure out using a scientific study of present processes. My point is that it is logically possible that the Bible’s history is true. Your definition of reality equates to atheistic philosophy and this is not the only option.

        I would also point out that the Bible says “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness..” Your hatred of this message is evident, but Christianity remains a coherent and logical belief – founded on faith and a living experience, yes, but not requiring any person to believe anything illogical or unreasonable.

        Comment by MarkD — May 15, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    • You can point to details that I may struggle to explain, and I can do the same with an evolutionary framework,…

      Nonsense.
      You believe in a 10,000 year old Earth. It’s not comparable to the 150 years of research that underpins modern biology. Your ideas must stand on their own merits; not the supposed weaknesses of others.

      I have not taken the position that your belief is entirely unreasonable…

      Science is not a belief.
      You are the one with a belief. You believe that the Earth is 10,000 years old. It’s not just “unreasonable”. It’s nutty.

      You have not provided compelling arguments that the Bible is false, so…

      No, that won’t do. This is the internet. We understand what the phrase “burden of proof” means in science. We can google it. It’s well understood.
      You will be unsuccessful in trying to shift the burden of proof.

      Despite the creationist beliefs of great pioneers of science…

      Not helpful. Such a line will not magically produce evidence for a 10,000 year old Earth. Your position is indefensible.

      The Bible does not teach that the earth is flat or that everything revolves around the earth: we use convenient expressions today….

      So you are saying that the Bible does not teach that the Earth is 10,000 years old?

      f the Bible is true then God is free to perform miracles and the ability of whales or sharks to swallow people is….

      With a wave of the magic wand, anything becomes possible. Magic’s handy that way. Talking snakes. Talking donkeys. Drinking poison etc.

      I see no reason why a Christian is intellectually dishonest as a result of believing the Bible in relation to these points or others.

      It’s magical thinking.
      It’s all Oogity-Boogity.
      To believe in a 10,000 year old Earth requires you to turn your back on all the physical sciences and embrace magic.
      Modern biology is the least of your problems. You have to reject every single one of the physical sciences. Every single one.

      Why Young Earth Creationists are WRONG, Part I

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 8, 2012 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

      • Cedric, I agree that my position is unorthodox and probably counter-cultural when compared with society as a whole or the majority of the scientific establishment, but this does not prove it to be illogical. The research that I reject doesn’t underpin anything in any meaningful, useful way. The relatively young age of the earth is embedded in historical passages of the Bible and is consistent with the whole message of the Bible, and is therefore not equivalent to the use of convenient expressions related to an observer’s frame of reference. And I don’t have to reject any useful science at all, i.e. science based on repeatable experiments in the present which leads to today’s technology. You should note that my approach has not been to try to prove evolution wrong: instead I am saying that a Christian’s beliefs are logical and reasonable even if they are so dramatically opposed to your own.

        Comment by MarkD — May 15, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

      • Cedric, I agree that my position is unorthodox and probably counter-cultural….

        No, it’s not “unorthodox”. It’s pure batshit crazy. Nor is it “counter-cultural”. Culture does not enter into it.
        It’s anti-scientific. Don’t try and spin it.
        Even Bob is wriggling in his seat desperately hoping the topic will quietly go away.

        The research that I reject doesn’t underpin anything in any meaningful, useful way.

        Says the guy typing on a computer keyboard in the 21st Century.
        (…facepalm…)
        To believe in a 10,000 year old Earth is to reject all the physical sciences. The physical sciences are useful. Gravity? HELLO?!?!?!?

        The relatively young age of the earth is embedded in historical passages of the Bible and is consistent with the whole message of the Bible…

        Then so much the worse for your bible.
        (shrug)

        And I don’t have to reject any useful science at all, i.e. science based on repeatable experiments in the present which leads to today’s technology.

        You don’t know what you are talking about. No branch of the sciences agrees with you. Science is a set menu. You don’t get to pick and choose the bits you like and just awkwardly ignore the rest of it.

        You should note that my approach has not been to try to prove evolution wrong: instead I am saying that a Christian’s beliefs are logical and reasonable…

        It’s not about evolution.
        Modern biology is the least of your problems. A 10,000 year old Earth is pure, magical thinking. It demeans us all as a society. Your church and the people around you have betrayed you with foolish lies.

        Why Young Earth Creationists Must Deny Gravity, Part I

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 15, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

      • MarkD, to believe the earth is 10K years old or less is no different in technique than proclaiming the distance between New York and Los Angeles is less than an arm’s length in spite of all evidence to the contrary. In layman’s terms, it’s batshit crazy because it must reject all the same tools of measurement we use for all our technologies, therapies, and applications that work. Again I will emphasize that you cannot make up your own facts and this is what you’re doing to excuse biblical errors of fact.

        Comment by tildeb — May 15, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

      • Cedric and tildeb, a thoughtful Bible-believing Christian does nor propose that God created starlight in-situ looking as if real things are happening that aren’t. That’s a straw man. Instead, our position is well summarised at http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter5.pdf.

        I can see the difference between repeatable experiments in the present, yielding useful scientific progress, and the development of theoretical models which are based on initial assumptions about the past. I’m sorry that you can’t see the same distinction. I deny that it’s due to dishonesty on my part.

        Comment by MarkD — May 18, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

      • Cedric and tildeb, a thoughtful Bible-believing Christian….

        Well maybe when a “thoughtful Bible-believing Christian” comes along, we can ask them what they think.
        Until then we are stuck with you.
        You and your kooky belief that the Earth is 10,000 years old.

        Instead, our position is well summarised at http://….

        Link bombing will not work. It’s a waste of your time and ours. Smart people do not get their science information from some crank website. You must be quite desperate that someone will visit one day. You keep mentioning it despite being told in plain English that we don’t give a toss.

        I can see the difference between repeatable experiments in the present, yielding useful scientific progress,…

        You would not know scientific progress if it smacked you on the back of the head. A belief that the Earth is 10,000 years old is nutty.
        Your church has lied to you.
        Every single branch of the physical sciences is arrayed against you.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 18, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

      • MarkD, there is only method of science. You keep ignoring this fact; instead, you pretend that there are many “historical sciences”, such as cosmology, geology, climatology, plate tectonics, anthropology, paleontology, and of course evolution contrasted with “experimental sciences” like chemistry. You define the difference as if only science done in a lab counts. This is ludicrous. Although what you call historical events can’t be re-created in the lab, ‘historical’ sciences are indeed scientific because they’re based on verifiable observations and they produce theories are testable.

        Let me quote The Sensuous Curmudgeon (whose blogging consists entirely of fighting the good fight against creationism wherever this brain worm sticks its head out of the sands of ignorance:

        The great merit of the scientific explanation of the past is demonstrated by cross-confirmation from independent lines of evidence. There are many examples (continental drift, for example), but our favorite is described in The Lessons of Tiktaalik, an amazing discovery of a transitional fossil, the existence of which was predicted by the theory of evolution, and then found by following independent lines of evidence from the existing fossil record (suggesting, from the age of the transitional’s known descendants, when the transitional creature existed), and geology (describing the location of a rock stratum of the appropriate age when such a creature would have existed). If science were merely an ad hoc collection of convenient just-so stories made up arbitrarily to justify pre-conceived dogma, then such a convergence from different lines of evidence would be virtually impossible.

        But the scientifically determined age of the earth is not a wild assumption plucked out of the air for the purpose of justifying the time required for evolution to occur. It is derived by several independent sciences, with different lines of evidence, all of which converge on the same conclusions.

        First there is geology, developed by James Hutton, an important figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, who is regarded as the father of modern geology. He died in 1797, a dozen years before Charles Darwin was born, so it’s unlikely that he conjured up his work in order to support Darwin’s theory. Then there is radiometric dating, developed much later from nuclear physics. This evidence is augmented by ice-cores, ocean floor cores, and even tree-ring cores (which record the Earth’s history going back farther than the Flood). All the evidence is different, but it all yields a consistent picture of the past.

        Genuine science seeks to observe and explain the world in terms of mutually consistent, comprehensible, and verifiable principles that lead to testable observations. Creation science, on the other hand, seeks to describe an impossible reality in which Genesis is an accurate account of the world. In other words, creation science is a mental disorder. There’s no other way to describe it.

        It’s hard to disagree with the conclusion when we see time after time just how dishonest and intellectually bankrupt creationists must be to adhere to this demonstrably false model of the world.

        Comment by tildeb — May 20, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

      • tildeb, when you say ‘there is only the method of science’ in the context of historical events, you are stating a belief that excludes the God of the Bible. All historical theories accepted by the scientific establishment are made to fit within this paradigm. They are not watertight and problem-free constructions either: it is just assumed that problems in the theories will be improved over time as our knowledge increases. My position is that there is a valid alternative presented in the Bible, which happens to be the true history, and which I do not need to be ashamed of. I deny that it is an ‘impossible reality’. We can argue all day on the likelihood and strengths of specific points but I believe the information in the links I provide is credible.

        Comment by MarkD — May 21, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

      • MarkD writes tildeb, when you say ‘there is only the method of science’ in the context of historical events, you are stating a belief that excludes the God of the Bible. All historical theories accepted by the scientific establishment are made to fit within this paradigm.

        Good grief, Mark, but your intransigence in the face of your own double-standard is breath-taking. You exhibit again and again how your beliefs are impervious to reality. Evidence that should be present if your beliefs were true is absent. Evidence that is present is discounted. There is no way for you to crack the nut of your beliefs against reality. This is why religious belief is so detrimental to honest inquiry; whatever the beliefs may happen to be – even when they conflict with other equivalent beliefs – they are not allowed to be falsified by reality. And we have a term in medicine to describe a mind that lives only within its own beliefs impervious to reality: delusion.

        Comment by tildeb — May 21, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

      • tildeb, when you say ‘there is only the method of science’ in the context of historical events, you are stating a belief that excludes the God of the Bible.

        That’s silly. Science is not a belief. It does not exclude magic, invisible sky people any more than it excludes pixies or Bigfoot.

        All historical theories accepted by the scientific establishment are made to fit within this paradigm.

        Please. Don’t embarrass yourself by talking about theories and paradigms. Leave such talk to the adults.

        They are not watertight and problem-free constructions either: it is just assumed that problems in the theories will be improved over time as our knowledge increases.

        Theories do not have to be perfect for them to be useful. Theories advance our knowledge and are always subject to being superceeded at any time without mercy.
        Science is about investigation; not revelation.

        My position is that there is a valid alternative presented in the Bible, which happens to be the true history, and which I do not need to be ashamed of.

        Your position is that the Earth is 10,000 years old. That’s something to be greatly ashamed of. It embarrasses us all.

        I deny that it is an ‘impossible reality’.

        Deny, deny and deny some more. It’s hugely unimpressive.

        We can argue all day on the likelihood and strengths of specific points…

        Yet you don’t argue at all. You just link dump.

        …but I believe the information in the links I provide is credible.

        (…facepalm…)

        You can only provide worthless links. You cannot argue. The Earth is not 10,000 years old. Your church has lied to you and you have been played for a sucker.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 22, 2012 @ 2:49 am

      • tildeb, I have previously pointed out that I have a bias so it’s not a double-standard to point out that you have one too. You would refuse to accept that anything is best explained by the Bible’s history being true, because your mind is made up that there is no God as the Bible describes. You try to limit our understanding of historical events to a framework that omits the God of the Bible because this suits your philosophy of atheism. I find the evidence to be broadly consistent with a Biblical model and therefore, despite Cedric’s insults, it is not an unreasonable position to believe the Bible.

        Cedric, I’m sure I have spent much more time viewing your video links than you have spent reading articles that I have linked. I think your strategy of ridicule is the one that is least impressive in terms of looking for substance to an argument.

        Comment by MarkD — May 22, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

      • tildeb, I have previously pointed out that I have a bias so it’s not a double-standard to point out that you have one too.

        Too easy.

        You would refuse to accept that…

        Ah, yes. Of Course.

        You would refuse to accept that anything is best explained by magic being true, because your mind is made up that there is no magic as Galstone’s Big Book Of Magic describes. You try to limit our understanding of historical events to a framework that omits the magic of Galstone’s Big Book of Magic because this suits your philosophy of atheism. I find the evidence to be broadly consistent with a Galstonian Big Book Of Magic model and therefore, despite Cedric’s insults, it is not an unreasonable position to believe Galstone’s Big Book of Magic.

        Cedric, I’m sure I have spent much more time viewing your video links than you have spent reading articles that I have linked.

        One small good thing.

        I think your strategy of ridicule….

        No. It’s called honesty. The truth often offends. To believe in a 10,000 year old Earth is beyond dumb.

        …is the one that is least impressive in terms of looking for substance to an argument.

        You don’t have an argument to respond to. All you can do is link bomb. Behold:

        I believe this is the case, as argued at places such as [link] and [link] (…) I can’t repeat all of [link] and similar sites here, but it’s there if you(…)I am referring to articles such as [link] and [link] and [link] among others, which defend a Biblical model.(…)If you want more detail, read at least the first part of the article at [link] (…)I direct you again to [link] for details of the Biblical position (…)why doesn’t reality back these claims up with compelling and consistent evidence?’ I believe that [link] does a good job of this.(…)That’s a straw man. Instead, our position is well summarised at [link](…)Try typing ‘distant starlight’ into the search box on [link] to check out details(…)Cedric, you are still making assertions without engaging with the substance of any counter-argument presented at [link] (…)

        It goes on and on and on and on.
        Stop it. Nobody wants to read kook websites.
        It just makes you look demented.
        It’s not how educated people get their science. When I want to know what NASA has to say I will go to the NASA website.
        When I want to know something about geology or vulcanology, I’ll go to the USGS website.
        You do not argue for a 10,000 year old Earth because it is untenable. It’s batshit crazy.
        Your church has lied to you. Step away from your cult.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 22, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

      • MarkD writes You would refuse to accept that anything is best explained by the Bible’s history being true, because your mind is made up that there is no God.

        Absolutely not true. My belief or non belief in your god has nothing whatsoever to do with the question regarding biblical inerrancy. This is a falsehood, an assumption solidified only in your mind with the cement of belief. And this belief remains fixed in spite of very compelling contrary evidence to claims contained within the bible AS WELL AS an absence of evidence where there should be evidence if these factual claims were true. These two nails seal the coffin of biblical inerrancy. The bible has all kinds of demonstrable falsehoods… exactly what we should expect to find from these books written by people of that time and place. Your refusal to respect what reality determines about these claims shows that you have chosen biblical inerrancy IN SPITE OF good information. This makes you intransigent, willing to allow your beliefs special privilege over respecting reality. This is an infantile mind at work, busy searching only for whatever tidbits of reality that only appear to support your belief. You have yielded the functioning of the brain you believe your god gave to you in the service of prostituting your intellectual integrity on the alter of your faith. You have decided, against all that reality offers us through an honest method of inquiry, that the bible is inerrant. Case closed.

        Steadfast belief in biblical inerrancy always reminds me of the famous line delivered by the character Forrest Gump: stupid is as stupid does. You have chosen to act stupidly and think yourself pious. You are a fool to keep on doing this and you honour nothing worthwhile pretending that reality is not as it is.

        Comment by tildeb — May 22, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

      • tildeb, your argument is that the Bible is plainly in error, and seem to think this is self-evident. I can only think of your feeble accusations dated May 3rd above in support of your assertion. Do you have any proper arguments to support your position?

        Comment by MarkD — May 30, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

      • Feeble accusations? 60 some odd references to the earth as the center of the universe? The flood that never was? Adam and Eve who never existed? A flat earth? The sun standing still? The exodus that left no evidence? Zombie gods and talking snakes and prayer that doesn’t cause anything? An ark that couldn’t contain all the species of beetles? Even the gospel writers writing long after the fact can’t get their stories straight. The list is long and you’ll wave your hands and the bible will go back in your mind to being perfect regardless of anything I or anyone else can point out because your belief dictates to you what is and isn’t true and you believe it’s all true and will gladly sacrifice any modicum of intellectual integrity to keep it so. Everything else is wrong to make your beliefs right. It’s delusional.

        Comment by tildeb — May 30, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

      • “Bill Nye, the harmless children’s edu-tainer known as “The Science Guy,” managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

        As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

        But don’t tell that to the good people of Waco, who were “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence,” according to the Waco Tribune.

        Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

        But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

        The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

        At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

        This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment.”

        Link

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 30, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

      • Sorry for the delay!

        tildeb, as I said before, we stilll speak of phenomena from a convenient earth-centred frame of reference according to how it appears to us, even when we know better – such as sunrise and moonlight. Although the people who wrote the Bible probably would not have known about the actual structure of the solar system, the language used in the Bible does not spell out that the earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth or that the light from the moon consists of original photons created on the moon. We have already discussed the reasons why I believe Adam and Eve were real people. It is not logical to reject an account of any miracle on the grounds that this requires a suspension of physical laws since if the God of the Bible exists he can obviously override those laws. The absence of archeological evidence for the exodus is a weak argument from silence: it may be that the nature of the nomadic lifestyle greatly reduced the number of artefacts left behind, or that the shifting nature of the terrein has hidden evidence that could be unearthed later – it does not amount to a good reason to reject the Bible. You should know that a creationist’s model of the animals required to fit on the Ark is not based on representation of every species, go and read up on it if you want to know more. Accounts which differ between the Gospels may take a bit of effort to reconcile, but it can be done – noting that not every culture has our own fixation on the need for defining everything in a precise way, and that none of the disputed points affects any doctine that the Bible teaches.

        Cedric, if Bill Nye’s point was that the Bible is obviously rubbish, then he was uninformed about what the Bible is saying in Genesis 1:16. If the people who were offended think that the moon does not reflect the sun’s light they also need to know more about what the Bible is saying. Either way, I agree that more of the right education would fix the problem: it’s not the Bible’s fault.
        Thanks for the nice list of link references – you certainly have no excuse for being ignorant of what a creationist actually believes. I would have added one more quote: “the reason I offer links is that it makes sense to offer access to full and reasoned arguments by qualified scientists, instead of trying to summarise a point that you are not personally an expert in.”

        Comment by MarkD — June 9, 2012 @ 4:22 am

      • If the people who were offended think that the moon does not reflect the sun’s light they also need to know more about what the Bible is saying.

        It’s a direct quote from the bible: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

        I agree that more of the right education would fix the problem: it’s not the Bible’s fault.

        You can’t “educate” the quote away. It’s still there. The Bible is plainly in error. This is self-evident. All you have is fantasy about “the right education” and a lot of empty hand-waving.

        Thanks for the nice list of link references…

        There’s nothing “nice” about link bombing. It’s reeks of fail.

        …you certainly have no excuse for being ignorant of what a creationist actually believes.

        You believe in a 10,000 year-old Earth. It’s batshit crazy.

        I would have added one more quote: “the reason I offer links is that it makes sense to offer access to full and reasoned arguments by qualified scientists, instead of trying to summarise a point that you are not personally an expert in.”

        You can’t reason. You can only link bomb.

        No. 25: ARGUMENT FROM INTERNET AUTHORITY
        (1) There is a website that successfully argues for the existence of God.
        (2) Here is the URL.
        (3) Therefore, God exists.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 9, 2012 @ 9:36 am

      • Cedric, you are using a ridiculous argument that insults your intelligence. What is the brightest illumination of the night sky, brighter than all the stars and planets put together? The moon. Does the sun provide light on the earth by day, and the moon provide most of the light at night? Yes. Do photons arrive on earth from the moon? Yes. Is the light arriving from the moon created by the moon? No. Does the simple description of the sun as a light by day and the moon as a light by night contain within it a clear statement that both give light in the same way, by the same process? No.
        It is not reasonable to read a statement on cosmology into the description of the moon as being a light to rule the night. The language may be non-precise, but it does not rule out the source of the moon’s light as being a reflection from the sun. This lack of scientific precision does not prevent the message of the text – that God created both the sun and moon with beneficial functions for the earth – from coming through loud and clear. I believe that God guided the language used to be fully understandable by those who know nothing of science, while at the same time not conflicting with the exact state of affairs. There would be no reason to try to frame the text in a way that tied down the scientific detail: it would not enhance the understanding of the message and would probably make it less accessible to most of the cultures which would read it.
        The sad thing is that I should not need to spell all this out.

        Comment by MarkD — June 9, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

      • MarkD shows us why religious thinking that holds the bible to be inerrant covers all the bases: when ignorance of reality is revealed, its because this is what we would expect to find from the writers of the time; when extraordinary claims are made that are contrary to the fixed laws of reality, god is allowed to POOF! exceptions into being because – get this – he’s god. The fact that the ‘revealed’ word of this god just so happens to be incorrect causes our friend MarkD no angst because what’s true doesn’t matter, you see. His belief – contrary to reality – is his only guide and he can make every square peg fit into round holes by simply believing they fit perfectly; once reality is rejected as meaningful and what’s true doesn’t matter, then all we’re left with is equivalent in all ways to delusion… or, as Cedric likes to write, batshit crazy with no way our of this bubble of belief where MarkD lives. He advises me to go read up on creationist batshit crazy articles about how the ark successfully ‘saved’ many critters from the rising flood for which no evidence is available, how humanity had an original couple for which there is no evidence, that some great exodus occurred without any residual effect in language and culture that permeates all other known migrations, but this absence for all of these major claims doesn’t matter. The bible says it, he believes it, and that’s the end to this sad story of another mind gone to waste in the service of misguided faith. Sacrificing what’s true and what’s knowable is supposed to be a small price, a very small price, a price of no concern, for all of us to make on behalf of accepting his faith to be another way of knowing. And that incredible expectation shows just how deeply the batshit crazy goes.

        Comment by tildeb — June 9, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

      • The sad thing is that I should not need to spell all this out.

        Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just quote straight from the bible? It’s all spelt out there.

        “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”
        See?

        Cedric, you are using a ridiculous argument that insults your intelligence.

        Says the guy who has to link bomb and thinks the Earth is 10,000 years old. I’d be careful with loose talk about “insulting your intelligence” if I were you.

        What is the brightest illumination of the night sky…

        Yeah but…but…but…what does the bible say?

        Is the light arriving from the moon created by the moon? No.

        Exactly. The description in the bible is wrong.

        Does the simple description of the sun as a light by day and the moon as a light by night…

        It’s not “simple”. It’s wrong.

        It is not reasonable to read a statement on cosmology into the description of the moon as being a light to rule the night.

        Let me help you with that: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”
        See?

        This lack of scientific precision…

        Laughable. Hand-waving will get you nowhere. It’s not a matter of a lack of scientific precision. It’s just wrong.

        I believe that God guided the language used to be fully understandable by those who know nothing of science, while at the same time not conflicting with the exact state of affairs.

        Oh, you “believe”? That’s nice.
        (yawn)
        What’s so horribly difficult for your magic, invisible friend to explain in simple English that the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own?
        That would be understandable. There would be no mystery “conflict”. It’s really, really easy to understand.

        That way , you would not get empty-headed Christians in the 21st century, “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence”.
        That way, you wouldn’t get several people in the audience storming out in fury with one fathead woman yelling “We believe in God!” as she leaves with three children.

        I’m firmly with tildeb on this one…

        This is an infantile mind at work, busy searching only for whatever tidbits of reality that only appear to support your belief. You have yielded the functioning of the brain you believe your god gave to you in the service of prostituting your intellectual integrity on the alter of your faith. You have decided, against all that reality offers us through an honest method of inquiry, that the bible is inerrant. Case closed.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 9, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

      • MarkD,

        It’s quite silly to think that the existence of God hinges upon a certain understanding of the genetic code, or a certain understanding of a “lesser light to rule the night.” As if Tildeb and Cedric upon yielding to that understanding would suddenly feel that God existed. And it’s quite funny they deny that their real enemy is God, and instead designate the enemy as belief in God, or religion, or some such group of people who hold to a certain understanding of science. They will always deny their true enemy and reserve a more than proper amount of incredulity for arguments for such a being while getting hung up on interpretations of the genetic code or the moon as if these were the bastions of hope for their skepticism. Dogmatism is their career. Only let them be careful not to spread their skepticism upon their dogmatism. It might ruin their arguments.

        Comment by Dan O'Brian — June 9, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

      • Daniel, the point is to look at the claim that the bible is inerrant. Clearly, it is not. Mark D continues to insist it is, that these factual mistakes are all perfectly understandable and in no way offer evidence that it’s not inerrant.

        Now you come along and pretend the evidence that includes modern understanding of genetics and astronomy is really an issue about the existence of god…. our ‘true’ enemy.

        I hate to be the one to break it to you, Daniel, but I don’t think your god exists. I don’t think all the gods of our ancestors exist. I don’t think all of today’s major and minor gods exist. The fact that millions of people adhere to gods they believe exist in no way brings me any evidence backed up by the reality we share that any is better informed than any other. And I have enough cognitive ability to appreciate that not all these contrasting and competing ideas called ‘god’ can be true. In fact, many have to be wrong, so I ask the question, ‘Which one is true and how can I know that independent of my belief?’ The short answer is, ‘None, and I can’t.’ But I also realize under these guidelines you can’t answer it any better.

        Understanding this position of non belief exposes the lunacy of trying to claim I ‘hate’ something I don’t think exists. This non entity all these folk call god – in all its forms and costumes’ – doesn’t exist in the reality we share as far as I can tell. But I do know through overwhelming evidence that belief in all these gods can and does cause real effect in the reality we share. In sum, this exercise of belief is caustic and toxic to human well-being so I criticize it and condemn its continued presence in the public domain from where it must be driven like the virulent carrier of superstitious stupidity and ignorance it really is. This not a dogma like a religious framework of rules and restrictions but a genuine concern for promoting the health and welfare not only of humanity but the planet itself over the broken epistemology that allows religious belief to continue to be accepted as if it were rational. It’s not. It’s delusional.

        Comment by tildeb — June 9, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

      • As if Tildeb and Cedric upon yielding to that understanding would suddenly feel that magic existed. And it’s quite funny they deny that their real enemy is magic, and instead designate the enemy as belief in magic, or magic-ness, or some such group of people who hold to a certain understanding of science.

        Seriously Dan, I don’t think that magic is real.
        There’s no denial or dogma on my part.
        It’s just that magic and Santa and pixies and all the rest of it don’t seem to exist.

        Your position is weak. It’s so weak that you must create fantasy atheist comments on your own website. You build these strawmen to make yourself feel better.
        It’s an admission of failure.
        Deal with the real world for a change.

        Shit Christians Say to Atheists

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 10, 2012 @ 12:22 am

      • Cedric, you say ‘the description in the bible is wrong’. Your assertion seems to be that the word ‘light’ used in Genesis 1:16 must mean ‘a light source which produces it’s own light’ and cannot mean something more general which gives off light. Your definition is generally true of the everyday objects which we call a light, such as light bulbs, but this does not constrain the word to have such a narrow meaning. But in any case, for the meaning of Genesis 1:16 we go to the hebrew, and Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary says that the word used means ‘a luminous body or luminary’. My Collins English dictionary defines luminous as ‘radiating or reflecting light’ and defines a luminary (in this context) as ‘something, such as the sun or moon, that gives off light’.
        It is not correct and not logical to try to impose your own narrow definition of what is meant by ‘light’ in Genesis 1:16 and then declare that the Bible is in error. You should know better than to use such a poor line of reasoning.

        Comment by MarkD — June 12, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

      • …(in this context)…

        Isn’t it remarkable how often that word comes up when creationists talk about the bible?

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 12, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  24. Obviously I mean ‘a statement taken for granted’.

    Same diff. You are just blowing smoke. Take any scientific theory that you like. Find something that is taken for granted as opposed to being backed up by science.
    Whip up a paper and claim your Nobel Prize. The world holds it’s breath.

    The theory of evolution certainly assumes that there has been no supernatural intervention in the origin of life…

    The stupid. It burns.

    Behold
    “The theory of evolution certainly assumes that there has been no magical intervention…”
    “Germ Theory certainly assumes that there has been no demonic intervention…”
    “The theory of gravity certainly assumes that there has been no pixie intervention…”

    “People lose their jobs for pointing out the flaws in the theory of evolution…”

    Yes, it’s all a global conspiracy that’s been going on for 150 years.
    Kook.

    MarkD, how old do you think the Earth is?
    There’s no need to hem and haw. A straight answer will be find.

    Fallacy of ID and creationism-False Dichotomy [Reloaded]

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 16, 2012 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

    • The theory of gravity and germ theory operate in the present, with repeatable experiments showing how things work. I’m not challenging the scientific validity of such theories. In fact, I find it ironic that you use germ theory, something developed by a committed Christian (Joseph Lister) who had to battle against almost universal ideas of spontaneous generation.

      Dismissing the whole consistent framework of the Bible’s message as ‘magical’ may suit your beliefs, but it doesn’t remove the logic that underpins Christianity.

      The dichotomy is presented on the basis that a creationist is seeking to prove that the Bible is true. I’m not taking that position. I admit my bias, but I say that what I believe stands up as credible in the light of the evidence. When it comes to analysis of unobserved history, I don’t have to play by the rules of naturalism that you seek to impose. I have the same evidence as you, and I am convinced that it fits my framework as well as or better than it fits yours.

      I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old.

      Comment by MarkD — April 19, 2012 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

      • The theory of gravity and germ theory operate in the present, with repeatable experiments showing how things work. I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old. I’m not challenging the scientific validity of such theories. I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old. In fact, I find it ironic that you use germ theory. I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old.

        Dismissing the whole consistent framework of magic as ‘Christian’ may suit your beliefs, but it doesn’t remove the logic that underpins Magic.

        I admit my bias, but I say that what I believe stands up as credible in the light of the evidence. I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old. When it comes to analysis of unobserved history, I don’t have to play by the rules of naturalism that you seek to impose. I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old. I have the same evidence as you, and I am convinced that it fits my framework as well as or better than it fits yours. I believe the earth is no more than ten thousand years old.

        You don’t get to talk about science with adults when you believe that the Earth is no more than ten thousand years old.
        Modern biology and the Theory of Evolution are the least of your problems.
        You have a total disregard for ALL THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES.
        People like you are genuine kooks. There’s no nice way to say it.
        It’s batshit crazy.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 20, 2012 @ 1:58 am

  25. Cerdric, your argument seems to be a mixture of ‘appeal to majority’ and ‘argument from personal incredulity’. It doesn’t challenge the fact that there are reasonable models of what we observe which fit with Biblical history. Try typing ‘distant starlight’ into the search box on http://www.creation.com to check out details, or indeed ”age of the earth’ to look into the issues more generally.

    Comment by MarkD — April 24, 2012 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

    • Cerdric, your argument seems to be a mixture of ‘appeal to majority’ and ‘argument from personal incredulity’.

      No, you have mistaken “appeal to majority” and “argument from personal incredulity” with “appeal to science”.
      Find out what these terms mean before you use them in a conversation with an adult.
      In order to believe that the Earth is 10,000 years old you have to reject all the physical sciences.
      It’s that simple.

      Try typing ‘distant starlight’ into the search box on http://www.creation.com to check out details…

      I have a better idea. Maybe you should not be getting your science from kook websites?
      It is insane to think that the Earth is 10,000 years old.
      It boggle the mind that an adult that can tie their own shoes would accept such rubbish.

      ***** 16. Evolution vs. Creationism: The Age of the Earth *****

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — April 24, 2012 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  26. Cedric, you are still making assertions without engaging with the substance of any counter-argument presented at http://www.creation.com. In regard to the ‘remote object visible’ video, the Bible says ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’ and all the massive numbers are doing that. But the massive dimensions and energies and temperatures are not an argument for massive age any more than the wonders of nature in microscopic sizes argue for an incredibly short age. In regard to Dr Powell’s discourse, I disagree with his misconception that if we’ve got the theories wrong about the age of the earth, we therefore can’t understand anything which operates in the repeatable present. He goes on to state the standard understanding of dating mechanisms and of course this understanding exists. The website you try to dismiss is presenting valid alternative ways of interpreting the data and your rage against it is due to your philosophical bias, not the quality of your arguments.

    Comment by MarkD — May 1, 2012 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

    • Cedric, you are still making assertions without engaging with the substance of any counter-argument presented at http://www.creation.com.

      No, link dumping will get you nowhere.
      The Earth is not 10,000 years old.
      It’s not up for debate.
      Your position is kooky. Reality is not your friend.

      It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation. St. Augustine of Hippo — De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [408]

      The Earth Is 6000 Years Old – Atheist Experience

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 1, 2012 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

      • Cedric, you say ‘It’s not up for debate’ but you keep suggesting that any evidence which supports the Bible should be offered for peer review and can expect to scoop rewards if it’s sound. Well, given your declared position it should not surprise you that the wider establishment also declares ‘it’s not up for debate’ and accordingly will ignore any problems with the status quo and rubbish any alternative views.

        St Augustine of Hippo believed in allegorizing all of the Bible and as Bob says, he was arguing for instantaneous creation. He is another example of someone not representing my position.

        I sympathise with Sam in the video but the reason I offer links is that it makes sense to offer access to full and reasoned arguments by qualified scientists, instead of trying to summarise a point that you are not personally an expert in.

        Comment by MarkD — May 4, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

      • Cedric, you say ‘It’s not up for debate’…

        It isn’t.

        …but you keep suggesting that any evidence which supports the Bible should be offered for peer review and can expect to scoop rewards if it’s sound.

        It’s called science. Deal with it.

        Well, given your declared position it should not surprise you that the wider establishment also declares ‘it’s not up for debate’ and accordingly will ignore any problems with the status quo and rubbish any alternative views.

        Why do you lie?
        Empty hand-waving about global conspiracy theories will get you nowhere. They will not magically act as an alternative to evidence.
        It’s not even original.
        This particular one is Claim CA325:
        “Creationists cannot get their views accepted by mainstream science because they are prevented from publishing in mainstream scientific journals.”

        “They” are against you? Ooooh, how spooky.
        Any kook can say that.
        Put up or shut up.
        Get out there and whip up that paper and claim your Nobel Prize. Fame and glory awaits you.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 4, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  27. Augustine’s argument was, why should it take 6 days to create the world when God could have done it in 6 seconds?
    For what it’s worth, I think that the earth is old but the fossils (and life) are young.

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 2, 2012 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

    • Augustine’s argument was, why should it take 6 days to create the world when God could have done it in 6 seconds?

      “Last Thursday-ism”
      The practical-joker-trickster god just tweeks everything so it looks old and then implants memories in humans to make them think they’ve been living for years but, in reality, everything got zapped into existence last Thursday.
      Bob, you accept that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, right?
      Why not just go with MarkD’s crowd? After all, there are millions of fundies in America that believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old. Why not sign up to that?
      No snark intended. I ask only out of genuine interest.
      I am surprised that you are not the same.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 2, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

      • The short answer is this:
        1. There is strong evidence (radiological dating, the distance and movement of galaxies, etc.) that the universe is billions of years old.
        2. There is a serious flaw in the dating of fossils, however. In order for a fossil to be formed, it must be buried quickly. This means that the various layers of sedimentary rock cannot be hundreds of millions of years old. The earth’s crust gives evidence of a violent past.
        3. Genesis 1:2 could refer to an unspecified length of time in which the earth existed as a barren, lifeless rock drifting through space. The six days of creation, however, pretty much have to be literal 24 hour days, since the word “day” is defined within the text itself (“morning and evening”).
        Conclusion: the earth could have existed for billions of years before God decided to create life on it.
        Science provides the raw data; revelation provides the broad interpretation of the data as well as the narrative of historical events.

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 3, 2012 @ 10:31 am

      • Point #2 will come as quite a surprise to paleontologists and geologists. Do you honestly and seriously believe these fossil-bearing rocks haven’t thoroughly investigated, tested, and verified by various methods – the results that just so happen to produce identical conclusions that clearly indicate support for – the established age? Do you honestly and seriously believe these scientists just make shit up and others just blindly go along? Even if all this consistent data and methods were suspect for such simplistic reasons that you grant so much weight to, how does this change the ‘could’ you imagine about POOF!ism into an likely ‘is’?

        Comment by tildeb — May 3, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  28. There is a serious flaw in the dating of fossils, however. In order for a fossil to be formed, it must be buried quickly. This means that the various layers of sedimentary rock…

    I’m with tildeb on this one. Further, if you are prepared to say something like that for no good reason then why not just copy-and-paste the nonsense made up by the YEC crowd on their kook websites about radiometric dating? They reckon it’s all flawed, donchaknow? They have some very tired and cliched talking points to “prove” it.

    The earth’s crust gives evidence of a violent past.

    Well, if you mean things like erosion and earthquakes and plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions and gigantic gouging glaciers and meteorites smashing into the Earth’s crust…then sure. That happens now as well. The Earth is a big place and something somewhere is always happening to it and it’s all recorded in the scar tissue that makes up modern geology.

    This means that the various layers of sedimentary rock cannot be hundreds of millions of years old.

    Wha…? What happened to the radiometric dating? How old do you think it is?

    Conclusion: the earth could have existed for billions of years…

    What do you mean “could”? Are you seriously suggesting that science is still hemming and hawing about this? How do you get an Earth billions of years old that doesn’t accumulate sedimentary layers somehow? Did physics and chemistry just not work in that alternate Earth for some reason?

    4 — The Story of the Earth Made Easy

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 3, 2012 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

    • This video basically describes my first year geology curriculum (but without all the field trips and sample collections and papers and cross sections and exams!). Nice find.

      Thanks again, Cedric.

      Comment by tildeb — May 3, 2012 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

    • How does one date a sedimentary rock? Critics have pointed out that there is a bit of circular reasoning here. We date the rocks by the fossils they contain, and we date the fossils by the rocks in which they are found. Ultimately it is all based on an assumption by Charles Lyell. He studied the rate of sedimentation, and then calculated the amount of time it would take to create a stratum of a given thickness. The assumption, however, is that the rate of sedimentation has been fairly uniform throughout time. The flaw in the argument is that in order for a fossil to be created at all, it has to be buried quickly. In other words, the presence of a fossil in a layer of rock is proof that stratum was NOT laid down over hundreds of millions of years.
      Interestingly, this fact was first brought to light, not by a Fundamentalist Creationist, but by Immanuel Velikovsky in his book Earth in Upheaval (1955).

      Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 3, 2012 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

      • Oh rubbish. Utter rubbish. Sedimentation rates are subject to all kinds of variables, not least of which is the size of the particulates themselves. This kind of stupidity claimed here drives me nuts because it’s so easy to find out why it’s rubbish for one’s self. (It presumes geologists are such idiots that simplistic problems long overcome suddenly today reveal impressive flaws. This is ludicrous if people only knew how much active scepticism IS part and parcel of any good science.)

        This explanation (How do scientists determine the age of dinosaur bones?) is pretty straightforward:

        To determine the age of sedimentary rock layers, researchers first have to find neighboring layers of Earth that include igneous rock (Tildeb: go to the article to find out why igneous rock is so important), such as volcanic ash. These layers are like bookends — they give a beginning and an end to the period of time when the sedimentary rock formed. By using radiometric dating to determine the age of igneous brackets, researchers can accurately determine the age of the sedimentary layers between them.

        Using the basic ideas of bracketing and radiometric dating, researchers have determined the age of rock layers all over the world. (Tildeb: No guff, eh?) This information has also helped determine the age of the Earth itself. While the oldest known rocks on Earth are about 3.5 billion years old, researchers have found zircon crystals that are 4.3 billion years old . Based on the analysis of these samples, scientists estimate that the Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old. In addition, the oldest known moon rocks are 4.5 billion years old. Since the moon and the Earth probably formed at the same time, this supports the current idea of the Earth’s age.

        Comment by tildeb — May 3, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

      • tildeb, you are most welcome. Potholer is an awesome science communicator. I (heart) his stuff. :)

        Critics have pointed out…

        No, they haven’t.
        It’s “YEC nutjobs like MarkD have pointed out…”
        Big difference.

        …that there is a bit of circular reasoning here. We date the rocks by the fossils they contain, and we date the fossils by the rocks in which they are found.

        No, that’s not what geologists do. It’s a PRATT told by home schooled kooks like MarkD who get their talking points from blogs.
        The internet is not your friend.
        This particular PRATT is Claim CD103:
        The entire geologic column is based on the assumption of evolution.

        Ultimately it is all based on an assumption by Charles Lyell….

        No, modern geology is not based on an assumption. If you can demonstrate that there is an assumption at the base of any branch of the sciences then whip up a paper and claim that Nobel Prize.
        Talk is cheap.
        Lyell did not magically reveal something and then expect people just to take his word on things. He was no prophet. Science relies on investigation, not revelation.
        No dogma, no belief, no holy writ, no sages. Nothing is sacred and unquestionable and “just so”.
        You are not entitled to your own facts.

        This means that the various layers of sedimentary rock cannot be hundreds of millions of years old.

        Wha…? What happened to the radiometric dating? How old do you think it is? Any change of an answer on this?

        Conclusion: the earth could have existed for billions of years…

        What do you mean “could”? Are you seriously suggesting that science is still hemming and hawing about this? How do you get an Earth billions of years old that doesn’t accumulate sedimentary layers somehow? Did physics and chemistry just not work in that alternate Earth for some reason? Answer maybe?

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 3, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

    • Excellent video.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — June 16, 2012 @ 6:32 am | Reply

  29. Interestingly, this fact was first brought to light, not by a Fundamentalist Creationist, but by Immanuel Velikovsky in his book Earth in Upheaval (1955).

    I missed this one.
    Immanuel Velikovsky?
    Damn.
    A crank’s crank. Look up the word “crank” in the dictionary. You will find his picture.

    Worlds in Collision: Immanuel Velikovsky

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 3, 2012 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

  30. Oh, just found a beautiful clip of Sagan having a very kindly look at Velikovsky. Great models too.

    Cosmos: “Velikovsky”

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 3, 2012 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  31. Unfortuntely, modern geology IS based on an assumption. “Uniformitarianism is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.” (Wikipedia on “uniformitarianism.”)

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 5, 2012 @ 9:32 am | Reply

    • You’re right, Bob, in exactly the same way that I am going to assume that because you are able to write English today, there is a very high probability you could write English yesterday. In the same way that uniformitarianism assumes no alien or supernatural intervention to alter the physical laws we have today occurred yesterday for which there is n o evidence, I do not think it as likely that your writing skills today were magically implanted in your anus by visiting aliens who probed you overnight, and for which there is also no evidence. In other words, the assumption in geology is borne out by the consistency of evidence matched to radiometric dating that should be out of whack if some intervention to those laws occurred. No such evidence is available. You have to be at least half way to crazy town to think it as likely as natural laws remaining consistent over time.

      Comment by tildeb — May 5, 2012 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

      • Here is how Velikovsky summarized the problem with uniformitarianism: “The explanation of the origin of fossils by the theory of uniformity and evolution contradicts the fundamental principle of these theories: Nothing took place in the past that does not take place in the present. Today no fossils are formed.” (Earth in Upheaval, Abacus, 1973, p.194).

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 7, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    • Unfortuntely, modern geology IS based on an assumption. “Uniformitarianism is the assumption that…

      That’s your big contribution to science, Bob. Well done.
      (…facepalm…)

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 5, 2012 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

  32. Here is how Velikovsky summarized the problem with…

    Bob, quoting Velikovsky does not help your credibilty. It’s like quoting Erich von Däniken if you were to start talking about archeology. Big mistake.

    Nothing took place in the past that does not take place in the present. Today no fossils are formed.

    Even better: Nothing takes place in the present that did not take in the past. Fossils formed in the past so……..(think about it).
    Why wouldn’t fossils form any more?
    Physics and chemistry still works.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 7, 2012 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

    • Fossils don’t form anymore, because the necessary conditions aren’t present.

      Bob, nothing has changed in physics or chemistry. There is no magical barrier that prevents fossils from being formed.
      Limestone is being formed too.
      As is sandstone.
      Caves? Yep they are being formed. Caves are being expanded even as we speak. They are not static. Swamps? Yep. They are doing what swamps do. River systems? Same thing.
      Are mountain ranges forming and islands being built and lava beds being formed?
      Yep. Sometimes it happens very quickly and sometimes it happens over millions of years.
      Organic material is still being produced and it still rots or is eaten as usual. Of course, as usual, that process will not be 100% perfect.
      Some of it will be frozen or sink into peat where oxygen cannot get to it or be covered by a volcanic eruption or be trapped by an oxygen “dead zone” in the ocean to be covered up by river silt.
      The same natural forces that exist now also existed back then.
      You are wrong to rely on a dead kook.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 8, 2012 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

  33. That’s the whole point. Fossils don’t form anymore, because the necessary conditions aren’t present. The fossils themselves are evidence of a catastrophe in the past. The existence of fossils can’t be accounted for on uniformitarian assumptions.

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 8, 2012 @ 9:49 am | Reply

    • Sure they can, Bob. Fossils are being formed right this second all over the world; just go take a core sample of any ocean bed and you’ll see the process in action.

      Comment by tildeb — May 8, 2012 @ 10:42 am | Reply

      • But then how did we get fossils of dinosaurs? How did they get in the ocean bed?

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — May 10, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

      • But then how did we get fossils of dinosaurs? How did they get in the ocean bed?

        The same way we get fossils of other animals and plants. The same basic physics and chemistry is still in effect. There is nothing special or magical about dinosaurs. Samples of them are going to get preserved just like anything else.

        This is the description you seem ok with which I took from your blog…As for the formation of fossils, this may be the internet, but it is Prof. Coyne as well. Here is how he describes the process: The formation of fossils is straightforward, but requires a very specific set of circumstances. First, the remains of an animal or plant find their way into water, sink to the bottom, and get quickly covered by sediment so that they don’t decay or get scattered by scavengers. (Ibid., p.21).

        To that, I would add other factors.
        Volcanic ash, mud, peat, tar pits, amber flow (there’s probably a couple of others but I’m not well-read on the subject.)
        We know that humans (for example) can be freakishly well preserved in peat bogs for thousands of years. Even their tattoos and last meals are easily observed. Peat bogs don’t stay peat bogs forever. If the climate changes and the geography shifts then the bogs will change too. However, the trapped organic material underground will stay….trapped.
        So the same thing can happen to other animals and plants.
        Same deal with tar pits.
        Ash does not remain ash forever. It changes. Pompeii was not excavated using a couple of strong brooms and a vacuum cleaner. Mud changes too. As does sand.
        (Sandstone is not just a pretty name)

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — May 10, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

  34. Does the theory of evolution stand or fall based on whether fossils are formed today? Is there also a lack of transitional fossils? Also, it seems to me that uniformitarianism can’t be proven.

    To me, the issue of evolution seems like a red herring. It doesn’t matter what kind of pen the author uses, the author is still necessary.

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — May 18, 2012 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

    • For some reason this comment went into spam… I have no idea why and just found it now. Apologies, Dan.

      The theory of evolution is shown to be robust explanation because it is supported by all avenues of inquiry. Paleontology is just one. And yes, fossils are being formed all the time. Just do a core sample of lake sedimentation and see for yourself, although the process traps mostly tiny critters and vegetation detritus only poorly. The best examples are from faster traps like tar and peat bogs or undisturbed sediment beds. Still, given enough time, we can see many dramatic products (like the chalk layer exposed we call the white cliffs of Dove or the potash layer of Saskatchewan). The easily accessible list of the most common transitional fossils is here. And uniformitarianism is plainly evident along river banks.

      Evolution is as ‘guided’ as erosion. The ‘author’ is not Oogoty Boogity but natural processes over time.

      Comment by tildeb — May 20, 2012 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  35. “It’s so weak that you must create fantasy atheist comments on your own website.”

     

    Argue against “The god-man” if you think it’s not correct. How hard is it to argue against a fantasy? I should think you’d be used to it by now and could easily topple my vain imaginings.

     

    Or maybe you would have to admit that the logic is sound and that it really is the atheist position whether you like it or not.

     

     

    Cedric, I may even understand your position better than you do. I understand how the strong and weak versions of scientism cuts off the branch they’re sitting on, how your combination of naturalism and evolution which is only concerned about survival destroys confidence in your own ability to find truth, how your determinism further undermines your position because a man who has no choice in his thoughts cannot be trusted to tell genuinely hold the truth, and how even though an atheist may behave morally with respect to how Christians view morality he cannot justify morality to himself. All these things make for a terrible position and are conveniently ignored by the New Atheists. Your own trust in the truth itself is a fantasy, a fairy tale.

     

    But, go ahead a pretend the waters are muddy on the other side, not your own. But the waters on my side aren’t muddy, they are clear. We know in whom we believe even though you intentionally confuse the issue and we have the true confidence to believe in him. But, I don’t think that in your mind you are really confused about him. I think you know exactly who you have chosen as an enemy. Yet, he is still too terrible to confront head on so you attack secondary issues like religion, 6 day creationists, the moon, genetics, miracles, causality, and so on. because, that fact is, that if all those issue lie firmly on the side of Christianity with no support for atheism, you STILL would not believe in God.

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — June 10, 2012 @ 7:22 am | Reply

    • Argue against ”The god-man” if you think it’s not correct.

      Argue against ”The magic-man” if you think it’s not correct.
      (shrug)

      Cedric, I may even understand your position better than you do.

      Then why the strawmannery?

      I understand how the strong and weak versions of scientism…

      Wha…?

      But the waters on my side aren’t muddy, they are clear. We know in whom we believe even though you intentionally confuse the issue and we have the true confidence to believe in him. But, I don’t think that in your mind you are really confused about him. I think you know exactly who you have chosen as an enemy. Yet, he is still too terrible to confront head on…

      But the waters on my side aren’t muddy, they are clear. We know in whom we believe even though you intentionally confuse the issue and we have the true confidence to believe in Santa. But, I don’t think that in your mind you are really confused about Santa. I think you know exactly who you have chosen as an enemy. Yet, Santa is still too terrible to confront head on…

      …so you attack secondary issues like religion, 6 day creationists, the moon, genetics, miracles, causality, and so on. because, that fact is, that if all those issue lie firmly on the side of Christianity with no support for atheism, you STILL would not believe in God.

      Or you are just making stuff up to suit yourself.
      Either you can engage with what actual atheists say…or you can’t.
      You make stuff up out of whole cloth and you censor on your blog.

      How old do you think the Earth is? 10,000 years?

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 10, 2012 @ 8:24 am | Reply

      • You use that question as a kind of truth barometer. Yet, the existence of God does not hinge upon the answer.

        You can’t even discern the correct answer to the question yourself, Cedric. Whatever you think about it, you were pre-determined to hold those thoughts whether they are correct or not. How can I trust YOUR answer to the question when you have no choice in your answer to me? How can I attribute efficacy to your comments on my site when it’s not YOU that’s commenting but the result of previous conditions of which you have no control? Can YOU be even said to exist as a distinct person? You and your thoughts are a forced result of the universe. You are fizzing stardust. How does it matter what fizzing stardust produces?

        Comment by Dan O'Brian — June 10, 2012 @ 9:28 am

      • I’ll answer your question anyway. As far as I know from what I am told, the earth is a few billion years old. I see no conflict between this and the God. Do you?

        Comment by Dan O'Brian — June 10, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

      • You use that question as a kind of truth barometer.

        No I don’t.This is yet another example of you making stuff up to suit yourself. Strawmannery.
        What is this incredible problem you have with just quoting people directly?

        Let me help you with that:
        On your own site. My own words. Exactly the same topic!!!

        April 15, 2012 at 1:12 am
        “You would not believe the number of religious wackjobs out there that deny all the
        physical sciences just so that they can believe that the Earth is 6000 years old.

        I ask that question to avoid arguing with the terminally stupid. It’s a waste of my time.
        It quickly sorts out the sheep from the goats.
        Somebody hems and haws around the question and then (after long persistence) finally testily admits that they do think the Earth is 6000 years old.”

        It’s not a truth barometer. It’s a barometer to detect the terminally stupid. Clear?

        Yet, the existence of God does not hinge upon the answer.

        Yet, the existence of Santa does not hinge upon the answer.
        Yet, the existence of magic pixies does not hinge upon the answer.
        (shrug)

        Again, you make up stuff to suit yourself.
        Focus on reality.
        Focus on what people actually say as opposed to what you wish deep down in your heart they would say…but strangely don’t.

        Whatever you think about it, you were pre-determined to hold those thoughts whether they are correct or not.

        I’m pre-determined to think the Earth is billions of years old? No, that’s stupid. Again, you just make stuff up.

        How can I trust YOUR answer to the question when you have no choice in your answer to me?

        Wha…?

        How can I attribute efficacy to your comments on my site when it’s not YOU that’s commenting but the result of previous conditions of which you have no control?

        What’s “efficacy” got to do with anything?

        Can YOU be even said to exist as a distinct person? You and your thoughts are a forced result of the universe.

        Are you stoned?

        I’ll answer your question anyway.

        Lets’ hope it was worth the wait.

        As far as I know from what I am told, the earth is a few billion years old.

        Yep, that’s the mundane, reality-based answer. Congratulations, you are not a total batshit crazy kook like MarkD

        I see no conflict between this and the God. Do you?

        Let me help you out with that…

        I see no conflict between this and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Do you?
        I see no conflict between this and the magic pixies. Do you?
        I see no conflict between this and the Iroquois Sky Woman. Do you?
        I see no conflict between this and the Galstone’s Big Book of Magic. Do you?

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — June 10, 2012 @ 5:12 pm


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