Mike Dunford posted Entry 2601 on September 22, 2006 05:35 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2595

Here’s an interesting take on why theistic evolution (TE) might be a bad position to hold:

So essentially, both Dawkins and Miller see no evidence of design, and their philosophy as to how evolution works is the same, yet Dawkins follows that evidence and declares the world is without a designer and Miller claims to believe there is a designer. Bizarre. So Miller apparently, like most TE’s, holds to his religious beliefs on faith ~alone~. That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith. (source)

Here’s why it’s interesting (at The Questionable Authority):

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Comment #132950

Posted by PatricktheDutch on September 23, 2006 4:42 AM (e)

This is some really funny stuff.
I am lmbo. (laughing my bum off)

So basically what is said in the article: mr.Miller is just a believer, and mr.Dawkins is a real scientist.

Well mr.Miller has a lot of things where he have to find an answer for.
But in the meanwhile he kept to his theory, and thinks well, eventually we will find the answers.
That makes him a believer.

You probably feel it coming now, right?

I.D. movement they showed so unbelievable big gaps in evolution, without any person be able to fill in these gaps, or answer the questions.
But,….. till you guys find the answers you guys in the meanwhile keep to your theory.
That also makes you, just a believer.
Bizarre….
With exactly the same reasoning as you placed Mr.Miller in the “believer-corner”.
And every day more and more questions will raise.

I am curious to your responses.
uh oh

Peace,
PatricktheDutch

Comment #132986

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 23, 2006 7:43 AM (e)

Some people like a god of the gaps.

Some people don’t.

(shrug)

Comment #133015

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 23, 2006 9:37 AM (e)

That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith.

So, are you implying that those scientists who are theists must abandon their faith in order to be classified as real scientists ? Or Christians who accept evolutionary science but feel God guided the process (from a philosophical point of view), must now become atheists ? This is exactly what AIG and co. want to hear.

Comment #133018

Posted by Scott Hatfield on September 23, 2006 9:44 AM (e)

Gentlemen:

For the record, I’m a believer but also a Darwinian who understands that ‘theistic evolution’ is *not* a scientific position. It’s theology, and therein lies the rub, as far as the source of this business is concerned.

The IDevotee eager to undercut Miller’s position is not doing so out of desire to promote reason as a strategy or to cleave religion from science, etc. Far from it!

Rather, they are eager to knock Miller because in their minds he constitutes a greater *threat*. Miller’s personal take on evolution is a theological position, a rival to their theology—and most definitely not a godless rival.

This may wound the vanity of many here, but the truth is that creationists are not the least bit frightened by professed atheists. You are a convenient ‘bogey man’ for these folk, since skeptics who don’t invoke God in any fashion can be easily (albeit unjustly) dismissed in the churches with the ad hominem ‘of course he/she’s just an atheist.’

They can’t do that with Miller, and that’s the *real* reason guys like Philip Johnson have said that people like Miller are the greater threat.

Respectfully submitted….SH

Comment #133029

Posted by MarkP on September 23, 2006 10:02 AM (e)

Scientists who are also believers don’t have to give up their faith. They just have to render unto science what is science’s and render unto God what is God’s, if you will. Evolutionary theory has rendered evolution unto science, so it makes no more sense to say God guided the process from a philosophical view any more than it would make sense to say God guided the Pittsburgh Steelers Super bowl win. There is no evidence that God was needed to guide either task, so believers need to find something else for him to do.

Comment #133037

Posted by Jim Wynne on September 23, 2006 10:26 AM (e)

There’s nothing bizarre about it. If we expect religiously inclined people to just give it all up, we’re shoveling poop against the tide. The best we can hope for is that religious people will retreat to a position where all that’s left is personal faith. Then they’ll leave everyone else alone, and stop trying to inject logic into a premise that’s inherently illogical.

Comment #133064

Posted by Justin on September 23, 2006 12:29 PM (e)

“Or Christians who accept evolutionary science but feel God guided the process (from a philosophical point of view), must now become atheists?”

I think that this is taking it too far, though perhaps it is more right than wrong. If a Christian takes the Bible seriously, I think there are some serious issues with turning the beginning of Genesis into anything other than a strictly literal account. There are Biblical issues that arise, such as Paul’s views on women: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:11-14) This is technically wrong, as Adam certainly was deceived; nonetheless, that issue aside, Paul still presupposes that the fall actually happened. In fact, he’s so sure that it happened that he considers it a valid argument for silencing women (ie. keeping them from teaching).

Likewise, Paul’s view of original sin seems to require a literal interpretation of Genesis (1 Cor. 15:21-22, 47-49; Rom. 5:12-19), and I think it could be argued that (given Paul’s argument), if a specific, literal Adam had not “fallen,” then a specific, literal Christ would not be necessary (some Eastern Christians would disagree, and claim that Christ would have been necessary even without the fall, but that’s probably not a very widely held belief, and is another subject).

When I was a Christian, it was not the scientific evidence for evolution that caused me concern, but it was the theological issues that worried me. Between my reading of Scripture and the Church Fathers I came to believe that some of the central tenets of Christianity were based on (and required) a literal interpretation of Genesis. So while I was Russian Orthodox at the time, I could understand what all those Evangelical-types were fussing about. They act like their entire belief system would crumble if evolution were true. And, I think they are right.

As to how people like Dr. Miller and Theodosius Dobzhansky can believe in evolution and remain theists, I don’t know. Perhaps they found some way through the theological maze that I missed. But if they did, I can’t see the path that they took.

Comment #133072

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 23, 2006 12:37 PM (e)

so it makes no more sense to say God guided the process from a philosophical view any more than it would make sense to say God guided the Pittsburgh Steelers Super bowl win

I think most scientists who are Christians, and Christians who accept evolutionary science realise that theistic evolution is not science. It’s just our way of reconciling science with our faith. Christians like myself Mark, who find the whole YEC thing total nonsense, have no problem with theistic evolution. However, according to YEC’s, the one thing that evolution does is to remove the need for God in the equation. Therefore, belief in evolution leads to lawlessness, sexual immorality, racism, and all the other things that are wrong with the world (Ken Miller mentioned this in his talk in Ohio). I think most sensible Christians don’t accept this. However, attacks on the Christian faith by scientists who say that science proves you don’t need God only reinforces the position of the YEC’s, in my opinion. I think that in light of the current increasingly bitter debate, scientists who hold this opinion would be better saying nothing (even Richard Dawkins has admitted this !). What are they trying to do ? Are they attempting to alienate all Christians ?

Comment #133081

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 23, 2006 1:25 PM (e)

I understand what you’re saying, Peter, and don’t necessarily disagree from the strategic standpoint (that the theistic, agnostic, and atheistic pro-science camp needs to remain united against the anti-science camp).

But I’m still waiting for verification of the oft-repeated claim that PZ, Dawkins, Dennett or other “scientists … say that science proves you don’t need God…”

As we all know, science isn’t in the “proof” business in the first place. It’s a tentative affair, all about the best fit to the data.

Please present me with an instance of any of these folks making the claim that science “proves” anything, much less that it “proves” that we don’t need God (that some of the scientists listed don’t believe in God, don’t think that science can “prove” God, maintain that we can live our lives and engage in science without worrying about the existence of God one way or another, and even recommend that religios belief tends to cause greater problems than it resolves, I accept, but those are different propositions).

I think many of us here, and even such as Ken Miller, are guilty of accepting the IDiot misrepresentations of what these folks are actually claiming…

Comment #133093

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on September 23, 2006 2:05 PM (e)

I just about fell out of my chair laughing at that one. Classic irony from a group of professional charletans. Quite frankly, their opinions on theology are just as bad as the science they claim supports ID.

Comment #133107

Posted by normdoering on September 23, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

I think that in light of the current increasingly bitter debate, scientists who hold this opinion would be better saying nothing (even Richard Dawkins has admitted this !). What are they trying to do ? Are they attempting to alienate all Christians ?

Riiight, we should be quiet and pretend we don’t exist or believe what we believe while you and many others go out there and tell lies about what we believe?

Evolution has very little to do with why I’m an atheist and a militant agnostic, but Darwin’s theory still does have theological implications. I think Justin hit on some of the reasons why the Bible and evolution do not jibe (like how Paul’s arguments about women and original sin are undermined).

But like everybody keeps pointing out in other threads, Christianity is not the be all and end all of religion. It’s just the religion that is producing American creationists.

The battle between Theistic evolutionists and the Dawkins’s camp is who gets to pick up the people who fall of the creationist wagon. They do fall off once in awhile and each of our sides is going to try to sway them.

That battle has to go on.

Comment #133112

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 23, 2006 2:46 PM (e)

Dunford: “That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith.”

I’ll offer this reason..

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Comment #133117

Posted by normdoering on September 23, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

I’ll offer this reason..

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

So, you think you can use theology and the Bible to tell real science from “science falsely so called” ??

How does that work for you?

Comment #133128

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 23, 2006 3:45 PM (e)

But I’m still waiting for verification of the oft-repeated claim that PZ, Dawkins, Dennett or other “scientists … say that science proves you don’t need God…”

This type of sentiment doesn’t help Stevie:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1878706,00.html

Comment #133131

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 23, 2006 3:56 PM (e)

The battle between Theistic evolutionists and the Dawkins’s camp is who gets to pick up the people who fall of the creationist wagon.

I’ve never been a young Earth creationist. I would imagine that Ken Miller has never been one either. There are a lot of people like myself in the church who are of the same opinion. Unfortunately, it seems to be the YEC’s that are gaining the upper hand at the moment with claims that seem persuasive to those who have no background in science.

Comment #133133

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 23, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

NormDoering:”So, you think you can use theology and the Bible to tell real science from “science falsely so called” ??

How does that work for you?”

I’ll guess I won’t be winning anyone over here, but I’ll give it a shot. When God created Adam, he wasn’t created as an infant, but as a man - perhaps 20’s or 30’s. In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old. I suppose I should have changed my screen name to YEC.

Comment #133134

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 23, 2006 4:05 PM (e)

Peter, thanks for the link, but I still didn’t see a claim from Dawkins–even at secondhand, and even in a friendly review that did not rely much on quotes–that “science disproves God.”

Sure, I saw that Dawkins dismantled various purported “proofs” of God but, again, that’s not the same thing.

And I’m sure that you aren’t here offering to “prove” God, either…

I’ll even go so far as to admit that the fundy religious of the world probably don’t make–or see–this distinction.

But I still think it’s an important one to make, among the pro-science forces of various religious bents (or non-bents); and, just possibly, for the occasional fundy who might be open-minded enough to grasp it: neither science as a whole nor evolution in particular “disproves” God, or tries to do so.

Even atheist scientists don’t claim that science or evolution “disprove” God–however comfortable they may render that scientist with his or her atheism.

And no matter how “deluded” the atheist scientist might argue that the faithful are–that argument is still not based on a scientific “disproof” of God (though science may well disable some of the attempted “proofs” of God, that again is a different claim).

Comment #133140

Posted by PhilVaz on September 23, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

BibleCreationGuy: “In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old. I suppose I should have changed my screen name to YEC.”

Appearance of age dealt with by Dobzhansky, an Orthodox Christian. Doesn’t say much for God:

“One can suppose that the Creator saw fit to play deceitful tricks on geologists and biologists. He carefully arranged to have various rocks provided with isotope ratios just right to mislead us into thinking that certain rocks are 2 billion years old, others 2 million, which in fact they are only some 6,000 years old. This kind of pseudo-explanation is not very new. One of the early antievolutionists, P. H. Gosse, published a book entitled Omphalos (‘the Navel’). The gist of this amazing book is that Adam, though he had no mother, was created with a navel, and that fossils were placed by the Creator where we find them now – a deliberate act on His part, to give the appearance of great antiquity and geologic upheaveals. It is easy to see the fatal flaw in all such notions. They are blasphemies, accusing God of absurd deceitfulness. This is as revolting as it is uncalled for….Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.” (Dobzhansky, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”)

Biologist and Catholic Kenneth Miller writes:

“In order to defend God against the challenge they see from evolution, they have had to make Him into a schemer, a trickster, even a charlatan. Their version of God is one who intentionally plants misleading clues beneath our feet and in the heavens themselves. Their version of God is one who has filled the universe with so much bogus evidence that the tools of science can give us nothing more than a phony version of reality. In other words, their God has negated science by rigging the universe with fiction and deception. To embrace that God, we must reject science and worship deception itself…..One can, of course, imagine a Creator who could have produced all of the illusions that the creationists claim to find in nature. In order to do so, we must simultaneously conclude that science can tell us nothing about nature, and that the Creator to whom many of us pray is inherently deceitful. Such so-called creation science, thoroughly analyzed, corrupts both science and religion, and it deserves a place in the intellectual wastebasket.” (Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin’s God, page 80)

Oops the verse from 1 Timothy is one AnswersInGenesis says not to use.

“The phrase ‘science falsely so called’ in 1 Timothy 6:20 (KJV) refers to evolution.”

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp

How we know the earth is very old

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p14.htm

Phil P

Comment #133144

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 23, 2006 4:44 PM (e)

Philvaz: “….rocks provided with isotope ratios just right to mislead us into thinking that certain rocks are 2 billion years old….”

You have to assume make assumptions about C14 inventory, particularly that the C12 worldwide inventory has not changed. C14 isotope is produced by the action of cosmic ray activity. Cosmic rays are formed from energy sources such as the sun, stars, and possibly super nova explosions. Thus, at the beginning of time, when the light bearers were created, there was little or no C14.

Comment #133149

Posted by normdoering on September 23, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

Bible Guy wrote:

When God created Adam, he wasn’t created as an infant, but as a man - perhaps 20’s or 30’s. In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old.

Oy Vey! We’ve got another AirHead Dave on our hands:
http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=4515670c81063afa;act=ST;f=14;t=1958

Comment #133160

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 23, 2006 5:17 PM (e)

Now now Norm no name calling..

Comment #133169

Posted by shiva on September 23, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

…it would make sense to say God guided the Pittsburgh Steelers Super bowl win.

That was the Immaculate Reception in the late ’70s. Superbowl XL is courtesy the referees!

Comment #133171

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 23, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

Shiva:

Superbowl XL is courtesy the referees!

Got that right!

Though I find it suspicious that the refs all attend the Church of Nfl…

And that the bulk of the games are scheduled…on Sunday.

There could well be a conspiracy within a conspiracy involved here.

Comment #133182

Posted by Scott Hatfield on September 23, 2006 6:54 PM (e)

Hey! Creation Science Bible Guy, or whatever anonymous Net persona you want to adopt:

Did you notice the passage from Miller’s book? Did you read it? Did you understand that it is a very pointed criticism of your views?

After all, a God who deliberately makes the universe appear much older than it actually is doesn’t sound like the “Way, the Truth and the Light”! Your theology asks us to believe in, to worship a God who lies to us? Why would any Supreme Being find it necessary to do that, and WHY should anyone worship a God who is a liar?

The truth is, what’s being denied by the scientific community is not God, but a particular theological position regarding God and the Bible. If you are so in love with your position on scripture that you would call God a liar, what are you REALLY worshiping? A god, or your own limited understanding?

Scott

Comment #133183

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 23, 2006 6:59 PM (e)

Ding!

Time’s up.

Comment #133186

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 23, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

I’m sure you don’t belive that God is a liar..

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Mat 13:10-11 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Comment #133189

Posted by normdoering on September 23, 2006 7:26 PM (e)

And there you have it, right from the Bible you take as God’s word:

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

I’m sure you don’t belive that God is a liar..

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Don’t think, just believe.

Mat 13:10-11 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

And you don’t even get to understand what you believe.

There’s an argument against the Bible (or against science) right from the creationist’s mouth.

Comment #133194

Posted by Michael J on September 23, 2006 7:47 PM (e)

Like normdoering I didn’t become an atheist because of evolution, I quite happily accepted evolution and my christianity. My main reason was more to do with reading about the mind and consciousness but that’s another story.

I agree that atheists shouldn’t be quiet about our beliefs. However, it also up to us atheists to try and turn this demonisation around. I think that more atheists being vocal (not militant just open about their atheism). It is harder to demonise a group when everybody finds that they know one or two in the group and that they don’t go around eating babies but are hardworking trying to make ends meet like everybody else.

As for ChristianScienceBibleGuy, I think he is of a species that is going to disappear. I know that is sometimes looks hopeless but I think they (and ID) did their dash in Dover. The exposure to the world in the harsh light of the court room show the vacuousness of it. The current generation will manage to maintain their disconnect with reality but by enforcing obviously false evidence they are going to blow it with the next generation. Telling kids if Genesis is false then the Bible is false is a bad mistake.
They might be able to remove books from bookstores and the libraries but the internet is another matter. Nine and ten year olds are on the internet now. How long before the more curious find out that the stuff on AIG is a joke. It’ll only take one per fundie school class and it will spread like pornography used to spread around the catholic school I used to go to.
AIG is stuck 20 years in the past. My favourite is the fossil record. There is no mixing of layers. No rabbits with the T-Rex’s. AIG’s answer is that dinosaurs were big slow creatures and settled in their layer. My six year daughter (she wants to be a dinosour vet, bless her) knows that there were many small, fast dinosaurs as well.

Michael

Comment #133195

Posted by PhilVaz on September 23, 2006 7:51 PM (e)

I’m sure you don’t believe that God is against reason.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD… (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:5-6 KJV)

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason… (1 Peter 3:15 KJV)

Be not deceived; God is not mocked; the earth is very very old (Gal 6:7 New Dalrymple Translation) :-)

Phil P

Comment #133231

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on September 23, 2006 9:53 PM (e)

Creation Science Bible Guy, now let me get this straight.

In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old.

So you agree then, that the evidence (which is what science is based on and is all that matters in science) shows that the universe is old, in direct contradiction to a literal interpretation of Genesis?

Can we now conclude that you agree that the claims made by Creationists and IDers are scientifically baseless? Can we now conclude that your beliefs are based on biblical information that is contrary to scientific information, and that you will therefore support keeping your religious beliefs (which you seem to say are contrary to all scientific data) out of science classes?

Comment #133233

Posted by RBH on September 23, 2006 10:01 PM (e)

Creation Science Bible Guy an interesting assertion:

I’m sure you don’t belive that God is a liar..

But that’s belied by another Creation Science Bible Guy assertion:

When God created Adam, he wasn’t created as an infant, but as a man - perhaps 20’s or 30’s. In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old.

Both cannot be true. Either God created the universe to appear old and thus lied to us in all the physical evidence, or the physical evidence is the touchstone and the universe actually is approximately 13.5 billion years old.

One rarely sees the contradictions within one head so clearly displayed.

RBH

Comment #133247

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 23, 2006 10:50 PM (e)

RBH: “Both cannot be true. Either God created the universe to appear old and thus lied to us in all the physical evidence, or the physical evidence is the touchstone…”

The universe was created to appear old.

Isa 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

While this may not be pleasing to mankind, it does not make God unrighteous.

Comment #133253

Posted by jeffw on September 23, 2006 11:05 PM (e)

The universe was created to appear old.

If the universe was created to appear old, then how do we know that it wasn’t created seconds ago, rather than 6k years ago? With all of our memories, knowledge, and experiences created intact. This is not much different than what you are proposing.

Comment #133257

Posted by Scott Hatfield on September 23, 2006 11:11 PM (e)

Hey, let’s try this one more time, CSBG. You’re dodging the question with your little quote from Isaiah *because* there is a big difference from allowing men to rebel or not hear the truth (which is the case in the passage you cite) and deliberately *LYING* to them (which is what YOU say God does).

You know what I think? I think it’s YOUR theology that lies, not God. I think you worship your misunderstanding of the Bible. And it’s YOU, not me, sir, that says that God is intentionally trying to deceive us. Get thee behind me, CSBG: you know who is supposed to be the father of liars, after all.

SH

Comment #133277

Posted by alienward on September 23, 2006 11:45 PM (e)

PhilVaz quotes Miller:

“In order to defend God against the challenge they see from evolution, they have had to make Him into a schemer, a trickster, even a charlatan. Their version of God is one who intentionally plants misleading clues beneath our feet and in the heavens themselves. Their version of God is one who has filled the universe with so much bogus evidence that the tools of science can give us nothing more than a phony version of reality. In other words, their God has negated science by rigging the universe with fiction and deception. To embrace that God, we must reject science and worship deception itself…..One can, of course, imagine a Creator who could have produced all of the illusions that the creationists claim to find in nature. In order to do so, we must simultaneously conclude that science can tell us nothing about nature, and that the Creator to whom many of us pray is inherently deceitful. Such so-called creation science, thoroughly analyzed, corrupts both science and religion, and it deserves a place in the intellectual wastebasket.” (Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin’s God, page 80)

Yes, I agree with Miller the idea of a deceptive god is garbage. But wait a minute, here’s Miller later on in his book:

The indeterminate nature of quantum events would allow a clever and subtle God to influence events in ways that are profound, but scientifically undetectable to us. Those events could include the appearance of mutations, the activation of individual neurons in the brain, and even the survival of individual cells and organisms affected by the chance processes of radioactive decay. (Miller, p. 241)

When Miller goes into apologetic mode, he sounds just like creationists. His “clever and subtle” (just say “deceptive” Ken) god is the exact same kind of deceptive god he was putting down earlier in his book. This is lame enough, but Miller is actually proposing a deceptive mutation causing quantum mechanic god who hides in quantum events so he can’t be detected by science while also proposing a god who got a virgin pregnant so he could come to the planet and walk on water and perform other magic tricks like dying and floating up to the sky so we would all know he’s here. Theists just can’t seem to keep their god fantasies straight.

Comment #133281

Posted by Arden Chatfield on September 23, 2006 11:48 PM (e)

The universe was created to appear old.

So that God could trick people into thinking it’s old, thereby providing them with a reason to be sent to hell, right?

Comment #133294

Posted by Anton Mates on September 24, 2006 12:06 AM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

But I’m still waiting for verification of the oft-repeated claim that PZ, Dawkins, Dennett or other “scientists … say that science proves you don’t need God…”

While none of them have said that AFAIK, and I doubt they ever would, PZ and Dawkins do seem to differ on whether or not evolutionary theory suggests atheism. PZ’s pretty straightforward on the two having nothing to do with each other:

PZ Myers wrote:

I consider myself an evolutionist and a strong atheist, but that doesn’t mean I think teaching evolution is a way to proselytize for atheism; science describes how the world works, and says nothing about whether supernatural beings do or do not exist. Personally, it’s the absolute lack of evidence for gods that is sufficient to make gods uninteresting to me, not the fact that fruit flies have Hox genes…and quite a few people agree that natural phenomena like common descent and natural selection do not contradict their ideas of how gods might work.

But Dawkins seems to say that evolution makes atheism significantly more attractive:

Richard Dawkins wrote:

…although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Dawkins also wrote:

My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism.

Personally I’d agree with PZ that Dawkins’ claim in the former quote is rather silly. Dawkins is of course free to be personally led from evolutionary theory to atheism, just like Francis Collins was apparently led from viewing a waterfall to Christianity, but there were plenty of “intellectually fulfilled” atheists before Darwin, and I’ve never met one who converted because of the Origin. For my part, I knew I was an atheist by age 8 or so, and it had nothing to do with science and everything to do with having the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Homer, and a couple dozen books on various cultures’ mythologies in my bedroom. Dawkins seems to think the design argument’s particularly compelling, and would push us toward theism if not for evolution, but it always seemed worthless to me.

My feeling is that evolutionary theory, like anything else in science, makes it easier to be an intellectually fulfilled person no matter what your religious background. Darwin wrote a passage in the Origin that I wish was quoted more:

Finally, it may not be a logical deduction, but to my imagination it is far more satisfactory to look at such instincts as the young cuckoo ejecting its foster-brothers, ants making slaves, the larvae of ichneumonidae feeding within the live bodies of caterpillars, not as specially endowed or created instincts, but as small consequences of one general law leading to the advancement of all organic beings–namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.

In other words, evolution makes it easier to be an intellectually fulfilled theist too. Everyone benefits when they understand the universe a little better.

Comment #133299

Posted by Anton Mates on September 24, 2006 12:13 AM (e)

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

Isa 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

While this may not be pleasing to mankind, it does not make God unrighteous.

Uh, according to Isaiah, God wants people to be ignorant and unseeing so that they won’t “convert and be healed.” That doesn’t sound unrighteous to you? What would be unrighteous, sending bears to tear a bunch of kids to pieces for laughing at someone?

Oh. Wait, never mind.

Comment #133305

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on September 24, 2006 12:23 AM (e)

Creation Science Dude writes “ NormDoering:”So, you think you can use theology and the Bible to tell real science from “science falsely so called” ??

How does that work for you?”

I’ll guess I won’t be winning anyone over here, but I’ll give it a shot. When God created Adam, he wasn’t created as an infant, but as a man - perhaps 20’s or 30’s. In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old. “

And how does that address the question asked? What principles can be used to put the above proposition to the tese as can be done with current scientific understanding?

Comment #133321

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 24, 2006 1:20 AM (e)

Joh 2:9-10 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine: and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Was the wine created as aged wine? If so, then was the governor of the feast lied to?

Comment #133324

Posted by Creation Science Bible Guy on September 24, 2006 1:31 AM (e)

Joh 2:9-10 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine: and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Was the wine created as aged wine? If so, then was the governor of the feast lied to?

Comment #133326

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 24, 2006 1:32 AM (e)

Gee, yet anohter religious war.

That sure helps.

(sigh)

Comment #133356

Posted by normdoering on September 24, 2006 3:10 AM (e)

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

… it does not make God unrighteous.

If lies and the murder of innocents don’t make an entity unrighteous, what does?

Thinking like that is what makes people like Osama bin Laden think mass murder is justified.

What is righteous?

Comment #133363

Posted by normdoering on September 24, 2006 3:26 AM (e)

Scott Hatfield said to Creation Science Bible Guy:

I think you worship your misunderstanding of the Bible.

Have you ever bothered to read the Old Testament?

Comment #133377

Posted by PhilVaz on September 24, 2006 4:36 AM (e)

CreationBibleGuy: “Was the wine created as aged wine? If so, then was the governor of the feast lied to?”

No, miracles are miracles. They are not testable by science. God can change water into aged wine. God could create Adam from scratch as a 30 year old man. We don’t have that wine or Adam to examine today. What we do have is the earth. All the evidence points to an old earth and universe. Even creationist geologists have known this for 200+ years. They did not invoke an “appearance of age” to salvage a literal Genesis interpretation.

Rich Deem (an old-earth creationist) deals with this in some depth: “It turns out that there is zero biblical support that God created any part of His creation to merely look old.”

He makes a distinction between an appearance of age, and an appearance of history. The earth and universe has both. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19) and the “God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16) can be “known” from creation (Romans 1:19-20). Therefore the appearance is true.

http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/appearance.html

A longer excerpt from Ken Miller’s chapter on young-earthism:

http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/appearance_of_age.htm

Phil P

Comment #133444

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 24, 2006 8:23 AM (e)

Even atheist scientists don’t claim that science or evolution “disprove” God–however comfortable they may render that scientist with his or her atheism.

And no matter how “deluded” the atheist scientist might argue that the faithful are–that argument is still not based on a scientific “disproof” of God (though science may well disable some of the attempted “proofs” of God, that again is a different claim).

I agree with you on that one Stevie. I suppose as an example, natural events like earthquakes, were once thought to be “acts of God”. We now know differently of course, although, the fundies still use these occurrences to justify God’s presence (Pat Robertson for example).Mind you, don’t insurance policies still refer to “acts of God” ?

I’ll guess I won’t be winning anyone over here, but I’ll give it a shot. When God created Adam, he wasn’t created as an infant, but as a man - perhaps 20’s or 30’s. In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old. I suppose I should have changed my screen name to YEC.

Now where have I heard that statement before ? You aren’t by any chance a member of here:

http://www.presbyterianireland.org/congregations/abbotscross.html

I think you’d probably fit in well here (this is my own church by the way, and it’s YEC). Or perhaps you heard Ivan in the church in New Jersey where he preached recently. Anyway, this morning I heard all about vapour canopies, the first rainbow etc. etc. It’s statements like these that make me realise that the Atheists/Agnostics on this blog are correct on science. Creation science guy, if you believe that the universe was created with the appearance of age, you need to read this:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

and this:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astronomy/distance.html

and this:

http://www.asa3.org/aSA/resources/Wiens.html

Hope these links are useful !

Comment #133483

Posted by Scott Hatfield on September 24, 2006 10:46 AM (e)

normdoering:

Oddly enough, I’ve read quite a bit of the OT, and I know that the God revealed therein is pretty savage: children being torn apart by bears and such.

However, the point I was making to ‘CSBG’ was that his commitment to a strictly literal reading of the Bible has led him to conclude that God has deliberately made the universe look older than it is in order to deceive us.

The OT God can come across as a loathsome monster to modern sensibilities, as many non-believers maintain, and I suppose it might be consistent for such to regard the conundrum that ‘CSBG’ to be in as just one more example of that. But his particular dilemma doens’t depend on the description of the OT God: it proceeds from the contradiction of a literal understanding of Genesis by the facts of science. In other words, CSBG worships an idol—the Bible itself.

Scott

Comment #133519

Posted by normdoering on September 24, 2006 1:37 PM (e)

Scott Hatfield

But his particular dilemma doens’t depend on the description of the OT God: it proceeds from the contradiction of a literal understanding of Genesis by the facts of science. In other words, CSBG worships an idol—the Bible itself.

And who are you to take his idol away from him?

What are you going to leave him with when you do? If all he knows of God comes from a literal understanding of the Bible then what knowledge of God do you have left to give him?

What else do you know of God besides what you are told by men and books? Some fuzzy personal experience? An answered prayer or two?

Comment #133546

Posted by Mark on September 24, 2006 2:57 PM (e)

So lets start here. For All you Biblical literalists. There are two creation stories in Bereishit(Genesis) and the sequence of the order of creation in the two accounts contradict each other. If you claim the text is real history THEN which one is real history? If one is true history then the Bible is wrong on the other sequence. Who tells you which of the creation sequences is the correct one? (And no lame responces about one being the real sequence of creation and the other just being the general gist.- how do you know - the text does not say!) The bottom line is that both biblical accounts of crteation can not both be history – so one can not just say “I believe in the Bible.

Comment #133562

Posted by Richard Simons on September 24, 2006 3:45 PM (e)

Christian Science Bible Guy: if you want to introduce science into a science blog, you should at least get it right. C14 is not used for dating rocks.

As for most of your other comments, they read as though you look at someone’s comment, see a keyword and splat! Out comes a biblical quote whether or not it actually contributes anything to the discussion.

Comment #133580

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 24, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Creation science bible guy: You may also find Glenn Morton’s writings of interest. Here’s his home page. There are loads of very interesting articles, all from a Christian perspective:

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/dmd.htm

And here’s his testimony, which I think is relevant to this discussion:

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

Comment #133638

Posted by Glen Davidson on September 24, 2006 6:40 PM (e)

I wish I could say that Miller believes there is a God based on faith alone. But I’m afraid that he fudges and hedges, all the while claiming to respect “NOMA”. I wrote about it here:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/09/kenneth_miller_1.html#comment-128607

But some TEs would claim God (not necessarily the “designer”) based on faith alone, which really is not a great problem as far as science goes. God is not a parsimonious “hypothesis”, of course, yet so long as God is more or less understood as a kind of add-on, not to take the place of science, it’s a fairly harmless fiction (usually). Philosophically one would still oppose anything so daft as the unevidenced creator of all things, while science doesn’t care (much–there is some concern if the belief in unseen causes is not tightly circumscribed) as long as evidence-based claims are not being denied.

Of course one should note that some TEs are stuck in older philosophies, and will believe in God based on some kind of notion that God completes the ‘rational’ cosmos. In some philosophies this is essentially true–which militates against those philosophies, certainly. However, even if a scientist is philosophically a scholastic, there is no especial reason to think that this will harm his work, unless he’s dealing with physics or a discipline allied to physics. I would say once again that I can’t agree with the TEs philosophically, however I don’t see that it is a great problem for the practice of, say, biology.

And if the TE is compartmentalizing, well, that’s what people do. Rather than it being some enormous deviation in the lives of scientists to demand evidence on the one scientific hand, and deny the importance of evidence on the religious hand, few scientists really are rational throughout their thought and dealings. What are they, Vulcans?

So sure, go ahead and point out the philosophical problems of TEs. Just don’t suppose that it has much to do with our fight for proper science education. Even with Miller’s fudging and hedging in his book, he remains one of the best at fighting for science education.

Perhaps he does so well at it because he does what most people do in their lives, which is to deviate from empirical criteria where it is mostly harmless and where their desires are at stake. He’s valuable in this fight because he ably points out that, with respect to biology, deviating from empirical demands is not harmless. And he allows people to cling to their fictions where they are less harmful.

It’s not the most desirable end result. Yet it is as unrealistic to expect people to give up apparently harmless (we could argue how “harmless” it is, but my point here is that they think it’s harmless) fairy tales in a leap and a bound, as it is to think that God made everything according to evolutionary principles.

Say what you will, of course, but I will say that Ken’s inconsistencies tell us things about people that some on our side either have not known, or have forgotten.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #133663

Posted by Mike Elzinga on September 24, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

I remain highly skeptical of anyone’s claim to know something about the mind of god. Historically people who make such claims from trying to interpret their reading of a single book tend to see heretics everywhere but in the mirror.

And those who must warp science to fit their religious doctrines are not likely to discover the fingerprints of a supreme being (if there is such a thing) in the universe because their understanding of the universe will almost certainly be wrong, as is evident with the ID/creationism crowd.

Comment #133818

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 25, 2006 5:17 AM (e)

I still can’t see the point of this discussion. I will repeat what I said in my first post. Are people here implying that the Christians who accept evolutionary science but feel that God guided the process (as opposed to nature) should now convert to Atheism, which is as much a faith position as Christianity, in my opinion, in order to be classed as “real scientists” and not just second rate IDers ? This is exactly what anti-evolution groups like AIG have been saying for years, and what they want the scientists to admit, that Christianity is incompatible with evolution. Maybe it’ s good time to link again to Ken Miller’s talk in Ohio.

http://www.youtube.com/w/Ken-Miller-on-Intelligent-Design?v=yWGMtaww7Vk&search=religion%20politics%20intelligent%20design%20evolution%20biology

Comment #133820

Posted by Frank J on September 25, 2006 5:26 AM (e)

PatricktheDutch wrote:

You probably feel it coming now, right?

Yup. And a bait-and-switch it is.

“Unbelievable big gaps” and all, evolution, common descent, and a ~4 billion history of life on earth is only explanation that fits the evidence, regardless of one’s faith based opinions regarding ultimate causes.

Ever wonder why most IDers say almost nothing about their “scientific” alternative other than that it can accommodate all the “results” of “Darwinism”?

Comment #133842

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 7:03 AM (e)

This is exactly what anti-evolution groups like AIG have been saying for years, and what they want the scientists to admit, that Christianity is incompatible with evolution.

That’s because the fundie Christians and the hyper-atheists are both exactly the same. They are both ideological extremists who want nothing more than to stamp out the other side.

Their eternal war with each other has nothing to do with science.

Comment #133851

Posted by stevaroni on September 25, 2006 8:15 AM (e)

CSBG says;
The universe was created to appear old.

Um, Why?

Yes, I suppose an infinitely powerful God could make all the physical evidence point to a billion-year old earth where the animals looked like they all evolved from amphibians.

But, again, Why? What possible reason could he have? Especially since this evidence wouldn’t come into play till about 4000 years after Moses was dead?

It’s probably not so he could say unto Isaiah, 446 pages into the bible

Isa 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people ….

Because that verse is in the context of Isaiah going to meet King Ahaz, not with creation, which happens somewhat earlier, like on page 1.

Comment #133855

Posted by Forthekids on September 25, 2006 8:33 AM (e)

Lenny writes:
“That’s because the fundie Christians and the hyper-atheists are both exactly the same. They are both ideological extremists who want nothing more than to stamp out the other side.

Their eternal war with each other has nothing to do with science.”

Hold on there a sec., Lenny. I was the one who wrote the original e-mail to Casey, and I’ve responded to Dunford’s post over at Questionable Authority.

I don’t believe that “fundies”, as you call them, are “out to stamp out the other side”.

I support the “fundamentals of Christianity”, but I don’t have any want to “stamp out atheism”. I have good friends who are atheists, though certainly not as militant as some I’ve found in these science forums and blogs.

My only concern with atheism is that it’s followers use science as their crutch and are not shy about stating that evolution supports their disbelief in a Designer. In that sense, Darwinian evolution is no less religiously motivated than Intelligent Design.

btw, I’ve started my own blog in order to try to reach Reasonable Kansans…
reasonablekansans.blogspot.com

Comment #133859

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 8:47 AM (e)

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old.

If (your) God would deliberately fabricate an entire planet’s worth of geological and fossil record, knowing we would be deceived by it, then how can we trust the Bible – a mere set of books – to be truthful?

And don’t try to quote the Bible to address this point – you’ve just implied that the God who inspired it LIED about our origins on a planetary scale; so given that premise, the Bible is not a reliable source.

Comment #133864

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 8:54 AM (e)

norm hypocritically raved:

What else do you know of God besides what you are told by men and books? Some fuzzy personal experience? An answered prayer or two?

And what superior sources do YOU have to offer, Mr. “I don’t understand and neither do you?”

And what, exactly, is your motive for taking the most idiotic theistic opinion expressed here and unilaterally declaring it valid above all others? Trying to make yourself look intelligent?

Comment #133880

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

Forthekids wrote:

My only concern with atheism is that it’s followers use science as their crutch and are not shy about stating that evolution supports their disbelief in a Designer. In that sense, Darwinian evolution is no less religiously motivated than Intelligent Design.

Sorry, that fish don’t hunt. Just because a handful of idiots use science as a “crutch,” does not mean that the science itself is “religiously motivated.”

I could just as easily say that Jesus was a racist because some racist used his words to support his opinions, several centuries after his resurrection. Would you agree with such reasoning?

Comment #133881

Posted by MPWTA on September 25, 2006 9:38 AM (e)

Good point, Bee. I took that statement from a previous thread, directed at me,

normdoering wrote:

Yes, you could be wrong, and so could I be.

You have the right to hang in there, but when it comes to religion I do not think it wise to do so.

Yes, you’re entitled to be taught the theory of evolution in the public schools. I think you’re also entitled not to be lied to about there not being a real conflict between religion and science.

Since we’re divided on the issue here, there obviously is an argument to be had about that issue. Those who want to suppress the argument do so for political reasons. Those who want to advance it do so because they think it is a truth you cannot sweep uder the rug and con people into not seeing.

to mean that Norm was really serious about an open exploration of ideas. Seems like maybe I was deceived into thinking him sincere.

Comment #133909

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 11:03 AM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

Are people here implying that the Christians who accept evolutionary science but feel that God guided the process (as opposed to nature) should now convert to Atheism, which is as much a faith position as Christianity, in my opinion, in order to be classed as “real scientists” and not just second rate IDers ? This is exactly what anti-evolution groups like AIG have been saying for years, and what they want the scientists to admit, that Christianity is incompatible with evolution.

But the whole point of the original article, Peter, is that the original quote–

“That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith.”

–and so forth, was written by an anti-evolutionist. It wasn’t an atheist complaining about theistic evolution, it was a theist IDer.

Comment #133910

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 11:08 AM (e)

Reading down the thread, I now see that the theist IDer in question actually came by to point that out. Thanks!

Comment #133917

Posted by alienward on September 25, 2006 11:45 AM (e)

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote:

That’s because the fundie Christians and the hyper-atheists are both exactly the same. They are both ideological extremists who want nothing more than to stamp out the other side.

Their eternal war with each other has nothing to do with science.

Do you think that repeating this claim over and over again will make it true?

Fundie Christians have religious beliefs that include any or all of the following: a less than 10,000 year old earth, special creation of so-called kinds, no death before the event they call The Fall, and Noah’s global flood. When hyper-atheists describe the evidence that completely falsified these religious beliefs, or other Christians like Kenneth Miller describe the evidence that completely falsified these religious beliefs in books like “Finding Darwin’s God”, they’re having something to do with science. But when Miller is saying the idea of a god who uses deception to make “illusions”, like those fundie religious beliefs, belongs “in the intellectual wastebasket”, he’s not using science. And when hyper-atheists say Miller’s idea of a god impregnating a virgin, turning water into wine, and floating up into the sky after he dies, sounds like illusions that also belong in the intellectual wastebasket, they’re not using science either. But saying all of this has nothing to do with science is only something a fundie would claim.

Comment #133922

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

And do YOU think that tossing out a bunch of non-sequiturs, and avoiding the actual substance of the statement, will make the claim false? The claim is observably true: religious fundies want to stamp out (or at least marginalize) all other beliefs, and all other interpretations of their own beliefs; and certain vocal militant atheists want to stamp out (or at least marginalize) all religious belief. Both extremist camps have used various sorts of sophistry to “prove” that their enemies are somehow intrinsically inferior and can’t be trusted to do “real” science without abandoning their beliefs.

You can deny this if you want to, but you might as well deny that the Earth is round. The proof is all over this blog.

Comment #133963

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 25, 2006 2:44 PM (e)

PatricktheDutch wrote:

I.D. movement they showed so unbelievable big gaps in evolution,

The only gaps revealed by the Discoveryless Institute are between the ears of DI fellows. Nobody has pointed out even a single “unbelievable big gap” in evolution or common descent (which creationists do insist on confusing).

PatricktheDutch wrote:

And every day more and more questions will raise.

Can’t have more until we have some in the first place. We’re still waiting. Where are all these gaps we keep hearing about?

Meanwhile, there are the freaking huge gaps in creationism, like how to explain fossil sorting. How do you account for how Rhynia got to be among the lowest fossil plants while mangroves are among the highest? Can mangroves outrun rising flood waters? I’ve had creationists tell me this!

PatricktheDutch wrote:

I am curious to your responses.

I find this highly unlikely.

Scott Hatfield wrote:

…{Evolution deniers} are eager to knock Miller because in their minds he constitutes a greater *threat*. Miller’s personal take on evolution is a theological position, a rival to their theology—and most definitely not a godless rival.

Yes. The central lie of creationism is that it is religious and that all other options are not. This is such a woefully naïve belief, I have real trouble understanding how so many people buy into it.

Scott Hatfield wrote:

This may wound the vanity of many here, but the truth is that creationists are not the least bit frightened by professed atheists.

Atheists terrify them, but for different reasons. I’ve expressed here before my opinion that the fundamentalists desperately need the existence of God not to be a faith position, but an undeniable fact. People who go around denying it cut at the very base of their world view. Making God unnecessary is, to them, exactly as bad as showing God didn’t exist at all. They’re like children desperate to remain dependent on their parents to keep their parents from going away.

Justin wrote:

If a Christian takes the Bible seriously, …

Where “seriously” means literally? Why should one?

Christianity is older than the Bible, Justin, and I find most purported Christians don’t understand that or it’s implications at all.

What do you believe in? THE Bible? What “THE” Bible? You do realize that that particular selection of books that make up your “THE” bible is only one of many, right? Who is to say that the people who put your “THE” Bible together got it correct? The Catholics use a different selection of books, as do several other branches of Christianity. To believe in THE Bible (presumably you’re Protestant), you would have to take the following sequence of events as a given.

* God dictates text to ancient humans.

* God watches unconcerned as numerous people claim to be writing God’s dictated text, but are lying.

* Divine protection causes these texts to be maintained perfectly over time (protection ends sometime before the publication of the “Evil” Bible in the early days of the printing press, which included the immortal typo: “Thou shalt commit adultery”! Ooops.)

* People in early days of Christian Church ponder which of the many and quite contradictory books they have should be considered scripture and which shouldn’t. God looks on unconcerned as they argue, debate, and occasionally kill each other over the selection.

* God doesn’t interfere was Roman Catholic Church backs entirely the wrong selection of books. This fails to end the debate.

* God swoops into action and picks Martin Luther to be the vessel of the ONE CORRECT selection of books to belong in THE Bible. Luther intended to throw out Revelations, but is apparently convinced to keep it for commercial reasons (it’s the most visual chapter). God’s will works in mysterious ways when it co-opts capitalism to get the selection right.

* God goes back to quiescence, letting other groups continue creating incorrect assemblages of books, up to and including the Mormons adding another entirely new book.

Is this more or less how you see it? Because I’m not seeing a particularly good reason to buy that your particular selection is THE selection and all the others are wrong. That’s faith in humans, not faith in God. Worse, it’s faith in SOME humans over others for no good reason.

Short of “Because Martin Luther Says So!” why do you think Genesis belongs absolutely in “THE” Bible?

Scott Hatfield wrote:

I think there are some serious issues with turning the beginning of Genesis into anything other than a strictly literal account. There are Biblical issues that arise, such as Paul’s views on women: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:11-14)

Ah, so Paul is divine and inerrant as well. Faith in Paul, not faith in God. Who cares what Paul believes? The same kinds of arguments were built off a flat Earth. The only reasons you don’t find those arguments in “THE” Bible is because by the time it was compiled, everyone knew that was plainly silly and excised those books.

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

I’ll guess I won’t be winning anyone over here, but I’ll give it a shot.

If all you have to offer is ignorance and denial, then no, you won’t.

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

When God created Adam, he wasn’t created as an infant, but as a man - perhaps 20’s or 30’s. In the same way, when the universe was created, it was created with the appearance of being billions of years old.

There’s a huge difference between creating something with the vague, generalized appearance of an age, and with the appearance of a history.

Okay, fine, Adam has to be created with some things that would seem to imply age. His size correlates to a certain age, his state of health, he probably has some food in his stomach to keep him from being starving, etc. But if he’s created with scars from a playground fight from when he was seven, his and Eve’s name carved into a tree from when they got romantic in high school, and souvenirs from his trip to Canaan from when he was 14, well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. We aren’t presented with a vague appearance of age, but with concrete evidence of a specific, yet entirely deceptive history.

We have that evidence of history all around us. We see in the night sky supernovae, the death of stars that YECs tell us never existed. That’s not appearance of age, that’s appearance of history. We don’t have evidence that “things evolved” or “the earth is old”. What we have is a very specific history. We know when continents collided and when they broke apart. We know when asteroids crashed into the planet. We know what effects these events had on the life that existed at the time. This is exactly equivalent to finding Adam’s wallet and seeing it has a picture of his parents, aunts and uncles.

Lying God theology just doesn’t cut it.

Creation Science Bible Guy wrote:

You have to assume make assumptions about C14 inventory, particularly that the C12 worldwide inventory has not changed. C14 isotope is produced by the action of cosmic ray activity. Cosmic rays are formed from energy sources such as the sun, stars, and possibly super nova explosions. Thus, at the beginning of time, when the light bearers were created, there was little or no C14.

See, this is why you won’t convert anyone: Complete ignorance of what you purport to rebuke. Nobody dates the age of the earth with carbon 14. Carbon 14 is only used to date relatively recent materials, and only when correlated against c14 dates of known age precisely because it’s uneven over time as you describe. You haven’t presented a problem with radioactive dating at all, merely displayed that you reject without understanding.

Michael J wrote:

My main reason {for becoming an atheist} was more to do with reading about the mind and consciousness but that’s another story.

I’ve been saying for years that those kinds of studies were far more dangerous to Christianity (in it’s modern form, at least) in the long run and wondering why fundamentalists never seem to notice. It’s nice to have you “confirm” my hypothesis! :-)

Michael J wrote:

As for ChristianScienceBibleGuy, I think he is of a species that is going to disappear. I know that is sometimes looks hopeless but I think they (and ID) did their dash in Dover.

They’ve been “defeated forever” before. Martin Gardener pronounced Creationism dead and George MacCready Price “the last creationist” less than five years before Henry Morris brought it screaming back to life in “The Genesis Flood”.

Creationism won’t be dead until the general public actually cares about science enough to respect it.

Michael J wrote:

The exposure to the world in the harsh light of the court room show the vacuousness of it.

How many people do you know outside of academia who paid attention to that picture?

Michael J wrote:

Nine and ten year olds are on the internet now. How long before the more curious find out that the stuff on AIG is a joke.

How many of them will be that curious? Sadly few in my experience.

Scott Hatfield wrote:

In other words, CSBG worships an idol—the Bible itself.

It’s called “Bibliolatry”, treating the Bible as if it were inerrant and perfect rather than the product of humans. It was a heresy in the middle ages and you could get executed for it! Little do the creationists realize that the “good old days” they want to get back to would, in reality, have them all murdered for being improperly religious!

Comment #133967

Posted by Forthekids on September 25, 2006 2:53 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #133985

Posted by alienward on September 25, 2006 4:31 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

And do YOU think that tossing out a bunch of non-sequiturs, and avoiding the actual substance of the statement, will make the claim false? The claim is observably true: religious fundies want to stamp out (or at least marginalize) all other beliefs, and all other interpretations of their own beliefs; and certain vocal militant atheists want to stamp out (or at least marginalize) all religious belief. Both extremist camps have used various sorts of sophistry to “prove” that their enemies are somehow intrinsically inferior and can’t be trusted to do “real” science without abandoning their beliefs.

You can deny this if you want to, but you might as well deny that the Earth is round. The proof is all over this blog.

Are you talking to me? I was talking about the claim: “Their eternal war with each other has nothing to do with science.” It looks like you agree with me that this claim is false.

Comment #134007

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 5:35 PM (e)

alienward: What Lenny seemed to be saying – and what you seemed to be disputing – is that neither the fundie-atheists’ opinions nor the fundie-theists’ opinions were based on science, and that the dispute between them was cultural and political, not scientific; with science being misused merely as a propaganda weapon by both sides; and that neither side had anything like a firm grounding in “science.” I just reread Lenny’s original post, and I can’t find room to interpret it any other way; furthermore, as I interpret it at least, I find his statement indisputable, and your response a hyperventilating non-sequitur. If Lenny thinks I misinterpreted him, he’s free to correct me.

Comment #134012

Posted by David B. Benson on September 25, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

Raging Bee — I agree, in essence, with you and Lenny. It’s what might be called a “meme war”: which set of memes, neither of which is particularly useful nor actively deleterious, is going to survive.

And Lenny, do note I mean “useful” and “deleterious” in the very short run. With a sense of history maybe eventually all these memes are then overlain with a sense of the harmful effects such eventually bring…

Comment #134014

Posted by normdoering on September 25, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

Lenny wrote:

That’s because the fundie Christians and the hyper-atheists are both exactly the same. They are both ideological extremists who want nothing more than to stamp out the other side.

Their eternal war with each other has nothing to do with science.

Oh my Gawd! Call Bill O’Reilly – this is worse than the war on Christmas!

People – if you take those morons Bee and Lenny seriously – you’re not worth talking to.

Comment #134018

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 25, 2006 6:21 PM (e)

Folks,

Once again we have here a thread replete with silliness in the name of God, the Bible and atheism.

Consider the following:

(1) It is firmly established that the original Hebrew Bible can very well be interpreted literally and yet not conflict with any tenet of science. In case anyone didn’t read me correctly, I shall repeat for emphasis - the ORIGINAL Bible can be interpreted LITERALLY and there is NO CONFLICT with science. The perception of conflict between a literal reading of the Bible and science is entirely based on Christian misunderstandings and sloppy distortions and translations, and on the absence in the Christian world of the oral tradition that came with the original Bible as it was transmitted over the millennia by the creators of the Bible, the Israelites.

(2) Any understanding of God other than the most pedestrian incorporates the idea that we oridnary mortals are incapable of an iota of appreciation of God’s motives, thinking (if one can call it that) or plans. So to accuse God of deceit or wrongful actions in, for example, creating a universe that appears older than it is (which is not what actually occured) is the height of folly. The concept of God precludes us from applying our standards of conduct to Him.

(3) Similarly, we are in no position to judge God’s action with regard to reward and punishment. If this makes no sense to you, consider the proposition that organized human beings are limited to punishing individuals for deeds performed, since we know not what is in another person’s heart or mind and we cannot know the future. But any sophisticated concept of God includes the notion that God does “know” these things. So his standards are altogether different from ours and entirely beyond out reach.

So it is fine and well to debate the existence of God but you cannot argue against God by employing a tool that the very concept precludes. That constitutes inferior reasoning and even outright dishonesty.

Comment #134023

Posted by Dan on September 25, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

These conversations must somehow be intellectually or spiritually fulfilling, otherwise people wouldn’t engage in such a polemical disputation… right?

Comment #134027

Posted by alienward on September 25, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

alienward: What Lenny seemed to be saying – and what you seemed to be disputing – is that neither the fundie-atheists’ opinions nor the fundie-theists’ opinions were based on science, and that the dispute between them was cultural and political, not scientific; with science being misused merely as a propaganda weapon by both sides; and that neither side had anything like a firm grounding in “science.” I just reread Lenny’s original post, and I can’t find room to interpret it any other way; furthermore, as I interpret it at least, I find his statement indisputable, and your response a hyperventilating non-sequitur. If Lenny thinks I misinterpreted him, he’s free to correct me.

Dang, you and Lenny are more fundie than the fundies. The “It’s Got Nothing to do with Science” bumpersitckers on your cars won’t change the fact that the dispute exists in large part because science has falsified some of the core religious beliefs of fundie-theists, and science supports the conclusion that no gods exist of fundie-atheists.

Comment #134028

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 6:49 PM (e)

People – if you take those morons Bee and Lenny seriously – you’re not worth talking to.

Thanks for demonstrating my point so clearly, Norm.

See, Rabing Bee is a Christian. I am not. Raging Bee is a theist. I am not.

So what is it, specifrically, that Norm is bitching about, in regards to Bee and me? Well, certainly it can’t be “theism”, since I’m, uh, not a theist. It certainly can’t be because Norm thinks both Bee and I allow our theism to get in the way of our sciecne, since I’m, uh, not a theist. It can’t be that both Bee and I give moral support to fundamentalists by supporting theism, since, um, I’m not a theist.

So what IS it that Norm is bitching about? Well, both Bee and I disagree with Norm. Though for different reasons.

But in the mind of every extremist ideologue, THAT is the ultimate sin. In Norm’s fundamentalist mind, either you’re for him, or you’re against him. Bee ( a theist) and I (a nontheist) are not for him. Ergo, in Norm’s fundamentalist mind, we are against him, and that makes us, in Norm’s fundamentalist mind, one and the same. And failure to differentiate between people who disagree with you, is a primary characteristic of every ideological extremist I’ve ever met.

So once again, we see that all of Norm’s bitching doesn’t have a damn thing to do with “science”. It’s all about Norm’s ideological holy war against theism. In Norm’s mind, a theist is a theist is a theist — even if they’re, uh, not a theist.

Comment #134031

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 6:54 PM (e)

The “It’s Got Nothing to do with Science” bumpersitckers on your cars won’t change the fact that the dispute exists in large part because science has falsified some of the core religious beliefs of fundie-theists, and science supports the conclusion that no gods exist of fundie-atheists.

Um, in case you haven’t noticed, about two-thirds of the people in the US who reject ID/creationism and who accept evolution, are, uh, theists.

Which makes your “science proves there’s no god and that’s why they’re all pissed at us” rant seem, well, kind of stupid.

You’d be far more correct had you said that the conflict revolves around two sets of extremists – the uber-atheists and the hyper-fundies – both of who claim that science supports their religious opinions, and neither of which can prove it. The big blob of non-extremist people in the middle, meanwhile, go on with their lives and ignore the extremists as they yell at each other. (shrug)

Comment #134040

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 7:15 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

The claim is observably true: religious fundies want to stamp out (or at least marginalize) all other beliefs, and all other interpretations of their own beliefs; and certain vocal militant atheists want to stamp out (or at least marginalize) all religious belief. Both extremist camps have used various sorts of sophistry to “prove” that their enemies are somehow intrinsically inferior and can’t be trusted to do “real” science without abandoning their beliefs.

Which atheists are you thinking of who’ve said that religious scientists can’t be trusted do real science? Dawkins and PZ have both explicitly said that they can do science just fine. Offhand, I can’t think of any atheist poster here who’s disagreed with that. We’re all fairly happy with the scientific accomplishments of, for instance, Origin-era Darwin.

Comment #134041

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 7:22 PM (e)

alienward wrote:

and science supports the conclusion that no gods exist of fundie-atheists.

I would say science fails to support the conclusion that any particular god exists. There could be any number of wild, weird and wonderful deities out there, we just have no particular reason to believe in them.

Comment #134043

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 7:35 PM (e)

Which atheists are you thinking of who’ve said that religious scientists can’t be trusted do real science? Dawkins and PZ have both explicitly said that they can do science just fine.

Then one wonders just what the hell they are bitching about …. ?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s right — they both think that the very EXISTENCE of theists is intolerable. Whether it affects science or NOT. Makes no difference.

I guess I just don’t find the mere existence of theists to be as frightful as they do. Or perhaps I’m just distinguishing enough to tell the difference between “theists” and “fundamentalist nutjobs”….

Comment #134044

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 25, 2006 7:41 PM (e)

Or, maybe, as marvelously as you hound the maroons, trounce the trolls, and tutor the politically naive around here, you have now committed so fully to your construct of what PZ is saying, rather than bothering to figure out what he actually is saying, that you can’t tell the diff.

Just a thought.

Comment #134045

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 7:42 PM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

The “It’s Got Nothing to do with Science” bumpersitckers on your cars won’t change the fact that the dispute exists in large part because science has falsified some of the core religious beliefs of fundie-theists, and science supports the conclusion that no gods exist of fundie-atheists.

You’d be far more correct had you said that the conflict revolves around two sets of extremists – the uber-atheists and the hyper-fundies – both of who claim that science supports their religious opinions, and neither of which can prove it.

The uber-atheists don’t seem to be lobbying for public schools to officially deny the existence of God in science class, so I’m not sure how the conflict could revolve around them vs. fundamentalists. Most people can’t even name an atheist recently involved in the evolution/creationism wars, other than Dawkins and Gould.

Comment #134046

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on September 25, 2006 7:46 PM (e)

C’mon, pinhead, ya mope!

The Rev ain’t had his pizza yet tonight–not my fault, needless to relate!–but the traffic’s a birch round here tonight.

No wonder’s he’s a tad testy…

Comment #134047

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 7:46 PM (e)

What Lenny seemed to be saying – and what you seemed to be disputing – is that neither the fundie-atheists’ opinions nor the fundie-theists’ opinions were based on science, and that the dispute between them was cultural and political, not scientific; with science being misused merely as a propaganda weapon by both sides; and that neither side had anything like a firm grounding in “science.” I just reread Lenny’s original post, and I can’t find room to interpret it any other way; furthermore, as I interpret it at least, I find his statement indisputable, and your response a hyperventilating non-sequitur. If Lenny thinks I misinterpreted him, he’s free to correct me.

No need for any correction. You got it exactly.

And let me point out one more time, for the benefit of those certain people here with large mouths and small ears, that I do not assert, nor do I accept, the existence of any god, gods, goddesses, or any other supernatural entity of any sort.

That, of course, is a philosophical position, not a scientific one. However, unlike certain people here, I have no desire for, nor do I see any need for (or benefit from), stamping out theism. Nor do I think that such a holy war helps us fight creationism/ID in any way shape or form. Indeed, I think it helps the fundies by framing the fight exactly in the terms they want to frame it in. The fundies desperately want to turn this into a “science vs religion” fight, despite the fact that most people in the US who reject ID/creationism (and support science and evolution), are theists who think the fundies are nuts. I see no need to help the fundies wave away that simple devastating fact. (shrug)

Comment #134049

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 7:48 PM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Which atheists are you thinking of who’ve said that religious scientists can’t be trusted do real science? Dawkins and PZ have both explicitly said that they can do science just fine.

Then one wonders just what the hell they are bitching about …. ?

They think that theists happen to be wrong, and that it’s worth explaining why. Meanwhile, theists think atheists happen to be wrong, and many of them think it’s worth explaining why. Oddly enough, these arguments often proceed just fine without either side demanding that the other be imprisoned or drug out into the street and shot. So why not let them continue?

Comment #134051

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

Or, maybe, as marvelously as you hound the maroons, trounce the trolls, and tutor the politically naive around here, you have now committed so fully to your construct of what PZ is saying, rather than bothering to figure out what he actually is saying, that you can’t tell the diff.

Just a thought.

Dude, PZ’s message (and that of his Puppies) comes shining through loud and clear. No one here mistakes it. And certainly not anyone on the receiving end of it.

Comment #134054

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

They think that theists happen to be wrong

So f’ing what. The theists think you’re just as wrong. (shrug) Heck, I happen to think that capitalists are wrong, but I don’t harangue everyone in here about it at every available opportunity, unlike the uber-atheists. Maybe that’s because I’m not an ideological extremist who’s engaged in a holy war.

We’re supposed to be here fighting the ID/creationists, not fighting theism. Since most people in the US who accept evolution and oppose ID are theists, I’m not sure how the heck you think fighting theism helps us beat IDers in any way. You DO understand the difference between theists who accept evolution and theists who do not, right …… ?

Or, in your mind, is there simply no difference? Is a theist a theist a theist a theist – and all of them need to be “corrected”?

If you want to wage holy war against theism, then by all means, knock yourself out, enjoy yourself, and good luck to you (you’ll need it).

But in the meantime, don’t get in the way of the ID fight while you’re crusading in your holy war. It’s a hindrance to us, not a help.

Comment #134055

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 8:03 PM (e)

Meanwhile, theists think atheists happen to be wrong

I do not recall a single instance of any pro-evolution anti-ID theist here attacking any atheist for his atheism. No one. Not a one. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

In every single instance where someone has opened fire on someone else for their religious beliefs, it has ALWAYS been Norm, Popper, or PZ attacking an evolution supporter’s theism.

If you can point to a counter-example, I’m all ears.

But as I recall, all of the attacks have gone in one direction only.

Comment #134056

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 25, 2006 8:05 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #134058

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 25, 2006 8:09 PM (e)

So why not let them continue?

For the very same reason we don’t debate the Israel/Palestine issue, or the death penalty, or abortion, or Republicrats/Democans, or the Iraq war, or PC/Apple, or tastes great/less filling.

It ain’t the fight that we are here for. And it doesn’t HELP the fight that we are here for.

Comment #134059

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 25, 2006 8:12 PM (e)

Frickin’ Degas!

Anyway, I’ll give hungry Lenny a pass on LPG’s say-so tonight, seein’s how I kinda owe the kid one for reasons we need not elaborate.

But agreeing that theistic science-supporters can do good science and agreeing theistic science-supporters can wage effective war in the anti-IDiot trenches, is not the same thing as agreeing that their religious notions make good sense.

I fail to see why PZ can’t enter into the first two agreements with complete good will, while reserving his right to have a side-argument about the third topic.

In other words, why should we go to war with our atheistic science supporters any more than we should go to war with our believing science supporters?

And, as Lenny might say, let’s be clear that I don’t have a horse in the race either–I couldn’t care less what otherwise-sensible science-supporting believers do when they take their lab coats off and walk through the big double doors of a Sunday morning (or, ya know, whenever faith requires…).

Now, gotta go make some spaghetti.

Comment #134060

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 25, 2006 8:17 PM (e)

Uh, excuse me, Lenny–and, dang, that spaghetti is a callin’ out!–but didn’t our last little “religious” war get started, not bacause PZ went after Miller, but because Miller went to Kansas and sure sounded like he was siccin’ the fundies on their “real” enemy, the atheists?

Yeah, that is what it sounded like, however much Miller then backed off of it when he got called on it.

Hmmm.

Maybe we need a mutual, verifiable non-aggression pact.

Comment #134071

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 9:09 PM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Or, in your mind, is there simply no difference? Is a theist a theist a theist a theist – and all of them need to be “corrected”?

When was the last time I attempted to “correct” all the theists on here? I simply don’t see much point in it.

I do not recall a single instance of any pro-evolution anti-ID theist here attacking any atheist for his atheism. No one. Not a one. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

In every single instance where someone has opened fire on someone else for their religious beliefs, it has ALWAYS been Norm, Popper, or PZ attacking an evolution supporter’s theism.

That’s odd, because this very thread seems to involve you and Bee claiming that the atheists here find theism “intolerable,” are dedicated to stamping it out, and devalue the work of theist scientists. Or is it okay as long as you attack the person, rather than the belief?

That’s fine, there are plenty of examples of the latter:

I believe you once wrote:

The fundies simply do not worship a god — they worship a BOOK ABOUT GOD, and are too dumb to tell the difference.

And on this thread you wrote:

the uber-atheists and the hyper-fundies – both of who claim that science supports their religious opinions, and neither of which can prove it.

Sorry, but if you’re going to attack other folks’ versions of theisms or lack thereof, you really can’t complain when other people do it. You don’t get a free pass to attack just because you’re arguing from agnosticism.

(Which, I might mention, I am too. I don’t think any area of science tells us whether or not there are gods, and I think I’m allowed to say so on here occasionally.)

So why not let them continue?

For the very same reason we don’t debate the Israel/Palestine issue, or the death penalty, or abortion, or Republicrats/Democans, or the Iraq war, or PC/Apple, or tastes great/less filling.

That’s the answer to “Why not let them continue here.”

And sure, that’s not what Panda’s Thumb is for. The next time PZ makes a PT post about the top ten reasons theism is stupid, I’ll be sure to complain.

In the meantime, he gets to bitch about whatever he wants outside of PT, just like he gets to bitch about the war or PC/Apple or whatever. And ditto for Dawkins, and for that matter for Francis Collins.

And also in the meantime, if somebody says science supports theism or atheism or libertarianism or feminism or whatever…sorry, but now that is within the purview of the site. Sure, if it devolves into some long debate about whether libertarianism’s the root of all evil or the salvation of mankind, that’s not helpful. But when scientist X says evolution brought him to religious/political position Y or confirmed him in his belief, a lot of people hear that and wonder, will that happen to everyone? Should it? Why or why not? That’s a worthwhile discussion.

Comment #134072

Posted by stevaroni on September 25, 2006 9:18 PM (e)

Carol wrote

It is firmly established that the original Hebrew Bible can very well be interpreted literally and yet not conflict with any tenet of science.

So in the original hebrew, does the Bible still have all those little self-contradictory doublets. Ya know like where the first iteration of the flood story says that Noah took two of each animal, then a few dozen pages later another verse says he took seven, or is that just an artifact of translation?

Or maybe it’s a side-effect of evolution ruining mathematics, didn’t we have that discussion on another thread? That would explain how Moses came down from the hill with 10 commandments in one part of Exodus and 27 in another.

Comment #134073

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 9:19 PM (e)

…but because Miller went to Kansas and sure sounded like he was siccin’ the fundies on their “real” enemy, the atheists?

No, Miller was pointing out that the fundies’ real enemy ALREADY was…well…everyone who didn’t think exactly like them, and their entire culture and secular society, but not evolution or science in general; and that the fundies were attacking the wrong “enemy,” as they usually do. The fundies don’t need any stinkin’ non-fundies to “sic” them on anyone, so blaming Miller for such an act is just plain silly.

…and science supports the conclusion that no gods exist of fundie-atheists.

Who, exactly, are these “gods of fundie-atheists,” and how does science “support the conclusion” that they don’t exist? Some people are getting both incoherent and repetitive at the same time.

I’m amused to note that the atheists have been smacked down for silliness by…the Queen of Silliness Herself, Ms. Carol “The Bible is a science textbook that only a select handful of Jews can understand” Clouser. (I suppose I could debunk her silliness, but I’ve done so before, and so have others, and she’s completely ignored us…and it’s getting late…so I’ll just compliment Carol on making herself sound sensible compared with norm & co.; and ask her what part of the Bible tells us “F=ma”, and how long ago the Jews got the drop on Newton…*YAWN*…)

Comment #134077

Posted by Meet People WTA on September 25, 2006 9:34 PM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Dude, PZ’s message (and that of his Puppies) comes shining through loud and clear. No one here mistakes it. And certainly not anyone on the receiving end of it.

Certainly not; I should know. I am studying to become a Biology teacher. Part of my inspiration is evolution theory. I don’t intend to sweep any of it under the rug. I come here to learn how to defend it, have been coming here since this blog first came out. I was desparate for resources I could use, and the contributors here tackle all the ID mumbo-jumbo head on. But I have a problem defending evolution based on the premise that religion is stupid.

The moment I try to correct this problem, and post any comment having to do with theism, the guys team up on me and challange me on my plea that they consider that religion and science can co-exist, or that religion can be personal and private and meaningful. And ultimately, that religion should even be around.

This doesn’t surprise me much. What is surprising is that if Lenny didn’t call them on it, not very many others would. Either that means others are unwilling to get into a lengthy and unpleasant argument, or they simply agree with unchallanged religion-bashing.

Some people stick to their principles without regard to peer pressure; they keep their goal clearly in sight and refuse to get sidetracked, regardless of personal opinion on a side issue; such is Lenny.

To the people who are really in this to uphold the correct teaching of evolution and science in general, I thank you.

Comment #134088

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 10:09 PM (e)

Anyway, to reiterate what I said earlier in the thread, the guy who gave us evolutionary theory in the first place said it made his theistic view of the world a little more comforting and understandable. Evolutionary theory’s been illuminating the heads of atheists, agnostics and believers alike since the first generation of scientists who experienced it, and there’s no reason to withhold that benefit from anyone who doesn’t actively oppose a clearer view of the world, regardless of their theology.

Comment #134090

Posted by 386sx on September 25, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

They think that theists happen to be wrong, and that it’s worth explaining why. Meanwhile, theists think atheists happen to be wrong, and many of them think it’s worth explaining why. Oddly enough, these arguments often proceed just fine without either side demanding that the other be imprisoned or drug out into the street and shot. So why not let them continue?

Because it has nothing to do with science. If they want to continue they can do it somewhere else. Just not here. Nor on a science blog. They can do it on their own damn non-science blog. But only if they don’t have a lot of readers. (Plus they have to be from a small island too. With no internet. And no phone calls.)

Comment #134097

Posted by Raging Bee on September 25, 2006 10:55 PM (e)

Anton wrote:

That’s odd, because this very thread seems to involve you and Bee claiming that the atheists here find theism “intolerable,” are dedicated to stamping it out, and devalue the work of theist scientists. Or is it okay as long as you attack the person, rather than the belief?

YOu may not be interested in such tedious complexities, but what we are attacking is the ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, know-nothingism, and shameless bigotry that we have seen from certain atheists here, directed at people who have done us no wrong, and at beliefs the attackers clearly don’t understand, in violation of the most basic table manners; not atheism itself, which is a perfectly valid belief. (Of course, if you choose to make such ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, know-nothingism, and shameless bigotry PART of your brand of atheism, then yes, we ARE attacking your belief, right along with similar “beliefs” of certain Christians, and we see no need to apologize for it.)

Comment #134099

Posted by alienward on September 25, 2006 11:08 PM (e)

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote:

Um, in case you haven’t noticed, about two-thirds of the people in the US who reject ID/creationism and who accept evolution, are, uh, theists.

Duh. So the war is really theists against theists. You know, battles like the theist Miller calling other theists’ beliefs “ridiculous” that belong in the “intellectual wastebasket”.

Which makes your “science proves there’s no god and that’s why they’re all pissed at us” rant seem, well, kind of stupid.

Which makes your misrepresentation of what I said seem, well, kind of like an admission you know science is a large part of the dispute and your know your claim is wrong.

You’d be far more correct had you said that the conflict revolves around two sets of extremists – the uber-atheists and the hyper-fundies – both of who claim that science supports their religious opinions, and neither of which can prove it. The big blob of non-extremist people in the middle, meanwhile, go on with their lives and ignore the extremists as they yell at each other. (shrug)

You are contradicting yourself pointing out all the theists, like Kenneth Miller who are quite vocal in their rejection of some religious beliefs, calling them “ridiculous”, while claiming the conflict revolves around extremists. Or do you put Miller in the extremist category?

Comment #134101

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 11:27 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

YOu may not be interested in such tedious complexities, but what we are attacking is the ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, know-nothingism, and shameless bigotry that we have seen from certain atheists here, directed at people who have done us no wrong, and at beliefs the attackers clearly don’t understand, in violation of the most basic table manners; not atheism itself, which is a perfectly valid belief. (Of course, if you choose to make such ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, know-nothingism, and shameless bigotry PART of your brand of atheism, then yes, we ARE attacking your belief, right along with similar “beliefs” of certain Christians, and we see no need to apologize for it.)

Well, I think that about wraps it up for the notion that the atheists are doing the attacking here.

Comment #134103

Posted by alienward on September 25, 2006 11:29 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

I would say science fails to support the conclusion that any particular god exists. There could be any number of wild, weird and wonderful deities out there; we just have no particular reason to believe in them.

Some religions, like Christianity and Islam, claim the existence of lots of weird and wonderful deities, while claiming they only have one god as if this is some kind of advanced theology. They have so many of these other deities; they even claim there are angels who are the bosses of other angels. But anyway, science supports the conclusion gods and other deities do not exist and it fails to support the conclusion that any particular god exists.

Comment #134105

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 11:40 PM (e)

386sx wrote:

They think that theists happen to be wrong, and that it’s worth explaining why. Meanwhile, theists think atheists happen to be wrong, and many of them think it’s worth explaining why…. So why not let them continue?

Because it has nothing to do with science. If they want to continue they can do it somewhere else. Just not here.

Oh, certainly. Long debates about the non/existence of God or the utility/harmfulness of religion aren’t on-topic here. For my part, I probably shouldn’t have snarked about “Creation Science Bible Guy”’s god being proudly deceptive, since my disapproval isn’t particularly relevant to the evo/creation war. Mea culpa.

Nor on a science blog. They can do it on their own damn non-science blog.

Most of the science blogs (I read, anyway) are personal blogs with a science bent, though.

But only if they don’t have a lot of readers. (Plus they have to be from a small island too. With no internet. And no phone calls.)

Do you really want your daily theological diatribes arriving inscribed on catapult-launched coconuts? Internet and phone seem much less risky.

Comment #134107

Posted by Robert O'Brien on September 25, 2006 11:44 PM (e)

But anyway, science supports the conclusion gods and other deities do not exist and it fails to support the conclusion that any particular god exists.

No.

Comment #134108

Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 11:48 PM (e)

alienward: In the interest of winning my non-thread-diverting award before I’m sixty, I’ll have to restrain myself from that line of discussion. We must set a good example for posterity, after all.

To return to the originally quoted IDer’s complaint–

That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith.

–it might be worthwhile to mention that Martin Gardner, a skeptic among skeptics, also holds his religious beliefs on faith alone. If Miller were indeed an extreme fideist, he’d hardly be in poor company.

Comment #134111

Posted by Robert O'Brien on September 25, 2006 11:54 PM (e)

There are Biblical issues that arise, such as Paul’s views on women: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:11-14)

1 Timothy is pseudepigraphal, actually. (I.e., someone claiming to be Paul wrote it instead of Paul himself, most likely.)

Comment #134113

Posted by 386sx on September 26, 2006 12:28 AM (e)

Do you really want your daily theological diatribes arriving inscribed on catapult-launched coconuts? Internet and phone seem much less risky.

First I would claim that they prayed for the coconuts to have anti-conkingness properties. That way nobody would have anything to worry about because it wouldn’t be a scientific claim.

Comment #134114

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 12:31 AM (e)

Stevaroni,

“So in the original Hebrew, does the Bible still have all those little self-contradictory doublets. Ya know like where the first iteration of the flood story says that Noah took two of each animal, then a few dozen pages later another verse says he took seven, or is that just an artifact of translation?”

There are no two creation stories in the original Hebrew. That is just another bit of drivel propagated by those who (like Friedmann, stc.) wish to read such things into the text to satisfy their own agendas. The Hebrew makes it quite clear that chapter two is an elaboration on chapter one, filling in some details. All you need do is apply the normal rules of ancient Biblical Hebrew used throughout the text by all the ancient commentators, long before Darwin appeared in diapers, to see that this assertion is a sham. As far as Noah’s animals is concerned, the Hebrew makes it quite clear that certain kinds were represented by two animals, while others were represented by seven.

“Or maybe it’s a side-effect of evolution ruining mathematics, didn’t we have that discussion on another thread? That would explain how Moses came down from the hill with 10 commandments in one part of Exodus and 27 in another.”

I have no idea what you are talking about here.

Raging Bee,

“I’m amused to note that the atheists have been smacked down for silliness by…the Queen of Silliness Herself, Ms. Carol “The Bible is a science textbook that only a select handful of Jews can understand” Clouser.”

I have always claimed the exact opposite on both counts. The Bible is NOT a science textbook, and all Hebrew-knowledgable Jews and others will readily agree with what I said. And I might add that even fundamentalist Jews do not at all oppose the teaching of evolution, not do they care to convert outsiders. All the anti-evolution activity and proslytizing is Christian in nature.

“(I suppose I could debunk her silliness, but I’ve done so before, and so have others, and she’s completely ignored us…and it’s getting late…so I’ll just compliment Carol on making herself sound sensible compared with norm & co.; and ask her what part of the Bible tells us “F=ma”, and how long ago the Jews got the drop on Newton…*YAWN*…)”

You are a bald-faced liar. Neither you nor anyone here has ever “debunked” me. I invite you to try, big mouth. You will suffer the same fate as, well let’s see… Jonboy, etc.

Comment #134137

Posted by Wayne Francis on September 26, 2006 5:51 AM (e)

Comment # 134101

Anton Mates wrote:

Comment #134101
Posted by Anton Mates on September 25, 2006 11:27 PM (e)
Raging Bee wrote:

YOu may not be interested in such tedious complexities, but what we are attacking is the ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, know-nothingism, and shameless bigotry that we have seen from certain atheists here, directed at people who have done us no wrong, and at beliefs the attackers clearly don’t understand, in violation of the most basic table manners; not atheism itself, which is a perfectly valid belief. (Of course, if you choose to make such ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, know-nothingism, and shameless bigotry PART of your brand of atheism, then yes, we ARE attacking your belief, right along with similar “beliefs” of certain Christians, and we see no need to apologize for it.)

Well, I think that about wraps it up for the notion that the atheists are doing the attacking here.

There is a difference between atheists bagging theists about theist’s beliefs and theists telling atheists that they can be atheists but they don’t want to continually listen to the atheists say that being a theist is stupid.

IE
Atheist : If you believe in god you’re an idiot.
Theist : We know you don’t believe in god but please don’t call us idiots
Atheists : Theist are bagging me! They don’t want me to call them idiots.
Theist : Can you understand that we accept that you are an atheist and don’t call you an idiot for being an Atheist? All we ask is that you don’t call us idiots for our spiritual beliefs. You don’t have to agree with them.
Atheist : Theist want to prevent us from saying what we feel!
Theist : If you would stop insulting theists all the time and focus on the science we would be more productive.
Atheist : You have to destroy religion to do good science.
Theist : I don’t have to distort my spiritual belief to do good science.
Atheist : You can’t be religious and a scientist because I expect you to read the KJV of the bible literally.
Theist : I’d don’t read the bible literally.
Atheist : See you have to destroy your religion to do good science!
Theist : I give up.
Agnostic : Atheist shut up about religion and focus on the science.
Atheist : See I’m being repressed and attacked!

Theists are not saying that the atheists are stupid for their lack of spiritual beliefs from what I see. What I see is theists saying that atheists are being stupid when atheists constantly bag theist’s spiritual beliefs.

You can be an atheist. You can say you don’t believe in god and why. But saying it is stupid to believe in god is like saying it is stupid to like vanilla because you don’t like vanilla since there is no way of scientifically proving that vanilla tastes good.

When a theist says that an atheist is stupid for not believing in god I’ll jump in and defend the atheists right to believe what they want without being insulted.

I don’t see that happening here. What I see is theists being told to shut up, by me included, when they insult other people for their spiritual beliefs when it does not hinder/interfere with science. I’m more then happy to let people go at theists if theists make claims that are scientifically false but expect that the responses should be limited to the claims being made and not a broad attack on religion in general.

Comment #134149

Posted by Darth Robo on September 26, 2006 7:07 AM (e)

“Neither you nor anyone here has ever “debunked” me.”

Hyena’s.

Sorry, couldn’t resist! ;)

Comment #134154

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 26, 2006 7:14 AM (e)

And sure, that’s not what Panda’s Thumb is for. The next time PZ makes a PT post about the top ten reasons theism is stupid, I’ll be sure to complain.

In the meantime, he gets to bitch about whatever he wants outside of PT

No argument from me.

My point exactly.

Comment #134156

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 26, 2006 7:17 AM (e)

Duh. So the war is really theists against theists.

No, it’s “a tiny coterie of fundamentalist nutjobs against … well … everyone else”.

I know which side I’m on. I also know who is on that side with me.

Comment #134166

Posted by Meet People WTA on September 26, 2006 8:04 AM (e)

The creationists have reason to fear Ken Miller: not only was he instrumental in winning the case at Dover, he is one of the few brave souls standing up for the science of evolution and the pursuit of religious enlightenment, thereby helping to unite TEs in ID-rejection.

Charles Darwin seemed to think these words relevant to the pursuit of knowledge:

To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.

from Francis Bacon’s Advancement of Learning, quoted by Darwin as part of the epigraph to later editions of On the Origin of Species. Quoted by Ken Miller in his preface to Finding Darwin’s God.

To me this quote says that both science and theology need revision in light of new knowledge. The problem is that theology has a way of standing still, and anyone, like Darwin or Miller, who attempts to give it a nudge forward, is frowned upon. Making religion more pliable to the ideas of evolution is lose-lose for both Christian fundamentalists and uber-atheists, who will just point to current and past theology and say, this is the way it is, and changing it takes away its meaning.

Comment #134170

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 8:21 AM (e)

Well, I think that about wraps it up for the notion that the atheists are doing the attacking here.

And I think that about wraps it up for the notion that certain militant atheists here are willing to act like grownups and take responsibility for their own words.

Comment #134175

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 8:27 AM (e)

PS to Carol: it’s interesting that you’d mention Jonboy – you did indeed refute his rather less than coherent arguments, but at the same time, you ignored more coherent arguments and more incisive questions from myself and others on the same thread.

Don’t be calling us liars, little girl – we can’t read ancient Hebrew (or whatever language(s) we have to read to verify your outlandish claims), but that doesn’t mean we can’t remember your past track record.

Comment #134177

Posted by Caledonian on September 26, 2006 8:28 AM (e)

To me this quote says that both science and theology need revision in light of new knowledge.

Science will change any of its previous findings, no matter how popular or generally accepted, if sufficient amounts of evidence against those findings are found.

How much evidence is necessary to convince a believer that their theology is incorrect?

Comment #134185

Posted by Meet People WTA on September 26, 2006 8:45 AM (e)

How much evidence is necessary to convince a believer that their theology is incorrect?

That depends on what they believe.

For instance, can you or anyone present me with evidence that God didn’t answer my prayer about something? I don’t mean about answering prayers in general, or studies about group prayers, etc. I mean specifically, I prayed about something, it happened. For that instance, can you prove it wasn’t God?

Comment #134188

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 26, 2006 8:56 AM (e)

But the whole point of the original article, Peter, is that the original quote–

“That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no

reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith.”

–and so forth, was written by an anti-evolutionist. It wasn’t an atheist complaining about theistic evolution, it was a theist IDer.

Thanks for pointing that out Anton ! It makes more sense now. YEC’s detest theistic evolutionists of course, and since ID is really YECism in disguise, the sentiments of the statement are now clear.

Comment #134204

Posted by Meet People WTA on September 26, 2006 9:45 AM (e)

How much evidence is necessary to convince a believer that their theology is incorrect?

As for beliefs that have been refuted by scientific findings, the first step to presenting the evidence necessary to help them modify their theology is to demonstrate a tolerance, or at least indifference, to religious inclinations in general.

Comment #134208

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 10:17 AM (e)

Wayne Francis wrote:

There is a difference between atheists bagging theists about theist’s beliefs and theists telling atheists that they can be atheists but they don’t want to continually listen to the atheists say that being a theist is stupid.

Of course. But there’s also a difference between telling someone that religious arguments are pointless and/or off-topic for the site, and telling them that they’re arrogant ignorant bigots who’re scheming to send all their opponents to the gulag. Insults don’t help no matter who they’re coming from.

Theists are not saying that the atheists are stupid for their lack of spiritual beliefs from what I see. What I see is theists saying that atheists are being stupid when atheists constantly bag theist’s spiritual beliefs.

And they are stupid when they do that. But in a thread like this, where both the original post and the comments have multiple examples of theists telling other theists, “My spiritual beliefs are consistent with and/or supported by science, and yours aren’t,” it makes no sense to prohibit atheists from weighing in.

Which, again, is a different issue from whether it’s productive to tell someone they’re a stupid ignorant pervert of a believer who’s personally responsible for the Crusades, or a moronic arrogant bigot of an atheist who’s personally responsible for Stalin. Obviously it’s not.

Comment #134210

Posted by Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little on September 26, 2006 10:30 AM (e)

Oddly enough, during the class I attended on reading the Tanakh in its historical context, the rabbi teaching the class made much of the “mirror motif” that Carol claims isn’t there–the repetition of certain stories, such as Gen 1 and Gen 2, or the bit about Abraham’s wife passing as his sister (or vice versa? It’s been awhile)… Rather than telling us that we could take those stories literally and that there were no contradictions, the rabbi described this as a literary motif, a poetic expansion on the theme, two ways of appreciating a mythic event, literally contradictory but literarily complementary.

I would have loved to see Carol arguing with this rabbi about it. There might be a way of reconciling their two view points, but I personally can’t see it, not if I’m to take Carol’s argument literally that the original Hebrew should be taken literally.

Comment #134212

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 26, 2006 10:37 AM (e)

The sure sign that “science” hasn’t quite sorted itself out yet is emotion. Ever hear people get emotional when confronted with the terrifying proposition that the square of the whatever-it-is equals you-know-what? Reformed or scripturally based Christianity fosters science and tolerates beliefs other than its own. But as soon as you hear people get cranked over a supposed technicality, take a hard look at the technicality. Relativity, quantum theory, Newton’s Laws of Motion, you name it, ultimately people quietened down about it. Not so Darwinism.
At www.creationtheory.com we see how evolution can be approached in the classical, reformed Christian/scientific manner without rancour and without religious controversy. And with the latest facts, not ignoring the contribution of Darwin AND of other reputable people.

I bring people’s attention especially to the Educator’s Section, accessed via the Main Page. Any questions of a technical nature may be answered by me should I get back here.

Comment #134214

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 10:54 AM (e)

Raging Bee,

“PS to Carol: it’s interesting that you’d mention Jonboy – you did indeed refute his rather less than coherent arguments, but at the same time, you ignored more coherent arguments and more incisive questions from myself and others on the same thread.”

You have not said anything incisive in my 18 months at Panda’s Thumb.

“Don’t be calling us liars, little girl – we can’t read ancient Hebrew (or whatever language(s) we have to read to verify your outlandish claims), but that doesn’t mean we can’t remember your past track record.”

I didn’t call “us” a liar, I called YOU a liar. If you cannot read what it takes, how can you possibly know that the claims are “outlandish”?

Lenny,

While much of what you are saying in this thread makes a lot of sense, you ought to know that the vocal atheists here (PZ and others) did manage to highten my awareness (and I would hope and expect that of others too) of the unfairness, wrongness and injustice in the attitude of the majority toward the small minority of atheists in our midst. This cannot but help support the science position vis-a-vis the opposition.

Comment #134215

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 26, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

A couple of additional comments have been posted where I thought my above would come to reside. I see there is some discussion of biblical (Torah, is it?) literality. The classical, reformed Christian approach to literality is two-pronged: 1) Exhaustive technical accuracy in the copying of the texts. 2) The Scriptures only come alive in their fuller and most accurate meaning if the same spirit of prophesy as inspired the authors, enlightens the readers. Hence, dead languages no longer remain dead. However the scriptures are not of anyone’s private interpretation - i.e., consensus opinion carries weight.

Comment #134218

Posted by Darth Robo on September 26, 2006 11:09 AM (e)

And not forgetting our daily preaching from creationlackoftheorydotcom….. (sigh)

Comment #134221

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 11:47 AM (e)

Nicole,

“I would have loved to see Carol arguing with this rabbi about it. There might be a way of reconciling their two view points, but I personally can’t see it, not if I’m to take Carol’s argument literally that the original Hebrew should be taken literally.”

Actually, I am not sure the rabbi and I would disgree.

First, I am not in favor of strict, mindless literalism. “An eye for an eye”, according to the sages, was never meant to be taken literally. But the decision needs to be based on the text (such as the “song” of Moses) or tradition or some internal imperative. It ought never be based on external considerations. To take eleven chapters in Genesis that provide no clue that they are meant to be anything other than historical narrative and mangle the meaning of the words solely for the purpose of rescuing the text from conflict with science, seems to me to be a dishonest cop-out.

Second, I was criticizing the notion of two contradictory stories of creation in Genesis. There are two stories in the sense that the latter reviews and elaborates on the former. The key point is that the text (in Hebrew) clearly tells us that it is doing just that. All we need do is READ it carefully.

Finally, there is the issue of words with multiple meanings. I subscribe to the view that literalism needs to be integrated with reasonablness and style.

Comment #134222

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 26, 2006 11:52 AM (e)

I realize I partially interrupted the thread, but there did appear to be the possibility that at least one person wished to talk origins, especially in the context of teaching. Since the peanut gallery obviously can’t do it, well, at your service! The interjector will now inform us of Sir Richard Owen’s “Law of Progression”, and whether by adding some of Darwin’s ideas thereto a technically sound theory of species origin may be deduced. We wait with baited breath.

Here’s a question: Can Owen’s (modified & updated) theory be called Theistic Evolution by any stretch of the language? Into which origins theory classification would it fall?

Comment #134233

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

Carol – a practical question: if the original books of the Old Testament (or whatever documents you’re talking about) can be literally interpreted to eliminate all conflict between Jewish religion and science, shouldn’t there have been at least one scientific or technological advance pioneered by ancient Hebrews as a result of such information? What scientific or technical advancement can be attributed to the ancient Hebrews’ literal reading of their holy texts?

Comment #134237

Posted by Flint on September 26, 2006 1:18 PM (e)

shouldn’t there have been at least one scientific or technological advance pioneered by ancient Hebrews as a result of such information?

Or as Carl Sagan asked over and over, why is this god so obvious in the bible, and so thoroughly hidden in the Real World? Why couldn’t the Ten Commandments have been found on the moon, or a 100-kilometer-long crucifix found in orbit? Why NOT embed an obvious copyright notice in the junk DNA? Why was the Hebrew god unable to tell the OT’s authors even one single verifiable thing nobody knew at the time? How hard could it be? Even something as simple as how to make a crossbow or mustard gas would have had HUGE influence on these peoples’ ambitions and desires. But no, there’s nothing anywhere.

Comment #134241

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 26, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

The sure sign that “science” hasn’t quite sorted itself out yet is emotion.

Um, sure. Uh huh.

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

Ever hear people get emotional when confronted with the terrifying proposition that the square of the whatever-it-is equals you-know-what?

The man who demonstrated to the Pythagorans that irrational numbers existed was murdered for his trouble. There was a bar fight a few years ago about whether it was possible to square a circle. Your ignorance is showing.

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

Reformed or scripturally based Christianity fosters science and tolerates beliefs other than its own.

Tell it to Galileo. Tell it to Scopes.

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

But as soon as you hear people get cranked over a supposed technicality, take a hard look at the technicality. Relativity, quantum theory, Newton’s Laws of Motion, you name it, ultimately people quietened down about it.

The public is still in denial about relativity (look at nearly any sci-fi involving space travel). Quantum mechanics is denied by it’s own set of quacks who insist that it’s nothing but “atheists” trying to kill God. Your ignorance of the noise does not mean people are quiet.

But let’s look at your central error here. You claim that emotion shows the science itself isn’t “quite sorted out”. But when Newton’s Laws were published, people for decades claimed they were atheist lies trying to make God redundant in the universe. (You hear similarly stupid arguments against evolution.) Those arguments did eventually die down, but was it because the science changed? No, Newton’s laws remained the same. Science was just as sorted out while the emotions were high as it was when they were low. Conclusion: You’re quite wrong, public emotions have squat to do with how settled the science is.

Further evidence of the silliness of your claim: Public emotion over evolution varies considerably over time. It was dead through the late fifties for the most part. Was evolution more settled then? Did it somehow get less settled in the early sixties?

Yet still further evidence your argument is all wrong: Public acceptance of evolution varies between nations. Anti-evolution is huge in the States, but tiny in England and dead in Europe. Does this mean that evolutionary science is settled in Europe, moderately unsettled in England, and unsettled in the US? Are we all working off different evidence then? Last I checked, science extended across borders rather well. So, again, you’re wrong.

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

Not so Darwinism.

Darwinism is as settled as the spherical earth was in the 1800’s. You may recall that flat-earthism has a highly emotional issue of the day, with pre-Hovind’s demanding that scientists “prove” the earth round and trumpeting the “fact” that none had claimed their prize money as proof of the flatness. Wallace himself got involved in an effort to prove the earth round, only to have the quack refuse to pay up and spend the next several years in court trying to make him.

Perhaps you don’t think the flat earth issue was settled in the 1800’s?

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

At www.creationtheory.com we see how evolution can be approached in the classical, reformed Christian/scientific manner without rancour and without religious controversy. And with the latest facts, not ignoring the contribution of Darwin AND of other reputable people.

I’m still waiting for an explanation for fossil sorting. Do you have one? Does it explain how mangroves got higher than Rhynia? Let me know, I’ve been asking for over two decades now without an answer and I’m just beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, creationists simply have no answer at all for fossil sorting! Please save me from apostasy!

Comment #134244

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 1:44 PM (e)

The NONexistence of the Gods isn’t exactly obvious to all of us either, Flint. Let’s stick to the scientific issues, shall we?

Comment #134245

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

Oh Carol

As far as Noah’s animals is concerned, the Hebrew makes it quite clear that certain kinds were represented by two animals, while others were represented by seven.

Cool. But shouldn’t this “discrepancy” lead to some pretty obvious testable propositions: regardless of what might be claimed about hyper-mutation rates since the Flood, wouldn’t the species/kinds/whatever with seven founding members consistently show greater genetic diversity than the species/etc. that only had two founding members?

Carol? Anybody?

Comment #134246

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

Yo, Heywood, does “creation theory” have a methodology for determining the age of the Earth? How old, roughly, does “creation theory” say the Earth is?

Comment #134249

Posted by Henry J on September 26, 2006 2:16 PM (e)

Re “That would explain how Moses came down from the hill with 10 commandments in one part of Exodus and 27 in another.”

Actually, he came down with 15, but dropped one of the three tablets which left us with only 10. (As documented by Mel Brooks.)

Comment #134251

Posted by Henry J on September 26, 2006 2:20 PM (e)

Re “wouldn’t the species/kinds/whatever with seven founding members consistently show greater genetic diversity than the species/etc. that only had two founding members?”

Maybe five of the seven got used as food?

Comment #134256

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

Finally, there is the issue of words with multiple meanings. I subscribe to the view that literalism needs to be integrated with reasonablness and style.

The whole point of “literalist” interpretation is that each word has a single, “correct,” “literal” meaning, which then informs the single, “correct,” “literal” and “objective” meaning of the overall text. There is no room for “reasonablness and style” when one is finding the literal meanings of words.

If a word has more than one “official,” universally agreed-upon meaning, then that word cannot, by definition, be read or interpreted “literally.” And if there is no single “literal” meaning for the word, then there can be no objective, “literal” meaning to be read from a sentence containing that word. Therefore, your entire thesis fails. And yes, I mean that “literally,” not “literarily.” (You yourself admitted this when, pressed to explain how the Genesis account really meant six billion years and not a six-day creation, you started waffling about different meanings of the Ancient Hebrew word for “day.”)

Comment #134259

Posted by Meet People WTA on September 26, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

wouldn’t the species/kinds/whatever with seven founding members consistently show greater genetic diversity than the species/etc. that only had two founding members?

All the lines from Noah’s boat would be hopelessly inbred. It is very rare that a sexually reproducing population survives inbreeding, even if there are 3 or 4 mating pairs, almost impossible with just one. And the resulting population is so low in genetic diversity that it is has trouble adapting to the slightest change in the environment. Not to mention the genetic rescue that other populations bring when there are several widely dispersed populations, which would be missing in the Noah’s Ark fable.

Also, would’t the flood have destroyed plants and trees, basically wiping out any food source? How long would it take Noah to plant and re-populate the earth with plants? I imagine he would be running low on supplies after 40 days, with all his extended family and animals in there.

Comment #134261

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 26, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

Just imagine all those poor woodpeckers, waiting hundreds of years without food while old-growth forests to regenerate after the flood. It’s quite impossible, which is why all woodpeckers are extinct. Please ignore any that you see existing in defiance of Biblical fact.

Imagine the poor measles virus. Once all the people on the ark had measles, they would have immunity and it would be extinct. That’s why there are no cases of measles today, of course, the virus went extinct, along with all the other viruses of like nature. They don’t exist anymore. Anyone pretending they have measles is just trying to get out of work or school.

Comment #134262

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 3:36 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

regardless of what might be claimed about hyper-mutation rates since the Flood, wouldn’t the species/kinds/whatever with seven founding members consistently show greater genetic diversity than the species/etc. that only had two founding members?

Maybe that’s why the clean ones needed seven. More genetic diversity, hence more disease resistance.

You’d think all the aquatic critters that didn’t need the ark would exhibit a bazillion times more genetic diversity than anything on land, though, since they had no bottleneck.

Michael Suttkus, II wrote:

Just imagine all those poor woodpeckers, waiting hundreds of years without food while old-growth forests to regenerate after the flood.

Miracle.

Imagine the poor measles virus. Once all the people on the ark had measles, they would have immunity and it would be extinct.

Miracle.

Actually, maybe the woodpeckers could all have used the beached ark as a grub farm. Lots of wood in that thing.

Comment #134263

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 3:37 PM (e)

Meet Peeps:

Well, I was trying to be “nice” and just focus on how Carol’s one claim would play out, and not go into the 1,001 other problems with the Noah story–charming as, in some ways, it is (the whole notion of “arks,” of at least attempting to preserve the diversity of life on the planet from overwhelming threats, ought to be one that literalists, ecologists, and evolutionists could agree upon, wouldn’t ya think?–which I gather is the thrust of E.O Wilson’s latest book).

IOW, even if we assume that the “kinds” did survive their genetic bottleneck of in-breeding somehow (hypermutation rates over the intervening 5300 years, or however many it’s supposed to be, with a lot of that hypervariability in the first few generations, or hand-wave whatever other fantasy might serve), shouldn’t the differential preservation of two-vs.-seven have observable consequences in the present-day genomes of these species?

(There was a funny discussion of the absurdities of the ark story on Carl Zimmer’s “Loom” blog recently, taking off from the premise of the movie “Snakes On A Plane,” with the ark as the plane and every frickin’ species on earth, carnivore, herbivore, dinosaur, what have you, as the snakes–kind of a major animal behavior management problem, even if you overlook food, waste, fertility cycles, musth, rut, ahhhh!)

I fully expect Carol to tell us that her immaculate, perfectly-preserved, transmitted, and translated version of the OT only involves a “local” flood–in which case, while it surely behooved Noah and clan to boat up and ship out, what was the whole point of taking every freakin’ species, exactly, beyond strictly the stock that would be needed to support N. & Co. during and immediately after the Flood?

But Carol, wouldn’t distinctive mideast subpopulations of at least some of these species (hyrax, perhaps, heh heh?) still show the differential genomic effects of the different-sized founder populations?

Comment #134264

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 3:38 PM (e)

Michael Suttkus, II wrote:

Wallace himself got involved in an effort to prove the earth round, only to have the quack refuse to pay up and spend the next several years in court trying to make him.

I never knew that. Is there a book/article about it?

Comment #134265

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 3:53 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

IOW, even if we assume that the “kinds” did survive their genetic bottleneck of in-breeding somehow (hypermutation rates over the intervening 5300 years, or however many it’s supposed to be, with a lot of that hypervariability in the first few generations

The hypermutation thing always floors me. So humans and chimps are too genetically distant to have a common ancestor six million years ago or so…but all the biodiversity on terrestrial Earth could have developed from an arkful of ancestors a few thousand years ago? Mutations are almost always harmful, so macroevolution’s impossible…but the post-Flood founding populations are accumulating thousands of mutations per generation without a problem?

Apparently mutations are rare and harmful, except when they’re really really common and jim-dandy.

(There was a funny discussion of the absurdities of the ark story on Carl Zimmer’s “Loom” blog recently, taking off from the premise of the movie “Snakes On A Plane,” with the ark as the plane and every frickin’ species on earth, carnivore, herbivore, dinosaur, what have you, as the snakes–kind of a major animal behavior management problem, even if you overlook food, waste, fertility cycles, musth, rut, ahhhh!)

Why do you think Noah got drunk off his gourd as soon as he could get off the boat and start planting grapes?

Comment #134267

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 3:59 PM (e)

Raging Bee,

“Carol – a practical question: if the original books of the Old Testament (or whatever documents you’re talking about) can be literally interpreted to eliminate all conflict between Jewish religion and science, shouldn’t there have been at least one scientific or technological advance pioneered by ancient Hebrews as a result of such information? What scientific or technical advancement can be attributed to the ancient Hebrews’ literal reading of their holy texts?”

No and none. The Bible is not, never has been, never was claimed by its authors to be, a science primer. That is not its purpose.

But the ancient Hebrews, as you call them, did give rise to the present day family of Jews whose contributions to science far exceed their numbers or the contributions of any other group of comprable size. Just look at those Nobels, my friend.

Flint,

“Or as Carl Sagan asked over and over, why is this god so obvious in the bible, and so thoroughly hidden in the Real World?”

I can think of at least ten great responses to your complaint, each of which could lead to a long thread all its own. But I shall limit myself to briefly mentioning just three.

(1) Perhaps God prefers to remain invisible and undetectable in order that you be at total liberty to exercise your free will to be an atheist.

(2) Perhaps God does not care at all as to what pathetic creatures of flesh and blood like you think or believe.

(3) Perhaps in God’s “opinion” He has left much evidence of his handiwork and you are just too obstinate to see it. After all, you see an immense awesome universe demonstrably fine-tuned for life, evolving on the basis of particular and specific laws and initial conditions, and you prefer to believe that all this just POOFed itself into existence without cause and effect. But on virtually everything else you confront as a scientist, you insist on knowing - How and why did this get to be this way? Take off your blinders, look into yoyr blind spot, and use your head, and you might find God!

Comment #134268

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

Stevie and others,

The Hebrew Bible tells the story of a flood that covered most or all of Mesapotamia but was a local phenomenon, not a global one. Care to debate this?

Comment #134269

Posted by alienward on September 26, 2006 4:05 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote and quoted:

To return to the originally quoted IDer’s complaint–

That’s the problems with TE’s - they can give you no reason whatsoever as to why they believe what they do in regard to their religious beliefs other than they take it all on faith.

–it might be worthwhile to mention that Martin Gardner, a skeptic among skeptics, also holds his religious beliefs on faith alone. If Miller were indeed an extreme fideist, he’d hardly be in poor company.

Well, he’s not, he’s a Catholic. From “Finding Darwins God:

By definition, the miraculous is beyond explanation, beyond our understanding, beyond science. This does not mean that miracles do not occur. A key doctrine in my own faith is that Jesus was born of a virgin, even though it makes no scientific sense—there is the matter of Jesus’s Y-chromosome to account for. But that is the point. Miracles, by definition, do not have to make scientific sense.

Like most theists though, Miller can’t talk about theism without contradicting himself. Here he is in an interview.

ActionBioscience.org: Can science prove or disprove the existence of a higher being?

Miller: No, it can’t. The existence of a supreme being simply is not a scientific question. A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature. Beyond that it’s a matter of personal belief.

After he popped out of that virgin, his god was standing inside of nature, wasn’t he?

Comment #134271

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 4:12 PM (e)

Raging Bee,

By your anachronistic definition of “literal”, I guess I am not a literalist. But according to the dictionary definitions of literal that I have encountered, literal means use of a word in ANY of its standard commonly used meanings. As long as one stays away from metaphorical or allegorical definitions, I consider it to be literal. The applicable rule for the entire OT has been laid down by the ancient Sages of Israel, “The Torah speaks to us in the language of everyday ordinary conversation”.

Comment #134273

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 4:18 PM (e)

Stevie,

“But Carol, wouldn’t distinctive mideast subpopulations of at least some of these species (hyrax, perhaps, heh heh?) still show the differential genomic effects of the different-sized founder populations?”

Now you are cooking! I am intrigued by this issue. Could you elaborate? I am a physicist not a biologist so you need to be specific. What do we know and dopn’t we know about this matter?

Comment #134278

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 26, 2006 4:22 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

Michael Suttkus, II wrote:

Wallace himself got involved in an effort to prove the earth round, only to have the quack refuse to pay up and spend the next several years in court trying to make him.

I never knew that. Is there a book/article about it?

I think I read about it in one of Martin Gardner’s books, probably Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, but for the life of me I cannot remember for certain. I’ve long since lost my copy of the book (I know it’s in my federal-disaster-area of a room somewhere), so I can’t look it up shortly, I’m afraid.

Wallace’s method was quite clever, if I’m remembering properly, setting up buoys of a certain height and a telescope at the same height, then looking through the telescope at the buoys at two distances to show the further one was “lower” than it should be on a flat earth. Flat Earthers have since invented a concept whereby light travels in surreal curves to account for phenomena like this. In fact, from above, the whole planet can look just like a sphere thanks to those curving light beams! But it’s flat! FLAT I TELL YOU!

Anton Mates wrote:

Maybe that’s why the clean ones needed seven. More genetic diversity, hence more disease resistance.

Clean ones needed seven because Noah had to sacrifice a bunch of them right after he got off the ark. Read Genesis:

Gen 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Luckily, the smell of the cooking was so good (Noah knew his slow roasting) that God decided he’d made a mistake and promised to never wipe out all life at once again. This is why barbeque remains popular in the Bible Belt to this day. PRAISE THE POWER OF BARBEQUE!

Anton Mates wrote:

You’d think all the aquatic critters that didn’t need the ark…

I remain unconvinced that there are many aquatic creatures who don’t need an ark. The oceanic devestation would have been unfathomable (pun intended). The massive detritus from the land would clog the filters of filter feeders. Corals would all be extinct when the water depth changed dramatically, the massive infusion of fresh (presumably) water would have wiped out nearly all fish and most everything else. Even if anything survived the direct disasters, the massive dieoffs would have created a bacterial decay paradise and in weeks I expect the oceans would be completely anarobic in a way to make red tide look tame.

Not that they’d have to worry about any of this. A global rainfall would have superheated the oceans past boiling anyway. Everyone was scalded to death before anything else could kill them. But then again, if 4.5 billion years of radioactive decay fit into the past 6000, I guess everyone was sterner stuff back then, given how much more radiation they would have been exposed to on a given day.

Anton Mates wrote:

Michael Suttkus, II wrote:

Just imagine all those poor woodpeckers, waiting hundreds of years without food while old-growth forests to regenerate after the flood.

Miracle.

Michael Suttkus, II wrote:

Imagine the poor measles virus. Once all the people on the ark had measles, they would have immunity and it would be extinct.

Miracle.

I call that cascading miracle theory. It’s irrefutable, but also defeats any claim of creationism in any form being science.

Of course, then I ask why god bothered with a hundred miracles when just snapping his fingers (he has fingers, man’s image and all that) and made the people vanish directly without messing up the ecosystems or making Noah build an impossible ark that couldn’t work without an endless stream of miracles.

Anton Mates wrote:

Actually, maybe the woodpeckers could all have used the beached ark as a grub farm. Lots of wood in that thing.

I should have clarified that I’m only talking about the woodpeckers that do depend on old-growth forests, not all of them.

The ark was covered in pitch, despite most creationists putting the creation of pitch as a result of the flood. (What do you want from creationists, consistency? THEY’RE CREATIONISTS!) I’m not sure, but I don’t think that would have been very healthy for the woodpeckers. Besides, all the species that need old growth forests living on the same ark… it’s gonna get crowded and I sure wouldn’t want to speculate on the chances of grubs surviving the result!

Anton Mates wrote:

The hypermutation thing always floors me. So humans and chimps are too genetically distant to have a common ancestor six million years ago or so…but all the biodiversity on terrestrial Earth could have developed from an arkful of ancestors a few thousand years ago?

I had a creationist tell me directly that while humans and chimps were too preposterously different to be related at all, all fish, I repeat ALL FISH could have evolved from salmon in only 500 years after the flood. Whale sharks, great whites, batfish, rays, flounder, guppies, neon tetra, sturgeon, all very much alike, almost identical, no problem for evolution, BUT NOT MAN AND APES, NOPE NO SIREE!

I honestly cannot comprehend how anyone could buy such an argument long enough to claim it.

Comment #134286

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 4:30 PM (e)

Oh Carol (Carol’s quote is introduced with a ringing Chuck Berry guitar riff):

The Hebrew Bible tells the story of a flood that covered most or all of Mesapotamia but was a local phenomenon, not a global one.

No, Carol, I don’t care to “debate” it–that’s what I predicted you’d say:

I fully expect Carol to tell us that her immaculate, perfectly-preserved, transmitted, and translated version of the OT only involves a “local” flood–in which case, while it surely behooved Noah and clan to boat up and ship out, what was the whole point of taking every freakin’ species, exactly, beyond strictly the stock that would be needed to support N. & Co. during and immediately after the Flood?

But Carol, wouldn’t distinctive mideast subpopulations of at least some of these species (hyrax, perhaps, heh heh?) still show the differential genomic effects of the different-sized founder populations?

Now, Carol, deal or don’t deal with just a few of the questions entailed even by your local-to-Mesopotamia version of Noachian events:

1. Wouldn’t we still expect to see differential founder effects as between the two-per-species and the seven-per-species animals, even if we look only at animals with ranges restricted to the mideast/mesopotamian area or at subpopulations of the same region? If not, why not? Please be specific–commit yourself to a prediction about what we would or would not expect to find in these genomes.

2. If only the mesopotamian area was going to be affected, what was the point of taking two (or seven) of every kind, as opposed to the kinds that Noah and clan would need (mostly domestic stock) for the relatively brief period it would take for the limited area impacted by the flood to be resettled from outside (cf. Mt. St. Helens, Krakatoa, etc.)?

3. Can you give us any assistance with why even a more-linited areal flood isn’t reflected in the geologic record for the appropriate locale and timeframe?

One could, of course, go on and on in this vein…

Comment #134298

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 5:19 PM (e)

Stevie,

“No, Carol, I don’t care to “debate” it–that’s what I predicted you’d say”

I wrote my post before I saw yours with the prediction. Sorry about that. I assume you recall me saying that about the flood on other occasions. Or do you claim to be clairvoyant?

“1. Wouldn’t we still expect to see differential founder effects as between the two-per-species and the seven-per-species animals, even if we look only at animals with ranges restricted to the mideast/mesopotamian area or at subpopulations of the same region? If not, why not? Please be specific–commit yourself to a prediction about what we would or would not expect to find in these genomes.”

I am not a biologist, and I assume you are. So you tell me. What species existed UNIQUELY in the Mesapotamian area 4000 years ago that a simple man like Noah would know about? Can we tell from the present day genome of such species how many there were 5000 years ago? And if so, what do the data in fact tell us? Please elaborate. I am willing to listen to evidence, as you well know.

“2. If only the mesopotamian area was going to be affected, what was the point of taking two (or seven) of every kind, as opposed to the kinds that Noah and clan would need (mostly domestic stock) for the relatively brief period it would take for the limited area impacted by the flood to be resettled from outside (cf. Mt. St. Helens, Krakatoa, etc.)?”

Noah gathered indigenous species to be saved, that is every kind in the area, not every kind on the planet. And it is fair to say that he did not gather such items as microbes, fish, etc. He did so because he was commanded to do so, not just to provide food for himself and his family, but to save the species for its future retention in the area. There also is the consideration of God’s desiring that Noah make a huge spectacle of his preparations in order to encourage folks to mend their ways.

“3. Can you give us any assistance with why even a more-linited areal flood isn’t reflected in the geologic record for the appropriate locale and timeframe?

As far as I know the plains of mesapotamia were in fact flooded repeatedly and the record does show that. I am not aware of any evidence that there was no flood 5000 years ago. Nor are present day dating techniques capable of confidently pinpointing a flood’s occurrance to the nearest year or even decade. If you know of anything specific in this regard, I am all ears.

“One could, of course, go on and on in this vein”

If you got any other arguments backed by evidence, by all means, go on!

Comment #134300

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 26, 2006 5:22 PM (e)

All the anti-evolution activity and proslytizing is Christian in nature.

Carol: I’m sure I read an article recently were a leading Jewish Rabbi came out in support of D.James Kennedy and the claim in his recent TV Special “No Darwin No Hitler”

I assume Carol you are a YEC ? I still think Mark Isaak’s excellent “Problems with a global flood” is essential reading for any YEC.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

You know, I’ve studied a number of geology courses over the years and I’ve yet to come across even the slightest mention of a global flood in any of them. Now I have learned about plate tectonics, denudation, weathering, volcanoes, sills, dykes, batholiths, lopoliths etc., and more recently, the KT boundary, mass extinctions, evidence for impacts, and even the fact that the Earth is one of the few bodies in the solar system that is geologically active. So far I haven’t read any book on geology that records the global flood as an event in the Earth’s history.

Finally, this is also an interesting testimony and worth a read:

http://paleo.cc/paluxy/joshzorn.htm

Comment #134304

Posted by Raging Bee on September 26, 2006 5:24 PM (e)

Okay, CArol, if you want to be able to choose from more than one “literal” meaning per word when interpreting ancient Hebrew holy texts, that’s fine, as long as you’re honest about it: when you pick and choose, you’re injecting your own agenda/interpretation into the texts, to get the result you want, which is no more “authentic,” “absolute” or “authoritative” than anyone else’s. Calling your interpretation “literal” is thus no more substantive a claim to authenticity than the claims of the Christian literalists.

YOu had previously implied – very strongly – that the Hebrew texts had only ONE “absolute” meaning, which was not in conflict with science. Now you’re implying multiple possible meanings.

The “reasonablness and style” with which you believe your interpretation should be “integrated” is yours, not ours or the original authors’. (Your very use of the word “reasonableness” implies you’re interpreting the texts to mean something you consider “reasonable,” and tossing out other interpretations you don’t consider “reasonable.” And then, of course, we get to this question: “Reasonable” based on what/whose assumptions, premises or priorities?)

The applicable rule for the entire OT has been laid down by the ancient Sages of Israel, “The Torah speaks to us in the language of everyday ordinary conversation”.

And how rigidly “literalistic” are we in “everyday ordinary conversation?”

Also, which Jewish scientist got which Nobel-worthy idea from ancient Hebrew holy texts in the original language – or any other language, for that matter? Got anything remotely resembling proof of such a claim?

alienward: Miller’s alleged “self-contradiction” is entirely of your imagining. There’s nothing at all self-contradictory in the statements you quoted: he uses science to explain nature, and personal belief to explain what he believes to lie outside of nature. AS long as he’s not mixing the two on company time, where’s the problem?

Comment #134305

Posted by David B. Benson on September 26, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

This used to be an interesting thread until a certain person claiming to be a physicist came along…

The most relevant flood was the filling of the Black Sea about 8000 years ago. There is a popular account by two geologists entitled “Noah’s Flood” or something similar. The geology is excellent but when they wander into archeology there appear to be errors of both fact and interpretation.

But could we get back to the topic of this thread? Please?

Comment #134317

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

Raging Bee,

I am making two distinct assertions:

(1) The common Christian English translations (I am not certain about the other non-English translations, other than the ancient Greek) are replete with incorrect and inaccurate translations, the cumulative effect of which is to grotesquely distort the intent and meaning of the original Hebrew. This is not an issue of multiple meanings, and constitutes some 80% of the problems.

(2) With regard to words with more than one possible but literal meaning, the common Christian English translations almost always mindlessly adopted whatever sounded best to the translators, sometimes for political reasons, and without regard to rigorous, comparative textual analysis. I would argue that the choices made by Hebrew scholars of late are typically sounder and more defensible. In a very small number of cases it becomes hard to nail the choice down.

(3) The bottom line thus is this - The first eleven chapters of Genesis can reasonably and soundly be interpreted literally and no conflict with science appears. So science cannot be employed as an argument to discredit a literal interpretation of Genesis.

Peter,

Read my other posts here.

Comment #134320

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 5:49 PM (e)

O Carol, please:

The Sumerians, way back in 3,000 BC, were the first to use cheetahs as hunting companions. Since then, the pharaohs of Egypt, the kings of France, the princes of Persia, the Mongol emperors of India and the emperors of Austria have continued this tradition. When Marco Polo visited Kublai Khan at his summer residence in the Himalayan Mountains 700 years ago, he found that the mighty Khan kept 1,000 cheetahs to hunt deer and other slower animals.

Cheetahs are very inbred. They are so inbred, that genetically they are almost identical.

The current theory is that they became inbred when a “natural” disaster dropped their total world population down to less than seven individual cheetahs - probably about 10,000 years ago. They went through a “Genetic Bottleneck”, and their genetic diversity plummeted. They survived only through brother-to-sister or parent-to-child mating.

The quote is from http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/s40791.htm, but google “cheetah genetic bottleneck” and you’ll quickly get to a host of others, including http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/90/8/3172, which specifically supports the 10 kya dating.

At first glance, the quote sounds good for OT literalists–at some point (too bad the time is twice too far back) there may have been as few as seven cheetahs. What a thrilling numerical coincidence! But I doubt cheetahs were the correct “kind” for Noah to have nabbed seven of them.

Of course, at second glance, problems arise for the literalists. The cheetah was clearly present in Mesopotamia during the period of the “Flood.” As the quote itself establishes, they were used for hunting by rulers right in that area at almost the exact time of the flood. But also present were other Biblical felids, including the lion (Daniel? den?), so why do only the cheetahs reflect the expected lack of diversity among felids (see the second link)?

If all the other Biblical critters have had their diversity “restored” by crossings with non-Mesopotamian strains, what happened to the cheetahs (whose former range far exceeded Mesopotamia, though it’s now restricted to a small area of sub-Saharan Africa)?

And surely there are species of non-aquatic, non-microial animals whose ranges, then and now, have been confined to Mesopotamia. Assuming we can identify such, Carol, commit yourself to a hypotheis as to their genomic diversity. Then we’ll go looking.

Even if there is geological evidence of seasonal riverine flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates, say, c. 5 kya, wouldn’t there be an expectable archaeological support for an area-side catastrophic flood, that wiped out the local civilization? Your turn, Carol: exert your google fingers and point us to such evidence, if any (funny how it didn’t seem to wipe out the evidence of the Sumerians and their hunting cheetahs, though, eh?)…

Comment #134324

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 26, 2006 5:54 PM (e)

While much of what you are saying in this thread makes a lot of sense, you ought to know that the vocal atheists here (PZ and others) did manage to highten my awareness (and I would hope and expect that of others too) of the unfairness, wrongness and injustice in the attitude of the majority toward the small minority of atheists in our midst.

Heck, I’d be happy to join the Atheist Liberation Front or the National Association for the Advancement of Atheist People, whenever it gets organized.

But that is a different fight than the one against ID/creationism. And this ain’t the place for it.

Comment #134326

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 26, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

The bottom line thus is this - The first eleven chapters of Genesis can reasonably and soundly be interpreted literally and no conflict with science appears.

Says you. (shrug)

But thanks for once again sharing your religious opinions with us. I expect you’ll continue to do so, ad nauseum. In between plugging your friend’s self-published book.

Of course, we should also remind everyone at this point that your religious opinions are just that, your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Or to Landa’s.

Comment #134327

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 26, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

I wrote my post before I saw yours with the prediction. Sorry about that. I assume you recall me saying that about the flood on other occasions. Or do you claim to be clairvoyant?

hardly.

he simply recognizes that you post the same tired arguments over and over again, regardless of how often they have been refuted in their entirety.

when we try to give you links back to your previous attempts that were refuted, apparently your brain selectively filters all that information out, and you repeat yourself again.

it’s not clairvoyance, it’s simple predictibility based on your past posting behavior.

Oh, and how’s that mission to save the zebras from the hyenas going?

Comment #134331

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

Ah, atheist conspiracies, that finally explains why the fundies have such a hang-up about our A.P.E.* relatives.

________________
*Atheist Pizza Eaters.

Comment #134341

Posted by normdoering on September 26, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

Carol Clouser and Creation Science Bible Guy, I have a question:

Do your neighbors ever complain about the smell when you honor your gods with sacrifices and offerings as the Old Testament instructs you to in Leviticus 1-7?

By my merely translated english reading of the Old Testament it looks like the ancient Hebrew’s primary approach to thier gods/God was through a sacrificial system. It seems it was designed to serve the gods by meeting their physical needs for food. The sacrifices were the food and drink of the gods.

From the beginning the Old Testament is loaded with these sacrifices, Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord from the produce of the land and from the first born of the flock (Genesis 4:1). Noah built an altar and offered burnt sacrifices. These were a soothing aroma to the Lord (Genesis 8:1). The patriarchal stories in Genesis 12-50 are filled with instances of sacrifice to God. The most famous is that of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1).

Do you still use sacrifices in the consecration or ordination of the priests (Exodus 29:1)? Doesn’t it get expensive slaughtering all those bulls on altars made from accacia wood and overlaid with copper (Exodus 27:1)?

Comment #134343

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 26, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

(3) The bottom line thus is this - The first eleven chapters of Genesis can reasonably and soundly be interpreted literally and no conflict with science appears. So science cannot be employed as an argument to discredit a literal interpretation of Genesis.

So are you saying that present day YEC’s for example, have somehow completely misinterpreted the first eleven chapters of Genesis ? I always thought that science profoundly contradicted that portion of the bible, when it (the bible) is read literally. Of course, YEC’s would argue that it is science that has misinterpreted the evidence.

Comment #134361

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 7:21 PM (e)

I’m reminded of Pascal’s Pensees…

“I admire the boldness with which these persons undertake to speak of God. In addressing their argument to infidels, their first chapter is to prove Divinity from the works of nature. I should not be astonished at their enterprise, if they were addressing their argument to the faithful; for it is certain that those who have the living faith in their hearts see at once that all existence is none other than the work of the God whom they adore. But for those in whom this light is extinguished, and in whom we purpose to rekindle it, persons destitute of faith and grace, who, seeking with all their light whatever they see in nature that can bring them to this knowledge, find only obscurity and darkness; to tell them that they have only to look at the smallest things which surround them, and they will see God openly, to give them, as a complete proof of this great and important matter, the course of the moon and planets, and to claim to have concluded the proof with such an argument, is to give them ground for believing that the proofs of our religion are very weak. And I see by reason and experience that nothing is more calculated to arouse their contempt.

It is not after this manner that Scripture speaks, which has a better knowledge of the things that are of God. It says, on the contrary, that God is a hidden God…”

“Two extremes: to exclude reason, to admit reason only.”

“The last proceeding of reason is to recognise that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it. It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this. But if natural things are beyond it, what will be said of supernatural?”

“All our reasoning reduces itself to yielding to feeling.”

Comment #134368

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 7:41 PM (e)

normdoering:
Way to leave out the New Testament… and you all complain about quote mining? I don’t like to be off topic, but that was such a pathetic attmept there I had to point it out.

Comment #134371

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 7:46 PM (e)

Stevie,

“And surely there are species of non-aquatic, non-microbial animals whose ranges, then and now, have been confined to Mesopotamia. Assuming we can identify such, Carol, commit yourself to a hypothesis as to their genomic diversity. Then we’ll go looking.”

I have already gone looking, years ago, and came up empty-handed. But surely as a biologist you can do a better job of it than I did. So, here is my commitment - you meet the conditions above (“What species existed UNIQUELY in the Mesopotamian area 5000 years ago that a simple man like Noah would know about? Can we tell from the present day genome of such species how many there were 5000 years ago? And if so, what do the data in fact tell us?”) and I will be eternally grateful. And if the data is convincing and the Bible’s story untenable I will publicly eat crow.

norm,

Sacrifices in Judaism’s past (no temple today) were not what you seem to think they were. The overwhelming majority were (after certain rituals) eaten by human beings (the owners, priests, and others). The ritual was merely an elaborate form of prayer and thanking God, which is still done today by observant Jews. If you didn’t need the meat for human consumption, you didn’t offer the sacrifice. It is all spelled out in Leviticus. The sages explain that early Jews were chagrined that the entire world around them was offering sacrifices to their multitude of idols and they were left out. It wasn’t easy being “different” (monotheistic, no statues, no sacrifices, etc.) So, as a concession to these concerns, God sanctioned the sacrifices.

Statements to the effect that God smelled and enjoyed the sacrifices are to be read anthropomorphically, as are a multitude of similar statements in the Bible referring to God’s eyes, arms, etc.

Peter,

The vast majority of Christians today do not know Hebrew. The Bible they read literally is the sloppy English translation, where they encounter all the conflicts with science. The few Christian scholars who do know some Hebrew are very aware of the issues I raise and have been debating them for quite some time. You can check out any of the fundamentalist web sites for more information. Since they are reluctant to remind the Christian masses that their Bible is really a Jewish document, they usually end up sweeping the matter under a rug, where it just sits eternally while the flock is enjoying their ignorance in bliss.

Comment #134372

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 7:46 PM (e)

Actually, infamous, we were having a discussion with, um, Carol.

However much we might disagree with Carol on a multitude of things, I’m pretty confident she’d have no problem with our “omitting” the New Testament.

Quick now, infamous, any ideas ideas why that would be the case.

sheesh!

Comment #134375

Posted by normdoering on September 26, 2006 7:54 PM (e)

infamous wrote:

Way to leave out the New Testament…

What exactly did I leave out that’s in the New Testament? Does it change anything in the Old? And why would Carol Clouser care about your testament since she’s Jewish?

…and you all complain about quote mining? I don’t like to be off topic, but that was such a pathetic attmept there I had to point it out.

So, you think God used to love the smell of burning flesh during the Old Testament times, but after Jesus he aquired new tastes?

Comment #134378

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 7:56 PM (e)

Stevie:
I assume by your comment that Carol is Jewish… so the you are correct in saying it’s ok to “omit” the New Testament in a “discussion” with her…
HOWEVER, norm’s comment was addressed to Carol AND Creation Science Bible Guy.
My previous comment still stands.
Thank you.

Comment #134380

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

norm:
Um, no. We’re under a new covenant. Jesus is our “sacrificial lamb.” This is why we no longer make sacrifices. We don’t need them. Jesus’ sacrifice was/is enough to cover our sins.
Since we’re already quite off topic, I’ll answer any more questions you would like to ask.

Comment #134381

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

norm:
Um, no. We’re under a new covenant. Jesus is our “sacrificial lamb.” This is why we no longer make sacrifices. We don’t need them. Jesus’ sacrifice was/is enough to cover our sins.
Since we’re already quite off topic, I’ll answer any more questions you would like to ask.

Comment #134382

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 8:00 PM (e)

norm:
Um, no. We’re under a new covenant. Jesus is our “sacrificial lamb.” This is why we no longer make sacrifices. We don’t need them. Jesus’ sacrifice was/is enough to cover our sins.
Since we’re already quite off topic, I’ll answer any more questions you would like to ask.

Comment #134395

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 26, 2006 8:21 PM (e)

infamous:

You’re welcome.

You’re welcome.

You’re welcome.

Comment #134399

Posted by normdoering on September 26, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Statements to the effect that God smelled and enjoyed the sacrifices are to be read anthropomorphically, as are a multitude of similar statements in the Bible referring to God’s eyes, arms, etc.

What’s a God if not understood anthropomorphically?

Just nature, nature cold and cruel and indifferent to human beings.

And it appears “infamous” would not agree with you on that “just read anthropomorphically” since he takes the magic of sacrifice quite seriously:

Jesus is our “sacrificial lamb.” This is why we no longer make sacrifices.

Comment #134408

Posted by infamous on September 26, 2006 8:40 PM (e)

They had different sacrifices in the Old Testament… some were for the atonement of sin. Since we are under a new covenant we no longer need to sacrifice animals for this.
I don’t necessarily disagree with what Carol said. God didn’t eat the sacrifices or something… you pulled that out of your arse.

Comment #134448

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 26, 2006 9:27 PM (e)

I’ll answer any more questions you would like to ask.

Who the hell are you, God’s Spokesman or something?

No WONDER everyone thinks fundies are self-righteous arrogant pricks who believe, quite literally, that they are holier than everyone else.

Comment #134460

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

“Since we are under a new covenant we no longer need to sacrifice animals for this.”

So now you can engage in two thousand years of murder, pillage, crusades, pogroms, blood libels, expulsions, inquisitions, the dark ages, blocking scientific progress with crap theology, and so on, and all is automatically forgiven! You don’t even need to bring a sacrifice which would compel you to journey to the temple, confess your sins, see the animal vividly die and have to face the fact that perhaps you really deserve such a fate for your evil deeds, and resolve to mend your ways. What a great deal, this “new” covenant. Perhaps it will be replaced tomorrow with a “new and improved” covenant. And God? what a deal He got out of this. He replaced the “old” covenant with the sinning Jews and replaced it with a “new” covenant with people who promptly proceeded to outdo the Jews in sinning in spades. They made the Jews look like angles by comparison.

Need I say more?

Comment #134468

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 10:03 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Statements to the effect that God smelled and enjoyed the sacrifices are to be read anthropomorphically, as are a multitude of similar statements in the Bible referring to God’s eyes, arms, etc.

Statements of “X” are to be read as “Not X” as required for them to make sense.

Ah, “literal” interpretation.

Comment #134470

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 10:05 PM (e)

We already had our religious war for this thread, Carol; you’re late. Incidentally,

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

See, Rabing Bee is a Christian.

Isn’t Bee a druid? I suppose he could be a Christian druid for all I know.

Comment #134472

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 26, 2006 10:08 PM (e)

Anton,

“Statements of “X” are to be read as “Not X” as required for them to make sense. Ah, “literal” interpretation.”

Yes. Statements such as these in “ordinary everyday conversation” (the litmus test, as described above) are understood by all to be anthropomorphic. Any Israelite would know that God has no ears, nose, eyes, etc. That is the concept of “reasonable literalism”.

Comment #134474

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 10:18 PM (e)

David B. Benson wrote:

But could we get back to the topic of this thread? Please?

Sure.

I think the last vaguely on-topic post was:

alienward wrote:

If Miller were indeed an extreme fideist, he’d hardly be in poor company.

Well, he’s not, he’s a Catholic. From “Finding Darwins God:

As far as I can tell, the following quote alienward provided is a fideist statement. Miller, as the IDer objected, does believe the doctrines of his church explicitly on faith rather than scientific evidence.

It’s quite possible to be a theistic evolution supporter who’s not a fideist, of course, so the IDer’s general objection fails. Wallace, for instance, had a scientific argument (the superfluous brainpower of savages) in favor of TE.

Comment #134477

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 26, 2006 10:24 PM (e)

Perhaps it will be replaced tomorrow with a “new and improved” covenant

see also: the book of Mormon.

Comment #134478

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 26, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

Need I say more?

No. a thousand times no.

but we’ve been telling you this for years now.

Comment #134479

Posted by normdoering on September 26, 2006 10:31 PM (e)

infamous wrote:

God didn’t eat the sacrifices or something… you pulled that out of your arse.

Really? Why all the instructions on killing and burning animals? The first nine chapters of Leviticus aren’t even enough. The Bible says you must do this because God really likes the smell – it is “a sweet savour unto the Lord.”

Do you think God just likes the smell but can’t taste it?

Numbers 15:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
15:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,
15:3 And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD , of the herd or of the flock:
15:4 Then shall he that offereth his offering unto the LORD bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil.
15:5 And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.
15:6 Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil.
15:7 And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
15:8 And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD:
15:9 Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.
15:10 And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
15:11 Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid.
15:12 According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.
15:13 All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
15:14 And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD ; as ye do, so he shall do.
15:15 One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.
15:16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.

Why wouldn’t he be able to eat if he can walk around and meet with people?

Numbers 23:1 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams.
23:2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram.
23:3 And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the LORD will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place.
23:4 And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram.

Leviticus 23:12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
23:13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour : and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.
23:14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Genesis 7:8 “And the Lord smelled a sweet savor.” The phrase gets repeated a lot.

Are the Old Testament laws still binding? God tells Moses that his law shall be “a statute forever.”

Comment #134487

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 26, 2006 10:53 PM (e)

I think the guy who wrote that passage originally was just a freeloader looking for a good meal.

“uh, yeah, just leave the uh, dressed sheep and some bread and wine around the back”.

“the, uh, Lord will be quite pleased. Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

Comment #134490

Posted by alienward on September 26, 2006 11:11 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

As far as I can tell, the following quote alienward provided is a fideist statement. Miller, as the IDer objected, does believe the doctrines of his church explicitly on faith rather than scientific evidence.

Really? From that quote you get Miller doesn’t believe in the doctrine of his church that a god can be reasoned into existence even though you imply he does believe in the doctrines of his church?

Comment #134495

Posted by Anton Mates on September 26, 2006 11:21 PM (e)

alienward wrote:

Really? From that quote you get Miller doesn’t believe in the doctrine of his church that a god can be reasoned into existence even though you imply he does believe in the doctrines of his church?

To be more precise, I get from that quote that Miller believes in some doctrines of his church, such as the Incarnation, and that he does so on faith. I dunno if denying scientific proof for God implies a violation of the Catholic doctrine that God can be proved through pure reason…in fact, I would think the two would have nothing to with each other since science isn’t a process of pure reason. I always took the Catholic doctrine to be that there exists a logical proof of God, not necessarily a scientific one. But I don’t know much about the subject.

Comment #134532

Posted by Scott Hatfield on September 27, 2006 1:24 AM (e)

All this talk about ‘sweet savour’ (as opposed, one supposes, to the ‘sweet Saviour’) just makes me smile.

The thing is, ancient peoples put a lot of significance on the ritualistic use of food in a way that tends to put off modern readers. For example, if you read Homer, there are multiple occasions where feasts are given in the honor of this or that deed and a telling detail is which hero got which part of the animals sacrificed (‘the choicest meats’). A casual reader overlooks this detail as trivial, when in fact it was supposed to convey something important about this or that hero/demigod.

It seems likely that the details of how this or that animal were to be offered to the God of the OT carries similar baggage which was very important to the Israelites, but almost impossible for us to actually appreciate as intended.

A good discussion of this, and the deeper ecological roles played by ritual sacrifice and food use, can be found in Marvin Harris’s book ‘Cannibals and Kings’….SH

Comment #134541

Posted by k.e. on September 27, 2006 1:53 AM (e)

STJ wrote:

I think the guy who wrote that passage originally was just a freeloader looking for a good meal

Don’t forget the origin of the word ‘Parasite’

–noun
1. an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

2. a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.

3. (in ancient Greece) a person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.

[Origin: 1530–40; L parasītus Gk parásītos one who eats at another’s table, orig. adj.: feeding beside, equiv. to para- para-1 + sît(os) grain, food + -os adj. suffix]

—Synonyms 2. sycophant, toady, leech, sponge, hanger-on.
-from dictionary.com

In ‘Mr Free Lunch’ Dembski’s case, like certainly attracts like.

In ancient times I’m sure the priestly class would have found a way of making it look like ‘Baal’ or ‘Osiris’ or any other deity du jour was willing not to let the sacrifice go to waste.

No doubt, one could not get fat eating the leftovers from male initiations.

Comment #134606

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 27, 2006 7:01 AM (e)

The age of the earth is approx. 4,600 mill.yrs, or more. The Geology Lesson has a small segment on age determination. The Bee could buzz around, press the link, and find out.

I didn’t find anything else remotely resembling a technical origins question, although I could be mistaken. I suppose I should note the obvious - Geology doesn’t get into fossil sorting, (not unless there is evidence of turbidity) - and Galileo was tried by the same people who were sworn to exterminate reformed christians. I don’t have a lot of time for gobbledigook, and won’t go on repeating the obvious.

Comment #134629

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 27, 2006 8:16 AM (e)

normdoering wrote:

So, you think God used to love the smell of burning flesh during the Old Testament times, but after Jesus he aquired new tastes?

Come on, Norm. He’s hardly the only man in history to change his lifestyle and go vegan after having a kid. Just look how much nicer He got in the new testament. I’m telling you, having children settles a man.

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

I suppose I should note the obvious - Geology doesn’t get into fossil sorting, (not unless there is evidence of turbidity)…

Oh, look, we have stupidest statement of the week material! Since when does geology have nothing to do with fossil sorting, PBH? Geology is about rocks. Fossils are found in rocks. Get the geo connection? ROCKS. Explain to us about how the creationist science of rocks says about how a certain subset of rocks are sorted. Sheesh.

And why does it suddenly have something to say if there’s evidence of turbidity?

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

…and Galileo was tried by the same people who were sworn to exterminate reformed christians.

Ah, so you get to decide who is a True Christian™ and who is not. You do realize you’ve just turned your statement into a “No true Scotsman…” fallacy, right?

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

I don’t have a lot of time for gobbledigook, and won’t go on repeating the obvious.

Luckily, I do, which is why I keep talking to creationists.

Comment #134637

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 27, 2006 8:34 AM (e)

Geology doesn’t get into fossil sorting, (not unless there is evidence of turbidity)

When I did geology at school there was a lot about fossils, particularly in stratigraphy. We had to learn which fossils appeared in which geological time period and in which rocks !

Comment #134641

Posted by Caledonian on September 27, 2006 8:47 AM (e)

Ah, so you get to decide who is a True Christian™ and who is not. You do realize you’ve just turned your statement into a “No true Scotsman…” fallacy, right?

Why is it that the people most likely to bring up the names of fallacies are the least likely to actually understand them?

The fallacy of the “No True Scotsman” doesn’t lie in producing a definition of what a true Scotsman is, it lies in the willingness to change the definition so that observations don’t conflict with previous assertions.

Comment #134642

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 27, 2006 8:48 AM (e)

he few Christian scholars who do know some Hebrew are very aware of the issues I raise and have been debating them for quite some time

I was thinking of Ken Ham Carol. Now, I don’t know Hebrew, but one of Ham’s justifications for belief in six 24hr days apparently comes from the original Hebrew text which mentions the word “Yom” in the creation story. According to Ham, this is referring to a 24hr day, and it is why Christians can’t interpret the days in Genesis as long periods of time. Is Ham misinterpreting this Carol, and if so why ?

Comment #134643

Posted by Darth Robo on September 27, 2006 8:49 AM (e)

“I don’t have a lot of time for gobbledigook”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

“Geology doesn’t get into fossil sorting”

Phil, you are the GOD of Gobbledigook! Possibly Loki’s younger, dumber brother?

Comment #134658

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on September 27, 2006 9:36 AM (e)

If anyone attended a geology lecture by which he was given the impression that geologic systems - Cambrian, Cretaceous, etc.- were laid down by some hydraulic mechanism which resulted in the fossil layout as a whole being the product of said hydraulic mechanism, he should ask for a refund. (Robo, of course, was too pre-occuppied ogling the one girl present to pick up much at all.) Fossil sorting may have some relevance when deciphering past, localised tubidity events. Isn’t there a geologist in the house? What’s the drill with this fossil sorting non-issue? Go visit my site if you wish to learn about earth science.

Actually I found out later that the girl was the lecturer’s mother, but that’s another story.

Comment #134671

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on September 27, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

If anyone attended a geology lecture by which he was given the impression that geologic systems - Cambrian, Cretaceous, etc.- were laid down by some hydraulic mechanism which resulted in the fossil layout as a whole being the product of said hydraulic mechanism, he should ask for a refund.

The only “lecture” even remotely resembling this gobbledigook I ever heard was a sermon on the Noachian Flood. Real geology isn’t done this way… thankfully.

Comment #134674

Posted by Darth Robo on September 27, 2006 10:37 AM (e)

“If anyone attended a geology lecture by which he was given the impression that geologic systems - Cambrian, Cretaceous, etc.- were laid down by some hydraulic mechanism which resulted in the fossil layout as a whole being the product of said hydraulic mechanism, he should ask for a refund.”

C’mon, give him a break. He was only eight years old. I don’t think his mother was worried he got the details wrong. She was just proud to see him up there speaking infront of his fellow pupils.

“Robo, of course, was too pre-occuppied ogling the one girl present to pick up much at all.” Well she was pretty hot. That’s natural selection at work for ya!

“Actually I found out later that the girl was the lecturer’s mother, but that’s another story.”

And I found out she was single and happened to be a really nice girl too, but that’s another story. (And no, it’s none of your business.) ;)

Comment #134677

Posted by gwangung on September 27, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

sorting may have some relevance when deciphering past, localised tubidity events. Isn’t there a geologist in the house?

Yes? And what you post is nonsense.

But I forget. You ignore what doesn’t fit into your prejudices.

Comment #134684

Posted by infamous on September 27, 2006 10:59 AM (e)

norm and Others:
You can make virtually anything say anything you want. You’re taking this whole sacrifice thing too literally. Jesus spoke of giving himself as a sacrifice and told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Was he telling us to literally eat him? No. It’s figurative.

‘Rev Dr’:
I say that I’ll answer questions not because I am “holier than thou,” but because I want to answer your questions. I know I’ll be ridiculed, so I am in no way trying to boost my ego. I aim to counteract the misinformation.
BTW, I’m no “fundie.” I’m what you all call a “TE.” It’s funny to me that the fundies and atheists both attack those who, like Dr. Miller, are “TE’s.”

“Two extremes: to exclude reason, to admit reason only.”

“The last proceeding of reason is to recognise that there is an infinity of things which are beyond it. It is but feeble if it does not see so far as to know this. But if natural things are beyond it, what will be said of supernatural?”

“All our reasoning reduces itself to yielding to feeling.”
-Pascal

Comment #134686

Posted by alienward on September 27, 2006 11:02 AM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

To be more precise, I get from that quote that Miller believes in some doctrines of his church, such as the Incarnation, and that he does so on faith. I dunno if denying scientific proof for God implies a violation of the Catholic doctrine that God can be proved through pure reason…in fact, I would think the two would have nothing to with each other since science isn’t a process of pure reason. I always took the Catholic doctrine to be that there exists a logical proof of God, not necessarily a scientific one. But I don’t know much about the subject.

All you need to know is that if Miller accepts the god can be reasoned into existence doctrine of his church, he is not a fideist and claims like the one in the opening post that he is a theist on faith alone are false. Meanwhile, Miller contradicts himself when he says “Jesus was born of a virgin” and “A supreme being stands outside of nature”. All we need is that god to come and do that virgin birth thing again so we can watch it walk on water and then find the combo human/water strider genes in it’s DNA.

Comment #134694

Posted by Raging Bee on September 27, 2006 11:11 AM (e)

Yeah, sure, Carol, I’m sure you can tell us all about “blocking scientific progress with crap theology.” :-D (History was not my forte, to be sure, but I don’t remember hearing about a separate Renaissance or Enlightenment happening in the Holy Land.)

I notice you seem to have retreated a bit from your original position, and are now talking about “reasonable literalism” kinda sorta mixed with anthropomorphic bits in “ordinary everyday conversation”. Whatever…

Speaking of which, you still haven’t specified which Jewish scientists got which Nobel-worthy ideas out of your original holy texts…

PS: Yes, FWIW, I’m a Druid; but, having grown up in Christian societies (US & UK), nearly all of the Pagans I know have inevitably brought a heavy dose of Christian ethics (somewhat reworded) into our beliefs. And most of us don’t flatly deny the divinity of Christ, either.

Comment #134697

Posted by Raging Bee on September 27, 2006 11:16 AM (e)

alienward wrote:

Miller contradicts himself when he says “Jesus was born of a virgin” and “A supreme being stands outside of nature”. All we need is that god to come and do that virgin birth thing again so we can watch it walk on water and then find the combo human/water strider genes in it’s DNA.

Again, where is the contradiction between those two statements? A supreme being outside of nature stuck his hand in the natural world and caused a miracle. Miller’s belief may be true or false, but he’s not “contradicting himself.” And your demand for proof of virgin birth does not make it so; it’s just a stock non-sequitur.

Comment #134707

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 27, 2006 11:48 AM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

The fallacy of the “No True Scotsman” doesn’t lie in producing a definition of what a true Scotsman is, it lies in the willingness to change the definition so that observations don’t conflict with previous assertions.

That doesn’t gel with any of the usages of it I’ve seen.

And in what way is it not what PBH is doing? Any example of ostensible Christians hindering science would, by his definition, automatically cease being True Christians™. That’s the heart of the True Scotsman fallacy, the integration of an unrelated idea into the definition of your direct object that results in automated accuracy-making of your claim.

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

If anyone attended a geology lecture by which he was given the impression that geologic systems - Cambrian, Cretaceous, etc.- were laid down by some hydraulic mechanism which resulted in the fossil layout as a whole being the product of said hydraulic mechanism, he should ask for a refund.

I had not realized you were an OEC at the time I started asking. I will cease haranguing you for an explanation of fossil sorting.

But, please clarify, you still believe in a global flood at some point in the past, yes or no?

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

Fossil sorting may have some relevance when deciphering past, localised tubidity events.

They have some relevance when deciphering the past period, end of discussion. Your localization of their importance to turbidity events is surreal. It’s like you responded to a discussion of the global importance of the President of the United States with, “Well, I suppose the President is important in deciding what furniture the White House will use.”

Philip Bruce Heywood wrote:

Isn’t there a geologist in the house? What’s the drill with this fossil sorting non-issue? Go visit my site if you wish to learn about earth science.

I’ve expect I’ve wasted more time on creationist websites than you have (and have been to more of them), but I’m employed now and would really rather you just answered the questions here.

Comment #134730

Posted by Caledonian on September 27, 2006 1:22 PM (e)

That doesn’t gel with any of the usages of it I’ve seen.

From Wikipedia:

No true Scotsman is a term coined by Antony Flew in his 1975 book Thinking About Thinking. It refers to an argument which takes this form:

Argument: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Reply: “But my uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge.”
Rebuttal: “Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

This form of argument is a fallacy if the predicate (“putting sugar on porridge”) is not actually contradictory for the accepted definition of the subject (“Scotsman”), or if the definition of the subject is silently adjusted after the fact to make the rebuttal work.

Comment #134731

Posted by Caledonian on September 27, 2006 1:24 PM (e)

If someone forwards the definition that a ‘Scotsman’ is a person who was born within a particular region, then rejecting someone who was born elsewhere and has merely lived there most of their lives as “not a true Scotsman” is entirely appropriate.

Comment #134753

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 27, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

I still don’t see how that fails to agree with my usage. Nothing in the wikipedia example doesn’t match mine. The claimant is not making statements about where someone is from (Scotsman) but about people who embody the nature of a culture (TRUE Scotsman), which he is defining (surreptitiously) as someone who, among other features, doesn’t like sugar in his porridge.

This seems to me identical to PBH’s claiming that Christians support science, by claiming any ostensible “Christians” who do not are not “TRUE Christians”. That is, what religion the person claims (parallel to their nationality) is not equivalent to whether they embody the TRUE spirit of the religion (being a TRUE Scotsman).

If I’m missing something obvious, please explain it to me.

Comment #134794

Posted by Caledonian on September 27, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

You’re missing the point of the objection. Woo, big surprise there.

There IS no generally accepted definition of “Christian”, so the poster was entitled to present an implied definition of the term if he so chose. He WAS defining what a “True Christian” is - you are free to reject that definition, but he was not committing the No True Scotsman fallacy. He would only have been committing that fallacy if he had forwarded some other definition, claimed that people fitting that definition supported science, and then insisted that actual examples of a person who fit his definition but did not support science did not falsify his claim.

I have to go lie down. The sheer stupid is getting to me.

Comment #134797

Posted by normdoering on September 27, 2006 5:42 PM (e)

Scott Hatfield wrote:

… ancient peoples put a lot of significance on the ritualistic use of food in a way that tends to put off modern readers. For example, if you read Homer, there are multiple occasions where feasts are given in the honor of this or that deed and a telling detail is which hero got which part of the animals sacrificed (‘the choicest meats’).

Before you try to put the Old Testament on the same plane as Greek mythology, please consider Joseph Campbell’s opinion:
http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC12/Campbell.htm

Tom: I gather you’re not terribly fond of the Bible.

Joseph: Not at all! It’s the most over-advertised book in the world. It’s very pretentious to claim it to be the word of God, or accept it as such and perpetuate this tribal mythology, justifying all kinds of violence to people who are not members of the tribe.

The thing I see about the Bible that’s unfortunate is that it’s a tribally circumscribed mythology. It deals with a certain people at a certain time. The Christians magnified it to include them. It then turns this society against all others, whereas the condition of the world today is that this particular society that’s presented in the Bible isn’t even the most important. This thing is like a dead weight. It’s pulling us back because it belongs to an earlier period. We can’t break loose and move into a modern theology.

One of the great promises of mythology is, with what social group do you identify? How about the planet? To say that the members of this particular social group are the elite of God’s world is a good way to keep that group together, but look at the consequences! I think that what might be called the sanctified chauvinism of the Bible is one of the curses of the planet today.

The feasts and offerings in the Bible are different in character. But there is some overlap between Greek myths and Old Testament stories.

A casual reader overlooks this detail as trivial, when in fact it was supposed to convey something important about this or that hero/demigod.

The Greeks weren’t as crazy in describing their feasts and offerings. The Old Testament is incredibly repetitive and over detailed in its descriptions of the rituals.

Comment #134802

Posted by Anton Mates on September 27, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

infamous wrote:

norm and Others:
You can make virtually anything say anything you want. You’re taking this whole sacrifice thing too literally. Jesus spoke of giving himself as a sacrifice and told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Was he telling us to literally eat him? No. It’s figurative.

Roman Catholics and several other churches disagree, of course. I’m not sure how you’d resolve the question short of asking the guy.

Come to think of it, you could take a cue from Carol: Jesus was speaking literally when he told us to consume his flesh and blood, which is to say, he didn’t tell us to do so. *Nods*

Clouserianism’s gonna beat the pants off transubstantiation and consubstantiation at next year’s theological playoffs.

Comment #134804

Posted by Anton Mates on September 27, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #134807

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 27, 2006 6:19 PM (e)

I think the guy who wrote that passage originally was just a freeloader looking for a good meal.

You would like my “Freeloader Hypothesis” for the origin of organized religion (IIRC, you were AWOL back when it was discussed).

It’s somewhere in the archives.

Comment #134809

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 27, 2006 6:23 PM (e)

Yes, FWIW, I’m a Druid

Apologies then for the inadvertent put-down.

And most of us don’t flatly deny the divinity of Christ, either.

Or anyone else, as I recall.

;)

Of course, everyone is also a Buddha — they just don’t recognize it. :)

Comment #134813

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 27, 2006 6:28 PM (e)

I say that I’ll answer questions not because I am “holier than thou,” but because I want to answer your questions.

And since your answers are no more divine or infallible than anyone else’s, there isn’t, uh, any reason why anyone should pay any more attention to your answers than they should to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas. Right?

Comment #134814

Posted by Anton Mates on September 27, 2006 6:28 PM (e)

alienward wrote:

All you need to know is that if Miller accepts the god can be reasoned into existence doctrine of his church, he is not a fideist and claims like the one in the opening post that he is a theist on faith alone are false.

Not necessarily. Catholic doctrine holds that God’s existence has been rationally demonstrated, not that individual Catholics have to be able to prove it themselves. Miller can believe purely on faith and not contravene that doctrine, unless he claims that everyone believes purely on faith.

And even if he does reject Catholic doctrine, so what? That’s the Pope’s problem, not ours.

Meanwhile, Miller contradicts himself when he says “Jesus was born of a virgin” and “A supreme being stands outside of nature”.

Well, I don’t think “stands outside of nature” is sufficiently meaningful to contradict much of anything.

Comment #134820

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 27, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

You’re missing the point of the objection.

Um… yes, I believe I stated as much. That would be why I said, “If I’m missing something obvious…” after explaining that I didn’t see a problem. Revelation level = zilch.

Caledonian wrote:

Woo, big surprise there.

Boy, disagree with the holy Caledonian once or twice, be branded stupid forever. It can’t possibly be that you aren’t making your point at all well, oh no, it’s got to be stupidity in the other party.

Caledonian wrote:

There IS no generally accepted definition of “Christian”,

There is no generally accepted definition of “true Scotsman”.

Caledonian wrote:

so the poster was entitled to present an implied definition of the term if he so chose.

And the sugar opponent is equally free to define True Scotsman as someone who doesn’t like sweet porridge. It’s not like there’s some universal standard as to what constitutes a TRUE Scotsman as opposed to someone from Scotland. I still don’t see a difference.

Caledonian wrote:

He would only have been committing that fallacy if he had forwarded some other definition, claimed that people fitting that definition supported science, and then insisted that actual examples of a person who fit his definition but did not support science did not falsify his claim.

Please describe how the wikipedia example fulfills your overwrought criteria in some way that PBH’s doesn’t.

Caledonian wrote:

I have to go lie down. The sheer stupid is getting to me.

No… too easy.

Comment #134957

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 28, 2006 12:20 AM (e)

Anton wrote:

“Clouserianism’s gonna beat the pants off transubstantiation and consubstantiation at next year’s theological playoffs.”

Clouserianism? Wow. I now have a theology named just for me!

Raging Bee wrote:

“I notice you seem to have retreated a bit from your original position…”

Not at all. I have always said what I am saying here, you just weren’t paying careful attention. Just not to lose sight of the bottom line - to interpret eleven chapters of historical narrative as all being meant allegorically or metaphorically in order to save the Bible from conflict with the facts as established by science is just plain dishonest.

“Speaking of which, you still haven’t specified which Jewish scientists got which Nobel-worthy ideas out of your original holy texts…”

I said no such thing. Please read my posts with the degree of care they deserve.

Peter wrote:

“I was thinking of Ken Ham Carol. Now, I don’t know Hebrew, but one of Ham’s justifications for belief in six 24hr days apparently comes from the original Hebrew text which mentions the word “Yom” in the creation story. According to Ham, this is referring to a 24hr day, and it is why Christians can’t interpret the days in Genesis as long periods of time. Is Ham misinterpreting this Carol, and if so why?”

I don’t know Ham from a ham sandwich. If he really knows Hebrew and the ancient Hebrew of the Bible he surely knows that “yom” (pronounced YOHM) is in fact indisputedly used throughout the Bible to mean “era”, period of time characterized by some development or feature. Of course, it is also used to mean “period of daylight” and “twenty four hour period”. A solid case can be made for the “era” translation in Genesis based on textual analysis, some of which I have discussed on other threads. There are some good books on the subject I can refer you to, such Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF, A New Look at Old Words, the production of which I was involved with in my role as editor.

Comment #134959

Posted by alienward on September 28, 2006 12:43 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Again, where is the contradiction between those two statements? A supreme being outside of nature stuck his hand in the natural world and caused a miracle. Miller’s belief may be true or false, but he’s not “contradicting himself.” And your demand for proof of virgin birth does not make it so; it’s just a stock non-sequitur.

A supreme being outside of nature sticking his hand inside nature by popping out of a virgin would exist both outside and inside of nature and be open to scientific investigation. So what’s the big deal about doing it again so we can check out that DNA and the physics of a human looking being walking on water?

Comment #134966

Posted by alienward on September 28, 2006 12:54 AM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

Not necessarily. Catholic doctrine holds that God’s existence has been rationally demonstrated, not that individual Catholics have to be able to prove it themselves. Miller can believe purely on faith and not contravene that doctrine, unless he claims that everyone believes purely on faith.

Who said anything about proving Catholic doctrines? Really, what are you trying to get away with here? What if Miller believes the god can be reasoned into existence doctrine just like he believes in the god got a virgin pregnant doctrine? I’m thinking you don’t know too much about Kenneth Miller. If you had been reading some of the recent threads in PT about him, you’d know he was recently in Kansas telling creationists not to attack evolution but go attack atheistic interpretations of evolution instead. Attack atheists with faith arguments???

And even if he does reject Catholic doctrine, so what? That’s the Pope’s problem, not ours.

And if you at least know a little about Miller you’d know he believes the god can be reasoned into existence doctrine because he’s told one of cardinals he was wrong that evolution only has an atheistic interpretation because “the age and development of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man … invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator.” quoting from the Catechism which also says, just a couple of paragraphs later:

“The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error.”

Well, I don’t think “stands outside of nature” is sufficiently meaningful to contradict much of anything.

It’s really pretty simple. Stands outside of nature means does not stand inside nature. It’s what Miller says in his weak attempt to hide his god from science when he says: “A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature.” When his god was inside that virgin, walking on water, and so on while he was on the planet, he was most definitely inside of nature.

Comment #135001

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 2:42 AM (e)

Clouserianism? Wow. I now have a theology named just for me!

…and we’re all laughing at the fact you take it as a compliment.

Comment #135114

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 28, 2006 9:15 AM (e)

If he really knows Hebrew and the ancient Hebrew of the Bible he surely knows that “yom” (pronounced YOHM) is in fact indisputedly used throughout the Bible to mean “era”, period of time characterized by some development or feature. Of course, it is also used to mean “period of daylight” and “twenty four hour period”. A solid case can be made for the “era” translation in Genesis based on textual analysis, some of which I have discussed on other threads

You obviously disagree with Ham and co. then. Here are just two articles from the AIG website that deal with the subject of “yom” Carol:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i1/sixdays.asp

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v4/i1/linguistics.asp

As you can see, they are pretty adamant that yom should be interpreted to mean 24 hrs. I’m not sure if either author is fluent in Hebrew.

Comment #135129

Posted by Raging Bee on September 28, 2006 10:35 AM (e)

alienward: Nothing you’ve said “proves” any sort of internal contradiction in any of Miller’s statements. All you’re doing is reiterating your own demands for scientific proof of God’s existence (which, to my knowledge, no one has said was available), and making up “contradictions” in the words of people who disagree with you.

There’s nothing “contradictory” in asserting that a being outside of nature can act ON nature to cause a “miracle” that subsequently cannot be proven or disproven by natural science. Untestable, scientifically vacuous, and possibly wrong, sure, but not “contradictory.”

As for the idea that “God can be reasoned into existence” (as you put it), that’s perfectly okay, as long as it’s understood that the reasoning is subjective, based on personal premises, and the proof is also subjective.

Your posts on this subject are getting less coherent by the day. What point are you trying to make?

Comment #135137

Posted by Raging Bee on September 28, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

Carol wrote:

Just not to lose sight of the bottom line - to interpret eleven chapters of historical narrative as all being meant allegorically or metaphorically in order to save the Bible from conflict with the facts as established by science is just plain dishonest.

It’s not “dishonest” if one believes that such holy texts were not intended to be literal documents in the first place. And this is a very reasonable thing to believe, given that the subject of most holy texts – Man’s relationship to God(s) – is not easily described in literal terms.

Comment #135175

Posted by infamous on September 28, 2006 12:20 PM (e)

“It’s not “dishonest” if one believes that such holy texts were not intended to be literal documents in the first place. And this is a very reasonable thing to believe, given that the subject of most holy texts – Man’s relationship to God(s) – is not easily described in literal terms.”

Amen, brother. I don’t understand why anyone would expect the creation story to tell all about evolution and how it works… It’s meant to get across certain truths rather than describe the process.

“If you had been reading some of the recent threads in PT about him, you’d know he was recently in Kansas telling creationists not to attack evolution but go attack atheistic interpretations of evolution instead.”

And your point is? Science cannot disprove God. End of story. However, atheists make it seem as though it already HAS. That’s ridiculous. Atheists (i.e. Dawkins) who step over the line are, in ‘Rev Dr’s’ words, “self-righteous arrogant pricks.”

*I’m actually a fan of Dawkins… the stuff dealing with actual science, anyways.

Comment #135189

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

Catholic doctrine holds that God’s existence has been rationally demonstrated, not that individual Catholics have to be able to prove it themselves.

OK, Lots of things can be rationally demonstrated, yet are beyond the ability of an average individual to prove.

Electrons, for instance. I’m an electrical engineer and work with electrons every day, yet I have never seen one.

I believe in them, though, because because I have a rational model for their behavior, and the people who tell me they exist have demonstrated their deductive reasoning in detail and made predictive models that told me how and where to look for the circumstantial evidence.

If electrons don’t exist, then something that works exactly the same way is afoot, but clearly, something is there, since none of the technology works without it.

The problem is, the same cannot be said of God. By all appearances, the natural world can function just fine without His guiding hand. Which is good, since He seems to want very hard to keep it hidden.

So if there’s a “rational demonstration” out there for God, please, by all means, bring it out, I want to see it.

Comment #135192

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 1:35 PM (e)

Infamous wrote

Science cannot disprove God. End of story.

This is true. All science can do is sort out how the natural world works. The problem is that the natural world seems to work quite well without any observable supernatural intervention.

However, atheists make it seem as though it already HAS.

No, all science has done is demonstrate that God is not necessary, since he apparently deigns not to interact with the physical world in any measurable way.

He could still exist, science has no problem with that. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to do anything down here. At least nothing that has any demonstrable physical effect.

Comment #135194

Posted by Raging Bee on September 28, 2006 1:37 PM (e)

One more note for Carol: if the texts you’re on about are “historical narratives,” to use your own phrase, then they must be read and judged by the same standards as all other historical narratives ever written by humans: subject to verification, and possibly containing errors. Re-interpreting the words to avoid conflict with later-revealed truth is – again, to use your words – just plain dishonest.

Comment #135208

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 28, 2006 3:17 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

“It’s not “dishonest” if one believes that such holy texts were not intended to be literal documents in the first place. And this is a very reasonable thing to believe, given that the subject of most holy texts – Man’s relationship to God(s) – is not easily described in literal terms.”

That is a recipe for eviscerating the Bible of all meaning. Yes could mean no, and no could mean yes. And that is exactly what Christians have been doing with the essentially Jewish document known as the old testament. A covenant doesn’t quite mean that, it could be replaced, even one made by God. Homosexuality is forbidden, but pork is not. The sabbath is to be honored but not on the seventh day. The list is very long indeed. Which is why I cannot but help and view Christianity as unmitigated silliness.

Comment #135209

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Oh carol?

While we’re working on tracking down a Mesopotamian-only critter, what about the genome of the cheetah vs. the lion?

The Sumerian archaeological record?

Comment #135211

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 28, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

Peter wrote:

“As you can see, they are pretty adamant that yom should be interpreted to mean 24 hrs. I’m not sure if either author is fluent in Hebrew.”

The links you provided clearly demonstrate their ignorance. Check out Hosea (2:6 I believe) where yom is used “with a number”, EXACTLY as it is Genesis, and all the ancient commentators, long before evolution, translate that yom to mean “era”. Genesis itself contains a few yom’s that must mean “era”, independent of considerations pertaining to the age of the universe.

Comment #135212

Posted by alienward on September 28, 2006 3:26 PM (e)

Raging bee wrote:

Nothing you’ve said “proves” any sort of internal contradiction in any of Miller’s statements. All you’re doing is reiterating your own demands for scientific proof of God’s existence (which, to my knowledge, no one has said was available), and making up “contradictions” in the words of people who disagree with you.

There’s nothing “contradictory” in asserting that a being outside of nature can act ON nature to cause a “miracle” that subsequently cannot be proven or disproven by natural science. Untestable, scientifically vacuous, and possibly wrong, sure, but not “contradictory.”

If a supreme being impregnated itself into a virgin, you don’t think we could examine the virgin and say “Yep, what we have here is a pregnant virgin.”? Likewise for the walking on water “miracle”. You don’t think we could examine this and say “Yep, this human looking being is really walking on water and not on rocks just below the surface.”?

As for the idea that “God can be reasoned into existence” (as you put it), that’s perfectly okay, as long as it’s understood that the reasoning is subjective, based on personal premises, and the proof is also subjective.

Religions like Catholicism teach:

“The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error.”

That doesn’t sound like the reasoning is subjective to me.

Your posts on this subject are getting less coherent by the day. What point are you trying to make?

Two points; Miller contradicts himself when he says a supreme being stands outside of nature and a supreme being came and stood in nature via a virgin, and the claim Miller bases his theism on faith alone is false.

Comment #135213

Posted by Raging Bee on September 28, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

That is a recipe for eviscerating the Bible of all meaning. Yes could mean no, and no could mean yes.

If you had a clear enough grasp of the most important tenets of your own religion, and the courage of your convictions, (and didn’t forget what “yes” and “no” mean), then you would easily be able to resist such “evisceration” without trying to shut down that big cerebral cortex that the Gods gave all of us.

Your (selective) literalism comes from the same source as the (selective) literalism of the faux-Christians: clinging to an imagined perfect authority in order to avoid having to think for yourself and take responsibility for your actions.

Comment #135214

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 28, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

Hi Stevie,

“While we’re working on tracking down a Mesopotamian-only critter, what about the genome of the cheetah vs. the lion? The Sumerian archaeological record?”

What about them?

I have yet to encounter any reliable evidence either supporting or disproving a large but local flood in Mesopotamia about 5000 years ago.

If you know something I don’t know about this, by all means let us know.

Comment #135215

Posted by Scott Hatfield on September 28, 2006 3:33 PM (e)

Hi, Carol!

For the record, there is no shortage of believers (Hugh Ross comes to mind) who have taken YEC to task for their failure to acknowledge anything other than a strict literal reading of the Hebrew text. AIG head Ken Ham is obviously sensitive to this, because he alludes to alternative interpretations of the word ‘yom’ as part of his schtick when presenting to fundy churches. If you don’t know Ham from a ham sandwich, you can see the fellow try to gloss over this objection in the episode of the PBS Evolution series called “What About God?” The way Ham tries to sidestep this criticism is talk very fast and repetitively as if the entire idea is just a joke to be lampooned. It makes my skin crawl every time I watch him, frankly.

At any rate, OEC and so-called ‘progressive creationists’ like Ross seem to be a lot more sensitive to and consonant with the original text, in my opinion.

Secondly, regarding the claim that Genesis is a historical narrative, I respectfully demur. Scholarship has established that there are multiple sources for more than one passage in Genesis. These sources differ in style, intent and in the nature of the claims made. Some scholars have suggested that much of the text in the first 11 chapters was massaged not so much for the purpose of doing history, but of establishing a liturgical tradition. It’s not so much that one needs to interpret Genesis 1-11 metaphorically to avoid conflict with science (that would seem dishonest); it’s that, when you look at the text closely, you come to understand that those parts of Genesis are not so much a narrative as they are a collection of traditional teachings about the origins of the Jewish people. Reading them strictly as history (or worse, as scientific claims) does violence to the text, in my opinion….SH

Comment #135217

Posted by Raging Bee on September 28, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

If a supreme being impregnated itself into a virgin, you don’t think we could examine the virgin and say “Yep, what we have here is a pregnant virgin.”?

Depends on whether the supreme being covered his/her tracks.

Likewise for the walking on water “miracle”. You don’t think we could examine this and say “Yep, this human looking being is really walking on water and not on rocks just below the surface.”?

If someone had been there with the appropriate recording equipment, then we’d have some evidence to go on. But he wasn’t, so we don’t.

Religions like Catholicism teach:

“The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error.”

That doesn’t sound like the reasoning is subjective to me.

It doesn’t sound objective either – note the lack of any mention of how to disprove the errors.

Two points; Miller contradicts himself when he says a supreme being stands outside of nature and a supreme being came and stood in nature via a virgin, and the claim Miller bases his theism on faith alone is false.

You are repeating the same claims over and over without modification, regardless of what others have said here in direct response to said claims. So now you’re both incoherent AND unresponsive. (Not to mention obsessive – why should we CARE what Miller bases his theism on?)

Comment #135218

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 3:52 PM (e)

alienward wrote:

Who said anything about proving Catholic doctrines? Really, what are you trying to get away with here? What if Miller believes the god can be reasoned into existence doctrine just like he believes in the god got a virgin pregnant doctrine? I’m thinking you don’t know too much about Kenneth Miller.

Maybe he does believe that. Like I said, it’s possible to believe that and still hold your own theism based on faith, or deny that scientific proof of God is possible. Hell, Pope JP II said as much once. “However, this faith in God who reveals himself, also finds support in the reasoning of our intelligence when we reflect, we observe that there are not lacking proofs of God’s existence….In speaking of the existence of God we should underline that we are not speaking of proofs in the sense implied by the experimental sciences….Science must recognize its limits and it’s inability to reach the existence of God: it can neither affirm nor deny his existence.”

Or maybe he doesn’t believe it at all. But what Ken Miller keeps actually saying is that science can’t settle the question of God’s existence, and I don’t see any point in speculating about whether he’s lying and he’s actually a secret arch-conservative Catholic who believes he has scientific proof of God but won’t tell us about it.

If you had been reading some of the recent threads in PT about him, you’d know he was recently in Kansas telling creationists not to attack evolution but go attack atheistic interpretations of evolution instead. Attack atheists with faith arguments???

Well, yeah. If he thinks (a)theism’s a matter of faith, how else would you attack it but with faith arguments?

I think Miller’s choice of words there was lousy, and his suggestion that fundamentalists started attacking evolution because Dawkins and Dennett said it’s atheistic is absurd. But he quite clearly argues that science says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of God, so if the fundamentalists have a problem with atheism, they should skip science and go straight to the source. Maybe they should argue against atheist claims of scientific support for atheism, or maybe they should just present their alternate interpretation. Who knows? Dude was vague.

And if you at least know a little about Miller you’d know he believes the god can be reasoned into existence doctrine because he’s told one of cardinals he was wrong that evolution only has an atheistic interpretation because “the age and development of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man … invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator.” quoting from the Catechism which also says, just a couple of paragraphs later:

“The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error.”

Except that, if you’re thinking of this article, Miller’s quote doesn’t include that later bit. So why claim that he believes that part?

I don’t understand what you’re arguing here. Are you saying that he’s a bad Catholic and his beliefs are contrary to doctrine? Maybe he is, but a) every Catholic believes something contrary to some of the Church’s teachings, what with there being several metric tons of them written down over almost two millennia, often self-contradictory, and b) I don’t care.

If, on the other hand, you’re saying that he’s actually a really good and orthodox Catholic who therefore doesn’t mean anything he says about the divide between science and theology…well, okay, I guess he could be. But until there’s actual evidence of him being a compulsive liar, why worry about it?

I think it makes perfect sense to (on the approriate forum) point out holes in Miller’s theology, but to attack him as not actually believing it doesn’t seem like anyone’s job but the Holy Roman Inquisition’s. (And I mean that literally; I’m not trying to compare you to Torquemada or anything.)

It’s really pretty simple. Stands outside of nature means does not stand inside nature. It’s what Miller says in his weak attempt to hide his god from science when he says: “A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature.” When his god was inside that virgin, walking on water, and so on while he was on the planet, he was most definitely inside of nature.

And yet he was still doing things like walking on water and resurrecting the dead, apparently by no known natural method. So what does it really mean to say he was “inside of nature” at the time? Hell, he was apparently still outside the universe simultaneously, being his own father and such.

More importantly, I don’t think Miller denies that a god could make itself known to science, or indeed has done so. Miracles have happened, according to him. But they’re not happening right now, at least not where we can observe them. I’m sure if Jesus reappeared to humanity accompanied by rains of blood and choirs of angels or whatever, Ken Miller would stop saying “science has nothing to do with God” and start saying “Over there! See? I told ya!” But not yet.

Comment #135219

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 3:53 PM (e)

infamous wrote:

And your point is? Science cannot disprove God. End of story. However, atheists make it seem as though it already HAS. That’s ridiculous. Atheists (i.e. Dawkins) who step over the line are, in ‘Rev Dr’s’ words, “self-righteous arrogant pricks.”

Dawkins doesn’t say science can disprove God. He has repeatedly stated that it’s impossible either to prove or disprove that. The strongest statement he’s made is that “We cannot prove that there is no God, but we can safely conclude that He is very, very improbable indeed,” and there he’s speaking of a certain God (“a being of colossal intelligence.”) I happen to still think that’s wrong–I don’t think probability calculations have any meaning in this context–but he’s very clear that theism can’t be disproven.

In practice he thinks scientific knowledge can weaken theism, but it depends on the basis of belief in the latter. In an interview Dawkins said,

I find that the reason that I am no longer religious is that the argument from design has been undermined by evolution. So if the basis for your religion is the argument from design, if the reason why you are religious is that you look at the world and you say, “Isn’t it beautifully designed! Isn’t it elegant! Isn’t it complicated!” then Darwinism really does pull the rug out from under that argument. If your reason for being religious has nothing to do with that, if your reason for being religious is some still, small voice inside you which utterly convinces you, then the argument from design, I suppose, has no bearing on that. But what, I think, Darwinism has done is utterly to destroy the argument from design which, I believe, is probably, historically, the dominant reason for believing in a supernatural being.

Which I also disagree with (and so does PZ, as mentioned earlier), but there you go.

Comment #135220

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Gosh, Carol, I would have thought the Sumerians would have noticed a “large but local” “Flood” in their immediate neighborhood, don’t you?

If by “large but local” we mean–as we necessarily must–one large enough to require Noah to stock up and preserve all the regionally-deistributed animals of any size? Rather larger than just, “that bigger than usual seasonal flood of the Euphrates ten years ago,” since floods of that kind don’t seem to have required similar efforts at biota-preservation, or to have wiped out/genomically-constrained any animals that we are aware of, eh?

So, setting aside–perhaps only for the nonce–what you apparently choose to regard as hand-waveable (the lack of any notable gaps in the archeological or written records of Sumerian civilization), why don’t you address the disparities in the lion/cheetah genomes?

You agree–as I think you must–that both were animals that ranged across Mesopotamia in Noachian times, yes? We see the cheetah depicted on Sumerian and Assyrian objects from the relevant timeframe, and the lion is a crittur attested in the OT.

You agree–as I think you must–that the cheetah genome shows the effects of a genetic bottleneck, whereas the lion genome does not.

Why the difference?

Comment #135222

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 4:00 PM (e)

Alien wrote:
Likewise for the walking on water “miracle”. You don’t think we could examine this and say “Yep, this human looking being is really walking on water and not on rocks just below the surface.”?

Bee replied:
If someone had been there with the appropriate recording equipment, then we’d have some evidence to go on. But he wasn’t, so we don’t.

The problem is that there’s never anyone there with the appropriate recording equipment, or for that matter, measuring tool, sample bucket or even a good notepad.

There’s never an unambiguously neutral witness. There’s never a plaster cast of that second set of footprints. There’s never anything that can be independently verified.

Umm, that’s kind of a problem if we posit an onmipresent, all powerful, god, with his fingers in everything, all the time.

Comment #135223

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 4:02 PM (e)

stevaroni wrote:

So if there’s a “rational demonstration” out there for God, please, by all means, bring it out, I want to see it.

You’d probably be disappointed. As I understand it, according to many Catholic theologians and popes (though I don’t know if this is official doctrine or not), a bunch of those old arguments-for-God like the first-cause argument and the ontological argument are conclusive, logically airtight proofs of God……except that they don’t necessarily seem conclusive or logically airtight to believers, because our senses and reasoning powers are all screwed up by sin and unbelief. See, for instance, the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Yes, this does apparently mean that circular reasoning is a good thing. Mysterious ways….

Comment #135225

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 4:11 PM (e)

Then, Carol, we have these restricted ranges for three gerbil species (the species is given first, followed by the geographical range):

Source: http://www.gerbil-info.com/species.htm.

Gerbillus mesopotamiae (Harrison’s gerbil)
Tigris-Euphrates Valley in Iraq and western Iran

Gerbillus allenbyi (Allenby’s gerbil)
coastal Israel

Gerbillus henleyi (Henley’s gerbil, Pygmy dipodil)
Algeria to Israel and Arabian Peninsula

You’ll note that the range of Harrison’s gerbil is restricted to Mesopotamia. Surely, therefore, there would be no Harrison’s gerbil if (a) Noah did not save two (seven, whatever) of these little fellers, unless (b) the Harrison’s gerbil is the product of a recent in-migration from a “parent” gerbil species that originally ranged outside Mesopotamia.

In case (a), of course, we would expect to see something like the cheetah “founder” event situation (except presumably dateable, at least approximately, to 5 kya, rather than 10). These effects ought to stand out markedly be comparison with, say, the Allenby’s and Henley’s gerbils, no?

In caase (b), of course, we ought to be able to compare the genome of G. mesopotamiae with those of various other gerbil species from the surrounding areas (perhaps Allenby’s and Henley’s; perhaps others), and–using standard techniques–determine which was the likeliest “parent” species and, even, at what point mesopotamiae diverged from that species. Right?

And, again, since the Flood would’ve wiped out any precursor gerbils in Mesopotamia not fortunate enough to be scooped up by Noah, then we should expect to find some genomic evidence that mesopotamiae only took advantage of the situation to colonize Mesopotamia since 5 kya? Right?

I predict, of course, that we won’t find evidence of any such effects, since I see no reasonable evidence of a sufficiently “large but local” Mesopotamian flood as would have required Noah to take the steps directed by Yahweh.

You must, I think, expect to find evidence of the kinds of effects suggested above. Right?

If not, why not, specifically?

Comment #135226

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

Depends on whether the supreme being covered his/her tracks.

sorry, but you KNOW that is the lamest position you could possibly take in this argument.

example:

god covered his virgin impregnation by making it look like the guy the woman was married to was the father.

surely you see the problem with that….or do you?

i wonder sometimes.

Comment #135227

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 4:21 PM (e)

If you know something I don’t know about this, by all means let us know.

that’s Carol, in a nutshell.

tommorrow she will have entirely displaced all the information you impart to her.

why bother?

Comment #135229

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 4:28 PM (e)

Surely, therefore, there would be no Harrison’s gerbil if Noah did not save two of these little fellers

Maybe they just swim really well.

Or the surface tension of water was much higher in those days, allowing the little guys to walk out of harms way (hell, if starlight could have slowed down 150,000% since the creation, why should the properties of water be a constant?).

Comment #135230

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 4:31 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

Gosh, Carol, I would have thought the Sumerians would have noticed a “large but local” “Flood” in their immediate neighborhood, don’t you?

Particularly a “large but local flood” which covered all the nearby mountains. Even Ken Ham figured that one out. A flood rising to mountain-covering depth–or even foothill-covering depth, let’s be generous–cannot conceivably be local.

If by “large but local” we mean–as we necessarily must–one large enough to require Noah to stock up and preserve all the regionally-distributed animals of any size?

Including, let us not forget, birds. Such as, famously, ravens. This flood is apparently so big that even ravens could neither evacuate to dry land outside the affected area during its 40-day rise, nor recolonize the area from outside after the water receded.

Oh, and no raven species is even roughly confined to Mesopotamia, so extinction was out of the question.

But maybe the literal meaning of “raven” in this case is “lizard” or something. You never can tell with literal translations.

Comment #135233

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

C’mon, Sir Toe, you’re just not thinking the implications through to their logical conclusions–most unlike you!

See, even if my gerbils don’t get Carol all hot to, uh, y’know, perform comparative genetic studies, I would absolutely expect all the “scientists” at AIG and–what was the name of Nurse Bettinke’s escapee?–“Doc” Martin’s boys over at creation_the_web (or whatever the heck blittherage the poor kid kept linking to) to be hitting the Templeton Foundation up for money to go snag some Mideast gerbils right this minute!

And I would likewise expect Bush’s fundy base to immediately reverse their position on the Iraq War! Think about it: here you’ve got a crittur whose genome could well be harboring Scientific Proof of Noah’s flood–and its range is restricted to a red-hot War Zone!

I mean, give me a break! Forget WMDs and a fledgling democracy (or is it an incipient Civil War?–I can’t keep the Rumsfeld-speak straight): this war is threatening a unique Biblical treasure trove–the genome of the unique, invaluable, irreplaceable, and threatened G. mesopotamiae.

I’ve already ordered my bumpersticker:

End A War! Save A Gerbil!

Comment #135246

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 5:13 PM (e)

[the “scientists” at AIG ] hitting the Templeton Foundation up for money to go snag some Mideast gerbils right this minute!

lol.

However, in that case I think the AIG folks would be more interested in funding a study investigating the motivations of people who abuse gerbils sexually. I’m sure their hypothesis would be that it is somehow correlated with acceptance of evolutionary theory.

Comment #135247

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 5:17 PM (e)

Nah, that’s a german legend.

I mean a gere-bil legend.

I mean an urb-il legend.

I mean…

Well, you know what I mean!

Comment #135250

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 5:32 PM (e)

exactly.

all the more reason AIG would want to investigate it and tie it to “darwinism”.

Comment #135252

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 5:43 PM (e)

stevaroni wrote:

Or the surface tension of water was much higher in those days, allowing the little guys to walk out of harms way (hell, if starlight could have slowed down 150,000% since the creation, why should the properties of water be a constant?).

Then poor Simon Peter must have set foot on the lake just before the tension dropped below the threshold for bearing his weight. All is explained!

Comment #135255

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 28, 2006 5:54 PM (e)

Boy, disagree with the holy Caledonian once or twice, be branded stupid forever.

Whatever you do, don’t let him think you are a theist. He’ll NEVER let you go.

Comment #135256

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 28, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

The problem is that the natural world seems to work quite well without any observable supernatural intervention.

Of course, it also works quite well without any observable human emotions.

Just ask Dr Skinner.

;)

Comment #135260

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on September 28, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

What point are you trying to make?

“Religion is stupid !!!!!!!”

That’s all any of PZ’s puppies ever say. (shrug)

Comment #135263

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 6:10 PM (e)

Then poor Simon Peter must have set foot on the lake just before the tension dropped below the threshold for bearing his weight. All is explained!

Ya know, I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but my surface tension explanation might be the key to how a local flood in Mesopotamia could be deep enough to cover the mountains, but not flood over them and inundate the rest of the world!

Wow! I made creationist science! That was sooooomuch easier than the old-fashioned science I do every day with all those heavy power supplies and pesky wires and such.

Maybe I’ll write a book! Or do a video! I can see it now, all I need is an ice-cube tray and some blue jello!

I’ll call it the “Surface Tension overload Law”, or SToL. I think that’ll match SLoT nicely.

See you guys later. I’m off to be rich! I suppose I’ll have to sell my soul, I wonder if it hurts much when they go to rip it out?

Comment #135264

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 6:10 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

And I would likewise expect Bush’s fundy base to immediately reverse their position on the Iraq War! Think about it: here you’ve got a crittur whose genome could well be harboring Scientific Proof of Noah’s flood–and its range is restricted to a red-hot War Zone!

Unfortunately, all potential proof of just about everything in the Bible is to be found somewhere around there, and it doesn’t stop half of humanity from fighting over the area very enthusiastically.

The fundamentalists, after all, are anticipating upcoming eyewitness proof of Jesus’ return–and slaughter of the heathens and so forth–so wiping out Japheth’s Water-Walking Gerbil is only a minor setback, science-wise.

Comment #135269

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 6:19 PM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

The problem is that the natural world seems to work quite well without any observable supernatural intervention.

Of course, it also works quite well without any observable human emotions.

Just ask Dr Skinner.

Not at all; Skinner even reported on observable pigeon emotions.

Comment #135270

Posted by David B. Benson on September 28, 2006 6:22 PM (e)

Well, I dislike having to introduce a note of rationality and empirical geological evidence into this ‘discussion’, but:

SSW of Al Nasriyah, Iraq, there is an extremely large lens of detritus which is clearly a flood deposit. It is large enough to be visible in satellite photos and is about 10–20 meters thick at the maximum.

While I do not know the age of this flood deposit, other evidence from further south suggests about 10,000 years ago. But you know how geologists are: what’s a few thousand years among friends?

Comment #135272

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 6:38 PM (e)

SSW of Al Nasriyah, Iraq, there is an extremely large lens of detritus which is clearly a flood deposit. It is large enough to be visible in satellite photos

Isn’t most of the area between Al Nasriyah and Al Basrah pretty much the floodplain of the Euphrates, historically swampy land much like the low-lying delta region around New Orleans?

As I understood it, that’s the entire point of the Gilgamesh story. It was something the people of the region could understand, since they were familiar with the phenomenon?

Comment #135273

Posted by Sir_Toejam on September 28, 2006 6:41 PM (e)

See you guys later. I’m off to be rich! I suppose I’ll have to sell my soul, I wonder if it hurts much when they go to rip it out?

ask Dembski, I’m sure he knows.

Comment #135274

Posted by David B. Benson on September 28, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

I said SSW,not ESE. It’s out in the desert, which is why it shows nicely in satellite photos.

Comment #135276

Posted by Caledonian on September 28, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

Boy, disagree with the holy Caledonian once or twice, be branded stupid forever.

No: make particularly stupid comments two or more times, and be branded as stupid until you say something intelligent.

I think we’re going to be waiting a while in your case.

The supernatural is only meaningful if you have preconceived ideas about what limits should be placed on nature. Science eschews preconceived limits on the things it studies. Thus, science rejects the concept of the supernatural.

This is so blatantly obvious than only Lenny could miss it.

Comment #135280

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 7:01 PM (e)

David’s debris lens, however intriguing, isn’t a problem–for me, anyway, heh heh–in my discussion with Carol.

Being confined to an area SSW of Al Nasriyah, it falls beyond the key Mesopotamian locus that we, ahem, OT scholars need to worry about, that is, the home of Abraham (and, presumably, the ‘hood of the preceding Biblical patriarchs):

The remains of Ur are called today “Tell el-Mukayyar” and can be found near the city of Nasiriyah, south of Baghdad in modern day Iraq.

Thusly, a flood, howsoever elsewise impressive, that wipeth out only an area SSW of Ur/Al Nasriyah, rather than Ur itself along with most of “Mesopotamia,” is simply not sufficiently “large but local” enough to detain us further.

(Though the 10 kya date is suspiciously coincidental with our cheetah “bottleneck” date: could David’s debris deposit conceal the legendary “lost graveyard of the cheetahs”?)

Note further that there is at least one gerbil species whose range is confined to the area of S of Al Nasriyah, so–even were we to seriously pursue the notion that David’s debris does evidence THE flood–my gerbil genome hypotheses would merely need to be reframed using a different set of indicator species.

Finally, while I respect the point that the mere fact that the Mideast is the Holy Land and the cradle of civilization does not seem to have insulated the area from violence to date, Stevie’s Gerbil Hypothesis has now upped the stakes considerably–this is now Bible True or False, put-up-or-shut-up material, all wrapped up in the guise of a cute furry little mammal of a “kind,” ahem, that many fundamentalist families have found endearing enough to entrust to the care of their cheerful children and rear in their very own homes!

Spread the word: End A War! Save A Gerbil!

Comment #135283

Posted by David B. Benson on September 28, 2006 7:14 PM (e)

I guess I need to say how such a lens is formed: The water carrying the rocks, etc., which are to become the lens has to SLOW DOWN in order to drop its load. There are several possible ways for the slow down to occur. The simplest is to enter a big body of water. More complex is the increase in the downwater slope size of the lens is enough to slow the water, causing some of it to run off to the sides. I am only an amateur at this, but I have observed both forms of development (of MUCH smaller lens) in the mountain rivers and lakes not far from this very keyboard.

But from the size, it is fair to conclude that a extreme rainfall event, localized to some tens (at most a few hundreds) of square kilometers, occur ed. Might get a right bit wet in Ur…

Comment #135285

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 7:27 PM (e)

Instructive, and a fair point–it must certainly have been tough on those cheetahs (as they say about an avalanche, the ride in the cloud of snow isn’t the hard part, it’s when it all comes to a stop and packs around you with the density of wet concrete, that you know you’re in trouble…).

Fact remains, Ur is still in place, archaeologically speaking. However wet it did or did not get at times after it was founded, it seems unlikely to have survived David’s debris event at all. That Ur is still in situ strongly suggests, in and of itself, that it was not subjected to a cataclysmic flood event of the size suggested by: (a) Carol’s regional-but-not-global “Genesis-correctly-translated” theory, or (b) by David’s massive debris-lens forming event, much less by a worldwide “Genesis-incorrectly-translated” global-cataclysm theory.

Ur stayed, ergo *coughcough*, any cataclysmic flood in the area ur-curred before Ur’s founding.

Comment #135288

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 7:29 PM (e)

And some of you (we know who you are) were sure that I was going to end that last sentence with “Ur’s Ur-ection.”

Ha! Tactless I may be, but tasteless I’m not.

Comment #135292

Posted by David B. Benson on September 28, 2006 7:36 PM (e)

steviepinhead — Good for you! If this big but local flood occurred after the founding of Ur I, I’ll guess maybe 10–20 centimeters or so of flooding in the fields. Without somebody actually bothering to go out there, collect some rocks and attempt some radio-dating (if possible at all) dating this event (or series of events) can only be done rather indirectly. From paleoclimate data in the Arabian Peninsula, I have hazarded the guess that THIS big flood occur ed during the wet times down south there. That would have been about 10,000 years ago, plus or minus a few thousand. I consider it, sans the dating mentioned, most unlikely to be as recent as 5,000 years ago.

Comment #135296

Posted by infamous on September 28, 2006 7:45 PM (e)

“No, all science has done is demonstrate that God is not necessary, since he apparently deigns not to interact with the physical world in any measurable way.

He could still exist, science has no problem with that. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to do anything down here. At least nothing that has any demonstrable physical effect.”

In a way… that’s the point.
“Verily thou art a hidden God…” Isaiah 45:15
Dr. Miller talks about this in Finding Darwin’s God. It’s kinda the reason we have a little thing called faith… don’t take that too far though.

Comment #135302

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 8:04 PM (e)

David B. Benson wrote:

But from the size, it is fair to conclude that a extreme rainfall event, localized to some tens (at most a few hundreds) of square kilometers, occur ed. Might get a right bit wet in Ur…

Since Ur’s in a floodplain, wouldn’t it mean that the rainfall happened somewhere to the north, and the water simply collected in Ur? The Urese would still get wet, of course.

And, also since Ur’s in a floodplain, and indeed a good chunk of Mesopotamia is made up of floodplains, would there be any reason to think this particular flood–even if it’s a big ‘un–would be primarily responsible for the local myths? They got more floods than haircuts down there.

Seems to me it’s rather like the search for the “historical Atlantis,” where you come up with a couple dozen settlements, societies, civilizations, etc….on islands, coasts, isthmuses, etc….that got blown up by volcanoes, covered by rising sea levels, destroyed by warfare or economic collapse, etc….somewhere between 20,000 and 1,000 BC. You can’t really point to one of them and go “That one!”

Comment #135310

Posted by David B. Benson on September 28, 2006 8:20 PM (e)

Anton, it is certainly the case that the fertile crescent flooded, many times. That’s why it was fertile, after all. I just pointed out that a long time ago there was a very big event. Lens that thick are extremely rare.

But my favorite big flood, at about the right time, was the filling of the Black Sea. I mentioned that before…

Comment #135320

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

David B. Benson wrote:

Anton, it is certainly the case that the fertile crescent flooded, many times. That’s why it was fertile, after all. I just pointed out that a long time ago there was a very big event. Lens that thick are extremely rare.

Ah, I see. Do you think that’s a matter of sampling bias (Ur being extremely intensively studied by archeologists and all) or genuine rarity?

Comment #135321

Posted by stevaroni on September 28, 2006 8:55 PM (e)

I said SSW,not ESE. It’s out in the desert, which is why it shows nicely in satellite photos.

Well, the Euphrates channel has likely wandered quite a bit over the millenea, like many large, slow rivers in soft floodplains, so it might be difficult to tell exactly where the historical channels were,

But if it did flood in a particularly unusual pattern, say, out into previously safe agicultural regions to the west, it would certainly stand out from the regular spring flood in the region. If humans were around farming or hearding in the area, it would probably be a memorable event, especially if it were big. Maybe you have found the Gilgamesh flood.

Comment #135324

Posted by David B. Benson on September 28, 2006 9:05 PM (e)

Anton & stevaronion — The lens is way the hell out in the desert. I doubt that any scientist knew about it before looking at the satellite photos. I am an amateur geologist and a lens this big and, especially, thick is genuinely rare.

I am no expert on the changes of the course of those rivers over time, but I doubt that far to the south.

Gilgamesh is thought to be Ur III, about 6,000 years ago, yes? I expressed my doubts about the event or events being anywhere near so recent. Nonetheless, memories of a really big, unexpected flood are likely to have been long lasting…

Comment #135333

Posted by Anton Mates on September 28, 2006 9:24 PM (e)

David B. Benson wrote:

Anton & stevaronion — The lens is way the hell out in the desert. I doubt that any scientist knew about it before looking at the satellite photos.

Oh, my mistake. I poked around in Google very briefly and thought you were talking about the alluvial deposit found in Ur.

So this was first discovered from satellite data? How cool.

Comment #135335

Posted by Raging Bee on September 28, 2006 9:26 PM (e)

Caledonian bloviated thusly:

No: make particularly stupid comments two or more times, and be branded as stupid until you say something intelligent…

You mean “particularly stupid comments” like the ones that got YOU kicked off Ed Brayton’s blog?

Sorry if we “disgust” you, dude, but you’re really not the one to lecture us about stupid comments. Go back to bed.

Comment #135337

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 28, 2006 9:28 PM (e)

Stevie,

Just so you don’t think I am ignoring you, I am in fact intrigued by the gerbils you brought up (Harrison’s et al) but need to inform myself more about them. Perhaps we are on to something here. Key questions are:

(1) Was Harrison’s gerbil confined to Mesopotamia, not today, but 5000 years ago? And could we tell? If it was wider ranging at that time, the rescued 2 or seven could have interbred with outside members after the flood and became confined to mesopotamia more recently than the flood. In which case we come up empty handed yet again.

(2) Are there other species as inter-bred as cheetahs?

As far as the Sumerians “noticing” the flood, the problem is that the documentary record currently in our hands is too fragmented and unreliable to be of help here. Similar problems for the Bible come up in other areas, such as the large number of slaves escaping all at once (the exodus) and the destruction of the Egyptian army at the time of the crossing of the sea. And the solution offered by most scholars is the same - the absence we see in the record is not nearly conclusive of anything.

As far as the archeological evidence is concerned, my understanding is that the area was definitely flood-prone and that the dating techniques don’t have a high enough resolution to pinpoint the time, even to the nearest century.

The cheetah/lion issue doesn’t concern us at all. Both these fellas were not confined to the area of interest. Whatever level of inter-breeding they exhibit today must then be a consequence of other phenomena, in other places.

Comment #135342

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 28, 2006 9:40 PM (e)

But, Carol, didn’t we conclude on some other thread recently that Harrison’s gerbils were the “cud-chewing” rabbits?

When “rabbits” was *correctly* translated?

Hmmm. Maybe not.

Guess we’ll have to go back to those stelae, and see if any of them depict gerbils…

Comment #135373

Posted by alienward on September 28, 2006 11:15 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

Or maybe he doesn’t believe it at all. But what Ken Miller keeps actually saying is that science can’t settle the question of God’s existence, and I don’t see any point in speculating about whether he’s lying and he’s actually a secret arch-conservative Catholic who believes he has scientific proof of God but won’t tell us about it.

Are you thinking reason and science are the same thing?

Well, yeah. If he thinks (a)theism’s a matter of faith, how else would you attack it but with faith arguments?

How about arguments based on reason? When Miller says:

“But the Cardinal is wrong in asserting that the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution is inherently atheistic.”

Does Miller explain why his Cardinal is wrong by quoting some scripture or does he present an argument based on reason?

Except that, if you’re thinking of this article, Miller’s quote doesn’t include that later bit. So why claim that he believes that part?

Because Miller presents arguments for theism based on reason in his talks and book that mostly bash creationism.

I don’t understand what you’re arguing here. Are you saying that he’s a bad Catholic and his beliefs are contrary to doctrine? Maybe he is, but a) every Catholic believes something contrary to some of the Church’s teachings, what with there being several metric tons of them written down over almost two millennia, often self-contradictory, and b) I don’t care.

Good one – about the volume of teachings and noting they are often self-contradictory. This is easily seen in Miller’s telling his cardinal he’s wrong more than once in the same article;

“Cardinal Schönborn also errs in his implicit support of the “intelligent design” movement in the United States.”

Ok, I’ll play your little game of insinuating I’m just trying to put Miller down. Is Miller telling Cardinal Schönborn that he’s a bad Catholic and his beliefs are contrary to doctrine?

If, on the other hand, you’re saying that he’s actually a really good and orthodox Catholic who therefore doesn’t mean anything he says about the divide between science and theology…well, okay, I guess he could be. But until there’s actual evidence of him being a compulsive liar, why worry about it?

He’s not a liar, he just contradicts himself just like the teachings of his church. Contradiction is just a fundemental problem of theism.

And yet he was still doing things like walking on water and resurrecting the dead, apparently by no known natural method. So what does it really mean to say he was “inside of nature” at the time? Hell, he was apparently still outside the universe simultaneously, being his own father and such.

Ask Miller, he’s the one who said it; “A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature.” If his supreme being was both outside and inside nature as you say, then it was available to science.

Comment #135466

Posted by demallien on September 29, 2006 5:31 AM (e)

stevaroni wrote:

Ya know, I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but my surface tension explanation might be the key to how a local flood in Mesopotamia could be deep enough to cover the mountains, but not flood over them and inundate the rest of the world!

You know, I was getting all excited about this theory of yours, Steve. I was starting to wonder if it could explain the layering of fossils. But then a horrible thought crossed my mind - if the surface tension of the water was so high, why did Noah need to build an ark in the first place?

Ha! you didn’t think of that, did you now!

Comment #135518

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 29, 2006 8:34 AM (e)

Stevie,

Upon further reflection it seems to me that we ought start a campaign for funding the “Harrison’s gerbil project”. Whatever it reveals about the level of diversity among those creatures, I cannot lose but you just may lose big time.

If the evidence reveals ordinary levels of diversity , well they may not have been limited to Mesopotamia about 5000 years ago. If the evidence shows a low level of diversity, then the Biblical local flood with Noah story is given a huge boost, particularly if the bottleneck turns out to have occured about 5000 years ago.

Comment #135530

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 29, 2006 9:07 AM (e)

Caledonian wrote:

No: make particularly stupid comments two or more times, and be branded as stupid until you say something intelligent.

And what, exactly, have I said stupid? I really don’t get where this antagonism is coming from. We haven’t even had a conversation before this thread, and our conversation here consists solely of you calling me stupid and claiming I incorrectly invoked “No True Scotsman”, and me trying to get you to explain why I was incorrect.

Can I take it from the fact that you have decided not to answer any of my questions that you cannot answer them?

Caledonian wrote:

I think we’re going to be waiting a while in your case.

Given your next statement, I’d have to say I’m not exactly holding my breath in your case.

Caledonian wrote:

The supernatural is only meaningful if you have preconceived ideas about what limits should be placed on nature. Science eschews preconceived limits on the things it studies. Thus, science rejects the concept of the supernatural.

Okay, here’s a REALLY stupid statement from me: I agree entirely. It’s why I consider the word “supernatural” completely worthless, not just as science, but period. If fairies exist, fairies are natural. If fairies can wave their hands and turn straw into gold, then that is also natural. The distinction between “natural” and “supernatural” makes no sense, especially as some barrier to scientific investigation. As long as effect follows cause, science can investigate.

Having said that, what in the world is your statement doing in this thread? At what point in this conversation has the distinction between natural and supernatural even come up? We’re talking about “No True Scotsman” and you’re bringing up a total non-sequitur. Please don’t call me stupid if you can’t keep the current subject of conversation in mind for a total of three posts.

Are you confusing me with someone else?

Caledonian wrote:

This is so blatantly obvious than only Lenny could miss it.

You know, I don’t always agree with Lenny and I certainly don’t always like his attitude, but at least he’s never called me stupid for disagreeing with him or asking him to clarify a point he was trying to make.

I have asked you to clarify your point regarding NTSF. You haven’t. You call me stupid for asking? Sorry, no dice.

Do yourself a huge favor and get over yourself.

Okay, on to more pleasant conversation.

Anton Mates wrote:

Seems to me it’s rather like the search for the “historical Atlantis,” where you come up with a couple dozen settlements, societies, civilizations, etc….on islands, coasts, isthmuses, etc….that got blown up by volcanoes, covered by rising sea levels, destroyed by warfare or economic collapse, etc….somewhere between 20,000 and 1,000 BC. You can’t really point to one of them and go “That one!”

I keep trying to make this point in various forums. Humans exaggerate things that happen to them.

People who live near glaciers tell stories about the time the world was covered in ice. People who live in forests with regular forest fires tell stories of the fire that wiped out the world. People who live in flood-prone areas tell of the REALLY BIG FLOOD.

Nothing her is a surprise, anymore than mythology is replete with really big lizards, really big lions, really big fish, etc.

Perhaps uniquely among animals, we tell stories. Stories exaggerate overtime. We make them more interesting. We fail to understand perspective shifts.

(A classic example of the former was my father telling me about a big snow storm of his youth, saying “The snow got up to here!” and holding his hand just below his shoulders. Mom asked, “And how tall were you at the time?” Well, not that tall…)

There’s no need for there to be a flood to inspire the Noah/Gilgamesh tale anymore than it’s necessary for there to have been a really big lizard to inspire dragon myths. There may have been one, I don’t know, but it’s not necessary.

demallien wrote:

You know, I was getting all excited about this theory of yours, Steve. I was starting to wonder if it could explain the layering of fossils. But then a horrible thought crossed my mind - if the surface tension of the water was so high, why did Noah need to build an ark in the first place?

That problem is there anyway. Why would an omnipotent god make some poor shmuck build a boat that can’t possibly work without a stream of miracles instead of just making everyone he wanted dead die with a snap of His fingers? No need to destroy all the local ecosystems, just *poof* their gone! God could have saved himself and Noah a whole lot of work and not had to slaughter millions of innocent animals or made the poor woodpeckers starve for hundreds of years while waiting for old-growth forests to regenerate.

Comment #135576

Posted by roophy on September 29, 2006 11:23 AM (e)

I am almost exclusively a lurker (i.e. learner) in this forum, but also increasingly intrigued by the “Clouser Syndrome” and just wish to vent my curiosity aloud.

Taking full advantage of the fact that the majority of us are not scholars in Hebrew linguistics (although we may otherwise be accomplished linguists), she frequently (if not invariably) brandishes “the original Hebrew Bible”, adorned by such concepts as the unique, unequivocal meaning of Hebrew words in it.

Known Hebrew literature prior to the late 6th century BC consists exclusively of (some of) the books of the OT. How do we determine the single, unequivocal meaning of words from a single body of writing, with nothing to compare it with?

It is generally accepted that some of this “biblical” literature originated at least six centuries earlier. But when was it first written down? Which written copy is Carol’s “real” original Hebrew text?

It defies all logic that, whereas subsequent translations into various generations of Greek, Latin and ultimately English or Swahili are naturally erratic, there should be one unquestioned, literal, written text in Hebrew universally understood to mean what Carol says it does. I respectfully submit that she builds her appearance of paramount expertise in this matter exclusively on our own perceived ignorance.

Comment #135651

Posted by stevaroni on September 29, 2006 1:28 PM (e)

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Comment #135657

Posted by stevaroni on September 29, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

It defies all logic that, whereas subsequent translations … are naturally erratic, there should be one unquestioned, literal, written text in Hebrew universally understood to mean what Carol says it does.

Seems ike it would be simple enough for Carol to just provide her translation and get it over with.

Yes, there are always some phrases that won’t translate perfectly from one language to another (deja vu’ comes to mind) but I don’t mind wading through lots of footnotes.

Comment #135659

Posted by stevaroni on September 29, 2006 1:37 PM (e)

demallien wrote:

You know, I was getting all excited about this theory of yours, Steve. I was starting to wonder if it could explain the layering of fossils. But then a horrible thought crossed my mind - if the surface tension of the water was so high, why did Noah need to build an ark in the first place?

Well duh! Noah had to build the ark because God told him to build an ark.

Now ix-nay on the ience-say, demallien, you’re screwing up my plans for a book tour!

Comment #135668

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 29, 2006 1:52 PM (e)

Upon further reflection it seems to me that we ought start a campaign for funding the “Harrison’s gerbil project”. Whatever it reveals about the level of diversity among those creatures, I cannot lose but you just may lose big time.

If the evidence reveals ordinary levels of diversity , well they may not have been limited to Mesopotamia about 5000 years ago. If the evidence shows a low level of diversity, then the Biblical local flood with Noah story is given a huge boost, particularly if the bottleneck turns out to have occured about 5000 years ago.

Carol, I agree completely, although since Creationism–in one form or another–potentially has the most to gain by way of this research, I can’t understand why Creationist organizations all over the world–and particularly those who claim to employ or include “credentialed” scientists–aren’t jumping all over this proposal.

you just may lose big time.

If by “you” here, we reference not merely Steviepinhead, but Science, then of course this is precisely the risk that “real” Science and “real” scientists investigating testable hypotheses to formulate theories that explain large masses of observations embrace every day–

–but it’s a risk that Creationism (in its various forms) and Creationist “scientists” virtually never subject themselves to.

Until a funding source for the Pinhead Gerbil Genome project can be located, however, I am pursuing a word-of-mouth public relations campaign designed to preserve these critical critturs from the havoc wrought by political adventurism–

Spread the word: End A War! Save A Gerbil!

Comment #135673

Posted by Flint on September 29, 2006 2:09 PM (e)

Known Hebrew literature prior to the late 6th century BC consists exclusively of (some of) the books of the OT. How do we determine the single, unequivocal meaning of words from a single body of writing, with nothing to compare it with?

Someone hasn’t been paying attention here. We make this determination by fiat. If you disagree with my fiat, you are wrong and must go originate your own damn sect. Then your sect can declare mine wrong by fiat. How else does ANYTHING come true in the Land of Religious Faith?

Comment #135714

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 29, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

roophy,

“I am almost exclusively a lurker (i.e. learner) in this forum, but also increasingly intrigued by the “Clouser Syndrome” and just wish to vent my curiosity aloud.”

Glad to have you emerge from the shadows. I frquently wonder what the thousands of lurkers are thinking.

A few points for clarification:

(1) By “original” I simply mean “as opposed to the translations” we commonly use today.

(2) If the Bible is divinely inspired, surely the original is that lucky document. I know some folks sometimes claim that the translators were also so inspired, but that seems very far-fetched to most of us.

(3) So, believers have no choice but to turn to the words of the Hebrew for guidance, inspiration and truth. The issue of what those words mean thus cannot be avoided. Reading the translations is no substitute.

(4) Textual analysis CAN be performed reasonably rigorously in the case of words that are used thousands of times in the OT, which is a rather huge document with millions of words.

(5) And let us not forget the oral tradition that CAME WITH the document, that can be traced all the way up to the creators of the document! Straight to the horses mouth!

(6) So, the generalities you discuss don’t amount to much. If you disagree with any particular translation, by all means let us discuss and debate. I am convinced that the translations I defend have much going for them. Of course, anybody could be wrong.

Comment #135728

Posted by Peter Henderson on September 29, 2006 4:10 PM (e)

Michael wrote:

The distinction between “natural” and “supernatural” makes no sense, especially as some barrier to scientific investigation. As long as effect follows cause, science can investigate.

A number of years ago, one of the TV stations here in the UK had a programme looking at superstitions. In one of the stunts, they placed a ladder against the wall of a building with the base at the edge of the footpath next to the road. They then filmed the general public to see how many people either walked around the ladder, or walked underneath. Surprisingly, quite a large number (I think, if I remember correctly, it was a substantial majority)avoided walking “under the ladder”. When asked for a reason as to why they did this, many refused to give a direct answer, and most would not admit they believed in the superstition. I think what the programme proved was that many of us believe in the supernatural more than we would care to admit, even though there is no direct scientific evidence for such things.

Comment #135733

Posted by Flint on September 29, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

Carol:

Surely these texts were laboriously recopied many times, by those who were literate, who just happened to be those with a vested interest in what the texts actually said. And as language evolves (and few of us literate English-speaking people can read the original Chaucer fluently, despite the same length of time we’re talking about with OT texts), to remain accessible the texts must be continuously revised and modernized anyway. Which implies that every instance of words whose meanings or implications or usages have changed would be revised as the vernacular required. Perhaps multiple times - words used by Chaucer weren’t the same as those used by Shakespeare, which in turn aren’t those we use now.

But this means you can’t use multiple instances of the same word being used in the same way as your baseline for extrapolating many centuries into the past. Updating as language evolves over the centuries involves a good deal more than one-for-one synonym substitution; wholesale rewrites in entirely different words are often necessary to preserve the underlying semantics.

I understand that Faith leaves you no options but to presume that the texts in their current (Hebrew) form, however many times or however drastically modified from any original texts, are what “God Must Have Had In Mind Anyway”. But why this is less of a stretch than current English translations escapes me. Must be Faith again, yes? You take in on faith that one series of rewrites changed not a single important word, but one additional rewrite is “too far a stretch”. Faith, of course, remains mysterious to me. It SOUNDS an awful lot like “believing whatever I prefer.”

Comment #135735

Posted by Steviepinhead on September 29, 2006 4:22 PM (e)

I can think of at least one perfectly good reason not to walk under an unsecured overhanging object that has nothing to do with superstition.

Depending on a number of factors, ladders leaning against walls have a distressing tendency to skid outwards. Anyone strolling under the ladder at the (not always precisely predictable) moment when this restoration-to-the-horizontal occurs will receive a knockin’ on the noggin.

It’s a variation of the principle appealed to when the window washers are overhead, and the signs request that you circumvent the likely fall-drip zone beneath them and their tools and conveyance. Likewise the principal reason mountain climbers wear helmets–not to protect them if they take the long drop themselves, but to protect them form unsecured objects (rocks, climbing gear, etc.) falling from above.

Comment #135894

Posted by Raging Bee on September 29, 2006 10:12 PM (e)

Carol: Is this original Hebrew Old Testament a religious text, or is it a historical narrative? You can say it’s both, of course, but if any part of it is a historical narrative, then it is subject to the same scrutiny and analysis as every other historical narrative ever written by humans. Calling it a holy text at the same time, does not exempt the historical bits from the required scrutiny.

Not that this should be a problem for you: it’s perfectly possible for a holy man to be spot-on about God’s will but still wrong about this or that bit of human history. As long as you’re honest, and don’t try to hide from historical analysis behind a religious absolute, everything should be okay.

Comment #135960

Posted by Michael Suttkus, II on September 30, 2006 12:51 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

I understand that Faith leaves you no options but to presume that the texts in their current (Hebrew) form, however many times or however drastically modified from any original texts, are what “God Must Have Had In Mind Anyway”. But why this is less of a stretch than current English translations escapes me.

I’ve certainly encountered creationists making this claim, that the original Hebrew meaning of the Bible was wrong, what God meant, what god REALLY meant, is the KJV as read by modern fundamentalists!

Steviepinhead wrote:

I can think of at least one perfectly good reason not to walk under an unsecured overhanging object that has nothing to do with superstition.

Yeah, I couldn’t even fit under a standard A-frame.

Comment #136002

Posted by Anton Mates on September 30, 2006 2:23 AM (e)

alienward wrote:

Are you thinking reason and science are the same thing?

Nope. I think science is one of assorted activities based on reason.

Well, yeah. If he thinks (a)theism’s a matter of faith, how else would you attack it but with faith arguments?

How about arguments based on reason? When Miller says:

“But the Cardinal is wrong in asserting that the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution is inherently atheistic.”

Does Miller explain why his Cardinal is wrong by quoting some scripture or does he present an argument based on reason?

Attacking the validity of an argument for atheism is not the same as making an argument against it. See also: Dawkins on why evolutionary theory does not prove atheism but in his view demolishes a strong argument for theism. Same argument, different sides.

Because Miller presents arguments for theism based on reason in his talks and book that mostly bash creationism.

Again, neither bashing creationism for scientific inaccuracy, nor bashing creationist theological arguments, nor doing the same to atheist arguments, nor claiming that evolution can inspire a preferred theology, constitute making a scientific argument for Miller’s brand of theism.

He may somewhere in there make a logical argument for the existence of God, and yeah, that would conflict somewhat with a fideist stance. But as I mentioned earlier, a common Catholic view of logic is apparently itself fideist, to the point where they think the faithless aren’t capable of realizing the validity of such an argument.

Ok, I’ll play your little game of insinuating I’m just trying to put Miller down. Is Miller telling Cardinal Schönborn that he’s a bad Catholic and his beliefs are contrary to doctrine?

Doesn’t look like it. Looks like he’s teling the Cardinal that he’s wrong about whether evolutionary theory’s contrary to doctrine. Though for all I know Miller may think Schönborn’s a bad Catholic, and vice versa.

He’s not a liar, he just contradicts himself just like the teachings of his church. Contradiction is just a fundemental problem of theism.

I’ve seen/heard/read of many non-contradictory theistic stances, but sure, Miller may contradict himself. I have yet to see it on this particular question, though.

Ask Miller, he’s the one who said it; “A supreme being stands outside of nature. Science is a naturalistic process and can only answer questions about what is inside nature.” If his supreme being was both outside and inside nature as you say, then it was available to science.

Who in the what now? Miller said that bit about a supreme being standing outside of nature. You said Jesus was a supreme being standing inside nature. I don’t even know what that should mean, let alone what Miller means by it. But if you think you do, by all means contact Miller and argue with him about it. He sounds like he’d enjoy it.

Comment #136003

Posted by Anton Mates on September 30, 2006 2:26 AM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

I can think of at least one perfectly good reason not to walk under an unsecured overhanging object that has nothing to do with superstition.

Yeah, I’m not sure many people these days even know walking under a ladder is supposed to be superstitious. You just naturally don’t walk under large, potentially unstable objects.

Comment #136202

Posted by Henry J on September 30, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

Re “Or the surface tension of water was much higher in those days,”

I’m tempted to wonder what the proposed increased surface tension of water would do to organic bodies containing that water. But on second thought, never mind. :)

Re “to see how many people either walked around the ladder, or walked underneath.”

I’m not sure why going around a ladder would imply superstition - unless one has checked how secure the ladder is, and whether things might be sitting on it that could fall off, I’d say going around it is simply an obvious safety precaution. (Or am I being picky?)

Henry

Comment #136219

Posted by alienward on September 30, 2006 1:53 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

Attacking the validity of an argument for atheism is not the same as making an argument against it. See also: Dawkins on why evolutionary theory does not prove atheism but in his view demolishes a strong argument for theism. Same argument, different sides.

So Miller presents an argument why his cardinal is wrong based on reason not faith. Dang, you took long enough to admit this.

Again, neither bashing creationism for scientific inaccuracy, nor bashing creationist theological arguments, nor doing the same to atheist arguments, nor claiming that evolution can inspire a preferred theology, constitute making a scientific argument for Miller’s brand of theism.

He may somewhere in there make a logical argument for the existence of God, and yeah, that would conflict somewhat with a fideist stance. But as I mentioned earlier, a common Catholic view of logic is apparently itself fideist, to the point where they think the faithless aren’t capable of realizing the validity of such an argument.

I’m not sure where you’re going with this mumbo-jumbo. It really looks like an attempt to hide that you know Catholicism is anti-fideism, but got your self stuck claiming Catholics are fideists. From the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Fideism:

“It is not surprising, therefore, that the Church has condemned such doctrines. In 1348, the Holy See proscribed certain fideistic propositions of Nicholas d’Autrecourt (cf. Denzinger, Enchiridion, 10th ed., nn. 553-570). In his two Encyclicals, one of September, 1832, and the other of July, 1834, Gregory XVI condemned the political and philosophical ideas of Lamenais. On 8 September, 1840, Bautain was required to subscribe to several propositions directly opposed to Fideism, the first and the fifth of which read as follows: “Human reason is able to prove with certitude the existence of God; faith, a heavenly gift, is posterior to revelation, and therefore cannot be properly used against the atheist to prove the existence of God”; and “The use of reason precedes faith and, with the help of revelation and grace, leads to it.””

Dude, please at least go learn the basics so you won’t come back saying the complete opposite of the fundamentals about things like Catholicism and fideism.

I’ve seen/heard/read of many non-contradictory theistic stances, but sure, Miller may contradict himself. I have yet to see it on this particular question, though.

I wonder if we somehow got some Jesus DNA, like off that Shroud of Turin or by finding that cross he was nailed to, and were able to demonstrate Jesus did not have a biological father, if Miller would admit a supreme begin was inside nature and science can answer questions about it?

Who in the what now? Miller said that bit about a supreme being standing outside of nature. You said Jesus was a supreme being standing inside nature. I don’t even know what that should mean, let alone what Miller means by it. But if you think you do, by all means contact Miller and argue with him about it. He sounds like he’d enjoy it.

Miller also said the bit “Jesus was born of a virgin”. Ok, maybe he was only able to lay down at first, but he was most definitely inside nature. I’ll ask Miller the above question if I get the chance.

Comment #136229

Posted by Raging Bee on September 30, 2006 2:20 PM (e)

alienward is calling someone else’s statements “mumbo-jumbo?” That’s hilarious!

Anton’s statements sounded pretty clear and coherent to me, whether or not they’re correct. Perhaps our resident alien has a reading comprehension problem – that might explain his inability to process Miller’s statements without calling them “contradictory.”

Comment #136236

Posted by Anton Mates on September 30, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

alienward wrote:

So Miller presents an argument why his cardinal is wrong based on reason not faith. Dang, you took long enough to admit this.

I think you’re a little confused here. Whether Miller used reason to argue with Schönborn was never in question. Miller uses reason for lots of things, like his scientific work, shopping for groceries and arguing with creationists. But your claim was that Miller uses reason to demonstrate the existence of God. Shooting down Cardinal Schönborn’s “evolution = atheism” argument simply is not the same thing.

Maybe an analogy would help. I can believe in unicorns based on faith. If someone tells me “unicorns can’t exist, because the weight of the horn would snap their necks,” I can use reason to point out why that particular argument against unicorns is silly. That doesn’t mean I’m not a fideist when it comes to why I positively believe in unicorns. Make sense?

I’m not sure where you’re going with this mumbo-jumbo. It really looks like an attempt to hide that you know Catholicism is anti-fideism, but got your self stuck claiming Catholics are fideists. From the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Fideism:

Dude, please at least go learn the basics so you won’t come back saying the complete opposite of the fundamentals about things like Catholicism and fideism.

Uh-huh. Now, from the Catechism:

“Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.”

And, from JP II’s Fides et Ratio,

“Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it. Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfilment, so faith builds upon and perfects reason. Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God.

So. Just as I said, the last Pope signed off on the notion that reason doesn’t work right without faith, and so logical arguments for God’s existence won’t convince the faithless. He’s avoding the label of “fideism” by redefining reason itself to be inherently fideist. That’s actually a more strongly fideist position than, say, Martin Gardner’s.

I wonder if we somehow got some Jesus DNA, like off that Shroud of Turin or by finding that cross he was nailed to, and were able to demonstrate Jesus did not have a biological father, if Miller would admit a supreme begin was inside nature and science can answer questions about it?

I have no idea what he’d say. But I would wonder a) how you could demonstrate Jesus didn’t have a biological father (haploid genome?) and b) how that would tell you whether he was the Earthly incarnation of the creator and preserver of the universe, as opposed to, say, a superpowered mutant or alien construct.

Comment #136333

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 30, 2006 8:37 PM (e)

Flint,

We actually have evidence to support the notion that the Jews were extremely careful in copying the Hebrew Bible to remain faithful to the precise wording of the original and that this produced extremely few discrepencies and variations over the course of thousands of years and many generations.

For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls convincingly demonstrate that between the second century BCE (the best date for the writing of the scrolls) and the fifteenth century CE (when printing began) the handriting of copies produced almost no significant differences (and this under the most trying of conditions). The various Torah Scrolls of recent centuries around the world differ from each other in no more than a mere few letters out of 304,000 letters in the Hebrew version of the five books of Moses (the only part of the OT text conseidered divinely inspired and contained in Torah scrols). And these do not alter the meaning of the text involved.

Raging Bee,

I would say the Bible is a religious document with historical elements. As history it is surely subject to all the ordinary rules and procedures of historical documents. But to believers in its divinity it obviously cannot be wrong.

I have heard it said that had the Bible remained unknown until last year and was then found in some cave in a rotting, crumbling vessel and archeologists would have required many years to put the pieces together, historians and archeologists would all have jumped up and down beside themselves, announcing the discovery of a major, valid source of information regarding the distant past. If it claimed a flood 5000 years ago, then a flood there must have been! After all, if another crumbling document is found today in some cave describing a flood 5000 years ago, it would most likely be considered as valid evidence. What is different about the Bible?

Oh, don’t tell me. I know. The motivation of its writers. They were into religion and God and are therefore suspect. Well, I have news for you. ALL ancient document writiers had some agenda or other that makes any document unreliable. One court writer could have worried about getting beheaded if he embarrassed the reigning monorch. Another may have been engaged in rewriting history to topple an enemy. And so on and on.

Comment #136334

Posted by alienward on September 30, 2006 8:38 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

I think you’re a little confused here. Whether Miller used reason to argue with Schönborn was never in question. Miller uses reason for lots of things, like his scientific work, shopping for groceries and arguing with creationists. But your claim was that Miller uses reason to demonstrate the existence of God. Shooting down Cardinal Schönborn’s “evolution = atheism” argument simply is not the same thing.

Yes, that’s right. Miller reasons his God into existence, and uses reason to show his cardinal a god who lets evolution build life forms is more impressive that a god who has to build every species on the planet.

Maybe an analogy would help. I can believe in unicorns based on faith. If someone tells me “unicorns can’t exist, because the weight of the horn would snap their necks,” I can use reason to point out why that particular argument against unicorns is silly. That doesn’t mean I’m not a fideist when it comes to why I positively believe in unicorns. Make sense?

Sure. Meanwhile, when Catholics say: “Human reason is able to prove with certitude the existence of God; faith, a heavenly gift, is posterior to revelation, and therefore cannot be properly used against the atheist to prove the existence of God”, it does mean they are not fideist when it comes to why they believe in a god.

Uh-huh. Now, from the Catechism:

You quoted a claim that a god can be reasoned into existence. Are you thinking the apologetics about faith being needed in addition to reason for truths about relationships between a god and humans somehow reverses the god can be reasoned into existence claim? You’ve got to be kidding me.

I have no idea what he’d say. But I would wonder a) how you could demonstrate Jesus didn’t have a biological father (haploid genome?) and b) how that would tell you whether he was the Earthly incarnation of the creator and preserver of the universe, as opposed to, say, a superpowered mutant or alien construct.

Gee, a) let’s just pretend you could and b) are you thinking people like Miller, his cardinal, and Pat Robertson would just say: “Even though we now know Jesus didn’t have a biological father, he might have just been a mutant.”?

Comment #136341

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 30, 2006 9:00 PM (e)

Stevie,

“you just may lose big time.”

“If by “you” here, we reference not merely Steviepinhead, but Science, then of course this is precisely the risk that “real” Science and “real” scientists investigating testable hypotheses to formulate theories that explain large masses of observations embrace every day”

Are you saying that neither you nor “science” will not be even a tiny bit disappointed if the results confirm the Biblical account of the flood (large but local with a bottleneck created in a locally confined species).

I think that stretched credulity quite a bit.

Comment #136345

Posted by Thought Provoker on September 30, 2006 9:42 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Are you saying that neither you nor “science” will not be even a tiny bit disappointed if the results confirm the Biblical account of the flood (large but local with a bottleneck created in a locally confined species).

I think that stretched credulity quite a bit

I don’t think you fully appreciate just how sick scientists are. Not only wouldn’t they be disappointed, they would be thrilled! Just think of the challenge in trying to fit this totally inconsistent puzzle piece into the larger scheme of things. Multiple Nobel Prizes would be waiting for those who succeed.

Comment #136371

Posted by Anton Mates on September 30, 2006 11:16 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

I have heard it said that had the Bible remained unknown until last year and was then found in some cave in a rotting, crumbling vessel and archeologists would have required many years to put the pieces together, historians and archeologists would all have jumped up and down beside themselves, announcing the discovery of a major, valid source of information regarding the distant past. If it claimed a flood 5000 years ago, then a flood there must have been! After all, if another crumbling document is found today in some cave describing a flood 5000 years ago, it would most likely be considered as valid evidence. What is different about the Bible?

You don’t seriously think historical research works that way, do you? King Arthur and the Round Table show up in some crumbling documents, therefore we believe in King Arthur? Someone finds an old parchment which mentions dragons, therefore dragons existed?

Comment #136372

Posted by Anton Mates on September 30, 2006 11:21 PM (e)

alienward, this conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so I’m going to bow out now.

Comment #136376

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 30, 2006 11:25 PM (e)

Thought Provoker wrote:

“I don’t think you fully appreciate just how sick scientists are.”

You ought to be ashamed making a comment like that. If all people and societies emulated the scientific method in their lives, that is to approach life’s mysteries with reason and deliberation, the world would be a MUCH BETTER place to live in. And we would all be treating each other as the Bible demands and most religions (with the notable exception of Islam) claim to be advocating.

Comment #136380

Posted by Carol Clouser on September 30, 2006 11:36 PM (e)

Anton,

“You don’t seriously think historical research works that way, do you?…..Someone finds an old parchment which mentions dragons, therefore dragons existed?”

Depends on what you mean by “that way”. Do we base an awful lot on ancient documents? Of course, we do. Is the mere “mention” of something outlandish proof that it exited? Of course, not. It certainly helps if there is corroboration. But a single apparently credible document does launch working hypotheses. It has happened before and it will certainly happen again.

Comment #136389

Posted by Anton Mates on October 1, 2006 12:11 AM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

But a single apparently credible document does launch working hypotheses. It has happened before and it will certainly happen again.

A “working hypothesis” is very different from “If it claimed a flood 5000 years ago, then a flood there must have been!”

Comment #136391

Posted by Carol Clouser on October 1, 2006 12:14 AM (e)

Folks,

We are rapidly approaching Yom Kippur here in the beautiful Garden State, ushering in the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. About this day the Hebrew Bible tells us to “afflict your souls”, which the sages interpret to mean no eating, no drinking (even water), no sex, and various other comforts and pleasures. This applies to a 24 hour period from sunset on Sunday to sunset on Monday.

Before turning to God on this Day of Atonement and asking for forgiveness for sins committed against God, we turn to each other and ask for forgiveness for offenses we committed toward each other. God does not forgive such sins until the victim of said offense grants his forgiveness and is made whole.

This period also ushers in the New Year of 5767, the number of years since Adam in the Bible appeared on the scene. No, he was not the first human, nor does the Hebrew Bible make any such claim or even hint at such.

So, I wish all my friends at Panda’s Thumb a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year and ask anyone I have offended to please forgive and forget. I will try to do better from here on, and so should we all.

Agreed.

Comment #136508

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 1, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

If all people and societies emulated the scientific method in their lives, that is to approach life’s mysteries with reason and deliberation

Um, Carol, that is not what the scientific method is.

The scientific method consists of five simple steps (none of which can be followed by any religion). They are:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe

2. Form a hypothesis that potentially explains what you have observed

3. Make testible predictions from that hypothesis

4. Make observations or experiments that can test those predictions

5. Modify your hypothesis until it is in accord with all observations and predictions

Are you following those five simple steps? Congratulations – you are doing science.

Not following those five simple steps? Then you’re NOT doing science – no matter HOW much “reason” and “deliberation” you think you are using.

Your (or Judah Landa’s) Biblical interpretations simply are not, and cannot ever be, “scientifically” any more valid than anyone else’s. No matter HOW much you’d like them to be. (shrug)

That is the difference between science, and religious apologetics.

Comment #136509

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 1, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

Are you following those five simple steps? Congratulations – you are doing science.

Not following those five simple steps? Then you’re NOT doing science – no matter HOW much “reason” and “deliberation” you think you are using.

But don’t feel bad, Carol — the hyper-atheists here make the very same mistake, every time they proclaim that THEIR religious and philosophical opinions are “scientific”.

In the final analysis, there’s just not much difference between them and you. Different sides of the same coin. Yin to your Yang. (shrug)

Comment #136513

Posted by Carol Clouser on October 1, 2006 11:13 AM (e)

HI Lenny,

Do you suppose one can engage in ANY of those five steps of yours without “reasoning” and “deliberating”?

Comment #136519

Posted by Thought Provoker on October 1, 2006 11:29 AM (e)

I wrote…
“I don’t think you fully appreciate just how sick scientists are. Not only wouldn’t they be disappointed, they would be thrilled! “

Carol Clouser wrote:

You ought to be ashamed making a comment like that. If all people and societies emulated the scientific method in their lives, that is to approach life’s mysteries with reason and deliberation, the world would be a MUCH BETTER place to live in. And we would all be treating each other as the Bible demands and most religions (with the notable exception of Islam) claim to be advocating.

I should have known better than to make an informal remark like that. I was trying to make a point similar to what the Rev. Dr. Lenny made. Atheists might be disappointed, scientists wouldn’t be. What you suggested would be just another scientific observation that needs to be explained. Hypotheses would need to be created and adjusted. More verifying experiments would need to be performed.

Whether or not the enjoyment of such detailed, turn-the-crank activity is the sign of a well-adjusted individual is a matter of opinion. Yes, I applaud their efforts, but being somewhat of an obsessive-compulsive individual myself, I think it takes a “special” way of looking at things that isn’t mainstream behavior. In short, I meant “sick” in a good way as only a similarly “sick” individual can.

Comment #136840

Posted by David B. Benson on October 2, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

For those who would like to read a thorough survey of what is actually known about Mesopotamia in the period under (some posters) discussion, try

A. Kuhrt,
The ancient near east, c. 3000–330 BC, vols 1 & 2,
Rutledge, 1995.

Comment #136851

Posted by Steviepinhead on October 2, 2006 6:07 PM (e)

Carol:

So, I wish all my friends at Panda’s Thumb a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year and ask anyone I have offended to please forgive and forget. I will try to do better from here on, and so should we all.

Agreed.

And while we’re at it, let’s not forget to–

Spread the word: End A War! Save A Gerbil!

David:

For those who would like to read a thorough survey of what is actually known about Mesopotamia in the period under (some posters) discussion, try

A. Kuhrt,
The ancient near east, c. 3000–330 BC, vols 1 & 2,
Rutledge, 1995.

Boy, does Carol have a book for you!

Comment #136875

Posted by Carol Clouser on October 2, 2006 7:55 PM (e)

Thought provoker,

I guess I misunderstood your comment. Sorry about that.

Comment #136892

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 2, 2006 8:41 PM (e)

Do you suppose one can engage in ANY of those five steps of yours without “reasoning” and “deliberating”?

So what. One can’t engage in literary criticism either without “reasoning” and “deliberating”. That doesn’t make literary criticism “science”.

Five steps, Carol. Got ‘em? Then it’s science. Don’t? Then it ain’t.

And yes, that means your religious interpretations (and Landa’s) aren’t science.

Sorry if you don’t like that. (shrug)

Comment #137130

Posted by Dan on October 3, 2006 8:27 PM (e)

Wow… 314 comments. I’m surprised you folks are still on this one.

Comment #137166

Posted by Carol Clouser on October 4, 2006 12:40 AM (e)

Lenny,

Are you feeling well? You seem to be losing your touch.

I was saying the scientists base their activities on reason and deliberation, in contrast to some folks who base opinions and beliefs on an absence of (adequate) reason and deliberation.

So, what on earth is your point?

And I never argued that “my” interpretations or translations constitute “science”. Instead, I argue that they constitute superior linguistics.

So, again, what pray tell is your point?

Comment #137210

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on October 4, 2006 7:33 AM (e)

So, what on earth is your point?

My point is crashingly simple, Carol.

You wrote:

If all people and societies emulated the scientific method in their lives, that is to approach life’s mysteries with reason and deliberation

I wrote:

Um, Carol, that is not what the scientific method is.

The scientific method consists of five simple steps (none of which can be followed by any religion).

Not following those five simple steps? Then you’re NOT doing science – no matter HOW much “reason” and “deliberation” you think you are using.

The I added:

But don’t feel bad, Carol — the hyper-atheists here make the very same mistake, every time they proclaim that THEIR religious and philosophical opinions are “scientific”.

In the final analysis, there’s just not much difference between them and you. Different sides of the same coin. Yin to your Yang. (shrug)

See the point now, Carol?