PvM posted Entry 2047 on February 21, 2006 12:58 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2042

Father George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, presented the following speech “Science Does Not Need God, or Does It? A Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution,” at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., Jan. 31:

Father George Coyne wrote:

Abstract

I would essentially like to share with you two convictions in this presentation: (1) that the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry; (2) that our scientific understanding of the universe, untainted by religious considerations, provides for those who believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs. Please note carefully that I distinguish, and will continue to do so in this presentation, that science and religion are totally separate human pursuits. Science is completely neutral with respect to theistic or atheistic implications which may be drawn from scientific results.

George Coyne also addresses what he sees as a tragic moment in the relationship of the Catholic church to science: namely the errors in Cardinal Schönborn’s comments in the New York Times.

The most recent episode in the relationship of the Catholic Church to science, a tragic one as I see it, is the affirmation by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in his article in the New York Times, 7 July 2005, that neo-Darwinian evolution is not compatible with Catholic doctrine and he opts for Intelligent Design. To my estimation, the cardinal is in error on at least five fundamental issues, among others: (1) the scientific theory of evolution, as all scientific theories, is completely neutral with respect to religious thinking; (2) the message of John Paul II, which I have just referred to and which is dismissed by the cardinal as “rather vague and unimportant,” is a fundamental church teaching which significantly advances the evolution debate; (3) neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal: “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection;” (4) the apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process does not require a designer; (5) Intelligent Design is not science despite the cardinal’s statement that “neo-Darwinism and the multi-verse hypothesis in cosmology [were] invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science.

Father Coyne expressed his concerns earlier in this interview

So why does there seem to be a persistent retreat in the Church from attempts to establish a dialogue with the community of scientists, religious believers or otherwise? There appears to exist a nagging fear in the Church that a universe, which science has established as evolving for 13.7 x 1 billion years since the Big Bang and in which life, beginning in its most primitive forms at about 12 x 1 billion years from the Big Bang, evolved through a process of random genetic mutations and natural selection, escapes God’s dominion. That fear is groundless. Science is completely neutral with respect to philosophical or theological implications that may be drawn from its conclusions. Those conclusions are always subject to improvement. That is why science is such an interesting adventure and scientists curiously interesting creatures. But for someone to deny the best of today’s science on religious grounds is to live in that groundless fear just mentioned

Father Coyne’s position on “Intelligent Design” is quite clear

The director of the Vatican Observatory has lashed out at proponents of the theory of Intelligent Design, the Italian news service ANSA reports.

“Intelligent design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be,” said Father George Coyne. He said that if the theory is introduced in schools, it should be taught in religion classes, not science classes. ANSA reported that the Jesuit priest made his remarks at a conference in Florence.

Fortunately, Father Coyne does not stand alone in his opinion, a Vatican newspaper

After months of mixed messages from Pope Benedict XVI and his aides, the Vatican directly addressed the issue in the Tuesday (Jan. 17) edition of L’Osservatore Romano by reaffirming Catholic support for the science behind Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

In an editorial by Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, Italy, the newspaper said proponents of intelligent design improperly blurred the lines between science and faith to make their case that certain forms of biological life are too complex to have evolved through Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“If the model proposed by Darwin is held to be inadequate, one should look for another model. But it is not correct methodology to stray from the field of science pretending to do science,” Facchini wrote.

Views expressed in L’Osservatore do not affect church doctrine, but the newspaper is thought to reflect Vatican thinking because its content is published with official approval.

Even Schonborn has shifted (or clarified) his position

In a recent interview with Beliefnet in the Austrian capital, Schönborn set out his sometimes misunderstood views, clearly distinguishing between evolution and what he calls “evolutionism.” He explained that while he believes that God is the intelligent designer of the universe, his position on evolution springs from a philosophical rather than a scientific standpoint. His main concern, he said, was not to denigrate evolution as a natural process but to criticize atheistic materialism [the idea that only matter, not spirit, exists] as the dominant philosophy of today’s secular societies.

And Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University and the author of ‘Finding Darwin’s God.’, argued that

The theory of evolution is not inherently atheistic. A random natural process can fall within God’s plan for creation.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #81244

Posted by Corkscrew on February 21, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

I’m not sure how the lack of a conflict between science and religion suggests that science needs God. How badly am I missing the point here?

Comment #81245

Posted by BWE on February 21, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

His main concern, he said, was not to denigrate evolution as a natural process but to criticize atheistic materialism [the idea that only matter, not spirit, exists] as the dominant philosophy of today’s secular societies.

Help me out here. Where is evolution promoting materialism?
I was under the impression that the theory of evolution explains speciation through natural selection. Is there an evolution code in Origin of Species? If you start on the 43rd letter of the 2nd paragraph and count every 9th letter (exept the 14th where you have to count the seventh) you get “Materialism is the Satanic Truth of Tomorrow”?

Comment #81246

Posted by PaulC on February 21, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

(1) that the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry

No way! Could he be suggesting it’s beneath God’s stature to be sitting at a drawing board designing tiny outboard motors resembling Mazda engines, affixing them to the posteriors of E. coli one by one, and setting them spinning? Or that maybe an omniscient God would rely on well-established principles of self-organization to arrive at the beauty we see around us instead of patching the whole thing together piecemeal?

According to scripture, “not a sparrow falls” without God’s being aware of it. So I guess by that theory, not a bacterium goes propellerless without God personally stepping in to do something about it. Maybe this view is appealing to some people, but it strikes me as a bit unnecessary. I’m definitely siding with Coyne on this one.

Comment #81250

Posted by Russell on February 21, 2006 1:51 PM (e)

…the affirmation by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in his article in the New York Times, 7 July 2005, that neo-Darwinian evolution is not compatible with Catholic doctrine and he opts for Intelligent Design.

Schönborn set out his sometimes misunderstood views, clearly distinguishing between evolution and what he calls “evolutionism.”

So when the Cardinal wrote “neo-Darwinian evolution”, what he really meant was “evolutionism”. Call me skeptical, but I suspect that clarity is not really the goal here. If they ever stated anything clearly, they could be clearly wrong. Much better to say something like “the perfection of the totality of everythingness is inherent in the reality of the divine presence within the eternal vision of the, um, thingie”.

Comment #81251

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 21, 2006 1:59 PM (e)

All this is very nice and dandy but says nothing about the big elephant in the room, the apparent conflict between the Bible and three branches of science.

These clergymen who respect science must choose between

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other,

(2) Science refutes the Bible and they should just dispense with the claim that it is divinely inspired, or

(3) re-examine the Bible very carefully to see if its words could actually be saying things that are compatible with science.

Now which is it going to be?

Option (1) seems contrived and making excuses,

Option (2) is the preferred option for many but unacceptable to these clergymen,

Option (3) is the option they should look into very carefully since its efficacy HAS ALREADY been demonstrated.

Comment #81253

Posted by Wislu Plethora, FCD on February 21, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

Carol the threadkiller strikes again, and has no original thoughts to offer. Let the disemvoweling begin!

Comment #81255

Posted by BWE on February 21, 2006 2:08 PM (e)

Carol, do you believe in the Christian God?

Do you know why that last comment was, um, I’ll let other, more articulate folks place the adjectives.

Comment #81256

Posted by David Heddle on February 21, 2006 2:13 PM (e)

Fortunately, although it’s never acknowledged on Panda’s Thumb, Fr. Coyne does not and cannot make statements ex cathedra, so nothing he says can be couched as “The Catholic Church says”. Of course, on PT his statements are considered infallible, and more binding on the Catholic faithful than anything a pope says. Coyne’s opinion that ID belittles god is only his opinion, and it is a nonsensical one. ID may not be science, but it may be true—will Fr. Coyne stand before God and inform Him that He belittled Himself by the methods He chose?

As for complete separation between science and religion, that is utter nonsense—for it demands that God’s creation is manifestly orthogonal to Himself, or, another way of saying the same thing, it demands general revelation (science) is completely independent from special revelation—even though special revelation (the bible and, for Catholics, sacred tradition) states that the two overlap.

Fr. Coyne said ““Intelligent design isn’t science, even if it pretends to be,”” but what is clear is that Fr. Coyne is not a theologian, even he pretends to be.

Surprising you’ve left it for me to point out that you have called Panda Thumb’s prized marionette, Kenneth Miller, “Keith B Mille”. You may want to correct that. He’s also wrong (useful idiots usually are) –evolution, as he described it, is indeed inherently atheistic.

Comment #81257

Posted by wamba on February 21, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

He’s also wrong (useful idiots usually are) —evolution, as he described it, is indeed inherently atheistic.

Sure. So is the heliocentric model of the solar system.

Comment #81258

Posted by Space_Monkey on February 21, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

Father Coyne, IMO, is wrong to say that science and religion are not in conflict. Science (and philosophy) are branches of inquiry - they require that whatever one says must be backed up with some kind of reasoning and evidence. Religion is not inquiry - it does NOT require that its claims be backed up by rigorous argumentation; religion is faith.

Now as long as religions make claims that are untestable, do not cohere with everything else we know, are internally inconsistent, or otherwise unreasonable, science and religion will conflict. And such claims are central to most religions - ie that there is a deity whose presence is untestable, that has X,Y and Z contradictory properties, and who acts through supernatural means.

Comment #81259

Posted by Wislu Plethora, FCD on February 21, 2006 2:34 PM (e)

Heddle wrote:

He’s also wrong (useful idiots usually are)

Pretty bold talk, coming from a guy whose intellectual currency has been invested wholly in logical fallacies, and appears not to realize that the ROI from same can only be payment in kind.

Comment #81262

Posted by PaulC on February 21, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

Carol Clouser:

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other,

Option (1) seems contrived and making excuses,

What’s contrived about it? Even if you believe that any part of the Bible is the Word of God, it is clearly an nth generation copy made by fallible humans; anyone who’s played the “Telephone game” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_%28game%29 knows where that leads. Moreover, humans have done more that made transcription errors. They’ve written tons of apocrypha and attempted with varying degrees of success to insert it into the Bible. The exact composition of the books of the Bible, let alone their text, is a matter of controversy between religions claiming it as sacred scripture.

So the assumption that any extant copy of the Bible is accurate enough to accept at face value is the one that sounds “contrived” to me.

Finally, nobody I know of says that it’s all allegory. I imagine that there is some actual geneology recorded in Numbers, that the Israelites probably spent time in Egypt, that there was probably a historical figure corresponding to Jesus. On the other hand, I sort of doubt there was an historical Jonah, and if there was, it is laughable to suppose he was swallowed and disgorged alive by a giant fish. It’s not a bad allegorical tale for all that. Ditto for Job. Humans have been telling allegorical tales since they could tell tales at all. To deny the allegory in the Bible is truly “contrived” since it sets it apart from all other comparable literature.

Comment #81263

Posted by steve s on February 21, 2006 2:43 PM (e)

Oooo, David Heddle AND Carol Clouser. This is sure to be a quality thread.

Comment #81267

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on February 21, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

steve s said:
Oooo, David Heddle AND Carol Clouser. This is sure to be a quality thread.

Now, if only we had a way of dropping Larry “my name is Legion” Fafarman on them and watch all three annihilate in a cosmic flash…

Comment #81268

Posted by Moses on February 21, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

Comment #81251

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 21, 2006 01:59 PM (e)

All this is very nice and dandy but says nothing about the big elephant in the room, the apparent conflict between the Bible and three branches of science.

Can you explain the evolution of early Judaism and the reconciliation of the Israeli Kingdom’s Ugartic polytheistic religion (El being the head of the pantheon) with the Judea’s Monotheistic Yahweh cult of which was substantially influenced by Osiris worship? Can you do this within the accepted archaeological evidence in the well recognized (by non-denialists) six great reforms of Judaism?

Can you explain why in Genesis, the female plural is used in the creation story? Would this not be God’s wife, Asherah, who was written out of the picture by the patriarchs during the first great reconciliation of Israel & Judah? And, is it any coincidence that Asherah was the Goddess of Serpents and that’s why Satan is depicted as a serpent?

Why was Asherah’s sacred tree/pole (twined with serpents like the caduceus) present in the first temple for 240 years of it’s 300+ years of existence? Why was Asherah not attacked in the bible until Deuteronomy?

Honestly, I don’t expect you to answer. At least honestly and intelligibly dealing with historical fact and precedent. Frankly, like the vast majority of Christian’s that run into this material, I suspect that you are almost certainly incapable of dealing honestly with the origins of your religion and what that implies. And since you’re in denial (ignorant) about your religion (and it’s origins) why should Lenny (or I, or anyone) give a fig (or respect) your religious opinions on evolution or the origins of life?

After all, your kind rarely know the origins of their religion. And even when exposed to them, your kind tend to end-up preferring denial, rationalizations and fantasy to the reality of the origins and evolution of your religion.

Comment #81269

Posted by Doc Bill on February 21, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

I believe that Carol’s argument works equally well with “Moby Dick.”

Why ignore the Great White Whale in the room, I say.

Comment #81270

Posted by Moses on February 21, 2006 3:19 PM (e)

My rhetorical question of the day:

Why is it Judaism, and it’s variants, accept the evolution of all religions but their own, which they seek to fix unchanging and perfect, like fossilized insects in amber?

It’s just rhetorical. I know the answer. I just find the denials, even among many historians and archaeologists, to be amazing.

Comment #81272

Posted by NJ on February 21, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Aureola Nominee, FCD wrote:

Now, if only we had a way of dropping Larry “my name is Legion” Fafarman on them and watch all three annihilate in a cosmic flash…

Nope, that won’t work. The only way you’d get a complete annhilation is if the three of them directly came into contact with PZ, PvM and Rilke’s Granddaughter. That way you would have the necessary ‘thinking - anti-thinking’ pairs.

With just the three you referred to, we’d be stuck with the anti-thinking particles…

Comment #81274

Posted by Doc Bill on February 21, 2006 3:25 PM (e)

Yes, and we all know what happens when you get three or more anti-thinking particles together……the repel EVERYTHING else.

Comment #81275

Posted by Chiefley on February 21, 2006 4:05 PM (e)

Carol,
The insistence on Bible inerrancy (i.e. literally true) is a relatively new phenomenon and only held by a small number of very conservative or fundamentalists sects, and mostly in America. Almost all of the mainstream denominations do not hold the Bible to be inerrant for matters outside of the subject of salvation.

In summary: Although you are having trouble understanding this concept, it appears that billions of mainstream Christians around the world do not.

I invite you to examine this site and this site on comparing basic doctrines of the mainstream Christian denominations in regard to Bible inerrancy.

Comment #81276

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 21, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

Oh great, Clouser and Heddle are already here with their irrelevant comments. But we can try to discuss issues related to the actual article, and that is my plan.

I doubt that science is neutral with respect to theism and atheism, but certainly those who forgo literalism may be religious without selectively rejecting science. Basically I applaud Coyne, then.

What seems more likely than science needing any kind of religion is that religion needs to agree with science. This is not only in order to avoid massive denial, but also because religion needs to agree with logic and empiricism in order to make claims which are meaningful within religious systems. Religious scientists have often recognized this, or something like it, as they strove for coherent thought both within religion and within science. If religion denies science it becomes even less credible than it is anyway, because not only does it then have to make claims beyond the realm of investigation, it must use claims from beyond our ability to establish fact in order to deny established factual claims.

A religion that agrees with science is able to at least be internally consistent. A religion that does not agree with science is internally inconsistent (at least this is true of most Western religions, since these religions generally agree with the concepts of empiricism and logic and their use in the accepted manner), because it denies the use of the epistemological framework in investigating “nature”, one that it also claims is solid and sound in religion.

God is the author of truth, according to most of Xianity. This is why the Church adopted much pagan science and religion. There were famous glitches in the general attempt to understand true religion according to the truth about nature, but on the whole this idea that God is the source of all truth remains a theme throughout Catholic theology. Importantly, it is not agreeable to Catholic theology to fault the proper consideration of evidence in any area, since truth is where you find it. The Scriptures are quite notable in lacking contextual statements about God (how could they be otherwise?), and thus one must understand the Bible according to its referential situation in “nature” and the environment.

I know that there are any number of Protestant religions that privilege the Bible over the knowledge that “nature” provides. However I cannot see any reason for this other than an ad hoc attempt to shield an unthinking prior commitment to a proclaimed “literalistic” reading of the Bible. The Protestants used Biblical “literalism” to break away from the Church, and many continue to hold onto this “successful weapon”. However, even their Bible states that God is not the author of confusion, which means that their literalism becomes internally inconsistent when it denies the truths of science, given that it is confusing to be told that God designed organisms to appear to have evolved via RM+NS (plus the rest of evolutionary theory).

In particular, little more than confusion ever comes out of IDism. What I have always liked better about creationism is that in most of its parts it has steadfastly refused to question the values and practices of science. On the down side, this is why it is so strenuous in its massive denial and in the projection of evil motives and/or atheism onto scientists–since it can’t hope to show that its beliefs are scientific. On the plus side, creationists rarely try to tamper with the rules of evidence and thought, while ID finds itself unable to oppose science except through distortions of meaning.

The final score is that religion really cannot pick and choose sources of “truth”, because the same cognitive and methodological means are used to determine the truth of these sources in any case. The more sophisticated religionists do know this, therefore they do not oppose science. The rest put God in the traditional place held by Satan, as the source of confusion and as an unreliable guide to truth for his human followers.

Science doesn’t need religion, then, but religion needs to acknowledge God in “nature” for acting truthfully, and without deviation, to his putative creation.

What really chafes most anti-science religionists is, however, the fact that science doesn’t need God.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #81277

Posted by Rob Knop on February 21, 2006 4:09 PM (e)

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other,…

You don’t need science to do that. Just read the Bible all by itself. It freely self-contradicts. You only need to get about 2 chapters into Genesis before that happens.

If you want to view the Bible as a source of meaning and inspiration, then you must view it as something other (I will go ahead and say “more”) than a direct literal narrative. Just as Jesus spoke in parables, people can find inspiration and meaning in literature (fiction), including Bible stories.

Insisting that the Bible is completely self-consistent in every detail doesn’t make sense irrespsective of any scientific discovery. You can insist that it has a unified meaning as a whole, if you read it that way, but you’re kidding yourself if you try to read it as narrative history and think that it doesn’t self-contradict.

Given that the vast majority of Christians have no problem reading the Bible as other than literal, there’s no elephant; using the Bible as a literary source of enlightenment is not at all in conflict with anything in science.

-Rob

Comment #81278

Posted by BlastfromthePast on February 21, 2006 4:09 PM (e)

Fr.Coyne wrote:

“…the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry;….”

This isn’t even “Christian” theology, let alone ‘Catholic’ theology. (I would recommend to him “The Fundamentals of Dogma” by Ludwig von Ott. Maybe then he can find himself back to the Catholic Church.)

My question is: if his theology is so bad, why would we think his science is so good?

Comment #81279

Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 21, 2006 4:22 PM (e)

Father Coyne, as a religious person, may feel the need to reconcile his faith with his science.
He may do so as he pleases. Other religious persons will produce different ways of doing so which please them.

Every which way religious folks will twist and turn to fit the things together.
Or, they may not bother. They may choose simply to put the finger up to science.

Whatever,we non-religious folks are just happy to have the science. We do not have to justify or reconcile science to anything. For us it’s strictly and purely a science thing. Thank God.

Comment #81280

Posted by Flint on February 21, 2006 4:24 PM (e)

Blast:

My question is: if his theology is so bad, why would we think his science is so good?

Seems pretty clear to me. Theology is a swearing contest, where Coyne professes what he believes, and those whose faiths with conflict call him a poor theologian! Whereas his science is subject to ratification by reality, which has proved over the course of time to be a pretty good yardstick.

I’m always amused at what DOES seem like a solidly Christian doctrine: that if what someone else believes differs from what you believe, you can’t say “Well, OK, we believe different things.” No, you have to claim there’s some sort of absolute theological answer, which you have and others fall short! In this respect, you’re exactly like Heddle: Coyne’s faith is different, therefore Coyne’s faith is wrong, therefore Coyne’s opinion is “not Christian” and “nonsense” and “poor theology”. Hidebound intolerance, more than any other characteristic, seems to describe the faithful creationist.

He may be a priest, he may be a professional Catholic, whereas you are not, but HE has lost his way and needs guidance. We know this is true, because you swear it. Which is the only way ANYTHING becomes true in the religious world.

Comment #81281

Posted by AD on February 21, 2006 4:24 PM (e)

Option (3) is the option they should look into very carefully since its efficacy HAS ALREADY been demonstrated.

You mean like at Dover?

Carol, your opinion is nice and I’m sure you believe it, but not everyone here is going to agree because many don’t buy your starting assumptions. The fact of the matter is that your option 1 is, for many people, the CORRECT choice in their minds. Denigrate it all you want, but they’ll just believe you have no credibility as a result.

evolution, as he described it, is indeed inherently atheistic

From Heddle above, contrasted with…

that our scientific understanding of the universe, untainted by religious considerations, provides for those who believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs.

&

(1) the scientific theory of evolution, as all scientific theories, is completely neutral with respect to religious thinking;

From Coyne. So, Heddle, if you would, please explain to me how someone who just stated flatly that science is not commenting in the positive or negative with respect to religion and that science provides fodder for one to reflect upon their belief in God can be describing an atheistic science?

Thanks.

Comment #81282

Posted by Raging Bee on February 21, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

Carol: you forgot option 4, which is to remember that the Bible is: a) not really ABOUT science or the material world, but about Man’s relationship to God; and, b) that the Bible is clearly not a literal document like a newspaper or a physics textbook.

As I’ve said before, looking for scientific insights in the Bible is a bit like watching “Brokeback Mountain” and looking for information about the trees in the background: yes, you could get some interesting tidbits of knowledge out of such an exercize, but you’d be MISSING THE POINT OF THE WORK!

Besides, why do we need to learn ancient Hebrew in order to get scientific truth out of the original OT text, when we’d only have to look to modern scientific papers to verfy it anyway? Why not just skip the Hebrew OT bits and stick to the modern papers?

Comment #81284

Posted by Flint on February 21, 2006 4:28 PM (e)

And it suddenly occurs to me that Blast thinks science works just like religion does: If you believe something strongly enough and swear it’s true, it COMES TRUE. Evolutionists have been worshiping at the wrong altar, listing to the wrong saints. They may SAY they understand things like testing, falsification, verification, etc. but that’s really just lip service. Every now and then, as in this case, it slips out that they think science is just another religion.

Comment #81285

Posted by Greg Peterson on February 21, 2006 4:30 PM (e)

Regarding standing before God and telling him that the “methods that he chose” to create biological diversity “belittle him,” hey, if Ken/Keith Mille/Miller won’t do it, I will. Why would the esteem-deficient being of revealed religions create in such a way as to appear totally unnecessary to the process? Oooow, but dat wascawy deity is twicksy. Come on. A lot of things “might be true,” but we don’t going around worrying about them. Invisible unicorns might be responsible for internal combustion, but I remain a strict unicorn agnostic–to the point of a-unicornism. Should I live in fear of unicorn retaliation on that great and dreadful day of One-Horned Transparent Equine Judgment? Nah.

A person can use “orthogonal” and still just be Forest Gump with no shrimp recipes.

Comment #81286

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #81287

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Now, if only we had a way of dropping Larry “my name is Legion” Fafarman on them and watch all three annihilate in a cosmic flash…

LOL.

clever beyond measure.

Comment #81288

Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 21, 2006 4:43 PM (e)

There is no scientific controversy concerning evolution. There is a superabundance of evidence to prove it; none at all to support ID.
There is no evidence to support any kind of intelligent designer whatsoever, be it of the kind favoured by the DI – a being which creates complex life-forms complete in the first instance, and subsequently intervenes miraculously in the course of their physical evolution; or whether it be the kind favoured by the CC, a being who controls and directs evolution entirely by “natural” processes in toto from start to finish, and who then injects “souls” into humankind when their physical bodies have developed to their intended endpoint.

There cannot be any scientific evidence for either of these two kinds of designer. It is impossible to determine scientifically that any particular natural phenomenon has no natural cause – such as Behe’s irreducibly complex “machines” – one cannot scientifically prove a miracle. Nor is it possible for science to demonstrate that natural processes are in reality simply long drawn out miracles sustained by a being which transcends nature.

To say that either of these two forms of ID is compatible with science is akin to saying that chalk is compatible with cheese, or indeed to say that they are compatible with one another. Whether chalk and cheese are compatible or not is an “is the glass half full” kind of question. The metaphor is usually meant to point to the great differences between the two substances, but it is a simple matter, if we so choose, to show how similar they are when compared with a multitude of other substances.

What kind of compatibility precisely is being claimed between science and religion?

Science can no more prove that God does not exist that it can prove that gremlins or unicorns do not exist. There is no scientific evidence for any of them. There is, however, excellent scientific evidence to suggest that all of them are figments of the human imagination.

To say that God has acted to direct evolution over aeons of time in such a way as to make it look as if He/She hasn’t, is not so different from saying that He/She acted a few thousand years ago to create a world with all the scientific appearance of having existed for aeons beforehand. In both cases things are not what they appear to be.
God is equally invisible in both cases (at least to science), and science is equally incapable of disproving either possibility. From the scientific point of view both are equally possible. (They are both equally irrelevant to what is possible for science.) If one of them is compatible with science, therefore, then they both must be, and also with one another.

Which is the greater illusion: that we have not evolved at all, but only appear to have done; or that we have not evolved by “chance and necessity” (the CC’s commonly favoured way of describing the scientific mechanisms of evolution, and which I do not scruple with), but only appear to have done?

If the latter is thought to be less of an illusion, does that make it any the more comprehensible to reason? And if faith is required in order to unravel the divine benevolent purpose behind the illusion, then why should God not have chosen the greater one for us to be deceived by, as being a greater test of faith? Or perhaps God just wishes us to be doubly confused by the two scientifically unanswerable possibilities, so that we give up thinking completely and just have faith. If there is a God, that is.

What then does it signify to say that religion can be compatible with science? Is it not to say anything at all, since religion ultimately makes of science a mere illusion?

Or is it not simply the case that they are incompatible? This question, at least, appears to be a genuinely controversial one!

Comment #81290

Posted by Chiefley on February 21, 2006 4:45 PM (e)

Space Monkey wrote… “Now as long as religions make claims that are untestable, do not cohere with everything else we know, are internally inconsistent, or otherwise unreasonable, science and religion will conflict. And such claims are central to most religions - ie that there is a deity whose presence is untestable, that has X,Y and Z contradictory properties, and who acts through supernatural means.”

I understand your point, but the answer to your question already lies within your question. If religion makes an untestable assertion, then by definition, that assertion is outside of the province of science. For example, if I say that God loves me, that is an untestable statement. It is outside of science and not in conflict with science.

On the other hand, if I say that I my religious faith informs me that yellow objects are not subject to the force of gravity, I am making a statement that is both religious and scientific. It is scientific because it is testable.

This is why the major denominations insist that theology yield to science when it concerns the natural world. Those denominations are not very concerned about that, because they are much more concerned with subjects such as Gods Love, etc. The rest can be left to the tinkerers.

The Bible is not a scientific textbook. It is a love story.

Comment #81291

Posted by Mike Walker on February 21, 2006 4:47 PM (e)

Well the Greeks managed to get plenty of good science done (for their day) without any knowledge of a Judeo-Christian deity. And the Chinese Dynasties managed to get along pretty well without it too.

As our scientific understanding continues to expand, the problem for fundamentalists will always face is that the gaps their God can lurk in will continue to shrink. Even for the IDists, not all of whom are fundies, the problem is pretty much the same. Their God lurks in the realms of complexity and deep time, areas science has only recently been able to begin to scratch the surface of.

Comment #81292

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 4:52 PM (e)

blast pooted:

My question is: if his theology is so bad, why would we think his science is so good?

because, as is typical of science, we judge his science based on the results, not his religion.

this is the thing you and the other IDiots seem to always conveniently “forget” (read obfuscate).

If your side would ever bother to come up with some testable hypotheses, test them, and publish the results…

guess what?

then you could call it SCIENCE!

anything up to that, it ain’t science, and isn’t worthy to be discussed as such, let alone judged on the merits.

Comment #81294

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 4:59 PM (e)

Nope, that won’t work. The only way you’d get a complete annhilation is if the three of them directly came into contact with PZ, PvM and Rilke’s Granddaughter. That way you would have the necessary ‘thinking - anti-thinking’ pairs.

Hey! I think that was a compliment! I got mentioned in the same post as PZ and PvM. Now if I can only get equal billing with RBH, I will have ACHIEVED!!!

Comment #81295

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

(1) eviscerating entire portions of narrative in the Bible as not meaning what it appears to be saying, that those parts were never intended to describe actual events and that it is all just allegory for something or other,

False option; no one is suggesting that, except you. Like most fundies, you create strawmen and jump up and down on them. While it’s amusing to watch, it has no intellectual content.

(2) Science refutes the Bible and they should just dispense with the claim that it is divinely inspired, or

And this is a “false dichotomy”.

(3) re-examine the Bible very carefully to see if its words could actually be saying things that are compatible with science.

Better folks than Landa have tried and failed.

So we have three major logical fallacies in one post: strawman, false dichotomy, and invalid option. Congratulations, Carol.

Comment #81297

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 5:23 PM (e)

As our scientific understanding continues to expand, the problem for fundamentalists will always face is that the gaps their God can lurk in will continue to shrink…

naw, in this instance it’s like a fractal; it just LOOKS like the gaps are getting smaller, but when the gaps get small enough, you just find new ones that look exactly like the previous.

Comment #81298

Posted by Mythos on February 21, 2006 5:26 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

…religion needs to agree with science. This is not only in order to avoid massive denial, but also because religion needs to agree with logic and empiricism in order to make claims which are meaningful within religious systems.

Logical empiricism determines what is and isn’t meaningful? That view was popular in Vienna (e.g., Carnap) about 70 years ago, but has been definitively refuted for well nigh half a century. Quine killed it dead in 1951 with his famous paper “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” And it has been killed many times over by Pragmatism on the American continent (see Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature) and Deconstructionism (in one form or another) on the European continent.

There simply are no defensible theories of meaning or truth that will support your view of science.

Comment #81299

Posted by Ed Darrell on February 21, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Heddle, To you, Perry Mason is “inherently atheistic,” since in the Erle Stanley Garner stories AND in the television series, God never does it. There is always another, non-God proximate cause (usually sitting in the courtroom, waiting to confess).

If we were stuck with Heddle’s definition of how science is “atheistic,” we’d also have to acknowledge:

1. Automobiles are inherently atheistic – God never cranks the engine.
2. Electric lights are inherently atheistic, at least ever since Franklin showed that lightning is electricity and not God’s wrath in action.
3. Drama is inherently atheistic. We know it was Shakespeare who wrote some of them, Arthur Miller a bunch of others, and Rodgers and Hammerstein who put them to music.

If we stick with Heddle’s definitions, Heddle is “inherently atheistic,” since, presumably, he pushes the keys on his computer himself.

Can we ratchet the discussion up a few notches, perhhaps?

Comment #81300

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

So we have three major logical fallacies in one post: strawman, false dichotomy, and invalid option. Congratulations, Carol.

ahh, that’s it!

I’ve been looking for Carol’s forte. She claimed she was a science advisor, but has an obviously lacking sense of what science is.

She claimed to be a biblical scholar, but other layfolk have raised serious issues with her scholarship.

now i see it; her forte is the logical fallacy! I can’t recall anybody on PT who exhibits it better, not even Heddle.

Now if there was a way to get paid for a skill like that…

wait! I know! Carol should farm her talents to the Discovery Insititute!

Dembski seems to get paid for his application of logical fallacy; but I’m sure they have room for Carol on the payroll.

Comment #81301

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 5:29 PM (e)

At the risk of saying something obvious. it appears that the Catholic church is demonstrating a subtlety of thinking that Protestants (and I lump Dave Heddle and Carol in here) can’t handle: the concept that the Bible just might mean MORE than it appears to say, and that Protestant faith - by insisting on the testability of its claims - opens itself up for falsification.

Comment #81302

Posted by Caledonian on February 21, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

The good Father falls back on a half-truth: scientific theories themselves are neutral toward religious thought. The scientific method, however, is not.

Comment #81303

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 5:37 PM (e)

I’ve pointed this out before, but since blast, heddle and carol all decided to post on this thread, I’ll say it again.

Science does NOT promote atheism.

Rather, it simply leaves room for atheism, just like it leaves room for christianity, judaism, buddhism, etc.

If folks like Heddle and Blast had their way, there would be no more room for anything but their own preconceptions.

I personally would find that world to be more than a bit boring, if nothing else.

Comment #81304

Posted by PvM on February 21, 2006 5:39 PM (e)

Keith B Miller should be Kenneth Miller

Comment #81305

Posted by Alann on February 21, 2006 5:41 PM (e)

I think Father Coyne has a very good point in that ID belittles God.
I personally think creationism belittles God as well. When you look at the world with all it suffering, it is far from perfection, so which of these makes the most sense:

1) The designer was evil and intentional created suffering.
2) The designer was imperfect and created an imperfect world.
3) The creator made a perfect world, but than decided to punish us because one of our ancestors transgressed against him.
4) God made a world which evolves, one which he seeks to nurture with love instead of dictating or designing.

Option 4 is the only one that works in my book.

Also, we need to get over our ridiculous arrogance that the world, even the universe was created just for us. With something this large and this old, humans are really more of an afterthought. Besides maybe God is more of a dog person.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Science is truth. God is truth.
Science cannot conflict with God, it is our understanding of science, or (as is often intentionally left out) our understanding of God which is flawed.

Comment #81306

Posted by JONBOY on February 21, 2006 5:46 PM (e)

The Bible is not a scientific textbook. It is a love story. WHAT BULL**** Go ahead Chiefley give us all an example,and while you at it include these “Lovely: stories from the fountain of truth and love.

“Behold I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts….” (Mal. 2:3).
“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (1 Sam. 15:3).
“As I listened, god said to the others, ‘Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children….” (Ezek. 9:5-6).
Num. 31:31-40 says, “Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses. The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man…. And the half, the portion of those who had gone out to war, was….16,000 people, of which the tribute for the Lord was 32.” Women rank right up there with cattle, donkeys, and sheep. And they have to be virgins, at that! Imagine a righteous and perfect God wanting 32 virgins to be set aside for himself!

Comment #81307

Posted by Chiefley on February 21, 2006 5:51 PM (e)

Rilke’s Granddaughter said… “At the risk of saying something obvious. it appears that the Catholic church is demonstrating a subtlety of thinking that Protestants (and I lump Dave Heddle and Carol in here) can’t handle: the concept that the Bible just might mean MORE than it appears to say, and that Protestant faith - by insisting on the testability of its claims - opens itself up for falsification.”

At the risk of pointing out you are wrong, most mainstream Protestant Denominations do not hold the Bible to be inerrant. They hold that the Bible must be interpreted within a larger theological framework, just as the Catholics say.

Once again, for those that seem to be hard of hearing, only a few Protestant sects, mostly American ones, hold the Bible to be inerrant.

Comment #81309

Posted by limpidense on February 21, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

ID and Creationism - wait, let’s really give an opinion here! - modern fundamentalism, under any label, “belittles” everything, except the egos and bank accounts of the swindlers actually running the carnival booths and patent medicine shows.

Comment #81311

Posted by Chiefley on February 21, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

JONBOY wrote… “The Bible is not a scientific textbook. It is a love story. WHAT BULL**** Go ahead Chiefley give us all an example,and while you at it include these “Lovely: stories from the fountain of truth and love…”

Haha, yes, I get it. But it might suprise you to know that the Old Testament has a sequel in which God sends his only son to die for our sins, etc. In this sequel, God’s son teaches us that all beliefs and all practices that place any kind of religious dogma above God’s compassion or human compassion are worse than no religion at all (as demonstrated in the Parable of The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37). This is not an isolated example. Its central to Christianity.

I would go and find the sequel if I were you.

Comment #81312

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 6:18 PM (e)

“As I listened, god said to the others, ‘Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children….” (Ezek. 9:5-6).

first instance of “plausible deniability”?

Comment #81314

Posted by steve s on February 21, 2006 6:22 PM (e)

In accordance with what JONBOY said, not only is the bible not used as a science textbook, modern christians (minus the Ken Ham etc wing) have the decency not to use it as an ethics textbook.

If only certain other religions COUGHIslamCOUGH would follow their lead…

Comment #81316

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 21, 2006 6:27 PM (e)

Why is it that whenever we ask all the ID nutters here to please please pretty please tell us what the scientific theory of ID is, they never say a word — but whenever the topic of religious opinions comes up, they never shut up.

It’s almost enough to make me think that (1) ID is nothing but fundamentalist religious apologetics, (2) IDers are just lying to us when they claim it isn’t, and (3) Judge Jones was entirely correct to rule that it is.

Comment #81317

Posted by steve s on February 21, 2006 6:35 PM (e)

At least the media’s starting to get it, somewhat, Lenny. Did you see the NYT story on the “Dissent from Darwin” petition? It was titled

Few Biologists but Many Evangelicals Sign Anti-Evolution Petition

which is a good sign.

Comment #81318

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 21, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

Carol, when you read in the bible where it says a woman who lies about her virginity (and is foudn out after she has married) should be stoned to death, how do you reconcile THAT? Seriously.

Just curious. If the 6 day creation thing stumps you so badly I’d be very interested to know how you reconcile something in the bible (that NO one supports) on a purely moral and not scientific basis.

Do you think women who lie about being virgins prior to being married should be stoned to death? The bible is very clear on the matter, what’s your take on it?

Bonus question - how do you suppose the clergy reconciles this?

Comment #81320

Posted by KiwiInOz on February 21, 2006 6:51 PM (e)

Moses - your comments re the evo-devo of Judaisim are tantalisingly interesting (OT, sorry Lenny, “.. and it came to be known that the Rev Dr commanded that the IDists be smote upon the mountain, and so it was done …[Blog of Panda, Ch 3, v 26]”). Can you point to some starter references for reading up on this stuff? I had heard about the big G’s wife, but not Asherah and her serpents, etc.

Comment #81322

Posted by Tony on February 21, 2006 7:03 PM (e)

Science does not need God. Or does it?

I agree that SCIENCE does not need God. However, I think that there are many scientists (along will millions of other people) that need God (or similar deity) for whatever personal reasons they may have.

Comment #81325

Posted by BWE on February 21, 2006 7:07 PM (e)

Posted by KiwiInOz on February 21, 2006 06:51 PM (e)

Moses - your comments re the evo-devo of Judaisim are tantalisingly interesting (OT, sorry Lenny, “.. and it came to be known that the Rev Dr commanded that the IDists be smote upon the mountain, and so it was done …[Blog of Panda, Ch 3, v 26]”). Can you point to some starter references for reading up on this stuff? I had heard about the big G’s wife, but not Asherah and her serpents, etc.

http://www.fathersforlife.org/advice.htm#1in3

Might have something to do with her being written out of the bible eh?

Comment #81326

Posted by A Voice on February 21, 2006 7:09 PM (e)

Evolutionary biology will continue to turn up facts about human behavior, psychology, and sociology.

Politicians of all stripes will do their best (worst) to use those findings to support their goals. Those who deny the facts will wither.

Remember Social Darwinism? How will the EvolCons fare if the PoMos don’t get a grip on PoPoMoism?

Remember, you read it here first…. and here and there and …

Comment #81328

Posted by B. Spitzer on February 21, 2006 7:14 PM (e)

steve s:

At least the media’s starting to get it, somewhat, Lenny. Did you see the NYT story on the “Dissent from Darwin” petition? It was titled

Few Biologists but Many Evangelicals Sign Anti-Evolution Petition

which is a good sign.

There’s an especially interesting bit at the end. Apparently the reporter wanted to know how many of the dissenters weren’t conservative Christians. The response from the DI was:

Discovery officials said that they did not ask the religious beliefs of the signers and that such beliefs were not relevant. John G. West, a senior fellow at Discovery, said it was “stunning hypocrisy” to ask signers about their religion “while treating the religious beliefs of the proponents of Darwin as irrelevant.”

Discovery officials did point to two scientists, David Berlinski, a philosopher and mathematician and a senior fellow at the institute, and Stanley N. Salthe, a visiting scientist at Binghamton University, State University of New York, who signed but do not hold conservative religious beliefs.

Dr. Salthe, who describes himself as an atheist, said that when he signed the petition he had no idea what the Discovery Institute was. Rather, he said, “I signed it in irritation.”

He said evolutionary biologists were unfairly suppressing any competing ideas. “They deserve to be prodded, as it were,” Dr. Salthe said. “It was my way of thumbing my nose at them.”

Dr. Salthe said he did not find intelligent design to be a compelling theory, either. “From my point of view,” he said, “it’s a plague on both your houses.”

“Religious beliefs aren’t relevant! But anyway, here’s a whole two people without conservative religious beliefs who support intelligent design! All right… one.”

Comment #81329

Posted by JS on February 21, 2006 7:15 PM (e)

Coyne wrote:

Science is completely neutral with respect to theistic or atheistic implications which may be drawn from scientific results.

I think this is what really pisses off the fundies. I think that most of them probably realise that evolution is not inheirently atheistic in and of itself. It’s the neutrality they can’t stand. It opens the possibility that you can be something other than a Calvinist. And that is absolutely unacceptable to a fascist ideology.

In fact, I would go so far as to claim that the repeated attempts to portray evolution as an extention of atheism are more than cheap public and legal rethoric (they are that as well).

I think they represent a far more fundamental line of thought: Most people, when given the choice between a moderate position and a fascist position would choose the moderate. So any fascist ideology has to cast its opponents as extremists, in order to keep its flock.

That makes reason, logic, and science far more dangerous to Calvinists than a cut-and-dried atheist position: Because it shows a shade of gray in a picture that must be kept black-and-white at all cost.

So in a very perverted sense the fundies are actually right: Science is the death knell of fundamentalism - and if you claim that fundyism has a unique monopoly on being Christianity, then (and only then) science is actually anti-Christian. Of course, sane people don’t agree with the premise.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.” - Jefferson. I would propose a corrolary: If a nation expects to be enlightened and oppressed, it expects what never was and never will be.” So from the point of view of the oppressors, enlightenment is a very, very Bad Thing (as I personally believe that the Ayatollahs in Tehran are going to learn. Painfully. But that’s for another time).

PS: For the sake of His Noodly (Kansas) Kooking - with salt - can we please stop feeding the trolls?

- JS

Comment #81330

Posted by KiwiInOz on February 21, 2006 7:19 PM (e)

BWE - dangerous things, women. ;)

Comment #81333

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 21, 2006 7:39 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher,

I don’t know what you mean by “the six day creation thing stumps you so badly”. I think I have a very good handle on that matter.

You are wrong about stoning women who lie about their virginity, for many reasons. First, the death penalty is not even discussed in the context of lying about virginity, but for adultery. Second, all death penalties in the Bible must be read within the context of other statements on the subject in the Bible. Which is why these penalties were hardly ever carried out by the Sanhedrin, who followed Biblical law for many centuries. The death penalty was simply hardly ever applicable. A Sanhedrin (High Court) that executed anyone even once in 70 years, according to the Talmud, was considered “a murderous court”.

Simply put, the death penalty is theoretically applicable when the act (adultery in this case) is witnessed by two observers who meet the various requisite criteria AND who warn the perpetrators just before the deed is done that it is an offense against God punishable by death AND the perpetrator must respond, “yes, I am aware of that and that is precisely why I am doing this”. In other words, it must be a public act of rebellion against God. All of this comes directly from the Bible.

Many death penalties in the Bible cannot under these conditions EVER be carried out (such as the so called “rebellious son”) and were never intended to be carried out. The Bible is merely indicating the severity of the offense in the eyes of God by describing it as “punishable by death”.

Comment #81334

Posted by Mike Walker on February 21, 2006 7:50 PM (e)

Ah Carol, lost in her own little world of logic. I never cease to be amazed at the lengths people like her go to prove that the Bible is inerrant. I’ve already been warned by others not to waste my time trying to argue with her. It’s not worth the effort–she can’t admit an error in the Bible even if you prove beyond all possible doubt that there is one.

Comment #81335

Posted by Andy H. on February 21, 2006 8:01 PM (e)

Here are my responses to Father Coyne’s criticisms of Cardinal Schonborn’s positions –

(1) the scientific theory of evolution, as all scientific theories, is completely neutral with respect to religious thinking.

“Completely neutral” ? Hardly –

Ironically, Coyne himself uses theological arguments to support evolution theory.

Many if not most evolutionists automatically dismiss any criticism of evolution theory on the grounds that such criticism must be based upon and/or motivated by religion.

Ironically, many evolutionists are asking religious organizations to help defend evolution theory.

(2) the message of John Paul II, which I have just referred to and which is dismissed by the cardinal as “rather vague and unimportant,” is a fundamental church teaching which significantly advances the evolution debate.

Evolution, unlike the Catholic church’s opposition to abortion, is not a “fundamental church teaching.” The church tolerates differences of opinion on evolution. Also, treating evolution as Catholic dogma – as Coyne is trying to do – hardly “significantly advances the evolution debate.”

(3) neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal: “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection”

Don’t the words of the cardinal actually define neo-Darwinism?

(4) the apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process does not require a designer

Directionality and design are evident not only in the irreducible complexity of systems within particular organisms, but are also evident in –

(1) – Co-evolution, where an organism often somehow miraculously “adapts” to initially non-existent or isolated mutations in a co-dependent organism, even when the mutations in one or both co-dependent organisms are detrimental when the corresponding mutation is absent in the other organism.

(2) – Convergent evolution, where similar characteristics evolve in different lines of evolutionary descent (e.g., the flying abilities of fish, insects, extinct reptiles, birds, and mammals ).

(5) Intelligent Design is not science despite the cardinal’s statement that “neo-Darwinism and the multi-verse hypothesis in cosmology [were] invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science.”

I know nothing about the multi-verse hypothesis in cosmology, but I disagree with Schonborn in regard to neo-Darwinism. I think that neo-Darwinism, which I consider to be the idea that “changes through time” were driven solely by random mutations and natural selection, was invented and became widely accepted by scientists because of the notion that everything must have a scientific explanation that excludes supernatural causes.

Comment #81337

Posted by H. Humbert on February 21, 2006 8:18 PM (e)

Of course what all the IDers refuse to admit is that ID does “belittle God, makes her/him too small and paltry.” Coyne is absolutely right.

What kind of a god starts a process like evolution in motion, but then needs to “tweek” his creation with little miracles here and there because he lacked the foresight to plan it all correctly in the first place? “Hmm, I really should have given that bacteria the ability to evolve a flagellum. Oh, well, nothing has developed any eyes yet, I guess no one will see.” *POOF* “Tada! An irreducibly complex feature!”

Yeah, fantastic theology, ID is. Turns god into a addle-brained baffoon.

Comment #81338

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 21, 2006 8:22 PM (e)

Logical empiricism determines what is and isn’t meaningful? That view was popular in Vienna (e.g., Carnap) about 70 years ago, but has been definitively refuted for well nigh half a century. Quine killed it dead in 1951 with his famous paper “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.”

Yeah, I know the claims, and was well aware that I was simplifying. Such is life, I cannot make every post into a dissertation.

Besides which, I do not think that “logical empiricism” is really as dead as the many say. Despite the necessary simplification, I was careful not to say anything like “meaning only comes from logical empiricism”, but this: “…also because religion needs to agree with logic and empiricism in order to make claims which are meaningful within religious systems….” It was not a general statement, although putting “empiricism” into religion certainly requires an understanding that it would not be like scientific empiricism (which is to say that religions rely upon evidence, but such evidence is already biased within religion). Another simplification, of course, and it is not surprising that someone would decide to make something of the unavoidable incompleteness of speech and writing.

Besides, I don’t especially care about what Quine says. I prefer the continental type of philosophy, and whether it is Hume, Kant, or Nietzsche, one has much reason to include both logic and empiricism as necessary, though not sufficient, bases for systems which intend to make truthful claims about the world.

And it has been killed many times over by Pragmatism on the American continent (see Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature) and Deconstructionism (in one form or another) on the European continent.

Oh good, more authorities to which I refuse to defer. While I do like philosophy, I have always disliked the scholastic nature of academic philosophy, wherein some yutz is produced as if I am supposed to listen heartily to him, just because bourgeois professors are entranced by his agreement with their own biases. Believe me, I especially don’t care what Deconstruction claims, as there is probably no more completely scholastic a philosophy than Deconstructionism. Thank God Europe is largely through with that nonsense, with American provincialists being the ones who still think Deconstructionism has traction.

There simply are no defensible theories of meaning or truth that will support your view of science.

Oh get real for once. I do not write philosophical treatises in most of the posts that I write, deciding typically to utilize common terms used in science, like “truth”, in order to discuss matters in a way that is at least somewhat understandable. Of course the pedants can come in with their philosophical authorities and pretend to be saying something profound, but then some of us would prefer to discuss issues in ways that are reasonably understandable outside of the philosophy departments.

I don’t in the least stick up for “Truth” as such, and would never base science upon such metaphysical conceptions (“truth” is not something I deal with when discussing consciousness–because it has no relevancy as such to those discussions). I am also aware that “inter-subjectively” we are capable of assigning truth-values to our observations in ways that make communication and science based upon these shared “truth-values” becomes possible.

Empiricism remains a possibility, no matter what the scholastic Derrida might say, and whatever Quine might claim about scientific theories being quite like Greek myths. Logic, too, is essential to deal properly with empirical data. Both remain essential to doing science, although science is by no means cut off from dream-states, religions, biases, mythic projections, politics, or any other human phenomena. It just is able to skirt human biases rather better than do most academic disciplines. I would note philosophy as one of those that falls rather short of the relatively unbiased practices that science often achieves.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #81340

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 21, 2006 8:34 PM (e)

Carol the bible clearly says that a woman who claims she is a virgin prior to being married but is in fact NOT a virgin is to be stoned to death. If her husband accuses her of not being a virgin but in fact she is still a virgin HE get fined 200 silver
sheckles.

Read your bible, Carol.

Comment #81346

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 21, 2006 9:17 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher,

Sorry. There is no such statement in the Bible, referring of course as I always do to the original Hebrew Bible. Please cite chapter and verse and I will look into it for you.

Mike Walker wrote:

“she can’t admit an error in the Bible even if you prove beyond all possible doubt that there is one.”

So far that has not happened. So its purely academic. But go ahead, put me to the test. Prove beyond all possible doubt that there is an “error”, and see how I react. You might be surprised.

Perhaps people are warning you away from me because you and they get mighty upset when your so called “proofs” of error turn out, upon careful examination, to be nothing but wishful thinking. Even worse, they sometimes are based on downright ignorance, fabrications and distortions. Religion is after all much more of an emotional enterprise than an intellectual one, to most people. So I will understand if you stay away from me. You will not get your feathers ruffled.

Comment #81350

Posted by Liz Tracey on February 21, 2006 9:43 PM (e)

It would seem that Mr. Christopher is referring to Deuteronomy Chapter 22 verses 13-21, for those of you playing along at home.

Comment #81353

Posted by Corkscrew on February 21, 2006 9:52 PM (e)

My name is Legion wrote:

Ironically, Coyne himself uses theological arguments to support evolution theory.

Many if not most evolutionists automatically dismiss any criticism of evolution theory on the grounds that such criticism must be based upon and/or motivated by religion.

Ironically, many evolutionists are asking religious organizations to help defend evolution theory.

Can I be the first to say: Full house! Right, back to the discussion…

Larry: you’re seriously confused here. The appeals by supporters of evolutionary biology to religious organisations aren’t arguments in support of evolution; they’re counterarguments against those who would claim that religion is inherently atheistic.

I don’t actually know of any religious argument that directly supports evolution. What they’re mostly good for is counteracting other religious arguments. In an ideal world, everyone would debate on the merits of the theory; sadly, in the world we live in, some people will reject a theory based on religious convictions so it’s important to demonstrate to them a clear lack of conflict.

I think that neo-Darwinism, which I consider to be the idea that “changes through time” were driven solely by random mutations and natural selection, was invented and became widely accepted by scientists because of the notion that everything must have a scientific explanation that excludes supernatural causes.

That’s almost accurate, but not quite. And the bit that you missed is fairly important.

The notion in question would be more accurately expressed as “explanations that aren’t scientific and/or that include inherently unpredictable supernatural causes aren’t a whole lot of use to science”. Of course, when written like that it’s fairly common-sense.

The corollary to this notion is that, whilst there’s no requirement in science to accept that a given area admits of a scientific explanation, it’s only polite to stay out of the way of those who do think it admits of a scientific explanation. Feel free to believe that gravity is a result of angels pushing the planets round, but don’t try to get the physics faculty to stop working on their scientific hypotheses. This also seems fairly common-sense.

The resultant effect, though, is that the scientific community as a whole gives the impression that it thinks there’s a scientific explanation for everything. This is an illusion - it’s just that the members of the community who don’t think there’s a scientific explanation for certain phenomena have the grace to shut up about it and stay out from underfoot.

Comment #81357

Posted by Corkscrew on February 21, 2006 9:58 PM (e)

Carol: This translation of the Hebrew Bible (the first one that came up on Google) appears to substantiate Mr Christopher’s claim.

Deuteronomy ch. 22:
“[20] But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; [21] then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought a wanton deed in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.”

Comment #81360

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 21, 2006 10:16 PM (e)

At least the media’s starting to get it, somewhat, Lenny.

That process began in Kansas, where the IDers gave us all sorts f braggadoccio about how they were gonna kick evolutionist ass – and then promptly made jackasses of themselves in front of the whole world.

It was at that point that the press ceased giving ID a free ride.

Comment #81362

Posted by Alice on February 21, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

The number one complaint (rightfully so) from the science community, is that religion and religious doctrine should stay on their side of the tracks and not concern themselves with science and the scientific method. Here you have one of the major religions of the world stating that exact thing, and you (the science-minded who have commented) are attacking the religious doctrine for “scientific” or personal reasons!!! You are indignant when the fundamentalist insist evolution is nothing more than a “materialistic religion”, but have no problem pointing out the problems with religious doctrine on an evolution blog!!

You guys laugh about how the religious crowd continues to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to forwarding their agenda. Well the scientific community continues to shoot themselves in the foot with threads like this. Father Coyne is doing exactly what we want: keeping religion out of science. We should be thankful for the example he and the Catholic Church is setting about evolution and let people debate the religious doctrine on a religion web site.

Comment #81366

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 10:32 PM (e)

While I realize it’s fun to point out to Carol that she is, as always, utterly wrong in her claim, I admit I’m fascinated to see how she tries to deny, avoid, obfuscate, or simply ignore your responses.

I’ve been spending a little time on www.christianforums.com, and if you think the attitude of religious nutters (such as Carol, David, and Larry) towards atheists or scientists is harsh, it’s NOTHING compared to how some of them treat each other.

Comment #81368

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 21, 2006 10:40 PM (e)

Liz Tracey and Corkscrew,

The Artscroll translation of the Hebrew Bible correctly has it as such: “…for she has committed an outrage in Israel, to commit adultery at her father’s house…”

This does not at all sound like the offense of lying about her virginity. Even “harlot” refers to sexual behavior.

In any event, there not only is no death penalty in the Bible for lying, there is not one for sex by unmarrieds. The rabbis even disagree as to whether sex between unmarrieds is Biblically prohibited altogether. So we are talking here about adultery, pure and simple.

I assume you understand the phrase “at her father’s house”. This is one case not to read too literally.

Comment #81371

Posted by PvM on February 21, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

Andy H pulls out all the stops in an effort to include as many strawman in one posting as possible

About science being neutral

Completely neutral” ? Hardly —

Well, that settles it, Andy H has proclaimed that it hardly is neutral when in fact science cannot establish or deny the existence of a God.

Ironically, Coyne himself uses theological arguments to support evolution theory.

Many if not most evolutionists automatically dismiss any criticism of evolution theory on the grounds that such criticism must be based upon and/or motivated by religion.

Ironically, many evolutionists are asking religious organizations to help defend evolution theory.

Notice the unsupported claims about Coyne and the unnamed ‘many evolutionists’ and ‘defend evolution’.

So what part of the phrase remains which is not flawed? Ironically…

Indeed, most criticism on evolution is based on religious motivations but that’s not really the issue here. Creationists have spread the false idea that science is somehow atheistic when it isn’t. Scientists are not asking religious people to support evolutionary theory but rather are asking the clergy to spread the fact that science is neutral when it comes to religion.

neo-Darwinian evolution is not in the words of the cardinal: “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection”

Don’t the words of the cardinal actually define neo-Darwinism?

Nope, science says nothing about unguided, unplanned but we have discussed this already. Some seem to be slow to learn.

the apparent directionality seen by science in the evolutionary process does not require a designer

Directionality and design are evident not only in the irreducible complexity of systems within particular organisms, but are also evident in —

(1) — Co-evolution, where an organism often somehow miraculously “adapts” to initially non-existent or isolated mutations in a co-dependent organism, even when the mutations in one or both co-dependent organisms are detrimental when the corresponding mutation is absent in the other organism.

(2) — Convergent evolution, where similar characteristics evolve in different lines of evolutionary descent (e.g., the flying abilities of fish, insects, extinct reptiles, birds, and mammals ).

Indeed, as Coyne said apparant directionality does not require a designer. How familiar is Andy with scientific knowledge about co-evolution or convergent evolution? Can Andy explain to us what the scientific explanations are for both phenomena? Or is he arguing from ignorance again?

And perhaps Andy can explain to us how he explains these phenomena?

Silence awaits us…

Comment #81372

Posted by PaulC on February 21, 2006 10:46 PM (e)

Andy H.:

[Evolution] became widely accepted by scientists because of the notion that everything must have a scientific explanation that excludes supernatural causes.

Nope. It’s widely accepted because it has been observed to the extent that it can occur within human timeframes, because there are theoretical models and computer simulations that suggest that it has to happen assuming inheritance and variability, because studies of the fossil record have backed it up overwhelmingly, and because DNA evidence backs up the taxonomies we built up from fossil and living evidence before any DNA evidence was available.

I will grant that a major selling point of natural selection as a hypothesis more than a hundred years ago was the fact that it proposed to explain species diversity without invoking a supernatural explanation. This is not because “everything must have” a naturalistic explanation, but because in every other case as we’ve begun to understand things, we’ve been able to stop invoking “supernatural causes.” So hypothetically, there could be something that didn’t have a natural explanation, but that would put it at odds with most of our experience. Hence, there’s nothing especially nefarious about preferring a natural explanation when one is to be found.

In some cases, that preference could lead to willful closedmindedness. In the case of evolution, though, there is no need for such an explanation for its wide acceptance among scientists today, over a hundred years after Darwin, when evolution is on solid theoretical and empirical ground. There is so much positive evidence that something like evolution happens in self-replicating systems with variability and fitness with respect to environment, that anyone who has any comprehension of the issue would have to conclude that evolution is sufficient to explain much of what we observe in living systems. The burden of proof is now on anyone wishing to claim that it cannot explain some particular feature.

Comment #81376

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 21, 2006 10:55 PM (e)

You guys laugh about how the religious crowd continues to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to forwarding their agenda. Well the scientific community continues to shoot themselves in the foot with threads like this. Father Coyne is doing exactly what we want: keeping religion out of science. We should be thankful for the example he and the Catholic Church is setting about evolution and let people debate the religious doctrine on a religion web site.

I quite agree.

The problem is that too many on the, uh, pro-science side actually have a quite different agenda — they want to stamp out religion.

They are just the flip side of the fundies, and they just make it that much more difficult to beat creationists.

Comment #81378

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 11:09 PM (e)

Carol, you really should try actually reading that Bible of yours. Consider Deuteronomy 22:

23. If there is a virgin girl betrothed to a man, and [another] man finds her in the city, and lies with her,
And [another] man finds her in the city Therefore, he lay with her.

Rashi:A breach [in a wall] invites a thief; had she remained at home, this would not have happened to her. — [Sifrei 22:103]

24. you shall take them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall pelt them with stones, and they shall die: the girl, because she did not cry out [even though she was] in the city, and the man, because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So shall you clear away the evil from among you.

from http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=9986&showrashi=true

(Commentary by Rashi - just for Carol).

Stone those non-virginal virgins.

Comment #81379

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 21, 2006 11:10 PM (e)

Artscroll Hebrew translations

No thanks of accepting Artscroll as an authority on ancient Hebrew text.

Comment #81381

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on February 21, 2006 11:15 PM (e)

Moses: Can you recommend any good books on the history you summarize above?

Comment #81382

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 11:15 PM (e)

I thought this was an interesting comment from the Wikipedia article on the Artscroll translation. The translation Carol selected (why not Landa, Carol?):

The English translation has a bolded literal translation of the Talmud’s text, but also includes un-bolded text clarifying the literal translation. (The original Talmud’s text is often very unclear, referring to places, times, people, and laws that it does not explain. The un-bolded text explains these situations to name a few. The text of the Talmud also contains few prepositions, articles, etc. The un-bolded text also takes the liberty of inserting these parts of speech.) The result is an English text that reads in full sentences with full explanations, while allowing the reader to distinguish between direct translation and a more liberal approach to the translation. (This also results in one page of the Vilna Talmud requiring several pages of English translation.) Below the English translation appear extensive notes including diagrams from sources ancient to modern. (Emphasis added).

Gee - an interpretive text. Amazing.

Comment #81385

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 21, 2006 11:19 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

Simply put, the death penalty is theoretically applicable when the act (adultery in this case) is witnessed by two observers who meet the various requisite criteria AND who warn the perpetrators just before the deed is done that it is an offense against God punishable by death AND the perpetrator must respond, “yes, I am aware of that and that is precisely why I am doing this”. In other words, it must be a public act of rebellion against God. All of this comes directly from the Bible.

We note that Carol is, of course, completely wrong here. Note the passages referenced above.

In a way, Carol is an excellent example of the damage to faith that results from attempts to force the two disciplines (theology and science) into literal reconciliation: the ruin of truth, both scientific and theistic.

Comment #81386

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 21, 2006 11:24 PM (e)

Stone those non-virginal virgins.

hmm, maybe something IS being lost in the translation here.

maybe the passages were really referring to getting virgins stoned, just in order to loosen them up a bit?

Comment #81391

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 22, 2006 12:09 AM (e)

Carol,
If the penalty described is to be stoned, and the consequence of being stoned is to die then, to wit, the penalty is to die; ie, it is a ‘death penalty’. QED. How simple is that? Why can’t you just admit that?

Comment #81394

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 12:21 AM (e)

Wow, several of us mention the rather obvious fact that many people – Christian and non-Christian – derive wisdom in moral and spiritual matters from non-literal interpretation of the Bible, and Carol ignores them completely in her desperate haste to “prove” that we should all be learning particle physics or some such from its stories! I still can’t help thinking of her whole career as one long pitiful hijacked thread…

Comment #81398

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 22, 2006 12:33 AM (e)

hmm, maybe something IS being lost in the translation here.

maybe the passages were really referring to getting virgins stoned, just in order to loosen them up a bit?

And those who violate the sacred just say no to getting virgins stoned law is required to pay a 100 shekel fine for each offense. Or something like that.

Back to Carol - On a more important note, Carol, what’s your take on this Bible code bit? Dembski embraced this theory with great enthusiasm, are you skeptical, do you think it’s nonsense, or perhaps you suspect that maybe it can reveal messages encoded by a supernatural “intelligence”?

Do tell. Seriously. Thie Bible Code meets Intelligent Design via William Dembski (the Isaac Newton of Design theory himself) is rich in my book. A wedding of crankery if you will. That’s my take on it, anyhow, what’s yours?

Comment #81404

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 22, 2006 1:25 AM (e)

Mr. Christopher,

I was not citing Artscroll as an authority or as a source. I quoted Artscroll merely for convenience. You see, unlike some ignoramuses here, I can read the Hebrew text of the Bible and the Aramaic of the Talmud in the original. I have a good feel for the flow, tone and usage of the words, in all its subtleties and nuances, in both texts. I don’t need Artscroll to tell me that “liznot” denotes sexual violations and that the phrase “to play…” (the harlot) does not appear in the original at all.

I thought I addressed the Bible codes on another thread. Was not the anecdote with that student addressed to you? The point of that was to ridicule the whole enterprise. That is not to say that there are no secrets in the HB. Just that to the extent they might be there they are not for us to know, at least not in this clumsy manner.

Paul,

I was responding to questions and presented the facts. As they say, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The WHOLE picture. I did not make up any of those facts. If that interferes with your preference for finding in the Bible harsh penalties for minor, everyday offenses, I cannot help you. This is the document, mind you, that commanded helping a runaway slave and forbade returning him at a time when the entire world, as spelled out in the code of Hammurabi and later Roman law, executed anyone who helped a runaway slave.

Comment #81408

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 1:47 AM (e)

uh, did ANYBODY see Carol actually address the relevant passages refered to by Mr. Christopher?

what i saw was yet another deflection, intended to establish her authority without addressing the question at hand.

as usual.

Comment #81409

Posted by gcbrown on February 22, 2006 1:48 AM (e)

Carol,
I’m just a lurker here, but I have noticed that you do an amazing job of ignoring relevant comments. I enjoy some of your posts, because at first they seem to offer a different perspective. However, it just becomes the same old crap when you can’t back it up.

Comment #81446

Posted by Andy H. on February 22, 2006 7:46 AM (e)

Comment #81353
Posted by Corkscrew on February 21, 2006 09:52 PM

Larry: you’re seriously confused here. The appeals by supporters of evolutionary biology to religious organisations aren’t arguments in support of evolution; they’re counterarguments against those who would claim that religion [ I presume you meant evolution ] is inherently atheistic.

I don’t actually know of any religious argument that directly supports evolution. What they’re mostly good for is counteracting other religious arguments.

The letter signed by over 10,000 clergy members said,

“We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.” From http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/religion_science_collaboration.htm

In other words, if you question evolution theory, you are spurning god’s wishes by not using the mind that god gave you. This goes beyond being a mere counterargument against the claim that evolution is inherently atheistic.

Also, on Evolution Sunday, there were many sermons about the controversy over evolution, and I presume that at least some of these sermons presented theological arguments in support of evolution theory. Some of these sermons are available at
http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_resources.htm

Also, Father Coyne himself used theological arguments to defend evolution theory against ID, e.g., “the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, while evoking a God of power and might, a designer God, actually belittles God, makes her/him too small and paltry.” From
http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18540

Comment #81371
Posted by PvM on February 21, 2006 10:45 PM

Nope, science says nothing about unguided, unplanned but we have discussed this already

A nitpicking criticism. Cardinal Schonborn was merely emphasizing the fact that random mutations are, by definition, unguided and unplanned.

PvM continued –
Indeed, as Coyne said apparant directionality does not require a designer. How familiar is Andy with scientific knowledge about co-evolution or convergent evolution? Can Andy explain to us what the scientific explanations are for both phenomena? Or is he arguing from ignorance again?

Natural selection proceeds in the direction of survival of the fittest and does not require a designer. Random mutations may or may not require a designer or an apparent designer, depending on the possibility or the likelihood of particular random mutations occurring within the time allowed.

In regard to co-evolution, I presented a scenario where co-evolution would be virtually impossible – the mutations in both organisms would be detrimental in the absence of the corresponding mutation in the co-dependent organism. At best, co-evolution would be far more difficult than independent evolution (i.e., adaptation to the fixed physical features of the environment) unless one of the corresponding features is pre-existent.

Comment #81449

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 8:04 AM (e)

Shut up, Larry.

Comment #81453

Posted by JONBOY on February 22, 2006 8:20 AM (e)

Hi Chiefley, Your preponderance toward apologetics are only outweighed by your total lack of biblical understanding. Here is your sequel!!!!!
Matthew: Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has “come not to send peace, but a sword.” 10:34-36:Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. 11:20-24 :Jesus says the damned will be tormented forever. 25:46
Luke: Jesus says that God is like a slave-owner who beats his slaves “with many stripes.” 12:46-47 Jesus believed the story of Noah’s ark. He thought it really happened and had no problem with the idea of God drowning everything and everybody. 17:26-27
John: Jesus believes people are crippled by God as a punishment for sin. He tells a crippled man, after healing him, to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” 5:14
Acts: Peter and God scare Ananias and his wife to death for not forking over all of the money that they made when selling their land. 5:1-10 The author of Acts talks about the “sure mercies of David.” But David was anything but merciful. For an example of his behavior see 2 Sam.12:31 and 1 Chr.20:3, where he saws, hacks, and burns to death the inhabitants of several cities. 13:34
Romans: Homosexuals (those “without natural affection”) and their supporters (those “that have pleasure in them”) are “worthy of death.” 1:31-32 God punishes everyone for someone else’s sin; then he saves them by killing an innocent victim. 5:12
2 Thessalonians: Jesus will take “vengeance on them that know not God” by burning them forever “in flaming fire.” 1:7-9 Jesus will “consume” the wicked “with the spirit of his mouth.” 2:8
Revelation: “I [Jesus] will kill her children with death.” 2:23 Jesus makes war. 19:11 With eyes aflame, many crowns on his head, clothes dripping with blood, a sword sticking out of his mouth, and a secret name, Jesus leads the faithful into holy war. 19:12-15
Extracting good values from the Bible is like picking strawberries from a bucket of manure.

Comment #81457

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 8:30 AM (e)

Carol wrote:

I have a good feel for the flow, tone and usage of the words, in all its subtleties and nuances, in both texts.

So now she’s admitting there’s “subtleties and nuances” in the original Biblical texts, for which she had to get a “good feel.” What happened to the strict literal reading of the original texts in the original languages that’s supposed to give us all kinds of literal scientific truth that we can’t find in any English translations?

This is beginning to sound like someone re-reading the “subtleties and nuances” of Nostradamus’ writings to get a literal retroactive prediction of the latest big political development.

Show me a scientific text with “subtleties and nuances,” and I’ll show you a badly written scientific text.

Comment #81463

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 8:51 AM (e)

After cherrypicking about one page of text from a book that’s hundreds of pages long, JONBOY concluded:

Extracting good values from the Bible is like picking strawberries from a bucket of manure.

And yet, somehow, a lot of Christians manage to do just that, without a heck of a lot of visible effort. Most of the passages you quote are unfamiliar to me precisely because so few of the Christians I know actually quote them, or consider them important.

Here’s a helpful hint: if you’re closer to a pile of manure than to a pile of strawberries, the former will appear larger, the latter will appear smaller, and the smell of the former will be stronger. All of that can be corrected by walking AROUND the manure to get close to the strawberries.

Before you belittle the alleged dearth of “good values” in the Bible, perhaps you should ask yourself how much “good values” are contained in your own writings. Knowingly ignoring the wise or decent things someone else says, and concentrating obsessively on the bad or questionable, makes me wonder whether you even want to find good values.

Comment #81468

Posted by Caledonian on February 22, 2006 9:40 AM (e)

Judeo-Christianity have a great deal to do with defining what we mean by “good” values.

It should also be noted that many adherents of those faiths don’t actually know what their faith teaches.

Comment #81474

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 10:19 AM (e)

It should also be noted that many adherents of those faiths don’t actually know what their faith teaches.

That’s because “their faith” doesn’t teach anyone anything; people and experience teach people. So what people know about “their faith” comes from what certain people taught them about the subject.

If many Christians don’t know that “their faith” teaches the unsavory Bible passages that the religion-bashers go on about, it is probably because their teachers didn’t bother with those passages, because they didn’t consider them an important part of “their faith.” So for all practical purposes, “their faith” doesn’t really teach any of that hateful stuff.

Comment #81477

Posted by Space_Monkey on February 22, 2006 10:39 AM (e)

Well suppose science IS neutral with regard to untestable religious claims - ie the claim that there is a deity. The question still remains “Why should I believe that there is a deity?” One must either 1) believe in God purely on (irrational) faith, 2) fall back on iffy and largely discredited philsophical arguments (Paley’s design argument, the ontological argument, ID) or 3) argue on the equally iffy basis of utility - ie we should believe not because we’re justified in believing but because believing is good for us.

Personally, I do not care if there is a God or not. To be overly intellectually or emotionally invested in a claim whose truth or falsity makes absolutely no demonstrable difference in the real world is, for me, a tremendous failire to care about the right things.

Comment #81487

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 22, 2006 11:13 AM (e)

Posted by Corkscrew on February 21, 2006 09:58 PM (e)

Carol: This translation of the Hebrew Bible (the first one that came up on Google) appears to substantiate Mr Christopher’s claim.

Deuteronomy ch. 22:
“[20] But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; [21] then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought a wanton deed in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.”

This nonsense is still going on.
Especially in some Muslim countries.

The majority humans still live in countries where, men are worth more than women, democracy is unheard of and superstition has more power than science.

Comment #81488

Posted by Keith Douglas on February 22, 2006 11:18 AM (e)

Schönborn doesn’t seem to realize that at the very least the materialism he derides is part of the metaphysics of contemporary science, most notably in neuroscience. An immaterial soul that does anything runs into conflict with science - both neuroscience, and even physics, as Descartes was reminded long ago. What I would find interesting is Coyne’s take on the matter.

Comment #81491

Posted by JONBOY on February 22, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

Raging Bee said: “After cherrypicking about one page of text from a book that’s hundreds of pages long.”and,”Before you belittle the alleged dearth of “good values” in the Bible, perhaps you should ask yourself how much “good values” are contained in your own writings. Knowingly ignoring the wise or decent things someone else says, and concentrating obsessively on the bad or questionable, makes me wonder whether you even want to find good values. I have encountered the same arguments on numerous occasions and your pleading is one the most common,only you forgot to use the “out of context” and “we should not read the bible literally”excuses,of course,I realize that apologists, such as yourself, place great reliance on shifting the point of issue. Why are Xtians such as yourself,unfamiliar with such quotes ,or consider them important? because to do so, may test your transparent faith.
You make most serious mistake of all Christians asserting the Bible is the Word of God. I’d like to give you a list, a litany, of the deeds that God committed somewhere in the Old Testament. Now remember, God, the Perfect Being, did all of fol owing in what is supposedly His book. He created evil (Lam. 3:38, Jer. 26:3, 36:3, Ezek. 20.:25-26, Judges 9:3, 1 Sam. 16:23, 18:10); He deceived (Jer. 4:10, 15:18, 20:7, 2 Chron. 18:22, Ezek. 14:9, 2 Thess. 2:9-12); He told people to lie(Ex. 3:18, 1 Sam. 16:2); He lied (Gen 2:17, 2 Sam. 7:13); He rewarded liars (Ex. 1:15-20); He ordered men to become drunken (Jer. 25:27); He rewarded the fool and the transgressor (Prov.26:10); He delivered a man, Job, into Satan’s hands (Job 2:6); He mingled a perverse spirit (Isa. 19:14); He spread dung on people’s faces (Mal. 2:3)); He ordered stealing (Ezek. 39:10, Ex. 3:22); He made false prophecies (Jonah 3:4. Gen. 5:10); He Changed his mind (Jonah 3:10); He caused adultery (2 Sam. 12:11-12); He ordered the taking of a harlot (Hosea 1:2, 3:1-2); He killed (Num. 16:35, 21:6, Deut. 32:39, 1 Sam. 2:26, Psalm 135:10); He ordered killing (Lev. 26:7-8, Num. 25:4-5); He had a temper (Deut. 13:17, Judges 3:8); He was often jealous (Deut. 5:9, 6:15); He wasn’t omnipresent (Gen4:16, 11:5, 1 Kings 19:11-12); He wasn’t omniscient (Deut. 8:2, 13:3, 2 Chron. 32:31); He often repented (Ex. 32:14, 1 Sam. 15:35); He practiced injustice (Ex. 4:22-23, Joshua 22:20, Rom. 5:12); He played favorites (Deut. 7:6, 14:2, 1 Sam. 12:22); He sanctioned slavery (Ex. 21:20-21, Deut. 15:17); He degraded deformed people (Lev. 21:16-23); He punished a baster for being illegitimate (Deut. 23:2); He punished many for the acts of one (Gen. 3:16, 20:18); He punished children for the sins of their fathers (Ex. 12:29, 20:5, Deut. 5:9); He prevented people from hearing his word (Isa. 6:10, John 12:39-40); He supported human sacrifice (Ex. 22:29-30, Ezek. 20:26); He ordered cannibalism (Lev. 26: 29, Jer. 19:9); He demanded virgins as a part of war plunder(Num. 31:31-36); He ordered gambling (Joshua 14. 2, Num. 26:52, 55-56); He ordered horses to be hamstrung (Joshua 11:6); He sanctioned violation of the enemies women (Deut. 21:10-14); He excused the beating of slaves to death (Ex. 21:20-21); He required a woman to marry her rapist (Deut. 22:28:29); He taught war (Psalm 144:1); He ordered the burning of human feces to cook food (Ezek. 21:3-5); He intentionally issued bad laws (Ezek. 20:25); He excused the sins of prostitutes and adulterers (Hosea 4:14); He excused a murderer and promised his protection (Gen. 4:8-15); He killed a man who refused to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law (Gen. 38:9-10); and He is indecisive (Gen. 18:17). Now, can you imagine anyone saying, “Yes, that’s my book, that represents me; that’s the way I am.” -especially a supposedly perfect being. What villain, what criminal, in all history had a record to match?
I find goodness and kindness in my life ,but not from a belief system that,s based on a book as rotten and corrupt as the Bible.

Comment #81492

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 22, 2006 11:28 AM (e)

Carol makes a good case for why the bible cannot be trusted as a guide for morality or science. I have often wondered if the bible writers were insane. The bible is incomprehensible and ANYONE can claim to truly know what is meant by the passages and no one can prove that person is wrong. This makes the bible about as useful as Aesop’s fables. The Korean to English instructions for assembling my daughter’s tricycle are far more clear and useful than the spilled poetry we call the bible.

Anyone who would speak to people about matters that concern everlasting peace or everlasting torture and use parables (and not plain direct communication) is a cruel asshole of the highest order.

But hey, according to The Tortured One I have a perpetual life of “teeth gnashing” to look forward to so who am I to talk about the lunacy of the bible?

Carol, I saw your post in the other thread about the bible code but I was unable to get what you meant. I now sorta get it. Anyhow, thanks for addressing my question(s).

Comment #81493

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 22, 2006 11:31 AM (e)

Comment #81404
Posted by Carol Clouser on February 22, 2006 01:25 AM (e)

Carol, you confuse me.
You are obviously educated, yet seem unable to argue in a coherent manner.

I have only one question for you (at the moment). Which is more important, God or the bible?

There you go. Only a one word answer required.

Comment #81495

Posted by David Heddle on February 22, 2006 11:48 AM (e)

JONEBOY,

No time or desire to go through your pitiful list one-by-one, but I’ll tackle the God-is-a-liar claim.

You assert God lied in Genesis 2:17:

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. (Gen 2:17)

but of course, that is not true. Looking at Ephesians:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph 2:1)

We see that all fallen men are dead, just as God promised. They are spiritually dead, with no desire to seek God until they are regenerated by God. Which is why atheists only think that they have cleverly opted against choosing God—in fact you have no choice, being dead men, as it were. Your “I’m so smart I’d never fall for those Christian myths” is just a comforting illusion.

Comment #81498

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 11:57 AM (e)

Lenny, I apologize in advance.

Raging Bee,
I get that you are about the spiritual life and the experiential aspects of spiritualism but think about this: How many people does gOD kill in the bibles and how many people does Beelzebub kill? How many aggressive words are attributed as the voice of god and how many are attributed to people? There may be strawberries but they are being carried by assholes who smell like the manure they produce. I love analogies.

IMHO, Father Coyne is merely explaining that trying to go from conclusion to data rather than data to conclusion might not give the same results and that one appears to be a more reliable method than the other. I presume he is religious and spiritual.

Many people want to “not shoot those who are on our side”. It seems to me that those who are “on our side” are those who wish to have education include arriving at conclusions through data rather than the other way around.

I wonder how believing in the inerrent truth of holy texts fits this?

I frequently poke a little fun at certain people who take themselves quite seriously. Often, they get upset. But I am not sure when even one upset response to a statement I have made has been anything more substantial than a rant over hurt feelings. Where was I going with this? Carol? Heddle? Andy? Dear gOd. All three together.

Comment #81504

Posted by RO on February 22, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

Leigh Jackson wrote:

There is, however, excellent scientific evidence to suggest that [God is a figment] of the human imagination.

Nonsense.

Comment #81505

Posted by Frank J on February 22, 2006 12:19 PM (e)

Corkscrew wrote:

I’m not sure how the lack of a conflict between science and religion suggests that science needs God. How badly am I missing the point here?

Science does not “need God” in its explanations, nor does it “need not-God” in its explanations. But 90% of the people believe in God, and unless we want those who accept evolution to decline from 50% to 10% - as anti-evolutionists would surely want - then science “needs God.” In its PR at least.

Comment #81507

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 22, 2006 12:20 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher wrote:

“Anyone who would speak to people about matters that concern everlasting peace or everlasting torture and use parables (and not plain direct communication) is a cruel asshole of the highest order.”

You are forgetting that the HB was never intended for the entire world, nor was it meant to be separated from the oral tradition it came with. The HB is a product of the Jews (divinely inspired), by the Jews and for the Jews, and they still diligently study that oral tradition as recorded, for example, in the Midrash, Talmud, and so on.

It is not God’s fault that having endowed His loftiest creations with free will, some of them choose to mistranslate, distort, add to, then nullify his written work.

Comment #81509

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 12:36 PM (e)

It is not God’s fault that having endowed His loftiest creations with free will, some of them choose to mistranslate, distort, add to, then nullify his written work.

Um. Think about that for a minute Carol

Comment #81514

Posted by RO on February 22, 2006 12:44 PM (e)

RG wrote:

I’ve been spending a little time on www.christianforums.com…

I also post there.

RG wrote:

…and if you think the attitude of religious nutters (such as Carol, David, and Larry) towards atheists or scientists is harsh, it’s NOTHING compared to how some of them treat each other.

David is not a “religious nutter.”

Comment #81515

Posted by Ogee on February 22, 2006 12:47 PM (e)

David is not a “religious nutter.”

Comment #81495 begs to differ.

Comment #81518

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 1:09 PM (e)

Andy H wrote:

A nitpicking criticism. Cardinal Schonborn was merely emphasizing the fact that random mutations are, by definition, unguided and unplanned.

Nope he did more than that. Read the sentence.

Andy H wrote:

Natural selection proceeds in the direction of survival of the fittest and does not require a designer. Random mutations may or may not require a designer or an apparent designer, depending on the possibility or the likelihood of particular random mutations occurring within the time allowed.

Even natural selection can involve a ‘designer’, Darwin discussed how breeders for instance improve their stock through the process of selection

Andy H wrote:

In regard to co-evolution, I presented a scenario where co-evolution would be virtually impossible — the mutations in both organisms would be detrimental in the absence of the corresponding mutation in the co-dependent organism. At best, co-evolution would be far more difficult than independent evolution (i.e., adaptation to the fixed physical features of the environment) unless one of the corresponding features is pre-existent.

Cool, so you have identified a pathway which cannot explain co-evolution but now you are attacking a strawman really… Just like with IC…

Comment #81519

Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

How again do YOU explain co-evolution?

Comment #81520

Posted by RO on February 22, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

Ogee wrote:

Comment #81495 begs to differ.

No.

Comment #81521

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 1:15 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quot'

Comment #81522

Posted by AD on February 22, 2006 1:20 PM (e)

I must confess, I’ve lost track. Have we come to a consensus about who’s God (or non-God, in the atheists case) has the biggest penis yet?

Sorry for the sarcasm, but that’s really what the entire discussion comes across as. We can argue until we are blue in the face, but the odds of convincing anyone to agree with subjective personal belief on unreliable literature is approximately zero (0).

Perhaps this underscores the importance of the methodological naturalism and scientific method, however. Without objectively verifiable, repeatable, testable, falsifiable claims, we get arguments like this one.

Comment #81523

Posted by JONBOY on February 22, 2006 1:21 PM (e)

David H, You have several lamentable habits, including inadequately rationalizing the obvious, and patronizing your opponent.You have been so thoroughly imbued with a belief system, that you consider any evidence to the contrary, of yours, couldn’t possibly be valid. You even close your eyes to contrary biblical verses and dismissed them out-of-hand. God says that if Adam eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then the day that he does so, he will die. But later Adam eats the forbidden fruit (3:6) and yet lives for another 930 years (5:5). (I see no mention of an immortal soul)
But,let us assume your reasoning is correct,then one could ask
Why are we being punished for Adam’s sin? After all, he ate the
forbidden fruit, we didn’t. It’s his problem, not ours, especially in
light of Deut. 24:16, which says children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers,also, God must be perfect, God created Adam, so he, must have been perfect. How then could Adam have sinned? Regardless of how much free will he had, if he chose to sin, he wasn’t perfect. I see no point in engaging in any more duologue with you, as much of your malediction is little more than opinions and conjectures based on an offended ego and are no more valid than my own or anyone else .We’ll let the readers judge.

.

Comment #81527

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 22, 2006 1:38 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

You see, unlike some ignoramuses here, I can read the Hebrew text of the Bible and the Aramaic of the Talmud in the original. I have a good feel for the flow, tone and usage of the words, in all its subtleties and nuances, in both texts. I don’t need Artscroll to tell me that “liznot” denotes sexual violations and that the phrase “to play…” (the harlot) does not appear in the original at all.

I beg your pardon? Carol, you don’t even know what the word torah means; she has been known to use it to refer to the “Bible”, and then edit her comments to remove the inconvenient fact.

The fanatical defense of the literal details of faith, something that Carol (and some groups of Protestants; my apologies if I cast aspersions on all Protestants, but quite frankly, the only distinction within Christianity I’ve got a really clear handle on is that one group accepts transubstantiation and one group doesn’t) indulges in is a classic case of anti-theist theist thinking: refusing to use God-given gifts, such as intelligence, in the service of the faith.

Comment #81528

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 1:46 PM (e)

Wow, JONBOY, you sure showed a lot of dedication researching all the nasty bits in the Old Testament. Good on ya, mate. Too bad you seem to have missed the sequel, where some smartass kid questioned all the wise guys about it a few generations later and said that no one needed all those draconian laws and punishments to get to the central point, which was (to put it VERY simplistically) that humans needed to open themselves to the voice and power of the divine within them, and acknowledge and respect the divine in each other, and thus achieve enlightenment and harmony with God and his universe.

Once again, you devote too much time and energy to bits that really don’t matter to most real Christians’ daily lives as much as the words of Christ himself. Why are you not researching his words, rather than a bunch of hateful threats from a bygone era? Deliberately avoiding something?

Even most Pagans are well aware that the teachings of CHRIST form the central tenets of CHRISTIANITY. And if Pagans, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, etc. can get this point, then you have no excuse for missing it. (Yes, I know a lot of idiots call themselves Christians and are still hooked on the graphic violence and perverted sex stuff, but you’re not going to let them tell you what to think, are you?)

(PS: As I’ve said here before, I’m neither a Christian nor an apologist. If you’re going to argue by labeling, at least try to get your labels right.)

Comment #81530

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 22, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

Carol says…

It is not God’s fault that having endowed His loftiest creations with free will, some of them choose to mistranslate, distort, add to, then nullify his written work.

If I were misquoted on a subject that could result in a person or people being subjected to everlasting torture/punishment, I don’t know about you but I’d take to the time to clear up the misunderstanding. That would be the moral and right thing to do.

For instance if we were in a dark theatre and a fire broke out in the lobby and I said tell the folks in the theatre there is a fire and they must evacuate at once and you went and told the movie goers “Chris says all is well, enjoy the movie” I would take the time to speak up and say “that is NOT what I said, there is a damn fire so get your arses out of the building now!” God on the other hand seems quite comfy sitting back and watching the people who heard a twisted version of god’s message in the theatre burn to death.

Then again I have a moral compass and god has yet to prove he has any sense of morality. Obviously god could care less if he is misquoted or misunderstood regardless of what the consequences might be.

No biggie. What is important to me is the fact that god doesn’t seem to care at all about creationism being taught in American public schools and apparently could care less about the so called theory of intelligent design. In fact the evidence suggests god favors science and evolution being taught over creation myths/intelligent design.

In my book that makes him an ok guy in spite of his lack of a moral compass.

Comment #81531

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 22, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

AD wrote:

Perhaps this underscores the importance of the methodological naturalism and scientific method, however. Without objectively verifiable, repeatable, testable, falsifiable claims, we get arguments like this one.

The problem is that even with the MN we get arguments like this. There is a phenomenon my advisor is looking at (incidently) that has to do with the appropriate assignment of mental ‘tools’ to problem spaces. I don’t have much to do with it myself, but the basic idea seems to be that certain survival ‘thinking patterns’ (e.g. MN) are shunted aside by the mind at times. The hypothesis is that there exists a hierarchy of ‘survival traits’ (blind faith being one of them) and some people can’t detach from the hierarchy and use the appropriate tool in more general situations. It’s simply a question of ‘wiring’.

All horribly sloppy terminology, I know, but as I say - it’s not my field (at the moment, let’s not rule anything out).

Comment #81532

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 22, 2006 1:52 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #81533

Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 22, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

RO wrote:

Leigh Jackson wrote:

There is, however, excellent scientific evidence to suggest that [God is a figment] of the human imagination.

I said

Science can no more prove that God does not exist that it can prove that gremlins or unicorns do not exist. There is no scientific evidence for any of them. There is, however, excellent scientific evidence to suggest that all of them are figments of the human imagination.

I guess being quote-mined is a compliment.

Comment #81536

Posted by AD on February 22, 2006 2:06 PM (e)

The problem is that even with the MN we get arguments like this.

Yes, but it gives us an objective basis to judge them by, you see. The point is not to eliminate the arguments (that would be highly improbable), but to eliminate the impact of the bogus arguments.

In science, when you are wrong, this is eventually found out. Better, improved theories outstrip the old ones. It is when you lack any ability to have valid comparisons or value estimations for statements that you are going to have an unwinnable “argument”.

MN is the reason science works - we can all sit around and compare criteria. We still get crazy arguments - either through geniune attempts to succeed that are just off base, or through biased agendas, but they can be called for what they are (eventually).

Comment #81537

Posted by RO on February 22, 2006 2:07 PM (e)

Leigh Jackson wrote:

I guess being quote-mined is a compliment.

I quoted the relevant part of your post (with a minor emendation). Are you seriously suggesting I altered the meaning of your comments by abridging them or do you just like to overuse the term “quote-mine”?

Comment #81539

Posted by JONBOY on February 22, 2006 2:33 PM (e)

Raging Bee, Thanks for the complements mate, it was hard work ,took me all of 2 minutes. So let me get this ,the book that Xtians MUST base their beliefs on,(no evidence from any other sources) can be used as a religious menu,embrace the parts that suit the palette and forget about the parts that may be embarrassing. I can buy that,so long as Xtians are honest about it(which invariably they are not).
Sorry if I miss-labeled you,if it looks like it, and sounds like it,you know?

Comment #81544

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 3:00 PM (e)

JONBOY wrote:

So let me get this ,the book that Xtians MUST base their beliefs on,(no evidence from any other sources) can be used as a religious menu,embrace the parts that suit the palette and forget about the parts that may be embarrassing. I can buy that,so long as Xtians are honest about it(which invariably they are not).

Once again, you are making a statement about ALL Christians (actually three statements – I have to admit you’re efficient) that is clearly only true for SOME Christians. A very poor and lazy choice of words at best; and an act of outright bigotry at worst.

Furthermore, when you imply that selectively reading and interpreting bits of the Bible is somehow dishonest or questionable, you are repeating exactly what the fundies and literalists want us to believe. Do you believe them? Whose side are you on?

Comment #81551

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 3:25 PM (e)

But this is the fun debate. ID in schools is, for the moment anyway, a non-issue. (Wait til Alito gets a hold of it)

Look at all the threads that have over a hundred responses. THey are threads where we are debating the lines in the gray area btween science and religion. Maybe they all just hash the same thing over and over but that is apparently what the readers are commenting about. Why should we not keep doing it if it is fun? During the Kitzmiller trial, I read the transcripts and didn’t comment at PT at all. Living in Oregon means I don’t really have fundies making news so I have to go out into the big wide world to make fun of them.

You all don’t post any comments at my blog:
http://brainwashedgod.blogspot.com
so I have to comment here. You’re the ones who force me to do it.

Comment #81554

Posted by Lynn on February 22, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

And lo, they lived in Oppression, confined to a cage which, though lovely to the eyes, provided no opportunity for occupation or entertainment. And the Great Oppressor hovered over their pitiful heads, issuing threats of Great Retribution should they attempt to exceed the boundaries of their confinement, or attempt to improve their minds or understanding. And he placed a fierce warrior with a deadly weapon at the gates to their cage. And in the center of the cage, the Oppressor placed a bookcase containing a multitude of tomes, each holding a portion of the knowledge of the world and the guides to judgment and ethics. There He placed it, to tempt and tease, for He forbade them to touch even one page of the font of knowledge, for fear of His terrible retrobution.

But the day came when a Great Liberator entered their cage. He whispered and coaxed until the woman, being the more adventurous, defied the Great Oppressor and opened the first of the books of knowledge. And finding the knowledge exciting and enlightening, she pursuaded the man to follow her lead. And they began to learn.

But Lo! The Great Oppressor roared over the cage, ranting and raving, and He gathered the man and woman up and threw them from the cage, condemning them to exist without his claimed benevolent protection, and to suffer the privations and agonies of the real world.

But alas! His actions came too late! For the woman and the man had gained enough knowledge to exist without the smothering protection of the Great Oppressor, and they continued to pursue knowledge and understanding. And in the fullness of time, though they and their descendants frequently suffered the annoying whining of those who yearned for the shiftless life of the cage, their knowledge grew great, and the world which they crafted for themselves was far greater than the pitiful existence in the garden–er–cage.

***

There’s more than one way to interpret the book of Genesis… ;^)

Comment #81556

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 3:34 PM (e)

Lynn. I love you.

Comment #81557

Posted by steve s on February 22, 2006 3:49 PM (e)

Wait til Alito gets a hold of it

Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas.

John Paul Stevens is 85. Bush has 3 more years. Kiss Roe v Wade bye bye.

Comment #81561

Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 22, 2006 4:15 PM (e)

If Coyne can reconcile his religious faith with evolution whilst accepting the complete lack of scientific evidence for the process being guided in any way, then good for him.

I think he is going to have trouble persuading very many others of his own point of view.

In any case that is not the position of the CC. Catholic Church teaching is emphatic: evolution can only be compatible with Christian faith if the process is guided by God.

Furthermore the CC says that nature is known to be designed by reason and physical evidence alone, not by faith. Faith is only required in order to know the form of the creator-designer - the triune God revealed in the New Testament.

The CC’s teaching is in flat contradiction with the scientific evidence. Coyne occupies a position on the outermost fringes of Catholic theology.

Comment #81572

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 22, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher wrote:

“Then again I have a moral compass and god has yet to prove he has any sense of morality. Obviously god could care less if he is misquoted or misunderstood regardless of what the consequences might be.”

If God would ask me I would advise it to provide some feedback at this point in time. But, alas, God has its own cosmic considerations of which we know nothing, and it asks neither you nor me. Once we assume the existence of a God/creator we must, in my opinion, concede that reading its mind is beyond our reach. We can speculate and theorize, that is about it.

If it helps, it was all predicted over three thousand years ago by Moses (Deut. 31:18). “And I will hide, will hide, my face on that day (yohm here too is better translated as “era”)… for he has turned to other gods.” Huge numbers of people today worship “other gods” - the god of money, the god of power, the god of fame, the god of sex, and on and on. But now I am begin to preach, something I just do not do. So I will stop this right here.

Comment #81573

Posted by JONBOY on February 22, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

Raging Bee, Lets define a Xtian “One who believes the New Testament is “A divinely inspired book,” admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin” (not my quote). The two are inexorably joined together,either you accept ALL the scriptures as they are presented, as absolute truth,and follow them to the letter, or you dont,try as you may,there is no way around that my friend. You said “A very poor and lazy choice of words at best; and an act of outright bigotry at worst”.Please do not resort to Ad Hominem attacks,it does little to bolster your arguments
You said “Furthermore, when you imply that selectively reading and interpreting bits of the Bible is somehow dishonest or questionable”,
They most certainly are,not only to their own self conscience(to thine own self be true)but also to the religion they are supposed to be representing.The rest of your statement”you are repeating exactly what the fundies and literalists want us to believe. Do you believe them? Whose side are you on”,seems to makes little or no sense.

Comment #81576

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 22, 2006 5:07 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

But now I am begin to preach, something I just do not do.

You owe me a new irony meter.

Comment #81577

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 5:08 PM (e)

- the god of money, the god of power, the god of fame, the god of sex,…

the god of book sales…

Comment #81581

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 22, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

“I have only one question for you (at the moment). Which is more important, God or the bible? There you go. Only a one word answer required.”

The Bible.

In Judaism it is one’s actions that carry far more weight than one’s beliefs or opinions. The HB is a recipe book and an instructional manual for how to live an uplifting, ethical lifestyle that serves as an example and inspiration to others. What a better place this planet would be if people abided by only a fraction of its precepts.

The catch is that a human being typically needs to be motivated to follow any particular set of rules. The prime motivation for following the HB is that it is divinely inspired. So one cannot just read God out of the picture. The likely result is no God, no Bible.

Comment #81583

Posted by CJ O'Brien on February 22, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

“The HB is a recipe book”

NOW I understand. Those ‘dietary laws’ never made that much sense to me before.

Comment #81587

Posted by Alann on February 22, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

Try double checking the meaning of words, you might be surprised what you find. (I used dictionary.com for a quick reference)

Atheism: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

Exactly what I thought, but it got me thinking, why does atheism mean denying the existence of God as opposed to resembling the word amoral (neither moral or immoral) as to say having nothing to do with belief God? For now I will use the term non-theistic.

Science is very non-theistic, it has NOTHING to do with belief in God. Ergo it cannot possible be atheistic if that means opposing belief in God.

Materialism: Philosophy. The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.

Naturalism: Philosophy. The system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.

Science is not really materialistic naturalism as described here. Science should not and does not hold that it can explain EVERYTHING. Rather I would say science only concerns itself with those phenomena which can be explained using a materialistic on naturalistic basis.

So lets add a new word:

Ascientific: Neither scientific or Unscientific, rather having nothing to do with science. (see Intelligent Design)

Besides:
Only God can make a tree, and only a religion would be so silly as to cut one down to print a bible.

Comment #81594

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 22, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Carol was all…

The HB is a recipe book and an instructional manual for how to live an uplifting, ethical lifestyle that serves as an example and inspiration to others.

Lucky me that I am able to figure out how to live an uplifting, ethical (and godless) lifestyle without trying to interpret ancient texts written by scientifically ignorant peoples.

What a better place this planet would be if people abided by only a fraction of its precepts.

Carol, murdering women who lie with married men or who lie about being virgins (as the bible tells us to) is not a recipe for a better place if you ask me.

And is the book of Joshua a guide to better living to you? Does that book teach us how to live with our neighbors? Does it teach us how to settle disputes? How to resolve disputed property claims? No, I think not. It teaches the reader that murdering women and children is ok as long as you believe god told you to do so. Oh but spare the virgins, we have a virgin fetish mind you. The book of Joshua is a repulsive little book with a repulsive message. And Leviticus is nothing more than a slave owners manual. That is sick and twisted, my dear and I am only scratching the surface of the wholesale immorality found in the good book.

And how about the part where those who do not go along with this little scheme for better living are punished for all eternity? Jesus describes it as “eternal teeth gnashing”. There was once a funny little German man with a funny moustache who had similar opinions about those who do not conform to his scheme too.

I’ll take my atheism over your ancient mythology thank you very much. But you are welcome to as much ancient mythology as you like. You can even have my share since I won’t want or need it.

Cheers!

Comment #81597

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

The majority humans still live in countries where, men are worth more than women, democracy is unheard of and superstition has more power than science.

Sounds like the US to me. (shrug)

Comment #81600

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 22, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

What a better place this planet would be if people abided by only a fraction of its precepts.

No, no, Mr. Christopher, surely Carol is telling us that a fraction of the HB’s precepts are acceptable, and indeed if one is highly selective one may be benefited by following a (small) fraction. The problem is that if you followed all of them, or even a majority, the damage would be considerable.

Anyhow, that is my literal reading of Carol’s advice.

Glen D.
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #81601

Posted by Matt Young on February 22, 2006 7:19 PM (e)

Comment 81587 said,

Science is not really materialistic naturalism as described here.

MN stands for methodological naturalism, not materialistic. You can be a methodological naturalist yet not be a materialist in the sense defined in that comment. I think the statement,

Science should not and does not hold that it can explain EVERYTHING. Rather I would say science only concerns itself with those phenomena which can be explained using a materialistic on naturalistic basis.

is essentially correct, but you’ll have a lot of trouble convincing me that putative religious experiences cannot be studied scientifically to see whether they could be hallucinations.

Further, there is no reason that science cannot study religion, and any religious belief that denies a well established scientific fact is flatly wrong. Thus, science may not have all the answers, but it can certainly be used to refute many religious beliefs.

Religion, by contrast, has almost nothng to say to science, particularly if we do not pretend that ethics is a branch of religion.

Comment #81602

Posted by BWE on February 22, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

For that matter, I would like to study Hallucinations to see whether they might be religious experiences. I rather suspect that they are. ANyone here who has had a self induced hallucination can probably attest to the absolute difference of reality while experiencing the hallucination. Just because you come down doesn’t make the trip anyu less real. I believe it was Carl Sagan who said that. Anybody know? I think the quote is off a bit so I couldn’t google it.

Comment #81609

Posted by Andy H. on February 22, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

Comment #81518
Posted by PvM on February 22, 2006 01:09 PM

Andy H wrote:
“A nitpicking criticism. Cardinal Schonborn was merely emphasizing the fact that random mutations are, by definition, unguided and unplanned.”

Nope he did more than that. Read the sentence.

Here is the complete paragraph from the July 7, 2005 NY Times article by Cardinal Schonborn, showing “unguided” and “unplanned” in their complete contexts –

“Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense – an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”

So – please tell me what I am missing.

Even natural selection can involve a ‘designer’, Darwin discussed how breeders for instance improve their stock through the process of selection

If humans do the selecting, then it is not really “natural” selection. Anyway, I only said that a designer is not required.

Cool, so you have identified a pathway which cannot explain co-evolution but now you are attacking a strawman really… Just like with IC…

That pathway is a real possibility in biology. And I have shown that there can be great difficulties even in the easier cases of co-evolution.

How again do YOU explain co-evolution?

I don’t. I cannot say how co-evolution can be explained – I can only say how co-evolution cannot be explained.

Comment #81613

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 22, 2006 8:51 PM (e)

I can only say how co-evolution cannot be explained.

talk about an argument from ignorance!

thanks, larry, for giving us yet another perfect example of what that phrase means.

“i can’t explain why or why not something occurs, so it must totally negate anything i think it does”

Gawp.

Pim - why are you letting Larry post as Andy H. again?

I think i might like to play around posting as multiple personalities too.

after all, I can only say how the rule covering multiple name posting cannot be explained, so that must mean all the rules are worthless, right?

Comment #81633

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 22, 2006 10:37 PM (e)

Shut up, Larry.

Comment #81636

Posted by Raging Bee on February 22, 2006 10:47 PM (e)

You said “Furthermore, when you imply that selectively reading and interpreting bits of the Bible is somehow dishonest or questionable”,
They most certainly are,not only to their own self conscience(to thine own self be true)but also to the religion they are supposed to be representing.

Right – a Christian-basher telling Christians the One True Way to “represent” their faith. This joke was funny at first, but now it’s just old.

So…first JONBOY dredges up all of the ugliest bits of the Bible to show there’s nothing good in it; then he explicitly says that a Christian who takes the good bits and leaves the ugly bits is being dishonest. This hypocricy can only come from someone who has already prejudged Christianity to be evil and devoid of merit, and is determined to demean and attack every Christian whose beliefs and actions prove him wrong. You’ve gone from inconsistent to incoherent.

The rigid bigots, extremists, and fundamentalists have taught you well; as you were abused, so you seek to abuse others. And since, beneath all the relentless bombast, you have nothing decent or positive to offer in place of the religious doctrines you simultaneously define, defend and attack, there is no further point in arguing with you. Buh-bye.

Comment #81642

Posted by Christian on February 22, 2006 11:45 PM (e)

Hey all,

I haven’t had time to read through all the posts, and of course, I am fairly new to Panda, and I am clumsy with posting.

But, Moses, I would like to know more about the history that you quote. I have been reading a bit of Bart Ehrman lately, which provides an interesting viewpoint of how “orthodox christianity” came to be. Particularly, since the canon of the new testament wasn’t fixed until the fourth century AD, there were four hundred years of people writing “holy” texts and proclaiming that their text’s contained the truth of Christ. This gap seems to leave four hundred years of literary BS to be inserted, and then the “correct” form to be decided by the victors.

I am something of a spiritualist myself, since good science strictly follows what it can discern of the universe itself, either through biology (yes, evolution is a major part of bio), and through physics and chemistry. It is quite hard to separate engineering from physics, even EE. And chemistry is pretty hard to really separate from physics, since quantum physics underlies how the atoms react with each other on the order of the laws of chemistry.

(OK, I was a business major, not ANY sort of science major, I have just read a bit, and this is how I view things fitting together, at least at he moment, until new data (that I can understand) comes in, the world needs more Stephen Hawkings across ALL disciplines, either the sciences, or business)

I am aware of earlier Jewish writings that were not accepted into the “old testament”, and am curious of any references you might have.

And, to all the PT contributors, who might think I might be a little nuts, please understand, I support science whole heartedly. It might be that the “god gene” has a little more hold of me than I would like, but it is impossible to refute evidence that comes straight from existence, so I whole heartedly accept science, in all it’s forms. Father Coyne is doing the best that he can to reconcile his view of god with what the universe that his god created tells him. In that sense, he is to be commended. Viewing the bible as an allegorical tale is fairly harmless, maybe helpful, as long as one does not fall into literalism. That provides excuses for atrocities against everything from science to fellow humans. Believe me, from my view, PZ Myers, and the majority of posters here (read as non fundamentalists) have a huge leg up on literalists and IDiots, and the like.

I admit, that I do listen to the local “christian” radio station just to see how logic can be twisted, and how people can settle on a religion that they claim is 2000 years old, yet realistically had many parts of it’s basic tenets disputed for the first four hundred years after the individual in question was born.

Alright, enough for now. Have to get up in the morning and get to my decidedly secular job, and get results in reality for my family, and let that take care of my “rewards” in the afterlife.

To all of Pandas Thumb, and it’s supporters, keep up the good fight.

Comment #81660

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 23, 2006 1:19 AM (e)

steve S wrote:

Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas.

John Paul Stevens is 85. Bush has 3 more years. Kiss Roe v Wade bye bye.

the horses are chomping at the bit…

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/national/23dakota.html

Comment #81661

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 23, 2006 1:20 AM (e)

i see they already put it behind the registration firewall.

here’s an excerpt:

PIERRE, S.D., Feb. 22 — Setting up South Dakota to become the first state in 14 years to start a direct legal attack on Roe v. Wade, lawmakers voted on Wednesday to outlaw nearly all abortions.

Comment #81671

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 23, 2006 1:59 AM (e)

David Heddle,

I fully appreciate your reluctance to delve into Joneboy’s post, based as it is on stupidity, ignorance and malice, but since you did comment on the “God is a liar” point, let me take that a step further.

Even if we take the verse “on the day that thou shall eat of it (the forbidden tree) thou shall die” literally, it is preposterous to accuse God of lying on the basis of the fact that Adam did live hundreds of years after he ate of the tree. God was projecting into the future, and was literally issuing a threat, which in the end He chose not to keep. At worst one can accuse God of changing His mind here. At best, He showed mercy and forgiveness and either posponed or rescinded the punishment based on Adam’s pleas and arguments. If anything this is meant to serve as a model of behavior for humans to emulate.

Can one accuse a parent who issues a threat to a child that a certain infraction will lead to a particular punishment, and then forgives the child after the infraction is committed, of having lied to the child?

Comment #81696

Posted by Nebogipfel on February 23, 2006 4:46 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

God was projecting into the future, and was literally issuing a threat, which in the end He chose not to keep. At worst one can accuse God of changing His mind here.

You know, I have enough trouble figuring out when other humans are being literal and when they’re being metaphorical. I don’t think I have any chance of figuring out when God is being metaphorical.

Comment #81706

Posted by Andy H. on February 23, 2006 5:55 AM (e)

Comment #81561
Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 22, 2006 04:15 PM

If Coyne can reconcile his religious faith with evolution whilst accepting the complete lack of scientific evidence for the process being guided in any way, then good for him.

I disagree that there is a “complete lack” of scientific evidence that evolution is guided in any way – it is just that many evolutionists have chosen to ignore or dismiss such evidence. This evidence exists not only in irreducible complexity but also exists in co-evolution and convergent evolution (see Comment #81335 of this thread). Evolutionists often resort to some very far-fetched ideas – such as “exaptation” (the idea that parts of a seemingly irreducible system previously had different functions outside the system) – to support the idea of unguided evolution. By the way, the concept of exaptation, which is used to explain away irreducible complexity, cannot explain away the arguments against natural co-evolution.

Catholic Church teaching is emphatic: evolution can only be compatible with Christian faith if the process is guided by God.

If that were true, then Cardinal Schonborn’s statements supporting intelligent design would not have aroused such controversy in the Catholic church. The Catholic church is trying to show that it also accepts unguided evolution. Father Coyne might be dismissed as a maverick, but there was also a pro-Darwinism, anti-ID article in the L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican – see http://smh.com.au/news/world/vatican-newspaper-backs-judges-support-of-evolution/2006/01/19/1137553712027.html , which notes, “while not all its articles represent official church policy, it would not be expected to present an article that dissented deeply from that policy.”

Coyne occupies a position on the outermost fringes of Catholic theology.

I agree. Coyne went pretty far when he said that the ID movement “actually belittles God.”

Anyway, it used to be in the good old days that we had just the Darwinists (evolutionists) and the creationists. Now we also have neo-Darwinists, new-earth creationists, old-earth creationists, day-age creationists, theistic-evolutionists, atheistic-evolutionists, guided-evolutionists, unguided-evolutionists, intelligent-designists, stupid-designists, common-descentists, irreducible-complexitists, punctuated-equilibriumists, and what-have-you, plus various combinations of the preceding. So by what right do scientists, theologians, judges, politicians, teachers, etc., try to set themselves up to tell other people what to believe or what they can study in science classes ? I can remember one of my high-school social studies teachers telling the class something I have never forgotten – she said the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that a dictatorship tells the people that they are not smart enough to think for themselves, “so the government will do your thinking for you.”

Comment #81718

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 23, 2006 7:24 AM (e)

Larry, your blatant dishonesty in posting under multiple aliases in violation of the forum rules seems matched only by the fundamental ignorance of evolutionary biology you display.

I disagree that there is a “complete lack” of scientific evidence that evolution is guided in any way — it is just that many evolutionists have chosen to ignore or dismiss such evidence.

Your personal ignorance and inability to comprehend evolution does not constitute evidence of ‘guidance.’ You have presented no such evidence.

This evidence exists not only in irreducible complexity but also exists in co-evolution and convergent evolution (see Comment #81335 of this thread).

Behe, the originator of ‘irreducible complexity’ has admitted that IC structures could evolve. You have no case. And your comment presented nothing more than an argument from ignorance and your personal incredulity which, as I said, don’t constitute an argument.

Evolutionists often resort to some very far-fetched ideas — such as “exaptation” (the idea that parts of a seemingly irreducible system previously had different functions outside the system) — to support the idea of unguided evolution.

They are demonstrated to happen, which makes them very far from far-fetched. Perhaps you should read about evolution. It would help.

By the way, the concept of exaptation, which is used to explain away irreducible complexity, cannot explain away the arguments against natural co-evolution.

You don’t even understand IC enough to argue about it - and since you’re flagrantly dishonest about posting, why should we take anything you say seriously.

Get help, Larry. I realize you’re lonely, but this is not a place to find any intellectual companionship unless you’ve done the actual spadework of trying to understand evolutionary biology. You haven’t. You’re just parroting nonsense you’ve taken from the good folks at the Disco.

Don’t embarrass yourself any more. It’s painful to watch.

Comment #81720

Posted by David Heddle on February 23, 2006 7:30 AM (e)

Andy H, commenting on Leigh Jackson

Catholic Church teaching is emphatic: evolution can only be compatible with Christian faith if the process is guided by God.

If that were true, then Cardinal Schonborn’s statements supporting intelligent design would not have aroused such controversy in the Catholic church.

Well that’s just plain wrong—without much effort the pope, a cardinal or a bishop could make any of a number of orthodox statements on birth control, homosexuality, the ordination of women, etc. that would nevertheless arouse controversy. Whether a statement by a Catholic is in line with dogma cannot be trivially judged by whether it ruffles feathers. The bottom line is that Leigh Jackson is correct—official ex cathedra teaching—Catholic dogma—does not accommodate unguided natural processes as the complete explanation—processes that, given an errant cosmic ray here or there, may never have produced man.

This is spite of how many times Eugenie Scott and the NCSE, or Panda’s Thumb, or Kenneth Miller, or Fr. Coyne quote-mine JP II. (Actually, with Eugenie Scott, NCSE, and PT is goes beyond distortion and crosses over into outright lying, in my opinion.)

Comment #81723

Posted by Renier on February 23, 2006 7:46 AM (e)

Heddle wrote : (Actually, with Eugenie Scott, NCSE, and PT is goes beyond distortion and crosses over into outright lying, in my opinion.)

Actually, nobody here gives a rats *ss over your opinion.

Comment #81727

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 23, 2006 7:53 AM (e)

Actually, nobody here gives a rats *ss over your opinion.

Now now, be careful — Heddle speaks for God, ya know. He might, uh, smite you or something.

Right Davey?

(snicker) (giggle)

Comment #81796

Posted by Kate on February 23, 2006 1:46 PM (e)

Ok, I’ve been a lurker for a while and will likely return to that after putting in my 2 cents here since I’m sure that the fundie aetheists will find my remarks as misguided as the fundie Christians.

First, I think that the easiest way to show that Carol whoever is full of it is to demonstrate that the passage from Leviticus was left in the Old Testament for the same reason many of the other books were. They demonstrated the laws that were the most agregious and were to be altered. In this case by John 8:5-11. A passage where Jesus stops a mob from stoning an accused adultress to death. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” sound familiar? Jesus said that he came to complete the laws… and in what he did can be said to have “erased” the law allowing for stoning people to death by his actions. Even if a fundie would disagree with my theology on that.

Second, I think that there are fanatics of all stripes (and fanatical atheists can be just as blind as fanatic Christians), but the difference is in how they act and react to things. I’m all for “live and let live”, but my biggest problem with Christian fundamentalists is that by denying the most important part of Biology they are PROMOTING “live and let die”. Nothing new can come from an idea that was dead 400 years ago (at least). We gain nothing and lose much when we allow only the crazies to control the debate. So if there are other moderate, evolution supporting Christians out there lurking and someone like Carol makes such an EASILY countered point…. speak up!

Comment #81798

Posted by Kate on February 23, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

Oh and also to Carol’s answer to which is more important, God or the Bible… I’m really confused by her Christian theology. The holy trinity isn’t the father, the son and the holy scripture afterall…

Comment #81800

Posted by Alann on February 23, 2006 1:57 PM (e)

Christian wrote:

I am aware of earlier Jewish writings that were not accepted into the “old testament”, and am curious of any references you might have.

I believe the term for these texts is Apocrypha I found an index here. I believe the Book of Enoch is rather interesting.

Regarding a response to my previous post:

Matt Young wrote:

MN stands for methodological naturalism, not materialistic.

My bad. I will point out that I have heard the phrase “materialistic naturalism” from a number of sources (try Googling it).
In any case my point was science is not materialism or naturalism.
That instead it limits itself to the material or natural world, without taking a stance on what might exist outside of it.

Matt Young wrote:

you’ll have a lot of trouble convincing me that putative religious experiences cannot be studied scientifically to see whether they could be hallucinations

With a religious experience is it more important what actually happened as opposed to how we feel about it? Spirituality is ultimately intangible. But your point is right, religious belief should never exempt something from scientific scrutiny.

On a separate note:

Carol Clouser wrote:

Even if we take the verse “on the day that thou shall eat of it (the forbidden tree) thou shall die” literally, it is preposterous to accuse God of lying on the basis of the fact that Adam did live hundreds of years after he ate of the tree. God was projecting into the future, and was literally issuing a threat, which in the end He chose not to keep.

I think it might be more appropriate to interpret “thou shall die” into a loss of immortality, which would happen the moment the fruit was eaten. However this confuses me a bit, how can God explain death to Adam? My understanding is that nothing died in the garden of Eden. Without a concept of death, how could Adam realize this was a bad thing?

Thought for today: Did you know that Lent was instituted by the medieval church so they could boost profits in the fishing industry where they were heavily invested?

Comment #81802

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 23, 2006 2:03 PM (e)

Kate, I need to mention to you that Carol espouses Judaism, not Christianity. That’s why she appears intent on defending (or denying) laws that virtually no Jew follows, and whose wisdom has escaped the lawmakers of present-day Israel.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #81803

Posted by BWE on February 23, 2006 2:07 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

the central point, which was (to put it VERY simplistically) that humans needed to open themselves to the voice and power of the divine within them, and acknowledge and respect the divine in each other, and thus achieve enlightenment and harmony with God and his universe.

Wow. You get all that out of the new testament? I missed that part. Is it in Psalms or Revelations?

How bout if I preach for a minute? OK? OK, here we go…

We are already in harmony with god. we don’t have to do anything to get there. Enlightenment is a mirage, you don’t have to do anything to get there. Morality is intrinsic. You have to work or be broken to get rid of it. (An MBA seems to facilitate this process) So set up a shrine in your back yard to mundanity, crack a frosty beer, and enjoy god. If you simply want to experience this in different ways, take psilocobe mushrooms, LSD, Mescaline, Meditate, Laugh, Cry, Have sex, Eat good food, Eat bad food, and most of all, turn off the TV.

I got that out of the new testament and I didn’t even have to read it!

Comment #81804

Posted by Kate on February 23, 2006 2:11 PM (e)

Thanks Glen D!

But why does she keep citing the Bible, not the Torah as would be much more appropriate? Her words invite the misunderstanding I came to…

Comment #81806

Posted by CJ O'Brien on February 23, 2006 2:13 PM (e)

They demonstrated the laws that were the most agregious and were to be altered. In this case by John 8:5-11. A passage where Jesus stops a mob from stoning an accused adultress to death. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” sound familiar? Jesus said that he came to complete the laws… and in what he did can be said to have “erased” the law allowing for stoning people to death by his actions. Even if a fundie would disagree with my theology on that.

I recently learned that that story in John was added by scribes in the 10th century. Not sure what that does to your thesis, but I wanted to throw that out there.

Comment #81810

Posted by Kate on February 23, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

For some reason my head is thinking that the 10th century is too late for the clergy to manage an insertion in a key gospel. I’d love to see the research material on it though. It’d be more believable to me if it had been done a fair bit earlier.

I’d also debate that a scribe inserted it. A monk/scribe is more possible, but by the tenth century there’d have been too many “bible”’s out there I think to slip something new into a Gospel…

I don’t think it alters my thesis to any great degree since there are many other things in Leviticus that are (at least) obliquely mentioned in the NT, and the stance “killing is wrong” is pretty much a theme in the gospels that ends with the crucifiction as proof, so one more story about it being wrong isn’t that big a deal. I’d be interested to know if killing adulterers was a big problem in the area the scribe was living…

Comment #81812

Posted by David Heddle on February 23, 2006 2:32 PM (e)

C J O’Brien,

I recently learned that that story in John was added by scribes in the 10th century

To be honest, you may have read that in the opinion of some bible historians the story of the adulteress was added. There is some textual evidence. (The evidence amounts to it being stylistically different and using words John doesn’t use elsewhere.) However, it is not, by any means, a universal contention among scholars that the passage is a redaction.

Comment #81816

Posted by Raging Bee on February 23, 2006 2:50 PM (e)

Matt Young wrote:

…you’ll have a lot of trouble convincing me that putative religious experiences cannot be studied scientifically to see whether they could be hallucinations…

Many such experiences can indeed be scientifically studied; but the actual significance of these experiences in people’s lives (the degree of their “religiousness” if you will) would be another matter. Scientists can study my hallucinations, but they’d have a harder time separating the “religious” from the “non-religious” hallucinations.

Comment #81817

Posted by CJ O'Brien on February 23, 2006 3:01 PM (e)

To be honest, you may have read that in the opinion of some bible historians the story of the adulteress was added. There is some textual evidence. (The evidence amounts to it being stylistically different and using words John doesn’t use elsewhere.)

I’ll have to try to link up some substantiation of this, but, actually, the claim I remember was based on the putative fact that no copies before a certain date contain the story, that one copy was found that contained the story, as marginalia, and that later copies plausibly made from the annotated copy contain the story in the text. If all true, pretty air-tight.

However, it is not, by any means, a universal contention among scholars that the passage is a redaction.

Are there any “universal contention[s] among scholars”?

Comment #81830

Posted by Andy H. on February 23, 2006 4:09 PM (e)

Comment #81720
Posted by David Heddle on February 23, 2006 07:30 AM

The bottom line is that Leigh Jackson is correct—official ex cathedra teaching—Catholic dogma—does not accommodate unguided natural processes as the complete explanation—

On the contrary, the Catholic church has shown itself to be very flexible on the issue of guided vs. unguided evolution, as is evidenced by Father Coyne\’s statements and the pro-Darwinism, anti-ID article in the official Vatican newspaper.

This is spite of how many times Eugenie Scott and the NCSE, or Panda’s Thumb, or Kenneth Miller, or Fr. Coyne quote-mine JP II.

I never saw this term \”quote-mine\” before I started reading Panda\’s Thumb. I presume that it means quoting out of context.

I agree with Schonborn\’s position that JP II\’s 1996 statement that evolution is \”more than just a hypothesis\” was taken out of context. JP II did not specifically endorse the idea of unguided evolution. Evolution theory is not just about guided evolution vs. unguided evolution, but is also about changes with time, common descent, evolutionary/phylogenetic trees, etc.. Also, ID was not a well-known concept in 1996, so JP II might not have been aware then of any attempted scientific challenges to the idea of unguided evolution. Anyway, Schonborn\’s 7-7-05 NY Times article shows that JP II made statements doubting unguided evolution.

Anyway, apparently evolution is a question that the Catholic church is leaving to individual Catholics to decide for themselves. I think that those who are awaiting a definitive official statement from the Catholic church about evolution are going to be disappointed.

For people who want to see the statements in their original contexts, here are the articles –

JP II\’s 1996 speech is at –
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9703/articles/johnpaul.html

Schonborn\’s July 7, 2005 NY Times article is at –
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/opinion/07schonborn.html?ex=1278388800&en=95804823e49fb832&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

The reaction to Schonborn\’s 7-7-05 NY Times article is at (on some sites, this may be a two-page article – do not miss the second page) –
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2005/08/08/is_the_catholic_church_rethinking_its_view_of_evolution/?page=1

Schonborn\’s clarification and restatement are on (this also may be a two page article
– do not miss the second page) –
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/182/story_18220_1.html

Schonborn\’s 7-7-05 NY Times article has an interesting parallel to the letter signed by over 10,000 clergy members in support of Darwinism – each side accuses the other of failure to use their god-given intelligence. LOL This has got to be the ultimate theological argument. Schonborn\’s article said,

\”Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of \’chance and necessity\’ are not scientific at all, but, as John Paul put it, an abdication of human intelligence.\”

The letter signed by over 10,000 clergy members said,

\”We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. \”

Comment #81831

Posted by David Heddle on February 23, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

Andy H,
Overall a fair post, but I’m sure you realize that this quote

On the contrary, the Catholic church has shown itself to be very flexible on the issue of guided vs. unguided evolution, as is evidenced by Father Coyne\’s statements and the pro-Darwinism, anti-ID article in the official Vatican newspaper.

must be understood in the context of papal infallibity and the magisterium. Fr. Coyne may express his opinions, but he is not empowered to make Catholic dogma. Even the pope, speaking off-the-cuff, is not speaking “infallibly.” The fact that Coyne has not been called in on the carpet cannot be easily interpreted. (He is, after all, a Jesuit.)

However, a fair assessment is that Rome is distancing itself from the American (biological) ID movement, it is nevertheless true that any ex cathedra statement regarding evolution affirms that a Catholic may view it as the means God used to achieve his sovereign plan (theistic evolution.) At the same time, it would not be permissible to declare that evolution could have thwarted that plan—for example by not producing man. My guess is, they would also have no problem encouraging Catholic scientists to treat evolution “as if” it were a natural, unguided process—but never absolutely preclude the possibility of a discontinuity resulting from God’s supernatural intervention—while taking no official position on whether such a discontinuity has been observed.

Comment #81860

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 23, 2006 6:38 PM (e)

So set up a shrine in your back yard to mundanity, crack a frosty beer, and enjoy god. If you simply want to experience this in different ways, take psilocobe mushrooms, LSD, Mescaline, Meditate, Laugh, Cry, Have sex, Eat good food, Eat bad food, and most of all, turn off the TV.

Very Zen of you, Grasshopper.

;>

Comment #81868

Posted by JONBOY on February 23, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

Carol Cluoser said “I fully appreciate your reluctance to delve into Joneboy’s post, based as it is on stupidity, ignorance and malice”
I’ve notice when Carol fails to produce any real substance to her arguments, she resorts to Ad Hominem attacks, which she seems to think strengthens her point.It does’nt.
She also said “Even if we take the verse “on the day that thou shall eat of it (the forbidden tree) thou shall die” literally, it is preposterous to accuse God of lying on the basis of the fact that Adam did live hundreds of years after he ate of the tree. God was projecting into the future, and was literally issuing a threat, which in the end He chose not to keep. At worst one can accuse God of changing His mind here. At best, He showed mercy and forgiveness and either postponed or rescinded the punishment based on Adam’s pleas and arguments. If anything this is meant to serve as a model of behavior for humans to emulate”. Carol, Show me verse and scripture to support any of your statements,if you are unable to,you are just offering a personal opinion,which is no more valid or worthy than mine, or anyone else.
Please explain to me, from the scriptures and not from your personal opinion, how a perfect, omniscient, omnipotent God can change his mind.If he did, he would not be perfect,and there for, not God.
No amount of theological reasoning can make an inherently unjust idea seem right. Punishing billions of people for the acts of one is not only inherently unfair and unwarranted but also in opposition to other Biblical verses such as:
Deut. 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers (2Chron.25:54) :every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (2 Kings 14:6)
Ezek. 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bearthe iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
Jer. 31:29-30 “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
Rom. 2:6 “Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”
Each of these verses shows that every person should only be punished for those sins which he commits, not those of others. If you wished to contradict my position, show me the scriptures that support your claims. If Jesus died for my own sins ,he certainly wasted his time.
Original sin makes about as much sense as if I were sitting at home one evening and the police came to my door, and stated I was under arrest because my father in Europe just shot and killed someone. I responded by asking what that had to do with me and they said, “He’s your father isn’t he?”
Oh and let me ask you or David,a couple of questions. Which of you worship the one TRUE God? and, has the true Messiah arrived yet,a simple yes or no will do just fine.

Comment #81879

Posted by AC on February 23, 2006 7:50 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

…the sequel, where some smartass kid questioned all the wise guys about it a few generations later and said that no one needed all those draconian laws and punishments to get to the central point, which was (to put it VERY simplistically) that humans needed to open themselves to the voice and power of the divine within them, and acknowledge and respect the divine in each other, and thus achieve enlightenment and harmony with God and his universe.

Wouldn’t that make Jesus’s use of first-person in John 14:6 (and thereabouts) metaphorical? In other words, meaning “Follow my teachings regarding behavior, live as I have lived, and you will ‘know God’ in a spiritual sense” rather than “Believe that I am the son of God, died for your sins, etc., and you will go to heaven and live with God forever”?

If you can convince those who believe the latter to believe the former instead, I’ll drive. I think it would make the world a better place for everyone.

BWE wrote:

So set up a shrine in your back yard to mundanity, crack a frosty beer, and enjoy god. If you simply want to experience this in different ways, take psilocobe mushrooms, LSD, Mescaline, Meditate, Laugh, Cry, Have sex, Eat good food, Eat bad food, and most of all, turn off the TV.

Don’t forget listening to music, singing and dancing along with it even though you are skilled at neither.

Comment #81896

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 23, 2006 9:48 PM (e)

Don’t forget listening to music, singing and dancing along with it even though you are skilled at neither.

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution”. – Emma Goldman

:)

Comment #81905

Posted by Rob Knop on February 23, 2006 11:35 PM (e)

Prove beyond all possible doubt that there is an “error”, and see how I react.

Well, if you insist on reading the Bible as literal history….

* The Earth isn’t flat (strongly implied by the first chapter of Genesis, and necessary if you are going to maintain the concept of absolute “day” and “night”.)

* The moon (lesser light) isn’t just out at night.

* Even within itself: what was created in what order? Plants, then animals, then man? Or man, then trees, then animals? Genesis 1 gives one order, Genesis 2 gives another. This very direct contradiction is what always has me scratching my head when people insist that the Bible should be read as a consistent history of anything rather than as a book of stories and mythology mixed with history….and that’s just on the first page or two.

-Rob

Comment #81908

Posted by TJ, Esq. on February 23, 2006 11:47 PM (e)

but, Rob, all of your cited conflicts simply vanish like magic if you use Carol *ahem* Landa’s patented-super-true-absolutely-correct-regardless translation!

or haven’t you been listening?

for shame!

but wait!

if you order the Landa Translation™ now, you’ll get a free set of ginsu steak knives!

they chop, slice, dice, but unfortunately aren’t incisive enough to cut through soft butter.

Comment #81919

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 12:45 AM (e)

Please explain to me, from the scriptures and not from your personal opinion…

Why should we, if our beliefs are shaped by our personal opinion and experiences as well as by this or that scripture? Our spirituality exists to enhance our lives, not to conform to your prejudice.

Comment #81927

Posted by carol clouser on February 24, 2006 2:15 AM (e)

Jonboy,

It’s really very simple, as my previous post explained. God issues a threat and appears not to carry it out in the end. Where is there a lie here?

You are absolutely right that a real God does not change its mind. Where such does appear in the Bible it is meant anthropomorphically. Big word, right? Think of it this way. God acts, for reasons best known to him but we are entitled to speculate, in a way that appears to us that he changed his mind.
In this case I would assume there is a lesson for us, as I described previously.

Your long series of citations regarding punishment for one’s own sins is entirely unnecessary. The Bible neither states nor implies anywhere that you or anyone else will die because Adam violated the rules. Neither is Adam the first human, nor is he the first to die. None of these distortions are in the text. If you think otherwise, cite chapter and verse and I might respond (if you stop spouting anti-Bible venum based on ignorance).

Comment #81931

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 2:47 AM (e)

Don’t forget listening to music, singing and dancing along with it even though you are skilled at neither.

I prefer making the music. While dancing. And hallucinating. And having sex.

All very zen. I’m sure.

Comment #81942

Posted by Zarquon on February 24, 2006 5:28 AM (e)

I don’t know why David Heddle is trying to present the views of the catholic Church on evolution. He is a heretic, and a heretic is guaranteed to mislead people on the Church’s view.

Comment #81944

Posted by Zarquon on February 24, 2006 5:38 AM (e)

I don’t know why David Heddle is trying to present the views of the catholic Church on evolution. He is a heretic, and a heretic is guaranteed to mislead people on the Church’s view.

Comment #82029

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

Why is anyone here talking about Cardinal Schonborn at all? His views on creationism directly contradict the statements of Pope JP-II, as well as respected Vatican scientists, and he flatly said that JP-II didn’t really mean what he had said. He contradicted and brushed off the official Vatican line, and clearly represents no one in the Church but himself.

Comment #82033

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 1:02 PM (e)

And another Carol classic:

It’s really very simple, as my previous post explained. God issues a threat and appears not to carry it out in the end. Where is there a lie here?

You are absolutely right that a real God does not change its mind. Where such does appear in the Bible it is meant anthropomorphically. Big word, right? Think of it this way. God acts, for reasons best known to him but we are entitled to speculate, in a way that appears to us that he changed his mind.

In simpler form:

If God appears to lie or change Her mind, then God must not be lying or changing Her mind - we must simply be too stupid to figure out what God is doing. Because God cannot lie or change Her mind because I, Carol Clouser, have said so.

Is there some actual logic hidden in there that I missed?

Comment #82071

Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 24, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

The fact that Coyne has not been called in on the carpet cannot be easily interpreted. (He is, after all, a Jesuit.)

How does Coyne get away with heresy? Not because he is a Jesuit; I do not think. The prestige and authority of science is something to do with it; but more to the point is history. Galileo: his spectre haunts the Vatican, and Giordano Bruno’s ghost also lingers about the Holy City.

The Church tried to use brute authority to silence scientific dissidents and in the end suffered the shame of the damned for doing so, as well as the ignominy of being proved wrong. And would any Pope choose to spend posterity in the same company as Urban VIII?

Can you imagine the furore if the Church authorities set out to silence scientists again? What a spectacle for the world’s press. One can see the headlines: “A Modern Miracle within the Catholic Church – The Resurrection of Galileo.”

The recent Dover trial has also helped to concentrate minds within the Church. They can see that it is all but over for the short lived bastard offspring of their own longstanding version of intelligent design. The DI version’s idiotic attempt to bluff its way into the scientific arena has reached its inevitable denouement.

In short, scientists hold a strong dissident hand within the power structure of the CC. Coyne’s own position as the official Vatican astronomer gives him a highly symbolic connection to Galileo. He is virtually immune from censure.

Comment #82148

Posted by JONBOY on February 25, 2006 11:50 AM (e)

Carol C, The rudeness of your diatribe is only matched by the inadequacies of your erudition. Your puerile propensity for pejoratives is something only the uncouth could envy. I feel sorry for anyone who is incapable of discussing even the most cherished beliefs without vituperation and vilification. One can totally disagree with someones philosophy and still be civil.(big words right)You said “Your long series of citations regarding punishment for one’s own sins is entirely unnecessary. The Bible neither states nor implies anywhere that you or anyone else will die because Adam violated the rules.Then could please explain these biblical statements :1Cor. 15:22 “For as in Adam all die,:Rom. 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”:Rom. 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”,please show me the scriptures that refute those statements.

Comment #82210

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 25, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

Jonboy,

I generally do not respond to posts like that last one of yours, but I will in this case to clarify an important point you seem to have missed. Whenever I use the term “the Bible” I am referring to the “Hebrew Bible”, meaning the original version of what christians call the “old testament”. I am at all not getting involved here with the quotations you introduced as they all are not from the Hebrew Bible.

Comment #82248

Posted by Andy H. on February 26, 2006 7:51 AM (e)

Comment #82029
Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 12:55 PM

Why is anyone here talking about Cardinal Schonborn at all? His views on creationism directly contradict the statements of Pope JP-II, as well as respected Vatican scientists, and he flatly said that JP-II didn’t really mean what he had said. He contradicted and brushed off the official Vatican line, and clearly represents no one in the Church but himself.

There are some reasons for this –

(1) Schonborn is a very prominent and influential cardinal. He was chief editor of the Catholic catechism, was a major candidate in the last papal election, and is considered to be close to the present pope.

(2) In his 7-7-05 New York Times article, Schonborn pointed out that JP-II’s statement that evolution is “more than just a hypothesis” has been quoted out of context – Schonborn noted that JP-II “did not define” evolution in the speech in which that statement was made. JP-II did not specifically endorse the idea of unguided evolution, and Schonborn’s other quotes of JP-II show that JP-II opposed this idea. Schonborn also pointed out that a 2004 document of the International Theological Commission, headed at the time by the present pope, said that “an unguided evolutionary process – one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence – simply cannot exist.”

I think that the church is playing to both sides of the ID controversy – that is why the anti-ID article was published in the official Vatican newspaper.

For links to articles on the controversy, see Comment #81830 of this thread.

Comment #82071 Posted by Leigh Jackson on February 24, 2006 04:04 PM

The recent Dover trial has also helped to concentrate minds within the Church. They can see that it is all but over for the short lived bastard offspring of their own longstanding version of intelligent design.

“All but over” ? Because of the decision of a single judge ?

It is odd that state governments are eager to challenge the courts on the abortion issue (e.g., South Dakota’s legislature just passed a ban on nearly all abortions) but seem intimidated on the issue of ID. A million-dollar lawsuit is peanuts for a state.

In short, scientists hold a strong dissident hand within the power structure of the CC. Coyne’s own position as the official Vatican astronomer gives him a highly symbolic connection to Galileo. He is virtually immune from censure.

Galileo, unlike Coyne, was not a Catholic priest.

If Coyne made a scientific statement supporting abortion, he would be censured.

Also, it is odd that you try to present Coyne’s views on ID as the mainstream position of the church and at the same time suggest that those views are dissident.

Comment #82256

Posted by k.e. on February 26, 2006 10:26 AM (e)

Lawrence Fafarman posting as Andy H.

says:

“All but over” ? Because of the decision of a single judge ?

hahahaha …..yeah Larry because the decision of a single judge imposing the law of the land.

You may think that you can deny those laws and you would be in good company.

right here on Pandas Thumb your little ruse was discussed long before you showed up.

Evolution Deniers and Holocaust Deniers in a locked step.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/12/evolution_denie.html

Comment #82257

Posted by k.e. on February 26, 2006 10:36 AM (e)

Actually Lawrence Fafarman currenty posting under Andy H.

here is something interesting

do a search on Larry + Holocaust on the PT search box

are we in for another name change? B.F. the 2 Bill’s John B etc. etc.

Comment #82260

Posted by Arden Chatfield on February 26, 2006 11:02 AM (e)

Even if Larry changes his name again (he’s due) I think we’ll spot him immediately. His style is quite, um, distinctive.

To revisit an old question, does anyone here know why exactly Larry/Andy/BF etc. hasn’t been banned for his sock puppetry?

Comment #82263

Posted by William E Emba on February 26, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

Leigh Jackson wrote:

Can you imagine the furore if the Church authorities set out to silence scientists again? What a spectacle for the world’s press. One can see the headlines: “A Modern Miracle within the Catholic Church – The Resurrection of Galileo.”

Wait a hundred years or so. Galileo will be sainted.

Comment #82435

Posted by JONBOY on February 27, 2006 8:30 AM (e)

Carol Clouser,For once I must say I absolutely agree with you !!!!!!!!
Now please explain to Davis Heddle,why he is wrong.

Comment #82471

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 27, 2006 12:13 PM (e)

No, Jonboy, you respectfully ask David Heddle to respond to your questions above. After you hear what he has to say, you will be in a position to react intelligently.

Comment #82555

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 27, 2006 7:03 PM (e)

No, Jonboy, you respectfully ask David Heddle to respond to your questions above.

Buyt Carol my dear, neither you NOR Heddle answer questions.

For instance, I’ve already asked both of you to tell me why your particular religious opinion is any more authoritative than mine or my next door neighbor’s or the kid who delivers my pizzas. Haven’t gotten any intelligible answer yet, other than “because my favorite scholars say so”.

Oh, and I’d sure like to hear Rev Heddle ask YOU why you think the New Testament is full of crap…. .

Comment #82846

Posted by Raging Bee on March 1, 2006 8:52 AM (e)

Even among Larry Farflungdung’s diversions and non-sequiturs, this self-contradictory sentence stands out:

I think that the church is playing to both sides of the ID controversy — that is why the anti-ID article was published in the official Vatican newspaper.

The official vatican Newspaper explicitly takes one side in the ID controversy, and that’s “playing to both sides?” You sound stupider every day.

The CC’s official position is so clear and simple even you should be able to understand it: that God guided, and still guides, the workings of the universe, including the evolution of life on Earth, but that such guidance is not discernable or provable by honest scientific inquiry; that evolution is real science, and can only be overthrown and replaced with real science; and that ID is not real science.

Comment #82854

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on March 1, 2006 9:34 AM (e)

Carol wrote:

Jonboy,

I generally do not respond to posts like that last one of yours, but I will in this case to clarify an important point you seem to have missed. Whenever I use the term “the Bible” I am referring to the “Hebrew Bible”, meaning the original version of what christians call the “old testament”. I am at all not getting involved here with the quotations you introduced as they all are not from the Hebrew Bible.

It is remarks like this one that remind me of the entertainment value of trolls. Carol responds to posts like Jonboy’s all the time. In fact, she has to, if she wants to post, since generally the only responses to her factually incorrect and logically incoherent posts.

By the way Carol, “christians” should be capitalized. As an editor, I would have thought you knew that.

Comment #82856

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on March 1, 2006 9:36 AM (e)

Arden wrote:

Even if Larry changes his name again (he’s due) I think we’ll spot him immediately. His style is quite, um, distinctive.

To revisit an old question, does anyone here know why exactly Larry/Andy/BF etc. hasn’t been banned for his sock puppetry?

This is a darn good question. I object, in principle, to the banning of either trolls or cranks unless they are actually disruptive; and Larry is only disruptive because people respond to his dribble.

But he is violating board policy. Why is that permitted?

Comment #82883

Posted by JONBOY on March 1, 2006 10:45 AM (e)

Carol Clousr,I promised my friend Raging Bee not to post any comments of a religious nature,so I will just make an observation.
You said “ask David Heddle to respond to your questions above. After you hear what he has to say, you will be in a position to react intelligently”. I know emphatically that Heddles response would be diametrically opposed to yours,as a Xtian he has no other choice.
You do not share the same bible as Heddle,or the same God,or the same Messiah,yet you revere his opinions,and defend his positions to the hilt,many on PT would question your motives.

Comment #82888

Posted by Raging Bee on March 1, 2006 10:58 AM (e)

Yo, JONBOY, I never meant to stop you from having fun with Carol and Heddle! FWIW, I absolve you from your promise, which I never asked for in the first place. (Besides, fair’s fair – I never promised you anythihg.) Party on, dude!

Comment #83170

Posted by Andy H. on March 2, 2006 9:06 AM (e)

Comment #82846
Posted by Raging Bee on March 1, 2006 08:52 AM

I think that the church is playing to both sides of the ID controversy — that is why the anti-ID article was published in the official Vatican newspaper.

The official vatican Newspaper explicitly takes one side in the ID controversy, and that’s “playing to both sides?” You sound stupider every day.

Wrong. Publication of the article did not show that the church was officially taking sides, because the newspaper’s articles do not necessarily represent official church policy. The only presumption is that the newspaper probably would not publish something that dissented deeply from church policy.

Comment #83179

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on March 2, 2006 9:21 AM (e)

Larry wrote:

Wrong. Publication of the article did not show that the church was officially taking sides, because the newspaper’s articles do not necessarily represent official church policy. The only presumption is that the newspaper probably would not publish something that dissented deeply from church policy.

Another meaningless comment from Larry.

Larry:

1. Given that you are posting in violation of Panda’s posting rules, are you aware that this makes you look like a dishonest fool?

2. Given that you have no credentials, experience, or education in any of the subjects on which you comment - especially law - why should we take anything you say seriously?

Comment #95589

Posted by bobby on April 8, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

If this cite is saying God is fake you SUK BECAUSE I LOVE GOD SO MUCH AND I HATE YOU IF YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT MY HOLY HEAVENLY GOD AND JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRT, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND YOUR R GOING TO HELL IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.

Comment #95591

Posted by bobby on April 8, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

If this cite is saying God is fake you SUK BECAUSE I LOVE GOD SO MUCH AND I HATE YOU IF YOU ARE TALKING BAD ABOUT MY HOLY HEAVENLY GOD AND JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRT, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND YOUR R GOING TO HELL IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.

Comment #95594

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 8, 2006 3:48 PM (e)

well, i guess it being close to easter and all, it’s appropriate to resurrect a thread like this?

er, happy easter, bobby?

Comment #105622

Posted by Caty Tota on June 14, 2006 2:41 PM (e)

You guys are the 77308 best, thanks so much for the help.