Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Irrational Atheist

I spent part of the day reading Vox Day's new book, The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens. You might know Vox Day from his blog and interesting take on feminist issues--he always has something provocative to add to that particular conversation and his book proves to be just as stimulating in regards to religion and faith. The Irrational Atheist is described as follows (from the inside cover):

The Irrational Atheist is not a theological work nor is it a conventional religious defense of faith. It contains no arguments for the existence of God and the supernatural, nor is it concerned with evolution, creationism, the age of Earth, or intelligent design. This book contains no arguments from Scripture. In attacking the arguments, assertions, and conclusions of the New Atheists, Vox Day's only weapons are the secular tools of reason, logic and historically documented, independently verifiable fact. The Irrational Atheist is not a book about God, but about those who seek to replace Him....


Day takes on the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens and seeks to demonstrate that they and other "New Atheists" are no champions of reason. For example, Day discusses one argument made by Harris where Harris questions the correlation between Christian conservatism and social health:

If there was a strong correlation between Christian conservatism and social health, we might expect to see some sign of it in red-state America. We don't. Of the 25 cities with the lowest rates of violent crime, 62 percent are in "blue" [Democrat] states and 38% are in "red" [Republican] states. Of the twenty-five most dangerous cities, 76 percent are in red states, and 24 percent are in blue states. In fact, three of the five most dangerous cities in the US are in the pious state of Texas.


Interestingly, though, Day found that "red-state" crime is primarily committed by "blue counties" within those states and has a nice chart to show the stats on this. It seems that Harris was looking at states such as Texas that had more crime and called the states "red" but conveniently omitted the part where the counties where the crimes were committed tended to be "blue."

Other myth busters include the notion that religion causes the majority of war as some atheists profess, Day provides evidence to the contrary--he found that more than 93% of all the wars in human history had no relation to religion. In the twentieth century, in fact, he states that atheistic regimes killed three times more people in peacetime than those killed in all the wars and individual crimes combined.

The book is definitely thought provoking and worth a read if you are interested in the topic!

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174 Comments:

Blogger caplight said...

i confess that I was disappointed in the last two articles I'd read by Hitchens on his "God isn't great" theme. It didn't seem to be his best work. Kind of college freshman kind of logical and not so logical arguments.

7:48 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Vox Day's essay is full of assumptions based on conceit, hubris and absurdity. You can watch his reasoning being taken down by one of my students on his blog. Rather amusing, really.

7:51 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:17 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I've always noticed a strong conceit amongst atheists. I'm sure it is a strong elixir to look at one's self and say, "I can stand alone. I don't need God or any other superstition. I am truly logical, reasoning person." And then you get to look down your nose at the underlings.

Why are atheists, such as william's student so obsessed with religion? Does it hurt so to drive down the street and see a church, synagogue or mosque?

william has this on his blog page:
Roget's Thesaurus Definitions:

Liberal: ...generous, abundant, lavish, broadminded, tolerant, enlightened, charitable, free

Antonym:

Conservative: ...stingy, miserly, reactionary, regressive, bigoted, prejudiced, biased, narrow-minded, strict

Why is there such a strong need to stroke and massage one's own ego while denigrating others en masse? Does william really believe that a thesaurus reflects the common political, social definition of "conservative?"

william also keeps posted in his sidebar the study that concludes conservatism is "a set of neuroses rooted in 'fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity'."

Of course, reasonable, objective men know these things. But, I see someone with deep rooted psychological problems.

8:19 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Will Conway said...

ill be sure to check it out!

8:29 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Dadvo,
No problemo, but when, in this day and age we have men (i.e. Bush) who control space age weaponry with the capability to end human life on this planet who subscribe to ancient texts (bible, koran, tora, take your pick,...) written during the Dark Ages, it becomes a problem that transcends mere separation of church and state.

Faith is a willful abdication of reason and when prayer substitutes for knowledge, we're in a heap of trouble.

Vox Day is bogus, irrational, lacking the intellectual integrity to stand up to an amateur critical thinker. His arguments are full of unsupported assumptions, one being that atheists rely on science with absolute certainty. Good science never upholds tenets of 'absolute certainty,' but religious sure does, with out any supporting evidence.

Funny, when my student called him on his self described title: "forensic atheologist" ... he stopped using that term to describe himself.

8:44 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

william, I couldn't care less what Vox Day does or doesn't believe. I'm not comfortable with "space age weaponry with the capability to end human life on this planet" no matter who's at the controls.

I've just noticed time and again the attitude of many atheist I meet or read and their obsession with religion. Tolerance and understanding doesn't seem to be strong points with them any more than with some of the religious extremists.

One flaw of the "reason" argument is that humans are not necessarily reasonable creatures but only capable of reason. From there it gets much more complex than that.

9:00 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

I've never understood how anyone - on either side - can be so sure about their point of view of this topic.

There are a few atheists that seem to be sure of themselves, most people who are called "atheists" are probably really agnostics, though.

I think there are far more people on the Christian side who seem to be very sure of themselves. You can see a lot of this on Townhall.com. Some of the posters will write in capital letters how "you're going to be sorry" and all the rest (you're going to go to hell) if you don't do exactly what THEY SAY. And they know in very small detail how everything is going to work, detail that goes far beyond the Bible or anything written.

I think about this a lot for the very obvious reason that I want to know the truth. I don't think I'm going to know the truth about how the universe really works, but I honestly don't think that the Christians who are absolutely sure of themselves really know either. It's just a kind of self-righteousness.

9:39 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Ellen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:14 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Ellen said...

JG,
I agree, absolute certainty is a requirement for the devoutly religious, not for the agnostic, which most atheists actually are, and not for those that seek the truth. People who are absolutely certain already know the truth, their learing is closed, finished.

I'm not big on the mix of politics and religion. What I do find interesting though is the ways Christians embrace the Jews, even though they've insulted them every which way, like Ann Coulter - her wish that they some day become 'perfected.'

Many Christians think the Jews killed Jesus. The only thing that binds Jews and Christians together is so-called Biblical prophesy.

Surely, the US would exist without Christianity, and every country on earth would, could (and probably should) exist without the binding of a specific religion.

Israel seems to be the only nation on earth that takes it's identity through religion and because of this, it will be a flash point of strife and tension in the world. All because they are absolutely certain they belong there. We can see the level of tension, hate, and war this has brought on both sides, each believing so firmly. All because of religion.

11:14 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Brian Hollar said...

Great post, Dr. Helen! I am currently working on my PhD in economics at George Mason University with an emphasis on the economics of religion. I've written about similar topics numerous times. Here is a collection of some of my related blog posts:

By the Numbers: America is Increasingly Anti-Scientific?
Belief in Evolution = Scientific Literacy? Not So Fast...
Why Is There A Market For Anti-Religious Books?
Academics Against Evangelicals
The New Atheists
More on The Atheist Delusion
More on Atheists in Academia
The Atheist Delusion
Evangelical Atheists
Reasons for Optimism
The Mischaracterization of American Evangelicals

Also, be sure to listen to GMU Professor Larry Iannaccone's podcast on The Myth of the Religious Right.

Also, here are over 40 posts I've written on the economics of religion. If you liked Vox Day's book, I think you will find many of them quite interesting.

1:11 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger David said...

William, either you don't read Vox Day, or you're an intellectual liar. The link to your so-called student has already been refuted by Vox Day here. For those who don't bother to read any of the links, William's student only refers to an essay written by Vox Day four years ago with the same name as the book, and not about the book. With the link I provide, Vox Day refutes William's so-called student's essay against Vox's four-year-old essay.

Funny how you call Vox Day "...bogus, irrational, lacking the intellectual integrity to stand up to an amateur critical thinker. His arguments are full of unsupported assumptions...", when one can use the same argument against you from possibly falsifying your student's own link as as how you're attacking Mr. Day on Helen's blog instead of dealing w/ Vox himself.

1:45 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:23 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Sorry, I was only giving this discussion a cursory look and have not read Vox Day. So in fairness, I must retract the critique.

What does amuse me is that Vox Day would devote an entire lengthy post defending himself from the critique of my student.

It can be explained by evidence gathered from studies why religious beliefs such as those on creationism/intelligent design exist so strongly in America and how the apparent attacks on the non religious have gained so much traction.

Brian Hollar takes exception to the studies that show belief in evolution = scientific literacy. With his cited data, America is nearly at the bottom using this criteria. So, why does in an advanced society like the USA, a religious, often conservative "war on science" persist? Answer: we're not so advanced.

As I mentioned on Hollar's post on evolution and scientific literacy, There is ample evidence to show Americans are truly lacking in scientific literacy and the correlation with religiousity is unmistakable. In this environment attacks on the non-religious, apparently like Vox Day's, will flourish.

Here is a copy of what I posted previously:
--------------------
America is a religious culture, and... Americans are also scientifically illiterate and embrace psuedoscience, according to a report by the National Science Board. A portion of this report found on the government's National Science Foundation website, deals with public scientific literacy. Some quotes from the report:

"In addition, belief in pseudoscience (an indicator of scientific illiteracy) seems to be widespread among Americans....Studies also suggest that not many Americans are technologically illiterate... Researchers have concluded that fewer than one-fifth of Americans meet a minimal standard of civic scientific literacy ... it is possible to conclude that most Americans (two-thirds in 2001) do not have a firm grasp of what is meant by the scientific process. This lack of understanding may explain why a substantial portion of the population believes in various forms of pseudoscience. "

It is clear that the concepts of evolutionary biology are clearly not within the grasp of most Americans. The National Science Board says that it is important for basic scientific literacy to be better able to"participate in public discourse on science-related issues." However, most Americans believe the dinosaurs and humans coexisted, most do not know that electrons are smaller than molecules, and barely half know that it takes one year for the earth to orbit the sun. 70% of college aged adults (18-24) could not find New Jersey on a US map, 87% could not find Iraq on a world map.

3:25 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

William -- every culture on earth has a religion. There has never been a culture that has not had at least one religion.

Religion is very likely an evolutionary trait (humans seem hardwired for it, atheists merely believe in science or global warming or gaia or whatnot with the same religious fervor as Shias whipping themselves on Ashura).

Religion allows a set of agreed upon "rules" for often violent and agressive social animals (humans) to work together against other enemies, human, humanoid (Neandarthals, Homo Errectus in Asia), and animal. In wider trust networks than pure family. It keeps tribe members from sticking spears into each other because the one stole the other's mate or bit of food last year.

It's evolutionary advantageous which is why EVERY human society has it. It's the "glue" that allows humans to work together. Icky awful science has behaviorally modern humans emerging about 50,000 years ago, with clearly religious artifacts, and spreading out around the globe. Clearly that social advantage allowed them to out-compete other humanoids to extinction.

You might well argue that Odin, Thor, Mohammed, Zeus, Buddha, Jesus, Gaia, and the Great Sky Spirit don't exist. Any more than Chtulu or Zorg from Ghostbusters the movie do. They're very unlikely to strike you down.

However arguing against the NEED for religion is about as "scientific" as arguing against genetic adaptations for lactose tolerance, alcohol tolerance, or malaria resistance. Evolution doesn't care what you think -- religion in various forms "work."

Clearly some religions are more adaptive to environments than others. Religions that demand monogamy (to the exclusion of polygamy at least), and encourage average men to have families (no genetic bottleneck of only Alpha men breeding) and avoid consanguinity among the people at least prosper. Those that don't have religions acting as the social break suffer poverty and degradation.

Europe (with the same people, largely) was nothing before the Romans (who were mostly monogamous). Or Greeks for that matter. It was nothing afterwards until the Catholic Church got serious about enforcing monogamy. From Dark Ages nothing to Cathedrals like Rouen in four hundred years! Not to mention fighting off Muslim occupation of Spain and Southern France and Southern Italy. Or Viking incursions. Or the strange three-sided Muslim-Viking-Italian battle.

4:14 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

There's little wonder William's student did such an incompetent job in attempting to critique a four-year old, 750-word op/ed column in lieu of a new, 320-page book, given a professor like William. William is an embarrassment to the academy, as the number of his factual and logical errors are nearly equal to the number of points he attempts to make in criticizing a book he admits he has not read.

For example consider, William's statement: "Good science never upholds tenets of 'absolute certainty,' but religious sure does, with out any supporting evidence."

First, even if "good science never upholds tenets of absolute certainty", this says nothing about whether atheists rely on science with asolute certainty or not. Second, William obviously doesn't understand the term "evidence" as there is a great deal of legally admissible evidence for many religions. Scientific evidence is far from the only form of evidence, in fact, it is considered inherently weaker than other forms of evidence and for good reason due to its ever-mutating nature.

Morever, I did not stop calling myself a "forensic atheologist" due to William's student; I could not have since I'd never heard of him nor read his blog post prior to the most recent change. I regularly change the subtitle of my blog, most recently to announce the release of my new book. I am quite pleased to be a "forensic atheologist", a title I chose in part as an homage to Dr. Helen herself.

Most damningly, William erroneously claimed that I am "lacking the intellectual integrity to stand up to an amateur critical thinker." That claim being proved false, William now says it amuses him "that Vox Day would devote an entire lengthy post defending himself from the critique of my student."

As everyone familiar with my blog knows, I take on all comers, great and small. If William isn't afraid to show up there, he's welcome to take his best shot, just like everyone else.

It seems there are really only three things we can conclude from this:

1. William is an incompetent interlocutor and educator.

2. William is a hypocritical fool.

3. It really helps to familiarize yourself with a subject before offering your opinion of it.

4:43 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger S. Baldrick said...

As described in the previous post(s), unfalsifiable beliefs in deities almost certainly have carry selective advantage. Indeed, that they are unfalsifiable seems to me a rational explanation for why they persist, even if they are wrong. Because in Dawkins's world it is material processes not being right on unfalsifiable questions that have primacy. What Richard Dawkins, et al, really need to try to prove is not that they are right, but that being an Atheist carries a greater selective advantage to it than being a Theist. That's all that really matters in their own world of evolutionary materialism.
It's their god; they should bow down before it.

7:04 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

William writes:"Good science never upholds tenets of 'absolute certainty,' but religious sure does, with out any supporting evidence."

The ignorance on display here is truely frightening. Its bad enough to see the factual errors Vox has pointed out so vividly, but the absolute ignorance of the subject of religion William shows... Wow!

In the case of Judaism and Christianity, the entire call to faith is made as a historical claim of God's interaction in Earthly affairs; e.g. as a display of EVIDENCE.

This is why the end of the story of the battle of Jericho says that the city could be visited to see the proof of what happened. This is why the Disciples of Christ cited His signs and miracles as happening in front of eyewitnesses who could cooberate the story. This is why the Biblical stories are so minutely detailed, because they are citing evidence gained either first or second hand. One can legitimately question whether the evidence is valid, but to say there was no evidence offered as proof is a naked lie that atheists like William continue to propulgate out of convience.

This notion that faith is blind is a modern one, not found in the Bible itself. The word translated as "Faith" 240 times in the New Testament is the Greek word "Pistis". This word was not a common word, but one used only in rhetorical arguments (both Aristotle and Quintinius used it in the same manner as the Bible), and when translated literally means "trust based on evidence or prior trustworthiness". The Bible does not define faith as belief in something you cannot prove; it defines faith as believing something that has already been proven!!

William, you should really try to understand a subject before trying to critique it. As it stands you are clueless and unaware of how clueless you are.

Tom Bryant
Religious Studies Major
Clemson University

8:50 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger OrpheusRed said...

"It's their god; they should bow down before it."

Which is the entire point really. No matter your views on mysticism, creation, or eschatology this quite strictly is an inter-Faith squabble; and thus why it reaches such a fevered pitch.

Unless, of course, the Atheist that regularly attempts to tear down the edifice of Religion on the basis of it being "a silly myth" goes after their friends and family members in like fashion for incorrect trivia.

Naturally, the excuse given is that Religion is somehow "evil" or begetting of all history's woe; which is a tragic attempt at dodgery.

If the "flying spaghetti monster" doesn't exist then how can he be responsible for human behaviour? Or is it that human nature and morality is at fault?

And that's the crux of it. The loudest screech heard from the Atheist side of the fence is made on this pretense so as to avoid the issue -- they proudly adhere to -- that they provide no moral code, guidance, or ritual reinforcement for the same. (There are arguments for and against this as a secular view.)

Ultimately, when the -- for lack of a better term -- Fundamentalist Atheists give up this losing argument then the ire vanishes and we can get back to something approaching a sane dialogue.

9:07 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:04 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

First of all, in no way was I attempting to pass my commentary on Mr. Day’s essay as a book review. The first sentence of the commentary stated the purpose. Apparently I am not the only one capable of misunderstanding what I read. I did note that based on the essay I was not inspired to read the book.

Mr. Day’s points, in his response to me, that there is no obligation to provide evidence in an opinion column, and that said evidence does appear in the book are fair enough. That does not mean that an opinion column would not be better off by including more specifics, and that critical response is inappropriate. The writer is responsible for balancing clarity and quality against space limitations, not the reader.

I stand by my criticism of the essay. Mr. Day’s response gave reasons why he disagreed with me, mixed in with some ad hominem rhetoric, but he did not necessarily refute any of my points. He hardly proved that it was “incompetent.” Also, the fact that he continually treated my critique of the essay as if it referred to his book undermines the integrity of his response, in my opinion.

I notice that some people have touched on the evolutionary aspect of the debate. It’s an interesting subject. I wouldn’t assume that just because any given characteristic was preferable at one time that it must remain so. Species must adapt to survive and almost always fail to do so adequately, eventually.

11:14 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:21 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Thomas,
You prove prove my point, you are undoubtedly 'absolutely certain' of your evidence based on a book written generations after supposed events occured, rewritten countless times by men with agendas. Sounds like incontrovertable evidence to me! Likely the kind of evidence that Vox holds near and dear.

Vox, True, as you state, there are other sources of evidence other than scientific, but scientific evidence will usually trump all in a legal case.

Science does mutate, constantly checking itself, self evaluating, honing and refining our perspective and understanding of the universe.

Because of this it is never absolutely certain The beliefs of the religious are absolutely certain, as Thomas demonstrates, which is an inherent flaw. Absolute certainty is the source for rationalization of a particular view, which you seem to be quite good at.

11:29 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

Mr. Day’s response gave reasons why he disagreed with me, mixed in with some ad hominem rhetoric, but he did not necessarily refute any of my points.

More baseless assertions, schoolboy. Let Dr. Helen's readers decide for themselves, here's one of many examples of my supposed non-refutation of your points:

The advent of technology and advances in fields such as medicine is more than sufficient evidence for a reasonable person, even one with the least science education, to infer that by-and-large scientists know what they are talking about and that their interpretation of the natural order is credible.

To which I responded: "This is one of the otherwise reasonable Daniel Dennett's more foolish arguments, which I openly deride in the book. In Dennett's form, it states that because physicists know what they're talking about and possess conceptual models that are precise to an incredible degree, we should accept at face value everything that biologists and sociologists say even though their conceptual models are horrendously inaccurate to the point of uselessness. It's a transitive nonsense no more convincing in SE's words than in Dennett's."

11:39 AM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Vox,

We can see how threatened your house of cards really is when you have to resort to denigrating those who debate with you, 'schoolboy'. Nice how your war on science lumps together biology, physics and sociololgy in one broad stroke as 'horrendously inaccurate to the point of uselessness.'

Sir, you are not a biologist, you are not a physicist or a sociologist. Your commentary is not expert in these areas.

I'd say your best bet is to go back to writing christian fanatasy novels. We see where you're coming from.

12:04 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

True, as you state, there are other sources of evidence other than scientific, but scientific evidence will usually trump all in a legal case.

First, William, you didn't state that there was no legally-trumping evidence for religion, you wrote that "religious" [sic] does without "any supporting evidence." You are demonstrably incorrect.

Second, while Dr. Helen's husband is infinitely more qualified to speak on the matter than me, your point about the primacy of scientific evidence is at least arguably incorrect since FindLaw states: "Testimonial evidence is the most basic form of evidence and the only kind that does not usually require another form of evidence as a prerequisite for its admissibility."

If scientific evidence requires testimonial or some other evidence in order to be admissible, it can hardly be considered the trump-all that you describe it to be.

Now, in fairness to Hendrix Keats, I should point out that his review of my old column was intentionally billed as a review of my new book by another atheist at my blog, which was not Keats's fault. But his decision to review the column and attempt to judge the worthiness of the book by it was absurd nonetheless.

Sir, you are not a biologist, you are not a physicist or a sociologist. Your commentary is not expert in these areas.

And yet I don't need any such paper credentials to hand you your head, do I. Why don't you shut up, read the book, and then bring your weak game.

We can see how threatened your house of cards really is when you have to resort to denigrating those who debate with you, 'schoolboy'.

Ooh, the S word! You just don't know the game industry very well, do you, professor. You see, if this wasn't Dr. Helen's blog, you would have already been recognized as a possession of the canine variety.

But when you've been depantsed in public, well, I suppose you can always complain about etiquette. No wonder you prissy academics hide in your ivory towers, quaking at the thought that someone might play a little too rough.

12:15 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

William writes: Thomas,
You prove prove my point, you are undoubtedly 'absolutely certain' of your evidence based on a book written generations after supposed events occured, rewritten countless times by men with agendas. Sounds like incontrovertable evidence to me! Likely the kind of evident that Vox holds near and dear.


The only thing I hold absolutely certain in our little teapot tempest is you are a blithering idiot speaking outside your field of expertise.

In case you failed to read my post all the way through, I'll repost the relevant passage with highlight on the most important statement, o.k.?:

This is why the end of the story of the battle of Jericho says that the city could be visited to see the proof of what happened. This is why the Disciples of Christ cited His signs and miracles as happening in front of eyewitnesses who could cooberate the story. This is why the Biblical stories are so minutely detailed, because they are citing evidence gained either first or second hand. One can legitimately question whether the evidence is valid, but to say there was no evidence offered as proof is a naked lie that atheists like William continue to propulgate out of convience.

So questioning the evidence presented is perfectly valid, as is then making a judgment based on the evidence once it has been presented. Simply because I judge that evidence to be valid enough to stake a personal decision on it does not absolve anyone including YOU from the obligation of examining the evidence before pronouncing judgment on it on ANY LEVEL other than personal. Simply put, YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO MAKE THE JUDGMENT YOU MAKE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE A RELEVANT LEVEL OF KNOWLDGE ON THE SUBJECT.

The proof of this is in your own post, where you make howlers like:

...based on a book written generations after supposed events occured,...

There is 20 years between the events in the NT and the appearance of the first two gospels, well within the lifetimes of anyone who wished to dispute the accounts. Christianity was not in a position to counter or block dissemination of any refutation. There simply wasn't any attempt made. All anti-Christian rhetoric from 30 AD to 340 BC, both Jewish and Roman, centered on RE-INTERPRETING the events in such a way as to counter Christian claims as to why it happened. That means there is tacit admission by His worst enemies that Jesus did EXACTLY what was claimed of Him (although the how and why are still open for further research).

Compare this to the textual evidence for the events in the life of Julius Caesar. We have several histories of him, but none were written untl he had been dead for about 100 years. He did write autobiographies and histories himself, HOWEVER the oldest copy we have dates to 1000 years after time of autograph. By comparison the oldest copies of the full NT is 100 years from time of autograph, the oldest copy of an individual book in the NT (1 Cor)is less than 50 years from time of autograph, and the oldest fragmentary copy is 30 years from autograph.

We have only 7 existant copies of History of the Peloponnesian War and none of them are alike. We have thousands of copies of the NT, and somewhere between 97 to 99% of them are EXACTLY the same, save for misspellings. And those alternate copies? We know where the corruptions came from thanks to early Church records and apologetics.

No Biblical scholar, including several who are professed atheists, have a problem with the textual integrity of the Bible. YOU however are not a Biblical scholar, so... tell me again why I should believe YOU?

rewritten countless times by men with agendas.

Since we have thousands of copies with no significant textual deviation, what body orifice did you pull this one out of again?

Sir, you are not a biologist, you are not a physicist or a sociologist. Your commentary is not expert in these areas.

I would advise you sir that YOU are not an expert on religion. Even as still a student my credentials in this area are far superior to yours. And quite frankly, as a Biblical scholar, you don't know what the $#!* you are talking about.

12:28 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

OK, I see where you're going, you'll rationlize the validity of tesitmonial evidence from the Bible as being more valid than science. BS. DNA/scientific evidence will trump testimonial everytime and has freed many of those convicted by 'testimony.'

I see your war on science extends to education as well. Perhaps if you did some time in a program of advanced particle physics, anthropology, or even biology, it may diminish your absolute certainty of the realities dictated by your southern baptist dogma.

Thomas, Vox,
Think about it, your dogma is based on the bible - a book written generations after supposed events occured, rewritten countless times by men with agendas during the Dark Ages, and you cling to this as your testimonial evidence? There were dozens of historians that lived in the Mediteranean area of Jesus and none mention Jesus. The four historians typically referenced to justify Jesus's existence: Pliny the younger, Suetonius, Tacitus - each of their entries consists of only a few sentences at most, nothing about Jesus, they only refer to the 'Christus' or the Christ, which in fact is not a name but a title which means the "Anointed one." The fourth source is Josephus and this source has been proven to be a forgery for hundreds of years.

Sorry Vox Thomas, your testimonial evidence sucks.

12:37 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

Let's recap. William is wrong about there being no evidence for religion. He is wrong about the legal primacy of scientific evidence. Now, after being repeatedly shown to be in error, he announces his dissatisfaction with the quality of the testimonial evidence - which I note is only one of the various types of evidence available in support of religion - in support of the Christian faith.

In light of his demonstrated incompetence, why should anyone not dependent upon him for a grade give a flying rodent's posterior what this clueless educator thinks?

I see your war on science extends to education as well.

Assuming that what you're doing passes for education, absolutely.

12:58 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

William writes:Think about it, your dogma is based on the bible - a book written generations after supposed events occured, rewritten countless times by men with agendas during the Dark Ages, and you cling to this as your testimonial evidence?

What you cannot seem to get through your head here is that YOU ARE FACTUALLY IN ERROR. There is exactly NO EVIDENCE of the rewriting you cite as fact.

There were dozens of historians that lived in the Mediteranean area of Jesus and none mention Jesus.

Nor would we expect Him to be mentioned until His movement became more than a blip on the social radar screen. Once it did, He was mentioned. Remember, numbnuts, that historians only wrote about "great men", who led armies or served in government.

Besides, we don't have much from ANYONE at this time. Here is a list of EVERY DOCUMENT available from this time:

From the 30's A.D.:

A history of Rome by Vellius Paterculus, a retired army officer of Tiberius. It was published in 30 A.D., just when Jesus was getting started in His ministry.

An inscription that mentions Pilate.

From the 40's A.D.:

Fables written by Phaedrus, a Macedonian freedman, in the 40s A.D.

From the 50s and 60s A.D.:

Philosophical works and letters by Seneca; a poem by his nephew Lucan; a book on agriculture by Columella, a retired soldier; fragments of the novel Satyricon by Gaius Petronius; a few lines from a Roman satirist, Persius; Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis; fragments of a commentary on Cicero by Asconius Pedianus, and finally, a history of Alexander the Great by Quinus Curtius.

Of all these writers, only Seneca may have conceivably had reason to refer to Jesus. But considering his personal troubles with Nero, it is doubtful that he would have had the interest or the time to do any work on the subject.

From the 70s and 80s A.D.:

Some poems and epigrams by Martial, and works by Tacitus (a minor work on oratory) and Josephus (Against Apion, Wars of the Jews). None of these would have offered occasion to mention Jesus.

From the 90s, we have a poetic work by Statius; twelve books by Quintillian on oratory; Tacitus' biography of his father-in-law Agricola, and his work on Germany.

The fourth source is Josephus and this source has been proven to be a forgery for hundreds of years.

No sir it is not; it is concidered redacted in the middle ages, but the quote itself is concidered valid by scholars of Josephus. There exists a version of this quote, preserved by Arab sources, that scholars think to be closer to the original autograph than the Medieval redaction.

You conviently leave out the letter of Mara Bar-Serapion, Thallus, Pliny, and Lucian, and the Talmud. Try and keep up...

Once again, you offer lame arguments that have been officially b-slapped years ago, proof that you don't know what you are talking about. The level of your scholarship on this subject is equal to some 14 year old kid's website claiming to reject their parent's religion. Let me guess, you didn't get a Playstation 3 for Christmas either, so you reject God to get back at Mom and Dad?

Concede the argument. You don't know what you are talking about and you are embarassing yourself.

1:02 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

Vox writes

Daniel Dennett's more foolish arguments, which I openly deride in the book. In Dennett's form, it states that because physicists know what they're talking about and possess conceptual models that are precise to an incredible degree, we should accept at face value everything that biologists and sociologists say even though their conceptual models are horrendously inaccurate to the point of uselessness.

William fumes

Nice how your war on science lumps together biology, physics and sociology in one broad stroke as 'horrendously inaccurate to the point of uselessness.'

and fundamentally misunderstands Vox's point. Dennett (like many others) is the one who 'lumps together biology, physics and sociology' by attempting to transfer the credibility of physical 'science' into areas such as sociology by sprinkling pixie dust over them and calling them 'sciences'.

1:23 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Vox, this was your assertion:

The atheist is without God but not without faith, for today he puts his trust in the investigative method known as science, whether he understands it or not. Since there are very few minds capable of grasping higher-level physics, let alone following their implications, and since specialization means that it is nearly impossible to keep up with the latest developments in the more esoteric fields, the atheist stands with utter confidence on an intellectual foundation comprised of things of which he knows nothing.

Against which I offered:

The advent of technology and advances in fields such as medicine is more than sufficient evidence for a reasonable person, even one with the least science education, to infer that by-and-large scientists know what they are talking about and that their interpretation of the natural order is credible.

At which point you threw out this strawman:

"This is one of the otherwise reasonable Daniel Dennett's more foolish arguments, which I openly deride in the book. In Dennett's form, it states that because physicists know what they're talking about and possess conceptual models that are precise to an incredible degree, we should accept at face value everything that biologists and sociologists say even though their conceptual models are horrendously inaccurate to the point of uselessness. It's a transitive nonsense no more convincing in SE's words than in Dennett's.

In fact, I was not saying that “…we should accept at face value everything that biologists and sociologists say…”. I was explanating that how a lay person relates to science is not analogous to religious faith as you claim. My explanation is not contingent on the validity or acceptence of any given scientific premise.

I agree, let the readers decide.

1:35 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Gentlemen,
We are coming at this from different directions. As an agostic (not atheist), I am open to reviewing evidence and making a judgement. I grew up in Catholic school and have had ample Biblical study. You are coming from a preconceived notion of certainty augmented by centuries of "group think" and tradition. I understand your efforts to legitimize your beliefs and I realize you're absolutely certain of them, but I repeat, your evidence sucks.

Consider also that Christianity is virtually the same standard myth that is subscribed to by a host of other religions that predate christianity. Just because you happen to have been indoctrinated into christianity, doesn't make Jeusus any more valid and believable than the other messiahs that came before him. Horus, Mithra, Dionysus, Krisha - all predated Jesus, all were born of a virgin, dead and ressurected. The literary similarities between Jesus and the Egyption religion are incredibly numerous, and the plagerism is unmistakable. The Ten Commandments are taken almost verbatim from Spell 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The story of Noah and Noah's Ark is taken directly from the Epic of Gilgamesh. The plagiarized story of Moses (placed in a reed basket and set adrift in a river in order to avoid infanticide later rescued and raised as a Prince). This baby in a basket story was lifted directly from the myth of Sargon of Akkad circa 2250 b.c. (Sargon was born, placed in a reed basket in order to avoid infanticide and set adrift, rescued and raised by Akki, a royal mid-wife).

Surely mere coincidence, is that what your critical thinking tells you?

1:46 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

We are coming at this from different directions. As an agostic (not atheist), I am open to reviewing evidence and making a judgement.

I was agnostic until I was 26, William, so that dog won't hunt. And you're quite clearly not accustomed to looking before you leap; that was evident from the onset. So you didn't have any credibility to begin with and your repeated factual errors haven't exactly helped you dig your way out of that hole.

Do yourself a favor and stop, read the book, and then get back to me. I'll publish your response in its entirety... you don't even need to buy the book as I'm making the free etext available on Feb 1, the book's official release date.

At which point you threw out this strawman

You're doing better than your professor now, Hendrix, but you are still failing to understand that there is no strawman there. You're referring to what Dennett calls the division of doxastic labor, which can be reasonably simplified by saying that non-scientists are justified in taking science on faith because it works. (See TIA p. 184)

While you probably grasp that not all sciences are created equal - or are not at similar levels of modelling efficiency, if you prefer, you're forgetting that the layman has no means of distinguishing between those various inequalities and therefore must practice that faith-based doxastic division. Dennett begins by admitting as much, but then foolishly goes on to argue that it's nevertheless justifiable because science works, forgetting that some sciences simply don't work as well as others.

What both you and Dennett don't realize that most religous people place trust in their religion is because, in their personal experience, it works too.

2:26 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

I was explanating that how a lay person relates to science is not analogous to religious faith as you claim. My explanation is not contingent on the validity or acceptence of any given scientific premise.

Naturally your explanation is not contingent on the validity of any given scientific premise (or conclusion). That would require the average atheist to have positive knowledge of what they are arguing to be true; and of course you know that most do not.

The average lay person relates to "science" by reading newspapers and listening to professors. Everything else that might be attributed to "science," such as "technology," is also handed to them ready-formed.

When they ask where it is from, they are told that the same kind of guys who designed the cellphone also proved that evolution is true, and that is why the godbags are stupid.

2:45 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger malloc() said...

Hendrix says
"The advent of technology and advances in fields such as medicine is more than sufficient evidence for a reasonable person, even one with the least science education, to infer that by-and-large scientists know what they are talking about and that their interpretation of the natural order is credible."

But if fellow scientists don't even find other scientists' models credible, how can the average layperson?

When Einstein disagreed with Schrodinger, or when climatoligists can't agree on any one climate model, then why should the layperson?

They layperson sees this and infers that scientists don't know everything.

3:57 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Brad said...

"70% of college aged adults (18-24) could not find New Jersey on a US map, 87% could not find Iraq on a world map."
As the young woman from SC pointed out, that's because they don't have maps.
Also, your "rationale scientist" dog don't hunt. I'm biochem faculty at a Big10 U, and I deal with the silliness and shallowness of scientists every day: the cell bio who has strong opinions about socio-economic matters (usually some retarded collectivist notions); the chemist with a complete lack of historical perspective; etc, As someone wrote, when scientists deal with non-science issues, they are just as dumb as everyone else.

5:06 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Adrian said...

You see, the problem here is that atheists are, when all things are equal, a vanishingly small portion of the population. So, what eventually happens is some movement or another in the culture has some sort of an atheistic component to it and all of a sudden the atheists are flooded by people from the movement. So, the half percent of atheists climbs to something like 10%, still a very minor part of the culture, but now a lot more noticeable by everyone else. So, everyone, including the atheists, themselves, goes around quite rationally characterizing atheism by what 95% of atheists go around saying.

This is exactly what has happened with positivism. Atheism need not be positivist or even materialist, and yet it is for that very reason that most atheists in this day and age seem to reject religion -- because it isn't "scientific" enough for them. Unfortunately, this ends up giving everyone the impression that atheism is all about "science" and creates a lot of confusion about whether or not the legitimacy of something like "evolutionary biology" along with a myriad of other modern niches in modern academia are part of the tenets of atheism.

Personally, I have my doubts about physics, even, let alone softer physical sciences or even social sciences. And, it's not because I am uneducated in them -- I am quite technically proficient at physics of all the sciences, in particular. The problem is that I am educated in them, if you want to call such a thing an "education" -- "schooled" is more like it. And, their problem usually is their confusion about what it means to know something. At any rate, there are plenty of reasons to be atheist without any hint of positivism, and there have been plenty such atheists in history.

Only in this age of technology are people atheist because of technology and science, which most definitely is the wrong reason....

6:46 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Pete said...

As a former card carrying member (And now recovering) of American Atheists, one thing I have noticed is that in fact the number of Christians who would like to deny civil rights to atheists are small enough to be called "fringe."

The number of atheists who would like to do so to believers is large enough to be deemed "mainstream."

Guess who I'd rather surround myself with?

7:46 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Adrian said...

So are you converted, then, Pete? Or, are you still an atheist but just not a militant one?

7:57 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Bugs said...

Not exactly a believer myself, but I also hesitate to throw in with the new, militant atheists. They seem arrogant to me. I think I'd rather worship an imaginary but perfect God than a real but obviously sick and flawed humanity. If we are the measure of everything, the universe must be a pretty screwed up place.

8:26 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

I don't think the question of whether God exists or not has much to do with the "new, militant" attitude of atheists.

It also probably has very little to do with the pissing contest of the guys above as to who is smarter and cooler.

It all seems like a discussion of who is smarter, or less militant, or more observant or more educated. It has nothing to do with the core question of what the universe is really like. Kind of bizarre.

9:00 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

At any rate, there are plenty of reasons to be atheist without any hint of positivism, and there have been plenty such atheists in history.

Only in this age of technology are people atheist because of technology and science, which most definitely is the wrong reason....


Absolutely. I was raised atheist, and if "cultural atheism" in 20th-century USA hadn't turned out to be so superficial and self-serving, I probably would have been comfortable with it. Atheism in the Enlightenment or the 19th century would have been much more satisfying.

9:54 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Vox:

Thank you for the clarification. Your point is well thought out and cleverly articulated. However, it fails to render my assertion baseless.

Once I establish that

“The advent of technology and advances in fields such as medicine is more than sufficient evidence for a reasonable person, even one with the least science education, to infer that by-and-large scientists know what they are talking about and that their interpretation of the natural order is credible.”

as a laymen, I do not need to be able distinguish between the various inequalities of modeling efficiency. I can now move on to logical principles that are easy to grasp that, since their discovery, have proven to be valuable tools in advancing the human condition just as assuredly as the wheel and fire have.

One of these principles states that, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Any claim that contravenes the natural order is extraordinary. So, any claim that involves people coming to life after being dead for three days, etc., is going to require extraordinary evidence to be credible. 2000 year old testimony that may be hearsay and can not be corroborated does not qualify as extraordinary evidence when there are other, simpler explanations for the alleged phenomenon. According to Occam’s razor, another time tested principal, the simpler explanations must be preferred.

Now consider the following statement: Human activity is contributing to climate change. I don’t need to be a PhD chemist to know that, a) humans emit carbon dioxide, b) carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and c) the climate is warming. Therefore, the statement does not contravene the natural order and does not require undue assumption to warrant credibility. The statement is eminently logical on its face. So it does not require any leap of faith for a lay person to believe the scientists that claim that human activity is contributing to climate change, even if the statement is ultimately proven wrong.

11:32 PM, January 23, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Therefore, the statement does not contravene the natural order and does not require undue assumption to warrant credibility.

This, of course, assumes that we understand the natural order with regards to climate and the mechanisms that drive climate change, which we do not.


The statement is eminently logical on its face.

Only for those people who a) assume we know everything there is to know about climate change (see above comment) and b) fail to understand that causation and correlation are not the same thing.

1:13 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dogwood:

Wrong answer.

I specifically indicated that I only need to know 3 things, not ‘everything’ to come to the conclusion that the statement was logical.

a) humans emit carbon dioxide, b) carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and c) the climate is warming.

And, even if the causation is eventually disprovem, the statement is logical nonetheless.

1:43 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger malloc() said...

Hendrix:

The example about climate change is not a good one as it is quite a leap for even a layperson to put faith into extremely complicated, unproven, hypothetical climate models. To have faith in those models given the political history of the 20th century experiments in socialsm and fascism is to be more dogmatic than the medieval catholic church. Most people, for that matter, don't even have faith in the weather report more than a few days out.

If religious faith works just as good or better than advances in psychiatric medicine, then by your reasoning those who wrote those "fairy tales" about Jesus' resurrection are due some credibility, not the scornful conceit of atheists, even moreso considering most of the recent school shooters had been taking prescription antidepressants.

2:53 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

“The advent of technology and advances in fields such as medicine is more than sufficient evidence for a reasonable person, even one with the least science education, to infer that by-and-large scientists know what they are talking about and that their interpretation of the natural order is credible.”

Most of those advances have nothing to do with science or scientists. The very foundation of your argument is flawed. And again, the fact that scientist A knows what he's talking about is no evidence that scientist B does.

One of these principles states that, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

That is not a logical principal, it is a Carl Sagan quote. Sagan was paraphrasing David Hume, who said: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish…"

That's not a principle of logic, it's merely a personal statement of skepticism about miracles. But since a miracle is, by definition, a contravention of the physical order, Hume's requirement of a miracle to prove a miracle is downright illogical, to the point of being oxymoronic.

Hendrix, you're just repeating talking points that were refuted before you were born.

3:47 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

William writes: We are coming at this from different directions. As an agostic (not atheist), I am open to reviewing evidence and making a judgement. I grew up in Catholic school and have had ample Biblical study.

You THINK you know what you're talking about, but you most certainly do not, sir. You are ignorant of real functional knowledge of the Bible, and ignorant of how ignorant you are. The howlers on this posting William are proof.

Your yamering about how Vox and myself are debating from a position of regurgitated tradition falls on deaf ears, pal. So far you have demonstrated an absolute lack of knowledge of even basic history or theology.

Consider also that Christianity is virtually the same standard myth that is subscribed to by a host of other religions that predate christianity.

Name one. You listed Horus, Dionysus, Krishna (NOT Krisha), and Mithra, but these FAIL upon close examination.

-- Horus was born in a swamp after his mother Isis, a fertility goddess, impailed herself on the phallus of a very dead Osiris. -- NOT a virgin birth. He certainly didn't "resurrect" because he NEVER DIED. He did merge with Re the Sun God. So unless you want to say he "dies and is reborn" each morning... Which, come to think about it, please do say that, I need the laugh.

-- Dionysus: there are no references to Dionysus being born of a virgin in any primary text I know about. There is a reference to his dying, AS A BABY, after he was set down on Zeus' throne and abandoned. The Titans brought him some toys then ripped him to shreds and boiled and ate everything but his heart. That heart was sewn into Zeus' thigh until he grew another body, making Dionysus not "resurrected", but cloned.

--Krishna: For this I will quote Stephen Van Eck, an Atheist:

Skeptics sometimes cite Kersey Graves in Sixteen Crucified Saviors or Godfrey Higgins' Anacalypsis (which Graves drew from) in asserting that Krishna was a crucified deity. No such event occurred in the Gita or in any recognized Hindu scripture. Given the pronounced syncretic tendency of Hinduism, it is safe to assume that any odd tales of Krishna's being crucified arose only after the existence of Christian proselytism, in imitation of the Christian narrative. It is neither authentic to Hinduism nor is Hinduism the source of that portion of the Christian narrative. The same may be said for most of the purported nativity stories. In my opinion, both Higgins and Graves are highly unreliable sources and should be ignored.

Mithra: First, is it Mithra (the Persian god, or Mithras (the Roman import version)?

If the former, then no dice, bucko. Mithra was born out of solid rock, and never died. If the Roman, then once again no dice, because that god was also born out of solid rock, and any death stories (and there are multiple ones) POSTDATE Christianity by 200+ years. According to the Preceedings of the First International Conference of Mithric Scholars, it was Mithraism that copied from Christianity, not the other way around.

The literary similarities between Jesus and the Egyption religion are incredibly numerous, and the plagerism is unmistakable.

Funny, no historian agrees with this. This comes from the same 18-19th century sources that Van Eck warns about.

The Ten Commandments are taken almost verbatim from Spell 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Verbatim?

[The dead will say:]
Homage to you, Great God, the Lord of the double Ma'at (Truth)!
I have come to you, my Lord,
I have brought myself here to behold your beauties.
I know you, and I know your name,
And I know the names of the two and forty gods,
Who live with you in the Hall of the Two Truths, 1
Who imprison the sinners, and feed upon their blood,
On the day when the lives of men are judged in the presence of Osiris. 2
In truth, you are "The Twin Sisters with Two Eyes," 3 and "The Daughters of the Two Truths."
In truth, I now come to you, and I have brought Maat to you,
And I have destroyed wickedness for you.
I have committed no evil upon men.
I have not oppressed the members of my family.
I have not wrought evil in the place of right and truth.
I have had no knowledge of useless men.
I have brought about no evil.
I did not rise in the morning and expect more than was due to me.
I have not brought my name forward to be praised.
I have not oppressed servants.
I have not scorned any god.
I have not defrauded the poor of their property.
I have not done what the gods abominate.
I have not cause harm to be done to a servant by his master.
I have not caused pain.
I have caused no man to hunger.
I have made no one weep.
I have not killed.
I have not given the order to kill.
I have not inflicted pain on anyone.
I have not stolen the drink left for the gods in the temples.
I have not stolen the cakes left for the gods in the temples.
I have not stolen the cakes left for the dead in the temples.
I have not fornicated.
I have not polluted myself.
I have not diminished the bushel when I've sold it.
I have not added to or stolen land.
I have not encroached on the land of others.
I have not added weights to the scales to cheat buyers.
I have not misread the scales to cheat buyers.
I have not stolen milk from the mouths of children.
I have not driven cattle from their pastures.
I have not captured the birds of the preserves of the gods.
I have not caught fish with bait made of like fish.
I have not held back the water when it should flow.
I have not diverted the running water in a canal.
I have not put out a fire when it should burn.
I have not violated the times when meat should be offered to the gods.
I have not driven off the cattle from the property of the gods.
I have not stopped a god in his procession through the temple, 4
I am pure.
I am pure.
I am pure.

http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/EGYPT/BOD125.HTM

Try not even close.

The story of Noah and Noah's Ark is taken directly from the Epic of Gilgamesh.

You are at least 30 years behind the times, because that was the last time anyone in the field of Assyriology took that claim seriously.

Try here - http://www.christian-thinktank.com/gilgy09.html - for a VERY good summary of the field. Once again, you don't know what you're talking about.

The plagiarized story of Moses (placed in a reed basket and set adrift in a river in order to avoid infanticide later rescued and raised as a Prince). This baby in a basket story was lifted directly from the myth of Sargon of Akkad circa 2250 b.c. (Sargon was born, placed in a reed basket in order to avoid infanticide and set adrift, rescued and raised by Akki, a royal mid-wife).

Try again. http://www.christian-thinktank.com/aec2.html#noborrow

Now stop while you're behind.

3:51 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger bethyada said...

hendrix keats I don’t need to be a PhD chemist to know that, a) humans emit carbon dioxide, b) carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and c) the climate is warming.

And yet so much is left out of your logical flow.

Humans emit CO2 yet the amount may be negligible compared with the natural fluctuations.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas yet the amount in the atmosphere is minor compared with other components which are highly variable and may respond to other changes

and further the amount in the atmosphere is such that it is saturated and further CO2 will not absorb any further heat (though it may lower the height of maximum absorption).

And the earth may be warming, but then there is some evidence that it is not.

4:59 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Ellen said...

Thanks for your Christian think tank information Thomas. However, there are too many parallels to pass off as mere coincidence. Like Hendrix Keats said and William pointed out, it takes much less of an assumption to see the parallels of christianity to previous myths than it does to buy the story of "died, risen from the dead and divine." That sounds like a fairly tale to any rational person that hasn't been indoctrinated to believe the incredible by faith. I know it must be impossibly hard to accept and come to the realization that humans invented religion because they are fallible, imperfect and want so badly to believe in something greater than themselves. I know where you're coming from. The desperation to discredit atheists is a symptom of the persecution Christians have always felt because they have so little to concrete fact to back up their myths. I have to tell you that it is arrogant and childish to believe that 1.5 billion Muslims, 900 million Hindus, and 1.1 billion secularists are wrong and you are right. You are living a belief system based on fallacy and ancient myth, but if it works for you, it's all good.

6:31 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

Ellen,

First off, NEVER use religioustolerance.com as a source; that would get you an automatic F on a paper here at Clemson, including from several atheist professors of ancient history and religious studies. Religioustollerance is notorious for being inaccurate. Only Wikipedia has a worse reputation.

Bottom line, the parallels that you, Hendrix and William "see" professional scholars don't. I trust the scholars, no personal offence intended.

The question then isn't whether you buy the Resurrection story, but whether it meets the standards of common historiography. That verdict is clear; the Resurrection happened as a historical event.

How whether you wish to accept it as a theological belief is up to you. Many professors of religious studies accept the Resurrection as history, but do not accept the Bible's reason for the occurance. I am separating theology from history at this point, and your lame attempts to dismiss the evidence as simply me finding it "impossibly hard to accept and come to the realization that humans invented religion because they are fallible, imperfect and want so badly to believe in something greater than themselves" shows your lack of ability to address the facts as presented. The 500 lbs. gorilla in this conversation is me, not you.

Deal with the facts, or admit you can't. So far, all you've given is platitudes, and not very good ones at that.

7:20 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

I feel it only fair to notify William and Ellen I have nominated them for the January screwball of the month awards at tektonics.org.

Your nomination is posted at http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?p=2215068#post2215068 .

I think you've got a real chance at Platinum. Good luck!

7:54 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Vox:

The standard of reasonable plausibility is tested and legitimate, regardless if it is being paraphrased by Carl Sagen or David Hume.

For example, when a death certificate is issued for a loved one reasonable people do not leave the corpse laying around for three days praying for it to wake up. They get on with the arrangements.

On the other hand, it does not require a leap of faith for a lay person to accept the expert testimony of a scientist that claims he has evidence that humans are contributing to climate change because the premise obviously falls within the bounds of reasonable plausibility.

While one may argue that it would not be prudent to do so, that does not prove that the decision is rationally analogous to accepting scripture as the vox dei.

If you are arguing that advances in fields such as medicine, computers, and agriculture have nothing to do with science, well then, you’ve taken leave of common sense.

10:02 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

My, my. So touchy ain't we all? Trod on an exposed nerve, maybe? The most sacred cow of the Nothing's Sacred crew an endangered animal?

I'd say, "Cry 'Havoc', Vox!" but he does nothing of the sort, and instead dissects like a biology class frog.

10:38 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Vox said...

One thing you've clearly learned from your professor is that when you're proven to be wrong, you don't slow down, you just keep babbling and trying to prove your already discredited point.

Now you're inventing a new time-tested logical principle called "the standard of reasonable plausibility", "exceptional claims" having failed you. I wait with interest for you to provide the historical sources for that one.

Just shut up and read the book, schoolboy. You're in way over your head.

10:50 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:54 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

@Ellen:

I know it must be impossibly hard to accept and come to the realization that humans invented Scientific Atheism because they are fallible, imperfect and want so badly to believe in something greater than themselves. I know where you're coming from. The desperation to discredit theists is a symptom of the persecution atheists have always felt because they have so little concrete fact to back up their myths. I have to tell you that it is arrogant and childish to believe that 1.5 billion Muslims, 14 million Jews, and 2 billion Christians are wrong and you are right. You are living a belief system based on fallacy and modern myth, but if it works for you, it's all good.

10:56 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Vox:

Reasonable plausibility is a valid standard that is invoked in scientific and legal scholarship from time to time.

The only thing you’ve proven is that you can pull off the intellectual equivalent of dividing by zero to get 2+2=5. Meanwhile, reasonable people will go on using language in a way that makes normal sense.

12:08 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger William said...

OK Thomas, let's talk history and let's talk about the resurrection. You have given zero credible evidence for this event otther than testimony which is highly spurious and unreliable. Think about it, testimony written and revised generations after the fact by those that stood to benefit from the power of the church. Would you stand by such evidence so firmly that you'd sentence one to death? Forget it, its a joke.

EVEN if you assume the bible is a correct historical document, many things just don't add up.

When you look at what the gospels say about this and compare it to known Roman laws and consider the people involved, you begin to see more. First, according to the Gospels, Jesus in initially condemned by the Sanhedrin - the Council of Jewish Elders who bring him to Pilate. Historically this makes no sense at all. He is arrested on the night of the Passover. By Judaic Law, the Sanhedrin is forbidden to meet at night and forbidden to meet on the Passover. Mark and Matthew speak of a "Passover custom" where Pilate offers to set a prisoner free. Modern authorities agree that no such policy ever existed among the Romans. In reality it would have been unthinkable that an authority like Pilate would bow to the will of a mob. The purpose of this fictionalized writing was to transfer guilt away from Rome and to the Jews. The audience of readers the bible was originally written for were the Romans, they did not want to lay blame on Rome. Given the portrait of Jesus in the Gospels, it is inexplicable that Jesus was crucified at all because according to the Gospels, his enemies were the established Jewish interests and he had no particular quarrel with Rome and he did not violate Roman law. Yet, he was punished by the Romans according to the Roman procedure of crucifixion, a punishment reserved exclusively for those who had committed crimes against the empire.

The Roman practice of crucifixion adhered to very precise procedures. The victim would be left to die upon the cross, a death that would usually last days. The body would be left on the cross until it would become a skeleton and according to Roman law, a crucified man would be
denial burial. Jesus's crucifixion occurred, according to John 19:41 and Matthew 27:60 at the Garden of Gethsamne, the personal property of Joseph of Arimathea, a man of wealth and a disciple of Jesus. Instead of Jesus remaining on the cross for days until death, he dies rather quickly, in a matter of a few hours, conviently just before they were about to break his legs. Pilate expresses surprise that Jesus is dead. In the original Greek version of Mark, Joseph asks for Jesus's body using the word "soma" - a word regarding a living body, Pilate assents to the
request using the word "ptoma" meaning a corpse, or at least he thinks Jesus is dead. Given the prohibition of burying crucified men, it is inexplicable Joseph receives Jesus at all. Pilate must have been a party to some previous arrangement with Joseph. Well, so we have a private crucifixion on private property that violates every rule of Roman Law regarding crucifixions and Jesus "dies" in a matter of hours. Then he shows up a few days later, risen from the 'dead'

Considering these circumstance, conflicting accounts and what we know of the time, you expect us to believe this scenario of the divinity and resurrection? Again, where is the extraordinary evidence? There isn't any.

Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary evidence. Not only does your case suffer from an absence of evidence, it fails the test of credibility on a multitude of fronts, both historical, circumstantial, and factual.

IF Jesus in fact existed and we are to believe what is said in the bible, it is highly suspect because it makes little historical sense. Even IF we believe in this cryptic document - which would be a stretch of reasion in itself, it STILL hold no water.

Since prior and modern religions/myths contain many of the same fables, why should this one be correct?

And as Ellen said, "it is arrogant and childish to believe that 1.5 billion Muslims, 900 million Hindus, and 1.1 billion secularists are wrong and you are right."

I guess that's just human nature. And you can quit pegging me as the 'enemy irrational atheist,' because if you show me the evidence, I will once again become a Catholic. That is the way critical thinkers operate, on the basis of evidence and rational thought. Weighing all of the evidence and circumstances.

You and Vox don't have that flexibility. You are committed and therefore absolutely certain. Since your minds are made up, learning is impossible. Thankfully, I don't suffer from that ailment.

12:34 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Bugs said...

I'm not what you'd call a religious person, but I also hesitate to jump on the Neo-Atheist's bandwagon. I think it's partly because I don't trust scientists or philosophers who claim they already know all they need to know about something outside their area of study, and on that basis recommend its elimination for the good of humanity. Their self-promoted attitude of open-minded curiosity about the world around them seems to fail when it comes to human psychology. I would respect them more, and listen to them as well, if they approached the issue as scientists rather than as roaring prophets of the God of Reason.

I personally do find that most religions require me to believe too much nonsense to be taken seriously. That's my issue, though - I'm not into condemning people who experience their lives in a different way. Nor do I believe that life for most people would be any better or worse if they suddenly abandoned their "ancient superstitions" and took up the Scientific Method. Different belief system, same human imperfections causing the same problems.

12:41 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Different belief system, same human imperfections causing the same problems. Not exactly. One belief system has no wiggle room, either you believe or not. The other belief system is based on learning and reason. What one may have believed at one time can be modified, abandoned and/or and refined to a more accurate vision based on evidence and critical thinking.

Which belief system seems the best to you?

What was I thinking, Dogma is not debatable. Sorry.

12:58 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Vox:

Your assessment that Hume is being “oxymoronic to the point of being illogical” proves my point regarding sensible use of language.

In reality, he is using a paradox to illustrate his highly credible assertion that miracles don’t happen.

BTW, if you really want to entice skeptics to read your book you need to either hire a publicist or work on your PR skills.

Just saying.

1:03 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

One belief system has no wiggle room, either you believe or not. The other belief system is based on learning and reason.

It don't believe the second belief system has much wiggle room either, at least as it's being described by you. Citing historical (?) and religious documents has no bearing on whether God exists in some form or fashion.

You cite "learning and reason" but I don't see much good reasoning. You're student's syllogism regarding global warming was pathetic. I hope you didn't teach him that. He would have flunked Introduction to Logic at U.T.

Logically agnosticism seems a pretty strong position. Observing nature, the universe, etc. in all it's complexity, I choose to believe there is a God or Intelligent Being of some sort.

Again, I don't understand the atheist's hostility to religion. If you don't want to believe, don't believe. Your student attempts to attack Catholicism my citing some incidents where Catholics were Nazis or supported Nazism. This only shows that some Catholic people were evil or something. Perhaps your student should discredit entire American society by citing some as being members of the German-American Bund.

Interestingly, if you check it out, the Catholic church teaches that even atheists and agnostics (or any virtuous person) can go to Heaven. Seems fairly tolerant to me, not that you would care about going to Heaven. While aethists have worked throughout my life time to limit freedom of speech.

My point is simply that your claims to reason and learning don't hold water. And, in the area of religion, you use circular reasoning where your conclsions are also your starting point.

1:25 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Well William, I guess we slapped ol’ voice o’ god back to Worldnet.

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008/01/principles-of-illogic.html

Interestingly, he chose not to link back.

1:34 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger malloc() said...

Hendix,

By your own reasoning, the assertion "god does not exist" contravenese the natural order. It's pretty obvious that God exists, so therefore by reasonable plausibility, where most people believe God exists, miracles do happen.

Just because some scientists know what they are talking about, does not give them a license to claim that they know everything about anything they could possibly talk about. It is a leap of faith to think that scientists know everything.

But God is an idea outside the realm of science. So for a scientist to claim anything about the existence of God using science is pure hubris.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but science can't explain everything. I doubt it ever will. If you believe in Quantum Mechanics, then you believe that science is very, very limited. Bell's Theorem, anyone?

1:36 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger malloc() said...

William:

Science isn't a belief system. It is a methodology. You are confused.

Scientific results are quite believable. That is not the issue.

The issue is confusing science with belief about God.

You can't prove anything about the external world using tools that only exist in the inner world. You cannot prove much about nonlinear mathematics using only linear tools.

1:43 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dadvocate:

You’re saying that the hypothesis that humans contribute to climate change is pathetic?

Obviously its not, or it would not be receiving so much scrutiny.

1:49 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

Well William, I guess we slapped ol’ voice o’ god back to Worldnet.

Holy Darwin! Another triumph for reason, truth, and the scientific way of life. Back to the batcave, boys, until you're needed again to save civilization!

2:40 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

Think about it, testimony written and revised generations after the fact by those that stood to benefit from the power of the church.

You can't seem to get this through your head, numbnuts. THIS IS A FACTUALLY INCORRECT STATEMENT!

There WERE NO revisions, and NO ONE questions the textual reliability of the Bible, fool. You are starting an argument from a completely discredited position! YOU REFUTED YOURSELF, FOOL!

And since we have copies of the Bible that PREDATE the time when the Church had ANY power, when they were being killed for holding a socially repugnant collection of beliefs (physical resurrection in a neo-platonic world, the newness of the religion in a world that valued antiquity - try chewing on this, http://www.tektonics.org/lp/nowayjose.html - IF YOU DARE), and here again YOU REFUTE YOURSELF BECAUSE OF FACTUAL ERROR!!

Nothing you wrote is correct, yet you act as if they are accepted facts! What school do you teach at? Do they know you are speaking as an expert outside your field of expertise?

3:54 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

Of course this will make no difference to him; notice he mentions "IF Jesus exists.."

He's a "Christ myther". The only people who push this theory are people who'se "works" are published by houses that also publish books on Atlantis and Bigfoot.

Extraordinary evidence my bohunkas. If an event occured in time and space it can be measured by common historiographic methods. What meaning we assign to them later has no relevance on whether there is proof of the event. This is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention to the fact you CANNOT answer the refutation of your position.

Which means I have you pegged exactly right.

4:00 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

You know there is something else that bothers me. When you wrote:

"Four historians are typically referenced to justify Jesus's existence. Pliny the younger, Suetonius, Tacitus and the first three. Each one of their entries consists of only a few sentences at best and only refer to the Christus or the Christ, which in fact is not name but a title. It means the "Anointed one" The fourth source is Josephus and this source has been proven to be a forgery for hundreds of years." among other parts of your posts.


It sure sounds like the plagerized description from the movie Zeitgeist. Check it out here:

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/transcript.htm

Does your university know you can't defend your own position without resorting to that which you would fail your students for?

4:07 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

BTW, if you really want to entice skeptics to read your book you need to either hire a publicist or work on your PR skills.

LOL. Tell me, HK... have you read any books by Christian apologetics?

I suspect that the answer is negative, because you would find them unworthy of scholarship. Perhaps I'm wrong.

Yet you have spent a significant amount of time engaging Vox in this forum, as well as your blog. By now you could have read the book, if you had a copy in hand. But I believe you expressed no interest in doing so, because you dismissed Vox as a crank based on his column and your own selection bias.

If Vox stepped out of character, and obsequiously pleaded with you to read his book, do you think that you would be more likely to do so?

Instead he rightly highlighted your intellectual sloth: you show enough interest to mock the author and dismiss the book, but when called on your criticism you retreat and imply that no skeptic will read the book because Vox is rude. Check your sack, dude.

Vox has clearly gotten under your skin (and William's too). You thought that you could dismiss him callously, and instead you've found that you've slipped into a pit. How much more time will you and William sit in this pit, slinging insults towards the author of a book that you proudly refuse to read? How many ill-conceived comments is William going to toss up and then delete?

What are you afraid of? Wasting time? LOL.

Read the book... it will allow you to take yourself more seriously.

4:12 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

Wow, Thomas. Nice catch. It's almost like plagiarism by a professor.

Good thing this is only a blog, eh William? No need to cite your sources and reveal that you get your theological education from Google Videos.

4:22 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger malloc() said...

Einstein was a scientist.

All scientists know what they are talking about.

Therefore Einstein knew what he was talking about when he said "I pity the man who doesn't believe in God".

Therefore atheists must be pitiful creatures.

4:38 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Bugs said...

There WERE NO revisions, and NO ONE questions the textual reliability of the Bible, fool.

Here's someone who did...

5:33 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

You are brave to touch on this, because according to your blog survey a huge chunk of your audience are atheists.

I have read two books written by scientists who believe in God and are critical of Dawkins: Language of God and Finding Darwin's God. I even corresponded through e-mail with the author of the second book.

6:21 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

Correction: Here is the link to the results.

6:36 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Thomas,
A little history you may have missed.

H/T: nobeliefs
-----------------------------
The stories of the Bible evolved slowly over centuries before the existence of orthodox religions. Many belief cults spread stories and myths probably handed down by oral tradition from generation to generation before people wrote them down. Many of the stories originally came from Egyptian and Sumerian cults. All of these early religions practiced polytheism, including the early Hebrews. Some of the oldest records of the stories that later entered the Old Testament came from thousands of small cylinder seals depicting creation stories, excavated from the Mesopotamia period. These early artifacts and artworks (dated as early as 2500 B.C.E.) established the basis for the Garden of Eden stories a least a thousand years before it impacted Hebrew mythology.

Mesopotamian Eden predates Genesis

An example of a cylinder seal shows a Garden of Eden story. A man and woman sitting under the seven branched Tree of Life with the snake on the right. Akkadian Cylinder Seal, 2330-2150 B.C.E.

Virtually every human civilization in the Middle East, before and through Biblical times, practiced some form of female goddess worship. Archeologists have confirmed that the earliest law, government, medicine, agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, wheeled vehicles, ceramics, textiles and written language had initially developed in societies that worshiped the Goddess. Later the goddesses became more war-like with the influence of the northern invaders who slowly replaced the goddesses with their mountain male war gods. So why doesn't the Bible mention anything about the Goddess? In fact it does, but in disguise from converting the name of the goddesses to masculine terms. Many times "Gods" in the Bible refers to goddesses. Ashtoreth, or Asherah, named of masculine gender, for example, actually refers to Astarte- the Great Goddess. The Old Testament doesn't even have a word for Goddess. The goddesses, sometimes, refers to the Hebrew word "Elohim" (masculine plural form) which later religionists mistranslated into the singular "God." The Bible authors converted the ancient goddess symbols into icons of evil. As such, the snake, serpents, tree of knowledge, horns (of the bull), became associated with Satan. The end result gave women the status of inferiority, a result which we still see to this day.

The Old Testament consists of a body of literature spread over a period from approximately 1450 B.C.E. to 200 B.C.E. There exists no original writings of the Old Testament. There does exist, however, hundreds of fragments from copies that became the old testament. These fragments consist of Cuneiform tablets, papyrus paper, leather etchings and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. The scribes of the old testament wrote in classical Hebrew except for some portions written in Aramaic. The traditional Hebrew scribes wrote the texts with consonants but the Rabbis later added vowels for verbal pronouncing. Of course the Rabbis did their best in choosing the vowels that they thought gave the words their proper meaning and pronouncement. In the second century C.E., or even earlier, the Rabbis compiled a text from manuscripts as had survived the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. and on this basis they established the traditional or Masoretic text, so called from the Hebrew word Massorah. This text incorporated the mistakes of generations of copyists, and in spite of the care bestowed on it, many errors of later copyists also found their way into it. The earliest surviving manuscripts of this text date from the ninth to eleventh centuries C.E. It comes mostly from these texts which religionists have used for the present Old Testament translations.

The New Testament has even fewer surviving texts. Scholars think that not until years after Jesus' alleged death that its authors wrote the Gospels. There exists no evidence that the New Testament came from the purported original apostles or anyone else that had seen the alleged Jesus. Although the oldest surviving Christian texts came from Paul, he had never seen the earthly Jesus. There occurs nothing in Paul's letters that either hints at the existence of the Gospels or even of a need for such memoirs of Jesus Christ. The oldest copy of the New Testament yet found consists of a tiny fragment from the Gospel of John. Scholars dated the little flake of papyrus from the period style of its handwriting to around the first half of the 2nd century C.E. The language of most of the new testament consists of old Greek.

The oldest known fragment from any part of the New Testament is a papyrus fragment from the Gospel of John, discovered in Egypt, dated from the first half of the 2nd century C.E.

Script appears on both sides, the front contains verses 31-33 and the back, verses 37-38.

The fragment resides in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England.

Interestingly, there existed many competing Christian cults in the early years after Jesus' alleged death. Some sects saw the universe in dualisms of goodness and sin, of light and darkness, God and the Devil. Other Christian sects performed odd rituals, some of which involved the swallowing of semen, thought of as a sacred substance. Many other Christians also wrote mystical stories and by the second century there existed more than a dozen Gospels, along with a whole library of other texts. These include letters of Jesus to foreign kings, letters of Paul to Aristotle, and histories of the disciples. In one of these secret Gospels, it describes Jesus taking naked young men off to secret initiation rites in the Garden of Gethsemene. There lived Christian Gnostics (knowers) who believed that the church itself derived from the Devil to keep man from God and from realizing his true nature. In those first centuries of Christianity orthodoxy did not exist and when an organized orthodox church finally came, it got defined, almost inadvertently, in argument against many of the Gnostic sects.

So the idea of the Bible as a single, sacred unalterable corpus of texts began in heresy and later extended and used by churchmen in their efforts to define orthodoxy. One of the Bible's most influential editors, Irenaeus of Lyon, decided that there should only exist four Gospels like the four zones of the world, the four winds, the four divisions of man's estate, and the four forms of the first living creatures - the lion of Mark, the calf of Luke, the man of Matthew, and the eagle of John. In a single stroke, Irenaeus had delineated the sacred book of the Christian church and left out the other Gospels. Irenaeus also wrote what Christianity did not include, and in this way Christianity became an orthodox faith. A work of Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, became the starting point for later inquisitions.

There has existed over a hundred different versions of the Bible, written in most of the languages of the time including Greek, Hebrew and Latin. Some versions left out certain biblical stories and others contained added stories. The completed versions of the old and new testament probably got finished at around 200-300 C.E. although many disputed the authenticity of some books which later ended up as Apocrypha (uncanonical or of questionable authorship). For example, the book of Ecclesiasticus appears in the Catholic Bible but not in Protestant versions.

At around 405 C.E. Jerome (Eusebius Hieronymous) finished translating all the Old and New testament books into Latin (Vulgate Bible) which provided the Roman Catholic church added power. The Vulgate Bible went through several revisions up until the early 1900s!

The salvation doctrines of Christianity survived and flourished because they afforded the priesthood considerable power. The priests alone held the keys to salvation and could threaten the unbelievers with eternal punishment. Hence, in the evolution of Christianity in the last two thousand years with priests preying on human fears, the religion has demonstrated extraordinary powers of survival. Even without the priests, the various versions of the Bible have had more influence on the history of the world, in the minds of men than any other literature.

Unfortunately, the beliefs in Scripture produced the most violent actions against man in the history of humanity up to that time. The burning of competing Christian cults (called heretics) by early Christian churches acted as the seeds of violent atrocities against man. There later followed the destruction of Rome by the Christian Goths, and the secret pagan sacrifices consented by the Pope, the Vandals that had the Bible with them as they destroyed imperial North Africa, the crusades in the eleventh century fighting in the lands around the eastern Mediterranean, Palestine and Syria, capturing Jerusalem and setting kingdoms from Anatolia to the Egyptian border. In 1204 the Fourth Crusade plundered Constantinople the most holy city at that time, with Christians fighting Christians. And the slaughters continued (and continues to this day). According to Romer, "More heretics and scholars were burned in the Middle Ages than were ever killed in Carolingian times. For at this time the Inquisition came into its own, and torture, largely unused as an instrument of government since Roman days, was reintroduced."

In the 1380s, John Wycliffe translated the first English Bible which inspired an English religious revolution which caused persecutions against him by the Catholic Church.

In the early 1500's the German heretic, Martin Luther, almost single handedly caused the final split from the Roman Catholic church and created the beginnings of the Protestant revolution. This split still influences violence to this day. He translated the Bible into German which further spread Protestantism. Luther also helped spread anti-Semitism with his preaching and books such as his "The Jews and their lies," all supported through his interpretation of the Bible. One should not forget that Hitler (a Christian and great admirer of Luther) and his holocaust could not have occurred without his influence and the support of Bible believing German Christians.

In the 1530s William Tyndale completed his version of the English Protestant Bible (probably with the aid of Luther) and the first to print the English Bible. He too felt the persecution of the Church and he spent his last days in imprisonment and exile. His enemies finally caught him and burned him at the stake, but because of his celebrity, they strangled him first (what nice guys!).

After Luther's German Bible, others followed suit by translating the Bible into their native languages including Dutch and French. Not until 1611 C.E. did a committee of translators and interpreters complete the most popular Bible of all time, the King James Version.

9:01 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

Even after getting caught plagerizing he tries to lecture me.

And getting it wrong to boot! Translations are not the same as "Versions". No scholar thinks in these terms. You go back to the original autograph to translate from.

Pathetic. He STILL cannot tell he lost.

9:08 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Hendrix Keats - I didn't say your hypothesis was pathetic. I said your syllogism was pathetic.

You're student's syllogism regarding global warming was pathetic.

Hopefully you know the difference between the two but from your reaction, maybe not.

You said:
a) humans emit carbon dioxide, b) carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and c) the climate is warming.

You probably meant:a) humans emit carbon dioxide; b)carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and c) humans are causing the climate to warm.

Picky but important. But you'd still be committing the fallacy of False dilemna for starters, which is quite popular in the Church of Global Warming nowadays.

9:32 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Thomas is a hysterical and desperate person.

9:55 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger malloc() said...

William, very interesting piece of writing.

Unfortunately I got bored of hearing that stuff in college and decided to buck the trend. There's only so much anti-male, anti-religious vitriol a person can take.

I doubt any of that stuff about worshipping godesses or how women were "given" their inferiority is true. I'm sure evolutionary biologists could give a much more credible answer about that issue.

For someone like you who criticizes people for having faith in things that aren't scientifically provable, do you take that "history" that you posted seriously?

It sounds like anti-religious dogma that is so common in "higher" education. Probably invented by an angry Women's Studies doctoral student.

11:22 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

You're giving William too much credit, malloc(). I doubt that he is a real professor, since he hasn't shown any familiarity with

1. "independent scholars"
2. "historical evidence"
3. "books"

He's probably just a graduate student who has the Boy Wonder in his freshman comp class. You know, in the spring semester they cover those "argumentation" terms.

11:51 PM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dadvocate:

Guess what, wrong again!

There was no syllogism, only hypothesis.

What I probably meant?

Somewhere, there is a little girl from Kansas, a tin man, and a cowardly lion looking for you.

12:57 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Dave,
Consider the resume of Jesus. Born of a virgin, 3 Magi following the brightest star to see him, the miracles: walking on water, healing the blind and lame, feeding the mulitudes, etc.., his teachings, his celebrated arrival in Bethany, the King of the Jews, the comotion with the money changers at the temple, his arrest, his crucifixion where upon the sky turned black and earthquakes resulted, and lastly, his resurrection. You would think there would be a sizeable body of "historical evidence".

Why then, is Jesus missing from the historical record of the period? Below are a list of the most prominent historians/writers who lived during the time, or within a century after the time, that Jesus was supposed to have lived:

Apollonius Persius
Arrian Phaedrus
Columella Phlegon
Epictetus Pompon Mela
Florus Lucius Quintilian
Juvenal Statius
Martial Valerius Flaccus
Pausanias
Appian Petronius
Aulus Gellius Philo-Judaeus
Damis Pliny the Elder
Dion Pruseus Plutarch
Favorinus Ptolemy
Hermogones Quintius Curtius
Justus of Tiberius Silius Italicus
Lucanus Suetonius
Lysias Theon of Smyran
Paterculus Valerius Maximus

Not one of these, the leading Greco Roman writers of the time, even mention Jesus, not even in passing. For someone who had lived an extraordinary life marked by miracles and resurrectionfrom the dead, don't you find this odd?

From John E. Remsburg, in his classic book The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence:

“Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.” Nor, we may add, do any of these authors make note of the Disciples or Apostles; increasing the embarrassment from the silence of history concerning the foundation of Christianity. In other words, the only information of the life of Jesus comes from Christian believers.


Now, that seems logical.

1:22 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Hendrix - Then you just lumped together 3 "facts". There is no logic as you claim. You put your "hypothesis" in the form of a syllogism appearing to say that humans are causing the climate to warm because they emit carbon dioxide.

You leave open the question of how humans emit carbon dioxide. Do you mean by breathing or by all the other activities humans undertake that involve that involve burning carbon based fuels?

One things for certain, neither you nor william demonstate the great use of logic/reason nor the openness to learning that you claim to be so wonderful but rather engage in childish insults.

9:29 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

William,

So, you have seen books before. Remsburg, unfortunately, was neither a scholar nor an independent thinker.

I have no opinion on your list of historians, since you don't cite your sources.

Actually, I have no opinion on the content of your argument, since it is a red herring. It has no relevance to the topic of this post. I was just noting that you have no credibility.

9:37 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

William wrote: Thomas is a hysterical and desperate person.

And you are a plagerist who got caught in the act, quoting non-scholars as experts while claiming to be a professor who should know better.

Remsberg? Can't find anything in the 20th century can you?

You are dismissed.

9:49 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

Now Thomas,

Don't send him away without a homework assignment.

We shouldn't want to pass up the opportunity for struggle to lead to understanding.

10:16 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

DADvocate:

Alright, I apologize for the insults and I will behave like an adult now.

You are correct; I presented three “facts”. These “facts” do not require an advanced scientific degree for me to make a reasonably informed decision as to whether or not they merit credibility.

Part of the miscommunication is my fault. If I’d have specified “reasonable hypothesis” in the first place you would not have been tempted to jump to the conclusion that I was attempting to prove something that I wasn’t.

The only thing I’m trying to prove is that science isn’t religion. Of course, I’m arguably a moron for even bothering to waste my energy trying to explain common sense. But I guess most of the folks here had already arrived at that conclusion, and a lot of other ones based on well, God only knows.

10:22 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

HK,

I, for one, do not think that you are a moron. You write well, and you show some stamina in argument.

However, you seem stuck because you assume that your opponent is a Christian like that fruit loop in your dorm that everyone tries to avoid.

Of course science isn't religion. Sometimes they intersect when discussing phenomena or experience, but they are entirely dissimilar in foundation and realm of authority. Therefore, dismissing religion purely on the basis of science is naive.

In any case, the point of the book is that Atheists that wish to "shine the light of reason" onto the realm of religion should not equip themselves with such dim bulbs.

Have you read Dawkins' books? Did you find yourself sympathetic to their point of view? Would you like to test the merit of those arguments and your sympathy for them?

If not, fine then. But don't hide your selection bias behind a contempt for Vox based on an op-ed that only scratched the surface of the debate. Either the counterargument is beneath contempt and merits no consideration, or you should engage the actual argument and not expose yourself to ridicule for making a half-assed excuse.

10:49 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

Allow me to jump into your phony argument here to make a couple of brief points.

The only thing I’m trying to prove is that science isn’t religion. Of course, I’m arguably a moron for even bothering to waste my energy trying to explain common sense.

I think what he's trying to say is that the evidence of scientific achievement in the world is proof that scientists are smart, and therefore anyone who is not a scientist should accept their authority without question.

This is actually the most important lesson he has learned at college, and it should help him go far in the corporate world and in party politics.

As to "explaining" common sense, he seems to think that common sense has something to do with scientific method or results, and that since you disagree with him, that means you don't have common sense. Somehow this implies that God doesn't exist.

11:03 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

I dunno Dave. I think you're putting some words into his mouth that he did not say.

In my opinion, it's time to reach down and give him a hand to get out of the pit.

11:17 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

I'm sorry thimscool. I'm glad less hysterical minds are here to show me the errors of my ways. ;'P

I was thinking since JP is a friend of mine I wouldn't saddle him with having to deal ol' numbnutz here (beyond giving Billy Boy his Platinum Screwball award). But you're right; his reading list needs to grow beyond than what he's been reading in the bathroom so far.


Now if we can just get him to actually read it..... I'm open to suggestions, pal.

11:31 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

@thimscool,

Sure, he denied that he accepts scientific authority blindly. Then he went on to show how it is not necessary to evaluate the truth of scientific claims, since they are "common sense." Not only that, he showed that it is not necessary to use logic to draw a conclusion from a series of claims, since the conclusion is "common sense."

He's not saying that the claims are true, or that the conclusion is logical. They are "common sense." If you disagree, you must be an irrational theist who denies the truth of science.

Obviously, the only position left is to accept what you are told by professors and scientists.

11:53 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Note: Thomas impugns my sources and the scholarship of others yet EVERY source he cites is from a christian author or a christian website.... kind of like citing global warming science from ExxonMobile. D'oh! I forgot, conservatives do that all the time!

11:57 AM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

Yes, William, you were very effective at drawing him into your phony argument. You have a promising career as an Internet troll.

12:03 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

And you Dave, Thomas, have promising careers as apologists and perpetrators of myth and legend.

The concept of christianity reminds me of that Star Trek film where Capt'n Kirk says, "excuse me, but what does God need with a spaceship?" Excuse me, but what kind of a god requires worship and condemns those who disobey to an eternity of firey torture? Not any god i want to know. Sounds more like an authoritarian dictator like Saddam Hussein than the 'prince of peace'.

It's an interesting demographic, denialism, dogmatism, and authoritarianism - so strongly associated with conservatives. I admire your conviction. Belief in the supernatural requires a lot of suspension of reason. I can also see that if you've been indoctrinated from and early age, you have lived you life with the absolute certainty of religious conviction and there is no room to consider it all may be a fallacy. There is no room for reason on the subject, only rationalization, often in the form of attacking anyone who questions the factual basis for religion.

AN interesting essay written by Terry Walstrom, a person who escaped the pit of absolute certainty of religion explains the psychology of how people fall into the self-righteous abyss:

1. Religion is often presented to us when we are young and intellectually unable to be skeptical. We trust what we are told and our world view is permanently colored.

2. We expect our belief system of religion to be absolutely true since it comes from an inerrant God. Consequently, we constantly find ways of proving it is true. Conversely, we ignore every evidence contrary to our expectation.

3. Religion carries with it many rituals. Ritual behaviors relieve our tensions and depressions in carrying the notion of "effective action" and getting positive results.

4. Prayer and Faith cannot be subject to disproof. We continue praying until we get some "signal" that our prayer is answered. If something bad happens it becomes a case of not displaying "enough faith."

5. Religous beliefs are reinforced by the social pressures of the group we belong to. Many groups are completely exclusive. Thus, all possibility of disproof is unavailable for observation.

6. The confidence, absolute certainty, positive attitude and determination that comes from believing your are RIGHT propel the "faithful" person into confident behavioral demonstrations. The faithful convinces himself and others as a result.

7. A True Believer has their ego and their future completely tied up in a package deal that must be reinforced and strengthened constantly to remain effective. As a consequence ever more active participation must be engaged in or the real world intrudes and extreme depression results.

Dogma is not debatable to the true believer. Dogma is blind and deaf to anything reason has to offer. Faith is nonnegotiable. We expect people in general to observe the rules of reason, yet religion gets a pass with otherwise rational people and ignors the rules of reason.

12:41 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

William the plagerist writes:Note: Thomas impugns my sources and the scholarship of others yet EVERY source he cites is from a christian author or a christian website.... kind of like citing global warming science from ExxonMobile.


First: It doesn't matter where the source comes from, but how accurate and reliable it is. Your sources are not reliable by demonstration, mine are reliable by demonstration.

Second: My sources are not all Christian - remember the Book of the Dead quote? Washington State University, bucko - hardly a bastion of Southern Baptist or Assembly of God thinking there.

Third: SO WHAT? All of your sources are anti-Christian. What, only Christians can be biased? Atheist are by definition fairminded? (Are you a standup comic? I mean your arguments are jokes, but in order to be funny you have to have an element of truth. So far that disqualifies you.) What matters is point one, numbnutz.

Four: You recon that we should consult Hindus, Shintos, Dentists, Shriners or the Miami Dolphins coaching staff on issues of Christian history? Do you think they give a rat's bohunkas about the subject?

Five: This is STILL not dealing with the facts presented. You don't get to change the subject homey.

12:51 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

It is quite disturbing to me that you consider my comments to fall under apologetics. I guess I'm not rude enough. I make no defense of Christians, Christianity, conservatives, or Republicans. If you have any other scarecrows, haul them out for us to look at.

If you have any evidence that atheism is not irrational, we'd also like to see that.

Apparently you aren't an atheist, though; can we take that as an implicit agreement that atheism is irrational? Or would that be like you assuming that everyone who is not an atheist is part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

1:02 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

I never said I was an atheist. I thought I made it clear that atheists or anyone that comes from a position of 'absolute certainty' is flawed. I just noted that when one's beliefs come from a perspective of absolute acceptance of the supernatural, I find it even more suspect, moreso because of the agendas previously mentioned.

1:10 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

So, there's a certain quality of "relative irrationalism" at issue here.

I find myself on the opposite side: When one's beliefs come from a perspective of absolute acceptance of other people's claims of authority, I find them more suspect than when one's beliefs are based on individual reasoning, personal introspection, and personal observation.

If that sounds like your boy's "common sense," I guess I could hold my nose and tentatively accept that comparison.

Moreover, absolute acceptance of other people's authority is even more suspect if someone has an agenda to promote utopianism, statism, identity politics, or elitist snobbery. If your primary objective in defending atheists is to take down conservative Christian Republicans, you are acting like a myopic, unreflective political hack.

1:43 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

I agree.

1:49 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dave,

When one's beliefs come from a perspective of absolute acceptance of other people's claims of authority, I find them more suspect than when one's beliefs are based on individual reasoning, personal introspection, and personal observation.

So those are the only two options?

Moreover, absolute acceptance of other people's authority is even more suspect if someone has an agenda to promote utopianism, statism, identity politics, or elitist snobbery. If your primary objective in defending atheists is to take down conservative Christian Republicans, you are acting like a myopic, unreflective political hack.

Yeah, that must be it. LOL

…primary objective in defending athiests..

No bigotry here.

Don’t you have a war on Christmas to get to back to?

1:59 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

That is the false dilemma presented by William. Take it up with him.

Yes, politicizing philosophical questions is mindless subservience to ideology. If you do it, you are acting like a moron, an ignorant, simpering party puppy. Vox does the same thing on occasion when attacking atheists, and it's an error on the part of the "Uploaded Internet Superintelligence." When I review his book, I expect to rip into him on this point.

Oh yeah, let's be clear: I AM bigoted against anyone claiming the proud title of "atheist," for the same reason William said.

2:13 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...


Moreover, absolute acceptance of other people's authority is even more suspect if someone has an agenda to promote utopianism, statism, identity politics, or elitist snobbery. If your primary objective in defending atheists is to take down conservative Christian Republicans, you are acting like a myopic, unreflective political hack.


Dave, this statement reminds me of a scene in a documentary.

2:18 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

I find extreme irony in someone who claims to be sceptical of historical claims of biblical accuracy based on their athiest beliefs and them goes on to tout manmade global warming hypothsis as a fact.

There's actually more physical evidence on earth for Biblical events than what is used to support AGW, since all of the AGW predictions come from computer models and not observed physical events.

2:23 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

William,

There's nothing like a Republican administration to ram through the laws that a Democratic administration is going to use to arrest me in a couple of years. What a bunch of idiots the Republican voters and the spineless Democratic senators are.

2:36 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dave:

Oh yeah, let's be clear: I AM bigoted against anyone claiming the proud title of "atheist," for the same reason William said.

So, I can infer that you are bigoted against anyone claiming the proud title of, Christian/Muslum/Hindu etc.

Or just atheists.

?

2:46 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

We are frequently told by Dawkins and Myers, among others, that "atheism" is a point of view adopted only after careful consideration.

So, if after careful consideration of your vast knowledge of the universe you conclude that there is no creator and no phenomenon that you cannot explain mechanistically, and that therefore you must adopt a "freethinking" subservience to any logical positivist, totalitarian materialist, or feelgood guru who stokes your fire, then you have made an error.

I am also suspicious of anyone who is a "cultural" religionist (one of Dawkins' favorite strawmen). Here, however, the problem is that they tend to deny that they have made a choice, when in fact they have. By denying responsibility for it, they can get away with anything. Dawkins is actually right to trash the cowardice of such people. The difference is that at least they admit to something greater than themselves that is not manmade.

The other categories would be the "cultural atheist," who is simply a pathetic reservoir of nihilistic garbage, and the "rational theist." I favor the last pigeonhole, having abandoned the "cultural atheism" position.

3:12 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

William,

Not all Christians believe that God demands worship, and threatens eternal hellfire to those that disagree. I do not believe the bible supports that conclusion, although there are obviously many who do.

Moreover, I would agree that anyone that thinks they have a complete and certain understanding of Christ is deluded. And once they start speaking for Him, look out.

I have sympathy for your point of view. However, the arguments that you have presented here are pretty weak, particularly those against Jesus' very existence. It would do you well to reflect that in the time that the NT was written, Christianity was hardly in a position of power or dominance, and the early Christians adhered to their faith on pain of death and torment of their own children. And yet, it grew into the dominant religion of the Roman Empire; subsequently a lot of nonsense has been promulgated in the name of Christ. But you have mischaracterized the faith in your zeal to dismiss the very idea of faith.

3:12 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Virtually any practice or position can be 'interpreted' from the bible, from murder to snake handling to speaking in tongues.

By the time of Constantine, christianity did weild considerable power and continued to for a millenium. There was most definitely a power motive in protecting christian doctrine and as you know, blood was spilled in pursuit of this end.

3:23 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dave,

As a lowly college student I bow down to your awesome intellect.

If only I can learn to be so intent on classifying, categorizing and judging people I am sure when I grow I will do really well for myself in the world.

3:28 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

Stick with it, and you'll get better at it--assuming you want a job in academia or business. Or just float along nonjudgmentally as The Eternal Student. But in the immortal words of the theologian Neil Peart, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

I'm perfectly comfortable with everyone being wherever they want to be on the spectrum, but I'm not going to trust the judgment of certain people.

3:37 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

What should have been our armor
Becomes a sharp and angry sword

We hold beliefs as a consolation
A way to take us out of ourselves
Meditation, or medication
A comfort, or a promised reward

- Neil Peart

Now it's comes to this
Wide-eyed armies of the faithful
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Pray, and pass the ammunition

So many people think that way
You gotta watch what you say
To them and them, and others too
Who don't seem to see the things the way you do

Now it's come to this
Hollow speeches of mass deception
From the Middle East to the Middle West
Like crusaders in unholy alliance

Now it's come to this
Like we're back in the Dark Ages
From the Middle East to the Middle West
It's a plague that resists all science

- Neil Peart

3:56 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

Neil Peart, Richard Meltzer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Robert Anton Wilson ... the heroes of my youth. Good times.

4:15 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Interestingly, though, Day found that "red-state" crime is primarily committed by "blue counties" within those states and has a nice chart to show the stats on this. It seems that Harris was looking at states such as Texas that had more crime and called the states "red" but conveniently omitted the part where the counties where the crimes were committed tended to be "blue

“Blue” counties tend to be metropolitan areas. And there is more crime?

Go figure.

6:19 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Thanks for clearing that up for us Keats, an example of how Vox operates and his followers swallow it.

8:12 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

Jesus loves me, this I know....'cause the Bible tells me so. That sums it up for me. I am not interested in anyone else's opinion. And I won't force mine on anyone else.

Of interest, I have been spending a lot of time watching the series about Mars on the Science Channel.
William Shatner is the narrator. Evidently, the Martian atmosphere is composed of 85% CO2 - according to NASA - a "known" greenhouse gas according to many.
Yet the surface temperature of Mars is -65 degrees on a warm day. Again according to NASA.

I don't know the figure for CO2 content of the earth's atmosphere, perhaps a couple percent or less, though. I'm confused. Does anyone have Al's phone number?

8:31 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

BR549,

The 11 most abundant gases in the atmosphere, by volume, according to PhysicalGeography.com:

Nitrogen - 78.08%

Oxygen - 20.95%

Water - 0 to 4% (varies by latitude)

Argon - 0.93%

Carbon Dioxide - 0.0360%

Neon - 0.0018%

Helium - 0.0005%

Methane - 0.00017%

Hydrogen - 0.00005%

Nitrous Oxide - 0.00003%

Ozone - 0.000004%

CO2's role in global warming is waaaay overstated and emphasized by computer models.

9:17 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

dogwood:

It is my belief that "waaaay overstated" (CO2's role) is an understatement. That's why I want Al's phone number. You know, the expert. The one who received the Nobel for his great contribution to myth perpetration.

9:51 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Sorry, can't help you with the phone number, wish I could though!

Surely Dr. H or the Instahusband know someone who knows someone who knows someone....Tennessee isn't THAT big of a state!

If you find the number, please share with the rest of us!

10:12 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

HK,

I, for one, do not think that you are a moron. You write well…


You’ve read my poetry?

Thank you , that’s very charitable.

Have you read Dawkins' books? Did you find yourself sympathetic to their point of view? Would you like to test the merit of those arguments and your sympathy for them?

Well, how hard can it be to find knowledge gaps against arguments that claim “religion poisons everything” and reason gaps against “science disproves God”.

Amateur stuff, to be sure.

But I’m feeling charitable so I may give Vox’s book a look.

10:31 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Dave said,

Oh yeah, let's be clear: I AM bigoted against anyone claiming the proud title of "atheist," for the same reason William said.

So, I can infer that you are bigoted against anyone claiming the proud title of, Christian/Muslum/Hindu etc.

Or just atheists.

?

*silence*

because it’s *OK* to be bigoted against atheists.

10:59 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Wow. I guess its time to talk about climate change.

Ice cores show that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have remained between 180and 300 parts per million for the past half-a-million years. In recent centuries, however, CO2 levels have risen sharply, to at least 380 ppm (see Greenhouse gases hit new high)

So what's going on? It is true that human emissions of CO2 are small compared with natural sources. But the fact that CO2 levels have remained steady until very recently shows that natural emissions are usually balanced by natural absorptions. Now slightly more CO2 must be entering the atmosphere than is being soaked up by carbon "sinks".

The consumption of terrestrial vegetation by animals and by microbes (rotting, in other words) emits about 220 gigatonnes of CO2 every year, while respiration by vegetation emits another 220 Gt. These huge amounts are balanced by the 440 Gt of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere each year as land plants photosynthesise.

Similarly, parts of the oceans release about 330 Gt of CO2 per year, depending on temperature and rates of photosynthesis by phytoplankton, but other parts usually soak up just as much – and are now soaking up slightly more.

Ocean sinks
Human emissions of CO2 are now estimated to be 26.4 Gt per year, up from 23.5 Gt in the 1990s, according to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in February 2007 (pdf format). Disturbances to the land – through deforestation and agriculture, for instance – also contribute roughly 5.9 Gt per year.

About 40% of the extra CO2 entering the atmosphere due to human activity is being absorbed by natural carbon sinks, mostly by the oceans. The rest is boosting levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

How can we be sure that human emissions are responsible for the rising CO2 in the atmosphere? There are several lines of evidence. Fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago. They therefore contain virtually no carbon-14, because this unstable carbon isotope, formed when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, has a half-life of around 6000 years. So a dropping concentration of carbon-14 can be explained by the burning of fossil fuels. Studies of tree rings have shown that the proportion of carbon-14 in the atmosphere dropped by about 2% between 1850 and 1954. After this time, atmospheric nuclear bomb tests wrecked this method by releasing large amounts of carbon-14.

Volcanic misunderstanding
Fossil fuels also contain less carbon-13 than carbon-12, compared with the atmosphere, because the fuels derive from plants, which preferentially take up the more common carbon-12. The ratio of carbon-13 to carbon-12 in the atmosphere and ocean surface waters is steadily falling, showing that more carbon-12 is entering the atmosphere.

Finally, claims that volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities are simply not true. In the very distant past, there have been volcanic eruptions so massive that they covered vast areas in lava more than a kilometre thick and appear to have released enough CO2 to warm the planet after the initial cooling caused by the dust (see Wipeout). But even with such gigantic eruptions, most of subsequent warming may have been due to methane released when lava heated coal deposits, rather than from CO2 from the volcanoes (see also Did the North Atlantic's 'birth' warm the world?).

Measurements of CO2 levels over the past 50 years do not show any significant rises after eruptions. Total emissions from volcanoes on land are estimated to average just 0.3 Gt of CO2 each year – about a hundredth of human emissions (pdf document).

While volcanic emissions are negligible in the short term, over tens of millions of years they do release massive quantities of CO2. But they are balanced by the loss of carbon in ocean sediments subducted under continents through tectonic plate movements. Ultimately, this carbon will be returned to the atmosphere by volcanoes.

Is God just monkeying with the isotope ratios to test us, like with the dinosaur fossils?

11:20 PM, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Whoops.

I forgot to cite my source. How unscholarly of me.

Its algoresass.com

Because, obviously the GlobalWarmingHoax® is all a LiberalConspiracy™

5:07 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Thomas,

If you need a worldview that conforms to your mindset I recommend this

5:34 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Oh,

And in case you’re wondering what’s up with all the comments, I’m just getting started.

Being that I’m just a pimply-faced college-boy, the way I figure it Brittney Spears will be a great-great grandmother by the time I’m done here.

6:47 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Am I a militant atheist?

Well, no, not in the sense that I would protest churches or lobby for someone’s quality of life to be compromised or have their civil or Constitutional rights infringed predicated on their creed or faith.

But I sure as hell will make fun of your weak game for going through intellectual contortions to *justify* believing in some ancient fairy tales.

Or we could keep our faith in church where it belongs, out of the classroom, forget all this intelligent design B.S., and the war on science, end these stupid culture wars and get back to normal and behave like adults.

Hell, we might reduce the trade deficit that way, you know if we start catching up with the rest of the world.

7:53 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

Thanks, hendrix. Now please explain why the surface temperature of Mars isn't at least that of Venus.

And while you're at it, simplify string theory for me, solve the big bang theory, and finally explain why the earth is the only planet we know capable of supporting life as we understand it. Please show your work.

9:24 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The only thing I’m trying to prove is that science isn’t religion.

Or vice versa. I agree. My point is that reason (i.e. logic, rationality, etc.) do not fully explain or necessarily provide answers for us either. Sometimes very logical hypotheses :-) fall short in real life. In psychology, behaviorism attempts to explain behavior in terms of negative and positive consequences, learning via exposure your environment, repition, etc. But in reality it doesn't even explain how we learn languages.

According to behaviorism, we would learn words according to which words we hear the most. But, we don't. We learn nouns first, then verbs, and so on. However, we hear words like "and" or "the" more often.

The CO2 produced by humans is causing global warming is a false dilemna. During the Cretaceous Period the Earth was much warmer. In the tropics the ocean surface temperature was as high as 107° F. Obviously, there are many factors other than human influence that can create global warming. This is a matter for further debate and investigation.

However, most global warmingists are stifling debate and further investigation. The most common claim is the X number of leading climate scientists agree..... But this is another fallacy, "appeal to authority" and "Argumentum ad populum." Of course, the anti-Gores often use the "appeal to motive" fallacy to discredit Gore.

I make no claim to be well versed in logic. I look all this stuff up. But reason and logic have their limits. If you try to logically analyze something, you can quickly get to the infinite "why." Plus, it's easy to disagree on cause and effect in many circustances, etc., etc.

All that said, when it comes to environmentalism, during my adult life, nearly 40 years now, I've been more environmentally conscious than nearly all (I'm guessing 95%) of the liberals and global warming alarmists I know and still am. Guess it was all the nuns in grade school telling me to protect God's Earth and not be wasteful. :-)

10:24 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

BR549:

Wow, didn’t see that coming. What can I say? You got me.

BTW. What’s you’re back up plan in case, you know, the 90% probably that you’re wrong on the climate thing actually comes to pass?

Speaking of nouns,

You know faith is a noun that means belief without material or logical evidence, and yet some people insist on producing material or logical evidence to justify their faith.
And then they wonder why we keep calling them irrational.

*goes back to updating facebook page*

11:02 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

Hendrix ole boy, you have faith and don't even realize it.

You have faith in science. Faith that the sun will rise again tomorrow morning. With a one in 20 chance you will have an automobile accident every time you drive your car, I assume it does not stop you from doing so.

People play the lottery every day, with a millions to one chance of winning.

I'm not trying to "get" anyone. But faith comes in all sizes and flavors. You go to your church, I'll go to mine.

11:25 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

BR549:

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Science is religion.

2+2=5

Do you really want to live in world where language has no meaning?

11:33 AM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

But reason and logic have their limits

Well, yeah, but they still tend to come in handy.

Given a choice between computer models and "bible prophecy" my money is on the computers.

12:16 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Now, if I understand correctly Mr. Day asserts that he has proven that those that disagree with me on this issue have arrived at their conclusion in a way that is strictly analogous to the way I arrived at mine. Now, being that we are all human, I can certainly understand that there will be some shared aspects, but I am skeptical that the process can be accurately described as strictly analogous in way that complies with basic common sense. I’ll go to that chapter first.

12:41 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

So where are you going now, hendrix?

I'm afraid you've lost me here.

What I am saying is that if C02 is the green house monster, why isn't Mars hotter than a place you believe does not exist? If you believe in string theory, or the big bang theory, etc., why not God?
Why do you accept something that seems as silly as the entire universe was at one time compressed into the size of a single atom, and then exploded into the ever expanding universe - all by itself. There was nothing, then ka-boom, an entire universe. All by itself, one lone planet pops up, with all things necessary to support life, an incredible amount of life. A planet where to this day new species are still being discovered, and species are dying out. And the ascent of man culminates in blogs where I am an idiot if I don't believe all you say, and totally discredit and throw out my own beliefs. One has to make many leaps of faith to believe much of scientific theory.

Just for grins, purchase a Bible and read through Proverbs. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.

Meanwhile, I'll try to figure out just what your last post means. Language has meaning. Some posts don't.

12:52 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Br549,

Well, if that’s what you were trying to say, why didn’t you just say it?

Wow, it looks like your whole comment was mainly a lot of unwarranted assumptions about me and what I think.

Just for shits and grins, read my blog if you want know anything about what I think.

One has to make many leaps of faith to believe much of scientific theory.

See, this is where we get into Orwellian newspeak. If you want to have a conversation in plain English, get back to me.

1:03 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Br549

Faith

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.

As used in science, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.

I am using definition 2 from above to define faith.

If you pick definition 1 then I am going to ask you to prove that whatever idea or thing you are defining as “faith” is just as reliable as science, logic and reason in serving the purpose of obtaining knowledge (not wisdom).

If you choose not to we will have to agree to disagree for now.

Arguments that boil down to “we can never know anything” will be thrown out for being in violation of common sense. All you can do is claim I’m wrong.

1:48 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Hendrix,
It's not worth debating science with science deniers that are proven believers of the supernatural, myth and legend. Msny are incapable of learning for a number of reasons - cultural, intellectual, absolute certainty, etc...

1:59 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

William,

I know, I wasting my time.

It’s the bloggosphere, myspace for adults!

(whoops, I’m just a kid, I forgot for a second)

But Br549 didn’t give me the impression he was a true “science denier”.

I just got he was throwing out the usual, “Science hasn’t proven anything so it’s just another religion”™ line.

I can see how someone could be confused on that point in a way that can be cleared up.

But maybe I’m wrong.

2:12 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

As to "explaining" common sense, he seems to think that common sense has something to do with scientific method or results, and that since you disagree with him, that means you don't have common sense. Somehow this implies that God doesn't exist.

In early modern writing (e.g. Descartes) the faculty responsible for coordinating the deliveries of the different senses. In this meaning the objects of common sense are the ‘common sensibles’, i.e. qualities such as extension and motion that can be detected by more than one sense. Later the term loses any special meaning, coming to refer just to the sturdy good judgement, uncontaminated by too much theory and unmoved by scepticism, that is supposed to belong to persons before they become too philosophical.

http://www.answers.com/topic/common-sense

4:04 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Of course science isn't religion. Sometimes they intersect when discussing phenomena or experience, but they are entirely dissimilar in foundation and realm of authority

Religion has a realm of authority?

I thought we did away with that crap on July 4, 1776

4:37 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

You haven't answered anything I asked you about. As like most "superiors" I've spoken to, you deflect what you can't answer, trash and otherwise hold in contempt any who do not believe as you do. Personal attacks and condescending statements are about all I've heard out of you, aimed at who you disagree with.

But I'm having fun.

5:05 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

br549:

You haven't *asked* anything.

You posed a set of if/then type scenarios where the "if's" were all unwarranted assumpsions.

But if you have a serious question, I'll try to answer it.

5:13 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Hendrix Keats said...

Br549

I mean, if you prove I’m capable of being technically irrational, that’s just a pointless gotcha’, because its part of human instincts.

I am not here to argue philosophy. I am not trying to prove that *God* does not exist, or that religion can not serve to improve the human condition.

I am just sick and tired of this pointless war on science, and public policy driven by ignorance.

If you are someone that wants to order this nation according to religious dogma then I do not support your agenda. Since you seem to be fairly knowledgeable person I would not make that assumption. (spelled it right this time)

But if you are, and you succeed, can I pick my own method of execution or will the standard burning at the stake be required?

I do not believe I am superior as you have assumed. If you want me to be more polite I ask that you please refrain from filling your comments with bogus rhetoric.

If you enjoy pushing my buttons for entertainment value, you are not alone, but there is not that much sport in it.

5:41 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Dave said...

Act III, Scene I

Stage is dark. Close spot on leering Christian libertarian blogger twirling his handlebar mustache, stage left. Medium spot on Lady Science, stage right, who is pale and frightened, looking upward. She begins to sing:

"I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life..."

Lights up. The Dynamic Duo enter stage center, between Lady Science and the sneering Science-hater...

11:48 PM, January 26, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

hendrix:

Sorry to take so long getting back to you. I was baby sitting the grand-baby last night so my daughter and her hubster could get a night off.

I refer back to my 9:24 AM and 5:05 PM posts of yesterday. My 12:52 PM post was in reference to your 11:33 AM post of yesterday.

I do engineering for a living. So, of course I believe in science. But I also believe in God.

To be honest, my beliefs are what they are, and are not affected by another's. Whether I can put my hands around them, or have to leap a chasm. You have to admit that eventually, as one digs down, quantum mechanics stops working. String theory is a hell of a stretch. The big bang theory (operative word is, again, theory) almost seems like an invention to give the answer to creation from nothing to an endless universe. Theories as these also appear to push a God aside, in a manner as that anything one can think of is theoretically possible, except a supreme being.

And OK, I admit it. I have been pushing buttons, and you have been taking the bait. You asked what would I do if global warming really is true. Perhaps it is, there is evidence of previous global warming, as well as ice ages all over this planet. Is it just another cycle, if it is indeed happening? Have we truly contributed? Can we really prevent it, slow it, or stop it? I took a couple years of geology before switching majors way back when. Geologic time is quite a stretch for such an ephemeral being as a puny human.

I have been having fun. Seems you have been to. But, as I said before, you go to your church, and I'll go to mine.

9:56 AM, January 27, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

Oh yeah. In answering a question with a question, what will you do if you find there really is a God on the other side of your final sleep? Just asking.

9:59 AM, January 27, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

Religion has a realm of authority?

I thought we did away with that crap on July 4, 1776


Of course. It has authority over those that give it authority via worship.

In 1776, we showed that governments only have authority over those that give it authority as well, via taxes, voting, and not revolting.

You're too proud Hendrix.

Personally, I think that global warming is at least in part anthropogenic. I believe that misguided religious zealots have hijacked our government. I am actually a paleo-liberal, when it comes to political philosophy. And I was raised an atheist by two parents that were raised atheists as well.

But I can see the wisdom of Jesus' words; and I know that the way to resolve the problem of the misapplication of religion in society is to engage people without useless attacks and baseless assumptions.

You've just poured gasoline on the fire that you're afraid will burn down your house. I suspect that you've very much enjoyed the rush of the flames.

Good luck with your future life as a jackal; I feel sure you'll go far.

12:54 PM, January 27, 2008  
Blogger observer said...

I wonder if Vox Day and other Christians will ever dialogue with Eastern spirituality which is always nonsectarian and universalistic, and in fact some of its later sages have seen atheism as a necessary stage in humanity's moral and spiritual evolution.

No, I guess they won't, because they believe their own religion is the One True Path.

"Atheism is a necessary protest against the wickedness of the churches and the narrowness of the creeds. God uses it as stone to smash these soiled card-houses."
-- Sri Aurobindo

1:22 PM, January 27, 2008  
Blogger thimscool said...

Observer, like others here, you paint with a pretty broad brush. Certainly there are Christians that "dialog with Eastern spirituality".

Y'all seem to think that every Christian is like that squirrel-eating Mike Huckabee.

As for the "one true path", the Gospel makes no such indication. John 14.6 is often taken out of context to support such an assertion, but in my opinion, Jesus only lays claim to being God's judge; and I believe that he is a very progressive judge at that.

You need no believe based on my arguments, or anyones arguments. But the way that HK and William have disrespected Christianity in this thread is childish, pathetic and ignorant.

Calling the life of Jesus a "silly myth" betrays fear and loathing, rather than rational skepticism.

3:45 PM, January 27, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

Is Vox Day a real name?

I am certain Snopes used to have an article showing that counties that voted for Gore had higher than those that voted for Bush, but I can't find it. Here is an article claiming the murder rate was about 6 times higher, but I'm not sure if that is true.

Believers feel that inherent rights come from God. I sometimes wonder how an atheist views this. I would imagine a liberal atheist believes rights come from the government, and perhaps a conservative atheist would feel that it is based on psychology caused by evolution.

Brian, do you accept evolution? I skimmed over your post and I agree that sometimes credentials and beliefs don't match, but that probably says more about the individual than the belief. I've also noticed some atheists who don't seem to know much about science.

David - My guess is that William does not read. Anytime Helen posts something related to Liberal Fascism, he links to some anti-Christian screed and it seems unlikely he is actually reading the interviews. Thanks for the Vod Dax response; I read the student's post and I wanted to see a good response to it.

I was reading once and I don't remember the exact argument, but I think it was if atheists knew everything there is about science then they could predict the future. The problem is that quantum physics disproves this. The future is not pre-determined.

6:10 PM, January 28, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

Whiskey: However arguing against the NEED for religion is about as "scientific" as arguing against genetic adaptations for lactose tolerance

I've heard that lactose tolerance is a recent development within the last 2000 or 3000 years as farming of cows became more widespread.

Vox: You're doing better than your professor now, Hendrix

I agree, he does seem more eloquent than William. I wonder what subject William teaches and how he treats Theists in his class.

6:08 PM, January 29, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

hendrix: But I’m feeling charitable so I may give Vox’s book a look.

Wow, quite a change! I'm glad you are willing to consider it.

Its algoresass.com

For a minute there you had me convinced that was a real website. :)

br549 - I don't know the specifics, but there are several pieces of evidence to support a big bang, but this is not anti-God. Our universe had a beginning, it did not always exist. Now atheists claim that there are a large number of universes and we are the lucky ones, but that is unproven. Another interesting piece of information is related to quantum physics. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle says that you cannot know both the momentum and the position of a particle at the same time, only one or the other. This means that the future is not pre-determined. Now you can use probabilites, but they are not 100% accurate and they are not always the exact same percentage of accuracy. Both of these seem to be very strong indicators from a physics perspective that God does exist and is not bound by our universe.

hendrix - I am a conservative and I accept that global warming is happening because there is a lot of evidence. However, there appear to be issues that still need to be worked out. I also think humans are having an impact, but are definitely not the sole cause. The problems I have with the issue are: carbon credits (and Al Gore profits from it), environmental organizations paying out money for the idea to be promoted, the desire to use the UN and socialism to fix the problem, and political scare tactics that blame things for global warming that are not proven (Katrina - worsened by poor dams, fires - worsened because of poor environmental policies over the past 30 years).

Religion has a realm of authority?

Wouldn't that be the leaders? The Pope for Catholics, the Prophet for Mormons, perhaps the bible or koran?

Observer: I'm not sure I understand your exact criticism. There are tolerant religious people who discuss issues with people from other faiths. As far as science goes, Kenneth Miller claims in his book that our current understanding of science supports the three Western religions, but not the Eastern religions. I don't remember his exact argument, but it might have to do with free will.

6:04 PM, January 30, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

serket:

The Bible states at one time there was nothing. The Trinity, of course, but nothing beyond that. All was created. In religious circles, there are those who believe God created the rules and let's it go as He instructed. There are those who believe He controls all things at all times - otherwise everything would cease. The birds that fly, every cloud that goes over one's head. Except us, and our free will.

I am not a Biblical scholar. But I do not believe faith and science are all that far apart. Where they part ways, it is my belief we (people) are wrong in our assumptions, and / or math. All you have to do is realize you put the wrong head on dinosaur bones for a few years, and it changes everything. Now the poor old brontosaurus never existed at all. He was my favorite as a kid. Rats. My life long belief is now left unreconciled. Science has changed over the centuries, finding many dead ends, wrong directions. But the universe is still here, as it was, whether science is right or wrong.

Depending upon who you side with, string theory has 11 or 16 dimensions. We all know about three, and most can get their hands around four.

I am fascinated by science, but in awe of God. [There are many shade tree mechanics who can re-build an automobile engine. Designing one from scratch and making it function flawlessly is a horse of a different color.]

I have trouble on both ends at times, which is why I stick with my own Bible based beliefs. You know, let the rough side drag. There are those who claim to know the mind of God. I would never be so bold as to say that. There are those who believe God is a myth, and put people down as idiots or superstitious fools for believing.
Big mistake. The Bible says God is not mocked. It says we all will stand before Him. I accept that. And I'm concerned! Our lives on earth as carbon based units (apologies to Star Trek) aren't a particle of geologic time, much less eternity.

Politics and faith are tough to discuss. So is science, I guess.

6:38 AM, January 31, 2008  
Blogger Albs said...

What evidence reassures us that Christianity won't go the way of Greek Mythology in the next century or so?
As a Christian, I am plauged by this comparison all the time.
People died for Zeus & Co, there were Oracles and stuff, miracles. blah blah.
If only Jesus would show up...but my friends say if he did, we'd love him less. I'm not sure why.

5:40 PM, January 31, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

Like Kris Kristoferson (spelling?)sang in one of his songs, "I reckon they'd just nail him up if he came down again.

Even with an incredible outpouring of knowledge over the centuries, albs, man is no more wise than then.

6:10 PM, January 31, 2008  
Blogger Thomas said...

http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2008/01/irrational-atheist.html

This is left behind to notify Ellen that she is the very first 2008 Platinum Screwball award nominee. High honor indeed.

6:35 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

I read a few passages for Easter and found the answer for William. The Pharisees wanted people to believe the Resurrection was staged.

Matthew 27: 62-66 (KJV): Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate saying, "Sir, we remember that that deceived said, while he was yet alive, 'after three days I will rise again.' Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, 'he is risen from the dead' so the last error shall be worse than the first." Pilate said unto them, "Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can." So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Matthew 28: 2-4: And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

Matthew 28: 11-15: Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers saying, "Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while he slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you." So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

12:47 AM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Websurfa! said...

William, you are cracking me up!!! You take yourself way way too seriously to be taken seriously! The fact that many Americans may not be on board with Evolution or that we are a religious country has nothing to do with how advanced we are or sophisticated we have become! People are different, we all take in different aspects of how we perceive reality, this may mean through reading a book or actually learning through life experience. It seems to me you have only expanded on the first and not the latter. It's good and healthy to have THE BIG PICTURE! You must not assume that any rational thinking man must of course believe in Evolution and be non-religious for instance, because being a pre-med student, i know many very smart and educated people who have the ability to be very rational, yet also have very logical and rational reasons for their religious or faith in God! WHat your missing and most likely not allowing for, is our innate human ability to take in what's around us by not always "thinking" but just taking it all in so to speak. Try it for awhile and be open to allowing yourself to experience all of life's wonders and spiritual oneness! It may surprise you!!!

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