Don’t Believe Christianity Until You Believe in Aliens

If you like the Jesus resurrection story, you should like the alien story better!Do you think that Jesus rose from the dead? That he was virgin born? That he sits in heaven at the right hand of the creator of the universe?

That the gospel story is actual history is an immense claim, but Christians say they have the evidence. Let’s test that. If Christians accept this claim, then, to be consistent, they must also accept any claim with better evidence. Such a claim is that space aliens have visited the earth.

Let’s compare evidence for these two claims point by point.

1. Recentness of Event. You can interview people today who claim to have seen UFOs or encountered aliens. To understand the gospel claims, we must peer back across 2000 years of history.

2. Number of Sources. Thousands claim to have been abducted, and the number who claim only to have seen aliens or their technology must be far higher. There were only four gospels, and those aren’t even independent accounts.

3. Period of Oral History. The period of oral history is negligible for many alien claims. It may be just hours or days from a claimed event until a newspaper story. By contrast, the Gospels were written decades after the claimed events.

4. Reliability of Source. It may be easy to imagine alien claimants as insane, drunk, or uneducated, but one psychiatrist studied 800 claimed abductees and was struck with the ordinariness of the population. Another survey reported that this group is no more prone to mental disorder than the general population.

Question the sanity of those who claims to have seen aliens if you want, but we at least have something tangible—interviews with those people and people who know them, police records, and so on. With Peter and Paul or some other Christian patriarch we have 2000-year-old stories. Who’s to say if they’re accurate?

5. Natural vs. Supernatural. The supposed aliens came from a planet (we know about planets) on which there was intelligent life (we know about intelligent life), and they presumably got here in a spaceship (we know about technology and spaceships). This is 100 percent natural.

Science keeps finding strange new animals on earth living in extreme environments—worms that live miles underground, in glaciers, or in hot or cold places at the bottom of the ocean. Is it hard to imagine animals on other worlds? Their discovery would be surprising or even shocking, but we wouldn’t need to discard any scientific laws if aliens presented themselves.

By contrast, the Gospel story requires you to believe in supernatural beings and supernatural events. We have plenty of claims but no scientific consensus that even one is valid.

6. Cultural Gulf. The evidence for aliens is from our time, from our culture, and in our language. By contrast, the gospel story is from a culture long ago and far away, and the Greek gospels are already one culture removed from the actual events. Jesus and the apostles spoke Aramaic and came from a Jewish environment; the gospels were written in Greek by authors who lived in a Greek environment.

7. Contradictions. Any contradiction between alien claims can be chalked up to a different space ship or a different alien race. By contrast, the four gospel accounts are trying to document the same events.

8. Quality of Evidence. On the alien side, you talk directly to people who claim to be eyewitnesses. The argument that the gospel writers were eyewitnesses or close to them is a flimsy tradition.

Our oldest complete copies of the New Testament date from the fourth century. Yes, we do have fragments of New Testament books that date earlier, but these are incomplete and are still copies from one to two centuries after the original authorship.

9. Criterion of Embarrassment. Christians ask, “But who would make up the gospel story? Who would endure the persecution?” First, I never claimed that anyone made up the story, simply that the supernatural elements in the gospel story are easily explained by supposing that it evolved as it was passed along. Second, that defense crumbles when we consider that alien claimants tell their story today in the face of much potential ridicule. Is a story in the face of persecution strong support for the truth of the story? Okay—then consider it strong evidence for alien claims.

If the Gospel stories are believable, shouldn’t alien stories be far more believable? Seen the other way around, Christians who read this and think up many objections to the alien argument need to apply those same objections against the gospel story to see if it holds up.

I think they’ll find that the net that pulls in Christianity will pull in a lot of bycatch as well.

Reality is that which,
when you stop believing in it,
doesn’t go away.
— Philip K. Dick

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About Bob Seidensticker
  • Quinton BigCountry Yell

    I was brain washed into believing in your so called god as a child.. nothin but heartache as well. Now I’m 23 years oldhappy as can be cause I can finally get the truth, and just not the side people want you to believe. there are far more facts considering aliens than some bogus story(religion) created to keep the human race in line. The biggest thing about religion that sends a red flag is how are there many religions wit many different gods. That should ring a Wtf Bell. Come on use more than 1% of your brain people. And for all these so called spiritual sightings 2000 yrs ago couldn’t it just be aliens visiting and we as a civilization not understanding what was really going on and automatically thought this is a god…. Uh yes more facts pointing to mis interpreted info than a god creating us in his own image and the world only bein 2000 yrs old? Lol ya’ll make me laugh… Anywho gotta get up early. Peace

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      Quinton:

      Thanks for sharing your story. Was there anything in particular that you read or heard that helped push you toward freethought? I’m wondering what arguments you found especially helpful (or not).

  • Tristan7grunt

    I always thought of there being an infinite plain of existence, where all universes connect to, and that living in this “Ocean of Creation” are extradimensional creatures, beyond any of the laws of physics universes abide by (Also, I would assume laws of physics aren’t always cross-dimensional.) and that these extradimensionals are essentially gods (We would think of them as such.), with the ability to bend the laws of physics in any universe they come across. These gods would come to some sort of universe, and either mess around with, help, create, or hurt that universe’s inhabitants.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Tristan: Is there any reason for anyone to believe your version of reality?

  • Lea

    Aliens are manifestations of demons, whether they come across as good or bad. They are a product of the sinful interbreeding and communion between humans and fallen angels just as it says in the Holy Bible. This is possibly the original sin that cast humanity into the misery of disease and death and all manner of evil for we are now born into this sinful condition. The serpent in the Garden of Eden is a reptilian who was able to speak and communicate with humans and it has left a trail throughout history as a serpent/dragon god. These entities could not exist without the energy and assistance that we so freely and ignorantly provide. Aliens are physical evidence of the fact that demons are real and contrary to the idea, mostly held by non-believers, that aliens negate Jesus Christ it does the exact opposite because those who wish to be free from demonic bondage can only do so when they discover the power of the Name of Jesus Christ. Christiantiy has been made into a religion but the phenomenon supersedes such mundane man and demon made trivaliaties because when, by the Holy Spirit, you come into a realisation of who Jesus Christ really is then you are no longer bound to rules and regulations or other people;s notions. Indeed, the truth of Jesus Christ will set you free.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Aliens are manifestations of demons, whether they come across as good or bad.

      So both aliens and demons exist? I’ve seen evidence of neither.

      They are a product of the sinful interbreeding and communion between humans and fallen angels just as it says in the Holy Bible.

      Aliens are the Nephilim? So they’re giants?

      Maybe the Nephilim are just stories made up by ignorant, pre-scientific people. What do you think?

      the power of the Name of Jesus Christ

      Like “abracadabra”? Or “open sesame”?

      the truth of Jesus Christ will set you free.

      Why this guy? Why not Buddha? Or Mohammed? There are lots of paths to the divine.

      Or maybe they’re all mythology.

      • The Kid MCP

        The evidence of UFO sightings and abductions behave in the same manor a demonic possession or encounter would and there is plenty of evidence of both. (UFO Sightings/Abductions & Demon Possession)

        Aliens are the Nephilim because “Nephilim” does not mean “giants”, it means “Fallen Ones”. Yes, they were giants in those days, but you do not have to be a giant in order to be one of the Nephilim.

        “Abracadabra” and “open sesame” have not been documented as being able to instantly “call off” or end both demonic attacks AND alien abductions/encounters as the name of Jesus Christ has.

        About the paths to the divine, each Religion claims to be “The sole path” so believing in multiple paths is contradictory no matter which Religion you choose. Unless you subscribe to the New Age teachings that say Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, etc. were all Ascended Masters preaching the same gospel to different cultures. But even then, those gospels were all “Channeled” (spirits speaking/writing through people) messages through people letting themselves be “taken over” by these spirits or entities which is nothing more than a new modern spin on Age old demonic possession.

        All the claims I’ve made can be backed up by real evidence if you take time to research it. Google is you’r friend.

        Checkmate asshole

  • The Kid MCP

    Actually all of your evidence of “Aliens” is actually evidence of Fallen Angels and Fallen Angel/Human Hybrids called “Nephilim” as described in Genesis 6, so if you’re going to believe in Aliens, believe in Christianity first.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

    Nicely done. I found this post when I googled for “christians who believe in aliens”. I was visiting a Christian site who quoted Arthur C. Clarkes 3rd law and I was telling them that I wonder how Clarke would react to them mining his quotes, for I doubt he felt that god(s) have used technology we just don’t understand yet.

    Concerning Aliens — A talk radio station in town does Conservative talk shows, Religious talk shows, Alternative Medicine shows and Shows about ESP and Aliens. I think they are clever in reading their audiences.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’ve also noticed that the local Christian station also has infomercials for nutty supplements. When you let down the drawbridge for religion, charlatans can take advantage of this.

      • http://triangulations.wordpress.com/ Sabio Lantz

        Indeed.
        BTW, I did a post linking to your post today.
        And a fine graphic to go with it.

  • Bobobugz

    We are born knowing god I hope so he is our dominant DNA our missing link and the reason for our advanced evolution and separation from other primates he is our god he is also ET and very upset with his ill behaved children with all of our quickly advancing technology we still treat each other with extreme prejudice and hate how can we be expected to play well with others when we can’t play well with ourselves maturity of technology with immaturity of global cohesion not good

  • 99Loretta

    The bible explains these strange phenomena that haunt mankind: ghosts, false gods, demons and so-called space aliens –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReYe-MsVl8s

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I can’t imagine that this convinces any skeptics. One imaginary thing explaining another isn’t useful.

      • 99Loretta

        Throughout the ages, mankind has witnessed ghosts, false gods, demons, angels and now space aliens. If you choose to ascribe to belief in one, then you must have an explanation for the others or acknowledge your ignorance. The truth is that there is a common cause for all of them: the fallen angels.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Space aliens are not supernatural.

          I see no evidence for any of these beings. Why didn’t you include trolls, vampires, and fairies? You don’t allow societies to create mythological (nonexistent) beings?

        • 99Loretta

          Space aliens would fit into the category of mythological beings that are believed in without any real proof.
          There’s far more long-standing evidence of God, the holy angels and the fallen angels than there is of creatures from outer space.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There may be far more long-standing belief in God, but I see no meaningful evidence. If the Christian supernatural is to have any explanatory power, you must show that it exists first.

        • 99Loretta

          “Belief” may be sufficient for some… belief in science, belief in one religion or other, belief in one’s own superior reasoning power; but absolute truth requires more.

          Absolute truth requires honesty, faith that truth exists, diligence, perseverance and integrity.

          Let me know when those so-called ET’s show up and prove themselves. In the meantime, God does prove His existence to those who seek Him.

          “Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13

          Truth & Logic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kE-qijoOOQ

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, there are Bible passages that say “seek and ye shall find,” but we both know that’s not the way it works, don’t we?

          The stories of many ex-Christians often have a tragic part where they pleaded for God to show himself and prevent their exit from Christianity. Didn’t happen. They sought and didn’t find.

  • Chris

    I believe the probability of aliens existing is far greater than of them not existing. I’m also a Christian.

    I’m tempted to write a lot at the current moment in regards to your article, and am willing to do so in offering logical explanations as to why being a theist, and even a christian could be very valid. but I’m only willing to take the time to do that if you’re interested in hearing them.

    So for now, I’ll just state that your arguments for proving the aliens are likely real and that Christianity is likely not real seemed to be based on the fact that ufo sighting are of modern day and Jesus sighting are from 2000 years ago.

    What if we stop having UFO sighting and 2000 years pass by. Would that then mean that UFOs are not likely to exist? Or that they never existed? No.

    Therefore, just because Biblical literature and accounts of Jesus are old, doesn’t mean they aren’t any less authentic. I could give many examples of people who have lived in history that you probably agree lived, but all the proof you actually have for these people are from sources that are dead.

    • MNb

      “Do you think that Jesus rose from the dead? That he was virgin born? That he sits in heaven at the right hand of the creator of the universe?”
      These questions are not the same as the question if Jesus somehow is historical.

      ” examples of people who have lived in history that you probably agree lived”
      I am not aware that BobS denied that Jesus of Nazareth has lived in history. Accepting that as a highly probable fact like I do does not imply that BobS’ questions should be answered with yes.
      That’s a bad start of your logical christianity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      If you’re saying that just because the evidence for Jesus is 2000 years old, that doesn’t prove that the story is false, I agree. But it’s a pretty difficult start on which to build the most audacious claim ever.

      There is insufficient reason to overturn the null hypothesis, that there is no supernatural.

  • Megan Fleming

    Jesus is alive now and I also know that “super-intelligent technologically-advanced” beings (some call aliens or demons) exist and have been in contact with humans for centuries. I came to the latter through overwhelming evidence; I came to the former through the evidence of the Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-control in my life. I’m guessing non-Jesus-lovers would attribute those attributes to evolution, will power, or human love; I choose to accept the Love (Agape in the Greek) and its byproducts mentioned above as having it’s source in the “invisible” being YHWH as revealed to us through Biblical and other Scripture. Can I prove my husband loves me? Can I prove my mom loves me? All evidence of love is subjective. We can’t see or know the inner motivations of a human except through what they do, and even that can be deceptive (what looks like love could be self-serving). Can I prove Jesus loves me? Nope. So what? I feel/experience/know/am fully alive through Agape, just as I am cared for, respected, and doted on by my husband. I don’t “believe” in Jesus’ existence any more than I “believe” in my husband’s. One is visible and one is not; my experience of their love for me has the same level of “real-ness.” You can’t see gravity, but it’s real. You can’t see magnetism, but’s real. You can’t see energy, but it’s real. You can’t see Agape, but it’s real. It affects my being in a comparable way that my physical body is affected by gravity, magnetism, and energy. If you’ve ever experienced human love, you’ve experienced a similar thing to experiencing Agape. It can’t be proven, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
    I personally apologize on behalf of broken people who have said or done hateful things to you and others in the name of the Agape Being YHWH. For what it’s worth.
    I know this blog deals with Christianity and the critique of it. Please keep critiquing it – thank you for your thoughtful engagement of the issues.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      “Can I prove my husband loves me?” is a very different question than “Can I prove my husband exists?

      And existence is the issue we have with God.

      I don’t “believe” in Jesus’ existence any more than I “believe” in my husband’s.

      That’s good. There may be far, far more evidence that your husband exists than that Jesus does. Your belief in the existence of Jesus could be self-delusion. Whatever powerful feeling buoys you up certainly exists, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus does.

      I personally apologize on behalf of broken people who have said or done hateful things to you and others in the name of the Agape Being YHWH. For what it’s worth.

      That’s a generous gesture but unnecessary. Here’s a tip: when fellow Christians tell you how atheists think, they may not be doing a very good job. Atheists don’t actually believe in God but just hate him. They don’t know that he exists but just suppress that knowledge because a Christian was mean to them once. Atheists really, truly don’t believe in God.

      • Megan Fleming

        Thank you for your responses. I appreciate that you did not discredit my “powerful feeling that buoys me up.” I admit I am fascinated by an atheist whose unbelief is not tied to wounded-ness from believers or hatred toward YHWH (just to distinguish which god I’m talking about), and I will not discredit that. It’s fascinating because I’ve never NOT known YHWH’s involvement in my family/life. The only thing I can compare it to is how I used to not believe aliens existed (or Super-Intelligent Technologically-Advanced Beings – SITABs – as I like to refer to them, to acknowledge the minimum I know about them). Then I had a growing suspicion that there was credible evidence, and then when I was met with evidence I couldn’t deny, I believed in an instant. But for all my life before that, I totally was an unbeliever and wrote off all alien-contact “testimonies” as make-believe. Sorry, it might seem a lame comparison, but it is helpful for me to understand your perspective better.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I am fascinated by an atheist whose unbelief is not tied to wounded-ness from believers or hatred toward YHWH

          No such atheist exists. An atheist has no god belief, and your hypothetical “atheist” is simply a believer who’s pissed off at him (or his followers).

          Get your information about atheists from atheists. Whoever you’re getting it from now is uninformed.

    • Rudy R

      If you don’t mind me asking, what is your evidence that Jesus is the source of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-control that you feel in your life?

      • Megan Fleming

        It’s less evidence and more a willful acceptance, based on the options for the source – whether or not it’s my own brain, other humans, some supernatural force we don’t know about, or a supernatural force we DO know about. Comparing the experiences of those from the Biblical N.T. and my own, as well as the experiences of present day friends and strangers alike, I’ve concluded the source is YHWH incarnated.

        • adam

          YHWH the War God?

        • Rudy R

          Thanks for being honest about your belief being more about willful acceptance than evidence. Just so I understand you correctly, the evidence you speak of is more from personal experiences and not from the kinds of evidence that can be proven through the scientific method.

    • wtfwjtd

      “Can I prove my husband loves me? All evidence of love is subjective…my experience of their love for me has the same level of “real-ness.” ”

      You poor thing, you must have a terrible marriage, if you have no more evidence of your husband’s love than you do for Jesus’ existence.

      There is a better way–living a life based on evidence, reason, and actual deeds. It’s much more fulfilling, with the benefit of making much more sense, too. You might try it sometime, living a life knowing the truth is far better than a life lived based on believing a comforting lie.

  • Jerry

    This is a bogus comparison.

    There are two types of ufo witnesses. Those who are abducted and those who see actual ufos (UNIDENTIFIED flying objects)… Because you can explain many ufo sightings by UAV’s, weather phenomena, and top secret planes, let’s stick with abductions.

    This is from the International Center for Abduction Research http://www.ufoabduction.com/memories.htm

    “What this also means is that one must be very careful with abductees who have not undergone competent hypnosis and investigation and who say that they have the “answer” to the UFO phenomenon or who claim that they have special knowledge about it.”

    In essence, the most trusted abductee “eye-witness accounts” REQUIRE the use of hypnotic regression.

    This is from a paper “Hypnosis and Memory” http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~kihlstrm/hypnosis_L&M2003.htm

    “While there is little or no evidence that hypnosis enhances accurate recollection, hypnosis does appear to increase false recollection, or illusory memories. On recognition tests, for example, hypnosis increases the frequency of false alarms and confidence levels attached to items endorsed by subjects, without increasing the accuracy of recognition itself. Moreover, perhaps by virtue of their increased suggestibility, hypnotized subjects may be more vulnerable to postevent misinformation effects. It seems likely that that the suggestive atmosphere of hypnosis interacts with the reconstructive nature of memory retrieval to create, or enhance, an illusion of remembering.”

    I think this ends this debate. The “first hand witnesses” for alien abductions by definition are not truly first hand witnesses. They require the use of hypnotic regression to gather their testimonies, and data shows hypnotic regression creates illusory memories.

    The other type of witnesses for ufo phenomena could very well be seeing ufos… but based on our technology, we already have rational explanations for that.

    The gospel writers as first-hand witnesses actually exhibit behavior expected in modern times by first-hand witnesses. Differences in minor details, agreement with major events, etc. Combine this with the Criterion of Embarrassment and you have a people more interested in the truth than fabrications.

    Cold Case Christianity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQmodO2quW0

    • Greg G.

      But you didn’t account for the alien abductees that have not been hypnotized. The first century eye witnesses would be more like those unhypnotized alien abductees, the ones that are not the most reliable.

      The next problem is that we don’t have any accounts about Jesus from the first century. Three gospels rely on Mark and Mark was using the Old Testament, Greek literature and Christian literature of the day to write allegory, not history. Matthew used over 90% of Mark and half of that was verbatim but the changes and omissions seem to be theological in nature, not historical, like eliminating miracles that were not instantaneous. Acts is a fictional account drawn from Greek literature, Paul’s letters and Josephus. When you read the gospels back into the epistles, it will give you incorrect insights.

      The epistles don’t say anything about Jesus being a teacher/Preacher, being from Galilee, only that Jesus was descended from David and crucified and that information comes from the Old Testament. Everything said about Jesus that could be construed about an earthly life comes from someplace in the Old Testament. None of the early epistles say anything about a recent Jesus. For example, in 1 Peter 2, the suffering of the Christians are related to the suffering of Christ but it is in terms of Isaiah 53.

      So which writings are you pretending are from first century eye witnesses of Jesus?

      • Jerry

        But you didn’t account for the alien abductees that have not been hypnotized. The first century eye witnesses would be more like those unhypnotized alien abductees, the ones that are not the most reliable.

        Can you please provide 1st century accounts that have people being taken away on a spaceship to be tested on.

        Acts is a fictional account drawn from Greek literature, Paul’s letters and Josephus….

        Lol, that’s your interpretation of the gospels and Acts. If they were all written after the fact, why didn’t they include the temple destruction, or Nero’s atrocities?

        • Greg G.

          Can you please provide 1st century accounts that have people being taken away on a spaceship to be tested on.

          I’m not claiming there were people who are abducted by UFOs.

          Lol, that’s your interpretation of the gospels and Acts. If they were all written after the fact, why didn’t they include the temple destruction, or Nero’s atrocities?

          The temple destruction didn’t happen during the time setting of the story yet the story alludes to it. Mark 11:12-21 has Jesus curse the fig tree, then having his temple tantrum, and the disciples discovering the withered fig tree the next day. That is on of those fill in the blank syllogisms that would come to mind immediately in the years right after the news of the destruction of Jerusalem was being used as propaganda to squelch other rebellions.

          Nero’s dealings were irrelevant to the gospels and may have been forgotten by the time Acts was written.

        • Neko

          Don’t you find it odd that St. Paul is said to have perished in Nero’s 62 AD persecution of Christians yet there’s no mention of his martyrdom in Acts?

        • Greg G.

          Luke apparently used Mark, Matthew, probably John, Josephus, the Old Testament, and was probably influenced by other ancient Greek writings such as Euripides’ Bacchae and Homer plus Paul’s writings. Since Josephus never mentioned Paul and Paul didn’t write anything after he died, Luke probably had no idea how or when Paul died.

          Luke seems to have inferred Paul’s first three journeys from the epistles and the fourth from Josephus’ account of his own shipwreck in Life of Josephus 3. Here’s a dozen coincidences between the two accounts put out by Robert K. Gnuse, PhD:

          1. Procurator of Judea was Felix (Acts 24:2)

          2. Jewish religious leaders (Paul in Acts vs. priests in the Josephus account)

          3. Felix imprisons Jewish religious leaders (Acts 24:27)

          4. Prisoners are sent to Rome (Acts 25:10-12)

          5. The Jewish religious leaders are unjustly accused (Acts 24-26)

          6. Both sail to Rome (Acts 27:1)

          7. The trip is to undo the injustice done (Acts 25:11)

          8. The ship sinks (Acts 27:41-44)

          9. In the Adriatic Sea (Acts 27:27)

          10. Josephus and Paul become leaders (Acts 27:31-38)

          11. Everybody lives (Acts 27:44)

          12. They go through Puteoli (Acts 28:13-14)

        • Neko

          What about Q? What about L? : ) What about Luke’s willingness to construe events in the interest of harmonizing the Jerusalem and Pauline factions? However, I think you’re right. S/he must not have known what happened, however incredible it may seem.

        • Greg G.

          Q, L, and Matthew’s M are imaginary documents. If Matthew put the words and ideas from the Epistle of James into Jesus’ mouth plus Mark, Old Testament verses, a few references to the Deuterocanonical books, help from Antiquities of the Jews, and a smidgen of Matthew’s own hand and the need for Q is obliterated. Scholars have made the connections individually but nobody seems to see a need to compile them together because Q has become sacred it seems. Then the Farrar-Goulder hypothesis that Mark Goodacre is touting looks pretty good.

        • Neko

          Yes, I’m aware these sources are hypothetical and that Mark Goodacre pooh-poohs them, as well as the theory that the Gospel of Thomas is independent of Matthew (?). I was just curious as to your take. Thanks!

        • Greg G.

          Oh, I forgot to add the Gospel of Thomas to that list. There are many passages in the Synoptics that I don’t have another source for but they correspond to Thomas sayings. It seems unlikely that Thomas Dydimus, for lack of a better name of the author, would focus on those verses. That includes most of Mark 4 and assorted passages in Matthew and Luke.

          Some time ago, I saw a theory that John was written contra Thomas. I rejected the idea at the time because I still thought Thomas was derived from the Gospels and I haven’t come across it recently. I’d like to take another look at it.

        • Neko

          I have Goodacre’s book on Thomas, and it is now before me; I had been unsure whether he proposed Thomas’s familiarity with just one gospel or the synoptics, but it’s the latter, particularly Matthew and Luke (obviously I haven’t read it yet).

          Some time ago, I saw a theory that John was written contra Thomas. I rejected the idea at the time because I still thought Thomas was derived from the Gospels and I haven’t come across it recently. I’d like to take another look at it.

          I’d like to hear more about that one.

        • Greg G.

          I haven’t found the article that I saw before but it looks like the idea comes from Elaine Pagels.

          Denver Seminary review

          From the Christian Research Journal, Elaine Pagels’s Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

          Pagels’s central contention that John knew and refuted Thomas is also harmed by the probability that their places of composition and earliest use were far removed from each other geographically. The best guess for Thomas points to eastern Syria, perhaps at Edessa, east of the Euphrates in northern Mesopotamia. A fairly reliable tradition places John and the writing of his gospel at Ephesus in western Turkey, many hundreds of miles away.

          From Gospel of Thomas – New World Encyclopedia

          Since its discovery, the Gospel of Thomas has been a major source of discussion and controversy among biblical scholars. Some believe it to have inspired a major group of first century Christians and that the gospels of Luke and John were written in part to refute its teachings. Others consider it to have been written in the mid to late second century as part of the heretical movement of Gnosticism. A good deal of discussion has also been devoted to the relationship between the Gospel of Thomas and the hypothetical Q document, a collection of Jesus’ sayings which many scholars believe was used in both Matthew and Luke.

          New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price has sources for Mark that were identified by various scholars independently. There’s a big gap for Mark 4 which is explained by Mark’s Use of the Gospel of Thomas (Part 1) by Stevan Davies, an early GThomas advocate. Price doesn’t think Thomas is a source, though. But the two articles dovetail nicely.

          The Price article is the bulk of his book, The Christ-Myth Theory where he added the referenced Bible verses.

        • Neko

          Thanks for all this. I did check references to John in Goodacre’s book but can’t really determine on that basis what Goodacre’s view of the relationship may be, except he seems to favor a late dating for Thomas (140 AD) and that he notes a similar “literary conceit” between John and Thomas such that the authors claim to have been eyewitnesses to events. Elsewhere Goodacre expresses skepticism that Thomas had access to John’s gospel, but not sure what the context is, so please take with grains of salt. : )

        • Greg G.

          I argued against Goodacre’s points in a comment section or two for a while. I couldn’t get around Luke changing the genealogy and the Nativity if she had Matthew in front of her. Then I looked at Matthew’s genealogy and he left out four names according to 1 Chronicles 3:10-11, 16, he seems to have counted the Babylonian exile as a generation, and one of the ancestors had been cursed with having no successful offspring. Luke created a nice, numerically pleasing genealogy with God being the first generation and Jesus being the 77th. Luke may have had a problem with the Slaughter of the Innocents pericope, that God would save Jesus without saving the others.

        • Neko

          Yeah, and Luke didn’t need it, since s/he didn’t adopt Matthew’s Jesus as Second Moses theme.

          I never read Goodacre’s “The Case Against Q,” or whatever it was. That’s a good point about the genealogies. Which reminds me, seems like a good time for an art break.

          http://vimeo{.}com/79014887

        • Greg G.

          That was cool! It was cool to hear the names out loud. I am accustomed to processing them visually from reading without giving much thought to the pronunciation.

          I haven’t read any of Goodacre’s books except for excerpts on his Web site.

        • Neko

          Glad you enjoyed it!

        • Pofarmer

          Not if the writer didn’t know how Paul died and was just pulling stories out of Josephus and his butt.

        • Neko

          Well supposedly Luke/Acts was written anywhere from 80 BCE-110 AD, and the author professed to “know” quite a lot about Paul’s life. Around 110 AD Ignatius refers to Paul’s martyrdom as if it’s common knowledge, so…I read one theory that Paul’s death was just too ghastly to report, but I’m (highly) skeptical.

        • Pofarmer

          The writer of Acts basically says that he/she is passing on stories “what has been passed down to us.” By 100 A.D., you are 50 years past Paul, lots and lots of time for lots and lots of stories to have cropped up.

        • Pofarmer

          Alien abductions are rather a modern phenomenon, just like messiah claimants and miracle workers were an ancient phonomenon. Might I suggest Michael Shermer “Why people believe weird things.”?

        • Jerry

          The topic boils down to, “Is alien evidence better?” I have shown that it’s not. If you would like to give a rebuttal, then please give examples.

        • Greg G.

          It seems to me that you have established that the evidence for the Big Bang and Evolution are better than the evidence for alien abductions. But where have you shown that the evidence for Christianity is better than the evidence for alien abductions for any of the nine points in the article? Here they are:

          1. Recentness of Event
          2. Number of Sources
          3. Period of Oral History
          4. Reliability of Source
          5. Natural vs Supernatural
          6. Cultural Gulf
          7. Contradictions
          8. Quality of Evidence
          9. Criterion of Embarrassment

        • Jerry

          Like I stated in the beginning of the conversation

          1. Recentness of Event – Aliens
          2. Number of Sources – 0 – Christianity (Don’t believe me, get me abductees not tainted by hypnotic regression)
          3. Period of Oral History – Christianity by default
          4. Reliability of Source – Christianity by default
          5. Natural vs Supernatural – Aliens (natural)
          6. Cultural Gulf – Modern alien stories
          7. Contradictions – Christianity by default
          8. Quality of Evidence – Christianity by default
          9. Criterion of Embarrassment – Abductees and therapists profited from their stories – Early Christians died… and old manuscripts show that the Bible stayed true to oldest texts about ~99%. – Christianity

          Christianity wins. Alien evidence is not better.

        • Greg G.

          1. The reports of alien abductions are more recent than reports of Jesus being a preacher or a teacher.
          2. There are hundreds of people who claim they were abducted by aliens who were not hypnotized.
          3. Oral History is a game of Telephone. A shorter oral history is better than a long one.
          4. Reliability of Source: we have gullible live people vs gullible dead people who were not even eye witnesses.
          5. Yes, aliens would be a natural explanation and natural explanations have a better track record so they are not as bad as ancient stories of supernatural events.
          6. We understand the culture of today better than the culture of the first century.
          7. There are no contradictions in alien abductions because their apologetics can simply point to aliens from different planets while Christianity has to resort to people having different perspectives and thus incomplete information that results in contradiction.
          8. Living witnesses vs writings of dead hearsay witnesses.
          9. Old manuscripts show that there were fewer changes after canonization than before so we should expect that the copies of copies of copies that came before the oldest documents have more and more changes. But we also see the story changing from gospel to gospel through time because they didn’t like the theology of the older gospel. For example, Matthew eliminated spit miracles and the naked boy in Gethsemane. We see the gospels backing off Mark’s claim of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist for the “remission of sins”.

          You obviously didn’t understand the article. You didn’t understand the game.

          The evidence for alien abductions is terrible but it is still better than the evidence for Christianity. You must call the little bit of evidence you have “sacred” or “holy” to exaggerate its importance.

        • Jerry

          Give me the hundreds who were abducted who were not hypnotized. Back up the claim.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Huh? You’re saying that every abduction report comes from someone who was hypnotized? You’re the one making the remarkable claim.

          And you’re seriously saying that someone who says to you today, “I was abducted!” is less credible than a 2000yo book full of supernatural tales that doesn’t even claim to be an eyewitness account?

          You realize, I hope, that an alien abduction isn’t really that big a deal. It’s about aliens (we know about intelligent beings, being them ourselves) and space ships (we know about technology and space ships, having built a few ourselves). I think we agree that we’re going to demand a heckuva lot of information to back up abduction claims, but keep in mind how much smaller a claim this is than supernatural claims.

        • Greg G.

          OK, you got me. The “hundreds” might be an exaggeration because we don’t know how many claims there are. One study investigated 1600 cases. But everything I can find says that “many”, “usually” are hypnotized but none of them say “all” are hypnotized. A Susan Blackmore study from 1994 gives a typical sort of account that unhypnotized people report that sounds like the typical “waking dream” with an alien instead of the boogie man, an angel, or a deceased loved one.

          Show the point stands. There are cases of alien abductions that do not involve hypnosis.

        • Jerry

          What’s the link? Who are the sources?

          Here’s the Susan Blackmore video
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbJoPuLsntk

          The only source that states hundreds of people without hypnotic regression – Budd Hopkins. A guy who profited from hypnotic regressions?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budd_Hopkins
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbJoPuLsntk#t=1427

          The paper that Blackmore and Cox wrote (2000) doesn’t explicitly state that the 12 abductees were not hypnotized. But even if they weren’t. Who were they??

          Also Mary Oscarson – woman in video – hypnotic regression by Mack
          http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20108168,00.html

          So…. where are the alien abductions that do not involve hypnosis?

          Again… no accounts. Christian evidence better.

        • Greg G.

          Didn’t you read the post you replied to? I retracted the claim of hundreds because i can’t find hundreds of claims of alien abduction. Are you saying that there are no non-hypnotized people who have made the claim? You’ll have to back that up. I will only have to show one, like those from before 1957.

        • Jerry

          I saw the retraction, but was wondering where you get the data about Blackmore’s non-hypnotized witnesses. Where are their accounts? Why isn’t the alien community using their statements? Based on your claim, there are many, few, some alien abductees not hypnotized. We have.. 12 mentioned in passing in one of Blackmore’s papers. No names…

          Let me refer to Acts and 500 witnesses for you.

          Would you accept that? How is your “reference” to 12 better than my “reference” to 500? LOL. Again, how is this evidence better than Christianity’s? You have not supported the claim that “Alien evidence is better”.

          Are you saying that there are no non-hypnotized people who have made the claim? You’ll have to back that up.

          Whoa…. Are you asking me to backup a negative claim???

          “Back up” your claim that there is no God. Back up how you make the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism.

          Hypocrisy everywhere….

        • MNb

          “”Back up” your claim that there is no God”
          I have asked you three times on this very page what your standards are regarding “proof”, “evidence” and now “back up”. You consistently refuse to clarify your standards.
          So you are the hypocrite.

        • Greg G.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_abduction

          “Many alien abductees recall much of their abduction(s) through hypnosis.”

          Note that the claim is not all alien abductees.

          http://www.ufoabduction.com/memories.htm

          “Many investigators had occasion to compare some memories retrieved with hypnosis with conscious ones and found very little difference.”

          The “conscious ones” that the hynosis-induced memories are compared to are memories that were not from hypnosis.

          The Blackmore Study I mentioned:

          http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/journalism/ns94.html

          “Some recall their experiences in full detail, but for many abductees the “memories” emerge only when they take themselves to a therapist for hypnotic regression.”

          “Some recall their experiences in full detail” is in opposition to memories from hypnosis.

          http://www.michaelsheiser.com/UFOReligions/Alleged%20Alien%20Abductions%20False%20Memories%20Hypnosis%20and%20Fantasy%20Proneness.pdf

          “However, the most appropriate conclusion that can be drawn from the available evidence is that hypnosis does not reliably produce more false memories than are produced in a variety of nonhypnotic situations in which misleading information is conveyed to participants. In two studies (Putnam, 1979; Zelig & Beidleman, 1981), the frequency of false responses was found to be greater during hypnosis. The effect of hypnosis in these studies was quite small, however, and, in a third study (Yuille & McEwan, 1985), it was not evident at all.”

          A temple or a church is a good place to be fed misleading information so religious claims are not better than alien abductions claims.

          My claim is “backed up”.

          Let me refer to Acts and 500 witnesses for you.

          Where are their accounts? Why isn’t the alien religious community using their statements?

          Hypocrisy everywhere….

          It’s good that you are taking responsibility for your actions. It’s a good start.

        • Jerry

          You’re not getting the point. Any of these accounts you mentioned are not better than the 4 detailed eye-witness accounts I have. And for you to say this small number of non-hypnotized references are greater than 500 just shows again you don’t understand the argument.

          Again you have failed to sufficiently provide evidence for the claim that “alien evidence is better”. If you want an apples to apples comparison, I want detailed accounts that were not contaminated by hypnotic regression.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t have four eyewitness accounts. You have zero. Even a hynosis-tainted account tops all of your hearsay accounts. The account that there was 500 is hearsay.

          Why do you need the names of abduction claimants? You said you like to do research so do it. I pointed out to you that they exist. That was my original claim and I supported it. I wouldn’t tell you their names if I knew them Because I respect their privacy. It’s none of your business and if you really cared, you would know already.

        • Jerry

          Trust me I’ve searched. I can’t find anyone referenced by Blackmore or Cox.

          Correction, though. In lieu of research, I should have I said I like reading up on claims. I don’t want to go on wild goose chases. It’s your claim, back it up. Where are the testimonies for these abductees?

          As far as the Gospels are concerned, you can only speculate that they’re hearsay. With the abductees, we can eliminate a large majority because they’re documented to be based on hypnotic regression.. There’s the difference. Let’s compare apples to apples.

        • Greg G.

          If you want to compare apples to apples, you’ll need some first person accounts from 2000 years ago, not some hearsay about eyewitness accounts. There are sightings by pilots, policemen, and a president (Reagan) of seeing UFOs. They have given first person eye witness accounts that were not retrieved through hypnosis. You have no apples to even compare with those.

          I have shown that there are first person accounts of alien abduction. That was my claim. If you want to see them, go to somebody who is into the subject. I don’t think they are authentic experiences so I’m not that interested. I am interested in how the Bible was written and the sources are not from eye witnesses nor first person accounts of Jesus.

          There are other gospels you are not dealing with. One says Jesus killed people he got mad at as a child. Another says Peter resurrected a salted fish. Another says people were healed when Peter’s shadow passed over them. Do you believe those tall tales? The last one is from Acts 5:15-16.

        • Jerry

          Lol. You haven’t adequately shown that alien evidence is better than Christian evidence. Everything you have brought up I have shown Christianity trumps. You bring out 12 references with no actual details. I bring up 500. You talk about first hand abduction accounts, I show you hypnotic regression – you can’t say the same about the Gospel accounts.

          You bring up actual UFO (UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS) sightings in the sky. This has nothing to do with alien abduction, and can actually be chalked up to a huge variety number of reasons.

          Alien evidence is not better.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          WTF?? It’s all laid out in the post above. You say that Christian evidence is actually superior? Fair enough: there are 9 points above, so give me 9 points clearly arguing your case.

          Your own frikkin’ gospels make clear that the “500 eyewitnesses” claim is useless because they don’t use it!

        • Jerry

          Your own frikkin’ gospels make clear that the “500 eyewitnesses” claim is useless because they don’t use it!

          LOL. I have 500 “referenced” witnesses. He has 12. Instead of whining or complaining about it… why not just get actual testaments? Because you guys are lazy and are more concerned about filling criteria in lieu of actually doing a comparison. That’s why this argument is dumb. You guys blather about burden of proof. Well let’s go. I’m pointing out why I think the Christian evidence is better. If you guys are so sure the detailed alien abduction testimonies exist, go find them. I’m just tired of running around reading up on papers / watching movies, etc. It’s your claim, you go back it up. I’ve got work to do.

          Again… let me explain again. The argument is “Alien evidence is better”. You have referenced 12 people. Do we know what they said or experienced about alien abductions? No. Okay… so it’s just a reference to 12 people. The Book of Acts does the same thing! 500 people. Just based on those numbers, which would you trust? Well if someone told me 500 people witnessed an event, and someone else told me 12 people witnessed an event, and I trusted both sources, then I would say the source with 500 referenced people is “better”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I have 500 “referenced” witnesses.

          You’re referring to 1 Cor. 15, right? I’ve already made clear why that’s nothing. You read the post on that, right?

          And the gospels reject the claim. And you’re too timid to confront that fact and respond. Again.

          What does “referenced” mean? You just mean that Paul writes about them?

          Instead of whining or complaining about it… why not just get actual testaments?

          Your claim is that every single UFO abductee report comes after a hypnosis session? Wow—big claim. I await the evidence.

          I’m pointing out why I think the Christian evidence is better.

          When you give me a comment with 9 points to match the 9 above, then I’ll see that you’re making a responsible argument. Until then, not so much.

          You have referenced 12 people.

          No, I linked to a source that gives 800 people.

          if someone told me 500 people witnessed an event, and someone else told me 12 people witnessed an event, and I trusted both sources, then I would say the source with 500 referenced people is “better”.

          And there’s your problem. Paul says, “Oh, yeah—500 people totally saw this! Srsly!!” and you believe it as much as someone with an actual name you could go visit today.

          I could write down some crazy shit. Would you believe it, just because it was on paper?

        • Jerry

          I stated IF you trusted both sources.

          Again…. based on the premise of your argument. If you believe Christianity based on the evidence (meaning you trust it) then you would have to believe in aliens.

          But you can’t trust alien testimonies because you can do a quick google search, look-up hypnotic regression, and find the vast majority of the alien abductee accounts were gathered by that technique…. so much so that it’s very difficult to even find an account that was not gathered by hypnotic regression.

          If I want to be a genuine X-filer, and I want to give the benefit of the doubt to the evidence, how can I? I have documentation stating hypnotic regression produces false memories.

          You don’t have that with Christianity.

          Hypnotic regression does not rule out the existence of aliens or alien abductions, of course not, but in context of the question…. You still have failed to show me, “a delusional ignorant gullible Christian who will believe in anything” that alien evidence is better.

        • Dys

          In other words, since the claims of Christianity are in the distant past, you’re excluding them from the more in-depth analysis that can be done on alien abductions claims. Fine, but that accomplishes nothing more than putting your preferred relion’s miracle claims in a bubble and pretending that their inability to be thoroughly examined is somehow a strength, when it clearly isn’t.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I stated IF you trusted both sources.

          Right. You could’ve just as well have said, “If monkeys fly out of my butt,” since one source is truly nutty.

          But you can’t trust alien testimonies because you can do a quick google search, look-up hypnotic regression, and find the vast majority of the alien abductee accounts were gathered by that technique…. so much so that it’s very difficult to even find an account that was not gathered by hypnotic regression.

          That easy? I wonder then why you didn’t respond to my request, made several times, for information that documents that all abduction stories came through hypnosis. That’s quite a surprising claim.

          And didn’t many or most make an abduction claim before the hypnosis? If hypnosis corrupted their stories, just take whatever it was they said beforehand.

          Seems like I only have to provide 4 people who have such stories without hypnosis to trump your 4 “independent, eyewitness” gospel stories. (BTW, here is an article that validates your concern about hypnosis.)

          You don’t have that with Christianity.

          No, you have silence. We could raise a thousand questions about the motives or biases or confusion of the author(s) of each gospel. But we can’t get answers. You point to that with pride as a positive. Kinda makes it hard to have much of a conversation with you, but you’ll probably not understand why.

        • Jerry

          Seems like I only have to provide 4 people who have such stories without hypnosis to trump your 4 “independent, eyewitness” gospel stories

          Good luck. The ones I found were proven (not speculated) false…

          > No, you have silence. We could raise a thousand questions about the motives or biases or confusion of the author(s) of each gospel. But we can’t get answers. You point to that with pride as a positive. Kinda makes it hard to have much of a conversation with you, but you’ll probably not understand why.

          If hundreds of years from now the alien abductees were responsible for creating a worldwide movement that nurtured the foundation of science, increased literacy, increased education, nurtured the expansion of human rights, and gave rise to charities all to make this Earth a better place to live in, then yes, those abductees were on to something.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The ones I found were proven (not speculated) false…

          It’s like playing Whac-A-Mole with you. Since you won’t make clear your claim, let me do it for you. You’re saying that of the hundreds of UFO abduction stories, there are less than 4 that are not tainted by hypnosis. Is that right?

          If hundreds of years from now the alien abductees were responsible for creating a worldwide movement that nurtured the foundation of science, increased literacy, increased education, nurtured the expansion of human rights, and gave rise to charities all to make this Earth a better place to live in, then yes, those abductees were on to something.

          I feel like I’m playing … what’s the name of that game? … oh, yeah—Whac-A-Mole.

          You’re changing subjects. Again.

          The popularity or influence of the beliefs ain’t the issue. It’s the accuracy. The accuracy of the Christian claims fails in comparison to, if you can believe it, alien abduction stories! And you’re still hangin’ on. I’m sure baby Jesus is clapping his little hands in glee. Or maybe laughing at your gullibility.

        • Jerry

          lol. it’s not my fault you don’t actually want to research and make an apples to apples comparison. The argument is:

          Based on the criteria of evidence for Christianity, a Christian should believe in aliens because the alien evidence is better.

          Few points…
          Based on the criteria you mentioned, you can throw in any religion. Not just Christianity. You’re missing the most important component.. prophecy. You may think you’ve disproven prophecy, but… I highly doubt it (but I will take a look). Anyway, this whole argument breaks down because if you’ve proven prophecy as false, you can pretty much refute Christianity. Without prophecy as a criteria you can also state, “The evidence for Islam is better than Christianity” or “the evidence for Buddhism is better than Christianity”

          This argument is flawed to begin with. But, whatever, I didn’t realize this when I first responded, and I was intrigued with your post. So I sat down and wanted to look at the evidence for myself to see if it could convince me. Hypnotic regression is what got me. But I tried to research more… and I couldn’t find any alien abduction accounts that did not use hypnotic regressions or were not proven fake.

          Actual UFOs, however, can actually be explained / rationalized by Christianity as interstellar bodies (star of bethlehem), angels, demons, visions, signs, etc. (Mary of Zeitun)

          So as a Christian who was brave enough to come in here and play your game, I’m telling you, no it’s not better. There is much more circumstantial evidence that leads one to believe in Christ than the criteria you listed.

          Thank you for the conversation. It was fun chatting with you. I hope you weren’t too offended by me. Have a good day!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Based on the criteria you mentioned, you can throw in any religion. Not just Christianity.

          Yup.

          You may think you’ve disproven prophecy, but… I highly doubt it (but I will take a look).

          I think that I’ve made clear that the claims for accurate biblical prophecy are unfounded—at least in the major verses. I’m sure there are less interesting verses that I haven’t seen.

          The key thing is that you be consistent. That is, you decide what the rules for accurate prophecy are, and you follow them both for Christian prophecy claims and for those from other religions.

          if you’ve proven prophecy as false, you can pretty much refute Christianity.

          There are many historical arguments that don’t rely on prophecy, but if you think prophecy is that critical, that’s fine.

          This argument is flawed to begin with.

          I’m not following why.

          Hypnotic regression is what got me. But I tried to research more… and I couldn’t find any alien abduction accou nts that did not use hypnotic regressions or were not proven fake.

          I appreciate this point. I’ll have to acknowledge that caveat if I repost that argument. But the point remains: even if I found only four modern, untainted, independent claims, that spanks your 4 gospels.

          Actual UFOs, however, can actually be explained / rationalized by Christianity

          I don’t want rationalizations. I don’t want to see how you repair a challenge to your religion with dogma. What I want is evidence.

          So as a Christian who was brave enough to come in here and play your game, I’m telling you, no it’s not better.

          And I’m waiting for a list with 9 points so I can clearly see how you’ve responded to every single point above. Go.

          There is much more circumstantial evidence that leads one to believe in Christ than the criteria you listed.

          Tell me more. If there’s more evidence on the Christian side of the ledger that I’m missing, fill me in.

        • adam

          Prophecy in the bible is written after the fact, so it is not prophecy, but just more of the STORY…

          So you have NOTHING….

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/?s=prophecy

        • Greg G.

          You still have failed to show me, “a delusional ignorant gullible Christian who will believe in anything” that alien evidence is better.

          As Dys pointed out, the modern evidence is better because it can be re-evaluated in ways that cannot be done with the ancient records. That makes the ancient evidence worse, not better.

        • Jerry

          Not as far as believing it is concerned. Remember, the argument is alien evidence is better, in the sense that it’s more convincing. Meaning Christians should believe in aliens.

        • Greg G.

          Your judgement of the evidence is based on how strong you believe it. That is not a rational way of looking at things. The strength of your belief should be proportional to the strength of the evidence. Believing things because you believe them makes evidence irrelevant.

        • adam

          re believing:

        • adam

          “I stated IF you trusted both sources.”

          But not if you take both sources on merit.

        • Greg G.

          Jerry,

          You have no first person accounts. There are alien abductees who are still living.

          Your 500 is one hearsay account but it isn’t clear what the claim is. Paul says he got his information from the Old Testament scriptures and not from human sources. This can be confirmed because everything he says about Jesus can be found in the OT, and many are quotes of the OT so there is no doubt where that information comes from. Paul insists that his knowledge is not inferior to the “superapostles” so he thinks they only know Jesus from the OT. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul uses the same Greek word for “appeared to” for himself that he uses for each of the others and he uses “according to the scriptures” in the passage. Paul thought they all simply read about Jesus in the OT as a revelation. He is not saying that Jesus appeared to them in person. You are reading the fictional gospels back into the epistle.

          So first-hand accounts from people who are still alive beats second-hand accounts of long dead people. The chain of possession of those accounts makes the old accounts suspect. We could ask people today to verify an account but not so with dead people.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, but that can’t be true because if it were, it would make Jerry sad.

        • Jerry

          Speculation….

          Again, no data. Alien evidence is not better.

        • Greg G.

          Nobody is arguing that the data on alien abductions is good. I doubt it’s worth paying attention to. It’s just that the evidence for Christianity is even worse. The alien abduction level is setting the bar as low as it can go. You haven’t been able to deal with it. Besides, Christianity is supposed to be about faith, isn’t it? Why worry about evidence?

        • Jerry

          Why worry about evidence? Then why not give New Age, Islam, or Buddhism a shot? Christianity distinguishes itself by prophecy. That’s how you can be assured you’re believing in the right thing.

        • Pofarmer

          Thats funny. Muslims and Buddhists and Heavens Gate andall kinds of cults think they have accurate prophecy. You don’t realize it, butnthe Daniel prophesy you trotted out sucks, and may have even referred to the destruction of the temple by Babylon. Most of the “accurate” prophecies are post dated, that’s one way they date the book of Daniel. Sheesh.

        • Jerry

          It may even have referred to the destruction of the temple by Babylon? Are you kidding me? Daniel was in Babylon BECAUSE of the first temple destruction. Daniel 9 is a prayer to God asking Him when the captive Israelites could go back to Jerusalem…

          Most of the “accurate” prophecies are post dated, that’s one way they date the book of Daniel. Sheesh.

          The prediction of a Messiah and the destruction of a temple means nothing? If he could predict that, then why not everything else?

          Here’s a more thorough debate on the dating.

          http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/107/arguments-for-early-late-date-of-authorship-of-daniel

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Daniel was written around 170 BCE. The “prophecies” aren’t so tough to make when they’re in your own history.

          Read my post on the subject.

        • MNb

          Exactly. Without evidence I give nothing a shot – not even the multiverse. On that one I postpone judgment until there is evidence indeed.
          As for prophecies – Sybill Trelawney distinguishes herself by prophecy as well. And Cassandra of course.

        • Greg G.

          If it’s prophecy you want, then follow Nostradamus. His gibberish is so vague, you can find almost any event in history to fit in there somewhere.

          But the Bible is different. The New Testament is retrodiction. It was written as if an Old Testament passage predicted an event but when you read the OT passage in context, it was not about that at all. The NT author lifted it because he had no information to write about. Mark wrote that Jesus rode a donkey but Matthew upped it to two donkeys but that is because the Hebrew poetry of Zechariah 9:9 repeated the line about the colt using different words. Mark understood it and used it but Matthew misread it. It really shows how they used the OT to make up stories.

          Several miracles of Jesus were done in 1 & 2 Kings by Elijah and Elisha. Even some conversations are reworked OT passages. The words of the demon in Mark 1:24 echoes what the woman said to Elijah in 1 Kings 17:18.

          Read the book of Mark at Biblegateway using the NIV with the cross reference option on. Then compare the OT passages given at the bottom of the chapter. At first you will be amazed but slowly it will sink in and you will start getting wise that Mark was writing around those OT passages, not “oral traditions”.

          Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source. This is obvious because they copied portions verbatim. But some they paraphrased or omitted, usually for theological reasons, but they did the same with OT passages, too.

          An adult should grow out of believing biblical fairy tales. Good luck.

        • MR

          This was a huge problem for me upon reading the Old Testament. As a Christian I had been taught to believe that the prophecies were amazingly spot on, yet you read them and that’s not even what they’re talking about! Nowhere do you find even a hint that God as man is going to come down to earth to save mankind. You so have to squint and twist and believe things you would never believe if you had read them in some other religious text, or, like your example, Nostradamus. It’s conspiracy theory bullshit.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s amazing to me that they’ll cling to the idea that Is. 53 and Ps. 22 are scarily close to the gospel story … even though the resurrection isn’t there. How can it be the gospel story without the punch line?

        • MR

          We’ve been taught to read the bible in snippets and to draw connections where there are none—like reading a horoscope. But you’d never make the connections if you read the whole, or if someone wasn’t nudging you to interpret it a certain way.

          Christian: “Let me interpret this text. Let me tell you what this means. Don’t ask the tough questions. Don’t look behind the curtain.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          As a thought experiment, I imagine putting myself into the hands of any of these Christian commenters, for their tutelage. We’d read the Bible together, and some verses would be easy. “It’s just plain English–nothing challenging here,” they’d say.

          But then we get to the crazy stuff–global flood, God commands genocide, God laughs at how he forced his people to sacrifice children, and so on. “OK, let’s take this slow. This is tricky, so let me work with you on this bit.”

          But why is one part easy and one part tricky? And why do the “tricky” bits always happen to be where God didn’t take his meds that day?

        • TheNuszAbides

          “‘God put those there to test our faith.’
          … I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. I think I’ve figured this out.”
          –Bill Hicks

        • Greg G.

          Christian: “Let me interpret this text. Let me tell you what this means. Don’t ask the tough questions. Don’t look behind the curtain.”

          That’s pretty much how they lost me. Isaiah 45:7 in the KJV says God created evil. So they went to other translations that have “disaster”, “calamity”, “darkness” or “woe” as if there is nothing evil in those. My doubts became unsuppressible after that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          because it’s just not as fun watching us struggle to resist (or even Resist Not) anything less challenging than deliberately-infused, externalized, endlessly deceptive yet perpetually easy for Just The Right Servant to see: Evil.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, even without the prophecies, it didn’t kick in for me until I read the 4 Canonical Gospels a couple times, front to back, in historical order. Also reading Bart Ehrmans commentary on them on his blog, and in Misquoting Jesus. Things become start clearing up when you do that. Then you read the Isiah prophecy, or the Daniel Prophecy that Jerry tried to toss out, and you realize that they are just snippets taken out of context. Jerry didn’t even use the whole Daniel “Prophecy” even though he cut and pasted it, he just highlighted the part of the sentence he thought was closest, the rest of it was nonsense.

        • MR

          You inspire me to take the chronological challenge. I assume you don’t mean simply the four books in correct order, but the events within each combined and placed chronologically, correct? What is your recommendation for tackling that?

          I did do a side-by-side Bible study of the four gospels back when I was still a believer. That wasn’t good for my faith, either, listening to pastor make excuses for the discrepancies. Why are they even discrepancies?

          I remember when I went to pick up the recommended book at our local Christian bookstore, the woman behind the counter fairly demanded who had suggested the book and gave me a strongly disapproving look. She obviously thought I shouldn’t go down that path. That should have been my first clue.

          Come to think of it, that book might even be chronological. I’ll have to look at it again.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, take the four books in order, but then look at the accounts of all the events in them in comparison to one another to see the differences in the stories. I think that Ehrman has actually done this on his blog. Maybe it was in Misquoting Jesus or one of his books, as well. Not sure I honestly remember. But, Ehrman notes, it’s the differences in the stories that matter, because the 4 Gospels aren’t just different stories, they are different theologies.

        • Greg G.

          If you find where Matthew put the spit miracles and the naked boy from Gethsemane, please let me know. When you get to the end, see if Jesus gets unbaptized as much as the gospels back off from him being baptized for remission of sins in Mark.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Why are they even discrepancies?”
          exactly this. they could at least have some sort of lineage of church ‘fathers’/’doctors’/officials who took responsibility for ‘keeping it honest’, the Criterion of Embarrassment School if you will; but seriously, who was the first to (documentedly) carry that shadow of an argument any farther than cheap humility?

        • TheNuszAbides

          at least one thing to thank the confluence of Luther and Gutenberg for: breaking the gatekeeping on the holy hot mess.

        • TheNuszAbides

          kind of a hybrid of punch line and money shot.

        • Pofarmer

          Did you actually say Jerry will get wise?

        • Greg G.

          It could happen, it could happen… eh, who am I kidding?

        • TheNuszAbides

          don’t kid yourself that anyone is eternally lost. 😉
          it just might not be that we/you provide his particular tipping point [today].

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          … except that all claims of Christian prophecy dissolve under scrutiny. I thought I’d already told you that I’ve researched and responded to the Is. 53, Is. 7, Ps. 22, and Daniel “prophecy” claims. If you can’t find one, let me know.

        • TheNuszAbides

          is there a prophecy tag? i still haven’t gotten around to any of those.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker
        • TheNuszAbides

          bookmarked! thanks for the extra effort.

        • TheNuszAbides

          abductions and UFOs are different strains of apple, as are The Gospels and other material under the case-for-Christianity umbrella. broader “aliens have been here” is the apple that’s being compared with the broader “the son/earthly-manifestation of a supernatural being has been here” apple that Christianity tends to rely on. you’re suddenly acting as though abductions are apples and UFOs are some other fruit? aliens are a prominent if not dominant ‘explanation’ for UFOs. not every UFO story requires an alien supposition for this to hold.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          With the abductees, we can eliminate a large majority because they’re documented to be based on hypnotic regression.

          Did you provide a link?

        • Jerry

          Yea, actually read my first post. Actually attempt to look for abduction witnesses who did not go through hypnotic regression. LOL. Not even Greg G. can find them. Hypnotic regression is very prevalent because abductees don’t remember the events on their own. They need hypnotic regression to draw the memories out. Studies of hypnotic regression show that “memories” obtained by this method are false. (Again, read first post) This, along with profit from the alien abduction craze from the last few decades, undermines alien abduction witness statements.

          The more I think about it, the more I want to congratulate you, Bob. You’re making everyone else do the research to actually back up your claim. Nice. Just another example of typical lazy atheism… put the burden of proof on everyone else, don’t employ any skepticism at all with own worldview…. Seems legit.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yep, same old lazy atheism. I spend hours writing up a detailed post with points carefully numbered, and the eager beaver Christian can’t be bothered to respond to those points.

          Sounds like he’s throwing in the towel.

        • Jerry

          lol, i did provide 9 point post and you actually responded to it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Great! I’m curious to see that response of yours. Can you find it?

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Studies of hypnotic regression show that “memories” obtained by this method are false.”

          all of them? no variation by whether leading questions are asked? did any of these studies cut their teeth on investigating psychics?

          medicine kills people sometimes. better throw that vile stuff out the window.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          except that you don’t have 4 eyewitnesses.

          What’s the 500? The 500 claimed by Paul in 1 Cor.?

          I think we’ve been over how that’s crappy evidence. And the gospels even agree with me.

        • Jerry

          Call it crappy all you want. Compared to alien evidence, it’s superior.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And I await your 9-point rebuttal. Still.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, not hypocrisy. You’re simply not addressing the argument squarely. You can find people who claim to have been abducted within the last 12 months. Kinda beats the gospel accounts, no?

          And so on, down the list of supposed advantages for the gospel story.

        • Jerry

          Provide the proof. Instead of talking hypothetically. Actually do some research and give me the data. Man… .for someone who purports to be all about “science”, you do a poor job of actually providing data.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And I still await your 9-point rebuttal.

        • Jerry

          lol, i provided it to you before, in fact, you responded to it. it’s pretty much the same argument. I don’t feel like the alien abduction witnesses can be compared to Christian witnesses. UFO witness could very well have seen UFOs…. You already somehow said ALiens won 9 – 0. Lol. It doesn’t matter. I’ve made my case.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you’re throwing in the towel? All right. Then drop the cheering about how you’ve got the evidence and I don’t.

        • Dys

          For someone who claims to know what they’re talking about, you sure do make a ton of incredibly basic errors. Science doesn’t prove things.

          Actually do some research and give me the data.

          Have you done your research and figured out why natural selection isn’t random yet?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          800 abductees mentioned here.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Have you shown us evidence that every single UFO abductee has been hypnotized? That’s a bold claim.

        • Greg G.

          What if every book in the Bible was written as a result of hypnosis? I want him to show me the books that were not.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Jerry has made a compelling case that hypnosis puts crazy thoughts into your head. And the Bible is full to overflowing with crazy thoughts.

          Say–you don’t suppose … ? Yes, I see your point now.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Thanks for summarizing that. Looks like Jerry loses, 0 to 9.

          I guess you’re right–he simply didn’t understand the point. Maybe with him giving it a reread we’ll be on the same page …

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The topic boils down to, “Is alien evidence better?” I have shown that it’s not.

          Of course you haven’t!

          The post (it’s above, for your quick reference) has 9 points. Please give your rebuttal with enumerated points so that I can clearly see that you’ve thoroughly responded to the points.

          By my scorecard, you haven’t even started.

        • MNb

          Nero’s atrocities took place in Rome, Jesus’ life not so much. Hey, why doesn’t any account of the Wild West mention the Crimean War?

        • Jerry

          The Wild West didn’t take place in the Crimean War…. whereas parts of Acts takes place in Rome….

          Acts was the history of the Early Church. It records many important events including deaths of disciples. If the book was written after 70AD, then why did the author (Luke) not include the atrocities of Nero(64AD), the death of James (62AD), the death of Paul(62AD) or the temple destruction(70AD)?

          When you look at Luke, John, Mark, and Matthew, you can see that the authors quote the Old Testament extensively to show that Jesus is the Messiah. They are so aggressive in their quoting that atheists even state that prophecies are taken out of context.

          Here is a table of Old Testament references in the New Testament. Not all of them point to Jesus’ fulfilled prophesy of a Messiah, but I’m including these figures to give you an idea of how recurrent the theme is.
          http://www.kalvesmaki.com/LXX/NTChart.htm

          References to Old Testament (just doing ctrl-F)
          Matthew: 36
          Luke: 19
          Mark: 20
          John: 13
          Acts: 28

          In Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John, Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple.

          Listen, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If the authors were so desperate to prove Jesus was the Messiah, why would they leave out the single most important event – the Temple destruction – that would verify He was the Messiah? Simple, because the documents were written before 70AD.

          More specific details:
          ********************************************

          Reasons for an early date, before A.D. 70 and possibly no later than A.D. 62.

          Internal evidence that the writer was a companion of Paul

          The “we” passages: “Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; and 27:1-28:16. The author may, in these sections, be using a travel diary that he himself wrote at an earlier time, drawing on a diary written by a companion of Paul.”1

          A.D. 70. No mention of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 21:20).

          The fall of Jerusalem in A.D 70 is hugely significant, and Acts leaves you with the impression that the temple is still standing.

          Luke did mention fulfilled prophecies, i.e., Acts 11:28, “And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.” So, why not mention the destruction of Jerusalem as was prophesied? Wouldn’t it have added to the validity of the Christian message?

          A.D. 64. No mention of the horrendous persecution of Nero in A.D. 64.

          Nero lived from A.D. 37-68. He ruled from A.D. 54 to 68 and persecuted the Christians exceedingly around A.D. 64 when Rome suffered an immense fire. Therefore, the persecution had to occur during those years, yet there is no mention of this in Acts–a book that records the history of the early Christian church.

          Luke recorded Christian Martyrs: Stephen in Acts 7:55-60 and James in Acts 12:2. Why not write about the martyrs of the Nero persecution as well–if it happened before Acts was written?

          A.D. 64. No Roman persecution of the Church mentioned.

          “The local government at Ephesus is represented as distinctly helpful towards Paul and his companions, while the cause of persecution against the church is in every case the intrigues of the Jews. This is precisely what might be expected before Nero’s persecution in A.D. 64.”2

          A.D. 62. No mention of the death of the apostle Paul.

          The death of the apostle Paul is dated from anywhere between 62 AD to 68.3 Acts 28:30-31 tells us that Paul was under arrest for two years but fails to mention his execution. Why, if it was written after his execution?

          “The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the second year of Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome. It could not therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some think, 66.”4

          A.D. 62. No mention of the death of the apostle James

          James was a very important figure in the early church who was martyred around A.D. 62. Why no mention of his death if Acts was written after A.D. 70, and it was Luke’s procedure to record the deaths of martyrs (Acts 7:55-60; 12:2)? The James spoken of here is not James the brother of John who was recorded as being executed in Acts 12:1-2. This is the James spoken of in Acts 15:13ff who is also mention in Gal. 1:19 as an apostle, the Lord’s brother.

        • MNb

          Exactly! And Nero’s atrocities didn’t take place in Palestina. So why should the authors of the Gospels have mentioned them?

        • Jerry

          Nero’s atrocities was in reference to Acts. The Temple Destruction for the Gospels.

        • MNb

          The Temple Destruction was in 70 CE, quite a while after Jesus died. So you’re complaining that an account of the American Revolution written in the 20th Century doesn’t talk about the American Civil War.

        • Jerry

          Let’s say George Washington predicted the Civil War. The nation would be in turmoil as North faces the South. If the writers of this account of the American Revolution attempted to portray George Washington as the Son of God and they exhibit in their prose methodologies to prove this, why would they not explicitly mention the fulfilled prophecy?

        • Pofarmer

          Are they writing about his exploits in the revolutionary war?

        • Pofarmer

          Why don’t you go to earlychristianwritings.com and read the scholarly expositions for the different datings?

        • Jerry

          Thanks. I have. Most of the argument is based on the premise that Luke would want to end Acts on a high note (no travesties). Recording the destruction of the temple after Jesus predicts it, however, would be the highest note you could end on. It would show the validity of Jesus’s preaching and be further of a precursor for the end-times that were expected.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, the destruction of the temple rather proves Jesus wasn’t some all powerful Messiah. Kinda shoots the whole message in the foot.

        • Jerry

          What? Jesus predicts the temple would be destroyed. In fact, he even told the disciples they would die too.

          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+13&version=NRSV

          The desolating sacrilege is mentioned in Daniel

          24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.[d] 25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its[e] end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place[f]shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”

          There are 5 books (Daniel, Luke, John, Mark, Matthew) of the Bible that predict the temple destruction of 70AD. Do you see why secular scholars would want to date the books as late as possible and past 70AD?

        • Pofarmer

          Dating the books past 70 a.d. Doesn’t have much to do with secular scholars.

        • MNb

          “Jesus predicts the temple would be destroyed.”
          Eh no. The authors of the Gospels wrote that Jesus made that prediction – they already knew that the temple was destroyed.
          Do you know who also made predictions that came true? Sybill Trelawney (her Dutch name is better: Drivelpassion). Does that make Harry Potter a divine character?

        • TheNuszAbides

          wow. is Drivelpassion an actual family name?

        • MNb

          No. It’s the best translation I could think of of “Zwamdrift”.
          “Drift” is “passion” and “zwammen” is “to drivel”. The name is a joke of the translator. Every reader will know that this character will talk a lot of nonsense.

        • TheNuszAbides

          deliberate foreshadowing! practically a spoiler! but, I suppose translators occasionally have artistic license…

        • MNb

          And a translator who knows the readers – with such a name they are going to be curious.

        • MNb

          You’re changing subject again. You wrote:

          “If [The Gospels] were all written after the fact, why didn’t they include the temple destruction?”

          This is exactly the same as

          “If an account on the American Revolution were written in the 20th Century (ie well after the fact), why didn’t it include the American Civil War?”

          I’m not interested in prophecies. Your question doesn’t contain anything about prophecies. For me they are yawn inducing. Take that up with another guy.
          Your question as quoted above doesn’t make sense. If you were intellectually honest you would admit that instead of starting to babble about prophecies. But that’s apologetics – make up excuses, no matter how silly or how bad.
          This dishonesty of yours is exactly why I don’t trust you and hence refuse to argue with you for atheism and materialism, unless you are finally willing to clarify what you mean with “proof”, “evidence” and “back up”. It’s way too likely that you will deliberately misinterpret everything I write. I suspect I speak for many other commenters on this blog.

        • Jerry

          If your entire argument relies on supernatural proof…. such as prophecy, then why wouldn’t you include it as evidence? Especially in light of the fact that you just said the man died and rose again in 3 days??

          Jesus predicts the Temple destruction in the Gospels. The writer of Acts actually discusses fulfilled prophecy.

          Acts 11:28, “And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.”

          The writer of Acts covers Early Christian history in great detail. Why would he end on a “high note” (just before the killings of James / Paul) when he has the most powerful evidence at his disposal? A powerful sign for the end times?

          It just goes against the theme of the book.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      you can explain many ufo sightings by UAV’s, weather phenomena, and top secret planes

      Yes, you can. And Christian belief looks very much like other debunked religions. In both cases, the mundane explanations are the most plausible.

      This is from the International Center for Abduction Research

      Yeah. They sound like a reliable source. Do they share the scientific consensus?

      The “first hand witnesses” for alien abductions by definition are not truly first hand witnesses.

      So you already know that there are no actual alien abductions? Are you saying that abduction claims are inherently untrustworthy?

      The other type of witnesses for ufo phenomena could very well be seei ng ufos… but based on our technology, we already have rational explanations for that.

      Every UFO claim is known to be false?

      The gospel writers as first-hand witnesses actually exhibit behavior expected in modern times by first-hand witnesses.

      It’s just words on paper. What sequence of words would convince you that they must’ve been written by an eyewitness?

      Summarize the Cold Case Christianity thing if it’s relevant. I’ve seen little new stuff from that source.

      • Jerry

        Yes, you can. And Christian belief looks very much like other debunked religions. In both cases, the mundane explanations are the most plausible.

        You have to give examples.

        This is from the International Center for Abduction Research

        Yeah. They sound like a reliable source. Do they share the scientific consensus?

        What? Do they share the scientific consensus that abductee accounts are retrieved through hypnotic regression?

        Every UFO claim is known to be false?

        Umm… UFO = Unidentified Flying Object

        How can they be false? It’s obvious people have seen UFOs throughout time.

        LOL. Man. This is your hypothetical construct and you really haven’t provided any thought or actual research. In typical atheist fashion you put the burden of proof on everyone else while you sit back looking for holes. Just research the alien abductees. Every abduction account I have researched was tainted by hypnotic regression or was proven to be false.

        Maybe there are accounts who are not tied to hypnotic regression. You wouldn’t know that,though, because you actually haven’t done any research. I challenge you to go search.

        And finally, the criteria that is not being included is prophecy. You can substitute any religion with this alien framework. The factor that differentiates Christianity from the others is prophecy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If there’s an objection here, I can’t figure it out.

        • Jerry

          I’m getting used to the formatting, the post is done now.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Do they share the scientific consensus that abductee accounts are retrieved through hypnotic regression?

          My point was that the International Center for Abduction Research sounds like the Center for Showing That Vaccines Are Bad or the Center for Unicorns. Hence my question: does this group share the scientific consensus on UFO abductions? Because that’s what I’ll be looking for.

          It’s obvious people have seen UFOs throughout time.

          Yes, it is obvious. Not my point.

          In typical atheist fashion you put the burden of proof on everyone else

          I put the burden of proof where it’s supposed to be: on the back of the person making the incredible claim. That you whine about it surprises me. Is this “burden” not a joy for the true Christian?

          Every abduction account I have researched was tainted by hypnotic regression or was proven to be false.

          What a coincidence! Every Christian miracle or Bible prophecy claim I have researched was similarly shoddy.

          Maybe there are accounts who are not tied to hypnotic regression.

          Huh? I don’t accept claims of UFO abductions. That’s clear, right?

          The factor that differentiates Christianity from the others is prophecy.

          I’ve written posts here on Ps. 22, Is. 53, Is. 7, and Daniel. Seek and ye shall find.

        • Jerry

          Hence my question: does this group share the scientific consensus on UFO abductions? Because that’s what I’ll be looking for.

          Based on this response, you haven’t researched at all. Again, it’s all hypocrisy.

          Please provide proof that you can make a leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism.

        • Jerry

          LOL. You’re a hardware engineer from MIT, and you think we’re the result of a cosmic accident? Are you kidding me?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “cosmic accident”? Are you referring to evolution?

          You do know that natural selection isn’t random or an accident, right?

        • Jerry

          Evolution? No. I’m referring to the Big Bang Theory, the cosmological constant, and the invention of the multiverse to explain the anthropomorphic principle. The philosophical concept of the multiverse is science, right? How do you test for it? Oh, you can’t. More atheist hypocrisy.

          http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/atheismintro.html

          You do know that natural selection isn’t random or an accident, right?

          Natural selection isn’t random? How do you account for mutations? You probably need to brush up on this. Here’s a video.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcAq9bmCeR0

          Although used as proof for evolution, notice the requirements for this video:
          1.) All components are given general affinities for other components
          2.) The luxury of a housing
          3.) The luxury of reproduction
          4.) An end-goal dictated by an algorithm (comparison to time)

          Even the video creator recognizes the design inherent in this!

          Also, you should probably brush up on DNA.
          http://www.dnaftb.org/15/

          As a hardware engineer you will love the parallelisms. You can then justify to me how undriven naturalistic processes can do this:
          http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology

          All joking aside, I respect your field and what you have accomplished. To be fully objective, however, I think you need to point your skepticism gun to philosophical naturalism as well.

        • MNb

          Yup, a creacrapper.

          “How do you test for it? Oh, you can’t.”

          The Big Bang is an observed event. Indirectly, but observed it is.

          The cosmological constant originally was part of a model, Steady State, that has been abandoned since more than 50 years. These days it means something else; it refers to dark energy and dark matter. Both are poorly understood and there is a severe lack of data, but there are some indeed.
          The multiverse was not invented to explain the anthropomorphic principle. It follows from a consistent and coherent theory that is backed indeed by empirical data. Again we would wish there are more, but you know, if science had enough data for everything that they research they would become unemployed very quickly. So yes, the issue is not settled yet. Live with it.

          “Natural selection isn’t random? How do you account for mutations?”

          Mutations and natural selection are by far not the same. Natural selection isn’t random, mutations are. Natural selection works on our human scale, mutations on atomic scale.
          You don’t know what you’re writing about.

          And nothing of this has anything to do with Jesus’ crucifixion and alien abductions. You have a worse attention span than the average toddler.

        • Jerry

          Big Bang is an observed event… indirectly, but observed it is…

          Yep… A singularity is observed. Just like the Bible mentions. Okay.

          The cosmological constant originally was part of a model, Steady State, that has been abandoned since more than 50 years. These days it means something else; it refers to dark energy and dark matter. Both are poorly understood and there is a severe lack of data, but there are some indeed.

          The cosmological constant is fine-tuned to the 121st decimal place. Any change up or down in that digit will have caused the universe to either implode upon itself or expand faster than galaxies could form.

          Here is a good explanation of it from: http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/physics/cosmo-constant.php

          These hopes were shattered with the 1998 discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, which implies that the cosmological constant (and the zero-point mass density) must be slightly nonzero. This “dark energy,” which is the unknown force accelerating the universe, also appears to be just what is needed to fill the 70% “missing mass” of the universe, namely the mass needed to explain the observed fact that space is very nearly flat (i.e., locally it appears to be almost perfectly rectilinear) [Panek2011]. But this means that physicists are left to explain the startling fact that the positive and negative contributions to the cosmological constant cancel to 120-digit accuracy, yet fail to cancel beginning at the 121-st digit. This is an even stranger paradox! Curiously, this observation is in accord with a prediction made by physicist Steven Weinberg in 1987, who argued from basic principles that the cosmological constant must be zero to within one part in roughly 10^120, or else the universe either would have dispersed too fast for stars and galaxies to have formed, or else would have recollapsed upon itself long ago [Susskind2005, pg. 80-82].

          And btw, is this the “proof” for the multiverse you’re talking about?

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/multiverse-controversy-inflation-gravitational-waves/

          It still has to be verified.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          We get the Big Bang from the Bible? No, I’m pretty sure it came from physicists.

          The cosmological constant is fine-tuned to the 121st decimal place.

          Is it? Then what’s that 121st digit?

        • MNb

          “A singularity is observed. Just like the Bible mentions.”
          Just like? Please give me the quote that defines a singularity as a point with infinite density.

          “The cosmological constant is fine-tuned to the 121st decimal place.”
          That’s not even wrong, that’s meaningless nonsense. As a teacher math and physics I don’t need your explanations.

          “is this the “proof” for the multiverse you’re talking about?”
          It didn’t take you long to show you’re a liar either. I never talked about proof. You are the one who randomly uses that word without describing what you mean.

          “It still has to be verified.”
          How clever of you! Now reread what I wrote above: “a severe lack of empirical data.” Now if you managed to become relevant …..

        • Jerry

          The Big Bang Theory can be interpreted as the beginning of spacetime (unless you back-pedal and use an imaginary time solution…). The Bible mentions that God created the universe BEFORE time began.

          No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (1 Corinthians 2:7)

          This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9)

          The hope of eternal life, which God… promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2)

          To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:25)

        • Pofarmer

          You get dumber and dumber.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i thought it was a shitshow watching rodcarty flail around on rationalskepticism for weeks before it finally sunk in that no matter what evidence he saw, he would ‘reinterpret’ to fit the creationist narrative, because Inerrant Word.

          Jerry is more embarrassing to watch, because on top of arrogantly thinking he’s got a handle on the terms (where rod at least remained fairly patient and civil) he’s actually imagining that ‘prophecy’ is The Clincher.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The Bible mentions that God created the universe BEFORE time began.

          Show me the verse.

          (I predict hilarity as our hero attempts to show how a Bronze Age god actually fits in perfectly with modern cosmology. What laffs!)

          we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (1 Corinthians 2:7)

          Yes, I’ve read that bit about secret wisdom from Paul. Sounds very gnostic. Or maybe like Mithraism. I’m surprised that a good Christian boy like you would be dabbling with such dangerous thoughts.

          This grace was g iven us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9)

          What are you saying with these verses? That the Bible inadvertently blundered on things that might sound profound scientifically? Or that we should get (or have gotten?) our science form the Bible? Or that the Bible is hopelessly outclassed as a book about science? Or what?

        • MNb

          Thanks for not addressing my point:

          “Please give me the quote that defines a singularity as a point with infinite density.”
          Because you need that to maintain that

          “A singularity is observed. Just like the Bible mentions.”

          See, that’s what singularity means – a point with infinite density.
          I’m waiting.

        • Jerry

          The implications of a singularity is that spacetime had a beginning… the external causal agent responsible for the singularity to expand is what’s considered the Christian God. The Bible mentions a God who created matter, and it also mentions a God who created time. This coincides with a spacetime singularity from the Big Bang Theory.

        • MNb

          Still not addressing my point. You wrote

          “A singularity is observed. Just like the Bible mentions.””
          This only makes sense if you

          “please give me the quote that defines a singularity as a point with infinite density.”
          You can’t, of course, so you are simply wrong. What’s more, you’re neglecting the sensible advise of a catholic hero:

          “Back in 1951 Georges Lemaître warned Pope Pius XII about the opportunist use of science to support religious beliefs.’

          Exactly what you are doing.

          https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/bad-science-bad-theology/

          And of course you are wrong once again.

          “The implications of a singularity is that spacetime had a beginning”
          Then your favourite Holy Book may very well be falsified.

          http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/critical-opalescence/2014/04/03/gravitational-waves-reveal-the-universe-before-the-big-bang-an-interview-with-physicist-gabriele-veneziano/

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/string-theory-predicts-a-time-before-the-big-bang/

          You are way out of your league.

        • Jerry
        • MNb

          You are seriously lacking reading comprehensive skills. What did I write:

          “may very well be falsified”

          not “is falsified”. I know the issue hasn’t been settled yet; I have explicitely told you.

          Now when are you going to tell us where The Holy Bible talk about a singularity as a point with infinite density?
          Plus when are you going to tell us what you mean with “proof”, “evidence” and “back-up”? Because with several comments now you have made clear that you use a double standard. Now, because of your systematical siltent refusal, I’m beginning to suspect that you deliberately do so.
          Which would confirm that you are intellectually dishonest.

        • Jerry

          Oh, so you send me outdated links, tell me I’m “WRONG”, the book may very well be falsified, I’m out of your league, but I’m the one that is intellectually dishonest?

          I already explained the implications of the singularity and how they are supported by the Bible. God existed before time…. therefore he is external to spacetime. The Bible solidifies this.

          I use a double standard of proof, evidence, and back-up? How so? The entire premise of the argument is the comparison of alien evidence to Christian evidence to see what is better. I’m stating alien evidence is not better. The burden of proof is on you guys, but it seems I’m the one doing all the research. Who is intellectually dishonest? The proponents of this stupid argument.

          The only person I have actually enjoyed debating is Greg, because he actually attempts to back his claims.

          I’m just asking for more effort guys… Anyway, on the topic of atheism… Instead of just googling for the first bit of info, maybe you should sit back, ACTUALLY be objective, and treat philosophical naturalism not as science but as a philosophy. THEN attack philosophical naturalism with the same gusto you do with Christianity. When you do that, it’s pretty difficult to face the anthropic principle of both the cosmos and of molecular biology…. And if there is even a glimmer of a chance for eternal life / eternal death / eternal salvation… whatever… I would at least want to make sure I objectively attack both Christian and naturalist philosophies so that I can be assured I”m making the right call. But that’s just me….

          That’s all I’m saying. Believe what you want. It’s your choice. I already presented it. I’ve shown you the hypocrisy in atheist thinking. I’ve given you an out. Christianity is fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism… aka the scientific method.

        • MNb

          Yup, definitely lacking comprehensive reading skills. I didn’t tell you you were wrong (and certainly not with capitals) on the “time before the Big Bang” topic. I tried to tell you that you’d better not be so convinced of your theology, exactly because science MIGHT prove you wrong. But the issue hasn’t been settled yet.

          Still thanks for refreshing memory. I knew there was something with that link on gravitational waves; I had forgotten what. Yes, it’s a serious omission not to mention that immediately.

          Still my point stands. Exactly as Georges Lemaitre pointed out it’s unwise to use science to back up your theology the way you do, because science might prove you wrong, even if it hasn’t happened yet.
          Your “Just like the Bible mentions” is wrong, because it doesn’t talk about singularity, and is dangerous for you.

          As for your double standard – I’m sure if evidence for “time before the Big Bang” were found you wouldn’t deconvert. So your belief system is unfalsifiable (as it should be). That’s your first standard: no empirical evidence can disprove your belief.
          At the other hand you have tried repeatedly to use empirical evidence (or lack of thereof) to support your belief system. Suddenly empirical evidence can have relevance for your belief system.
          That’s intellectually dishonest. It’s called cherry picking.

          “The proponents of this stupid argument.”
          Perhaps, perhaps not. I’m not interested at all in this argument and never wrote explicitely about it. Take it up with BobS, just like I don’t take up mormon theology with you.

          “The only person I have actually enjoyed debating is Greg, because he actually attempts to back his claims.”
          Surprise – he’s christian like you. This makes me wonder though what you’re doing here, if you generally don’t enjoy it. In a similar vein I don’t particularly enjoy debating on christian sites, so I hardly ever stay longer than a few comments.
          Plus you still haven’t specified what you mean with “proof”, “evidence” and “back up”. Apparently you don’t want to and thus are not really interested in the ways I “prove”, “provide evidence” or “back up” my atheism and materialism (the two are not the same). Here I’m going to be persistent. I don’t trust you and I won’t give you any before you have clarified your standards.

          “treat philosophical naturalism not as science but as a philosophy.”
          Strawman. I’m not BobS. I actually are interested in philosophy and especially in the philosophical consequences of science. I never treated philosophical naturalism as science.

          “it’s pretty difficult to face the anthropic principle”
          Which one? The apologist version, also called Fine Tuning, is very easy to debunk. So it has been done convincingly by both philosophers and physicists.

          “But that’s just me”
          Indeed. That’s just you. I am totally comfortable with non-existence in the future. That you as a christian are concerned is understandable:

          http://www.alternet.org/10-reasons-christian-heaven-would-actually-be-hell

          “I’ve shown you the hypocrisy in atheist thinking.”
          Only in your own deluded mind.

          “Christianity is fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism”

          Finally something with content and substance. Guess what? I never wrote that religion is incompatible with the scientific method by definition. However I have noticed that many christians arrive at conclusions that belong to the domain of science but totally contradict the results of scientific research indeed. I recognize though you haven’t yet, though you are mistaken on several points (all inessential for christianity) and in a few cases are dangerously close to crossing the line. You might have done so now.

          The core element of christianity is the Resurrection, ie Jesus rising from death. Do you have a solid scientific theory explaining that? Because this event totally contradicts the Laws of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

        • Jerry

          …And of course you are wrong once again.

          “The implications of a singularity is that spacetime had a beginning”
          Then your favourite Holy Book may very well be falsified.

          http://blogs.scientificamerica

          http://www.scientificamerican….

          You are way out of your league.

          lol, How did I not comprehend this right? How am I supposed to interpret “wrong”?

          Anyway, we’re not talking about the same Greg.

          And back to the matter of tying science and faith. Your response is an odd rebuttal without much forethought. If I do not tie in scientific proof with my framework of belief, then my framework is entirely based on faith without evidence. That’s a delusion, and I will be attacked as such. Now, evidence for both of us is defined differently, but a Christian should base their faith on some evidence. Otherwise, who is to say the other religions are not correct? You telling me it’s unwise to tie science with religion (because it can be refuted) is like telling me to come to a duel without a gun. And since when do you listen to theologians?

          http://www.alternet.org/10-reasons-christian-heaven-would-actually-be-hell

          All speculation. I hope you can see this. This has no bearing on our conversation.

          The core element of christianity is the Resurrection, ie Jesus rising from death. Do you have a solid scientific theory explaining that? Because this event totally contradicts the Laws of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

          I do not have solid scientific theory for this. That’s the whole point of apologetics. It’s taking a look at all aspects of circumstantial evidence, putting it together, and making a reasonable claim.

          I didn’t say faith would not be required, but I do think you need more faith to believe we arose from a cosmic accident.

        • MNb

          “How did I not comprehend this right? How am I supposed to interpret “wrong”?”
          I already explained just above, but given your lack of comprehensive reading skills I’m not surprise I have to repeat it. I wrote – and you quoted it yourself

          “Then your favourite Holy Book may very well be falsified.”

          Pay close attention: may very well be

          which is not the same as is.

          “I do not have solid scientific theory for this.”
          Then christianity, as far as the Resurrection goes, is not compatible with the scientific method. Apologetics, as the word already indicates, is about looking for excuses. In this specific case special pleading, as you already admit:

          “all aspects of circumstantial evidence”
          Important aspects of cicrumstantial evidence are what the natural sciences have to say about the event. They say “impossible”. Apologetics typically neglect this (kudos for admitting candidly) or downplay the relevance. Hence special pleading.

          “That’s a delusion, and I will be attacked as such.”
          Again wrong, because not by me. I hold Kierkegaard in high regard. In fact I think belief solely based on faith the purest form. My female counterpart, a muslima, is not interested at all in backing up her belief with reason and/or evidence. Blogs like this one bore her in less than a minute.
          For me “I believe because faith” is a discussion stopper and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My female counterpart, a very sensible person, takes the direct consequence: she recognizes that belief is subjective.

          “Otherwise, who is to say the other religions are not correct?”
          That’s exactly the point. My female counterpart never has said and never will say that the other religions are incorrect. She once suggested that my atheism could be wrong (“everyone has to have a belief”), but was quick to accept (without taking over) my answer.

          “You telling me it’s unwise to tie science with religion (because it can be refuted) is like telling me to come to a duel without a gun.”
          Nobody forces you to come to this duel. My female counterpart never does.

          “And since when do you listen to theologians?”
          Since I saw that sometimes they say sensible things. Isn’t it fun, that atheist me recommends catholic you to listen to a catholic theologian, who happened to understand more about physics than you and I together, and you refuse to do so?

          “evidence for both of us is defined differently”
          I wouldn’t know, because you never defined “evidence”, despite me asking repeatedly. Give me yours and I’ll see if I can work with it. But I am convinced by now that you won’t, because you don’t want to expose your double standard. Spoiler: you already have.

          “I do think you need more faith to believe we arose from a cosmic accident”
          Perhaps, but I don’t believe it. I look at the circumstantial evidence and at the solid scientific theories that apply. The latter describe the circumstantial evidence for the “cosmic accident” (I like the phrase much more than you might assume, because “accident” nicely reflects the probabilism involved) correctly. Plus they describe a large set of well established empirical data of great variety.
          “Goddiddid” describes nothing. I already told you why it’s an empty statement.

        • Pofarmer

          “God existed before time…. therefore he is external to spacetime.”

          You just defined your God into existence. How do you support this?

          “Christianity is fully compatible with Methodological Naturalism… aka the scientific method.”

          Uhm, except when it’s not. You’ve shown no examples, for instance, of how to sort out correct supernatural claims from incorrect supernatural claims.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What does this show? That inflation doesn’t exist or that it doesn’t predict the multiverse? That’s not how I read it.

        • Jerry

          Multiverse isn’t confirmed. Again… where’s the EMPIRICAL data?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, the multiverse isn’t confirmed. It’s just a prediction of a well-established theory.

          That’s what science does–it makes predictions.

          But it sounds like we’re on the same page, though you seem to be eager to deny it. The multiverse is a consequence of inflation, not just pulled out of someone’s ass because they were afraid of the otherwise-inevitable consequences of theism.

        • Jerry

          We just have to wait to see what science finds.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you agree then: the multiverse is a (unverified) prediction of a well-established theory.

          “I agree” would be a lot easier.

        • MNb

          Yup, not trustworthy. This question of yours already has been answered. BobS is too kind to repeat it.

        • Dys

          Natural selection isn’t random? How do you account for mutations? You probably need to brush up on this.

          Yeah…when you make an error this blatant, you probably aren’t in much of a position to tell people to brush up on their science. Mutations are random, natural selection isn’t.

        • Jerry

          GIve me a break. Let me define natural selection for everyone reading then.

          : the process by which plants and animals that can adapt to changes in their environment are able to survive and reproduce while those that cannot adapt do not survive

          How does the process of adaptation occur? By random mutations.

        • Greg G.

          Mutations happen randomly but natural selection favors the beneficial ones so they increase in the gene pool and natural selection eliminates some mutations immediately because they are deleterious while retarding the spread of the less optimal alleles.

        • Dys

          Give you a break? Sure. When you manage to get it right. So let me correct you, again. Mutations occur randomly. However, the natural selection process that determines which are passed on to offspring is not, because obviously neutral and beneficial mutations that confer an advantage are far more likely to be passed on than harmful ones. That’s not random.

          You’re welcome. Natural selection is not a random process. And since it appears you need the help…http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_32

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s bizarre how Creationists are usually quite happy with both natural selection and random mutations. That’s how they explain antibiotic resistance (a fact that they seem unable to make vanish with their minds, unlike other facts).

          And that’s about all the biologists are asking for: (1) mutation and selection; (2) repeat.

          You’d think we’d be singing Kumbaya together, but no: they imagine some sort of barrier around each species where it can change a bit … but not too much. They never get around to explaining this critical difference.

        • Jerry

          Bob, just try to write a program that simulates evolution and natural selection. You simply don’t have simple substitution mutations. To get a varied amount of chromosomes, you need to have genomes (or portions of genomes) concatenate or split with each other. This becomes a problem with reproduction. This is where you get the distinction from “kinds” and “species”.

        • Greg G.

          There are programs in use that use random changes and selection to write programs for industry. The programs come up with novel solutions a person would never have thought of.

          There was a program written to predict mutations for a certain one-cell organism and how it would evolve resistance to each antibiotic. When they ran the experiment in real-life, the experiment matched the computer predictions.

          These were things being discussed after-the-fact about a decade ago.

        • Jerry

          Please give links. I actually like to research claims.

        • Greg G.

          Please give links. I actually like to research claims.

          If you like to research claims, why do you need somebody to find links for you?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_computation

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_programming

        • Jerry

          There are programs in use that use random changes and selection to write programs for industry. The programs come up with novel solutions a person would never have thought of.

          There was a program written to predict mutations for a certain one-cell organism and how it would evolve resistance to each antibiotic. When they ran the experiment in real-life, the experiment matched the computer predictions.

          No links in this. I”m interested.

        • Greg G.

          I posted three links two hours before you posted this request.

        • Jerry

          I browsed through the links. I didn’t see anything about predicting mutation for a cetain one-cell organism.

          I also Ctrl-F’d for “predict”.

        • Greg G.

          The particular article I was thinking of was from about a decade ago. Trying to Google for it is futile because of all the recent articles and studies on it. Try:

          https://www.google.com/search?q=mutations+predicted+by+computer&hl=en&gbv=2&oq=&gs_l

        • Pofarmer

          Search “modeling antibiotic resistance on single celled organisms”. There are all kinds of articles.

        • Jerry

          Thanks.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No idea what you’re talking about. Maybe it’s my lack of a complete understanding of evolution, though I suspect it’s just you.

          You understand how viruses can copy blocks of DNA from one species to another? You understand how transcription errors can add base pairs and change one base pair into another? Sounds like a pretty extensive toolkit for crazy shit to happen, including speciation.

          Don’t bother with “kinds.” Let’s just pretend we’re adults and use the big adult words: species, genus, family, order, and the other taxonomic categories.

          Tell me again: what’s the difference between species and the higher order categories?

        • Jerry

          Ha ha… now you’re condescending.

          So again… where’s the evidence to make the leap from methodological to philosophical naturalism. Oh that’s right… you got none. You can’t say the “consensus of science” because science doesn’t have anything to say philosophically.

          Also… in your reply it states that a designer can only be compared to a human designer. Genetic algorithms or polymorphic viruses are excellent examples of how natural selection can be used in design. So according to the definition of design specified in the website you used, a Creator is feasible… his means being natural processes for abiogenesis and theistic evolution.

          Finally, the last link I sent you explained how “evidence” for the multiverse was refuted. It’s still only a mathematical proposition.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Does this respond to the concerns I raised?

          You can’t say the “consensus of science” because science doesn’t have anything to say philosophically.

          I don’t care about philosophy. Science is the discipline with the track record, not philosophy.

          in your reply it states that a designer can only be compared to a human designer.

          Right. I don’t know of any other kind.

          the last link I sent you explained how “evidence” for the multiverse was refuted.

          Didn’t we hit this one already? My claim: inflation is part of the consensus view of cosmology, and inflation predicts the multiverse. Don’t go off on a tangent; tell me what part of this is wrong.

        • Jerry

          I don’t care about philosophy. Science is the discipline with the track record, not philosophy.

          Well… that’s your problem. You equate philosophical naturalism with methodological naturalism and call it science. You say you don’t care about philosophy, but you don’t even realize you’re basing your beliefs on philosophical ideas.

          Let’s go to RationalWiki to check out your belief system.
          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Methodological_naturalism

          Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses. To avoid these traps scientists assume that all causes are empirical and naturalistic; which means they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically.

          However, this assumption of naturalism need not extend beyond an assumption of methodology. This is what separates methodological naturalism from philosophical naturalism – the former is merely a tool and makes no truth claim; while the latter makes the philosophical – essentially atheistic – claim that only natural causes exist.

          You don’t care about philosophy? You made the leap and didn’t even know it.

          So….. let me get this straight… You took up a belief system based on the premise that science is equated to philosophical naturalism (which I have clearly shown that it’s not) using a framework of criteria that refutes all evidences for an opposing view. Yep… sounds like you’re not indoctrinated.

          You owe it to yourself to point your skepticism at philosophical naturalism.

        • MNb

          And when will you clarify what you mean with “proof”, “evidence” and “back-up”, ie tell us what your standards are? Until then I just assume that you use double standards – as low as possible for your belief system, impossibly high for everything that contradicts it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You know that discipline that gave us germ theory? That gives the relativistic corrections without which your cell phone couldn’t make sense of the GPS information? That tells us that evolution is the best explanation for why life is the way it is?

          That discipline. Call it methodological nose-picking if it’ll make you happy; I don’t care. But that’s the one I care about. That’s the one with the track record.

        • MNb

          “where’s the evidence to make the leap from methodological to philosophical naturalism.”
          Now it’s just evidence? You like juggling with words, don’t you? Clarify what you mean if you sincerely want an answer.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Ha ha… now you’re condescending.

          of course, it’s only okay when[ever] you do it.

        • Dys

          There’s no such thing as a ‘kind’. Try using a valid taxonomic term. Baraminology is nonsense.

        • Dys

          And some more assistance. I hope this helps you correct your error.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/chance/chance.html

        • Greg G.

          I’m guessing you believe the Noah’s Ark story, too. Most creationists realize there is a problem with the size of the ark being way to small for the millions of species known to exist today. So they tell us that the ark had “kinds”, a word that has no specific definition but changes with the argument, and the kinds evolved into different species of each kind. For example, the big cat kind evolved into tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas, and each of those evolved into separate species. The horse kind evolved into all the different horse species and all the different zebras and donkeys. That all had to happen within a thousand years.

          If you have trouble with accepting evolution, you should surely reject the biblical account when you consider the implications of that.

        • Jerry

          If you have trouble with accepting evolution, you should surely reject the biblical account when you consider the implications of that.

          http://www.reasons.org/articles/lost-civilization-beneath-the-persian-gulf-confirms-genesis-history-of-humanity

          Nope. Not if the people of the Persian Gulf area considered their land as the “whole Earth”.

        • Neko

          The Noah’s Ark story almost certainly derived from the Epic of Gilgamesh.

          No need to supply links to pseudo-historical apologetics sites, thank you.

        • Jerry

          So how do you know the Epic of Gilgamesh wasn’t also referring to this ancient civilization?

        • Neko

          Apparently there was a great flood in Southern Iraq that a merchant, his family and their livestock managed to survive against the odds. It may be that this is the event that became aggrandized into a “worldwide” flood and enshrined into legend.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve read that the Black Sea was cut off and evaporated, and about 7000 years ago (a number from memory), the water came in at the Dardanelles and flooded it again. It would have been pretty dramatic, though probably a slow-motion flood that would’ve killed very few.

        • Neko

          Thank you and all for these comments. You got it right–7000 years ago! I was browsing around on this subject and hit upon an article in The New Republic by Jerry Coyne, of all people, “A Newly Deciphered Babylonian Tablet Details Blueprints for ‘Noah’s Ark.'” Thought it might interest some here:

          http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116287/babylonian-tablet-describes-noahs-ark-pre-bible

        • MNb
        • Greg G.

          The article says the flooded area was 7500 years old. Do you accept that age and Hugh Ross’ age of the universe?

        • Jerry

          Yea. Is that a problem?

        • Greg G.

          Just trying to get a bead on where you are coming from. The Holy Ghost that is supposed to inform believers on what they should believe has been telling different stories to different Christians. Many come to discussions like this thinking theirs is the mainstream belief system but they use the same verbiage to mean different things so we have to inquire to get what you are actually saying.

          Then there are persistent sock puppeteers who come with a new sock every few weeks with a different approach until they fall back on their actual belief that has been refuted time and time again.

        • Jerry

          “Science” is not right all the time either. Truth is something that must be chased both naturally and philosophically. 3.5 billion Christians can attest to the core tenants of Christianity that “work”. Many billions more can attest to the core tenant of God “working”.

        • MNb

          Science doesn’t chase truth. It weeds out mistakes. The difference is essential.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, science isn’t right all the time.

          You got something better??

        • Greg G.

          Science is wrong a lot. They do research into the unknown and go down alleys to see which ones are blind. But science is self-correcting and abandons some unfruitful alleys. That’s what research does.

        • Pofarmer

          Would it be uncharitable to point out that religion has no such mechanism? When religion changes it is usually forced to by-science. M

        • MNb

          No, not at all. I only have an addition: religion also often chanced forced by social developments and/or simply by violence. Think of the Migration Period.

        • TheNuszAbides

          well… that’s what useful research does.

        • MNb

          Nope. That process occurs by individuals with advantageous features getting more offspring than individuals that don’t have them. That’s exactly the opposite of random.
          First you get, indeed by a random process, mutations. Then by a totally not-random process the mutations are selected – are they keepers or not?

        • TheNuszAbides

          “give me a break” after you belittle others for [supposedly] not understanding terms? yeah, that would be the uniquely-christian thing to do, wouldn’t it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m referring to the Big Bang Theory, the cosmological constant, and the invention of the multiverse to explain the anthropomorphic principle.

          Humans are indeed an accident. If you replayed things from the Big Bang, humans would surely not exist. Some other intelligent being, quite likely.

          The philosophical concept of the multiverse is science, right? How do you test for it? Oh, you can’t.

          No, you can.

          Inflation is well supported by science. Inflation predicts the multiverse.

          Thanks for this opportunity to fill you in.

          Natural selection isn’t random? How do you account for mutations? You probably need to brush up on this.

          Or perhaps it’s actually you who needs to brush up. There’s natural selection (not random) and mutations (random). Two different things.

          Although used as proof for evolution

          You know that evolution is the scientific consensus, right? I wonder then how a layman like you or I is able to conclude that it’s wrong.

          Even the video creator recognizes the design inherent in this!

          Also, you should probably brush up on DNA.

          Thanks for the condescension. Much appreciated.

          Here’s my response to the claim that DNA supports the design hypothesis:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/01/argument-from-design-busted/

          You point me to a TED talk by someone who accepts evolution and expect me to conclude that evolution is bunk? How is that supposed to work?

          I think you need to point your skepticism gun to philosophical naturalism as well.

          Give me reasons to doubt naturalism.

        • Jerry

          First things first, as a Christian, I am open to theistic evolution.

          Inflation is well supported by science. Inflation predicts the multiverse

          Hmm… not according to this.
          http://www.nature.com/news/big-bang-blunder-bursts-the-multiverse-bubble-1.15346

          Thanks for the condescension. Much appreciated.

          Like I stated, I was joking. I respect your credentials. I didn’t mean to offend.

          Back to design. This is from your website reply:

          You must show how life follows design rules that a designer (and the only examples of designers that we have are human ones) would have followed.

          cdk007 just did this in the video I sent you.

          At the very least, God did create life from dirt… using design rules that give general affinities for Carbon to create amino acids which then form full-fledged proteins. The same complexity isn’t seen with the other IV elements.

          When you look at the mechanisms at play during the TED video, you will see nanobots facilitating a duplication process of chromosomes. As a hardware engineer, I would think you would see design in that. For instance why does the Carbon model have the affinity to create replicating, metabolizing machines?

          So rather than accepting all pop-science with zero skepticism, or rather than wasting your time attacking Christianity (you know, since it’s a completely delusional affair), maybe you should find the evidence that proves the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism.

          I mean, if you’re going to stake your eternal existence on this, then it may behoove you to actually find the proof for it. Right?

          Let me ask this another way. What evidence for God will compel you come back to Him? Will this evidence withstand the scrutiny of other naturalists?

        • Pofarmer

          “I mean, if you’re going to stake your eternal existence on this,”

          Why does there always have to be a threat?

          “What evidence for God will compel you come back to Him?” Any would be nice. Your babble ain’t gittin-r-dun.

        • Jerry

          lol. There’s no threat.

          The majority of people on Earth believe in an afterlife. Are they all delusional? You’re part of the elect few smart enough to know the truth?

          By definition any evidence provided by this Deity cannot prove its existence.

          Why? Let’s look at a miracle from your framework.

          Any naturalistic explanation found for said miracle negates the miracle and is chalked up to a natural process.

          Any miracle that doesn’t have a naturalistic explanation is chalked up as a non-repeatable, non-empirical data point that is considered an outlier.

          Just think of any miracle or sign… and I guarantee you a naturalist can explain it away.

          So that being said, there comes a point when you have to accept this and realize that whatever is outside spacetime (nothing, God) must be taken by faith. To me, “nothing” requires more faith.

          We are all Job.

        • Greg G.

          The majority of people on earth used to believe the earth was flat. Were they all delusional? But there is no majority that believes in the same afterlife so most of them are certainly just wrong and some, but not necessarily all, are delusional (remember Heaven’s Gate?). Why should we then think any are right? I might like to come back as a bird but there is no reason to think it will happen.

          By definition any evidence provided by this Deity cannot prove its existence.

          Then you cannot claim that your deity is omnipotent because, by definition, it would then be able to provide convincing evidence. Since your deity would then be a contradiction of terms, it cannot exist.

          There are hundreds of things in the room I am sitting in and there is sufficient evidence that they are real. It’s not that hard to convince people that something is real. In fact, it is too easy even with insufficient evidence. Witness ghost chasers, UFO abductees, patrons of fortune tellers, and theists.

        • Jerry

          Give me convincing evidence then. What would convince you?

        • Greg G.

          I would expect an omniscient being to know that better than I would and an omnipotent being could provide it. There must be something wrong with the theology of an omnipotent, omniscient being who wants people to believe in it but only provides sufficient evidence to gullible people.

        • Jerry

          LOL. Nice answer…. but what are you saying… since you don’t believe in an omniscient, omnipotent being, you’re saying nothing can convince you?

          Congratulations, you understand free will. You see what you want to see.

        • Pofarmer

          Isnt that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?

        • Greg G.

          since you don’t believe in an omniscient, omnipotent being, you’re saying nothing can convince you?

          Not at all. If there was such a being, I’d already be convinced, wouldn’t I? I’m just not likely to be convinced that there is one if there is none.

        • Jerry

          lol. Just answer the question. Oh, you get my point. Nothing will convince you? You really are biased then? I’m glad we got that taken care of.

          You know, though… since you are nothing but a Darwinian mechanical construct spawned from naturalistic processes deterministically driven by hormones, what’s stopping you from taking the red pill and joining the God delusion? Seriously…. what does it matter if you take the red pill? Statistics show that religious people are happier. Your life is finite, right?

          Ha. Either way you don’t make sense.

        • MNb

          “Just answer the question.”
          I did, just above. No reaction from you. Kind of dishonest, eh?

        • Jerry

          Sorry MNb, I’m getting bombarded with responses. It’s hard to see who has responded.

        • MNb

          Yes, I know. That’s why I keep on reminding you – and also to point out that you haven’t commented on my answer.

        • Greg G.

          If said being were benevolent at all, it would stop all unnecessaryou suffering. .

          An omnipotent being could do a billion miracles per second for every sentient creature in the universe and still achieve everything it willed. Therefore all suffering is unnecessary.

          The existence of suffering proves that there is no omnipotence or a sadistic omnipotence who chooses that sentient beings suffer for no reason.

          So, an end to all suffering would convince me that an omnipotence who cares exists.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “… omnipotence who chooses that sentient beings suffer for no reason.”

          or even ‘better’, for reason/s never made clear and that Mere Mortals must either avoid questioning or contort to invent.

        • Dys

          Apparently Jerry is admitting that his god is powerless to convince people of his existence, despite supposedly being omnipotent.

          You might want to consider upgrading to a better god Jerry…the one you’re going with doesn’t appear to be very useful.

          Seriously…. what does it matter if you take the red pill?

          And this is a declaration that Jerry doesn’t understand how beliefs are formed. Beliefs aren’t choices.

        • adam

          ……

        • Jerry

          Personally, I can’t bring myself to believe that we are biological machines that stemmed from a primordial ocean that came from undriven naturalistic processes. When you look at the DNA, it seems too much like a computer. Encryption, Compression, Turing machines, Self-repair, table of programming “commands”, switches for genes… the list just gets longer and longer.

          http://www.dnaftb.org/15/

          Also, look at the biology

          http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_

          There are “walking” MOLECULES. LOL. Just watch the video again. I know the atheist argument, “complexity doesn’t matter”, it “looks anthropic but natural selection can account for these”…

          Why isn’t your skeptic alarm ringing? Just because someone wears a white lab coat, doesn’t mean you can throw skepticism out the window.

          I”m sorry. I just can’t buy it. There was some intelligence involved with the algorithm of life. And since you can point to the fundamental nature of Carbon as the source for this, then you can state this intelligence was creative from the beginning. Different interpretations of the same data.

          Unfortunately, I’m going to have to bow out of this conversation. There are too many conversations, and the burdens of real life are calling. It was a pleasure discussing this with you!

        • adam

          It is EASY to see that intelligence evolves, we have more intelligence that the goat herders that the bible was written for.

          So where did this ‘intellegence’ you are claiming evolve from?

        • MR

          What would you consider convincing evidence that Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu are the true gods?

        • MNb

          Of god (eventually in the form of aliens)? See above.

        • Pofarmer

          “The majority of people on Earth believe in an afterlife. Are they all delusional?”

          Just wrong. The majority of people believe incorrect things all the time.

          “You’re part of the elect few smart enough to know the truth?”

          No, I’m just paying attention to the scientific consensus.

          “Any miracle that doesn’t have a naturalistic explanation is chalked up
          as a non-repeatable, non-empirical data point that is considered an
          outlier.”

          Please give an example? Lot’s of things that were thought to have a supernatural explanation have been shown to have naturalistic explanations, perhaps you have the contrary example?

          “So that being said, there comes a point when you have to accept this and
          realize that whatever is outside spacetime (nothing, God) must be taken
          by faith.”

          Well, we don’t know that there actually is anything outside of what we perceive as space time, maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, it’s still being sorted out. And I could handle if you wanted to say well, “God” caused it, or whatever, as a placeholder. The problem comes when theists start telling me that God has revealed to them in no uncertain terms what it is that he wants and desires, and waaayyyyyy too many of htem have different revelations. That presents issues,and it amounts to an insurmountable cavalcade when taken in toto.

        • Jerry

          Explain this. Oh… it doesn’t fit your ideal of repeatable, observable data? Mass delusion? Okay, none of it happened…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVU8bhbQInw

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And what are you saying about it? That it really happened?

          Doesn’t seem to have moved beyond the domain of religion. Show me that it’s science and I’m listening.

        • Jerry

          Philosophical naturalism doesn’t have the explanation for the miracles recorded by the Catholic church.

          http://www.strangenotions.com/can-an-atheist-scientist-believe-in-miracles/

          All cases of placebo, correct?

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, spontaneous regression in cancers is a known phoenomena

        • MR

          Simply because something is rare doesn’t make it a miracle.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, didn’t intend to imply that it was.

        • MR

          Sorry, was just backing up your statement, not implying anything. :)

        • Dys

          And we all know the Catholic church has absolutely no vested interest whatsoever in whether miracle claims are true or not.

          I mean, they only base the entire religion on some miracle claims in ancient texts. I’m sure they’re completely objective. What was Mother Teresa’s first miracle for sainthood again? Ah…it was a completely manufactured and unverifiable attribution. Oops.

        • adam

          THE Catholic church?

        • Jerry

          lol. Superposition makes sense too. In both cases, it just works.

        • adam

          Please demonstrate how this works.

          Full Definition of MAGIC
          1
          a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces
          b : magic rites or incantations
          2
          a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source
          b : something that seems to cast a spell : enchantment
          3
          : the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand Merriam Webster

          And then demonstrate that this is not hypocrisy.

        • Jerry

          Pictures along with testimonies from hundreds of thousands of witnesses is not enough to join the realm of science? No lie detector tests? No analysis of film? Where are the papers? The event occurred sporadically for 3 years. People came from across the world to visit, camp, and watch. Where were the scientists?

          Twiddling thumbs….

          Just because it doesn’t fit into a perfect model of repeatable, observable evidence, doesn’t mean you can refute the entire event. It should be a factor (if minor one) in your decision to believe in a higher power. It shouldn’t be refuted or thrown out like what the atheist argument does.

          Like I said before, the argument is designed so that no evidence for God (miracles) can be accepted. You’re not being objective, you’re just indoctrinated. Attack naturalism with the same gusto. Prove to yourself the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism. You owe it to yourself.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (You’ve probably been eviscerated by others already. I’m late replying.)

          Where are the papers?

          I dunno. Did you submit any? Why not?

          If you say that you weren’t close enough to have the evidence to write a paper, why do you suppose no one else did? And if they just need some prodding, what the hell are you doing wasting our time around here? You should be finding miracle claims and moving them from the “some nice little old lady had some kind of nutty vision” to science.

          Point to a well-filled bin of the “nutty vision” kind and no one cares. See the problem?

          Where were the scientists? Twiddling thumbs….

          Don’t complain, write some goddamn papers. If not you, then someone qualified.

          What’s that? You say you can’t find anyone qualified? Perhaps we’re uncovering the real problem.

          doesn’t mean you can refute the entire event.

          Who did? I mean besides the mean ol’ bogeyman skeptics in your imagination?

          It should be a factor (if minor one) in your decision to believe in a higher power.

          Since it’s indistinguishable from UFO abduction stories or miracle claims from some other dude’s religion, you can see the problem.

          And all you’re doing here is scolding us for not believing crap. Turn it from crap into science and then you’ll actually have a case. Right now, you just look like a gullible idiot.

        • Jerry

          Please provide the evidence that convinced you to make the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism. Earlier, you didn’t even know there was a difference between science, philosophical naturalism, and philosophy. This just shows everyone you really haven’t thought about this. Calling me a gullible idiot won’t fix or prove anything either. I”m merely giving you an out.

          Whether you think Christ is the blue pill or the red pill, it doesn’t matter. Statistics show religious people are happier and more altruistic members of society. Since you’re so data-driven, maybe there is something to this? And since you’re merely a mechanical construct of Darwinian processes, what does refraining from the red pill matter to you? In an instant, life will be gone. Wouldn’t you want to be happier? Why does “following the truth” have such a high regard in your moral system? Why do you sacrifice your own happiness for it when in the end it’s meaningless to begin with?

          All I’m saying is take a closer look.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you’re a fan of the comforting lie.

        • Jerry

          and you’re a fan of wonderful toys building themselves?

        • Pofarmer

          You’re a fan of being an anti intellectual doofus?

        • Jerry
        • Pofarmer

          That would be miss-educated.

        • Jerry

          It’s actually very detailed. It just highlights the issues and missing gaps of abiogenesis.

        • Pofarmer

          Of course it does.

        • Jerry

          Here you go buddy.

          Here is a scientific model based on biblical creation
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

          It makes its own predictions so we can wait and watch. So regardless of how much you mock it or deride it, the model makes predictions counter to the naturalistic model.

          I’m bowing out. It was a pleasure discussing this with you. I’m getting too many conversations, and I have to get work done!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What do you care about abiogenesis? Once there is a scientific consensus on abiogenesis, you’ll just pick up another unanswered question at the frontier of science. Your argument devolves to: science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.

        • Jerry

          lol… no it doesn’t.

          Here is a scientific model based on biblical creation
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlYzYMDpTwY

          It makes its own predictions so we can wait and watch. So regardless of how much you mock it or deride it, the model makes predictions counter to the naturalistic model.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Cool! When the scientific consensus changes, I’m there.

          How about you? You going to wait until those who actually understand this stuff (that is, not you and me) agree, or are you just going to conclude that Creation makes sense simply because it makes you feel better?

          And your simply saying that “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God” isn’t your view doesn’t respond to my argument. Have another try if you’d like.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Others may feel differently, but there’s too much out there to catch my interest than the Creationism/evolution debate.

          The jury’s returned a verdict. You lost. You really ought to get over it and move on. Flogging this Creationist horse is just embarrassing.

        • Jerry

          so abiogenesis is now evolution? You guys usually distinguish between the two.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No confusion on my part. Thanks for your concern, though.

        • Dys

          Interesting title…only problem is that there is no scientific biblical model for the origin of life. It’s just an argument from incredulity and a result of not understanding the basics of probability (namely, that you can’t honestly assign any probability to ‘God did it’ without first assuming the probability of God existing being 1).

          On the other side, we have some competing scientific hypotheses for abiogenesis, and the scientific theory of evolution to describe how life changes.

          All you have is a myth Jerry. Try doing some research yourself.

        • Jerry

          .only problem is that there is no scientific biblical model for the origin of life.

          You’re wrong.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlYzYMDpTwY#t=812
          It’s called the RTB Creation Model and it makes testable predictions.

          Anyway. I’m still not convinced there wasn’t some intelligence involved in the creation and nurturing of life. Whether it be the physical laws that give Carbon its affinity for complex molecules or divine intervention involved in the guiding of evolution, I fail to see how life cannot be considered a miracle. Again, different interpretation of data.

          But here’s the thing, the RTB Creation model does make a bold statement about the Christian God and the universe (more predictions in video)

          1.) He created the universe for man. That means signs of abiogenesis will ONLY be found on Earth, not anywhere else… i.e. if abiogenesis is a natural process then signs of it should be found on other planetary bodies.

          So, we have the model. It doesn’t matter how much you mock, we have predictions that are counter to what is expected with a naturalistic model. So there you have it, now we wait.

        • Dys

          The so called creation model presented there doesn’t seem to be much more than trying to use incredibly friendly interpretations of scripture to try and make it sync up with the actual science. And then use gap arguments to try and support the nonsensical myths that have no scientific support. Genetics doesn’t support an original pair of humans – even some evangelical Christian scientists figured that out.

          How did you determine the universe was created for man, when there’s an only an infinitesimally small segment of it where we can live?

          i.e. if abiogenesis is a natural process then signs of it should be found on other planetary bodies.

          Considering how few planets we have the ability to investigate, this isn’t so much a prediction as it is gap argumentation.

          His predictions as opposed to natural explanations are so vague that they’re essentially untestable.

          Hugh Ross has just constructed a pseudo-scientific biblical model of origins.

          http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/hugh-rosss-testable-creation-model/

        • Jerry

          I can see where you consider it a gap argumentation, but as the more knowledge we gain for the necessary framework to support sustained life, we can start eliminating galaxies, stars, solar systems, and planets. The model merely predicts that the criteria for life will grow more complex thus reducing the number of expected habitable planets.

        • MNb

          So as soon non-earthly life is discovered you will deconvert?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          When RTB’s model becomes the scientific consensus, I’m there. Until then, it’s ridiculous for either you or I to accept it since we’re not biologists and are in no position to evaluate the evidence let alone declare the consensus view wrong.

        • Jerry

          But it’s not the consensus. There are plenty of Christian scientists. Again you keep equating science and it’s methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. Philosophical naturalism is not science.

        • adam

          Christian Scientists:

          Oxymoronic….

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Where have we left science behind?

          I accept the scientific consensus. I have no alternative. The same applies to you.

          When RTB’s model becomes the consensus, I’m there, but it’s ridiculous to teleport there before that point.

        • MNb

          “it makes testable predictions.”
          Such as?
          I’m not going to watch the video – not because it’s christian, but because I prefer reading. I hardly ever watch atheist videos either.

          “I fail to see how life cannot be considered a miracle. Again, different interpretation of data.”
          Yeah, and I fail to see how a flying plane cannot be considered a miracle. So little demons must run its engines. Again, different interpretation of data.
          Any argument you will bring up against this can be used against your god responsible for abiogenesis.

        • Jerry
        • MNb

          Reasons to believe are not testable predicitons. Like this one:

          “The RTB model predicts an increase in astronomical evidence that Earth resides at the ideal location in the cosmos for both harboring advanced civilization and technology and making the universe observable.”
          Unless unambiguously defined “ideal” in this context is too vague to have any significant meaning.

          Or this one:

          “undermine models which try to avoid an absolute beginning of space and time”
          That prediction doesn’t distinguish any creation model from any naturalistic model that holds the same. There are several of them.

          Or this one:

          “evidence for the fine-tuning”
          Fine-tuning is a teleological concept and hence all possible evidence can be used to back up fine-tuning.

          This one is nice:

          “The RTB model predicts that future anthropological and genetic research will increasingly confirm that humans are biologically distinct rather than descended from a hominid species.”
          If this were a serious prediction the RTB model must be abandoned, because the tendency is going exactly the other way. But I predict you will use it as an argumentum ad futurum, exposing for what it is: an empty statement, like the toddler who claims he can outrun a dog but only will show it tomorrow, without specifying when tomorrow is.

          So that’s a big failure, even if the predictions are deliberately kept vague. I’m talking about something like The Big Bang hypothesis as derived by Friedmann and Lemaitre predicted

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background

          Or Evolution Theory told where to look for

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik

          Or historical research told where to look for Roman camps east of the river Rhine

          http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2014/05/ancient-roman-military-camp-unearthed-eastern-germany

          Or Biblical literalism predicts Israel Finkelstein would find remnants of Moses and his band in the Sinai.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_Unearthed

          Or ID predicts irreducible complexity.

          http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html
          http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/eye-evolution-and-irreducible-complexity/
          http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mousetrap.html

          It’s very typical – as soon as some form of creationism makes a prediction that separates it from naturalistic theories it goes horribly wrong. And you are a partial creationist. Because even though you accept evolution you reject naturalistic theories of abiogenesis with no further argument than “I cannot believe that life build itself without any supernatural intervention”. The Wikipedia page you refer to doesn’t change that in the least.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I may not have been paying attention. I thought Jerry rejects evolution. No?

        • MNb

          Yes and no. He accepts theistic evolution.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

          Unlike PZ and JAC I’m not convinced that theistic evolution contradicts itself. Their main argument is that evolution supports the Problem of Evil, but as an atheist argument the Problem of Evil doesn’t need evolution.
          Jerry rejects abiogenesis though. Here he uses the familiar creationist arguments: science can’t explain it, nature couldn’t have done it by herself, the origin of life is a miracle hence goddiddid.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’d gain a modicum of credibility if you’d respond to someone’s points instead of changing the subject. If my comments have rebutted your point, a Christian eager for the truth would acknowledge that. That you change the subject kinda gives us the same conclusion.

          Earlier, you didn’t even know there was a difference between science, philosophical naturalism, and philosophy.

          Your soul-reading software has a bug. You’re wrong again.

          Statistics show religious people are happier and more altruistic members of society.

          And here I thought that the subject was evidence for modern miracles. My bad! But you gotta take just a little bit of the blame because your previous comment was entirely about modern miracles, as was my comment to which you are now responding.

          To this new topic: you don’t want to get into a citation war with me about the different traits of believers vs. nonbelievers. I don’t know whether you’ve been collecting articles about this, but I sure have. But let me just cut this short: you say that there are some traits on which believers do better than nonbelievers? I’ll grant that. You compare just about any two demographics, and you’re almost sure to find some trait on which one is better than the other.

          But what’s your point? Christianity is useful, therefore God?

          Why does “following the truth” have such a high regard in your moral system?

          ?? Why does “following the truth” not have a high regard in yours??

          Why do you sacrifice your own happiness for it when in the end it’s meaningless to begin with?

          Uh … cuz it’s not? Or is this a trick question?

        • Jerry

          Why does “following the truth” not have such a high regard in your moral system?

          It obviously does…. because I was created after the image of God. I pursue Truth, and my behavior is perfectly rationalized for it. You, however, don’t. You were made from random naturalistic processes. You’re just a product of hormones. What do morals have to do with your worldview? In fact, you said you don’t care about philosophy. Really? You base your entire life on pursuing truth…. why? Where you do get this drive? You’re just a flesh machine. Why does truth matter more than happiness?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (Did you respond to all the points I raised?)

          You can claim you were created in the image of a horse’s ass, but without evidence, I don’t care.

          Evolution, we do have evidence for. If you want to critique evolution, you should understand it first.

          It’s not random. Mutation is random. Natural selection is not.

          You’re asking if I have morals in my worldview? Why don’t you take your misshapen question, give it a fitting, and show it to us again after it’s been tailored?

          Truth is an asset to survival. That’s why animals with a brain are hardwired to strive for the truth. No truth, no survival.

          Duh.

        • Dys

          What do morals have to do with your worldview?

          Morals don’t rely on any god for their existence. The rise of morality within sentient creatures was inevitable – you can’t have social animals without it.

          You’re just a flesh machine.

          And Jerry thinks he’s a flesh machine with a magical spirit driving it around until it gets magically transported to super happy fun land after the flesh machine stops working properly.

          Why does truth matter more than happiness?

          Because Jerry’s decided to just go with what makes him happy, and doesn’t particularly care if it’s true or not.

        • adam

          “What do morals have to do with your worldview?”

        • adam

          re: “because I was created after the image of God. ”

          Sorry, other way around:
          YOU’ve created your OWN image of ‘god’

        • MNb

          Yup, you’re not trustworthy.

          “you didn’t even know there was a difference between science, philosophical naturalism, and philosophy.”

          This is simply a lie. BobS knows it but hardly cares for philosophy. So until you clarify what you mean with “evidence” there is no use in answering your demand. No matter what “evidence” we will give for the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism, you will reject it by changing the meaning of “evidence”.

        • Jerry

          You don’t have evidence. That’s the problem.

        • Dys

          Jerry, it’s safe to say at this point that you don’t have a clue, and are merely looking for poor excuses to accept supernatural claims despite not having any particularly good reason to do so. And that when it comes to science, you don’t have anywhere near the level of understanding that you’d like to think.

        • MNb

          You don’t have evidence for your god either. So for you that’s a problem too.
          And unlike you I’m honest – with evidence I mean empirical data. Your god being immaterial there can’t be evidence for him by definition. That’s why your attempts to use the origin of life are so lame.
          So we have to fall back on arguments.
          Agreed?
          Then perhaps we finally can take the next step – I’ll give you excellent arguments for materialism. And I’m not talking silly stuff like prophecies.

        • Jerry

          The empirical data is prophecies backed up by historical data from the early Church, a study of micrbiology, a study of cosmology, the historical reliability of the Bible, the fruit of the Church, and finally my own personal experience. I’ve explored other avenues…. and it’s difficult for me to believe your viewpoint.

          Let’s just agree to disagree. I’m bowing out. It was a pleasure discussing this with you.

        • adam

          No the empirical data does not support supernatural elements.

          Of course it is difficult for you to believe our viewpoint you have ‘faith’

        • MNb

          Prophecies are no empirical data for some supernatural entity.

          “I’m bowing out.”
          So you are not interested in why I accept philosophical naturalism. Thanks for admitting you are not trustworthy.

          “It was a pleasure discussing this with you.”

          Weird. On this very page you wrote that you only enjoyed your discussion with Greg G.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he mostly opened with remarks like “you atheists”, no wonder it all became a blur.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if you’re bowing out, why waste the effort of suggesting what sort of agreement to come to? such a tired sense of politeness.

        • adam

          And you have what?

        • adam

          “Statistics show religious people are happier and more altruistic members of society.”

          http://www.atheismresource.com/2011/the-happiest-countries-have-the-lowest-rates-of-religiosity

          Yes, take a closer look.

        • Jerry
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Huh? You’re still flogging the “Yeah, but Christianity makes people happier!” argument?

          That’s off topic. Is it true? That is the question, is it not?

        • adam

          Christianity makes people happier?

          Then why are there Religious Wars?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’ve not seen the paintings? Every soldier has a smile on his face!

        • MNb

          Of course. They rejoice in the knowledge that they will go to Heaven a bit sooner. See? It all fits.

        • Greg G.

          I forget whether it was Mark Twain or GB Shaw who pointed out that drunks are happier than sober people, at least as long as they are drunk. I recall reading about a report about thirty years ago that researchers were studying the welfare of patients in mental hospitals. It was noted that the patients seemed happier than the staff.

          I recall a report that people who attend church regularly have a longer life expectancy. But by phrasing it that way, they eliminate everybody who is on their deathbed from the church group and puts it into the other, skewing the whole claim up.

          So saying that deluded people are happier than others only undermines all arguments about the truth of religion.

        • Jerry

          Personally, I can’t bring myself to believe that we are biological machines that stemmed from a primordial ocean that came from undriven naturalistic processes. When you look at the DNA, it seems too much like a computer. Encryption, Compression, Turing machines, Self-repair, table of programming “commands”, switches for genes… the list just gets longer and longer.

          http://www.dnaftb.org/15/

          Also, look at the biology

          http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology

          There are “walking” MOLECULES. LOL. Just watch the video again. I know the atheist argument, “complexity doesn’t matter”, it “looks anthropic but natural selection can account for these”…

          Why isn’t your skeptic alarm ringing? Just because someone has a white lab coat on, doesn’t mean you can throw skepticism out the window.

          I”m sorry. I can’t buy it. There was some intelligence involved with the algorithm of life. And since you can point to the fundamental nature of Carbon as the source for this, then you can state this intelligence was creative from the beginning. Different interpretations of the same data.

          Unfortunately, I’m going to have to bow out of this conversation. There are too many conversations, and the burdens of real life are calling. It was a pleasure discussing this with you!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You can’t bring yourself to believe? So what? You’re not a scientist.

          Do you believe that you’re made up of atoms? That’s a pretty incredible claims. Sure doesn’t look like you’re made up of teeny discrete particles, does it? And yet, that’s what those eggheads say … and they’re pretty much on the money with their statements about how reality works.

          You, least of all, should care what your studied conclusion is about biology because you know that you’re not a biologist! Your position is simply the Argument from Ignorance. Or Incredulity.

        • Greg G.

          Welcome back to Real Life. It’s been a pleasure talking with you, too.

          Remember that mutations happen and not all of them are bad. What is bad in the arctic can be ideal in the tropics. Some life forms thrive where others don’t and some thrive better than others in a given spot. Natural selection eliminates the bad mutations rapidly so they don’t reproduce and allows the good mutations to multiply because the traits give the possessor an advantage. Evolution is inevitable. You accept it as long as it’s called “adaptation”. But a million years of adaptation to changing environments results in major changes. Allow it for tens of millions of years and one kind can gradually change into something you would call a different kind.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s the crazy thing. Creationists accept mutation and natural selection to explain antibiotic resistance, for example, but they imagine that speciation doesn’t happen. I don’t think they see how very close they are.

          They’re 99% on the same page with the biologists but imagine some sort of unspecified barricade keeping species from spreading too far.

        • Greg G.

          They gave the barrier the name “baramin”, not because they had real evidence of the barrier, just a theological need.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If it’s got a science-y name, that’s good enough for me.

        • adam

          Baraminology has been heavily criticized for its lack of rigorous tests, and post-study rejection of data to make it better fit the desired findings.[10] Baraminology has not produced any peer-reviewed scientific research,[11] nor is any word beginning with “baramin” found in Biological Abstracts, which has complete coverage of zoology and botany since 1924.[12]

          In contrast, universal common descent is a well-established and tested scientific theory.[13] However, both cladistics (the field devoted to classifying living things according to the ancestral relationships between them) and the scientific consensus on transitional fossils are rejected by baraminologists.[14]

          Some techniques employed in Baraminology have been used to demonstrate evolution, thereby calling baraminological conclusions into question.[15][16][17]
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baraminology

        • MNb

          Baraminology ao is an attempt to provide a creationist alternative for Linnaeus’ classification and cladistics. It fails even in that relatively easy respect.

        • Pofarmer

          I think you fail to really recognize the power of time, the lengths of time involved, and the vast, vast areas of the world involved. Innumerable trillions of cells and molecules and oceans. This isn’t just one cell trying something. this is trillions upon trillions of molecules and cells interacting as chemistry for billions of years. Lots can happen in a system like that.

        • adam

          ” Genome size is measured in base pairs and the biggest according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genome
          ) that we know of right now is for an amoeba (a single cell lifeform),
          670,000,000,000 base pairs. Humans have around 3,200,000,000″

          Looks the ‘designer’ has VERY VERY POOR design skills.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, no–the amoeba actually needs all that DNA. No waste for the Creator, nosir. Mankind is simply much simpler than an amoeba. No other option is conceivable.

        • adam

          ” There was some intelligence involved with the algorithm of life. ”

          Since we have observed that intelligence evolves, where did the intelligence evolve from to make your ‘god’ so ‘smart’ to be able to create less intelligent creations?

          Meanwhile men have evolved to create intelligent creations that exceed our own capabilities.

          “The machine — its name means “Milky Way” — is capable of performing 33.86 quadrillion floating point operations — or FLOPS — in a single second. A floating point operation is a math problem that involves fractional numbers, and when measured in quadrillions is usually referred to as a petaflop. ”
          http://recode.net/2014/11/17/the-worlds-most-powerful-computer-is-still-in-china/

        • adam

          “Personally, I can’t bring myself to believe that we are biological
          machines that stemmed from a primordial ocean that came from undriven
          naturalistic processes.”

          So you can believe that we are

          1. that we are Biological machines

          2. Physics and chemistry drive chemical reactions through processes.

          3. Physics and chemistry are natural.

          So you think MAGIC is the answer?

          You cant be serious….

        • MNb

          “Personally, I can’t bring myself to believe …..”
          That’s your problem, not the problem of science. In fact it’s the problem of way too many believers, from lying creationists like Ken Ham to apologists (who btw also lie now and then) like WL Craig, Alvin Plantinga and Edward Feser.

          “Different interpretations of the same data.”
          Yeah, that’s what lying Young Earth Creationist Ken Ham says as well. “Goddiddid” doesn’t sound any better from you mouth than from his.

        • adam

          re:

        • Jerry

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dena_Schlosser

          She had a history of psychotic episodes.

          Let me bring up victims of atheistic regimes… Pol Pot (1.7 million killed), Kim II Sung (710,000 to 3.5 million killed), Mao Tse-Tsung (35 million murdered, 38 million died from famine).

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6_mMdNGCso&list=PL8EC0A1C97517C929#t=757

        • adam

          “She had a history of psychotic episodes.”

          Yes, she was hearing the voice of god, like the characters in the bible.

          Sorry, but these arent atheistic regimes, they were communist regimes who used the same ‘cult of personality’ made famous by religions. These people were not killed in the name of atheism, like religious people kill in the name of gods.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Don’t give me millions–give me one name of someone killed in the name of atheism. Y’know, someone killed because of atheist dogma or a dictate in an atheist holy book.

        • Jerry

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Soviet_Union

          Argghhh… Keep getting pulled in… I’m going to respond to your prophecies, then I’m out!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m outraged by persecution of someone because of their religion just like you. Yes, I understand that Christians (and others) were persecuted in the Soviet Union. You must realize that that doesn’t answer my question though, right?

          They were a dictatorship. Dictatorships do nutty stuff. No one was killed in the name of atheism, because such a thing makes no sense. Atheism is simply the lack of a belief. How does one extrapolate from that to “I should kill you”?

        • Jerry
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So we’ve got names. Now show me that they were killed in the name of atheism.

        • Pofarmer

          Pol Pot was a buddhist. There is a quasi-religous cult in N Korea built around the Kim family. Mao Tse-Tung? Communism has lead to some horrible outcomes. But look how the communist party chairmen are nearly deified.

        • Dys

          Jerry, go do some research yourself so that you can see the problem with your silly blue pill/red pill nonsense. It’s a fallacious analogy, because you apparently don’t have any real idea about how beliefs are formed. They aren’t choices. So bringing up your false analogy serves no purpose other than to demonstrate that you haven’t thought things through very well.

        • Jerry

          They’re not choices?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

          Belief vs. actions….

          Keep doing actions contrary to belief, your beliefs will change… or your actions will change. How is that not a choice?

        • adam

          Choose to believe in Invisible Pink Flying Unicorns…..

          I will bet that you cannot…

        • Dys

          No, they’re not choices. It’s called doxastic involuntarism. The notion that humans can, at will, pick and choose their beliefs is incredibly misguided. One is persuaded or compelled to belief. Your notion that someone can just elect to start believing in any god is simply wrong and misguided.

        • Dys

          So your argument can be summed up as “But…but…I want to believe in magic!” And pointing out that you haven’t provided a good reason is somehow being mean to people.

        • Neko

          You wrote:

          The majority of people on Earth believe in an afterlife.

          I’d suggest two things:

          1. No matter how miserable things may get, most people don’t want to die. (See, for instance, prisoners of war and death row inmates.)

          2. There’s no justice in this world, so people hope for justice in the next, or in a reordered universe. (See, for instance, Jesus of Nazareth)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The majority of people on Earth believe in an afterlife. Are they all delusional? You’re part of the elect few smart enough to know the truth?

          That certainly characterizes your position; I don’t know why you’re lampooning it so much.

          Most of the world thinks that your view of the supernatural is completely wrong. And vice versa. I think we’re in the same boat.

          Any naturalistic explanation found for said miracle negates the miracle and is chalked up to a natural process.

          I hear God is really smart. You don’t think he knows what it would take to get me to believe.

          And yet he doesn’t give it to me. I guess he doesn’t love me that much. He probably is pissed about that shithead comment I made recently and wants to see me in hell with a roasting spit up my butt.

          Just think of any miracle or sign… and I guarantee you a naturalist can explain it away.

          My goal is to follow the evidence. If the evidence doesn’t point to your favorite deity, sorry.

          So that being said, there comes a point when you have to accept this and realize that whatever is outside spacetime (nothing, God) must be taken by faith. To me, “nothing” requires more faith.

          Because there’s evidence for something?

        • MNb

          “The majority of people on Earth believe in an afterlife. Are they all delusional?”
          Yes. So am I, just not in this respect.

          “By definition any evidence provided by this Deity cannot prove its existence.”
          I just gave you the kind of evidence I would accept above.

          “I guarantee you a naturalist can explain it away.”

          You’re invited. No naturalist on this blog – and there are many – succeeded in explaining the evidence I suggested away. They best they could do is “advanced alien technology”, to which my reply is that I would not be able to disinguish between aliens and god, so that those aliens are simply still worthy of worship.
          But perhaps you can do better?

        • Dys

          The majority of people on Earth believe in an afterlife. Are they all delusional

          The number of people who believe a thing has no bearing whatsoever on its truth value. It’s just an ad populum fallacy on your part. At one point in ancient history (when the creation myths in Genesis were conceived), a significant portion of the world believed the world was flat.

          and I guarantee you a naturalist can explain it away.

          Probably because most claims of the type you’re describing rely on arguments from incredulity.

          To me, “nothing” requires more faith.

          Withholding judgement until evidence is presented requires no faith whatsoever. And, to date, there isn’t really any supporting evidence for any of the various after-life models. They’re primarily based on wishful thinking and a reaction to the understandable fear of death.

        • Greg G.

          First things first, as a Christian, I am open to theistic evolution.

          I take that to mean that there is an implicit “only” at the end of the sentence. What about theistic orbital mechanics? Are you only open to theistic gravity, too? Theistic chemistry?

          Mutations are chemistry. You see what happens in the short term through natural selection but you call it “adaptation”. A series of these “adaptation” events over millions of years is evolution. It is inevitable over long time periods.

          Theistic evolution is as unnecessary as having angels push the planets around the sun.

        • Pofarmer

          Or God hide the sun behind a mountain at night. Perhaps causing the tides. Or flinging comets and meteors from between the Earth and the Moon. Perhaps causing eclipses as warning to men on Earth. What about causing droughts as signs of displeasure? Strong storms or earthquakes as warnings? The list gets really, really long.

        • Jerry

          Just like cdk007’s video, he had to program in general affinities. The same can be said for Carbon…. an element essential for life… which is necessary for abiogenesis and eventually for evolution. In this manner, God can still be responsible for the creation of Man through dirt.

          Also you are limited by “long time periods”. Depending on who you talk to, the first sign of life is dated from 3.8 billion (Greenland) to 3.5 billion (Australia) years ago. The Late Heavy Bombardment period is dated from 4.1 billion – 3.8 billion years ago. Based on the dating of craters seen on Mars and the moon, it is hypothesized the Earth was bombarded by large meteorites. This led to a crust of molten lava which eventually cooled 3.8 billion years ago. It is thought that these meteorites killed off any existing life.

          So…. you now only have between 0 to 300 million years. Is this still enough time for an “undriven abiogenesis”?

        • MNb

          Only 300 millions of years …. the Cenozoïcum, the period we live in and began with the extermination of so many dinos lasts just 66 million of years.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          as a Christian, I am open to theistic evolution.

          OK, and other “Christians” reject evolution of any kind. I’m afraid your holy book is a sock puppet. Or a mirror.

          Hmm… not according to this.

          (1) Show me where. In my brief scan I saw nothing. Summarize the point you find relevant.

          (2) Show me how my claim that the scientific consensus is that inflation predicts the multiverse is wrong.

          Like I stated, I was joking.

          OK, thanks for the clarification.

          cdk007 just did this in the video I sent you.

          Show me how the video rebuts the several points I made in my post. If your point is simply that you have a video that argues that DNA supports the design hypothesis, I’m sure you’re right, but that doesn’t rebut my post.

          At the very least, God d id create life from dirt

          Whew! Good to hear. Just don’t tell me that we descended from monkeys, cuz that would be really demeaning. Dirt I can handle.

          When you look at the mechanisms at play during the TED video, you will see nanobots facilitating a duplication process of chromosomes.

          I’m confused. You’re saying that the guy presenting the video is a Creationist? If not, why waste our time with a video by someone who supports my position?

          As a hardware engineer, I would think you would see design in that.

          As a hardware engineer, my post made clear why the Design Hypothesis is in pieces on the ground.

          For instance why does the Carbon model have the affinity to create a replication and metabolizing machines?

          Not sure what your point is. Carbon is cool; therefore, God? How does this prove that evolution is impossible?

          So rather than accepting all pop-science with zero skepticism

          I’ve made clear in other posts my position: no layman (that’s certainly me, and maybe you in the area of biology) has any platform from which to reject the scientific consensus. The consensus is our best explanation at the moment for that bit of science.

          Sounds like you reject that approach. Show me why.

          you should find the evidence that proves the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism.

          Science never proves anything. As for giving us some good clues, that’s the scientific consensus. I always accept it.

        • MNb

          “God did create life from dirt”
          How did he do it? Which means did he use? Which procedures did he follow? If you can’t answer these question your statement is hollow as an empty barrel.

          “maybe you should find the evidence that proves the leap from methodological naturalism to philosophical naturalism.”
          So now it’s evidence you require? You like your ambiguous phrasing, don’t you? Of course it’s because you want to play a nice “head, I win, tail, you lose” game.
          Btw how is evidence supposed to prove anything? You just confirm what I wrote above about your double standards.

          “if you’re going to stake your eternal existence on this”
          I don’t want eternal existence. It scares me the pants off.

          “What evidence for God will compel you come back to Him?”
          Let’s assume God is capable of interacting with our material reality indeed. Let’s assume he has a lot of power, has a nice character and has the gift of foresight. Then he should be capable of warning the potential victims of natural disasters say a week before by means of a collective nightmare.
          Now if this happens on a statistically significant scale I will convert, though very likely not to christianity.

        • Mhb

          Hm. Interesting. In the Jesus-following/loving circles I run in, getting dreams/visions/impressions is rather common, and yes, they do at times warn of terrible disasters. I didn’t expect non-believers to be aware of that, though, and I don’t really want the “supernatural signs” to take the focus off the Person of Jesus and His Love for people. After all, non-Jesus-followers get prophetic words/dreams/visions, too. Jesus eschewed requests for miracles by the Pharisees (pious Jewish religious leaders) and teachers of the Torah who demanded a sign. Matthew 12:38-40: “…no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah…The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
          It would stretch you to read them I’m sure, but I could recommend some resources for you to read about cases where the Holy Spirit and angels have intervened in people’s lives and “saved” their lives, literally. I admit it’s gets hard if you go down this road of accepting that yes, “God” saved so and so, because then you have to ask why S/He failed to save so and so…the best I can come up with at this point to answer that is that our understanding of “saving” is limited; we are caught in some cosmic story whereby all will not be Just until all evil/mortality is removed; and I admit I just plain can’t explain it – I don’t have all the answers. But I do believe God is Good all time. My bad day doesn’t suddenly make God a Bad God. Someone somewhere is having a good day, after all. So either God is good and just stays good, or he is fickle, or he is just a bad guy. Since I accept the Biblical explanation for who really is “the bad guy/s (not flesh and blood – Eph. 6)” around here, and understand that the ultimate plan is for all things to be made New/free of evil (Revelation 21), I’m able to accept God as Good. And not just accept it, but seriously, honestly, gut-level experience the Goodness/Love/Forgiveness/Acceptance/Grace/Peace. I’m not trying to convert you to Christianity, in fact Jesus preached for all – especially the top Jewish leaders – to give up religion, and enter Relationship with Him (Book of John, etc). Religion is slavery to what you can do to earn gods’ favor. Jesus’ message is Freedom to be adopted as a child of God. I don’t disown my kids if they mess up. Likewise, when I’m in God’s family, I’m in. No earning it or losing it as far as God’s concerned. Of course He honors human choice so He never makes you be part of His family. But the invitation is a standing one.

        • MNb

          “I didn’t expect non-believers to be aware of that”
          I wasn’t. I wonder
          1) why those christians don’t make this widely known in case of a hurricane like Katrina for instance?
          2) the “at times” – ie why not systemetically?

          “non-Jesus-followers get prophetic words/dreams/visions, too.”
          Same questions.

          “the best I can come up with at this point to answer that is that our understanding of “saving” is limited; we are caught in some cosmic story”
          At least it’s honest you recognnize this is rather weak.

          “Since I accept the Biblical explanation for who really is “the bad guy/s”
          But now you’re dishonest. Or do you rejoice when you lose your loved once in a natural disaster? If yes, you’re insensitive. If no, you accept that natural disaster is “really bad”.
          The rest is theology – ie made up stuff.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I wonder

          1) why those christians don’t make this widely known in case of a hurricane like Katrina for instance?
          2) the “at times” – ie why not systemetically?

          I do fear that precognitive disaster warnings would be subject to confirmation bias and that Christians remember the premonition that was vaguely correct rather than the dozens that were completely wrong.

        • Dys

          the invention of the multiverse to explain the anthropomorphic principle.

          You mean the multiverse theory. I’m not sure how the ancient, pre-scientific alternative of inventing gods (including yours) to alleviate the problems is particularly compelling in comparison. Beyond wishful thinking and acting as a substitute for admitting ignorance, of course.

          As for testing, there is a proposal for testing the multiverse theory:

          http://www.iflscience.com/space/how-do-you-test-multiverse-bubbles

        • MNb

          How surprising. A creacrapper.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Please read my comments.

          The post begins with the assumption that we both agree that UFO abduction stories are poorly evidenced. If we agree on this point, I wonder why you’re stuck on it.

        • Jerry

          No, the post begins with this…

          Let’s test that. If Christians accept this claim, then, to be consistent, they must also accept any claim with better evidence.

          ..accept any claim with better evidence..

          You have not shown how this is better evidence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I have little understanding of what you’re getting at and waning interest in finding out what.

          Yes, evidence for alien abduction is weak. Point is, it’s far stronger than that for Christianity.

          If you disagree, make clear what your point is. I’ve laid it all out in the post above.

          Go.

        • MNb

          Define proof. Do you mean 100% absolute unchanging eternal certainty? No, then there is no proof. There is no proof for anything, not even for you being human.
          I have too much experience with christian double standards to answer such requests without any further clarification.

        • adam

          “The mainstream scientific perspective is that the abduction phenomenon has its roots in human psychology, neurology and culture. That is, it is
          effectively a psychosocial phenomenon rather than actual cases of alien abduction. However, many among the general public, conspiracy theorists, and ufologists hold to the idea that actual extraterrestrials have been temporarily abducting people against their will.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspectives_on_the_abduction_phenomenon

          I accept the scientific consensus.

          It also sounds remarkably like episodes of ‘god’ abductions and the hearing of ‘heavenly voices’

        • wtfwjtd

          “You can substitute any religion with this alien framework. The factor that differentiates Christianity from the others is prophecy.”

          Holy smokes, this is all an apologist has got to refute your article? So he feels “prophecy” is the only thing separating Christian claims from UFO abduction claims?

          Wow, just…wow.

          I…think you’ve won this round Bob, and by a mile. If it was always this easy, your work here would be finished.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Which raises the question: why bother? Why not just declare victory and move on?

          But I’d like to stay on top of the arguments, and responding to the arguments (more importantly: reading others’ excellent responses) helps keep me sharp. Christian blogs like to block comments from anyone but yes-men. I’d rather stay in the middle of the debate.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “The factor that differentiates Christianity from the others is prophecy.”

          so the last two millennia of Jews who don’t wise up and convert have just been stubborn and/or jealous? oh wait, you wouldn’t want to admit to thinking that, would you…

    • Philmonomer

      The other type of witnesses for ufo phenomena could very well be seeing ufos… but based on our technology, we already have rational
      explanations for that.

      It’s true that 90-95 percent of such sightings can be explained. But 5 to 10 percent cannot, and this amounts to 100s of sightings.

      Here’s a serious book about UFOs:

      http://www.amazon.com/UFOs-Generals-Pilots-Government-Officials/dp/0307717089

      The author concludes you cannot simply hand wave them away.


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