Commenter defending Christians insists they have less intelligence than infants.

There was another comment on the valedictorian post by Bob Mallard that I found poorly-reasoned.

religion has never been void of science nor should faith. No human with intelligence above a an infant who practices faith denies the principles of science. Just because you have faith does not mean you believe there is a demon behind every bush. Religion is not for the weak, and religion is not the antithesis of science. We should not go down that road.

Oh no.  Please.  Let’s go down that road.

Religion has never been void of science?  Are you kidding?  Religion can only exist in the absence of science.  You think science supports the idea of someone rising from the dead?  You think the claim of someone walking on water is harmonious with physics?  You think the story of someone being converted into a pillar of salt meshes with chemistry?  If so, you wouldn’t know science if you were drowning in it.

The very idea of a miracle is something for which the natural laws were suspended.  Nothing could be more anti-scientific than that.

And one of the points of science is to separate good ideas from bad.  Stars are created through a natural process called the Jeans Instability.  They are not created by rubbing twigs together.  One claims is scientific, the other is not.  However, faith can be used to defend quite literally any claim, no matter how ludicrous and no matter how offensive to the conclusions of science.  You cannot get more antithetical to science than that.  If faith and scientific knowledge were identical then students would learn about a global flood in geology class.  But they don’t, because it isn’t science.  If faith were based on facts and observable reality it would be called “knowledge”.  It isn’t because…it isn’t.

No human with intelligence above a an infant who practices faith denies the principles of science.

You have just done anti-theists like myself the courtesy of asserting that all Christians do not have superior intelligence to an infant.  To be a Christian necessitates a denial of the principles of science.  If our understanding of neurological death is correct, then Christianity is false because Jesus could not have risen from the dead.  If our understanding of surface tension is correct, then Jesus could not have walked on water.  The list goes on and on of all the claims in the bible invalidated by science.  The excuse is that these things were miracles orchestrated by a god who is not bound by the same laws that make science possible.  But anytime your recourse is to miracles you are denying the validity of science.

And as for this:

Religion is not for the weak…

Religion is not necessarily for the weak, though it’s no secret that Christians regularly target the weak for conversion.  Oh, your life is in shambles?  Come to Jesus.  Oh, you’re a child and at a point of cognitive development where Santa Claus still makes sense?  Believe in a guy who rose from the dead.  Oh, you’re on your death bed?  Convert or burn for all eternity.  But I cannot deny that despite these practices that there are certainly strong Christians.  However, don’t say to me that believing in someone rising from the dead is for reasonable people and expect to be taken seriously.  You might as well tell me that oxygen deprivation is good for your health.  Both claims are so transparently false that you’d need a bias indistinguishable from brain damage to believe they are true.

Science has been eroding faith and religion for thousands of years.  You can even test this yourself by trying to think of two things:

1.  Try to think of a question for which we once had a religious answer but for which we now have a scientific answer.  This should be easy.  You can start with geocentricity.

2.  Try to think of a question for which we once had a scientific answer but for which we now have a religious answer.  You will quickly realize how impossible this is.

Science has been carving away at the assertions of religion since humans first learned to reason.  The idea of someone rising from the dead is not more harmonious with science than the claim that lightning is sent as god’s wrath or that illness is caused by infestation by demons, it’s just that people finally admitted it with the latter two.  Christians, it seems, have failed to take even that baby step.

Faith is compatible with science.  Sure.  And ice cubes are compatible with fire.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Rain

    Religion has never been void of science? Are you kidding? Religion can only exist in the absence of science.

    I think he means religion and science have always coexisted with each other. Arguable, depending on how loose one’s definition of “science” is. Anyway, it’s a typical fuzzy-wuzzy equivocation so’s he can come back and say he didn’t say what you say he said. Like this one:

    Religion is not for the weak, and religion is not the antithesis of science.

    Yeah it’s not only for the weak I guess. Fuzzy-wuzzy equivocation–nobody knows what the hell it means. He can come back and say he didn’t say what you say he said. A sure sign that nobody can ever pin him down on anything. Maybe he should run for Pope or maybe even President.

  • Donna Rowe

    You are aware that religion isn’t limited to conservative Christianity, correct? Not every person of faith interprets their mythology literally, not even Christians. For some, it’s metaphor.

    You would be more convincing about the invalidity of ALL religion if you didn’t limit it to a certain type of Christianity or to the Abrahamic faiths.

    • Nate Frein

      This makes no sense. To be religious at all requires faith in scientifically or logically impossible events at some point.

      That some faiths couch that in woo and vague unverifiable claims doesn’t invalidate the criticism.

      It also doesn’t change the fact that as many as half of Americans interpret most, if not all, of the bible literally. Half of America. Half of the voters who choose our mayors, governors, school boards, state legislators, federal legislators, and yes, our president.

      So just because JT chooses to target a more specific brand of irrationality here doesn’t mean that doing so is unwarranted or unnecessary.

      Kindly take your tone-trolling elsewhere.

      • Michael W Busch

        Well, as many as half of Americans claim to interpret the Bible literally. They do not actually do so consistently, since that is impossible. But that claim and the actions that follow from it are the problem.

        • Nate Frein

          Fair point.

    • Zinc Avenger

      Which religion doesn’t make supernatural claims?

      • Rob

        Hers, obviously, duh.

    • Art_Vandelay

      What practical purpose would a metaphor even serve?

      • Rob

        Pulling wool over rubes eyes while placating non-rubes?

      • Zinc Avenger

        Exactly. If it makes no supernatural claims, it has no room for “faith” and you’d be hard pressed to define it as any sort of religion at all.

        • Art_Vandelay

          Right. It’s really just a word that people who don’t really believe it use to make it seem like it has value. Most of it though, doesn’t even have that. Even if you claimed to be a the loosest Christian ever and you went so far as to take the very central tenet as a metaphor…this story about God needing to sacrifice his son so that he could forgive us for the way he made us…what possible value does that serve even as a metaphor? That’s not even a good metaphor for forgiveness! It’s a horrible lesson. I mean, I can’t overstate this. It’s just an awful, awful idea.

      • kagekiri

        Acting as a smokescreen for their lack of an actual defense of their beliefs, obviously! Pretty practical, eh?

        • Art_Vandelay

          So, it’s like a get out of jail free card?

          • kagekiri

            More like a ninja smokebomb, except far too thin and ineffective to obscure the defenselessness of their beliefs.

            Or, I suppose, like trying to use a Monopoly get out of jail card on actual police, or Monopoly money as legal tender at a grocery store. No serious person would accept it.

      • Donna Rowe

        What practical purpose do music, art, and literature serve?

        • Nate Frein

          Do you make truth claims from Harry Potter?

          • Donna Rowe

            Literal truth? No, just as I don’t make *literal* truth claims from Camus or Whitman, either, yet both those authors speak to the human condition.

          • Nate Frein

            Not the same thing. This is not about “speaking to the human condition”. Religion, of any sort, is making a truth claim. Spirituality is a truth claim.

            Your “naturalistic pantheism” boils down to “There’s something special in everything”. That we can’t test. That we can’t verify. But you “feel”.

          • Donna Rowe

            I view spirituality from a more existential angle. We can know empirical truth, but finding meaning is different.

            You’re right. “Meaning” can’t be tested or verified.

          • Rob

            Yes it can. Is it consistent with reality?

          • invivoMark

            Of course meaning can be tested.

            If you remove something, what happens? If you never look at art, never listen to music, and isolate yourself from your family, what happens?

            Presumably, you lose a lot of the positive feelings in your life. Therefore, you can conclude that those things are meaningful to you (in other words, you have falsified the null hypothesis that those things are not meaningful to you).

            And of course, meaning changes. Religion was meningful to me as a kid. Then I grew up and replaced that meaning with the meaning of caring about humanity and exploring the world.

    • Azkyroth


    • Kodie

      If you interpret your mythology, calling it mythology, even, as a metaphor, what exactly are your pinning your faith to? Which parts do you interpret as literally true and why and how do you decide? When it’s obvious to me that literal interpretations are false and made up, it’s also obvious to me as soon as someone actively interprets it to be metaphorical while maintaining a faith status, they are actively inventing a religion. All religions are made up and it’s no doubt to me a lot of it was intended to be metaphorical, but here we can observe the creation of religion in progress. Here is where we can observe the human tendency to wish something true by inventing it to be whatever they think it is, and not in any way a knowable accurate assessment of a true deity. Obviously Christianity resonates with you particularly so you start with a projection of a literal history and check it against reality and rather than discard what is unbelievable, keep it all as some kind of helpful metaphor. Besides, you want credit for not being a total gullible literalist who denies reality, and obviously being put in their category has offended you in some way, but you are not entirely outside their category.

    • Nate Frein

      Gonna add on because this has been bugging me.

      JT is responding to a truth claim and using conservative christianity to rebut that truth claim.
      If a person claimed that

      No christians kill other people”

      and JT responded with

      “Not true, [such and such] sects of christianity have no problems killing people”

      the equivalent to your response here would be

      “You need to take into account other sects of christianity to disprove that christians kill people.”


      Your content is not only factually wrong but really not germane to the post at hand.

      Furthermore, JT has, on many occasions, in plenty of other blog posts, made clear his arguments against faith based thinking of any kind. Including those “metaphor based” versions you pull out of your rear end. I don’t know how this blog post turned up on your radar, but it’s clear you have not read much (if any) of JT’s writing outside of this one post.

      • Donna Rowe

        That’s correct. I do need to read more of his posts to put this one in context.

    • kagekiri

      Oooh, metaphorical Christians!

      1st Corinthians 15:12-14 “12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised,our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

      Wow, sure seems like that metaphorical faith is pretty much not Christianity at all in Paul’s eyes. Wait, is this supposed to be a metaphor? Do you even know what the fuck metaphorical Christianity would entail? I sure don’t.

      I appreciate that metaphorical Christians can ignore all the stupid shit in the Bible, but you should really just go all the way and give it up entirely. The morals and metaphors it possesses are useless without their magic spirit powers, as Paul clearly states in multiple places and the disciples display throughout Acts. Paul and Jesus are also pretty set on literally interpreting the Old Testament: the idea of Original Sin is predicated on Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden actually existing.

      1 Corinthians 2:4 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,”

      You’d make a better defense of Christianity if you knew what they actually say in their scriptures.

      • Nate Frein

        Given what she states here,

        I call myself “spiritual, but not religious” because I refuse to be bound to a particular theology. I will choose for myself what I believe, as determined by reason and personal experience.

        I think it’s fair to say she wants her woo and she doesn’t want it questioned.

        • Donna Rowe

          Question it, but stop setting up straw men. Buddhism is a religion, too, but where is a belief in the supernatural required?

          • baal

            You can be a secular Buddhist (more or less) but the notion that we’re living in a fake reality and only some small number of us can achieve enlightenment (see through the illusion) is a supernatural belief (also, reincarnation).

          • invivoMark

            Ah, so if JT attacks someone else’s faith, it’s a straw man against your particular faith.

            And nobody here even knows what your faith is in the first place, or why you think it’s different from everybody else’s, so you can sit there and keep yelling “straw man!” at every critique of faith anyone posts here.

          • Donna Rowe

            Unitarian Universalist. I’m agnostic and tend towards naturalistic pantheism.

            Actually, what I resent most is that whenever religion is discussed, it’s assumed that every theist shares the same basic ideas as the conservative Christians. JT didn’t limit his discussion in this article to just Christianity. When you talk about *religion*, you’re talking about a whole heck of a lot more people than Christians. Yes, they’re the great majority in the Western world, but they’re still just 1/3 of the world’s religious, and many of those are just nominal Christians.

            I get enough of that assumption from the *Christians* in this red state. Do I really need it coming from the other end as well?

          • Nate Frein

            And yet you have yet to even try to actually refute any of the content in this post. Except possibly your (rather incorrect) assertion that buddhism requires no supernatural claims.

            JT assumed nothing.

          • invivoMark

            I’m agnostic and tend towards naturalistic pantheism.

            These words… I do not think you know what they mean.

          • Kodie

            Actually, the commenter being critiqued here had said that

            No human with intelligence above a an infant who practices faith denies the principles of science.

            …referring ostensibly to YECs while making the same exceptions for more liberal, progressive believers as you seem to be. The rest of the article explains why that won’t fly.

          • Art_Vandelay

            On the way to Devadaha, the procession passed Lumbini Grove, which was full of blossoming trees. Entranced, the Queen asked her courtiers to stop, and she left the palanquin and entered the grove. As she reached up to touch the blossoms, her son was born.Then the Queen and her son were showered with perfumed blossoms, and two streams of sparkling water poured from the sky to bathe them. And the infant stood, and took seven steps, and proclaimed “I alone am the World-Honored One!”

            Yeah…that sounds totally natural.

          • Drakk

            There’s also that whole thing about how not only was Gautama born through his mother’s side, (say, why does vagina-phobia seem to be common among religions?) but that his mother died seven days later.

            That’s pretty fucking miraculous surviving a week with an exit wound the size of a baby through your lungs.

          • Feminerd

            Well, if it was an early C-section (occasionally performed, almost never survived by mother), he could come out her side but not her lungs. And it is possible to survive a very unpleasant week with a gaping abdominal wound.

          • Drakk

            Okay, help us out here. What exactly is it that you believe based on no evidence whatsoever?

          • Nate Frein

            First, this is a complete non-answer and it’s completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Again, JT is not, in this article, setting up straw men in any way because he is citing a specific (and extensive) example to rebut a truth claim about all people with religion.

            But about Buddhism. As has been pointed out, the concepts of karma, reincarnation, and nirvana (among others) are all supernatural claims with no evidence offered. They are not compatible with science.

            Now, you might like to adopt the non-religious aspects of buddhism, but you should be able to give, you know, reasons outside of “but that’s what buddhism wants” to justify it.

            The reason I think you like your woo is how you talk about using your “personal experience”. Feel free to prove me wrong, but if you’re using your “personal experience” to justify believing in namby-pamby spiritualism, then you’re using a very faulty diagnostic apparatus to base your woo on. And that simply is not compatible with using “reason” to justify your beliefs as well.

            Now, how about you stop misrepresenting what JT is doing here. How about you start responding to the germane criticisms of your post. And if you’re not willing to do that, why don’t you take your snotty UU soft-spirituality, superiority complex, and tone trolling elsewhere.

          • Donna Rowe

            It was not my intention to troll. If I have inadvertently done that, then I apologize. I also misinterpreted what JT wrote. For that I also apologize.

            I appreciate your insights into my beliefs. I will admit freely that a part of me *does* want to believe in something beyond this reality. Apparently, this part is stronger than I thought. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

            Thank you for having this discussion with me. I wish you well.

          • Feminerd

            Hey, I can understand the wanting. I’ve wanted fairies (well, fae/sidhe, which are not at all the same thing) to be real since I was 10. I read modern fantasy a lot where the magicky bits were hidden just under the surface of the ‘real’ world. I looked really, really hard.

            But you know what? It’s not there. No matter how hard I looked, there were no fae realms under the hill, no sly fae who can’t lie but always come out ahead on bargains, no magic. Fairy circles are just mushrooms and usually poisonous ones. It was very disappointing.

            But then something happened. I learned about fungi and why some fungi tend to grow in circular patterns. Learning even a little bit about mushrooms opened up a whole new realm of ‘how things work’ that is just as fascinating and foreign as magic would be, except it has the added benefit of being real. Fungi are neat. So is light, and sound, and lightning, and plants, and why the sky is blue, and clouds, and everything! The closer you study anything, the more fascinating it is, and you realize the world doesn’t need magic or spirits to be truly amazing.

          • Donna Rowe

            “The closer you study anything, the more fascinating it is, and you realize the world doesn’t need magic or spirits to be truly amazing”.

            Very true, although there are times I feel more like Walt Whitman than his “learn’d astronomer.”

            Thank you for your kind response.

          • Drakk

            “I appreciate your insights into my beliefs. I will admit freely that a part of me *does* want to believe in something beyond this reality. Apparently, this part is stronger than I thought. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”


            I don’t mean specifically that particular belief. I question why one should “want” to believe any particular thing at all. It seems to me that one should prefer to believe as many true things as possible, and disbelieve as many untrue things as possible. The criteria for evaluating which is which is evidence.

            As soon as you throw “want” for a particular, specific belief into that equation, you introduce bias. One who wants to believe asks “Does the evidence allow me to believe?”. One who wants to disbelieve asks “Does the evidence force me to believe?”. The question to ask should be “What does the evidence say?”. One should want to believe whatever it is that the evidence indicates.

            I don’t want to be atheist any more than I want to be christian, it is just that the claims made by Christianity are not supported by evidence. Given that, statistically speaking, more claims are false than true (infinitely more if you allow arbitrarily precise claims), and that true claims tend to show evidence in their favour, I conclude that the claims of christianity are not true. If I received incontrovertible evidence that the Christian god existed, I would immediately believe – that is to say, accept the existence of – the Christian god. I would probably not become a christian (because I think the god character in the bible to be immoral and unworthy of worship) but I would accept that he existed (and probably attempt to find a way to make that not so).

          • Donna Rowe

            I’ve given your question a lot of thought, Drakk. I guess it’s because I erroneously assume I would have to give up my sense of wonder and mystery if I lived a purely rational life. Supertramp captured my concern perfectly in “The Logical Song.”

            I don’t want to be that person. I want the magic. Yet, along came Femnerd, extolling the wonder of scientific study of mushrooms, reminding me so much of what I most loved about Carl Sagan, especially in his Cosmos series. Now, I’m no scientist like she is. There’s a reason I majored in English literature. I’m still Walt, not the Learn’d Astronomer. Still, her post reminded me that I don’t *have* to lose my sense of wonder.

            Pantheism is just my way of saying I find the natural world to be sacred; nothing supernatural is required. Yet, because I use that term, I’m still aligning myself with the believer side of the equation. I call myself agnostic because I believe there’s no way of knowing if there is a god, but, if there is, why doesn’t he/she/it just come on out and end the guessing games? It’s possible there’s a “god,” but it’s strongly *probable* there isn’t.

            I want to believe because I’m a coward. The universe is very big, and I’m very small.

          • Feminerd

            I’m no scientist either, by training. Unless you count political science and political economy as science :) I just like learning things. The natural sciences are a nice, clean, orderly place to take a break from studying people and politics.

            Addendum: The universe is a big, scary place, that’s for sure. But I find that wondrous too! I mean, we’re tiny, insignificant bits of carbon (thanks, Tim Minchin, for that wonderful description) on a small, rocky planet orbiting a fairly boring star on the outskirts of one galaxy out of millions (billions? trillions? lots). And yet, from our tiny insignificance, we find beauty and meaning in this big cold universe of ours. It’s dazzling and, once you push past that initial fear, not really scary at all. There are no monsters in the closet, and that’s wonderful.

          • Drakk

            I erroneously assume I would have to give up my sense of wonder and mystery if I lived a purely rational life.

            Not at all. There is room for happiness and wonder within reality’s framework without needing to invent things beyond it.

            I do wonder about your desire for mystery though. I would never desire mystery, I desire clarity. To desire that there be mystery is to desire that one be ignorant, and to glorify the mystery is to glorify one’s ignorance. All facts are comprehensible, and all should be comprehended.

            I don’t want to be that person. I want the magic.

            But what you desire is irrelevant. The magic is either already there, or it is not, and the case seems to be that it is not.

            I’m call myself agnostic because I believe there’s no way of knowing if there is a god, but, if there is, why doesn’t he/she/it just come on out and end the guessing games? It’s possible there’s a “god,” but it’s *probable* there isn’t.

            Flawed. Why is this proposition, so similar to all others, exempt from the usual standards of testing? A statement that makes a claim about the nature of reality should be tested in the same way we test all other claims about the nature of reality. That the hypothesis exposes itself to no test is a failure on the part of the hypothesis, not on ours. I can claim anything I want if I am careful not to expose it to any test.

            it is of course possible to know one way or another if there is a god – at least, to the same degree of certainty we know anything else. Compare reality as it would appear if a god existed to reality as it exists, and if the two do not overlap, then the hypothesis is wrong.

            The fact that the hypothesis itself cannot decide what its predictions are is an indictment of the hypothesis, exposing it as incoherent and beneath acceptable standard.

            I want to believe because I’m a coward. The universe is very big, and I’m very small.

            I have already stated my counter – that regardless of what you want, reality is the way it is. But your other statement too causes me confusion. To shield yourself against the unknown vastness of the universe – you invent for yourself yet more unknown things – and not just unknown but incomprehensible? Even if I granted the legitimacy of choosing belief based on desire – which I expressly do not – this seems counterproductive.

          • Donna Rowe

            Intellectually, I know that. Your arguments are correct.

            Mystery is not counterproductive if you imagine that this is not all that is. In a thousand years, who is going to know or care that any of us even existed? It’s egotistical to wish immortality, but a human lifespan is just so short, too short to experience all that is or to comprehend all the facts there are.

            I also know that, while I’m not a stupid person, I do not have the ability to understand everything nor am I naturally detail-oriented. My husband, who *is* detail-oriented, has a nickname for me: FOAT–Frickin’ Oblivious to All Things. It’s an exaggeration, but it’s close to the truth. I’m a generalist rather than a specialist. He sees the trees. I like the forest, the overall picture, and the connections those trees have to one another and to their overall environment. A sense of connection is important to me.

            But, as you say, just because someone wants something to be true, that doesn’t make it so.

          • Drakk

            Mystery is not counterproductive if you imagine that this is not all that is.

            You seem to misunderstand my objection.

            Mystery does not exist as a real thing. Reality is the way it is. That it appears mysterious to us is a fact about us, specifically a fact about our lack of understanding, not a fact about reality. When our brightest minds failed to explain Mercury’s precession as it defied all our equations, this was not gravity being mysterious, it was ourselves being unaware of General Relativity.

            In any case, save imagination for forming your hypotheses, not your conclusions.

            In a thousand years, who is going to know or care that any of us even existed? It’s egotistical to wish immortality, but a human lifespan is just so short, too short to experience all that is or to comprehend all the facts there are.

            Perhaps here we may have to disagree, because I do wish immortality – and for everyone, mind you, not only myself. Or at the very least indefinite extension of life, and people still able to die at the time of their choice.

            As today we know the name of Pythagoras, I suspect that the future will also know the name of Einstein – and more certain of the fact, since our records are now better preserved. If what you desire is to be remembered, then do something to ensure it. Contribute to the improvement of the human condition, as Einstein and Pythagoras did, and as I myself hope to do.

            [...] I do not have the ability to understand everything nor am I naturally detail-oriented [...]

            Your admission of the fact is good. Your acceptance of it is not. To be able to see things in fine detail is not something I am good at either, but I attempt to constantly improve myself at it, because I know that the best statements are the most precise ones. Those are the ones that expose themselves to the strictest tests, the most useful for making predictions. This is why so much time is devoted in the sciences to analysis of uncertainty.

    • Drakk

      So that god character that the bible keeps going on about, what’s he a metaphor for?

  • Park James

    “If our understanding of surface tension is correct, then Jesus could not have walked on water.”

    How do we know that Jesus didn’t just have really big, flat feet?

    • Rob

      It’s ridiculously easy to walk on water.

      He didn’t say STP, did he?

      • baal

        Some place in Minnesota use the lakes as part of the general road system (it’s that cold enough of the year to make sense).

        • Little Magpie

          Rob, +a zillion geeky “likes.”
          Also large parts of northern Ontario, northern Quebec, Labrador, which are more accessible to heavy vehicles (trucks) in the winter than the summer, because in summer, it’s muskeg swamp. In winter, they lay down ice roads.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Yeah, maybe Jesus was really just a Jesus Lizard. That would explain the parthenogenesis as well.

      • baal

        I, for one, make it a point to welcome our reptilian overlords.

  • kagekiri

    Religion is not for the weak, and religion is not the antithesis of science

    Huh, really?

    2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Mark 2:17 “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    That’s odd. Sure sounds like Jesus and Paul though Christians were (and ought to be) weak. I guess the head of the religion and its most prominent theologian, whose words are the supposed core of one of the world’s largest religions and which still are treated as the primary theology of the religion, don’t know what religion’s about, eh?

    1 Corinthians 2:5
    “so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

    I wonder if you think that science is human wisdom? Because Paul sure thinks logic and evidence and arguments are not great for Christians.

    Have you tried knowing what the fuck you’re talking about, Bob? It helps a lot.

  • Michael W Busch

    I am bothered a bit by the “less intelligence than infants” line. The innate intelligences of infants are the same as that of anyone else – they just haven’t finished growing their brains yet, haven’t learned the skills of critical thinking, and haven’t had an education.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Well, at least they haven’t developed the cognitive faculties to be offended.

    • islandbrewer

      Oh yeah? I gave an IQ test to my newborn son, and he failed! I almost disowned him, but then he peed on me while I changed his diaper, and I decided I liked his moxy.

      • Michael W Busch

        Deliberately missing any joke: IQ tests don’t measure innate intelligence. They measure how well people have learned the skills measured by IQ tests.

        • islandbrewer

          I know. That was part and partial to the joke. That is why I’m disinclined to tell jokes in comment threads, anymore. Thank you for quashing the last vestiges of humor in me.

          • Michael W Busch

            I have trouble separating many jokes from the possibility of someone-just-not-getting-it. Sorry.

          • islandbrewer

            I just kind of thought that the inability of newborn infants to respond to any sort of thing passing for an intelligence test, valid or invalid, would have given it away. I will make no more such assumptions.

  • Jasper

    I’d still love to know how faith (believing things without sufficient evidence or in the face of contrary evidence) is compatible with science (determining what’s true only when sufficient amounts of evidence is available to come to that conclusion).

    The white and black blocks of a chess board are “compatible” in the sense that they’re not trying to occupy the same space at the same time.

    • Rob

      Not quite an apt analogy. NOMA is BS, they both make claims about the same thing.

      • Jasper

        Clearly it wasn’t apt, since that was supposed to be the point I was trying to make. The only way they could be compatible is if they didn’t do that.

        • Jason Koskey

          This is my favorite analogy. Trying to argue that science and religion are “compatible” so long as they are kept separated makes about as much sense as calling two people who can’t stand to be in the same room as one another a “compatible” couple. Compartmentalization is the opposite of compatibility, since systems which work cooperatively with one another don’t need to be isolated from another.

          It’s amazing the number of “serious” theologians who try to paper over the conflict between science and religion with such tissue-thin rationales.