Talk:Northern Illinois University

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Moved discussion from Talk:Main Page: NIU on February 25, 2008. --Crocoite 12:16, 25 February 2008 (EST)

While everyone here is in the sandels-&-sackcloth mode again, does anyone know of any papers or studies which might shed light oon why whacked-out killers and suicidals seem to always chose places like Schools, McDonald's, Churches, public places and such benign groups to pray on?

There are thousands of "really" useless, bad, evil, mean, thieves and groups exposed in the News annually. They gather in ritz Nightclubs, thug Bars, street gangs, elegant Boardrooms, seedy Pool Halls and back alleys. When has anyone heard of a distraught lone crusader going out shooting up a pack of ass-bags like that? Hell no, they go out killing - just -'people', people harming no one, trying to make it through another day...

Damn! Seems to me that if you have chosen to end your life in a big way, and you've ruled out PETA, at least end it doing something 'famous' like rubbing some corrupt dung-heap's off the planet.

Just an idea :0

NIU

Northern Illinois University is an atheistic college? Do you have a cite for that?--'cuz I don't see anything on their website indicating any official policy of that sort. Indeed, their list of student organizations includes the New Dimension Christian Dance Ministry, Adventist Fellowship Association, Alpha Delta Omega Christian Sorority, Ambassadors Bible Study, Campus Crusade for Christ, Campus Missions International, Divine Expressions, Elogeme Adolphi Christian Sorority, Hillel, Impact Christian Fellowship, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Jesus is the Way Ministries, Judson Baptist Fellowship, Latter Day Saint Student Association, Lutheran Campus Ministries, Lutheran Student Fellowship, Megiste Arete Christian Fraternity, Inc., Muslim Students Association, New Hope College Ministries, Newman Catholic Student Center, and the Presbyterian Campus Ministry. Seems like an awful lot of religious activity for an atheistic organization... (unsigned by RossC)

Those are private clubs and probably most are inactive or have at most a handful of members. The school itself is atheistic: no classroom prayer, no official respect for God, no official facilitation of religion, etc. What adjective would you use to describe an institution that banishes prayer and worship from official activities, if not atheist???--Aschlafly 20:00, 14 February 2008 (EST)
'Inactive or a handful of members'? You're basing that on research, right? Not just the assumption that there are no religious people at colleges, right? Maestro 18:36, 15 February 2008 (EST)
"Secular" seems appropriate, barring any official policy from the college stating that there is, in fact, no god.--RossC 20:34, 14 February 2008 (EST)
As best I can ascertain, "secular" means not of the clergy, not without religion, which, assuming these colleges exclude atheism from "religion", these colleges would be. And they're not about to declare publicly that there is no God, but they would be teaching (as true) evolution, which is an anti-Christian origins myth. Philip J. Rayment 20:40, 14 February 2008 (EST)
No, secular means "worldly" or "non-religious". See here, or here, for example. As for evolution, I think it's a stretch to call it anti-Christian--while it doesn't require a god, I don't see that it affirmatively demeans Jesus.--RossC 20:56, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Regarding 'secular', see my post at Talk:School prayer#Is it not secular?.
Interesting, but a) you're using secondary definitions, and b) contemporary usage, instead of original meaning, has to be the standard or nobody will know what you're talking about. Under those circumstances, "secular" is the best word we have meaning "religiously neutral"--but I understand that there's disagreement about what is (or is not) religiously neutral and therefore secular.--RossC 07:15, 15 February 2008 (EST)
NIU and other public schools are not neutral to religion, and thus then are not "secular". They censor classroom prayer and any official acknowledgment of religion, and that is atheistic. A secular institution is a private school that allows some classroom prayer and some official recognition of religion.--Aschlafly 07:33, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Do you have a line from their official handbook banning all religious activity? If there are religious student organizations, they are funded most likely by the university activity budget, as are thus supported by the university. Midnus
You appear to have contradicted yourself in a minor way there RossC, claiming both that I'm using secondary and original definitions. But I'll plead guilty to the second one. I am using original definitions rather than contemporary use, and that can be misleading, at least. However, I would point out that (a) often with words, and I believe this to be the case here, the original meaning is not entirely lost, so the original meaning still applies, even if it's not the most common use, and (b) it gives an insight to what a secular institution should be. That is, when someone says that schools must be secular, they might mean that they must be religious free (or religious-neutral; I'll address that in a moment), but it's not self-evident that schools must be 'secular' according to that use of the word. You say that 'secular' is the best word we have for "religiously neutral", but I'd suggest that to many, the word means "religion-free", not "religiously neutral". So which is it? Furthermore, what does "religiously neutral" mean in practice anyway? If you use the broadest definition of the word "religion", then "religion" covers the range from belief in God to belief in no god. If schools implicitly acknowledge (as distinct from explicitly promote) that God exists, can they be said to be religiously neutral? At the other end of the scale, if schools won't acknowledge that God exists, they are implicitly teaching atheism. And as Andy said, they are not religiously neutral anyway, as they pretty-well ban any Christian expression, and promote atheistic ideas such as evolution. More on that in my next post, but I'll give you a specific example. I believe that the head of the Religious Studies Department at a Queensland university is an atheist. Seem odd? Well, it's actually consistent with their view of religion. The don't believe in God, but they believe that "religion" is an invention of man. I'm not (at the moment) commenting on whether they are right or wrong in that belief; the point is that they have (and therefore implicitly, if not explicitly, promote) that particular belief. They are not neutral on the subject. Philip J. Rayment 07:55, 15 February 2008 (EST)
We could argue about this all day, but I reckon this is not the forum for that. That said, I understand where you're coming from, and I appreciate the (as always, from you) thoughtful post.--RossC 08:09, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Evolution makes Jesus out to be a liar, as He affirmed the Genesis account and timescale when He said that man was created at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6 ), whereas evolution has man appearing at the end, i.e. in the last few moments of the supposed 14-billion-year-old creation. In a more general sense, Jesus is God, the ultimate author of the Bible, which records various details of creation that contradict the evolutionary story. So evolution is most definitely anti-Christian.
Philip J. Rayment 00:47, 15 February 2008 (EST)
I suggest you go re-read your Bible. Reading the whole of Chapter 10 makes it quite clear that this is in reference to the correctness of divorce, not the precise order of which organisms were created in Genesis week. Indeed, if you read Genesis, man was, in fact, the last organism created by God, according to that. Urushnor 15:30, 15 February 2008 (EST)
The context is about marriage and divorce, but in talking about it, Jesus quotes from the creation account, thereby affirming it as true, and specifically says that man was made at the beginning. According to the biblical timescale, man was created at the beginning of the 6,000 year history of the universe, not at the end of the 14-billion-year history of the universe, and it is this that Jesus is referring to. So claiming that the biblical timescale is wrong is calling Jesus a liar. I also point out that your reply does not even attempt to answer my more general response. Philip J. Rayment 05:49, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Well, first of all, you were saying above that Jesus was saying that man was created 'at the beginning of creation', whereas evolution has man appearing 'at the end', and therefore evolution contradicts the Bible. In fact, the Bible also has man appearing 'at the end', so the only contradiction is if you treat the Bible literally, and therefore think God created the world in literally six days, as in 144 hours. For one example of a different belief, it could be that the Bible is referencing that God, being God, has a very different conception of time than man does, so the labour He carried out in the Creation would be equivalent to a man working for six days solid, then resting on the seventh, but, to us, it is a great deal of time indeed - a few billion years. If that is correct, then there is no contradiction between evolution and the Bible. As for your claim of my reply 'not even attempting to answer your more general response', well, other than pointing out that the quote of Jesus you were using as your central argument was Him speaking in a completely different context, about a different subject, and what you were arguing is actually directly contradicted by Genesis, which is also supposed to be the 'word of God', no I didn't address it at all(!) Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
It seems that you agree that there is a contradiction if you take the Bible to mean six actual (24-hour) days. Good. Because that is what the Bible unambiguously says! God is clearly not talking in "God time", but Earth Time, for the following reasons (among others): A) He defines a day as an "evening and morning"; B) God created time; He is not subject to it Himself, which mean that there is no such thing as "God time"; C) If He's going to tell people how long He took, surely He will do it in terms that those people understand; D) He uses the time He took as the basis for the week (Exodus 20:11)—so what are we supposed to do? Work for six billion years then rest for a billion? No, all the evidence points to those six days being ordinary Earth days.
"If that is correct, then there is no contradiction between evolution and the Bible.": Rubbish! The length of time is most definitely not the only contradiction! Another is the order of creation: The Bible records the Earth being created before the sun, birds before land animals, and so on. Then there's the little matter of evolution being a cruel process requiring the suffering and death of untold numbers of creatures, whereas the Bible says that it was all "very good". That's just the start of the contradictions.
"...no I didn't address it at all(!)": I guess that your comment was an oblique reference to that, although you seem to have missed the point that the creation account contradicted evolution in "various" ways.
Philip J. Rayment 17:54, 16 February 2008 (EST)
This is getting ever more away from the main point, which is that you're having great difficulty, it seems, grasping the very simple point that there is more than one way of interpreting what the Bible says, and not all Christians, by far, agree with YOUR way of interpreting the Bible, so even the relatively small claim of evolution being anti-Christian is false, far less the larger claim of it being an exclusively atheistic idea, and your idea that the Bible is literally true in every detail falls down to, again, a matter of faith, not evidence or proof. Incidentally, you seem to be throwing more doubt on your claims by saying things like 'God is not subject to time, as He created it'. This means he can work for 'an evening and a morning' that lasts for a billion years. Or two billion. Or a microsecond. Or anything else He wants or needs it to. Urushnor 20:33, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Let's try an analogy. If a policeman says to you and some of your friends that the speed limit is 60 kilometres per hour, and one of your friends said "that means that the speed limit is actually six hundred kilometres per hour", and another said "He doesn't mean that it's literally 60 kilometres per hour, it's the religious message that's important", would you agree with them? Would you therefore say that "there is more than one way of interpreting what the policeman said"? Do you think the policeman would accept either of those views? No, just because people twist it to mean something other than what it clearly says does not justify the comment that "there is more than one way of interpreting" it. By saying that "there is more than one way of interpreting", what you are really saying is that there is more than one legitimate way of interpreting it. But you haven't shown that. Just because people interpret it in different ways does not mean that those different ways are all legitimate.
And what if, right behind that policeman, there was evidence, in the form of a speed limit sign, that said the speed limit was 80 kilometres an hour? Would you assume that the policeman MUST be right, or would you say that the policeman was obviously mistaken, and therefore operate on the assumption the speed limit was 80 kilometres per hour? Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
You've just shifted the goalposts. The discussion was on how the Bible (or the policeman's comments) should be understood. Instead of answering that question, you have changed the question to whether or not the policeman (or the Bible) was "mistaken", or incorrect, based on something external to the policeman's comments (the biblical account). The clear implication is that the policeman (the Bible) was wrong, not misinterpreted, which means that you have effectively conceded that your claim that there is only one legitimate way to understand the creation account is wrong. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, the policeman's comments are what he understands the law to say, so it is equivalent, in this analogy, to the written word of the Bible, in other words, the particular interpretation of God's word that man wrote in the Bible. If the law actually states that the speed limit on this hypothetical road is 80 kilometres an hour, then the policeman misinterpreted the law by saying it was 60. So, if evidence suggests that a literal interpretation of the Bible is wrong, should we blindly disregard that evidence, or try to fit that evidence in with what the Bible says, or should we consider the possibility that the Bible is not 100% correct, or perhaps is not a literal account? Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
You are still avoiding the point: Your suggestion was that the words could be legitimately interpreted differently, not that they were wrong. Address THAT point. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, I have addressed that, it's just that, seemingly, you don't like the answer - if there's evidence that suggests what he says is wrong, then his words could be interpreted as simply being wrong. Much like if there's evidence that suggests the Bible could be wrong, or, at least, not a literal account (radioisotopic decay, distant starlight, counting of permafrost layers, etc, etc, etc). Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"... your idea that the Bible is literally true in every detail...": But that is not my idea. I accept that the Bible contains parables, metaphors, etc.
So why is it impossible the account of Creation is a metaphor or simile? Considering that Genesis actually contains TWO Creations, I would suggest that this is a very distinct possibility. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Because the language is the language of narrative, not metaphor or simile. See Creation week. And although you can divide the creation account into two parts, it is one account with two complementary parts. That doesn't suggest metaphor or simile at all. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Let's examine that, bearing in mind your assertation that Genesis should be taken absolutely literally, and is 100% correct. In the first account, it states, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters' (Genesis 1:1-1:2, King James). Now, reading that literally, the Earth started as, basically, a giant sea, with no land at all (incidentally, how the 'Spirit of God' can move upon the face of the water of something that 'was without form, and void', is a bit of a mystery, but let's just say He found a way). In the second account, it says, 'These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.' (Genesis 2:4-2:5, King James). Reading that literally, Earth started as, basically, a giant barren land with no plants and no water. How is that 'complimentary'? Then there's arguably the most important part of Genesis - the creation of man. In the first account, man was made last (Genesis 1:26-1:30, if you want to look it up). In the second, man was made first (Genesis 2:7-2:8). In addition, there is the creation of woman. In the first account, reading it literally, woman was created at the same time as man (Genesis 1:27). In the second, man was created first, then God created everything else before making woman from Adam's rib (Genesis 2:21-2:25). Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
I said that the creation account is narrative, not that all of Genesis nor even 100% of the creation account is literal. Genesis itself certainly contains non-narrative, and even the creation account might contain the odd metaphor. For the rest, see creation story. And by the way, the word is 'complementary', not 'complimentary'.
Given that your entire arguments are based on the idea that the Creation, as depicted in the Bible, is 100% accurate and 100% literal, this admission is startling, to say the least. In effect, this nullifies most of your arguments below, so I'll just address the ones it doesn't. As for the 'Creation story' article, that is unconvincing, to say the least. It tries to make the claim that the second account is of day six only, despite the fact this seems to contradict the literal reading of Genesis, and fails to address how this would mean certain things would need to be created twice (it does address that the passages further down in Genesis 2 talks about things being 'brought before' Adam, which could mean created in front of him, or could mean simply being taken to him, for some reason, but it ignores the fact the second account opens with a description of the Earth as a dry, barren, lifeless place, or the fact that Genesis 2:7-9 pretty clearly talks about trees and plants being created immediately after man was, despite plants and trees being created on day 3, and man on day 6, according to the first account). Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"Incidentally, you seem to be throwing more doubt on your claims by saying things like 'God is not subject to time, as He created it'. This means he can work for 'an evening and a morning' that lasts for a billion years. Or two billion. Or a microsecond. Or anything else He wants or needs it to.": Of course could have made an evening an morning that lasts for billions of years, but whatever He made it to be, that would be what He was referring to, not "God time". As an evening and morning actually only last a matter of hours, that is what He was talking about.
Philip J. Rayment 07:07, 17 February 2008 (EST)
...according to how you interpret the Bible. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
No, according to what it actually says. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
...according to you. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
No; according to the consensus of the experts. You did read Creation week, didn't you? Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, I did, and the only thing that was indicated by 'the concensus of the experts', according to that article, was a quote from one professor, who seemingly thinks that there is 'probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: ... creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience'. However, in the actual letter, he goes onto say, 'The only thing I would say to qualify this is that most professors may avoid much involvement in that sort of argument and so may not say much explicitly about it one way or the other', plus it's not exactly a solid finding - it's in a letter of what he believes is the position of those professors, not, for example, a published paper or book. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...four corners of the earth". (Revelation 7:1, New King James Version. Obviously that is a metaphor and not literal. PJR, I remember you talking about this before, but I don't quite remember what your explanation was again; perhaps you could briefly elaborate? Feebasfactor 12:05, 17 February 2008 (EST)
I agree that it's a metaphor, but beyond that I don't follow what elaboration you want. Philip J. Rayment 20:17, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Let me make sure I'm understanding you: Evolution, because it does not conform to a literal reading of the Bible, is anti-Christian. Therefore, institutions and persons that use/teach/promote/accept evolution are atheistic. Is that accurate?--RossC 07:15, 15 February 2008 (EST)
No, that's not accurate. The people who promote evolution are atheistic. That's a fact, not a "therefore". Evolution, as taught, denies one Adam who sinned and thus denies redemption of that sin by Jesus Christ. It's difficult to imagine anything more anti-Christian than that.--Aschlafly 07:33, 15 February 2008 (EST)
What about those who believe/accept evolution, and aren't involved with teaching/promoting it? Atheistic, or something else?--RossC 08:01, 15 February 2008 (EST)
No, you're not understanding me. Evolution, because it does not conform to what the Bible plainly means, is anti-Christian. It does not follow that everyone who accepts evolution is an atheist, and I'm certainly not claiming that. The idea is atheistic, and promoting it is to promote an atheistic idea, but this can be done by what Lenin referred to as "useful idiots", i.e. people who unwittingly undermine their own beliefs. In this case, Christians promoting an anti-Christian idea. Philip J. Rayment 08:05, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, no. I've made this point below, but I'll make it here too - it is not 'anti-Christian', it is 'anti-Young Earth Creationism'. Not all Christians are Young Earth Creationists. Urushnor 15:47, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Christianity is defined by the Bible, not by the various beliefs of its followers. It is anti-biblical, therefore anti-Christian. Philip J. Rayment 05:55, 16 February 2008 (EST)
No, it is 'anti-one particular interpretation of the Bible's words', not 'anti-Biblical'. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
No, it anti the clear, unambiguous record of the Bible. Philip J. Rayment 17:56, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, that's the one interpretation it contradicts - the interpretation the Bible is 100% accurate in every detail, and is intended to be taken literally. Urushnor 20:33, 16 February 2008 (EST)
That is the only correct way to understand it. That you think there are other ways, or that other people think there are other ways, does not make it so. You have done nothing to show that any of those other ways have any legitimacy, other than to quote popular opinion. Philip J. Rayment 07:07, 17 February 2008 (EST)
And, as you still seem to have problems grasping, this obviously means that there is more than one way of interpreting the Bible - or else everyone, including me, would be agreeing with you. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
No, the reason that people disagree is not because of it being legitimately possible to understand it in different way, but because they are trying to force something external to the Bible into it. See Old Earth Creationism for examples. Also, your response to my analogy above about the policeman illustrates this well. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Well, I'll put it this way - unless you are God Himself, how can you possibly say what is and is not a 'legitimate' way to interpret the Bible? From the viewpoint of these people, they are using the knowledge they have gained from the study of God's creation to go back to the Bible and gain a better understanding of what God actually meant. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
How can I say? By using my brain! By understanding what words mean. That's what words and language is for: to convey information. If you are saying that we are unable to determine what a passage says without being the author, you are effectively saying that language is useless, in which case, why are you using it to write these messages? Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
I refer you to your admission that Genesis is not 100% literal or accurate. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
Not exactly an adjective, but I would call it one that conforms to the First Amendment. Urushnor 20:14, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Except that the First Amendment is supposed to guarantee freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, and not impose the religion of atheistic humanism in place of Christianity. Philip J. Rayment 20:35, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Well, in order to conform to the First Amendment, they have a choice - they can either have Christian classroom prayer, display Christian religious imagery in order to 'show respect for God', officially facilitate Christian practices, then do the same for Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, plus any and every other religion you can think of (and, even then, it could be argued that simply showing even-handedness to all religions is still technically a breach of the First Amendment), or they can fail to do any of that for any religion. They chose to do the latter simply because it's impractical to do the former. They do not impose 'atheistic humanism', they simply fail to impose the practices of any religion(s) or have obvious references to religion(s) imposed on the students. Urushnor 21:01, 14 February 2008 (EST)
No, that is not the choice. The intent of the First Amendment was to prevent the state being over the church, as is (technically) the case in Britain (with the Queen being the head of the Church of England) and of there being an official church organisation. There is nothing unconstitutional about schools having Christian classroom prayer, etc. and not Muslim prayer, in the sense of what was intended by the First Amendment. Further, by teaching (as true) the atheistic origins myth (to pick a prime example), the are imposing an atheistic—and therefore religious—tenet, contrary to your understanding of the First Amendment. Philip J. Rayment 00:57, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Well, sorry, you are fundamentally disagreeing with Thomas Jefferson there. He made it perfectly clear that the intent of the First Amendment was to have a complete separation of Church and State, as he stated in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists. Having teacher-led Christian prayer, but not teacher-led Muslim prayer, for example, in public schools would be a clear indication of the authorities preferring Christianity over Islam. As such, if the school did have teacher-led Christian prayer, as I said, they would need to then have similar practices put into place for any and every religion there is, in order to conform to the First Amendment. Urushnor 15:30, 15 February 2008 (EST)
A complete separation of the church as an organisation (which is what I said it meant), or of a belief in God? If the latter, why does the Declaration of Independence acknowledge the Creator? Yes, having Christian-led prayer would show a preference for Christianity over Islam, but it would not show a preference for Anglicanism over Baptists, which was more to the point. How is showing a preference for Christianity over Islam (which I'm sure would not have been on their minds) any different that the Declaration of Independence showing a preference for a theistic religion over an atheistic religions such as Buddhism? The point is that the point of it all was to not show a preference for Catholicism over Methodism, etc.; it wasn't to avoid showing a preference for Christianity over Islam, so Christian prayer would not be against the intention of the Amendment. Philip J. Rayment 06:03, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Well, I have have to say that is the most...erm...unique interpretation of the First Amendment I have ever heard. However, considering that George Washington actually professed similar sentiments to a Jewish synagogue in 1790 as Jefferson did to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, it would appear to be an entirely incorrect one. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
What a vague response, with little in the way of specifics. Philip J. Rayment 17:57, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Well, I'm not entirely sure what you're finding so vague. Pardon me if I misunderstood you, but you seem to suggest that the principle of separation of church and state professed by Jefferson only applied to not having a specific Christian sect as the 'preferred religion', but did not apply to having Christianity preferred over Islam, for example. I pointed out that George Washington professed a similar sentiment to a Jewish synagogue 12 years before Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. Last time I checked, Judaism was not a Christian sect. Urushnor 20:33, 16 February 2008 (EST)
What were Jefferson's and Washington's actual words, and their contexts? Saying that "Washington ... expressed similar sentiment" is not very specific. I would also mention that Christianity and Judaism are closely related, so accepting Judaism is not exactly the same thing as accepting any and all religions. Philip J. Rayment 07:07, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Jefferson: 'I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State.' This was in a letter responding to a letter from them simply wishing him well and expressing their admiration for him, I believe.
For Washington, you basically have to read the whole letter. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Jefferson's wording is similar to the First Amendment, which I've already explained. There's nothing in that wording that contradicts the explanation I gave above. And by the way, according to this transcript, there was a capital 'C' on "Church".
No, there's nothing that contradicts you, apart from the clearly mentioned concept of 'separation of church and state'. If there is a capital C on 'Church', so what? Unless you are trying to say he is referring to one particular Church, that means that all Churches are utterly separate from the State. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
It doesn't contradict my point that there was supposed to be a separation of the church organisations from the state, not a separation of Christianity from the state. The capital letter might not matter, but it might imply something other than the church organisation, which he effectively said should be separate from the 'State' organisation. He was talking about keeping the two establishments separate. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
And how, exactly, do you keep the organisation of the Church separate from the State when the actual authorities, or their representatives, lead, for example, prayer sessions for that Church, or display the religious icons of that Church, etc, etc, etc? It seems clear to me that you simply can't. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
There's nothing in Washington's letter contradicting what I said either. Yes, he endorses that they would have freedom to follow their religion, but I didn't suggest otherwise. You don't have to have a religion-free government in order to allow people freedom of religion.
Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
...unless you want to actually live up to the 'no preferred religion' idea. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
I don't. Various religions contradict each other. Therefore, they can not all be correct. But, and this is a point that atheists frequently overlook (or deliberately blur), that doesn't mean that they are all incorrect. Assuming that at least one is correct, why shouldn't that be "preferred"? And before you suggest that there is no way of telling which is correct, I would add that that idea is again an atheistic myth, and if you are going to suggest that, you need to prove it. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, if the idea that there is no objective way of telling which religion is the correct one (assuming, of course, there is only one 'correct' one, or that it isn't the case that they're all wrong) is a 'myth', I'm sure you'll dispel it by proving, once and for all, which is right. Feel free, any time. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
Jefferson had no role in the adoption of the Constitution or the First Amendment, and his view is not representative of those who did. Also, Jefferson's letter was a political one to a narrow audience that sought the opinion given, not to a broad audience that might reflect Jefferson's general opinion.--Aschlafly 08:14, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Erm, what? It was criticisms of the Constitution by Jefferson, among others, that caused the Bill of Rights to be written. In case you aren't aware, the Bill of Rights is the first ten Amendments. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Indeed, and students of NIU are free to practice religion in any way they see fit. They have many organizations on campus specifically dedicated to religion which the university doesn't appear to restrict in any way. If those student organizations want to teach Young Earth Creationism, they are certainly free to do so. Secular is the correct word inasmuch as the university doesn't endorse any religion over another. SSchultz 20:45, 14 February 2008 (EST)
From some of the stories I've heard, it would take a bit more than that to convince me that the student organisations have that much freedom. But that's beside the point, which is that the school would be teaching atheistic ideas, such as evolution. Philip J. Rayment 20:52, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, the only religious belief that evolution contradicts is Young Earth Creationism. Other beliefs, such as Theistic Evolution, are not contradicted by evolution, so evolution cannot be described as an 'atheistic idea'. Also, the fact is that evolution is taught as part of the science curriculum, and it is the best scientific theory as to how life developed. Urushnor 21:13, 14 February 2008 (EST)
It should also be noted that nothing is preventing the students from simply saying 'I have faith that this evidence, which seems to prove my beliefs wrong, will be explained by God/Allah/whoever in due course, but, in the meantime, I will proceed on the working assumption it indicates what it seems to indicate.' Urushnor 21:19, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Evolution contradicts the Bible, which means that it contradicts Christianity and Judaism. It also contradicts Islam, according to some at least. Theistic evolution itself is contrary to the Bible (how can you have theistic evolution in six days?). That some Christians compromise their understanding of the Bible to accommodate evolution does not mean that it is not atheistic at heart. That evolution is the best scientific theory of the development of life is your opinion, not a given. Yes, anyone is free to believe that evolution is wrong, but there are many examples of such people suffering discrimination, so they are not as free as you seem to think. And the evidence is already available anyway, so it's not something that they need wait on future discoveries for. Philip J. Rayment 01:03, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, no, evolution only contradicts the literal interpretation of the Bible. If you believe, as some do, that the account of Creation, as described in Genesis, is either not entirely accurate, due to the limited understanding of man, or is God speaking in simile and metaphor, then evolution does not contradict the Bible. That evolution is the best scientific theory of the development of life is not merely my opinion - it is the professional opinion of all bar a fairly small minority of biologists throughout the world, and is backed up by simply studying the evidence and believing what it appears to indicate. Conversely, Young Earth Creationsim relies on having faith that the Bible is literally correct, and trying to fit the evidence into that preconception, which is why they face what you call 'discrimination' in scientific circles - in essence, the scientists are turning around and saying, 'where's your proof?' Urushnor 15:30, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Philip, you're doing it again. You're essentially saying that all Christians who do not agree with the YEC view are not true Christians. That's a hell of a bold claim and a very insular view. The debate that started here on something like "Does YEC damage the cause of Christianity?" brings this up - that a dogmatic approach to Biblical innerancy can and does put an awful lot of people off, even I would suggest some of the non-YEC Christians on this site. Christianity is a broad church and it's one of its great strengths. Stating that the vast majority of believers are essentially heretics won't do anyone any favours. Ajkgordon 15:55, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Urushnor, if you believe that the creation account is not entirely accurate or is God speaking in simile or metaphor, then you are not believing what the author was trying to convey, which means that you are rejecting what it is saying. Therefore, evolution is not contradicting just a literal account, but is contradicting what it is actually trying to teach. What you're really saying is that evolution does not contradict an interpretation of the Bible that doesn't actually agree with what the Bible is saying!
Which is more important - God's word, or man's interpretation of it? You forget - the Bible might be the word of God (or might not be), but it was written by a man. If we can use our increased knowledge of how the universe works to go back and look at the Bible again, and, by doing that, get a better idea of what God was trying to say, what, exactly, is wrong with that? Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
God's word is more important than man's interpretation, which is why we take it as it was written, rather than reinterpreting it in the light of fallible human opinion offered mainly by atheists who weren't there to witness the events that God, Who was there, describes. Philip J. Rayment 18:09, 16 February 2008 (EST)
So you take the fallible interpretation of man 4000 years ago instead. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
No. That is not what I said and not what I meant and is not true. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Well, unless you are saying that the Bible was NOT written by man, that is exactly what the Bible is (or Genesis, anyway, which is the relevant part in this discussion) - the interpretation of God's word by man 4000 (or more) years ago. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
What the Bible claims, and what many people over thousands of years have believed, is that the Bible was written by men under the "inspiration" of God. It's rather like a person using a "ghost writer" to write his autobiography. The actual wording is that of the ghost writer, but the account is that of the person whose autobiography it is, and who ensures that it's correct. It was written by fallible men, but with God supervising it to ensure that it was correct and said what He wanted it to say. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
"That evolution is the best scientific theory of the development of life is not merely my opinion": I never meant that it was your opinion alone. My point is that it was an opinion.
And those kinds of 'opinions' are one that are backed up by a healthy weight of evidence and are generally the closest we can get to 'proof' without building a time machine and going back to have a look with our own eyes. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
We already have a time machine: The Bible is a historical record of what happened, by One who was there to observe the events. So those opinions are not the closest we can get to proof, and by your own admission, are not proof, yet are frequently presented as indisputable. You like to allow for the Bible being interpreted in different ways (although words are quite clear), but don't seem to allow for the evidence to be interpreted in different ways (although evidence is not so clear). Creationists also have evidence: the same evidence that evolutionists have, but they interpret the evidence in the framework of a different worldview that evolutionists. Yes, the so-called "healthy weight of evidence" is actually an interpretation of the evidence built on a worldview that excludes God to start with. Philip J. Rayment 18:09, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Well, for a start, the whole idea that the Bible is a 'time machine' is, again, based on the assumption that the Bible is entirely accurate and a literal account, which is a matter of having faith it is so, rather than evidence or proof. I do not know why you have such a problem grasping such a simple concept. It is entirely baffling to me. Secondly, evidence is 'interpreted', as you call it, in the particular way it is because that is what is suggested by direct observation of the evidence. The 'alternative interpretation' you describe is basically having the Young Earth Creationists observing the evidence, then trying to reconcile that with their preconceived notion that the Earth is 6,000 years old and created by God. Thirdly, if you take a purely scientific viewpoint, you do not automaticlly exclude God, you simply say, 'prove He exists'. To date, no-one has absolutely proven He exists, so, in scientific terms, it is an unproven hypothesis, not a well-founded theory. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Faith is required for everything, including, as I'm sure I've said, faith that the evolutionary scientists are accurately describing the evidence. So yes, faith is required, but it is not faith sans evidence, as you seem to imply. Can you grasp that concept? Your bafflement almost certainly stems from a worldview that does not understand Christianity yet believes that it does understand it, such as believing that "faith" is believing something without or despite the evidence. This is typical atheistic view of faith but one that is entirely erroneous. Until you understand things like this, you will continue to be baffled.
Unless you are trying to say there is a vast, worldwide conspiracy of scientists, then any scientist who did NOT accurately portray the evidence would be exposed, unless they do it very well indeed. There have been a few long-running hoaxes, but guess how they were finally exposed? By others, usually scientists, examining the evidence. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
No, I'm not claiming conspiracy. I'm claiming that you have faith in those scientists. Faith is trust based on evidence, and what you've done is quote some of the evidence for your faith. But faith you have. However, although in a general sense your evidence is valid, I'd suggest that your faith is somewhat stronger than it deserves to be. Please read this. You also overstate the exposure of fraud. In the case of Piltdown Man, for example, I think I'm correct in saying that it was only shown to be a hoax when the apparent evidence no longer fitted the paradigm, so they re-examined it. If it had continued to fit, it might still be foisted on us. So what's that say about other so-called evidence that still fits the paradigm? Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Firstly, all along, you've been saying that YEC isn't accepted simply because it isn't accepted in what you call the 'paradigm', not because of lack of evidence (though all the 'evidence' I've seen is, in fact, the self-same evidence for evolution, simply reinterpreted with the assumption YEC is correct), yet now you give an example of something that was accepted, because it fitted the established evidence, then exposed because the 'paradigm' shifted. What shifted the 'paradigm'? New evidence. So that backs up the wider point I've been making - scientists will follow the evidence. Secondly, what you've said is exactly what I said - others examined the evidence, and found it to be wanting. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
No, evidence is not interpreted in the way it is because that's what direct observation of the evidence suggests. If that were so, scientists who saw the Grand Canyon would have believed that it took hundreds of thousands or millions of years to form, but they did not conclude this until after the uniformitarian paradigm of long ages became popular. It was not the evidence that suggested that it took a long time, but the paradigm.
And how did this 'paradigm' become 'popular', to use your terms? The evidence suggested it was the case. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
No, it was because it removed the need of a creator. It was for ideological reasons. In fact, initially its strongest opposition was from other scientists. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
"Thirdly, if you take a purely scientific viewpoint, you do not automaticlly exclude God, you simply say, 'prove He exists'": No, you exclude Him. Sometimes on the (correct) grounds that science can't study the supernatural, and sometimes because of ideology. See Suppression of alternatives to evolution#Ideology. But even though science can't prove God, it has no reason to exclude the possibility of Him being a cause. That is, if science said, "If God exists, creation is a legitimate explanation of origins, and if he doesn't exist, evolution is the best explanation", then I would have little objection. But instead it says, "Evolution is fact", thereby excluding even the possibility of God, despite its inability to do that.
And the reason that scientists don't say that is that it is unscientific to form theories on the basis of unproven hypotheses. Evolution is a well-founded theory with a great deal of evidence backing it up. Creationism is an unproven hypothesis. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
First, that hardly is an adequate response. Second, Yes, they do say that—when they are talking about creation. But the same applies to evolution, yet they don't say it there. To paraphrase you, creation is a well-founded theory with a great deal of evidence backing it up. Evolutionism is an unproven hypothesis. Don't agree? The point is, merely restating your view does not make it so, and is not a valid argument. Rather, it's the argument of someone who has no argument. It's the same as saying "you're wrong because I'm right". Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, considering absolutely anyone I have seen who calls themselves a 'creation scientist' bases their arguments on the idea that the evidence supporting evolution is not strong enough to be considered 'proof', rather than it being very weak, and also has to do things like try to assume that some catastrophe happened in the past to explain large amounts of radioisotopic decay, or that Earth was in a black hole for a while to explain distant starlight, despite the complete lack of evidence showing this, and completely failing to come up with answers like 'then why wasn't the Earth cooked from the resulting intense heat?', to try to claim that YEC is a 'well-founded theory with a great deal of evidence to back it up' simply shows your lack of familiarity with the basics of the scientific process. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"To date, no-one has absolutely proven He exists, so, in scientific terms, it is an unproven hypothesis, not a well-founded theory." As is much of science, which can't "prove" anything, but those parts are not rejected simply because they are unproven hypotheses.
Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Correct. They are well-founded theories. Maybe you don't understand what the difference is between 'hypothesis' and 'theory', when using them as scientific terms. In general terms, 'theory' is, basically, an explanation of something that has a great deal of evidence backing it up, and has been tried and tested without being proven false (the Theory of Evoultion fits this as it has a great deal of evidence backing it up, and, despite much more evidence being discovered since it was first proposed, the nearest it has gotten to being proven wrong is differences on the precise mechanism of evolution). A 'hypothesis', in general terms, is basically 'a guess', usually based on fairly weak evidence (Young Earth Creationism/Intelligent Design, for example, fits this as the only 'evidence' that directly supports this is the Bible).
Again, you are basically saying "I'm right, so you're wrong". Not a good argument. I reject that evolution is well-founded; I reject that evolution has a great deal of evidence backing it up. And you have no idea what you are talking about (or are being deliberately deceptive) in claiming that the only evidence supporting creation and ID is the Bible. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Nope, I'm being factual. The only evidence, to date, that directly supports YEC, as opposed to evolution, is the Bible. Every single other piece of 'evidence' can be explained in a way that is in perfect concordance with evolution and, indeed, some of the 'evidence' which requires a particular interpretation or explanation to fit in with YEC can simply be taken at face value to fit in with evolution. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...it is the professional opinion of all bar a fairly small minority of biologists throughout the world...": Which means what? We are talking about history here, not biology. We are talking about what happened in the past, not what biologists can observe through their microscopes and study in their laboratories.
There is a reason the time periods we're discussing here are generally referred to as 'prehistorical'. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
My use of the term "history" was meant as a reference to the past, not the recorded past. But apart from that, your point is correct, but betrays the problem by not adding the reason. The reason is because the biblical account which says that recorded history began at the beginning is rejected in favour of a view that says that recorded history didn't begin until much later. To put it another way, creationists believe that (on a global scale) there is no such thing as pre-history, so claiming that we are talking about pre-history is to a priori reject the biblical view before looking at the evidence. I'm out of time, I'll have to continue later. Philip J. Rayment 18:09, 16 February 2008 (EST)
So, by extension, saying that there is NOT such a thing as 'pre-history' is to 'a priori accept the biblical view before looking at the evidence', to paraphrase yourself. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Creationists admit that they have starting assumptions. It's only the evolutionists that deny that they do also. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
And, in order to completely follow the scientific process, you have to have NO 'starting assumptions'. Hence, Creationism is bad science. As for the idea that evolutionists have starting assumptions, the only 'assumptions' they have is that the scientific process works, basically. If you want to disregard the scientific process entirely, and, by extension, science, then that's fine, on the grounds of theology and 'simply having faith', you may very well be right. However, that is, in fact, what I've been saying all along. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
I like it when my opponents contradict themselves! You say that science is to have NO starting assumptions (your emphasis), then mention one that it has! Ergo, the rest of your paragraph is invalid. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, not to make that assumption means you have to recreate the entire scientific progress man has made since the dawn of time, and it is kind of a basic assumption as a scientist that science works and is actually worth pursuing as a career. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...and is backed up by simply studying the evidence and believing what it appears to indicate": That, again, is opinion, and one that I totally reject. The evidence is studied and interpreted within the framework of the paradigm. If it was a case of simply believing what it appears to indicate, everyone would agree on it. They don't.
Well, the only people who don't is, basically, Young Earth Creationists, and they do so down to their preconceptions. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Your logic: A always results in B. That fact that A doesn't always result in B doesn't count because the exceptions are creationists. That sounds like bigotry. Got a real argument? Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Try addressing what my arguemt actually is, instead of building a strawman. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
The people who don't agree take that stance due to their YEC preconception. To date, apart from the predominantly Christian YEC believers, I have yet to hear anyone look at the evidence and offer an alternative explanation. Certainly, I cannot think of anyone offering an alternative explanation that has nothing to do with religion. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Many YECs have become YECs because of the evidence. Intelligent Design is another example. Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
My point was, if the evidence was as weak as you say, many people would be coming up with all sorts of theories. That hasn't happened. As for Intelligent Design, sorry, that is just Creationism with the word 'God' replaced with 'an unknown Creator'. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
If the evidence for evolution is weak, it doesn't mean that they will come up with "all sorts" of theories, as though there have to be many alternatives. And the point is that they do come up with alternatives, such as creation and Intelligent Design. Your claim that ID is just (young-Earth) creationism with 'an unknown Creator' substituted is blatantly false, as many ID people believe in an old Earth, and some don't believe in God. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Actually, I said ID was creationism, simply replacing God with 'an unknown creator'. You inserted the 'young earth' part. As for some 'not believing in God', well, I've yet to see one/meet one. However, their non-belief in God simply makes ID even worse science - they don't even have a hypothesis as to how life came about, they are just basically saying 'it can't be evolution, so it must be that somebody made all this stuff', for reasons best known to themselves. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
I inserted the 'young earth' part because that's what we were talking about. So now belief or non-belief in God matters to science? Wow! The principle of ID is that there is evidence of design. You don't need to name the designer in order to determine that. If an archaeologist finds a stone tool, he can determine that it was a tool and not a naturally-occurring shape without having to name who made it. The same applies with ID. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, an archaeologist can say a stone is a stone tool rather than a stone - because it usually shows clear signs he or she can actually point to of being intentionally shaped. To date, no-one has ever pointed out a clear-cut sign of intentional design in any organism, so, if there is such a thing as a non-religious believer in YEC/ID (and, as I say, I've yet to see or meet one), as I aid, then his 'hypothesis' is basically 'it can't be evolution, so someone must have made all this stuff'. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"Conversely, Young Earth Creationsim relies on having faith that the Bible is literally correct...": When you are studying history, a book of history seems like a good starting point, does it not?
If the Bible was proven to be a 100% accurate, literal account of the events, then, yes, it would be - but that's the problem. It's not proven as such. You have to have faith it is. There simply is no proven historical account of the creation of the world, so we cannot use standard methods of historical research - we have to turn to the study of geology, biology and chemistry instead, and those suggest taking the Bible as a literal account would be incorrect. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
In asking for "proven ... 100% accurate, literal account of the events", then you're asking for more than what even science claims to be able to offer. The evidence, however, is that the Bible is a very accurate and reliable document. Yes, faith is required, just as faith is required for everything, including, for example, your faith that the evolutionary scientists are accurately portraying the evidence (despite a number of frauds, back-downs, changes-of-minds, etc. etc.—it's obvious that they are not "100% accurate"). The scientific disciplines that you mention (geology, biology, and chemistry) are useful for studying things in the present, but not for studying the past, as we don't have the past to study. They can study fossils (which exist in the present), but what they say about the past is not empirical science, but explanations made according to a worldview. So those scientific disciplines do not suggest that taking the Bible as a literal account would be incorrect. Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
The only way you can say that, on the evidence, the Bible is a very accurate and reliable document about the creation of the world is if 'the evidence' is...well...the Bible. The reason I asked for the Bible to be proven to be a 100% accurate, literal account of the events is because, essentially, that is what YOU are saying it is, and that is the basis upon which your arguments are based. In order to base your arguments on something, you have to prove that thing first. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
I should also make the point that chemistry, biology and especially geology are, in fact, extremely useful for studying things in the past, precisely BECAUSE 'we do not have the past to study', as you put it. It should also be noted that what you call 'changes of mind' and 'back-downs' are, in fact, a central part of the scientific process - you re-evaluate old hypotheses and theories based on new evidence, alter them if they can be altered, or come up with a new one if they cannot. In fact, this is why creationist face what you call 'discrimination' - the scientists say 'you claim this? Where's your proof? You have none? Then that's bad science.' Urushnor 12:47, 18 February 2008 (EST)
"The only way you can say that, on the evidence, the Bible is a very accurate and reliable document about the creation of the world is if 'the evidence' is...well...the Bible.": First, that's not exactly what I said, and second, no, it's not the only way at all. I said that "the Bible", is a very reliable and accurate document, not "the Bible ... about the creation of the world". Much of the evidence for "the Bible" being very reliable and accurate is in other parts of the Bible. If rest is accurate, it is reasonable to assume (not proof) that the creation account is accurate. Furthermore, the way that you determine if something is accurate is by comparing it to something else that is considered reliable, and this is possible with some details of the creation account.
Firstly, some parts of the Bible are, indeed, accurate. Some are inaccurate. So that would suggest the biblical account of Creation is of questionable accuracy. Secondly, you are saying exactly what I said - 'much of the evidence for "the Bible" being very reliable and accurate is in other parts of the Bible', so, in other words, the evidence for the accuracy of the Bible is the Bible. Thirdly, you say there is something else that you can compare the Biblical account of the Creation to that is considered reliable. Such as? Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
"Some are inaccurate": Prove it. Until you do, your next sentence is invalid.
Well, as I've pointed out, there's discrepancies between the two Genesis accounts. Both can't be accurate.
"...in other words, the evidence for the accuracy of the Bible is the Bible": Nonsense. The evidence for the Bible being accurate is that is is consistent with external evidence.
That, as I made clear, was in reference to your own claim that 'much of the evidence for "the Bible" being very reliable and accurate is in other parts of the Bible'. You're now even contradicting yourself. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
In answer to your third question, the Bible says, for example, that God made creatures as distinct kinds. This is what we observe (if it wasn't, we couldn't classify them into different taxonomies). Another example, although in this case not strictly from the creation account itself, is that the Bible describes a world-wide flood that destroys much of the life on Earth. The evidence is of massive amounts of sedimentary (i.e. water-laid) rock containing the remains of life forms. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Suppose, for a moment, this is an entirely fictional account someone made up on the spot. Would he really say that animals WEREN'T of different kinds? As for the sedimentary rock, yes, that could have been deposited by the Flood - if the Flood has lasted one heck of a lot longer than the Bible depicts and the Flood happened before the formation of mountains, contrary to the Bible, and the Earth was standing-room-only with creatures (quite literally) to explain the sheer number of fossils found in this rock. Conversely, the Theory of Evolution explains perfectly the depth of the sedimentary rock layer, and tectonic activity explains how this layer became part of mountains. Evolution also explains the lack of the mixing of fossils. If all the animals died at once, as in the 'Flood' scenario, you would expect a right royal mixture of fossils all over the place. Instead, it appears that the deeper you go int the layer, the more primitive and less evolved animals you get. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"The reason I asked for the Bible to be proven to be a 100% accurate, literal account of the events is because, essentially, that is what YOU are saying it is, and that is the basis upon which your arguments are based.": There's two issues here. First, as I've stated numerous times, I don't claim (and do reject) that all the Bible is meant to be understood literally, as it contains metaphor, figures of speech, etc. Second, my point is not that you have to accept the Bible as accurate, but that you have no grounds for rejecting it as inaccurate. Therefore, there is no onus on me to prove that it is accurate; the onus is on you to prove that it is inaccurate.
Firstly, there is grounds to reject the literal interpretation of the Bible on two grounds - it has already been done about other things, and the very fact that many people HAVE rejected a literal interpretation of the Bible is pretty clear-cut evidence there is grounds to do so. Secondly, I'm afraid it is YOU who originally made the assertation that YOUR interpretation of the Bible is the only valid and correct one, so the onus is, indeed, on you to prove that this is so. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
"...it has already been done about other things...": I don't understand this.
I have already answered the point that many people have rejected a literal reading being grounds for that rejection.
Where did I originally make that assertion?
Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, the argument for 'literal interpretation of the Bible' (or, more accurately, Genesis) has seemingly been ended by your admission that Genesis is not literal. As for your second point, I'm not entirely sure what you're saying, but if you're trying to say that the large number of people who do reject a literal interpretation of the Bible is not evidence for grounds to do so, then you're basically saying a great many people did this at random for no particular reason. As for your original assertation, try this edit here, where you clearly call anything bar your interpretation of the Bible (that is, Genesis being literally true) 'anti-Christian', even when it's proferred by people who are what you call 'useful idiots', via a Lenin quote. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"I should also make the point that chemistry, biology and especially geology are, in fact, extremely useful for studying things in the past, precisely BECAUSE 'we do not have the past to study', as you put it.": That makes no sense. You remember hearing the story about the person looking for something they lost in the street? A person comes to help them but can't find it either, so asks where he lost it. The searcher points up the road and says "over there". "Then why are you searching here?", the helper asks. "Because the light is better here", the searcher says. Just because we don't have anything better to study the past does NOT mean that they are "extremely useful"!
Well, I'll put it this way - biology is the study of organisms. Organisms have been around for a very long time. Even the Bible agress with that one. Geology is the study of rocks, the only things that we can be pretty sure were around at or close to the creation of the world, and have been around, in one form or another, ever since. Chemistry is, basically, the study of the building blocks of everything (atoms and molecules). I'm not entirely sure why you think those fields are useless in studying the past, but, quite fankly, it shows your ignorance of science. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
What a sequence of non-sequiturs! Yes, biology is the study of organisms, and organisms have been around a long time (depending on what is meant by "long"), but how are the two statements related? Just by typing them one after the other doesn't mean that there's any connection! And I didn't say that they were 'useless' at studying the past; I rejected that they were 'extremely useful'. They can be of some help, but that help is limited. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
You still haven't got it - the study of things now can tell quite a bit about how they came to be here - which are the events of the past. Especially so with organisms. And I note you've dropped your arguments against chemistry and geology. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"It should also be noted that what you call 'changes of mind' and 'back-downs' are, in fact, a central part of the scientific process ...": True. And I noticed that you left out the bit about frauds. But what it illustrates is that science can never be certain, yet you expect my view to be 100% certain, and insist that your view, supposedly based on science, is right.
Well, you have fundamentally misunderstood what I've been arguing. You have been saying that anyone who interprets the Bible in a different way than you do is interpreting it in an invalid way. You claim that the Creation(s) in Genesis are 100% accurate and 100% literal. This is what YOU claim, not I. In order to back up this claim that others are interpreting it in an invalid way, you have to prove that your way is correct. If you try to prove it in a scientific way, you have to provide scientific evidence that God exists and He created the world about 6000 years ago. If you base anything on that preconception without doing this, that is bad science. To date, no-one has provided such evidence, except by referencing the Bible, for which there is zero independant evidence that the account in the Bible is accurate, and much evidence that it is not. Conversely, no-one has come up with solid evidence that actually disproves the well-founded Theory of Evolution. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
"Well, you have fundamentally misunderstood what I've been arguing.": I don't think so.
I know so. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"You claim that the Creation(s) in Genesis are 100% accurate and 100% literal.": Not exactly, but I've clarified that above, and it is close enough for now.
Well, you admit above it's not. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"In order to back up this claim that others are interpreting it in an invalid way, you have to prove that your way is correct.": Not so. All I have to do is demonstrate that their reasons are incorrect or invalid.
...and that yours is correct and valid. So far, you haven't even really done the 'disproving' part. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...no-one has come up with solid evidence that actually disproves the well-founded Theory of Evolution.": No-one has come up with solid evidence that it's well-founded! And it's rather hard to disprove a philosophy with science. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Then I suggest you go study evolution before trying to argue about it. Start with Darwin and work your way forward to modern times. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"In fact, this is why creationist face what you call 'discrimination' - the scientists say 'you claim this? Where's your proof? You have none? Then that's bad science.'": Yes, that is why. Because they have different standards for themselves than they do for creationists. Evolutionists can proclaim evolution to be fact despite science not being certain, but creationists can't because they can't be certain either. Evolutionists can proclaim evolution to be fact on the basis of science which cannot "prove" anything, but reject creationist ideas because they cannot "prove" them. So yes, that is why creationists suffer discrimination. But how is that fair?
Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
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Sorry, but that is my honest reaction to reading the above. Despite putting the point as simply as I know how, you are utterly missing it. I'll try one more time. Scientists, in order to follow the scientific process, have to follow the evidence. The evidence only backs up YEC if you try to reinterpret the evidence holding fast to the preconception of a 6000 year old, God created Earth. In the absence of evidence proving this preconception, you can only call YEC an unproven hypothesis, at best. In contrast, evolution is proven by being in agreement with every single bit of evidence when the evidence is taken at face value. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Again, I'm wrong because you're right. You keep asserting that evolution is consistent with the evidence—which I reject—but never attempt to prove that. So you are merely asserting that your view is correct, and therefore mine is wrong. To be specific, "The evidence only backs up YEC if you try to reinterpret the evidence holding fast to the preconception of a 6000 year old, God created Earth...evolution is proven by being in agreement with every single bit of evidence when the evidence is taken at face value" is nothing more than evolutionist rhetoric. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, as I stated above, that statement just shows you are not familiar with the scientific process. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...trying to fit the evidence into that preconception...": No more so than evolutionists do.
No, sorry, the Theory of Evolution was come up with after studying the evidence, indeed, as a result of studying the evidence - which is exactly the opposite of a 'preconception'. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Darwin cited no evidence for the evolutionary family tree. All his evidence was for modest variation within what creationists would call a created kind. From that he extrapolated beyond the evidence. Evolutionists Gould and Michael Ruse have acknowledged that evolution was intended to replace God. Replacing God, not the evidence, was the impetus for evolution. Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
So extrapolation based on fossil and biological evidence is not allowed, according to you. You do realise that this also destroys the 'evidence' for YEC, as that is based on studying the evidence, and extrapolating how this could have happened, given that the world is supposedly 6000 years old?
I would also like to see the actual quotes by Gould and Ruse, as I find it remarkable that people would say such things, as this seems to be directly contradicted by Darwin's own notebooks, for a start. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
I didn't say that extrapolation wasn't allowed. But it doesn't constitute actual evidence, and it seems that it's allowed for evolutionists but not for creationists. See here and here for Gould and Ruse respectively, although the first doesn't have the actual talk his comments were taken from. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Extrapolation based on evidence is godd science. Extrapolation based on an unproven preconception is bad science. See the difference? As for your comments by 'Gould and Ruse', the links actually lead to Creationist articles discussing their comments, and, as you say, one does not even provide the quotes in question, and both articles do not actually provide any evidence whatsoever about Darwin's motives (the closest they come is that one suggests that Darwin was aware of how much his theory would be perceived as a 'frontal assault' on the idea of an intelligent designer, and makes some speculation on why he thought up the theory). Ruse's quote does not actually address the motives of Darwin at all. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Extrapolation based on evidence is good science only when done by evolutionists, it seems. When Barry Setterfield extrapolated 400 years of data on the speed of light back 6,000 years, he was criticised for extrapolating. But less than(?) 100 years of data on radiometric decay rates are routinely extrapolated back billions of years. But to be more specific to your point, Darwin observed variations within types of creatures, and extrapolated that to variations between types of creatures. That creatures can change to a different type was an 'unproven preconception', hence bad science, according to you.
Yes, because Barry Setterfield made an assumption for which he had zero evidence (that the speed of light must have been faster in the past), then extrapolated based on that assumption. Radiometric decay, however, has been repeatedly tested and verified by experimentation. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...the links actually lead to Creationist articles ...": So? That bigotry again?
No, statement of fact.
"...discussing their comments...": With references.
Not getting your point, sorry, - 'with references'. And?
"...both articles do not actually provide any evidence whatsoever about Darwin's motives...": They provide expert opinions by prominent evolutionists.
...which utterly fail to address darwin's motives.
"Ruse's quote does not actually address the motives of Darwin at all.": Ruse: "Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity." (my emphasis). I take this as a reference to Darwin.
Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, I take it to mean that Ruse thinks that ALL evolutionists regard evolution as a religion (which, according to quite a few evolutionists, is utterly wrong, so would appear to be disproven). Doesn't say at all that that was specifically why Darwin thought up his theory. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...which is why they face what you call 'discrimination' in scientific circles...": No, that's not why. The reason why is because it conflicts with their own worldview, and they don't like the implication that there is a Creator to whom they are answerable.
Well, I'll state the same thing - show me the proof of that. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
What would you define as "proof" in this case? Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Proof that what you have said is the one and only reason why the people concerned are being 'discriminated against'. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
My question was what sort of evidence you would accept as proof, not what it has to prove. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
This is truly bizarre - you are the one making this assertation. Provide your proof, I'll see if there's anything wrong with it. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
You are the one demanding proof, so you need to let me know what you would accept as proof. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
So, let's get this straight - you make an assertation, but have a problem actually providing proof? Are you being serious, or are you just wasting my time?Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...in essence, the scientists are turning around and saying, 'where's your proof?'": No, they are not (for the most part). They are claiming, like you do, that proof is impossible because of the starting position.
Well, I am not saying that, and neither are they. I am saying, 'you say the Bible is 100% accurate, and 100% literal. Prove it.' So are they. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
You've already responded to that statement (immediately below) and I've already responded to that (next below). Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Nope, from what I've seen, they are saying 'this, this and this is bad science simply because you base it on this preconception, which is not proven', or 'you claim this? Show evidence first, please', or even sometimes 'here you've said you've proven this, but you've only offered a small amount of very circumstantial evidence'. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Then you are not very familiar with the arguments. I already pointed out that you yourself have, for the most part at least, not asked for proof. Rather, you've argued that it is inherently unscientific. Even your first example of scientists asking for evidence ("this, this and this...") is not asking for proof, but is implicitly claiming that proof is not possible, by calling it 'bad science' and 'based on preconception'. Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
I cannot believe you are still not getting it - it is inherently unscientific as it is based on an UNPROVEN preconception. Prove the preconception, it becomes scientific. Study the evidence in the absence of the preconception, and you get evolution. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
All of science is based on unproven preconceptions, including that we can trust our senses to properly understand the evidence. The issue is whether the evidence fits the explanation, not whether the explanation is founded on a preconception. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, no. Science are based on Theories and Laws. Theories I've already covered elsewhere. Laws are, more or less, direct observation of facts, such as the Laws of Thermodynamics. Saying that scientists cannot trust their senses is objecting to science from a philosophical standpoint, rather than a scientific one, so yes, you could be right from that point of view, but, from a scientific point of view, you have to prove that scientists cannot trust their senses. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Something can have more than one basis, and unproven preconceptions are at the root of it, although there are other factors as well. I didn't say that scientists can't trust their senses. I believe that they can. I accept this unproven preconception on the basis of my Christian worldview that God designed us with senses that can be trusted. What is your basis for accepting this unproven preconception? Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
We're discussing the ability to scientifically prove something, so I'm applying the scientific process. If you make the claim that scientists can't trust their senses, then provide solid evidence this is so. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"Philip, you're doing it again. You're essentially saying that all Christians who do not agree with the YEC view are not true Christians.": I'm not sure what you mean by "true" Christians, but I'm certainly not saying that they are not Christians. I'm merely saying that they are wrong about how they interpret the Bible to mean something other than what it means.
I'm merely saying you simply don't know that. You may have faith that the Bible is literally correct, but you cannot prove that as an undeniable fact. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
I know it as well as I know most things. I can't even "prove ... as an undeniable fact" when I was born (I wasn't there to see it, my parents might be lying, the birth certificate might have been falsified), but for all practical purposes, I do know when I was born. The evidence is sufficiently strong that there is no reasonable room for doubt. Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, you know it on the weight of evidence, exactly what is lacking in your belief of the infallibility and literalism of the Bible. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Oh? It is? Since when did I agree to that or did you prove that? No, this is nothing but unsubstantiated assertion on your part. Or perhaps I should say an "unproved preconception" on your part? Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Well, I'm not sure which part you think is 'assertation', but, for the 'birth certificate part, you claim this yourself - 'the evidence is sufficiently strong that there is no reasonable room for doubt'. For the 'Bible' part, well, if I'm wrong about that, then I'm sure you'll correct me by providing the evidence that your interpretation of the Bible is the only possible correct one. So far, you haven't. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
The assertion is that the evidence for the infallibility and literalness of the Bible is lacking. I've already provided evidence that my understanding of the Bible is the correct one. I consider that evidence sufficiently strong that there is no reasonable room for doubt, but that evidence may not be sufficient to convince you. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, no, you've just repeatedly asserted that yours is the correct view because...erm...it is. You've worded it in various ways, true enough, but that's all you've really done. If that's enough to convince you, then fair enough, but it proves what I've been saying all along - that it's a matter of faith, not evidence or proof. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"That's a hell of a bold claim and a very insular view.": It's been the traditional view of Bible-believers for thousands of years, so "bold" and "insular" don't seem to fit.
It was also a traditional Christian view, based on particular interpreations of the Bible, to believe the world was flat - until it was proven it wasn't. It was also a traditional Christian view, based on particular interpretations of the Bible, that the Earth was the centre of the solar system (and, indeed, the entire universe) - until it was proven it wasn't. Christianity has had a history of reinterpreting the Bible based on increased knowledge of the world and universe. Why change that? Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Perhaps you had better read Flat Earth, because you are quite wrong. Also, that the Earth was the centre of the solar system was a non-Christian view that the church adopted (i.e. they didn't get it from the Bible), but which was later discarded by Christians in the church. And did you know that there is scientific evidence that supports the idea that the Milky Way galaxy is close to the centre of the universe? So your conclusion that Christianity has a history of reinterpreting the Bible is essentially unfounded. What you will notice from Flat Earth and other places, though, is that evolutionists have a history of misrepresentation. (Which is not to claim, of course, that they routinely do this, but it does dent their credibility somewhat.) Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Ah, you were thinking I was talking about the misconception of people in the Middle Ages not knowing the Earth was round. I wasn't. I was referring the notion of the 'Flat Earth' that many Christians believed in the first few centuries AD, as a literal reading of some passages of the Bible require the Earth to be flat. As for your statement that the old Christian belief of geocentrism was not biblical in nature, I'm afraid it was, as it based on a literal reading of some Bible passages. Indeed, there are some people today that still cling to this belief, as they regard the Bible as being completely infallible and utterly literal. As for the idea that the Milky Way is 'close to' the centre of the universe, I'm afraid that unless you go back to the belief that the Earth is at the centre of the solar system, and, indeed, believe that the solar system is at the centre of the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is not 'close to' the centre of the universe, but AT the centre of the universe, it is still not the case that the Earth is the centre of the universe. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
"I was referring the notion of the 'Flat Earth' that many Christians believed in the first few centuries AD": They did? Where's your proof?
The writings of many Christian scholars, such as Lactantius, St.John Chrysostom and St. Athanasius.
Links please. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Sorry, I can't - I only saw them in book form quite some time ago. I can give quote or two, for example, Lactantius, addressing the notion the Earth was round:'But if you inquire from those who defend these marvellous fictions, why all things do not fall into that lower part of the heaven, they reply that such is the nature of things, that heavy bodies are borne to the middle, and that they are all joined together towards the middle, as we see spokes in a wheel; but that the bodies which are light, as mist, smoke, and fire, are borne away from the middle, so as to seek the heaven. I am at a loss what to say respecting those who, when they have once erred, consistently persevere in their folly, and defend one vain thing by another'. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...a literal reading of some passages of the Bible require the Earth to be flat": None that I know of.
Try Job 38:12-14, Matthew 4:1-12, Daniel 4:10-11, Isaiah 40:18-23.
First, none of those passages taken literally actually require a flat Earth, although it's true that a spherical Earth is ruled out by the Job and Daniel passages. More to the point, however, and contrary to my last response, the question is not whether a literal reading requires a flat Earth, but whether the Bible teaches a flat Earth. The distinction is one that I've explained before. The Bible contains metaphor, figures of speech, etc., and it is not meant to be all taken literally. The Job passage is poetry and is clearly not literal. Matthew doesn't say how Satan showed him all the kingdoms: he might have projected images of them whilst on that high mountain for all we know. None of the mountains in the area (or anywhere else) would be high enough to see even all the Roman Empire even if the world was flat, so it's hardly saying that anyway. Daniel is describing a vision, not reality, and Isaiah actually refers to the circle of the Earth, and the Hebrew word for circle includes the meaning of (or means?) a sphere! Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Well, actually, in Hebrew, to get the idea of a sphere, the writer would probably have used the word 'duwr', which can actually mean 'ball' or 'circle'. He actually used 'chuwg', which means 'circle' or 'circuit'. And, as for the idea of the 'the question is not whether a literal reading requires a flat Earth', I'm afraid, here, that was EXACTLY the question. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"...geocentrism ... [was] based on a literal reading of some Bible passages": Where's your proof?
Hebrews 1:10, the various references to 'the firmament' of the Earth in Genesis, Psalm 104:5, Psalm 93:1, 1 Chronicles 16:30, for a few. I can give more, if you want.
"Firmament" does not mean geocentricity! And
Hebrews 1:10 , Psalm 93:1 , and 1_Chronicles 16:30 say nothing about geocentricity. I don't want "more"; I want some! Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
All of them suggest a fixed, immovable Earth - which exactly what geocentrism is. The Earth is fixed, so the universe moves around the Earth. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)
"Indeed, there are some people today that still cling to this belief, as they regard the Bible as being completely infallible and utterly literal.": True, a few do believe that. However, your point is that the Bible teaches that, and your evidence is that this is why the Church used to believe that and this is why some still do believe it. But I reject that this is the main reason why the Church used to believe it, and that a small number of people believe it because it's what they believe the Bible says does not give much support to the idea that the Bible does actually teach that.
"...it is still not the case that the Earth is the centre of the universe": True. I guess I got a bit sidetracked with that answer. To give you a better answer to your previous point, I've got my doubts that the Church used to believe that because of the Bible, and there's nothing in the Bible that clearly teaches that.
Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
"...a dogmatic approach to Biblical innerancy can and does put an awful lot of people off...": On the contrary, what puts people off is a watered-down Bible that essentially says nothing different to what the atheists are saying. What's the point of that?
Philip J. Rayment 06:21, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Well, for a start, no true atheist would ever say God actually exists - or, by definition, he's not an atheist. The one thing that cannot be reinterpreted in any way shape or form about the Bible is that it says that God exists, and He created all things. Urushnor 17:22, 16 February 2008 (EST)
I didn't claim that there were no differences at all. But a biblical view that says that the six days of creation were not really days, that the order of creation was actually the order that the evolutionists claim, that God actually used evolution, is no different to the atheistic evolutionary view apart from having the thought tacked on that "God did it". Philip J. Rayment 00:32, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Really, so the belief in God is not actually the fundamental part of your religion? I'm sorry, I was under the impression it was. Urushnor 12:16, 18 February 2008 (EST)
Fair comment. My point is that Theistic evolution reduces God to being an unnecessary extra. Read Occam's razor, the sections titled "Use by atheists" and "Use by Christians". To take that further, even to the extent that it invokes God, some of these views have God merely "kick starting" everything, then basically absenting Himself, whereas Christianity teaches that God is a personal God who is interested in, and involves Himselves, in, our everyday lives. Yes, belief in God is fundamental, but not just belief in a divine Being; rather belief in the particular God whose characteristics are described in the Bible. Belief in a watered-down Bible results in a watered-down God who is, really, little different to no god. Philip J. Rayment 00:51, 19 February 2008 (EST)
But, again, that's a matter of faith that what you believe is correct. If it's not, you're not believing in a 'watered-down' God, you're getting closer to what and who God actually is. Urushnor 12:41, 19 February 2008 (EST)
True that it's dependent on my belief being correct. But my original point remains, that a God who appears to be merely a tacked-on extra does put people off. Philip J. Rayment 22:13, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Only people who believe the same thing as you, really. Urushnor 22:08, 21 February 2008 (EST)

I have noticed on this site that school shootings are always attributed to atheistic public schools etc. In New Zealand we have a liberal government, strict gun control and no prayer in school (though there are schools you can pick where prayer is sometimes said during a assembly)and a very secular attitude towards schooling, both public and private (again, not in every school but in 90%). To date we have not had one school shooting and only one serious shooting incident in the early 1990's when 13 people were killed. MetcalfeM

Well, that's great, but how many muggings, rapes, beatings, robberies, intimidations, etc., do you have on college campuses since gun control was imposed there? Quite a few in the absence of self-defensive guns, I bet.--Aschlafly 20:00, 14 February 2008 (EST)

Gun control has never been 'introduced', it has been the status quo for as long as memory serves. Also there is no (or very very little as 'no' is a bold claim to which I have no stats handy) violence in schools here beyond standard school yard bullying. There has been an increase in crime recently admittedly but has nothing to do with atheistic/secular values as these have been in place for many many years (as long as myself, my father and his father can rememeber). The increase in violence in NZ has been related to alcohol abuse and an influence of US gang culture (rap music and the like). But gun laws and atheism dont registar in regards to crime as things have always been that way here and the crime remains relativly static. P.S. I am getting ready to make updates to a few pages in order to remain inline with 90/10 MetcalfeM

Although I'd agree with you on the (lack of) crime in schools, I'd be wary about not attributing the general increase in violence to atheistic values. Can your father and grandfather remember being taught evolution in school? Did your father or grandfather go to Sunday School? A generation or so ago something like 95% of children went to Sunday School (I'm quoting Australia, which is probably similar to NZ), whereas today it's something like 2%. So things like the teaching of atheistic values have changed. That's not to deny that the other factors you mention have played a part also, but to some extent they beg the question, such as why has alcohol abuse become worse? Philip J. Rayment 20:35, 14 February 2008 (EST)

I also note that the assumption is made that he is a student (though, to be fair, I can see why - it normally is in school shootings), and that, if someone else had a gun, they would have been able to shoot accurately enough to safely stop him, instead of perhaps missing and injuring or killing more people, or simply making themselves something of a 'priority target' to him. Urushnor 20:11, 14 February 2008 (EST)

Sorry, Andy but you really should look up actual statistics before making them up. You're simply wrong in this case. From 96 - 05, the overall crime rate decreased significhantly from over 1300/10000 population to just under 1000/10000 population, and the over 50% of those crimes are categorized as "dishonesty" not violent crime. Serious assaults are basically unchaged at about 40/10000 population, minor assaults fell from about 40 to about 30/10000. Intimidation is up slightly from about 20 to about 30/10K, and grevious assaults soared from 5 to 9/10K. Homicide is less than 2/10000 and sexual assault is less than 1/10000. New Zealand is basically one of the safest places in the world to live and gun control hasn't made it a more dangerous place. SSchultz 20:25, 14 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks SSchultz. It should also be noted NZ is left-wing governed and secular. Altough grevious assault is on the rise most of it stems from family violence (where you wouldn't wanna pull a gun!) and reactionary violence (such as beating someone up who you catch spraypainting your wall etc). Also the drinking age is being debated as it was lowered some years back and there has been an increase in youth crime stemming from alcohol. I think the age will rise again from 18 to 20. MetcalfeM

In response to Phillip Rayment above - The aclcohol abuse has increased due to recent relaxing of liquor laws here. In particular the lowering of drinking age which is directly correlated to an increased crime rate amongst youth. Crime rates were steady and when alcohol laws were relaxed crime rose steadily as with alcohol abuse. MetcalfeM

I see that the linked report says that the gunman was not a student at the "atheistic college". What then is the relevance of the college's atheistic tendencies? (if that is an accurate description of the place - which seems doubtful). Unless perhaps the gunman was a Christian seeking to indicate his displeasure at the college's failure to acknowledge the one true god. --JohnStuartMill 21:31, 14 February 2008 (EST)

In response to the New Zealand statistics, demographic changes in the past decade have caused crime to fall everywhere. That proves nothing. What is striking is that grievous assault soared in New Zealand after strict gun control was imposed. No thanks, we don't want that.--Aschlafly 21:57, 14 February 2008 (EST)

NZ crime has not fallen in a significant fashion, NZ crime has remained constant for many years with spikes up and down. Also gun control has never been 'imposed'. Gun control has not changed in any significant way in NZ for over 50 years and grevious crime has increased only in the last 10 years and the majority of that is domestic violence which is mainly commited by a certain demographic mostly due to alcohol abuse. Your comment above, Andrew (if I may call you andrew?) is incorrect because gun control is not in correlation with assault in NZ. MetcalfeM

"New Zealand: New Zealand saw amendments to its gun laws in 1992 following the shooting of 13 people at Aramoana by a young man who was licensed under the regulations which existed at the time." [1] —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aschlafly (talk)

Indeed that is correct, I mentioned earlier, however that was an amendment, not imposing gun laws, and it only related to automatic weapons which the killer used. Fact still remains, NZ is one of the safest countries in the world MetcalfeM

New Zealand is a relatively rural country and may be one of the safest in the world. But it is less safe due to gun control, as reflected by the skyrocketing number of grievous crimes after it tightened up its gun control. I couldn't find its statistics on rape but did find that rape skyrocketed in the U.K. after it increased its gun control in the mid-1990s.--Aschlafly 07:28, 15 February 2008 (EST)

Firstly I am not sure how many times you have been to NZ Aschlafly but there are actually large cities in NZ. Its not all sheep and farms. Secondly the tightening of guns laws only applied to assault rifles. Before the Aromoana massacre people didnt own handguns and nobody carried guns and after the massacre the only thing that changed was to law in regards to Automatic rifles.Gun laws are irrelevant to the crime rate and the Aromaoana incident was the only incident of its kind in NZ. Having not lived in NZ I dont think you have any authority to make claims such as gun control causes crime in NZ or that NZ is less safe due to gun control. We have always had gun control here and crime remains fairly static. Assaults have risen but the biggest increase has been in domestic violence - no amount of guns (or lack thereof) would prevent domestic violence. I have had careers in both the NZ Police (who dont carry guns under most circumstances) and the NZ Justice department so obviously I am in a better position to make claims on NZ's crime rate. MetcalfeM 15:53, 17 February 2008 (EST)

In the mid 1990s the British Government also implemented the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act. This resulted in many women being reluctant to take their dogs with them for fear they may inadvertently do their business, thus resulting in a prosecution and a criminal record. Since gun ownership was low among woman previous to the mid 1990s, logic shows that it was in fact dog control which has led to rape skyrocketing in the UK. DougWalker 10:32, 15 February 2008 (EST)
That is a good example of liberal logic. Thank you. I'll start an entry with it.--Aschlafly 10:52, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Well, to be perfectly honest, he makes a good point - you're saying that it MUST be the 'tightened gun control' that caused the 'increase in rape', simply because the 'tightened gun control' took place at the same time as the 'increase in rape'. There is exactly the same evidence that indicates that it was the introduction of the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act that caused this. It should also be noted that it was in the mid 90s the National Crime Recording Standards were implemented, which changed the way crimes were recorded, plus that was the time period in which there was a drive to treat alleged rape victims with less scepticism and more tact and sensitivity that was the case in the 80s. This resulted in far less allegations of rape being recorded as 'no crime' and women who were raped being more confident of something actually being done if they reported the rape, as well as being more willing to put themselves through the ordeal of the investigation and trial. Urushnor 15:30, 15 February 2008 (EST)
This conversation got a little hijacked here.. I'm almost certain the original topic was whether or not NIU was 'atheistic' or not. What we can do here is look at what atheism means, and then determine if that applies to NIU. Theists are those who believe in a god. Atheists are those who don't. So for NIU to be "atheistic" it has to be without god. Now, you've got to think carefully. Public schools don't practice religious activities, but does absence of religion mean absence of god? Certainly there are many religions out there, many worshiping a god or gods, but there are also godless religions or religions which don't mention a god and are considered atheistic religions (like Buddhism). Since there are religions without god, I think there can be god without religion. So to label something 'atheistic' because it doesn't participate in religious activities is presumptuous.
In any case, those who disagree with how the school was labeled need to understand that this isn't your wiki, it's Aschlafly's. If you don't like what hes said, take a page from his book and go make your own wiki.. Observer 13:41, 15 February 2008 (EST)
In fairness, I think the "if you don't like it, get out" argument is a real argument. It amounts to a false choice - just like the whole, "if you don't like 100% of what America does, well, you can get out!" People like the above liberals are trying to change the Wiki. Regardless of their beliefs, "like it or leave it" is not a proper reply.-MexMax 15:43, 15 February 2008 (EST)

Liberal response: Lots of college shootings. We need fewer guns. Conservative response: Lots of college shootings. We need fewer colleges. Maestro 18:36, 15 February 2008 (EST)

Morally bankrupt, black-clad former student shoots 19 classmates at the atheistic NIU

Moved discussion from Morally bankrupt, black-clad former student shoots 19 classmates at the atheistic NIU on February 25, 2008. --Crocoite 13:32, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Why not wait until more information is released before posting such repugnant commentary on an unfolding tragedy? According to AP news stories, the man was an "...outstanding student, engaging, polite and industrious with what looked like a bright future in the criminal justice field." [1] What we know now, is that he had past mental health issues and recently stopped taking his medication. Our current understanding of mental health issues sadly pale in comparison to our knowledge and ability to treat physical health issues. To stereotype this ailing person as a morally bankrupt atheist is a cheap blow and disrespectful to anyone who has had experience with the devastation surrounding mental health illnesses. For more information on mental illness and behavioral disorders, please visit NIMH - The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) --EKinateder 18:01, 15 February 2008 (EST)

But mental illness is the same thing as being morally bankrupt. Depression is a character flaw, despite what the medical establishment would like you to think. After all, if you call something a disease, you can sell pills for it. Besides, the scientists who claim that depression is an illness are the same scientists who claim that humans evolved from monkeys and that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. As far as respect is concerned, why should society respect someone who claims to have a mental illness? Mental illnesses (character flaws) are disruptive and harmful to society, as this individual demonstrated. --Elkman 18:07, 15 February 2008 (EST)
On what ridiculous authority are you making that claim? Are you a psychiatrist? A psychologist? Have you studied neurobiology? What sort of antiquated information are you basing your ignorant response on? Oh wait... religion. It figures. Maybe people with a mental illness are really possessed by the devil and in need of an exorcism? I honestly hope that you never have to deal with a loved one who has a mental health problem. I think you're an ignorant fool, but I truly would not wish that on you. --EKinateder 18:21, 15 February 2008 (EST)

The gunman, a former vice president of NIU's Academic Criminal Justice Association, wrote about social justice on an Internet site, the paper said. In a paper he helped write two years ago, he described his interests as social justice, corrections, political violence and peace. [2] [3] --Crocoite 18:24, 15 February 2008 (EST)

I think it's unlikely they're going to change their minds on this issue. They've already decided this is what they're going to believe. After all their depiction of events neatly fits into what they would expect of this tragedy. Rather than looking at all the facts, all they're going to see is "A public school shooting" and then use their preconceptions to formulate an opinion and assumption on the causes of the shooting. Which is of course, a public school being secular and godless drove another presumably atheistic student to shoot up his classmates because they didn't let them pray and read the bible.
Naturally, if only they had done things the way conservapedia thinks they should be done, this would never have happened. Why? Because he'd be too busy reading the bible and spreading the word of god to kill anyone. Anyway, I didn't mean to offend anyone with that. It was a bit of an exaggeration to prove a point to some of the people here. Those who control conservapedia have a different perspective than you. You might think or know it's wrong, but that and any amount of arguing you're going to do will not stop them or change their minds. It would literally go against everything they believe in to agree with you. If you don't like what they're saying, don't come here. Observer 08:18, 16 February 2008 (EST)
That's not exaggeration; that's plain wrong. It's nothing to do with with being too busy, nor it is correct to say that we believe that a public school "drove" someone to do something. It's to do with what values and standards the school teaches (or doesn't teach). A school teaching that death is a necessity for evolution doesn't cause someone to go out and shoot others, but neither does it teach that death is inherently (as opposed to legally) wrong, whereas Christian teaching is that killing an innocent (e.g. not convicted of a capital offence) person is wrong, and someone who really believes that is far less likely to go around shooting people. Philip J. Rayment 08:29, 16 February 2008 (EST)
It seems to me that from what you're saying the problem with public schools is that they don't teach 'values' and 'standards'. If they would teach the Christian idea that killing 'innocent people' is not only illegal but 'wrong', then perhaps these shootings would be less frequent?
That assumes schools are responsible for teaching 'values' and 'standards' to their students. I don't think thats the case however. Surely theres a place for learning about what is right and wrong, but I don't think thats a job for schools to fill. That responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the parents. Who are the ones charged with the task of raising their children. If anyone is to blame for anything it would be parents who neglect to teach their children those sort of 'values' and not the schools.
I'd also like to mention a hypothetical sort of situation. Suppose schools were responsible for teaching 'values' and 'standards' to students. Which set of values would be taught? Would they be ones based on religious morality? I think some parents would have a problem with someone else teaching that to their children. Surely you wouldn't want the children you may have taught nonchristian 'values' and 'standards'. Observer 09:18, 16 February 2008 (EST)
It's not just that they don't teach values and standards, but that they teach non-Christian ones. I agree that parents are responsible for teaching values and standards, but schools should reinforce, not undermine, that. Of course I don't want children taught non-Christian values and standards. But that is what is happening: teaching them that they are little more than evolved pond scum, with hardly any more rights than an animal, that homosexuality is legitimate, that sexual intercourse can be had outside marriage, how to get an abortion, etc. etc. Philip J. Rayment 09:36, 16 February 2008 (EST)
I don't think schools should 'reinforce' or 'undermine' those 'values' or 'standards'. They should remain as neutral as possible. I think that we both can agree that schools are responsible for teaching things like english, science, history, math, etc. They're there to provide the students with knowledge.
I don't want to get into an argument about evolution, but suffice it to say that the majority of the scientific community has deemed it a valid scientific theory. So its taught in science class along with all the other scientific theories etc. Knowing this theory and believing it are two different things. As for the other things you've mentioned, I think thats a bit of a stretch. Sure they teach things about the reproductive systems and encourage safe sex if you're going to have sex, but thats endorsing safety not premarital sex. As for the issue of rights, from the experience I had at the schools I went to (which were quite a few, my family moved frequently) not one taught anything other than what America is based on. That we're all equal, and we all deserve the same human rights. Wouldn't discriminating against gay people by saying 'being gay is wrong' go against this idea? Observer 10:46, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Public schools aggressively impose atheistic values, and do everything they can to undermine faith. If you truly support neutrality, then public schools should accommodate rather than prohibit expressions of faith, like prayer, and they should not censor criticisms of liberal ideologies.--Aschlafly 13:04, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Whilst on one hand I'm happy for schools to remain as neutral "as possible", I question how "possible" that is. You say that they encourage safe sex if you're going to have sex, and I'd actually agree with that. The problem I have is that there is plenty of emphasis on "safe sex", but no emphasis on "if you're going to have sex". Schools in some places have condom-vending machines. What does that imply? Do you really think that the students are going to treat that as "they are only for use if we are going to have sex, but we shouldn't have sex"? Of course not. The mere presence of the vending machines is a de facto permission to have sex. It might be different if the machines had big signs on them "You must not have sex" (outside of marriage, of course) "...but if you do, make it safe", but of course that would be reinforcing a view. But not having such admonitions is itself promoting a view. In other words, neutrality is all but impossible in such situations.
I don't actually "agree that schools are responsible for teaching things like english, science, history, math, etc.". This responsibility belongs to the parents, who will in many cases delegate that responsibility to a school.
"...the majority of the scientific community has deemed [evolution] a valid scientific theory". True. But what you are doing is making an argument from authority, i.e. quoting what scientists think about history, which is not a valid argument to make, and, furthermore, in the case of America at least, going against the wishes of a large percentage of those parents who have delegated their children's education to the school.
"Wouldn't discriminating against gay people by saying 'being gay is wrong' go against this idea [of all being equal]"? Not at all. (And this is another example of schools teaching values.) The American Declaration of Independence rightly says that all are created equal. But that doesn't mean that all behave equally. It is not (unfair) discrimination say that criminal activity is wrong, and neither is is unfair discrimination to say that immoral activity is wrong.
Philip J. Rayment 00:56, 17 February 2008 (EST)

In fact, the killer did fit the profile of a public school-trained atheistic: dressed in all black, still being indoctrinated in school at age 27, and obsessed with self-injury. So that's what atheists who were at state schools are like. Every last one of them. Well, dog-gone it. Lucky I'm only a public-schooled agnostic (or is that agnosticic?) who only sometimes wears black, otherwise Andy would have the Feds take me out. Sawneybeane 13:06, 16 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks for the good example of illogical liberal logic. I'll add it to our list.--Aschlafly 13:07, 16 February 2008 (EST)


Aschlafly, I don't get it - I wear black all the time - it looks good on me - and I was still in school at age 27 (doing a graduate degree after working for a few years). Does this make me suspect in your eyes? Should I turn myself in? Or should we look a little deeper at what's going on? Rodney 13:08, 16 February 2008 (EST)

Read and reflect on point 1 in liberal logic. Counterexamples do not disprove correlations. Your liberal logic is not going to fool anyone here.--Aschlafly 13:19, 16 February 2008 (EST)

(deleted idiotic comment)

Why do you focus on the assailant's age and wardrobe? Rodney 13:21, 16 February 2008 (EST)

Aschlafly, I don't think schools are against individual prayer. Surely if you were to pray to yourself before a test the teacher wouldn't scold you for it, or send you to the office. If such an instance were to occur then I'd be rather outraged as well. What I don't think they would allow would be a teacher or someone working for the school leading a class in prayer.
I'm interested however in your other claims. Do you have any examples of how public schools censoring "expressions of faith" and "criticisms of liberal ideologies". Other than not allowing teachers to lead their students in prayer or 'criticisms' that were expressed in an offensive manner. Certainly you wouldn't condone expressing anything in an offensive way? Observer 13:36, 16 February 2008 (EST)
The old Rutherford Institute, some fifteen-odd years ago, once took the case of a little boy after the school's headmaster caught him saying grace before his lunch and yanked him out of his seat in the cafeteria, yelling at him that "[they didn't] do things like that in school." I've seen cancellations of Christmas in school. I've heard of voluntary assemblies of students broken up because they were praying--on school property, it's true, but before school had even taken up and with no faculty members present. I've seen schools expel the Boy Scouts of America from their facilities--as much because of the "gay Scoutmaster thing" as because the twelfth point in the Scout Law reads, "A Scout is reverent." No one was ever being "offensive"--unless you believe that the mere thought that a God must exist is offensive. Well, Jesus Christ specifically warned us that a day might come when this was widely held.--TerryHTalk 13:57, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Forgive me, but I'd be more interested in more tangible examples rather than 'hear say'. I know it's sort of a cliche, but a link to a news report or something would be appreciated.
As for the offensive bit, I meant that more for the "criticisms of liberal ideologies". There are ways to express your criticisms without being offensive. I apologize if it was confusing.
The main point I'm trying to make is that theres a time an a place for everything and that Schools are responsible for providing a place and time where students can learn about many subjects (such as art, history, literature, math, science, etc). The time and place for people to learn about right and wrong is at home or church from their parents or priest/minister/etc. Why would you expect a school to serve any function other than what its meant to fulfill.
Also, is it possible that the 'voluntary assembly' was broken up because it didn't follow school policy? Like didn't get permission to assemble?. Most schools are against loitering. Observer 14:26, 16 February 2008 (EST)
You're forgiven, but just read our entry on this at school prayer. It's unnecessary to repeat that entry, with all its shocking examples of liberal censorship of prayer, here.--Aschlafly 15:02, 16 February 2008 (EST)
I have no problem with prayer happening where it belongs - in private homes, mosques, temples, synagogues and churches. I don't want to deal with it in my home, school or place of work - and as your rights end where mine begin, in a democratic society you need to respect that - for the same reason I don't try to teach Marxist economics or the theory of evolution in churches or at your dinner table. Rodney 15:11, 16 February 2008 (EST)
In other words, you're going to do everything you can to censor prayer by others in public places. That's called intolerance. Unless you own your school or your workplace, and I doubt you do, then you should be tolerant of prayers by others who have as great a right (or greater) than you do.--Aschlafly 15:28, 16 February 2008 (EST)
How is it that their rights are greater than mine? And there are standards of behaviour that are to be maintained in public places. I don't drink, or smoke, or swear in public. I dress decently - though usually all in black - and I don't engage in sexual relations, spit on the floor, pass gas, or cough without covering my mouth in public. In a pluralist society, is refraining from mumbling an ode or series of requests (ie. "prayer") to an invisible, imaginary man in the sky also not something that falls under the rubric of decent public behavior? Rodney 15:33, 16 February 2008 (EST)
Rodney, this is not a place for your expressions of bigotry. Go somewhere else with such narrow-minded, intolerant comments.--Aschlafly 15:36, 16 February 2008 (EST)
I agree with Aschlafly on this one. Being completely opposed to others praying by themselves in public is rather intolerant. I'm perfectly fine with someone else praying quietly to themselves as long as it doesn't distract from the learning process.
Aschlafly, I took a look at that entry you mentioned. I noticed at least 4/5 of those examples involved more than just individuals praying by themselves. It could also be that the students were trying to get other students to pray with them. I assume if you had children and they were christians you might not want them to participate in prayers or rituals of another religion, like wicca or islam.
Having said that, I would hope those cases are rare. Since there are only 5 examples cited it would seem so, but it could very well be more common than it appears. Observer 15:44, 16 February 2008 (EST)
No, they are not rare, and it only takes one case to set a precedent that influences everyone else. Also, there is no evidence that students "were trying to get other students to pray with them," or is there any reason to think there is anything wrong with that. Liberal clubs in schools "try to get" others to join them, and we've never heard a liberal object to that.
Once we allow people to talk, tolerance requires allowing them to occasionally pray, no matter how much bigotry may cause one to censor that.--Aschlafly 15:51, 16 February 2008 (EST)

Sorry to just jump in on this, but I know a bit about history, and I think the link between not being able to pray and school and escalation of violence is pretty weak. When all of Europe was Christian in the Middle Ages, that certainly didn't stop a horriffic amount of violence from taking place. (And I remember hearing somewhere that boxing was invented to try to stop schoolboys from STABBING each other.) And a country like Japan, which has a lower proportion of Christians now than it did in the 1700s, has a very low violent crime rate. --AlfredK 17:11, 17 February 2008 (EST)


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