Is evidence all that matters?

183


Discussion by: Mormon Atheist
I, as I am sure many other atheists do, always cite the lack of evidence for a god as one of the main reasons for my disbelief. However, I often wonder if that’s sufficient enough reason. Evidence collects over time with numerous experiments that all add to the same conclusion and since this is not the case with god I conclude that god does not exist. But for thousands of years there was no evidence for bacteria yet they existed. This was due to many reasons mainly due to a lack of technology. Is it possible this is the same for god and that this gives those who are religious reasonable wiggle room for their belief?

183 COMMENTS

  1. For the thousands of years in which there was no evidence for bacteria there was no one who believed in bacteria. It would have really been something amazing if for all that time people did in fact believe in bacteria despite the lack of evidence and it turned out to be true!!!

  2. Well, the case with Yahweh (or any other god) is different, they can’t be detected. By following that logic, we shall conclude that it is impossible to ever know if a god exists, same with all the supernatural “phenomena”. You’re analogy is false.

  3. Whilst there can never be evidence of ‘no god’, there are plenty of claims made by the theists about the characteristics and behaviour of their particular god. AFAIC, it’s up to the Christians to show evidence that Jesus smited the fig tree, that he walked on water, that he came back from the dead to float off to heaven to sit beside Himself and so on. Over the years the progress of science has shown the impossibility of e.g. a 6 day creation, the sun being held still for 24 hours, rain coming through from windows in heaven etc. The various religious books make ridiculous claims like Adam and Eve e.g.

    I can never disprove that King Arthur didn’t pull Excalibur from the stone in the lake, nor that Robin Hood had a girlfriend called Maid Marion, but I do know how much credence I give to those stories as being likely to have actually happened, – none at all !

    As usual, those making the claims should provide the evidence. Or shut up! It’s not our job to disprove anything.

  4. No it’s not the same for gods. Bacteria are things that exist in and have an effect on the physical world, theists claim that god exists outside of the physical world. As such it is an untestable claim, unless there are instances where god intercedes in the physical world (e.g. verified miracles or creation). Even then, I’m not sure what form such a test could take which would rule out all other causes.

    • In reply to #4 by Mister T:

      No it’s not the same for gods. Bacteria are things that exist in and have an effect on the physical world, theists claim that god exists outside of the physical world. As such it is an untestable claim, unless there are instances where god intercedes in the physical world (e.g. verified miracles).

      No the only way for us to test the supernatural (including God) ,is if he affected the natural world in a natural way.

      • In reply to #5 by Thrinaxodon:

        In reply to #4 by Mister T:

        No it’s not the same for gods. Bacteria are things that exist in and have an effect on the physical world, theists claim that god exists outside of the physical world. As such it is an untestable claim, unless there are instances where god intercedes in the physical world (e.g. verified miracles).

        No the only way for us to test the supernatural (including God) ,is if he affected the natural world in a natural way.

        Which is exactly what I was getting at.

  5. It seems that a god (as described by any particular religion) is about as possible as six-limbed telepathic fire breathing dragons existing somewhere in the universe. There’s zero evidence for them, but the universe is pretty large and if such dragons did exist somewhere within it, our “knowledge” of them would have been just a good guess. It doesn’t mean we should rally for their welfare here on Earth, though, nor should we organize our lives on what the dragons may or may not want, simply because there may be a slight possibility that something from our imagination exists.

  6. This is the argument from ignorance. There are undoubtedly more things than are known of in our philosophy. Since they are unknown unknowns we can’t say anything about them. Religious believers, however, have a great deal to say about their gods. We can, therefore, say with complete confidence that their gods are cultural memes.

  7. Let there be absolutely no doubt: evidence is all that matters.

    Many religious believers claim to possess faith that transcends evidence, that they don’t need a reason to believe. This is obviously mistaken. Nobody believes without reason. If someone says “I just feel it to be true,” then that feeling is the reason. Once we recognize the true reasons for belief, we can examine the evidence for those beliefs. It takes only a modest appreciation of scientific method to quickly and reliably attribute such beliefs to highly distorted prior information (lies from trusted people) and buggy software (often termed ‘cognitive bias’).

    Evidence can be defined as reliable reasons for belief, so no, there is no sense in which beliefs without evidence can be considered on a par with beliefs supported by good quality empirical data.

    Of course, it is possible that our observable universe was created as some kind of science project by someone, but the gods of any religion ever devised are too improbable to deserve any credence. At the risk of gross truism, there are too many absurdly improbable propositions, to expect any chance of accidentally hitting on the right one.

    • In reply to #9 by tom campbell-ricketts:
      Your very good reply made my little brain click and recall my favorite religious song, by Rod Stewart:

      If I listened long enough to you
      I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
      Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
      Still I look to find a reason to believe

      Someone like you makes it hard to live without
      Somebody else
      Someone like you makes it easy to give
      Never think about myself

      If I gave you time to change my mind
      I’d find a way just to leave the past behind
      Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
      Still I look to find a reason to believe

  8. I don’t understand what is meant by ‘GOD’. Is this an archetype? A product of the subconscious? It needs a definition before any evidence can be put forward. In this case the concept of GOD has to be agreed among all the religions not just one, and I include the latest spiritual positions too such as modern Druidry.
    For me GOD or Goddess is a figment of the imagination that provides comfort and direction in life. Without reason the imagination can of course lead to undesirable outcomes. Without understanding that GOD is simply a product of our own imagination then we start hunting for ‘evidence’ of its existence to support our own morals, actions, biases, view of the world, existence etc.
    Happy hunting!
    But personally I would rather be doing something more constructive.

  9. Of course bacteria were undetectable until recently, but their effects could be seen in diseases. No holy book makes claims about the useful bacteria existing in our guts, nor about 90% of our cells being composed of unicellular organisms, without which we would die. Religion thrives upon ignorance, inserting God into wherever it can.

    No holy book makes claims about quarks electrons etc. You would think that a “holy” book written by the Creator of the universe, would have some useful information in it about reality. But no ! It took mere humans to find out about bacteria, quarks and the like !

  10. Prior to Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s 1675 discovery of “amazing little animalcules” we were well aware of the connection between disease, hygiene & diet [although the lessons were many times lost & rediscovered]. The ancient Middle Eastern taboos re certain foods MAY have come about as a result of observations about health. Thus we had an inkling without a mechanism which was always open to discovery via experimentation. It wasn’t instrumentation that was lacking so much as the scientific method whereby even the ancient Greeks could have experimented with sealed items of food & noted the delay of decay. Preservation of food by drying is a very ancient piece of knowledge & some genius could have made a connection in ancient days between water, air & preservation & posited a “humour” or miniature beasties without a microscope.

    If we are discussing a god or gods that act in this world, then there will be means to detect the interactions

    So my answer to your two questions is:-

    1] Yes

    2] No

  11. How else can you judge the existence of God? If not evidence then what?

    The answer to the second question is of course a leap of faith. I will indulge this option even though its illogical. I myself have become fascinated with statistics. I like stats on any subject. Its certainly a good way to find out how the world really is. Guess what? there is no special allowance or free ticket. Charles Darwin was bang on.

    Incidental to these stats we have history and science of course which absolutely seals the deal for me at least.

    If your in doubt give me a statistical fact that suggests a God?

  12. “…….there was no evidence for bacteria yet they existed”

    All the time I’ve been reading the Atheist webs, evidence and proofs have been mentioned as factors to assert the existence of the gods; so far these factors have not been shown, but if in the future, due to new technologies, someone finds new evidence and proofs about the existence of these creatures (as it happened with bacteria) then what’s the problem?, we or our descendants will believe in the gods, as we believe in bacteria, that’s what we’ve been saying all the time, evidence and we’ll believe. However, these newly discovered gods will no longer be gods but natural phenomena like bacteria are. And I don’t believe they’ll condemn you to eternal torture for not having mentioned their correct names in your prayers.

  13. Gods exist in the same way as things such as good and evil, justice. They exist as human creations. Nobody would say that ideas ‘don’t exist’. The question is not whether or not gods exist, but what sort of existence they have.

  14. I have frequently commented here that science had nothing to do with my deconversion. Most religious or spiritual claims can be proven false via common sense and logic. Views either don’t add up or conflict with other claims.

    In other words, there is more than evidence. A long, honest process of elimination using religious/spiritual views against each other can also go a long way.

    • In other words, there is more than evidence. A long, honest process of elimination using religious/spiritual views against each other can also go a long way.
      Can you provide some specifics about how “views don’t add up or conflict” in Christianity. I could use a little insight here.

  15. Yes: One should either believe something because there is evidence for it or withhold beilef until there is evidence. One is entitled to withhold belief and wait for proof of god but I suspect they will be left wanting at the end of the day.

  16. I tryed to look for the page where RD quoted a poem about a microscope and something green, in TGD I think, and his comment on this kind of argument (oh no, not this argument).

    Of course I´ll look for it, but I just don´t have enough time now.

  17. It’s not really necessary to conclude there is no god. Just remember that you are under no obligation, either ethically, morally, rationally or logically to believe anything on insufficient evidence. Any beliefs a person holds in spite of a lack of evidence are optional and a choice not to believe in a god or gods often stems from the consequences of those beliefs – hell, war, sin, homophobia, gender inequality, slavery, etc.

  18. I’ve linked this before, but it is very relevant to this thread:-

    Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victor-stenger/the-evidence-against-god

    I can think of many cases where absence of evidence provides robust evidence of absence. The key question is whether evidence should exist but does not. Elephants have never been seen roaming Yellowstone National Park. If they were, they would not have escaped notice. No matter how secretive, the presence of such huge animals would have been marked by ample physical signs — droppings, crushed vegetation, bones of dead elephants. So we can safely conclude from the absence of evidence that elephants are absent from the park.

    Then there is the case any theist needs to make, as to why their god should be the one claimed to exist rather than any of the thousands claimed by others.

  19. True, you don’t have to just go on evidence, you can go on prediction, extrapolation, self-consistency etc.

    For example, we have no evidence that gravel exists on extra-solar planets, but it is logically plausible, since gravel is generated by weather erosion of rocks and rock is generated in planet formation simulations, as is weather, and gravel is common in this solar system. So we can follow a trail of reasoning that gravel is very likely.

    Whatever phenomenon you want to attribute to a god, you have to weigh up the complexity of a god plus the mechanism by which it causes the phenomenon against other explanations for that phenomenon.
    The problem for theists is that the complexity of explaining an omnipotent and omniscient being together with how it came to exist and how it interacts with the universe is so large that almost any alternative explanation for a phenomenon is vastly vastly more likely.

  20. If I have enough evidence I would stop believe in the Creator. I can even define which evidence I require. If observation or experiments prove that non-living matter can create a simple life, than no Creator is needed.

  21. It all depends on your definition of god. If for example your definition of god is some mysterious entity that lurks outside of space and time how could one apply the scientific method to it? You simply wouldn’t be able to test for it.

    For all we know such a god may exist but there’s absolutely no reason to believe that it does. That’s the point.

    • In reply to #28 by RationalConclusion:

      It all depends on your definition of god. If for example your definition of god is some mysterious entity that lurks outside of space and time how could one apply the scientific method to it? You simply wouldn’t be able to test for it.

      If it interacts with us we can test for it. If it doesn’t interact with us then it’s pointless to even talk about it.

      Michael

  22. I’m interested in this evidence question. You see, the more I look into evidence for evolution the more I come away leaning toward creation (intelligent design). Take for example the fossil record. Why if living things evolved over millions of years do we not have fossil records that are animals in partial states? Why do we not have fossil record of an ape type creature but with only stubs for arms and legs? The fact is, all fossil records are fully developed creatures which points to a creator not an evolutionary process.

    • I don’t understand it. Every phenomenon knowen to man can be investigated scientifically. Not everything with precision obviously because of the sheer complexity. And of course somethings maybe completely out of reach and may remain so. But the natural world can be studied and explained for the large part. What makes you think that life can be somehow magically created when all areas of scientific study point to natural phenomenon. Why on earth do you think life could be any different?

      All these natural explanations and then suddenly bang, magic!

      Also do you believe natural selection occurs. Do you believe life specifically adapted to their environment is done via natural selection or god made them this way. For example a snake that blends in with its environment or animals with specially adapted features to exploit their environment. Do you think that this is something that God does?

      If you could answer this , I’d be interested. thanks
      In reply to #34 by Canadian 2:

      I’m interested in this evidence question. You see, the more I look into evidence for evolution the more I come away leaning toward creation (intelligent design). Take for example the fossil record. Why if living things evolved over millions of years do we not have fossil records that are animals in partial states? Why do we not have fossil record of an ape type creature but with only stubs for arms and legs? The fact is, all fossil records are fully developed creatures which points to a creator not an evolutionary process.

    • In reply to #34 by Canadian 2:

      I’m interested in this evidence question. You see, the more I look into evidence for evolution the more I come away leaning toward creation (intelligent design).

      It would appear that you have been looking in creationist pseudo-science story books or websites rather than at the science of evolutionary biology.

      Take for example the fossil record. Why if living things evolved over millions of years do we not have fossil records that are animals in partial states?

      We do for some of them, but only a very small proportion of living organisms are fossilised and rocks containing fossils are constantly weathered and recycled back into the Earth at subduction zones.

      The more available evidence for evolution is watching it happening in present-day living species such as ring species where partial separations between separating populations can be studied by geneticists.

      Alt text – The Larus gulls interbreed in a ring around the arctic
      (1 : Larus argentatus argentatus, 2: Larus fuscus sensu stricto, 3 : Larus fuscus heuglini, 4 : Larus argentatus birulai, 5 : Larus argentatus vegae, 6 : Larus argentatus smithsonianus, 7 : Larus argentatus argenteus)

      Why do we not have fossil record of an ape type creature but with only stubs for arms and legs?

      There are various prehistoric ape fossils. Which one are you talking about?

      The fact is, all fossil records are fully developed creatures which points to a creator not an evolutionary process.

      All individual living creatures are “fully developed”juvenile or adult creatures. Evolutionary changes are tiny steps from one generation to the next with selection from the diversity of genetic differences within populations.
      Even at a basic classification level, relationships grade through genera, species, sub-species varieties etc. according to the International rules of Nomenclature.

      With the tree of life Alt Text (right click and select “view image”)
      starting at LUCA and evolving branches to every living thing on Earth. (We share roughly 98% of our DNA with chimps, and 40% with cauliflowers!)

      The problem with ID creationism, is that it is ignorant of most of the biological studies of most of the living organisms (past and present) on this planet. It is mainly focussed on denying human evolution because of religious dogma. They are also ignorant of the scientific work, and methods used in studying biology and geology.

      There is 150 years of abundant scientific evidence, but most followers of ID, just read stuff written by scientific illiterates, who are regarded as comically incompetent by real scientists.

    • Evolution builds on the previous model. The animal that our hominid ancestors evolved from all ready had arms and leg, that’s why you don’t find stubby ape men.

      In reply to #34 by Canadian 2:

      Why do we not have fossil record of an ape type creature but with only stubs for arms and legs?

  23. no evidence is not all that matters in science. describing what you are investigating is key. the reason god gets away with it is because the description changes the minute it’s scrutinized

    • In reply to #35 by SaganTheCat:

      no evidence is not all that matters in science. describing what you are investigating is key. the reason god gets away with it is because the description changes the minute it’s scrutinized

      That is correct. Clear definitions of terms are essential in any debate, to avoid semantic shufflings, goal-post moving by means of shifting meanings, ambiguities and misunderstandings.

      What matters is using evidence as a starting point for investigation and deduction., so as to avoid building “castles in the air”, without foundations in material reality.

    • In reply to #35 by SaganTheCat:

      no evidence is not all that matters in science. describing what you are investigating is key. the reason god gets away with it is because the description changes the minute it’s scrutinized

      Alright then. Let’s say I am a protestant that believes in the Christian God of the Bible. Scrutinize away.

      • Prove that you believe in the God of the Bible.

        Then prove that this particular God is the “correct” one to believe in.

        Prove that believing in something matters at all.

        Meanwhile, I will eat my lunch (a sandwich and an orange); both which exist.

        In reply to #39 by Canadian 2:

        In reply to #35 by SaganTheCat:

        no evidence is not all that matters in science. describing what you are investigating is key. the reason god gets away with it is because the description changes the minute it’s scrutinized

        Alright then. Let’s say I am a protestant that believes in the Christian God of the Bible. Scrutinize away.

        • In reply to #40 by crookedshoes:

          Prove that you believe in the God of the Bible.

          Other than saying that I believe the Bible to be true, I don’t change what it says, I believe in it as my guide for how to live my life, I’m not really sure what else you want.

          Then prove that this particular God is the “correct” one to believe in.

          The God of the Bible is different than every other god. Any other religion has a list of things you must do in order to achieve salvation. Islam, Mormons, Judaism and Jehovah Witnesses all believe in God but have all added their own twists to the scriptures: Quran, Book of Mormon, Jewish believers only believe the Old Testament/not believing in Christ, JW – New World Translation of the Holy Bible and other sources as well. So of the religions based in the Bible, Christianity is the only religion that has not changed or added to scripture.

          Furthermore, other religions require their version of “salvation” to be achieved through good works. Hinduism: Karma – as you perform righteous acts you move closer to Nirvana. Your good actions must outweigh your bad actions. Catholicism: Yes they believe in the Bible but they also believe that being a member of the roman Catholic church and following the sacraments are also necessary for salvation. Buddhism believes in following an Eightfold Path.

          In Christianity there is no # of prayers that needs to be followed, no ritual that must be done daily for your salvation. In Christianity all you need to do is believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and died for you sins then salvation is yours. It is a gift. That important difference is what sets Christianity apart in my mind.

          Prove that believing in something matters at all.

          In response I would like to ask you a question. What do you believe happens after we die?

          Meanwhile, I will eat my lunch (a sandwich and an orange); both which exist.

          I hope you enjoyed your lunch.

          • In reply to #55 by Canadian 2:

            In response I would like to ask you a question. What do you believe happens after we die?

            The same thing that was true about me before I was born: nothing.

            Also, my lunch was ok….and here is the most important thing to realize:

            If I merely thought the food existed and believed it, I’d eventually starve to death. The fact that the food actually exists allows it to interact with my body and cells and provide me with the nourishment necessary to sustain life.

            Anything else is flowery bullshit.

          • In reply to #58 by crookedshoes:

            In reply to #55 by Canadian 2:

            In response I would like to ask you a question. What do you believe happens after we die?

            The same thing that was true about me before I was born: nothing.

            Also, my lunch was ok….and here is the most important thing to realize:

            If I merely thought the food existed and believed it, I’d eventually starve to death. The fact that the food actually exists allows it to interact with my body and cells and provide me with the nourishment necessary to sustain life.

            Anything else is flowery bullshit.

            Life after death

          • In reply to #58 by crookedshoes:

            In reply to #55 by Canadian 2:

            In response I would like to ask you a question. What do you believe happens after we die?

            The same thing that was true about me before I was born: nothing.

            Is there any possibility as small as it may be .01% or less that you may be wrong about what happens when you die?

          • @Canadian 2

            If you’re interesting in reading a good explanation of the evidence for evolution for the layperson, The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins is excellent. There’s also Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

            I haven’t read Jerry Coyne’s book but I have watched his lecture on the subject and it’s very good. It starts at about 2:15.

            There are many great educational resources and I hope other commenters here will give you some links. The fact that you asked about “stumps” gives me the impression that you have been listening to strawman arguments erected by creationists. I’m glad you are interested in finding out more. Accepting the facts about evolution requires no faith, just an awareness of the mountains of evidence for it.

            In Christianity all you need to do is believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and died for you sins then salvation is yours. It is a gift. That important difference is what sets Christianity apart in my mind

            Crookedshoes asked you to demonstrate that you had the correct god. You seem to be saying that you prefer the story to other stories, but haven’t demonstrated that it’s anything other than a story.

          • In reply to #65 by Canadian 2:

            Is there any possibility as small as it may be .01% or less that you may be wrong about what happens when you die?

            Is it possible that you may be wrong about the billions of life-forms, with the same ancestors as humans, which have died in the past millions of years, and which die on this planet every day?

            Then there is the question even for theists who believe in afterlives: – Could you have made a poor choice of god from the thousands available? –
            BTW: Have you had a look at the links I provided for you to look at evidence?

          • In reply to #68 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #65 by Canadian 2:

            Is there any possibility as small as it may be .01% or less that you may be wrong about what happens when you die?

            Is it possible that you may be wrong about the billions of life-forms, with the same ancestors as humans, which have died in the past millions of years, and which die on this planet every day?

            Oh without a doubt I could be wrong which again is part of the reason I am here involved in the discussion to see what others have to say. But I was asking you whether with 100% certainly you believe you are right or is there a possibility as small as it may be that your beliefs may be wrong?

            In terms of your comments about there being no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus or the early Christian church you are simply wrong. Christian or secular, no historian would argue the existence of a man named Jesus or the early Christian church. If you say otherwise you just haven’t bothered to look into it. Now you can argue that Jesus was not God but just a crazy guy walking around believing he was God but there is plenty historical evidence to say that this person did exist.

            And yes I did watch the video. Interesting. But I don’t know why the lack of historical record of the Israelites worshiping God, before Israel became a nation of any significance should matter. Of course the system of gods that other nations such as the Babylonians had would be more popular as they were a much more significant nation. The Code of Hammurabi is the earliest codified law, does that also mean that the Israelites did not have any laws/rules among them. Of course they did as did any other group of people who lived together. And in terms of the Israelites having multiple gods this is not surprising either. The Bible is pretty clear that the Israelites worshiped Baal and had Ashura poles. It is also not surprising that while in captivity, other cultures would influence the writing of the Israelites.

            I found it interesting that the video specifically mentioned Amos. The book of Amos written in the 700s BCE, states pretty clearly that the Israelites will be all but destroyed, just a remnant left, if they don’t turn from their current path of worshipping false gods (Baal and Ashura this is not new information). What do you know 150 years later King Nebuchadnezzar steps in and hauls them off. Amos ends with a section called “Israel’s Restoration” and in chapter 9 verse 15 with “I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” Well, in 1948 the nation of Israel was restored. So a prophesy from 700 BCE from a book that is basically a bunch of lies according to that video, came true only 60 some odd years ago. I find that to be a little incredible and the day Israel is destroyed is the day I will stop believing the Bible.

          • @ Canadian 2

            But you’re ignoring the fact that Yahweh, a god of war, emerged from the Canaanite pantheon and it took him thousands of years to do it. The reasons it happened seem to be completely consistent with natural, human explanations. Mythology.

            They believed in all those gods for all those thousands of years, while people all over the world believed in all kinds of other gods and to this day, people believe in so many gods and supernatural beings, but you’re suggesting that this one tiny group got it right, finally, at this very, very particular point.

            Keep in mind that the evidence goes against it. The evidence says there was no original pair of humans. It says that there was no mass enslavement of the Israelites and subsequent escape from Egypt. It says that there was no global flood. Just for starters. Your bible is not a history book. It’s a book of stories. You might take that as an insult, but I don’t mean it as one. Frankly, I’m sad about the myths we’ve lost. I love myths.

            The trouble with myths is when people take them as fact, instead of as stories. They use the word “God” to mean their god and they don’t seem to notice that they have no more evidence for their god than there is evidence for any other gods.

            Also, this hand-picked chosen people, finally enlightened enough to pick the right god after thousands of years lost their way almost immediately and certainly have no idea how to recognize their own messiah. In their defense, they’ve been busy.

            As far as Amos and the nation of Israel, have you read the book of Amos? Have you read all of chapter 9 even?

            You might as well be quoting Nostradamus.

            The OP posed the question: “Is Evidence All That Matters?”

            Yes. It matters more than anything. It really does. We have too much talent for fooling ourselves, fooling others and being fooled by others.

            Evidence makes all the difference.

            _We are too easily fooled to take anything seriously without lots and lots of solid evidence.

          • In reply to #82 by susanlatimer:

            @ Canadian 2

            You’re exactly right. It’s not that we lack evidence about the nature of the gods. History shows plainly and with tons of evidence that they are mythological beings. The argument about the existence of gods is not very productive. After all, mere existence means nothing. We have to know, or infer, something of the nature of an entity before we can define it as existing at all. There is absolutely no shortage of evidence about what sorts of things gods are.

            The problem is with those whose ability to distinguish fact from fiction has been disabled by indoctrination and self-delusion or supposed self-interest.

          • In reply to #81 by Canadian 2:

            Oh without a doubt I could be wrong which again is part of the reason I am here involved in the discussion to see what others have to say. But I was asking you whether with 100% certainly you believe you are right or is there a possibility as small as it may be that your beliefs may be wrong?

            No one can be 100% certain about anything, but I am over 99% certain there are no gods meddling in the running of the universe.
            That is not Yahweh or any of the other thousands of gods which have been asserted by followers past and present. I cannot be completely certain that there are no non-interfering deist gods or aliens involved in causing the big bang, but those explanations come up against the infinite regression of creators paradox! – Who was the creator of the creator , of the creator, of the creator … . . . .. . . etc.

            In my view, the only honest answer is that “before” (if there is a before in the absence of time) the later stages of of the big bang, we do not know at present.
            That does not give credibility to the “god-did-it-by-magic-in-a-gap hypothesis”, nor any credibility to any particular god over the millions of other speculative possibilities.

            A deist believer should not have a problem with scientific concept of evolution. Biblical literalists would have all sorts of problems and conflicts with masses of scientific evidence.

            In order to have a rational scientific discussion of this, it would be helpful if you could clarify your position on the age of the Earth, the age of the Universe, and raise any specific issues about biology.

            The mention of Noah as a credible claim, suggests a very limited understanding of geological history and formation of the Solar System and the Earth.

            In terms of your comments about there being no historical evidence of the existence of Jesus or the early Christian church you are simply wrong. Christian or secular, no historian would argue the existence of a man named Jesus or the early Christian church.

            I do not dispute that there were preachers with the equivalent name of Jesus. It was a common name at the time and the whole place was over-run with preachers and followings of Jewish sects. Nor do I dispute that there were a few Xtian sects among these, based on groups following particular disciples – Hence the Gospels of Mary, Judas, Thomas etc , although it is very doubtful in any gospels were written by the named authors. There is also the issue of these account conflicting with each other and with the Roman records of the time – not to mention that none of them were written within decades ( or centuries) of claimed events.

            If you say otherwise you just haven’t bothered to look into it.

            If you looked at the linked discussions, you will see that discussions here usually go into much more depth than most Christians understand about their own religions. We actually look for records of evidence in contemporary documents and artefacts.

            Now you can argue that Jesus was not God but just a crazy guy walking around believing he was God but there is plenty historical evidence to say that this person did exist.

            Actually One or more preachers of that name probably did exist, but there is negligible evidence of accuracy in biblical claims.

            And yes I did watch the video. Interesting. But I don’t know why the lack of historical record of the Israelites worshipping God, before Israel became a nation of any significance should matter.

            The point of the video was to look at the historical and cultural background to the writing of the Old Testament and the mixing, merging, displacement, and replacing of the of the earlier pantheistic gods by the god of war – Yahweh. It is the history of the social evolution and origins of the Yahweh of the Torah and OT.

            Like the Roman historical records at the time of the NT, most Xtians just believe what preachers tell them, or cherry-picked bits of the bible that they read, without bothering to look at background evidence outside of the bible.

          • In reply to #55 by Canadian 2:

            The God of the Bible is different than every other god.

            Every god is different from every other god.

            Any other religion has a list of things you must do in order to achieve salvation.

            Other? So which one is the exception?

            Islam, Mormons, Judaism and Jehovah Witnesses all believe in God but have all added their own twists to the scriptures: Quran, Book of Mormon

            True, but see bellow…

            Jewish believers only believe the Old Testament/not believing in Christ

            So they added their own twist as well?

            JW – New World Translation of the Holy Bible and other sources as well. So of the religions based in the Bible, Christianity is the only religion that has not changed or added to scripture.

            Which Christianity? Looks like Catholics are not good enough Christians for you because they also added/substracted stuff.

            Furthermore, other religions require their version of “salvation” to be achieved through good works. Hinduism: Karma – as you perform righteous acts you move closer to Nirvana. Your good actions must outweigh your bad actions.

            Did Hindus also take the scripture as a reference and decided to add/substract from it?

            Your scripture only requires to believe and everything will be ok. A gift indeed! Hinduism seems to require unreaqsonable things, like ‘Your good actions must outweigh your bad actions’. Clearly not the word of the true God!

          • Your scripture only requires to believe and everything will be ok. A gift indeed! Hinduism seems to require unreaqsonable things, like ‘Your good actions must outweigh your bad actions’. Clearly not the word of the true God!

            Well, what I was talking about was how each religion explains how to reach their version of salvation. So, although the Bible is quite clear that once you become a Christian you are to live a good life according to the guidelines of scripture, a good life does not achieve salvation. The only way that is achieved is by believing in Christ. Every other religion has manmade measuring sticks (good outweighs bad, # of prayers per day, eating certain foods) the Christian faith does not. And yes Catholicism is not good enough for me because they have added several non-biblical parts to their beliefs. Not the least of which is the fact that they have put Mary above a normal person and Catholics pray to her. So what is left? as I stated on my first post I am a protestant, I believe in the whole Bible, not in parts and I don’t believe in adding anything to it.

      • In reply to #39 by Canadian 2:

        In reply to #35 by SaganTheCat:

        no evidence is not all that matters in science. describing what you are investigating is key. the reason god gets away with it is because the description changes the minute it’s scrutinized

        Alright then. Let’s say I am a protestant that believes in the Christian God of the Bible. Scrutinize away.

        the Christian God of the Bible is not a scientific description. in fact the “christian” god gets very little mention in the bible, just a talking dove. Christians believe in a trinity. the dove represents the holy spirit, jesus the son and the other bit, the father gets discussed but doesn’t make an appearance in the new testament. either way, apparently these 3 things, a man, a vision of a bird and a discussion point are all the same thing according to christians. and they’re all assumed to be the god of the old testament, yahweh, who created a tribe of humans called israelaites and saved them from another tribe who weren’t his people. although in one book he created everyone.

        the bible is a collection of disparate myths that contradict each other. there is not one hint of a description of what god(s) is/are

        • In reply to #43 by SaganTheCat:

          the bible is a collection of disparate myths that contradict each other. there is not one hint of a description of what god(s) is/are

          Well I’m quite excited about all the questions/comments. I will do my best to address your them but as I do have a life outside this web page it might take a while. Thanks for your description of the Trinity. Certainly what you have said is true. You can look up Matthew 3:16,17 among other passages to see that the Trinity does exist according to the Bible. I’m not sure how describing the Trinity explains your position of the Bible being a collection of myths though. Is it just because you don’t believe it. I don’t believe that fish can grow legs and feet but I still have looked and continue to look into evolution and considered it as a possible alternative to creation. In terms of the Israelites. Yes they are God’s chosen people and yes he did create all people. The Bible is pretty clear on where all the other nations came from. For example, the Israelites go to war with (and work together with for that matter) both the Ammonites and the Moabites in various parts of the Bible. Both tribes have their origins from Lot (nephew of Abraham who was the father of Isaac who God changed his name to Israel and in turn became the father of the Israelites) who sinned (incest) by fathering the son’s of his two daughters. The sons that were born (Moab and Ben Ammi) were the fathers of these two new tribes. Not a pleasant story but I think explains your question about tribes. There are other examples you can look up in the old testament as well. If you don’t mind giving me some specifics, I am interested to hear more about these “myths” that “contradict each other” and maybe you could also clarify or narrow the scope of what you are looking for when you say “there is not one hint of a description of what God is” As I look at the Bible, that is what it is, a description of what God is. Thanks for your response. I look forward to hearing back from you.

          • Where was Jesus born and how many generations were between him and King David?

            In reply to #49 by Canadian 2:

            In reply to #43 by SaganTheCat:

            the bible is a collection of disparate myths that contradict each other. there is not one hint of a description of what god(s) is/are

            Well I’m quite excited about all the questions/comments. I will do my best to address your them but as I do have a life outside this web page it might take a while. Thanks for your description of the Trinity. Certainly what you have said is true. You can look up Matthew 3:16,17 among other passages to see that the Trinity does exist according to the Bible. I’m not sure how describing the Trinity explains your position of the Bible being a collection of myths though. Is it just because you don’t believe it. I don’t believe that fish can grow legs and feet but I still have looked and continue to look into evolution and considered it as a possible alternative to creation. In terms of the Israelites. Yes they are God’s chosen people and yes he did create all people. The Bible is pretty clear on where all the other nations came from. For example, the Israelites go to war with (and work together with for that matter) both the Ammonites and the Moabites in various parts of the Bible. Both tribes have their origins from Lot (nephew of Abraham who was the father of Isaac who God changed his name to Israel and in turn became the father of the Israelites) who sinned (incest) by fathering the son’s of his two daughters. The sons that were born (Moab and Ben Ammi) were the fathers of these two new tribes. Not a pleasant story but I think explains your question about tribes. There are other examples you can look up in the old testament as well. If you don’t mind giving me some specifics, I am interested to hear more about these “myths” that “contradict each other” and maybe you could also clarify or narrow the scope of what you are looking for when you say “there is not one hint of a description of what God is” As I look at the Bible, that is what it is, a description of what God is. Thanks for your response. I look forward to hearing back from you.

          • What are the synoptic gospels and why does one not qualify as synoptic?

            In reply to #49 by Canadian 2:

            In reply to #43 by SaganTheCat:

            the bible is a collection of disparate myths that contradict each other. there is not one hint of a description of what god(s) is/are

            Well I’m quite excited about all the questions/comments. I will do my best to address your them but as I do have a life outside this web page it might take a while. Thanks for your description of the Trinity. Certainly what you have said is true. You can look up Matthew 3:16,17 among other passages to see that the Trinity does exist according to the Bible. I’m not sure how describing the Trinity explains your position of the Bible being a collection of myths though. Is it just because you don’t believe it. I don’t believe that fish can grow legs and feet but I still have looked and continue to look into evolution and considered it as a possible alternative to creation. In terms of the Israelites. Yes they are God’s chosen people and yes he did create all people. The Bible is pretty clear on where all the other nations came from. For example, the Israelites go to war with (and work together with for that matter) both the Ammonites and the Moabites in various parts of the Bible. Both tribes have their origins from Lot (nephew of Abraham who was the father of Isaac who God changed his name to Israel and in turn became the father of the Israelites) who sinned (incest) by fathering the son’s of his two daughters. The sons that were born (Moab and Ben Ammi) were the fathers of these two new tribes. Not a pleasant story but I think explains your question about tribes. There are other examples you can look up in the old testament as well. If you don’t mind giving me some specifics, I am interested to hear more about these “myths” that “contradict each other” and maybe you could also clarify or narrow the scope of what you are looking for when you say “there is not one hint of a description of what God is” As I look at the Bible, that is what it is, a description of what God is. Thanks for your response. I look forward to hearing back from you.

          • In reply to #33 by crookedshoes:

            Unicorn:

            Excellent links. Excellent post. However, Robert (who claims to be studying biology at a pretty intense level) has had all this leveled at him before (and recently). Alan 4 and I have danced this exact dance with him on another thread. He is a well meaning, intelligent, articulate guy, who simply misses the point completely (and to some extent does it on purpose).

            Alright, thank you for informing me :) I didn’t see Alans answer above mine before I answered. You guys are doing Gods work [thumbs up]. I still hope, though, that the information can be of use to people who haven’t seen it yet.

            In reply to #49 by Canadian 2:

            I don’t believe that fish can grow legs and feet but I still have looked and continue to look into evolution and considered it as a possible alternative to creation.

            Since you mentioned ‘partial species’ earlier, I just want to clear up something. Evolution doesn’t claim that there at some point was a fish that had a pure fish body with pure crocodile hands and feet. As has been pointed out, evolution is a slow gradual process, where changes are tiny and cumulative and happen all around. [Berkley has a nice article on the evolution of fish to tetrapods] (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_04)

            There are many millions of steps that happened between the species you see in the illustration that link the earlier to the later. Here is another illustration I like which shows the evolution of the artiodactyl to the modern day whale, with discovered fossil bones ‘filled in’:

            One thing to note is the vestigial pelvis and hind-legs which haven’t disappeared yet. I also want to mention that all the species you see in the illustration prior to the modern whale are transitional species. A transitional species is a species that has an ancestor and descendant, but which is also a full species in it’s own right. All a transition means here is something that comes between one state and another state. In the same way that you are the transition between your parents and children.

          • In reply to #53 by The Unicorn Delusion:

            In reply to #33 by crookedshoes:

            Alright, thank you for informing me :) I didn’t see Alan’s answer above mine before I answered. You guys are doing Gods work [thumbs up].

            Nice to see some more biological evidence contributed.

            I am not sure if you have worked this out yet, but crookedshoes, and myself are atheist biologists, who have been posting here for quite a long time. He is expert on genetics, while I do wider range ecology and space technologies.

            I still hope, though, that the information can be of use to people who haven’t seen it yet.

            There are always many visitors to benefit from reading the discussions and the links.

          • In reply to #53 by The Unicorn Delusion:

            There are many millions of steps that happened between the species you see in the illustration that link the earlier to the later. Here is another illustration I like which shows the evolution of the artiodactyl to the modern day whale, with discovered fossil bones ‘filled in’:

            Thanks for the well thought out response but I really don’t see how this diagram helps your cause. There are massive changes from one picture to the next that must have occurred over millions of years. Where are the fossils that show what happens in between? Also, in your own words I was wondering if you could tell me how/why these changes occur? What caused animal #1 to change into animal #2? I don’t know if I have ever heard an answer that I liked for this.

          • In reply to #56 by Alan4discussion:

            Nice to see some more biological evidence contributed.

            I am not sure if you have worked this out yet, but crookedshoes, and myself are atheist biologists, who have been posting here for quite a long time. He is expert on genetics, while I do wider range ecology and space technologies.

            Wow, that’s really cool. How does a biologist contribute to the field of space technology?

            In reply to #67 by Canadian 2:

            Thanks for the well thought out response but I really don’t see how this diagram helps your cause. There are massive changes from one picture to the next that must have occurred over millions of years. Where are the fossils that show what happens in between? Also, in your own words I was wondering if you could tell me how/why these changes occur? What caused animal #1 to change into animal #2? I don’t know if I have ever heard an answer that I liked for this.

            I hope this is a small enough scale for you. The evolution of the modern horse. You can clearly see the resemblance of the Merychippus to the Equus, the main external differences being size, color, and the bushiness of the tail. here are some fossils from the four different stages

            Another example from Berkleys ‘understanding evolution’ (an amazing resource itself, I highly recommend checking it out) is the evolution of the House Sparrow in North America since 1852. It shows the differences that can evolve within a species in just 160 years.

            As for how/why these changes occur, I’ll have to leave it to another time, because it’s late right now. Hopefully someone else will be able to provide an answer before that time, like an expert geneticist ;)

          • In reply to #70 by The Unicorn Delusion:

            Wow, that’s really cool. How does a biologist contribute to the field of space technology?

            While the two interests run in parallel to some extent, it is the space technology which contributes to the biology, – with satellite mapping and multi-spectral imaging proving invaluable for wide scale studies.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite-imagery
            It is also applied to other planets.

          • I hope this is a small enough scale for you. The evolution of the modern horse. You can clearly see the resemblance of the Merychippus to the Equus, the main external differences being size, color, and the bushiness of the tail. here are some fossils from the four different stages

            Another example from Berkleys ‘understanding evolution’ (an amazing resource itself, I highly recommend checking it out) is the evolution of the House Sparrow in North America since 1852. It shows the differences that can evolve within a species in just 160 years.

            To begin with, I think it is fair to reveal my biases. The are, 1) christian minister, 2) over 50, 3) started my undergrad degree in Physics, switched to Music 4) I consider both Epstein and Darwin to be irrelevant to my day to day life, but thank you to those of you who have made my life better by both your understanding and application of these men to the problems of the world. 5) Am skeptical about evolution due to arguments about the usefulness of a partially evolved eye, the amount of dust on the moon and the half life of certain isotopes. 6) Am a closet universalist.

            I have been reading with great interest, thinking of various questions and responses when these statements caught my eye. My question is, are these examples of evolution in the Darwinian sense or are they examples of adaptation within a species? It would seem that if we are going to have a useful discussion, we need to agree on the definition of some basic terms.

          • In reply to #182 by SidTheArchivist:

            To begin with, I think it is fair to reveal my biases. The are, 1) christian minister, 2) over 50, 3) started my undergrad degree in Physics, switched to Music 4) I consider both Epstein and Darwin to be irrelevant to my day to day life, but thank you to those of you who have made my life better by both your understanding and application of these men to the problems of the world.

            Music is a matter of personal emotional responses, Darwinian Evolution by means of natural Selection, is evidenced in every living thing on Earth. It is the very basis of biology, biological classification of species, and the basis of medicine and of food production. It is even responsible for the oxygen atmosphere of the planet!

            5) Am skeptical about evolution due to arguments about the usefulness of a partially evolved eye,

            I think you have been listening to the ignorant incredulity of people who have NO understanding of biology.

            The stages in evolution of the eye are well illustrated – from the odd photo sensitive patch of nerve cells, through “open-pit (pin-hole camera-eyes) to simple eyes with lenses, and on to the complex colour vision of the octopus. . They have evolved many times and the structures take many formats. Some of the best illustrations are in marine Molluscs and shellfish, which have different types of eye in the same, or related animals. The evidence is there for all to study. http://biology.fullerton.edu/deernisse/pubs/Serb-Eernisse-08.pdf. Photosensitivity is beneficial to an organism, from the simple orientation of leaves in plants, to the complex eyes of humans, octopus, and spiders.

            the amount of dust on the moon and the half life of certain isotopes.

            I know Young Earth Creationists make stuff up about these topics, but again the scientific evidence is solid and cross checked thousands of times in assorted different ways. I don’t know of any problems related these measurements.

            6) Am a closet universalist.

            It is only the ignorant who dispute the science of evolution or the development of the universe after the big-bang. The major Christian churches (RCC CofE) and scientifically educated Christians, accept the main principles but accommodate their god in their theistic version of it.

            The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life. In fact, the International Theological Commission in a July 2004 statement endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger, then president of the Commission and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, includes this paragraph:

            According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic-Church-and-evolution

            This is a recent about-face from the RCC earlier position.

            I have been reading with great interest, thinking of various questions and responses when these statements caught my eye. My question is, are these examples of evolution in the Darwinian sense or are they examples of adaptation within a species?

            Adaptation from within the genetic diversity within species is merely the short term observation of the long-term process.

            It would seem that if we are going to have a useful discussion, we need to agree on the definition of some basic terms.

            There are standard terms available in dictionaries and scientific reference books.

          • In Biology there is a central tenet. The facts of this series of events are incontrovertible and I will outline them for you (briefly).

            There is this stuff called DNA. We know an awful lot about it, including the fact that it undergoes specific verifiable reactions and processes. First and foremost, it can copy itself with very high (but not perfect) fidelity. The process is called replication and many wonderful chemicals are involved in the process.

            Now, this DNA molecule, which every living thing on the planet has as it’s central informational molecule also undergoes other important processes. First, a process called transcription where a battery of chemicals assemble a hunk of RNA (called messenger RNA). This copy of the DNA reports to a machine in the cytoplasm known as a ribosome. The ribosome completes the third portion of the process. This step is called translation. The result is a specific protein (a sequence of amino acids) that has been coded for by the sequence of bases in the DNA.

            Now, these three events, taken together underlie the most compelling evidence for evolution. They are the way that an organism SELF assembles.

            Here is how it works. When the copy of DNA is made (replication), sometimes it is not made as an exact replica (it has mutated). This mutation can be inherited. The offspring that gets this altered copy of the DNA uses the DNA to do it’s transcription and translation; ultimately making proteins for itself. These proteins can be different from the proteins that were made by the “parent” organism.

            If the “new” proteins are defective, they confer a disadvantage to the offspring and can be competed out of (or be lethal to) to organism. They can be neutral. They can confer advantage.
            When they confer advantage, they can be inherited by the subsequent offspring of the organism and establish themselves into a population.

            This has happened repeatedly and verifiably throughout time. Molecular genetics information (completely unknown to Darwin) supports and upholds the fossil record, biogeography, comparative anatomy, embryology and all other types of evidence that was available to Darwin.

            These genes function in groups and have master control genes that enforce the timing and sequence of the genes producing products. Now, I have already gone on too long, but, if you decide to pursue this topic, I strongly suggest reading “The Making of the Fittest” by Sean Carroll.
            He does a great job explaining and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

            In reply to #67 by Canadian 2:

            In reply to #53 by The Unicorn Delusion:

            There are many millions of steps that happened between the species you see in the illustration that link the earlier to the later. Here is another illustration I like which shows the evolution of the artiodactyl to the modern day whale, with discovered fossil bones ‘filled in’:

            Thanks for the well thought out response but I really don’t see how this diagram helps your cause. There are massive changes from one picture to the next that must have occurred over millions of years. Where are the fossils that show what happens in between? Also, in your own words I was wondering if you could tell me how/why these changes occur? What caused animal #1 to change into animal #2? I don’t know if I have ever heard an answer that I liked for this.

          • Here is a few interesting examples.

            Fish with a wrist and shoulder, dated to have lived right before the first amphibians start to show up. Even has the flat head of a amphibian.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik

            Dolphin with vestigial legs.

            http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-W3Sj-S1nwdI/TzB0Q9JfuFI/AAAAAAAAAJA/QywJnmqM-2o/s1600/dolphinHindlimbClose.jpg&imgrefurl=http://mostlyopenocean.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html&h=275&w=325&sz=18&tbnid=P5SJgwZ9Bsm3oM:&tbnh=94&tbnw=111&zoom=1&usg=__gBkA0ZNZI7QMFcmz8-1RMuPB5IQ=&docid=CJTfr4H8AtFVFM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VShBUbmnEYXx2QWhq4DABw&ved=0CEUQ9QEwBg&dur=3266

            Sorry about the giant address.

            In reply to #49 by Canadian 2:

            I I don’t believe that fish can grow legs and feet but I still have looked and continue to look into evolution and considered it as a possible alternative to creation.

          • In reply to #77 by Ryan1306:

            Here is a few interesting examples.

            Fish with a wrist and shoulder, dated to have lived right before the first amphibians start to show up. Even has the flat head of a amphibian.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik

            While looking at fossils of fish like Tiktaalic and Coelacanths which walked on the sea-bed, incredulity can be removed by looking at present day Mud Skippers walking out of the sea and up the beach.

            If anyone wants to know how fish use fins as legs – watch this 2 minute video of Mud Skippers (sorry about the ad!)

            http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/animals/fish-animals/spiny-rayed-fish/mudskippers/

          • In reply to #49 by Canadian 2:

            OK well Crooky and Alan have the difficult stuff coverred so I’ll just answer an easy one for you:

            I don’t believe that fish can grow legs and feet

            you don’t need ot believe it. it’s a fact that is being replayed billions of times over every day within the wombs and eggs of land living vertibrates all over.

            in some cases, such as amphibians the legs sprout long after hatching, crazy huh? you apes for example, follow an almost identical evolutionary developmental path to us cats. as a hominid ape, you even grow fur, just like i did but following the genetic code developed over thousands of generations you loose it all again befor birth. did you know you used to have gills? external ones too! and of course a long tail for swimming. only at an embryonic stage though because with each fitness enhancing mutation your genetic code took you on another path. go back long enough in your own development you were a single cell, just like our distant precambrian ancestor.

            The religious argument against evolution relies entirely on the failure to accept the idea of descendants being a little different from ancestors, in the meantime you you all seek to fulfill abrahams prophecy of multiplying, turning cells into worms, into cordates, into fish etc etc etc. yet still care about who marries who and who’s father of who. the descendants of cain selectively breeding crops and livestock using only the ability to let some reproduce stop others until you’ve evolved animals today that can only survive thanks to the artificial evolutionary pressure put on their environment. Meanwhile you sit in the countryside marveling at beautiful butterflies and dragonflies that in the space of a day evolved from plant eating worms and equatic carnivores into flying animals, drinking nectar, looking for love and dipositing single celled organisms ready to start over.

            if you say you’ve studied evolution, i suggest you go back and study it again. properly

          • if you say you’ve studied evolution, i suggest you go back and study it again. properly

            Finally, I think I have caught up to most of the comments about my posts but this one. I’m not sure I have ever said that I have studied evolution. I believe I said I am here because I’m interested in what makes atheists and evolutionists tick. I don’t think I have ever suggested to be an authority on the subject. I just feel that it takes an awful lot more faith to believe we got here by chance than to believe it was directed. If you look at a building you automatically know their was a designer. If you look at a painting you know there was a creator. So why when we look at something so much more intricate do we not also believe that there is a designer and creator. To me that seems like so much more of a logical conclusion. Now. I’m going to take some time to look into some of the arguments that have been presented here. So far from the ones that I have had time to look into nothing has made me change my mind. Who knows. Maybe after a while of studying everything that has been mentioned I will come back and apologize for putting all of you through this. But atleast it has been fun so far from my perspective and it has given you guys an opportunity to prove how much you know about evolution and atheism. Way to go. As for now though there is nothing that has changed my mind about the existence of a creator God who loves all mankind and wants nothing more than for you to know him personally.

          • Maybe the mods should add to the terms of agreement that if you want to discuss evolution you have to know what natural selection is first.

            In reply to #104 by Canadian 2:

            I just feel that it takes an awful lot more faith to believe we got here by chance than to believe it was directed.

  24. Forget about God for a moment. Can there be an evidence of what a person thinks? Unless the thought translates into an action (like speaking or doing), there can be no evidence of a bad thought. Does this mean bad thoughts don’t really occur in people’s minds at all?

    I think belief and disbelief in God are the same. In both cases, we have come to a conclusion about something we really have no clue about. In both cases, we are closed to the other possibility (and hence the arguments, fights and strife).

    • In answer to your question, there is absolute evidence that a person thinks. Qualifying a thought as “good or bad” then is purely subjective. Same with “god”. Purely subjective.

      In reply to #42 by Ganesh:

      Forget about God for a moment. Can there be an evidence of what a person thinks? Unless the thought translates into an action (like speaking or doing), there can be no evidence of a bad thought. Does this mean bad thoughts don’t really occur in people’s minds at all?

      I think belief and disbelief in God are the same. In both cases, we have come to a conclusion about something we really have no clue about. In both cases, we are closed to the other possibility (and hence the arguments, fights and strife).

      • When I say evidence of thinking, I mean deciphering the content of the thought as well, not just some measurement of brainwave activity and claiming it as thought. As unambiguous evidence as physical action. My question is: is there a scientific evidence to prove what a person is thinking? Is there scientific evidence to prove a change in thought as well (since thoughts can change continuously)? Is there scientific evidence to prove emotions in the mind (anger, jealousy, obsession, bliss)?

        Please let me know if Science has already invented instruments to measure all these mind phenomena (like measuring cholestrol level in your blood).

        In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

        In answer to your question, there is absolute evidence that a person thinks. Qualifying a thought as “good or bad” then is purely subjective. Same with “god”. Purely subjective.

        In reply to #42 by Ganesh:

        Forget about God for a moment. Can there be an evidence of what a person thinks? Unless the thought translates into an action (like speaking or doing), there can be no evidence of a bad thought. Does this mean bad thoughts don’t really occur in people’s minds at all?

        I think belief and disbelief in God are the same. In both cases, we have come to a conclusion about something we really have no clue about. In both cases, we are closed to the other possibility (and hence the arguments, fights and strife).

        • In reply to #46 by Ganesh:

          When I say evidence of thinking, I mean deciphering the content of the thought as well, not just some measurement of brainwave activity and claiming it as thought. As unambiguous evidence as physical action. My question is: is there a scientific evidence to prove what a person is thinking? Is there scientific evidence to prove a change in thought as well (since thoughts can change continuously)? Is there scientific evidence to prove emotions in the mind (anger, jealousy, obsession, bliss)?

          Please let me know if Science has already invented instruments to measure all these mind phenomena (like measuring cholestrol level in your blood).

          I think you are thinking about neuroradiological scans and neuroimaging, which as far as I know, tell which parts of the brain are involved in types of thought or physical actions, and can show changes as different brain areas activate, but they do not show the details of actual thoughts. The complexity is too great at present.

          Emotional reactions can be measured by other methods such as looking at blood chemistry, heart-rate, hormone levels etc.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/god-spot-in-brain-is-not-

          “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

          In the most recent study, Johnstone studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.

          “Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one’s focus on the self,” Johnstone said. “Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves.”

          Johnstone says the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is associated with how individuals relate to others. Although Johnstone studied people with brain injury, previous studies of Buddhist meditators and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer.

          Johnstone makes the comparison to other kinds of disciplines; “It is like playing the piano, the more you train your brain, the more the brain becomes predisposed to piano playing. Practice makes perfect.”

          Particular areas of the brain are known to control particular functions and thought processes.

        • Science has invented computers which “interpret” the thoughts of a person (perhaps a paralyzed person) and translate these thoughts into actions. Thus, the person and the computer learn from each other to refine both the person’s ability to “thought control” the computer and the computer’s ability to “mind read” the person.

          As far as a movie screen that can project your thoughts, that would be cool but, I do not know that anything like that exists. However, the raw material, thought, is established as existing. It is measurable and provable and verifiable and reproducible.

          I also have seen studies where a couple gets into an MRI and is scanned while kissing (and even a study where they make love) and their brains activity is monitored. Thus, we are studying “love” and “lust” and such….

          So, even though many of these fantastic gadgets are in the infancy of their development, the raw materials for their success are verifiable present on our world.

          Where’s god???

          In reply to #46 by Ganesh:

          When I say evidence of thinking, I mean deciphering the content of the thought as well, not just some measurement of brainwave activity and claiming it as thought. As unambiguous evidence as physical action. My question is: is there a scientific evidence to prove what a person is thinking? Is there scientific evidence to prove a change in thought as well (since thoughts can change continuously)? Is there scientific evidence to prove emotions in the mind (anger, jealousy, obsession, bliss)?

          Please let me know if Science has already invented instruments to measure all these mind phenomena (like measuring cholestrol level in your blood).

          In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

          In answer to your question, there is absolute evidence that a person thinks. Qualifying a thought as “good or bad” then is purely subjective. Same with “god”. Purely subjective.

          In reply to #42 by Ganesh:

          Forget about God for a moment. Can there be an evidence of what a person thinks? Unless the thought translates into an action (like speaking or doing), there can be no evidence of a bad thought. Does this mean bad thoughts don’t really occur in people’s minds at all?

          I think belief and disbelief in God are the same. In both cases, we have come to a conclusion about something we really have no clue about. In both cases, we are closed to the other possibility (and hence the arguments, fights and strife).

          • Well, if basic things like contents of thoughts and content of emotions (which are universal to practically all human beings) are still too complex for Science to prove (at least till now), then it is difficult for me to rely on Science (at least as of now) for proof or disproof of the existence of God.

            It looks as if anything beyond the physical/material (human emotions etc.), Science has pretty difficult time in unambiguous proof.

            Now I am not arguing for (or against) the existence of God. All I am asking is: can we count on Science (as it is now) to conclusively prove the non-existence of God? IMO, not yet.

            Right now, Science claiming that there is no God as a fact, to me, is no different from religion’s claims that “the earth is flat” a few centuries back. The question is not whether God exists or not. Making such a claim is outside the realm of Science (as it is now), IMO. So why bother?

            If certain beliefs like “earth is flat” etc. have been proven wrong, well and good. As Science makes more discoveries, conclusions can be made then.

            Again, by no means am I intending to diss Science or Religion here. I am neither a theist nor an atheist.

            In reply to #47 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #46 by Ganesh:

            When I say evidence of thinking, I mean deciphering the content of the thought as well, not just some measurement of brainwave activity and claiming it as thought. As unambiguous evidence as physical action. My question is: is there a scientific evidence to prove what a person is thinking? Is there scientific evidence to prove a change in thought as well (since thoughts can change continuously)? Is there scientific evidence to prove emotions in the mind (anger, jealousy, obsession, bliss)?

            Please let me know if Science has already invented instruments to measure all these mind phenomena (like measuring cholestrol level in your blood).

            I think you are thinking about neuroradiological scans and neuroimaging, which as far as I know, tell which parts of the brain are involved in types of thought or physical actions, and can show changes as different brain areas activate, but they do not show the details of actual thoughts. The complexity is too great at present.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/god-spot-in-brain-is-not-

            “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

            In the most recent study, Johnstone studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.

            “Neuropsychology researchers consistently have shown that impairment on the right side of the brain decreases one’s focus on the self,” Johnstone said. “Since our research shows that people with this impairment are more spiritual, this suggests spiritual experiences are associated with a decreased focus on the self. This is consistent with many religious texts that suggest people should concentrate on the well-being of others rather than on themselves.”

            Johnstone says the right side of the brain is associated with self-orientation, whereas the left side is associated with how individuals relate to others. Although Johnstone studied people with brain injury, previous studies of Buddhist meditators and Franciscan nuns with normal brain function have shown that people can learn to minimize the functioning of the right side of their brains to increase their spiritual connections during meditation and prayer.

            Johnstone makes the comparison to other kinds of disciplines; “It is like playing the piano, the more you train your brain, the more the brain becomes predisposed to piano playing. Practice makes perfect.”

            Particular areas of the brain are known to control particular functions and thought processes.

            In reply to #48 by crookedshoes:

            Science has invented computers which “interpret” the thoughts of a person (perhaps a paralyzed person) and translate these thoughts into actions. Thus, the person and the computer learn from each other to refine both the person’s ability to “thought control” the computer and the computer’s ability to “mind read” the person.

            As far as a movie screen that can project your thoughts, that would be cool but, I do not know that anything like that exists. However, the raw material, thought, is established as existing. It is measurable and provable and verifiable and reproducible.

            I also have seen studies where a couple gets into an MRI and is scanned while kissing (and even a study where they make love) and their brains activity is monitored. Thus, we are studying “love” and “lust” and such….

            So, even though many of these fantastic gadgets are in the infancy of their development, the raw materials for their success are verifiable present on our world.

            Where’s god???

            In reply to #46 by Ganesh:

            When I say evidence of thinking, I mean deciphering the content of the thought as well, not just some measurement of brainwave activity and claiming it as thought. As unambiguous evidence as physical action. My question is: is there a scientific evidence to prove what a person is thinking? Is there scientific evidence to prove a change in thought as well (since thoughts can change continuously)? Is there scientific evidence to prove emotions in the mind (anger, jealousy, obsession, bliss)?

            Please let me know if Science has already invented instruments to measure all these mind phenomena (like measuring cholestrol level in your blood).

            In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

            In answer to your question, there is absolute evidence that a person thinks. Qualifying a thought as “good or bad” then is purely subjective. Same with “god”. Purely subjective.

            In reply to #42 by Ganesh:

            Forget about God for a moment. Can there be an evidence of what a person thinks? Unless the thought translates into an action (like speaking or doing), there can be no evidence of a bad thought. Does this mean bad thoughts don’t really occur in people’s minds at all?

            I think belief and disbelief in God are the same. In both cases, we have come to a conclusion about something we really have no clue about. In both cases, we are closed to the other possibility (and hence the arguments, fights and strife).

          • Basic things like thoughts and emotions have been proven to exist. The level of proof you are requiring will always shift and move because you are not applying a consistent filter.

            You rely on science all day, every day for every single thing that is in your life that WORKS and is consistent. Then, you shit on science for a shortcoming that you arbitrarily impose on science yet not on god.

            So, you won’t advance or learn until you accept the fact that there are things that are correct and provable and things that are made up. I hope you can stay around long enough for everyone here to watch which way you end up going.

            In reply to #54 by Ganesh:

            Well, if basic things like contents of thoughts and content of emotions (which are universal to practically all human beings) are still too complex for Science to prove (at least till now), then it is difficult for me to rely on Science (at least as of now) for proof or disproof of the existence of God.

          • You claim that God doesn’t exist, and then you ask me why I am not shitting on something that doesn’t exist? Doesn’t make sense.
            When and where did I shit on Science?
            And it is amusing to see you take ownership of all things technology has offered. Did you invent everything that I use (from car to a smartphone)?

            All I asked is, if Science cannot calibrate functioning of human mind, which is clearly an existential reality, how can one depend on it’s claim on non-existence or existence of anything subtler?
            And that seemed enough to badly squeeze your nuts. You are in a real need of anger management classes.

            In reply to #57 by crookedshoes:

            Basic things like thoughts and emotions have been proven to exist. The level of proof you are requiring will always shift and move because you are not applying a consistent filter.

            You rely on science all day, every day for every single thing that is in your life that WORKS and is consistent. Then, you shit on science for a shortcoming that you arbitrarily impose on science yet not on god.

            So, you won’t advance or learn until you accept the fact that there are things that are correct and provable and things that are made up. I hope you can stay around long enough for everyone here to watch which way you end up going.

            In reply to #54 by Ganesh:

            Well, if basic things like contents of thoughts and content of emotions (which are universal to practically all human beings) are still too complex for Science to prove (at least till now), then it is difficult for me to rely on Science (at least as of now) for proof or disproof of the existence of God.

          • You really must come around here more often. I am the person on this site that most often is accused of being angry and upset. I am neither. It is just my style of writing and speaking; I am direct and to the point…. a straight shooter.

            you shit on science when you ignore the myriad of things that it has accomplished and then impose a silly line in the sand about “if it can’t do __________, then how can I trust it…..”

            It is about all it has, can, and will do. The god thing has done ZERO.

            ZERO.

            Your assessment of me taking ownership of all things technology is off the mark. I am outlining the fact that science is responsible for these advances and you are making unreasonable and arbitrary demands of science. You then do not demand the same rigor in YOUR assessment of God.

            Using the same line of reasoning that you employ; your “logic”… I am going to dismiss god because I did not win the lottery last night. I get to make the silly demand and when it doesn’t come “true” I can claim victory. It is a bullshit style of argument and invalid in any arena EXCEPT belief.

            See how unacceptable it is to use this tact? I do not look like Brad Pitt; there is no god….

            This topic requires more thought, more rigor, more honesty than you are currently employing.

            In reply to #61 by Ganesh:

            You claim that God doesn’t exist, and then you ask me why I am not shitting on something that doesn’t exist? Doesn’t make sense.
            When and where did I shit on Science?
            And it is amusing to see you take ownership of all things technology has offered. Did you invent everything that I use (from car to a smartphone)?

            All I asked is, if Science cannot calibrate functioning of human mind, which is clearly an existential reality, how can one depend on it’s claim on non-existence or existence of anything subtler?
            And that seemed enough to badly squeeze your nuts. You are in a real need of anger management classes.

            In reply to #57 by crookedshoes:

            Basic things like thoughts and emotions have been proven to exist. The level of proof you are requiring will always shift and move because you are not applying a consistent filter.

            You rely on science all day, every day for every single thing that is in your life that WORKS and is consistent. Then, you shit on science for a shortcoming that you arbitrarily impose on science yet not on god.

            So, you won’t advance or learn until you accept the fact that there are things that are correct and provable and things that are made up. I hope you can stay around long enough for everyone here to watch which way you end up going.

            In reply to #54 by Ganesh:

            Well, if basic things like contents of thoughts and content of emotions (which are universal to practically all human beings) are still too complex for Science to prove (at least till now), then it is difficult for me to rely on Science (at least as of now) for proof or disproof of the existence of God.

          • In reply to #54 by Ganesh:

            In reply to #47 by Alan4discussion: –
            Well, if basic things like contents of thoughts and content of emotions (which are universal to practically all human beings) are still too complex for Science to prove (at least till now), then it is difficult for me to rely on Science (at least as of now)

            This is a fallacious claim that if science does not know everything it knows nothing. This is simply incorrect.
            Many things about the material world are established to very high levels of probability by science and its methods. (That is we are as certain as we can be about anything, for things such as scientific laws.)

            for proof or disproof of the existence of God.

            The certain dis-proof of anything is impossible unless a contradictory positive claim refutes it.

            You cannot disprove many the thousands of other gods other people claim to follow, ( along with fairies and Harry Potter’s magic) so will just have to rely on the lack of evidence of their existence.

            It looks as if anything beyond the physical/material (human emotions etc.), Science has pretty difficult time in unambiguous proof.

            There is no evidence of anything existing “beyond the physical/material” matter and energy of the universe. There are just assertions which contradict science from people who do not understand the scientific laws of Thermodynamics. Movements of ANY matter and energy can be measured.

            (If your TV does not work, you do not need to know what music or picture they are supposedly transmitting, to know when there is no signal or when there is a power-cut!)

            There are no “magical” energy transmissions from dead bodies. Energies can be measured. Zero is zero, whatever the whimsical may say!

            Now I am not arguing for (or against) the existence of God. All I am asking is: can we count on Science (as it is now) to conclusively prove the non-existence of God? IMO, not yet.

            Would you like to try to prove the non-existence of green aliens in a cave on the far side of the Moon, in order to understand why it can be logically impossible to prove a negative.

            That is why in a rational debate, the onus of proof is on those making positive claims. It is the responsibility of those proposing gods to produce evidence that they exist and display any claimed capabilities.

            It is not everyone else’s responsibility to seek out and disprove thousands of god-claims from all over the world and DISprove them! (Are you going on a trip up the Amazon to find the god of some remote tribe in order to refute its existence??)

            Right now, Science claiming that there is no God as a fact,

            Science shows that certain magical religious claims are false. It shows that gods are vastly more complex as an explanation of natural features of the universe and therefore highly improbable as an explanation.

            to me, is no different from religion’s claims that “the earth is flat” a few centuries back.

            Science uses repeat testing and evaluation of research by “peers” – that is people with expertise in the subject investigated. It is what gives us rovers landing on Mars, information on distant stars, transport systems, medicine and agricultural expertise to feed millions. Expert scientific opinion is NOT the same as the amateur opinions of people who do not even know where to start studying the subjects.
            Anyone who thinks that science does not understand natural laws to near certainty, may try “air-walking” out of a tenth-floor window and see if science is wrong about gravity!

            The question is not whether God exists or not.

            I thought that was the question you raised!

            If you really want to know where gods exist, they exist in our brains. It’s just that in some of us they dominate other parts of the brain and the whole person generating delusions of their omnipotence, but in others those egos are subservient to the rational thinking from the other half of our brains.

            As I showed on the neuroscience link, some develop the rational; capabilities of their brains, others, keep their spiritual features dominant, and other brain functions shut down by regular prayers to reassure those god-spots, that the god-spots are still in charge!

            Making such a claim is outside the realm of Science (as it is now), IMO. So why bother?

            Without an extensive knowledge of science and recent research, how would you know where the boundaries of scientific knowledge and scientific investigation are, to be able to say what is outside it?

            If certain beliefs like “earth is flat” etc. have been proven wrong, well and good. As Science makes more discoveries, conclusions can be made then.

            The “Flat Earth” was not refuted by proving it is not flat. It was refuted by proving it is a globe so could not be flat.

            Again, by no means am I intending to diss Science or Religion here. I am neither a theist nor an atheist.

            Fence sitting can only be maintained by preserving ignorance, or the compartmentalised cognitive dissonance to think contradictory views can all be correct.

    • In reply to #42 by Ganesh:

      I think belief and disbelief in God are the same. In both cases, we have come to a conclusion about something we really have no clue about. In both cases, we are closed to the other possibility (and hence the arguments, fights and strife).

      I don’t necessarily agree with what you are saying here. I believe in God and I feel I have a clue because the Bible talks about this God and I have studied the Bible. Now, of course the response is how can you believe the Bible. Well some faith is required just as faith is required to believe in evolution but there are some things about the Bible that cannot be argued. For example, archeologically, a quick search of “Noah’s Ark National Park” will show the archeological remains of what is believed to be the ark, discovered I believe in 1977. The authenticity of the Bible? Many people argue that the Bible has changed over time. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the most ancient version of the old testament in the 1950s proved that very little if anything had changed from the ancient script to the new versions of today. Finally, the existence of someone on this earth named Jesus who was crucified would be supported by any historian who knows anything about ancient history. A quick search of “Tacitus on Jesus Christ” will prove this. Tacitus was a Roman historian and completely not connected to the church. In his work “Annals” he details the execution of Christ under Pilot and also the beginning of the early Christian Church. These are just three of the many many proofs that as an historical record the Bible can be trusted. Now, I choose to believe that because we can trust the Bible as an historical record, I can trust it beyond this. I understand that not everyone will take that last step but I am curious to know from you what it would take to make that last step? Lastly, I don’t feel like I am closed to any other possibility. In fact that is exactly why I am here. I am interested in knowing what makes atheists tick, what makes evolutionists tick and to see whether it makes any sense to me or not.

      • In reply to #52 by Canadian 2:

        I believe in God and I feel I have a clue because the Bible talks about this God and I have studied the Bible. Now, of course the response is how can you believe the Bible.

        If you want to understand the Old Testament, 15 minutes watching this video will tell you more about it than hours reading it.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg

        Well some faith is required just as faith is required to believe in evolution

        Actually no faith is needed to understand evolution. – Just the study of biology and geology. Biology IS the study of the relationships between species and individuals – present and past – with the proximity of relationships classified in great detail.

        but there are some things about the Bible that cannot be argued. For example, archeologically, a quick search of “Noah’s Ark National Park” will show the archeological remains of what is believed to be the ark, discovered I believe in 1977.

        Unfortunately for the Noah story, there are many facts missing from creationist literature. No archaeological remains of an ark have been found, but some incompetent Chinese creationist would-be archaeologists found some rock structures which they misidentified as a shipwreck on Mt. Ararat.
        That is even before we look at the older story of Gilgamesh from which they copied the story, or the obvious flaw that there is not enough water on Earth to raise the sea-level above the mountains.
        There have of course been (as geologists record) many LOCAL floods in the history of the Earth -including all coast lines, the river valleys of modern Iraq and the Black Sea Basin next to Mt Ararat.

        The authenticity of the Bible? Many people argue that the Bible has changed over time. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the most ancient version of the old testament in the 1950s proved that very little if anything had changed from the ancient script to the new versions of today.

        Apart from the numerous Coptic and Gnostic gospels which were rejected at Roman bishop’s meeting at Nicaea. (Not to mention the Quoran). Biblical accounts are simply not supported by the historical records of the time.
        There is extensive historical detail on the earlier discussions of this topic linked from my comment @36 Alan4discussion in this discussion.

        Finally, the existence of someone on this earth named Jesus who was crucified would be supported by any historian who knows anything about ancient history.

        That is not correct. The evidence is very scanty to the point where other than the bible stories it is negligible.

        A quick search of “Tacitus on Jesus Christ” will prove this. Tacitus was a Roman historian and completely not connected to the church. In his work “Annals” he details the execution of Christ under Pilot and also the beginning of the early Christian Church. These are just three of the many many proofs that as an historical record the Bible can be trusted.

        You still seem to be taking information from the wishful thinking in creationist story-books. See the discussions linked @36 for historical information.

        Now, I choose to believe that because we can trust the Bible as an historical record, I can trust it beyond this.

        You really should read some history from accredited academic sources, and beyond the creationist literature of biblical apologists.

        I understand that not everyone will take that last step but I am curious to know from you what it would take to make that last step? Lastly, I don’t feel like I am closed to any other possibility.

        Perhaps you would like to think why believers in thousands of other religions don’t agree, and why the various sects of Abrahamic religions disagree with each other so vehemently?

        In fact that is exactly why I am here. I am interested in knowing what makes atheists tick,

        An enquiring mind is a good thing to aid learning. Atheism is just an understanding of the lack of evidence for, and the improbability of, gods. Atheists are quite diverse in their philosophies (as are religious people for that matter).

        what makes evolutionists tick and to see whether it makes any sense to me or not.

        The theory of evolution is simply the well evidenced science of all life on Earth. It traces the ancestry of everything back as far as the single celled LUCA (Latest Universal Common Ancestor). Evolution is the core feature in understanding the biology of individual organisms and of interacting groups of living organisms forming ecosystems.

        Just to emphasize the point:- That’s every living thing which has ever been studied and ALL the studies confirm the evolution and on-going evolution of all of them – using a whole range of different scientific measuring and investigative techniques. There are various biologists here who can explain details.

  25. Now, I choose to believe that because we can trust the Bible as an historical record, I can trust it beyond this. I understand that not everyone will take that last step but I am curious to know from you what it would take to make that last step?

    Evolution and biblical creationism are mutually exclusive. They can’t both be correct. Every bit of evidence for evolution is evidence against creationism and in turn undermines the credibity of the bible.

    Plus, I’ve never read the bible but I hear it has some pretty far-fetched stories. Case in point:

    In Christianity all you need to do is believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and died for you sins then salvation is yours. It is a gift.

    • In reply to #60 by The Jersey Devil:

      Evolution and biblical creationism are mutually exclusive. They can’t both be correct. Every bit of evidence for evolution is evidence against creationism and in turn undermines the credibity of the bible.

      That is not necessarily true. Some take the description of the creation in The Bible as literally explaining everything about it. God created everything in six, 24 hour periods and did it by some kind of magic. However, that interpretation is not necessarily accurate. The mechanism behind the creation of extant organismal diversity is never outlined in detail in The Bible. It really has a lot more to say about the meaning of life than the mechanism. At the same time, science can tell us a lot about mechanism, but nothing about meaning. Religion and science are trying to answer different questions, and the validity of either one does not exclude the other from the realm of possibilities.

      • In reply to #143 by Chipmunk:

        It really has a lot more to say about the meaning of life than the mechanism. At the same time, science can tell us a lot about mechanism, but nothing about meaning. Religion and science are trying to answer different questions, and the validity of either one does not exclude the other from the realm of possibilities.

        Neither the universe nor the scientific theory of evolution has any “meaning”. “Meaning” is an unevidenced religious construct injected into the religious concept of the universe, and into the unscientific “Theistic Evolution”.

        “Meaning”, describes human objectives, unless supernatural objectives are being claimed.

        There is no evidence for the supernatural. It is a paradox.

      • In reply to #143 by Chipmunk:

        The mechanism behind the creation of extant organismal diversity is never outlined in detail in The Bible.

        Well my understanding of the story…depending on whether it is G1 or G2…is that the big complicated thing made the simpler thing out of dirt.

        But of course not. Abiogenesis isn’t fully understood to this day, so how could anyone writing 3,000 years ago know what is not fully understood today. They couldn’t, so they made shit up. Nothing to do with meaning and more to do with authourity. People were doing it all over the planet…there are too many contradictions on a common theme. Christians and Jews just nail their colours to the mast of one particular yarn.

        Creation Myths

        Pick one. Each is as valid as the other if you like. Well, not really. Each is as barking mad as the other.

        It really has a lot more to say about the meaning of life than the mechanism.

        What meaning does it have to say? Science tells us that there is no meaning. We are the result of an accident of chemistry and physics. Chemistry and physics will one day be life’s demise. That is a more beautiful idea than we are the musings of a petty minded super being having a boring day.

        At the same time, science can tell us a lot about mechanism,…

        But nothing conclusive at this stage. The hard work is being done though. In the meantime, science won’t make far fetched claims as true. Sometimes it is just fine to say “I don’t know…yet”.

        …but nothing about meaning.

        Depends on your definition of ‘meaning’. Why are we here? Evolution. Evolution takes life where circumstances demand. There is no great plan and life is too fragile to have an ultimate meaning.

        Religion and science are trying to answer different questions, and the validity of either one does not exclude the other from the realm of possibilities.

        No, science is correcting religion all the time. It is answering the questions ignorant people believe religion had already answered. The gaps for gods to hide in are being closed by science. The theological two-step is nearly over and when it is, religion will be left sitting in the corner with no dancing partner.

  26. As long as it is granted that science and reason can not disprove the existence of god, faith trumps all comers. I shall assert that god created the multiverse; that covers everything from the big bang to the origin of life to the end of time and space. You can debate until you’re blue in the face because I’ve got a never ending supply of trump cards as well as a never ending supply of cynical manipulators and ignorant fools at my beck and call.

  27. No. The religious make many claims of their god that are instantly refuted by huge amounts of evidence.

    God is benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient BUT allows huge amounts of evil every day. Is this because : he does care, doesn’t know, and lacks the power to act?

    Adam and Eve first people, created about 6000 years ago. Fossil records, evolution, much other evidence refutes this.

    Jesus born of a virgin: basic biology refutes this.

    Jesus resurrected: no evidence that anyone has ever been resurrected.

    Etc…

  28. I have had the great personal “privilege” to be with three schizophrenics on a variety of occasions when they have been at their full “glowing” manic peaks. The events were always, sadly, personal and familial catastrophes though two (super-clever and creative individuals) have gone on to recover and extract value from their experiences.

    The only evidence for gods that cannot be directly tested and dismissed are those appeals to inner experiences. Well watching these schizophrenics experience revelation was revelatory for me. First was their sustained and familiar thought and speech patterns, normally associated with the spiritually religious (and this in an atheist and an agnostic) And second were the “perceptive” insights made of things we could both see and share.

    Religious insights were revealed, warnings made, instructions given. I was asked to notice the light falling on the daybook being leafed through by a nurse. “That’s how she is being told….All these things I used to miss…See, see. She’s puzzled. How did it get there?”

    Another occasion in a garden there is a solitary plant bearing a solitary white flower. It is a succulent and the soil in the plant pot is bone dry. The person observes this quite unaccountable miracle. It is impossible that the flower can survive given the dry soil. Even after I have pointed out that it is a succulent and perfectly capable of surviving dry periods, the miracle is not to be denied.

    Many people, not schizophrenics, have occasional schizophrenic events and periods (read the Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold for an entertaining account by Evelyn Waugh following a personal experience.) One common feature of these attacks is an impairment of semantic memories, memories of everyday “general knowledge” facts.

    These people experience a reduced access the some everyday knowledge. The commonplace can take on a miraculous nature and lazy brains can seek explanations for the miraculous in the most convenient and general purpose way it can, invoking those old standbys of invisible agents.

  29. A very interesting comment. In science there are many things we infer from evidence without “seeing” them directly (the Higgs Boson comes to mind), this of course does not mean they do not exist as per your bacteria example.

    Personally I am with Laplace (I think it was him) who when asked by Napoleon where god was in his nebular theory replied, he had no need of that hypothesis. Also we should be careful to define what is meant by “god”. Are we talking an impersonal deistic god? The god of the Christians or Muslims etc? If so, without evidence we have little means of discerning between them, one religion is as good as another when you determine truth via faith (which is just another way of saying your feelings). Regardless, the judaic religions do make empericle statements to which Karl Poppers falsifiability notions can be applied i.e. evidence and observation can be brought to bare on determining if the claims made by these religions are true e.g. is the earth 6000 years old or thereabouts? If not then a liternal intepretation of the bible/Koran falls over. Does the moon and sun orbit the earth as implied when Josua (?) asked god to stop the moon and sun in the sky i.e. it is there bodies that move according to the bible not the earth and so forth…

    Without evidence we are forced to employ intuition and faith/subjective feelings which given the number of different faiths on offer cannot be regarded as efficient or infallible ways of determining truth and adherence to any belief in god on this basis is entirely subjective and corresponds to the whimsy of the individual in question. Evidence to my mind is called for if one wishes to make any kind of meaningful determinations between the god(s) on offer.

    No true atheist to my mind will say catagorically there is no god (though for the reasons given above I am willing to bet my life on the Judaic god being a complete fabrication) simply that god has not been shown to be necessary and the evidence for the same is insufficiently compelling to make any positive affirmation on the matter. there is in short wiggle room though one would be compelled to define god almost out of existance given the current state of knowledge.. “god of the gaps” with ever diminishing gaps.

    Hope the tedious ramble helps :[)]

  30. I think you are right to an extent that is what all woo masters claim. I think more fundamental question is how do we decide when so called evidence is presented whether it is true or not. God as defined by almost all religions have characterstics that are testable and so far all evidence is negative. The theists have also failed to address the question of conversion mechanism of Supernatural action or intent being converted to natural action. Their so called infallible books fail to mention such a mechanism. The God of revelation basic failure to posit such mechanism is in itself the reason to deny the existence of the entity.

  31. YES! Empirical evidence is of utmost importance… to me at least. I WANT to know the truth and science will eventually force religion into an untenable position in the world. I will never see a secular world based on reason and science, but I know it will come some day.What lucky people of the future!

  32. The sea was wet as wet could be; ……………………………………………………………………………… The sands were dry as dry. …………………………………………………………………………………………. You could not see a cloud, because …………………………………………………………………………….. No cloud was in the sky; …………………………………………………………………………………………….. No birds were flying overhead — …………………………………………………………………………………. There were no birds to fly.

    (Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter, 3rd stanza)

  33. There actually have been numerous experiments seeking to detect the effects of prayer, miracles etc. though you might find a dearth of side-channel attacks on such phenomena. It’d be interesting to see, for example, if there was an increase of thermal or electromagnetic anomalies around someone who’s being prayed at in contrast to a control who was being ignored by the faithful.

    This crosses is an issue that really bothers me about many theists (Professor John Lennox being recent object of disaffection) is the tendency to presume that the slightest argument or evidence in favor of a deity or a supernatural event† is enough to license them to leap to presume veracity of their deity or their
    supernatural event in question.

    † Often they just settle for something that is unexplained by current models of natural forces.

    Myself, I’d really prefer to see a sincere effort towards ascertaining the properties of the divine. The more the religious just take for granted their favorite scripture, the more respect they lose from those of us who challenge it.

    EDIT: for atrocious style.

  34. Earlier I asked a completely loaded question and I am curious why our Bible defending friends haven’t offered an answer.

    Where was Jesus born and how many generations were between him and King david?

    So much for the Bible not contradicting itself.

    • In reply to #90 by crookedshoes:

      Well, you know how it is when you try to write a book about what you are doing while you are also having to run everything: you can easily get a few details mixed up, especially when you lack the services of top-grade editorial staff. It is a miracle the book got written at all! What more proof do you need?! Oh! I feel the Spirit of the Lord upon me! Halleluyah!

      • Work it!!!!!

        In reply to #92 by Garrick Worthing:

        In reply to #90 by crookedshoes:

        Well, you know how it is when you try to write a book about what you are doing while you are also having to run everything: you can easily get a few details mixed up, especially when you lack the services of top-grade editorial staff. It is a miracle the book got written at all! What more proof do you need?! Oh! I feel the Spirit of the Lord upon me! Halleluyah!

    • In reply to #90 by crookedshoes:

      Earlier I asked a completely loaded question and I am curious why our Bible defending friends haven’t offered an answer.

      Where was Jesus born and how many generations were between him and King david?

      So much for the Bible not contradicting itself.

      Well I have about 5 conversations going on at once it seems so I apologize for not getting to one of your questions. However, if you want the answer to your questions just go read Matthew 1 and count up the number of names between King David and Jesus and then read Matt 2:1 for the location.

      Now I believe I asked you a question that you didn’t answer but Alan4discussion did. I asked if there was any possible way you could be wrong about what happens after you die. A4D said that he is 99% sure he is right. In an earlier post you said prove to me that what anyone believes matters. Well, if there is a possibility that there is a wrong answer then there is a possibility of a right answer. And if there is a possibility of a right answer then what people believe does matter.

      • You are being silly. Just because there are two answers being discussed, does not mean that each has equal probability. I am not 100% certain of anything. I do not profess to “know” things at that level. What I do is weigh probabilities. The probability that cells are the building blocks of life is asymptotic at a value of 1. The chance that there is a heaven is asymptotic at a value of zero. There is a difference and that difference is the difference between being right and being wrong. We deal in reasonable doubt; not certainty.

        As for your answer to my question, why aren’t using Luke as your reference?

        According to Mathew 1:6-16, there are twenty-seven generations between David and Jesus. According to Luke 3:23-31, there are forty-two.

        Both books are in the Bible, correct? They cannot be both correct simultaneously, correct? So the bible contradicts itself, correct?

        Now, taking the value of a generation to be roughly 15 years, one book claims that there were 405 years between Jesus and King David; the other book claims that there were 630 years between the two. That is an error of 225 YEARS.

        If I look up any literature on King David, the sources (David: a Biography by Barbara Cohen) (The encylopedia Judaica: “David”, place David’s rule from 1010 BC to 970 BC. Jesus, OF COURSE, was born in year zero (even that is hugely disputed)…

        Anyway, for Matthew to be correct and there to have been 27 generations between David and Jesus, a generation would have to be 36 years. Does that sound correct for the period? People reproduced every 36 years???

        EPIC FAIL.

        Luke does a little better, placing the average “generation” at about 23 years. So, anyway, the real point here is not that the writers of the Bible failed math, failed to communicate with each other and get their story straight, failed the test of lining up with actual documented history, failed, failed, failed…..

        But rather to rebut your assertion that the Bible does not contradict itself. It clearly does. My logic and facts are unassailable.

        BTW, being off by 225 years is being off by 82125 days. Being off by 82125 days is being off by 1971000 hours. Being off by 1971000 hours is being off by 118260000 minutes. Being off by 118260000 minutes is being off by 7095600000 seconds. An error of 7.1 BILLION seconds is a pretty big error, don’t you agree???
        Enough of an error to allow for reasonable doubt?

        In reply to #96 by Canadian 2:

        In reply to #90 by crookedshoes:

        Earlier I asked a completely loaded question and I am curious why our Bible defending friends haven’t offered an answer.

        Where was Jesus born and how many generations were between him and King david?

        So much for the Bible not contradicting itself.

        Well I have about 5 conversations going on at once it seems so I apologize for not getting to one of your questions. However, if you want the answer to your questions just go read Matthew 1 and count up the number of names between King David and Jesus and then read Matt 2:1 for the location.

        Now I believe I asked you a question that you didn’t answer but Alan4discussion did. I asked if there was any possible way you could be wrong about what happens after you die. A4D said that he is 99% sure he is right. In an earlier post you said prove to me that what anyone believes matters. Well, if there is a possibility that there is a wrong answer then there is a possibility of a right answer. And if there is a possibility of a right answer then what people believe does matter.

        • BTW, being off by 225 years is being off by 82125 days. Being off by 82125 days is being off by 1971000 hours. Being off by 1971000 hours is being off by 118260000 minutes. Being off by 118260000 minutes is being off by 7095600000 seconds. An error of 7.1 BILLION seconds is a pretty big error, don’t you agree???
          Enough of an error to allow for reasonable doubt?

          Thanks for the math. Here is one paragraph from an interesting article from creation.com.
          http://creation.com/jim-mason-nuclear-physicist
          Now you are clearly much more intelligent than I am so maybe you could figure out how many seconds fit into 1.5 billion years.

          Further evidence for a young age from nuclear physics comes from large amounts of helium found in tiny zircon crystals extracted from rocks that are allegedly 1.5 billion years old. The amount of uranium and lead present in the crystals indicated that the helium was the result of radioactive decay of the uranium. However, in the supposed 1.5 billion years of the rock’s existence, essentially all the helium that would have been produced by this decay should have diffused out of the crystals. Using the amount of helium actually present in the crystals and the rate of diffusion of helium through these crystals as measured by an independent laboratory, the age of the crystals, and therefore the rock from which they came was only about 5,700±2,000 years! This implies that the decay rate was much faster in the past—undermining a key assumption of radiometric dating.2

          • In reply to #99 by Canadian 2:

            Further evidence for a young age from nuclear physics comes from large amounts of helium found in tiny zircon crystals extracted from rocks that are allegedly 1.5 billion years old. The amount of uranium and lead present in the crystals indicated that the helium was the result of radioactive decay of the uranium. However, in the supposed 1.5 billion years of the rock’s existence, essentially all the helium that would have been produced by this decay should have diffused out of the crystals. Using the amount of helium actually present in the crystals and the rate of diffusion of helium through these crystals as measured by an independent laboratory, the age of the crystals, and therefore the rock from which they came was only about 5,700±2,000 years! This implies that the decay rate was much faster in the past—undermining a key assumption of radiometric dating.2

            Ha! ha ha! ! Creation pseudo-science has refuted radiometric dating – using Uranium !! ? ?

            Now let me see which isotope? Was it:

            • U 233 with a half-life of 158,200 years,
            • U 234 with a half life of 245,500 years
            • U 235 with a half-life of 703,800,000 years
            • U 236 with a half life of 23,420,000 years
            • U 238 with a half life of 4.468 billion years

            Then there are all the measured half lives of all the other radioactive elements.

            … Before we even look at astronomy and cosmology!

            BTW: If nuclear scientists did not understand this nuclear power stations would not work!

            http://www.buzzle.com/articles/list-of-radioactive-elements.html

            I don’t know where they found their creationist new-clear fizzy-sist?

          • I could very easily calculate the number of seconds in 1.5 billion years. I can also very easily criticize poorly done science or hypotheses that do not measure up. This paragraph may be completely wrong, but, since I do not understand it, nor do I know where it is from nor what it purports to conclude, I have no reference to criticize it. I do not understand the snippet that you have offered, but , I will say this: an error of 2000 years in a 5700 year old sample is completely unacceptable. There, you see how it works? When something is wrong you do not defend it.

            I cannot seem to, however, easily understand your inflexibility when it comes to the obvious fact that Luke has one thing in it and Matthew has another. This is called contradiction and no matter what mental gymnastics you devise to make it alright, you are still dancing around the fact that they say two entirely different things.

            I work with a friend who has been delivering Sunday sermons at his Church for years. He works side by side with the Priest and I often seek him out when something like this comes up.

            I told him that your posture was that there were no contradictions in the Bible. He cracked up and we called his priest friend on speaker. The priest’s exact words were “do not even get me started on contradictions just in Genesis alone.” We all had a good laugh.

            In reply to #99 by Canadian 2:

            BTW, being off by 225 years is being off by 82125 days. Being off by 82125 days is being off by 1971000 hours. Being off by 1971000 hours is being off by 118260000 minutes. Being off by 118260000 minutes is being off by 7095600000 seconds. An error of 7.1 BILLION seconds is a pretty big error, don’t you agree???
            Enough of an error to allow for reasonable doubt?

            Thanks for the math. Here is one paragraph from an interesting article from creation.com.
            http://creation.com/jim-mason-nuclear-physicist
            Now you are clearly much more intelligent than I am so maybe you could figure out how many seconds fit into 1.5 billion years.

            Further evidence for a young age from nuclear physics comes from large amounts of helium found in tiny zircon crystals extracted from rocks that are allegedly 1.5 billion years old. The amount of uranium and lead present in the crystals indicated that the helium was the result of radioactive decay of the uranium. However, in the supposed 1.5 billion years of the rock’s existence, essentially all the helium that would have been produced by this decay should have diffused out of the crystals. Using the amount of helium actually present in the crystals and the rate of diffusion of helium through these crystals as measured by an independent laboratory, the age of the crystals, and therefore the rock from which they came was only about 5,700±2,000 years! This implies that the decay rate was much faster in the past—undermining a key assumption of radiometric dating.2

          • In reply to #109 by crookedshoes:

            I could very easily calculate the number of seconds in 1.5 billion years. I can also very easily criticize poorly done science or hypotheses that do not measure up. This paragraph may be completely wrong, but, since I do not understand it, nor do I know where it is from nor what it purports to conclude, I have no reference to criticize it. I do not understand the snippet that you have offered, but , I will say this: an error of 2000 years in a 5700 year old sample is completely unacceptable. There, you see how it works? When something is wrong you do not defend it.

            I realize that the paragraph was out of context. It was in an attempt to get you to follow the URL provided to read the rest of the article. But because you are not really interested in what others have to say I guess you didn’t do that.

            I cannot seem to, however, easily understand your inflexibility when it comes to the obvious fact that Luke has one thing in it and Matthew has another. This is called contradiction and no matter what mental gymnastics you devise to make it alright, you are still dancing around the fact that they say two entirely different things.

            Are you serious? You cannot understand how a mother’s family line and a father’s family line would not come out with the exact same number of generations? If that is mental gymnastics than clearly in my other post I gave your intelligence way too much credit. If that is your stance than I am wasting my time in that you are more closed minded to any differing opinion than I could have possibly imagined. Which is really sad. I figured we could easily get past this genealogy thing and move on to more interesting contradictions like your “priest” friend and yourself were laughing about.

        • Anyway, for Matthew to be correct and there to have been 27 generations between David and Jesus, a generation would have to be 36 years. Does that sound correct for the period? People reproduced every 36 years???

          From Abraham to David the genealogies of Matt and Luke are almost the same, but from David on they are different you are correct. Matthew follows the line of Joseph where as Luke emphasizes the line of Mary. It is not surprising that the mothers line and fathers line do not match. My parents are only six years apart but my Dad’s dad was born in 1901. My mom’s dad was born in 1929. So over the course of that much time it is quite obvious that they won’t be the same. Furthermore, because Matt follows in large part the Kings (the first 13 generations worth before the exile to Babylon) it is also not surprising that he has fewer generations. It is not hard to imagine that the King is going to live longer and father children at an older age. I’m not so sure the differences in the two books equals an epic fail. I’m pretty sure it just requires the use of some logic.

        • In reply to #97 by crookedshoes:

          Oh, I also never said that each answer had equal probability for what happens after life. I think I made it pretty clear when I said even just 0.01% of a chance of doubt. The point is that if there is a possibility of a wrong answer then there is a possibility of a right answer. That cannot be argued. Therefore, it does matter what people think. Even if evolution is true it does matter because there is a possibility of being wrong. I don’t think that is being silly, I think that is defending the notion that it does matter what people think.

          BTW I’m still waiting for an actual contradiction from the Bible.

    • OK, I’m curious. Where was Jesus born?

      No wait. Let me guess. Bethleham, Pennsylvania.

      In reply to #90 by crookedshoes:

      Earlier I asked a completely loaded question and I am curious why our Bible defending friends haven’t offered an answer.Where was Jesus born and how many generations were between him and King david?So much for the Bible not contradicting itself.

  35. But we have LOTS of evidence that the gods do not exist. The gods are not something that we simply haven’t looked at yet. The religious tell us all about the gods attributes and deeds at great length in print, speech, the web – really, you can’t get them to stop giving you claims that you can test.

    God created the world in 6 days, and Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, and this all happened about 6 thousand years ago.

    Status: refuted by the evidence.

    Jesus was born of a virgin. Status: refuted.

    Jesus was resurrected. Status: refuted.

    God is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent. Status: refuted.

    The evidence:
    Geological record.
    Fossil record.
    Evolution.
    Basic biology.
    The “question of evil” and basic logic.
    Science in general.

    • In reply to #100 by Canadian 2:

      I’m curious what you mean about asking me whether I have read Amos. I have. Several times.

      I asked because this particular section of Amos is brought up regularly by people quoting apologists chapter and verse. It’s one of those references that arouses my sceptifilters. I’m glad you have read it. So have I.

      May I ask what issue you have with Amos?

      As I said earlier, you might as well have been quoting Nostradamus.

      Prophecies are a dime a dozen and too easily accepted through confirmation bias. Your Amos chapter 9 reference does not predict a straight line to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. It’s also the most common reference to Amos from christians. They don’t talk much about the whole book. It’s an apologist cliche. When people quote it, I have to wonder whether they’ve read the whole book or whether they’re just cherry-picking apologist interpretations of one chapter.

      As a christian, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this. It’s like quoting John 3:16 and not bothering to read anything else.

  36. Here is one paragraph from an interesting article from creation.com.

    You read CMI? Yikes. From their ‘about us’ page.

    http://creation.com/about-us

    2.The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.

    and

    6.By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

    Now I’m the dumbest person that regularly posts to this website, but even I can see this is a pretty obvious circular logic error thingy.

    Either that or there is a god who intentionally cloaks itself for the sole purpose of punishing the non-believers for all time. Further, this dysfunctional, co-dependent phony created the whole universe for the sole purpose of playing this sick, perverted game.

  37. Very interesting hypothesis. First and foremost, thank you for your honesty. I will take your opening statement as a victory for all of us who were coaxed into this conversation when you stated that the Bible does NOT contradict itself.

    Since neither book mentions anyone other than David, Joseph, and Jesus it is totally arbitrary to come to the conclusion at which you arrive.

    You are interpreting them to reconcile their contradictions. Where in the book does it state that one is following Mary and the other Joseph? Exact citation necessary (I have provided exact citations of the locations of the quotes. Please do the same to support your hypothesis.)

    A generation is a number of years. it is absolutely not experienced differently between the genders. You claim that I need to apply logic to see this issue clearly. Sorry, my logic is not broken enough to allow this to make sense. Which is especially true in the case of the Bible because it has never ever been interested in or sensitive to anything female much less Mary’s maternal bloodline.

    Did all of Mary’s ancestors marry all Joseph’s ancestors?

    In reply to #102 by Canadian 2:

    Anyway, for Matthew to be correct and there to have been 27 generations between David and Jesus, a generation would have to be 36 years. Does that sound correct for the period? People reproduced every 36 years???

    From Abraham to David the genealogies of Matt and Luke are almost the same, but from David on they are different you are correct. Matthew follows the line of Joseph where as Luke emphasizes the line of Mary. It is not surprising that the mothers line and fathers line do not match. My parents are only six years apart but my Dad’s dad was born in 1901. My mom’s dad was born in 1929. So over the course of that much time it is quite obvious that they won’t be the same. Furthermore, because Matt follows in large part the Kings (the first 13 generations worth before the exile to Babylon) it is also not surprising that he has fewer generations. It is not hard to imagine that the King is going to live longer and father children at an older age. I’m not so sure the differences in the two books equals an epic fail. I’m pretty sure it just requires the use of some logic.

  38. I read your second post first and responded before I read your first. Is this the exact reference you are looking for:
    Matt 1:6 – David was the father of Solomon
    Luke 3:31 – the son of Nathan, the son of David
    2 Samuel5:14 – These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar 6 more
    So even if you don’t believe what Bible scholars have decided that one is following Mary and one Joseph it is pretty obvious that after David they are following two different sons of David. So once again, it is not a far reach to suggest that each line would go through 30 some odd generations at a different rate.

    • Just a couple of things.
      In the future, when you attempt to get me to follow a paragraph that is totally out of context because you think that I “should” follow up your inane inclusion of a total non sequitur, please actually say that I should read more than you have included. Or, actually include the relavent stuff. I do not read minds.

      So, you are claiming that from the quote “David was the father of Solomon” and the other quote “the son of Nathan, the son of David”….And then your inclusion of 6 generations of names from another book, that this validates your hypothesis that Luke was CLEARLY following a maternal lineage and Matthew a paternal.

      Are you suggesting that Mary was a descendent of David as well as Joseph being a descendent of David? So, mary’s 42X grandfather was one of David’s sons and Joseph’s 27X grandfather was the other?

      Your point (I thought) was that the WOMEN lived shorter lives and reproduced earlier, therefore the maternal lineage went through more generations than the paternal…. Yet both are derived from David’s sons?

      So the family line diverges at David’s son’s and then coincidentally converges again with Mary and Joseph?

      And in Mary’s family line “generation” means 13 years and in Joseph’s “generation” means 35 years?

      So, on average the men were 35 and the women were 13? So for every 16 year old wife there was a 10 year old? This is your defense of the fact that one book says one thing and the other book says something entirely different???

      Some random contradictions:

      first

      PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

      JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

      second

      EXO 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

      ROM 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

      third

      MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

      LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

      fourth

      MAT 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

      MAR 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

      JOH 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

      fifth

      GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
      GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

      GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
      GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

      I won’t continue the “contradiction fest” but, damn it is funny the lengths you guys will go to to never be wrong about anything pertaining to this book. There are like 100 more. Your assertion is wrong.

      In reply to #111 by Canadian 2:

      I read your second post first and responded before I read your first. Is this the exact reference you are looking for:
      Matt 1:6 – David was the father of Solomon
      Luke 3:31 – the son of Nathan, the son of David
      2 Samuel5:14 – These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar 6 more
      So even if you don’t believe what Bible scholars have decided that one is following Mary and one Joseph it is pretty obvious that after David they are following two different sons of David. So once again, it is not a far reach to suggest that each line would go through 30 some odd generations at a different rate.

      • In reply to #112 by crookedshoes:

        First, I thought providing you with the URL and saying “here is one paragraph from an interesting article” would be information enough that you should read it. [Edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

        Matt and Luke follow two different lines of David, that is clear. If you can’t acknowledge that people are born, give birth and die at different rates, there is no point to carrying on this discussion. Your attack on the genealogy of Christ is wrong.

        Furthermore, I am not going to waste my time with explaining all the contradictions listed if when given perfectly fine evidence against it being a contradiction you don’t listen anyway.

        That being said I will address the first “contradiction” for no other reason than it is what you listed first. You can use this as my example of the fact that I still strongly believe the Bible does not contradict itself.

        first

        PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

        JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

        145:9 is from King David praising God. David had been punished for sinning against God and yet still understood that God was just in those punishments and when David turned back to God, God’s mercy forgave him.

        13:14 is the prophet Jeremiah warning the Israelites that their destruction is coming because they have strayed from God. It is not about destroying people who didn’t know better. It is about telling his chosen people that they have not lived up to what he wanted them to despite the fact that they were warned for generations that this would be the result.

        When someone is disciplined it does not make the person doing the discipline evil. Parents discipline their children. God disciplines his people because he is just. He gave the children of Israel plenty of warning through prophets and natural disasters plenty of warning that their near destruction would come if they did not change from their ways. They did not change and therefore Jeremiah comes and tells them that their time is up. To say that someone cannot be merciful and still discpline when discipline is needed does not make sense.

      • In reply to #112 by crookedshoes:

        I won’t continue the “contradiction fest” but, damn it is funny the lengths you guys will go to to never be wrong about anything pertaining to this book. There are like 100 more. Your assertion is wrong.

        There are 471 contradictions across the Old and New Testaments, according to the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. As well as 253 sex scenes and references to sex, 445 scientific and historical fails (although some admittedly are repeats), 385 cases of misogyny, 1313 cruel and violent passages, 228 failed prophecies, 390 cases where believers can’t agree among themselves over interpretation, 2215 absurdities, 27 of the 66 books lacking anything worthwhile in them

        … and, to be fair, 511 decent passages for people to cherry pick, though nothing that screams divine wisdom so much as ethical common sense, and some of which are contradicted by other passages in the bible anyway (for instance, Thou Shalt Not KillOr Shalt Thou?).

        Or, to simply borrow the site owner’s explanation:

        But isn’t there some good stuff in the Bible?

        Well yes there is, although surprisingly little for such a big book. Indeed, if the bad, boring, and useless passages were removed from the Bible and only the good retained, the Bible would be nothing more than a small pamphlet.

        But Bible-believers are unwilling to edit the Bible. So the good verses, when not invalidated by their immediate context, are contradicted elsewhere in the Bible. There is not a single good idea in the entire Bible that is taught consistently throughout. Consequently, it is worse than useless as a moral, philosophical, political, or scientific guide.

        Still, I think it’s important to point out the good stuff in the Bible, and so I have highlighted the good verses and provided a “thumbs up” icon to mark them in the text.

  39. So, I am going to try to use “logic” to reconcile the fact that In Matthew Joseph’s dad was Jacob and in Luke Joseph’s dad was Heli.

    MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
    LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

    Ready? Jacob and Heli are the same person. Heli was Jacob’s stage name. You see, he was an actor, and had to go by a pseudonym because there was another, very popular actor at the time, who already had “dibbs” on the name Jacob.

    Oh, wait, Heli is a nickname that Jacob incurred when he, as a child, when he used to spin around and around like a helicopter and drive his father crazy.

    Either that or they CONTRADICT one another.

  40. Mods’ message

    A reminder to all users that our Terms of Use require you to argue your case without resorting to snide comments about those who disagree with you. If you need to refresh your memory about the desired ethos of the site, please follow the link to the “Terms and Conditions” at the foot of each page.

    Thank you.

    The mods

    • Well I am not sure how my comment exceeded what is acceptable to the moderators compared to what else has been said, but regardless I apologize for crossing your line.

      If you are bored crookedshoes then we are done. that is fine. I would not want to bore you anymore. Here is what I will say to end though. Three possibilities exist for the end of our time here on earth.

      1. You are right – in which case we will die and neither of us will know that you were right
      2. I am right (again I know that that would be an extremely small chance in your mind) – in which case you will stand before God and account for your time on earth and you will not be able to say you didn’t know anything about him because you clearly do.
      3. We are both wrong – Then who knows. I guess we would both be in trouble then.
      • You have the three possibilities correct (I think).

        I have not been arguing that point and think that you nail it. I am not at all bored with that line of reasoning or the conversation it generates. I think you are intelligent and articulate, and have enjoyed jousting with you.

        I am bored of the evidence conversation because I think that you will continue to offer thoughts about how these contradictory statements are, in your opinion, not actually contradictory because, well, there might be a kind of, sort of possible way that maybe….. etc…..

        We clearly are on different footing with the words “evidence” and “logic” and, probably due to my own contributions, the conversation has become tedious.

        As for the Mods apprehension about the course of our conversation, again, it is probably on me because of my “checkered past” here. They were anticipating something. I do not think you were untoward at all.

        Anyway, I look forward to you sticking around and perhaps picking up our conversation on another thread or picking up an entirely new topic. Who knows? Maybe next time we will agree.

        In reply to #117 by Canadian 2:

        Well I am not sure how my comment exceeded what is acceptable to the moderators compared to what else has been said, but regardless I apologize for crossing your line.

        If you are bored crookedshoes then we are done. that is fine. I would not want to bore you anymore. Here is what I will say to end though. Three possibilities exist for the end of our time here on earth.

        You are right – in which case we will die and neither of us will know that you were right
        I am right (again I know that that would be an extremely small chance in your mind) – in which case you will stand before God and account for your time on earth and you will not be able to say you didn’t know anything about him because you clearly do.
        We are both wrong – Then who knows. I guess we would both be in trouble then.

        • In reply to #118 by crookedshoes:

          I am bored of the evidence conversation because I think that you will continue to offer thoughts about how these contradictory statements are, in your opinion, not actually contradictory because, well, there might be a kind of, sort of possible way that maybe….. etc…..

          We clearly are on different footing with the words “evidence” and “logic”

          I see you have been busy while I have been out at a meeting and lecture about botanical field work in S. Africa.

          Time for some definitions and linked evidence of known positions!

          Biblical literalism is the theological view that the contents of the Bible should be seen as literally true, as opposed to being interpreted as allegory, literature, or mythology. Literalism is the basis of several different pseudoscientific positions, such as Young Earth Creationism, Deluge Theory and the Flat Earth Theory. [1]

          A belief in Biblical literalism requires one to ignore huge amounts of modern science and its supporting evidence, and to replace provable, rational explanations with various versions of Goddidit.

          Biblical literalism. ▬▬▬▬
          A literalist position insists that every word must be taken as literally true and treats everything as either a historical document or literal prophecy. This, of course, has problems because of translation issues, but in practice it usually focuses on convenient and (relatively) modern translations such as with the King James Only movement.

          People who adhere to literalism do not question their religion, tending towards a simplistic acceptance of what they are told.

          Though frequently literalists claim to have read the Bible, upon questioning it is clear they have rarely thought through the various positions proffered in the Bible, including the myriad of inconsistencies or evidence that their God is capricious and violent.

          To hold such a position either requires an extremely low IQ or an overly developed reliance on cognitive dissonance.

          I think this sums up some of the unevidenced views expressed in this discussion.

          • Hi Alan4,
            I kept waiting for you and Amos and others!!!! I really do not like to get too far outside my arena and even though I went to 16 years of Catholic school (including Villanova University), I would rather eavesdrop on the Bible battles than participate in them… It is such a silly conversation.

            I actually once had a person tell me that Matthew and Luke were both correct about the generations between King David and Jesus because 27 was in 42! 27 IS IN 42!!!

            It just reaffirms the real reason that I went into science: there are correct answers.

            In reply to #119 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #118 by crookedshoes:

            I am bored of the evidence conversation because I think that you will continue to offer thoughts about how these contradictory statements are, in your opinion, not actually contradictory because, well, there might be a kind of, sort of possible way that maybe….. etc…..

            We clearly are on different footing with the words “evidence” and “logic”

            I see you have been busy while I have been out at a meeting and lecture about botanical field work in S. Africa.

            Time for some definitions and linked evidence of known positions!

            Biblical literalism is the theological view that the contents of the Bible should be seen as literally true, as opposed to being interpreted as allegory, literature, or mythology. Literalism is the basis of several different pseudoscientific positions, such as Young Earth Creationism, Deluge Theory and the Flat Earth Theory. [1]

            A belief in Biblical literalism requires one to ignore huge amounts of modern science and its supporting evidence, and to replace provable, rational explanations with various versions of Goddidit.

            Biblical literalism. ▬▬▬▬
            A literalist position insists that every word must be taken as literally true and treats everything as either a historical document or literal prophecy. This, of course, has problems because of translation issues, but in practice it usually focuses on convenient and (relatively) modern translations such as with the King James Only movement.

            People who adhere to literalism do not question their religion, tending towards a simplistic acceptance of what they are told.

            Though frequently literalists claim to have read the Bible, upon questioning it is clear they have rarely thought through the various positions proffered in the Bible, including the myriad of inconsistencies or evidence that their God is capricious and violent.

            To hold such a position either requires an extremely low IQ or an overly developed reliance on cognitive dissonance.

            I think this sums up some of the unevidenced views expressed in this discussion.

          • In reply to #120 by crookedshoes:

            Hi Alan4,
            I kept waiting for you and Amos and others!!!! I really do not like to get too far outside my arena and even though I went to 16 years of Catholic school (including Villanova University),

            I think the arena of scientific evidence is being avoided.

            We might have expected some attempt to support “Young Earth” claims, beyond some YEC-website claim by a “Fizz-assist”(ant), to have: “Refuted” the physics, understood and operated, by the whole world-wide nuclear industry.

          • In reply to #126 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #120 by crookedshoes:

            Hi Alan4,
            I kept waiting for you and Amos and others!!!! I really do not like to get too far outside my arena and even though I went to 16 years of Catholic school (including Villanova University),

            I think the arena of scientific evidence is being avoided.

            We might have expected some attempt to support “Young Earth” claims, beyond some YEC-website claim by a “Fizz-assist”(ant), to have: “Refuted” the physics, understood and operated, by the whole world-wide nuclear industry.

            That is a cute name: fizz-assest
            If you don’t like that guy you can always read anything about the list of scientists below who have an alternative perspective. Also, if you really would like it from one of your own take a look at the career of Dean Kenyon. There is a guy who was an evolutionist all the way, wrote a book was convinced he was right, but then when he actually bothered to study the opposing side he changed his mind completely.

            http://creation.com/scientists-alive-today-who-accept-the-biblical-account-of-creation

          • In reply to #133 by Canadian 2:

            I think the arena of scientific evidence is being avoided.

            We might have expected some attempt to support “Young Earth” claims, beyond some YEC-website claim by a “Fizz-assist”(ant), to have: “Refuted” the physics, understood and operated, by the whole world-wide nuclear industry.

            That is a cute name: fizz-assest

            All you have said (as an uninformed party on the subject) is that some fellow is alleged to be a superior “expert” to the thousands experts in the world-wide nuclear industry which actually works using the science he is claiming to have refuted. If someone here took the trouble explain to you why he is wrong, would you have any understanding of the explanation? You have made no responses to the much simpler explanations of other subjects some of us have given you.

            If you don’t like that guy

            I have never met him, but scientists in general, do not like dishonesty or incompetents posing as professional science experts!

            you can always read anything about the list of scientists below who have an alternative perspective.

            I have looked a the work of many scientists for many years, and can quickly tell scientific methods from gross cluelessness.

            Also, if you really would like it from one of your own take a look at the career of Dean Kenyon. There is a guy who was an evolutionist all the way, wrote a book was convinced he was right, but then when he actually bothered to study the opposing side he changed his mind completely.

            Biblical literalism is not and alternative view of scientific theories. It is a non-rational thinking process.

            http://creation.com/scientists-alive-today-who-accept-the-biblical-account-of-creation

            I have seen many lists of supposed “experts” from AIG and creation.com. I can usually identify the flaws in their claims within minutes – as I have just done @151 with the laughable claims about biology and evolution.

            Most of their so called creation-scientists are making statements about subjects they never studied, or are creationists who managed to tick enough boxes on exam papers to get some sort of credentials

            As I said in an earlier post, real scientists laugh at them and the comical childish mistakes they make!

            Biologists and astronomers, regard Young Earth Creationists and evolution deniers, in the same way that astronomers, geographers and geologists regard Flat-Earthists. Bishop Ussher’s dating of the Earth has long been refuted in multiple ways by modern science.

            I know you would like to believe that people have afterlives, and that radiometric dating does not prove the age of rocks and our planet, or that biological evolution cannot happen, but that is is just wishful thinking based on denial of scientific evidence.

            Science does not work on “My scientist is bigger than your scientist”! It works on experimental testing which can be repeated by any other scientists to produce the same results time and time again, no matter how many independent tests are carried out.

            So when some comic makes a whole string of elementary beginner mistakes, and then dogmatically announces that he has proved 20,000 scientists wrong, the only option left is to laugh at him.

            The form of their argument is usually: ” I am totally ignorant of how this works so I conclude it’s impossible”! – As were the claims I debunked on the link you gave @128. They are also usually too ignorant to understand the scientific methods or the mathematical calculations, used to confirm the results they are disputing, or to debunk their claims. – In the case of evolution, they are also in denial of the time-scales involved.

            I see you have not commented on this.

            Of course specific creationist arguments go like this;

            Creationist “expert” :- “A fish cannot grow legs from fins and walk. It’s impossible.”

            Alan; “Here’s a list of ones which do, with some photographs and video”!

            @135 – If I have sparked any curiosity I am happy. If not I’m still happy that we have had this discussion. If you are interested, read a Bible. If you don’t want to read a Bible read a book about the Bible.

            You seem to be assuming many of us have not read “THE BIBLE” or books about the history of the bible. The were some books by biblical scholars and historians on the other discussions I linked earlier. – Not to mention the linked video about the origins of the OT you watched.

            What most YECs do not understand, is that our disbelief in their myths comes from knowledge, not ignorance! That is – reliable knowledge based on evidence of things which work in the real world, or if uncertain, evaluated for probability using scientific methods of investigation.

            Your argument appears to simply be: “Look at the writings of these incompetent clowns I have presented to you as ‘experts’ in subjects they demonstrably fail to understand even at a basic level!
            You need to read some material from accredited academic sources instead of YEC books and YEC websites.

            The discussion should prove interesting and educational for those who read it.

  41. I have grown bored of this. The OP is about evidence. Opinion is NOT evidence and the mere fact that an excuse that is possible can be made does not mean that the given excuse it accurate or correct.

    The mere fact that something “could” or “might” have happened is a far cry from asserting that it DID happen.

    OJ Simpson’s defense was that maybe Jamaican drug lords tried to behead his wife to send a message to all the other coke sniffing women in Brentwood to pay their drug debts. His mommy believed his story, why shouldn’t everyone? Sadly enough somehow a group of people was assembled that bought the horseshit.

    I am not among them. There is no more dangerous among us than people who only read from one book.

    And, to the Mod’s how funny is it that for once it is not me violating the policy????

  42. I’ll concede a smidgen of wiggle room to deists, but the ‘religious’, most of whom are theists, are hampered by making far more grandiose and specific claims than deists typically do, which in turn renders their claims so improbable that their wiggle room is imperceptibly tiny.

    It is impossible to absolutely prove a negative (see the Celestial Teapot story), but it seems to me that most atheists don’t dabble in certitude or Absolute Truth–most of us leave that kind of arrogance to the religious and other delusional thinkers. So don’t fret about wiggle room!

  43. Science and belief in a God cannot possibly co-exist, although some fence-sitters might claim it could. Can you imagine a society in which both concepts were given equal status ? – Imagine our science books – They’d have to be twice the size to accommodate additions to each scientific statement –
    “Gravity is such & such a constant – Unless God temporarily changes it.
    The speed of light is such & such, unless God temporarily changes it.
    So & so chemicals make this and that reaction, unless of course, God decide otherwise.”
    How tedious a science lecture would become !

  44. Canadian 2

    You never addressed what I put to you. Would you care to do so?

    My contention is that once you understand the nature of the world you will understand the nature of the bible.
    And you needn’t even open it.

    • In reply to #127 by Pauly01:

      My contention is that once you understand the nature of the world you will understand the nature of the bible.
      And you needn’t even open it.

      Well, I said I was done and my wife is getting annoyed with the amount of time I’m spending talking to you guys but she’s still sleeping so here goes.

      Pauly01 I’m going to ask you to read an article. It is short and should only take you a few minutes. There are many others like this but this one pretty clearly outlines some of the main issues that creationists have with evolution. Please read it and then honestly tell me whether you think that it is even ok to be the smallest bit skeptical of evolution. Because even if there is a little bit of doubt I feel it is worth considering all explanations to life. I feel that evolution is an interpretation of evidence and when you don’t interpret it the way evolutionists want you to then you are stupid, ignoring facts etc…

      So at any rate you can find the article here

      http://www.creationtoday.org/creationist-challenge/

      • In reply to #128 by Canadian 2:

        In reply to #127 by Pauly01:

        Pauly01 I’m going to ask you to read an article. It is short and should only take you a few minutes. There are many others like this but this one pretty clearly outlines some of the main issues that creationists have with evolution. Please read it and then honestly tell me whether you think that it is even ok to be the smallest bit skeptical of evolution.

        No! The evidence has been confirmed multi -millions of times, although obviously every individual life form can have variations in history and in details.

        Because even if there is a little bit of doubt I feel it is worth considering all explanations to life.

        Creationists are noted for rejecting 99.9999999% certainties in favour of following 0.000000001% doubts promoted as certainties confirming in their minds claims which have long been refuted at VERY basic levels.

        I feel that evolution is an interpretation of evidence and when you don’t interpret it the way evolutionists want you to then you are stupid, ignoring facts etc…

        Evolution IS the interpretation of evidence, but those who are abysmally ignorant of the evidence and even of the methods of collecting evidence, have no interpretative capability! They only have asserted ignorance and incredulity, and comical posturing as experts. No honest scientific professional body will publish their rubbish in its journals.

        So at any rate you can find the article here

        This stuff is comically ignorant and incompetent! Most or the answers to these questions are in basic science textbooks.

        ** http://www.creationtoday.org/creationist-challenge/**

        @ link – If you make a statement strong enough and repeat it often enough, you may be able to convince yourself and others that it may be true.

        Gazzoing – Psychological Projection The standard YEC assertive techniques of repeating ignorance to con the uneducated.

        Yet, despite their dogmatism, there are many knowledgeable people who do not believe that the evidence supports the theory of evolution.

        No there are not!! – Liars for Jesus I’m afraid! – The biologists and ALL their professional bodies accept evolutionary theory as near fact.

        One of the most powerful pieces of evidence against evolution is the fossil record.

        This is comical asserted stuff from people who know nothing about fossils, genetics or even basic biology. They really really want to believe myths so concoct nonsense which looks plausible to the uneducated to try to support their misinformed preconceptions.

        Though evolutionists have stated that there are many transitional forms, this is simply not true. What evolutionists claim to be transitional forms all have fully functional parts.

        All living things have fully functioning parts! Only the pig-ignorant constructing straw-men think otherwise. The modification of “functioning parts” is a key feature of evolution.

        Where are the trillions of fossils of such true transitional forms?

        Both fossil and living transitional forms are ALL OVER THE PLANET, but YECs remain in ignorant denial! The International Codes of Nomenclature used in all reference books, even clearly identify them!

        Critics often say that creationism is simply religion, whereas evolutionism is based on science. The Bible states . ..

        Yeah! I wonder how that was spotted??!!!

        The Bible states in Genesis I that all creatures reproduce “after their kind” (no change to another kind, i.e., no transitional forms). So the complete absence of transitional forms in the fossil record supports creationism. Is this scientific evidence for creationism, or isn’t it?

        Nope! It is made up rubbish, with denial of evidence, to accommodate biblical literalism.

        It can also be noted that evolutionists only discuss this subject in the broadest terms. If evolution is true, why don’t they give us answers to our many questions?

        Perhaps that is because the answers are in textbooks the creationists have not bothered to read, or choose to dispute – and they are also in the thousands of scientific papers YECs seem incapable of understanding.

        The first few answers to the list of “unanswerable questions” are as follows:-

        • Fusion reactions in stars.

        • Physical forces and geometry

        • Chemical reactions between atoms forming compounds and organic compounds.

        • books and textbooks do contain this information of which the questioners are ignorant – not only of the information, but also of the books containing it.

        • Abiogensis.

        • The odds are very high, but so are the opportunities.

        Conclusion: No parents, no evolution. A species would have to jump from a primitive form to a fully developed male and female, each with the ability and instinct to mate.

        Conclusion – This ignoramus has never studied reproduction in bacteria, simple multi-celled organisms, hermaphrodite species, reptiles, species in which individuals change sex, or any aspects of the diverse functioning of sexual or asexual reproduction – apart from a very limited perception of mammals.

        The assertions on organ development are just statements of personal ignorance, based on denial of evolution changing gradually by small steps.

        These denied features can be observed in a multitude simple organisms an in embryology.

        As far as biology goes these people would be an epic fail at school-boy level.
        Of course like the earlier YEC claimed “refutation of nuclear physics”, this “refutation of evolutionary biology”, simply illustrates incredulity based, comical levels of ignorance of the subjects.

        Their confirmation biases really make them think they know better than the world’s top scientists and that they can reject the knowledge in basic science textbooks.

        The psychology behind this is well known:- Dunning-Kruger effect

        The Dunning-Kruger effect occurs when incompetent people not only fail to realise their incompetence, but consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. Basically, they’re too stupid to know that they’re stupid.

        Even earlier, Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man in 1871, stated “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”.

        BTW: As a biologist, I have bothered to go over this in the interests of education, despite having seen lots of similar ignorant assertions before.

  45. Hey,
    I just read the “article”. UMMMMMMMM.
    One of the sections is “Who invented gravity?”

    It is a laundry list of every strawman ever brought up by creationists. Every single point illustrated by the article has been answered, addressed, and more importantly PROVEN.

    Please stop asking for transition fossils and pointing to this as some type of trump card. Everyone here has repeatedly stated that every organism, while it’s population is “enjoying” it’s tenure on earth, is adapted for the time and place the population exists.

    A story that I hope is worth reiterating:

    Canadian 2 has an idea that “happiness is yellow”. I have spent my life studying and researching depression. I am on the precipice of developing a world changing drug that could help millions of people. My shit is hard to understand but through tests and trials has been shown to WORK.

    Canadian 2 writes a book called “happiness is yellow” and a rival author decides that “happiness is green”. The media eats this stuff up. So, the popular debate is now: “What color is happiness?”. Meanwhile, funding is due for the finishing of the depression drug. Politicians join the fray and Oprah has a series of specials dedicated to the color of happiness. The politicians decide to throw money at the color of happiness and the drug sits on the lab shelf undeveloped.

    Canadian 2, I think you are very intelligent and capable of rising to the task. But, you need to start at square one if you are ever going to understand evolution or the mind of a skeptic. Square one is to remove preconceived notions. I’d suggest (if you are serious about this) reading “The magic of Reality” as your jumping off point.

  46. I understand that you don’t want to spend any more time debating this subject. I have to say that I am skeptical about reading this creationist article but will do so. It looks like to me , that you want to debate me on your terms , on religion and the bible , which I believe is man made as their is no evidence for the supernatural , and I want to debate you on scientific grounds , which you believe in some areas at least, scientists are in effect cooking the books. You still didn’t answer my questions though. So I’ll make a deal with you, I’ll read your article if you answer me this, do you believe that natural selection alone can adapt and change animals? Yes or No

  47. Hello Canadian2,
    You mentioned earlier in this thread that you have never found an explanation of evolution that has satisfied you, and I think in that respect you have a lot in common with others who believe in creationism.
    If I may, I’d like to try my own explanation which, if I can explain it clearly enough might help:
    Imagine, if you will, a small moth. It has plain, pale grey wings and spends the day resting on the trunk of its food plant. The plant is a tree whose bark is speckled brown and green.
    The moth’s main predator is a bird who has little difficulty spotting its prey, and the moth is in danger of being wiped out by the hungry birds.
    One day an adult moth emerges from its chrysalis. Among the tens of thousands of eggs laid that season, and in this one season among millions of seasons, this moth is born hideously deformed – it has a ” birthmark” consisting of a couple of brownish splodges its wings, (all thanks, of course, to the DNA replication process beautifully described by crookedshoes above).
    This mutation, trivial as it may seem to us, has a profound effect: it makes the moth just a TINY BIT harder for the birds to see; it may confuse the bird for just HALF A SECOND, long enough for it to escape so the moth might survive just a LITTLE longer than its plain brethren.
    And that’s enough. In nature, surviving better means breeding more, so the chances are this mutant moth will have plenty of offspring who will share its colouring. They too will survive and breed more successfully until they become the dominant ” design” for this particular species.
    This process repeats again and again until the moth appears to be perfectly camouflaged, but don’t forget the bird has been evolving at the same time: the ones whose eyesight or slow brain were not good enough to find the moth starved to death and bred less, the ” better” ones survived. Darwin’s ” survival of the fittest” has nothing to do with keeping fit: it means, ” survival of those BEST FITTED to survive”.
    Which is why evolution never stops. There is no finished product, no ultimate goal. Our little moth may appear to be beautifully ” designed”, but if the forest suddenly becomes much wetter because of climate change and the trees are covered in moss its camouflage will be useless: its perfection will become its fatal flaw and its new environment will impose a different selection pressure: this time favouring the mutant green offspring.
    Everything alive on earth today and every fossil that has ever been found or ever will be found is an intermediate species, but don’t make the mistake of seeing the illusion of direction: the pale grey version of the moth was never ” a step on the way” to becoming the mossy green moth; there was never ” an intention” to make a mossy green moth, merely circumstance and, given different circumstances, it will change again or die out.
    I hope I haven’t waffled too much, and have given you food for thought,
    Dom.

  48. Well my friends I have decided that this will be my last post. I was starting to wonder how long this might carry on but I feel it is time for me to move on. Yes it seems like I am leaving some questions you have unanswered but I know if I address one of them five more questions will pop up and so on. But let me leave you with a story of what happened to me this morning. You may not believe it, you may think it is a silly coincidence or happen-chance (Each of which I believe are cornerstones to evolution) or that I’m an idiot, but I’m going to tell you the story anyway.

    I do my best to read scripture as often as possible. Over the course of the last few days I have been replacing my Bible reading time with time spent with you discussing the many issues below. I figured that studying the Bible by defending its truths was just as good. However, this morning I decided that it wasn’t good enough I needed some time with God alone. Well, I picked up reading in Acts where I had left off 4 or 5 days ago. Acts 18 to be exact. In particular verses 1-6. I encourage you to read it. The point of the story is that sometimes after you have spoken with people about God it is time then to move on if they are not willing to listen. Again, you can say it is 100% coincidence and that is fine. But my Bible has 1949 pages, thousands of verses in those pages and the chapter and verse that I happened to read today was the one that said it is ok to move on when you have put in an effort to spread the word of God but someone isn’t willing to listen. I think that is incredible. I think it is God speaking to me through his incredible word. You can choose not to believe that. You can choose to mock me for that belief. That is fine. I will not know about it as it is time to move on. Maybe God will direct me one day to come back to this discussion. I have enjoyed my time here, I will probably suffer from withdrawal for a couple of days but it is time for me to move on. If I have sparked any curiosity I am happy. If not I’m still happy that we have had this discussion. If you are interested, read a Bible. If you don’t want to read a Bible read a book about the Bible. Try “One Heartbeat Away” by Mark Cahill. That would be a great place to start too.

    At any rate, so long. It has been fun.

    • In reply to #135 by Canadian 2:

      Well my friends I have decided that this will be my last post. I was starting to wonder how long this might carry on but I feel it is time for me to move on. Yes it seems like I am leaving some questions you have unanswered but I know if I address one of them five more questions will pop up and so on.

      Ah yes, if I had a Euro for every time this happened…it’s called the COP OUT! In other words,The questions are too awkward and “I can’t answer your questions with anything rational…so I’m outta here”. It is okay we are used to it.

      But let me leave you with a story of what happened to me this morning. You may not believe it, you may think it is a silly coincidence or happen-chance (Each of which I believe are cornerstones to evolution)

      Ah yes, anecdote…the foundation of religion…he said, she said…well maybe not she said, but he said, he said, he said. BTW, if you don’t understand evolution, don’t make an arse by pretending you do…read a book on the subject.

      …or that I’m an idiot,…

      Far be it for me to say, but if the cap fits.

      …but I’m going to tell you the story anyway.

      You have me hanging here.

      I do my best to read scripture as often as possible.

      All of it? Or do you cherry pick?

      I figured that studying the Bible by defending its truths was just as good.

      Good luck with that enterprise. Don’t forget to include the lies though…and the wicked bits.

      However, this morning I decided that it wasn’t good enough I needed some time with God alone.

      Well yer screwed there…Gods don’t do alone….unless you’re Noah, Moses, or the like….for the proletariat, he is omnipotent.

      Well, I picked up reading in Acts where I had left off 4 or 5 days ago. Acts 18 to be exact. In particular verses 1-6. I encourage you to read it. The point of the story is that sometimes after you have spoken with people about God it is time then to move on if they are not willing to listen. Again, you can say it is 100% coincidence and that is fine. But my Bible has 1949 pages, thousands of verses in those pages and the chapter and verse that I happened to read today was the one that said it is ok to move on when you have put in an effort to spread the word of God but someone isn’t willing to listen. I think that is incredible.

      That’s because you’re incredulous….try reading a proper book, “Unweaving the Rainbow” will be a great starting point on coincidence’s.

      I think it is God speaking to me through his incredible word. You can choose not to believe that. You can choose to mock me for that belief.

      Consider this comment as bit of mocking. The Acts of the Apostles is a lot of bilge, written by an unknown author, sometime late in the first century, in perhaps what was known today as Syria….that is maybe,or perhaps, it’s hard to tell. The Acts contradict much of the Pauline mission…so, either Acts is wrong in many places, or Paul’s teachings in the epistles are wrong….personally, I have it that both are a load of shite, but for the purposes of this discourse, your immediate problem is that you can’t have it both ways.

      That is fine. I will not know about it as it is time to move on.

      Of course it is time to move on, yer back is against the wall…it is par for the course here on this site, but the newbee’s and the lurker’s will benefit from rebuttals…or a bit of mockery…that’s the target audience who this comment is aimed at. The fact that you have bailed and I’m having a hypothetical argument with a phantom apologist is neither here nor there…you, by your absence have conceded the argument already. Typical.

      Maybe God will direct me one day to come back to this discussion.

      I hope your God arms you with a better set of arguments than what has been displayed so far. There is nothing as embarrassing as an apologist standing naked, cupping their crutch and trying to cover their modesty with, well, clothes made from the notorious invisible religious thread. Fun to watch though.Gods just aren’t what they used to be. They are not up to the task anymore. I bet you yearn for the good old days of total ignorance of the gullible masses?

      I have enjoyed my time here, I will probably suffer from withdrawal for a couple of days but it is time for me to move on.

      All the best.

      If I have sparked any curiosity I am happy. If not I’m still happy that we have had this discussion.

      What? Curiosity from the many individuals who have studied the scriptures, their history, and as a result found them wanting to the point of disbelief? You might want to try it yourself sometime. The Bible is full of lies.

      [G]ood Christian scholars of the Bible, including the top Protestant and Catholic scholars of America, will tell you that the Bible is full of lies, even if they refuse to use the term. And here is the truth: Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle — Peter, Paul or James — knowing full well they were someone else. In modern parlance, that is a lie, and a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery

      The words of Bart Ehrman, a notable Biblical scholar in nearly everyone’s book. (The books he’s not included in usually have the word “Evangelical” somewhere in the title.) In light of recent events, this truth is especially important. The Bible is a collection of lies. Not mistakes… outright lies. Oh, there are mistakes, too. But at its heart, many parts of the Bible were penned by people who claimed to be someone they were not.

      If you are interested, read a Bible.

      Excellent advice, I couldn’t agree more. If the individual should read not another book, they should read the Bible. ALL OF IT.

      Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians have not. I bet you are included in that assertion.

      Statistical research shows that less than 10% of professing Christians have ever read the entire Bible. The church as a whole is Biblically illiterate!

      That is not from an Atheist biased source, but an evangelicals website BTW.

      But for those that haven’t read at least one version of the filth..and bearing in mind what it says at the end of Revelation…which version would you advise and why? You’ll be aware of what it says at the end of the Bible I’m sure….

      Rev. 22:18 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”

      OOOHHHPPPS!!!

      If you don’t want to read a Bible read a book about the Bible. Try “One Heartbeat Away” by Mark Cahill.

      Oh FFs, are ya serious?…you mean this dickhead?

      After graduation Cahill spent a few years in the business world, working at IBM and in various management positions. He later converted to Christianity and devoted his life to ministry. Within the year, he became a teacher at a Christian high school. Cahill’s plans were to teach for the rest of his life, but began a speaking career instead. Cahill founded his self-titled ministry in 1998...

      Why would you think anyone with a brain cell between their ears would pay attention to a sports jock that got a business degree off the back of a basketball scholarship had much of any importance to say about real bible scholarship?

      Read some Bart D. Ehrman on the subject.

      That would be a great place to start too.

      Why would it? He is an evangelical moron who knows feck all about the Bible.

      At any rate, so long. It has been fun.

      Sorry I got here too late or it may well have been…I haven’t read the whole thread, I’m sure others have given an excellent account of the reality as opposed to idiotic wishful thinking.

      Adios.

      • …it’s called the COP OUT!

        I’m trying to withhold judgement but there is this pattern of “Just sayin’… just askin’ … gotta go….”. I appreciate sincere inquiry and a desire to engage but it doesn’t usually work out like that. Too often, it’s a bombardment of indoctrinated quotes (we could write a script at this point) followed by fingers in their ears when they’re met with replies. They aren’t used to having the script questioned. They’re not prepared for that.

        They fell for it. Why shouldn’t we?

        All we need to do is read the bible. They’ve been taught that atheists have never read the bible. We were raised in an orphanage run by Stalin, Hitler and PolPot, nurtured into an army of God-hating test tube and microscope fetishists. We don’t understand love. We want to sin. We are arrogant. And narrow-minded. We are made of stone.

        It all comes down to a magic book. All the books in the world and they pick this one as the magical one. I’ve read some magical books. The bible ain’t one of them.

        But if you begin with the assumption that the bible is magic, you can get anywhere no matter what’s real.

        “Why should I believe your book is magic? Why do you believe your book is magic?”

        They never do a very good job of explaining that.

        Sorry I got here too late.

        Yeah. Where the heck were you? I kept expecting you to come storming over the hill. It would have been a lovely thing to watch.

        Anyway, never too late. It was worth waiting for.

        Lurkers and all. The lurkers really could have used you.

  49. Likable fellow.

    I like that he assumes I have never read the Bible or any books about it. I like that he has found ONE scientist who converted after writing a book on evolution. I like that he thinks that somehow god opened his Bible to a certain page for him. I like that he managed to stick around for a while, in lieu of reading his Bible and to the annoyance of his wife….

    I do not agree with him, but wish there were more like him that wandered through here.

    Those who wish to sing will always find a song. it is not always a good song, but they sing it none-the-less.

    See you later, man.

    BTW, I hope you lurk for a while to check in on the aftermath BECAUSE::::::::The book you opened to has a huge problemo!!!!

    Matthew 27:6,7
    “And the chief priests took the silver pieces, . . . and they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field to bury strangers in.”

    Acts 1:18
    “Now this man {Judas} purchased a field with the reward of iniquity . . . “

    Problem:
    If the Bible is a divinely inspired record, why does Matthew state that the chief priests bought the field, whereas in the Acts account, Judas is said to have purchased the field?

    Contradiction??? I think so.

    And, “No” I never give up.

  50. Beliefs have consequences. A classic example of this is the story of Isaac Newton and orbital mechanics that Neil deGrasse Tyson likes to tell. The gist of which is that Isaac Newton developed the “laws” of motion and universal gravitation that show that orbits are elliptical. This is an amazing feat and major advancement for science and mathematics. But according to Newton’s calculations, the gravitational influence of the planets on each other would result in destabilizing the orbits fairly quickly. Newton concluded that God must tweaking the orbits of planets to keep the universe operating smoothly. A hundred years later, Pierre-Simon de Laplace developed perturbation theory which showed that the planet’s orbits were stable over longer timescales.

    Newton was brilliant, but his belief in a God that meddled with the universe, the time and energy he put into religious writings and the study of alchemy probably slowed scientific progress. I’m not judging Newton here, his contributions to science changed the world forever and I admire him greatly. I’m just saying that unjustified beliefs have consequences.

  51. But the evidence of bacteria was still there… bacteria compose a lot of the world we live in. Granted a religious person could say the same thing. However that’s where the difference lies– evidence. Evidence may not be enough for some people, but it is the only concrete thing that we know of for sure. So in essence, it may not be enough depending on the person; but it still stands, and that’s enough for me.

  52. If God actually did explanatory work so that things made more sense with him than without him, there would be reason to believe. But saying God did it, is really no different than saying it was magic. We are no more enlightened than we were before.

  53. I do think that if the newbie or fence sitter would take the time to read the entire thread, with no particular training or preconceived expectations, they would arrive at the same conclusion as the hard core lifer … mainly that as long as you repeat the same “God is good….etc” mantra, that you are a part of their club no matter if you have read the book or not, know anything about the book or not, make sense or not….

    They take anyone who makes sense or doesn’t as long as they do not ask any questions or seek an answer beyond the first answer “Because I said so”.

    I also take away from this (as a hard core non believer) the unavoidable conclusion that “EXCUSES” are what these people really live on. Every contradiction i brought up; an excuse. Not a logical explanation but an excuse. Then i look around the world and into the church scandals and beyond and what do I see??? Yep, Excuses.

    Excuses for hating gays. Excuses for hurting children. Excuses for misogynistic horse shit. Excuses for violence and hatred and bigotry. I seems to be hard wired into their brain chemistry.

    Makes me kinda see the world in a momentary grey haze. BUt, it lifts so quickly because I have tons of great things to go out and experience, enjoy, and learn about!!!! I have got a huge Saturday planned and am getting it under way ASAP.
    Cheers.

  54. In reply to #143 by Chipmunk:

    The mechanism behind the creation of extant organismal diversity is never outlined in detail in The Bible.

    For the simple reason that the original writers didn’t have a clue what they were talking about in the first place, which shows in the fairy tale they were writing. It’s easier to write something than to actually have a case for it.

    It really has a lot more to say about the meaning of life than the mechanism.

    The Old Testament boils down to “Do what God says or there will be hell to pay.” The New Testament boils down to “The world is going to end. Do what Jesus says or there will be hell to pay.” Both promote an ethics which is repulsive to anyone attendant to both its logic and its implications, and on those rare cases that you find a gem among the nonsense, it doesn’t nail down anything that secular reason couldn’t have nailed down. Rewards go to people who obey the insane demands of Yahweh, up to and including torture, genocide, and violating basic ethics, or to those who pontificate on behalf of Jesus’ questionable ethics and false claims and portrayals of the way the world works. Anyone who thinks this is meaningful – at least in any sense that implies it’s uplifting or a good thing – is pulling the wool over their own eyes.

    At the same time, science can tell us a lot about mechanism, but nothing about meaning.

    Funnily enough, theologians and “scientific” thinkers used to claim something similar about biological objects – that they were fundamentally different from ordinary matter and required a “special” “explanation” called God-did-it – and that it took some mystic and non-physical substance like “elan vital” or the hand of the divine to create “designed” organisms. That didn’t work out so well for them.

    Neither, for that matter, does the retreat to “meaning” work out so well. Depending on how you define it, “meaning” is just a lofty synonym for “purpose” or the field of semantics. There isn’t a special sense in which religion scores any better than science in this area, much less that it scores any better than any secular alternative.

    As susanlatimer would ask, please define what you mean by “meaning”. Bandying the word around is usually a sign of someone trying to be obscurantist.

    Religion and science are trying to answer different questions, and the validity of either one does not exclude the other from the realm of possibilities.

    The policy you’re following here is Non-Overlapping Magisteria, the notion by Gould that “religion and science are different ways of knowing”. They’re simply not. Science is the only one of the two that actually gets results. Religion is essentially one long history of pointless and emotionally charged confabulations for fairy tales. NOMA has never worked, not even in a pragmatic sense, because it’s a superficial appeasement policy that bows lowest to the loudest voice, and unfortunately the loudest voices in the US are usually on the religious side.

    Excuse me for belabouring the point, but this is both because it would bring it into line with the OP, and because it helps to cover the bases more comprehensively. The main points are in bold if you don’t want to read a wall of text. It’s hard to exaggerate what a dishonest and unhelpful idea NOMA really is.

    Let me give you two examples. Despite having years to prove that they can reconcile the tensions between the pro-science crowd and the deeply religious crowd, neither Templeton nor BioLogos has achieved any success in resolving the conflict because, in their desperate bid to please two irreconcilable sides, they end up contradicting themselves.

    They (mis)use science one minute to argue from deism to Jesus, then utter at other times that god is simply untouchable to mere science. They claim that things like morality could only have come from god, and ignore or stack the deck when science embarrasses these simple views. They try to revive group selection, a biological theory that lost out decades ago to more rigorous ideas, and jump from denouncing god-of-the-gaps arguments to using them shamelessly when discussing physical laws and the origin of the universe. Their “scientific” attempts to account for genuine mysteries like consciousness involve simply passing off “god” as an explanation and expecting everyone to be OK with it. This steady stream of drivel is, simply put, what one would expect if science and religion were incompatible.

    NOMA is not, and never has been, an honest intellectual point. Religions (and superstitions and other ideas believed more for “ethical”, “emotional”, or “pragmatic” reasons than because they actually have any sound argument in their favour) firmly trespass on science’s turf. Superstitions like religion always have done, and their attempts to apply their truth claims are no different from the work of applied science (which includes medicine, agriculture, and engineering).

    Religious doctrines and creeds form the bases for pontificating to others, and those doctrines and creeds rest on factual claims about the world. Remove those claims and the doctrines and creeds that rely on them, and religion just becomes an arbitrary set of instructions that, if it accomplishes anything worthwhile, does it by accident.

    Moreover, the epistemic methods of science are totally incompatible with those of religion. Ideas about meaning, ethics, pragmatics, and all the other stuff “tackled” by religion are better dealt with by reason, which forms the basis both for science and for secular philosophy.

    Science subjects truth claims to evidential and logical scrutiny, and anything that doesn’t pass criticism such as those in peer review either needs to be changed or outright rejected. Reason demands internal consistency, consistency with other known facts about the world, and a recognition of where the burden of proof, category errors, and logical fallacies apply and don’t apply.

    Both demand that you don’t assume something is true, and that you don’t make ad hoc reasons for something you didn’t reason yourself into. Even ethics demands a combination of getting your facts right, agreeing with how the real world works, and being consistent. Religions frequently violate all these terms and many more.

    Even in merely going in the NOMA direction, you’ve already given up any pretence of this being a matter of truth/false propositions and valid/invalid methodologies. You’ve effectively admitted you have no good case for proving that the bible is even worth looking at, never mind for proving that it got anything factually correct.

  55. Yes their was no evidence for bacteria, but then the evidence became known and man has moved on. If God were to be proved with evidence we would then rejoice and accept the fact that we were wrong. We would astonished of the one’s that proved the existence of God if it were not we would just be trashing the core of science which is evidence.

    Pls feel free to correct or comment on my statement. I am new here by the way

    • In reply to #151 by fritzrayner:

      Yes their was no evidence for bacteria, but then the evidence became known and man has moved on. If God were to be proved with evidence we would then rejoice and accept the fact that we were wrong. We would astonished of the one’s that proved the existence of God if it were not we would just be trashing the core of science which is evidence.

      What would the evidence be that, if found, would prove that there is a god? Because if we admit that no evidence would be sufficient then how can we draw the conclusion that there is no god on the grounds of lack of evidence?

      • In reply to #152 by Chipmunk:

        In reply to #151 by fritzrayner:

        Yes their was no evidence for bacteria, but then the evidence became known and man has moved on. If God were to be proved with evidence we would then rejoice and accept the fact that we were wrong. We would astonished of the one’s that proved the existence of God if it were not we would just be trashing the core of science which is evidence.

        What would the evidence be that, if found, would prove that there is a god? Because if we admit that no evidence would be sufficient then how can we draw the conclusion that there is no god on the grounds of lack of evidence?

        I wasn’t concluding if their was indeed no God or their is a God. I am just stating a situation

      • What would the evidence be that, if found, would prove that there is a god?

        Well, gosh. Describe the entity in question. Give it some characteristics. Be specific so that we would have a clear enough idea of the claim that we could ask for reasonable evidence.

        Even better if we steer clear of the word god. What makes something a god? If it hand-carves snowflakes and does nothing else, does that make it a god? If it created our universe, would that make it a god?

        If it’s omnieverything and infinite and beyond, well how could there possibly be any evidence for that? That sort of language just sounds like monkey chatter. The implications of omni and the various applications of infinites are just magic words that are designed to escape demands for evidence. Most of the people I’ve heard use them have not even begun to investigate the implications of any of those words. They just wear them around their necks like magic amulets.

        Describe what it is that we would accept evidence for without using the word “god”.

        That’s the only way we can make progress.

        • Sometimes, I’m knocked over by what a privilege it is to just be able to log on to this site and scroll through discussions. The last flurry of contributions by Alan4, Crookedshoes, Ignorant Amos and Zeuglodon was a real treat.

          Alan, you’re a rock and a highly qualified rock, at that.

          Crooked shoes, I’ve read you for years now and always learn something. Not just from your thoughts about biology and teaching, but also from your direct line of inquiry about everything.

          Amos,

          Nobody does it like Amos. I can’t say enough about what you contribute. I’ve said it too many times before, so I won’t say it again.

          I will say this though:

          Well my understanding of the story…depending on whether it is G1 or G2…is that the big complicated thing made the simpler thing out of dirt.

          Brilliant.

          Zeuglodon,

          You do such good work. Your examination of every nook and crannyof an idea and your ability to think clearly enough about it to articulate it as well as you do is an example for all of us. It’s too good to bother complimenting, really. Clicking on the “like” button doesn’t really do justice to how much I like comment #149. Like buttons, though I’ve begun to use them freely, don’t really convey the quality of so many comments here.

          That’s just in the last half page or so. There are many great contributors here. It would be completely off-topic to list them all. I want to but there’s no place to do it. The best part is eavesdropping on the discussions that develop from so many high quality thinkers. There is no way I could find this in meat space, not in my world. And it’s free. The internet is good.

          That is all.

          Sycophantically Yours,

          Susan

        • In reply to #154 by susanlatimer:

          Describe what it is that we would accept evidence for without using the word “god”.

          Even then, Ockham’s Razor allows me an infinite list of other more rational propositions before accepting the supernatural. Not least, the prospect that I’ve completely lost my marbles.

          As the great Arthur C. Clarke states in his third law…

          “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

          With my limited intellect even I would have appeared godlike to an ancient civilization. But we only have to look to the Cargo Cult’s that appeared right up to the middle of last century to see a good example of the phenomena in practice.

          Steve Zara posted an excellent discussion here a few years back…

          There can be no evidence for God

          It’s one I keep harking back to, I think it is worth a re-read from time to time.

          “Yahweh in particular has a considerable set of unprovable attributes: omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, infinitude, being beyond time and space, being a necessary origin of things, and so on. None of these attributes could ever be shown to be true using science. Not because science is flawed, but because none of these attributes could ever be shown to be true using any test against reality. How do you measure omnibenevolence, for example?”

          “If there can be no evidence for god or gods, this challenges statements that people become atheists because of lack of evidence. People become atheists, I suggest, not because of of lack of evidence for gods, but because of lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god, which may seem the same thing but is really quite different. There can be no evidence for a being of ultimate goodness, but a belief in such a being might continue until it is discovered that stories of the acts of such a being were baseless.”

          The writers of the bible couldn’t even make up their minds what to call the stuff they thought was [G]od.

          Names of God in Judaism

          “However other Jewish sources accept that the fact that there are various names of God used in the Hebrew Bible, and that Elohim is a plural word may suggest a polytheistic origin. Thus the ancient Rabbis went to great lengths to try to account for the number of the names of God, by claiming that they account for the various aspects of God.”

          How ridiculous is that? A fudge job if ever there was one. So, let the believer pick a name from the hat and try to tie some attributes to it…then we will take the evidence.

          As Quine would say…”Got evidence?”… [enter the sound of a tumbleweed rolling down the street]. The silence is deafening.

          Quoting A.J. Ayer…

          “Any word which refers to an empirical object (e.g. Table, Apple, Hydrogen Atom, Human, Universe) is really just a noun which refers to a collection of observations about the object (sense-data). So, for example, the word “Apple” is equivalent to “approximately 0.100kg, the colour red, roundness, the taste of apple, etc.” These things are what the word Apple actually mean. There is no, so to speak, an “essence of an apple” which exists independently of these sense-data. So if, for some reason, the human body was not equipped with the sense organs necessary to experience these kinds of sensations, then the word Apple would literally become meaningless. We might as well use the word “smidditybop”, because it contains just as many sense-data (exactly zero).”

          “So if we accept that an empirical object is no more extensive than its perceived properties, then words which do not refer to even a single sense-data or possible observation fail to be meaningful.”

          Ayer rejected atheism, as he understood it, on the grounds that any religious discourse was meaningless. He believed that religious language was unverifiable and as such literally nonsense. Consequently “There is no God” was for Ayer as meaningless and metaphysical an utterance as “God exists.” Though Ayer could not give assent to the declaration “There is no God,” he was an atheist in the sense that he withheld assent from affirmations of God’s existence.

          Ergo, my being Igtheist or a theological noncognitivist if you prefer.

          That said, I enjoy coming here and attempt to point out the vast problems that the many theist apologists have in order to overcome within their own scriptures. Just to get over these problems of it being inerrant or even a philosophy born from a single source is a burden. Poor bloody buggers have’t a feckin’ clue in that one regard, and those are the poor buggers that actually have the balls to show up here and make a comment. Kudos to them for at least thinking they know enough to engage in the discourse I guess.

          P.S. Thanks for the compliment…again. It is nice to know ones endeavors are deemed worthy, even if it is from the gallery of the converted }80)~ and I also applaud the valiant efforts of the rest of the gang, yer own contributions notwithstanding may I add.

          Right, enough back slapping already and back to the task at hand.

          • In reply to #158 by Ignorant Amos:

            As the great Arthur C. Clarke states in his third law…

            Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

            With my limited intellect even I would have appeared godlike to an ancient civilization.

            Of course those with a YEC intellect trying to present bronze-age “magic” as science, are likely to be called out by people familiar with science and with the future visions of science , from the likes Arthur C. Clarke.

            The science writer Arthur C. Clarke was a well-known former Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British-Interplanetary-Society

            Alan FBIS.

        • In reply to #154 by susanlatimer:

          What would the evidence be that, if found, would prove that there is a god?

          Well, gosh. Describe the entity in question. Give it some characteristics. Be specific so that we would have a clear enough idea of the claim that we could ask for reasonable evidence.

          Even better if we steer clear of the word god. What makes something a god? If it hand-carves snowflakes and does nothing else, does that make it a god? If it created our universe, would that make it a god?

          If it’s omnieverything and infinite and beyond, well how could there possibly be any evidence for that? That sort of language just sounds like monkey chatter. The implications of omni and the various applications of infinites are just magic words that are designed to escape demands for evidence. Most of the people I’ve heard use them have not even begun to investigate the implications of any of those words. They just wear them around their necks like magic amulets.

          Describe what it is that we would accept evidence for without using the word “god”.

          That’s the only way we can make progress.

          I think that is all fair and reasonable. It is difficult to say we have evidence for god if we don’t even know what we are referring to. There are all kinds of concepts of god, and many would be difficult to describe or even comprehend even for those that believe in them. What if we just start with a basic definition of god? Let’s say that god is a being or intelligence that is responsible (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms which we may or may not currently understand) for the creation of our existence. (Let’s not get too hung up on semantics. If you feel that this definition is not satisfactory feel free to make amendments or ask for clarification.)

          That being the case, what evidence would be sufficient, if discovered, to convince you that such a being does exist?

          • In reply to #162 by Chipmunk:

            In reply to #154 by susanlatimer:

            Well, gosh. Describe the entity in question. Give it some characteristics. Be specific so that we would have a clear enough idea of the claim that we could ask for reasonable evidence.

            Describe what it is that we would accept evidence for without using the word “god”.

            That’s the only way we can make progress.

            I think that is all fair and reasonable. It is difficult to say we have evidence for god if we don’t even know what we are referring to. There are all kinds of concepts of god, and many would be difficult to describe or even comprehend even for those that believe in them.

            What if we just start with a basic definition of god? Let’s say that god is a being or intelligence that is responsible (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms which we may or may not currently understand) for the creation of our existence. (Let’s not get too hung up on semantics. If you feel that this definition is not satisfactory feel free to make amendments or ask for clarification.)

            That would pretty well limit the “god” to a deist god or aliens to causing the big bang.

            That being the case, what evidence would be sufficient, if discovered, to convince you that such a being does exist?

            Highly improbable evidence – especially if it was supposed to to have any effects in the physical universe for which physical laws of science already impose many constraints on possibilities. The numerous common theist claims would be ruled out for a start. The paradox of an infinite regression of creators, would make it unlikely as would Occam.

          • In reply to #162 by Chipmunk:

            What if we just start with a basic definition of god?

            It isn’t even as simple as that as you have shown.

            All gods fail the FiLCHeRS test. Simples.

            Let’s say that god is a being or intelligence…

            Which is it? A being or intelligence…it matters.

            … that is responsible (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms which we may or may not currently understand) for the creation of our existence.

            Which is it? Do we currently understand the logical and explainable mechanisms or not? It matters and quite frankly, that is a bit of an oxymoron. If we understood the logical and explainable mechanisms for a god, the whole argument would be moot.

            …(Let’s not get too hung up on semantics. If you feel that this definition is not satisfactory feel free to make amendments or ask for clarification.)

            No, lets get at least a wee bit hung up…semantics is the reason why the debate is taking place. Please do clarify.

            Gods, by their very lack of clear definition are a meaningless concept. Until there is a clear definition, how could anyone suggest what the evidence would be in support of such.

            We need a scientifically falsifiable definition before anything else.

            “If we take the belief in god and put it to the falsifiability test, we can see that the claim that “a god exists” is not falsifiable. It is simply impossible for a human to prove that a god doesn’t exist due to the varying definitions of god, the vastness of space needed to be explored, etc. A counter-claim can be made, but such a claim would also fail the falsifiability test.”

            Once we have a falsifiable hypothesis, we move out of the realm of supernatural to the realm of natural and science will prevail. But you and everyone else are a far cry from a falsifiable definition of what god could be.

  56. The basic problem with YECs is that they throw in wild claims from some alleged YEC “authority”, which are supposed to blind every one with science because THEY cannot understand it. Consequently even if someone takes the time to refute the nonsense, neither the audience nor the YEC is likely to understand an obscure complex topic.

    This example from some YEC “Science cannot refute list” is typical.

    Comment #99 by Canadian 2:

    Further evidence for a young age from nuclear physics comes from large amounts of helium found in tiny zircon crystals extracted from rocks that are allegedly 1.5 billion years old. The amount of uranium and lead present in the crystals indicated that the helium was the result of radioactive decay of the uranium. However, in the supposed 1.5 billion years of the rock’s existence, essentially all the helium that would have been produced by this decay should have diffused out of the crystals. Using the amount of helium actually present in the crystals and the rate of diffusion of helium through these crystals as measured by an independent laboratory, the age of the crystals, and therefore the rock from which they came was only about 5,700±2,000 years!
    This implies that the decay rate was much faster in the past—undermining a key assumption of radiometric dating.

    PURE FIZZICKS, after the style of Eric Hovind’s pop-bottle!

    First they ASSUME THE AGE OF A ROCK SAMPLE – where some incompetent, either did not understand the physics, or got the initial, or subsequent, calculation of the age of the samples wrong.

    Whatever the age of the samples, it has nothing to do with the half lives of Uranium or the age of the Earth – which have been confirmed multiple times elsewhere!

    It is the classic YEC: “THAT’S TOO COMPLICATED TO EXPLAIN TO AN AUDIENCE IF WE CAN DRAW YOU INTO THE TECHNICAL DETAILS – so we win by Gish-gallop”!

    There will be no evidenced follow-up to such claims from those presenting them, as YEC-list-readers have no understanding of the subjects anyway and are usually clueless about the calculations and the reasoning! (For example about the half-lives of isotopes) It is purely a “Look impressive blinding them with science stunt”!

    Canadian 2 – 133

    Comment #126 by Alan4discussion:

    I think the arena of scientific evidence is being avoided.

    We might have expected some attempt to support “Young Earth” claims, beyond some YEC-website claim by a “Fizz-assist”(ant), to have: “Refuted” the physics, understood and operated, by the whole world-wide nuclear industry.

    That is a cute name: fizz-assest If you don’t like that guy you can always read anything about the list of scientists below who have an alternative perspective.

    Nothing whatever about the science of the claim – just a comment on the cute (and accurate term) – “fizz-assist” describing their “pseudo-science” and a diversionary ** pretence**, that that I reject the incompetent claim “BECAUSE I DO NOT LIKE THE PSEUDO-SCIENTIST presenting it! (reverse projection of YEC confirmation-bias thought process)

    .. .. Followed by an unrelated attempt at a vague “AUTHORITY CLAIM” that there are some “creationist scientists”.

    This was further illustrated by the follow-up response to to my answers @131 to the “UNANSWERABLE QUESTIONS” about the universe and biology on the creationist link.

    Also, if you really would like it from one of your own take a look at the career of Dean Kenyon. There is a guy who was an evolutionist all the way, wrote a book was convinced he was right, but then when he actually bothered to study the opposing side he changed his mind completely.

    Just another false them v us dichotomy that is nothing to do with science or my answers!

    The mind boggles! Someone with alleged science credentials, swallowed some creationist guff, and added to the collection of misleading nonsense – “so that proves it”!

    http://creation.com/scientists-alive-today-who-accept-the-biblical-account-of-creation

    Followed by a link to this other list of people with any sort of vague connection to YECery and science.

    No debating of the issues he has raised – just list-linking at ignoramus web-sites!!

    The gullibles really think these sites are sources of scientific information written by people with some scientific capability!

    When real scientists tell them their “YEC experts” fail at basic school science level, they just pretend this is a reverse projection of their own confirmation bias methods of irrational thinking and circular “reasoning”, and cannot handle the scientific refutations of the nonsensical claims.

  57. I love the meme “reverse projection”. I have been struggling for a long time to articulate this exact occurrence and i think reverse projection hits it dead on. It is why we constantly hear that atheism is a religion. It is why bad science passes their filters…. etc…

    I think you’ve coined a phrase!

    Susan, Thank you. I feel great for being mentioned in your accolades.

    Fritzraynor,
    welcome to the site. I do not know what type of evidence you would proffer, however, if god was proven, he/she/it would become part of everyday life (I think)…. routine. Oh, there’s god again….Hey god, how ya doin??…..etc….

    It would raise god in the ateists eyes but lower god in the believers eyes. They NEED, they REQUIRE god to be unproven.
    In reply to #156 by Alan4discussion:

    • In reply to #157 by crookedshoes:

      I love the meme “reverse projection”. I have been struggling for a long time to articulate this exact occurrence and i think reverse projection hits it dead on. It is why we constantly hear that atheism is a religion. It is why bad science passes their filters…. etc…

      I think you’ve coined a phrase!

      I’m afraid modesty and honesty forbids me from taking credit for this.
      The psychologists got there first! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological-projection

  58. Let’s say that god is a being or intelligence that is responsible (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms which we may or may not currently understand) for the creation of our existence.

    Do you mean of our existence specifically? Of the existence of humans in our present form? Already, I’m confused and I know you’re trying to be clear and give me a fair definition. The same goes for “being” or “intelligence”. I’m going to assume that you mean some sort of character is responsible for our existence and that by our existence, you mean time/space that is the nature of the big bang/expansion and all of the physical laws involved. I’m sure I’ve made a salad with that last phrase but I’m not a physicist/cosmologist and I have only made a little progress in my understanding of the subject, despite the patient efforts from people who DO know what they’re talking about to communicate the ideas to people like me.

    From what I have managed to learn though, it seems the evidence indicates that “existence” made “intelligence” and not the other way round.

    I’ve thought about what evidence I could accept that would sway me in the other direction and I really don’t know what it would be. A good scientist or group of scientists would only be trying to persuade me because the evidence they encountered so supported that hypothesis across many disciplines, that I’m sure it would be as convincing to them as scientific evidence for any other claim.

    What would that look like? Evidence for a character that is responsible for us (and everything else we know to exist)? You tell me.

    Even if there were evidence for this character, why call it a god? Gods are packed with parasitic extra-definitions about all kinds of things. There’s no reason to think this character would have anything to do with human gods, with their moral claims, their creation myths, their claims of the “supernatural”. It would be part of reality, and I’d have to wonder where it came from. What being or intelligence was responsible for its existence? Just more questions.

    It would be be a creator of something, an impressive one but no reason to think it’s “supernatural” or a “god”.

    • In reply to #165 by susanlatimer:

      From what I have managed to learn though, it seems the evidence indicates that “existence” made “intelligence” and not the other way round.

      I’ve thought about what evidence I could accept that would sway me in the other direction and I really don’t know what it would be. A good scientist or group of scientists would only be trying to persuade me because the evidence they encountered so supported that hypothesis across many disciplines, that I’m sure it would be as convincing to them as scientific evidence for any other claim.

      What would that look like? Evidence for a character that is responsible for us (and everything else we know to exist)? You tell me.

      Even if there were evidence for this character, why call it a god? Gods are packed with parasitic extra-definitions about all kinds of things. There’s no reason to think this character would have anything to do with human gods, with their moral claims, their creation myths, their claims of the “supernatural”. It would be part of reality, and I’d have to wonder where it came from. What being or intelligence was responsible for its existence? Just more questions.

      It would be be a creator of something, an impressive one but no reason to think it’s “supernatural” or a “god”.

      I like that response. Thank you for not getting too bogged down by my definition of god. Nobody seems to want to answer the question as to what the evidence would be, and just get hung up on who god is. Intelligent Design wants to be considered legitimate science because they say that they have some evidence for an intelligent designer, but as an evolutionary biologist I cannot imagine what that evidence would be, and I don’t seem to get a straight answer from them either. However, if we can’t imagine what that evidence would be, how can we deny the existence of a creator or god simply because the evidence is not there (if we admit that we don’t even know what it would be). For example, I know that the existence of a true Darwinian Demon would be difficult for me to account for, but I doubt that such an organism truly exists. However, its presence would cause me to re-examine what I now understand as truth.
      Atheists and many religious people often share a concept of god as a god of the gaps. They believe that god acts by magic, and the more we can explain the less legitimate god becomes. This is the concept of god that I too was taught growing up. Evidence for the existence of god would, therefore, be anything not potentially explainable by science. But what would that be? Just because we do not currently understand the mechanism behind a phenomena does not mean there is not one. Such an evidence would not really answer the question.
      As far as I can tell there is a mechanism that explains all phenomena in existence (some understood, others yet to be understood). That is what makes being a scientist so much fun! I don’t believe god has to use magic to be real. However, I, like you, do not know what the quantifiable proof of the existence of god would be. That is my point really. But I am not making a point as much as I am curious. I don’t have the monopoly on thought here and I am genuinely interested in the answer to this question.
      It seems to me that some kind of communication with us from god would be the only way that we could know if there is a god for sure. Even then we would have to know that it is legitimate (and not conceived in our minds or otherwise manufactured). It would need to be something special. Even then what I am referring to isn’t exactly quantifiable. It may be a very personal experience that cannot be shared in a satisfactory way with others unless they have experienced the same thing first hand.
      These are just my thoughts though, and I would love to hear others.
      What evidence would convince you that there is a god?

      • Nobody seems to want to answer the question as to what the evidence would be, and just get hung up on who god is.

        Or what a god is. As I keep saying, why call it a god? It’s not about getting bogged down. It’s about making specific claims and determining what evidence would falsify those claims. Definitions are fundamental to any discussion about evidence. “God” can mean anything, a hungry volcano, a hurricane, Shiva, the ultimate ground of being, a Jewish zombie who died to give us all the ultimate guilt trip. It’s a useless word.

        Your god, as you’ve so far described it, is a creator of something, the extension of whose powers of creation, you have yet to stipulate. Fine. Let’s talk about that. If there’s some other quality that that god possesses that you haven’t mentioned yet, please include it now.

        I would be interested in what your post #166 would look like if you restricted yourself to clear definitions of your “god” without once using the word “god”. I asked you some very specific questions in my first paragraph. They’re important. Let’s not talk about gods. Let’s talk about this character you’ve posited and what exactly she’s done and how there would be evidence for how she’s done it.

        It seems to me that some kind of communication with us from god would be the only way that we could know if there is a god for sure.

        Why?

        Even then we would have to know that it is legitimate (and not conceived in our minds or otherwise manufactured).

        Yes.

        It may be a very personal experience that cannot be shared in a satisfactory way with others unless they have experienced the same thing first hand.

        How would this work?

    • In reply to #165 by susanlatimer:

      Already, I’m confused and I know you’re trying to be clear and give me a fair definition.

      You show lots of tolerance and give much more credence than I ever could.

      As Alan would state… obfuscation is usually the order of the day. Let’s all pish about with definititions, meanings and semantics.

      FFS, just call a spade a spade.

      As it was Paddy’s day I’m reminded of a couple of jokes..

      How do ya confuse an Irishman?

      Put him in a barrel and tell him to pish in the corner.

      Lay out three spades and ask him to take his pick.

      Of course, the Irish reductionist would say, how do ya confuse a Kerryman.

      Still, I’m reminded of GIGO…too much of the black stuff today I fear. BTW, that fecker Patrick wasn’t Irish and rather than chase snakes he brought heartbreak and mayhem..the Welsh.twat.

      Still, any excuse to party, what?

  59. For example, I know that the existence of a true Darwinian Demon would be difficult for me to account for, but I doubt that such an organism truly exists. However, its presence would cause me to re-examine what I now understand as truth.

    But a Darwinian Demon is well defined and I wouldn’t have to ask you,”What evidence would you accept for the existence of a Darwinian Demon?” The required evidence for a Darwinian Demon seems fairly straightforward.

    As far as I can tell there is a mechanism that explains all phenomena in existence (some understood, others yet to be understood). That is what makes being a scientist so much fun!

    What does that mechanism have to do with gods? It must be great fun, though. Keep it up. Go science.

  60. Chipmunk – What if we just start with a basic definition of god? Let’s say that god is a being or intelligence that is responsible (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms which we may or may not currently understand) for the creation of our existence. (Let’s not get too hung up on semantics. If you feel that this definition is not satisfactory feel free to make amendments or ask for clarification.)

    The problem for gods, is that they are made of semantics! As soon as they have properties they become detectable, measurable and falsifiable in the material universe.

    “Intelligence” has a calculating mechanism. Mechanisms require detectable matter and energy.

    “Creation” requires a manufacturing process – mechanisms and some sort of inputs. Any on-going interactions are detectable.

    Scientific laws are the explanations of such things. Magical gods are not, so until there is a coherent definition of the word “god” including what its properties are supposed to be, it is just a semantic figment of the imagination.

    Many theists have tried to produce definitions of assorted gods and individual versions of gods, but they come up against the known (to very high levels of probability) laws of science, as soon as they have defined properties which can interact with the material universe. Obfuscating theists produce vague unfalsifiable definitions which are semantic notions without properties or substance. Many have tried for centuries to produce credible definitions of their gods, for which evidence CAN be produced, but none have succeeded.

    It is very likely that no one will ever succeed in producing evidence for an intelligent personified god, although they may possibly be able to produce evidence of advanced intelligent aliens at some time in the future.

    Should such a being turn up, there would need to be evidence that it was a “god”, not an alien species. Very unlikely!

    If it affects the material universe and is not a personified living intelligence, it is just another part of nature and scientific laws.

    If it is a personified living intelligence, then that raises the question of how it came into existence and evolved into an intelligent life form. – The “infinite regression of creators”.

    (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms

    This immediately questions your assumption, that a logical postulation of such an entity (beyond abstract semantics) is even possible.
    Evidence cannot simply start with presumptions.

    (presumably through logical and explainable mechanisms

    Then there are the implications of matter and energy being involved in “mechanisms”. We cannot simply presume that such mechanisms (beyond physical science) are possible.

    It is not possible to prove a negative the scientific sense, except by producing a contradictory positive, but it is possible in the legal sense (of balance of probabilities) to show the absence of gods as commonly defined by theist groups.

    Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence

    I can think of many cases where absence of evidence provides robust evidence of absence. The key question is whether evidence should exist but does not. Elephants have never been seen roaming Yellowstone National Park. If they were, they would not have escaped notice. No matter how secretive, the presence of such huge animals would have been marked by ample physical signs — droppings, crushed vegetation, bones of dead elephants. So we can safely conclude from the absence of evidence that elephants are absent from the park.

  61. How about evidence of any supernatural thing at all??? Anything at all. Prove ghosts, goblins, witches, telekinesis, future telling, palm reading, tarot cards, the magic 8 ball, god, big foot, loch ness monster, yeti, santeria, tea leaf reading, oiuja boards, psychics…etc….

    Here is the issue. There are real things and there is bullshit.

    • In reply to #172 by crookedshoes:

      How about evidence of any supernatural thing at all??? Anything at all. Prove ghosts, goblins, witches, telekinesis, future telling, palm reading, tarot cards, the magic 8 ball, god, big foot, loch ness monster, yeti, santeria, tea leaf reading, oiuja boards, psychics…etc…

      I’d been thinking about an analogy along the lines of those on your list. Here’s the thing though, all but one on your list are falsifiable.

      Perhaps Carl Sagan’s “invisible fire breathing dragon in the garage” might get me a bit closer.

      But you are quite correct, once one supernatural phenomena is allowed onto the table, the flood gates are open for them all.

      The point is, a Universe creating deity would, by necessity, be outside time and space with intelligence formed in an immaterial mind. There is no evidence that could be presented for such a concept. It contravenes the laws of physics for starters.

      We flogged this to death a few years back with an apologist for WLC and his ‘Kalam Cosmological Argument’, a chap call Daniel Smith, who gave a fair account of himself all things considered.

      Dealing with William Lane Craig

      Here is the issue. There are real things and there is bullshit.

      Nicely put.

  62. Rational thinking is a process that usually requires empirical evidence (which is weighed for accuracy, relevance, credibility, etc.) and compared to a statement or claim to deduce or infer a rational conclusion. The absence of such evidence does not allow this process to occur, like baking a cake without the flour.

    Yes, for thousands of years (more than that really), no human identified evidence of bacteria, even though that evidence existed at those times.

    Many things are possible, including actual empirical evidence existing of a god (whatever “god” means) and such evidence has not yet been identified or observed by any human being. The God(s) of the Gaps still exist, but only in the minds of believers.

  63. Quran is sufficient Evidence for the Presence of God. Quran Remembered hundreds of evident scientific and natural signs which are impossible for a human to compile 1400 years ago. it is evident now that, science is in a 100% agreement with all these signs and references.

    • In reply to #175 by thetruthseeking:

      Quran is sufficient Evidence for the Presence of God. Quran Remembered hundreds of evident scientific and natural signs which are impossible for a human to compile 1400 years ago. it is evident now that, science is in a 100% agreement with all these signs and references.

      T & C …“anything posted multiple times on one or more threads,..”…you could at least change the wording of your rubbish to make it less tedious.

  64. Apologies for having messed up the thread at the beginning (If you haven’t noticed, good). Anyway…

    I’m not a believer but I object to the theme pursued by most of my fellow non-believers here. While ridicule of religious dogma is fine by me, religion attempts (albeit very crassly and with laughable tools) to explain First Causes – those before Existence existed. Science, theory of evolution, disbelief, whatever do not attempt to explain this/these (because their tools would be equally unfit, no matter how respectable as logical instruments). Until science can take us into the mind of God or Existence or whatever sums up this numinous state which we’re all clumsily aware of, religion will continue, unfortunately but understandably, to offer its incoherent explanation.Science would need to do better – but can it? No, I don’t mean the Big Bang etc. What I’m asking is “Why?”

    • In reply to #178 by jburnforti:

      Until science can take us into the mind of God or Existence or whatever sums up this numinous state

      This presumes that a god exists, and that it has a mind! Physical laws explain “existence” for as far back as we can see at present, far better than an infinite regression of creators or gods.

      which we’re all clumsily aware of, religion will continue, unfortunately but understandably, to offer its incoherent explanation.

      Science would need to do better – but can it?

      Science is already doing so! There is no “Mind of god”! Religions are about the egotistical subconscious “god of mind” as a delusion in the brain!

      Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences. Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419091223.htm

      No, I don’t mean the Big Bang etc. What I’m asking is “Why?”

      “WHY?”, is a human psychological need. Not a feature of the physical universe. You can ask “WHY?” , but apart from humans’ personal objectives or made-up rubbish, the answers will always explain “HOW?”! – and eventually lead to the unknown!

  65. It would have been proper to doubt the existence of bacteria until the moment Leeuwenhoek said, ‘Hey, come take a look at this!’

    Until theists construct the technological device, postulated by bjchiaro50, that reveals god, it is proper to doubt his existence.

  66. At the risk of repeating some things that others may already have said …

    There is a difference between thinking about a god or gods, and scientific thinking about the Natural World (a.k.a. the Real World).

    The difference is in the way people think.

    In the beginning (ahem), before science, all the thinking was done by philosophers. They called their studies of the Natural World “Natural Philosophy”. Although there was no set way of going about ‘doing philosophy’ the vast majority of philosophical thinking tended to use deduction: the process of thinking about one or more general statements (premises – assumptions that some things are true), and trying to reach a logically certain conclusion.

    In this way philosophers could do two things; they could start out by saying that because they were clever and they had thought of something it was a valid idea until proved wrong. They could also go about looking for supporting evidence and, if they found any, this would mean that their idea must be true and would remain so until proved false. With deduction they had the added bonus that anything that looked like evidence not only had to be refuted but anything that looked like evidence to the contrary could be dismissed. Deduction had the effect of making Natural Philosophy monolithic and difficult to change.

    This delighted those in power as it meant other pseudo-philosophies like theological and political dogmas could be hooked into the same system and also be nearly impossible to challenge. Thus we were stuck with the divine rights of kings and bishops for centuries.

    Then, in the 16th Century, we had Sir Sir Francis Bacon. Along with deduction, Natural Philosophy had been based on the thinking of the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. But people like Copernicus and Galileo had been showing that Aristotle’s thinking was flawed – and Francis Bacon challenged the Aristotelian model, arguing that truth required evidence from the real world first, and he wrote Novum Organum in which he presented a better method of acquiring knowledge. Bacon’s big idea is now known as inductive reasoning.

    With inductive reasoning we conclude general principles, or rules, from specific facts (generally fact is taken to mean an observation of something which can be repeated).

    At first sight this just looks like deduction stood on its head – arguing from specifics to generalisation versus arguing from a generalisation to specifics.

    But induction is much more nuanced than simple progression from specific instances to broader generalisations. With induction we see the premises of an inductive logical argument providing some degree of support for the conclusion (a measure of probability) but the premises do not guarantee the conclusion. To put that another way: With induction each item of evidence suggests a truth; but it does not make a conclusion true, just more probable.

    With Francis Bacon modern science was born.

    Getting back to your question …

    When someone asserts there is a god or gods our first response should never be: “What is your evidence for that?” The faithful have concluded there is a god or gods and now they too are looking for the evidence – they are following the churches’ favoured, deductive, model. In their World pretending to know things they don’t know (belief through faith) is actually valued.

    Our first response, I suggest, should be: What is a god?

    We really need to let people know that when they use the word god they are being inarticulate.

    We also need to understand inductive reasoning, to understand science. You mentioned that:

    Evidence collects over time with numerous experiments that all add to the same conclusion …

    No. Evidence is studied and conclusions are drawn – but scientific truth changes. This is because science is about probability. We all get confused by this because politics and religion are daily selling us certainty.

    After Aristotle we had Archimedes, then Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Rutherford, Bohr and Feynman. Some of the work of later scientists falsifies that of earlier scientists – but more often it adds or modifies.

    It would be wrong to say that deduction plays no part in science. Scientists often use deduction to estimate where to explore next. In this way science progresses by using each previous discovery as a stepping stone to the next. But the scientific method embraces induction to actually make discoveries and scientists are always aware that all their conclusions are provisional and that their theories stand only until falsified.

    You also added:

    Evidence collects over time with numerous experiments … since this is not the case with god I conclude that god does not exist.

    I know of no scientist who has, or is, conducting experiments on gods or on some thing associated with a god – with the possible exception of archaeologists. If a god or gods exist, or pass through, the Natural World then they are leaving no facts for us to collect as evidence. It would help us to look in the right place if we only knew what a god is …

    What should we be looking for?

    … for thousands of years there was no evidence for bacteria yet they existed.

    What about disease, putrefying flesh, cheese, yoghurt, many smells and other forms of evidence of the existence and activity of microbes?

    This is a classic case of using deduction in retrospect. We know of the existence of bacteria, so lets look out for the evidence that they exist in other ways. Because our ancestors didn’t know about microbes like fungi, bacteria and viri then whatever they thought was the cause of barley soaked in water turning into beer was correct (?) – and look they made lots of beer so it must be true.

    Technology comes from science. Do the science right, and your conclusions will be closer to the truth. If your theories are true they become useful in a way that deducted conclusions never have; you can make accurate predictions. Predictions give us the power to change the World we live in.

    Understanding the evolution of bacteria, fungi and viri helps us predict the next epidemic and adjust public health policies – including technological developments like immunisation.

    Is it possible … [that some things are discovered to exist only after a lot of looking at evidence] is the same for god …

    What is god?

    Whatever you believe your god to be, the chances are that your god has a long history. How far back does your god go? 1,500 years? 2,000 years? Before we can begin we need evidence of something god-like, that fits your description of your god. How long do we have to wait?

    All god hypotheses are arrived at by deduction and, as far as I am aware, all are claimed to be certain … and different. At best this means that 99.9% of all gods must be false. In any other field of science such a theory would be laughed at. However, in the final analysis we can also not prove the non-existence of the Tooth Fairy, Father Christmas, leprechauns, Cornish Piskies, ghosts, Bigfoot and a thousand other fairytale and supernatural creatures. So the answer has to be a nominal yes.

    … and [does] this give those who are religious reasonable wiggle room for their belief?

    That would depend on your definition of reasonable.

    Given that they have a belief which they are (usually) proud to tell you they hold by pretending to know things they don’t know (i.e. they have faith in the existence of their god or gods), that we have identified a reason why it is 99.9% probable that they chose the wrong god or gods (if any exist), that truth is often a probability and usually provisional yet they claim certainty, that they have no evidence, that they (often, though not always) arrived at their conclusion not knowing what they are talking about when they say “god” and all the evidence points to a confidence trick and gullibility being used to misappropriate power to enrich some priest, imam or guru … no.

    Peace.

  67. I didn´t need evidence to denounce the existence of a god.. I could not reconcile him with what I believe is to be the truth of our coming into existence and I cannot believe there is an experiment to devise in which god can be proved.. which cannot be said for bacteria and other things.. they are there to be discovered and in time we will discover things of which we now know nothing.. but god will not be one of them

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