Creationist Target Practice

Yesterday, someone calling himself Rev. Skeens posted the following comment. I rejected it since it had no perceptible connection to the post it was submitted under, but then I had second thoughts. Granted that this is beginner-level stuff and hardly challenging, but it’s been a while since we honed our debating skills on an actual creationist around here, so I thought it might be entertaining to throw it out there and use it for target practice. Who wants to have a go?

Secular archeologist’s may claim that there is no evidence of a global flood, but, Scientist’s have found fossils of sea creatures high in the Himalayan Mountains, and also at between 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level in the Grand Canyon rock formation layers. These are the two prominent finds that support a global flood, but, if you do the research yourself, not just listen to what other atheists say, you can find that on every continent on the planet are fossils found high above sea level of sea creatures. If these formations weren’t under water at one point in time or another, how did the sea creature fossils get there?

Mr. Skeens has taken his best shot at us. You may return fire when ready. I’ll be sure to e-mail him and tell him about this post so he doesn’t miss out!

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.

  • guest

    Dear undergrad..sorry.. dear “rev Skeens”.
    Thank you for your question.
    Indeed, marine fossils are found on mountains and in areas that are dry today. You are right, this indicates that there was water (lakes or oceans) at some point. In many cases, “at some point” means many million years ago. Here is why:
    for once, depending on the time, water levels of oceans where different. for example, England was not always an island. (for example due to changes in temperature which in turn changes the amount of ice on the poles which then, because ice is “bigger” than the water it’s made from.
    Secondly, mountains were not always mountains. At some point, they were flat. “flat” land turns into mountains in different ways: either through vulcanic activity or through tectonic plates moving against each other (or a combination of both).
    the earth crust is moving very slowly, that’s why you can’t see it. But continents once were connected to each other, oceans were in different places. The slow movement connects, separates and re-connects continents and islands over millions of years. (That’s why some species are present on two continents that are today separated by an ocean. That’s why there are species which don’t swim/fly on islands)
    so you have 1) changes in sea level 2) changes in land mass and 3) changes in altitude. All those things hopefully help to understand why there are marine animals in rocks found on mountains (remember, these rocks took a really long time to form, it’s not like you find a recently died whale on a mountain)
    (ok, I just got up, hope this is not too confusing. if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to google that.wikipedia is good too.)

  • OckhamsBeard

    “If these formations weren’t under water at one point in time or another, how did the sea creature fossils get there?”

    SASQ: They were under water at one point in time, just as the seafloor is currently under water without need of a global flood to put it there.

  • CH

    If a man is drowning lowering the sea is not the only, or best, method of rescue.

  • David Evans

    I have some questions for the Rev. Skeens:

    If, as you imply, the flood reached high up into the Himalayas, that’s the equivalent of several miles added depth of water over the whole Earth.
    1 Where was that water before the flood?
    (Hint: If it was in orbit around the Earth, we would be boiled by its kinetic energy as it fell. If it was in the atmosphere we would be crushed by the pressure.)
    2 Where is that water now?

  • bric

    Those damned stray apostrophes really make me wonder. The Devil is in the details, after all.

  • Julien

    Dear Mr. Rev.,
    I would highly suggest that you check out the subject of plate tectonics. It’s a wonderful bit of science that explains how things like earthquakes and volcanoes come to be.

    In a nutshell, we have two opposing forces working on the surface of the earth. We have gravity, which pulls everything towards the center of the earth, and we have the heat and pressure of the Earth’s core pushing out. The mantle of the earth is so hot that we can think of it as a giant, boiling liquid around the core, and the crust where we live is like a thin scum floating on top of that boiling mass, held down by gravity. As the mantle boils it causes all sorts of internal currents, bubbles, and other effects. These, in turn, affect the thin layer of scum on top – we’re just along for the ride. The scum on top cracks and moves, and so we get the tectonic plates. It also rises and falls, and so we get continents and ocean trenches. A long, long time ago, even the highest peaks were either underwater or underground, waiting to push up, and a long, long time from now they will recede, by the force of gravity, and something else will be pushed up in their place. This is how we can find all sorts of aquatic fossils in places we wouldn’t expect.

    You’re clearly a skeptic towards this sort of stuff, and don’t believe it at face value, which is great. So, let’s talk about some of the evidence for plate tectonics. First of all, we can directly measure the plates moving. Take somewhere like California: you can actually see the land shift, where roads that pass plate boundaries snap in half, with one half moving North and the other South. We can also measure long term changes, like coasts receding or growing as the land underneath shifts down or up.

    You might say “sure, there’s been plate tectonics for the last 6000 years or so, but there’s no evidence it’s been going on for millions of years.” Well, we do in fact have such evidence, in the layers of rock in the crust, for instance. Long term plate tectonics is the only theory we have that unifies all the data we see – the fossils, the rocks, the measurements of volcanoes and mountains and all the rest of it – into one coherent whole. And it not only unifies that data, but in makes predictions we can test. Knowing how the continents have drifted tells us that we should find certain species of fossils in certain places and not in others. For instance, plate tectonics tells us that there was a land bridge between Asia and America a long, long time ago, and so we would expect to find similar species on both continents during that time – and we do, but only for that time period, not after the bridge receded. Likewise, plate tectonics doesn’t predict a land bridge between Europe and America, and when we look the fossils are very different. We can trace the movement of species throughout history and use plate tectonics to explain why there are mammals on Australia, for instance, and the path they took to travel there. Competing theories, like creationism, can’t explain how these species crossed the ocean that has surrounded Australia for the past 6000 years.

    This is but a taste of the science behind plate tectonics. As I said at the start, I’d highly suggest you check it out for yourself, and learn about the facts and observed data, the scientific theories, and how the scientific theories work to explain and predict the things we see.
    -Julien

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    I just want to clarify with respect, I didn’t come here to “take a shot” at anyone. I stumbled across the original post while searching for scriptures on the subject of forgiveness. I posted a direct reply to that comment, but, it wasn’t allowed through either, for whatever reason. Then I saw that someone had posted something questioning evidence of the flood on the same thread and I tried to post a direct reply to them. I just want to make sure that everyone understands that I didn’t just take a random “shot” on an atheist blog. Now it seems that you agree that these land masses were under water at some point in time. Your presupposition is that the Bible isn’t true, hence the global flood isn’t true. Therefore you say that these land masses had to have been under various lakes, oceans, etc. throughout time. But, I have had several conversations with atheists and it is always stated that if you make a statement concerning the existence of God then you have to back it up with proof. So my question is what proof do you have that’s not a “scientific theory” that these masses were all covered up independently at different points in time? What tangible evidence is there that if these marine fossils are in land masses high above sea level, they were not put there by a global flood. Next question: The Pre-Diluvian earth was not quite the same as the earth that we have today. There were not tall mountains and the streams, lakes and oceans were not as deep as they are today. When the flood had accomplished what God set out for it to do, the earth took a drastic change. Mountains were raised higher, valleys were made deeper, the ocean floor was depressed, all to make a place to hold all of this water as evidenced in this passage of scripture: Psalm 104:6b–9. … the waters were standing above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they fled; at the sound of Thy thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which Thou didst establish for them. Thou didst set a boundary that they [the water] may not pass over; that they may not return to cover the earth. – As for where the water was before the flood, we read in Genesis during the Creation Week that God divided the waters that were above the firmament from the water below the firmament and called the firmament heaven. So a fraction of the water that fell during the flood was in the heavens. Whether it was in the atmosphere or ozone layer, I don’t know. But the scenarios that you have offered to refute this fact are less than convincing to me. They are both scientific hypotheses, it can’t be determined what would happen in either situation because it’s never happened in recorded science. Also it says that the springs of the deep opened up during the flood, so a big part of water must have come from deep wells delivering water directly to the earth’s surface from the water table.

  • Nes

    Dear Rev. Skeens,

    Please, let me to google that for you. You are welcome.

    Sincerely,
    Nes

  • 5acos(phi/2)

    The others have provided the actual explanation, so I’ll just take a novice shot at another line of argument:

    If the marine creature fossils got there because of a global flood, which had to be high enough to cover most of the Earth’s land masses, why are those fossils concentrated in some unlikely places and not distributed more evenly everywhere?

    By the way, AiG came up second on the list when I googled “himalayan” “fossils”. :/

    EDIT: Nes’ lmgtfy link to talkorigins put it way better then I did.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    On the subject of plate tectonics, I don’t know why creationists would dispute the fact that they exist. It has no bearing on the argument. But the animals crossing over from continent to continent is a very simple question. The reason that you find animals of the same species on the continent of Africa and the Americas is because all of the continents were once one giant supercontinent which science actually agrees with. Which accounts for animals being spread across the earth and human beings spread onto the continents as well. It states in I Chronicles 1:19 – ” And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg; because in his days the earth was divided;…” So the argument that the Bible disputes everything that science has uncovered in the past 100 or so years isn’t a true statement. Just disputes the “theories” in which most of the time the theorist has a hard time believing themselves: ” I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beond the bounds of true science.” – “Often a cold shudder runs through my bones when I ask myself whether or not I have devoted my entire life to a fantasy.” – Both quotes from Charles Darwin

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    “beond” – beyond, sorry autocorrect not enabled

  • Alex SL

    So my question is what proof do you have that’s not a “scientific theory” that these masses were all covered up independently at different points in time?

    It is kind of hopeless trying to educate somebody who scare-quotes the use of evidence and reason while basing their argument on bible quotes, of all things.

    Where to start? With a careful explanation why science and inductive reasoning are expected to work, and how? That can fill books alone. With a discussion why the bible is not actually a reliable guide to reality, comparing it to other religious books and their contradictory contents with equivalent claims of divine inspiration, and pointing out the manifold internal contradictions found in the bible itself? Well, at least there is much on the ebonmuse site dealing with that.

    Point is, there is no way of even attempting a productive exchange of ideas if there is no agreement on what constitutes evidence, and what criteria to use for evaluating it. If one side retreats to postmodernism or blind faith, they make themselves an epistemic island, unable to ever find common ground with people sitting on another island (and not all islands will, of course, have inhabitants with tools equally useful for understand the world, to put it kindly). This self-isolation is by design, of course. And in my eyes, making reasoned discourse impossible is precisely the greatest evil of religious faith.

    I am assuming this is not a Poe because I have met similar people before, but PoMo and esoteric.

  • L.Long

    Trying to educate people of this magnitude of ignorance is a waste of time.
    Here is a different question. Your g0d is omni-everything. so if it wanted to destroy all of life but for one family and 7 or 2 or however many of each type of animal then all it had to do was snap its appendage and ‘make it so’ it did not need a flood. Looking at the ‘flood story’ it is easily seen as a bad copy of other myths and a silly story told to kids. So grow-up.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @L.Long-I am dying to know, what makes you believe that i am ignorant? You don’t even know me and yet you suppose that you are superiorly educated than I am solely on the basis that I am a Christian that has an opposing worldview than you? I have been attending institutions of higher learning for over ten years now. And no, most of them have not been Christian universities or in religious areas of study. So for you to claim that I am ignorant is an unfair judgement on your behalf and just another encounter with an angry, arrogant atheist that I have had on the internet. I don’t understand what makes you say, when a Christian offers you a theory, which is the only thing that science can offer you, you claim that we are just uneducated or unlearned. Educate me in the way of psychology, why do you take a confrontational stance when a Christian backs his claim with a theory. That can’t be proven or disproven by science? I actually do want to applaud the rest of you whom have remained respectful for the most part. This is by far the least hostile atheist blog that I have ever came upon. Every single other one that I have tried to debate on, without exception, I have just been immediately cursed, mocked and insulted. So for whatever reason this one is different and I appreciate it. Thank you.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Your presupposition is that the Bible isn’t true, hence the global flood isn’t true.

    No, that’s false. The opposite is true: because the geological evidence shows that there was never a global flood, therefore any book which says otherwise must be incorrect as literal truth. It wasn’t atheists who established that conclusion, either. The first real geologists were Biblical literalists – people who believed in a global flood because the Bible told them so, until they realized that the evidence of the world failed to bear that belief out, and they could no longer defend it as science. Here’s one of them, Rev. Adam Sedgwick, writing in 1831 (quote from here):

    But theories of diluvial gravel, like all other ardent generalizations of an advancing science, must ever be regarded but as shifting hypotheses to be modified by every new fact, till at length they become accordant with all the phenomena of nature.

    In retreating where we have advanced too far, there is neither compromise of dignity nor loss of strength; for in doing this, we partake but of the common fortune of every one who enters on a field of investigation like our own….

    Bearing upon this difficult question, there is, I think, one great negative conclusion now incontestably established — that the vast masses of diluvial gravel, scattered almost over the surface of the earth, do not belong to one violent and transitory period. It was indeed a most unwarranted conclusion, when we assumed the contemporaneity of all the superficial gravel on the earth. We saw the clearest traces of diluvial action, and we had, in our sacred histories, the record of a general deluge. On this double testimony it was, that we gave a unity to a vast succession of phenomena, not one of which we perfectly comprehended, and under the name diluvium, classed them all together.

    To seek the light of physical truth by reasoning of this kind, is, in the language of Bacon, to seek the living among the dead, and will ever end in erroneous induction. Our errors were, however, natural, and of the same kind which lead many excellent observers of a former century to refer all the secondary formations of geology to the Noachian deluge. Having been myself a believer, and, to the best of my power, a propagator of what I now regard as a philosophic heresy, and having more than once been quoted for opinions I do not now maintain, I think it right, as one of my last acts before I quit this Chair, thus publicly to read my recantation.

    We ought, indeed, to have paused before we first adopted the diluvian theory, and referred all our old superficial gravel to the action of the Mosaic flood. For of man, and the works of his hands, we have not yet found a single trace among the remnants of a former world entombed in these ancient deposits.

    Notably, despite this admission, Sedgwick continued to believe that the flood had happened; he was just forced to admit that there was no evidence for it in the geological record, and that its occurrence had to be taken purely on faith.

  • Andrew G.

    Rev. Skeens,

    When do you believe this supposed flood took place?

  • Paul

    Rev Skeens, when the science that you enlist to your cause regarding animals in Africa and the Americas also tells you that there’s nowhere for all the water necessary for the Flood to have gone, assuming it covered the Earth at an elevation of 7,000 feet, and that your Flood could not have happened for any number of other reasons, what is your response, if not to pick and choose what science you accept, which precisely and exactly runs counter to the entire enterprise of science?

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Alex SL – I’m not “scare quoting” anyone. These are documented quotes from the man who contributed a great deal of research to the theory in which you hang most of your hopes on that God doesn’t exist.
    @Ebonmuse – I agree, in 1831 there wasn’t a whole lot of findings to support the flood. But, you have to realize that in 1831 Darwinism had not been introduced into science either. The theory of natural selection wasn’t prepared until 1838, so just because something couldn’t be proven in 1831 doesn’t mean that it should be taken off of the table for discussion. As far as his statements go, we can regard the statements of Christians throughout the ages for what they are. Christian people seek answers to questions just like atheists do. The difference is that we already have accepted by faith that the Holy Word of God is infallible and a record of not only events in the past but events of the future as well. @ whoever made the comment about internal inconsistency in the Word of God – I would ask you to supply me with just one of these inconsistencies that you have a question about.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Paul- you have to be careful not to pick and choose which statement that I have made in an argument against me. In one of the earlier posts I stated that the earth was not exactly how it is today. There weren’t tall mountains, therefore the water didn’t have to extend past 7,000 or 8.000 feet to cover them up. I don’t know that science can prove that there was nowhere for the water to go after the flood waters receded. You have to take into account that the various oceans alone must have swallowed up a great deal of the flood waters. Then the water that we have in various forms on the planet. Water vapor and of course the polar ice caps. Science shows that the poles of the planet were once tropical climates with tropical plant and wildlife. So something drastically changed for them to now be covered with ice that would equal billions of gallons of water. Scientists can account for this with a theory that the earth has just shifted overtime, but, there is no proof of this theory as well. I don’t pick and choose what science that I believe, I just look at what they have tangible proof of and what they don’t and apply my own logic and reasoning to it. When I do this, it always backs up my beliefs in God as the creator of all heaven and earth. So if God is true, then the Word of God must be true as well.@whoever made the statement about gravity- I’m not sure what bearing this has on the debate but, where does gravity originate from??

  • jippyhound

    Rev Skeens, in his first posted comment:
    “I just want to clarify with respect, I didn’t come here to “take a shot” at anyone. I stumbled across the original post while searching for scriptures on the subject of forgiveness. I posted a direct reply to that comment. Then I saw that someone had posted something questioning evidence of the flood on the same thread and I tried to post a direct reply to them. I just want to make sure that everyone understands that I didn’t just take a random “shot” on an atheist blog.”

    Rev Skeens,in his most recent comment:
    “This is by far the least hostile atheist blog that I have ever came upon. Every single other one that I have tried to debate on, without exception, I have just been immediately cursed, mocked and insulted. So for whatever reason this one is different and I appreciate it.”:

    Wow. In the span of less than a day, Rev went from stumbling accidentally onto an athiest blog – led there by a comment thread from a good christian site – to being a
    relative expert and seasoned traveler ’round these parts.

    Well done, Rev. Now if you’d only put that kind of time and energy into learning “How Science Works” we could all go home.

  • Alex SL

    Skeens,

    How do you know what theory I base my atheism on? I don’t, by the way, base it on just one of them, it is more an issue of inference to the most likely explanation after looking at all evidence available. Specifically, it seems to me as if any Christian-Muslim-Jewish-type deity does not go well with our 13.7 billion year old, mind-bogglingly large universe, our account of human history, our understanding of evolution, and the absence of any evidence whatsoever for the existence of souls.

    You also do not seem to understand the concept of scare quotes. It is what you did when you wrote scientific theory like this: ‘scientific theory’. It is a rhetorical technique used in writing to express that you do not consider the concept that you have scare-quoted valid.

    Inconsistencies would start with two contradictory accounts of creation right at the beginning of the book. Another example right off the top of my head would be the two wildly contradictory lineages of Jesus’ male ancestors given by two of the four evangelists (which is doubly hilarious because they are supposed to show that Jesus is descended in direct male line from David through his father Josef, at the same time when he is supposedly not Josef’s, but god’s son). For many more examples, see the ebonmuse website of our kind host.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Andrew G.- Flavius Josephus when back in manuscripts that were available to him and calculated the time of the flood to be 1556 years after the creation of Adam, by adding up the ages and generations recorded in those manuscripts. Now some Christian scholars believe that the earth was created 6,000 years ago and some as late as 30 or 40,000 years ago. I’m not going to pretend like I know because I don’t. But I agree with the calculation of Josephus that it occurred 1500 years or so after the creation of Adam.

  • HamsterWheel

    Creationists live in an infinite labyrinth of cognitive dissonance. Trying to have a reasonable, rational discussion with them is about as productive as trying to reason with a brainwashed cult member…

  • jippyhound

    Folks…this guy is a professional agitator, or possibly a poe. I dunno, but he practically admits it. Don’t waste anymore time.

    Best

  • Robert Morane

    Mr. Skeens,

    You may be unaware of this, but at the time the flood supposedly happened, many civilizations knew writing (the Chinese come to mind). If there had been a global flood, the written records of these civilizations would have been interrupted. THEY WERE NOT! They kept on as if nothing happened. Because there was no flood.

    RM

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Alex SL- I don’t know what your atheism is based on, I just generally know that evolution is the most widely used argument by atheists that God doesn’t exist. Everything else is just a logical chain of events. If we evolved from amoebas then the Bible isn’t true so the universe, earth and everything else has just happened by accident as well. 13.7 billion year old universe? How do you know that? And more importantly, where did the universe come from? How did it begin? I don’t know that you can’t prove the existence of souls. What about the many people that have had experiences where they have been proven to be clinically dead, but, have been brought back to life by one means or another and have documented claims that they have entered into the spirit world on one side or the other? I don’t know of two inconsistencies in the creation account, you will have to elaborate. As far as the lineages go: one gospel provides the family tree through Mary’s side of the family and the other through Joseph’s side. The point being that even though Jesus was God’s son, he was passed down through the loins of David on his mother’s side and his adopted father’s side as well. God the father knew that as Jesus grew he would be widely regarded as Joseph’s biological son as we see him called many times in the Gospels, and if it was perceived that he was solely from the lineage of David on both sides of his perceived parents, the Jewish people wouldn’t have had cause to reject him because their prophecies had proclaimed that’s exactly where he was going to come from.

  • Vin720

    Rev. Skeens, not meaning to gang up on you, but can you reasonably explain how a male and female of every animal on earth, including those who were not in Noah’s locality were able to be gathered up and fit in one boat and then be cared for by only seven people total?

  • Alex SL

    I can’t believe you are trying this nonsense on this website, after all that ebonmuse has written on these things. A few links, while I excuse myself for the moment to visit a museum with my family:

    13.7 billion year old universe? How do you know that?
    http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=45

    And more importantly, where did the universe come from? How did it begin?
    I don’t know myself, as such, but I would rather trust the expertise of our best astrophysicists than the ramblings of a few tribesmen who would have been surprised if you had informed them of the existence of, say, America, let alone electrons. The currently best understanding seems to be that nothing is an unstable state that spontaneously produces something.

    Even if we are left without a clear understanding of how it came into existence, you cannot simply say “(1) the universe needs a cause; (2) this cause I will now call god; (3) thus, all the other baggage that comes with my religion is also true, such as Jesus being the son of god, etc.” The second is at least problematic due to the many different meanings of the word, and the third simply does not follow from the other two.

    What about the many people that have had experiences where they have been proven to be clinically dead, but, have been brought back to life by one means or another and have documented claims that they have entered into the spirit world on one side or the other?
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/ghost.html

    I don’t know of two inconsistencies in the creation account, you will have to elaborate.
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/biblecontra.html
    (for this and oh so many other contradictions)

    You may or may not be right about the lineages. I understood both of them to be the male lines, but I will have to look that up in the bible at some point. Still, go read the link above, or perhaps all of this: http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/index.html

  • Andrew G.

    Well, we know for a fact that Adam did not exist, so that’s not a very helpful answer.

    We also know that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, give or take; see Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective for why this figure should be accepted.

    How would you account for areas which were once overlain by sea, then were dry land for a long period, then once again underwater, then dry land again? A flood can’t account for this.

    The idea that animals spread out over the world after the flood because all the continents were then joined together, but then broke apart, cannot account for the observed evidence. For example, why are kangaroos and platypuses found only in Australia? Why are fossil horse ancestors found in the Americas, but the modern horse was unknown there until it was introduced by Europeans? The list goes on…

  • Andrew G.

    As far as the lineages go: one gospel provides the family tree through Mary’s side of the family and the other through Joseph’s side.

    That is a lie. (what’s that commandment again?)

    Matthew 1:16

    and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

    Luke 3:23

    Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @vin720 – Not ganging up at all, you guys are a refreshing walk in the park compared to every other site that I have visited. The Ark was 450 ft in length, 75 ft wide and 45 ft tall. Now that is a pretty big boat, it’t roughly the size of a WWII Liberty ship which carried cargo across the Atlantic to our allies and forces in Europe. So the ark had a massive amount of space in it to hold a massive amount of cargo. Another thing that we have to take into account is that we are not told if the animals were all full grown when they were put on the ark or not. So for instance we could be talking about a mother bear and a cub or one full grown male ram and 6 male calves, one full grown female ram and six female calves. If this is the case, then the young animals wouldn’t need to be taken care of by the family on board the ark because the elder would be providing the younger with its needs. Another very important angle to look at is that we are not sure how many species of animals there actually were in the days of the flood. It is recognized that many of the species of animals that we have now probably weren’t in existence back then due to microevolution or adaptation within various species. So in looking at the animals that probably were on the ark, I think it’s very reasonable to believe that it’s possible for them to have fit on there and been managed by the seven people on board. As far as how were they gathered up, I know that this explanation probably going to suffice but, a God that is about to destroy the earth with a global flood, that created everything in existence could very easily direct these animals to where they needed to be. @Alex SL- You seem to put a lot of faith in what Ebonmuse has to say about certain issues. No offense toward them at all, but, I’m asking you what you think about these things and what proof that you have for the statements that you make. I’m sorry but, I’m not going to go surfing on some other persons website when I am engaging you in a conversation and asking you to explain your claims to me.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    Andrew G. – I don’t understand your argument? Luke 3:23 confirms exactly what I stated, that the people supposed he was the son of Joseph when in reality he was the son of God. The Jewish tradition was not to list the wife in the lineage at all. If you look back through there you will find that there are only 3 women listed in the whole line, which if you know the history of these three women is to show how God can transform lives, to show his grace. But you are not understanding that Joseph is being listed first in the lineage because he was the husband. Jewish custom was and is for the father in law to call the son in law his son. So therefore you have Joseph being listed as the son of Heli in Luke’s Gospel and Mary being listed secondly in her own family tree. You really shouldn’t accuse someone of lying unless you have the facts and know what you are talking about.

  • http://www.godconfusion.com/ Xanthe Wyse

    that’s what people used to believe 200 years ago. I suppose you believe earthquakes are punishments sent by god too?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Mr. Skeens, you continue to throw out claims at a frantic pace without really engaging any of the responses you’re getting. This is not a productive or enlightening way to have a conversation. I suggest, if you want to debate this matter, you pick one or two areas and focus on those.

    I agree, in 1831 there wasn’t a whole lot of findings to support the flood.

    That’s correct. And there still aren’t. In fact, the evidence against a global flood has only accumulated since then, as geologists continue to find evidence incompatible with such an event: fossilized mud cracks, fossilized raindrop imprints, aeolian sediments laid down by wind, laminated sediments deposited over time by slow and gentle currents, fossilized animal prints, fossilized burrows, fossilized nests with eggs still intact, and many more – all delicate features that could never have been preserved in the midst of a catastrophic worldwide deluge. And, as Rev. Sedgwick noted, the one thing we don’t find is fossilized human beings, or remnants of human civilization, in the most ancient (i.e., presumably pre-flood) sediments.

    Here’s a reference that’s an oldie, but still a goodie: What Would We Expect to Find If the World Had Flooded?

    I don’t know what your atheism is based on, I just generally know that evolution is the most widely used argument by atheists that God doesn’t exist.

    You aren’t very familiar with the writings of real atheists, then. Evolution is by far the best-supported explanation for the diversity of life as we observe it, but it’s not really the main or even the most common argument given by atheists for God’s nonexistence. Most of those have to do with things like the absence of evidence for divine intervention, the confusion among incompatible religions, the occurrence of egregious evil and suffering, and so on. If evolution were disproved tomorrow (say, by finding a human skeleton in Precambrian strata), that wouldn’t automatically mean that God exists, it would just return us to the default explanation, which is “I don’t know”.

    The Ark was 450 ft in length, 75 ft wide and 45 ft tall. Now that is a pretty big boat…

    Yes, that would indeed be a pretty big boat. What’s even more interesting is that it would have to have been made out of wood. Now, here’s a list of the largest wooden ships in modern times. Note that the largest of them, the Rochambeau, was only 377 feet long, 50 feet of which was a ram; it had to be reinforced with iron cladding; and even so, it was “not particularly stable or seaworthy”. Another one of similar length, the Wyoming, flexed so violently in heavy seas that seawater leaked between the planks and into the hold and had to be continually pumped out.

    A wooden boat far larger than either of those, built with less-advanced ancient technology, wouldn’t just have leaked constantly; it would have broken in half and sank the first time it hit a large wave. Still less could it have survived the extraordinarily violent global deluge your scenario envisions.

  • http://www.godconfusion.com/ Xanthe Wyse

    as for Darwin doubting himself – many great people do (unlike many religious people that ‘know without doubt’ supposedly). Darwin was agnostic, a former trained minister in a world that saw him as the enemy for questioning the doctrine of the church. He was a pioneer – I’m sure he would be very satisfied if he could know the progerss in science since his death – many more fossils disovered, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology etc.

  • Ashami

    As far as how were they gathered up, I know that this explanation probably going to suffice but, a God that is about to destroy the earth with a global flood, that created everything in existence could very easily direct these animals to where they needed to be.

    This is indeed what the Bible suggests: Gen.6:20 “… two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” But that doesn’t answer how God got all the animals across the ocean from Australia and the Americas, etc. If he could do that, why did he need to bother with a boat? Besides, if he had the power to somehow deliver thousands of animals over vast oceans, why not just snap his fingers and let them breathe water for the duration…that doesn’t seem any more difficult for an omnipotent god than materializing enough water to cover mountains.

    Also, keep in mind that 7:2 explains that he was to take seven pairs of all the so-called ‘clean’ animals: “You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female…” That’s a whole lot more animals for a wooden boat that couldn’t possibly have the strength to last for an hour much less 40 days.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the amount of water to cover all the mountains is approximately 4.5 billion cubic kilometers. To come down in 40 days and cover the mountains, it would have to rain enough to produce 400-700 feet of water a day. That is worse than the worst storm we’ve ever known. The best modern boat wouldn’t survive a deluge like that.

    Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to have answers for any of these questions…they are merely to point out the ridiculousness of the tale.

    If you are interested, there are plenty of sites which outline all the problems with the Flood myth. Here is a great one: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Xanthe Wyse- I don’t understand the first part of your comment, people believed 200 years ago that the flood was real?? And I don’t know why earthquakes strike the earth. Accidents do happen as we are told by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. But I don’t think that it’s coincidental that natural disasters are getting more frequent as time goes on. We in the US have suffered more deaths due to natural disaster in the past 10 years than in the previous 200+ years of our existence. Not only in our country but around the world people are dying from all sorts of natural disasters that are also more severe than ever before. Does it ever cross your mind when you see these things flash across the news that maybe there is a God out there that is very angry at a world that is rejecting him?? @Ebonmuse- I’m not deflecting in the previous reply, I’m answering a direct question that was posed to me. I don’t understand how you think that I am diverting away from the topic. When I veer from the subject I am answering questions that are being asked of me. I don’t believe that anyone has ever built a ship to the scale of Noah’s ark and tried to sail it. Until someone builds it with the technology that was available to him and puts it to the test, any hypothesis as to what would happen is just that. You base in part your atheistic views on the existence of evil and suffering, confusion between incompatible religions, and the absence of proof for divine intervention. The existence of egregious evil and suffering has no bearing on the argument that I can see because the Bible clearly tells us that suffering, evil and everything that goes along with it are a part of the curse that was placed on the earth for sin. Confusion between incompatible religions: religions throughout history have come and gone, showing directly that they were based on faulty beliefs and not on the everlasting eternal living God. Other religions are based upon men/women that have come upon the earth, taught a few things then died and there name was carried on by followers. The three major religions of the world are all founded on basically the same belief system with exceptions in the Quran. So if these three major religions all believe in, for the most part, the same accounts of creation, same doctrines of prophecy, angels, resurrection of the dead, why are these not compatible with one another and more importantly why does this cause you to not believe in God at all?? What kind of proof for divine intervention are you seeking?? Again, I’m not veering from the topic of discussion, these are all in response to topics that you have brought up to me.

  • Kacy Ray

    Rev,

    Atheism does not rest on evolution. It doesn’t rest on anything – it isn’t a belief. Only beliefs require supporting evidence. Atheism (literally: The absence of a belief in a god or gods) doesn’t require any supporting evidence.

    To use an analogy – does one need evidence that leprechauns don’t exist? To suggest they do is entirely arbitrary, meaning it is neither supportable nor falsifiable. Arbitrary propositions have no truth value (they are neither true nor false). Reasonable people don’t regard the existence of leprechauns as true (or false) – they simply don’t even entertain the question unless someone has some sort of evidence to offer.

    But to think you’re going to somehow support your religious beliefs by going after evolution is misguided to begin with. Even if you were to somehow prove that evolution is a completely invalid theory, your creationist views don’t win by default. You still need to support them with evidence. even if you can somehow demonstrate that a there was a global flood (you can’t, by the way) you still haven’t provided any evidence for creation.

    Again I’ll illustrate by way of analogy: If the whole world seems to agree that John committed a particular murder but yet you believe Bill committed it – it’s not enough to prove John didn’t commit the murder. You won’t get a conviction until you have proven that Bill did it. You have to come up with evidence to support your theory – it’s not enough to disprove someone elses.

    So you’re barking up the wrong tree. And I suspect you picked the worst possible wrong-tree to bark up. You’re using some real junior varsity arguments here against a varsity team.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Ashami- I actually have given some possible explanations for your problems that you have tossed out. Again, I said I don’t know how God got the animals there, maybe he did just snap his fingers and made them appear. But more than likely he used nature in some manner to guide them there. As Ebonmuse has pointed out one of the big selling points of atheism is that there is no proof of divine intervention. God uses natural law in order to enforce his will. He created the universe, the earth and all things in it. So believing that he doesn’t have the power to control it wouldn’t make any sense to me.

  • Jashbowie

    And I don’t know why earthquakes strike the earth.

    See, that’s the thing…we DO know why earthquakes happen. That isn’t a mystery.

    But I don’t think that it’s coincidental that natural disasters are getting more frequent as time goes on.

    We are not experiencing a greater frequency of natural disasters…what we are experiencing is the consequences of increased global population. Said simply, there are more people for disasters to hit (so in that sense you are right that the increase of injury by natural disasters isn’t coincidental, but it’s the population going up, not disasters). Add to that an increasingly technologized world, and it looks worse…we are constructing more things that can cause damage when they break, like the Gulf Coast spill. And of course there is climate change that is caused by mankind’s love of fossil fuels. A little logic and a few facts go a long way.

    PS. FYI, long comments are easier to read and digest when you break them up into smaller paragraphs.

  • Ashami

    Again, I said I don’t know how God got the animals there, maybe he did just snap his fingers and made them appear. But more than likely he used nature in some manner to guide them there….God uses natural law in order to enforce his will.

    Do you understand that this isn’t an answer? Raw speculation invented to cover logical and evidential gaps in a claim has very little reliability. And you aren’t really answering my points…because, of course, you can’t. You can’t answer how an ancient giant boat made of wood could withstand a monstrous deluge that would tear any wooden object to shreds. To say “God did it” doesn’t explain anything.

  • Paul

    “In one of the earlier posts I stated that the earth was not exactly how it is today. There weren’t tall mountains, therefore the water didn’t have to extend past 7,000 or 8.000 feet to cover them up. ”

    Surely the earth (in the past) was not exactly how it is today. On that we can all agree.

    Meanwhile, how tall were the mountains when the flood occurred, and what scientific finding backs that up?

  • Ashami

    But I don’t think that it’s coincidental that natural disasters are getting more frequent as time goes on. We in the US have suffered more deaths due to natural disaster in the past 10 years than in the previous 200+ years of our existence.

    Actually, we haven’t seen an increase in natural disasters. What we have seen is an increase in global population so that there are more people to get hurt by them. And we have built more things that can cause serious damage when they break, like the Gulf Disaster…but which aren’t natural disasters, but man-made disasters. And the capper, climate change caused by our overuse of fossil fuels.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @ Kacy Ray- I have been around the block as well many times. But what I am saying is that generally speaking, atheists claim that because of evolution science, cosmological information, biological information, geological information and the many other accredited fields of science that offer information, they have proof that there is no God. Which sounds kind of odd to me as you can’t offer proof of something that doesn’t exist. So how is it that you can determine that God/gods don’t exist in any context at all from this information?? Take the Christian God out of the equation for a moment, along with every other god of every other religion that you have knowledge of, why does a layer of rocks that scientists claim they can date the earth by, theories of Abiogenesis, and all of this other scientific information suggest to you that there is no way possible that there is a God out there, of any sort?? It’s not that Christian people think that we are right, we have experienced something in our own lives and we want to share it with others. Granted some people don’t go about it in the right way, but, we all have stories of how God has taken us out of a former life and put us where we are now. I just want to go ahead and note that I fully expect the ‘anecdotes are not proof” and the ” oh what a Christian cliche” remarks to begin. But a story of who I was before and who I am now doesn’t make me a cliche, it makes me a real person that has struggled with many things in my life and the only way that I have found rest is through Jesus Christ. That’s what the view is of Christianity, that we think that we are right and everyone else is wrong but, I can only speak for myself, when I’m witnessing to someone, I just want them to have what I have. That’s it.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Ashami- I’m not speaking of man made occurrences such as the Gulf incident. I’m talking about the deadliest tornado in the record books hitting MO this year, we had 300 tornadoes touch down in this country alone before the summer even began. Hurricanes, that are continually threatening our coasts. Tsunami’s of epic proportion striking all over the world. I don’t mean any offense to you but the argument that there has been that much of a spike in global population just in the past 10 years, is why there are more people getting hurt/killed by them, I believe to be an untrue claim. I will apologize if I am wrong but I would have to see credible evidence to back it up.

  • Andrew G.

    So therefore you have Joseph being listed as the son of Heli in Luke’s Gospel and Mary being listed secondly in her own family tree.

    So you reckon that Luke’s gospel is listing Joseph’s ancestry while Matthew is listing Mary’s? (since Luke makes no mention of Mary in the lineage?)

    Oddly, that’s exactly backwards from the usual explanation (which has Matthew giving Joseph’s ancestry). But neither explanation is supported in the slightest by the text: if you had access to only one of them, then you’d say that it was obviously and unambiguously giving only Joseph’s ancestry, regardless of which one it was.

    [This is similar to the case of Mark 6:3, where the plain meaning of "brothers" and "sisters" is interpreted by Catholics as "cousins", by the Orthodox as "half-brothers" and "half-sisters", and by modern Protestant denominations as just "brothers" and "sisters" (but historical Protestants followed the same reading as Catholics). There is no support whatever for any meaning other than simply "brothers" and "sisters", but the early church had fastened onto the concept of perpetual virginity quite early on (though well after the composition of Mark), so they had to invent an alternate explanation.]

    We also have some interesting ancient sources. The author of the Protevangelium of James (generally dated to before about 150 CE) obviously had access to both Matthew and Luke, but he gives the names of Mary’s parents as Joachim and Anna, with no mention of either Jacob or Heli. Likewise, there is no consensus at all between the early church fathers, with several theories making both Jacob and Heli fathers of Joseph. The “genealogy of Mary” idea is just one of several theories that sprang up in order to explain the discrepancy; but the fact that there were several theories argues that none of them were correct or supported by evidence.

    There are other problems too. The number of generations between David and Joseph (or Mary if you believe that) is far too different between the two lists. The discrepancy would amount to a difference of about 280 years assuming 20-year generations, or a difference in generational length of more than 1.5 times. Also, Matthew’s genealogy doesn’t match up with the Old Testament sources; it’s widely recognized that he skips several generations for numerological reasons.

  • karla

    I have only one thing to say: LOL

  • Ashami

    From NASA scientist David Morrison:

    The property loss from natural disasters has increased dramatically (compare the cost of recent earthquakes or hurricanes, for example, with earlier ones), but that is a consequence increasing value of urban centers, infrastructure, etc. Insurance companies, in particular, see their level of “risk” increasing. However, it is not clear that the frequency or severity of natural disasters has increased. The reason this is a difficult questions to answer is that the statistics on fatalities are dominated by the very rare, very large events. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is an example of something almost unprecedented. The recent earthquakes in China and Pakistan have also been terribly destructive of both property and lives, but we need only look back to the 1976 Tangshan earthquake for much greater damage, with perhaps a quarter of a million people killed. Another comparison with the past is the recent severe storm damage on Galveston Island of Texas. This was very bad, but very much less than the nearly 10,000 people killed on Galveston in 1900 by similar hurricane. Thus the bottom line is that there is no indication that natural disasters are increasing, but (a) their cost in property damage is increasing, and (b) the statistics are skewed by a few very rare, severe events.

    From Dr. Stephen Nelson at Tulane University:

    First, Is the frequency of hazardous events increasing? This is much more difficult to answer since natural events responsible for natural disasters have been occurring throughout the 4.5 billion year history of the Earth. Nevertheless, there is no evidence to suggest that hazardous events are occurring more frequently.

    …consider the following facts:

    Human population has been increasing at an exponential rate. With more people, vulnerability increases because there are more people to be affected by otherwise natural events.

    Human population is moving toward coastal areas. These are areas most vulnerable to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, tsunmai, and, to some extent, earthquakes.

    Our ability to communicate news of natural disasters has been increasing, especially since the invention of the internet. Earlier in human history there may have been just as many disasters, but there were few ways the news of such disasters could be communicated throughout the world.

    So, no evidence for an increase in natural disasters, only an increase in coastal population, increase in dangerous technology, and increase in reportage.

    BUT, even if there were an increase in natural disasters, that would have nothing to do with a god. It would mean that there is a natural phenomenon happening with natural causes and explanations. Just like everything else we’ve figured out, like the age of the Earth and plate tectonics.

  • Seeker

    In comment #18 Rev. Skeens says:

    The difference is that we already have accepted by faith that the Holy Word of God is infallible and a record of not only events in the past but events of the future as well. @ whoever made the comment about internal inconsistency in the Word of God - I would ask you to supply me with just one of these inconsistencies that you have a question about.

    I would like to direct the Rev.’s attention to the following biblical passage:

    In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. (Luke 2:1-3)

    According to autobiographical The Res Gestae (Deeds of Augustus) Ceasar Augustus ordered three wide spread censuses one in  28 BC, one in 8 BC and one in 14 AD. There was another census local to Judea in 6 CE but it certainly was not of ‘the entire Roman world.’  This census is recorded by the first centuary historian Josephus. Its purpose was to count the male population so that they could be taxed at a later time. And it triggered a major uprising among the Jews, who regarded a census as against scripture and the will of God.

    There is also no evidence that people were required to travel to their ancestral home towns for the census and this is certainly a detail that Josephus would have included and there would have been other documented evidence of such a mass migration. Biblical scholar E.P. Saunders gives a number of reasons why this is implausible. For example, that it would require people to keep track of millions of ancestors; tens of thousands of descendants of David would all be arriving at Bethlehem, his birthplace, at the same time; and Herod, whose dynasty was unrelated to the Davidic line, would hardly have wished to call attention to royal ancestry that had a greater claim to legitimacy. He adds that it would have been the practice for the census-takers, not the taxed, to travel, and that Joseph, resident in Galilee, would not have been covered by a census in Judaea.

    Another curious little paradox thaSt ames it very clear that there are serious internal consistencies in the Bible is that Herod, King of Israel mentioned in chapter 2 of Matthew, died in 4BC. Quirinius was governor of Syria from 6-12AD. He did his localised census of Judea in 6AD. Add to this that the censuses of the whole Roman world were 28 BC, 8 BC and 14 AD and you have a set of dates that simply can not be reconciled.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Andrew G.- yeah I reckon that’s the case. As I stated before there is no mention of any woman in the lineage given in the Gospel of Luke. Which was primarily the Jewish custom, as crude as this sounds and I don’t agree with it in any way, the man of the household was the only one that counted as far as recognition, record keeping and so on. As it was and still is the custom for Jewish men to call their son in laws their son. So the only logical conclusion is that Luke following Jewish custom, as he was educated in, Proclaimed in the family tree that Joseph was the son of Heli(His father in law), in the family lineage of Mary. Arguing what I would or would not say if any hypothetical situation arose makes your case in what way?? The Protevangelium of James is an interesting point. The story has at some points scriptural themes but it is widely refuted as a highly romanticized novel type of writing that has a great imagination. Little is know about the origins of the writings but just that the author did have access to the Gospel record as did many other authors in the mid eastern region at this time for instance the writers of the many accounts that were not canonized into the Bible. The lineage given in Matthew’s Gospel of Joseph traces the family line from Abraham through King David and commences with Solomon down through Jesus. showing that the supposed father (Joseph) would have the legal right to the throne of Israel by birthright, Luke’s Gospel traces it Jesus to Adam. As far as Mark 6:3 goes: I’m really not trying to be sarcastic here at all but, you do understand that it is possible for a woman to have more than one child don’t you??

  • Ashami

    I can only speak for myself, when I’m witnessing to someone, I just want them to have what I have.

    From where we sit, what you seem to have is a set of irrational beliefs supported by heightened emotional experiences that distort your view of reality. I don’t want that. The fact that you are unable to acknowledge the multitude of problems with the Flood story is illustrative of this.

    As the saying goes, I want to believe in as many real things as possible and not to believe in as many unreal things as possible. Yes, I also want to live a good life and to make a positive impact on the world while I’m alive, but I’m not willing to abandon reality to do it. In fact, I think I can make a bigger impact by being grounded in reason and scientific understanding.

    While I’ll grant that you might experience profound emotions and sense that your life has changed for the better, none of that counters the significant evidence that points away from your beliefs. In fact, everything you’ve experienced has perfectly natural psychological and social explanations. On the flip side, we have long known that strong emotions distort perception and reason, such that the more you justify your claims with feeling, the more reason I have to dismiss your assertions.

    But at the risk of being ironic, I want to return the favor by saying that I want you to have what I have. I want you to have a good life that is grounded in reason and scientific knowledge of the world. Like me, I want you to recognize the cosmos for what it is and to be astounded and inspired by its natural magnificence. Giving up the vice of faith will open doors of knowledge and ideas that your beliefs have shut fast. Have the courage to let go of the religious dream and join us in reality. We would welcome you.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Ashami-”Giving up the vice of faith will open doors of knowledge and ideas that your beliefs have shut fast. Have the courage to let go of the religious dream and join us in reality. We would welcome you.” I thank you for the warm offer but I don’t believe that I can do that at this point in my life. I have tried to fill the void in my life with nearly every major religion including Buddhism and Wicca. I have even been an atheist for a while, I found it easier to be angry at my family if I was angry at their God. I found it easier to rebel against him if I pretended not to believe in him. You may be partly right, a lot of highly emotional feelings come along with being a Christian. But I am actually doing research for my new book on this very topic and it seems that atheists are charged by emotions too only taking them the other direction. I have found in my research, and I’m not saying that this is the reason that people become atheists, but as a consensus atheists are highly charged people for one reason or another. For example many that we have encountered have had a bad experience in someone that they held in regard that was a Christian hurt them or let them down. Another, many atheists are very confrontational and choose atheist forums to use as an outlet for their aggression. We have found that many atheists have a superiority complex, that they are superior and choose atheist forums as an outlet for this behavior. Again, I’m not saying in any way that any of these reasons are why people choose to be atheists nor am I making general assumptions toward atheist people. But I just find it very interesting that you brought up the subject of irrational beliefs brought on by heightened emotions.

  • Charles Black

    @50
    What a surprise every time us non-religious people call out your bulls**t beliefs out for all to see you mark us as aggressive & confrontational.
    I’m sorry if that’s what you really think but no idea is immune from scrutiny & the sooner everyone realizes this the better off we are.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Hi Rev.

    If the Noah story is true, please explain how all the genetic diversity we see across all species resulted from a small number of sexually inbreeding pairs of animals, which, as we know, quickly end up becoming genetically identical (forgetting for a moment what these animals, especially the carnivores, ate, and precisely how many species we’re talking about here). For bonus points, explain how whatever silly explanation you give fits in with the Red Queen hypothesis.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Charles Black- maybe you should take the time to read my comment again very carefully. I called nobody in which I was speaking to or have called anyone whom I have responded to on this thread aggressive. Someone told me that my beliefs are based on heightened emotions and I simply brought up the research that I am involved with on that topic. I made it clear that I was making no general statement toward any particular group of people. And it’s not just me, the religious nut, doing the research either. Yes I am keeping a record of how many times I am being cursed and insulted on these various atheist sites but there is blind, unbiased research going on conducted by psychiatrists and psychologists that are affiliated with three major secular universities that have absolutely no clue as to what their studies are going to be used for. So my statement was that in the research that is going on we find that many people that just so happen to be atheists exhibit these behaviors. I’m not going to type the behaviors again, you can go back and read them for yourself.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Mrnaglfar- Your assumption is that the species that were on the ark are the same species that we have today. I don’t believe that to be true. As I have already stated, I believe that there were much fewer species aboard the ark then within the lines of microevolution have spread out into a broader spectrum. There were only pairs of the unclean animals brought aboard and the clean animals brought 7 males and 7 females. So inbreeding isn’t actually a necessity among the animals. The unclean animals were more that likely inbreeding but there are many animals that produce offspring in that same way today without genetic deformation of any kind. As for the Red Queen hypothesis: it’s just like any other hypothesis, a glorified guess. I don’t really understand the argument behind it, but, take this into consideration. If there were considerably fewer species aboard the ark, that were cross breeding, how could it not be possible for there not to be at least twice as many species when the ark was grounded? That’s the claim to the theory right? That animals are constantly evolving and changing by natural selection and cross breeding with other stronger animals, what makes this an impossibility aboard the ark?

  • Alex SL

    Skeens,

    It is just bizarre how you can juxtapose your dismissal of scientific hypotheses, evidence and theories as “glorified guesses” or similar and your arguments from biblical authority and personal beliefs without being ashamed.

    There is one world out there, and there is precisely one useful approach to learning more about it. You develop an idea, you figure out what you should observe if this idea is wrong, and then you look for evidence. If evidence does not show your idea to be wrong, tentatively accept it. If evidence is incompatible with it, discard the idea and try a better one. This works for everybody, and everybody ultimately arrives at the same conclusions if they keep at it. This we call science. It works. You should try it – instead of, again, the confused ramblings of a bunch of misogynist ignoramuses from 1600 to 3000 years ago, not least because there is no real reason why you should prefer them to the confused ramblings of a merchant from 1400 years ago, for example.

    Let’s try it with an easy example. My idea is: there is an immaterial, eternal soul that carries my personality and memories; it is distinct from the biological functions of my body, so that it can survive the body’s death, pass on into the afterlife, and be judged. Prediction: if this idea is correct, then there must be some aspects of my memory or personality that are impervious to physical trauma or biochemical influence; conversely, if the idea is false, that means that all aspects of my memories and personality are emergent processes of my body, and thus they all can be damaged, erased or influenced by physical and biochemical processes. Enter Phineas Gage, Alzheimer’s disease, hell, even just that Greek philosopher in antiquity who first noted that you can confuse a man’s thinking by hitting him on the head but not by hitting him on the foot. Conclusion: the idea is false, because we observe exactly what we would expect to observe if there is no soul. The same works for the great deluge, the age of the universe, the historicity of Solomon’s empire and whatnot, although the evidence is much more complicated in some of these cases than in the very simple and straightforward question of a soul. Many of these issues can only intelligently be discussed with a lot of background education.

    And sorry, but your fairly obvious complete ignorance of population genetics, speciation processes, world history, engineering, geology and of course epistemology puts the lie to your claim of being highly educated, at least in those areas relevant to this discussion. As I mentioned in my first reply here, it is impossible to know where to start. You don’t need a comment thread at this blog, you need two hundred textbooks and a course in critical thinking. A good start, however, is reading the links I gave in my previous comment.

  • John F

    Just a simple point, you weren’t actually an atheist if you were just ‘pretending not to believe in God’.

  • NotStradamus

    I gave up arguing with people like Rev. Skeens. They have no interest in knowledge, truth, or critical thinking. Their only interest is confirming their cherished beliefs. Anything that sounds like it could agree with their beliefs is accepted without question. Anything that refutes their beliefs is rejected out of hand.

    Rev. Skeens’ use of bible quotes is a perfect example of accepting something as true without evidence to support it. Anything that disagrees with what the bible says is automatically wrong and he doesn’t need to trouble himself about it. Ignorance is his weapon against contrary knowledge. This is why he steadfastly refuses to learn about geology, biology, chemistry and physics in the way they relate to Noah’s flood.

    Rev. Skeens is also keeping track of the number of times he is cursed by atheists. Perhaps he should also keep track of the number of times atheists are cursed by Christians for purposes of comparison.

  • Jeff

    As a few of you have suggested, this is a colossal waste of time. The goal of the believer is to continue to believe. Everything else is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that they get to have the ontological security blanket for the few brief decades they’re here. If the price of that turns out to be eternal suffering for most of the rest of humanity (even their own children) – hey, no big deal. They’re acceptable losses.

    These people view reality in mythic terms. I’m convinced it’s a neurologically-based cognitive deficit, frequently coupled with Antisocial Personality Disorder, but whatever the cause – they’re unreachable.

  • Alex SL

    John F,

    I thought somebody might suggest what you just did, but to me it feels too much like a No True Scotsman. Perhaps it is more helpful to say that not everybody who is an atheist is also a rationalist, or well informed, or has arrived at that position after careful deliberation. Atheism really is nothing but non-belief, so even somebody very ignorant (e.g., a new born child) can easily be an atheist. One of the reasons why it is much more helpful to promote the approach of rationalism than the conclusion of atheism…

  • CB

    This is ridiculous. Just for arguments sake…… what if there was a flood? What does that prove? It proves that those bronze-age tribesmen who were writing the old testament put a little history in it. Doesnt prove that Noah built an ark or anything else.

    I think I just lost a few IQ points just reading this thread

  • Paul

    Rev. Skeens, you missed my comment #42, which was a response to your implication that the mountains were shorter at the Flood than they are now. I had asked for the science behind that.

    How about it?

  • Moondog

    This is supposed to be a conversation with Rev. Skeens, forgive me but I’m going to address the skeptics and atheists here, instead.

    Reading through the conversation to this point it’s obvious that Rev. Skeens’ faith in his idea of the Christian God and biblical inerrancy is still invulnerable. And since his God is capable of anything there is quite literally no evidence or question that he can’t shrug off with a roll of the eyes and some version of “Duh! God can do anything!”

    A wooden boat that size can’t stay in one piece? Duh! God can do anything! If he can create the universe you think he couldn’t keep a boat together for the duration of the flood?

    Genetic diversity? Duh! God can do anything! He created DNA, you think he can’t create genetic diversity post flood?

    Until you can get the Rev. to accept that it’s even possible that the Bible is not inerrant you can’t have a conversation with him about how real-world facts contradict the Bible. You can’t even have a conversation about the Bible’s internal problems, its contradictions and failed prophecies, for example, since (to him) by definition the Bible doesn’t have problems.

    His confidence in the Bible is derived from his faith in himself and his ability to infallibly understand the nature of his own religious experiences. So, perhaps the only way to get through to him would be for him to first have some kind of subjective emotionally driven experience that goes contrary to his current beliefs… I dunno. Anyone here who once was where the Rev. is have any advice? All I know is that throwing a bunch of real-world facts at him isn’t gonna do any good.

  • phhht

    Rick Skeens asks:

    I am dying to know, what makes you believe that i am ignorant? You don’t even know me and yet you suppose that you are superiorly educated…

    There are many things which indicate that you are not well-educated. Here are some examples.

    – egregious misuse of apostrophes;

    – malapropisms such as “superiorly” and “disproven”;

    – incorrect use of the phrase “scare quotes”;

    – clumsy English composition (use of sentence fragments, etc.);

    – misuse of the word “theory”;

    and so on.

  • LindaJoy

    Rev. Skeens- It amazes me that you could come on this thread, ask a question, have an incredible amount of excellent information provided to you in all sincerity, and essentially have not a dent put in your convictions that an invisible entity created the world and then chose to flood it and kill everyone in it except for one family, (who obviously had some morality problems of their own-Genesis 9:18-27).

    So let’s take this beyond the debate of evolution v. creation. Your god, according to the flood story you are clinging to, killed millions of innocent people in a fit of temper. Facts aside, do you really think this story reflects well on your deity? I personally find it immoral.

    So if you are accepting this bible as the “word of God” and you are accepting the creation and flood stories as factual explanations, how do you reconcile the total lack of ethics infused in all these tales?

    At least science admits when it doesn’t have all the answers, and the answers it does provide us are not tainted with underlying immorality.

    I would say that you have a lot of thinking to do, but I’m not very convinced from your posts that it will happen.

  • phhht

    Rick Skeens says:

    …generally speaking, atheists claim that because of evolution science, cosmological information, biological information, geological information and the many other accredited fields of science that offer information, they have proof that there is no God. Which sounds kind of odd to me as you can’t offer proof of something that doesn’t exist. So how is it that you can determine that God/gods don’t exist in any context at all from this information??

    This atheist does not claim that there is proof that there are no gods. Quite the contrary, I wonder why there is not one single, solitary bit of unambiguous, empirical evidence bearing on the question.

    For example, in scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematical publications, there is no mention of gods whatsoever. None.

    This is not because scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians disbelieve in gods (although a great many do so disbelieve).

    It is because the notion of gods is absolutely unnecessary for their purposes.

    As Laplace put it, “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothese-la.” There is simply no need to invoke the supernatural in order to explain and describe the real world.

    I find that fact in itself to be a powerful argument against the existence of gods.

    So, Rick Skeens, why is there no unambiguous, empirical effect of gods on the real world, here and now? Why are your oh-so-powerful gods impotent and invisible?

  • Andrew G.

    Looks like the Rev Skeens is firmly in the grip of Morton’s Demon.

    Rev, if you’re still reading, I recommend you read Morton’s writings (via the above link); he is a former YEC and flood believer who ended up working in the petroleum industry, doing geophysics and geological interpretation for oil prospecting, which meant he was exposed to large quantities of geological data in an environment where only results counted, not theology. He also found that when he started to point out the discrepancies at YEC conferences, the reactions were … uncharitable, to say the least.

  • BenDEBONAIR

    when a Christian offers you a theory, which is the only thing that science can offer you…

    That should have spelt GAME OVER immediately. Rev. Skeens betrayed his complete and utter misunderstanding of what a theory in science is.

  • Mrnaglfar

    As I have already stated, I believe that there were much fewer species aboard the ark then within the lines of microevolution have spread out into a broader spectrum. There were only pairs of the unclean animals brought aboard and the clean animals brought 7 males and 7 females. So inbreeding isn’t actually a necessity among the animals

    So not only can 7 breeding pairs repopulate an entire species without inbreeding (hint: they cannot), but they also have enough time and genetic variation to produce other species as well? Congratulations; you know nothing about genetics or evolution.

    And that’s not the Red Queen hypothesis. The Red Queen has to do with host/parasite co-evolution and the very reason sexual reproduction exists in the first place.

  • http://www.punkassblog.com Antigone
  • http://kagerato.net kagerato

    You are a very silly man, Mr. Skeens. I could add more to what has already been said, but you’ve lost all credibility already by refusing to read or even acknowledge what other people tell you. You clearly have no interest in answers. This is about proselytization and building your own false sense of victim-hood. The sooner you admit this the faster we can all get on with our lives.

  • Ashami

    I have tried to fill the void in my life with nearly every major religion including Buddhism and Wicca.

    When I read this, it seems clear to me that your faith is serving a psychological need: to fill a “void” in your life. That you have tried so many different faiths indicates that your beliefs have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with feeling whole. You don’t need to believe in ancient myths to feel whole. Go to a good psychologist and find out why you have that void in the first place and deal with it directly without the band-aid of religion. Then you will be both whole and living in reality. You will feel free, I guarantee it.

    I have even been an atheist for a while, I found it easier to be angry at my family if I was angry at their God. I found it easier to rebel against him if I pretended not to believe in him.

    Atheists aren’t angry at God any more than they are angry at pink invisible unicorns. Living in reality is not an act of rebellion, it is an act of reason. The key isn’t to pretend that God doesn’t exist, but to actually understand that there is no reason to believe that one exists at all. But you don’t start there…you need to start with developing critical thinking (don’t feel bad, most people don’t have these skills. Blame our lousy educational system). Here is a really wonderful site to get you started: http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/ct.php

    But I am actually doing research for my new book on this very topic and it seems that atheists are charged by emotions too only taking them the other direction. I have found in my research, and I’m not saying that this is the reason that people become atheists, but as a consensus atheists are highly charged people for one reason or another. For example many that we have encountered have had a bad experience in someone that they held in regard that was a Christian hurt them or let them down.

    If you learn critical thinking and then begin your research with a more logical eye, you will find that atheists are human beings. They have the same propensity towards passion and faulty thinking as any believer. The key difference is that the atheistic position is logically justified when we use methods that are best at cutting through emotional biases and logical fallacies. In other words, when we apply critical thinking to the two options (atheism and theism), atheism is the more defensible stance.

    Another, many atheists are very confrontational and choose atheist forums to use as an outlet for their aggression.

    Nah, most atheists are nice people. Sneak into an atheist/secular convention or meeting sometime and you will find that out. I’m sure you imagine hordes of atheists sitting at their computers banging on keyboards with fists clenched in rage. But that is simply not reality. The reality is that the huge population of non-believers (which is larger than all Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists in the US put together) lead normal lives: they love their spouses and children and they are committed to building a better world. If you want to do real research (and not just look for things that confirm your biases), then ask. Ask atheists if they are more aggressive than other people, if they think of themselves as angry, or anything else you want. You will perhaps be surprised that we are rather groovy people on the whole.

    We have found that many atheists have a superiority complex, that they are superior and choose atheist forums as an outlet for this behavior.

    That’s just silly. People telling you that your ideas are wrong has nothing to do with having a “superiority complex”. It means they are committed to reality and are interested in correcting your mistakes (which, I have to say with great humility, there are many).

    Again, I’m not saying in any way that any of these reasons are why people choose to be atheists nor am I making general assumptions toward atheist people. But I just find it very interesting that you brought up the subject of irrational beliefs brought on by heightened emotions.

    Heightened emotions don’t lead one to atheism, although they can help break one away from the trap of faith. Once a person is out of the grip of religion, they can begin to think critically. This is what leads to atheism…it is a natural conclusion to a rational examination of the available facts. So, hit that critical thinking website and see what happens. If your faith is the truth, what do you have to lose?

  • jane hay

    Rev. Skeens:

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Philip K. Dick, science fiction author

  • Andrew G.

    So the only logical conclusion is that Luke following Jewish custom, as he was educated in,

    The author of the gospel of Luke is usually reckoned not to have been a Jew. There are also some indications that Luke the supposed physician of Paul may not have been a Jew. (Traditionally these are assumed to have been the same person, but there are enough problems with that account that modern biblical scholars regard the author of Luke-Acts as unknown, as with the other gospels. I also note that Luke is mentioned only once in the authentic Pauline corpus (Philemon 1:24), and only as a “fellow worker” – the other references are in Colossians, which is disputed, and 1 Timothy, which is certainly pseudepigraphical.)

    Proclaimed in the family tree that Joseph was the son of Heli(His father in law), in the family lineage of Mary. Arguing what I would or would not say if any hypothetical situation arose makes your case in what way??

    The point is that you would not read the text that way in the absence of (a) a conflicting text and (b) a belief that both texts must necessarily be correct.

    [Bart Ehrman tells a story about how he, as a student who was then a biblical literalist, wrote a long and convoluted argument about the meaning of a passage in Matthew in which an Old Testament story is misquoted. His professor returned it with the comment "Maybe Matthew just got it wrong".]

    The Protevangelium of James is an interesting point. The story has at some points scriptural themes but it is widely refuted as a highly romanticized novel type of writing that has a great imagination. Little is know about the origins of the writings but just that the author did have access to the Gospel record as did many other authors in the mid eastern region at this time for instance the writers of the many accounts that were not canonized into the Bible.

    The significance in this case is that this is the earliest surviving source that actually comments explicitly on Mary’s ancestry, and as such it attests to the fact that early readers of Matthew and Luke did not read either of them as having given Mary’s genealogy. Early church tradition focuses almost exclusively on trying to resolve the discrepancy by postulating convoluted schemes involving two different fathers for Joseph (either by adoption or by levirate marriage involving half-brothers).

    The lineage given in Matthew’s Gospel of Joseph traces the family line from Abraham through King David and commences with Solomon down through Jesus. showing that the supposed father (Joseph) would have the legal right to the throne of Israel by birthright,

    Except that the line that Matthew traces includes Jeconiah [Jehoiakin], about whom Yahweh had earlier had this to say:

    This is what the LORD says:
    “Record this man as if childless,
    a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
    for none of his offspring will prosper,
    none will sit on the throne of David
    or rule anymore in Judah.”

    [Jeremiah 22:30]

    As far as Mark 6:3 goes: I’m really not trying to be sarcastic here at all but, you do understand that it is possible for a woman to have more than one child don’t you??

    You’re obviously not up on your theological history. The earliest source [Mark, c. 70-90CE] just has Mary as Jesus’ mother, who doesn’t seem to think that he’s anything special, so there’s no reason for Jesus not to have actual siblings.

    Then, of course, the story gets elaborated:

    – Mary is a virgin before giving birth [Matthew and Luke, c. 80-110 CE]
    – Mary is still a virgin after giving birth (!) [Protevangelium of James, c. 140 CE]
    – Mary remains a virgin for the rest of her life [at least as early as Origen, c. 250]

    By the end of the fourth century the perpetual virginity is an article of faith and people disagreeing with it are condemned in synods.

    This of course requires a reinterpretation of Mark 6:3. The idea that Jesus had step-siblings was around at least as far back at the Protevangelium (which may indicate that the perpetual virginity was an accepted part of the story even then); this is the position the Orthodox church ended up preserving. The Catholics on the other hand followed Jerome, who (without any justification in the text) decided that where Mark said “brothers” and “sisters” he really meant “cousins”. This position prevailed even through the Reformation, until modern times.

  • Amber

    Calvary Ministries? Not the same as Calvary Chapel is it? Anyway, all of this sounds familiar…

    http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/2011/07/flood-geology-and-geological-society-of.html

    Which lead me to this:

    http://www.earthmagazine.org/earth/article/456-7db-6-a

  • k

    Firs, I would like to say that this is possibly one the most interesting discussions I’ve seen in a very long while. Quite refreshing, actually!

    On to the topic now, and I will only speak on the general spirit of the discussion here, I think that the main issue at hand is that Rev. Skeens is merely attempting to argue scientific fact and reason with faith! This, as we all know, is inherently problematic as us free-thinkers do not base any of our convictions on faith. I think, Rev. Skeener, that you should for the sake of this argument, try and provide us with logic-based, scientific facts to back up your claims. The burden of the proof is on you, my friend, not us and when I say proof I mean empirical, scientific evidence.

    Additionally, Rev. Skeener, what you have been reiterating throughout your replies is that we (atheists and agnostics) arrive at the conclusion that there is no god due to all of the scientific research that is done in various fields. Allow me to say that this is not the case at all. We do not reject the notion of a god (or gods) because science has proven plate tectonics, natural selection, the age of the universe, relativity …etc. What reject the notion of god(s) due to lack of evidence to the existence of one! I hope you keep that in mind when you tackle all the points that everyone here is making.

    Also, when you say that (and I paraphrase loosely) you want us to feel what you feel and have what you have (through your faith), you are unintentionally (hopefully!) implying that we are somewhat lacking in one arena or the other! Or we do not enjoy and appreciate life as much as you do. This is, again, a common conclusion that people of faith come to arrive at about atheists and agnostics. We are in no way less appreciative or joyous about the marvels of life. In fact, and I think other can back me up here, we are even more baffled and mesmerised by it all, simply because we know how rare it is, how lucky we are, and how much it has taken the universe, earth and life to get us to where we are today.

    So, for the sake of continuing this great discussion, I call on you, Rev. Skeener, to keep the following in mind: A) We need evidence! Faith is not evidence, biblical scripture (or any scripture for that matter) is not evidence, and “because god did it” isn’t evidence either! B) We do not reject the existence of one god or the other because of the scientific evidence proving various hypotheses, we reject it because of the lack of evidence to support the existence of a god. And C) Just because we do not believe or have faith, does not mean that we are somehow lacking in any aspect of our lives.

  • Seeker

    I would love to know if Rev. Skeens has any response to my post at #49 regarding biblical inerrancy. How can this be reconciled? I can provide numerous more examples for the Rev’s consideration.

  • NotStradamus

    @ Seeker:
    Don’t hold your breath while you’re waiting.
    Rev. Skeens has neither the knowledge nor the integrity to make a reply.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Alex SL- Your last comment was actually refreshing, I was beginning to think that you didn’t have an opinion of your own concerning anything.
    @Andrew G. – I find it interesting that you keep telling me what I would say in an Hypothetical situation when I don’t even know what I would say in that situation. “Record this man as if childless,
    a man who will NOT PROSPER IN HIS LIFETIME for none of his offspring will prosper,none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” For someone that seems to be intelligent, you obviously have the ability to read the words in capital letters in this scripture that you have blindly quoted. Knowing that his sons would not sit on the throne after he dies was his punishment. You are proving absolutely nothing with your references to the Protevangelium of James. Your arguments concerning this story are the equivalent of me arguing a discrepancy in evolutionary science referencing archeo-raptor. While many people put faith in both of them, they have been regarded as fictional accounts. And to continue to argue about how things have changed throughout church history is of none effect. Yes there have been some unscrupulous characters in the church history that have manipulated and even forged church documents in an attempt to “protect the faith.” The forgery by the church fathers in the works of Flavius Josephus are a prime example, but there have been many fraudulent activities in the scientific community as well such as archeo-raptor or the infamous Nebraska man or the Piltdown man. It shouldn’t have been that way but it was but you can’t point fingers at the church for some things that characters have done in the past because the people that you have faith and trust in as well have done it too.
    @Seeker- I am happy to try to answer your question. sorry it took me so long to get back with you but Sunday usually is a pretty busy day for me. You are assuming that all Christians are in agreement that Christ was born in a certain year. But we aren’t. Some scholars believe that he was born between 4-6 BC and some believe as early as 8 BC. We know from the records that Augustus ordered a census in 8 BC and was so proud of his censuses that he listed them as #8 in “The Acts of Augustus”(a little trivial info). I tend to believe that Christ was actually born in 6 BC, and it was the 8BC census that is mentioned in the Gospel accounts. If you look it ups you will find that there is also some very interesting cosmic activity during this time as well that may or may not be affiliated with the Star of Bethlehem. So then we have another problem. The Governor of Syria, Quirinnius which is listed in the Gospel of Luke wasn’t governor until later in 6AD. The text in the Gospel of Luke states that this was the first to take place while Quirinius was governor. Not actually a problem, the greek word used for “first” is “prote” which is more accurately translated as “prior to.” So this statement would be more accurately translated as this census was the first to take place prior to Quirinius becoming governor. And this information precisely fits in the sense that if the Roman 14 year census rule was in effect at this time the next scheduled census would be in 6AD which we have record of. Now I know what you are probably thinking, this all revolves around the ever changing birthday of Jesus Christ and it does. But you have to use the same logic that I have heard concerning scientific theories. We as people are often wrong. We don’t have record of when Christ’s birth was, even the day. So any attempt to find it out is going to involve a process much like the scientific process, we find information, if it fits then we can use it in our investigation, if not we have so scrap it and start over again. With people that have so much faith in the scientific community which is constantly changing, you all shouldn’t have a problem with that at all. If I can answer any other questions please let me know. Oh and also the statement that there is absolutely no proof that people had to travel to their ancestral home lands during Roman Census isn’t completely accurate. There is evidence in Egypt around 100 years later that people were forced to travel from their current residence back to their home village.
    @Amber- no Journey to Calvary Ministries is my evangelistic outreach ministry, we aren’t affiliated with any particular church or denomination.
    @Notstradamus= nope just been in church all day.

  • vin720

    Rev,

    Your belief in a literal translation of the bible is extreme by even Christian standards. Most Christian denominations do not believe in the bible in that way, but a lot more allegorical (not that I agree with that premise either), but that does allow them to understand that science has led us out of the darkness of ignorance. They readily accept things like evolution and the real age of the earth. Perhaps you should seek out your Catholic, Anglican, and other mainstream kinfolk, then come back here.

  • Andrew G.

    “Record this man as if childless,
    a man who will NOT PROSPER IN HIS LIFETIME for none of his offspring will prosper,none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” For someone that seems to be intelligent, you obviously have the ability to read the words in capital letters in this scripture that you have blindly quoted. Knowing that his sons would not sit on the throne after he dies was his punishment.

    The ‘none of his offspring’ part isn’t limited to one generation. Different translations use ‘offspring’, ‘seed’ or ‘descendants’ more or less equivalently when translating that phrase.

    Both Jeconiah and his father are on the receiving end of this kind of divine curse, as it happens, and Zedekiah ends up king instead. While Zerubbabel (listed as a descendant of Jeconiah though different books disagree on exactly how) ends up as provincial governor under the Persians, no Davidic king ever rules again, which of course is the basis for much of the messianic prophecy written over the following few centuries.

    [Background for those too busy to read up on it: this is the period when Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. Josiah having been killed by the Egyptians, who then also captured and imprisoned his son Jehoahaz, his next son Jehoiakim is set up as king by the Egyptians. At this point the Babylonians show up, take territory away from the Egyptians and make Jehoiakim a vassal (which lasts three years before he rebels); when he dies his son Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) becomes king at the age of either 8 or 18 (manuscripts differ on this point), rules for three months, at which point the Babylonians besiege and capture Jerusalem, carry people (including Jehoiachin) off, and set up Zedekiah (another son of Josiah) as king over whoever is left.]

    [ok, I did mix the names up in my earlier post: Jeconiah is Jehoiachin, and Jehoiakim was his father (and a son of Josiah); in my defense Matthew also messes up the genealogy here, omitting Jehoiakim entirely and deviating from the list given in 1 Chronicles in other ways.]

  • Ydemoc

    Did Noah load talking donkeys onto that ark?

  • Paul

    Dear Rev:

    Mountains?

    Height?

    Flood?

    Science?

  • Andrew G.

    The Governor of Syria, Quirinnius which is listed in the Gospel of Luke wasn’t governor until later in 6AD. The text in the Gospel of Luke states that this was the first to take place while Quirinius was governor. Not actually a problem, the greek word used for “first” is “prote” which is more accurately translated as “prior to.” So this statement would be more accurately translated as this census was the first to take place prior to Quirinius becoming governor.

    That doesn’t fly. The 6 CE census was the first Roman census ever held in Judea; in 8 BCE and before, Judea was not a Roman province but was a client kingdom under Herod the Great. The reason for the 6 CE census was that Herod’s son Archelaus, who had been installed by the Romans as ethnarch (but not basileus, king) over that part of Herod’s territory, was dismissed by the Romans for incompetence and the area organized under direct Roman rule. The 6 CE census notably provoked a revolt, according to Josephus.

  • Andrew G.

    Rev,

    Did you look at the articles I linked above?

  • cag

    Admitting that the highest mountains at the time of the “flood” were 8,000 feet means that mountain building would have occurred at a rather frightening rate in the last 4000 years. The forces to raise the highest mountain from 8000 feet to over 29000 feet would have been recorded in the history of many civilisations, the Chinese would certainly have noticed.

    Whoever told you the lie that mountains were so much smaller at the time of the “flood” also lied to you about a number of things such as the existence of some supreme being.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Andrew G. + Vin720 – Anyone with a little bit of head knowledge about the Bible can argue that there are inconsistencies in the Bible. Usually can be cleared up by seeking someone who has not only spiritual knowledge of the Bible but knowledge of Jewish custom and the classical language as well. But here is the thing. There are numerous scientific facts in the Word of God that were unarguably not discovered until hundreds if not thousands of years after being written about in the Bible:
    1.The earth is round – “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;”- Isaiah 40:22. When sailors were afraid of sailing to far away because they feared they were going to fall off of the earth the prophet of God knew that the earth was round. This was written well over 1,000 years before Copernicus made the discovery in the 15th century AD. also noted in Job 26:10, Proverbs 8:27, Amos 9:6
    2. Earth is independently hung in space- “He stretched out the north over the empty places and he hanged the earth upon nothing.”-Job 26:7. When the contemporary scientists thought that the earth sat on the backs of two gigantic turtles, the prophet of God knew that it didn’t.
    3. The Hydrologic Cycle- “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud in not rent under them.” The hydrologic cycle wasn’t understood at all until the Roman engineer Marcus Vitruvius came on the scene around 30 BC. When nobody had any understanding of how rain was formed and delivered to the earth, the man of God knew. also noted in:Job 36:27-28,Ecclesiastes 1:6-7
    4. The stars cannot be numbered- When various astronomers through the ages thought that they could predict the number of stars in the sky: Brahe said there was 777, Kepler said 1,005 and Hipparchus said 1,022 the writers of many books in the Bible that the stars were innumerable. noted in Jeremiah 33:22 Genesis 15:5 and many other times, I suggest you study it yourself.
    5.Valleys in the sea floor-”And the channels(valleys) of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered at the rebuking of the Lord,….” II Samuel 22:16. When science had no way to investigate what was under the ocean, on the floor of the deep sea, the prophet of God knew there were valleys in the sea floor.
    6.Stars differ from on another-”There is one glory in the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars for one star differeth from another star in glory.” I Corinthians 15:41- When science has just come up with the theories that stars are different from one another in density, composition and elementary make up in the past couple centuries, the Apostle of Christ knew this information almost 2,000 years ago.
    7. The circulation of atmosphere-”the wind goeth toward the sout, and runeth about unto the north, it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits..” Ecclesiastes 1:6- it has taken modern science over 1,000 years to even begin to understand the circulation of our atmosphere, but the Holy Ghost inspired Ecclesiastic writer was privy to this information long before science got wind of it, excuse the cheesy pun.
    And these aren’t all of the facts that are in the Bible that go along with what modern science has uncovered. Jesus speaks of a time when the rapture is coming in multiple Gospel accounts that there will be one person working in the field, and one person lying in bed, this gives credibility to the fact the Jesus knew that not only the earth is round, but that it is dark on one side of the planet while it is daylight on the other. Not only scientific information can be found in the Bible but medical information. Back when the law of Moses was given the Lord commanded the children of Israel to quarantine people that have communicable diseases when no other culture had the knowledge to do so. And of course the moral code in the Bible. If we as humans are just another species of animal such as the lion, tiger or bear then how do we have the ability to determine between right and wrong? What possibly could set us apart from the animal kingdom if we have evolved in the same manner as every other animal? Survival of the fittest just doesn’t hold water when it comes to human beings as we have organizations that feed the hungry, send aid to other people that need it, clothe them, give them water. If we were truly instinctive animals we would just let these people die off because they are weaker than us. The Bible whether you choose to pick at it and try to make it look contradictory, because of a lack of knowledge about it, goes along with many aspects of our modern world. I challenge you to look at it with a clear mind, take the time to study it without the presupposition that it’s false, you will be amazed at what you find.

  • Rike D.

    Mr. Skeens,
    I just wanted to let you know that I am an Atheist who never “had a bad experience in someone that they held in regard that was a Christian hurt them or let them down.” I have several very devout christian friends, without having to live a christian life myself.
    Also, my Atheism has nothing whatsoever to do with Evolution or any other scientific field. I am an Atheist because the word “god(s)” is absolutely meaningless to me, other than having encountered it in various literature like the Greek Mythologies, the Bible or other fairy tale stories – oh, and of course in history, like the Crusades and the witch hunts.
    What would it mean if I said “god” is watching over me? Why, the same as if I said that I’m being watched by “Zeus” or “Odin” or “Ali Baba”. In other words, if I don’t take responsibility for myself, nobody does. This is may be the reason for the perceived “Atheist Superiority Complex”: maybe Atheists act more like adults, compared with religious people who seem to have a need for a father in the sky who watches over his children and tells them how to behave and how he will punish them if they don’t. (That brings up the question of free will, but I think I’ve said enough…)

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Rike D- i’m glad that you associate with Christian people. I want to point out that making a diversion to the the things that have happened in the past in the name of Christianity has no bearing on the conversation that we are having. It’s the equivalent of me making a diversion toward Lenin, Stalin, Mao or Pot concerning atheist people. But to the bigger point, the God’s that you have listed have come and gone. Many worldly religions worship men and women that have walked the earth, died and have a physical tomb that you can literally visit today. But the Garden tomb in the Holy Land is empty and has a sign place above it that states “He is not here, for he is Risen.” So arguing that another pagan God holds the same regard as the true and Living God is a false observation. And it’s not that he is just looming over you keeping track of your actions in hopes of smiting you. It is a shame that your Christian friends haven’t told you that all you have to do in order to get out of punishment is believe on him.

  • Seeker

    Excellent post at #84 by Andrew G. *sits back to see what the Rev has to say about this*

  • Seeker

    Also, ‘prote’ is very clearly to be translated as ‘first’ or ‘of prime importance’. It is not used to mean ‘before’ anywhere else in the Bible or contemporary literature, and I personally believe this theory was invented as a fix for the problem that Luke didn’t get the dates right thus undermining biblical inerrancy.

    If Rev. skeens can provide me with primary source evidence that ‘prote’ was used to mean ‘before’ elsewhere in scripture or in contemporary literature, then I would be very grateful.

    PS I have a BA in Classical Studies (Inc Attic Greek) and a BTheol in Scripture and Koine Greek so I’m not just spouting what sounds good off the top of my head

  • Andrew G.

    There are numerous scientific facts in the Word of God that were unarguably not discovered until hundreds if not thousands of years after being written about in the Bible:

    Nothing in the passages you cite actually reveals any scientific facts. The Earth has been described using phrases like “circle of the earth” in many cultures which explicitly believed that it was flat; the predominant picture throughout the ANE before, say, Pythagoras’ time was that the earth was a flat disk with the heavens supported above it, either on distant pillars or with the heavens as an upturned bowl resting on the edges of the earth.

    In Isaiah 40:22 specifically, “circle” is the Hebrew word chug, which means “to draw around”, “make a circle”, etc. It never refers to a sphere.

    I don’t know why you’re referring to Copernicus in this context. The sphericity of the earth was known at least as early as the 5th c. BCE, with some claims for the 6th c. (specifically Pythagoras). Certainly it was known in the Pythagorean school in the 5th c., and after the 5th c. every educated Greek knew it. In the middle of the 3rd c. BCE Eratosthenes made the first known accurate measurements of the Earth’s size. (When Columbus proposed his voyage, the educated opposition to it was not on the basis of the Earth not being spherical, but on the simple fact that Columbus was using a figure for the Earth’s size which was much smaller than the accepted one; and on this point Columbus was provably wrong, and had the Atlantic been a bit wider his expedition would have been lost without trace.)

    To check some of your other quotes: Amos 9:6 has this:

    who builds his upper chambers in the heavens
    and founds his vault upon the earth;
    who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
    the LORD is his name.

    Nothing there about anything being spherical; this is exactly the common picture of the heavens being a solid vault above the earth.

    I could go on; but the first killer argument in this case is that if you apply the same standards of interpretation to, say, the Enuma Elish or other ancient cosmological myths, you find them just as (in)accurate as the older parts of the OT. Your argument relies on applying completely contrived retroactive re-interpretations selectively to some texts (the OT) and not others (other ANE mythological texts).

    Which leads to the second killer argument: if the early Hebrews had known any of this stuff, we wouldn’t have needed to wait for the Greeks, Romans and later western scientists to discover it, would we?

    Oh, your figures for numbers of stars are wrong in addition to being meaningless; Kepler, for example, catalogued the positions of 1006 stars from Brahe’s measurements and another 400 from other sources; that’s a far different thing from claiming that there only exist that many stars.

    [I don't hold out much hope for you ever reading it, but there is a complete refutation of your argument in chapter 5 of The Christian Delusion.]

  • John F

    @Rev. Skeens (#87)
    It’s a common (and to be blunt, lazy) misconception that the Earth was only discovered as round in the 16th century and before then, everyone thought you’d fall off the edge.

    The curvature was practically demonstrated by Magellan (not Copernicus) but by this point, it would certainly not have been revalatory. The Greeks discovered the curvature as early as the 6th century BC, and it was an accepted fact by virtually every scholar in the Christian and Muslim worlds. The myth that people thought otherwise began in the 18th century in romanticised literature and was adopted by the Religion vs. Science debates which were raging at this point.

    As for the Earth hanging in free space, this was attributed to Anaximander (550 BC). Though as they had figured out the Earth was spherical, deductive reasoning had led them to wonder what is was suspended in. And don’t say Atlas… in Greek mythology Atlas held aloft the heavens, not the Earth as some believe.

  • Andrew G.

    And of course the moral code in the Bible. If we as humans are just another species of animal such as the lion, tiger or bear then how do we have the ability to determine between right and wrong? What possibly could set us apart from the animal kingdom if we have evolved in the same manner as every other animal? Survival of the fittest just doesn’t hold water when it comes to human beings as we have organizations that feed the hungry, send aid to other people that need it, clothe them, give them water. If we were truly instinctive animals we would just let these people die off because they are weaker than us.

    That we are animals is irrefutable; that our 500,000′th (or so) cousins are chimps is equally irrefutable. That other animals also have moral instincts is beginning to be understood; even a rat will starve itself rather than eat when eating triggers punishment of another rat, and chimps share many of our concepts of fairness and compassion.

    In fact the more we study animal behaviour and human moral emotions (see for example Jonathan Haidt’s work), the more we find that our intrinsic feelings about morality are neither significantly different from our close relatives, nor are they in any way maladaptive; in fact they are almost certainly necessary for a successful social animal. However, as we’d expect for an evolutionary adaptation, our intrinsic moral emotions work about as well in modern society as our backbones work for walking upright.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @seeker-then you will know that I was actually trying to type “protos” (autocorrect) I don’t know if you will find many examples of this word being used in this context to be quite honest with you. In order for it to be translated in this way it has to be used temporal to a participle in a very specific way. It is used several times in the word of God (being interpreted as first or foremost) when describing a particular chain of events. As to say that first someone came and then something happened. or first something happened and then something happened. for example..Mt. 20:10-”But when the first(protos) came, they supposed that they should have received more. So you have protos interjected as the first or foremost person that came but it is used in describing a very particular chain of events. There are many more of these type of uses in the Bible but as far as contemporary scriptures I will have to do more research on that.
    @Andrew G.-You are wearing your keyboard out googling my every response. I presume wikipedia’s hits have doubled in the past few days. My acceptance of the 6 BC date of Christ’s birth is in the understanding that although Judea wasn’t a part of the Roman empire officially that the area was in direct contact with the Roman Empire way before Judea was made a province. Pompey invaded Palestine in 63 BC and took control over Jerusalem. They installed Hyrcanus II as high priest and Antipater as the minister to oversee the affairs of Judea. So even though Palestina wasn’t a part of the empire just yet doesn’t mean that they were not under Roman occupation and Roman Rule. As far as Josephus’ statement goes, we use the same criteria as the skeptics do. He wasn’t contemporary to the time so while much of his historical record can be proven by cross examining evidence, some of his information has the ability to be faulty. You should add this information to the wikipedia article that you got your information from so it will aid some other person in the future. There are other theories exist to back up what Luke says is accurate. I just gave you mine. One other is that what Luke says is more accurately translated in the NKJV as “while Cyrenius was governing in Syria.” it doesn’t actually say that he was the Governor of Syria. So we have proof that he was sent to Syria to govern in some manner in the time frame of the 8 BC census. Again your claims against the word of God and the scientific information in it; which even though you have provided more ancient discoveries, the writers of the Bible still out dated them by many years in most cases, just shows me that you have set in your mind that anything in it isn’t true and your refuse to accept any truth that can be presented to you from it.

  • Andrew G.

    My acceptance of the 6 BC date of Christ’s birth is in the understanding that although Judea wasn’t a part of the Roman empire officially that the area was in direct contact with the Roman Empire way before Judea was made a province. Pompey invaded Palestine in 63 BC and took control over Jerusalem. They installed Hyrcanus II as high priest and Antipater as the minister to oversee the affairs of Judea. So even though Palestina wasn’t a part of the empire just yet doesn’t mean that they were not under Roman occupation and Roman Rule.

    It was certainly within the Roman sphere of influence. Herod the Great was a Roman client, that is to say that he had been elected by the Roman senate and Rome had backed him militarily in conquering Jerusalem in the first place, and they sure as hell expected him to keep order in the region and pay a tribute; but the whole point of a client-state relationship was to save the Romans the trouble and expense of having to get involved directly. Neither Rome nor Herod himself would have had any need to conduct a census, since Herod’s obligations to Rome were already fixed and running a census was a huge expense. The Jews also regarded censuses as sinful (cf. 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21) so running one would not only be an expense but also disruptive to civil order.

    As for Josephus, historians are well aware of how far they can trust his reliability; but one thing is certain, and that is that he had extensive access to Roman archive material which is now lost. He records reasonably accurately a lot of detail that he would not have been in a position to observe himself but which has been verified by archaeology.

    So we have proof that he was sent to Syria to govern in some manner in the time frame of the 8 BC census.

    No we certainly do not; in fact we know who all the governors of Syria were for that period (in 8 BCE it was Sentius Saturninus, for example), and after 12 BCE Quirinius was of too high a rank to serve in a subordinate capacity under some other governor. (As a senator who had been consul, he was eligible for offices of the highest rank.) We actually know where Quirinius was around 6-3 BCE; he was fighting a small war in Asia Minor, commanding probably 2 legions.

    Plus, Augustus’ 8 BCE was only of Roman citizens, not provincials or clients; and there was no 14-year cycle of censuses as you previously claimed.

  • Andrew G.

    And since I still haven’t had an answer from you, Rev, I will ask again: have you read these articles which I previously linked to:

    Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective

    Morton’s Demon

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    No I haven’t read them. Putting blind faith in radiometric dating in which scientists admit right off the gate can be off a couple of hundred thousand years or so is less than convincing to me. And I’m not sure what the other one entails but I may get around to giving it a glance sooner or later. As for the comments about the Roman empire, I must give you fair warning before you dive into this subject any further, you are a super light weight in a very super heavy weight bout. I’m not trying to offend you or condescending you in any way but from your statements so far I can only conclude that we are in no way in the same playing field. You have to understand the relationship between Palestine and the Roman Empire. Just saying, I don’t believe it would of made sense for them to have conducted a census because it would have been costly doesn’t hold water. The Roman empire was dependent on the area of Palestine because of it’s geological position along the Mediterranean Sea. Not only for trade routes to it’s other provinces but for security reasons. So it was vital once the land was occupied by Pompey that they hold it by any means necessary. Not only would a census have been necessary to number the people that could possibly revolt against them in the future, as they had already done against the Helenistic rulers, but what types of forces would be necessary to put down a Jewish revolt. And for obvious reasons to keep tabs on how the Jewish population was growing. Yes there absolutely is recorded evidence that Quirinius was in Syria as some type of governing figure, Consul, Military Liaison, or even proposed to have been a two term governor of Syria, returning to the position in 6 AD. And yes, the Roman Empire instituted 14 year censuses at some point in time across the empire. When exactly is not known but we do know that they completed a census regularly on the time scale of 14 years.

  • Andrew G.

    Regarding whether the Bible anticipates scientific discoveries, there are a number of separate questions, thus:

    1. Does the bible actually mean what you claim it means?
    1b. Does it explicitly contradict this meaning elsewhere?

    2. Does the bible say anything different from earlier or contemporary sources?

    3. Was the bible written when you think it was?

    Let’s start by considering Isaiah 40:22, which refers to “circle of the earth”. Point 1, does this claim the earth is spherical? No, it merely says that it is circular (like a flat disk). (The claim by some apologists that this word can also mean “sphere” is false.) We’ll skip 1b for this one. Point 2, is the bible distinctive on this point? No, because “circle of the earth” is a term found in both ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Point 3, when was it written? Isaiah 40 is from Deutero-Isaiah, writing in the exilic period (586-538 BCE).

    Next up, is the Earth independently hung in space? Here point 1b comes into play: Job 26:7 is contradicted by, for example, 1 Samuel 2:8 (“For the foundations of the earth…”), Psalm 75:3 (“When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.”), Psalm 102:25 (“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth”), Job 9:6 (“He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble.”), and so on and so on.

    I’ll skip the rest of your points for reasons of space and time. Instead, I’ll point out the flip side of your claim; what about those places where the bible consistently gets its cosmology wrong? The best examples of this are probably where the earth is depicted as being stationary (which is consistently the case throughout the entire OT); for example Ecclesiastes 1:5, (“The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.”).

  • Andrew G.

    No I haven’t read them. Putting blind faith in radiometric dating in which scientists admit right off the gate can be off a couple of hundred thousand years or so is less than convincing to me.

    What’s a couple of hundred thousand years when you’re measuring an age of billions of years?

    What that article explains is exactly why radiometric dates are trusted to the extent they are (which has nothing to do with “faith”, blind or otherwise), and it does so from a specifically Christian perspective.

  • Andrew G.

    On census frequency:

    Roman law specified a census of citizens every 5 years. This simply didn’t happen most of the time (Augustus’ censuses were 20 and 22 years apart), but there was one exception, Sicily.

    One place that did have a 14-year cycle was Egypt, but this (a) wasn’t a Roman policy, just a continuation of practices that had been in force under Cleopatra; and (b) it had the specific purpose of collecting records for a head tax which was due to be paid annually by everyone over the age of 14.

    We have dates of censuses for various parts of the Empire around this time, and other than in Egypt, those dates cannot be reconciled with a 14-year cycle.

  • Ben

    Too bad “Thou shalt split giant blocks of text into separate paragraphs” wasn’t in the Bible!

  • BenDEBONAIR

    Andrew G. said

    …what about those places where the bible consistently gets its cosmology wrong? The best examples of this are probably where the earth is depicted as being stationary (which is consistently the case throughout the entire OT); for example Ecclesiastes 1:5, (“The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.”).

    It seems freethinkers and/or atheists STILL do not understand the underlying thinking processes that go into the construction of a system of thought and world observation like that which the Rev. Skeens holds.

    It is simply this: The Bible CANNOT under ANY circumstance be wrong. NEVER, EVER.

    Any observation of inconsistencies and vagueness and/or outright lies are the result of misunderstandings on the part of the READER.

    You cannot dismantle the Rev. Skeens’ worldview, nay, you cannot even put a dent on it unless you and him agree on a criteria/observation for which the Holy Word of God would be palpably false. For reasons why this is an exercise in futility see above.

    Rev. Skeens already has all the conclusions. His only job now is to make sure that the observations agree with the conclusions.

    If they do not, it is the OBSERVATION that has to go.

  • John F

    Based on the whole “the Bible is the inerrant word of God and can never be wrong” mentality, I find myself wishing some mischievous medieval scribe had decided to have a bit of fun and dropped the following line into the King James:

    “Everything in this book is a lie.”

    Then sat back and watched the fundamentalists’ heads explode as a result of the paradox.

  • Jeff

    “You have to understand the relationship between Palestine and the Roman Empire.”

    It’s Rev. Skeens who doesn’t understand the relationship: http://www.tzemachdovid.org/israel/feldman.shtml

  • phhht

    Skeens,

    Everybody’s got opinions. Everybody’s got beliefs.

    What distinguishes your beliefs from, say, mine?

    One distinguishing factor is that I make an effort NOT to believe in the absence of evidence, or in the presence of contradictory evidence. Doing that strikes me as a good way to be wrong.

    You, on the other hand, appear to have no need of evidence. In fact, I know of no unequivocal, empirical evidence to support the god hypothesis. None.

    Why is that, Skeens? Why don’t your all-powerful gods leave any unequivocal, testable evidence of their existence? Why is everything goddy so murky, so equivocal, so controversial, so much a matter of opinion? Why are there no goddy facts?

    Why are your omnipotent gods invisible and impotent in the real world?

  • http://deusdiapente.blogspot.com J. Quinton

    And yes, the Roman Empire instituted 14 year censuses at some point in time across the empire. When exactly is not known but we do know that they completed a census regularly on the time scale of 14 years.

    That census was only for citizens of the Roman empire. If you think that all Jews were citizens of the Roman empire… well, that is a massive fail in history on your part.

    Even the unhistorical Acts of the Apostles gets this right – that not all Jews were citizens of the Roman empire.

  • http://deusdiapente.blogspot.com J. Quinton

    “You have to understand the relationship between Palestine and the Roman Empire.”

    To be extra pedantic, “Palestine” didn’t exist during the time period of Jesus. “Palestine” only existed after the Romans kicked the Jews out of Judea in 135 CE and renamed it Syria Palestinia.

  • Joe Geiger

    Andrew — thanks for the link to the essay about Morton’s Demon. I had never seen it before — excellent read. Suffice to say that the demon is strong in the dear reverend.

  • Ashami

    Mr. Skeens, I can tell that you are very passionate about your beliefs and have a lot of motivation to spread them. It takes a lot of courage, frankly, to come to an atheist site to witness. I suspect that you aren’t surprised by the responses you got; after all, your beliefs are pretty well out of sync with observable reality.

    When you hear all the supportable arguments against your assertions, you argue all the harder (without really answering any of the counterclaims). This is a well-documented effect called cognitive dissonance. Rather than entertain the fact that a wooden boat holding thousands of animals couldn’t possibly survive a catastrophic deluge for which there is no physical evidence, you simply offer more assertions. This is because doubt of this kind is distressing, and you compensate by ignoring it, twisting it, or barraging it with even more claims.

    I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone in this. It is very typical human behavior. I did it myself when I was a religious adherent. As you mentioned before, you believe that your faith is necessary for you and your life at this time. It is possible that you simply aren’t ready to let go of your religious dreams. I myself find that unfortunate, because you are wasting a lot of your time and energy on things grounded in fantasy. That is one of the great costs of religion.

    But I hope that some part of your mind, the part that knows that you are intrinsically worthy of having a good life and being happy, begins to build up the strength to let go of the crutch of faith. Clearly the energy and determination you’ve shown here, however misguided, shows that you have what it takes to do this. You don’t need to prove the Bible. You are not obligated to confirm the myths of an ancient Mediterranean nomadic tribe. You are free, at any time, to set down the burden of believing in things that constantly conflict with reality. Free yourself, Mr. Skeens. Free yourself.

  • BenDEBONAIR

    To Rev. Skeens,

    I do not in any way propose to speak for all the wonderful freethinkers gathered here on this magnificent blog, but sometimes when conversating[sic] with people like you i have realized that an entirely different approach to the whole God(s)-Exist(s)-and-Is(Are)-Intimately-Interested-In-My-Well-Being-and-Which-Hole-I-Put-My-D*ck-In seems to suffice quite nicely.

    So Rev., i will for the sake of argument grant you that (your)God exists. I will even charitably allow to cross the wide gulf to “and He/She/It/They cares about you”.

    Here is the thing though Reverend, your pathetic excuse for an Omni-Max Metaphysical Entity is absolutely not deserving of my worship. Why?

    THIS Reverend, This: Horn of Africa Famine

    If i am not sorely mistaken, the reason why those 2 malnourished skeletal children in the above video are crawling on their stomachs in the dirt in famine-ravaged Somalia as we speak now is because a few thousand years ago YOUR God asked a man and a woman to not eat a fruit from a tree which YOUR God deliberately put in a garden to tempt them. And after they failed said temptation, which YOUR God knew for millions[billions?] of years they would even before He created them, He cursed them and their descendants for all eternity, am i right Reverend?

    If that is the entity to which you grovel and bow on a daily basis then you are a disgrace to humanity as a whole.

    Please tell Him/Her/It/They that they can prepare the hottest recesses of hell for as heathens [is that you Bertrand Russell i see burning in da corner o'er der? *wink wink* ;-)]. We on the other hand will continue to use science and technology to attempt to better this absolute trash of an abode YOUR God created.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda, healthcare is a damn right.

    No contradictions in The Bible? Excuse me while I fall on the floor laughing. Have you actually read it? The Brick Testament,n in The Fate of Judas ( Matthew 27:3-4) and The Other Fate of Judas (Acts 1:15-19, points out that the New Testament gives Judas two different deaths. You can’t get much more contradictory than that.

    A theory isn’t a notion or a tale or an idea or a concept or a guess or a rationale for a religion’s myths. You can’t have a real theory that isn’t supported by evidence—that’s why rational people, not just atheists, have screaming fits when you present your “theories.” In conversation, “theory” can mean ‘a wild-assed guess’ or ‘a notion about how things work,’ which scientists would call a hypothesis; but a theory in the scientific sense means ‘an explanation that can be tested, that has predictive power, and whose predictions have been tested and shown to be correct.’

    If the predictions are wrong, the theory must be either discarded or, more likely, modified to explain the actual results. A theory is based on reality. Scriptures of any religion are not evidence of anything except the ability of humans to create and believe their own fiction.

  • Scotlyn

    Rev. Skeens:

    I have even been an atheist for a while, I found it easier to be angry at my family if I was angry at their God. I found it easier to rebel against him if I pretended not to believe in him.

    Others have addressed this, but please note the contradiction in this sentence alone.
    You variously describe yourself here as:
    - being angry AT GOD,
    - as rebelling AGAINST GOD,
    - PRETENDING not to believe IN GOD
    A person so fully engaged in such interactions with their imaginary GOD frenemy, is really in no way an atheist.

    To be an atheist means to dispense with the God idea altogether. This leaves you with no one at all to be angry at, rebel against or get into a “I’m mad at you so I won’t believe in you, so there” sulk with.

    No god, full stop.

    So, no, you weren’t an atheist, Rev. Skeens. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

    But, you know, you could always reconsider.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    I can across this blog, and discussion, following a link from my personal blog, Stones and Bones. I don’t think there is much to be gained from a discussion of science, or history with Rev. Skeens. He is obviously very proud of his ignorance and takes it as a sign of his sanctity and faith that he is impervious to reason.

    For example, there is only one single question regarding the validity of radiometric dating, “Are Constants Constant” which happens to be the title of an essay I wrote at the link. The short answer is that constants are constant, and dating methods do work. Most of the scientific literature on radiometric dating is how NOT to do it; how to avoid contamination, in appropriate sampling methods, inappropriate materials, wrong selection of analytic methods, etc… Reading creationists’ “work” on dating, the Institute for Creation Research RATE project for example, could be used as a textbook on how NOT to do field work, or lab work.

    What I would suggest that Rev. Skeens consider are the opinions of much wiser Christians than he is. I wrote a short essay, “What Wiser Christians Have Said”, directed to a Rev. Adrian Miller, but Rev. Skeens should be able to recognize himself as well.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Markita- you cannot conclude that the Bible is contradictory from the passages that you have mentioned. One passage doesn’t directly contradict the other. The Gospel accounts have Judas being paid 30 pieces of silver in order to betray Jesus. He tried returning it to the Pharisees but it was against Jewish law for them to put it back in the treasury as they knew it was blood money. He left the bag of money there with them. Since they could not put it back in the treasury they had to do something with it. They bought a field outside of the perimeter of Jerusalem to use as a graveyard for people that die in the city that are strangers. This just so happens to be the area where Judas hanged himself therefore he fell into the field head first and burst asunder. Some speculate that the device he was using to hang himself broke, we don’t know. What I do know is that you cannot conclude a discrepancy in the word of God based on these two scriptures, It defies logical law for you to do so. In the way of logic I’m going to answer one persons question. This has been extremely fun but it’s getting old you guys arguing your points with wikipedia articles and whatever other liberal websites you can find.
    @pfft- Dr. G, I’m sure you may have a better answer for this one. You claim that there is no evidence for the Christian God or any other god. How do you know that. It’s illogical for you to say that. You can say:” of the evidence that I have seen I am not convinced.” That would be a logical statement for you to make. But to say that there is no scientific evidence is illogical as well. You see naturalistic materialism states that all things in the universe can be understood by scientific reason. But you systematically take God out of this equation because we admit that God is not of this universe, he is the creator of the universe therefore he operates outside of it. Where did the universe come from by the way? We can come back to that later. The laws of logic state that you have to judge all things inside of it’s category. For you to judge that there is no God because there is no proof of him that can be measured, weighed, seen and so forth you are breaking the laws of logic. It’s called a category mistake. i’m looking forward to an answer to this one, it’s been a while since I have had a good philosophical debate.

  • phhht

    Skeen says:

    …we admit that God is not of this universe, he is the creator of the universe therefore he operates outside of it… there is no proof of him that can be measured, weighed, seen and so forth…

    Tired old religious bafflegab. It’s meaningless. You yourself claim that your gods act on the real world, in the here and now. I say, let me put my fingers in those wounds. Show me. No more hot air. Shit or get off the pot.

    I want unambiguous evidence, and I want empirical evidence. All else is just wind, and you know it.

  • http://www.bestscopereviews.com Scope Review Guy

    I was going to respond but you guys skewered him already! LOL

  • Sarah Jane Braasch-Joy

    Logic is simply a language that describes relationships between things we might say about God (or anything, including vampires, werewolves, unicorns, Satan, demons, the flying spaghetti monster, etc.) in this world. We can show that these relationships hold, empirically.

    We cannot make statements about what the rules of logic would be in other worlds, because we don’t live in those worlds.

    To say that we can say nothing about the relationships between things we might say about God, because things we might say about God abide by logical rules that exist in a different world (not our world) is a conversation stopper. It’s also special pleading.

    This is simply to say that we can say nothing at all about the relationships between things we might say about God.

    Because we live in this world. Not that hypothetical other world.

    As Christopher Hitchens likes to point out –

    something about which we can, by definition, never know anything, or say anything, is pretty much the least interesting thing in the world to me.

  • Lagerbaer

    Yay, a debate.

    First, the story about blood money: This is a funny example about the misguided moral we find in the Bible. It is okay to pay Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus, but it is not okay to take that money into the treasury for it has become unclean. Yeah, these are some priorities…

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter if the Bible is full of or free of contradictions. A fantasy novel such as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter could have no contradictions and plot holes at all and it would still remain fiction.

    Now you call Wikipedia a liberal source. That is funny, I wasn’t aware that a site where everyone can edit the content could have a political bias. Unless… REALITY has a “liberal” bias. But how basic science has any political message at all escapes me.

    When we say that there is no evidence for god, we mean that no scientific evidence has been presented yet. All these awful “proofs” for god are severely lacking. Each and every of these proofs either rests on a logical fallacy, a stupid play of words, or addresses an entirely different question. So it is NOT illogical to state that up to now no compelling evidence has been put forward.

    Sure, if your god is an über-abstract deistic one that has zero impact on the universe, then this god is completely elusive to the scientific method. But the same goes for the invisible pink unicorn which happens to also be intangible.

    The question, esteemed Reverend, you have to answer is this: What is the difference between a universe with and a universe without *your* god? If there is none, then why bother?

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    Dr. G, I’m sure you may have a better answer for this one. You claim that there is no evidence for the Christian God or any other god.

    Are you trying to respond to me?

    Add reading comprehention to your remedial studies.

  • Andrew G.

    No, I think he’s implying that you (Dr. G) might have a better answer to phhht (see comment 107) than he (Rev. Skeens) has.

    But I could be wrong.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    No, I think he’s implying that you (Dr. G) might have a better answer to phhht (see comment 107) than he (Rev. Skeens) has.

    Ah.

    Well…

    I suppose you could say that I am a militant agnostic. That is, I see no material evidence for the existence of any gods. However, it could be that the will of god(s) is to be entirely undetectable. Recall that Rene Descartes pondered the consequence of a universe created by a psychotic god intent on confounding the perception of all hypothetical others.

    Thus, I must say that I cannot know by science if modest, or psychotic gods exist, or not- and neither does anyone else.

    But, the disaster to biblical faith caused by creationists is their denial that the Bible is a spiritual and not a material text. Where the Bible addressed the physical (in conjunction with God), the physical universe was given co-equal status as Revelation. First consider, Psalm 19:
    1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
    And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    2 Day to day pours forth speech,
    And night to night reveals knowledge. (New American Standard Bible)

    The Creation, the physical universe is a testament. It reveals the work of God, and (if read literally) it too reveals God’s nature. This theme is extended in Psalm 85 which reads, “11 “Truth springs from the earth; and righteousness looks down from heaven” (NASB). The Hebrew word used here for “truth,” emet, basically means “certainty and dependability.” So, in the Revelation of the Bible which Rev. Skeens professes, the Earth itself is attested as the source of truth, of “certainty” and “dependability.”

    Are we really to pay attention to the physical creation? Ask Job. Job challenges doubters of God, “Ask the animals, they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.” — Job 12:7-8. How could this be if the sciences, particularly as all these sciences evoked by Job, Rev. Skeens rejects as inspired by Satan? Skeens might claim that there is a special “Creation Science” without the difficult cosmology problems like billions of years since the Big Bang, or the formation of the solar system. He likely will also deny the physical evidence from geology, paleontology, biology and anthropology which refutes all the young earth creationist nonsense. But to do so is to simultaneously deny the biblical revelation.

    I don’t know if that is “better.”

    The only sure way I can think of to become an atheist is to study the Bible.

    (I basically reworked this from my recent essay addressed to Rev. Adrian Miller).

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Lagerbaer-The difference is that there is no universe without my God.
    @Dr.G Hurd-If you haven’t read the whole thread of comments, I just want to let you know that you’re diversion toward questioning my reading comprehension makes the case for my statement that many atheists have a superiority complex and choose atheist forums as an outlet for those behaviors. I appreciate your contribution the the research that is being done. Anyway, The passages of Job that you have cited are of absolutely no significance in this debate. Job is simply stating that the created world gives witness the the creator. Paul actually goes so far in the NT in Romans Chp. 1 to state that if you cannot see from the natural things that appear that all things were created by the creator then you are without excuse. So to take a literal meaning of this scripture that has a consistent theme confirmed in the NT displays your ignorance of the Word of God. No offense. But you are still missing the point. You argue that there is no evidence for the existence of God. I tell you that your criteria for the evidence doesn’t allow it. You may want to note the category mistake that I described earlier. You say that all things are explainable by scientific reasoning. But you have to apply logic to this reasoning. Yes the earth, solar system and universe “declare the glory of God” KJV, but it doesn’t imply that God is a natural creature. Just because you can’t see him doesn’t give you the logical conclusion that he doesn’t exist and didn’t create the heavens and the earth. For instance you wouldn’t say that Ford Mustangs don’t exist because you haven’t seen the people that assemble them in the factory.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    “you’re statement” = your statement. if you are noticing all of the stray apostrophes in my responses I have to apologize. Autocorrect on a MAC isn’t always correct and isn’t a sign my of my English capabilities.

  • Sarah Jane Braasch-Joy

    I think it’s hysterical that theologians think they can trump any argument by using the word logic.

    The word is L O G I C.

    I think you might be confusing it with MAGIC.

    The endings are similar.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Sara Jane Braasch-Joy- I think that it is likewise hysterical when a person who claims to put logic and reason behind everything that they claim to believe can’t apply logic to the reason that they believe it. Are we seeing the infamous “atheistic double standard” rearing it’s ugly head??

  • phhht

    Skeene,

    You say that to ask for evidence for gods is a category mistake. That implies that your gods operate in category different from those in the real world. Would that category be imaginary, fictional, delusional, or what?

    The world is jam-packed full of empirical evidence, from avacados to zebras. There is no real-world phenomenon which is immune to empirical scrutiny. Why should your all-powerful gods be unable to leave even a single trace of unequivocal, empirical evidence of their effects on the real world?

    I mean, these are feckin’ omnipotencies you’re talking about, right?

  • Stan

    Rev. Skeens,

    This comment of yours confuses me.

    “If you haven’t read the whole thread of comments, I just want to let you know that you’re diversion toward questioning my reading comprehension makes the case for my statement that many atheists have a superiority complex and choose atheist forums as an outlet for those behaviors. I appreciate your contribution the the research that is being done.”

    At best, this is a genuine mark of gratitude for someone who has moved our understanding of human thought and emotion forward in the name of science. At worst, which I suspect, that was a threat, a paternal warning that if we don’t say things which please you, you might write scary things about us in a book someday, using those isolated quotes as evidence of some underpinning mistake or error which explains our behavior in an unfavorable light.

    As a fellow researcher, I can attest (and perhaps some of my counterparts can, too) one of the most important (and often troublesome) concepts of observing a system is ensuring the subject is unaffected by the observer (our friends in quantum mechanics no doubt have lost sleep over this). Without this, it is very difficult to calculate just what the system would do without this outside influence.

    I don’t understand how this ongoing dialogue with the community will in any way aid your research. Your very presence and continued involvement seems to be destroying your test sample. It would be as if I were to constantly prod my favorite rana catesbeiana, and conclude that all frogs insist on moving perpetually. It hardly seems fair that your research methods include discussions which have little to do with who we are as subjects, and more to do with how well we can discuss our differences in theology, while the matter upon which you are commenting is not that we are atheists (since most of us are pretty openly skeptical), but that we are “emotionally compromised”, as Spock would say, which presents a crack in our wall of “reason” and “logic.”

    I just don’t quite see the closed loop of your methods, and how it will help us all come to a better understanding of how we, as thinking human beings, arrive upon decisions about the universe. A quick explanation of your intentions would be helpful as we move forward. We can continue to discuss and debate our theological differences, but if you’re genuinely advocating understanding and scientific research, I think we would all benefit from cooperation with your efforts, separate, of course, from our current debates.

    It all smacks of an untruth, cooked up by someone seeking a riposte, which would be a strong indicator that we are wasting our time with one more interested in argument than understanding (which might, ironically, make the well-meaning Rev Skeens a subject for his own research). I hope I am mistaken.

  • Andrew G.

    Rev,

    One reason I referred you to Glenn Morton’s article (Morton’s Demon) is that Morton was also a young-earth creationist and Flood believer (and contributor to creation-research journals), except that he ended up working in geophysics for oil prospecting, where he was repeatedly exposed to huge amounts of actual data about the real world in a context with no ideological bias. An oil company doesn’t care whether the rock formations it’s examining were deposited by a flood or not, all it cares about is whether there’s oil underneath them. But spending years looking at rock formations that could not possibly have been the result of a flood eventually convinced him that his earlier beliefs were false.

    He managed to remain a Christian, but learning the extent of the lies and deception practiced by the YEC and flood-geology crowd has been a significant factor in many Christian deconversions. Morton has a collection of a few here: Personal Stories of the Creation/Evolution Struggle.

    Regardless of your opinions about atheists or atheism, you owe it to yourself and your co-religionists to divest yourself of the false beliefs about the creation and flood. If the truth isn’t enough of a reason for its own sake, then consider the damage you do to your own religion, as pointed out (see Dr G.’s ‘Wiser Christians’ article) by theologians back as far as Augustine.

  • Lagerbaer

    @Rev,

    “The difference is that there is no universe without my god”.

    A hypothesis must at least in principle be falsifiable. If a universe without a god, or at least without a god that actually does something instead of sitting and waiting, is no different from a universe with an interventionist god that answers prayers, then this god is completely irrelevant for all practical matters.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    Andrew G.- I appreciate your thoughtful recommendations and I will read through them when i get some time, as I am just answering you guys in between different tasks.
    @Stan-your comment was amazingly thoughtful and I appreciate it. I want to point out that I wasn’t threatening the good Dr. G or anyone else with thoughts of having nasty things written about them at all. As I pointed out earlier there is several different fields being tested. While I am not solely on these websites to conduct research I have kept track of how many times I have been mocked, cursed and insulted along with how many times derogatory remarks have been tossed in the air with no bearing on the argument at hand. I believe that, assuming we are all adults, we can have an intellectual debate without throwing elementary remarks at one another questioning each others intelligence such as the couple the the doc had thrown out here. By the way I am not an expert in field research and if you have any other tips for me I would greatly appreciate them.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Lagerbaer-while your statement is worded intelligently I don’t understand what you hope to accomplish by it? What are you wishing for me to rebut it with?

  • Charles Black

    The thing about Christianity or other religions is that more often than not, the teachings of the religion don’t match with reality & are hopelessly outdated.
    I mean one very big problem for example is that the Jesuses in each gospel are so different that you’d have to believe they are completely different people being talked about.

  • John F

    @Rev

    If the purpose of your reseach is to “prove” that Atheists are mocking, insulting, and have a superiority complex then you will need a suitable control for your experiment.

    Can I suggest you visit a town in the American Bible belt, enter a space in which Christians are meeting, proclaim yourself as an Atheist and begin arguing with them. Count up the number of times you are cursed, mocked or threatened. For an even better effect, tell them you’re gay as well. As an additional vector in your experiment, head to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and do the same.

    There are plenty of people in here who have observed genuine prejudice, violence and abuse at the hands of the theists because of their (lack of) beliefs. Any attempt to conduct pseudo-scientific research which paints Atheists as intransigent and unpleasant against religious patience and virtue shows a shocking bias.

    The overwhelming number of posts here have been measured. Pointing out any time you are challenged and referring to an imaginary “superiority complex” atheists have is a rather cheap debating tactic. The posters are attempting to point you to the mountain of evidence against YEC and Noah’s flood… beliefs which very few of your theistic compariots subscribe to. You are surely not suprised that your continual use of the “Deus Ex Machina” argument has resulted in some exasperated responses. If you want to debate with Atheists on the existence of God, you have to accept the need for a neutral “battlefield”. We are materialists naturalists who reject the supernatural. The battlefield therefore must be the natural world and the observable, falisifiable universe. If you cannot accept that your God strays into this world (In the OT he spend most of his time here… killing first born children and so forth), then there is no debate to be had.
    Holding the debate in the supernatural world renders naturalistic arguments moot. You can NEVER convince us that your God exists but that he is unseeable, unknowable, untouchable, unprovable. And the only evidence he exists is a book – written over a period of 1,600 years by around 40 different authors (each with their own bias and vested interest), translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic into Latin then into English and chopped and changed by various councils of creed. Looking at this momentarily from an objective perspective, you must recognise the absurdity of what you are asking. You should also substitute the word ‘God’ for ‘Pink Unicorn’ and ask yourself, if you were in our position, whether you would believe me if I told you that an invisible, unknowable, unprovable pink unicorn existed and that my evidence was a 3,500 story written by bronze age nomads? You would (hopefully) be sceptical… wouldn’t you?

  • Sarah Jane Braasch-Joy

    John F,

    Thank you.

    I was going to try to add this to make that point clear. I think you might have done a better job than I’m about to do:

    By definition I am unable to apply the logical rules of some hypothetical other world in which God allegedly exists.

    I am unable to even know what those rules are.

    I am happy to apply the rules of logic, as they exist in this world, to describe the relationships between things we might say about God in this world. Math/logic is a language to describe relationships in this world.

    But, this will only tell us if our arguments are logically valid in this world. It doesn’t tell us if our arguments are sound in either this or any other world. Soundness depends upon the truth values of our assumptions.

    Consider:

    I have never seen a car manufactured, therefore I choose to believe that they are created by Isis who sits upon her throne on Sirius C, according to the oral histories of the Dogon tribe of sub-Saharan Africa, who regard her as the high fish goddess of the Nommos, the creators of man.

    Prove me wrong.

    And, don’t use that pesky scientific reasoning. Don’t think that you can just show me a car manufacturing site, because that only means that you are using the wrong criteria for your evidence. Don’t think that you can just have me talk to some automotive engineers, designers, or fabricators.

    Use only logic.

    But, not the logical rules of this world. Use the logical rules of Sirius C.

    But, I don’t know what they are, and neither do you.

    But, I am asserting that they exist, and they are not the logical rules of this world.

    But, I am asserting that, according to those logical rules, which we cannot know, it is both logically valid and sound that Isis creates the cars, which exist on Earth.

    Therefore, you are unable to prove me wrong.

    Therefore, I am correct in maintaining my belief.

    This is what your gibberish sounds like to us materialists and rationalists and skeptics and scientific naturalists.

    Throwing the word logic around and refusing to consider or to provide any evidence or to have a discussion that can take place in this world, the only world we know, the only world we live in, is, practically speaking, removing yourself from the conversation.

    We can talk about the logic of things we might say about God in this world.

    Or, we can wait until we are able to access other parallel universes (if they exist) as well as determine their rules of logic.

    Your call.

  • Stan

    Rev. Skeens,

    It appears Mr. John F and Ms. Braasch-Joy have answered for me, and with far more sophistication than I would likely be able to muster. The suggestion to establish a control group by visiting theist organizations posing as an atheist, while difficult (see the articles on the “atheist turing test”), might prove informative. Further, Ms. Braasch-Joy’s critique of your logic is energetic, succinct, and surprisingly thorough. Its characteristic of her tremendous capacity for critical thought.

    And, so that I can fully address your response, if you are serious about research methods, contact your local university and seek out classes related to research methodology. Its never too late to learn critical thinking skills!

    However, there is still one point left I feel I would like to bring up for discussion, related to the hypothesis you are posting. I feel it an important distinction that we should make, and its a question that should probably be answered before you even spend time addressing your main point.

    The question is this:

    When a person becomes emotionally charged during a discussion, is it a sign of some underlying emotional damage which bubbles up time to time, or is it just as likely that the affected party actually cares about what they’re talking about?

    We see this all the time. Atheists do it, theists do it, political realists and liberals, capitalists and socialists. Isn’t it just possible that some people really DO care that, say, I don’t believe in a God, or that Mr. Lee believes in regulated capitalism, or that CB (Comment #62) prefers to use the IQ scale for measuring intellectual capacity? Its a pretty distressing idea to think that someone could have such a different idea compared to your own (especially when you “just know the truth”), and these emotions you’re observing may be evidence that we are more alike as people than we ever thought. It is, possible, Rev Skeens, for a human being, with all the same feelings, certainties, doubts, and stuff in the middle to have arrived on the total opposite conclusion about this one very small question of the nature of our origin, and to still be human. It would mean that we, as people, have all the same flaws and make all the same mistakes as anyone else.

    If my supposition is true, even partially, then our emotional reactions to your queries and debating points are more likely to be caused by our concern for the millions of people who, like yourself, believe in something which, let’s face it, doesn’t have any evidence. Its why its called “faith”. We’re not anti-Christian, we’re not anti-Muslim, we’re anti-faith (or, at least the more militant of us are, I cannot speak for us all). Those of us who become emotional actually give a rat’s butt that you and your peers think differently. This is a step up from the multitude of people who honestly don’t care what either of us think about anything.

    To entertain my tangent, the idea that one can make an assertion and have others behave differently based on that assertion is an ancient and dangerous idea. It has likely helped humanity form crude civilizations thousands of years ago, but, like our tonsils or our appendix, it appears we’ve evolved past the need for it. The suffering caused by blind faith and the continued retardation of our potential out of fear of a god-myth is simply staggering. Faith isn’t the only evil in the world, but it is one of the few we have control over, which is why we fight so hard against it. We can’t stop earthquakes, so its not a concern. We can’t stop accidents, so its not a concern. Faith can be chosen against, however.

    Rev Skeens, if you want to do research on atheists, I suggest you buckle up and learn all about the universe from our perspective, instead of learning about how well we can debate the Bible. Figure out why we choose atheism, what we see which makes us doubt, and, for the few who profess it more strongly, what makes us actively disbelieve. We are more, I assure you, than beleaguered debaters, constantly churning out the same arguments against the same iron-age books. This may come as a surprise, but I am confident in saying that our argument with your faith is but a small portion of our universal opinion, our “divine theory”. Almost all of us grew up exposed to one of the three monotheistic religions, and have been educated in its tenants over the course of a lifetime. How many of us are really familiar with how DNA mutates to produce evolutionary change? How many of us understand how fusion produces new chemicals in the incredible heat and pressure of a star’s core? These things are as important to those who doubt and seek answers as, say, the Trinity or the Resurrection of the Body are to Christians. It is mighty unfair to write a book on Christianity, and not discuss or acknowledge those things. I would hope you would take some time and do more homework on us, rather than just debating with us. Ask questions rather than make assertions. You’ll find an entirely new world among us, rather than in competition with us.

    We are more than just punching bags for debate, Rev. Skeens. If you only took one thing away from your time here, I would hope that would be it.

  • phhht

    Skeens,

    I’ll paraphrase your claims. You say that there is an immortal, invisible space-alien with magic powers who hears your thoughts and grants you wishes.

    I’m sure that seems harsh, but it is how you come across. Your religion is like a super-hero comic book plot. It’s ridiculous on its face.

    Not only do you have no evidence – no healed amputees, no relief of African famine, no end to evil, not even a wiggle of the needle of a microammeter somewhere – but you also have no plausible explanations for how your assertions could possibly have worked. Your flawed speculation about the construction of Noah’s Ark is an excellent case in point.

    Furthermore, your comic book story is no more necessary for understanding and explaining the real world than is, say, Superman No. 1. It’s good for nothing but cheap amusement.

    So why should anyone buy this used car you’re trying to sell?

  • Lagerbaer

    @Rev

    my question should be simple enough. What signs do you see in this world that point to a god that is active? Prayer doesn’t work, miracles don’t happen, everything is easily explained in naturalistic, materialistic terms. So what do you believe sets this world apart from a world where god is idle?

  • Lagerbaer

    @phht I like the comic book analogy, because you can drive the point even further: Most comic books have some glaring inconsistencies. The super hero is super powerful, but in order to keep the plot engaging and thrilling, there are arbitrary limitations to what the hero does: TV Tropes: “Forgot About His Powes” and
    Drama Preserving Handicap

    Take the flood as an example. God wants to rid the world of sin. If he can magically make it rain for 40 days and then magically dispose of the water that went up all the way to Mt Everest, then why is he incapable of magically killing off all wicked people without the need for such a clumsy devices, especially when considering that other people probably also had access to boats…

    Or the whole resurrection/sacrifice story arch: Since Jesus IS God, god sacrifices himself to himself to take away the sins of humans. With god being judge, jury and legislative branch at the same time, this is a gaping plot hole, because if one thinks just a tiny bit about it, there’s no need to kill himself/his son because, god dammit, he makes all the rules.

  • phhht

    Lagerbaer,

    Somebody said we’re supposed to believe that a god appeased itself when it sacrificed itself to itself in order to save us from itself.

    Yup, that makes perfect sense to me.

  • LindaJoy

    Hmmmm… I see the good rev has chosen to ignore my question about the morality of the flood stories and his god.

    Not much of a surprise there. I haven’t found a christian yet who can answer that question without either defaulting to it being a mythology (which then totally takes the rug out from under the whole creation v. evolution story) OR sounding like an apologist for a minor pagan like bad tempered god.

  • http://kagerato.net kagerato

    Didn’t Sir Skeens admit already that his beliefs are based on faith and cannot be influenced by evidence?

    So, Reverend. Would you like to disprove the existence of my great and almighty god, Thor, for me? His unshakable power is right before us in the shape of the powerful storms which reach us every year. We, the chosen followers, have sacred texts describing his splendor. Indeed, his influence is so great that his revelations were brought to us before writing was even established, and we hear of him in the lore of epic poems of our long past ancestors.

    You ask of the origin of “sea creatures” in the high mountains of Midgard, the world of men. The explanation is quite simple. Those bones are the remnants of Ymir, whose bones became the mountains and his teeth the rocks you find therein. So you see, it is largely a misconception that what you have found is the remains of ocean dwellers. The only ones you will find in such a place are those that man and the gods have slain and brought there.

    It is not too late! Recant and join us in battle against the forces of Loki. Then you too may have a chance to join immortally the heroes of old in in the great hall of warriors, Valhalla.

  • Goyo

    Comic book/ mythology, is the only way I can see the bible now, whereas before when I was a xtian, I used to do the same thing the rev is doing here. It’s really very simple rev:
    You’re talking about the creator of the universe, right? Who “created” and “put in place” everything in the universe, including black holes, stars, planets, etc.
    And somehow one of his creations, “satan”, was able to rebel and manage to lead god’s children astray, and is continuing to do so now?
    What?
    How does the creator of the universe allow any of this to happen?
    It just seems so “mythical”, doesn’t it? So man-made.
    Your god doesn’t seem any different than any of the other gods from mythology that came to earth and mingled with humans.
    Can you not see this?

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    This is very frustrating. I am going to spend time that I know is wasted. I have already spent time that was wasted. So, I’ll tell myself that this is really fun; Really, really fun. There, all better now.

    Mr. Skeens, you should Google Dunning–Kruger effect. Your lack of self awareness a remarkable. You whine about how mean atheists are to you when they point out that you are ignorant and arrogant, with the same breath you say they are ignorant, and arrogant. Your “evidences” are readily recognized ad hoc frauds, and you elevate them to revealed truths. You do not read these comments for comprehension, but only to find a few key words you can rip from their context in the replies that you imagine will be persuasive. They are not persuasive- they are merely irritating.

    I earlier explained how I came to post here at all- I followed a link from my personal Blog, Stones and Bones. That was to comment #76 by Amber. And I did read the comments. That is why I suggested it was a wasted effort to teach you anything about sciences because you are not prepared to learn. I instead suggested you read ”What Wiser Christians Have Said.” You obviously have not bothered. This is not technical information about the sciences at all, it is a brief review of the last 1600 years of wise Christians commenting on how biblical and material facts are to be reconciled in the form of quotes. I happen to agree with them.

    I next slightly modified an earlier piece I had written (your arguments are neither original nor new to me). This was looking at a few parts of the Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, that were directly relevant to the nature of the physical universe from the perspective of a Believer. Their significance was that the physical, material universe is given as a Testament, a Revelation that is commended to believers. You seem to have missed the point. I was adopting your perspective that the biblical Revelation of the text was to be assumed true. In that case the text directed you to also attend to the truth, emet of the material universe. Your triumphantly repeated my point as if that refuted it. You really need to work on that reading problem. (My reading of the particular verses I selected was informed by references at the end of this post).

    You wrote,

    So to take a literal meaning of this scripture that has a consistent theme confirmed in the NT displays your ignorance of the Word of God. No offense. But you are still missing the point. You argue that there is no evidence for the existence of God.

    In the comment you have failed to understand, I wrote quite clearly that there is no scientific, that is no material, evidence for the existence of any god(s), but that this could not mean that the conclusion of their non-existence was scientific.

    For a further example of “my ignorance” I invite you to read my short essay on Paul’s (or his followers) writting, “Adrian Miller, Part 2.” The subject was the very verses you are waving about, but I must quote 1 Timothy 1, 4. “… nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7. wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

    You, Mr. Skeens, have not understood what I have written, nor what the Church Fathers have written. And so I’ll end this comment with an apropos warning from James 3:1. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”

    Some good reading:
    Frye, Roland Mushat (editor)
    1983 “Is God a Creationist?: The Religious Case Against Creation-Science” New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, Inc.

    Miller, Keith B. (editor)
    2003 “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company

    Rabbi Natan Slifkin offers an interesting Orthodox view point in, “The Challenge of Creation: Judaism’s Encounter with Science, Cosmology and Evolution” (2006/2008 New York: Zoo Torah and Yashar Books)

    On specific biblical texts I have used;

    Dahood, Mitchell
    1965 Psalms I, 1-50: Introduction, Translation and Notes New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

    __________
    1968 Psalms II, 51-100: Introduction, Translation and Notes New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

    ___________
    1970 Psalms III, 101-150: Introduction, Translation and Notes New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday (1995 paperback printing)

    Jewish Publication Society
    2004 “The Jewish Study Bible: TANAKA translation” Oxford University Press.

    Pope, Marvin H.
    1965 “Job: A new translation with Introduction and Commentary” Anchor Bible Vol. 15, New York: ABRL/Doubleday

  • http://daylightatheism.org J. James

    What I want the good Reverend to answer is why he believes Christianity as opposed to, say, Islam. On the face of it, Islam is VASTLY more internally consistent, and Mohammed has been proven to ACTUALLY EXIST. He claims to be a prophet, and his credentials are just as valid as any biblical prophet, so why not?

    Or, for that matter, why aren’t you a Jehova’s witness or a Mormon?

    Or perhaps a Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Scientologist, etc…

    Would you say that it had something to do with where you were born, and that you would be defending any of the above the exact same way if you had been born into those religions?

    Yes, I know this an old atheist argument, but it remains just as valid a question. Besides, it’s not like we haven’t heard your arguments and fallacies a thousand times before either.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    OT:

    You should all be on the look-out for Dennis Markuze of Saint-Laurent, Qué.

    He is a Christian fanatic who uses the Internet name, “David Mabus” to make death threats against scientists, journalists, and atheists.

  • Kacy Ray

    @73 Ashami

    Nah, most atheists are nice people. Sneak into an atheist/secular convention or meeting sometime and you will find that out. I’m sure you imagine hordes of atheists sitting at their computers banging on keyboards with fists clenched in rage. But that is simply not reality. The reality is that the huge population of non-believers (which is larger than all Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists in the US put together) lead normal lives: they love their spouses and children and they are committed to building a better world. If you want to do real research (and not just look for things that confirm your biases), then ask. Ask atheists if they are more aggressive than other people, if they think of themselves as angry, or anything else you want. You will perhaps be surprised that we are rather groovy people on the whole.

    To that I would add that the converse is important to consider as well. When is the last time you saw someone shoot up a youth camp or fly a plane into a building in the name of reason, logic, critical thought, and honest inquiry? Prisons are full of theists, as are terrorist training camps, Klan meetings, funeral protests, and cult compounds. An angry atheist is actually a rare find, but you will never have to look far to find a very angry, very dangerous theist.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    It appears that I have several questions piling up against me. I apologize I just haven’t gotten time to read through them. I would like to take a side bar from the debate for a moment if I may. I live in the Appalachian Region of the United States and we lost 42 lives to drug overdose in the year 2010 alone. Do any of you have a significant Rx drug problem where you live. I don’t think that this topic can cause an argument and I’m hoping not. It is very important that I get a real answer to this question, as we are trying to put resources together to help combat this problem. I have posed it to many other people and I don’t feel that their answers are forthcoming.

  • John F

    @rev
    With respect,’hijacking’ a comment thread for such purposes is generally considered poor web etiquette and may in part explain why responses are not forthcoming. A lack of clarity of exactly what information you want from people and what specifically you plan to do with it won’t help either. You will probably find it more worthwhile if you focus on speaking to government agencies and charities. Your scatter-gun approach to asking people on random blogs is futile. Commenters on blogs such as this are from all over the world and generally value their anonymity.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    I understand, and I apologize but this is the first time that I have ever asked it on a blog of any type at all. When I posed it to other people I am speaking of personal conversations that I have had with people that might seem to be “sweeping it under the rug,” so to speak. I don’t mean any disrespect at all and I understand, I am just wondering what other cities, states, nations are doing about this problem. No specifics, just ideas. But I understand what you are saying.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @J. James- you seem to have a lot more confidence in the internal consistency of Islam. Let’s take a look at what the Prophet Muhammad has to say in Surah 10:94 of the Quran. How then Muhammad do we know what you say is true? If you are in doubt about what we have revealed unto you, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee. The truth has indeed come to you from your Lord.” Now what book is he speaking of you may be asking. He is speaking of the Holy Scriptures that he derived most of his beliefs from, The Tora (first five books of the OT and the Gospels of the NT.
    @Dr. G Hurd – You are exactly right, my knowledge of the Bible is slack, that’s why they only allow me to be a preacher, not a teacher. You’re constant diversions toward trying to make me somehow question my calling and or ability aren’t going to accomplish what you are hoping. I would suggest you stop waisting your energy with it. I hope you’ll understand if I’m a little apprehensive in reading what you have recommended, with how accurately you represent your resources being in question and all. “Why ID fails,”
    @Lindajoy- I don’t have time right now to go back and read through all of the comments to search for your question but I think that I can answer it as I’m very sure that it’s probably the same question posed to me time after time. You will find that not only Noah found grace in the eyes of God which, in turn gave his family a chance to escape the flood. But Noah was living in a wicked time back then, can you imagine if it was that wicked back then that the Lord had to destroy the wickedness, how bad it would be now? Anyway, the point seems to be missed that everyone had a chance to get on the ark. All they had to do was listen to what Noah was saying and they would have survived. So you can’t blame God for the destruction of these souls, they had the free will do escape the ark as well. More than that, if they would have listened to the preachers of the time such as Enoch, there more than likely would have never been a flood at all.
    @Lagerbaer- you are not looking at the concept from the perspective that I do and that’s fair. But what I see is that God was receiving countless animal sacrifices that just weren’t doing the job. Then, when he had no knowledge of pain, suffering, shedding tears, bleeding or any other human emotion or feeling, he took upon himself a robe of flesh and died on a cross. The sacrifice is just the term that we use to describe what he done for us, but the actual act was that he came to the earth so that men and women could see him and touch him, hear his voice and see him resurrected from death, giving confirmation that there was a God and that believing that Jesus was God in the Flesh would save them. This question I’ll go ahead and knock out as well because I’m sure it will be coming soon. Hell was not created for human beings. It was created to house Lucifer and the fallen angels the rebelled against God in Heaven. Why did God create evil? He didn’t, he created an angel that was perfect and beautiful in every way that also had free will to do as he pleased. People are judged and cast into hell because of following satan and all that you have to do to follow satan is not believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. God didn’t create evil nor did he create hell as a place meant for humans.

  • Paul

    Rev, how tall were the mountains at the time of the Flood, and on what is that calculation based?

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Paul-I don’t have an exact calculation for how tall the mountains were at the time of the flood. We believe that the terrain of the earth was much different in the Pre-Diluvian Period, much flatter. This understanding comes from the passage of scripture Psalm 109:6-9 which details what happened when the flood waters receded: “Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 8They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.” KJV. Many skeptics say that mountains being formed at this level is impossible because of the growth rate that we see today. This causes what is called in philosophy a problem of induction. Meaning that we conclude by inductive reasoning that what is happening now concerning mountain growth has always and will always be the case.

  • Paul

    Rev, is see nothing in the verses you quoted that says whether the mountains are high or low (regardless of where the flood waters are).

    Also, Rev, I’m unclear as to whether you are saying that the rate of change in elevation in mountains that science shows us did or did not also happen in a similar manner throughout past history.

  • Lagerbaer

    So an all-powerful omniscient god doesn’t understand basic human emotions? Go figure…

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Paul- Yes I’m sorry that passage is only detailing what happened after the account. This passage from Gen. 7:19 is telling of about how tall the “high hills of the earth were at the time of the flood:”19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.” A cubit is about 18 inches in length on average sometimes longer. By this description we have the hills that were on the earth that would later become mountains being covered by water at almost 7 meters. Then we believe the mountains that we know today were formed during or after the flood to make a place for the waters to recede. I’m just stating that mountain growth can’t be determined by what is happening with them today. The studies have been done with the presupposition that they have been forming for billions of years added into the equation. And by that we have a problem of induction as I stated earlier.

  • http://www.journeytocalvary.org Rev. Skeens

    @Lagerbaer- no, you are misrepresenting my quote. An all powerful, all knowing, ever present God didn’t know what it was like to endure these things. The fact that he’s all knowing just means that he knows all events that have ever or will ever happen.

  • phhht

    Skeens says:

    A cubit is about 18 inches in length on average sometimes longer. By this description we have the hills that were on the earth that would later become mountains being covered by water at almost 7 meters…

    Your assertion is fatally flawed. After all, you have nothing (except induction) to back your claim that a cubit in the days of Noah was the same as 18 inches today. You just assume that the size of a cubit then was the same size as 18 inches today. You have an induction problem which is every bit as real as the one you claim to exist about the size of mountains.

    If, in fact, a cubit then was only 0.001243 inches (I have no reason to think that, but then, in this discussion, we don’t need reason, do we?), your argument falls apart.

  • Vin720

    If God didn’t create evil, he sure allows it to happen. Either he’s not all powerful to stop it, or he isn’t the all loving God…after all, why would an all loving God want such evil? As to the people in Noah’s time having free will..that’s a joke…it’s either follow God or die…some choice! Paraphrasing from Ricky Ricado, if God exists, he has some ‘spaining to do!

  • phhht

    Skeens says:

    @Lagerbaer- no, you are misrepresenting my quote. An all powerful, all knowing, ever present God didn’t know what it was like to endure these things. The fact that he’s all knowing just means that he knows all events that have ever or will ever happen.

    That’s right, Lagerbaer, you are misrepresenting his quote. What Skeens really said was, An all knowing god doesn’t really know everything. All knowing just means that the god doesn’t know all.

  • phhht

    Skeens says:

    …the [is that] everyone had a chance to get on the ark. All they had to do was listen to what Noah was saying and they would have survived. So you can’t blame God for the destruction of these souls…

    I’m reminded of Douglas Adams’ famous story about how the Earth was destroyed to make room for a freeway overpass. You really can’t blame the destroyers, because after all, tens of thousands of years ago, they posted a notice.

  • Lagerbaer

    As I said: Exactly like in poorly thought out superhero comics: The hero is extremely powerful (all-powerful in god’s example), except for cases where the plot demands otherwise.

  • phhht

    Skeens says:

    …we lost 42 lives to drug overdose in the year 2010 alone…

    But you can’t really blame the gods for that! I mean, doesn’t it say somewhere in the holy book of myths that thou shalt not become addicted to prescription drugs? So when that happens, it’s their own damn fault, not that of the all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing (well, not really) gods.

    And besides, wickedness today is much, much more powerful than it was in, say, Noah’s time. Unless our measures of the increase in wickedness, like our measures of the rate of mountain growth, are inductively flawed, and in fact wickedness today is much much less powerful.

  • Paul

    Rev, your idea that (scientific) studies showing how mountains form rest on a presupposition of the Earth being billions of years old is unsupportable, I think.

    Remember that a presupposition is something that has nothing behind it, it’s just assumed. I’m sure there are studies that rest on the idea of the Earth being very old, but not as a presupposition, but as a conclusion that has been come to in the same way and with the same methods that are being used throughout science.

    Can you cite a study that presupposes the very old age of the Earth, as distinct from the age of the Earth as a scientific fact?

    I’ll bet not. In which case you’re just making it up, that scientists presuppose these things. It’s a bit of projection, most probably. You’re the one presupposing that what’s in the Bible is correct.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    Mr. Skeens, you made a typographical error above; the Psalm you have referred to is Ps. 104. The exegetical error is far more serious. This Psalm makes no reference to the Genesis Flood. It is a praise hymn using Canaanite-Phoenician imagery, specifically from Ugaritic creation myths, and structured from Gen 1. I suggest you try reading;

    Cross, Frank Moore
    1973 “Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel” Boston: Harvard University Press

    Dahood, Mitchell
    1965 “Psalms I, 1-50: Introduction, Translation and Notes” New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

    __________
    1968 “Psalms II, 51-100: Introduction, Translation and Notes” New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

    ___________
    1970 “Psalms III, 101-150: Introduction, Translation and Notes” New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday (1995 paperback printing)

    Jewish Publication Society
    2004 “The Jewish Study Bible: TANAKA translation” Oxford University Press.

    Pardee, Dennis (ed)
    2002 “Writings from the Ancient World Vol. 10: Ritual and Cult at Ugarit” Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature

    (You really must read the first vol. by Dahood to learn how his notation works before learning about Ps 104. Most of the contributers to Pardee’s book try to minimize biblical interpretations from Ugaritic as they are tasked with looking at Ugaritic just from within that language/literature. However, there is a synthesis found in, Mark Smith’s “The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts” (2003 Oxford University Press)).

    I know you won’t be bothered to actually learn what it is you are preaching. Why should you let the Bible get in the way of your story telling?

  • Goyo

    Some quotes from the reverend:

    As for the comments about the Roman empire, I must give you fair warning before you dive into this subject any further, you are a super light weight in a very super heavy weight bout. I’m not trying to offend you or condescending you in any way but from your statements so far I can only conclude that we are in no way in the same playing field.

    Thank you for not condescending us, oh mighty heavyweight!

    @Dr. G Hurd – You are exactly right, my knowledge of the Bible is slack, that’s why they only allow me to be a preacher, not a teacher.

    I thought you were a super heavyweight.

    You don’t even know me and yet you suppose that you are superiorly educated than I am solely on the basis that I am a Christian that has an opposing worldview than you? I have been attending institutions of higher learning for over ten years now.

    I don’t think I’m superiorly educated than you because of my years of education…

    But Noah was living in a wicked time back then, can you imagine if it was that wicked back then that the Lord had to destroy the wickedness, how bad it would be now?

    Gen.8:21, the flood didn’t work.

    An all powerful, all knowing, ever present God didn’t know what it was like to endure these things. The fact that he’s all knowing just means that he knows all events that have ever or will ever happen.

    Wow, this is really amazing rev. Your sermons must be a hoot! And to think I used to think exactly like this. I’m embarrassed.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    Eventually the creationist chew toy de jour will run away (and loudly declare his victory against the infidel). I predict he will have learned nothing about science, or the Bible.

    And this raises a problem I have struggled with for over a decade; How can people like Skeens be educated? How can we rescue their victims?

    Richard Dawkins, or my occasional colleague PZ Myers are useless in this regard. In fact, there are many creationists (eg. Phil Johnson, or Michael Denton, and Michael Behe) who cite their rejection of rational thought in favor of superstitions to reading Dawkins. Dawkins and his supporters are in fact in general agreement with the fundamentalist’s fundamental assertion; IF there is discord between the creationist literal interpretation of the Bible, either the Bible is totally false, or Science is totally false. They agree on the supposition, and merely disagree about what to reject.

    I argued above that science; glossed as the repeatable, empirical, rational construction of knowledge, cannot declare that gods do not exist. This is because there is no evidence for their existence, and that it is impossible to assert that they (the gods) don’t want it that way. From biblical sources, for example Paul (or his followers) wrote that, 2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6. who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter (Torah) but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

    Now this is a powerful idea- that Faith succeeds over the written Revelation, AKA the Bible. I rather doubt that Apostle Paul wanted his letters to be ignored, but he (or his followers) certainly meant to overturn the Tanakh. This is at the core of Protestant religion however in Luther’s assertion of Sola fide, or salvation by faith alone. We have seen this in Mr. Skeens, who denies the physical revelation of the universe while falsely claiming he understands it, and he misrepresents the textural revelation of the Bible while claiming he understands it. In fact, he is a “super heavy wight.”

    How can Skeens sustain all this falsehood? By faith. Simply by faith alone. Mr. Skeens has so much superior abundance of faith that mere reality need never bother him again. But, I see Mr. Skeens’ faith as mere egotism.

  • phhht

    Hurd,

    I take your point about egotism. There is a whiff of narcissism, some taint of juvenile self-indulgence, a stain of auto-erotic solipsism, about abandoning one’s fate to faith. There is wish-fulfillment fantasy, shadenfreude for the infidels, and a mighty fortress for a god, but it is all ego, all inward pathological mirror recursion, and no image of other.

    By “faith,” I mean a mode of thinking which readily believes without evidence, or in spite of contradictory evidence.

    Faith is for those who cast off rationality while tacitly saying, See, I just know! I don’t need all that reason stuff! I’m special because I just know the truth intuitively!

    My working hypothesis is that a religious faith like Skeens’ is a mental abberation akin to other obsessive delusions. Of course I may be wrong, but I can find no other way to understand the situation.

  • Andrew G.

    I’m just stating that mountain growth can’t be determined by what is happening with them today. The studies have been done with the presupposition that they have been forming for billions of years added into the equation.

    You have this exactly backwards. Historically, the first scientific evidence that the earth was very old compared to human history came specifically from studying geological processes; not mountain building as such, since that wasn’t understood early, but measurable processes such as erosion and sedimentation.

    Once it was realized that many observed phenomena were accounted for simply by assuming that these processes occurred in the same way and at comparable rates in the past, that assumption became a testable scientific hypothesis. Evidence was accumulated from many fields in an attempt to resolve the question. Notably, by the late 19th century there was a sharp division in scientific opinion about the age of the Earth. Helmholtz had come up with a theory for the source of the Sun’s energy that required that the Earth was no older than about 18 million years, and physicists generally followed that opinion; whereas geologists and biologists complained that an age of at least hundreds of millions of years was required to explain their observations.

    This discrepancy was resolved with the discovery of radioactivity, which both provided a possible explanation for the Sun’s energy, thus leaving physicists with no reason to refute the biological and geological evidence, and which also provided a means of directly measuring the age of rocks and thereby adding an entirely new source of evidence. It is this that enables us to put a reliable date of 4.5 billion years for the age of the Earth.

    Note that at no time in this process did anyone assume they knew how old the Earth was; the question was always “what age for the Earth best fits the available evidence”. Since there was significant disagreement between scientists in addition to opposition from religious believers, all aspects of the evidence have been examined and criticised carefully.

    The reason why the resulting figure for the age is taken as authoritative is not because of any assumptions, but because an overwhelming weight of evidence supports it, and all the opposing theories which have been presented have been comprehensively disproved by the evidence.

    Now go read the article on radiometric dating to which I have repeatedly referred you.

  • http://daylightatheism.org J. James

    I see now that there is no right way to go about disproving the bible to him with facts. A more appropriate question to him would be, “Is there anything that could ever disprove the infallibility of the bible to you?”

    There are only two answers to this question. Yes, or no.

    If yes, then in all probablility the creationist is lying through their teeth, and pretending that there is any standard of proof that the bible is a pack of lies. They never would apply the impossibly vast requirement of proof to the bible, naturally. But on the off chance that they aren’t lying to save face, then it’s possible that they’ve been lied to about the facts themselves and simply just need to have their horrendously neglected education corrected(I would prefer in re-education camps, but then again, I’m quite evil, so maybe something more moderate would be to your tastes). This is usually the case with the rank-and-file creationists, although they could be both ignorant and lying at the same time.

    Where it gets interesting is when they answer “no.” What exactly can you do with an answer like that? In my experience, quite a lot, actually, and surprisingly only a few involve genocide. For instance, you can point out how the fact that nothing could disprove it to you, no amount of contrary evidence stacked upon absolutely zero reason to believe it IS true, means that that belief could only be a lie. If it were true, there would be SOME evidence SOMEWHERE, and contradictory evidence would be both extremely rare and very flimsy, because obviously it would be wrong. Unless of course you know that atheists have been manufacturing said evidence for nearly 200 years now(thanks, Bavarian Illuminati! ;D). Since this is clearly not the case, the creationist really has no rational legs to stand on.

    Of course, the good Reverend will probably criticize me for making a logical argument instead of firing more evidentiary grapeshot at him, but my expertise is in biology and ocean sciences and airships, all of which(yes, even airships) can be used to prove the bible isn’t factual, but as you can see that won’t do much good against someone who thinks that mountains grow like Chia pets, all the world’s species can fit on a boat less than half the size of the Hindenburg without dying after that whole ordeal AND be able to reproduce incest-free afterwards, and all that other tired nonsense.

    So, Reverend, second verse same as the first: “Is there anything that can disprove the infallibility of the bible to you?”

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    Ya’ know, J. James, people like Skeens lack the gene(s) to detect humor, satire, or irony. So why feed them lines like “re-education camps?”

  • Goyo

    In case the reverend is still hanging around:

    There are numerous scientific facts in the Word of God that were unarguably not discovered until hundreds if not thousands of years after being written about in the Bible:

    Gen.30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
    “And the flocks conceived before the rods.”
    30:38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.
    30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
    So is this a scientific fact that is waiting to be discovered, altering genetic makeup by using striped rods?
    Or what about Lev. 14:1-7, the famous cure for leprosy using hyssop, cedar wood and birds? Great science, huh?

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    I noticed the other day, but didn’t bother to check, that Mr. Skeens made those claims about how the biblical authors included scientific discoveries unsuspected at the time. One example Skeens offered was,

    3. The Hydrologic Cycle- “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud in not rent under them.” The hydrologic cycle wasn’t understood at all until the Roman engineer Marcus Vitruvius came on the scene around 30 BC. When nobody had any understanding of how rain was formed and delivered to the earth, the man of God knew. also noted in:Job 36:27-28,Ecclesiastes 1:6-7

    Some years ago I made a note that Isaiah 55:10-11 (“As the rains and snows come down from the Heavens and do not return there …”) denies the hydrological cycle. Not that I would offer this as a refutation of the biblical message, but as an example of why it is stupid, and damaging to try and justify the Bible using so-called “scientific evidences.” As it happens, there is a very popular Islamic literature of equally stupid “evidences” that the Quran is justified by similar “hidden messages” about the sciences as offered by Mr. Skeens.

  • Vin720

    I have a question open to all. I hadn’t read the Noah account in a long time and reread the other day because of this thread. I had forgotten that God had commanded Noah to include 7 pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean. But that begs the question: If what was defined as clean and unclean wasn’t established till God told Moses in Leviticus, which ‘historically’ happened hundreds of years leter, isn’t this another reason to claim the flood story as fraudulent? And Rev, if yo answer, you can’t say that God also told Noah what was clean and unclean because the text does not support it. And as a side note, why would a God who created all creatures define some as clean and unclean in the first place?

  • Dan L.

    Rev. Skeens:

    If you come back, please ask yourself WHY you ever emailed Adam.

    Here’s your original question:

    If these formations weren’t under water at one point in time or another, how did the sea creature fossils get there?

    People immediately started giving you perfectly good answers to the question: they got there because plate tectonics in some cases pushes up land from the sea floor up above the ocean. This can go on for billions of years, making once-submerged areas very high up such as in the case of the Himalayas. Then they started giving you some popular accounts of the science behind it.

    But every time someone tried to give you a scientific explanation you either ignored them or said something to the effect of: “Well here’s how I think it happened.” What you seem to be missing is that your opinion does not rate compared to the 15 decades of solid scientific work being done in geology. When someone suggested you learn a bit about radiometric dating, you responded essentially: “No, I don’t believe in that.”

    That’s your MO, you’re not willing to entertain any scientific explanation whatsoever. But in that case why ask for one in the first place? What is your game?

  • Jeff

    That’s your MO, you’re not willing to entertain any scientific explanation whatsoever. But in that case why ask for one in the first place? What is your game?

    Comment #176 by: Dan L. | August 11, 2011, 4:34 pm

    He wants to bolster his belief system by convincing himself he’s successfully countered all objection. This isn’t about convincing others; it’s about convincing himself. It’s a form of addiction.

    This is the reason engaging these people is a colossal waste of time.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    Howdy Vin720. Let’s give the “reverend” some time to reply to your question re: Noah.

  • Lagerbaer

    I think this is a good opportunity to quote:

    “Debating a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon: It will knock over all the pieces, crap on the board, then fly back to its flock to proclaim victory”

  • http://daylightatheism.org J. James

    @Dr. G. Hurd
    If he doesn’t understand my blazingly witty comments and takes them literally, that’ll be even funnier.

    And in line with what Dan said, the very reason I posed the question of what evidence could disprove literalism to you is because his (UN)original, horrendously stupid question that was disproved over a hundred and fifty years ago seems to indicate that he believes that “””evidence””” can support biblical fairytales, but apparently he doesn’t think that ACTUAL evidence can disprove biblical fairytales.

  • XPK

    “Then, when he had no knowledge of pain, suffering, shedding tears, bleeding or any other human emotion or feeling, he took upon himself a robe of flesh and died on a cross.”

    Rev. Skeen, this is the silliest thing I have read in quite some time. How you could even claim such a thing based upon the writings of the Old Testament is unbelievable.

  • Stan

    @XPK,

    It is because, as the old saying goes, “God said it, I believes it, that settles it!”

    Its something nobody has ever won against. Whenever its said to an atheist, they just hold their head in their hands and sigh heavily. That means I won, right?

    …Right?

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    I’m just stating that mountain growth can’t be determined by what is happening with them today. The studies have been done with the presupposition that they have been forming for billions of years added into the equation.

    Nobody claims mountains have been forming for billions of years. What is happening is that the youngest mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, are still rising, because of plate tectonics, while the older ones, such as the Appalachians and the Urals, are eroding because they are no longer at points where the plates are coming together.

    If YEC was true, we would expect all mountain ranges to have the same age and have the same rates of growth or erosion.

    And BTW, if you take the Noah’s Ark story literally, then you have to believe that Noah was a 500 year old virgin:

    http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com/search?q=500+year+old+virgin

  • Goyo

    From the reverend’s website:

    We will be joining in part two of a message that I wias able to preach at Christ United Methodist Church on Pentecost Sunday, 2011. This was a very blessed message, the Lord Showed up in such a mighty way and is a preview for what to expect from the “Bridges of Faith Crusade” coming up in August.

    What is “Pentecost Sunday”?

    Glad to see the lord showed up in such a mighty way at your church, but won’t show up in Somalia to help with food & water.

    preaching will be by JTCM’S FOUNDER, Rick Skeens and Bro. Mike Blanton, they will each preach one service on Thursday night, tag team preach the first service on Friday night and Bro. Isaac Glover of New Jerusalem Christian Center will preach the second service on Friday night.

    I’m glad god is a fan of wrestling. I always enjoyed tag team preaching!

  • BenDEBONAIR

    Is it possible that there is actually a deep biological difference between people who end up abandoning religion and magical thinking[also those who do not take it up at all] and those who adhere to it?

    I ask this in all sincerity, both as a human being interested in understanding other people and as one supremely interested in the ‘advancement’ of the human condition.

  • vin720

    @ Goyo. I had imagined Rev’s website telling of how he would preach on how he outsmarted and converted athiests this week from the power of Satan!

  • Jeff

    @BenDEBONAIR : Is it possible that there is actually a deep biological difference between people who end up abandoning religion and magical thinking[also those who do not take it up at all] and those who adhere to it?

    http://www.tikkun.org/article.php?story=Heilman-neuroscienceandfundamentalism

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    My current plan is to go off-shore for tuna fishing until Tuesday. I’ll look forward to any further doctrine explanations from Mr. Skeens (but doubt any will be forthcoming).

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    I have about 30 minutes before leaving, and as we have not heard much from Mr. Skeens lately, I thought I would make a suggestion to Vin720 regarding Noah’s Ark. There were two versions of the story written at different times from different points of view. About 800 BCE, these two versions were melded together (rather brilliantly) into a single text. All the details, literally word for word, are discussed in;

    Friedman, Richard Elliott
    1987 “Who Wrote the Bible?” New York:Harper and Row (Paperback Edition)

  • vin720

    Thanks for the info, Dr. G. Hurd!

  • Andrew G.

    800 BCE is an implausibly early date – there is not much reason to believe that even J is that old (and much reason to date it later, no earlier than the 600s), and the other Flood story is from P, which pretty much everyone (except maybe Friedman) regards as the latest source (not earlier than the exile and possibly later, so 500s or 400s BCE). The form of the Pentateuch that exists now is certainly post-exilic.

  • David L Smith

    Rev. Skeens:

    If you would like to name a specific fossil bed high up in the mountains, then it is possible to give the specific evidence for how it arrived there. Chances are, a geologist was the one who first found those fossils high up in the mountains, as he/she was collecting rocks, including the fossils, and if possible, the rock formations above and below it.

    If you would like a general answer, “Why are seashells found in mountains?” the evidence you seek is comprised of millions of rocks, collected and dated and stored in museums documenting the history of the earth as told by its rocks. If you really want to know more, I would encourage you to google terms like “geological column,” “stratigraphy,” “lateral superposition,” “angular unconformity,” “radiometric dating,” “plate tectonics,” or simply “geology.” If you want to read just one book, I recommend, “The Age of the Earth” by G. Brent Dalrymple.

    What you must understand is that this is not a “gotcha” question with a “gotcha” answer — what you’re asking is covered by nearly 200 years of geological studies, and the endpoint of all that fills volumes in libraries. A thorough, but basic answer would take you through an undergraduate course in basic geology. A more detailed answer would train you for the academy.

    It is not an appropriate kinds of question to be asking here. If you really want to know the answer, the evidence is there. It is an impressive and impressively wonderful achievement of science, of humans like you and me. I encourage you to go and have a look.

    with respect,

    DL Smith

  • Goyo

    @vin720: Yeah, I’m sure he’s related to them the “battle” of wits that he used to show us mean ol’ atheists that he could refute evolution…although I’m sure he also didn’t supply them the link to this thread that shows him having his ass handed to him on a plate.
    The reverend came in here with his prepared answers and despite being shown scientific fact after fact, still refuses to acknowledge he may be wrong. Then, after making the preposterous statement that there are no contradictions in the bible, and being shown some, uses the time-worn apologetic, “it doesn’t mean what it says”.
    Typical.

  • Alex K

    There’s something else to note about Skeens’ involvement in this conversation.

    On a few occasions, he indicated that he’s performing some kind of “research” about how rude and combative atheists are, how he was counting the “insults” and slights against him as evidence of the same.

    Now, if I wanted to collect as many insults as I could in order to support the same theory (although I doubt that he’s collecting any data to disprove the theory as suggested by posting atheistic questions to bible thumper forums), what I would do is:
    1. Post a question to a forum w/ good attendance of people passionate on the subject.
    2. Disregard well reasoned answers to the original questions and “refute” them by “I don’t believe this theory…” arguments completely disregarding the mountain of evidence and references provided
    3. Fire off irrelevant additional claims completely unrelated to the original topic / question which is sure to elicit some further earnest attempts at well reasoned responses.
    4. Disappear from the forum and just “collect” how many times someone will conclude something negative about him based on #1 – #3 above.

    The thing to note here that the purpose of the engagement from Skeens’ perspective is not to learn about atheists’ points of view, or to somehow become more enlightened in how the world actually is. It is to collect supporting ‘evidence’. Thus, any attempts to be reasonable, engage with him, or try to convince him of falsity of his claims is just futile.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    It is quite obvious that Skeens does not believe in the Bible. Otherwise, he would honor, 1 Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (King James Version)”

    And,

    James 1:26. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. (King James Version)”

  • mikey

    I almost don’t believe any of it (religion). The bible is certainly filled with contradiction, borrowed stories and general weirdness. But, I have to ask myself, how did the authors derive some of their knowledge. How did a caveman from somewhere in the middle east or africa know that sunlight had to come before water? And that fish had to swim before something could crawl out of the ooze, and that mammals came along last. How could they know about evolution? So, do we believe the scientology, alien theory or the scifi lost/civilization theory or did the cavemen just make a REALLY lucky guess? Good luck atheists, cause I think there is some sort of creator out there.

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

    But, I have to ask myself, how did the authors derive some of their knowledge.

    They didn’t. You’re imparting your modern knowledge onto them and then re-attributing it back to them.

    How did a caveman from somewhere in the middle east or africa know that sunlight had to come before water?

    Read your Genesis. Water was there first according to the very first line.

    And that fish had to swim before something could crawl out of the ooze, and that mammals came along last.

    god created the sea creatures and birds at the same time.

    How could they know about evolution?

    They didn’t. You’re reading your modern knowledge into the story.

    So, do we believe the scientology, alien theory or the scifi lost/civilization theory or did the cavemen just make a REALLY lucky guess?

    None of the above. They got it all wrong.

    Good luck atheists…

    No need for that since there’s no evidence for a god of any sort and the idea is not supported by logical or rational thought.

  • Andrew G.

    Firstly, the bible wasn’t written by or for cavemen. By the time it was written, the Great Pyramid was already 2000 years old, there had been settled agricultural civilizations in Mesopotamia for over 4000 years, and there had been a walled town or city on the site of Jericho, on and off, for over 8000 years.

    Secondly, there’s no evidence of any “knowledge” in the bible that wasn’t already widely known (or assumed) in the time it was written. There is no close correspondance between the order of creation in Genesis 1 and the actual order of appearance of different animals and plants; for example, whales are descendants of land mammals, whereas birds are much older, and fish vastly older; also, fruit trees and grasses are relative newcomers compared to fish, reptiles and so on.

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    “The form of the Pentateuch that exists now is certainly post-exilic.”

    Certainly. Friedman argued that the final edit was by Ezra, at the start of the Second Temple Period. I should have written more clearly.

  • Andrew G.

    Yes, but Friedman dates P to a much earlier date than is usually accepted (~700BCE, whereas others regard P as exilic or post-exilic and therefore not older than ~580BCE).

  • http://stonesnbones.blogspot.com/ Dr. G. Hurd

    Since Ricky seems to have run away, I think that a relative dating scheme is actually more useful than trying for an absolute dating. If we could have a 99.99% solid absolute dating, it would be only marginally more useful than the relative schema we do have.

    Case in point, there are extraordinary parallels between Ugaritic texts and early portions of the Bible. Personally, I would like to know how long these literatures were separated. But, is there a strong exegetic advantage? A single archaeological discovery of a 1,000 BCE tablet cache in an alphabetic cuneiform could solve the problem.

    Or not.

    I think that many biblical texts (or parts there of) are quite a lot older than generally promoted. Again, it will be archaeology, and not textural studies that will be decisive. (If they happen at all. Given the current political situation, this is less likely).


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