Questionable Motives

January 4, 2010

Spreading the Good News: Isn’t religion a private affair?

It should be, but it isn’t. Behind much hate and suffering in the world lies the responsible agency: those who act on unjustified religious belief.

From an article in the New York Times:

KAMPALA, Uganda — Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks. The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

One month after the conference, a previously unknown Ugandan politician, who boasts of having evangelical friends in the American government, introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which threatens to hang homosexuals, and, as a result, has put Uganda on a collision course with Western nations.

Donor countries, including the United States, are demanding that Uganda’s government drop the proposed law, saying it violates human rights, though Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity (who previously tried to ban miniskirts) recently said, “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”

The Ugandan government, facing the prospect of losing millions in foreign aid, is now indicating that it will back down, slightly, and change the death penalty provision to life in prison for some homosexuals. But the battle is far from over.

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49 Comments »

  1. I sounds like they delivered an incomplete message.

    It is ok to discuss what is sin.

    The solution to sin in Christianity is repentance (recognize sin and mend one’s ways) and forgiveness, not death by civil law.

    Comment by Marianne — January 4, 2010 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

    • The solution is for all people to respect other people’s human rights and dignity of personhood first and foremost even if they disagree with whether or not some specific behaviour honours what they believe might be god’s wishes.

      Comment by tildeb — January 4, 2010 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

    • It’s is disgusting to talk about homosexuality as if it is an illness – it is not an illness or a sin at all. This is totally outrageous, what primitive and prejudiced view of the world.

      Man’s inhumanity to man NEVER ceases to amaze me – when religion is concerned. There is nothing moral about religion when it is used in this context – and to say ‘but they are just discussing what is a sin’ is blatant spin and lies. This has nothing to do with morality, and everything to do with prejudice. If there is a god (which I seriously doubt), it is his job to judge homosexuals in person, it is NOT the job of ‘bible bashers’ to provoke anxiety in society in the hope that society will cure homosexuals.

      These people think that they are ‘good’ Christians – if prejudice and inciting hate into people is religion then that just says it all to me – I want nothing to do with it, you reap what you sow. No wonder there is a back lash against religion.

      These people are not discussing a sin, they are inciting hatred in the name of god, which is morally and intellectually dishonest – I am glad I am not Christian, and if I was a Christian, I would be horrified that someone is using religion to justify hatred of other humans – the consequences of such actions do not even bare thinking about, someone somewhere could get hurt because of speeches like this or even killed – that is horrible.

      Short sighted, ignorant and an outrageous attack on humanity – I wish religious people would learn that everyone is different, we all have different morals and beliefs – if you have a strong objection to a category of people learn to keep it to yourself, and discuss sensibly. If you disapprove of what other people do with their private time and so long as no one is getting hurt, you should realise it is nothing to do with you!

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 6, 2010 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  2. The solution is to remove religious belief altogether from state decisions…(like that’s gonna happen).

    Comment by thebooreport — January 5, 2010 @ 12:05 am | Reply

    • I could live with that.

      Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2010 @ 1:43 am | Reply

    • that might be ok if they did not penalize religious belief, but history shows that a non-religious government can be more severe than one which entertains various common religious standards. There has been a lot of suffering under Nazism, Communism, Fascism, etc. These common religious standards, if properly applied, are the basis for the civil and human rights you mention.

      Comment by Marianne — January 5, 2010 @ 2:51 am | Reply

      • That’s certainly the myth you’ve enunciated, but would you honestly consider any of these regimes examples of respecting human rights and dignity? You attribute their lack of respect to non-religion. I think that’s a mistake because what made these regimes so brutal is exactly that which empowers religious belief: demagoguery.

        Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2010 @ 3:32 am

      • Agree!

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 2:11 am

    • “The solution is to remove religious belief altogether from state decisions…(like that’s gonna happen).”

      It might have to happen, because the world is increasingly becoming smaller via the use of telecommunications and aviation. As such all societies – particularly western ones are having to become more secular, because religious morals and laws clash.

      For example, I do not believe in arranged marriage or that women should be covered in veil, and neither do other some other religions – but some religions do. So by definition these false morals and laws cause conflict. It is far better to base our morals on human rights and nature.

      It is wrong to murder others, because I would not want to be murdered by someone.

      It is wrong to steal from others, because I don’t people steal from me.

      It is wrong to cover women’s faces because I would not want to cover my face in public – the face is important for effective communication.

      I don’t need a religious framework to know this – I know these morals because I have empathy with others – I treat others how I expect to be treated, and in the majority of cases this works. Empathy evolved in our minds, so that we would get on better as a community or in family unit – getting on better, provides and evolutionary advantage – I am far more likely to pass on my genes, if I get on with people than if I rape others, and mistreat them.

      What is immoral, is denying others medical treatment on the basis that their is a god that will judge you, which is based on some text that was written, translated, re-written, misinterpreted, and translated again.

      The side effect of the Islamic threat is actually a good thing over the long term, because it is showing up fundamental religion for what it really is – a bully. Islam is no different to Christianity in this respect – Christian’s are just as responsible for war and terrorism as any other religion.

      It is the construct and concept of religion that is wrong, not the type of religion – but the absolute belief that a religious person holds that what they think is true, this is the fundamental problem, and it will be the undoing of all religion in the long term. The future is reason, science advancement and the ability for us to question and justify what we believe using our agreed observations of the world that we live in.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 6, 2010 @ 12:09 pm | Reply

  3. No, I did not mean that. Those regimes do not respect human rights and dignity. But, because they have no regard for right vs wrong, human rights mean nothing to them.

    Comment by Marianne — January 5, 2010 @ 4:01 am | Reply

    • But by attributing religious belief to knowing the difference to right vs wrong, you fall into the trap of seeking knowledge of human rights and dignity through religious belief. This is false and very dangerous.

      Morality precedes religious belief. That’s why you interpret the religious texts as you do. You pick out the bits of morality that you already agree with and then use the authority of religious belief to back up your sense of right and wrong just as the suicide bomber interprets his religious texts to use the authority of religious beliefs to back up his acts of mass murder. There is no difference in kind; there is only difference in particulars.

      I suggest we use the enlightened secular notion that before we attribute religious belief to determine the morality of particular acts, we first determine if such a considered act will reduce the rights and dignity of another as our guide. If it does, it is wrong… regardless of our religious beliefs.

      Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2010 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

      • Exactly what Christianity does!

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 2:10 am

    • Exactly!

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 2:10 am | Reply

    • So true!

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 2:48 am | Reply

      • I’m not sure what these three comments specifically refer to, but religious belief including all forms of christianity does not offer any fundamental respect to individual rights. One need look only so far as the inherent misogyny of god as father (very few critters come from males) to see how the theocracy assumes a gender-based hierarchy that places males by nature of their gonads above females.

        Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

      • Men are not above women. So you are wrong there. Are you kidding on the rights? “Christianity does not offer respect to individual rights” like what – killing? Christianity helps the poor, homeless, hungry, around the world. It is a faith based on love of neighbor as yourself – so what individual rights are you talking about? I’m assuming the right to kill innocent children (abortion) your right…..so many women really love making that choice – it never haunts them at all – nonsense! There are alternative methods to abortion and people need to be taught not free to run rampant in the streets seeking pleasure for the sake of pleasure. It is the unchristian person that has issues. They think they can do as they please when they please with no moral obligations but to satisfy themselves!

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

      • So women can assume any other positions of authority within that religion, eh? Hardly. Women are to submit to their husbands as their husbands are to submit to the authority of the church. Women will not be suffered to be as teachers. Women are to be married according to the wishes of the father. Need I go on? Women are to be silent. Women are to be segregated in places of worship. A woman’s sexual behaviour affects the honour of the father’s name, and so on. It drips with misogyny.

        Christianity was instrumental in justifying slavery and killing those who disagreed. Read the Malleus Malificarum, the papal bull authorizing the murder (by conservative estimates) of more than 600,000 women in Europe on charges of witchcraft. Only in the past 300 years do we see religion’s stranglehold on morality pried off the throats of individuals and we have enlightened values to thank for that, even though the fight was very bloody to establish secular law above divine. Today’s compassionate religious offerings you quote are true, but that’s only half the story and you know it. In areas where law is determined by divine revelation is exactly where we find the grossest of human rights violations today. But rather than focus on the very real suffering of very real people caused by institutionalized superstitious nonsense based on the unjustified claims to be working on behalf of divine laws, you try to switch to abortion rights as an example of an abuse of individual rights, which is as you well know a legal and medical – neither a religious nor a secular – issue.

        Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  4. That is absolutely not true of Catholicism (women or killing) – not sure what religion you are talking about! You need to search through those you claim to be killing, etc…and it looks like that’s the Catholic church with the “papal bull” as you say- look to their history – it is not the case – murders?? You must go to the source you believe to be so evil and research it for yourself – I promise you it is not the case! Remember too that humans are in charge of the church on earth and some of those in certain areas can be bad people. MERE humans making mistakes – but it was never ordered by the church to kill!!!!Where there is Christianity taught by the church and not some wacko, then yes, all is good. It is about LOVE, not hate or murder!

    Abortion should not be an individual right and you know it! It is LIFE – but we’ve been down that road on my site already. It should be neither religious nor secular – it is a LIFE – human rights, dignity that you preach! You get so excited about science creating life yet a human life means nothing to you.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

    • I have read all three extracts of this odious document itself (Malleus Maleficarum) released by the University of Cologne. It is dated 1487. I have it before me. I dare you to read this superstitious nonsense and still believe that the church is founded on truth or that its popes pronounce on anything other than prior moral assumptions. The treatise describes in detail the all the ecumenical ‘justifications’ and conclusions that show fidelity to the one true faith, as well as some of the appropriate testing for accused witches and other demon-possessed heretics. This directive comes from a papal bull, meaning an order from the pontiff, and you may want to take note for the sake of your immortal soul if you happen to be Catholic: “Whether the belief that there are such beings as witches is so essential a part of the Catholic faith that obstinately to maintain the opposite opinion manifestly savours of heresy.” And you don’t want to suffer the consequences of being accused of heresy. It is decidedly deadly. For example, one test (to be administered if the accused refuses to admit demonic possession) is to be submerged in water and, if you drown, you are guilty of whatever crime of witchcraft and enchantments you have been accused of; if you rise (with a belt of stones exceeding your weight and bound hands and feet) you must be innocent because god or his angles have interceded on your behalf. Now there’s a strong sense of divine justice to be administered by locals (the clergy cannot possibly do their own dirty work) under the direction of the traveling Inquisitors! Failure to comply can result in the charge of heresy! Yup, it’s all about spreading the love!

      So please, stop telling me to go to the source and do more research. I have done more than most clerics. Catholicism in particular has a very significant and brutal history of suppression, bloodshed, demagoguery, and greed. It has evolved to what we see today in North America and parts of enlightened Europe (but hardly at all in the most populous Catholic country in the world – Nigeria), but not until nearly 1400 years went by were we favoured with a bit of theocratic evolution. Lucky us. You are wrong to suggest that the church itself is all about love but that only certain people do evil. The doctrines of faith through time have proven to be vicious and suffocating to the rights of individuals and although fractured by devotees to other interpretations of the same set of beliefs only the rise of secularism countered this theological dictatorship.

      Abortion is not a right. It is a medical procedure. The human life you are talking about is potential. So too are the stem cells a potential for human life you shed from your skin everyday and I’m not advocating that you should be legally sanctioned for being so immoral as to scratch your own nose.

      Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2010 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

      • You read the actual document I told you to read? Then how are you getting that information? It was SECULAR people doing the testing.You are blaming the church for people’s mistakes – not what the church taught.

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

      • 4AK, you ask You read the actual document I told you to read? Then how are you getting that information?

        In my comment, I wrote I have read all three extracts of this odious document itself (Malleus Maleficarum) released by the University of Cologne. It is dated 1487. I have it before me.

        That means I have a copy of the document here. I am reading it. I am quoting directly from it. What you are reading is an apologetic rendition of a favourable (to the church) interpretation that is, to put it bluntly, pigswill. And I have proven it to be pigswill by going to the source: the actual Malleus Maleficarum.

        If actual documentation of the directions (and the quotations within) from the papal bull are not enough evidence for you, and you would prefer to keep your pristine view of the church intact by simply ignoring actual hard evidence to the contrary about its moral character in reference to respecting human rights and dignity, then there is absolutely nothing of any substance that can sway your opinion. It is already ironclad and completely closed. You will continue to find similar apologetics all over the web and think yourself justified to maintain your own favourable opinion of the church. You are wrong to do so. Why? Because you are propagating a lie and avoiding personal responsibility for the choice to back religious authority.

        The fact that the church assumed (and continues to assume) superstitious beliefs to be true and enforced punishment and death on those who were so accused of heresy is not open to debate. Even the church admits of excessive zeal by its inquisitors. And I have explained why the local leadership of villages and towns participated in this pogrom against women in particular (a very small percentage of the victims were men who were known to be competitors of the local leaders): to refuse participation in this travesty of justice was to reveal heresy. So your version that ‘secularists’ were the guilty party is an obscenity to each of these women – your sisters – killed on behalf of the blatant misogyny that remains firmly rooted in the church’s theology and continues unabated with its exercise of its earthly power to this day.

        Your absolute refusal to admit that there exists any theological basis for the power differential between men and women in the catholic church is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears while saying “I can’t HEAR you!” Blaming a few bad apples for harming the church’s sterling and self-proclaimed reputation on bringing about human rights for the masses as you imply is a perversion of history; the only reason why the various branches of christianity are so inclined to respect human rights at all is due entirely to enlightenment values forced down their collective throats by secular law. Even then, the battle is far from over: because women are not respected as equals within the organization of too many religions, you are on the wrong side of what’s right, what’s just, what’s moral. Your support and excuses for the church today to continue to exercise theologically-inspired and dogmatically driven misogyny with your insistence to protect it from legitimate and timely criticism is no credit to you as a moral person. It is, in fact, a moral capitulation to believe that the church and its agents have your permission to cover up their history with lies as well as your support to continue to discriminate on the basis of gender rather than ability.

        You need to re-evaluate which is more important: your artificial misogynistic religious beliefs or the actual human rights and dignity of other women. That, not whether or not god exists, is the honest choice you must make… and not for yourself but for your daughters. For mine. For the girls accused of witchcraft by catholic priests being killed and mutilated in Nigeria with the local church’s blessings.

        So the real question is: Do you have the courage to make the right moral choice?

        Comment by tildeb — January 8, 2010 @ 2:12 am

    • 4amzgkids – what planet do you live on? Or are you in denial.

      Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

      The SI is just one example of these crimes.

      Have you heard of Galileo – do you know what the Church did to him? They silenced him for saying that the earth went around the sun… the Church thought the bible was correct and argued with Galileo – in order to protect their religion, they threatened him with inquisition.

      Can you imagine if WE still believe the bible – do you think your country would have been able to have landed on the moon using that misinformation?

      Get real – the Church has do nothing but withhold information and progress for centuries.

      The Church is still doing this – with gentics and cloning, they say it is wrong and against god. Despite the fact that it could help millions of people with illness be cured – what sort of cruelity is this that religion wants – they want people to suffer for what purpose? By all means don’t use science if you think it is against god – but don’t stop other people from using it.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 6, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

      • Look up the spanish inquistion at newadvent.org – then you will get what really happened! It was not the church but the queen!!!

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

  5. “Altogether it may be said that in the first thirteen hundred years of the Christian era we find no trace of that fierce denunciation and persecution of supposed sorceresses which characterized the cruel witch hunts of a later age. In these earlier centuries a few individual prosecutions for witchcraft took place, and in some of these torture (permitted by the Roman civil law) apparently took place. Pope Nicholas I, indeed (A.D. 866), prohibited the use of torture, and a similar decree may be found in the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals. In spite of this it was not everywhere given up. Also we must notice that a good many suspected witches were subjected to the ordeal of cold water, but as the sinking of the victim was regarded as a proof of her innocence, we may reasonably believe that the verdicts so arrived at were generally verdicts of acquittal. On many different occasions ecclesiastics who spoke with authority did their best to disabuse the people of their belief in witchcraft.”http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15674a.htm

    “So far as the papal inquisitors were concerned, the Bull, especially in Germany, heralded the close rather than the commencement of their activity. The witch-trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were for the most part in secular hands.” taken from the same article – please research!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 6, 2010 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

    • Ha! I love the hypocrisy: the ones who were really guilty of carrying out the murderous directives straight from the pope? Wait for it… the secularists! Yup, it was the local ‘secular’ authorities. Man oh man, but the church loves to skew truth, doesn’t it? The Mothership loves to excuse its own excesses by blaming the victims. And that’s the real history of the catholic church in a nutshell.

      Comment by tildeb — January 6, 2010 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

      • The trouble is tildeb, that the clergy know this horrible history, they are taught it – they are also taught how the bible was created – it forms the basis of university level religious teaching. Many people that study religion so they can practice it are shocked at the truth when they get to university, some argue and leave, others stay on – which means that they are happy with the unknown and the mistruths, and that they fully understand the purpose of religion in society – which is to control people and provide a social crutch to those who can not find a path through life without moral guidance – i.e. some people just need to be told what to do.

        I remember, meeting a woman who was absolutely heart broken when she found out about the true providence of the bible – she cried for weeks, because she realised that everything she was taught was basically myth. It totally undid her belief in society – however, the happy ending to this story is that she retook her exams and became a nurse. The irony is that the religious people will say “you see god works in mysterious ways – she became a nurse to do good!” – she did after she learnt the true facts about religion, before then she wanted to be a female priest.

        So why do people do it – well it is simple – it is a career, if you have studied all your life with the intention of being a priest, it is kind of hard to turn your back on it at in your 20s – you have invested the best part of your academic life in it. And as it happens it is an easy life, little or no stress and a fairly good pay package – for not really doing a lot – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1022833.stm

        In addition, priests in some communities have status, they sit on community boards, school governing bodies and have power. The only other civil professions that I can think of that get such privileges are medical doctors, teachers, lawyers and the odd business man.

        I can understand why doctors have the privilege – they are at the top of their game, have studied hard and work hard, and have a message of health to pass onto the community.

        I can understand why teachers have the privilege, they are our gatekeepers to knowledge and learning.
        I can even understand why lawyers and business men have the privilege, both are needed to contribute to the local community economy.

        But why do we need priests and vicars to be in this position? What do they add? The truth is they add nothing, but confusion and misinformation, they also only represent the Christian’s in our communities and not the Hindus, Muslims, Sheiks and others. So I am in favour of religious people not being granted such privileges, and would welcome any restriction on their meddling in such matters. If people need god they should opt in to it, it should not be forced down our throats.

        Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 6, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

      • It is obvious that you go with your own opinion and what secularists teach only – you do not concern yourself with seeking the truth and learning from both sides and then taking a position – it is quite sad that someone that claims to be so intelligent/learned is one sided.

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

      • Of course those against the church would never make accusations that could be wrong – like what you have learned.

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  6. Why don’t you enlighten us on how the bible was put together ( I do know that answer) Many leave for that reason – what a joke.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

  7. Jesus is God and real and historical – proven yet we should all go with something that has not been proven like evolution. You are a dreamer.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

    • The problem with this assertion that Jesus is god is that it is not a lonely one; many, many, many claims involving other people as the one true god continues unabated. The claim to be god is not enough justification, or we would be overrun by human gods. Nor is the claim to perform miracles, an ongoing and daily event if one can believe even half of the stories coming out of India these days. What is needed is something more than claims: we need evidence to inform the claim with substance.

      Evidence that Jesus was a real man is still the source of much debate among biblical scholars, but I think the general consensus is that he was real. That’s the portion of your ‘proven’ statement I am quite willing to accept as probably true. It’s the Jesus-is-god part that is slightly under-represented with any evidence other than hearsay. That’s the part – the extraordinary claim – I’m not willing to accept without substantially more evidence, preferably extraordinary evidence. That is not provided. If I don’t insist on such evidence, then there is no way to differentiate Jesus from every other huckster who claims to be god. I need to differentiate all the false claims from the true claims, and I have yet to be given the investigative evidence that separates the two. From my position, they are ALL based on hearsay, so hearsay is not good enough. It’s not convincing evidence.

      There is an extraordinary amount of evidence in several venues of research across faculties that do support evolutionary theory. According to any definition of what constitutes ‘proof’ in the biological sciences, evolution IS the consensus. Compared to hearsay, the evidence for evolution is far and away greater in every respect. But the comparison is not fair. Jesus-is-god is a truth claim that is either right or wrong based first on what defines a god and second on valid evidence to establish its veracity, whereas evolutionary theory is an explanatory framework that succeeds. Apples and oranges, so to speak.

      Comment by tildeb — January 8, 2010 @ 2:35 am | Reply

  8. You clearly have not investigated this at all. To deny historical proof from people that were not Christians, and those that died for Him along with the fact it has been 2,000 yrs of belief is ludicrous. Yet you believe in something that is NOT PROVEN – evolution is not proven! There is much missing and you know that as well as I do. I wish you much luck in your journey but beg of you to please research and don’t give up on God. He is real,I promise you won’t be disappointed when you figure it all out some day! No one has stood the tests Jesus has and passed – I’m sorry you have missed that – otherwise it would all be for nothing! God bless you always!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 3:20 am | Reply

  9. Tildeb, you’re a more patient person than I will ever be. I simply couldn’t bring myself to spend a second of my time debating creationists. You have my admiration.

    Comment by thebooreport — January 8, 2010 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

  10. The Argument For Evolution:
    “Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations). Evolution helps us to understand the history of life. The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother. Through the process of descent with modification, the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today. Evolution means that we’re all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales. Frogs, birds, rabbits and lizards all have different forelimbs, reflecting their different lifestyles. But those different forelimbs all share the same set of bones – the humerus, the radius, and the ulna.” http://evolution.berkeley.edu

    * “Paleontologists have discovered a new skeleton in the closet of human ancestry that is likely to force science to revise, if not scrap, current theories of human origins. Reuters reported that the discovery left scientists of human evolution . . . confused, saying, ‘Lucy may not even be a direct human ancestor after all.” USA Today, March 21, 2001.

    * “Evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.” Professor Louis Bounoure, Director of Research, National Center of Scientific Research, The Advocate, 8 March 1984.

    * “I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it has been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future.” Malcolm Muggeridge (British philosopher), The Advocate, March 8 1984.

    * “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable” Sir Arthur Keith. Criswell, W.A. (1972), Did Man Just Happen? p. 73, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

    * “Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con-men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining evolution, we do not have one iota of fact.” Dr. T. N. Tahmisian (Atomic Energy Commission), The Fresno Bee, August 20, 1959.

    * “Scientists concede that their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record.” Time magazine, Nov. 7, 1977.

    * “As by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them embedded in the crust of the earth?” Charles Darwin, Evolution or Creation, p.139.

    * “If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark.” Richard Leakey, paleo-anthropologist.

    * “The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more they have been frustrated.” Newsweek, November 3, 1980.

    * “Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy.” Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, 1887, Vol. 2, p. 229.

    * “I would rather believe in fairy tales than in such wild speculation.” Sir Ernest Chain, co-holder of 1945 Nobel Prize for developing penicillin (The Life of Ernest Chain, Ronald W. Clark, pp. 147-148).

    * “The main problem in reconstructing the origins of man is lack of fossil evidence: all there is could be displayed on a dinner table.” New Scientist, 20 May, 1982.

    * A Chinese farmer glued together the head and body of a primitive bird and the tail and hind limbs of a dromaeosaur dinosaur, and in 1999 completely fooled the world-wide scientific community into thinking that they had found the “missing link” between carnivorous dinosaurs and modern birds. [National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 196, No. 5, November, 1999]. Named Archaeoraptor, “this fossil find constitutes the most recent evolution fraud… that we know of. Storrs L. Olson of the Smithsonian Institution said, “National Geographic has reached an all-time low for engaging in sensationalistic, unsubstantiated, tabloid journalism.”

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

  11. Notice even Darwin is quoted here – Good luck all!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

    • Darwin was quoted. Let’s look at that first one:

      “As by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them embedded in the crust of the earth?”

      It sure sounds like Darwin himself is admitting that there should be transitional fossils according to his so-called theory but none have been found. Lions and tiger and bears, oh my! How could 95.5% of biologists working today who accept Darwin’s theory of evolution be so wrong? Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

      Now let’s put this quote in context:

      But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?It will be more convenient to discuss this question in the chapter on the Imperfection of the Geological Record; and I will here only state that I believe the answer mainly lies in the record being incomparably less perfect than is generally supposed. The crust of the earth is a vast museum; but the natural collections have been imperfectly made, and only at long intervals of time.

      Anyone who reads Darwin knows that he uses a method of describing the points he thinks most critical thinkers and skeptics would make and then he attempts to provide evidence for the point followed by evidence that exists followed by how the evidence supports the explanation provided by the theory of evolution.

      When we flip to chapter six and see what his answer to this point is, we find:

      These causes [the imperfection of the fossil record, the limited exploration of the record, poor fossilization of certain body types, etc.], taken conjointly, will to a large extent explain why — though we do find many links — we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all extinct and existing forms by the finest graduated steps. It should also be constantly borne in mind that any linking variety between two forms, which might be found, would be ranked, unless the whole chain could be perfectly restored, as a new and distinct species; for it is not pretended that we have any sure criterion by which species and varieties can be discriminated.

      In other words, it’s not that Darwin is suggesting that there are no transitional fossils as the original quote makes it sound; there are, as he shows by ascertaining that there “we do find many links”. What he says is that there no perfect sequences yet found, no finely-graded transitionals that would put together the entire chain from the extinct to existing forms.

      Wait a second. You mean Darwin’s stand alone quote is almost opposite in meaning to what he actually writes?

      Yes.

      And that is obvious to anyone who wishes to know the truth.

      Creationist quote miners are intentionally misleading and misinforming those who come to their sites to find out what’s true. They consistently misrepresent those they are trying to malign. Their efforts are dishonest, although their intention – to bear false witness – works very well on those who wish to believe the lies.

      I feel for you, 4amzgkids. You have been duped. You have been unknowingly recruited to bear false witness in your efforts to discredit a real man who was attempting to provide a framework of explanation so that you could come to know your world better, to have your mind opened to the majesty that is life. Your life. Life as it really is. Your attempts to discredit the man and what he stood for does not bode well for your moral character if your intention is to discredit out of some sense of faithfulness to the beliefs of others who would prefer you to be ignorant within the fold of religious belief that is dishonest and remain so rather than honestly inquisitive. And that’s a sad state of affairs in this glorious world available to those who have the courage to seek knowledge. Honest knowledge.

      Comment by tildeb — January 9, 2010 @ 3:05 am | Reply

  12. Honest knowledge?? Who are you kidding? You twist this to make sense of it for yourself and to uphold your beliefs – look again at the quote YOU have put up there from the book: we DO NOT FIND interminable varieties, connecting together all extinct and existing forms by the finest graduated steps. for it is NOT PRETENDEDED THAT WE HAVE ANY SURE CRITERION by which species and varieties can be discriminated. HELLOOO??? Who is lost here? LOOK TO BOTH SIDES then make an intelligent decision.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 9, 2010 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

    • But 4amzgkids, I am not the one doing the twisting. I have pointed out that the quote has been taken out of context, and presented to mean something it does not. I have put it within the context of Darwin’s point and explained the method of writing he used to pose all kinds of important points offered by skeptics. One must intentionally disregard the context and ignore the method to use this quote as evidence to malign Darwin, and that is exactly what the creationist quote miners have done. It is intentionally misleading, misrepresenting, and misinforming those who read this isolated quote.

      I feel bad that you do not understand what is meant by interminable varieties connecting ALL extinct AND existing forms by the FINEST graduated steps. He is saying we will never have each and every transitional fossil leading up to today’s living form within a species for a variety of very good reasons. And without this perfect set, the complete set of the finest graduated transitionals, we cannot state with certainty that the fossil criteria is the surest way to establish incontrovertible proof for evolution. Each fossil is but one piece of the gigantic puzzle, but even millions of such pieces will not reveal the entire picture. (But if you were missing every third pixel in your screen, would you still be able to ‘see’ the overall picture? Yup. You can determine the picture on your screen missing over 90% of the pixels because your brain can establish patterns and extrapolate. So, too can we extrapolate from an incomplete data set from fossils) And you think that admission is somehow detrimental to the theory. That says something important about you, not Darwin.

      Imagine if someone insisted that you had to prove, for whatever reason, your lineage back 25 generations: you might be able to come up with the most recent ancestors – your parents and their parents – and you might know where to find their remains to gather evidence of your ancestry, but after a certain number of the finest graduated transitionals (meaning an unbroken chain of offspring to parent) you might not find a great great grandfather who was lost at sea (let’s say). There goes your finest graduated transitionals. You now have a missing link, even if you could successfully find each and every other finest graduated transitional ancestor.

      Now imagine just how irrational would be the person who insisted that YOU did not descend from any ancestors PRIOR to the gap in YOUR transitional record of ancestry! That assertion is absurd – of course your great great grandfather lost at sea MUST have had parents who also had parents becasue you have extensive evidence for them from your research – yet this is the parallel argument used by creationists regarding the veracity of transitional fossils within the framework of evolutionary theory. Wherever there is a gap, the creationist proudly proclaims “Ah ha!” and then attempts to tell you that where your great great grandfather should be in the chain of your ancestry is really evidence for divine intervention and instantaneous creation. It’s such bad thinking it’s laughable… except some people – nearly half the population – are willing to go along with the creationist’s bad thinking. A gap does not mean god; it means there is a gap in the finest graduated transition of ancestry. As a matter of fact, there could be millions of such gaps within a species alive today and an ancient ancestor, none of which is cause to justify the incredibly stupid assertion that such a lack of perfect transitional evidence means god. Nor does disagreeing with the creationist irrationality about divine intervention based on the fossil record suggest any kind of “taking sides” based on making an intelligent decision; it’s based entirely on thinking clearly first and applying that clear thinking to the evidence at hand.

      Comment by tildeb — January 9, 2010 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

      • Do you hear yourself or do you just ramble on for the fun of it? Not to be disrespectful but a humans origins would be of a human a birds of a bird, etc….WE do find fossils and have found them of several species but the point is – NO ONE knows yet of the origin of man in the science world. If you believe in fossil finds and the science for evolution, etc….why are you arguing it here and stating if things are missing it’s ok? You can’t prove your theory – this is beyond ridiculous!

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 12, 2010 @ 2:18 am

      • You ask for explanations; I explain. You ask for answers; I point out where they can found. You then accuse me of rambling on. But when I give you short and to the point, you dismiss them. Most importantly, what you do read you misinterpret.

        For example, in the quoted section Darwin explains in what is plain English that it should also be constantly borne in mind that any linking variety between two forms, which might be found, would be ranked…as a new and distinct species. Rather than attempt your best to understand this sentence, you assume in your comment that a humans origins would be of a human a birds of a bird, etc..

        (Sigh)

        If you are not going to bother to even try to understand that which you believe yourself able to easily refute in your ignorance, then why bother even asking?

        Comment by tildeb — January 12, 2010 @ 4:06 am

  13. I didn’t realize Berkley was a creationist site – LOL 🙂

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 9, 2010 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  14. 4mazgkids, if science is wrong why are you trying to use science to disprove it? Surely, if you do not believe the evidence of evolution, then you need to be distancing yourself from science altogether. I don’t use creationism to try to understand evolution, or to disprove creationism – there is no need, there is an alternative, called evolution that has evidence in DNA, fossils and other aspects of biology, chemistry and physics. At every challenge so far evolution wins, it wins to the extent that it wins legal cases, helps medical research etc… name me one theory of ‘god’ that has helped us at all ever in testable modern history.

    Is the bible of any scientific use?

    The reason you need to use science to discredit science is that there isn’t any other science from which you can attack it with. If you think evolution is wrong – go out there, write a paper, do the study, publish it and see how far you get – you are welcome to do this. And I encourage you to do this.

    I wonder does does the bible say anything about neanderthals? Can you answer that question using the bible?

    How about medicine – if you are going to believe in the bible – you may as well believe in Homeopathic medicine – after all it has evidence and uses magic to cure people… so next time you go to a&e…. ask for the homeopathic doctor…

    Enjoy.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 12, 2010 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  15. There is absolutely nothing wrong with science and I am grateful for all it has done!!! However, evolution does NOT prove the origin of man or life and that needs to be recognized by all. Why is it ok to teach evolution when we don’t have all of the answers? Why can’t they also teach ID along side of it?

    We have proof of Jesus, we have no proof of human life before the bible time line, etc….there’s just so much out there. As scientists – I thought you were to search for the truth, question everything, not stick to one theory that is flawed and go crazy over any others that are out there. It makes no sense to me! Science is amazing and I am all for it – however, the research must be done – there are so many unanswerable questions. Do you realize that the cells in our bodies are equivalent to a galaxy or greater? There is that much contained in one cell. Science is still learning. So to shut out God is insane. Men have believed in God from the earliest times. Most of the greatest minds believed in God and continue to believe. I’m not sure why it all has to be so black and white – Why couldn’t God have created evolution? (which we have no proof of for the origin of life or man) but I’m just saying, everything is so complex – there is no way it could all be chance. There is an intelligent designer behind it all. There was a good example of binary code and the information inside a DNA strand. It would take 31 years to complete one DNA strand…..we all have different DNA – think about it!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 14, 2010 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  16. ask for the homeopathic doctor… Not a bad suggestion misunderstoodranter……they do a lot of good without the chemical side affects 🙂

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 14, 2010 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

  17. tildeb….get over it!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 14, 2010 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

  18. “Why couldn’t God have created evolution?”

    He might have done, but so far no one, not one reputable scientist who works with this stuff has ever jumped up and said, “I have found it – evidence that god exists, and I can prove it beyond any doubt!!!” – not one, ever.

    So far evolution looks like a natural process, there is nothing in our observations that suggest that it was designed.

    If there was, we wouldn’t be having this debate and if the scientists were that wrong about science, we wouldn’t be capable of having this debate – because the computer you are using to write it and read it would not be here either.

    You forget that evolution is a product of science – and that science spans, computers, chemicals, biology, physics, maths, the same science that gives you pills blasts rockets off to the moon – it is the same discipline, if it was that wrong you would not have a modern world, you would still be living like primitives in mud huts – like we did 2000 years ago.

    Now science is not perfect I understand that (after all rockets do blow up, planes do crash, and medicines sometimes harm). However, I have enough faith in science to get on board an aircraft, without worrying that it will fall out of the sky (that is until a religious nutter tries to blow it up).

    I have enough faith in science, to go for an operation, knowing I will not feel pain, and that a doctor can fix me, and save or improve my life.

    Here is a real scientist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Venter

    He is an American, YOU should be proud of him, who is doing real demonstrable work for good in the world – read about his work and what he is doing, he is a smart guy, his work is scrutinised by others who are just as smart, because they are in competition with him. Read about his work and what he wants to do with it.

    Venter is uses evolution in his work, which is real and is already helping people – this is evidence that evolution works, if evolution was not useful in his work this scientist would not be basing his life’s work on it – he would have dropped it like a hot stone.

    Here is the man:

    You will notice during this interview, that they can not reveal where he works – the reason they cannot is because delusional fundamentalists would probably kill him. This is the problem with being 100% sure about anything, it allows people to determine according to their own delusion what is wrong and what is right, and what people like Venter can and cannot do without understanding what he wants to achieve first.

    On BBC News on October 22, 2007, when asked about his religious view Venter replied that he thought that a true scientist could not believe in supernatural explanations.

    This is the difference between being rational and irrational.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 15, 2010 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  19. […] on the disgusting abuse of the proposed law to penalize and criminalize gays in Kenya in my post Spreading the good news: Isn’t religion a private affair. Now police there have arrested five men at a private villa in Mombasa, two in the process of […]

    Pingback by What is the foundation of religious belief? « Questionable Motives — February 14, 2010 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  20. […] and the Vatican, we have both (See my previous posts about this exercise of religious bigotry here, here, and […]

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