Indianapolis Schools Ban Atheism Websites

by Jesse Galef

The Indianapolis Public School system has a policy to ban certain websites from being viewed at school.  I certainly hated it when I was in high school (we found ways to bypass it if course) but it’s a reasonable idea.  And the list of subjects banned is pretty straightforward: Pornography, Social Networking, Atheism and “Alternative Spirituality”, Games –

Wait, what?  Sites on ‘alternative spirituality’ are banned?  From the policy (pdf hosted on FFRF website):

“Sites that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism.  Occult Practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or other forms of mysticism are represented here…  This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.”  [emphasis mine]

Any site addressing LGBT issues or sexual identity is also banned – great idea for the kids going through confusing times, right?

Ok, first of all, I don’t know why “atheistic views” are in the same category as Satanism.  But ignoring that idiocy, this is hugely discriminatory.  “Normal” religious sites are allowed, but not the “scary minority” religious views.  I could understand if all religious sites were banned but there’s no way to justify banning only some.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is on the case, writing a letter to the superintendent and urging people to voice their concerns.

About Jesse Galef

Jesse is a career atheist, and is currently Communications Director for the Secular Student Alliance. Before that, he worked for the Secular Coalition for America and the American Humanist Association. He also blogs about science, philosophy, and rationality at Measure of Doubt with his sister Julia.
(The views expressed are not representing the Secular Student Alliance or any other organization.)

  • Bissrok

    Do schools legally have the right to decide which beliefs their students study on school grounds? And what criteria are they using to decide? It sounds like they’re only accepting the few biggest religions, except for Asia’s, and calling the rest “alternative”.

    And is there really a reason to use a computer if you can’t play games, browse Facebook, or look up porn?

    • Elemenope

      Oh, there’s no way this stands up to constitutional scrutiny.

    • Rowan

      Schools have the right to censor anything in their school as far as I know.

      • Len_RI

        No, actually, the schools cannot “censor anything” in their schools. To paraphrase the famous words of a United States Supreme Court Justice (can’t remember which one) kids do not leave their constitutional rights at the school house gates.

        They can censor plenty, but basically only if it presents a risk to safety or would be disruptive of the educational mission.

        • Elemenope

          That’s not really true, at least not anymore. The Tinker decision has been basically eroded down to a nub, and practically speaking students do not have the ability to exercise most constitutional rights in school. This has mostly happened because subsequent decisions have interpreted *extremely* broadly the discretion of school officials in determining if a communication or act would “disrupt the educational mission”. We might be seeing the beginnings of a reversal of this “educators are always right” policy with the recent Advil strip search case, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Custador

    To obey the law, they must also ban Christian websites, or they must allow them all.

  • fooby

    “but it’s a reasonable idea. ”

    Um,
    No its not – censorship by the government (aka in public school) is a VERY BAD idea…

    • Siberia

      Well, it’s just supposed to somehow enforce that kids don’t use it to browse Facebook or play games while they should be studying…

      … but yeah, censorship is NOT OK. At all. Much less in a school.

  • http://iamtheblog.com I Am The Blog

    The people setting up these guidelines don’t realize just how ironic they are. The policy, posted online in FFRF’s news release, details what types of sites are to be blocked. Under their own guidelines, their own site should be blocked!

    Under Violence/Hate/Racism (p. 3 of the pdf on FFRF’s site: http://ffrf.org/news/2009/ipspolicy.pdf), it says that included in sites that should be blocked are “sites that advocate, depict hostility or aggression toward, or denigrate an individual or group on the basis of race, religion, [etc.]”

    Wouldn’t banning only sites related to certain religions be “hostility or aggression” towards those religions?!? Perhaps they realized this contradiction, since the section on exceptions lists “sites that are sponsored by schools, educational facilities [...]”

    The banning of sites promoting “atheistic viewpoints” is also troublesome since this means of course that Indianapolis schools would have to ban sites with Bill of Rights, unless they think that the establishment clause promotes only non-mystic, non-atheistic viewpoints.

    • Felix

      In my view, for example the blocking of Wiccan sites and thereby blocking much information that would be necessary in forming a properly educational basis is itself a denigration of a specific religion.
      Arguably they might be able to uphold the blocking of some atheist sites if they contain commentary that is ‘denigrating’ to religions or religious people. But then in the interest of reasonable fairness they ought to accept complaints about Christian sites too. Christians are no better when it comes to denigrating other faiths or the people holding them (or none). Saying ‘but we love you and God does too’ just doesn’t cut it when you’ve just published a diatribe about the inherently immoral personality of atheists or the ludicrous (in the eyes of many Christians even demonic) belief that Muhammad had contact with an angelic messenger.

      A good way to get biased policies rescinded is to turn them against the people who wrote them. Point out the unexplained and evidence-free supernatural claims on Christian sites and protest that these are denigrating and even insulting to your own faith (or lack thereof). Declare that your worldview is based on reason, and therefore unresonable claims based merely on majority opinion and tradition are an assault on your worldview.
      Shortsighted as people usually are, they’d probably respond with ‘well then don’t look at those sites’. Which is precisely the same argument that could be made about the sites they are blocking.

      • http://iamtheblog.com I Am The Blog

        Good point. I actually mentioned this in a blog post I did, and you’re right that it may be the thing that will make them rescind the policy since “unexplained events” certainly applies to much of the Bible. I’m hoping FFRF (and others who complain to them) focus on this so that Indianapolis school board realizes how ridiculous the ban is.

  • mahousniper

    If this was a private school, I would have no problem, but it’s amazing how people think public schools aren’t subject to the government regulations every other public service has to follow.

  • Angela

    My school does this too. Its stupid and unfair. Because of the blocks, sometimes we cant view sites that we need for our school work. Honestly, no one is going to be fapping to porn in class with their classmates present. Also banned, profanity. Because high school students don’t know anything about that! We also cant view sites listed as “journals and blogs” which is completely ridiculous because they can be an excellent source of information and perspective. I cant understand blocking social networking sites and games, because that would be distracting but they take it way too far.

    • Louise

      “Honestly, no one is going to be fapping to porn in class with their classmates present.”

      Ha, you’d be surprised. I work in a library and every once in a while we get complaints from patrons using the computers that the person sitting next to them is watching porn. These computers are in open alcoves, not private cubicles. I guess we’re lucky we haven’t had any incidents of indecent exposure yet. But, as a college library that is open to the public, we don’t censor websites– it’s assumed that all users are adults capable of handling adult subjects.

      Lots of websites were censored on my public high school’s network. I don’t know about “non-traditional” religious ones (I was not yet in the process of seriously questioning my beliefs), but I remember being so very frustrated when I was supposed to be doing research on censorship in schools and I discovered that most websites about censorship were blocked. Ridiculous.

      • Louise

        Gah, sorry, I didn’t mean to italicize the whole darn post.

    • Custador

      anonymouse.org is your friend, I think. Proxy browsing for the win ;)

      • Jablons

        Unfortunately, our school not only blocks a ton of proxies (dunno if anonymouse is included), but makes all the students login to a domain server to use the computers. They use this to setup a remote viewing server (don’t know what protocol) that allows them to see what the kids are doing at all times. Usually people smart enough to use a proxy get busted pretty quickly, although I’ve found that they’re pretty relaxed about enforcing the no games rule.

  • Nick

    This is atrocious! This cannot be legal.

  • Whit

    I think it is reasonable at school to ban pornographic sites and maybe myspace/facebook, but the others make no sense. Of course my old school banned porn, and as a result banned animal sites that mentioned courtship rituals. XP

    There is always a bit of the absurd.

    • Elemenope

      Why facebook/myspace?

      • S. E.

        In my experience, if kids are given the chance to check out Facebook, MySpace, or YouTube, they will never get any real work done during that class period because they’ll spend all of their time goofing off.

        • Elemenope

          In my experience either a kid wants to learn or he/she doesn’t. Boring them to death by taking away things they’d rather be doing simply makes them miserable while they’re not learning.

          • rA

            I dunno, I think Facebook et al can waste the time of otherwise-productive people. Kids who want to learn (adults who want to work…) can be distracted, too.

          • KB

            If they’d “rather be doing something” else they need to be in home school, because they are wasting the teacher’s time and their own. I am a technician for the school district in my county which consists of four schools, and we have to keep myspace and facebook on lockdown not just because of the students, but there will literally be teachers, coaches, and administrators on it all day long.

            I hated high school with a passion but letting me get on social networks all day, if I’d had the option, would not have solved my problems.

            • Elemenope

              Maybe I’m missing something, but exactly how much time out of a normal school day is a student actually on a school computer?

          • Sickofmygeneration

            You will eventually find that an education deserves much more respect.

  • zwenkwiel

    @fooby
    he means banning stuff like porn and games is a reasonable idea
    this form of censorship isn’t used to promote ignorance or indoctrinate children
    it’s to make sure the school computers are used for education.

  • David

    “unexplained events” certainly Christianity is unexplained. Just one example: Eve is born out of Adam’s rib.

    • Estelle

      Nah, there’s a perfectly logical explanation for that. As I’m sure we all know, the christian god made it happen, and therefore it ought not to be questioned. As usual.

      • Jason

        So true Estelle, so true.

  • Wand

    Banning websites on school computers is a legitimate tool to get the kids who don’t know anything about computers to learn how to get around the shoddy school systems, Also when in school children aren’t allowed the same rights as they are when off school grounds, the rights they are denied, as well as any other normally illegal procedures that the school may follow are detailed in that little book they send home every year in the first week and you have to sign (giving away your rights) or you won’t be able to attend public school. If this was covered in that book, the school will be fine and can continue on with their prejudice, I just hope that soon atheists will get our their water fountains and rest rooms as well. And hey while we’re at it, let’s put in separate entrances so ideas can’t mix. gg

  • http://www.americanatheist.com Rob Lewis

    wanna send this, can i get a quick proof?
    Dr. Eugene G. White,

    It has been brought to my attention that your school is blocking various websites for various reasons. In case you may have forgotten,here is your policy:

    Sites that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism. Occult Practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or other forms of mysticism are represented here… This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.

    In America, we have the freedom of religion. To block these sites but allow access to other religious sites is %100 outrageous, many people of interest today are atheists, and if a child would like to do a report on them their sources may be drastically limited. Here is a short list of people:

    -Lance Armstrong
    -Richard Dawkins
    -Bill Gates
    -Penn Jillette
    -Ernest Hemingway

    Hopefully you see your unconstitutional ways.

    Enjoy your day,
    Rob Lewis

    • Felix

      %100?
      I’d focus on the dichotomy between disallowing content about ‘unexplained or paranormal events’ but not locking out mainstream religion. If they’re Christians, they probably regard their beliefs as factually accurate and historically proven beyond reasonable doubt. Many Christians just accept what apologists tell them, and as we know much of that is deceptive and selectively inaccurate (see McDowell and Strobel, two of the most read and recommended apologists, who have demonstrably quote-mined historians, exaggerated the evidence for the historicity of Jesus, made unfounded leaps of faith in their allegedly ‘stringent’ search for the facts, and have made dubious claims about their own biographies and methods of research).
      Anyway, if they enforce a policy, they should be able to explain the difference between the claims of, say, resurrection and alien abductions, or more specifically targeting the religious angle (not that there aren’t religions based on alien visitations), like the belief in nature spirits or a Gaia intelligence. If this explanation can not reasonably make clear why one is an issue of education and the other is not – and the select exclusion of one is not a violation of religious freedom – their policy is unconstitutional.

  • Rebecca M.

    School are supposed to teach kids the subjects they are required to teach and to keep them in a safe environment, NOT worry about all this other stuff like what religion they are or what religions they are exposed to. if the parents trust them to use the internet at school then i am sure anything they see on there like religion they are able to deal with. sure ban porno and other x rated things but for crying out loud any religious sites or sites having to do with religion should be left alone.

    • CeeJam

      Agreed – the school’s job, in conjunction with the parents, is to prepare the child for adult life. While a lot of this may be educationally based, there is also the social aspect to these institutions that will be falling by the wayside if the schools choose to simply ignore these questions. They should also stop trying to protect children from ideas… Ideas are a good thing, even if they turn out to be wrong or inaccurate. They encourage independant thought and intellectual enquiry. Children are not going to ‘turn’ Gay or Lesbian as a result of reading a website.

      Questioning the religious teachings they are exposed to every day, though?? Perhaps. But would you be more likely to consider the church and/or the school fair and just if these questions were asked and discussed openly, or if every time you asked about Wikka, Atheism or the Flying Spaghetti Monster/IPU they figuratively stuck their fingers in their ears and chanted ‘Laaa Laaa Laaa’?

      We are preparing our children for a life of mediocrity and under-achievement. Maybe we are going to be the first generation who cannot stand to see their offspring out-achieve them. I hope not.

      Cjam – UK

  • Jonnell

    This is quite absurd, and I love the points that I AM THE BLOG brought up. But beyond that, banning sites that deal with LGBT issues is absurdly discriminatory. And the fact that this is done in am entire state school system is very alarming. Public schools should not censor the things that these kids are learning. When I was in high school they banned certain sites, such as social networking, game sites, and porn (this included googling certain words, such as breast, which meant you couldn’t look up some recipes in home economics). These things are understandable, as they are rather counterproductive, but kids should be allowed to broaden their horizens, and learn about other religions. By banning this, kids won’t even be able to understand some cultures. I just don’t get why people do these things.

  • bendy

    “unexplained events” so walking on water and healing the sick by spitting on them is explained. It really angers me that those of us without imaginary friends are the crazy ones.

    • steve

      Commas are not periods. Learn to make complete sentences.

  • WarbVIII

    It’s more or less legal,under voting age and not in court children have very few accepted legal rights, and those they have are often different state to state,and within states they often vary from school district to school district,city to city(as well as towns and townships etc) and considering in some cases particularly in large cities there can be multiple districts,with different rules(also when in school,on school grounds kids have almost no rights even to appeal disciplinary actions by schools or school districts,nor do their parents have such rights in this context,since they “agreed” to the rules of the school,district,and system when they enrolled their child, for example there are multiple cases where children have been expelled for having aspirin,prescription drugs that were prescribed to them, and carrying nail clippers, in the case of the clippers some got thrown out for a year and could not return to the same school.), any student can be searched at random in most places and their bags and lockers checked on a whim, in fact many places you can get drug tested as a student without any probable cause. Unlike adults those under 18 are subject to laws that change state to state,city to city and county to county, Schools often set their own rules for censorship as far as internet goes…and they may have a point on extreme censorship considering that more often than not when children are concerned the kids tend to force ever more censorship and restrictive rules by what they do when they are lightly controlled and monitered as far as internet goes, plus more atheist sites than christian ones have pop ups and links to porn.

    • toolburn

      Most Christian sites just take you straight to the porn(ographers and peddies) without the need for popups. You had to put that last line in there didn’t ya. Sad.

      • WarbVIII

        toolburn I have never seen that,granted I choose not to click on such websites. So you could be right,and/or have a point but we could both be wrong as well.

  • Olaf

    It is not wise to ban it, since students will now want surely to see what is so forbidden. LOL

    • Elemenope

      “By describing what is forbidden, you have explained what is possible.”

      Or something to that effect.

      • Olaf

        By telling young people that it is forbbidden, then they will want to experience what is so forbidden. They are attracted to the forbidden part.

        • Siberia

          Maybe there is some elaborate reverse psychology at work here…

          … nah.

    • S. E.

      You’d think they would have learned that whole “forbidden fruit” lesson already…

  • toolburn

    So do they block access to sites discussing Sharia law?

    Sharia Law dictates that:

    * adulterers should be stoned to death
    * 9-year-old virgins can be married off without their consent to older men
    * abuse in not a valid reason for divorce
    * women cannot get a divorce without the husband’s consent
    * sons inherit twice as much as daughters
    * homosexuals should be stoned to death

    Ummm. Sorry, but atheists aren’t into those kinds of “Alternative Spirituality”.

  • Yoav

    This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.”
    Like a son of a virgin magic zombie raising the dead?

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  • http://gnuosphere.wordpress.com Peter

    Blocking social networking sites is “pretty straightforward”?

  • http://www.needtogetsome.net/ Garret

    Wow…another freedom being removed. It is really sad to see…how are kids supposed to explore or learn when some cultures/beliefs are banned?

    In my area, a move like this would certainly have raised kids interest and got the topic rolling.

    I have to agree with Elemenope
    November 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Oh, there’s no way this stands up to constitutional scrutiny.

    Seems illegal to me…but I am not very familiar with American Law

  • gursie

    Oh I don’t know is this really that bad? Throw in a few of the weirder Christian sects like Joel’s Army, New Apostolic, Reconstructionists, Dominionism, Spiritual mapping, neo-Pentacostalism. Round it off with a prohibition on Creationist and Pro-Life sites. Season with other faith-based sites to taste. Pretty soon you’ve got a workable filter against irrationality and superstition. Soon the kids will be ready to actually learn things.

  • batdawg

    take a look at an IN license plate dufus – bravo to Indiana – Hallelujah – maybe this will start a trend in this idiotic country that has been kicking God (particularly JESUS) out of the countries schools and producing spiritually decrepit souls like most of Christ bashers basking in the liberal drool they ingested in “school” and now vomit back on sites like this – GO INDIANA!!!
    even Putin allowed Bible study in Russian schools – idiots.

    • Elemenope

      You are quite the asset to your team.

    • jhnh

      Don’t compare Indiana with Russia, compare yourself with Iran. Now you’re talking about progress, baby!

    • Heidi

      Take a look at New Hampshire license plates. “Live Free or Die.” GO NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!!11!!!!one!!!1!!!

      Now please take your toys and leave, so the grownups can talk.

    • Jason

      Wow, just wow, batdog. Either you are very good at sarcastic remarks, or you are really dumb… I am leaning towards the latter, and it is sad that you have such a horrible perspective on life. Hopefully you come across some science that gets you thinking. I wouldn’t hold my breath for it honestly, as your feeble mind seems like it already decided what is “truth” and what is fiction.

    • Boocher

      Obvious troll is obvious!

      Sadly you already got a few of them, damn you troll!

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Take a look at an IN license plate dufus …
    Yeah? They say “Indiana” on them. So?
    Bravo to Indiana – Hallelujah – maybe this will start a trend in this idiotic country that has been kicking God (particularly JESUS) out of the countries schools …
    So God and Jesus aren’t the same? Is Jesus part of Allah, then? Or is he One with the Holy Trinity of Odin and Thor?

    … and producing spiritually decrepit souls like most of [Bible] bashers basking in the [faith-based] drool they ingested in “school” and now vomit back on sites like this.
    Fixed that for you.

    Even Putin allowed Bible study in Russian schools – idiot.
    Fixed that too.

    Fortunately, batdawg, there’s this thing you guys have called a Constitution. I’ll leave it to you to try and think what that could possibly mean in the current case. You may wish to purchase a motorcycle helmet. It won’t help, but when your head explodes it’ll be less messy.

    Oh, and the visor will stop the foam from your lips making unsightly smears on the screen.

  • joemo

    That is really f***ed up. Religion is retarded.

    • Boocher

      You sir, are why theists hate atheists, shut up and die please. It will make it a little easier when atheists try to be friends with theists, and only speak up when something like this happens.

      • Sunny Day

        Obvious Troll is Obvious.

        • Boocher

          If I repeat myself to much it is no fun, plus that one was more serious in my views. Where I go to school there is a group of atheists that are flying assholes to any theists they meet anytime they can. One time I got called to the office because the office thought I was a part of it. So I try to keep the war mongers in check.

  • Dan

    I go to a strict Catholic university in the Philippines and they don’t censor atheist web sites. Sure I can’t look up porn on the university network but the wifi signal gets really weak inside the toilets anyways :P

  • http://www.factopo.com/answered/ragdoll_torture_games.html Factopo

    No one complains about schools banning other books…

    • Elemenope

      Instead of trailing off, why not identify what exactly you are referring to.

  • http://madcowone.blogspot.com/ Zedge

    I don’t know if it has already been brought up but, I noticed that the ruling states; “This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.” In light of this all religion should be band, as it all deals with “paranormal or unexplained events” If anything ever fit the definition of paranormal It’s God!

  • mikey jeffso

    you lose most of your constitutional rights when you go to public school. the dress codes, lack of freedom of speech, etc. this is completely legal i would venture to say. i am violently opposed to this censorship but now that i’m out of public school, i don’t worry about it. sigh.

  • jhnh

    So are science websites considered “atheist”? I sure don’t know many scientists who would consider their research to be Christian, or Buddhist (wait, that’s probably blocked, too).

    These people are insane and need to be fought at every opportunity. There is nothing less than an all-out effort by many to turn this into a theocracy.

  • anon

    Wow, what a joke. There is no way this law will stand up in court. Constitution ftw

  • http://mamamaureen.wordpress.com/ Mama Maureen

    My first reaction was that someone in that school district needs to start a fuss. Then I realized that I don’t know what the policy is at my childrens’ schools, but I’m willing to bet it’s just as discriminatory, if not more so. Of course, I voted against school uniforms, too, but that didn’t do any good. I guess it’s time for me to go check, and probably start writing letters.

  • meghan patrick

    ok well are u gonna get rid of the christian, jew, muslim, and other religious websites?????? Atheism is a religion as well as the others i mentioned. That is breaking the 1st amendment…freedom of religion….that is wrong… i am a proud atheist am i banned from goin to school???

    • Lachwen

      The next time you feel the need to defend your “religion” – which, by the way, is actually a complete LACK of a religion – please try to turn your brain on first.

      Remember: the ellipsis is not a suitable substitute for a space between sentences.

    • Boocher

      You are the cancer that is killing Atheism.
      Let me break it down for you. Theism means having a system of beliefs roughly. Throw that ‘A’ in there, which means un or lack of depending on usage, and you get lack of a system of beliefs. Thus you have no religion.
      Learn what you live.

    • Karleigh

      It’s so irritating when people misinterpret atheism – but it’s a kind of bizarre when that person actually claims to BE an atheist!

      • Custador

        He’s not an atheist, he’s that idiot troll who came on here a while back psing as fundies and atheists both to try to get a rise. Then Daniel barred his IP – and good riddance.

  • Cole

    This is ridiculous! I’m happy to attend a school that doesn’t block websites related to atheism.

  • Robin

    sigh… I remember doing research in school on ancient Greece and not being able to access half of the sites I needed because of ‘nudity’. It was ancient Greek art, not porn!!
    The scariest category for banning that I remember was ‘culture.’ Heaven forbid we are exposed to culture in school….

  • Jason McClurg

    I wonder if godhatesfags.com is allowed.

    • Jason

      It would not be surprising if it was allowed.

  • Chris

    Are you sure that is what is going on here? It appears to be a list of distinctions between content the filter makes. Is there any actual evidence that it these are actually blocked?

    If you google the listing in quotes, you’ll turn up many pages just like that one. Granted, “Blocked Categories” is a poor choice of words.

  • Balle Klorin

    I feel sorry for you living in such a religious horrible country. There are so many striking similarities between USA and Iran. Good luck in the fight against it!

    • http://digits.newsvine.com Digits

      I feel sorry for you living in such a religious horrible country. There are so many striking similarities between USA and Iran. Good luck in the fight against it!

      Two countries dedicated each in their belief to some godhead, while the individuals in each country are growing in natural evolutionary patterns to disregard the mindless myths of lore. Yet the myths persist and the governments refuse to catch up. I saw an internet bumper sticker recently that read: “America – Be nice to us or we’ll bring democracy to your country.”

      • Heidi

        Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. :-(

    • Custador

      I was about to start arguing that Iran wasn’t that similar to the US, but then I thought about it:

      1) Religiously zealous government – check,
      2) Questionable historical election results – check,
      3) Nuclear weapons program – check,
      4) Ingrained xenophobia of ignorant masses – check,
      5) Death penalty – check,
      6) Religious propaganda paraded as nightly news – check,
      7) Enormous rich / poor divide – check,
      8) Widespread belief in being God’s / Allah’s chosen people – check,
      9) Massively corrupt political class – check.

      Why does Dick Cheney want a war with Iran? He should be inviting them around for coffee and cakes!

      • Jason

        Great point you made there. When you think about it, the only real differences are:

        1. Location
        2. Skin Color
        3. Language
        4. Type of Religion

        Did I miss any? That is pretty sad America, we can do better. Stop watching the “news” channels and being brainwashed. If you do decide to watch a “news” channel, stay as far away from FOX as you can and you will still have somewhat rational thought.

        • Custador

          The American government does seem to enjoy sending their young men overseas to blow up brown people, it has to be said.

      • Karleigh

        That’s a fucking scary comparison, Custador.

        • Custador

          Only ‘cos you know I is right :D

          • RebeccaG

            that’s for sure!

  • MatB

    Disgusting Censorship.

  • Izzy

    “other forms of mysticism” … like creating an entire world from nothing and making man from dust… that kind of mysticism?

    • jill

      Right? I love how christians think their crazy made-up religion is so much less crazy than not believing in made up people no-one’s ever seen before.. Ya know what I hate about life?

      The war!

      Unfortunately, it’s religion that fuels these wars! Just think how we could further our species if we all just lived our lives not believing there was an “afterlife”. I think it would be more peaceful, and in the moment. Certainly, priorities would be different. Maybe everyone would stop killing animals as well.. The fact that there are so many comments on this article, says there’s something wrong!

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  • Stephanie

    I am glad I got out of IPS right after the first year of Eugene White’s Reign of Blindness. I don’t get why children should have to sign over their rights as a human being just to go to school, which is forced by law. I don’t see how it can possibly be constitutional. If you are poor, you are forced to go to the public school system until at least 16 I believe, forced to give up your rights and to be sheltered from anything relating to any other way of life. Some children did not have access to computers at home. I actually had a teacher that constantly threw out bible verses during the middle of class, comparing everything and anything we read to the bible. At this point in time, I was quite unsure of my own beliefs, and I did not appreciate having hers shoved down my throat at every opportunity. Everyone knew about this, and it angered many students, but was anything done about it? No. They didn’t censor and oppress her, but of course… she was over 18 and therefore, constitutionally she was considered a human being and allowed to have rights that we, as students, were denied. Despite this whole “separation of church and state” thing, Christianity still eeks its way into schools, bit by bit, but children cannot even view a website containing atheistic views, or those of any “questionable” forms of religion. It makes me more than a little angry.

    • Jason

      I too, had a highly religious teacher. She was an English teacher in high school. She would constantly thank god, praise god, pray at her desk, ask us to recite bible verses, and so on. I would never stand for the pledge of allegiance due to the phrase, “one nation, under god.” Needless to say, this would make her furious and she would give me detentions for nothing at all, grade my papers way lower than what they should have been, and generally harass me for not believing in her god. I was not a dumb kid and am not a dumb adult. In fact, most of the kids in the class were always trying to copy my papers. I had a kid copy my paper nearly word for word, as he sat very close to me and could read my paper, get an A on his, while I received an F for copying him.

      To put this in perspective, the only thing that I ever disobeyed this teacher on was not standing for the pledge of allegiance. All that backlash, because I did not believe that I was under an imaginary person. To me, it is just as ludicrous as saying under Santa, or under the Easter Bunny.

      Religious zealots should not be allowed to teach if their views get in the way of them doing their job. That job is to open up students minds, get them engaged in learning, and not shove personal ideas down their throats.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Except, of course, the demonstrative and overwhelming evidence that the Christian God actually exists, but we can’t let pesky details get in the way of the fact that your right to ignorance was not protected by this equally ignorant teacher.

        She was wrong. She should have known better. She was the adult and had power because she was in charge, so she should have absolutely treated you fairly in the grading process, and in exercising her discretion regarding class discipline and how she treated you personally. This should have especially been so because she was (apparently) a Christian.

        You didn’t know any better, but she should have. But now, in spite of that treatment, why not grow up, or as the Bible puts it, “put away childish things,” and reach out to the God who is there?

        • Elemenope

          Except, of course, the demonstrative and overwhelming evidence that the Christian God actually exists…

          By all means, demonstrate it.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            1. Scientific and mathematical arguments abound from design, first cause, conscience. . . . see PeterKreeft.com as a great starting point. Josh.org is another good primer.

            2. Fulfilled prophecies – exacting and precise, verifiable in excruciatingly precise detail, and given hundreds of years before the events.

            3. Scriptural documentation of scientific phenomenon, such as the sphericity of the earth, hydrological cycle, existence of dinosaurs, etc., long before discovery by modern science.

            4. The life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

            5. Experiential knowledge of God through Christ, by Christians.

            6. Hugh Ross reaonstobelieve.org, documents that the facts we know about science comport with and concretely point to the God of the Bible as the only possible first cause.

            Must all of this be true? No. Is the case for God strong? Extremely. Atheism has nothing substantially new by way of argumentation, is tired, hackneyed and worn out. Is it wrong? Not necessarily. Is it a given? Hardly.

            • rA

              1. “First cause” (etc) arguments are deeply disputed at best, outright disproved at worst. If you think they hold up to scrutiny, you have been misinformed.

              2. I am unaware of the fulfillment of a single biblical prophecy, except those that were prophesied (in the OT, say) and fulfilled (in the NT, say) in the Bible, which obviously don’t count.

              3. I think this Evidence for God web page makes a better case than I could. There is nothing in the Bible that couldn’t have been written by first-century-and-earlier human beings.

              4. The only evidence for the “life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ” is in the Bible, and that evidence is shaky. The gospels themselves were written generations after the alleged life of Jesus.

              5. Personal anecdotes are not evidence. You can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell things that aren’t real.

              6. Hugh Ross is a young-earth creationist. Seriously?

              I don’t think evidence for the Christian god has ever been discovered by someone who wasn’t looking for evidence for the Christian god.

              You think there is a strong, rational case for the existence of God. You are mistaken.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              No, Hugh Ross is NOT a young earth creationist, and the fact that he is not is indicative of how well you know what you are writing about. Let’s talk about another of your absurd claims: To believe what you do, regarding Christ’s historicity, simply does not comport with the facts. Bart Ehrman is a writer in the field who substantially agrees with you, yet he cannot account, in his theory, for the sudden appearance of thousands of extant hand written manuscripts dating from the 2nd through 4th centuries, because their appearance in the record makes no sense, and neither does the prevailing presence of Christianity, absent the historical Jesus. This relatively new idea of the non-historical Jesus does not stand up to even the most basic scrutiny. Everything else I wrote is also correct, and you are simply mistaken, or worse, deceived.
              Incidentally, even young earth creationism makes more sense of the science as we know it than typical evolutionists, but Ross is anything but a young earther.

            • rA

              Ah, I misread, “Old Earth creationist”.

            • LRA

              “Incidentally, even young earth creationism makes more sense of the science as we know it than typical evolutionists,”

              Wrong. And that statement is indicative of how well you know what you’re writing about.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              You wrote: “2. I am unaware of the fulfillment of a single biblical prophecy, except those that were prophesied (in the OT, say) and fulfilled (in the NT, say) in the Bible, which obviously don’t count.”

              How is it that those don’t count? Just wondering what your reasoning is, as some of those are precisely what I am referring to. Please enlighten me. I probably won’t agree, but I’m always open to new input.

              Hopefully you’ve continued reading this thread, as others of your points have been addressed too.

            • rA

              How is it that those don’t count?

              The Bible is not a history book. It is not magically true. The Bible is the only source for many, many claims. No corroboration by other sources. A “prophecy” that is made and fulfilled in the same book obviously doesn’t count. Doesn’t it?

            • Heidi

              Why are you here? Really? Do you know? I don’t go to Christian sites and argue with Christians, so I am really having trouble understanding your motivation here.

              Of course we have no new arguments. Religion has nothing new to argue against. The same standard “proofs” keep popping up over and over. If you keep asking the same question, you’re going to keep getting the same answer. Two thousand years ago, 2+2 = 4. Today, 2+2 = 4. Tomorrow, next week, and in ten thousand years, 2+2 will still be 4, and no amount of shouting “three!” will change that.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Heidi,

              You ask a question that requires me to bend the rules of the board if I am going to answer it completely. There is a no evangelism rule, so I will just reply that I read and respond on these boards because I know that these issues are not trivial and I appreciate the freedom to freely express an alternate view.

            • Jabster

              “You ask a question that requires me to bend the rules of the board if I am going to answer it completely.”

              It’s ok just making stuff up and claiming that it’s true is not against the board’s rules so post away …

            • Heidi

              So basically you’re trolling for converts, and can’t say it because it is proselytizing, and the explanation involves evangelizing. Wow. Sneaking around the rules is so much more honest than blatantly breaking them.

              I can’t speak for anyone else here, but if your god flew down from the sky, landed on my doorstep, and proved his existence to my satisfaction, and if he was indeed the god of the old testament, then I would not worship him. The OT god character as portrayed is an evil monster, IMO, and deserves neither my worship nor even my respect. If many other posters here feel the same way, the odds are not good for your gaining converts through stealth evangelism.

              Now if we’re talking Thor or Apollo, then maybe.

  • Eymhere

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one religion, under god, with hypocrisy and Christianity for all.

  • justagirlsd

    I work at a school in San Diego. There is a web nanny through our server. I’m surprised I can actually see this website! The web nanny censors EVERYTHING. If you want to read an article on health and the word sex is in the article it is blocked. It pretty much blocks everything :(
    I love the comments!

  • Phil E. Drifter

    What the heck are kids doing on the internet during school hours? What did schools ever do before the internet? OH THAT’S RIGHT we had BOOKS we studied from! We had to PAY ATTENTION!

    Schools shouldn’t even have internet access.

    • Heidi

      And before that we had rocks! And we were damned glad to get them! My dad went to school in a little red school house with all the grades in the same room (yes, seriously). We don’t do that anymore, either.

      Kids are on the Internet during school hours because they take computer classes. Wherever they get a job after graduation, they’re going to need to know how to use one for something other than MySpace. Also, they need to learn how to do research on the Internet. Schools only have so much money in the budget. My son’s high school can’t even afford a librarian. Textbooks and encyclopedias go out of date rapidly. It’s not rocket science. Do you do your research in books?

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Zactly

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Schools teach conformity. They teach you to sit down and shut up and be quiet and be docile. Perfect for teaching citizens not to intervene when something is going on, even though you know better.

    • Jason

      Great comment. That fits well with the mainstream news stations also, as they are an adult form of that. People that literally believe everything FOX “news” tells them, are the ones who were most conformative in school.

      • Jabster

        “People that literally believe everything FOX “news” tells them, are the ones who were most conformative in school.”

        It’s a good soundbite but how do you knows it’s true?

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Fox is no more, or less bias than the other networks. They’re just easier to pick on because they have the audacity to be biased toward the right. The actual studies, in fact, time and again demonstrate that Fox is more fair with their legit news (not commentary) than any other network. I know it’s off topic, but you did bring it into the fray.

          • Elemenope

            What studies?

            • Heidi

              Studies done by Glenn Beck, most likely.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Ha ha. Hilarious. Center for Media and Public Affairs is one, Here are the pertinent facts from the most recent election (presidential)

              “CMPA analyzed every soundbite by reporters and nonpartisan sources (excluding representative of the political parties) that evaluated the candidates and their policies. On the three broadcast networks combined, evaluations of Obama were 68% positive and 32% negative, compared to the only 36% positive and 64% negative evaluations of his GOP opponent John McCain. In fact, Obama received the most favorable coverage CMPA has ever recorded for any presidential candidate since we began tracking election news coverage in 1988. The totals were very similar–within a few percentage points–at all three networks. (These figures exclude comments on the candidates’ prospects in the campaign horse race, which obviously favored Obama.)

              Meanwhile, Fox’s Special Report was dramatically tougher on Obama, with only 36% favorable vs. 64% unfavorable evaluations during the same time period. But McCain didn’t fare much better, garnering only 40% favorable comments vs. 60% negative ones. So the broadcast networks gave good marks to one candidate and bad marks to another, while Fox was tough on both–and most balanced overall.

              Of course, all this is old news. White House staffers went after Fox because of what they perceived as the Murdoch News Network’s trashing of the new Democratic administration. So what has Fox done to Obama lately? To find out, I consulted CMPA’s ongoing study of the president’s television news coverage, which is being conducted by scholars at George Mason and Chapman universities.

              It turns out that Fox’s coverage of President Obama has been even more negative than its coverage of candidate Obama: From Inauguration Day to Oct. 10, only 27% of Special Report’s comments on the president were favorable. That sounds like proof positive of Fox’s negative intentions. But if Fox hasn’t lost its anti-Obama edge, it has certainly lost its distinctiveness. During the same period only 35% of the evaluations on ABC, CBS, and NBC were positive. So from the administration’s point of view, Fox’s coverage has gone from being the worst of all to merely the worst among equals.

              Moreover, distressing as it may seem to a president used to unusually friendly coverage, this negativity is surprisingly normal. CMPA’s earlier studies found that the broadcast networks gave almost identically negative coverage to George W. Bush (37% positive), Bill Clinton (34% positive) and Ronald Reagan (37% positive) during their first seven months in office.

              These numbers are too similar for mere coincidence; instead, they represent a historical pattern. Based on the experience of the past three decades, incoming presidents should expect to receive twice as much bad press as good press and plan accordingly. In the modern era of media politics, presidential honeymoons end with the transition to power. Once they try to put their agendas into practice, Republican and Democratic presidents alike are fair game for a media anxious to tell the other side of the story.

              Obama differs from his predecessors mainly in the false hopes generated by sometimes fawning campaign coverage from jaded journalists who temporarily let themselves get carried away by his eloquence and the historic nature of his candidacy. When politics returned to normal, their coverage returned to form.

              Of course Fox remains a special case among Obama’s tormentors, with its stable of conservative talk show hosts singing the same discordant tune. But odds are that the next Republican president will get the same reception from Fox’s liberal counterparts on MSNBC. A GOP president will also have to cope with the growing trend among entertainment-oriented cable channels to feature liberal commentators, such as Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and HBO’s Bill Maher.

              Across the cable landscape, reporting seems to be merging with commentary just as surely as news is merging with entertainment. In light of White House charges that Fox is “not really a news organization,” it is ironic that among all the cable channels that feature political news and comment, Fox is the only one that runs an old-fashioned half hour of nightly news modeled on the broadcast networks.

              To be sure, this president can expect more criticism from Fox than from CNN and MSNBC. But to single out Fox as the problem, because–unlike other television news–it has morphed from a news organization into an adversary? He should be so lucky.

            • Heidi

              Wow. So they gave more negative coverage to the democratic presidential candidate than the other networks, and you think that makes them fair and balanced overall?

              Where is the study telling us about the “balance” on McCain’s candidacy? Where was the “fairness” when Beck admitted to Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters (on The View) that he made up lies about them because it made his show more entertaining? They’re not just biased; they’re warped.

            • Jabster

              @Hedi

              Well this is the person who believes that there is “… demonstrative and overwhelming evidence that the Christian God actually exists, …” so I wouldn’t expect to much from him.

              The Fox news network isn’t biased just look at these figures showing how biased it is … see I told you it wasn’t biased.

    • Jabster

      “Perfect for teaching citizens not to intervene when something is going on, even though you know better.”

      But you just stated that school teaches you not to do that, you can’t have it both ways …

      • Heidi

        How is teaching conformity and compliance different than teaching people not to intervene when they see a problem?

      • Jabster

        The problem I have is with the “… even though you know better.” TBH honest the original post just sounded like a “I’m different from the sheepel” to me.

        • Heidi

          Ah, I get it now. Yeah, they probably don’t know better. Thanks. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/flylike1 Carl Allen

    A lot of people are talking about the Constitutionality of this issue, and rightfully so. This kind of thing makes me sick. But think about this- what kind of people would pass such a ban,blatantly discriminating against religion?

    Obviously the people have a reasonable amount of power, and the fortitude that would lead them to say “yes, we can (should) do this.”

    I’d thoroughly enjoy a nice debate with them. If they didn’t leave crying at how awful of people they had been for doing this, after I pointed out everything that was wrong with it, they have no souls to go to heaven in the first place

    • jill

      I agree with Carl. It’s scary to think of how many of these types of decisions are made, and for what benefit? Not mankind certainly.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Yeah, it probably withstands any legal assaults for a couple of reasons:

    1. Those holding the majority position have a right to expect that the same restrictions they would place on their child at home will be in place at school. Without that expectation the parental outcry would bring chaos to the learning environment, thus the ruling would pass muster based upon recent rulings.

    2. Atheists and Agnostics, by definition do not place restrictions on the information of this nature that their kids are allowed to access, so they would not have a legal position to fight this ruling.

    That’s not the same as saying, “This school board has the right idea.” I’m just saying that they probably had good legal advice before they took this position, and it is defensible in light of the trending of modern rulings.

    • Elemenope

      1. Those holding the majority position have a right to expect that the same restrictions they would place on their child at home will be in place at school. Without that expectation the parental outcry would bring chaos to the learning environment, thus the ruling would pass muster based upon recent rulings.

      This is not true. A holocaust denying family, for example, does not have either the legal expectation or the right to dictate that the curriculum or accessible materials at a public school exclude evidence of the Shoah. They *do* have the right to take their child out of that school and either home-school them or place them in a private educational environment.

      2. Atheists and Agnostics, by definition do not place restrictions on the information of this nature that their kids are allowed to access, so they would not have a legal position to fight this ruling.

      Sure they would. The standing issue would be on demonstrated restriction from equal use of public facilities, which any parent of an atheist or agnostic child can demonstrate in this case.

      • Elemenope

        To clarify on the first point, in the law the status as a majority opinion holder does not change anything. Even if every single parent at that school was Christian, it would be unconstitutional to exclude sites on, say, Buddhism.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          No, you missed the point on the first point. It was about what has continually been litigated, which is “class room learning environment.” If they can make a strong case for the maintenance of that by not rocking the boat, maintaining the status quo, or any number of ways, I don’t know what the hell their particular legal theory is here, then they may very well prevail.

          • Elemenope

            Usually some form of “in loco parentis trumps all” which has in fact been allowed by the courts to slide with depressing regularity on secular matters, but even the courts are usually not craven enough to cast aside religious equality before the law for such things. And there are some bright spots of hope (depressingly few) that the in loco parentis doctrine is beginning to decay.

    • Heidi

      1. Those holding the majority position have a right to expect that the same restrictions they would place on their child at home will be in place at school.

      Hmm.. where have I heard that kind of christians-should-be-allowed-to-run-the-schools thinking before? Oh right. Evil Laurie Higgins, when she was trying to get Hemant fired from his teaching position.

      Of course, teachers have a First Amendment right to blog or speak publicly about anything they want. And parents have every right not to have their children in the classroom under the tutelage of someone whose publicly articulated views they find fallacious and deeply troubling.

      http://friendlyatheist.com/2009/08/19/why-the-illinois-family-institute-is-angry-with-me/
      http://www.illinoisfamily.org/news/contentview.asp?c=34500

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Again, I didn’t say it is right, in fact I said it isn’t. I’m just saying they probably are reasonably sure they would prevail legally or they wouldn’t have done it.

        • Elemenope

          You imply that petty bureaucrats are concerned first and foremost with whether what they are doing is constitutionally sound. I know from first-hand experience that that is usually way down (and sometimes off) the check-list of things they check before doing. Also, bad lawyers often give bad advice, when they are asked at all. Many school districts are served by, well, not the top tier graduates from Harvard Law.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Now I agree that they don’t always have the best counsel, but you are wrong that now days, with as many cases as have been litigated in this field, that they don’t at least get legal advice on the front end. As opposed to ten or fifteen years ago, that’s usually not the case anymore.

            That being said, I hope this rule is ruled out, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is not.

  • http://www.dougwadedesign.com crossroad

    I don’t think schools should be in the business of teaching morality. That’s the job of the family.
    My kids already know about atheism. and many other belief systems. Schools need to stay out of the family business.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Amen. I completely concur.

      • Elemenope

        It’s fine and all until you realize that that is in fact impossible. Values and morality come up all the time in teaching. Heck, you try to teach history to someone and not have the subjects of war, belief, law, slavery, rights and responsibilities come up with respect to morality.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Well now you’re just going to make me sound wishy washy, because I agree with that too. But I think you can teach morality, or at least discuss it, without indoctrinating me in your religion, or lack thereof.

          • Elemenope

            But I think you can teach morality, or at least discuss it, without indoctrinating me in your religion, or lack thereof.

            Certainly. Well, until you start monkeying around with the inter- and -intrareligious squabbles that pepper history. Then it gets tricky again. People like to identify “good guys” and “bad guys”, winners and losers.

  • dingobully

    This sounds like something you’d find at a private religious school, but a public school will not be able to hold on to something like this. Inevitably it will go to court and freedom of religion will prevail, but whoever fights it will be a hero to the Christian community and will cash in by writing a book that the flock will turn into a bestseller.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    As to the FOX news comments, perhaps if someone is putting down something I wrote or quoted they could at least bother to read it first. That would show some academic integrity. I didn’t say that their coverage wasn’t biased, and in fact stipulated that their commentators are/were, I simply said that studies show they are the least biased with their news coverage (as opposed to their commentary shows, which, like MSNBC, CNN et al, are all heavily biased).

    It’s just wrong and silly to point to them as if they’re somehow less truthful with actual news, when the evidence is to the contrary. I personally have been watching CNN, as it seems to have less of an axe to grind, but I was relaying a message, so, in stop shooting the messenger.

    • Elemenope

      One of the criticisms of FOX News that hits more truly is that they poorly signpost their news away from their opinion segments. One of the reasons that the Wall Street Journal, say, a paper with a solidly conservative editorial board, does not get lambasted really at all about the whole “media bias” thing is that they are very serious about keeping the news and editorial sections separate (institutionally, as well as physically in the paper itself), whereas FOX downright sucks at it.

    • Heidi

      Oh, FFS. I did read it. It’s actually possible for two people to read the same words, and yet not agree.

      • Jabster

        “It’s actually possible for two people to read the same words, and yet not agree.”

        … a bit like the Bible then!

        • Heidi

          Precisely.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Then I stand corrected.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/stonerbitch John Smith

    I think it would be more appropriate to ban the breeding of ignorance and stupidity. Do we need a generation of Bill O’Reilly’s? So much for America being one of the best countries in the world. If anything, America suppresses educating their children. We need to really model European countries’ education system because they are soooo far ahead of us. What we learn here in high school is taught over seas in primary school. It’s ridiculous. It’s ignorant to even consider America a free country… I smell dictatorship in the education system.

    Knowledge/Education = Power

  • andrew

    Sounds like they’re using k9, I just installed it to keep the kids from getting into things they shouldn’t. I keep aetheism and alt spirituality open, just in case they’re interested, but given the age groups involved, i banned swimsuits, alt sexuality, and sexual oriented images. That’s mainly just because of the thin line between porn and art sometimes, and the sort of information they SOMETIMES put on the sites, like this one site that is a play on kama sutra, covering everything from “is this normal” questions to “how to please the other partner sexually.” The oldest kids are 13. When they’re mature enough to look up things like that, I’ll probably be the one monitoring them as they do.

  • Kial

    My high school was very like this… In 11th grade, we were divided into groups and given a debate topic. Mine was on gay marriage. Now, we were supposed to do all our research during class, via the library and the school computers. However, our school had a grand total of ONE book even mildly related to gay rights issues, and the school system had blocked sites relating to homosexuality on our computers. Needless to say, my English teacher was not pleased, nor was I.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    LRA,

    The simple truth is that, while I personally disagree with their conclusions, young earthers are rarely bested in open debate, even when they are debating in front of non-friendly audiences, such as the famous New York Geological Society debate. When polled, without having to reveal identities, even that audience believed ICR won. That sentiment was so common that it became more and more difficult to find opponents. Despite your assertion the evidence points precisely where I stated. Facts are stubborn things.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      To be clear, I am not implying that young earthers have the facts, just that it is a fact that they usually win the contests. As far as I am concerned about the only thing they are correct about is that we were indeed created.

      • LRA

        Well, science isn’t done in debates. It’s done in peer-reviewed journals. If people don’t understand this, then we need to improve our science education standards.

        Also, more and more scientists are realizing that rhetorical sparring isn’t an appropriate way to express scientific ideas. Therefore, more and more are refusing to debate (much to creationists’ chagrin).

        • Custador

          Agreed. Even if Creatards are wining debates (and I by no means accept that without evidence), then that just means scientists are busy discovering things while the Creatards are learning how to spew dogma.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            It’s an old and oft repeated fallacy that Creationists are not publishing in peer reviewed journals, and it’s just not so. Here’s a link:

            http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/538.asp

            And I repeat, for the record, that I am not a young earth creationist, but I loathe the hypocrisy of so-called “brights” who are anything but, and who resort to name calling (Creatards), sloppy argumentation, and a smug arrogance that their ignorance of real facts does not deserve.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Sorry, I should have used the word “warrant,” rather than “deserve.” That would have been more precise.

            • Sunny Day

              You are deliberately obfuscating the point.

              Pointing out where knowledge of evolution is incomplete does not make an argument FOR Creationism.

              A Creationist publishing a paper about Physics does not equate to a published paper about Creationism.

            • Custador

              Yes, but the problem with relying on answersingenesis is that they talk an awful lot of shit.

              You need to extend the question:

              How many scientist who believe in creationism or intelligent design have published in peer-reviewed scientific journals articles which espouse their beliefs and directly contradict Darwinian evolution?

              If you actually read the page you cited above, you’ll see that their biggest claim is about a creationist physicist who’s published 68 articles – none of which relate to evolution or biological sciences.

              Answersingenesis even say it explicitly:

              “the article by Scott & Cole was a search for articles openly espousing creationism, which is a different matter altogether.”

              They then go on to draw an extremely dodgy conclusion:

              “Creationists who publish scientific research in mainstream journals have found that they can publish articles with data having creationist implications [my emphasis], but will not get articles with openly creationist conclusions published. When they attempt to do this, their articles are usually rejected.”

              Which totally misses the point! For a start, the fact that something is unexplained does not mean that creationism is implied. Secondly, of course an article would get rejected for saying “GodDidIt!” – There’s a massive difference between saying “This happens and we don’t know why” and saying “this happens, so we’ve jumped to the conclusion that God must have done it because we can’t think of another explanation”.

              As usual, answersingenesis is complete bullshit.

            • Custador

              To answer Jeff’s second point:

              A belief in creationism shows a complete absence of both knowledge of the topic and of ability to think critically about the evidence. Every single creationist who I have ever met has been severely emotionaly retarded. I will therefore continue to refer to them as Creatards and IDiots.

              I also think it’s supremely hypocritical of you to accuse people like me of arguing from ignorance (which I don’t, I know this subject extremely well, and my good lady who’s sat behind me has a 2:1 from Oxford in Human Sciences and knows it a whole lot better) and to then try to muddy the waters about creatards publishing in science journals with a semantic point which makes the premise utterly irrelevant.

            • Sunny Day

              He doesn’t believe it, but it supports his “side”, so he’ll try to use it.

              “As far as I am concerned about the only thing they are correct about is that we were indeed created.”

              Which leads right into the common problem of otherwise good people staying quiet in the face of absolute bullshit because the it supports some small point they approve.
              Bastards.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              No, it is you who miss the point. Since I was the one making it, I assure you I know what it is. My point is that Creationists do publish, and are therefore involved in actual science (research, testing, etc.).

              I would never expect them to be published if their articles and abstracts offered Creationist conclusions. That would go against the sacred group-think dogma. Nevertheless they include, among their ranks, many of today’s most well-respected and well-known working scientists, including the director of the human genome project. They view the same data through a different prism, because of a different set of philosophical assumptions.

              To not recognize that makes one look childish and silly, as if putting fingers in both ears and screaming “lah lah lah,” will make the bad Creation scientist go away.

              The evolution emperor has no clothes and, while these people may not have all the answers, they at least have the courage to point that out to a hostile scientific community.

            • Custador

              Jeff:

              First of all, Dr. Eric Green (director of the Human Genome Project) is, I am absolutely 100% certain, not a creationist. I challenge you to prove me wrong on that point.

              Second of all, the Human Genome Project does not seek to explain the origins of DNA, it simply seeks to map the genome. Typical Creatard “tactic” – confuse two issues in the hope of being taken seriously. I put “tactic” in inverted commas, because it’s always possible that it’s not a tactic at all, but simply ignorance.

              I would never expect them to be published if their articles and abstracts offered Creationist conclusions.

              I’ve already addressed that point, and you’ve totally ignored it. Another typical Creatard tactic.

              That would go against the sacred group-think dogma.

              Creatard tactic #3! They’re coming thick and fast today! Science disagrees so attack science as a whole! You don’t know how science works and you particularly do not know how the scientific community works. Scientists make a living trying to prove each other wrong. It really does break down to being that simple.

              They view the same data through a different prism, because of a different set of philosophical assumptions. To not recognize that makes one look childish and silly, as if putting fingers in both ears and screaming “lah lah lah,” will make the bad Creation scientist go away.

              Half right, Jeff. They view the same data, but they view it through the pre-judgement of faith and jump to conclusions which impartial observers can see that the data do not in any way support. That’s why articles like that don’t get published.

            • Francesc

              Jeff, creatards can be scientists, because people are complex. They can be absolutely rational about something (e.g: Physics) not related with their superstition. Creationist conclusions won’t be never accepted in a scientific journal because they are not scientific -as they are assuming the existence of a magical being.

              “Nevertheless they include, among their ranks, many of today’s most well-respected and well-known working scientists”
              They do not. They are some creationists in that rank, but definitely not “many” of them.

              You propose here the “director of the human genome project”. Well, from 1988 to 1992 it was James D. Watson, who lately hit the news because of a racist comment. Watson is a good scientist in his area, but he can be a real idiot.

              You mean Collins is a creationist??
              From 1993 to 2008 it was Francis Collins. According to wikipedia -ok, not the best source- he was nominally christian, then atheist, and then he became an evangelist.
              “In his book [The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006)] Collins examines and subsequently rejects creationism and intelligent design”

            • LRA

              Ugh, Jeff. AIG, really? How about pubmed?

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

              That’s a database that collects journals where real science gets published.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Ah the glorious dichotomy, the ultimate paradox: Two well-qualified, equally brilliant people can research, scrutinize, and test the same data, even observing the same outcomes but, for philosophical reasons, arrive at different conclusions. That is an honest appraisal of where we are, but one that most evolutionists and Creationists (old earth, young earth, ID) will not admit. It is however, incontrovertible, irrefutable and manifestly obvious truth. It’s the kind of irritating truth that causes adults to respond with bitter hatred, childish name-calling and ill-tempered attacks. Why? We want to be right and prove our opponent is wrong, but that’s impossible, so calling someone a bastard, a Creatard, or an IDiot at least lets us vent our frustration at having so little by way of rationally defended, perfectly clear, unequivocal evidence in support of our bias.

              I also never assumed or referred to a “god of the gaps” type of argumentation, but thanks for playing Sunny Day. That’s a ridiculous argument anyway, as it says nothing and can be turned around and used against you any way. For example, “Pointing out where knowledge of Creationism is incomplete does not make an argument FOR evolution.”

              Wow, that’s deep. You sure set me straight.

            • Custador

              Two well-qualified, equally brilliant people can research, scrutinize, and test the same data, even observing the same outcomes but, for philosophical reasons, arrive at different conclusions.

              TRANSLATION:

              “Two well-qualified, equally brilliant people can research, scrutinize, and test the same data, even observing the same outcomes, but the one who views the data through the filter of his own faith, i.e. prejudges and makes unsupported suppositions, will occasionaly jump to ridiculous conclusions about it, while the impartial one will eventually reach the correct conclusion through working towards a tangible explanation.”

            • Sunny Day

              @ Jeff

              “I also never assumed or referred to a “god of the gaps” type of argumentation,”

              But that’s exactly what you did, you Mewling Simpleton, when you pointed us to an answerinbullshit article.

              “Lambert doesn’t ‘explicitly’ wave his creationist banner, leaving the dilemma as ‘an unresolved problem in theoretical biology’ (p.401).”

              God of the gaps much?

              In fact since you have now claimed that you were ONLY trying to make the point that Creationists publish peer reviewed articles in fields unrelated to the topic at hand makes you look even dumber for bringing up an irreverent point.

  • Bender

    I also never assumed or referred to a “god of the gaps” type of argumentation, but thanks for playing Sunny Day. That’s a ridiculous argument anyway, as it says nothing and can be turned around and used against you any way. For example, “Pointing out where knowledge of Creationism is incomplete does not make an argument FOR evolution.”

    Except FOR evolution we have mounains of evidence: fossils, dna, radiodating, biogeography, etc. What does cretinism have, other than a really old book? You’re the one that refuses to admit the evidence, because you can’t bear what it entails. We atheist believe in evidence. If a human skull was found tomorrow alongside a dinosaur, thus disproving evolution, I wouldn’t be upset. I would be extremely surprised. Though at this point the evidence for evolution is so complete and so solid, it would be more likely to find out the Earth is flat an rests in a pile of turtles.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      You are simply ignorant of their evidence. All sides of this argument come with presuppositions. This is, after all, being studied by human beings. Creationists actually usually insist that their debates not include references to Scripture, as they are convinced that the science and evidence supports their construct. Since you obviously do not have even a rudimentary knowledge of their side of this debate perhaps you should stick with defending your own. Remember what Sunny Day said, “Pointing out where knowledge of Creationism is incomplete does not make an argument FOR evolution.” Of course he/she was trying to apply it to Creationists.

      • LRA

        The point is that creationists don’t understand the science to begin with. They commit logical fallacies so regularly, it’s hard for the genuine scientists to keep up with the corrections.

        Here is an excellent video from Ken Miller, a Christian and an expert on evolution:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg

        You really should watch it before you continue this debate.

      • Bender

        OK. Show me the evidence. Educate me. I am no scientist, but I have a basic understanding of the evidence for evolution, and its overwhelming: fossils of different types of animals in different geological strata, with the more complex and similar to modern species in the newest ones; Transitional fossils; DNA; The distribution of species across the world: how come volcanic islands (the ones that arise in the ocean due to volcanic activity) have plenty of birds and insects but no mammals? How come continental islands that have been isolated for millions of years contain species that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, like lemurs in Madagascar or koalas in Australia? etc, etc…
        You claim that creationists have “evidence”. Where is it?

        • Sunny Day

          (crickets chirping)
          Creotard Jeff is missing a good opportunity here.
          (crickets chirping)

      • Sunny Day

        Argue out of both sides of your face much?
        You find their evidence somehow compelling but don’t believe it. You are worse than the do nothing christian idiots that allow others, who’s whole views you find distasteful, to espouse beliefs to which minor points you only hold passing allegiance. You’re actively supporting this malarkey, or you are a liar for jesus. Either position is equally despicable.

        “You are simply ignorant of their evidence.”

        “And I repeat, for the record, that I am not a young earth creationist”

        Who are you trying to fool?

        • http://churchbenesol.com Jeff

          No one. I have stated the truth about where I personally and currently stand at each and every opportunity to do so. I am a work in progress. I may have stated something differently ten years ago, or five years from now, but I’ll still be convinced, I hope, that everyone who disagrees with me is not a moron. While you may believe you have a corner on truth, I do not believe that I do. I think that is the right way to follow Jesus, who, after all said of Himself that he is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” If I stated something categorically that I do not know categorically, such as how God operated in creation, I would be lying and not following Christ. I know of no true scientist who is not open to further input and correction, including Creationists.

          • Sunny Day

            Great, so you don’t know what you believe, only that we MUST be overlooking some important evidence that creationists MUST have because you want it that way.

            Thank you for so clearly spelling out the utter bankruptcy and shallowness of your position.

    • http://churchbenesol.com Jeff

      And how, exactly, are the Creationists alternative explanations of this same evidence less valid than your own? As far as I can tell they take all of the same evidence into account as they develop their alternative constructs. As I see it, the primary problem with admitting that is that it betrays the fact that evolution also boils down to a belief set, complete with anti-supernaturalistic presuppositions. But it is. Integrity and honesty would seem to demand such an admission.

      • Bender

        And how, exactly, are the Creationists alternative explanations of this same evidence less valid than your own?
        Now you’re changing the subject. You said creationist had their own evidence. Now they just have “alternative explanations”. Ok. What’s the creationist explanation for different types of animals in different periods of time? Because that’s what the fossil record shows. How come nobody ever found a single fossil of a modern mammal from the Jurasic? A simple cow, bear, horse, etc.

        As I see it, the primary problem with admitting that is that it betrays the fact that evolution also boils down to a belief set, complete with anti-supernaturalistic presuppositions
        Except the evolutionist “belief set” is based in observation, makes perfect sense, and is supported by evidence. And of course, since it is a scientific theory, and not a religious dogma, doesn’t have any “supernaturalistic presupposition”.

      • Heidi

        The creationists’ “alternative explanations” are completely invalid, because they are built on sand. Does that clarify it for you? They base their conclusions on “well this really old book says… so how can I make this data fit my predetermined conclusion.” For the same reason, the Odyssey and the Iliad don’t prove the existence of the Greek gods. When you base you science on fiction, you end up with… science fiction. (Fantasy would be a better genre, but they are shelved together at the bookstore anyway.)

        And seriously, “anti-supernaturalistic presuppositions,” Jeff? Please. Do you believe in Harry Potter? If not, why not? For all you know, Jo Rowling is really Molly Weasley’s pen name, and she lied about it being fiction.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Let me hasten to clarify, before someone beats me up with it, Francis Collins believes in evolution, but is a theistic evolutionist, so, to that degree, basically Creationistic, though anything but a young earther.

    • LRA

      No. Collins is not a creationist. He is, as you rightly pointed out, a theistic evolutionist. So are deists, but they are by no means Christian. Creationists believe a specific dogma (ie creation happened exactly as Genesis says it did). The difference is that Collins understands that science is about observations of the NATURAL world and that his belief in a supernatural being is a different node of “knowledge” (if you will).

      Also, you state that two equally qualified people can look at the evidence for evolution and draw different conclusions. That is false. The IDer or the creationists is NOT QUALIFIED to draw any conclusions about evolutionary evidence UNLESS he or she is a specialist in the field– and I don’t know of any that are. Even Behe is just a biochemist, and therefore NOT an expert in evolution.

    • Francesc

      I have to say three things here:
      1.- I beat you for nine minutes -see previous posts
      2.- Francis Collins don’t believes in evolution, he THINKS ST of E is the best explanation -so far- for our data.
      3.- “is a theistic evolutionist, so, to that degree, basically Creationistic”
      I don’t agree with you. A creationist defends that god created us from mud, Collins probably believes that god choosed the physical laws to allow evolution, and maybe guided that evolution in our direction. And maybe -as catholic church does- he believes that our soul is put in us by god. Collins accept scientific theories and addapt his vision of god to them. A creationist accept his religious tales and then try to addapt science to them.

      • http://churchbenesol.com Jeff

        I stipulated to that. It’s semantics, but I’ll concede to point one, as I don’t have time or inclination to peruse every previous post.

        Let the record show that Francesc beat me for nine minutes.

    • Custador

      Er, no! If he doesn’t believe that God created all life in it’s current, “final”, form then he’s not a creationist. Believing that God created simple life originally doesn’t conflict with Darwinian evolution in the least (though I still don’t believe that it’s true).

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Custador,

    I am quite facile (adept) with my native language and do not require your amateur(ish) translations, especially when they are so glaringly errant. Thanks anyway.

    • Custador

      Love it – you’ve demonised me and gone straight for the next move in the Creatard playbook: Belittle the opposition when you can’t answer their arguments. Keep it totally ad-hominem and claim the opposition’s argument is wrong even though you cannot substantiate that accusation in any way.

      Incidentaly, facile means fluent only in the context of “easy”. Relying on web-thesauruses much, Jeff? Lol….

      • Sunny Day

        Hey I resemble that!

        “Relying on web-thesauruses much”

  • http://churchbenesol.com Jeff

    Okay, Custador, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. We’ll let the relatively unbiased among our readers judge as to which of us is relying on ad-hominem attack, but I’ll bet you they won’t pick me. And, no I do not rely on a web thesaurus, although I’m confident that they are probably fairly accurate.

    As for Bender I’ll try to explain one more time, what I am arguing, as I must be unclear. I am NOT personally a young earth creationist, but I do take exception to them being referred to as idiots and creatards, etc., for a number of reasons.

    1. It’s simply fallacious, whatever you think debates do or do not prove, to assume that they win the majority of the debates (according to audience polling) and do not have plausible answers to these very basic questions. They do. I do not find them particularly compelling, and obviously, if you’ve studied them, neither do you, but they are not idiotic, or retarded.

    2. All sides (there are many more than two) come to the issue of origins with assumptions that color their science.

    3. Young Earth creationists are no more, or less likely to do bad science because of their presuppositions.

    That being said, I am the first to admit that their ranks are also rife with several outstanding examples of charlatans and non-scientists. For a variety of reasons those people raise money and get undue support from some fundamentalist Christians. Men such as Carl Baugh and convicted felon “Dr.” Kent Hovind, spring to mind.

    But, just as it would be unfair to paint all evolutionists with a broad disdaining brush simply from reading some of the idiotic posts on this site, it’s sophomoric and illogical to lump all Creationists together and do likewise.

    Those are my points. They are self-evident to anyone but the most blinded, and therefore require nothing but clarification. I must be guilty of clarifying very poorly.

    Respectfully yours, without a hint of mean-spiritedness,

    Jeff

    • Sunny Day

      “We’ll let the relatively unbiased among our readers judge as to which of us is relying on ad-hominem attack, but I’ll bet you they won’t pick me.”

      Let the record show: “I loathe the hypocrisy of so-called “brights” who are anything but, and who resort to name calling (Creatards), sloppy argumentation, and a smug arrogance that their ignorance of real facts does not deserve.”

    • Sunny Day

      Your failing to enumerate the “real facts” to which Custador is ignorant means what exactly?

      • http://churchbenesol.com Jeff

        I’ve enumerated them about six times now, . . “beating a dead horse,” I believe it is called. If you are aware of any ad-hominem attacks I have made please feel free to quote me, and correct me. I am assuming you know the definition of such and were not trying to stretch it to fit what you have already cited.

        By the way, if I was stridently anti-atheist I would just keep such comments to myself, as I’m convinced one of the greatest hindrances to wider acceptance of atheistic arguments is the mean-spirited and ugly defense of it by some of its proponents. You will not find successful apologists in either camp normally resorting to such diatribes.

        As for the actual topic of this thread, I think I’ve now been convinced that my basic assumption may be (is probably) wrong. This superintendent may just be making a decision based solely upon bias, with no consideration of the constitutionality or greater repercussions.

        • Custador

          NO YOU HAVEN’T! I hate it when people do this! Fail to answer any questions whatsoever but do it amid so much fluff and bullshit that you then say “Oh, I have answered them, go back and read again”. You HAVEN’T addressed the points I’ve raised or the questions I’ve asked.

        • Sunny Day

          “I’ve enumerated them about six times now”

          You’ve enumerated the “real facts” about the evidence for creationism where? Or does your reading comprehension lay at the same level as the vapidity of your argument.

          “If you are aware of any ad-hominem attacks I have made please feel free to quote me, and correct me.”

          “I loathe the hypocrisy of so-called “brights” who are anything but, and who resort to name calling (Creatards), sloppy argumentation, and a smug arrogance that their ignorance of real facts does not deserve.”

          I’ve already addressed that point, and you’ve totally ignored it. Another typical Creatard tactic used for the second time here. Hmm, calling LRA and Custador a hypocrite, sloppy, smug and ignorant isn’t an ad-hominem in your book? That must be another new Creotard definition I’m unacquainted with. Your convenient redefinition of words has been entered into the “record”.

          “greatest hindrances to wider acceptance of atheistic arguments is the mean-spirited and ugly defense of it by some of its proponents.”

          Another time honored Creotard tactic, claim “evidence”, present none and when called on your utter bullshit take the immature “high road”, throw a tantrum and claim the other side is somehow being mean and attacking you.

          • Elemenope

            Is a creotard “one who creates slowly”?

            Because if that’s not what you mean by it, the term is a stupid one. “Creationist” is indicative enough of a person’s inability to come to terms with evidence and science.

            • Sunny Day

              Elemonp-buttinskie.
              It’s a common pejorative or should be.
              Christians make up their own definitions all the time. Why should I be denied that same luxury.

            • Elemenope

              If you really want to be just like your adversaries, be my guest. It just doesn’t help the credibility along at all.

            • Sunny Day

              I will take your concern trollism under all due consideration.

            • Heidi

              No more than a leotard is someone who “leos” slowly.

            • Elemenope

              LOL.

            • rA

              Is a creotard “one who creates slowly”?

              …or “creator of slow things”?

            • rA

              …or “something that slows creation”!

    • Custador

      His failure to address precisely zero of the points I’ve raised is of more interest to me, to be honest.

      • http://churchbenesol.com Jeff

        Would you have me defend a position to which I am not personally married? That’s apparently what you are asking for. For more information about how young earthers answer your inquiries why not consult some of their numerous books and articles? That’s all I have done. In so doing I have come to respect their science enough to not refer to them with pejoratives. But, for that matter, I respect all humans that much.

        Why is this so hard to see? May I suggest some people are not just blind, but blinded? There is a very real Enemy of truth, sanity, reason and civility.

        Even when I wrote that I loathe something it was a something, not a someone. I loathe the hypocrisy, not the hypocrite. That is more than a minor distinction in my view, but you are entitled to your own opinion about that, and everything else.

        • Sunny Day

          I would expect you to having passing knowledge to back up your unsubstantiated claims of “that their ignorance of real facts”. You were the one ignorantly taking us to task for not having knowledge it appears you don’t even possess.

          I see, flagellating the ones with actual testable evidence when you fallaciously attempt to equate the “Science” science of Creotardism all while providing zero evidence for your position makes us hypocrites. Your befuddling Bullshit and hypocrisy has been entered into the “record.”

        • Hey

          Is this Jeff Durbin from http://apologiachristianministries.blogspot.com/ Just curious.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            No, I am Jeff Payne of ChurchBeneSol.com. I certainly don’t mind anyone knowing who I am, and my beliefs are not secret either, I just don’t want to be responsible for carrying on a thread that has gone seriously off-topic, and while I’m not personally a young earther I find that the best minds in that group have reasoning and intelligence every bit the equal of any evolutionist.

            I’m not sure how I’m expected to “prove” what my opinion is anyway, other than stating it, which I have done, so I’m refusing to egg this on any further. Instead of having me prove my own opinion, some here kept insisting that I also defend what I clearly held that I do not believe, as if I must be an expert in other people’s areas to appreciate their work and hold an opinion. I haven’t noticed any theologians on here, yet atheism abounds, which is fine, but it’s quite an interesting double standard.

            • LRA

              Science isn’t about opinions. It’s about facts. Period. (This is the major problem with religious people refuting science, btw. They refute facts with their opinions/speculation.)

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Well LRA, this forum is certainly about opinion. No one could or would even try to defend the reasons they believe in evolution in the limited space and under these circumstances, yet they would (and should) vociferously defend such a belief and many would, furthermore, denigrate anyone who dares to raise an objection, or simply state an opposing opinion. It’s a classic double standard. I am not of the opinion that evolutionists come to their conclusions without great thought and deliberation, but I could engage in such attack by lampooning a caricature of evolutionism, just as some here so readily lampoon a fictitious version of what Creationists believe, and why they believe it.

              If you’re too dense to get that, and the point is lost on you, rest assured there are many viewers here who never post, but can see who makes the most sense for themselves. I am content to let them decide.

              Attacking a caricature rarely fools anyone who is not already singing in your choir.

            • Elemenope

              Actually, Jeff, this forum is about discussion. When points of contention come up in a discussion due to differing opinions over an issue, asking for a cogent defense of such contentions using independently verifiable facts is reasonable and normal. When one’s claims are extraordinary, insofar as they differ widely from large bodies of previously accepted evidence, the standards for evidence are high indeed. It is an unfortunate situation to find oneself on the receiving end of science’s awesome powers of organizing and rectifying evidence, but then arguing against reality isn’t exactly supposed to be easy.

            • LRA

              Wow. I have a master’s degree in molecular biology and neuroscience from Columbia and I completed my master’s thesis in the lab of Eric Kandel who won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work on bifarcated neurons to demonstrate synaptic transmission…

              and you call *me* dense???? WTF, a-hole?

            • LRA

              Seriously, wtf are *your* scientific credentials???? Lemme guess… you have none. Typical.

            • Heidi

              Jeff, you seem to be missing the point here. Evolutionary theory (like theoretical physics) does not rely on beliefs and opinions. It is based solidly in empirical evidence, and demonstrable facts. Creationism? Is not.

              I’m not sure to whom you’re referring with this:

              some here so readily lampoon a fictitious version of what Creationists believe, and why they believe it.

              But everything I’ve mentioned is in fact displayed at Hamm’s YEC museum. Saddled dinos, post-flood log rafts and all. There are plenty of photos online Feel free to Google for them.

    • Heidi

      1. It’s simply fallacious, whatever you think debates do or do not prove, to assume that they win the majority of the debates (according to audience polling)

      Evidence please. I have never seen a creationist win a debate on the subject by any method other than attrition. (e.g. they just keep repeating the same false points over and over, louder and louder, completely ignoring any contradicting evidence, until the opposition is sick of listening to them and walks away.)

      2. All sides (there are many more than two) come to the issue of origins with assumptions that color their science.

      Yeah, science assumes that something you can’t see, feel, measure, or demonstrate, that has no effect on the material universe, is not, in fact, there.

      3. Young Earth creationists are no more, or less likely to do bad science because of their presuppositions.

      Ken Hamm’s “museum” and Ray Comfort’s crockoduck disagree with you there. Dinosaurs with saddles may be the apotheosis of bad science.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        “Evidence please. I have never seen a creationist win a debate on the subject by any method other than attrition. (e.g. they just keep repeating the same false points over and over, louder and louder, completely ignoring any contradicting evidence, until the opposition is sick of listening to them and walks away.)”

        Then I’m assuming you would check the box indicating such, but you would be in a minority. That fact is so well documented as to have already been stipulated to here by numerous others. It is the primary reason it’s so hard to scare up a real debate now days. Evolutionists will readily debate non-scientists such as Ray Comfort though.

        2. All sides (there are many more than two) come to the issue of origins with assumptions that color their science.

        “Yeah, science assumes that something you can’t see, feel, measure, or demonstrate, that has no effect on the material universe, is not, in fact, there.”

        An argument won’t work against someone when the same argument can be used in their favor. That’s basic philosophy. A believer can take the same argument and point to millions of people who affirm that God can be seen, felt, experienced, and that He has had numerous interactions with His universe and His creation., therefore your argument is null on it’s face. That says nothing derogatory about you personally, it’s just the way this works from a scholarly standpoint.

        3. Young Earth creationists are no more, or less likely to do bad science because of their presuppositions.

        “Ken Hamm’s “museum” and Ray Comfort’s crockoduck disagree with you there. Dinosaurs with saddles may be the apotheosis of bad science.”

        Ray Comfort is not a scientist, and Ken Hamm’s museum is non evidential, unless you accept it as evidence that even young earth creationists have coherent theories that withstand scrutiny and account for all of the known facts just as well as evolutionists do. That’s been my whole point. It’s obvious that, from a vantage point of claiming absolute victory, the jury is still out. It seems the only way to miss something that obvious is to disallow it and rule it “out of bounds” from the onset due to philosophical bias.

        I know it doesn’t make me as sexy as those who claim they absolutely know what the truth is, but I’m a follower of Christ, so I’m more concerned with being truthful. I’m sexy for lots of other valid reasons.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          For footage of someone riding an emu you can probably check an online video site. I haven’t checked it, so I don’t know if they use a saddle or not. If they do, I guess the image of doing the same with a small enough dinosaur is not outlandish in their construct. I believe I have read that the average dinosaur was the size of a modern chicken.

          As I understand it, many of them contend that men and dinosaurs were contemporaries and their evidence is 1. Dragon Legends, 2. Cave wall and other rock drawings, 3. Historical records of Leviathan, dragons, behemoth, and 4. Some hotly contested rock strata from the Paluxy river bed in Texas, and 5. Probably several more reasons, including something about the way they date fossil remains, etc.

          I have appreciated this moderator’s kindness to us as we have strayed so far from the subject of access to web sites by Indianapolis students, but I will refrain from further infractions regarding the “Comment Policy.”

          That being the case you may now score on me at liberty, or at least feel as though you are, since I will refrain from further inflaming you.

        • Custador

          “even young earth creationists have coherent theories that withstand scrutiny and account for all of the known facts”

          Like what?! I’m all ears! Seriously! Please, please, please post these “coherent theories” so that I may scrutinise them for myself!

          • Custador

            Still waiting.

          • Sunny Day

            I packed you a lunch.

            • Custador

              Getting bored of waiting now… Creatard tactic playbook comes out again: Can’t answer the question? Then ignore it.

        • Heidi

          That fact is so well documented as to have already been stipulated to here by numerous others.

          Then why didn’t you link me to any evidence when I asked for it?

          A believer can take the same argument and point to millions of people who affirm that God can be seen, felt, experienced, and that He has had numerous interactions with His universe and His creation., therefore your argument is null on it’s face. That says nothing derogatory about you personally, it’s just the way this works from a scholarly standpoint.

          No, no it’s not. He can be seen? Really? You have photos? Felt? But only by people who already assume he is there, right? I don’t feel him. Even when I was a believer I didn’t feel him. Experienced? How? Can it be documented? Is it repeatable? Again, why only by people who already assume he’s there? Interactions? Which you again assume, and have no empirical evidence to support. Anecdotes and personal epiphanies are NOT evidence. If they are, then I say to you that I have felt and experienced Zeus. So clearly, Zeus is real. And of course you accept that, right? And since I can see the sun (and so can you), it is clearly evidence that Apollo is real. Also, Kevin Smith who used to play Ares on Xena Warrior Princess (as opposed to the other Kevin Smith) was clearly shoved to his death by the *real* Ares for daring to play another role. More evidence. And since they exist, it follows that the whole pantheon exists. Therefore, I have just proved the gods of Olympus to be real.

          Ken Hamm’s museum is non evidential, unless you accept it as evidence that even young earth creationists have coherent theories that withstand scrutiny and account for all of the known facts just as well as evolutionists do.

          You’re kidding, right? Marsupials floated to Australia on post-flood log rafts is something that is coherent and withstands scrutiny in your opinion?

          I have appreciated this moderator’s kindness to us as we have strayed so far from the subject of access to web sites by Indianapolis students, but I will refrain from further infractions regarding the “Comment Policy.”

          That being the case you may now score on me at liberty, or at least feel as though you are, since I will refrain from further inflaming you.

          IOW, you can’t answer the rest of the questions. So much for creationists winning debates, eh?

      • Custador

        “Yeah, science assumes that something you can’t see, feel, measure, or demonstrate, that has no effect on the material universe, is not, in fact, there.”

        DINGDINGDING! There it is :D

      • Sunny Day

        Additionally the scientific methodology works very hard to eliminate bias in favor of objectively tested verifiable and evidence.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Heidi,

    No. Not even remotely. What I meant to infer was that I wanted to carefully avoid writing any answer that would contain any form of evangelism, as that violates the rules of the board. Because I know God and He is of infinite importance that is hard to do, but I am determined to play fair and do right.

    • LRA

      You don’t know God! Knowledge requires three components: Justifiable, true, belief. All you have is belief. So quit making claims you can’t back up.

      ps. Since you decided to call me dense when I have not called you any names, my patience with you is done. Why don’t you go ahead and try to challenge me on science talk. I dare you.

    • Heidi

      What is the difference between telling people about the “infinite importance” of your god, and proselytizing, exactly?

    • Sunny Day

      If you cant provide “proof” without evangelizing, its not really proof is it?

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    LRA,

    Just to clarify: In this short forum I have no way of knowing what you do, or do not understand. I did not call you “dense,” but stated that IF you were, then blah blah blah. . . .. On the other hand I believe you did call me an asshole. I am not offended because, for the same reasons (primarily the nature of this forum) you don’t actually know me. If you did we’d probably get along famously. I do apologize for offending you.

    As to my credentials, I have made no claim to being a scientist, but I am a thinker, reasonably bright and very over-educated (ha ha Bachelors in music and Masters in Theology) and I’m merely saying that having listened to, and having read all sides of this debate rather thoroughly for the past 35 years, I am of the opinion that no one has demonstrated, to my satisfaction, that they clearly and substantially prevail strictly on the evidence.

    My personal belief is that the earth is some multiple of hundreds of millions of years old, and was created by God, along with all that exist, in this and every galaxy. He reveals Himself through holy Scripture. He may or may not use evolution to accomplish His creative objectives. But, even though that is my construct I am unwilling to label as retarded, moronic, and imbecilic all of those who disagree with me. They are simply convinced of a different construct, and I am further willing to admit that many of them are better educated and should be in a better position to decide these issues than I am.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Mr. Moderator,

    Would you please tell me why certain of my comments await moderation (and are still not posted) while others go right through. Respectfully,

    Jeff Payne

    • Elemenope

      While not the moderator, I can tell you that the moderation flag sometimes gets tripped if you use the word socializm (only, you know, spelled correctly), because in that word is another word that happens to share a name with a common erectile dysfunction medication. Essentially, it is an overeager spam-filter at fault.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    LRA,

    Just to clarify: In this short forum I have no way of knowing what you do, or do not understand. I did not call you “dense,” but stated that IF you were, then blah blah blah. . . .. On the other hand I believe you did call me an a__hole. I am not offended because, for the same reasons (primarily the nature of this forum) you don’t actually know me. If you did we’d probably get along famously. I do apologize for offending you.

    As to my credentials, I have made no claim to being a scientist, but I am a thinker, reasonably bright and very over-educated (ha ha Bachelors in music and Masters in Theology) and I’m merely saying that having listened to, and having read all sides of this debate rather thoroughly for the past 35 years, I am of the opinion that no one has demonstrated, to my satisfaction, that they clearly and substantially prevail strictly on the evidence.

    My personal belief is that the earth is some multiple of hundreds of millions of years old, and was created by God, along with all that exist, in this and every galaxy. He reveals Himself through holy Scripture. He may or may not use evolution to accomplish His creative objectives. But, even though that is my construct I am unwilling to label as retarded, moronic, and imbecilic all of those who disagree with me. They are simply convinced of a different construct, and I am further willing to admit that many of them are better educated and should be in a better position to decide these issues than I am.

    Sorry for the multiple posts if they get through the moderator spam filter. I think I fixed the problem.

    • Heidi

      Again with the assumed bias. If anyone ever proved creationism (or disproved evolution), s/he would get a Nobel prize. I feel like that’s pretty good motivation to be as unbiased as possible.

      You assume the same lack-of-evidence every day as far as all the other gods humans have ever invented. Are you biased against Odin All-father, then? Do you have evidence he’s not really there in Valhalla?

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Yes I am, and no I don’t. For all I know Odin exists, but to worship him and put him before Jehovah would be sinful and wrong. Although I obviously know that I have sufficient evidence to warrant my personal belief in God (without such it would be impossible to maintain), I am not on some sort of crusade to convince you. Why? In the final analysis such belief requires faith, which the Scripture declares is a gift from God. He has personally revealed Himself to me and I have had a fulfilling relationship with Him for almost 40 years. I knew Him before I knew any evidence for His existence, and before I knew much at all about the Bible.

        If you’re convinced that there is no god you can find plenty of corroboration for that assumption. And I’m unaware of any Nobel prizes that have been given to any of the myriad individuals who have presented diverse and astounding evidence for His existence. Such proofs are tantamount to a proof of Creation so I’m not sure you’re correct about that. It’s also not a prize for which Christians are striving for. After all, in the final analysis, for Christians, the most convincing evidence is that we know Him. I know Him like I know my own wife and children. I can’t send you a snapshot, because He lives in a different realm of reality, but one that, I’m persuaded, is actually more “real” than the material world. Why? Well, for one thing, this naturalistic world is temporary, and the spiritual world is eternal.

        I’ll grant you that bias is a hard thing to prove, for one thing I would suggest that bias is not something people easily recognize they have, or at least something they do not see as coloring their work. But certainly something as profoundly important as whether one believes in God, becomes a prism through which they see nearly everything else.

        As for the difference between my statements and proselytizing, or evangelism: as an evangelist I may be in a somewhat better position to appreciate it, but, hopefully I have not crossed that line. It is one thing to proclaim His existence and quite another to plead with you to receive Him as Boss/Lord.

        Why would I debate you on the science when I am not a scientist and I largely agree with you concerning it? Do you want me to take the side of young earthers as a sort of devil’s advocate? If so, I guess I could oblige but I’d be way out of my league, so I’m not sure if it would really give you good practice. You’d probably need to start a new thread for that too.

        It’s 3 in the morning where I am, and I am going back to bed now.

        • Custador

          “I’m unaware of any Nobel prizes that have been given to any of the myriad individuals who have presented diverse and astounding evidence for His existence. Such proofs are tantamount to a proof of Creation”

          Then WHAT ARE THEY!? Jeff, you keep telling us that these proofs exist, and yet you have not quoted or cited a single fact, theory or hypothesis to back that up! I for one have looked quite hard for them and can’t find them – so why don’t you, who claims to know of them, tell me what they are or at least specifically where?

          • Custador

            Guess I’m settling in for the long wait of “Creatard Called Out on His Bullshit” once again.

        • LRA

          Again, you DONT know him. You know your wife and children because you have *sensory experience* of them. You have NO sensory experience of any kind of god. You also have NO epistemological experience of any kind of god, for that requires justifiable, true belief. All you have is belief. One again you make claims you cannot intellectually back up and you attack/question those of us (like me an actual scientist) that do. Get your facts straight, then come back here and talk to me about science. If I sound terse it’s because I’m so tired of people like you making shoddy knowledge claims and presuming more knowledge that you actually have on subjects of which you know nothing.

          :(

          • LRA

            epistemological experience should read *epistemological knowledge*. oops.

        • Heidi

          Yes I am, and no I don’t. For all I know Odin exists, but to worship him and put him before Jehovah would be sinful and wrong.

          Why? Because you happen to live in an area of the world where your god is more popular? Is it a popularity contest? What if you die and end up in front of, say, Ba’al? Ba’al is going to be ripshit at you for being a member of the upstart cult who destroyed his followers.

          Such proofs are tantamount to a proof of Creation so I’m not sure you’re correct about that.

          I’m sure. What I’m not sure of is that you understand what constitutes “proof” in the scientific arena. You need to be able to demonstrate your evidence well enough to someone who has not already agreed to your conclusion.

          ex:
          “Larry has a piece of toast that looks like the Virgin Mary” Not proof.
          “Fred saw a face in the clouds that must have been Jesus.” Not proof.
          “I just know it.” Not proof.
          “I hear voices in my head, and that is my god talking to me.” Not proof.
          “I can’t comprehend the science, so it must be magic.” Not proof.

          It’s also not a prize for which Christians are striving for.

          But scientists are. And if any of your so-called proofs held water, they would be investigated thoroughly to that end. Scientists want to know the truth about the world. They don’t engage in “this is our conclusion, and we must explain away anything that conflicts with it.” That is the difference here. If a piece of evidence appears that does not fit with a given theory, scientists investigate it. If they find a way that it does fit, they fit it in. If it really doesn’t fit, they adjust their theories accordingly.

          Darwin never set out to disprove Genesis. He just saw all these facts in front of him and said “wait a minute, now…” Scientists start with facts, and work toward figuring out what they indicate. Theologists start with assumptions, and work toward making up ways for the world to not contradict them. (e.g. the YEC claim that the older fossils are just simple, small creatures who died first in the flood. Except the fossil record does not support older layers = smaller creatures. Otherwise rabbits would be below dinosaurs.)

  • Francesc

    “Do you want me to take the side of young earthers as a sort of devil’s advocate?”
    You were the one who said YE creationists had valid points, we have said that we want to know wich are their points that you can consider as “valid”. As you don’t want that role, I’m taking it.
    They are from Conservapedia…

    1.-”The first law of thermodynamics and second law of thermodynamics argue against an eternal universe and these laws point to the universe being created by God”
    a.) No one defends nowadays an eternal universe. That’s an straw man.
    b.) If the universe is not eternal, then it was created is a non-sequitur.

    2.-”The theory of evolution is at odds with scientific evidence. They often cite secular scientific sources which agree with them on various points (for further details please see: theory of evolution and creationism)”
    That’s simply false.

    3.-”Both evolutionary scientists and young earth creation scientists believe that speciation occurs, however, young earth creation scientists state that speciation generally occurs at a much faster rate than evolutionary scientists believe is the case”
    We have an approximate idea about that rate, because of geological data and fossil record. As we have an approximate idea about the rate at wich continental drift happens…

    4.-”Many young earth creationists (including those at Creation Ministries International and CreationWiki) assert that the Bible contains knowledge that shows an understanding of scientific knowledge beyond that believed to exist at the time the Bible was composed”
    That’s false again. In the bible earth is flat -when previous greeks did know that it was round, even calculated his radius- and his conception about the universe is geocentric.

    5.-”The fact that so many cultures and people record a history of a great flood, and geological evidence of a flood in almost every area of the earth, shows that it is very likely, if not garenteed that the great flood did take place”
    It’s not. Small floods happen very frecuently in every part of the world. Those are the origins of those stories. Global flood didn’t left geological evidences.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Okay, well I wish there was a young earther on here to contend with you, but I will take that role and see what rebuttal’s I can muster by the end of today.

    In the mean time, here’s something to chew on: God showed me how and taught me to play trumpet in my sleep. I woke up, told my wife about it and, furthermore I now play trumpet. I can read the music, hit the notes and produce good tone but I’ve never had a lesson other than this dream.

    Now prior to that I did already read music and was a pianist and played 11 other instruments, but none of them were brass other than trombone, which has totally different mechanics from trumpet.

    God healed my oldest son, in one swift moment (a matter of seconds) from chronic recurring staff infection. This was a serious, even life threatening condition, and he was a six or seven year old child. He walked in with pustules and boils and walked out with new fresh skin, and absolutely no sign that he had ever had staff. The staff has never come back and he is 28 years old. This was no faith healing meeting, but rather the prayers of child care workers whom we left Robert with while we attended a service.

    I saw a man who was born blind receive his sight. I laid hands on someone whose scoliosis popped and twisted under our hands, until his back was positionally correct. I was in a meeting with John Wimber when he said that there were thirteen pregnant ladies present who were concerned that they would not carry to term. There were. I was skeptical. We counted. There were not twelve and one more had to be begged. There were not fourteen and one asked, “Are you sure?” To believe some writers on this board, I have to believe that, in an open, public meeting where no one filled out cards, Mr. Wimber could just make a stab at how many women were not only pregnant, but worried about bringing the pregnancy to term. It wasn’t cold reading, as it involved a specific number and the entire congregation. Absent the God hypothesis I simply don’t have a level of faith that will explain this phenomena and I have witnessed such repeatedly, throughout my adult life.

    Not only is there a god, but He is the God of the Bible. Of this, I am sure.

    I’m not ignorant to the difference between controlled studies and my experiential (anecdotal) evidence, and, to be honest I’ve thought quite a bit about it. I wonder whether God would ever perform on cue, such as would be required by such studies, since knowing Him by faith is apparently of such supreme importance to Him. At the same time, since accepting Him by faith I have seen that faith rewarded with His presence, provision, power and protection throughout my life. I do not see the wind, but I notice it’s effect. I’m not so ignorant that I deny it’s existence. To clarify, I am not calling anyone who does not believe in God ignorant. You must start with faith, and even that faith is a gift from Him. I do not want to (to be honest I desperately want to) cross the evangelism line and abuse the grace of our moderator, so I’ll back away and close for now.

    • Custador

      This post does what all evangelists teach: Talk about your own personal experiences, because they cannot be rebutted.

      If the medical miracles you claim happened really did happen, then I would like confirmation from the relevant medical professionals, please. No way would things like that not get into the papers, no way on Earth. I’m a nurse, Jeff, and I know medical bullshit when I read it. You may have deluded yourself that these things really did happen, but you’re going to have to work a lot harder to get that stuff past me.

      As for the story of your son’s Staph. Aureus infection – dude, you didn’t even get the symptoms right! Boils? Pustules? In the worst cases MRSA (methacylin resistant staphylococcus aureus) causes a local abscess under the skin, but nothing like you’re describing – because skin is supposed to be covered with it! It’s normal skin flora! Skin does not react that way to it. Are you honestly trying to claim that a doctor draining his abscess with a needle and then giving him vancomycin and maybe some cavalon cream is somehow divine intervention?

      As for the trumpet playing: You could already read music and you already played 11 other instruments. As a musically talented man, are you honestly surprised to find that you could pick up a trumpet and play it? You say you never played brass, but how about woodwind or piano? Those are keyed instruments, and if you played one of those (say flute, oboe or clarinet) then there’s no reason why picking up a trumpet wouldn’t have been the simplest thing in the world for you to do. Claiming that God did it is a massive stretch.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        I’ll concede that you are possibly correct about the trumpet example. I’ve wondered myself if I just somehow figured that out, perhaps because of a relaxed dream state. Of course that doesn’t explain how Andre’ Crouch plays piano when he had never played, or taken any lessons. His testimony is that his daddy needed a player at church, called him forward for prayer, sat him at the piano and he started playing, just like he plays to this day, several Grammy awards and millions of records later.

        As for the staff (staph?) infection, we were treating it (as per our doctor’s orders) with anti-biotics (orally) and drawing salve and had bandaged it ourselves shortly before leaving for the meeting. We had to be talked into leaving him in childcare, for fear others would come into inadvertent contact with him. That’s why the ladies knew he had the infection and decided to pray for healing. At his insistence that he was healed we removed the bandages at home and saw no trace whatsoever that he had ever had staff. Our family had all contracted a pretty severe case of chronic recurring staph at that time, and passed it back and forth for several months. His was perhaps the worst, but he was totally healed. We’re talking about over 20 years ago so naturally I don’t have documentation. Your Thomas-like need for it does not surprise me, but I don’t have it so I cannot comply with the request. By the way, our Christian doctor was pleased but not shocked by this. Healings are not uncommon in response to believing prayer.

        The other healings are of a similar nature. I know what I saw. In the case of the man with scoliosis we followed up with a few home visits and he said that his own doctor had confirmed it. No, I do not know where to find this man from 15 years ago. My own uncle Al, was also healed similarly of scoliosis. I have heard the counters, such as, “Your God never heals amputees.” I’m not sure that’s true, but if it is I can see why he wouldn’t. Such a healing would be incontrovertible and would therefore violate His own cardinal principle, which is that we come to Him by faith, and of our own volition.

        I didn’t mention anecdotes to provide evidence, nor to convince anyone, but simply to explain why I cannot be convinced by arguments from silence. He is not silent to me. These are more than little stories in my life; they are the stuff from which my life is made. God is my life, my Lord, my Love, my Everything. I’d doubt your existence before I’d doubt His, and I do not doubt yours in the slightest.

        • Heidi

          Trumpet? Really? If you’ve got a bachelor’s in music, you most certainly should be able to pick up a trumpet and play it. (And if you were music ed, you did indeed take brass lessons. I had to take a music ed low brass class b/c I needed an elective, although I wasn’t an ed major.) Trumpet music is in treble clef, so no need to learn anything new for that. And even if it had been in bass clef or c clef, it takes what, five seconds to figure it out? And as an instrumentalist, there’s no way you could have gotten by without knowing how brass instruments work. (i.e. one finger position plays more than one note, and you have to adjust your mouth/breath accordingly). So yeah, I’m not so impressed with that.

          Scoliosis? I’ve got an S curve. Show up at my house and cure mine, and I’ll believe you.

          Your Thomas-like need

          “Be dismissive of anyone who asks for evidence.” That’s in the playbook.

          I wonder whether God would ever perform on cue, such as would be required by such studies, since knowing Him by faith is apparently of such supreme importance to Him.

          The Bible claims that he would. See 1 Kings 18. Note that Ba’al *won’t* perform on command, and that is Elijah’s justification for slaughtering Ba’al’s prophets. Should we slaughter all of your god’s prophets who can’t make him perform on demand? If you end up in front of Ba’al after you die, you’ll probably wish you had.

    • Custador

      “I wonder whether God would ever perform on cue, such as would be required by such studies,”

      Then since you’ve already claimed earlier in this thread that such studies exist and that you are aware of them, and now you’re claiming ignorance of them, you are confirmed to be a liar. Is that a Christian thing, Jeff? How does it fit with your Christian morals that, in order to defend your faith and / or make it feasible, you have to lie about it? I’m not saying this to insult you, I’m saying it to make you think.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Please provide an example of such a lie. If I mistated (lied) I certainly want to quickly apologize for it and make it right. I am unaware of claiming that on this thread. I confess that I used to place some stock in such studies, but it was on this very blog that the validity of those was questioned for me, perhaps a year or so ago. I took those critiques to heart and modified my position. As I’ve already written, I am a work in progress, completely open to new information. If a preponderance of the evidence supported it, for example, I am still open to becoming a young earther. I do not expect to, but I am open-minded. God’s followers should be the ultimate free-thinkers.

        • Custador

          Here you claim that there there are people who’ve provided real evidence for God and Creationism:

          “even young earth creationists have coherent theories that withstand scrutiny and account for all of the known facts”

          You do it again more explicitly here:

          “I’m unaware of any Nobel prizes that have been given to any of the myriad individuals who have presented diverse and astounding evidence for His existence. Such proofs are tantamount to a proof of Creation”

          And then you implied that neither of those earlier statements were, in fact, true by saying:

          “I wonder whether God would ever perform on cue, such as would be required by such studies, since knowing Him by faith is apparently of such supreme importance to Him.”

          While I’m here, I’ll also reply to a Christianism which I missed earlier:

          “I do not see the wind, but I notice it’s effect. “

          You can measure the wind and quantify what it does as well as where it comes from. “God” is illusary. If you could do for God what you can do for the wind, you would have proven his existence – but you can’t. Pat little phrases do not make for good arguments for your cause.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Custador,

            I think you missed it here. No offense intended. We all read pretty quickly and miss some pertinent facts from time to time. My statement about God performing on cue has to do with studies in divine healing. I have re-checked this thread and do not believe I am in error with that statement, so far as the coherency of what I believe. By the way, it’s reasonable and rational to assume that I am the expert at least on the subject of what I personally believe. It would be really good if we all made our points without trying to play “gotcha” games. Just as you mis-read what I stated, or took it out of context, I am sure I will mis-state things from time to time, but why impugn my motive and accuse me of lying? That seems petty to me. I’m operating under the assumption that most atheists are deluded, but I believe they are genuinely deluded, not liars. I assume you think the same about Christians. If not, why not? What has led you to your cynicism?

            You refer to a “Christianism” as if that’s a bad thing; I accept the labeling with humility, as complimentary. As I’ve repeatedly stated, spiritual things work oppositely of mechanisms in the natural world. When you believe, invest trust, give up your life, then your faith is rewarded with seeing, often in this world, but certainly in the world to come. I have given several concrete examples of how I see the effect of the spiritual “wind of God.” They are not normative, or daily occurrences, which is one reason they are considered miraculous. None of your word play, however, removes the memory, or power of those experiences from my life.

            • Custador

              “it’s reasonable and rational to assume that I am the expert at least on the subject of what I personally believe.”

              You may believe what you like, however when you make claims of such an incredible nature, don’t expect anybody else to believe them without evidence.

              “Just as you mis-read what I stated, or took it out of context, I am sure I will mis-state things from time to time,”

              Bullshit. You directly contradicted yourself and now your furiously back-pedalling because you’ve been called on it – just as you ignored me when I asked for citations for those first two paragraphs earlier in the thread.

              “It would be really good if we all made our points without trying to play “gotcha” games.”

              You’re dismissing the fact that you lied and cannot substantiate some truly ridiculous statements as “gotcha” games. Face it Jeff, you have lost this argument. Perhaps your God hasn’t blessed you with the ability to defeat the facts in a confrontation. Why is that, do you think?

              “You refer to a “Christianism” as if that’s a bad thing”

              It is a bad thing. It betrays an inability to argue from knowledge and so calls into question whether you are qulaified to argue the subject at all.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              I guess you missed this because it was buried in the middle of my first paragraph:

              My statement about God performing on cue has to do with studies in divine healing.

              I think that is the obvious context of my remark, but I know it is the intended context, as I am the one who made the remark.

              No lie, intentional, or otherwise. I say otherwise, because I’ve heard many people assert that George Bush “lied” when he said Iraq had WMDs, although it was something he obviously believed.

              I guess you still want to play “gotcha” but I’m fairly careful to avoid supplying the rope with which you would hang me. If I didn’t feel the need to be so careful perhaps we could get into better and more productive discussions.

            • Custador

              Fine, if you didn’t mean to contradict those first two paragraphs I will accept that it wasn’t your intention to do so – as soon as you substantiate those paragraphs. Let me refresh your memory:

              “even young earth creationists have coherent theories that withstand scrutiny and account for all of the known facts”

              And

              “I’m unaware of any Nobel prizes that have been given to any of the myriad individuals who have presented diverse and astounding evidence for His existence. Such proofs are tantamount to a proof of Creation”

              I’m not going to stop asking for you to tell me those theories and show me that evidence / proof just because you repeatedly ignore the question.

              This is the core of your argument, Jeff. If you can’t answer it, then accept that those two statements are wrong. Accept that you posted two statements which are just not true in order to try to justify your faith.

            • Sunny Day

              By now an honest person would have either, coughed up their supposed evidence or admitted they were too hasty in their claims.

              I’m being generous when I use the word hasty.

            • Custador

              Indeed. I accept Jeff’s claims that I’ve misconstrued the sentence which I thought contradicted those claims only on condition that he backs those claims up.

              If he cannot back them up, then he must accept that they are untrue, therefore he must accept that they are lies, therefore he must accept that he lied.

              Which is why I’m settling in for another long wait of ignored questions.

            • Heidi

              My statement about God performing on cue has to do with studies in divine healing.

              So he’ll do the cooking on demand, but he won’t heal on demand? (1 Kings 18 again.)

    • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com DCtouristsANDlocals

      Is your “God of the Bible” the same god as is in the Koran or other religious texts? Or are those people just completely wrong? If you think they are wrong, why are so many of the teachings similar? Also, why are so many of the teachings of the Bible the same or similar to those that came before it?

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        DCtouristsANDlocals:

        Yes and no. Muhammad was aware of the Christian God and wrote the Koran with that knowledge, claiming that Allah was the same God of Abrahamic faith. The Koran is not inspired Scripture and Muhammad got some of the facts about God’s character wrong.

        To the larger point regarding overall similarities: There are many reasons, depending upon what you are referring to, but primarily, and in a big picture kind of way, the ultimate answer is this, ALL TRUTH IS GOD’S TRUTH, regardless of where, and by whom it is recorded. If something is true, even though it was recorded somewhere that predates the Scriptural writing, it will still be recorded in Scripture if God deemed it profitable for our instruction regarding the care and feeding of our souls.

        There are also examples of the Bible giving the corrected version of stories that predate it in history, so that the Scriptural version may appear to have another source, when in reality the Scriptures report the history upon which the other source built legends and myths.

        I cannot prove any of the immediately preceding paragraph, and can only defend it like this: from where I stand, with personal experience and knowledge of God as a factor I cannot (would not) remove, that answer is the only one that takes into account all of the evidence of which I am aware, including the evidence for the veracity of Scripture, and cohesively makes sense of what I know to be absolute Truth.

        • Francesc

          “Yes and no. Muhammad was aware of the Christian God and wrote the Koran with that knowledge, claiming that Allah was the same God of Abrahamic faith. The Koran is not inspired Scripture and Muhammad got some of the facts about God’s character wrong”

          Those silly millions of muslims that pray to the wrong and non-existing god! They all should be aware that the only and true God is yours, Jeff. Of course they can also say that they “feel” his god, they can say -with the same anecdotal evidences as you do- that jesus was only a prophet, and christianism got the wrong message. But Jeff, within you and me, we know that their feelings are not real and that those are not a proof for anything, because human mind can delude itself.

          They are not muslims because they were born in muslim families, raised and indoctrined to be muslims. Their problem is that they didn’t received the invisible and non-testable Holy Spirit. Certainly, they can’t feel anything as real as you!

          Let’s pray for them, so god can change his mind and send the holy spirit to those infidels!

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            “Let’s pray for them, so god can change his mind and send the holy spirit to those infidels!”

            I do pray for them and He does reach them, by the millions. I am not nearly the only one so praying. Your sarcasm betrays an appalling ignorance, but I refuse to impugn your motive. I am assuming you just don’t know any better, not that you are an appalling person.

            • Francesc

              If you know I’m wrong, it would be kinder to correct me. My sarcasm implies a question. As I suppose you are not that dumb, I have to assume that you are ignoring the question. Just in case, the question would be: “How do you know your god is the real one and not theirs?” Or maybe: Can you give us any argument to back up your assertion that “The Koran is not inspired Scripture and Muhammad got some of the facts about God’s character wrong”?

              To help you, any argument of the kind “because I can feel it” or “because I saw Him doing miracles” are not valid, as they have as many anectodal proofs and personal experiences as you have.

            • Heidi

              Yeah, they just had that whole thing with the death threats against the baby who has magic Koran writings on his leg. Magic leg writing must be true, right? Especially when they’re written in a language that looks a lot like random squiggles. ;-)

            • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com DCtouristsANDlocals

              Good phrasing of the question Francesc – “How do you know your god is the real one and not theirs?”

              I think he’s saying both – it is and it isn’t. It is b/c he thinks all of these religious texts were inspired by his god. It isn’t b/c these non-christians got some of the translations wrong in his opinion.

            • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com DCtouristsANDlocals

              PS – if they got some of the “facts” about god’s character wrong, which ones exactly? The part about him being jealous and wanting to kill people who don’t believe in him? Is the christian Old Testament also wrong about these same personality traits then?

    • Karleigh

      You can feel and measure the wind… I hate that analogy.

  • LRA

    Jeff-

    To sum up my objections to you:

    1. People don’t *believe* in evolution. We *know* evolution based on multiple, multiple lines of evidence. One of the most breathtaking lines of evidence is how the genetics allows us to create a tree of life that is *exactly* the same as the tree of life created from taxonomic/morphological studies. If you care to educate yourself on this matter rather than spouting uneducated opinions on it, then I suggest you visit the following website (which claims are entirely backed up and cited by real science):

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Be prepared, it is pretty technical reading.

    2. Despite your claims, you do NOT *know* any kind of god, either by sensory experience or epistemologically. All you have is belief, so quit claiming otherwise.

    3. You claims as to “witnessing” miracles is just ridiculous. You claimed that God healed your son of staff– well I say that’s silly. Doctors did it. Until you can produce actual scientific evidence that can be scrutinized by rational people as to these supposed miracles, all you have is Benny Hinn style hocus pocus illusions. You do realize that this is how these supposed faith healers work— by illusion, right? Cuz if not, then I say a fool and his money are easily parted (you know cuz that’s why they do these supposed miracles– to get people’s money).

    • Custador

      On the subject of his son’s skin, I noticed this little snippet: “At his insistence that he was healed we removed the bandages at home and saw no trace whatsoever that he had ever had staff”** **[Note: This is an errant statement in itself since we are all absolutely teeming with Stapholococcus Aureus anyway - it's natural skin fauna. However, I accept that the layman might not be aware of that. Staph. Aureus is really only a problem if it gets somewhere it shouldn't be - into a wound, into the mucus membranes of the nostrils, into the throat or into the urethra].

      Now, once I got past my first instinct as a nurse which is to slap across the head any idiot who removes a child’s dressings themselves and doesn’t get a medical professional to do it for them, another thought occured: When was the last time that Jeff personally saw that wound site? Because I’m willing to bet that it was long enough ago for the antibiotics (which he readily admits his son was on) to have done the job.

      **[Note: This is an errant statement in itself since we are all absolutely teeming with Stapholococcus Aureus anyway - it's natural skin fauna. However, I accept that the layman might not be aware of that. Staph. Aureus is really only a problem if it gets somewhere it shouldn't be - into a wound, into the mucus membranes of the nostrils, into the throat or into the urethra. A Staph. Aureus infection which is treated properly (even MRSA) shouldn't leave any scars - in fact, you can't tell just from looking whether somebody is colonised with MRSA at all, you have to take swabs].

      • Custador

        Sorry, copied and pasted instead of cut and pasted when I wanted to move that part in square brackets to the bottom of the comment.

      • Karleigh

        Custador, just a niggling little point; is Staph. Aureus skin flora or fauna? You’ve used both terms when describing the bacteria. Thanks!

        • Custador

          Sorry: It’s flora, not fauna. Typing in a hurry + dyslexia = occasional cock-ups :-)

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      About the only thing you are right about here is your position on Benny Hinn. Before I take the time to play devil’s young earther advocate I wanted to point people to a site that actually defends what I do believe, and does a fairly good job with it.

      http://www.godandscience.org/index.html#y2aM7KDWpulk

      That’s here for Custador’s perusal and anyone else who wanted me to back up my own beliefs. Rather than plagiarizing (just kidding, lighten up) large swathes of this material I am simply pointing you to it.

      Now, Custador I have an admission to make as I read over what I wrote earlier. I wrote that they (young earthers) have theories which are coherent, but what I usually say, and what I meant to write is that they have theories that are as coherent as those posited by evolutionists.

      Now, as for young earther sites that are run by actual scientists with coherent theories:

      http://www.creationists.org/
      http://www.answersingenesis.org

      Yes, Ken Hamm,

      http://www.creationresearch.org/
      http://www.icr.org This site is from the group founded by the “founder” of young earth Creationism, Dr. Henry M. Morris.

      As you probably well know there are literally a hundred or more of these sites strewn throughout cyberspace, but I have endeavored to list four of the most credible, and those who would probably not want to be lumped in with the Carl Baugh’s and Kent Hovind’s of the world.

      For someone wanting me to supply personal answers to this theory, I think I’ve done enough by pointing you to some of the best work in the field, since it’s not a theory I subscribe to in the first place.

      • LRA

        By directing me to those sites, you have proven how profoundly uneducated you are about science. It’s a real shame. BTW, the *only*, I repeat *ONLY* people with actual coherent theories are the real scientists in academia who subject their work to peer review, not these buffoons who claim to know anything about science just because they cherry pick the scholarly work to write “papers,” but do not conduct any research themselves. They are laughable, ridiculous, and intellectually impoverished. If you can’t see that, then you don’t know jack about science.

        • LRA

          And just to put a fine point on it, you can’t prove god’s existence from science. God is super natural or meta physical (meaning beyond the physical) and science is about natural observations. The two just don’t mix. Further, you are commanded to believe in god on faith, so “proving” god’s existence goes against this mandate. You (or anyone else) who goes against this is not only insulting science, but faith as well. I’d think you’d know that already.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            LHA,
            As for proving God:
            I think I’ve indicated repeatedly that I am in substantial agreement with you on that. I know you probably don’t have the time but a perusal of my posts on this will bear that out.

            As for your opinion about who is doing real science I am just disagreeing with you. Creationists even have their own refereed journals to publish and do peer review and refereed studies when they have obvious Creationists implications. In my opinion those publications are likely just as rigorous in their standards as the better known mainstream journals. That is my opinion based on my own multiple experiences with bias of all sorts. It’s also seems to usually be the case that those who scream the loudest about a lack of bias are often the most biased.

            I’ve pointed out in an earlier post that it is untrue that Creationists do not do research and submit articles to journals. Science is largely about being published, and these men and women seem to be as careful and thorough of scientists as their mainstream counterparts.

            • LRA

              You are so infuriating!!! YES, some creationists do research IN OTHER FIELDS NOT RELATED TO EVOLUTION that is valid. FINE. They DO NOT do research into EVOLUTION and NEITHER DO THE CREATIONISTS (who laughably call themselves creation “scientists”.) I am EXTREMELY well versed in this because I am part of the scientific community. You obviously are NOT.

              What they do is CHERRY PICK the REAL research to write so-called “papers.” If you can fine ONE legitimate paper in which a so called “creation scientist” actually does real RESEARCH, then please post it. Otherwise you are just looking more and more foolish the more you post!!!!!

            • Daniel Florien

              LOL. Slow, deep breaths, “LHA”… ;)

            • LRA

              *throws hands up*

              So frakkin tired of frakkin religious people who don’t know the first frakkin thing about science presuming knowledge and clinging to certainty despite their obvious frakking ignorance.

              SO FRAKKIN TIRED OF IT!

            • Daniel Florien

              *LHA’s head asploads*

            • LRA

              LOL! I must be PMS-ing. I have a short fuse today.

            • Heidi

              I’m not a scientist (more of a fan), but I feel your pain, LRA. I really do.

              As for site first site Jeff posted, the one he says is defending his beliefs? The very first thing I clicked on when I got there was “Does Genesis One Conflict with Science? Day-Age Interpretation by Rich Deem” It took me all of about ten seconds to find a problem with Rich’s explanation. I literally just skimmed down the page and it jumped right out at me before I had even read much of anything.

              He’s explaining how a Biblical day does not equal an actual day, and what happened on each “God-Day.” Birds were created on the fifth day, he says. Beasts of the land on the sixth day. See where I’m going with this? Dinosaurs and pre-historic non-dinosaur reptiles were on the land before birds existed. The Biblical text for day 6 reads “God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind” (copy pasted from the sidebar there). So it does indeed say land animals came after birds.

              What I want to know (and yet no one appears to be willing to explain) is why it doesn’t bother Christians that they have to make up excuses and “interpretations” for the vast majority of their book. I mean from here, it looks like they’re saying most of the book doesn’t mean what it says it means. It really means *insert made up excuse here* if you study it.

              I’ll leave the “Descent of Mankind Theory: Disproved by Molecular Biology” page to LRA’s expertise.

            • LRA

              Haha! Thanks Heidi,

              Well, I looked at the Mlc. Bio page, and a huge part of their problem is their citations. They have one citation from 2001, and the rest are from the 80′s and 90′s. One is from the 70′s!!! Science moves pretty fast, so one should never use citations that are more than 5 years old to write a paper about the current field. At this point, they need to completely re-research the topic, including papers from 2004 or 2005 and on. The rest of the research is out-dated. Therefore, any claims to gaps in knowledge are just ridiculous.

            • Heidi

              LOL. If you get old enough research you can “prove” that we live in a geocentric universe, too.

      • trj

        AiG is among the most credible creationist sites? Ouch!

        Let’s recapitulize AiG’s method of “science”:

        1.The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

        2.The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.

        3.The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth and the universe.

        4.The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation.

        5.The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.

        6.The special creation of Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman), and their subsequent fall into sin, is the basis for the necessity of salvation for mankind.

        7.Death (both physical and spiritual) and bloodshed entered into this world subsequent to and as a direct consequence of man’s sin.

        In other words: We have made our conclusions, and we’re looking for ways to support them, using our own conclusions.

        You call it “some of the best work in the field”. I say you’re sadly deluded and you obviously have no grasp of science.

        • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com DCtouristsANDlocals

          If you have to make an assumption that your framework for scientific research is reliable (#3), yet it has not been proven reliable by any other means (testing), I’d have to conclude that any conclusion you draw using this “framework” is BS. You should always test your methods before applying them and especially before asserting that any resulting conclusion is valid.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Like all of us, your assumptions are your downfall. Since you are not a Biblical literalist you find such belief impossible to defend, therefore you are haughtily dismissive of those who are literalist. I could be wrong. This is how I am reading you.

          So, because these folks own their presuppositions and wear them outright they are bad scientists, except that’s not true in the real world, because in the real world God is Who He says He is, and my lack of acceptance of that does nothing to change it.

          • trj

            Jeff, it’s as simple as this: A method of “research” that defines anything contradicting a number of pre-made conclusions to be automatically false, is utterly worthless. It can tell you nothing.

            And when the applied presuppositions about the natural world furthermore can be proven false by natural sciences, it just demonstrates that creation “science” is a completely bankrupt discipline.

            AiG demonstrates their worthlesness quite succinctly with this categorical statement: “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.”

            By their own definition whatever contradicts them is false. As science goes, that is simply the most pathetic attitude imaginable.

          • Sunny Day

            This deathspiral of purposefull ignorance and the excuses Jeff makes for it are almost painful to read.

            • Jabster

              @Sunny Day

              I think your favoured choice of description … “ignorant fuckwit” comes to mind here.

            • Custador

              You know, I was trying not to say it, but Jabster, you hit the nail square on the head.

            • Jabster

              @Custador

              I’m trying to be less “hostile” to those of faith but the likes of Jeff just don’t deserve this sort of respect. That fact is he’s never going to accept any of the flaws in his thinking pointed out to him and that makes him stupid. He then compounds this impression by trying to defend his position with utterly stupid statements or just ignoring posts.

            • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com Gringa

              He’s doing exactly what those “scientists” are doing. Assuming everyone else is wrong, and all evidence thereof is not considered part of his analysis. He’s drawn system boundaries around his sphere of belief and is keeping all other factors out! That is not a good way to identify truths for the complete system – you have to continually expand the system boundaries and test your hypotheses in the greater environment. Something may be thought true in one sphere, yet will be proven false in the larger system.

            • Custador

              He’s doing exactly what those “scientists” are doing. Assuming everyone else is wrong, and all evidence thereof is not considered part of his analysis. He’s drawn system boundaries around his sphere of belief and is keeping all other factors out!

              That is the precise OPPOSITE of what science does.

      • Custador

        Oh. Your. Fucking. God. You’ve directed me to sites which are complete and total bollocks. Seriously. If you are trying to call the garbage they churn out “coherent theoriess which withstand scrutiny” then you are living on a completely different planet. AIG? Seriously? You call THAT research? I hope you’re getting a sense of my incredulity here, I really do. You have totally failed to answer the points I put to you. Wow. Just wow.

      • Custador

        Oh. Your. God. You’ve directed me to sites which are complete and total bollocks. Seriously. If you are trying to call the garbage they churn out “coherent theoriess which withstand scrutiny” then you are living on a completely different planet. AIG? Seriously? You call THAT research? I hope you’re getting a sense of my incredulity here, I really do. You have totally failed to answer the points I put to you. Wow. Just wow.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    LRA,

    Sorry for referring to you as “LHA,” and please don’t let what I think bother you. I can be wrong and never lose a moment’s sleep, but I couldn’t stand it if I was responsible for you having a stroke or something.
    Daniel, welcome to the fray. Good to see you again. I have always felt very fairly and honestly treated by you and I love your blog.

    • Daniel Florien

      Thanks, glad to hear that! :)

    • LRA

      Ah, no worries.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    All science makes assumptions and then tests those assumptions. That’s called hypothesizing and testing I believe. I realize there is another element to AIG that would be more than just a bit stubborn if they found something that didn’t fit, but the same can probably be said if an evolutionists discovers evidence that doesn’t fit that construct too.
    But hey, what do I know? I have a music degree, ha ha, so everyone relax and don’t let your blood pressure get the best of you.

    • LRA

      Well, the reason I get so heated over this is because the fundies want to bypass science altogether to teach creationism in science classes. I live in Texas where science education is constantly under attack by neo-theocrats who hook up with the “Discovery Institute” to try to change education policy. As an educator, that really pisses me off.

    • Custador

      “All science makes assumptions and then tests those assumptions. That’s called hypothesizing and testing I believe.”

      SCIENCE abandons hypotheses which fail at the testing stage. RELIGION claims that the tests must be flawed if they disagree with the hypothesis.

      THAT is the difference Jeff, and you seriously need to grasp that if you expect to be taken seriously.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        It’s okay. I guess the scary thing, for you at least (not for me), is that I am already taken seriously. I’m glad LRA at least realized I was sincere, as I re-read what I wrote and was a little concerned that, in cold print, I would be misinterpreted.

        In some ways, the dogged determination of scientists who have a fixed presupposition may drive them to keep testing until they find better answers. This, of course, is not so if their initial construct is incorrect, but then I don’t believe it is. I personally believe young earthers are mistaken in their interpretation of Biblical truth, but I know they are right about Scripture being true.

        In any event, you can bet your last dollar that a convinced atheist, or evolutionist will not abandon those constructs regardless of any supposed evidence they may find to the contrary, so your analogy is just wrong. Perhaps you worship mainstream science. I do not. I worship God.

        • Sunny Day

          Nobody doubts your Sincerity, or your profound purposeful and perturbed ignorance.

          • Sunny Day

            Bah. Should have made that: “Nobody doubts your Sincertity or your profoundly purposeful perturbed ignorance.

            Rolls better off the tounge.

        • LRA

          I do not worship science. I am a skeptic by nature. If evidence built up to show evolution wrong, I’d accept it. But no such evidence has built up. In fact, the contrary is true. There is so much evidence that it is ridiculous not to believe it. It would be like me believing in bad airs and miasmas as the causes of disease when the evidence points to germ theory. If the evidence began to build up against germ theory, I would abandon it, but the evidence for germ theory is so overwhelming, it is ridiculous not to believe it.

        • Custador

          “In some ways, the dogged determination of scientists who have a fixed presupposition may drive them to keep testing until they find better answers”

          In every way it would be utterly pointless since their reaction to finding answers that don’t match their presupposition is to assume that those answers are wrong when it’s not the tests that are flawed, it’s the presupposition.

          That’s not science, Jeff. That’s a blunt refusal to let go of a view which has been proven wrong. That’s the complete opposite of what science is.

      • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com Gringa

        Tests must also be repeatable by others for the findings to be considered valid. This is why we still dont’ have cold fusion today, despite several claims that people have done it.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Well, that’s my best effort to play devil’s advocate for them, but I fear the representation has not been fair, especially since they are the ones who seem to prevail in similar debates. It’s a ridiculous exercise that I didn’t want to do in the first place, so, with me as the appointed representative the young earthers lost, proving what? Not much, since I already stipulated that I do not share their position and am not a scientist. I’d say, “It’s been fun,” but not really not so much. Ha ha.

    • LRA

      My concern isn’t about YEC, it’s about your rejection of evolution, which you seem to have espoused based on my understandings of your comments.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Well that’s true. I don’t believe it in the same way you do.

        • LRA

          I don’t *believe* in it! I accept as a logical construct of reality based on facts. I have knowledge about it: it passes epistemology 101– true (although not Truth per se), justifiable, belief.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            LRA,
            I accept that. Do you accept that, given the state of knowledge you would have had at the time, you may very well have accepted parts of Newtonian physics that we now know do not comport with the facts?

            Despite opinions to the contrary, I do know that I know God. I believe Him when He says that His Word is true. He is my Constant in life. I fear and respect Him too. The way I see Scripture actually allows for a type of evolution, but if it did not, like YECs who reject it for those reasons, I would reject the ever-changing landscape of science in favor of a loving God, Whom I know to be true. That’s one reason the YECs have my respect, at least the honest ones who are men and women of good science. I do not respect those who bought their degrees, twist other’s words, quote mine, and gnerally lack basic human integrity.

            I understand that many scientists believe that ruling certain things out a priori makes YECs non-scientific, but since many of them know God, as I do, that resonates with me, even though I have come, at this point, to a different conclusion then YECs have.

            When I held to a different view of Genesis 1-11, I was also a young earther, yet even then, as I stood totally convinced of my position, I did not feel mad, or angry at those who opposed it, for I felt (wrongly) that they just didn’t know everything I knew. I was sure they were being true to the light they had. I still am.

            The longer I live, the more I am convinced that there is a very real spiritual blindness that some people are trapped in. It doesn’t make them bad people, or at least any worse than all of the rest of fallen humanity, which encompasses 100% of us.

            There are a good many people for whom allegiance to God is first, and everything else must fit with that construct, but even if I was the last one left standing, I will stand. He is far greater than life to me, and it’s not because of the money, cars, houses or things, it’s because far surpassing all earthly riches is the beauty and pleasure of knowing Christ. I’m not inviting him to make a Job-like example of me when I write this, but, to the best of my ability, as far as I can tell, I am telling you the truth.

            How about trading books with me over the holidays?

            • Custador

              “I accept that. Do you accept that, given the state of knowledge you would have had at the time, you may very well have accepted parts of Newtonian physics that we now know do not comport with the facts?”

              Strange that you should use the example of Newtonian Gravity being replaced by Relativity when it was found to be more accurate – Neither Creationism nor the God Hypothesis comport with the facts, and yet you still accept them.

            • Jabster

              I’ve always loved this argument as what it basically boils down to is science isn’t perfect and changes with new evidence therefore making up any old shite and claiming it’s true is the way forward. It’s really the same tactic used by IDers i.e. trying to equate their beliefs as an equal to those on evolution.

            • Custador

              Indeed. The crucial difference being that science is working slowly towards perfection, while religion is content to remain utterly shite.

          • LRA

            Jeff-

            Newtonian physics is an accurate description of reality given certain constants in space-time. Nothing about Newtonian physics is incorrect. Relativity did *not* replace classical Newtonian physics by any means… Newtonian physics is just one case of relativity. In other words, relativity expanded our knowledge of gravity and space-time to cases that involve other speeds outside of normal human experience. So it’s not really a good example for you to use here.

            Also, as I said, you do *not* know god! Here are some entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on knowledge:

            Knowlege (in general):

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/

            Plus, these might interest you…

            Knowledge by perception:

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/perception-problem/

            Rationalism versus empiricism:

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism/

          • LRA

            Jeff,

            I’m posting another response because the spam filter limits how many url’s we can include in any one response…

            You make a statement, “I know God”. I ask, “How?” I don’t want an answer by analogy (like my wife and kids). I want specific details. I want to be able to verify your proposition.

            I’ve already given you links to what “Knowledge” is– so you must answer:

            Do you perceive god? If so, what sensory organs have you used? Be specific.

            Is the statement, “God exists” a proposition that can be verified, justified, or believed? If so, how? What arguments meet all three of these epistemological categories? (and just to tip my hand here, I’m already familiar with the cosmological, ontological, and other arguments for the existence of god plus their criticisms– so I’d expect you to offer something new).

            The next question would be: “Which god is God?”

            Saying the god of the Bible doesn’t count because that is circular logic (God is God because the Word of God says so). Every religion uses this claim, so how is one to separate one religion from another??? Every religion has its concept of God:

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concepts-god/

            Why is your speculation on God any more valid than anyone else’s?

            What I’m hinting at here, Jeff, is that your statement that “I know God” requires some serious unpacking and defending for it to be anywhere near believable. The fact is that I just don’t think you can defend it. I think you’d be better off just to say that you *believe* in god.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    LRA,

    Are you familiar with the apologetic and scientific work of Dr. Hugh Ross? I sincerely wish you would review it and even, perhaps, take the time during Christmas break to read one of his books (on my nickel) and give me your professional opinion. He was a post doctoral fellow at Cal Tech and quite an accomplished scientists who claims that his testimony is one of moving from atheism to Biblical faith, in large part because of where he was led by the discovery of the scientific evidence. He is not a YEC, and nobody’s fool. I too live in Texas and would be glad to ship you a copy of one of his books. Of course I agree to reciprocate with anything you feel I should read that would be helpful to me.

    • LRA

      Very cool offer! Thanks!

      But the fact is that Dr. Ross, an astronomer, is not qualified to speak on evolution. He is not a biologist, let alone an expert in evolution (as biologist is a generic label covering many many areas of specialty). I have no doubt his arguments about physics are great and I wouldn’t mind reading that, but I will not accept his conclusions about biology. I myself am agnostic and do not reject the possibility of a god existing (although I can’t imagine it could be a god described by any puny human religion). If you have suggestions on stuff of his to read pertaining to physics and cosmology in relation to god, I’ll check it out.

      If I were to recommend a book to you, it would be “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne. I would also recommend this video by Ken Miller, a Christian and a very well respected biologist:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohd5uqzlwsU

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        LRA,

        The book I would recommend is “The Creator and The Cosmos” May I purchase it and send it to you?

        I am ordering the Jerry Coyne book tonight and I have already watched the Ken Miller video when it was suggested earlier on this thread.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        LRA,

        My email address is jeff@churchbenesol.com. If you send me your address I’ll have Amazon ship to you.

        • LRA

          Jeff,

          That is a very kind offer, but I am happy to purchase it for myself and read it over the Christmas break. Perhaps we could re-convene in January to discuss?

          :)

    • vorjack

      Internet Infidels has a collection of responses and reviews of Hugh Ross.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    rA,

    The Bible is an anthology of 66 books (not counting the Apocrypha) written over 1600 years. When one of those books written hundreds of years before another one accurately predicts history in minute detail I count that as fulfillment.

    • rA

      Uh, no. Authors of later books obviously had access to the earlier books. It doesn’t count at all. If this were any other book, you’d find it laughable. Do you believe in the factual accuracy of any other book written by unknown authors? The Bible isn’t magic. Citing the Bible as fact to people who think it’s fiction isn’t going to work.

      For a less dismissive address of Dr. Ross’s “prophecy” claims (from vorjack’s link above):
      http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/1unpro96.html
      http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/2ross96.html
      http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/3ross96.html

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        rA (and Custador),

        The problem is that you think it’s fiction but the large preponderance of the evidence suggests otherwise. To claim certain books were “left out,” as Custador does, betrays at least some ignorance on the subject of canonization. Many of the books that did not make the final list were indeed on earlier ones of certain church fathers, etc., but the most important distinction was whether or not they were considered indisputably historical. If they were not, we continue to study them and gain a greater view of the early foundation of Christianity, but they are not Scripture, “left out” or otherwise.

        In fact, Custador, their existence is just more evidence for our side. Historical novels are useless and not worth printing if they are not grounded in an actual known history. The fact that they are is what makes them so gripping and compelling. They were popular or we would not have any surviving copies. Think about what must be involved for manuscripts even from the fourth century to survive in any semblance of readable condition.

        The brightest, most capable minds are often housed in the skulls of Bible believing Christians. If we are all deluded, it is a glorious delusion from which I pray there is no escape. I have batted around and seriously considered these questions for at least 35 years with great intellectual curiosity, yet I have a satisfied mind and peace with God. Why should I throw that away for amateurish, Johnny-come-lately speculation that not only does not comport with known facts, but has no internal consistency by way of plausible alternate explanations?

        • Jabster

          “I have batted around and seriously considered these questions for at least 35 years with great intellectual curiosity, yet I have a satisfied mind and peace with God.”

          No you haven’t … all you’ve done is demostrated that you’re an ignorant fuckwit and not just once but many times.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Jabster,

            Well that certainly makes your case. Why didn’t I resort to name calling? Perhaps that would have saved me a lot of time. Seriously, is this how you debate these serious issues? Is that how you got the handle “Jabster?” When intellect fails just hurl an insult. That’s pathetic. I’m sure you’re a finer person than that. Why not try to contribute to the betterment, rather than the coarsening of discourse and society?

            I’m not casting any stones here, as I’m not without this particular sin, but I have noticed that when I resort to the same tactic, it’s equally ineffective. it only makes me look like a buffoon and does nothing to enhance my case.

            Another consideration: What would be the up side for any author to chronicle Christ’s history at a time when His followers were being so famously and publicly persecuted? If anything, you’d think such authors, whoever they were, would take great pains to avoid any mention of His preeminence, deity and resurrection, yet they were so convinced of the facts they were writing that they did so under threat of pain and often death. That is indisputable history from multiple extra-biblical sources. It’s just too fantastic to believe what you believe. It cannot be considered serious scholarship even if that was the only reason, but it’s only one line of evidence.

            So much of what is written in Scripture is antithetical to what would have been made up as a fantasy of Jews spiritually overcoming their Roman captors, including the fact that the door is left wide open for Romans, Greeks, all gentiles to freely enter.

            Another reason name calling is beneath you is that it makes you look not only biased, but strangely hostile toward any evidence that upsets your neat, tidy, naturalistic world view. To be believable there should be some sense that your mind is not completely closed. After all, isn’t that why you think I’m such “an ignorant fuckwit?”

        • Custador

          “The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of Bible believing Christians, but mostly they’re not.”

          Fixed that for ya.

          • Custador

            Incidentaly, I can back that correction up. Watch the Dawkins video on militant atheism that Daniel posted yesterday (I think) – he discusses it at some length. Of the top scientists in America, those that believe in God total 7% of the whole lot, and when looking a biological scientists (i.e. the experts in the origins of life and species) that drops to closer to 5%. Get the impression that they know something you don’t, Jeff?

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              It would not matter if not a single scientist believed in God, as being a scientist does not make someone intellectually superior, but there are surveys that call into question your premise.

              One can extract any number of misrepresentations of surveys about what scientists believe by looking at the unbridled Internet and elsewhere. However, two studies published in the prestigious journal Nature can be assumed to be reliable.4 The results were surprising.

              One thousand randomly selected scientists listed in American Men and Women of Science were queried about their belief in God. But what does one mean by God? Is God a person, a principle, a force of nature or nature itself? The questionnaire gave a very narrow definition of God, one not designed to encourage a positive response. To be classified as a believer in God, the scientists had to agree to the statement: “I believe in a God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind, that is, a God to whom one may pray in expectation of receiving an answer. By ‘answer’ I mean more than the subjective psychological effect of prayer.”

              The scientists were also given the choice of not believing in such a kind of God, or of being in doubt. About 40 per cent said they believed in the kind of God described, 45 per cent did not, and 15 per cent didn’t know. Interestingly, this 1996 survey was a repeat of one taken 80 years earlier, which had just about the same result.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Dawkins? Really? Are you serious? See my post about a survey that puts it closer to 40%.

            • Custador

              It wasn’t Dawkins’ survey, he merely read a summation of 42 seperate surveys. Like I said, Jeff: You might not like it, but that doesn’t make it untrue. 40% of top scientists believe in God? Total bullshit, and obvious bullshit at that.

            • Custador

              From Paul G Bell in the Mensa magazine in a meta-analysis of the 43 studies carried out since 1927: In the relationship between religious belief and intelligence, all but four of the 43 studies found an inverse connection – as one goes up, the other goes down. More intelligence, less religion, more religion, less intelligence.

              The brighter you are, the less likely you are to be religious. FACT.

              Scientists elected to the National Academy of Sciences (i.e. the very cream of American scientists): Those who believe in God: 7%, of which biological scientists who believe in God: 5.5%.

              Same trend at one extreme: The very best and the very brightest are the very least likely to believe in God.

              At the other end of the spectrum…. Well, drive through the ‘burbs of Austin, TX, and get back to me.

            • LRA

              Hey! I live in Austin and it is a very progressive town! Perhaps you mean that he should drive through Alabama and get back to you???

              No hatin’ on Texas!!! :(

            • Custador

              Sorry LRA! Was looking for a Southern cliche and used the first one to pop into my head.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Then leave the quotation marks off of it. That implies that you are my editor, and you most certainly are not. Furthermore, the original statement was correct, as is the following:

            The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of atheists, but mostly they’re not.”

            Cordially yours

            • Custador

              “The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of atheists, but mostly they’re not.”

              Read up a couple of posts there, Jeff:

              “Of the top scientists in America, those that believe in God total 7% of the whole lot, and when looking a biological scientists (i.e. the experts in the origins of life and species) that drops to closer to 5%.”

              Which means that the brightest, most capable minds ARE mostly in the heads of atheists. You might not like it, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

            • Sunny Day

              Wishful thinking seems to be the only reasoning he wants to use.

            • Jabster

              @Sunny Day

              He uses reasoning, I missed have missed those posts …

    • Heidi

      The possibility that the later authors just shoehorned events in to fit the prophecies doesn’t occur to you? Check out how people re-interpreted Nostradamus so that he “accurately” predicted 9/11. Well this sort of fits, and if you look at it slant-eyed…

      • Sunny Day

        God wouldn’t let them lie. :)

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Well the prophecy problem is not always one where the Bible is the only history written of the events in question, and it’s never even remotely similar to the flexible, one-size-fits-all Nostradamus interpretations. But, yes, I believe that Scripture represents actual history in those places where it purports to recount such. I have read, studied, and researched this subject for a great many years and find the alternative explanations for the quick, early growth of the New Testament church, a movement based primarily on the life of an historical person, to be unexplainable in an intellectually honest and satisfactory way unless that person was historical, and the New Testament writers recorded His life accurately.

    Why? The number of 1st Century adherents, living within the time frame when all of the history could have been severely questioned and even dismissed, who were willing to die martyr’s deaths, not only in the Collesium (sp.?), but throughout that part of the world, is well-documented. It’s also one line of evidence that Erhman, Wright and others answer wholly unsatisfactorily from a standpoint of historical sociology.

    Now there are no shortage of fanatics, even today, who are willing to die for a lie, but it’s a lie that cannot be easily disproved. Using just a small amount of your God-given imagination try to picture a parent of a believer in first century Palestine. “Son, don’t be a fool. I know that this Jesus makes for a colorful and compelling tale, but that’s all it is. Live for His ideals and principles, but live. Don’t let them kill you for a fantasy that no one can prove. If anything so extraordinary as Jesus had actually happened your parents would have recounted it, after all they were about twenty-five and living in Jerusalem then.” Or, rather than letting so many people sacrifice their very lives someone would have started this non-historical Jesus nonsense as a huge movement in time to save masses of martyrs. They did not because it was too close to the time of the events, and people knew better. To be sure there were Docetics and Gnostics who doubted and dismissed the resurrection, but that’s not at all similar to doubting His existence. There were far too many witnesses to His ministry for that to gain any traction at the time. It was never even seriously entertained. That had to wait until hundreds of thousands of eyewitnesses, and the succeeding generations who heard their vivid stories died. Nothing else that I’ve seen try to explain the facts makes good anthropological sense.

    And that’s when considering only this one line of evidence. When all of the lines are considered, and each of them have cases that are compelling, the preponderance of the evidence is too much for me to consider ignoring in favor of the alternatives, including the fact that I may be internally deluded. Even if I don’t know Him, this evidence is real.

    • Custador

      “I believe that Scripture represents actual history in those places where it purports to recount such.”

      There were upwards of a dozen historical chroniclers in the Mediteranean region during the time when Jesus is supposed to have lived. If he really was as amazing as the Bible claims, his fame would have spread fast – so why do none of these historians mention him or his deeds at all? The truth is that there is no substantive third-party evidence for Jesus even having existed.

      “[I] find the alternative explanations for the quick, early growth of the New Testament church, a movement based primarily on the life of an historical person, to be unexplainable in an intellectually honest and satisfactory way unless that person was historical.”

      Assuming that Jesus was such an amazing, miracle performing, awe-inspiring person, why was the first gospel not written until fifty or more years after he’s supposed to have died? In those days, that was literally generations. I would have thought that, had Jesus been all that the Bible claims, his followers would have gotten it all down on paper and spread it far and wide! Instead, the story was written generations after they’d all died! The next earliest gospel was based on the first gospel, nothing more – so what goves it any authority? The New Testament, when you boil it down, is a story book and a whole load of fan-fiction.

      “[various sociological reasons for Christianity]“

      The reason that Christianity took off as a faith is the same reason for the selection of the books that made it into the New Testament. Jews and early Christians were suffering cruelly at the hands of Romans. A compelling tale about a man who suffered terribly by the same tormentors was just what was needed to gain traction with the people. If you look at the gospels that were left out of the bible, you will see that they are all the ones which don’t mention Jesus’ suffering at all. The NT was designed to only contain tales which included Jesus getting tortured, because that’s what people at the time needed to identify with. It was clever marketting, nothing more or less.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Know much about Jewish oral tradition? (Written without even a touch of sarcasm)

        It was probably closer to AD 40 – 45, but the need to write anything down wasn’t apparent to them because most common people learned everything orally, verbatim and with precision. It may have only been the fact that the people began to realize that their concept of “soon,” or “quickly” was not lining up with Christ’s that caused them to see a need to write a written history of the events for succeeding generations.

        Considering that Christianity was an outlaw religion and positive sentiment towards it often resulted in loss of life and/or limb, it’s amazing we even have the written accounts from actual followers. Are you really suggesting that non-believers would have dared to write what transpired, when to write it accurately would have impugned both Rome and Judaism, and with the strong possibility of insuring the writer’s martyrdom for a cause he did not embrace? What we do have is a lot of history about the treatment of Christ’s followers, and thousands of them who were willing to die for a lie yet in a concrete position to know that it was a lie.

        I’m sorry, but after exhaustive research I cannot accept your historical revisionism with a straight face. What you suggest is much more highly improbable to me than just accepting the facts. Plus, you must remember, whether you accept it or not, I’m utterly convinced, to the core of my being, that I know Him.

        What mean-spirited, pseudo intellectual assaults on the historicity of my wife and family can you muster? Those will stand as good of a chance. I am not dismissing the small possibility that they are figments of my fertile imagination, but I’m going to need a great deal of evidence that actually takes my history with them, and the history of my wife prior to our meeting, into account, not historical revisionism that all but ignores data and facts. Facts are stubborn things.

        • Jabster

          “It may have only been the fact that the people began to realize that their concept of “soon,” or “quickly” was not lining up with Christ’s that caused them to see a need to write a written history of the events for succeeding generations.”

          Or it may be that you are pulling “facts” out of you arse as you go along.

          “What you suggest is much more highly improbable to me than just accepting the facts.”

          What facts are these?

          “What mean-spirited, pseudo intellectual assaults on the historicity of my wife and family can you muster? Those will stand as good of a chance. I am not dismissing the small possibility that they are figments of my fertile imagination, but I’m going to need a great deal of evidence that actually takes my history with them, and the history of my wife prior to our meeting, into account, not historical revisionism that all but ignores data and facts. Facts are stubborn things.”

          So then post these evidences and and facts which you keep claiming to have … I’m trying to be charitable here but you just come across as a complete and utter idiot.

          ” Plus, you must remember, whether you accept it or not, I’m utterly convinced, to the core of my being, that I know Him.”

          Really, who gives a shite whether you are convinced or not …

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            No sir, you are not trying to be charitable, nor are you even paying the slightest attention to the facts I have been repeatedly posting. Instead you ask if I am pulling them out of my “arse.” as I go along. I have been anything but inconsistent.

            Your obfuscation and avoidance appears to be because you have no meaningful retort to the facts I’ve already laid out. I’m not surprised by that, and your name calling and inflammatory language are fairly par for the course too. That’s generally the resort of those who have nothing constructive to add to the discourse.

            I’d say you may be missing some of my posts because I am responding directly underneath some entries, rather than adding always to the bottom of the thread, but I can’t give you that out, because very often you will quote me from a posting where I provided some of the evidence you refuse to deal with.

            Perhaps you are just being tactical. I think bullying and name calling often work on weak minds and people craving some sort of community acceptance. However, once you’ve been accepted by God it doesn’t exercise anywhere near such influence. That is why Christians are virtually unassailable in these arenas.

            Cordially yours,

            Jeff

            • Jabster

              “Your obfuscation and avoidance appears to be because you have no meaningful retort to the facts I’ve already laid out.”

              Or it could be that your so called facts are anything but … you talk out of your arse like you’re being sponsored to do it.

              “I’d say you may be missing some of my posts because I am responding directly underneath some entries,”

              I’d say that you’re talking out of your arse, again …

              “However, once you’ve been accepted by God it doesn’t exercise anywhere near such influence. That is why Christians are virtually unassailable in these arenas.”

              *laughter* … your really are a thick twat aren’t you?

            • Sunny Day

              You have been consistently dropping of nested comments and regularly replying at the bottom of the thread, when you finaly give the evidence you purported to have had possession of this entire time, and now Custador is the one obfuscating?!?

            • Sunny Day

              Custador / Jabster – Whooops!

            • Jabster

              @Sunny Day

              You could have claimed that you were totally correct anyway, or just changed the subject or even just ignored the whole post … erm who does that in this thread?

            • Sunny Day

              I Have some semblance of self respect.

        • trj

          Jeff,

          > “It was probably closer to AD 40 – 45″

          The consensus among secular scholars is that Mark, the earliest gospel, was written somewhere between 65 and 75 AD, of which the majority lean towards some time after 70 AD, when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed.

          > “whether you accept it or not, I’m utterly convinced, to the core of my being, that I know Him.”

          Good on you, but personal conviction has no bearing whatsoever on reality.

          Likewise for your argument regarding martyrdom. People’s willingness to sacrifice themselves or risk death for a cause says a lot about their conviction but nothing about the veracity of their beliefs. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others live in oppressive regimes that persecute and kill them for their beliefs.

          We agree on this, but you claim that the early Christian martyrs were in a position to know whether or not the story of Jesus was true. How exactly would they be able to know this? How many of these martyrs do you think experienced Jesus firsthand, and how many do you think heard of him through others? You say thousands were martyred, yet in a concrete position to know whether Christianity was a lie. I say it sounds like you’re making this up.

          • Custador

            Indeed. If martyrdom is the measure of a faith’s worthiness, then Jeff would have no choice but to convert at once to Islam. After all, those young men who keep blowing themselves up *must* be doing it for a good reason, right? Those are Jeff’s criteria, not mine.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              No, the difference is that early Christians were martyred for betting their very lives on historical events that, if they did not happen, they were in a position and within proximity to discern the veracity, or lack thereof. Lots of people have died for a lie, but scant few have been willing to die for a lie they knew to be one.

              You’re assuming a complete lack of common sense by any of His followers. it strains credulity to the breaking point.

              The real truth is that we are all betting eternity here and we better be right. I’d rather rely on revealed revelation, inductive reasoning, historical/legal evidence and demonstrative truth than on the word of cynics and critics.

              So far, no one here has brought anything of substance to the table of reason and rational discourse. I’m anxiously awaiting that happening, but I don’t expect it. I expect more inane name calling and crude temper tantrums. That’s the usual modus operandi, and what these discussions normally degenerate into. I have participated in numerous moderated debates with official representatives of organizations such as “The Humanist of Central Oklahoma,” and have found very few bright “brights,” or rational “rationalists.” Some rare and wonderful exceptions are men such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, but they are few and far between.

              I’m not sucking up here when I admit that, so far, my dealings with Daniel Florien have also been instructive to me. No, I have not been converted, but I have had my mind changed by him about such things as the veracity of Double blind prayer studies. I now fail to see how such studies could even be “controlled” and meaningful even accepting the fact of God’s existence. How, for example, did they know that the people who were not receiving prayer were not being prayed for by extended friends, relatives, and myriad permuted prayer lists extrapolated from them?

              But one of the things that makes Florien so effective as an apologist is that he is truly not threatened or hostile. Hostility demonstrates uncertainty whether or not that’s the hostile person’s intention.

            • Francesc

              “You’re assuming a complete lack of common sense by any of His followers”
              Yeah, that pretty much -wich some few and wonderfull exceptions- fits with our experience

            • Custador

              “they were in a position and within proximity to discern the veracity, or lack thereof.”

              No they weren’t! We’ve already established a generational difference in time!

            • LRA

              Not to mention that eye-witness accounts are appallingly unreliable. Especially when they are reported, like, 40 years later.

            • Francesc

              Oh and, by the way, I though the firsts christian prosecutions were around year 60, commanded by Nero. Are you sure they were persecuted before that? Because you have stated that those persecutions began before the oldest gospel, around year 40.

            • trj

              Jeff,

              > “they were in a position and within proximity to discern the veracity, or lack thereof.”

              That’s simply an assertion on your part. To confirm that this is actually the case, you need to provide at least tentative evidence for the following:

              1) Thousands of Christians were martyred before 50-60 AD.
              2) All of these martyrs witnessed Jesus firsthand.
              3) They had some way to to verify the divinity of Jesus. IOW they would need to have witnessed one or more miracles, rather than just being persuaded by something Jesus preached to them.

              You have no such evidence, so I see no reason why I should believe that the early Christian martyrs were any more justified in dying for their beliefs than all the other martyrs have been through the ages.

            • Heidi

              But one of the things that makes Florien so effective as an apologist…

              Dude, you can’t be an “apologist” for reality. That’s a Chriistian term for “how we explain away things in our book that don’t make sense.”

        • Francesc

          Joseph Smith came up with his revelation around 1.820. They were persecuted for 17 years til they settled in Utah. About 200 years laters, that moronic religion has around 14 million -ok, according to them, but if even they are a million- followers. Joseph Smith didn’t perform awesome miracle, he didn’t resurrect anybody and he was not resurrected after his death.

          How do you explain all those people who believe in his revelations?

          Notice that mormonism was born as a branch of christianism, as christianism was born over the basis of judaism.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Francesc,

            And that’s one way of explaining it. He was merely perverting another man’s foundation. I don’t want to be guilty of over-simplifying here, but it’s not the same as Christianity because, as you stipulated, it was not built upon miracles which people either could see or not see. The existence of Mormonism helps to make my point, not detract from it. Islam was also built on the foundations of Judaism and Christianity.

            Let’s think about it this way.

            One said, it’s what I say it is and you dare not question it.

            The other said, it’s demonstratively true because the tomb is empty, people witnessed his life and ministry (including healings, etc.), He was tangibly visibly beaten and crucified, He left a church that (in the early centuries) was obviously characterized by the same type of ministry (including the miraculous), and all of this, though based completely on historical events which either did or did not happen, instead of collapsing from the non-existence of said evidence, flourished.

            The veracity of Christianity was provable, in the first century, by legal/historical methods, and invited such inquiry. To claim, by simple assertion, that this is not so you have to offer a plausible counter explanation that fits the historical evidence. No one has yet done so.

            The veracity of Mormonism is “provable” by a “burning in the bosom,” or, to be more clear, a nebulous gut check. That being said, Mormons can be mistaken about key issues and still have eternal life through Christ. He’s not asking anyone to subscribe to a list of particulars.

            • Custador

              “it’s demonstratively true because the tomb is empty,”

              An empty tomb signifies nothing but that it’s empty, it does not follow at all that a corpse got up and walked out

              “people witnessed his life and ministry (including healings, etc.),”

              Again, there is no evidence whatsoever that that is true. Where are the historical accounts? The bible is not an historical document, it’s a religious book – there’s a massive difference.

              “He was tangibly visibly beaten and crucified,”

              Same as above: No cotemperaneous evidence for it, no accounts of it outside of the bible which was written generations later and all based on one gospel. You can’t cry “Jewish oral tradition!” on this one, because as far as the Jews were concerned he would have been a false messiah, rightly executed.

              ” He left a church that (in the early centuries) was obviously characterized by the same type of ministry (including the miraculous)”

              His “church” didn’t even exist until generations after his death! Jeff, can you not see how flawed your logic is here? There is no logical chain at all, you make huge jumps and suppositions.

            • Jabster

              @Custador

              Really why are you wasting time with this idiot. All that will happen is he will ignore facts, as he has already done, that come his way and carry on regardless?

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Custador,

              You wrote:
              “His “church” didn’t even exist until generations after his death! Jeff, can you not see how flawed your logic is here? There is no logical chain at all, you make huge jumps and suppositions.”

              But that fails to account for the facts on the ground. One more time: It cannot pop up fully grown, with an estimated population of millions, in the third century. It came from somewhere. You simply do not understand the anthropology involved. It is your logic that is flawed. Teenagers don’t appear, they are first adolescents, and before that toddlers, infants, and fetuses. That is a logical chain. Yours is magic.

            • Custador

              Then Jeff, by your own logic you must convert to Mormonism. And Islam. And Scientology. Because the same thing has happened in those faiths too, and here’s why, here’s the big secret, Jeff, the reason why Christianity was able to gain traction, just as Islam did and Moronism did and scientology did:

              There’s a lot of stupid, gullible people in the world and there always have been. That’s it. That’s the entire secret of it.

            • Francesc

              Jeff, the existence of mormonism -and the existence of scientology- shows that there is a lot of people enough gullible to believe any idiocy, even in our “modern” world, and that a new found religion can spread pretty fast.

              You said mormonism is not falsifiable, I’ll give you that -although it is against any common sense. What about scientology? It’s known to be the invention of a bad sci-fi writer, yet it has a lot -too much- of followers.

              Let’s imagine for a moment that, in the first ages of christianism -I’ll concede the historicity of a Jesus for the sake of the argument- Jesus was preaching among the jews and he got some followers. Imagine for a moment that they saw Jesus, but they didn’t saw any miracle. They followed his teachings because they had any sense for them. After Jesus’s death, they spread “over the world” and their tales about their master were, from mouth to ear, “improved” so that Jesus’s actions became miracles. Then someone wrote down those miracles…
              Would it be possible?

              By the way, Mohammed also did miracles, according to their followers… and he did got a lot more followers -and wifes- than Jesus

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Francesc,

              Yes, and that is the best explanation anyone has come up with yet, and not dissimilar to what many experts in the field have postulated. It’s, obviously not one I accept, but it is much more scholarly and likely than any would be contenders.

            • Francesc

              Well, it is a possible explanation. So, given an explanation who fits with our knowledge -people do exist, some religions are born as cults upon invented facts, “mouth to ear” can change the contents of the news- why do you think it is more plausible a magic being to explain it?

            • Sunny Day

              “The other said, it’s demonstratively true because the tomb is empty,”

              OMG, an Empty Tomb! AN EMPTY TOMB!!!

              You know what this means? The resurection is still going on! When I was at that Parlor I visited a few years ago there all these EMPTY CASKETS !!1!1!! elevnty!!

            • Custador

              Jeff has been royally pwned every time he’s posted something here. The only person too stupid to see it is himself.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Francesc wrote:
              “Well, it is a possible explanation. So, given an explanation who fits with our knowledge -people do exist, some religions are born as cults upon invented facts, “mouth to ear” can change the contents of the news- why do you think it is more plausible a magic being to explain it?”

              Quite simply because I treat it as legal/historical proof. If I was on the jury, which we all are in a sense, I would have to come up with a crime theory that fits all of the known evidence, not just some of it.

              I’m not stupid, I can see merit in your telephone theory of the relatively late insertion of miraculous claims. As I’ve admitted, it is strong and sound, and there are a number of theologians that subscribe to it. Most of the members of the (in)famous “Jesus Seminar” do. It makes a heck of a lot more sense than trying to dismiss Him as non-historical.

              I guess you want me to cry “Uncle,” but if equally plausible explanations could be mounted to dispose of the rest of the evidence I still may not be able to do so. Here’s why: There would then be the problem of how all of these diverse lines of evidence conspired without an architect or lead conspirator to take on the appearance of argumentative cohesion and, in effect, evidentiary collusion.

              That was the argument too far that I could not accept from YECs, and what won me over to old earth Creationism. YEC did not have a good explanation for the appearance of age, at least not one I could swallow, especially concerning the stars we can now see which burned out long ago, etc.

              There is simply too much to explain away, even though taken individually I can find some academic objections, taken as a whole, which is how evidence must be considered, it’s convincing.

              For example, how many times do we hear about someone being convicted on no direct evidence, but because the circumstantial evidence is strong?

              Now couple that with personal revelation and it’s 21, blackjack.

            • Heidi

              There would then be the problem of how all of these diverse lines of evidence conspired without an architect or lead conspirator to take on the appearance of argumentative cohesion and, in effect, evidentiary collusion.

              Given all the contradictions in the thing, and given the fact that various popes sat down and decided which books they wanted to include, and which they would toss, I fail to see the merit in this clam. It conflicts with itself all over the place, and there were “architects.”

            • Heidi

              LOL. “claim,” not “clam.”

            • Francesc

              Yep, what Heidi said, and you are forgetting that two of the four gospels are probably based on Mark. That let us with only two different -and a bit contradictory- stories. That, of course, could be because of the oral trasnmission, it is not a proof that the tales related where made up, but it is also not a proof on the contrary.

              Let’s follow with your crime analogy. Suppose that there is a person who had the motivation to kill someone, he had the medium and the opportunity. You can’t say that he did the crime, of course, without more proofs. But you won’t think that another suspect for the murder is a little green leprechaun, even if that person declares that he saw him killing the victime. Why? Because we have no proof for the existence of nasty green leprechauns*

              *Apologies to all green leprechaun’s worshippers out there

  • Sunny Day

    Jeff is just here to get credit for his creationism bible study class.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Crap, you caught me. I’m an eight year old Christian school student.

      • Sunny Day

        More true than you would wish to believe. Retard.

        http://atheism.about.com/b/2009/08/27/bill-dembskis-intelligent-design-unintelligent-trolling.htm

        AP410 This is the undegrad course. You have three things to do: (1) take the final exam (worth 40% of your grade); (2) write a 3,000-word essay on the theological significance of intelligent design (worth 40% of your grade); (3) provide at least 10 posts defending ID that you’ve made on “hostile” websites, the posts totalling 2,000 words, along with the URLs (i.e., web links) to each post (worth 20% of your grade).

        AP510 This is the masters course. You have four things to do: (1) take the final exam (worth 30% of your grade); (2) write a 1,500- to 2,000-word critical review of Francis Collins’s The Language of God — for instructions, see below (20% of your grade); (3) write a 3,000-word essay on the theological significance of intelligent design (worth 30% of your grade); (4) provide at least 10 posts defending ID that you’ve made on “hostile” websites, the posts totalling 3,000 words, along with the URLs (i.e., web links) to each post (worth 20% of your grade).

        AP810 This is the D.Min. course. You have four things to do: (1) take the final exam (worth 30% of your grade); (2) write a 1,500- to 2,000-word critical review of Francis Collins’s The Language of God — for instructions, see below (20% of your grade); (3) write a 3,000-word essay on the theological significance of intelligent design (worth 30% of your grade); (4) develop a Sunday-school lesson plan based on the book Understanding Intelligent Design (worth 20% of your grade).

        • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com DCtouristsANDlocals

          WOW that is hilarious! Evangelism for credit. Maybe that is why so many people troll here once or twice, or only in one thread, and then never come back for any further discussion.

          • Heidi

            Yeah, they get banned at Pharyngula. lol.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Custador wrote,

    “No they weren’t! We’ve already established a generational difference in time!”

    That proves nothing! It fails to account for the early growth that produced multiple hundreds of surviving manuscripts and a large, dynamic group of followers who believed their faith was entirely based in historical events, by the latter half of the 1st century and certainly by the middle of the 2nd. Even accepting your dating, which is demonstratively wrong – see John A.T. Robinson – it takes a bigger miracle for all of these followers to appear out of nowhere, believing they have an unbroken spiritual and historical heritage that was only a generation or two old. It’s simply not possible from the standpoint of sociological anthropology.

    As far as the dating from secular (hostile) NT scholars, please explain why we then should not accept the findings regarding evolution from hostile Creationists. Better yet, academically refute Robinson. Where, for example, in any of the NT writings, is evidence that the writers knew about the destruction of the temple (AD 70)?

    • Custador

      “It fails to account for the early growth that produced multiple hundreds of surviving manuscripts and a large, dynamic group of followers who believed their faith was entirely based in historical events”

      What, Like Joseph Smith’s amazing North-American Pre-Historical Jewish Empire and the Mormons, you mean? Jeff, people have already pointed out to you other exampes where the exact same thing has happened, and yet you insist that *your* religion is somehow different – but it’s not! It’s *exactly* the same!

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        If you are sincere you are sincerely ignorant of the glaring (at least to scholars) dissimilarities.

        1. With every turn (metaphorically speaking) of the archeologists spade, it seems further verification of the Biblical record is established, while the Book of Mormon has absolutely no attestation in the archeology of North America.

        2. As I’ve previously demonstrated, Two entirely different appeals: One says trust me and do not question, the other said check and verify, i.e. an appeal to evidence and history, or an appeal to the authority of revelation knowledge.

        It is you, Custador, who are in denial and there is a simple way of proving it. You will not accept the evidence because you are blinded to it, but perhaps someone reading along with us will see the wisdom in this observation.

        I know why I care that people know, love and serve the living God, because it makes a huge difference in their present lives and is the only hope in the after-life, but what is your motivation? If you do not believe in God, the fact that I do should provide no threat to you whatsoever.

        I suggest, though you will obstinately reject the notion, that you, like all accountable people, are fighting to keep at bay an inner witness of God that is calling you unto Himself. By fighting me you are fighting that witness. Your insecurities, about what you really believe, make you hostile and at times hateful, not because you are a hostile and cruel person, but because you are an insecure one.

        • LRA

          LOL! I’m imagining Custador’s head exploding right now…

          • Custador

            No, really, I’ve just come to the conclusion that Jeff isn’t worth it. See my earlier post about intelligence versus faith. Jeff’s a frikkin’ moron.

        • Francesc

          Jeff, everytime we correct you, you change the point and the argument.

          I corrected you when you said Collins was a creationist, as the only example you could give about a successful creationist scientist. You still assessed that there are a lot of creationist “top ranked” scientists… waiting for them…

          You said the first gospel was written around year 40, trj corrected you.

          You said christians were prosecuted before year 40, I think the prosecution began around year 60. Waiting for references (here, I may be wrong)

          You said YEC had valuable arguments, still waiting for them…

          Are you going to back up your data with any real fact?

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Better re-check your post there. I stipulated that Collins was not a YEC, and in fact a theistic evolutionist long before anyone else caught my mistake. Not that it matters, since it only proves that when I’m errant I immediately own up to it. I jumped on immediately after the first mention of Collins and stipulated that I knew he was not a YEC. I had simply typed hastily and corrected myself before anyone caught it (I believe). I may have still been typing when someone else beat me to the enter key. I’m not totally sure on that.

            The correction I was making was that the best date estimates are within 40 years of the resurrection, not 40AD. I said that the persecutions were from the latter half of the first century. That would also comport with your date. I’m doing most of this work from memory as my library is in boxes.

            I have not once changed the point or the argument. I have simply responded to the ever-changing landscape. Lying about me does nothing to strengthen your lack of cogent, strong argumentation.

            On another issue, where does the material come from regarding the ID coursework? Looks diploma-millish on the surface, but I am curious to investigate further. I guess all theists are ID to a degree, and I certainly am. I don’t see why most arguments made for common descent could not just as easily apply to a Common Designer. Francesc, that is not an example of changing the point or the argument, but simply responding to what Sunny Day wrote.

            I’m still perplexed by the willingness here to accept assertions from someone you agree with, but not well constructed and evidential argumentation from someone you don’t. Still seems a tad insecure from where I’m standing.

            Finally, I guess you need to carefully re-read my posts as I provided site links to actual YEC sites. Not being a YEC, that’s all you’ll be getting from me. My point was never to defend their position, but only their intelligence and scholarship, which you seem quick to demean with childish pejoratives and unfounded assertions.

            That’s your right, but it does not pass, even on blogs, for scholarship. To see how to make your points with class and scholarship do a search for postings by LRA.

            Cordially,

            Jeff

            • Sunny Day

              Rule 1 from the “Lying for Jesus Playbook”: When caught in a lie, lie again.

            • Custador

              You missed rule two:

              When conclusively proven wrong on any point, ignore the proof as if it was never mentioned. When you screw up and accidentally mention the exact same point again, bluster and say “Couldn’t prove this wrong last time either!” even though you will shortly be proven wrong again. It’s okay, you can ignore it the second time too.

              See above:

              Bible as historical document (poor use of),
              Creationist “research” (still not seen any that’s actually research),
              Coherent YEC “theories” that “withstand scrutiny” (still waiting for them),
              Intelligence levels versus faith in God (inverse relationship),
              Unfavorable comparison of Christianity with other faiths based on martyrdom,
              Unfavorable comparison of Christianity with other faiths based on rapidity of spread,
              Unfavorable comparison of Christianity with other faiths based on archaelogical evidence (and lack thereof),
              Non-cotemperaneous nature of the earliest gospel,
              Top scientists “are theists” (proven wrong),
              Top scientists “aren’t atheists (proven wrong)”.

              The list could go on. Those are all points where either myself or somebody else has handed Jeff’s arse to him – and what is his response? Ignore it, move on to a new topic.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Where is this playbook of which you speak?

            • Custador

              In your head and in a million conversations just like this.

            • Sunny Day

              This whole thing reads like a slo mo Gish Gallop.

        • trj

          Oh dear, now archaeology is claimed never to contradict the Bible.

          And we also learn that atheists are simply in denial because deep down we believe in God.

          Easy on the accelerator, Jeff, you’re going through all the fundie clichés at an incredible rate.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Most cliche’s have a bit of truth in them. In fact, most things become cliche’ precisely because they are continually used as descriptive of reality, so easy on the sarcasm there trj. Ha ha This is fun. Here’s a cliche’ for ya – fish in a barrel.

            • trj

              An interesting thing about clichés is that they persevere in spite of any contrary evidence. Probably because some people think they constitute some kind of support for a poorly argued case.

            • Heidi

              Jeff, I challenge you to name one single shred of archaeological evidence that supports the supernatural claims of the Bible. Or anything else in it, other than “well maybe this guy existed” or “Jericho was a real place, even if there is no evidence that there were walls around it.” Show me a single shard of pottery or strip of cloth found from the exodus.

              Excuses from people with an agenda don’t count. Petrified wood that you would like to be Ark remains doesn’t count. Also “this city was real” doesn’t count as evidence that anything in the Bible happened there any more than the fact that New York City is real proves that Spiderman lives there.

            • trj

              Well, Jericho did have city walls, there’s no doubt about that. So that just leaves the minor detail that the city was destroyed and abandoned 150 years before Joshua and his merry gang of genocidal warriors sacked it according to the Bible.

            • Heidi

              Does it have the supposedly smashed walls, though? (Sorry, I have a bad cold right now, and my head is spinning, so not everything is meshing in my head. lol. I’m trying to remember something I saw on a Discovery Channel show a while back…)

            • trj

              Well, the walls were tumbled and large parts of the city was burnt in a fire, but I don’t remember if this has been shown to be caused by an invasion, or if the city was simply deserted as a result of the fire. In any case, the dates don’t match with the Bible.

              You can google “jericho kathleen kenyon” to find more info, although, unsurprisingly, the search result will be heavily influenced by apologist sites falling over themselves to dismiss Mrs. Kenyon’s findings. Usually they’ll refer to Bryant Wood, although his rebuttal of Kenyon has itself been thoroughly refuted, while Kenyon’s findings have since been confirmed. For some reason they never mention this.

              Besides, Jericho is only one of many cities where the archaeological evidence doesn’t match the Bible’s account. The obvious example is the city of Ai, which was abandoned 1000 years before the Israelites supposedly destroyed it.

            • Heidi

              Ok, I’ll check it out and try to integrate it into my brain, but it will probably have to wait until my cold gets better. Thanks! :-)

            • trj

              Here, have this link to a more thorough comment I wrote previously about this subject.

            • Heidi

              *goes and reads*

              Ah, that was helpful. Thank you. :-)

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Apologies to Mormons everywhere. The “nebulous gut check” comment was below the belt and uncalled for. I was wrong.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Sunny Day,

    The link you posted was fascinating. Those seem to be crazy course requirements for an accredited seminary.

  • LRA

    Jeff,

    I would ask that you please address the following:

    Jeff-

    Newtonian physics is an accurate description of reality given certain constants in space-time. Nothing about Newtonian physics is incorrect. Relativity did *not* replace classical Newtonian physics by any means… Newtonian physics is just one case of relativity. In other words, relativity expanded our knowledge of gravity and space-time to cases that involve other speeds outside of normal human experience. So it’s not really a good example for you to use here.

    Also, as I said, you do *not* know god! Here are some entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on knowledge:

    Knowlege (in general):

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/

    Plus, these might interest you…

    Knowledge by perception:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/perception-problem/

    Rationalism versus empiricism:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism/

    • LRA

      Jeff-

      Please address the following as well:

      Jeff,

      I’m posting another response because the spam filter limits how many url’s we can include in any one response…

      You make a statement, “I know God”. I ask, “How?” I don’t want an answer by analogy (like my wife and kids). I want specific details. I want to be able to verify your proposition.

      I’ve already given you links to what “Knowledge” is– so you must answer:

      Do you perceive god? If so, what sensory organs have you used? Be specific.

      Is the statement, “God exists” a proposition that can be verified, justified, or believed? If so, how? What arguments meet all three of these epistemological categories? (and just to tip my hand here, I’m already familiar with the cosmological, ontological, and other arguments for the existence of god plus their criticisms– so I’d expect you to offer something new).

      The next question would be: “Which god is God?”

      Saying the god of the Bible doesn’t count because that is circular logic (God is God because the Word of God says so). Every religion uses this claim, so how is one to separate one religion from another??? Every religion has its concept of God:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concepts-god/

      Why is your speculation on God any more valid than anyone else’s?

      What I’m hinting at here, Jeff, is that your statement that “I know God” requires some serious unpacking and defending for it to be anywhere near believable. The fact is that I just don’t think you can defend it.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    LRA,

    You’ve got it. For some reason I have a post that may touch on some of this awaiting moderation, so I may get back to some of this after the holiday, but hopefully that one will be posted sometime soon. Please look up a ways on the page and check for it for me, as it was in answer to another post.

    I’m afraid I am going to have to disappoint you as to offering new arguments for the existence of God. As I’ve repeatedly said, from early in this thread, I cannot prove His existence to anyone. I think the arguments you are familiar with are the best we will have until He reveals Himself in judgment. I’m convinced that the metaphysical world is discerned precisely in the opposite way that we discern the physical one. Physically I see before I will believe. Metaphysically if I will believe and trust, then I will see. Often I will see that faith rewarded with His presence in this world, but certainly in the world to come.

    The reason I write “believe and trust” is that most people are unaware that, in Greek (the language of the NT), those words are synonyms. The Greek word pestuo that we translate “believe” means to invest trust and confidence. Even agnostics and atheists can exercise faith in that sense.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Custador,

    Your list is simply mistaken in most of the assertions you claim I made. The others have been asked and answered and that horse is completely dead.

    I’m not sure if you are reading things others have claimed into what I am claiming, or if you’re just a liar, but I am very content that I have not run from or shirked responsibility for any answers to my actual claims.

    • Custador

      Keep on lying Jeff. I didn’t expect anything else from you.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Custador,

        When I get back from holiday we’ll talk further. I am interested in what impulse causes you to accuse people of being liars, just because they disagree with you. I may not have gotten to every answer, but I certainly haven’t been shy about defending what I believe. What do you think possesses you to be filled with such vitriol? I have some ideas, but I’m curious what you may think. I’m also anxious to get home from Thanksgiving holiday to see if you can respond to this question with civility.

        Cordially,

        Jeff

        • Custador

          I’m calling you a liar because you’re staggeringly intellectualy dishonest. It’s got nothing to do with you disagreeing with me whatsoever. If you read over every post you’ve made on this thread in order of when they were posted, together with the replies from myself and others and if you were honest, yo uwould admit that every time you’ve said something stupid and been called on you bullshit, you’ve just ignored it and moved on to a different nest of comments, often quoting the same bullshit you’ve already been called on. But you’re not honest, so you won’t.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    A Wikipedia synopsis of John A.T. Robinson’s “Redating The New Testament”

    Robinson placed Matthew at 40 to after 60, Mark at about 45 to 60, Luke at before 57 to after 60, and John at from 40 to after 65.[8] Robinson also argued that the letter of James was penned by a brother of Jesus Christ within twenty years of Jesus’ death, that Paul authored all the books that bear his name, and that the apostle John wrote the fourth Gospel. Robinson also opined that due to his investigations, a rewriting of many theologies of the New Testament was in order.

    That does indeed place some of the key NT texts even prior to 40, but my answer was intended as an answer to those who placed the gospels much later than that after the resurrection.

    Christian persecution started within the lifetimes of the Apostles and, in fact, according to some fairly compelling church traidition all 12 Apostles were persecuted and up to 11 died as martyrs. That makes the persecution start earlier than Nero.

    Saul (later named Paul) participated in Christian persecution. What you are referring to was imperially sanctioned, or state sponsored persectution, which did begin under Nero.

    I’m reading and responding to a lot of people here, but I don’t make anything up. I’m just one fella doing the best he can.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Please pardon my spelling errors in the immediately preceding post.

    • trj

      I am by no means a biblical scholar or expert on higher criticism. I mentioned that Mark is typically dated to 65-75 AD simply because that is the consensus among such academics.

      It might be that the various parts of NT are younger than what the consensus thinks, or it might not. It really changes nothing except it would mean there were fewer years for the accounts of Jesus to be inflated by his followers, which wouldn’t take long in a time where messiahs, prophets and miracle workers were a dime a dozen. And it is still extremely dubious that any of the scriptures are written by eyewitnesses (Mark being the best candidate). Plus, eyewitnesses have been known to, well, make their stories more interesting.

      Apparently you consider the secular scholars which subscribe to the consensus as “hostile” (your words). Actually, I think they may be less inclined towards bias, seeing as they have less to prove than the religious scholars, like John A T Robinson, who insist on the veracity of the Bible. But what the hey – I don’t expect you to consider that opinions dissenting from your own and detracting from your Bible might be anything other than hostile.

    • trj

      A few words about John A T Robinson’s “Redating The New Testament”:

      I haven’t read the book, only reviews and opinions, but it seems to me his main point is that none of the books of NT mentions the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

      I don’t see this as a big surprise. The gospels depict the life of Jesus until his death, so there’s no reason they would mention it. The Pauline epistles (the genuine ones, anyway) are widely considered to predate Mark and also predate the temple destruction, which practically everybody already agrees on. Besides, the epistles are not recordings of history, but letters giving directions and admonitions (hence the name “epistle”).

      That leaves Revelation and Acts. Revelation is entirely devoted to John’s revelation which is purely spiritual and has no words whatsoever for anything in the real, non-spiritual world, which includes the temple.

      Acts is the only book that could have mentioned the temple without breaking out of context, but for whatever reason it didn’t. Big deal.

      Actually, I think Robinson may have been his own worst enemy. He makes some compelling arguments for rethinking the age of the gospels, but that’s not enough for him. He wants everything to be much earlier in order to justify his reliance of the Bible being true (not that earlier dates really change anything in that regard), and he insists that all Pauline epistles are really authored by Paul, as well as the gospel of John being authored by the apostle John. That leaves him in a fringe position, because practically no other scholars, including the religious ones, agree with this. He seems extremely insistent on revising everything so that it better justifies a theological point, which overall detracts from Robinson’s work – which is actually a shame.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        With unfeigned respect and due deference I think everything I need to know about your opinion here is written in your second paragraph:

        “I haven’t read the book, only reviews and opinions, but. . .”

        • Francesc

          Curious enough, I thought the same about Robinson’s opinion
          when I read those sentences:
          “Robinson also argued that the letter of James was penned by a brother of Jesus Christ within twenty years of Jesus’ death, that Paul authored all the books that bear his name, and that the apostle John wrote the fourth Gospel.”
          where he clearly doesn’t agree with schoolars in all these points.
          Jesus’ brother? Catholics are not going to like it, imagine the virgin Mary doing another children… (despite what you have been told, pigeons don’t use to magically impregnate women)
          So Paul wrote ephesians? With these incredible mysoginistic views? Did he expect to see still alive the second coming? Someone got it wrong…

        • trj

          Jeff, I acknowledge your point about having to read something to form a qualified opinion. However, I would also point out that you’re simply dismissing my critique out of hand, which is extremely convenient on your part.

          If my critique is incorrect or focused in the wrong direction, then please tell me. Otherwise, I’ll get the idea that you’re refusing to address what might be valid counterpoints.

  • Heidi

    Here are my questions:

    1. Why would your god perform on cue for Elijah (1 Kings 18), but now he won’t do it for anyone? Ba’al didn’t perform on cue, and Elijah used it as justification to slaughter all his priests. (Christians are so screwed if Ba’al is the “real” god.) Does that mean all of the Christian priests who can’t get their god to perform on cue should be slaughtered? Or was that “for a different time” like slavery and Egyptian baby killing?

    2. If, as you say, most of the really intelligent people are believers, then why is it that four of the top five “smartest states” are in New England? New England is the least religious area of the country, according to a group of evangelists who have recently targeted Massachusetts for assimilation. (Source was the Boston Globe’s site, boston.com – I don’t have a link to the article, but you can search the religion section.) In fact, the lowest ranked New England state is Rhode Island, at #14. As opposed to the lowest ranked states, none of which are in New England, and most are in very religious areas of the country. (Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arizona)

    The top 2 universities by rank are MIT and Harvard, both in Massachusetts.

    Then there’s this study showing an inverse correlation between the number of people in a country who say religion is “very important” to them, and the average IQ score.

    Or the fact that religion in general and Christianity specifically has always, consistently opposed Knowledge. Adam and Eve got tossed out of the garden for eating Knowledge fruit. Can’t be having knowledge. (Don’t get me started on that horrible story unless you want a long unpleasant battle about it, which I don’t particularly care to have.) When the church was in charge of the government, they gave us The Dark Ages — 200 or so years of zero progression of knowledge.

    3. And I haven’t scrolled back up and looked to see if you’ve done it yet, but please name your archaeological “evidence” for Biblical events and supernatural claims without resorting to excuses invented by someone with an agenda. And keep in mind that, as I said above, New York is real, but that doesn’t mean Spiderman lives there.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    So if you ban atheist websites does that mean you are banning all science sites? Yet another reason I don’t have some stupid religious views. Stupidity. Just plain stupidity.

    • Jabster

      No as it’s very possible to be both a believer and a scientist or indeed an atheist and a complete idiot. Religious views can certainly handicap science but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

  • Noah

    Regardless of whether one believes or not, it just doesn’t make sense to block atheist or even Wicca websites. Is the purpose of education not to expand the mind and explore possibilities? How, then, can IPS schools truly educate their students if they are inhibiting the valuable information available to them? As a constant seeker of knowledge and understanding I am furious at the idea of blocking students from visiting these websites.

    • Elemenope

      Is the purpose of education not to expand the mind and explore possibilities?

      You might be shocked to find that to many people, it really isn’t. It’s about inculcating *specific* values, ideas, and notions to children so they grow up to believe correct things.

      To those people, contrary opinions are at best a distraction, and at worst a threat.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Okay, I’m back. Did ya miss me even a little? I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.

    I’m going to do my best to respond to all of the questions, but there will be a few ground rules, because I am somewhat arthritic, plus I’m not interested in an endless dispute. I’m answering because I think, in many cases, my views have not been understood, not because I think if you were just better informed you would embrace and love the Lord Jesus. I’m sorry if it makes someone angry (that is not my intention) but I think everyone here knows enough now to do that if they wanted to. So, over the next couple of days, I will get to the questions that have asked me to clarify my beliefs, but with the following rules:

    1. I will not defend what I have not asserted.
    2. I will not repeat information I’ve already given. Instead I will point to the post date and time for your perusal. In some cases my previous postings have not been rebutted, but rather ridiculed. Academically there is a huge difference.
    3. I refuse further engagement in side-stepping serious investigation through castigation of the messengers. For example, when I was defending the fact that Creationists publish in journals I pointed to an article on another web site. Rather than rebut the claims of the article some here took issue with the authority of the source. Your contempt for Bible believers does not constitute evidence that such belief is errant, nor that particular statements made by believers are, of necessity, wrong.

    I’m getting to every serious inquiry, but let’s start with Heidi:

    I’ll intersperse answers within the extended quote:

    Quote:

    Here are my questions:

    1. Why would your god perform on cue for Elijah (1 Kings 18), but now he won’t do it for anyone? Ba’al didn’t perform on cue, and Elijah used it as justification to slaughter all his priests. (Christians are so screwed if Ba’al is the “real” god.) Does that mean all of the Christian priests who can’t get their god to perform on cue should be slaughtered? Or was that “for a different time” like slavery and Egyptian baby killing?

    He still does. It’s still not normative. The incident in 1 Kings was not common-place, which I suppose was one reason it warranted inclusion in Scripture.

    2. If, as you say, most of the really intelligent people are believers, then why is it that four of the top five “smartest states” are in New England? New England is the least religious area of the country, according to a group of evangelists who have recently targeted Massachusetts for assimilation. (Source was the Boston Globe’s site, boston.com – I don’t have a link to the article, but you can search the religion section.) In fact, the lowest ranked New England state is Rhode Island, at #14. As opposed to the lowest ranked states, none of which are in New England, and most are in very religious areas of the country. (Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arizona)

    Please cite your reference to my supposed statement. That doesn’t sound like something I would write, or even think. Furthermore I take some issue with IQ results as a measurement of all types of intelligence. My own IQ is genius level (143), but I am ignorant of a great many things. I’m not sure how spiritual IQ could be validly tested, but I do believe that spiritual discernment, and the ability to sense and apprehend the spiritual world is key to a right understanding of God. Such understanding follows trust and is not a requirement for trusting.

    The top 2 universities by rank are MIT and Harvard, both in Massachusetts.

    Then there’s this study showing an inverse correlation between the number of people in a country who say religion is “very important” to them, and the average IQ score.

    See above.

    Or the fact that religion in general and Christianity specifically has always, consistently opposed Knowledge. Adam and Eve got tossed out of the garden for eating Knowledge fruit. Can’t be having knowledge. (Don’t get me started on that horrible story unless you want a long unpleasant battle about it, which I don’t particularly care to have.) When the church was in charge of the government, they gave us The Dark Ages — 200 or so years of zero progression of knowledge.

    Copied from Wikipedia:

    The stereotype of the entire Middle Ages as a “Dark Age” supposedly caused by the Christian Church for allegedly “placing the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity” is called a caricature by the contemporary historians of science David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers,[46] who say “the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led. There was no warfare between science and the church”.[47] Historian Edward Grant writes: “If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed in the Age of Reason [the 18th century], they were only made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities”.

    3. And I haven’t scrolled back up and looked to see if you’ve done it yet, but please name your archaeological “evidence” for Biblical events and supernatural claims without resorting to excuses invented by someone with an agenda. And keep in mind that, as I said above, New York is real, but that doesn’t mean Spiderman lives there.

    You have a mistaken understanding for what archeology can and cannot prove. Archeology would help us determine whether the writer of Spiderman was referencing New York, its landmarks, its culture, customs, and level of development properly. It would not, in all but the rarest of cases, prove the existence of Spiderman. However it could be used as a tremendous adjunct for making such a case.

    Please peruse this and get back with me:

    http://www.pytlik.com/observe/deliverus/word-03.html

    • Custador

      My own IQ is genius level (143)

      Genius level is 180. A normal IQ test doesn’t even measure that high.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Incorrect: Genius is 140 and above. Again, not that it matters.

        • Custador

          I stand corrected, and feel a little smug. My own IQ is 156.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            ha ha. See, you didn’t realize how well of you were. Good for you. I hope I helped make your day.

    • Siberia

      He still does. It’s still not normative.

      ORLY?

    • Heidi

      He still does.

      So you’re counting vague ambiguous things here “I see Jesus in my toast,” and “I saw Penn and Teller turn water to wine,” kind of stuff, or something evidence-based, and verifiable? Which was my question. He performed demonstrably in front of everyone for Elijah. But now you have to interpret the entrails?

      Please cite your reference to my supposed statement. That doesn’t sound like something I would write, or even think.

      Convenient. Here you go:

      Then leave the quotation marks off of it. That implies that you are my editor, and you most certainly are not. Furthermore, the original statement was correct, as is the following:

      The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of atheists, but mostly they’re not.”

      Cordially yours

      Link to post cited above: http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/11/14/indianapolis-schools-ban-atheism-websites/#comment-72253

      That is what I was responding to in my original question.

      The stereotype of the entire Middle Ages as a “Dark Age”

      You get that they’re not arguing the same thing you’re arguing, right? They’re arguing that it did not last through the entire Middle Ages. I never said that it did. If they are arguing something else, then that section needs to be re-written for clarity.

      You have a mistaken understanding for what archeology can and cannot prove. Archeology would help us determine whether the writer of Spiderman was referencing New York, its landmarks, its culture, customs, and level of development properly. It would not, in all but the rarest of cases, prove the existence of Spiderman. However it could be used as a tremendous adjunct for making such a case.

      Really? So if I found a box that said “Spiderman’s stuff” containing Spiderman’s diary, next to Spiderman’s Coffee Mug in what is rumored to have been Spiderman’s old house, that tells me nothing archaeologically, even after radiometric dating. And of course, if I found that the US had minted coins with Spiderman’s face on them, and that reporters, politicians and law enforcement authorities had left writings discussing Spiderman as a factual being, that wouldn’t count either.

      You’re operating under the assumption that it’s reasonable to have no other evidence of something besides an uncorroborated book.

      I will check your link when I get a chance, but don’t expect much if you’re sending me to something like AiG.

      • Heidi

        Ok, I just glanced at it, and haven’t really read it yet, but do you have any evidence that comes from a non-biased source? Because all these Christian-based sites seem to me a bit like “I saw Jesus in my toast.” As in “if Jesus is indeed appearing in toast, then why don’t Muslims see him there, too?”

        • Heidi

          *sigh* Ok now I’ve read it.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Heidi,

          I need to get to other people’s questions and then I’ll come back around to round two. This whole discussion can’t get very far, however, if you decide, in advance, to just dismiss certain sources without actually rebutting them.

          As for your quote, I was correct. I DID NOT WRITE, as you suggested that, “most of the really intelligent people are believers.” What I did write is accurate, but what you lampooned me for writing is not. In English, modifiers, such as adjectives and adverbs, modify speech.

          Therefore, to oversimplify it for you, it is not at all the same to write, “There are some excellent chefs in Ireland,” and to write, “All the best chefs are Irish.”

          Do you at least concede that point? I ask because, If you cannot concede on such an obviously minor issue, in what sense are we actually engaging in meaningful debate? I’m not trying to be insulting, but I need to know so I can determine if I am wasting your time with my responses. If you are incapable of some pretty basic reasoning then I am.

          • Heidi

            Why are we talking about what Custador wrote, or did to your original quote? I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about what YOU said. Did you, or did you not say “the original statement was correct, as is the following: The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of atheists, but mostly they’re not.” (emphasis mine)??

            Recap:

            Jeff: “The brightest, most capable minds are often housed in the skulls of Bible believing Christians.”

            Custador:““The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of Bible believing Christians, but mostly they’re not.”

            Fixed that for ya.”

            Jeff:“Then leave the quotation marks off of it. That implies that you are my editor, and you most certainly are not. Furthermore, the original statement was correct, as is the following:

            The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of atheists, but mostly they’re not.”

            Cordially yours”

            I’m only talking about your last two sentences before “Cordially yours.” Hint: reading is fundamental. If I have to “concede” that you didn’t say what you actually DID say in order to continue the discussion, then I guess we’re done.

            But as for the link to your Agenda-having site (and the associated .pdf file), first, there are no citations, or even hints to where they got their information. For all I know, they pulled it out of their collective asses. I can say that “scientists” say the moon is made of green cheese, or “historians” say that Hitler performed ballet in a pink tutu. But if I don’t have citations to back it up, I expect you’ll be taking my statements with a grain of salt. Should I tell you that you need to go research the whole body of knowledge about cheese and Hitler before you can say “well how do you know that?”

            But, for the sake of discussion, let’s just say that they do have some legitimate source somewhere for all this knowledge, but they just couldn’t conceive of the possibility that anyone would want to see it rather than just take their word for it. Well, we’re back to Spiderman in New York. I contend that in a New York in which Spiderman existed would leave a very different archaeological record than a Spiderman-free New York, or a New York in which Spiderman was just some guy who stopped a couple of muggers once.

            They use evidence such as the exodus story being written on a “wall of stone.” Well gee, Hercules is on pottery. As is every other Greek myth. So what? Why didn’t the Egyptians leave any record of having these slaves (unless there is some new evidence of which I am unaware)? And how does any of this corroborate the supernatural elements of the story? When I was five I rode a tram through a parting of a mockup of the Red Sea at Universal Studios in California. It didn’t make them gods.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff
  • Sunny Day

    Don’t feel bad. real scientists experience the same difficulties testing other things that don’t exist.

    “I’m not sure how spiritual IQ could be validly tested, but I do believe that spiritual discernment, and the ability to sense and apprehend the spiritual world is key to a right understanding of God.”

    • Francesc

      Tell me about it. I did the astral projection pretty well, communication with dead people was easy and casting out demons was not an issue. But I simply couldn’t transmigrate myself into an onion. Next time I’m gonna try it with a potato.

      • Sunny Day

        Aren’t you concerned with the possibility of visual overload, or are you going to trim the potato first?

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    “Often”, “Occasionally”, and “Most” have drastically (overly emphatic here on purpose) different meanings. I never wrote that MOST of the really intelligent people are believers. I would have no way of knowing that. That’s the type of fallacy atheists are routinely guilty of however, which is why agnosticism is the only tenable position outside of just believing. I could never presume to make a blanket statement like that, because it would be based on too much that I do not know, and because I am not even sure I trust the standards by which intelligence is measured.

    You’re right, though, that if you can’t see it, and this is the same thing to you, you are one of those people for whom further indulgence is a waste of time, both yours and mine. I am trying to provide answers to LRA and some others, so please just peruse those responses.

    No offense intended. I am looked at the same way, albeit in reverse, by many people on this site.

    Cordially

    • Heidi

      Oh, FFS. Now you’re going to argue adjectives b/c you have no tenable position. You are in dire need of anti-psychotics.

    • Custador

      GOT YOU AGAIN, YOU PHUKKING LIAR.

      You said AND I QUOTE YOU DIRECTLY:

      ” the following [statement is correct]:

      The brightest, most capable minds are occasionaly housed in the skulls of atheists, but mostly they’re not”

      And THEN you wrote:

      “I never wrote that MOST of the really intelligent people are believers. “

      YOU’RE A PHUKKING LIAR. You’ve come here and lied and lied and lied some more, and every time me or Jabster or Elemenope or Sunny Day or LRA have called you on YOUR COMPLETE, TOTAL HEINOUS BULLSHIT you’ve lied about it some more.

      Why can’t you grasp that everybody who reads a word you type knows that you’re a lying c*nt and just phukk off? We’re all fed up of it. Seriously. Just phukk off.

      • Custador

        There is actually steam coming out of my ears right now at the thought of the word games you’re going to try to play to either justify this or turn it back on me. Don’t. Just don’t.

      • Siberia

        Chill, chill. No need to be crude. I know you’re frustrated, but relax, man; this is just another godbothered trying to make his case. Nothing new. *pet*

        • Sunny Day

          He’s justifiably angry.

          80% of this Posts content was spawned as a reaction to a purposefully ignorant lying cum belching calloused ass gutterslut named Jeff.

          • Custador

            Nice! I’m stealing the phrase “purposefully ignorant lying cum belching calloused ass gutterslut” for future use :-)

      • James G

        Jeff, may I propose that you read up on the Dunning-Kruger effect. It describes the phenomenon where incompetent people, such as yourself, are unable to accurately assess their own abilities and therefore come to erroneous conclusions about how intelligent they are.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

        • Francesc

          I like this blog because you learn something everyday. I’ll use that effect in some arguments (it is obviously the problem of a lot of creationists out there) thanks!!

        • Karleigh

          That’s fascinating, James! Thanks for that.

      • LRA

        I knew the head asplosion was coming eventually…

        • Custador

          I’m getting predictable :-(

      • Heidi

        He smells desperate to me, like a cornered animal.

    • Elemenope

      …which is why agnosticism is the only tenable position outside of just believing.

      ROFL.

  • Bryan J.

    One of the major issues that I have with a policy like this (aside from all legal arguments) is the impracticality of the policy. There are any number of perfectly reasonable and legitimate reasons for students to access the sites blocked by the schools. When I was in high school, we had a project where we were required to write a report about a religion that was NOT Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or Hindu. Since nearly all other religions would be blocked by the school, this report (based on knowledge, tolerance, and understanding) is quite impossible in their schools.

  • Robb

    I just recently graduated from this school district, and this is the kind of shit the school system pulled all the time. You have no idea how glad I am to be out of there.

    • Boocher

      Is that you from facebook?

  • Ziggy

    FYI, atheism and Satanism do belong in the same category. “Mainstream” Satanism, i.e. the Chuch of Satan/First Satanic Church (what Marilyn Manson is associated with) has atheism as one of its core tenets.

    • Custador

      The church of Satanism founded by Anton LaVey and attended by Marilyn Manson is an atheist movement which calls itself Satanist as a protest against religion in general and Christianity in particular – they don’t actually believe in Satan. It’s just a convenient way of getting attention in a heavily Christian dominated society.

      • Custador

        Ah, there’s a LaVeyan Satanist on Yahoo! Answers: Apparently Marilyn Manson was friends with LaVey and found his ideas interesting, but he’s not actually a Satanist. There we go then.

  • AJD

    In the USA public schools should not be used for teaching children things outside of the 3Rs as we have come to know them ( Reading, Writing and Arithmetic ( History of the World, USA, and Local are also included in this ) ).

    It has become a battle ground for people to battle for the children of the USA ( mainly not their own children) so they can be accepted as a part of mainstream society, but it is your children who these people wish to influence with their ideas of right and wrong, it is for the parents of children in the USA to stand up and say what the Public Schools Teach the Children in the Local area. It is not correct for people to tell others what your children should learn. If the Gay, Bi-sexual, Lesbian, Transgender (so called ) Community wants to teach children about their Community then they should not be doing it in the Public Schools of our Country.

    This also apply s to the people who want to push Religion and those who do not believe in God as to what should be thought to children in the Public Schools of the USA.

    It is not the Children but the adults of the USA who are the problem with Schools in our Country, The adults of our Country want what they want and they do not want to hear they are wrong about teaching other peoples children about their personal Beliefs in whether God Weather or not, or what what their sexual prefrences are. In the end all these things are linked, both the people who want no God in School and the people who want your children to learn about alt. Sexual preferences want to same thing to tell other peoples children what to think.

    In the end it is not for people who do not have children in the public Schools to say what the children should be thought but the parents of the Children who are in our public School to say what is thought to the children in public School!

    I am a 46 year old Male Roman Catholic who has not children of his own at this time and I will stand by any parent who says not in my child’s School. Public Schools are not the place for people to push what they think on the children of the USA, Public Schools are a place where Children should goto get a good Education and only when people stop putting their own agendas first will our Public School System get better.

    • Elemenope

      So…when did you decide you would be heterosexual?

      If the Gay, Bi-sexual, Lesbian, Transgender (so called ) Community…

      It is so called a community because it is one. That you don’t want it to be one and fear they will get their sinful identity juice all over your kids couldn’t possibly matter less. Until you untangle your prejudices and fears from your more general objections, it will be difficult to take your position seriously. And, no, being a Catholic is no excuse; I’ve known Catholics who don’t let the teachings of their tradition command them to demean their fellow human beings merely because of their identities, nor crawl back into paranoid junk about nefarious plots to corrupt and control children to deflect from their own discomforts with the fact that the world is not in all ways like they think it should be.

      The fact is, in schools, values are taught. Those values are not neutral. Currently in the USA, schools teach that murder is wrong, drugs are bad and racism is unacceptable, that America is the greatest country on Earth, that sports are important, and so on, and so on. I disagree with some of those values, as I’m sure you do. That doesn’t mean we’d be doing children a service by chopping the curriculum down to the three R’s. It means, instead, that parents, just like their children, *must* confront a world where ideas other than their own hold power and must be wrestled with, and cannot be hidden or sequestered from in a vain effort to protect children from teh uncomfortable truth that some people disagree with their parents.

      It’s not the worst thing in the world to have to defend your beliefs from all comers; it might actually mean if you succeed that your beliefs are worth a damn.

      • Heidi

        He’s not worried about his own kids. He said doesn’t have any. He just wants to support other people in their intolerance and bigotry.

        • Elemenope

          Yeah, I know. That doesn’t make it any better.

    • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

      GLBT – I’ll just comment about the T.

      Imagine a school the banned all controversial subjects, like left-handedness. Left-handed people don’t exist, everyone is right-handed.
      Then a left-handed child enters such a school….

      “Transgender” has come to be an umbrella term for anyone whose appearance doesn’t conform completely to either a male or female stereotype. All well and good, if one is referring to “lifestyle choices” engaged in in adulthood. Not so good for children who are biologically Intersexed, born with bodies neither wholly male nor wholly female.

      Everyone with a high-school education in basic biology knows that “XX is female, XY is male”, right?

      “A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.” – J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9.

      Oops. What you “know” is almost certainly wrong, a gross over-simplification. And people who have a high-school knowledge of biology go on to become theologians, lawyers, judges and legislators. And make laws pertaining to Intersexed people that mean that sometimes mothers who have given birth are deemed “male” because they have 46,XY chromosomes.

      This is what you get as the result:
      “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

      All because rules for censorship are made by the products of a system that promote ignorance, so promote ignorance in their turn. Because it’s to do with sex, therefore prurient, icky, promoting moral decay etc etc.

      I’m Intersexed myself, one of the rarer and more spectacular varieties.
      One a bit like the one in this CNN report, which of course would be banned in Indianapolis.

      By the time I’d finished grade school, I’d collected quite a collection of broken bones from various beatings.

      My 8 year old son is Intersexed too. Fortunately, we don’t live in a state proud of its record of enforcing pig-ignorance, and he’s never been seriously hurt by others.

      By the time I was his age, I’d already had my skull fractured by an assault by older children wielding crowbars, had my arm broken twice, and had a number of knife wounds.

      Children in Indiana may not be so lucky as him because of censorship like this. Their experience may be more like mine.

      I therefore urge you as a Catholic to think of such children. They have a heavy enough cross to bear as adults.

      • Custador

        The idea of kids beating you with crowbars just because you were born a little different to them… It’s outrageous. Didn’t their parents do anything? If I had a kid that did that I’d kick his arse myself!

        • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

          The parents knew nothing of it. I only discovered that my skull had been fractured and the left brow sinus depressed in a CAT scan decades later.

          I was trying to be a boy, and big boys don’t cry, and fight their own battles.

          It was only when my mother walked in on me while I was having a bath, and saw the bruises and wounds covering my body, that I got quickly put in a boarding school.

        • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

          To see how much things haven’t changed in the UK, read this article.

          Or this one.
          His family, who live on a council estate, have received threats and are under police protection.

          Had the parents known… my family could have been put in danger too.

          • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

            Or this one.
            Parents who criticised the school and child’s parents on a social networking website were warned by police they could be prosecuted for harassment.

            The family of the nine-year-old were also given police protection.

            When you’re a biological female who looks like a male… it’s a good idea not to make waves if those around you are ignorant. If you get beaten up – even with a crowbar – you curl into a foetal position to protect vital organs, and take it like a man.

            I’m sorry, most people have never heard of 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3), let alone Persistant Mullerian Duct Syndrome etc etc. Most people aren’t aware of the persecution Trans and Intersexed children have to endure from uneducated people frightened for their own children. Ignorance breeds fear, even amongst those who are otherwise good people.

            • Custador

              People in general are stupid. Children in general are cruel and stupid.

      • Heidi

        *hug* I’m sorry for the monstrous treatment you’ve been through.

        • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

          I shouldn’t complain. Others have had it much worse.
          I survived. And I even get hugs from people like you.

          One large economy one back atcha.

          • Custador

            Zoe, you have every right to complain about what you went through. The more people who stand up and shout about that kind of thing the better.

            • Heidi

              Absolutely. You don’t have to be the last person in the “I have it bad” line before you get to speak out against injustice.

            • Elemenope

              Especially since the last person in line is usually dead.

            • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

              I’d rather try to stop such things from continuing to happen to other children than play the victim card. What’s done is done, and the only way I can make myself feel better about what happened is to prevent children today from having to go through the same thing or worse.

              And I really meant it when I said others had things tougher. I was quite genuinely one of the more fortunate ones.

              My parents were good people – that makes a huge difference.

              OK, the crowbar thing sounds bad on the face of it. But I know an Intersexed gal who was nailed through the palms to her bedroom door whenever company came so no-one was bothered by “the freak”. And another who was sold to a paedophile ring at age 3 for a high price, because of her unusual genitalia.

              Just ask a policeman who investigates cases of child abuse what some parents are capable of. Detectives working in this area burn out in a few years, they see far too much, even when the kids don’t “look funny”.

              So you can see why I don’t think I have the right to complain too much. Few Intersexed or Trans kids had it easier than I did.

              My best, my only, weapon is knowledge. If people know that such things happen, if people are aware of such medical conditions, then the inate humanity that is present in most people will stop the abuse from being so widespread. Ignorance and fear cause it.

            • Heidi

              But, see, if I compare those two girls, I would say that the one who was sold most likely had a worse time of it than the one who was horribly abused (tortured, really). But I think they both have every right in the world to complain.

              I think I’m just seeing “complaining” in a different light, really. “Hey, I went through this and it sucked” doesn’t sound like playing the victim card to me. It sounds like telling people you went through something that sucked. I mean, if you came across a child who was today going through what you went through with the bullies and the crowbar, you certainly wouldn’t tell her not to complain.

              OTOH, if a kid *was* going through worse, and happened across your “complaint,” you could be the difference as to whether that kid commit suicide, for example. (e.g. “If what Zoe went through wasn’t ok, then what I’m going through isn’t ok. And I’m not alone.”)

              Just some of the thoughts going through my brain right now.

            • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

              It’s a personal thing, Heidi.

              These two people are people who I know, personally. People who I’ve shared a meal with. I’ve seen the scars on the hands, it’s how I dragged the story out of her. She narrated it so matter-of-factly… as if it was normal…and you know what? The tragic thing is that it’s true. Such things are more common than not for trans children.

              And I had another friend too, only she committed suicide about a month ago due to the continuing maltreatment by her family. She’d done everything they asked, cut off all contact with friends in a similar situation (like me)… but it still wasn’t enough for them. She lasted 6 months with neither friends nor family before taking her own life.

              I’ve had nothing like that. I felt particularly close to her too, she’d been fortunate like me in other ways. Just not that one. My family never rejected me.

              I guess I feel “survivor’s guilt”. Why wasI so lucky?

              You’re right though: if I saw a 12 year old girl being given the same treatment as I was, trapped, spat upon and urinated on in an hours-long attack (another incident), no, I wouldn’t tell her not to complain. I might commit mayhem on the parents of the other kids if they didn’t do something about it, but for her I’d have nothing but compassion.

              I know I’m being irrational, that I’m applying a double-standard here. Maybe it is that I know I’m strong enough to survive, relatively undamaged by such things. Many girls are not. Maybe most.

              You see the same effect with Rape Crisis Centre councellors. All of us have the same double-standards.We survived the assault, the rapists may have violated our bodies, but not our minds. We should help those not so lucky there.

              Maybe we’re in denial, that it really was just as bad for us, and the only way we can function is by pretending it wasn’t. But whatever works, and we get to help, so it’s all good. I’m not sure all are in denial though: some women I know are just plain indomitable. OK, it hurts, and? So what? Why is that important when there’s others to be helped? That is the only thing that salves the wound.

              And that means that you comment on blogs, to try to help people you’ve never met, all the way in Indiana. To remove the ignorance and fear. To move the mountain one teaspoonful at a time. Because it’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

            • Custador

              I had no idea that transgender kids were treated so badly! I’m amazed that there isn’t more coverage of this sort of thing, particularly in an age when we’re all obsessed and bombarded with media coverage about how we should care for the children…

            • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

              You do know that Trans women have 17 times the rate of being murdered than the average? (compared to 3.2 times for young urban black males, the second highest minority group).

              Some of the suicides due to bullying get reported. As do the murders, if they happen on school property. They don’t always get the details right, but close enough.

              “Lawrence King, an eighth grader who identified as gay and wore makeup and nail polish, was 15 when he was declared brain dead on Feb. 13. The day before, he had been shot in the head in an Oxnard, Calif., classroom full of students….According to the Los Angeles Times and KTLA, McInerney and some other boys accosted King about his sexuality on Feb. 11. Students apparently often taunted King, who didn’t even have a safe home to return to after school: he was living in a shelter for abused and troubled children.”

              That’s from Time Magazine.

              Fairly typical: rejected and abused by parents, bullied at school… though being shot is most unusual, especially in a classroom. They usually use baseball bats and hammers.

              For every one that’s murdered so openly, there’s more who are beaten to death outside of the classroom. How many? We don’t know. Because until this year, the FBI were forbidden to collect the statistics. Even then, how do you differentiate such murders and suicides from others? It’s only when the facts are glaringly obvious, as with the Larry King case, that you can say with certainty.

              If a 16 year old kid is beaten to death in an urban ghetto, it’s probably drug- or gang- related. If a 13 year old kid in the Bible Belt… probably not.

              Have a look at the list of confirmed deaths at the Transgender Day Of Remembrance. How many know that such a day is commemorated, quietly, often secretly, in places throughout the world?

            • Custador

              I had absolutely no idea! And I’m shocked that I had no idea, not to say disapointed that it’s not getting more coverage.

            • Heidi

              Well, I guess I’m just saying that it doesn’t *sound* like pointless complaining to anyone else, if/when you want to talk about what you went through. At least, not to anyone I’d consider human.

              Anyway, take heart that you are indeed helping. Like Custador, I didn’t know it was as bad as it is. I wish the revelation was more of a surprise to me than it is, though. :-( Hang in there, hon.

            • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

              Sounds like my work here is done, Tonto.

              I mustn’t leave you with a false impression though. It’s not all bad. We do get some advantages. Not legally, or socially, but in other ways.

              Those of us that survive our childhood relatively whole and sane, well, what does not kill us makes us stronger. Ok, there’s the whole increased murder rate business, so we have to be careful there. And we’re often denied marriage, passports etc, or if we get them, they may be summarily annulled or cancelled..

              For example, this from a recent court case:

              “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

              It helps for us to have some considerable knowledge of the law, and medicine (as few medical people know too much about the biological issues), and to have many different career choices at any time. 40% of us are unemployed, 35% in part-time work, and of those in full time work, the average income is just over $15,000. Most of us live below the poverty line, and it’s legal to fire us summarily for our medical condition in 37 states. We’re specifically excluded from protection in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychotic Axe murderers are covered though.

              But I was getting to the advantages.

              Our neurology is non-standard. That gives many of us extra talents. OK, we need them, having to be medical and legal experts as well as having a half dozen more usual skills. Those of us that manage to gain employment in highly skilled areas often do extremely well. Even those of us of lesser ability are often neurosurgeons, professors of psychology. music, biology, law, engineering or especially Information Technology.

              I’m merely a Rocket Scientist and sometime Naval Combat System architect, with graduate and post-graduate qualifications in Pure Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Science and Communication and a few other areas. I’m currently doing my PhD in Evolutionary Computation and Genetic Algorithms at the Australian National University, and am a (completely self-taught) internationally recognised expert on the science of sex and gender. My blog is being archived at the National Library as a work of “national significance” with “lasting cultural value” – their words, not mine. That may sound impressive, but I’m strictly second-rate compared to some. I only have one (shared) “National Engineering Excellence” award, and my work has saved only about 100,000 lives. I’ve written no world-class Symphonies (unlike Wendy Carlos), nor do I head a NASA Science Research Centre (unlike Stephanie Langhoff).

              For some of the truly extraordinary women in similar situations, see this article.

              I’m one of the lucky few, not quite as talented as these women, but having been given the opportunities many are denied. Most like me end up on the streets, living in cars, and doing sex work. We who are more fortunate do what we can to help them.

              Heidi, Custador – please tell your friends and family about us. Not for old chooks like me, but for the many Intersexed and Transsexual children who are born every day. Girls and Boys who, if given half a chance, likely have extraordinary talents that will benefit Humanity at large.

    • Heidi

      Well, I am a 40 year-old female atheist who DOES have children in the public schools, so I guess I get more of a say than you do, right? Cool. I say children should be taught science. Lots, and lots of science. In as many fields as they can fit into a day. Because right now we’ve got a huge population of stupid people here, and the rest of the world is laughing at us for it. Rightly so, might I add.

      • Karleigh

        I try not to laugh at America, because many typical Australians are just as ignorant. They are maybe not so religious, their ignorance stems more from apathy and peer pressure to not be a nerd, etc. I wish I’d been taught more science in my mediocre public schools – maybe we could have fitted evolution into that hour each Friday when we were having Scripture that I didn’t know we were allowed to refuse.

  • Lindsay

    While I must admit that I didn’t read all of the comments, I read enough.
    As an atheist, which yes, is the absence of religion, however I’m shocked by how some people acted toward the misinformed.

    People that think atheism is a religion, and I know its not, but that should mean nothing to you. Let them be misinformed, because at least they’re not the ones giving atheists a bad name. When people overcorrect others, that’s why people get bad reputations.

    And I’m no happier about the atheist reputation than any of you, but personally, I would rather try to make atheists seem for friendly than society seees them now, not the other way around.

  • Bill

    More than likely nothing will be done about this. This school is in the “bible belt” where people are still predominantly religious even if they don’t go to church. They want their kids to grow up having the same backward beliefs they do. So why would they want the schools to allow students access to websites that might give the students alternative points of view about religion or sexuality or anything else? Why would they want their kids to have access to websites about atheism? They don’t want their kids to be atheists!
    This kind of narrow minded thinking is the reason kids who grow up in small towns leave home as soon as they turn 18 (if they don’t run away before then). They know they are being controlled and fed a line of bullshit their whole lives and they want to know what the REAL world is liket; so they leave. If parents would stop isolating their kids from the real world, maybe the kids would stay past their 18th birthday!

  • http://www.BigEventFundraising.com Clay Boggess

    Regardless of one’s religious views, everyone is protected by the 1st amendment and is, as a result, entitled to expressing their opinion or views. It’s up to each individual who hears the message to therefore discern for themselves what is right or wrong and to come to their own conclusions.

    • Jabster

      Strangely enough I’m not protected by the 1st amendment as I live in a different country … you do realise that “the internet” is accessible outside the US don’t you?

      ;-)

      • Sunny Day

        “you do realise that “the internet” is accessible outside the US don’t you?”

        Another myth propigated by the people who hate ‘merica and all ‘mericans!

  • Daniel B

    To correct your term “Satanism” It is actually an Atheistic view. It is called Satanism because it plays the part in how Lucifer rebelled from Heaven, thus in this case it would be: human rebelling from “Ordinary Religion”.

    • Paul

      No, the use of “Satanism” is just fine. Satanism generally refers to a religion that interests itself in Satan/Lucifer. That is what is being used here. You could make the argument about “Atheistic” or “Dualistic Satanism” which can have atheists as members, but does not at all encompass atheism as a whole nor does it refer to satanism in the same sense as the way Galef is using the term.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanism#Atheistic.2FDeistic_Satanism

    • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

      I love your arrogance – You seem to be claiming that “atheism” doesn’t mean “without belief in God”, and saying that it actually means “without belief in the Christian God”. Your arrogance is amusing, but your ignorance is not.

  • Blarg

    This censorship doesn’t matter. There are so many ways to get past web filters like tor, https, proxy servers, etc, etc. It’s pointless to even try to block anything. The best they can do is have some teacher watching other peoples’ screens with paranoia.

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  • Dale Headley

    So, is this what “religious freedom” means in America?


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