Talk:Main Page/archive35

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Theology

Claude, you're the perfect caricature of an atheist. If I argued that atheists having your view of faith existed, no one would believe me if you we were not here to illustrate it. Also, since many atheists make up their own morality, what confidence do we have you are telling the truth about your materialistic love??? I wouldn't expect you to accept the Ten Commandments with respect to bearing false witness.--Aschlafly 23:51, 5 December 2007 (EST)
The "idea" (Christianity) has actually been of great benefit for society [1][2], and negative results from it are demonstrably due to people not following its teachings. The same can't be said for atheistic religions, the consequences of which have been far worse.[3] Philip J. Rayment 08:18, 6 December 2007 (EST)
  • the only way to a meaningful existence was through the teachings of a man who was nailed to a piece of wood
  • Where do we begin taking this one apart? Seems pretty obvious you haven't a clue who Jesus was or what his "teachings" were. Rob Smith 17:58, 6 December 2007 (EST)

It seems people here are quick to assume a lot about editors based on little evidence. After spending most of my early years in Catholic school, I had enough indoctrination into who Jesus was and what his teachings were. I bought it for a while. Then I grew up. Thanks for your concern. Claude 18:01, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Ok, then you should know that (a) the "teachings" of Jesus existed before Jesus was born; (b) it is not so much Jesus's alleged "teachings" that save a person, but Jesus's actions that lead to salvation. Or are we already getting to deep now? Rob Smith 18:20, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Do you mean "too" deep? Learn to spell, then we can talk theology.Claude 18:22, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Good dodge, worthy of my own technique.
Let's get back to the point: Do the "teachings" of Christ save a person? I would venture to say no. It is the actions of Christ, and more specificially, accepting the actions of Christ that save a person. The "teachings" of Christ existed long before Christ, as the teachings of Paul declare, "unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them" ("them," i.e. Israel in the wilderness). Or, "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?"
So I'm calling your bluff, unless you care to admit to (a) being decieved, (b) posting here with the intent to decieve, or (c) trolling. I can't really think of any other alternative to explain your posting, "the only way to a meaningful existence was through the teachings of a man who was nailed to a piece of wood. Rob Smith 15:34, 7 December 2007 (EST)

One day I will try to aquaint you with such things as sarcasm. What I said was "Chief among these in my region's history is that people around here were better off dead/taken from their families/having their culture exterminated than they were to continue living without believing in the idea that the only way to a meaningful existence was through the teachings of a man who was nailed to a piece of wood some 2000 years ago..." My point, simply put, was that Christian theology provided the intellectual backbone and justification of a campaign to at best eliminate a millenia-old set of cultural values and at worst eliminate the people who held those values. Whether or not that had to do with the teachings of Christ or the alleged actions of Christ is irrelevant to my argument. One could spend years tracing the, ahem, evolution of Christ's teachings - but in this case I'm less interested in that and more interested in how those ideas were used by powerful nations to justify horrible crimes against humanity. Schafly has argued that Christians came here to convert the natives, not to kill them. I have two responses to that: The first is that they really did not need to be converted, there is nothing about Christianity that made it any better a worldview for them. The second is to remind him that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and that people need should be held accountable for their actions, not their intentions. And I thought "Gospel" took an upper-case "G." Claude 16:36, 7 December 2007 (EST)

Okay, so your claim that Christians did the wrong thing in "destroying cultures" is based on your presumption that Christianity is not better than other cultures/religions, which implies that Christianity is a lie, because it does claim to be better than other religions. Yet you have done nothing to prove this presumption, and there is plenty of evidence that Christianity has been of great benefit to society, let alone plenty of evidence that its claims are true. On that basis, therefore, your presumption is wrong and your conclusion based on that presumption is unsubstantiated. Philip J. Rayment 05:57, 8 December 2007 (EST)
Good dodge again, but we're not going to let you get away with it. "I'm less interested in that and more interested in how those ideas were used." You seem to be either accusing some people of hate-filled things, or are speaking hate-filled things yourself. Back yonder, you made the claim you were raised in a Christian faith, or at least were familiar with Christian doctrine. I am going to hold you to that, and if I become convinced you attemtped to decieve me on this point I'll block your butt.
Now, address the point: Is Christianity merely the teachings of Jesus or is it something else? Rob Smith 17:42, 7 December 2007 (EST)

We're talking at cross purposes here - Christianity IS more than the teachings of Jesus. It's an entire theological tradition reaching back into earliest Biblical times and,here we go again, continuing to EVOLVE right up to the latest Papal Bull or whatever the latest guy with a bad haircut and a cheap suit to say "put your hands on the teevee set!!!" spouts off about. So what? What I'm arguing is that Christianity - like many religions - has provided the ideological and intellectual justification for numerous crimes against humanity, and is thus as dangerous an idea as Schlafly seems to think atheism and evolution are. And for all the times that the word "deceive" gets bandied about on this website, you think you'd get that one right, Robby.Claude 20:52, 7 December 2007 (EST)

Dang Claude, you almost said something there worth responding to. And it probably does need to be addressed at some point. But too bad I had to block you for this piece of vandalism [4] before I read the above. I guess you can take a wide stance with your ideas. Rob Smith 15:32, 8 December 2007 (EST)

That sounds very much like the logic used by communist apologists when confronted with the crimes of the USSR and China: "Oh, well, that wasn't *really* communism." It was. And residential schools for natives and the crimes committed against Jews on the way to the Middle East during the Crusades and the thousands of other crimes I could mention represent facets of Christianity in practice. And Phillip, this may be hard for you to grasp, but most atheists don't see themselves as practicing an "atheistic religion." Religion in any shape is not part of their lives. Claude 10:24, 6 December 2007 (EST)

It might sound to you like a similar argument, but that doesn't mean that it holds water. Christianity is defined by the Bible, not by its followers or officials, and Christians who murder in God's name are acting contrary to the Bible. The same can't be said for Communism. And yes, I know that atheists don't see themselves as religious, but that doesn't mean that they aren't. If you want to use that logic, I know of many Christians who don't see themselves as religious, so does that mean that Christianity is not a religion? Philip J. Rayment 10:32, 6 December 2007 (EST)

That's nonsense - if they're really Christians, of course they are religious - if by religious one means "believing in a supernatural deity." Claiming to be a non-religious Chrisitan is a complete contradiction in terms. And your argument re: Christianity and the Bible is exactly the same one communist apologists have used: Communism is defined by the writings of Marx (who said nothing about the Gulag, for example) and so-called communists who murder in the name of ideology are acting contrary to Marxist principles. The two are equally mendacious, or at least misguided. Furthermore, in both cases, one has to ask why, if these crimes are contrary to the ideology in question, there are so many "exceptions to the rule." Exceptions that run into the millions. Claude 10:57, 6 December 2007 (EST)

So you are retracting the argument that you applied to atheists, that it atheism is not a religion because atheists don't consider it one?
"...if by religious one means "believing in a supernatural deity." ": That's the crucial point. By that definition, Christianity is a religion and atheism isn't. But that's not the only definition. See Religion for more on this. By another definition, 'non-religious Christian' is not a contradiction. And by another definition, atheism is a religion.
I would have thought that the writings of Marx would have defined Marxism, rather than communism, but perhaps you have a point there. However, killing innocent people is consistent with the writings of Marx.
The "exceptions" with Marxism far outnumber the exceptions with Christianity, despite the latter's much longer history, and Christianity can claim many more benefits than Marxism.
Philip J. Rayment 21:32, 6 December 2007 (EST)

I see you've resorted to ad hominem attacks - fair enough. I don't need you to pass judgment on me or my relationship. However, you are in no position to lecture me about morality until you can reconcile what has been done in the name of your God to people around the world. As long as you continue to ignore the historical record of the millions of people whose lives have been worsened - or ended - because of the idea of Christianity or any other religion, your commitment to the Ten Commandments is laughable at best.Claude 23:57, 5 December 2007 (EST)

See my previous post (and links) just above about which ideology has produced the worst results. You have it back to front. Philip J. Rayment 08:21, 6 December 2007 (EST)
I read your last link and I laughed. Do you realise that none of those people died because of atheism? Yes Stalin and Mao were athiests yet they did not kill people because they were atheists, rather they killed people because they wanted to mantain a hold on peoples minds through communism, which is almost its own religion. And do you realise that without the continued relgious persecution of Jews, by Christians, Hitler would not have been able to motivate the Germans to kill 6 million of them? And while it is arguable if Hitler had faith or not, the majority of the people who carried out his orders were, and they did not stop because of their Christian faith, rather they blindly followed orders, some of them actually enjoying the merciless killings. So there are 6 million deaths due to religion, and all of those 60 odd million caused by communism are discounted due to the fact that atheism had little to do with it. Bolly 11:05, 7 December 2007
They did die because of atheistic ideology (even if there were other factors), which has no moral basis against murder. That is, their atheistic ideology allowed them to murder if that helped the goal of the ideology. Darwin's ideas of survival of the fittest led to eugenics, which encouraged the idea of assisting evolution by eliminating the less fit, and if you promote the idea that the Jews are less fit, then it becomes easy to justify killing Jews. I think that you're probably overstating the Christianity involved, but to the extent that's you're correct, it was the atheistic origins myth of evolution, accepted unfortunately by many Christians, that justified it, not Christianity itself. Philip J. Rayment 21:32, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Yes ideas matter, thats why I come on this site. Why is my theory so preposterous? I think its pretty good, considering I have never before heard of said butterflies. I'm kinda getting sick of the way you continue to say "atheism leads to depression" while providing only anecdotal evidence!! Depression is a serious illness and often has a genetic cause, or is caused by a dramatic event, rarely by lifestyle. I know this, as someone close to me suffers from this illness and I have become fairly well aquainted with it.
No it did not last, but you are making assumptions. She did not 'wake up', we are still very good friends despite our break up. Our break up also had nothing to do with religion, funnily enough, I one day realised that my feelings were no longer the same. Clearly some part of the chemical reaction, or the hormones that fuelled the relationship had worn off. Not believe in real love? That hurts, I believe strongly that love is an important thing, and that it is something to be treasured if you can find it. I find that easily compatible with my knowledge of the chemical and hormonal causes of love.
If you are going to reply to this, would it be possible for you to add it to the end of this section? I'm having a little trouble keeping up with who I'm replying to and in what order. Thankyou :) Bolly 16:07, 6 December 2007


This is quite the meandering conversation. It managed to get from a story about a dinosaur with fossilized soft tissue to a bitter flame war of between atheists and YEC Christians, including comparing God to Santa. And now atheists are like smokers, doomed to eventually become miserable without the light of God. And then the conversation starts to use logical fallacies (God of the Gaps). Perhaps it's time to call it quits. PostoStudanto ✉Tλlk 18:28, 5 December 2007 (EST)

Ok well I just posted an answer to Phillip J. Rayments argument above, however my internet would not comply and I would find it rather frustrating to write out again. I will simply refer him to "The Blind Watchmaker" by that much loved Prof, Richard Dawkins. Or if he would rather, I believe the original edition of "The Origin of Species" has a detailed description of how an eye would evolve from nothing. There you go :)
In the recent census about 20% of the Australian population described themselves as atheists. Bolly 1:50, 6 December 2007
I'm aware that Dawkins and other argue that an eye could have evolved, but there are large holes in his argument. For one, his "primitive" starting point is not "nothing", but something (a light-sensitive spot) that is extremely complex. For another, he presumes that nature is actually capable of producing new genetic information. In effect, the argument goes, "I believe nature is capable of doing it by this means, so that shows that it is capable of doing it". The problem is that nature cannot produce new genetic information, and when Dawkins was once asked if he could quote any examples of nature producing new genetic information, he was at a loss for an answer.
Do that many Australians identify themselves as atheists? Well perhaps that really does explain the high youth suicide rate!
Philip J. Rayment 08:10, 6 December 2007 (EST)
I find it increasingly hard to not interfere in this discussion, but we all know that (1) this discussion is just a repeat of the ToE discussion (2) this is off-topic with respect to the front page. This discussion should, if at all, relocate to the talk page of ToE. Here, we should discuss the main page. Since fossilized soft tissue is mentioned on the main page, we can discuss it here, but anything else is just a tangent. And to illustrate how easy it is to get on a tangent I want to conjecture that the fact that many Australian are atheists may explain why Australia does so well at the Olympics. The kids don't have to sit inside for bible study, but have spare time to do some sports ;) Order 08:27, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Which wouldn't explain, of course, those kids who do sit inside for Bible study and do very well at sport! Philip J. Rayment 09:05, 6 December 2007 (EST)
It would make sense for an atheistic society to have a greater suicide rate however a far lower depression rate. The logic being, the amount of depression in general terms would be equal. The suicide rates should be equal, however remember that christianity states that commiting suicide results in a lengthy stay in hell, therefore christians would be less likely to commit suicide. They would then be alive and depressed because they feel that they are trapped in a life that they do not want to live. So we have more depression but less suicides. I'm not saying that one is better then the other, I don't think one is, however that would explain the high suicide rate in Australia, and presumably Britain.
Funnily enough, a cell that can detect light is not in fact very complex at all. It is simply a cell that responds to certain stimuli and all cells respond to types of stimuli. In fact our normal skin is light detecting in some sense, and it would not be a massive jump to a more refined cell. Do you agree though that genetic material determines the way an organism 'is'? For example we are human because we have a different genetic material to dogs, I am taller then my friends because I have slightly different genetic material to them. The fact that humans have been growing steadily taller over the past thousand years or so, how can you explain that? I would say it is to do with a mix of natural selection and possible mutation, perhaps because taller people made better warriors and so would naturally be well desired throughout a tribes women. This would lead to a larger average height, and from that height, small mutations that affect how tall someone is, would lead to slightly taller people, who are well regarded as warriors and so create a slightly taller bunch of offspring. It is probably more complex then that however the general idea is accurate. Genetic mutation is an observed fact, the part you seem to disagree with is the idea that these mutations translate into advantageous aspects of an organism. Bolly 9:37, 7 December 2007
I understand your logic about depression and suicide, but am not inclined to agree. Depressed people are hardly likely to think that clearly, and depression is a growing problem whilst atheism is growing. Atheism encourages depression by teaching that we are nothing more than evolved pond scum, with no purpose in life. Christianity, in contrast, teaches that we are made in the image of God, and loved by Him. Having purpose and feeling loved both tend to counter depression.
It's absolute rubbish to claim that a cell that can detect light is not complex. Any cell is extremely complex; more complex that a city with all its roads, railways, factories, communication systems, etc.
I agree that genetic material is at least a large part of what determines the way an organism is. However, there are two problems with your following argument. The first is that growing taller is probably mostly due to better nutrition allowing us to reach our existing genetic potential, and nothing to do with changes in the genetics.
The second problem is that evolution, such as with the eye, requires the generation of brand new genetic information, and your example of growing taller is not an example of that. If there's a genetic component to it at all, it's merely a tweaking of some values.
I don't disagree that mutations can on occasions produce advantages to an organism, but scientific observations are that these genetic changes are always losses of information, not the generation of new genetic information. Observations of mutations show that goo-to-you evolution cannot work.
Philip J. Rayment 21:32, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Well I admit it is solely logic, without any evidence to support it. However I disagree that Atheism encourages depression, for me it encourages wonder. Considering how long it has take for humanity to evolve, and considering how many billions of other organisms there are, how lucky am I to have been born as a creature of reason and intelligence into a world of comfort and protection? I could have been an ant, a cat, a tree! I could have been born as a German Jew in the 1930's or as a Christian in Nero's reign, yet I live in a society that tolerates difference etc, you get the idea. I, and many others, find it remarkbaly affirming that we do not have to worry about the afterlife, about our purpose because our purpose is to live. And if you do not live properly then you are betraying your luck and your life. That is why Atheism is so self affirming.
With regards to the eye, yes a cell is incredbly complex, however it is easy to create basic cellular matter using only a mixture of gasses and a spark of discharge. Stanley Miller created complex chemicals using this, ones only seen in conjunction with life, and a later researcher managed to persaude these molecules to create self replecating RNA. I have a Evolution book in front of me, written in 1993 for young teenagers that describes this test in simple terms. Once you have RNA, it is a short and simple step to DNA and from there to a cell. Once you have this cell, Eventually one would evolve to have light sensory equipment, and from there, we go onto the great trail of different eyes, leading to ours. I know this will not convince you, but hopefully at least someone will be persuaded to at least try some of the many books about evolution out there.
How is a mutation a 'loss' of genetic information? Considering how many possible mutations there are, every single one leads to a possible massive increase in genetic information. Granted many would also reduce it, but not all. But we can see speciation at work when you divide two groups of the same bacteria into different environments. By continued mutation and selection they change into drastically different shapes and types.
My final question is simple. If evolution is so obviously false, why do the majority of biologists accept it as fact? Yes plenty of them question parts of it, try and revise bits and pieces, but not many of them actually attempt to discredit the whole thing. Why do people still think evolution is right if it 'clearly' isnt? There is no reason for us to think so, it would not have survived its first 50 years had it been so wrong. The only people who fully oppose evolution have religious motivations for doing so. Bolly 13:59, 7 December 2007
I'll accept that you feel a sense of purpose, and a sense of wonder at being here, but I don't accept that this follows from your atheism. Here's a view that contradicts yours:
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.—William Provine
It's too long to quote, but this is relevant to this discussion too.
Why do you think that your purpose is to live? How can an accident produce purpose?
"...it is easy to create basic cellular matter using only a mixture of gasses and a spark of discharge": This is absolute nonsense, akin to saying that it's easy to create the basics of a city by producing bricks. The Stanley Miller experiment produced amino acids, which are very extremely simple compared to a cell, just as bricks are simple compared to a city. Furthermore, their experiment was done in unrealistic conditions, i.e. conditions that did not apply, according to the evolutionary story. In addition, their experiment artificially helped the process, by trapping the products out of the "environment" before they could be destroyed again. And if that wasn't enough, the amino acids produced were of both "left hand" and "right hand" form, whereas life requires them to be off all the same "hand". In other words, the amino acids produced could not have assembled themselves into living cells even assuming everything else fell into place.
"...a later researcher managed to persaude these molecules to create self replecating RNA.": I'd like to know more detail of this, because I doubt that it's true, but without details I can't check. But even if it is true, it would appear from your brief description that he used his intelligence to do so, whereas evolution requires this to happen without intelligence.
"Once you have RNA, it is a short and simple step to DNA and from there to a cell.": No it isn't. That's like saying that once you've got the plans for a city, it's a simply step to have the city. No, before you can have the city, you need the machines to convert the plans into reality. Without the construction (cellular) machinery, you won't have the city (cell). In other words, you need the machines that build the city, but you need the factories of the city (cell) to build the machines. This is why we have the Law of Biogenesis that says that life only comes from life. You are proposing, contrary to that scientific law, that life can come from non-life.
"Once you have this cell, Eventually one would evolve to have light sensory equipment": That's begging the question. You should be explaining how this is possible, not merely reasserting it. And as I've said, it is not possible, according to scientific observations.
"...hopefully at least someone will be persuaded to at least try some of the many books about evolution out there.": The problem is that most people get bombarded with evolution every day, in the schools, on TV, in the papers, magazines, and books, in the scientific journals, etc. etc. But how many get to hear or read about the other side of the argument? Almost none, by comparison. So rather than hope that someone will read some evolutionary books, you should be hoping that someone will read some creationary books so that they can get both sides of the story instead of being fed just one viewpoint.
"How is a mutation a 'loss' of genetic information?": The same way that you typing out a copy of a book and hitting the wrong key produces a spelling error, not a new thought.
"Considering how many possible mutations there are, every single one leads to a possible massive increase in genetic information.": Not so. If I were to give you a sequence of, say, 100 letters, and ask you to arrange them into meaningful sentences, you would find that of the 100! possible combinations of those letters, only an extremely small fraction would be anything meaningful. Almost every possible combination would be gibberish.
"But we can see speciation at work when you divide two groups of the same bacteria into different environments.": Speciation is not the issue. Creationists accept speciation, but speciation does not have to rely on increases in genetic information.
"If evolution is so obviously false, why do the majority of biologists accept it as fact?": Because of a combination of one or more of the following reasons: (A) Because they have a worldview that won't accept the only real alternative, creation. That is, many of them are atheists. (B) because evolution has become the ruling paradigm, and the peer pressure is so great that they're not prepared to buck it. (C) Because that's all they've ever been taught, and they've never been exposed to the alternative view. (D) Because they have a view of science that says that they can't consider creation even if it's true, because it invokes God. Perhaps I should ask in return: Why do so many scientists (numbering in the thousands, at least) reject evolution given all the points I've just listed? Why do so many evolutionists become creationists on the basis of the evidence?
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.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. —Richard Lewontin
Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.—Scott Todd
"The only people who fully oppose evolution have religious motivations for doing so.": Not so. As mentioned above, many have become convinced that it is wrong because of the evidence.
Philip J. Rayment 08:52, 7 December 2007 (EST)
Ok this is replying to everything you've said since this morning: Perhaps Darwinism did make it justifiable, however there have been many many killings that did not require justification. And I don't think you answered my point that without the labeling of Jews as 'Christ-Killers' then Hitler would not have been able to target them nearly as well. Darwinism is not an ahteistic theory though, as you said, many christians accept it without needing to challenge their faiths, and Darwin himself was a christian at the time he wrote 'Origin of Species'. He did later become an agnostic, however that was due to the death of his daughter. So really atheism had nothing to do with it, considering that Nazism is a facist totalitarian form of government that really has little basis on any other ideology.
Hold on! that quote said that I don't believe in free will! Surely as an atheist I believe ultimately in free will? Because there is no force that decides your actions. Of course atheism does not give a moral code, it is simply the absence of belief in a god or gods. As an atheist you must live in the most moral way possible, howeverthe majority of atheists understand that because we know that we evolved as social creatures, and that it the easiest way to live, to act morally. Personally, I follow both Sartre's Existentialism, and I agree almost completely with Peter Singer's Utilitarian philosopies. That is why I act morally.
If you've got the bricks, amino acids, and a plan, RNA, then what is so difficult about constructing the city (DNA)? Admittedly the metaphor is not a good one in that sentence because there is a world of difference in the way they are created. But RNA is self-replecating, and it has errors, and you're right, typing errors do not lead to new ideas, however they lead to a new way of putting the letters together. The majority of the string of DNA is apparently useless, only a small part of it is used in creating an organisms characteristics during embryonic development. So it is not the need for the ideas to make sense that matters, because there are only four DNA letters, and they all interact, so that changing one does not limit the strand of DNA in any way. Or destroys any information.
You know, those four reasons are almost exactly the same ones that I would use to explain why Intelligent Designists believe in their theory. I will cede number 4, because science is a quest for naturalistic explanations, not supernatural ones, however the other three are kinda wrong. 2: Why then has evolution become the ruling paradigm? For many many years, the majority of scientists were christians, and under them evolution became the ruling paradigm! However if there were conclusive proof that evolution was wrong, fossil rabbits in the pre-cambrian for instance, then it would be scrapped immediately. And don't say "Something like that has been found" because I have heard of a fair few of those, and on closer research they all turned out to be fakes. And I disagree that the only alternative is Creation. The reason being, if any evidence turned up that destroyed evolution, then it would give new evidence to create a new, better theory, based on materialistic grounds. 3: Not only have they been taught it, they have experimented with it, tested it, observed evidence for it and they still think that it is true! Funny that. Bolly 8:51, 8 December 2007
I'm missing your point about there being "many killings that did not require justification".
I don't really know about Hitler's use of "Christ-killers", but it's always struck me odd that that sort of argument would be used of Jews when Jesus was a Jew. But I daresay that this was just one part of Hitler's arsenal of tactics.
Any Christianity that Darwin had was merely nominal, as Christianity was well-accepted at the time, and evolutionists have themselves pointed out that Darwin's motive in proposing evolution was to eliminate God as an explanation, so it therefore is atheistic in nature. Many Christians who've accepted evolution have had their faith not only challenged but destroyed. I'd suggest that those that don't haven't really thought about the implications of it. Hitler was an evolutionist, and evolutionists have agreed that Hitler based his actions on the idea of evolution.
If you object to that quote saying that you have no free will, then you are disagreeing with an atheist's view of it. According to atheism, your thoughts are just the results of chemical reactions in your brain, not something that you have any control over. So Provine was right: according to atheism, you have no free will. Which means that your thoughts are the result of a cosmic accident, so why do you give them any credence?
Atheism is a belief in no God, not a lack of belief in God.
"As an atheist you must live in the most moral way possible": Why? What imperative is there in atheism that says that? And according to atheism, what are morals anyway? Morals are about what is right and wrong, but according to atheism, there is no basis for right and wrong. Morals under atheism is whatever you choose them to be (but the same goes for everybody else, so if they choose differently, you can't say that they are wrong), so Peter Singer therefore thinks that it's okay to murder toddlers. For him, that's "right".
What's so difficult about constructing the city? I've already said: the construction equipment. No, RNA is not self-replicating. It needs "machines" (enzymes) to actually do the work. It's like claiming that a computer hard disk is self replicating. It's not, it needs the hard drive and the processor, etc. to do the actual copying. Yes, mutations produce new ways of putting letters together, but so what? What you need is not random letters, but instructions. DNA is a set of instruction, not "letters together". Your posts (like mine) are composed of letters put together, potentially in new ways, but if they don't make sense, they are useless! If the phrase "I have a cat" has a single-letter change to "I have a cae", the meaning of the sentence is lost. Your claim that "changing one [letter] does not [destroy] any information" is simply not true.
That the majority of the DNA is useless is (a) as irrelevant as blank pages in a book (assuming all the printed pages are there), (b) wrong, as they are now finding uses for the supposedly useless bits, and (c) an example of evolutionary ideas holding back scientific research (a creationist view would have said that God would have had a purpose for all the DNA). Instead, research on the supposedly useless DNA was very slow because evolutionary theory predicted that there would be much useless DNA, so it wasn't worth investigating.
You claim that the first three reasons are wrong, but offer no real rebuttal! There's no rebuttal of the first reason, your response to the second reason tries to justify the premise, but doesn't rebut the reason based on the premise, the third rebuttal is wrong, as I'll explain below, and as far as the fourth reason is concerned, I'm glad to see that you admit that the scientists close their eyes to possible explanations for philosophical, not evidential reasons. But why do you consider that right?
Yes, for many years the scientists were Christians, but it wasn't really the Christian scientists who promoted evolution, but the atheists. And many of the Christians who came to accept it has already had their faith weakened by long ages and the Wellhausen theory. Fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian would not falsify it, and yes, similar things have been found, as explained in Falsifiability of evolution. Your faith in materialistic ideas is not surprising, and you are both correct and incorrect. First, there is not any real alternative to evolution but creation, as even evolutionists back to Darwin recognise when they provide theological arguments in support of evolution. They say, "God would not have done it this way" as evidence that evolution must be correct, which can only be the case if there is no third alternative. Yes, you are correct that they will do away with evolution when they find another materialistic alternative. In fact they already have. It's just that the new versions are also called evolution! Darwinian evolution was replaced with neo-Darwinian evolution, and that was challenged by punctuated equilibrium. But they are all evolution because evolution, not matter what the precise form, is the only alternative to creation.
There are essentially no tests that have been done successfully for goo-to-you evolution, or for any aspect of evolution that is incompatible with creation. Yes, lots of test have been done, but on aspects that are consistent with a creationary view.
As for your view that my four reasons would apply to ID proponents, the first might apply to some, but not to all, as not all are Christians or even theists. The second is nonsense, as ID is not the ruling paradigm. The third is also nonsense, as pretty well everyone gets taught evolution, and many are converts from evolution, and the fourth is clearly evolution-specific, so is also not applicable.
Furthermore, they were your reasons why "Intelligent Designists believe in their theory", which could I guess be an answer to my question about why so many scientists reject evolution, but totally fails to answer my next question of why "so many evolutionists become creationists on the basis of the evidence"
Philip J. Rayment 06:59, 8 December 2007 (EST)
Interesting debate. Just a couple of comments to Philip, if I may. Your arguments above are classic "God of the Gaps" assertions. There's a load of holes in various theories - evolution, big bang, 13b year-old universe, etc - so God must have done it. It's the default position when science doesn't know the answer.
This is a mistake that many fundamentalists make. Slowly but surely, the gaps are filled by science leaving ever smaller gaps for God to fill. More moderate Christians are terribly frightened of that position. They argue that theology should not attempt to challenge science (even if the courtesy is not reciprocated) because of the risk of ever more accurate scientific theories destroying faith. They feel that trying to use science to prove the existence of God is doomed to failure because because God's existence cannot be proven by science. It is, as claimed by many theologians, outside science.
You use the example of evolution. I don't know if Darwinism has destroyed any faith other than belief in Biblical innerency. Most mainstream Christians don't have a problem with this because they do not believe the Bible is innerent. Indeed, one could argue that modern science relied on looser interpretations of Biblical texts to make any headway in science at all. Ajkgordon 15:02, 8 December 2007 (EST)
  • ever more accurate scientific theories destroying faith
  • This is nonsensical & and an oxymoron; your entire posting espouses a blind faith in science, such a blind faith that extends even into the future of scientific knowledge that at this point is unknowable. Rob Smith 15:46, 8 December 2007 (EST)
Rob, please, I'm not saying that. I'm just reporting what the fears are in the moderate Christian community - the Christian community that believes in NOMA. Ajkgordon 15:59, 8 December 2007 (EST)
I see. The old divide-and-conquer technique. "Conservative" Christians are "marginal," that is, outside the mainstream of moderate Christians. Probably has something to do with recent activity at Religious Left [5]],
While conservative Christians believe that poverty can be solved by private charity and learning self-sufficieny, liberal Christians think that government handouts are the answer. They believe in public healthcare, public education (minus the secular component), and social welfare.
Ok, I'll play along. This answers Claude's question, How so-called Christians who murder in God's name were acting contrary to God's principles. They were Leftist Christians, maybe a few secular moderates, too. The idea just needs to be developed. Rob Smith 16:41, 8 December 2007 (EST)
(indent)No, Rob, not divide and conquer, just pointing out the risks associated with Biblical innerancy according to believers in NOMA, the predominately mainstream Christian view. Ajkgordon 17:10, 8 December 2007 (EST)
"Your arguments above are classic "God of the Gaps" assertions.". Your rebuttal is classic anti-creationist charge, without foundation. I've never argued that because we don't know how it happened, God must have done it. And I note that you don't provide any specifics.
"This is a mistake that many fundamentalists make.": No, this is false charge that man anti-creationists make.
Creationists do not believe in a ‘God of the gaps’ argument—that if we don’t understand something we revert to ‘God’ to explain it. That approach is akin to superstition, not Christian faith. In contrast, Christian faith counters superstition. ... Dr Jonathan Sarfati explained about the creationist position:
The ‘God of the gaps’ view is a straw man. As creationists we never seek miraculous intervention in the gaps in normal ‘operation science’. Rather, we use the basic scientific principles of causality (everything that has a beginning has a sufficient cause) and analogy (e.g. we observe that intelligence is needed to generate complex coded information in the present, so we can reasonably assume the same for the past). And because there was no material intelligent designer for life, it is legitimate to invoke a non-material designer for life. Note that this is not based on a lack of knowledge, but squarely on what we do know about complex specified information and the laws of chemistry that refute chemical evolutionary ideas of the origin of life.
[6]
"They argue that theology should not attempt to challenge science ... because of the risk of ever more accurate scientific theories destroying faith.": I guess they didn't have much faith in their beliefs in the first place, if they are worried about that. If they are not prepared to believe what God has said, then they shouldn't be theologians.
"...God's existence cannot be proven by science.": Science doesn't claim to be able to prove anything, so that's a red herring.
"I don't know if Darwinism has destroyed any faith other than belief in Biblical innerency.". Creation ministries are continually getting testimonies of people who have had their faith restored by the evidence published by the ministries, which testimonies often say that they used to believe in God, but had their faith destroyed when they were taught evolution, or similar anti-biblical myths. An example of a high-profile person is Charles Templeton.
"Most mainstream Christians don't have a problem with this because they do not believe the Bible is innerent.": The churches that are growing are the ones that believe God's Word to be inerrant, whilst the ones that are dying are the ones that have compromised with atheistic views and therefore don't believe that.
Philip J. Rayment 03:38, 9 December 2007 (EST)
Sorry to throw this out here, but if the bible were truly inerrAnt, then pi would be equal to exactly 3. Since this is obviously not the case, some concessions must be made. ABN 10:43, 10 December 2007 (EST)
I'm sorry you threw this out here too, because it's a load of malarky. Nowhere does the Bible give pi the value of "exactly 3", let alone claiming to be teaching the value of pi at all. When and if you reply, perhaps you could answer one of two questions: (1) what is the exact value of pi? (2) What is the value of pi rounded to one significant digit? Philip J. Rayment 20:45, 10 December 2007 (EST)


The New Republic: Still Full of Lies

The New Republic basically admitted that it let a crazy liberal soldier make up stories about what is happening in Iraq. Oh and of course they printed them:

http://www.tnr.com/story_print.html?id=51f6dc92-7f1d-4d5b-aebe-94668b7bfb32

TRipp 20:28, 4 December 2007 (EST)

It seems the article says 'we thought we were publishing true accounts from a soldier stationed in Iraq, but he falsified info. So we're publically admitting we were duped, and here's the info in print.' Maestro 20:38, 4 December 2007 (EST)


Except...we decided to wait 5 months to deny it, we called the Weekly Standard crazy for doubting us, we forgot to mention that the author of the pieces was married to one of our editors....the list goes on. TRipp 07:16, 5 December 2007 (EST)

Site Availability

Is there something (maintenance, for instance) that would make the site unavailable in the morning (6-8 AM Eastern)? I bounce through a few different sites before work, and lately I get "Page cannot be displayed" both at home and at work. Later in the morning, it becomes accessible again. Not a big deal, but I thought I would mention it, in case there is any sort of problem you didn't know about. Boomcoach 10:03, 5 December 2007 (EST)

I believe the site is locked during the night. It is explained in the Editor's guide, which is linked from the welcome notice on your talk page. --~BCSTalk2ME 12:04, 5 December 2007 (EST)

Editing is locked at night, yes. What you are most likely experiencing are server issues that we are actively addressing. Geo.Complain! 12:09, 5 December 2007 (EST)
Glad to know I am not going crazy. Well, anecdotal evidence of that claim, I suppose!  :) I knew editing was locked late, but the site was available. I know about server issues, been there, etc.. Boomcoach 12:52, 5 December 2007 (EST)

STD Article

The article in question has an interesting passage:

"According to Dr. John Douglas, who heads CDC STD prevention efforts, local and state health departments lack the funds necessary for prevention programs, and lack of health care insurance among many Americans might be a contributing factor as well."

It seems as though conservative ideas concerning private health care and smaller government may be playing a role in this story as well. Claude 00:05, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Let's not forget the role of abstinence only "education" in this mess. --ConservativeWatchDog 07:18, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Conservative ideas concerning private health care and smaller government have nothing to do with the spread of STDs. Atheistic liberal deceitful promiscuity is the cause. Their promotion of atheistic concepts like censorship of prayer in classrooms, elimination of abstinence-only program funding and support of obscenity and ography as a First Amendment right lead to massive uncontrolled fornication. They teach that celibacy leads to despondency, depression and worse, a typical atheistic liberal deceit. It is infact atheism that leads to despondency, depression and worse. As the Pope says no copulation outside marriage and only then if it is to make babies, and definitely no contraception or monkey spanking. True happiness comes from classroom prayers and reading the Bible. For example, the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24) teaches us to question our own conduct. If atheistic deceitful liberals did so there would be no fornication, homosexualism or drug addicts. FloPey 09:15, 6 December 2007 (EST)

And this is all backed up with what evidence??

The evidence is all around you. Open your mind. If you visit here with an open mind then you will benefit from this site. FloPey 12:21, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Um, hate to break it to you but abstinence education doesn't work. Tell a teenager not to do something, and most of them will then do it, just to find out why they shouldn't. Without providing proper contraception you are aiding the spread of STD's around America. To say that true happiness comes from only one situation is a massive insult to the variety of human life. You may find happiness doing that, thats fine. I find it ridiculous and boring, as do many others, and we find happiness in friends, sport and science. Others find happiness in helping others, some do other things. There is no such thing as "true happiness" cause by a single thing. You are living in a dream world. Bolly 9:41, 7 December 2007
Here is a related article I thought I'd point out in the context of this discussion - however, keep in mind that the newspaper for which the article is written, the New York Times, are reputed for liberal bias. Feebasfactor 18:05, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Abstinence education works. Neither Bolly nor Feebasfactor can quote anything to to the contrary, because it does not exist except in the wishful thinking of atheists who reject everything Christianity stands for anyway. This is why the teaching of contraception and safe sex erodes one's faith: it gets people to believe in things from which disbelief in Christianity logically follows. Promoters of these atheistic concepts will say the equivalent of "no, I didn't say '2+3=6', I said '2+2=5'!!!" The former plainly follows from the latter. You can mock true happiness, but I suggest you consider giving it more credit than you do for what man has achieved. FloPey 18:33, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Hey Flo, read the article. Birth rates rise because contraception is no longer encouraged. Contraception works ok? Condoms have a 98% success rate, and there are other forms of contraception that can be used to increase this. Abstinence only works if people stick to it, and most people don't. Teenagers will do things if you tell them not to, regardless of whatever reasons you give them, I know this because I recently was one. Condoms work, if you refuse to accept that, then you are committing another generation of teenagers to early motherhood. Why does safe sex erode faith? I know many christians who have had safe sex, and who are still christian. Hasn't hurt them at all. Funnily enough thats exactly what religious people say all the time, atheists tend to be the ones on the borders shouting "hold on, 2+2=4 you dunces! Oh well, thats what homeschooling leads to I suppose". Um true happiness? I never mocked it, I said if you get true happiness from the Bible, good on you. Thats what floats your boat. Like I said, despite going to church for a large portion of my early life, I always found it dull, I prefer to study physics or biology, the books that bring me true happiness tend to be textbooks, rather then Holy Books. Bolly 10:56, 7 December 2007
Are you saying that abstinence only works if people stick to it, but condoms work even if people don't use them, or are you inconsistently applying different standards to both situations? Philip J. Rayment 21:53, 6 December 2007 (EST)
I realize that liberals insist on last wordism, Bolly, this is a high-quality site. We do not censor Conservative facts. Try Wikipedia if you want to insist that liberals always have the last word. Not here. FloPey 19:14, 6 December 2007 (EST)
Just to make sure that you won't have the last word. While you blame Bolly nor Feebasfactor for not providing any evidence, you didn't give much either. If these programs work isn't a matter of logic, but one of experience. And it has empirical been shown that abstinence-only programs, unlike comprehensive sex education, have little or no positive effect. [7][8][9]Order 19:49, 6 December 2007 (EST)

I also wonder why the front page quotes Dr Mercola site, and not the actual news source (Yahoo). It is interesting to see that Dr Mercola's comment on this news story promotes comprehensive sex-education. Order 20:00, 6 December 2007 (EST)

It's time to take this to Debate:Have abstinence programs had any significant effect? --Ed Poor Talk 20:06, 6 December 2007 (EST)

Mall Shooting

This section has become too long and has been moved to Discussion:Mall Shootings

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