Thursday, July 28, 2011

David Penny’s Reversal and Why Evolution’s Falsified Predictions Don’t Matter

When Charles Darwin introduced his theory of evolution he explained how it could be tested. As the sage of Kent explained:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.

While providing a test of falsification sounds scientific, this was just another one of Darwin’s protectionist moves. For in science, theories should be tested against realistic criteria, not universal negatives. How could a scientist, who is skeptical of the notion that all of biology spontaneously arose on its own, prove that a biological structure “could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.”

Biology is chocked full of such structures, but there is a catch. Darwin was requiring that the skeptic prove that such structures “could not possibly” have evolved. Given the evolutionist’s liberal use of imaginative just-so stories, this requirement would seem practically impossible.

Darwin was not looking for examples that show evolution to be unlikely. He did not say “did not likely” evolve. He said “could not possibly” evolve. Darwin was erecting high walls around his idea.

Nonetheless, Darwin’s defensive strategy was doomed to fail. The idea is so scientifically flawed that even its own Maginot Line could not save it. Today, the question is not is there a structure that “could not possibly” have evolved, but rather which one of the thousands and thousands of examples in biology should we pick? In recent years proteins have provided yet another army of examples where even the evolutionist’s own numbers show a twenty seven order of magnitude shortfall between expectations and reality.

What is interesting about all this is not that evolution is riddled with failures, but the denial that is universal amongst evolutionists. In fact, evolutionists not only deny there is any problem, they insist evolution is a fact, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Some wonder why the failure of Darwin’s own Maginot Line left evolution unharmed. How could evolution be the worst theory of all time yet nonetheless continue to hold onto its facthood status?

The answer is that evolution is deemed a fact because evolutionists know the world could not have been intelligently designed. The world’s evil, inefficiency and inelegance all mandate a thoughtless creative force. Like a fancy sports car with its steering wheel on backwards, this world doesn’t make sense. No designer capable of creating this world would have intended for it in the first place.

But of course intent is not a scientific quantity. The evolutionary mandate derives from secret knowledge, not public knowledge. Its foundation is gnosis, not scientia.

And so how well evolution fares in light of empirical science matters very little. That is a topic for research. It falls in the category of how evolution occurred, not if evolution occurred. No amount of empirical, public, evidence can change the private fact of evolution. Gnosis trumps scientia every time.

All of this means that one cannot argue with evolutionists from the scientific evidence. What a designer would and would not have intended cannot be learned from a scientific experiment. It does not derive from empirical findings. Rather, evolution is mandated by personal, religious beliefs that are not open to debate. Evolutionists accuse their skeptics of religious bias when they themselves are the ones who infected science with a metaphysical Trojan horse.

All of this means that evolutionary predictions and their falsifications mean very little. If a prediction or a test, such as Darwin’s proposal above, turns out to be false, it simply means that the test was ill conceived. Perhaps evolution needs to be modified, but it cannot be refuted.

As Lakatos explained, the sub hypotheses can be forfeited. They are the protective belt shielding the theoretical core. Evolution’s theoretical core is creation by natural means. The particular details don’t so much matter. Selection can be replaced by drift, gradualism can be replaced by saltationism, random mutation can be replaced by pre programmed adaptation, the evolutionary tree can be replaced by a web, even common descent can be replaced. But naturalism cannot be replaced.

So when a prediction goes bad, it is the fault of the sub hypothesis, not the theoretical core. Naturalism can never be questioned, regardless of the evidence. A good example of this came in a paper by evolutionist David Penny published last month in which Penny explained how we should understand the failure of a prediction he used to uphold evolution thirty years ago.

As I have explained, evolution predicts that different traits point to the same tree. Various evolutionary effects may cause occasional differences between the trees, but roughly speaking, if different traits are used to reconstruct the evolutionary tree, they should produce similar trees.

Thirty years ago Penny attempted to use this prediction to make evolution truly testable. In a paper published in the world’s leading science journal, Penny argued that dissimilar trees would “refute the existence of an evolutionary tree”:

Our strategy is to take different protein sequences for a common set of taxa, find all the minimal (and near minimal) evolutionary trees and then compare them. Should the probability be high that these trees are unrelated, this would indicate that the protein sequences do not contain similar evolutionary information, and hence would contradict the existence of an evolutionary tree for those taxa.

Penny used five proteins (cytochrome C, hemoglobin A, hemoglobin B, fibrinopeptide A and fibrinopeptide B) to infer the evolutionary relationships between eleven different species (rhesus monkey, sheep, horse, kangaroo, mouse, rabbit, dog, pig, human, cow, and ape). There are millions of different ways that eleven species can be arranged in an evolutionary tree. Penny used the protein comparisons between the different species to judge which of the arrangements would be more likely if they indeed were related via evolution. Penny repeated this process five times, once for each protein, and he obtained similar results. That is, the most likely evolutionary trees suggested by the five different proteins were all similar (actually there were significant differences, but as usual the test was against purely random trees). Penny concluded that “the existence of an evolutionary tree for these taxa is a falsifiable hypothesis.”

Today, thirty years later, things have changed. We now have orders of magnitude more sequence data and Penny’s prediction has been falsified many times over. There are plenty of protein and DNA sequences that do not agree, but produce incongruent evolutionary trees.

So did evolutionists reevaluate their beliefs? Did Penny conclude there is no evolutionary tree? Of course not. As Penny now writes in his new paper, he is “not rejecting the tree per se but enriching the tree concept into a network.” The new answer is horizontal gene transfer, which evolution is supposed to have created against all odds so that evolution could happen.

Evolution’s falsified predictions—and there are many, most of evolution’s predictions have turned out false—do not matter. For none of this changes the evolutionist’s certainty that the alternatives are wrong. In other words, evidence against evolution does not remedy the problems with the design hypothesis. The intent problem is no less a problem simply because biology doesn’t support evolution. Perhaps we can’t figure out how the sports car came to be, but it still has its backwards steering wheel. It must not have been intended that way.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

184 comments:

  1. The joys of the Procustean bed. No "fact" is immune from being lengthened or shortened in order to fit the theory.
    Kind of like global warming - hot day? Global warming. Cold day? Global warming. Same old average day? Global warming. See how easy it is to do science?
    And it is the Christians who hate to reason huh?

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  2. Kind of like global warming - hot day? Global warming. Cold day? Global warming. Same old average day? Global warming. See how easy it is to do science?

    The point that climate scientists are trying to make is that climate change occurs on a much longer scale than the daily weather. So it's not a matter of whatever happens on a particular day, or even weeks or months. You have to examine the global climate on decadal and longer scales.

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  3. Perhaps we can’t figure out how the sports car came to be, but it still has its backwards steering wheel. It must not have been intended that way.

    I think of so-called "bad designs" in biology not at all in terms of "intentions" but rather that they demonstrate the constraints of evolutionary processes. For example, the recurrent laryngeal nerve. It's not that no designer would create such a thing, but that the path that the nerve takes makes sense if one considers a gradual evolution from fish to mammals.

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  4. Norm Olsen:

    I think of so-called "bad designs" in biology not at all in terms of "intentions" but rather that they demonstrate the constraints of evolutionary processes. For example, the recurrent laryngeal nerve. It's not that no designer would create such a thing, but ...

    No, if the recurrent laryngeal nerve ran just the way we wanted it to run, evolution would nonetheless be unharmed. Optimal designs, and there are many, never hurt evolution one bit.

    It's all about gnosis. See:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/12/evolutionists-and-giraffes-recurrent.html

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  5. Norm, climate has varied since the creation of the earth and the earth has experienced warming periods even with the last few hundred years. The Global warming alarmists are like evolutionists in that they take the data out of context and believe an illusion. Let's take a "decadal" look as you suggest. Has the average global temperature increased between 1998 and 2008? No.

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/pnas-201102467.pdf

    Now if you go back to when the Vikings were farming Greenland, you have warming, but not caused by humans.

    Warmists, like evolutionists, think science should be based on taking a foregone conclusion and forcing the data to fit. They are so convinced of their position, the means justifies the end even if the means is crooked.

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  6. Cornelius, your argument is confused. You're wheeling out two very knackered and broken drums to beat on yet again: "Evolution is unfalsifiable" and "Evolution has been falsified" as if they don't blatantly contradict each other.

    The difference between science and religion is that scientists don't revere people or books. People can have good ideas and come out with great inventions, and we can respect them for that, but no-one and no book is considered infallible.

    Darwin gave us a brilliant idea. That doesn't mean he was perfect. He gave it to us in Origin of Species. But that book isn't perfect either. But scientists took that idea and used it as a framework through which to study biology, and despite your determined ignorance, the supporting evidence for it has stacked up and up.

    You claim ToE has been falsified many times. But I have seen you putting forward examples of this, and you repeatedly demonstrate only your own scientific ignorance. You totally shamelessly misrepresent work (it is far too pernicious to be accidental), you quote-mine, you 'translate' the work of others (REAL scientists) to practically the point of deception. And when you are short of work to misrepresent you point merely to new discoveries and claim "Ah-HA, evolutionists didn't see that one coming - this must falsify ToE" as if scientific theories were supposed to have powers of divination.

    In reality, ToE has not been falsified at all.

    But putting that aside for a moment, don't you get tired of ranting the same utterly hollow and religious arguments over and over? Instead of railing against science like King Canute before a sea of evidence, why not do some positive science? Why not go out and write a paper like a real scientist? Get a grant. Perform an experiment. Publish it in a scientific journal. Doesn't it trouble you that the sum total of scientific output from the ID corner is basically chuff all? Doesn't it hit you like a haddock to the face that people's scientific productivity hits the ground like a whore's drawers the moment they turn to ID?

    Isn't it time to stop the armchair commentary and the backseat theology? Prove to us you understand science - do some.

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  7. Norm, the recurrent laryngeal nerve seems to be the latest wiping boy for so called bad designs by evolutionists. With nearly ever other example having evaporated under the scrutiny of scientific research I see this one frequently.

    But, like the others, Richard Dawkins kool-aid drinkers will need to keep searching...

    "The fact is that even in humans in 0.3 to 1% of the population the right recurrent laryngeal nerve is indeed shortened and the route abbreviated in connection with a retromorphosis of the forth aortic arch. ("An unusual anomaly ... is the so-called 'non-recurrent' laryngeal nerve. In this condition, which has a frequency of between 0.3 - 1%, only the right side is affected and it is always associated with an abnormal growth of the right subclavian artery from the aortic arch on the left side" - Gray's Anatomy 2005, p. 644.; see also Uludag et al. 2009; the extremely rare cases (0.004% to 0.04%) on the left side appear to be always associated with situs inversus, thus still "the right side"). Nevertheless, even in this condition its branches still innervate the upper esophagus and trachea (but to a limited extent?). Although this variation generally seems to be without severe health problems, it can have catastrophic consequences for the persons so affected: problems in deglutition (difficulties in swallowing) and respiratory difficulties (troubles in breathing) (see Rammerstorfer 2004; moreover "dysphagia (if the pharyngeal and oesophageal branches of nonrecurrent or recurrent inferior laryngeal nerve are injured)" - Yang et al, 2009)"

    Also, "If mutations for such a short cut are possible and regularly appearing even in humans (not to mention some other non-shorter-route variations), - according to the law of recurrent variation (see Lönnig 2005, 2006), they must have occurred already millions of times in all mammal species and other vertebrates taken together from the Silurian (or Jurassic respectively) onwards. And this must also be true for any other (at least residually) functionally possible shorter variations of the right as well as of the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. Inference: All these 'short-cut mutations' were regularly counter-selected due to at least some disadvantageous and unfavourable effects on the phenotype of the so affected individuals (including any such mutants in the giraffes). Hence, they never had a chance to permeate and dominate a population except for the above mentioned very small minority of the (right) 'non-recurrent' laryngeal nerve, which is perhaps already accounted for by the genetic load ("The embryological nature of such a nervous anatomical variation results originally from a vascular disorder, named arteria lusoria in which the fourth right aortic arch is abnormally absorbed, being therefore unable to drag the right recurrent laryngeal nerve down when the heart descends and the neck elongates during embryonic development." Defechereux et al. 2000). "

    I guess evolutionists will need to find another example. Falsifying evolutionist claims is simply a gift that just keeps giving!

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  8. Ritchie:

    Cornelius, your argument is confused. You're wheeling out two very knackered and broken drums to beat on yet again: "Evolution is unfalsifiable"

    Whereas in reality I said that evolution *is* falsifiable (but it doesn’t matter to evolutionists).

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  9. Neal -

    No-one thinks the globe has always had the same global climate. Of course there have been warming and cooling periods - natural ones. But that doesn't mean the current one is natural too. The question is whether humans are affecting the current global climate, and the scientific consensus is that we are.

    But of course then we get the people who will always pick denial over facts they don't like. People who WANT there to be a God, and so spend all their time desperately (and rather fruitlessly) trying to make room for one in science. People who don't WANT human-induced climate change to be happening, and so simply deny that too. And if anyone disapproves, well their stupid or driven by an 'agenda', even if those people are in the overwhelming majority and are made up of people whose job it is to understand the truth of such matters.

    Fortunately the scientists of the world are largely mature grown-ups who face facts rather than run from them. No-one WANTS man-made climate change to be true. But it is. We can deny it and watch the globe get steadily worse (but we'll be dead soon. Who gives a damn what sort of world our grandchildren have to inherit, eh?) or we can grow up and do something about it.

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  10. Cornelius, I'll ask again.

    What are you doing to ensure your own personal confirmation bias isn't greatly skewing the 'scientific' claims you make here?

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  11. Cornelius -

    "Whereas in reality I said that evolution *is* falsifiable..."

    I see. Thank you for clearing that up. I will certainly reference this the next time either you or your canned applause here drag out the 'ToE is unfalsifiable' strawman. I don't imagine I'll be waiting long...

    That aside you still missed the thrust of my post. Why is it that all the actual SCIENCE is being done by evolutionists? Why is it the ID crowd have been as productive as a tortoise up a tree? What does that say about the scientific viability of ToE - and of ID?

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  12. Such a brilliant post thanks Dr Hunter!

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  13. CH: How could a scientist, who is skeptical of the notion that all of biology spontaneously arose on its own, prove that a biological structure “could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.”

    If we interpret this particular quote literally and out of context, he can't.

    However, it quite unreasonable to assume that the significant changes to science since Darwin actually made this statement / prediction wouldn't effect how predictions are formed, interpreted and described.

    This is why I keep going back to the point that predictions should be interpreted in the light of our best available explanations. This includes both Popper and Deutsch's explanations as to why we've only fairly recently made significant advances in the creation of knowledge. (see this comment on the pervious post)

    CH: In recent years proteins have provided yet another army of examples where even the evolutionist’s own numbers show a twenty seven order of magnitude shortfall between expectations and reality.

    Perhaps you write articles days in advance, but there are several relevant issues with this assumption that have yet to be addressed. Until then, this is hand waving.

    CH: All of this means that one cannot argue with evolutionists from the scientific evidence.

    From an earlier quote from Deutsch…

    So what would refute the Darwinian theory of evolution? Evidence which, in the light of the best available explanation, implies that knowledge came into existence in a different way. For instance, if an organism was observed to undergo only (or mainly) favourable mutations, as predicted by Lamarckism or spontaneous generation, then Darwinism’s ‘random variation’ postulate would be refuted. If organisms were observed to be born with new, complex adaptations – for anything – of which there were no precursors in its parents, then the gradual-change prediction would be refuted and so would Darwinism’s mechanism of knowledge creation. If an organism was born with a complex adaptation that has survival value today, yet was not favoured by selection pressure in its ancestry (say, an ability to detect and use internet weather forecasts to decide when to hibernate), then Darwinism would again be refuted. A fundamentally new explanation would be needed.

    Note that Deutsch wrote "Evidence which, in the light of the best available explanation…"

    Again, this a reference to our best explanations of how things *are* when we make the observation, rather than what someone in the past predicted we should "experience" in the future. Predictions are not prophecy.

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  14. CH: What a designer would and would not have intended cannot be learned from a scientific experiment. It does not derive from empirical findings.

    You actively excluding the designer by making this claim, then complain that the designer isn't accepted as science. How is this reasonable?

    CH: Rather, evolution is mandated by personal, religious beliefs that are not open to debate. Evolutionists accuse their skeptics of religious bias when they themselves are the ones who infected science with a metaphysical Trojan horse.

    Still waiting on a coherent comprehensive criteria as to how one determines if a theory actually entails a theological claim and if it's the primary underlying justification for that conclusion. Until then, your objections appear arbitrary.

    CH: Today, thirty years later, things have changed. We now have orders of magnitude more sequence data and Penny’s prediction has been falsified many times over.

    Yes, things have changed, including our best explanations regarding how things *are*. Yet you're still interpreting his prediction as what we would experience thirty years from then. It's unclear how this is a reasonable approach to interpreting predictions, rather than naive empiricism.

    So, it's not that predictions do not matter, it's that they are not prophecy. Nor do they make claims about what we will experience, but rather how things *are*.

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  15. I wrote: So, it's not that predictions do not matter, it's that they are not prophecy. Nor do they make claims about what we will experience, but rather how things *are*.

    What do I mean by this? How is this related to the problem of induction?

    For example, if for some reason we had never observed temperatures below 72 degrees, it's quite possible that our theory of water would completely fail to predict it would change from a liquid to a solid at or below 32 degrees. This wouldn't mean our theory was "false" before then, or that it was falsified by observations. It's means that scientific theories are not prophecy. They do not claim to take into account an infinite number of un-conceived explanations and possibilities that might effect what we might experience in the future.

    A more formal description of this concept is Fallibilism.

    From the Fallibilism entry on Wikipedia...

    Unlike scepticism, fallibilism does not imply the need to abandon our knowledge - we needn't have logically conclusive justifications for what we know. Rather, it is an admission that, because empirical knowledge can be revised by further observation, any of the things we take as knowledge might possibly turn out to be false.

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  16. Ritchie said, "Fortunately the scientists of the world are largely mature grown-ups who face facts rather than run from them".

    It's difficult to see who you mean. "Hockey- Stick" Mann? "The glacers are melting" UN IPCC warmers? The scientist whose observation and article that several polar bears had drowned in the Arctic Ocean helped galvanize the global warming movement? He is on administrative leave and being investigated by the feds for "integrity issues".

    At least 1,000 scientists have registered their dissent with the warmers. Are they grown-up?

    “The dysfunctional nature of the climate sciences is nothing short of a scandal. Science is too important for our society to be misused in the way it has been done within the Climate Science Community.” The global warming establishment “has actively suppressed research results presented by researchers that do not comply with the dogma of the IPCC.” -- Swedish Climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring, of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University. Is Dr Jelbring a grown-up?

    What is it about evolutionists that insist on putting down the intelligence of anyone who disagrees with them about "science"? Such behavior betrays your lack of evidence.

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  17. Narcissism: the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others.

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  18. Neal -

    "It's difficult to see who you mean."

    Difficult to see who I mean after you sneeringly dismiss important scientific bodies and authoratative agencies with a wave of your hand, you mean?

    Those who endorse man-made climate change incude, but certainly are not limited to:

    - The IPCC, an international scientific body specifically set up to monitor all data relevant to climate change, investigating its causes and assessing its risks.
    - NASA
    - MET office (UK)
    - Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences
    - Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    - European Geosciences Union
    - International Council for Science
    - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US)
    - National Research Council (US)
    - Network of African Science Academies
    - Royal Meteorological Society
    - Geological Society of London
    - National Science Academies of 32 nations
    - European Academy of Sciences and Arts
    - International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences
    - Royal Society of New Zealand
    - Royal Society of the United Kingdom
    - Polish Academy of Sciences
    - American Association for the Advancement of Science
    - American Chemical Society
    - American Physical Society
    - Australian Institute of Physics
    - European Physical Society
    - Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies
    - American Geophysical Union
    - European Federation of Geologists
    - European Geosciences Union
    - Geological Society of America
    - Geological Society of Australia
    - Geological Society of London
    - International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
    - National Association of Geoscience Teachers
    - American Meteorological Society
    - Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
    - World Meteorological Organization
    - American Quaternary Association
    - International Union for Quaternary Research
    - American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians
    - American Institute of Biological Sciences
    - American Society for Microbiology
    - Australian Coral Reef Society
    - Institute of Biology (UK)
    - Society of American Foresters
    - The Wildlife Society (international)
    - American Medical Association
    - American Public Health Association
    - World Federation of Public Health Associations
    - World Health Organization
    - American Statistical Association
    - International Association for Great Lakes Research


    The journal Science in 2004 published the results of a survey of 928 papers on climate
    change published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993 and 2003. They found that three-quarters of the papers either explicitly or implicitly accepted the view expressed in the IPCC 2001 report that human activities have had a major impact on climate change in the last 50 years, and none rejected it.

    What is it about religious fundies that insist that a consensus opinion by the majority of authoratative bodies is rendered utterly negligible as long as SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, no matter how biased, under-qualified or ill-equipped with supporting evidence, disagrees?

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  19. Oh dear, narcissism sounds a very undesirable trait, doesn't it?

    Just think how insufferable people afflicted with it might be. They might, for example, proclaim loudly that they were the Chosen People of all the peoples of the world, that the supreme creator and arbiter of the entire universe actively cared for such lowly specs as them. So much, in fact, that he granted their requests and petty prayers - they could effectively weild the powers of an omnipotent being with a few words of supplication.

    They might imagine the unfathomable vastness of the universe was created just so that they themselves might be brought about. They might imagine themselves to be the very pinnicle of creation. They might imagine they and they alone held the keys to knowledge, wisdom and morality. They might imgine they were destined to spend the rest of eternity enjoying absolute bliss with their fellows while everyone else was cast down to the eternal agony and torture which they so very richly deserve.

    Yes, it sounds a very undesirable trait indeed.

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  20. Ritchie, let's just take the top two on your list:

    “We're not scientifically there yet. Despite what you may have heard in the media, there is nothing like a consensus of scientific opinion that this is a problem. Because there is natural variability in the weather, you cannot statistically know for another 150 years.” -- UN IPCC's Tom Tripp, a member of the UN IPCC since 2004 and listed as one of the lead authors and serves as the Director of Technical Services & Development for U.S. Magnesium.

    “Any reasonable scientific analysis must conclude the basic theory wrong!!” -- NASA Scientist Dr. Leonard Weinstein who worked 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center and finished his career there as a Senior Research Scientist. Weinstein is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace.


    http://blogs.forbes.com/jamestaylor/2011/07/27/new-nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-in-global-warming-alarmism/

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  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. Tom Tripp is a metallurgist. He is no way represents the consensus of the IPCC.

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  23. Neal - Refer back to my comment about you seeming to think a single lone objection renders a majority opinion moot.

    This is a fallacy.

    Science deals in data gathering and inductive reasoning. When is there 'sufficient' evidence to reach a conclusion? That's a matter of personal opinion. One person might accept half as much as another. For one person, there might never be enough.

    Scientists are by nature a diverse bunch - and moreover, a very sceptical bunch too. So when there is a clear majority opinion, pointing out the few hold-outs doesn't really count for much.

    Tom Tripp, for example, is one of 450 IPCC lead authors. According to the IPCC's 2007 Fourth Assessment Report "human actions are "very likely" the cause of global warming, meaning a 90% or greater probability." Tom Tripp is conspicuous because his opinion (apparently) runs counter to that of the IPCC. He is the exception, not the rule. The question we should be asking is not why 1 person disagrees, but why 449 IPCC lead authors DO agree.

    To dismiss the views of the majority because you prefer the view of the minority is fallacious, blinkered and vain.

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  24. Ritchie, "Oh dear, narcissism sounds a very undesirable trait, doesn't it?

    ---
    YES INDEED!
    --

    "Just think how insufferable people afflicted with it might be."

    ---
    YES

    ---
    "They might, for example, proclaim loudly that they were the Chosen People of all the peoples of the world, "

    ---

    Let him who is thirsty, come! Open invitation to all! No restrictions due to age, income, education, or nationality or whatever. Membership is of everyone's own choosing. Jesus said, whosoever, will, let him come!

    ----

    "that the supreme creator and arbiter of the entire universe actively cared for such lowly specs as them. So much, in fact, that he granted their requests and petty prayers - they could effectively weild the powers of an omnipotent being with a few words of supplication. "

    ---

    Yes, indeed. What a wonderful privilege.

    ---

    "They might imagine the unfathomable vastness of the universe was created just so that they themselves might be brought about. They might imagine themselves to be the very pinnicle of creation."

    ---

    Yes. God's love for mankind is incredible.

    ---


    "They might imagine they and they alone held the keys to knowledge, wisdom and morality. "

    ---

    No way!

    ---

    "They might imgine they were destined to spend the rest of eternity enjoying absolute bliss with their fellows while everyone else was cast down to the eternal agony and torture which they so very richly deserve."

    ---

    No one earns God's salvation. It is a gift from God. We are all in need of a Savior. This is not a elitist program. It is with great sadness that anyone should die apart from eternal life.

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  25. Neal -

    "Let him who is thirsty, come! Open invitation to all! No restrictions due to age, income, education, or nationality or whatever. Membership is of everyone's own choosing. Jesus said, whosoever, will, let him come!"

    Fair enough anyone might have an open invitation to join this Special Group, but isn't that all the more reason to proclaim how wonderful it is to be Christian? How much BETTER you are than non-Christians? Don't worry, it's not boastful or proud, it's just to encourage others to join! Why it's practically a public service! A moral obligation, even!

    "Yes, indeed. What a wonderful privilege...
    Yes. God's love for mankind is incredible."

    The fact that you apparently took my satirical comments seriously troubles me deeply. Read back over my comments that you are here agreeing to and try to work out why they are, in fact, supremely arrogant and narcissistic. They fact that you just accepted them reflects these qualities back on you too, I fear...

    "No way!"

    Thank God we can agree on something.

    "No one earns God's salvation. It is a gift from God. We are all in need of a Savior. This is not a elitist program. It is with great sadness that anyone should die apart from eternal life."

    Great sadness? Who is sad?

    Surely not God. If He truly desired everyone to be saved, then why not just grant everyone salvation? It would certainly be within the power of an omnipotent being. Why reserve salvation for the extremely fortunte few who were able to blindly guess the correct religion from the multitude of religions on offer? Such an arrangement is inevitably massively inefficient and ineffective at best, and at worst outright cruel.

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  26. Ritchie said, "Great sadness? Who is sad? "

    I certainly am. It is not a matter of thinking I'm better. The closer one is to the presence of God, the greater the recognition of the need for a Savior. Salvation is a gift, but it is the nature of God to not force his gift.

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  27. Neal -

    "I certainly am."

    And yet you continue to worship the being that apparently brought this situation about. You must be very conflicted when you feel sad about the things the god you worship does...? How do you resolve this, I wonder?

    "Salvation is a gift, but it is the nature of God to not force his gift."

    No, salvation is a reward - the prize God dangles for choosing to worship him. The fate of those who do not is agony and torture.

    This is coersion, pure and simple. Threatening. Do what I want and you get good things. Refuse me and you'll pay horribly!

    We might compare God to a mugger with a gun held to your back demanding your wallet, or a mafia don offering you and your little shop 'protection'. He is offering you a choice - but one option leads to good things and the other leads to terrible suffering.

    Hell is a horrific punishment OF GOD'S OWN MAKING!! HE made Hell! HE decreed who goes there and why. It is not a fate God is desperately trying to save us from, like a parent anxiously trying to keep a child safe from the inevitable dangers of the world. He is like a parent who PUTS LETHAL HAZZARDS INTO HIS CHILD'S PATH. Hell is His doing. He is omnipotent. He can do what He likes. No-one goes to Hell unless He Himself wishes it.

    Why did it have to be so? If God really desired to seperate his faithful worshippers from everyone else after death, why did he have to make the Other Place so horrible? Why couldn't Heaven and Hell be equally pleasant, except that God was absent from Hell? Why do those who belong to a different faith, or have no religious faith, or who never even heard about Christianity, or who for reasons of their own simply choose not to worship Him, have to endure agonising tortures forever?

    If this God really does exist, then He is nothing more than a malicious bully, a tyrant who demands worship and chooses to torture those who refuse Him. This arrangement has nothing to do with love.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Here's a relevant article on scientific theories and climate control at Boing Boing...

    Lowercase Theories, Uppercase Theories and the Myth of Climate Control

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hell is a horrific punishment OF GOD'S OWN MAKING!!

    Ritchie, for a non-believer, you tend to believe some people too much. There are Christians who took the same reasoning, studied the matter some more, discovered that there's no mention of Hell in the Bible and became Christian Universalists - like me. So yea, as far as I'm concerned nobody is going to Hell.

    Exactly like you said, if God wanted everyone to be saved, everyone would be saved. Well, guess what - God wants everyone to be saved :P

    With that out of the way - Cornelius, great article :) If I cared for science a bit, I would be upset about its situation.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hunter:

    How could a scientist, who is skeptical of the notion that all of biology spontaneously arose on its own, prove that a biological structure “could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.”

    That’s funny. Google “irreducible complexity,” or Michael Behe, or “specified complexity,” or William Dembski.

    Dr Hunter should visit Uncommon Descent and correct those bozos.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Marcel -

    "There are Christians who took the same reasoning, studied the matter some more, discovered that there's no mention of Hell in the Bible and became Christian Universalists - like me. So yea, as far as I'm concerned nobody is going to Hell."

    My knowledge of Christian Universalism is, I'll admet, limited. But if they preach an afterlife with no Hell, then you have to at the very least admit you are going against the grain of most Christian denominations. The idea that everyone will be united with God after death is absolutely not a central tennet of Christianity.

    You say there is no mention of Hell in the Bible, but that's not quite true. There are passages about God separating the just from the wicked, and casting the wicked into a furnace of fire, and tormenting them with fire and brimstone without rest either night or day. It's true these are not as plentiful nor as explicit as some might naively assume, and I'm sure you've concucted reasons to explain them away.

    Nevertheless, what Biblical passages explicitly support the idea that EVERYONE gets into Heaven? The Bible IS explicit that salvation is something you have to strive towards, a goal, which some achieve and others do not.

    "Exactly like you said, if God wanted everyone to be saved, everyone would be saved. Well, guess what - God wants everyone to be saved :P"

    Oh great, so there's no point in being a Christian then? We're all saved whatever we believe, whoever we worship (or not) and whatever rules we obey? I can go out and have all the depraved, debauched, indulgent fun I like, knowing that I'm headed for the same place as you when I die - paradise? Great news! So why waste our short lives on our knees? Why bother with God at all? After all, He'll just forgive us in the end anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  32. you have to at the very least admit you are going against the grain of most Christian denominations.

    Dude, I'm going against most people when I disagree with evolutionism. I'm a contrarian.

    The idea that everyone will be united with God after death is absolutely not a central tennet of Christianity.

    So I just dreamed John 3:16 or 2Peter 3:9?

    There are passages about God separating the just from the wicked, and casting the wicked into a furnace of fire, and tormenting them with fire and brimstone without rest either night or day.

    Actually, their shame will be everlasting, if I understand the text correctly. This describes the sacking of Jerusalem - a horrible day, but it's in the past, you don't need to worry about it.

    The Bible IS explicit that salvation is something you have to strive towards, a goal, which some achieve and others do not.

    You've already been corrected on this. Salvation is a gift, not something you achieve. We have no merit in it. Believing in the right thing would be something we did to merit salvation, so that's out :)

    After all, He'll just forgive us in the end anyway.

    Some of us don't cheat on our wives even if we know they'd forgive us - maybe we don't want to upset them. Christians (should) want to please God. If fear of hell is the only thing making people behave like human beings then yes, universalism would be a problem. Love of God should do the trick better though, in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Marcel -

    "Dude, I'm going against most people when I disagree with evolutionism."

    That's true. So hopefully you have excellent reason to think you are right and the majority of others are wrong...?

    "So I just dreamed John 3:16 or 2Peter 3:9?"

    These passages do not support the idea that everyone will come to God in the end. The John passages explicitly states salvation is conditional on believing in Jesus (the very opposite to salvation being unconditional), and the 2Peter one just says God WANTS everyone to come to Him.

    "Actually, their shame will be everlasting, if I understand the text correctly. This describes the sacking of Jerusalem - a horrible day, but it's in the past, you don't need to worry about it."

    Ummm, no I don't think so. Read Matthew 13:40-50. Seems pretty clearly to be taking about the end of times:

    "...the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full , they drew to shore, and sat down , and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth , and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

    Seems pretty explictly to say the wheat shall be seperated from the chaff. No mention of the Temple of Jerusalem.

    "You've already been corrected on this. Salvation is a gift, not something you achieve. We have no merit in it. Believing in the right thing would be something we did to merit salvation, so that's out :)"

    You're arguing against some pretty explicit Biblical passages here:

    Acts 16:30-31 - "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"

    Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    John 5:29 - And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

    "Some of us don't cheat on our wives even if we know they'd forgive us - maybe we don't want to upset them... If fear of hell is the only thing making people behave like human beings then yes, universalism would be a problem."

    Whilst I do agree that true morality is not one merely coerced through threat or promise of reward, what you haven't done is point out why we should worship God at all. If we're all going to be saved, worship seems a pretty arbitrary thing to do. Why spread the word? Why preach? Why let any non-Christian religious people know they are worshipping false gods? They'll find out for themselves soon enough when they die. In short, why be a Christian?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ritchie:

    "You say there is no mention of Hell in the Bible, but that's not quite true."
    ===

    Well we actually can agree on something, well sort of. The old English word Hell isn't the best choice for trying to convey the original intent of the Hebrew word 'sheol'. Though the noun 'hell came from the verb helling which was used with regards to growing root crops and storing them in a cold root cellar. Hell probably was used to describe root cellar.

    The problem is more of the concept of 'Hellfire and Damnation' for which most religious people ascribe to 'hell', but the Hebrew sheol is no such place. The Hebrew word's original meaning is simply the common grave of humankind or gravedom for lack of better word. It has nothing to do with any individual grave or cemetary. It's simply a place of concealment for a dead human body which desintegrates back into the dust elements from which we are all made in the first place. It does not mean continuing on into another life. Death is always opposite of life.

    The King James Version translates the word 'sheol' 31 times as hell, 31 times as grave and 6 as pit, if I'm correct. Some Catholic translations add a fourth word/term , death. But several modern day English translations simply let the Hebrew word 'sheol' remain as it is.The puzzling question is why 3 or 4 different english words for just one Hebrew word ??? The reason is that though the concept of the official doctrine of Hellfire is prefered, there is a problem with that concept being applied places where grave is clearly meant, such as the grave of faithful men in the Bible. Fortunately for religious leaders, most parishioners won't bother to do a thorough personal self investigation or examination for themselves, so it's never been questioned. Well at least prior to these educated modern times.
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "There are passages about God separating the just from the wicked, and casting the wicked into a furnace of fire, and tormenting them with fire and brimstone without rest either night or day."
    ====

    Perhaps you believe it is scriptural texts like this that prove 'Hellfire and Damnation' is actuallt taught in the Bible ???

    Revelation 20:15

    King James Version (KJV)

    15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

    ReplyDelete
  35. The John passages explicitly states salvation is conditional on believing in Jesus (the very opposite to salvation being unconditional), and the 2Peter one just says God WANTS everyone to come to Him.

    Yes, my mistake. John 3:16 is about salvation from the sacking of Jerusalem. Faith in Jesus was required for that (for purely practical reasons - they were supposed to get out of Jerusalem when they saw certain signs). As for God wanting everyone to come to him... haven't we just agreed that what God wants, God gets? :)

    the end of times

    Don't believe everything you read :P It talks about the end of the age (aion), not the end of times. There is no mention of the temple in *that* paragraph, but there's more to the Bible than just that. Plus, "some of those standing here will still be alive when these things happen" (approx. quote) should settle things quite clearly, IMO.

    You're arguing against some pretty explicit Biblical passages here:

    Yes; those are about being saved from the destruction of Jerusalem. One had to believe Jesus for that, which was quite difficult at the time. There is no condition put on coming to God, as can be quite easily seen from the general motif of the NT.

    why we should worship God at all

    Because we love him and want to please him. Also, because we want better rewards, to speak your language :) I don't expect the next life to be all meadows and flowers; I expect it to be more challenging than this one, though without the suffering. As such, it would be better to use this time as a learning experience, instead of having to go back to school afterwards.

    Ultimately, though, God loves you even if you don't love him. It's just that you're handicapping yourself by refusing to take the universe as it is.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Eocene -

    I'm not totally clear on what you're saying here. Those who are not saved simply cease to be? They are merely cast into a communal grave while those who worship Jesus go on to eternal paradise?

    Be that as it may (and I won't labour the point) you haven't really solved the dilemna of God's coercion. Even if Hell is mere non-existance rather than torture, God is still offering a reward for belief and worship, and punishment for refusal. No matter the specifics of the reward or punishment, that is still coercion. Threatening. Bullying. Hardly appropriate behaviour for any being worthy of the adjectives 'loving', 'good' or 'just'.

    Unless you take what I believe is Marcel's position and (despite the Biblical references to the contrary) claim EVERYONE will get the reward. In which case, why be a Christian?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Marcel -

    You keep refering to the sacking of Jerusalem. But it seems to me you are quite wrong. Read the passages I've pointed out in context. Take a moment to read them through, with the preceeding and following verses too. None of them mention the sacking of Jerusalem.

    "As for God wanting everyone to come to him... haven't we just agreed that what God wants, God gets? :)"

    No. He's omnipotent; that is not the same thing. Unless of course you want to hold the position that we humans don't really have free will and we don't actually have any choice about whether or not to worship or reject God at all...?

    "Plus, "some of those standing here will still be alive when these things happen" (approx. quote) should settle things quite clearly, IMO."

    Jesus is talking about his second coming and the end of the world (of which the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem will be a sign). And yet he was quite wrong. He, and the apocalypse, is nearly 2000 years late. C.S.Lewis called this "the most embarrassing verse in the Bible" and an "exhibition of error", explaining it away by saying that because Jesus was part human, he shared humanity's fallibility and could be wrong on occasion.

    http://www.audiowebman.org/bbc/books/articles/cslewis.htm

    "Because we love him and want to please him."

    Why should we BELIEVE in Him? We have no evidence for Him - no objective, rational reason to think He exists. Like every religion, Christianity involves a leap of faith (otherwise it wouldn't be religion). Loving Him and wanting to please Him presupposes we believe in Him - a belief which is not arrived at if we are being thoroughly rational. If God truly desires our love and worship, why does He conceal Himself? Why doesn't He make His presence as obvious and undeniable as the sun in the sky? Something TANGIBLE, which believers can point at and say 'Look, there He is. Want abolsute proof of God? Here it is.' Why make loving and worshipping Him involve a leap of faith? It seems entirely self-defeating, if the love and worship of the whole of mankind is something God truly does desire.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ritchie:

    "I'm not totally clear on what you're saying here. Those who are not saved simply cease to be? They are merely cast into a communal grave while those who worship Jesus go on to eternal paradise?"
    ===

    Nope, not what I was saying at all. Merely pointed out the logic and reality of what happens at death as described in the bible.
    ---

    Ritchie:

    " . . dilemna of God's coercion. Even if Hell is mere non-existance rather than torture, God is still offering a reward for belief and worship, and punishment for refusal. No matter the specifics of the reward or punishment, that is still coercion. Threatening. Bullying. Hardly appropriate behaviour for any being worthy of the adjectives 'loving', 'good' or 'just'.
    ===

    Do all the governments and nations of the Earth today use coersion, threats of punishment, bullying, etc if people disobey the Laws of the Land because of not paying taxes, stealing, murdering, cheating, etc. Are they unjust and unloving because they have such laws against what most people consider wrong ???

    Here's an example of some council Paul gave with regards the paying of taxes, which some Jewish Christians may have still held against Roman occupation. I'll use the amplied bible, since it deals with modern english. Also, other translations actually use the word fear.

    Romans 13:3-7

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    3 "For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation.

    4 "For he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer.

    5 "Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience.

    6 "For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service.

    7 "Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due."
    ===

    Ritchie:

    "Unless you take what I believe is Marcel's position and (despite the Biblical references to the contrary) claim EVERYONE will get the reward."
    ===

    No I don't take Marcel's position. I have met many modern day Christians who've taken this stance, but it's as you say total nonsense. One told me that God must have just changed Hitler when he went to heaven. Seriously, that's what she told me.
    ---

    Ritchie:

    "In which case, why be a Christian?"
    ===

    Exactly, we're at least on the same page. But look back at Revelation 20:15 and read the previos verse 14 from King James Version.


    King James Version (KJV)

    14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

    Clearly Hell(or the grave is NOT a place eternal or place of torture and suffering. Clearly "Lake of Fire" is meant only in a symbolic sense.

    ReplyDelete
  39. CH: Today, the question is not is there a structure that “could not possibly” have evolved, but rather which one of the thousands and thousands of examples in biology should we pick? In recent years proteins have provided yet another army of examples where even the evolutionist’s own numbers show a twenty seven order of magnitude shortfall between expectations and reality.

    Cornelius,

    If the creation of knowledge necessary for creating proteins didn't come from the process of evolution, then where did this knowledge come from?

    As is the case with many theories, Darwin's theory was better understood by others that came after him. Specifically, Darwin's theory let to a chain of better questions, which has let to a theory explaining the means by which knowledge is created.

    In the case of biology, this refers to the creation of knowledge a biological replicator uses to cause a range of specific environments to reproduce it. Furthermore, the theory that knowledge is created by this means in the case of biological replicators can be falsified by observations in my previous comment.

    But this theory is universal in that it also reflects the process of science.

    We create theories via conjecture, criticize them and then discard those with errors - which is analogous to random mutations and the process of natural selection.

    In other words, the theory of evolution is a universal theory of how knowledge is created. Not a theory of what we will experience, but how things *are*.

    Discoveries of HGT do not falsify evolutionary theory because they do not falsify the underlying explanation for the creation of knowledge.

    So, to repeat my question, if the knowledge of how to create proteins, as part of the process of replication, didn't come from biological evolution, then where did it come from?

    Perhaps an ancient, technologically advanced alien race? But this too represents the creation of knowledge via evolution, which does it falsify the theory either.

    Perhaps a better question would be, what theory of knowledge creation are you appealing to?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Eocene -

    "Nope, not what I was saying at all. Merely pointed out the logic and reality of what happens at death as described in the bible."

    But what happens BEYOND death?

    "Do all the governments and nations of the Earth today use coersion, threats of punishment, bullying, etc if people disobey the Laws of the Land because of not paying taxes, stealing, murdering, cheating, etc. Are they unjust and unloving because they have such laws against what most people consider wrong ???"

    No-one considers themselves to have a personal, loving relationship with their government. In our western world the govt lays down laws to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens, but yes they CAN be coercive and bullying - just look at laws made during tyrannical regimes.

    In short, the law lets you do as you please as long as you do not infringe upon others. The law is a huge contract on how precisely you may or may not interact upon others. But if it required you to sing a hymn to your President each morning, or kneel in supplication to a statue of him, whether you wanted to or not, then yes this would indeed be coersive.

    "One told me that God must have just changed Hitler when he went to heaven."

    Yes the question of free-will in Heaven is another little paradox. But that's a whole new can of worms.

    "Clearly Hell(or the grave is NOT a place eternal or place of torture and suffering. Clearly "Lake of Fire" is meant only in a symbolic sense."

    For what?

    What do you think happens after death? What happens to the saved and what happens to the others? In a nutshell.

    ReplyDelete
  41. CH :

    Evolution’s falsified predictions—and there are many, most of evolution’s predictions have turned out false—do not matter. For none of this changes the evolutionist’s certainty that the alternatives are wrong. In other words, evidence against evolution does not remedy the problems with the design hypothesis.

    This is a little confusing, it sounds like incorrect predictions of TOE should be a
    proof that the unnamed alternatives could be correct. Would the reciprocal hold true? You mention intelligent design, what false predictions of TOE does it explain better? Are both constrained by the assumption of naturalism in this comparison ? Sorry for all the questions

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ritchie:

    "But what happens BEYOND death?"
    ===

    Okay, pay attention now. Having never been there[no pun at all intended] I cannot tell you. However, the biblical description here in this text I find will agree with probably what most atheists will agree with. Read carefully and take notice I'm deliberately using the King James Version:

    Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 & 10

    King James Version (KJV)

    5 "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

    6 "Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

    10 "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
    ---

    Here is another interesting scripture. Sounds almost identical to what an atheist might believe, see if you agree. Notice I'm now using a modern translation called "The Bible in Common English"

    Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

    Common English Bible (CEB)

    19 "because human beings and animals share the same fate. One dies just like the other—both have the same life-breath. Humans are no better off than animals because everything is pointless."

    20 "All go to the same place , all are from the dust , all return to the dust."

    Frankly, there is nothing to fear from death even for an Atheist or even a pagan.
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "No-one considers themselves to have a personal, loving relationship with their government. In our western world the govt lays down laws to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens, but yes they CAN be coercive and bullying - just look at laws made during tyrannical regimes.

    In short, the law lets you do as you please as long as you do not infringe upon others. The law is a huge contract on how precisely you may or may not interact upon others. But if it required you to sing a hymn to your President each morning, or kneel in supplication to a statue of him, whether you wanted to or not, then yes this would indeed be coersive."
    ====

    Perfect! , That is all God's Laws are, as long as you don't infrnge upon the rights of others. There is alot of freedom for anyone to pursue to their heart's desire as long as the basic standards and principles are respected and that of their fellow man.
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "What do you think happens after death? What happens to the saved and what happens to the others? In a nutshell."
    ===

    In a nutshell ??? Saved as you call them receive everlasting life, those not everlesting non-existance. But that is what your average atheist believes anyway.

    HOWEVER! You've already referenced a scripture which speaks of a resurrection of both righteous and unrighteous. The term righteous only means those whose know and recognize the creator and agree with his standards and principles and apply these in their lives to the best of their ability.

    The unrighteous are those who through history never knew God or his laws, standards and principles and are given opportunity to live again and learn about God's laws, standards, principles and original purpose for the Earth. Their continued life at that point depends on their adherence and respect for these. Otherwise their resurrection would be eventually said to be one of judgement where they will simply go back to non-existance. These labled unrithgeous[which means ignorant of what God's Laws are] would be people from times past who never knew the God of the Bible. They would be anyone from ancient Incas to atheists, to aboriginals, etc, etc, etc. Many may include those of an apostate Christian organization who need to be corrected on correct understanding of variuos doctrines(example Hellfire).

    ReplyDelete
  43. What I think the underlying issue Ritchie referring to here is that God, Jesus and human beings do not appear to play well defined, functional roles in the supposed gift of salvation.

    For example, It's unclear how acceptance through belief, or lack there of, that Jesus supposedly died for everyone's sin - past present and future - which would also include my sins, plays a functional role in accepting the supposed gift of a blissful afterlife in heaven, or God's ability to give it.

    if i've sinned, then the actions in question were mine. Yet Jesus accepted the punishment for my sins before I was even born. If God's hands are somehow tied in that I must be punished for my actions, it's unclear how my belief in some past event "frees" a omnipotent and perfectly moral being to retroactively transfer my punishment to someone else who supposedly already died of my sins, leaving me forgiven.

    Note how this explanation has the same problems of myths I mentioned in the previous thread.

    Jesus, God and myself are only related to a supposed outcome of eternal of heavenly bliss thorough the theological narrative itself. While I'm sure many here believe salvation can only be obtained though a belief that Jesus died for our sins, the lack of a functional role makes for an easy to vary explanation. There is no hard to vary chain of explanations.

    For example, despite the fact that we supposedly born unworthy of God's presence, many think unborn children who die are not subject to punishment, but go straight to heaven. At which point the question becomes, what is the purpose of taking physical form? Is there something that unborn children are missing in heaven, which can only be achieved by an earthly life? If heaven is eternal perfect bliss, how can one be missing anything?

    Again, it seems that the cast of characters are only related to the outcome via the narrative itself. Nor is there any clear functional role which allows God to give the gift of salvation to children who die before they are born, but not adults.

    Furthermore there are other religions that make clearly contradictory claims about what's required to obtain salvation, which billions accept as truth. And Christian universalists like Marcel who think everyone will go to heaven. These represent concrete examples of easy variability.

    In other words, the many different narratives of salvation appear to have all of the features of a bad explanation, should one actually attempt to approach it objectively.

    In addition, it appears that the salvation narrative Eocene, Neal and Marcel accept hinges on the supposedly the "correct" interoperation of "knowledge" in the Bible.

    For example, Eocene wrote: "Clearly Hell(or the grave is NOT a place eternal or place of torture and suffering. Clearly "Lake of Fire" is meant only in a symbolic sense."

    But this ultimately represents foundationalism. Specifically, they are appealing to a particular supposed authority, rather than appealing to the quality of explanation presented by any particular salvation narrative.

    For example, it's clear the Quran says non-believers will be tortured forever in hell. So, why doesn't Eocene believe that Hell exists based on the correct interoperation of the Quran? Because he rejects the Quran as an authority, but accepts the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Scott:

    "Note how this explanation has the same problems of myths I mentioned in the previous thread."
    ===

    And yet you are one of the greatest myth creators anyone has ever read if they've actually bothered and taken 15-30 minutes to read your passion for lengthy manuscripting. Viels of MAYA and netherworlds of ILLUSIONS come to mind.
    ---

    Scott:

    "For example, Eocene wrote: "Clearly Hell(or the grave is NOT a place eternal or place of torture and suffering. Clearly "Lake of Fire" is meant only in a symbolic sense."

    But this ultimately represents foundationalism. Specifically, they are appealing to a particular supposed authority, rather than appealing to the quality of explanation presented by any particular salvation narrative."
    ===

    You appeal to numerous authorities all the time, but criticize and demonize anyone else who may do the same to explain the foundation for there belief. Yes of course. That would seem logical to most people.
    My position is almost identical to what the majority of atheists may believe happens at death and I simply showed why I believe that. The huge problem you have is not that I can agree with you[which I'm sure has a measure if irritation, hence the deflection games], but belief in a Creator is totally unacceptable because you have issues with perceived[in your own mind] accountability and definitions of morality that may infringe on personal persuits in life and that's fine, but lets at least be honest about it instead of rambling off pointless mystic stories or fables of netherworld's with definition shell gamings of ideas and beliefs.

    This is why a true rational, logical and a real in this world on planet Earth discussion is impossible with you. You are under no obligation to believe anything anyone else says. That's what freewill is all about. At least take comfort in the fact that in the end there is nothingness, no suffering nor torment. Just blind pointless pitiless indiffernce with no more purpose or intent.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Eocene -

    So the 'saved' are resurrected and everyone else merely ceases to exist?

    Yet again we're back with exactly the same problem. God is still coercing our choice to worship him. "You'll be rewarded if you do, and punished if you do not" still holds.

    "Perfect! , That is all God's Laws are, as long as you don't infrnge upon the rights of others. There is alot of freedom for anyone to pursue to their heart's desire as long as the basic standards and principles are respected and that of their fellow man."

    This is not all God's laws are. We are told to believe in and worship God. That is all that matters when it comes to whether you are rewarded or punished.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Ri9tchie:

    "Yet again we're back with exactly the same problem. God is still coercing our choice to worship him. "You'll be rewarded if you do, and punished if you do not" still holds."
    ===

    So basically you can agree and understand the concept of any nation or governemnt developing a constitution for it's citizens which without them would be utter chaos and anarchy, but if indeed there is a creator[just bare with me here on this] who creates and gives life, he should stay out of intelligent creations affairs and allow the corrupt irresponsible world we presently live in ???

    Okay!!!
    ---

    Ritchie:

    "This is not all God's laws are. We are told to believe in and worship God. That is all that matters when it comes to whether you are rewarded or punished."
    ===

    I think the problem is you are looking at things with materialist glasses. You need to dump whatever ideas and mental images you have on Earth's present religious ecclesiastical systems which for the most part have preyed on humankind and took advantage of others and look strictly at what the bible actually says. Beyond that it's more that you are doing nothing more than reassuring yourself and not so much as convincing me of anything.

    Take this seriously Ritchie. There's nothing to lose but an extended life as opposed to having it end prematuely. If the later takes place, there ultimately nothing to fear since no one will be aware of it anyway.

    Sheeesh, even the Demons and Satan aren't atheist.

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  47. Eocene -

    "So basically you can agree and understand the concept of any nation or governemnt developing a constitution for it's citizens which without them would be utter chaos and anarchy, but if indeed there is a creator[just bare with me here on this] who creates and gives life, he should stay out of intelligent creations affairs and allow the corrupt irresponsible world we presently live in ???"

    You are not following my argument.

    I have said nothing about God laying down laws for humans to live by.

    But your eternal salvation depends only on your acceptance of Jesus - an offer which is as open to genuine refusal as the mugger with the gun in your back asking for your wallet.

    "Take this seriously Ritchie. There's nothing to lose but an extended life as opposed to having it end prematuely. If the later takes place, there ultimately nothing to fear since no one will be aware of it anyway."

    You assume I have not studied the Bible? I assure you I have. And I have found it to be deeply, deeply flawed. Self-contradictory, full of errors, twisted morality tales and rather primitive reasoning. The idea that people treat it as the inerrant word of God is as comical as it is absurd.

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  48. Eocene: You appeal to numerous authorities all the time, but criticize and demonize anyone else who may do the same to explain the foundation for there belief. Yes of course. That would seem logical to most people.

    No, I'm referencing explanations, which were conjectured and criticized. Were these explanations formed and criticized by people? Yes. But this doesn't mean that I'm appealing to induction or foundationalism. Nor is it clear how I'm demonizing anyone.

    Eocene: My position is almost identical to what the majority of atheists may believe happens at death and I simply showed why I believe that.

    And I've simply pointed out that you're reached that conclusion based on foundationalism. This holy book is authoritative, rather than some other holy book. But how do you know which holy book is authorative?

    Eocene: The huge problem you have is not that I can agree with you[which I'm sure has a measure if irritation, hence the deflection games], ...

    But your not agreeing with me. You're referring to what I'll supposedly experience in the future, rather than the way things *are*. You're also fundamentally disagreeing with me in how knowledge is created.

    If you said that knowledge can be created by pre-selecting two possibilities (hell does or does not exist), assigning them to heads (hell exists) or tails (hell doesn't exist), then flipping a coin, you might get tails and conclude that hell doesn't exist.

    We would agree, but for completely different reasons. Right?

    Eocene: … but belief in a Creator is totally unacceptable because you have issues with perceived[in your own mind] accountability and definitions of morality that may infringe on personal persuits in life and that's fine…

    Wrong again. First, one could formulate a narrative that a "creator did it" which could be acceptable to anyone's perceived assumptions about accountably, morality, personal pursuits, etc. You've merely created a false dichotomy. This is yet another example of how "a creator did it" is easily varied, and therefore a bad explanation.

    Second, I'll direct my earlier question to you as well. Where did the information the creator used to design everything come from? What explanation are you appealing to?

    Eocene: … but lets at least be honest about it instead of rambling off pointless mystic stories or fables of netherworld's with definition shell gamings of ideas and beliefs.

    Again, it's unclear how we can have a reasonable discussion regarding what is or is not science without defining science, how knowledge is created, etc.

    Of course, it's not even clear that you're actually interested in having a reasonable, rather than arguing about which interoperation of which holly text is correct.

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  49. Ritchie:

    "But your eternal salvation depends only on your acceptance of Jesus - an offer which is as open to genuine refusal as the mugger with the gun in your back asking for your wallet."
    ===

    Is that not what you would expect of any country who'd allow for immigration of any foreigners on condition they would agree to the acceptance of it's laws and regulations ??? This is not rocket science. The alternative is that humans be allowed continued running of their various governments as they see fit and then continue to procede to bastardize Earth's natural world and it's resources into the ground and allow a type/version of "Soylent Green" to be it's future outcome. Seriously, are you watching the News lately ???

    There is No alternative. If you're not happy with that then that's your choice. You still have freewill and if the alternative strikes you as miserable, then so be it.
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "You assume I have not studied the Bible? I assure you I have. And I have found it to be deeply, deeply flawed. Self-contradictory, full of errors, twisted morality tales and rather primitive reasoning."
    ====

    Then you must be completely familiar with the legal and moral issue of universal sovereignty for which the actions of a self promoting intellectual got the failure ball rolling from the start ???
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "The idea that people treat it as the inerrant word of God is as comical as it is absurd."
    ====

    Seriously have you looked at the world news ??? Have you observed the continual degredation of our planets ecosystems, the collaspe of the finacial systems, the idiocy of politics on ALL ideological fronts ??? The world you support is hardly a poster child success story.

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  50. Eocene -

    "Is that not what you would expect of any country who'd allow for immigration of any foreigners on condition they would agree to the acceptance of it's laws and regulations ?"

    Do I expect a country to be able bully and domineer immigrants? No I do not.

    "Then you must be completely familiar with the legal and moral issue of universal sovereignty for which the actions of a self promoting intellectual got the failure ball rolling from the start"

    Everything that has ever gone wrong in the world EVER can be traced back to being the fault of universal sovereignty???

    Ummm, how to put this...

    "Seriously have you looked at the world news ??? Have you observed the continual degredation of our planets ecosystems, the collaspe of the finacial systems, the idiocy of politics on ALL ideological fronts ??? The world you support is hardly a poster child success story."

    We've been here before. I do not think the world is perfect, but I do not agree that it is a smouldering powderkeg of disaster that you seem think it is. Whatever disasters befall us today have been befalling us for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and the standard of living for the average person has done nothing but rise.

    Is the world a perfect place? Of course not. But WE need to do something about it! We humans. Because there is no God that will do it for us. We need to do it to safeguard a future for our grandchildren - that they might have a pleasant life on Earth, because that is the ONLY life we can be certain they will have. We need to cherish our lives and this world we share. And it is message which comes from atheism!

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  51. Ritchie:

    "Do I expect a country to be able bully and domineer immigrants? No I do not."
    ===

    Ecclesiastes 8:9

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    9 "All this I have seen and applied my [a]mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt."


    So you don't have problem with human ideologies bullying and domineering, you just resent the idea of a creator setting limits and establishing these permanetly for the benefit of those who do want a peaceful planet. The present mess is A-Okay I guess. Understood.
    ---

    Ritchie:

    "Everything that has ever gone wrong in the world EVER can be traced back to being the fault of universal sovereignty???"
    ====

    On the contrary, the problem is all the 1000s+ failed sovereignty experiments that have been allowed to prove their case. It all started here.

    Genesis 3:4-6 Common English Bible

    “You won’t die! 5 God knows that on the day you eat from it, you will see clearly and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was beautiful with delicious food and that the tree would provide wisdom, . ."


    The above info was of far more importance than these usual creation vrs evolution debates and was actual the purpose for it's being written.
    ---

    Ritchie:

    "I do not agree that it is a smouldering powderkeg of disaster that you seem think it is."
    ----

    GMOs, Depletion of natural resources, ever continuing use of chemicals for profit without admitting responsiblity, numerous conflicts without reason, etc, etc, etc

    " Whatever disasters befall us today have been befalling us for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and the standard of living for the average person has done nothing but rise."
    ====

    2 Peter 3:4

    The Message (MSG)

    3-4 "First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings,
    they'll mock, "So what's happened to the promise of his Coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything's going on just as it has from the first day of creation. Nothing's changed."
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "Is the world a perfect place? Of course not. But WE need to do something about it! We humans. Because there is no God that will do it for us. We need to do it to safeguard a future for our grandchildren - that they might have a pleasant life on Earth, because that is the ONLY life we can be certain they will have. We need to cherish our lives and this world we share. And it is message which comes from atheism!"
    ===

    The problem is this world[it's religions, governments, big Biz, irresponsible science and yes atheism) ALL have a lousy track record and NOTHING in all their history indicates they will change their tune any time soon.

    Revelation 11:18

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    18 "And the heathen (the nations) raged, but Your wrath (retribution, indignation) came, the time when the dead will be judged and Your servants the prophets and saints rewarded--and those who revere (fear) Your name, both low and high and small and great--and [the time] for destroying the corrupters of the earth."

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  52. velikovskys:

    This is a little confusing, it sounds like incorrect predictions of TOE should be a
    proof that the unnamed alternatives could be correct. Would the reciprocal hold true? You mention intelligent design, what false predictions of TOE does it explain better? Are both constrained by the assumption of naturalism in this comparison ? Sorry for all the questions.


    There is plenty of evidence that shows evolution is unlikely (impossible by any reasonable standard). But our photocells are still backwards, our limbs are based on the pentadactyl pattern, predation is rampant, the same genetic mutations show up in different, cousin, species, and tons of pollen are wasted every year. Evolution must be true, though all the direct evidence shows it can’t be true. It’s gnosis versus scientia.

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  53. Eocene -

    "So you don't have problem with human ideologies bullying and domineering..."

    No, that's completely the opposite of what I'm saying. Are you even reading my posts?

    "...you just resent the idea of a creator setting limits and establishing these permanetly for the benefit of those who do want a peaceful planet."

    Yet again, in the blind hope that you might actually pay attention this time: its not that I have a problem with God proscribing laws of conduct. But the one and only choice to save your soul is whether or not to accept Jesus as saviour. And that is a coerced choice, not a free one. This is threatening, bullying, and it has nothing at all to do with love.

    "GMOs, Depletion of natural resources, ever continuing use of chemicals for profit without admitting responsiblity, numerous conflicts without reason, etc, etc, etc"

    And what is the solution? HUMAN INTERVENTION!!! We HUMANS need to get off our backsides and sort these problems, because if we spend all our time on our knees praying for our absentee landlord to fix these problems for us then absolutely nothing will get solved. Humans are capable of making quite a mess, yes, but we are equally capable of fixing them.

    The fallacy is to give humans beings all the blame for the bad things, and God all the praise whenever anything goes right.

    "The problem is this world[it's religions, governments, big Biz, irresponsible science and yes atheism) ALL have a lousy track record and NOTHING in all their history indicates they will change their tune any time soon."

    A lousy track record at what, exactly? The only tangible advancements human beings have made in the last few hundred years are ALL thanks to science, naturalism and godless rationalism.

    Christianity has been around fro two thousand years (its parent religion, Judaism, a thousand more) and in that time it's achieved basically chuff all. Christians were staring gormlessly at the world around them saying 'Wow, God made it all by magic. Isn't it amazing?" thousands of years ago, and they're doing exactly the same thing today.

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  54. "Read the passages I've pointed out in context."

    Ok.

    Acts 16:30-31
    Physical salvation from the destruction of Jerusalem. If they were talking about a salvation that is gifted once one believes, it wouldn't involve his household.

    Mark 16:15-18
    The end of 17 - speaking in languages - was a sign for the Jews, to force them to accept that non-Jews were now part of the same body. This is again about proclaiming to Jews, and ended at the destruction of Jerusalem.

    John 5:29
    They were all going to be resurrected, but some of them were going to be judged. John 5:25 even tells us this was going to happen in a short while.

    "Unless of course you want to hold the position that we humans don't really have free will and we don't actually have any choice about whether or not to worship or reject God at all...?"

    Not in the long run. "You are going to die" is not correctly countered by "I am still alive". The only choice humans have is how long it will take them to become Christians. God wants us all to become Christians; it's going to happen; all you can do is cause yourself a lot of pain in the process.

    "Jesus is talking about his second coming and the end of the world (of which the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem will be a sign). And yet he was quite wrong. He, and the apocalypse, is nearly 2000 years late. C.S.Lewis called this "the most embarrassing verse in the Bible"..."

    Yea. There is no "end of the world" in the Bible (the word used is "aion" in every instance, which means "age", or "covenant"). I will submit that C.S.Lewis was the wrong one, as much as I like the guy :P Just in case I didn't make this clear, everything you believe is about the end of the world is actually about the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the new one. We're past all that. However, Christians - just like Jews 2000 years ago - are still looking for a physical fulfillment of prophecies, even though Jesus was very explicit that they (and we) should be looking for a spiritual one.

    "Why should we BELIEVE in Him?"

    Huh? The question doesn't make any sense. We start from that position. I don't start from an atheist position, that would be dumb.

    (continued...)

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  55. (continued)

    "We have no evidence for Him - no objective, rational reason to think He exists."

    I have no objective, rational reason to think that I exist, that the world exists, that you exist and so on. Reason is not the ultimate arbiter, will is.

    "Like every religion, Christianity involves a leap of faith"

    Yes, but every world view requires that. You need a leap of faith to believe in your senses too. You need it to believe in your reason. The foundation of all belief systems is faith.

    I put my faith in Christianity, not in atheism. Atheism is a stupid religion.

    "... a belief which is not arrived at if we are being thoroughly rational."

    Huh? I don't arrive at anything, I *start* from this. You're looking at this the wrong way. :P By the way, let me know the reasoning you used to determine that there are no gods anywhere... I'm really curious. (An acquaintance of mine was fond of saying "atheism is stupid; I have three gods on my nightstand".)

    "Why doesn't He make His presence as obvious and undeniable as the sun in the sky?"

    I have no idea what you're talking about. His presence *is* as obvious as the Sun in the sky - more so. You just refuse to accept it.

    "Something TANGIBLE, which believers can point at and say 'Look, there He is. Want abolsute proof of God? Here it is.'"

    But we keep saying that, and you refuse to accept it. There is literally nothing that you would not reject, no matter how complicated the explanation. If I show you God, you will say "that is not God, it's a rock". You will ask the rock to perform miracles. If I point out that the human body is a miracle, you will invent evolutionism to counter it. If I point out that evolutionism is braindead, you will make up just-so stories to patch it up.

    That direction is a dead end.

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  57. Neal: "Yes. God's love for mankind is incredible.

    Yes, we should be all incredibly grateful that God, who made us (with critical reasoning faculties), then condemned our far distance ancestors for wanting to have knowledge and then laid the blame on every human being since, then completely wiped out all life on the planet except for a select hand-picked few, then come up with a rescue plan that is so mired in historical obscurity we can never possibly know if it's true but by all historical standards appears not to be, and has refused to reveal "Himself" in any real tangible way ever since (sorry, not exactly impressed by the "witness" of the church, especially the child-abusing variety), but for those who do not accept this plan (or sincerely cannot see any actual evidence that such a plan exists, or happen to have grown up in a different religion), are condemned to burn for all ETERNITY in an unmitigated hell of unimaginable pain and suffering.

    Sorry, forgive me if I don't share your enthusiasm that this is "good news" or "incredible love", but rather pandering to a sick deity playing a sick cosmological game. I'd rather not play along thank you very much. But if you are so insecure that you need something outside of yourself to make you feel special and valued, more the pity for you.

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  59. Marcel: I have no objective, rational reason to think that I exist, that the world exists, that you exist and so on. Reason is not the ultimate arbiter, will is.

    Just because you may not be aware of any reasons, doesn't mean they do not exist. You just need to look for them.

    Marcel: Yes, but every world view requires that. You need a leap of faith to believe in your senses too. You need it to believe in your reason. The foundation of all belief systems is faith.

    Which is also false. Your knowledge of other forms of epistemology, or lack there of, doesn't mean they do not exist. In fact, what you're referring to is a forms of foundationalism, which is common in many religions. It's also clearly implied when you wrote…

    Marcel: Huh? I don't arrive at anything, I *start* from this.

    The rest of your comment is justified from your foundation.

    For example, science doesn't assume to receive special messages from an all knowing being with perfect foreknowledge of the future. Nor does science assume to receive special communications from some all powerful being with the means to bring about his will, despite any obstacle.

    Where do you put divine revelation on the traditional hierarchy of deduction, induction and philosophy?

    Furthermore, I do not use "faith" to discern between realism and solipsism. Nor do I do not believe my senses are perfectly accrete representations of reality. Rather, I tentatively accept that realism is the best explanation for what I observe.

    For example, do you have a better explanation as to why objects appear to follow laws of physics, rather than merely appealing to a possibly that we cannot rule out that the do with 100% certainty?

    There are objective ways to differentiate between these two scenarios, whether you're aware of them or not.

    Marcel: I have no idea what you're talking about. His presence *is* as obvious as the Sun in the sky - more so. You just refuse to accept it.

    This appears to be more foundationlism at work.

    If you're not with God you're against him. In this age, there is a cosmic battle raging between Good and Evil, in which everyone take sides - whether they admit it or even realize it. Even rocks know that God exists, etc.

    Furthermore, if God's existence is so obvious then why are there so many different interpretations of him in this thread alone?

    On one end of the spectrum, we have Calvinists that claim God would create sentient beings for the explicit purpose of tormenting them forever. On the other end, we have universalists, such as yourself, who claim that God will save everyone. How could the nature of the God of Calvinism be remotely similar to the God of universalism, given these extremes? How could this difference go noticed should anyone actually have a personal relationship with him and his existence is so obvous?

    Of course, as a foundationlist, it's unlikely you actually have a good explication for this discrepancy. Rather, you'll simply assert it's true because it conforms to your particular interpretation of the particular holy text you believe represents the true word of God.

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  60. Kartrev said, "Yes, we should be all incredibly grateful that God, who made us (with critical reasoning faculties), then condemned our far distance ancestors for wanting to have knowledge"

    ---
    No. God was/is not against us gaining knowledge. Just the opposite. He wants us to get knowledge and wisdom. He even devoted a whole book of the Bible to encourage us to get it (Proverbs). The problem with Adam was his rebellion and pride against a simple requirement of God.
    ----

    K "and then laid the blame on every human being since,"

    --
    No. We are not guilty of the their rebellion. Each is guilty of their own. That can be easily taken care of through God's provision, but sometimes we make it way to hard.
    ---

    K "then completely wiped out all life on the planet except for a select hand-picked few, then come up with a rescue plan that is so mired in historical obscurity we can never possibly know if it's true but by all historical standards appears not to be,"

    ---
    Noah? The earth was filled with murder and violence for a very long time. Ironically, when people ask, why would God allow evil in the world, they are upset when he does something about it! Judgment in the Bible needs to be carefully looked at in its context, the length of God's warning and patience.
    ---


    K "and has refused to reveal "Himself" in any real tangible way ever since (sorry, not exactly impressed by the "witness" of the church, especially the child-abusing variety),"

    ---
    He will and does reveal himself to everyone that is open and truly desires Him. The Holy Spirit is very real, as hundreds of millions of people from every nation can testify. If I should say different then I would be denying the reality of what I have personally experienced and seen many others experience.


    ----

    K " but for those who do not accept this plan"

    ---

    Should God force his plan then? Would those that hate God want to be with Him in eternity? What would your standard be of who should be in/out?
    ---

    K "(or sincerely cannot see any actual evidence that such a plan exists,"

    -----
    Those that seek God's plan seriously will find it.
    ----

    K "or happen to have grown up in a different religion),"

    ---
    I did, but wanted more than religion but a genuine experience with God. We are in the time of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will fill anyone who thrists for God. Everyone I know that has experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit says its awesome.
    -----

    K "are condemned to burn for all ETERNITY in an unmitigated hell of unimaginable pain and suffering. "

    ---
    If I'm wrong, then I have nothing to lose. If you're wrong, you've got a big problem.
    ----


    K "Sorry, forgive me if I don't share your enthusiasm that this is "good news" or "incredible love", but rather pandering to a sick deity playing a sick cosmological game. "

    ----

    Did you have a bad experience in a church or something like that? This is no game and experiencing the peace of God is a wonderful thing.
    ----

    "I'd rather not play along thank you very much. But if you are so insecure that you need something outside of yourself to make you feel special and valued, more the pity for you. "

    ----

    The great scientist Blaise Pascal said it best, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”

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  61. Neal your response is pretty much as I thought it would be, and standard recitation of a Christian worldview. In other words, I've heard it all before a million times. In the end you believe because you want to, probably because of some emotional "conversion" experience a while back, and because it makes you feel good (or special), but unfortunately you're not able to step outside your box to see the absurdity of it.

    Neal: "If I'm wrong, then I have nothing to lose." Actually you may already have lost by wasting your life on following an erroneous worldview that owes more to mythology than actual fact. Since your religion is mutually exclusive you must at least accept that there must be billions of followers of other faiths who living an illusion. Perhaps you are one of them.

    I know it's nice to think that Pascal is right that we all have God-shaped holes in our lives, but in the real world, there are a substantial number of people who thrive and blossom quite well without the need for any faith in an external deity. Perhaps it's because we have to take charge of our own affairs and get on with life, who knows, but I know it's quite empowering.

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  62. I see no reason to write another long reply just to have you ignore it :) A single observation:

    Furthermore, I do not use "faith" to discern between realism and solipsism. Nor do I do not believe my senses are perfectly accrete representations of reality. Rather, I tentatively accept that realism is the best explanation for what I observe.

    Based on what? :) It's a CHOICE. You CHOSE to accept that with no grounds, because... you wanted to.

    Atheists appear to delude themselves on this issue. It has to be willful, 'cause I'm sure non-atheists must have pointed out the problem before.

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  63. Ritchie:

    "its not that I have a problem with God proscribing laws of conduct. But the one and only choice to save your soul is whether or not to accept Jesus as saviour. And that is a coerced choice, not a free one. This is threatening, bullying, and it has nothing at all to do with love"
    ====

    Unfortunately the catch phrazes given us for centuries by the ecclesiastical hierarchies haven't helped in understanding what exactly Jesus role in anything is. I understand some of the repugnance of such religious sayings as "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" or You need to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior" , How about "Once saved always saved".

    Mostly there is no substance to any of those expressions. Folks like that sadly have a faith based purely on slogans. Genesis 3:15 was the first prophecy of the bible and it has yet to be completely fulfilled. It was the means by which a legal solution for correcting the disasterous chain of events that started from that moment forward to the present. In that prophecy Jesus was the Seed mentioned, the seed that Satan bruised in the heal which meant Satan's manuvering events to bring about Jesus death on earth. The bruising of the head which is Jesus crushing Satan out of existance is yet to be accomplished, but it's almost here. The principle used in the Mosaic Law "eye for eye" , "tooth for tooth" was part of this legal requirement. Adam lost perfect life and Jesus faithful course on Earth provided prove that as a creation, perfect humans can live on earth faithfully right even to the point of death. The issue is also illustrated in the book of Job. In fact it's an important part of why it was written.

    Satan was allowed a measure of time to prove his lying accusations that ALL intelligent creation whether spirit or Earthly could be successful with independence from God. The tree in the middle of the garden was merely a test of integrity since the first couple was a new creation. There was nothing difficult about it. The fruit itself was not poisinous, but it was symbolic of man's respect for God's as law and statute giver. Breaking that command was symbolic and illustrative of man's rejection of God's governance and setting off on a course of independent thinking. Yet they[Adam & Eve believed the lie that Satan had promoted to them. From that point forward the degenerative effects of epigenetics/genomic imprinting kicked in and they began to die on that day. Romans 5:12 & 6:23 are important texts which explain this. James 1:14,15 explain the same flaw which both Adam and Eve fell victim to. Satan as well for that matter. And you are also correct that recognizing Jesus role is of a primary importance as John 17:3 admits, but it's one of education and practical personal application, not going to church and getting preached at by a charismatic icon on Sunday.


    This excercising of faith in the ransom sacrifice is nothing more than personal study of just how life should be lived and following those concepts and teachings Jesus gave while on earth. No other human being on earth could have offered this sacrifice even as the bible mentions here. Psalm 49:7 shows that only a perfect man could give back what Adam lost. Like for Like. It doesn't matter if someone excepts God's way of justice or not. He is the one who has the legal right to carry out matters as he sees fit.

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  64. Ritchie:

    "And what is the solution? HUMAN INTERVENTION!!! We HUMANS need to get off our backsides and sort these problems, because if we spend all our time on our knees praying for our absentee landlord to fix these problems for us then absolutely nothing will get solved. Humans are capable of making quite a mess, yes, but we are equally capable of fixing them."
    ====

    There is a documentary here that you should watch. It's quite simply called "Home" and it's about our planet earth. It begins by explaining the long processes which brought about our Earth's natural world into being over perhaps millions of years to the orderly brilliant constructed machine we know it to be, or so it use to be. The documentary then proceds to explains how from the millions of years to perfect, it has only been the last 100+ years from the industrial revolution to the present where humans have destroyed most of this planet natural resources and wonders. Clearly, there is nothing of a track record to believe that humans will accomplish anything. Tho at the end, the film mentions the ECO-GREEN Solutions idea, that's not exactly what is going to change our planet for the better and give it it's health back. It's people doing the right thing like displaying the "Fruitages of the Spirit" mentioned by Paul. There is no pure materialist answer. Even the word/terms Eco-Solutions is simply another old marketing ploy catchphraze for selfish pursuit of profiteering at any cost. That's called reality of just how the way our imperfect human run world works. No amount of laws, regulations or enforcement is going to change human thinking which as you remember loves it's self determining independence.

    Home

    Enjoy!

    ----

    Ritchie:

    "The fallacy is to give humans beings all the blame for the bad things, and God all the praise whenever anything goes right."
    ====

    My but this is a curious turn around. You know, the rightwingers/Fundies all say Global warming/Climate Change is NOT human fault. Are you promoting this viewpoint as well ???
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "A lousy track record at what, exactly? The only tangible advancements human beings have made in the last few hundred years are ALL thanks to science, naturalism and godless rationalism."
    ===

    While surely science has made advancement for humankind, it's also created the castastrophic events that presently plague our natural world. Schemes like the "Green Revolution" while sounding noble has been a disaster for nature. The list is endless. Most of science is irresponsbile the way it is conducted now[that mostly has to do with Big Business] and no amount of excuse making is going to change our various ecosystems downfall. It's being capable of recognizing that numerous industries are a health hazard for this planet and need change or forced removal. Science ultimately is about profit and wealth creation and with it power that goes right along with it. Sadly both sides want it.

    This is not about a right vrs left thing Ritchie. Both sides are failures and need removal quickly. Keep watching the world news Ritchie.
    ----

    ReplyDelete
  65. Scott:

    "And I've simply pointed out that you're reached that conclusion based on foundationalism. This holy book is authoritative, rather than some other holy book. But how do you know which holy book is authorative?"
    ====

    How do you know that your holy book "Origins of the Species" and countless others created by an imperfect man who had metaphysical visions of there couldn't possibly be a God because he let my daughter die.
    There couldn't possibly be a God who would make jungle dwelling savages and superior white Europeans like me.

    Darwin[this imperfect man] proceeded to sport a Moses Like beard to make himself look like a prophet. He even proceeded to live in a sort of desert wilderness and meditate on what he can do to prove no existance of God. I mean it wasn't like he was a researcher who just accidently stumbled across some life changing revelations. He was biasedly motivated religiously. doesn't matter the religion, but it was religion.

    Why is such a faith comfortable to you ???

    ReplyDelete
  66. Marcel -

    "Acts 16:30-31
    Physical salvation from the destruction of Jerusalem. If they were talking about a salvation that is gifted once one believes, it wouldn't involve his household."

    What? It says absolutely nothing about the temple of Jerusalem. Paul and Silas are kept in a jail in Philippi, which is in Macedonia (look it up on a map). God sends a tremor to open the jails and release all the prisoners, and the jailor converts on the spot. He asks Paul what he must do to be saved. Why on Earth would he want to be saved from the destruction of a temple which was hundreds of miles away? That makes no sense.

    "Mark 16:15-18
    The end of 17 - speaking in languages - was a sign for the Jews, to force them to accept that non-Jews were now part of the same body. This is again about proclaiming to Jews, and ended at the destruction of Jerusalem."

    It's a sign because disciples, as commanded, have to go into the world, and travel to different countries. Again, why would people in far away lands need saving from a totally localised event?

    "John 5:29
    They were all going to be resurrected, but some of them were going to be judged. John 5:25 even tells us this was going to happen in a short while."

    It specifically says the dead will rise - the good to life and the wicked to damnation.

    "Not in the long run. "You are going to die" is not correctly countered by "I am still alive". The only choice humans have is how long it will take them to become Christians. God wants us all to become Christians; it's going to happen; all you can do is cause yourself a lot of pain in the process."

    So we DON'T have free will? Well then everything that happens on Earth is basically God's marionette theatre. I wonder then why God bothers with this world at all. If our choices are not free, if we're all just puppets dancing on God's strings then why doesn't he make us all repent and/or kill ourselves right now and bring about God's kingdom and all live together in Heaven?

    "Yea. There is no "end of the world" in the Bible (the word used is "aion" in every instance, which means "age", or "covenant"). I will submit that C.S.Lewis was the wrong one..."

    You keep insisting that every reference to 'the end of the world' is actually a reference to the end of the temple/covenant, but that is ridiculous. It is just a wild interpretation which makes little sense when we study these passages in context. What would possibly convince you you are wrong on this?

    "Huh? The question doesn't make any sense. We start from that position. I don't start from an atheist position, that would be dumb."

    With respect, what is dumb is assuming everyone does/will make this starting assumption - this leap of faith, for no reason. An argument based on the assumption of God's existence is not likely to convince a person who simply does not make this assumption.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Marcel (cont)

    "I have no objective, rational reason to think that I exist, that the world exists, that you exist and so on. Reason is not the ultimate arbiter, will is."

    So what about if I will myself to believe in Allah, or the Greek pantheon of gods, or unicorns? Do I make them real by believing them to be so?

    "I put my faith in Christianity, not in atheism. Atheism is a stupid religion."

    Atheism is not a religion. It is a lack of religion. And I do not see what is stupid in accepting only what we have good reason to believe exists.

    "By the way, let me know the reasoning you used to determine that there are no gods anywhere... I'm really curious."

    Then you misunderstand what atheism is. I am not an atheist because I ACTIVELY BELIEVE there are no gods. I am an atheist because I do NOT have an active belief in any.

    I know it sounds like a petty word game, but there is an important difference. Are there any gods? I don't know. There might be, there might not be. I do not claim to know either way. But the mere fact that I do not have an active belief in any gods makes me an atheist.

    "I have no idea what you're talking about. His presence *is* as obvious as the Sun in the sky - more so. You just refuse to accept it."

    Now that's just not true now, is it? Can we see God? Can we hear Him? Touch, taste or smell him? No we cannot. Does He appear in solid tangible form? No. Does He interact in the world any any detectable, measurable, reliable way? No. If He does exist then the least you can say is that He is hiding from us. If His existence was obvious, belief in Him would not require a leap of faith.

    "
    But we keep saying that, and you refuse to accept it. There is literally nothing that you would not reject, no matter how complicated the explanation. If I show you God, you will say "that is not God, it's a rock". You will ask the rock to perform miracles. If I point out that the human body is a miracle, you will invent evolutionism to counter it. If I point out that evolutionism is braindead, you will make up just-so stories to patch it up."

    A rock is a rock. It is not God. The human body is the human body. It is not God.

    God can neither be directly observed nor rationally inferred. Consider, if you think something was 'a miracle' (by which I assume you simply mean 'unexplainable'), then it might instead have been the work of a magic invisible fairy from planet Xzxzyn. How can you possibly distinguish between a God-sent miracle or the magic fairy's spell?

    ReplyDelete
  68. Ritchie:

    "Now that's just not true now, is it? Can we see God? Can we hear Him? Touch, taste or smell him? No we cannot."
    ===

    Here are some examples of some natural phenomena that using your materialist line of reasoning probably don't exist because no one has ever literally seen them. Clearly they are nothing more than blind faith..

    gravity, wind, magnetism, etc, etc, etc.
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "Does He appear in solid tangible form? No."
    ====

    Correct!

    John 4:24

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    24 "God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "Does He interact in the world any any detectable, measurable, reliable way? No.
    ====

    Yes he does and wrong on your observation. Here's why:

    Romans 1:20

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    20 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "If He does exist then the least you can say is that He is hiding from us."
    ====

    Acts 17:26-27

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    26 " . and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;"
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "If His existence was obvious, belief in Him would not require a leap of faith."
    ====

    You mean like Macro-Evolution ???
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "God can neither be directly observed nor rationally inferred."
    ====

    You mean like electricity, gravity, wind, taste, smell, magnetism etc ???
    ----

    Ritchie:

    "Consider, if you think something was 'a miracle' (by which I assume you simply mean 'unexplainable'), then it might instead have been the work of a magic invisible fairy from planet Xzxzyn."
    ====

    You mean like "Natural Selection" or Tinker Bell ???
    ====

    Ritchie:

    "How can you possibly distinguish between a God-sent miracle or the magic fairy's spell?"
    ====

    You mean like the difference between manufacturing automobiles and "Abiogenesis" ???

    ReplyDelete
  69. Eocene,

    Why do you keep presenting this straw man like some kind of broken record? It's as if you cant see outside the foundationalist box you're in.

    Everything is an authority to you because you can't conceive of any other way of creating knowledge (or that knowledge can be created at all). You believe the myth that science creates new theories by generalizing observations, etc.

    For example, Darwin wasn't the only one to form the same theory. Rather he published before Alfred Russell Wallace and had better connections. So, it's a myth that Darwin is some kind of 'true prophet' or the information / conclusion in his book is somehow special revelation.

    Furthermore, Darwin did not extrapolate the theory of evolution from observations. His theory was one of many "educated guesses" based on conjecture - tested by observations, not created from them. We cannot justify theories based on observations alone. Rather we seek to discard errors in explanations.

    We explain our relatively rapid increase in the creation of knowledge to the qualify of explanations, which leads us to more accurate representations of truth.

    So, we do not exclude the possibility that a God could exist which would create the particular concrete biological complexity we observe. Rather we discard particular explanations that reach this conclusion. What we're left with is merely a possibility.

    To repeat my earlier analogy, that hell doesn't exist might be true, but we certainly shouldn't reach this conclusion using a coin toss. This is because, as presented, tossing coins is a bad explanation for observations of our relatively recent rapid creation of knowledge. Of course, I'm open to the idea that this is wrong, should someone provide a better explanation that can withstand rational criticism and observational testing.

    Furthermore, how do you know a God doesn't exist that would create the universe last Thursday, with the appearance of age, implanted false memories, etc.? Why this particular creation narrative, rather than another?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Why on Earth would he want to be saved from the destruction of a temple which was hundreds of miles away? That makes no sense.

    You could be right here. I would have to study it some more, which I probably won't 'cause 1) I'm too lazy and 2) it's not going to change anything anyway. At the very least, I'll think about it :)

    Again, why would people in far away lands need saving from a totally localised event?

    A lot of Jews would go to Jerusalem each year. Especially given their conversion, a lot of newly-converted Jews would want to go to where most of the Church was.

    It specifically says the dead will rise - the good to life and the wicked to damnation.

    Er... yeah, so? (There's no mention of "damnation", they were going to be punished.)

    So we DON'T have free will?

    You have a limited free will, just like you always had. You can't jump to the Moon, no matter how much you will it. You can't outlast an eternal being either. Tough luck, get over it.

    ... why God bothers with this world at all.

    Amazing, isn't it? :P

    Anyway, you're asking the wrong person. I'm not God, ask him.

    You keep insisting that every reference to 'the end of the world' is actually a reference to the end of the temple/covenant, but that is ridiculous.

    Aaaaand... just as I was going to find out why... you stop. Damn.

    What would possibly convince you you are wrong on this?

    Er... nothing? Do you realize that you're an atheist explaining the Bible to a Christian? Do you realize that that is ridiculous? In any case, nothing stops you from, you know, reading the book for yourself.

    I find it incredibly telling that you're upset that you're NOT going to hell. Amusing, true, but also psychologically revealing. You're married to a world view, and I'm threatening it. You were this big adversary of God, and he was going to be a bully about it, and now I've taken that from you. Bummer.

    With respect, what is dumb is assuming everyone does/will make this starting assumption - this leap of faith, for no reason.

    Dude, most people are dumb, yourself included. As such, I most definitely do not assume that everyone does make this assumption.

    Leaps of faith are, by definition, made for no reason :)

    (continued...)

    ReplyDelete
  71. (continued)

    An argument based on the assumption of God's existence is not likely to convince a person who simply does not make this assumption.

    And an argument based on the assumption of God's nonexistence is not going to convince a person who doesn't make this assumption. So?

    So what about if I will myself to believe in Allah, or the Greek pantheon of gods, or unicorns? Do I make them real by believing them to be so?

    Huh? No. You are very confused.

    Atheism is not a religion.

    Yeah it is... it is the belief that there are no gods.

    Then you misunderstand what atheism is. I am not an atheist because I ACTIVELY BELIEVE there are no gods. I am an atheist because I do NOT have an active belief in any.

    You don't even know what you are :) You've just defined agnosticism, not atheism. However, that is the coward's way out - you are actually an atheist; you actively believe there are no gods. You just realize it's a stupid position, so you don't want to defend it. It's ok, most self-proclaimed agnostics are also really atheists.

    Are there any gods? I don't know. There might be, there might not be.

    Dude, with all due respect (ie, none), are you braindead? I just told you I have a friend who has three gods on his nightstand. You can probably buy some in the market. How dense can you get?

    Can we see God? Can we hear Him?

    Who is this "we" you're talking about? Some people have seen and/or heard Him. Is the fact that I've never seen New York evidence that it doesn't exist?

    Does He interact in the world any any detectable, measurable, reliable way? No.

    See, that's exactly how I know you're an atheist. You claim to know a negative. You KNOW that God doesn't interact with THE WORLD in any way. Not with you - with THE WORLD. For all you know, he could be interacting with everyone in the other hemisphere - but no, your religion (atheism) says that's impossible.

    This confirmation bias thing is funny from the outside :P

    A rock is a rock. It is not God.

    Again with the dumb absolute statements. You're an atheist; you're the LAST person capable of deciding who or what is God.

    God can neither be directly observed nor rationally inferred.

    Arguing with you is too damn easy...

    How can you possibly distinguish between a God-sent miracle or the magic fairy's spell?

    Dude, do you realize that I don't have to? They're both proving atheism wrong. "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin" is something for the believers to decide, not for the unbelievers.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Marcel: Based on what? :) It's a CHOICE. You CHOSE to accept that with no grounds, because... you wanted to.

    And what reasons do you have to seek truths, rather than falsehoods? There is no underlying principle that one can point to at this level. Why reason at all?

    However, if you admire engineers, then I'm guessing you think we should seek truth and employ reason. Right?

    So, I'd suggest that you've confused justification (a ultimate reason), with the process of employing reason, rather than irrationality.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Scott, dude, seriously: BECAUSE I WANT TO. That's the ultimate reason for anything I, you, or anyone else does stuff. I choose to "seek truth and employ reason" when I consider them appropriate; so do you, so does anyone else.

    That's why I keep telling you you're spouting nonsense: you get all these important-sounding words together, but they're not ultimately doing anything for you. E.g., when you say

    Furthermore, I do not use "faith" to discern between realism and solipsism.... Rather, I tentatively accept that realism is the best explanation for what I observe.

    that's a very complicated way of saying "I just felt like preferring realism". There CAN BE no reason for it - realism was your initial choice. It is faith, you just don't like the word.

    That's also how Christians become Christians, by the way - at some point, we decide to.

    I honestly believe you're too much in love with your own volume of knowledge and you forgot how to think anymore. Which just makes this doubly funny:

    So, I'd suggest that you've confused justification (a ultimate reason), with the process of employing reason, rather than irrationality.

    Again. Everyone employs reason, including crazy people. Everyone employs other means of gaining knowledge too, like faith, guesses, experiments and so on. There's nothing special about starting from an atheist position - it is in no way less irrational than any other. Which is not a four-letter word, by the way - reason alone would kill us very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  74. CH:
    No, if the recurrent laryngeal nerve ran just the way we wanted it to run, evolution would nonetheless be unharmed. Optimal designs, and there are many, never hurt evolution one bit.

    I agree (except the designation of "optimal" for any biological structure; I'm not sure how we could ever determine if something was optimal or not).

    Of course, if the recurrent laryngeal nerve ran just the way we would expect (if we designed it) then we wouldn't take notice of it. The fact that takes such a circuitous route prompts us to ask why. Was it designed that way by some unknown designer? Maybe. What about if fish gradually evolved into tetrapods? Yes, that does make sense. Given that scenario, we can see how the nerve could end up the way it does in mammals.

    I don't understand how such a conclusion can be considered religious.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Norm Olsen:

    Where did the "Maybe" come from?

    ReplyDelete
  76. CH, are you ever going to tell us what steps you take to ensure your personal confirmation bias doesn't color the diatribes against evolution you post here?

    You've been dodging the question for quite some time now.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Marcel: Scott, dude, seriously: BECAUSE I WANT TO. That's the ultimate reason for anything I, you, or anyone else does stuff.

    Which is, like seriously dude, a form of reductionism.

    For example, imagine I setup a number of dominos in such an elaborate way which would only cause the last domino would fall the number 245 is a prime number. I also rig the dominos with some sort of spring so they immediately return to their original, upright positions should they fall. Finally, I then push over the first domino. Sure enough, the last domino does not fall because the number 245 is not a prime number.

    Now, imagine someone who is unaware of the above walks up toward the end of the progression and notices the last domino did not fall. Since any previous dominos that fell immediately returned to their upright position and having no idea what the last domino signifies, they might conclude "the last domino did not fall because the domino before it did not knock it over, and the domino before it was not knocked over the domino before that, etc., all the way back to the beginning."

    While this is empirically true, is ignores the fact that the failure of the last domino to fall is because the number 254 is not a prime number. it's an a form of reductionism.

    You're fallacious appeal to "Because you want to" is the equlivent to saying "because the previous domino didn't knock it over, etc." it ignores the bigger picture, which includes various forms of epistemology other than foundationalism.

    Again, you can *choose* to assign the result of '4' to heads and the result of '5' to tails, flip a coin which lands heads up, and claim this is the justification for assuming 2+2 = 4, should you want to. This doesn't mean that 2+2 doesn't equal 4 or change the fact that this is an irrational choice. Or you might not actually believe this is true, but say it anyway "because you want" to be a contrarian.

    So, you're free to want whatever you want, and it's technically accurate to say what you want is the cause of why you chose Y over Z. But this doesn't mean there is no such thing as rational and objective way to discern between realism and solipsism.

    The means of which I go into detail here and
    here.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I wrote: While this is empirically true, is ignores the fact that the failure of the last domino to fall is because the number 254 is not a prime number. it's an a form of reductionism.

    Being somewhat dyslexic, I should have wrote '245', rather than '254'

    ReplyDelete
  79. Doctor Hunter:

    plenty of evidence that shows evolution is unlikely (impossible by any reasonable standard). But our photocells are still backwards, our limbs are based on the pentadactyl pattern, predation is rampant, the same genetic mutations show up in different, cousin, species, and tons of pollen are wasted every year. Evolution must be true, though all the direct evidence shows it can’t be true

    Of course that "reasonable standard" is the rub. Declaring evolution impossible seems a high hurdle with our admittedly incomplete knowledge ,just as ruling the unknown as impossible .

    The technical arguments for and against a natural path to the variety of life we
    see are far beyond us sub- doctorates. But the dynamics of the debate are fascinating .

    Do you really view vast majority of biologists as willfully ignoring obvious conflicting evidence in order the maintain their worldview? Why all the research,especially when findings provide data which falls outside the expected? I'd be interested in your thoughts, thanks for the answer

    ReplyDelete
  80. The flying spaghetti monster just flew over my house, on its way to a grocery store to get more tomato sauce and meatballs. Really it did. It's as undeniable as the sun in the sky.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Oh, by the way, if the world is going down the toilet, blame religion. After all, most people on this planet believe in a god or gods and have religious beliefs.

    And Marcel? Atheism is not a religion. It is the lack of belief in a god and religion.

    Do you godbots have any idea how crazy you sound when you spout your fairy tale beliefs?

    ReplyDelete
  82. One thing that amazes me is that you religious zealots seem to actually believe that science and science supporters don't and won't notice that your religious beliefs are the sole driving force behind your hatred of science and your ID/creationism agenda.

    There's absolutely nothing scientific about ID 'theory'. And you IDiots trying to pass it off as scientific just shows how dishonest you are.

    Want to prove me wrong? All you have to do is support your claims with actual, positive, scientific evidence. Nobody is stopping you.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Marcel -

    "A lot of Jews would go to Jerusalem each year. Especially given their conversion, a lot of newly-converted Jews would want to go to where most of the Church was."

    A tortured rationale. Warn everyone in the world the temple will fall JUST IN CASE they happen to be at that temple at the time? A silly justification to prop up a wilful conclusion. The idea that they really were talking about the end of times makes far more sense.

    "Er... yeah, so? (There's no mention of "damnation", they were going to be punished.)"

    But it does not say they would all rise together to eternal life/Heaven, which is what you are trying to assert does happen.

    "You have a limited free will, just like you always had. You can't jump to the Moon, no matter how much you will it. You can't outlast an eternal being either. Tough luck, get over it."

    If I ask you for a thousand dollars, you have free will to obey or refuse. Even if I am omnipotent (and therefore CAPABLE of anything). Your eventual obedience is not guaranteed.

    I can threaten, bribe or blackmail you, in which case I am coercing you. Your decision whether to obey is no longer free. If it is a given that you WILL eventually obey me, then your freewill is again being impaired.

    You are straddling contradictory opinions. If it is inevitable that we will all come to God then we do not have free will.

    "- why God bothers with this world at all.

    - Amazing, isn't it?"

    No, not amazing. Bizarre. Illogical. Maybe even cruel.

    "Anyway, you're asking the wrong person. I'm not God, ask him."

    We both know He will not actually reply.

    "-What would possibly convince you you are wrong on this?

    Er... nothing? Do you realize that you're an atheist explaining the Bible to a Christian? Do you realize that that is ridiculous? In any case, nothing stops you from, you know, reading the book for yourself."

    1) I have read it. 2) Why is it ridiculous to explain the Bible to a Christian. You might BELIEVE it but it does not follow that you UNDERSTAND it. In fact it seems to me that many Christians have an extremely poor understanding of what the Bible says. Likewise, many atheists became so because they ACTUALLY READ the Bible and saw how ridiculous/amoral it was. 3) If nothing could possibly convince you you are wrong then you have blind faith - irrational, unreasonable, and likely to be wrong.

    "I find it incredibly telling that you're upset that you're NOT going to hell..."

    Then you do not understand my position. I am not upset at all. I am very glad than Christianity is most likely nonsense. But what I am trying to show here is that EVEN IF WE ACCEPT THAT CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE (which I in fact don't) then it is a cruel and grossly unfair doctrine. We should all rejoice that it is almost certainly not true.

    "Leaps of faith are, by definition, made for no reason"

    If that's true then how can you be sure they're accurate? You are relying on guessing to arrive at a true conclusion.

    "And an argument based on the assumption of God's nonexistence is not going to convince a person who doesn't make this assumption. So?"

    Scepticism is a rational standpoint. If your argument for believing in God involves JUST ASSUMING He exists, then it is useless for convincing a rational person.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Marcel (cont) -

    "Yeah it is... it is the belief that there are no gods."

    No, it is the LACK of belief in any gods.

    "You don't even know what you are :) You've just defined agnosticism, not atheism."

    Wrong. Agnosticism is the position that God is UNKNOWABLE.

    'A-' = without
    'Gnosis' = knowledge (specifically, religious)
    'Theism' - belief (specifically religious)

    You can, for an example, be an agnostic theist - you believe there is a God, but that we can never know anything about Him.

    The misconception that 'Theists say there's a God, atheists say there is no God, agnostics say there might be but we don't know' is common, I'll grant you, but nonetheless wrong.

    "you are actually an atheist; you actively believe there are no gods."

    Hold up, don't presume to tell me what I myself believe!! That's extremely arrogant and obtuse of you. I am telling you that I do NOT have an actively belief in no Gods. I just do not have a active belief in any. That alone makes me an atheist.

    "Dude, with all due respect (ie, none), are you braindead? I just told you I have a friend who has three gods on his nightstand. You can probably buy some in the market. How dense can you get?"

    With equal respect returned, They're not really gods, are they? They're pictures/idols of gods. A picture of Santa is not Santa himself. I cannot truthfully claim Santa exists because I have a picture of him, can I? Seriously, you are being either disingenuous or ridiculous dense.

    "Who is this "we" you're talking about?"

    Well, me then. Can you point him out? Can you show me tangible evidence of Him? Can you explain in detail what I must do you objectively observe such evidence?

    "See, that's exactly how I know you're an atheist. You claim to know a negative. You KNOW that God doesn't interact with THE WORLD in any way."

    Again, wrong. Scepticism is the rational default position. Unless it can be reliably shown that God DOES exists, assuming that he DOESN'T is merely the rational thing to do.

    "Dude, do you realize that I don't have to? They're both proving atheism wrong. "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin" is something for the believers to decide, not for the unbelievers."

    No, neither prove atheism wrong until one of them is shown to be ACTUALLY TRUE, which neither have. Because they are both insubstantiated stories, guesses, make-believe. Moreover, it is not solely the business of BELIEVERS to decide if their faith is justified. If something is objectively true then it can be shown to be so to outsiders and sceptics, who can then make rational decisions based on the evidence. You're just trying to cover up the fact that there IS no evidence for God. It's all just wishful thinking, circular logic and wilful self-deception.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Eocene -

    "Here are some examples of some natural phenomena that using your materialist line of reasoning probably don't exist because no one has ever literally seen them. Clearly they are nothing more than blind faith..

    gravity, wind, magnetism, etc, etc, etc."

    Those can all be inferred. Their effects can be reliably observed, measured and recorded. As can, macroevolution and natural selection. God cannot.

    The rest is just semi-relevant Bible quotes. Which are useless unless you can show the Bible is accurate and reliable. Until then you are just employing circular logic.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Ritchie:

    Eocene:
    "gravity, wind, magnetism, etc, etc, etc."

    Rich:
    "Those can all be inferred. Their effects can be reliably observed, measured and recorded."
    ===

    As are the things mentioned at Romans 1:20 for which there is no excuse. Also we have never seen or had proven that blind forces of nothing more than physics and chemcials can make even just one code without an intelligent mind. Every code we know the origins of have always come from intelligent minds. Therefore when it comes to inference, we have 100% inference that the informational codes of DNA came from an intelligence. We have 0% inference that nothing more than blind undirected forces of physics and any combination of chemical cocktails can make even just one code.
    ---

    Ritchie:

    " As can, macroevolution and natural selection."
    ===

    Macroevolution is a faith based believe based upon biased assumptions stolen and hijacked from observation which are nothing more than informational driven nanomechanisms which maintain within a ordely framework of boundaries and perameters.

    Natural selection is said to be meaningless and pointless without direction or intelligence. Again, it's takes faith to believe such meaninglessness accomplishes amazingly complex sophisticated things. Most people understand what Faith is in the conventional religious sense, yet secular religiosity is identical. Here's the definition of FAITH once again:

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.

    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.

    4. The body of dogma of a religion

    5. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence

    6. any set of firmly held principles or beliefs

    7. allegiance or loyalty, as to a person(like defending Darwin) or CAUSE
    ---

    Ritchie:

    "The rest is just semi-relevant Bible quotes. Which are useless unless you can show the Bible is accurate and reliable."
    ===

    Here's the import of Bible texts:

    Hebrews 4:12

    Contemporary English Version (CEV)

    12 "What God has said isn't only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts."

    Your response one way or another proves the power and truthfulness of this text and becomes duly noted. Even publically, not just in secret.

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  87. Eocene -

    "As are the things mentioned at Romans 1:20"

    No they aren't. How can you possibly infer God's eternal power and divine nature? How can you detect, measure and record these things?

    "Also we have never seen or had proven that blind forces of nothing more than physics and chemcials can make even just one code without an intelligent mind."

    There are many codes/regular sequeces in nature. And no reason to think any of them are the result of a conscious mind. You just ASSUME they do.

    "Macroevolution is a faith based believe based upon biased assumptions stolen and hijacked from observation which are nothing more than informational driven nanomechanisms which maintain within a ordely framework of boundaries and perameters."

    Nope, wrong again. Macroevolution is a rational conclusion drawn from oberved data and extrapolation of demonstrable processes (those of microevolution).

    "Natural selection is said to be meaningless and pointless without direction or intelligence."

    Said by whom? What does this even mean? What is the 'point' or 'meaning' of wind, of static electricity, of entropy? Natural selection is just a natural process. Why should natural processes have a 'point' or a 'meaning'?

    "Your response one way or another proves the power and truthfulness of this text and becomes duly noted. Even publically, not just in secret."

    What rubbish. Circular logic once again. You just cannot see it.

    Imagine I write a book claiming a magic pixie made the universe and did lots of magic and impossible things, claimed this book was inerrant, and it also included such phrases as 'Only fools will doubt this book' and 'If you doubt this book then you are wrong'.

    I could then go out and proclaim this book to be absolute fact. And if anyone objects, point to the passages about 'only fools doubting this book' as 'proof' that any critics were stupid and wrong.

    This is EXACTLY analogous to what you're doing with the Bible. It is akin to saying 'I know the Bible is true because it SAYS it's true'. It is fallacous. It is circular reasoning. A book which was wrong could still CLAIM to be right.

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  88. CH: No, if the recurrent laryngeal nerve ran just the way we wanted it to run, evolution would nonetheless be unharmed. Optimal designs, and there are many, never hurt evolution one bit.

    That's because Darwinian evolution is a theory of how knowledge found in DNA (a biological replicator) is created. Specifically, the theory of knowledge a biological replicator uses to cause it's environment to replicate itself, which includes the creation of proteins, etc., is created: via random mutation and natural selection.

    Good enough designs we observe do not conflict with our theories of how this knowledge is created. Furthermore, just as induction cannot tell us what is true with a capital T, induction alone cannot lend positive support as to what the single most optimal design is, because this would depend on how it interacts with its environment.

    So, to summarize, non-optimal designs, such as the recurrent laryngeal nerve, collaborate a darwinian evolution's theory of knowledge creation: random mutation and natural selection.

    What the current crop of ID lacks is a theory of how the knowledge used by it's supposed intelligent designer that created all life on our planet was created. However, I'm guessing it's highly unlikely that any such theory will be forthcoming.

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  89. Scott:
    Which is, like seriously dude, a form of reductionism.

    And... I'm done.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Just one quick thing, this is getting tiresome:

    With equal respect returned, They're not really gods, are they? They're pictures/idols of gods.

    I never mentioned the word "idols". I said he had three GODS on his nightstand. This is why atheists are braindead - it is practically impossible for you to understand things that contradict your worldview.

    He didn't have three images of gods - he had three gods. On his nightstand. Which falsifies atheism.

    Oh, and by the way... showing that agnosticism means "without knowledge" and thinking that proves "we don't know" is the wrong description was... priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Marcel -

    "I never mentioned the word "idols". I said he had three GODS on his nightstand. This is why atheists are braindead - it is practically impossible for you to understand things that contradict your worldview."

    Then you'll have to explain exactly what he had on his nightstand. Three actual living gods? How can a person have actual gods on their nightstand?

    Moreover, if this is true, then it falsifies the Christian theology, since God is supposed to be the One and Only God. Which He clearly cannot be if there are three more on someone's nightstand somewhere.

    "Oh, and by the way... showing that agnosticism means "without knowledge" and thinking that proves "we don't know" is the wrong description was... priceless."

    Then you clearly still don't grasp the distinction.

    Agnosticism is the position that God/gods is UNKNOWABLE.

    Atheism is merely the lack of positive belief in gods. Which I am.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Scott: Which is, like seriously dude, a form of reductionism.

    Marcel: And... I'm done.

    Given your response, or lack there of, it would appear so.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Marcel: I see no reason to write another long reply just to have you ignore it :)

    In case you missed my reply...

    ReplyDelete
  94. Eocene -
    "As are the things mentioned at Romans 1:20"

    Ritchie:
    "No they aren't. How can you possibly infer God's eternal power and divine nature? How can you detect, measure and record these things?"
    ====

    Well, let's take a look. Here is a small portion of a scripture which illustrates how we can observe this.

    Psalm 148:3

    New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

    verse - (3)
    "Praise him, sun and moon.
    Praise him, all you shining stars."

    verse - (9)
    "Praise him, all you mountains and hills.
    Praise him, all you fruit trees and cedar trees."
    -------------------and

    Psalm 19:1-4

    New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

    Psalm 19
    For the director of music. A psalm of David.
    1 The heavens tell about the glory of God.
    The skies show that his hands created them.
    2 Day after day they speak about it.
    Night after night they make it known.
    3 But they don't speak or use words.
    No sound is heard from them.
    4 At the same time, their voice goes out into the whole earth.
    Their words go out from one end of the world to the other.
    God has set up a tent in the heavens for the sun."

    How is this praising possible when there are no words? It is possible because the work reflects the worker. This is specifically what was stated concerning the works of the Creator at Romans 1:20. Paul who wrote that verse could see the beauties of creation, the wondrous variety of life and the awesome starry heavens, and in them discern some of the qualities of the one who created them. Modern science helps us to see how intricately designed natural things are, what power and wisdom were necessary to bring them into existence. Hence, in some ways the natural world today which has been illuminated and magnified by modern science gives an even more powerful witness to the existence of God than Paul had in his posession. This is where the last words at Romans 1:20 have a heavier accountability burden, "there is no excuse."
    I believe this is what Cornelius has been pointing out. The more complexity and sophistication science discovers, the more problems come about for "Dice Theory".
    ************************************

    Ritchie:

    "There are many codes/regular sequeces in nature. And no reason to think any of them are the result of a conscious mind. You just ASSUME they do."
    ====

    Life is defined by the information it contains, not the material substrate it is etched on. Take away the information and you are left with nothing but rocks, dirt, mud, water, gases, vapour, magnetism, etc, etc, etc. This eludes the materialist mind and it is deliberate and purposed because of a biased stubborn defiant worldview.

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  95. Ritchie:

    "Nope, wrong again. Macroevolution is a rational conclusion drawn from oberved data and extrapolation of demonstrable processes (those of microevolution)."
    ====

    Macroevolution is nothing more than mythology. Rational conclusions are nothing more than personal religious bias that fuzzies and clouds data to suit the worldview. And Micro-Evolution ??? This is nothing more than scientifically observed "according to it's Kind" where any kind of organism has done nothing more than varied within the framework of an orderly system within it's boundaries of natural laws.

    Peter and Rosemary Grant are prime examples of how people with a biased heartfelt belief in something such as Darwin's failed conclusions about those Finches prove nothing more than a back & forth oscillation of the same kind of creature within it's enviroment. They literally wasted 35 years of their lives to come to that conclusion. But least science now knows how not to waste valuable time in the future. It must also be noted that micro-Evolution is also a sutle way of shoe-horning the word 'evolution' into any discussion to give it a sense of legitimacy, even to an opposer of the worldview.
    **********************

    Eocene said:
    "Natural selection is said to be meaningless and pointless without direction or intelligence."

    Ritchie said:
    "Said by whom? What does this even mean? What is the 'point' or 'meaning' of wind, of static electricity, of entropy? Natural selection is just a natural process. Why should natural processes have a 'point' or a 'meaning'?"
    =====

    Jerry Coyne - "Natural selection and evolution: material, blind, mindless, and purposeless"

    ReplyDelete
  96. Last week God raised a fellow pastor who I know from the dead. He died in church for about 15 to 20 minutes and came alive again and began preaching to the audience that God is a healer. I know him to be a man of integrity and there were many witnesses, including a doctor and nurses...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I80fQZ0Dz-8

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  97. Tedford the Idiot said...

    Last week God raised a fellow pastor who I know from the dead. He died in church for about 15 to 20 minutes and came alive again and began preaching to the audience that God is a healer. I know him to be a man of integrity and there were many witnesses, including a doctor and nurses...


    Let me guess - he then began asking for cash donations to honor Gawd's 'miracle', right? Did he try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge too?

    Seriously Tedford, is there any guff your gullible butt won't swallow? Just who pronounced this guy dead (as opposed to merely fainted), and what method did they use to make the determination? Do you have any corroborating evidence at all that this isn't just another BS "Hallelujah!" story?

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  98. Neal, you might want to watch Mark Roth's TED talk on hydrogen sulfide an suspended animation, here.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Neal Tedford:

    Well this is interesting considering the Apostles said in the Bible itself that such powerful abilites and works would cease after the death of the Apostles.

    This sounds more like those near death experiences where the people claim to have died and left their bodies, but decided to come back to earth. Those experiences can be explained by the fact that the people are drugged and medicated and perhaps dreamt or hallucinated the experience based on prior preconceived long held beliefs. I understand the wanting to believe(Fox Mulder) and wishful thinking, but there are logical explanations.

    I don't doubt alot of productive mileage will be used on this, but isn't it possible that the guy was never really dead after all ??? I mean Lazarus was dead for a few days and entombed before Jesus performed the miracle. A few minutes could hardly be considered impressive.

    The other notable thing is that such miracles in the bible weren't accompanied by the sensatonalisms so common today with these theatrical displays with emtional music accompanyment and money collections oportunities. No minister in the Bible, including Jesus himself ever took compensation for religious services rendered. No offense, but this video looked more like a part of the script from the movie "Leap of Faith" starring Steve Martin.

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  100. Scott:

    "Neal, you might want to watch Mark Roth's TED talk on hydrogen sulfide an suspended animation, here."
    =====

    PAGE NOT FOUND

    ReplyDelete
  101. I can only guess that Neal provided that video link to act as evidence for his claim. I forced myself to sit through all 8 minutes 45 seconds of it. Here are some interesting tidbits.

    There was a doctor there for the first time in that church, Tommy Wallace told me. He came up to the platform, looked at me, dealt (or maybe he said "knelt"?) with the nurses and said "This man is dead."

    A real live doctor said he was dead after looking at him, so...uh...I believe him. But what's even more impressive is what happened after the paramedics took him away.

    For the next hour, David Smith said, there was an unprecedented move of the Holy Ghost. They took me out with the paramedics, I wasn't anything to do with the service in the next hour. And he said there were recorded a hundred and nine absolute miracles that took place in that group.

    It doesn't get any more convincing than that.

    No seriously, it really doesn't.

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  102. Venture:

    "I can only guess that Neal provided that video link to act as evidence for his claim. I forced myself to sit through all 8 minutes 45 seconds of it."
    ====

    I couldn't go beyond 3 minutes. You're braver than me.
    ----

    Venture:

    "And he said there were recorded a hundred and nine absolute miracles that took place in that group."
    ====

    I am amazed that after all those theatrics, background mood music, moaning and rolling in the aisles that only $109.00 was obtained. Clearly the times just aren't what they use to be. There will never be another Oral Roberts.

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  103. Working link for Roth's TED talk here.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Eocene -

    "Well, let's take a look. Here is a small portion of a scripture which illustrates how we can observe this."

    You look to the Bible to make an empirical observation?? Seriously?

    This is just yet more circular logic. You have to infer God in the real world, not from the pages of a book you have not established is at all accurate (and frankly, given all the magic and miracles in it is overwhelmingly unlikely to be).

    "Modern science helps us to see how intricately designed natural things are, what power and wisdom were necessary to bring them into existence. Hence, in some ways the natural world today which has been illuminated and magnified by modern science gives an even more powerful witness to the existence of God than Paul had in his posession."

    How so? What insights can be gleaned? Be really, really specific here, if you please? What does it say about any alleged creator who created the universe this way rather thn any other?

    "Life is defined by the information it contains, not the material substrate it is etched on. Take away the information and you are left with nothing but rocks, dirt, mud, water, gases, vapour, magnetism, etc, etc, etc. This eludes the materialist mind and it is deliberate and purposed because of a biased stubborn defiant worldview."

    If you want to equate life with information, then be my guest. But you are wrong that this eludes materialists. ToE elegantly and succinctly demonstrates how such information arises and accumulates in such a way as to be rendered useful, creating a functioning, ergonomic and complex wholes.

    "Macroevolution is nothing more than mythology."

    Nope, it's science. Christianity - THAT'S mythology.

    "Rational conclusions are nothing more than personal religious bias that fuzzies and clouds data to suit the worldview."

    You're actually defending IRRATIONAL conclusions? You're insisting we smoetimes be IRRATIONAL/ILLOGICAL sometimes?

    What does this say about the truth you want us to find, which requires such trains of thought...? That are irrational and illogical. You are clinging to beliefs which fly in the face of knowledge, common sense and rationality. And rather than evaluate your beliefs, you question the nature of rationality itself.

    Such is the iron-clad will of the believer who just simply WILL NOT EVER be wrong. Refusal to honestly examine your beliefs will lead you defenceless against pernicious beliefs which are incorrect. You will hold them and never recognise it, since you simply cannot cope with the concept of being wrong.

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  105. Eocene (cont) -

    "And Micro-Evolution ??? This is nothing more than scientifically observed "according to it's Kind" where any kind of organism has done nothing more than varied within the framework of an orderly system within it's boundaries of natural laws."

    What is a 'kind'? That's not a biological term. We have witness speciation, not it cannot just mean 'species'. But if 2 species can arise from 1, why not 2 genera from 1? And if 2 genera, why not 2 families from 1? And if 2 families, why not 2 orders...?

    It's like you're claiming "Well yes, we know siblings can arise from common parents, but we have no evidence that cousins can arise from common grandparents/great-grandparents."

    "Peter and Rosemary Grant ... literally wasted 35 years of their lives to come to that conclusion."

    You consider it wasting 35 years of your life to lay out work with earns you the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (1995), the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award (2003), the Balzan Prize for Population Biology (2005) and the Darwin-Wallace Medal (2008)? Oh that we might all 'waste' our lives in such a fashion!

    Though you sneer, their work is not easy to dismiss. They have spent decades performing invaluable scientific research demonstrating the power and potential of natural selection. This is not merely 'back and forth oscillation' - this is a continuous build-up of selected traits for a changing environment.

    And what is your objection to natural selection being 'blind, mindless and purposeless'? Does wind have a purpose? Is gravity guided? Is magnetism directed?

    ReplyDelete
  106. Eocene said, "Well this is interesting considering the Apostles said in the Bible itself that such powerful abilites and works would cease after the death of the Apostles."

    --

    Seriously? Et tu, Brute? There is not a single scripture that says this. I looked at this over 30 years ago and neither the scripture nor what is happening among believers agrees with your statement. Jesus is God. Have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete
  107. Venture Free and Eocene,

    You look at the video and compare it to TV showmanship. I see this as something awesome that happened to someone I know. This incident just happened last week and the video on You tube was just an amateur video taken this weekend at the church he has pastored for 30 years. This is not about showmanship or money. It's about him leaving his testimony about what God did in his life.

    I've seen skin cancer change color while my mother and I prayed with my Dad and the entire cancer disappear within a few days leaving no trace or scar. That's just one example. While there certainly are the TV showmen and the false hype, there are millions of churches that genuinely enjoy the presence of God, see miracles happen and it's not about money.

    There are millions real people who genuinely love God, serve people without doing it for money and truly enjoy the presence of God in their lives and in their church services. Most churches are not big enough to support the Pastor with a salary or full time staff and often the pastor needs a second job. This is reality. If you want to get rich don't go into the ministry. There are more important things that money, however. You are greatly mistaken by taking the example of a few high profile greedy ministers and automatically lumping all ministers into the same category. I've seen people leave lucrative and skilled careers to live at the poverty level in order to minister. To all the millions who do so, your words are ignorant and an insult.

    Also, this discussion is not the reason why I'm against evolution. Big picture evolution is a failure by any honest measure of scientific integrity.

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  108. Neal Tedford said: "I've seen skin cancer change color while my mother and I prayed with my Dad and the entire cancer disappear within a few days leaving no trace or scar. That's just one example."

    You didn't happen to take any before/after photos did you? Or have any corroborating medical records? Just asking. Did the original diagnosis specify which kind of skin cancer it was, or the severity?

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  109. What I don't understand is that skeptics have ahard time considering the possibility of the miracles in the Bible, but have no trouble with much bigger miracles. The Big Bang is more incredible than the spitting of the Red Sea. A whole universe popped out of nothing. And multiverse is much more unlikely than the Exodus. In fact, if multiverse is true, then there really is a universe out there where the Exodus actually took place. Why can't it be our universe? Quantum physics s miraculous, if you define a miracle as a phenomenon that violates the laws of science we are familliar with. And small molecules just happening to come together to form life sounds kinda miraculous to me. And there still is no good naturalistic explanation for how the human brain beomes the mind. But it is taken on faith that the answers are there somewhere. So I, guess it all comes down to a question of which miracles appeal to your taste. Skeptics prefer really big miracles. Religious people will settle for smaller ones.

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  110. If bacteria can turn into blue whales, why can't a tumor go into remission? I guess that spontaneous remission is not a big enough miracle to appeal to a skeptic.

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  111. He had several squamous cell carcinomas removed through the years by surgery. After our family became believers he got another one on his face and it grew to nearly 1/2 inch. The three of us decided to pray together for his healing. While we prayed it turned from red to pale and within a few days disappeared without a trace, never to return. We do not have before or after pictures that I am aware of.

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  112. Neal Tedford: "...within a few days disappeared without a trace, never to return. We do not have before or after pictures that I am aware of."

    What a shame. Perhaps you didn't have a camera handy? I suspect that in this modern age where everyone has a cell phone camera on them all the time, photographic evidence of miracle stories like this should increase.

    I've got one more followup question, If I may. You say that your father had several squamous cell carcinomas over the years, and that he got another one on his face. For that last one, the one that you claim was healed by prayer, was that diagnosed by a medical professional, and are there any records to verify that? Also, was he receiving any treatment for it at the time?

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  113. natschuster: "why can't a tumor go into remission?"

    Who said a tumor couldn't go into remission? I've had several members of my family who had cancer turn out to be completely cancer free a few years later. I've also had several family members die from cancer. Sometimes cancer goes into remission, sometimes it doesn't.

    There are many factors; prayer doesn't seem to be one of them. Cancer survival rates among atheists are identical to cancer survival rates among Christians, muslims, hindus, etc; I guess God works in mysterious ways. (If by 'mysterious' you mean 'completely undetectable in any empirically verifiable way')

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  114. natschuster: "What I don't understand is that skeptics have ahard time considering the possibility of the miracles in the Bible, but have no trouble with much bigger miracles. The Big Bang is more incredible than the spitting of the Red Sea. A whole universe popped out of nothing. [BZZZZZT! how do you know that?} And multiverse is much more unlikely than the Exodus. In fact, if multiverse is true, then there really is a universe out there where the Exodus actually took place. Why can't it be our universe? Quantum physics s miraculous, if you define a miracle as a phenomenon that violates the laws of science we are familliar with. And small molecules just happening to come together to form life sounds kinda miraculous to me. And there still is no good naturalistic explanation for how the human brain beomes the mind.

    The natschuster methodology:

    1. Admit that believing in miracles without sufficient evidence is a bad thing; but it's ok for you to do it since your opponents 'do it too.'

    2. Redefine 'miracle' to mean "anything we don't currently fully understand" so that you can somehow accuse your opponents of also believing in miracles, since they can't explain these thing either. Admittedly, this will put things like quantum mechanics, gravity, electricity, and many other things into the category of 'miracle', but so be it.

    3. Also lump into the definition of 'miracle' those things which you don't personally understand, or find incredible.

    4. Point out that since there is no current natural explanation for a given phenomena, the supernatural 'explanation' wins by default.

    5. Rinse, repeat.

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  115. Derrick, my dad did not receive any treatment by a medical professional for the skin cancer, so there are no medical records for this one. There are other instances in my family of healings too, some were documented. Friends too.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Neal Tedford: "Derick, my dad did not receive any treatment by a medical professional for the skin cancer, so there are no medical records for this one."

    So let's recap:

    1. Your dad had a small mark on his face, which could have been a carcinoma, but as far as you or anyone else knows, could have been a rash, bruise, or any other type of skin discoloration. There is no way to determine what it was, since it was not inspected by a medical professional, and no photographic evidence (or any other kind remains)

    2. It cleared up over the course of a few days.

    Neal, could you look me in the eye and tell me you honestly have no idea why someone wouldn't be bowled over by that story? Imagine if a Hindu friend of yours relayed the exact same story to you, except instead of a prayer, an offering to Ganesha was credited with the 'miraculous' healing. Would you be convinced of the power of his god? Would you be even the slightest bit impressed?

    And not to belabor the point, but by your own admission, it took days for it to clear up. Days. Do I have to point out how unimpressive that is? I could cut myself right now and be healed in the same amount of time.

    Neal Tedford: "There are other instances in my family of healings too, some were documented. Friends too."

    Well, let's hear them. (The documented ones, not the others) But if your 'documentation' is a YouTube video of someone else telling the same story, please stop wasting our time.

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  117. You're a smart guy. You remember everything you ever learned and you love to talk about it. I recognize what you cite and the way you apply it. Stick close to where you learned it.
    (The intended recipient will know who he is.)

    ReplyDelete
  118. Derick said, "Your dad had a small mark on his face".

    A small mark? Your analysis is a joke.
    I didn't say it was a small mark. Did you bother to inquirer further, or are you just going by the ignorant trait of evolutionists to jump to wrong assumptions?

    The cancerous growth was indeed ugly and stuck out approximately 1/2 inches, deep red, and had a base well over 1 inch in diameter. We had dealt with these several times before so we knew what we were dealing with. The roots on these things can be quite large. It had grown slowly over a period of several months. During prayer it turned pale and from that point on it began to strink over a period of a few days until it disappeared without a trace, never to return.

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  119. Neal:In fact, if multiverse is true, then there really is a universe out there where the Exodus actually took place.

    Neal,

    Even if our universe was one of those universes where Exodus actually took place, in reality, the question here is whether we should conclude this is the case or not.

    For example, it could be that our universe is one ultimately created by a perfectly evil being and the good things that happen are necessary to ultimately bring about the most suffering. We can't rule this out with 100% certainty.

    Should I conclude this is the case, merely because I can't rule that out either?

    Both are bad expansions for what we observe, so we discard them, despite the face that we cannot rule wither of them out.

    What is our criteria of knowledge? How do we explain the creation of knowledge we observe? Or do you implicitly claim that knowledge cannot be created at all, and object to any theory that suggests otherwise?

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  120. Neal: "The cancerous growth..."

    1. How do you know it was cancerous? You said it wasn't diagnosed by a medical professional. Did you do a biopsy yourself? Or did it just 'look' like a cancerous growth? Or maybe it had a label.

    "..was indeed ugly and stuck out approximately 1/2 inches, deep red, and had a base well over 1 inch in diameter."

    Ok. By your previous description, "it grew to nearly 1/2 inch." Apparently what you meant say before is that it protruded 1/2 inch, but it was actually 1 full inch in diameter. Either your first description or your current one is off by 50%. Let's go with your current one. (assuming it doesn't get bigger with each re-telling.)

    (If your competence in diagnosing cancer parallels your competence in biology as a whole, I'd say it's as likely as not that the mark was a large mosquito bite. But let's give you the benefit of the doubt and say it really did look like a carcinoma.)

    2. You mentioned that your dad had had carcinomas before. I assume the previous instances have medical verification of some sort. Did he receive treatment for those? Did they too eventually go away completely?

    Remember Neal, you brought this example up as a convincing example of a miracle. Can you understand what is unconvincing about it?

    3. Would you be convinced of the existence of another god if this exactsame story were presented to you as evidence as you've presented it here, with the same dearth of evidence?

    4. Since you admit that you have no corroborating evidence whatsoever for this story, let's move on. It may very well be true, but since you can't demonstrate the veracity in any way, it doesn't really matter. Tell me about those other instances of miraculous healing that do have documentation.

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  121. Neal -

    Let me see if I understand you correctly: you are saying that you personally have the power to send cancer into remission through prayer?

    If this is so, then it would indeed be incredible, but who are we impartial observers to scoff at that when solid evidence is presented?

    So are you willing to present some? Are you willing to put your powers to the test? Are you prepared to heal others through your divine arts? Will you go to a hospital cancer ward and clear everyone in it inside a week? Along with medical and scientific professionals to keep an eye on you and verify your claims, of course. It would seem a shame, maybe selfish even, to keep such a gift to yourself.

    And who knows what acclaim this would bring? Riches and fame galore. If money means nothing to you, you could donate it to your favourite charitable causes, but just think how many people would be impressed, would be saved, would convert by being presented with such robust evidence. Not every atheist is a die-hard sceptic, after all.

    The only question that remains is whether you are prepared to put your healing hands where your mouth is...

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  122. Don't you just love it when some religious family gets on the news with a feelgood "we prayed and prayed for Aunt Gertrude's (insert nasty disease here) to get better, and she did!! Praise the LAWD!" story? What they don't tell you about is the other 99 families who prayed for their relatives just as hard and still had their kin die.

    Strangely enough, empirical studies done on sick people that have others praying for them show the prayed for ones actually do worse than the ones not seeking divine intervention.

    Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer

    Abstract
    Background: Intercessory prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness, but claims of benefits are not supported by well-controlled clinical trials. Prior studies have not addressed whether prayer itself or knowledge/certainty that prayer is being provided may influence outcome. We evaluated whether (1) receiving intercessory prayer or (2) being certain of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with uncomplicated recovery after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

    Methods: Patients at 6 US hospitals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Intercessory prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG. The primary outcome was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary outcomes were any major event and mortality.

    Results: In the 2 groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% CI 0.92-1.15). Complications occurred in 59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52% (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

    Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Neal: A small mark? Your analysis is a joke.

    Neal, that wasn't an 'analysis', it was a restatement of what you said. You said the mark was half an inch. (or was it a whole inch?)


    "I didn't say it was a small mark. Did you bother to inquirer further, or are you just going by the ignorant trait of evolutionists to jump to wrong assumptions?

    Uh, Neal, our whole conversation has been me inquiring further. I asked if you had any photos of the mark. You didn't. I asked if you had any medical records of the mark. You didn't. I asked if a doctor had seen the mark. None had. I asked if you had any physical evidence whatsoever for the mark. You didn't. If there's a line of evidence I missed, I'm all ears.

    And what incorrect assumption did I make?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Derick said, "You said the mark was half an inch"

    This is silly. I did not say "mark". Learn to read.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Neal Tedford: "This is silly. I did not say "mark". Learn to read."

    mark 1 |märk|
    noun
    1 a small area on a surface having a different color from its surroundings, typically one caused by accident or damage : the blow left a red mark down one side of her face.

    You're right Neal, this is silly. I've got a mark behind my left ear where a cyst used to be. I've got a blemish behind my left ear where a cyst used to be. I've got a spot behind my left ear where a cyst used to be. I've got a scar, speck, blot, splotch, discoloration behind my left ear where a cyst used to be.

    My goodness you get hung up on minutia. I did not say you said 'mark'. I called it a mark. Learn to read. Yes, you called the mark a "squamous cell carcinoma", but alas, you have no way of knowing this, as you did not have it confirmed by a doctor, nor tested in a lab, (per your testimony) and you have no way of demonstrating this because no physical evidence remains. That's the whole point of the discussion; you haven't been able to back up any part of this story.

    Not that you're obligated to. Unless you want people to believe it, which you seem to, otherwise I don't know why you brought it up in the conversation the way you did.

    If it's not abundantly clear why your story isn't convincing, I don't know what more can be said. (Again: I'm not saying that your story isn't true. Who knows, it could be. I'm letting you know why it's not at all persuasive.)

    So unless you have more information to add to that story, I'm interested in hearing your other account that is accompanied by documentation. (though I'm not holding my breath)

    ReplyDelete
  126. Derick:

    I gave a definition of miracles in my post. I said it was a phenomenon that violated the laws of nature we are familiar with. I think Big Bang and multiverse qualify. Qauntum pphysics qualifies too, unless you decide that a different set of laws applies. And I never said belief in miracles is a bad thing. I just noted tjhat skeptics are inconsistant.

    Thorton:

    There are studies that show that intercessory prayer does help.

    ReplyDelete
  127. nat -

    No-one really considers the Big Bang, or Quantum physics to be miraculous. Amazing, perhaps. Difficult to understand, certainly. Epic, even. That does not mean they are violations of any natural laws.

    Besides, even if they were miracle claims, why do you believe the Christians are taking the smaller leap of faith?

    Let us both agree that the universe exists. If it was created and governed, then a being capable of creating and governing it must be more complex than the universe, and therefore more improbable than the universe. Such a being would be, by definition, more improbable than anything inside the universe we could imagine. And given the fact that there is no good evidence for such a being's existence, belief in it would be the biggest leap of faith of all.

    "There are studies that show that intercessory prayer does help."

    Such as?

    ReplyDelete
  128. natschuster said...

    There are studies that show that intercessory prayer does help.


    Then show them. Every one I've ever seen show results that are statistically negligible (i.e not above what would be expected from chance alone) or actually harmful, as in the study I provided.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Derrick, I'll try this once more and then I'm done.

    You said, "mark 1 |märk|
    noun
    1 a small area on a surface having a different color from its surroundings, typically one caused by accident or damage : the blow left a red mark down one side of her face.

    You're right Neal, this is silly. I've got a mark behind my left ear where a cyst used to be. I've got a blemish behind my left ear where a cyst used to be. I've got a spot behind my left ear where a cyst used to be. I've got a scar, speck, blot, splotch, discoloration behind my left ear where a cyst used to be."

    ---

    Which is not it at all. It was a red, firm nodule approximately 1/2 inch tall. The only "mark" mentioned comes from your incorrect assumptions.

    ReplyDelete
  130. natschuster: "I gave a definition of miracles in my post."

    Yes. A useless, inaccurate one.

    "I said it was a phenomenon that violated the laws of nature we are familiar with."

    By that definition, lightning would have been a miracle a few hundred years ago. Fire would have been a miracle a few hundred thousand years ago. The divergent path of the Pioneer spacecraft is a miracle. GPS devices use principles of quantum mechanics, therefore, my iPhone is a miracle.

    "And I never said belief in miracles is a bad thing."

    I said:

    "1. Admit that believing in miracles WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE is a bad thing; but it's ok for you to do it since your opponents 'do it too.'

    If you think that there's nothing wrong with believing in miracles WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE, then, as my mechanic would say, "Well, there's yer problem right thar."

    "I just noted tjhat skeptics are inconsistant. "

    You 'noted' that skeptics are inconsistent by redefining 'miracle' to include everything that isn't fully explained.

    "There are studies that show that intercessory prayer does help."

    *citation needed.

    (BTW, "My ex-roommate's brother's cousin's lawyer's neighbor's chiropractor's daughter's friend once had a headache that immediately disappeared after she was prayed for," doesn't count as a 'study', just in case there was any confusion.)

    ReplyDelete
  131. Dsrick:

    I defined a miracle as something that violates the laws of nature we are familiar with. The Big Bang, quantum physics, Multiverse do just that. Why is it useless? IF yuo see something that violates the laws of nature, like the Big Bang it can be classified as a miracle. How would you define a miracle? Something unexplained? Why is your definition better than mine? And what exactly is wrong with believing in miracles? If we get knew undertanding of the laws of nature, then those things will no longer classified as miracles.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Derick:

    Your definition, as I understand it, is that a miracel is somthing we will never be able to explain. This means that there can never be any miracls because there is nothing that we can say for sure will never be explained. Why is your definition of miracles more useful,or accurate than mine?

    ReplyDelete
  133. Neal Tedford: "Which is not it at all. It was a red, firm nodule approximately 1/2 inch tall. The only "mark" mentioned comes from your incorrect assumptions."

    Sigh. It's almost as if you understand language... but not quite. I can see that 'definitions' confuse you. To remove that confusion, every time I (appropriately) used the word 'mark' above, substitute the phrase "red firm nodule", or "bump" or "protrusion of skin cells" or any other term you wish. I almost think you're deliberately trying to distract from the larger points by raising such an obtuse objection.

    It doesn't matter if it was the size of a bowling ball if you don't have evidence for it. And again, just so we're clear, I'm not saying your dad did not have a carcinoma, just that you can't expect anyone to believe that it was miraculously healed if you can't even demonstrate that it existed in the first place. To clarify, I'm skeptical that the carcinoma existed, I don't really doubt that your dad had a 'red firm nodule' of some sort. Skeptical does not mean that I think you're lying or that I'm sure you're wrong. It would, in principle, be extremely easy to fully convince me that it was a carcinoma, if sufficient evidence were presented. And carcinomas aren't rare, especially in people who've had them before, so it's not really even an extraordinary claim that your dad had one. (the previous cases of carcinomas were confirmed by a medical professional, right?)

    And unless you have some more evidence, you're wasting your time trying to convince other people of this miracle story.

    Can you please present the examples of medical miracles you've witnessed that do have documentation?

    ReplyDelete
  134. Ritchie:

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no law that say that complexity has to come from greater complexity. It just has to come from somewhere. And, even if there was such a law, the whoel point of God is that he is ot subject to the laws of nature that govern the Universe. And surely, multiverse is much more unlikely than God. It call for an infinite number of universes, all different. But it is a pefectly scientific theory. I guess it just shows that skeptics like really big miracle. Walking on water is just too trivial.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Here's two:


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC61047/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11584476

    ReplyDelete
  136. natschuster: "I defined a miracle as something that violates the laws of nature we are familiar with. The Big Bang, quantum physics, Multiverse do just that. Why is it useless?

    As I've explained multiple times your definition of 'miracle' includes iPhones, satellites, nuclear reactors, and a host of other manmade and naturally occurring things.

    Why is your definition better than mine?

    Nat, I didn't give a definition; I explained why yours is useless.

    And what exactly is wrong with believing in miracles?

    Due to the technological limitations of blogger, I don't think there's a way to emphasize this point more than I already did in my last post: WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE Bold, all caps. You have to be intentionally ignoring that part, for what ends I can only guess. Just to make sure you can't claim that you missed it, here it is again:

    "Believing in miracles WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE is a bad thing." WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE,WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE,WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

    "Your definition, as I understand it, is that a miracel is somthing we will never be able to explain. This means that there can never be any miracls because there is nothing that we can say for sure will never be explained. Why is your definition of miracles more useful,or accurate than mine?"

    No, nat, that is YOUR DEFINITION. What is wrong with you?

    "If we get knew undertanding of the laws of nature, then those things will no longer classified as miracles."

    EXACTLY! That's why your definition of miracle is useless. YOU'VE ANSWERED YOUR OWN QUESTION!

    Granted, 'miracle' is a hard word to define. For me, a definition that doesn't include some aspect of supernatural agency is useless when discussing miracles in the commonly understood sense.

    (nat, please do us the courtesy of at least reading over what you've written at least once. You say you're a teacher for goodness sake. Not asking for perfection, just turn spellcheck on.)

    ReplyDelete
  137. natschuster: "http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11584476"

    from wikipedia:

    The IVF-ET prayer scandal

    In 2001 the Journal of Reproductive Medicine published an experimental study by three Columbia University researchers which claimed that prayer for women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) resulted in a double success rate (50%) of pregnancy compared to that of women who did not receive prayer.[11] Columbia University issued a news release claiming that the study was carefully designed to eliminate bias.[12] The most important skeptic was Bruce Flamm, a clinical professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of California at Irvine, who not only found the experimental procedures flawed,[13] but also discovered that some of the authors themselves were frauds.[14] The first-named author Kwang Y. Cha never responded to any inquiries. Daniel Wirth, a.k.a. John Wayne Truelove, is not an M.D. but an M.S. in parapsychology who has since been indicted on felony charges for mail fraud and theft, committed apparently at the time the study was claimed to be conducted, and he pled guilty. On November 22, 2004, Wirth was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release (parole). In December 2001 an investigation of Columbia University by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) revealed that the study’s lead author, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, first learned of the study six to twelve months after the study was completed, and he subsequently denied having anything to do with the study’s design or conduct and claimed to have provided only editorial assistance. The name of Columbia University and Lobo were retracted.[15]

    Good. Gosh. Nat, does it hurt to be that incompetent? Where do you find this crap? More importantly, why do you not have the capability, (or the inclination) to do even the most minimal amount of verification possible, a Google search?

    ReplyDelete
  138. natschuster: "http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC61047/"

    "Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial"

    Nat. In this study, the prayers were conducted four years AFTER the last patient left the hospital. If that weren't enough by itself, let's look at some interesting aspects of the study itself:

    "These results, however, need to be interpreted with caution. There was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to the most clinically important outcome (mortality), and the median values varied little between prayer and non-prayer on both length of stay (seven and eight days) and duration of fever (two days each)."

    "The data on the most significant finding, length of stay, seem to be skewed by a few abnormally high results in the control group. This is shown by the fact that the median length of stay is the same in both groups but the maximum length of stay in the control group is twice that in the intervention group. This may represent a type I statistical error, despite the large sample size. From a cynical standpoint, it is a shame that God cannot save your life but might get you out of hospital a few days earlier."

    http://www.bmj.com/content/324/7344/1037.long

    Nat, are you not embarrassed by things like this? Have you no shame?

    ReplyDelete
  139. box of rocks schuster said...

    Here's two:


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC61047/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11584476


    Good job there nat. One study was proven fraudulent, the other showed statistically meaningless results exactly as I described.

    Are you and Tedford having a secret contest to see who can be the most gullible?

    ReplyDelete
  140. nat -

    "To the best of my knowledge, there is no law that say that complexity has to come from greater complexity. It just has to come from somewhere."

    Absolutely correct. But it is not the scientists who are claiming complexity must come from greater complexity - it is the Creationists.

    The scientists are saying complexity can come from simplicity, such as a simple species of organism evolving into a complex one.

    "And, even if there was such a law, the whoel point of God is that he is ot subject to the laws of nature that govern the Universe."

    What does that mean? That He is NOT more complex than the universe? This line of reasoning sounds suspiciously like you just want to be able to claim for God any quality you happen to find convenient for the theological/scientific debate you are having at the time. Define God however you chose to suit your needs.

    "And surely, multiverse is much more unlikely than God. It call for an infinite number of universes, all different. But it is a pefectly scientific theory. I guess it just shows that skeptics like really big miracle. Walking on water is just too trivial."

    It is not idea that someone just farted out and everyone said "Oooh, I like the sound of that. Yeah, let's go with that." It is not a totally unfounded hypothesis. There are REASONS why some people suppose there might by multiple universes.

    In actual fact, the multiverse theory was proposed by Steven Hawking, as a solution to a 30-year-old conundrum regarding his specialist subject - black holes. The logic is reasonably complicated and, I admit, a little beyond me. But should you choose to actually educate yourself on the subject then you are free to do so. Simply read up on the research of Steven Hawking.

    Until then you will just have to take it on trust that the multi-universe theory is not merely a miracle claim.

    And in any case, it is not an established scientific theory. Many physicists oppose the idea, and even if it were more popular, it still has (as far as I know) little in the way of actual evidence for it. It still has a long way to go before it is accepted into scientific mainstream thought.

    ReplyDelete
  141. The theory of evolution is an attempt to explain the complexity of life. Scientists came up with it because the complexity of life has to come from somewhere.

    If the laws of nature don't apply to God then the law that complexity has to come from more complexity doesn't apply to him.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Derick:

    I don't get it. My definition of a miracle is something that violates the known laws of nature now. Your defition menas that there can never be anything classified as miracles, because of new possible new developments in the future. Why is that useful? According to you, you could witness the parting of the Red Sea, and then say that I wasn't a miracle becuase we might be able to explain it someday. According to my definition,
    we work with what we know.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Here's another one:


    http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm?parent=prayer-healing.htm&url=http://www.ntskeptics.org/issues/prayer/prayer-pap-ioi90043.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  144. I can find more, but I guess theywould all be fraudulent or flawed. Buthow do we know that the studies that show prayer doesn't help are accurate? After all they are all published in the peer reviewed journals.

    ReplyDelete
  145. I understand that the multiverse is an attempt to explain the apparent fine tuningof all the laws of physics to accomodtae life. It says that there are universes out there where the laws are different. That sounds like a violation of the laws of nature. It is just happening somewhere else. And it seems to me that an infinite number of universes is less likely than God.

    ReplyDelete
  146. box of rocks schuster said...

    Here's another one:

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm?parent=prayer-healing.htm&url=http://www.ntskeptics.org/issues/prayer/prayer-pap-ioi90043.pdf


    Box of rocks, do you ever bother reading the things you post?

    From your latest:

    "The primary predefined end point in this trial was the weighted MAHI-CCU score (Table4). We found an 11% reduction in scores in the prayer group (6.35 ± 0.26) compared with the usual care group (7.13 ± 0.27) (P = .04). Using the unweighted MAHI-CCU score, which simply counted elements in the original scoring system without assigning point values, the prayer group had 10% fewer elements (P = .04) than the usual care group. There were no statistically significant differences between groups for any individual component of the MAHI-CCU score (Table 3). Mean lengths of stay in the CCU and in the hospital (after initiation of prayer) were not different (Table 4), and median hospital stay was 4.0 days for both groups. There were 2 patients in the prayer group whose hospital stays were approximately twice as long (137 and 161 days) as those of any other patient in the study. Without these 2 patients, length of hospital stay for the prayer
    group dropped from 6.48 ± 0.54 days to 5.84 ± 0.31 days. Neither was significantly different from the length of stay in the usual care group (5.97 ± 0.29 days). There was no significant difference between groups using Byrd’s hospital course score (Table 5)."

    What part of "NO STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE" don't you understand?

    ReplyDelete
  147. test. Anyone else having problems where the captcha doesn't even appear when trying to submit longer posts?

    ReplyDelete
  148. natschuster: "I don't get it. My definition of a miracle is something that violates the known laws of nature now. Your defition menas that there can never be anything classified as miracles, because of new possible new developments in the future. Why is that useful? According to you, you could witness the parting of the Red Sea, and then say that I wasn't a miracle becuase we might be able to explain it someday. According to my definition, we work with what we know."

    Are you developmentally disabled? Or are you acting dumb on purpose? If so, you're overdoing it. You keep attributing your definition of miracle to me, but not only that, you refute it yourself. Again: you keep refuting your OWN definition of miracle! It's bewildering. I never said ANYTHING a miracle being defined as solely as something we don't currently understand.

    For the umpteenth time: According to YOUR definition of 'miracle', fire, sickness, lightning, rain, radio waves and just about everything else were genuinely classified as miracles at some point. Any definition of miracle has to include agency, whether or not it is unexplained or not.

    ReplyDelete
  149. ********************************

    Nat, I forgot to ask this earlier:

    Though there are dozens of active commenters here, there are many dozens, perhaps more, lurkers; interested readers who follow the conversation. On behalf all those following along, to all those who took the time to read the two links you provided regarding intercessory prayer studies, I demand you answer this question:

    What do you have to say for yourself?

    At some point, such monumental intellectual failure must be called out. At some point, you must answer for such profound incompetence/dishonesty, whichever the case may be. When asked for evidence for your claim, you presented not only complete and utter BS, but complete and utter BS that quite literally, could not possibly have been easier to investigate and recognize as such.

    You have done the intellectual equivalent of coming to a party and dumping a 5 gallon bucket of feces onto the living room carpet, while all the other guests look on with bewilderment.

    At some point, you must stop getting a 'pass' on such behavior.

    What do you have to say for yourself?

    *********************************

    ReplyDelete
  150. natschuster: "I can find more, but I guess they would all be fraudulent or flawed. But how do we know that the studies that show prayer doesn't help are accurate? After all they are all published in the peer reviewed journals."

    The amount of stupidity packed into those 40 words is absolutely staggering. You may have another world record on your hands.

    "I can find more, but I guess they would all be fraudulent or flawed."

    I've actually been thinking about how one would even go about responding to a statement like this for a while now. I must admit, I'm at a loss. I don't think any reply could be more effective than just repeating them and letting the pure, unadulterated idiocy seep from the screen.

    "I can find more, but I guess they would all be fraudulent or flawed."

    The easy target would be to take that sentence seriously, and reply "Well, then why on earth would you post them, if you knew them to be fraudulent or flawed? The sad thing is that you actually do seem to post anything that seems to support your opinion regardless of it's source, reliability, plausibility, honesty, integrity, or any other factor. -But my undying (and seemingly misplaced) optimism in humankind makes me hope that you were attempting something resembling sarcasm. But that actually doesn't make the statement any less asinine. The two studies you presented were clearly, unambiguously, unquestionably, undeniably fraudulent and flawed. So I'll say this as if I were talking to a young child, because I don't know how to say it without sounding patronizing: No, any prayer study you post would not automatically be fraudulent or flawed; Just the ones that are fraudulent and flawed. (especially when they're as flawed to the degree as the two you've posted so far.)

    ReplyDelete
  151. natschuster: "Here's another one:"

    To elaborate on the partygoer analogy:

    Guest 1: Hey Nat, heard you were gonna bring something to the party.

    Nat: [smugly] Yep, here ya go: [dumps two buckets of feces on living room carpet, interrupting a game of Wii Bowling.]

    Guest 2: [incredulous] What are you doing? What is that? Why would you do that!? How does that contribute to the party?

    Nat: Oh. [Runs out to car. returns with another bucket of feces. dumps on floor.] Here's another one.

    Guest 1: What the... This is another bucket of crap! What in the blue blazes are you doing!? Surely you didn't intend to dump 3 buckets of feces on our carpet? Did you actually look in the buckets before dumping them? If not, why would you dump them? If so, why would you dump them? Can you at least go get a bucket of soap and water so we can start cleaning this up?

    Nat: Nah. If I do that, you guys'll probably still accuse me of bringing another bucket of crap.

    Guest 1: What? No, all we're asking is for a bucket of soap and water; something productive.

    Nat: "I can find more buckets, but I guess they would all be full or crap.

    Guest 2: What does that even mean? Are you being sarcastic? Are you saying that no matter what is in the bucket, even soap and water, we're all still going to call it 'crap'? That's absurd. Or are you being serious? Are you acknowledging the fact that you are only capable of producing buckets of crap, and nothing else?

    ---------------------------------------

    Just so it doesn't get lost in the text above, I'll end with the most pertinent question. What do you have to say for yourself? I (and I presume others) are genuinely curious to your reaction to the response to your links. Are you like "Sorry guys, I should have read and/or researched those links before I presented them as evidence for my position," or, are you like "So what if the authors of one paper used fake names and ended up in jail for fraud, or that the other papers found absolutely no statistically significant links between prayer and recovery. They support what I already believed in the first place, so I'm sticking with it."

    What do you have to say for yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  152. "I don't get it. My definition of a miracle is something that violates the known laws of nature now. Your defition menas that there can never be anything classified as miracles, because of new possible new developments in the future. Why is that useful? According to you, you could witness the parting of the Red Sea, and then say that I wasn't a miracle becuase we might be able to explain it someday. According to my definition,
    we work with what we know."

    Think about this:

    When you went to grade school, did you learn more every day? If you had stopped attending school after the first day, would you have learned as much as if you had stayed in school and tried to learn?

    If you had quit grade school after the first day, and worked only with what you knew then, do you think that you would be able to read and write English now?

    Or, what if you had been born in, say, 1765? And, you had the same attitude you have now about working with what we know, when it comes to trying to discover new things and advance human knowledge and innovation? If learning (science) had stopped with what was known in the 1700s, what would science know now? The same things science knew in the 1700s! Do you think that nothing new has been discovered or understood since the 1700s? Many things that were thought to be miracles, or acts of some god or monsters are now known to be from easily explainable natural causes and are well accepted by anyone with a clue. What makes you think that nothing new can or will be discovered in the future?

    Science is a matter of learning, just like the way you learned to read and write English. It is a step by step process, and since nature is HUGE, that learning goes on and on and on and will only stop for humans when humans no longer exist.

    There is no good reason to put any sort of barriers in the way of science. Religious people want to stop looking for real answers because they're afraid that real answers will show that their religious beliefs are antiquated, paranoid, delusional fairy tales (which they are).

    Many real answers have already been found that show that, but many religious people are determined to deny and denigrate those real answers so that they can hold onto their fantasy beliefs. It's a lot like an alcoholic who stays drunk as much as possible so that he/she doesn't have to face the reality of being sober.

    Alcoholism is described nowadays as a disease (which I disagree with) but if alcoholism is a disease, then so is religio-ism. They're both crutches for people who don't want to face reality.

    Ya know, reality isn't really all that bad. Oh sure, some things in life are hard to deal with but there are a lot of nice things too. It is possible, and not necessarily all that hard, to find very rewarding pursuits in this world. Nature is a wonderful thing and there's a lot to learn and share about it, and anyone can contribute to the learning and knowledge if they want to.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Derick:

    My definition of a miracle is something that violates the known laws of nature now. Things that use to be classified as miracles are not now miracles. Things scientists thought they knew such as the existance of the universe are now harder to explain. We might learn something new tomorrow and change our definition. Or the excatological era might arrive.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Nat: Nope. First answer this:

    What do you have to say for yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  155. Here's more:

    http://www.bmj.com/content/323/7327/1450.full.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  156. Nat:

    No.

    What do you have to say for yourself regarding the first three links you posted?

    We shall not move on until you address this.

    ReplyDelete
  157. More:

    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/coronary.html

    ReplyDelete
  158. I'm not important. I'm just a little nobody. I make mistakes. I read the abstracts of all the papers I posted. they all said that there is evidence that prayer helps. I see that in a peer reviewed scientific journal and I assume that there is some basis in the research. After all, wo am I to question something is peer reviewed, and stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  159. *After dumping three buckets of feces on the metaphorical living room carpet, natschuster is confused by the ire of the other guests. Guest 1 speaks up: "So? Will you please explain your behavior? You've done this before; this time we're not just going to ignore it. Explain yourself."

    Natschuster runs out the door. He returns with more buckets. "Can I dump these here?" he asks.*

    Stop it.

    Before you even think about posting more links, please explain why you either posted links without even the most minimally possible amount of effort to understand them in any way or posted links knowing full well they were fraudulent, flawed, or found no significant results whatsoever.

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  160. box of rocks schuster said...

    Here's more:

    http://www.bmj.com/content/323/7327/1450.full.pdf


    How many times are you going to link to the same article that we already showed you doesn't support the idea of prayer being statistically relevant? Do you think the results will magically change if you post the same nonsense three more times?

    You really are that stupid, aren't you?

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  161. box of rocks schuster said...

    I'm not important. I'm just a little nobody. I make mistakes. I read the abstracts of all the papers I posted. they all said that there is evidence that prayer helps.


    No, they didn't. They said there are anecdotal stories about prayer helping and the research was to test the idea.

    I see that in a peer reviewed scientific journal and I assume that there is some basis in the research.

    For the research to test the idea, yes. However, the results came back negative. Don't cry because you don't like the outcome.

    After all, wo am I to question something is peer reviewed, and stuff.

    You're a lazy jerk you never bothers to actually read the peer-reviewed stuff, only the dishonest Creationist spin on IDC websites.

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  162. "I'm not important. [dumps bucket of crap on carpet] I'm just a little nobody.[dumps bucket of crap on carpet] I make mistakes." [dumps bucket of crap on carpet]

    That would not excuse you for such behavior in the real world; it does not excuse you for such behavior here. You are presumably an adult, since you are employed as a teacher. (I shudder at the thought) If you really evaluate yourself as being that incompetent, why do you waste our time by posting here? (One might accuse you of trying to make Christians look stupid on purpose.)

    The tone of your statement strikes me as unapologetic. "It wasn't my fault, I swear! I read a few words of the article. What, am I expected to have a rudimentary understanding of it before presenting it as evidence for my position?"

    Do you concede that the first three links you posted do not support your claim in any way, and are you the least bit embarrassed for having posted them as evidence for your claim?

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  163. natschuster: "Here's more: http://www.bmj.com/content/323/7327/1450.full.pdf"

    Thorton already pointed this out but it bears repeating:

    You linked to the SAME flawed study as you did the first time around.

    The exact same study. If a mistake, that was a colossal one. Are you really that stupid as to not notice, or do you think we are?

    Did you just type 'intercessory prayer study' into google and blindly copy whatever came up first without reading it?

    I'm mean seriously, if you're going to present something as evidence for your position, at least make sure it hasn't already been debunked previously in the same conversation.

    natschuster: "More: http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/coronary.html"

    Lets take a second to unpack this one. For brevity, we'll refer to it a s the Byrd study. It was mentioned in the third article you linked to. In fact, it was part of the reason that study was conducted; the authors state that "the Byrd study is the only published trial of intercessory prayer with clinically significant end points."

    With a relatively small sample size of 393 patients, Byrd measured 29 health outcomes using three-level (good, intermediate, or bad) scoring, but the prayer group suffered fewer newly diagnosed ailments on only six of them.

    from wikipedia:

    A 1999 follow-up by William S Harris et al. [the first study you cited] attempted to replicate Byrd's findings under stricter experimental conditions, noting that the original research was not completely blinded and was limited to only "prayer-receptive" individuals (57 of the 450 patients invited to participate in the study refused to give consent “for personal reasons or religious convictions”).[6] Using a different, continuous weighted scoring system – which admittedly was, like Byrd's scoring, "an unvalidated measure of CCU outcomes" – Harris et al. concluded that "supplementary, remote, blinded, intercessory prayer produced a measurable improvement in the medical outcomes of critically ill patients". However, when they applied Byrd’s scores to their data, they could not document an effect of prayer using his scoring method. Critics have suggested that both Byrd's and Harris's results can be explained by chance.[7] Psychiatrist Richard P. Sloan compared the Byrd and Harris studies with the sharpshooter fallacy, "searching through the data until a significant effect is found, then drawing the bull's-eye."[8]

    And last but not least, from Byrd's on paper, next to last paragraph: "Analysis of events after entry into the study showed the prayer group had less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated. Even though for these variables the P values were <.05, they could not be considered statistically significant because of the large number of variables examined." He then goes on to explain how he 'adjusted' the data (the prayer group only scoring higher in 6 of the 29 categories) to get his final results.

    Nat, I'm done trying to help you improve your incompetence/deception/gullibility, whichever the case may be. At this point, I'm just going to sit back and see if you can top your own idiocy.

    So go on - got any other links?

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  164. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  165. Someone postedone study showed that there was no ndication that prayer helps. My response was that it isn't so simple. There are studies in the literature that indicate that prayere does. I wasn't making any assertions. And I'm not sure that just because results are not statistically significant, it means they are meaningless.

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  166. Anyway, gettingback to miracles, yes lighting and fire would have been considered miracles. Now we know better.

    Your definition whihc measn wew need intervention, means that wew can never classify anything as a miracle because we can nevere be sure if intervention was necessary. We might learn something new tomorrow.

    And Scientificn American has an article on the Multiverse. Scientists believe in that without sufficient evidence. And it is miraculous. the miracles are just happening somewhere else.

    And, if we can include human intervention as a known cause, then designed things don't have to be classified as miracles.

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  167. I think the confusion is due to the fact that I'm saying one thing, you are saying I'm saying somthing else, and I'm saying that that is what you're saying.

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  168. DC:

    How would you classify the Big Bang? or Multiverse?

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  169. And please don't worry about my students. They pass test they can't read.

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  170. box of rocks schuster said...

    Someone postedone study showed that there was no ndication that prayer helps. My response was that it isn't so simple. There are studies in the literature that indicate that prayere does.


    But you can only find *one* study (not 'studies', plural) that said that, and it was proven fraudulent. The rest were neutral or negative.

    I wasn't making any assertions.

    Yes box of rocks, you were.

    And I'm not sure that just because results are not statistically significant, it means they are meaningless.

    They're not meaningless. They show conclusively that despite anecdotal stories prayer does not help cure people.

    And please don't worry about my students. They pass test they can't read.

    They also miss out on things they should be learning because you deliberately cut important stuff out of their science curriculum. You omit it not for technical reasons but simply because you personally don't understand/agree with it. You even bragged about doing it, like screwing your students made you some kind of Creationist hero. That's both dishonest and disgusting.

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  171. Thorton:

    I never said that prayer helps. I said that there are studies that said that prayer helps.
    And I do recall reading in the abstracts that the authors said prayer helps.

    And I never withheld information from my students. Just the opposite, I gave them more information than the books had. I always told them that the scientists said that the fact that embryos look alike is evidence for evolution. The only thing I didn't do was use inaccurate drawings. That has nothing to do with creationism. It has to do with honesty.

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  172. Are you saying its okay to use inacurate drawings and leave out information?

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  173. DC:

    Re: sufficient evidence:

    Is there sufficient evidence that abiogenesis happened? That simple moleculea came together to form cells? Is there sufficient evidence that multiverse exists? Scientists are claiming it as a possibility.

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  174. natschuster said...

    Thorton:

    I never said that prayer helps. I said that there are studies that said that prayer helps.
    And I do recall reading in the abstracts that the authors said prayer helps.


    You 'recall' a lot of things that you can't back up and which turn out to be not true. Why is that?

    And I never withheld information from my students. Just the opposite, I gave them more information than the books had. I always told them that the scientists said that the fact that embryos look alike is evidence for evolution. The only thing I didn't do was use inaccurate drawings. That has nothing to do with creationism. It has to do with honesty

    We've been over this before. You don't have the knowledge or authority to unilaterally decide a drawing is inaccurate. You screwed your students based solely on your religious beliefs. That's disgusting, and you should have been fired.

    Are you saying its okay to use inacurate drawings and leave out information?

    It's not OK for an incompetent bumbler like you to make such a decision when you have neither the knowledge nor authority to do so.

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  175. None of the articles said that there is some indication that prayer helps in the abstracts?
    I coud have sworn...

    And if a drawing of an embryo doesn't look a whole like a photograph, then it looks innacurate. I don't like lying to children, so I don't use them. I guess I just don't have enough faith in people with letters after their names who write books. I should lie to my students because people with titles tell me too? Nah, not right.

    And if I get students who can't read a test due to deep dyslexia to pass a test, I'm doing something right.

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  176. And if I was motivated by religious beliefs, why would I use the photographs of embryos? I only refrained from using the drawings because I don't like to lie to children.

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  177. natschuster said...

    None of the articles said that there is some indication that prayer helps in the abstracts?
    I coud have sworn...


    You swear to a lot of things that aren't true. Why don't you quit being such a lazy jerk and read the actual papers?

    And if a drawing of an embryo doesn't look a whole like a photograph, then it looks innacurate. I don't like lying to children, so I don't use them. I guess I just don't have enough faith in people with letters after their names who write books. I should lie to my students because people with titles tell me too? Nah, not right.

    Problem is, you define 'lie' as anything that doesn't agree with your religious beliefs. That's why you should be banned from ever teaching.

    And if I was motivated by religious beliefs, why would I use the photographs of embryos? I only refrained from using the drawings because I don't like to lie to children.

    You don't have the knowledge or authority to decide a scientific textbook is a lie, and to screw your kids because of your arrogant ignorance. You deserve to be fired.

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  178. I read the abstracts.

    I define a lie as something that isn't true. I think that saying a drawing looks like something when it doesn't is a lie.

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  179. box of rocks schuster said...

    I read the abstracts.


    You're too lazy to read the actual papers where the pertinent results are. That's why you stay so ignorant.

    What would you do if you gave a student an assignment to read a book and write a book report and they only read the dust jacket?

    I define a lie as something that isn't true.

    You define a lie as anything that doesn't agree with your Biblical preconceptions. Lots of scientific facts falsify YEC literal Biblical beliefs, are all those facts lies too?

    I think that saying a drawing looks like something when it doesn't is a lie.

    You don't have the knowledge or experience to establish that a scientific fact is a 'lie'. You mindlessly vomit back the crap you read on Creationist websites without the slightest bit of understanding.

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  180. Erm:

    I'm not a young Earth creationist. And I don't say facts are lies. I say people might be mistaken in their interperetation.

    I do have reasonably good vision. And when someone says that a drawing looks like an embryo when it doesn't, well, I start asking questions, especially when the point being made is how much they look alike, when they don't look alike. If the issue was creationism and not honesty, why would I mention in lectures and noted the fact thescientists say that fact that they kinda look alike is evidence, and that I do use photos?

    And blogging is just recreation for me.

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  181. I expect my students to take assignments seriously. Anything else is extra credit.

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  182. natschuster said...

    And blogging is just recreation for me.

    I expect my students to take assignments seriously. Anything else is extra credit.


    OK, that explains why you post such dumb things with zero research. Thanks for letting us know we have no reason to listen to your willfully ignorant ramblings.

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  183. I never said I expected anyone to listen to, respond to, or acknowledge anything I post. In fact, your obssession with me seems a little odd, and kinda creepy.

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  184. willfully ignorant schuster said...

    I never said I expected anyone to listen to, respond to, or acknowledge anything I post. In fact, your obssession with me seems a little odd, and kinda creepy.


    LOL! Says the clown who just recently followed me around for a solid week demanding that I answer his questions.

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