All about Adam

60

THAT old-time religion is strong in America. To take just one measure, for decades more than 40% of all Americans have consistently told Gallup pollsters that God created humans in pretty much their current form, less than 10,000 years ago. They are embracing an account of man’s origins promoted by Young Earth Creationists who lean on a painstakingly literal reading of the Scriptures, swatting aside the counter-claims of science (fossils are a relic of Noah’s flood, they argue, and evolution is a myth peddled by atheists). In a recent poll 58% of Republicans and 41% of Democrats backed creationism. The glue that underpins such faith is the principle of Biblical inerrancy—a certainty that the Scriptures are infallibly and unchangingly true.

A quest for certainty is an American tradition. Old World believers often inherit religion passively, like a cultural artefact. Americans, an individualistic bunch, are more likely to switch churches or preachers until they find a creed that makes sense to them. They admire fundamental texts (the constitution, for example) that plain citizens may parse for immutable truths.

At the same time, the literalist faith is in crisis. Young Americans are walking away from the stern denominations that have held such sway over post-war American life, from Billy Graham’s crusades to the rise of the religious right. After they hit 18, half of evangelical youngsters lose their faith; entering a public university is especially perilous. As a generation, millennials (those born between the early 1980s and 2000s), are unimpressed by organised anything, let alone organised religion. Many young adults told the Barna Group, an evangelical research outfit, that they felt stifled by elders who demonised secular America. Young Christians are more accepting of gay rights than their elders. In a challenge to creationists, a quarter of young adults told Barna’s study that their churches were “anti-science”.

Written By: The Economist
continue to source article at economist.com

60 COMMENTS

    • Perhaps this is an assumption: ‘well educated’ ?
      I don’t have data on the education level of Americans vs those of us Aussies.
      It also probably has a lot to do with the fact that Australian culture is a pretty
      cynical, anti-authoritarian one. I can’t think of too much we get religious about
      except perhaps important things like losing the Ashes to England or what beer is the best.

      In reply to #1 by David W:

      I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

      • In reply to #2 by Stuart Coyle:

        Perhaps this is an assumption: ‘well educated’ ?
        I don’t have data on the education level of Americans vs those of us Aussies.
        It also probably has a lot to do with the fact that Australian culture is a pretty
        cynical, anti-authoritarian one. I can’t think of too much we get religious about
        except…

        The Aussies had a pretty good day 2 in the cricket – couldn’t believe that collapse when I woke up this morning!

        Maybe I should ask God to send some rain to Brisbane… oh, hang on…

      • In reply to #2 by Stuart Coyle:

        I can’t think of too much we get religious about except perhaps important things like losing the Ashes to England or what beer is the
        best.

        Right now you appear to be winning the Ashes.

        You bastards! :)

        Looks like you will be buying the beers then…

      • In reply to #2 by Stuart Coyle:

        I can’t think of too much we get religious about except perhaps important things like losing the Ashes to England ….

        Er… can I just correct you, you didn’t ‘lose’ the Ashes to England, we WON them from you! :-)

    • In reply to #1 by David W:

      I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

      One of ‘life’s little mysteries’ similar to the fact the women are far more likely to be religious than men.

      • In reply to #5 by Nitya:

        One of ‘life’s little mysteries’ similar to the fact the women are far more likely to be religious than men.

        Actually, that doesn’t seem much of a mystery to me, in fact it’s what I would expect based on the stuff I’ve been reading about evolutionary psychology lately. Survival for women is different than men. Men generate the most offspring by having lots of sex with lots of partners, their success is driven by standing out as being better than all the other men. Since humans are mammals, women get stuck with more of the child rearing responsibility and hence their reproductive success is driven more by collaboration and sharing work which would fit right in with the niche that religion probably played in primitive cultures and in our current one.

        This article from the old rd.net says what I stated above with a bit more rigor:

        Why Women Are Bound to Religion: An Evolutionary Perspective

        • In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #5 by Nitya:

          One of ‘life’s little mysteries’ similar to the fact the women are far more likely to be religious than men.

          Actually, that doesn’t seem much of a mystery to me, in fact it’s what I would expect based on the stuff I’ve been reading about evolutionary psychology lately. Sur…

          Thank you for supplying that great link. I particularly liked this part:

          “But the fact that women are less likely to push the status quo for fear of social exclusion and even retribution makes a lot of evolutionary sense. “

          IMO there are other factors at work as well. There could be a link with the greater acceptance of ‘placebo effect’ based remedies and other non-religion based spirituality. I think there is a tendency to be guided by our emotions , but this is mere guesswork on my part.

          So, what about the Americans? We know they’re well informed and science literate. I think the majority of articulate spokespeople for the atheist point of view come from the US. So why are so many ordinary people clinging to such foolish beliefs?

          • In reply to #35 by Nitya:

            So, what about the Americans? We know they’re well informed and science literate. I think the majority of articulate spokespeople for the atheist point of view come from the US. So why are so many ordinary people clinging to such foolish beliefs?

            Well keep in mind it isn’t all of us, not even a majority, but yes there are a lot of nuts here. I don’t think there is one reason for it but I think an interesting bit of data is something I came across in one of Pinker’s books. There is a measurable difference between the way people in the US North and South respond to petty insults. Experiments have been done where someone will bump the subject and not apologize, not in a highly aggressive manner but just a bit rude. Men from the US South are far more likely to make an issue out of such minor slights.

            Pinker hypothesizes that this is a common trait of certain cultures such as that in the US South, cultures based around large tracts of land where there the history was people had to resolve differences mainly on their own rather than via the law. In such cultures things like honor and “traditional values” take on much more importance than in more rational cultures. A Southern man is more likely to do something stupid even if it costs him in terms of jail time or lost business where as a northern man is more likely to make the rational choice.

            Actually, it may be wrong to even say it’s the irrational choice because the thinking is that there was rationality behind this kind of behavior. In environments like the South reputation meant a lot more than it did in the North. Once you had a reputation as someone who could be challenged people would take advantage of you and even worse the women folk wouldn’t mate with you. I think there is a correlation between this kind of mind set and a strong belief in religion and “traditional values”. As I’m typing this I realize that is hardly an iron clad argument and I acknowledge that, it’s more an intuition than something I can really back up, but I think a lot of the problems of the US can be traced to this culture of macho honor that we have more so than many other industrialized nations and we have it primarily in the US south.

          • In reply to #36 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #35 by Nitya:

            So, what about the Americans? We know they’re well informed and science literate. I think the majority of articulate spokespeople for the atheist point of view come from the US. So why are so many ordinary people clinging to such foolish beliefs?

            Well keep in mind it isn’…

            I’m in the middle of Pinker’s ‘Better Angels of our Nature’ at the moment. It’s quite a tome, but I’m enjoying it immensely. I love the graphs and charts he uses to support his findings.

            It must be frustrating to have such a divide in national thinking strategies. We do talk about our ‘deep north’ here in Oz, but there’s really not much difference.

            I’ve even noticed the way that everyday life is portrayed in popular culture (TV, film) reflects different sensibilities to that of our homegrown fare. Over here, any program showing a wedding or funeral will have a secular setting. Programs from the US invariably use a church setting and some accompanying religious platitudes.

    • In reply to #1 by David W:

      I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

      Well educated may be the term you are struggling with!

      Seriously, I think America is wrong to keep religion out of schools. Religion is an important part of the world’s history and culture, and you need to be educated about it like you need to know history or geography. To choose not to do so makes no more sense than to choose to keep say biology out of schools, or any other important subject.

      Religious education does not (and must not) mean proselytising. There should be no prayer or worship in any school, anywhere, ever. But RE should give a reasonable understanding of all the world’s main faiths and how they impacted on our civilization, our governance, our laws and our wars. You can’t really understand who we are without it.

      Leave RE out, and kids grow up with pretty much the faith of their parents wholly indoctrinated, and more importantly, unchallenged. RE teaches that there are many faiths, and that it is OK to choose any of them, or none of them. It is a great tool for spreading atheism.

      Americans who criticise (fairly) Islam for being anti-science and stuck in the dark ages should examine the rather substantial plank in their own eye. And question very carefully why their nation is heading the same way.

      • In reply to #8 by Stevehill:
        >
        >

        Seriously, I think America is wrong to keep religion out of schools.

        I agree. Learning about the dark side of Chistian history (there’s plenty of it) and the parts of the bible that are never read out in church are enough to turn anyone into an atheist.

      • In reply to #8 by Stevehill: I don’t think anyone is saying to keep it our of schools, just keep it away from anything related to science. History might be the best place to teach it.

        In reply to #1 by David W:

        Seriously, I think America is wrong to keep religion out of schools. Religion is an important pa…

    • In reply to #1 by David W:

      I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

      correct me if i’m wrong but isn’t america a country where you can get a university scholarship if you can run quickly while not dropping a squashed ball at the same time?

    • In reply to #1 by David W:

      I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

      It’s not just being religious, but the fact that 40% of Americans believe in creationism and that this planet is no more than 10,000 years old! No wonder that Ken Ham couldn’t spread his idiocy here in Australia and ended up in USA!

      • Ken Ham was extremely successful in Australia. Pretty much everywhere I’ve worked in the last 10 to 15 years (in the Australian telecommunications industry) I’ve had a close colleague who was overtly religious. Usually this becomes apparent by the amount of time they spend on the phone organising upcoming weekend church activities. Without exception these people are YEC members of megachurches.

        Megachurches are financially very significant, presumably owing to the charismatic entrepreneurship of the leadership, the fundraising activities, the rock concert style entertainment aspects etc. And helped along by the acute incompetence of traditional churches and their inability to attract followers.

        Megachurches are increasingly politically significant also, given the prevailing closeness of election results electioneering is increasingly dependent on the support of megachurch leaders and the downstream voting guidance they can deliver. (Possibly owing to their youthful / first time voter orientation, and the likelihood of these younger people being residents of marginal electorates – owing to lower cost housing.)

        From what I can see from among work colleagues in Australia then if someone is religious enough for it to be reasonably obvious to their colleagues then they will almost certainly be a YEC. What is surprising is that these people seem genuinely astonished that I, or anyone else, should seriously believe in all that nonsense about the big bang and things evolving. They don’t seem to understand that belief doesn’t need to depend on motive and that it can have a demonstrable and justifiable relationship with reality and truth. From their perspective belief is more about qualifying for a ticket out of hell and into eternal paradise. It’s like a reverse causality: Things are true because they believe in them, rather than believing in things because they are true.

        They are more or less aware that prominent scientists publicly advocate things like evolution etc. But they don’t seem to be aware that many people take scientists or their crackpot theories seriously. Possibly because science isn’t discusssed much compared to sports news etc, being regarded as unfashionable or uninteresting and generally sneered at as a topic for polite conversation even by the non-religious. The general attitude being like the Clive Palmer effect (the billionaire who expects to hold the balance of political power in Australia in the near future): if scientists are so smart then why aren’t they rich like miners, cricketers, footy stars, and actors. If anything a YEC’s only concern about science is that public money has been wasted in numerous failed attempts to scientifically prove evolution. They regard ‘evolutionists’ as either seriously misguided or under some malignant influence that turns them away from the truth of god’s love etc. And non-scientists who fall for this stuff are just plain gullible or just haven’t noticed the flawed logic of the evolutionists’ arguments.

        I think YEC may be an essential aspect of biblical inerrancy. Possibly inerrancy is linked to biblical exhortations to provide significant amounts of cash to the church leadership. So if the bible is not literally true then this may have inconvenient implications from a cash flow perspective. Something which may have been crucial to the emergence of megachurches.

        In reply to #41 by ArloNo:

        In reply to #1 by David W:

        I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

        It’s not just being religious, but the fact that 40% of Americans believe in creationism and that this planet is no more than 10,000 years old! No wonder…

    • In reply to #1 by David W:

      I, an Australian, have never understood why Americans are so much more religious than other well educated Westerners.

      Are Americans well educated on the whole? Their politicians have been getting more and more dumb over the last thirty five years.

      Eisenhower had a plaque on his desk which read “Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re” which he turned towards himself when new comers visited the Oval Office for the first time because he didn’t want people to think he was an egghead; in other words he didn’t want it known by the general public that he was highly educated and sophisticated.

      And how many Americans would vote for someone like JFK now.

      I think your premise is incorrect.

  1. Is radio-active dating then a demonic plot? Surely when Christians are taught how it works, they can so longer pretend is is some giant globally co-ordinated bit of presdigitation. If radio-active dating is a fraud then radioactive decay must also be a fraud. That means all our math and physics about radioactivity must be a fraud. Before you know it, creationists have asserted that all science is a plot, including all the science upon which modern technology depends. They don’t seem to consider this preposterous. How could modern technology work if all the science that supports it is bogus?

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      Is radio-active dating then a demonic plot? Surely when Christians are taught how it works, they can so longer pretend is is some giant globally co-ordinated bit of presdigitation. If radio-active dating is a fraud then radioactive decay must also be a fraud. That means all our math and physics abo…

      You may be missing the point about creationists, you can’t be one without deliberately ignoring things that don’t confirm your assumptions. That’s why I don’t like the phrase “anti-science” as a description of creationists, as it doesn’t go far enough, I think the phrase “anti-reality” is better. It is reality that doesn’t match creationists expectations and science is just one part of reality. It just happens to be the one that most exposes creationist presuppositions as unproven or false

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      Is radio-active dating then a demonic plot? Surely when Christians are taught how it works, they can so longer pretend is is some giant globally co-ordinated bit of presdigitation. If radio-active dating is a fraud then radioactive decay must also be a fraud. That means all our math and physics abo…

      Yes, and the funny thing is, ask a creationist if he would like to hold onto a lump of Uranium for 4.5bn years and see what he says.

  2. Yes, it was bad enough that god populated the earth via incest the first time around- the dumb f*ck did it again after the flood and thought we’d be nicer the next go-round. The classic definition of insanity but obviously well worth worshipping.

    • In reply to #4 by rjohn19:

      Yes, it was bad enough that god populated the earth via incest the first time around- the dumb f*ck did it again after the flood and thought we’d be nicer the next go-round. The classic definition of insanity but obviously well worth worshipping.

      Be fair. After two failed attempts with the incest route, God decided to try immaculate conception instead. I think this demonstrates an openness to evolution.

      • In reply to #10 by Stevehill:

        … After two failed attempts with the incest route, God decided to try immaculate conception instead.

        I think you meant “virgin birth.” The “Immaculate Conception” is the dogma about Mary being conceived free of Original Sin. It’s a common confusion.

  3. Why do Americans insist on being so religious? I would suppose there are a few differing reasons such as the pilgrim fathers and so many being easily led but I suspect it is something that can be debated by far wiser people than me without getting one definitive answer.

  4. Eurocentricity comes to my mind when we speak of Adam and Eve it automatically becomes dominated by a Christian discussion. The Pentateuch is a collection of writings descending from an oral tradition, these oral traditions are not histories in the sense of the modern definition. They are the cultural foundations of a people, not all-encompassing world histories. A people who identified themselves as being descendants of Abraham created these stories as etiological foundations, not scientific observations. Believers the world over will continue to cite ancient texts to fight advances in humanistic morality, science, and technology. It isn’t anything new, or original in any way. Evolution Creationists, a term which is amazingly paradoxical, is just another way of describing Intelligent Designers. You can believe that your god(s) created evolution all you want, but you must concede that as a claim of faith and not a scientific one. The distinction could not be clearer.

    I admit that scientifically minded Christians is a better step for the future, but only because it seems to suggest a switch in the minds of literalist Christians. They do not wish to admit a lack of scientific understanding, they are in fact seeking scientific validation for their fundamentalism. But, why does that matter at all? Why do they wish to validate faith claims with science? Why do they want to be on the winning side of science at all? It is because they don’t want their worldview to be a matter of faith, they want to prove their beliefs: they want their religion to be true. And, curiously, truth must be handed down to the masses with science. So even the zealots acknowledge science as the only way to uncover the nature of the universe, all without them even realizing that they’re doing it. Fucking hilarious.

  5. OP:

    “science changes, but the word of God never changes.”

    He said as he checked his mobile phone for messages, oh his wife has to have antibiotics and the car needs a new sat nav device fitted. They’ll take the advances created by science and then deny it !

    Bloody moron !

      • In reply to #23 by SaganTheCat:

        In reply to #21 by crookedshoes:

        What color eyes did adam have? Eve?

        blue

        Then where’d all the other eye colors come from?

        sin

        I don’t know why I laughed so hard at this… but I did. Thank you.

        • J
        • Actually, the original human eye color was brown. Most blue-eyed people got the allele (of the OCA2 gene) from a common ancestor who lived 6-10k years ago.

          In reply to #29 by Jogre:*

          In reply to #23 by SaganTheCat:

          In reply to #21 by crookedshoes:

          What color eyes did adam have? Eve?

          blue

          Then where’d all the other eye colors come from?

          sin

          I don’t know why I laughed so hard at this… but I did. Thank you.

          J

      • In reply to #24 by Tyler Durden:

        In reply to #21 by crookedshoes:

        What color eyes did adam have? Eve?

        Why do most illustrations of “Adam and Eve” portray them with navels?

        And Adam with his penis covered. Which brings up another question. Since Adam presumably had a penis even before he sinned, was its only function urination? And did he ever wake up with a hard-on? If the poor guy had a limp one until he disobeyed God, and THEN discovered what else the little fellow was good for, I can see how there would be no going back.

      • In reply to #24 by Tyler Durden:

        In reply to #21 by crookedshoes:

        What color eyes did adam have? Eve?

        Why do most illustrations of “Adam and Eve” portray them with navels?

        And – my favorite creationist-stumper – why do men have nipples? In fact, why do the males of all mammalian species have nipples? Was God just going for symmetry? Did Adam’s chest just look a little too bare without them? Does my boy cat Goo really need that double row of nips on his furry little belly?

        Not only do men have nipples, they have actual breast tissue that can be stimulated into growth just like a woman’s breasts. They can get breast cancer. I’ve even heard of male breasts producing milk under the stimulation of hormones from hypothalamic or pituitary disorders. Why, God, why?!?!

  6. The word we need to use in respect of claims that science always changes and religion never does is “stagnant”. That’s all religion can ever be because it’s fatally stuck with the irrelevant ideas of bronze age goat herders who knew bugger all about their world and just made up shit to fob off the questions of their children for anything they couldn’t explain. Science is vibrant, ever growing, ever searching, always questioning, never complacent. Religion is stagnant, mired, outmoded, outdated, complacent, arrogant, petulant and fearful. Terrified by every new scientific advance that proves it’s wrong it can do little more than stick its fingers in it ears and go “la-la-la-la I can’t hear you.”

    • In reply to #22 by Arkrid Sandwich:

      The word we need to use in respect of claims that science always changes and religion never does is “stagnant”. That’s all religion can ever be because it’s fatally stuck with the irrelevant ideas of bronze age goat herders who knew bugger all about their world and just made up shit to fob off the q…

      Matt Dillahunty said it best – “Religion is static, Science is dynamic”

  7. About religion in the U.S., one must never forget Tocqueville’s observation, in the 1830s, that “America is filled with religious insanity.” Then too, remember that a large segment of religious belief in the U.S. (Bible belt religious fundamentalist insanity) embraced slavery, and worse. Now consider the generational investments in religious insanity held as God’s literal truth and, understand accordingly, that such beliefs are also a generational curse.
    Followed by the migration of that same insanity across the Plains states and S.W. caused by the South’s destruction during the Civil War and a later migration caused by the Great Depression, with people seeking employment in the northern Rust Belt, especially blacks and poor, less educated whites.
    Two last points to help people understand the phenomenon of religious insanity in the U.S. is, one, the knowledge that when such migrations occur (currently, think of the immigration problems associated with Latin America) that, two, the immigrants, almost always in poverty, only have two things other than the clothes on their backs to take with them, their culture and their religion; and indeed, they do cling to both. Hence, the spread of religious insanity by the old Christian religion of slavery into what is now known as the non-Southern, predominately “Red States.”
    Of course, do not hate such people and never forget that over the past few decades in the U.S. nearly all of the traditional institutions for the insane have been shut down. And it shows big time! Religious insanity is and will always be against science and rationality in reasoning. It simply must as it fights to cling to and to spread its insanity.

    • In reply to #25 by chawinwords:

      About religion in the U.S., one must never forget Tocqueville’s observation, in the 1830s, that “America is filled with religious insanity.”

      Perhaps one of the main functions of religion is to excuse bad behaviour. Think of all the wicked things Jehovah demands of his followers, including genocide.

  8. Does anyone have a link to an animation that made the rounds a few months back concerning Mitochondrial Eve and/or Y-chromosome Adam? There’s a debate over at The Economist and it would be useful. Thanks.

  9. After they hit 18, half of evangelical youngsters lose their faith; entering a public university is especially perilous. As a generation, millennials (those born between the early 1980s and 2000s), are unimpressed by organised anything, let alone organised religion.

    Perhaps it’s just a stage only some of them reach in their mental development!

    The Formal Operational Stage – During this stage of cognitive development, skills such as logical thought, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning begin to emerge.

  10. Adam is as mythical and conceptual as god……I think the real father of Sapiens is more likely to have been Khoisan type men probably up to 110,000 years ago when Khoisan first split off from the rest of early Sapiens.

  11. According to these biblical literalists, Adam’s so-called “sin” is directly responsible for every not-so-nice thing in nature, from carnivorous animals to anal warts, from deadly or disgusting disease to disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and drought. Yep, by eating a piece of fruit that bitch Eve picked at the behest of a snake, he became responsible for it all. What these morons are never able to answer is why the entire observable universe is full of destruction and catastrophe. Is Adam responsible for supernovae, lethal gamma-ray bursts, solar flares, comets, asteroids, and black holes? Is Satan allowed to throw giant rocks at us from space because of Adam? These dimbulbs continue to think of themselves and their imaginary fairytale as the end-all, be-all of existence and are totally confounded by the facts of cosmology, which reveal just how tiny and unimportant a speck we inhabit in space.

    • In reply to #37 by Sue Blue:

      According to these biblical literalists, Adam’s so-called “sin” is directly responsible for every not-so-nice thing in nature, from carnivorous animals to anal warts, from deadly or disgusting disease to disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and drought. Yep, by eating a piece of fruit that bitch E…

      I once asked that question of a Catholic (one of those reasonable, non-fundamental religions) who also thought Adam and Eve were responsible for suffering and death on this planet. While he readily acknowledged that organisms have been suffering and dying from the very beginning — long before Adam and Eve — he held that A&E were still responsible because (and I’m not making this up): “Sometimes effects precede causes”.

      That was pretty much the end of my pastime debating theists as it really is pretty much pointless.

      • In reply to #47 by cornbread_r2:

        “Sometimes effects precede causes”.

        That’s why I love reading comments! It’s the ‘laugh out loud’ moments…..and the regular doses of new information and fresh insights, of course.

        • In reply to #48 by Nitya:

          In reply to #47 by cornbreadr2:_

          “Sometimes effects precede causes”.

          That’s why I love reading comments! It’s the ‘laugh out loud’ moments…..and the regular doses of new information and fresh insights, of course.

          I think that could be classed as, “mouth-function preceding brain-function”! – Or in the case of some fundamentalists, preceding brain development!

  12. OP:

    Some discussions were a trifle arcane, it is true, with sharp exchanges about ancient Hebrew cosmology and the degree to which the Book of Genesis draws on Mesopotamian creation and flood motifs.

    Hell, this stuff is almost as exciting as the CoE discussing the possibility of allowing women bishops !

    How many Christian theologians does it take to change a lightbulb ?

    Three. But remember the three are one !

  13. Most of those surveyed probably haven’t thought very much about, and are not really interested in, the question of religion versus secularism and only repeat what they have heard their peer group say in attempt to be ‘polite’ and appear as ‘moderate’. But their daily behaviour and use of the technology and science of the modern secular world tells another story. What people say when polled is not as important as what they actually do. In the USA it appears that it is not good manners to say that you are secular when in fact probably everybody really is. e.g.. they daily depend on stuff that is derived from a world view that does not depend on superstition or religious dogma.

    Question: how to define secular? I say: it is (at least) living in a modern western society, period.

  14. The discussion about religious belief and religious insanity in the U.S. will never end. Mark Twain, no friend of organized religion, wrote some amazing insights into the parts of religion he considered evil. This quote will also help our friends across the Atlantic to better understand the grip exercised by fundamentalists cons:
    The Christian’s Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes…. The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession — and take the credit of the correction. During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. the Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumb-screws, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.

    Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry…. There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.
    – Mark Twain, “Bible Teaching and Religious Practice,” Europe and Elsewhere (1923)

    Now understand, the fundamentalists never hesitate to lie about reality, past and present, especially their own. Never forget this part of Twain’s quote, “The church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession — and take the credit of the correction.” You simple need to understand religions fake evolution into sanity, especially fundamentalism in the U.S.

  15. Soon we enter the 2014, and it’s very, very sad to hear, that a high percentage of Americans believe in illusions – nothing else than illusions – and they let themselves be fooled by religious hucksters. Maybe it’s because science is too difficult to understand for ordinary people. There are too few “Richard Dawkins’s” among scientists who have the courage to explain how our universe, our world and life is put together! Most scientists are silent; they are afraid of criticism, they are afraid of their careers (money?). I grieve!

  16. In reply to #50 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #48 by Nitya:

    In reply to #47 by cornbreadr2:_

    “Sometimes effects precede causes”.

    That’s why I love reading comments! It’s the ‘laugh out loud’ moments…..and the regular doses of new information and fresh insights, of course.

    I think that could be classed as, “mouth-function preceding brain development!

    Scoff if you want, but the notion that effect can precede cause is hardly a new one. And some pretty weighty brains have given it credence, or at the very least taken it seriously enough to go to the bother of refuting it.

    Retrocausality

    This seems like another example of atheists pooh-poohing an interesting philosophical or scientific contention and dismissing it out of hand simply because it has come from the mouth of a person of faith.

    I guess it’s just too much fun, at least for some of us, to imply they’re all stupid.

    Thank goodness there have been and continue to be those whose objectivity and commitment to science preponderates over whatever prejudices they might hold toward their fellows.

    Huzzah for the proper scientists!

    • In reply to #52 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #50 by Alan4discussion:

      “Sometimes effects precede causes”.

      I think that could be classed as, “mouth-function preceding brain development!

      Scoff if you want, but the notion that effect can precede cause is hardly a new one.

      Neither is the notion of magic wands! – K.O!

      And some pretty weighty brains have given it credence,

      Really?????

      Huzzah for the proper scientists!

      . . And for proper rationalists who debunk nonsense!

      • In reply to #54 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #52 by Katy Cordeth:

        Neither is the notion of magic wands! – K.O!

        Really?????

        . . And for proper rationalists who debunk nonsense!

        I’m not sure what K.O! means. Have I been knocked out?

        I think it behoves those who would wish to be taken seriously as rationalists to be conservative when it comes to their use of punctuation marks. Excessive deployment of these symbols tends to convey the impression that the one responsible is overexcited, like a puppy humping a teddy bear.

        “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

        F. Scott Fitzgerald

        • In reply to #57 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #54 by Alan4discussion:

          Neither is the notion of magic wands! – K.O!

          Huzzah for the proper scientists!

          . . And for proper rationalists who debunk nonsense!

          I’m not sure what K.O! means. Have I been knocked out?

          K. O is OK. looked at backwards! – I think Phil is explaining the order of cause and effect.

          “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

          Why?? Don’t you think it is funny or surprising, when someone jumps in backside-first with ridiculous claims, to “correct” an accurate description?

  17. In reply to #52 by Katy Cordeth:

    In reply to #50 by Alan4discussion:

    “Sometimes effects precede causes”

    Huzzah for the proper scientists!

    Sorry, Katy. With regard to backwards traveling electrons, wormholes and non-local action, these grannies all suck eggs rather well. Feynman himself would join in the chortle. A closer reading of what you have linked to explains fully why this is not actual retro-causality, nor would it apply at a macro level.

    I guess it’s just too much fun, at least for some of us, to imply they’re all stupid.

    No, its the desperation.

    • In reply to #53 by phil rimmer:

      Oh. Has it been debunked? Ah well, that’s how I find out about this sort of thing. Remember morphic resonance? It also explains why I was never able to get my time machine working properly; I couldn’t even resolve the problem of its being bigger on the inside than it was on the outside. :(

      I think I had this bit in mind from an episode of QI featuring moptop astrologer Brian Cox as one of the guests:

      Cox: “According to Einstein’s theory of space and time, which is our best theory of space and time, there’s no such thing as a present moment which spans the universe or indeed even the Earth. Or in fact even two people moving relative to each other.”

      Fry: “It is absurd to think of an event that might be happening ‘now’ in the galaxy and me doing this [puts pen down on desk] as being simultaneous. That has no meaning.”

      Cox: “You can swap the order of them, as long as they’re not causally connected. So if I throw a glass over there and it smashes on the ground, then obviously I caused it to smash by throwing it. So you can’t have the smash before I throw it. However, let’s say the Sun and the Earth – and the Sun is eight light minutes away – so if the Sun exploded now, then we wouldn’t notice for eight minutes. So for eight minutes… you can swap the order of those things around, until the point at which they become causally connected… until the explosion destroys the Earth.”

      • In reply to #56 by Katy Cordeth:

        Oh. Has it been debunked?

        Not so much debunked as understood to apply to one interpretation of events at a quantum level (in the Feynman diagram case, for instance). Wishers for woo are desperate for many quantum level effects to appear at the macro level. But its just not in the maths that it does. The maths of it is an astonishing and reliably predictive success in our attempt to master the quantum world. Our attempts to describe what that maths may mean is, however, a whole lot of different pants. The right (consistent) analogies simply don’t exist in a world sized in metres. But, then, why should they?

        Ah well, that’s how I find out about this sort of thing. Remember morphic resonance? It also explains why I was never able to get my time machine working properly

        Darn. I thought that was how you dug up all your popular cultural references.

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