Talk:Extraterrestrial life

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The Bible and Extraterrestrial Life

I'm not sure this interpratation is valid. Surely this passage doesn't rule out the possibility of of an unsaved alien race? Nematocyte 11:27, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

It absolutely does. "Let us make man in Our own image and likeness." Not, "Let us make humankind and Vulcankind and Klingonkind and Ferengikind and every other kind."--TerryHTalk 12:09, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
That doesn't mean there can't be life on other planets, though. It just means that the bible doesn't mention them in the story of creation. But the bible talks about the creation of the Earth, and doesn't really talk much about the creation of other planets or what's going on out there.--Epicurius 12:23, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
I don't think that's what Nem. meant. He was asking, could their be Christians on other planets and if we find them will they look like us? Further, shouldn't we try to find them? Flippin 12:19, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
If that is what Nematocyte is saying, then the burden of proof falls upon him to find a Bible reference that says that Christians or saved persons do exist on other planets. Can either of you cite one single verse in the Bible that says, or implies, that Jesus died more than the one death that is documented? Can either of you find one single verse that says, or implies, that any of the Apostles took a trip to a world beyond the earth, inhabited by flesh-and-blood people?
And Nematocyte, I'll thank you to leave those verses where they were. Come up with verses that say that any kingdoms exist on worlds other than earth, and I'll publish them--noting duly whether you or any other commentator has interpreted them properly. But don't tell me that "other kingdoms must exist because God doesn't say they don't."--TerryHTalk 13:03, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
You know, the bible also doesn't mention microwave ovens, but they exist. It is possible that the Christians on other planets have not been found, or those parts were left out of the bible. As far as the "other kingdoms must exist because God doesn't say they don't." I think he's right that GOD doesn't specifically say there are no Christians on other planets. Wouldn't the bible say "we're the only Christians in the universe if that were the case? Flippin 14:34, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
"Parts left out of the Bible" cannot exist. See Revelation 22:18-19 (NASB). And mere speculation about "parts left out of the Bible" do not and cannot constitute sufficient evidence of the things that you think that those "parts left out of the Bible" talk about. Or are you going to speculate, as did Dan Brown, about Leonardo da Vinci hiding a coded message about ET's?--TerryHTalk 14:46, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
So if no parts were left out, and GOD doesn't say "ET doesn't exist" then there is room for Christians on other planets to just not be found yet? Flippin 14:59, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
Another loaded question. I addressed only the "parts left out of the Bible" question. There's more on what God has to say:
  1. God promised a specific King of an Everlasting Kingdom.
  2. This King would be the product of a specific line: the House of David.
  3. The Old Testament contains multiple prophecies anticipating this King's coming, His ministry, and His Passion.
  4. This same King had to die in order to expiate the sin condition of an entity called "the world." The word used in that context is cosmos, which means all of nature.
  5. Furthermore, He had to die once--and only once.
  6. One becomes a Christian by hearing the Gospel. Hearing implies someone speaking to you. Speech implies physical presence.
  7. THrough one man--Adam--came sin into the world. Through one other Man--Jesus--is sin taken away from the world.
Where is the room for extraterrestrial intelligence?--TerryHTalk 15:14, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
Further, what if Jesus was born and died on another planet after Earth and those Christians aren't written about because it happened after the Bible? Like the Mormons. The Mormons don't appear in the Bible, but they obviously exist and Jesus obviously may have visited them. Just a bit to chew on. Flippin 15:09, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
Answered above. Jesus was born once, and died once. He was not and shall not be born and then die myriads of times.--TerryHTalk 15:14, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
So how does that explain the Mormons? They believe they saw Jesus back then. I don't know alot about their view, but didn't they see the actual Jesus? So, even if he only died once, couldn't he also come back a couple times? And if so, and since he's all-powerful, couldn't he do all these things on another planet? I know that sounds far-fetched, but is there a reason in the bible why he couldn't? Flippin 15:17, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

What if God is an inclusive God and 'man' includes aliens? That way, Jesus dying could save the aliens too. Or maybe the aliens kept to the original covenant with God and didn't require Jesus's death to save them. Chrysogonus 15:45, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

One becomes a Christian by hearing the Gospel. Hearing implies someone speaking to you. Speech implies physical presence. - So only people who lived in Nazareth circa 30 AD can be Christians? Or is it possible to hear the Gospel from someone who wasn't Jesus, in which case I don't see why this rules out aliens? Chrysogonus 15:46, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Hydroplate theory

I'd like to know more about this.Chrysogonus 16:03, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Working on it.--TerryHTalk 17:17, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

An extraterrestrial nation-state

The idea of an alien "nation-state" makes an unscientific assumption that they will organize like human beings do. What if they are a single organism with semi-independent drones, or a totally anarchy with every little green man for himself? --Lambchop 12:31, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Nothing like that figures in, for example, former President Carter's speculations. And I doubt that an anarchy could, or would even want to, achieve anything like what Francis Crick played around with back in 1973, let alone the kind of full-blown invasion force illustrated, say, in The War of the Worlds or the V series of television projects.--TerryHTalk 13:05, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
I think the point is, why is 'Nation-State' used over and over again in the article? That is simply one particular form of government, and assuming that any alien civilization would adopt it is making quite a leap. Such social organizations should probably be referred to as simply 'civilizations'. Brewer13210 13:13, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
A civilization can and often does consist of more than one nation-state. The term nation-state has specific political and, more to the point, military meaning. True enough, most civilizations in the ancient world were identifiable with the nation-states that ran them. But I suggest that the term "Western civilization" refers to many, many nation-states, and indeed to a history that saw many of its member nation-states rise and fall. I use the term to go all the way back to ancient Greece, then to ancient Rome, then to the various kingdoms of Europe and, of course, the United States of America.
In sum, "civilization" includes a full body of literary and artistic tradition, in addition to political tradition. Any civilization can have any number of nation-states regarded as part of it, so long as they all derive their governing models from a common source.
And before anyone asks: yes, I, for one, would like to see the logo changed to something better reflective of a common civilizing tradition than of one nation-state that happens to be the most powerful militarily of all nation-states that belong to "Western civilization." Those traditions are far older than the United States--indeed, they informed the founding of the United States--and I am not ashamed to own them.--TerryHTalk 13:43, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Opening Sentence

I don't think the opening sentence is very encylopedic ... I'd suggest removing the "if they exist" segment. Whether they exist or not is an opinion and existing or not Extraterrestrial life is life originating away from earth. Jrssr5 14:23, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

I disagree. By removing the dependent clause "if they exist," you mean me to imply that ET life does exist. No investigator or agency has ever shown ET life to exist. Unless and until anyone does so show, it's still an "if" and will remain an "if."--TerryHTalk 14:42, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
Why not remove that segment, then caveat it with another sentence saying "no definite proof of their existance" or something along those lines. That will make it read better and be more official. Jrssr5 15:15, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
Because I could as easily have described the whole thing as a "fanciful concept." Or maybe an adjective like "impossible." I am being very generous by using a simple "if" statement, which in English stands for any condition, whether contrary to fact or very likely to be fact, instead of stating flat-out that ET life, in the sense of a civilizing species, is impossible.--TerryHTalk 15:23, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
I have to disagree. The sentence currently reads "if such a thing existed", implying that it doesn't. Except for the biblical perspective section, the article should be neutral, as at this time, we can't prove that ET does or does not exist. Brewer13210 15:38, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Cite doesn't match passage

From the article "The only Kingdom that is not of this earth is the Kingdom of Heaven"" is cited with two passages:

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

and

14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.


NOWHERE in these two passages does it say that the only Kingdom that is not of this Earth is Heaven.

Nematocyte 03:30, 17 April 2007 (EDT)


Conversely, Jesus tells the disciples, John 10:16 "And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd." Now we could argue until the sheep come home, ahem, but the fact is the Bible is probably silent on the concept of extraterrestrial beings. If there are indeed other Worlds, perhaps those worlds' Adam and Eve survived the temptation in the Eden's of their homes and the need for Jesus to die (for their sin) simply did not arise. The Bible can be the answer to every substantive question, it just might be that this query does not rise to that standard. Rob Pommertalk 13:27, 17 April 2007 (EDT)

The fold called "this fold" in the verse you quote above consists of the Jewish race only. "Other sheep not of this fold" are Gentiles (literally, "nationals," from the Latin gens a national clan).
If--and I repeat, if--any other world existed which had not fallen, then God would be telling those people to keep a billion miles away from here, so as not to risk polluting themselves by contact with us. That's what a "fallen world" is all about. But I maintain that the entire universe is fallen.
And this is the point of that section: the Bible has no warrant for, and therefore would be incompatible with, the existence of extraterrestrial races, nation-states, or civilizations. And liberals know it. Say what you will about whether Andrew chose the right title for his article. The fact remains that a belief in ET civilization, and contact therewith, is a religion in irreconcilable conflict with Christianity. And furthermore, the adherents of that religion know it fully well, as Andrew's sources clearly show.
Faced with that, I marvel--indeed, I find myself barely able to proceed without someone recommending that I be examined for diffuse toxic goiter--at the insatiable desire, on the part of some editors here, to suggest that the Bible and extraterrestrial life (and by "life" I mean intelligent and rational and self-aware life) are compatible. I have just proposed that my own faith is eminently falsifiable. I would have expected the other person to accept the implicit challenge and go out and try to bring me a--what do they call it? Ah, yes--a "close encounter of the second kind." But perhaps I ought not be surprised. After all, I have watched all too many of my fellow churchmen, in the context of evolution, believe the lie of the tailors of the emperor's new clothes--that those same clothes "are invisible to any who are stupid or unfit for their posts." I deny that I am stupid, I'll let my occasional clients speak to my fitness to serve them, and I say that the emperor has no clothes on--meaning that evolution is a fraud and that extraterrestrial civilization is a non-starter.
But back to the point: The section in question says only that the Bible and extraterrestrial life (larger than microbial) are mutually exclusive. I'll gladly defend my Bible on another page. But I will defer to very few people as to what my Bible says, and what it does not say. And those few do not include certain editors who know who they are.--TerryHTalk 14:52, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
Excellent job in not responding to the criticism presented at all. Nowhere in the Bible does it say or suggest that life (sentient or not) cannot exist elsewhere. Moreover, your argument clearly shows your lack of understanding about even the most basic astronomy. Our galaxy alone is roughly 100,000 light years in diameter, meaning that any ET life from the other side of the galaxy would have to travel almost 100,000 years at the speed of light (which is impossible) to reach us. And that's just in our galaxy. Have you heard of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image? It was a picture taken of an incredibly small patch of sky, and it revealed around 10,000 galaxies, each with billions of stars. Some of these galaxies are over 13 billion light years away. 13 billion! Given the fact that billions of galaxies exist, each with billions of stars, each with the possibility of planets, each with the possibility of life. Given these overwhelming odds of "intelligent, rational, and self-aware" life somewhere else in the universe, how can you insist that Earth is so "special" and that life elsewhere doesn't exist? Now then, please show me where the Bible says "life" elsewhere cannot exist! ColinRtalk 15:05, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
And you, ColinR, have done an excellent job in presenting an argument that, as I'm sure that Andrew could explain to you, is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial. And worse yet, you contradict yourself! Why should I regard extraterrestrial visitation of earth as at all likely, given the distances you just got finished mentioning? But the larger point is this: the numbers, however large, of other stars or galaxies do not prove that life, much less self-aware life, exists on any of them, are not relevant to the question of whether ET civilization exists or not, and do not matter to the question at hand, which is: whether the Bible allows for the possibility.
Jesus died once. And once only. That's it. Final. And I don't have to show you where the Bible says that other races don't exist. You have to show me where the Bible admits that other races do exist, or even might exist.--TerryHTalk 15:15, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
I've never claimed intelligent life has visited Earth, in fact I think that's a rather preposterous claim. While the numbers don't prove life exists elsewhere, the overwhelming odds suggest that believing life doesn't exist is rather unintelligent. And no, the burden of proof lies on you. You wrote the article, you made the false claims, now you have to back up what you said. So now, could you please a: show me how my argument is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial, and b: verify your ridiculous claims that the Bible doesn't allow life elsewhere, otherwise I will remove that information from the article. The ball's in your court. ColinRtalk 15:20, 17 April 2007 (EDT)

TerryH, yes lovely purple prose. But maybe you could address the fact that references you have provided don't say what you say they say? Chrysogonus 15:36, 17 April 2007 (EDT)

I've added an caveat in the text to point this out as a compromise. Nematocyte 07:56, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
I am being very generous in the edit that I have just published, which is: I cite your criticism (of course, not mentioning any names or even usernames), but also point out that the words and phrases (use of the rather than this or a(n) or one, and references to Adam in a way that does not admit that Adam had a counterpart on another planet) still support the claim of uniqueness. I've also moved that to a footnote that appears directly below the verses I cited.
And I have gone about as far with you as I intend, and you know exactly what I mean by that.--TerryHTalk 09:11, 18 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm at a loss to understand your logic here. Why would an alien nation absolutely have to have a counterpart of Adam or Jesus? I also dispute your logic that the Bible even does rule out the possibility of equivalent figure on other worlds. There is literally nothing there to rule out that possibility. Nematocyte 10:13, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

wow...

This has to be strangest article I have ever read on this topic. Three quarters of it is not too bad, heck, the science fiction part is even pretty good. But what should be a section honestly (and, I might add, interestingly) discussing the religious ramifications of ET life, is presented as a factual bias throughout most of the article. You know, God might easily have done what He did here elsewhere, and if He did, He certainly had no obligation to tell us about it. Human 18:09, 17 April 2007 (EDT)

Compromise

Thanks to my discovery of Essays, I have found a solution for this article. The acrimony surrounding it is far less justifiable now.

I urge you to read my essay on the subject of compatibility of the Bible with ET life. That said, I urge everyone to take another look at the main article. You'll find it longer, with parenthetical thoughts tagged as footnotes, and with a few more pertinent citations.

I still say that the Bible and ET civilizations are mutually exclusive. I merely found another place on Conservapedia to say this.--TerryHTalk 00:45, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

I intend to delete the Definitions section...

...unless someone can provide a great reason not to. Terms such as "life" should be handled by linking to the Life article, "UFO" is just an acronym and should be expanded (once) in the text, and so on. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ga ohoyt (talk)

It does seem a bit out of place in an encyclopedia article, and in that sense I wouldn't mind it going. However, it doesn't take a lot of space, and I guess the point is that some of the terms (particularly, for example, "race") are or might be used in a particular way in this article that a simple link to another article will not adequately cater for.
I guess what it comes down to is, don't casually delete the section, but check for each definition whether it is necessary or not. On "UFO", for example, you are correct, it doesn't need to be in a definitions section.
This article was largely written by TerryH, so try and ensure that he gives feedback on your suggestion before acting (though that is not to suggest that he has the final say on it).
Philip J. Rayment 17:38, 2 January 2008 (EST)
I included the definitions section for a highly specific reason: I wanted to make sure that everyone understood what I meant by the terms "extraterrestrial" and "life." The very concept of extraterrestrial life is highly controversial, and has been from the beginning. As such, it's flame bait. And one of the favorite tactics of the flame warrior is to change the definitions in the middle of an argument. The "Definitions" section exists to prevent this.--TerryHTalk 17:54, 2 January 2008 (EST)
That's two of the eight definitions. Could they be incorporated into the body of the text (rather than a "definitions" section) and the other six simply have in-text links to appropriate articles? Philip J. Rayment 06:42, 3 January 2008 (EST)
Of the other six, only UFO has any expansion at all. I already noticed that "life" redirects to John Conway—an electronic game designer.
Now perhaps the word extraterrestrial already gets its definition from the lead sentence. But the other seven will need other articles explaining their meaning, and in such a way that the context will be unmistakable in this article. I suppose that's your challenge.--TerryHTalk 09:30, 3 January 2008 (EST)

OK, I think this is better. Ga ohoyt 13:27, 4 January 2008 (EST)

Salvation rules out extra-terrestrial life?

This article seems to imply that because God sent Jesus only once, and only to planet Earth, and only in the form of a human being, then there can not logically be alien life elsewhere in the universe. I find this puzzling. Jesus was also an Israelite, but does that mean only Israelites can be Saved?

If aliens exist, then millions or even billions of intelligent beings are now dying on their planets without ever hearing about Jesus! How is this different than the millions of people from all over the world who died before ever hearing about the Gospel? If God created the Native Americans knowing it would be 1500 years before they could hear about Jesus, how is it different than if He created aliens in outer space knowing it would be thousands and thousands of years before they were contacted by Christians?

Perhaps the implication of scripture is that it is our divine imperative to contact extraterrestrial civilizations so that they may be saved by Christ! --Stirlatez 17:38, 21 August 2008 (EDT)

You forget that Jesus Christ came to save not merely the Israelites, but the entire race of human beings of whom the Israelites make up one extended family, as it were.
Concerning the deaths of unsaved humans on earth, don't forget that we all descend from one man—Noah—to whom goes the credit for the greatest achievement of all time in the annals of shipbuilding. The trouble was that the descendants of Noah, in spreading far and wide, forgot about God. It would take an itinerant shepherd named Abraham to remind everyone about Him again.
Furthermore, you don't seem to understand the very special place that the earth occupies in the universe. In point of fact, our galaxy lies at the center of the universe. One can establish this quite easily by observing three key facts: (1) redshift, (2) proportional redshift (that is, the further away an object, the more pronounced the redshift), and (3) quantized redshift (that is, redshift appears to distribute itself discontinuously and in concentric spheres, all centered on our own galaxy).
We therefore have no reason to doubt that ours is the only world having life on it. I don't know what other signs you might have seen, or think that others have seen. But I can tell you right now: reports of UFOs are without exception exaggerated to one degree or another. The truth behind those reports runs the gamut from complete fabrication to another example of the false signs and wonders against which Jesus specifically warned mankind.--TerryHTalk 18:08, 21 August 2008 (EDT)
TerryH, while you are right it may appear that our galaxy is the center of the universe simply from superficial observation, it also appears from observation that the Sun orbits around the Earth. You forget Hubble's Law which states that motion is relative in a uniformly expanding universe. This means that no matter where you are in the universe you will always appear to be in its center. Refer to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=1929PNAS...15..168H&db_key=AST&data_type=HTML&format=&high=42ca922c9c30954
These things aside, the very fact that so many people in Biblical and modern times died without knowing Christ shows exactly what I mean. If God created people on other continents even though He knew they would have no possible way of hearing about Jesus until they were reached by Christians, then it is not ridiculous to imagine that He might have also created people on other planets even though He knew they would have no possible way of being saved until we humans are one day able to contact them and teach them the Gospel.
Lastly, I do not believe in UFOs and no rational person would. Considering the human brain's propensity to make mistakes when it tries to fill in gaps (especially at night or during stressful situations), no reasonable person believes that UFO sightings, seeing Bigfoot, talking to aliens, hearing the voice of God, seeing the Loch Ness monster, etc., etc. are anything other than a product of over-active imaginations, of course. Rather, I along with many others propose that the sheer amount of stars in the universe (70000000000000000000000000), as well as the recent confirmation of water on Mars (http://uanews.org/node/20779) is enough to more than imply existence of extraterrestrial life. --Stirlatez 16:00, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

First, I haven't forgotten Hubble's Law. Nor have I forgotten something that you have, or maybe you just never heard about it: Edwin Hubble deliberately rejected the obvious explanation for what he was seeing, namely that we are at the center of the universe, on no better ground than the philosophical. His "hyperballoon" explanation for redshift all around fails to account for the quantized redshift effect and, in general, is a clear violation of Occam's Razor. In short, I maintain that Hubble's Law, as you have stated it, is a dead letter.

In this connection I remind you that the Sun does not appear to revolve around the earth, not when you consider the phases of Venus, the phenomenon that convinced Galileo Galilei to surmise, correctly, that the earth is in orbit around the sun. Edwin Hubble has no "phases of Venus" to convince me or anyone that "relative motion looks the same everywhere you look." So that last is just a surmise. And if you looked at Edwin Hubble's own words, as John Hartnett did, you'd know that Hubble was explicit that his objection was a philosophical one.

Not to put too fine a point on the matter: as a young earth creationist, I have no problem with realizing that our galaxy is at the center of the universe. Edwin Hubble, evolutionist that he was, clearly did. And his "solution" was a cheap dodge more worthy of a beginning laboratory intern who can't handle a few outlying observations. Why, if Madame Marie Curie had pulled that kind of dodge when she kept observing more energy in pitchblende than she could account for after removing the uranium, thorium, and other known radioactive elements, she would never have discovered radium.

Now about those various peoples: God created Adam and Eve, placed them in the Garden of Eden, and gave them certain instructions. Foolishly, they violated those instructions. Then God left things up to the cosnciences of men, all of whom descended from that one couple. What happened was that antediluvian civilization became so cruel that it could not be allowed to continue. So God sent a Great Flood and told Noah to build the greatest ship ever built to survive it.

After it was over, those eight people (Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives) all knew about God. So if Ham did something monumentally disgusting (the nature of which I shall not repeat here), that indicated that the basic sin nature of man hadn't changed. Yet for a few generations, God dealt with man under the dispensation of human government. That ended in failure, too. So God singled one man out—Abraham—and brought him to a specific "promised" land. Still, every other man alive was descended from one who ought to have remembered God, but didn't.

Now Jesus Christ has left us with very strict instructions about telling our far-distant cousins about Him. But here is a point on which you have never touched: He never said one single word about going and making disciples of nations in orbit around stars other than our own sun. He would never have left that out. Neither do extraterrestrial civilizations figure in end-times prophecy, and for a very good reason: they do not exist.

Last of all: So what if there are a number of stars that you can represent with seven followed by an uncountable number of zeroes? That still doesn't make any one of them a candidate for a creation story to parallel ours. And water on Mars? For your information, water was the original material of which all celestial bodies were made. 2_Peter 3:5 Some of that water might have splashed down on Mars after having been ejected into space in the Great Flood event. More to the point, if water was all it took on Mars, then why don't we have any monuments to a War of the Worlds fought either in 1899 or 1959 or 2005? Why, next you'll be telling me about a refugee from an exploding planet, a refugee that became a God-substitute after he rose to manhood from small-town beginnings in the American heartland. I don't doubt that a number of reporters at The New York Times must think that they are Clark Kent, but that doesn't make the name fit any of them.--TerryHTalk 16:33, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

I do not know how Occam's Razor applies to any of this since creationism is itself a violation of that very law. If Occam's Razor states that the simplest scientific explanation is the most preferred, creationism can not be preferred over evolution because it states that the most complicated being ever (God) is responsible for everything we see instead of a simple, natural, predictable process known as natural selection.
Next, my statement that water has been found on Mars was not to suggest that I believe that the War of the Worlds actually occurred in any of its fictional incarnations, of which you seem to be quite knowledgeable (Don't forget the radio play in 1939!). I resent that you seem to think I believe in the literal truth of science fiction just because I think their may be life in outer space. Such a conclusion does not follow. If I were to make a similar accusation, I could suggest that you believe that the antichrist will be an individual named Nicolae Carpathia, former President of Romania, just because that is what it says in Left Behind. Though you may really believe that the antichrist will be a real fixture of human future, of course you don't think that he or she will have the exact same name or background as proposed in Tim LaHaye's work. Talking to me as though I believe Superman, War of the Worlds, and other works of fiction are real is a disrespectful rhetorical technique and I resent it.
For your benefit here is a concise visual demonstration of how any point in the universe can appear to be in the center: http://www.exploratorium.edu/hubble/tools/center.html Although, there can not feasibly be an actual center of the universe because of its infinite nature, cosmologically speaking. Despite this, I do not understand, even if Hubble was wrong in his proclamation, what the significance would be of our galaxy being in the "center" of anything. What if our "central" galaxy has several inhabited planets, in addition to Earth? After all, there are a trillion stars in our galaxy alone. And even if our galaxy was in the "center", our Earth is not in the center of our galaxy. In fact, a super massive black hole is. If you are trying to suggest that centrally located things are more important than other things, then, logically, a massive black hole is more important than all of the Earth since it is in the center of our galaxy.
However, I now realize you are correct on theological terms. Now that I think about it, only descendants of Adam will inherit man's sinfulness. You've made me realize, therefore, that any extraterrestrials we may meet will be, by the very virtue of having not been born on Earth, free from Original Sin. This actually explains why we have not yet been effectively able to make contact; They have not progressed technologically beyond their extraterrestrial Gardens of Eden because they have not yet consumed the fruit from the Trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This appears to be the Vatican's opinion too: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7399661.stm , as well as that of C.S. Lewis as he proposed in his book Out of the Silent Planet. With everyone's sentiment I will update the article to include the opinions of those Christians. --Stirlatez 18:35, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

"If God created the Native Americans knowing it would be 1500 years before they could hear about Jesus, how is it different than if He created aliens in outer space knowing it would be thousands and thousands of years before they were contacted by Christians?": One difference is that the native Americans are blood relatives of Jesus, which the aliens would not be. Jesus can take our punishment because He is our "kinsman redeemer". He can redeem us because he is our kinsman, or relative, because we are all descended from Adam and Eve. Aliens would not be descended from Adam and Eve.

"This means that no matter where you are in the universe you will always appear to be in its center. ... For your benefit here is a concise visual demonstration of how any point in the universe can appear to be in the center: http://www.exploratorium.edu/hubble/tools/center.html.": From the point of view of the expansion of the universe, this is correct: We appear to be at the centre, as does every other point. However, from the point of view of the quantised redshifts, we are close to the centre of the universe, and, unlike the expansion, this would not appear the same everywhere else in the universe. (The link does not even address this.) To correct TerryH slightly, I think the accurate way of putting it is that our galaxy is at or close to the centre.

"I along with many others propose that the sheer amount of stars in the universe (70000000000000000000000000), as well as the recent confirmation of water on Mars (http://uanews.org/node/20779) is enough to more than imply existence of extraterrestrial life.": First, the sheer number of stars being a reason to think that there is extraterrestrial life is only valid if one is assuming that life comes about by chance. If one accepts that it was designed, then the number of stars has no bearing on the matter. Second, water on Mars no more improves the chances of extraterrestrial life than finding silicon on Mars improves the chances of finding computers there. Life requires information, which is not found there.

"If Occam's Razor states that the simplest scientific explanation is the most preferred...": It doesn't. It states (and this is not accurate either) that the simplest explanation is the most preferred; it doesn't say anything about a scientific explanation.

"...the most complicated being ever (God)...": God is not complicated; He is not composed of parts.

"...instead of a simple, natural, predictable process known as natural selection...": Natural selection cannot, by itself, produce anything. Natural selection is a culling process, removing the less fit. You need some other mechanism to produce the more fit. And there's nothing simple and predictable about evolution.

"I do not know how Occam's Razor applies to any of this since creationism is itself a violation of that very law. ... creationism can not be preferred over evolution...": Evolution involves numerous ad hoc explanations to accommodate the facts; the alternative that God created life is by far the simpler explanation.

"Although, there can not feasibly be an actual center of the universe because of its infinite nature, cosmologically speaking.": As TerryH explained, Hubble chose his model for philosophical reasons in order to reject the idea that we were at or near the centre of the universe. An infinite, or unbounded, universe is an idea designed to accommodate this; it is not an observed fact.

"I do not understand ... what the significance would be of our galaxy being in the "center" of anything.": Hubble realised the significance: it would imply something special about us (and that didn't fit with his views).

"...even if our galaxy was in the "center", our Earth is not in the center of our galaxy. In fact, a super massive black hole is. If you are trying to suggest that centrally located things are more important than other things, then, logically, a massive black hole is more important than all of the Earth since it is in the center of our galaxy.": The importance of something being at the centre is based on what it is at the centre of. Being at the centre of the universe is more significant than being at the centre of the galaxy. As I said above, TerryH was slightly incorrect to claim that our galaxy is at the centre of the universe. Whilst the galaxy is close to the centre, it's possible (I'm not making any actual claims here), that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. That would make it more important than the black hole at the centre of just our galaxy. Regardless, it is clear from the Bible that we are at the centre of God's attention, and being at the centre of attention of the Creator of the universe is more significant than being at the centre of the universe He created.

"...any extraterrestrials we may meet will be, by the very virtue of having not been born on Earth, free from Original Sin.'": Whilst this is correct, the Bible also tells us that our sin has affected the whole of creation, so our sin has affected those sinless aliens! Does that sound right? No, our sin has affected the whole of creation because God created the whole universe for us, not for us and aliens.

"They have not progressed technologically beyond their extraterrestrial Gardens of Eden because they have not yet consumed the fruit from the Trees of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.": That was the fruit of the Tree (singular) of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, not the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Technology. Your comment appears to me to be a non-sequitur.

Philip J. Rayment 11:33, 23 August 2008 (EDT)

Thank you for your thought-out responses, Philip. First I would like to address the assertion that God is not complicated. God is usually defined as eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, and ultimately 'unknowable' to humanity. Considering that the universe and everything in it is very complicated (a point made frequently by intelligent design proponents) any being capable of knowing about all of it at once should be very complicated. Whether or not He is composed of "parts" shouldn't have any bearing on this. Conceivably, the fact that He is immaterial would make his existence even more confounding to us, since by no "simple" means can mind exist without body. So, God is not a "simple" answer for anything.
You also make the erroneous claim that evolution and natural selection is a more complicated explanation for all of life because "natural selection is a culling process, removing the less fit. You need some other mechanism to produce the more fit." You are absolutely correct. However, there are numerous documented cases of spontaneous mutations producing "more fit" specimen. Bacteria periodically "adapt" to the vaccines, meaning we have to create new vaccines. Indeed it seems that "some other mechanism" is producing more fit bacteria. There are now many recorded cases of people in the world who seem to be immune to HIV/AIDs http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/27/aids.features . Somehow, all across the realm of nature, more fit individuals are being produced by "some mechanism."
Moving onto anthropocentric cosmology, I will assume for one moment that "it's possible ... that the Earth is at the centre of the universe." How could this reasonably be possible considering the well established fact that our Earth circumnavigates the sun every year? Is everything else in the universe simply moving around in such a way to ensure that the Earth remains in the center?
And, if in fact the Earth is in the center of the universe, therefore making it the most important thing in existence, then whatever is at the center of Earth is the most important thing in creation. By your own logic, the molten core of the Earth (or whatever you think is in the center of the Earth, possibly Hell) is more important than all of humanity.
The Bible tells us that, as mere humans, we are to be humble. How then can either of you excuse walking around assuming everything in the universe revolves around us, and that all 3,230,441,870,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cubic miles of the cosmos was made for the benefit of providing dim night lights for us Genesis 1:17 . People accuse evolutionists of worshiping man, saying that humans are the "pinnacle of evolution" (we're not, really). Yet evolutionists constantly point out that we are not centered in the universe, that there is nothing specially significant about us, etc., while at the same time, creationists, supposedly humble before God, seem to sincerely believe that everything in the universe is centered around humans, and that all of Earth is made for humans to trash. Who is really worshiping man before all else?
These points aside, I will now go ahead and make the changes I have described earlier: Some Christians, specifically CS Lewis and the Vatican, have discussed extraterrestrial life from within an exotheological perspective. Both seem to think aliens would be free from Original Sin because they are not from Earth, which makes sense. --Stirlatez 17:32, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
"I would like to address the assertion that God is not complicated. God is usually defined as eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, and ultimately 'unknowable' to humanity. Considering that the universe and everything in it is very complicated ... any being capable of knowing about all of it at once should be very complicated. Whether or not He is composed of "parts" shouldn't have any bearing on this. Conceivably, the fact that He is immaterial would make his existence even more confounding to us, since by no "simple" means can mind exist without body.": For one thing, you are assuming that God has the same limitations that physical beings have. How do you know that a being cannot exist that (a) knows everything, and (b) is not complicated? Assuming we are using "complicated" and "complex" as synonyms, see this:
According to much classical theology (Thomas Aquinas, for example) God is simple, and simple in a very strong sense, so that in him there is no distinction of thing and property, actuality and potentiality, essence and existence, and the like. Some of the discussions of divine simplicity get pretty complicated, not to say arcane. (It isn’t only Catholic theology that declares God simple; according to the Belgic Confession, a splendid expression of Reformed Christianity, God is ‘a single and simple spiritual being.’)[1]
"...there are numerous documented cases of spontaneous mutations producing "more fit" specimen. Bacteria periodically "adapt" to the vaccines...": I was trying to conform to the terms used, and in doing so oversimplified. Certainly there are mechanisms (copying mistakes a.k.a. mutations) that produce changes that are beneficial. However, these beneficial mutations are not information-gaining mutations, but information-losing mutations. For example, penicillin gets into bacteria by means of the pumps that the bacteria use for bringing in nutrients (I think it is). A mutation makes these pumps less efficient, so the bacteria pumps in less penicillin, not enough to kill it. This makes the bacteria "more fit" for a penicillin-rich environment, but otherwise it is less fit, and has lost information (involved with the pump mechanism). Evolution, however, to be more precise, requires an information-gaining mechanism. It doesn't have one.
You are correct about the impossibility of a moving Earth being able to be and remain at the centre. I consider that argument to be like an imperfect but still-valid analogy; it can only be pushed so far. But remember that it was Hubble (and others) who saw the significance and rejected it for philosophical reasons.
As for being humble, I think evolution produces both extremes of views. If we are here by evolution and not God, then on the one hand we are the pinnacle of creation, responsible only to ourselves, and masters of our own destiny. That can produce extreme pride in ourselves. On the other hand, we are nothing more than a cosmic accident, existing for a brief moment in the time and then gone. We are essentially worthless. That can produce extreme depression (and is likely responsible for much of the current problem with youth suicide, depression, low self-esteem, etc.). Conversely, if we are made in the image of God and are the centre of his creation, that means that we are special. But we are not the products of our own ingenuity, but created by someone greater, compared to Whom we are but dust (Psalm 103:14 ), so we take pride in our Creator, not in our own abilities. That's a fare more balanced viewpoint.


I will preface this by saying that we have digressed beyond talking about extraterrestrial life. As I have already expanded on the Christian views on extraterrestrial life section, so what follows is simply in the spirit of good-natured discussion:

As far as Hubble and others concerning an Earth-centered model of the universe, I feel that they "rejected" it because it simply doesn't make sense assuming an inflationary, Big Bang model of the universe, for which even then there was already plenty of supporting evidence. Just thinking about it, an Earth-centered view is needlessly egocentric on our part, and just simply silly (sorry). You yourself pointed out the impossibility of a moving Earth being able to be and remain at the centre.

While your point that evolution does not create "new information" is true in a strict sense since no matter is ever created or destroyed, in this case it does not apply because rearranging existing gene sequences can indeed create something better than the sum of its parts. With your logic, such things as a baby growing into a man, a seed germinating into a tree, etc. would be impossible if one assumes biology can not by itself create "new information." Refer to: http://www.nmsr.org/nylon.htm

How do you know that a being cannot exist that (a) knows everything, and (b) is not complicated? Because if it knows everything, it is complicated, no matter how many theologians you get to say otherwise. Possessing knowledge of everything can not in any way make you simple.

As far as the idea that teaching evolution encourages suicide, depression, etc.--personally I find it ridiculous. First of all, evolution is not incompatible with Christianity or any other religion. In fact, in the US, over 70% of people that believe in evolution also believe in God. Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/27847/Majority-Republicans-Doubt-Theory-Evolution.aspx However, evolution is certainly incompatible with a literal interpretation of the Old Testament, but then again, so is every aspect of modern life unless one proposes that we reinstate a harsh penalty for wearing mixed fibers Leviticus 19:19 . A literal interpretation of the Old Testament is perhaps as useful to us a literal interpretation of ancient Egyptian mythology, say, or tribal African cults.

Next, even if there is a higher amount of atheism among evolutionists, it is not clear why atheism itself should produce depression. If anything, realizing you have such a short amount of time to actually exist encourages people to make the most of it--not waste time being depressed about it (personally speaking, even when I believed in God, I was prone to depression).

To me, what's more depressing is sincerely believing that the most important thing in your life is to be "born again." Then, once you've done that, what are you ultimately doing with your life save for waiting around to die--so you can move on to your glorious eternal salvation? It's suffocating, and ultimately makes Earthly life feel very pointless. Atheism makes people "seize the day." I am sometimes frightened by some of my Christian friends because they have a propensity to say things that imply anticipation or excitement about their own personal demise. Sounds suicidal to me. Why haven't they ended it themselves? Because that would give them the "bad" afterlife. Just because there is less suicide among theists doesn't mean they are actually enjoying an existence they believe to be transitory. (Also I'm sorry if I have offended you, this is just my position as a secular conservative). All this aside, I have made the edits to the particular section in question. What is the opinion on this? --Stirlatez 18:40, 24 August 2008 (EDT)

"I feel that they [Hubble et. al.] "rejected" it because it simply doesn't make sense assuming an inflationary, Big Bang model of the universe": I believe that the "inflationary, Big Bang model" came after they had rejected the idea of the universe having a centre.
"...for which even then there was already plenty of supporting evidence": There's not much evidence even now!
"...an Earth-centered view is needlessly egocentric on our part...": Egocentric? When ego is not the reason for thinking that?
"...and just simply silly (sorry).": Because you say so?
"You yourself pointed out the impossibility of a moving Earth being able to be and remain at the centre.": Actually, I was going to add, but forgot (it was late), that this depends on how you define the centre. If it is a point of no width, height, or depth, then that is correct. But we might say that the town hall is in the "centre of town". How can something be in the centre if the centre is dimensionless? Rather, by "centre" we might be referring to a central area, not a dimensionless point. That being the case, it is quite possible for the Earth to be in the centre (central area) of the universe.
"While your point that evolution does not create "new information" is true in a strict sense since no matter is ever created or destroyed, in this case it does not apply because rearranging existing gene sequences can indeed create something better than the sum of its parts.": Information is neither energy nor matter, but a distinct fundamental entity. Information can be created and destroyed. Mutations can destroy information, and intelligence can create it. Our DNA contains genetic information, and evolution has no way of generating it. Simply rearranging existing gene sequences at random (i.e. without an intelligent designer) cannot create new information (<--did you read that?)
"With your logic, such things as a baby growing into a man, a seed germinating into a tree, etc. would be impossible if one assumes biology can not by itself create "new information."": Wrong. A baby already has all the genetic information for the man, and a seed for a tree. No new information required. But biology doesn't explain the origin of that information.
"Refer to: http://www.nmsr.org/nylon.htm": If true (you will note that a biologist—although they don't tell you that he's a biologist—has disputed that claim (and they attempt to counter-counter-claim)), it merely amounts to an exception to the rule; the rule is still that mutations don't produce information. Hypothetically, there is a vanishingly-small chance that a mutation might in extremely rare cases produce new information, but this occasion would be swamped by all the information-destroying ones. It's like going one step forwards and a thousand steps backwards: the result is that you go backwards.
"Because if it knows everything, it is complicated, no matter how many theologians you get to say otherwise.": Again, just because you say so? Sorry if I take that with a grain of salt.
"...evolution is not incompatible with Christianity...": Yes it is. Christianity is based on the Bible, and the Bible's account of creation as well as other passages is incompatible with evolution. For one thing, evolution is naturalistic; the Bible proposes a supernatural explanation. For another, the time span from the start of the univers to the appearance of man is six days according to the Bible, and about 14,000,000,000 years according to evolution. Also, the order of appearance disagrees: evolution has fish before fruit trees, contrary to the Bible, for example. And most importantly, the Bible has death being the result of man's sin (hence death must have come after man) whereas evolution has death a vital factor leading to man. If sin didn't lead to death, then what do we need to be saved from? There is no need for the atonement, and Christianity is pointless. Not incompatible? Hah! It's diametrically opposed.
"...evolution is certainly incompatible with a literal interpretation of the Old Testament...": Ah! So you can see that it's incompatible! Yet you just (effectively) denied that! By the way, it's not incompatible with a "literal interpretation", but with what the Old Testament actually records. That is, there is no proper way of understanding it any differently.
"...so is every aspect of modern life unless one proposes that we reinstate a harsh penalty for wearing mixed fibers.": You are confusing historical record with rules for the nation of Israel. Chalk and cheese. Rules can be changed. History doesn't.
"A literal interpretation of the Old Testament is perhaps as useful to us a literal interpretation of ancient Egyptian mythology, say, or tribal African cults.": How about as useful as a "literal interpretation" of ancient Roman history? Or a literal interpretation of evolution? (Ever noticed that when people try and argue that evolution and the Bible are compatible, it's the Word of God and not the words of man that they want to mythologise?)
"...it is not clear why atheism itself should produce depression": Because there's no hope; it's all a matter of chance. Even if you think' that there's hope, why trust what you think, when your thoughts are the result of chance?
"If anything, realizing you have such a short amount of time to actually exist encourages people to make the most of it...": What do you mean by "make the most"? The most what? With atheism, nothing has any meaning.
"To me, what's more depressing is sincerely believing that the most important thing in your life is to be "born again." Then, once you've done that, what are you ultimately doing with your life save for waiting around to die--so you can move on to your glorious eternal salvation? It's suffocating, and ultimately makes Earthly life feel very pointless.": Perhaps that's why you were prone to depression when you believed in God—because you had an incomplete if not distorted view of things. God has tasks for you to do, including telling others about Him. You are most definitely not supposed to be just "waiting around to die".
"...some of my Christian friends because they have a propensity to say things that imply anticipation or excitement about their own personal demise.": No, they have an anticipation or excitement about being freed from the restrictions of this life. The "personal demise" is a new start, not an end.
"Why haven't they ended it themselves? Because that would give them the "bad" afterlife.": No, because God has work for them to do here.
"Just because there is less suicide among theists doesn't mean they are actually enjoying an existence they believe to be transitory.": Logically, no, it doesn't follow that there is less suicide just because of that. But it's generally true anyway that they are enjoying this transitory existence (I know I am) and that is probably a major reason why they would have fewer suicides.
"I have made the edits to the particular section in question. What is the opinion on this?": I haven't actually looked at your edits yet! When I get time...
Philip J. Rayment 23:48, 24 August 2008 (EDT)
""...evolution is not incompatible with Christianity...": Yes it is. Christianity is based on the Bible, and the Bible's account of creation as well as other passages is incompatible with evolution." Question, possibly a bit of a sidetrack, but I'm curious. People that follow the moral teachings of the Bible, but don't see it as word-for-word literal truth: are they Christians?--Frey 13:20, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
If a person believes that Allah is God and that Mohammad is His prophet, would you consider that person to be a Muslim? What if that person also believed in evolution? After all, Islam has a creation story too. It seems as though you are saying that someone who believes in evolution is automatically not a true believer of whatever religion they happen to be.
By the definition you both have apparently set forth as being Christian (that is, a literal belief in all of the Bible), than only three in ten Americans are truly "Christian." I do not see what following the moral teachings of Jesus Christ has anything to do with believing in ancient mythology. But I've also heard people say "why follow Christ if there was not a literal Fall, etc.," as if we need to believe that Genesis actually happened in order to realize that people are inherently wicked. Earth needs a Savior even if we evolved from apes.
And what if the Messiah was real but our conception of him is formed around the beliefs of His time? Maybe conservative Christians believe in Genesis because Jesus was born in a strongly Jewish community? If Jesus had been born in India would his message be tied to the Hindu creation myth? Had he been born in Africa would his message be tied to an African creation myth? I understand that Jesus was "prophesied" to be a paternal descendant of King David (but also not have a father...), I'm just saying perhaps all the mythology surrounding a messiah only has to do with the time and place He was born.
Concerning Hubble, I have forgotten to note that you still seem to accept as true what Hubble observed: that is, that the redshift of distant galaxies seems to indicate that they are quickly moving away from a certain point. Whether or not Earth is at or near this point, the implication of these observations is still that all of the universe is quickly expanding outward from a certain point which at some time in the past exploded outward to form the cosmos--evidence enough of the Big Bang.
"Evolution provides a random, naturalistic explanation..." So what? People still believe God is behind any number of naturalistic things. People believe that God sent their child to them, yet they also understand that the conception of their child was (at least to human observers) a completely random sperm and egg that were fertilized in a completely naturalistic process.
As for how you are somehow comforted or excited by the concept that "God has tasks for you to do" here on Earth; I do not see how being the wind-up toy of an infinitely higher being is pleasing to you. I have tasks for a stapler to do while it is in my possession, yet I can not even for a minute imagine that it would be pleasing to be a stapler. Should we envy robots because they have instructions that their designers have pre-programmed for them? Life has the potential to be so much more fulfilling if every individual dictates his or her own agenda. This is why free market capitalism works. The concept that God has a mission he expects me to fulfill is almost no different than the idea that the Communist welfare State has a mission for me to do. Speaking as a conservative, I believe in personal responsibility--theologically AND economically.
God is complicated. Even some Christian theologians, including Alvin Plantinga, have said that by portraying Him as simple you are watering down his "personal" aspect. However, our discussion on the matter seems to be a back-and-forth shouting match so I don't think we'll get anywhere here, either.
Finally, since a mutation produces something new, whatever that new thing is, it is creating "new information" by definition. You are saying it doesn't make something new since it draws from an already existing set of variation, but that is unavoidable. The genetic code that makes up life on Earth has been the same for approximately 4 billion years. It's been the same amino acids, proteins, etc. that have simply been rearranged in small successive steps to eventually produce increasingly evolved things.
I do not think we're going to get anywhere with this discussion, though. Thank you all for your thought-out replies! :D
--Stirlatez 16:35, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
A few other things I'd like to note:
Naturalism: You argue that naturalistic explanations are atheistic. Yet, you yourself probably use them. If you lose your keys do you look for a naturalistic explanation or do you think a mischievous demon has stolen them? Naturalistic explanations are used by scientists because they actually teach us something about the world. No one is angry at meteorologists for using naturalism to study the weather, instead of just saying Zeus does it. Without somebody first proposing to use methodological naturalism to investigate the world, we'd still believe that thunder was caused by Thor slamming his hammer, or that earthquakes were caused by Poseidon hitting the ground with his trident. It's just a more useful way to look at the world.
"With atheism, nothing has any meaning." While this is true in the sense that nothing has any supernatural meaning, therein lies the intellectual maturity of nonbelief. You have to find your own meaning in life, and it's going to be different for everyone. I love writing and that is my meaning but it may not be yours. It is communistic to prescribe one singular meaning for everyone.
"Why trust what you think, when your thoughts are the result of chance?" Good point. It's generally wrong to trust what humans believe unless it's been verified by the scientific method and individual prejudices have been filtered out by peer review. But the same argument goes both ways; why trust what you think if you believe that everyone has inherited an implicit sinfulness from the first man?
--Stirlatez 20:40, 25 August 2008 (EDT)
Frey, people who have committed their lives to Christ are Christians, regardless of whether they see the Bible as word-for-word literal truth or not (I don't) and regardless of whether they follow its moral teachings or not. Philip J. Rayment 02:59, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
"It seems as though you are saying that someone who believes in evolution is automatically not a true believer of whatever religion they happen to be.": Assuming that question was directed at me, no, I'm not saying that at all (depending on what you mean by "true" believer). Perhaps my reply to Frey has clarified that.
"By the definition you both have apparently set forth as being Christian (that is, a literal belief in all of the Bible)...": I think you have misread Frey (if he's the other one of "both"), and read into my comments something that is not there.
"I've also heard people say "why follow Christ if there was not a literal Fall, etc.," as if we need to believe that Genesis actually happened in order to realize that people are inherently wicked.": Define "wicked" without invoking God or subjective opinion.
"Earth needs a Savior even if we evolved from apes.": What does it need to be saved from? Again, no invoking of God nor subjective opinion.
"I'm just saying perhaps all the mythology surrounding a messiah only has to do with the time and place He was born.": That might be true, if he was just a human being with a messiah complex. But if He is, as claimed, the Creator Himself, then your "what if" has no basis.
"Concerning Hubble, I have forgotten to note that you still seem to accept as true ... that the redshift of distant galaxies seems to indicate that they are quickly moving away from a certain point.": Not from a "certain point", but away from us, and away from every other object in the universe.
"...the implication of these observations is still that all of the universe is quickly expanding outward ...--evidence enough of the Big Bang.": No, evidence of outward expansion is evidence of outward expansion, not of what caused that outward expansion. The Big Bang is offered as a cause of that outward expansion. Some creationary scientists say that the outward expansion was directly caused by God, as the Bible in numerous places refers to God "stretching out the heavens", i.e. a different cause for the same observation.
"People still believe God is behind any number of naturalistic things.": Yes, many people do hold two or more contradictory beliefs. We're funny like that. But maybe you were referring to something else, which I'll get to when I respond to your point about naturalism.
"I do not see how being the wind-up toy of an infinitely higher being is pleasing to you.": That is not what I said and is inconsistent with what I meant.
"I have tasks for a stapler to do while it is in my possession, yet I can not even for a minute imagine that it would be pleasing to be a stapler.": Do you work for an employer? Does he have tasks for you to do? Does that mean that you are his "wind-up toy"? Assuming you enjoy your job, why wouldn't those tasks be pleasing to you?
"Should we envy robots because they have instructions that their designers have pre-programmed for them?": Should we envy humans as conceived by atheists, where all our thoughts are the results of chemical reactions in our brains, which are simply the result of accidents (mutations, etc.), or should we envy humans as conceived by God Who gave us free will, the ability to decide things for ourselves (including the ability to decide whether or not to do the tasks he has for us)?
"This is why free market capitalism works.": No, that works because we have free will and God-provided intelligence rather than just acting according to the chemical impulses in our brains.
"Speaking as a conservative, I believe in personal responsibility--theologically AND economically.": So do I. But how can you be held responsible unless you have free will? You can't be held responsible if you are simply acting according to those chemical process in your brain, as atheists believe.
"God is complicated. Even some Christian theologians, including Alvin Plantinga, have said that by portraying Him as simple you are watering down his "personal" aspect.": Oh? It was Plantinga who was quoted in the box above, and who went on to say (see the same reference), "...it is far from obvious that God is complex.".
"Finally, since a mutation produces something new, whatever that new thing is, it is creating "new information" by definition.": By what definition? If you take a recipe, for example, that has information on what ingredients to use in a cake, and in copying the recipe there is a copying mistake (mutation), so that "flour" now reads "blour", what you have is not information, but corruption, because it has lost meaning.
"You are saying it doesn't make something new since it draws from an already existing set of variation, but that is unavoidable.": Exactly. It's unavoidable that the only source of information is existing information: there's no source of new information.
"The genetic code that makes up life on Earth has been the same for approximately 4 billion years.": The "approximately 4 billion years" is according to the atheistic origins myth; I don't accept that.
"It's been the same amino acids, proteins, etc. that have simply been rearranged in small successive steps to eventually produce increasingly evolved things.": Why do so many evolutionists keep repeating their theory as though it is evidence? I know that's the claim. I dispute the claim. In trying to convince me, you should supply argument from evidence and logic, not simply repeat the claim as though it constitutes evidence.
"If you lose your keys do you look for a naturalistic explanation or do you think a mischievous demon has stolen them?": Naturalism is the belief that nature is all there is. It is not simply one possible explanation, but the only possible explanation. Don't believe me? Try convincing a naturalistic scientist that he should on occasions consider the option that "God did it". No, he will tell you that God can never be considered. I can consider both "is God responsible" or "is it something natural?", but a naturalistic scientist will exclude the former as even a consideration. (And actually, I don’t look for a natural explanation: I look for the keys! And I sometimes ask God to help me find them. And it appears to help.)
"No one is angry at meteorologists for using naturalism to study the weather, instead of just saying Zeus does it.": First, we are talking about how things started, not how they operate now. Second, why don't they say "Zeus does it"? Is it because (a) Zeus doesn't do it, or (b) because they willingly refuse to consider Zues? Modern science started on the foundation that God created, and that he created mechanisms, such as the laws of physics, that we can study. So historically, we study meteorology from what you call a "naturalistic" viewpoint because we believe that's how God set things up. If we assume that God wasn't involved, then we have no basis for assuming that the laws of physics, for example, will be the same tomorrow as they are today. That assumption historically comes straight from assuming that the God of the Bible was responsible for it. See Natural science#Beginnings.
"While this is true in the sense that nothing has any supernatural meaning, therein lies the intellectual maturity of nonbelief. You have to find your own meaning in life, and it's going to be different for everyone.": That sounds like intellectual snobbery, not maturity! If the meaning is going to be different for everyone, that means that the meaning is relative and invented, not real and absolute. Which means that it's not meaning at all.
"It is communistic to prescribe one singular meaning for everyone.": Nonsense. It's not communistic to describe things as they are.
"It's generally wrong to trust what humans believe unless it's been verified by the scientific method and individual prejudices have been filtered out by peer review.": All of which also involve those thoughts resulting from chance. So the "verification" that you speak of is not verification at all. You've not answered the question.
"But the same argument goes both ways; why trust what you think if you believe that everyone has inherited an implicit sinfulness from the first man?": Because that sinfulness has damaged, not destroyed our abilities. Those incredible God-given abilities are still there, though imperfect.
Philip J. Rayment 02:59, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
OK, forgive my ignorance, but then what's the problem with committing your life to Christ and still believing in evolution? Is it a morality issue? Is it that God is less great if people believe that He didn't have a direct hand in our creation?--Frey 11:08, 26 August 2008 (EDT)
It's a number of things. If you don't believe what the Bible clearly says, then your faith is likely to be weakened, especially if an atheist (for example) challenges you on it. The accounts of people losing their faith because they accept the anti-biblical atheist origins myth that is evolution are legion. Further, Christians are supposed to witness to others. That witness is badly weakened if they show that they don't believe the very book they profess to believe. Another one is what you touch on. If you believe that God used evolution to create, you are more likely to believe that God merely started the whole process off and then let it be, rather than being intimately involved in a personal way. Philip J. Rayment 11:15, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
So they can be Christians, but they can't very effective Christians; do I have that right?
Thanks for taking the time for me, by the way. I suspect that explaining religion to me is a challenge along the lines of explaining color to a blind man.--Frey 13:59, 1 September 2008 (EDT)
It depends on what they are doing. They can be effective in many ways, but if they face someone for whom "science" (i.e. ideas such as evolution) is an issue (and that's not always obvious), then they are likely to be much less effective. And that it potentially undermines their own faith. Philip J. Rayment 06:41, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

I do not think that we necessarily need a God to decide what is "wicked." There is no reason for me to think that if you, Phillip, lost your faith, you would suddenly just go around murdering people. Of course you wouldn't!

Besides, gods have not always been ethical. Ancient gods demanded blood sacrifices (some cultures thought the sun wouldn't rise without this ritual)! Now, it's also true that the Christian God demanded sacrifices as well (at least until the Final Sacrifice). But the fact that our modern interpretation of God is now so "moral" is a reflection of the overall progression of our ethics as a species.

Yes, the free market works because of "free will," which is present in Christianity but is inherent in atheism! What's that you say? The brain has chemicals? I personally have no problem with accepting that neurochemistry exists. Repeating the fact over and over does not make it a bad thing. If there weren't any chemicals in our brains, we wouldn't have any thoughts! This is why depression medication works--our moods and thoughts are chemical-based. Besides, the fact that our thoughts are chemical impulses only becomes a problem when those very chemicals have imbalances--which explains very well why some people become deranged!

And what's all this about "random chance." Evolution is NOT random, it operates on a fixed rule which is ALWAYS predictable: Organisms well-suited for their environment will survive, the others will not. It's not a random selection at all.

"What do we need to be saved from?" Ourselves! Collectivism! Totalitarianism! War! It should be obvious to believers and nonbelievers that the world is a sick, sad place. Of course, the notion of Jesus being a Messiah because he said so also operates on the assumption that he actually existed and that the Gospels are a faithful representation of his sayings--despite the fact that the four we have now were chosen hundreds of years after Christ over dozens of others made during His time.

I'm glad you recognize the evidence of outward expansion as just that: evidence of outward expansion. Working backwards mathematically everything seems to converge on a point in time 14 billion years ago. You call it an "atheistic myth," but I call it math.

Also, I'm sorry about the Plantinga quote. My source was his book Does God Have a Nature? But despite what he says or what anyone else says for that matter, I do not see--except for the purpose of framing a response to Occam's Razor--how anyone anywhere can even think that God could be "simple" if they also think of Him as having a personal quality, being infinite, omniscient, etc. Intelligent design advocates hollering at me about finding a watch in the forest must admit that a watchmaker is usually more complicated than a watch.

"If the meaning is going to be different for everyone, that means that the meaning is relative and invented." You're right! Why is that a problem? Eating ice cream still means something to me right here and now even if ultimately it will mean nothing. I'm not going to force someone who doesn't want ice cream to eat ice cream. We make a very serious error to state that meaning must be the same for everyone, and that's what it means to believe in a free market!

Also, I am really, really glad that meteorologists decided not to even consider that "Zeus did it". It appears to be paying off well for them. You say naturalism isn't useful for looking at the past, but I disagree, since naturalism is used all the time in retracing the steps of an automobile accident, say, or a murder.

By the way, yes I indeed have an employer but I would prefer some day to be a self-employed writer. There is nothing more inspiring than the image of a self-made individual (I do not understand why so many nonbelievers become socialists; the free market is right up their alley!).

Thank you very much for reading my responses. --Stirlatez 19:49, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

"I do not think that we necessarily need a God to decide what is "wicked."": Yet you offered no alternative definition. Your comment about what I might do if I lost my faith has nothing to do with how wickedness is defined, which is what I asked. So you haven't answered the question.
"Besides, gods have not always been ethical.": I'm sure that neither you nor I believe that these "gods", other than the God of the Bible, exist, so let's leave them out of it, okay?
"...the fact that our modern interpretation of God is now so "moral" is a reflection of the overall progression of our ethics as a species.": Is it? I don't believe so. You seem to be arguing from the presumption that God is something that man invented. I don't believe that. So in order for your argument to carry any weight, I have to accept something that I don't believe and which you are not arguing! See user:Philip J. Rayment/How to debate.
"..."free will" ...is inherent in atheism!": Yet you fail to explain how. And you are contradicted by others, such as William Provine:
Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.[2]
See also here and here.
"I personally have no problem with accepting that neurochemistry exists.": Neither do I. I was talking about whether that's all there is.
"Evolution is NOT random, it operates on a fixed rule which is ALWAYS predictable: Organisms well-suited for their environment will survive, the others will not. It's not a random selection at all.": Natural selection is not random, but the mutations—the claimed source of the novel features—that it supposedly acts on are.
""What do we need to be saved from?" Ourselves! Collectivism! Totalitarianism! War! It should be obvious to believers and nonbelievers that the world is a sick, sad place.": Define "sick" and "sad". I asked you to answer without invoking God or subjective opinion, but it appears to be subjective opinion that the things that you mention are things that are somehow bad. What defines them as being bad? Perhaps my question was not clear enough, but you didn't answer it.
"...the four [gospels] we have now were chosen hundreds of years after Christ over dozens of others made during His time": No, that's an atheistic fallacy. The four gospels were accepted as such basically from when they were written. This fact was not formalised until a few centuries later, but it was always accepted. Most other claimants were not written during his lifetime, and in any case were never accepted as such.
"Working backwards mathematically everything seems to converge on a point in time 14 billion years ago. You call it an "atheistic myth," but I call it math.": It was not the timescale that I was questioning (although that could be questioned), so much as the cause. Working backwards to a time when the universe would have been a point does not say, for example, where that point came from nor what caused it to expand. That is, there is more than one possible explanation of the outward expansion. Don't confuse the explanation with the evidence.
"But despite what he says or what anyone else says for that matter, I do not see--except for the purpose of framing a response to Occam's Razor--how anyone anywhere can even think that God could be "simple" if they also think of Him as having a personal quality, being infinite, omniscient, etc.": So I'm supposed to accept your argument that is based on nothing more than your lack of imagination?
"Intelligent design advocates hollering at me about finding a watch in the forest must admit that a watchmaker is usually more complicated than a watch.": Although a watchmaker is usually more complicated than the watch, that is not their argument. Their argument is not that the cause of complexity is greater complexity, but that the cause of complexity is an intelligent being. It is you, not the ID people, who is arguing that the intelligent designer must be more complex.
"You're right! Why is that ["meaning" being relative] a problem?": I was talking here about why things are the way they are; their purpose. Meaning is based on the origin of something. What, for example, is the purpose of clothes? Why do we wear clothes (even in the warmest environments)? I would argue that it's because of the Fall. Meaning has to do with the intended purpose. With atheism, there is no intention, hence no purpose and no meaning, because it's all the result of an accident.
"Also, I am really, really glad that meteorologists decided not to even consider that "Zeus did it".": So am I, but my question, which you didn't answer, is why they don't consider that.
" You say naturalism isn't useful for looking at the past,...": No, I did not. I said that it can't always explain the origins of things.
"...naturalism is used all the time in retracing the steps of an automobile accident, say, or a murder": Natural explanations can be made of the working of a car, but those explanations say nothing about the origins of the car, which is not naturalistic.
"By the way, yes I indeed have an employer ...": But nothing in that paragraph actually responded to my rebuttal of your argument!
Philip J. Rayment 03:00, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
First of all, I apologize for the flippant tone in my previous response. It was rude. I'm sorry for it and I will attempt to be more courteous this time.
First, I will respectfully say that I am very aware that I am "arguing from the presumption that God is something that man invented." This is so that I can show you how, from my individual perspective, the universe operates. You, in turn, will of course be arguing from the perspective that the Christian God exists and that the Bible is literally true. If either of us provide good arguments they will hold up and support the arguments' base presumptions.
"...In order for your argument to carry any weight, I have to accept something that I don't believe and which you are not arguing!" You are arguing things from a presumption that I don't believe either. Yet, if you provide good arguments (and you did), then it will be helpful to the overall acceptance of your base assumption from which you made the argument.
"Your comment ... has nothing to do with how wickedness is defined." While you are correct that there is no real meaning to "bad" and "good" under atheism, my assertion is that our concepts of what God thinks is "good" or "bad" is, in fact, a reflection of what we instinctively perceive to be positive or negative attributes. What I mean by this is that there are certain things that an individual would not like to have happen to them, and for evolutionary reasons, disgust for these things increases in later generations. Then, when we evolved to the point that for lack of a more complete understanding of the universe, we attributed a fatherly face to nature (which we called God), we believed that God was against the things that naturally we didn't want to have happen to us. For example, it is not sound, from a Darwinist perspective at least, to enjoy being killed. Thus, "no killing" becomes in our early minds a commandment of nature, and thus of God. If morality was unique only to the Christian God, why do all cultures everywhere agree on a few basic moral laws--no murder, no theft, no rape, no lying, etc.? Because we have always defined what is wicked based on what we do not want to have happen to ourselves.
I believe that humans are animals--specifically, mammals. Most mammals seem to treat their own kind respectfully, despite that they do not (to the best of our understanding) believe in God. The image of a large pack of lions basking in the sun is a well-known one. To me, it is clear that this group is also a family, a circle of friends. Though they do not believe in God, and they do not have any of what we would call morals, they don't just start attacking each other, either. In fact, they are known for lazily lying in the sun. Now, I'm not saying the wild is a completely peace-loving environment. Of course lions have attacked other lions. My point is that it appears to be no more frequent than the rate at which humans attack other humans. If evolution is true, then we are mammals and we should expect that humans treat each other about as well as would other mammals, and this appears to be the case.
Again, all of this is framed from within my perspective. This is only my speculation about how "morals" have developed under the model of naturalism. If my argument makes sense, than it is a boon for naturalism. If it does not make sense, then it is not helpful to naturalism.
"I'm sure that neither you nor I believe that these 'gods' ... exist." That is exactly my point. None of those gods actually existed and were instead imagined by people who wanted definitive answers to things that they did not yet have the methodology to accurately understand. And you can easily see that. But would you have been able to see that if you were alive when people believed in these gods? If you lived during the time of the ancient Aztecs and all you had been told from your birth was about Aztec gods, and everyone in your nation believed in the Aztec gods, and the people who did not believe in the Aztec gods were considered rude and unreasonable, would you have been able to see that the gods did not in fact exist? Can you not now see that the Christian God is no different? Respectfully, I will not leave past gods out of the discussion because they are crucial to the understanding of what I mean; the way you see those old, ancient gods is how I see all gods.
I will again state that free will is inherent in atheism because of the fact there is not a higher being watching over us. Just because one atheist or even a million atheists think there is not free will doesn't mean all atheists believe that too. Besides, even if there is not such a thing as free will, how would we, from observation, even be able to know that? More to the point of the matter, how can free will really even exist under Christianity? When God created me, he must have known I would grow up to not believe in Him. How is there free will if God already knows what each of us is going to do? Even if I made the choice myself, it still can't be free will because God created me knowing I only could have made that particular choice.
"Do you work for an employer? Does he [she!] have tasks for you to do? Does that mean that you are his 'wind-up toy'? Assuming you enjoy your job, why wouldn't those tasks be pleasing to you?" As I said, I would prefer to be self-employed because I want to define my own agenda, and work according to my own desire. You may be pleased by the idea of fulfilling tasks that a God or an employer has assigned to you, but I do not personally find such an idea comforting or pleasing, and instead prefer to be in charge of my own life, and I don't want to let anyone else decide for me my own "meaning."
And lastly, as for why scientists don't want to consider that Zeus or any other god is responsible for something is because thinking that way clearly doesn't yield any useful results. Look around you; Computers, cars, cell phones... All of these work because someone built something under the assumption that asking God or any other kind of spirit to make them work would not be useful. You might be of the opinion that scientists use naturalism because they want to subtly push their atheism. While many scientists are indeed atheists, you are confusing cause and effect. It's a good thing that naturalism is the basis of science. It actually allows us to learn things about reality.
In the past whatever mysterious phenomena that was not understood was attributed to gods or spirits. Every culture did this. But, as thousands of years has shown, everything once believed to be supernatural or mystical actually has quite a mundane, naturalistic cause.
People used to think that sickness and disease were caused by evil spirits and were best dispelled by a witch doctor or some kind of incantation. Aren't you glad that some naturalist came along, decided that there must be a better explanation, and so discovered bacteria and germs and developed medicine?
People used to think Zeus ran the weather. Now we have meteorology. People used to think Poseidon caused earthquakes. Now we have geology. Clearly, everything that we once thought was caused by a God is, in fact, caused by nature. Based on all of this I made the educated guess that there aren't actually any gods or spirits or anything supernatural at all--if past discoveries are any indication.
This is why we can look over "holes" in evolution theory or Big Bang theory (that, and there is already enough evidence to allow us to conclude evolution is true despite the small holes). It's not "blind faith," it's my logic telling me that some day there will be an answer for those holes and just like disease, the weather, and earthquakes, the answer will not be "God did it." The rest of the philosophy follows.
Very respectfully, thank you. --Stirlatez 19:48, 28 August 2008 (EDT)
Whilst I thought that you didn't adequately address my previous reply, I didn't think your response was "flippant".
"You, in turn, will of course be arguing from the perspective that the Christian God exists and that the Bible is literally true.": No I won't (and if I inadvertently do, I apologise). I will be arguing that God exists and the Bible is true (literally true where that's what the author intended), but I won't be arguing from that premise. You, on the other hand, are basing your argument on premises such as man inventing God, and there's no way that you should expect me to accept an argument based on a premise that I reject.
I've added some more to user:Philip J. Rayment/How to debate: You are arguing in the form because A, therefore B, not, as you claim, if A, therefore B, and we have B, therefore A is true. Many of my arguments are pointing out that the claim should be if A or C, therefore B, and therefore it is a fallacy to conclude and we have B, therefore A is true.
"You are arguing things from a presumption that I don't believe either.": Like what? I'm arguing for things that you don't believe, but as far as I know I'm not argument from a presumption that you don't believe.
"While you are correct that there is no real meaning to "bad" and "good" under atheism...": Thank you.
"...my assertion is that our concepts of what God thinks is "good" or "bad" is, in fact, a reflection of what we instinctively perceive to be positive or negative attributes.": Why do you assert that when we specifically claim that our ideas of good and bad are based on God's revelation to us?
"What I mean by this is that there are certain things that an individual would not like to have happen to them, and for evolutionary reasons, disgust for these things increases in later generations.": Nice story. Any basis for it?
"...it is not sound, from a Darwinist perspective at least, to enjoy being killed.": I accept of course that we don't enjoy being killed, but how does this follow logically from Darwinism? Darwinism teaches that without death we would not be here, because there would be no evolution.
"If morality was unique only to the Christian God, why do all cultures everywhere agree on a few basic moral laws...": Because, according to the Bible, what you call the "Christian God" is actually the Creator of all people. All people are descended from Adam and Eve (and Noah and his family), who knew the Creator. And because God created man with a conscience.
"If evolution is true, then we are mammals and we should expect that humans treat each other about as well as would other mammals, and this appears to be the case.": And if the Bible is true, then the animals were also created by God, and were created to be peaceful and friendly. So this bit of evidence fits the creationary view at least as well, and I would say better, given, as I said above, evolution actually requires struggle and death.
"Again, all of this is framed from within my perspective.": And that's the problem. You start with naturalism, then interpret the evidence in that light. The real question (one of them anyway), is does that really follow from naturalism?. My arguments above about evolution requiring death would suggest otherwise. The other crucial question is, Does naturalism explain this evidence better than the creationary view?. Again, I've pointed out above that the creationary view also explains this evidence, and in my opinion explains it better. And remember, this was the evidence that you chose to present; i.e. the evidence that should be more favourable to your view.
"None of those gods actually existed and were instead imagined by people who wanted definitive answers to things that they did not yet have the methodology to accurately understand. And you can easily see that.": Can I? You are basically using evidence that people imagined gods as an argument to show that people will invent gods simply to explain things. But I would argue that people, influence by Satan, invented false gods as alternatives to the true God. People make fake $100 notes and not $53 notes because there are real $100 notes, but no real $53 notes. The very existence of fakes gods suggests a real God. If there was no real God, where did the idea of "god" come from? I guess that you could invent a semi-plausible story to explain that, but that's all it would be—a made-up story designed to prop up the naturalistic view.
"...the way you see those old, ancient gods is how I see all gods.": Oh really? Try reading that sentence again in the light of my previous comment. I see those "old, ancient gods" as forgeries of the real God. Is that how you see all gods?
"...free will is inherent in atheism because of the fact there is not a higher being watching over us.": That's not an argument for free will being inherent in atheism, but an argument for free will being incompatible with God. Free will is not compatible with atheism because the atheistic view that matter is all there is means that our "decisions" are not really our decisions but merely the unavoidable results of the chemical reactions occurring in your brain.
"...even if there is not such a thing as free will, how would we, from observation, even be able to know that?": We probably can't. That's one thing that comes down to presupposition. But an atheist that argues that we have free will is being inconsistent. He can't actually conclude that we have free will, because that thought is determined for him by those chemical reactions. To paraphrase a comment you make a bit later, it (the atheistic view) doesn't yield any useful results.
"How is there free will if God already knows what each of us is going to do?": How does God knowing what you decide mean that you didn't freely make that choice? Perhaps it would help if I point out that God knows not because he can somehow determine the future, but because He is outside of time. Thus, He already knows what you did decide. That doesn't prevent you making the decision of your own free will.
"You may be pleased by the idea of fulfilling tasks that a God or an employer has assigned to you, but I do not personally find such an idea comforting or pleasing...": Nevertheless, many people do, and they are not "wind-up toys" as a result. Agreed?
"...why scientists don't want to consider that Zeus or any other god is responsible for something is because thinking that way clearly doesn't yield any useful results.": Good answer. However, people believing that God is the Creator, that they were "thinking God's thoughts after him", and so on, has yielded many useful results. See Natural science#Beginnings. So according to your own argument, scientists should consider that God created.
"...everything once believed to be supernatural or mystical actually has quite a mundane, naturalistic cause.": That's begging the question, a logical fallacy. The universe, life, etc. was once believed to have a supernatural cause. That some people now believe otherwise does not mean that it's so. The cause of those things has not been "shown" to be natural. Rather, people choose to believe that the cause is natural, despite the absurdity of some of those explanations.[3]
"People used to think that sickness and disease were caused by evil spirits and were best dispelled by a witch doctor or some kind of incantation. Aren't you glad that some naturalist came along, decided that there must be a better explanation, and so discovered bacteria and germs and developed medicine?": Actually, much of that was done by creationists, such as Pasteur. What was that about useful results?
"Clearly, everything that we once thought was caused by a God is, in fact, caused by nature.": Begging the question again.
"...there is already enough evidence to allow us to conclude evolution is true despite the small holes...": Gaping chasms, actually.
Philip J. Rayment 11:06, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

You say "I'm arguing for things that you don't believe, but ... I'm not argument from a presumption that you don't believe." but then you go on to make many arguments from a premise which I don't accept. If you won't even consider my arguments because you won't consider their naturalistic "presumptions" then why do you expect me to take seriously a claim such as the following: "Our ideas of good and bad are based on God's revelation to us?" By your own reasoning, why should I even consider this statement at all since you are backing it up with a premise I don't believe? If you are going to throw out everything I say because of a statement's "naturalism," then there is nothing I can say to convince you of anything, since of course I will be coming from a naturalistic perspective. But then why do you also expect me to listen to any statement of yours invoking God? And you're saying you start without presumptions? Please.

You explain away evolutionary theories on the origins of morality by stating that "God created man with a conscience." First of all, I don't agree with this premise, but I will overlook this to make my argument. Now, if God imbued all humans with consciences, it would perfectly explain why all religions have virtually the same set of moral codes. But you also make the ethnocentric claim that people from other religions, "influence[d] by Satan, invented false gods as alternatives to the true God [i.e., the Christian God]." So if Satan created the false gods, did he also create the moral codes these gods dictate? If the morals were in fact from God and the rest of the religion from Satan, it would appear that Satan doesn't care about overthrowing God's morals but instead cares about duping people into believing in false mythology. Basically you are saying that an aspect of a religion is necessarily from God if that aspect agrees with Christianity, but the rest of that religion must be from Satan.

Moreover, if all humans have this inherent sense of morality from God, then no effort should be made to dispel atheism since it won't have a moral effect on anyone.

Next you state that the very reason other people create false Gods is because there must be a true one in the first place. I do not agree with the presumption of this argument. However, your 'hundred dollar bill' example makes no sense because everyone has seen an authentic hundred dollar bill. It is debatable whether or not anyone has seen an authentic 'true God.' And what exactly would be the "false god" equivalent of a 53 dollar bill?

These points aside, even if is true that there is a true God on which all other gods are based upon, you are admitting that people create false gods. On what basis, then, do you know that your particular God is in fact the true one and not a false reinterpretation of the true one? Certainly all religions have sacred texts claiming that their particular philosophy is the singular truth. If people from other religions and cultures had no way of knowing their God was false, how then would you? With this logic there may be a God but His name may not be Jesus.

"The very existence of fakes gods suggests a real God." There are very many different Santa Clauses throughout the world; Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Father Frost, etc., etc. But the very existence of so many Santas does not imply that there must be a real one too! I suppose you might bring up the very real Saint Nicholas, but if you did you would be providing a naturalistic explanation for mythical variation.

Your statement that I should not be allowed to believe in free will because other atheists do not is on par with a claim that you should believe in evolution because most people who define themselves as Christians actually do.

[God] is outside of time. Thus, He already knows what you did decide. Because you say so? And you are also trying to tell me that this being who apparently exists outside of time is a "simple" being? Besides, I don't even accept the presumption of this argument.

Gaping chasms, actually. Do you honestly believe that people with much more scientific background then either of us--experts in biology, zoology, chemistry, geology, etc--would waste the better part of a century and a half over a theory if it had such "gaping chasms?" How do you account for all of the scientifically-grounded experts currently involved in evolutionary theory if it in fact has no basis in reality?

Interestingly Pastuer had the following to say: "Virulence appears in a new light which cannot but be alarming to humanity; unless nature, in her evolution down the ages (an evolution which, as we now know, has been going on for millions, nay, hundreds of millions of years), has finally exhausted all the possibilities of producing virulent or contagious diseases -- which does not seem very likely." Cuny, Hilaire. 1965. Louis Pasteur: The man and his theories. Translated by P. Evans. London: The Scientific Book Club.

As for me not adequately responding, why have you not responded to the early example I provided of humans apparently evolving an immunity to HIV/AIDs: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/27/aids.features

However, none of my "made-up stor[ies] designed to prop up the naturalistic view" will convince you of anything. It seems that you think it is sound to reject an argument if you just don't agree with what it implies. We're not going to get anywhere.

--Stirlatez 21:17, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

"...you go on to make many arguments from a premise which I don't accept.": I don't believe that I did, and I already apologised if I inadvertently do so.
"...why do you expect me to take seriously a claim such as the following: "Our ideas of good and bad are based on God's revelation to us?" By your own reasoning, why should I even consider this statement at all since you are backing it up with a premise I don't believe?": What premise is that? Note that I actually said (emphasis added): "we specifically claim that our ideas of good and bad are based on God's revelation to us". Do you reject that we claim that? If so, then okay, you have a point, and we might need to explore that. If you accept that we claim that, then my argument was valid.
"If you are going to throw out everything I say because of a statement's "naturalism," then there is nothing I can say to convince you of anything, since of course I will be coming from a naturalistic perspective.": I'm sure that there will be some things we agree on, such as hard evidence, the usefulness of fulfilled prediction, etc.
"...why do you also expect me to listen to any statement of yours invoking God?": I don't, but I avoid "invoking" God. I will talk about God, such as correcting your misunderstandings on what God is supposed to be like, but I will avoid invoking God. I didn't invoke God in that previous sentence; I invoked the Christian claim about God.
"...You explain away evolutionary theories on the origins of morality by stating that "God created man with a conscience." First of all, I don't agree with this premise": I will plead guilty to sometimes abbreviating my comments. When I said that "God created man with a conscience", I was actually saying, "you asked why various cultures agree on a certain points; here's my answer: according to my view, God created man with a conscience". I don't expect you to accept that God did that (as you don't believe in God), but I expect you to accept that I do have an explanatory answer to your question. Your implied point that my view can't explain this fact is wrong, because I do have an explanation. You won't accept that my explanation is correct, but you should accept that my view can explain it, contrary to your implication. That's all I was expecting.
"So if Satan created the false gods, did he also create the moral codes these gods dictate?": A forger is going to try and get as much as possible of the forgery the same as the real thing. So we would not expect Satan to change all the moral codes. Rather, he would likely keep most of them, just changing enough to derail people from the true path. I hope that answer is clear.
"...it would appear that Satan doesn't care about overthrowing God's morals but instead cares about duping people into believing in false mythology.": Correct. His goal is to turn people away from God, not with overthrowing God's morals. The latter is more of a means to an end.
"Basically you are saying that an aspect of a religion is necessarily from God if that aspect agrees with Christianity, but the rest of that religion must be from Satan.": Pretty much right.
"Moreover, if all humans have this inherent sense of morality from God, then no effort should be made to dispel atheism since it won't have a moral effect on anyone.": I'm not sure what you are getting at there, but although all humans have a conscience (what I assume you are referring to), that can be suppressed, such as by atheism.
"Next you state that the very reason other people create false Gods is because there must be a true one in the first place. I do not agree with the presumption of this argument.": Which presumption exactly? And that is not what I said anyway. I didn't say that there must be a true one; I said that it suggests that there is a true one.
"However, your 'hundred dollar bill' example makes no sense because everyone has seen an authentic hundred dollar bill. It is debatable whether or not anyone has seen an authentic 'true God.'": Nobody has "seen" electricity, but they've seen the effects of it. And (I would argue) we've see the effects of God. But that's perhaps a bit of a sidetrack. You do perhaps have a point, but my mistake was in not wording it correctly. My point was more to do with where the idea of a god came from. Even if people haven't seen a real $100 note, they believe that they exist. So a fake might trick them. Conversely, a forger is not even going to think of making a fake $53 note. Similarly, whether people have actually seen God or not, if they believe that God exists, they can potentially be fooled by fake ones. But if there was no real God, where did the idea of gods come from in the first place?
"And what exactly would be the "false god" equivalent of a 53 dollar bill?": That's sort of my point. Just suppose that there was no God. What exactly would the "false god" equivalent of no god be? It's not likely to be a god. So where did the idea of "god" come from?
"... do you know that your particular God is in fact the true one and not a false reinterpretation of the true one?": By examining the claims about God and seeing if they are internally consistent, consistent with observations, and so on. The Bible records a lot of information about God and the world with which He interacted. That gives us a lot of points to check.
"If people from other religions and cultures had no way of knowing their God was false...": What makes you think they had no way of knowing?
"I suppose you might bring up the very real Saint Nicholas...": Correct.
"...you would be providing a naturalistic explanation for mythical variation": That's going to be true by definition. A fake copy of a real one will have false elements, i.e. "mythical variation".
"Your statement that I should not be allowed to believe in free will...": I did not say that you are not allowed to believe in it.
"...because other atheists do not is on par with a claim that you should believe in evolution because most people who define themselves as Christians actually do.": My claim is that free will is inconsistent with the principles of atheism. I support that claim by quoting atheists who agree with the claim. That is a perfectly legitimate argument to make. On the other hand, Christianity is defined not by the beliefs of its followers, but by the teaching in the Bible. Evolution is inconsistent with the Bible.
""[God] is outside of time. Thus, He already knows what you did decide." Because you say so?": No, because that's what the Bible teaches.
"I don't even accept the presumption of this argument.": I was explaining the biblical teaching, which you didn't understand, hence your quandary about free will. I take it that you don't believe that God is outside of time. That seems an odd claim given that you don't believe He even exists.
"Do you honestly believe that people with much more scientific background then either of us--experts in biology, zoology, chemistry, geology, etc--would waste the better part of a century and a half over a theory if it had such "gaping chasms?"": Yep.
"How do you account for all of the scientifically-grounded experts currently involved in evolutionary theory if it in fact has no basis in reality?": Many reasons, but at root because this issue—which is more of a historical issue than a scientific one—is really a spiritual issue. Believing evolution gives them an excuse to reject God.
"Interestingly Pastuer had the following to say: [quote snipped for brevity]...": See here. The bit you emphasised was added by an unknown author later.
"As for me not adequately responding, why have you not responded to the early example I provided of humans apparently evolving an immunity to HIV/AIDs": I did respond to the point that that was an example of. Having responded to the point, there's no need to respond to individual examples.
"It seems that you think it is sound to reject an argument if you just don't agree with what it implies.": And yet here I am giving reasoned answers, not simply rejection.
Philip J. Rayment 06:54, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

"Do you reject that we claim that?" Of course I don't. Does the fact that you claim it give in any merit? No. I specifically claim my assertions as well. You don't reject that I claim them. Ridiculous.

"I invoked the Christian claim about God." Whilst I invoke the naturalistic explanation for whatever you present.

"You won't accept that my explanation is correct, but you should accept that my view can explain it." You're right. The same should be said for my view.

"I didn't say that there must be a true [God]; I said that it suggests that there is a true one." Just as the many claims of Bigfoot around the world suggest there must be a real Bigfoot. Basically, this line of logic allows you to "imply" the existence of whatever you can imagine.

"But if there was no real God, where did the idea of gods come from in the first place?" You are right that I have a "semi-plausible story to explain that," but should I even bother typing it since you will reject it?

"Believing evolution gives them an excuse to reject God." This statement is disgusting. Do you honestly believe that the theory, and the hundreds of years of research associated with it, exists solely to inflate the egos of atheists? What do you make of the 30-40 percent of biologists who are theistic, who are somehow able to reconcile the hard physical evidence with their personal faiths? Darwin himself was Anglican as he wrote the Origin of Species. He became agnostic later. Do you think he wanted to lose his faith? Do you think he set out to fool everyone? It is grotesque, the level of paranoia it takes to honestly and sincerely believe that an entire branch of science with literally millions upon millions of researchers and individuals exists only to trumpet atheism; It is grotesque, the lack of imagination it requires for a believer to be unable to imagine that perhaps God is behind the very real and very hard evolutionary evidence that scientists uncover. Conservapedia needs to move away from fundamentalist values and toward conservative values. Secular conservatives should not feel downtrodden on this site.

--Stirlatez 16:34, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

P.S. One last thing: How exactly, does the fact that God "is outside of time" actually solve this free will paradox? When God created mankind, He knew full well that Adam was going to ruin everything. We both agree on this. Despite that it was Adam's choice and Adam's alone, why did God even have to create mankind? To give us a choice which He already knew would end in disaster? Does that mean God is just going through the motions of some script, over which He has no control? Thanks. --Stirlatez 14:46, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

""Do you reject that we claim that?" Of course I don't.": Then you didn't answer the question, "What premise is that?". You said that you didn't accept my premise in my statement, "we specifically claim that...". So just what premise is there that you didn't accept?
"I specifically claim my assertions as well": In other words, you are claiming to be making the same sort of argument as me. One of the things that started this aspect of our discussion was your comment, "...the fact that our modern interpretation of God is now so "moral" is a reflection of the overall progression of our ethics as a species.". To put that in a more formal way, you were arguing that:
  • Overall, our ethics progress as a species.
  • Therefore (that is why) our modern interpretation of God is so "moral".
That is, you were making a claim or assertion in the form of a conclusion based on a premise. I could accept the claim/assertion/conclusion, if I accept the premise. But I don't accept the premise, so the conclusion doesn't follow. Can you put my "we specifically claim that..." comment in the same premise-conclusion structure? I would argue either that you can't, or that if you can, the premise part would be something that you accept. Therefore, you were not making the same sort of argument as me.
"You're right. The same should be said for my view.". Correct. I never disputed that your view has an explanation. But I said that you appeared to be arguing as though my view can't explain it (e.g. "If morality was unique only to the Christian God, why do all cultures everywhere agree on a few basic moral laws..."). I'm glad that you now acknowledge that my view can explain it. That is what I was trying to get you to see.
"Just as the many claims of Bigfoot around the world suggest there must be a real Bigfoot.": Correct. They do imply that there is something on which the Bigfoot myths are based (a giant bear, perhaps? Or evolutionary stories of ape-men?).
"You are right that I have a "semi-plausible story to explain that," but should I even bother typing it since you will reject it?": You think that there's something wrong with me rejecting a semi-plausible story as true?
"This statement is disgusting.": It's backed by many personal accounts of people who have rejected Christianity because of evolution.
"Do you honestly believe that the theory, and the hundreds of years of research associated with it, exists solely to inflate the egos of atheists?": Darwinian evolution has only been around for 150 years, hardly "hundreds of years of research". And yes, it's not far wrong to say that the impetus behind it is to justify atheism. (I'm not saying that that is why every individual people who believes evolution believes it.)
"What do you make of the 30-40 percent of biologists who are theistic...": Not all of that 30-40 percent are evolutionists, and probably 98% of those that are don't actually study evolution itself. Rather, they believe evolution because that's what they've been taught is correct.
"...who are somehow able to reconcile the hard physical evidence with their personal faiths?": What hard physical evidence?
"Darwin himself was Anglican as he wrote the Origin of Species.": He was raised in an Anglican society, so was Anglican "by default". Evolutionist historians have said that evolution was intended to replace God.[4]
"He became agnostic later.": Actually, he wrote that he gave up his faith when he was 39.[5] He published Origin when he was 50.
"Do you think he wanted to lose his faith?": Perhaps not, but it appears that he started to when he read Lyell's Principles of Geology which he read whilst on the Beagle (c1832-1836), and certainly by 1839 he had rejected the accuracy of the Old Testament.[6]
"...the level of paranoia it takes to honestly and sincerely believe that an entire branch of science with literally millions upon millions of researchers and individuals exists only to trumpet atheism": First, I strongly doubt that there are "millions upon millions of researchers" of evolution. It's actually quite a small part of science, with most science ('real' science) being the study of things in the present, not the evolutionary "family tree". Second, yes, that is, to a fair extent, exactly what it is (emphasis added):
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. ... Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.[7]
"...the lack of imagination it requires for a believer to be unable to imagine that perhaps God is behind the very real and very hard evolutionary evidence that scientists uncover.": First, the reason that I'm "unable to imagine" is because the biblical account is totally incompatible—contradictory—with evolution. So, given the biblical account, there is good reason to reject evolution. You cannot (consistently) believe both, without distorting one (and guess which one gets distorted). Second, it's not a matter of the evidence that scientists uncover. Creationists have the same evidence. The difference is the interpretation of the evidence, and the interpretation varies because of different starting assumptions.
"How exactly, does the fact that God "is outside of time" actually solve this free will paradox?": First, how is it actually a paradox? What is there about God knowing what happened that means that man has no choice?
"Despite that it was Adam's choice and Adam's alone, why did God even have to create mankind?": That's a legitimate question, but a totally different question. It's a theological question ("why did God"), not a logical paradox.
"Does that mean God is just going through the motions of some script, over which He has no control?": God did not have to give us free will: He chose to. Which means that he does (or can) have control, but chooses not to exercise it. I believe that the answer is something along the lines of God wanted us to understand and appreciate love, by seeing that God loved us despite our rejection of Him.
Philip J. Rayment 11:18, 9 September 2008 (EDT)

 ???

You can't prove that God did'int send jesus to more than one planet.

It's foolish to think that God would make litery quadrillion apon quadrillions of galaxy each containg possibley millions of star systems just so one planet of people could live.

It's illogical and since God can't fail and doing anything illoligical is a failure that proves there life on other planets.(as much as anyone elses random "proof" its realy a matter of faith for me)

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