Bible Interpretation? It Works Like the Paul-is-Dead Rumor.

Bible Interpretation? It Works Like the Paul-is-Dead Rumor. September 16, 2016

Beatles Bible Paul is DeadHave you heard the “Paul is dead” rumor that started around the time of the release of the Beatles’ 1969 Abbey Road album? Paul McCartney had supposedly died and been replaced by a lookalike several years earlier. Fans eager for confirmation discovered clues in this and earlier albums.

  • The cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) shows the four Beatles dressed as if to a funeral. In flowers in the foreground is “Beatles” and a guitar—Paul’s instrument. The back cover shows the four Beatles with Paul the only one facing backwards.
  • The song “Revolution 9” on the White Album (1968) contains the phrase “number nine” repeated many times, but this becomes “turn me on, dead man” when played backwards. There are also clues in other songs.
  • The Abbey Road cover of the four Beatles crossing a street shows Paul (second from left) portrayed differently once again. He’s taking a step with his right foot, while the others are all stepping with the left foot. And here again, we have the elements of a funeral: George, wearing jeans, is dressed as a grave digger; Paul, with bare feet, is the dearly departed; Ringo, in black, is a mourner or the undertaker; and John, dressed in white, is the preacher or a heavenly symbol.

You tend to find what you seek, and fans have found many more clues, though Beatles publicists rejected the story.

What could explain this? Could there have been no deliberate clues at all in these albums? Of course! The covers could simply be enigmatic or artistic, with motivated fans cobbling together what seems to them to be clues. They could find their own meaning, even if none was put there by anyone.

Comparison with the Bible

We see this with Bible interpretation: you find what you seek. Anything that contradicts the Christian’s particular view of the gospel can be reinterpreted and made captive to that view.

  • The idea of the Trinity took four centuries to congeal, with many (now) heretical views discarded along the way. Still, the modern Christian might see the Trinity plain as day in the New Testament, even seeing Old Testament polytheism as instead referring to the Trinity.
  • Jesus talks about secrets: “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand’” (Luke 8:9–10). “Secrets”? Mystery religions like Mithraism or Gnosticism have secrets available only to the initiated, but what aspects of Christianity are secret?
  • We find the influence of Marcion. “No one has seen the father but the son” (John 1:18) contradicts the stories of Abraham and Moses seeing God, unless you accept Marcionite thinking in which the father of Jesus is a different god than the one in the Old Testament.
  • Also consider Jesus’ comment to a mob: “Is it not written in your Law …” (John 10:34). “Your law”? Wouldn’t Jewish Jesus say that it was our law? Not if he comes from a different god.
  • John 20:26 says, “Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.” This isdocetism, the heresy that Jesus had a spirit body and only seemed to be human.
  • Or consider the curious “the last will be first, and the first will be last” from Matthew 20:16. Sure, some bad people are at the top of pile, but aren’t there any good people who became rich or powerful by honest toil? Not according to apocalypticism, in which our world is ruled by the bad guy and the next world by the good guy. Anyone doing well in this world can only be doing so by being in league with the bad ruler, which is why everything is turned upside down in the next world.

Each of these odd ideas is absorbed, Borg-like, into the presupposition. Christianity becomes the ultimate unfalsifiable hypothesis.

Religious belief as conspiratorial thinking

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky talks about something similar, the “self-sealing” nature of conspiracy theories. Imagine an inflatable lifeboat in which any puncture would quickly seal itself: “Any evidence against the conspiracy is interpreted to be in actual fact evidence for the conspiracy.”

For example, consider the statement: The arguments claiming that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job are pretty laughable. Ah, that just shows that the 9/11 Truth movement itself is part of a bigger conspiracy!

If the U.S. moon landing was a hoax, the Soviets had the technology to discover it and would’ve been eager to point out the lie. Ah, that just shows that the Soviets were in on the hoax!

The resurrection of Jesus just steals an element from the stories of prior dying-and-rising gods. That it wasn’t new suggests that it was made up. Ah, but that’s exactly what Satan wants you to think! And why he put those stories into history—just to fool you. (This was Justin Martyr’s argument).

But what about the verses above that are nicely explained by our New Testament being a mosaic of ideas, the aftermath of a tug of war between many different ideologies? Ah, God is simply trying to test us! His message is plain to those with the right faith.

Someone determined to hold onto their presuppositions ride in a self-sealing ideological lifeboat, but they’ve also insulated themselves against any information showing their initial views to be wrong. This is not someone following the evidence.

I reject your reality and substitute my own.
— Doctor Who television show (1974)?

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/15/13.)

Image credit: John Hoey, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mr. Jantikalu

    Everyone finds other clues and references in the bible. That is why there are thousands of denominations in christianity. Yet they don’t seem to realize something is wrong with scripture that is so unclear about everything…

    • rubaxter

      You fool, the scripture ISN’T unclear and there is ONE true faith, it’s just that YOU are WRONG and can’t see the right one.

      • Sarcasm? Or Bible thumper?

        It’s Poe’s Law in action.

        • Myna A.

          My money is on sarcasm.

        • Mr. Jantikalu

          I agree. I’ve been fooled by a Poe a few times before. I don’t think he is serious either 🙂

      • Jim Jones

        So this is where our movement came along and finally got the Bible right

        “Jesus is so lucky have us.”

        http://i.imgur.com/RRWJKpn.jpg

      • epeeist

        Ah, an argumentum ad litteras maiusculas. Colour me convinced.

      • Robert Templeton

        “There are more religions in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Not Shakespeare in Not Hamlet

    • You’d think that an omniscient god would be able to get his message down on paper coherently and unambiguously.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        As long as that god is immortal and omnipresent, it gains none of the benefits of written language and shoots itself in the foot with all the shortcomings. It can’t be all that smart in all areas, nor very on the ball about adressing such issues considering my comment here.

  • Sophia Sadek

    My favorite Trinity ruse was the notion that Buddhists were secret Christians because of the triple treasure of Buddha, dharma, and sangha.

    • Myna A.

      Maybe Hindus are secret Christians as well with the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

      Or maybe, Christians are secret Hindus! Wouldn’t that be a blip.

      • Sophia Sadek

        Why does the name Krishna sound so much like Christ? Inquiring minds want to know.

        • Khanada

          Maybe if we all go listen to “My Sweet Lord” backwards, there might be some clues…

        • Myna A.

          Suspicious, indeed.

          Gnostic Jesus liked to Round Dance and Krishna liked to Rasa Dance.

          **Painting of the Rasa Dance by Novikov Viacheslav

        • Myna A.

          Suspicious, indeed.

          Gnostic Jesus/Christ liked to Round Dance and Krishna liked to Rasa Dance.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/401a76bdec07c8cb652a53d73ca18d3b2295def13bc3564ebf4c493d1dbf19ca.jpg

        • Arbustin

          Ironically, I thought I remembered George Harrison saying something very similar but now I can’t find the quote.

        • Sophia Sadek

          I believe that at least one Christian apologist claimed that the story of Krishna was introduced after the Jesus story. There are academics who contend otherwise.

      • More probable, given Hinduism came first. I remember reading that some Buddhists and Hindus see Jesus as a bodhisattva/avatar of Vishnu. Christians tend to reinterpret them as servants of Satan, if unknowing. This is a more generous reinterpretation by them.

  • I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to convince people that Elyon (the Most High) is “the father” and that Adonai (the LORD) is Jesus. In Deuteronomy 32, it’s clear that there is a Most High who has sons, and one of the sons becomes the god of Israel. Father/Son — sounds like the NT to me! And in Psalm 82, all of the other gods are told they’re going to die, so that just leaves El Elyon and Adonai.

    It’ll be fun!

    • Kevin K

      I can’t imagine anyone can come up with a new heresy…but I’ve never heard of yours before. It’ll be interesting to see if you get any “play” out of it.

    • But Deut. 32 is talking about a pantheon of gods, right? The Trinity isn’t as good a parallel as, say, the Roman pantheon.

      • No, but I’m just trying to attract followers. It’s best only to use a little bit of logic.

    • So you’re founding Mormonism?

      • Ha! Didn’t think of that! Well, maybe I’d better not. People who found religions have a habit of getting themselves killed.

        • Kodie

          So just fake your death.

    • Kingasaurus

      Similar ideas have definitely been proposed.. El Elyon was the progenitor god, and Yahweh the storm/war god was one of his sons. They only get mashed up (I think) in the story when God tells Moses in the burning bush that he’s been called both names, but he’s really one guy.

  • Kevin K

    Oh yeah? Well if Paul isn’t dead, how do explain Wings?

    • Hmm …

      • Kevin K

        That joke is probably 20 years old or more…amazing that it could be dusted off.

        • johzek

          If Paul is dead then that imposter who recorded the unplugged cd which I’ve enjoyed for the last 25 years sure is a damn talented fellow.

  • Jack Baynes

    This verse MUST mean something. And so it does.

  • wtfwjtd

    I love it when Christians talk of their scriptures, which they believe are handed down by their God, as their source of objective morality…and then they helpfully proceed to interpret them for me. Yeah, no contradiction there!

    • Mr. Jantikalu

      I had a lengthy discussion about the existence of objective morality. The discussion ended when I wanted to know how drowning an entire planet is moral. Never heard of him again.

      • Michael Neville

        Some Christian apologists, William Lane Craig being the most prominent, have a work-around for that and similar questions. Whatever God does is automatically moral, even if it would be universally condemned as utterly immoral if done by anyone else. Craig et al give God a pass on ordering committing genocide, ordering genocide, condoning rape and sexual slavery, killing people just because he can, etc. God being the source and arbitrator of morality means that whatever he does is moral.

        One flaw in this argument is that if something is moral because God says so, this leaves us with nothing more than a tautology, defining morality such that we are unable to judge what is moral. If, by contrast, God says something is moral because it is moral, then there is an underlying assumption that there exists some moral standard that is independent of God.

        • MNb

          “have a work-around …”
          Don’t forget to pity the culprits – like the Biblical Einsatzgruppe who had to kill off all those Canaanite women and children. Imagine the psychological toll it took to the good think and obey this Divine Command, which was good by definition!

        • Poor death squad soldiers… Many real Einzatzgruppen SS ended up killing themselves. I guess we should pity them?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Was the majority of the suicides because of coming out of the cult fervor of righteously exterminating their enemies to realize their grisly deeds or for fear of lengthly sentences and the horrible treatment that would probably come with that?

        • Apparently the former, since it was earlier than when they might expect punishment (although some did kill themselves in the face of that as well). Himmler even gave a speech to the SS saying they had to set aside their consciences and commented on how so many had just cracked up or killed themselves. That’s why they started gas chambers instead, to remove them from directly killing people. Yes, even the SS were human.

        • MNb

          I don’t know about the suicides, but I do know they had serious psychological problems from the very beginning, ie when they still were convinced they would win.

          http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/himmlerinminsk.html

          Better not read this article when you have a weak stomach. It shows that the nazis mechanized the Holocaust (resulting in the death camps) because of the problems the Einsatzgruppe encountered.

          http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/specialmotivation.aspx

          Whenever I am reminded of Craig’s nazi Divine Command Theory I am reminded of stuff like this article.

        • Himmler, the butcher who couldn’t stand to see blood. Of course, it’s very likely he never killed anyone himself. Rank: the privilege of not getting your hands dirty.

          As ever the rationalizations are the same. How like the Nazis they sound in justifying genocide (though here it was thankfully fictional, yet even so).

        • God being the source and arbitrator of morality means that whatever he does is moral.

          I think this was also the personal motto of Ivan the Terrible.

          My question for Christians with this response is to ask what God’s morality is then. Specifically.

          Surely God’s moral guidelines are more than a completely arbitrary, “I do whatever the fuck I want.” That is, we understand that the Christian must follow one set of moral rules, and I want to understand this second set of moral rules that applies to God.

        • RichardSRussell

          I think this was also the personal motto of Ivan the Terrible.

          “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.”
          —Richard Milhous Nixon

        • Cygnus

          An asshole as President is still an asshole.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All Presidents are assholes to someone or other.

        • Cygnus

          Do you want to be a President?

        • Ignorant Amos

          President of what?

          We don’t have Presidents as heads of state.

        • Cygnus

          OK, let me explain at your level: Dow you want to be one of “all Presidents”? Or just be a simply….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Still not explaining yourself, even for my level, whatever level that is. Perhaps it is another attempt at that hilarious Cygnus type humour again, yes?

          Cygnus, I wish you weren’t on our side. Some of the things you come out with are pure unadulterated shite and somewhat embarrassing at a theist level.

        • Cygnus

          “Cygnus, I wish you weren’t on our side.”
          ====
          And what *your* side is? A pathetic few losers with lame excuse for being alive wasting time trying to insult me? No iditotard can make me feel inferior, no mater what r-tard level you have.

          You have that delusion that you are very wise because you said “All Presidents are assholes to someone or other.” No shit, wiseass.
          Every moron is an asshole to someone or other, but I asked you if you want to be a President, just for you not to be just an asshole but a President too. As if.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who is foaming now?

        • Cygnus

          Feeling better now?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I can’t get a straight answer about what Jesus changing his mind to be immoral would look like and if Christians would therefore rebel to champion the “objective morality” they think Jesus will always stick to. I get the feeling that many of them are DCT’s if only lite ones.

        • Mr. Jantikalu

          “Whatever God does is automatically moral, even if it would be universally condemned as utterly immoral if done by anyone else. ”

          Wow! That is the most stupid apology for God I ever heard. If man is created in his image, he should have the same moral understanding as God.

          But humans are strange beings. Evil dictators in history had many followers. Some mass murderers and child rapists get loveletters and other fanmail in prison. Or hostages facing the Stockholm syndrome and feel symphaty for the hostage takers.

          So, considering that, it isn’t surprising that so many people can forgive God every evil thing he does. For me, it makes me a bit ashamed to be a human.

  • William

    I’d always attributed “I reject your reality and substitute my own” to Adam Savage on Mythbusters; but I see now that, according to Wikipedia, he was quoting The Dungeonmaster (1984), and they go on to call it a paraphrase of something the Doctor said in “The Deadly Assassin” (1976). They don’t give the original wording (and I don’t remember it, although I’ve seen that a few times, but not in years).

    • Getting attributions right is sometimes tricky.

      Some good advice by Abraham Lincoln comes in handy: “Never trust what you see on the internet.”

      • Michael Neville

        Isn’t that in Paul’s Epistle to the Naive?

        • Thought2Much

          Yes, but he was only quoting Plato.

        • MNb

          Who heard it when visiting Atlantis.

        • Thought2Much

          But they got it from the Vimana.

      • Ignorant Amos

        That’s what the serpent really said to Eve.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It said this after playing the starring role in Dark Souls, it’s last video game job before Sephiroth impaled it on a giant spike.

    • Wow, me too! I learned something… 🙂

  • cat butler

    “In flowers in the foreground is “Beatles” and a guitar—Paul’s instrument”

    Um, Paul played bass.

    • Aram

      Ah, but he also played guitar. Thus, dead.

      • cat butler

        He was the Beatles bass player. I don’t think anyone would have identified him as a guitarist with the Beatles. I seem to remember a later picture of him (maybe 1970ish) with a guitar, maybe around Hey, Jude or something? I’m not much of a Beatles person, but I am old so I do know he was definitely the bassist. John and George were the guitarists.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This is just semantics.

          McCartney played lead guitar for The Beatles too.

          http://www.guitarworld.com/top-five-beatles-guitar-solos-paul-mccartney

          The term bassist is too general and covers a lot of bass instrument players.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bassist

          The Beatles had three guitarists, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Bass Guitar. The three guitarists were interchangeable.

          John Lennon – vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica (1960–1969)
          Paul McCartney – vocals, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, drums (1960–1970)
          George Harrison – guitar, vocals, sitar (1960–1970)
          Ringo Starr – drums, percussion, vocals (1962–1970)

        • Ignorant Amos

          George Harrison and John Lennon both played a Fender VI to back some songs on which McCartney played piano or guitar. George Harrison was photographed at Abbey Road in 1966 playing a right-handed red Burns Nu-Sonic Bass during the “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” recording sessions. Harrison also played a right-handed Fender Jazz Bass on two songs from Abbey Road.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Yeah…bass guitar…duh!

  • Nos482

  • epeeist

    Professor Stephan Lewandowsky talks about something similar, the “self-sealing” nature of conspiracy theories.

    To bring in Quine here, we can make any number of hypotheses to explain a particular set of phenomena and we can always rescue a failing hypothesis by the use of an ad hoc auxiliary.

    • Is that why he completely rejected metaphysics?

  • Kodie

    Trying to unravel a mystery is my favorite kind of Christian. Picking through the bible looking for codes or translating prophesies, I don’t know why I just get a kick out of those people. When I was in the Beatlemania phase of my teen years, I also looked for those clues that Paul was dead, but never believed he was actually dead. I just liked there was this list of clues and searching them out and checking they were there, I don’t know why that was fun for me. These are the same kind of people who believe in big conspiracies – sort of like me with the Beatles, but gullible enough to follow along. The conspiracy theory leader perceives some flaw in video coverage and gets others to look at it too. Some of those others go “huh, yeah” and start to hunt for the other clues.

    Recently trending on facebook was a fan theory that in the musical Grease, either Sandy or both Sandy and Danny had died during the summer before senior year from a drowning mentioned in Summer Nights at the beginning of the movie. I think things like this go with other movies where it’s an actual twist at the end that someone in the movie was dead the whole time – I mean, if it’s the twist, the clues were there but not noticed, and makes you want to see it a second time to notice the clues. If there’s no twist at the end, you can still probably make any movie you want end with the same unmentioned twist from piecing together “clues”. The game becomes how many new observations can be added to the list contributing to the confirmation of the alternate theory, including the bible. I guess I just like it for some reason that people read the bible not to learn actual stuff from reading it, but to hunt for hidden codes and clues.

    • MR

      Ah…, Umberto Eco’s, Foucault’s Pendulum: Il Piano è vero.

    • wtfwjtd

      “I guess I just like it for some reason that people read the bible not to learn actual stuff from reading it, but to hunt for hidden codes and clues.”

      That sounds exactly like what the apostle Paul said he was doing–discovering the “truth” about the Christ from the scriptures, by decoding secret mysteries that were hidden in plain sight but that God was just-then revealing to him as God’s special snowflake. Christians love this kind of game, and it’s been going on since…well, the very beginning, as Christianity is literally built on it. Nowadays, of course, the second coming is the focus of much of this kind of game. It’s a source of great fun and fantasizing for many Christians.

  • G. K. Chesterton claimed critics of Christianity were inconsistent in attacking it, since they did so on contradictory points. Yet as we see (and he himself notes) it has so many contradictory points to begin with. Is it any wonder adherents differ so widely, or critics?

  • JBSchmidt

    Believe the universe created itself – Unfalsifiable. “Yeah You!”

    Believe Christianity – Unfalsifiable. “Moron!”

    There are numerous scientific questions that are unanswered when it comes to age, development and uniqueness of the everything in the universe. Yet, when pressed, that assumption is met with ‘science will eventually come to the answer’. More specifically that science will come to the answer that fits the secular world view. Is that self-sealing?

    • Ignorant Amos

      It takes a special kind of stupid to be so asinine with just the one head.

      • JBSchmidt

        Typically a straight up insult means the lack of an ability to respond.

        You must be able to show how the universe creating itself is falsifiable.

        • Kodie

          Christian trying to steer the topic? TYPICAL.

        • JBSchmidt

          Atheist confronted by their own religion? TYPICAL

        • Susan

          Atheist confronted by their own religion?

          I don’t believe you. Not believing you is not a religion. You have provided nothing but strawman bullet points provided to you by apologists.

          Atheism is only the belief that “the universe created itself” in the Bizarro World of apologetics.

          In my world, it’s simply “I don’t believe you and I’m not buying your snake oil.”

        • You’ll have to show me the supernatural beliefs that atheists hold. I’ve never seen any.

        • Susan

          Typically a straight up insult means the lack of an ability to respond.

          Only if one leads with it or responds with it in place of substantial responses. IA has consistently attempted to engage with you on an honest and thoughtful level and you keep throwing out apologetics incantations as though they were legitimate responses.

          After many attempts, an insult is justified and is a result of your inability, not his.

          You must be able to show how the universe creating itself is falsifiable.

          Case in point.

        • Cygnus

          The scientific statement, that the universe created itself, can only be proven wrong, or falsifiable by theists… but what theists have to do with science? Theists cannot even prove that a God that created itself can create.
          On the other hand, if a God can create itself, why can’t the universe create itself?

        • sandy

          A lack of understanding something is not proof of a god, it’s merely proof of a lack of understanding.

        • As Susan noted, “the universe created itself” must be defined. I’ve never heard anyone make this claim (except ill-informed Christians, of course).

        • Ignorant Amos
        • MNb

          Yes, that’s on of GC’s best articles.

    • Kodie

      I don’t know how a person eating a piece of fruit ruined me, or how a man dying but disappearing his own corpse out of an allegedly closed tomb affects my life right now AND after I die. That doesn’t make any fucking sense, you dummy. Stop trying to change the subject.

      • JBSchmidt

        Steer the topic much?

        • Kodie

          You’re off the motherfucking topic and you sound like you have to grind your silly axe because you’re fucking bitter about something. Nobody gives a shit what you believe about “atheist religion” that’s not the topic. Try to keep up.

        • JBSchmidt

          So the topic isn’t that Christianity is built by people living with an unfaslifiable hypothesis propagated by self sealing ideology?

          However, for me to question the unfalsifiable nature of the ideology of the writer is outside the bounds of the topic. An ideology that allows him (and I guess you) to challenge without being challenged, because of course the science “message is plain to those with the right faith”.

        • Kodie

          It’s about interpreting the bible. I am really surprised to find you can’t read, you seem like you can.

        • the unfalsifiable nature of the ideology of the writer

          Unfalsifiable? Hardly. Tell God to get off the couch and make himself known.

          I don’t believe in God because there’s no good evidence. Guess what would upset that belief …

        • MR

          If only God so loved the world that he could be bothered to make himself unequivocally known instead of hiding behind ancient ambiguous and contradictory texts.

    • Susan

      Believe the universe created itself.

      What does that even mean? Please be specific about your terminology.

      There are numerous scientific questions that are unanswered when it comes to age, development and uniqueness of the everything in the universe.

      I don’t know what you mean by “uniqueness” but sure there are unanswered questions. It’s impossible to take you seriously when you discuss the other subjects because you have made no effort to understand the evidence in scientific fields you seem to feel you can dismiss despite your obvious ignorance. .

      Yet, when, pressed, that assumption is met with ‘science will eventually come to the answer.’

      Not necessarily. It’s just that its record for coming up with reliable answers about things like the age of the universe and how it developed is extremely impressive, reliable and well-supported. Religion, on the other hand, just makes shit up.

      More specifically that science will come to the answer that fits the secular world view.

      What do you mean?

      Germ theory instead of demon theory?
      Gravity instead of angels pushing planets?
      Evolution instead of the Garden of Eden?

      If you have more evidence for demons than we have for germs, please provide it and accept your Nobel prize.

      If you have more evidence for angels than there is for gravity, provide it and accept your Nobel prize.

      If you have more evidence for Yahwehjesus forming kinds than there is for evolution, provide it.

      You have shown yourself completely ignorant about what science does and how it is done and what it has accomplished but you are happy to see it as a “secular” conspiracy.

    • Now JB, didn’t we go over this before? You can embarrass yourself with words. You need to be careful.

      that assumption is met with ‘science will eventually come to the answer’.

      Very few people say this, and I agree with you that it’s unfounded. Maybe science will come up with an answer (its track record over the last couple of centuries is jaw-droppingly remarkable), but there’s no guarantee.

      Science is very good, though not perfect. Contrast that with Christianity, which has told us nothing verifiable about reality. Just a bunch of empty claims, pretty much like any other religion.

      I think I’ll go with the one with the track record, thanks.

      • JBSchmidt

        You are using individual science advancements to confirm your own bias. For example, when we work in the present with biology, chemistry and physics; we have made astounding advancements to things like health, travel and environment. Many things that Christians are both part of and praise. However, when you venture into the science of predicting things outside the present, science has a dismal record.

        • You are using individual science advancements to confirm your own bias.

          How? You admit the advancements, and there is nothing comparable coming from Christianity. Christianity has taught us nothing new about reality. Where’s the bias? If you’re saying that I prefer the field of thinking that actually is useful, sure, but how is that a bias?

          However, when you venture into the science of predicting things outside the present, science has a dismal record.

          What does this mean? By “predicting things outside the present,” do you mean “predicting things”?

        • JBSchmidt

          What has science taught us about the value of life or morality? When morality and value of life is based only on science and not God, humanity becomes violent and intolerant. Interesting that is a prediction of Christianity. Christianity also predicts common ancestry and that in order to have produce life you must have matter, energy and information. So far batting 100%. If you want it to predict the size of the universe, order of planets or which vaccine to kill zika, you miss the point.

          Further, what predictions must it make to credible?

          “What does this mean? By “predicting things outside the present,” do you mean “predicting things”?”

          That is worded poorly. I apologize, I was having a side discussion about baseball with my son.

          Science is incapable of using historical data points, not directly observed, to predict outcomes. As example, Global Warming is a complete flop. The prediction of dark matter continues to evade scientists in all the places they expect it. They recently realization the moon didn’t come about as they thought. Ceres is younger than predicted.

          Science is powerful, scientism is deadly.

        • What has science taught us about the value of life or morality?

          What has Christianity taught us about anything?

          Yes, science is limited. But when it comes to teaching us new things about reality, Christianity is useless.

          When morality and value of life is based only on science and not God, humanity becomes violent and intolerant.

          You mean like the Thirty Years War that killed 2% of the world’s population? Oh no—sorry, that was Christianity.

          You mean like the Hutu genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda? Whoops—my bad. That was Christianity again.

          Yeah, sorry, I’m not getting it. What society suffered from too much reason?

          Christianity also predicts common ancestry and that in order to have produce life you must have matter, energy and information.

          Christianity predicts descent from a common ancestor? Tell that to the millions of evolution deniers.

          So far batting 100%.

          You’ve lost me. Show me one thing that science learned from the Bible rather than having to figure out on its own.

          Further, what predictions must it make to credible?

          Just one would be a start.

          Science is incapable of using historical data points, not directly observed, to predict outcomes. As example, Global Warming is a complete flop.

          I’m still not getting it. You mean that science can’t predict things? What this brings to mind for me is the Tiktaalik. Biologists knew what time period for species showing the transition from sea to land animal. Geologists knew where sedimentary rock of the right age would be (northern Canada). Paleontologists went to dig and viola. There it was.

          Climate change is a tedious topic. The people who understand the data (which doesn’t include me) have given us their probabilities. If you mean by “complete flop” that non-scientists have been able to pollute the conversation, yes, that’s true. Not what I’d mean by the term, though.

          The prediction of dark matter continues to evade scientists in all the places they expect it.

          And … ? Science is hard. Deal with it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Smithy is being a daft again silly pants.

          Prediction is part of the scientific method.

          To a certain extent, most scientists regularly use prediction in research as a fundamental of the scientific method, when they generate a hypothesis and predict what will happen.

          These predictions can have wide-ranging effects and direct whole scientific disciplines, as with Relativity and Darwin’s Evolution, which have underpinned research in Physics and Biology for many years. On the other hand, smaller experiments can also have wider ramifications and allow humanity to predict and therefore avoid future events.

          https://explorable.com/prediction-in-research

          Science has been used to predict all sorts of things.

          Radio waves were first predicted by mathematical work done in 1867 by Scottish mathematical physicist James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell noticed wavelike properties of light and similarities in electrical and magnetic observations. His mathematical theory, now called Maxwell’s equations, described light waves and radio waves as waves of electromagnetism that travel in space, radiated by a charged particle as it undergoes acceleration. In 1887, Heinrich Hertz demonstrated the reality of Maxwell’s electromagnetic waves by experimentally generating radio waves in his laboratory, showing that they exhibited the same wave properties as light: standing waves, refraction, diffraction, and polarization. Radio waves were first used for communication in the mid 1890s by Guglielmo Marconi, who developed the first practical radio transmitters and receivers.

          Gravity’s effect on light was predicted.

        • Prediction? Like predicting the Higgs boson?

          Seems like science did pretty good with that one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t know where Smithy pulls his asininity from, but it’s embarrassing him.

          Strangely enough, even an intuitively backwards looking discipline, such as history, uses prediction in research. Most historians state a thesis, the equivalent of a hypothesis, and set out to find evidence to support or deny it. One of the greatest examples of this was the adventurer and proto-archaeologist, Harald Schliemann. He firmly believed that Homer’s Iliad gave geographical clues and measurements that would allow him to find the site of Priam’s Troy.

          Patiently, he collated the information and raised funding, before setting off, using the Iliad as a roadmap. He found a ruined city that most academics believe are Troy and his prediction was supported. His archaeological methods were crude and destructive, but nobody can fault his detective work and power of prediction.

        • MarquisDeMoo

          I never cease to be amazed by James Clerk Maxwell’s prediction of the mechanism for propagation of EM waves by mathematics alone. Curiously in contrast, given that we had been selectively breeding animals and plants for generations, I’m amazed it took so long for anyone to come up with a theory of evolution. However given the inevitable religious resistance to the idea, perhaps not so surprising. It is as much to Darwin’s credit that he worked through the idea knowing he would have a fight on his hands to get it out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And Alfred Russell Wallace… let’s not demise his contribution.

        • MarquisDeMoo

          Or indeed Erasmus Darwin…we all stand on the shoulders of others.

        • Greg G.

          So far batting 100%.

          Has Christianity declared war on baseball analogies?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Poorly.

        • JBSchmidt

          Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.

          “teaching us new things about reality”

          What does that mean? Essentially, God or the Bible needs to do something to prove itself, but you won’t tell me what until it happens. Got it. We’ll all just close our eyes to what it actually says.

          Then you lead into Christians who have done evil and how those people discredit the entire movement. Is that supposed to surprise me? The Bible is a history of people not following God and doing evil. Of course those you mention were not using Christian doctrine as the guide and the actions stand against Christianity. Yet, lets use your standard. Science killed, maimed or tortured how many in the name of either advancement or building a better people? Unlike Christianity, those acts of violence were done using scientific dogma. Does it also get discredited?

          I think every communist country in the 20th century suffered from, as you put it, “reason”. Killing more than the entire history of Christianity.

          Common Ancestor, one man/woman.

          Tiktaalik, what a beautiful example of design. The problem you face is that the predictions made were failed by Tiktaalik. It has the large pelvis, rather than pectoral girdle meaning it didn’t walk from the front as predicted. There is significant question in the science community regarding the Tiktaalik not fitting into the sequence as predicted. Finally, there are tetrapod prints in Poland that predate Tiktaalik by 20+ million years, which was predicted incorrectly. But they story and color pictures they created are fun.

          Who knows, maybe we will find a Tiktaalik with those predicted to be extinct coelacanth also predicted to be walking around on dry land.

          “Science is hard. Deal with it”

          Of course, when all else fails fall back on faith.

        • Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.

          How lucky for us that you’re patient and put up with these boring arguments. Once you’ve done thrashing this one, help me out with the others at this blog.

          God or the Bible needs to do something to prove itself, but you won’t tell me what until it happens.

          How have I been ambiguous? Christianity has taught us nothing about reality. Y’know, backed up by evidence and all that. As for what God or the Bible can do now, you can start with God making himself known.

          We’ll all just close our eyes to what it actually says.

          The Bible says something compelling, something that shows it must’ve come from a supernatural source or that its supernatural tales are accurate? Share.

          Then you lead into Christians who have done evil and how those people discredit the entire movement. Is that supposed to surprise me?

          Dunno. I was just responding to your challenge, “When morality and value of life is based only on science and not God, humanity becomes violent and intolerant.” Are you backing away from it now?

          Of course those you mention were not using Christian doctrine as the guide and the actions stand against Christianity.

          That’s what you say. That’s not what they would’ve said. I don’t know why your definition of Christianity should trump theirs.

          Science killed, maimed or tortured how many in the name of either advancement or building a better people?

          I dunno—zero? Or is this a trick question?

          If you want to talk about policy (the decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima) or scientists themselves (the Tuskeegee experiment), sure, there has been lots of damage. I’m not sure where you’re going with this. If we’re talking about lives saved vs. lost due to science vs. Christianity, go ahead and make that comparison.

          Unlike Christianity, those acts of violence were done using scientific dogma. Does it also get discredited?

          I think you’re confusing science with policy.

          I think every communist country in the 20th century suffered from, as you put it, “reason”.

          And I don’t. “Reason” isn’t usually associated with dictatorships.

          Killing more than the entire history of Christianity.

          Blame that on dictatorships, not atheism or science.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/04/stalin-was-a-mass-murderer-and-im-not-too-sure-about-myself-genocide/

        • MR

          Christians attacking science has always seemed a bizarre farce to me. Like we can’t see that they whole-heartedly accept the science they benefit from and only have heartburn over the uncomfortable bits they imagine contradict their beliefs. I’d find them much more convincing if they equal-opportunity denounced all things sciency. Give up medication, surgery, safety advances, modern weaponry, modern communication, internet, etc.

          The best part is that it was often Christians who noticed that the world around them didn’t make sense from a biblical perspective but made a whole lot of sense when they began to consider deep time and the concept of evolution. They weren’t looking to change the Christian model, they were just trying to understand the world around them. Once they were able to let go of the biblical model, the pieces began falling into place. They were just working with the pieces of the puzzle they had. It’s not their fault the pieces didn’t support a biblical worldview.

          Isn’t it interesting that theists try to put religion on a par with science by attempting to drag science down into doubt instead of lifting religion up with a show of Christian advancements and contributions? Science continues to expand our understanding of the world, whereas the Christian model is stagnant, and even wants to take us backwards.

          Science doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, whereas religion does–yet can’t show its work. Science has taken the pieces of the puzzle of this world and the universe around us and attempted to put together a coherent image without knowing what the picture on the box is, whereas religion imagines it has the picture in front of them, but then they can’t seem to do anything with the pieces. They’ve supposedly got the blueprint right there in front of them, but the pieces don’t match reality and they just shrug and say “Why do I need to put the pieces together when I already know the answer.” It’s a complete cop out. Meanwhile, those who really want to know are busy actually putting the puzzle together and improving our understanding of the world and the universe.

        • Right. The Amish or back-to-nature cults would be in a better position to dismiss science’s contributions.

          I’m still amazed at the revulsion many fundamentalists have with evolution. It’s non-negotiable for them. And yet most of them accept an old earth.

          Isn’t it interesting that theists try to put religion on a par with science by attempting to drag science down into doubt instead of lifting religion up with a show of Christian advancements and contributions?

          Great point. I wonder if they’d be happy going back to the God-given world with smallpox.

          They’ve supposedly got the blueprint right there in front of them, but the pieces don’t match reality

          And yet after a new scientific discovery, they’ll say, “Oh yeah–I knew that. In fact, here’s where the Bible says that very thing.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Right. The Amish or back-to-nature cults would be in a better position to dismiss science’s contributions.

          Even those groups can’t manage without the advances provided by science.

        • MR

          And go ahead and throw science completely under the bus. Call it all shit, prove it wrong. That still gets us nowhere towards evidence for God.

        • MR

          And yet most of them accept an old earth.

          Read: Dinosaurs are cool.

          And yet after a new scientific discovery, they’ll say, “Oh yeah–I knew that. In fact, here’s where the Bible says that very thing.”

          Unless it goes against something they believe in.

          I remember reading years ago a Chick tract or something similar that talked about a black hole scientists had discovered that was headed in the direction of earth. Somehow they twisted that into a tale of how it was bringing with it the new earth and new Jerusalem and “See, science confirms the Bible!” Of course, if they had understood the science, that would have thrown off Christ’s return by a few billion years or so.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’d find them much more convincing if they equal-opportunity denounced all things sciency. Give up medication, surgery, safety advances, modern weaponry, modern communication, internet, etc.

          Aye, but sure ya know, isn’t cherry picking the favourite trope of the Christian?

        • JBSchmidt

          “Christianity has taught us nothing about reality.”

          That is not a true statement. Besides the historical documentation, there are many non-Christian’s that hold to the teaching of Christ as model for their life. Both have very relevant application to reality.

          “The Bible says something compelling, something that shows it must’ve come from a supernatural source or that its supernatural tales are accurate? Share.”

          Would you accept it if it did? If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian? You say “compelling” so you have an out, regardless of the evidence. In the end, compelling becomes only an alignment with your worldview.

          “Are you backing away from it now?”

          The war was not entirely religious, in fact in most accounts religion is barely mentioned. At first there were local conflicts between Protestants and Catholics. This erupted into a huge political battle when leaders saw an opportunity for a power grab. If you want to blame Christianity, let’s focus on the religious conflicts at the beginning and not the entire 30 years.

          “Or is this a trick question?” ““Reason” isn’t usually associated with dictatorships.”

          The assumption is that sound ‘reason’ can come purely from scientific evidence. You gauge what is right and wrong through that prism. However, science doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is studied and contemplated by people with worldviews of their own. Obviously, you find scientists that support your worldview to be correct. How sound is your reasoning if you only accept science from scientists that also support your view?

          The reasoning of today’s liberal or progressive exists on the following premise: Through ‘reason’ man, who is at his essence good, can be good when his environment, experiences and interactions are controlled. As a result, the political agenda is toward ever increasing government control. Control wealth (man is good), control property/land (man good), control air/water/animals (man is good), control safe places (man is good), and dissent against ‘reason’ must be controlled (so man remains good).

          Enter the dictator, either by single man or by government. The replacement god for the people. Religion becomes something only for the interior of churches and eventually non-existent, because it rejects the worldview of the dictator’s ‘reason’. With man as god, life is arbitrary depending on value. Dissent has no value, family has little value, children have little value and human life is only as valuable as ‘reason’ perceives it. Dictators existing under the worldview of atheism only bring death, they never bring success.

        • Myna A.

          Both have very relevant application to reality.

          What is reality?

          If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian?

          If you fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, it would be all over the news. It wasn’t even news when it allegedly did happen. 2000 years ago or yesterday, that kind of thing is going to bring notice. You’d think Tiberius would have wanted to meet that guy.

          How sound is your reasoning if you only accept science from scientists that also support your view?

          Science is not a measurement of theosophic points of view. You and I and everyone else benefit from that absence of prejudice.

          With man as god, life is arbitrary depending on value.

          No one is advocating “man as god.” Buddhism has managed for 2600 years seeing the value of life and without god arguments.

          “To my mind, although humans can manage without
          religion, they cannot manage without inner values.”
          — The Dalai Lama

        • MR

          If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian?

          If you fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, it would be all over the news.

          Precisely like you say, if such a miracle happened it would be world-shaking news. It would give us all pause. What gives me pause is the deafening silence from heaven that causes me to ask myself, “Does a God exist that can and has shown himself, but chooses not to, preferring to leave us in doubt, all while proclaiming his love for us; or is this whole thing is simply manmade nonsense?”

          A loving God could easily clear up that question.

          His pretending an atheist wouldn’t believe his miracle is like hearing a school kid caught in a lie claiming to be able to do something that everyone, including him, knows he can’t. “I could do that if I wanted to but I don’t feel like it.” Yeah…, right.

        • WayneMan

          Bingo. A perfect analogy.

        • Kodie

          Ok, Christianity has taught you nothing about reality. Your whole post is one big axe to grind, and as previously brought to your attention, off the topic of this blog post.

        • MR

          Would you accept it if it did? If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian?

          Plenty of people would, so go ahead.

        • Besides the historical documentation, there are many non-Christian’s that hold to the teaching of Christ as model for their life.

          People can cherry pick nice things from the Bible (or any book of fiction) and use them to guide their lives. That’s not what I’m talking about (and I suspect you know that).

          “The Bible says something compelling, something that shows it must’ve come from a supernatural source or that its supernatural tales are accurate? Share.”
          Would you accept it if it did? If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian?

          Take a step back and see our conversation as an outsider would. You’re claiming that God exists and he desperately wants a relationship with us to save us from the hell that he created. So you’re saying, “What if I gave you a teeny bit of evidence—would that convince you?” No, it wouldn’t.

          God exists? Give me some serious, fabulous, monumental, amazing, knock-you-on-your-ass evidence. I get nutty Christian newsletters that talk about miracles all the time. So you fed the 5000? Join the club. Give me something that doesn’t look like, if I investigated it thoroughly, it would crumble like a dead leaf.

          You say “compelling” so you have an out, regardless of the evidence. In the end, compelling becomes only an alignment with your worldview.

          Why does the atheist have to explain how an omniscient god would do things? An omniscient, omnipotent god, who really cared about making his existence known, would make his existence known. Being a billion times smarter than you and me, he’d think up some clever ways to let everyone have some revelatory experience that we couldn’t dismiss away.

          The assumption is that sound ‘reason’ can come purely from scientific evidence.

          Let’s not just think of the laboratory here. The scientists state what the science is, and the politicians decide what to do with it. Teach evolution because that’s where the science points? Sex ed that evidence shows is most effective?

          And so on.

          science doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is studied and contemplated by people with worldviews of their own. Obviously, you find scientists that support your worldview to be correct.

          I don’t get atheism from scientists.

          How sound is your reasoning if you only accept science from scientists that also support your view?

          Take evolution. I’m not a biologist, so I accept the scientific consensus of those who are. It’s real simple—you should try that. The “scientists that support your view” has it backwards. I accept their view. That say that evolution is our best explanation at the moment? I accept that.

          Enter the dictator, either by single man or by government. The replacement god for the people. Religion becomes something only for the interior of churches and eventually non-existent, because it rejects the worldview of the dictator’s ‘reason’.

          No idea where you’re going with this. Dictators don’t like religion because it’s another source of allegiance. I support free speech and free exercise of religion (subordinate to laws, of course).

          Dictators existing under the worldview of atheism only bring death, they never bring success.

          Solution: avoid dictators.

        • MR

          I don’t get atheism from scientists.

          Bingo. It’s the “vacuum” of evidence for a God that suggests no God. Scientists be damned. They need not even enter the picture.

          What makes more sense is to turn his comment around:

          “Christianity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is studied and contemplated by people with worldviews of their own. Obviously, [he finds] Christians that support [his] worldview to be correct.”

          Personally, my worldview used to be Christianity. Science didn’t undermine that view, Christians did.

        • JBSchmidt

          “Give me some serious, fabulous, monumental, amazing, knock-you-on-your-ass evidence.”

          So you want God to make a personal appearance in your life. How quaint. He creates you, the universe you exist in, sends Christ, writes the whole thing down and you claim he is absent unless you shake his hand, but wait. That definitely won’t be enough; the interaction must also make the hairs on your toes do the Macarena. Until then you will actively reject everything that doesn’t mock God in full force and openly attack his followers.

          God did come to earth and you call it a conspiracy. He created the universe that greats you every morning with everything you need to exist, but you chalk that up to random acts of science. If you weren’t blinded by the selfishness of your own worldview, you might realize he has been there the whole time.

          “Let’s not just think of the laboratory here. The scientists state what the science is, and the politicians decide what to do with it.”

          Again, how quaint. A seemless transition from proven science to public policy. Accept…..

          “Teach evolution because that’s where the science points? Sex ed that evidence shows is most effective?”

          Who guides the science of evolution? Obviously, only the most honest and unbiased of all the people on the planet are scientists, of course. That’s why dissent is openly embraced and…… Oh right, dissent is met with aggressive attacks of heresy, public ridicule and complete ejection from the scientific community; unless, that is, you accept an evolutionary worldview, then dissent is friendly banter. Bias, what bias.

          True, true. Abstinence is only effectively 50% of the time it is used. Teaching them how is 100% effective. Weird we don’t try that with heroine.

          “I’m not a biologist, so I accept the scientific consensus of those who are.”

          Why? Is consensus truth? Are you getting the full the story, not being a biologist, how do you know? More importantly, does that consensus come with privileges for the scientists? Oh Heck Yeah! It is way easier to sell a story that requires no personal responsibility as opposed to one that demands it. Further, which looks better in the scientific journal, giving God the credit or yourself? Pretty confident the grants come hot and heavy when you are attributed full credit.

          “(subordinate to laws, of course).”

          Explain.

        • MNb

          “He creates you, the universe you exist in, sends Christ, writes the whole thing down”
          Claims for which you provided exactly zero evidence.

          “He created the universe that greats you every morning with everything you need to exist.”
          Here are some little ones who show their gratitude for everything they need to exist.

          http://www.juesatta.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/starvation.jpg

          It’s your worldview that is selfish, because you close your eyes for this picture.

          “dissent is met with aggressive attacks of heresy, public ridicule and complete ejection”
          Liar. They are not publicly ridiculed because they dissent, but because they at one hand claim to do science and at the other hand throw the scientific method in the dustbin. They are also publicly ridiculed because they don’t know what they are talking about when criticizing Evolution Theory. And they are publicly ridiculed because they don’t know their facts – like you regarding global warming and what scientists said about it in the 1970’s. Finally they are publicly ridiculed because they are totally incapable of correcting their errors or learning something new.
          Prove me wrong and admit that global warming is a fact and predicted by science in the 1970’s. If you will I’ll be forced to praise your honesty. But I predict you won’t. And hence you deserve all the mockery you get.

          Scientists love dissent. Example, one that has everything to do with the origin of our Universe:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics

        • I look at those starving kids, and I say, “There’s nothing here that some Bibles can’t cure!”

        • MNb

          Alas this good joke is spoiled by the fact that some christian aid organizations indeed say so.

        • WayneMan

          I suppose if you boiled enough Bibles you could make some sort of holy soup. LOL

        • So you want God to make a personal appearance in your life.

          For starters, yes.

          How quaint. He creates you, the universe you exist in, sends Christ, writes the whole thing down and you claim he is absent unless you shake his hand, but wait. That definitely won’t be enough; the interaction must also make the hairs on your toes do the Macarena. Until then you will actively reject everything that doesn’t mock God in full force and openly attack his followers.

          Replace the Christian stuff with equivalent elements of some other religion and then apply its sarcastic message to you. Is it compelling? If not, then you can appreciate my position.

          God did come to earth and you call it a conspiracy.

          ?? Who said that? It’s a combination of legend and myth—very important difference.

          He created the universe that greats you every morning with everything you need to exist

          Quetzalcoatl created the universe that greets you every morning … and you flip him the bird. Nice.

          If you weren’t blinded by the selfishness of your own worldview, you might realize he has been there the whole time.

          Yep, an evidence-less argument like this is just the nudge that I need to see God’s hand (and not some other deity’s) behind everything.

          Thanks, my brother.

          Again, how quaint. A seemless transition from proven science to public policy. Accept…..

          Again, how useless. If you think it works (or should work) some other way, why keep that powerful truth to yourself? Share the secret.

          Who guides the science of evolution?

          What is that supposed to mean?

          Obviously, only the most honest and unbiased of all the people on the planet are scientists, of course. That’s why dissent is openly embraced

          Scientists are fairly honest, but there are charlatans and fools. But that’s the value of the scientific method. You’re rewarded for pointing out flaws. You have the science that shows that evolution or climate change is bunk? Write your paper and collect your Nobel Prize.

          Abstinence is only effectively 50% of the time it is used. Teaching them how is 100% effective. Weird we don’t try that with heroine.

          Your sarcasm and hatred got in the way of your message. No idea what the fuck you’re trying to say (and little interest in finding out).

          Why? Is consensus truth?

          Nope. It’s just the best approximation we have.

          Are you getting the full the story, not being a biologist, how do you know?

          I don’t. You got an alternative? I’m on the edge of my seat.

          It is way easier to sell a story that requires no personal responsibility as opposed to one that demands it.

          Nevertheless, teaching kids accurate, thorough sex ed (despite the fact that teens taking responsibility is tough) has been shown to deliver the best results.

          Further, which looks better in the scientific journal, giving God the credit or yourself?

          Sure, let’s give God any credit he’s due. Show me evidence that he’s due any.

          “(subordinate to laws, of course).”
          Explain.

          Christianity where I live answers to the U.S. Constitution. It’s legal to preach on street corners, to believe what you want, and to hold church services thanks to the Constitution. Christians can pretend that they’re answering to God as a higher power, but the highest actual power that has actual evidence is the Constitution.

          My point is that religion is free until they bump up against laws (Mormonism and polygamy, for example).

        • Myna A.

          Is consensus truth?

          It is for you, in your own centric universe. What do you even believe that you haven’t been told to believe? The only reason you do believe is because of a consensus of men at the Council of Nicaea. That’s it. There is no other reason.

          If you weren’t blinded by the selfishness of your own worldview, you might realize he has been there the whole time.

          If you weren’t so blinded by the selfishness of your own worldview, you’d see that three quarters of the inhabited planet doesn’t have the same worldview as your religion.

          You and your white Jesus.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ea5f7ff90e6b0a06222b5ac9f54ae73b0790effe0667e24c0941f3dbd6acf98.jpg

        • Kodie

          You really believe that shit? I mean all of it, even the stupid shit you believe about atheists. You are really enslaved in a fiction.

        • Dys

          He creates you, the universe you exist in, sends Christ, writes the whole thing down and you claim he is absent unless you shake his hand, but wait.

          Your whining is nothing more than begging the question. You’ve assumed the conclusion you prefer, and are trying (and failing) to use that to provide “evidence” for your conclusion.

          That’s why dissent is openly embraced and…… Oh right, dissent is met with aggressive attacks of heresy, public ridicule and complete ejection from the scientific community

          Oh dear…are you still upset that intelligent design isn’t actually science and is, in reality, just genericized creationism?

          It is way easier to sell a story that requires no personal responsibility as opposed to one that demands it.

          Christianity doesn’t demand personal responsibility. It ridiculously insists that moral failings are transferable to a third party who was temporarily inconvenienced for three days on a cross. That’s not personal responsibility.

        • MNb

          “are you still upset that intelligent design isn’t actually science”
          The IDiots from Seattle implicitely admit this fact these days.

          http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/09/atheism_is_a_ca103154.html

          “Another way to understand this beautiful teleology ….”

          “JBSchmidt thinks science is a global conspiracy against his religious superstitions.”
          At least he got this right. And the thought is old.

          “[Johannes Scotus Eriugena] contended that reason and revelation are both sources of truth, and therefore cannot conflict; but if they ever seem to conflict, reason is to be preferred.”

          Bertrand Russell, Book II, Part II, Chapter 8.
          Two councils were needed to condemn this view. The book in which it was developed (On the Division of Nature) was ordered to be burned in 1225 CE by Pope Honorius III.

        • WayneMan

          Michael Egnor is associated with, and writes for, the Discovery Institute. That “institute” is not a respected scientific organization, but laughed at by the actual scientific community. There is not one single PhD scientist on their entire Board Of Directors, all with a religious agenda.

        • MNb

          I appreciate your effort, but alas you haven’t told us anything new.

        • Jonathan Wells works for the Disco Institute and has a doctorate in (gasp!) microbiology or some other field relevant to biology.

          Sounds pretty good until you read the story of his personal journey. He got the degree at the encouragement of Rev. Moon so that he could help dismantle evolution from the inside.

          I applaud his honesty, but that’s a pretty blatant agenda.

        • WayneMan

          Yes Wells is a Senior Fellow, but I don’t believe he is on the BOD. The BOD sets the goals and agendas. The single PhD on the BOD is in law, none in science. Probably because they cannot get a legitimate PhD scientist to agree to be on their BOD.

        • MR

          Oh dear…are you still upset that intelligent design isn’t actually science…

          An aside: I forget which theist pointed me in the direction of the Intelligent Design on Trial video, but it finally hit my queue and I watched it just last night. Very informative.

          It reminded me of the days when I realized GW was pandering to the evangelical crowd behind the scenes. In my younger years, I had been primed by my evangelical peeps to distrust government–all government, not any specific party. Government was one grand conspiracy not to be trusted.

          Years later I was watching GW speaking before an evangelical crowd. He leaned forward over the podium and with a wink-wink tone said, “And you know what I believe…,” The crowd just went wild, I stood there stunned. My first thought, and my thought watching the ID video last night, was:

          “For want of a conspiracy, they became a conspiracy.”

        • MNb

          “If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread, would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian?”
          No, rather a JBSchmidtian.
          Plus my bar to become a christian (not necessarily a creationist though) is much lower.

          “If you want to blame Christianity, let’s focus on the religious conflicts at the beginning and not the entire 30 years.”
          Why not? What did christianity do to keep those conflicts at the beginning local? What did christianity do to dim the precursors, namely the Dutch rebellion (which resulted in in 80 years war) and the Italian wars of 1494 CE until 1559?
          In the end they were all part of one big world war between Habsburg and co against its enemies – mainly France. What does it tell you about the moral quality of christianity that catholics fought against catholics, that both were willing to ally with protestants and muslims? Don’t give me the crap “politics hence not religion”, because all organized religion is politics. The pope played an active role, just like all the protestant leaders.
          What it tells me is that christian morality is a huge failure. To whom do we in the western world owe peace and prosperity? Guys like John Locke and Eduard Bernstein, people who resisted the political authority of christianity – a version of christianity every inch as bigot as yours.
          That’s what you’re striving at – a return to the good old days that christians slaughtered each other in the name of their imaginary sky daddy.

        • Susan

          That is not a true statement.

          What has christianity taught us about reality?

          besides the historical documentation

          Could you be more vague? Historical documentation of what, exactly?

          Would you accept it if it did?

          Try us. If you prefer to accuse us of being predisposed to rejecting powerful evidence in lieu of actually providing powerful evidence, then you’re just a cog in another snake-oil machine. That’s how snake oil gets sold.

          If I fed 5000 people tomorrow with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread,

          You know historians don’t count this story as “historical evidence”, don’t you? It ‘s a story. Do you know the difference between a story and a historical reference, don’t you?

          would you denounce everything you have written and become a creation believing Christian?

          I don’t speak for anyone else here and I’m sure you’ll get different answers but I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t see the connection between your hypothetical scenario (in which you have a talent you don’t seem to have in real life) and accepting the rest of your claims.

          I would ask you how you did that.

          I don’t even know what “supernatural” means. No one who makes claims about the supernatural seems to know either.

          How does a lot of fish (if you could do that in real life, which you can’t) connect to supernatural explanations (whatever that means)?

          I don’t expect answers. You still haven’t responded to my question about what you mean specifically by “the universe created itself”.

          Much as you don’t seem to know what any of that means, I expect you to repeat it as though it meant something. That’s how apologetics works. Make grand claims. Never define your terms. Dismiss all calls for evidence as hardened hearts, closed minds and scientism. as though no one had ever pointed out the problems.

          The loaves and the fishes are a story like the stories in Paul Bunyan. If I could conjure up bumbletoes (giant mosquitoes with beestingers which torment the men in the lumber camps) would that be evidence for the “supernatural”? What does “supernatural” mean?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • Myna A.

          Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.

          Perhaps it might help if you had one? Because you really, really haven’t demonstrated one thus far.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.

          https://pigeonchess.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/irony-meter-explode.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Then you lead into Christians who have done evil and how those people discredit the entire movement.

          I feel a “No True Scotsman Fallacy” comming on.

          You’d think an omnipotence could get that shite sorted though, wouldn’t ya?

          Is that supposed to surprise me?

          Not if you’ve got all your apologetics ducks in order I suppose, no.

          The Bible is a history of people not following God and doing evil.

          Once upon a time YahwehJesus smote people all around him for the meekest of failure of not living up to the wants and desires of the almighty. Burning the wrong incense was sufficient enough to get ones arse handed to them and it didn’t matter whose name one could drop…a smoting was the order of the day.

          Then a third was sent down to sort it all out and the smoting was stopped with the false death of this third in payment to the other two thirds for something a fictional character did in an old book written by ignorant fuckwits who didn’t know any better. All was supposed to be good.

          This idea failed miserably and the whole not following the rules continued only without all the previous smoting.

          In other news, a hobbit wears a magic ring and a boy wizard becomes an expert flying broomstick pilot.

          Of course those you mention were not using Christian doctrine as the guide and the actions stand against Christianity.

          Yeah, therein lies the problem. You see they didn’t see it that way. When they were reading the instructions, they interpreted very differently. Someone shoulda did a better job…unless you are the heretic that is going to burn in eternal torment for fucking up the interpretation, how will you know?

          Yet, lets use your standard. Science killed, maimed or tortured how many in the name of either advancement or building a better people?

          Science did fuck all of the sort soft boy. People using science did nasty shit. Most of them religious and a good lot of them Christians.

          Tell me this though, how many folk do you imagine has had their lives saved and extended by the application of scientific discovery? How has science improved the quality of life for billions and billions over the centuries?

          Compare that score to religion.

          Unlike Christianity, those acts of violence were done using scientific dogma.

          Explain to me a “scientific dogma” that is responsible for acts of violence?

          Does it also get discredited?

          Another fallacy. Tu quoque, but I prefer to call it the the whataboutery fallacy. So as long as you can get to discredit science you are happy enough with your religions failures? Isn’t Christianity supposed to be better than that though? I guess not.

          http://cdn.quotationof.com/images/steven-weinbergs-quotes-5.jpg

          To quote a shamed and fallen pastor…

          http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-christianity-is-not-about-good-people-getting-better-it-is-good-news-for-bad-people-tullian-tchividjian-79-94-24.jpg

        • MNb

          “Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.”
          That’s because apologists haven’t said anything new since 200 years either.

          “God or the Bible needs to do something to prove itself, but you won’t tell me what until it happens. Got it.”
          Nope, you haven’t got it. You’re showing your bias again. You never asked us what it would take to convince me that there is a god and that he’s the christian one. I easily can tell you.

          “The Bible is a history of people not following God and doing evil.”
          Yup. Evil ordered by your god. Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

          “Of course those you mention were not using Christian doctrine as the guide.”
          Mass murder is an integral part of your favourite Holy Book.

          2 Chro 13:16-17 “And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand. And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.”

          This is hardly an exception; with stories like these it’s highly understandable that christian violence begun the moment it became a state religion.

          BobS: “Science is hard. Deal with it”
          Lying JBS: “Of course, when all else fails fall back on faith.”
          Nothing in those six words of BobS even hints at faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think every communist country in the 20th century suffered from, as you put it, “reason”.

          Well that statement is just more of your asininity…and another whataboutery fallacy ta boot.

          Killing more than the entire history of Christianity.

          Ahem, Christianity ain’t done yet though, is it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Common Ancestor, one man/woman.

          Too silly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tiktaalik, blah, blah, blah,…non sequitur…drivel, drivel, drivel.

          Irrelevant to the point.

          Scientists, basing their predictions grounded in science, predicted this animal would exist and they predicted where to find this fossil and in which strata and that’s where the team went to look for it, guess what….

          Jennifer A. Clack, a Cambridge University expert on tetrapod evolution, said of Tiktaalik, “It’s one of those things you can point to and say, ‘I told you this would exist,’ and there it is.”

        • Dys

          Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought

          Aw, that’s cute…are you pretending you’re being original as a contrast?

          Yet, lets use your standard. Science killed, maimed or tortured how many in the name of either advancement or building a better people

          Sorry, that doesn’t work. Science doesn’t attempt to dictate morality, Christianity does.

          Common Ancestor, one man/woman.

          Humanity didn’t come from a single man and woman, and you apparently don’t understand the concept behind common ancestry (or you’re intentionally misrepresenting it).

        • Philmonomer

          Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.

          Such statements just make you look bad.

        • “Can’t find an atheist anywhere with an original thought.”
          Nor a Christian, nor anyone else. Even if a person has an original thought, in the sense that they aren’t aware of the thought existing before, there’s almost zero possibility that someone hasn’t thought of it and proposed it out loud in the past, even if this person isn’t aware of it.
          Are only original thoughts valid, or useful for discussion? So your statement demonstrates what?

        • Pofarmer

          What has science taught us about the value of life or morality?

          Are you really this ignorant? Check out Patricia Churchland, for starters.

          When morality and value of life is based only on science and not God, humanity becomes violent and intolerant.

          Are you fucking kidding me? Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, holy wars?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are you really this ignorant?

          That is in evidence, so yes.

        • Without Malice

          Numbers 31.

        • “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

          Thus ends the reading for today.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And zygote’s with breasts, save them too, because they also are surely persons and worthy of the Lord.

        • Without Malice

          Every believer should be required to read Numbers 31 to their children at bedtime.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And give a detailed explanation.

        • Agreed. After all, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          TRULY this is The Revelation of Jesus Christ, showing how “just” and “loving” they are concerning the expendability of human life!

        • Dangitbobby

          No, no, no…see, you messed up. God demanded all of those things, so all of those things are GOOD and RIGHTEOUS.

          If God demands a Christian to rape and murder everyone on the planet, well, he better do it because GOD commanded him and whatever GOD commands is good and holy and righteous.

          There is no person more morally flexible than a theist. Whatever their god commands, it is good, even when objectively it isn’t.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Did ya never wonder why that defence never flies in a court?

        • Kodie

          Are you fucking kidding me. Christianity and other religions shoot in the dark about value of morality and life. They get some sensible ideas, and some crackpot fetishes. It’s not really a reliable system for anything but organizing dummies to give out their money for empty promises.

        • MNb

          “What has science taught us about the value of life or morality?”
          Category error.

          https://www.aaronmbrown.net/blog/2012/04/know-your-fallacy-category-error/

          What has christianity taught us about our natural reality? Nothing. Still you claim that your christian god created our Universe.

          “As example, Global Warming is a complete flop.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          http://xkcd.com/1732/

          https://www.skepticalscience.com/What-1970s-science-said-about-global-cooling.html

          “So in fact, the large majority of climate research in the 1970s predicted the Earth would warm as a consequence of CO2.”
          A lying christian like you can’t do without his ignorance.

        • Myna A.

          Science is incapable of using historical data points, not directly observed, to predict outcomes.

          Not true, and historical data may help avoid some potentially deadly outcomes. One example: Think plague in Medieval Europe and modern medical study: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/avoiding-black-plague-today/360475/

          As example, Global Warming is a complete flop.

          Do you always echo your favorite political pundit? Climate change (not your local weather map) is part of the cycle of the earth and always has been. That man’s activity is escalating a natural cycle AND causing damage IS something to be concerned about. It’s like saying dumping sewage into the clean water system or industrial waste dumped into a river has no consequence. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/

        • MarquisDeMoo

          Please explain, what scientific predictions?

        • Kevin K

          Actually, that’s 100% false. For example, Darwin made predictions of what might be found in the fossil record to verify his findings about evolution. Those fossils were found (in spades). Darwin also described a very nice hypothesis about how the eye might develop — a prediction born out by future observations. Einstein’s equations contained many, many, many predictions…each one of which have been verified. LeMaitre predicted how his “Big Bang” model might be verified — and those observations were made.

          Each and every clinical trial of a medication or other treatment for any disease or condition comes with a prediction of whether or not it will work. Without those predictions — based on knowledge of the basic science involved — medical science would literally be flailing around in the dark. We’d have no cancer therapies, no antibiotics other than penicillin, no heart medicines, no surgical procedures, no nothing.

          Predictions — aka, scientific hypotheses — are at the very heart of scientific progress.

          You must have not been paying attention in the 8th grade when this was explained.

        • MNb

          “You are using individual science advancements to confirm your own bias.”
          You’re a liar indeed. The fact is “(its track record over the last couple of centuries is jaw-droppingly remarkable”. That has nothing to do with bias. It’s just something people who actually use their brains to try to formulate something sensible – ie not you – have to account for.

    • MarquisDeMoo

      You really seem to have missed the point of science. As evidenced by the world’s religions, and yours is no exception, people will believe any shit, so yes there may even be people who believe the universe created itself. However the important point is that is not a scientific viewpoint! I’m sure there are plenty who believe the universe COULD have created itself and many of those may even believe a god COULD have done it. They are both valid scientific unfalsifiable hypotheses, and a rational person would weigh the likelihood of either according to the available evidence. I might add that even if the evidence points to a god doing it, you have a long way to go to use this as a justification for Christianity. As the preceding comments show the history of religious certainties is pathetic so you will have to excuse me if I give more credence to the likelihood of science answering the questions.

    • Pofarmer

      I assume you mean circular, and, no, it’s really not. Why? Because science would accept a “supernatural answer” whatever that means, if it were the best answer available. So far it hasn’t happened. We have innumerable cases of science overruling theistic claims, and, as far as I’m aware, no cases of scientists having to say, “I’ll be durned, the priests were right about that and we were wrong.” Funny.

    • Kevin K

      “God of the gaps” arguments are a logical fallacy. For the record, the answer to the question “how did this current space-time continuum we call the “universe” come into being” is … “I don’t know and neither do you.” You cannot substitute woo woo into the mix just because the scientific answer at present is “we’re working on it.”

      Isaac Newton developed calculus to determine the orbits of planets. But his equations were squirrelly and didn’t completely jibe with the observations. So, he inserted “god” into the calculations. The French mathematician Laplace famously fixed those equations without the need for god. And every single science question that has been asked since has had the precisely same result. Further evidence, further observations, better hypotheses, improved methods of detection all work to reduce the unknowables. And reduce the places where a god can hide.

    • MNb

      I don’t believe our Universe created itself. You’re attacking a strawman.
      Not that you will get it now, that’s what you’re a dishonest apologist for; as a teacher I just like explaining.
      The act of “creating” presupposes a creator. According to your flawed and insincere formulation that creator is our Universe. That simply doesn’t make sense. Neither does “gravity creates free fall” make any sense.

      “More specifically that science will come to the answer that fits the secular world view.”
      Again wrong. When I say (and pay close attention; now comes the correct formulation) “our Universe began with the Big Bang initiated by quantum fluctuations” you can feel free to add “quantum fields were created by a god” or “quantum fields are god” – the latter would be pantheism.
      Use this strawman another time and you have demonstrated to be a liar. That wouldn’t be the first time, would it?

    • Rt1583

      Science doesn’t come to an answer that fits the secular world view. Science comes to an answer that is supported by the evidence available in the real world.

      To put your logic into action let’s look at cancer.

      The secular world view would have it that cancer is NOT a deadly disease. Science has never provided the answer that cancer is NOT a deadly disease but it has provided the answer that provides treatment to prolong the lives of those who suffer from it and, in many cases, provide a cure.

      At best the bible provides the answer to pray to god. If you’re cured, it’s all part of gods plan and god’s great! If you die, it’s all part of gods plan and god works in mysterious ways. That is the definition of self sealing and self fulfilling.

  • Giauz Ragnarock

    “Also consider Jesus’ comment to a mob: “Is it not written in your Law …” (John 10:34). “Your law”? Wouldn’t Jewish Jesus say that it was our law?”

    Don’t forget “John8:44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.”

    Aside from the way this passage was used historically being a horrible stain on Christianity’s “objective morality” (Jesus, not being an exception to the truism ‘nobody is perfect’, can say some really carelessly/intentionally harmful things. Judaism has survived, after all, because of the Pharisees), this also seems to throw up sharp conflict with the narrative that the devil is a fallen good guy.

  • Rt1583

    The bible while being intricately convoluted is, at the same time, simplistic and vague.

    What we know of human psychology today allows us to poke holes in the work while also acknowledging why it is so damned effective.

    The intricate convolutions keep too many people from digging too deeply while the simplistic and vague nature of it allows for a very personalized bible experience.

    I’ve often wondered if the bible (or its predecessors) was laid down with an intent toward psychological control over people or if the simplistic vagueness was due to lack of knowledge and the intricate convolutions due to disparate peoples contributing at disparate times.

    • Greg G.

      I’ve often wondered if the bible (or its predecessors) was laid down with an intent toward psychological control over people or if the simplistic vagueness was due to lack of knowledge and the intricate convolutions due to disparate peoples contributing at disparate times.

      I think the latter. Consider all the religious writings throughout history. Some of them would be direct and to the point while others would be simplistic, vague, and convoluted. The direct and specific writings would fall apart too soon leaving only the convoluted. So the religions that survive would have that type of holy scriptures. It allows them to be re-imagined as times change.

      • al kimeea

        and then the powerful used it to impose the former

    • Heretic (apostate of FSM)

      Yes.