A Theory in Crisis

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Those Gravitists have pushed their biases unchallenged for too long:

According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.

The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."

From The Onion.

Next up: "Intelligent Relativity," whereby the conversion of mass into energy is proven to be an epiphenomenon of Jesus's conversion of water into wine.

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  1. Bringing the Onion parody back 2 Earth:

    ppl incorrectly use evolution as “evidence” (or worse “scientific evidence”) that no higher intelligence exists. not everybody makes this mistake. but lots of ppl. Even some H’n’Rers.

    ppl could, but don’t, make the same incorrect argument with respect to gravity.

  2. I have spent most of the day manipulating matrices to solve a problem in light propagation. But then I realized that if God wants the light to couple to a transmission resonance then that’s what the light will do, with or without my fancy theory.

  3. Here’s a site promoting the launch of a crucifix into orbit to declare the Earth a chrsitain world.

    http://www.blessitt.com/crossinspace/

  4. ppl incorrectly use evolution as “evidence” (or worse “scientific evidence”) that no higher intelligence exists. not everybody makes this mistake. but lots of ppl. Even some H’n’Rers.

    Name one. Sounds rather straw-manish to me.

  5. But Jeff, that would mean we’ve been a Muslim planet for a long time. There’s been a moon orbiting the Earth for all creation!

  6. I’d like to see us build a large orbiting obelisk with aspect ratio 1x4x9

  7. I think I missed the funny.

    So, when have ID proponents used beliefs of Christianity as evidence of ID?

  8. Captain Awesome (if that is your real name),

    You lived up to your moniker with that one! LOL.

  9. crimethink: I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word “evidence”. It’s funny because it’s true.

  10. As a complete side note, I had the fortune of interning at The Onion about 2 years ago or so. I was there for 6 months, mostly doing bullshit intern work. But I also got to sit in on writers’ meetings and help do small edits to the work they put together.

    A lot of times they were miss. More than you’d think actually. But when they hit, they hit hard. This is one of those times.

    Shit, they even put me on the cover when I was there for one week. A real fun time.

  11. Crimethink: to my knowledge, they haven’t. The cross-in-orbit smacks of Weekly World News stuff, where ancient angel skeletons are found on the moon, etc.
    But let’s say one could get a cross in orbit, and big enough that it was visible with the naked eye. Imagine how much fun the world would become.
    I see huge Star of David projectiles spinning up to slice it in half.

  12. Jeff – is that like Pigs in Space?

    I don’t use evolution to say there cannot be a higher intelligence, it’s just one of many scientific theories and discoveries that make it highly unlikely in my book. In fact, at this point, I’m confident there is no higher intelligence, at least not some spiritual being. Advanced race of aliens out there somewhere? Much more possible, imo.

  13. The moon is a dead world; ergo, Islam is a religion of death.

    The earth, however, has been baptized (it’s almost covered in water!) and is a thriving oasis of life. Therefore, Christianity is a religion of life.

  14. Here’s a site promoting the launch of a crucifix into orbit to declare the Earth a chrsitain world.
    http://www.blessitt.com/crossinspace/

    “The cross will be over You personally! The Cross will be over every Nation on earth! Over Afghanistan! Saudi Arabia! Jerusalem!…”

    With those specific countries named, their goal seems awfully in-your-face-ish. Whatever happened to witnessing through love and good works? More Je-zuss, less Je-had.

  15. And Jesus loves you.

    If you don’t believe that, then you will go to hell where you will suffer infinite pain for all time, you filthy heretic.

  16. I’d like to see us build a large orbiting obelisk with aspect ratio 1x4x9

    Oh, my stars! It’s full of God!

  17. Dave: your distinction is peripheral at best. It still doesn’t lessen the absurdity of teaching proveable scientific fact alongside religious hoobajoob, and treating them as equal “theories”.

  18. Let’s build a big rotating space wheel (a la 2001), then dress it up like a satanic star! Oh the screams of torment from the faithful…

    Another thing: Even if someone was able to figure out a way to launch and deploy a cross into a visible orbit, many among the faithful would still insist it’s a miracle.

    And what if the orbit decayed! Imagine a big cross flaming through the atmosphere! Too cool.

  19. Dave W.

    ppl incorrectly use evolution as “evidence” (or worse “scientific evidence”) that no higher intelligence exists. not everybody makes this mistake. but lots of ppl. Even some H’n’Rers.

    Um, Dave, I don’t need evidence that no higher intelligence exists. What I need is evidence that a higher intelligence does exist.

    I personally have never, ever used evolution to “prove” that god does not exist, and I know of noone else who has either.

    I am trying to understand why you insist on beating this dead horse of demanding that someone prove a negative.

  20. “Scientists have and the evidence points to evolution, not creationism. (No, I don’t distinguish ID from Creationism. It’s all the same thing.)”

    More here:

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/05/new_at_reason_573.shtml#comments

  21. Since “Intelligent Falling” doesn’t resemble ID in anything more than name, this isn’t a parody of ID. The only conclusion I can draw is that it’s the latest comedic attempt at Christian-bashing. That would explain why I don’t find it funny, I guess.

  22. I see huge Star of David projectiles spinning up to slice it in half.

    We’re Jews out in space
    We’re zooming along
    Protecting the Hebrew race
    We’re Jews out in space
    If trouble appears
    We’ll put it right back in its place

    When Goyim attack us
    We’ll give ’em a smack
    We’ll slap ’em right back in the the face

    We’re Jews out in space
    We’re zooming along
    Protecting the Hebrew race!

    (Mel Brooks, History of the World, Part 1)

    Hear it Nice spaceship graphics too. (Warning, the song loads and plays before you have a chance to turn it off or turn down the volume.)

  23. I am trying to understand why you insist on beating this dead horse of demanding that someone prove a negative.

    I am not demanding that anybody prove anything. I am merely demanding that ppl, even scientists, treat open questions as open, rather than arguing as follows:

    You can’t prove a negative. Therefore, God must be assumed not to exist.

  24. Yes, Crimethink, pointing out the psychotic levels of illogic in the minds of the folks trying to set policy is “bashing.”

    I, for one, would like to see some REAL persecution of christians. Having thier faith mocked by Stephen Corbert, living in a world where gays marry, and having the commandments (which I assume they all know by heart) absent from the front of public buildings is NOT an assault on religion. The claim is made more absurd by the sheer size of religion’s influence.

    Christianity needs to grow a pair.

  25. Ha ha. Another “let’s laugh at the creationist rubes” post.

    The Theory of Comparative Advantage is older than the Theory of Evolution. It has probably had more person-decades of theoretical pursuit and has not been refuted. The empirical evidence for it is overwhelming and increases every day.

    So why don’t we spend more time laughing at the 90% of the populace and the nearly 100% of Congress who don’t believe in it? Why don’t we laugh at those who think the God of the Government can be an Intelligent Protectionist?

    I’d like to see more postings like that! It would do us all a lot more good than fighting ID’ers.

  26. Jeff,

    ID may not be a correct theory, but this parody doesn’t even resemble it. As you admitted previously, ID never used Christian beliefs as evidence, as “Intelligent Falling” is said to do. In order for a parody to be funny, it has to resemble the thing parodied.

    And I’ve never said anything about Christians being persecuted in the US. Bashing is a milder thing, not violent but rude and tasteless, and I daresay there’s a lot of Christian-bashing around. I wonder how much flame mail the Onion would get if they had an article making fun of the beliefs of Jews or Moslems.

  27. And what if the orbit decayed! Imagine a big cross flaming through the atmosphere! Too cool.

    You’d like that wouldn’t you? See a big burning cross in the sky! Honky bastard. Goddamn bunch of crackers, all of you.

  28. I am not demanding that anybody prove anything. I am merely demanding that ppl, even scientists, treat open questions as open, rather than arguing as follows:

    You can’t prove a negative. Therefore, God must be assumed not to exist.

    Well sure, but I believe it was Carl Sagan who gave the example that it is also an “open question” as to whether there is an invisible, incorporeal, fire breathing dragon in my garage. You can’t prove there isn’t, so why should you assume there isn’t?

    And let me make it clear that my intention isn’t to “bash Christians” at all, but merely to question the logic of saying that anything we can’t disprove must be an open question. That might be literally or technically true, but so what? Any of an infinite number of other non-disprovable postulates are also open questions by that logic.

  29. I never thought that an Onion article would prove so divisive on a libertarian forum, of all places.

  30. Crimethink:

    ,blockquote>”Intelligent Falling” doesn’t resemble ID in anything more than name

    Contrast that with a snippet from The Onion’s parody:

    “Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, ‘God’ if you will, is pushing them down,” said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

    I’d say, by that comparison, they’re pretty damned close, in more than just name. In both, you have a scientific law being challenged by religious theory.

  31. MikeP:

    YEAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!

    recommended reading:
    “Protection for Sale” by Grossman and Helpman
    (AE Review 1994)

  32. Brian,

    Sounds like you have some issues with Akira then. Don’t worry — together we can bring him down.

  33. it’s making fun of ID’s conclusion – namely “this is so damn complicated, something with a personality must have come up with it”

  34. I gotta say, as Christians (and I am one myself), there’s been a serious lowering of the bar in our conception of suffering, all the way from Peter being upside-down crucified for his beliefs to “waaah! I want a wacky sect of my religion foisted upon the public! Waaaah!”

    Seriously, if we’re doing christian stuff in public schools, at least we could do cool medieval alchemic psychology stuff in chemistry class. Or teach about the humours in biology. Or read a worthwhile book like Faust in english class… oh wait, public schools suck hard for anyone who can THINK at all.

    It would behoove us all to remember that teaching biology in school isn’t like reading from the Necronomicon. You don’t need to get every single little syllable right.

  35. Crimethink: The later paragraphs of my last post were not directed at you, sorry if you thought they were.

    I don’t think it’s set to be an outright parody. But a few weeks ago Bailey reported on the Creationist con where it was stated quite clearly that those who put more faith in science than religion are immoral, and just this week there’s buzz about the baptist columnist who claims that childless couples who have sex for pleasure are at the forefront of “moral rebellion” based solely on what the bible says. These are crazy people we’re dealing with, and it’s tough to parody that.

  36. I demand we teach that the universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that global warming is a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s.

    Some members of the Kansas Board of Education have already agreed to support this.

    http://www.venganza.org

  37. But Jeff, that would mean we’ve been a Muslim planet for a long time. There’s been a moon orbiting the Earth for all creation!
    But the moon is only a crescent part of the month. Using that analogy the Earth is a Muslim planet for what, a week or so each month? What is it the rest of the month?

    During a new moon or lunar eclipse, does that mean the Earth is the Black Planet Public Enemy said white people were afraid of? Or is it simply a darker world, of which we must despair?

  38. dhx: thank you.

    Crimethink: read dhx’s post. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s steeped in christian belief or not. ID takes a complicated process, and asserts that something intelligent must have done it. The parody exists in the even more obvious absurdity in applying the same rule to gravity, which is a simple concept, relative to the “control concept” (evolution).

  39. Sounds like you have some issues with Akira then. Don’t worry — together we can bring him down.

    Huh? I know I didn’t get enough coffee this morning but I didn’t see any post by Akira. I don’t understand what he has to do with anything I said.

  40. Evan,

    Oh yes, in their conclusions they are similar. However, “Intelligent falling” uses circular reasoning, and “evidence” from religious texts and beliefs. ID used arguments from natural evidence which, however flawed, were not absurd on their face.

    It would be like me writing an article about people who assert that things traveling near light speed undergo mass and time dilation, because little green elves visited them and told them so. Is that a good parody of special relativity?

  41. it’s making fun of ID’s conclusion – namely “this is so damn complicated, something with a personality must have come up with it”

    Like, this god character is so damn hard to disprove, it must not exist.

    And so we all move from our respective positions to the magical agnostic center!!!

  42. now if i can only remember to intelligently design my name.

    i mean, i do think philosophy and even metaphysics should be introduced as important concepts of the western canon in high schools at some point (despite the screaming it would provoke from parents).

    but at the same time, i think the prince should be required reading in all high schools, so we start graduating some students with a partial concession to reality.

  43. Brian,
    You asked me ofr somebody who said that evolution was evidence against a higher intelligence. I quoted Akira. Instead of realizing that yer strawman ain’t straw, you keep going after my position. Time to review what you said about the strawman and what it means you need to do, argument-wise, now that I did your research for you.

  44. dhx,

    The IF proponents in that article were using religious texts and beliefs as “evidence” for their theory. They never said gravity was just too complicated.

  45. Hey YW, calm down, I didn’t realize you had quoted Akira, sorry I missed it. And how did I keep going after your position? You sound a little defensive there.

  46. ID is absurd on its face, though. it was the manner of explanation for hundreds of years – we cannot explain everything about gravity, therefore all the bits we don’t know were taken up by someone else.

    “Like, this god character is so damn hard to disprove, it must not exist.”

    well, generally speaking, proving a negative is pretty damn hard.

  47. Sorry. It was just that the research took quite awhile because our computers are on slowdown today at Your Wish central. Shouldn’t let that make me cranky, tho.

  48. So when I say chritians are crazy people, does this mean they can’t disprove it? Cool!

  49. crimethink: the onion tends not to use a direct 1:1 correlation model in its parodies. and yes, they’re conflating creationism and intelligent design. perhaps that is unfair. but such is the nature of parody.

  50. Wait a minute YW… I should have known it wasn’t that simple… Let’s review:

    ppl incorrectly use evolution as “evidence” (or worse “scientific evidence”) that no higher intelligence exists. not everybody makes this mistake. but lots of ppl. Even some H’n’Rers.

    That is what I was responding to. You say you provided a quote from Akira, but I didn’t see any attribution so I could I know that? But is this the one you were talking about?

    “Scientists have and the evidence points to evolution, not creationism. (No, I don’t distinguish ID from Creationism. It’s all the same thing.)”

    I hope not. One with no mention of Akira how was I to know? Second, when someone makes a claim that lots of people do X it is their responsibility to do the research and provide evidence. Your snarky little remark that you did my research for me is just plain silly. I had none to do. Third, and most importantly, the quote you provide clearly does not claim that evolution disproves the existence of a “God.” How could you possibly read it like that? I’d say the straw-man is as stuffed as ever.

  51. Anyway, YW, no offense meant by all that, as I said I didn’t get enough coffee which does make me irritable 🙂

  52. We Christians are so persecuted. I mean, OK, our institutions of worship are exempt from taxes, many of our major celebrations are public holidays, and the vast majority of public officials claim to be Christians.

    But the Onion parodied a particularly ignorant sect that even a lot of Christians don’t like!

    See how persecuted we are?

  53. If I say that X is the truth because it cannot be proved that X is NOT the truth, then this is a classic ignorance fallacy. I cannot make a claim and then put the burden of proof on someone else to disprove it. I made a claim, I must prove it.

    Most reasonable believers I know understand this concept and the paradox they are in. This is where the idea of faith comes into play to begin with. It is not necessary to come up with some quasi-scientific “proof” – because to prove the existence of God or any religion negates the necessity of faith so central to the belief itself. Reducing God and their religions to quantifiable evidence, seems to be counter to the idea of religious faith to begin with. Besides, isn’t the construction of such theories and whatnot putting God to the test? I’ve heard that that’s not such a good idea.

  54. thoreau,

    Who are you trying to make fun of?

  55. yeah, I wanted you to follow the link. Kind of passive aggressive to play dumb when I say that many people believe that evolution somehow undermines the existence of a higher intelligence. Certainly born agains believe that. So do some of the posters (besides Akira) on that link I sent you. I could get more examples, and prolly somewhat clearer, but you do not seem reasonably receptive to seeing the problem here.

    Now, not all ppl think that evolution disproves higher intelligence. Ron Bailey doesn’t (at least not in his 25 May article — he explicitly cautions against this false reasoning). I don’t. You don’t. Thoreau is harder to call bcs he sort of takes a nuanced position as to whether evolution inferes with the possibility of a higher intelligence or not.

    However, some of the other comments in that linked thread will identify the ppl who are making the mistake Ron cautioned us not to make and that you initially believed no one could possibly make.

  56. yhwh dept: of course, and anyone who says evolution disproves the existence of some sort of separate supranatural entity is a dickhead.

    at the same time, the lack of disproval isn’t proof either, which is part of the problem.

  57. Thoreau is harder to call bcs he sort of takes a nuanced position as to whether evolution inferes with the possibility of a higher intelligence or not.

    Well, I’m a practicing Catholic, and I think ID is BS. What do you think my stance is?

    crimethink-

    I’m not mocking any person in particular. I’m mocking the notion that a parody in the Onion is worth getting upset over.

    And, for the record, those matrices that I have spent the past several hours multiplying are not satisfying the properties that I need to move to the next step. This is what I get when I don’t use an orthonormal basis, but instead try to do something all funky.

    Maybe I should trust that the photons are guided by a Higher Power…um, Intelligent Illuminator.

    Wait, I’ve got it: Intelligent Flasher!

  58. Yes, but we already solved the problem when we moved to the agnostic center about an hour ago. Don’t worry, t’oothers will catch up!

  59. yhwh the hard way: it don’t require such gross parody. evolution says nothing about it, because god and the rest of human religions tend to be more or less untestable, unprovable and unavailable for lab time. and vice versa.

    hence, ID is stupid.

  60. …we’ve been a Muslim planet for a long time. There’s been a moon orbiting the Earth for all creation!

    Actually, the universe is Jewish; that’s why the sun is called Sol…(ba-da-bump)

  61. I am guessing that you think God set initial conditions at some point in the history of the universe to at least partially determine the nature, size and scope of the universe as it exists today.

    Whereas intelligent design sees active intervention at various points in recent geologic history, you probably see no intervention in the area of speciation. You probably push the “intervention” (for lack of a better term) back to the Big Bang or further.

    Am I close?

  62. Why can’t we ever agree on seperation of church and state. I don’t care about the merits of ID at all. The fact is, not everyone in the US is Christian and teaching a religious based theory in school just breeds resentment. Atleast all religions can hate science equally and so no one gets overly offended.

    Send your kid to a Christian school if you want them to learn ID. It won’t help them get into a science based university, but atleast you’ll feel better about their education. Leave the damn public schools alone!!!

  63. Ron cautioned us not to make and that you initially believed no one could possibly make.

    I don’t think “no one” does that. I should clarify that I don’t think it’s “lots of people” certainly not many people on HR. I have yet to see one. It just isn’t a serious problem so it is not an issue of being unreceptive, I just don’t see people saying that. Evolution certainly disproves or “undermines” a literal reading of Genesis, but that isn’t what you were talking about nor what my original reply had anything to do with. So a general feeling that evolution undermines some tenets of religion is not a belief that it disproves god.

    yeah, I wanted you to follow the link. Kind of passive aggressive to play dumb when I say that many people believe that evolution somehow undermines the existence of a higher intelligence.

    Well, I just don’t have time to go following those links looking for statements to support your claim. If you have a specific example of someone saying that evolution disproves God then I’d be happy to see it. It is not playing dumb at all, I just believe it is the responsibility of the person making a specific claim like that to present the evidence and not ask others to search for it.

    Anyway, nobody with any real understanding of science could claim that any theory disproves God. Anything like God or that dragon I mentioned is impossible to disprove. But that said, that impossibility makes arguing about it disproving things essentially trivial. The fact remains I personally don’t see any evidence for a god of any kind; at least no more than for any of the others in the endless list of non-disprovable postulates.

  64. Didn’ t Journey have a song about the Wheel in the Sky?

    The “Stupid Design” theory is just as persuasive as the ID one is. In a nutshell, a stupid God exists because of the wide variety of stupid things he/she/it created, like Journey, slugs, and Kelly Ripa. And Geraldo Rivera. And Clay Aiken. Etc. ad nausium.

  65. At least we can all agree that “ppl” is not an abbreviation for “people,” and “2” indicates a number. Rules of grammar can’t be proven to not exist.

  66. Perhaps the Onion was taking a swipe at Chris Buttars, from Utah, a politician and an idiot. (But I repeat myself.)

  67. Rules of grammar r whatever the ppl say they r. Welcome 2 the Net.

  68. YW Dept-

    For me, God is the answer to the FINAL “why?” Even if we work out string theory and cosmology and get a complete chronology of the universe down to intervals shorter than the Planck time, you can still ask why any of this is. Why are the laws the way they are? Even if string theorists show that the laws must be a certain way to satisfy certain symmetries, why are those symmetries satisfied in the first place? Indeed, why is there even a universe around to make those symmetries relevant?

    That’s good enough for me. An answer at the end of all answers, however far off that final answer might be. I’m just as happy assuming that there is a reason at the end of it all, and that it works in an understandable way until you get to the final question. I have no pressing need to find a small God hidden in the shrinking gaps, when I can contemplate an infinite God responsible for everything, and a mathematical artist to boot (God must be a mathematical artist, for the laws of physics are beautiful at many scales, including the emergent phenomena that could never be guessed solely based on the fundamental laws).

    Am I on firm philosophical ground? Well, I’m not a philosopher, so I don’t care. But I’m on safe scientific ground, and as an individual I am spiritually fulfilled. That’s good enough for me.

  69. The last paragraph is the best:

    “Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the ‘electromagnetic force,’ the ‘weak nuclear force,’ the ‘strong nuclear force,’ and so-called ‘force of gravity,'” Burdett said. “And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus.”

  70. Madog: There was a Jack Chick tract that once made that very claim.

  71. But I’m on safe scientific ground, and as an individual I am spiritually fulfilled. That’s good enough for me.

    I forgot to mention that I don’t see any need to enforce these beliefs on anybody else, so my religious practices should be good enough for everybody else here as well. Even Jean Bart.

  72. thoreau,

    Well, that sounds very nice, but the God you speak of is little more than the Prime Mover of the deists. The God of Christianity did not end his involvement with the universe after its creation; he is a God of miracles, who has the power to break the natural laws he created.

  73. Well, that sounds very nice, but the God you speak of is little more than the Prime Mover of the deists. The God of Christianity did not end his involvement with the universe after its creation; he is a God of miracles, who has the power to break the natural laws he created.

    crimething, aside from the fact that I see no evidence for either view of god or God that could possibly help us distinguish between those views, that remark does remind me of that old question: Could God make a law of the universe that even He couldn’t break, if he wanted to?

  74. crimethink-

    Miracles as discrete events are much less problematic than a literal interpretation of Genesis.

  75. oops, should be crimethink – sorry about that.

  76. Apparently my views are good enough for me and everybody else except crimethink.

    Anybody else care to register a complaint?

  77. Well, being a practicing Catholic myself, I will go with your nuanced answer Thoreau. Sounds like you have thought about it more than I have.

  78. Brian Courts,

    Well, that’s a tricky question; I’ve not given a lot of thought to it, but my off-the-cuff answer would be yes. Things that are logical impossibilities are impossible even for God. God can’t make a triangle with 7 sides, for instance. In fact, the doctrine of original sin depends on God’s inability to force his creatures to love him, since love logically requires a free choice.

  79. More to the point, I think, the Christian conception of God is not someone who makes rules and later on wants to break them. Rather, he exists outside of time, so he perceives all eternity at once, and thus would break and make the rule at the same time, which would be a logical contradiction.

  80. What happens if the cross orbits upside-down? Does tat mean Satan owns this planet?

  81. Thoreau-

    Any input on a book that was published a few years ago called “The Physics of Immortality”?

  82. It just dawned on me: That Cross in Space could be a tribute to the band Camel.

    http://tralfaz-archives.com/coverart/C/camel_house.html

  83. mediageek-

    I avoid such books like the plague.

  84. I want to point out, for those (including me) who think that perhaps Christians are insufficiently persecuted these days, that, just recently, somebody’s seriously brought up the idea of importing lions into the Great Plains.

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/08/17/wild.america.ap/

    Think about it, people. I think this is something we can really get behind. Let’s see if the intelligent designer will save James Dobson from the cruel vagaries of the lion.

  85. I kinda figured. I tried to read it in high school, but couldn’t make heads or tails, which means it was either
    A)Waaaay over my head
    or
    B)Incomprehensible nonsense

  86. The Onion is equal opportunity satire. Previous headlines: “Jews end 6000-year ham ban,” “Amish give up,” and in the current issue: “Iraqi Cop Moonlighting As Terrorist Just To Make Ends Meet”

    You wanna see some Christian-bashing parody? Check out what two former Liberty U. students have done at http://www.landoverbaptist.org/

  87. since we’ve got ourselves a real live physicist type, thoreau: what the fuck is up with everyone using physics to ground their metaphysical meditations? the recent “what the bleep do we know” trainwreck being merely a recent example. i happen to adore robert anton wilson, but still think his particular use of quantum physics, even just as a metaphor, was a misstep. (his joyce criticism, in comparison, is sublime)

  88. YW Dept.

    Thanks so much for misquoting me, mother fucker.

  89. Thoreau–

    I don’t believe in God at all, but I say this in all sincerity: what you wrote was beautiful. Poetry, even.

  90. re Cross in Orbit:

    That’s how we’ll test the Theory of Intelligent Falling! Since God’s symbol is the cross, plainly he won’t let it fall. God won’t push down on it, so it will stay in place hovering above the Earth! None of this silly “orbit” stuff.

    Or have I cross-wired my Onion-brand theology/physics principles? Any thoughts, thoreau?

  91. I’ll take a stab at the “evolution disproves God” statement. Evolution (indeed, all of modern science) invalidates the creation stories (yes, plural; there are two differing accounts), flood, origin of language, and other accounts found in Genesis. If one’s concept of YHVH MUST include the inerrancy of the Bible, then I suppose that modern science disproves that concept of YHVH. However, modern Science doesn’t disprove OTHER concepts of YHVH, nor, for that matter, any other gods, such as Zeus or Quetzalcoatl.

    If one continues to insist that old texts or legends are inerrant, then one must be prepared to be on the defense for the rest of ones life. There is no more evidence for the creation accounts in Genesis than there is for the “turtles all the way down” theory. Attempts to shoehorn data to fit a theory that jibes with one of these stories is silly at best. And most scientists will tell you, shoehorning data isn’t good science. It seems to me that it isn’t very good theology, either.

  92. Portlander,

    Make sure you look both ways at the zebra crossing…

  93. Zebra crossing? What zebra crossing?

    (I have this feeling I’m playing straight-man)

  94. Hmm, Zebra crossing.

    Something to do with black and white

  95. It’s from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. God says he does not need to be proven to exist, for proof would destroy faith and without faith he is nothing. So man proves that he does exist, destroying faith and thus proving that God doesn’t exist.

    Then he proves black is white and gets killed at the zebra crossing.

  96. I hope people realize that Charles Darwin didn’t come up with the theory of evolution, but with a specific theory (natural selection) about how evolution happened.

    “Send your kid to a Christian school if you want them to learn ID. It won’t help them get into a science based university, but atleast you’ll feel better about their education. Leave the damn public schools alone!!!”

    Is “leave the public schools alone” the new libertarian rallying cry?

  97. Bob,

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but its certainly my “rallying cry”

  98. Bob, you clearly haven’t met the real Bob. Stop letting Darwin steal your slack!

  99. Is “leave the public schools alone” the new libertarian rallying cry?

    As long as we have public schools, it is.

  100. Thanks so much for misquoting me, mother fucker. I mean I know I am not the sharpest tool in the ol’ shed, but that is no excuse to repeat and thereby compound my showing of ignorance.

    Sorry, Akira. Because I used cut and paste when I quoted you in previous reply, I have no idea what you are talking about. Rabiit. Pancake. head. Etc.

  101. RE: Cross in the sky

    the southern cross.

    nuff said.

  102. Regarding the “zebra crossing” proof of black being white, it doesn’t follow. My original thesis is that modern science disproves certain passages in Genesis, not to mention every other creation myth ever dreamed up. Beyond that, science has nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of gods. If the existence of your god is inextricably entwined with the disproved creation myth, then I guess we can say science “disproves” your vision of god.

    Astrology has been debunked. All creation myths have been debunked. The earth is a sphere, not flat. It is not the center of the universe. The sun doesn’t ride in Apollo’s chariot. Every religion that has made testable claims has had those claims debunked. The lesson: religious stories aren’t inerrant. If there is some core truth to one (or many) of the religions, that truth has accumulated a lot of extraneous material. Creation myths being the most obvious.

  103. If you read up on Joseph Campbell, there’s a pretty compelling case that all creation myths are based on the human experience of birth (i.e. “first there was darkness and water, then a burst of light, then a whole bunch of new stuff appeared” etc.). It doesn’t mean they aren’t true in a metaphorical and metaphysical sense, it just means that reading them and saying, “yes, that is literally exactly what happened” is idiotic.

    God is a poet, and he uses excellent metaphors to explain the human condition. He’s not like some crappy naturalist author.

  104. Does God exist? Can I disprove that He exists? Actually,(and logically) I do not have to, because the burden of proof is on those who make the assertion that He DOES exist. Logic (as well as prudence) would dictate that I not accept the assertion as true without proof…or at least some evidence that makes sense.

    Furthermore, those who make the assertion have an even heavier burden: they must first define the word god (or God.) Without meaning it is not even a word, but merely a sound. Without an identity nothing can exist. That is to say,…in order to be, it must be some thing (or person, place, idea etc.) Yet as soon as one comes up with a meaning or just a definition—an identity for God, one has placed limits on God. And of course, a limited God is not what any of the Theists would care to call God.

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