Let’s Hope It’s A Lasting Vogue

Athorism is enjoying a certain vogue right now. Can there be a productive conversation between Valhallans and athorists? Naïve literalists … Continued

Athorism is enjoying a certain vogue right now. Can there be a productive conversation between Valhallans and athorists? Naïve literalists apart, sophisticated thoreologians long ago ceased believing in the material substance of Thor’s mighty hammer. But the spiritual essence of hammeriness remains a thunderingly enlightened relevation, and hammerological faith retains its special place in the eschatology of neo-Valhallism, while enjoying a productive conversation with the scientific theory of thunder in its non-overlapping magisterium. Militant athorists are their own worst enemy. Ignorant of the finer points of thoreology, they really should desist from their strident and intolerant strawmandering, and treat Thor-faith with the uniquely protected respect it has always received in the past. In any case, they are doomed to failure. People need Thor, and nothing will ever remove him from the culture. What are you going to put in his place?

Atheism means non-belief in the particular cult that happens to pervade the society under discussion. In America that means the cult of Yahweh, the God of the Jews commandeered by the Christians, Muslims and Mormons. Today, everyone takes it for granted that we are all atheists with respect to Thor and Wotan, Zeus and Poseidon, Mithras and Ammon Ra. If asked why you don’t believe in Thor’s hammer, you would probably say something like “Why is the onus on me to justify my nonbelief in Thor, given that there is not the smallest positive reason for belief?” You might go further and add that thunder, which was at one time attributed to Thor’s hammer, now has a better explanation in terms of electric charges in the clouds. While technically agnostic about all those ancient gods, and about fairies and leprechauns too (you can’t disprove them either), in practice we don’t believe in any of them, and we feel no onus to explain why.

Today, while almost literally everybody is an athorist, nonbelief in the God of Abraham is the most reviled opinion in America. Professor Anthony M Stevens-Arroyo, one of the On Faith regular panellists, begins his answer to the current question as follows: “I never met an atheist I could like. Surely, somewhere on this planet, there is a friendly atheist, but I haven’t bumped into one yet. The atheists who have crossed my path are obnoxious . . .”

As an experiment, try substituting the word ‘Jew’ or ‘woman’ for ‘atheist’, and imagine whether a university professor who said those three sentences would keep his job. Yet in present day America, a professor (of “Latino Studies”) can publish such odious remarks about atheists and get away with it.

Of those scientists distinguished enough to be elected to the National Academy, more than 90% do not believe in any kind of supernatural God. Needless to say, many of them are likeable, friendly and far from obnoxious, as well as being intelligent, well-educated, happy and productive citizens.

An equally high proportion of atheists has recently been disclosed among the Fellows of the Royal Society, and it is plausible that distinguished Academicians in philosophy, history, economics, literature and other disciplines, coming from the same educated and intelligent echelons of society, would yield similar data.

One must hope that a respectable proportion of the Congress is drawn from that same educational and intellectual elite, so it is a strong statistical expectation that many of them must be atheists too. Yet I believe I am correct that not a single one of the 535 members of Congress will admit to the fact. A good many have got to be lying, and who can blame them? If they came clean they would be unelectable, as polls have repeatedly confirmed. Atheists are widely assumed to have no morals or values, to have no purpose in life, and to be incapable of love, or of appreciating beauty in art or nature. Who would vote for one of those?

The premise of this week’s question is that atheism is enjoying a certain vogue. I hope and believe it is not a flash in the pan. The symptoms of which I am aware are indeed encouraging. Dan Dennett’s Breaking the Spelland Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation sold exhilaratingly well through 2006, and my own The God Delusionremains high in the bestseller lists into 2007.

Similar success is to be expected during 2007 for Christopher Hitchens’s forthcoming God is Not Great, and Victor Stenger’s God: the Failed Hypothesis. Such buoyant sales of books advocating out-and-out atheism would have been inconceivable until surprisingly recently. When, six years ago, I first proposed The God Delusion to my literary agent he was blunt: “Don’t even think about it.” Yet now, after six years of incipient Chrisitian theocracy . . .

On my recent book promotion tour of the USA, the standing ovations I consistently received from packed audiences around the country, (including in Kansas, and Lynchburg, Virginia as well as, more predictably, the so-called ‘blue’ states) owed nothing to any eloquence or writing skills of mine, and everything, I believe, to a pent-up frustration among reviled freethinkers. Time after time, in the long book- signing queues, young Americans (encouragingly young) confided to me, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying the things that I have wanted to say, but never felt I could” (see www.RichardDawkins.net).

Sam Harris and Dan Dennett report similar experiences from equally large audiences. There is widespread hope that we are seeing the beginnings of a long-overdue shift in the tectonic plates of our culture. Polls suggest that atheists are far more numerous in America than they themselves realize. They well outnumber the Jews, whose political lobby packs a legendarily powerful clout.

It is time for America’s atheists to take courage from this, and from the books I have mentioned, come out of the closet, stand up, recognize each other, and work together to exert their rightfully proportionate influence on this great democracy. If those books are, as is often dismissively said, preaching to the choir, do not underestimate its size or ability. This is a very large and very talented choir, and the time has come for its music to be heard.

Richard Dawkins
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  • Warp10

    >>Warp10, I appologize for misreading your screenname>>Apology accepted. Don’t you think the Holy Spirit should have warned you about your mistake? –you know like God should have warned Dubya about no WMD…– you know like the Holy Spirit should have warned the Evangelicals that the head of their movement (Ted Haggard) was a gay and a drug user. (It took a male Prostitute to warn the flock – makes one wonder if you are really tuned into the deity – if you get my drift.) >>. You are still brainwashed, especially because you espouse evolution, which we’ve already concluded doesn’t take place on this Earth,>> Didn’t you make fun of those (religious) philosophers a few posts back who thought what they imagined was the only reality. Viola. You were describing yourself.Since you purport to speak for me (“We’ve already concluded”) – and you’ve completed made this up out of thin air – obvious (at least with respect to my beliefs) YOU are the one brainwashed – or in your case, possibly just deluded.Afterall, what was the proof for your position? You had none. You pulled it out of the same thin air as Dubya’s WMD and Haggard’s heterosexuality.>>ALL of your supposed mistakes are either outright lies or taken out of context. I won’t approach each one point for point, because you don’t want the truth anyways. >>Ha Ha. You can’t do it, you mean. >>The truth is that only through research can you see if your internet copy/paste job is true or not. I won’t do the legwork for you, especially because you don’t want to listen.>>I gave the citations. But that would constrain you making it up.>>The wonderful truth about the Bible is that it is scientifically infallible and the unedited, perfect Word of God>>but only if one refuses to read the citations that prove it wrong … ha ha (PS. I give the same respect shown to me. Notice I give you LOW respect.)

  • Warp10

    To Canyan

    Since you have admitted that you refuse to look them up, even when given the exact book and verse of the Bible…how would you REALLY know??Seems to me YOU are the one guilty of believing whatever is in your brain — without a care to checking out if it matches the fine print (of the Bible.)Good day.

  • Anonymous

    To JJ Ramsey Re: Canyon >>Good grief, the Bible is not even internally consistent, and you want us to believe that it is infallible?>>Since he refuses to read it… Guess he’ll (really) never know…

  • tblade

    Canyon said: “The Bible predicted radios and cell phones.”Funny, they didn’t teach that in my Church when I was growing up. What’s Jesus’s number? I want to send him a text message.

  • rafael

    Rafael: “I have to ask if there is any evidence he could imagine that would refute his theory of god or of the scientific infalliability of the bible.”Canyon: “Rafael, there are no strong arguments to say the Bible is fallible. There are many that throw mud, but none withstand scrutiny.”Boy, did you miss the point of my question. Here it is explained in greater detail: in addition to understanding what type of evidence would support an idea, a scientist must also be able to describe evidence that would refute the idea. That way, when the evidence comes in, the conclusion is actually determined by the evidence. That is, there is no way to claim scientific support for an idea without saying what piece of evidence would fail to support it. The problem with claiming that the bible is infallible is that the conclusion is always predetermined (and therefore unscientific), unless you can at least conceive of something that would disprove your idea. Since you claim that science backs up the bible, you should also be able to conceive of a scientific finding that would refute the infallibility of the bible. If not, your claim is dishonest.

  • Jeff Reed

    Anthrosciguy:

  • Richard Wade

    To the people arguing with Canyon Shearer:

  • Gerry

    This Canyon Shearer guy is pretty close to witch burning. According to him, I do not even exist, (I am an atheist) and just in case I do anyway, he is ready to kill me, to wipe out this existence, as was done so atrociously and successfully in a time 400 years ago. That is the time and the frame of mind fundamentalists of all shades live in. Psychologists would call this degree of hatred stemming from a “projection”: The man isn’t sure of himself and of what he talks about, THEREFORE he wants to convert or kill everyone who doesn’t buy his rubbish.The medieval “credo quia absurdum” (I believe, because it is absurd) seems to have an almost sexy appeal to some warped minds. The 30 years’ war wiped out one third of the European population, and the illiterates who killed eachother over “religion” certainly didn’t know the difference between the holy protestants’ and the holy catholics’ religious assumptions. No. “Deliver us from evil”, one is inclined to pray even as an atheist. How can anyone try to seriously argue, to talk about science, who is so completely out of any logical thinking. Science (which he otherwise despises, shooting himself in the foot), yes. But “Conscience” (his brand of it), the Bible (full of thousands of inconsistencies, let alone its dubious origins), “Conversion” (there may be a slight chance that he can be “converted” by reason), Creation (doubtlessly in the Grand Canyon 6000 years’ sense, concluding from his ignorance of evolution) – all these as proof for religion? He doesn’t even realize that all these are circular arguments: Because it is true, it is true. He proves his untenable assumptions by his untenable assumptions, and this in an aggressive, overbearing tone. What a cogent way of proving something! The middle Ages haven’t passed yet.Victoria: One of my best friends is a moslem, as a matter of fact he has been my student for many years and is now a successful musician. I don’t mention that to brag about anything, not even tolerance, but I refer to it in connection to the assumption that the ordeal you went through was certainly NOT brought to you by atheists!Gerry

  • John Krehbiel

    Canyon Shearer said:”There are an awful lot of made up gods, that is true. But the funny thing about ALL of those gods; none of them shared attributes with Jesus Christ, the Living, True God”Uh, what attributes would those be? That you think your god exists and that the others don’t?Why does god discriminate against amputees? Think about it: lots of people claim that their cancer, gloucoma, high blood pressure, tec. have been cured by faith healers. Where are the amputees whose legs have grown back?And again “There are no strong arguments to say the Bible is fallible. There are many that throw mud, but none withstand scrutiny.”The first and second chapters of Genesis give contradictory versions of the creation. The gospels give contradictory versions of several events. But I don’t have to show that it is false, you have to give evidence that anything at all in it is reliable. The bible says that _anything_ is possible through prayer, but so far I don’t see any amputees legs growing back.As many others have said, I’m tired of politely listening to looney fantasies, while rational examination of evidence is regarded as un-American.

  • Pam

    You’re all wasting your time trying to reason with Canyon. I’ve seen him on other threads, and, I suspect, under other pseudonyms.To the extent that he is serious, and not just yanking chains, he is mentally ill. Ignore him, and move on to more fruitful discussions.

  • Richard Wade

    Okay, but never assume a lunatic is alone. He’s the tip of the iceberg.

  • Ba’al

    Pam, yes but maybe this question will give Canyon endless hours of enjoyment, or will make his head explode. To whit:After three days, who was it who first discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty? And after his resurrection, who was the first person who saw him?Canyon of others of like mind, after you run to your scriptures to get the answers — make sure to check all the gospels! — come back and tell me which story you accept and which one you reject.

  • Peter M.

    Ba’al is right on the ball. Another question for the Bible readers. Which version of Paul’s conversion is correct?

  • Tomcat

    One reason why atheism is enjoying a vogue in the US is because the bargain between the citizens and the churches has always been that we won’t tax the churches if they don’t seek political power. Idiotic George Bush has fat fingered the balance with his faith-based initiatives, and more atheists is the country fighting back.

  • BGone

    Tomcat, I hope you’re not looking for an argument. Only religion actually owns real estate. The rest of us rent out homes and business from the government. Wouldn’t it be nice to not pay your RE taxes. It’s the highest cost item for landlords and of course second level renters pay it in their rents. It’s a mathematical certainty that religion will own all real property give enough time. Then we can rent from God.Yes Dubya has tended to cater to religions. Maybe he’s planning to turn the country, whole world into the kingdom of God? Which great moral leader will have absolute power while we await the return of Jesus to claim His throne?

  • James

    Yikes: The Atheists Are Winning!!!Sorry to trivialize this profound argument – just trying to get your attention.It is Notable in the past few days on this postMany more Atheist Posts (inc. Harris Dawkins and Dennett — are they the New Trilogy? Which is the holy spirit?)have been included – Thanks Sally Quinn and Jon Meachum: credit where credit is due.ANDthe Godless posts inspire many more comments than the vapid posts by Sally, the Mormon fellow, and other moderate “appeasers” of religious extremists (Sorry, just kidding again).It is increasingly clear that the New Big 3 Trinity has unleased a pent up torrent of expression – a much more modest version of the freeing of the slaves.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Alright, I’m going to try not to miss anyone.JJ Ramsey, first of all, the Bible has no contradictions, there are internet pages FULL of supposed contradictions, but there isn’t a SINGLE one that isn’t easily understood by reading the whole context and then you quickly realize that there are no contradictions. The truth is that the Bible is inerrant and infallible.Warp10, we discussed evolution on several other blogs ad nauseum and it was 100%, absolutely, beaten to dust and swept out the door. Evolution doesn’t occur, anyone who reads the research can come to that conclusion.I could easily disprove EVERY one of the things you posted, but since they have already been rectified on at least 1,000 websites searchable on Google, I’m not going to waste my time correcting your ignorance when you are so happy being ignorant. Give the baby his bottle, that’s what I always say.Nona, it is a lost Jewish tradition on why you’ll go to Hell. The Christian God was the Jewish God first, and He promised you Hell for lying, stealing, blaspheming, lusting, hatred, coveting, and a lot of other things. You won’t go to Hell because you’re Jewish, you’ll go to Hell for breaking the Law of God, unless someone steps in as an intercessory.True, the Bible was penned by men, but it was authored by God, and hence contains no mistakes. That is how we know it is divinely inspired, for if it were written by men, it would be a works based religion and full of mistakes. We don’t find that, we find it is a Grace based religion and completely free of mistakes.TBlade, God does not have a telephone number, but don’t worry, He accepts Knee-Mail.Rafael, now I understand your point. There are a Million proofs that would debunk the Bible if they were true. To name a few off the top of my head:It would be SOOOOOO easy to disprove the Bible, it really has place itself on the head of a pin, but it balances really well. All you’d need to do is prove that particles could become people or spontaneous generation could happen, and wham, the Bible would topple.But you can’t do that, because the Bible is perfect.Jeff Reed, I know you didn’t respond to me, but I wanted to say that your post was an excellent response to Dr. Dawkins as well as the religious zealots on both sides. The evangelical agnostics(who call themselves atheists) have caused Christians to lead a full frontal attack on the intellect. Dawkins thinks he is smart, millions of people think he is smart, and I don’t have time to humor him, so it’s easiest for me to just call him stupid. If the agnostics would stick with freedom of religion and not try to silence the followers of Jesus, perhaps we could be more civil and a real discussion could take place.Unfortunately the sheer stupidity of ‘atheism’ today leads to this type of response.Gerry and Richard Wade, you missed the point of my post on atheism. There are no atheists, only delusional agnostics, and that’s fine, you’re entitled to your religion, but don’t insult my intelligence and yours by calling yourself an atheist. I think that’s probably the greatest reason you face ridicule is because smart people know that being an atheist is impossible. You can be an agnostic with atheistic tendencies, but you can’t be a full-blown atheist, you are neither omnipotent nor omnipresent, and therefore in the 99.9999999% of things you don’t know or don’t see, there could be ample proof for God.Atheists don’t exist, you exist, but you are not an atheist, simply a lost little agnostic. What I want to do with you is make you realize:I am a great lover of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, you’re welcome to be an agnostic, but I won’t let you run around in your delusion that you’re an atheist, because I’m sorry, but you’re just not that smart!John Krehbiel, there are no contradictions, you are in the camp of agnostics who say, “I heard it once, it must be true.” If you’d read the context of the things you are spouting, you’d see the truth.Forgive my grammar concerning Jesus Christ and other Gods. I meant Jesus has some attributes that other gods never had, I realize that many gods were copycats or predecessors to Jesus.The main attribute Jesus has that others don’t is that Jesus actually exists. He also has a beautiful Book which foretold His coming by 1600 years, He is the only God who is actually a God, the others are here to serve men…not very godlike, Jesus is the sovereign ruler over all the Universe. If you add up all the other gods, you still don’t end up with Jesus, because Jesus is perfect in every way, the others were all like superheroes, with a major flaw. If you have time, listen to the link I included on my moniker.Your idea on amputees is one of the great fallacies concerning Prayer, it shows how little the public knows of Jesus Christ and His Holiness. Please see my 10-Commandments post a ways up, the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We deserve death, not superficial appendages.Ba’al, like I said, the answers are out there, I know the answer, Mary Magdalene, please read you Bible, it may do you some good.Peter M., I love that question, it shows you know nothing at all about the book of Acts nor of Galatians. Each has the same EXACT story on timelines of varying importance. Please read your Bible also.Whooo, that was exhausting, and I fear, no agnostics are actually paying attention; they love the dark too much.

  • dodger

    canyon dude,tell us some more about this war between islam and xtians. and the fire part, don’t forget the fire part. i’m going to get some popcorn so don’t start til i get backpeace

  • Jeff Reed

    Mr. Shearer,

  • Canyon Shearer

    Jeff, thanks for responding.Dr. Dawkins may have merits in other arena’s besides theology. Perhaps he is a talented taxodermist or a small engine repairman, maybe he is an expert on seventeeth century British literature…but in the arena of theology, he is the simplest of all simpletons.Please see his responce to what should be an easy question for an agnostic, or in his case, an atheist:This is the man that so many are following?

  • dodger

    Canyon, why are you afraid to discuss islam? i can’t believe you really see any threat to your faith from a bunch of weak, disorganized atheists. hell, most of us ain’t even armed.so what gives? afraid of the prophet?peace

  • BGone

    Canyon:Literary hoaxes are proved by the finding of, usually hidden material used by the hoaxers who did the deed. They have nothing to do with scientific theories put forth 1,500 or more years later.The question and only question left to answer is the finder seeing what he thinks he sees? That has nothing to do with the existence of one or more Gods. It has something to do with why people are dropping out of theoism. They don’t need to do that, give up faith but they do need a new source of absolute truth.

  • Amy

    “This is the man that so many are following?”Unlike you, canyon, atheists don’t “follow” any particular human with mindless devotion. We’re freethinkers. We a free to disagree with Mr. Dawkins or anyone else on any point, and what’s icing on the cake is we don’t fear going to hell for it.You should try it.

  • Jeff Reed

    Mr. Shearer,

  • Canyon Shearer

    Amy, athinkists sure are quick to point out, “You should read the “God Delusion” or “Letter to a Christian Nation.” Athinkists LOVE to rally behind people they think are smart. It is my goal to show you just how dumb Dr. Dawkins actually is.You claim to be a freethinker, perhaps you are, without a space in the middle, that makes it a noun for athinkist. But you are NOT a free thinker, otherwise you’d be able to think.Amy, I’m not afraid of going to Hell, I wasn’t before I became a Christian, I’m not afterwards. I just like knowing the truth, its a wonderful feeling to be on the side of God, for God’s is the side of right.Dodger, we discussed Islam, it’s an evil religion penned by the Devil, what else do you want to discuss? I’m not afraid to discuss it, it simply seems like this board was designed to discuss agnosticism, why don’t we discuss that?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Jeff?What do you mean? Stop exposing this stupid religion of ‘atheism’?I’d hate for so many people to go through life being stupid and ignorant of the truth, let alone the final destination of Hell.Don’t you think that Dr. Dawkins should be able to stand up to scrutiny? Shouldn’t he be smart if he professes to be so? After all, he has his post-hole digger (PhD) degree, shouldn’t that make him smart?I say we revoke his degree and put him back in 2nd grade.

  • dodger

    Jeff Reed,fear not. i can’t imagine that anyone of good will would judge an entire faith based upon Canyon’s posting (i wonder if he knows that Shearer is the last name of one of the voices behind the Simpsons? :)but listen to the certainty in his postings and consider the consequenses when that certainty is backed by state power. we saw a taste of it the other night on our tv’s.it’s not an absurd hypothesis, as we watch the carnage today (and don’t forget he violence in this country at abortion clinics, etc) that religion is more a force for evil than good.

  • Amy

    Yes, Canyon, I agree that people who don’t like thinking prefer to find a leader who will tell them what to think.I doubt that Mr. Dawkins has many like that following along behind him. As many have said in this and other threads, many of us have independently come to disbelieve in the supernatural, and we’ve either kept it to ourselves or been very selective in whom we tell. Mr. Dawkins and other authors sometimes speak for me in the sense of saying what I wish I’d had a forum to say, and sometimes they figure out something before I do. But using the “tu quoque” argument that atheists are as blind to the faults of their “leaders” as believers are to the faults of their bible & their pedophile priests, gay evangelicals and the rest is fallacious.Yes, I’m a free thinker. After examining the world’s religions, I can see that they have value for social control and satisfying some personal emotional needs, but I have concluded there is no evidence for believing any of them. They’re just fairy tales.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Amy, my appologies for instantly thinking that you must be a typical ‘atheist’. Clearly you have an education and have actually examined that which you believe. Unfortunately you are the exception and not the rule.Keep examining the truth, make sure your belief system is true, and I promise to do the same.

  • rafael

    must…not…respond…Well, just this one thing: by your definition, Canyon, we are all, lacking omnipotency and omnipresence, agnostics. You contradict yourself by rejecting the existence of atheists while claiming to be a theist. Unless you admit to being a delusional theist (which was my point in the first place).

  • Jeff Reed

    What do you mean? Stop exposing this stupid religion of ‘atheism’?No. It just means I am tired of you making “Christians” look like fools, as I would of any person who makes any sect of humans look foolish.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rafael, if I were an aponiest, that I didn’t believe in ponies, I would have to have all knowledge to say that ponies don’t exist. However, I wouldn’t have to have ALL knowledge to believe in ponies, all I would have to do is have evidence for one pony. Then I couldn’t be an aponiest anymore.I have evidence for one God, you’ve heard it, you’ve rejected it. You are still an agnostic.I wonder how long you will argue with me before you realize you have no argument?

  • Duff

    Isn’t it wonderful that Canyon Sheep Shearer gets so much attention. Could it be that it’s because the truly bizarre in the world is so interesting. It certainly isn’t because he has anything worthwhile to say, but rather because is is so unusual.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Hey Duff, good to see you, Merry Christmas, Happy HolyDay, Happy New Year.How have you been? Are you Saved yet?

  • rafael

    You misunderstand the meaning of faith, which is not based on certainty. You misunderstand the meaning of scientific evidence, which is not picked selectively to suit one’s theory. And you misunderstand or misrepresent the evidence available to you because you adhere absolutely to what is written in the bible. The more words you write, the more it’s clear you have no idea what you are talking about. It is a waste of time to argue with fools.

  • Pam Meloy

    Pam is correct Canyon Shearer has posted on every thread on here including the Starhawk thread. He loves to get people going. Richard you are right in being aware of him as he may well be the tip of the iceburg and we do need to keep an eye on him. Not difficult to do as he is everywhere and at least you know he is nutz.

  • dodger

    so Canyon, my mantell us some more about the muslims you’ve whacked. do you still do it professionally, or is it more of a hobby now?and did i hear you right that you’ve killed citizens of Pakistan? sheeze, and i hadn’t even heard we were at war there. go figure. well, say hi to bin L next time you’re in-country.oh yeah, and what’s all this about a loving god and the prince of peace you were talking about? can’t quite hear you above all the explosions and stuff.peace, bro

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Ummmmm………so nice to see another group attacked here : )I hope my fellow Muslims in this thread would not be too hard on atheists. They do believe in something – secular humanism among others.Me? I am wary and weary of:(a) evangelicals like Pat Robertson widening the rupture and hastening the Rapture;(b) the extremists among my co-religionists who invoke God to justify their actions; and(c) those who use Judeo-Christian values to promote a purported united front of verbal insults and and armed assaults against Muslims.And don’t give me that atheists are not capable of behaving badly and perpetrating murderous purges. Remember Pol Pot? It happens, regardless if we believe or not believe in God.And I’ll see them all in hell 🙂

  • S. Landry

    Canyon, and those like him, are why atheism is in vogue. Truly frightening. Keep it up Canyon, you are the best advertisement atheism has.

  • BGone

    Canyon:That link you put up reminds me of a fellow named Adolph Hitler. He led the master race over the cliff and a lot of good people got dragged over with them. The most repulsive can appeal to even bright people when they present themselves in the proper light and have the absolute, undeniable truth. Arians are the master race? Could that be Christians? Is Baptism a race change operation?Try this link, No one has a vested interest in the Bible being a hoax. Unlikie ministeries there’s no money in it. The Vatican will garner over a trillion tax free, tax exempt, tax deductible dollars from Americans collected at tax free facilities, over the next 20 years. Maybe we have a greater vested interest in the truth than we realize?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rafael, at first I thought it was my fault for misunderstanding you, but more and more I realize that you are hard to understand.I think you’re saying that science only supports the Bible selectively? Or that evolution only occurs selectively? I’m not sure what you mean? Good science comes up with something that should be as close to fact as we, humans, can come up with. The millions of experiments concerning evolution prove conclusively that it does not happen. That’s not very selective, is it?I stand strong on the Bible, because the Bible is the greatest weapon I wield…or is it that God wield’s me using the Bible? Hmm…I hope it’s God, but hey, I’m an idiot, if God didn’t choose to use me, I’d understand.Your arguments sound like, “Quite arguing with me using reason and truth! It’s not fair!”Dodger…I wouldn’t be so naive to say that war is not necessary to defend the United States. I truly wish I was defending Christianity AND the United States, but it does not seem that way. If you’ve forgotten, I am broadcasting radio-waves to the Middle East with great fervency, I would much rather convert Muslims than kill them with lazer guided bombs; and I think that conversion is a much more effective form of winning this war on terror than with bullets.Such is the same, I would never blow up an abortion clinic, I’d much rather convince the murderous doctor to close shop, pick up his cross, and follow Jesus.

  • Canyon Shearer

    BGone, I feel that most of your post has previously been responded to, I’ll focus on:”No one has a vested interest in the Bible being a hoax.”How much is your soul worth?If the Bible is NOT a hoax, the Devil won’t even have to pay for it, you have freely given it to him.

  • Thinking Out Loud

    How absurd. Your starting assumption is atheists are more intelligent than believers. Your simple view of the world speaks for itself. Can atheists and believers have an intelligent conversation? Not if the atheist starts with your assumptions.

  • John Doe

    Testing

  • John Krehbiel

    Canyon Shearer, You prove my point. The characteristic that you say Jesus has that other gofs don’t is that he exists. Clearly the existence of Jesus the man is not the point, but the fact that you believe he is god. Again. the only difference is that you don’t beleive the others are gods. As to evolution, it has the virtue of only invoking causes that unquestionably exist: variation, heritability, and competition for resources. Supernatural explanations invoke entities for which there is not a shred of evidence.That said, I was recently told that I can’t teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work, and it annoys the pig.

  • Jeff Reed

    Ok. Just a thought for all of us. I just sent a testing post. Anyone can send anything to this forum and use bogus e-mails and names. There definately is one writer in particular that started out as Yest Me who is using many names. And I believe this person is sending contradictory e-mails. Why, I do not know. Further discussions? For their own self promotion? I do not care, but anything this person writes now is suspect.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Variation; heritability; natural selection; all brainwashing techniques to say that a mouse can become a man. There is NO evidence for a major change. Actually, when humans are born with 6 fingers on one hand, it is never carried forward with heredity. That’s odd, don’t you think evolution could pull that off?We have 90% of fossils of living animals; fossils from cats, dogs, people, monkeys, fish, elephants, and guess what? In those fossils, there isn’t a SINGLE missing link! Darwin said there would have to be many missing links to prove his theory, and there are none? Isn’t that weird? Not to mention that abiogenesis and spontaneous generation are impossible, that dating methods are hopelessly in error, it’s a ridiculous religion that requires huge amounts of faith.I don’t have that much faith, I can only believe that which I can see and/or read, and evolution cannot be proven with science.You are welcome to believe in evolution, but you are not allowed to teach it in our schools until you can prove it; which will be never.

  • dodger

    Canyon,i’m sure that i speak for all of us when i express my delight and relief that you would rather “convert Muslims that drop lazer(sic) guided bombs on them.”bit of a shame that those are the only two alternatives, but i don’t think it would come as a shock to most that you seem to have an underdeveloped imagination in these matters.sport, you are a case study. i’ve saved all your posts and on one level, they rise to the level of art. but yours is a frightening world, and you’ve done a lot of good by showing it to the world.

  • Nafi Sahgem

    People! Canyon Shearer is one set on saving all our souls for not being Christians and/or, not to believe in God. Canyon Shearer will never let up, never let go until we all believe in the way he do. He is a fundamentalist. George Santayana defines a fanatic as someone who redoubles his effort once he forgot his purpose. I will put Canyon together with Muslim extremists so they can talk to each other, past one another till the end of time. As for me Canyon, I’ll just wait for Jesus PBUH to save my soul come End of Day/Judgement Day. For Muslims he is the Messiah, not you, Canyon, not you. And I can hear our atheists friends in this thread wincing and patting themselves the back for not believing in religion/God : )

  • Bruce Burleson

    Good evening. I am a believer, and would like to throw some meat to the lions. Here is my position: 1) There is some objective evidence that a historical man named Jesus lived, was killed by crucifixion, and rose from the dead (from the new testament and a few other historical sources); 2) I have the subjective belief in these events, based upon my own personal experience (which includes an inward revelation of Jesus, which I can explain later); 3) my faith cannot be said to be “without evidence”, as I have some evidence that it is correct from the above-referenced sources. You may reject the objective evidence that I referred to, but you cannot truthfully say that there is “no evidence.” Therefore, to put my individual faith in Christ in the same category as Thor and Isis, is mistaken. If you were to absolutely prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead, you would destroy Christianity. But you have not and cannot do that. Therefore, there remains the possibility that Christianity is correct in its primary assertion, that Jesus lived, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Please discuss.

  • Sam

    Why doesn’t the post find someone who’s some real insight and philosophical acumen rather than just inviting every nitwit who makes it on the bestseller lists. Who’s next here Dr. Phil? If making the bestseller list is the only qualification one needs why not get Stephen King, David Foster Wallace, or James Ellroy? At least they’d be interesting.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dodger, thanks for the post. I freely give my posts as public domain, use them as you wish.I wish that a Muslim could receive the gift of Everlasting Life from Jesus Christ and remain within Islam, but it it seems that every time a Muslim is saved, they readily accept the “Christian” name. I love the name Christ, the name Jesus, but I wish I could be known as something other than a Christian, because Christianity has commited some heinous acts in history. If you would, in the future, call me a Cross Carrier, or a Jesus Freak, I accept those titles much more freely than Christian; unless you see that word as simply a follower of Christ and not one that burns witches, seeks to regain Jerusalem, or one that performs Spanish Inquisisions.I would rather that all people are Born into the family of God, receive nor seek any title, and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with Christ; titleless.In closing, are you saved? If you died tonight, would you go to Heaven?

  • dodger

    whoa, Sam.feel better now. that must have been stuck up there a while.not sure myself about the ‘meme’ idea. seems a bit overspecified (to get technical), but i haven’t really read what Dawkins has to say about it all.religion isn’t really all that complicated i think. there’s a lot of survival value in beleiving what your elders tell you. gullibility has survival value in social animals who have to learn fast or die.but the skepticism that the scientific enterprise engenders tends to break down that propensity to believe. dad was a baptist preacher and i noticed that rarely did math or science teachers come to services, but every used car salesman, real estate agent, and general huckster was camped out on the front pew every sunday, eyeing the crowd. made me wonder.

  • BGone

    Bruce Burleson makes the simple point that he feels Jesus and claims that it can’t be proved Jesus never lived, rose form the dead and loved peanut butter.No one can say what anyone else feels. Good shot Bruce.Can’t prove absolutely that a man named Jesus lived, died and rose again from the dead. Another good one Bruce.Now the real question. Was Jesus the son of God? Gosh, except for Her being a female he’s got that straight too, maybe. That alright for girls can play too. Great going Bruce.And that business about rising from the dead. Amenophis IV, the real person on who’s life Jesus was based threatened the high priest that She would rise from the dead. Scared hell out of him too but he went on and executed her, on the cross and she died in 3 hours. I can psoitively say She didn’t rise from the dead. So you win Bruce and may I congratulate you.One last question. Was the supernatural being that Moses made the deal with God or Devil? That was the father of Jesus, the thing in the talking burning bush? Sorry Bruce but you’re just another Devil worshipper that fits neatly into one of two categories. Either you are enjoying the good life by leading the others to hell or you are buying a ticket to hell to pay for someone else’s good life. Otherwise I can’t see anything wrong with what you claim.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear Nafi,For what it is worth, I don’t believe in oxygen, I don’t believe in the internet, I don’t believe in life.My beliefs have ZERO effect on reality, oxygen, the internet, life, obviously exist. As do the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, all one God in three manifestations.God will require a payment for sin, whether it is your payment or Jesus paying your fine, is all the same to God. He is glorified when it is Jesus, but He is justified when it is yours. If no one is converted, at least I hope that atheists can realize that their religion is ridiculous. I would be happy to raise glasses to the New Year with them if they admit to agnosticism, at least then they may realize Jesus Christ is the Living God, for atheism is foolish and impossible.If you would like to know the truth about my name, it comes from the German, Scherer, which means, “Dyer”, or one who adds color to the whool of a sheep. I wish it actually had something to do with leading and guiding sheep, but it doesn’t…Still, I hope Jesus chose to name me something that has to do with Sheep, as He consistently referred to himself as a Shepard. I willingly follow Jesus and perform any act which He sees fit for me to do.

  • BGone

    Beings that live in fire should be able to give folks a good warm feeling and keep penny candles burning indefinitely. Unfortunately, there is no test for God, no miracle so great it can only be done by God. Devil has a lot of power but clearly had a lot of trouble getting the Israelites where he wanted them to be but then Devil wants people in hell so maybe I’m wrong about that.

  • rafael

    Sam,Dawkins is a well-respected evolutionary biologist who has provided testable ideas that have advanced the field. You seem to have minimal understanding of who he is and a very shallow understanding of what he talks about. It’s misguided think that because he published a popular book that his scholarship is questionable. It’s also misguided to think that scientists don’t see problems in their theories or feel a sense of amazement. In fact, the more we learn, the more we become amazed. I’ll try to summarize some of the current state of understanding even if I don’t have the time or space to explain them. A college course in evolutionary biology would be a good start.Evolutionary theories are not apologies or justifications for any human behavior–they are an attempt to understand and explain behavioral tendencies based on biological first principles. The selfish gene theory does not imply that all behavior must be selfish. In fact, there are well-supported evolutionary theories to explain altruistic behavior, and they do not conflict either with Dawkins’ or with Darwin’s ideas.Contrary to what you say, there are patterns that evolution by natural selection–essentially Darwinism–cannot explain. For example, genetic drift toward greater representation of unfit genes, an outcome of statistical sampling, occurs more frequently in small populations. That is, the fittest genes are not always fixed in small populations, and the probability of fixation is demonstrated to be related to the size of the population as expected under simple probabilities. Ideas in evolutionary biology, as in all of science, are inherently falsifiable. Our understanding proceeds only when we make a prediction, and can envision both a set of results that would support the prediction and a set that would refute it. Evolutionary theory is strengthened, and predictions are guided, by our understanding of first principles–in this case, variation, heritability, differential reproduction and survival, and limited resources–that invariably lead to selection for better adapted genes. Sometimes other forces, such as genetic drift, overwhelm selection. But that doesn’t violate the first priniciples, it just adds to our understanding.Our best-supported scientific explanations tell us that we have in fact evolved to survive and reproduce. Of course we didn’t evolve to know the truth. You don’t seem to like that conclusion, but that’s our best explanation based on science. Humans are only one of several million animals on the planet, and none of them evolved to know the truth. You seem to have trouble separating your personal feelings about explanations from whether there is scientific support for them. A conflict with how you would like to view the world should not deter us from seeking the best-supported explanation for how the world works. When it does, we wind up with Lysenko, or the anti-scientific policies of Bush.Rather than revulsion and coldness, there is in fact incredible beauty in the simplicity of Dawkins’ concept, if it is not misunderstood to imply that individuals must always act selfishly.

  • BGone

    Canyon, if you truly believe God will extract payment for sin then be extremely careful about what God you worship. Remember the first commandment.The Bible is a proved hoax. Using it is clearly a violation of the first commandment. Saying a hoax is the word of God insults God, says God doesn’t have the power to give you a proper book. Devil doesn’t want you to have a proper book and tells you it’s God’s word. Good luck.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear BGone,Have you tired yet of your personal beliefs? Like I said, Truth is a definite, and our opinion of truth has no effect on it’s reality.Would the Devil grant me the prayer, “Dear Lord, please create a Holy Heart within me!” No, he wouldn’t, because Lucifer hates holiness, loves lies, loves sin, yet I can, without a shadow of a doubt claim that Jesus Christ has helped me defeat Blapshemy, Lies, Thievery, Lust, Hatred, Covetenous, and especially Unrighteousness. Sure, I occasionally stumble, but Jesus has created a new Heart within me, and I am infinitely more Holy than I were before I was saved from Hell.Your crazy theology is easily defeated, the Devil is only a lover of dark, and Jesus a lover of Light, one cannot exist with the other, and I sincerely hope and know that I am on the side of Christ.

  • BGone

    Canyon, Of course Devil would give you prayers to him that say he’s lord and God and all sorts of things. Get real. He tried to take over heaven and throw God out. Why did he do that? You can look at an official picture can’t you?One more time,

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Okay Canyon. Thanks. I give that you are a “believer”. But what about sprituality in your belief, your faith? You do know that agnostics and atheists don’t believe in God for any, many reasons. Some because of what was wrought in the name of religion and God. Some for sheer reason and logic. You can see that from what they have been saying in this thread. Belief is personal. Atheists and agnostics have a right to express their belief not to believe in religion/God in the public square/domain just as believers can and do. And they are not morons. I am a believer myself, but not in the way you wish and wanted. As a Muslim, I am, undoubtedly in your mind (and atheist/agnostics too) an adherent of a false, warped,m mythical religion born out of the Devil/Satan, that Prophet Muhammad PBUH, is a charlatan, fake etc. I can live with that. But this is is not the Inquisition. Don’t crucify atheists and agnostics. They are to be treated and respected like Theraveda Buddhists, the branch of Buddhism that does not have any notions of divinity/God. As I said before, may peace be with you always.

  • Anonymous

    canyon shearer,if you would willingly follow jesus, then go back to your new testament and check (you’ll see that I am correct):take back what you said and apologize and raise your glass with the atheist without demanding that he fulfil your emotional needs first. stop being prideful and learn humility. love him as he is, even if you feel sorrow that he must pay the fine. (you do not appear sorrowful. in fact you appear to be gloating. jesus does not like neener neener types.) you do not have to agree with him – in fact if you’re a christian you should not – but you are required to love him. good book says all this. really it’s indisputable. probably the biggest reason so many atheists are atheists is directly related to christians who speak of love while practicing things that are the antithesis of love.

  • Anonymous

    “Probably the biggest reason so many atheists are atheists is directly related to christians who speak of love while practicing things that are the antithesis of love.”I sincerely doubt that any atheist believes the way he or she does because of what Christians say or how they act. That is a rather prideful statement about Christianity iin itself. Athiests are rationalists, and find nothing of value in irrational thought or behavior.Instead, your description fits someone who says they believe in god but do not choose to follow an organized religion for all the harm and contradiction it has brought to the world.

  • rafael

    Previous post by Rafael.

  • BGone

    Rafael:

  • Jade Aarde

    Richard Dawkins: Thank you for consistently writing intelligent, well researched books on the evidence of evolution and the power of science. It is about time we atheists, as a group of non-believing, irreligious humans, got angry about how badly we are being treated and how poorly we’re esteemed. I want to live in a society that I am not afraid to talk about my scientific beliefs and refuse to discuss ‘god’ without worrying about career opportunities, losing friends or my life. I can’t truthfully do that now and I am asked to compromise with a group of fundamentalists who won’t extend me the same courtesy. No, I won’t compromise. I will be angry and focus that anger on bettering the world I live in.To my fellow atheists, do the same. Angry women got themselves the right to vote. Angry blacks got the right to vote for themselves and all people of color. Angry disabled people got themselves equal opportunity under law, great parking spaces, wheel chair ramps and larger bathroom stalls. Every time a disenfranchised group gets angry enough, the world changes. So let’s all get angry.And, Jeff, compromise only means everybody is unhappy…

  • Warp10

    “Probably the biggest reason so many atheists are atheists is directly related to christians who speak of love while practicing things that are the antithesis of love.”I became an atheist because I read the Bible and found it to be entirely based on superstition and a panicked, irrational fear of death.Now — part of what you say is true — because I would not be out here posting if Christians followed Jesus’ tenets of love, humility, and helping others. i.e., I would still be an atheist, just a more quiet one….It is because of the hate spewed out by far right Christians that you are seeing a push back by atheists. Many atheists had to be angered first before speaking up. Which is probably why some here accuse atheists of being “naturally” angry. It is an unfair accusation: You have to look at the rhetoric that stirred atheists up first, to get a fair assessment.

  • rafael

    It means “anointed,” which is literally “had perfumed oil applied to.”

  • Nona

    Man, am I grateful for having a religion with no eternal damnation. Judaism seems like it’s so much lower-stress than Canyon’s particular version of Christianity. Plus, I don’t have to worry about the state of anyone else’s soul, no matter what their religion– the Noahide laws really aren’t tough to follow.Canyon, I’m terribly sad to see how fearful you are for the souls of everyone around you. I wish you could trust that those who live moral lives by their own lights will never be punished for doing so, and that what’s loved and remembered will always live on, whether or not there’s an afterlife.

  • rafael

    Justin: “Do not feed the trolls. It should be a rule of thumb for us atheists/agnostics that people like canyon do not deserve replies. Do not allow them to propagate their hate.”I don’t disagree with you. But at some level I think there is a purpose to engagement, even with “trolls,” because other people read these boards who perhaps have not yet thought through some issues. If people can compare fantastical, poorly informed arguments with those structured by reason, it could get them thinking more than if we all sit here agreeing with one another. And I also find that poorly-informed arguments help me to more clearly delineate what I believe. What we should avoid is wasting any time by repeating the same arguments over and over again.

  • BGone

    Nice try Rafael. Christ means savior. Jesus means anointed one. Anyone who save others is a Christ. Only those whe were NOT the firstborn sons of God had to be Jesused, anointed, Baptized, have their original sin, not being the firstborn son of God removed.Dodger: Speaking of last words. The photographer, (can’t think of his name) that took the picture of Hirohito and MacArthur together won the Pulitzer prize. Harry Truman remarked, “he should have won a prize, he got two Gods in one picture.”Well Jesus Christ is Bill Cosby’s brother.

  • dodger

    different jesus thoughi was thinking of jesus alou, manny’s brother. played short stop for the cubbies i think, back in the day.as a very perceptive african american kid once told me: “don’t let ’em fool you. jesus was no jew. he was puerto rican, man. you ever see a jesus cohen in the f*****g new york phone book?”little guy had a point.

  • rafael

    BGone, I don’t know what kind of wonky dictionary you’re working from. Jesus is from Yehoshua (Joshua, successor to Moses), which means “savior.” Christ is from the Greek and means “anointed.” Why are we playing definition tag anyway?

  • BGone

    Dodger:It’s hard to sleep while you’re laughing.

  • BGone

    Rafael, I just wondered if you knew what folks have faith in. Seems we have two different dictionaries. That makes a meeting of the minds impossible to say nothing of a coherent conversation. Sorry I mentioned it.

  • victoria

    Mr Shearer- i would never go to temple and try to show a pamphlet with a JC on it- it is grossly disrespectful and arrogant to go to someones house of worship to criticize them.Actually- evangelicals DO base their entire philosophy on a few highly contested verses.ive spent years and years poring over scripture- not just the King James- which until a few short years ago was actually prefaced with a dedication to king james- (later removed) which you quote from- but one of over 200 translations- i dont know why youre so determined to proselytize to the people here- i say to myself is he trying to convince the people , or himself?no rabbi ever made a law that jews werent allowed to believe in the messiah anymore- all i can say is be the best christian you can be sir- huility being the greatest virtue –

  • B-Man

    Dawkins — keep it up man!No apology needs to be made for pointing out Christian’s world-class delusions. Christians are anti-science if they believe in the Bible basics, and therefore are dangerous to right-thinking societies. Never back down.

  • rafael

    No offense intended, but I didn’t realize we were trying to have a conversation. You asked me a question, I answered, you implied I was “trying” to do something with my answer and then told me a bunch of stuff about firstborns. To answer your most recent question, which I don’t fully understand, it seems people have faith in things that other people told them they should have faith in without any objective evidence. It might be in our nature to want to believe in things we can’t know, but when it comes to what we believe, it’s almost all nurture.

  • Tammy

    Thanks for the good reading, all.I will be checking out your links when I get a chance.

  • Nafi Sahgem

    In all the arguments in this thread, the thing that recurs in my mind is, what do atheists and agnostics celebrate? Not Hanukkah, not Christmas, not Easter, not Diwali, not Solstice, not Eid, etc, etc, etc. Atheists and agnostics celebrate, perhaps, Labour Day? Thanksgiving? Human rights day? Mother’s Day? Birthdays only : )What do atheists and agnostics celebrate? Can I come and share in your celebration and revelry : ) Surely y’all celebrate something with family, friends and colleagues 🙂 Or you are all busy waging war on Christmas?All very best atheists and agnostics. You can all come and share my religious festivals if you want too. Lots of food, but sorry, no alcohol, no pork products and no dancing, GASP!

  • dodger

    “Dodger, you’re killing me.”thanks, Tammy. i’m here all week in the Pagan Room. remember, two drink minimum and tip the staff generously. word is they’re all going to hell.

  • Pam Meloy

    DODGERYou are a scream. I love the jokes. Keep up the cheer as it is needed when ole Cameron is around. I visit the Pagan Room daily and even though I don’t drink I am a great tipper. If they are all going to hell they will need the money!!

  • Anonymous

    “The use of Pink Unicorn, the Celestial Teapot, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster was a disrespectful comment to any person of any faith, just as Dr. Dawkins use of Thor had been, and no less offensive as those of faith on this panel who refuse to listen to anything other than those words written in their particular faith’s Holy books.”First, Jeff, you should not presume to speak for every person of faith.And let me point out that the “middle ground”, which would be tolerance of others, is by far most strongly opposed by people of faith, who even attack each other. I recently watched a part of Dawkins’ TV special on Canadian TV, which featured a large audience discussion afterward — it quickly devolved into Christians attacking each other for their transgressions in not adhering to whichever particular sect the attacker was part of. Pointing out that most religious people are — by virtue of their insistence that their, and only their, version of religion is correct — are hypocrites is no doubt upsetting to them, but since it is true, should one not do it even though it’s true, just because it may upset some hypocrite? A hypocrite, mind you, who is often as not trying to shove their religion down others’ throats, meanwhile demonizing anyone who disagrees with them is any way?

  • Pam Meloy

    Victoria,I have read Dawkin’s post several times. Please tell me why you find him angry. Maybe I am just not in the same place you are but I don’t hear any anger.I am more surprised at some of your comments about atheists in your post above. I would think you would relate the atheist cause.

  • Gary

    No evidence for evolution? OK, guess this is not true then:

  • Canyon Shearer

    Andysocial, fair enough, he got caught in his religion and couldn’t answer the question, serves him right for choosing to ignore the truth.I love his extremely long-winded answer you posted, which still doesn’t answer the question? And you guys really like this man?Gary, I don’t follow every rabbit trail out there, especially when I have to log in, and I really don’t like the New York Times. Anyways, that’s the best you’ve got? A possible tiny change?Did those people that drank milk grow wings? Did they become a new species of human being? No, they are still people. Evolution doesn’t occur, even the man you’ve raised to godhood can’t come up with a proof, why do you think the New York Times would be able to?

  • dodger

    Canyon, you old queen. are you back from the closet already? know what i mean, wink wink, nudge nudge.

  • dodger

    and the last one, sunday bloody sunday will just make you cry.

  • Puzzled

    Canyon Shearer,I have read many of your postings, and I think in order for you to carry on a coherent conversation with many of the others posting here, you need to understand what the scientific method is. Saying things like “evolution does not occur” and at the same time saying that your Bible holds “the monopoly on truth” illustrates a dogmatic view of the world that is not grounded in reality.Instead of asking for evidence of evolution, why don’t you provide (verifiable and credible) evidence that evolution does not in fact occur at all? The hallmark of the scientific method is this: “What would it take to convince you otherwise?” The scientist, if given sufficient and credible data to the contrary, will change his/her notion of how things are. This is how scientists can go about learning new things in a credible way. If there is no evidence that can shake your preconceived notion about something, then that by itself reveals such a notion to be without scientific merit. How can one learn if one is confident of holding a monopoly on the “truth”?

  • rafael

    yup, when mccain started dancing in his seat, that’s when I began to cry

  • Canyon Shearer

    Nafi, you can put words in my mouth all you want, but perhaps you should actually start paying attention?I am not trying to dehumanize anyone, I am trying to make everyone realize they are human, and to be human is to be imperfect, to be imperfect is to be unGodlike, to be unGodlike is to be unholy, to be unholy is to be a transgressor against God, to be a transgressor against God is to be thrown into the Lake of Fire.Dehumanize? Never! The likes of Richard Dawkins have already done a good job of that by telling our youth that we know enough about the universe to say there is no God; that is inhuman.As for why I pick on the ‘atheists’ is because I hate for someone so delusional to walk blindly into Hell, someone has to tell them they are wrong, and I don’t hear a huge uproar from many places. I also don’t want any to end up in Hell either, especially those thinking that there is no Hell.Your entire post is flawed beyond human comprehension…faith is a word misconstrued by ‘atheists’ to pretend it is only religious. Faith is a large part of religion, but it isn’t blind faith. But more importantly, faith would exist even without religion.Do you believe that a meteorite isn’t going to fall out of the heavens and hit you on the head? There is no way you can know that, and it has happened to people in the past, you have faith that you won’t get hit on the head, or else you would be living in a bombshelter. Statistics, science, and logic all say that it is improbable, and so we live with faith that our world will not be ended suddenly by cosmic debris.Things that require Faith:Driving; faith that the other drivers will stay in their lanes, faith that they are trained to drive, faith that they have insurance, faith that they are not on a cell phone, faith that they aren’t planning to commit suicide in a head on collision with you. You can’t know any of that stuff, yet if you drive, you have faith that the other driver is responsible, law-abiding, and rational, there is no way to know those things.History; Did you know George Washington? Do you know anyone who knew him? Are you sure the history books are accurate? Are the statues possibly a conglomeration of a number of people, each one completing a piece of the puzzle; one chopped down a cherry tree, one defeated the French in Canada, one crossed the river at Trent, one defeated the British, one married Martha, and one was the First President of the United States? Maybe George Washington is just a compilation of great American heroes? All we have is a historical account written by friends, aquantances, and observers.Faith is the human condition, how then, is it so difficult for Richard Dawkins and the other agnostics on this board to realize that our five defined senses are missing so much of this world?Faith in God is simple, because if I wanted to check on that flight, I could call the airline, find out their safety record, find out their hiring criterion, interview the pilot, test his blood-alcohol level, meet the mechanic, view the maintenance records, inspect the airplane, check the fuel for conbustability and water content, check the weather, and listen to ATC via a portable radio. Then it wouldn’t be blind faith in flying on the airplane, but faith would still be necessary, faith in the unknown, other pilots, microbursts; Such is the Bible and God, in all of the measurable, observable, repeatable examinitions, the Bible is safe to put your trust in, but in the things we cannot test, such as Jonah and the Whale, the impending Judgement, and the Resurrection of Christ, require faith that if the rest is true, then those are probably true as well.You have faith that there is no God, there is no judgement, there is no Hell; but you haven’t tested these things, all you have is a certain blind faith.

  • Sam

    Rafael,

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Thanks Dodger. I will do that.Don’t let Canyon Shearer gets to you.He is the terrible Taliban’s twin of Christendom.It made me blush to read his interpretations and understanding of Christianity, even if I am not one. No wonder he failed to get many, if at all, converts among the Muslims, much less atheists and agnostics. Jesus PBUH would wept at what Canyon said he is doing for him and in his name. God the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Protect us from this evildoer! Do you think Canyon will be livid on the prayer:)And Dodger – peace be with you too, bro : )

  • victoria

    mr shearer- didnt Jesusu(ata) say that the wages of sin are death? maybe it was paul-so if wages are considered payment- and sin must be paid for- doesnt physical death (which we all will experience) itself satisfy that debt?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Puzzled, if you haven’t read the entire thread of messages, then you have a dangerous presupposition about me.I am not on the outside of evolution looking in; I was born into that religion, I believed in evolution until I was nearly 24 years old; once I actually took a look at it, I realized that it is a religion, because it requires blind faith and is quite holy.Evolution requires so much to make it true, any one of these things might make it true. You might say I used the Socratic Method to determine my religion.I looked at Evolution and said, ok the first thing we need to do is define this thing;All we need is something to prove evolution, maybe one of those;Evolution could be so easily proved;Evolution would be so easy to prove, that 49% of the United States think that it has already been proven. Yet there is NO proof for it, I looked everywhere, I was happy being a hedonist, it was fun; but fortunately I desired truth more than sex drugs and rock and roll, and God provided the means and the way in which to save a wretch like me.Once the one hypothesis was gone, that life magically appeared 3.whatever Billion years ago, I took a look at the other, that life was designed and created. There is infinite evidence for this hypothesis, enough so that I believe that it is true.That said, why do you believe in evolution?

  • Jeff Reed

    Anonymous:

  • dodger

    Nafi chided gently: “Thanks Dodger. I will do that. But I am a woman bro.”no prob, jesus said in him ‘there is no male and there is no female’ so i think we’re covered. which reminds me of a good joke:Q: what’s the difference between a gay bar and the locker room of a professional sports team?A: self awarenessstuff like that just pisses Canyon off no end. i tell ya, i don’t want to be around when he goes off. that’s one dude who’s wrapped extra tight.

  • Stefan

    I’d feel a lot better about Prof. Dawkins case if he wasn’t so busy using it to obtain publicity and collar lots of cash. Everyone squawks when a Christian evangelist is caught using his religion to glorify himself and line his pockets, but no one says a word when this fellow comes along using a similar playbook to set himself up as a high priest of “scientific” atheism. Behind the carefully cultivated facade of scientific objectivity, Dawkins shares other similarities with his despised evangelical brethren. For example, he borrows many of their intellectual tricks, such as setting up and knocking over paper tigers, hitting below the belt, using intimidation and condescension as substitutes for analysis, and relying on rhetoric to disguise mere assertion. It’s not a pretty picture, but it sure is selling like hotcakes!

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Dodger, you’re right. Canyon Shearer doth protest too much. I just wish he’d be more comfortable with his beliefs and not be rattled and/or defensive/aggressive. I wonder if he is doing this convince himself rather than us. The louder they scream is because the more afaid and uncertain they are? Here’s a joke for you, going around for months in Sunni Muslim circles:What is the difference between President Bush, Ayatollah Khamenei and Pope Benedict?None. They all think they are acting and speaking for God.I must have missed news that Almighty God gave them all new revelations. All the very best Dodger. Whatever you believe in, have faith in everything you do. Same for you Canyon Shearer. keep the faith, but not blind faith as you’ve said. We have to have reason in faith, no?

  • Tammy

    Thanks again for the links, all, both funny and informative.

  • rafael

    Sam, you sound like an angry person. It’s not all about you. But to answer to your reactions:Lysenko is an apt analogy for someone who cannot divorce his personal hopes from the process of scientific discovery. Lysenko professed to be a scientist, when all he was doing was advancing a socialist agenda. I’m not sure why you see a need to invoke Stalin.1. I didn’t realize I was required to list Dawkin’s accomplishments. You can read about them on Wikipedia if you like, and in his published articles and books. No one said his ideas are not controversial, but he is certainly considered a seminal thinker to people in the field whether one agrees with all of his ideas or not. Also, there are many other well respected scientists who have published popular books. Your logic is faulty to equate his stature or accomplishment with that of Dr. Phil just because he has tried to explain his ideas to the public.2. My talking about genetic drift was hardly an attack on you–I’m sorry you took it that way–and did not imply that you lied about anything. On the other hand, I meant to point out what I felt were two faults in your logic–(1) saying that because Dawkin’s called genes “selfish,” and because Darwin believed in altruism, that Dawkin’s ideas were somehow anti-Darwinian, and (2) that there are evolutionary processes that cannot be explained by natural selection, contrary to your claim that Dawkin’s insight was not science “because like Freudianism there is no conceivable action it couldn’t explain.” Forgive me if I misunderstood.3. I don’t see where anyone, I or Dawkins, said that science is “merely something that helps us to deal with the world”–I’m not completely sure what you mean–and I agree that the goal of science is to describe the world as it actually is. But that’s where your logic loses me–perhaps I’m obtuse, or perhaps your allusion to all the “relativism and skepticism of the sort modish in France and American English departments” is unnecessarily abstruse.Anyone who understands what science is and is not should recognize the simple and basic assumption that is required for scientists to proceed: that material effects have material causes. Without this assumption it is virtually meaningless to conduct experiments and interpret them in ways that assign effects to causes, which is our modern basis for understanding the world as it is. If we can invoke a supernatural force at any moment then the scientific method is pointless. This doesn’t mean supernatural forces don’t exist, but science is useless as a method unless we assume they don’t. And, science is concerned only with material effects, so a diest perspective, positing some idea of design or purpose at the beginning, with no supernatural intervention since–is irrelevant, it has no bearing on Dawkins’ or anyone else’s practice of science.String theory, given my limited understanding, is a model, just as other physical theories that preceded it. It doesn’t fit my understanding of pseudoscience, perhaps protoscience, in that the model has not been adequately tested. Models are not meant to represent absolute reality, but instead serve as testable, temporary and simplified explanations, that are changed and advanced, and sometimes entirely refuted, as parts of those models are challenged. Plate tectonics was once in that position and survived the challenges; astrology has not fared as well. If you have improvements on the method to share, scientists everywhere would love to hear them.

  • Tonio

    Thanks for the information and the link, Craig.To ask a stupid question, what does evolution have to do with the truthfulness of any particular religion? If Darwin was somehow proven false beyond all doubt, no creation doctrine from any religion would be any closer to being proven true. Too many opponents of evolution treat the issue as a zero-sum game. While evolution contradicts literal readings of many religions’ creation myths, why do believers assume that evolution contradicts the rest of those religions’ doctrines? I don’t see how natural selection would disprove or even prove the existence of deity.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Craig, so nice to see someone trying to defend their religion, it rarely happens anymore, ‘atheists’ usually just shrink back into their hole and whimper, “I’m going to believe it anyways because my big bad scientist told me so.”I love how you simply push the disprovers of your religion to the wayside. A true believer in evolution would have an answer, instead you are simply brainwashed in following the faith of your big bad scientists.(Who aren’t scientists)Evolution is from start to finish, it has claimed to have an answer from the moment the universe(interesting note, Uni Verse means One Phrase, that Phrase is Genesis One verse One) began to expand to the moment molecules became man. To shirk the fact that the Big Bang isn’t scientifically sound doesn’t prove evolution, it simply shows your religious loyalty to hating the truth.Please, watch your language. It is a very terrible trick of evolution believers to use words such as “probably”, “maybe”, “we surmise”, “we don’t know, but”, you used several of these, which are religious cover words to hide your lack of knowledge.More importantly, abiogenesis has been proven false, and is a very important stepping stone in the evolution view of bang to beings…that is the first gape in evolution theory that you have uncovered. If abiogenesis isn’t false, please create for me ANY living material out of non-living material. I will take anything, a germ, a mouse, a monkey, anything, big or small, whatever you want to bring to life, then we’ll discuss your abiogenesis claim.You are right, no one has been able to do it yet. That’s a great evolution falsehood. Maybe nothing has evolved YET, but someday magically it will with the help of supercomputers and geniously evolved human beings who are able to understand it. No one has evolved wings yet, either, how long do I have to wait until I can get me a set?Kent Hovind, while a wonderful human being with crazy ideas on the tax code and some unprovable Bible ideas, is an expert in evolution. I know this because I’ve actually investigated evolution, unlike you. These ideas are not entirely his, we’ve simply been paying attention to science together, and realize that evolution is a nice theory, but completely unbacked up by science. You attack Kent Hovind as a person, but you fail to actually refute any of his scientific evidence, this is a great ploy of evolutionists.If stars are forming, I would love for you to show me ONE, the Hubble can’t find it, so I’m assuming you have a better telescope in your back yard? You have made up an idea and then proclaimed it as scientific fact. Evolutionist lie #798.As for Genesis, in the Beginning(time) God created the Heavens and the Earth. Expansion points to a beginning, radiation comes from stars, there are only about 6 Billion TRILLION of them that we know about, and elements? What are you talking about? Elements are the building blocks God used, and many of them are vital to the continuing operation of the universe…after all, Nitrogen has no benefit for either humans or plants…although it does seem to be keeping the planet from incinerating; is Nitrogen one of your left over elements?Where did those elements come from anyways? There are an awful lot of them, and only most can be created via fusion.As for transitional fossils, you have none. If you had, you’d have posted a single one. Talkorigins is a hyper religious website and I would appreciate you bringing your arguments to this forum. I take back my claim, there are actually many transitional fossils, but I put in place, there are no TRUE transitional fossils. Many desperate evolutionists throughout the ages have made up fossils which quickly fell to ridicule and were removed from the public spotlight. All I want is a monkey-man or a fish with lungs and gills…is that so hard?You bring up lungfish which proves your lack of research. Lungfish is a fish with lungs, he never had, nor will ever have any evidence of gills.You are up to your old tricks when you say that apes came from previous species. In other words, “I don’t know, so I’ll pretend I do.” What is your previous species name? Can I visit its bones in a museum?You said, “Evidence for evolution is overwhelming.” I would like to say two things on that, show me ONE, and lies for evolution are overwhelming.Genesis and Evolution are mutually exclusive. One was penned by a perfect God, the other by fallible humans. Why would you follow the fallacy of man when you have the knowledge of God at your fingertips?As one(I only want one proof from you) proof for God, the greatest is creation. If there is a house, you know there was a house builder, if there is a painting, you know there is a painter, if there is a watch, you know there is a watch maker. Creation proves a creator. Up the ways are perfect science examples found within the Bible, please take a look. More importantly, we’re discussing agnostic delusion in atheism this week, but I feel that most ‘atheists’ are evolutionists. Please avoid trying to talk about the Bible until you’ve solidified your own faith in this crazy little religion you call evolution and I call evolutionism.And finally, the results of your terrible brainwashing shone through on your final post. There is no evidence for evolution, you have never observed it because it is unobservable, and no experiment has ever come close to showing it.Science is observable, repeatable, and measurable. Evolution has never been observed and hence cannot be repeated, and thus is impossible to measure.Evolution is not science. Science means knowledge, evolution is devoid of knowledge; much like ‘atheists’.

  • candide

    Atheism will be a minority view so long as the masses are filled with fear. They need a god because they cannot face reality. Will the masses ever be liberated enough to do without a god? It doesn’t seem likely. The future hold an elite that faces reality and the masses which avoid reality. Let’s hope — our only hope — that the elites keep control. For, when the pot boils the scum rises to the top.

  • Canyon Shearer

    P.S. Craig, have you been stocking up on lottery tickets? You are a great believer in chance.I am logical and see that if magically life were able to crawl from ooze, that the earth at the time wouldn’t be friendly to life and would probably kill it. The chances of that are good, put a baby outside on its own(not literally! Please!) and see just how well it does in the elements.Clearly there must have been about a Trillion abiogenesis’s until one accidentally survived to reproduce.And now you can’t perform the miracle for me just once?Buy me a lottery ticket while you’re at it.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rafael, somehow I missed your post on evolution. I would really appreciate it if you would stop calling evolution, science. Because it is not, you are welcome to call it a pseudoscience or pixie-dust, but evolution has nothing to do with science. Even when you redefine science by saying that it is inherintely falsifiable. That is false, truth is impossible to scientifically falsify.For example, it was once believed that speeds over 40 mph in an enclosed vehicle would kill you. Through science(observation, repetition, measurement) we now know that speeds over 4,000 mph won’t kill you.Through science, the truth shone through. The same with evolution. Once when it was a basic framework of a theory, it appeared to maybe be right, but once research was completed, we found out that it doesn’t happen. For example, lets look at dating methods, which are observable, repetitive, but when measured, guess what? Errors of up to and including 16 Billion years, different parts of the same animal are consistently 30 Million years different. At first we wonder why this happens, but through science, we realize, unfortunately, that decay rates are variable and easily contaminated, such as under direct sunlight, contact with dirt and water, extremes in temperatures…take for example, a Pepsi-can left outside for a year. If you look at the side of the can facing the ground, you may say, “This can is only a day old.” But if you look at the side that was exposed to the sun, wind, and rain, you can say, “Clearly this can was the first Pepsi-can created by Pepsi in 1898.” If we wanted to use science, we could look at both sides, find out when the label on the can was created, the style of the top, the type of alluminum, perhaps it has a date on the bottom. Then we can say with any certainty the actual age of the can. That is science, and hopefully we can find the truth of when the can was created, because the truth cannot be falsfied; rather what you meant was that false truths can be proclaimed.For what it is worth, Richard Dawkins has done nothing for evolutionary science. He has done great damage to the country and the world by spreading his evolutionistic religion. He hasn’t provided a single scientific(observable, repetitive, measurable) fact for evolution. Rather, the truth is shining through, in that evolution hasn’t happened, doesn’t happen, and won’t happen.Moving on, you are right about me actually somehow liking persecution, only because it makes me think, makes me read drivel like Dawkins book that I wouldn’t otherwise read, makes me pour over the Bible; this blog is a great motivator for me.But more importantly, if you step out of this world without Christ, I assure you, you will go straight to Hell. That is the main reason I am here, to warn you of the impending judgement and punishment. I also really like the feeling I get that I am definitely smarter than Dr. Dawkins, smarter than most of the posters here, because I assure you, I am not that smart, and being on top in this board is wonderful.There is a definite attack on Christianity from the agnostic ‘atheists’, but that attack is with butter knives, and it is empowering to wield the two-edged sword of the Bible in defense of the faith. But surely a defense is needed, because even with your piddly weapons of pseudoscience, strawmen, and hatred I am familiar with the ‘death of 1,000 cuts’ and realize that even in your futility, you’ve hurt the faith of many people.I would like to remind you that your religion of ‘atheism’ is not based on logic, it is not based on reason, it is based on ignorance, on deceit, on loving lies; any rational person would never fall for it. Until you or anyone else can prove otherwise, I will forever stand behind my opinion that atheists don’t exist, and those who call themselves atheists are stupid.

  • BGone

    Candide, you must have faith in the wisdom of the people. The scum has boiled to the top, the people have now gotten a mouth full and are vomitting. Yes they made a mistake with Dubya. It’s correctable, correction progressing at the moment.The evangelicals are responsible and they must pay the price. They worshipped Devil and are now reaping their God damned reward, hell here and now. And yes they kick and scream and call on their Devil for help but he doesn’t have that kind of power.Have a little faith in the wisdom of the people. It’s worked for over 200 years, a little tattered and torn but the good people haven’t gone away, just been mislead.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Jade Aarde, have you actually read Richard Dawkins’ book(s)? His opinion on evolution is tremendously flawed and he has not adequately researched, nor reported his findings.Nona, your religion is comforting, it is nice, quite likeable. You know why that is? Because you’ve created it to suite yourself. The Jewish faith, in its unadulterated form, is quite beautiful, the the modern state of Judaism is almost in as rough shape as ‘atheism’. Ask the majority of Jews, “What do Jews believe?” and quickly you’ll hear, “We don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah!” Well, that’s nice, but it is difficult to form a religion around something you DON’T believe, just look at the joke of ‘atheism’. Most Jews have no idea other than that, they don’t know that God created them in His image, made them His chosen people, promised them great things if they would follow Him, yet all have fallen short, but God promised to deliver the Jews into Heaven if they would repent and trust in God, humble themselves before Him, and He would lift them up. Very few Jews know that, and the majority are going to Hell.Victoria, the wages of sin is death. Correct, that is referring to the fallen world in which we live. There was no death before the first sin. Death is an unfortunate consequence of sin, but the punishment of sin is Hell. Picking and choosing Bible verses to suite yourself is no way to form a theology, but rather it is important to read the whole Book.Stefan, amen.

  • Doug

    Candide, you must have faith in the wisdom of the people. The scum has boiled to the top, the people have now gotten a mouth full and are vomitting. Yes they made a mistake with Dubya. It’s correctable, correction progressing at the moment.Yeah, it is a little amazing how the Republicans claim to be the party of ‘family values’ while also being the party of the free-agent economy. They look wistfully at the years 1950-65 as a time of strong communities, a record marriage rate and baby boom. Then, in separate arenas careful not to link the two, point out that the economy at the time was socialistic and started growing again once the free market ideas of Milton Friedman took hold.If ‘famiy values’ were truly their top priority, they’d endorse an economy that supports them — one in which people felt secure in their jobs and communities so they could put down long-term roots. Instead, they endorse a ‘free agent economy’ that causes frequent job changes and reduced opportunities for those not near the top of skills ladder. ‘Famiy Values’ are their proposed solution for how to avoid the social disruptions their economic values cause — if society’s losers would just accept their plight, we don’t have to suffer a downside to the winner-take-all economy.

  • victoria

    its not referring to “the fallen world” it is specifically death- if you want others to be logical and clear- you must not twist things up to suit your own preconceived theology- it is what it is mr shearer- i have read the bible more times than years youve been on the planet- your logic is inconsistent and you lack the basic principle of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. judgenot lest ye be judged mr shearer you speak only (badly) for yourself.ive sat in temple many hours of my life asking jewish learned men what they believe and you do a discredit to the entire religion of judaism with your completely made up in your own imagining pretend response of what you think jews would say-they are not idiots and dont respond to a question of belief with a response of DISbeief- they have a science to their beliefs which obviously you have never bothered to look into- even though Jesus(ata)himself was a jewish person.your statement that jewish people are forming a religion around what they DONT believe is so absurd and beyond any semblance to anything rational-stop calling people names and go read your bible againit is your mindset that is creating atheists in the first place so if you want to stop atheism- stop talking and start practicing your religion

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Good God Canyon Shearer!I admire your persistence and passion as a believer. And there now seems to be devout atheists and fundamentalists agnostics. Never thought I’d see the day. Canyon, I think you have planted the seeds for the formation of an Atheist Liberation Front and the Agnostic Freedom Fighters. And they’re hereeeee………… Break bread, have some wine with them and may God be with you.

  • Denise Spencer

    All praise Dawkins, my minister of truth in the Church of Reason. I will evangelize the good word as a faithful follower of rational thought. I bow down before thy intellect and raise the good book “The God Delusion” as my savior.

  • candide

    I haven’t read Dawkins’ book but a lot of liberals are giving him grief. A review in The NY Review of Books attacks him for refusing to take religious ideas seriously. Other reviews have done the same thing. There must be a movement among liberals, either sincerely or out of some political motive, to disassociate themselves from real atheism. Having spent most of my life trying to believe in God and all that I frankly cannot see any reason to give religious ideas any serious consideration. Dawkins is just writing and speaking what intelligent people know as obvious. At best he can perhaps be criticized as irrelevant, but I think he is trying to reach that part of the mob which has some ability to think. Perhaps he is wasting his time, but at least he tries. The alternative is to construct concentration camps and sanitariums in which to lock up believers. I am willing — but there isn’t enough support or resources for this. The Soviets tried it, it seems to have failed, although probably all the new found religiosity in Russia is probably bogus.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Victoria, I’m not sure where you’re going with your expounding on a single verse, surely you know that doctrine should never be formed on a single line.For example, Jesus said, “I am the door.” Then should I sit in front of my front door and worship it? No, because we don’t base doctrine on a single line of scripture nor a single Bible verse.See Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and ****Edited****, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”Psalm 19:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell.”Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and then the judgment.”Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”These are just a few verses out of hundreds if you are truly interested in understanding the doctrine of sin and the resulting Hell.As for the question I posed, you forget, I am an Evangelical Christian, I actually speak to people and research different faiths. Truthfully, not all Jews are so ignorant of the very tenets of their faith, but as I said, the majority are hopelessly lost.If you don’t believe me, next time you are in a synagogue, ask someone about Jesus, or pass out a Gospel tract with the dreaded, “JC” on it, as many Jew’s refer to the King of the Universe with, as if it were a curse word.Like you, I once was in awe of the apparent knowledge and understanding on which most practicing Jew’s stand, but I was surprised when with most Jew’s, the facade tumbles as soon as I take a look inside.You are right, Jesus was a Jew, born of the line of David, with a recorded lineage all the way to Adam. Just as Jews once covered their doorposts with the blood of a lamb so that Death would pass by, so do Christians apply the blood of the Lamb to themselves so that Hell will pass by.Judaism, like I said, is a beautiful religion in its pure state. Somewhere some Rabbi made it a law that Jews aren’t allowed to believe in the Messiah anymore. I’m not sure when that was, or why, but most Jew’s follow that law to the letter. When in reality, a Jewish person is just as eligible to receive the saving Graces of Jesus Christ as anyone; some say even more-so. Weirdly, there are few, “Jews for Jesus”, rather most saved Jews simply choose to shirk the Jewish title and go by Christian, perhaps in an effort to avoid being confused with the ridiculous ideologies that have grown out of Judaism since the last prophet in the first century.

  • Tonio

    “There must be a movement among liberals, either sincerely or out of some political motive, to disassociate themselves from real atheism.”Candide, I go with the political motive theory. The religious right is constantly equating liberalism with atheism, and I suspect that many liberals feel defensive as a result. Who can blame them? Coulter and other demagogues constantly warn of vast left-wing atheist secular humanist conspiracies to destroy all religion. Because of this, some believers are honestly convinced that liberals want to “construct concentration camps and sanitariums in which to lock up believers.”

  • candide

    But I do want to lock up believers!

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear Candide,You and I have never seen eye to eye on ANYTHING, but for the most part, I enjoy your posts.I have always liked your name as well, I don’t know if it is your real name or taken from Voltaire’s excellent book.A great irony concidering religion is the agnostic(now believer) Voltaire once said that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, the home was then renovated by the Geneva Bible Society to print Bibles.Also, for what it is worth, there is a huge religious movement in the former USSR by three faiths…Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Islam.

  • Cocytus

    Dr. Dawkins, many thanks for your writings. You seem to be a very patient man.Justin – word up. Don’t feed the troll. But it’s just so hard to resist! And it’s kind of fun, and it’s the Internet…the real danger is that the intelligent colloquy is being drowned out by the guy who is shouting loudest, and as intellectuals do love to debate, many of us are suckers for an argument.Canyon – your volcano god is a terrorist, a liar, and a sadist who requires blood sacrifice to appease him (like you, I just don’t care about pointing you to the numerous scriptural references you already think you know). So I have this to ask of you:If you could go to Hell so that someone else would not have to, would you do it? Presuming such things were real, and the mechanics of it possible by whatever theology you wish to use, I would do it. My brother died a Buddhist and a heroin addict, and if he is roasting in Hell I would exchange places with him in a heartbeat. I think you would find most atheists would react similarly, that they would attempt, somehow, and sometimes go to great extremes, to alleviate the suffering of others. Why is that? Because, despite what you think, we are moral people. Even if we did learn some of our morals from Sunday school, we also learned that murdering someone for having sex with a someone of the same gender and sprinkling birds’ blood and hyssop around the house is simple barbarism, and no longer applies to us – if, indeed, it ever did.Just like most of the rest of that beautiful, crazy, silly Book you think is so important.I like your ‘there is no atheists’ argument. Very cute. You, sir, are an accomplished troll. Have you considered a career in talk radio?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rafael, you still cling to the ‘atheist’ title, which is impossible, you are either an agnostic or a nihilist, you cannot be both.I am a great lover of all human life, no matter how dispicable. I love Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin; I know that they are fallible Human beings and just as deserving of Hell as me. If Jesus can love such men, so can I, I pray that Jesus has mercy on their souls.For you, who are still alive, how much more loving can I be to say that you are in danger of of the judgment? Guilty before a holy God, deserving of punishment. Doomed without the intercession of Jesus Christ? I feel that I am quite loving, otherwise I would be sitting on my couch watching praise musicians worship God. Instead I am subjecting myself to insult, to ridicule, solely so that you might come to know my incredible God, Jesus Christ.Someday you will know that He is real, whether that day is before or after your death makes all the difference.

  • dodger

    i encourage all participants in this forum to carefully read the posts from Canyon Shearer. over the past two days they provide a textbook example of the mindset of the true believer. i think most would agree that the ‘content’ of his world view is utterly immaterial; it could as easily have been marx or mohammad as jesus who wound up the object of his delusional (probably homo-erotic) passion. that very passion (sexual in it’s intensity) is what is so dangerous about religion and is, frankly, unique to it. i’m sure many have refused to see this side of christianity, instead choosing to believe that only some other, more warlike religions produce this type of personality. well, tim mcveigh and erik rudolph were good christian boys as well as terrorists. and rudolph managed to hide among the good baptists of my home state for quite a while. we underestimate the potential for christian terrorism at our peril.

  • rafael

    Spousal abusers think they are being loving too. And “loving” parents who beat their children feed their kids the same self-sacrificial “this hurts me” line just before they strike. But they are just as deluded in their conception of love. In your mind, just like Jesus you subject yourself to the sacrifice of insult and abuse. More than other Christians I’ve known, it really seems to hurt your pride that others don’t want to be included in your fairy tale. As I’ve said before, you are welcome to your delusions–just try to be more respectful and less prideful about inflicting them on others.

  • Anonymous

    Voltaire died in 1778. He was not an atheist because he believed that without God the lower classes would slit his throat and steal his money. But this kind of prudential belief in God was one of the arguments traditionally given for faith. What he really believed? That God created the universe, got it started, and then left it alone. A Deist God.

  • Puzzled

    If not falsifiability, then what is the hallmark of science? “Truth” is not science. Anyone who makes claims to such are truly the most ignorant. If we don’t have a common understanding of the most basic definitions (i.e., “science” and the “scientific method”) and make up definitions to suit one’s needs, then conversation truly can go nowhere.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Anonymous, good catch, an error in my memory. It was indeed in 1778.Have you ever read his last words? Quite telling:I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!I wonder if he were calling out to the Savior or simply reverting to Blasphemy to describe the pain of his death?It is also curious that he would give ‘half’ of what he’s worth…I’ve been to a lot of funerals with the honor guard, and not once has a moving van nor armored car followed us to the cemetary carrying the possessions of the deceased.Great writer, weird guy.

  • BGone

    Dodger:The question is not will Jesus return and rule earth. That’s not it. It’s who will rule earth while we anxiously await the return of Jesus. That will be someone with a Bible in his hand, the absolute and undeniable word of God. Sounds remarkedably like a certain Arian with another hoax, “The Protocols of International Zionism” to prove his case.God, fait in God or nothing of the sort is the enemy of democracy. Therefore we can say without the slightest fear of error that the Bible is the word of Devil for it is the Bible that is the justification of the kingdom of Jesus. Just one thing left to say.Thank God the Bible is a proved hoax. Democracy can be rescued from the kingdom of Devil that is well under way to being established in the strangest of places, the birthplace of modern democracy. Devil loves sore losers. He’s one of them himself.

  • dodger

    Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.btw, since we’re sharing ‘last words’ i like the one ascribed to pancho villa: “tell ’em i said something.”

  • Justin

    Do not feed the trolls. It should be a rule of thumb for us atheists/agnostics that people like canyon do not deserve replies. Do not allow them to propagate their hate.

  • rafael

    Bruce: “You may reject the objective evidence that I referred to, but you cannot truthfully say that there is “no evidence.” Therefore, to put my individual faith in Christ in the same category as Thor and Isis, is mistaken. If you were to absolutely prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead, you would destroy Christianity. But you have not and cannot do that. Therefore, there remains the possibility that Christianity is correct in its primary assertion, that Jesus lived, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Please discuss.”Bruce, don’t you realize that every religion has its own “cannot be disproven and therefore might just be true?” accounts from history? And that they can’t all be true according to each of the religions that claim their own? It shouldn’t be hard to understand that, from an outsider’s perspective, several different groups proclaiming they each hold “the truth,” without any objective evidence supporting one form of truth over another, looks like several groups of people who can’t see, from their inside perspective, how they’ve been deluded by their cultural roots. No amount of shouting “we are the ones with the truth!” is going to convince non-believers, and it is difficult for people to disown their cultural roots, so the myths are perpetuated. And sometimes those myths evolve. There is a good argument, for example, that early accounts of Jesus “rising” referred not to a physical but to a spiritual rising, and that only later were the accounts transformed into something that was never observed. I won’t summarize the main arguments, but there is a good honest debate transcripted here:People can convince themselves of many things, especially when swept up in an irrationalist fervor, which is certainly the state that writers of the bible were in. When convinced of something, even if irrational, one doesn’t look for more rational explanations for events. I have no idea what those people saw, but I have no reason to believe it was something supernatural just because it is written in an old third-hand account from a time long before we understood much more about how the physical world works.Sam Harris relates a tale about a group of people in Scotland in the early 19th century who were convinced that a woman was a witch because she was sick, was ugly as a witch, and had a marking on her leg in the same place where a cat had been injured the night before. The people saw all the evidence they needed before killing her. People can be convinced of extraordinary things when they want to believe, and Jesus saying he would appear would provide a pretty powerful and convincing atmosphere, I would guess.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear Justin,Has your sin for a season adequately balanced your Hell for eternity?

  • Rox

    :: We previously talked about the fact that this topic is about agnostics calling themselves atheists and their adherence to the lie of evolution, nothing doing about the Bible. We may discuss the Bible later in different blogs, but here it is your goal to defend your stupid faith. ::Your redefinition of rational conclusions based on the best empirical evidence available for the past 150 years as “faith” doesn’t make it so; nor does your ignorance of biology in general, and epidemiology in particular change the fact that many if not all of our advances in medical techology wouldn’t have occurred if evolutionary theory weren’t true.You’re the one mischaracterizing a scientific theory as a religion. Again, your saying so doesn’t make it so… it just makes it your opinion, and a willfully ignorant one at that considering the overwhelming number of people who’ve no doubt attempted to educate you as to the facts, here and elsewhere.Actually, the topic at hand is Dr. Dawkins’ optimism at the growing atheist movement. The truth is, the current anti-atheist, anti-science, fundamentalist Christian political groups (and leaders) in America should be held accountable for their attempts to institutionalize their worldview in direct violation of the Constitution. Moreover, since it is you and your fellow believers who claim the US to be a nation under God, and that a belief that God created… well, anything at all… without evidence, no less, is on equal footing with nearly 2 centuries’ worth of scientific experiments, discovery and advances; it is incumbent upon YOU to provide EVIDENCE for this God and creation you insist exists/happens.

  • Rox

    :: The dating methods to come up with millions and even billions of years are hopelessly flawed and each has been shown to be in error up to 16Billion percent. ::By whom? Citation, please. Should I hold out any hope that such a citation might include someone who’s “shown [the methods] to be in error” that *doesn’t* believe in creation/ID? Bated breath…Your habit of tossing out claims without offering supporting evidence is not only frustrating, but offers absolutely nothing in terms of an actual debate, or a civil one, at least.

  • rafael

    Sam, Wikipedia was just a reasonable and accessible suggestion. No claims were made about its superiority to other sources of information. I’m sure there are better.I suppose if you think I wouldn’t understand your argument, there is no use in your explaining it. But that’s not much of a case for its being sound. Perhaps others would understand, and you’d be able to educate them.I never suggested that you would do anything like starve millions. If you don’t like the idea of someone guiding their scientific dicoveries based on their desired ends, then I hope you would not act according to those principles. The description of your revulsion to Dawkins’ ideas based on the “rampant selfishness and coldness” they imply suggested that your practice of science could be biased by your personal feelings. Mostly it suggests to me that you don’t understand Dawkins or evolutionary theory very well.I never said I was an atheist.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rox, thank you so much for ‘educating me’ except for the fact that your posts have nothing to do with education, only blind lies.Please educate me in evolution, give me one fact; for then, praise dawkins, I can finally believe!Rox, you are ready to throw out evidence against your precious religion, and therefore I shall not toss pearls amongst swine.Know that the truth is out there, if you have the interest to research with an open mind; but evolution has a terrible ability to close the mind to all rational arguments; I know, I was once an evolutionist and was a much better one than you are, at least I attacked Christianity with supposed evidence! You fail in all ways to back up your ‘science’.

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Lighten up atheists and agnostics. It’s not the end of the world to come across the likes of Canyon Shearer. I got lost of practice listening and reading the vents and diatribes from the likes of him on Islam/Muslim from Christians, Jews, Hindus, agnostics/atheists. Live with it.

  • Puzzled

    It is impossible to carry on a decent dialogue with someone whose understanding of the subject of this dialogue is deficient (for lack of a better word). For those who want to argue about evolution, please at least cite reliable sources (e.g., published in peer-reviewed journals). Or if those journals are all filled with lies, then provide your own tests that are scientifically valid. To discuss scientific validity, you need to understand what the scientific method is all about as well. What I find facinating (and rather puzzling too) about fundamentalists who actually believe that the universe is only 6000 years old is this: despite their attestations of how firmly they believe in God, this belief is so easily shaken that they refuse to believe empirical evidence. Hence, the vehemence of their objections to science and the irrationality of their arguments. If you cannot believe your own senses, and the senses of everyone around you, then how can you believe anything? Intelligent people of faith look at empirical evidence and the seeming conflict with the Bible and reconcile it somehow, not reject what is before their eyes.For instance, take something so simple as the stars we see in the night sky. Any child can see this. Let’s say the G Hypothesis (G for Genesis or for God, take your pick) is that the universe is only 6000 years old. Then, if we were to observe any celestial objects beyond 6000 light years away, this should allow us to reject the G Hypothesis. Of course, the counter-argument would be something about measurement errors (just like the arguments about measurement errors in for instance, the earth sciences that fundamentalists suggest incorrectly). When the Hypothesis of 6000 years is rejected by billions and billions of years, then suggestion of measurement errors is just silly.

  • Crooked Cucumber

    It seems that Mr. Shearer is so terrified of his creator’s wrath that he must unflinchingly believe that everything written in the Bible is his God’s inerrant and perfect word. To admit that the stories written in the so-called Good Book are no more than parables would be the final nail in his coffin to Hell and Damnation.It is this trepidation of ultimate payback that has compelled him to become impregnated with prejudicial “evidence” that impedes his capacity to evaluate the Bible with an open mind. Not unlike a battered wife who refuses to leave her husband, Mr. Shearer refuses to question the veracity of the Bible because to do so would result in severe retaliation (see: Leviticus 24:10-16).Mr. Shearer is not helpful to the conversation. He, in his self-glorifying rightness and righteousness, actually enjoys the argument. Not because he is open to reevaluating his own beliefs, but instead because he enjoys the process of making those who do not adhere to his dogma wrong. And it is fearful adherents to prehistoric belief systems like Mr. Shearer who obviate any chance of reconciliation.As the saying goes: “Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll both get dirty, and only the pig will enjoy it.”

  • Canyon Shearer

    “It is impossible to carry on a decent dialogue with someone whose understanding of the subject of this dialogue is deficient (for lack of a better word).”I couldn’t have said it better myself.I love evidence, show me evidence for your view, my evidence is abundant, has been previously posted…but this isn’t about my religion, it is about yours.Why can’t you believe empirical evidence and investigate scientific evidence?It is terribly frustrating arguing with you because you have no understanding whatsoever about the merits or lack of merits that either of our religions is founded upon.Your attack on light years is dumb; the distance across the galaxy actually supports Genesis far better than evolution. I reconcile my beliefs first, it is extremely easy. Adam was created a man, creation was created complete, therefore the light from stars was created complete. Easy.Now for your religion, which cannot possibly reconcile this fact:Imagine that, science doesn’t support evolution?

  • Falk Steinle

    Hi CanyonTaken fromThe Dipnoi are a group of sarcopterygiian fish, are are commonly known as the lungfish. Their “lung” is a modified swim bladder, which in most fish is used for buoyancy in swimming, but in the lungfish also absorbs oxygen and removes wastes. Modern lungfish in Africa and South America are able to survive when their pools dry up by burrowing into the mud and sealing themselves within a mucous-lined burrow. During this time, they breathe air through their swim bladder instead of through their gills, and reduce their metabolic rate dramatically. These fish will even drown if they are kept underwater and not allowed to breathe air!For more jump to the website.But alas, I actually have not the slightest bit of hope that you are honestly interested in this subject. BTW: Evolution takes no interest in christanity one way or the other. It’s simply a neat little theory that corsponds rather well with our observations. Oh well, I guess you won’t agree with me.Well if we can’t agree on anything, at the end of the day at least we can say: the lungfish is a pretty cool creature. Yay!

  • Sam

    Rael,

  • Rox

    “Pearls before swine” is a more apt description of a person who dismisses one of the most comprehensive stores of data and empirical evidence in support of evolution (Talk Origins), including refutation of every one of your arguments thusfar (by scientists, no less), as somehow biased in favor of a “religion” that exists only as such in your god-fevered imagination. You keep asking for evidence – and since I’m not a scientist, I defer to those who are and point you in their direction. If you choose to ignore their findings and expertise in favor of your faith, that’s your problem.There is no such thing as an “evolutionist.” I realize it’s difficult for people who have mastered the cognitive dissonance required live in the modern world AND engage in magical thinking to comprehend the reality that some of us live full, happy and moral lives without needing gods, miracles or pretending that fables are fact even in the face of evidence to the contrary. But there it is, and the reality remains that no matter how hard you wish or pray it isn’t so, eventually your religion and your god will be consigned to the same fate as all the other gods throughout human history.I look forward to the day when no American politician will make a point of his/her belief in God, Jesus or the Rapture because it would make them look exactly as delusional as if they used “Thor, Jesus” or “Ragnarok” in place of those equally mythical characters and events. And it fills my heart with joy to know that there are more atheists standing up for our rights every day.

  • Puzzled

    Think about it: If there is a star that is 1 million light years away and we can see it today from earth, then the universe is at least 1 million years old since the light from that star would have taken 1 million years to reach us. Since there are celestial bodies more than 6000 years old (by billions of years), then we must now conclude that the universe is at least that old (Hint: much bigger than 6000) since we can see those celstial bodies from earth. I am not scientist, but I don’t think you have to be A scientist to follow this simple logic?

  • Jeff Reed

    I believe that only the most fervent of those of faith believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and they are of a small minority who believe that every word in the Bible is factual, when reason and common sense tells us that most are the wishes of the men who wrote them. As the war of words between the Atheists and Christians continue unabated, we should remember this point: Most people of faith believe in an omniscient being that created the universe and has no beginning or end, essentially originating from nothing. An atheist believes in a universe created by an extremely high concentration of matter, essentially originating from nothing. To date neither can be disproved, and if looking rationally at both, they are both beyond human comprehension, and most likely will only be proved to each of us upon our deaths. I am simply arguing the point that each person on this Earth, and most specifically here in our land of Freedom, must have the right to his or her own beliefs. This war of words between atheists and the faithful, and the literal war between faiths that continues shattering the peace on our Earth, threatens each of us today, and more specifically, the fate of our children, the fate of humankind. It is time to be men and women. To begin a dialogue based on respect of the other, not of resentment of who they are or what they believe. And judging by many of the posts from both the panelists and the respondents in this forum, it really needs to be soon.

  • Puzzled

    I agree that we need a more civil discourse. However, in order to have meaningful conversation, there has to be common understanding of key concepts and a willingness to listen. Perhaps the “true believers” themselves need to recognize that Creationists and the other pseudo-scientists are actually clouding the debate by offering unfounded ideas packaged like science. And more importantly, these false notions of science are barriers to truly reconciling faith with science. The recent conversation between Dawkins and Frances Collins in Time was interesting, but not satisfying (as it was only an excerpt of the real interview).Most reasonable Christians should understand that Genesis is not a literal account of creation. The first chapter is just saying (in literary language, a kind of a mythic account) that the author believes that God is the creator of everything. The Bible is just one long testimonial on faith (i.e., “I believe!!”). I think scientists can study the Big Bang and at the same time read Genesis as a confession of faith. Scientists will be the first to tell you that there is so much we don’t know, and perhaps there are parts beyond our knowing. That is where religion may come in for some scientists. But that does not mean that Christian scientists insist that the earth is 6000 years old and evolution is a farce. Fundamentalists who get upset about how modern science seems to refute the Bible really have little understanding of the Bible and are showing ignorance on two fronts (science and religion) by insisting on the literal truth contrary to all established knowledge and common sense.

  • Jeff Reed

    Agreed.

  • Jeff Reed

    Rafael,

  • Doug

    to Sam, posted 1/3 at 3:33Your untruthful statements indicate a disgraceful lack of knowledge about evolution and Karl Popper’s aplication of his theory of falisfication.First, Karl Popper never refuted Freud; he said Freud’s theory was irrefutable (untestable) and therefore it could not be proved or disproved.In contrast, although Popper at first aserted, “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program” (Unended Quest, 1976)… he later, as he better understood the theory of evolution, had the intellectual integrity to admidt his mistake, “I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation” (Dialectia 32:344-346).Sam, it would be helpful to establishing accuracy, if your future writings expressed the same integrity that Karl Popper showed, by your admidting how incorrect your contentions were and are.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear Falke, bravo on your research! I never thought I’d see the day an evolutionist actually looked something up! You are a credit to your religion.I am actually conceding a loss for argument concerning Lungfish; in the many articles I have read on it, none have ever mentioned that it has gills; I have now read several scientific reports and truly, Lungfish does breath-in through its lungs and out through its gills. I can agree, that is incredible.I have no idea if lungfish is an intermediary, much more research is necessary, it is odd that his gills do not operate; why would he lose that ability when he spends 99% of his life underwater?However, lungfish could have easily survived the flood, considering the fact that they have been observed to burrow in the mud and slow their metabolism to 1/60th of normal. That is comparable to the gilled creatures that live for months on end on top of Stone Mountain in Georgia waiting for rain.Thank you very much for the intriguing thought, I haven’t seen an evolutionary evidence in a long time that took me more than ten seconds to completely refute. Be assured that I will be researching the issue further.You bring up an interesting point with sweetwater and saltwater animals. It is also extremely interesting to note that the salinity of the ocean is less salty than an evolutionist would expect and more salty than a creationist would expect. A creationist rectifies this by saying we don’t know the original salt content of the ocean, the evolutionist has no rectification. Variation could easily create most of the sweet-water and salt-water animals, such as the crocodile, and others may have been able to live in the semi-salty flood waters.The salinity of the ocean is a point on which much research is needed, as it currently is a mystery to both creationists and evolutionists.Thanks once again for the discussion.Rox, if you truly think talk-origins has anything to offer, please post it here. I do love that you instantly went for the “I’m not an expert” defense and the security of your hole. In every debate I’ve had but the one with Mr. Falke, evolutionists run crying to their hole until I’ve passed; under the guise, “I’m not an expert.”There are so such things as evolutionists, for you simply need to look in the mirror to see one. You believe in evolution, and therefore are an evolutionist.I see that you also have huge faith that the God of the Universe will someday fall from Glory. It is interesting to note that in the history of civilization this God has reigned, and His absolute monopoly on truth ensures that He will always exist. Even if men somehow forgot His name and the Bible disappeared, He would still exist.Anyways, I ask that you pay attention to Falke; for through research, coherent argument, and subjective evidence may you actually learn something.Puzzled, your presupposition of things being old does not make them old. The universe was created in a mature state, so stars from 50 Billion light years away were created visible.More importantly, how can we see things that are 47 Billion light years away if the universe is only 16 Billion years old? More importantly, how is everything expanding away from the Earth? That would place the Earth in the center of the universe. After a big bang, one thing remaining in the center would be unlikely, and the chance of insignificant us being the exact center would be smaller than the chance that a monkey could become a man.I concede readily that Lungfish is the first evolutionary evidence I know of that is not easily swept away with truth; if only your entire theory were so ambiguous to survive criticism.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Forgive me if this posts twice, I’m having difficulty with the website:Dear Falke, bravo on your research! I never thought I’d see the day an evolutionist actually looked something up! You are a credit to your religion.I am actually conceding a loss for argument concerning Lungfish; in the many articles I have read on it, none have ever mentioned that it has gills; I have now read several scientific reports and truly, Lungfish does breath-in through its lungs and out through its gills. I can agree, that is incredible.I have no idea if lungfish is an intermediary, much more research is necessary, it is odd that his gills do not operate; why would he lose that ability when he spends 99% of his life underwater?However, lungfish could have easily survived the flood, considering the fact that they have been observed to burrow in the mud and slow their metabolism to 1/60th of normal. That is comparable to the gilled creatures that live for months on end on top of Stone Mountain in Georgia waiting for rain.Thank you very much for the intriguing thought, I haven’t seen an evolutionary evidence in a long time that took me more than ten seconds to completely refute. Be assured that I will be researching the issue further.You bring up an interesting point with sweetwater and saltwater animals. It is also extremely interesting to note that the salinity of the ocean is less salty than an evolutionist would expect and more salty than a creationist would expect. A creationist rectifies this by saying we don’t know the original salt content of the ocean, the evolutionist has no rectification. Variation could easily create most of the sweet-water and salt-water animals, such as the crocodile, and others may have been able to live in the semi-salty flood waters.The salinity of the ocean is a point on which much research is needed, as it currently is a mystery to both creationists and evolutionists.Thanks once again for the discussion.Rox, if you truly think talk-origins has anything to offer, please post it here. I do love that you instantly went for the “I’m not an expert” defense and the security of your hole. In every debate I’ve had but the one with Mr. Falke, evolutionists run crying to their hole until I’ve passed; under the guise, “I’m not an expert.”There are so such things as evolutionists, for you simply need to look in the mirror to see one. You believe in evolution, and therefore are an evolutionist.I see that you also have huge faith that the God of the Universe will someday fall from Glory. It is interesting to note that in the history of civilization this God has reigned, and His absolute monopoly on truth ensures that He will always exist. Even if men somehow forgot His name and the Bible disappeared, He would still exist.Anyways, I ask that you pay attention to Falke; for through research, coherent argument, and subjective evidence may you actually learn something.Puzzled, your presupposition of things being old does not make them old. The universe was created in a mature state, so stars from 50 Billion light years away were created visible.More importantly, how can we see things that are 47 Billion light years away if the universe is only 16 Billion years old? More importantly, how is everything expanding away from the Earth? That would place the Earth in the center of the universe. After a big bang, one thing remaining in the center would be unlikely, and the chance of insignificant us being the exact center would be smaller than the chance that a monkey could become a man.I concede readily that Lungfish is the first evolutionary evidence I know of that is not easily swept away with truth; if only your entire theory were so ambiguous so as to survive criticism.

  • Pam

    Why aren’t you allowing me to post???

  • Tonio

    “Lighten up atheists and agnostics. It’s not the end of the world to come across the likes of Canyon Shearer.”Nafi Sahgem, the danger that people like Shearer pose is this – they want to use government to push a certain religious doctrine on my children, through creationism and forced prayer in schools. For a time, they turned the Air Force Academy into a kind of Jesus Camp.

  • Puzzled

    Canyon, No, stars 50 billion light years away would not be visible until the light from the star reached us (50 billion years later), and stars don’t generate light until they exist. Please proof-read your posts. Do you even understand your own postings if you were to read them over?Also, even if earth is not at the center, if the entire universe is expanding, then of course everything would seem to be going farther away. Ever blow a baloon?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Have you read Stephen Wright’s book? He is an evolutionist, I thought you’d have a picture of him on your wall…He proposes the universe is 47 Billion light years in any direction from Earth.When you blow up a baloon, there is empty space in the middle…your analogy fails.More-so, if we BLEW up from nothing and it magically became everything, things would be coming with us, going in the same direction as us, following us…we DON’T SEE THAT.The big bang is a poor explanation for the creation of the universe.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Good morning, Cocytus,That is a very interesting question that I have pondered in the past. I’ve often wondered if it would be viable to God to do an exchange; then I realize that the exchange has already been made, God substituted Himself for your brother, for you, for me.Imagine you have a terrible disease; a cure has been found, but it costs upwards of $900,000, and your insurance won’t cover it because it is experimental and not approved by the FDA; but the doctor is certain that it works, but no one will loan you $900,000. Someone that you don’t know, who you’ve never done anything for, and can’t do anything for, sells their house, their car, goes into debt, has nothing left, but buys the cure for you solely so that you might live.If you take that cure and smash it on the ground, it is your own doing that you are going to die of the disease, and it is perfectly right for the donor to be offended.God paid your fine with His own life; a gift more precious than any human being or angel could offer, and to reject the cure for Hell, especially since you have 10 clear signs of disease, is to deserve hell all the more than if you simply slid into it on your own.So for substitution, it has already been done, and you cannot exchange places with someone in Hell.If I could, I have thought about it, if I could sell my soul to save the 40 Million babies killed in abortion clinics, I would; but unfortunately(or moreso fortunately) my soul is not mine to sell, it was purchased by God on Calvary and belongs to Him.If I could substitute myself for your brother(if he is in hell, we can’t be sure, many a man has converted on his death-bed), I would be worried that he would simply spit in my face and smash the cure on the ground once again; it is not a worthy gamble, because it will assuredly put you in Hell and possibly him again as well.But God answered the question many times over; it is appointed once for a man to die, and then the judgement.Please read Luke 16:22-25

  • Puzzled

    Of course the balloon is empty inside. It is just to get you to visualize how the outside balloon surface would expand, and the distance between two imaginary points on the balloon surface would become more distant. And why do you skirt the issue? I haven’t read Stephen Wright, and why is that relevant? A simple question. If the star is billions of light years away, and the light from that star got here now, then how old is the star? And how old (at least) is the universe? I don’t worship idols (or anything else, for that matter). As hard as it may be to accept, people don’t worship evolution because it is not a religion. You say you worship God, but really, it doesn’t sound like any sane notion of God most sensible Christians would understand. Confronted with a question you cannot answer, you avoid it and then react emotionally. Please think about what you are saying. If you think the Big Bang is a poor explanation, then why? And if the Big Bang is an utter failure, does that automatically qualify Genesis as a valid explanation? As I said, if you read Genesis as a declaration of your faith, then fine. However, if you want to say that the Book of Genesis is a factual accounting of the beginning of the universe, then that is something you should support with credible (objective) evidence.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Puzzled,You are mistaken, evolution is a religion.Religions ecompass the following:Evolution answers each of those questions quickly and without fail. They are stupid answers, but answers none-the-less.As for proving evolution, it seems that if it were true, we could prove it as far as anything can be proved. A single fact would be interesting, and would be more ‘proof’ than we have now, instead of a million hypotheticals.It is my contension than the whole of evolution is false and has been proven thus; despite your claims of overwhelming evidence which doesn’t exist.Your complete lack of knowledge on evolution doesn’t make it less false. You say, “We don’t believe a computer came together by itself.” yet you don’t offer a better hypothesis, because one doesn’t exist. Did you know that your eye contains 137 MILLION light sensitive cells in 1 square inch? Design for me a camera on accident with the same characteristics; you can do it incrimentally if you wish, start with a single light sensitive cell on accident and work your way up from there.Your presupposition is that scientists don’t have presuppositions, that is wrong. When cave drawings were found in the Congo of dinosaurs, the first thing scientists said was, “They can’t be dinosaurs because men didn’t live with dinosaurs.” That is not science.You are going to accuse me of having the same presupposition that the Bible is true and thus science supports it. I need only to remind you that I disbelieved in evolution before I believed in the Bible, and through science found the Bible to be scientifically perfect in all ways measurable, and faithful in all ways not scientific.The interesting thing about your post, you failed to provide any sort of evidence for evolution. I do not blame you, it is hard to post evidence when none exists.It is foolish to be an evolutionist, but it is not unforgivable, especially when the whole of the school system is lying to you; but it is unforgivable to remain in the lie once light has been shone upon it.In closing, your are wonderfully and fearfully made; your eye is undeniably designed. If science were able to do eye transplants, if by giving one of your eyes, you could give sight to a blind man, would you sell that eye for $1,000,000 and a guaranteed perfect glass replacement? Some people would, but what if the same scientist offered you $35,000,000 for both eyes?I wouldn’t take it, I doubt you would either. Our eyes are precious to us, yet the Bible says that the eyes are merely the windows to our soul. If your eyes are worth more than $35,000,000, how much more is your soul worth?

  • Tonio

    “1. Where did we come from?”Why does that have to be a religious question? If it were proven that human life was planted here by alien races like on “Star Trek,” would that really make a difference in people’s everyday lives? Why should any origin for life affect people’s individual journeys to create or find their own meaning and purpose for life? In my view, no religion should make claims about the world, because such claims amount to attempts to control people’s reality.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Tonio, it is only important becaus as humans, we make it important. If people truly could be areligious, then perhaps the world would be a better place.But there is no person who does not wonder about things unseen and provide answers for that.Evolutionists are only the newest in a long line of those trying to explain where we came from.I feel it is important to know where we came from, because then we can know where we are going.Ever heard the quote, “Those ignorant of His Story are doomed to repeat it.”

  • Doug

    CANYON SHEARER: I wouldn’t take it, I doubt you would either. Our eyes are precious to us, yet the Bible says that the eyes are merely the windows to our soul. If your eyes are worth more than $35,000,000, how much more is your soul worth?A great deal if what the Bible says about this is correct, and very little if not.

  • Tonio

    “I feel it is important to know where we came from, because then we can know where we are going.”In my view, the two questions don’t have to be connected. I see a similarity with the Renaissance debate over heliocentrism. Copernicus and Galileo saw that religious dogma could not explain the irregularities in their celestial observations. So they departed from dogma and made their own conclusions. The Church insisted that Galileo deny what he saw with his own eyes in favor of someone else’s viewpoint. (Some have argued that the Bible does not explicitly endorse geocentrism, but that is irrelevant.) To me, that’s all that religious dogma is – a body of thought dedicated to convincing people not to trust what they experience with their own senses. Here’s another way to look at it – there is a “we” in “where we came from,” but there is no such thing as “where we are going” except for death. In spiritual terms, it is “where I am going.” That refers to my point about the individual creating or finding a meaning and purpose for life. The answers to your Questions 2-4 can only be answered by the individual, not by any dogma. Any attempt by dogma to impose answers to those questions amounts to mind control.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Tonio, very interesting, you have imposed the opinion of the church upon Christ, one of the worst fallacies, the fallacy of heresy.Indeed the Catholic church imposed their dogma on Galileo; I hate unbiblical dogma, because it is not on the side of Right. The Bible encourages believers to research, to study, to show themselves approved; because there is an abundance of dumb Christians doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong, only that people are lazy and need to start researching a bit about anything.To start with, the persecution of Galileo was not the first mistake the Catholic church made, I encourage all Catholics to read 1 Timothy 2:5.Even in your anti-religious post, you are sounding extrareligious. You cannot possibly know there is no end destination after death, but you espouse to know so, which is a definite answer to question #3 and #4.Religion is normal, everyone believes something; it is my challenge to you to search out those somethings and find the one with the most merits using science, faith, understanding, and especially knowledge.

  • Tonio

    Canyon, what I’m saying is that there is no such thing as “heresy” or “blasphemy” or “orthodoxy.” All those terms attempt to control what people believe. It doesn’t matter that the Church was not following the Bible in imposing its dogma on Galileo. What matters is that they were imposing any dogma at all, and that was wrong.”Even in your anti-religious post, you are sounding extrareligious. You cannot possibly know there is no end destination after death, but you espouse to know so, which is a definite answer to question #3 and #4.”No, I don’t claim to know what the answers are for everyone. I’m saying that those questions cannot be objectively answered. I’m not anti-religion, I’m anti-being-told-what-to-believe. If I believed in no afterlife, or if I believed that my soul would go to a garage in Buffalo, that is no one else’s business as long as I don’t try to harass or force others to change their beliefs, or use my belief to justify atrocities on others.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Tonio,Your dogma is that dogma is wrong. It is an interesting dogma, but you are not the first to use it.If it is not my business to tell you to repent and trust, why is it your business to tell me not to?

  • Craig

    “More importantly, how is everything expanding away from the Earth? That would place the Earth in the center of the universe.”No. The thing that’s hard to grasp about the Big Bang for a lot of people is that it wasn’t an explosion *in* space; it was an explosion *of* space. You couldn’t have stood “outside” and watched the Big Bang happen because there was no outside to stand in. Space itself didn’t exist.After the Bang space expanded and continues to expand today. The second thing to note is that every point is expanding away from every other point; so wherever you stand it always looks like you’re at the center of the expansion.Imagine if the universe consisted entirely of a 1-dimensional line, like this: A-B-C-DThe dashes represent a distance of say 10 million light years (10 Mly). If we want long enough, the distance between any two points will double, so the universe looks like this: A–B–C–DNow point A sees B get 10 Mly farther away, C get 20 Mly farther, D get 30 Mly farther, so it seems like everything is expanding away from him. Not only that, but the futher away the other point, the faster it appears to be receding!But B sees A get 10 Mly further, C also get 10 Mly farther, and D get 20 Mly farther, so it also seems like everything is expanding away from him.Every point can legitimately claim that it looks like everything else is rushing away from them. In reality, it’s just the space between them getting bigger.

  • Craig

    “More importantly, how can we see things that are 47 Billion light years away if the universe is only 16 Billion years old?”We can’t. The most distant things we can see are about 13 billion light years or so away. The universe as a whole may be bigger than the observable universe, but we can’t see the rest of it because due to the limitation of the speed of light, there hasn’t been enough time for anything to reach us from there.

  • Craig

    “Adam was created a man, creation was created complete, therefore the light from stars was created complete. Easy.”Except that means God is deliberately trying to fool us into thinking the universe is older than it really is, which means God is either a liar or a trickster. Maybe it’s really Loki? 🙂

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Lungfish? Evolution? Creationism? Intelligent design? Big Bang? And to think I got an A in evolution in college.The theoretical framwork for Big Bang do have similarities with Hinduism’s concept of time and space.I find it interesting that Muslims do not really get into passionate discussions on evolution and creationism. Must be the mindset that science is used as proof of the existence and wonderment of the God. Not to disprove. Who knows what God really is, but we are “certain” that God does not create man in his image, no any man is divine or semi-divine. That would be according God a puny human status. And the wrath of the evengelicals shalt fall on me : )

  • Craig

    “Please educate me in evolution, give me one fact; for then, praise dawkins, I can finally believe!”OK.Fact: Random genetic variations exist within a species.That’s evolution in a nutshell. I don’t think you can really argue against any of them.Or if you disagree, read up about antibiotic-resistant diseases. That’s evolution in action. Here’s a link:

  • DAREN

    CANYON SHEARER:Yes, it is incumbent on the religiously devout to prove that God exists…and to do so in a manner that everyone else can make an objective judgement.

  • DAREN

    CANYON SHEARER:I can accept that you would question the assumptions underpinning evoluationary science. But can you accept my skepticism of the Bible, which is most likely a collection of myths, lies, superstitions, and contradictory statements?

  • dodger

    hey Canyon man,just to be sure, i had a couple of my gay friends read over your posts, and they agree with me completely: you are the most repressed gay man, perhaps in human history.my pal bruce would LOVE to meet you (he’s a submissive so you’d like him), but i told him that picking up guys on message boards is so 80’s.anyway, we ALL think it would be a great idea if you cruised around a few gay bars with your message about jesus (he’s very popular in gay circles) and i bet you’ll get a big surprise. just like christmas, dude.peace

  • AmericanFlyer

    I become more proud to be an atheist every day, with respect to all the personal gods. I’ll stick with the best science has to offer, and chalk the rest up to mysteries to be solved by science in due time.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Craig, variation is the greatest brainwashing technique of evolution. Because a dog can have a different dog, you believe a cat can have a kangaroo.I cannot prove Genesis to you because you really truly want the big bang to be true. You can’t prove the big bang to me because I believed in the big bang, examined everything you are saying, and saw the ridiculousness of it. Neither of our religions has enough knowledge to say with any certainty that either is true.Fortunately for me, I am on the side of God; and in every testable way, the Bible is perfect, and therefore in the difficult to test arenas and the untestable, I can trust it.Unfortunately for you, in every testable way, your theory fails, and therefore the things that are difficult or impossible to test are untrustworthy.In an effort to break the stalemate, I have been working on a (open air) sermon put together from the ideas of Todd Friel, Paul Washer, Charles Spurgeon, Ray Comfort, and especially Jesus Christ. I have attempted to appeal to your intellect, but have found your intellect closed to reason. Now I would like to take a shot at your conscience, you are the first to hear this.It was once compared that evolution is similar to a tornado going through a junkyard and a 747 coming together through random chance. It is an insult to my intellect and to yours to suppose such a thing could happen.This is because a 747 is incredibly designed by ingenious men working for years to bring together something like the 747. It is difficult to understand just how intricate the 747 is, so maybe we can take a look at the fuel control for just one of its four engines.The fuel control on a 747 is composed of approximately 300 parts contained in a box approximately 12 inches by 8 inches by 6 inches. In order to work on this part, you must go to school for an additional two years after completing your part 65 training, which takes approximately two years. The reason for the additional training is because the Fuel Control is the most important part of the 747. It controls fuel flow to the engines; when the engine needs fuel, it gives it to it, when the engine doesn’t need fuel, it keeps it back. It does this by measuring and comparing input fuel, turbine temperature, ambient pressure, fuel pressure, throttle position, bleed air, and contains several redundancies.If the fuel control fails to give the engine enough fuel, the airplane will fall out of the sky, killing as many as 544 people. If the fuel control gives the engine too much fuel, the airplane will instantly become a fireball, killing 544 people in the air and innumerable more in the path of the flaming debris. The man working on this part is responsible for thousands of lives; undoubtedly the fuel control is unbelievably and incredibly designed.Contained within these 576 cubic inches are 300 minute parts, all placed with a purpose, and we consider this item to be a marvel of engineering. Consider then, the human eye. The human eye contains 137……MILLION……light sensitive cells packed into an area the size of a POSTAGE STAMP. The human eye measures and compares light levels 24 times a second. It focuses quicker than you can realize it is out of focus. It contains a self-lubricating system and automatic windshield wipers. Each second it ticks imperceptibly left to right, helping the brain to determine distance. The eye filters harmful UV rays by filtering them through the very blood vessels that replenish it in order to protect and sustain itself.The eye humbles all human engineering; infinitely more complex and better working than any human machine ever conceived.The eye is so important to us, that when asked if someone would consider donating theirs for the sum total of One-Million Dollars, the majority unhesitatingly turn the offer down. But more important, when offered One-Billion Dollars for both eyes, not a single taker can be found.And yet the Bible says that the eyes are the windows to the soul. If the pair of eyes is worth more than One-Billion Dollars, how much more is the Soul worth?Jesus Christ gave us a taste, by saying that if the eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it into the fire, for it would be better to enter Heaven missing an eye than to enter Hell whole.The eye is a tiny, nearly insignificant part of ourselves, and if we put so much emphasis on maintaining it, how much more should be put forward to maintain our soul?We know that in the presence of the degeneration of the species and the world that our eyes have become weak and damaged. Through the intelligence of man are we able to place tiny pieces of glass on the SURFACE of our postage stamp sized eye and see clearly. I am blind without these lenses, but through the grace of science I am able to see.We also know that in the presence of the degeneration of the species and the world that our souls have become weak and damaged. Daily we fall short of the Glory of God, every time we fail to thank God for the gift of sight, every day we claim that chance lead to the creation of a fuel control unit, every day we lie to God and say that we don’t need him because we are quite capable of fixing our own eyesight problems. We offend God, we transgress His laws, we ignore Him, and even still, God has corrected the damage done to our soul.In that a lens can correct eyesight, the Lamb can correct the soul. Jesus Christ came and provided the correction by being the perfect Human; subjected to the law, to the degeneration, the temptation, and came through it unblemished and perfect, only to die a humiliating death, rising from the dead, and correcting the deflection of the human soul.If you want to fix your eyesight, there are two things you need to do. You need to realize you have an eyesight problem, and then you need to put on the corrective lens.

  • Tonio

    “Your dogma is that dogma is wrong. It is an interesting dogma, but you are not the first to use it.”That’s not correct. I’m not saying that dogma is inherently wrong. Certain dogmas may have inherent merits. I’m saying that individuals should have the right to evaluate the merits of the dogmas for themselves, apart from any demand by the dogmas that people accept them or face execution or eternal damnation.”If it is not my business to tell you to repent and trust, why is it your business to tell me not to?”What makes you think that it’s any of my business whether you repent or trust? I’m just expressing my desire to be left alone. Whatever I believe about the supernatural or the afterlife, that shouldn’t pose a requirement on anyone else to accept or even reject those beliefs.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Daren, thank for your thought provoking and important question.I encourage doubt in EVERYTHING. To go through life surrounded by blind faith is perhaps the worst way to live, in my opinion.I was a skeptic in the Bible for many years, it took me a long time reading prophecy and comparing science in the Bible to science in the world before I could trust that the Bible is indeed devoid of lies and contradiction, and that the myths are actually His Story trustable because it is written by God.It is a dangerous thing to trust that because Qanza has never had an accident that the flight you are one will not be their first.That is because Qanza is made up of human beings, and we trust them as much as we possibly can. But because the Bible is made up of God, we can trust it as much as it is possible to trust God, which is perfect trust.I encourage to you be a skeptic in evolution, the Bible, Allah, and ‘atheism’ until one can prove to you to be the truth, or likely the truth. The only thing that can actually disprove the others is truth.Good luck in your search.

  • Rox

    Canyon::: You are mistaken, evolution is a religion.Religions ecompass the following:Evolution answers each of those questions quickly and without fail. They are stupid answers, but answers none-the-less ::You are mistaken. The study of evolutionary theory (and most scientific study in general) addresses HOW species change over time, not the origin of the universe or your #2, 3 & 4 questions – which are the realm of theology or personal spiritual journeys.It boggles the mind that someone can claim the Bible to be “scientifically sound,” when it includes wild stories about a man living in the belly of a whale, or a flood covering the entire earth, sparing only one family and a boat that (in defiance of physics, or even the reasoning powers of a grade-schooler) somehow managed to house 2 of every animal on Earth for 40 days and after which somehow these animals, some of which are unique to places as far-flung as Australia and Antarctica managed to make the long trek from Mt. Ararat to their native habitat.Those are just two examples of stories that are IMPOSSIBLE to conceive of as literal and true, in light of our advanced knowledge. While I, as an atheist, do see their value as myth and parable, the insistence of Christians such as Canyon Shearer that they DO somehow stand up to scientific scrutiny (without evidence, of course), is what drives atheists to characterize such beliefs as delusional.Furthermore, Canyon, your analogy of flying in a plane requiring “faith” is incorrect. It is not “faith” (believing in something for which there is no evidence, or evidence to the contrary), but “confidence”: in the pilot’s skills, the airplane’s mechanical soundness, the statistical probabilities against a crash, etc.Perhaps there’ll be a time when someone will die, and physically back to life (with no scientific intervention) and scientists will be able to study the event. When it happens a sufficient number of times for scientists to say it’s so, and HOW it happened, then I’ll consider that it might have happened to your Jesus. At the present time, there is no empirical evidence for bodily resurrection, just as there is no evidence to support the story of Jonah in the belly of the whale. As long as that’s the case, there’s no argument any Christian can come up with that will allow me to suspend my disbelief enough to have “faith.”

  • Doug Arnold

    First, Richard Dawkins, based on his books I have read, (Devil’s Chaplin and Unweaving the Rainbow) is by a quantum leap more intelligent, more knowlegeable, and a far more decent and compassionate man than virtually any of his critics. I haven’t read the God Delusion, since I reached that conclusion long ago from the empirical experiences of my life. One of the major problems in this discussion is semantics, since the word God means an infinity of things to different people, but remember it is only a word. If you mean God as proposed by any religion then I’m an aetheist, if you mean by God the fact that there are many forces and occurences beyond our control and beyond our understanding and not under any central direction or intelligent designer than I’m a theist. However, God as the word is most frequently used is, I believe, a total fabrication for human dominance of other people and species and as a comfort for the powerless, or for the powerful when they feel powerless. In its later manifestation, God as a benign concept may do some good, and I am reluctant to dissuade someone from belief in an entity that soothes them. I will, however resist the concept of God and religion when it attempts to stifle science like stem cell research which will eventually save millions of lives or evolution as the keystone of the life sciences. These science have brought considerably more literal saving of lives and relief of misery than God and religion ever have. I have long noted that those who attack the proven science of evolution really don’t understand it or have been lied to by theist propagandists like the Discovery Institue or lie to maintain or enhance their own power. In one of the stupid anti-evolution arguments, the spontaneous creation of a jet engine is employed. An old, tired example that betrays total ignorance of evolution. Jet engines “evolved” over thousands of years by employing bits of information that worked, proved themselves empirically, and disgarding bits of potential but utimately false information. Ultimately people will believe what they want to believe. ButI caution the theists, for everyone’s sake, notto attempt to try to lead us back to the dark ages when religion manifested itself in man’s most destructive approach to life in history. Thank you for reading this.

  • Craig

    “Craig, variation is the greatest brainwashing technique of evolution. Because a dog can have a different dog, you believe a cat can have a kangaroo.”Um. No I don’t, and neither does anyone else. Why would I?”I cannot prove Genesis to you because you really truly want the big bang to be true.”What I want or don’t want doesn’t matter. The evidence favors the Big Bang.”You can’t prove the big bang to me because I believed in the big bang, examined everything you are saying, and saw the ridiculousness of it.”But you never say WHY you thought it was ridiculous.”Neither of our religions has enough knowledge to say with any certainty that either is true.”I don’t believe in a religion. But I accept (for now) the evidence for the Big Bang and evolution.”And in every testable way, the Bible is perfect,”Examples, please.”Unfortunately for you, in every testable way, your theory fails”Sorry, it’s been tested repeatedly and so far hasn’t failed. If it had, it would have been thrown out for a better theory. That’s how science works.”It was once compared that evolution is similar to a tornado going through a junkyard and a 747 coming together through random chance. It is an insult to my intellect and to yours to suppose such a thing could happen.”It’s also a bad example, because evolution doesn’t work that way. The 747-and-tornado example that creationists like to trot out is yet another strawman posted by people who don’t understand how evolution works. Evolution doesn’t work by throwing together all the pieces at once; it works by saving the useful stuff as it goes along.”The eye humbles all human engineering; infinitely more complex and better working than any human machine ever conceived.”The human eye is also poorly “designed”, for lack of a better word. We could really do without that blind spot we all have.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Craig, again, because a dog can create a dog has nothing to do with evolution because that dog will always bring forth a dog, no experiment has ever shown anything remotely different.Evidence refutes the Big Bang from the Laws of Nature, to the basics of rotation, to the dynamics of an explosion/expansion, to the basic logic of the idea.You believe in evolution despite evidence against it and blind faith that there is evidence for it, and then you argue for its existence. That makes you a religious fanatic in the theology of evolution.The Bible is not on trial, but a list of scientific facts in the Bible was posted on this thread a few days ago.What is on trial is the religion of atheism and evolutionism.What you said about scientific theories is beautiful, it is true. The theory of evolution hasn’t been thrown out because evolution is not science and does not operate as such.How long would I have to weed through the junkyard weeding out the bad parts before I found my 747? Natural selection disproves evolution. No matter how many times you edit my posts for grammar and spelling, it will never become the Constitution of the United States, because natural selection doesn’t add information.You are a religious fanatic espousing on the lack of merits of the eye. It is a stupid argument and if you are ever saved from your religion, you will see that. It is funny that the flawed eye serves us so well…and that a better one hasn’t evolved?

  • Anonymous

    I had a long reply that keeps getting held, so I’ll content myself with a short one. :)”If stars are forming, I would love for you to show me ONE, the Hubble can’t find it,”Is that so?

  • dodger

    gang, there’s no point in using logic or reason with our new friend, Canyon. he’s not in radio contact any longer. he has the same dreamy-eyed visage as a nun contemplating her god/lover. he’s in an ecstasy that most of us will, fortunately, never know.no, Canyon isn’t bothered with debate because soon action will be required. atheists and such detritus are not a real problem; the issue that keeps him up at night are all those billions of mohamadeans just over the horizon (and under the bed).Canyon believes that our world will soon be consumed in a mighty cataclysm of fire and he is trolling for more who feel like he does. a milita for christ.paranoid you say i am (my yoda impersonation)i’ve got some cuz’s down in NC who live in a ‘compound’ and have about five years of supplies laid up. canyon is either military or ex-military and represents a lot of folks in fact. ask him how many weapons he owns.

  • Rox

    Ah yes, and one last thing: If Canyon Shearer and his fellow Christians are so thoroughly convinced that evolution “doesn’t exist” or “is wrong,” then they should live their convictions and never again depend upon antibiotics (or any of the thousands of other drugs invented after research based in evolutionary theory) for illnesses or medical conditions, as well as never vaccinating their children against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, or any of the other diseases for which they are required, or taking insulin when diagnosed with diabetes. After all, by your own claims you have God and you have prayer, which should suffice because it’s more true than science and evidence. When you die waiting for that miracle from above, while there might be those who’ll lament your passing, but comfort themselves by thinking you’re “with Jesus,” there’ll be quite a few others who’ll wonder just how smart it was to reject actual medical treatment in favor of divine intervention. Oddly enough, most of them will even be Christians.If the incidence of smallpox HADN’T decreased to almost nil (or such a low number of cases that the mandatory vaccination program for American-born children was discontinued in 1970), that *might* stand as evidence that some of evolutionary theory wasn’t correct. That’s not the case, however.It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone who thinks Kent Hovind in any way, shape, or form comes close to even resembling a scientist. He’s a religious nut, period. My 10th grade daughter has better powers of observation and critical thought than Kent Hovind!

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rox, I will respond to one of your final comments first, for it is the most abhorrent and the most stupid.You keep calling evolution, “science” and compare it similarly to the great things science has brought to the world.Be assured that evolution has nothing to do with antibiotics or space exploration, it simply got stuck on the end with bubble gum and true science is swatting it away, saying, “Go away! I don’t know you!”It is a stupid argument from your side and it manifests itself in every debate. Science is wonderful, evolution isn’t science, get over it.Now, back to your first babblings. Redefining evolution doesn’t make it more true, it makes it sound more ridiculous and much more religious. Even redefining it still lacks a shred of evidence, so I don’t care if believe in evolutionary theory from start to finish, or just that a dog could produce a monkey; either way it is foolish and stupid; your understanding of the vastness of evolution is directly proportional to your rejection of it.We previously talked about the fact that this topic is about agnostics calling themselves atheists and their adherence to the lie of evolution, nothing doing about the Bible. We may discuss the Bible later in different blogs, but here it is your goal to defend your stupid faith.I love how you redefined my faith in flying example. Confidence gives us the idea that you know the pilot hasn’t been drinking, hasn’t caught his wife in bed with his sister the morning before you fly, hasn’t falsified his credentials. You don’t know any of that; it requires blind faith.Your rejection of faith in everyday life shows how brainwashed you are in thinking you are smart.Evolution is a farse.Dodger, what exactly is the point of you being here? You haven’t posted anything worthwhile in two days.

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Cocytus,Don’t give meat to the lion Canyon Shearer. I read through and find that may atheists and agnostics don’t really read up on religions to see the differences in them. Not that notions of God or Divinity matters to you, but it would help in your arguments against all religions. I remain a believer and most comfortable being one regardless of how you regard or perceive us as delusionals and/or moronic:)God works in mysterious way 🙂 Can’t stand the phrase? Easy now. Peace be with you.

  • dodger

    testsorry, but apparently my posts are now being held by the editors. oh, well. free speech was fun while it lasted.

  • anyone’sguess

    Canyon…an arrogant fundie with an irrepressible need to stop everyone from going to his imaginary hell. I don’t understand why anyone continues a futile dialogue with this person.

  • dodger

    the post that the editors intercepted made the following point:for those who quarrel with evolution/atheism, it seems that the crucial question is the age of the planet. if it’s really just 6000 years old and the fossils were laid down and mixed up by the Great Flood, then the best people to tell us that would be: oil company geologists.my challenge to those who question evolution, etc. is to go ask an oil company geologist how old the earth is. why would they lie? go on, we’ll wait.

  • Puzzled

    First, evolution is not a religion. It is a set of ideas and theories that attempt to explain how life forms change over time in response to environmental pressures. If evidence is found to refute certain aspects of it, then scientists will dispose of that aspect and revise/update it. The empirical regularity is there for all to see, so now the basic notion of life forms “evolving” is well-accepted by all serious scientists. Second, you don’t “prove” evolution. You try to find evidence that might refute, or “falsify,” certain aspects (testable propositions) in order to better understand it. And incidentally, there have been discoveries of fossils of specimen that show elements of both land animals and water animals, just as there are discoveries of the links between different steps in the evolution of our species. But this does not “prove” evolution. Instead such evidence ammounts further corroboration of what we already know thus far. The overall body of evidence (which is overwhelming) supports evolution. One of the things I find really puzzling about Intelligent Design/Creationism is this insistence that evolution argues that life evolved out of nowhere, spontaneously. Somebody on one of the postings (way back in Nov., I think) even said that it’s like a computer coming together by itself. I have no idea where such a fanciful notion comes from. Most scientists who study evolution do not make such claims. The process was incremental… or, evolutionary! Let’s just assume for a moment that some really out-of-the-blue discoveries totally befuddle scientists in such a profound way that there are calls for revising or even upending most of what we know. Scientists will be the first ones to tell you about the exciting discoveries and try to make sense of such findings. But this begs the following question: Given such discoveries, how does that suddenly lead to a conclusion that there is indeed a designer? The logical conclusion should just be that we had an incomplete undestanding, and the task at hand would be why we might have been so wrong.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dodger, in fairness, there are a number of reasons this website catches posts and disposes of them. One is curse words, another is more than a few links(I don’t know how many).What would we expect to see if there were a global flood?Millions of fossils buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. With the remains of the previous foliage(oil and coal) trapped within the rocks.More importantly, why can’t evolution explain the lack of transitionary fossils or the fact that the fossils we find are the result of water inundation?

  • dodger

    at last, there you have it. simple empirical question. the planet is, according to christian cosmology, about 6000 years old and it’s geological characteristics are largely the result of a great flood.or, the planet is about 4-5 billion years old, etc. etc.here is where reasonable people can exit the train. if any authority is needed beyond the simplest geology texts to answer the issue, then i repeat my suggestion that folks of good will seek out a pro. an oil company geologist makes a living finding things in rocks (coal company geologists are pretty good too) and they’ll set you straight. try running the ‘great flood’ past ’em and watch their faces. priceless.

  • Sam

    Rafael,

  • rafael

    Jeff:My comment about Invisible Pink Unicorns etc. was not meant to be flippant or disrespectful–I’m glad you might have a better sense of that now.It was, on the other hand, meant to reflect how athiests actually experience the idea of believing in a supernatural entity that is backed by no objective evidence, only by mythology that is handed down through lineages and that most strongly predicts what descendents in the lineage will believe. I see no reason to give respect to irrational thinking, even while I respect the people who cling to it.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear Dodger,I simply ask which you believe, ~4.6 Billion years or ~6,600 years? Either is difficult to prove. 4,400 years ago there was a major flood which erased or muddled the evidence for the age of the earth; fortunately there is much evidence for a 4,400 year old flood.Millions of years is even more difficult to prove, considering the ‘great’ dating methods have all been proven to be in great error when calibration tests are performed.The greatst blind faith of evolutionists is, “We can’t use this test to find out how old my lunch is, but it is accurate when dating the lunch of dinosaurs.”

  • Canyon Shearer

    Alas, just as you lost a post, I just lost a post. I am going to try to recreate it in brevity. Always remember to cut and paste your posts into word.Which do you believe, ~4.6 Billion years or ~6,600 years?Each is infinitely difficult to prove. 4,400 years ago a major flood erased and/or muddled almost all of the evidence for the age of the earth. Fortunately, the massive amounts of evidence for a flood are evident in every aspect of science. Just ask any evolutionist where rock layers came from. He or she will say, “Many local floods.” We agree in floods, I just look at evidence and say that many is improbable due to plate techtonics, and one is much more feasible.The dating methods to come up with millions and even billions of years are hopelessly flawed and each has been shown to be in error up to 16Billion percent.A great error of evolutionists is the idea that, “I can’t use this test to determine the age of my lunch, but I can accurately use it to determine the lunch of dinosaurs.”The greatest proof against millions of years is the 65 Million year old dinosaurs, which are written about in the 3,600 year old Bible.

  • Craig

    I wish I knew why my posts keep getting held.Canyon sure seems to be able to post a lot of name-calling, and I’m just trying to refute his misinformation.I don’t think I’ll bother anymore, so I guess you win Canyon. Just remember this: if the doctor ever prescribes you antibiotics, make sure to take them all, otherwise you’ll be contributing to the evolution of drug-resistant diseases, whether you believe it or not. 🙂

  • Canyon Shearer

    Dear Craig, thank you for the debate.I implore you to research ‘drug-resistant’ diseases in order to discover that they have NOTHING to do with the disease getting better…but rather the disease losing information so as to render the drug ineffective.Another perfect example of natural selection disproving evolution.

  • Grumpy Grampa

    All religion should be unrecognized above the level of the individual.All ministers should be muted. Only their actions should be permitted to attract adherants.All believers should be challenged but not degraded.All non-believers should be permitted to be ignorant of God so they could know that what they really object to is the behvior of believers.Politicians always lie.Lovers often lie.Believers generally have no idea of that in which they believe.The one part of God that is accessible is the Spirit; yet, very few humans know or are taught that simple fact.The one truth of religion is that good cannot exist in the absence of evil, and that is the ‘root cause’ of all the trouble.Randomized ‘Natural Selection’ operates on the human species/races and we all get to watch, but we aren’t sure that it happens in robins. Robins may prove the argument of the creationist, but the human never will.Only a creationist believes that God cannot have ever been a good chemist.

  • Bill C.

    “That disproves your religion as well. For a great evidence, look at cave-fish, who doesn’t have eyes, because in the dark, the fish with eyes were swimming into rocks, puncturing their eyes, and dying of infection. Natural selection caused the GENETICALLY DEFICIENT fish to survive”Canyopn this is a perfect example of how natural selection does work. You really don’t have the mental wherewithall to understand that fish without eyes in those circumstances are genetically more fit for their environment than fish with eyes. Natural selection states that and animal will be selected for survival based on its fitness to its environment, which is exactly what has happened here. Just because you personally find fish without eyes to be “genetically deficient” whatever that means, doesn’t mean they were less fit to be selected for survival by their environmental conditions. In this circumstance the genetically deficient fish were those who posessed eyes. You’re subjective standard of deficiency is quite irrelevant. You offer no proof and infact gave a ncie example of natural selection in action. But you just don’t understand why because you Christian mindset has schooled you to think in terms of subjective ideals and not in terms of context.I had not heard of that example but if it is true you only damage yourself by bringing it up.Idiot

  • Bill C

    Canyon I will not tire myself listing reasons for you to believe in evolution because they are so numerous and diverse that to list a single one would be inadequate to the point impotence. Just go read a book on evolution. But first i implore you to go read “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” by Karl Popper or at least a synopsis of it. A synopsis is a lengthy summary (so as not to confuse your trogliditic brain). A small understanding of falsificationism will do you some good.On a side not Canyon. What do you do for a living? Where did you go to school? I am very interested to know how a person such as yourself even manages to exist in the modern world. Actually I would be very interested to know how someone like you would be able to exist past the year 1600.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Canyon Shearer,You are apparrently terribly confused. In your last post, you self-destructed your own erroneousI think I can explain it to you. Try to follow me.Lets take your cave-fish example. Your problem is in not understanding that the eyeless cave-fish are, due to their dark environment, GENETICALLY SUPERIOR to the sighted members of their species—because their lack of eyes enables them to survive (natural selection). And since only the eyeless cave-fish survive, only they reproduce and pass along to their young, the beneficial eyeless mutation which evolved to become the genetic blueprint for the species (evolution).Please remember in the science of natural selection/evolution, the superiority or inferiority of any mutation is determined solely, nothing more or less, by whether it increases or decreases the probability of the organism, in which that mutation manifests to survive and procreate (superior) or to become extinct (inferior). Remember too that genetic effects to an organism’s survival and procreation or extinction are inextricably linked to, and as directly so as a hand is to a wrist, the very specific environment in which that organism dwells.I’m glad it was so easy to correct your thinking. No thanks are necessary.I suspect you’ll be as correct about your prediction for the demise of the science of natural selection/ evolution as Voltaire was about his prediction for the fate of bibles.You’re right about religion, but you didn’t go far enough. All religions are stupid, including Christianity. Natural selection/evolution is a proven science; thus it cannot be a religion because all religions are tautologies.

  • Nafi Sahgem

    Craig,re Canyon Shearer,so now you know how and why extremists and fanatics win. They never let up, they never see reason as one hope, they never go away. We have quite a number like him in the Islamic world. And we just gave up, like you. And they are the voices drowning out the voices of reason like you. Canyon is not alone. I’ve read and heard many like him in every religion, especially mine. They are, for lack of better word, internet crusaders, internet evangelists or internet jihadists, bent on eliminating all those who disagree with them one way or another.One by one, in this thread, I saw BGONE then Dodger etc gave up and walk away. And as they say, the last man standing is the one who won. In his mind, Canyon won.

  • Bill C.

    Canyon:How was my post the opposite of an ad hominem attack?

  • Mr. Arnold

    Mr. Canyon ShearerThe recent post in which I trust I explained natural selection/ evolution to you, labeled by mistake anonymous,was mine. I don’t believe in not identitfying myself.

  • Pam

    OK, I’m sucked in for one more round, even though I know it it’s completely useless. Canyon, your ignorance is positively breathtaking.You wrote:No, it hasn’t, because a dog is an end product in today’s world. But a wolf became a dog. Look it up – their DNA is almost indistinguishable.Canyon: “There are certain species of rabbits that through variation cannot reproduce together anymore, but they are still RABBITS.”Until one of them *isn’t*. This is the beginning of speciation. Horses and Donkeys are a case in point – they’re still closely enough related to produce offspring, but those offspring (mules) are sterile. Horses and donkeys look different, don’t they? And mules look somewhere in between, don’t they? Look up Haldane’s theory.Canyon: “When you find a transitionary fossil that proves that there was an animal between the dog and the ape, please post it.”There is no fossil between dogs and apes, because apes didn’t descend from dogs. They had a common ancestor, but this is very far back in both lineages. There are, nonetheless, many transitional fossils between extinct animals and present-day species. We have all of the whale precursors back to when they had four legs. Ever heard the phrase “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”? Know anything about embryology and fetal development? It’s one of the most powerful evidences for evolution that there is. Not as Haeckel first proposed it, mind you – that the various embryological forms reproduced those of evolutionary *adult* forms, but they do reproduce historic *embryological* forms. We are single-celled in the beginning. We have gills at one point. We have arms and legs like fins. At another stage, we have tails. Embryo whales and dolphins grow legs in utero, then resorb them. Quite fascinating, really.Canyon: “But until then, your gradual change flies in the face of modern evolutionism which says that there were no gradual changes, but rather very rapid ones, which is why we can’t scientifical see evolution or any evidences for it.”You’re talking about Stephen Jay Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium, I assume, but as with most things, you clearly don’t understand it. Read Gould. For some things there are gradual changes, which Gould does not dispute, but occasionally there is a larger change (*larger*, not “more rapid”). Darwin, who had no way of knowing about the units of inheritance (genes) postulated tiny, almost imperceptible changes. Our current knowledge lets us know that changes can be larger – but *not* one species into another in one generation. Canyon: “The Bible, once again, is not on trial here. I would ask you to research the Socratic method, in that if evolution is proven false(it is) then you move on to the next hypothesis…then we will discuss the Genesis.”BS. If evolution is fair game, so is the Bible.Canyon: “As for mutations adding information…no they can’t. Give me one example of a mututation that has been written to the human genome.”I could give you hundreds. Walking upright, with all the attendant changes that go with that – spinal curvature, different attachment of spine and head, change in shape of pelvis, change in shape of feet. Opposable thumb. Bigger brain. All of these are genetic. Want more recent examples? Can you see physical differences between Africans and Scandinavians? Those are relatively recent mutations, and are adaptive, having to do with the needs for cold climate living vs. hot.Canyon: “Evidence against mutations being passed on is occurrences when people or cats are born with extra toes. Those toes are not passed on to offspring, hence not additions to dna.”Wrong again, Kemo Sabe. I know cats, I breed cats. Polydactylism is absolutely heritable. It is caused by a dominant gene.Canyon: “Despite my lack of a formal education in science, I am amazed that I am able to take on ‘giants’ such as Dawkins and reduce them to pixies.”In your dreams.Canyon: “God raised the mountains and sank the valleys. There are big mountains and there are low valleys, and the waters rise up out of the waters.”What??? Waters rise out of waters? Are you completely insane? No, wait, don’t answer that.Canyon: “We don’t know how much the ocean was diluted by, but we do know that there are ‘paths in the sea’ which God could have quite possibly used to seperate the salinities of various areas…the salinity in the Mediteranean sea is different than the salinity in the Atlantic ocean, despite the fact that they touch each other.”But they occupy separate basins, and the interface is small. This would not have been the case if the entire globe was covered by water. You can weasel and squirm, but there’s no way out of this one, Canyon – either the freshwater fish had to go, or the saltwater ones did – Oh, wait, no! How could I be so stupid (slapping head)? There’s always MAGIC.Canyon: “The animals on the ark were most likely infants and therefore had little propensity to eat one another.”More bull. Baby carnivores eat meat. Unless they’re so completely infantile that they eat their mother’s milk, which is made from her meat diet. At that stage, they can’t live without her.Canyon: “If God had no issue destroying the world by flood, I am sure he had no issue in providing rapid plant growth after the creation of the flood, which the food on the ark would have sufficed until it was ready. You think that they picked the olive branch? Why don’t you use your brain and think that they brought it with them?”Right, more magic. You don’t know your Bible very well, Canyon. The olive branch was brought back by the Dove that Noah sent out to see whether the land was dry. You say the flood waters were so powerful that they scoured out the Grand Canyon and laid down all those layers of sediment that now cover things miles deep, but they didn’t wipe out the olive trees? Is there even a word for logic in your language?Canyon: “Most ‘carnivores'(there are very few true carnivores)…”Huh?? There are *millions* of “true carnivores”! Don’t limit your thinking to mammals, sweetie, there are carnivores in all classes – insects, birds, reptiles…and lets not forget the fish in that big aquarium. :)Canyon: “… are capable of eating plants and with the power God has over the animal kingdom, until sufficient herds of animals existed, He would have kept them separate.”While the carnivore starved. Oh, right, more magic. Cats are just one example of obligate carnivores – they can’t live on anything but meat. And there are *lots* of cat species. Even more if you add in all the ones we only now know as fossils.Canyon: “That which cannot be proven via science about the flood is easily figured using logic.”Oh, stop, you’re killing me. You could do stand up!

  • Jeff Reed

    To all:

  • Puzzled

    Thanks to Nafi for the perspective. It seems to me people of faith should be much more alarmed than atheists should be. Fundamentalists are trying to hijack both reason AND faith.

  • Bill C.

    Where is Canyon? I do so love reading his thoughts.

  • Falk Steinle

    Nafi:I see. Puzzeled:

  • Puzzled

    Agreed, Jeff Reed. As for the earlier question of what to do? I take heart in reading Bishop Spong and other like-minded columnists. Whatever one thinks of religion, atheists also need to understand that religion — although I personally have reservations about the benefits of organized religion — is here to stay, at least for the time being. Many reasonable people struggle with how to reconcile faith with science. I think atheists have come to a certain conclusion. Other folks come to a different conclusion (like Bishop Spong). Trying to find commonalities to converse may be the first step. I have been saying all along that in order to do so, first, a common understanding of some basic definitions must be in place. For instance, many people seem to have misconceptions of the scientific method (e.g., Popper’s “falsification”). Second, earnest people of faith really need to take a step back and look at their own faith critically. Books like C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” (even though I disagree with much of what he said) take a reasoned approach from the perspective of a believer. I think that if one’s faith survives this critical introspection, faith will be more enriching for the simple reason that it will allow one to be free from the tyranny of false gods (i.e., idolatry), which is after all Commandment #1. Perhaps I am being too idealistic, but if we can educate our children to think for themselves and not force-feed them ideology, then we can gradually change the world for better? Ignorant and/or intellectually lazy people depend on ideology to guide their own thoughts, and that is the biggest sin.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Aha, Puzzled, what a crazy way to twist an idea around.I am all for reason and faith; you have the faith, now search out the reason.Have a great new year, everyone. (assuming this thread is over)

  • Falk Steinle

    Well Canyon, always remember:Happy new year to you too.

  • Canyon Shearer

    What reasons?

  • Jeff Reed

    Puzzled:

  • Canyon Shearer

    Tonio, granted, there are those that would wish to place Creation as THE scientific origins of the universe into our schools. I fully recognize that the proofs we have are enough to form an objective truth, but are by no means scientifically true enough to purport as fact.(Coupled with the Bible, yes, but stand-alone, no)As for why we should avoid teaching our children that evolution is fact is because it has far less science in it than Creation. Like I said, I am not for lying to children. At current, for a small stepping stone, I like Georgia’s method of labeling evolution a ‘theory’. That is a step towards removing hidden religion from our text books.That said, I am all for blatant religion being in our text books. The majority of the world is ignorant to the histories of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Humanism; and all ‘major’ religions of the World. All of the world religions should be taught with subjectivity for the betterment of our human understanding; not completely removed for the loss of a great portion of our national identity and culture.Knowledge has bred far less hatred in the history of the world than ignorance.As for Hell, it was not my intent or objective to judge you for who you are. It is my agenda and objective to inform you, if God exists, He has promised to judge you. If I have appeared to have judged you, please accept my appologies for not being more informative that the criterion I am providing is the method for which God will compare righteousness, not me; I have no right to judge righteousness in my unrighteous state.To warn people of Hell is the opposite to wish for their death, but rather to hope for their life.Finally, I never said to accept anything without question, and that is why I have asked that you have accepted evolution hook line and sinker? Please examine the baits they are using before you bite.Christianity promises everlasting life.Both are extraordinary promises; and should be researched for merits as such.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bill C.Please take a moment to research cave-fish, as your understanding is lacking and an insult to my intelligence.Cave-fish are not fish without eyes, but rather fish who had eyes once in their ancestory, were born deficient, survived in caves due to natural selection, and now live with genetic evidence for their eyes that don’t form.Is it your position to say that a fish that has lost the ability to see is somehow evolving?By that logic, as soon as the fish loses the ability to smell, taste, hear and touch, that it will somehow become a chimpanzee? The Chimpanzee has many more chromosomes, and therefore shows that it has more genetic information than the cave-fish, the question, if your confusion of natural selection is true, how does losing eyes increase the genetic code?As for evolution, you will not post a proof for evolution, because they don’t exist. Please admit that, it will save both of us a lot of typing.For a very brief autobiography, I went to a public grade, middle, and high school, where I had the theory of evolution shoved down my throat and believed every last bit of it. My degree is in Professional from Embry-Riddle, with a double minor in psychology and management. For a living, I kill people and break stuff.And finally, your attack was not ad hominen because it was not a baseless attack on my character, but rather an objective opinion. I feel that it was wrong, but based on your conclusions, it was not baseless. Still, I realize now that there are two definitions for ad hominem, one being a baseless attack on the character, and the other attacking the character instead of answering the question. So indeed, your argument was directed at the second definition. Mr. Arnold, you are completely baseless in your claim that losing an eye in the DNA is not a genetic loss. Explain to me just how much coding must be done to ‘delete’ the eye? Rather, coding is LOST and the eye no longer forms.Lost information is deevolution, and disproves evolution in its entirety.Jeff Reed, once again you fail to give an evidence. You are baseless fool, this opinion is bases on your claims that you can, but won’t, provide evidence.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Pam,…The wolf is a variation of a dog, which is why they are nearly identical. I assume you’re going to say that Chimps are nearly identical to humans. I would like to direct you to Berkley University citing that there are Three Million differences in the dna between the two.As for rabbits, give me one example of a rabbit that is not longer a rabbit?Horses, Donkeys, and Mules, are from the same family, the mule is genetically deficient, and not evolution, rather deevolution.Pam, you have solidified your stupidity in claiming that babies have gills. That was disproved in 1873, and has never been reproved. I believe this crazy thing you believe is why people have no issue killing unborn babies. I wonder if deep down they think, “Well, it’s not a baby yet, and it might actually be born a fish…so lets kill it.” Despite that no woman has ever delivered anything but a human baby.As for your opinion that there are transitionary fossils, I guarantee you that there are not. You cited lucy earlier, but I thought you were kidding. Lucy is a chimpanzee and has been since her birth, death, fossilization, and discovery. Saying she is more than a chimp doesn’t change the fact that she is a chimp. She may be related to you, but not related to human beings.The Bible will be discussed when you have discarded your fruitless religion and begin to search for truth, not before.You have provided no evidence that is not easily stomped on due to science. I do not consider you to be a giant like I once revered Dinky Dawkins to be, but find your fanaticism to be intriguing. I didn’t know someone could believe SO many lies in evolution and argue their merits, without actually investigating the issue.Forgive my typo, the lands rise out of the water. As the Bible says. As for the merits of Bible science, we may get to that, IF, and only if, you refute your stupid religion first. At current, I am arguing against your religion as one interested in science, and not a Christian.Correct on the olive branch, I am not sure what I was thinking…perhaps in the presence of such lack of thought from the peers in this board, my brain ceased to function momentarily.Pam, more importantly, you haven’t a single scientific evidence to stand on. You are basing your baseless religion on lies and feelings.Please, please, please, research this stuff a little, it is getting frustrating telling you the truth and having you throw back more lies.

  • Tonio

    “I guess the real question we now have to ask ourselves is whether we are going along Sam Harris line that the religious moderates are part of the problem or to skip this in favour of broader cooperation…I’d rather go for the latter.”Falk Steinle, I tend to agree.On one hand, both Harris and Dawkins have a legitimate point when they say that religious moderates provide cover for extremists. On the other, to treat moderates as part of the problem seems to go against the principle of freedom of conscience. I’m a big fan of their books, but I disagree with their contention that a person’s religious beliefs have an overwhelming dominance of his or her thinking and actions. My idea of freedom of conscience is that people are entitled to believe whatever they want about the supernatural and the afterlife, so long as those beliefs do not cause them to act in ways that adversely affect others. In my view, it’s not my business if some believers adhere to a literal reading of Genesis. But it becomes my business if those believers use public schools to try to push creationism on my children, or try to discredit science and scientists to win converts to creationism.

  • AndySocial

    I weep for the quality of the schools in Arizona, if you were able to graduate less than a decade ago and still think that “evolution is just a theory” makes any sense at all. Other theories include gravity and germ theory. I’ll go ahead and wash my hands and not try to fly, just the same.Hua

  • Bill C.

    If you look at Canyon Shearer’s post it is very clear he is the victim of a mental breakdown. If what he says is true then he went 23.5 years not believeing in God and then suddenly converted. He claims to have lead a life where he accepted and pursued all the evils he now condemns. Well he obviously was just a little lost in life, freaked out, and absorbed religious nonsense to give his life direction and now since it is the only thing which props him up with some kind of meaning he resists, to the point of absurdity, any thing which questions his unreasonable faith in the slightest. More evidence that he is out of his mind is given by the fact that he said “US Marines like strawmen. I once got to knock down a real strawman with an M16.” I take this to mean that he got to kill someone. Well it is rather sick to glory in the fact that you got to kill someone no matter who they were. I am sure it was made easier for hinm to live with because his religion tells him that as they were godless heathens, hellbound, and parasitic to society, and additionally that God approves of his killing. Very real proof of how religion facilitates and causes violence. I realize this is an ad hominem attack but I think he is extreme enough that it is relevant.

  • Jeff Reed

    Tonio sums it up rather well. We have witnessed extreme positions, and I believe we have seen that their blind beliefs limit their ability to reason. No matter how many times their claims are refuted with evidence, they simply refuse to listen and skirt around the issue. That is why we must look at all religions and those of no religion, find the ones who can reason together and come to some agreement on how to move forward. I truly believe that for us humans there will always be many of faith as well as many without, and I know that I am plagiarizing some science fiction writer somewhere when I write that the stars are their for us to explore, but we cannot hit the stars like a plague, wanting to convert all those we meet to some humans way of religious thought. So before we get there we better figure out how we can live together here on Earth, because if we somehow make it to the stars with the mindset that we have now, someone bigger than us who doesn’t care for our lack of reasoning may just decide to help us all find out the infinite question of just what lies beyond. For us to determine how we can live together–the best and brightest minds of all religions and non-religion, as well as thoughts from the masses, need to come together, and by using reason, understanding of another’s position (traditions, beliefs, etc), and just plain common sense and logic, we may be able to start ourselves on the right path to get to there. This “On Faith” forum is a start; we must not let this chance slip away.

  • Canyon Shearer

    AndySocial,Stop bubble-gumming evolution to the bottom of science; you’re getting science all sticky and blemishing its name.The schools in Arizona taught the same lies that Pam believes, which is incredible; how can a modern text book have a drawing that Haekel drew in the 1860’s, which was disproved in absolute in 1873?The schools in Arizona are as good as any other evolution teaching public school, which isn’t saying much. Evolution subdues truth and makes people stupid.Anyways, a quick typo correction, I have a degree in Professional Aeronautics, I am oblivious to how that word got left out.

  • Mr. Arnold

    to Mr.Canyon Shearer,Like most evolution-deniers, you apparently don’t understand either evolution or natural selection. You style of arguing is to simply say everything you believe is proven fact and everything you don’t believe is factually incorrect. Only problem is that the vast majority of your conclusions have been proven wrong by science.After all, the the most intelligent minds in the life sciences have been trying to disprove these tenets of natural selection/evolution for years–and have failed.If this were Miller analogy test–I believe your mind is to that of Richard Dawkins as a Pedue chicken’s is to that of Einstein.”Remember if your parents didn’t have any children it is unlikely that you will either.”I feel very sorry for you; it’s a shame you are not living in the Dark Ages where I suspect you would have been quite happy.

  • Craig

    “Craig, again, because a dog can create a dog has nothing to do with evolution because that dog will always bring forth a dog, no experiment has ever shown anything remotely different.”Of course a dog will always bring forth a dog. No one ever said otherwise. But it would be slightly different from the original dog. And that dog would bring forth a slightly differnt dog, and that another. How much different would one of the great-great-great-….-great grandchildren have to be before you would agree that it was no longer a dog?”Evidence refutes the Big Bang from the Laws of Nature, to the basics of rotation, to the dynamics of an explosion/expansion, to the basic logic of the idea.”I’m still waiting for specific examples. Which Laws of Nature? What about the basics of rotation?”You believe in evolution despite evidence against it “I’m still waiting for you to post some evidence against it. So far all you’ve said is that “I believe in Genesis, therefore evolution is wrong.” Please post some specific piece of evidence that disproves evolution.”The Bible is not on trial, but a list of scientific facts in the Bible was posted on this thread a few days ago.”There are scientific facts in Tom Clancy’s books too. That doesn’t mean the books are true. :)”The theory of evolution hasn’t been thrown out because evolution is not science “This must be news to the thousands of biologists who work with it every day.”No matter how many times you edit my posts for grammar and spelling, it will never become the Constitution of the United States because natural selection doesn’t add information.”No, but mutations can add information. Natural selection may (or may not) favor organisms that carry that mutations. I could write a program that would randomly change, add, or remove a letter from your post, and by selecting the changes that brought it closer to the Constitution, I would eventually get there.”You are a religious fanatic espousing on the lack of merits of the eye. It is a stupid argument”I wasn’t espousing the lack of merits in the eye. I am saying our eyes *could have been better*. If they were truly designed, then the designer did some silly things, like putting the blood vessels in front of the light receptors and having a blind spot where the optic nerve connects. Surely a perfect God would done a better job on His highest creation? Or did He screw up ours eyes on purpose after the Fall?”It is funny that the flawed eye serves us so well…and that a better one hasn’t evolved?”Better ones *have* evolved. Eyes of cephalopods (eg, squid and octopi) don’t have these problems.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Tonio, with all due respect.I have not mentioned one WORD about putting Creation in public schools. I haven’t mentioned one WORD about origins in schools.If it were up to me, and someday it will be, origins will be absent from our schools biology books, WORLD religions will be an ELECTIVE, and students will truly be able to show their brain power. There is great wisdom to be found in biology books without devoting two or three pages to origins.Why are you so terrified that my religion be taught in schools when you are completely missing the fact that your religion is being taught in schools? I hate lies, I hate them, I hate lying to children most of all.The school system will be a better place when a teacher will not ram a theory down a students throat and keep it down with lies.If you support lying to children, know that Jesus promised a great Hell(perhaps the worst) to those who take Children to Hell because of lies.Bill C., isn’t it amazing that even when you attempt to concede something, we still disagree? Your post was the opposite of an ad hominen attack…and you are welcome to your opinion, rather than worry about mental health, worry about my roots in science, the search for truth, and the impending judgement that I am trumpeting about.Jeff Reed, your post could be turned on yourself and it would mean exactly the same thing.Which reasons am I missing to believe in evolution? You have yet to give me one. You are a religious fanatic spreading your crazy ideology which has little chance of ever happening.Christians will always stand on the rock of Truth, and evolutionists et al. will always say, “we can’t know the truth.” There is little compromise to be found there.

  • Sam

    I never referenced Popper’s actual writings on Darwin. Instead I said that Dawkin’s theory, which cannot be identified with either Darwin’s theory or even neo-Darwinism full stop, fell afoul of Popper’s criticisms of Freud. Yes you are correct he never “refuted” Freud as such but he did rule Freud’s theories out as science which is all I’m claiming for Dawkin’s theory too. I’m quite willing to admit that evolution occurs and is scientifically proven to do so, but I’m not willing to admit that Dawkin’s unfalsifiable theories are science. They’re not and here I’ll follow Popper.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Mr. Arnold, welcome to the conversation.I suspect that with 49% of the country and most of Europe believing in evolution, I may very well be in the dark ages. When evolutionism falls from grace in approximately 18-20 years, what are they going to call this evolution generation? Generation confused?Moreso, to answer your question, Natural Selection equals:Group of Organisms.That is the evolutionist view of natural selection. I would believe it quite readily if any mutation were ever found to be better, or if any better mutation were ever passed onto the young. At current only genetic defects are passed on, a definite blow to your religion.The true definition of natural selection.That disproves your religion as well. For a great evidence, look at cave-fish, who doesn’t have eyes, because in the dark, the fish with eyes were swimming into rocks, puncturing their eyes, and dying of infection. Natural selection caused the GENETICALLY DEFICIENT fish to survive.Cavefish is my favorite disprover of your stupid religion…well…it’s close.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Anonymous, your post on the ‘forming’ star is a joke. It ‘may’ be a forming star. In reality, it is a lumb of gas. There is no proof for a forming star, no new stars, and no evidence that a star has formed since the Creation of the universe.Craig, I hope you are beginning to see your brainwashed self. How long will it take for a dog to become a non-dog? I don’t know, because it hasn’t happen. There are certain species of rabbits that through variation cannot reproduce together anymore, but they are still RABBITS.When you find a transitionary fossil that proves that there was an animal between the dog and the ape, please post it. But until then, your gradual change flies in the face of modern evolutionism which says that there were no gradual changes, but rather very rapid ones, which is why we can’t scientifical see evolution or any evidences for it.I’ll admit, it is a great brainwashing technique…blink…and you’ve missed it.Tom Clancy’s books were not written 3600 years before science found out about the science there-in.The Bible, once again, is not on trial here. I would ask you to research the Socratic method, in that if evolution is proven false(it is) then you move on to the next hypothesis…then we will discuss the Genesis.As for mutations adding information…no they can’t. Give me one example of a mututation that has been written to the human genome. This is the question the proved Dawkins to be a nitwit; so I don’t expect you to fare better.Evidence against mutations being passed on is occurrences when people or cats are born with extra toes. Those toes are not passed on to offspring, hence not additions to dna.That said, your religion is showing through when you say you can turn my post into the Constitution. I have purposely left out key terms found in the Constitution so as you cannot turn this post into. Where are you going to get the necessary words? Are they going to magically fall out of your harddrive?The eye is beautifully designed. The blind spot isn’t an issue, proof that design works inspite of it, if indeed it is a mistake, but I garner that it must have a brilliant function which we have not yet discovered…such as the location of the blood vessels which filter uv rays…something that octopus’s don’t have to deal with. Sounds a bit like design, don’t it?Pam, I love Ken Ham, a great man and a genious in both the Bible and Science. But anyone can refute evolution once they realize that it is a pseudoscience, you don’t need coaches to do it. Despite my lack of a formal education in science, I am amazed that I am able to take on ‘giants’ such as Dawkins and reduce them to pixies.The answer to both of your questions is plate tectonics and amazingly, in your questions, you proved the complete lack of knowledge you possess in the surface of the earth.God raised the mountains and sank the valleys. There are big mountains and there are low valleys, and the waters rise up out of the waters.Your presuppositions about post flood life are hugely flawed and based on your religion. We don’t know how much the ocean was diluted by, but we do know that there are ‘paths in the sea’ which God could have quite possibly used to seperate the salinities of various areas…the salinity in the Mediteranean sea is different than the salinity in the Atlantic ocean, despite the fact that they touch each other.The animals on the ark were most likely infants and therefore had little propensity to eat one another. If God had no issue destroying the world by flood, I am sure he had no issue in providing rapid plant growth after the creation of the flood, which the food on the ark would have sufficed until it was ready. You think that they picked the olive branch? Why don’t you use your brain and think that they brought it with them?Most ‘carnivores'(there are very few true carnivores) are capable of eating plants and with the power God has over the animal kingdom, until sufficient herds of animals existed, He would have kept them separate.That which cannot be proven via science about the flood is easily figured using logic.You can’t scientifically disprove the Bible account, you can only stand in awe of the science which magnificently backs the Bible account and continue searching for the science that could do the same for your measly religion.

  • Tonio

    “I have not mentioned one WORD about putting Creation in public schools. I haven’t mentioned one WORD about origins in schools.”And I recognize that. I wasn’t talking about you specifically. I was referring to creationists in places like Kansas, Dover PA, and Charles County MD.”If it were up to me, and someday it will be, origins will be absent from our schools biology books…”Why? As I’ve said before, I don’t see what origins have to do with the meaning and purpose of life. Plenty of Christians accept the hypothesis of natural selection, and plenty of theists in and out of Christianity believe that deity designed the process of evolution. (That’s not the same as intelligent design, which attempts to scientifically prove the existence of deity.) “If you support lying to children, know that Jesus promised a great Hell(perhaps the worst) to those who take Children to Hell because of lies.”You truly have no idea how statements like that infuriate me. It’s not about whether I believe in hell. It’s that no one has any business calling me evil and worthless and deserving of death, which is what the doctrine of hell is about. To me, it feels like you’re claiming that I am worthy to live only when I do what you say or when I meet your expectations. My apologies if that is not your intention. Please understand that in my view, to believe that a person is destined for hell, for whatever reason, is to wish for the person’s death – morally they’re the same thing.Here is part of my point – the existence or nonexistence of afterlife or deity are not objective facts. All we have are claims made by the people who wrote the different holy books. Why should anyone accept their claims without question?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Puzzled, I’m off to sleep after this post.Science is first and foremost the pursuit of knowledge. In order for something to be scientific, it must be:Explain to me how evolution is any one of those things?As for the actual age of the universe, I cannot prove that with science. More importantly, your religion has less evidence than mine.Even more importantly, I am going to bring up the Bible for a moment for scientific reasons: I can prove other scientific facts in the Bible which prove its reliability.The Bible claims that 4,400 years ago, there was a flood.My hypothesis, is that if there were a global flood, we should be able to find millions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the Earth.My evidence.Flood science, while possibly incorrect, is indeed science. This is more than evolution can claim for even their answer for millions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the Earth.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Pam, you are antiscientific nazi. There is no other way to say that.Please defend your idea that evolution is in any way scientific! Which playing field would you like to use in order that you feel you are an equal footing with me? I am prepared to play on any one of them!The measurement device that when water sorts things, or in fluid dynamics(such as in a can of mixed nuts), smaller things go to the bottom and larger things go to the top when mixed up. This is evidenced as easily as shaking a can of Planter’s Mixed Nuts and observing that almonds come to the top and peanuts go to the bottom.This measurement device is backed up totally in your evolution text books by looking at a map of the fossil record.

  • Rox

    Bill:”When the four horsemen of the apocalypse come will they be actual horsemen or since we have cars today will they maybe take a jeep.”Oh for God’s sake… now you’re just being silly, my friend. They’re HORSEMEN, so obviously they’ll be driving MUSTANGS!

  • Canyon Shearer

    I got the above e-mail two seconds after posting my last post, it ought to make you mad at the very least. 🙂

  • Canyon Shearer

    Puzzled, the scientific method is wonderful; but an equally wonderful scientific method is that of Socrates.In order to disprove my hypothesis, you would simply need to provide evidence for yours.I am waiting.And while I wait, since I am having so much fun answering your questions…the layer of earth that was call the crust is the evidence for the Global flood! It shows millions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth.The layers of rock are the way which they were hydrologically sorted. For an examination of how this could happen, take a look at the fluid sorting that occured as Mount St. Helens became a muddy mass sliding down a slope. When it came to a halt, and later water cut through it, the ash had magically formed itself into layers.I cannot find the article on Google, it is driving me nuts, I remember Dan Miller published the article(I read it in the last two months) and I have found that he works for the Cascades Volcano Observatory. These layers are frequently used to prove hydrological sorting hypthesis in Creation Science…despite your contention that things cannot be proved, they can be shown beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Jeff Reed

    If anyone is allowed to post on this forum under any email or name, then how can anyone respond to anyone else if I post a note to “Canyon Shearer”, but ten people have posted under the same name?

  • Bill C.

    Damn Rox you’re right. Although they could drive Broncos, but Satans henchmen would of course go in style.

  • Rox

    Pam, thank you so much for taking the time to give Canyon a clue-by-four, point by point. It is mind-boggling how anyone over the age of 8 can use “Goddidit” to explain away the obvious physical impossibilities in the story of Noah’s Ark and the Flood, and expect any thinking person to accept it as a valid, much less “logical” answer. It’s fantastical nonsense and as worthy of respect as “Thordidit.”Anyone who spends time in a garden or with animals, observing and contemplating the way they function has no difficulty seeing evidence of evolution. Though Canyon belittles my honest admission that I’m no scientist or expert, I’m perfectly happy to read the work of those who ARE for the technical details. I’m just an old broad with an insatiable thirst for knowledge but no formal education; yet my own eyes provide sufficient evidence to conclude that my birds-of-paradise and my housecats are living examples of natural selection, perfectly suited for their habitat. Those same eyes have visited museums, wildlife refuges and botanical gardens where the relatives of and genetic precursors to my plants and housecats are clearly evident.Scholar I may not be, but I was lucky enough to inherit more than sufficient intelligence to trust in what my eyes see and my research reveals rather than the magical thinking of those who cannot bear the idea that the Earth and its inhabitants aren’t the work of a supernatural creator, and that humans live, procreate and die just like every other living thing. “Goddidit” is easy and comforting, but that doesn’t make it true; and in fact there’s overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  • Bill C.

    Canyon just spouts off fabricated scientific principles which have been provided only by nut-bar organizations like AiG and demands specific refutations. Well obviously not everyone can remember names and specific details of fossils or on demand give and accurate account of DNA mutation, much less untrained scientists, but when you make it up it is quite easy to do.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bill C.,For a moment I thought you might be becoming enlightened.Kent Hovind has overexerted himself, rectifying the damage of evolution over 300 days a year; it is not unexpected that he is exhausted and if not in his right mind, has an excuse. His opinion on taxation has no bearing the credibility of his arguments. Evolutionists will never understand that.Anyways, if you have not noticed, I am an expert in evolution theory. I have read many books, websites, and rants both for and against it, and I still don’t believe it.How many have you read?More importantly, when are you going to post how it has anything to do with science?

  • Rox

    “Canyon, your ignorance is positively breathtaking.”I’m going with “infuriating,” due to its being WILLFUL ignorance. Anyone who claims the Bible to be scientifically accurate when it states that a bat is a bird and that it’s possible for a man to live in a whale’s belly is clearly in deep denial. And it’s obvious that Canyon will go to great lengths to protect his comfortable delusions.It’s people like Canyon that make rational folks fear for the future and motivate us to insist that it’s long past time to afford any sort of respect to such ridiculous notions, especially in crafting public policy and educational standards.And with that, I’m done responding to Canyon’s delusional drivel.

  • Bill C.

    “More importantly, when are you going to post how it has anything to do with science?”Canyon Pam and others have done this ad nauseum, but you deny the validity of every method so irrationally that trying to discuss evolution with you is like trying to discuss physics without math though I am sure you deny the relevance of physics and the Big Bang as well.

  • Pam

    Thanks for the link, Bill C., that was rich!I especially liked this part:Sound like someone we know?Canyon, There is NO playing field on which you would be my equal. Sorry to put it so bluntly.There are small fossils in the top layers as well. Even VERY small fossils. How did those peanuts make it to the top of the can?

  • Pam

    Spend a little time at this site, Canyon.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bill, are you really serious?Do you realize how hyperreligious and brainwashed you are? You are losing this debate with great haste.I want an example of how evolution is:Until then, it is NOT science!You ranted, “Canyon I would like to hear your explanation of why no credible scientist in the country will lend support to creationism.”I would like to know if you have stopped beating your wife yet?Your loaded question is still easily thwarted.Pam, the reason you can’t come to the playing field is because you are mentally retarded. Perhaps not in genetics, but you have forced yourself to be so.Kent Hovind consistently beats evolutionists to dust and sweeps them out the door. Not because he is a scientist, but rather, because they are not!For a brief moment, I thought this thread was going somewhere, but now I realize you can’t argue with fundamentalist evolutionists; they are brain dead and closeminded.Bill, there is a vast conspiracy towards evolution, but I assure you it is not amongst the ‘elite’ of the nations scientists nor of its tenured professors, but rather that of someone who desperately wants your soul in Hell. Only by Righteousness could such a religion as Christianity be written, and only by Hatred could a religion such as evolutionism be written.Realize that you have not sold your soul to the devil, but rather given it freely to him.

  • Puzzled

    Canyon says (?):The Bible claims that 4,400 years ago, there was a flood.My hypothesis, is that if there were a global flood, we should be able to find millions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the Earth.My evidence.Flood science, while possibly incorrect, is indeed science. This is more than evolution can claim for even their answer for millions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the Earth. Puzzled replies:First of all, you don’t **prove** a hypothesis. And the test you set out is not really a test of your “hypothesis,” since even if you find what you are looking for, finding fossil records near the water can mean anything. Certain animals surely lived and died near the water? And surely there are fossil records elsewhere as well?If all animals died in a global flood and as the waters receded, wouldn’t we find fossil records of land animals like lions under water, not just on the shores, but fairly deep? Also, many underwater animals would be found on land (since waters would have overflown). Furthermore, the fossil records should be limited to a thin layer (only 4400 years ago) and every other layer should be drastically different. And the key is that this should be GLOBAL (not just Siberia and Arizona). Is this what scientists have found? Citations please.

  • Pam

    Canyon wrote: “I want an example of how evolution is:Those are criteria for *experiments*, Canyon, not fields of study.That’s like me asking how theology is observable, repeatable, and measurable. Doesn’t compute. Apples and oranges.Go to that Web site I sent. Spend a lot of time there.

  • Pam

    Canyon wrote: “I want an example of how evolution is:Those are criteria for *experiments*, Canyon, not fields of study.That’s like me asking how theology is observable, repeatable, and measurable. Doesn’t compute. Apples and oranges.Go to that Web site I sent. Spend a lot of time there.

  • Bill C.

    Canyon:As to who is losing the debate: I would say public opinion is firmly on my side here.

  • Canyon Shearer

    And yay verily I say unto you, I am a jelly donut.My mother’s name was Bill . . . and coo? St. Valentine’s Day is the start of the breedin’ season of the birds. All buzzards can coo. I’d like to see it pronounced buzzards rightly. They work hard. So do parakeets.

  • Jihadist

    Who is this Crusader, Canyon Shearer? Why is everyone afraid of him or mesmerized by him and appeasing him? One of him and all of you? Pathetic.

  • Aloysius Horn

    Jef, posting above on 1 January says:”…but no one calls for compromise with the Pastafarians…”Well, I am calling for such now. It is long overdue.- Aloysius

  • Canyon Shearer

    Wow, proof that I’ve won; extremely hateful posts coming from the opposite side.Bill I didn’t ask for extremely unlikely transitional lies…I was asking for how evolution has anything to do with science. You can’t give it to me, I forgive you, it isn’t your fault that our terrible state religion has killed your ability to think.Anyways, public opinion is not on your side, in a Harris Poll from a few months ago, 49% of America still believes in evolution.That number is probably down to 48.8% now. You’re losing. 😀

  • Bill C.

    Can I make it any clearer? Should I write it in crayon?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Evolution isn’t true because a majority of Americans don’t believe in it. Science is all about consensus, so if the majority doesn’t agree with something, it isn’t true.The earth didn’t orbit the sun when the ancient astronomer Aristarchus did the math. The earth began orbiting the sun as soon as a majority of the uneducated public agreed with the theory.Duh, people! Science isn’t about reality and measuring or predicting reality – it’s about consensus.Read your bible, it has all the science you need in it.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha,No, crayon is not necessary, remember, I am the one that has had an intelligent argument for this whole debate and haven’t ignored the question for a day. More importantly, look up the criticisms of your transitionary fossils; the true is always more correct than the original hypothesis. These fossils are merely animals which came from similar animals and brought forth similar animals; no evidence whatsoever for magical species change. A few on that list are BLATANT lies and most evolutionists blush when you bring up the fact that they were once offered as proofs for evolution.Nice try at your scientific attempt, but I’m afraid you’re wrong. Evolution is not science. Let me rephrase your argument so we both definitely understand it.1. Observable – FossilsNo one can prove than any fossil ever had children, let alone other children, and it is impossible to say that a fossil brought forth beyond its own species. Fossils simply show that there was a catastrophic event that killed a lot of stuff in just the right way.That brings me to number 2. Do you know how fossils form? No, I didn’t think so, most evolutionists don’t. The majority(not only) way that fossils are formed is by water inundation. It is very difficult to fossilize something on accident; yet we have a beautiful record of water inundation in fossils. Many of these fossils are in the middle of bodily functions, such as giving birth, eating, excreting, fighting, and buried alive(clams). This is inconclusive with a slow sedimentation.Finally, the depth of fossils is how evolutionists determine the age of the strata layer. Do you know how they determine the age of the fossil? By which strata layer it is in. That isn’t science.You know how you can disprove Creation? Cows on Neptune. What a stupid argument your guy brought up. You know what would be a better disprover for evolution? If no scientific evidence existed for it!Your religion HAS been discarded by all rational people, only the ones desperate to disbelieve God still believe in it.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bill, I assume that is you. If you are going to pretend to be me, give due reverence to the word Bible.

  • Bill C.

    Canyon your water inundation is just a total lie and I don’t know where you got that but it is a facrication.

  • Bill C.

    That was not me imitating you but I will say that for all I care someone can use you bible for toilet paper and if your god jesus comes back I will be the first with the hammer and nails.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Hey, whoever is pretending to me be, stop it! I can defend my superfriend all by myself, wtithout your help!Did I mention that I kill people for a living but believe the commandment against killing means that I’ll go to hell? And my motorcycle is awesome. You all just wish you could be me. I’m so certain of my religioun that I have to spend days telling rational people to believe in the same superfriend I do.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Rox…WHAT RESEARCH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!WHAT EVIDENCE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?Most people are brainwashed because they don’t know better.You, ma’am, are brainwashed because YOU LIKE IT.Jeff, I assure you that I am one person with an overabundance of time due to the greatest job in history, and my typist skills were honed solely for defending the Bible online.Puzzled, thank you for proving that there is no science in evolution. If there were, you’d have posted it. Instead you went straight for my argument that you can’t say Flood Science is not science; and completely failed to disprove it.There are people that have devoted their entire ministry to the scientific research of the Flood. Rest assured that my responce was for brevity, as you asked me to use a few words. Please look up flood science anywhere(but at least at more than two sources).As for your questions, why should I answer yours if you won’t answer mine?Anyways, in short, this evidence is GLOBAL, I just said that we find the same thing in two completely separate places, but the evidence is located everywhere, look down at the ground where you sit, there is evidence of a flood under you. Was it a global flood or a trillion local floods? It was a flood none-the-less.If there were a flood, indeed, we should find waterborn creatures all over the land…such as at the top of Mt. Everest…which is made of sedimentary rock and contains millions of clams in the closed position. Clams open when they die, unless they were buried alive…The science is against you!Now the only thing for you to do is conceed that evolutionism has nothing to do with science.I’m waiting.

  • Canyon Shearer

    I’ve got to go ride my motorcycle with the flag dragging on the ground behind me. Bye, morons.

  • Canyon Shearer

    To the Christians who may be following this conversation and asking themselves, “Why is this guy so insanely devoted to the Genesis account?”Please listen to the sermon link, click on, “Canyon Shearer”.

  • Jihadist

    So real Canyon Shearer with the awesome motorcycle. And an admitted killer for a living but believe in he will go to hell for killing.Have you been killing my fellow Muslims to “save” them? I am not an American, I am not a Christian. Want to kill me too? To save your soul but go to hell anyway?

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bill C. Once again, science destroys your arguments. More importantly, where is your description of evolutionary science.You cited plate tectonics assuming that God doesn’t know about them. That questions answers your other question.The world was created largely flat, our understanding of preflood geology is sparse, but we know that there were only rolling hills before the flood based on first hand accounts.Without the valleys of the oceans and the mountains of the land, there is enough water on Earth to cover EVERYTHING to a depth of two miles. Placing Noah at at max of ~10,000 feet. But based on the assumption that there must have been basis of water preflood we can assume that he was at a lower elevation. Even so, preflood, with more land, there would have been more foliage, for a denser atmosphere, so even if it would have been higher, Noah would have been ok.Then, you don’t even wonder where the water went? That is simple, the valleys sank down and the mountains rose up and the waters rushed from the land.You’ve found a tool of God in plate tectonics. Yet you claim, “I see the crescent wrench, but I don’t believe in the mechanic.”Moreso, considering atmosphere, this is the cause of the demise of dinosaurs, almost guaranteed. The bronchiosaurus(sp?) one of, if not, the largest land dinosaur had nostrils the size of a horses. The dinosaurs, in a new environment with fewer food sources, decreased lung efficiency, and shorter lives(reptiles never stop growing), the dinosaurs were doomed, just as God promised to take His sword to them in the book of Job.There sure seems to be a lot of science and scientific projections coming from my corner.Where is yours?

  • Bill C.

    Okay Canyon very nicely done.But I was wondering how Noah got kangaroos to his Ark. I assume they did not sail themselves and I don’t think that with the time Noah had to build the Ark he would have had time to go get them. And how did he get all the North American animals being locateed in Asia Minor as he was? Maybe the plates were together in Noah’s time but they obviously don’t move fast enough to have broken apart an created our current geography in 6,000 years. So if Noah did get kangaroos and North American species because the continents were together then how did they separate so much in such a short time?Moreover if the Bible is perfect then why is it that they made such a poor estimation of Pi. Also Jesus birth is reported on different days and such things.I also want to know how was it that Jonah lived inside a whale? Moreover I would like your opinion on something. When the four horsemen of the apocalypse come will they be actual horsemen or since we have cars today will they maybe take a jeep.

  • Bill C.

    I just want to know Canyon. You seem to be making a lot of sense. I am being evangelized.

  • Pam

    “Anyways, a quick typo correction, I have a degree in Professional Aeronautics, I am oblivious to how that word got left out.”You’re oblivious to a lot.

  • Canyon Shearer

    At least I’m not oblivious to evolution! 😀

  • Pam

    The answers to all of your questions, Bill C., is, of course, MAGIC. The ultimate fall-back position when they just can’t twist science any further.Canyon is spouting complete untruths, and doing so at such a rate that no one has the time or energy to counter them all. Not that that would help. An example is “Small things go to the bottom, large things rise to the top, such is hydrological sorting, such is we find.” Completely untrue. There are many minute fossils in the deepest layers and larger animals are found much higher. This is complete creationist nonsense, but how would Canyon know? He never cracks a heretical actual science book – he gets all his “knowledge” (and I use the term very loosely) from the lunatic fringe creationist sites.It’s fruitless to argue with him, he simply steamrolls over all logic, reason, and evidentiary truth, and trumps it all with magic.However, Canyon is a good thing. He is the absolute poster child for everything that Dr. Dawkins’ book is saying, and for the best possible reason for the separation of church and state. Just copy this entire thread and save it. If anyone with reasonable intelligence ever asks why you feel strongly that keeping religion out of public life is important, hand them the transcript, and rest your case.

  • Puzzled

    Canyon:You keep talking about “science.” In order to have a conversation, there has to be some common understanding of terminology, so please inform the rest of us: define “scientific method.” Just to provide a hint as to what I am trying to get at, do you understand what “testing an hypothesis” means, and how does that contribute to the accumulation of scientific knowledge? And to demonstrate this knowledge, why don’t you stop calling people names and provide verifiable, scientific evidence that the universe is less than 10,000 (I’ll let you have a few millenia) years old. Describe what scientific test (i.e., something that can be corroborated by someone else) would reject the hypothesis that our sun is not some 5 billion years old (as scientists say). As for transitory fossil records,… first let’s talk about the above questions, then perhaps we can talk more, even about religion.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Bill C. Thank you for your 11:46 reply if it was in truth. I hate to argue with everything you say; but evangelism is the act of sharing the Gospel of Christ(Sinners rectified by the death and ressurection); where as what I am attempting to do is prove that the Gospel is trustworthy. I don’t know why I had the need to tell you that. 😉 I also feel inclined to state that “my” 6:51 post was not mine, but rather someone else who chose to libel me based on my candid nature and not hiding anything about my personal self(except for my phone number, physical address and social security number). I feel so proud, that is my first libeling.Onto your questions, the deception is that the world we live on with 7 Continents was the world that existed as Noah lived on it. This is unlikely because the valleys that ‘sank’ down were the valleys of the Atlantic, of the Mariannas(sp?), of the Pacific, it is my hypothesis that pre-flood, the world was dominated by land with small splotches of water; like an inverse of todays world.That said, then the animals would not have to travel 23,000 miles in order to get to the ark, rather Noah could have found them in whichever part of the Earth He lived(and the Bible is clear that two of each to the ark…the Bible does not say that one was pink and one was blue…we have to assume that for our own). There is no evidence that He lived in Palestine or that the Garden of Eden is anywhere near Mesopotamia, rather that after much floating, Noah landed in present day Turkey, Georgia(exsoviet), or Armenia.Therefore the distribution of animals we see today would have been incredibly different during Noah’s preflood life. During the flood, when the effects of earthquake would not devastate the Earth because of water dampening, the effects of Plate Techtonics could(not science) have been considerably faster than we see them today. For example, in order for the Himalayas to form, one would assume(not science) that a great amount of energy was exchanged between plates; an energy which we don’t see today along the same set of plates, nor along the San Andreas fault.Post flood, there are some scientists, which I can neither affirm nor deny, who think that the new abundance of surface water would suck the temperature out the air, creating for an ice age. This ice age would have reduced the water level across the Indonesian islands, as well as bridging the Bearing Strait. This would make travel to Austral Asia and North America, and the many, many islands in the South Pacific, a simple trekking excercise. This does not explain why certain animals are found on either continent and not others, I personally like to believe the “God Did It” argument here, but am certain there must be a suitable explanation that we haven’t found yet.Remember the Australian mantra, “God Created Australia because He was tired of everything else being boring.” That is not Biblical, but an interesting take on the grandeur that is that continent; coupled with its amazing species!Your Pi question is a great one, and until recently has stumped many scholars. I will let you read the answer, as I am not qualified to try to explain it to you:The Bibles estimation of Pi is actually accurate at least to five digits.As for Jonah in a whale, that is difficult to believe without the help of God, but I always find that scripture to be interestingly noted when there are two other, more dangerous, situations that occured in the Bible, please read Daniel chapter 3(starting at verse 19) and Daniel chapter 6(starting at verse 16).The answer is found in Daniel 3:25 – God was with them in all three occurences, protecting the faithful; for His Glory, not theirs.Finally, my opinion on the apocolypse, I believe it will be actual heavenly horses(bigger than life), but that is not for sure, Jesus has a way of doing things extraordinarily and historically circumventing human expectation.I am having a custom motorcycle patch made right now which says,Revelation 19:11In all fairness, Bill C., I was just as hard to win as you are; if you are genuinely interested in the truth of matters, it is out there for the finding. I would encourage a YouTube search(blocked on my computer, or I’d look it up for you!) for Kent Hovind. Many people do not like him because he has a worse attitude than even me towards evolutionists, but most of his hypothesis are true, all of his evolution bashing is backed up by citation, and there isn’t a hole that goes unplugged in the scientific attacks on the Genesis account.I am just like anyone else, searching for facts, hoping to understand. I am confident that I have found the Truth in the Bible, and because of the stakes involved, feel it important to inform others that the truth is available.

  • Puzzled

    Canyon cannot answer questions, so he resorts to unfounded assertions. He claims there are a lot of people (who?) working on creationism who are credible. But I only asked a simple question. If a mass, global death of animals occurred 4400 years ago, then fossil records should show a band at 4400 that is unlike anything before or after. I am not a paleontologist, but I am reasonable enough to understand that a flood that covered all the earth would indeed be catastrophic if it happened and there must be GLOBAL evidence. The alternative story might be that God made it happen, and then hide all the evidence so that only a select few faithful (who’d accept this story without evidence) would still follow. I don’t think an omniscient, omnipotent God would be like a mean teacher asking trick questions. But that is more believable (“it’s a test from God”) than what you’re trying to say.At any rate, such evidence would not **prove** the story of Noah’s flood, but we could only say the evidence **supports** it, and therefore give cause to do further investigation. That is how science works (you falsify hypotheses, not prove them). You really must first read some Karl Popper at the very least before making statements about the scientific method. I think Jihadist above has an excellent point. And unless Canyon can answer my question above (citations please), I don’t see the value of this conversation. He says there are people who study this. Then, someone must have published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that would address this issue in an intelligent way?

  • Falk Steinle

    CanyonHard to reckon which of the canyon posts are genuine, but anyway…I guess there might be a few points that need to be adressed.The “clams” on Mount Everest are most likely bivalvia. Looking a lot like clams from the outside, but are internaly built completly different. They are closed, when they die.Now, your speculations what god might have done besides bringing the flood is not backed by scripture. That is, you are expanding the myth. You are writing some fan fiction. Not that I realy mind, expand the bible any way you like. Not that other people haven’t done before.Not that it makes a lot of difference to me. However, while I’m sitting here and start musing about it, I’m not that shure that your not getting yourselve in some trouble right now.Which is one of my reasons I prefer to think that this universe makes do without a god.However, believing that Noah was living on Pangaea (one landmass) is posing a bit of a probleme. But for now, I will stick to the geology I was taught and that I’ve looked at with my own eyes.Flood geologist do no such thing.

  • Cocytus

    Nafi -You say: “There is no concept of heaven and hell in Buddhism, only to reach a state of nirvana, be it Therevada or Mahayana Buddhism, the main braches of Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism elevate Buddha somewhat to divine status for prayers as merits.”I say: that’s a serious oversimplification. Some versions of Buddhism incorporate not only one hell but many; but unlike the ‘Christian’ hell, these are not permanent states but rather places along the wheel of samsara. All things are headed to nirvana, if the Bodhisattvas are to be believed; and some Buddhists will tell you that Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy.Despite my combative tone with Canyon, whom I regard as nothing more than a troll, I am not actually very antagonistic toward faith or people of faith. But I was once a religious man myself: and I find myself losing patience with those who pervert the religion of my fathers with hate-speak and terrorism (HELL!). I have many friends who are Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and even the odd neo-pagan and traditional Taoist. I respect their right to believe what they want, because I am an American, and supposedly religious freedom – which, I argue, includes the freedom NOT to be religious – is guaranteed by our constitution. Canyon might not die for my freedom to be an atheist or volunteer to take my place in hell, but I would die for his right to believe the crankpot stuff he posts here. Freedom is what I am about; and respect is nice when it is to be had.I realize my characterization of the god of the Book in such combative terms may offend many people, such as yourself, some of my Jewish friends, and Jeff R., who only wish people peace and mean no harm. I wasn’t aiming my language at you, and I am sorry if it disturbed you. However, when people want to tell me the Bible is literally true…well, I have no small amount of education in the Book, in two languages and change, and I am always tempted to be mean and diabolical and challenge them on textualist grounds.I realize, also, that many people of faith are reasonable; I would venture to say most. I do regret the air of hostility that so frequently arises between skeptics (atheists) and believers, and I would bridge it if I could.But there is no talking to some people, and I wasn’t talking to you, or to Jeff, or to any of the other rather reasonable-sounding people who have posted here: I was making the classical mistake of fight-fire-with-fire, and I must confess I did it out of sheer spite and personal animosity. Because, my dear Nafi, do you see, from Canyon’s perspective, my brother most likely *IS* roasting in hell – the Buddhist cosmology his nonsense to him at best and demonology at worst. You say: “Don’t give meat to the lion Canyon Shearer.”I say, as ironic as this sounds coming from an atheist, “Amen”; and also, to you and any others I offended, _mea culpa_.You say: “I read through and find that may atheists and agnostics don’t really read up on religions to see the differences in them.”I say: Please do not underestimate us, madam (?). I am an avid, if amateur, scholar of religions of all sorts, and have been all my life. To my eternal dismay, when trying to make polite conversation with new Muslim friends, I asked (thinking I was so smart and cultured), I asked: are you Shi’a or Sunni? There followed a very awkward pause; and they confessed, very hesitantly, that he was the former and she the latter! So, do not think that all atheists are _____, if you please, and I shall return the courtesy to all people of faith. Again, my inflammatory remarks were aimed directly at the troll.You say: “Not that notions of God or Divinity matters to you…”I say: to the contrary, they matter very much to me, and I find each and every one of them both fascinating and important. The difference between you and me, it seems, is that I cannot feel or see any evidence of Allah; and the irony of this is that when my Muslim friend complains, I taunt him with the phrase: “It will be as Allah wills it.” I believe that, on some level: some things are beyond our control. Que sera, sera. You dig? You say: “I remain a believer and most comfortable being one regardless of how you regard or perceive us as delusionals and/or moronic.”I say: To the contrary, I find that many of you are very intelligent. That is one reason why I think discourse with the likes of you is so important! Delusional is a strong word; I would offer ‘wishful’ as a substitute. I would *like* a loving, infinitely merciful God to be watching over us all; but the only God I find evidence of is in people. When a stranger helps me out for no reason, I see Jesus, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t believe in the Resurrection or even a historical Jesus. There is some truth in the writings of most myths, I think; but, as I said to Canyon, it is heavily obscured by primitive superstitions and wrong-headed thinking. Tell me: if I have read this forum correctly, you are a woman. Now, I am perfectly willing to admit to being ignorant or underinformed, but it has been my understanding for some decades that Islam teaches women have no souls. Tell me: is that true? And if it is not, please, tell me: what is a Houri?You say: “God works in mysterious way 🙂 Can’t stand the phrase?”I say: I like the phrase. My point of contention with you is that I think ‘God’ is no longer an appropriate word to use. There are things mysterious about the universe (to my stunted intellect, anyway), and many things that are very, very beautiful: but I don’t see any need for, to say nothing of evidence of, a cosmic consciousness to explain it all. From where I’m standing, it’s beautiful as it is. Religion may give us some gorgeous and even useful metaphors, but metaphors and symbols can be very dangerous (just look at what the Nazis did to the fire-drill), and with the beauty and insight comes a lot of baggage.I say, lose the baggage. I believe in freedom, and I believe you are free – wherever you are, and whoever oppresses you – and that is very important to me, that you be respected, no matter who you are, what your gender, or what you say and think. Because isn’t that what freedom means?You say: Peace be with you.I say: And also with you.

  • Cocytus

    One more (ill-advised) bit of meat for the lion:Canyon:You say: “If I could substitute myself for your brother(if he is in hell, we can’t be sure, many a man has converted on his death-bed),”I say: Your skills at seduction are very sharp, and I name you Samael. I would love to believe…well, *some* of your fairy-tales, anyway, especially the ones about the Samaritan and the guy from Galilee, and this one most of all. Fact is, he died in mid-shoot-up. Overdose; dead before his head hit the pillow. Go ahead and tell yourself he saw God if you want; but then, please, ask yourself what you mean by that. To me, you’re saying God is death – negation – the absence of consciousness, the absence of life. That you would try to comfort me by saying “we cannot know” annoys me more than a little, because I knew my brother very well, and I can assure you there was no thought of redemption or confession in his mind. He’s dead. I can deal with it, though it pains me; and you, someone reading text on a screen that you don’t even know is true, should be able to deal with it as well.But you go on: “I would be worried that he would simply spit in my face and smash the cure on the ground once again…”Then I assert that if you are worried, you lack commitment. Does God want a man who plunges his head in the water and gulps, Canyon, or a man who looks around as he sips? Consult your scripture carefully before you answer.You would *not* trade places in hell with my brother, and you have confessed as much. To worry is to fear; and fear is what governs you. Fear of Hell, and who knows what else. Being misrepresented on the Internet, apparently. Good grief.Sorry, I just thought there was something about “love” in the Book somewhere. Got confused. Apologies; another four-letter word, like fear. “…it is not a worthy gamble, because it will assuredly put you in Hell and possibly him again as well.”I’m not talking about a gamble, but a certainty. I would trade places with my brother or anyone, anyone at all, even mass-murderers like Mao and Pol Pot etc etc amen. Know why? Because I think Hell is absurd, and I’d do anything to prevent anyone from going through that. I don’t think anyone deserves it. When I see suffering, the last thing I want to do is increase it. I try to decrease it, I don’t know, Gehenna tag-team or something, let’s not suffer alone. Just as I’d give a bum a quarter, knowing he’s gonna spend it on booze, just as I’d stop for someone stranded on the side of the road even though my mother-in-law wants me to fear the latest Internet fables of highway robbers, just as I’d shelter any poor fellow who came knocking on my door in the rain, even though I have a young child to protect.I will not let fear govern me. Period.I don’t *care* if you think the changing-places-in-hell deal is a worthy gamble – to me, it’s not a gamble, but a second chance. I’d do it, period, for anyone. You don’t think it can be done; but neither do I, because I think Hell is extremely unlikely to be real in the first place. I mean, maybe it’s the Rokkr goddess Hel. I hear she’s got a wicked side, but she’s also *seriously* hot. I do not delude myself that you will listen to me; you don’t seem to listen to anyone at all, but merely to react. On the merest fraction of a chance that you will pay attention, I highly recommend you ask yourself whose words you are really following, and really, really think about it.Because, when I was a kid, they told me it was about love; but I didn’t always see as much of that as I saw of fear.Oh, and thanks for the comforting citation: not only will he roast and roast (and so will I, and presumably many other nice-seeming people here), but no one can do the slightest thing about it.There’s a name for those who use terror to achieve their ends. Can you help me out here?

  • From the Files of Canyon Shearer

    Look what I found, isn’t this guy ridiculous?Open Air Gospel SermonI only have one sermon, I’ve tried to write others, but I always come back to this one. It’s the one I open-air with, it’s the one I e-mail to friends, it’s the only Sermon I have committed to memory. In my opinion, it’s the only Sermon worth preaching.I always start with my favorite Bible Verse, that verse being Psalm 19:7, “The Law of God is Perfect, Converting the Soul.” The importance of this verse is the law that it is talking about. In the beginning, there was one law, and that law was, “Don’t Eat the Fruit of that Tree!”1 As we all know, that law was broken, and with that transgression came a new law, a law found written on your conscience2, but also in the 20th Chapter of the Book of Exodus.That law is the 10 Commandments, and I’d like to go over a couple of them. The easiest of the 10 Commandments to remember and to break is the ninth, which says, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness”, in other words, Don’t Lie! Proverbs 12:22 says that Lying Lips are an ABOMINATION to the Lord, Revelation 21:8 promises that all Liars Shall Have their Part in the Lake of Fire! In the 9th Commandment we can see the Holiness of God, because if you lie to a child, you might get away with it, if you lie to me, I might get mad, if you lie to your spouse, you might end up on the couch or divorced, if you lie to a police officer, you’re obstructing justice and you’ll go to jail, if you lie to a judge, it’s perjury and you’ll go to prison, even more strict still, if you lie to your government, you’re guilty of treason, and the punishment is death18! The offense of a lie to God is so much more injurious and so much more condemning that the only just punishment for lying is eternal suffering. But wait! You say, “I’ve told lies, but I’m not a liar.” Lets consider this; if I rape one girl, I’m a rapist, if I murder one person, I’m a murderer; in the eyes of God, if you’ve told one lie, you are a liar, and will face the consequences as such.Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, Thou Shalt Not Murder! Now that’s a commandment I know I have kept! But listen to this! Jesus said, “He that hates his brother is a murderer, he that calls someone an idiot is in danger of eternal Hellfire!”3 God is so Perfect and Holy that He sees the intentions and condition of your heart, and on this will you be judged.Murder is the 6th commandment, lets move onto the 7th. You’ve heard it said of old, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,” but Jesus said, “He that looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart!”4 Once again, God is concerned with the condition of your thought life, not just the actions that you pursue in the flesh.The 8th, and final Commandment I’m going to preach says, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” Consider this, every tiny thing you have stolen has distanced you from God, be it a paperclip, a pen, a piece of gum, or a song on the Internet, all of these constitute larceny and require punishment!Now just wait one minute, aren’t the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament? Aren’t we under a new Covenant now? You’re exactly right! In the Old Testament, the punishment for thievery, according to Deuteronomy 24:7, was death! In the New Testament, the punishment for thievery is eternal suffering5! God has taken in the reigns, made His laws MORE strict, not less.Based on these four, of ten, Commandments we have examined, it is clear to see that the whole world has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God6, and God cannot just let a transgressor go, because He is a good judge, and a good judge will see to it that law-breakers are punished. The Bible says that the depraved nature of our sins has made us a child of wrath7, of disobedience8, of the devil9, an enemy of righteousness9, separated from God10, and doomed to Hell11. This punishment have we earned, and only by the Love of God is it possible to be redeemed and to escape the fire to come.God became flesh, came to this world which He created, born of a virgin12, lived a perfect sinless life, and was sacrificed for your sins on a Cross overlooking Jerusalem13. In a beautiful, incomprehensible showing of love, Jesus Christ substituted Himself for you, took your punishment upon Himself and died a terrible, painful, humiliating death. Death could not Hold the God of the Universe, and He rose on the Third Day, and Delivered your Soul from Hell14.In a worldly courtroom, a Judge can let a perpetrator go if his fine has been paid and if he promises not to repeat the crime. In front of the Great White Throne of God, you can be absolved of your crimes, as your fine has been paid in Jesus Christ; repent now of your sins in order to receive the gift of Life so richly given.Repent, Apologize and Turn from, your Sins today, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you from Hell, like you’d trust in a parachute to save you from Gravity15, don’t wait until tomorrow, the world is a dangerous place and you could die tonight! It is appointed once for a man to die, and then the Judgment16, it is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God17.Please, get yourself a Bible and read the Book of John, it was written by one of Jesus’ closest friends, and it will reaffirm everything I’ve said today.References

  • Falk Steinle

    Clarification:On January 6, 2007 3:35 AM I wroteI’m sorry, I mixed the name up. It should read

  • Canyon Shearer BAH

    You can always tell a real Canyon Shearer post, because the grammar will be incomprehensible. It’s telling that the real Canyon Shearer is so much a caricature of the religious apologists that parodies of his posts are nearly indistinguishable from real posts.For more hilarity, be sure to check out that “Voice of the Master” page he references so frequently. Apparently the banana was designed to fit into our hands. Too bad the banana we eat in the USA (Cavendish) is so thoroughly bred by humans that it can’t even reproduce naturally. So, it was designed, but not by any invisible friend.Bye, Canyon. Have fun with your motorcycle and your killing. Try not to think too much about that commandment.

  • Falk Steinle

    Bah:Dang, I have been falling for your post.Anyway, he’s right: Stop stealing somebody’s identity. It’s not funny.

  • Rox

    I agree… it’s bad form. Not that you don’t have a point about parodies and actual posts being nearly indistinguishable.BTW – it’s “The Way of the Master” and the banana stuff is pure freakin’ comedy! It’s a big “oops” on the part of Ray Comfort to have failed to research the origins of “God’s” perfect creation when in fact it’s clear proof of forced genetic mutation based upon evolutionary science. That sort of sloppiness just makes it easier to poke holes in the so-called “evidence” offered by creationist Christians for their beliefs.

  • Falk Steinle

    ROX:Yeah, the point is well taken indeed.Have already seen Ray’s vid 🙂

  • Susan Q.

    i read this whole thing and all i have to say is wow. you guys really need to grow up, the name calling made both sides look like babies. canyon said “he that hates his brother is a murderer”, well canyon i think you need to look at that one.i wasn’t a christian or an atheist when i read this, maybe you could call me a pagan or a pantheist or a deist, but i never really thought about it, maybe canyon would call me an areligionist. but i agree with canyon, i dont see any reason to believe in evolution anymore, i’m not an “evolutionist” anymore like canyon said. i’m not a “creationist” either, but since there was no argument for evolution that a layperson could understand, i am no longer going to believe in it.you guys need to grow up.Q

  • AndySocial

    I recently read a working biologist’s blog, wherein he says that there is no such thing as “Darwinism” or “evolutionism” – it’s called “biology” and it’s the accepted method of doing anything real within the biological sciences of today. To say one does not believe in evolutionism is like saying one does not believe in gravity or germ theory – it shows you have no grasp of how much work and supporting research goes into these theories. The argument for evolution that a layperson could understand is laid out in every high school science book (offer void in Kansas and Dover).

  • Falk Steinle

    Hiho Canyon.Wouldn`t you think it to be wise, to at least wikipedia the word, before you accuse me to be a liar?To your benefit and the other readers here the first sentences of the artikel. BrachiopodBrachiopods (from Latin bracchium, arm + New Latin -poda, foot) make up one of the major animal phyla, Brachiopoda. Also known as lamp shells, they are sessile, two-shelled, marine animals with an external morphology resembling pelecypod mollusks (i.e. “clams”) of phylum Mollusca to which they are not closely related. Despite cursory resemblance, Bivalves and Brachiopods markedly differ in many ways.Next time, don’t be so lazy on your research.regards, Falk

  • Willem kraal

    MR DAWKINS I SAW YOUR SHOW ON C-SPAN AND IT WAS A GREAT GIFT AND EYE-OPENER, THANK-YOU.

  • Canyon Shearer

    Aha! When you’re caught in a lie about clams, you just invent some other species that you just named right now. Brachiopods don’t exist – there were brachiosaurs on the Ark, but they were just babies so didn’t eat much during the voyage. Remember, the Ark was afloat for somewhere between 40 days and 11 months. The bible is inerrant about this.

  • Canyon Shearer

    This is the last post from the real Canyon Shearer to this post. The majority of the previous multitudes of posts have not been mine.But rather someone who love evolution so much as to attack its oppressors than defend it in any way shape or form with itself.Charles Spurgeon once said, “When a Tiger is under attack, seek not to defend the Tiger, rather loose it from its bonds.”

  • Sully

    Hi Grumpy,Now, about evolution. Evolution is a fact, not a belief, just as gravity, nuclear fusion and star formation are facts. The facts for evolution are everywhere including inside your genes and those facts come from disparate sources, from the genome to fossils. Like mountains, there is the fact that they exist and the theory for how they formed. The “theory” of evolution is a theory for how evolution works, just as we have theories for gravity, nuclear fusion, mountain building and star formation. They are not perfect and new scientific observation tweaks them now and then, but evolutionary theory is a lot more solid than gravitational theory, nuclear theory or the theory of star formation and on par with mountain formation. No one really knows how gravity works, what the gravitational force really is, yet no one doubts that it exists. The theory of evolution is much more established and has been used to make predictions correctly including the prediction that genomes of species detemined to be closely related would be themselves close. One recent discovery was the difference in people worldwide with respect to being able to digest dairy products. Dairy farming arose independently in east Africa and in northern europe where people have the ability to digest milk and a history of dairy farming. People elsewhere (e.g., China) do not have that ability. The gene for giving people the ability to digest milk has recently been found and it was assumed it would be identical in the africans and europenas but it was different and has lead to a little more tweaking of the theory of human evolution where the ability to digest dairy products arose independently in two separate populations. You can read more about it here:Evolutionary theory is what is driving most biological science today. Its the basis for why you can plant a human gene for insulin in a bacteria and get it to make human insulin. But what really aggrevates me is that other scientific theories and disiplines are not attacked by some “believers” even though they have less observational support. So why is evolution so vehemently attacked? Why is the science of evolution attacked while the cosmological big bang accepted? Why is evolution attacked while rovers on Mars are showing signs of past water is not? That observation is as good as observations of evolution except evolution has a lot more observation and evidence. And to top it all off, some arguments against evolution use inaccurate information. When a believer lies to protect the belief, something is very wrong somewhere. Hopefully it is just ignorance, but the inaccirate information came from somewhere. Maybe believers in God trusting in other believers in God is a problem for us all.

  • Steven

    Another eloquent article from Richard Dawkins. When you substitute thor for the Judeo-Christian god and change the word atheist to jew when someone is insulting an atheist it paints a whole new picture. This of course should not be the case. Saying you have never met an atheist you have liked should be the same as saying you have never met a jew you have liked. It is a form or prejudice and just like racism is should cause a bad taste to appear in all those who value freedom.

  • Ted Swart

    Stevens-Arroyo’s quoted remark thatThe unfriendly, obnoxious contributions all seem to come from the believers rather that the non-believers. If I was a believer I think I would cringe in the face of the sheer boorishness of some of the comments. What is such utter negativity supposed to achieve?

  • AndySocial

    Grumpy Grampa – Although there are pitfalls in trusting experts without question, there is a certain value there as well. As modern humans, we specialize. None of us, I would wager, is capable of sustaining himself for long in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed, if not for the assistance of other humans. We can’t all be car builders and house builders and hunters and butchers and computer engineers, etc.So, it seems reasonable to believe a working biologist or evolutionary biologist or the thousands of working biologists who have been studying species for decades, when the vast majority of them say, “evolution is how species differentiate over time.” Notice there is no definition of the origin of life, which seems to be a point that so many religious people misunderstand. Evolution does not discuss in any way abiogenesis. I realize that was nothing you discussed either, GG. I’m wandering afield now…Anyway, for those of us who are not religious, theology is perhaps an interesting study, but it reminds me too much of phrenology. Sure, it’s interesting to study nonsense, but at the core is still nonsense. The folks who say Dawkins is daft because he doesn’t engage with theological arguments miss the point entirely. Why spend time dissecting individual points within a study of invisible pink unicorns?Sadly, with the departure of the various Canyon Shearers, it seems this thread is moribund. Cheers.

  • Falk Steinle

    Hi Q, hi GrumpyGiving sound advise after a desaster is like giving medcine to a dead. I`d wish you`d made your comments earlier.The central issue of this discussion is intelectual honesty and integrity, not evolution. The choosen method of debate was clearly inadequat. More so as the mutual frustration lead to ad hominen attacks. Why my insistens on intelectual integrity? There is ample reason to argue that to arbtrary believe what one likes to percive as true and ignoring anything which is contary is dangerous.Evolution is indeed biology.I do not claim to poses the truth. Nor do I claim to be in any way supirior. Likewise I do not think to be inferior to anyone else.Churches in Europe are getting indeed emptier. Some Churches of the COE are no longer needed and have gone defunct. Meanwhile the buildings have been rededicated to other purposes. Likewise the protestant church of Germany is going to sell some of their real estate because membership declines.

  • Grumpy Grampa

    Hi All,It is simply not necessary for a cabinet maker to believe that the theory of evolution is true in order to be a better cabinet maker. Equally unnecessary is the need for a scientist to be a cabinet worker to be a better scientist. Either can decide what s/he finds attractive in the other’s work, but their respective evoked opinions are of no consequence if they are both competent in their work. I was once offered the opportunity to learn the correct story of creation by a bus driver who had discovered my background in science. After I listened attentively to his rendition, he concluded by asking me if I was now converted to the truth. I replied that I had always been converted to the truth, and that was why I was attending his church that morning. He was very friendly to me after that whenever he saw me.If you want to know why religious humans kill one another, read this thread again, you will not be disappointed in the evidence that is placed right before your eyes.My regards to you all and wishes for a most happy and safe New Year.”Be excellent to each other!”I will try, if you will.

  • Sully

    To Ted Swart,This lousy editor has no spell checker, so forgive my spelling (yes, athiests ask for forgivness too :^)—Would you not agree that rejection of the existence of the God […] creates a substantial difference between atheists and theists?—Only in whether God exists. Morality tends to be very close in both groups. Both groups have issues with on both sides of even controversial subjects like abortion. So maybe you see a substantial difference because you are focusing only on the belief. I see little difference in people until we focus on the belief, just as hindus probably see little difference until the topic gets to belief (or food :).—Only 1.1 percent of those in congress (I am taking USA) have been brave enough to openly declare that they have no formal religious affiliation.—Of course they couldn’t be lying could they. This has little to do with anything except getting elected. Maybe its just me being an atheist but I never knew the religion of who I voted for. I was more concerned with their positions on things I cared about. But even if atheists were marginalized as you say they are, what are they not getting from the politicians? Atheist schools support? That is a non-sequitor. Just what political support do atheists need as a group or individually?—…there is a huge disparity between the presence and influence of Jews in the political world and that of atheists/agnostics.—I guess if atheists declared Antartica an atheist nation and atheists flocked to it and wanted support from the US there might be more political organization and influence. The lack of it shows that atheists are not searching for it because they do not need it. The American constitution protects atheists in the same way it protects religion. Since I do not believe in God I do not need to have anyone protect my ability to not believe in the USA. Now if we lived in say Iran, then maybe there would be a need for atheists to become a political force.—Sure freedom of religion needs to be upheld but so does freedom to be non-religious. And all Dawkins is really saying is that the latter aspect of freedom has been (and is being) receiving short shrift.—Freedom of religion and to be non-religious are the same thing and both are protected by the constitution, which I agree has been bent by the administration and not just in the religious freedom area. But how is freedom to be non-religious being short shrifted? Are you being forced to go to church? Are you being forced to claim God as your savior in order to get a job? If you want to know what a lack of religious freedom is go live in Iran for a year, or Italy, its almost as bad.

  • Ted Swart

    Nice lively rejoinder Sully:On a minor point, if you cut loose from IE and the monopolistic Microsoft empire and use a better browser such as Firefox (available for free) you get spell checking thrown in (up and running as I write this).Now on to the more meaty issues. Perhaps you could agree with me that atheists tend to be non-dogmatic — not just about religion but about other things as well. And whether it be religious wars — ongoing right now as we communicate in Iraq (Shiites vs Sunnis)Sri Lanka and elsewhere — or other dogmatic aberrations such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and so on it is undoubtedly the case that a dogmatic attitude to life does an enormous amount of harm. So, reducing dogmatic lock-ins must surely be a good thing. It is hard for me to accept the notion that it does not matter what people believe. Huge numbers of fundamentalist Christians believe utter nonsense about the earth being 6000 years old and reject the occurrence of evolution outright. They are so far from facing the truth that there are millions of them talking seriously about the return of Jesus in what they refer to as the “rapture”. This in turn means that they have little interest in being concerned about the horrible way in which we humans are despoiling our planet. I agree that in the USA and even more so in Canada, where I live, I am in no way penalized by being an an agnostic (ditto if I was an atheist). That does not mean I don’t agree with Dawkins that the world would be a better place without dogmatic religion. And, whilst it is true that I like you don’t usually enquire too deeply about the religious views of the candidates I vote for it certainly is the case that those in the party I usually vote for (namely the Greens) are far more likely to be agnostic or atheist.Sure, life in Iran or Afghanistan under a mindless dogmatic religion is truly horrible — especially for women. But is this not strong evidence that we would indeed be much better off without religion.Thanks for the courteous interaction.

  • Sully

    Dawkins wrote:Mr. Dawkins,I suppose you are arguing for athiests to get politically involved to counter the religious involvement in politics these days. Who says they are not? And many religious people understand the value of separating church and state so countering the evangelical movement that wants to inject religion into government is not just an athiest’s concern. I think it is a concern of a majority of Americans, religious and not. Your passion for defending athiesm needs to be tempered with the understanding that athiesm is not something that needs to be defended. The constitution needs to be defended, freedom of religion needs to be defended. When evangelicals inject christianity into government it threatens not only athiests but people of non-christian religions as well as the constitution. But defending athiests as a group and calling for them to organize a common defense around athiesm seems silly to me.

  • Sully

    —It is hard for me to accept the notion that it does not matter what people believe. Huge numbers of fundamentalist Christians believe utter nonsense about the earth being 6000 years old and reject the occurrence of evolution outright.—Yes but there are also people who believe in non-religious nonsense, like UFOs and ESP (maybe that’s out of vogue these days), and then there are the beliefs in racial purity that we think we have put behind us only to have it pop up when and where you least expect it. Belief is a multifaceted thing. Religion is only one facet of belief. And even within a religion, the people who follow the religion do not hold identical beliefs. I know of only one catholic out of many that does not use birth control. I know some evangelicals who do not believe the bible is literal. And we know that muslims are equally diverse. People join a religion based on the religion they grew up with or where their friends are. Very few people shop for a religion. Most people tend to cherry pick aspects of their religions. Only the fundamentalists seem to aspire to some level of total religion, taking the good with the bad, but even they twist it to their own purposes. I guess my point is that whether you have dogmatic religious belief or not you will always have belief. I have known people, some religious and some not, who believed that aliens were visiting earth. These people never saw firsthand anything to convince them of it, they just believed it based on what they heard on TV and in books. This belief reached a fevored pitch in the 1960s and the government was forced to react. Today belief is in the form of such things as climate change. Few people understand the science so they listen to both sides and end up with a belief as to what is really going on though they really have no idea what the science is. I don’t want to get into a discussion of climate change, just using it as an example. Some people believe in supersticious beliefs, black cats, spilling salt, etc. So, in the end, there is always belief and it can be organized and manipulated. I would argue that all of the major religions have been stabalizing factors, focusing belief on the good in mankind while guarding against what mankind has proven in the past he is capable of such as the blood letting religions of Central America’s past. I “believe” that if all major religions were to vanish tomorrow, new religions would quickly pop up and people would quickly flock to them. Its in man’s nature I think. Dawkins should be careful what he is hoping for. A totally atheist society might be free of a belief in God, but will not be free of belief and the new religions that begin to pop up might not be based on a loving God.As for those evangelicals in Kansas trying to get evolution out of the schools or “intelligent design” into the schools, it is worth noting that although the majority of Americans and vast majority in Kansas say they believe in a supernatural being, intelligent design is not being taught. Those pushing intelligent design were a minority. The majority understood that their own beliefs are not necessarily beliefs others *should* accept. That’s tolerence and its good to see that the majority of Americans “believe” in a tolerent society. Now if we could only “believe” in national health care we’d be at that higher plane of existence you Canadians are living in :^)

  • Ted Swart

    To Sully:(Why do so many of the participants to this study persist in spelling atheism incorrectly as athiesm?)Would you not agree that rejection of the existence of the God (of monotheistic religion) ar the gods(of polytheistic religions) creates a substantial difference between atheists and theists? Sure atheists disagree among themselves — as they should — but right here and now they tend to be vilified and not accorded a fair hearing. Only 1.1 percent of those in congress (I am taking USA) have been brave enough to openly declare that they have no formal religious affiliation. For the population as a whole it is 14.1%. So, despite what to you say, atheists and agnostics are very much marginalized in USA politics. There are in fact more atheists/agnostics in America than Jews. Yet there is a huge disparity between the presence and influence of Jews in the political world and that of atheists/agnostics.Sure freedom of religion needs to be upheld but so does freedom to be non-religious. And all Dawkins is really saying is that the latter aspect of freedom has been (and is being) receiving short shrift.

  • Sully

    James: —Atheism is natures/life-forces way of preventing over population.—Well now you have a hypothesis. Run with it and dig up the evidence to support it until it becomes a theory :^)

  • Ann O.

    SULLY tells us:Dawkins should be careful what he is hoping for. A totally atheist society might be free of a belief in God, but will not be free of belief and the new religions that begin to pop up might not be based on a loving God.ANN comments: Indeed. The old practical frying pan principle: unintended consequences can be worse than what we flee. Ann O.

  • Puzzled

    The propensity of have more or less children may have religious influences (i.e., attitudes or rules regarding contraception). It may also be an indicator of the level of education. A married woman who has an advanced degree, and therefore likely has a professional career, might not be able to have many children. Which would lead to a hypothesis that atheists are better educated than their counterparts, on average. I would conjecture that this relationship will be even stronger if you measured religiosity not as self-reported 7-point scale but the number of times someone went to church or to temple (actions speak louder than words). It seems like there has to be studies on this kind of topic somewhere? Sociology?

  • Puzzled

    I agree. Perhaps not new religion per se, but possibly political ideologies? This is not necessarily behind us in the past like fascism or nazism. We can certainly have ideologues driving public policy today. However, is religion the answer? Can we hold on to “morality” with religion? If anything, unquestioning religiosity may be even more harmful than a society full of doubters? Yes, maybe we need to believe in hope (or optimism, but does this hope have to be based on religion?

  • Sully

    Puzzled wrote:Thats a good question. I’d love to see any studies that show how religion lead to the peace and love that religions profess to strive for. My personal analysis is that questions of war and peace, hate and love, bad and good, rarely are resolved through religion. The middle east is one example, with faithful people killing one another. But here in the good ol’ USA we have christians demanding the death penalty, christians forming hate groups like the KKK and bishops protecting pedophile priests and allowing them to continue their sick trade. In Poland we just learned about a bishop who was an informer under the former communist government. The real question is what would our society be like if organized religion did not exist. I really don’t think we’d see much of a difference. We’d still celebrate the secular holidays of christmas and easter with Santa and bunnies everywhere except in the bible.—Yes, maybe we need to believe in hope (or optimism, but does this hope have to be based on religion?—I don’t think hope is ever really based on religion. Religion is the last refuge of a scounderal, no the first refuge. When we’re sick we exhaust all medical treatment before we call in the priest for last rights. Hope does not nor ever has required religion. Hope is usually based on reality. And I think it is something innate in humans. You only need to watch people risk their lives save other people to know that man has it in him. Consider the guy in NY City who recently jumped in front of a moving subway train to save a man who fell onto the tracks. Here in Washington DC I can still remember the guy who jumped into icy waters to save a woman after the Air Florida crash here or a guy who pulled a man engulfed in flames after a car wreck a year ago. There is reason for hope because these feats of altruism and bravery are not rare and all types of people perform them, religious and nonreligious. I think the real challenge is to respect truth, tolerate differences and demand justice. These things are not taught in the christian religion I am familiar with. Evolution, a truth, is quashed by some faiths because it does not agree with the bible. Tolerence of other religions is usually a neutral subject though I know some baptists who want to know a kid’s religion before they decide whether their kids can play with them or not. And if justice had been a priority blacks would not have been subjected to Jim Crow laws, which existed in states with very christian populations. Even today christians deny rights to people of other faiths and races. Justice is not a priority for them nor something they profess to hold dear. Maybe religions don’t need to stop believing in God, they just need to start believing in mankind, and understand that morality is a real part of human nature, not something religion invented and so we need religion to maintain.

  • victoria

    there are many ISMs that people do weird and crazy things in the name of- theres too many to name-if religion were removed from the mix- dogmatic people would find new ISMs to justify their dogmatismif a person is an out of the box thinker and respectful of others- the introduction of religion wont make them a dogmatic close minded fooli have been blessed to have much different experiences with christians- but ive found them in the service sector-i actually have consciously chosen my faith just like anyoneyou find what you are looking for

  • Sully

    —if a person is an out of the box thinker and respectful of others- the introduction of religion wont make them a dogmatic close minded fool—If the person lets the belief outweigh reality it will cause the mind to close a bit. To be an out of the box thinker means one would have to consider God not existing. If that is not possible, then the mind is closed to it.Also, many people close their minds to evolution because it conflicts with the biblical belief. Others reject evolution because it conflicts with their sense of self, a sense that they did not have ape ancesors. This is not religion but it shows how belief, religious or otherwise, can close the mind.

  • Ann O.

    SULLY tells us: I think the real challenge is to respect truth, tolerate differences and demand justice. These things are not taught in the christian religion I am familiar with. Evolution, a truth, is quashed by some faiths because it does not agree with the bible. Tolerence of other religions is usually a neutral subject though I know some baptists who want to know a kid’s religion before they decide whether their kids can play with them or notANN replies: Perhaps the greatest change to come out of Vatican II was the clear understanding of “the Church” as a complex of *all* the people in it, not just the hierarchy or the pope. But even many of us Roman Catholics continue to talk of “the Church” in the old way, and very often these people speak of “the Church”, “the Pope”, and “the Faith” as if they were one identical object. So for them to “believe in” the Church is to believe in the Pope, a heretical notion. You comment on tolerance of other religions and acceptance of evolution by “the churches”. The offical teachers of the Roman Catholic Church (the bishops, especially the popes) now accept evolution as compatible with the faith, and they participate and encourages ecumentical dialogue (or they’re supposed to). But it is also true that there are some — lay people and possibly some bishops for all I know — who are not disposed to respect other religious beliefs or at least those who hold them, and there might even be some who reject evolution on religious grounds. However, the official teaching of the Church is that ecumenism is good and evolutions is acceptable. I might add that evolution has not been an issue in the RC Church in a couple of generations, and neither has the literal interpretation of the Bible been an issue. So when I hear unqualified generalizations on this blog about “the” Christian belief in literal interpretation of the Bible and True, our interpretations of statments are largely determined by their contexts, and we do understand that many statements are not intended as universal statements but only as general ones (e.g., Americans love to watch the Academy Awards). But still, I find that often on these threads statements are made about who believes what which seem to be universal statements, not general ones. So, Sully, when you say, “I think the real challenge is to respect truth, tolerate differences and demand justice” I have to second what you say loudly, adding only that we have to be very careful when we make universal statements about all the people within a certain religion or about all the non-believers. It is so very easy to be wrong.Ann O.

  • Sully

    James,You also assume religion is somehow genetic. I was raised by devote catholics but am not a catholic. Maybe a genetic defect? And where did all those buddists in America come from?And just a little clarification – “survival of the fittest” is not really how evolution works. It should be more appropriately termed the “death of the unfit” because it is the weeding out of unfit genes through death before procreation that drives evolution, not the maintenance of the fit genes alone.

  • Anonymous

    Ann O: Amen!

  • James

    Sully,Why do religious people have more children? Why do atheist tend not to reproduce as much? Here is a suggestion. Atheism is natures/life-forces way of preventing over population.James

  • Barb

    All of these posts are extremely interesting to me and, like many of you, I no longer can follow a “religion”. I certainly appreciate the wonders and beauty of this world and value each and every day, but……I still can’t get over a sense of pointlessness. Is “being” the point? We live and then we die. What for? The whole thing seems kind of cruel. Seems to me we’d be better off not knowing that when we die, that’s it. The truth is, of course, that no one really knows what happens when we die. I don’t believe in a God that comes down and stirs our coffee, etc. but if there was at least another “dimension” of awareness…..or something….I really would feel better. So what do you think? Am I just a weak fool?

  • Anonymous

    Barb,No, you’re not a fool at all. In fact, you’re much more logical than most self-identified atheists.When pressed, they acknowledge they cannot produce a single purely rational argument against their own immediate suicide. BUT they always come up with some kind of tap-dancing to justify their hanging around: Life is what you make of it, they say, or some variant thereof. (If that is not a statement of blind faith, what is it?) But WHY? Don’t ask, they tell you. We don’t need to ask or know. All we know is that we don’t need God. Atheism is our reason for being. We choose not to commit suicide but we have no idea why. But it’s not faith — because we say so!How rational is it to suppose that one’s own puny existence has purpose and value but the universe as a whole does not?And then of course, what about children? How can it be moral to bring a child into an existence and a universe that you know to be pointless? Everyone knows in her or his heart that bringing a child into the world is in fact the greatest act of faith there is.But for God’s sake don’t call it that, because we’re atheists, and we have very fragile egos.

  • Pam

    Hi Barb,To ascribe a “point” or “purpose” to existence perforce supposes a higher power, so no, I don’t think there is one. From a strictly natural viewpoint, your purpose is to pass on your genes, but that’s pretty basic.All this doesn’t mean that you can’t set your own goals, or try to leave a legacy.For me, the great joy in life is simply found in making one’s way through it – the things you learn (and I never get tired of learning), the people you meet, those you love, those who love you. You can enjoy things, without them being infinite. When you eat a great meal, you can’t go on eating it forever. When you listen to a great concert, read a great book, see a great theatrical production – all of these things come to an end. Possibly the savor is all the sweeter for that knowledge.Relax and enjoy the ride, instead of worrying about what happens when it’s over. You’ve already “experienced” non-existence – the first half of eternity before you were born. It’s not painful.

  • Anonymous

    Pam,Is what you describe faith, and if not, why?Can you propose a single purely rational argument for not killing yourself now, since your existence is in fact pointless?And if you can’t but choose to go on, what do you call that?Is the unexamined life worth living?

  • Tonio

    “All of the world religions should be taught with subjectivity for the betterment of our human understanding; not completely removed for the loss of a great portion of our national identity and culture.”Canyon, I agree with you about the importance of religions in the world’s cultures. I would amend that to say “taught with objectivity.” Meaning that when teaching about comparative religions, no doctrine should be favored over the others, and no attempt should be made to proselytize for any particular doctrine. “As for Hell, it was not my intent or objective to judge you for who you are. It is my agenda and objective to inform you, if God exists, He has promised to judge you.”While your intentions may be good, you are still using your worldview to define me as a person. The message I get is that I’m worthy of love and approval only if I do what you want or meet your expectations. I get that message from all dogmas to a certain degree, and I get that message strongest from the dogma of eternal damnation. For me, that dogma is the emotional equivalent of being told repeatedly while growing up that I’ll never be worth anything. I’m not trying to prove that any religious dogma is right or wrong. I’m just trying to protect my right to evaluate those dogmas for myself. To me, eternal damnation sounds exactly like a dogma someone would create to emotionally manipulate people into obedience. And I have a horror of being controlled and manipulated by anyone, in religion or out of religion. When someone who believes such a doctrine claims to care about my happiness or welfare, that sounds to me like a cruel joke.

  • Pam

    Canyon, hiding behind the “Anonymous” label doesn’t make you unrecognizable. All of these questions have been answered in this thread and others, and some answers are obvious from my post above, but one more time…”Is what you describe faith, and if not, why?”No. Faith is belief in that for which there is no evidence.”Can you propose a single purely rational argument for not killing yourself now, since your existence is in fact pointless?”I don’t consider my existence pointless at all. Rather, the reverse should be true – why don’t *you* kill yourself, since that’s a quick trip to paradise according to your thinking? If this is the only life I believe I’ll have, why would I want to end it, rather than enjoy it to the fullest?”And if you can’t but choose to go on, what do you call that?”Living. And enjoying pretty much every damn minute of it.”Is the unexamined life worth living?”Who says it’s “unexamined”? Whether examined or not, the answer is yes.

  • Pam

    Anonymous Canyon wrote:Bear in mind that it’s subjective. MY existence is not pointless to ME. To that extent, it’s knowledge, and I know the same way I know any other subjective thing. My existence is also not pointless to those who care about me, and that knowledge is based on evidence.I find your second question oddly worded: “…choose to believe.” A Seventh Day Adventist friend once asked me “Why would you want to believe that you descended from an ape, when you can believe that God made you special?”I was quite flabbergasted by the question. I don’t see belief as a choice – you believe what seems closest to the truth, based on facts in evidence, your own perceptions, and your common sense. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

  • Puzzled

    Anonymous, I apologize for putting words in your mouth. I suppose you were trying to be provocative asking about suicide and all that, which is fine. You make a good point. We do not know. I would venture to say no one knows but we all go by what makes sense to ourselves. I think (and am still in the process of thinking) that “life is what we make it to be” may be a better answer than “god has a purpose for us.” The reason, as you ask, is the plausibility of the various schools of thought. To me, I tried to think: “What is more plausible?” Is there a god as written in that book, the Christian Bible? Or, is there a god at all? And even if there is a god, is that god the one written in the Christian Bible, or something else? (Would it be too much of a cosmic irony if some extinct civilization in the past had it most accurate?)So my sense is that “believers” make the leap of faith that god sets one’s purpose in life and it is a process of discovery of god’s intentions for you. Atheists discover this purpose in a different way, without god. The retort that believers may have is this: “how can you find an answer if there is no answer to begin with?” I think that question shows a lack of imagination. We are so used to having questions asked by authority figures with a “correct answer” in mind. How many tests do you have to take to finish college, starting from 1st grade? But once we get to grad school and beyond, classes are more like seminars than lectures, and instead of exams, there are papers. “Why are we here?” is the ultimate question, and there may not be a silver bullet answer to this. I think that many atheists reject religion not only for its (to them) implausibility, but also because of the worry that religion has (and we have seen instances in history) the potential to create “false idols” due to the dogmatic elements that are inevitably intertwined with organized religion. I think also that many believers feel this in their own hearts as well, as evidenced by the waves of reformist movements throughout history. Just looking at Christianity, we had Martin Luther, John Calvin, and many others pursuing reformist agenda. A few decades ago, the Catholic church undertook a fairly radical re-thinking of their teachings as well. Maybe that is why many believers draw a sharp distinction (as they should) between faith and religion. Look at those Eastern “religions” like Buddhism and Taoism. There is no place for god. They set up exemplars (who are people who have attained enlightenment through meditation and deep study) to follow. So, that is why I think it may well be what we make of our lives that is important. And religion can help. But I tend to think the dogma gets in the way too much.

  • Puzzled

    I would think that in order for something to have purpose, it must have sentience, i.e., a sense of self-awareness. Does the “universe” have a purpose? Or, if “universe” is just too big, then does earth have a purpose? Why can’t an object just “be”? Why do we assign purpose to objects without conscience? Did Katrina happen to punish sinners? Katrina was a matural phenomenon, and a “disaster” because we have defined it to be a disaster, not because rain or wind or any other natural forces are good or evil. Anonymous seems to think that if there is no purpose to life, then that life is not worth living. Well, how does one figure out (1) whether one has a purpose, and (2) what that purpose is? And even more fundamentally, who are you or anyone else to say whether my life or anyone else’s (besides your own) is worth living or not? I thought god did that? As a believer, if you think atheists should commit suicide, are you saying that there is no possibility of redemption for atheists? Are some sinners just past redemption? I think Jesus would say “no” to that. Finally, the crux of the matter, at least as it seems to me: Why do we have to reject the notion of this life being what we make it to be? After all, isn’t religion just another way of making sense of the world in some way? Why does purpose need to be given by someone or something? When in grade school, and even into high school, we were always told what to do by authority figures (parents, teachers, other adults,…). In college, we had to learn to figure it out on our own (sometimes with help from others). Thinking on one’s own is a hallmark of maturity, even if there are headaches to go along with it.

  • Falk Steinle

    I would like to toss another point in the debate, if I may. Or rather let it all boil down to one word: Curiosity. I mean, if your watching a movie and enjoying yourselfe, will you get up and leave, just because you think that the film won’t have a deep meaning at the end. Or will you say, ‘Hey, let’s see what happens next.’By the way, I never understood why people thought they’ll find more meaning in a god.In the end I’d say this:In god’s words I found many contradictions. But nature, god’s work is all around us, for everybody it’s the same, and these laws don’t change over the time.

  • michael grasso

    WOW … i love this “canyon” person.”As for your opinion that there are transitionary fossils, I guarantee you that there are not. You cited lucy earlier, but I thought you were kidding. Lucy is a chimpanzee and has been since her birth, death, fossilization, and discovery. Saying she is more than a chimp doesn’t change the fact that she is a chimp. She may be related to you, but not related to human beings.”Please talk to me canyon person .. please ?

  • Anonymous

    You say, “Thinking on one’s own is a hallmark of maturity…” Exactly my point. Atheists aren’t exempt.You say that I “think that if there is no purpose to life, then that life is not worth living.” Well, if you perceive a distinction, please help me understand it.You then ask how one discerns a purpose. Well, of course, that’s one of the “headaches” you yourself say goes along with thinking for oneself. And no, no one else can decide for you (although anyone who can read or communicate can stand on the shoulders of giants).Nothing wrong with the “notion of this life being what we make it to be” — just help me understand how you arrived at that notion. Did you demand empirical evidence and conduct repeatable experiments? It’s an honest and sincere question that I will be happy to drop if there’s an honest answer. And if there is no answer, then in precisely what sense is that notion not faith?You ask, “isn’t religion just another way of making sense of the world in some way?” Couldn’t have put it better myself.For the record and by way of reply, I did not advocate suicide, did not say atheists are sinners, and did not say anyone is beyond redemption.

  • Anonymous

    Pam says, “MY existence is not pointless to ME.” Obviously this by an unsubstantiated assertion, one that Pam acknowledges is subjective and not empirically verifiable. We have to take her word for it — because she says so. For that matter, she has to take her own word for it.Puzzled echoes Pam to say that “we all go by what makes sense to ourselves.”Whether or not you would use the characterization, the fact is that both of these are statements of faith. They convey a strong belief, without any evidence or empirical proof, that life is a good in itself.Pam goes on to say that in reaching conclusions she relies not only on facts and evidence, but also on perceptions and common sense (which of course an empiricist absolutist would reject).The point is that faith is simply the stories we tell ourselves to cope with the problem of our existence. And therefore it’s impropabable that any living person actually lacks faith, even if it’s one he made up yesterday.

  • Puzzled

    Yes. We all make a leap of faith at some point. So we’re just guessing. However, I nevertheless see a distinction between guessing with eyes shut and an informed guess (“guesstimating” for lack of a better word). Perhaps it is a matter of degree, and indeed subjective, but it serves everyone well to be able to be honest and say “I don’t know, but I am making a conjecture based on such and such” rather than “I know because god told me so.” I am not saying all religious folks are like that. A number of columnists have been quite reasonable (Bishop Spong, among others) in this regard. But religion has a tendency to push dogmatic elements and usually does not like a lot of questioning.

  • Anonymous

    Puzzled, thanks. I wonder if you have first-hand knowledge of a branch of religion that “does not like a lot of questioning”?

  • Anonymous

    Pam,I sincerely appreciate your reply, but I don’t quite follow. You say you “don’t consider my existence pointless at all.” But is that something that you “know”, or something that you simply choose to “believe”? If the former, how do you know, and if the latter, how does that differ in any meaningful way from a leap of faith?

  • Puzzled

    Anonymous,You have been fortunate. I was raised in a Christian household. I know a lot of pastors and theologians (my own dad is one). I have seen good people, I’d say the majority, who are faithful believers. However, I find it especially hypocritic that so many other believers I have seen, both first-hand and in the media (who say they want to emulate Jesus), tend to push a rigid dogmatic view on the others. It seems inevitable that the fringe (but the most vocal) elements in Christianity (and other monotheistic religions) aggressively push notions like “we have the monopoly on the THE TRUTH.” That must be bcause the entire belief system is based on ONE god.Perhpas it is unfair to single out religious organizations as they are just like any other secular organization: they have internal politics, power struggles, and a lot of people who want to hijack the organizational agenda for their own private purposes. But religion also has a speicial place in society (notably, exempt from crticism out of “respect for faith,” etc.) and therefore must be held to a higher standard than, say, a company or a secular non-profit organization. Personally, I am agnostic. On the one hand, I can understand why some people feel the need to believe, and I agree with your criticism that atheism (although not a monolithic single entity) can still become a kind of dogma as well. But atheists for the most part should do a better job guarding against it then religious people do, I would expect.

  • Puzzled

    Anonymous,You have to ask? Some religions say that it (and only it) is THE TRUTH. Some are not as particular.

  • Anonymous

    Pam says, “Why would anyone need ’empirical proof’ of their own perceptions?”Cute. You don’t need proof of your perceptions, but I find that it can be quite useful to seek a rational basis for “believing” that one’s perceptions comport with reality. But that’s just me.Pam says, “I don’t tell myself stories to cope with the ‘problem’ of my existence.” Of course you do. Here’s one: “It isn’t a problem for me. This would be a good description of a religious outlook – not mine. I don’t make things up.”Here’s another: “MY existence is not pointless to ME.” Because I say so, and I take my word for it! Because I decree there will be no other thoughts.Believe me, I envy you your charmed, uncomplicated and unreflective life. It’s just that some people have more restless intellects.

  • Anonymous

    Puzzled, it was a good-faith question because that isn’t my experience at all. And I must say that, on the evidence of these fora, there are plenty of self-identified atheists and wannabe-skeptics who are amazingly content to sleepwalk through life, asking no questions whatsoever.

  • Pam

    OK, now you’re sounding more like Jason Bradfield then Canyon – no matter – all cut from the same cloth.You wrote: “Whether or not you would use the characterization, the fact is that both of these are statements of faith. They convey a strong belief, without any evidence or empirical proof, that life is a good in itself.”This is such a load of BS. Why would anyone need “empirical proof” of their own perceptions? That’s redundant in the extreme. Do you even know the definition of “empirical”? I suggest that you look it up.You wrote: “Pam goes on to say that in reaching conclusions she relies not only on facts and evidence, but also on perceptions and common sense (which of course an empiricist absolutist would reject).”Well that’s OK, since I’m not an “empiricist absolutist.” And I didn’t say “facts and evidence”, I said “facts IN evidence.” It’s different, but I’m not surprised that the sublety escapes you.And you wrote: “The point is that faith is simply the stories we tell ourselves to cope with the problem of our existence. And therefore it’s impropabable that any living person actually lacks faith, even if it’s one he made up yesterday.”More BS. I don’t tell myself stories to cope with the “problem” of my existence. It isn’t a problem for me. This would be a good description of a religious outlook – not mine. I don’t make things up.

  • Old Atlantic

    quote Of those scientists distinguished enough to be elected to the National Academy, more than 90% do not believe in any kind of supernatural God. Needless to say, many of them are likeable, friendly and far from obnoxious, as well as being intelligent, well-educated, happy and productive citizens.An equally high proportion of atheists has recently been disclosed among the Fellows of the Royal Society, and it is plausible that distinguished Academicians in philosophy, history, economics, literature and other disciplines, coming from the same educated and intelligent echelons of society, would yield similar data. end quoteBut the same applies to support of immigration. Yet immigration causes genetic extinction in target countries. Search on “Unpleasant Immigration Arithmetic” for the math, or the above link.So these intellectuals support the ethnic cleansing of the Archie Bunker cave men who lurk outside their university common rooms, with a thick protection of police. If you want credibility to attack the God of Archie Bunker, you need to stop ethnically cleansing him.Quick summary of math: Suppose US population is stable at 300 million, people live 75 years so 4 million die per year. If 2 million enter, that leaves 2 million births. So we get 2 /4 as the genetic survival ratio per generation. Go 3 generations, and you fall to 1/8. If its 25 years from birth to parent, its over in 75 years. So all these smart people are for genetic extinction, and at the same time say that people who believe in God are stupid cave men.

  • Old Atlantic

    Re 90 percent of the top scientists and intellectual elite are atheists.But the same applies to support of immigration. Yet immigration causes genetic extinction in target countries. Search on “Unpleasant Immigration Arithmetic” for the math, or the above link.So these intellectuals support the ethnic cleansing of the Archie Bunker cave men who lurk outside their university common rooms, with a thick protection of police. If you want credibility to attack the God of Archie Bunker, you need to stop ethnically cleansing him.Quick summary of math: Suppose US population is stable at 300 million, people live 75 years so 4 million die per year. If 2 million enter, that leaves 2 million births. So we get 2 /4 as the genetic survival ratio per generation. Go 3 generations, and you fall to 1/8. If its 25 years from birth to parent, its over in 75 years. So all these smart people are for genetic extinction, and at the same time say that people who believe in God are stupid cave men.

  • Linda

    To suggest that our species is on the verge of extinction with the global population at 6.6 billion and growing is short sighted. Human activity contributes to climate change and for this very reason the issue of over-population must be addressed. Who stands in the way of discussing population while promoting a sort of gluttony why it’s Islamists, Roman Catholics and sundry other religious fundamentalists. Earth is a small planet and we are depleting natural resources at an alarming rate. Over 2 billion people live without clean water and or electricity. How is that equitable? I think everyone deserves a reasonable quality of life that includes the opportunity for meaningful work and decent home and family life. I’m going to attack the USA on this problem with a direct look at Afghanistan a nation that could have been helped with just a few dollars but instead violence was the motivation of the Bush and Blair governments. Is it that their respective hordes of WMD had upcoming sell-by dates and hence had to be used up? For a few dollars a day the people of Afghanistan could have been fed, given opportunities for education and to modernize their country. The Taliban were never ousted that was a lie and that backward, mean men continue to harm the people of Afghanistan. The fundamentalist military madness of GW Bush doesn’t include helping people achieve self-sufficiency or intellectual progress. Superstition, religion is a great way to keep a ready supply of human slaves. Education, human rights, and reproductive freedom for women is the only way forward.See also “God’s Hostages” by Sam Harris, On FaithBush is most likely an A-theist too but in terms of what sells to the gullible, superstitious US public he must pose in public with a bible seeing this as simply a ‘noble lie’ as inspired by manifesto of Leo Strauss. I bet back stage he does what every other powerful exec does and that swear like a sailor and make jokes about the stupidity of the masses.

  • Chemist

    Overdose deaths can be intentional or unintentional, and they can result from both licit and illicit drug abuse. Drugs commonly implicated in overdose must be in public lists! WBR LeoP

  • Garry von Wurtemberg

    Dawkins is an intellectual yokel, a midget if you will. I don’t see what the big deal is with this short-sighted windbag. What he says is so childish and sophomoric that the opposition is so flabbergasted that he doesn’t know where to begin. It’s like claiming the Sun revolves around a cheesecake. What the hell am I supposed to do with a statement like that?? By beginning with a philosophically retarded statement like “Oh, well you don’t believe in Thor, hmmm? Hmmm?” it shows that Dawkins is naive to what distinguishes the Abrahamic faiths from pagan counterparts (although there is something to be said of the presence of *some* validity of Thor et al. in the context of religious history). Oh, and I especially loved the ditty about using the word Jew in place of atheist. Very subtle. Very rich. The discrimination card goes a long way, doesn’t it.Linda, you are so stereotypical of the dumb feminist that it hurts. How do you lump in education and female reproductive rights into one group and religion and superstition into another? Why don’t you just go ahead and say that something like “I believe in freedom, liberty and men having the right to be circumcised.” Apples and oranges? I think so.Oh, and I’m an atheist, but I treat it as a personal decision. I recognize the great merit of these faiths, their immeasurable impact on civilization, science, ethics, you name it (alas, the ignorance of you, the masses, is appalling, as it may come as a shock to you), and I also recognize that I may be quite wrong, that indeed I am missing the point, that my understanding in this area is stunted. But at least I don’t parade around like an idiot spouting nonsense like this. Why don’t *you* guys get an education.

  • Puzzled

    Garry, you raise some very good points. However, I would disagree with you somewhat on Dawkins’ approach (at least in this particular column). He was trying to get at the point that some religious people feel like asking questions about or making inquiries into faith should somehow be off limits. I agree with Dawkins (and others) that we should rightfully ask why such topics are off limits while atheism is often considered to be without morals or just plain wrong. I too am agnostic, although I was brought up a Christian. I applaud anyone who raises possibly uncomfortable issues, even if I do not agree with all they say. And as you seem to suggest, there may have been many benefits from those religions of the Abrahamic tradition. But there have been negative effects as well. Whichever way the net effects may point toward, the question will remain: what does that mean? If it can raise consciousness within the church, then perhaps the criticism from the atheist side will allow much-needed reforms to be implemented.

  • Kyle Henderson

    Theists’ current disbelief in past theistic claims diminishes theism’s credibility only to the degree that scientists’ current disbelief in past scientific claims diminishes science’s credibility. Scientists used to believe one could, at least in principle, know precisely the state of a system and therefore predict its future behavior into infinity. They know longer believe that. Is current belief in quantum mechanics ridiculous because elements of classical physics are now dismissed?My challenge to atheists is this: Explain universal, abstract, non-material entities in a strictly material universe. I’ll pick just one: the ethical obligation to tell the truth. Is there such a thing? If so, how’s an obligation possible in a universe that’s strictly material? If no, then how is science possible? Science entails an obligation on the part of the scientist to tell the truth. If he or she lies about the research, science hasn’t taken place. How does a universal obligation – a non-material moral law – fit into a strictly material universe?Kyle

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  • News Cynic

    News Cynic :Gerry, Fate, Acrapist, Mr. Mark, James, Joseph A., A Hermit, Falk Steinle and the rest:THE CHALLENGE! (Go to the main thread on “Why Atheism”)One exercise that I do for myself is to try and argue the various sides of a debate and attempt to give (what I would consider) a fair and “winning” accounting of each one. There are several benefits to doing this: you keep yourself sharp, you are better able to anticipate what must necessarily come next in a systematically consistent logical construct, you waste less time dueling with straw men, and it’s just plain courteous to try and understand where another person is coming from without putting words in their mouths or claiming that you know what they “really mean”.So here is what I propose. I would like to see the various people in our circle of friends that frequently post here attempt to define the strengths of Christian thought on morality (pick your brand) and also the strong points of whatever Atheistic take on morality you choose to define. The contribution to this entire discussion could be huge (if done well) as we would could prove to each other that we might in fact understand the other position. Then the field would be clear to explain WHY we find a particular view lacking! Sounds fun right? So what do ya say?

  • ALEX

    So, let us suppose that Religion is man-made. Does that mean that we necessarily toss it out as somehow ‘unnatural’? That seems somewhat intolerant. Why no do with it what we do with other man-made things, namely, use it for what it is useful for. The obvious use would be to reveal to us a little of the workings of our own minds. Religion is one part of the fun of being a human … including the fun of poking fun at religion.(By the way, a challenge – can you tell by this post whether or no I am ‘religious’? If you can, please let me know.)

  • Lynn

    Anonymous, life has no meaning without god? Time and time again I’ve heard theists ask the question “Why did god put us here?” Just because there is a middle man in your version doesn’t mean the question is answered. Why did god put YOU here? And if you come up empty, by all means go slit your wrists.

  • Lynn

    Frankly, I think it’s people like you who don’t have anything to live for. They’re scared by the very thought of there not being a god because it would take away what little meaning their life has. That’s why they hate people who can find meaning in life itself. Bottom line, it’s YOUR life, YOUR choice. No right or wrong in a game of chance.

  • Bill Dubay

    I’m part of the choir that you are peaching to, Mr. Dawkins, so I enjoyed reading and agree with your article. But when you say that in the U.S. Atheist outnumber Jews, I wonder if there is some level of double-counting. Most of the Jews that I know whom I have ever discussed religion with have turned out to be Atheists.

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  • Dan

    Dr. Dawkins,You make one big point: religious belief sometimes causes people to do evil things, while adherence to atheism does not. Thanks for that insight, but what should your readers do with your point? Abandon their faith (if they have it)? If so, then that is hardly a good reason. There will always be some individuals in any religion who distort it. Also, please note that you assume 1) those who do evil things in the name of religion (such as the 9/11 hijackers) sincerely believe in their religion and 2) these evil doers are not motivated by political, economic, or social factors. By the way, what’s with the Washington Post giving so much air time to atheists? There aren’t even that many of you out there.Nevertheless, thanks for any response you may have.Good day.

  • Dany

    I am astonished, that humanity still needs to clarify the point: Is there a God or not. The relevance of this discussion was in my opinion already dismissed by Epicurus ca 300 years before Christ:Why should any society be influenced by religious beliefs? I accept the historic fact that almost all societies have been influenced by religion and a lot of our morality was based thereon. But by no means exclusively. Otherwise, these religions would not have evolved from Judaism to Christianity and more recent offsprings. Atheism is the next step in mankinds thinking, but hopefully we do not have to go through crucification, before people accept us for who we are.

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  • Andy

    DANY: Why are you so astonished? It isn’t hard to comprehend that a being which knows everything, has existed forever, and cannot be destroyed will not agree to humanity’s terms of “good” and “evil”. Human beings are afraid of death and pain, and therefore we attach the stigma of “evil” to that which we fear. Maybe we’re being immature. Maybe we just can’t accept reality for what it is. So Epicurus’ dilemma doesn’t apply to that person who can accept, and even love, reality for what it is, death and pain included. Evil does not exist for him. Besides, the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent being is worthy of consideration whether that being is malevolent or not.To Dawkins: One major difference between Thor and the God of Abraham is that there is no conceivable means of knowing that God does not exist, whereas Thor, as Thor is described, can conceivably be known not to exist. For instance, if we simultaneously monitored all of the globe’s storms and never once spotted a viking with a hammer, it would be safe to assume that Thor does not exist. Thor is not said to be invisible, and Thor is said to be responsible for thunder. In order to maintain Thor’s existence, one would have to recreate Thor time and time again as his/her wealth of information about the universe increased. Until, eventually, either Thor is discovered, or his description becomes so vague that his existence cannot possibly be disproved, at which time there will be no point in distinguishing Thor from God.When you’re talking about the God of Abraham, you’re really just talking about an omniscient, omnipotent being. Which can be construed as the same thing as the simple belief that the universe is alive: It possesses all the information in the universe (it knows everything) and it possesses all of the power in the universe (it is all-powerful). In my eyes, what you really want people to believe is this: that being, intangible being, is simply something that arises when particular combinations of matter occur. But why should this be so, and how can it be proven? There is no reason to believe it is the case, and (coincidentally I suppose?) it cannot be proven to be the case. There is no bit of evidence to suggest that one viewpoint is any more reasonable than the other. So it is very important that both points of view be given their due respect, since what you believe about reality carries a great deal of weight as to what you are permitted to know about reality.So, mind you, when you speak out against Christians in denouncing the existence of “an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being”, you also happen to be ridiculing the beliefs and the intelligence of many pantheists and panpsychists. I think it would be more advantageous, if you’re really a crusader for truth and against barbarism, to attack the virtues and the precise doctrines of those religions you are opposed to, rather than the concept of God in general. It really is a battle for a vision of the future. Atheists could win the battle and still be wrong, with dire consequences. I agree with JEF waaay up above, who proposed a middle ground.

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  • mr c pearce

    As far as I am aware god had no contempories. Who then adised us of gods exsistence?

  • mr c pearce

    As far as I am aware god had no contempories. Who then adised us of gods exsistence?

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  • Jack

    I went to UC Berkeley – and I expect more from my professors than this. Mr. Dawkins has written a convoluted mismash of unlogical diatribe. He does no justice to himself nor those he takes issue with. The believers of the “Cult” of Yahweh have plenty of evidence to point to their God’s existence – both Jews and Christians.

  • Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth

    Please, folks , don’t overlook the other atheist books. Check out the lists on atheists ones @ Amazon by Jonathon Harrison, Micheal Martin, Graham Oppy, Kai Nieslen, George Smith, Jordan Howard, Sobel, Robert LePoidevin, and ever newer ones.

  • Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth[skeptic griggsy]

    Please, folks , don’t overlook the other atheist books. Check out the lists on atheists ones @ Amazon by Jonathon Harrison, Micheal Martin, Graham Oppy, Kai Nieslen, George Smith, Jordan Howard, Sobel, Robert LePoidevin, and ever newer ones.

  • Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth[skeptic griggsy]

    Please, folks , don’t overlook the other atheist books. Check out the lists on atheists ones @ Amazon by Jonathon Harrison, Michael Martin, Graham Oppy, Kai Nieslen, George Smith, Jordan Howard Sobel, Robert LePoidevin, and ever newer ones.

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