How Ken Ham Just Carried The Entire Jesus Movement Backwards

How Ken Ham Just Carried The Entire Jesus Movement Backwards February 5, 2014

Unless you were living on another planet, you’re probably aware of the Creation vs. Evolution debate that occurred last night between Ken Ham and Bill Nye at the Creation Museum. I have to admit, I had a lot of fun watching and live-tweeting the event as well as following various commentary on the internet.

This morning the “fun” has worn off and I’m simply left to grapple with the reality of what happened last night: we just let a guy with a BA as his terminal degree and a cool accent carry the entire Jesus movement backwards. And, we let him do it in under two hours. Impressive, but for all the wrong reasons.

Ken Ham lost badly (no shocker there). Even a poll conducted by Christianity Today shows that the scientific explanation won with 92% of the vote.

Ken lost because he didn’t produce scientific evidence to support his opinion. In fact, there were times in the debate where he seemed to spend more time talking about abortion, gay marriage and using the word “hijacked” than any focus on the issue of science. What’s worse, is he admitted that all of his science is based upon something I told you about before: adding up genealogies in Genesis as a method to dating the earth— which is not simply bad science but bad theology also.

The evening was a disaster for Ken. But, what’s more concerning, is that it was a bad evening for us as well– Ken just picked up the Jesus movement and carried it backwards ten steps.

You see, there were probably a lot of people watching last night that aren’t that familiar with what it means to be part of the Jesus movement. With Ken Ham as the “representative” of Christians, it would be reasonable for an outsider to assume that he accurately represented the Christian faith and what it means to be a Jesus follower. As if there weren’t enough barriers to faith already, Ken has just erected new barriers by creating the stage for people to assume that following Jesus means you share his fringe beliefs.

If I were an outsider, I would correctly assume that following Jesus means I must check my brains at the door in regards to science, and that I would need to become politically conservative… in which case, signing onto the Jesus movement would become a “thanks, but no thanks” situation.

This is how we got carried backwards. If you are a Jesus follower, one of your central identities in life is to go out and make other Jesus followers. This isn’t an easy task– it is difficult, can take you on some crazy journeys, and is wrought with barriers.

Thanks to Ken, we now have new barriers to helping people embrace faith in Jesus because we will first have to convince them that his beliefs aren’t simply a misrepresentation of science, they’re a misrepresentation of what it looks like to be a Christian. 

We’re all going to have to work a little harder to tear down the barriers Ken erected last night. We’re going to need to roll up our sleeves, and be willing to get our hands dirty as we articulate to people that being a Jesus follower does not require one become anti-science or politically conservative.

We must, if we desire to carry this Jesus thing forward.

So, thanks, Ken. You just made my job harder and I didn’t even get a pay raise out of it.


(* update 5 hrs post publishing: I obviously don’t believe that one person has the power to carry the Jesus movement backwards. This was just a provocative way of saying that having a point-person such as Ham represent the masses, creates barriers and makes our job harder.)

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  • Good post. Regardless of Hamm’s winning or losing, I thought the debate itself was a step back because it pitted religion against science yet again, as if the two are against each other, and creation and evolution are mutually exclusive concepts.
    There are plenty of people who believe God created the world and that evolution was the means by which he did it. For me, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Agreed. Tired of the view that you’re on one side or the other.

  • Sven2547

    I agree. Although Ham didn’t claim that “evolutionists” are non-Christians, he did a spectacular job of making Christianity seem unreasonable and anti-science. Nutters like him are poisonous for both science and Christianity.

  • gimpi1

    “If I were an outsider, I would correctly assume that following Jesus means I must check my brains at the door in regards to science, and that I would need to become politically conservative… in which case, signing onto the Jesus movement would become a “thanks, but no thanks” situation.”

    This sums it up for me. I really do feel that way. And I simply can’t (and don’t want to) check my brain at the door. I find much to respect in Christianity, but this is one of the deal-breakers for me. And I’m not alone. There’s a bunch of us outsiders keeping company in the hinterlands of faith.

    I have to say, this is Christianity’s problem to solve. Anyone have any ideas on how to go about it?

  • ccws

    It’s always seemed to me that the need to literalize the mythos & metaphor of the Bible indicates a spectacularly woeful FAILURE of faith.

    In the progressive tradition I grew up in (as a Baptist Preacher’s Kid), faith dealt with the “why” & science with the “how.” Two entirely different questions. And a God who could say ✴✴✴BANG✴✴✴ (& there was ✴✴✴BANG✴✴✴) & then sit back as the self-organizing universe unfolded & say “Wow! That’s so Me-blessed COOL!” had it all over one who busted his tail making one thing at a time & was so wiped out by the end of the week that he had to take a Mental Health Day…

  • Sven2547

    I have to say, this is Christianity’s problem to solve. Anyone have any ideas on how to go about it?

    Unfortunately religion doesn’t have a built-in mechanism to weed out bad ideas. They kinda just stick around forever.

    Throughout history, when certain religious concepts were deemed unfashionable, the methods they resorted to were:

    * Schism (See: the foundation of the Lutheran Church, the foundation of the Anglican Church, Calvanism, etc)

    * Persecution (see: Jews in Europe 50 AD – 1945 AD, Protestants in Ireland, Palestinians)

    * Massacre (The Troubles, Inquisitions, Mary I of England)

    * War (The Crusades, and pretty much the whole Middle East 700 AD – present)

  • gimpi1

    Perhaps they need to find a weeding-mechanism, Sven.

    Science uses actual, reproducible results as a weeding-system. If you claim you got result A and no one can reproduce it, your results are called into question. (Remember cold-fusion?)

    If Christianity could agree that, when the results of your beliefs are bad, the beliefs should be re-examined, that might be a start. Of course, that would require an agreement about what constitutes bad results. I’m sure some of Mr. Ham’s followers are just fine with driving off people like me. A “smaller, purer Church” and all that. Never mind.

  • I hope you won’t let it be a deal breaker and that if following me has proved anything, you don’t have to believe some of the toxic aspects that are often associated with Christianity in order to be a sincere Jesus follower. There is a Christian faith worth living, and there will always be room for you at the table!

  • gimpi1

    I guess that’s why I keep coming back here, Ben. I’m still looking.

  • I don’t think I new anyone who wasn’t a YEC in the Christian community. It is taught widely in the evangelical churches where I grew up. Or at least it was when I was a kid.

  • I’m glad you do!

  • CKPS63

    Ken Ham needs to re-read his St. Augustine (or read him for the first time.) “. . . Non-Christian[s] know something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars . . . about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge [they] hold to as being certain from reason and experience. It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for a [non-believer] to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.” Augustine and his fellow church fathers were wise enough to know that a sound theology cannot be perpetually at war with observed fact, and that trying to sustain such a theology only embarrasses everyone. Why are so many still floundering with that insight 1600 years later?

  • jennasix

    I think there is another way to look at this. I think there are a large number of fence-sitters whose first exposure to Christianity has been the warped, evangelical version. That’s how I became a fundie. It was through good, thorough logic that I shook off those shackles, and I think that’s what Nye delivered last night. I appreciated the fact that Nye brought up that the vast majority of believers in God in this world do NOT believe Ham’s version of creation. I think we’ll find that this debate did as much good as the harm you fear.

  • Daniel Webb

    Ham kept trying to drag the argument back into god vs. science, even though Nye explicitly stated on more than one occasion that his fight wasn’t with any religion–but with ignorance. Just not a smart tactic on Ham’s part–and it showed when he couldn’t stick to the debate topic and wanted to present a salvation message instead of evidence.

  • E.A. Blair

    Do you think it might have anything to do with Augustine being a part of Catholic theology and Ham is a dyed-in-the-wool fundie (a group which seldom finds any common ground with Catholicism)?

  • gapaul

    I don’t accept that Ham controls the progress of the Jesus movement. Just like I don’t think Judas stopped it.

    I think this post might make the same mistake as Ham. He is fueled by defensiveness, and the urge to be respected on some sort of intellectual level. I don’t think we should presume that somehow we are responsible for God’s reputation, and that this is something to “fight” for. We can’t possibly silence every mentally ill, sociopathic, or otherwise misguided person who claims the name of Jesus. And we can’t rewrite history and all the lousy things done by Christians before us.

    This: “If you are a Jesus follower, your central mission in life is to go out and make other Jesus followers,” is the same thing that fuels Ham, and causes him to lose his humility and his reason and spend time and money on all the wrong things.

    Let’s feed the hungry and love our enemies. That’s enough of a to-do list. Defending God’s reputation or our own intellectual bona fides may get somebody’s grudging respect. But that’s not the same as “making disciples.”

  • icecreamassassin

    I realize it’s rather unfair to ask within the space of a Disqus comment, but would it be possible for you to articulate what the differences are between ‘why’ and ‘how’?

  • arensb

    his beliefs aren’t simply a misrepresentation of science, they’re a misrepresentation of what it looks like to be a Christian.

    Are you saying that Ham isn’t a Christian? Or did you merely mean to say that Ham’s way isn’t the only way to be a Christian?

  • I agree– the title was provocative but I obviously don’t think that any one person, or even an entire movement, can control the “Jesus movement” one way or another. My point was however, that when we have folks front and center with fringe views but who represent the masses, it creates barriers.

    I also agree we are to love our enemies (the most common topic I write about) and feed the hungry, and that we can fall into the same trap as Ham. However, to dismiss Jesus’ command to create more followers, would be to dismiss the words of Jesus himself. That, I simply can’t do. I realize folks (including myself) have a recoil to things that feel evangelical or fundamentalist, but Jesus still said it and we can’t simply set it aside. Inviting others to follow the way of Jesus is central to the identity of a kingdom person.

  • No. Ken is obviously a Christian. Simply saying that his flavor isn’t the only type of Christian.

  • Bob O’Neil

    What you theists don’t seem to understand is that only way you are going to convince non-believers that jesus and your god are real is with tangible, irrefutable EVIDENCE. You guys don’t seem to have any. If you do have it, you sure as hell haven’t been able to produce it.

  • arensb

    May I just butt in for a second to point out that, given the lack of evidence, your use of the phrase “sure as hell” is a tad ironic?

  • Sven2547

    The subject of this particular post was Ken Ham and his wacky Young Earth Creationism. The debate wasn’t over the hypothetical existence of God.

  • Some types of atheist ultimately the same problem if we want to talk irrefutable evidence. Saying “there is no God” is an absolute statement requiring absolute knowledge– you would need absolute knowledge of the entire universe to say that no God exists anywhere. Which, no one does, so part of claim is ironically taken on faith.

    For me, I have the evidence of how God has worked and been present in my own life, and how I have seen him move and act in the lives of others. This is sufficient for me, and millions like me.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Atheism meaning a simple lack of belief, Bob O’Neil’s statement is compatible with the understanding that evidence has not been provided to convince us atheists that any deity exists, let alone the specific deity of Christianity.

  • Ian Carmichael

    It shouldn’t be. Augustine was significant for the whole western church. And even if Ham had only read some of the modern debate, he’d surely have come across that quote. And, perhaps more congenially to his way of thinking, Calvin’s comments on Genesis make a similar point to Augustine.

  • Deanna Szuter

    It’s just a phrase to some not carrying the literal meaning attached to it. Like, “Sure as Shit”. If I say “To Hell with him” I’m not actually literally cursing someone to hell, as I don’t believe in the supernatural, heaven or hell. It’s a phrase.

  • Reason 180

    I have to say, I don’t think Hamm’s beliefs are fringe. They may be fundamentalist, but fundamentalism represents a huge swath of Christianity. If you take a poll and ask people, for example, did male humans exist before female humans did, don’t you think that a majority of self-professed Christians will say “Yes because that’s what the Bible says?”

  • CKPS63

    No doubt — but maybe that’s part of the problem. Augustine and the other Church fathers were hardly exclusively Catholic — they lived 1,000 years before the Reformation and their ideas laid the foundation for nearly ALL later Christian doctrine, including its Protestant variant — early Calvinists, for example, routinely cited Augustine as authority for doctrines as diverse as original sin and predestination. I’ve always thought that a better knowledge of the actual history and patristics of the early church (subjects routinely taught in most seminaries) help illuminate just what a recent and aberrant view “young earth creationism” actually is, and how out-of-whack with the “big picture” of Christian doctrine and history.

  • Deanna Szuter

    And this is why I can’t believe any of it. The whole “My god is the right god and yours is wrong, my religion is the right way and yours is not” convinced me when I was in grade school that it was all hogwash. I was in class and the teacher was explaining how Indians had Sun Gods, Rain Gods, etc. One of my fellow classmates spoke up and said, “But my God is the only God that is real.” Ya lost me right then and there. You have Muslim’s Allah which is Arabic for God, yet Christians say they are wrong, and the Muslims say Christians are wrong. India has many Gods, and they are wrong in the eyes of Christians and Muslims. If no one is right.. then everyone must be wrong.

  • Just as a little point of order, the poll you linked is from “Christian Today,” which doesn’t seem to be quite the same thing as “Christianity Today.” The point still stands of course; those are some whopping results in favor of Nye.

  • icecreamassassin

    The weird thing is…Christianity *implies* an error-correction mechanism – god himself. A sentient, willful entity that is capable of communication. To this day, I still do not understand what the harm would be for god to simply clear up this confusion.

    Is Ken Ham leading others astray? Others who, presumably, really want a good, healthy relationship with god, and are being *honestly misled* by someone…what is the harm with god clearing up the confusion?

    I just don’t understand why god would allow someone to be *honestly confused*, potentially confusing others who are on the same search for truth.

  • arensb

    Saying “there is no God” is an absolute statement requiring absolute knowledge

    Not necessarily: I could just as easily say “there is no copper mine in the Vatican” If you want to be precise, the statement ought to have a qualifier like “to the best of my knowledge”, but that’s rather cumbersome for everyday speech.
    I don’t know of any atheists who make the absolute statement you claim. Even Richard Dawkins, in “The God Delusion”, goes to some length to explain that he is not 100% convinced that there aren’t any gods; just 99.99999…%, enough that there’s no point quibbling over the difference between that and 100%.

  • Mario Strada

    Edit: I wrote this way before the topic above mine. I apologize and my intention was not to hijack the thread or continue the discussion about the existence of God. In fact, at the end of my OP I apologize for straying off topic. I do wish to read an upcoming article on this topic though.

    I am torn on the topic of science and religion and Christianity specifically. I should preface I am an atheist. I have been one since a very early age and I was never a Christian, but like all good Italian boys I had to study catechism and I eventually read many books on the Bible, Christianity and religion in general. I am not totally ignorant of religion as, for instance, my daughter is, having been born in a completely secular household.

    The conundrum is that while Ham is clearly a fool, he seems to me, from the outside looking in, more consistent with Christian theology than more liberal Christians.
    The reason is simple: I don’t see a way to reconcile the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and the Original Sin with an Evolutionary, deep time framework.

    I guess I have a hard time reading the narrative of the Original Sin as an allegory. If it was, then why would God send us [himself/his son] as a sacrificial lamb if this sin was never committed.

    If we evolved relatively slowly from simian ancestors, when did we exactly commit this Original Sin and how? By discovery fire? We know it’s not sex because sex is just the way most life forms reproduce in order to create biological diversity. Hardly an “Original Sin”.

    So why send the Christ? And if the OS is a fantasy allegory, there is no reason for a redeemer and his sacrifice (which, BTW, while objectively horrible, doesn’t seem to me any worse than what some humans have been suffering at the hands of their torturers throughout history. See taliban prisoners having their knees drilled or drug cartel torture. All of it without any hope of resurrection).

    Science cannot prove or disprove a god. Especially a deistic god the Creator. But the Christian god is a creator as well as specifically a redeemer.

    If I were a Christian this fallacy would confuse me to no end and to date I have not heard a consistent explanation in this regard.

    That’s why even as I despise Ham and his creationist movement, especially the damage and ignorance it spreads, and while I am much more sympathetic to the more liberal Christian approach for its more tolerant message and frankly more desirable social characteristics, I find Ham and his ilk more consistent within their belief system.

    Don’t get me wrong, it saddens me as I consider liberal Christianity an ally in terms of social progress, but both take inspiration from the same set of books. Both have to dance around the same contradictions and fallacies.

    Maybe this is not the appropriate forum to discuss such a topic, but I would certainly welcome an article on it in the near future.

  • Mario Strada

    I was once floored by the result of a poll taken in a secular university and how many people believed men had one less rib than women. (incidentally, many could not tell how we measured a solar year either)

  • Non believers don’t believe Jesus existed, that He was married, that it was all a fraud, etc. and this is what you think is a hindrance to their belief?

  • Pavlos

    Benjamin, part of what Nye was talking about last night was the lack of predictions that can be made by using the bible. He was speaking of predictions as they relate to creationism, but to answer you I can use the exact same logic here. Nobody can say with 100% certainty that no god exists. But we’re not talking about some vague concept of a deity right now. We are talking about the Christian god, aka God. If you diverge from the bible then you’re no longer discussing that god. If you don’t diverge from the bible then we can look at what predictions we can make by its claims and examine them under the microscope of science (one of a few that we can use). In this day and age I feel strange that I must remind you that, of course, it’s failed to live up to those predictions. Therefore, we can say with certainty that this god, the Christian god described in the bible, does not exist. There’s no faith required for such a statement.

  • FactoryGuy

    Why is it such a stretch to believe that God created the universe and set up the physical, biological, and chemical standards that make it run?

  • Faber

    let me give you another atheists perspective on this “problem”:

    Lets define “God” as an almighty being. Being Almighty is impossible, therefore God does not exist. End of proof.

    Regarding the impossibility of being almighty: If you are almighty, try creating a stone that is to heavy for you to carry. You succeed or your don’t, which means you either fail to create that stone or fail to carry it around, hence: you are not almighty. End of Proof.

    Conclusion: You do not need absolute knowledge of the entire universe if the entity in question is paradoxically defined. and you don’t take anything on faith.

    btw. same type of proof works against the statement “the bible is true”, because a book that contradicts itself cannot be true.

    whoever or whatever worked and was present in your life, it was not an almighty being and it was not the God of the bible.

  • JustPro

    “The catastrophic tectonic flood event described in Genesis 6 can be separated into three phases (each phase overlapping into the next), which took place within a span of one year—NOT millions of years as maintained by uniformitarian geologists. The three phases of the catastrophic worldwide flood are 1) continental separation, 2) uplift of ocean basins and worldwide flooding (i.e., massive tsunamis) over less prominent topography, and 3) subsidence of ocean basins, continental uplift (i.e., mountain building) and drainage. The worldwide flood was then followed by the post-diluvium Ice Age.”

    Heres some good information that Ken Hamm did fail to speak of when talking about Pangea. Yes Ken Ham failed in a lot of aspects during the debate by providing evidence which there is plenty of evidence out their that supports Creation and shoots down evolution…

  • JustPro

    I don’t know and than create some stupid analogy that everything happened on accident. thats impossible you cannot make nothing out of something without a creator.

  • If you’re talking to me, it’s not– cause that’s what I believe.

  • JustPro

    So your saying we so happened to magically appeared out of thin air? Can a pencil just accidently be made? I mean heres a evolutionists theory: “out of nothing a big bang happened and here is everything” I mean everything needs a creator… Maybe the big bang did happen but occurred from God speaking it as so… and I did not come from a monkey. God created man and woman and through generations and generations i came out of my mothers womb…. The human body is complex and no I refuse to accept that the Human body did not just evolve from a single micro-organism but God created us in his own image… How hard is it not to understand…

  • JustPro

    Its all about opinion… Dawkins is not convinced but thats his opinion.. Just because he says he dont believe in god does not mean there is no god…

  • JustPro

    There are plenty of websites out their that provides evidence that the Bible being a remarkable book already stating how the earth came too and our origin… Plenty of evidence that proclaims the bible is truth…

  • JustPro

    There were plenty of predictions in the book of Revelation that some of those predictions have came true or is happening now.

  • This is the precise problem for the opposite side. Even Bill Could not explain the existence of matter or where came from.

  • JustPro

    Overall I think both debators failed I dont believe neither won the argument. Both failed to answer some questions. Ken could of saved face by stating the evidence that is out there produced by several scientists who explains why Creationism makes more sense than evolution… The Debate in general failed.

  • Faber

    I am neither invoking magic nor “accident” and even not “out of nothing”. I do not say anything about how the universe came about because: I do not know.
    All i know is what i said above: There is no almighty god and the bible is not true. I could speculate that the big bang might have happened, it might have had a cause but its difficult to say if time itself came with the big bang into being, because a cause-effect-relationship would require time. Some cause is plausible, but thats it.
    And if you assert that everything needs a creator then: who created your creator? Your answer will falsify your assertion.

  • dangjin1

    I am still in the middle of watching the debate so I will withhold most of my comments until I have finished viewing it. One thing is, Ham didn’t lose, I do not think either of them won though Ham was closer than Nye.

    Nye wasn’t honest in his presentation of his points and tried to make the debate about Ken Ham and not the scripture. He didn’t address biblical facts just went after Ham’s ideas.

    Ham didn’t have to present ‘science’ to win because science wasn’t involved in creation. People have a very large misconception about the role and authority of science.

    I will reserve the rest of my comments till I have finished watching and then I will probably spend most of my time on my own website dissecting the debate and the different bloggers’ opinions.

  • JustPro

    It is true that God cannot be both almighty and good if you restrict Him to our level – three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. However, this God is not the God of reality or Christianity, since both the Bible and science would indicate that God must exist in more than three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. The Bible says the universe cannot contain God (1), indicating He must exist and operate in dimensions of space and time other than those to which we are confined. The Bible also says God created time and was acting before time began (2), confirming that God exists in at least two dimensions of time. A single dimension of time (a line) has a beginning point and can only travel in one direction. Two dimensions of time (a plane) has no beginning or ending so that a being existing in such a plane would be free to move to any point along any line of time within that plane.

    Both of these descriptions of God are confirmed by what we know from science. According to particle physics and relativity, at least nine dimensions of space existed at the creation of the universe. God must be able to operate in all of those nine dimensions in order to have created the universe. A verse from the book of Hebrews indicates God created the universe out of some of the dimensions of space and time which are not visible to us (3). Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose extended the equations for general relativity to include space and time (4). Not only space, but also time has a beginning – at the moment of creation. Therefore, if God created the universe, He was acting before the creation of time, indicating He exists in at least two dimensions of time. If God existed in only one dimension of time, then He would have had to have been created at one point. The Bible says God was not created, but has existed from eternity past to eternity future.

  • Psycho Gecko

    And you know what they claim their evidence is for believing the bible is true? Because the bible says so. So because they already believe the bible is true, they take that as evidence that the bible is true. The rest of us, though, would like some sort of verification. We’d like some evidence that all animals were spontaneously created without any relation to one another, but genetics says otherwise. We’d like some evidence that the Jews were mass enslaved in Egypt, but archeology shows them being a breakaway tribe from Canaan that settled in lands already under Egyptian ownership. We’d like some evidence even as far as consistency: Genesis 1 claims that sea and air creatures were made, then land animals, then huamns altogether. Genesis 2 proclaims that man was made first, then all the animals were made to be his companions, then when they turned out to be inadequate, Yahweh made a woman.

    That’s one thing, it would help if the god of the Bible wasn’t shown to be a part of an already-existing tradition that included a pantheon where God of the old testament had a wife. That shows the evolution, if you will, of an earlier pantheistic religion toward a monotheistic religion, and undermines support of the monotheistic religion as literal truth.

    We’d like some evidence that your god exists other than a book that’s been created by committee, translated from translations. The fact that the supposed divinely-inspired word of god was assembled by committees of men who had to decide on whether Jesus was man, deity, or demigod and if they should keep it down to just Jesus and Yahweh or add some sort of third being called a Holy Ghost to the mix…yeah, that doesn’t add a lot of weight to taking the bible as any sort of literal truth coming straight from a god.

    There are no other accounts that back up the magical events of the bible, or even the life of Jesus. Even the accounts of Jesus in the bible were written 70 years after his death in an age long before modern medicine.

    There is, in fact, evidence that shows that the bible took several myths from other religions, like the flood myth. The Sumerians have an older version that was most likely picked up by Jews who were enslaved in Babylon. Said enslavement actually led to less xenophobia in the bible, and stories like the book of Ruth, as well as the inclusion into Jewish mythology of other myths that they liked and wanted to adapt to their own culture when they were released from Cyrus the Persion, who they dubbed a Messiah.

  • Psycho Gecko

    You are going to eat tomorrow. There, I have as much authority using vague predictions as does the Book of Revelation. Oh wow, what a stretch to predict that at some undetermined point in the future, people would fight in wars and natural disasters would occur.

    There’s a reason why people have been thinking they lived in endtimes ever since that book was tossed into the bible.

  • Psycho Gecko

    But unlike Ham, he wants to find out. That’s the point. Ham just says “God” and refuses to investigate further. The next century of scientific and technological dominance goes to those who, when they see a problem they don’t know the answer to, want to actually find the answer rather than proclaim that Goddidit and not even bother looking after that.

  • Psycho Gecko

    If Ham’s not talking about science, then there’s no reason for whatever he teaches to be taught as science.

  • Psycho Gecko

    To pile on, Ham insists that somehow Yahweh has a plan for an expanding universe. He claims that passages about stretching creation somehow explain away that expansion.

    But science found that expansion. Not creationists. If the bible was really so scientifically valid, why didn’t they look for such expansion and find it that way? Because they didn’t know about it. They just needed to come up with some way to explain what science found when it actually went looking for answers rather than just accepting that god is so big and mysterious and does things we can’t fathom so don’t ask.

    And that’s the point Nye was trying to make about predictions. Science can be used to predict future discoveries based on what we have found already. Creationism is nothing but an attempt to rationalize away all that science found in the context of Christian biblical literalism. It has no predictive capability because it isn’t scientifically valid.

  • JustPro

    Im just going to say this Skeptics claim that the Bible makes a number of errors in its description of the physical universe. Many of these issues are handled on another page. However, what most skeptics don’t know is that the Bible, written mostly by a bunch of sheep herders, makes a number of scientific claims that are remarkably correct – even though many were not even confirmed to be correct until within the last 100 years.

  • Patrick James Bayham


  • I used to say the exact same thing, till I read it for myself and realized there really isn’t anything in there that one wouldn’t totally expect to see out of the culture and ignorance that created it. The people who wrote the Bible weren’t necessarily just idiotic sheep herders, though skeptics often use the term as a shorthand; they had access to the wisdom and philosophy of the world around them just like one would expect them to have had. I’m sorry to bust your bubble, but no, actually, the Bible’s pretty par for the course in terms of how it saw the world.

    It’s kind of weird how one has to descend to the level of Nostradamus fanciers and conspiracy theorists to find those nuggets of ANCIENT WIZDOMMM in the Bible. How remarkable that out of all those nuggets, there’s nothing in there about how to cure cancer or anything that could really be seen as advancing humanity. Let it go, JustPro. Let it go.

  • … what biblical “facts” could you possibly be referring to?

  • (a) those aren’t “proofs” and (b) that actually was God who worked in my life. What you are expressing is an alternate form of fundamentalism.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Thank you for bringing up Nostradamus, Cap’n.

    See, just because Nostradamus said things that later on, if you bend and twist them, sound like they could have matched these other events or discoveries, doesn’t mean he knew what he was talking about. Rather than be able to actually find this stuff out or predict it would be found out, people go back after scientists made the actual discoveries and go “Wait, my religion is still valid because if I squint really hard, this passage can be made to sound as if it’s talking about that recent scientific discovery that we somehow didn’t make on our own with this book as our guide.”

  • People who disbelieve Jesus historically existed are an extraordinary minority.

  • Psycho Gecko

    You will need to provide proof that 1. It was a deity and 2. It was the Christian deity.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Only because conventional Christian privilege has caused historians to give Jesus’s existence the benefit of the doubt. Aside from the bible, there are no sources that can prove his existence. While that’s not normally an issue as far as proving any one single ordinary human existed, people regularly make claims regarding Jesus being some fantastical demigod who could raise the dead.

    Such claims as that actually do require evidence, like if another party actually said “Oh, yeah, Emperor So and So-us, there’s this weird guy running around healing the sick. Maybe we ought to see if this guy can head up to the Empire proper and help out the boys in the legions. Sounds like he’d be a great asset.”

  • GregFromCos

    If only there were a supernatural being who could affect humanity in a manner to create fewer sects.

    It is certainly a proof against a personal god, that we see the opposite of this unification happening. It seems much more likely that religions are created by man, given that they always fracture, rather than congeal.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Of course, if such a letter existed in those times, the funny thing is he’d be like “Another one? There’s people claiming that like XV of those guys are running around total.”

  • JustPro

    Apparently you did not read enough… If you read the bible and studied it more closely you would see a lot of remarkable truths too it… It was written by people who did not even have the technology to make much great discoveries and even in the bible it declares the earth is round… When Christopher Columbus and his many high speed peers thought the earth was flat… I mean there are countless accurate scientific accouts that are correct and the book is the oldest book in the world… I won’t let it go because I know its FACT

  • JustPro

    Nostradamus is FAR from anything… He has no connections to the Bible and does not validate any point in this discussion

  • I enjoyed the debate. Ham’s beliefs were put on display in all their close-minded glory. The debated ended when Ham was asked what would be necessary to change his mind and he essentially said ‘nothing.’ Nye replied by saying ‘evidence.’ Once that was on the floor, it was all over. Ham didn’t come to debate, he came to advertise his floundering Creationist amusement park.

    A number of my Christian friends and people I follow on Twitter seemed extremely embarrassed as they followed the debate last night, and that was pleasing to behold. It’s in my interests to keep people like Ham front and centre so the rest of the literate world can see the damage that Christian creationism does to genuine scientific discovery and advancement.

    For years and years, the more rational sects of Christianity have largely sat on their hands and looked the other way when Creationists get going. Attacking them and their illusions outright has been neglected in order to avoid public disunity in the Christian sphere, some exceptions noted. This has perpetuated the lie that evolution is a ‘secular’ religion and the exclusive perview of atheists and Satan-worshipers. Hopefully Ham and his like will keep embarrassing Christendom enough that they’ll finally come down, and come down hard, on him.

    And if not, it’s always fun to watch Christian fundamentalists repeat ‘The Bible! The Bible! The Bible!” automatically when asked basic 4th grade science questions.

  • Guest

    I as a follower of Jesus am not a
    part of a movement. Your job as you call it, is not being done by most
    “Christians” and that should be to live a live that expresses Jesus
    in our words and actions. “Christians” in America, for the most part,
    do not reflect Jesus and that is why many experience just a
    “movement” and not a spiritual awakening. God and His word are not up
    for debate. Scripture teaches, in Romans, that we are endowed with knowledge of
    our Creator. The ones who deny that repeatedly are the ones who have checked
    their brains in at the door. As Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin and High
    Priest he appeared to have lost the debate, yet He won the battle against sin
    for all of us. Bill Nye is a “cool” science guy but he tries to live
    in a self-made world that denies what all creatures know intrinsically.

  • Bác Doug Greene

    I as a follower of Jesus am not a
    part of a movement. Your job as you call it, is not being done by most
    “Christians” and that should be to live a life that expresses Jesus
    in our words and actions. “Christians” in America, for the most part,
    do not reflect Jesus and that is why many experience just a
    “movement” and not a spiritual awakening. God and His word are not up
    for debate. Scripture teaches, in Romans, that we are endowed with knowledge of
    our Creator. The ones who deny that repeatedly are the ones who have checked
    their brains in at the door. As Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin and High
    Priest he appeared to have lost the debate, yet He won the battle against sin
    for all of us. Bill Nye is a “cool” science guy but he tries to live
    in a self-made world that denies what all creatures know intrinsically.

  • JustPro

    Here is one piece of evidence that the Bible fore told…One prophecy that occurs again and again in the Old Testament is the prophecy of the people of Israel being scattered to all nations. Certainly this has happened. The northern ten tribes were taken into captivity by Assyrians around 712 BC. The other two tribes were taken captive by the Babylonians around 606 BC. Only a small fraction of the Jews returned from Babylon to resettle the land of Israel in 536 BC. But the biggest blow came in 70 AD when Titus of Rome attacked Jerusalem, destroying the city and the temple. The Jews that were not killed were scattered into all nations.

    Leviticus 26:33-38 says, “And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; andthe sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.”

    Deuteronomy 28:64-67 says, “And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.”

    One only needs to look up “Jews” in any encyclopedia for details the long history of persecution, massacre, and expulsion from various countries. Hitler’s murder of 6,000,000 was not an isolated event, but part of a 2000 year trend. For example, thousands of Jews were massacred during the time of the Crusades (1000-1300 AD). Persecution of Jews was the norm as all Jews were considered partakers in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In the 14th century the plague known as the Black Death swept through Europe killing about one fourth of the population. Jews were often massacred as a result of the accusation that they spread the disease by poisoning water supplies. In 1492, all Jews were expelled from Spain, as was the case in Portugal just five years later. And there is much, much more. Just check any encyclopedia.

  • Psycho Gecko

    No, the bible just says that the earth was a circle. If it had said it was a sphere, that’d be another matter entirely. By the way, it also gets the size of the earth drastically wrong

    You’re wrong about Columbus too. People knew the Earth was round even back to the time of the Greeks, who actually went looking and calculating rather than trusting what a deity might say. And you’ll note that the Earth, according to the bible, is the center of the universe, with the sun and moon orbiting it and both giving off light. It also has a firmament over it to separate it from the heavens, and this giant dome over the earth sometimes creates rain and dew, which is useful for creatures like bats, which are birds, and for other biblical creatures that like unicorns and satyrs.

  • …you realise that it was the Catholics who were largely persecuted in Ireland, not the other way around, correct? Ireland was ruled by the Protestant British Empire for hundreds of years. Oliver Cromwell essentially wiped out the Catholic population of Ulster. You may be referring to the Ulster Massacres of the Eire Amach, but those weren’t inspired as much by religion as by xenophobia and bad blood, considering there were both Protestant victims and perpetrators.

    If you are referring to today, much of my mum’s family are Prods, many live in NI and the Republic, and not one has ever complained of organised persecution, just bad blood.

    Until after the Irish Civil War. Then it was just a free for all on both sides. During the Troubles we had a saying: Catholic bullets and Protestant ones will kill you just as dead.

    Catholics persecuting Protestants in Ireland. What will they come out with next.

    And no, I’m not an Irish Republican or a Unionist. I despise both sides, I just have an appreciation for historical accuracy.

  • Psycho Gecko

    A tiny tribe living in land fought over between the Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, and so on, in trying to tell people “Hey, be righteous and follow religion or this will happen to you” decides to write down “You know what, if we aren’t righteous, I think we might get conquered.”

  • JustPro

    The Bible was the first written work to describe the expanding universe model for the universe (indicated by verses stating that God spreads out the heavens, 2), which is consistent with the Big Bang model.

  • Faber

    That is a very interesting essay, but: As stated above, the bible is proven to be not true due to contradictions, hence cannot be used to prove anything, “I mean everything needs a creator” and “God was not created” (both quotes from you) contradict each other.
    Invoking 10 dimensions to allow contradictions and paradoxes is using a joker card.
    But its interesting to see that we agree on the point that there is no almigthy God in a 3 plus one dimensional space-time-universe. I like your attempt to work around that by turning time into a plane and adding more dimenions on top; i admit, this response is unexpected and a new one :)

  • Psycho Gecko

    Actually, he says there is no evidence to believe in a god. Once again, as Nye pointed out, if there were any actual evidence to believe in any of this stuff, then people would believe.

  • Yes, deep in my heart, I know that snakes really can talk.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Then why didn’t anyone discover it using the bible as a guide?

    Oh yeah, because scientists discovered all this and people who believed in a literal bible came along later to say “Now what passage can I pull out that might possibly explain what scientists have learned about the universe?”

  • Psycho Gecko

    And now every non-Christian is accused of being a liar by someone pulling out a phrase from discredited book translated from translations of translations’ translations that was assembled by a politicized committee.

  • Creationists have done their best to turn “denial of science” into an in-group marker belief. That’s what you’re describing here–the idea that this belief defines the person’s membership in the group, and that one cannot be a member of the group without holding that belief.

    It was heartbreaking to see the kids afterward with their hand-made signs with questions on them for “evolutionists.” Every single question on there was just a regurgitated talking-point from creationist writers/speakers. Every single one has been answered–at length–by “evolutionists.” But they don’t want to know. Losing Creationism means losing their entire meaning in life and the idea that there’s some god over-arching all of it. I’ve heard so many Creationists tell me “But if a god didn’t make this world, then what is my purpose in life?” Heartbreaking. It takes a lie to make them feel like they have purpose.

  • GregFromCos

    I do question if progressive Christianity will ever have it’s rebellion against ecumenism like the Atheists had (New Atheism). Until that happens, I’m not certain how Ken Hamm will stop being the face of Christianity to we non Christians, or how the adversaries to fundamentalism will be anything other than we New Atheists.

  • Mario Strada

    With all due respect, I don’t think you know what “science” is.
    The creation of Matter would indeed be a scientific event. If you were driving a car and suddenly a telephone pole appeared in front of the car and you plowed into it, you better believe it would be a matter of science to find out how that happened.

  • Pavlos

    Matthew 16: 27, 28 (Jesus claims he will return before some of his disciples will die). Almost 2,000 years later we’re still here, but Jesus has not returned. The book of revelations is akin to the Oracles at Delphi or Nostradamus type prophecies. The fact is that no clearly stated prophecy (such as what I offered you above) has come true; in fact, it’s too late already for them to come true. Let’s have another one that’s not a prophetic prediction, but a scientific one: “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth . . .” Isaiah 40:22. This means that we should expect to see an earth that is a circle (and, therefore, flat like a coin). But what did we see instead? That the earth is a sphere. Just look at the creation account found in Genesis and all the descriptions that we can use to form predictions and then stack that up against scientific reality. You may or may not be aware that bible describes the location of the garden of Eden with enough accuracy for us to go and find it. Not only that, but it mentions that the entrance is guarded to prevent us from entering. In other words, we should be able to find it and be stopped from entering it by an angel. Neither of those seem to exist (the garden has not been found where it should be biblically and nobody has been able to document an angel preventing them from entering any location). Look at the tale of the great flood. A worldwide flood doing such damage should be easily recognizable in geologic formations, biologic speciation and so on and so forth. Yet, again, no such thing seems to have occurred. The prediction that we would find X,Y, or Z if such an event had occurred has proven to be false.

  • This is so sad to me. No, you just don’t understand history, so that’s why you can make absolutely beyond-ignorant statements like you have here. No, actually, the civilization around the writers of the Bible was pretty sophisticated overall. They thought the world was a big sphere, with a bigger sphere around it (the sky), with “windows” that could be opened to let in the waters all around the outside of those spheres (as is described in the Flood and Creation narrative myths). And the writers of the Bible had access to those understandings and used them in writing their myths.

    Incidentally, there’s no evidence that Columbus or his men thought the earth was flat. Any sailor of the time knew it was round–as Gecko’s pointed out, the Greeks figured that out, and dogma always loses to reality to a man whose very life depends on knowing facts like “is the world round or flat?”

    Why is your faith so weak you can’t just go learn the real truths behind the lies you keep spouting? That must just suck to have a faith that depends upon keeping yourself blind ignorant. I couldn’t do it.

  • And yet there is nothing in the Bible about slavery being inherently inhuman and bad, or about women being full human beings with rights just like men have, or about marriage and sex needing consent to be valid, or about cancer being caused by X and Y, or about anything seriously true about the cosmos, the earth, dinosaurs, or anything else. The only way these things can be seen in the Bible is by looking at them with the lens of hindsight and confirmation bias.

  • JustPro

    Atheists tend to fall into one of two camps. First, are the atheists who say that science cannot have anything to say about the existence of God. However, recently, the “new atheists” think that they can prove the non-existence of God through science. Although science cannot directly detect God, it can examine His creation. Consider the non-physical concept of love. We all accept that love exists, although it cannot be directly measured by science. However, if we observe those who love each other, we can indirectly measure the affect of love on these individuals’ actions. For example, we might notice that they spend a lot of time together, they are constantly helping each other in various ways, and they come to each other’s defense when the other is threatened in some way. Although we cannot measure love directly, we can measure the indirect effects of love. Likewise, although we cannot measure God directly, we can examine the universe to detect God’s imprint on the physical world

  • Oh good heavens. You’re just fooling around now, aren’t you? NOBODY has ever used the Bible in that way. Ever. And it does not talk about the Big Bang at all. It never did. You have to seriously warp a couple of out-of-context verses to get that. It thought of the sky as a big metal sphere with windows a god could open and close. It thought of “nothingness” as a sort of ocean of water from which land came.

    Do you know that most Jews don’t take the Bible literally like Christians do? They think it’s the funniest and most tragic thing. They know it’s not a literal account of history. Why do you so desperately need it to be so when even the Jews knew better than to make it a literal thing?

  • JustPro

    Just like you need proof of your claims that there is no God which is completely false… THis universe or Earth would not be if there was no God

  • Pavlos

    Again, like Psycho Gecko, “you will eat tomorrow” is a prediction also (much like what you offered us above).

  • No, actually, the burden is on you because you are the one insisting there is a god. You are making the claim. You are saying this thing is real. We merely sit back and assess your claim, in the same way we would if you claimed you could fly or that humans can survive on just breathing air (which have both been claimed by people at various times). Proving anything is not a burden for the person you are making the claim at. Shifting burden of proof is something Christians have been doing for centuries, but non-Christians are starting to challenge it.

    So please, do share. What is your proof and evidence that your god exists?

  • Though I am not an atheist, I know your assertions here are false. Atheists do not generally say that science can’t say anything about the existence of any gods. To the contrary, they are usually very quick to use science to prove or disprove claims about gods. Secondly, I don’t know of anybody who thinks he or she can “prove the non-existence of God through science.” Nobody is doing that. I don’t think that anybody could. What we can do instead is look at the positive truth claims made by religious people and see if they hold up. Not a single one of them have. I think it is very unlikely that any religions have ever made a truth claim that has held up. The best and wisest idea is for religions to get out of the “making truth claims” business. But so few of them can; the modern mind can’t handle that kind of faith or belief.

    If you can’t win with evidence, win by mischaracterizing the opposition, I guess.

  • Mario Strada

    I would tend to interpret “spread” more as “cast” as one would ‘spread’ seed, than claim ancient bible authors were somehow aware of an expanding universe, something we settled as recently as 2004.
    And I certainly don’t know what that “spread” verb might have meant in the original idiom.

  • dangjin1

    No it wouldn’t be. Science is not designed for such events. Also, we do not need science to learn how matter came into being, because God has already told us how–he spoke and it was.

  • dangjin1

    Yet that is God’s view–‘You are either for me or against me’ or ‘friendship with the world is emnity with God’ (done from memory)

    In other words, with God there are only two sides. and you have to chose which one you are on.

  • dangjin1

    Evolution is not science either, it doesn’t exist. it should be removed form the science classroom.

    Science is to learn things about the world and universe not to rewrite the Bible. We do not need science to tell us about origins, matter etc., God has already done that so evolution is basically false teaching for it isn’t true.

  • JustPro

    Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman Historian who lived from 55-120AD. In 115 AD, P. Cornelius Tacitus wrote the following passage that refers to Jesus (called “Christus,” which means “The Messiah”) in book 15, chapter 44 of The Annals after a six-day fire burned much of Rome:

    “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.” (source)

    Despite the fact the clearly despised Christianity as a “mischievous superstition”, Tacitus no less confirms once again the existence of Jesus and His crucifixion on the cross, it also states Pontius Pilate as the procurator who oversaw the crucifixion again giving non-Biblical proof of Jesus’ existence as recorded in the Bible.

  • I don’t think he existed in the form the NT posits he existed in, but I don’t know of any serious scholars who’d say otherwise. It seems very clear that everything written about him in the Gospels (and Acts) was pretty much drawn from shoehorning Old Testament “predictions” and cribbed myths from the surrounding cultures, and none of the ideas attributed to him are really that ground-breaking or original (I’ve seen some interesting papers comparing him to Philo, for example, and various other Jewish wizardly types from 200BCE-200CE). Often skeptics get caught up in insisting there’s no way he could have existed in the form the NT talks about, and don’t realize that no, scholars don’t tend to think he did either.

    But I don’t think it really matters one way or the other. If he did exist in any kind of recognizable form, certainly he didn’t ping anybody’s radar at the time, but even if anybody contemporary had mentioned him as a physical person, his existence doesn’t prove he was holy or divine or that any of the claims around him are true. It’s like trying to find the identity of the millionaire playboy who inspired the Batman legends. It’s a bit of a red herring. Paul didn’t need Jesus to be physically real then to think the religion had validity, and I don’t see why Christians need him to be real today. I’m totally fine with my god-men being mythic. It doesn’t impact anything. If I found out tomorrow that there’d been a real live Jesus, I sure wouldn’t reconvert any more than most Christians deconvert when they find out just how unlikely it is that someone existed with the CV given in the NT, and for the same reason: his existence or non-existence isn’t that important when it comes down to it. Most of the time when Christians discover history (real history, not the junk pseudo-history modern apologetics authors push), they just move into a more nuanced view of their faith. But if they’ve been told their whole lives that the religion depends 100% upon a real historical Jesus, their faith falls apart fast once they realize the NT is not valid history, the same way that many Christians’ faith falls apart once they realize that Creationism is an out-and-out lie. It’s a showdown that does not need to happen, but evangelicals are pushing that exact showdown all the time on their people.

  • Psycho Gecko

    So, you define science as anything we learn that doesn’t contradict the bible. In other words, you have no clue what science is.

    But, if you want to do things your way, we can try.

    Alright, then we can throw out most species in existence. The bible says animals, plants, and humans. No fungi, no bacteria, not even the life-questionable viruses exist. Also, apparently the moon now gives off light. We officially can erase landing on the moon from our history books, because there is a firmament between the heavens and the earth that would have stopped that.

    We’re also going to need you to stop taking antibiotics and using vaccines now, as those are based on evolution. And if someone hurts someone you love, we can’t use any DNA evidence, as it is evidence of common descent.

  • JustPro

    How is it a lie? Are you that dense? or do you just believe what some quack named Darwin who started this stupid Evolution movement proclaiming that out of nothing a big bang occured and bam everthing was perfect in the universe and the complex human body just magically poof into existance from a single micro-organism… How stupid can people really be… There are things out their greater than our understanding… “Science” will never know till its too late.

  • Is this seriously what you think evidence looks like? No. Tacitus was not contemporary with Jesus Christ. He wasn’t even alive when Jesus would have been. By the time he wrote, the religion’s mythic beginnings had already begun. You should know better than to use Tacitus as a source “proving” Christianity. There were dozens of men floating around Judea during Jesus’ lifetime whose jobs it was to communicate news going on in Jerusalem. They wrote a literal library full of letters and books about events going on around them. Why don’t you go find something contemporary about Jesus in their writings rather than depending on someone who was born decades after the events in question?

    I know I’m not being very fair here, because I already know what the answer will be–that there is not a single contemporary mention of Jesus at all by anybody who was keeping an intent eye on political and religious events in Jerusalem from 20-40CE. All you’re going to find is stuff like you’ve cited here–throwaway mentions made by people who did not see him for themselves and who were born way after the events in question. But it’s important that you figure this out for yourself. What are you going to do, I wonder, when you realize that there really should be mentions of Jesus in these contemporary works and there just aren’t any? You know, that was a real problem for Christian scholars in the early days of the religion. They went looking for those mentions and they couldn’t find any either. What will you do when you realize that where there should be mentions, there just are not any?

  • Mario Strada

    I was born in Italy, yet I live in the US. Italians emigrated to “all nations” just as much as any jew has. In fact, most populations eventually migrate and blend with other populations or are persecuted and have to move around. Look at the armenians.

    For that matter, there have been plenty of nomadic tribes scattered all over the planet. Look at the polynesians. Look at the asiatic tribes that eventually crossed the Bering strait and populated the Americas. Have they not spread “to all nations”?

    As far as persecution and genocide, without diminishing the suffering of jews around the world, they have been hardly the exception. What about the Roma?

  • Whatever side you’re on, I pick the opposite.

  • You’re trolling, right? Evolution is so far past proven and established that there are dozens of branches of science underpinned by the idea of descent with modification.

    I agree with the Gecko; I think you just don’t understand what science actually even is. And that’s okay, we all start somewhere, and even I didn’t understand what a “theory” is until a few years ago, but you need to learn and educate yourself so you don’t look so ignorant.

    Science sees something happen and asks “How did that happen?” and then it answers that question. We desperately need science; it’s the best way we’ve discovered, as humans, to answer questions reliably. How sad that your faith is so weak you have to deny reality to maintain it.

  • Pavlos

    To better illustrate my point about the predictions you are offering versus what I’m talking about I’d like to tell you a prediction I made a while back. When Benedict stepped down and we were awaiting a new Pope I “predicted” he would be a person who would be the perfect PR image the Church needs to bring the youth back. Someone who would appeal to the growing liberal ideologies, someone not so critical of homosexuality, women, someone who would reach out to atheists, someone who not be a “bulldog” type etc. I basically described Francis perfectly before I even knew anything about him (before he had even been elected or talked about). This does not make me a prophet. I made an educated guess based on observable facts. This is what you are offering by way of those biblical “prophecies” re the Israelites. There’s a difference between a prophecy and a prediction. And there’s a difference between the predictions I was talking about and what you offered from the bible.

  • Psycho Gecko

    You are really showing yourself to not have a clue what you’re talking about. Darwin is the one credited with figuring out natural selection, though he wasn’t even the only person of his time to come up with it. He had to rush to beat someone else to publishing it first.

    The Big Bang theory, as an entirely separate theory, evidence for which doesn’t hinge on Evolution, nor does Evolutionary theory in any way affect Big Bang theory, came later. Also, abiogenesis, or the creation of life, is another entirely separate theory, and nowhere in any of those three entirely separate theories that are supported by evidence does anyone claim that human bodies as is poofed into existence.

    In fact, the people claiming that human bodies poofed into existence as-is are people like Ken Ham and yourself, who have yet to explain things like the vestigial organs we have, like the leftovers in the eye from a species that had nictitating membranes in our evolutionary line.

    Your ignorance shows just how little anyone should care about what you think.

  • As long as you’re setting it up like that, I know what I’d rather pick: the side that does not require I check my mind at the door and live in ignorance. If your god actually values that sort of thing, I have no assurance at all that his afterlife will be anything I want to endure. I definitely don’t want to spend eternity around people who love and value ignorance and blindness.

  • He didn’t ping anyone’s radar? He quickly became one of the most prominently people, if not the most prominent, ever in human history. Not quite so easy to just dismiss him.

  • JustPro

    Once again you prove that their is a GOd… Who created antibiotics and vaccines? Man… Who created man into its own likeness? GOD… Man creates and invents things just like their creator GOd who created everything..

  • Psycho Gecko

    And despite this supposed prominence, there is nobody outside the Bible who ever mentions his existence back then. You’d think that if he was running around being so prominent and performing miracles, some outside sources would have sat up and taken notice.

  • Yes, it’s a troll (or perhaps a poe). You won’t have real dialogue.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Vaccines are based on the common descent of things like smallpox to chicken pox, and to the ability of the human immune system to adapt to changing circumstances in the environment, instead of staying static in whatever way it was supposedly created.

    Same thing with antibiotics. We have to come up with stronger and stronger ones as bacteria we seek to eliminate with them adapt to them and gain stronger and stronger resistance, to the extent that we’re now seeing bacteria that have successfully adapted beyond our ability to kill with antibiotics.

  • JustPro

    According to his Wikipedia entry: “Titus Flavius Josephus (37 – c. 100), was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70.”

    His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66–70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into 1st century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.

    Josephus was a Jew who did not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God or Christianity. In The Antiquities of the Jews, book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3 the famous historian Flavius Josephus writes:

    “Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (source)

    Later Josephus writes:

    “But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned.” (source)

    Josephus considered one of the greatest historians of antiquity, independently provides proof and evidence that Jesus was a real person who did exist and also confirms the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross under the orders of Pontius Pilate, thus confirming the Biblical account as well.

  • Psycho Gecko

    JustPro seems to be too, but it is so very difficult to tell.

  • Oh wow, threats. I’M SO SKEEERED. Seriously, what? You can’t win any other way, so you use veiled threats of violence and torture to gain compliance? Is that what works on you?

    You’re mis-characterizing things again anyway. Don’t you get bored of making strawmen? If you really think that way, you know, there are entire websites devoted to demolishing the creationist talking-points you parrot all over the place. Is it more important to you to maintain your belief in this set of lies, or is it more important to you to learn what reality really looks like? You know, billions of Christians manage to accept reality and reject Creationist dogma. Even Jews don’t take the OT literally. But you’ve made it into the most important thing. How.. well, idolatrous.

    Here is a wonderful catalog of such debunks for you. You’ll notice every single one of your claims listed here, along with citations and places to launch further self-education research:

  • JustPro

    Once again there are plenty of proofs and historians that disagree with you

  • I figured. He just pulled out the veiled threats.

  • Psycho Gecko

    Present them.

  • dangjin1

    I understand but while some believers are not educated that doesn’t mean God loves ignorance or checking your mind at the door. The Bible is filled with verses about education, learning, studying but the caveat is you need to learn the difference between true and false teaching.

    I wouldn’t let the ignorance of Palin, Bachmann and some others persuade you to ignore salvation. Why base your decisions upon others and what they do not know?

    As you saw by the debate many YEC people still do science, think and are not ignorant.

  • JustPro

    According to his Wikipedia entry: “Titus Flavius Josephus (37 – c. 100), was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70.”

    His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66–70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into 1st century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.

    Josephus was a Jew who did not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God or Christianity. In The Antiquities of the Jews, book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3 the famous historian Flavius Josephus writes:

    “Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (source)

    Later Josephus writes:

    “But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned.” (source)

    Josephus considered one of the greatest historians of antiquity, independently provides proof and evidence that Jesus was a real person who did exist and also confirms the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross under the orders of Pontius Pilate, thus confirming the Biblical account as well.

  • Yup. If your enemies write about you, that’s all the more evidence.

  • dangjin1

    No I am not. Trolling would undermine what I have said and will say so that is not what I am doing.

    science–i do understand science but you do not understand the difference between true and false teaching. all science is not good science.

    science2– right, they waste time because they do not believe what they were told and then go about making up rules that had nothing to do with the event in question and then declare that the event could not happen. That is not science but insulating oneself from the truth.

    desperately– no we don’t. if scientific rules omit and exclude data then the science is nothing more than a censor and manipulates the remaining data to fit whatever theory one likes.

    It is not being objective but approaches all data with a preconceived bias that destroys all scientific claims that it is objective.

  • You cannot be a YEC and still value reality and objective facts. That’s a level of cognitive dissonance that is epochal in scope because YEC by its nature is a celebration of ignorance and dogma over reality. Every single thing they say is a lie and a bumper-sticker-style talking point that has been debunked so many ways that anybody who still subscribes to it is either a child who just doesn’t know better and whose mind has been abused by adults who should know better, or else just wants to be willfully ignorant. Sorry to bust your bubble there. Maybe you should learn what real faith is all about?

    You seem to think that “true teachings” = “anything that totally meshes up with your indoctrination.” I reject that. I want to know what is real and what is true. Creationism is totally false. YEC is totally false. We know they are false. Christianity is failing because it maintains lies. There was a time when folks were gullible and trusting enough to let them get away with lies. But now any teenager with a cell phone can fact-check a sermon before the preacher’s even given the altar call–and it’s almost funny how fast its cherished delusions are getting punctured.

  • JustPro

    The following ten historical non-Christian authors reveal information about the life of Jesus Christ that conforms to, and even corroborates, the four New Testament accounts, including the book of Acts.

    Tacitus (ca. AD 55-120): Roman historian, Annals

    Suetonius (ca. AD 120): Roman historian, Life of Claudius

    Josephus (AD 37-97): Jewish historian, Antiquities

    Pliny the Younger (AD 112): Roman governor, Epistles X

    Jewish Talmud (commentary on Jewish law, completed AD 500)

    Toledoth Jesu (reflects early Jewish thought, completed fifth century AD)

    Lucian (second century AD): Greek satirist

    Thallus (ca. AD 52): Samaritan-born historian, Histories

    Mara Bar-Serapion (ca. AD 73): Letter

    Phlegon (ca. AD 80): historian, chronicles (mentioned by Origen)

    These ancient non-Christian writers draw the following portrait of Jesus Christ and the early Christians in their works:

    Jesus was a provocative teacher, a wise and virtuous man from the region of Judea.

    Jesus reportedly performed miracles and made prophetic claims.

    The Jewish leaders condemned Jesus for acts of sorcery and apostasy.

    Jesus was crucified by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate at the time of the Jewish Passover, during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius.

    Jesus’ followers, called Christians, reported that He had risen from the dead.

    The Christian faith had spread to Rome where Christians were charged with crimes and met horrific persecution.

    First-century Christians worshiped Jesus Christ as God and celebrated the Eucharist in their services.

    While at times the Romans ridiculed the followers of Christ as morally weak, these disciples were often known for their courage and virtue.

    While such statements about Jesus Christ made by ancient non-Christian authors do not prove the claims of the gospel, there is nothing in their writings that conflict with what is recorded about Christ in the Gospels. On the other hand, their extra-biblical, historical sources are consistent with and confirm the historicity of the gospel message.

  • The question is, how educated are you? You come on here daily to correct a learned theologian– so what are your credentials? I’ve never once see you be wrong or be open to being wrong, so where have you received your flawless education?

  • Please list the “bad science” and “false teaching” that the scientific method currently holds to be true. I bet every thing on that list would be “stuff that contradicts a literalist view of the Bible.”

    Dude, you know, you don’t have to Poe. We can have a good dialog without you pretending to be a fundie. The real fundies reading this will still learn and be educated by the adults’ conversation.

  • JustPro

    You can’t win any other way either most of evolution already has been proven wrong..

  • Psycho Gecko

    As you noted, Josephus was from 37 BC. He did not live during the time of Jesus, meaning he doesn’t count as a first hand account during that time period. No matter what he wrote, nothing of it had to do with anything he himself witnessed. All he was doing was recounting stories that he heard after the fact.

    “Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience.”

    He was specifically recounting the world as the Jews saw it. Of course he was going to include important things from Jewish culture, like the bible.

    Furthermore, the passage you cite about Jesus isn’t consistent with anything else he ever wrote, as he believed the messiah to be Emperor Vespasian.

    That passage was first heard about a few hundred years after Josephus lived when it was quoted by a Christian scholar attempting to provide a source outside Christianity to verify Jesus’s existence. Yes, that passage first appeared when a Christian claimed it was in Josephus writings, despite the fact that pagan Josephus never wrote anything else like it. In other words, like much of the rest of The Testimonium Flavianum, it appears to be a later insertion by Christian scholars.

  • “The still small voice,” I’m betting. ;) BTW, loved your writeup of the debate. I’m glad to see Christians rejecting Ham’s nonsense. Much <3 from snowy Idaho.

  • dangjin1

    That is a poor way to make a choice. At least make your decision based upon the facts. The facts for God side is He requires faith. He told us how he did it then left it up to you to choose.

    That is a very fair way to do things. He didn’t create the scientific way thus he does not require science to be part of the equation–makes it easier doesn’t it?

    Not everyone can be a science student thus the secular scientist would like to be like the medieval RCC priests who declared that only they could interpret the Bible. Well secular scientists are saying only they can interpret nature which makes them dictators– that is not fair or even honest.

    God allowed everyone to see for themselves and make a choice to believe or not–much better than the secular way.

  • Psycho Gecko

    You’ll notice that not a single one of those authors could provide a firsthand account and all went off later accounts being passed around by Christians. Not a single one even lived contemporary to when Jesus was said to have lived.

  • You just gave me a flash back to grad school :) forgot about some of these folks.

  • JustPro

    Ignorance? I can say the same thing about you and every other “atheist”.

  • But you’re also operating under the assumption that all of the gospels should be discounted, and not even the Jesus Seminar does that. Also, you guys are trying to hold an oral culture to the same expectations as a book culture. We wouldn’t expect the amount of written references you’re demanding, but we could expect to see culture radically change and see people be willing to die before denying what they experienced firsthand.

  • Thanks! I’m definitely a Christian and disagree with many of the points you’ve made, but I appreciate the respectful tone of the discussion!

  • dangjin1

    species– The Bible talks about kinds first an duntil science learns what a kind is they will always be grasping at straws concerning animals.

    fungi, bacteria– the Bible speaks of disease, corruption, illnesses so those things are included in the Bible. Does God have to be identification specific just to please you and give you nothing to do in your life?

    he left room for people to study so they would learn something instead of being spoon fed by one gigantic book that includes every detail of life.

    How one attributes that knowledge is where the go wrong.

    firmament–not sure what you are referring to but you may research and see if the firmament includes the atmosphere.

    antibiotics– actually they are not. They are based upon chemical reactions and how poisons work on different life forms. It has nothing to do with evolution at all.

    Remember God has no problem with medications as he provided so many natural sources to heal people. Most of which modern medicines are derived from.

    DNA is evidence for one human race and as the Bible says all people came from Adam and Eve.

  • Psycho Gecko

    They had a book culture. Remember? This guy’s arguing that decades after Jesus’s death, people had the ability to write about prominent events that Christians told them happened. In fact, writing existed even before Jesus was supposedly born, with cuneiform tablets from circa 1,500 BC containing the world’s oldest documented “Yo Mama” joke.

    Emperors from that time period had people writing about them. Letters. Coins made of their image. People who lived during their lifetimes who were like “Hey, I saw this dude.” and not a single one of them showed the ability to raise the dead or perform miracles. You’d think a guy who could pull off some real magic would stand out.

  • Actually, and please understand I hold you in esteem, but not a single person at the time wrote a word about him or the movement supposedly gaining huge ground around his life, works, miracles, and death/resurrection–not until decades after the events. Nobody even knew where he was (temporarily?) buried–until someone invented the site to make a shrine around it much later. There is nothing but silence where there should be a rock-star who influenced nobles and court figures alike. The myth very quickly gained prominence, yes, but it took a few decades for the fusion of pagan mythology, mystery religions, and Judaism to really catch on. I absolutely can dismiss the man as a real person because everybody contemporary with him did the exact same thing. Either he did not exist, or the dozens of men at the time whose job it was to capture religious and political events going on around Jerusalem just didn’t see anything remarkable about him. There’s nothing about him in rabbinical or Roman court records either, and the “census” that his parents supposedly engaged in doesn’t mention them or him on a contemporary basis. So which is more likely? Show me a single contemporary mention of him. Even one. Show me a single mention of him from the years 20-40CE. Just one. You won’t be able to. Medieval scholars faced the same frustration you will when you go seriously looking.

    And that’s okay. The lack of records about Jesus doesn’t really impact my rejection of Christianity any more than it clearly would impact your acceptance of it, or else you’d be just a little more concerned about it than you are and less willing to sweep the silence under the rug. It was just really important to me, as a fundamentalist, to find those records because I’d been told they existed and there was plenty of evidence for his life in contemporary documents, and I was really shattered and shocked to find there weren’t any. My faith had been built up on the basis of “this religion is, unlike every other religion, historically true and its inspiration, unlike that of every other religion, a real live person,” and when I found out neither of those were the case, it really messed me up. I wish Christians would move away from this question and move more toward “what makes their religion valid,” because I think that’d be more intellectually honest. But what do I know?

  • JustPro

    Who cares what the Scientific method holds true there have been plenty of Scientific theories proven wrong over the past 100 years….

  • Bandimore Fox

    Reguardless of scientific discourse, Christianity has been about spirituality, or in my perspective, How NOT to be spiritual. People using the title Christian show little compassion and love for other people, and that has been my experience many times over. Even after deconversion, the damage has already left an impact on the person.

  • I had no idea your favored the legalization of Marijuana. Finally we agree on something.

  • … and none of that is actual evidence. It’s not contemporary. Josephus wasn’t even born when Jesus would have died. He’s doing nothing but retelling myths he heard. tsk tsk

  • Psycho Gecko

    And science is glad of that. Every scientific theory that gets discounted brings us one step closer to the truth. That’s why scientists love it, once again as Nye pointed out, when someone brings something that can be scientifically verified and repeated that contradicts what we know. If anyone brought any actual proof, they’d be renowned as the next Einstein, the next Newton, the next Darwin, and so on and so forth. But once again, like Ham, all you do is claim the bible is proof.

  • I’ve actually got to jet, but it’s been a very fun and interesting discussion. Be well–

  • dangjin1

    Actually God has led me to be very educated. But what good is being a learned theologian who chooses to go after false teaching over the revelations of the God they claim to follow and love?

    I may make mistakes from time to time but I am not open to false teaching or correction from those who claim God lied or has no ability to communicate clearly what he did in the beginning but leaves it up to people who reject him and his son to discover the truth and inform his followers.

    Do you see the illogical aspect of that position? Then since I am siding with God, I bring his message not my own. If I am wrong then God will correct me.

    When God says the unbelieving world is deceived and being deceived who am I to contradict that and say otherwise? Since science has been designed by mostly secular deceived people then I am not going to listen to them for they do not have the truth.

  • It’s true many Christians do that but I hope you wont lump us all into the same pile. There’s plenty of us doing great things in the word and who endeavor to love our neighbors and enemies.

  • You didn’t answer his question.

  • Psycho Gecko

    I also agree with it, though I’m surprised you don’t just quote what the Rastafarians have to say about god giving every green plant to the consumption of humans. Might want to go easy on the nightshade, though.

  • When something in science gets disproven, we move past it and reformulate our ideas to take advantage of the new information. When something in Creationism gets disproven, Creationists just drill down harder on it.

  • dangjin1

    Since you were so insulting I will only say this:

    I will stick to the truth and if you find the truth childish or non-adult then it is you who have the problem not me.

    How smart is a person when the creator tells them how he did everything that they ignore that revelation and go off and recreate their own origin story even though theirs is not true?

  • I make the choice that keeps me from having to associate with people like you.

    I’ve had a nice little cheeseboard selection of Christians in my life. The IRA, paedophile priests, a religious fanatic for a father, anti-Semetic high school teachers who said the Jews got what they deserved, oh the list goes on. Right now your about on par with the pastor I met who announced that an AIDS victim was burning in hell at his own wake in front of his family.

    I’ve read your holy book. I’ve also read scientific papers and essays, listened to lectures from great minds and explorers. I picked the one that relies on facts, not faith, but I also picked the one that doesn’t require me to call people like you ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ and I am by far a better man for it.

  • Psycho Gecko

    And it is said that Satan (translated from Jewish: The Accuser, first used as a term for an unknown angel in the book of Job) will go around sowing dissent among mankind.

    Well, good to know that someone could tell you anything if it was supposedly the word of Yahweh and you’d believe it without question. I guess if you refuse to question anything and verify anything independently, you’ll continue being a tool of the devil.

  • dangjin1

    I have to go teach a class now but I will be back later to answer this and the other posts hitting my mailbox.

  • JustPro

    I can agree with Einstein and Newton but Darwin he was completely off and was debunked already… Bible gives us most of the answers but not all… Ken did fail in the debate as so did Nye…Ken failed to provide proof as he was more on the defensive side while Nye all he did was attack Creation Science and failed as much as Ken did…

  • She’s not going to.

  • Best to you–

  • JustPro

    You should talk as you continue to believe what other “Men” says and you right away believe there is no God and believe we are all here by accident… WOW

  • JenellYB

    A thought, as Irish Atheist commented below about some of his Christian friends being embarrassed at Ken Ham’s poor showing in this, for how foolish he looked, making them feel he makes them look foolish too. That could be a positive counterpoint to the concern Ben expresses here, that it set Christianity back by making those outside it think if that is how Christians are, we must all be idiots. Seeing something like Ken Ham looking like an idiot, and his Creationism look foolish and nonsensical, could have just such an effect on some within Christianity that have thought to support such as him and his creationism ideas, for not really knowing a lot about them. I do myself often wonder how some people I know that seem to be normal reasonable people can possibly belief and accept some of the craziness in some of these off the wall religious ideas being touted by the religious hucksters, as well as right wing politics, maybe just don’t really know enough about them to be making informed decisions about belief. And something like this could reveal it to them in a light that wakes them up to how absurd, silly, and really unbelievable it is.

  • Psycho Gecko

    There is not enough evidence to believe in a deity, let alone the specific Christian deity. If someone could present some evidence, I would believe. If actual evidence of the Christian god was presented, I would believe it exists, though I wouldn’t worship it, especially given how immoral it appears to be based on stories where it orders genocide, the capture, enslavement, and rape of virgins, and the running through of pregnant women’s bellies with swords. There’s also the fact that such a deity would seem to allow Hitler into heaven, but send all his Jewish victims to hell.

    But yes, if evidence was actually presented that proved such a deity exists, I would have no choice but to believe it exists.

  • JustPro

    Agreed Ben, There are others out there who present creationism a lot better than Ken does and have many more reliable sources. The few aspects I saw Ken fail at is for one instead of just saying “theres this book” and pretty much stopping there… How about stating a scripture and explaining it and providing scientific evidence that proves that scripture to be true… Many people see Ken’s argument and automatically presume that Creationism is a joke but if you do some research on it you will find extradonary discoveries that proves the Bible is truth..

  • Psycho Gecko

    The Bible is only evidence of a deity if you’re already a believer in it because believers already accept it is true. It’s very circular.

    What you have to understand, why Nye emphasized mainstream science and outsiders, is that 1. Christians who aren’t creationists aren’t convinced that the bible is evidence of creationism over evolution and 2. those of us who aren’t Christians need some objective proof to support your idea that the bible should somehow be taken as more important than what we can observe and predict using science.

    Again and again, your only proof has been shown to be that book, though, and that’s no more convincing than any other religion with a holy text that says “This is true”. To distinguish your view as somehow separate from that of other religions, you would need some objective proof, something that can be tested.

    So far, you fail.

  • JustPro

    Creationism is Science just as any other “science” out there… There are creation scientists out there that done the Scientific research explaining scientific truth in the bible…. Creationists dont turn anything they do as most other “atheist” scientists do to prove there theories and assumptions…

  • JustPro

    The evidence lies in the Universe and mankind which cannot just happen on accident… There is a supernatural all power ful being out there whether its the god of the bible or not…

  • Jamie Osborn

    I’m an atheist and obviously agree that Ken Ham is fringe. Being Australian I’m actually embarrassed that he originated here. I actually wonder how much he believes of what he says and how much he proclaims in the way of making money from his followers.

    Theists believing that science needs to be attacked to defend their beliefs are damaging religion far more than non-believers.

    The comment I have about this post is that there are so many varied views as to what being a Christian actually means, there isn’t actually a single answer. Yes, Ken Ham is ridiculous but there are many other equally (and more) ridiculous views along with many other more moderate ones.

    Surely if there was an all powerful deity, it would be impossible for there to be thousands of different denominations with different understandings of it? The deity would be able to communicate just a tad batter than that!

  • JustPro

    What has been disproven of Creationism? I so far have seen many more things disproven from evolution than Creationism…

  • Mario Strada

    I am talking about “science” in the way it is understood by the majority of humanity in 2014. You are talking about a thing you call “science” that is purely a figment of your imagination.
    Having read your other posts I realize now that mine is a fools errand and that my time will be better spent teaching my cats to read sanskrit and for you to go to your own website to dissect whatever it is you dissect.
    Nice meeting you.

  • JustPro

    With this refute that the deity would be able to communicate a tad better is ridiculous…The above joke is a good lesson in the problem of trying to prove the existence of God using the scientific tools available to us. A Creator God, if He exists, must, by definition, exist beyond the limits of the universe in order to have created it. The laws of physics tell us that we cannot make measurements beyond the limits of this universe. Therefore, scientists can conclusively determine that we cannot ever detect God using any of our instruments.

    However, God is not restricted to our limitations and could choose to reveal part of Himself to us. God could not reveal His entirety to us without causing major problems in our universe. The sudden appearance of dimensions and matter(?) from outside the universe would destroy anything in the vicinity and maybe even destroy the entire universe. This is why the Bible says that nobody can see God and live.1 However, God could reveal His nature by communicating with humans and sending an incarnated version of Himself. This is exactly what Christianity claims – that God gave messages to humans (through the prophets) and sent an incarnation of Himself (His Son), who took on the form of a human2 in order to interact with humans directly.

    If you are not a Christian, you will not believe what I just told you…

    Well, its your choice. Do you see your mind?

  • Mario Strada

    I try never to lump anyone under a big umbrella. I don’t believe all Muslims are terrorists and all Christians are represented by Ham.
    I have to say that the lack of compassion demonstrated by many Christians in the political sphere makes it very difficult to discern those that are sincere from those that use Christianity for self aggrandizing, and to beat others at the “game of life”.
    I think moderate and liberal Christians are the ones that should police the crazies in their camp a bit more.
    While I readily admit that there are crazies everywhere, these days the Christian ones are those with their hands on the levers of power. Those that have the ability to influence many people.
    There are certainly crazy atheists, but none of them are in congress and whatever crazy ideas they may have they don’t spread as easily.

  • JustPro

    Heres something Ken Ham should have mentioned:

    “According to the data scientist gathered in 2004 from the dusty disk surrounding the star system CoKu Tau 4 in the Taurus constellation, planets like the Earth are formed from leftover waste and debris from their central star.

    Planets in their early stages form inside a proto-planetary disc of dust from a formless and chaotic state in total darkness. This data corresponds exactly to what is stated at Genesis 1 verse 2. “Now the earth proved to be formless and waste.”

    Before this discovery, no one in the religious or scientific field could clearly interpret or make any logical sense of this Biblical statement; it is profound to say the least that Genesis states that the earth at some stage was in a formless condition just as these discoveries have revealed!

    When you view this and the following NASA’s videos simulating this planet forming process, along with the supporting data, and compare it to Genesis brief description of Earth’s formation, the Bible’s description of planet formation is amazingly accurate in view of the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘day’ (yom) can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24 hour period. This indicates that the six creative days of Genesis were six creative phases of an unspecified length, which coincides with these scientific discoveries where light from the sun, emerged gradually.

    Hubble and Spitzer’s discoveries revealed that as a planet matures inside its dusty cocoon it gradually sucks up all the dust between it and the sun. In the early stages of this process, only diffused light would have reached the planet as it slowly emerged from complete darkness. This early stage of earth’s formation corresponds exactly to the statement at Genesis 1 verse 3 for day one. “Let light come to be.”

    Only in the later stages of this process would the direct light from the already existing sun, moon, and stars be visible from the earth as all the dust dissipates. These discoveries correspond to the description given at Genesis 1 verse 14 for day four. “Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens.” Genesis is not saying that the luminaries were created at this point on day four, when you consider this statement in its original Hebrew context, as you will learn below; the luminaries simple became visible, once the atmosphere cleared. Before this discovery, no one could clearly interpret or make any logical sense of this Biblical statement because it appeared to say the luminaries were created on day four; once again this scientific data is profound! Spitzer’s discoveries have unraveled this long time mystery, and removed much confusion about Genesis.

    The perception by many has been that the earth was created first, in six 24-hour days, and the sun, moon, and stars, came later on day four. These discoveries by Spitzer bring clarity to this account showing that earth formed from dust and debris from the sun for millions to billions of years prior to day one. From day one forward light emerge slowly for perhaps millions of years, some diffused light by day one, and full light by day four, allowing the already existing sun, moon and stars to finally be visible from earth.”- See more at:

  • JustPro

    So in accuality I think the earth is 6,000 years old but could have taken millions of years to actually create..

  • Jamie Osborn

    You’ve misrepresented me a bit there. The part that he is supposed to have revealed to humans are what we have to talk about here. Why is that part understood in the vast array of differing ways they are?

    Did he not realise that this would happen? Does he want everyone to split up into groups based upon the different understandings?

    I don’t believe that there are any supernatural beings / gods but putting that to one side, does the actual premise make sense?

  • dangjin1

    I do not agree with everything Ken Ham says. But I do not agree with anything OEC people or evolutionists say. You may not like their bumper sticker slogans but a lot of times people do not grasp everything they are taught and lose something in translation thus they opt for the easy stuff they remember.

    Creation–What evidence have you produced and by what source does that evidence come from that shows that creationism is false?

    Christianity– it isn’t failing, it is just losing people because they do not want to side with God.

    Fact-checked– who says those facts are correct. That is a mighty big assumption.

  • dangjin1

    Good luck with your cat teaching.

    I have better things to do than read insults that are unfounded.

  • dangjin1

    this is why scientific assumptions do not work. They are not based upon the truth. What is the difference between a secular evolutionist and a ‘christian’ evolutionist?

    The content is as important as the source.

  • JustPro

    This is a question thrown by people who would like to sway others to believe that there is no God. This question is the relative of the question, “If there is a loving God, then why are there so many evil in this world.”

    One trait of God is His omniscience (He is all-knowing). He knows what will happen for all of eternity. The things that man know are not even a tip of a nail compared to what God knows. He even knows what will happen to you a minute from now which you don’t have an idea of. That established, atheists and agnostics would argue that God, if He does exists, with His omniscience, should have decided NOT to give man free will because He knows that they’ll just use it to rebel against Him which will result to them going to Hell to pay for their sins. If He does exists then He must enjoy seeing people go to Hell?

    First of all, the Bible makes it clear that God has no pleasure in seeing sinners die which lead them to eternal punishment (Ezekiel 33:11). He created man for His glory and for His pleasure (Revelations 4:11). Now here’s a question… If you’re God, will you derive pleasure from the “love” your created gives you if in the first place, you have programmed them like robots to give you love (they have no choice but to love you)? I believe that you’ll agree that “love” that’s not freely given is not true love. God had to give man a free will so that He can experience true love from His created so that pleasure is achieved. He wanted man to love Him willingly. Free will allows man to love God willingly. That’s why God gave us free will. Not doing so goes against reason. God is a logical Person that’s why He saw it right to give man the freedom to choose for himself and He hoped that we’d use it to give Him pleasure.

  • dangjin1

    Choice– so you are biased, unobjective, and will discriminate simply because some one disagrees with you.

    Cheeseboard– your mistake was assuming that everyone who calls themselves a Christian is one and is actually obeying the Bible. If they are not obeying the Bible then it is highly likely they are not Christian.

    or they are learning how to be a true Christian or just misguided or misinformed or just committing one sin but to sweep everyone under the same label is unfair and unjust.

    lectures– again, you use the wrong criteria for your determination. creation is not a scientific event thus no science will be part of that act. Science was created at the same time thus it is not superior to God or the Bible but given as a tool to see minerals, how to use them or to learn about the different plants and which ones to eat or not and on it goes.

    Unbelieving people have usurped science from its approved position and elevated it to a position it is not to hold not worthy. Science is not an authority on origins and is out of its league when it comes to that topic.

  • Sven2547

    Oh, I didn’t realize the IRA was blowing up Catholics.

    You are quite right that there was a lot of persecution going on in the other direction too.

  • dangjin1

    p.s.– you do not have to call them ‘brother’ or ‘sister’. I don’t and that annoys me as well.

  • dangjin1

    I do not put personal information on the internet but still told the truth. God did educate me via various means

  • Sharon Diehl

    JustPro, honey, creationism is a joke. Who cares about a verse in a dusty old tome compared to real observable fact-based science?
    …and what was that fool Ham nattering about “historical” science different from “observable” science??? The man made no sense.

  • dangjin1

    funny but I am not for it. MJ actually does alter a person’s thinking and even though it might not be an everlasting alteration it is enoough to make it dangeorus.

    if you want an example, just watch the movie the Monkees made with Jack Nicholson’s help, the script came from a MJ influenced session or three.

  • JustPro

    Lies? How do you know they are lies? How do you know creation is a lie? So far I seem to not see anything of evolution to prove that creation is full of balony..

  • JustPro

    In the Old Testament, Job 26:7 explains that the earth is suspended in space, the obvious comparison being with the spherical sun and moon.[DD]

    A literal translation of Job 26:10 is “He described a circle upon the face of the waters, until the day and night come to an end.” A spherical earth is also described in Isaiah 40:21-22—“the circle of the earth.”

    Note, the Biblical Hebrew word for “circle” (חוג—chuwg) can also mean “round” or “sphere.”

  • Jamie Osborn

    I didn’t want to go down this path as it is well trodden – I was really trying to state that there is no definitive way that it ‘looks like to be a Christian’. Is Ken Ham’s view any righter/wronger than any other Christian who believes they have it correct?

    As for the free will argument, I would contend that a moral God would weigh up the suffering caused by allowing it and not create the universe in the first place. ‘What’s a bit of suffering as long as some people love me’ is an immoral stance in my eyes.

  • JustPro

    Evolution is a joke, To believe man came from monkeys and the whole universe suddenly just appeared with no influence of an intellegence all knowing being and everything came to be all perfect like the human anatomy… Now thats a joke… Ham did not make sense and neither did Bill Nye both talked nonesense and totally had presented terrible evidense which is why I think none of them won the debate…

  • JustPro

    Just put your self in Gods shoes…What would you do differently? Take away the free will of the very beings you created or make them your slaves and influence their lives everyday? Your immoral stance needs re-evaluated…The suffering of man is all on us…. It all started with the very first sin and disobedience to god..

  • Jamie Osborn

    You ignored my stance – I wouldn’t create the universe in the first place. No needless suffering. A good moral decision.

  • arensb

    The point is that you can be an atheist even if you can’t prove 100% that there aren’t any gods.

  • Maddiesmomma

    God and science are not incompatible. Both are the search for truth. Many Christians believe that scientific method and proving “truths” and establishing scientific “fact” in our world and our universe, helps us to BETTER understand the God who created us and his creation. I for one, see little, if any, conflict between science and my “faith”. We have an obligation, to understand the creation in which we live. How else can we ever know how to care for it? How to understand it?

  • Sharon Diehl

    What planet do you live on?

    Evolution is a basic biological tool to explain genetic variations within a population, how new species arise, or how adaptations occur. So, at its simplest, evolution describes the changes in genetics of populations over time. It’s not a belief system like a religion; evolution is observable science. Evolutionary processes are basic to the study of modern biology–we can observe it occurring today–such as in the evolving resistance of weeds and insect pests to pesticides, or disease-causing bacteria to antibiotics. Genetic manipulation is used to make fisheries more productive, or used to determine whether a species can be brought back from near extinction based on available sex and genetic variation. We have a new flu vaccine every year because viruses evolve in order to survive; therefore, every year we have to develop a new vaccine to combat the new strain. These are all examples of using evolutionary biology.

    So, JustPro sweetie, now what exactly has been proven wrong?

  • Allen Ray Mickle Jr.

    Actually, this has opened up a number of opportunities to talk about the faith. It hasn’t taken us 10 steps back, it’s helped us have further bridge conversations to have with those who are not of the Christian faith.

  • Gregory Peterson

    That’s “Christian Today,” not “Christianity Today.” Christian Today is apparently from the UK. Christianity Today, unfortunately, is in the United States.

    Oh…I just remembered something vaguely appropriate.

  • Ever heard of the bombing of Omagh? I was there as a 10 year old Catholic boy. Omagh was a traditionally Catholic town in mostly Catholic Co. Tyrone. You know who set off the bomb in Market St? The Catholic RIRA. The Catholic PIRA also dragged my grandfathers brother and his wife (both Catholics) out of their car and shot them years before I was born. Catholic, Prod, atheist, the IRA butchered us all, and the UVF was no better.

    You might want to consider this things before making more smart comments.

  • But “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Sounds like you take some verses metaphorically.

  • Thanks! My bad.

  • The conversations are great– the fact that we must now wade through the YEC debate, is horrible.

  • “false teaching”= whatever she/he doesn’t agree with.

  • If you are YEC, you are now required to prove that Hebrew genealogies are from father to son and nothing else, so that your 6,000 years add up. You’re also required to translate Gen 1:1 from the Hebrew and show that there shouldn’t be an “of” included in the verse. I’ve publicly presented my credentials– either present yours, or prove that a Hebrew genealogy NEVER skips generations. (you can’t do it, because even fundamentalists agree that in Chronicles and the genealogy of Jesus, generations are skipped).

    You might do better if you just admit that you have no theological education, no education in biblical languages, and you are simply basing your teachings on the “teachings of men” who you’ve read.

  • Zaoldyeck

    Since 40% of the US adult population apparently believes the earth is less than 6000 years old, Ham’s cult is larger than you’d like to admit.

    I suggest you deal with them before you try to convince others.

  • Zaoldyeck

    … Yes, accretion happens over the scale of millions of years. Not billions. We have mathematics to describe the process of accretion, it’s contained in that little theory of gravity we call general relativity.

    We know how accretion happens, we know why accretion happens.

    The earth is over 4 billion years old. (And the universe, near 14 billion) We’d have to be quite wrong about accretion, and quite wrong about radiometric dating, and quite wrong about stellar formation, to be off by six orders of magnitude, to get a 6,000 year old earth.

    I’m sorry but you’re still throwing out quite a lot of science to hold to belief.

  • Sharon Diehl

    The most basic item disproven: radiometric dating demonstrates that the earth is NOT 6,000 years old.

  • Mark Joseph

    If you are right in your analysis, that Ham has set the Jesus movement back, and made it harder for you or anyone to convert people, then all I can say is, “Thank you, Mr. Ham.”

  • You’re not the only one pleased with this outcome.

  • dangjin1

    Sigghhhh!!!! You are making a false requirement. There is nothing in the Bible that states you have to use the genealogies as proof for a YEC view of creation.

  • dangjin1

    I take the Bible truthfully and honestly.

  • Sven2547

    Okay, apparently I touched a nerve, and I’m sorry.

  • DE

    Thanks for the post Mr. Corey. I have never read someone who holds to an old earth use the grandfather or great-grandfather genealogies as evidence. I have often heard this used as an example for young earth proponents to say that the earth isn’t necessarily 6,000 years old (more like 10-15 thousand years old potentially.) On this point I was surprised Ken Ham held to exactly 6,000 rather than a bit longer like 10 thousand years. I wanted to get your view on if the grandfather or great grandfather possibility in the genealogies really could account for old earth evidence? Also how do you reconcile the need for many generations of death before sin entering in Genesis 3? I’m really interested to see what you have to say. Thanks so much!

  • Psycho Gecko

    Job 26:5-11:

    ““The dead are in deep anguish,

    those beneath the waters and all that live in them.

    6The realm of the dead is naked before God;

    Destruction lies uncovered.

    7He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;

    he suspends the earth over nothing.

    8He wraps up the waters in his clouds,

    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.

    9He covers the face of the full moon,

    spreading his clouds over it.

    10He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters

    for a boundary between light and darkness.

    11The pillars of the heavens quake,

    aghast at his rebuke.”

    No comparison to the sun and the moon, which were merely lights in the sky of the firmament at this time, nor any mention of a sphere. But why don’t you go ahead and, once again, try and claim that calling the earth a circle, which is a flat two-dimensional shape, somehow means they’re calling it a sphere.

  • Lots of Christians don’t believe that horse-puckey either. I am not Christian, but it makes me cringe to see someone put that idea forth. The requirement that Christians deny reality and refuse to accept science is a fairly recent idea, but one you appear to have wholeheartedly embraced. You know, it’d be so danged easy for you to fix your ignorance. It wouldn’t take much. I just have to wonder why you seem so reluctant to open your eyes.

  • Please demonstrate which biologist seriously thinks “man came from monkeys.” That’s a gross mischaracterization. I’m noticing you do that a lot. Is that how you manage to maintain your belief in creationism?

  • A lie is something someone says when that person knows it’s not the truth. Creationist writers know perfectly well that what they’re saying is not the truth. I’m saying it right here in my out-loud voice: they are lying. Every one of the leaders of that despicable movement is lying. The rank and file are just willfully ignorant–like you. But the people whose talking points you have so gleefully assimilated know very well that they are abusing and maligning reality to make their case. I absolutely cannot believe they are just as ignorant as their followers are.

    If you watch the PBS series about the Dover trial, or read the judge’s transcript, one thing comes to the forefront very quickly: the creationists on the school board lied constantly to their community, their schools, and even to a federal judge to get creationism into the Dover public school district. When their leader got caught in one of those lies (one which the judge called “breathtaking,” incidentally), he all but went to pieces right on the stand. But he’s hardly unique. Creationists lie all the time. And they do it knowing it’s a lie. But it’s totally okay if it’s a lie for Jesus, I guess. You should read that transcript sometime or watch the video–both are easily located with a search, and both will outline the basic arguments against creationism and debunk its claims rather handily. The only way you can maintain this level of ignorance is to studiously ignore all the information around you. That’s so sad to me. I hope you one day figure out how you’ve been duped.

  • He’s not obligated to do so in a debate about creationism–the question was whether or not creationism’s claims stand up to rigorous scrutiny; they weren’t really talking about whether or not there exists a divine being who looks like the one portrayed in the Bible, either, though Ham tried to make it about that. I’ll take an honest “I don’t know–let’s find out!” over a dishonest or falsely-confident “THIS is the answer.” When I was a fundamentalist, I think what drew me to that mindset was its certainty. I’ve since learned to distrust certainty like that and to value uncertainty. Uncertainty can lead to questions, and questions lead to answers. False certainty kills curiosity.

  • I’m in my 40s and converted to fundamentalism in my mid-teens, then deconverted entirely from the religion in my 20s. It wasn’t a real marker belief back then. I had this gauzy idea about literalism at the time (some folks in my church had those dumb bumper stickers about “god said it, I believe it, that settles it”), but I knew what the real story was too. I held both ideas in my mind without too much hassle. I knew there was a mythic take on Creation and whatnot, and though some preachers made a huge fuss about it, it didn’t jangle too uncomfortably in my mind with the Big Bang and evolution. It would have been startling to see someone demanding I subscribe to a literal YEC belief or else not be able to identify as Christian. It blows my mind how important this belief has become. Seriously, it’s eclipsed pretty much everything else modern Christianity could possibly stand for.

    I’d call it “idolatrous,” if I were still Christian.

  • Terry Firma
  • Terry Firma

    God, yes.

  • Terry Firma

    What evidence is that, Ben? Be as specific as you can.

    Beyond that, I’d also be interested in your take on the difference between evidence and proof, and how that applies to your God-belief.

  • Allen Ray Mickle Jr.

    As a YEC, I guess I don’t see it as horrible.

  • Terry Firma

    Exactly. Thanks for the quotes, and for proving JustPro’s lack of honesty. You saved me the time of looking it up and tearing him a new one myself.

  • Terry Firma

    And neither can you.

    And neither can I.

    However, it does not follow that “therefore, God.”

    And it certainly does not follow that “therefore, the God of the Christian Bible.”

  • Terry Firma

    “God and His word are not up for debate.”

    Yet here we are, debating the shit out of him.

    What’s more, your side is losing.

  • Terry Firma

    I found both your assertion and Captain Cassidy’s rebuttal of it really, really interesting. Will you answer his points?

  • Terry Firma

    By your own admission, Josephus wrote his works about 50 years and about 70 years after Jesus wowed everyone with unheard-of miracles. Therefore, he was not a contemporary. Surely, there must have been eyewitnesses to Jesus’s magnificent performances who were awed enough to write down, or cause to be documented, what Jesus did?

    Captain Cassidy’s and Psycho Gecko’s challenge to you stands.

  • George Gidley

    So if you have such a problem with science as a whole, why are you posting on the Internet? That requires using a computer, electricity, and telecommunications, all of which wouldn’t be around if it weren’t due to science. I assume you live in an enclosed building somewhere, such as a house or apartment; the engineering required to build your abode comes from science. Assuming you don’t grow and hunt your own food, you have science to thank for proper storage and transportation of your food. Ever been to a doctor? Medical science comes from the same process as the rest of science. In fact, most modern medicine, such as Germ Theory of Disease, is built using the fundamental understanding of Darwinian Evolution as its grammar. So basically, if you reject science, you should be living as a hermit somewhere where you can avoid all the modern infrastructure that results from it.

    Now call me crazy, but I don’t think the problem you have is with science–it’s with something else. Something you’ve been led to believe as being so true that you’ve invested your entire sense of self-identity and ego into it, so you feel that anyone challenging its accuracy is somehow challenging you as a person, your honor, your worthiness, whatever. What I think would really, TRULY benefit you is to step back from this debate and ask yourself WHY you’re feeling this way. Be brutally honest. Ask yourself, “What is the WORST thing that could actually and reasonably happen as a result of my position being wrong?” Heck, get out some paper and pen and brainstorm some answers for a bit–it might help you organize your thoughts better.

    While you’re doing this, it’s important to remember a few key points: 1) Admit to yourself that you cannot possibly ever know everything. 2) Remember that NOBODY has a monopoly on the truth. 3) Detach your ego from your body of knowledge and belief system, because what you know or believe is not the be-all-end-all of who you are as a person.

    Objective truth is simply that–objective. It isn’t some weapon we’re supposed to use to try to “win” some trumped-up, arbitrary, zero-sum game of social standing. It doesn’t exist to feed our egos. If all we want is to know objective truth with these kinds of conversations, then all it takes is for us all to come to the table with an open mind, where we all present our ideas and listen to everyone else’s without judging that other person. We just discuss the ideas themselves, weigh them critically, and leave hopefully a little bit closer to the truth.

    If, however, all you’re looking for is a good feeling about your current position without having to grow as a person, then this is not the kind of discussion for you. I don’t really know what would be best in that scenario, because I don’t think that trying to stay the same is any better than trying to improve as a person during the short lives we have.

  • Terry Firma

    They had books (or at least texts) back then, unless you believe that the habit of documenting events didn’t start until several decades after Jesus’s death. Which, as a scholar of antiquity, you know isn’t true.

    Why are there apparently no written accounts by Jesus’s contemporaries? It’s not like the guy was hard to notice. He performed miracles by the bushel, for Lawd’s sake. Turned water into wine. Cured blindness with his will. Raised a dead man. Walked on water. Fed a crowd of 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. Man, all those things must have been the talk of the town. He changed the lives of a multitude of people he interacted with in ways that they found revelatory and profound, you claim. And yet, no records?

  • Donalbain

    By Jove, you are correct!

  • Donalbain

    1) The bible describes the earth as a CIRCLE, not a sphere.

    2) Columbus and the people of his time did not think the earth is flat.

  • Terry Firma

    You say that YECs have “fringe views.”

    Gallup, 2012: “Forty-six percent of Americans [about 140 million people] believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”

    A lot depends on how you ask the question, and I’ve seen it stated that YECs number “only” between 30 and 40 million.

    I understand that you want to distance yourself from these people, but a fringe group? I don’t think so.

  • Donalbain

    Because of the lack of evidence for this claim.

  • Kelli Bunner

    I am for God. But being for God does not, for any reason whatsoever, require me to deny scientific evidence. The verse to which you refer is not talking about science vs. creationism. It is not true that creationism = for God, and science = against God. That is not the dichotomy to which that verse refers, anymore than it refers to being for God if you prefer butter on your toast, and against if you prefer jam.

  • Thomas Bennett

    I have often thought that if any hijacking were taking place it was the fringe element, of which Ken is a poster child, commandeering the whole of Christianity and defining it in a way that hardly describes many people that self identify as Christians.

    The term Jesus follower is interesting in context. However, to me it means something different entirely. I’ve often said that, in my opinion, there were very few Christians. There are lots of Paulists because what most people are calling “Christianity” takes more of it’s core doctrine from the purported writings of Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul) than from any other source.

    Take the reinvention of Paul out of the picture and being a Christian becomes a matter of being Hebrew by lineage yet accepting Jesus as the messiah. In other words, a Jewish heretic. Furthermore, a quick read through what Jesus is reported to have said himself makes it clear that being a Christian wasn’t supposed to be easy.

    Modern Christianity celebrates the life and death of Jesus but more often than not ignores what he is supposed to have said because it’s an uncomfortable reminder that being his disciple wasn’t just “believe” and business as usual.

    Christianity in it’s pre-Paul form certainly wasn’t something that would have gained a large following. Paul (or those who wrote in his name) accomplished two things. Made Jesus as a savior accessible to the Gentiles and diluted the requirements for being a disciple of Jesus from an life of poverty, humility, and service to living however you choose and substituting “Grace”, otherwise known as impotent belief, for actually doing something.

    It’s the equivalent of getting a trophy for showing up.

    The truly hilarious thing about all of this is that the majority of self identified Christians, especially the loud, belligerent, and domineering ones, are nothing of the sort and would be the ones a modern day Jesus would be condemning.

    Modern Christians often suffer from an identity crisis because they’re supposed to be the beleaguered and downtrodden underdog, suffering persecution and privation for the sake of their faith but they aren’t – unless you delude yourself into equating loss of privileged status with persecution.

    The reason, dear Christians, is that you aren’t the good guys in the story. Roll the clock back 2000 years and you would be the Sadducee and Pharisees enraged at the man who would be king and dared to point out your self serving hypocrisy and lust for temporal wealth and power.

    At least be honest with yourselves, you’re not a follower of Christ…you’re just a fan.

  • “You’re not a follower of Christ…you’re just a fan”. Who are you directing this comment towards?

  • gimpi1

    That’s the hard work, isn’t it Ben? Loving (or even respecting) those who aren’t good to you is much harder than just holding up a book and screaming, “This is the way!” You appear to do it better than most. Certainly better than Mr. Ham.

  • Beth Still

    As a lefty, bleeding heart Christ follower (I don’t like the term “Christian” as it has acquired a bad connotation) I suggest you look at these FB groups: The Christian Left and Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented. We have many atheist friends in these groups, and all constructive input is welcome. As are you.

  • Blake

    That link was frightening. What is that? I almost threw up in my mouth a little bit while scrolling down the page…

  • Blake

    Nevermind, I clicked on a few. My mistake. good stuff!

  • ParsonBoots

    So after seeing all of these people who called themselves Christians not acting like Christians, you looked down through history at all of the marvelous things done in the name of atheism and decided that was the path for you?

  • Sven2547

    This data corresponds exactly to what is stated at Genesis 1 verse 2. “Now the earth proved to be formless and waste.”

    Before this discovery, no one in the religious or scientific field could clearly interpret or make any logical sense of this Biblical statement; it is profound to say the least that Genesis states that the earth at some stage was in a formless condition just as these discoveries have revealed!

    This is an exemplary example of the fallacious thinking inherent in Genesis literalism. Note that Genesis did not predict anything, but rather scientists discovered something and then the apologists went back and said “Oh, that must have been what Genesis meant!”

    This does not lend any credibility to Genesis as a historical/scientific text whatsoever. All it really does is demonstrate that people will interpret the Bible however is most convenient for them.

  • ParsonBoots

    Do you really believe that one man has the ability to set the Jesus movement back that much? Do you think Jesus is wringing His hands right now, wondering how this movement He started and is carrying along is ever going to recover? You’re giving Ken Hamm a bit too much power.

  • If you’re going to commit a logical fallacy and pull out Stalin or Mao, don’t waste your time. I’m not a communist, which is of course what motivated their crimes rather than atheism.

  • My journey to atheism is as different for me than any other person, and no it had nothing to do with deciding that all historical atheists were the good guys all the time. But the fact that I’ve never witnessed an terrorist attack in the name of Dawkins was a big point in their favour.

  • dangjin1

    It just depends upon which science you are listening to–secular or God’s version. If you are for God then you need to follow God’s rules concerning unbelievers, false teachers, sound doctrine and so on.
    Secularist’s rules do not apply.

    Actually it is true because God did not create the scientific or natural way. read Gen. 1 again to see this fact.

    Your jam argument is absurd because there is no biblical teaching about what to put on your toast. There is biblical teaching about creation and false ideas. Big difference.

  • dangjin1

    Here you go. My thoughts on the debate and a link to the rules in case you decide to post your opposing view. Insulting and other attacks will result in immediate removal

  • dangjin1

    God is in search of the truth?? Believers do not have to search, we have it in the Bible.

    what obligation? Chapter and verse please. If there is any obligation it does not give permission to go with secular science and say God is wrong.

  • dangjin1

    just because they use a religious name doesn’t mean they are following the will of God. think about it and search beneath the surface.

  • ParsonBoots

    I didn’t bring up Stalin or Mao, you did. Though if I had, it wouldn’t have properly been a logical fallacy as you claim. I was simply wondering if the bad “Christians” turned you off to Christianity, who were the good atheists who turned you on to atheism? And why didn’t the good Christians and the bad atheists swing things the other way?

  • No, I don’t. Sounds like you didn’t read the last part of the post.

  • Wow, how revealing. I never would have thought about that. The No True Scotsman fallacy has never been used on me before by Christians embarrassed by their fellow faithful!

    End sarcasm.

  • Bad Christians drove away from Christianity. That does not mean they pushed me into atheism. Education did that.

  • Jae Lee

    You’re very similar to Ken Ham in that neither of you make reasonable arguments, and both of you want to use the bible as proof for YEC. Doesn’t work, especially with atheists, to whom the bible means squat.

    The bible is full of non-literal things, which even Ken Ham agreed to in the debate, but you guys choose to believe that the Genesis account is a literal word for word account of the world started. But the Genesis account isn’t consistent, neither with itself nor with science.

    Here are a few questions from the Genesis account:
    1. God creates light on the first day, but then creates the sun, the moon, and the stars on the 4th day. What then produced the light on the first day. Why is there no mention of God getting rid of this light in a later day because he no longer needed it? If it’s literal, it should explain everything.
    2. Gen 1:27 God creates man and woman on the sixth day, yet in Gen 2:19-24 they’re created separately.
    3. In Gen 4, Cain and Abel are born. So the only 4 people on Earth are Adam, Even, Cain, and Abel. After Cain kills Abel, he is afraid that others who find him will kill him. Who are these others?
    4. Cain is all of a sudden married and has a wife. Where did this wife come from? There is no mention of any other people before this. If she was his sister, that isn’t mentioned either. And if she was his sister, why does the Bible forbid incest?
    5. Cain builds a city, for who? Who else will populate this city?

    You can make up stories to fill in the gaps, but those details just aren’t there. If the Genesis account is as literal as you claim, then it’s literally full of holes.

    Jesus, the Son of God himself told sermons in parables, because “Though they have eyes they do not see, though hearing they do not hear or understand” If God laid it out and explained how the universe started with a big bang, and man eventually evolved from a microbe, they would not understand. So he told them a parable, which would speak of His relationship to us, of His love for us, that He is the creator, of sin, etc. It speaks of so many important things that many are not able to focus on because they’re too busy trying to figure out what it means literally.

    Creationists LOVE to say that there is no proof of evolution, but there is! Read a book called “Why Evolution is True”. or maybe start with something softer, “The Language of God” written by a Christian scientist.

    Creationism does not glorify God, in fact, you limit God to your own small understanding. Because we people cannot make something out of nothing, because we cannot create something which will turn into something else billions of years later. Do not make God in your own image!

    I am a Christian, and I used to be a YEC because people would instill guilt in you by telling you that faith requires that we believe Genesis literally. That a good Christian believes without questioning. I thank God that I questioned and yet still believe, because many question and lose faith because they are told that “because God is true, evolution cannot be true” and when they learn that the earth is old and evolution is true they assume that “since evolution is true, then God must not be true” which is a sad sad result.

  • Maddiesmomma

    I did not say that God is IN search of truth. I said they are BOTH THE SEARCH for truth. Read. Comprehend. I said that the search for God, AND using science to search for and explain the mysteries of creation, are one and the same. I do not fear truth, God’s or science’s…I believe it is a way to better understand the creation in which we live. I do not find the two incompatible. God imbued us with curiosity, intelligence and a need to know why we are here. Are you telling us that all science is incorrect? How do you feel about math? Since you and I do not agree on the Bible, I believe our conversation is done. Go hug your Bible.

  • dangjin1

    Lady, if you are following secular science and its lies, you are not following or believing God.

    We know why we are here– God wanted us here.

    I am saying that secular science is wrong.

  • ParsonBoots

    Nope, did not see that. With the spacing it kind of blends in with the pictures of Pat. You should put that at the very beginning of the article, since you not only state that in the “provocative” title but many more times in the post itself.

  • dangjin1

    Your post is quite long but I may respond to it more fully on my own website.

    Genesis account–it is literal and it is consistent with itself. Yo u demand more details and then when God provides more details you reject it and call it a contradiction. God can’t win with you unbelievers.

    Light–God did. What you are missing is that light is not sourced by the sun. its source is independent of it.

    sixth day–you are rejecting the details.

    sons– who said they were Adam’s and Eve’s first children?

    incest–the Bible forbade incest long after the flood.

    city– even ancient people had dreams of expansion and growth.

    holes–no and you are wrong. you do not accept the Bible and you do not accept the details when given so the problem lies with you.

    parable–Genesis one is not a parable. there is no biblical instruction that teaches that it was and Jesus taught creation as a real literal event.

    evolution– evolution has never existed and that supposed christian scientist is saying God lied and is wrong. Doesn’t say much for the God he claims to believe in.

    not glorifying God–ha ha h aha you’ve got to be kidding right? God speaks and it was, sounds like that brings lots of glory to God for his power and ability.

    i highly doubt you are a Christian because who would believe in a God who could not speak and it was and then let a non-believer discover the truth and allow him to teach his followers.

    That is not a god I want to believe in.

  • dangjin1

    then the problem lies with you as you let non-christian behavior influence your view of God and his teaching. Remember Jesus said ‘follow me’, not follow humans.

    You are just making an excuse for your decision to not believe.

  • You do realize that you’re doing the same exact thing– pushing people away from God, right? You’re not winning a single person. In comparison to Jesus who was adored and could barely get away from the crowds that flocked to him, you’re doing the opposite. A good rule if thumb is, if no one wants what you’re selling, you’re not selling Jesus.

  • Sieveboy

    As an Aussie, all I can say is Ken Ham is many bad things, including but not limited to: an oxygen thief, a walking involuntary advocate for abortion and another example of why the rest of Australia thinks Queenslanders (the state that Ken hails from) are dickheads. About the only good thing he has ever done (apart from giving Bill Nye the opportunity to make him look like the complete waste of food and water he is) was leave Australia (sorry to the country he landed in).

  • No, I’m not making excuses, I’m giving valid reasons. Evil Christians were the catalyst of my atheism, not the cause. But thanks for another dose of your smug self righteousness and your diagnoses of ‘my problems.’ Switching to your team has never seemed less appealing.

  • JustPro

    Or Atheists continuing to knock off more proof of the Bible. This is not just an interpretation but more evidence of the bible. If you say this does not lend any credibility to Genesis than you can say the same thing about many evolutionists text books found in most schools today….Genesis is just that a book of historical/scientific text from a long ago that is only translated to english from ancient Hebrew… There is nothing any body can say to discredit that… Heres the key point the Bible and Science co exist and there is nothing to disaprove that… Thats fact i could care less of what any body else says…

  • JustPro

    I guess you can say we could very well believe that perhaps we could very well be off because in all actuality NOBODY NO scientist knows the truth on how old the earth is… Only God knows for he is the one who watched it come to formation when he spoke it in existance… But what we CAN say is in THEORY the earth is Billions years old or 6,000 years old… and from reading the text books and the bible IN theory the earth when fully in formation could be 6,000 years old with billions of years of it to be created… Majority of the “science” thrown at us to declare the Earth is billions of years old is just a theory which is pretty much a part of the scientific method so technically I did not throw any science out but I used a lot of science to come up with my theory.

  • JustPro

    Lets see a lot of Darwins THEORY is that we evolved from a prehistoric Ape and I have read it in several text books taught in science class and when I read it all I could do was just laugh

  • Sven2547

    Genesis is just that a book of historical/scientific text from a long ago that is only translated to english from ancient Hebrew… There is nothing any body can say to discredit that.

    Except for, you know, the entire fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, genetics, dendrochronology, geology, plate tectonics, archaeology, morphology, linguistics, anthropology…

  • Daniel Schealler

    To my mind, this is the most damning part of the evening as far as Ham’s arguments went. It really cemented the view that Ham was closed-minded and unscientific in his conclusions.

    For Corey and other believers on this thread, I am curious:

    1) Do you agree with my analysis, and;
    2) What do you wish Ham had said instead?

    In case it’s not obvious, I’m an atheist.

  • JustPro

    Maybe that radiometric dating is wrong because there are plenty of evidence that this earth could very well be 6,000 years old… However I do believe it took billions of years for the earth to be created…

  • Daniel Schealler

    There are ice cores that have been drilled that have 680,000 layers. Each layer is one winter/summer cycles, commonly referred to as years.

    Even if we discard radiometric dating, 6,000 years is simply out of the question.

    The following article at The Onion satirizes Ham’s position beautifully.

    Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World.

    From the article:

    Historians believe that, immediately following the biblical event, Sumerian witnesses returned to the city of Eridu, a bustling metropolis built 1,500 years before God called for the appearance of dry land, to discuss the new development. According to records, Sumerian farmers, priests, and civic administrators were not only befuddled, but also took issue with the face of God moving across the water, saying that He scared away those who were traveling to Mesopotamia to participate in their vast and intricate trade system.

  • JustPro

    Heres the thing I believe that Evolution and the Bible can co-exist and I am not alone;

    Karl W. Giberson, a physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College in Massachusetts, is hardly alone in holding both views (Francis Collins, who headed up federal Human Genome Project, is one widely-known example of a Christian scientist), but the nation’s current cultural climate allows such a person to easily make a splash.

    Giberson has rejected fundamentalism, but remains a believer as well as a scientist. He has staked out a middle ground when it comes to the battle between Christians and Darwinists, stating that they can be reconciled with one another. He is sympathetic toward the motivations of creationists and scientists alike, though he is fed up with much ofintelligent design as well as hard-core atheists.

    The often acrimonious debate between science and religion came to a major head around the time of the Dover trial, which ended in 2005 when Judge John E. Jones III barred intelligent design (ID) from being taught in a Pennsylvania public school district’s science classes. The debate simmers on today as other school districts and legislators continue to try to get ID and creationism into the classroom, while Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and other atheists and agnostics have written recent books, blogged and spoken publicly about the logical inconsistencies and irrationality of religious, or at least Christian, beliefs.

    For Giberson, his contribution is his book, “Saving Darwin” (HarperOne, 2008), which he discussed here Monday night at the Harvard Club with Michael Shermer, an agnostic and the founding publisher of Skepticmagazine. The event was sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

    Giberson’s journey involves being raised fundamentalist and then beginning to doubt, during his training for his Ph.D. in physics, that science was as thoroughly wrong about the origins of life and Earth as creationists claim.

    Obviously, he thinks one can be a Christian and accept evolution, but these two sets of knowledge “don’t make as much contact with each other as people think,” he said. Many fundamentalists “elevate Genesis beyond what is appropriate.”

    Fundamentalists’ spin on the creation story in Genesis “robs it of everything that is interesting,” he said. Instead, readers should recall that the Bible repeats the refrain that God found what he made “good” and looks at the world as good.

    Shermer pushed on, asking Giberson to comment on the following definitional statement from Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos:”

    “For we are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins … Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we sprung.”

    “What’s wrong with that?” Shermer asked Giberson, with a smile.

    This kind of thinking is “hardly going to inspire ordinary people” to be passionate about spirituality, Giberson replied. “I just don’t think it would be a functional religion.”

    Shermer followed up, asking Giberson, then why believe in God at all?

    “It makes the world so much more interesting,” Giberson said. “The mystery of God’s existence is a more satisfying mystery than the mystery of how can all this arise out of a particle.”

    But what is your evidence, Shermer said, for belief in God?

    “I was raised believing in God, so for me, the onus would be on someone to stop me from believing,” Giberson said, adding that “there is a certain momentum that is already there.”

    Shermer said, so “you’re stepping off the page of science.”

    “Absolutely,” Giberson said, but added that he thinks science will soon nail down a definition of consciousness that will make God’s intentions more clear.”

  • Zaoldyeck

    “I guess you can say we could very well believe that perhaps we could
    very well be off because in all actuality NOBODY NO scientist knows the
    truth on how old the earth is…”

    That’s true, NOBODY KNOWS. Although that’s kinda typical. Lets say you’re a cop, and you’ve got a radar gun accurate to about 2 miles an hour. You’re standing on the highway and you clock someone moving at 100mph. Now, that person could say “your radar gun isn’t perfectly accurate, you don’t actually know my speed, NO ONE actually knows my speed but god. If you were to take 500 cops, all with radar guns and point them at my car you’d STILL not know how fast I was going”.

    All of this is true. There’d be some inherent error, that’s why I say the radar gun is accurate to “about two miles an hour”, if you’re moving at 100mph, the gun might show 101, 102, or even 104 or 105, but it’s unreasonable to suspect that the gun would show 50mph, or 20mph.

    Your argument makes a mockery of what we can and cannot know, because it pretends that if we have some source of error, not only are we wrong, but we are wrong by an incredibly large margin, and it is consistently an over-estimate.

    I don’t need to “know the truth” to have a reasonable estimate built upon evidence. But you are the type of person who when you realize your eyes can trick you, declare yourself blind.

    “Only God knows for he is the one who watched it come to formation when he spoke it in existance.”

    Baseless speculation, good for you, but doesn’t interest me.

    “But what we CAN say is in THEORY the earth is Billions years old or 6,000 years old”

    No, we can actually go further and state that anyone who denies the fact that the earth is older than 6,000 years old denies the reality of ‘facts’ entirely, and lives in a world without a coherent epistemology. I argue that knowledge cannot exist in your world, because by any reasonable standard for the word ‘knowledge’, ‘fact’ and ‘evidence’, ‘the earth is over 6000 years old’ qualifies.

    You live in a world void of facts. That’s rather too solipsistic for me.

    “Majority of the “science” thrown at us to declare the Earth is billions of years old is just a theory which is pretty much a part of the scientific method so technically I did not throw any science out but I
    used a lot of science to come up with my theory.”

    You don’t have a theory, and you don’t know enough about science, or the scientific method, to apply it. That much is evident.

  • JustPro

    Heres the thing of what I believe…Science and the Bible can co-exist both have a lot of good evidence; “There are several ideas being offered in an attempt to compromise creation with evolution. Some people think that God used evolution to create us. This type of thinking comes from the belief that scientists have proven that the earth is millions or billions of years old. Therefore, in order to harmonize the creation account found in Genesis (which says it all took place in a matter of days); non-literal scenarios have been concocted.

    1. The Gap Theory – This says that there was a gap of thousands, or millions, of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

    2. The Day-Age Theory- This theory posits that each day mentioned in Genesis was actually a much longer period, perhaps thousands, or millions, of years.

    3. Theistic Evolution- This theory posits that God created the basics, got the ball rolling, and stepped back to let the evolutionary process work on its own.

    4. Progressive Creation- This is the idea that God allows evolution to work on its own for the most part, with God stepping in at different times to guide the process

    However, all of these theories suffer from these same fatal flaws, and probably more:

    1. When God finished the creation week, He pronounced everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31). These compromise theories all say that God created a less than perfect world, which then ‘evolved’ into something better. Was God mistaken when He pronounced His creation very good? Did the evolutionary process have to improve upon God’s initial job of creation? This hardly describes the biblical God found in the Scriptures.

    2. The evolutionary theory of natural selection is based on survival of the fittest. This means that animals with better instincts and better fighting skills would triumph over and kill the weaker animals. This, in theory, would result in improvements in the gene pool of succeeding generations until the animal world ‘evolved’ enough to produce man. However, the biblical record says that there was no death until Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12-21; I Corinthians 15:21-22). Therefore, according to the Bible, there could not have been thousands, perhaps millions, or billions, of years of violence and death prior to the fall. It cannot be both ways. Either the Bible is true and evolution is a lie or evolution is true and the Bible is in error. The choice is God’s word or man’s word.

    3. If there were great lengths of time between creation of the universe and the creation of man and woman, then Jesus was mistaken when He said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’” (Mark 10:6 ESV). How else can this be understood except in the most clear and obvious way? Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, is telling us directly that Adam and Eve were a part of the creation week.

    The fact is that science has not proven the age of the earth. Many times the impression is given that scientists are smarter than regular people are, so if we disagree with them, their opinion is right and ours is wrong. They try to convince the average Christian that the Bible is mistaken, or simply written in a manner primitive man would have written in order to describe things he did not understand. It is said that now we have the scientific understanding to explain, and therefore, correct the biblical record. However, if the Bible is God’s word to us, we can be confident that it contains no mistakes at all. Or are we to conclude that it was out of God’s control to protect the message He wants us to have?”

    Read more:

  • JustPro

    How can you come on here and say I don’t know enough about science? Do you? Apparently Science was my major and what I was good at. No I don’t claim to be an expert but I know well enough to share a very logical theory. You on another hand say I live in a world void with facts but I just have stated plenty of facts through out this discussion. One of the facts I have stated is that Evolutionists and Atheists have this THEORy that their is no God but none of their so called “Theories” have proven anybody of anything. Perhaps you live in a world void with facts because everything you say has no credability.

  • JustPro

    Nothing in the ice-core data from either Greenland or Antarctica requires the earth to be of great age. In fact, there are good reasons to believe that the ice cores are revealing important information about conditions following the Flood of Genesis and the recent formation of thick ice sheets. Reports of ice-core data containing records of climatic changes as far back as 160,000 years in the past are dependent upon interpretations of these data which could be seriously wrong, if the Genesis Flood occurred as described in the Bible. Further research on ice-core data should be a high priority for creationist researchers.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Either the Bible is true and evolution is a lie or evolution is true and the Bible is in error. The choice is God’s word or man’s word.

    Are you really sure you want to commit to that position?

  • Daniel Schealler

    680,000 layers correspond to 680,000 winter/summer cycles, which would mean 680,000 years.

    A flood would cause a large amount of melting, then the process would have to start over. This melting would show up in the layers. AFAIK, it has not been seen anywhere in the record.

    So we would need to have had 680,000 winter/summer cycles since the flood, rather than since the moment of creation.

    Involving the flood makes the problem worse, not better.

    I recommend you observe the first rule of holes on this one.

  • Zaoldyeck

    “How can you come on here and say I don’t know enough about science?”

    It mostly comes from reading what you’ve said, and how it’s stunningly wrong… much the same way that if I said “I have a “5000 horsepower v3 engine in my VW bug” you could reasonably conclude I wouldn’t know the first thing about cars.

    Now, perhaps, you secretly are saying wrong things for some other reason, but on the face of it, you have a stunning lack of information in the relevant subjects.

    “Do you?”

    Depends ENTIRELY on the subject. Which is something people with intellectual honesty like admitting. I am moderatly well versed on biology, having a slight passing interest in being well versed on the major topics, but I am a physics major, if I were to show how the earth is older than 6000 years, my examples would primarily concern the rather overwhelming amount of evidence from that particular field. A geologist, on the other hand, might be more apt to talk about geomagnetic reversals and tracking sediment deposits orientation on the sea floor for a rather intricate and cool example.

    I am far FAR more qualified to talk about physics, which gives me more than enough ammunition to call “a 6000 year old earth” ludicrous and absurd, than I am chemistry or biology or geology or paleontology or archaeology or anthropology…. but then, I don’t claim to also be going against findings in those disciplines.

    “No I don’t claim to be an expert but I know well enough to share a very logical theory.”

    No, no you don’t. You haven’t provided any explanatory model, and creationism is the antithesis of a ‘theory’, a scientific theory and a colloquial theory are words apart.

    … You were a science major and yet you’re manipulating use of the word ‘theory’? What kind of miserable school let you get a degree?

    “You on another hand say I live in a world void with facts but I just have stated plenty of facts through out this discussion.”

    Define the word ‘fact’. I state you are living in a world void of facts for epistemological reasons, because your suggestions are that if things cannot be demonstrated entirely, they are wrong.

    That is a fact-free epistemology, it is a epistemology and system of knowledge that does not allow knowledge period, it is solipsism.

    I do not understand what meaning you attribute to the word ‘fact’ if the earth being older than 6000 years would not qualify. I do not understand your epistemology. I’m not even sure if you yourself understand it.

    “One of the facts I have stated is that Evolutionists and Atheists have
    this THEORy that their is no God but none of their so called “Theories”
    have proven anybody of anything.”

    That isn’t a fact. that is an assertion, and quite a bit of linguistic manipulation as well. It makes no distinction between how the words ‘theory’ are used between the context of scientists, and creationists. So I wouldn’t even say this is wrong, it’s not anything, not right, not wrong, it’s meaningless because your words are ill-defined. You are mixing definitions with no indication of such.

    “Perhaps you live in a world void with facts because everything you say has no credability.”

    I still am not sure how you use the word ‘fact’ but I argue that a ‘fact’ can be demonstrated with observational evidence, relying on inductive reasoning, of an observable in the universe.

    That means I assume the universe exists, my senses convey some form of information regarding it, and that induction works. These are not ‘facts’, they are assumptions, but my understanding and attribution of the word ‘fact’ is anything which can be understood and gathered by these underlying epistemological assumptions.

    The earth being older than 6000 years old relies on so many “facts” as I have defined it so that it would be impossible to outright deny unless you reject observable information in our universe and inductive reasoning.

    Such rejections reject the concept of ‘fact’ entirely.

  • dangjin1

    I wasn’t being smug but making a point. You need to ask yourself ‘Did Jesus teach that? Did Jesus do that? Is that behavior Christian teaching? Then see what Jesus taught and follow what he said.

    Why punish Jesus for things he did not teach or do? Your decision should not be based upon what others do but on what Jesus said and did.

    So yes, if you point to the behavior of bad people then you are using them as an excuse because you do not counter their actions with those who do follow Jesus correctly.

  • Interesting, cause Jesus never said the earth is 6,000 years old. Also interesting that you think you can judge who is “following correctly”.

  • dangjin1

    I am doing no such thing. I am teaching what both God and Jesus taught. God said he created, Jesus taught creation so I am presenting Jesus.

    Jesus did a lot more than just teach, he healed the sick, rebuked the pharisees, and so on. BUT that didn’t mean he didn’t have enemies or people who rejected him and his words.

    Plus, you and this website are not everyone you do not know how everyone responds. Of course, your rule of thumb would make drug dealers selling Jesus, as well as liquor stores, gun shops, etc. so I would edit that down a bit.

    The problem is you want secular science over God regardless of the fact that both he and Jesus did not give permission for their followers to follow the unbelieving people.

    If you won’t listen to God and Jesus why would you listen to me?

  • If you’re an example of following Jesus correctly, I’ll pick the eternal torment and brimstone rather than everlasting life spent in your company.

  • dangjin1

    I don’t say the earth is 6,000 years old either. God didn’t give a date when he created BUT that absence of a date does not open the door to evolutionary or big bang ideas.

  • dangjin1

    Why? You do not even know me. I am just presenting the truth and pointing out how hypocritical you are being in your argument.

    Do you balance the bad ‘believers’ with all the good ones and make a decision based on the whole picture instead of the part that allows you to make excuses for not believing?

    If you are not then you are not being fair to God or Jesus. You are stacking the deck to avoid the reality and that is not right.

    You are also not being honest or open-minded in your decision making.

  • But he does know you– he knows you by your words and behavior which have repeatedly not reflected Christ.

  • Neither do you know me. I judge you by one thing and one thing only. How you have presented yourself in this public forum. And it’s a manner of such jaw dropping arrogance, insolence, ignorance, and petty viciousness that it’d be a wonder if there was room in the heavens for anyone else with your bloated ego stuffed into the halls of your god.

    If you want to call me hypocritical and dishonest because I refuse to bow down to your particular Bronze Age idol, go right ahead. It’s curious that you ignore my assertion that bad Christians were the catalyst of my atheism, not the cause, but after seeing the way you’ve behaved I shouldn’t expect anything more form you than the lowest sort of rhetoric. In the meantime, I stand by my unequivocal certainty that refusing the wares you are so sweetly peddling makes me a better man and a more moral person than I ever would be standing at the side of your like.

  • JustPro

    Ice cores at the South Pole and Greenland have a maximum depth of 10-14,000 feet. The aircraft that crash-landed in Greenland in 1942 and was excavated in 1990 was under 263 feet of ice after only 48 years. This indicates all of the ice could have accumulated in 4,400 years

  • JustPro

    I don’t object observable information… Majority of the observable information I posted says otherwise to evolutionary theories which is just that THEORIES… So if there is no god than answer me this… Do you believe that DNA repair mechanisms, catalytically perfect enzymes, and phenomena such as substrate channeling are best explained by naturalism? If so, why are rational human scientists and engineers so woefully incapable of imitating the precision and complexity of cellular machinery that (presumably) arose via strictly irrational processes?

  • JustPro

    The only position I will commit to is that God exists and the Bible and Science co exist with each other

  • JustPro

    I don’t have a problem with science because the Bible and Science co exist… God uses science to create the earth… The only problem I have with is the Atheist Theories just to try to declare that God does not exist…

  • JustPro

    Dead chemicals cannot become alive on their own. The cell is a miniature factory with many active processes, not a simple blob of “protoplasm” as believed in Darwin’s day. Lightening striking a mud puddle or some “warm little pond” will never produce life. This is another view of the core issue of information as the simplest living cell requires a vast amount of information to be present. The “Law of Biogenesis” states that life comes only from prior life. Spontaneous generation has long been shown to be impossible (by Louis Pasteur in 1859). Numerous efforts to bring life from non-life (including the famous Miller-Urey experiment) have not succeeded. The probability of life forming from non-life has been likened to the probability of a tornado going through a junkyard and spontaneously assembling a working 747 airplane. The idea that life on earth may have been seeded from outer space just moves the problem elsewhere. Sorry but there is no way possible we came into life out of nothing. there is only one way we came to and thats by the power of God who created everything else. By all this do Atheists believe we have souls? If so where do these “souls” are made? Only answer is a higher all powerful God…. Sorry your ignorance shows just how little anyone should care about whatt you think. Thank you

  • Zaoldyeck

    What is that question supposed to mean? That if we somehow don’t have an explanation for a process, then the entire subject is wrong?

    … What on earth do you think science is? A textbook with all the answers, like your bible? That shows no deference to real world observations at all.

    It’s not that “naturalism is the best explanation”, it’s that it’s the only mechanism we have that we can question. It’s the only mechanism by which we can distinguish “fact” from fiction.

    Your premise is flawed from the start, your questions are confused. The question isn’t “are DNA mechanisms best explained by naturalism” but rather “how did DNA mechanisms form?”

    “Naturalism” isn’t a universal catchall, things can be right, and wrong, and “naturalism” won’t tell you which those are. Now we CAN study bio-energetic pathways, that is the subject of interest of biochemists, and they would best be equipped to answer “how did DNA mechanisms form”, but the idea that “naturalism explains it” is silly.

    I don’t care what explains it, so long as whatever explains it can be justified by a consistent robust and observational manner. I cannot make a prediction for what ‘god’ would do.

    If “DNA was just perfectly designed by god” is the answer, how do I test that? How do I prove that wrong? How do I evaluate that?

    It leaves me no basis by which I can gain understanding, it is an assumption, but I reject assumptions, again, I only make three… the universe exists, my senses convey some sort of information regarding it, and induction works.

    If you cannot explain to me how DNA formed without appealing to that epistemological foundation of mine, then your explanatory model is flawed from the start. You aren’t asking questions seeking understanding, you’re asking questions seeking ad hoc answers.

    In particular, my area of understanding is physics. I find deep fascination with the subject and have a much more robust understanding for the intricacies of it than I do biochemistry. I could tie down the history of the big bang down to physical things we could observe, test, measure, predict, and I understand that to a visceral level.

    That is how science functions. Anything else that requires appealing to faith, or ad hoc assumptions, is entirely untestable and hence irrelevant to me.

    My epistemology is far too simple to accept gods unless you can explain exactly what a ‘god’ does.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Does that mean that, if evolution is true, then the Bible must be interpreted in such a way as to agree with evolution?

    Just checking to make sure I understand you, because the source you just quoted makes things seem a little more in conflict.

  • Daniel Schealler

    That is completely irrelevant to the point I am making.

    It’s not a question of depth of snow ice.

    Rather, it’s a question of how many snow-ice layers are found in a sample.

  • Daniel Schealler

    The trick with that line of thinking is that it dives straight into the Euryphro Dillemna.

    If we are to judge a religion based on whether its outcomes are good or bad, then it follows that we must have an independent understanding of what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are that are founded on something other than the religion in question. Because otherwise the chain of logic becomes circular and you wind up back at the original problem of how to implement a weeding-mechanism in the first place.

    I like the line of thinking that religion should be based on its outcomes. But I’m an atheist with an agenda; the reason I like it is that it introduces the thin edge of the wedge of humanism to the wooden block of religion.

    That is why many theologians and some believers squirm a little when the whole ‘judge a religion by its outcomes’ thing comes up. On some level they know that line of thinking is going to be trouble. Methinks they’re right.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I’ll second that question.

  • Jae Lee

    Hahaha, it’s because of people like you that so many people cannot believe. You live in a delusion and assume that all people who believe in God, must be just as delusional as you are. It’s because you believe such nonsense that you try to hold on to ideas that do not fit or make sense, and then just make up things to fit those ideas without a shred of proof. God says that He is not a God of confusion, yet that’s what you make Him out to be.

    Light: Romans 1:19-20 “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” The bible says that His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through WHAT HAS BEEN MADE. So tell me, where in nature, is there light independent of a source as you claim?

    Sixth day: What details am I rejecting?

    Sons: if the genealogy of the bible is to be taken literally, then Cain and Able must be the only children of Adam. Where does it mention other children? So you’re making up details now to fill in the gaps? Then Genesis isn’t as literal as you claim

    Incest: so it was pleasing to God’s eyes before?

    City: there is no point in expansion if there are no people. The point isn’t their dreams of expansion, the point is that you don’t build something that you have no use for.

    Holes: I accept the bible, I just don’t take every word in the bible literally. And many parts of the bible were not written literally. There is no indication of Genesis 1 being a literal account of history. The format it’s written in is even written poetically, which points to it being more of a story.

    Jesus did not teach “Creationism” as defined here. You have to really twist his words to fit his teachings into the creationist model.

    Neither the Christian scientist, nor I, are saying that God lied. We believe that God is the creator, that God is the creator of the universe, who put everything into motion, and guides things. I do not believe that life arose by random coincidence, but that God had willed it, and God knew that since before the big bang, we would come to exist.

    You have proven my point about attempting to use guilt to coerce people into believing a model of creation that does not fit with anything observable.

    Either way, you are so delusional, that you claim that we must take Genesis literally, and yet try to add in details to make it work. Yea, adding words into the bible is real biblical of you. Some how, you fail to see that you’re forcing this. I don’t expect to change your mind, because you will believe what you want to believe. But be very careful about making judgments about people being a believer and nonbeliever. That is not your judgement to make.

  • Teilhard

    Great post. It is unfortunate that a radical anti-intellectual such as Ken Ham is viewed as representative of Christians by many people. The vast majority of mainstream Christian believers are supportive of science and faith. I recently did a brief reflection on this topic, including a comparison of the “debate” between Ham and Nye vs. a conference the Vatican hosted a few years ago on evolution and science that included the world’s leading scientists and theologians.

    W. Ockham

  • Zaoldyeck

    “The evolutionary theory of natural selection is based on survival of the
    fittest. This means that animals with better instincts and better
    fighting skills would triumph over and kill the weaker animals.”

    That is not what the theory states, at all. It states that organisms (note, not animals) pass on their genes with slight modifications, which accounts for the diversity of life. It does NOT state how those genes need to be passed on. If cooperation and symbiosis allow for more populations to reproduce and pass on their genes, then that’s equally effective and requires no “animals with better instincts and better fighting skills triumph over and kill weaker animals”. We couldn’t survive if it weren’t for the rich abundance of bacterial flora in our digestive track, we’ve evolved to be co-dependant with each other… that’s evolution, but certainly not ‘survival of the fittest’ as you describe it. Bacteria aids our survival, we aid the bacteria’s survival, everyone wins.

    “The fact is that science has not proven the age of the earth.”

    It has established the earth is orders of magnitude older than 6000 years. “Proven” means what to you? That we know ‘exactly’ how old the earth is? If a cop stopped you for going 50 miles over the speed limit, would you try to convince him he was wrong because his radar gun has an uncertainty of 1 mile an hour? “Your radar gun isn’t perfectly accurate, thus I was actually travelling half the speed you measured!”

    Except the young earth claim is stronger, since we measure the age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years, the claim is “your measurements aren’t just inaccurate, they are consistently inaccurate by almost six orders of magnitude!” For comparison, this is saying that “scientists measure the moon to be roughly 380,000* km away, but it’s actually 500 meters* away”.

    That’s how astoundingly wrong scientists have to be for the world to actually be 6000 years old, yet we measure 4.5 billion years. You aren’t just saying “scientists don’t know the age of the earth”, you are saying “scientists are so clueless about the age of the earth they are off by almost six orders of magnitude”.

  • Sven2547

    Giberson has rejected fundamentalism, but remains a believer as well as a scientist.

    That’s the point: you CAN INDEED be a Christian who accepts evolution, but only if you REJECT a literal, fundamentalist approach to Genesis.

  • Conspiracy theorists and crackpots are so invested in their numbnuttery that we shouldn’t be surprised when they can’t even relate to the question of what would make them change their minds. As a Christian, I’d say that there’s a big difference between affirming a scientific (excuse me, “scientific”) theory like creationism and affirming religious belief. I would have said that the untenability of my creationist beliefs wouldn’t have any bearing on my belief in God. But since Ham has his creationism so tangled up in his religious belief, he can’t be objective in separating the two.

    But hey, as long as we’re patting ourselves on the back for our open-mindedness and objectivity, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves whether we’re being any less dogmatic. There have been howls of outrage over Ham’s mere insistence that science involves assumptions. Are we too invested in the validity of empirical evidential inquiry that we can’t even admit that there’s a philosophical basis for it, and that the way we judge the validity of facts and evidence depends on our buying into the model to begin with?

    And not for nothing, but am I the only one who notices that people equate science with atheism? It’s as if the construct of empirical inquiry is somehow the sole property of nonbelievers, and the irrelevance of God to questions of inanimate matter should lead people to believe that religious belief in general is irrelevant. If we’re talking about “abusing science,” isn’t that how we should characterize the concept that the scientific method is the sole arbiter of truth and knowledge for humanity? Doesn’t the concept of humans being nothing more than gene machines, and brains being biological computers, seem just as pseudoscientific as Ham’s ravings? Or are we not allowed to be skeptical when the crackpots happen to be nonbelievers?

  • gimpi1

    Good point, Ben. I have worked in advertising, and we always said, “If you have a good product that no one seems to want, reconsider your presentation.” I think Dangjin is too self-righteous to consider that, however.

  • gimpi1

    Have you ever heard the expression, “Forcing God into a Bible-shaped box?” You’re doing that. That’s not worshipping any God, that’s worshiping an idol.

  • gimpi1

    There have been very good outcomes to some aspects or religious belief. In the west, we’ve seen hospitals founded, orphans cared for and hungry people fed in part because of the passions of religious people. People with strong beliefs were some of the ones behind the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement and they are active today in trying to end human trafficking. They have been instrumental in some of the most positive changes in history.

    However, other religious people have burned heretics and outsiders alive, started wars and argued in favor of slavery. Some religious people today push to eliminate foreign aid to the desperate in other countries and assistance of any sort to their own citizens. Some religious people appear to believe poverty, disasters and disease are punishments by God and helping others is against God’s will. They appear to think that everything can either be fixed by converting everyone to believe as they do, or that no problems need to be fixed, because the world will end soon.

    I don’t think the problem is religious belief as such. I think it’s devotion to authority. I think it’s unconcern with injustice. I think it’s selfishness and addiction to privilege. And I think it’s fairly easy to see which branches of religion have yielded the good fruits and which the bad ones. However, I think each group of believers must police their own. It does no good for me to point out the difference between Ben and Dangjin who lurks on his site. I’m an outsider.

    I think it’s up to insiders to weed out the toxic aspects of their belief-structure. They can do it with their membership, with their money and backing and with their respect. And I think that’s starting to happen in the States. Weather it will lead to less religious belief or healthier and more positive belief, I can’t say. That ball’s still in play.

  • gimpi1

    I think that’s one problem I have in my own life, Ben. I’ve had experiences that could lead me to believe in a larger reality, if not the specific Christian God. However, I could be mistaken. I could be deluded. I could, in a moment of great stress or unhappiness, simply fooled myself for comfort. How can I know? How can anyone? Without some kind of definitive, external proof, how can anyone be sure!?

    (I’ve been told I think like an engineer. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not.)

  • gimpi1

    You must be aware, JustPro, that the events you describe can’t occur over a short (40 days and 40 nights or whatever) period of time.

    For example, you refer to continental separation. I assume you are referring to the break-up of Pangea. The tectonic movement that led to that is still going on. We can measure it, both on earth and from space. The Americas and Africa-Eurasia are moving apart at about 2″ a year. How long, moving at that rate of speed, would it take for them to get to their current position? (hint; it’s longer than 6,000 years) How, moving at that rate of speed, would that movement cause a massive flood? We know the rate of speed is pretty-much constant, because if it were much faster, the volcanic activity around the Ring of Fire surrounding the Pacific would be much, much more violent than the geologic record shows, due to increased subduction. (Can’t tell I married a geologist, can you?)

    Oceanic uplift, subduction, orogeny, all these are slow, slow processes. You’re talking deep time here. Have these events caused savage, devastating, regional floods? Yes. They show in the geologic record. For instance, the Grand Coolie in Washington state, was caused by several rupturings of ice dams on the proglacial Lake Missoula that was located in Montana during the most recent Ice Age. However, there is no evidence in the geologic record of a world-wide flood. None. In order to make the claim you did, you have to ignore that fact. You are misrepresenting the geologic record, ignoring actual evidence and misstating basic principles of geology. Why are you doing that?

  • gimpi1

    I suffer from a form of rheumatoid arthritis that is, at least in part, hereditary. Both my mother and grandmother had it. Any daughters I had would be at high-risk to develop this painful, disabling condition. So I decided not to have kids, to not take that risk. Again, a good moral decision. If I can think that far, surly any sort of supreme being could.

  • JustPro

    Good views I really don’t think Ken Ham overall represent christians everywhere. If thats what Atheists want to believe thats because his view points are pretty much weak and presented a weak argument. I am sure there are better creationist scientists who present stronger view points than Ken Ham with actual evidence. I believe he failed in this debate.

  • JustPro

    There are two basic types of creationists out there there is Young Earth Creationist and Old earth creationists; Old Earth creationism holds that the physical universe was created by God, but that the creation event of Genesis is not to be taken strictly literally. This group generally believes that the age of the Universe and the age of the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists, but that details of modern evolutionary theory are questionable. Just for everyones information.

  • JustPro

    If Evolution is true than the Bible could of been interpreted wrong. The bible does not strictly state that the earth is this old or that old because in the Bible it states that to God Time is totally different than to what us mankind thinks of time… To god a day could be several years to us man. 2 days could be a million years. or more. Honestly I think for us humans its tough to really say what a day or a few hours is for god

  • JustPro

    Well to me I can understand your situation but the question is could God actually been bored? I mean there was absolutely nothing out there and apparently if God made man as an image of himself surely God must have emotion. When there is nobody around you and nothing to do I could imagine god becomeing bored and maybe lonely. If I was God I would of felt the need to bring out something to entertain these emotions and it was actually moral of God to give us free will to love him or not. Because he could have forced us to love him but he wanted us to love him out of free will just like you would want your wife and kids to love you out of their own free will. So I could understand Gods reasoning to create the universe and make us in his image and for us to be the center of gods attention.

  • JustPro

    The key to the question is if there is no god than how can such a complex mechnism such as DNA just form out of nothing? I mean really scientists all over the world tried to generate DNA but failed greatly. Our DNA is unique and impossible to just create. Only a being such as God can create such a complex form such as DNA.

    Another question is; Do you believe free will to be illusory?If so, can the punishment of crimes be ethically justified (and does the word “ethical” have any real meaning)?

    I would be curious to hear about your grounding for utilitarian ethics. Given materialism, what reason – aside from your personal opinions – do we have for valuing happiness/pleasure over pain/suffering? Can we really say that happiness/pleasure is more valuable to a species from an evolutionary point of view?

  • gimpi1

    If I were to have a child that might suffer greatly because I was “bored” and wanted to be the center of attention, I would be called selfish and callous and that assessment would be right-on. Do you believe your God is so selfish and callous as to create beings that will suffer horribly just so a few of them can adore Him and alleviate his boredom? Is that a positive view of God?

  • JustPro

    Hey Benjamin L. Corey I think you wrote a pretty good post here but I found something rather interesting;

    ” On many mornings, I wake up and think, “You know what this country needs? More culture war.” As I scramble up a couple eggs, I find myself wishing—fervently wishing—that we could spend more time reducing substantive issues to mere spectacle. Later, as I scrub the pan, I’ll fantasize about how those very spectacles might even funnel money toward some of the country’s most politicized religious groups.

    Fortunately, Bill “the Science Guy” Nye has heard my wish—which, really, is the wish of a nation. Why else would he have traveled to Kentucky this week in orderto debate Ken Ham, the young-earth creationist founder of Answers in Genesis, about the origins of the world?

    Actually, there are two other reasons that Nye might have done so, and I’ve given both possibilities a great deal of thought in the past few days. The first is that Nye, for all his bow-tied charm, is at heart a publicity-hungry cynic, eager to reestablish the national reputation he once had as the host of a PBS show. Whenhis stint on Dancing With the Stars ended quickly, Nye turned to the only other channel that could launch him back to national attention: a sensationalized debate, replete with the media buzz that he craves.

    Possibility number two is that Nye is clueless—that, for all his skill as a science communicator, Nye has less political acumen than your average wombat.

    After watching the debate, I’m leaning toward that second possibility. Last night, it was easy to pick out the smarter man on the stage. Oddly, it was the same man who was arguing that the earth is 6,000 years old.

    It was like watching the Broncos play the Seahawks. Nye never had a chance. Ham won this debate months ago, when Nye agreed to participate. By last Friday, when I spoke with Ham, Nye hadn’t even arrived in Kentucky, but Ham was already basking in the glow of victory (Nye didn’t respond to my request for comment). “The response,” Ham told me, “has been absolutely phenomenal.” He talked about the media attention. He talked about how professional the stage was going to look. He talked more about the media attention. “It’s going to create a lot of discussion. I think that’s very healthy,” said Ham, in reference to the raging scientific debate over whether evolution actually happened. “In many ways aggressive atheists have shut down that discussion.” But, Ham continued, “the public wants to hear about” origins. Fortunately, Nye has given them that chance.

    When I asked whether the debate would bring any financial perks, Ham hastened to talk me down. “The ticket sales won’t come to half the cost of the debate,” he explained. The publicity, though, may be priceless. The last time Ham gained national media attention, it was for his failure to raise enough money to build the enormous Noah’s Ark theme park he’s been planning as an accompaniment to his slick creation museum. This time, he gallops onto the national stage as defender of the faith—a stance that may open some pocketbooks. Perhaps Ham willdedicate a plank in the replica ark to his bowtied benefactor.

    It was like watching the Broncos play the Seahawks. Nye never had a chance.

    Ham had nothing to lose. When you exist on the cultural fringe and make your living by antagonizing established authority, there’s no form of media attention you don’t love. All Ham had to do was sit still for two-and-a-half hours, sound vaguely professional, and pander occasionally to his base. Sure, if you listened closely, what Ham was saying made absolutely no scientific sense. But debate is a format of impressions, not facts. Ham sounded like a reasonable human being, loosely speaking, and that’s what mattered.

    Nye, meanwhile, spent three-quarters of the debate sounding like a clueless geek, even if his points were scientifically valid. He went on strange asides and make awkward appeals to the obviously hostile audience, which he at one point referred to as “my Kentucky friends.” He spent 10 minutes delivering a dry lecture on geological sediments and biogeography, using the kind of PowerPoint slides that a high school junior might make for his AP Biology class. Ham, seemingly aware that debate is a form of entertainment, and that entertainment thrives on human stories, presented testimonial videos from engineers and biology PhDs who hold creationist views. Nye, on the other hand, spent a lot of time talking about the “billions of people” who “are religious, and who accept science and embrace it”—because God knows that Americans love nothing more than conforming to the religious opinions of foreign nations.

    In one all-too-typical two-minute span, Nye started out by explaining how evolutionary biologists make predictions. He then veered into the sexual habits of minnows, suddenly jumped to the number of bacteria in the human gut, discussed the amount of energy required for roses to produce fruit, told the story about how his first cousin (once removed) died from the flu, and then bounced back to the horny minnows, with reference to certain fish diseases. All of this talk about sex and germs will make sense if you’re familiar with the Red Queen hypothesis. If you’re not, good luck. Five topics in two minutes, with extensive prior knowledge assumed: science communication in action!

    It was around this point that I began drinking.

    Ham’s argument, essentially, was that there are two kinds of science—observational, concerned-only-with-what-we-can-touch-and-see science, on which, Ham said, we all happily agree; and historical science, on which we don’t. This is bullshit, of course. We can use evidence from the present to extrapolate about the past. But it’s straightforward, logical-sounding bullshit, which means that it makes for good debate material.

    Nye went into the debate, he says, in order to protect and promote science education in the United States. His most important argument was that people like Ham are ruining America’s global competitiveness by weakening science education. It’s a shame that Nye pushed that point so strongly, because it was the one thing he said all night for which he did not have any actual evidence. Creationism in public schools may be a social disaster, but it’s hard to prove that it’s a financial one, too. And Ham was ready. He had a recorded statement in which Raymond Damadian, who helped invent MRI, expressed his firm belief that the world was created in six days, six thousand years ago, as outlined in Genesis. Ham’s message was clear—and accurate: you can be a creationist and invent economically useful stuff.

    There are those who will claim a victory for Nye. He did have his moments. Near the end of the debate, Nye found his footing, speaking passionately about the joys of scientific discovery. Doing so, he highlighted the degree to which creationism is a decidedly incurious, insular worldview. Ham was at a loss for words only once during the whole debate, when an audience member asked what it would take for him to change his mind. By contrast, Nye seemed most alive when talking about all the things that he couldn’t explain. The Ham-leaning audience was skeptical. But for anyone who lives in that uncomfortable middle, who engages with the uncertainty and wonder of a universe they don’t understand; and for anyone who doesn’t have a rigid dogma to fall back on, those moments couldn’t help but make Nye seem like a true champion of the common moderate.

    But it was too late. Months too late. You don’t need to be Sun Tzu to realize that, when it comes to guys like Ken Ham, you can’t really win. If you refuse to debate them, they claim to be censored. If you agree to debate them, you give them a public platform on which to argue that, yep, they’re being censored. Better not to engage at all, at least directly. Nye may be the last to understand a point that seems to be circulatingmore widely these days: creationism is a political issue, not a scientific one, and throwing around scientific facts won’t dissuade those who don’t accept scientific authority in the first place.

    When I spoke with Ham last week, he happily compared the debate to a football or baseball game. This brings up another, slightly subtler point. Simply put, thanks to the existence of antagonists like Nye, creationism is both profitable and, by all appearances, kind of fun. And profitable, fun activities tend to stick around, no matter what their moral hazards. Just ask anyone who enjoys watching football, concussions be damned.

    Near the end of his opening statement, Ham explained that when it comes to the evolution debate, “the battle is really about authority.” Ham might not understand the science, but he gets the politics. A couple minutes later, Nye began his reply on a civil note: “Mr. Ham,” said Nye. “I learned something.”

    Let’s hope so.”

  • That was an impressive copy and past. I hope you didn’t exert yourself.

  • Daniel Schealler

    There have been howls of outrage over Ham’s mere insistence that science involves assumptions.

    Where is this happening? Because I haven’t heard any.

    During the debate (can’t remember where) Nye points out that the assumptions made by scientists have objective justifications.

    Ham’s don’t.

    Any howling I can think of related to this topic has been down to the false equivalence Ham was trying to force between scientific assumptions and his creationist assumptions.

    Any worldview requires assumptions at some level, including a scientific one. The trick is to care about which set of assumptions has less unjustified stuff built in.

    If there is someone out there getting all bent out of shape because someone points out that science requires a certain set of assumptions… Well, they’re wrong and obviously haven’t thought it through properly.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Doesn’t the concept of humans being nothing more than gene machines, and brains being biological computers, seem just as pseudoscientific as Ham’s ravings?

    Not to me.

    Genes, machines, biology and computers can all be shown to exist. We have evidence for them. But the idea that a global flood actually happened has no evidence for it.

    You’re correct that those of us who hold scientific worldviews need to get into the habit of continually questioning and acknowledging our own assumptions.

    That cuts both ways: So do you.

    To say something ‘seems’ a given way – or when speaking more strongly, to say that something is ‘obvious’ – is a turn of phrase that usually means that the person speaking is basing their judgement regarding the truth of the following statement on tacit and unexamined assumptions.

    The concept that humans are built out of chemistry? That doesn’t ‘seem’ pseudoscientific to me at all. After all, we can actually study chemistry, it can be shown to exist and it actually does explanatory work by means of explaining the mysterious with something that is known.

    It’s the élan vital and it’s ideological relatives that seem pseudo-scientific to me. This is because it’s never been detected, in principle cannot be detected, and as an idea does about as much explanatory work as saying that train engines move because of an elusive and supernatural élan locomotife; explaining a mystery with another mystery gets us nowhere.

    I’ll grant that this is to do with us having different assumptions. I’ve analysed mine and brought them out into the light. It’s only fair that you do the same.

  • Daniel Schealler

    And not for nothing, but am I the only one who notices that people equate science with atheism?

    In my view, there’s two categories of reasons for this.

    The first is that, historically (and in the case of Ham, contemporarily) religious authorities have made a habit of founding their theology on claims about the objective world. If those claims are scientifically shown to be untrue, then the theology crumbles. Those invested in the theology then have to either change their theology or resist the science.

    If these people have a power-base built on their authority as theologians, then they have a hard decision to make between changing with the times and risking their power and self-image… Or they can double down and make an enemy of the science. Most of them choose the status-quo, because that’s humans for you. Thus the the notion that religion is the enemy of science gets reinforced periodically as science continues to provide answers to questions that used to be safely unknowable.

    The second reason why people tend to assume science and atheism go hand in hand is because the theologies that survive scientific inquiry have a tendency to be less inspiring. Surviving scientific inquiry relies on the religion not making a theological stand on that which can be directly observed. But if we cannot observe God and his works directly, if He doesn’t actually intervene in a way that can be observed… Then what’s the point? For many people, that’s a bit toothless and indistinguishable from a child with an imaginary friend.

    I know that these two categories don’t encompass all religion, so no need to jump down my throat on that one.

    But enough falls into one camp or the other that for many people the assumption that science invalidates religion has a persuasive narrative basis, both historically and culturally.

  • Daniel Schealler

    I think it’s up to insiders to weed out the toxic aspects of their belief-structure.

    The problem is that what you and I may agree to call ‘toxic’, many members within those groups call ‘holy’ or ‘honorable’.

  • You’re channeling Heinlein, and applying it to religion instead of politics:

    “If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for, but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.” ~Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)

    I like your idea. ;)

  • Daniel Schealler

    Okay, good. I still disagree with you in large parts, but I guess that’s something. :P

  • The concept that humans are built out of chemistry? That doesn’t ‘seem’ pseudoscientific to me at all.

    Probably because that’s not what I said. I don’t deny that humans are products of evolution and that the workings of our bodies involve biochemistry. What I actually said is that I’m skeptical of the notion that humans are nothing more than gene machines.

    This demonstrates the nihilism of reductionism, the attitude that if science can’t detect anything but chemicals in the human body, then chemistry is what makes people geniuses or smokers or sculptors or mystics. And there’s a pretty obvious false dilemma here too: if anyone points out that chemistry isn’t a complete explanation for the stunning variety of human experience and endeavor, then he may as well be raving about pixies and demons and phlogiston.

    I guess one of my assumptions is a vestige of my background in existential philosophy: there’s a rational, objective aspect to the human condition and an irrational one. Do I have “evidence” for it? Not really. I’m just disturbed at the way people deny that anything is known about humanity unless it’s empirically verifiable. To me, the products of the human imagination in art and literature tell me as much about the human condition as scientific research does.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Probably because that’s not what I said. I don’t deny that humans are products of evolution and that the workings of our bodies involve biochemistry. What I actually said is that I’m skeptical of the notion that humans are nothing more than gene machines.

    For the record, that’s exactly what I meant: That humans are built out of chemistry. Full stop.

  • gimpi1

    That’s why, if it were me doing the weeding, I’d go by results.

    If the actions of the group in question made things objectively better by, for example, opening a hospital, educating kids who otherwise would have no way to learn to read or opening a food-bank, that’s a good result. You keep that branch. If the actions of a group drove some people to suicide, started a war or presented overtly false information as true, that’s a bad result. Get out the pruners, that branch needs to be trimmed.

    Making the world a happier, safer or more free place is a good metric to go by, as I see it. But It’s not me doing the weeding, so that’s just a suggestion.

  • Daniel Schealler

    This demonstrates the nihilism of reductionism, the attitude that if science can’t detect anything but chemicals in the human body, then chemistry is what makes people geniuses or smokers or sculptors or mystics.

    What do you think ‘nihilism’ means, and why is it demonstrated in this kind of worldview?

    Religious people frequently accuse me of nihilism, but based on my understanding of the word it’s never true.

    As I say above: Often things like this are based on tacit and unexamined assumptions.

    What are your assumptions such that they inform your conclusion that my position is nihilistic? Because I just don’t see it.

  • Daniel Schealler

    if anyone points out that chemistry isn’t a complete explanation for the stunning variety of human experience and endeavor, then he may as well be raving about pixies and demons and phlogiston.


    We just say ‘we don’t understand that part yet’.

    The argument that, if there is something we don’t know, then that means we know it was something supernatural is an argument from ignorance. I leave that to others.

    I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that there is still much we do not know.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Making the world a happier, safer or more free place is a good metric to go by, as I see it.

    Except when these things are in conflict. But let’s not go there, we’re so close to agreement, I’d hate to spoil it. :)

    I’m just about with you. The only part that bothers me is that you haven’t acknowledged that, for such a system to work, people need to derive their basis of what outcomes are to be valued from something other than the religion being weeded.

    To weed a religion in this way requires us to acknowledge that the religion itself is not the source of the moral values we are using to weed it. Because if it were, then by definition we would find nothing to weed – it would be circular.

    That’s the gotcha that needs to be acknowledged. I’m happy about it. Religious people, as a rule, are not.

  • What are your assumptions such that they inform your conclusion that my position is nihilistic? Because I just don’t see it.

    I told you what my assumption is, and you confirmed it: That humans are built out of chemistry. Full stop.

    If that doesn’t seem like a meaningless, reductionistic statement to you, then maybe you need to step back a minute. All human endeavor and potential, the joys and passions of billions throughout history, according to you, are chemistry.

    You can look through my posting history if you want to confirm this, but I’ve never stated that people need religion or are nothing without Christ, or that there’s life after death or any other species of child religion. However, I think anyone should be disturbed at how easy it is for folks to trivialize human endeavor and pretend that there’s a scientific rationale for doing so.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Chemistry exists. It is real.

    All human endeavor and potential, the joys and passions of billions throughout history, are chemistry.

    Thus, all human endeavor and potential, the joys and passions of billions throughout history, exists or existed, and are or were real.

    To me, this is an obvious affirmation of human endeavor, potential, joy and passion.

    Still not seeing where the nihilism and meaninglessness kicks in, Anton.

    Note the ‘obvious’ I just used; I’ll grant that this is obvious to me largely because of my assumptions regarding all of these concepts. Thus, it may not be obvious to you. And that’s fine, I’m happy to keep investigating and talking about this to get a bit more mutual understanding going between us.

    But that has to go both ways. Seriously. You have some assumptions in play that need to come into the light. Stop hiding from me and implying I’m the one who’s missing something here.

    Don’t be content to sit back passive-agressively and suggest I need to ‘take a step back’ simply because I disagree with you about something you think is obvious.

    I want you to think about why you think it is obvious, and talk about that.

    I already know that my brain is a funny little place. But what is going on in that funny little brain of yours? That’s the question I’m interested in. :D

  • Daniel Schealler

    At this point I am reminded of Daniel Dennett’s relation of an account by Lee Siegel.

    ““I’’m writing a book on magic”,” I explain, and I’’m asked, ““Real magic?”

    By ‘real magic’ people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts, and supernatural powers.

    ““No”,” I answer: ““Conjuring tricks, not real magic”.”

    ‘Real magic’, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is ‘not real magic’.

    There’s a point to be made here. To some people, things like joys, passions, endeavors and potential need to have a mysterious extra component before they will be considered ‘real’.

    To me, explaining these things by way of what is known and can be demonstrated – by removing the need for the mysterious extra component – is precisely the thing that makes them real.

    I always enjoy trying to work out how a magic trick was done. Even when I can’t work it out, it’s still a fun exercise. But I’ve found that some people just don’t want to know, and find the pleasure I take in that past-time strange and confusing.

    There’s no disputing tastes, I suppose.

  • Like I said before, I have plenty of assumptions that aren’t based on scientific evidence.

    I believe humanity has created symbolic constructs to help us conceptualize things that are too complex to comprehend otherwise. Religion and science are two of these constructs. Science, because it’s conceptualizing empirically verifiable factors, has been a lot more successful in systematizing and expanding our knowledge about natural phenomena. Religion presents symbols for factors that are a lot harder to verify. Both constructs have been exploited for domination and slaughter throughout history.

    People have every right to criticize when religion pokes its nose into science, like Ham is trying to do. But the line cuts both ways. Not every phenomenon in human endeavor has to submit to the scientific method. Not every truth is arrived at through a review of mutually verifiable evidence. More often we seek out reasons to validate our belief in something.

    I think the whole non-overlapping magisteria idea is too simplistic, but there’s some truth to it. No religion or philosophy should completely contradict what we know through empirical inquiry. Religion has a bad habit of testing believers’ faith by making them profess or act in ways that show their disregard for scientific research. But then science-minded people return the favor by deriding the faithful for not having hard evidence for the way they conceptualize things from their subjective experience.

    I’d look forward to having a patient, constructive dialogue about these matters instead of a slapfight. Let me know if you’re interested.

  • Daniel Schealler

    That’s an interesting avenue for future conversation Anton. We can get back to that later if you like.

    But for the present I want to return your attention to my previous unanswered questions.

    What do you think ‘nihilism’ means, and why do you think it is demonstrated in my worldview?

  • To some people, things like joys, passions, endeavors and potential need to have a mysterious extra component before they will be considered ‘real’.

    I see what you mean. But on the other hand, some people think they’re explaining something away by pointing out the neurochemistry involved. I saw a funny meme that said: “This is SEROTONIN and this is DOPAMINE. These are the only things you really enjoy.” I mean, on one level that’s obviously true. But that’s not the whole story, and who expects science to tell us any more of it than that?

    Personally, I like hearing about a genetic or neurochemical basis for some phenomenon or ability. But that’s explaining the physical, objective aspect of it. I don’t expect science to “explain” any more than that. That’s not what we invented scientific inquiry to do. The important part is the way we interpret and deal with the knowledge it provides.

  • Daniel, I’ll have to make this quick because I’m out the door here in a minute.

    Nihilism is the idea that nothing means anything. Personally, i think that’s the perfect way to describe a worldview that looks at scientific inquiry as the only source of truth.

    If all science is equipped to tell us about ourselves is that we’re biochemical machines, and that’s the extent of what we can say about human endeavor, then that means everything that we think or feel is just meaningless signals. Our art and music is just window dressing and diversion, absolutely inconsequential next to the findings of those manly empirical disciplines.

    If that’s not nihilism, Daniel, what could possibly be?

  • FYI – I’m a her. ;) If Jesus is or isn’t real… eh, it’s not super important, in the long scheme of things. The only reason I brought it up is that I like this blogger and I trust him to give the topic a respectful shake. I don’t know that there’s much he could say though. The only way to get around the deafening silence in the 20-40CE records is to find some way to make that silence irrelevant, or else to try to set up different rules for establishing historicity for this one person than we’d use for someone else in history (or to say that this silence “proves” something, which I’ve heard Christians try to say in the past). The discussion speaks more to how humans can know something is real or not real and how much evidence we need and all that good stuff, so it’s one I’m always interested in having. It was a shock for example to discover that most big name scholars don’t believe the NT accounts at all either. But in the end, what does it mean if Jesus did not really exist? And what does it mean if there actually was anybody at all fitting anything even close to the description the NT gives? I put forth the idea that it doesn’t matter in the least. Christians are still under commandments to love their neighbors. All a mythic Jesus does is make the stakes a little less obviously toxic. And, of course, to put Christianity into the same category as any other religion, I reckon.

    It’s fascinating to me that someone can reject fundamentalism, but then choose as his or her hill to die on a big piece of literalism. Like all this other stuff? Myth. But this one thing here, this one thing is totes legit. TOTES. TOTES I TELLS YA! Why? What makes it so much more special than, say, the Fall of Man? Or the blatantly fictional ride into Jerusalem? Or the Fall of Jericho? Why is this one bit totally true and impossible to be mythical, but these others are mythical without argument? What stops the Jesus character from being a myth too, besides desperate hope?

    It’s like those folks who leave Christianity but still retain their misogyny–we lose our allegiance to deep indoctrinations in pieces, not all at once. Even the Un-fundamentalists (who blog here on Patheos as well) tend to focus on Jesus being a real person and some parts of the Bible being totally factually true. But what if the whole mythology is just one big, well, myth? What if none of it is literally true? What does that mean for the religion, for its promises and threats?

    What if the whole shebang is less about a real, literal Heaven and Hell and a real, literal person who sparked the Jesus myth, and more about how we’re maybe supposed to treat each other and live in the few decades of life we get here on Earth? What if there’s a “best expression” of Christianity that doesn’t depend at all on any of it being literally objectively factual? What if Christians are barking up the wrong tree and getting something terribly wrong, distracting themselves from the main point and best expression of their religion by worrying about the question of historicity? Man, that’d be a hell of an interesting religion, wouldn’t it?

  • Zaoldyeck

    “The key to the question is if there is no god than how can such a complex mechanism such as DNA just form out of nothing?”

    No, the ‘key to the question’ is simply “how did DNA form”. Not ‘if there is no god’ or not, just “how did DNA form”.

    Put another way, “if there is no Zeus, how can such a complex mechanism as lightning just form out of nothing?”

    You’re giving me a ‘god of the gaps’, you seem to believe that if we don’t know how something happened, the only alternative is to assert a god. I reject that, I say the only alternative is to defer all judgement entirely until you’ve got some evidence to go off of. Since “god” is non-falsifiable, though, and cannot generate any predictions, it will always, by virtue of its very nature, be ignored in trying to understand physical processes.

    “How did DNA form” and if the answer is “god just did it”, again, that does me no good in trying to actually answer the question. “How did god do it”? How can we verify this? Can you falsify it? If you can’t give me those, then the statement you’re giving me doesn’t adhere to my basic epistemological foundation.

    I am NOT a biochemist. I don’t find “how did DNA form” to be the most interesting, most relevant, most prescient question in my life. Sure, it’s an interesting question I’d like a good answer to be provided some day, built upon robust evidence, but there are plenty of other interesting questions in the world.

    You apparently are far less ok admitting ignorance and being ok with not knowing, than I am. As I said, my area of interest is physics, so if you were to ask “how do we have a matter/antimatter assymetry”, that WOULD be a question I put a lot of vested interest in. That kind of question to me is vastly more interesting than “what are the biochemical pathways that lead to the formation of DNA”.

    You’ll find scientists study subjects that interest them, but no scientist knows all of all other branches of science. The questions you ask will have different levels of accuracy and insight depending on who you ask, and how much of their time and energy they spend studying those exact same questions.

    Expecting me to provide an answer for you proves you do not care about observation. You don’t care about real open-ended questions in science, you expect them to have an answer already and when we don’t you say “ha, see, god”.

    In other words, you’re a Greek telling me that Zeus is responsible for lightning because “it just doesn’t make sense naturally”. It’s an argument from ignorance, and a god of the gaps. Your epistemology is weak.

    “Another question is; Do you believe free will to be illusory?”

    I have little opinion about ‘free will’. My will being ‘free’ or not doesn’t keep me up at night because I have no method to investigate the question. If my will isn’t free, if I’m forced to think everything I was gonna think anyway, then why bother worrying about something I was going to do anyway? And if my will is free, why should I worry about if it isn’t?

    Honestly the concepts that bother religious people seem so foreign to me. You really, REALLY would do well to establish your own epistemology.

    “If so, can the punishment of crimes be ethically justified (and does the word “ethical” have any real meaning)?”

    Do WORDS have any real meaning? I’m not sure anyone really necessarily agrees on what exactly ‘ethical’ even means, that’s why Plato was so able to spin his Socratic traps.

    Humans tend to act faster than we can cognitively think anyway, ‘ethical’ humans act ethically regardless of the ‘justification’ they come up with after the fact. We’re social species and altruism carries a distinct evolutionary advantage, feeling the need to codify this so linguistically seems an exercise in futility, no one will ever agree about all sets of ethics and virtues.

    “Given materialism, what reason – aside from your personal opinions – do
    we have for valuing happiness/pleasure over pain/suffering?”

    I’m wondering why you feel we ‘need a reason’. Or what you consider a ‘reason’. “Objective”? That is, applying beyond the scope of your own perspective? That is impossible unless you can somehow magically transport your mind into another human’s.

    As I said, humans act faster than we can think. When someone sees a car run off the road, and rush to help, they don’t have time to think “oh, if I do this I can be a national hero”, or “if I do this then the people who I saved will be happier thus making me feel happier”, there’s barely enough time for “car, crash, injury, help”, instincts are orders of magnitude faster than cognition.

    So if that’s how humans are, and if making people’s lives better shows distinct advantages to our species as a whole, then why do we spend so much time worrying about the few people who codify a hypocritical system of no ethics?

    I say ‘hypocritical’ because anyone who rejects ethics like “don’t go around murdering indiscriminately” would have a very hard time complaining about someone murdering them indiscriminately. If they do, it’s the height of hypocrisy.

    And these are the ‘virtues’ that keep you up at night, because some people happen to be sociopaths?

    I happen to think “pleasure” and “happiness” over “pain and suffering” should be considered valuable to our species, because if it wasn’t, those things wouldn’t have evolved in the first place because they wouldn’t have been advantageous. By virtue of us having a larger population than any time in human history, clearly, our social interactions have done quite a wonder in improving the overall status of our species.

    Humans aren’t the only organism that shows signs of altruism.

  • Capt– I’ll definitely respond to that, just been busy and thinking it would make a better blog post than a reply in a thread. It’s on my list though :)

  • Shinjitsu

    If I may, what do you make of Christ’s teaching of special creation by God Almighty in opposition to molecules-to-man evolution?

  • Shinjitsu

    Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t Danton, Lenin, Sanger, Than Shwe, Stalin, Mengele, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Ceausescu, Honecker, Castro, Pol Pot, Broz Tito, Milosevic, Bonaparte and Mussolini oppressive, sadistic, democidal atheists who, collectively, butchered ***hundreds of millions*** of helpless men, women and little children?

    You’ve trivially transformed each and every spiritual faith into a demon then simply slayed these with your hollow rhetoric. Your particular contention is not with all spiritual beliefs but false religious beliefs. Christ’s teachings have continually been – and are still – absolutely nothing less than a marvelous blessing for everyone ( ). Why , then, do you dump the proverbial baby out with the bathwater?

  • Shinjitsu

    That’s only true if, likewise, Monopoly money is no different than genuine legal tender. If you honestly believe that to be true, why don’t you ask to receive you government benefits in Monopoly money?

  • Shinjitsu

    If they loved him so much why did they keep screaming over and over again, “To the stake with him!”, when Pilate asked them if he should set him free? (cf. John 15:18,19)

  • Shinjitsu

    Don’t forget too, “You can’t say the right thing to the wrong person just as you can’t say the wrong thing to the right person.” There’s a reason why the very first Christians were hunted and slaughtered just as Christ was. You’re not insinuating it was their fault, are you? (cf. John 15:18,19)

  • Shinjitsu

    Seeing as how you’re such a fan of education, perhaps you might consider a more intellectual and less perfunctory study of nature, science and the universe?

    “A little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God.” – Francis Bacon

    “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

    “In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

    –Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

    “Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

    –Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.

    “I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”

    “If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.”

    –Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it.

    “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

    –Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude to those of Einstein and Newton.

    Oh and, btw, did you know that, according to a recent Pew survey, 51% of scientists abjure the philosophy of Atheism? ( Go figure! :)

  • Shinjitsu

    Remember Alchemy , Neptunism , the geocentric universe , Spontaneous Generation , Lamarckism , Emication , the existence of the planet Vulcan , Lysenkoism , Gradualism , Trepanation , Miasma principle of illness , Telegony , junk DNA, the widening earth , the existence of Phlogiston , martian canals , Luminiferous Aether , the Steady State Theory , Cold Fusion , Hollow Earth Theory , Gradualism and Phrenology?

    All were canards proclaimed as truth by the mendacious and fallible pontiffs of Science.

    So, if a conflict arises between what God and Christ teach and what some scientist(s) say, who would you belive? God or man? (cf. Romans 3:4)

  • Shinjitsu

    “My doubts about evolution began when I was studying synapses. I was deeply impressed by the amazing complexity of these supposedly simple connections between nerve cells. ‘How,’ I wondered, ‘could synapses and the genetic programs underlying them be products of mere blind chance?’ It really made no sense.

    Then, in the early 1970’s, I attended a lecture by a famous Russian scientist and professor. He stated that living organisms cannot be a result of random mutations and natural selection. Someone in the audience then asked where the answer lay. The professor took a small Russian Bible from his jacket, held it up, and said, “Read the Bible—the creation story in Genesis in particular.”

    Later, in the lobby, I asked the professor if he was serious about the Bible. In essence, he replied: “Simple bacteria can divide about every 20 minutes and have many hundreds of different proteins, each containing 20 types of amino acids arranged in chains that might be several hundred long. For bacteria to evolve by beneficial mutations one at a time would take much, much longer than three or four billion years, the time that many scientists believe life has existed on earth.” The Bible book of Genesis, he felt, made much more sense.

    Every good scientist, regardless of his beliefs, must be as objective as possible. But my faith has changed me. For one thing, instead of being overly self-confident, highly competitive, and unduly proud of my scientific skills, I am now grateful to God for any abilities I may have. Also, instead of unfairly attributing the amazing designs manifest in creation to blind chance, I and not a few other scientists ask ourselves, ‘How did God design this?’” – Professor František Vyskočil – Former Atheist (

  • Shinjitsu

    The answer to number 1. is found at Genesis 1:1.

  • Shinjitsu

    RE: 2.

    Are you somehow alleging God Almighty created Adam and Eve on separate creative days?

  • Shinjitsu

    RE: 3.

    Adam, Eve and their other children. (Genesis 5:4)

  • Shinjitsu

    RE: 4.

    See my response to 3. As proved by genetics, we are all one race – the human race.

  • Shinjitsu

    RE: 5.

    The city was for himself and his family. See Genesis 4:17-22

  • Shinjitsu

    If I may, what do you make of Christ’s teaching of special creation by God Almighty in opposition to molecules-to-man evolution?

  • You said to correct you if you were wrong, and you were wrong. Bonaparte, Mengele, Danton, and Mussolini claimed the be Christian. Stalin dabbled in several different religions in his personal life. Lenin didn’t actually kill anyone, he was dead long before the soviet regime was up and running. Shwe practised a nationalistic form of Buddhism. Others on your list simply made no statements about their religion either way. It seems you simply listed as many bad people as you could find and started screaming ‘atheist!’ Regardless of historical accuracy, which considerably lowers how seriously I take you.

    And no, Your religion has not been a blessing for everyone. Christ said he came to bring a sword, and more people have felt that sword than any other.

    You claim to speak with absolute morality, so you can bet I’m going to hold you and your church to an absolute standard.

  • I’m sorry, what government benefits? Better check yourself sweetheart, your bigotry is showing through.

  • Your logical fallacy is: Appeal to Authourity.

    Now tell me how many of those individuals adhered to your particular religion and more specifically to your particular sect?

  • I’m on someone’s list! :) I reckon you’re right–and again, I think what you’d say about it would be interesting.

  • Tanner Schmidt

    it’s not like ken ham is the first christian to say or do something stupid! you’re worried about new barriers and the Jesus movement being carried backwards? what did you expect? were you hoping ken ham was going to give some new evidence or say something people hadn’t heard before? i thought for sure this debate was going to end with everyone turning their hearts to Jesus because of ken ham.

    GUESS WHAT! there will always be people or groups misrepresenting Jesus. if ken ham never existed we would still have the westboro baptist church who protest soldiers funerals with signs that saying, “THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS” and they say it’s God’s name. pretty messed up! what about the disciples? these are guys that Jesus hand picked as his followers. they spent years following him and they still did and said things that Jesus shook his head at…yet He knowingly picked those dudes to be His disciples.

    sure, i can understand being mad at ken ham if the Jesus movement depended on him…BUT IT DOESN’T! the Jesus movement depends on JESUS! so it might be a good idea to show a little more faith in Jesus (He kind of DEFINITELY IS GOD!) and know that He’s got it covered. at the end of the day no matter how bad ken ham loses in a debate to bill nye JESUS IS STILL JESUS, He is still king and will have the final victory. not ken ham. not bill nye but JESUS.

  • An argument from ignorance? A god of the gaps? Strawmen statements that no actual reputable biologists would ever say? That’s what you rejected science over? Don’t ask me to be impressed by your rampant and willful ignorance. Your concerns have been answered many times by real science, you know. You say this stuff like it’s some amazing gotcha, and it isn’t at all. We settled the brain out a long time ago. You’re about 50 years behind. Nobody seriously thinks “mere blind chance” led to the creation of the human brain. That’s just a lie that creationists tell themselves to feel smug. It’s a talking point. And it is nowhere near accurate, like pretty much every other thing creationists think.

    “Mere blind chance” is not what brought the human brain to its current state. Rather, it was a long, dizzyingly slow process of descent with modification. One small change that benefited the organism and let it breed more than other organisms did, and its offspring inherited that change, and so on and so forth. Blind chance had nothing to do with it. We know exactly how the human brain evolved and what steps it took to get from the first bits of life to what it is today. How sad that you are glorifying ignorance.

    You know, if your god had really designed the human brain, one would expect him to have done a better job, rather than leaving behind so many obvious signs that the brain is actually constantly being modified and added to from previous simpler amphibian, reptilian, and early-mammalian forms. You, uh, did actually know that parts of your brain mark your evolution from those earlier lifeforms, right? What, did your god just re-use all those other structures and concepts? What a lazy and incompetent fellow he seems like! You know, maybe you should get your scientific information from actual scientists who are actually reputable scientists, instead of from religious zealots masquerading as scientists and feeding you lies to make your religious literalism seem less insane and ignorant:

  • That wasn’t an answer. That was a misinformed talking point. A pity you didn’t actually learn from those textbooks while you were “laughing” at them, hmm? You seem to have tragically wasted your time laughing when you should have been studying.

    1. Nobody actually says we evolved from apes–except creationists. They say it a lot. In actuality, apes and humans share a common ancestor. We’re more like cousins. We share an awful lot of identical DNA, which the Theory of Evolution explains quite gracefully. You are using a common–and ignorant and wrong–talking point here that has been debunked many times. How strange that someone who says he values the truth would say something so childishly ignorant.

    2. Most science textbooks include a basic definition of what a “theory” is. Hint: it’s not what your creationist buddies say it is. Ever heard of Atomic Theory? Germ Theory? Magnetic Theory? Those are theories too. Do you rail against those? Or what about the theory about the Earth going around the Sun, which contradicts Biblical literalism too? Do you fight against that? Scientists use the word “theory” way differently than ignorant creationists do. In real science, a “theory” is just a way of describing how something works. That’s not how you use the word, and you were laughing instead of learning so you never found out how real scientists use the word, so I can see why you’d be confused. You use “theory” the way you’d use “hunch” or “guess.” And that is how your creationist leaders want you to think that’s how scientists use the word, because it makes it way easier for you to laugh instead of learn.

    Scientists use theory in a far more exact way than you use it or even most people use it. It’s not a “guess” or a “hunch” if it’s gotten to that stage in real science. Something doesn’t become a theory till it’s been tested to there and back again, many times. And you may not realize this, but a theory in real science never grows up to become a law. A theory uses laws to explain something. It isn’t a baby-law. It’ll never grow up to be a full law. There’ll never be a Law of Evolution. That doesn’t mean it’s less reputable than a law, though. It means it’s just as reputable, just that it explains HOW, while a law explains WHAT. The Theory of Evolution explains HOW it is that there are so many species in the world and HOW it came to be that they look the way they do and HOW it is they progress in shape and configuration. And it predicts. Knowing what we do about evolutionary biology, we can predict how viruses mutate, how children learn, how dogs can be trained better, how to address vitamin deficiencies, how to better vaccinate our children, even how to grow more efficient crops so you can feed your family for less money. Real science exists so we can make predictions–which creationism patently cannot do, ever.

    At this point, the Theory of Evolution has been tested more and found to hold better than any other theory in science, while I don’t think anything in creationism has ever been reputably tested. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be disproven with good evidence and reproducible results, not that creationists have offered a single bit of either. But it would be hard to disprove it as a whole. Individual elements get quibbled about and sometimes change, but the basic gist of it remains and has remained pretty much the same since it got devised. In terms of longevity and predictive power, I don’t think there’s a single better theory that humankind has ever devised that’s held up as well as this one has.

    Ball’s in your court, laughing guy. Maybe you still have those books laying around.

  • Donalbain

    Apparently Science was my major and what I was good at.

    Doctor Science is not a real doctor, but he has a Masters in SCIENCE!

  • Shinjitsu

    False charge of fallacy. Are you alleging all scientists from ancient times till now, regardless of their specialty, have always been Atheist?

  • Shinjitsu

    My apologies. I thought you received tax refunds.

  • Shinjitsu

    Based on what evidence do you make your claims? I only ask because of the following facts:

    “All religions have been made by men.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

    “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

    “Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

    “Before the experiments began, Mengele came and tattooed my number personally. They put us in freezing baths, smeared chemicals on our skin, but it was the needles we were most afraid of. After the first 150 injections I stopped counting … One morning in July 1944 I spotted my mother among a long line of women moving toward the gas chamber. Mengele called me in and gave me an errand to the crematorium. He knew I would see my mother go to her death. A couple of days later he asked me if I still believed in God.” -Mark Berkowitz

    “It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism.

    Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.”

    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  • Shinjitsu

    What do you think Christ meant when he said that he came to bring a sword? If you have contextual support for your belief please include chapters and verses.

  • Appeal to Authourity is claiming something is true because someone important or smart says it is. Which is exactly what you just did.

    There have been many religious scientists over the ages. But knowledge in one area does not and never has meant automatic knowledge in another.

  • I’m self employed, not that this is any of your business. So no. I don’t.

    Typical Evangelical. ‘I don’t like what you say so you must be on welfare!’

  • Shinjitsu

    Inferiority complex much?

  • Shinjitsu

    You lost me. How does this answer my query?

  • Daniel Schealler

    Quick is good.

    1) If all science is equipped to tell us about ourselves is that we’re biochemical machines, and;

    2) That’s the extent of what we can say about human endeavor;

    3) That means everything that we think or feel is just meaningless signals

    The argument as framed above simply doesn’t follow. The premises lack an assertion about meaningfulness to link them to the conclusion.

    I understand that many, many, many people think this follows. And I think I know why they think this.

    However, if I suggested the reason I think you think this argument follows, I’d be putting words into your mouth. That’s unhelpful to conversation.

    So tease it apart for me. Why does that follow? What got left out.

    For context, I would phrase that line of thought differently:

    1) If all science is equipped to tell us about ourselves is that we’re biochemical machines, and;

    2) That’s the extent of what we can say about human endeavour;

    3) Bio-mechanical machines are amazing, because they’re capable of generating, appreciating and pursuing meaning and value! That’s fantastic!

    Note that both of these arguments are omitting tacit assumptions. :P

    I assume that if something meaningful is explained in terms of chemistry, this affirms and validates the thing’s meaningfulness. Because everything is intimately a part of the same universe – whatever meaning was there doesn’t disappear just because we can explain it. Meaning isn’t so intangible as that. Because even while unexplained, that meaning is still part of the universe – the explanation doesn’t change the fact of the meaning. Rather, it increases our ability to understand, appreciate and generate that meaning within ourselves.

    The universe has naturally, automatically and without teleological intent given rise to beings capable of generating and appreciating meaning and value. This is amazing, humbling, and really cool.

    This is a very good reason to be glad to be alive. Not the only such reason. But one of them. :)

  • Daniel, I have no problem with the way you revised my argument. I especially agree with this:

    The universe has naturally, automatically and without teleological intent given rise to beings capable of generating and appreciating meaning and value. This is amazing, humbling, and really cool.

    My original objection was to the sort of machine fantasy that dehumanizes us: we’re gene machines that have brains that are biological computers. I know this kind of rhetoric appeals to the macho rationalists hereabouts. For them, any suggestion that we’re something more than machines is an outrage, an excuse for effete sentimentalists like me to sneak in all sorts of myths about souls and guardian angels and virgins in paradise. But in fact I’m actually stuck between two equally fatuous fantasies, those of the Bio-Robot and the Magic Angel. What about the Human?

    I think it was Douglas Adams who said that we don’t need to deal in fantasies about magic gnomes to appreciate the beauty of a garden. I agree. It helps our appreciation to know how the flowers live and reproduce, how they’ve evolved, and all the other things that empirical inquiry can tell us about the garden. But we need to remember that the beauty is the important thing.

  • gimpi1

    I totally understand, Daniel. What I see (perhaps) differently is that there are religious people ready, willing and able to tidy up their garden. Ben is one example, but there are many more. The whole emergent movement seems, from the outside, to be in part a clean-up effort. How it will play out, that I can’t say. But, as an outsider, I can’t simply take over and say, “Here, over here, that’s what has to go. Then let that part over there grow.” It’s not my place, and it never works. Those most vested in the belief-system have to be the ones that choose its priorities. How they will choose, that will determine their future.

  • gimpi1

    As I understand it, Shinjitsu, the Roman suppression of Christianity was nowhere near as extreme as it was later portrayed. And, no, no one should be persecuted for their beliefs. However, disliking a belief or an aspect of a belief-system isn’t persecution. Dangjin1 makes a point of insisting anyone who has the slightest disagreement with any view of his/hers is to be condemned. That attitude isn’t going to be a selling-point. It also denies the faith of the vast majority of Christians.

  • Daniel Schealler

    We’re pretty close to agreement here, so probably time to wind up soon. :)

    But we need to remember that the beauty is the important thing.

    Science enhances beauty.


    I could be wrong on this. However, I think your beliefs about what the macho realists actually think about the relationship between science and meaning isn’t accurate.

    I suspect that if you actually followed up with the macho rationalists, they would be more likely to agree with my revision than your original argument.

  • I think your beliefs about what the macho realists actually think about the relationship between science and meaning isn’t accurate.

    Okay, I only know what they tell me. I’d like to know what point they would agree with:

    1. All matters pertaining to human existence are scientific matters.
    2. Any matter pertaining to human existence that isn’t a scientific matter is meaningless.
    3. There are meaningful matters pertaining to human existence that aren’t scientific matters.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Your wording’s still problematic. There’s a bit of an equivocation problem.

    1. can easily be read as the rejection of substance dualism. I do think that everything the human mind and body does is a function of chemistry. No ghosts in the machine. So in that sense, I’d agree with 1. very strongly.

    2. could be read along similar lines – that if we suggest something that isn’t open to scientific inquiry, then by definition it cannot interact with us, and therefore either doesn’t exist or is otherwise irrelevant to our existence. Pretty good candidate for meaninglessness. So there could be agreement there too.

    But in another sense entirely, I agree with 3). There are many facets of human existence that are not directly scientific.

    For example, I recently started taking dancing lessons on Monday nights. I’m learning something about the world – a new and fun way to move within it. There’s no control group, sample size or double-blinding, but learning is happening anyway.

    Methinks you’d be hard-pressed to find a macho rationalist that would deny that I’m learning something new on Monday nights just because I lack a control group.

    … Although I will admit that my introduction to Foxtrot last night got a lot easier when I started thinking of the movements in terms of pivots and arcs. But that’s just because I’m a gigantic nerd. :P

  • Daniel, I should be more careful. I didn’t mean to equivocate on any of the terms I was using. There was no trick intended.

    I think the problem is the way we use the word “science.” I’m using it in terms of a research program that involves testing hypotheses. I get the feeling you’re just using it to mean anything that’s material, or any issue upon which we can bring facts to bear at all. By that definition, few matters aren’t scientific.

    Your dismissal of the “ghost in the machine” concept ensures you keep your membership in the manly rationalist club (notwithstanding your foxtrotting). Personally, I like the idea. There’s no religious or mystical meaning to the idea as I see it. It’s just like saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” We can describe the human body as a machine and talk about brain states, but beyond that, we’re not talking about science when we discuss and describe human potential. Is this ambiguous and irrational? Just like the human condition.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Daniel, I should be more careful. I didn’t mean to equivocate on any of the terms I was using. There was no trick intended.

    I should have spoken more carefully – I didn’t mean to imply that you equivocated intentionally! ^_^

    For the record, while I’m disagreeing with you a bit, I am coming at this under the assumption that we’re both arguing in good faith. Easy to lose that when we don’t have tone of voice or facial expression cues – hence my overuse of smileys. :P

    It’s just like saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

    That’s a deepity. Again, not assuming this was intentional. ^_^

    “The whole” refers to all the perspectives on the object being considered.

    “The sum of its parts” refers to just one perspective – that of the basic, fundamental structure.

    So properly re-worded:

    The sum of all the perspectives on an object is greater than just one of those perspectives taken alone.

    And the deepity, disrobed of its mystique, is revealed to be trivially correct. :)

    The way I look at this gets me into trouble with people, including other Macho Rationalists. Because I like to take Information Theory as a metaphor – and that always gets me into trouble because people rarely get IT properly.

    ‘Information bits’ are actually unit-less result of equations. Binary data bits are not, they are measurements with units. People always confuse the two – and quite understandably, the terminology is ridiculous.

    Just… Just bear with me. :P

    In IT, there’s a distinction to be made between Information, the method of encoding for that information, and the medium into which that encoding is persisted.

    Zoom in too far on a book and you just see ink and paper molecules. That’s ‘all there is’ in the sense that it is the medium of encoding. Everything is in the medium – – damage or destroy the medium, and you damage or destroy the information too.

    But to get a view on the information, you have to zoom back out again to the point that the encoding becomes legible. Then you have to parse it according to the rules of that encoding. You need to see the letters, know how to read them, and then go through the process of reading them. Only then can you get the perspective that gives you the information.

    Similarly so with people. Yes, chemistry accounts for it all, in the sense that it is the medium. But if we just zoom in to the level of proteins and fluids and salts, we still haven’t seen everything there is to see. You also need to back off a little to the point that you can see the greater patterns in the life of the organism, and already have a framework for how to think about them so that we can start to think it over. That framework is usually referred to as ‘culture’, although I’m open to other suggestions.

    Hope I’m making sense. :)

    I think we’re very nearly agreeing. I just have this little niggly thing that you seem to be leaving the door open to substance dualism in some of your wording choices. Gives me a little tick under the eye. :P

  • Shinjitsu

    “Christians were persecuted by the Romans less for their religious practices than for the political imlications of their faith.

    Christians doctrine was also thought to be politically subversive. In Rome the emperor was considered to be a god, Divus Caesar, semper Augustus, worthy of worship. Christians’ refusal to worship the emperor was considered seditious.” -Religion on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents By James Jurinski

    “Under Decius and then Valerian, this mid-century persecution produced the first universal Roman attack on Christianity.

    When the Romans persecuted the Christians their modus operandi was first to force Christians to make sacrifices. If one refused, the Romans would attempt to force the Christians to curse their God. Indeed, the Romans thought that cursing the name Jesus would destroy him, since they held to the religious idea that cursing a name had magical powers. When Christians refused to sacrifice, or to recant, the government tortured them.

    The emperors Galerius and Maximin Daia believed that Christianity was a disease to be cut out. Galerius’ pagan priestess mother Romula, once offended by a Christian, instilled her hatred into him and perhaps into Maximin, her grandson, and Galerius’ nephew.” -The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire By James William Ermatinger

  • Shinjitsu

    I agree with your observations concerning Dangjin’s self-righteousness. After all, she’s not God Almighty.

  • Shinjitsu

    The issue is not as simplistic for Christ Jesus himself taught:

    ““Go in through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.” -Matthew 7:13,14

    ““Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.”” -Matthew 7:21

  • D. Anthony

    I’m going to submit an opinion on Ben’s Op-ed, and give Kudo’s to Ken. I too watched the Nye/Ham debate. I don’t think any Christian who did was realistically looking for some magic bullet (or even a smoking gun) that Ken Ham was supposed to use to put to rest the age old debate of Creationism vs Evolution. I do think Ben’s title: “How Ken Ham Just Carried the Entire Jesus Movement Backwards”, was a bit disingenuous. ; ) In all fairness, Ben does admit at the end of his piece (albeit in an italicized parenthesis) that he was being a bit provocative stating, “I obviously don’t believe that one person has the power to carry the Jesus movement backwards”. This is something I agree with.
    The most generic definition of science suggests it to be “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment” or in short, observing the physical world.
    Of course this definition does not take into consideration the metaphysical. I use this term loosely here to simply mean, the things you cannot physically see. This is where the burden of proof falls squarely on the shoulders of Nye! He went well beyond the realm of science or “empirical observation” and clearly attempted to disassociate or rule out the metaphysical altogether, (i.e. you can’t see it, and therefore it does not exist). In essence, he tries to rule out God.
    Is it always a good idea to start with an Apologetical footing (defending your faith) when bringing others to Christ? Well, maybe not. But I don’t think that is the purpose of Ham’s research.
    I would add this caveat: The Apostle Paul points to the veracity of this strategy in Ro 1:20 stating, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”. Paul suggests that creation itself is a powerful “physical” demonstration of God’s power.
    This is where Ken Ham chooses to enter the arena.
    Even from a secular point of view, Aristotle in a 4th century treatise on this subject recognized the metaphysical (i.e. Aristotle’s Metaphysics).
    Note: “In Book E, Aristotle adds another description to the study of the causes and principles of beings qua beings. Whereas natural science studies objects that are material and subject to change, and mathematics studies objects that although not subject to change are nevertheless not separate from (i.e., independent of) matter, there is still room for a science that studies things that are eternal, not subject to change, and independent of matter. Such a science, he says, is theology, and this is the “first” and “highest” science.”
    (Cohen, S. Marc, “Aristotle’s Metaphysics” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition).
    In my opinion Ken Ham did not bring anything new to the table…But neither did Nye.
    The only thing Nye accomplished, in my opinion, is making it clear that he is one-sided and closed minded to an entire branch of “science” (to use Aristotle’s words) that he has yet to discover. That is, Theology.
    Ken may have been seen as inept by some, but this was definitely not another Scopes Trial.
    One good thing may have occurred: When Darwin published his “Origin” theory the religious community was aroused and subsequently brought reflective thinking to the table. Later, at the turn of the 20th century when higher and textual criticism began in earnest this spawned a number of reactions by men like the Princeton Theology Professor B. B. Warfield (born in Lexington, KY) Ha! *After listening to Nye, one was left with the impression, “can anything good come out of Kentucky”. It was Warfield who led the charge for Biblical inerrancy. Do I agree with Warfield’s theology? No, he was a Calvinist and a cessationist. I am not. What he did do was take a strong stand for the inerrancy of the Scripture! It never hurts for men like Ken Ham to bring an opposing view to the table.
    Christians should never be afraid of Science. Science re-affirms faith (per Paul’s view in Romans 1:20).
    Lately, Bill Nye has been noticeably vocal regarding his views on evolution and he leaves no room for God. (Although, I did smile when he cracked the door of his hard-shell “hovel” just a bit and gave us the definition of Agnosticism… aka. Well I guess we can’t really know for sure, can we? *smile Yes, Bill! Yes we can! We can if we take advantage of the opportunity through faith to meet the Creator!

  • Daniel Schealler

    I have a quibble with your definition of ‘metaphysical’. Hope I’m not being too pedantic with this.

    Of course this definition does not take into consideration the metaphysical. I use this term loosely here to simply mean, the things you cannot physically see.

    There are many things that we can measure that we cannot see. Any electromagnetic radiation outside of the visible spectrum, for example. Sound is another.

    I infer from context sure that what you meant was something in line with the following:

    Of course this definition does not take into consideration the metaphysical. I use this term loosely here to simply mean, the things you cannot measure.

    The word choice of ‘physically see’ was probably intended to gel rhetorically to the Bible citation of Paul’s later on in the comment. Which it did, by the way.

    So while I’m pretty sure I got at the gist of what you said, the way in which you said it is still problematic to me, because it stacks the deck too far in your favour.

    Because we all know things exist that we cannot physically see. Sound, for instance. So the statement as worded is obviously true.

    However, proving that there exists something that we cannot measure is a far stronger claim and is less obviously true.

    Phrasing it the way you did makes the concept more emotionally satisfying than it deserves to be on its own merits. That’s problematic.

    I know this is a quibble over semantics. But in this case I think it’s rhetorically significant, and thus worth pointing out.

  • gimpi1

    I’m sorry, did you interpret my comment to mean I denied any persecution had taken place? I did not mean that, and I don’t think I said it.

    However, the persecutions weren’t as wide-ranging as they have been portrayed, and, as the quote you cited, often political. Roman law demanded sacrifice to Roman deities. Christians (and a few other groups) refused to perform these rights and thus ran afoul of Roman law. For me, the take-away from Roman persecutions is to never merge a government and a religious belief.

  • gimpi1

    I don’t mean to be rude, but you do realize that quoting the Bible to someone who doesn’t regard the bible as the inerrant word of God has little to no meaning. I could quote the AP stylebook on everyone’s grammar. It would not mean much.

    From an outsider standpoint, quoting the Bible without offering any other evidence is regarded as a logical fallacy, specifically an argument from authority. An argument from authority quotes a source without explaining why it should be regarded as authoritative.

    I understand this is what you believe. I don’t share that belief. If you want to convince me, you need more. I find Ben’s writings interesting and compelling because he talks about how his beliefs inspire his actions and shape the way he feels towards others. He seems to be working very hard to become consistent with the message of Jesus as he understands it. Many of the people who comment on this site appear to be like him. That piques my curiosity.

    I find his search authentic and convincing. It makes me want to know more about his beliefs. I find Dangjin’s pontificating irritating. It makes me want to avoid her. That, I guess, is my point. If Christians want to convince others of the value of their beliefs, I think they would be better served to take up Ben’s mode of witness, rather than Dangjin’s. But that’s just my opinion.

  • Shinjitsu

    Then please clarify what you mean by “wide-ranging.”

  • Shinjitsu

    Fair enough. What would leave absolutely no doubt in your mind that the Bible and only the Bible is the Inspired Word of God Almighty?

  • gimpi1

    The book you cited, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” was written in the 1950s, I believe. As I understand it, the prevailing view of the archeological community now is that while Christians were arrested and executed, it was almost always for violating Roman law.

    I appreciate that, for early Christians it was a catch-22 situation. Roman law flew in the face of their religious beliefs. But the Romans didn’t single Christians out (with some exceptions.) Everyone in the empire was subject to the same laws. Christians ran afoul of Roman law regarding sacrifices and public pieties and were arrested. They weren’t the object of a pogrom.

    That’s what I meant.

  • gimpi1

    It would have to concur with the geologic record. It would have to concur with the DNA record. It would have to offer comprehensive explanations for miraculous events such as 700-year life-spans or giants. It would have to have no anachronistic or out-of-place references (such as referring to camels used as beasts of burden, when camels weren’t used that way in biblical times.) It would have to not be in direct conflict with some very good archeological evidence.

    The system of translation would have to be transparent, without political or personal bias. The provence of each document would have to be impeccable. In other words, I would have to know who wrote down each book, and have a chain-of-custody that tracked their location until they were translated and collated into the whole.

    I would also like to see valid mathematical or chemical equations that the authors would have had no way of knowing or understanding. I would like to see cosmological references that would have been impossible for people of that time to know. Something like stating that the sun is a star, and the stars we see are suns.

    I fully understand that’s a tall order. Perhaps an impossible one. To my knowledge, there’s no book in existence that meets my criteria. That’s part of why I consider myself an outsider.

  • Andrew Watson

    So anybody who does not interpret scripture the way you do is against God? I am glad you are here to speak on God’s behalf and tell us his opinion.

  • Shinjitsu

    Thank you for clarifying.

  • Shinjitsu

    And how does the Bible, in your opinion, not meet any of these? Can you give me some examples?

  • gimpi1

    The Biblical creation-story is not supported by the geologic record. At all (That’s what I know the most about. As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is a geologist. You pick things up.) The story of individual creation of species is not supported by the fossil or biological records, or by the common DNA shared by species. The bible references giants, with no reasonable explanation. (I don’t regard non-humans and humans mating as reasonable.) It states that life-spans in antiquity were vastly longer with no explanation why. (That conflicts with both biology and archeology.) There are anachronisms such as the camel-example I cited. There are central stories (the Exodus, for example) that the best archeological evidence that I’m aware of make pretty clear never happened.

    The various translations of the Bible have often been politically driven. There have also been errors. In addition, we don’t really know who first set these stories down. We don’t know where they began. We have some idea of the later editing process, such as the exclusion of the Gonstic Gospels, (again, a political decision, at least in part) but we don’t know about the earlier editing decisions or who made them. Without that information, we don’t have any way of fact-checking or bias-checking the editorial process.

    To my knowledge, there are no examples of revealed scientific facts that the people in antiquity would have no way of knowing. No references to the speed of light, no mentions of the shape of the DNA molecule, no statements that the continents of the earth were once joined. Heck, there’s not even a mention of the Americas or Australia. I see no scientific knowledge in the Bible that a reasonably educated bronze-to-early-iron-age person wouldn’t have had access to or been able to deduce.

  • Shinjitsu

    Are the geologic, archaeological, fossil, DNA and biological records (whatever those are) absolutely complete and perfect in every way?

  • gimpi1

    They are not perfect. Fossilization is rare. Some cataclysms wipe out earlier records. We have had limited success with reconstructing the DNA of extinct species. However, they are more than good enough to say the earth is billions of years old, to say that there has never been a global-flood while humanity was extant on the earth, and to say life evolved on earth from common ancestors and that humans share common descent with other primates. All those facts are in contradiction with a literal reading of the Bible.

    Information does not have to be “perfect in every way” to be useful. For example, smoking is a causative factor in some cancers. Is there a perfect coalition? No. We all know of people who smoked into their 80s and died of simple old-age. However, the evidence of a causual relationship between smoking and cancer is more than good enough to be used in valid decision-making, i.e. that smoking is bad for people’s health.

    The evidence in the geologic and fossil record, the evidence in our DNA is more than good enough to say that Genesis is not a literal, factual statement of how the earth came to exist or to have life. However, if new, radically different evidence were to be found, that view could change. That’s one of the reasons I admire the scientific world-view. It can adapt and change in the face of evidence.

  • Shinjitsu

    If all these records, then, are flawed, at best, is it truly reasonable to use them to contemn the Holy Bible?

    What if the Bible were an actual and faithful record of the ancient past? What then?

  • Daniel Schealler

    So you’re basically asking… What if you’re wrong?

    Yeah. We’ve already got an answer for that. Thanks. :P

  • gimpi1

    You don’t understand. While no record is perfect, including eye-witnesses, the physical record is much better than the Bible. We know that because it works.

    We use the geologic record to find mineral-wealth – oil, natural gas, coal. Nothing in the Bible would let us do that. We use that same record to understand the mechanisms of earthquakes and volcanoes. Nothing in the Bible helps with that. We use the principles of physics in our smart-technology every day. Nothing in the Bible led us to understand any of that. We use the knowledge of evolution in developing medical technology everyday. Nothing in the Bible makes that progress possible. We continue to learn more everyday, and these systems of inquiry let us do that. There’s a world of difference between “…flawed, at best,” and not completely understood.

    It’s also not condemnation not to take the Bible literally. The vast majority of Christians don’t do that. All the best evidence is that the Bible isn’t “an actual and faithful record of the ancient past.” Here’s a question for you. What if the physical record – the geology, biology, astronomy, archeology and anthropology – is correct, and the Bible is not an accurate depiction of anything except the beliefs of a group of people. What then?

  • Shinjitsu

    Really? Can you list all those technologies we would be without if not for molecules-to-man evolutionary theory?

  • Shinjitsu

    You say that and yet, nothing in the Bible has been ever proven wrong. Moreover, while not a scientific text, it has been proven accurate time and time again when it speaks of cosmology, biology, astronomy, anthropology, etc., etc.

    This, coupled with it’s most distinctive feature – the accurate prediction of future events dozens sometimes even hundreds of years in advance – makes it wholly much more reliable than any incomplete record.

    In effect, it is the very best record we have of the ancient past.

  • Shinjitsu

    And yet they still can’t predict when an earthquake or a volcano will happen with more than mere moments before they kill tens of thousands if not hundreds … yayyyy Science!

    Gimme a break …

  • Shinjitsu

    Your question only makes sense in a world where we have perfectly preserved records of all those. Absent these it’s pure conjecture at best, apophenia at worst.

    Remember Alchemy , Neptunism , the geocentric universe , Spontaneous Generation , Lamarckism , Emication , the existence of the planet Vulcan , Lysenkoism , Gradualism , Trepanation , Miasma principle of illness ,Telegony , junk DNA, the widening earth , the existence of Phlogiston , martian canals , Luminiferous Aether , the Steady State Theory , Cold Fusion , Hollow Earth Theory , Gradualism , Phrenology and all the other canards once proclaimed by the scientific community to be absolute truth?

  • gimpi1

    Actually, we can. I live in the Pacific Northwest. Geologists were able to predict the eruption of Mount St Helen. Not to-the-minute, but our understanding of of subduction zones, magma-movement and earthquakes let us know that St. Helen was waking up. The exclusion-zones and evacuation saved hundreds of lives. And, later on, the lateral-blast information gathered at St. Helen allowed several other areas to be evacuated when the side-expansion showed that a lateral-blast was building on other volcanoes.

  • gimpi1

    No, it’s not. You are only able to say that because you are ignoring the times it has been proven wrong. It’s cosmology is wrong. The sun does not move around the earth. It’s geology is wrong. There has never been a global flood. It’s anthropology is wrong, Humans and the earth are much, much older than 6-10,000 years. The earth is much, much older than animal life.

    As to accurate predictions, that’s where provence comes in. Were predictions made before or after events? Without good provence, we don’t know.

    You simply prefer it. Fine. But it’s no where near as accurate as you believe.

  • gimpi1

    First of all, scientific evolution isn’t broken down into micro and macro. It’s all a part of a process. If you don’t understand that, you won’t understand much else.

    And, yes I can name technologies. Vaccines have to be revised and updated as bacteria and viruses evolve immunities. Treatments for inherited conditions have been created as we learn more about our genetics. I, for instance, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. I take a biologic-modifier that was developed after the human-genome was cracked, and we came to understand how certain factors in the immune-system worked. This drug was developed 20 years ago, and is, frankly, the only reason I am still able to walk. Understanding the evolution of the immune-system and how it breaks down was critical to that development.

    It’s apparent to me at this point that you really aren’t interested in any of this. At this point, I’ll let this go. You believe the Bible is inerrant, based on your faith. I believe the physical record, which contradicts the bible in many ways. You choose to ignore that evidence. I can’t. There’s really nothing further to say.

    It’s been fun, but it was just one of those things.

  • Shinjitsu

    And did it explode as anticipated or was it another false alarm?

  • Shinjitsu

    Where does the Bible explicitly teach that the sun revolves around the Earth or that the earth is merely 10,000 years old?

  • Shinjitsu

    “I was intrigued by the way the Bible foretold the year of Jesus’ baptism. It shows exactly how much time would elapse between the 20th year of the reign of the Persian ruler Artaxerxes and the year Jesus would present himself as the Messiah. I am accustomed to doing research—it is part of my job. So I researched history books to confirm the dates of Artaxerxes’ rule and the dates of Jesus’ ministry. Finally, I concluded that this Bible prophecy had come true on time and that it must have been inspired by God.” -Dr. Céline Granolleras, former atheist (

  • Shinjitsu

    Has there ever been an instance of viruses evolving into something that wasn’t a virus but something else completely? Because, according to molecules-to-man evolution, that’s what’s supposed to happen.

  • gimpi1

    Mount St. Helens. 1980. Lateral blast. Took out the entire Spirit Lake Region. Region was closed because of USGS warnings. This action was credited with saving thousands of lives. The volcano had been monitored for a couple of months, due to increasing earthquakes, and a large bulge on the north-face, indicating a build-up of magma and volcanic gasses. The blast killed 57 people, some of whom had refused to evacuate, some of whom were studying the volcano.

    The information gathered from studying the St. Helens eruption helped us understand the mechanics of lateral blasts, sideways eruptions. This information has saved tens of thousands of lives since then.

    You really are hostile to geologists, aren’t you?

  • Shinjitsu

    Indirect evidence is frequently and reliably depended upon to ascertain the reality of the world we live in . As a case in point , it’s long been widely-used to show that our Sun generates power via nuclear fusion , hydrogen is present on it or that the our planet features an iron core . In like manner , creation as well as the reality that not a one of fulfilled Bible predictions has at any time been completely wrong constitutes unquestionable attestation for the reality of it’s composer , Jehovah God .

    This is, by far the most persuasive logical reason why millions upon millions of rational people today the world over accept the Bible as the Inspired Word of Jehovah God. Simply no other book – religious or not – comes with such an illustrious prominence. Considering the fact that it’s literally ** impossible ** for any person to foresee with complete precision what’s sure to occur from one hour to the next, there’s no two ways about it: Bible prophecies are not of natural origin. I kindly invite you to examine for yourself numerous examples of these accurately fulfilled prophecies:

  • Daniel Schealler

    When I was younger I really liked a book called Rowan of Rin.

    At the start of that book, a crisis requires various heroic members of the town to travel up the local mountain. Through chance, the shy and very un-heroic Rowan winds up in a position that requires him to go with them.

    Before the quest begins, the village witch delivers a prophecy about what will happen over the course of the journey. Her every word is proven accurate.

    So a prophecy is described in a book. It is then validated within that same book.

    Does this mean that Rowan of Rin is a credible account of history and the workings of reality?

    No. No it doesn’t.

    Similarly, the fact that the Bible has prophecies in it that are then fulfilled within that exact same document does not mean that the Bible is a credible account of history and the workings of reality.

    If billions of otherwise rational people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

  • Shinjitsu

    You do realize that the Bible is a compilation of sixty six distinct works recorded by forty amanuensis over the span of some one thousand six hundred years, right? Your accusation, therefore, is as credible as me accusing you of circularity because you cite Dawkins citing Darwin.

  • The point still stands that you’re using your own bias and your own theory of life’s beginnings against someone and making an empty statement. Scripture states what is a hindrance to their beliefs, and I don’t recall a prophetic word about Ken Ham and his beliefs in 2014 when I read the bible in relation to what hinders someone’s belief in Christ and the God of Abraham.

  • James Mc Cormack

    i had a noahs ark puzzle when i was 6 and went to sunday the time i was 12 and able to formulate and examine facts placed in front of me i suddenly realized i had been correct when i was six that the noahs ark story was fishy.
    with so many species in the world and the geographic distances from each other the ark carrying all the animals would be a total impossibility.
    but then i didn’t have ken ham and james usher number crunching to lead astray from the truth.
    i must have been doomed to hell at 12 but then as i recall there were no dinosaurs in my noahs ark puzzle…..because james usher had been dead for years and ken ham hadn’t been born yet.
    biblically the interpretations to say the noah fable is true is the same that biblically speaking slavery is okay because the bible says so….AMEN