YEC 2

(1000 Posts)
Januarymadness Wed 24-Apr-13 21:05:41

Right I am going to bite. I shouldnt have looked at the facebook but I did.

Mr Ruggles you have made some horrible accusations. You have claimed everyone who disagreed with you was an atheist who lacked logic and reasoning. You were wrong on ALL counts. Many people told you they were Christian or Theists, they just didn't agree with you. The thread was also full of valid scientific arguments which were well worded and full of logic and reasoning.

You have also accused us all of being bullies. Something I saw no evidence of. Not agreeing with someone is not bullying.

So please do feel free to justify your off board comments here as speaking behind peoples backs is really not on.

Please could someone link to the old thread. Thanks

“Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”
- Scott D. Weitzenhoffer

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 24-Apr-13 22:12:05

So there I saw about to start this thread and I find someone beat me to it wink

Islets, great quote. Interestingly I think best actually used it himself at one point (other way around of course)!

Did best quote and attribute it correctly though? I thought it summed up what happened quite nicely, although instead of claiming victory, he has claimed persecution.

Disappointed that I am having wasted several days reading and contributing to the discussion, I've learnt a lot about YE creationists. I think I knew deep down it was never going to go anywhere, but best has a great opener of "show me evidence of evolution and I will believe". Sucks people right into the discussion. I doubt whether he will return, he is probably off to his next forum to start asserting his opinions afresh.

Interestingly, a lot of the arguments he entered, such as 'speed of light slowing down', 'no transitional fossils' and 'no beneficial mutations' are near the top of the list on creationist websites as 'flawed arguments to avoid using in debate'.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 25-Apr-13 07:51:28

No he didn't attribute it at all, he used it to describe another poster who decided to join the conversation. In many ways made is sound like it was his own quote!

What I learned from it was that it's astonishing how badly you can interpret scientific evidence if you don't take everything into account. It appears to be very easy to find partial quotes and individual theories which seem to support alternative models as long as you ignore all the supporting evidence and the rest of science.

I'm really not sure whether he genuinely believes what he says or if he's just trying to derail science in the name of God. confused

EllieArroway Thu 25-Apr-13 08:06:47

I think he believes what he's saying. In some respects he's right - if you can't take the Bible literally, what's the point of it at all? A question I ask nearly every Christian I ever talk to - and one of the reasons I'm an atheist. Best's position is: "I DO believe in God so I DO believe the Bible must be correct therefore evolution MUST be wrong and - aha, I can prove it is, so the Bible wins".

But Best I would like you to come back. I've seen your "evidences for God" on Youtube and I'd like to discuss them with you.

I'd also like you to explain how you can 100% accept natural selection but reject the idea that mutations can add information. What do you think the natural selection that you accept is working on?

So come back. I'll play nice. I almost promise wink

Islets Have you seen this? If not, deep breath and try to avoid throwing your laptop out of the window in frustration...I promise you will want to!

Allow me to introduce Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women of America:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AS6rQtiEh8

(It's an hour long, but you only need (or could probably survive) 10 minutes).

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 25-Apr-13 08:36:26

Ahhh! Wendy Wright, the most annoying woman on YouTube!

Teach the controversy...... Why? Just because there are other views of the world, doesn't mean they should be taught in schools as fact.

I'm actually a little disappointed with Dawkins in this interview, there are several moments when I think, "this would be a great time time to mention [insert classic Dawkins quote here]" and he doesn't.

Still, I expect Wendy went away thinking she won, as is often the case with creationists.

EllieArroway Thu 25-Apr-13 08:42:18

Have you ever seen "How do I take a leak?" You'll know what I mean if you have!

Januarymadness Thu 25-Apr-13 09:34:39

oh and one of his facebook supporters says mn blocked her for trying to add to the conversation.

I have been on mn for years and I have never known mn to do something like this without anyone noticing.

Januarymadness Thu 25-Apr-13 09:37:25

sorry Pedro I didn't mean to tread on your toes

EllieArroway Thu 25-Apr-13 09:53:31

oh and one of his facebook supporters says mn blocked her for trying to add to the conversation

I think she was saying that one of us contacted her and called her names via FB...she then blocked them. I don't believe that, quite honestly.

If she's also saying that MN blocked her from contributing then I really, really don't believe that. Why would they?

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 25-Apr-13 11:25:12

I'm guessing they tried to post on the thread after it reached capacity.

To even begin to believe that MN could identify them from a new username set up and stop them posting immediately to a specific thread suggests just how daft they are!

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 25-Apr-13 11:26:17

sorry Pedro I didn't mean to tread on your toes

Not at all. Saved me the hassle! smile

Islets Have you seen this?

Have so far made it through 20 minutes. Watching it short 10 minute bursts as that is all my blood pressure can cope with. The laughing is so rude! What a patronising, rude woman....

sieglinde Thu 25-Apr-13 13:50:32

Aha. I'm here. Hi, all.

As just one of many many people of faith who do NOT take the Bible literally, I'd like to ask Best and Ruggles how they feel about the following:

{Shameless paste-ins from the West Wing - be it noted that the speaker is a Catholic, President Bartlett:}

"I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleaned the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?"
Verse"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go free as male slaves do."

My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police?"

Verse Leviticus 11
7and the pig, which does indeed have hoofs and is cloven-footed, but does not chew the cud and is therefore unclean for you.
8Their flesh you shall not eat, and their dead bodies you shall not touch; they are unclean for you."

"Here's one that's really important cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7 If they promise to wear gloves can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

"Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side?"

"Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?"

[http://westwing.bewarne.com/second/25admonitions.html]

NOBODY is fundamentalist. Therefore the argument that creationism (or homophobia) are enjoined upon Christians fails. Which is just as well in the light of the geological records.

infamouspoo Thu 25-Apr-13 15:07:52

excellent post seiglinde

EllieArroway Thu 25-Apr-13 15:36:03

Didn't Obama make a speech along similar lines - pointing out how Leviticus condones slavery and so on? Think it was before he was Prez.

sieglinde Thu 25-Apr-13 16:44:56

Yes, I seem to remember this too, Ellie. Confirms my view that Obama channels Bartlett a LOT grin

ICBINEG Thu 25-Apr-13 19:11:08

I am feeling very bitter about the whole thing...

best pmed me to keep discussing and I said I was keen to carry on talking but would require reassurance that me words would not be used for anything without my permission and guess what?

No reply.

ICBINEG Thu 25-Apr-13 19:12:43

I since had a fab discussion with a proper biologist and discovered that I was on the right track with there being no piece of DNA that codes for a specific organ....instead a collective sensing of cells causes organs to develop when the environment is right...

Ellie I just wanted the Wendy and Richard interview, I thought it was really good. Thanks for linking to it.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Thu 25-Apr-13 19:57:00

Icbineg, don't be bitter. Your arguments were really well founded and persuasive, and from what I read on FB at the time, RR is feeling rather wounded by the whole thing. Probably because MNers didn't bow down to his "superior" knowledge hmm You had an incredible patience and knowledge to debate him like that - I tend to think along the lines of the Scott D Weitzenhoffer quote.

sieglinde Thu 25-Apr-13 20:24:20

ICB, I too think you did an amazing job. And now here I am, keen to help - and where is Best?

Emmamumsy Fri 26-Apr-13 04:46:15

I followed most of the thread and I'd like to see best come back and attempt to redeem himself. As an atheist, I appreciate that it seemed he was at least trying to make arguments for his beliefs and I think he did it in a respectful way most of the time.

I haven't seen whatever he said on FB but if he was misrepresenting what anyone said, that's definitely not cool. I did think it got a bit bullying toward the end. That said, I can see how dealing with such a person might get frustrating after a while.

But I doubt he'll come back if he's reading this because it already sounds like nothing but more arguing will come of it. Too bad because it started out to be an interesting discussion.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 08:07:29

I am interested to know what came across as bullying. People were upset at being told they were irrational, possibly violent, crazy, their intelect belittled and views misrepresented. We also called bad form on name calling behind our backs.

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 08:45:01

Sieglinde I have some spare time today - want me to start a thread about Stalin & atheism?

Emmamumsy Fri 26-Apr-13 09:03:37

Maybe bullying is in the eye of the beholder but I thought it was pretty obvious near the end. Quite frankly, the entire thread had a tone of "We're right and if you don't agree you're a stupid twat!" It's the kind of arrogance and mockery that Richard Dawkins encourages and I think it's beneath us as atheists to do that. He never gave off that impression to me. Maybe he doesn't have a clue of what he's talking about but he didn't claim to be right or have all the answers. He admitted from the start his views were based on faith in the Bible. I for one was just content to learn why he believed what he believed and keep quiet. I feel I was robbed of that opportunity.

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 09:24:19

but he didn't claim to be right or have all the answers

He most certainly did. He claimed to understand evolution better than any evolutionary biologist (based on reading a few books), continually quote mined, lied about what what he'd said when it was referred back to, accused us all of being unable to follow basic logic when it was him being illogical and generally adopted every sly, dishonest debating trick in the book. If he'd had the grace to acknowledge when he was wrong (like the light speed issue) then it would have been a very different conversation. Did he? No. He dismissed it as "irrelevant". There are multiple instances of this.

To try and paint him as Mr Innocent just trying to explain why he believed what he did is a gross misrepresentation, actually. If that was what he actually was doing, fine, but he wasn't - he was misrepresenting science and scientists in order to prove that he was right and they (and us) were wrong. This is typical of creationists & not something that any self-respecting person with a modicum of scientific knowledge should be willing to put up with.

And, by the way, on FB he claimed to be in fear of his life and was looking forward to Jesus coming back to deal with us all.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 09:47:35

I agree with Ellie. He DID claim to have all the answers. He argued every point and when given decent facts and proper evidence he dismissed it as an irrelevant side issue. A lot of the time, when they weren't side issues but fundemental ones.

I understand people having faith. I have a faith myself. I understand that sometimes there if no reason or argument to feel the way you do. I dislike Dawkins take on things for the same reason. BUT presenting bad science and bad argument as fact (remember he is an author and goes on tv for this stuff. He also claims to be an expert in fields where he has no experience or qualification to justify this), and then belittling people who question him, is manipulative to people who DONT question the information.

ICBINEG Fri 26-Apr-13 09:49:58

okay best has gotten back to me now....just having an internet break apparently (tbh I have done that after a particularly nasty aibu).

I think what comes across as bullying is actually just what naturally happens when there are 7 or 8 people all picking up on different aspects of something they didn't agree with and commenting at a rate that makes it impossible for the individual on the other side to respond.

It is not intentional but it is very hard to be the one person (as I was on a make up thread the other day blush)....especially when people are putting words in your mouth and then someone else starts laying into something you didn't even say.

So erm where was I? Yes I think the maximum number of people who can have a discussion like this and it not collapse is probably only about 4?

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 09:50:14

Manipulation of vulnerable people is the MAIN reason I find it difficult to subscribe to any religion. I am yet to find a religion that encourages freedom of thought.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 09:55:01

Hmm being a lone voice is quite hard. Also having your ideas on various things questioned at the same time I can see being taxing. Not Ideal to dismiss points you cant argue as irrelevancies though.....

ICBINEG Fri 26-Apr-13 09:56:49

The problem with the whole debate is I think:

There is the world/universe around us.

There are two possible explanations
1. God did it
2. God didn't do it, it just happened.

The first problem is that even if science could explain every single aspect of the known universe with a single neat concise theory it would not disprove explanation 1. God might still have done it.

The second problem is that science CANNOT currently explain / predict every aspect of the known universe with a single neat concise theory, however this does not disprove explanation 2. We get better and better at maths and science all the time...there are things we understand completely as arising spontaneously now that were considered cast iron evidence of God in the past.

So before you start the debate both 1 and 2 are possible...and nothing you can say during the debate can change that...

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 10:15:56

Yes - being a lone voice IS hard, particularly when you're carrying on 6 conversations at once.

Come back, Best. Would love to debate with you your three evidences of God.

Here if anyone wants a look see.

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 10:21:13

and then belittling people who question him, is manipulative to people who DONT question the information

This is precisely right, and one of the reasons I think creationism SHOULD be challenged. People that he's talking to generally don't have even passing scientific knowledge so it all sounds very reasonable and fair. "Teach the controversy in science classrooms" - what could be fairer? Except there is NO controversy and no doubt at all within the science community - not the tiniest shred of it. And when "evolutionists" (I prefer the term "scientists") try to point this out, people accuse them of bias, obfuscation or arrogance. And that 50% of Americans feel this way, not to mention a growing number of Brits, then we have a problem. This crap is taught in science classes in some Muslim schools, to children who want to go on to become doctors. So, if Richard Dawkins gets a bit cross about it, I can't altogether blame him.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 26-Apr-13 10:26:29

Yes, he was the lone voice, and he obviously found that difficult. But I agree with Ellie that he did insist he was right, and that he knew more about evolutionary biology than everyone else, and he did make arguments against the validity of evidence-based science, peer reviewed research etc. Those sorts of arguments begin to enter the realm of conspiracy theory and seek to suggest that people who subscribe to mainstream, evidence based science are mere sheep and don't really understand it - and that is an argument I abhor.

I disagreed with his 3 starting assumptions as well. And if you can't agree on the basic premise of an argument, then you can't really enter a debate imo.

He also was rude to posters who disagreed with them. Very near the beginning of the thread, he said to Pedro "you're coming across as someone who isn't interested in learning" which I thought was extremely arrogant. I think the reason the thread went that way at the end was because of remarks like this and what he wrote on his FB page, which was a complete misrepresentation of the thread. Calling people 'inherently evil' belies his insistence that he loves us all and wishes us good luck.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 26-Apr-13 10:43:24

That's a good point, Sabrina. He was rude to me on several occasions. It seemed that he attacked anyone who wouldn't change their mind about science by telling them that they are not being scientific because they are not changing their opinions. Essentially, he tried to use all the arguments scientists use against religionists back at them.... And it doesn't work.

Religionists are accused of not changing their theories of the world based on new evidence whereas science does. New evidence disproves an existing theory, theory changes or gets replaced. So what best was trying to do was suggest that he used to believe in evolution (I actually find that rather hard to believe) and that his evidence had made him change his mind about the world. Therefore, anyone who didn't do the same, must be too rigid in their 'beliefs' and blinded by science.

I suspect that he never believed in evolution and that his views on the age of the Earth have remained static throughout.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 18:06:50

I actually don't find it that hard to believe that someone who takes evolution as reality can be convinced into creationism.

If someone with little understanding of the widely accepted stance is gived a detailed description about why its all wrong, back that up with a faith argument and papers written by "scientists" why wouldn't you believe it.

That is why ethically you need to own up to bias and State that this view is different from widely accepted stances.

Researchers accept that bias will affect the out come of any paper. Any decent paper will state bias and steps that have been taken to address it. This lets the reader decide how much weight to give an argument.

I don't see why people who are wrong should be given an easy ride just because they are in the minority in a discussion. The fact that this Best person is a tinfoil-hat-wearing nutjob is not my responsibility, or anyone else's.

Emmamumsy Sat 27-Apr-13 03:41:31

The fact that this Best person is a tinfoil-hat-wearing nutjob

Solid, was that really necessary? I mean really?

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 27-Apr-13 06:45:10

Do you disagree, Emma?

Januarymadness Sat 27-Apr-13 09:02:14

i have to agree that decending into name calling undermines the proper fact based argument.

If someone starts insisting that frogs can fly, or that the hole in the ozone layer is caused by people not cleaning their teeth often enough, it doesn't matter how many internet sites they link to or how many long words they use, they are still both wrong and nuts. Why should they be 'treated kindly' when they are talking absolute drivel, just because they start stamping their feet and complaining they are being bullied? Some people argue, for instance, that there is REAL EVIDENCE to show that members of [one ethnic group] are genetically and biologically inferior to members of [other ethnic group]. Should they be allowed to say this without getting mocked, challenged and forcefully disagreed with?

Sunnywithshowers Sat 27-Apr-13 12:27:11

I had to walk away from the thread after a bit - I bow down to those of you engaging.

I wonder whether he realises that MNHQ holds copyright for what we post?

sieglinde Sat 27-Apr-13 12:38:46

SGB writes Should they be allowed to say this without getting mocked, challenged and forcefully disagreed with?

They should be allowed to speak without getting mocked or insulted. Challenged, yes. Disagreed with, yes. But insults or mockery do NOT help your cause, which in this case is also mine.

ICBINEG Sat 27-Apr-13 13:13:15

SGB I think this comes down to the idea that we certainly owe no respect to the ideas people bring. I don't have to respect the idea that there is a god who demands that bits of newborn babies be chopped off without their consent...but I still need to respect as people the individuals that do believe this.

I can campaign for them to be banned from carrying out their believes on their defenseless children but I shouldn't call them stupid or drum them off a forum.

ICBINEG Sat 27-Apr-13 13:18:41

best makes many mistakes in debating with scientists....one is to constantly insist he is using a more accurate definition of something than you are...

for example the whole business with information content in DNA always being lost during a mutation. It is almost possible to argue from a layman definition of 'information' that this is true (I mean it isn't but there is more wiggle room), but no, he insists he is using the scientific definition of 'information' which has to do with entropy of the code etc.

Except that means I can just look up what that definition is (it's a mathematical definition) and then PROVE that mutations in DNA can conserve information content and of course either increase or decrease it.

When making your point requires fuzzy definitions of everyday concepts it is a bad idea to insist you are actually using a technical definition that any idiot with an internet connection can directly challenge you on.

Agree with the general opinion - arguing back is fine, mocking/insulting never. I feel okay pointing out someone is coming across as arrogant/rude but that's as far as I'll go. I'd never mock/insult anyone face to face so don't see why some seem to think its acceptable on forums.

Emmamumsy Sat 27-Apr-13 21:44:52

Yes PYLC, I disagree. I agree with the others that, while people's opinions are fair game and open to being challenges, it is never okay to personally attack them, ridicule them or call them names.

Come on back, best. I'm genuinely interested in what you have to say. :^)

EllieArroway Sun 28-Apr-13 10:11:32

Oh, for goodness sake - this holier than thou stuff is stomach churning. Best was not mocked, called names or personally attacked, and to try and pretend he was is a massive misrepresentation of the conversation.

When I joined the conversation, he was being very rude to quite a few posters (most notably Pedro), patronising them by saying stuff like "Wow - a valid point at last" and so on. He was dismissive of virtually every valid point that was made, he adopted DISHONEST practices like quote-mining, and when it was pointed out refused to acknowledge it or apologise.

I, personally, went out of my way to tell him that in every other area of his life, I'm sure he's a perfectly stand up fellow - but I couldn't respect the way he was going about things here. And when I bowed out it was because, yet again, he was deliberately lying about what he'd said just a page ago.

It was a robust conversation between adults......and I, personally, have been congratulated for my role in it by quite a few people, one of whom says they learnt more science from me (a non scientist) than they have ever learned before - which just shows how little the general population actually knows about science.

Creationism gets away with it's rubbish because most of the people they are preaching to are completely ignorant about the issues. Unfortunately for Best, he came up against a bunch of people who weren't and who treated his attitude of "I know more about evolution than the best scientists in the world" with the contempt it deserved.

And, by the way, Emmasmumsy, you do realise that there are children in our country being taught these LIES in science classes - by science teachers? They are getting away with it because of this tip-toeing, "Oh, let's respect their beliefs" attitude? I don't respect lies or liars. So shoot me.

sieglinde Sun 28-Apr-13 10:36:19

Ellie, meet you halfway...? Kill, beat up and jump on the lie, but NOT the liar.

Ellie, my comments were directed more to the 'tinfoil hat wearing nutjob' comment made in this thread. I can't remember any specifically insulting comments made against best in the old thread, just general annoyance and frustration at the patronising tone. And yes it was from multiple voices, but that is not bullying, just mass-disagreement. If you are going to put yourself out there with ideas you can't back-up, you need to expect a certain amount of stick. best was quite snippy and rude to people he felt weren't eloquent enough to argue with him (or slapped down his arguments quickly).

The more I read and hear about the YECs, though, I get the impression they want to be perceived as being persecuted by 'arrogant' scientists and will twist anything we say to make this appear so. I urge anyone who hasn't yet watched the video link (Dawkins and Wendy Wright) Ellie posted above in the thread to do so. A massive eye opener.

Januarymadness Sun 28-Apr-13 12:22:06

Ellie most people were engaging in an adult robust conversation. Best WAS being rude to people. HOWEVER when someone is referred to as a tin-foil hat wearing nut job, that IS a personal attack. It undermines the proper argument. Lets face it Best is not the only person in the world to hold these views and the only way to really make people see the light is putting up the rational scientific argument, not resorting to name calling.

sieglinde Sun 28-Apr-13 12:37:36

Exactly, january. I think we should take the high ground because we belong there.

Emmamumsy Sun 28-Apr-13 19:42:54

Viewing this as an outsider who didn't participate in the first thread and has nothing invested in the creationism-evolution debate, I didn't think best was rude to anyone at all. The comment he made to Pedro about making a valid point was clearly in jest and it appeared that Pedro took it as such. When Pedro shot back a quip of his own, best smiled and sincerely congratulated him.

Maybe it's because I don't really care about this issue but I see the thread going totally different from the way most of you do. He was patient, tolerant, and respectful. He never used profanity to get his point across. He seemed to know what he was talking about. He always provided evidence for his point of view. He got a little frustrated at times, like we all do, but he never lost his cool like those attacking him did. And he said he wasn't trying to change anyone's mind, just seeking a little understanding. It's unfortunate that he didn't find it here.

Having said all that, maybe I'm just a sucker for an under dog. I just hope that if any of your children grow up to be Christians or young earth creationists you certainly won't treat them the way you treated best.

I'm sorry to disagree with you emma, but he came across as very patronising to me. He may have appeared to be providing evidence, but a lot of it was nonsense or discredited. When people tried to point him into the direction of evidence against his views, he ignored us. How is that respectful?

Emmamumsy Mon 29-Apr-13 00:06:45

I never saw that happen. On the contrary, I saw him providing evidence and people refusing to look at it because it was on YouTube or came from a creationist website.

I also recall someone calling him "fucking stupid" and someone else calling him the "dumbest person on the planet." He never stooped to that level.

Mind you, I'm one of those live-and-let live atheists. I'm not as angry about it as some are. Many of my friends and family members are Christians but I don't think any of them are YEC. I was curious to see why he believed that and intrigued that he was providing scientific evidence and not just telling us "ye must have faith."

All in all, I think he was behaving like a good Christian should. I certainly wouldn't want my kids taught YEC in school but if I remember correctly he even spoke out against that too. Only to have someone criticize him and pick a fight over it. I say praise him for what he does right, challenge those ideas you think are wrong but
always give him the freedom to make his case and the respect to do so without being ridiculed and belittled.

When people are peddling dangerous bullshit, I think it's good to mock and belittle them. Because, basically, people who actually peddle this sort of thing are not very nice. Not only are they stupid, but there's usually a whole lot of unpleasant other baggage attached to this sort of delusion, and if you poke the piggy with a stick hard enough, you get to see its true colours. In this piggy's case it seems to have been 'running off to have a little whine and a moan on its own blog' but usually, push them hard enough and you'll get some lovely racism or misogyny or some other piece of complete self-discrediting.

Sunnywithshowers Mon 29-Apr-13 01:42:59

I'm a live and let live atheist Emma, and sometimes I thought Best was incredibly patronising. The first time I pulled him up on it he apologised, the second time he completely ignored me. I'm not angry, thank you.

Interestingly, Pedro started the thread, but in the end Best refused to speak with Pedro. Which isn't actually very nice.

Emmamumsy Mon 29-Apr-13 06:28:49

But, Solid, Christians think atheism is "dangerous bullshit." Best could have gone on about how atheists have killed millions of people or how they have no morals or how they are all going to burn in hell like some Christians do. But best never did that. He just wanted to make a rational case for his beliefs and I think he did an admirable job of it. He took the high road.

And Sunny, best never refused to talk to Pedro. I read the entire thread. He just asked her to be respectful. The last thing he said to her was "God loves you." Some people might interpret that as patronising but to a Christian that is a very kind and loving thing to say. Also, you acknowledge that he apologised to you yet no one ever apologised to him.

I didn't intend to take his side like this because I don't believe in any of the things he said but there is a quote I love by Voltaire that goes, "I disagree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Atheists who agree with this statement should learn to practise it more often.

Januarymadness Mon 29-Apr-13 10:18:21

So you think calling people liars, telling Pedro she will continue to lead a sad and lonely life, saying one poster was the onle one capable of rational thought and inftellectually up to the job of debating with him, is ok is it? Thats the higher ground?

Thats not even mentioning the stuff said off board or calling valid arguments irrelevant side issues because he couldn't put up a viable argument. Or claiming he was an official expert on everything.

That was all rude. But poking with a stick is not the way forward. By doing that you bring up the victim mindset and close him, his suporters and the neutral observer off from engaging. So pretty counter productive.

AgeofReason Mon 29-Apr-13 10:41:48

Hello folks! I was a huge fan of the previous thread, but I kept silent throughout. Not so much this time, not that anyone around here actually needs any help. A few quick things about me: I'm an atheist, a lover of science (evolution most assuredly included), and I'm from the same town as Best (yes, we have met in person on several occasions).

That said, we spoke very recently and it seems he'll be returning soon! I've already had a preview of his first post... I'm not going to spill the beans, suffice it to say that it's sure to generate discussion. Cheers!

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 10:54:04

I just found him full of words. He didnt know enough about the roots of his own beliefs - the hebrew Torah - and when pulled up on a few points, points he based his whole YE stuff on, was unable to answer.

sieglinde Mon 29-Apr-13 11:35:51

SGB opined Not only are they stupid, but there's usually a whole lot of unpleasant other baggage attached to this sort of delusion, and if you poke the piggy with a stick hard enough, you get to see its true colours.

I see that you think it's good, but that doesn't make it good, and your generalisations are both wrong and offensive.

Poke me as much as you like; I seriously doubt you will find me racist or misogynist. Then again, I could assume you only meant creationists. Of whom I am not one.

LizzyDay Mon 29-Apr-13 11:54:37

Hi AgeOfReason, welcome to the debate.

I think to characterise Best as a poor wounded underdog is to misunderstand him. Going by the Google results, he's a relentless self-publicist who thrives on peddling his 'theories' to anyone who will listen.

He's a skilled writer and debater - unfortunately he seems to mainly use his skills to mislead those gullible enough to believe him.

Januarymadness Mon 29-Apr-13 12:52:55

Hello Age welcome.

madhairday Mon 29-Apr-13 14:49:59

The thread certainly educated me further. I kept quiet in the main, because science is very much not my area, but Ellie's posts and others have been helpful for me. I'm a little blush because I think very early in the thread I defended Best, saying he argued with intelligence etc (shows how little I really do know) grin - I think I was just taken aback to see a YEC argue their case with so much back up 'evidence' and not simply 'because the bible says so' even though it does not

I'll be continuing to read, with interest. I have never been a YEC despite being a Christian, I think I am in the majority of Christians on this. The little I know about evolution etc makes the best sense and does not contradict the notion of God as creator (to me).

Had a look at the fb page shock nice.

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:37

Okay, I'm back - with a few rules before I agree to participate. But first, some announcements.

Thanks to Emma for having my back on this thread. I love that Voltaire quote too, Emma (although it isn't clear that Voltaire actually said it). It is one of my life's guiding principles - along with, "Do unto others as you would be done by."

Before coming back, I did some research perusing several other similar threads on Mumsnet. Many of you have been doing this for a very long time - sucking in creationists and theists so you can ridicule them. (I would think you could find something better to do with your time.)

Here are a few of the gems I found:

Cotedazur: "Carbon dating shows irrefutably that [fossils] are millions of years old."

LOL! Cote obviously knows little about carbon dating.

NobleGiraffe: "Jodie you must accept that there is a logical link between YEC and intolerance of homosexuality."

A false - not to mention bigoted - thing to say.

SolidGoldBrass: "FFS! Anyone who actually believes in creationism is too stupid to be let out of the house without a keeper."

Witty perhaps but highly offensive.

SolidGoldBrass: " 'Don't be fucking ridiculous, I have better things to do with my time' is a perfectly adequate answer." (In response to being asked to go to church.)

A good example of the worst atheism has to offer humanity.

EllieArroway: "There are no good reasons to believe in any god, not a single one. And when you have no reason to believe that something is true then that belief becomes, by definition, unreasonable."

How closed mind of you. And you say you'd like to discuss my evidences for the existence God? I think I'll save my breath for someone who is interested in learning.

And finally, this astute observation by a poster who could have said it to many of the posters on the first thread:

LRDTheFeministDragon: "You are interested in insulting religious people and advancing no argument."

Good one, LRD.

Now, with that out of my system, on to my rules.

___________________________________________
10 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
___________________________________________

Near the end of the first thread I was spending several hours per day on Mumsnet. I cannot continue at that pace so I will have to be much more selective about who I respond to and what questions I answer. Thus:

1. No profanity in a message directed at me will be tolerated. Your entire post will go unresponded to and you will be immediately reported to the moderator.

2. No name calling or personal attacks will be tolerated. Your entire post will go unresponded to and, depending upon the severity of the offense, you may be reported to the moderator.

3. I will not respond to any allegations of lying or of misrepresentation on FaceBook. Suffice it to say that after someone visited my FaceBook page, they ran back to Mumsnet claiming I called you all a bunch of "insane mummies." I neither used the word "insane" nor mentioned that you were mothers - or even women for that matter.

I did say that your behaviour confirmed for me that people are "inherently evil." All Christians believe this so it should not be news to you.

4. I will not respond to questions previously addressed on the first thread (like the speed of light issue).

5. I cannot respond multiple times to the same questions when someone new joins the discussion. I will simply write something like "See the thread above."

6. I will not, in general, respond to questions that I deem to be off the topic of young earth creationism. If you have an unrelated question, please feel free to send me a private message.

7. If I provide evidence as requested and you refuse to read it, view it or listen to it, I will not respond to any further questions from you until you demonstrate that you have done so.

8. If I find out that you are messaging my FaceBook friends to harass them (as someone has done to one of atheist friends) I will report you to the moderator and possibly to the police.

9. Let's keep the discussion civil, rational and logical. Feel free to challenge my views and question my evidence. But please keep in mind my three primary assumptions:

1. God exists.
2. He has revealed information to us about His creation in the Bible.
3. The Bible can be understood through a plain reading of the text.

10. I have taken into consideration the comments that some of you felt I was patronizing and rude. Once again, if I offended anyone I deeply apologize. I will try to do better on this thread (and have no doubt that I can if everyone adheres to the first 9 rules.)

I assure you I was not claiming persecution because of your "rational arguments" but because of your poor conduct. Be respectful. Mind your Ps and Qs and we won't have a problem. Let's have a productive discussion. smile

P.S. I tried to post this last night but Mumsnet was down.

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 18:58:04

Hi Age. Thanks for joining the discussion. You know it's going to be really tough for me not to call you by your real name. wink

Age and I have a healthy mutual respect. Although our disagreements can get heated at times, we never allow them to descend into name calling etc. and I can truly say I love this guy. (Oops! Girl. Uh, woman. Wait. What do you want to be known as, Age?) wink

(That's two winks in one post. People are going to start to talk about us. Love ya, buddy.)

LizzyDay Mon 29-Apr-13 19:04:41

I have to hand it to you Best, you really are good value. I'm just gutted that I namechange too often for you to have found anything in my murky MN past for you to disapprove of. But you have cheered me up no end anyway, ta.

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 19:23:25

Regarding shameless self-promotion, I don't get paid for anything I do. When someone on the first thread asked the name of my book I said,

"I didn't mention it, NG. I'm not here to promote myself or to sell books. I want to answer honest questions from nice people who are genuinely interested in learning."

I live a very modest lifestyle. I've never owed a car. I rent my apartment. My clothes and books are all second hand. I used to volunteer to produce and host a local TV show talking with university professors about the big questions of life. It took up a lot of my free time and I didn't get paid for it but those are the types of conversations I like to have. I try to live my life according to the way Jesus taught us to. Of course I fail sometimes because I am a sinner (as we all are).

My FaceBook profile says, "If you're not learning, you're not living" - a phrase I believe I coined and firmly believe in.

No one writes to make money as it is not a very good way to get rich. They do it to communicate ideas they are passionate about. I have always said that the biggest compliment I could ever receive is when someone says, "You know, I never thought about it like that before." That's worth more to me than all the money in the world.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Mon 29-Apr-13 19:31:30

Best, Mumsnet HQ dictates the rules of engagement on Mumsnet. Not you. You can check out their posting guidelines if you're unsure.

You may not be aware of this, but it is considered extremely bad form to quote posters from other threads. Those posters are not (as yet) present on this thread to answer you.

LizzyDay Mon 29-Apr-13 19:31:37

Best - Well, I didn't actually suggest that you had got rich on the profits...

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 19:35:20

"Best, Mumsnet HQ dictates the rules of engagement on Mumsnet. Not you. You can check out their posting guidelines if you're unsure."

Doesn't matter. These are MY rules. I'm just saying don't expect a response if you swear at me.

"Best - Well, I didn't actually suggest that you had got rich on the profits..."

I figured as much but I just wanted to make my position clear.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Mon 29-Apr-13 19:43:35

I'm just saying don't expect a response if you swear at me.

I'll live with it.

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 19:47:27

I reckon MN sets the rules...

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 20:04:06

I also disagree with your primary assumptions. What you call the OT is a bunch of badly translated myths written by a desert tribe. It contradicts inself in many places. Many words have no agreed translation because the biblical hebrew used no vowel pointers (one example is the hebrew for milk and fat is the same without the voewels so the command not to boil a kid in its mothers milk could be read as 'fat'. So those who seperate milk and meat could be totally wrong) and loads of Aramaiac is also chucked in.
Hardly the perfect word of god is it.

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 20:17:42

"I'll live with it."

But you'll also get reported so you might end up living with it off Mumsnet. Just sayin'.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Mon 29-Apr-13 20:25:20

You can just say what you like, you can report what you like, but MN makes the rules, and swearing is allowed.

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 20:34:53

Thanks for coming back, infamous.

We covered the part about the primary assumptions extensively on the first thread. I would disagree with YOUR primary assumptions which lead you to conclude that evolution is true and God doesn't exist. But for the sake of the discussion, I can put that aside, step into your shoes and see the world as you see it. I'm just asking for the same courtesy. Do you at least acknowledge that the OT, as wrong as it may be, teaches a young earth? Is that not what the writers and the first readers would have understood the text to mean?

Regarding Aramaic in the OT, I've never heard that before. Not saying you're wrong but a quick Google search turned up this site.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1707-aramaic-language-among-the-jews

It says, "How long this process of Aramaization lasted is not known. About the year 300 B.C. Aramaic makes its appearance in Jewish literature."

The OT was completed by about 400 B.C. so that would preclude any Aramaic from creeping in. But I'm open to your evidence, infamous, and also why Aramaic in the OT would pose a problem for its reliability.

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 20:36:46

"You can just say what you like, you can report what you like, but MN makes the rules, and swearing is allowed."

Swear at someone else if you like but I don't have to tolerate it if it's directed at me and I won't.

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 20:44:17

Aramaic in the OT would suggest that the entire OT wasnt given to Moshe on Sinai as one perfect book, no? Which is the assumption of Christian and ultra-orthodox jews. Surely god wouldnt pop in a different language plus contradictions?
And no, I dont see any evidence for a young earth in the Torah. I see the mythological stories of the beginnings of the jewish people, an attempt to explain where we all came from, mixed up with the history of the jewish people. I see a primitive guess at the wonders of the universe by bronze age desert tribes people. Thats what I see. And I am truly puzzled that anyone would take it as fact rather than a glimpse into how an ancient people thought and lived.

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 20:46:27

As for swearing, far as I know, MNHQ dont delete for swearing, just for personal attacks. Its in the guidelines. If they banned for swearing it would be a very empry forum of 'insane mommies' wink

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 20:56:12

"MNHQ dont delete for swearing,"

Just my luck. smile

"'insane mommies'"

You DO realize I never used that expression, right? You're just (to use a Britishism) taking the piss out of me? wink

BestValue Mon 29-Apr-13 20:59:39

"I see a primitive guess at the wonders of the universe by bronze age desert tribes people. Thats what I see. And I am truly puzzled that anyone would take it as fact rather than a glimpse into how an ancient people thought and lived."

I see the Word of God. But I am completely open to re-evaluating those three primary assumptions. I want to see it how you see it. If you have links or books to recommend, you can send them to me privately and I promise I will read them.

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 21:01:11

Maybe tomorrow cos here in the UK its time for Game of Thrones

Best, guess what: you are not in charge and nor is your imaginary friend. Stay, and make yourself look even sillier, or trot off back to your likeminded playmates and carry on looking collectively silly. For all your big words, you're not actually capable of rational argument, because you are starting from a postion of complete and utter irrationality - that there is a god of some sort and that it's a prankster.

infamouspoo Mon 29-Apr-13 21:06:44

http://www.liberaljudaism.org/images/pdf/leaflets/lj_values_biblical_criticism.pdf

LizzyDay Mon 29-Apr-13 21:24:01

Best - bit of social media info for you in case it's helpful - Mumsnet's official Twitter tagline is:

"Oh you know, that website, for parents. No, not that one, the other one. With the biscuits. And the swearing."

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 01:06:58

"Best, guess what: you are not in charge and nor is your imaginary friend."

Guess what, SGB? I am in charge of myself and I simply will not respond to anyone's abuse.

Mumsnet's official Twitter tagline is: "Oh you know, that website, for parents. No, not that one, the other one. With the biscuits. And the swearing."

Is it really, Lizzie? LOL! No, I was not aware of that. There are different types of swearing and I can't believe some are actually defending the right to do it. But if it is directed at me I will not respond. So I just recommend not spending time writing a long message with a bunch of questions, then tossing in some cure words at the end because you'll be wasting everyone's time.

Thanks for the link, Infamous. It's only 4 pages so I can read it tonight. Would you like a response?

Emmamumsy Tue 30-Apr-13 01:22:15

Yay, best is back! I'll be following along and might pop in periodically with a question or two. I just wanted you to know that not all atheists are as rude, condescending and irrational as those on Mumsnet. Stay strong. smile

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 01:34:46

Thanks, Emma. I will. I look forward to engaging with another person who agrees to abide by the rules of logic and reason - even if we disagree about the conclusions we reach.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 02:14:33

Infamous, that PDF was much shorter than I thought so I just read it. I had concerns from the start when I saw it was called LIBERAL Judaism. To me that means they have taken God's Word and watered it down to mix in man's fallible ideas to suit their own agenda. (It's the same thing that happened to the Catholic Church and is what lead to the Protestant Reformation.)

I'm all for biblical criticism as long as it's employed to better understand the meaning of the text. The first paragraph of the PDF you referenced admits that my view was the view held for most of Jewish history. Paragraph 3 says that although it is not an entirely new phenomenon, the liberal view took hold in the 18th and 19th centuries. I believe this is because Hutton, Lyell and Darwin had seemingly done away with the need for an old earth, a global flood and a creator so the elite thought it necessary to re-interpret the Bible in light of modern science. They, in effect, put man's fallible opinion above God's infallible Word.

Paragraph 4 mentions the Epic of Gilgamesh. I believe that, while this Babylonian myth was written down BEFORE Moses' account of the flood, the Genesis story is much more accurate (eg. the dimensions of the boat). It would be fallacious to conclude that just because one writing was recorded first, later writings must have copied from it. There are actually very few similarities between the two stories and where they differ, the Genesis account has the hallmarks of recorded history whereas the EoG seems to be a human invention.

Let me recommend an approach to you that might persuade me. Starting with the text itself of Genesis 1 and 2, if you could show me that, what seems to me is obviously explaining a creation of the world and the universe in six-literal days, is more reasonably interpreted as teaching long eras of time and evolution, I will consider it.

The question it would raise for me is how intelligent can this God be if he can't even inspire authors to get some of the simplest things right. The entire issue is one of biblical authority. Jesus said, "How can you trust me when I speak of heavenly things if you do not believe me when I speak of earthly things?" If Jesus is God in human flesh, then he inspired the Bible (and is in fact our Creator.) His question is valid. Why should we trust what Jesus says about his ability to save us from sin, the future resurrection, heaven and hell, life and death if we can't trust what he tells us about how he created the world?

AgeofReason Tue 30-Apr-13 03:51:03

Oh, my. Are you sure about this Best? Do you really want to debate the divine inspiration of the Bible?? Here? You realize that as the one making the claim, it is incumbent upon you to provide evidence? Perhaps you should go with something a little safer... like your thoughts on objective morality, or tap dancing in a minefield. Just sayin'. You've yet to provide credible evidence of divine creation, which was sorta the point to these threads, so maybe some more on that? But if this is what you want, so be it. You know I'm up for it. I'll even make a concession right here - the original authors of the Bible meant 6 literal days in Genesis. Ok, so what??

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 04:08:03

"You've yet to provide credible evidence of divine creation, which was sorta the point to these threads, so maybe some more on that?"

No, that wasn't the point of these threads. It was young earth creationism. I really should be avoiding this topic like I said I would but I like Infamous. She's being nice.

"I'll even make a concession right here - the original authors of the Bible meant 6 literal days in Genesis. Ok, so what??"

Good. That was what I asked for in my second post on Thread #1. Now, read this - 101 scientific evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe. Refute 50% of them and then we'll talk. :^)

creation.com/age-of-the-earth

AgeofReason Tue 30-Apr-13 04:55:12

Oh good grief! Let's simplify this a little, shall we? Show me one of those 101, just one, that's has passed peer review in its related branch of science. I'll wait...

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 07:23:25

"Show me one of those 101, just one, that's has passed peer review in its related branch of science. I'll wait..."

They've ALL passed peer-review, Age. (See the corresponding articles and their foot notes.) Besides, peer-review is kind of a myth anyway. The Bible is much more peer-reviewed than any experiment found in the literature today. And peer-review doesn't determine truth. So that's three strikes . . . and you know what that means. wink

Januarymadness Tue 30-Apr-13 07:44:01

hello again Age. Having read Bests link like a good girl) I agree with you. There is just no peer reviewed reseach wich backs that up. Not to mention that some of the arguments still make the earth millions, not thousands, of years old. i.e the mountain range one. Also the mt eve one has been consistantly refuted by every study.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 30-Apr-13 07:53:09

Best - who is it you want to debate with here?

I applaud the posters that did engage with you on the other thread - they did it very well - and obviously either took issue with your assumptions in their posts, or just laid out the arguments for evolutionary biology regardless.

But posters who are atheists, agnostics, even many christians - are simply unable to accept your 3 assumptions. A lot of christians do not believe that the bible can be taken literally. If you only want to engage with people who accept your 3 assumptions, you're limiting your audience very much - pretty much to others who are likeminded to yourself.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:06:04

To those of you who might still be wanting me to provide a grounding for my first three assumptions, here's something I worked out a while back. As I mentioned before, I am a very linear thinker. (It's practically evolutionary - one small step at a time.) wink

First, we start off with the idea that children are predisposed to believe in God. We are not born atheists as the New Atheists like to claim. Here's evidence for that:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html

So that's our stating point. There is enough evidence for design in the natural world that it is at least reasonable to conclude that a Designer might exist. But can we know anything about Him/Her/Them?

STEP #1: The truth about God can be known. (To claim it cannot is to make a truth-claim about God and is thus self-refuting.)

But what role does empirical science play in providing evidence for such a being?

STEP #2: The existence of God cannot be either proved or disproved using the scientific method (because it limits itself to studying only natural phenomena and has no access to a supernatural entity such as God).

But if a Creator/Creators really made the universe, shouldn't we be able to see evidence of Him/Her/Them?

STEP #3: However, if a God (or gods) exist which can periodically interact with the natural world, we could study such points of interaction.

But can we PROVE such a Creator exists using science? What role does faith play?

STEP #4: The scientific method itself does not (and cannot) provide absolute proof for anything. Therefore all worldviews, whether theistic or atheistic, must rely on faith based on evidence which is apprehended through our five senses.

What evidence for a Creator do we find?

STEP #5: At least three lines of argument supported by such evidence - the Kalam Cosmological Argument (the beginning of time, space and matter) the fine-tuning of the universe and the information encoded in DNA - seem to demand the existence of an intelligent designer (or designers).

See details on this evidence here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT_AezDnj-I

Why not many gods?

STEP #6: The Principle of Parsimony (Occam's Razor) indicates that only one God is necessary to explain the aforementioned features of the universe (effectively ruling out the gods of Hinduism and other false gods).

But what is this God like?

STEP #7: The Moral Argument (the existence of objective morality) dictates that this Intelligent Designer must be personal, moral, loving and just.

But which of the many gods of history fits the evidence best?

STEP #8: The Judaeo-Christian God of the Bible is the only proposed God who seems to fit the observable evidence best.

How would we find out more about this God?

STEP #9: The Bible appears to be the only accurate, reliable and historically-verifiable account of God's interactions with His creation. The Bible tells us about Jesus Christ.

But who is this Jesus person and why should we trust anything he says?

STEP #10: Jesus Christ appears to be exactly whom He claimed to be - an accurate representation of God manifest in the flesh (John 14:9).

What evidence did Jesus provide?

STEP #11. Jesus gave us evidence of His claim to divinity by taking the punishment for our sins, dying on the cross and rising from the dead on the third day.

Now that we know God exists, what should we do about it?

STEP #12. Thus, we have logical and rational grounds for putting our faith in Jesus Christ and following His command to repent of our sins and enter into a relationship with Him.

There you have it. A 12-Step program for those who need to kick the habit of atheism and turn their lives around. I realize it won't convince you but rational arguments rarely convince everyone. This is a heart issue, not an evidential one. You might have had dozens of good solid, logical reasons why you married your spouse but ultimately it came down to an emotional choice - and of course to LOVE. smile

Januarymadness Tue 30-Apr-13 08:10:30

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Oju_lpqa6Ug&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOju_lpqa6Ug

I have a good video for you. If anyone knows how I can make it clickable from the android app I will happilly oblige.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:17:22

"hello again Age. Having read Bests link like a good girl) I agree with you. There is just no peer reviewed reseach wich backs that up. Not to mention that some of the arguments still make the earth millions, not thousands, of years old. i.e the mountain range one."

January, those 101 points are just introducing the articles they link to which all contain peer-reviewed research. You couldn't have read them all. It would take days.

The long ages given are merely an upper limit and do not indicate an actual age. Ultimately, we rely on the Eye-Witness testimony of the One who was there.

Finally, this does not have to be evidence that would convince YOU or anyone else on this board (as that may not even be possible). I was asked why I believe and this is some of the evidence I find persuasive.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:23:28

"Best - who is it you want to debate with here?"

Sabrina, I'm not really interested in a debate at all per se. Never was.

"But posters who are atheists, agnostics, even many christians - are simply unable to accept your 3 assumptions. A lot of christians do not believe that the bible can be taken literally. If you only want to engage with people who accept your 3 assumptions, you're limiting your audience very much - pretty much to others who are likeminded to yourself."

We've been over that. I don't agree with an atheist's starting assumptions but I am able to accept them so as to understand her reasoning. I am not asking you to believe what I'm saying - merely to understand it. I fully understand why an atheist doesn't believe in God and why they accept evolution. I don't think it's an irrational position to take.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:30:40

"I have a good video for you. If anyone knows how I can make it clickable from the android app I will happilly oblige."

Is that the "Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism" one? If so, I just watched that whole thing a few months ago. Very interesting, if a little one sided. They seemed to just want to make the creationists look bad. I think to truly understand someone's position you need to read and watch things from their point of view. That's why I've read nearly all the recent books by atheists and evolutionists. I understand why they believe what they do. The evidence just isn't good enough for me because I feel I have a better explanation that makes more sense of the data.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:42:26

"A lot of christians do not believe that the bible can be taken literally."

Depends on which parts you're referring to, Sabrina. Not even the most ardent creationist takes the WHOLE Bible literally. Can you be a Christian and not take the days in Genesis literally? Absolutely. But anyone who does not believe that Jesus literally rose from the dead is simply not a Christian. It would be as nonsensical as an atheist who believes in God.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 08:55:51

I should also mention that I discovered on the first thread that often while I was responding to the previous day's posts, a flood of new posts would pour in that sometimes got overlooked. So if anyone feels that I failed to answer a question either adequately or at all, feel free to ask it again and I'll try to be more careful this time. It does get difficult, however, when there are so many of you and only one of me. smile

I also wonder if there is anyone who would be up to the task of writing out in logical, step-by-step fashion (as I have done) why they do not believe in God and why they believe in evolution. I would find it fascinating and it would help me to understand you better.

I've also asked more than once for some falsifiable predictions for both atheism and evolution. I'd really enjoy reading them and I promise I will consider seriously what you take the time to write.

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 09:27:49

January, I was just watching a bit of that video again and I'm pretty sure I can answer all the questions the kids couldn't. Two claims I just saw quickly were:

1. Where did the whales fit on Noah's Ark?
2. A wooden ship that big couldn't float.

The answers are:

1. Whales nor any fish or sea life needed to be taken on the Ark. There was plenty of water for them to survive outside. The Bible specifically says Noah was to take land animals. No bugs either. (Bugs survive floods on floating log mats.)

2. Whenever this claim is made, they say that the biggest wooden sailing ship ever made was 300 feet long and that a longer ship (the Ark was at least 450 feet long) would split in two. The problem is that the Ark was not trying to sail anywhere. It was basically a big barge. It's proportions are the perfect proportions for a seaworthy vessel (unlike the cube ship of Gilgamesh) and are still used in ship building to this day.

If you think that video raised any unanswerable questions, let me know and I'll try to answer them.

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 09:33:39

Point 1 in the 101 list:

"DNA should not be found in things claimed to be a million years old."

Okay so someone found a salt crystal with some DNA in it, the whole thing being data to millions of years old.

The argument is that DNA shouldn't survive that long due to it's bonds breaking down.

So the big question for me is why is it okay for the salt crystal to have survived (weakest bonds on the order of 400 kJ/mol) but not the DNA (weakest bonds 360 kJ/mol).

The answer to this is trivial....drop salt in water and the bonds last a fraction of a second. Keep them under anhydrous conditions and what can they do? a bit of local re-arrangement? A little solid solid diffusion? The strength of a bond is not important, the free energy of the system is. If the only other option is to evaporate a metal ion, salt bonds, weak as they are can essential last forever. The same thing is true of DNA. Keep it in water and boom its gone in a blink (on a geological time scale). Stick it in a crystal with no chemicals to interact with and it will do the same as the salt...a little local re-arrangement and some very minor diffusion.

Yes each bond in the molecule will have broken a million times...but with nothing else to do but re-bind with the same atom you are left with a very similar molecule to the one you started with.

So is that one off the list then?

Januarymadness Tue 30-Apr-13 09:38:58

Most of the links were to creationist publications. That is NOT the same as non biased, peer reviewed, journals.

As for the documentary I did not find it one sided at all. The makers went well out of their way to find experts who were actually people of faith themselves (except maybe the guy who showed that the ark would have categorically sunk with the dimensions given...) It showed that faith and science were not mutually exclusive, but also that blind faith is not the route to pursue.

Januarymadness Tue 30-Apr-13 09:43:11

I would also like to point out that in the last thread you said that you do not use Occams Razor (largely as this would preclude your 3 assumptions approach) yet here you are quoting it to back up one of your ideas.

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 09:59:54

Jan yes we have:

Atheist: We do not need the existence of a benevolent God to explain the world around us therefore we use Occams Razor to suggest that there IS NO BENEVOLENT GOD.

YEC: Well obviously there is at least one benevolent God so we use Occams Razor to suggest that there is ONLY ONE BENEVOLENT GOD.

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the main problem with atheists v. theists is that the two groups are working with different data sets.

I am an atheist primarily because I do not feel God inside me. I do not feel loved, or cradled by an entity bigger than myself. I feel I am alone in a cold uncaring universe that will snuff out my life without noticing.

So I then look out on the rest of the evidence of the universe with my own internal bias. I am not expecting to find God necessary to explain the world.

Presumably those people who do feel the love of a God in themselves, find they look out on the rest of the evidence with an equal and opposite internal bias. They ARE expecting to find God to be needed to explain the world around us.

it is unsurprising that we come to different conclusions really...

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 10:35:57

Point 8 of the 101:

This is actually the same as point 1. ie. that storage conditions are massively important when it comes to chemical reaction rates. Fossilized ANYTHING will not react at the same speed as ANYTHING in solution.

But I wanted to highlight the spectacularly incorrect side point mentioned in the article. The article states that if chemists make amino acids they would be 50:50 right and left handed. This is total and utter rubbish. All chemical reactions capable of chirality have a preference for one of the two handednesses in any given set of conditions. There are reactions that come out 99% :1% spontaneously and vice versa. Of course some come out near equal but the amino acids do not all fall into that category by any means. The related argument that evolution should have produced 50:50 is similarly rubbish. Given the conditions pervading in prebiotic reactions there will have BEEN preferences although they would certainly be smaller than those present once you have specific catalytic enzymes on the case. The better your catalyst the more specific your handedness...but catalysts include simple molecules found out in the big wide world...not just biological ones.

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 10:38:29

hmmm points 2 and 6 make the same mistake as 1 and 8.

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 10:39:21

OKay well I have to get some work done now...but I think 4 in an hour isn't too bad.

infamouspoo Tue 30-Apr-13 10:57:10

The reason I posted to that very simple liberal jewish document was a, because it was very simple and b, to show that apart from a few ultra orthodoc hassidic sects, the majority of world jewry has come out of the dark ages and does not see Beresheit as literal but as a creation myth of their bronze age ancestors. Even maimonides (The RamBam) back in the 12th century said it wasnt literal and he is recognised as one of the finest jewish scholars of the Torah ever to have lived. Maybe you should read his works.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 30-Apr-13 12:56:56

"Children are born believers in god, academic claims" does not equal empirical evidence that children are born believing in god.

But I see you say you're not here to debate confused

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 30-Apr-13 12:58:37

Here's January's youtube clickable link

It's good - I remember watching it on the BBC.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Tue 30-Apr-13 13:13:23

There's clearly been a misquote regarding Best's opinion of "mommies groups". So in fairness, I thought I'd just drop in what was actually said by Best when his FB friends started to slate such groups:

Oh, okay. I'm not going to agree with you about the "Mom groups" because they're already monitoring this page.

Interpret that as you will, but it's fairer to show what was actually said.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Tue 30-Apr-13 13:18:42

Best, you continually state that you do not agree with the atheists' starting assumptions. I'd like to know what you think those assumptions are because personally I don't start with any assumptions, I go with the most likely theories bases on the evidence.

Incidentally, I went through your steps to believing, but had to stop at step 1 I'm afraid.

STEP #1: The truth about God can be known. (To claim it cannot is to make a truth-claim about God and is thus self-refuting.)

To claim that it can is also to make a truth claim about God and is therefore also self-refuting.

So you are left with nothing to start on.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 30-Apr-13 13:31:17

I was more concerned about what he said about people being 'inherently evil' tbh - which he has then repeated on here.

I think inherently evil is such a very absolute term to use to describe humanity - even if he is referring to Original Sin I think most christians would find those words way too strong.

And that's before we even get started on Eve and Original Sin - which I also have huge problems with. As a feminist and an agnostic/atheist.

I myself do not believe that people are inherently evil.

Pedro - I put my hands up re the 'insane mommies' comment. I attributed it to his site (it was a comment made by another poster). I don't know how it morphed into being read as a comment made by best.
There was nothing untrue in what I posted. And for the record, I didn't deliberately go hunting for his facebook page to spy. It comes up pretty high when you google his name. At that point, I think pretty much all of us were intrigued as to whom we were engaging with.

Can I just ask (whilst here), what the point is of this thread? Is it a discussion? There are so many rules being applied as to and it appears to me like best thinks he is delivering some sort of lecture?

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 13:53:00

Well my point to this thread is to go through the list of 101 reasons given and see which can be debunked.

I have done 4 so far...

LizzyDay Tue 30-Apr-13 14:04:46

Yes, iirc in the last thread Best linked to a YouTube clip of his RL self (on a TV show? can't remember). He has done a fair amount of publicity to promote his ideas so it's fair to assume this is just another platform. Therefore it would be a bit odd for him to be outraged if people click on the top links which appear when you google his name. After all, that's surely what he wants to achieve? To be fair, again I think it's mainly his FB friends who have expressed outrage on his behalf (not that he has discouraged them mind you).

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Tue 30-Apr-13 14:32:49

Incidentally, I happened to notice that Best linked to an article about Amanda Holden's experience with MN. Suggesting that everyone here is aggressive and self righteous. It also quotes the '600,000' registered users.

I'd like to see someone find a community of over half a million people which did not have a small number of individuals who will have strong opinions about anything that anyone says or does. I doubt very much that Amanda had contact with even a tiny fraction of a percentage of MN users and perhaps if she'd cared to look in the right places for her information, she may well have found the numerous members who are actually very nice and willing to help.

Best, on the other hand, is surely aware of the controversial nature of his opinions and is in the right place to express them and have them challenged (all very politely of course)!

Januarymadness Tue 30-Apr-13 14:34:06

ICBINEG well if thats the point I give you

Cyran et al. Alternatives to the Wright-Fisher model: The robustness of mitochondrial Eve dating. Theoretical Population Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.tpb.2010.06.001

 MLARice University (2010, August 17). 'Mitochondrial Eve': Mother of all humans lived 200,000 years ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/08/100817122405.htm

papers which refute the dating of mt to 6000 years ago.

I count that as 5 down

Januarymadness Tue 30-Apr-13 14:37:52

Also the continual population growth point fails to take into account the effect of wars, famine, flood, disease, life expectancy estimates, other natural disasters etc......Thats where all the people went.

Snorbs Tue 30-Apr-13 15:01:17

Point 32 about rapid erosion of coastlines is false. It cites the relatively quick erosion of Beachy Head and the Yorkshire coastline and positing that if those coasts had been eroding at that rate since the Cretaceous period then thousands of miles would have gone.

This is an erroneous conclusion that assumes that Britain has always been an island. It hasn't. Archeological evidence from what is now Dogger Bank shows that it not only used to be dry but it was inhabited until at least the end of the last Ice Age 5,000 years ago. Geological evidence of the seabed off the south and east coasts of Britain show that our island it used to be connected to France by dry land.

In essence, then, no-one (other than YECs) are claiming that anyone seriously believes that Beachy Head has been eroding for millions of years.

Snorbs Tue 30-Apr-13 15:11:57

Point 65 is misleading. It posits with no evidence that because there is still a small, hot core in the moon that therefore the moon must be relatively young. Conversely it offers no explanation for why an ancient moon must be completely cold. Without that foundation any discussion of volcanism on the moon as evidence of its age is entirely moot.

Snorbs Tue 30-Apr-13 15:19:56

Point 76 about the supposed youthfulness of Enceladus: no useful citations included to back up the claims so I discount this one as meaningful in any way.

Snorbs Tue 30-Apr-13 15:25:57

Point 90 is just a re-hash of point 65 - it claims that non-creationists believe the moon to be cold all the way through (they don't) therefore evidence of scarps that are caused by a thermally active core blow the entire "evolutionist" (huh? What has the theory of evolution got to do with the origins of the moon?) theory out of the water.

That's great, if scientists claimed the moon was cold all the way through. They don't. It's well known that the moon has a hot core.

Snorbs Tue 30-Apr-13 15:31:30

Point 96 is ridiculous as it completely ignores the many factors involved in population growth. There's more than enough evidence that can be found just be observing animal populations in the wild to show that this argument is utterly ridiculous. Hint: Predation, disease, famine and environmental factors all count against exponential population growth.

Point 101 is, essentially, "If humans have been around for 200,000 years why did it take them so long to invent agriculture?" That is an argument so ridiculous that I shall blow my nose in its direction.

Ok, I'll refute point 5 about limited variation within the Y-chromosome:

A very recent paper, published in a reputable journal reported that a previously unknown, very distinct, Y chromosome had been found which pushed back further the estimated Y-MRCA (most common recent ancestor) to 338,000 years ago (237,000 to 581,000 years ago with 95% confidence). Link to paper below.

http://haplogroup-a.com/Ancient-Root-AJHG2013.pdf

ICBINEG Tue 30-Apr-13 16:14:22

I am noticing a pattern here.

Along the lines of:

1. Find a scientific fact.
2. Decide that it is incompatible with the earth/universe being old on the basis of either a flawed understanding of the science or on that old favourite common sense, find at least one person with Dr. in front of their name to agree with the common sense / flawed science.
3. Declare the science fact supports YEC.

The DNA one is like that....start from the assumption that DNA shouldn't be able to survive in ANY POSSIBLE CONDITIONS for over a few thousand years. Find someone used to working with it in solution who agrees that DNA in solution wouldn't last that long and then declare the Earth is only 6000 years old.

In fact most scientists probably have zero problem whatsoever with the idea that DNA in the crystal state could essentially last forever...

Likewise the hot moon thing...common sense might dictate that the moon should be cold, but science doesn't.

Plenty of heat sources to keep it warm for millions of years to come....

BestValue Tue 30-Apr-13 22:36:39

I just wanted to thank everyone for, thus far, being respectful and asking good questions. Also welcome back to Pedro and a few others. Pedro, I'm sure you're a nice guy (and yes I know you're a male with a wife and a son) and we would get on well in person. Let's call a truce, shall we, and I'll try in future to not let my emotions get the best of me.

I also wanted to mention that I find it curious that people are only responding to that "101" list now as I posted it on the previous thread. To help you debunk it there is a page on another site which takes each one apart. If no one can find it, I'll post it later. smile

RationalThought Tue 30-Apr-13 22:41:29

Hi Best. I was just reading Genesis and in chapter 4 I found that 7 generations after Adam and Eve Jubal played the harp and organ and Tubalcain was "an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron". This was all within 130 years of the creation of the world as all of this took place before Seth was born.

If this is the case, where do the millions of stone tools fit in the history of humankind? Why are these implements found at deeper levels of deposits than metal implements, if they were all buried by the same deluge? Why is there so much evidence of people living in caves and using these implements for thousands of years?

I would also be grateful if you could please explain to me where Neanderthals and other sub-species of homo sapiens fit in. Why are they not mentioned in the Bible if they existed at the same time as humans?

One final point I would ask you to address. I believe I wrote earlier that in the 19th century it was the Liberal Jews began to stop believing that Genesis (or the Talmud) gave a true account of the creation of the World and the history of mankind. According to the UK Chief Rabbi (whilst debating with Richard Dawkins), in the 10th century Rabbis "laid down the principle that if a Biblical narrative is incompatible with established scientific fact, it is not to be read literally". Therefore, I believe that Orthodox Jewish understanding of the events described would have been evolving for hundreds of years. What is your reading of this?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to address these issues.

Worth remembering also that you cannot convince people of superior intelligence (atheists) that something bullshit (the existence of gods) is true just by stamping your feet and squealing. Or by using big words.

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 01:33:07

er...I thought the 101 reasons had the backing of peer review? Now there is already a resource demonstrating each one is incorrect?

I am starting to get dizzy.

Is this another debating tactic?

Throwing in a load of stuff you are already prepared to back down on?

Is this the speed of light all over again?

<glares (in a not at all menacing really way) at best>

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 01:46:34

"So is that one off the list then?"

ICBINEG, yours sounds like a reasonable explanation. I'm sure creation scientists would have a reason why it is not. DNA was confirmed in January 2013 to not last more than (I think it was) 100,000 years. All the reports said hopes were dashed of having a REAL Jurassic Park. That same month, they found what they thought was DNA in a dinosaur bone. That report was mysteriously swept under the rug never to be heard of again.

Eventually I will post links for these two claims. And I will reply to your other posts further down.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 01-May-13 01:54:17

Why are we bothering to refute the list if best already has a link that refutes them all?

Best, why give us the list in the first place?

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 01:54:33

"Most of the links were to creationist publications. That is NOT the same as non biased, peer reviewed, journals."

January, the links went to articles written by creation scientists which in turn refer, in the footnotes, to secular peer-reviewed journals as well as creationists peer-reviewed journals. And I reject your claim that secular journals are "non biased." We are all biased.

"As for the documentary I did not find it one sided at all. The makers went well out of their way to find experts who were actually people of faith themselves (except maybe the guy who showed that the ark would have categorically sunk with the dimensions given...)"

If you think it raised any valid points, let me know and I'll see if I can't give you a valid answer. Most of the time the issue is merely one of misinformation. For example, Jerry Coyne should have known better than to ask where the whales were on the Ark. (Face palm.)

"It showed that faith and science were not mutually exclusive, but also that blind faith is not the route to pursue."

I totally agree with this statement. Blind faith is not only dumb, it's dangerous.

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 01:59:18

"I would also like to point out that in the last thread you said that you do not use Occams Razor (largely as this would preclude your 3 assumptions approach) yet here you are quoting it to back up one of your ideas."

My exact words were, "I've never used Occam's razor for that, January. I use it for the multi-verse and other gods."

Other gods is precisely what I used it for here. smile

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 02:11:21

"I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the main problem with atheists v. theists is that the two groups are working with different data sets."

I would say we are working with the same data sets but with different starting assumptions.

"I am an atheist primarily because I do not feel God inside me. I do not feel loved, or cradled by an entity bigger than myself. I feel I am alone in a cold uncaring universe that will snuff out my life without noticing."

So you are an atheist for emotional reasons. For me, it is strictly about logic, reason and evidence. I have never once appealed to faith or a warm fuzzy feeling or a desire for cosmic justice etc. I am a theist because:

1. the scientific evidence seems to require it and
2. based on the Bible I can make predictions which are vindicated by modern science (and to be clear, I'm not referring to prophecy here). I listed 7 or so of them in my second post on Thread #1.

"So I then look out on the rest of the evidence of the universe with my own internal bias. I am not expecting to find God necessary to explain the world."

Thank you for acknowledging a bias - which we all have.

"Presumably those people who do feel the love of a God in themselves, find they look out on the rest of the evidence with an equal and opposite internal bias. They ARE expecting to find God to be needed to explain the world around us. it is unsurprising that we come to different conclusions really..."

Brilliant!!! That is what I have been saying since the beginning! Thank you, ICBINEG!

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 02:14:58

"But I wanted to highlight the spectacularly incorrect side point mentioned in the article. The article states that if chemists make amino acids they would be 50:50 right and left handed. This is total and utter rubbish."

I didn't actually check the claim but the Miller-Urey experiment generated amino acids with 50:50 right and left handed chirality. Life forms only use (or primarily use) left-handed amino acids. Is that not correct?

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 02:25:41

"The reason I posted to that very simple liberal jewish document was a, because it was very simple and b, to show that apart from a few ultra orthodoc hassidic sects, the majority of world jewry has come out of the dark ages and does not see Beresheit as literal but as a creation myth of their bronze age ancestors. Even maimonides (The RamBam) back in the 12th century said it wasnt literal and he is recognised as one of the finest jewish scholars of the Torah ever to have lived. Maybe you should read his works."

Thank you, Infamous. I appreciated that you kept it simple. I just mentioned that it was short because I read it faster than I thought I would. I will check out Maimonides, but I still have to say that I am more interested in how the ancient Hebrews would have understood the text and not how modern scholars interpret it.

Your assumption (based on evolution and increasing complexity) might be that the ancient Hebrews were just a bunch of goat herders (don't mean to put words in your mouth but that is a common view today) whereas my assumption (based on the Bible) is that people where smarter back then and, due to mutations, we are degenerating and getting dumber.

Interestingly, modern science says that both neanderthals and someone from ancient Greece would be much smarter than anyone alive on the planet today. So that is a prediction of my worldview. smile

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 02:31:16

"Children are born believers in god, academic claims" does not equal empirical evidence that children are born believing in god.

Sabrina, I know you're teasing. That is based on a scientific study. You have to read more than just the title of the article. wink

And at least it is something. The claim that we are all born atheists is an assertion with no evidential support. I've never seen anyone even attempt to back it up. They just take it for a granted as a brute fact. I rarely (if ever) make a claim without at least ONE source of evidence.

RationalThought Wed 01-May-13 02:38:40

Interestingly, modern science says that both neanderthals and someone from ancient Greece would be much smarter than anyone alive on the planet today.

Would you provide a source for this statement please

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 02:45:51

"Best, you continually state that you do not agree with the atheists' starting assumptions. I'd like to know what you think those assumptions are because personally I don't start with any assumptions, I go with the most likely theories bases on the evidence."

Hi, Pedro. Good to have you back. I will name three of your starting assumptions off the top of my head:

1. Naturalism (or materialism) - "that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe." (All of science is based on this and rightly so.)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_%28philosophy%29

2. The Copernican Principle - "that the Earth is not in a central, specially favored position" and that "humans are not privileged observers of the universe"

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle

3. Uniformitarianism - "the present is the key to the past" and the laws of nature are the same throughout the universe

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism

Note these are all theistic assumptions without which science is impossible. If I think of more later, I'll post them. Thanks for the question. I was surprised someone didn't ask it earlier. smile

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 02:53:14

"To claim that it can is also to make a truth claim about God and is therefore also self-refuting."

How is that self-refuting, Pedro? It is self-confirming, isn't it? If I say, "We can't know anything about God" I am claiming to know something about God - namely that he can't be known. But If I say, "We can know something about God" my claim is merely one example of something we can know about him. And maybe there are more.

Another favourite of mine is when somebody says, "You can't know anything for sure" and I ask them, "How do you know that for sure?" wink

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 03:03:52

*"I think inherently evil is such a very absolute term to use to describe humanity - even if he is referring to Original Sin I think most christians would find those words way too strong . . . I myself do not believe that people are inherently evil."

Yes Sabrina, my wording may have been a little extreme there. Maybe you object to the use of the word "evil" - although I don't think Christians take evil to mean everyone is a mass murder or anything. Christianity says we are all sinners. Studies show that we all know right from wrong - even from a very early age (see link below) and yet we often choose to do wrong.

If you have a child, recall how young he/she was when you told them not to touch something and, with a devious smile, they looked at you and touched it anyway. They knew what they were doing was wrong. That is sin.

"Psychologists say babies know right from wrong even at six months"

phys.org/news192693376.html

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 03:12:12

"At that point, I think pretty much all of us were intrigued as to whom we were engaging with."

Islets, I had posted a video of myself in the first half of the thread with my full name and profession. Guess nobody watched it.

"Can I just ask (whilst here), what the point is of this thread? Is it a discussion? There are so many rules being applied as to and it appears to me like best thinks he is delivering some sort of lecture?"

No, I don't mean to come across that way. I just wanted to be treated with respect as a human being. Disrespect my ideas if you like. But I am here at your service to answer questions to anyone who is interested. When people stop caring or having questions, I will stop posting.

I am merely fulfilling my commission of 1 Peter 3:15: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (I sometimes fail on the "gentleness and respect" part but I do try to live that way everyday of my life.)

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 03:24:00

"He has done a fair amount of publicity to promote his ideas so it's fair to assume this is just another platform."

If I were here to publicize myself I sure suck at it. LOL!

"*Therefore it would be a bit odd for him to be outraged if people click on the top links which appear when you google his name. After all, that's surely what he wants to achieve?"*

I wasn't outraged at anyone looking at my FaceBook page. I have nothing to hide and have all my setting set to "Public." It was just that someone sent a nasty message to one of my friends - an atheist no less - and called her a "creationist puppet" or something and then blocked her so she couldn't write back.

Publicity is not what I am out to achieve. If it were really all about publicity and money, I would hang around Christian message boards and try to get invited to speak at churches. (Hey, not a bad idea. Note to self.) Why would I go where I risk being called names and verbally abused? Because I truly love interacting with atheists. They are some of my best friends and I have great respect for them even if we disagree on certain things.

"To be fair, again I think it's mainly his FB friends who have expressed outrage on his behalf (not that he has discouraged them mind you)."

My only FB friend who is on here is AgeOfReason and he's on your side. LOL! So a lot of good that's doing me. smile

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 03:31:21

January, I'm well aware of the re-dating of Mitochondrial Eve and addressed it on the first thread. In my view, they re-dated it because 6,000 was clearly unacceptable. I provided links explaining what they did to, in my view, skew the data to get the date they wanted. It is done all the time in science. I'm not even claiming they are dishonest. I think they truly believe the first date must have been wrong and they found a way to make it work to fit their theory.

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 03:35:17

"Archeological evidence from what is now Dogger Bank shows that it not only used to be dry but it was inhabited until at least the end of the last Ice Age 5,000 years ago."

Welcome Snorbs. I've always heard them say that the end of the last ice age was 10,000 years ago. But your date is closer to mine. I would put it about 3,500 years ago.

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 04:03:42

"The DNA one is like that....start from the assumption that DNA shouldn't be able to survive in ANY POSSIBLE CONDITIONS for over a few thousand years."

That wasn't an assumption. That was based on secular peer-reviewed science. And as of October 2012 (sorry, I thought it was January 2013), the date got even more precise.

Due to its short half-life of just 521 years, DNA can't last for more than 7 million years (sorry, I thought it was 100,000 years).

http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/17/no-hope-for-jurassic-park-scientists-say-dna-is-too-fragile/

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2012/10/05/rspb.2012.1745

Yet, the same month they seemingly found dino DNA.:

http://www.nature.com/news/molecular-analysis-supports-controversial-claim-for-dinosaur-cells-1.11637

So I predict they will continue to say that the dino DNA they found could not actually be DNA based on their presupposition that dinosaurs are 65 million years old. But creationists have no problem with dino DNA, red blood cells and soft tissue being found if dinosaurs lived only thousands of years ago.

This is what I've seen time and time again. Secular scientists have to discredit or ignore mountains of evidence to keep their old earth and evolution while to creationists the evidence fits just fine into a young earth model.

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 04:16:05

"er...I thought the 101 reasons had the backing of peer review? Now there is already a resource demonstrating each one is incorrect?"

They have. Peer-reviewed journals contradict each other all the time. And I don't believe the following site has actually debunked them. But here it is:

rationalwiki.org/wiki/101_evidences_for_a_young_age_of_the_Earth_and_the_universe

"I am starting to get dizzy."

Lay down. It'll pass. wink

"Is this another debating tactic?"

What do you mean "another"? I don't use "debating tactics." The book I'm writing called "How To Debate an Atheist" just gives answers to the 101 most common questions and objections. They are not "tactics" which implies that they are somehow deceptive.

"Throwing in a load of stuff you are already prepared to back down on?"

I'm not backing down on anything. Just providing the information in the interest of honesty and full disclosure. It demonstrates how the evidence can be interpreted two ways based on one's starting assumptions - which is a point I have made from the start.

"Is this the speed of light all over again?"

No. And I never backed down from that either. Just agreed to disagree. smile

"<glares (in a not at all menacing really way) at best>"

I'm not afraid of you, you know. :^P

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 05:03:30

"Hi Best. I was just reading Genesis and in chapter 4 I found that 7 generations after Adam and Eve Jubal played the harp and organ and Tubalcain was "an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron". This was all within 130 years of the creation of the world as all of this took place before Seth was born."

Hi, RationalThought, thanks for coming back.

Seven generations after Adam and Eve means it was six generations AFTER Seth since Adam's descendants went through Seth's line. So it wasn't in the first 130 years. Noah was the 10th generation from Adam and he was 600 when the Flood occurred 1656 years after creation.

Check out this graph to see how the generations overlapped and how life spans dropped off dramatically after the Flood. Also note that Adam could have known Noah's father who passed on the story of creation and Noah could have taken it on the Ark. No time for the story to get corrupted and embellished into a myth.

www.linearconcepts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/GenealogicalAges.png

"If this is the case, where do the millions of stone tools fit in the history of humankind? Why are these implements found at deeper levels of deposits than metal implements, if they were all buried by the same deluge? Why is there so much evidence of people living in caves and using these implements for thousands of years?"

I believe "cave men" and stone tools come in AFTER the Flood and even after the Tower of Babel incident 100 years or so later. I'm skeptical of your claims that there are "millions of stone tools" and that they are "found at deeper levels of deposits than metal implements."

I don't interpret the geologic column as a record of time (from older sediments at the bottom to younger on top) so much of the evidence for deep time disappears when you look at the earth through a biblical worldview.

"I would also be grateful if you could please explain to me where Neanderthals and other sub-species of homo sapiens fit in. Why are they not mentioned in the Bible if they existed at the same time as humans?"

I don't consider "Neanderthals and other sub-species of homo sapiens" anything else but human just as I don't consider black people or Asian people sub species of humans. Neanderthals were people after the Flood who were living to be very old and show signs of rickets and other bone deformities acquired during the ice age.

"One final point I would ask you to address. I believe I wrote earlier that in the 19th century it was the Liberal Jews began to stop believing that Genesis (or the Talmud) gave a true account of the creation of the World and the history of mankind. According to the UK Chief Rabbi (whilst debating with Richard Dawkins), in the 10th century Rabbis "laid down the principle that if a Biblical narrative is incompatible with established scientific fact, it is not to be read literally". Therefore, I believe that Orthodox Jewish understanding of the events described would have been evolving for hundreds of years. What is your reading of this?"

My understanding of this is that there are always people who are willing to compromise God's Word. John 12:43 speaks of the Jewish leaders in Jesus' day who "loved human praise more than praise from God."

Therefore it does not surprise me that men and woman who are often highly intelligent are more often atheists or at least liberal Christians or Jews. The source of sin is pride. And when you think you've got it made, you begin to think you don't need God.

If you look at Eve in the Garden of Eden, she was tempted by the fruit because she saw it was "good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom." These are "the lust of the flesh," "the lust of the eyes" and "the pride of life" - the same three things that still corrupt people today. Read this.:

www.gotquestions.org/pride-of-life.html

Sorry, I went off on bit of a tangent there. smile

Morning best. I had to pick up on one of your comments in the last post as it nearly made me spit my cup of tea all over my latop:

Neanderthals were people after the Flood who were living to be very old and show signs of rickets and other bone deformities acquired during the ice age

This is another creationist 'story'. Rickets leaves signs on bones which have never (as far as I am aware) been detected in homo sapiens neanderthalenisis or homo erectus. The differences observed in neanderthal bones do not correlate with the pathology of rickets If you know differently, please could you provide a link to a mainstream journal, not a creationist one (btw please, please stop calling non-creationist journals 'secular', there are many people out there with faith who work for and peer review for these journals).

I'm looking forward to your response to my Y chromosome link, when you have time later. And have you looked up that Alan Cutler book I mentioned on the old thread yet? I really think you would enjoy it - I found it pretty balanced and it is a fascinating insight into the history of science.

Januarymadness Wed 01-May-13 07:49:36

For the people that didnt look at the mitochondrial eve link here is one of their heir fundimental findings:

We wanted to see how sensitive the estimates were to the assumptions of the models," Kimmel said. "We found that all of the models that accounted for random population size -- such as different branching processes -- gave similar estimates."

So according to Best all of these models that give the SAME date are manipulated and wrong.

If you carry out an experiment 100 times and you get 99 answers that are close to each other and 1 which is somewhere else. It does not mean the 1 answer is the right one. It does not prove the other 99 wrong. It doesnt show manipulation of evidence. It means you have 1 anomalous finding (which can normally be explained away during analysis).

Also by saying articles have peer reviewed journals in their footnotes it just means they have referenced from these sources. They may have been referenced to say "this person said" it does not make the article itself peer reviewed, nor legitimate.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 01-May-13 08:10:00

Hi, Pedro. Good to have you back. I will name three of your starting assumptions off the top of my head:

Then you have completely misunderstood me. I make none of those assumptions. These would all be conclusions I would draw from studying the evidence presented.

You, on the other hand, do make starting assumptions so I consider that my interpretation of the evidence is significantly less biased than yours.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 01-May-13 08:14:22

Islets, I had posted a video of myself in the first half of the thread with my full name and profession. Guess nobody watched it.

No, I think most of us did watch it. After all it was very entertaining. But that doesn't stop people wanting to find out more than just a name and profession. It would be unbelievably shallow to assume that's all it would take to know who one was speaking to.

Snorbs Wed 01-May-13 08:56:13

January, the links went to articles written by creation scientists which in turn refer, in the footnotes, to secular peer-reviewed journals as well as creationists peer-reviewed journals.

Indeed. And that's just one of the glaringly obvious flaws in that list of 101 claims. The claims themselves and the articles they paraphrase are not peer-reviewed science. Instead the random selection of claims I saw tend to follow a pattern either of:

1) Say, without evidence, that "evolutionists" claim scientific idea <x>
2) Find peer-reviewed science that disputes <x>
3) Therefore God.

or:
1) Peer-reviewed science says <y>
2) Take <y> and run with it to make wildly unsupported claims that are a long long way from what <y> actually demonstrates
3) Therefore God.

They're specious arguments, meant to comfort people who have no real understanding of the science but a deep need to believe in the Bible. So it's easier for them to believe in a Vast Conspiracy of Evil Evolutionists deliberately making stuff up rather than face the fact that most of the Bible is nothing more than mythology.

What I find interesting, though, is that one can only assume those 101 specious points are the best that YECs have to offer to "prove" that their beliefs are correct. How desperate.

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 09:11:45

Argh - no! you can't agree to disagree on whether the speed of light in the vacuum is constant?!?!

You also can't seriously think that the speed of light in the vacuum is different anywhere in our 'local' region of space. Our local region is substantially bigger than 6000 light years so even observation of our local space indicates an older universe than that by a substantial amount.

I have just recalled you mentioned a gravitational well argument...could you expand on that?

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 09:14:47

"This is another creationist 'story'. Rickets leaves signs on bones which have never (as far as I am aware) been detected in homo sapiens neanderthalenisis or homo erectus. The differences observed in neanderthal bones do not correlate with the pathology of rickets If you know differently, please could you provide a link to a mainstream journal, not a creationist one" (btw please, please stop calling non-creationist journals 'secular', there are many people out there with faith who work for and peer review for these journals).

The following link indicates that Dr. Rudolf Virchow may have been the first to suggest Neanderthals had rickets. I understand that others have been found which were upright and dated older and so we wouldn't expect to find that view espoused in the journals today.

wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/14/9/pdfs/08-6672.pdf

The other book to see (which I acknowledge I have not read) is called "Bones of Contention" by Marvin Lubenow. In most cases I provide evidence from mainstream journals (since you don't like the word "secular" or feel free to tell me what you would like me to call them and I'll oblige) but I obviously can't always. Creationists do their own science work and have their own peer-reviewed journals which are perfectly valid to cite.

"I'm looking forward to your response to my Y chromosome link, when you have time later."

Yes, I will check it out.

"And have you looked up that Alan Cutler book I mentioned on the old thread yet? I really think you would enjoy it - I found it pretty balanced and it is a fascinating insight into the history of science."

My local library did not have it. An idea that only occurred to me just this moment is to investigate the possibility of getting the book through the inter-library loan program which I will do the next time I am in the area.

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 09:22:46

best you say that creationist have their own journals...why is this?

Why not publish in the mainstream?

I don't think you can claim peer review if it is only the opinions of a subset of the scientific community in the relevant area.

I mean one could set up a journal for climate change sceptics in which each article was only ever reviewed by other sceptics...but I wouldn't have any faith in the standard of the scientific integrity of such a journal. If it was peer reviewed by a random selection of ALL climate change researchers then it would be fine....

So the big question is who exactly is peer reviewing the articles in the creationist journals?

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 09:27:45

"Then you have completely misunderstood me. I make none of those assumptions. These would all be conclusions I would draw from studying the evidence presented. You, on the other hand, do make starting assumptions so I consider that my interpretation of the evidence is significantly less biased than yours."

I'm afraid you have misunderstood yourself - and the methods of science because all of modern science is based on those assumptions. And those assumptions are only valid if they are grounded in a theistic framework.

There's a quote I love by J.B.S. Haldane which is not entirely applicable here but I present it for your enjoyment:

"Teleology [design] is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public."

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 09:31:34

"No, I think most of us did watch it. After all it was very entertaining. But that doesn't stop people wanting to find out more than just a name and profession. It would be unbelievably shallow to assume that's all it would take to know who one was speaking to."

I'm just saying it seems odd that it apparently came as quite a surprise to many to find out my real name and my marketing background towards the end of the thread if they'd already known for two weeks previously by watching the video.

Hello again.

The following link indicates that Dr. Rudolf Virchow may have been the first to suggest Neanderthals had rickets. I understand that others have been found which were upright and dated older and so we wouldn't expect to find that view espoused in the journals today.

So why did you quote it as a fact?

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 09:38:05

"What I find interesting, though, is that one can only assume those 101 specious points are the best that YECs have to offer to "prove" that their beliefs are correct. How desperate."

What I find even more interesting is that evolutionists have probably fewer than 10 methods of dating the earth which indicate long ages while creationists have 10 times as many methods which say the earth is too young for evolution to happen.

No one uses the word "prove" as science cannot provide absolute proof. Ultimately our strongest evidence is Eye-Witness testimony from the One who was there and caused it to be written down.

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 09:52:04

"Argh - no! you can't agree to disagree on whether the speed of light in the vacuum is constant?!?!"

Well, I don't think I EVER did that. But space is not a vacuum. The argument is whether it has ever changed. I never believed it did until new evidence came to my attention in January that even the guy who measures the constants says it changed. I gave plenty of evidence of that and links to his writings and even an audio interview of him saying it on the previous thread. And if it turned out to be wrong, I wouldn't care one bit.

"I have just recalled you mentioned a gravitational well argument...could you expand on that?"

I explained it in my own words on the previous thread and I linked to a 5-minute video and a whole chapter of a book. Here's the video again.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g73iuRlfl8E

And here's the chapter again.:

creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter5.pdf

There is also much more from mainstream sites if you Google "gravitational time dilation" as it is not a creationist concept.

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 09:53:13

Hi, Islets,

I'd love to know more about neanderthals and rickets and the actual science on this (as opposed to C19th claims). It sounds utterly incredible, really, tracing rickets on skeletons is actually astoundingly simple. Do any neanderthals have the rachetic rosary, for example? Bow legs? Reduced height due to malformation of the long bones, as opposed to scoliosis?

And for best, if neanderthals are really humans with rickets, why do they look so very unlike rickets sufferers now - in other words, why are there no neanderthal-like skeletons in (say) the Spitalfields dig?

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 10:00:00

João Magueijo is Professor of Physics at Imperial College London and not a creationist. He proposes a varying speed of light to rescue the big bang from its own light travel problem. I haven't watched it because I just found it and the lecture is over an hour long.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlCp1x57pow

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 10:11:56

best see this is the consensus problem...there is a theory (inflation) that deals with this issue without altering the speed of light. You found a person saying...oh yeah you could also fix it with a variable speed of light...well of course you could but what evidence is there to support the idea that each of these theories is more likely? Well there is massively more evidence to support inflation than speed of light variation...so guess which one I subscribe to?

Obviously I know what time dilation is (I am a physicist), I was asking how the creationists think this would help....also how they explain that if we are at the bottom of a deep deep gravitational well, we don't see any of the other curious affects that we should do...like all the incoming light from distant stars being massively blue shifted with respect to the spectrum of the sun....

TBH I would have more respect for an argument that just redefined 1 year to mean 2 million years...then I too can get on board with the bible being right about the age of the earth (although there would still be a large number of outstanding issues).

BestValue Wed 01-May-13 10:16:05

A Science Channel documentary by João Magueijo about his varying speed of light theory. Looks good.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_mvEd9VN6g

Snorbs Wed 01-May-13 10:16:14

Best, do you understand the difference between the scientific concepts of "evolution" and "cosmology" or do they both just come under the heading of "vast secular conspiracy" to you?

As for, ahem, eye-witness testimony, I think this article sums it up quite well.

Hi sieglinde - just like to say I'm not an expert on bone pathology and rickets! I can't find any direct links to evidence to suggest rickets was present in Neandarthals, but there is no reason why it shouldn't. It just can't be used as an explanation for the differences in a homo sapiens and homo sapiens neanderthalensis skeleton.

If you are interested, there was a really interesting paper published a couple of months back where they compared eye socket size and endocranial volumes in neanderthal and modern human brains. They made some interesting projections of the data regarding differences in forebrain size. However, it is clear that Neanderthals had larger eye sockets - I don't think this can be put down to Rickets.

http://articuloscientificos.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/doc114.pdf

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 10:34:16

Has anyone read 'snow crash' by Neal Stephenson?

Amongst a range of other things, it really brought home to me what a disastrous idea it is for religions to write down their musings.

Times change. And religions can change with them...unless you write it down and claim God said it. Then you can't change it, even when it becomes increasingly obvious that if a God did indeed write it then he would have to have written it while massively drunk/stoned due to the huge level of mistakes made.

There is something with the Koran about proofs that it is the word of God because it talks about things that couldn't been known at the time...

well yes..but if it was the actual word of god it would be massively scientifically in advance of where we are NOW not just where we were thousands of years ago....also how come it doesn't predict that woman are equal to men, or that raping children is immoral? If it is the word of GOD surely it's morality should EXCEED that which we have NOW not be strikingly similar to the morality present a few thousand years ago.

The same goes for the bible really....when the morality of humans exceeds the morality of god...well what are we left with?

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 10:38:33

Thanks, Islet. Will go look...

Just that it's normally easy to distinguish rickets from other bone pathologies, so the lavish claim that ALL neanderthals are really ricket-sufferers is what I'm keen to probe.

In terms of wider epidemiology, there might well be some correlation between rickets and northern latitudes, but the Gibraltar neanderthals, for example, are very very unlikely to have had rickets, while the ice ages would have made the ice-covered northern regions unlikely choices of dwelling place for most hominids - it's above/north of - basically, Birmingham - in the current UK that rickets is a risk, and it was made much worse by coal smoke/urbanisation/the Industrial Revolution. Also the pre-neolithic diet - which we know a lot about - would have been quite prophylactic against rickets.

I'm always interested in HOW erroneous suggestions like this get made without immediate refutation.

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 10:40:12

"The same goes for the bible really....when the morality of humans exceeds the morality of god...well what are we left with?"

Yes indeed - you only have to look at people who use 'god's will' to excuse all manner of violence. Like nuns beating children for being 'sinful', as just one example.

Snorbs Wed 01-May-13 11:13:23

Another example is slavery. Neither the Talmud, the Bible (OT and NT) or the Qur'an offer any prohibition of slavery. The Abrahamic god must think it's ok.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 11:16:26

Best - Dr Justin Bartlett is an academic who conducted a three-year international research project, which found that humans have natural tendencies to believe in gods and an afterlife. There is absolutely some credence in this - the evidence of such belief systems and religion is all around us.

However The researchers point out that the project was not setting out to prove the existence of god or otherwise, but sought to find out whether concepts such as gods and an afterlife appear to be entirely taught or basic expressions of human nature.

Findings that humans have a predisposition for beliefs in deities is absolutely not proof that such deities actually exist and should not be taken as such. Therefore, your assumption that 'god exists,' based on research like this, is flawed.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 11:21:09

Best - If you have a child, recall how young he/she was when you told them not to touch something and, with a devious smile, they looked at you and touched it anyway. They knew what they were doing was wrong. That is sin.

That ^ ^ Right there, sums up my discomfort with a religion that preaches a loving god on the one hand, but then talks of toddlers, evil and sin, on the other.

I don't know what your toddlers (if you have any) were like - but I have had 3 children and never would I have described their behaviour (even when misbehaving) as sinful or evil. It is quite normal, natural behaviour for toddlers to test boundaries and express an inquisitiveness about the world around them.

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 11:37:27

Yes it's interesting isn't it. I find the notion that a toddler can be 'sinful' much more disturbing and offensive than swearing, for example.

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 11:52:18

Me too, Lizzy, and I'm Catholic.

BTW, nuns don't tend to beat children in the 21st century. smile

I remember my parish priest saying 'little children can't commit serious sins.' They can be naughty, but that's not sin. It's usually boredom. grin

Jesus also said, 'Suffer the little children to come to me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of Heaven.'

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 11:52:37

And it reminds me of the cruelty meted out to women and children believed to be 'possessed' or involved with witchcraft.

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 12:11:09

Sorry, Lizzy, let me understand you. What reminds you? The idea of sinful toddlers?

Just so you know, women and (mainly adolescent) children sometimes feigned possession for money/fame. Google 'boy of Bilson'. Complete powerlessness can drive people in strange directions. Though clearly their complicity can NEVER excuse cruelty, in England it was very unusual for them to be cruelly treated. From around 1605, they were usually medically examined.

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 12:19:04

Man - all this talk of toddler sin and I just want to run out of work and all the way home and give mine a massive bear hug.

I always thought the little smile was one of 'hey! I finally got some cause and effect sorted out here'. Yes- that's right DD, every single time you try to put jam in the cd player I am going to stop you...and tell you not to. I can't wait for her to start asking 'why?', then I can start turning her into a proper little scientist....

She is so nearly there...

'Why can't I put jam in the CD?'

'why do you think you can't put jam in the CD?' (hypothesis formation)

Although then you get hypothesis testing...which is going to involve a lot of attempts to put jam into other electrical goods....

Ah well as long as I am consistent, she should get it sorted in the end...

Januarymadness Wed 01-May-13 12:27:03

WHAT? you mean you aren't just gping to say "because I said so" <sarkey>

ICBINEG Wed 01-May-13 12:33:37

hmmm I guess that must be where our tendency to rely on instructions from a higher power comes from....if so we really are about to have a hike in the number of atheists in the world.

Sadly the bible presumably has little to say on the topic of jam in electronics...

Gosh - another partly remembered sci fi novel, involved a visitation by aliens in which the knowledge that only species with a two parent model were ever found to believe in god. It would be awesome to discover intelligent hive like creatures and then find out what model of spirituality they had come up with....

I went to a student research talk the other day and they are so very very close to being able to get atmospheric data from exoplanets....we could genuinely live to see the first evidence of life outside the solar system...

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 12:33:51

Sieglinde - sorry, not sure what you mean either grin

I was referring to the idea of 'sinful toddlers' reminding me of the mindset of those who think that children can be possessed by demons.

BBC article on it here:
Witchcraft-based child abuse: Action plan launched
"The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.
High-profile cases include the murders of Kristy Bamu and Victoria Climbie but experts fear much more abuse is hidden."
"The government says that cases of adults inflicting physical violence or emotional harm on children they regard as witches or possessed by evil spirits occur across the world, often in sub-sects of major religions, such as Christianity."

Of course these are extreme examples, but I think that's why the idea of an adult considering a small child to be 'sinful' or 'influenced by the devil' makes me shudder.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 12:37:19

Those stories give me the chills, Lizzy.

Januarymadness Wed 01-May-13 12:38:36

is it bad that every time I think about this thread in my head I am singing the theme song to "The Big Bang Theory".... mad science, history, unravelling the mystery that all started wiyht he big bang.....

Januarymadness Wed 01-May-13 12:48:54

sorry for the cross post with the witchcraft stories. They always make me remeber "Adam" the torso in the Thames. Nothing sadder than a child no one misses enough to claim or to fight for justice for xxxx

One of my main reasons for mocking the superstitious and refusing to treat their silly delusions with any respect is this business of 'witchcraft' and 'sin' - basically an excuse for predominantly male self-appointed authority figures to assault women and children. Women who want autonomy are often attacked and even killed for this and it's often justified on the grounds that they are sinners and blasphemers ie they have offended the men's imaginary friend.

Ol'Besty hasn't yet started down that sort of route, not really, but his overall tone does display a certain amount of irritation that mere women are pissing all over his bad science and ignorance and correcting him on facts...

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 13:31:51

Oh, sorry, Lizzie - yes, I understand now. Yes, creepy and very very distressing, though usually not really part of Christian or even Western culture as it is in the 21st century. It's that some African tribal religions believe strongly in spirit children. The one I know about from Achebe is the Ibo custom of exposing twins.

SGB, may I just point out that virtually no Christians in the West now believe in witchcraft?

There is also absolutely no evidence that witches were women who sought autonomy - just the opposite, in fact, as they were often beggars who annoyed their neighbours by asking for things. (See Thomas, 1971)

Nor are sinning and blasphemy equated with witchcraft. Nor were children accused of it.

Snorbs Wed 01-May-13 14:38:21

It might not be part of your Christian culture but the members of the African pentecostal churches that do believe in witchcraft would, I am sure, self-identify as Christians.

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 15:01:13

Yes, snorbs, but the witch beliefs they have are part of their pre-Xt worldview and predate the arrival of those churches. This is a bit beside the point, I know, in comparison with saving those children... but important to be clear about who the enemy is.

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 16:15:29

'Sin' is in common parlance in Christian teachings though, isn't it? Is sin no longer anything to do with the Devil?

I think I'm getting a bit too engrossed in this, although I am finding it fascinating. I am in serious danger of not getting enough work done though....

I strongly dislike the idea of 'sin', especially when applied to children. It's something that pushed me away from going to (RC) church. Children/toddlers are naturally self-centred indeed, as are adults. However, doesn't that fit in nicely with Darwin's idea of natural selection - survival of the fittest etc?

infamouspoo Wed 01-May-13 17:03:54

I find this 'sin' idea horrible. Especially when applied to children.

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 17:05:28

Islets - me too grin

I was moved to google re the subject of devil possession (I know, I know) and found this Christian site - no idea if it's credible (if such a thing exists) but quite interesting nonetheless:

"Today there are so many stories of demon or wicked spirits possessing people that it is clear that it still happens today. There is truly only one way to avoid be possessed by a wicked spirit or demon; to accept Jesus Christ and believe in Him for no wicked spirit can dwell where the Spirit of God dwells. Demons can not occupy any place that God has conquered (1 John 4). You can know for sure that demons will never possess you because, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God” (I John 4:15). That is your true assurance that wicked spirits or demons will never possess you. If God lives in us, it is impossible (1 John 4:12b)."

www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/can-christians-be-demon-possessed-a-biblical-analysis/#ixzz2S3bRwBTe

So it seems that 'true Christians' can't be possessed, but unbelievers can. No manipulative pressure in those teachings then wink

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 17:20:26

Ok, we need some disambiguation here. Sin/the devil/witchcraft/possession are all separate ideas, and you can believe in one (or none) without signing up for all of them.

The website above is - frankly - a bit crazy eccentric. The fact that it is giving away a free book on the End Times is - well, a sign. And not credible to me as an RC, and I suspect not approved by any RC hierarchy person. It is true that there are several episodes in the Gospels where Jesus casts out demons, but just because the evangelists believed it doesn't mean we have to; some of these people were obviously mentally ill. There is one mention of witchcraft in the OT of any length (along with the prohibition on touching a pig's skin, sowing two kinds of crops side by side - see my previous Bartlett-inspired post). Though widely cited in the era of the witchtrials it doesn't exactly trip off most RC tongues nowadays. Ask one who the witch in the oT is... most won't actually know - or care.

Possession is more of a pop cult phenomenon than a RC one (the movie, 1973- not many RCs like it or like its portrayal of the RC church). The Vatican II reforms actually deleted the rite of exorcism from the baptism ceremony. That said, most archdioceses do have an exorcist, who usually has some psychological training and will enact the ritual at medical request in the hope of a kind of learned behavioural outcome.

Finally, sin. Duh. But you are fretting too much about it.

All of us commit sins - in the sense of not being perfect. God never ever stops loving us, even for a second, but we can reject his love if we like; we're free to say no to him. If we do, he will take us back in a heartbeat. Literally. But we have to want to go back to him. Hell is not a punishment so much as the chosen, willed absence of God. It's like a bigger version of, well, do I get up and go for a run, which is what I really want and what will make me happiest, or do I cave and snuggle back down? grin

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 17:47:17

I don't generally like the word sin, especially not used in relation to toddler's/children's behaviour. Possibly people who are religious are more comfortable with it than non-religious people?

I grew up in the 70's and 80's and well remember the term 'living in sin' when unmarried couples lived together, gay people were sinners and so on. It's not a term that sits comfortably with my liberal viewpoints.

But in the context of this thread, I disagree with Best's use of the term 'inherently evil' to describe people (all people as I understood it) and the way he then progressed this to toddlers, touching something they had been told not to, as 'sin'.

Children are not sinful in my eyes. The whole term has awful, judgemental connotations in my eyes. And I don't think that religion and morality necessarily go hand in hand, or are mutually exclusive either.

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 18:02:16

Just to be clear - Sabrina, I agree very much about toddlers, and I too recall - and dislike - the old language of sin as in 'living in sin'.

But don't you ever puzzle over how horribly people can behave? Grown-up, conscious people? Hitler, or maybe just the murderers - both of them - on trial in Mold. Don't you ever read the Relationships thread and gasp about how hateful and hurtful and violent people are? John Henry Newman says, we only have to live for a while to see that somehow the world is broken.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 18:35:46

Yes, absolutely sieglinde. I do ponder that - all too much, unfortunately. But I can't believe that all humanity is inherently evil, there is too much good and beauty in the world.

I think a lust for power, possessions and riches is a genuine human frailty which genuinely exists, in some individuals more than others, and is responsible for a lot of the world's ills.

I'm going to ponder this some more when the children are in bed smile

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 01-May-13 19:07:46

All of us commit sins - in the sense of not being perfect. God never ever stops loving us, even for a second, but we can reject his love if we like; we're free to say no to him. If we do, he will take us back in a heartbeat.

The idea of sin suggests objective morality. I just don't subscribe to that, which makes sin a bit ambiguous and entirely subjective.

Still, if God will take you back anyway, then what's the fuss all about?

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 19:10:46

Very well put, Pedro.

sieglinde Wed 01-May-13 19:12:36

He'll take you back, but going back involves saying goodbye to whatever was keeping you from him, Pedro.

And I think there is objective morality and it's summed up in love as the first law. Do unto others. Love your enemy. The people I just listed were a long long way from that. I don't think we should relativise away acts like genocide, child murder, and spousal abuse.

Agree about goodness in the world, Sabrina. But not always, and not for everyone. Lots of people lead lives of utter misery because of the actions of other human beings.

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 20:05:46

I just find the term 'sin' controlling and manipulative.

1. You broke the rules of our gang - that's a sin and you're a sinner.

2. You can get back in our gang by saying sorry to our gang leader - if you don't, bad things will happen to you.

(Sieglinde - it's not particularly a Catholic thing, it seems to be common to a lot of religious thinking.)

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 20:19:13

There are some terrible ills in the world - but is it fair to say that people are inherently evil, as Best did? I can't agree - because I think I'm a good person, and most of the people in my life are good people.

It is arguable whether religious morality is the cure for the world's troubles though. I would argue it isn't - In a lot of situations religion is a tool to gain power, money and control over others.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 01-May-13 20:39:19

He'll take you back, but going back involves saying goodbye to whatever was keeping you from him, Pedro.

So you can rape and murder, but as long as you say goodbye to your crimes you're alright in His book? Sorry, I just don't accept that as a way of teaching people to live.

And I think there is objective morality and it's summed up in love as the first law. Do unto others. Love your enemy.

Do unto others is a good start, but not everyone would consider the same things acceptable. For instance, some people find physical pain to be sexually exciting, but would not be an acceptable thing to bestow upon others necessarily.

No, morality is intrinsically linked with human wellbeing. Not objective, but subjective and certainly not dictated by some higher power.

LizzyDay Wed 01-May-13 20:53:14

I don't think the concept of people being inherently good or evil is helpful really. Some people behave better than others for a wide variety of reasons.

More helpful to try and understand why, and what to do about it, than to judge. Which boils down to politics - education, health, and justice systems.

Religion has historically had a big role in how people think about education and justice. It's wrong for religion to be just another branch of politics though - it's difficult to vote out a corrupt religion with outdated thinking.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 01-May-13 20:53:34

There are some terrible ills in the world - but is it fair to say that people are inherently evil, as Best did?

I guess it depends on your definition of evil. But based on my own definition I'd say it was not fair to say at all.

Back on the issue of whether children (or rather humans I suppose) are predisposed to believing in a supernatural being.... perhaps, and in fact there's a very good reason for that which is linked to one's predisposition to attempt to make sense of the world (and we're assuming no knowledge of the history of science or access to its instruments) and also to a natural tendency to take orders and knowledge from parental figures, but it's pretty unlikely that a child, with no guidance, would settle on the god of the new testament as their god of choice. I'd also be surprised if from a hundred isolated children, any 2 came up with an identical god. Especially since Christians don't seem to be able to agree on one and they have a book which tells them everything they need.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 01-May-13 23:19:07

It's very easy to see how primitive man would have judged such strange events as thunder, lightening, rainbows, shooting stars, eclipses etc as deities showing their anger/pleasure at them. Religion was a fantastical explanation of many things that are now scientifically explainable. We are genetically programmed to "look up to" someone - mainly a parent, but also possibly a deity or higher power- in order to learn/explain things. Stories around a deity explained why thunderstorms/eclipses/Haley's Comet happened very nicely before science came along and explained it properly.

I'm with Sam Harris on this - "religion is basically a failed science."

The basics of 'morality' are what works. So it's a matter of being co-operative with others while not excluding competition; it's useful and effective to help other people and be nice to them because then they will do the same to you. It's useful and effective to agree certain codes to live by WRT property and autonomy because otherwise you end up with 'person with biggest stick who hits the hardest WINS' and that doeesn't work terribly well because there is always someone with a bigger stick who can hit harder. Superstition-based morality is about one group/class of people claiming to have the biggest, most special, invisible stick that everyone else will be hit with. The superstitious sometimes like to bleat that their version of morality is absolute when it's actually the reverse.
'Do Not Kill'... well, unless it's outsiders, unbelievers, or anyone who's spoken back to the self-identified bosses. Do Not Steal - unless you're part of the self-identified superior class and then you can take what you want because your imaginary friend says so. Etc.

AgeofReason Thu 02-May-13 10:56:05

Ok, I'd like to point out a couple of things. First, SGB I've seen the connection between some Christian fundamentalists and misogyny, HOWEVER I've yet to see anything like that from Best. I'd be among the first to denounce it, but I just don't think he's like that. There are other reasons why he treats the things presented to him the way he does, which brings me to my second point...

Many of you have provided evidence, debunked his evidence, or questioned his 3 primary assumptions (1st post, #9), always to little or no effect. No doubt folks around here realize he sees things differently from most everyone else, but do you know how he sees things? We should take a minute and try to understand the nature of the beast, er, Best. First, he sees mainstream science as making many starting assumptions (eg. naturalism, uniformitarianism, Copernican principle, atheism, etc...), so it's perfectly reasonable for his side to have their own. "We may be biased, but you guys are too... so we're even."

Appealing to the weight of numbers won't work either. Point out to him that 99.99% of scientists in a given field don't support his current proposition, and he'll just say that they're all just slaves to their biased (likely he'd say evolutionary) teaching. If you have 10, 100, or 1000 individuals all regurgitating the same thing, then they just count as one voice with one opinion - no more.

The above two points inform his outlook on peer review. Mainstream science reviews it's own work and they're biased (see above), so it counts for nothing. Because of the same bias, creationist papers will never get a fare shake from the mainstream, so not submitting papers to them in the first place makes perfect sense. Meaning creationist papers are reviewed "in house" so as to be treated fairly. (personally, I assume this means being passed around the lunchroom at the ICR, but of course I'm biased...)

Having adjusted the playing field so, creationist material (I refuse to call it science) can be presented on an equal footing as an opposing opinion that has equal weight to the now devalued mainstream science.

Perhaps now you can understand his resilience to all of the evidence that has been presented and points that have been made. I'm NOT saying that he can't concede a point or argument (he can, and has), nor am I saying that he cannot be swayed by evidence (he can). I am saying it's an uphill battle. If this was all evident to everyone here, then I'm sorry for wasting your time, I just felt it needed to be said. And Best, if you think I've misrepresented you anywhere in here, by all means set the record straight!

Januarymadness Thu 02-May-13 11:13:09

Age I think you have a brilliant point. I would urge anyone with an interest in any acedemic subject to look into research ethics. Any paper which doesn't look into or consider internal bias, or look to ways to address such bias should not have much weight given to their argument.... Which is why I have a problem with creationist papers in creationist journals. They hold no weight because they have no interest in making their papers as impartial as possible, where as that is a fundimental aim of most mainstream science.

sieglinde Thu 02-May-13 11:43:28

Pedro wrote So you can rape and murder, but as long as you say goodbye to your crimes you're alright in His book? Sorry, I just don't accept that as a way of teaching people to live.

What are you suggesting, Pedro? A good hellfire sermon? The sin against the Holy Ghost? Um, who is benighted here? Yes, God can forgive rape, and murder, and even genocide. Humans may have to resort to justice, though.

He added:

Do unto others is a good start, but not everyone would consider the same things acceptable. For instance, some people find physical pain to be sexually exciting, but would not be an acceptable thing to bestow upon others necessarily.

Frankly, this is simply silly. Of course it doesn't mean this very special case. Do unto others means putting their welfare and good alongside or even before yours.

Januarymadness Thu 02-May-13 11:51:03

I also find it particularly hard to understand why Best seems to feel that any mainstream science myst be atheistically biased. There are plenty of Theist schollars in every scientific field and they certainly have no vested interest in proving the bible wrong. So how does that make an equal playing field. That lacks the logic that Best is so proud of.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 02-May-13 12:43:44

I'll point out again that I don't have starting assumptions and I don't believe that science has either given that it's the pursuit of knowledge.

On the forgiveness side. If you believe that God forgives rape and murder and you believe God is the entity who you must ultimately report to, what's to stop you committing atrocities towards your fellow man? The idea of this objective morality is flawed when it doesn't consider the wellbeing of others.

ICBINEG Thu 02-May-13 12:46:24

Jan indeed - your point about science not being secular is a good one. My current boss is evangelical christian (after a beer or two) and is a physicist and a fellow of the royal society.

age I think it is also important to think about the emotional investment levels of the people here...I heard a radio programme talking about the people who genuinely believed the world would end last year and how they came to that place and how they dealt with it not happening. It was eye opening!

ICBINEG Thu 02-May-13 12:46:32

I think the situation is that in the absence of the bible and organised religion, some people would presumably still come to the conclusion that there was a higher power. This is because they feel it in themselves. Similarly there are still a lot of things that science cannot (yet) satisfactorily demonstrate could arise by chance. Some people believe our success to date in converting the magical to the understood means that one day all those gaps will be closed....other might not.

However, I don't think that in the absence of the bible and organised religion, ANYONE would look at the available evidence and come to the conclusion that the universe is 6500 years old.

Or in other words an unbiased (but still faith based) look at the evidence excluding the bible would NEVER subscribe to YEC.

The only and main reason that any one would think that YEC is a viable theory is because they read the bible as the literal word of God.

So - the real nature of this 'debate' is how much weight to give the evidence coming from the world around us as opposed to the bible.

Clearly those people who believe the bible to be the collected musing of ancient desert tribes etc. are going to give it a fantastically lower weighting than those that think it is the literal word of the universal creator.

This does not strike me as a 'debate' that can make progress...
...and in the end I think I am mostly in it because I LOVE explaining science!

best had already agreed to stop calling mainstream journals 'secular' after I pointed out yesterday that many scientists have faith in various religions.

I agree that this debate won't get anywhere. As age pointed out, best thinks we are biased (as is all mainstream science) as we believe in evolution. So any mainstream publications will be just as biased in his view as creationist articles are in our view. That leaves both sides at an impasse.

I'm still enjoying the discussion though!

LizzyDay Thu 02-May-13 13:48:33

Best - your position really doesn't make logical sense though.

The REASON you think the world is 6000 years old is because the Bible (apparently) says so.

The REASON most scientists don't think the world is 6000 years old is because the evidence doesn't point that way. NOT because they are trying to disprove the Bible or 'prove' evolution (for whatever motive).

Best - surely you get that??

infamouspoo Thu 02-May-13 17:14:44

thats the clearest Ive seen it put Lizzy

inherently evil

You can make a case for humans being inherently evil if your definition of good includes worshiping one particular god. Since we are not born with the default position of worshiping the old testament god then 'we are all born evil'. Not a very good case obviously.

Back in the real world I'd say that people were born with a tendency to be selfish, slightly offset by a built in need to cooperate. Then parents teach them the current social expectations with varying success.

Btw saying "the old testament god" feels clumsy. Don't we know his name? smile

God can forgive rape, and murder, and even genocide

Heaven is going to be pretty unpleasant isn't it. An eternity living alongside rapists and murderers. I know they will be very apologetic rapists and murderers, but if they raped/murdered people you know then I think it will be awkward and uncomfortable situation.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 02-May-13 19:17:11

You know what, if I die and end up at the pearly gates and St Peter shows up and starts checking my rap sheet, I think I'm just gonna say, "you know what, I'm sorry I didn't believe in you guys, but to be honest, if there's somewhere else you can send me, that'd be grand."

BestValue Thu 02-May-13 22:39:17

I apologize for not being able to post yesterday. Please be patient with me over the next day or two as I attempt to catch up. There are many comments I would like to respond to and especially enjoyed the diversion into the area of sin (although, all things being equal, I prefer to talk about science over theology - and philosophy is number 2.)

I might be impossible to respond to each individual post but I will do my best to at least address each general topic. So far, I love the way this thread is going better than the last one. I'm certainly learning a lot and ICEBINEG and I are engaging in a great round of personal messages as well. smile

As I mentioned before, if I can understand how genetic mutations can generate new information (not just rearrange and degrade existing information) I will be more open to the idea that macroevolution is even possible. If it is possible and indeed a fact then an old earth is required. That would call into question for me the reliability of the Bible and even the very existence of God. But I am willing to go there because I care more about knowing what is true than living a lie.

Snorbs Thu 02-May-13 23:25:19

A question for you Best before I make a stab at explaining how mutations can generate new information - how do you feel about the concept of irreducible complexity?

The reason I ask is that your answer will influence how I frame my response and what analogies I'll use.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Thu 02-May-13 23:30:59

You don't need to answer to answer each post individually, Best. I don't think anyone would expect that. You can just enter into the general discussion - which will generally meander quite naturally, as people's viewpoints are shared. smile

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 00:02:10

"Interestingly, modern science says that both neanderthals and someone from ancient Greece would be much smarter than anyone alive on the planet today."

"Would you provide a source for this statement please"

Sure. Here are few. I remember it because it was just in the new recently.

usa.greekreporter.com/2013/02/22/ancient-greeks-smarter-than-us/

www.aboutgreeks.com/2013/02/were-ancient-athenians-smarter-than-we.html

www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/humans-getting-dumber-stanford-study_n_2121823.html

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 00:21:20

"The following link indicates that Dr. Rudolf Virchow may have been the first to suggest Neanderthals had rickets. I understand that others have been found which were upright and dated older and so we wouldn't expect to find that view espoused in the journals today."

"So why did you quote it as a fact?"

Are you saying that only information found in mainstream peer-reviewed journals today should be considered fact?

To be clear, so that I don't equivocate on the definition of "fact" I used in the first thread (as something observable with the five senses) I'm saying that the first neanderthals found DID show signs of rickets. That is a fact. Later, "neanderthals" were found that walked upright and apparently show no signs of rickets. (I'm taking your word that this is also a fact.)

If this is is the case, I'm not sure how creationists explain the slight differences in morphology between neanderthals and humans. If they could interbreed, then from a creationist's, perspective it is just microevolution and no explanation is necessary (just as the differences between a chihuahua and a great dane don't require one.)

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 00:28:25

"And for best, if neanderthals are really humans with rickets, why do they look so very unlike rickets sufferers now - in other words, why are there no neanderthal-like skeletons in (say) the Spitalfields dig?"

I had to look up the Spitalfields. (I'm in Canada so I've never heard of this.) My understanding is that this is a mass grave in London from the 13th century. In my view, neanderthals lived almost 4,000 years before that - plenty of time for minor differences in morphology (microevolution) to develop into what we call modern humans today.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 00:42:44

"Well there is massively more evidence to support inflation than speed of light variation...so guess which one I subscribe to?"

ICEBINEG, the physicist in the video said there was absolutely NO evidence for inflation. Who should I believe?

"If it is the word of GOD surely it's morality should EXCEED that which we have NOW not be strikingly similar to the morality present a few thousand years ago. The same goes for the bible really....when the morality of humans exceeds the morality of god...well what are we left with?"

I believe the Qur'an is not the word of God. Your belief that God's morality should be like ours assumes that our morality evolves and gets better with time whereas I believe our morality gets worse with time. If our morality were like God's we would have Garden-of-Eden-like conditions and the world would be perfect. Many have tried to create a Utopia on earth by eradicating religion and it has always resulted in millions of deaths. God has promised to do it one day, however, and God always keep his promises. wink

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 00:45:31

"Just that it's normally easy to distinguish rickets from other bone pathologies, so the lavish claim that ALL neanderthals are really ricket-sufferers is what I'm keen to probe."

Allow me to save you some trouble and I'll withdraw that claim. For now I will just say that those who show no sign of rickets are simply modern humans with a slightly different morphology. The fact that they can interbreed is all I need to prove they are the same biblical "kind."

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 00:55:48

"Findings that humans have a predisposition for beliefs in deities is absolutely not proof that such deities actually exist and should not be taken as such. Therefore, your assumption that 'god exists,' based on research like this, is flawed."

Hi Sabrina. I was hoping you might know me better by now as I would never claim to have PROOF for God. And I hope I would never make a non sequitur such as, "We are predisposed to believe in God. Therefore God exist."

My arguments are always very limited. My evidence that children are born with a belief in God is meant only to refute the oft-made claim that we are all born atheists. But it is also surprisingly consistent with the Bible which states we all have an innate knowledge of God.

However, if I were an atheist, I would come up with an equally rational explanation as to how our belief in God is a product of evolution because it confers a survival advantage. I would point to research which states that people who attend church regularly are happier and live longer. See? We all have valid evidence for our beliefs. I just want you to understand the way I view the evidence. smile

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 01:04:11

"Sadly the bible presumably has little to say on the topic of jam in electronics..."

I'm pretty sure it is covered by Commandment #5. (Note: May appear differently in Catholic Bibles as they removed Commandment #2.) smile

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 01:10:40

"Ol'Besty hasn't yet started down that sort of route, not really, but his overall tone does display a certain amount of irritation that mere women are pissing all over his bad science and ignorance and correcting him on facts..."

Not at all, SGB. Men and women are different but equal. And I would say women are in many ways superior. I'm not sure why but, on the first thread, my own internal bias lead me to conclude that the mean ones were male and the kind ones were female. (Must be something Freudian although I swear I don't have "daddy issues.") smile

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 01:24:05

"I strongly dislike the idea of 'sin', especially when applied to children. It's something that pushed me away from going to (RC) church. Children/toddlers are naturally self-centred indeed, as are adults. However, doesn't that fit in nicely with Darwin's idea of natural selection - survival of the fittest etc?"

I don't have anything to add about the whole witchcraft thing but I should mention that the word "sin" was originally an archery term which simply means "missing the mark." Because no one is perfect, we all miss the mark and are thus sinners. The point is that in the atheistic worldview where there is no absolute morality, the concept of a mark that can be missed is nonsensical. Dawkins says there is no right and no wrong.

And yes, if I were an atheist I would appeal to biological evolution rather than to culture for a source of morality. The problem comes in that we cannot live that way to have a productive and moral society. Atheism asks us to live inconsistently with our natures which I think is illogical (not to mention virtually impossible). It also tells us that we don't have free will but that we should pretend we do. At every turn, the atheist worldview cannot be lived consistently.

phys.org/news186830615.html

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/201005/is-free-will-real-better-believe-it-even-if-its-not

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 01:31:58

"I find this 'sin' idea horrible. Especially when applied to children."

Remember that to God, all sins are equal. There is no hierarchy of bad sins and worse sins. (That seems to be a Catholic invention. Tell me, someone - do they charge more money to be absolved of the worse ones?)

As mentioned above, sin is merely missing the mark. Non-believers sometimes think that to be a sinner, you have to kill someone. But Jesus was clear that God cares about your heart. If you even dislike someone, it is as bad as murder. If you even look at someone with lust, it is committing adultery. I sin habitually every day. (In fact, as we speak, I am imagining Pedro without any clothes on.) wink LOL!

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 01:35:50

"All of us commit sins - in the sense of not being perfect. God never ever stops loving us, even for a second, but we can reject his love if we like; we're free to say no to him. If we do, he will take us back in a heartbeat. Literally. But we have to want to go back to him. Hell is not a punishment so much as the chosen, willed absence of God."

I couldn't agree more. In fact, as previously mentioned, I don't think the Bible even teaches hell as a place of eternal torment. I think those who choose to be absent from God will simply cease to exist - just like before they were born.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 01:42:47

"There are some terrible ills in the world - but is it fair to say that people are inherently evil, as Best did? I can't agree - because I think I'm a good person, and most of the people in my life are good people."

I'm sure you and everyone on this board (yes, even Pedro wink) are good people. I have no doubt of that and never meant to imply any such thing. But if we are measuring by God's standards, we must understand how He sees us - not how we see ourselves. Isaiah 64:6 says all of our good deeds are like filthy rags to God.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 02:18:48

"And Best, if you think I've misrepresented you anywhere in here, by all means set the record straight!"

Thanks, Age. I think you understand me pretty well. I would point out to everyone else that this is mostly because you and I have talked more often and in person. It is much easier to understand someone when you're talking one-on-one and in person.

I would just take exception with a few word choices as I feel they over-state my position.

"First, he sees mainstream science as making many starting assumptions (eg. naturalism, uniformitarianism, Copernican principle, atheism, etc...), so it's perfectly reasonable for his side to have their own."

This is not merely my opinion. All of science is based on philosophy. It can be no other way and do not object to it. I merely acknowledge it as reality.

"We may be biased, but you guys are too... so we're even."

I don't see bias as a bad thing the way some do. It's whose bias is correct that is at issue.

"Mainstream science reviews it's own work and they're biased (see above), so it counts for nothing. Because of the same bias, creationist papers will never get a fare shake from the mainstream, so not submitting papers to them in the first place makes perfect sense. Meaning creationist papers are reviewed "in house" so as to be treated fairly. (personally, I assume this means being passed around the lunchroom at the ICR, but of course I'm biased...)"

Creationist scientists, for the most part, do submit their work to mainstream journals when they do work outside the field of origins. The guy who invented the MRI is a young-earth creationist as is the guy who developed the reigning model of plate tectonics. When a creationist chemist goes into the lab to work on a new medicine for example, he/she adopts the primary assumption of science - namely that every effect must have a natural cause. They don't invoke God or supernatural explanations. This is how it should be.

But when we begin to think that science can answer ALL questions we are in danger of falling into the trap of believing in scientism which is self-refuting and thus false.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

Atheist Sir Fred Hoyle (who incidentally coined the term "big bang") said, "Science today is locked into paradigms. Every avenue is blocked by beliefs that are wrong, and if you try to get anything published by a journal today, you will run against a paradigm and the editors will turn it down."

So if a creationist geologist doing work on the global Flood wants to be taken seriously, he has to submit it to his own journals where competing theories are hotly debated but everyone agrees with the same starting assumptions.

"Having adjusted the playing field so, creationist material (I refuse to call it science) can be presented on an equal footing as an opposing opinion that has equal weight to the now devalued mainstream science."

They are not trying to devalue mainstream science but merely interpreting it in light of different assumptions. And to claim that they are somehow not REAL scientists is to commit the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

All in all, I think you summed up my position fairly well. And thanks for having my back. Love ya, buddy. smile

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 02:27:24

One thing I want to say about peer-review journals. Twice I have alluded to them being a myth and surprisingly no one has challenged me on it. Here is why I say that.

Biochemist Rupert Sheldrake (again), in his book "7 Experiments That Could Change The World," lists the following problems with the peer-review process:

1. journals tend to favour prestigious scientists and institutions

2. independent replication of experiments is rare because:
i) it's too difficult
ii) not enough time and resources
iii) it would not get published. Journals favour original research.

3. Deceptions can easily pass unchallenged as long as the results match prevailing expectations (see the Piltdown Hoax and Haeckel's embryo drawings)

4. When a replicated experiment fails, it is often chocked up as a failure to reproduce precise conditions. No one wants to accuse their colleagues of fraud.

Ultimately, the peer-review process is a good one but it is not infallible as I'm sure you all would agree. I just like to be realistic about the limitations of science. I frequently get comments like, "Why do you submit your evidence for peer-review and collect your Nobel Prize?" But anyone who works in any field of science for any length of time will know that this is false.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 02:41:38

"I also find it particularly hard to understand why Best seems to feel that any mainstream science myst be atheistically biased. There are plenty of Theist schollars in every scientific field . . ."

January, I'm not saying mainstream science is atheistic by nature but that it limits itself to natural causes. This is the way it should be. Theists who do scientific research refrain from invoking supernatural causes when they enter the laboratory..

"and they certainly have no vested interest in proving the bible wrong."

I agree that this is generally the case. However, I would point out that Charles Lyell, one of the founders of modern geology, sought to "free the science from Moses" meaning he wanted to explain the rock layers through long, slow, gradual processes without any reference to catastrophism or a global Flood. For the most part he succeeded in convincing everyone that there was no longer a need to accept the Bible as true.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 02:56:20

"I'll point out again that I don't have starting assumptions and I don't believe that science has either given that it's the pursuit of knowledge."

Pedro, at the risk of being accused of quote-mining again (I wish I didn't have to say that every time), the great Max Planck said:

"Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with."

Science is based on many assumptions and philosophies. I do not contest them in the slightest. I'm NOT saying "you guys are biased so we can be too." We all have our biases and I'm simply calling for an honest recognition of them. But I would also add that many of the assumptions of science cannot be rationally justified unless God exists.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 03:00:21

"Jan indeed - your point about science not being secular is a good one. My current boss is evangelical christian (after a beer or two) and is a physicist and a fellow of the royal society."

Yes, my choice of the word "secular" was indeed a poor one. "Mainstream" captures my intention far better.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 03:13:04

"*I think the situation is that in the absence of the bible and organised religion, some people would presumably still come to the conclusion that there was a higher power."*

Agreed.

"This is because they feel it in themselves."

And because the evidence for design is powerful (until someone tells you it is merely an illusion of design.) Francis Crick said that biologists have to keep reminding themselves that what they are seeing under their microscopes was not in fact designed but evolved. It's a sort of indoctrination really.

"However, I don't think that in the absence of the bible and organised religion, ANYONE would look at the available evidence and come to the conclusion that the universe is 6500 years old."

You're absolutely right. They wouldn't. I'm not saying this is a test from God but He IS asking us to trust His Word over what our own natural impulses tell us. Science and common sense tell us that crucified men don't rise from the dead either but I believe Jesus did.

So - the real nature of this 'debate' is how much weight to give the evidence coming from the world around us as opposed to the bible. Clearly those people who believe the bible to be the collected musing of ancient desert tribes etc. are going to give it a fantastically lower weighting than those that think it is the literal word of the universal creator."

I would believe that too provided that I:

1. had never looked at the evidence for the reliability of the Bible
2. or, like philosopher Thomas Nagel said, "I don't want God to exist."

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 03:18:47

"As age pointed out, best thinks we are biased (as is all mainstream science) as we believe in evolution."

To be clear, that is not quite my position. One is not biased because they believe in evolution. They believe in evolution because they are biased.

"So any mainstream publications will be just as biased in his view as creationist articles are in our view. That leaves both sides at an impasse."

Perhaps we can now seek not to convert but to understand.

"I'm still enjoying the discussion though!"

Me too. smile

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 07:58:22

In fact, as we speak, I am imagining Pedro without any clothes on.

Ummm... I just got a bit of sick in my mouth.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 08:04:36

I frequently get comments like, "Why do you submit your evidence for peer-review and collect your Nobel Prize?" But anyone who works in any field of science for any length of time will know that this is false.

I presume you meant "don't". But your problem is not that they wouldn't take your paper because you're not a prestigious scientist. It's because you're not a scientist at all. But even so, you take your understanding from supposedly prestigious scientists who agree with your world view, yet they also seem to be unable to demonstrate anything even close to sufficient to support a young earth. If they had or could, it would revolutionise scientific understanding. But it hasn't so I genuinely can't invest in their conclusions.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 08:08:03

Pedro, at the risk of being accused of quote-mining again (I wish I didn't have to say that every time), the great Max Planck said:

I'm sorry, I don't remember saying that I subscribed religiously to the quote of Max Planck. Lots of people who's work I admire have said things I don't agree with.

Perhaps you can demonstrate which starting assumptions I have. As I don't have any, I'm certain I can refute every suggestion you have.

Januarymadness Fri 03-May-13 08:09:10

Best that is simply not true. Prople believe in evolution because of the evidence to support it. Many Many of those people are people of faith and if they were biased in any way it would be AGAINST evolution.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 08:36:28

"Best - your position really doesn't make logical sense though. The REASON you think the world is 6000 years old is because the Bible (apparently) says so. The REASON most scientists don't think the world is 6000 years old is because the evidence doesn't point that way. NOT because they are trying to disprove the Bible or 'prove' evolution (for whatever motive). Best - surely you get that??"

I DO get that, Lizzy. The reason I think the world is 6000 years old is because the Bible says so. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. (And incidentally, so do over 2 billion other people on the earth. One third of the world's population. The world's largest religion.) So if it is, I would be foolish to believe anything else.

So since trying to convince me it is not the Word of God would be, to use AgeofReason's phrase, an uphill battle why not show me that my interpretation is wrong and that the Bible doesn't really teach a literal 6-day creation and a young earth. It IS possible because some people believe it but I've looked at all the evidence and it's pretty clear to me that it teaches 6-days.

The reason most scientists don't think the world is 6000 years old is because they THINK the evidence doesn't point that way. But they have never taken the time to look at all the evidence which does point that way.

As an illustration, look at this page about the debate over what killed the dinosaurs.

www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/extinctheory.html

There is the "gradualist" camp and the "catastrophist camp." We tend to think that the issue has been solved because we only seem to hear about an asteroid hitting the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. But apparently the issue is still hotly debated within the scientific community.

All dinosaur extinction theories have supporting evidence. You might talk to a scientist who completely rejects the Alvarez Hypothesis and he might have excellent reasons for doing so. It doesn't make him a nutcase because he doesn't agree with the majority of mainstream scientists. Maybe he knows something they don't know. Maybe they are just following the crowd.

Ironically, in this example, evolutionists are analogous to the gradualists while the mainstream view of dinosaur extinction is analogous to the catastrophists - the creationist view.

if a creationist geologist doing work on the global Flood wants to be taken seriously, he has to submit it to his own journals where competing theories are hotly debated but everyone agrees with the same starting assumptions.

Was that supposed to be in support of creationists? because it sounds to me like a good summing up of why they should be dismissed. Science isn't science if it requires an audience willing to suspend belief in order to accept your claim.

Which starting assumptions btw? That god exists?, that enough water to cover the highest mountains can be magicked in and out again without affecting anything else?, that the ark animals managed without food for dozens of generations while the others propagated and built up a food supply.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 08:43:06

"Btw saying "the old testament god" feels clumsy. Don't we know his name?"

Although no one knows for sure how to pronounce the Tetragrammaton (the name of God), Jehovah's Witnesses like to call Him Jehovah but I've read that Yahweh is more accurate.

Truthfully, I don't think He much cares what you call Him - as long as you call Him. smile

I believe the Bible is the Word of God. (And incidentally, so do over 2 billion other people on the earth.

Wrong.

Firstly, the number of Christians is hugely inflated - it probably still includes me, but more importantly the number of people who believe that the bible is the literal dictated word of god is immensely smaller. Just ask around on here and Christians will tell you "oh no! of course I don't think the bible is actually the word of god and that it's all true. It was just inspired by him"

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 08:54:47

"A question for you Best before I make a stab at explaining how mutations can generate new information - how do you feel about the concept of irreducible complexity? The reason I ask is that your answer will influence how I frame my response and what analogies I'll use."

I don't use it much as an argument (although I did give it a nod in my book.) I am well aware of the bacterial flagellum and Michael Behe's mouse trap analogy. I also realize that Kenneth Miller and others have tried - and I believe failed - to debunk it. I'm also aware of how the Type III Secretory System is used to "debunk" the argument.

So to answer your question:

1. I know the arguments but not extremely well.
2. What I know, I agree with.
3. I don't often use it - probably because I feel I don't understand it well enough to explain it properly or I just don't need it because I have so many other arguments and evidence that it never comes up.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 08:56:26

"Ummm... I just got a bit of sick in my mouth."

That was the same reaction I had when I pictured you naked. wink

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 08:57:36

why not show me that my interpretation is wrong and that the Bible doesn't really teach a literal 6-day creation and a young earth. It IS possible because some people believe it but I've looked at all the evidence and it's pretty clear to me that it teaches 6-days.

If there's no way that you will stop believing the bible is the word of God then I'm afraid there's no hope for you. I will not try to demonstrate that the bible doesn't teach a literal 6 day creation because I don't believe it teaches anything at all about the origins of the universe. To even attempt to do what you would ask would be for you to expect me to start believing in bible truths. I'm not going to suddenly trust a single source of 'evidence' when I have a mass of evidence which suggests it's wrong.

You know, for someone who is so willing to learn the truth, you seem unbelievably tied to this one book which has been refuted more times than you can possibly imagine.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 08:58:41

Looks like I caught up. And it only took me about 5 hours. Whew! I'm going to bed.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 09:11:03

"Prople believe in evolution because of the evidence to support it."

January, most of the people I know who believe in evolution can't explain it to you when you ask them. I think most people who believe it do so because they think all those smart scientists can't be wrong. I think that would include many scientists who work in fields other than biology. Most people accept what they are told and scientists are no different. Ask an astronomer about evolution. He may know little more than what he learned in high school biology class 30 years ago (which by now is mostly wrong any way). I'm not saying that all, or even most, believe it on blind faith but many do.

Januarymadness Fri 03-May-13 09:28:14

I think it is a misrepresentation to say 2 billion people believe the bible is the litteral word of God. I would say that of those that have given it much thought (people signing up to a religion they have little or no interest in finding out exactly what it is they are signing up to is a MASSIVE bugbear of mine) a large proportion would say that the Bible is the interprative word of God.

I have to at least give you credit for the fact you have thought about it. You have been persuaded by invalid arguments but you do, at least, know what you have signed up to.

At the crux of the matter your argument is that God did it, God can do what he wants, God can make the evidence point which ever way he wants. If thats your view I can't argue. I can say stop trying to convince others with dodgy "evidence" though.

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 09:28:30

"Perhaps you can demonstrate which starting assumptions I have."

I've done so twice, Pedro. Here's another one. You assume the reliability of your senses. All scientists do.

See here:

www.science20.com/rugbyologist/scientific_assumptions

And here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

The above link says, "There are basic assumptions derived from philosophy that form the base of the scientific method - namely, that reality is objective and consistent, that humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately, and that rational explanations exist for elements of the real world. These assumptions from methodological naturalism form the basis on which science is grounded."

I simply can't keep addressing this issue over and over. I would recommend doing a bit of research on the philosophy of science. It's a fascinating subject.

I just thought of one more. It's not an assumption so much as it is a guiding principle. Look up Karl Popper's principle of falsifiability. If you agree with Popper (as I do) that a valid scientific hypothesis or theory should be falsifiable, then you do indeed have a philosophy about how science should be done.

I am constantly examining and re-evaluating my basic assumptions and am always willing to discard them if necessary.

sieglinde Fri 03-May-13 09:36:15

Pedro wrote On the forgiveness side. If you believe that God forgives rape and murder and you believe God is the entity who you must ultimately report to, what's to stop you committing atrocities towards your fellow man? The idea of this objective morality is flawed when it doesn't consider the wellbeing of others.

I don't see myself as 'reporting to' God, like some minor civil servant with a line manager grin.

It's wearisome to have to repeat it, but ok. The first and only real law is love. That encompasses a wish for the good of others. Nobody would therefore calculatingly behave as you suggest and effortlessly find their way back into love - sin on that scale leaves a mark on us; however, anyone, whatever their creed, can make big moral errors. (That btw is what best means by the word sin deriving from a term in archery - the term in the NT is actually harmatia, missing the mark, or the point.)

And does your fluffy law of 'wellbeing' include a wish for the wellbeing of murderers and rapists, or are they somehow discardable?

Best, the Spitalfields dig encompasses graves up to the 17th century, but let that pass. i don't think you've answered my question about the absence of classic rachetic sign on neanderthals - care to explain?

BestValue Fri 03-May-13 09:40:21

"Which starting assumptions btw? That god exists?, that enough water to cover the highest mountains can be magicked in and out again without affecting anything else?, that the ark animals managed without food for dozens of generations while the others propagated and built up a food supply."

These question all have simple answers and are based on misunderstandings. See the entire book I previously posted. Or the video of me on national TV answering them. Suffice it to say here that:

1. the water did not have to cover Mt Everest because Mt Everest wasn't there yet. (Mountain building was post-Flood catastrophic event).

2. If the land is evened out, there is enough water on this earth right now to cover it nearly 2 miles deep.

3. The majority of the water did not come from rain but from inside the crust of the earth.

Watch this short video for an excellent dramatization of how the Flood happened. No miracles are necessary and this theory has FAR more explanatory power than current theories.

ICBINEG Fri 03-May-13 09:50:08

best said 'You assume the reliability of your senses. All scientists do.'

The first actual scientist (Newton) spent days sticking needles in his eyes because he understood that in order to observe the universe you must understand how you observe...

We haven't actually gone back on that best, we are still VERY much aware that our senses CANNOT be relied on without stringent testing. So no, scientist do not ASSUME the reliability of senses. AT ALL.

<I am actually a little upset about this>

ICBINEG Fri 03-May-13 09:52:54

I also second the comments that the number of people believing that the bible is literally the word of God is a tiny tiny fraction of those who self-identify as christian. I would have thought it less than a million tbh.

sieglinde Fri 03-May-13 09:54:23

Best

Interesting that you are in such full agreement with a post from one of my benighted denomination. Just so we're clear, you have absolutely no chance of converting me to narrow fundamentalism.

You write

Remember that to God, all sins are equal. There is no hierarchy of bad sins and worse sins. (That seems to be a Catholic invention. Tell me, someone - do they charge more money to be absolved of the worse ones?)

This proves your history is as big a pile of rubbish as your pseudoscience. (There's nothing like abusing other denominations to make unbelievers eager to join the christian churches).

To clarify, and get away from ye olde rhetoric of the Thirty Years War-

Yes, RC thinkers actually dare to think that on the whole genocide is worse than forgetting to say a prayer. How dare they? Evidently you think stained glass windows are a worse crime, from your rant about the 2nd commandment.

Just so others know, NO RC priest charges for confession. Nor can anyone BUY forgiveness.

Yes, we pray for the dead, and yes, in the Middle Ages if you wanted people to pray for your soul all day and all night, they kinda needed food and a place to sleep. Someone has to pay for that.

I assume your rickety source for the so-called sale of indulgences is (ultimately) Martin Luther, vicious antisemite? (Sorry, any Lutherans out there - I really struggle with him.) Again, just so we're clear, indulgences were never sold. I can explain what actually happened if people like, but essentially the whole deal was an attempt to put a stop to mad self-harming movements like the Flagellants who took penance to ridiculous extents.

Snorbs Fri 03-May-13 11:01:16

if I were an atheist I would appeal to biological evolution rather than to culture for a source of morality.

Well you could but you'd be an unusual atheist if you did. Evolution, after all, is about a biological process. It doesn't say much about ethics.

Most atheists I know use empathy as the fundamental basis for their personal morality.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 03-May-13 11:14:34

I don't think the Bible even teaches hell as a place of eternal torment.

Yes it does.

Matthew 5:22: But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Mark 9:43: And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Matthew 25:46: And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Way to scare those sinful toddlers. (Whose sins are apparently "equal" to those of mass murderers according to Best).

infamouspoo Fri 03-May-13 11:22:31

agreeing with Seiglinde

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 03-May-13 11:32:37

January, most of the people I know who believe in evolution can't explain it to you when you ask them. I think most people who believe it do so because they think all those smart scientists can't be wrong. I think that would include many scientists who work in fields other than biology. Most people accept what they are told and scientists are no different. Ask an astronomer about evolution. He may know little more than what he learned in high school biology class 30 years ago (which by now is mostly wrong any way). I'm not saying that all, or even most, believe it on blind faith but many do.

It's not blind faith though, is it? It is evidence based science, and lots of it, which is preferable to most people when compared with taking the word of the bible literally. Blind faith is what you have when you're making the assumption that god exists in the absence of any scientific proof.

It's not like everyone just took Darwin's word for it.

sieglinde Fri 03-May-13 11:35:24

whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Bad news for MNetters! grin

That said, these passages do NOT say it lasts forever. It's purgation. Refinement.

And being liable to judgement doesn't mean you will be found guilty.

And NO TODDLER commits serious sins, she said again. Unless of course you are best, and think that saying 'you big pig' is on a par with genocide.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 12:02:27

most of the people I know who believe in evolution can't explain it to you when you ask them. I think most people who believe it do so because they think all those smart scientists can't be wrong.

The issue though, is not whether people who believe in evolution understand it, it's whether the people who do understand it have the evidence to support it and no evidence which refutes it. As that is the case, it's irrelevant how many people believe or do not believe. What matters is the truth.

infamouspoo Fri 03-May-13 12:04:44

exactly Pedro. I cant explain how flat screen TV's work but I know Godidit is not the explanation. Science explains it.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 12:05:21

I simply can't keep addressing this issue over and over. I would recommend doing a bit of research on the philosophy of science. It's a fascinating subject.

Perhaps, but I simply don't have those starting assumptions. You keep showing links to places which say science has these assumptions, but I don't, so you haven't demonstrated one single assumption which I have.

Januarymadness Fri 03-May-13 12:27:09

http://www.csharp.com/starlight.html

not peer reviewed but you have to admit this person makes a great argument......

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 03-May-13 13:18:11

What is the 'eternal punishment' then?

I think most religious people like to distance themselves from the 'hell fires of eternal damnation' as expostulated in the bible. We live in a very different society from the men who wrote the bible - a far more liberal society (in the West anyway) - there's an awful lot written in the bible that we would find unthinkable now.

The church - far from insisting that the word of god is true and literal, as written in the bible, usually likes to 'put a different interpretation' on it's writings when they don't suit modern society.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 03-May-13 13:29:44

I think, also, purgatory is purely a catholic concept. I think Christianity sends sinners straight to Hell.

sieglinde Fri 03-May-13 14:55:35

Sabrina, lol at RCs not being Christians grin - mind you, one might wonder - and even bigger rofl at the idea of purgatory as modern. We don't modernise. We see God's word as a continuous revelation, not a single one-off event.

I do not distance myself from the idea that a very few people might reject God/heaven completely and go of their own choice into darkness. TBVH, it fits my experience of life that some people are self-destructive and self-defeating. I also think the temptations for e.g. tyrants to love only themselves must be overwhelming. But I think MOST people will choose God and be loved and accepted.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 03-May-13 17:07:00

I didn't say purgatory was modern.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 03-May-13 17:22:02

The late, great Christopher Hitchens on the Catholic churches 'modernisation' in respect of Limbo, papal infallibility and other things

If people want to accept the bible as god's word, and interpret it literally it becomes very problematic for them, because many things in the bible are simply not acceptable now - even by christians. Generally christians, and even Best, just pick and choose the bits of the bible that they want to take literally.

sieglinde Fri 03-May-13 18:44:11

He's not great to me, I'm afraid, Sabrina. Shallow and militaristic... really sad that he died so young, but I'm not a fan.

We were talking about purgatory, not limbo, and I don't rely on Hitchens for theology updates.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 03-May-13 23:01:40

It's funny how Hitchens comes across as a genius except to the religious. Must be a reason for that I guess....

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 03:04:45

"It's funny how Hitchens comes across as a genius except to the religious. Must be a reason for that I guess...."

He's a genius to me. Even though I obviously disagree with some of his views, he is a brilliant writer and orator. I think he and I would have gotten on quite well actually. He was my favourite on the 4 horsemen.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 03:16:14

"I presume you meant "don't"."

Yes, my bad. I meant "don't."

"But even so, you take your understanding from supposedly prestigious scientists who agree with your world view, yet they also seem to be unable to demonstrate anything even close to sufficient to support a young earth."

I'd say they have. As I've mentioned, there is much more evidence that the world is young than that it is old.

"If they had or could, it would revolutionise scientific understanding. But it hasn't so I genuinely can't invest in their conclusions."

This is where I disagree. Until someone over-turns the paradigm (which will never happen in the case of a young earth) mainstream scientists will never understand the evidence the same way I do because it can be interpreted both ways. They think their presuppositions are more valid and I think mine are more valid. Predictive and explanatory power are what should matter most and my theory has them beat there hands down.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 03:20:11

"Firstly, the number of Christians is hugely inflated - it probably still includes me, but more importantly the number of people who believe that the bible is the literal dictated word of god is immensely smaller. Just ask around on here and Christians will tell you "oh no! of course I don't think the bible is actually the word of god and that it's all true. It was just inspired by him""

Well, "INSPIRED" is exactly what I mean when I say the Bible is "the Word of God." I don't believe it was dictated by Him either and I don't know anyone who does.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 03:37:41

"If there's no way that you will stop believing the bible is the word of God then I'm afraid there's no hope for you."

It's not that there is NO WAY for me to stop believing that. But you would first have to refute tons of evidence. We have to walk before we can run. So I'd say at this point it would be easier to convince me that that my understanding of the Bible is wrong. To show that this is possible, I have already changed my long-held belief in an eternally-burning hell to one of annihilation because it seems to me that this is what the Bible REALLY teaches. I am not so stubborn that I can't be persuaded by strong evidence.

"I'm not going to suddenly trust a single source of 'evidence' when I have a mass of evidence which suggests it's wrong."

What makes you think the Bible is a "single" source of evidence? The Bible is composed of 66 books written by 40 plus authors in 3 different languages on 3 continents over 1,600 years. Some of its authors were kings and doctors. It can hardly be described as a single source. Compare this to the Qur'an or the Book of Mormon which each have one man as their source.

"You know, for someone who is so willing to learn the truth, you seem unbelievably tied to this one book which has been refuted more times than you can possibly imagine."

It's been confirmed more times than you can imagine. The doctor Luke who wrote the third Gospel and the Book of Acts has been called by archaeologists one of the greatest historians of all time.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 03:48:32

"I think it is a misrepresentation to say 2 billion people believe the bible is the litteral word of God. I would say that of those that have given it much thought (people signing up to a religion they have little or no interest in finding out exactly what it is they are signing up to is a MASSIVE bugbear of mine) a large proportion would say that the Bible is the interprative word of God."

I agree and that's what I mean when I say the Bible is the Word of God. I mean it is inspired by God. I never used the word "literal" (although some parts are supposed to be taken literally.)

*"You have been persuaded by invalid arguments . . ."

That's a matter of opinion isn't it? I think that anyone who believes in evolution has been persuaded by some pretty bad arguments too - many that aren't even true anymore like that the appendix is vestigial or that human embryos have gill slits like a fish.

"At the crux of the matter your argument is that God did it, God can do what he wants . . ."

God can't do whatever he wants. There are many things God cannot do.

". . . God can make the evidence point which ever way he wants. If thats your view I can't argue. I can say stop trying to convince others with dodgy "evidence" though."

God does not play tricks and does not make the evidence point away from the truth. I'm not trying to convince anyone and I would say that it is evolutionists who sometimes use dodgy evidence and play fast and loose with the facts.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 04:02:09

"Best, the Spitalfields dig encompasses graves up to the 17th century, but let that pass. i don't think you've answered my question about the absence of classic rachetic sign on neanderthals - care to explain?"

I believe I did answer your question but I'll try again. Why would we expect neanderthals to look the same a few hundred years ago as they did a few thousand years ago? My claim is that some of the earliest neanderthals found had deformations of their bones mostly attributable to conditions during the ice age. We do not have those conditions today so maybe EVERY skeleton in the Spitalfields is a neanderthal. Maybe all of us are neanderthals. I don't make a distinction between neanderthals and modern humans because they could interbreed so they are the same species (and definitely the same kind). To me, it's like saying they are a different "race" of humans (although I don't like that word either because there is really only one race - the human race).

If we found a chihuahua skeleton in a lower rock stratum and great dane skeleton in a higher one - and if we had never seen them alive together - we might conclude that they lived at different times and the smaller one was evolving into the larger one. I guarantee stuff like that is going on in palaeontology today because it is a "soft science" which is open to a tremendous amount of interpretation.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 04:15:41

"We haven't actually gone back on that best, we are still VERY much aware that our senses CANNOT be relied on without stringent testing. So no, scientist do not ASSUME the reliability of senses. AT ALL."

Did you read the link I posted? It said one of the starting assumptions of science is that "humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately."

"I also second the comments that the number of people believing that the bible is literally the word of God is a tiny tiny fraction of those who self-identify as christian. I would have thought it less than a million tbh."

I didn't say "literally" and I don't believe it was dictated by God but inspired by Him. But if a Christian does not think the Bible is a reliable and trustworthy source of information, then I would have to wonder where they think the major tents of their faith come from. Do they believe God exists? Do they believe Jesus really lived, died and rose again? Or is that all metaphorical too? We have to take the literal parts literally and the figurative parts figuratively. We do not get to pick and choose which those parts are but instead we must let the text speak for itself.

If anyone thinks certain parts that I think are meant to be taken literally are actually intended to be figurative, I would happily listen to and consider their evidence. And if it is better than mine (as it was in the case of the immortal soul and hell) I would change my mind.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 04:32:01

"Just so we're clear, you have absolutely no chance of converting me to narrow fundamentalism."

As I have said repeatedly, I am not attempting to convert anyone to anything. On the contrary, I am actually willing to be converted to belief in evolution.

"I assume your rickety source for the so-called sale of indulgences is (ultimately) Martin Luther, vicious antisemite?"

Yes I suppose it is and yes I agree he was.

"Again, just so we're clear, indulgences were never sold. I can explain what actually happened if people like . . ."

Yes, I would happily be corrected and would stop making that claim if it never really happened. Please explain the real story if you don't mind.

I apologize if you took offense to what I said. I really should be more aware of who I'm talking to. Understand that over here in Canada, I find that most of the atheists I meet were raised Catholic and I believe that, in many ways, their atheism is a reaction against the Catholic Church and the abuse scandals and such. That's the first thing everyone brings up when they say they are an atheist and I have to do a considerable amount of damage control to make them see that Catholic does not equal Christian. Neither does Protestant - or any denomination for that matter. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a conscious choice. Someone can be raised in a religious home, baptized as a baby, read the Bible every day and go to church their entire lives and still not be a Christian. (Of course it would not be my place to judge as only God knows their heart.)

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 04:40:14

"Well you could but you'd be an unusual atheist if you did. Evolution, after all, is about a biological process. It doesn't say much about ethics."

Agreed. But that doesn't stop sociologists from trying. In my view, evolution is at least closer to an objective standard than is culture so it could be a valid source for ethics.

"Most atheists I know use empathy as the fundamental basis for their personal morality."

Correct but they would still say empathy evolved in us because it conferred a survival advantage, would they not? That's what I'm talking about. Dawkins said that our aversion to rape, for example, is just as arbitrary as the fact that we evolved five fingers instead of six.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 05:01:11

"I don't think the Bible even teaches hell as a place of eternal torment."

"Yes it does."

I covered this a bit on the first thread. Of course the word "hell" is mentioned in several verses in the Bible but it does not mean what we think it means today.

In the Hebrew O.T., the word translated "hell" is "sheol" which simply means "the grave" or "the place of the dead." All O.T. people - believe and non-believers alike - expected to go there when they died. They did not believe in an immortal soul or an after-life. They believed in a future bodily resurrection from the dead to immortality.

In the N.T, the Greek words, "hades, "Gehenna" and "tartarus" are translated hell. None of them means a place where non-believers go to suffer eternal punishing.

The Bible is clear that our choice is between eternal life (with God) or eternal death (annihilation and ceasing to exist). The concept of the immortal soul is an invention of Socrates and his disciple Plato and crept into the teachings of the early Church (but not into the Bible itself) with the help of St. Augustine - a Greek who converted to Christianity.

The Bible speaks of eternal punishMENT but never of eternal punishING. Non-believers will be cast into the "lake of fire" where I believe they WILL experience some torment - but only temporarily. They will ultimately cease to exist. Their punishment is eternal. They will never be resurrected again and will be forgotten forever. This is why we preach the Gospel. Read the Book of Acts. The Apostles never spoke of hell but taught of Christ's resurrection and how it gave us hope of our own future resurrection. I believe this is the true message of the Bible. Immortality is something man lost in the Garden of Eden and can reclaim only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 05:07:52

"whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire . . . That said, these passages do NOT say it lasts forever. It's purgation. Refinement."

Yes, I have some friends who are Christian Universalists. They believe after a period of refinement and purgation (or as one friend calls it, "correction") God takes EVERYONE - even the Devil - to heaven. I would LOVE for that to be true but unfortunately I just don't see it in the Bible. If I could just believe whatever I wanted to believe, I would probably choose that. Or I'd be an atheist. It would be so much easier.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 05:13:08

"The issue though, is not whether people who believe in evolution understand it, it's whether the people who do understand it have the evidence to support it and no evidence which refutes it. As that is the case, it's irrelevant how many people believe or do not believe. What matters is the truth."

I agree with you whole-heartedly, Pedro. I was just making the point that I think most people who believe in evolution believe in it based on the authority of science and the media. They haven't done a real investigation of the evidence. In fact, most of the things we believe, we believe not through experience but due to trust in an authority. This is inescapable.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 05:19:11

"You keep showing links to places which say science has these assumptions, but I don't, so you haven't demonstrated one single assumption which I have."

Then I have demonstrated that whatever it is you are doing, you are not doing science. wink

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 05:21:56

"not peer reviewed but you have to admit this person makes a great argument....."

Good link, January. I'm looking forward to reading it. smile

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 07:32:05

Just wondering what anyone thinks of this: the aquatic ape theory. A conference about it is being held in London next week with none other than David Attenborough. Anyone in the area might like to attend if it's open to the public.

www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/04/world/evolution-a-new-boost-for-aquatic-ape-theory/#.UYSngkrN6HM

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 04-May-13 08:07:15

What makes you think the Bible is a "single" source of evidence? The Bible is composed of 66 books written by 40 plus authors in 3 different languages on 3 continents over 1,600 years.

Well the whole thing deals with different things and the bits which do cover the same topics contradict each other. So it's one 'source' of evidence and it's not in the slightest bit convincing.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 04-May-13 08:09:35

I'd say they have. As I've mentioned, there is much more evidence that the world is young than that it is old.

I'd say they haven't. There is no evidence that the world is young which holds any weight. There's tons that shows beyond reasonable doubt that the world is old. Ergo, you are being unreasonable.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 04-May-13 08:14:05

This is where I disagree. Until someone over-turns the paradigm (which will never happen in the case of a young earth) mainstream scientists will never understand the evidence the same way I do because it can be interpreted both ways. They think their presuppositions are more valid and I think mine are more valid. Predictive and explanatory power are what should matter most and my theory has them beat there hands down.

You continue to astonish me with your arrogance and catastrophic misunderstanding of science. I really don't know how to put it more clearly. If you genuinely had good evidence for a young earth, science would be listening, science is not some conspiracy, it doesn't seek to disprove religion, it seeks to find truth. Just like you, apparently. But there simply isn't any evidence which demonstrates a young earth which holds up when subjected to all the other factors and bodies of evidence.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 04-May-13 08:26:35

I agree with you whole-heartedly, Pedro. I was just making the point that I think most people who believe in evolution believe in it based on the authority of science and the media. They haven't done a real investigation of the evidence. In fact, most of the things we believe, we believe not through experience but due to trust in an authority. This is inescapable.

You were actually suggesting that evolution isn't as solid a theory as people think because most people don't understand it.

But anyway, at least we agree on something. Part of the reason we have come to be such intelligent animals is because we have created an infrastructure to learn from as many other people as possible. From schools to the Internet. But sadly what's happened is that people have used these mediums to try to 'educate' people with bad information.

And this why I genuinely feel sorry for you, best, because, not being a scientist yourself, you have become a victim of bad science. I genuinely hope that one day you will be released from their stranglehold and come to realise your mistakes. I think most of us here would support me in wishing you the best of luck with your enlightenment smile

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 04-May-13 10:07:24

sieg, you brought purgatory into this, not me. I was asking the question: what is the "eternal punishment" referred to in the bible?

Christopher Hitchens was a genius, but I can understand that many religious people wouldn't like what he says - uncomfortable truths and all that.

sieglinde Sat 04-May-13 12:38:43

Sabrina, I don't dislike his views on religion anything like as much as his views on Iraq. I also think his atheism is ultimately less convincing than that of - say - Marx, and Nietzsche, for example, or Ferber. Or even Russell or Freud. It's pasteboard stuff. I'm quite capable of admiring those with whom I disagree profoundly - it's actually my old atheist self that finds Dawk and Hitch a letdown.

sieglinde Sat 04-May-13 14:26:28

Best, on the 'sale' of indulgences, the point is that this was never then and is not now licensed or agreed by the RC church.

It's true that some snake oil sellers, among them a guy called Johann Tetzel who was a pardoner in sixteenth-century Germany, are said to have connected in speeches the idea of donations with release of loved ones from Purgatory. This was explicitly condemned by successive popes, and Tetzel may not even have said it, but the fuss about it betrays a lack of knowledge of what an indulgence is. The Catholic Encyclopedia has a good article explaining.

Unfortunately every religion has had those eager simply to make money from it - Baptist preachers in big cars int he South, rich vicars in 19th century India....

On clerical abuse - I have two things to say regarding the RC clergy.

1. I am like most of us absolutely disgusted and horrified by the actions described, and by the laziness with which it was managed.

2. I am equally disgusted by the many, many cases of child sex abuse in other areas of life perpetrated by staff in care homes, clergy of other faiths, rock stars, children's tv presenters, children's authors, and anyone else with access to children - and they weren't acted on either.

I also worry far far more about the Vatican's role in aiding the perpetrators of the Holocaust and its assent to antisemitism than I do about this issue.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 04-May-13 15:02:20

You don't have to like Hitch, sieg, he may not be your favourite atheist, but what says about the abolition of Limbo is awkward for the catholic church because it's true. They have spent hundreds of years telling people that their unbaptised babies went to Limbo (in actual fact, before the thirteenth century they said they went to Hell). Must have been a torment for many a parent of a newborn baby who died without being baptised - what loving god sends innocent babies to Limbo?

I also worry far far more about the Vatican's role in aiding the perpetrators of the Holocaust and its assent to antisemitism than I do about this issue.

Indeed. Another problematic fact that the catholic church should be ashamed of. There are many.

How can they pretend to believe in or represent god when they change their story like that. It's not as though god has abolished Limbo. They are saying "Yeah we just said about Limbo being true because it suited us and now it suits us to say it isn't"

How many times must they change the story before people realize that it IS a story.

It's not just Limbo. Everyone was a young earth creationist before it started to get too embarrassing. Most churches then decided that god created the world billions of years ago. Many of them went on to say that god invented evolution to populate it.

Every time a plot hole becomes too obvious the plot gets changed to fit. The believers who are slow to change become the fundamentalists (it could be argued that they are the most honest ones)

Perhaps in a 100 years there'll be a thread with the fundamentalists claiming that Jesus was a real person and the rest of the Christians saying "Don't be silly. We always knew Jesus & the disciples were a metaphor. Every scholar will tell you so. No one ever believed that he was actually there. That's just something atheists say to make us look stupid"

sieglinde Sat 04-May-13 16:26:08

In Dante, Limbo is in Hell technically, but without suffering; I sincerley doubt therefore that anyone was ever told children went to hell in the sense of the fiery place.

In Herbert McCabe's catechism it says simply that we don't know what happens to unbaptised children, but we know that God loves them more than we ever could.

Happy to bang on more about the Holocaust, and about the abduction of Jewish children in the C19th. I am absolutely clear that RC does NOT always equal 'right. But nor does any other faith. Or no faith.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 04-May-13 17:02:22

In Herbert McCabe's catechism it says simply that we don't know what happens to unbaptised children, but we know that God loves them more than we ever could.

That is a very distasteful statement to make. I'm glad it was McCabe that said it, and not you.

The RC church most certainly doesn't equal 'right' and yet it sets itself up as moral arbiter - it is an establishment of considerable wealth and power, whose petty moralistic 'rules' have caused untold suffering to untold numbers of human beings.

Harsh? I don't think so. The RC church could, like today, reverse it's ruling on condom use, if it wanted to do some good in the world. But they won't.

Magdelene Laundries, condemnation of homosexuals, covering up child rape by their priests, the list is a long and shameful one.

I sincerely doubt therefore that anyone was ever told children went to hell in the sense of the fiery place.

I think we can probably find lots of people now preaching that very thing now, let alone in the past when people took the bible seriously.

This one doesn't spell out the child's fate, but clearly not heaven.

the baptism must be carried out quickly, so that the child does not die without Baptism and is deprived from entry or sight of the Kingdom, according to the words of our beloved Savior (John 3)

After all, if they go directly to heaven then the best, most christian thing you can do is murder all the babies you see before they can commit a sin that messes up their chances. It makes nonsense of the whole thing. That was the problem St Augustine had in the 5th century and so he decided that infants went to hell. He did hope they were punished less, but couldn't show that was true. He was sure they went to hell.

Augustine was led to state that infants who die without Baptism are consigned to hell. He appealed to the Lord's precept, John 3:5, and to the Church's liturgical practice. Why are little children brought to the baptismal font, especially infants in danger of death, if not to assure them entrance into the Kingdom of God? Why are they subjected to exorcisms and exsufflations if they do not have to be delivered from the devil? Why are they born again if they do not need to be made new?

I expect there were other opinions, but clearly some did believe and say that babies went to hell so while it may have been changed now it's a fair point to mention it.

Only point I'm making really is that the god's word can be and is edited in each generation to say what is currently believed by the church. Not eternal truths, but temporay conviednent ones

I sincerely doubt therefore that anyone was ever told children went to hell in the sense of the fiery place.

I think we can probably find lots of people now preaching that very thing now, let alone in the past when people took the bible seriously.

This one doesn't spell out the child's fate, but clearly not heaven.

the baptism must be carried out quickly, so that the child does not die without Baptism and is deprived from entry or sight of the Kingdom, according to the words of our beloved Savior (John 3)

After all, if they go directly to heaven then the best, most christian thing you can do is murder all the babies you see before they can commit a sin that messes up their chances. It makes nonsense of the whole thing. That was the problem St Augustine had in the 5th century and so he decided that infants went to hell. He did hope they were punished less, but couldn't show that was true. He was sure they went to hell.

Augustine was led to state that infants who die without Baptism are consigned to hell. He appealed to the Lord's precept, John 3:5, and to the Church's liturgical practice. Why are little children brought to the baptismal font, especially infants in danger of death, if not to assure them entrance into the Kingdom of God? Why are they subjected to exorcisms and exsufflations if they do not have to be delivered from the devil? Why are they born again if they do not need to be made new?

I expect there were other opinions, but clearly some did believe and say that babies went to hell so while it may have been changed now it's a fair point to mention it.

Only point I'm making really is that the god's word can be and is edited in each generation to say what is currently believed by the church. Not eternal truths, but temporary convenient ones

sorry that first version wasn't supposed to go in. Am struggling with a browser here that isn't fit for purpose.

EllieArroway Sat 04-May-13 18:42:19

whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire
Bad news for MNetters!

And Jesus. He called various people fools. Ooops.

Islets Only just caught up. Nothing I said last week was aimed at you at all. It's mainly on your behalf that I'm outraged at the "I know evolution better than biologists" attitude.

Hi, Best. I realise that you're not speaking to me because of the naughty words I use, the lack of respect I've shown your "beliefs" and because of things I've said on previous threads. (I'm not a man, by the way - did your little search turn up my threads about my periods? Hmmm?)

But, as ever, these discussions are more beneficial for people lurking and reading (not just MNers, there are followers from all over t'internet) and I'm not dumb enough to think there's anything I can say that could penetrate the steel helmet of your faith.

But I would like to address your "evidences" for God.

Now, it seems to me that your position is thus: God exists, based on your "evidences", therefore the Bible is his word and must be true, therefore evolution & BB theory must be wrong. I think this is the standard creationist position, so worth talking about.

You have three evidences for God HERE:

The Kalam Cosmological Argument:
*Everything that begins to exist has a cause
*The universe began to exist
*The universe therefore had a cause
*Therefore God exists

(NB: This used to just be called the Cosmological Argument. It went: "Everything has a cause. The universe has a cause....." etc. But we pesky atheists kept saying, "Oh yeah - what caused God, then?", so they changed it to "...began to exist", so they could say, "God never BEGAN to exist, he's always been". Neat, huh? Still doesn't work, sadly).

The Teleological Argument
(Anthropic Principle)
* If the universe exhibits evidence for DESIGN, it requires a DESIGNER
* The universe exhibits evidence for DESIGN
* Therefore the universe had a DESIGNER
* We call that DESIGNER God

And lastly, but not leastly:

The Moral Argument
* If God doesn't exist, objective moral values don't exist
* Objective moral values exist
* Therefore God exists

We dealt with Kalam in the last thread, but to reiterate:

1) At what point do we decide that something "begins" to exist? Everything we see around us is the reconfiguration of existing matter - including me. I am made of elements born in the heart of a star that died - which in turn was a reconfiguration of existing matter. Birth and death is the shaking up of "stuff" that disperses and goes on to be part of something new. In reality, we can really only follow the "beginnings" of matter back to the BB itself - and it's not clear even then that that represents the birth of new matter. Remember, we can only trace the beginnings of the universe back to within the fraction of a nanosecond after the BB happened, no further - so we have a big fat blank regarding "cause" and "beginning". Our universe, as it appears to us today, began with the BB - but what about some other form that it may have emerged from? Impossible to say at the moment. In order for your argument to hold water, you have to demonstrate an ex nihilo beginning - can you? Other than with your faith in the Bible? Nope.

2) Quantum Mechanics does not appear to support your blanket "everything has a cause". Indeed, one of the things that makes it so counter-intuitive is that it would appear that things do happen without a cause - NOT just that we don't know what the cause might be. The birth of the universe could have been a quantum event.

3) You still have to explain where God came from. Excluding him on the basis that he "is eternal" opens up yet another mystery. How on earth do you know that?

(In your YT clip, you quote mine scientists to make it look like they all think it's nonsensical to suggest things didn't have a cause. They lived before modern QM. I doubt they'd agree with you now. A good example of how science moves on but religion does not and cannot).

The Teleological Argument

Hmmm. Weird that you have phrased your argument in such a way. Most people try to pin this down to Watchmakers or painters...or even bananas. But you've left it open. This is bizarre.

The universe has the appearance of design? Really? To who? Not me. Your premise is therefore flawed. It appears designed TO YOU, but appearances can be deceptive. The most you'll ever hear a scientist say is that it has the "illusion" of design - clearly meaning that it simply looks that way, not that it actually is. Therefore, there's no need to posit a designer.

The Watchmaker analogy is highly flawed, as is the Painter one.

For anyone interested, Paley's Watchmaker analogy goes: If I was walking in the woods and happened upon a wristwatch (never having seen one before) I would immediately infer a Watchmaker, otherwise how could the watch exist? I infer, on this basis, a creator for the world.

Well, according to this argument, everything is designed - so why would I notice a watch in amongst an entire forest full of designed things? Why don't I pick up a mushroom and infer a mushroom designer? Or a leaf designer?

I don't because there's something DIFFERENT about a watch - it WAS designed, nothing else was, that's why it stands out. A watch has nothing whatsoever in common with naturally occurring things. It is complex, in the way that all living things are, but in an entirely different way. So the analogy does not work - it's not comparing like with like, just shakily comparing one complex thing with another and making a flawed assumption.

Likewise the Painter: A painting needs a painter. Yes, we know that - since there are NO examples of paintings painting themselves - which they would need to do in order to be compared with other complex, beautiful things (like roses and butterflies).

And the Anthropic Principle? Could we be discussing this in a universe that couldn't support life like us? No, we couldn't. We fit the universe, the universe does not fit us.

The Moral Argument.

I don't think objective morality exists - you seem to be asserting that as a fact. It's not.

Theft is wrong. A moral absolute? Really?

If I smashed a Tesco window to steal milk for a baby who was about to starve to death (and I had NO money to buy any) - would I be absolutely morally wrong to do so? Would the moral thing to do in that situation be to let the baby starve to death, within feet of milk that could save it?

We could make similar arguments about any moral position. There are too many ifs, buts and maybes to make the blanket assertion that objective morality exists. It's relative.

So, your "evidences" for God might be enough to convince you with your brain set to confirmation bias mode, but they don't work in the cold light of day, I'm afraid.

BestValue Sat 04-May-13 23:57:56

Incidentally folks, on a slightly different topic, I recall mentioning on the first thread a law of irreversibility of evolution that was recently challenged but I couldn't remember the name of it at the time. It just popped into my head: Dollo's Law. It's not important but I said I'd post it when I thought of it, so there you go. smile

blogs.discovermagazine.com/science-sushi/2013/03/08/reversing-evolution-dust-mites-show-parasites-can-violate-dollos-law/#.UYWQWkrN6HM

Frankly, I was surprised no one named it when I brought it up the first time as you are all smart people and have probably heard of it before.

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 02:56:00

"Well the whole thing deals with different things and the bits which do cover the same topics contradict each other. So it's one 'source' of evidence and it's not in the slightest bit convincing."

I am aware of many alleged contradictions in the Bible but no actual ones. They always have simple explanations when taken in context.

The minor differences in the Gospels lend credence to their accuracy and reliability. If the police interviewed 4 witnesses to a crime and the witnesses all gave exactly the same story, the police would deduce that some collusion had gone on. What you want in eye-witness testimony is agreement on major events and slight disagreement on minor events. This is what we have in the Gospels.

The Bible deals with different things because it is recording nearly 4,000 years of human history. If it was one book by one author recording only one event, you could rightly complain that we don't have enough sources for it to be credible. To be clear, the resurrection of Jesus is one if the most well-attested events of all of ancient history. Throw out the Bible and be prepared to throw away everything we think we know about Socrates, Plato, Alexander the Great, Caesar, etc. The only reason to deny it is if you reject miracles a priori. But if God exists (as I believe the scientific evidence demonstrates) then miracles are possible. (In fact, the biggest miracle of all is the big bang. It cannot have a natural explanation because the natural laws did not exist yet. Therefore, by definition, the big bang must have a SUPERnatural cause.

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 03:03:30

"I'd say they haven't. There is no evidence that the world is young which holds any weight. There's tons that shows beyond reasonable doubt that the world is old. Ergo, you are being unreasonable."

The world only looks old if you rule out a world-wide Flood. I think the world doesn't look old. It looks destroyed. Watch this short video (which I forgot to post earlier by accident). It describes a purely natural mechanism for the global Flood and it explains many anomalies left unexplained by current theories.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKO-vTwYCo8

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 03:23:14

"You were actually suggesting that evolution isn't as solid a theory as people think because most people don't understand it."

No, that is not a claim that I would ever make. Truth is truth whether anyone believes it or not.

"But anyway, at least we agree on something."

I think there is plenty we can agree on. I believe in the scientific method as much as you do. Where we might part company, however, is that I do not believe it is the ONLY pathway to truth.

"Part of the reason we have come to be such intelligent animals is because we have created an infrastructure to learn from as many other people as possible. From schools to the Internet. But sadly what's happened is that people have used these mediums to try to 'educate' people with bad information."

Agreed and as mentioned on Thread #1, I do not endorse the teaching of creationism or Intelligent Design in the science classroom.

"And this why I genuinely feel sorry for you, best, because, not being a scientist yourself, you have become a victim of bad science."

Don't feel too bad for me. It may be that I am, indeed, a victim of "bad science." But what I have so-often witnessed is that what is called bad science by mainstream scientists today when propounded by creationists is proclaimed to be a "prediction" and even "self-evident" when confirmed by science tomorrow. (See 'junk' DNA.)

"I genuinely hope that one day you will be released from their stranglehold and come to realise your mistakes. I think most of us here would support me in wishing you the best of luck with your enlightenment."

That sentiment I truly appreciate. I don't expect to ever know all the answers but I hope to always continue to scale the "mountain of truth."

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 03:39:18

"sieg, you brought purgatory into this, not me. I was asking the question: what is the "eternal punishment" referred to in the bible?"

Sabrina, I know you were asking Sieg and not me, and I realize my view differs from hers but I mentioned upthread that the Bible mentions eternal punishMENT, not eternal punishING. So in my annihilation view, I believe the Bible teaches that annihilation forever with no hope of future resurrection is the eternal punishment spoken of.

A similar analogy to punishment used here might be the word "judgment." A judge weighs the evidence during a trial. But that judging process does not go on forever. Once she makes her decision, that judgment is final and forever. That's how I see it. It is the results which are eternal, not the punishing.

By the way, I'd really be curious to know what the atheists here think of the annihilation view over the eternal torment view. If you came to be persuaded that the Bible really taught this, how would it change your view of God and Christianity?

"Christopher Hitchens was a genius, but I can understand that many religious people wouldn't like what he says - uncomfortable truths and all that."

I know many Christians who love Christopher Hitchens. He has a humility and honesty about him that is sorely lacking in Dawkins.

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 03:42:46

"Best, on the 'sale' of indulgences, the point is that this was never then and is not now licensed or agreed by the RC church."

Thank you, Sieg, for clearing that up for me. I would like to read up on it a bit more and I will stop making that claim. Can you post a link to the Catholic Encyclopedia article please?

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 03:56:58

"How can they pretend to believe in or represent god when they change their story like that. It's not as though god has abolished Limbo."

I won't jump into the fray about Limbo and the Catholic Church because I certainly wouldn't want Sieg or my other Catholic brothers and sisters to feel ganged up on. But suffice it say that I concur with much of what BackOnlyBriefly said here and feel that this is one area where there is complete agreement between atheists and creationists. smile

EllieArroway Sun 05-May-13 04:51:13

What you want in eye-witness testimony is agreement on major events and slight disagreement on minor events. This is what we have in the Gospels

You think the gospels are "eye witness testimony"? Blimey.

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 05:17:40

"It's mainly on your behalf that I'm outraged at the "I know evolution better than biologists" attitude."

I certainly have never said anything like that and don't have that attitude.

"Hi, Best. I realise that you're not speaking to me because of the naughty words I use, the lack of respect I've shown your "beliefs" and because of things I've said on previous threads. (I'm not a man, by the way - did your little search turn up my threads about my periods? Hmmm?)"

Hi Ellie. Welcome back. I've missed you. I didn't say I wouldn't talk to you. Only that I wouldn't respond to abuse. I'm surprised you waited so long to come back. smile

I always figured you were a woman because of your name. And no I never came across your periods. (Wait . . . that just sounded s-o-o-o wrong! LOL!)

"I'm not dumb enough to think there's anything I can say that could penetrate the steel helmet of your faith."

Oh, but there is.

"*But I would like to address your "evidences" for God. Now, it seems to me that your position is thus: God exists, based on your "evidences", therefore the Bible is his word and must be true, therefore evolution & BB theory must be wrong."*

It's slightly more nuanced than that but I'll grant you it for the sake of he discussion.

"You have three evidences for God HERE:
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
The Teleological Argument
The Moral Argument"

I agree with much of your assessment of the three arguments and find your refutations to be well-thought out and logically sound. I feel that if I were an atheist, this is precisely the case I would make against the existence God.

I'll just make a few comments on parts I disagree with given my worldview.

"Our universe, as it appears to us today, began with the BB - but what about some other form that it may have emerged from?"

There is evidence that even a multi-verse would require an absolute beginning. See here:

www.reasonablefaith.org/contemporary-cosmology-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe

Alexander Vilinkin said:

"It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)."

"2) Quantum Mechanics does not appear to support your blanket "everything has a cause". Indeed, one of the things that makes it so counter-intuitive is that it would appear that things do happen without a cause - NOT just that we don't know what the cause might be. The birth of the universe could have been a quantum event."

I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about quantum mechanics but I just don't find it reasonable or credible to deny the law of causality upon which all science is based. If it can be demonstrated conclusively that matter can pop into existence without a cause, then I will have to believe it but for now it simply requires more faith than I've got. That's the closest I will ever get to making a God-of-the Gaps argument or an argument from personal incredulity. I just have not seen any good evidence that something can pop into existence from nothing uncaused.

"3) You still have to explain where God came from. Excluding him on the basis that he "is eternal" opens up yet another mystery."

What mystery is that? Something must be eternal and science shows it's not the universe. To invoke trillions of unseen, unknown, untestable universes to avoid one God violates Occam's Razor so I go with the simpler of the two hypotheses.

"(In your YT clip, you quote mine scientists to make it look like they all think it's nonsensical to suggest things didn't have a cause."

Quote-mining is to take someone out of context and to misrepresent their actual intent. Since I did not do that, it cannot be classified as quote-mining and frankly, I resent the implication. Remember that the one making the claim bears the burden of proof.

"Hmmm. Weird that you have phrased your argument in such a way. Most people try to pin this down to Watchmakers or painters...or even bananas. But you've left it open. This is bizarre."

I'm not a fan of Ray Comfort but the banana thing was clearly a parody that atheists have taken out of context. To claim otherwise is truly quote-mining. See the original here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVql5UNmUJg

The Teleological Argument can take many forms and I simply find the fine-tuning the most interesting because a lot of people aren't aware of it.

"The universe has the appearance of design? Really? To who? Not me. Your premise is therefore flawed. It appears designed TO YOU, but appearances can be deceptive. The most you'll ever hear a scientist say is that it has the "illusion" of design - clearly meaning that it simply looks that way, not that it actually is. Therefore, there's no need to posit a designer."

Close but not quite. They say it has the appearance of design but that that design is an illusion. Dawkins' actual words were, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." I think we actually agree here and the difference is one of semantics so let's not get hung up on technicalities.

"And the Anthropic Principle? Could we be discussing this in a universe that couldn't support life like us? No, we couldn't. We fit the universe, the universe does not fit us."

But that is only likely if there is a multi-verse which is itself highly unlikely and would still require a beginning. So it doesn't remove the need for a Beginner.

"I don't think objective morality exists - you seem to be asserting that as a fact. It's not."

I think we all intuitively know that it is objectively wrong to torture babies for fun - whether we admit it or not.

"If I smashed a Tesco window to steal milk for a baby who was about to starve to death (and I had NO money to buy any) - would I be absolutely morally wrong to do so? Would the moral thing to do in that situation be to let the baby starve to death, within feet of milk that could save it?"

Why save the baby at all? Given your worldview, if I chose to let the baby die you would think I committed a grave injustice and deserved punishment. But if you are a logically consistent atheist, I hope you would admit that I have done nothing wrong by letting the baby starve to death.

Further, if I choose to fly planes into buildings, gas 6 million Jews or slaughter millions of Christians, a logically consistent atheist should adopt the motto of Doris Day: Que sera sera.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqwIifgs7KU

"We could make similar arguments about any moral position. There are too many ifs, buts and maybes to make the blanket assertion that objective morality exists. It's relative."

So can you name me a place or a culture or a time in history where it would be morally permissible to torture babies for fun?

BestValue Sun 05-May-13 07:04:49

Just wondering what anyone's opinion is of this. Any chance the big bang will get overturned?

www.cosmologystatement.org/

AgeofReason Sun 05-May-13 08:40:21

* Given your worldview, if I chose to let the baby die you would think I committed a grave injustice and deserved punishment. But if you are a logically consistent atheist, I hope you would admit that I have done nothing wrong by letting the baby starve to death.*

Best, we've had this discussion before - and it looks like you weren't paying attention! You're very lucky there's no law against abuse of logic!

"Given my worldview" No! Given my morality! Believe it or not atheists have morals - and yes, I'm aware that you didn't come out and say exactly that. It is my morality that would inform me that your actions were wrong and deserving of punishment, morals that I learned from my parents, my society, and moral conclusions that I have reached on my own.

"logically consistent atheist" You have no idea how offensive I find this! Your thread of logic probably goes something like this...
A) Atheists don't believe in god(s) therefore,
B) they don't accept objective morality (not necessarily so), therefore,
C) since A is true, whatever morals Atheists claim to have, they are in
fact baseless. Moreover, they (atheists) forfeit any right to make moral
judgements about anyone else.

This is all sorts of wrong. Atheists do have a basis for their morality, the same basis as everyone else in fact! You've yet to show otherwise, despite your assertions.

So can you name me a place or a culture or a time in history where it would be morally permissible to torture babies for fun?

Well, in Sparta they used to kill babies that they deemed too weak or deformed - by throwing them over a cliff no less! And you've got it backwards by the way... you claim doesn't stand until someone can show where your wrong - your claim will stand when you can show evidence for it!

Que sera sera, my ass!!

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 08:44:41

Best, you have a very different interpretation of the christian hell than the one I was taught as a child - including teachings from the pulpit during the unfortunate instances I was made to go to church, and in religious studies at school. A dictionary definition of hell is 'a place of eternal torture and punishment in an afterlife.'

This is concept that may have been 'softened' by many christian leaders in recent years, in our far more socially liberal western society, as Best has just done above -'oh, it's not eternal punishment, it's eternal punishing confused Oh that's ok then. The concept of hell was invented by man to scare people into behaving themselves. Teaching children that hell is a real place, in the absence of any proof that it actually exists, frightens them.

This is an amazing speech by Sam Harris on the sheer hypocrisy of the christian idea of heaven, hell and redemption. I agree with him wholeheartedly.

One quote that stays with me from his speech is: "Nine million children die every year before the age of five....Any god who would allow children, by the millions, to suffer and die in this way, and their parents to suffer and grieve in this way, either can do nothing to help them, or doesn't care to. He is either impotent or evil."

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 08:52:31

And I completely agree with AgeofReason on the subject of atheists and morality. Best seems to have bought into the very mistaken idea that morality can only come from religion.

I think that Sam Harris has some interesting thoughts on the subject of the 'atheist' label too. Here for anyone who is interested.

sieglinde Sun 05-May-13 10:21:10

*Backonly briefly said This one doesn't spell out the child's fate, but clearly not heaven.

the baptism must be carried out quickly, so that the child does not die without Baptism and is deprived from entry or sight of the Kingdom, according to the words of our beloved Savior (John 3) That was the problem St Augustine had in the 5th century and so he decided that infants went to hell. He did hope they were punished less, but couldn't show that was true. He was sure they went to hell.*

You guys need to go and read/reread Dante. In his work limbo is a kind of garden suburb of hell - those who go there do miss out on heaven, but are NOT [punished or tormented in any way. It comes over a bit like an Oxbridge college - lots of people politely arguing on the lawns.

So what the RC church and Augustine said is that you miss the joy of heaven, but ABSOLUTELY NO fiery furnaces.

Which is also what I said. Which is also what Hitchens doesn't get. I know it's kinda subtle, but I hope it's now clear.

sieglinde Sun 05-May-13 10:31:51

Best asks for a link on the 'sale' of indulgences; here are several:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence

www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/286800/indulgence - this one is quite vehemently Protestant. So as a counterweight

www.newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm and www.newadvent.org/cathen/07788a.htm

All these carefully define indulgence and explain why it has nothing to do with forgiveness.

I think it's fair to say that most non-RCs find our idea that THINGS can carry spiritual weight the oddest thing about us. (Why don't we all bang on about relics and the sellout tour of St Therese of Liseux's arm in 2009?) But it's just that I love. Our bodies ARE us, the material world is us. Fossils matter, and so do bees and plants. The Incarnation is just that - God made FLESH.

Januarymadness Sun 05-May-13 11:23:03

please don't use Occams razor to support one argument and completely dismiss it for anothwr. It makes my teeth itch.

In my opinion morality based on fear of retribution is no morality at all. I have a belief in human nature that the vast majority of people are inherently good, if maybe a little selfish.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 12:36:13

Best: But if we are measuring by God's standards, we must understand how He sees us - not how we see ourselves. Isaiah 64:6 says all of our good deeds are like filthy rags to God.

I meant to ask this yesterday -Could you (or anyone else) please tell me how you interpret that bible quote?

It's interesting that you say about measuring by god's standards- I suppose the word of the bible tells you what god's standards are? It must be quite a job, given that the bible is so contradictory, and that slavery seems to be ok, as does the slaughter of whole towns.

I rather prefer Christopher Hitchens 10 commandments.

AgeofReason Sun 05-May-13 13:37:29

Actually Sabrina, it's not that big a problem for Best. He can excuse away stuff so fast it'll make yer head spin! Let's see now... you're misinterpreting it, it's changed in the NT, it's just a recording of historical events, you get the idea. My personal favorite is how he exempts God from his idea of objective morality! What do I mean by this, you ask? Well, first of all, Best has made it fairly clear that he sees the killing of babies/children as objectively wrong. Next, let's pretend that tomorrow God decides that every child under the age of 3yrs has to die, and so kills them all. Has God done a bad thing? Not according to Best! God, being God, can give life and thus take life, at a whim. No moral issues at all!

Personally, I have a couple of problems with this. One being that if morality is truly objective, then even God should be subject to it. The other is, if the above is false, then how can he (or anyone else) make the claim that God is good, just, fair, loving, or whatever else?? I mean take good, for example. It's a fairly subjective term, granted, but also used in contrast with bad. But if any and all possible actions are labeled good, then suddenly bad loses all meaning! And so does good!

One last thing... I'm very tired as I write this, so if my thinking has gone off the rails, then please straighten me out! Thanx.

sieglinde Sun 05-May-13 14:50:06

Oh, God. Now we have Sam Harris as well. Happy Family Idiots set now complete.

On Hitchens' 10 commandments:
Here they are, and they are a mix of the unnecessary, the smug, and the feeble. They pretty much illustrate his shallowness.

Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color. Do not ever even think of using people as private property.

Doh.

Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.

Unless they like it.

Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.

But let's not define harm. Let's not say that paying people a dollar a day will harm their children.

Do not condemn people for their inborn nature. ("Why would God create so many homosexuals, only to torture and destroy them?")

Does he mean that if gay people CHOOSE THEIR SEXUALITY that it's ok to condemn them? Because I don't bloody think so, mate.

Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try to think and act accordingly.

What if what I think is about what's best for moi?

Do not imagine you can avoid judgment if you rob people [by lying to them] rather than with a knife.

Whose judgement, Chris?

Turn off that fucking cell phone.

Because you working mother bitches with a babysitter shouldn't disturb my quiet lunch.

Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions and terrible sexual repressions.

And I, Hitchens, know this because I am omniscient. I have studied the inner workings of the minds of medieval knights...

Reject any faith if their commandments contradict any of the above.

Even the one with the cellphones?

So this is truly a decalogue for the 21st century. Nothing WHATEVER to stop me setting up my cheap garment factory in Bangladesh and staffing it with people paid a bowl of rice a day. I don't own them, so I am obeying Commandment #2. They are not damaging the environment. They are not homophobic. They are not being raped. Their children... oh, well, that's not really my problem.

SHUDDER. He honestly creeps me right out. Only Creepy Grayling is scarier.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 14:54:35

Indeed, one could argue that any bad happening/deed was god's will and so justified, or even good: shouting 'god is great' prior to blowing oneself up, and any surrounding bystanders, being just one of them.

Peter Sutcliffe thought that god was telling him to go out and murder prostitutes - was that god's will? His experience of god talking to him was probably as 'real' to him as anyone else's 'religious' experience. And certainly in the bible many, many people were killed as part of god's mysterious plan. I wonder how one is to distinguish between criminal insanity and actually doing god's bidding?

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 14:56:42

Glad he amused you sieg.

Let's get back to all the good those Magdelene Orphanage nuns did, eh?

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 05-May-13 16:42:27

On Hitchens' 10 commandments: Here they are, and they are a mix of the unnecessary, the smug, and the feeble. They pretty much illustrate his shallowness.

As opposed to the solid commandments chiseled into stones by a man up a hill behind a bush. At least they're a bit more relevant to the real world.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Well, that's a good opening move. Only listen to me because everyone else is wrong.

2.Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

More of the same, only worship me. Solid arguing there god. Oh, and don't draw pictures of fish.

3.Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Got an ego trip building here. Don't say anything nasty about me or I'll think of you as guilty forever. So far we have nothing about morality, just how God is selfish, jealous, petty and domineering.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Everyone who works in Tesco is buggered then. Still no moral words and we're almost half way through. Although, this is a mighty convenient way for people to have an excuse not to work.

5.Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Ahhh! The first bit of morality. And it's to tell you to honour your parents. Hardly ground breaking stuff. But wait... God throws in a bit of 'modesty' again by reminding you that he made the the world and if you don't do what he says, your days will be numbered.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

Nice and succinct. But a bit black and white for my liking.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Fair enough.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

Again, a bit black and white. Thinking about the starving baby and stealing milk analogy.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

But as long as they don't live next to you it's ok......

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Thought crime. You can't even think about wanting to have something which someone else has. Apple might have something to say about that, would make their marketing quite tricky. It's just ludicrous.

Honestly, anyone who thinks that these are the fundamental rules for life...... well..... I just don't the have the words

sieglinde Sun 05-May-13 16:42:30

Sabrina, why do you do this?

Finding Hitchens shallow does not make me a fan of the Magdalene homes - why would it? I've always been perfectly willing to agree that the RC church is not composed of angels.

So? We're agreed on that - it doesn't make CH's decalogue any less amoral or nauseating.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 05-May-13 16:52:24

Does he mean that if gay people CHOOSE THEIR SEXUALITY that it's ok to condemn them? Because I don't bloody think so, mate.

Apart from the fact he doesn't say anything about chosen sexuality (you've just gone and made an incorrect assumption), I don't think anyone actually chooses their sexuality, you are what you are. Who sits down one day and says "hmmm, you know, I think I'll be heterosexual from now on". Please. You're embarrassing yourself.

sieglinde Sun 05-May-13 17:06:08

Pedro, Hitchens specifically says 'inborn'.

Your response on the actual decalogue is so not apropos. I posted on Hitchens's silly list because the actual decalogue has been critiqued so many times, and Hitchens' own banalities are themselves such a critique.

It's hard to know where to begin, but let's start here.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. But as long as they don't live next to you it's ok......

You really think 'neighbour' means someone who lives next door? shock. You might recall the story of the Good Samaritan, which Jesus tells in response to the question 'who is my neighbour'?

It's also interesting that you don't see your obedience, even enslavement to commerce - Tesco, Apple - as a problem. Presumably it's also not a problem for you if Apple uses slave labourers, or if Tesco violates its employees' rights by compelling them to work on the sabbath? At anyrate, not a problem in comparison with the wrongdoing of organised religion...? I assume this is the real world to which Hitchens is so relevant? if so I agree - this is exactly the shallow, conscienceless and materialistic world for which he writes.

EllieArroway Sun 05-May-13 18:02:43

Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their colour. Do not ever even think of using people as private property
Doh

Really? "Doh"? Yes, I agree it's obvious - so obvious it seems odd that a book written/inspired by the omnipotent creator of the universe designed to give us moral guidelines fails to mention either. Actually, it condones both slavery and racism. Of course, coveting your neighbours ass is far more morally suspect, huh? hmm

Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations
Unless they like it

Putting words in people's mouths is not cool, particularly when they are dead. Please don't do that, Sieglinde. It says more about you than it does about Hitchens. The Bible is ambivalent about rape too, by the way - the guy gets "punished" by having to marry the victim.

Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child
But let's not define harm. Let's not say that paying people a dollar a day will harm their children

You need "harm" defined for you before you'll get on board with this one? And do you have evidence that Hitchens specifically excluded slave wages in the third world in this harm to children? I doubt it - so your "point" manages to be non-existent.

Do not condemn people for their inborn nature. ("Why would God create so many homosexuals, only to torture and destroy them?")
Does he mean that if gay people CHOOSE THEIR SEXUALITY that it's ok to condemn them? Because I don't bloody think so, mate

You know perfectly well that's not what he's saying. What a fucking stupid remark. Genuinely stunned that you can misinterpret his comment like this. It's childish, irrelevant and, frankly, bizarre.

Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try to think and act accordingly
What if what I think is about what's best for moi?

You're quite entitled to do that - but don't forget you're part of a herd too, and have a responsibility to other lifeforms too. Damn obvious, I would have thought. Atheists generally don't need a book of bronze age ramblings to remember this.

Are you seriously suggesting that you never, ever, ever think about what's best for you? Never? I don't believe you. We all do - and we balance that with our own needs.

Do not imagine you can avoid judgment if you rob people [by lying to them] rather than with a knife
Whose judgement, Chris?
Erm....other people? The courts?

Turn off that fucking cell phone
Because you working mother bitches with a babysitter shouldn't disturb my quiet lunch

Right. Because they are the only people who use cell phones. Ever. Good point not. He's making the point that we should be considerate of others. Astonished that you need that pointing out.

Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions and terrible sexual repressions
And I, Hitchens, know this because I am omniscient. I have studied the inner workings of the minds of medieval knights...

Anyone who goes about murdering, torturing and raping others because they think they have a mandate from some god is a fucking nutter. You don't need to be omniscient to figure that one out. You don't even need to be that smart.

Reject any faith if their commandments contradict any of the above
Even the one with the cellphones?

Any faith that tells you not to be considerate of others should be rejected, yes.

Blimey. And you think Hitchens was "shallow" and Harris is an "idiot"?

Just...................OK.

hmm

EllieArroway Sun 05-May-13 18:06:55

Oh - and why are you telling people to read Dante? The Inferno is a work of fiction. Most people don't get their facts from fiction....

Oh wait.

Most sensible people don't, anyway. Ahem.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 05-May-13 18:38:24

grin @ Most people don't get their facts from fiction....

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 18:47:00

sieg - I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of those who wish to interpret the bible literally. That's all.

I didn't accuse you personally of being a fan of the Magdalene nuns, but it is beyond me that so many people will call themselves part of a religion that condoned and supported these appalling institutions and their treatment of so-called 'fallen' women. And then claim that this is a 'loving' religion. It's not - this is not the only example of their religiously moralistic rules causing suffering.

EllieArroway Sun 05-May-13 19:01:54

Hi Best

I certainly have never said anything like that and don't have that attitude

Yes, you have. You were wondering why certain world class Christian biologists accepted evolution, and suggested it was because they didn't really understand it. Please don't make me go back and quote that bit at you again.

Hi Ellie. Welcome back. I've missed you. I didn't say I wouldn't talk to you. Only that I wouldn't respond to abuse. I'm surprised you waited so long to come back

Awww...well, it's always nice to be missed. I was aware that you were back on the thread, but real life prevented me getting involved before now.

I don't accept that using a swear word is akin to abusing you, but if it really bothers you that much, fine. When I talk to you, I shall not swear.

I agree with much of your assessment of the three arguments and find your refutations to be well-thought out and logically sound. I feel that if I were an atheist, this is precisely the case I would make against the existence God

And there's your first mistake. My objections to your arguments do not "disprove" god, and are not meant to. They just show that your "evidences" are logically unsound. And, the objections I'm making are NOT because I am an atheist, they are because they are wrong.

I'll just make a few comments on parts I disagree with given my worldview

Fine. But another mistake. Your worldview and my worldview should be irrelevant to the matter entirely. As we have previously agreed, true is true is true (my old lecturer, remember?). Logic begins with a premise that we must both accept to be true if the argument is to be considered logically sound in any meaningful way. If I can show that your premise is flawed then your argument must fail. (Yes, I know that logic is more complicated than this but I'm not sure we really need to get into that right now).

I can show that in all three cases, either that your initial premise is flawed, or that you've made an unwarranted an illogical assumption somewhere along the way.

I know it doesn't always seem that way wink, but we do in fact occupy the same world, Best. What's true for you is true for me.

So....

Objections to Kalam

There is evidence that even a multi-verse would require an absolute beginning

What's that got to do with anything. You are amazingly obsessed with the multiverse and I'm not sure why. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my objection to your argument - you are leapfrogging head.

Everything that begins to exist has a cause

By everything here you mean everything we can experience and see. Yes? I agree. That's our general, everyday experience of how the universe works.

But.....again, where do we place the beginning of anything? We agree that everything we see is a reconfiguration of matter - so is that what you're saying about the universe? If not, then this is an equivocation - a logical fallacy of not comparing like with like.

To be logically sound, you have to say...

Everything that begins to exist is a reconfiguration of existing matter
The universe began to exist
The universe is therefore a reconfiguration of existing matter

Are you saying that, then? If not - why not? If you're not saying that, then why are you comparing two things that are manifestly NOT alike?

Of course, you are also failing to take into account QM, which is where a physicist would take issue with you. Modern science strongly suggests that "Everything that begins to exist is a reconfiguration of existing matter" since that simply does not appear to be the case in the sub-atomic arena.

Most things that begin to exist DO have a cause, that's why science spends so much time looking for causes, as you have rightly pointed out. But it's absolutely NOT true to use the term "Everything", because QM suggests otherwise. And if we have anything within our natural universe that does not require a cause, then you cannot continue with your argument because your premise is not just flawed, it's wrong.

I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about quantum mechanics but I just don't find it reasonable or credible to deny the law of causality upon which all science is based

Well, you be the first to admit that, and I'll be the second - but it doesn't matter. The very fact that plausible models & equations can be constructed by experts to suggest this possibility means exactly that - that it's a possibility. So your premise is just wrong - you would need to show that it's impossible to continue. And you can't. You can't even show that it's likely to be true.

And it's not a God-of-the-gaps situation. You are advancing an Argument from Ignorance (or Personal Incredulity, which seems a nicer way to put it). You are saying that you, personally, cannot understand how anything can violate cause and effect so you're going to proceed on the assumption that QM doesn't. You're wrong to do that and it's bad, bad logic to try.

What mystery is that? Something must be eternal and science shows it's not the universe. To invoke trillions of unseen, unknown, untestable universes to avoid one God violates Occam's Razor so I go with the simpler of the two hypotheses

Something must be eternal? Why? What logic gets you there? And I think Icbineg (a physicist, don't forget) quite clearly explained to both of us that the universe can be (and probably is) infinite.

Again with the multiverse? What's that got to do with anything? And, by the way, it doesn't violate Occam's Razar to postulate a more complicated solution if that's what the observations suggest. "All things being equal, the simplEST explanation tends to be correct". This doesn't mean that the most simple explanation possible is always going to be correct no matter what.

Quote-mining is to take someone out of context and to misrepresent their actual intent. Since I did not do that, it cannot be classified as quote-mining and frankly, I resent the implication. Remember that the one making the claim bears the burden of proof

Well, you're certainly not averse to a little quote-mining, as we saw in the previous thread. Whether that was deliberate on your part or you just didn't check your sources properly - either way, it's bad form.

But - you know what? In this instance, you're right. You weren't quote mining - they really said what they said, and meant what you say they meant.

But really - it's a bit ridiculous, don't you think, to dredge up Elizabethan scientists (if we can call them that) to support your claims. They'd have agreed with you wholeheartedly, I'm certain - BECAUSE they lived before modern physics. Find me a modern physicist that says the same thing and I'll look into it. The fact that you've relied on people who lived 500 odd years ago suggests to me that you haven't found anyone more recent - and that's a bit of a problem, isn't it?

Have exhausted myself. I'll address the rest either later or tomorrow.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 05-May-13 19:27:19

Pedro, Hitchens specifically says 'inborn'.

Exactly, he makes no reference to chosen and you are wrong to assume this means that he feels the opposite for chosen. Not sure of your point.

Your response on the actual decalogue is so not apropos. I posted on Hitchens's silly list because the actual decalogue has been critiqued so many times, and Hitchens' own banalities are themselves such a critique.

So the problem is what?

You really think 'neighbour' means someone who lives next door?

Well obviously not. Gosh. But are you suggesting that your neighbours are everybody? Because if you are then god should have said everybody and if you're not then god has missed a trick.

It's also interesting that you don't see your obedience, even enslavement to commerce - Tesco, Apple - as a problem. Presumably it's also not a problem for you if Apple uses slave labourers, or if Tesco violates its employees' rights by compelling them to work on the sabbath?

I have no issue whatsoever with Tesco employees working on a Sunday. It meant I could do my weekly shop today. Still a bit miffed that they close early on Sundays though. Why should it be any different to any other day?

Slave labour is a different thing entirely though and I'm not sure why you would combine the two.

At anyrate, not a problem in comparison with the wrongdoing of organised religion...?

What, working in a Sunday? No, certainly not even close to religious atrocities.

I assume this is the real world to which Hitchens is so relevant? if so I agree - this is exactly the shallow, conscienceless and materialistic world for which he writes.

Shallow like Christianity, conscienceless like one who relies on a god for their morality and materialistic like the richest organisation in the world (that's the RC church by the way). Yes, you are precisely who he writes for. I read him because I enjoy his writing, but it's not me he was trying to convince.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sun 05-May-13 20:45:45

Sieg, you are wrong to pick up on, and twist, what CH said on homosexuality. Like Pedro and Ellie, I don't know what you are trying to say. CH has consistently criticised the RC church for their condemnation of homosexuality. Full stop.

He has said he believes homosexuality to be not just a type of sex, but an expression of love. He spoke with great respect about his friendship with Stephen Fry at the Intelligence Squared Debate. From what I've read/seen of him, he believed that sexuality is innate, not a 'choice,' hence his use of the word 'inborn' - it's a perfectly acceptable and accepted theory - with a growing body of genetic evidence. He was an advocate of gay rights and gay marriage.

Whereas, the catholic church, er, isn't.

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 00:20:05

"Given my worldview" No! Given my morality!"

Your morality is a part of your worldview.

"Believe it or not atheists have morals - and yes, I'm aware that you didn't come out and say exactly that."

Yes. In fact, you know I say EXACTLY the opposite - that atheists DO have morals. That's a straw man that atheists can never seem to stop making. No one - I repeat NO ONE - EVER claims that atheists don't have morals.

"It is my morality that would inform me that your actions were wrong and deserving of punishment, morals that I learned from my parents, my society, and moral conclusions that I have reached on my own."

Yes, because you were raised in a Christian society. But you could not expect ME (or at least someone from a different culture) to abide by YOUR MORAL code. If you did, you would be acting inconsistently with your worldview.

"logically consistent atheist" You have no idea how offensive I find this!"

Sorry but you'll just have to get used to it. I unapologetically use that phrase all the time. I don't call people names but I do expect everyone - not just atheists - to be logically consistent. It's not an insult. It's an observation. I'm not even saying they are not thinking logically. I'm saying their behaviour or beliefs are inconsistent with their claims. Like an atheist who attends church regularly. Or an animal lover who abuses his dog. Or a person on a diet who orders a Big Mac, large fries and a diet Coke.

"Your thread of logic probably goes something like this...
A) Atheists don't believe in god(s) therefore,
B) they don't accept objective morality (not necessarily so), therefore,
C) since A is true, whatever morals Atheists claim to have, they are in fact baseless. Moreover, they (atheists) forfeit any right to make moral judgements about anyone else.

That about sums it up. I'm clearly not saying people don't have a right to their opinion but if they are going to judge others, I am justified in asking them on what basis they do so. If it is merely their opinion, why should anyone else care? If it is merely the consensus of their culture, why should someone from another culture care?

This is why, if I were an atheist, I would appeal to human evolution for morality. It is as close to a moral standard as we can get. Of course, I would hope that I would be a logically consistent atheist. Therefore, although I might believe rape and murder are wrong for me personally, I would hope that, because we see it in the animal kingdom, I would not judge those who do not share my view.

"This is all sorts of wrong. Atheists do have a basis for their morality, the same basis as everyone else in fact!"

And where do you believe that is - culture, evolution or somewhere else?

"Well, in Sparta they used to kill babies that they deemed too weak or deformed - by throwing them over a cliff no less!"

Right. And you have no problem with that (or shouldn't), right? What possible right could people in the 21st century have to judge people of a different culture two millennia before?

"And you've got it backwards by the way... you claim doesn't stand until someone can show where your wrong - your claim will stand when you can show evidence for it!"

"Exhibit A" is how hard you are fighting to have your cake and eat it too.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ-aqnDHqqA

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 00:32:24

"Best, you have a very different interpretation of the christian hell than the one I was taught as a child - including teachings from the pulpit during the unfortunate instances I was made to go to church, and in religious studies at school. A dictionary definition of hell is 'a place of eternal torture and punishment in an afterlife.'"

Yes I do Sabrina. Yours is the one I believed for about 43 years. But I don't go by a dictionary's definition that was probably written a few centuries ago. I go by the Bible's definition in the Original Hebrew and Greek. I'll take Jesus' word over Noah Webster's on matters of the afterlife. ;^)

"This is concept that may have been 'softened' by many christian leaders in recent years, in our far more socially liberal western society, as Best has just done above -'oh, it's not eternal punishment, it's eternal punishing confused Oh that's ok then."

No. If that were true, I would reject it for the very same reason I reject compromising God's Word with notions of evolution and long ages. I'm being consistent right across the board. This is not a NEW view but the ORIGINAL view of he Church.

"The concept of hell was invented by man to scare people into behaving themselves. Teaching children that hell is a real place, in the absence of any proof that it actually exists, frightens them."

Yup. The truth actually far better.

"*This is an amazing speech by Sam Harris on the sheer hypocrisy of the christian idea of heaven, hell and redemption. I agree with him wholeheartedly."*

Can you link to it?

"One quote that stays with me from his speech is: "Nine million children die every year before the age of five....Any god who would allow children, by the millions, to suffer and die in this way, and their parents to suffer and grieve in this way, either can do nothing to help them, or doesn't care to. He is either impotent or evil.""

That's merely a re-statement of Epicurus who put it more eloquently:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

Epicurus – Greek philosopher, BC 341-270

It's kind of an odd thing for Harris to say because in the atheist's worldview, evil and good do not exist. The concepts are meaningless.

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 00:38:44

"And I completely agree with AgeofReason on the subject of atheists and morality. Best seems to have bought into the very mistaken idea that morality can only come from religion."

Not at all. In fact, I repeatedly say just the opposite - even on national TV. But for that morality to be OBJECTIVE - meaning something is wrong whether anyone thinks so or not - we must appeal to a standard which transcends humanity. Culture won't do it. Evolution might - although as Dawkins admits, that morality would be horrific. Barring that, we are left only with God. This argument is what lead CS Lewis and Francis Collins from atheism to Christianity later in life.

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 00:46:01

Thanks for the links, sieg. I'll throw them on my Kindle for some bedtime reading. :^)

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 00:54:09

"please don't use Occams razor to support one argument and completely dismiss it for anothwr. It makes my teeth itch."

I'm lost. Tell me where you would like m to use it where you think I dismissed it. My understanding was that, in the first thread, you accused me of using it when I didn't and I told you where I use it. Then, on this thread, when I used it where I said I used it, you reprimanded me and I had to correct you. See why I'm confused?

"In my opinion morality based on fear of retribution is no morality at all."

I agree. Christians don't do good things out of hope of reward or fear of retribution. They do good things because they believe they are RIGHT thing to do. This is a straw man invented by (I believe) Hitchens. If someone has an earlier source for this argument, please correct me.

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 01:13:37

"Best: But if we are measuring by God's standards, we must understand how He sees us - not how we see ourselves. Isaiah 64:6 says all of our good deeds are like filthy rags to God. I meant to ask this yesterday -Could you (or anyone else) please tell me how you interpret that bible quote?"

Sure. This gets a little too theological for my tastes but here goes. Christianity states that we cannot earn our way to God. It is a free gift that we must receive. All other religions have rituals that must be performed in order to be acceptable to God. Christianity is different. As sinners, we can NEVER be acceptable to a righteous and holy God. The wages of sin is death. We can choose to pay for our own sins or let Jesus pay the price for us. Until we are "washed in his blood" God sees us as filthy, wretched sinners. Read the lyrics to the great Hymn Amazing Grace.

"It's interesting that you say about measuring by god's standards- I suppose the word of the bible tells you what god's standards are? It must be quite a job, given that the bible is so contradictory, and that slavery seems to be ok, as does the slaughter of whole towns."

I reject your premise that the Bible is contradictory. I am aware of NO actual contradictions in the Bible - only alleged ones. (But we covered that on the first thread so let's not go down that road again.)

Slavery back then was nothing like the slavery of 200 years ago. It was more like the employer/employee relationship we have today. The worker volunteered and was not forced. Unless you're referring to the kind of slavery that the Jews endured. In that case, God was against it. That's merely recording history so just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean God endorses it.

Regarding the slaughter of whole towns, yes God punishes sin. (We should be glad He does. Otherwise, there is no ultimate justice.) Those people chose not to repent so they paid with their lives. God, the Creator of all things, who gives life has the right to take it away. (He will also give it back again to everyone in the resurrection. Humans do not have the same right to take life that God has just like I'm sure you have some privileges that your small children do not have.

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 01:19:44

Sieg, I loved your assessment of Hitchens' Decalogue. Gave me a chuckle and I think you are spot on. You're clearly a thinker to be reckoned with. smile

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 01:34:19

Pedro, I would just like to say two things about your assessment of the biblical Decalogue.

1. The intent of the 6th commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," is actually "Thou shalt not MURDER." Killing in self-defense is permitted as is capital punishment. It's not "murder" if the person is guilty. (That's why God killing guilty sinners is not wrong.)

I know you didn't mention that but I like to clarify it.

2. The 10 Commandments are there to show us that we cannot live up to God's standard, that we are sinners and need a Saviour. The only person on earth who has ever kept all the commandments perfectly is Jesus. So don't worry the next time you covet neighbour's ass, just repent.

Okay, a third one as an afterthought:

3. Yours was not nearly as funny as Seig's. But good try. wink

BestValue Mon 06-May-13 01:37:56

Pedro, regarding choosing your sexuality, on the whole I agree with you but at least one gay person doesn't.:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2090942/Cynthia-Nixon-Im-gay-choice.html

AgeofReason Mon 06-May-13 05:04:47

But you could not expect ME (or at least someone from a different culture) to abide by YOUR MORAL code. If you did, you would be acting inconsistently with your worldview.

You've really got to stop telling other people what they're worldview is. And as a matter of fact, I can expect that of you! My morals reflect those of the society I live in, and we all expect others to abide by those morals - that's how we all get along!

I'm clearly not saying people don't have a right to their opinion but if they are going to judge others, I am justified in asking them on what basis they do so. If it is merely their opinion, why should anyone else care? If it is merely the consensus of their culture, why should someone from another culture care?

And why should they care about your opinion of what is "objectively" moral?? Is the right to judge others really at the heart of your "objective" morality argument? Do you want to be able to tell others that what they are doing is wrong, but then avoid any personal responsibility for that judgement? "No, no, I'm not saying you're wrong - it's always wrong for someone to do _ _."

...if I were an atheist, I would appeal to human evolution for morality.

Well, I would appeal to evolution for my sense of empathy, which in turn informs my sense of morality. But that's just me. Perhaps you'd like to tell me that I do something else...??

And you have no problem with that (or shouldn't), right? What possible right could people in the 21st century have to judge people of a different culture two millennia before?

Of course I have a problem with that! You just said I have morals, didn't you? I can, however, acknowledge that the people of ancient Sparta (and other places) didn't see it the same way that I do!

Slavery back then was nothing like the slavery of 200 years ago. It was more like the employer/employee relationship we have today. The worker volunteered and was not forced. Unless you're referring to the kind of slavery that the Jews endured. In that case, God was against it. That's merely recording history so just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean God endorses it.

<facepalm> Oh no, not this garbage again!!! Are you kidding me? Or yourself??

Leviticus 25:44-46

King James Version (KJV)

44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.

46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

Just who the hell have you been working for, anyway??? You sir, need to find another job! In case you missed it, that's treating human beings as possessions, and they're children, in perpetuity. Ever so slightly different from the indentured servitude you were talking about! And God was against it, was he? Hmmm, mind telling me where in the bible that bit is? It's conspicuously absent from the commandments... I guess "Thou shalt not own another human being as property" didn't make the cut... (to be fair, he only had 2 tablets - and the technology was very primitive at the time...)

EllieArroway Mon 06-May-13 05:53:15

OK. Where was I?

I'm no