Choosing Between Science and God: The Mike Huckabee Story

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When it comes to faith versus facts, Republican presidential hopeful, former Baptist minister and former governor of the Razorback State, Mike Huckabee minces no words. Recall that during one the Republican candidates' joint appearances, uh, debates, Huckabee was one of three who raised their hands affirming that they did not believe in biological evolution. Now Salon reports:

A reporter asked Huckabee how he thought his views—including his view on evolution—might play in the general election.

"Oh, I believe in science. I certainly do," [Huckabee] said. "In fact, what I believe in is, I believe in God. I don't think there's a conflict between the two. But if there's going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn't. So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict."

Sixteen centuries ago, St. Augustine rightly warned believers like Huckabee about dogmatism in the face of contravening facts:

"If we come to read anything in Holy Scripture that is in keeping with the faith in which we are steeped, capable of several meanings, we must not by obstinately rushing in, so commit ourselves to any one of them that, when perhaps the truth is more thoroughly investigated, it rightly falls to the ground and we with it."

Sadly, Huckabee's scientific know-nothingism could play well in the primaries since a majority of Republicans say that they don't believe in evolution either. 

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  1. Perhaps God created creatures that could evolve.

  2. And told them not to think.

  3. obviously not in fuckabeez world.

    got navel?

  4. Oh, let’s not get tart in our responses. If the kids and I go to church next Sunday, and the minister gives us invulnerability, extended lifespans, and flying cars direct from God, I’ll take that over “science”. Has science given me a flying car? No.

  5. If one is interested in defending science, Saint Augustine isn’t the first guy I’d think of to quote. Seems to me he ushered in the Dark Ages. . .

    Bill Walsh

  6. Huckabee’s scientific know-nothingism could play well in the primaries since a majority of Republicans say that they don’t believe in evolution either.

    It’s things like this that make me wonder if I am one of the very few remaining sane people in the world.

    Seriously, do they put something in church incense that makes people stupid fucking and/or crazy. That’s the only explanation I can find.

  7. Augustine’s Confessions is well worth reading.

  8. This is why the sun revolves around the Earth.

  9. From the poll taken between May 21-24, results showed that 68 percent of Republicans tended to favor the idea that humans were created in their present form about 10,000 years ago,

    This scares me. Really.

  10. But if there’s going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn’t. So I’ll stick with God if the two are in conflict.

    Honestly, what a stupid thing to say. Of course God doesn’t change because the book was only written once. That doesn’t mean that people interpret that book differently over time or anything, but seriously!

  11. Saint Augustine… Seems to me he ushered in the Dark Ages. . .

    Uhh, not exactly.

    It was more:

    1: the collapse of the Western Roman Empire

    2: constant warring between several factions of Europe, such as the Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Lombards, and the remnants of “civilized” Europe

    3: overpopulation degrading sanitation systems (see #1) spreading diseases more rapidly

  12. If Huckabee believes in God so much, why doesn’t he drink snake poison (Mark 16:17)?

    Oh yeah, because he really does believe in the science that says it will kill you despite what the Bible says.

  13. eesh!

    that should read:

    3: overpopulation anddegrading sanitation systems (see #1) led to spreading diseases more rapidly

  14. I believe the official nickname of Arkansas is currently “The “Natural State.” I suppose Razorback State is, like Wolverine State for Michigan (official nickname “The Great Lakes State”), an widely used alternative nickname that has the advantage of being the mascot of the state’s primary university’s sports teams.

  15. Taxtix,

    So, what brought on the collapse of the Western Roman Empire?

    William Walsh,

    As a general rule historians do not use the term “Dark Ages” much anymore. I mean, “Dark” in comparison to what? The barbarism of the classical age?

  16. I don’t know what tree Huckabee is praying to, but I was taught in catholic school that the Old Testament is entirely allegorical.

  17. I feel like there’s a pressure on Christians to accept every word of the bible as fact. It may be that phenomenon where they fear that as soon as they make a concession in one way that it suddenly calls everything else into question. And wouldn’t that be a nightmare?

  18. If you want to know just how “Dark” the Dark Ages really got, may I strongly suggest that you read William Manchester’s wonderful history, A World Lit Only By Fire?

  19. “Dark” Ages are so named because there is often a nearly complete absence of documents from that time period.e

  20. I was taught in catholic school that the Old Testament is entirely allegorical.

    Entirely?

    Im thinking you didnt pay attention in class. Either that or your school was teaching that historically verifed events/people didnt exist.

  21. Lord Jubjub,

    Well, that is also true of many aspects of the classical period as well.

    Ron Bailey,

    If you mean literally, to be frank, the classical world was also a “world lit by fire.” Read the primary sources on the issue; going out at night is something one avoided doing in Rome if at all possible (partly because of the brigandage) and if one did the best source of lighting available was basically an oil lamp.

  22. Syloson of Samos,

    So, what brought on the collapse of the Western Roman Empire?

    No one is absolutely sure what the exact cause was, but there were a myriad of factors, such as:

    A series of inept, tyrannical, and crazy emperors
    Increasing pressure from conquered provinces
    A steadily declining economy (exasperated by terrible policy on the part of many bad emperors)
    The division of the empire into two
    The 410 C.E. sacking of Rome by Alaric of the Visigoths

    It was probably all of these combined.

    Although, there is some speculation about declining berth rates, lead in the drinking water, etc., but little evidence supports such claims.


  23. Im thinking you didnt pay attention in class. Either that or your school was teaching that historically verifed events/people didnt exist.

    A religious school teaching that aren’t true?

    Inconceivable!

  24. Well, it was run by Jesuits, and maybe it was just Genesis and Exodus. It was a long time ago…..

  25. “If you mean literally”

    Probably not given that incandescent illumination wasn’t invented until the 1800’s.

  26. Taktix,

    No kidding.

    My point is that the classical age was about as “dark” as the so-called “Dark Ages.”

    Ron Bailey,

    BTW, if you are going to read a general history of the “Middle Ages” check out Hollister’s Medieval Europe – A Short History and the companion volume A Short Sourcebook that goes along with it.

  27. If you believe in evolution then ask yourself what specific scientific evidence do you know that proves the theory. Please send the information to me in an email.

    If no specific scientific proof pops in to the front of your brain then maybe you don’t believe in evolution after all.

    1. Evolution is not something one “believes in”. It is something one sees evidence for. Evidence gathered using the scientific method of finding things out.
      Hocus Pocus Mumbo Jumbo religion and invisible supernatural gods are what some people “believe in”.
      Evidence be damned.

  28. Lamar,

    Well, one must cover all bases of course.

  29. It’s things like this that make me wonder if I am one of the very few remaining sane people in the world.

    Taktix, don’t you know the real name of our planet?
    In the Great Galactic Register Of Inhabited Planets, it’s called “The Planet Of Insane Morons”.

  30. If you believe in evolution then ask yourself what specific scientific evidence do you know that proves the theory. Please send the information to me in an email.

    If no specific scientific proof pops in to the front of your brain then maybe you don’t believe in evolution after all.

    Oh boy! This is going to get good!

    *runs to grab popcorn*

  31. “If you believe in evolution then ask yourself what specific scientific evidence do you know that proves the theory.”

    Yeah, jerks. Same with the theory of gravity. Where’s your proof!!! If nothing pops in your head, then you don’t believe in gravity.

  32. If nothing pops in on your head, then you don’t believe in gravity.

  33. The following should not be construed as an endorsement of religion, atheism, or any particular creed.

    The sneering at theists as inherently stupid and opposed to scientific is simply wrong-headed. While the fundies make the most noise, and seem to be enjoying somewhat of a revival, they do not constitute all, or even a majority, of believers. It is possible to believe in a creator deity, and even that Jesus was his representative, without chucking science and rationality.

    I attended 16 years of parochial school, half of which was under the Jesuits. I was never taught anything resembling a fundie view of science. The stance was more like, “Evolution (and physics, and all other naturalist explanations of events) tells us how god achieves his goals.

    Reasonable people can agree or disagree on that point, but it’s a perfectly legitimate way of looking at things, and doesn’t require one to check their brains in the church vestibule.

  34. Captain Chaos,

    Actually, whatever one might else say on the subject, evolution, etc. do not tell us that. They are silent on whether God exists or not.

  35. In the Great Galactic Register Of Inhabited Planets, it’s called “The Planet Of Insane Morons”.

    I prefer “Primitive Dustball Inhabited by Psychotic Apes.”

  36. If you want to know just how “Dark” the Dark Ages really got, may I strongly suggest that you read William Manchester’s wonderful history, A World Lit Only By Fire?

    I can only hope the book is better than the glowing review of it that Ron linked to, which really reads as a warning to anyone with any sense of history and historiographical methods? I’ve seldom read a positive review that does a more thorough job of discrediting its subject.

  37. Please send the information to me

    Ever heard of a little thing called the fossil record, Dan M?
    Yeah, I know, God put it there to test us. Never mind.

  38. You mean aside from faunal succession, geochronology, atomic physics, seismology, plate tectonics, genetics, and a bunch of other stuff? No I can’t think of any proof other than whole swaths of science.

  39. Syloson- Which is exactly my point. One can legitimately take a position either way.
    I guess I should clarify one thing: the ‘god works through evolution’ was presented in theology classes. It was not brought up at all in any bio class that I recall.

  40. But if there’s going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn’t. So I’ll stick with God if the two are in conflict.

    “In Chaos We Trust” (or maybe Gaia)?

  41. The stance was more like, “Evolution (and physics, and all other naturalist explanations of events) tells us how god achieves his goals.

    Religious “stances” change as frequently as new (scientific) evidence comes to light. They’ve moved the goalposts too many times for this nonbeliever.

  42. What else has Huckabee had a strong faith in? Oh yeah, Wayne Dumond. Huckabee had all kinds of faith in that guy.

  43. I attended 16 years of parochial school, half of which was under the Jesuits. I was never taught anything resembling a fundie view of science. The stance was more like, “Evolution (and physics, and all other naturalist explanations of events) tells us how god achieves his goals.

    After a series of embarrassing misteps (Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei), the Roman Catholic church has accepted the realities of science. I’m still an ex-catholic, but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

  44. Untermensch,

    Ouch.

    As far as I can tell (having never read it) Manchester’s work is based on a very old-fashioned, 19th century notion of the “Middle Ages” which has largely been abandoned by the scholarly community.

  45. But if there’s going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn’t.

    Huck has apparently never heard of the apocrypha, the Reformation, the history of Christian theology, Gnostics, grace, freewill, and predetermination, etc.

    He was a minister. Don’t you have to go to divinity school for that?

    From the poll taken between May 21-24, results showed that 68 percent of Republicans tended to favor the idea that humans were created in their present form about 10,000 years ago…

    That’s some fucked up shit, right there.

  46. the Roman Catholic church has accepted the realities of science.

    So they are teaching people in AIDS-ridden parts of Africa not to use condoms, and this is called accepting science?

    Sorry, Catholicism has made far too many mistakes to let them off the hook anytime soon…

  47. de stijl,

    Large swaths of the American population believe in ghosts and ESP.

  48. does anyone else ever wonder how long it will take before religion completely disappears? Or what event would completely cause religion to stop?

    I thought it would be finding aliens or something along those lines but then i read the other day that people can fit aliens into the bible stories somehow.

    i mean seriously we’ve been narrowing down this god thing for thousands of years now, how much longer till we get rid of the last remaining few?

    religious people just really piss me off

    /rant

  49. Religion will cearly not disappear. At one time many thought that it would. It has become apparent though that all religion does is evolve.

  50. Sadly, Huckabee’s scientific know-nothingism could play well in the primaries since a majority of Republicans say that they don’t believe in evolution either.

    Well, maybe we should be getting ready to inaugurate President Hayseed Huckabee, because most Americans in general don’t believe in evolution.

    In other news, at least one-third of Americans believe in UFOs and/or psychic powers like ESP.

    Meanwhile, Bryan Caplan’s theory of voter bias can be used to explain why people tend to believe stupid things (not just about politics and economics) whenever there is no real cost to doing so.

  51. Do any Americans believe the God created the UFOs and that they are helping guide evolution by using their ESP powers?

  52. Isn’t that Scientology?

  53. He was a minister. Don’t you have to go to divinity school for that?

    No, I think all you need is a sign painter in order to become a minister.

  54. What I didn’t like about Huckabee’s debate statements about evolution was the profoundly disingenuous way he couched his answer.

    He was directly asked if the world was created 6000 years ago, and he said, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

    He obviously doesn’t apply this standard of proof to, say, the question of whether George Washington was the first President of the United States, or whether there is a continent called Antarctica, or whether men walked on the moon, or about a hundred trillion other things I could sit here and list.

    I hate, hate, hate people who feign skepticism when it’s convenient as a cover for their dogmatism. Just answer the question honestly, Mike: you DO think the world was created 6000 years ago.

  55. I am now a minister. It was really easy. Just filled out a form online.
    You may call me Reverend ed.
    Or “Your Holiness” if you’re feeling kinky.

    Now accepting donations so I can build my amusement pa–, I mean, Holy City and Gift Shop.

  56. Hey Adrian… I’m religious. What did I do to piss you off?

  57. I think Adrian started out pissed off. Religious people just happened to be there. Doesn’t even matter where there might be.

  58. Only thing I remember learning from my catholic upbringing is how to relax and find my happy place.

  59. Per wiki, Huckabee attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Makes sense. That’s totally a party divinity school.

  60. religious people just really piss me off

    Religious people piss me off too. So do agnostic people. And atheists.
    My therapist says I’ve really got to work on that.
    Of course, therapists piss me off the most.

  61. J sub D,

    Do people in general piss you off?

  62. “Huck has apparently never heard of the apocrypha, the Reformation, the history of Christian theology, Gnostics, grace, freewill, and predetermination, etc.”

    Religion is everchanging. Just look at the Abrahamic tradition. First there was the Jewish religion, but it was influenced by Sumerian religion and Egyptian religion. Then under Persian captivity, the Jews developed certain Zoroastrian beliefs such as apocalyptic ideas, Satan, Heaven and Hell. Then Christianity developed out of a combination of Jewish Messianism and pagan beliefs, then Islam out of the Jewish prophetic tradition.

    So Huckleberry Hound is way off base when he says God doesn’t change. Looking at the Judaic Chritian tradition, he changed his mind several times.

  63. J sub D:

    The rapists piss me off too.

  64. clubmedsux,

    Just knowing you exist is all it takes.

  65. Religious people piss me off too.

    Why?

    One word:

    Proselytism

  66. “who raised their hands affirming that they did not believe in biological evolution.”

    Are you certain the question was about “biological evolution”? “Cause what I heard was “evolution”.

  67. Do people in general piss you off?

    Hot willing female people generally do not piss me off.

  68. That guy in the Valtrex commercial pisses me off.

  69. I’ve always thought the difference between God and evolution is that you don’t have to believe in evolution: the proof is there if you bother to look for it, which eliminates the need for belief.

    God, on the other hand, requires you to believe in the absence of any rational evidence. That is not intended to be a knock on people who believe in God, by the way.

    Some of the greatest contributors to science were religious men; Gregor Mendel, for one example.

  70. Believe what you want just don’t try to legislate based on those beliefs. I hate hearing that America was intended to be a Christian nation. Quite a few of the Founders were Deists not the same at all as Christians.

    Religion is also relative. We live in a country where Christianity is the dominant religion. If we lived in a nation where Hinduism was dominant we might be having the same type of discussion about Kali, Vishnu, Ganesh, etc. Most people I’ve talked (argued) with concerning religion really don’t understand anything about their religions history. Their great-grandparents were raised believing this, their grandparents believed it, their parents believed it for most people that is the sum reason of why they believe the things they believe about their faith. Nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t feel like you have to convert the non-believers.

  71. “If you believe in evolution then ask yourself what specific scientific evidence do you know that proves the theory. Please send the information to me in an email.”

    What about vestigial organs such as appendages on whales that serve no purpose but are in the position of where limbs would have been on their ancestors?

  72. Some of the greatest contributors to science were religious men; Gregor Mendel, for one example.

    One of the big three. Sir Isaac Newton for another.

  73. Nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t feel like you have to convert the non-believers.

    Or kill them. That kind of sucks too.

  74. Hey Taktix… I don’t recall proslytizing to you, Adrian or anybody else.

    On a side note, there was a recent thread on beeradvocate.com about converting Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers to craft beer. Hmm… maybe people try to introduce other to things they’re passionate about because they want to share the joy they get from that passion. Doesn’t mean it’s any less annoying, but perhaps you should simply be pissed off at passionate people.

  75. To anyone who would dismiss a political candidate as intellectually unfit because he does not subscribe to popular evolutionary theory: You assume that evolution is a proven fact, an inviolable law of nature, that all rational people do believe in. What you detractors arrogantly fail to recognize are your own unprovable preconceptions and that it requires more faith to believe in purely naturalistic (atheistic) evolution than it does in a Creator who has something to do with the existence of the Universe and the fact that we live on this planet.

    The objective here is not to debate the fine details of evolutionary theory. Very few of us are sufficiently well read on the subject to take on that task. Rather, the objective is to point out to the evolution establishment that subscription to their beliefs does not make one intellectually superior to those who do not. The evolution establishment is not, and should not presume to be, the gatekeepers of progress and influence in our culture.

    I submit some points for your consideration here: http://snowbriand.wordpress.com/

  76. “What you detractors arrogantly fail to recognize are your own unprovable preconceptions”

    Um…no we don’t.

  77. J Sub D,

    I remember watching a special on Newton where he feared losing his position at Cambridge because he held the controversial (at the time) belief that the Holy Trinity was not legitimate.

    As for the third member of the Big Three, perhaps Copernicus? He was a canon in the Catholic Church, and his uncle was a bishop.

  78. BrianS: Thanks for telling me from where ever you might be in the world (and without ever laying eyes on me or meeting me, or even knowing if you met someone remotely like me) exactly which factors I have and haven’t taken into account in deriving my belief system.

  79. ClubMedSux,

    I meant it in a more joking manner, I don’t actually hate Christians.

    And no, you haven’t tried to convert me, but I live in Florida, and many have.

    Some guy telling others to drink a different beer is not the same as systematic murder and torture to convince someone to convert to Christianity.

  80. “Of course God doesn’t change because the book was only written once.”

    Actually, with all the interpolations, you could say it was rewritten several times, plus the New Testament is more or less a rewriting of the Old Testament.

  81. Basing one’s beliefs on evidence does not make anybody intellectually superior. It does, however, make society intellectually superior.

  82. Rattlesnake Jake,

    Not to mention the numerous translations between languages.

  83. Libertate: “Has science given me a flying car? No.”

    Well it did, sort of. Aerocar International made the “Aerocar” only six ever made; one still flying I think. Not a very good car, nor a very good aircraft, but they did make it.

    There are other designs, prototypes, whatnot.

  84. Brian S.,

    …that it requires more faith to believe in purely naturalistic (atheistic) evolution than it does in a Creator who has something to do with the existence of the Universe and the fact that we live on this planet.

    I’ve heard this argument on numerous occassions of occasions but have as yet to find a satisfactory explication of said claim.

  85. science changes with every generation … and God doesn’t.

    She doesn’t?

  86. x,

    I really meant a flying car in every home, including mine. With automated piloting so that the flying car in my home will be in my garage, rather than embedded into my roof.

  87. Brian S why is it necessary to believe in a creator being act all?

  88. that’s supposed to at not act

  89. “What you detractors arrogantly fail to recognize are your own unprovable preconceptions and that it requires more faith to believe in purely naturalistic (atheistic) evolution than it does in a Creator who has something to do with the existence of the Universe and the fact that we live on this planet.”

    I think it takes a lot of faith to believe in a god. If God created all this, how did he do it? Does he have hands? Does he have a physical brain? What is his MO? Saying a god did all this answers nothing because you’re left with the question of how he did it. It’s easier for me to understand all of this coming about over hundreds of millions of years (multicellular organisms) by genetic mutations and natural selection.

  90. “On a side note, there was a recent thread on beeradvocate.com about converting Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers to craft beer. Hmm… maybe people try to introduce other to things they’re passionate about because they want to share the joy they get from that passion. Doesn’t mean it’s any less annoying, but perhaps you should simply be pissed off at passionate people”

    I never got any passion from Christianity. One thing I hate about Christians is their belief of eternal damnation for those who don’t believe the way they do. Is that such a horrible thing that the person who doesn’t believe a certain thing on faith should deserve an eternity of suffering in Hell? Frankly, I don’t see how a thinking and loving person can find passion in such a monstous philosophy.

  91. ClubMedSux,

    BMC drinkers piss me off.

  92. RE: “Basing one’s beliefs on evidence does not make anybody intellectually superior. It does, however, make society intellectually superior.”

    Lamar,
    Yes, following the evidence is the superior path to knowledge and truth. What we think the “evidence” means depends on how we filter it through our preconceptions (e.g. whether the supernatural exists or only a purely material universe; evidence = proof; Bible always literal; Scientific consensus is infallible; etc). The Bible is not necessarily at odds with Science. Only people are at odds with one side or the other because of what they preconceive about the side they have chosen to take. There are volumes of evidence for the reliability of the Bible and the existence of God. Drop a comment on my blog if you dare, and I’ll e-mail you some resources.

  93. Contrary to popular belief evolution is actually quite impossible. If you really researched the subject you would find that it makes the most sense that there is a creator who made the universe, not just random chance. God and science fit together perfectly

  94. BTW, if you are going to read a general history of the “Middle Ages” check out Hollister’s Medieval Europe – A Short History.

    Oh! That’s one of my favorites.

  95. The big three – IMHO Newton, Planck, and Einstein are the physics big three. Einstein would probably be best described as a Deist. Planck, I have no idea about his theological leanings. There are lots of theists who were great scientists. I’m an atheist, but I have respect historical facts.

  96. Brian S.,

    There are volumes of evidence for the reliability of the Bible and the existence of God.

    Pray reveal why so many sections of the canonical gospels conflict with one another?

  97. Speaking of Planck, when are we going to all switch to Planck units?

  98. “Some guy telling others to drink a different beer is not the same as systematic murder and torture to convince someone to convert to Christianity.”

    Is that still going on? Who knew!

  99. Sorry, Taktix, didn’t mean to be so jumpy. And I certainly don’t condone murder on behalf of any religion. That being said, while religious fervor may have been used as motivation for countless conflicts, I think the conflicts themselves were generally power struggles between different groups where religion just happened to be what separated one group from the other. If religion were completely wiped off of the face of the earth, groups would still find other reasons to hate, fight and kill each other.

  100. “New Testament is more or less a rewriting of the Old Testament.”

    That’s just stupid.

  101. “From the poll taken between May 21-24, results showed that 68 percent of Republicans tended to favor the idea that humans were created in their present form about 10,000 years ago,”

    The Republican Party = the stupid party.

  102. Contrary to popular belief evolution is actually quite impossible

    Then why is there so much irrefutable evidence that supports it?

    God and science fit together perfectly

    “God and science” is a contradiction in terms.

  103. “science changes with every generation”

    The science of every age is not based on fact, but rather its absence.

  104. ClubMedSux: “If religion were completely wiped off of the face of the earth, groups would still find other reasons to hate, fight and kill each other.”

    Granted, sadly, but at least there’d be one less reason.

  105. Contrary to popular belief evolution is actually quite impossible.

    This is real. Get over it.

  106. Crucifixion is too good for those B/M/C drinkers! Burn them I say!

  107. Akira,

    Yes, Hollister is a great writer (amongst other things).

  108. “New Testament is more or less a rewriting of the Old Testament.”

    “That’s just stupid.”

    I knew that would get a response. Look at the Christian Messiah for instance. The Jews were waiting for a political leader, not a sacrificial messiah. The Old Testament taught people were saved through the law, The New Testament taught people were saved through faith. Christians claim to believe in the same God Jews beleived in, but look at the difference in the two gods or did God change his mind?

  109. “I think it takes a lot of faith to believe in a god. If God created all this, how did he do it? Does he have hands? Does he have a physical brain? What is his MO?”

    The power of speach (e.g., and G-d said, “let ther be light.”

  110. Akira,

    Apparently Hollister died in 1997; a true loss.

  111. If religion were completely wiped off of the face of the earth, groups would still find other reasons to hate, fight and kill each other.

    Sadly true. But you couldn’t promise people eternal bliss for committing atrocities, could you?

  112. I never got any passion from Christianity. One thing I hate about Christians is their belief of eternal damnation for those who don’t believe the way they do. Is that such a horrible thing that the person who doesn’t believe a certain thing on faith should deserve an eternity of suffering in Hell? Frankly, I don’t see how a thinking and loving person can find passion in such a monstous philosophy.

    RJ –
    I was thinking about this just this weekend when my own mother said to me that she hopes I don’t go to hell. I don’t think it was a compliment, either. I’ve always had scorn for the arrogance that if you simply believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, etc. it undoes all of the awful shit you do to people (directly and indirectly)

  113. You know, most of the Republicans I know are not Creationists. Maybe I have a bad sample, but I don’t see how a majority of the country or of either major party could be, given that the Creationists generally lose their political battles. Also, aren’t most of the Christian churches open to modern views of cosmology, geology, and biology?

    Of course, there’s no shortage of fundamentalists and/or Creationists. I’m contending with both with my stepson at a Baptist private school (long story, but we didn’t have much choice about him going there. The indoctrination, esp. in regards to evolution and Young Earth claptrap, is profound.).

    It’s people of a certain type of worldview that are creating the conflict between religion and science. There is no reason at all why suppositions about God and observations about the universe can’t co-exist. If it comes to believing words written or spoken by men and the universe itself–the ultimate “Bible”–I’m believing in the latter. Bah.

  114. “Pray reveal why so many sections of the canonical gospels conflict with one another?”

    Ever been to a crime scene? Witnesses’ accounts tend to differ from one another. The fact that the four gospels contradict one another is encouraging. Four liars would have all gotten their stories straight first.

  115. Akira MacKenzie: “‘God and science’ is a contradiction in terms.”

    This demonstrates exactly what I mean by preconceptions. You assume that God and science are mutually exclusive. Science is a tool, a methodology, for the study of the measurable material world. It has nothing to say (and by definition, cannot say) about subjects outside of its scope. Yet some people speak as though Science can provide the answer to anything. Given the domain of Science, how then can it contradict the existence of God?

  116. I’ve always had scorn for the arrogance that if you simply believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, etc. it undoes all of the awful shit you do to people (directly and indirectly)

    Appearently, Jesus didn’t get the whole forgiveness thing, either:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzuxyq3ltls

  117. I’d just like to clear something up.
    I don’t think there’s a conflict between GOD and science, but there is most certainly a conflict between religion and science. Up until now, no religion I know of has a clause in it that says they will change their views if they are scientifically proven to be wrong. In this way, religion is most definitely incompatible. Science on the other hand has not yet disproven God.

  118. Uhh, guys, I hate to break it to you, but the majority of Americans don’t believe in macro-evolution… so that kind of makes him normal. And furthermore, why aren’t you calling for people to discredit Dennis Kucinich. He insists he’s seen UFO’s… which is hardly “reasonable.” There’s a lot more people who have offered proof for and existence of God than an existence of UFO’S.

  119. “The power of speach (e.g., and G-d said, “let ther be light.”

    And how is speech supposed to create things?

  120. Libertate,

    Yeah, I actually understood that. I was sort of spoofing. I also assume that the ironic meta comes down to you are pro-science. I am.

    Anyway, God hasn’t given me a practical flying car, either.

    x

  121. “Christians claim to believe in the same God Jews beleived in, but look at the difference in the two gods or did God change his mind?”

    No, just his tactics. Had to.

  122. BrianS: I’ve been through that debate before. I have no desire to go there over and over. A literal interpretation of the Bible is at odds with science and observation.

    I am not filtering any “preconceptions” when I say that burning bushes will be consumed 100% of the time because we both know that fire requires fuel and air and that the fire consumes that fuel. It’s what fire does. There is no burning bush that is not consumed. Not anywhere, never…no preconceptions, just unarrogant scientific knowledge available to all.

    Now the overarching idea of a God who created the world and everything else might not be inconsistent with science. I’ll readily concede that. Thus, God might not be incompatible with science, but the Bible is.

    Your idea that evidence only exists through the lens with which we view it is unsettling. Don’t you think it’s a little presumptuous to assume that nobody has thought about this on a deeper level than you? Or that groups of people haven’t cross-examined each others views in a profound and respectful way? That nobody has ever explored those avenues? You don’t believe in a truly open mind, and by extension, free will.

  123. I think my main problem with religious people is I’ll never be able to tell them “i told you so”. They will keep believing until the moment that they die which is when they would realize there is no god, but at that moment they won’t be conscious so they won’t realize anything, and thus won’t remember me telling them that there wasn’t a god.

    bummer

  124. “Uhh, guys, I hate to break it to you, but the majority of Americans don’t believe in macro-evolution… so that kind of makes him normal. And furthermore, why aren’t you calling for people to discredit Dennis Kucinich. He insists he’s seen UFO’s… which is hardly “reasonable.” There’s a lot more people who have offered proof for and existence of God than an existence of UFO’S.”

    They’re both nuts. But in Kucinich’s defense, he didn’t say it was a flying saucer or anything from another planet. He just said he saw something in the air that he couldn’t identify, which makes it an unidentified flying object. It could have been no telling what.

  125. I say let the B/M/C drinkers be. Do not prosletize them with the good stuff. In fact, I say let’s do everything in our power to get more people to drink crappy beer. And if they get a wild hair about drinking a quality beer, them we lie to them and steer them towards Heineken or somesuch.

    I do not want demand pressure driving up the price of my favorite beers.

  126. Pastor John,

    Ever been to a crime scene? Witnesses’ accounts tend to differ from one another. The fact that the four gospels contradict one another is encouraging. Four liars would have all gotten their stories straight first.

    So they are historically accurate but contradict one another? So which contradicted story does one accept? Furthermore, these are “witness statements” by any stretch of the imagination. They were put down on paper at least one generation after the supposed death of Christ (in the case of John’s gospel we’re talking about two to three generations after such). It is also the case that it is obvious that they are drawing on one another and on sources which no longer exist.

  127. Gotta get back to work; lunch is over. Drop me a line if you want to continue this conversation later.

  128. …these aren’t “eyewitness statements”…

  129. Think of all the advancements and things we know now that our ancestors — as recently as a few hundred years ago — didn’t know.

    I feel 100% comfortable saying we don’t really know sh*t about the origins of the universe, what predated the cosmos, where it came from, how that stuff got there, etc. I can see where our immense lack of knowledge could lead someone to believe in a higher power, i.e., an intelligent form *greater* than us. It wouldn’t surprise me if we were “created” by something far beyond anything we can understand.

    That said, all the creation myths and modern religions are bullsh*t. And until someone can prove otherwise, I’ll remain a skeptic.

  130. “Christians claim to believe in the same God Jews beleived in, but look at the difference in the two gods or did God change his mind?”

    “No, just his tactics. Had to.”

    If God is omniscient, why didn’t he employ those tactics to begin with if he knew people couldn’t obey his laws?

  131. Syloson of Samos:

    You’ve asked a “When did you stop beating your wife?” kind of question. The onus is on you to provide the specific examples that you think are contradictory. I’ll let Pastor John handle this one since he’s already on it. Suppose your doubts remain about your perceived discrepancies between the gospel accounts, but you are presented with a ton of evidence for the reliability of the Bible. What would that do for you? Okay, I really have to go now. Later.

  132. Rattlesnake Jake,

    If god exists, it could be easily assumed that he or she is a rather incompentant god. I suppose that’s why I find gnosticism of interest.

  133. Brian S the Hindus believe in Ganesha just one of their gods here is a brief description of him. They believe in his reality as surely as you believe in the reality of the Christian god. I’m sure that a Hindu would argue just as fiercely that his book is proof of the validity of his belief.

    Lord Ganesha is the most widely worshipped Hindu God. He is worshipped at the start of any action or venture, for he is considered to be the Lord who removes obstacles (vignam) and hence is also called Vigneshwara.
    He has an elephant head, four arms. In his upper hands he holds the paasam (noose) and ankusam. The lower two hands are held in the abhaya and varada mudras. He is also seen holding his broken tusk in his right lower hand and a modhakam in his left lower hand. He has a huge belly and is fond of various sweets and fruits. He wears a snake as an ornament round his belly. He is depicted in seated, standing and dancing postures.

    He is considered a bachelor, but according to another school of thought, he has two Sakthis – Siddhi & Buddhi. Siddhi represents success and prosperity. Buddhi represents wisdom. His vahana is a tiny mouse (mooshikam or minjur).

    Of course I’m sure you believe Hinduism is as laughable as some of us believe Christianity is.

  134. Brian,

    These are well known contradictions by those who have read the canonical Gospels. Indeed, scholars have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile these contradictions and have come up with a lot fancy intellectual footwork to do so. These are not new issues, they are about as old as the creation of the a canonical NT. So really, the onus isn’t on me.

  135. “I’ve always had scorn for the arrogance that if you simply believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, etc. it undoes all of the awful shit you do to people (directly and indirectly)”

    Actually, he died for everyone. Everyone. It’s only the egotistical who think it means just them. But you know, he died for them too.

  136. That Christian Post article quotes my favorite poll EVER.

    Here’s the direct link:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-06-07-evolution-poll-results_N.htm?csp=34

    53% of people surveyed thought this statement was true:

    “Evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life”

    66% of people surveyed thought this statement was true:

    “Creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years”

    DOES ANYBODY ELSE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THESE RESULTS?

    At least 19% of those surveyed agreed with both statements (could be higher, since it was possible to disagree with both statements or say No Opinion). And the statements were 100% contradictory.

    That is, if surveyed, 19% of the American public will say black equals white.

  137. “Ever been to a crime scene? Witnesses’ accounts tend to differ from one another. The fact that the four gospels contradict one another is encouraging. Four liars would have all gotten their stories straight first.”

    I first saw this argument in Frank Morrison’s “Who Moved the Stone”. At the time, I thought it was a good argument, but have since come to see how unsound it is. The four writers probably didn’t even know each other. The four Gospels circulated in different locations at different times. The four writers were probably from different Christian sects and each probably claimed theirs to be the more accurate. Each writers of each Gospel tried to convey different ideas. And what Syloson said.

  138. Brian,

    …but you are presented with a ton of evidence for the reliability of the Bible.

    There is no ton of such evidence. It doesn’t exist. For example, there are exactly references to Jesus outside of the NT (and here I simply ignore the claimed Thalmudic references they refer to someone with the same guy’s name) – by Josephus and Pliny. And there references are a generation (Josephus) or more (three in the case of Pliny) after his supposed death. I know a great deal about this stuff.

  139. Brian,

    …there are exactly references two to Jesus outside of the NT…

  140. Rattlesnake Jake,

    Well, the purposes and philosophical background of each writer(s?) are also quite different. Each of them has their own axe to grind in other words – be it against the Jews or in taking up Jesus as a apocalypticist or what have you.

  141. “If God is omniscient, why didn’t he employ those tactics to begin with if he knew people couldn’t obey his laws?”

    Because He IS omniscient. It’s a long-term strategy.

  142. Augustine’s an interesting reference since his perspective was a result of rejecting a manichean view of the world, he’s the opposite of the trend in Huckabee’s christian constituents who increasingly embrace a manichean view of the world. Heresy’s come and heresy’s go, but science we’ll always have with us.

  143. Rattlesnake Jake,

    And John is a real outlier – he’s really the only one who specifically treats Jesus as a God, for the rest of them it is either rather ambigious or even less than that.

  144. The whole eternal damnation thing was what caused me to examine my religious views. I use to be a Baptist (when I was very young). My greatest fear was sinning and going to hell. They overplayed that angle in my sect of Christianity and after awhile the inconsistencies jumped out at me. How could you have a loving god who would sentence his “child” to eternal damnation for sinning. ABSOLUTELY LUDICROUS!!

  145. “Science on the other hand has not yet disproven God”

    Which god are you referring to?

    Science most certainly has developed information which disproves many divinities. For example, evolution creates very little room for the Abrahamic creator. In fact, if the bible is supposed to be the word of god science has proven him wrong time and again- Gawd made the claims, science has proven them wrong. Pretty strong evidence for his non-omniscience and if he’s not omniscient he’s not the god Christians think they are worshiping.

  146. james,

    The problem of evil is something that many religions have a very hard time explaining in any sort of logical, believable fashion.

  147. “but science we’ll always have with us.”

    Not if the terrorists win. How many Nobles have gone to Islamofascists?

  148. “Actually, he died for everyone. Everyone. It’s only the egotistical who think it means just them. But you know, he died for them too.”

    How does Jesus’s death save us? You will say that our belief in his death saves us, so how does that save us? We are back to the illogical concept that somehow accepting a belief on faith is a virtue and not accepting something on faith deserves eternal punishment. If God created us, didn’t he intend for us to use the brains he gave us? By using critical thinking, we are using our brains. When we think critically, we don’t accept some outlandish concept on faith just because it appeals to us or because our parents taught us to believe it or because our society believes it. We think for ourselves.

  149. StupendousMan –
    did you completely ignore the rest of my post where I differentiated between religion and the concept of a god?

  150. “I’ve always had scorn for the arrogance that if you simply believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, etc. it undoes all of the awful shit you do to people (directly and indirectly)”

    Actually, he died for everyone. Everyone. It’s only the egotistical who think it means just them. But you know, he died for them too.

    That’s what I meant to imply. It doesn’t change my comment though.

  151. “If God is omniscient, why didn’t he employ those tactics to begin with if he knew people couldn’t obey his laws?”

    Because He IS omniscient. It’s a long-term strategy.

    So Pastor John –
    are you a
    “We’re accountable for our own actions because God gave us free will.”
    kinda guy, or a
    “God has a plan for you” kinda guy, or as you put it he has a “long-term strategy?”

  152. Yes that discrepancy is what “woke” me up as it were. Father John that belief that you are right drives me crazy. You only believe that particular myth because of where you were born. We look at the religious tales of the greeks, romans, norse etc as myths. Remember that in the ancient times there were people who believed that Zeus, Jupiter, or Odin literally walked the earth. Just like you believe Christ died for your sins. What makes Christianity more right than the religions that came before it. I believe in buddhist philosophy which is not the same thing as buddhism the religion. You won’t see me trying to get others to convert to my philosophy. Believe what works for you but don’t insult me by implying that your views are right and mine are not.

  153. S of S,

    My understanding is that the Josephus reference is most likely a later addition. I don’t doubt for a moment that Christ was historical–the indirect evidence is compelling–but it appears to be an unfortunate truth that early church fathers weren’t above monkeying with “bolstering” the historical record.

    Pliny and most of the other references were non-contemporaneous. Whatever one might believe, there’s no doubt that the Gospels and an organized religion that we call Christianity existed in the first century A.D. (and, of course, beyond). So early references to “Christians” don’t prove much.

    This has nothing to do with religious faith, either. Even if we had tons of historical proof of Christ’s existence, it doesn’t change the fact that the religious view of Christ requires a leap of faith. And that leap is a choice left to each individual to make or not make.

  154. I did read it. I was commenting on the last sentence. I think Science has much evidence that the god defined in the bible doesn’t exist.

    Or are you saying that Science hasn’t disproved every conceivable god?

    maybe I missed your point… on pain meds- hope the feds don’t git me.

    Anyway I get irritated every time someone says that Science can say nothing about god or why we’re here, etc.- of course it can.

  155. “but science we’ll always have with us.”

    “Not if the terrorists win. How many Nobles have gone to Islamofascists?”

    Gustaff, you really believe that the terrorists represent that big a threat that they could take over the world?

  156. “So Pastor John –
    are you a
    “We’re accountable for our own actions because God gave us free will.”
    kinda guy, or a
    “God has a plan for you” kinda guy, or as you put it he has a “long-term strategy?””

    Why only the two choices? I’m a free-thinking kind of guy.

  157. Pro Libertate,

    What was likely a later addition was Josephus’ praise of Jesus. The portion where he mentions Jesus is likely part of the original text. Of course there are arguments for and against.

  158. “You won’t see me trying to get others to convert to my philosophy.”

    You just did.

  159. StupendousMan:
    I see… I capitalized “god” in my final sentence. I did mean to say that science has not yet disproven every conceivable god, as in, a higher power.

  160. “I don’t doubt for a moment that Christ was historical–the indirect evidence is compelling”

    Compelling? Read G.A. Wells and Earl Dougherty.

  161. Reinmoose,

    Cool, I get it. Thanks for the clarification.

  162. I think some people find the idea of Heaven comforting. Personally I think it would be extremely boring having your every desire and wish catered to for an eternity. I think it was DL Hughley who said something to the effect in a joke that, “you can’t smoke, can’t drink, can’t have sex sounds like hell to me.”

  163. “What was likely a later addition was Josephus’ praise of Jesus. The portion where he mentions Jesus is likely part of the original text. Of course there are arguments for and against.”

    If you take that whole section where it talks about Jesus out, it flows perfectly from the section before to the section after. I believe the whole section was interpolated by some Christian who was embarrassed that Jesus wasn’t mentioned by Josephus, probably Eusebius. Ofcourse, there were probably additional changes to make the section even more glorious regarding Jesus.

  164. This is the same argument over and over. Just once, I’d like to see a top ten list of things that atheists agree is good about religion.

    I’d also like to see the fundamentalist list of 10 good things about secular society.

    I suspect Pro Libertate will have his flying Jetta before then.

  165. I find it interesting that current scientists, atheists, etc. rail against the Christian view of Creation by God just as badly as the Christians railed against scientists and atheists in the past. Maybe we’re getting our come-uppence, but that doesn’t mean that evolutionists who attack Creationism are somehow smarter, wiser, or more respectable. Certainly not ones who are instanteously angry at Christian beliefs. What? Does the idea of God somehow offend you? Get over it–your blasphemy against my beliefs and the beliefs of 30 million other Americans in recent polls tells me that you’re disrespecting a lot more than a few “idiots.” Read Lee Strobel and maybe you’ll see that there’s some credibility. Now that Christians ARE using science to investigate the beginning of the world, we’re suddenly less credible than before. How does that work? Last thought–science is not about evolution vs. creation. I’m sure someone someday will come up with some other explanation for the origin of the universe. Maybe a random thought while looking at cats instead of birds next time.

  166. Pastor John actually I didn’t. I didn’t mention anything about buddhist philosophy beyond my following it. Religion is relative where you are from plays a large part in determining what you believe. If we were Hindus we might be having this same type of discussion about Kali, Ganesha, etc. In modern times we look upon ancient religious stories as mythological tales but for those who existed in those times those tales were their bible stories.

    Do you know the history of your religion? Ever hear of the Niacene Council?

  167. S of S,

    I think the main thrust of historical debate over the existence of Christ is directed at minimizing or maximizing his importance during his lifetime, not at really proving his actual existence. I think there’s little real doubt that there was a guy who lived somewhere in Judea, sometime in the early First century, who we now call Christ. Again, the religious issues aside.

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of historical proof is there for Socrates? Any Athenian records, pot shards with his name on them, etc.? Obviously, we have plenty of writings referring to him from his students, and no, I’m hardly doubting his existence.

    Lamar,

    Maybe we should settle the debate by granting victory to the side that gives me a flying car first. If an engineer delivers it to my house, science wins. If the Pope flies up to me in it, religion wins. In either case, of course, I win–vroom!

  168. I have friends who believe that the bible is the literal word of god. How clueless do you have to be to believe that? Apparently lots of Americans share there belief it’s kind of scary in a way. Belief like that is what crusades or jihads are made from.

  169. “I’d also like to see the fundamentalist list of 10 good things about secular society.”

    Here ya go:

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Amendment II
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    Amendment III
    No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    Amendment IV
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Amendment V
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    Amendment VII
    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Amendment VIII
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Amendment IX
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Amendment X
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

  170. Rattlesnake,

    Well, we’ll just have to disagree. However, I don’t think that the various sections of the Talmud or of Suetonious which are claimed to mention Jesus hold up to scrutiny.

  171. How many blacks believe in evolution? Probably less than white people. Like crime rates, blacks disproportial stupidity reflects badly on the nation.

  172. Ooh, Pastor John, good one. That may very well be the secular top ten.

  173. “Amendment I…Amendment X”

    Paster John wins the thread.

  174. “Paster John wins the thread.”

    Thanks. You know, we’re not all crazy.

  175. Pro Libertate,

    I think the main thrust of historical debate over the existence of Christ is directed at minimizing or maximizing his importance during his lifetime, not at really proving his actual existence.

    Well, if he existed it is pretty clear that he was a fairly minimal character during his own lifetime (that he came from a region was little commented on in the first place doesn’t help either).

    Most scholars do accept that he was a real guy; but that doesn’t keep me from asking whether one should accept that conclusion or not.

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of historical proof is there for Socrates?

    Basically we have the writings of Plato, Xenophon and Aristotle. Teasing the real Socrates from these sources is probably impossible.

  176. Ever been to a crime scene? Witnesses’ accounts tend to differ from one another. The fact that the four gospels contradict one another is encouraging. Four liars would have all gotten their stories straight first.”

    That would be an excellent refutation of any arguments that positted the gospel authors were contemporaneous with one another, and cooperated to write four books with the intention of widespread deception. However, I know of know scholarly theories that posit such a scenario.

  177. Pro Libertate,

    Indeed, that is one the “Socratic Problems.”

  178. I have seen some reasonably well-argued scholarship that says that the liberal (old school liberal, that is) bias toward the individual has much to do with the teachings of Christianity. Coupled with the revival of classical thought, of course. Reformation Christianity definitely moved the individual ahead of the Church and of the state in many people’s minds, even though Luther almost certainly didn’t intend the latter effect.

    Whatever else one may say, modern society is the result of who and what we were in the past. The good and some of the ill got us to where we are now. It’s humanity that’s done good and evil, whether we attribute our good and bad acts to religion, science, our hormones, whatever.

    S of S,

    The “Gospels” of Socrates, if you will. Exactly.

  179. Pro Libertate,

    Of course, no one that I know of is claiming that Socrates’ “words” are the final say on any particular matter.

  180. Pro Libertate,

    Indeed, if one takes Strauss’ view of Socrates and Plato one quickly comes to the conclusion that there is no “final word” on a certain class of questions.

  181. I think there’s little real doubt that there was a guy who lived somewhere in Judea, sometime in the early First century, who we now call Christ. Again, the religious issues aside.

    That brings up another issue: how much can this itinerant, 1st century Judean preacher differ from the man described in the gospels before you cease to consider him the real Jesus? And if most of the gospels are fiction, and the accurate parts so vague as to have been one of a great number of people, does it even make sense to say there was a historical Jesus?

  182. Lamar,

    Just once, I’d like to see a top ten list of things that atheists agree is good about religion.

    Religion has inspired some fine art, architecture and music. Think about how revolutionary Notre Dame in Paris was, despite being saddled with the label “Gothic” by later generations who tried to paint the middle ages as a period of exclusive primitiveness.

  183. No doubt that God doesn’t change — but HUckabee’s particular interpretation of the Bible and its metaphors and explanations for bronze-aged shepherds isn’t God. And that’s the problem: too many fundamentalists think their interpretation of the Bible is God. Part of this problem comes about from their misunderstanding — based on a misinterpretation — of the Greek word “logos” from John 1:1. That’s something I won’t go into here, but if anybody is interested, I do so on my blog (just click on my name, above).

  184. Jesus died for me?
    If I were there at that moment, I’d have told that fucker to get his ass off the cross and LIVE.
    LIVE, GODDAMN IT! Fight for your fucking life! And don’t give me this shit that it’s all for my own good! I didn’t have anything to do with this shit! Don’t put your shit on me, bitch!
    Here, have a fucking donut!

  185. Dr. Troy,

    I agree that too many Christians make God out to be who they think He should be based on what they thought they read. The problem with interpretation is that we can’t go back and ask the authors, “So, what did you mean by that?” when they used a metaphor or analogy or anything like that. There is nothing to say: “OK, people, this is a metaphor, not a real statement–don’t take this literally” or anything to say, “So, I’m serious about this one–it’s totally literal.”
    That’s where the high-faluting theologians come in and argue about everything.
    The logos is the Word, and the Word is Jesus, but that by NO MEANS says that the BIBLE is Jesus or God. That’s the problem–we often worship the Bible rather than the God Who wrote it. Oy. Trust me, I know–I’m a Bible/Theology major and saw plenty of Bible-worship from Christians who completely missed the point.

  186. “Jesus died for me?
    If I were there at that moment, I’d have told that fucker to get his ass off the cross and LIVE.
    LIVE, GODDAMN IT! Fight for your fucking life! And don’t give me this shit that it’s all for my own good! I didn’t have anything to do with this shit! Don’t put your shit on me, bitch!
    Here, have a fucking donut!”

    Good for you!

  187. Jamie Kelly,

    He didn’t die BECAUSE OF you, He died FOR you. You didn’t decide, He did, and He didn’t blame you for it. He didn’t do it because of what you did or do or who you are, but because of Who He is. Don’t be so arrogant as to think you have any say over what God does. And why do you have to be so disrespectful towards Him? If someone died to save the world, do you really think he needs the world’s permission first?

  188. Sheila,

    I would agree with you. But it’s great that Jamie Kelly feels free to exercise her First Amendment rights. Of course, she may just be trying to offend, but still, that is her right.

    Thank G-d for secular checks and balances.

  189. Jamie Kelly,

    When Christians start up the commentary about who Jesus died for it is best to simply ignore them.

  190. There are two basic points that make not-evolution seem wholly implausible.

    1 – geochronology allows us to very accurately date rocks in various ways. It’s not perfect, but it’s usually good to within 5-10%. The only theories I’ve seen for how geochronology could be wrong, put forward by young-earth-creationists, would pretty much invalidate most of modern physics. There just isn’t room to deny geochronology and still accept physics.

    2 – faunal succession in the fossil record. If we look at the fossil record there is a distinct succession of forms from the cambrian to the present, with plenty of missing links in the chain. Faunal succession cannot be naturally explained without something like evolution.

    Those two facts are pretty much all the convincing anyone should need that evolution is a valid concept. And any concept that DOESN’T include it should explain both. And ‘God works in mysterious ways’ won’t cut it from a scientific standpoint.

  191. He didn’t die BECAUSE OF you, He died FOR you.

    He did a really shitty job if it, whips and crown of thorns and nails and all. I mean, shit, that’s worse than cutting your own balls off and bleeding to death.
    Why didn’t he just jump off a cliff?
    Hey Jesus! Go jump off a cliff!
    That I could get behind. I might even drink a little less on Easter.

  192. Hey Jesus! Go jump off a cliff

    Luke 4:9. Actually, the devil sort of did tell him to do this. It was the last of the three temptations, although it was a the top of a temple, not a cliff. (Although the devil did take him to the top of a cliff in the second temptation to offer him the world)

  193. A couple of posts at 3quarksdaily seem related…

    Atheism
    http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/11/what-the-new-at.html

    At the very least, Sartre’s line implies that God’s existence would solve some kind of problem-actually, a profound one: the transcendent purpose of human existence. Few of us, especially as we grow older, are entirely comfortable with the idea that life is full of sound and fury but signi-fies nothing.

    Fodor on Adaptation and Natural Selection
    http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/10/fodor-on-adapta.html

    More often than not, both halves of the Darwinian synthesis are uttered in the same breath; but it’s important to see that the phylogeny could be true even if the adaptationism isn’t.

  194. ProLib, SoS,

    I love that you recognize the tenuous nature of historical proof for both Socrates and Jesus, particularly when one requires that Biblical sources are excluded as historical evidence. If you do the same with Socrates, the evidence goes “poof.”

  195. Jamie Kelly,

    A shitty job because it hurt? And how would you know it’s worse than cutting your balls off and bleeding to death? I’m not sure the comparison has ever been tried by anyone.

    Syloson,

    I’m not trying to evangelize, I’m simply trying to expand some thinking here.

    Pastor John,

    I totally agree that everyone should be able to voice their opinion. I can understand where Jamie Kelly is coming from–it has been extremely crucial to my faith that I have had the freedom to doubt and yell and question God. However, I’m just asking that we show some more respect to each other. Christians have obviously not always been good about this, but I’d like to see it happen more.

    lunchstealer,

    The problem with geochronology is the only way to test it’s accuracy is by itself. No one watched a rock form 30,000 years ago and wrote the date down on a scroll so people could prove that geochronological tests were accurate. There is no way to know it’s accuracy except to say a bunch of tests worked together to say about the same thing.

    As for the fossil record, don’t get me started on a world-wide Flood followed by an Ice Age and the cataclysmic effects that would have on fossil life. As for missing links, there don’t have to be any if all creatures were created and only microevolved to adapt to surroundings over time.

    I believe in evolution–microevolution. That’s why we have different races of species. But jumping species is a bit much. Takes a whole lot of faith in nature to believe that nature was able to chance its way through major evolutionary processes.

    And I really don’t care how old the earth is. Heck, give me the Gap theory. Have a hey-day with that. But don’t say there are no valid arguments.

  196. Rattlesnake,

    “What was likely a later addition was Josephus’ praise of Jesus. The portion where he mentions Jesus is likely part of the original text. Of course there are arguments for and against.”

    If you take that whole section where it talks about Jesus out, it flows perfectly from the section before to the section after. I believe the whole section was interpolated by some Christian who was embarrassed that Jesus wasn’t mentioned by Josephus, probably Eusebius. Ofcourse, there were probably additional changes to make the section even more glorious regarding Jesus.

    Look at this.

    If you take that whole section where it talks about Jesus out, it flows perfectly from the section before to the section after. I believe there were probably additional changes to make the section even more glorious regarding Jesus.

  197. Christians, Muslims, and Jews, each of your religions has less evidence supporting your beliefs than these believers have supporting their religious beliefs.

    To each their own.

  198. Sheila,

    But don’t say there are no valid arguments.

    There may be valid arguments.
    I don’t see that you have presented any.

    Respectfully I would suggest that you may be confusing “valid” with “reasoned.”

    Here is a nice review with ample space for both sides to present their views.
    http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/nhmag.html

  199. Sheila,

    That’s why we have different races of species.

    You may find this interesting.

    This failure of the clustering of local populations into biologically meaningful “races” based on a few clear genetic differences is not confined to the human species. Zoologists long ago gave up the category of “race” for dividing up groups of animal populations within a species, because so many of these races turned out to be based on only one or two genes so that two animals born in the same litter could belong to different “races.”

    http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Lewontin/
    and longer examination of the issue of animal taxonomies.
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/85008292/PDFSTART

  200. As near as I can tell very little of what is in the Bible can be verified by the historical or archeological record. And a whole lot of it is flat-out contradicted by the same.

    Hence it is likely to be of little use as “proof” for God’s existence. But that should not be important to the believer. Faith should be sufficient.

    For too many Americans, however, faith seems insufficient. They need proof, certainty, sure knowledge. And they create it.

    Now I am an atheist because i see absolutely no evidence for God’s existence and find no void in my life that needs to be filled with a God believed in simply through faith.

    On the other hand, I have good friends who feel quite differently.

  201. Perhaps Christian Scientology is the future. Beware of Xenu!

  202. …how then can it contradict the existence of God?

    YAAAAAAWN… this is amateur night apologetics Brian.

    Prove to me that invisible pink unicorns don’t exist. Prove to me that there isn’t a teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars.Prove to me that Zeus doesn’t exist, or Ra, or Ishtar, or any of the other Gods humans have worshiped throughout history.

    In science, or any other intellectually honest endeavor, it is not up to ME to prove that your celestial tyrant DOESN’T exit. You’re the one making the positive claim, so it’s up to YOU (and Pastor John, et al.) to prove that he does. Until then, I have no compelling reason to believe in God anymore than I have a reason to believe Satan Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Zeus, Ra, or Ishtar.

    So? Where’s your evidence? No, the Bible doesn’t count, nor does child birth, rainbows, or “feelings” like “faith” count as proof either. It has to be reproducible. It has to falsifiable. It has to be objective.

  203. I’m sure omebody has already pointed this out, but it’s worth repeating.

    God, by definition is neuther provable nor falsifiable. Various biblical claims (the sun standing still, raising Lazarus from the dead, are falsifiable). OTOH, The existence of the various tribes and nations mentioned in the bible are easily provable. But God, the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe is neither.
    I’ll never convince a true believer that they are wrong. They have to convince themselves.

    BTW, It doesn’t appear that, for most folks, theism is all that harmful and may indeed provide some comfort in a cruel and uncertain world.

    That has no bearing on whether theism is correct, though.

  204. Neu Mejican:

    Don’t go to a social sciences forum for expertise on evolutionary concepts. Lewontin may be a big name, but on this topic he is flat-out wrong, possibly deliberately so. Nonetheless, Sheila is an ignoramus. You believe in micro-evolution? Good for you. Macro-evolution doesn’t require any different mechanisms than micro-evolution, so whether you realize it or not, you’ve tacitly accepted macro-evolution.

  205. the innominate one,

    Just a convenient quote on the topic of race in species taxonomy by “R.C. Lewontin, Alexander Agassiz Professor Emeritus of Zoology at Harvard University.”

    A guy that “has written a number of books and articles on evolution and human variation, including Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA and The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment”

    But I will look at any more authoritative source you have on the validity of the concept of “races” as currently used in evolutionary or biological sciences.

    Should be easy since he is “flat out wrong.”

    ;^)

  206. the innominate one,

    I do seem to recall that the concept of race is still used commonly in discussions of domesticated animals, which have undergone “intelligent design.”

  207. What you detractors arrogantly fail to recognize are your own unprovable preconceptions and that it requires more faith to believe in purely naturalistic (atheistic) evolution than it does in a Creator who has something to do with the existence of the Universe and the fact that we live on this planet.

    It doesn’t require more faith – it requires more work. And people, being naturally lazy, go with the story that doesn’t require them to do anything. That doesn’t make the story true.

  208. Sheila,

    “The problem with geochronology is the only way to test it’s accuracy is by itself.”

    This isn’t true. We can document the processes occurring today (radioactive decay for radiometric dating), we can independently test and verify them, we can understand the underlying physics and why there’s absolutely no reason to think these basic properties of nature have changed in the past millions of years, and we can extrapolate.

    “Takes a whole lot of faith in nature to believe that nature was able to chance its way through major evolutionary processes.”

    This is a point on which 1) a lot of fair-minded and intellectually honest people have a fundamental misunderstanding, and 2) a lot of people who actually know better deliberately misrepresent the process of evolution by natural selection. Nature didn’t have to “chance its way through major evolutionary processes.” Mutations are random (at least with respect to their fitness effects); but the process by which mutations are filtered based on their fitness effects, natural selection, is anything but random. It’s absolutely nothing like “dropping a bunch of bricks and expecting a house,” to quote a particularly dishonest metaphor that used to be popular in creation scientist circles. It doesn’t take any faith to accept that – just some basic understanding of biology.

    “As for the fossil record, don’t get me started on a world-wide Flood followed by an Ice Age and the cataclysmic effects that would have on fossil life.”

    I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say with this sentence, but I do know that there’s no evidence in the fossil record for a world-wide flood.

  209. This isn’t true. We can document the processes occurring today (radioactive decay for radiometric dating), we can independently test and verify them, we can understand the underlying physics and why there’s absolutely no reason to think these basic properties of nature have changed in the past millions of years, and we can extrapolate.

    Here here! Besides, there are other methods to estimating the age of the Earth. I’ll let George Hrab George Hrab. take it from here:

    Besides Radiometric Dating- how do we know the earth is OLDER than SIX THOUSAND YEARS

    Here’s how-

    1. Light-
    With the universe, and even our particular galaxy being as mind numbingly HUGE as it is, it takes a LONG time for light to travel across these great distances. Since there are portions of our galaxy that are VISIBLE to us, but are 50,000 light years away, we know that the light from those stars has been traveling that long. We also can tell from the use of spectrographic reading how that light gets effected by other gravitational forces during its journey. So either the light has been traveling, OR god has CREATED the universe and its light in situ. If THAT’s true, it could also be JUST AS TRUE that god created the universe FIVE MINUTES AGO.

    Feh.

    There is no way that 6, 000 years is enough time light to travel to us from distant visible stars.

    2. Plate Tectonics-
    The huge swaths of continental land that cover the earth are actually slowly moving plates. These plates have been traveling across the face of the earth for millions of years, and move at a measurable rate. The Himalayas have been formed by two such plates colliding into each other, and forcing the meeting front edges into a peak. This peak has been forming at about 3 inches per year for the last 100,000 years. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for Mount Everest to form.

    3. Coral Reefs-
    Coral grows at a lugubriously slow pace. It takes a hundred years to produce a few inches of growth. There are reefs on the planet that are over 4,000 feet thick. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for some large coral reefs to form.

    4. Loess Deposits-
    Wind blown silt deposits are known as Loess deposits, and there are areas in China that give an accurate yearly wind blown silt record of 300 meters of silt. These records go back MILLIONS of years, and are as consistent as can be. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for China’s Loess deposits to form.

    5. Dendrochronology
    The study of tree rings is an amazingly accurate science, and by using matching yearly ring sections, dendrochronologists can follow certain tree chronologies back continuously for thousands of years. The Bristlecone Pine trees of Northern California have been traced back to 7,000 BC. That’s over NINE THOUSAND years. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for the Bristlecone Pine Chronology to form.

    6. Varves-
    There are algal growth cycles in large lakes known as varves. These algae growths bloom in warmer weather, die in colder months, then sink to the bottom of the lake. Scientists can take sample plugs out of the bottom of the lake and count the layers to determine the age of these bodies of water. There are lakes in Japan (particularly Lake Suigetsu) that have over 45, 000 layers. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for these varve layers to grow, collect and form.

    7. Moon Dust-
    Space dust accumulates on the moon at an estimated annual rate of two nanograms per square centimeter. (A nanogram is one thousandth of a millionth of a gram). By this estimate there should be about and inch and a half of space dust on the moon (if it were indeed 4.5 billion years old) and guess what? That’s EXACTLY what the Apollo moon missions found. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for the inch and a half of moon dust to gather on the surface of the moon.

    8. Helioseismology
    As a star burns off its hydrogen as fuel, it accumulates more and more helium. Sound travels differently through helium than it does through hydrogen, so as sun-quakes occur, that difference in sound inhibition can be measured, obsered and calculated, and a star’s age can be determined. Using this method, our sun is said to be about 4.6 billion years old. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for our sun to have the percentage of helium to hydrogen that it does.

    9. Mega Meteor Impacts
    There is evidence around the planet for a number of gigantic, “global impact” type meteor collisions. One impact crater in Canada is 60 miles wide, as well as the famous impact site in the Yucatan that is believed to be the site where the Jurassic killing meteor landed. These impacts are HUGE worldwide effecting events that SHOULD be recorded in human history if indeed humans have been around since the beginning. You’d think that SOME civilization would mention the fact that the planet was covered in ASH at some point. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for these mega meteors to hit the earth and get NO MENTION by ANY civilization.

    10. Super Volcanoes
    74,000 years ago, the Toba Caldera volcano in Sumatra threw into the air more than 3,000 times the ash that left Mt. Saint Helens. There is no mention of a volcano like this by any past culture. Much like the meteor impacts, you’d think that this would have made the record SOMEWHERE. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for super volcanoes like this to erupt and go unnoticed.

    Here some more I DIDN’T get to mention during the lecture.

    11. Ice Ages
    There have been 20 instances of ice sheets expanding and spreading to cover huge portions of the Earth. Every time this happens, there is physical evidence that remains and indicates each unique ice spreading event. These ice sheets move at a VERY slow pace, because it takes a foot of snowfall to produce an INCH of glacial ice. These walls of glacial ice would be ripping up and down the earth like Tidal Waves for them to fit into the young earth model. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for 20 ice ages to occur and spread.

    12. Hawaii-
    The Hawaiian islands are made up of the tips of slowly building volcanic strata. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for the Hawaiian island to form and look the way they look.

    13. Coal-
    It takes millions of years for enormous amounts of vegetation and organic material to turn into coal. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for the AMOUNT of coal we have to form.

    14. Salt Deposits
    In Utah, there is an enormous underground deposit of salt that has been left there from the slow evaporation of an ancient sea. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for a steady stream of water to evaporate that much salt.

    15. Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon has been formed not by a flood, but by a slow steady carving of the various geologic layers by a combination of the Colorado river (or its ancient progenitor) and the uplifting of a plateaus by mountain building events. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for the Grand Canyon to form and look the way it looks.

    16. Ice Cores
    There is a consistent, measurable annual record contained within the ice of the Antarctic. Removing and measuring ice cores can show all kinds of annual info. Many of these ice cores samples date back hundreds of thousands of years. There is no way that 6,000 years is enough time for these cores to look the way they do.

    NOW- These are some of the things that I found on my own, just by hunting around the internet. I’M SURE there are MANY more examples, but these sixteen or so are a good start to use whenever debating with someone. Remember that when they said that god just made it APPEAR that way? you say that that means god JUST made us appear (with memories intact) too… and that he’s a conniving, deceptive prick.

  210. In purely naturaistic evolution, everything happens at random but is interconnected to everyhing else? is this accurate?

  211. Sorry, the spellchecking part of my brain hasnt evolved yet.

  212. NOW- These are some of the things that I found on my own, just by hunting around the internet. I’M SURE there are MANY more examples, but these sixteen or so are a good start to use whenever debating with someone.

    Stalagtities, limestone caverns, the mississippi delta …

  213. I think its interesting how evolution always gets so many posts. I mean it’s a predictable 2-300 post thread every time. Interesting because in some ways the immediate effects of this issue are quite small, I should think, on most folks. Don’t get me wrong, I think creationists and IDer’s are obstinately foolish. And I myself am always drawn to post on this topic. But really, whatever happens on this issue there will be many who are read up on evolution and realize it is correct and a bunch of folks who simply refuse to acknowledge it…And don’t get me wrong, the long term effects could be mad (scientifically illiterate kids eventually grow up). But still interesting…

    As I said, I like to post on this topic as well. I don’t know if someone has mentioned that Huckabee’s analogy seems all wrong. He equates the fact that “science” changes but “God” does not. Of course what changes is our ideas about what is or is not scientifically correct, but of of course our idea of God changes all the time too (it even changes WITHIN the Bible, from a quite parochial God of a certain people to a universal God, to give one example).

  214. “could be mad..” should read “could be bad” dagnabbit

  215. MNG,

    I like “could be mad” better.

  216. You believe in micro-evolution? Good for you. Macro-evolution doesn’t require any different mechanisms than micro-evolution, so whether you realize it or not, you’ve tacitly accepted macro-evolution.

    Wait, Neu Mexican doesn’t believe in Darwinism?

    And I wasted my time arguing with him thinking because he posted a bunch of links to fancy little articles he knew what he was talking about?

    Now he’ll post ten links to some goobley gook or maybe ignore me. Either way, I feel better.

    There’s an invisible man in the sky that loves you, all races are equal and unlimited immigration from any place in the world will all result in a multiultural utopia. It all makes sense now!

  217. SOS: I would also say the golden rule (the Jewish version), most of the ten commandments, John 8:7, Matthew 19:19, etc.

  218. Neu Mejican,

    The thing is that I am not terribly concerned whether Socrates actually existed or not. It doesn’t really effect the read the ideas attributed to him, particularly since he didn’t claim any supernatural, etc. acts. The existance of Christ is (obviously) however crucial for Christians.

  219. Lamar,

    Most of the Ten Commandments are concerned with how to properly worship Yahweh.

  220. The problem with geochronology is the only way to test it’s accuracy is by itself. No one watched a rock form 30,000 years ago and wrote the date down on a scroll so people could prove that geochronological tests were accurate. There is no way to know it’s accuracy except to say a bunch of tests worked together to say about the same thing.

    That completely misses my point. As someone pointed out upthread, geochronology works on exactly the same laws that govern the rest of the physical interactions of the universe. If geochronology is wrong, the laws of physics have to have changed. The problem is that those changes that would be required to change the decay rates of atomic nuclei would also change the operation of the sun, which molecules were stable, and most of the fundamental laws of chemistry. And there’s absolutely no evidence that the fundamental laws of chemistry have changed significantly. You don’t have to believe the results of geochronology, but you then also have to throw out all the scientific laws that prove it, because if geochronology is wrong, then so are they. Now you’re rejecting a large proportion of physics. Which is fine, but you can’t say “Oh, I accept science, but not the bits of physics that relate to geochronology.” Because to disbelieve geochronology is to disbelieve most of modern physics, which is the underpinning of most modern science.

    As for the fossil record, don’t get me started on a world-wide Flood followed by an Ice Age and the cataclysmic effects that would have on fossil life. As for missing links, there don’t have to be any if all creatures were created and only microevolved to adapt to surroundings over time.

    But the geochronology proves that the fossil layers were laid down at different times, all of which were before the time of the Noachian flood. They can’t all have been laid down at once. Again, you can discount the fossil record if you want, but to do so, you have to completely discount both geochronology and good portions of chemistry and materials science. The rules that make us understand this stuff are the same rules that make your house stay standing, and not crumble to dust within weeks.

    The changes you’d have to make to the laws of physics to make geochronology and the fossil record not work would make most of our world behave radically differently. And you can believe that if you want, but you’re saying that most of science is wrong.

    And that’s OK too. But Mike Huckabee said that he thought science was great, but not evolution. And the changes you’d have to make to modern science to disregard the two underpinnings of evolution I mention here (geochronology and faunal succession) would basically invalidate many of the laws we base all scientific and technological calculations upon today.

  221. Sheila,

    No one watched a rock form 30,000 years ago…

    That isn’t required. Look, I don’t have to have watched it snow in order to wake tomorrow look at the fresh snow on the ground and think it must have snowed. Either that or someone rented a machine to make artificial snow. Furthermore, I didn’t have see a burial at Arlington to realize that there are a lot of dead people buried there. Why? Because presumably someone didn’t plant a whole bunch of grave markers for no reason. Finally, when it comes to geology I don’t have to witnessed a geological event to understand that it happened, particularly when I can witness current events (volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, etc.) and then look the remains of similar events in the rock. If X current event creates Y type feature over Z number of currently observable years the I can use that as a guide to past events. To be blunt the standard of evidence or proof that you are requiring is just odd in light of the above examples.

  222. Sheila,

    I’m not trying to evangelize, I’m simply trying to expand some thinking here.

    Are you suggesting that what you are writing has some novelty to us here?

  223. SoS: Except the commandments against killing, coveting your neighbors stuff and wife, stealing, lying, and honoring your folks.

  224. Lamar,

    Predated of course by law codes like that of Hammurabi by several hundred years. The influence is rather aparent.

  225. Faith in macroevolution IS “dogmatism in the face of contravening facts.” Try reading ALL of the literature available on the topic, not only the faithful of a naturalist philosophy.

  226. “The influence is rather apparent.”

    Not sure it matters. I’m not judging the artistic merit of the ten freakin’ commandments. I’m applauding their universal recognition.

  227. Lamar,

    I’m afraid that the Decalogue was largely recognizing what had come before it. As to its universality, that’s not even the case.

  228. Lamar,

    Furthermore, it is rather apparent that the Decalogue’s commandments against killing, etc. were not universal in their application.

  229. “I’m afraid that the Decalogue was largely recognizing what had come before it.”

    As I said, not sure it matters. Christianity brought those concepts to more people today than Hammurabi.

    I am not talking about the history of the commandments, nor their intent. You can agree that we should not kill, correct? You can agree that regardless of whether Moses plagiarized somebody else, the commandment still stands, yes? You can agree that Christianity had the effect of bringing the commandments to a much wider range of people, yes?

    I’m not really sure what your argument is, to tell you the truth.

  230. Lamar,

    You can agree that Christianity had the effect of bringing the commandments to a much wider range of people, yes?

    No. To be frank, the cultures which adopted Christianity (often by the point of the sword I must add) already had similar legal commands regarding theft, murder, etc., as well as more enlightened policies (such as a more tolerant view of religious belief).

  231. “Furthermore, these are “witness statements” by any stretch of the imagination. They were put down on paper at least one generation after the supposed death of Christ (in the case of John’s gospel we’re talking about two to three generations after such). It is also the case that it is obvious that they are drawing on one another and on sources which no longer exist.”

    True, TRUE fundie nutjobs insist that the authors of the gospels are the apostles whose names they have. Even though even the people who put the Bible together didn’t think that. Some of them even insist that the John of Revelations is the apostle John, even though there’s a huge amount of documentary evidence for who it actually is. So arguing that these aren’t direct witness accounts won’t convince the truly deranged.

    And just as an aside, the documentary evidence for Jesus and for Socrates can’t be even remotely compared. Socrates is mentioned by various contemporaries, including Aristophanes, and the Aristophanes work has never been “out of print” or recovered or anything else. In addition, the life of Alcibiades is very well attested, because he was a historical figure of some importance, and Socrates’ association with Alcibiades was notorious. [Actually, their mutual fames reinforced each other in a complementary way]. Our evidence of Socrates’ teaching isn’t necessarily of very good quality, because it comes to us via Plato, who was interested mostly in making Socrates the dramatic mouthpiece for his own views, but our evidence for Socrates’ existence is pretty damn good.

  232. Lamar,

    This decree came into being in 326 CE (thirteen years after Constantine declared tolerance of Christian worship):

    C. Th. XVI.v.1: It is necessary that the privileges which are bestowed for the cultivation of religion should be given only to followers of the Catholic faith. We desire that heretics and schismatics be not only kept from these privileges, but be subjected to various fines. Constantine Augustus.

    Prior to this of course most religious belief was tolerated within the Roman Empire (so long as it was not a threat to public order, etc. – a view which Locke later took up). Not that I am any big fan of the Roman Empire as a general rule.

  233. I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that Plato was kinda a douchebag. Clever guy, to be sure, and well worth reading. But kinda a douchebag.

  234. SoS:

    You’ve convinced me. The Ten Commandments are bad. I will cease to observe them. Silly me to think that the prohibitions on killing and stealing were a good thing. I realize now they were just copyright infringement and should not be observed. ?!

  235. and people wondered why religious people piss me off?

    how can someone who is completely illogical NOT piss you off?

    TGIF!
    Drink!

  236. You can agree that we should not kill, correct? You can agree that regardless of whether Moses plagiarized somebody else, the commandment still stands, yes? You can agree that Christianity had the effect of bringing the commandments to a much wider range of people, yes?

    I haven’t followed all of this discussion, but I certainly think that many of the commandments are admirable, but others are largely superfluous. Only half are codified in the law in most cases. And only three are actual crimes in most US law (false witness, murder, and theft). And even false witness is only a crime under very specific circumstances.

    The rest are either civil matters (honor thy father and mother, do not commit adultery), largely ignored (keep the sabbath day holy) or are expressly protected behaviors in American law (holding other gods before Him, making a graven image).

    The places where adultery is prosecuted as a crime are generally not good places, and most of the time the people there are not Christian, but that other thing – the one Dondero’s so afeard of.

  237. There shouldn’t be a law about honoring your parents, but you should still do it.

  238. Grande Chalupa (our shallow boat),

    Wait, Neu Mexican doesn’t believe in Darwinism?

    Darwinism is one of the most successful theories yet produced by science, where would you get the idea I don’t agree with it?

    Did you miss construe the “there might be valid arguments” to mean that I didn’t believe in Darwinism?

    I am willing to engage anyone in a debate about a sincerely held belief (such as yours about race) if they are truly interested in exploring the topic. That requires admission that my views might be altered by what they have to say, admitting that there might be valid arguments I hadn’t heard or thought of. I am skeptical of anyone who claims to have figured out any complex topic definitively.

    I am, however, not going to accept invalid arguments as valid. Sheila presented some clearly invalid arguments. (Much like yours on the policy implications of the demographics of race.) She may have some valid points, I won’t know until she presents them.

    Now he’ll post ten links
    Just to keep you happy in your preconceptions…at look at “g.”
    http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/523.html

    SoS,

    The thing is that I am not terribly concerned whether Socrates actually existed or not.

    Motivation is, of course, a big part of the historical truth. I tend to think that both Socrates and Jesus were real people, but the chances of finding confirmation beyond the writings about them is slim. History is not science. And science requires data. I doubt the data exists on this topic.

    A better than average debate on this topic today folks.

  239. I have a degree in Biology, and I can say for an absolute fact that Evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for the variety of organisms and biological systems on Earth.

    This article fails to distinguish between science and the popular opinion of scientists.

  240. There shouldn’t be a law about honoring your parents, but you should still do it.

    Well, in terms of codifying custodial authority over minors, I kinda think there should be some legal recognition thereof, as there is.

    But what about the first two, or the last? Does covetousness really belong on the same page as murder and theft?

  241. “Try reading ALL of the literature available on the topic, not only the faithful of a naturalist philosophy.”

    Hey, Larry, thanks for the content-free condescension. Try actually contributing something USEFUL, like the references to some of this literature that purports to overturn one of the fundamental tenets of modern science.

  242. “I have a degree in Biology, and I can say for an absolute fact that Evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for the variety of organisms and biological systems on Earth.”

    I hope you didn’t pay too much for that degree. It’s pretty clear that you got taken.

  243. I have a degree in Biology, and I can say for an absolute fact that Evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for the variety of organisms and biological systems on Earth.

    Pffft. I have a degree in physics, and I can say for an absolute fact that Newton’s laws of motion can’t account for the orbits of all nine (or eight) planets. Top that!

  244. Try reading ALL of the literature available on the topic

    Doubt that could be done in a lifetime.
    Surely, you aren’t claiming you have read it all, surely.

  245. I have a graduate degree in Economics and can say for an absolute fact:

    DEMAND KURV

    BOO YAH!

    SofS: really interesting posts! Thank you!

  246. The Ten Commandments discussion will not be complete until I throw in my standard contribution:

    Several of the Ten Commandments deal with thoughtcrimes. It’s quite an Orwellian document.

    Christians like to say that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of our law – but a society that actually viewed the law in the same terms as Moses would have to look like Oceania to get ‘r done.

  247. “I have a degree in Biology, and I can say for an absolute fact that Evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for the variety of organisms and biological systems on Earth.”

    Tell us JR, what biological systems and organisms can’t be accounted for by evolutionary mechanisms?

  248. Fluffy says what I meant only better.

    The first three commandments would, if implemented legally, directly contravene Amendment I of the constitution. The fourth is of questionable constitutionality.

    The last would be unenforceable sans the abovementioned Orwellianism.

    That leaves 5 through 9, and of those two are purely civil law in nature, and another is only criminal if violated while giving testimony to a legal authority – otherwise it’s civil as well. Only two are undeniably criminal.

  249. “I tend to think that both Socrates and Jesus were real people”

    One thing that makes me doubt the actual existence of Jesus is his name. “Jesus” means “God is salvation”. Isn’t it quite a coincidence that the theological purpose of Jesus’ death was for salvation and that happens to be what his name means?

  250. i stayed at a holidy inn express last night and i say evolution is correct.

  251. Takes a whole lot of faith in nature to believe that nature was able to chance its way through major evolutionary processes.

    The critical flaw in this argument is that you’re assuming that there was some pre-determined end point for evolution to reach. We’re not talking about finding out how would nature figure out how to get us to this point.. we’re saying that a lot of random events occurred over a very very very very very long period of time, and the current state of the world/universe is the result of those events at this moment in time.

  252. I have a degree in Biology, and I can say for an absolute fact that Evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for the variety of organisms and biological systems on Earth.

    And you would be wrong.

  253. Pffft. I have a degree in physics, and I can say for an absolute fact that Newton’s laws of motion can’t account for the orbits of all nine (or eight) planets. Top that!

    IIRC you need Einsteinian physics to explain the orbit of planets once the measurements get accurate enough. Mercury already, others to follow.

  254. Lamar,

    Silly me to think that the prohibitions on killing and stealing were a good thing.

    I never claimed that they were bad things so I’m not quite sure what your point is.

    There shouldn’t be a law about honoring your parents, but you should still do it.

    What if your parents are assholes or worse?

    Fluffy,

    Interesting way of looking at it. Mind if I borrow it in future?

  255. yeah, I was mostly just posting a neener neener post. Any theory can fail to explain SOMETHING if you push it far enough. But Newton was still right.

  256. Mr. Nice Guy,

    Well, in a lot of ways for many people (perhaps myself included) defending Darwinism is a “proxy battle” for a whole lot of other issues.

  257. How does human free will fit into pure natural evolution? Can it have occurred by a chance reaction? If so, to what stimuli? Are we the only animals that have this level of free will?

    It’s that free will that allows some to believe in science and others to believe in god. Unfortunately, we all want to be right. I do enjoy the civil discourse here but find the namecalling and hatefulness to be brutish. Generally it seems to be the behaviour of someone unprepared to make a valid argument to support their position.

  258. brotherben,

    Is “free will” an illusion?

  259. Any theory can fail to explain SOMETHING if you push it far enough. But Newton was still right.

    That’s the point isn’t it? Consrvation of matter is still correct if your a chemist. If you build nukes for a living, not so much. I don’t think any credible biologist claims that Darwin solved everything. Just like Newton, he was essentially right. Even after relativity hit the scene. In 1,000 years, biology textbooks are still going to start with Darwin, just like physic textbooks start with Newton.

  260. S of S,
    Free will is only an illusion to David Copperfield.

  261. Rattlesnake Jake, ‘

    One thing that makes me doubt the actual existence of Jesus is his name. “Jesus” means “God is salvation”. Isn’t it quite a coincidence that the theological purpose of Jesus’ death was for salvation and that happens to be what his name means?

    This assumes, of course, that the man referred to in historical texts as “Jesus” (or Yehoshua) had that name when he was alive. But there is no requirement for the man to have carried the name by which is was later referred during his life.

    In a hundred years, a man who really existed (and whose music is playing on my computer at the moment) will be referred to as “Jimi Hendrix” but first he was known as Johnny Allen Hendrix, and he was later re-named James Marshall Hendrix. By your logic this would mean that reference to “Jimi Hendrix” are not referring to a real man. “Jesus” was his stage name dude. He might (^_^) have been called “PERCIVAL”

    http://decorabilia.blogspot.com/2006/02/jesuss-real-name.html

  262. Not that there’s anything wroong with the name percival.

  263. Buddhism is an example of a religion not hostile to science (though there is some dispute whether Buddhism is actually a religion since it is nontheistic). The Dalai Lama has said that if science ever disproves something that Buddhism teaches, then Buddhism would have to change its beliefs. And I just read an article that Emory University is beginning a collaboration with the Dalai Lama to introduce a modern science curriculum into Tibetan Buddhist monastic universities.

  264. Actually, Christianity killed the Roman Empire! Christian religion becomes popular in the RE, and the RE splits in two because of it, and then the RE disintegrated. Abe Linc (and Jesus) was right when he said “a house divided cannot stand”. Oh, and Internet Killed the Video Star!

    PS. I know that last thing is old, but I like it.

  265. As you bring up this subject of having to choose between God or science, I hope you and others realize that ‘evolution’ is nothing more than a philosophical ideology of secular humanism/naturalism. There continues to be no proof of macro-type species to species evolution. In my opinion, common sense says that if everything came about by this process?wouldn’t we be able to find it somewhere? And there are many other scientist who don’t ‘believe’ that we crawled out of a mudpuddle! To our shame, these many, many scientist are silenced and shunned by “THE” ‘scientific’ community. We’ve come along way from Scopes. In addition, the silencing of the critics is indeed the State’s establishment of a ‘religion/worldview.’ In my opinion, this house of cards will soon fall.

    All said and done, I like Mike Huckabee, he’s for the people?I just hope that he’s able to do as good as a lot of people are praying for.

    Go Huck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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