The Case for a Creator: Meet Your Ancestors

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 3

In the final section of chapter 3, Strobel and Wells turn to the evidence that creationists loathe above all else: the fossil hominids that make up the human family tree. Human ancestors are not only a clear, obvious transition that even a layperson can understand, they directly demonstrate that we ourselves are a product of evolution, thus striking at the desire to be separate, special creations that almost certainly motivates nearly all creationists.

I strongly suspect that creationism as a movement would never have arisen if scientists hadn’t insisted on encompassing the human species in evolution’s family tree. Whatever the creationists say, they don’t really care about turtles or oak trees or earthworms. If scientists were willing to grant that human beings were special, unrelated to the rest of Earthlife, creationists would probably have been happy to concede that every other species came about from a process of mindless natural selection. But the evidence doesn’t support a separate origin for humanity, and the idea that we might be one of those animals – a relative of slime molds and toadstools, of centipedes and cyanobacteria – enrages creationists, who can’t bear to believe in a universe in which they are not the central and most important figure. In their quest to reclaim that sense of specialness, they would gladly obliterate the best theory ever devised to explain the true origins and diversity of life as we now see it.

And this leads us to the last section of Strobel’s interview with Jonathan Wells. We begin with Java Man, who, according to his discoverer Eugene Dubois as quoted by Strobel, “represents a stage in the development of modern man from a smaller-brained ancestor” [p.61]. Strobel points out – for once, correctly – that the find consisted of a skullcap, a femur and some teeth, but that the femur and the teeth are now believed to belong to different species.

Nevertheless, Strobel writes as though Java Man is an isolated find, a single fossil fragment drifting in a void of uncertainty. As usual, the creationists have ignored the abundant corroboratory evidence. Java Man is just one specimen of a well-known hominid species, Homo erectus, that is known from many other specimens – including Sangiran 17, a far more complete skull that was also found on Java – and even more spectacularly, the Turkana Boy, a nearly complete skeleton of an approximately 12-year-old erectus boy found near Lake Turkana in Kenya. All these specimens, including Java Man, share the characteristics that make them unlike modern humans: a sloping forehead, heavy brow ridges, large jaw with no chin, and a braincase much smaller than ours (between 750 and 1100 cc, depending on age, while most modern sapiens have brains about 1350 cc).

What do the creationists think Homo erectus is? We never find out Strobel’s viewpoint, since neither he nor Wells ever mentions these fossils. The closest he ever comes is asserting that Java Man is a “true member of the human family” [p.62]. That’s actually correct, although it doesn’t mean what Strobel thinks it does.

Aside from this brief discussion of Java Man, we hear nothing more about any specific fossil. Wells spends the rest of this brief section complaining about how artistic reconstruction of fossils is a speculative field [p.62] and quote-mining science writers who point out that we cannot reconstruct exact lines of descent from fossils – which is true, but Wells acts as if this means that every theory ever devised about human evolution is worthless. The lesson he takes away is not that we must be careful to only propose testable hypotheses supported by the evidence, but that “Darwinists assume the story of human life is an evolutionary one, and then they plug the fossils into a preexisting narrative where they seem to fit” [p.63], as if the fossils themselves had no meaning and could be used to support any conceivable hypothesis equally well.

I also want to highlight one particularly obnoxious bit of dishonesty. Here’s Wells quoting science writer Henry McGee:

“In fact, he said that all the fossil evidence for human evolution ‘between ten and five million years ago – several thousand generations of living creatures – can be fitted into a small box.’” [p.63]

It’s true that the oldest fossil evidence of human evolution – the species nearest the branch point of humans and other apes – is fragmentary. But by definition, those species would be the least humanlike. What Wells neglects to mention is that all the most important fossil evidence showing how humans became human is younger than five million years! Australopithecus afarensis, and the other australopithecines, are between 4 and 3 million years old. Homo habilis is between 2.5 and 1.5 million years old. Homo erectus is between 2 million and half a million years old. We have multiple fossils for most of these species and others, far more than would fit in a “small box”. Wells’ sleazy tactics would be like a defense attorney getting a witness to admit that he saw nothing unusual between 5 and 6 PM, and triumphantly concluding his client was innocent – even though the crime took place at 7.

Again, what stands out about this section is how little time Strobel and Wells spend on discussing the actual fossils of human ancestors. We never hear about Turkana Boy. We never hear about Lucy or Homo habilis. What were these creatures? How does the intelligent-design worldview explain them? This is a question Wells steers well clear of, other than repeating postmodernist claims that any explanation is just as good as any other.

Now I’ll do something that Strobel and Wells never do: show you the fossils so you can see them for yourself. Here’s a table, with pictures, which lists some of the most important hominid specimens and shows what creationists think about each of them.

As you can see from the table, although all the creationists are adamant that every fossil is either fully human or fully ape, they can’t agree which is which. (Java Man in particular is an almost even split, especially if you include Strobel and Wells’ claiming that it’s human.) This, of course, is exactly what we would expect if these fossils were genuinely transitional: being intermediate between two groups, they would resist unambiguous classification as one or the other. Ironically, the creationists themselves provide the best testimony of that.

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • other scott

    As an Archaeology graduate I have to say that anybody who claims a lack of evidence for human evolution is simply being blind on purpose. Having actually studied palaeolithic archaeology, holding fragments of ancient human skulls and reconstructions it is simply impossible to ignore the fact that there were other species of homo that once existed on this planet.

    Skulls exist that show features of both man and ape and are actually neither. This is a scientific fact that really should be beyond refute, it is basically the same as saying that chairs exist. Whilst it is more possible to argue that there isn’t necesarily a 100% clear progression through the fossil record, mainly due to the fact that severel species of hominds have been found in roughly the same stratum, it really is clutching at straws. Omo I and Omo II are homo sapiens that are around 195,000 years old and there are verified Neanderthal remains that are only 30,000 years old in Vindija. Not to mention Homo floresiensis or the ‘hobbit’ which may bhave lived as few as 12,00 years ago. Without even pushing the boundaries of the fossil record we find two distinctly different species of human beings alive on this planet for thousands of years together.

    We go back even further and find Erectus, Hidelburgensis, Ergaster, Rudolfensis, Hablis, down to Kenyanthropus, Paranthropus and Australopithecus. These are real fossils. These creatures existed and to truly deny this is an insult to our own existense. I find myself feeling far more ‘special’ when i think that my ancestors, the creatures from whence my entire species evolved, lived, struggled and died on the same soil as I did as opposed to being magically created. It’s about believing that I am a part of this planet as opposed to being seperate and distinct. I wasn’t created and placed on this earth, the atoms that make up my body are the same ones that made up the first primordial ooze.

  • Justin

    Skulls exist that show features of both man and ape and are actually neither.

    I realize I’m nitpicking, but I thought that humans are apes. Otherwise, I agree with you, other scott.

  • Polly

    As usual, the creationists have ignored the abundant corroboratory evidence.

    Standard M.O.. Hank Hanegraaf of the Christian Research Institute and a popular Radio personality, in his book, “FACE”, does exactly the same thing. He picks a handful of examples, including Piltdown man IIRC, debates the merits of the finds, and then shuts the book on evolution without ever mentioning any of the other humanoid fossils. (Hope I’m not getting him mixed up with Strobel et al)

    Amazing, all of evolutionary theory rests on 4 or 5 questionable/fabricated fossils? Well, those scientists have obviously been brainwashed by Satan! *eyeroll*

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Again, what stands out about this section is how little time Strobel and Wells spend on discussing the actual fossils of human ancestors. We never hear about Turkana Boy. We never hear about Lucy or Homo habilis.

    Old habits die hard.

  • Cerus

    Again, what stands out about this section is how little time Strobel and Wells spend on discussing the actual fossils of human ancestors. We never hear about Turkana Boy. We never hear about Lucy or Homo habilis.

    The way this is worded makes it sound like a version of the courtiers reply, I know there’s a difference but I can’t seem to wrap my addled brain around it. Anyone care to contrast it for me?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    The difference is this:

    Wells and Strobel are trying to dismiss evolution and indeed science by claiming disputing a small part of it and claiming the rest doesn’t exist.

    IRT, the courtier’s reply, atheists are not dismissing any evidence or pretending it doesn’t exist. The theist is complaining that the atheist isn’t dealing with every single interpretation of the texts that do exist and is therefore wrong. To be analogous, the atheist would have to look at only one gospel and claim that it means that Xianity is wrong.

  • http://confessionatheist.blogspot.com Dale

    I find myself feeling far more ‘special’ when i think that my ancestors, the creatures from whence my entire species evolved, lived, struggled and died on the same soil as I did as opposed to being magically created.

    I completely agree, other scott. It is quite awe-inspiring to think about how hard evolution had to work to reach this point. Not only are we the sum total of millions of years of effort, but we’re also part of an ongoing evolutionary process that will create beings even more advanced than us (assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out before that happens). I think that’s a much better legacy to have than popping into existence fully formed. I guess it feels more like we earned it, know what I mean? :)

  • jemand

    If the argument was “I saw the emperor’s little finger and it wasn’t clothed, therefore the emperor is NAKED!!”

    And the courtier replied “But you haven’t looked at his glorious robe and shoes!” than the courtier has a point.

    If you say “The emperor isn’t wearing anything” and the courtier says “Oh, but you haven’t examined this treatise on the color of his silk hat” than the courtier is an idiot.

  • other scott

    “I realize I’m nitpicking, but I thought that humans are apes. Otherwise, I agree with you, other scott.”

    You are definitely spot on there, though the term ape is sometimes used to include all species in the superfamily Hominoidea (chimps, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons and humans) and sometimes to only include the nonhuman species and is most traditionally used to mean non-human. But yeah, you are defintely right about homo sapiens being just another ape. There is no doubt whatever that all human beings, inclusing Jesus christ if you want to go there, are a species of ape.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    other scott:

    I find myself feeling far more ‘special’ when i think that my ancestors, the creatures from whence my entire species evolved, lived, struggled and died on the same soil as I did as opposed to being magically created. It’s about believing that I am a part of this planet as opposed to being seperate and distinct. I wasn’t created and placed on this earth, the atoms that make up my body are the same ones that made up the first primordial ooze.

    Well said, sir! That was wonderfully put. We need real scientists to speak out and to communicate to people the wonders and glories of understanding our real place in the universe, as you did so well in this comment.

    Polly:

    Standard M.O.. Hank Hanegraaf of the Christian Research Institute and a popular Radio personality, in his book, “FACE”, does exactly the same thing.

    Actually, Strobel repeatedly cites Hanegraaff in the footnotes to this chapter. Isn’t it funny how creationists insist that real scientists are coming around to intelligent design, and yet to back up their arguments, they’re still dependent on a minister with no scientific credentials who calls himself the Bible Answer Man?

    Cerus:

    The way this is worded makes it sound like a version of the courtiers reply, I know there’s a difference but I can’t seem to wrap my addled brain around it. Anyone care to contrast it for me?

    The Courtier’s Reply is an attempt to distract atheists who are arguing against the existence of God by demanding that they first address obscure theological issues that have no bearing on the existence of God. For instance, Richard Dawkins critic Terry Eagleton demanded that Dawkins stop discussing whether God exists until he’s an expert on, say, “the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus“.

    The situation here is different because Strobel and Wells are claiming that evolution is a false theory. But to prove that, you have to address all the evidence that’s relevant, and the existence of transitional human ancestors is undeniably relevant when you want to know whether evolution happened.

  • Alex, FCD

    You know, I can understand it being hard to believe that, say, humans and pine trees are related, especially if you’re not immersed in the evidence for it: humans and pine trees look really different from one another and have completely different strategies for keeping themselves alive. But honestly, have these people ever seen an ape? They look just like us! I have a hard time understanding how this didn’t jump out at people before Darwin, let alone how people could deny it now that we’ve collected all the evidence that we have.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The Dmanisi skulls and creationism
    by Jim Foley on May 18, 2005

    … Marvin Lubenow’s book Bones of Contention … In 2002, the discovery of a new hominid skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, was announced. This skull had a very small brain size of 600 cc, in the Homo habilis range. Two other skulls which had been announced in 2000 had brain sizes of 650 cc and 780 cc. … How, I wondered, would Lubenow handle it?

    Well, the answer is interesting. The largest skull (780 cc) is listed on p.350 of BoC in a table of H. erectus fossils (classified by him as human). The smaller two skulls, 600 and 650 cc, are listed on p.352 in a table of H. habilis fossils (generally classified by him as non-human). So as best I can tell, Lubenow considers the largest skull to be human, and the smallest two skulls to be non-human. You’d think this might warrant some anatomical justification, but none is provided. …

  • Leum

    The situation here is different because Strobel and Wells are claiming that evolution is a false theory. But to prove that, you have to address all the evidence that’s relevant, and the existence of transitional human ancestors is undeniably relevant when you want to know whether evolution happened.

    Actually, this is really the opposite of the courtier’s reply. Strobel’s claiming to understand the intricacies of evolutionary theory, and getting them wrong. If he were just saying, “Evolution from one species to another is impossible” or “DNA mutations can only remove information” and we were criticizing him for not understanding the complexities of human evolution, that would be the courtier’s reply.

  • Heidi

    But honestly, have these people ever seen an ape? They look just like us!

    I don’t see how anyone can look into the eyes of an ape and not think of it as a person, so apparently they haven’t.

  • Cerus

    Thanks for all the very helpful explanations, I’ve never been good at picking out logical fallacies when in conversation; though I must say I’ve gotten better at it since I’ve started reading here regularly.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I certainly hope that’s meant as a compliment.

  • Cerus

    It is a compliment to most of the rational types here, and certainly is to Ebonmuse, whose essay’s were very helpful in the past, allowing me to more effectively articulate my growing discomfort with what I’d been taught as absolute, unquestionable truth.

  • Virginia

    I remember reading about how Queen Victoria reacted when she saw Jenny the orangutan in London Zoo just a bit over 150 years ago — the Queen marvalled at the ape’s intelligence, obedience and friendly quality – but was also disturbed by it — because Jenny the orangutan was so “disagreeably human”.

    Rationalists accept the conclusions based on the evidence, no matter how disagreeble they can be — we CHANGE our views of the world according to what we LEARN.

    Christians reject ANY conclusions they find disagreeable to their belief — they want the world to CHANGE according to what they BELIEVE.

  • Ritchie

    I have an open question – does anyone know exactly WHERE Creationists draw the line between human and ape?

    If only we modern homo (snigger snigger) sapien sapiens are qualify as human, then what about Neanderthal and homo erectus (more sniggers)? Do they really consider fire-wielding, language-using, shelter-building Neanderthals as non-human animals? And if not, surely they have to concede there were other species of human?

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    does anyone know exactly WHERE Creationists draw the line between human and ape?

    I dont think they do draw a line, if you take the OP at face value, to a creationst you are either fully human (complete with soul presumeably) or you’re an ape. This from the table link Ebon supplied

    (Old-earth creationist Hugh Ross takes an even more extreme stance, claiming that not even Neandertals should be classified as human.)

    This is a classic example of what Dawkins calls “discontinuous thinking”, they are not looking for a gradual progression/change so they don’t see one.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    does anyone know exactly WHERE Creationists draw the line between human and ape?

    Different Creationists draw the line in different places. See for example the link I provided in comment 12, in which one of the more prominent Creationists on the topic of hominid paleontology drew the line between members of the same species found at the same site and dated to the same time period.

    More new hominid fossils for the Creationists to ignore:
    Ethiopia unveils new fossils

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I have an open question – does anyone know exactly WHERE Creationists draw the line between human and ape?

    It depends on the creationist, but there’s no single line. Some of them have even said Neandertals were just old people with rickets (yes, I know that makes no sense to anyone who knows what features distinguish Neandertals; it’s creationists we’re talking about here). Another old favorite is to claim that the various hominids were really just “pre-flood” people who became deformed by the corrupting effects of sin.

  • other scott

    “Another old favorite is to claim that the various hominids were really just “pre-flood” people who became deformed by the corrupting effects of sin.”

    This is the type of argument that you really can have no answer for. Young Earth Creationists simply refuse to believe the scientific evidence that is staring them in the face. All Ar/Ar dating, carbon dating, etc, etc results are falsified by God to test our faith and humans lived with dinosaurs. I mean it is just so counterintuitive that people must really have to force themselves to believe it. Anybody who can claim that scientific evidence is falsified by God to test our faith will never believe that God doesn’t exist. Even if you showed them undeniable proof that God does not exist they will just say that God is testing our faith.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Even though I do have a christian faith, I can’t seem to deny evolution. Who convinced me? Not Dr Richard Dawkins or any other atheist and not even after studying natural selection, but Dr David Attenborough. His documentaries are the best. In one of the documentaries on mountain gorillas it was stated that they smell just like a rugby change room after a match. I don’t know if many readers of these blogs play rugby, but it’s a smell that really can’t be confused with anything else. To be honest, a literal biblical interpretation of creation perplexes me.

    Incidentally, what response do we have on Dr Walter Veith? I know he’s an ex evolutionist/atheist and a literal interpretation creationist. He has a doctorate of zoology from the University of Cape Town. He still lectures at a university, has for years, but I can’t remember which one.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Incidentally, what response do we have on Dr Walter Veith? I know he’s an ex evolutionist/atheist and a literal interpretation creationist.

    This is the first I’ve ever heard of him. I am not familiar with his claims. I do know of other ex-evolutionists who became Creationists (e.g. John Sanford) and in every case I am aware of, the change can be marked up to religious reasons, not scientific. It should be easy to demonstrate that their Creationist ideas are not in line with the available scientific data.

    Judging from the Wikipedia entry on Veith, he is an all-around nut case.

    Veith also expounded in numerous lectures (many of which are available on video for no charge), in which he propounds the notion that Islam was established and is controlled by the Catholic Church.

  • Ritchie

    It hardly seems possible, but I suppose when it came to other human species, I actually underestimated the Creationists’ ability to deny the existence of the obvious!

    Caiphen Martini – David Attenborough ROCKS!! I challenge anyone to watch Planet Earth and not come away with a profound sense of awe for the natural world.

  • DamienSansBlog

    I strongly suspect that creationism as a movement would never have arisen if scientists hadn’t insisted on encompassing the human species in evolution’s family tree.

    Ebonmuse, I’m ethically obliged to ask what evidence you have for this suspicion. :)

    Even though I do have a christian faith, I can’t seem to deny evolution…To be honest, a literal biblical interpretation of creation perplexes me.

    Mr. Martini, I’m ethically obliged to ask why you literally interpret anything in the Bible at all; i.e., why even believe that the Christian god exists? But you may have already answered this in earlier comments, so feel free to throw up your hands and curse my ignorance.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Damien- This isn’t the right thread for me to answer your question. I made that mistake before. In the next few days I’ll answer your question on ‘The Three Kinds of Theism’ or perhaps some other similar blog. I’m a little busy right now, studying at uni and also studying abiogenesis as a result of another thread. Incidentally, Mr Martini was the name of my Dad- Caiphen

  • Caiphen Martini

    Ebonmuse
    I just read your page ‘A theists guide to converting atheists’, it was quite interesting.

    Refer me to another thread for next time if you see fit. Or we can stay here.

    I am a theist that would ‘convert’ to atheism if evidence came to light that God does not exist. For me to do anything else would be irrational. Evidence partially including, what you and others referred me to study, abiogenesis- if it was shown to be the cause for the start of life.

    Why do I believe in God? The book of Daniel and it’s prophecies have a lot to do with it. I converted to Seventh Day Adventism (SDA), by the large part, because of those prophecies. But I can’t accept SDA teaching on a literal 6 day creation, for obvious reasons. Also, fyi, SDA isn’t the only church I attend. I have come across many attempts at trying to debunk the book of Daniel, but the weight of evidence seems to be in, now do I dare say it? , in the bible’s favour.

    Now perform your inevitable critique.

    Damien- I guess this also answers your question. Now back to my studies.

    Caiphen

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I am a theist that would ‘convert’ to atheism if evidence came to light that God does not exist.

    god can always be defined in such a way that it would be impossible to provide evidence against its existence. However, if you posit an omni-max god, then that god is pretty well shown to be logically inconsistent. I recommend you pick up the book The Impossibility of God.

    For me to do anything else would be irrational.

    I predicted it! Um, if this were true, then it would also be irrational for you to not believe in leprechauns until someone can provide evidence that they don’t exist.

    Why do I believe in God? The book of Daniel and it’s prophecies have a lot to do with it.

    Prophecies are notoriously bad guidance because they are notorious for being vague or for being re-interpretted to be “correct” after the fact.

  • Caiphen Martini

    OGMF

    I’ll read that book. I understand your point on Leprechauns, I think you’re quite right actually about me being irrational on this point, that is when I come to think about it. I realise the burden of proof is on me. But consider this, there are predictions in Daniel’s and other related prophecies that are still to come true or are now coming true. If you or anyone else can, read up on the 1260 day prophecy especially and/or similar ones if you like. It may seem ridiculous, but tell me what you think. After reading it, if you think that my belief in it is irrational, please let me know. One reason why I’m here is because I need to rationalise my belief. If I can’t do that, there’s no reason for me to keep it, and possibly I’ll be as fervent for the cause of Atheism as I am now for Christianity. Just a word of warning in your endevours, Sir Isaac Newton was a firm believer in the book of Daniel and the other related prophecies. Also, if you can’t do the read up on the prophecy, maybe a specific book debunking the prophecies will suffice.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Well, you could start with wikipedia which has a write up talking about the view of a majority of scholars that the events talked about were written after the fact.

    Other than that, any specific passages or prophecies?

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Caiphen Martini “Just a word of warning in your endevours, Sir Isaac Newton was a firm believer in the book of Daniel and the other related prophecies.”
    I hate to be trite, but from this Newtonism I assume that you’re a believer in alchemy as well?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Prophecies are notoriously bad guidance because they are notorious for being vague or for being re-interpretted to be “correct” after the fact.

    If not actually written post hoc.

    Just a word of warning in your endevours, Sir Isaac Newton was a firm believer in the book of Daniel and the other related prophecies.

    Indeed. What’s your point? I understands the Pope accepts evolution as a fact. Ought you not accept it as well?

  • Brock

    “Veith also expounded in numerous lectures (many of which are available on video for no charge), in which he propounds the notion that Islam was established and is controlled by the Catholic Church. ”

    I have always taken Jack Chick as the ultimate in Weirdness when it comes to Xianity. And yet I keep running into other people who second his nutty ideas. According to Chick, Mohammed’s first wife Khadijah was a member of the Catholic church, who was responsible for egging her doting and apparently susceptible husband into starting a religion which the church hoped to use in some way to gain control of the holy city of Jerusalem, so that they could initiate the reign of Antichrist. I kid you not.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen Martini “Just a word of warning in your endevours, Sir Isaac Newton was a firm believer in the book of Daniel and the other related prophecies.”
    I hate to be trite, but from this Newtonism I assume that you’re a believer in alchemy as well?

    Newton is historical proof that wingnuttery and genius are not mutually exclusive. He was deeply religious and he would have had no problem with the mechanistic universe he explained. I’m pretty sure though he could not have been a “Darwin” as he would not have accepted the evidence against creation.

    Caiphen; You’re in danger of being a troll and I am walking over the bridge just behind Big Billy Goat OMGF so should know better but… Really? you base you’re whole theology on the dubious predictions of Daniel? There is as far as I remember some academic debate as to when this book was written. Daniel was supposed to have lived 6 th c BCE and either the book is contemporaneous or was redacted 3 – 400 years later. Prophesy is no trick in hindsight. As for modern events, you can make anything fit. What’s your take on Nostradamus?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Caiphen; You’re in danger of being a troll and I am walking over the bridge just behind Big Billy Goat OMGF so should know better but…

    Baaaaaaaaaaaa
    *Scrapes hoof on ground*

  • Thumpalumpacus

    What’s your take on Nostradamus?

    [slaps head] Now why didn’t I think of that?!

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Steve Bowen “I’m pretty sure though he (Newton) could not have been a “Darwin” as he would not have accepted the evidence against creation.”
    And I’m pretty sure that playing “What if this dead guy lived now?” is a good way to come to a conclusion in no way based in anything higher than imagination. I have no idea what he’d be if he’d been around post-Origin of Species. “What if?” is a fun game, but inherently unfalsifiable (which is why the Christian Right can imagine up, say, Jefferson as a literalist evangelical now, while the more secular minded come to the opposite conclusion. Personally, I see him as a carnie who gets stones and plays Xbox in his spare time).

    “What’s your take on Nostradamus?”
    Nothing. He didn’t get a book in the Bible. Duh.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    is a good way to come to a conclusion in no way based in anything higher than imagination.

    Just a little thing philosophers call a thought experiment :)

  • Caiphen Martini

    Ok guys. No more mention of prophecies. I said above I converted to SDA for the large part, not the only part because of these. My mind I like to think is open, that’s why I’m here, and not only here, considering atheism. Alternatively, again I think I’m showing open mindedness by considering the idea of God being fundamentally involved in various world religions if he/she does exist, not just involved in Christianity. I only brought up the subject of prophecy because your website mentions it. Why is it mentioned if you are going to mock anyone who brings it up?

    Above I did say that I do accept evolution. Why? Because the evidence seems to be, overwhelming. If one day the evidence does not point in evolution’s favour, I’ll reject it. Just the same way that I now reject literal interpretation creationism. I believe the bible was never supposed to be taken literally on the subject anyway. And yes, I do accept evolution just like the Pope, Thumpalumpacus.

    (I’m pretty sure though he could not have been a “Darwin” as he would not have accepted the evidence against creation.) Interesting Steve Bowen, are you saying that there is actually evidence in favour of creation?

    You guys have enlightened me alot about atheism I admit.

    My only conversation to you guys in future will be about a previous discussion about abiogenesis and the ‘calculations’ that I talked about.

    I remember mentioning in another thread that arguments never prove anything. Judging by the comments in this tread, I seem to be correct.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “Why is it mentioned if you are going to mock anyone who brings it up?”
    You mention prophecy, prophecy is bunk, we said so. You mentioned “Newton believed X”, we pointed out that Newton believed a lot of things, a bunch of which were wrong, we said so.
    If you’re going to “convert” to atheism, you’re going to need thicker skin than that.

    “My only conversation to you guys in future will be about a previous discussion about abiogenesis and the ‘calculations’ that I talked about.”
    There’s far more to discuss than that. Limiting yourself only limits yourself.

    “I remember mentioning in another thread that arguments never prove anything.”
    Arguments don’t. Facts do. All we can do is present the facts. The rest is up to you.

    “Judging by the comments in this tread, I seem to be correct.”
    I hope that’s not meant to be insulting. I do have pretty thin skin, you know. *Sniff*

  • Caiphen Martini

    Modusoperandi

    I’m a Rhino. At least my wife says so. Ha, ha. If I came across as thin skinned, I’m not. You guys are a walk in the park compared to some people involved in cross denominational arguments, believe me. I actually respect your decision to decide that prophecy is bunk. I’m over it. I understand your points, but I don’t accept them.

    (There’s far more to discuss than that. Limiting yourself only limits yourself).

    Touche. You’re right.

    (Arguments don’t. Facts do. All we can do is present the facts. The rest is up to you.)

    Good man. We’re thinking alike.

    (I hope that’s not meant to be insulting. I do have pretty thin skin, you know. *Sniff*)

    You too should be a Rhino. No, it was never meant to be insulting.

    Now I’m kinda sick of this website. But don’t worry, I’ll be back. If life is only fleeting, I need to do other stuff.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “I understand your points, but I don’t accept them.”
    Whether they’re “our” points or whether you accept them or not are moot. It’s either true or it isn’t. Daniel is right up to a point, then it has to be seriously distorted to fit, if memory serves. Nostradamus-style prophecy fits quite well…after the fact. Neither tailoring the interpretation of the prophecy to fit the facts or finding that the prophecy fits something…eventually makes prophecy prophecy. It makes it post-hoc.
    Prophecy is bunk isn’t the argument; it’s the conclusion.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen

    (I’m pretty sure though he could not have been a “Darwin” as he would not have accepted the evidence against creation.) Interesting Steve Bowen, are you saying that there is actually evidence in favour of creation?

    Nice try :) but no, the existence of evidence for or against something does not imply the opposite has to exist. In a scientific context though the longer evolution can’t be falsified the more the creation hypothesis becomes untenable. My point about Newton was that he operated in a philosophical space that was not going to contradict his faith. He expects God’s universe to be mechanistic and predictable. The reason I suggest he would not have “been a Darwin” is that he would not have looked beyond creation for an explanation of life (actually Modus’ point is different, If Newton lived post Darwin he may have grown up with a completely different world view, but that is not what I am saying)

    Alternatively, again I think I’m showing open mindedness by considering the idea of God being fundamentally involved in various world religions if he/she does exist, not just involved in Christianity.

    Well as Dawkins famously said “there is such a thing as being so open minded your brains drop out”. But this doesn’t really describe your position, as you have already discounted a biblically literal “case for a creator” because you accept the evidence for evolution. Assuming we never do find fossil rabbits in the pre-cambrian or a similar bombshell we can safely assume you will continue to reject Genesis. Similar understanding of abiogenesis hypotheses or aspects of cosmology may lead you to reject deistic creationism too. We will have to wait and see.

    I only brought up the subject of prophecy because your website mentions it. Why is it mentioned if you are going to mock anyone who brings it up?

    Actually you brought up the subject of prophesy as a major reason for your involvment with SDA, more specifically it assumes a literal interpretation of Daniel as being a true and contemporaneous account of a “successful” prohet. However as stated above, you have already rejected Genesis, so why does Daniel bolster your theism? Probably because unlike Genesis it has not been falsified and in some respects can’t be because even if it is a post hoc account of events we won’t know if it was an accurate one or not(I know where my money is though).

  • Caiphen Martini

    I think I’m addicted to this Website. I should be doing something else. Actually I need to talk to people of reason and I get that when I talk to you guys, bar the odd sarcastic remark made by the likes of Thumper and friends above. Only teasing Thumps!

    (Nice try :) but no, the existence of evidence for or against something does not imply the opposite has to exist)

    I couldn’t help myself, too tempting!

    (Actually you brought up the subject of prophesy)

    Yes I brought it up in this thread, but Ebon mentions prophecy elsewhere on this site. I thought it may be relevant.

    (Similar understanding of abiogenesis hypotheses or aspects of cosmology may lead you to reject deistic creationism too.)

    Oh yeah, I admit it. But in my abiogenesis (abio) uneducated, Electrical Engineering state, at least some kind of intelligent design (ID) seems the most plausible. If after studying abio I still think ID is more plausible, I’ll be pulling out the same size stick that you guys use.

    (so why does Daniel bolster your theism?)

    Before I got involved in SDA, I thought it was a bunch of nonsense, at least their interpretation of it. But after studying it, I could see that there’s no nonsense involved. If you really want to know for yourself, I can send you a link. Now before I bring this subject up again in another comment, judging by some comments above, I don’t think it is beneficial. What do you reckon?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Steve,
    One little nit:

    In a scientific context though the longer evolution can’t be falsified the more the creation hypothesis becomes untenable.

    I would say that the success of evolution doesn’t necessarily make creationism untenable. But the lack of evidence and the evidence that accrues that contradicts creationism does. Now, it just so happens that evidence for evolution seems to be evidence that contradicts creationism…

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Oh yeah, I admit it. But in my abiogenesis (abio) uneducated, Electrical Engineering state, at least some kind of intelligent design (ID) seems the most plausible. If after studying abio I still think ID is more plausible, I’ll be pulling out the same size stick that you guys use.

    What evidence for ID do you have? It’s simply not logically or rationally correct to default to “goddidit” unless there’s some argument to dissuade you from your presuppositional position. In order for ID to be plausible, there actually has to be some evidence for it. IDists are famously unable to conjure up any evidence for their position, instead relying on false dichotomies and creationist arguments against evolution.

    IOW, you’re still making the same mistake of defaulting to god unless it can be disproven, instead of asking yourself if god can be proven.

  • Scotlyn

    Caiphen – was the designer having a bad day when she wired up my eye with an avoidable blind spot, my throat with an avoidable conflict between my air and my food intake conduits, my pelvis to turn my babies around to face backwards while giving birth so that it’s harder for me to catch them myself – in fact, my babies’ heads just that d*mn bit too big to “fit” comfortably (on second thoughts, I’ve already proved that this designer is definitely not female), etc, etc.? No doubt many other examples of bad design could be brought up here…

    The thing is, if evolutionary processes are responsible for the way we are, then you can understand that we are not the epitome of perfection, we are instead the product of one cobbled together fix on top of another, with novel functions assigned to already existing structures, that’ll just about do the job, and other structures left behind that are no longer useful, but not harmful enough to be weeded out.

    If a designer did it, though, s/he’d be able to start from scratch and re-design everything whenever s/he wanted to, without having to use whatever is already around. Since the designer would have had a few billion years by now to work on the project and get it right – you’d think we’d be pretty damn perfect, and also pretty novel and not necessarily connected to anything that went before. And if the designer was female – you can bet childbirth would be a lovey and pleasant trip.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    In addition to the above arguments, excellent one and all [he said, jumping onto the dogpile], there’s the following objection: ID’s “Designer” suffers from the same infinite regress flaw as Aquinas’s God. Who designed the Designer? And how complex must that Designer be?

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    And how complex must that Designer be?

    Yep. This is one of my favorites. However I’m not sure how the answer plays out. Intuitively a Genesis style designer has to be complex than the design, but what about the Deist’s designer. Evolution by natural selection is a simple algorithm and the complexity emerges. God could be a bright first grader.

  • Scotlyn

    Yeah, wouldn’t you love to be at “show and tell” in that first-grader’s universe?

    “…’t'th my chaoth pwoject. Mummy wanted to put it in the middow of the dining table, but Daddy thayth it’th too wiowd and pwimitive and it thould go in the thed.”

  • Caiphen Martini

    Scotlyn

    I like your humour. Funny.

    Before I send a comprehensive reply comment I need to do further studies on abiogenesis. All I’ll say is this, when my children were born, I never thought for one moment that they were a mishmash of bad design. Whether or not you believe a baby is a miracle from God, and/or a ‘miracle’ of evolution, they’re a miracle nonetheless. I was floored by the majesty of the experience. And so was my wife.

    Caiphen

  • Scotlyn

    Caiphen – of course, the birth of my own children, poor fit and all, was accompanied by the natural feelings engendered by high production of oxytocin and nameless endorphins, and I instantly knew that my children were absolutely unmatchable specimens of humanity, definitely destined for higher things and that everyone around me should be capable of discerning their superlativeness and finding them as unconditionally loveable as I did.

    Unfortunately, just as it has gone for me in the presence of other people’s children, this appreciation of children’s general miraculousness did not always materialise.

    (Of course, from the design point of view, my own children could have been improved – smaller heads, at least at first; clearly distinguishable signals for pain, hunger, boredom; self-cleaning bottoms…I could go on…)

  • Leum

    Caiphen: Here’s a good starting point for abiogenesis research. It briefly discusses the RNA world hypothesis and the possibility of RNA molecule replication.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Yep. This is one of my favorites. However I’m not sure how the answer plays out. Intuitively a Genesis style designer has to be complex than the design, but what about the Deist’s designer. Evolution by natural selection is a simple algorithm and the complexity emerges. God could be a bright first grader.

    Quite true. My reply only answers IDers.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Thanks Leum- When I get to it. I’m looking at a number of sources.

  • other scott

    I can quite easily see the response that many theists would have if we actually managed to creature life in a lab, soemthing that I can easily imagine happening in our life times. There would be utter outrage, they would claim that what we did was an affront to god, etc, etc. Many wouldn’t even see it as a step to proving that thre is no need for a god, they would just see it as an insult to their personal magician in the sky because only he is allowed to create new life.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    No, other scott, it would just prove Intelligent Design. That it reduces the completely anonymous and in no way biblical Designer to some lab-bound nerd doesn’t seem to bother them.

  • other scott

    Good point!! Wow, i can’t believe I didn’t even see that point of it.

    I’ve always wondered why theists need to endow a creator with so much power and then decide that the creator is worthy of worship. I mean there is an equal chance that the creator was actually some fat dude who took a crap and what came out was what we know as the universe.

  • Leum

    More realistically, they’d just say it didn’t count cause we didn’t make the molecules out of nothing like God did.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Leum/ Others

    Pardon my ignorance, what is the latest theory on where the original building blocks of the universe came from? I’m not necessarily talking about the Big Bang theory. But perhaps before that.

    I’m not saying me, but generally what I calI IDists have a problem with the seeming inadequacies of the evidence on ultimate origins. I’m just trying to get an atheists take on it.

    Now, FYI, I living in Australia, am unfamiliar with the American ID movement. Are they literal 6 day creationists? If they are, I’m as astounded as you guys are.

    Caiphen

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Pardon my ignorance, what is the latest theory on where the original building blocks of the universe came from? I’m not necessarily talking about the Big Bang theory. But perhaps before that.

    If you are asking in connection with abiogenesis I suggest you start with assumption that galaxies, solar systems and therefore planets exist. Otherwise you are getting into aspects of cosmology and physics that I suspect will take you a long time to get to grips with (I definitely haven’t, it is outside my core discipline so I could only offer you pop science). To ask what is before the big bang is probably meaningless in the context of our universe as time and space were “created” (there must be a better word) at that point, there is no “before”. The atheist take on it would be that whatever the reason is that there is something rather that nothing, that reason won’t be a creator / prime mover / intelligent designer, as that is not an answer that doesn’t require even more explanation than the existence of something in the first place.

  • DamienSansBlog

    I’ve unleashed a monster beyond my control! Ah, well, time to dance the old dance again…

    “…probably meaningless in the context of our universe as time and space were ‘created’ (there must be a better word)”

    “Appeared”? “Originated”? “Began”?

  • DamienSansBlog

    As for…Caiphen? That’s awfully kind, many thanks.

    Please excuse our tetchiness when somebody, however well-intentioned, mentions religious prophecy. They always tend not to be what they’re cracked up to be by the High Priests of this world. For example, the Book of Daniel contains so many errors regarding the simple function and royal succession of the Persian Empire — let alone the rise and fall of empires and the final disposition of the Earth — that it is practically worthless as a source of trustworthy information. Selective mistranslations, multiple possible meanings, and occasionally plain error, all apply to other divine prophecies, both in the Bible and elsewhere: see Isaiah 17:1, Isaiah 19:18, Ezekiel 21:32, Ezekiel 29:8, Ezekiel 29:20, Matthew 16:28, and practically all of Micah 5 for examples.

    We seem to have drifted into a discussion of Creationism, which is not quite the same thing as believing in Christianity, Adventist or otherwise. As I recall, you said you were a Christian because you thought the Christian interpretation of certain scriptures was correct. If the prophecies in those scriptures have turned out to be…less than helpful…to the faithful, perhaps there’s something else in the Bible that inspires your devotion?

    I think I’m addicted to this Website. I should be doing something else.

    Is there some other pressing need on your time? A garage that needs to be cleaned, bookshelves to be sorted? (Which reminds me…oh, darn it! Gotta go…)

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    We seem to have drifted into a discussion of Creationism,

    Only since to O.P :)

  • DamienSansBlog

    Well, yes, of course. :P

  • Leum

    Pardon my ignorance, what is the latest theory on where the original building blocks of the universe came from? I’m not necessarily talking about the Big Bang theory. But perhaps before that.

    It isn’t meaningful to speak about before the Big Bang. The Big Bang was an expansion of space-time itself. Time began with the Bang and so, strictly speaking, there can’t have been a before. In any case, the initial conditions are believed to have been the expansion of a singularity. In the initial moments it would have been too hot for anything but energy to have existed. As it cooled, some of this energy condensed into hydrogen and helium molecules. Through several generations of solar nucleosynthesis, successive generations of stars produced the elements we know and love today.

    I’m afraid I don’t know enough cosmology to talk about why the Big Bang itself occurred. That may not even be the right sort of question, what with time–and hence causality–itself coming into existence with the singularity’s expansion.

    Now, FYI, I living in Australia, am unfamiliar with the American ID movement. Are they literal 6 day creationists? If they are, I’m as astounded as you guys are.

    The ID movement prefers not to talk about the age of the Earth in too-specific terms. But they tend not to have a problem with a 10+ billion year old universe and a 4.6 billion year old Earth. They object to the idea that unguided evolution aided by spontaneous, random, genetic mutation could have produced complex life.

    The anti-evolution forces here in the US do include literal six-day-creationists, however, including people who want a Young Earth creation taught in our public schools. The IDists are two steps down. Above them are the Young and Old Earth Creationists, who believe either in a literal six day creation as described in Genesis 1* or that at least some parts, especially with respect to humanity, that there were later creative events done directly by God without recourse to evolution or genetic mutation.

    Officially, the IDists believe that God created the world using the mechanisms of evolution, but that God also intervenes to create certain features (e.g. eyes) in a single event, rather than over a period of several generations by means of natural selection and spontaneous genetic mutation. Officially, their main objection is something called “irreducible complexity,” the idea that a feature could not have evolved if it could not carry out its present function if any one part of that feature were removed.

    However, based on literature like the Wedge Document, many of us believe that their ultimate aim is to have creationism taught in our public schools. More so than any other school of thought on origins, ID is a political, not a religious or scientific, movement.

    The next step down is Theistic Evolution, which is basically the same as the atheistic brand, except that God plays a mild, probably undetectable, role in guiding the evolutionary process. It tends to be an entirely religious, rather than political, school of thought.

    Then, way at the bottom, in the Ninth Circle of Hell, is atheistic evolution (though it could certainly be believed in by a theist). Posits that God played no role at all in the evolution of life.

    *Please, they beg, please don’t ask us about Genesis 2

  • Caiphen Martini

    (However, based on literature like the Wedge Document, many of us believe that their ultimate aim is to have creationism taught in our public schools).

    I see your concern/s. To state the obvious, the scientific critical method of investigation should be maintained in speight of any political influence. Hopefully America’s top scientific minds will maintain their obligation to ensure this stays so.

    To a different topic. In view of everything that I have come across on this website, I don’t see anything that could possibly shatter a person’s belief in God. Actually, I don’t see any contradiction between a belief in God and anything that science has discovered, including humanity meeting it’s ancestors. A case for a creator can still be maintained, albeit different to Lee Strobel’s literature. I understand that God has to be scientifically proven before an atheist were to believe, but there are so many other reasons to believe in God that aren’t scientific. Without diverting the discussion into an alternate subject, for example, it’s pretty hard to deny that there is a God when there’s been a completely inexplicable event in your family. I know that a belief in God based on such an event/s may be classified as scientifically irrational, but may be rational otherwise.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen

    , I don’t see anything that could possibly shatter a person’s belief in God. Actually, I don’t see any contradiction between a belief in God and anything that science has discovered, including humanity meeting its ancestors.

    It all depends on what kind of god you want to believe in. If you want to believe in the literal creations of the Bible or the Quran, then science is a very big problem for you, because all the evidence is against it. If you want to believe in a more abstract first cause intelligence you can find all sorts of ways to reconcile that existence with the observable universe, but all those ways render such a god totally unfalsifiable and beyond the reach of science. However there are still logical and philosophical reasons why such a god is also unlikely.
    Like many theists you appear to pick and choose what kind of god you believe in depending on what you require of it. You have rejected the 6 day creation elsewhere and accept evolution, so in that sense your belief tends to deism. However

    it’s pretty hard to deny that there is a God when there’s been a completely inexplicable event in your family

    suggests that you want to believe in a real and present interventionist god that directly affects your daily life. To follow your digression a little way, without knowing what kind of inexplicable event you are referring to, it’s difficult to give a specific response. But many theists selectively ascribe divine intervention to events they perceive as highly improbable, usually because they misunderstand how probable it really was. For example take a large cohort of theists (any religion) who also have cancer. We can reasonably expect that all of them will pray for their condition to be cured or alleviated. Out in the real world, cancer is a spectrum condition from highly aggressive metastatic tumours at one end, through relatively benign slower growths to spontaneously remitting conditions at the other end. All our hypothetical patients pray, a few of them go into spontaneous remission (or are cured by medical intervention) the rest of them over various timescales succumb to the disease. If you are a theist and survive you are going to attribute your survival to God, especially if you are one of the very few who go into spontaneous remission. It may seem miraculous, but it isn’t because some cancers do remit, a lot of people have cancer and a lot of people are religious.

  • other scott

    “it’s pretty hard to deny that there is a God when there’s been a completely inexplicable event in your family”

    Unless your family member grew an arm after it was chopped off, chances are it wasn’t ‘inexplicable’

  • Caiphen Martini

    Steve

    Without getting too deep into this discussion, there’s a whole doctrinal argument to suggest that the bible was never meant to be taken literally, dated at about 1000 AD. I reckon I believe the bible in the way it was always meant to be interpreted.

    About the inexplicable event in my family, since you continued that line of discussion. Straight to the point. In Sweden, my niece was born with her intestines on the outside of her body, part of which, if they had to operate to put the intestine into her body, would need to be removed. Without going into all the details, she was given an absolute zero percent chance of survival, so much so that the specialist put her on a drug that would make her comfortable but destroy her liver. 1 week went by- she grew fatter. 2 weeks went by- the same. The Doctor, competely amazed decided to operate, with a team of Doctors from various parts of Europe to remove most of her intestine and place what was left in her body, which would in itself claim her life, but they couldn’t leave a baby with intestines left like that. Operation time- contrary to what was seen on numerous observations prior, her intestines were seen to be healthy and no intestine needed to be removed. The doctor not needing the team of specialists, now an expensive cheer squad, saw the original doctor successfully operate by putting all of her intestine into her body. The original doctor came out of the operation room glowing and said to my relative, I have just witnessed my first miracle. Incidentally her liver, in speight of being subject to a damaging drug, is now also perfectly healthy. If you want to believe, non scientific method evidence is all over christanity and elsewhere. But there is always room for scepticism, and as a consquence, there will always be atheists. Did I ever tell you that I once called myself an atheist? No, I never. I wanted to believe, and now I do. Most of the world, whom believe in God, are not delusional.

  • other scott

    I don’t mean to insult your family there either mate incase it seems that way. I’ve lost family members to disease and I know that it’s never good, even if they do get better.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen
    Gastroschisis (the condition you describe) is a relatively common occurrence. In fact believe it or not, my best friend’s Grandaughter was born 3 years ago with this condition and the prognosis for her survival was similar. Now admittedly, the hospital did not attempt to euthenase her and as far as I know no liver destroying drug was administered. They did however operate, suspending her intestines in a plasic sling above her for a period of 6 days as they were slowly allowed to settle into the incision in her belly. Needless to say, she survived and is now a healthy and bright child (minus a navel, a peculiarity which she is quite proud of). The point is fantastic medical intervention as this was, it was not a miracle.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Oh and…

    Without getting too deep into this discussion, there’s a whole doctrinal argument to suggest that the bible was never meant to be taken literally, dated at about 1000 AD. I reckon I believe the bible in the way it was always meant to be interpreted.

    So does every other christian. That’s the problem.

  • other scott

    “If you want to believe, non scientific method evidence is all over christanity and elsewhere.”

    This is a two way street my friend. If you want to take every time somebody heals from what seems like a fatal injury, etc as evidence for a god. You should also take every time somebody doesn’t heal from what seems like a fatal injury/disease/affliction, etc as evidence that there is no god.

    If you were interviewing 100 witnesses of a murder and only 1 could place the accused at the scene of the crime, you cannot disregard the 99 other peoples statements and only listen to the anomoly. If anything, when looking for patterns, evidence, etc, the one anomoly that sticks out like a sore thumb should be disregarded as a statisical improbability, not given extra weight as evidence.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    In view of everything that I have come across on this website, I don’t see anything that could possibly shatter a person’s belief in God.

    I don’t see any reason for someone to believe in god in the first place.

    Actually, I don’t see any contradiction between a belief in God and anything that science has discovered…it’s pretty hard to deny that there is a God when there’s been a completely inexplicable event in your family.

    Um, isn’t this a contradiction?

    Also, not to make light of your daughter’s condition, but isn’t this an argument from ignorance or incredulity? If it was a miracle, ganesh truly is great.

    Most of the world, whom believe in God, are not delusional.

    Argument from popularity.

    I reckon I believe the bible in the way it was always meant to be interpreted.

    Funny, because every other believer claims the same thing, including those who disagree with you.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    If you want to believe, non scientific method evidence is all over christanity and elsewhere.

    Textbook case of begging the question.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    other scott “You should also take every time somebody doesn’t heal from what seems like a fatal injury/disease/affliction, etc as evidence that there is no god.”
    Or like when God saves five out of a hundred and eighty people in a plane crash? Or, like this where Allah miraculously saves a mosque…while wiping out a quarter million people.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Guys

    Actually, you guys are good. I kinda look you all, sarcasm included. I have to take my hat off to you. Good arguments, but I have to beg to differ. There won’t be a result to this disagreement, probably ever. Don’t you reckon? There’ll always be something to counter an argument from either side. I’ll still come back from time to time. I have unfinished business with Thumpalumpacus especially. I have to say, this website is refining my belief. Until next time…. Caiphen.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Also Caiphen

    there’s a whole doctrinal argument to suggest that the bible was never meant to be taken literally, dated at about 1000 AD.

    Perhaps because at that time for some (possibly in the islamic world which was quite scientific at the time) the incongruency was beginning to show. By 1200 or so the writings of Aristotle, Ptolemy and others were available to European scholars which may have provoked that view of the bible.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    There’ll always be something to counter an argument from either side.

    I disagree.

    If god were to actually, unambiguously show himself to all of us, it would be pretty hard to dispute that. On the flip side, I find it hard for theists to dispute the inherent contradictions in most conceptions of god. Either way, as it stands, the theist does not have anything to counter most of the arguments from atheists.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Caiphen:

    My sympathies for your niece.

    Incidentally her liver, in speight of being subject to a damaging drug, is now also perfectly healthy.

    The liver has long been known to have regenerative capability.

    I wanted to believe, and now I do.

    This is a telling quote. Wish-fulfillment does not a deity make. I’m glad your niece is thriving, but I’m curious why god gets the credit here and not the doctor.

    Most of the world, whom believe in God, are not delusional.

    As Sam Harris has noted, there is sanity in numbers.

  • Caiphen Martini

    (I’m glad your niece is thriving, but I’m curious why god gets the credit here and not the doctor).

    Because the doctor himself did. Part of the reason anyway.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    That’s odd. The doctor has the “god complex” all wrong.

  • Caiphen Martini

    (This is a telling quote. Wish-fulfillment does not a deity make).

    Yep, I agree. My faith has withstood many years of criticism, from others but especially from myself. We’ll see whether or not it can withstand ‘Daylight Atheism’.
    DA hasn’t even come close as yet.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    My faith has withstood many years of criticism, from others but especially from myself. We’ll see whether or not it can withstand ‘Daylight Atheism’.

    I’m sure it can, not that anyone here cares one way or the other as no-one is out to deconvert you. There are theists that comment on this site who are (with respect) better theologically, scientifically and philosophically equipped than you appear to be. However regardless of how well their arguments in defense of faith are put it usually boils down to “I believe because I believe and I believe in my belief”. Most of us here know that rational argument is not going to change that mindset (which is not to say we don’t enjoy trying).

  • Caiphen Martini

    Steve
    I’ll go away sulking now……..joking.

    Yep..there’s always someone better out there than any of us in anything.

    If your case is good enough, yeah, I’ll deconvert, or should I say ‘convert’.

    I think you would agree with this- no particular group has a monopoly on rationality.

    Caiphen

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen
    I didn’t intend to insult your intelligence of course. I’ve learnt a great deal myself lurking around Daylight Atheism (except to resist getting involved in off topic threads but hey). However to illustrate my point you might be interested in this thread and subsequent dialogues with M.S Quixote, a long time and respected theist commenter on this site.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Steve
    I realise you wouldn’t try to, if you knew me you’d realise that I’m a very facetious character.
    OK, I’ll not stay on this thread any longer. Sorry Ebon. But it’s not all my fault!
    I’ll comment on another thread at a later date.

    Caiphen

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Nice going, guys. Caiphen was my ride.

  • DamienSansBlog

    I wonder if Caiphen considered that the doctor might have been speaking metaphorically, or using a turn-of-speech. What a lot of agonizing he’s (apparently) feeling over a simple verbal misunderstanding!

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I think you would agree with this- no particular group has a monopoly on rationality.

    In a general sense? No, I wouldn’t disagree.

    In the specific sense of the god question? Yes, I disagree. I contend that one can not get to god without using logical fallacy and/or irrational means, meaning that theists are irrational when it comes to the question of god’s existence. They may be right, but they have not attained that position through rational thinking.

  • Caiphen Martini

    I wasn’t going to comment again for a while, but….. We live in a world where just the right conditions exist for life. Life is highly complex. Right? Or am I being irrational in saying that? And this complex life is completely and utterly dependant on all the earth’s forces keeping in equilibrium. Am I still being irrational? So if coming to a conclusion that there is a possibilty a designer(God) exists is irrational. Then irrational I am. You’ve got me, I’m guilty. Of course the argument can get a hell of a lot deeper than the way I’ve put it, but I’m now out of steam. Argue with someone else. FYI, I’m still smiling (no sarcasm intended).

    I still like you guys, but you are giving me a headache!

    Damien- no verbal misunderstanding. The story is a lot more convincing than the way I’ve summarised it. But don’t believe me. It’s upto you what you believe.

    See ya.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    <blockquote<We live in a world where just the right conditions exist for life. And puddles are just the right shape for the hole they lie in.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    We live in a world where just the right conditions exist for life.

    And puddles are just the right shape for the hole they lie in.

    (second time lucky)

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    That’s what I was gonna say Steve.

    Caiphen,
    We are the way we are because we have evolved to fit the world around us, not the other way around. The best you can say is that we exist, therefore sufficient conditions exist to allow that. Extrapolating to a god is premature and illogical.

  • lpetrich

    THe Earth is one of many places in the Universe, so its suitability is easily explained by natural selection. Look at the rest of the Solar System and how inhospitable it is. Every Earth organism requires liquid water to metabolize and grow, and the Earth is the only place in the Solar System which has a lot of it.

    As to us, we’d die in a couple minutes anywhere else in the Solar System unless we are wearing spacesuits, and there are places were even a spacesuit cannot protect us.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Thanks guys. If I wasn’t considering atheism, I wouldn’t be here. I understand your perpective. Thankyou. The jury is out. This isn’t about winning an argumment, it should be an informed judgement that is a 2 way street. I think myself rational, if I can’t prove to myself that Theism is rational, I’ll drop it. I’ve just thrown a lot of stuff at you to see what the atheist perpective is. Thanks again.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Caiphen Martini “If I wasn’t considering atheism, I wouldn’t be here.”
    You don’t “consider” atheism, man. It just happens. You’re walking along and BOOM, you realize that the reason children get cancer is because there’s no cosmic conductor at the switch (or, if there is, it doesn’t care or won’t interfere…which is pretty much the same thing) and you’re going to die and there’s nothing you can do about it…
    I’m not selling it very well, am I?

    “I think myself rational, if I can’t prove to myself that Theism is rational, I’ll drop it.”
    If you’re trying to prove to yourself that faith is rational, then you’re already halfway to atheism. Once you get all the way there, you no longer have to wrestle with things like the Problem of Evil and you get a pack of coupons for Subway. Make no mistake; they are sandwich artists.

  • Caiphen Martini

    (Make no mistake; they are sandwich artists).

    Best comment yet. Do you work for them or something? Actually, you don’t have to answer that. It’s irrelevant.

    I understand natural selection, I hated that subject at school. Actually, I more hated my teacher, but that was a long time ago. Anyway, don’t you think that of all the innumerous things that could have gone wrong in human development that there must be some kind of coordinator? Remember, if atheists are right, it seems we’ve become an intelligent being through a highly improbable event? It all seems pretty remote to me. Actually, in some documentary by Richard Dawkins, the same thing is stated by a colleague or pier of his whom he interviewed. You know, the same documentary in which he interviewed that minister that later got caught with a homosexual sex worker.

  • Alex, FCD

    Martini:

    Anyway, don’t you think that of all the innumerous things that could have gone wrong in human development that there must be some kind of coordinator?

    Do you mean development or evolution?

    Remember, if atheists are right, it seems we’ve become an intelligent being through a highly improbable event? It all seems pretty remote to me.

    If I understand you, this is a restatement of the anthropic principle: if x,y and z hadn’t all happened we wouldn’t be here to talk about it. The AP can’t be used as evidence for a deity, though. Assume, for the sake of argument, that there is no god and no miracles. Given this, and that humans exist, the probability that x, y and z (the necessary conditions for human existence) are true is 100%. However, if there is a god, the probability that x, y and z are true is less than 100%, because god could have just magicked humans into existence anyway.

    If I ever remember who I stole that argument from, I’ll let you know.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Alex

    I’m not shaken nor even stirred, my name is Caiphen. Actually, I refrain from alcohol.

    I mean evolution. You’re right, I should have chosen my words more carefully.

    I’m not convinced of your argument. Can you give me a fuller version of it please?

  • Caiphen Martini

    Actually, to explain a Theistic point, from what you’ve argued thus far. It’s highly unlikely that the substation I’m buliding will exist if I, or someone else, doesn’t do X,Y and Z. So someone does X,Y,and Z to make it happen. Thus obviously there is a coordinator, in this case- me.

  • Alex, FCD

    Caiphen:

    I’m not shaken nor even stirred, my name is Caiphen. Actually, I refrain from alcohol.

    Well, I abstain from martinis

    I’m not convinced of your argument. Can you give me a fuller version of it please?

    I can give it in more concrete terms. Say we make the observation that, at some point, natural selection favored phenomenal brain power in a certain group of animals. In an atheistic universe, we have to make that observation, because there’s no other way to get observation-making things. It could’ve gone either way, of course, but if natural selection hadn’t happened to favor observation-making capabilities, there wouldn’t be anything to make the observation that this had happened.

    In a theistic universe, however, we don’t have to make that observation, because there is another way to get an observation-making creature: miracles. It’s perfectly possible to observe that better brain function is never selected for (recall that in the atheistic universe we can’t observe this because we don’t exist).

    In summary: in an atheistic universe, there is a 100% chance that we observe natural selection acting to increase brain power at least once, but in a theistic universe, there is less than a 100% chance that we make that observation because of the possibility of miracles. So when you say “It seems awfully unlikely that natural selection would favor increased brainpower. I mean, aren’t we more likely to make that observation in a theistic universe?” I am justified in replying “no we are not”.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Very good argument. Thanks.

    You guys have given me enough information to consider. Actually, my head is in overload mode. I’ll talk to you again a bit later.

    Caiphen

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen

    Anyway, don’t you think that of all the innumerous things that could have gone wrong in human development that there must be some kind of coordinator?

    and

    Remember, if atheists are right, it seems we’ve become an intelligent being through a highly improbable event?

    You are mis-understanding the likelyhood of these events. You are assuming for example that our particular human intelligence was some kind of evolutionary “goal”. Over vast amounts of time, prodigious numbers of species and countless billions of genetic combinations there will have been opportunities for all sorts of intelligence and self awareness to evolve. It needn’t have been in a particular species of ape, but it happens that was the one that got “lucky”. Yours are the probabilities of hindsight coupled with the fallacy that evolution posseses foresight.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Steve

    Thanks, I understand your perspective. Thankyou too for the information.

    I guess you could say dolphins are extremely intelligent, and that is an example of how you’re right.

    One thing, I understand agnosticism but not atheism. How could anyone really know, without any doubt, that there is no god? I guess you could use Richard Dawkin’s god to teapot analogy, right? But that argument seems to confirm agnosticism, not atheism. But I guess this is just about terminology.

    Q) Don’t you see any supernatural coordination on our planet at all, especially in the living world? Or perhaps possible supernatural coordination?

    I see a level of complexity that any engineer could never hope to achieve in a million lifetimes in a drip of our blood. When I see that complexity I say, wow, what an engineer. Now please correct me if I’m wrong. When you see it, you say, the abiogensis process started this and from there life (natural selection, etc) just took over.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    One thing, I understand agnosticism but not atheism. How could anyone really know, without any doubt, that there is no god?

    The clue is in the name A-Theism, not A-Deism. All atheists reject the existence of theistic gods of all stripes and colours, they are falsifiable and can be rejected. Only a very few would categorically say there is no intelligent first cause, for definite, absolutely. Such a being is not falsifiable although philosophically one can find plenty of reasons why one need not exist. The other thing about deistic gods is that they have so little impact on the universe today, other than as a first cause, they may as well not exist even if in fact they do.

    Don’t you see any supernatural coordination on our planet at all, especially in the living world? Or perhaps possible supernatural coordination?

    No

    I see a level of complexity that any engineer could never hope to achieve in a million lifetimes in a drip of our blood. When I see that complexity I say, wow, what an engineer.

    This is back to your personal incredulity issue. You are confusing something which looks designed (plants, animals etc) with something that is (watches, Jet-Fighters etc) You are absolute right to suggest that to build a fully functional animal from scratch would be an awesome feat of engineering, but you already know that didn’t happen, because you accept the facts of evolution. All you need to do is get your head around the mind-bogglingly enormous timescales evolution has been operating and the power the algorithm posesses. If you have the time can I suggest you read Darwins Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett, which explores the concept of natural selection both within and beyond the confines of the evolution of life. Another suggestion to stop you seeing life as designed would be to consider those cases where evolution has done a less than perfect job. If life really was designed by an omnipotent creator we would not expect to see these kinds of compromises.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Excellent comment Steve, hopefully adding another perspective will also help.

    Caiphen,
    Most atheists do not say that they know there is no god (without a doubt). Let’s make an example. Do you believe that there are no leprechauns? If so, that would make you a-leprechaunist. Does this mean that you’ve completely ruled out their existence or that you simply don’t believe they exist? We could substitute Allah in there and it would be the same. Yet, I’m sure you would concede that there is a chance (however small) that Allah and/or leprechauns exist. It is the same with (most) atheists. We don’t believe in god, which makes us atheists, but we don’t conclude that they definitely don’t exist.

    Also, to help with your difficulties with engineering and complexity, I suggest you look up genetic algorithms and how we use them. By using the simple tools of evolution, we’ve been able to design new items and solve problems that evaded the best efforts of many human engineers. It proves that the simple tools of nature can surpass our engineers, without recourse to any supernatural entity.

  • Caiphen Martini

    I’m considering your views. Actually, to be honest, I’ve considered similar for years. I still can’t say I completely accept your ideas right now, but we’ll see what transpires.

  • Caiphen Martini

    (It proves that the simple tools of nature can surpass our engineers)

    It could also be argued that this is another design of god. Neverending huh?

  • DamienSansBlog

    I see a level of complexity that any engineer could never hope to achieve in a million lifetimes in a drip of our blood.

    Ah, I see where you’re confused. A million lifetimes is a paltry 70 million years; life has been around in one shape or another for almost sixty times longer than that. And bear in mind, of course, that these are human lifetimes…to a bug or a fish that’s just crawled out of the primordial soup, we’re not talking sixty million lifetimes, but sixty billion or sixty trillion.

    Numbers like that make hash out of probabilities. It’s like the saying: “If you’re a one-in-a-million guy, there’s still a thousand people just like you in China.”

    Have you seen Cosmos? There’s a bit of the old series on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFqbm_94nTM I find it helps me, and it might be useful to you.

    PS: Incidentally, I’m still curious what in the Christian Bible inspires your faith in Christianity specifically.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    It could also be argued that this is another design of god. Neverending huh?

    I suppose you could try to argue that, but it would be a profound misunderstanding of what’s going on. All GAs do is use the well known mechanisms of evolution to solve complex problems that we can’t solve by ourselves. It’s a purely natural process.

  • Caiphen Martini

    (the power the algorithm posesses)

    I thought about this a little over lunch today. An algorithm without a mathematician, mmm. Hard to believe.

    It’s obvious that I don’t have the education in the required field to keep on arguing with you guys who obviously do. All I’ll say is this, I’m reading into the things that have been suggested to me. But I also have to look at the flip side. There are some brilliant minds out there, who’ve released very informative literature, who’d completely disagree with what you’re saying. But that’s beside the point. I have to make up my own mind with all the available evidence.

    Thanks for the info and for your time.

    One last comment. There are a many reasons why I keep my christian faith. Not least of which being, there’s no happier way for me to live my life. Well, you guys did ask.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    An algorithm without a mathematician, mmm. Hard to believe

    An omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent sky-fairy with a maths degree. mmm. hard to believe.

    Q? Do mathematicians invent algorithms or discover them?

    There are a many reasons why I keep my christian faith. Not least of which being, there’s no happier way for me to live my life.

    How do you know?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    And (just to tag team once again) how do you know that it is god or religion that is actually making you happy and not something else? What is it, specifically, about belief in a deity that makes you happy?

  • Caiphen Martini

    {And (just to tag team once again) how do you know that it is god or religion that is actually making you happy and not something else? What is it, specifically, about belief in a deity that makes you happy?}

    It’s only an incidental answer from a seeming incidental question guys. It’s not suppose to be part of the argument. Take it easy. Smile, life’s good.

  • Alex, FCD

    An algorithm without a mathematician, mmm. Hard to believe.

    Well, people and animals have been using algorithms unconsciously since before anybody formally described what algorithms are; so, no, not really.

  • other scott

    I can’t understand how religious people can view the whole complexity requires a creator arguement. I’ll pretend for a second that they are right, ignore the fact that evolution provides a perfect answer for why everything ‘seems to fit together so perfectly’. Basically what they say is that everything that is complex requires an even more complex designer, that is simply the way the world works. Well if this arguement is true, then the creator of us also must have been designed because obviously complex organisms/objects need a creator. And if god doesn’t need a creator, why is it that human beings do?? Surely we are less complex than the allmighty ;)

  • Caiphen Martini

    A quick question on a fundamental issue. The laws that governed the big bang or perhaps abiogenesis (assuming if correct) and of course perhaps even the discovered genetic algorithms (as mentioned by OMGF above). If God does not exist, thus there was no writer, how could they possibly have come into existence? Now if this question is too generic to answer here, please refer me to a book that answers it.

  • Caiphen Martini

    I should clarify my question. I didn’t exactly word it well in my haste.
    Not necessarily confined to, but concerning the laws that govern/governed abiogenesis, the big bang or even the discovered genetic algorithms. If the author (God) does not exist, how can these laws come into existence? Please refer me to literature that can answer this question if the answer cannot be given here.

    Incidentally, there is something I should express. I sincerely thankyou all for your patience as I’m finding out more and more about your perpective. I must be frustrating. My wife says that all the time.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    The physical laws of our universe are merely observations of how the universe works, not created entities unto themselves. There’s no need to talk about “how they come into existence” as they simply are. Actually, depending on how you view time, you could say they are timeless and always were and never ‘came into existence,’ per se.

    Still, it’s an unjustified leap to conclude that the way matter and energy interact in the universe requires some entity to set them in motion. It’s ultimately an argument from incredulity.

  • Ritchie

    The physical laws of our universe are merely observations of how the universe works, not created entities unto themselves. There’s no need to talk about “how they come into existence” as they simply are.

    I totally agree with OMFG. Too many people I’ve spoken to think of the laws of physics as some kind of code programmed into the universe – which of course implies a programmer. But the universe does NOT behave according to the laws of physics: the laws of physics were written to describe how the universe behaves. It is vital to get this the right way round!

    For example, there was gravity before the law of gravity ever existed. Sir Isaac Newton merely draw up the law of gravity to explain the attraction between two objects with mass.

    Consider a map of an island. The map has been drawn by a human to show to other humans the shape of the island. It is not that the island has been made in accordance with the map. The map merely represents the island in the same way that the laws of physics represent the way the universe works. It is not the case that the island was built according to the map in the same way that the universe is not bound to obey any laws of physics.

    The laws of physics represent how the universe works. The universe does NOT literally ‘obey’ any laws.

    Does that make sense?

  • Caiphen Martini

    Guys

    Thankyou for your explanation.

    You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen, one way of looking at this:

    Q. Why is there something instead of nothing?
    A. There are near infinite ways of there being something, there is only one way of there being nothing. Statistically therefore we will have something (and potentially many many different somethings).
    Some of those somethings will contain a structure that can lead to living things capable of observing that structure. By implication we must occupy one of those somethings.

  • Caiphen Martini

    But statistically, one of those somethings leading to great complexity and great intelligence seems so impossible or highly remote at the very least. I don’t know if I will ever get over this improbability.

    I understand your point. Pulling myself away from my current belief, the idea that a magician in the sky with a maths degree does sound ridiculous. But so does the idea that all this just happened.

    I guess as humans we ‘need’ to have a reason why. Perhaps there is no reason why. But let’s all be honest here, we are just too blinking brilliant for there to be no reason why. What I see under the microscope is just too ingenius. Religion just makes too much sense to reject.

    Now for your much welcomed critique.

    I have to be honest, I’m quite humbled by your perserverance. If you believe it, christians were directed by Jesus Christ to spread His word. But by far the majority of us are bland in comparison to the zeal I have seen in Daylight Atheism. You must all really believe in the cause you are fighting for. I’m really, really impressed.

  • Ritchie

    Caiphen Martini -

    Firstly, thanks for your kind words. It’s always nice to have a mature debate with people who respect the other side.

    As for assertion that we seem too brilliant to not be designed, I would respond by pointing to all the apparent flaws in nature. Humans have an appendix. Why? It does nothing useful and might give us appendicitis. It’s like a little time bomb which probably won’t go off, but it might. There is also the spine, which is a lousy solution to the problem of walking upright and in all too many cases results in paralysis, slipped discs, crooked spines, etc. A much better solution would be to have four cross-braced columns, but this is not what we have. Like most primates we have a gene for creting vitamin C within our own bodies, but unlike other primates ours is ‘disabled’, effectively useless. So we need to include vitamin C in our diet. So why do we have the useless gene? We have a vestigial tail (just a few extra vertebra) at the base of our spine which is visible while we are in the womb, but retreats back into the body before birth. Why? Most mammals get goosebumps when they are frightened or hot because they are covered in fur, so getting goosebumps lifts their fur and makes them seem bigger and ventilates their body heat better. We do not have fur (or at least not enough of it to make goosebumps any use at all). So why do we get goosebumps? We have too many teeth for our mouths. We eat and breathe through the same pipe in our throat, leading to many deaths by choking.

    And those are only a few of the physical flaws. There are mental ones too. Whilst our brains are indeed wonderful, they are far from as good as they could be had they been designed. Our memories are often inaccurate, and rely on association, not on logical storage of information as a computer’s is. Our languages, as has so often been pointed out, are to varying degrees illogical. Our beliefs seem genetically preprogrammed to fall for such fallacies as confirmation-bias or trusting the word of others. And there are more psychological disorders out there than you could shake a stick at.

    And it’s not just humans either. The BBC did a wonderful series dissecting a few iconic animals called Inside Nature’s Giants. Try to find it on youtube – particularly the episode on the giraffe. What struck me most was not how suited the giraffe was to it’s life, but how extreme all its body modifications were and what a thin line they each trod between asset and liability.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think nature is utterly beautiful as well as endlessly fascinating. But you seem to be under the impression that it is in some way ‘perfect’ or ‘well designed’. It really is far, far from it.

  • DamienSansBlog

    But statistically, one of those somethings leading to great complexity and great intelligence seems so impossible or highly remote at the very least. I don’t know if I will ever get over this improbability.

    But it only had to happen once. One planet, out of the trillions of planets in the Universe; one species, out of the two billion or more species that ever existed on Earth. It’s one-in-a-million in China, again.

    Perhaps there is no reason why. But let’s all be honest here, we are just too blinking brilliant for there to be no reason why. What I see under the microscope is just too ingenius.

    Well, I think we all agree with you on that one. But we differ as to what that reason is. The evidence shows that natural selection, compounded over billions of generations, is more than adequate to produce the kind of complexity we see in nature. (And as better minds than mine have already pointed out, it’s a very messy complexity, after all.) If you think it will help to get a grasp on the kind of numbers being thrown around here, count to a billion. Not even sixty billion, just one billion will do. We’ll wait. :)

    Since you’re not likely to spend the next thirty years counting on your fingers and toes, let’s just assume you Googled this webpage instead: http://www.expandyourmind.com/sciencefacts/

  • other scott

    Caiphen,

    The complexity that you observe in the natural world is the type of complexity that you would ONLY expect to see from millions upon millions of years of evolution and interaction within the species. There are certain figs that produce tiny little flowers inside their fruits that can only be polinated by one particular species of wasp. Where you automatically infer that intelligence caused this dependence, I find it far more reasonable to accept that a long, slow, steady process of evolution created this pairing.

    Imagine that there are two rocks, laying upon each other for millions of years and as creatures stood on them and moved over them, as winds lashed them and water slowly ate away at them, the two rocks might begin to form worn places where they meet. Now if enough time passed you might come along and pick up the rocks and then decide that those two rocks which fit together so perfectly must have been purposely created to fit together. I am quite happy to believe what the evidence tells me, that the earth has been around for some 4.5 billion years and that natural interactions are what cause these rocks to become linked.

    Think of it even like this: If you tie something around a tree, plant a stake near it’s base or wire around it’s branches. The tree will quite often grow around these obstacles and almost kind of half absorb them:

    (http://www.merhabaturkey.com/MOOREF/Tree%20w-faucet%20grow%20in.jpg)

    You could conclude that the tree and faucet were designed to fit together, they fit so perfectly. In reality the complexity witnessed here is once again completely natural. With creaures interacting all the time throughout the history of life on this planet, the ‘complexity’ that you observe and ascribe to a ‘designer’ is only natural. Think even of the complex nature of human relationships with each other, if you observed a class of kindergarten students you could see the complex social interweavings between the children. Observe these interactions as a complete outsider(as many humans consider themselves apart from the natural world). Surely when you see how the bully takes the weaker children’s money for his own this would mirror the complexities observed when a male lion steals the kill from the females? ‘Complexity’ in life is exactly what we should expect when two seperate objects interact over time. I know i’m harping on way too long here; but if you had two seperate pieces of string, one blue and one yellow, and placed both lengths in your pocket and walked around for a while, would you be surprised to find a complex series of knots in them? If you apply the same logic many theists use to the whole ‘complexity’ arguement, surely the knotted strings must have been designed together since their interactions are so complex.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Ritchie

    I have to admit, the best argument yet. Others have said something similar to me before, but yours was the best.

    To say there was no direction by God at all. I still think that the possibility is too great. I guess it all boils down to probability. I understand all the arguments that have been shown to me but still it seems the chance is too remote for us to be able to even correspond like this.

    On your comment on psychological disorders and on someone else’s question of why I retain my christian belief. One reason why I do is because I have seen the most amazing trasformations in people who have ‘met God’. I’ve seen drug addicts transform into pillars of society, rejects of society gain a self respect and change their whole life for the better. If the bible is just a forgery, it’s a brilliant one with an amazing ability to change people. No preaching intended- It’s almost like lighting a fire on sand and changing into glass.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Damien and other Scott

    Your comments came in while I was writing my last comment. Thanks for the information.

  • DamienSansBlog

    I still think that the possibility is too great. I guess it all boils down to probability. I understand all the arguments that have been shown to me but still it seems the chance is too remote for us to be able to even correspond like this.

    Things often seem different from what they really are. Our senses and emotions are fooled all the time; talk to some of those drug addicts and rejects about how things seemed to them at their lowest point. Or just think back to when you were a teenager: “It seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time!” You see?

    I have seen the most amazing trasformations in people who have ‘met God’.

    But there are just as many transformations among Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, secular philosophers, etc. as there are among Christians. If you happened to see more of said transformations among any of these groups — on vacation, let’s say — would it cause you to change your beliefs?

  • Caiphen Martini

    Damien

    If God exists, mmm- not too sure now. He doesn’t give a damn about what religion you belong to. If you ask him for your help, he’s gonna help ya. You talked about teenagehood, I haven’t held the belief that christianity is the be all and end all since then. I worded my last comment wrongly. I should have said God, not the bible, changes people.

    I have a feeling you poor Americans are exposed to too many christian fundamentalists.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    If God exists, mmm- not too sure now. He doesn’t give a damn about what religion you belong to. If you ask him for your help, he’s gonna help ya. You talked about teenagehood, I haven’t held the belief that christianity is the be all and end all since then.

    So this really boils down to belief in belief, right? You think that religion is a de facto good thing so it is a good thing to believe. While I would not deny that some religious structures help otherwise alienated individuals find a sense of purpose and a productive life, that does not make said religions true. The tragedy is that religion has so long monopolised the social work sector in many countries that the two have become almost synonymous. The danger is that they also act as recruitment drives for fundamentalists.

  • Ritchie

    Caiphen Martini -

    I suppose predictably, I don’t believe that God or the Bible has any powers to transform people – people do. All the really need is a crutch to cling to. People turn their lives around for the better for any number of reasons, from the birth of their first child to a sudden epiphany that they’ve hit rock bottom. Attributing their ‘life transformation’ to a recently discovered taste for religion is like attributing a run of recent good luck to a particular lucky charm. In the long run, the charm may be the focus of the person’s belief, but that does not mean it holds any actual power.

    However, if you mean that religion in general is a social force for the good, then I direct your attention to Ebon’s recent post Too High A Price To Pay For Comfort – it’s his forth most recent post.

    I guess it all boils down to probability. I understand all the arguments that have been shown to me but still it seems the chance is too remote for us to be able to even correspond like this.

    What is it that particularly strikes you as improbable?

  • DamienSansBlog

    Misters Ritchie and Bowen seem to be following this conversation better than I am. I’m afraid I have a few questions for you, Caiphen.

    1. My understanding is that you identify yourself as a religious believer, of the Christian persuasion. That is, though you acknowledge other people’s faiths and beliefs as no better or worse than yours, you happen to be a follower of Christianity. Am I mistaken? (If I am, just ignore questions 2 and 3.)

    2. You’ve given several reasons why you’re partial to Christianity. First you offered Biblical prophecy, which I think we’ve laid to rest.

    Then you offered the remarkable recovery of your niece as a miracle, and we pointed out that remarkable recoveries do not necessarily require a god, and certainly not an omnipotent Creator, who so loved the world that He gave…etc.

    Then you wondered whether human beings could arise in the Universe without a creator — not a specifically Christian creator, mind, maybe just “a magician in the sky with a maths degree” — and we’ve shown that, yes, even the wildest improbability can be conquered with enough space and time.

    Then you pointed out that being a Christian makes you happy, but you didn’t really specify how, and without that, I’m not sure why you couldn’t be equally happy as a Zoroastrian…or a Voodoo practitioner…or even an atheist.

    Then you wondered why the Universe has its inherent patterns and regularities — which for lack of a better word we call “laws” — without Somebody to set them in place. We have pointed out that it is more likely that these patterns emerged spontaneously, than it is that they were designed. A Designer, after all, has to have Its own patterns and regularities in order to exist, and would therefore need a Super-Designer, who would in turn need a Super-Duper-Designer, who… Whereas it’s much simpler to think of the laws of physics coming into existence all by themselves, and therefore more likely according to the Occam’s Razor principle.

    Now you claim that there’s a supernatural power out there — presumably the same as the Christian God, although you seem to be in some doubt — that changes people’s personalities and circumstances. Again, that is not necessarily so. Circumstances may change just because of luck, good or bad, or because of events that you or someone else set in motion a long time ago. People may change because of other people in their lives (friends, pastors, what-have-you), or because they have more life experience, or because their current lifestyle isn’t working for them anymore. Like Ritchie said, if the fullback has a lucky pair of socks, it doesn’t mean his team wins or loses because of them!

    Soooooo…if it’s not the Bible, and it’s not the Universe, and it’s not miracles, and it’s not comfort, then why are you still a Christian?

    3. You mentioned your wife. Is she also a Christian? What about other members of your family? Have you discussed any of this with them?

  • Caiphen Martini

    After this conversation I think the Pope would be in doubt. No disrespect to Catholics.

    I have to say, you guys have a convincing argument.

    (1)if it’s not the Bible, 2)and it’s not the Universe, 3)and it’s not miracles, and 4)it’s not comfort, 5)then why are you still a Christian?)

    1) Study the bible prophecy, then we’ll have that conversation again. Actually I’ll refer you to someone that can handle you guys better than I. If I’m fooled, then more brilliant minds than mine have been fooled too. So I have no reason to be embarrassed.

    2) I just don’t buy it. The living world is too brilliant. Human deficiencies and all.

    3) Every single person who was a first hand witness was convinced.

    4) Comfort has nothing to do with anything anyway.

    5) Nothing in modern science contradicts christianity.

    Without being too blunt. Who I speak to about this is my business. Thankyou.

  • other scott

    “Nothing in modern science contradicts christianity”

    Appologies my friend but this claim is not backed up at all. The Bible says the earth is 6000 years old; Science says it is at least 4.5billion years old. The Bible claims that a man was wished into creation and his rib used to make a woman and we are all descendant from these two people; scientific evidence says that we evolved on this planet. The bible claims that the country of Israel was founded by slaves of egypt and that a giant temple was built on temple mount; there is no archaeological evidence for this. The bible claims that a virgin woman gave birth, medical knowledge tells us this is impossible. The bible even goes so far as to claim that there is the ocean below us, the earth in the middle and then a giant freshwater lake above our heads where rain comes from.

    Infact if like you claim, all the religions are equal in that ‘god’ doesn’t care how you worship him. I would claim that modern science contradicts ALL religion. Lighting isn’t hurled by Zue, Satan doesn’t infest people and make them bad, Human’s don’t rise from the dead(unless brought back by modern science), the stars aren’t even holes poked through the celestial sphere.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Guys

    Settle, settle.

    Actually, this argument is causing me to read into this a lot more than I normally would. But I’m not going to change my belief in a moment. Don’t you guys think that’s reasonable? I’m questioning my belief and if I can clearly see it is wrong, I’ll drop it. I said that before.

    What you say makes alot of sense. But still, modern science has a lot to still explain in relation to our origins. Don’t you think? But that’s beside the point. If christianity or the idea that there is a God is clearly falsified, then I won’t believe anymore.

    I’m still going to study into this from both sides. Remember, there’s always a flip side. It was said to me that it is irrational to have a belief in God in this day and age. Well, there are some brilliant minds who are alive today that totally disagree with you. But still, I’ll make up my mind impartially and rationally. Fair enough?

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    I just don’t buy it. The living world is too brilliant. Human deficiencies and all.

    Agreed, this planet is awesome and mind-boggling. But why does the addition of God make that any more likely than natural processes

  • Caiphen Martini

    One more thing. You guys have shown me one side. I’m also now going to delve more into the other.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    You guys have shown me one side. I’m also now going to delve more into the other.

    When you find your way to the “other side” could you bring me back a Tee shirt?

  • DamienSansBlog

    Actually, this argument is causing me to read into this a lot more than I normally would. But I’m not going to change my belief in a moment. Don’t you guys think that’s reasonable? I’m questioning my belief and if I can clearly see it is wrong, I’ll drop it. I said that before.

    I think we should clear something up. “We guys” aren’t as concerned with your opinion as you are. (As Mr. Bowen pointed out halfway up the page.) It doesn’t sound like you want to be a Christian very much, in the cockles of your heart. But at the end of the day, we aren’t going to be the ones to lose sleep over all this. (Or having to argue with our family and friends…which is why I brought that up. My apologies if it made you uncomfortable.)

    Now, you did respond to my questions, but I’m not sure I understand the answers.

    1) Study the bible prophecy, then we’ll have that conversation again. Actually I’ll refer you to someone that can handle you guys better than I. If I’m fooled, then more brilliant minds than mine have been fooled too. So I have no reason to be embarrassed.

    None at all! But I’m curious how this someone deals with the prophecies which obviously failed — “see Isaiah 17:1, Isaiah 19:18, Ezekiel 21:32, Ezekiel 29:8, Ezekiel 29:20, Matthew 16:28, and practically all of Micah 5″. Please read them, if you haven’t already. Bear in mind that quite a lot of us have read the Bible, cover-to-cover, multiple times…and all of us have heard and considered its sundry claims and promises. In many cases, that is why we are atheists.

    2) I just don’t buy it. The living world is too brilliant. Human deficiencies and all.

    You are, of course, free to believe that orange juice is made with opossum milk, and not citrus fruit. All we can do is show you the label on the box, and its complete failure to mention marsupial mammary liquids. Whether you actually read it is your own business. ;)

    3) Every single person who was a first hand witness was convinced.

    People can be convinced of a lot of things, especially if they want to be convinced. People can misunderstand what they’re looking at, or — not in your personal experience, but in many others — be tricked into believing a falsehood, pure and simple. Strange events, however bizarre, are not proof that Zeus, Odin, Amen-Ra, or any other god was responsible.

    4) Comfort has nothing to do with anything anyway.

    Well, now I’m really confused. “There are a many reasons why I keep my christian faith. Not least of which being, there’s no happier way for me to live my life.” Your words, of the 14th. “Not least of which”, you said…at least as important, then, as all this talk about abiogenesis and metaphysics. But when OMGF and Mr. Bowen wanted to follow up, you shrugged it off as “incidental”. Since it seems to be the only valid reason you have for your faith (or would be if you were really at ease in Christianity, which you clearly aren’t) you’ll understand why we want to hear more about it.

    5) Nothing in modern science contradicts christianity.

    There are, I agree, some versions of Christianity that are less offensive to science than others. Not every Christian believes, as the early ones did and a few still do, that the sky is a crystal “firmament” spread over our heads, with holes to allow the Sun and Moon to pass through, lamps hanging from the rafters to serve as stars, and doors that can open for the rain to pour down.

    But quite frankly, the notion that a woman can give birth without being impregnated first is…well, the best you can say for it, is that it’s non-scientific. Parthenogenesis works for aphids and lizards: for human beings, not so much. The notion that our personality exists separately from our physical body, and can be judged after death…is non-scientific. The notion that a man, who is “not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead” for three days — by which time he ought to be stinking like Lazarus — can come back to life and wander around the neighborhood, exciting no comment except among his closest friends (some of whom, by the way, fail to recognize him even after touring Judea beside him for years)…is non-scientific. The notion that this same man could cure every kind of disease and disorder merely with the brush of his hand, a gob of his spit, or even a word in the air from miles away…is non-scientific.

    All of these notions are central to Christianity, every sect and every church. And I’m not especially sorry to say that they’re clearly incompatible with modern science.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Damien

    I get your point. I agree with you. Fertilising a virgin woman is completely unscientific. I can’t argue with that one.

    I’m not convinced by your arguments about origins. Seems too speculative. Agiogenesis seems very questionable. You guys have a lot to prove before I accept that one. I still have a lot to study about it though.

  • DamienSansBlog

    Caiphen, I am actually scratching my head. And blushing. I’ve never done that on account of an Internet comment, and believe me, I’ve seen some real boners in my time. (Heck, I’ve even made more than a few, right here on this website in fact!)

    Not only have you completely ignored every point I just tried to make — which, again, is your own business, and I don’t really mind since believers rarely make coherent answers to these kinds of questions anyway — but you seriously expect me to accept that the God hypothesis is less speculative than current cosmological theory? Is this…are you pulling my leg? Which galaxy is it that has Genesis 1:14 written in its stars? How exactly does the Hubble Constant reveal that Our Father art in Heaven, and giveth us our daily bread? The radiocarbon dating of Canadian zircon proves what, exactly, about the eternal nature of the Trinity and the role each part took in the Creation?

    Seriously, is this all some elaborate joke? Has anybody here seen The Birdcage? “I feel like I’m insane!”

  • Ritchie

    Caiphen Martini -

    I know this is going to sound really patronizing, but I can live with that…

    From my point of view, you are showing a lot of humility. It is of course perfectly reasonable to try to weigh up opposing points of view, and I recommend that you do. Largely because you seem intelligent enough to recognise that the replies of your religious friends will be as hollow as I expect they will be.

    Your deference to others ‘who can handle us better than you’ and ‘better minds than yours’ (post 138) shows a humility which does you credit. But it also shows a belief in others which mirrors your belief in Christianity. You simply have faith that other religious figures have better arguments than yours. Of course you should go and find out for yourself, but for my money, your arguments for God and religion were as solid as any I’ve heard made. The root of the problem is you are trying to defend something which really doesn’t make much sense.

    But more than this, to me you seem too good for religion. You not only debate maturely, but you seem to believe in logic and rationality (though the irrationality of your current position on religion may not have sunk in yet). This is much more than can be said for many of your fellow believers.

    I’m not convinced by your arguments about origins. Seems too speculative. Agiogenesis seems very questionable. You guys have a lot to prove before I accept that one. I still have a lot to study about it though.

    There are more options than Abiogenesis or God. We may not know what they are, but that’s why scientists try to discover these things. There are many mysteries in the universe, and the origins of life and the Bang Bang are two of them. But if we’re being honest, we’d have to admit that they were mysteries. We simply don’t know how they started. We may perform experiments and try to deduce how life or the universe began, but until we find evidence for a particular explanation, we should be satisfied that there is no shame in saying ‘we don’t know, but we are working on finding out’.

    You however, are not doing this. You are selecting one particular hypothesis – that a particular supernatural agent (the Christian God) did it, and saying we should accept this until another can be shown to be true? Why? Surely the truly honest stance is to admit we simply do not yet know precisely how life or the universe came into being, and leave it there. And from that stance, the mere existence of life or the universe does not support there being a divine creator any more than it supports the hypothesis that the universe was farted out of the bottom of a giant elephant, or that life was started by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Caiphen

    Ritchie said

    your arguments for God and religion were as solid as any I’ve heard made. The root of the problem is you are trying to defend something which really doesn’t make much sense.

    … and I second this whole-heartedly. You really are not missing any special insight that other theists have. If anything you are expressing your point without the usual obfuscation and strawmen we have come to expect from theists generally. I think we are however going around in circles as most of your belief still centres around the natural explanations that you find hard to believe. We have tried to convince you that seemingly improbable events are in reality not as improbable as they appear given big enough numbers and a long enough time. I have also tried to steer you away from post – hoc analysis of the probabilities, i.e not assuming that where we are now was planned before time. Just to try another tack, try and calculate the probability that you personally are the planned result of the last few generations of your family. Say back to your great-grandparents and assuming all the men were averagely fertile I reckon the probability of getting the genetically unique Caiphen Martini is at least 280 Million to one (any better statisticians than me out there please correct me). Yet here you are chewing the fat on Daylight Atheism. Thing is of course that no-one was trying to make a Caiphen, just a person, and the probability of getting any random person is pretty much 1.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Caiphen wrote:

    I have a feeling you poor Americans are exposed to too many christian fundamentalists.

    Alas, you speak all too accurately.

    Ritchie wrote:

    ….to me you seem too good for religion.

    Seems to me that every human is too good for religion.

    Steve:

    I take a peculiar pride in knowing that I’m a “Satuday-night Special.”

  • Alex, FCD

    Say back to your great-grandparents and assuming all the men were averagely fertile I reckon the probability of getting the genetically unique Caiphen Martini is at least 280 Million to one (any better statisticians than me out there please correct me).

    The odds are much, much worse, given the 200-odd point mutations that are introduced into the genome during the average human generation. These mutations aren’t completely random*, which makes the calculation complicated enough that I don’t care to even hazard a guess at the answer.

    *Well, the muations are random, it’s just that not all germ-line mutations have the same chance of making it into the next generation.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Guys, what can I say? You’re making too much sense.

    Yes, the idea that God exists scientifically, is highly speculative. If I said otherwise, I’d be lying.

    There seems to be speculation in everything. It’s all a jumbled up bloody mess. What a shame we don’t know more.

    I have to be honest about something. Since I’ve toyed with the idea that God isn’t there, I’m a lot more patient with my children. I guess you could say that I’m more empathetic. After all, if you’re right, life is only fleeting. (I read part of your thread on empathy and the American Christian right).

    Still there is so much to explain. Why do psychics pinpoint a precise location of where a crime took place and help police in their investigations? How can brilliant medical minds agree that a miracle took place? How can bible prophecies be so terrifyingly accurate in their predictions? How the hell can I, and more intelligent people than me, be fooled by these things? Why does God always answer my prayer? Why did Tacitus and others record a historic Jesus? In Tacitus’s writings he recorded that christians in about 100 CE died for their faith. Why did they die for their faith when they lived so close to the time of Christ? Wouldn’t they have the intelligence to make sure he existed and don’t you think they lived close enough to Christ’s lifetime to be sure that what Christ said was true? If the bible is nothing but a lie, why the hell did the church make up such a lie? What kind of people would do such a thing? If the church has done this, they have fooled approximately 60 generations of people.

    Damn, I’ve got a headache.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “Why do psychics pinpoint a precise location of where a crime took place and help police in their investigations?”
    They don’t. Get acquainted with “cold reading”.

    “How can bible prophecies be so terrifyingly accurate in their predictions?”
    They aren’t. Most of Matthew’s OT “proofs” of JC are vague, out of context nonsense. Daniel is accurate up to a point, if memory serves, then goes all whacky. Only the Book of Modus is right on, and that one got cut from the Bible. Something about too many erotic woodcuts…

    “How the hell can I, and more intelligent people than me, be fooled by these things?”
    Because of a bunch of these. Welcome to humanity.

    “Why does God always answer my prayer?”
    Is the answer “yes, no or wait”? That works for everything. Everything either will, or will eventually, or won’t happen. It’s win-win.
    If the answer is yes, pray that He cures cancer. All of it. We’d be most grateful for that.

    “In Tacitus’s writings he recorded that christians in about 100 CE died for their faith.
    In 1997, news recorded that the members of Heaven’s Gate died for their faith. Whether or not people are willing to die for something in no way reflects on reality.

    “If the bible is nothing but a lie, why the hell did the church make up such a lie?”
    You believe a bunch of things that aren’t true. So do I. Neither of us deliberately “made it up”. It’s a part of the human condition. One man’s “bedtime story” is another’s “actually happened”. One game of telephone, carried on for a while, can end up either close to the original or wildly different than it. Stories, repeated, chance, whether or not the initial story was true (or its teller believed it true).

    “If the church has done this, they have fooled approximately 60 generations of people.”
    You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, etc. This, in part, is why there are so many different religions. Scientology, say, sounds nutty to you…but to someone else it might make perfect sense (again, whether or not the initial teller believed it).

  • Caiphen Martini

    Thanks for the information. I’ll get back to you.

    Actually, I’ll get back to you later. I have too much to think over.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Go outside. Get some sun.

  • Caiphen Martini

    What’s your take on Professor Antony Flew? It seems that he has a convincing argument.

    Do you guys want to keep up this discussion? I’m not sure that this conversation is going in the direction that you would want.

  • Alex, FCD

    Why did Tacitus and others record a historic Jesus?

    Tacitus was quoting Christian sources around 130 CE, his word is no better than yours. As for the others, I refer you to our exalted host’s essay Choking on the Camel.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Modusoperandi

    I did what you said. I feel better. Plenty of sun here in sunny Australia.

    I’ll reword my question. What’s your take on Professor Antony Flew? I haven’t studied enough of his argument to say it is convincing.

    Smile- the southern hemisphere is approaching spring. Frown- the northern hemisphere is approaching autumn.

  • other scott

    Flew isn’t christian in any way shape or form. He thinks the Christian and Muslim gods are ridiculous and he believes in his own particular brand of God. A creator that made the universe intelligently and then let it go on it’s own course, he DOES NOT believe that God interferes inthe affairs of human beings and DOES NOT create miracles. As far as he is concerned the universe is too complex to have created naturaly and thusly it had to be ‘designed’. He tried to get schools in Britain to teach Intelligent Design and for that any credibility he had as a rational thinker is gone. It simply isn’t science. It shouldn’t matter what you believe about the origins of the universe, you should still be able to see that Intelligent Design is not scientific in any way shape or form.

    This doesn’t even address the fact that Antony Flew is actually 86 years old and has been declining mentally for a good 10 years. If i remember correctly he really struggled through an interview where he couldn’t even recall half of the things he ‘wrote’ in his co-authered book with Roy Varghese. Personally I can understand somebody who is coming close to the end of their life reverting to theism. For somebody who has already experienced a long and fulfilling life it would be nice to believe there is another world to move into after this one. I personally don’t need that extra world seeing as how this universe still has so many secrets to be revealed.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    A Review of Antony Flew’s There is a God and update. There’s some dirty background about Varghese as well, but I lost my “big book of links”…

  • other scott

    I made a bit of a blunder when I talked about the afterlife there too, I just clicked on Modusoperandi’s link and it says Flew doesn’t even believe in the afterlife!! It seems that most conversions to Christianity by atheists happen in the later years of a person’s life though.

    So basically Flew believes that the universe was created by an intelligent designer but the designer cares nothing about us, won’t help us in any way and won’t save your soul after you die.

  • Caiphen Martini

    Hey guys

    Thanks for the information you’ve all given me over the last couple of weeks.

    You’ve given me valuable insight into atheism. I have to be honest, you rocked my faith down to is foundations.

    Now all good things must come to an end- a temporary end anyway. I’ll be back, but not for a while. Not that I’m no longer open for discussion, I’ve just spent too much time at this website already.

    All the best.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Good luck.

    …(short pause)…

    Um.

    …(lengthy pause)…

    Has anybody seen my watch? My wallet? My car k…hey!

  • Caiphen Martini

    Guys

    I have to say, your argument is strong.

    Q) Is there any further information about the fossils found in Ethiopia as commented on by Reginald Selkirk above? What were the findings?

    Caiphen

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Hey CM. Hope all’s well with you. From the link itself:

    Ethiopian scientists said Tuesday that they have discovered hominid fossil fragments dating from between 3.5 million and 3.8 million years ago in what could fill a crucial gap in the understanding of human evolution.

    Not only does it fill a “crucial gap”, it also provides supporting evidence for previous extremely-age hominid finds, such as this (see the second example): http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/recent.html.