PvM posted Entry 2058 on February 24, 2006 01:53 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2053

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In the February 24, 2006 edition of Science, Constance Holden writes about the devastating loss for Intelligent Design activists in Ohio.

SCIENCE AND RELIGION: Ohio School Board Boots Out ID by Constance Holden Science 24 February 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5764, p. 1083
DOI: 10.1126/science.311.5764.1083

Scientists are hailing the demise of an attempt in Ohio to sneak intelligent design (ID) into the public school science curriculum under the guise of a “critical analysis” of evolution. Last week, the Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 to strike the words from its curriculum guidelines along with a creationist-inspired study guide. Evolution supporters called it a “stunning victory” and cited the influence of the December court ruling against the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board in the first test case of injecting ID into biology classes (Science, 6 January, p. 34).

Indeed, while some have denied that the Dover decision would be a Waterloo for Intelligent Design, the Dover ruling seems to have played a significant role in the stunning reversal of the Ohio State Board of Education.

What surely must have helped is Judge Jones’ observation that ‘teaching the controversy’ is just an insincere effort to introduce Intelligent Design into school curricula. Also, the board members were shown how independent scientists had described the lesson plan in very unflattering terms. Several of the board members, when confronted with the evidence, changed their position.

“Some of my colleagues have changed their perspective” after realizing that the lesson plan “did indeed contain elements of ID that was not apparent to them before,” says Robin Hovis, a Republican board member who opposed the plan. Virgil Brown, who originally supported the plan, says he changed his stance after he realized the language “was supportive of ID.” Martha Wise, who spearheaded the vote, says the outcome reflects a “sea change” in the 19-member board–a change aided by the recognition following the Dover case that “it might be a legal problem that would cost Ohio millions of dollars.”

We can thank the hard work of the many Ohio citizens who have spent time and effort in battling the latest attack on public education. In addition, Ohio has exposed how ID activists are using the ‘teaching the controversy’ as a cloak for ID.

Many see the Ohio vote as a severe blow to attempts to cloak ID under the guise of “teaching the controversy.” Kansas is now the only state with this phrase in its science standards. Whether Dover has set off a domino effect may be clearer next month when the South Carolina board of education meets to consider adding to its science standards a statement that students should be able to “investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.”

Slowly the real facts are unravelling and a last minute attempt to change the Board’s position via a ‘poll’ also may have backfired.

Officials at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle, Washington-based think tank for ID, did not respond to a request for comment. A press release claims the school board had been “bullied” into “censoring teaching of evolution” and cites a recent Ohio poll indicating that 75% of the respondents believe ID should be taught along with evolution. But biologist Patricia Princehouse of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, says anyone can play the survey game. Another recent poll, she says, showed that 84% of the respondents had never heard of ID.

So let’s look at the questions asked in the Zogby (Discovery Institute) poll?

“When Darwin’s theory of evolution is taught in school, students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life.”

But there is no scientific evidence that points to intelligent design of life. Only ignorance. Such a question is misleading as it suggests that there exists such scientific evidence.

or

B) Biology teachers should teach Darwin’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.

But teachers teach more than just Darwin’s theory of evolution. Present day evolutionary theory has evolved quite a bit and we know that some of Darwin’s ideas were wrong. But his concept of natural selection still plays a very important role in evolutionary theory.

So let’s look at the poll which introduced them to the concept of Intelligent Design

Whether they knew anything about it or not, respondents were then given a brief description of the concept of intelligent design identical to the one used in a statewide Cleveland Plain Dealer Poll conducted this past spring: “The concept of ‘intelligent design’ is that life is too complex to have developed by chance and that a purposeful being or force is guiding the development of life.”

They then were asked: “What is your opinion-do you think the concept of ‘intelligent design’ is a valid scientific account of how human life developed, or is it basically a religious explanation of the development of human life?”

Given this description, the majority of Ohioans (54%) viewed it as basically a religious explanation of human origins; less than 1 out of 4 (23%) thought it was a valid scientific account; 7% believed it was a mix of religious and scientific accounts; and 17% said they were “not sure.

And that my friends is “the rest of the story”

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Comment #81937

Posted by Emanuel Goldstein on February 24, 2006 4:24 AM (e)

The KCFS, a site which is dominated by a little band of atheists who ridicule and marginalize anyone who dares express disageement by a tag team tactic, is working to accomplish the same thing in Kansas.

Fortuneately, the obscenties regularly thrown out by the atheists have in fact marginalalized the site.

Comment #81963

Posted by Patrick on February 24, 2006 7:20 AM (e)

That’s nice, Emanuel.

In more important news, the cartoon is too small to read. :(

Comment #81965

Posted by KL on February 24, 2006 7:25 AM (e)

If you were to read uncommondescent, ID proponents don’t seem to have a clue that they are finished; quite the opposite.

Comment #81967

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 24, 2006 7:48 AM (e)

The KCFS, a site which is dominated by a little band of atheists

But ID has nothing to do with religion. No siree Bob. Not a thing.

This is why I love fundies so much. They still have no idea at all why they lost. Not a clue. All they have to do is shut their big mouths about their religious aims and motives, and they might have a shot at winning. Instead, they can’t go ten minutes without preaching to all and sundry, and end up shooting themsevles in the head every single time.

So thanks, Emanuel, for demonstrating so clearly to everyone that (1) ID is nothing but religious apologetics, (2) IDers are just lying to us when they claim it’s not, and (3) Judge Jones was absolutely correct when he ruled it is.

PLEASE, Emanuel, write letters to the editor of every newspaper in Kansas and tell them all about the “atheists” who oppose ID. PLEASE do that. Please. Pretty please.

Comment #81970

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 24, 2006 7:50 AM (e)

ID proponents don’t seem to have a clue that they are finished

Or why.

Comment #81976

Posted by William E Emba on February 24, 2006 8:22 AM (e)

Emanuel [sic] Goldstein wrote:

[hysterical gibberish]

Your ranting was much better in 1984. Some even say you inspired Osama bin Laden, you were that good. Now look at you. You’re just slumming for right-wing Christian nutjobs. Pathetic, really.

Comment #81977

Posted by AD on February 24, 2006 8:23 AM (e)

If you were to read uncommondescent, ID proponents don’t seem to have a clue that they are finished; quite the opposite.

Look at our movement! Despite our crushing losses in court, we have a completely nonsensical web blog where we ban anyone that disagrees with us!

Yeah, that’s a real good sign for ID.

ID isn’t dead in terms of having supporters, but ID is dying a painful death in terms of having any educational viability.

Comment #81978

Posted by PvM on February 24, 2006 8:41 AM (e)

The KCFS, a site which is dominated by a little band of atheists who ridicule and marginalize anyone who dares express disageement by a tag team tactic, is working to accomplish the same thing in Kansas.

Fortuneately, the obscenties regularly thrown out by the atheists have in fact marginalalized the site.

KCFS site… They are doing an excellent job educating.

I read the forums, and did not realize Sal is still active. He seems to avoid PT… Well worth reading Sal’s ‘arguments’… Makes a good case for ID’s scientific vacuity. Just for fun, check out the uncommondescent website. No really… I mean it.

Comment #81982

Posted by FL on February 24, 2006 8:58 AM (e)

Reminder: the recent Ohio board desicion did not repeal nor alter its definition of science. A good sign.

FL

Comment #81986

Posted by PvM on February 24, 2006 9:12 AM (e)

Please explain FL? Seems you already got your answers on the KCFS forums? Supernatural explanations for natural phenomena, now that’s ‘science’ for you.
If this becomes yet another backdoor for teaching ID or other creationist nonscience, they may have to revise it but the intent of the Ohio board is clear, the fact that the lesson plan included intelligent nonsense(science) was a major reason for revising their original stance.

See, people are catching on and that’s a good thing. Pretend that there is a controversy and then poll people to ask if this ‘controversy’ should be taught.

How does ID again explain anything in a scientific manner? Poof? Could ID be exposed even more effectively if it were to explicitly rely on the supernatural… Oh but it already does, although it often conflates regular design and rarefied design.

Comment #81987

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on February 24, 2006 9:22 AM (e)

Patrick wrote, after poking fun at an IDiot:

In more important news, the cartoon is too small to read. :(
———————
Try right-clicking on the image and going to “view image” - you’ll get the full size (and terrific) cartoon. This works at least for Mozilla. Don’t know about Explorer.

Comment #81988

Posted by FL on February 24, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

Oh, I got my answers on the KCFS forum, all right. Why do you think I am confidently posting that Ohio’s definition of science has been neither repealed nor altered?

In 2002, Ohio dropped its naturalism/materialism gatekeeper from its definition of science.
By not reinstating the little monster back into its definition of science (despite the intimidation of the Dover decision), the Ohio Board sends a clear signal to both sides of the fence down Kansas way.

Regarding “my side of the fence”, it’s a [b]good[/b] sign.
The scientific method rocks!

FL

Comment #81989

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation. If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t. Do you really WANT to open up God to falsification? That’s the danger ID runs - that they devise an empirical test for God AND GOD FAILS. I certainly hope they have a plan B.

Comment #81993

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 10:35 AM (e)

Interesting point, Emmanuel. D’you think this might have something to do with the religion-bashers on this site who mindlessly and repetitively hijack thread after thread to make uninformed insulting generalizations against persons and beliefs of which they seem to know nothing? D’you think there’s a chance these “atheists” might actually be creationists, posting divisive crap in order to undermine a blog’s credibility and reinforce the worst Christian stereotypes of God-hating scientists trying to destroy religion?

This would certainly be a sensible tactic for the know-nothing extremists: since they’re now under attack from both scientists and other Christians, it makes sense to try to set those two groups against each other. Sensible moderates are the extremists’ most dangerous enemy.

I certainly can’t think of any other purpose that is served by the religion-bashing I’ve seen here.

Comment #81996

Posted by Edwin Hensley on February 24, 2006 11:08 AM (e)

The fight goes on. Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher appointed 7 members to the KY Board of Education. Six democrats were replaced with 5 republicans and one democrat, with one democrat being reappointed. Fletcher has publicly stated he wants Intelligent Design taught in KY public schools. The board was previously against his ideas, but the new composition of this 12 member board may mean ID in KY public schools some day in the near future.

Lousiville Courier-Journal

Comment #81998

Posted by Mark Duigon on February 24, 2006 11:11 AM (e)

I wonder if another factor influencing the Ohioans was the frequent noting (including by Judge Jones) of the outright lying and deceit practised by some of those who wished to bring Intelligent Design Creationism into scicne class. We know some of the ID proponents have no shame, but I believe some of the people involved are honest (as implied by some of the quotes in the post).

Comment #81999

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 11:12 AM (e)

Posted by Rilke’s Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation. If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t. Do you really WANT to open up God to falsification? That’s the danger ID runs - that they devise an empirical test for God AND GOD FAILS. I certainly hope they have a plan B.

Um… That already happened. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…

Supernatural Ultimate Cause is an oxymoron and “miracles” don’t happen. Time to redefine god.

http://www.rainfall.com/posters/Theatrical/3314.htm

Throughout his career Houdini exposed cheats and frauds in the areas of gambling, spiritualism, and psychic frauds. Houdini never believed in spiritualism, but would often pretend to in order to gain entry to seances, etc. Early on he attempted to do a spiritualist act when he was down and out, but found it so distasteful that he stopped and would forever expose those who made such claims.

Houdini would write many books and articles throughout his life. Theyh included “The Right Way To Do Wrong,” an expose of swindlers, “A Magician Among The Spirits,” an expose of psychic frauds, and “The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin,” which was up until that time the greatest book on the history of magic.

Comment #82000

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

Raging Bee wtote:

D’you think this might have something to do with the religion-bashers on this site who mindlessly and repetitively hijack thread after thread to make uninformed insulting generalizations against persons and beliefs of which they seem to know nothing?

Hmmm.

I’ve only run across one “religion basher” here. All the atheists (why on earth would anyone call themselves an atheist?) I have seen appear to know quite a bit about not only religion but the religious experience too. I’m going out on a limb here I know, but are you a little frustrated? Do you want to talk? remember, letting your anger out is merely practicing, letting your anger go is healing.

Comment #82004

Posted by Russell on February 24, 2006 11:33 AM (e)

always the wishful thinker, FL wrote:

Reminder: the recent Ohio board desicion did not repeal nor alter its definition of science. A good sign.

Actually, if I recall the discussion at the last Ohio state board meeting correctly, this question is very much still in play.

Comment #82010

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 11:55 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Interesting point, Emmanuel. D’you think this might have something to do with the religion-bashers on this site who mindlessly and repetitively hijack thread after thread to make uninformed insulting generalizations against persons and beliefs of which they seem to know nothing?

I don’t think it’s really fair to refer to Carol, Dave Heddle, and Larry/Andy/Bill/etc. that way. Hijacking threads is simply their way of getting attention. It’s best to pity them and just move on.

D’you think there’s a chance these “atheists” might actually be creationists, posting divisive crap in order to undermine a blog’s credibility and reinforce the worst Christian stereotypes of God-hating scientists trying to destroy religion?

Since there aren’t any (or as BWE points out, maybe one person on this board like that), I think you’re simply overreacting. Perhaps you could identify some evidence for this claim?

This would certainly be a sensible tactic for the know-nothing extremists: since they’re now under attack from both scientists and other Christians, it makes sense to try to set those two groups against each other.

Ah! So you admit that the extremists are Christians. So you ARE referring to Carol/Dave/Andy/Larry. Good to clear that up.

Sensible moderates are the extremists’ most dangerous enemy.

True. I think that’s why the folks at UD and the Discovery Institute find PT so threatening; because the ID advocates are being threatened by the “intelligent and educated part of the populance.”

I certainly can’t think of any other purpose that is served by the religion-bashing I’ve seen here.

Comment #82012

Posted by david gehrig on February 24, 2006 12:00 PM (e)

By the way, I haven’t seen it mentioned here yet, but the Dover Area School District just got their legal bill.

Comment #82013

Posted by hehe on February 24, 2006 12:00 PM (e)

I see Dembski quotes Count Leo Tolstoy re: Darwinism at UD.

Here’s another Count Tolstoy, also on Darwinism (in Russian):

http://ns.yourline.ru/~AAE/poems/darvinism.htm

Great translation at http://cathyyoung.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_cathyyoung_archive.html :

Is it true, what people tell me?
Everywhere, the news I’m getting:
Misha, it is said, considers
Darwin’s system quite upsetting.

Come now, Misha, why get fretful?
You’ve no tail on your own arse,
So the origin of species
Shouldn’t cause much of a fuss.

What’s, in any case, your problem
With a gradual creation?
Do you think that in his methods
God from you should take dictation?

Why restrict how He can do things,
By what means and to what end?
I would say that such a viewpoint
Smells of heresy, my friend!

Truly, that’s a poor example
You have set from your high place,
And I fear you might be labeled
As a man of little faith.

In the distant past, moreover,
Not much glory’s there for man:
For a lump of clay’s no better
Than some old orangutan.

Do you think, perhaps, that Darwin
Is for nihilists a banner?
What, good Lord, have they in common
In their message or their manner?

From the beasts to human level
Darwin does us elevate,
While the nihilists would have us
Sink into a beastly state.

Far from being Darwin’s vanguard,
They confirm his basic facts,
And their brutish, wild behavior
Of regression often smacks.

Crude and ignorant and shameless,
Spiteful, puffed-up, condescending,
They themselves, I’d say, are backwards
Toward their ancestors descending.

For the acts of bratty rebels
Darwin needs no absolution.
Therefore, Misha, calm your anger,
Cease your foolish persecution!

1872

Comment #82014

Posted by hehe on February 24, 2006 12:01 PM (e)

The above is not a full translation, though.

Comment #82020

Posted by Patricia Princehouse on February 24, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

FL asserts:

...In 2002, Ohio dropped its naturalism/materialism gatekeeper from its definition of science. wrote:

This is NOT TRUE

Ohio still endorses the scientific method (aka methodological naturalism aka methodological materialism), always has.

I don’t know why anyone would expect to find Ohio’s standards on the Kansas site, but if one looks at the Ohio Dept of Education site, one finds that Ohio’s benchmarks do indeed limit science to natural causes, to wit:

Content Area: Science; Standard: Scientific Ways of Knowing; Benchmark A: Explain that scientific knowledge must be based on evidence, be predictive, logical, subject to modification and limited to the natural world. wrote:

Benchmarks are, of course, the meat of the standards since that’s what standardized tests are written to.

The problem with Kansas is that they pulled their entire definition from one of Ohio’s “indicators” (subsidiary illustrations of the benchmarks) which creationists on the Ohio Board of Ed had shortened in 2002 (specifically indicator 3 under the above-quoted Benchmark A). What they did was to take the Ohio Academy of Science’s definition of science & lop off the part having to do with evidence & falsifiability.

The remaining (first half) is still entirely accurate & suitable for an indicator expanding on a Benchmark that more fully explains the limited and naturalistic nature of scientific knowledge (it’s clear in the Benchmark that science is limited, most folks can see that God and truth are not limited thereby). It is entirely appropriate for students to “recognize that science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

Kansas misrepresents the nature of science by suggesting that’s all there is to it. There is more to science than that.

Comment #82021

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 24, 2006 12:34 PM (e)

Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation.

I’ll say it again. “Supernatural explanation” is an oxymoron. It’s the same as no explanation at all. Any phenomenon you can explain is not supernatural.

Comment #82025

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

Rilke’s Granddaughter: I am trying to figure out whether your misunderstanding of my post is deliberate…

I don’t think it’s really fair to refer to Carol, Dave Heddle, and Larry/Andy/Bill/etc. that way.

I was referring to JONBOY, BWE, normdoehring, and other people who made uninformed and insulting generalizations about other people’s religious beliefs, and continued to make them after being corrected by more than one respondent. (The evidence you request can be found in previous posts of theirs.) Forgive me for boasting, but I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty clear writer, and no one else has ever had such a problem understanding what I was talking about.

Ah! So you admit that the extremists are Christians. So you ARE referring to Carol/Dave/Andy/Larry. Good to clear that up.

That’s two non-sequiturs in one paragraph. Yes, the extremists at least call themselves Christians; so do many of their moderate, pro-science enemies. Your point…?

Comment #82026

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 12:47 PM (e)

Bill wrote:

I’ll say it again. “Supernatural explanation” is an oxymoron. It’s the same as no explanation at all. Any phenomenon you can explain is not supernatural.

Which is actually my point. If you can test for it, it’s not supernatural. It’s interesting that this particular brand of theist (the ID advocates) truly wishes to claim that God is a testable phenomenon. Seems quite ridiculous to me. It almost seems that they’ve been ‘corrupted’ by our modern society: they don’t believe a statement is true unless it’s scientifically verifiable.

But I agree: supernatural is a null word.

Comment #82030

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

Raging Bee, part of my misunderstanding was deliberate: the overwhelming number of fanatics and those who disparage their ‘opponents’ are the theists (and cranks, such as Larry) on this board. The second part is more complex: you talk about atheists, and then refer to them being refuted by other christians, implying that they are, in fact, Christians. Since you can’t be referring to the atheists, you must be referring to our local theist cranks such as Carol, David, and Larry/Andy/ Keely/”I’m in violation of every board rule and polite behavior” Fafarman.

I’ve looked at many of the posts by the posters you mention, and it appears to me that they are objecting (harshly, I admit) to anti-scientific or unproven theistic statements and positions.

That many religions make assertions about the observable universe is true.
That these assertions can be checked is true.
That the majority of them have been proved to be false, and the theists are, in general, unwilling to accept that is also true.
That religions contain (in general) many contradictory statements is true.
That religion has caused death and misery is true.

Do you consider these assertions of mine to be untrue? Do you object to the ‘tone’ of the posters? Do you feel they are making factually untrue claims about religion?

I’m just looking for clarification, please.

Comment #82031

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

If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t.

Oh yes, on that one we do agree. However, that brings up the real deal, concisely offered by computational chemist Dr. John Millam at last May’s KBOE hearings:

“There is nothing inherent in the scientific enterprise that requires restricting it to natural causes only. Science is about what is testable, not necessarily what is naturalistic.”

FL

Comment #82032

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

Ha! I knew it. You are including me in with religion Bashers. Please point out to me where I bash religion with a false or misleading statement so I can appologize. I think you are being a little defensive and I must admit, I am confused about what kind of religion bashing I am doing.

My blog pokes fun at biblical literalists but I could make a case that I am not “Religion Bashing” but that I am merely laughing at others’ expense. Others being those who take themselves seriously enough to be offended by lighthearted humor, i.e. Danish Cartoons. There is a tendency among those who engage in “faith” to use it as shorthand for blind obedience to other humans and an unwillingness to observe the world around them (why do you think fundies are so often referred to as flat Earthers?) and that I am merciless about. But I don’t see how that is religion bashing. Please, I made a special thread over at AtBC for you to explain this to me a while back and you didn’t reply. I think that this is a pertinent issue for this whole forum so please, reply here or there.

Comment #82036

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

FL, I agree. The use of terms “Natural” and “Naturalistic” - which carry their own emotional and philosophical baggage - sometimes cause more trouble than they’re worth. That’s why I stated earlier that ‘supernatural’ is a null word.

Science tests what it can test. If it can test God, then it will (eventually). Most theists I know, however, claim that God is not ‘testable’, that God is not a ‘mechanistic thing’.

And Christianity makes it even worse by claiming for God the ability to do anything. That ability makes God definitionally untestable.

Comment #82038

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 1:37 PM (e)

The second part is more complex: you talk about atheists, and then refer to them being refuted by other christians, implying that they are, in fact, Christians…

That’s both a non-sequitur AND off the mark. The atheists’ statements about other people’s beliefs were refuted by other persons of faith, including myself. That does not imply that the atheists were Christians. I stated elsewhere that the atheists could be Christian creationists posing as atheists to make this blog look like a place for God-hating materialists who want to destroy religion – an effective talking-point for creationists in some circles. Infiltrate enough trolls, and the creationists could point to PT and say “See? Science is anti-God! The atheists on this famous blog just said so!”

I’ve looked at many of the posts by the posters you mention, and it appears to me that they are objecting (harshly, I admit) to anti-scientific or unproven theistic statements and positions.

They are also grossly misrepresenting what many persons of faith actually believe, and how we apply and interpret our beliefs. These generalizations are true of SOME persons of faith; but when applied without qualification to “Christians” or “believers” in general, they are nothing more than useless, insulting bigotry.

They also, on occasion, explicitly stated that science was effective for discerning the nature of God, which is rubbish, and which honest scientists flatly deny.

That many religions make assertions about the observable universe is true.

Yes…

That these assertions can be checked is true.

No problem there…

That the majority of them have been proved to be false, and the theists are, in general, unwilling to accept that is also true.

Again, yes. But religious doctrines also make statements about conduct and morality – what should be as opposed to what is. These are the core of most people’s beliefs, and the very purpose of religion for people in general; and constantly attacking all the factual errors kind of misses the central point of religion. The fact that Bible passages were once used to “prove” that the Earth is flat, or that black people are inferior to whites, does not diminish the wisdom of Christ’s teachings, or their usefulness to people trying to improve their characters and lives.

That religions contain (in general) many contradictory statements is true.

Yes, but often the “contradiction” arises from the incorrect or dishonest interpretation of statements that aren’t universally applicable, aren’t always meant to be taken literally, or have multiple meanings. Other times the “contradiction” is really more of a “paradox” – a puzzler that reminds us that life is complex and the answers can’t always be simple. And sometimes, the “contradictory” statements are simply peripheral or irrelevant to many people’s faith, so debunking them is a waste of time, since many persons of faith are already aware of the contradictions.

That religion has caused death and misery is true.

Religion does not cause death and misery; human action causes death and misery. Human action also causes the reduction of misery.

Comment #82040

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

Raging Bee:

Ha! I knew it. You are including me in with religion Bashers. Please point out to me where I bash religion with a false or misleading statement so I can appologize. I think you are being a little defensive and I must admit, I am confused about what kind of religion bashing I am doing.

My blog pokes fun at biblical literalists but I could make a case that I am not “Religion Bashing” but that I am merely laughing at others’ expense. Others being those who take themselves seriously enough to be offended by lighthearted humor, i.e. Danish Cartoons. There is a tendency among those who engage in “faith” to use it as shorthand for blind obedience to other humans and an unwillingness to observe the world around them (why do you think fundies are so often referred to as flat Earthers?) and that I am merciless about. But I don’t see how that is religion bashing. Please, I made a special thread over at AtBC for you to explain this to me a while back and you didn’t reply. I think that this is a pertinent issue for this whole forum so please, reply here or there.

Comment #82041

Posted by Dan on February 24, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

What is wrong with bashing religion?
Atheists hardly get a fair shake in this country, I certainly know better than to declare my atheism on a bumper sticker. What have I done to offend you? I know the answer - I speak to the knawing doubts that you must swallow every single day as you march to your death, never really sure of the answer - what comes next?

Comment #82044

Posted by AD on February 24, 2006 1:56 PM (e)

A couple of comments on a few things in this thread:

“There is nothing inherent in the scientific enterprise that requires restricting it to natural causes only. Science is about what is testable, not necessarily what is naturalistic.”

That sounds nice on paper, but how would one go about testing and/or falsifying something patently unnatural? The reason for restriction to natural is tied in with the necessity of testability.

I think this might be a case of definition. The underlying point about naturalistic methodology is that you have something which is observable, testable, verifiable, and falsifiable. Items which have these qualities are essentially “natural” in the view of science.

If one could provide an observable, testable, verifiable, and falsifiable “supernatural” phenomenon, I think science would have no problem working with it. In the view of science, it would qualify as “natural”, so the issue is using different definitions for the same word. Sort that out, and I don’t see a problem.

Posted by Rilke’s Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation. If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t. Do you really WANT to open up God to falsification? That’s the danger ID runs - that they devise an empirical test for God AND GOD FAILS. I certainly hope they have a plan B.

BWE:

Um… That already happened. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…

Supernatural Ultimate Cause is an oxymoron and “miracles” don’t happen. Time to redefine god.

There is a significant difference between falsifying particular claims about someone’s particular conception of God, and falsifying the actual existence of God in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to realize we have done the former here. The latter, so far as I can see, is beyond the realm of science in any meaningful manner.

Lastly, to BWE, Rilke, Raging Bee, etc…

Can you guys/gals knock it off already? This discussion about “religion bashing” is growing increasingly more stupid by the moment. You’ve all made some pretty biased statements. The reality is that none of you are right - you’re all arguing about a bunch of completely unverifiable claims, and doing so with a bunch of wild generalizations and unfair, false stereotypes (on both sides). There’s no point in having a raging disagreement over something that is ultimately entirely personally subjective. It’s like having a huge argument over someone’s favorite color.

While there are obviously relevant points to the science and religion debate (else this blog would not exist…), the debate you are having has turned into a religion vs. religion debate, which I don’t think is the point here. Thus, can you at least take it to AtBC and keep it out of otherwise interesting and relevant threads? Thank you.

Also, before anyone asks me to point out where you have done this, I’d go back and closely read your posts in a few other threads I’ll decline to name. I’d hate to have make you look bad by pointing out you have no recollection of what you are writing about on this site or what you have said. The last people I recall doing that were the defendants in the Dover case, after all…

Comment #82045

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

I saw a car with 2 bumper stickers:
1. Christians. Can’t live with em, can’t feed em to the lions any more.
2. If I wanted your opinion, I’d read your entrails.

Dan, when you think you are religion bashing, you are more likely bashing on untenable positions held by people who go out of their way to make you listen to their POV. Or, then again, you might be religion bashing, which ironically often manifests as spreading atheism as a religion. But somehow, I don’t think so.

Comment #82048

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 2:11 PM (e)

There is a significant difference between falsifying particular claims about someone’s particular conception of God, and falsifying the actual existence of God in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to realize we have done the former here. The latter, so far as I can see, is beyond the realm of science in any meaningful manner.

But, “SUPER natural” …

Lastly, to BWE, Rilke, Raging Bee, etc…

Can you guys/gals knock it off already? This discussion about “religion bashing” is growing increasingly more stupid by the moment. You’ve all made some pretty biased statements. The reality is that none of you are right - you’re all arguing about a bunch of completely unverifiable claims, and doing so with a bunch of wild generalizations and unfair, false stereotypes (on both sides). There’s no point in having a raging disagreement over something that is ultimately entirely personally subjective. It’s like having a huge argument over someone’s favorite color.

What else would we talk about?

While there are obviously relevant points to the science and religion debate (else this blog would not exist…), the debate you are having has turned into a religion vs. religion debate, which I don’t think is the point here. Thus, can you at least take it to AtBC and keep it out of otherwise interesting and relevant threads? Thank you.

I tried to take it there Dad, I swear. See, follow my link.

Also, before anyone asks me to point out where you have done this, I’d go back and closely read your posts in a few other threads I’ll decline to name. I’d hate to have make you look bad by pointing out you have no recollection of what you are writing about on this site or what you have said. The last people I recall doing that were the defendants in the Dover case, after all…

But there is a big difference between us and the DOver Defendendants. We are just doing it for entertainment. Isn’t that the point?

I bet your no fun at cocktail parties :)

Comment #82049

Posted by Aagcobb on February 24, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

The fight goes on. Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher appointed 7 members to the KY Board of Education. Six democrats were replaced with 5 republicans and one democrat, with one democrat being reappointed. Fletcher has publicly stated he wants Intelligent Design taught in KY public schools. The board was previously against his ideas, but the new composition of this 12 member board may mean ID in KY public schools some day in the near future.

Thats bad news for Kentucky taxpayers, since it means we’ll likely have to pay a seven figure settlement to the ACLU. I thought it was ironic that after announcing his support for ID, Governer Fletcher suffered from an infection of bacteria which the intelligent designer made drug resistant!

Comment #82051

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 2:24 PM (e)

BWE: I’ve already dealt with your false and misleading statements in the threads where they were posted. Go back to them if you’re feeling nostalgic.

As for being “defensive,” well, yes, I get kinda defensive in response to unjust offenses and attacks. Don’t like my defense? Don’t attack. Or, at least, articulate your attacks more carefully so you don’t hit something I feel should be defended.

Atheists hardly get a fair shake in this country, I certainly know better than to declare my atheism on a bumper sticker. What have I done to offend you? I know the answer - I speak to the knawing doubts that you must swallow every single day as you march to your death, never really sure of the answer - what comes next?

Wow, a combined satire of atheism AND street-corner lunatic preachers! Great stuff!

Comment #82052

Posted by steve s on February 24, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

Atheists hardly get a fair shake in this country, I certainly know better than to declare my atheism on a bumper sticker.

This is true. I have lived in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, and North Carolina, and I would not have dreamt of revealing my atheism in most of those places, and in fact nearly lost a job in Valdosta, Georgia, when the rumor went around that I was an atheist. In the RTP area of NC, surrounded by NCSU, UNC, Duke, and a half-dozen smaller colleges, I feel safe enough to reveal it to (most of) my associates, but I still wouldn’t put an atheist bumper sticker on my car.

But the next time I move, it’s going to be to a blue state. I’ve had enough, really.

Comment #82055

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 3:00 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

The atheists’ statements about other people’s beliefs were refuted by other persons of faith, including myself.

Part of our disconnect stems from statements like this. Atheism is not statement of faith - therefore one would normally say that the atheists’ statements were refuted by persons of faith - not other persons of faith. And certainly if atheists make factually incorrect statements about the tenets of a faith, they can and should be corrected.

Comment #82057

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 3:12 PM (e)

AD wrote:

I think this might be a case of definition. The underlying point about naturalistic methodology is that you have something which is observable, testable, verifiable, and falsifiable. Items which have these qualities are essentially “natural” in the view of science.

I would agree with this - it’s the point I’ve been trying to make, but put far more coherently and succinctly.

On the other hand, these two statements:

There is a significant difference between falsifying particular claims about someone’s particular conception of God, and falsifying the actual existence of God in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to realize we have done the former here. The latter, so far as I can see, is beyond the realm of science in any meaningful manner.

and

The reality is that none of you are right - you’re all arguing about a bunch of completely unverifiable claims, and doing so with a bunch of wild generalizations and unfair, false stereotypes (on both sides). There’s no point in having a raging disagreement over something that is ultimately entirely personally subjective.

appear to be contradictory. That’s the point, there is NOT consensus that we’ve falsifying some particular claims (not that I was trying to do that in the first place).

Which is actually relevant to the OP: can we find common ground of disagreement and reach consensus on basic issues around how to even discuss ID?

Comment #82059

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 3:16 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

They are also grossly misrepresenting what many persons of faith actually believe, and how we apply and interpret our beliefs.

Do you have an example you consider particularly heinous? Generally when folks on this board talk about religion, they are making general statements - not specifically Christianity.

Comment #82062

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 3:32 PM (e)

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 02:24 PM (e)

BWE: I’ve already dealt with your false and misleading statements in the threads where they were posted. Go back to them if you’re feeling nostalgic.

As for being “defensive,” well, yes, I get kinda defensive in response to unjust offenses and attacks. Don’t like my defense? Don’t attack. Or, at least, articulate your attacks more carefully so you don’t hit something I feel should be defended.

Wow. I’ve been dealt with.
Except that I haven’t. I’m still just as incorrigible as I was before you started reacting so much to my musings.

Occasionally I forget the choke on my shotgun and the spread goes too far I admit. But when it does I think I have tried to make quick apologies. Otherwise, in reviewing as many of my previous posts as time permitted, I can’t find any “false or misleading statements.”

Go ahead, defend faith all you want. But if your faith leads you to make statements that amount to “goddidit” then be prepared to back up that point because I am highly skeptical of it and this is a forum after all.

The part that confuses me is that you vigorously defend faith yet I can’t find a single post where you do claim that goddidit. What part of faith are you defending? If I understood that, perhaps I could be more tactful regarding faith.

And finally, I bet that you are really sweet in real life.

AD- “SUPER natural” is pretty close to “super DUPER natural”.

It is an oxymoron. God, whatever he/she/it/they is/are cannot be “SUPERnatural”. If miracles happen, they can be tested and verified. Whether we have the technology or sophistication or not.

Comment #82065

Posted by DrJohn on February 24, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

God test:

1 Kings 18:19 et seq.

For my money, any church (or, as it is OT, synagogue) failing this test should flat lose its tax exemption. They can try again in five years. (Just the property tax aspect would be a boon to many state education programs!)

Comment #82069

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

Rilke’s: for “an example” go to the 2/21 “George Coyne” thread. (You already posted there, which makes me wonder why you’re still asking me for evidence that you must have seen already, but here goes anyway…)

JONBOY wrote:

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.

Read this statement carefully: after several posts in which he cherrypicks all of the most senselessly evil bits of the Bible (and absolutely none of the good), he then turns about and says that a Christian who does not subscribe to all those evil bits is being dishonest. Thus he sets up a logical trap in which every Christian is either evil if he accepts every last word of the Bible, or dishonest if he rejects any of it. This is senseless bigotry, plain and simple(minded): he’s already decided Christianity is evil, and he won’t admit the existence of any good Christian who could prove him wrong.

Furthermore, this bigotry, on this blog, serves no one’s interests but the creationists: all it does is reinforce their stereotype of evolution-supporters as God-hating, God-denying, and dishonestly anti-religion. Nor would I put it past the creationists to pose as atheists to create their own boogeymen as needed; it would not be the first or worst of their con-games.

If you need any other examples, you can find them yourself; you post here regularly, so I know you know where to find them.

Comment #82070

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

I assume you wouldn’t do to them what elijah did to Baal’s prophets?

C’mon Raging Bee, Help me out here. Here, or here

Comment #82072

Posted by jeffw on February 24, 2006 4:09 PM (e)

I saw a car with 2 bumper stickers:
1. Christians. Can’t live with em, can’t feed em to the lions any more.
2. If I wanted your opinion, I’d read your entrails.

But so much has changed! Yep, we live in a modern civilized world.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4748292.stm

Comment #82074

Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 4:14 PM (e)

The part that confuses me is that you vigorously defend faith yet I can’t find a single post where you do claim that goddidit. What part of faith are you defending? If I understood that, perhaps I could be more tactful regarding faith.

That’s because I NEVER claim that goddidit. I’m a person of faith who understands that material circumstances must be explained and understood without resort to unpredictable, unverifiable “goddidit” pseudo-explanations. Is that really so confusing to you?

The part of faith I’m defending is the part that deals with disparate non-material things like morality, rights and obligations, feelings, desires and ideals, subjective truth, the meaning and importance of things and events to those affected by them (as opposed to the things and events themselves), etc. etc. etc. Does this answer your question?

Comment #82075

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 4:15 PM (e)

Not at all. How is any of that related to faith?

Comment #82076

Posted by AD on February 24, 2006 4:23 PM (e)

Rilke’s,

The referenced pieces of the two quotes of mine you picked out are not aimed at the same target. In the first case:

There is a significant difference between falsifying particular claims about someone’s particular conception of God, and falsifying the actual existence of God in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to realize we have done the former here. The latter, so far as I can see, is beyond the realm of science in any meaningful manner.

I’m referring to falsifying a claim such as irreducably complex flagellum, or the fact that the moon is wildly geologically active, for example. Those are objective things that can be measured and falsified.

In the second:

The reality is that none of you are right - you’re all arguing about a bunch of completely unverifiable claims, and doing so with a bunch of wild generalizations and unfair, false stereotypes (on both sides). There’s no point in having a raging disagreement over something that is ultimately entirely personally subjective.

I’m referring to things like “Do atheists get a fair shake in this country?”, “Do all theists think God must be controlling everything?”, and “Is God real?”.

There’s no scientific basis to evaluate the last two claims, and the first claim can only be handled with soft social science approaches (not that these are bad or inappropriate, but it would be foolish to compare them to, say, mathematics in terms of specificity and objectivity). Not to mention we’d need to define “fair”.

I’m all for discussing religion in the context of science or what not. What aggravates and makes me laugh is the pissing match between theists and atheists, when neither of them can prove a damn thing. It’s like arguing over who’s imaginary friend could beat the other person’s imaginary friend up. While perhaps sometimes amusing, it seriously derails threads that have otherwise valuable commentary.

Comment #82077

Posted by KS on February 24, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

FL, earlier: However, that brings up the real deal, concisely offered by computational chemist Dr. John Millam at last May’s KBOE hearings: “There is nothing inherent in the scientific enterprise that requires restricting it to natural causes only. Science is about what is testable, not necessarily what is naturalistic.”

What are the odds that this is the same John Millam who’s associated with these publications?

http://www.geocities.com/darrickdean/atlast.html
“At Last …” (Genesis 2:23)

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/4264/ufos.html
“A Christian and Scientific Perspective on UFOs”

And with
Reasons to Believe at
http://www.reasons.org/chapters/kansascity/index.shtml

To carry out this mission, the participants of the Reasons To Believe Kansas City chapter:

* Meet regularly to fellowship and formulate plans for mission execution.
* Build alliances with local churches, ministries, and groups.
* Provide resources (both speakers and materials) to churches, groups, and individuals.
* Proactively seek opportunities to show believers that God’s message through nature is harmonious with His written Word.
* Proactively seek opportunities to present the Gospel to unbelievers by demonstrating that the latest scientific evidence points to design in the universe, and that the Designer is none other than the God of the Bible.
* Use our skills and knowledge to equip each other for service.
* Appropriate God’s will in all we do through prayer.

Comment #82078

Posted by limpidense on February 24, 2006 4:37 PM (e)

Another thread – another and another and another – proving that, whether supportive of science (people claiming belief in, at most, the mildest, 100% untestable, I-believe-in-God(s)-that-is-responsible-for-the-conscious-origin-of-the-Universe(s) “creationism”) or not, the people who claim to be religious here really seem to have little or no interest in doing anything other than advertising the depth/wisdom/fierceness/reasonableness/whatever of their faith.

I don’t wish at all to challenge someone’s beliefs, however absurd or admirable they may be, at this site any longer. Still, I am bored silly by those who insist, AT THIS SITE, upon introducing a defense of a Supreme Being into EVERY damned thread, and the very many who then becoming upset when some silly “atheist” falls for their troll, or decides to bait them further.

To the religious folk on the side of reason, tolerance, and inclusiveness: your faith does not require defending here on PT. It DOES NOT require defending here, at all.
If some big, bad, stupid atheist tries to derail the discussion on a non-religious topic with some godless rant, note the fact and return to the topic. You will convince all of us, nonbelievers and believers, of your honesty, and of the strength of your faith, much easier by doing so.

PLEEEEEEEEASE!

Comment #82081

Posted by Corkscrew on February 24, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

the people who claim to be religious here really seem to have little or no interest in doing anything other than advertising the depth/wisdom/fierceness/reasonableness/whatever of their faith.

And, ironically, the supposedly “faithless” atheists are very much responding in kind.

I speak as a strong atheist (don’t believe in God and wouldn’t worship Him if I did). You’re letting the side down, people.

Comment #82082

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 24, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

Bumble Bee wrote:

As for being “defensive,” well, yes, I get kinda defensive in response to unjust offenses and attacks. Don’t like my defense? Don’t attack. Or, at least, articulate your attacks more carefully so you don’t hit something I feel should be defended.

uh, just remember, you started this crap in this thread, nobody else, just you.

I’d be willing to bet that if you don’t post things like:

D’you think this might have something to do with the religion-bashers on this site who mindlessly and repetitively hijack thread after thread to make uninformed insulting generalizations against persons and beliefs of which they seem to know nothing?

that’s called flame bait. and you got what you asked for.

Comment #82083

Posted by FL on February 24, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

Ummmm, as for this part….

In 2002, Ohio dropped its naturalism/materialism gatekeeper from its definition of science.

….that happens to be the hickory-smoked tabasco-sauce truth, confirmed by no less than the First Church of the NCSE itself:

At the October meeting of the Board of Education some wording changes were introduced into the draft standards which NCSE and our Ohio members would like to see removed.
For example, the board substituted a definition of science for the extant one listed in the tenth grade “Scientific Ways of Knowing” strand which reads:

“Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

The extant definition limited scientific explanation to “natural explanations for natural phenomena”, which would exclude religious explanations such as creation science and intelligent design.

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2002/OH/379_science_standards_move_forward_10_29_2002.asp

So, no use claiming Ohio didn’t eliminate its pole-cat rot-gut naturalism/materialism gatekeeper, because after all, they really ~did~ eliminate it. (Resulting in a much cleaner-smelling definition of science, one might add!)

FL :-)

Comment #82086

Posted by Flint on February 24, 2006 5:18 PM (e)

FL:

I hope someday you can clarify this. As far as I can tell, “more adequate explanations of natural phenomena” must themselves be based either on “observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory building”, or on doctrinal fiat. Are you trying, VERY indirectly, to tell us that you find “goddidit” to be a “more adequate” explanation, and that all that stuff about observation, testing and the like is really eyewash, since you already know the answer?

I still can’t seem to grasp how a supernatural explanation of anything, explains anything. Hard as I try, I can’t find ANY difference between a supernatural “explanation” and “I don’t know but can’t admit it”.

Comment #82087

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 5:18 PM (e)

Anatomy of a derailment.

Comment #81937
Posted by Emanuel Goldstein on February 24, 2006 04:24 AM (e)

The KCFS, a site which is dominated by a little band of atheists who ridicule and marginalize anyone who dares express disageement by a tag team tactic, is working to accomplish the same thing in Kansas.

Fortuneately, the obscenties regularly thrown out by the atheists have in fact marginalalized the site.

Comment #81989
Posted by Rilke’s Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation. If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t. Do you really WANT to open up God to falsification? That’s the danger ID runs - that they devise an empirical test for God AND GOD FAILS. I certainly hope they have a plan B.

So that’s how it started. But then!

Comment #81993
Posted by Raging Bee on February 24, 2006 10:35 AM (e)

Interesting point, Emmanuel. D’you think this might have something to do with the religion-bashers on this site who mindlessly and repetitively hijack thread after thread to make uninformed insulting generalizations against persons and beliefs of which they seem to know nothing? D’you think there’s a chance these “atheists” might actually be creationists, posting divisive crap in order to undermine a blog’s credibility and reinforce the worst Christian stereotypes of God-hating scientists trying to destroy religion?

This would certainly be a sensible tactic for the know-nothing extremists: since they’re now under attack from both scientists and other Christians, it makes sense to try to set those two groups against each other. Sensible moderates are the extremists’ most dangerous enemy.

I certainly can’t think of any other purpose that is served by the religion-bashing I’ve seen here.

to which I responded:

Hmmm.

I’ve only run across one “religion basher” here. All the atheists (why on earth would anyone call themselves an atheist?) I have seen appear to know quite a bit about not only religion but the religious experience too. I’m going out on a limb here I know, but are you a little frustrated? Do you want to talk? remember, letting your anger out is merely practicing, letting your anger go is healing.

which, although it may be a bit condescending, is an accurate assesment. At this point the thread is becoming derailed and I am accepting some of the responsibility.

But that comment was actually preceded by a relevant comment (marginally possibly but well within the bottom 10% on the bell curve) responding to another relevant comment:

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 11:12 AM (e)
Posted by Rilke’s Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)
Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation. If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t. Do you really WANT to open up God to falsification? That’s the danger ID runs - that they devise an empirical test for God AND GOD FAILS. I certainly hope they have a plan B.

Um… That already happened. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…

Supernatural Ultimate Cause is an oxymoron and “miracles” don’t happen. Time to redefine god.

which I would have been happy to back up if others wished to discuss it.

Rilke’s GD also replied to Rage and probably helped derail it a little more but broad statements need to be put into context at least:

D’you think there’s a chance these “atheists” might actually be creationists, posting divisive crap in order to undermine a blog’s credibility and reinforce the worst Christian stereotypes of God-hating scientists trying to destroy religion?

Since there aren’t any (or as BWE points out, maybe one person on this board like that), I think you’re simply overreacting. Perhaps you could identify some evidence for this claim?

Derailment is still teetering because at this point, we are simply responding to Rage.

But now derailment becomes immenent as Rage responds to the response:

I was referring to JONBOY, BWE, normdoehring, and other people who made uninformed and insulting generalizations about other people’s religious beliefs, and continued to make them after being corrected by more than one respondent. (The evidence you request can be found in previous posts of theirs.) Forgive me for boasting, but I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty clear writer, and no one else has ever had such a problem understanding what I was talking about.

at which point I have been accused and my rightous indignation has been raised but rilke’s gd beat me to the punch:

I’ve looked at many of the posts by the posters you mention, and it appears to me that they are objecting (harshly, I admit) to anti-scientific or unproven theistic statements and positions.

That many religions make assertions about the observable universe is true.
That these assertions can be checked is true.
That the majority of them have been proved to be false, and the theists are, in general, unwilling to accept that is also true.
That religions contain (in general) many contradictory statements is true.
That religion has caused death and misery is true.

Do you consider these assertions of mine to be untrue? Do you object to the ‘tone’ of the posters? Do you feel they are making factually untrue claims about religion?

I’m just looking for clarification, please.

and then my reply:

Ha! I knew it. You are including me in with religion Bashers. Please point out to me where I bash religion with a false or misleading statement so I can appologize. I think you are being a little defensive and I must admit, I am confused about what kind of religion bashing I am doing.

My blog pokes fun at biblical literalists but I could make a case that I am not “Religion Bashing” but that I am merely laughing at others’ expense. Others being those who take themselves seriously enough to be offended by lighthearted humor, i.e. Danish Cartoons. There is a tendency among those who engage in “faith” to use it as shorthand for blind obedience to other humans and an unwillingness to observe the world around them (why do you think fundies are so often referred to as flat Earthers?) and that I am merciless about. But I don’t see how that is religion bashing. Please, I made a special thread over at AtBC for you to explain this to me a while back and you didn’t reply. I think that this is a pertinent issue for this whole forum so please, reply here or there.

I went back and read about twenty of my previous posts here and concluded that I was being basically accurate and that she just couldn’t handle the truth in my estimation.
Rage comes back with this gem

They are also grossly misrepresenting what many persons of faith actually believe, and how we apply and interpret our beliefs. These generalizations are true of SOME persons of faith; but when applied without qualification to “Christians” or “believers” in general, they are nothing more than useless, insulting bigotry.

They also, on occasion, explicitly stated that science was effective for discerning the nature of God, which is rubbish, and which honest scientists flatly deny.

which is a direct accusation upon my moral character then says

But religious doctrines also make statements about conduct and morality — what should be as opposed to what is. These are the core of most people’s beliefs, and the very purpose of religion for people in general; and constantly attacking all the factual errors kind of misses the central point of religion. The fact that Bible passages were once used to “prove” that the Earth is flat, or that black people are inferior to whites, does not diminish the wisdom of Christ’s teachings, or their usefulness to people trying to improve their characters and lives.

That religions contain (in general) many contradictory statements is true.

Yes, but often the “contradiction” arises from the incorrect or dishonest interpretation of statements that aren’t universally applicable, aren’t always meant to be taken literally, or have multiple meanings. Other times the “contradiction” is really more of a “paradox” — a puzzler that reminds us that life is complex and the answers can’t always be simple. And sometimes, the “contradictory” statements are simply peripheral or irrelevant to many people’s faith, so debunking them is a waste of time, since many persons of faith are already aware of the contradictions.

Which is a beautiful and poetic way to look at religion but not one which I have seen much antipathy toward by myself especially. In fact, I would, oh never mind, next comes

Posted by Dan on February 24, 2006 01:49 PM (e)
What is wrong with bashing religion?
Atheists hardly get a fair shake in this country, I certainly know better than to declare my atheism on a bumper sticker. What have I done to offend you? I know the answer - I speak to the knawing doubts that you must swallow every single day as you march to your death, never really sure of the answer - what comes next?

Which illustrated a valid point even though the marching to your death thing is a little out of place. By this point the thread is thoroughly derailed and is rolling accross the desert rock bouncing and banging merrily away from its original destination Proof of ID?) But come on, you can’t just let something like that go now can you? So AD jumps in

Posted by Rilke’s Granddaughter on February 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Of course the scientific method rocks - and that’s why there will never be a ‘supernatural’ explanation. If it’s testable, science can examine it, if not then science can’t. Do you really WANT to open up God to falsification? That’s the danger ID runs - that they devise an empirical test for God AND GOD FAILS. I certainly hope they have a plan B.

BWE:

Um… That already happened. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…

Supernatural Ultimate Cause is an oxymoron and “miracles” don’t happen. Time to redefine god.

There is a significant difference between falsifying particular claims about someone’s particular conception of God, and falsifying the actual existence of God in any way, shape, or form. It’s important to realize we have done the former here. The latter, so far as I can see, is beyond the realm of science in any meaningful manner.

Lastly, to BWE, Rilke, Raging Bee, etc…

Can you guys/gals knock it off already? This discussion about “religion bashing” is growing increasingly more stupid by the moment. You’ve all made some pretty biased statements. The reality is that none of you are right - you’re all arguing about a bunch of completely unverifiable claims, and doing so with a bunch of wild generalizations and unfair, false stereotypes (on both sides). There’s no point in having a raging disagreement over something that is ultimately entirely personally subjective. It’s like having a huge argument over someone’s favorite color.

While there are obviously relevant points to the science and religion debate (else this blog would not exist…), the debate you are having has turned into a religion vs. religion debate, which I don’t think is the point here. Thus, can you at least take it to AtBC and keep it out of otherwise interesting and relevant threads? Thank you.

which is a call to be civil and entirely appropriate for someone who wants to actually discuss “the devastating loss for Intelligent Design activists in Ohio.” And why do you put my name first? I’m hardly the worst offender. Plus I honestly tried to move the thread to AtBC in my previous post. AD continues with

Also, before anyone asks me to point out where you have done this, I’d go back and closely read your posts in a few other threads I’ll decline to name. I’d hate to have make you look bad by pointing out you have no recollection of what you are writing about on this site or what you have said. The last people I recall doing that were the defendants in the Dover case, after all…

Which is great, follow the link I gave you and show me. At any rate, I am replying to Dan’s legitimate comment

Dan, when you think you are religion bashing, you are more likely bashing on untenable positions held by people who go out of their way to make you listen to their POV. Or, then again, you might be religion bashing, which ironically often manifests as spreading atheism as a religion. But somehow, I don’t think so.

with a legitimate reply about conduct. I try to respond to AD but at this point AD is a side thing going on because we are so thoroughly off topic now. I end with a disparaging note:

I bet your no fun at cocktail parties :)

which I hope AD took in the most lighthearted fashion. I was all ready to go back to the thread when Rage comes back at it with

BWE: I’ve already dealt with your false and misleading statements in the threads where they were posted. Go back to them if you’re feeling nostalgic.

As for being “defensive,” well, yes, I get kinda defensive in response to unjust offenses and attacks. Don’t like my defense? Don’t attack. Or, at least, articulate your attacks more carefully so you don’t hit something I feel should be defended.

Atheists hardly get a fair shake in this country, I certainly know better than to declare my atheism on a bumper sticker. What have I done to offend you? I know the answer - I speak to the knawing doubts that you must swallow every single day as you march to your death, never really sure of the answer - what comes next?

Wow, a combined satire of atheism AND street-corner lunatic preachers! Great stuff!

Steve s points out the truth in Dan’s original message:

Atheists hardly get a fair shake in this country, I certainly know better than to declare my atheism on a bumper sticker.

This is true. I have lived in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, and North Carolina, and I would not have dreamt of revealing my atheism in most of those places, and in fact nearly lost a job in Valdosta, Georgia, when the rumor went around that I was an atheist. In the RTP area of NC, surrounded by NCSU, UNC, Duke, and a half-dozen smaller colleges, I feel safe enough to reveal it to (most of) my associates, but I still wouldn’t put an atheist bumper sticker on my car.

But the next time I move, it’s going to be to a blue state. I’ve had enough, really.

ANd now I’m singing “Just like Tom Thumb Blues” because the cops don’t need you and man they expect the same
ANd now I’m tired of typing but my conclusion to all this is that the derailment is an important point in the global debate because the target is fuzzy and we should work a little to define what elements of our psyche’s give rise to all/nothing thinking. My hypothosis is that faith is a part of that so if RB wants to redefine faith outside of the boundaries of “ Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.” cool, but inside those boundaries, belief is a tricky word to use. If we want to define god as the ultimate cause or outermost bounds or whatever that’s good too, but if we want to say that we know what god thinks, well, that is where faith comes in and that is wehere the door should remain tight.

Comment #82090

Posted by limpidense on February 24, 2006 6:21 PM (e)

Thanks, BWE, for the work put in, and for the clarity of your final comment.

Comment #82094

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 24, 2006 6:49 PM (e)

Reminder: the recent Ohio board desicion did not repeal nor alter its definition of science. A good sign.

Well, I guess when IDers have been pummelled and pounded as much as they have been in the last few months, they need to celebrate the little victories, huh. “Hey guys, so what if we lost in Dover in a 139-page opinion that labels us liars, and so what if Ohio kicked out every last shred of our, uh, ‘science’, and so what if we have no chance at all of winning in kansas and will soon be tossing in the towel there too —— Ohio didn’t (yet) change the bullcrap definition of science that we wrote for them!! Hooray for our team!!!!” (shrug)

I sincerely hope you keep right on, uh, winning like that, FL.

Comment #82095

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 24, 2006 6:55 PM (e)

Jesus H Christ.

Do we have to listen to the same tired old holy war between theists and atheists in every goddamn thread?

Can’t you all just get together somewhere and beat the shit out of each other or something to settle things?

Damn.

Comment #82100

Posted by AC on February 24, 2006 7:09 PM (e)

FL wrote:

So, no use claiming Ohio didn’t eliminate its pole-cat rot-gut naturalism/materialism gatekeeper, because after all, they really ~did~ eliminate it. (Resulting in a much cleaner-smelling definition of science, one might add!)

Before: “natural explanations for natural phenomena”

After: “more adequate explanations for natural phenomena”

Hey, if that’s the needle-eye a creationist wants to stuff his camel through, he’ll still find that preaching in public school is unconstitutional.

Here’s an implacably odorless definition of science for you: explanations that have efficacy outside your mind.

Comment #82103

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on February 24, 2006 7:46 PM (e)

the good Rev. Dr. questions: Do we have to listen to the same tired old holy war between theists and atheists in every goddamn thread?

I guess the frat should host a mixer with lots of beer and get everyone falling down drunk. Whose got the keys to the PT cruiser, I’ll do a beer run. Any particular brands?

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #82105

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

What the heck else are we gonna do? Talk about politics? Philosophy? Cultural sensitivity? Science? What?

Comment #82107

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on February 24, 2006 8:04 PM (e)

Simple, drink, get drunk, get laid.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #82111

Posted by BWE on February 24, 2006 9:22 PM (e)

Works great but somehow I don’t see PT as a real turn on.

Comment #82113

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on February 24, 2006 9:43 PM (e)

Just maximizing reproductive opportunities

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #82142

Posted by JONBOY on February 25, 2006 10:47 AM (e)

I was amazed to see that Raging Bee placed me “Numero Uno” on his religion bashing hit list. Well,errr sniff,(wipe away tears) I don’t know quite what to say(blow nose)I am so honored.thank you so much.
I would like to give all the honor to Jesus Christ my personal Savior,Wait!!!!!! what am I saying,got carried away there for a second. All joking aside ,let me state ,that I have the greatest respect for anyone to hold any kind of religious convictions they wish,but, do not, expect me to respect the individual doctrines of those beliefs.Raging Bee said “ I was referring to JONBOY, BWE, normdoehring, and other people who made uninformed and insulting generalizations about other people’s religious beliefs, and continued to make them after being corrected by more than one respondent”
My education and personal experiences,make me more than qualified,to offer an informed opinion,and equally, I have not been presented with any worth while corrections, to any of my statements.
All major religions are based on faith,but why faith in the first place? I mean, what good is the concept? Why even put that word out in front of you to say we should have “blind faith” or “informed faith”? Why not just say, “Use your mind,” and use your free mind to examine and decide for yourself whether you think this is true or false? When you use the word “faith,” you’re admitting that the assertions you are accepting by faith cannot be accepted on their own merits. You need something extra. You need something above and beyond the evidence to make it true. Anytime someone uses the word “faith,” its a cop out. They’re admitting defeat. Faith is a kind of agnosticism because if you knew it was true, you wouldn’t need faith.
History has testified over many years that religion is behind so many of the major tragedies of humanity. Miscegenation was banned based on Biblical rules, slavery was justified by the same book. It’s convenient to have an ancient set of rules to back up odious actions and behavior, especially when it can be argued that a certain amount of “interpretation” — though never outright denial! — is necessary for them to properly be applied to any given situation. In that regard, I reject the tired arguments that try to excuse perfectly obvious errors and blunders of religion by insisting that “it doesn’t really mean that.” It means what it says, and no amount of alibi-ing and explaining will convince me that they didn’t intend the faithful to actually believe it all.
Having said my peace, I have decided(Lenny Flank will be happy) not to post any more religious comments on PT

Comment #82146

Posted by Andy H. on February 25, 2006 11:13 AM (e)

Comment #82020
Posted by Patricia Princehouse on February 24, 2006 12:33 PM

The problem with Kansas is that they pulled their entire definition from one of Ohio’s “indicators” (subsidiary illustrations of the benchmarks) which creationists on the Ohio Board of Ed had shortened in 2002 (specifically indicator 3 under the above-quoted Benchmark A). What they did was to take the Ohio Academy of Science’s definition of science & lop off the part having to do with evidence & falsifiability.

Here are excerpts from the Summary of State Board Changes to Kansas Science Standards (adopted by the Board on November 8, 2005).

This document says in a footnote that the new definition of science in the Kansas state standards is:
“Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

The above Summary states that the purpose of this new definition is to “substitute a common and rigorously objective definition of science for an arcane definition driven by naturalistic preconception.” “Common” ? “Rigorously objective” ? “Arcane definition” ? “Driven by naturalistic preconception” ? The statement should have cut the malarkey and gotten to the point, which is that the purpose of the new definition of science is to eliminate the requirement that science be restricted to natural explanations. Anyway, this statement is not part of the new science standards, and – contrary to what might be falsely assumed from the following item from a news report —the above new definition of science that is going into the new state science standards does not expressly allow for supernatural explanations – “In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.” – from http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/11/08/evolution.debate.ap/ Only the above Summary of State Board Changes makes it clear that the board intended that the new definition exclude a requirement for natural explanations and thus allow for supernatural explanations.

Also, the above Summary says that the new standards will call for teaching irreducible complexiy and teaching that “except in very rare cases, mutations that may be inherited are neutral, deleterious, or fatal.”

Comment #82147

Posted by Corkscrew on February 25, 2006 11:39 AM (e)

Also, the above Summary says that the new standards will call for teaching irreducible complexiy and teaching that “except in very rare cases, mutations that may be inherited are neutral, deleterious, or fatal.”

Creducation: just say “ewww”.

[‘Creducation’ is is my Brand New Word that I’m trying to get into common usage. It’s a combination of ‘credulous’ and ‘education’ and is actually surprisingly useful. To the best of my knowledge no word exists that clearly delineates between people who simply hold religiously-motivated views about the physical world and those who attempt to indoctrinate kids with those views (the ‘creducators’). It’s possible for an intellectually honest creationist to not be a creducator, and for a creducator to not be a creationist (most scientologist teachers, for example, would definitely fall into this category).]

Comment #82152

Posted by Leon on February 25, 2006 1:03 PM (e)

“Creducation”, eh? I like that. Might get some use out of it, if I don’t get a general “Huh??” reaction from people when I try.

Comment #82153

Posted by Leon on February 25, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

Bruce Thompson GQ wrote:

the good Rev. Dr. questions: Do we have to listen to the same tired old holy war between theists and atheists in every goddamn thread?

I guess the frat should host a mixer with lots of beer and get everyone falling down drunk. Whose got the keys to the PT cruiser, I’ll do a beer run. Any particular brands?

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Great idea! How about Sacramento Brewing Company? I get their Red Horse Ale here at Costco for $16 a case. It’s hoppy, malty, and strong.

Then again, we could always do the keg of homebrew…

Comment #82157

Posted by PvM on February 25, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

Also, the above Summary says that the new standards will call for teaching irreducible complexiy and teaching that “except in very rare cases, mutations that may be inherited are neutral, deleterious, or fatal.”

How does one teach an appeal from ignorance? Let’s see. Fairy circles? Canals on Mars?

Science has come to realize that neutral and near neutral mutations may be far more important than imagined, explaining such features as robustness, stasis, innovation, etc. While ID activists are still stuck with old science trying to prove that evolution cannot possibly happen when phrases as a strawman (co-evolution comes to mind), real science is uncovering why evolution has been so succesful. I am working on tying together the RNA scale free network work and more recent work that shows that similar scale free networks extend through the high dimensional adaptive landscapes.

ID is doomed to hide itself in our ignorance since it is scientifically vacuous.

Comment #82162

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on February 25, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

The probability of seeing fairy circles and canals on Mars is directly proportional to the quantity of Red Horse Ale or home brew consumed. While the probability of seeing the relationships between “the RNA scale free network work and more recent work that shows that similar scale free networks extend through the high dimensional adaptive landscapes” much less the math underlying the relationships is inversely proportional, at least most of the time. In any event, appeals to ignorance demean the human intellect.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #82167

Posted by Raging Bee on February 25, 2006 2:37 PM (e)

Miscegenation was banned based on Biblical rules, slavery was justified by the same book. It’s convenient to have an ancient set of rules to back up odious actions and behavior, especially when it can be argued that a certain amount of “interpretation” — though never outright denial! — is necessary for them to properly be applied to any given situation.

Miscegenation was banned, and slavery was justified, by large numbers of people with racist attitudes and economic interests, who used those bits of the Bible that could be interpreted to support their pre-existing views. If they had not been racist, they would not have placed such importance on those passages, and would have treated other races differently. And they would have used different Bible passages to justify their behavior. Which, in fact, abolitionist Christians did.

People and attitudes progress, and today’s Christians mostly agree that racism and slavery are utterly wrong, and thus do not care as much for the passages that were once used to justify them. I have not met a single Christian who said “I thought slavery was wrong, but then I saw this part of the Bible that justified it, so I changed my mind and now I’m all for slavery!” Have you? If any such people exist, they’re a tiny and embarrassing minority.

In that regard, I reject the tired arguments that try to excuse perfectly obvious errors and blunders of religion by insisting that “it doesn’t really mean that.” It means what it says…

Everyone says “It means what it says,” but it’s very easy to confuse “what it says” with “what I understand or interpret it to mean.” If you refuse to understand this, then you are falling into the fundamentalists’ trap, even as you pretend to oppose fundamentalism.

The fundies’ most potent weapon is the belief that the Bible can only be interpreted one way – their way – and that any Christian who doubts any part of their interpretation is not really a Christian. The most potent defense against rigid fundamentalism is to assert that there is more than one possible interpretation, and that those who disagree with the one-and-only-true-interpretaion-du-jour are not heretics and will not go to Hell.

I know which side of this fence I’m on, and I’m not at all uncomfortable with the company I find here. Which side are you on, JONBOY? And how do you like your company?

Comment #82173

Posted by Red Mann on February 25, 2006 3:11 PM (e)

Sorry Lenny, but I’ve been following these “Religious Wars” that crop up on almost every thread on PT for a long time, so I want to put my two cents in.

Religious wars are started by religious people insisting that their religion is somehow correct. If some troll doesn’t start them, our own theist brethren do. I guess the problem we of an atheist bent don’t have “religious” beliefs and see the theist arguments as appealing to magic. I’m with the behavior is based on purely natural causes group. Its hard for me to get around the idea that since our brains are vast conglomerate of nerves cells and chemicals, that some outside force resides in them. IMHO, having some outside force in there is an appeal to magic. I think that if we knew enough about how the brain works, we could understand why some people obey the rules and some disobey the rules.

After having read here, and at many religious web sites, what religious people think, I feel like I do when I hear people talking about Soap Opera characters, as if they’re real people with real lives. Not everybody believes the stories are true, and indeed all religions contradict reality to some degree or other. Its like Carol speaking about her special HB as if it obviously true and its just crazy that we all don’t believe in it too. Dave Heddle is deep into Apologetics, check out his web site. He seems to be dumbfounded at our disbelief of cosmological ID, I mean its so obvious that if things were just a little different, we wouldn’t be here. Well, duh.

Raging Bee, you are certainly welcome to believe whatever you want, but when you constantly criticize atheists as wrong because they don’t believe in what you do, I have to disagree with you. We are perfectly allowed to express our opinions of religious beliefs, yours included.

Atheist’s don’t see any reason to believe in magic and so do not have “religious” beliefs. I can’t help feeling that such beliefs are basically silly, I was raised as a Baptist BTW, Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School and all that.

So it kind of boils down to whatever your religious beliefs are, they are really not important to anyone to anyone else. Unfortunately, the world is crawling with billions of people that insist that everyone must believe as they do, and a large number of them are willing to try to force every culture on earth to be like theirs, by violent means if necessary.

I understand that we shouldn’t upset our religious allies, but they should try to remember that science doesn’t care about religion one way or another, and while such beliefs can’t be disproved, science does not provide any reason whatsoever that they have any validity.

Comment #82174

Posted by BWE on February 25, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

Y’know, there are a lot of parallel conversations here. The real scientists who are actually doing real science (as opposed to those of us who aren’t) are asking questions and making comments on cellular level mechanics and lets say, the classroom approach. I assume those folks are still fairly close to a university setting. Then there are the Politicals who just want to hammer home the separation of church and state. A little farther along the x-axis you get to those with a religious message, whether pro or anti. Eventually you get to those who just like to stir up trouble and who are most likely to aid and abet those who are likely to derail a thread over religious contentions.

There is definitely something here for all of us.

Rage, even though I am beginning to feel like I can predict your comments, I am thoroughly enjoying them.

Comment #82175

Posted by JONBOY on February 25, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Raging Bee,Said” Which side are you on, JONBOY? And how do you like your company. Let me see.
Classical
Anaxagoras (500?-428? BCE) - Greek philosopher, freethinker, regarded the conventional gods as mythic abstractions endowed with anthropomorphic attributes.
Brihaspati - Traditionally taken to be the founder of the Lokayata philosophical school in India, along with Carvaka.
Carvaka - Materialist philosopher in ancient India.
Democritus (460?-357 BCE) - Greek philosopher, father of materialism, viewed everything as matter composed of indestructible particles (“atoms”).
Diagoras (called Diagoras the Atheist of Melos) (5th cent. BCE) - Greek poet and sophist.
Epicurus (341-270 BCE) - Greek materialist philosopher.
Lucretius (96?-55 BCE) - Roman philosopher and poet, Epicurean atomist, wrote On the Nature of Things.
Protagoras (481?-411 BCE) - Greek philosopher.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca “the Younger” (BCE 4-65 CE) - Roman stoic philosopher, writer and politician.
Science and Medicine
Peter Atkins (1940-) - chemist, former husband of Baroness Susan Greenfield, professor at Oxford University.
Nathaniel Branden (1930-) - Canadian psychologist and philosopher, associated with Objectivism.
Mario Bunge (1919-) - Argentine philosopher and physicist, left-wing liberal, author of a monumental Treatise on Basic Philosophy.
Francis Crick (1916-2004) - Nobel Prize laureate biophysicist, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, a figure of molecular biology and also neuroscience.
Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-1827) - French mathematician and astronomer.
Albert Ellis (1913-) - American psychologist, creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.
Richard Feynman (1918-1988) - American physicist and expert lecturer, Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on quantum electrodynamics.
Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) - Researcher in the field of human sexuality and entomology.
Jacques Lacan - French psychoanalyst.
Richard M. Stallman (1953-) - American computer programmer and founder of the Free Software Foundation.
David Suzuki (1936-) - Canadian geneticist and environmentalist.

Science & Medicine
Alfred Adler (1870-1937) - Austrian psychiatrist, believed that God was a psychological projection, though helpful.
Richard Dawkins (1941-) - British zoologist, biologist, creator of the concept of the selfish gene and the meme; outspoken atheist and popularizer of science.
Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991) - founder of the theory of situational ethics, pioneer in the field of bioethics, transhumanist.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) - Austrian neurologist, father of psychoanalysis, considered the belief in God to stem from an unconscious fear of one’s own biological father.
Jonathan Miller (1934-) - British doctor, theatre director, journalist and broadcaster. Recently made a programme, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, discussing the history of atheism.
Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751) - French physician and philosopher, earliest of the materialist writers of the Enlightenment.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996) - American astronomer, author, science popularizer, and proponent of the search for extraterrestrial life.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990) - American psychologist and author, a pioneer on experimental psychology, advocate of behaviorism, and writer of two books on social engineering.
Max Stirner (1806-1856) - German philosopher, Young Hegelian, one of the literary grandfathers of nihilism, existentialism and anarchism.
Matt Ridley (1958-) - British zoologist, science writer and journalist, open supporter of libertarianism in politics and reductionism in biology.
James D. Watson (1929-) - Nobel Prize laureate, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
Literature and Art
Tariq Ali (1943-) - British author, filmmaker, historian, one of the founders of the New Left, and spokesman for anti-imperialism.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) - Russian-born American writer of fiction and nonfiction works, scientist and science popularizer.
Iain Banks (1954-) - Scottish writer and left-wing activist.
Dave Barry (1947-) - best-selling American author.
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824) - British Romantic poet.
Sir Arthur C.Clarke (1917-) - British scientist and Science Fiction author.
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) - Polish-born English author.
Harry Harrison (1925-) - American Science Fiction author, anthologist and artist whose short story “The Streets Of Ashkelon” took as its hero an atheist who tries to prevent a Christian missionary from contaminating a tribe of irreligious but ingenuous alien beings.
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) - American novelist who wrote in A Farewell to Arms “All thinking men are atheists”. The non-existence of God was a regular theme in many of his novels.
James Joyce (1882-1941) - Irish writer.
H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) - American author of fantasy and horror fiction.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) - English dramatist and poet.
Arthur Miller (1915 – 2005) - American playwright, essayist and author.
Ron Reagan (1958-) - American magazine journalist, board member of the politically activistic Creative Coalition, son of former U. S. President Ronald Reagan.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) - Irish playwright.
Michael Shermer (1954-) - American skeptic and science writer, founder of The Skeptics Society.
Sarah Vowell (1969-) - American author, journalist, writer, and voice actor.
Ibn Warraq (1946-) - Best-selling author and secularist scholar of Islam currently living in the United States. He is a Muslim apostate and an outspoken critic of Islam who has written extensively on what he views as the oppressive nature of Islam.
Seems like I’m in GOOD company,as for the rest of your post,I stated no more religious posts and I will keep to that.

Comment #82199

Posted by Raging Bee on February 25, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

Raging Bee, you are certainly welcome to believe whatever you want, but when you constantly criticize atheists as wrong because they don’t believe in what you do, I have to disagree with you.

I’m not criticizing atheists because they don’t believe in what I do; I’m criticizing them because they’re making statements about other people’s beliefs that are over-generalized at best, and false at worst. Not sharing my belief is OK; misrepresenting it, or calling me “dishonest” because I don’t believe what they think I’m supposed to believe, is not.

I understand that we shouldn’t upset our religious allies, but they should try to remember that science doesn’t care about religion one way or another, and while such beliefs can’t be disproved, science does not provide any reason whatsoever that they have any validity.

I’m sure our religious allies already understand this, and have never looked to science to “validate” their beliefs about non-material matters.

Comment #82633

Posted by Popper's Ghost on February 28, 2006 3:46 AM (e)

Bumble Bee wrote:

As for being “defensive,” well, yes, I get kinda defensive in response to unjust offenses and attacks. Don’t like my defense? Don’t attack. Or, at least, articulate your attacks more carefully so you don’t hit something I feel should be defended.

uh, just remember, you started this crap in this thread, nobody else, just you.

I’d be willing to bet that if you don’t post things like:

D’you think this might have something to do with the religion-bashers on this site who mindlessly and repetitively hijack thread after thread to make uninformed insulting generalizations against persons and beliefs of which they seem to know nothing?

that’s called flame bait. and you got what you asked for.

Bottom line: Raging Bee is trouble-making troll who has never contributed anything positive to this board and is best ignored.

Comment #83334

Posted by BWE on March 2, 2006 4:59 PM (e)

Wow. Pop. That’s pretty harsh. RB has in fact contributed a fair piece.