Creationists suffer defeat in Oklahoma

By Phil Plait | February 23, 2011 1:55 pm

A few weeks ago I wrote about Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, who had submitted a bill to the state legislature that would significantly weaken science education in that state. Basically, the bill would bar teachers from grading students down on science tests because of that student’s particular belief. In other words, the student could say the Earth is 6000 years old, and the teacher couldn’t fail them.

Well, some good news: that bill failed to pass the vote. The bad news? It only failed 7-9. Nearly half the people in the state’s Education Committee felt it would be OK (haha) for students to fail to learn actual science, and not be penalized for it.

And Kern, the bill’s sponsor, will no doubt not take this defeat lying down. She has a long, long history of blatant anti-reality leanings — she once compared being gay to having cancer — and I’m sure she’ll be proposing some new version of nonsense soon.

But there’s some hope. Fred Jordan, another member of the Education Committee, said,

"We’re opening the door for teachers to kind of say whatever they want to say, whether it’s religious issues, creation, evolution. I really feel like we’re opening the door to where any and everything can come in."

That is precisely right. So given that statement by Jordan, I’ll leave you with this:

Tip o’ the knuckle-whacking ruler to Mandy Qualls.


Related posts:

- America and India love their antiscience
- Oklahoma: One step from doom

Comments (273)

  1. Oh thank god.

    I’m embarrassed enough to live here as it is.

    That really is a great quote from Mr. Jordan, though. I mean, it’s not exceptionally memorable or anything, but it describes the situation just about perfectly.

  2. Is it wrong of me (upon seeing your title) to think, “I wish they would suffer more!”? I mean, suffer to the point of finally giving up and just going away?

  3. Digital Atheist

    Sigh… when will this creationist crap die?

  4. Michael Swanson

    @ 3. Digital Atheist

    “Sigh… when will this creationist crap die?”

    After the Rapture.

  5. Joseph G

    Just that pic alone made my whole day :D
    The news is pretty superluminous as well.

  6. Keith Bowden

    This is good news indeed, but the battle certainly isn’t over.

    I had to read Jordan’s comment a couple of times before I got it right. I initially read it as an invitation to teaching any woo that comes to mind.

  7. Heh.

    I’m sure there’ll be a call go out to Liberty University edumacation school grads to relocate to OK anytime now.

    Seriously though, I see some serious blinders going on here: they don’t want science taught, but they’re willing to let obvious creationist BS get taught in the schools, but not sex ed and certainly not any correct history unless it’s been vetted by the purveyors of creationist and denialist political correctness.

    Heh.

  8. Thopter

    @4. May 21 if the crazies are to be believed.

  9. CVBruce

    If you don’t use scientific methods, you can’t call the result science.

  10. John Paradox

    I believe in being open minded, but not to the point where the brain falls out.

    J/P=?

  11. CameronSS

    “Studies show, no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted for more than, you know, a few decades. . . ” ~Kern in that third link

    I guess she’s never looked too closely at an ancient Greek vase.

  12. Andy

    Religion is dwindling here in the UK … Most god-botherers I know are forced to retain a belief by the matriarch in the family but this is withering as common sense prevails. I must admit that the USA worries me though; at the cutting edge of technology and thinking, but dragged back by the puritanical anti-knowledge masses there. Get on board yanks, u know the truth is “all you need is love”!

  13. y’know, science-reared atheist that I am, if a student handed me a test that said “modern scientific consensus is that birds evolved from dinosaurs around 100 million years ago, although I believe that birds were designed by an intelligent creator” I’d give them credit. It shows an understanding of both prevalent scientific understanding and the difference between science and faith.

  14. Danny B.

    Why can’t people learn that religious views belong in a Religious Studies class, NOT SCIENCE CLASS!!!!!

  15. Carey

    @12 lunchstealer: Sure, but where do you draw that line?

    “Modern mathematic consensus is that pi is an irrational number approximated as 3.14159, although I believe that God would not create a universe with such a fundamental ratio being anything other than the holy number 3, therefore I believe pi is actually 3.”

    Facts are not decided by how many people believe them. Truth is not determined by how loudly it is shouted. The value of pi, as well as the phenomenon of evolution, are not up for debate. They are not dependent on belief.

    I’d give the student half credit.

  16. I’d give the student half credit.

    At most. Depending on how the question was phrased, I’d be tempted to mark them down for deliberate self mental castration. But that’s probably why I am not a teacher. ;)

  17. Steve

    Texas will have no money for new Textbooks for the next 4 yrs (so maybe the creationist BS will stay out of the classrooms nationwide), but at least the BOE has authorized the teaching of contraception methods like condoms, foam, etc in sex-ed classes (of course, the teacher still must INSIST abstinence-only is most effective & preferable!).

  18. Michael Swanson

    @12. lunchstealer

    “y’know, science-reared atheist that I am, if a student handed me a test that said “modern scientific consensus is that birds evolved from dinosaurs around 100 million years ago, although I believe that birds were designed by an intelligent creator” I’d give them credit. It shows an understanding of both prevalent scientific understanding and the difference between science and faith.”

    I completely agree with that. And I hate, hate, hate religion and faith-minded thinking.

  19. Other Paul

    Were pi 3, the distance travelled by a wheel would be about 95% shorter so fuel costs would be correspondingly about 5% higher.

    Sorry – I forgot – we’d go by horse and cart, wouldn’t we? Apple pies would have less crust so we wouldn’t get as fat. Clearly, pi’s being 3 would encourage a greener economy.

    Oh – and the angles in a triangle would have to add up to 3 radians too, so we’d have to be living in a space with negative curvature. Whee! That sounds like it might be fun.

    What’s not to like about pi being 3?

  20. Chris Leonard

    I really like the astronomy aspect of your blog. You have given me some great pics for my background, and posted some really cool things. Unfortunately, I will no longer be following this blog or your twitter due to your posts regarding Creationism and your view that any who believe it are ignorant. I was going to stick it out and just deal with your political and religious leanings, in the name of great astronomy, but this is the final straw. Comments like: “…I’m sure she’ll be proposing some new version of nonsense soon…” are honestly mean-spirited, and not very tolerant of people with other beliefs. Thank you for the astronomy that you’ve taught, but no thanks on the political commentaries.

    Respectfully,
    Chris Leonard

  21. God

    Digital Atheist Tell ya what We will stop when you

    A. Prove Life can NOT in any way shape or form be “Created” outside Random mutation & natural selection.

    B. Prove Plants can NOT in ANY way shape or form be “created” in part or whole by any other method other than Evolution.

    So to get you started Please explain the NATURAL evolution of the Great Dane, & Chuhuahua. Oh where is the natural range of the Wild Chuhuahua anyway?

    Also Explain where in the wild the GloFish lives and how Neon Red, Green Blue & Purple Fish that clash with the natural coral reefs survived over billions of years?

    Lastly If Geneticists announcer tomorrow they have CREATED a brand new life form from scratch will you Atheists denounce Darwinianism as a False religion? That Pure Evolution is a MYTH. Or will you still be here proclaiming your Religious dogma as the one true faith?

  22. I would like to say that I agree with what lunchstealer said.

    It is quite brazen and pompous for any of us to think that we know for a fact ANY scientific principles of the universe. What we think we know and understand today to be fact, may very well be disproved tomorrow. Albert Einstein is quoted to have said as much.

    However, that being said, it is valuable for us to learn and understand the scientific knowledge du jour as part of the educational system. We put our children through the educational system not entirely to learn the content, but also to learn how to learn, and hopefully to question everything.

    At one time students were taught that the earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around the earth. We have now learned that is incorrect. Was it bad for those students to have learned it at the time? I say no. But they should also have been taught to question everything and find out for themselves. But I still would have graded them based on what I taught them.

    It may very well be that 1000 years down the road we are somehow able to discover for a fact that both the theories of evolution and creation are both more or less correct and actually very supportive of each other.

    What we need to be is less critical for the sake of being critical and instead more open to what possibilities could be learned from looking at all perspectives that are brought to the table, whether we can empirically prove them at present or not.

    When we close our minds to an idea without evaluating possible merits of it, we narrow our future of possibilities.

    Having said all of this, whatever is being taught in a public school system, should be approved by a committee and not just what one person has decided is best.

  23. Cairnos

    @17 The Ragged Astronauts series by Bob Shaw

  24. Rich Patrock

    I live in Texas and teach biology. My policy is that I don’t ask my students to agree with the modern synthesis of evolution but I do require them to know the details of these theories. If I were teaching comparative religion, I wouldn’t expect a Protestant to believe in the infallibility of the Catholic pope but the student should be able to first know that fact and be able to discuss its history and implications. This is the basic error that many people have about education. They think just because students are asked to know details, they are forced to believe them. They can accept or not accept the ideas but they should be able to state them as someone else’s. It is all part of active listening.

  25. Nick

    @18 That’s why science classes that simply teach scientific facts are doing their students a disservice. Science is a process – not a list of facts to be learned.

    If you learn the process you can discover the facts yourself – or find new ones!

  26. Steve:

    (of course, the teacher still must INSIST abstinence-only is most effective & preferable!).

    Well, abstinence is the most effective method of birth-control, as there is only one “documented” :-) case where it has failed. That doesn’t mean that the other methods shouldn’t be taught as being “effective”.

  27. Carey:

    Facts are not decided by how many people believe them. Truth is not determined by how loudly it is shouted. The value of pi, as well as the phenomenon of evolution, are not up for debate.

    Yes, truth is not open for a vote. However, the value of pi is something that can be directly measured and calculated. Evolution is “just a theory” :-) based on all the prevailing evidence. To say that it’s not up for debate is as closed-minded as Creationism. Find good evidence that evolution is wrong, or that it needs “tweaking”, and “real” scientists will be happy to debate the issue to see if you’re right. (That’s one of the ways that science advances.)

  28. Messier Tidy Upper

    “May God save us from false religion.”
    - Doctor Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5 TV series, “Believers” episode.

    That’s my feeling too.

    Creationism is very much “false religion” in my book.
    Good to see this win. :-)

    From my distant Aussie vantage point here I get the distinct impression that Creationism is well past its zenith and in rapid decline. (Also that the Moon Hoax conspiracy theory is virtually dead although that’s another matter.) Please tell me I’m right & that’s the case!

    I’m not the only one thinking that, right?

  29. Craig

    Why stop at science?

    “You can’t fail me!”
    “But you didn’t get one word spelled correctly on the test.”
    “But I BELIEVE that’s how the words are spelled!”

    Teach the controversy!

  30. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Craig : “But that’s the proper American / English / illiterati spelling of the word teacher! ;-)

    But.. sir, you didn’t ask me how that word is spelt, you asked how *I* spell it!” ;-)

    @13. lunchstealer : Agreed.

  31. Snowshoe the Canuck

    I had the same attitude to algebra when I was a kid. I believed x = 2/3. So what it the teacher believed x = 4.1, the universe didn’t revolve around him!

  32. Daffy

    Chris Leonard (#20), are you seriously suggesting a science blog should be tolerant of non-scientific fantasy? Why? Science isn’t about “belief.” It’s about data.

  33. TheBlackCat

    @ God: That isn’t how it works. It is up to you to show that your ideas are true, not up to us to show that our ideas are false.

    Lastly If Geneticists announcer tomorrow they have CREATED a brand new life form from scratch will you Atheists denounce Darwinianism as a False religion? That Pure Evolution is a MYTH. Or will you still be here proclaiming your Religious dogma as the one true faith?

    Creationism is, by definition, about supernatural creation. Further, it claims that evolution is either mostly entirely wrong, that species do not share a common ancestor, and that that were created from nothing in roughly their present form. Selective breeding is still a natural process, and not at all in contradiction to evolution.

  34. Regner Trampedach

    Chris Leonard @ 20: But Phil doesn’t write anything to suggest he has anything against people’s beliefs. And I believe he has written that explicitly and repeatedly. What he and many others on this blog (incl. me) are against, is when people think that beliefs can substitute the scientific method and be equally valid. And especially when they try to force their beliefs on everybody else.
    I apologize if I have misrepresented your views, Phil.
    Cheers, Regner

  35. TheBlackCat

    @ Chris Leonard: Should be tolerant of people who try to teach children the world is flat? What about people who try to teach children the Holocaust never happened? How about people who try to teach children that germs can’t cause disease?

    Young earth creationism contradicts pretty much everything we know about the universe, and old earth creationism violates everything we know about biology. Depending on what brand of creationism you follow, you either reject an entire branch of science, or science as a whole. And what is more, as this post shows, creationists are actively trying to prevent others from understanding science as well.

    We are dealing with an extremely well-funded, well-connected, and dedicated effort to literally destroy science education in this country (or science in general). Are we supposed to just accept that?

  36. The Naturalist

    What’s next spelling? “I prefer teh to the”
    Geography? “I believe Canada borders Mexico”
    Health? “Smoking is good for you”

    etc.

  37. Messier Tidy Upper

    @21. God : Wow! Proof at last that God Exists & reads the BA blog! ;-)

    Awesome what a memorable historic event!!! :-D

    Except ..

    As a perpetual Doubting Thomas, how do we know its You, God, & not just someone doing a C3PO (“..against his programming.”) and impersonating a diety?

    Could you do us a huge favour God and provide us with some more evidence of Your Divinity?

    How about switching the orbits of Mars and Venus so Venus orbits further out and cools down while Mars orbits where Venus does and warms up nicley or putting Pluto further in – say just between Mars & Earth (not too close to be trouble for us mind!) so it can be in a clear orbit and clearly be a planet even under the IAU’s idiotic definition? Please?

    Do that preferably in the next hour or so please – it should be a piece of cake for Your Omnipotent Omniscience after all & then I’ll worship You, promise! ;-)

    PS. Yeah, perhaps slightly blasphemous I guess, sorry but then so is impersonating God so ..

  38. Tim

    Good. It is never a bad thing to support the teaching of facts over beliefs.

  39. Monkey
  40. @ 14:

    As a Religious Studies major, I BEG you not to tell people that. Your own personal beliefs have NOTHING to do with a Religious Studies class.

    You think it’s hard trying to get a fundamentalist to answer “evolution” on a test? Try getting them to describe the changes that the author of Matthew made to Mark, and explain why those changes may have been made.

  41. I’m glad I never had to take a science class from Rich Patrock. (#24)

  42. Harold

    What if the representatives included creationism in their platforms and won? Would they as democratically elected representatives have a mandate to inflict creationism on our children?

    This reminds me of the adult-oriented claymation show Moral Orel. In one scene, Orel’s friend asks him what he put for question three on the science test, to which Orel responds “Jesus”.

  43. TheBlackCat

    @ Harold: The U.S. isn’t a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. One of the main purposes of the constitution is prevent the majority on a given issue from trampling on the rights of the minority.

    In your example, the people who elected the representative would be forcing their religious views on others. It would, to use the terminology in the constitution, constitute the establishment of those religious beliefs as the official religious beliefs of the government.

    The first amendment of the constitution explicitly prevents the establishment of a particular religion, in order to avoid one religious group forcing their beliefs on a smaller religious group. The supreme court has repeatedly ruled that teaching creationism in public schools violates the establishment clause of the U.S. constitution and therefore is not allowed.

    So, to make a long story short, the answer to your question is “no”.

  44. Digital Atheist

    @”god”

    You silly joker. First, PROVE that you exist. First, start by healing all the people who believe in you and beg you for relief from cancer or Alzheimer’s or an untold number of ailments. Any “god” who allows his believers to suffer is not worth “worshiping. Second, tell us a prophecy, with an exact date and time, that will shake the very foundations of the world. And lastly, show up in Spartanburg, South Carolina at 3:14 p.m. on Friday February 25, 2011… with I.D. proving you are “god”… and make it REALLLLLLLY flashy. otherwise, bug off. If you can’t make me see, touch, hear, taste, or feel you then you probably don’t exist.

    As for creationism in general, I live less than an hour from the blue ridge mountains. Believe me when I tell you that there are places there where any human with any kind of sense at all will know that the earth is way older than 6000 years. So… creationists.. take a hike… your baloney is an albatross hanging from the necks of gullible people.

  45. Daniel J. Andrews

    They fail with these bills because they are only doing a one-tier approach. What they need to do is load the house with anti-science politicians then do massive budget cuts to anything that funds science or even science-related organizations like NPR to reduce scientific literacy and foster distrust of science in general…..oh wait….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/opinion/22tue1.html?_r=2

    See third last paragraph.

  46. Don

    Remember when conservatives used to accuse liberals of practicing relativism?

  47. Stargazer

    As long as you believe it’s true, it’s true. Do they realise that science doesn’t work that way?

    Why do these people have any sort of power at all? Who decided it would be a good idea to let the idiots be in charge?

  48. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 48. Don : Remember when conservatives used to accuse liberals of practicing relativism?

    I think they still do – & I think the charge is justified.

    I do think liberals & left-wingers tend to excessively venerate and give unearned respect to other “cultures” for the sake of it and inadvertantly denigrating their own culture and identity in the process.

    Now when the notion gets boiled down “culture” it seems to me amounts to style and ideas / ideology / espoused lifestyle.

    Style eg. particular ethnic styles of cooking, dressing, artworks etc .. are pretty much subjective and saying these are relative is okay I guess.

    But ideas & ideologies – the other half of what makes up notions of cultures, not-so-much. Ideas can be better or worse, right or wrong.

    Saying your culture thinks its a good thing to respect everyone’s inalienable human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is good and right. OTOH, saying your culture gives you the right to repress and persecute women, gays and minorities and idolise those who committ mass murder through acts of terrorism? Now that’s NOT accpetable at all! Some cultural ideas and customs are, I think just as wrong as creationism or spelling “the” as “teh” and respect needs to be earned.

    Cultures that put people on the Moon, that spread across the world, that produce more Nobel prize winners* and technological & understanding advances
    are demonstrably I think better than cultures that demand people live in
    dark age or even stone age conditions.

    @41. kuhnigget :

    I’m glad I never had to take a science class from Rich Patrock. (#24)

    Er .. why? Can I ask you to elaborate please Kuhnigget, what your issue with what he said is exactly? What Patrock said seemed fine to me.

    —–

    * That’s Nobel prize winners in the fields of actual scientific merit that benefit Humanity. The Nobel peace prize which is just a political popularity contest and has been awarded to highly dubious “winners” like Obama, Carter and Arafat is NOT in my view worth anywhere near as much and no longer really counts as worth a durn.

  49. Nigel Depledge

    Lunchstealer (13) said:

    y’know, science-reared atheist that I am, if a student handed me a test that said “modern scientific consensus is that birds evolved from dinosaurs around 100 million years ago, although I believe that birds were designed by an intelligent creator” I’d give them credit. It shows an understanding of both prevalent scientific understanding and the difference between science and faith.

    To which Carey (15) replied:

    Facts are not decided by how many people believe them. Truth is not determined by how loudly it is shouted. The value of pi, as well as the phenomenon of evolution, are not up for debate. They are not dependent on belief.

    I’d give the student half credit.

    I’d be inclined to give somewhere in between (maybe 70% for that particular point if the marking scheme allows) but I would use my red biro to strike through the “although I believe…” clause and write “irrelevant” next to it.

    Science has no room for personal opinion when that opinion contradicts known facts.

  50. Nigel Depledge

    Steve (17) said:

    the BOE has authorized the teaching of contraception methods like condoms, foam, etc

    Wait, what?

    Foam?

    Where I come from, the various uses of foams (especially the aerosol whipped cream variety) are not an effective contraception method. ;-)

    Oh … or did you mean spermicidal napalm?

    in sex-ed classes (of course, the teacher still must INSIST abstinence-only is most effective & preferable!)

    Heh! You mean the only method that has been shown to make no difference whatever to unplanned pregnancy rates?

  51. Nigel Depledge

    Other Paul (19) said:

    Oh – and the angles in a triangle would have to add up to 3 radians too, so we’d have to be living in a space with negative curvature. Whee! That sounds like it might be fun.

    What’s not to like about pi being 3?

    Yes! Rebel against the Euclidian tyranny!

  52. Nigel Depledge

    Chris Leonard (20) said:

    I really like the astronomy aspect of your blog. You have given me some great pics for my background, and posted some really cool things. Unfortunately, I will no longer be following this blog or your twitter due to your posts regarding Creationism and your view that any who believe it are ignorant. I was going to stick it out and just deal with your political and religious leanings, in the name of great astronomy, but this is the final straw. Comments like: “…I’m sure she’ll be proposing some new version of nonsense soon…” are honestly mean-spirited, and not very tolerant of people with other beliefs. Thank you for the astronomy that you’ve taught, but no thanks on the political commentaries.

    Respectfully,
    Chris Leonard

    [OTT satire mode]
    Ha, ha! Stupid dumb yankees!

    [Laughs and points from the other side of the Atlantic]

    [/OTT satire mode]

    Seriously, Chris, learn something about reality before you make comments that make you look so ignorant.

    Creationism – in all its various forms – is nonsense. Common Descent is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

  53. Peter B

    Jacob @ #40 said: “You think it’s hard trying to get a fundamentalist to answer “evolution” on a test? Try getting them to describe the changes that the author of Matthew made to Mark, and explain why those changes may have been made.”

    I’m curious. Why is it hard?

  54. Nigel Depledge

    “God” (21) said:

    Digital Atheist Tell ya what We will stop when you

    A. Prove Life can NOT in any way shape or form be “Created” outside Random mutation & natural selection.

    In this response, I shall assume that this is neither a Poe nor a troll, and I accept that the rest of you may chastise me for making such a rash assumption…

    This first point is both wrong and unreasonable.

    First, it paints the strawman that RM + NS represents the entirety of modern evolutionary theory’s mechanisms for speciation, and we know that this ain’t so. For instance, speciation also occurs through random genetic drift and through hybridisation. There is a perfectly reasonable hypothesis, for example, that all insects possessing a vermiform larval stage (flies, bees, moths etc.) share an ancestor that arose through the hybridisation of two distinct animals, one of which was vermiform and the other of which possessed an exoskeleton and six jointed legs.

    So, substituting MET (modern evolutionary theory) in your sentence in place of your strawman . . .

    Requesting that anyone “prove” that special creation is impossible is both unreasonable and unnecessary. Unreasonable because it is a logical impossibility (certainly in terms of absolute proof) and unnecessary because there is no need to prove it is impossible. All we would need to do is demonstrate that special creation has not happened, not that it is impossible.

    In response to this point, I will issue a demand of my own – what features would an organism possess to unambiguously idenitfy it as a created being not an evolved one?

    I can at least partially answer this myself, because there are certain features that are predicted by the idea of common descent but have no need to exist in an organism that was specially created. So, these features would at least hint at special creation:

    1. A DNA code that is different from the one used by all other life on Earth.
    2. A body plan that bears no relation to other organisms, either extant or extinct.
    3. A metabolism that resembles that of no other life on Earth (e.g. one that uses oxygen but does not include the TCA cycle).
    4. Proteins that contain amino acids other than the 22 widely-utilised ones (and I mean proteins that don’t contain these 22 at all. After all, most microbes can synthesise their own amino acids, so there’s no reason for them to use the same 22 as all other species of microbes).
    And so on. I’m sure any competent creation theorist would be able to come up with bucketloads more special features that are predictions of creation theory, right?

    Additionally, evolution requires that fossil organisms follow a clear chronological hierarchy (e.g. roughly along the lines of: simple wormy things and shelly things in the Precambrian, followed by the explosion of body designs that we know of from the Cambrian, followed by the survival of only the most adequate body plans into the Devonian, Ordovician, Carboniferous etc. with increasing sophistication). So, for example, to find a vertebrate fossil that is unambiguously Precambrian would be a challenge to MET, but would pretty much be a prediction of most versions of special creation.

    B. Prove Plants can NOT in ANY way shape or form be “created” in part or whole by any other method other than Evolution.

    Plants are alive, numbnuts. Ergo, this is the same point as A.

    So to get you started Please explain the NATURAL evolution of the Great Dane, & Chuhuahua. Oh where is the natural range of the Wild Chuhuahua anyway?

    This is a laughable non-sequitur (I’m starting to think this really is a Poe). We already know that the various breeds of dogs are the result of artificial selection. But, actually, dogs demonstrates the morphological and behavioural plasticity of living organisms when a selection pressure is applied. Also, dogs were bred from wolves but are not wolves, so they are an artifically created species.

    Also Explain where in the wild the GloFish lives and how Neon Red, Green Blue & Purple Fish that clash with the natural coral reefs survived over billions of years?

    Erm … seriously? Brightly-coloured iridescent fish only reflect light that is already present. If they get out of the light, then they look much duller.

    Lastly If Geneticists announcer tomorrow they have CREATED a brand new life form from scratch will you Atheists denounce Darwinianism as a False religion? That Pure Evolution is a MYTH. Or will you still be here proclaiming your Religious dogma as the one true faith?

    Yeah, I’m convinced this actually is a Poe now. Oh, well, there’s still some good points above.

  55. toasterhead

    So, these features would at least hint at special creation:
    1. A DNA code that is different from the one used by all other life on Earth.
    etc…

    —–
    None of those would hint at special creation to me. Just alternate evolution. It’s exactly what I’d expect to find on Titan or Enceladus. Finding it on Earth would be odd, certainly, but not completely impossible – it could be that an early alternative form of life managed to survive somewhere in the crust or in a deep-sea volcano or somewhere it was never contaminated by the biochemistry we know.

  56. Nigel Depledge

    Jonathan (22) said:

    I would like to say that I agree with what lunchstealer said.

    It is quite brazen and pompous for any of us to think that we know for a fact ANY scientific principles of the universe.

    But it is also irrational to ignore or dismiss our modern scientific theories. What we can be fairly confident in is that our modern theories are at least a good approximation of how the universe operates.

    In the same way that Newtonian gravitational theory – while technically “wrong” – is a special case of General Relativity, our modern theories are probably (at worst) special cases of some broader theory.

    What we think we know and understand today to be fact, may very well be disproved tomorrow. Albert Einstein is quoted to have said as much.

    Foul – Argument from authority.

    But, seriously, that which is a fact today is still a fact tomorrow, no matter what new facts are discovered. Perhaps you refer to explanations rather than facts? And I think nearly everyone here will agree that all of our explanations – no matter how good – are in principle provisional, because they may be replaced. However, what we also know (yes, for a fact) is that if these explanations were wrong in any gross or substantive way we would already have spotted this.

    However, that being said, it is valuable for us to learn and understand the scientific knowledge du jour as part of the educational system. We put our children through the educational system not entirely to learn the content, but also to learn how to learn, and hopefully to question everything.

    Good luck with that last part. I’d be very surprised if there was any mass-education system that actually teaches students how to think.

    At one time students were taught that the earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around the earth.

    Were they? How do you know this?

    I was under the impression that people simply assumed the Earth was flat, not that anyone was taught this. The Earth was first shown to be round in about 350 BCE (IIUC), long before education was widespread. The name Eratosthenes springs to mind in relation to this, so I suspect he was the one who made the measurement.

    We have now learned that is incorrect. Was it bad for those students to have learned it at the time? I say no. . . .

    It may very well be that 1000 years down the road we are somehow able to discover for a fact that both the theories of evolution and creation are both more or less correct and actually very supportive of each other.

    Not really. Evolutionary theory replaced the assumption of special creation. They are – to a large extent – mutually exclusive. Special creation (in several common forms) requires that all (or most) species were created de novo. Evolution requires that they arose from previously-existing species. The only compatability between evolution and creation is if one assumes a single creation event at the beginning of life on Earth, after which evolution proceeded as has been found from the fossil record and molecular biology.

    What we need to be is less critical for the sake of being critical and instead more open to what possibilities could be learned from looking at all perspectives that are brought to the table, whether we can empirically prove them at present or not.

    Quite true. However, this process – certainly as far as biology is concerned – has already occurred. It occurred in the early half of the 19th century. Special creation, as an explanation for biological origins, was found wanting. Not because it disagreed with evidence (after all, the evidence available 200 years ago was far less than it is now), but because it was logically flawed. The logical flaws of special creation have not gone away in the meantime. But we now find that special creation is indeed contradicted by all of the relevant evidence.

    When we close our minds to an idea without evaluating possible merits of it, we narrow our future of possibilities.

    Perhaps.

    But do you consider it to be reasonable to keep one’s mind open to an idea that has been shown:
    1. To have serious logical flaws; and
    2. To be contradicted by hundreds of millions of pieces of evidence?

    Common Descent – a key component of evolutionary theory – has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. It is genuinely unreasonable to consider special creation as a serious scientific idea. The only available creation hypothesis that is not ruled out by mountains of evidence is Theistic Evolution (the idea that evolution has been guided in some fashion). And most creationists consider believers in TE to be little better than atheists.

    Having said all of this, whatever is being taught in a public school system, should be approved by a committee and not just what one person has decided is best.

    Well, yes, but I think the members of that committee should have some relevant knowledge. The US system where elected representatives decide what should be taught in schools is inherently flawed, because you can easily end up with the people who make the decision being among those who are least qualified to do so.

    Here in the UK we have a National Curriculum. It has its flaws, but its content is decided not by politicians, but by committees comprising individuals appointed for relevant expertise.

  57. Nigel Depledge

    Toasterhead (57) said:

    None of those would hint at special creation to me. Just alternate evolution. It’s exactly what I’d expect to find on Titan or Enceladus. Finding it on Earth would be odd, certainly, but not completely impossible – it could be that an early alternative form of life managed to survive somewhere in the crust or in a deep-sea volcano or somewhere it was never contaminated by the biochemistry we know.

    You are, of course, correct. However, I was pointing out some of the basic minimum necessary findings to even begin thinking about special creation.

  58. Nigel Depledge

    Ken B (27) said:

    Yes, truth is not open for a vote. However, the value of pi is something that can be directly measured and calculated. Evolution is “just a theory” based on all the prevailing evidence. To say that it’s not up for debate is as closed-minded as Creationism. Find good evidence that evolution is wrong, or that it needs “tweaking”, and “real” scientists will be happy to debate the issue to see if you’re right. (That’s one of the ways that science advances.)

    Well, yes, but you have to accept that if evolution were wrong in any substantive way, we’d already know by now. We can genuinely be confident that evolutionary theory is at least a pretty good approximation to the truth.

  59. Nigel Depledge

    @ MTU (50) -

    We’ve disagreed about this kind of thing before so I really shouldn’t derail the thread by answering you point by point, but there are two things I’d like to point out:

    You said:

    Cultures that put people on the Moon,

    So, do you think the USA would have put people on the moon if the USSR (and thus the threat of the Cold War) had not existed?

    Hence, was it American culture that led to the Apollo programme, or was it perhaps something else? I put it to you that it was mainly fear of the USSR that fed the Apollo programme.

    that spread across the world,

    Yes, and I think the best example of a culture that spread across the world is that of the British Empire. We spread our culture across the world by exploiting our technological superiority and by shooting the bejeezus out of any Johnny Foreigner who wouldn’t submit. Tell me, why do you think this is something to celebrate?

    For example, what have the British ever done for you Aussies?

  60. Rod

    The sad thing is, outside of the Bible you cannot prove that Jesus was ever existed. No proof at all!

  61. Nige

    I for one am glad the UK is a largely secular country, what is worry though is Glasgow is due to have a Intelligent Design centre open soon. Last thing I want is Scottish school kids getting ID peddled as fact in biology classes.

  62. angelo

    @63

    well, that’s actually not quite true… IIRC, a few contemporary historical texts do mention him, if not by name
    (by “proof”, you mean “evidence” I assume :) )

  63. TheBlackCat

    @ angelo: Which accounts would those be?

    I hope you aren’t referring to Josephus, who was both not contemporary (he wasn’t even born until after Jesus supposedly died) and whose accounts that were supposed to be related to Jesus are generally considered to be fabrications written centuries after his death (in fact we have a pretty good idea who is responsible for the fabrications).

  64. flip

    #62, Nigel

    For example, what have the British ever done for you Aussies?

    Hmm… Queensland, Melbourne, Victoria, Tasman, Darwin…

    I was being flippant, but actually, Darwin’s a great name for a town. And hey, full circle and back to being on topic!

  65. @ MTU:

    @41. kuhnigget :
    I’m glad I never had to take a science class from Rich Patrock. (#24)

    Er .. why? Can I ask you to elaborate please Kuhnigget, what your issue with what he said is exactly? What Patrock said seemed fine to me.

    Because, MTU, a so-called science teacher who apparently is ignorant of the basic premises of science has no business being employed in a school.

    As someone else pointed out, science isn’t about memorizing facts and figures. It’s about knowing how to think about those facts and figures and then come to a reasonable conclusion based upon the evidence they present. If a teacher cannot convey the overwhelming nature of the evidence for biological evolution to a student, and goes on to reward a student for failing to grasp that overwhelming evidence, he is a not a good teacher. “Belief” does not enter the picture.

    Or maybe that relativism you rail about doesn’t apply in cases involving your beloved Judeo-Christian traditions?

  66. @ Peter B (#56):

    Jacob @ #40 said: “You think it’s hard trying to get a fundamentalist to answer “evolution” on a test? Try getting them to describe the changes that the author of Matthew made to Mark, and explain why those changes may have been made.”

    I’m curious. Why is it hard?

    Because, if they were to even think about the subject honestly, they would realize that the four traditional gospels of the New Testament are works of man, inspired not so much by god, but by the events and situations of the age in which they were written. The same story, modified to meet the needs of those different times, illustrates the evolution of the Christian movement and its development as a human invention.

    Typically, that tends to knot their knickers.

  67. viggen

    Oh man, I love that new image you’ve got for not doomed. The mouse with the bazooka; very classy! Maybe you used it before, but I didn’t notice then.

  68. Calli Arcale

    kuhnigget — precisely. One of the tenets of Christian Fundamentalism (as opposed to other groups sometimes called “fundamentalists”, eg the Taliban — I’m here talking about a specific movement) is that the Bible is inerrant, and is *literally* the Word of God. One could fairly say they put the Bible before Jesus, but that’s more of an internecine Christian complaint. Such a person would abhor the very notion that Matthew changed the story from what Mark wrote; to them, there cannot be any inconsistencies. If we perceive inconsistencies, it’s merely a sign of our own lack of understanding.

    Evolution they can write off as a misguided effort by heathens, atheists, and apostates. But to consider a difference of opinion between gospel writers? That goes completely against what they believe, far more directly than mere science.

  69. Digital Atheist

    One of the tenets of Christian Fundamentalism… is that the Bible is inerrant, and is *literally* the Word of God.

    One of my best friends is one of those kinds of believers. However, when asked to explain obvious problems with the bible and its stories, the answer becomes that some of it is actually just allegorical, some of isn’t meant to be taken literally, some isn’t meant to be understood or explained… on and on. I grew up with this nonsense but finally decided that there is just too much wrong with the book to fix. Just taking it on faith no longer is an option.

    One of the biggies involves the gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell stories close enough that you can say they came from either a common source, or are 3 individuals who witnessed the same things (with the usual errors in details between multiple accounts). John on the other hand appears to be something totally different… a partially Gnostic writing (and yes, I’ve got a stack of Gnostic literature right here with inarms reach). One argument I’ve seen for this difference is that Mat., Mar,. and Luk. are actual biographies, where as John is a theology book… supposedly giving the flavor to who/what Jesus was and what he really meant.

    No matter how much evidence you bring to the table, Fundies will twist and squirm and wiggle and ignore it. They can’t explain it away, they know they can’t, and they would rather die ignorant as long as they don’t have to admit they are wrong. Belive me, I not only live in the bible belt, I’m caught slam up in the dang buckle.

  70. Michael Swanson

    @ myself

    12. lunchstealer said

    “y’know, science-reared atheist that I am, if a student handed me a test that said ‘modern scientific consensus is that birds evolved from dinosaurs around 100 million years ago, although I believe that birds were designed by an intelligent creator’ I’d give them credit. It shows an understanding of both prevalent scientific understanding and the difference between science and faith.”

    I said:

    “I completely agree with that. And I hate, hate, hate religion and faith-minded thinking.”

    But I’m rethinking that. When you’re asked on a math test what value of pi is to 2 decimal places, the correct answer is “3.14.” The correct answer is not “3.14 according to secular math, but I believe that it’s ’3′ because I read it in the Bible.” After all, if you’re unfortunate enough to be in a Christian school and are asked who created the world, you don’t get to answer, ‘God did, according to the Bible. But I believe that the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system coalesced around the Sun.” You don’t get to add an note on a test about Shakespeare that says, ‘but we all know he’s not the real author anyway.’”

  71. Daffy

    Messier: “I do think liberals & left-wingers tend to excessively venerate and give unearned respect to other “cultures” for the sake of it and inadvertantly denigrating their own culture and identity in the process. ”

    Generalize much?

    I could respond that conservatives always derogate other cultures while exalting and making lame excuses for their own, but it would be the same generalization. Still, you did defend Roman torture and slaughter as being some how better, while you criticized Mayans for the same thing. This was at best silly, and at worst racist.

  72. Druid

    I understand the term troll but I’m unfamiliar with POE. Can someone supply a definition?

  73. Commonsense1208

    Rod said

    “The sad thing is, outside of the Bible you cannot prove that Jesus was ever existed. No proof at all!”

    Actually there are several Roman documents completely outside scripture who told of a Jew who was crucified under Pontius Pilate in Palestine.

    The thing I’d like to ask is how precisely did life begin? Obviously God couldn’t have done it, that’s just silly superstition and has no proof, wait….
    1) It is a very basic rule of Biology that inorganic molecules do not form into organic molecules without a living organism manufacturing them.
    2) Even if these organic molecules did somehow form, they would have no consciousness of any sort and would NEVER come together to create clearly designed cellular structures of any kind or level.
    3) DNA is an insanely long and complex network of countless acids and proteins arranged into double helix and can’t possibly be explained by anything other than a being of incredible intellect.

    Yes I know “this is Abiogenesis, not evolution”, it’s still a major part of your overall view and without a begining of life there can be no evolution either, so it IS very relevant to the Creation/Evolution debate! And some more questions while I’m at it….
    4) The atmosphere is 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen, if the ancient atmosphere was mostly CO2, Sulfur Dioxide, and such emitted from volcanoes then where did the “old” atmosphere go? Where di the Nitrogen/Oxygen atmosphere we know today come from?
    5) The oceans have 13.5 million trillion metric tons if water in them, where did all that water come from if not the Great Flood, I’d love to hear one this particularly!
    6) The formation of multicellular organisms is hard to explain because there are so many examples of very highly specialized cells (neurons in the brain or gametes in the reproductive system).
    7) The existence of organs that serve specific functions and cooperate quite well with eachother, at what point did big globs of cells generate such structures?
    8) super-complex organs such as the eye that have specialized cells in the pupil and iris that control how much light is allowed into the eye and the back of the eye has specialized cells that react to certain wavelengths of light and send it to the optical nerve and brain which creates an image all with greater efficiency than any computer.
    9) The hummingbird which is probably the most efficient flying machine ever and can fly in any directions (even backwards!) or hover in place.
    10) ants and bees have the most efficient social system presently known (and is almost perfectly similar) they have very specialized adaptations to allow them to do their jobs, (there are some ants that can swell up their bodies with water for storage for the sake of the colony and bees produce royal jelly, which is amazingly healthy and nutritious).
    11) The human foot is considerably different than those of apes, our ankle bends forward as is necessary for us to walk upright while ALL primates have ankles that bend backwards and their feet look more like hands, how did our “ancestors” develop modern human feet with its elongated structure and relatively tiny toes?
    12) Your finger have no muscles in them, if they did they would be too fat to use for the great many tasks that our hands can do, instead their movement is controlled through a complex network of nerves and tendons linking them to muscles in your forearms, these move your fingers, go ahead and look! How is this NOT a clear example of Intelligent Design!
    13) And my last question, what sort of “proof” would you need to believe that God is real, that He’s the one who created the Universe, Earth and everything on it? How can I prove this to you beyond doubt? How can you look at the eye, the brain, ants, bees, bird, your hands and feet and not see they were designed by God?

    I would really love answers to these questions, look me up on YouTube! This from my essay that I’m still typing up.

  74. @ Commonsense1208:

    To save everyone time, why don’t you just pick up a good biology textbook?

  75. Commonsense1208

    @kuhnigget “To save everyone time, why don’t you just pick up a good biology textbook?”

    Well see, I haven’t found any biology textbook that quite answers my 12 questions, if you can answer any of my questions, then great! Evolution has many basic flaws and does not hold up to the evidence and finding that science keeps turning out, Abiogenesis in particular is simply garbage. By the way can you answer my 13th question?

  76. TheBlackCat

    1) It is a very basic rule of Biology that inorganic molecules do not form into organic molecules without a living organism manufacturing them.

    This is simply false. Organic molecules form spontaneously in a wide range of situations. In fact complex organic molecules are common space, where they form spontaneously. Jupiter’s moon Io has whole seas of organic molecules. Comets have complex organic molecules, as do carbonaceous chondrite asteroids, and they are common in interstellar dust clouds as well..

    2) Even if these organic molecules did somehow form, they would have no consciousness of any sort and would NEVER come together to create clearly designed cellular structures of any kind or level.

    Of course they wouldn’t but then again there are no clearly designed cellular structures so that isn’t really relevant. You are assuming that cellular structures are designed, and then using that to prove that they are designed. That is a circular argument.

    We do know that many sorts of cellular structures do form spontaneously. Lipids, for instance, spontaneously form into bilayer balls essentially identical to cell membranes under perfectly normal situations.

    We wouldn’t expect cells to form in their present state, life would have started as a single molecule that is able to self-replicate, and it would have evolved from there. We know that even fairly short RNA sequences can self-replicate, so you can’t claim this is impossible.

    3) DNA is an insanely long and complex network of countless acids and proteins arranged into double helix and can’t possibly be explained by anything other than a being of incredible intellect.

    Sure it can. First, DNA does contain any proteins, by definition. Second, the structure of DNA is actually a direct result of its chemical properties, so there is nothing strange there. Third, we know the buildings clocks of DNA, individual nucleotides, can form spontaneously in conditions that would have been found on early Earth, and we know they would spontaneously combine under those situations.

    Whatever the case, though, the first organism would almost certainly not have had any DNA, it would have used RNA or another molecule. We know this because DNA is not really the primary molecule used by life, it is RNA. In fact modern cells can’t even make a DNA strand on its own, they have to start with RNA.

    4) The atmosphere is 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen, if the ancient atmosphere was mostly CO2, Sulfur Dioxide, and such emitted from volcanoes then where did the “old” atmosphere go? Where di the Nitrogen/Oxygen atmosphere we know today come from?

    That’s a tough one. Hmm…that would require organisms that take carbon dioxide in and release oxygen. Do we know of any organisms like that? I’ll give you a hint: they’re green and they need sunlight.

    It is actually no surprise, we can trace the changes in Earth’s atmosphere and these correspond with the evolution of photosynthetic microorganisms. Sulfur dioxide is similar, even today there are organisms that live by converting sulfur dioxide.

    5) The oceans have 13.5 million trillion metric tons if water in them, where did all that water come from if not the Great Flood, I’d love to hear one this particularly!

    Water is the third most common molecule in the universe (after H2 and He). It is everywhere. Comets have huge amounts of it. It is common on almost all the other planets (mercury being the exception). So the answer is that there were massive amounts of it in the clouds of dust and gas that the solar system formed out of.

    It isn’t like the flood helps much, since the water for the flood would still have to come from somewhere.

    6) The formation of multicellular organisms is hard to explain because there are so many examples of very highly specialized cells (neurons in the brain or gametes in the reproductive system).

    What is hard about that? They are also based on the same principles. They are no more specialized than many single-celled life forms. Specializations like those are trivially easy for evolution to produce. For example, neurons are very closely related to skin cells, and in fact some skin cells actually behave pretty similarly to nerve cells. Sperm are similar to chaonoflagellates, our closest unicellular ancestor.

    7) The existence of organs that serve specific functions and cooperate quite well with eachother, at what point did big globs of cells generate such structures?

    There is nothing particular strange about that. In fact, all of the signaling systems used by our own cells to communicate, link together, and cooperate are actually present in our unicellular relatives, where they sometimes serve very similar purposes and sometimes serve quite different purposes.

    There are also wide ranges of complexity in organisms. Sponges have no organs to speak of. Jellyfish have the beginnings of internal structures that behave in specialized manners, but they aren’t really true organs. Simple worms often have very rudimentary versions of the organs we know, like the digestive tract. The hearts of fish are simpler than those of reptiles are simpler than those of mammals and birds (and crocodiles).

    We don’t need to wonder about the evolution of organs, we can see the full range from no organs to very complex ones in species that are alive right now.

    8 ) super-complex organs such as the eye that have specialized cells in the pupil and iris that control how much light is allowed into the eye and the back of the eye has specialized cells that react to certain wavelengths of light and send it to the optical nerve and brain which creates an image all with greater efficiency than any computer.

    We actually have every single stage of the evolution of the eye present in organisms that are alive today.

    Almost all organisms have the ability to detect light, the light-sensing system is just a trivial modification of the most common chemical detection and cellular signalling system in all organisms. Very primitive multi-cellular organisms (and even more complex ones like some reptiles) have a patches of cells with light-sensitivity. Others have varying degrees of cup-shaped eye patches that serve to provide shade (like planaria), allowing them to tell where light is coming from. As the covering gets more complete you get the first image-forming eyes, so-called pinhole eyes (the nautilus has this). Then, to protect from parasites, you get a thin transparent covering. Once that is formed, you essentially already have a lens. Then you just need the two parts of the lens to separate so that you can change the focus (even some humans are born without this last bit).

    There is nothing particular complex or difficult about this process, it is all small, incremental improvements. The eye is actually a great example of how a complex structure can evolve.

    9) The hummingbird which is probably the most efficient flying machine ever and can fly in any directions (even backwards!) or hover in place.

    So? So can helicopters. Sure hummingbirds are cool, but their wings are just slight modifications of existing wings, which are in turn not all that different from normal vertebrate arms and hands. In fact some birds are born with ordinary hands that change into wings as they grow.

    10) ants and bees have the most efficient social system presently known (and is almost perfectly similar) they have very specialized adaptations to allow them to do their jobs, (there are some ants that can swell up their bodies with water for storage for the sake of the colony and bees produce royal jelly, which is amazingly healthy and nutritious).

    The evolution of such social systems is well-studied. For both bees and ants (which are actually both types of wasps), it appears to be due to something called kin selection.

    There is actually a wide variety of levels of social systems within both bees and ants. For instance some have the highly specialized social systems we take as being typical. However, some have loose communities that cooperate but have no specialization between individuals, some have some have just two or three castes, and others have additional castes. So once again we see the various stages played out around us right now.

    11) The human foot is considerably different than those of apes, our ankle bends forward as is necessary for us to walk upright while ALL primates have ankles that bend backwards and their feet look more like hands, how did our “ancestors” develop modern human feet with its elongated structure and relatively tiny toes?

    There is nothing particularly strange about that, changing the lengths of bones is one of the easiest things for evolution to do. Even today their are wide ranges of lengths in toes and feet.

    12) Your finger have no muscles in them, if they did they would be too fat to use for the great many tasks that our hands can do, instead their movement is controlled through a complex network of nerves and tendons linking them to muscles in your forearms, these move your fingers, go ahead and look! How is this NOT a clear example of Intelligent Design!

    If it was an example of intelligent design you would not see the nerves pass through a random, useless loop of tendon that is prone to inflammation that pinches the nerve and causes debilitating pain.

    There is really nothing that difficult about it. The bones would have had tendons to begin with (that is how muscles connect to bones in the first place). Our fish ancestors must have had them, as do lobe-finned fish today. As the tissue between the bones disappear to allow for more movement (which would have been beneficial in an incremental manner), the tendons would have remained, allowing the animal to still control its fingers.

    So you have it backwards, it is not that the fingers developed tendons, it is that they lost muscle. The tendons were always there.

    13) And my last question, what sort of “proof” would you need to believe that God is real, that He’s the one who created the Universe, Earth and everything on it? How can I prove this to you beyond doubt? How can you look at the eye, the brain, ants, bees, bird, your hands and feet and not see they were designed by God?

    Life looks absolutely nothing like it was designed. If it was designed, the designer must have been incompetent. The human body is riddled with flat-out stupid design decisions. We are four-legged animals twisted and deformed into a two-legged gait. Pretty much everything about our body is specialized for walking on four legs, with a few highly sub-optimal changes that make walking on two legs possible but far from ideal.

    But to answer your question, simply making an appearance would be enough. If, however, you don’t use the standard of proof, but rather “more likely than not”, it becomes much easier. The spontaneous appearance of a new organism in modern times from nothing would be one. A “precambrian rabbit”, an organism that appeared way before its ancestors. would be another. A multi-cellular organism that seems related to modern organisms superficially but uses a radically different biochemistry.

  77. TheBlackCat

    That should have been “DNA doesn’t contain any proteins, by definition”

  78. Mark Hansen

    I like question number 13 best: How can I look at the human eye and not see that it was designed by god? Try the bass-ackwards way the photoreceptors are wired in. If it was designed, then the designer should be called in to rectify that particular screw-up.

  79. Mark Hansen

    Druid, Poe’s Law is best described here rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe’s_Law.

  80. Regner Trampedach

    Commonsense1208 @ 76: Funny you should mention the eye as a particularly good evidence for an intelligent designer. If this designer is so bright, why exactly did he design it so that the optic nerve goes from the front of the retina, through the retina and then out the back of the eye, leaving the blind spot in our eye, so well known by astronomers (amateurs and professionals alike). I am looking forward to your reply.
    Thanks Black Cat for the detailed reply to Commonsense1208. It would have taken me too long and wouldn’t have been nearly as good. Just thought I would supplement it :-)
    Cheers, Regner

  81. Nigel Depledge

    Druid (75) said:

    I understand the term troll but I’m unfamiliar with POE. Can someone supply a definition?

    A short definition is:
    Poe’s law states that a sufficiently accurate satire of woo is indistinguishable from genuine woo.

    This is, of course, my own paraphrase.

  82. Nigel Depledge

    Commonsense1208 (76) said:

    Actually there are several Roman documents completely outside scripture who told of a Jew who was crucified under Pontius Pilate in Palestine.

    Wow, really?

    I think you will find, if you investigate it, that Pilate crucified thousands of Jews while he was governer of Palestine. It was a very common punishment.

    What’s the big deal here? None of that is evidence that Jesus existed as described in the bible. (As an aside, how common a name was Jesus at the time anyway?)

  83. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (79) said:

    In fact modern cells can’t even make a DNA strand on its own, they have to start with RNA.

    I disagree with this. From a DNA template and a load of nucleotide triphosphates, a cell can make DNA. The only involvement that RNA has in this process is that it is necessary to make the proteins that catalyse the DNA replication.

    Apart from that, you’re doing a fine job of shredding the troll’s strawmen (I’ve not yet finished reading your responses).

  84. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (79) said:

    It isn’t like the flood helps much, since the water for the flood would still have to come from somewhere.

    And, just as importantly, the water would have to go somewhere afterwards.

    Perhaps the troll would care to share with us where all those quadrillions of tons of water that covered all of the Earth’s land masses went?

  85. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (79) said:

    So? So can helicopters.

    And the Hawker-Siddely Harrier.

  86. Nigel Depledge

    Commonsense1208 said:

    bees produce royal jelly, which is amazingly healthy and nutritious

    No more so than what they feed to other larvae. Perhaps you are not aware that it is called royal jelly because it is what the workers feed to a larva that will become a queen bee. What it contains in addition to what is fed to other bee larvae is a hormone (or set of hormones) that trigger the full deveolpment of the larva into a fertile queen bee instead of a drone or worker.

  87. Messier Tidy Upper

    @68. kuhnigget :

    @ MTU: … “Can I ask you to elaborate please Kuhnigget, what your issue with what he said is exactly? What [#24 Rich] Patrock said seemed fine to me.”
    Because, MTU, a so-called science teacher who apparently is ignorant of the basic premises of science has no business being employed in a school.
    As someone else pointed out, science isn’t about memorizing facts and figures. It’s about knowing how to think about those facts and figures and then come to a reasonable conclusion based upon the evidence they present. If a teacher cannot convey the overwhelming nature of the evidence for biological evolution to a student, and goes on to reward a student for failing to grasp that overwhelming evidence, he is a not a good teacher.

    Thanks for elaborating on that. :-)

    It’s not the reading I get of what (#24) Rich Patrock was saying though.

    My understanding was that Rich Patrock was marking kids correct for knowing the science (& perhaps even *why* science thinks so) even if they also state they disagree with it.

    That seems okay to me. I mean it’d be better if they “believed” the science as well as knew it but saying that kids have to put science *above* their personal religious beliefs seems a tad excessive. It even seems like a violation of the constititions right to freedom of thought and religion.

    If they know what the science is, understand, accept and work with it, does it really matter if they also still keep their religious faith too?

    “Belief” does not enter the picture. Or maybe that relativism you rail about doesn’t apply in cases involving your beloved Judeo-Christian traditions?

    But Judeo-Christian (or descended from that heritage) *is* our culture!

    Western societies, and civilisation arose through and in a background of Judeo-Christianity.

    Relativism is ignoring that and saying all cultures – all ideas and ideologies – are of equal vlaue and that notion, yeah, I disagree with.

  88. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (79) said:

    There is nothing particularly strange about that, changing the lengths of bones is one of the easiest things for evolution to do. Even today their are wide ranges of lengths in toes and feet.

    And I think it is worth adding here that all primates have exactly the same set of bones in their feet.

    If, as the troll seems to claim, there are genuinely special differences between the feet of different primates, then a more efficient design would be to have a specialised set of bones for each different type of primate foot. Special creation supplies no reason for all primate feet to use the same bones. Evolution, OTOH, predicts that they will contain the same bones (or at least analogous ones, depending on the distance of the relationship).

  89. Nigel Depledge

    One additional thing about the eye:

    If I ever find out who designed my eyes, I will sue for negligence. Myopic macular degeneration is a whole bunch of no fun.

  90. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (91) said:

    But Judeao-Christian or that heritage *is* our culture.

    Not entirely. Our culture also includes a hefty dose of questioning received wisdom.

  91. Messier Tidy Upper

    @62. Nigel Depledge :

    @ MTU (50) – We’ve disagreed about this kind of thing before so I really shouldn’t derail the thread by answering you point by point, but there are two things I’d like to point out … So, do you think the USA would have put people on the moon if the USSR (and thus the threat of the Cold War) had not existed?

    Unless we can find some way to access parallel universes we’ll never know – in our history as we know it American culture and Western civilisation put men on the Moon where no other culture proved able to do so.

    Hence, was it American culture that led to the Apollo programme, or was it perhaps something else? I put it to you that it was mainly fear of the USSR that fed the Apollo programme.

    There were a number of reasons why the United States of America suceeded in arguably the greatest feat of exploration in human history and, yes, the Cold War Space Race was part of it.

    I don’t think that undermines the accomplishment. Do you?

    Remember that the Stalinist (Krushchev-ist?) Soviet Empire which was also embroiled in that same space race but *it* did NOT manage to get there and fell short of its goal despite having the same competition driving and goading it. The Soviet culture proved it was NOT up to the task of winning that race to the Moon, the US proved it *was* able to do so.

    Yes, and I think the best example of a culture that spread across the world is that of the British Empire. We spread our culture across the world by exploiting our technological superiority and by shooting the bejeezus out of any Johnny Foreigner who wouldn’t submit. Tell me, why do you think this is something to celebrate? For example, what have the British ever done for you Aussies?

    Made us everything we are mate. Well okay almost everything! ;-)

    They gave us cricket, early leadership, our democratic institituons and early cultural agar, our very existence. Our history started out very British and that was I think a good thing. Am I biased, being of British ancestry myself? Yeah, probably but I do think that’s true.

    What was the alternative?

    If the British Empire didn’t colonise Australia then the French Empire would have and if not the French then the Germans or Russians or another Colonial power. Would they have been any better – or would they have been much worse?

    We’ll never know for sure – barring contact with alternate universes – but I strongly feel the British were the best of Empires, more humane, more generous, more enlightened than most others with the only possible exception being the American one.

  92. Messier Tidy Upper

    @93. Nigel Depledge Says:

    One additional thing about the eye: If I ever find out who designed my eyes, I will sue for negligence. Myopic macular degeneration is a whole bunch of no fun.

    :-o :-(

    Sorry to hear that. That really sucks & you have my sympathies and thoughts for whatever they’re worth. I hope it can be treated & fixed.

    @ 94. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU (91) said : “But Judeao-Christian or that heritage *is* our culture.”

    Not entirely. Our culture also includes a hefty dose of questioning received wisdom.

    In case you aren’t already aware the Judeo-Christian culture – especially the Jewish strand of it places a high value on good argument and good studying, questioning and learning.

    Jewish culture places an extremely high value and gives enormous respect on scholarship and debating and is one of the very many “gifts of the Jews” to Western culture. It is one of the things that makes the Jewish culture perhaps the greatest of all those thousands of cultures humans have invented.

    Many rabbinical traditions and Jewish worlds involve questioning and even arguing furiously with God.

    Also, I’m an agnostic rather than religious myself as I’ve mentioned before.

  93. Messier Tidy Upper

    Also on cultures and relativism again – it is a sad, stark fact based on historical precedent that cultures must choose between being metaphorical zebras or lions.

    A culture that expands and spreads, builds and invents, explores and colonises is a lion.

    A culture that does not is a zebra.

    Lions will eat zebras.

    If you want your culture, your friends and family to survive and do well, if you support the values and works of your culture and wish them to continue and do well then you just have to advocate being a lion and doing the “eating” rather than being a zebra and rolling over to be eaten.

    Now you can say this is nasty, brutal and sad (I’ll even agree with you) but that’s just how it is. :-(

    The world is how it is, not how we’d wish it to be.

    Venus is a hellish inferno not a swamp world. There are no canals on Mars. We can – and I do – wish it were otherwise but its not.

    Realpolitks is so-called for a reason.

    History does tell us that lesser cultures, one’s that don’t advance and invent and conquer will fall to those that do.

    A culture is either doing science, inventing, exploring and spreading itself further – or it will fall victim or be at the mercy of those that are.

    We have to choose – are we lions or zebras?

    Soft-hearted, soft-headed, naive liberals, left-wingers and cultural relativists kid themsleves that the world is all rainbows and fuzzy toys and unicorns. Nice as that’d be it ain’t. :-(

    The liberal left-wing ideology will destory us if its followed, in the end it is a suicidal way of thinking. It can’t and won’t work in the real world which is not always a nice place. :-(

    That’s very depressing I know but I’m also afraid it is the realistic truth.

  94. Messier Tidy Upper

    Incidentally, if you think I’m a right-winger or big fan of the other side of politics you’d be wrong too. :roll:

    I’m apolitical, centrist or politically neutral. I think that *both* sides of politics get things badly wrong and both sides of politics kid themselves dangerously. They just do that about different things and are crazy fools in different areas. Both sides, frankly, stink with neither having all the answers.

    The right conservative / libertarian wing kids itself about global warming wrongly denying its reality and also kidding themselves with the idea that the US founding fathers were Christians who founded the United States as a Christian country. They kid themselves by despicably persecuting and denying the rights of gays and women’s rights to abortion and asserting the value of excessive censorship and many other things too. :-(

    The left wing, liberals, kid themselves of far more dangerous things when it comes to foreign affairs where they kid themselves that being nice and appeasing Muslim Jihadists and Communist dictatorships will work out well and not just be seen by our enemies as weakness inspiring and exploiting ever more depraved acts of terrorism, they kid themselves that multiculturalism / cultural relativism, Political Correctness and “hyphenated Americans”* are good things, they kid themselves too on crime and immigration and much, much more. :-(

    Libertarians kid themselves that NO governement, no tax or govt regulation is ever necessary.

    Communists kid themselves that no freedom or capitalism is necessary & that some “workers paradise” Socialist utopia will ever be found.

    Political people, those who adopt *any* specific political philosophy always, *always* kid themsleves that some dumb political philosophy can be *the* answer for everything & anything.

    That just ain’t so.

    I’m not sure there is any answer. :-(

    I’m cynical and jaded and misanthropic and generally cheesed off at all political sides.

    We’ve just gotta muddle through and do the best we can. We’ve gotta be pragmatic and take things case by case on their merits.

    Humans are a very long way from coming up with anything perfect. Certainly anything politically perfect. Left wing /right wing, center, whatever. Politics is just all stuffed. :-(

    Except for this Oaklahoma decision – that’s kinda good! ;-)

    —–

    * Such as celebrating and getting Obama into power effecctively through the ultimate in “affirmative action.” Never mind the valid debate over the fact that Obama is not actually African-American in the conventional meaning of the word – being half-”white” (American-American?) and of *Kenyan* immigrant-American not (ex-slave & longtime US resident) African-American ancestry; isn’t anyone in the USA bothered by the fact that you have a half- & hyphenated-American in office as President rather than an all-American individual? (My issue her isn’t with Obama’s skin colour but his cultiral and personal identity & loyalty / patriotism / understanding of America.)

    PS. Oh & for the record if I’d been eligiable to vote in the last US election I would have voted for Obama over the McCain-Palin ticket. The alternative on the Republican side was worse. It would’ve been better, methinks, had Hiliary Clinton been the Democratic nominee. It would’ve been better still if Rudy Guiliani had been the Republican one. Too late now of course. :-(

    PPS. If there are alternative universes where other possibilities *have* come to pass; I wonder how President Hiliary Rodham+ and President Rudy Guilani are doing? ;-)

    + Would she have dropped the Clinton & the Bill if she’d won the Presidency? You betchya! ;-)

  95. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (96) said:

    Sorry to hear that. That really sucks & you have my sympathies and thoughts for whatever they’re worth. I hope it can be treated & fixed.

    Thanks.

    It’s a static condition at the moment, and can’t currently be cured. However, if it starts to progress, they can halt the progression by injection of an antiangiogenic agent into the retina.

    On the culture topic – I didn’t expect to be able to change your mind, and I’d rather not derail the thread any further than I already did, so I’ll leave that debate for another time.

  96. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Nigel Depledge : Fair enough. I do tend to ramble on a bit I know. ;-)

    We may not agree on everything but I certainly respect you and enjoy discussing things with you and will defend to the death your right to hold & express your opinions as I hope you’d do for me also.

    If I could emphasise one thing for clarity please :

    I don’t care if Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or whoever the current leader of the Black Panthers is became US (or even Aussie) President – if they are going to do a good job of it.

    I think, alas, Obama got his current position based more on symbolism than on substance. I’m not a fan of his at all but I’ll admit he gives the odd great speech. I don’t think history will record Obama as a good president but rather quite the reverse – but I’d be very happy if this gets proven wrong. ;-)

  97. @ MTU:

    It’s not the reading I get of what (#24) Rich Patrock was saying though.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed you’re pretty good at reading into stuff only what you want.

    Borrrrrrrring!

    But Judeo-Christian (or descended from that heritage) *is* our culture!

    Uh…so?

    Or maybe you’ve just proved my point, in that you level your accusations of relativism to every culture but your own.

  98. mike burkhart

    Good news,As I said a survey by US Catholic magazine found 95%of Catholics accept evolution and I am 1of them

  99. In case you aren’t already aware the Judeo-Christian culture – especially the Jewish strand of it places a high value on good argument and good studying, questioning and learning.

    Caught you red-handed.

    The tradition of argument, questioning, interpretation is a hallmark of Rabbinic Judaism, not the temple culture of Jerusalem, aka the Judaism of the Old Testament.

    In the temple culture, the word of the priests, using the construct of the Old Testament and the Pentateuch in particular, was the law. Period. Finite. .סוף הסיפור Only when that “handed down” knowledge was opened up to interpretation by latter theologians did Judaism allow itself more liberal interpretations of that holy writ.

    Once again, MTU, you rewrite history in order to justify your own modern credo.

    And once again, it’s borrrrrrring!

  100. mike burkhart

    Let me explain the creation story in Genesis to every one.God creats the universe in 6 days and rests ,this is not to be taken literally ,this was writen to explain the reson for the sabath rest .(In fact ask a fundamentlist :why if God is allmighty dose he need to take a nap after creation?)The sun and moon are created the third day not literal this was to tell the Jews that the sun and moon are not Gods but lights in the sky,all of Isreals neighbors worshiped the sun and moon. This is the point that the fundamentlists miss in a literal interaption of the Bible..

  101. TheBlackCat

    I disagree with this. From a DNA template and a load of nucleotide triphosphates, a cell can make DNA. The only involvement that RNA has in this process is that it is necessary to make the proteins that catalyse the DNA replication.

    In order to replicate DNA, the cell needs to start with a short RNA primer which is attached to the template DNA strand by an enzyme called primase. The new DNA strand is then extended from the end of this fragment. The RNA primer fragment is then removed. This is why we need telomeres, in the middle of the DNA this gap gets covered over by the DNA elongation enzyme (which destroys any RNA it encounters), but at the ends this can’t happen, so the DNA gets shorter by the length of the RNA primer.

    This, in my opinion, is probably the most bizarre and nonsensical feature in all of life. There is simply no reason whatsoever why this would be a remotely good approach. But changing it would require reworking how DNA is handled in a pretty fundamental way, so it doesn’t happen.

  102. TheBlackCat

    God creats the universe in 6 days and rests ,this is not to be taken literally ,this was writen to explain the reson for the sabath rest

    The problem is that it doesn’t explain the reason for the sabbath unless it is taken literally.

    “Why do we rest on the sabbath?”
    “Because God rested on the seventh day when he created the world”
    “But I thought God didn’t create the world in 6 days”
    “He didn’t”
    “So then why do we rest on the sabbath?”
    “Because…uh…”

  103. TheBlackCat

    but I strongly feel the British were the best of Empires, more humane, more generous, more enlightened than most others with the only possible exception being the American one.

    Tell that to the Tasmanians. Oh, right, you can’t, because the British labeled them as vermin (on the same level as rats and cockroaches) and exterminated every last one of them.

    There was so much rape going on agianst the Tasmanians, scientists were surprised half British half Tasmanian children weren’t around. They thought they had found a new human-like species that couldn’t interbreed with others. It turned out the British were just killing the babies as soon as they were born.

    As far as I can recall neither the Spanish, French, nor Portuguese colonists outright exterminated an entire race, or did anything else nearly as horrible as what was done to the Tasmanians by the British.

  104. Thank God I am an Athiest

    This is an outrage…I should be able to teach my students that life was created when Chuck Norris traveled back in time and ejaculated in the primordial ooze. I don’t want to live in a state that doesn’t let me teach and grade on beliefs instead of facts.

  105. WizDumb

    The anti-creationist sentiment and insulting language of this article were chilling to me but the comments nearly flatlined me. How can people have these extreme opinions when many scientists today are creationists and many widely recognized evolutionists, including Dawkins and Darwin, have made statements that indicate that evolution is not based on fact? Before buying the stuff you learned in a school forced to teach the THEORY of evolution, do a little research for yourself: The ameoba, one of the “simplest” forms of life on our diverse and beautiful planet, has enough information in it’s DNA to fill hundreds of books- it is EXTREMELY complex. The fossil record, which should show countless transitional forms, has offered very many different species, which are specific to eachother and extremely rarely resembling transitional forms between species. Evolution requires more faith than creationism, which is why such insulting language is used- an arrogant defense is required where a reasonable, intellectual, and yes, even scientific argument does not exist.

  106. PayasYouStargaze

    Aww Nigel #89. You misspelled Siddeley :(

    I would have expected better from the man I was planning to nominate for President of the Euro-Weenies chapter of the Cult Of Phil.

  107. Andy

    Her homophobic comments are actually worse than you make them seem. She didn’t compare being gay to having cancer. She compared the gay community to BEING A CANCER. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s worse.

  108. mike burkhart

    Black Cat ,In ancient Isreall people worked 6 days and rested and worshiped on the 7th I know it sounds strange today when we work 24/7 .And as I said I don’t take the 7day literely I think it took 4.5 billion years to create the Earth .This was the belefe of the acient Isrelites and is the religous law of Jews today.

  109. me

    @ MTU’s bizarre rant -

    “Never mind the valid debate over the fact that Obama is not actually African-American in the conventional meaning of the word – being half-”white” (American-American?) and of *Kenyan* immigrant-American not (ex-slave & longtime US resident) African-American ancestry; isn’t anyone in the USA bothered by the fact that you have a half- & hyphenated-American in office as President rather than an all-American individual? (My issue her isn’t with Obama’s skin colour but his cultiral and personal identity & loyalty / patriotism / understanding of America.)”

    You sir, are a prize twat. I award you this special hat made of angry bees.

    And what the hell is an “all-American individual” anyway? Does it fart the Stars and Stripes while swigging on a tankard of crude or what? Are you saying that people who are a product of several cultures are unsuitable for office? In America?

  110. Ema Nymton

    Wow.

    Commonsense1208 is painful to read. The density of, well, density is sort of spectacular.

  111. Darth Robo

    PAH! Late to the party again. Anyway, I always look forward to each and every new possibility of somebody being able to explain a super-duper brand new “scientific theory” to falsify and replace evolution because it explains the evidence better. Has there been any such thing presented here yet? I ask so often and I’m always disappointed.

    As our most recent potential, Commonsense1208, has had his/her questions expertly addressed by Black Cat, I would also like to ask a few questions based on them:

    —”It is a very basic rule of Biology that inorganic molecules do not form into organic molecules without a living organism manufacturing them.”

    Wrong, but if true, why do you castigate biochemistry for proposing it when your own alternative requires the exact same thing?

    —”Even if these organic molecules did somehow form, they would have no consciousness of any sort and would NEVER come together to create clearly designed cellular structures of any kind or level.”

    Why not? And how do we determine “clear design” of biological organisms in an objective scientific fashion?

    —”DNA is an insanely long and complex network of countless acids and proteins arranged into double helix and can’t possibly be explained by anything other than a being of incredible intellect.”

    How does that explain it? You have postulated a “who”, not a “how”. So how exactly did this intelligent entity do whatever you think it did and what evidence do you have to demonstrate this?

    —”Where di the Nitrogen/Oxygen atmosphere we know today come from?”

    Right back atcha. Where did it come from via your hypothesis?

    —”The oceans have 13.5 million trillion metric tons if water in them, where did all that water come from if not the Great Flood, I’d love to hear one this particularly!”

    Right back atcha. Where did it come from via your hypothesis? And where’d it go? On top of that, how are we here even talking about it when the Global Flood scenario wipes out all life on Earth without exception, including Noah and his buddies in numerous different ways? Examples include exhaustion, suffocating, drowning, disease, outright incineration and the worst cancer ever possibly conceived. How do you explain this discrepancy? I’d love to hear one this particularly!

    —”The formation of multicellular organisms is hard to explain because there are so many examples of very highly specialized cells (neurons in the brain or gametes in the reproductive system).”

    And how does your theory explain this? With a “how”, not a “who”, please.

    —”The existence of organs that serve specific functions and cooperate quite well with eachother, at what point did big globs of cells generate such structures?”

    Right back atcha. With a “how”, not a “who”, please.

    —”super-complex organs such as the eye that have specialized cells in the pupil and iris that control how much light is allowed into the eye and the back of the eye has specialized cells that react to certain wavelengths of light and send it to the optical nerve and brain which creates an image all with greater efficiency than any computer.”

    I see. So since computers are designed, does this mean you are saying that biological organisms are nothing at all like things designed by a designer?

    —”The hummingbird which is probably the most efficient flying machine ever and can fly in any directions (even backwards!) or hover in place.”

    Cool. And how does your theory explain this? With a “how”, not a “who”, please.

    —”ants and bees have the most efficient social system presently known (and is almost perfectly similar) they have very specialized adaptations to allow them to do their jobs, (there are some ants that can swell up their bodies with water for storage for the sake of the colony and bees produce royal jelly, which is amazingly healthy and nutritious).”

    Cool. And how does your theory explain this? With a “how”, not a “who”, please.

    —”The human foot is considerably different than those of apes, our ankle bends forward as is necessary for us to walk upright while ALL primates have ankles that bend backwards and their feet look more like hands, how did our “ancestors” develop modern human feet with its elongated structure and relatively tiny toes?”

    Right back atcha. With a “how”, not a “who”, please.

    —”Your finger have no muscles in them, if they did they would be too fat to use for the great many tasks that our hands can do, instead their movement is controlled through a complex network of nerves and tendons linking them to muscles in your forearms, these move your fingers, go ahead and look! How is this NOT a clear example of Intelligent Design!”

    How IS it a “clear” example of “design”? How is this determined scientifically? What was the mechanism responsible for it?

    —”And my last question, what sort of “proof” would you need to believe that God is real, that He’s the one who created the Universe, Earth and everything on it? How can I prove this to you beyond doubt? How can you look at the eye, the brain, ants, bees, bird, your hands and feet and not see they were designed by God?”

    Hey, this is YOUR problem. How is this entity’s existence determined scientifically? Which god is it and how can we tell? What exactly did it do, how did it do it, when did it do it and how can this be determined? What evidence do you have to support this? What useful scientific predictions does it make? How can this be tested? How can this be falsified? Why is your allegedly all-powerful universe-creating creator apparently incapable of such a simple thing like evolution and how did you determine god’s limits scientifically, and what other limits did you discover in the process?

    Now allow me to answer all these questions for you to save you some time, while using your very own theory which does such an amazing job at explaining all of these and more in incredible scientific detail:

    1 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    2 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    3 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    4 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    5 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    6 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    7 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    8 – No. Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    9 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    10 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    11 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    12 – Sumfin really really “smart” didit. Somehow.
    13 – Science duzn’t know everything yet and evolution iz rong cuz it’s not in teh Bible and teh Bible iz true cuz teh Bible sez so so therefore Goddidit with magic Amen.

    Please do inform me if I’ve left anything out and thanks in advance. And you’re welcome also.

  112. me

    “The anti-creationist sentiment and insulting language of this article were chilling to me but the comments nearly flatlined me.”

    dammit. we were so close.

  113. Darth Robo

    WizDumb

    —”How can people have these extreme opinions when many scientists today are creationists and many widely recognized evolutionists, including Dawkins and Darwin, have made statements that indicate that evolution is not based on fact?”

    Evolution is based on many many facts, all of which are incorporated to form the SCIENTIFIC theory of evolution. Just like any other scientific theory.

    —”The ameoba, one of the “simplest” forms of life on our diverse and beautiful planet, has enough information in it’s DNA to fill hundreds of books- it is EXTREMELY complex.”

    And by what scientific measure is “complexity” quantified? And what relevance does your point have?

    —”The fossil record, which should show countless transitional forms, has offered very many different species, which are specific to eachother and extremely rarely resembling transitional forms between species. ”

    Fossilization is a relatively rare process. However there are enough transitionals (the existence of which you have just admitted to above) in order to demonstrate an observable evolutionary pattern. As we look backwards in time at hominid fossils for example, we see a trend – a progressive reduction in cranial cavity size, stooped posture and protuding teeth and facial features. However even if the fossil record did not exist, evolution is still the best explanation of biodiversity on Earth based on genetics alone. Not to mention the nested hierarchies consistently observed across DNA, orthologous ERV’s, as well as the fossil record.

    —”Evolution requires more faith than creationism, which is why such insulting language is used- an arrogant defense is required where a reasonable, intellectual, and yes, even scientific argument does not exist.”

    Unfortunately you are incorrect. Faith is required for creationism as it is a religious belief. When one has evidence, faith becomes superfluous. However since you obviously dispute the scientific veracity of evolution, then may I ask, what scientific alternative do you propose which does a better job of explaining biological diversity on Earth, and what evidence can you provide to support it?

    Thanks in advance.

  114. TheBlackCat

    The anti-creationist sentiment and insulting language of this article were chilling to me but the comments nearly flatlined me.

    Good, now maybe you should look at why we think that way.

    How can people have these extreme opinions when many scientists today are creationists

    Actually, by all measures, even those from the creationists themselves, the percentage of scientists that are creationists is miniscule. By no stretch of the imagination is it “many”.

    and many widely recognized evolutionists, including Dawkins and Darwin, have made statements that indicate that evolution is not based on fact?

    Actually evolution is based on fact. Of course Darwin didn’t know that, when he was alive it was still tentative. That was over 150 years ago, unlike creationists scientists have made a lot of progress in the last century and a half. Evolution is more “based on fact” than pretty much any other scientific theory ever.

    Further, creationists don’t just reject evolution, young earth creationists at least reject all science, and much of ancient history as well.

    Before buying the stuff you learned in a school forced to teach the THEORY of evolution, do a little research for yourself:

    First, you say “theory” as though it is a bad thing. In science, theory is the highest rank any idea can obtain. Facts are just pieces of information, they are a dime a dozen. Laws are slightly better, since they are at least mathematical, but they are still far less useful and far less certain than theories.

    Second, what makes you think our knowledge of biology is limited to high school? Many here have at least gone to college, others have more advanced degrees.

    The ameoba, one of the “simplest” forms of life on our diverse and beautiful planet, has enough information in it’s DNA to fill hundreds of books- it is EXTREMELY complex.

    Actually, no, the amoeba is far from the simplest form of life, it is amongst the most complex. Pretty much the only thing more complex than an amoeba is a multicellular organism. The simplest form of life today only has a few hundred genes, and even many of those are unnecessary. The simplest imaginable form of life wouldn’t even have a single gene, it would just be a single molecule.

    The fossil record, which should show countless transitional forms, has offered very many different species, which are specific to eachother and extremely rarely resembling transitional forms between species.

    That is a flat-out lie. In fact, we have very complete transitional histories of almost every major group of animals on the planet. There are very few groups that don’t have detailed transitional histories, and those tend to be organisms that either lived in environments where fossils did not form (like deep-sea species) or have bones that are too fragile to fossilize easily (like bats) or don’t have ones at all (like many worms). But those are the exception.

    Evolution requires more faith than creationism, which is why such insulting language is used- an arrogant defense is required where a reasonable, intellectual, and yes, even scientific argument does not exist.

    We can see evolution happening, both in the laboratory and in the wild. When was the last time you saw God poof a new species into existence? We can measure how quickly it occurs.

    We can make specific mathematical predictions about how species should respond evolutionarily to certain situations, and then we can either create those situations in a lab or measure them in the wild, and things behave exactly as we expect. We can even predict where we can find fossils of a previously undiscovered species based on where and when its ancestors and descendants lived and what sort of environment we think would have led to its evolution.

    Let me repeat that: we can say “based on evolution, a species with these characteristics should have evolved in this location at this time”, then we can go to exposed areas from that time and there are the fossils with the characteristics predicted.

    What does creationism say about how species should react to specific situations? Does creationism tell us where we can find fossils of previously unknown species?

  115. TheBlackCat

    @ mike burkhart: I know that. You are missing my point. The point, as the imaginary dialog explains, is that the creation story can only explain the presence of the sabbath if it is true. If the story is made up, then it does nothing to explain the presence of the sabbath.

  116. The point, as the imaginary dialog explains, is that the creation story can only explain the presence of the sabbath if it is true. If the story is made up, then it does nothing to explain the presence of the sabbath.

    Not to mention, it could be a clear case of cart leading the horse. As with many ancient mythological explanations for why things are the way they are, it is very likely that the whole “rest on the sabbath because that’s when God rested” idea was cobbled together after the tradition was already in place.

    Priestly cultures require people to pay attention to the priests, otherwise their power is diminished. What better way to force that attention than to get your god to weigh in on your side? “Got things to do this Saturday? Sorry, chum, God says you have to hang out at the temple where, coincidentally, I just happen to be in charge.”

  117. flip

    #95, MTU

    Soviet Empire which was also embroiled in that same space race but *it* did NOT manage to get there and fell short of its goal despite having the same competition driving and goading it. The Soviet culture proved it was NOT up to the task of winning that race to the Moon, the US proved it *was* able to do so.

    But the USSR were the first country to put a man in outer space (also dogs IIRC). I’d say that often overlooked fact is just as much as a goal/win as anything else. Sure, the USA got further, but the space race wasn’t about getting to the moon so much as it was about proving technological prowess.

    Frankly, your argument is like saying two Olympic runners weren’t equal because one got to the finish line first. (Slightly simplified, because yes, the USSR had less money, etc. than the USA)

    If the British Empire didn’t colonise Australia then the French Empire would have and if not the French then the Germans or Russians or another Colonial power. Would they have been any better – or would they have been much worse?

    We’ll never know for sure – barring contact with alternate universes – but I strongly feel the British were the best of Empires, more humane, more generous, more enlightened than most others with the only possible exception being the American one.

    Yep, love how you gloss over the fact that the Brits often killed the inhabitants of the places they colonised. I’m sure the Indigenous folk of Australia prefer having cricket over the lives of their loved ones. Ignoring which ‘culture’ is better, I’d say what the Brits did in this country is not exactly humane, wouldn’t you?

  118. Bernard

    The moment creationism gets a pass in the classroom I will start lobbying for astrology, aura reading and crystal healing to be accepted in schools as well.

  119. Commonsense1208

    Regner Trampedach said ”
    Funny you should mention the eye as a particularly good evidence for an intelligent designer. If this designer is so bright, why exactly did he design it so that the optic nerve goes from the front of the retina, through the retina and then out the back of the eye, leaving the blind spot in our eye, so well known by astronomers (amateurs and professionals alike). I am looking forward to your reply.”

    Maybe because nerves are the communication network of the body, and nerves connect to pretty much everything? The pupil and iris are only a small part of the eye but a critical one since they let light in, perhaps they tell the brain if there too little or too much light coming and the brain tells them to open and close accordingly, just a hunch!

    Back to TheBlackCat, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer those questions in a decent manner, however…

    For question two asking how cellular structures formed from basic organic molecules, you didn’t really answer the question, instead you simply accused me of circular reasoning and said there were no clearly designed structures….? Let’s see

    The Nucleus contains all the DNA and is essentially the brain of the cell and the nuclear membrane control passage in and out of the nucleus, this membrane and it’s cousins the cell membrane are made up of layers of proteins and lipids and act as a semipermeable barrier against unwanted molecules and special openings called transporters and channels allow the ones they want in, it is not nearly as simple as it looks on paper, it’s a living wall that moves around, that can swallow large food goblets and become vacuoles (storage) leaving itself in a pinched position until it was reorganized.

    The Ribosome is a miniature factory responsible for taking RNA and using it to make DNA, if it messes up in the smallest way it results in a mutation, which often causes great harm, most mutation end up destroyed afflicted cells so they eliminate themselves, very few mutations end up beneficial in any way, but even if they do, the mutation needs to be passed on offspring or it won’t go very far!

    Golgi are the heavy industry of the cell and make complex proteins, other organelles and all sorts of stuff. They are big compared to most other organelles and are just as complex as any other.

    All of the organelles serve specific functions in much the same way our brain, blood vessels, liver, stomach and so on each do their part so we can live and do things, my question how did such structures form from just organic compounds, even if you consider the most basic sort of living cell possible, it would absolutely have to able to use energy, acquire food, digest said food and utilize energy, and fulfill all life functions long enough to reproduce, and keep the cycle going.

    my third question you pointed to smaller strands of RNA, okay I can see a very basic lifeform being based on RNA, but even so you would have to have ENOUGH RNA to be able to cover all necessary information regarding cellular functions and reproduction, this RNA would still be of considerable length and I find it hard to believe that such a structure would simply link up together on it’s own, besides the whole purpose of DNA and RNA is to provide information for the rest of the cell to follow, without it the cell doesn’t work, but without the cell RNA and DNA are not formed

    By the way, if organic molecules and all sorts of organic molecules form spontaneously and are somehow able to make cells, then why have scientists had such a hard time creating life from such compounds, even in unrealistically “good” conditions for life to begin, these compounds have never been observed joining together to create any form of life.

    Question four asked about the ancient and present atmosphere, okay EVERYONE knows what photosynthesis is, anyone who doesn’t is either an infant or is criminally ignorant, but you ARE aware that photosynthesis as we know is strongly reliant on the light it receives, correct? If the sunlight changed in composition then plants would die because they couldn’t use that kind of light, in an atmosphere dominated by heavy clouds of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide the light from the sun would not have supported photosynthesis, and you forgot to explain the enormous amount of Nitrogen!

    question five asked about the huge amount of water on the planet and where the oceans came from, you said water is the third most common molecule in the universe and that it was present on every planet except mercury, I’m pretty sure the gas planets are made up of huge oceans of Hydrogen and Helium, I wasn’t aware they had any significant amount of water, even if they do it would buried deep beneath the light hydrogen ocean, the Martian Ice caps are not made up of water, they are made up of CO2 Ice, and Pluto is made up of CO2 and methane ice, actual water ice has been found in comets, planetary rings and etc, but it is not quite as common as you said it was!

    question six asked about the evolution of multicellular lifeforms, you said “They are also based on the same principles. They are no more specialized than many single-celled life forms” I have to admit, this made me laugh! Now… I KNOW you’re not ACTUALLY saying that bacteria even compare to Neurons in complexity or specialization, I KNOW THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU MEANT!!!! What I meant was how did a glob of relatively simple single-celled protists (they were most likely protists) come together and start dividing up the tasks between, and over time managed to specialize into various forms of cells see from Neurons to bone cells and muscle cells to skin cells, gametes serve no purpose whatsoever other than reproduction and sperm have very strong flagella and are powered by extra mitochondria to race eachother to the egg, the winner well wins and they rest die. Any animal cell is clearly larger and more complex than any bacterium and obviously animal cells specialize for whatever kind of tissue they belong to to create organs. For evolution of multicellular creatures, various strains of cells would have to work together consciously towards that goal (I find that hard to believe), and the many organs and biological systems would have to form rather quickly, efficiently and all at once. I want to see how you explain evolution of multicellular animals and plants and account for their specialized cells.

    I kind of covered question seven there so I’ll skip that one

    For question eight asking about the eye, you say we have every stage of the eye already, if I didn’t have a counter for that I wouldn’t have bothered asking, as you say nearly all living things can sense light and we can see varying complexity in the eyes of various animals, but the actual evolution of the eye is not so simplified as that, a recent computer simulation showing the evolution of the eye was admitted by the same scientists involved to be a “gross oversimplification” and “not worthy of being considered evidence”, the eye is a complex network of smaller part each to provide a specific function, much like lesser organs within the greater organ, you also said “The eye is actually a great example of how a complex structure can evolve”, if this is true then can you explain these “incremental improvements”?

    Question nine asked about hummingbirds, you pointed to helicopters, which was a BIG mistake because that set me up for a great comeback! Helicopters are as anyone knows DESIGNED… by man no less, they are made up of various parts that serve various purposes and are able to fly in any direction or hover, now then are you aware that not really so long ago, even a top evolutionist said that the hummingbird evolving would be like a tornado ripping through a junkyard and spitting out a Boeing 747!

    question ten asked about ants and bees, you said “For both bees and ants (which are actually both types of wasps)” I didn’t know that, interesting, though I never heard of any such system where there only two castes, you HAVE to have the queen obviously and workers… and drones (males) to reproduce, some have soldiers who are bigger and tougher to defend the hive, that’s three minimum or four that I can think of offhand.

    questions eleven and twelve asked about the human hands and feet and for the most part your rebuttal was decent, thought I’d like to say that these imperfections you see exist due to mutations of otherwise perfect genes into notably less perfect genes, as the design gets more and more tangled with you will see more and not less problems, mutations are the reason why ALL genetic diseases and deformities exist, this rather easily accounts for alot of the problems you see in designed structures that have weakened now that they are outside of God’s light, see originally they were perfect structures but have slowly decayed, eventually things fall apart and your body can no longer sustain life functions, that’s what death is (natural death any way, damage inflicted by disease or trauma is unnatural death, which sucks too).

    fianlly question thirteen is most important to me personally, and covered your first paragraph just before this one so I’ll skip to this part

    “But to answer your question, simply making an appearance would be enough. If, however, you don’t use the standard of proof, but rather “more likely than not”, it becomes much easier. The spontaneous appearance of a new organism in modern times from nothing would be one (This is utterly impossible in every sense of the word, and if I don’t believe evolution can do this, how much MORE ridiculous is this!). A “precambrian rabbit”, an organism that appeared way before its ancestors. would be another (Fossils showing human foot-prints crossed with a Trilobite and another with a dinosaur have been found, both footprints are not perfectly clear and are disputed by evolutionists, you can find them on the internet, for my part they look like human footprints to me!). A multi-cellular organism that seems related to modern organisms superficially but uses a radically different biochemistry (well Human eyes are very, VERY close to those of squid, whom are VERY different, and our skin is closer to that of a pig than to primates).”

    But seriously, man is responsible for his own downfall, so it’s man’s responsibility to find God himself and be forgiven of his sins, He has been far more than patient and lenient and has provided us with more than enough chances and even provided us with easy means of reaching Him (through Jesus), He only wants our repentance and he will forgive us, God is very much willing to do so if only you overcome your pride and ask Him.

  120. PayasYouStargaze

    @123 Commonsense1208 (or lack of it apparently)

    I’ll let our more learned friends describe why most of your claims are either wrong or you are just ignoring the explanations given to you. I just want to ask you one question based on this paragraph of yours.

    “questions eleven and twelve asked about the human hands and feet and for the most part your rebuttal was decent, thought I’d like to say that these imperfections you see exist due to mutations of otherwise perfect genes into notably less perfect genes, as the design gets more and more tangled with you will see more and not less problems, mutations are the reason why ALL genetic diseases and deformities exist, this rather easily accounts for alot of the problems you see in designed structures that have weakened now that they are outside of God’s light, see originally they were perfect structures but have slowly decayed, eventually things fall apart and your body can no longer sustain life functions, that’s what death is”

    So you claim that our poor characteristics for bipedalism are a result of mutations of perfect genes into less perfect ones. Let’s assume your ignorant claim that all mutations are destructive. while in reality mutations can be beneficial or neutral depending on the environment.

    My question is, what did humans look like WHEN you believe we were created? What did our PERFECT legs and feet look like? What about the seperate windpipes and gullets that we surely had? Did men not have nipples? Did we have an appendix? Did our eyes have blind spots? Some creationsist must have sketched these out. I guess I could also ask why we then evolved into something so resembling other primates.

    If humans were designed by any half-competent being, we’d look so different we’d be unrecognisable. Humans would be a terrible design. We are easily killed by the most minor of things, including getting our own food stuck in our airways for god’s sake. Any engineer worth his salt could design a much better machine for doing the job of “being human”.

  121. me

    “and even provided us with easy means of reaching Him (through Jesus)”

    And where do we find Jesus then?

    Cos I had a look in my local park, and found a few people who thought they were Jesus, but I’m not sure that counts as I didn’t think there was meant to be more than one of them about at a time and none of them gave me an easy means of reaching God. One of them was easy though, so the trip wasn’t entirely wasted.

  122. TheBlackCat

    Maybe because nerves are the communication network of the body, and nerves connect to pretty much everything?

    You are missing the point. The human retina is installed backwards. The light has to pass through a layer of blood vessels, then a layer of neurons, then the not-light-sensitive parts of the light receptors before it can actually get to the part of the eye that is sensitive to light.

    This is like making a digital camera, but putting all the wiring and power supply between the lens and the light sensors.

    This leads to numerous problems. First, there is the obvious problem of light being absorbed before it can be detected. It also causes distortion in the light. There are also less obvious problems. First, because the neurons and blood vessels are on the inside of the retina, but need to get outside, you need a place with no light-sensitive cells at all, and this needs to be right near the center of your vision. This is called the blind spot. Second, it means there is nothing directly attaching the retina to the wall of the eye, so the retina becomes detached really easily (this result in blindness in the detached area). Third, it generates a lot of heat, so the retina needs a huge blood supply to stay cool.

    I should point out that cephalopods like octopus and squid have their retina installed the right way, so there is no reason our method had to be this way.

    The Nucleus contains all the DNA and is essentially the brain of the cell

    That is true in humans and other eukaryotes, but the vast majority of organisms on Earth don’t have a nucleus at all.

    and the nuclear membrane control passage in and out of the nucleus, this membrane and it’s cousins the cell membrane are made up of layers of proteins and lipids and act as a semipermeable barrier against unwanted molecules and special openings called transporters and channels allow the ones they want in, it is not nearly as simple as it looks on paper, it’s a living wall that moves around, that can swallow large food goblets and become vacuoles (storage) leaving itself in a pinched position until it was reorganized.

    I know how a cell membrane works. The basic principles are very simple, a lipid bilayer that we know forms spontaneously. More complex organisms have added random bits and pieces to it, but those are just add-ons, they are not necessary for the most basic membrane.

    Adding random bits to an existing structure like the cell membrane is not at all difficult for evolution, in fact we have a very detailed understanding of the evolution of many membrane proteins.

    The Ribosome is a miniature factory responsible for taking RNA and using it to make DNA,

    What? No, that isn’t even remotely close to being right. The ribosome is a pair of RNA molecules that together are used to read other RNA molecules into proteins. It is nothing like a factory, in fact it uses very simple chemical reactions that are well-characterized. Ribosomes have nothing whatsoever to do with DNA.

    if it messes up in the smallest way it results in a mutation, which often causes great harm, most mutation end up destroyed afflicted cells so they eliminate themselves, very few mutations end up beneficial in any way, but even if they do, the mutation needs to be passed on offspring or it won’t go very far!

    Actually, the vast majority of mutations do nothing at all, or only have a small effect. The DNA code is pretty resistant to mutation, so most mutations that have an effect tend to convert one amino acid into a different amino acid with similar properties. It is true that most mutations with an effect tend to be deleterious, but many organisms have multiple copies of a given gene (especially critical genes) so that is usually not a big deal.

    Golgi are the heavy industry of the cell and make complex proteins, other organelles and all sorts of stuff. They are big compared to most other organelles and are just as complex as any other.

    Golgi are just extensions of the cell membrane. In fact that is exactly how they form during cell division, they are caused by the membrane pulling in and pinching off. Once again, not very hard for evolution.

    Let me guess, you haven’t studied any biology past high school, have you?

    my question how did such structures form from just organic compounds, even if you consider the most basic sort of living cell possible, it would absolutely have to able to use energy, acquire food, digest said food and utilize energy, and fulfill all life functions long enough to reproduce, and keep the cycle going.

    Conditions were very different in early Earth. The oceans were soups of complex organic molecules that we know form spontaneously under such conditions. The first organisms would merely have had to take the basic building blocks and use them directly. Such complex soups are not around anymore, modern organisms need to take simple raw materials and build complex molecules out of those.

    As I said, the simplest organism would have been just a single RNA molecule (or similar molecule) that could act as a catalyst for its own formation. The basic building blocks, nucleotides, would have been floating around. These would have competed with each other for resources and evolved, eventually creating other molecules (like proteins) to help them.

    We know that simple versions of the modern cell membrane form spontaneously. Any self-replicated molecule that found itself inside such a molecule would have had an advantage. These would have evolved proteins that help them better manipulate this membrane, add functions that give it new capabilites, and pinch it off when the molecules reproduce (these could have happened in any order, and happened very slowly). Once you have a basic lipid bilayer, everything else is simple, incremental improvements. Most of the organelles in the cell fall into one of two categories: bits of the cell membrane that have pinched off to form additional structures (the golgi aparatus and endoplasmic reticulum are in this category), or other organisms that lived inside of an coopeted with another cell, eventually losing its own identity (mitochondria, chloroplasts, and probably lysosomes and maybe the nucleus fall in this category).

    As my third question you pointed to smaller strands of RNA, okay I can see a very basic lifeform being based on RNA, but even so you would have to have ENOUGH RNA to be able to cover all necessary information regarding cellular functions and reproduction,

    No, it wouldn’t. All it would need to be able to do is take free-floating nucleotides and connect them together. Once this happened, evolution would take over and more complex functions would begin to evolve. Remember, all the raw materials would have been floating freely in the ocean. It was only after all these were eaten up that organisms would need to start evolving the ability to manufacture their own raw materials.

    I find it hard to believe that such a structure would simply link up together on it’s own,

    We know that it would. Just because you find it hard to believe doesn’t mean much, you are saying you don’t believe in basic chemistry.

    besides the whole purpose of DNA and RNA is to provide information for the rest of the cell to follow, without it the cell doesn’t work, but without the cell RNA and DNA are not formed

    In modern organisms, but the first organism would have formed under radically different conditions than those we see today.

    By the way, if organic molecules and all sorts of organic molecules form spontaneously and are somehow able to make cells, then why have scientists had such a hard time creating life from such compounds, even in unrealistically “good” conditions for life to begin, these compounds have never been observed joining together to create any form of life.

    2 reasons: a lot of molecules, and a lot of time. We are talking about an entire ocean full of molecules for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. It is unreasonable to expect scientists to be able to produce them in a decade or so when we have tiny amounts of the molecules.

    Question four asked about the ancient and present atmosphere, okay EVERYONE knows what photosynthesis is, anyone who doesn’t is either an infant or is criminally ignorant, but you ARE aware that photosynthesis as we know is strongly reliant on the light it receives, correct? If the sunlight changed in composition then plants would die because they couldn’t use that kind of light, in an atmosphere dominated by heavy clouds of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide the light from the sun would not have supported photosynthesis,

    That would have been a problem if the clouds were dark enough to totally block out the sun, but if they were Earth would have been like Venus. It was never that dark.

    and you forgot to explain the enormous amount of Nitrogen!

    Nitrogen is the most common element in the atmosphere of every planet in the solar system. There is nothing surprising about that. Nitrogen is the fourth most common element after oxygen, but unlike oxygen is readily forms a diatomic form without needing life (N2), and it is remains a gas even at very cold temperatures (while much of the water in the solar system is ice or liquid), so it is not at all surprising.

    I’m pretty sure the gas planets are made up of huge oceans of Hydrogen and Helium, I wasn’t aware they had any significant amount of water, even if they do it would buried deep beneath the light hydrogen ocean,

    No, they are made up of clouds of hydrogen, helium, and much smaller amounts of other molecules (like water). They may have a tiny hydrogen ocean at the very center, but they are almost entirely atmosphere. Hydrogen and helium are bey far the largest components of that atmosphere, but there is plenty of water (small by fraction, but huge by total amount because the planets are so large).

    the Martian Ice caps are not made up of water, they are made up of CO2 Ice, and Pluto is made up of CO2 and methane ice,

    Mar’s ice caps are a combination of water and CO2 ice, and there is massive amounts of water ice locked in permafrost throughout Mars. Pluto is thought to be 70% rock and 30% water ice.

    actual water ice has been found in comets, planetary rings and etc, but it is not quite as common as you said it was!

    It is far more common there than it is on Earth. The amount of water on Earth is actually tiny, much less than one percent, while for comets water makes a large fraction of their total mass.

    question six asked about the evolution of multicellular lifeforms, you said “They are also based on the same principles. They are no more specialized than many single-celled life forms” I have to admit, this made me laugh! Now… I KNOW you’re not ACTUALLY saying that bacteria even compare to Neurons in complexity or specialization, I KNOW THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU MEANT!!!!

    You do realize that bacteria are not the only single-celled life form, right? There are many single-celled life forms that are far more complex than bacteria. There is a wide variety of complexity amongst single-celled organisms, ranging from extremely simple to about as complex as multi-cellular organisms. There is a wide variety of complexity in multi-cellular organisms, ranging from as complex as humans to almost about as complex as single-celled organisms. And there are a great many organisms that straddle the line, that are hard to categorize as single-celled or multi-celled.

    A good example is a slime mold. Most of the time they act as single-celled organisms. But under tough conditions they will link up and form slime that can move around as a single unit. It can even be taught simple mazes. Then, when it finds a suitable spot, some of the organisms sacrifice themselves to let the others turn into spores that escape.

    Even bacteria will form cooperative structures under tough conditions where the bacteria will divide up into specialized structures, with different cells taking on different roles. Some will even sacrifice themselves to let their close relatives survive.

    What I meant was how did a glob of relatively simple single-celled protists (they were most likely protists) come together and start dividing up the tasks between, and over time managed to specialize into various forms of cells see from Neurons to bone cells and muscle cells to skin cells,

    It is really quite simple, actually. First, you start off with an organism that can communicate when they touch. Then, some might start to link up when they divide. Here you get simple clusters of identical cells. Then, the cells use their signaling systems to cause slight changes in each other, so some cells have slightly different properties from others (this is likely to happen just by chance due to how the signaling molecules work). This is the beginning of differentiation.

    Once this has started, the cells will evolve to become more specialized since clusters with better specialization will waste fewer resources and thus survive better. Playing off the existing signaling molecules, as well as making duplicates of these molecules that can evolve new roles (this happens by chance), and by manipulating and modifying existing structures, more specialized cells will form.

    Neurons, for instance, mostly just use slightly specialized versions of molecules found in single-celled organisms. There are more of them, and they are somewhat modified, but not as much as you would think. Many single-celled organisms surround themselves with substances similar to bone, once again there is nothing strange about this. The cells in the human body are mostly using modified versions and modified amounts of tools found in single-celled organisms, rather than anything radically new.

    The first multi-cellular organisms would not have need skin or neurons or muscles. They would likely only have a handful of cells, so direct chemical communication (which our single-celled relatives already had) would have been enough. You would likely have had something like some cells for collecting food and moving (these would have been the same thing), and some for reproduction. These would be very similar, the reproductive cells would probably be smaller, be haploid, and lack feeding aparatus.

    As the cluster got larger, you might get a new type that provided some barrier to the outside world. This just involves secreting some extra protein. Then, you get a new type for providing some rigidity when it gets very large. This would just need to capture materials in the ocean in larger amounts than normal. Then, another type for defense. This would just involve specialized flagella and some modified signalling proteins or digestive proteins. Then, another to provide some slight movement over short time scales. This would use modified versions of cellular filaments. Then, some for more rapid communication. This uses larger amounts of normal membrane proteins. You now have the basic building blocks of a jellyfish.

    gametes serve no purpose whatsoever other than reproduction and sperm have very strong flagella and are powered by extra mitochondria to race eachother to the egg, the winner well wins and they rest die.

    Yes, but since they all have the same DNA, they still get to pass on their genes. So helping out their own clones is beneficial to them.

    Any animal cell is clearly larger and more complex than any bacterium

    You do realize the difference between bacteria and protist, right?

    but the actual evolution of the eye is not so simplified as that, a recent computer simulation showing the evolution of the eye was admitted by the same scientists involved to be a “gross oversimplification” and “not worthy of being considered evidence”,

    How does that refute anything I said? So his particular model was simplified. That doesn’t change the fact that we know that every stage of the evolution of the eye is still around, and that moving from one stage to another requires very simple, incremental steps that are always beneficial.

    “The eye is actually a great example of how a complex structure can evolve”, if this is true then can you explain these “incremental improvements”?

    I did, what part of my explanation didn’t you understand?

    Question nine asked about hummingbirds, you pointed to helicopters, which was a BIG mistake because that set me up for a great comeback!

    You assume I wasn’t anticipating this comeback. I’ve dealt with plenty of creationists before, I have heard all your arguments literally hundreds of times before. Not one is the least bit difficult for anyone who has even a basic understanding of biology. To put it bluntly, this was a set-up, and you fell right into it.

    Helicopters are as anyone knows DESIGNED… by man no less, they are made up of various parts that serve various purposes and are able to fly in any direction or hover,

    Yes, and they look designed. They have parts that look specifically chosen for their role. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, have parts that are far from optimal cobbled together for a role that they were not originally intended for. Helicopter rotors look like helicopter rotors, they do not look like airplane wings and they are not remotely similar to automobile tires. Hummingbird wings are very similar to falcon wings, stork wings, pelican wings, even ostrich wings, even though the conditions they are used under are radically different. They also look very much like human hands, dolphin flippers, dog paws, and . Bat wings look more like human hands than they do like bird wings.

    This is what you would expect from evolution, new structures are rare, new functionality is obtained by modification of existing structures, often leading to serious deficiencies. This is not how anything designed by a human looks, things are created de novo for the purpose for which they are intended. When developing a a helicopter rotor, no one would think to start with a car wheel and modify that, but that is exactly what hummingbird wings look like, modifications of arms and hands.

    And, if you look at how they develop while the organism is forming, they form from the same structures and are triggered using the same signaling molecules as our arms. In fact, as I mentioned before, some birds actually start of with claws fingers which develop into wings.

    now then are you aware that not really so long ago, even a top evolutionist said that the hummingbird evolving would be like a tornado ripping through a junkyard and spitting out a Boeing 747!

    Helicopters don’t breed. Things that don’t breed don’t evolve. The junkyard argument is considered one of the silliest arguments against evolution, because it assumes modern organisms appeared in their present form out of nothing. However, they didn’t, they evolved by stepwise modification of existing structures.

    though I never heard of any such system where there only two castes, you HAVE to have the queen obviously and workers… and drones (males) to reproduce, some have soldiers who are bigger and tougher to defend the hive, that’s three minimum or four that I can think of offhand.

    First, you would only need drones and females. All workers are females, just some are sterile. The ‘workers” could also breed (as I mentioned, we still have ants alive today that don’t have queens, such as bulldog ants). Then, you could have workers, drones, and queens. Then, you could have workers, drones, queens, and warriors (the latter being more specialized workers). And so on and so on.

    thought I’d like to say that these imperfections you see exist due to mutations of otherwise perfect genes into notably less perfect genes,

    Evidence please. Can you tell me what these mutations were? And why do all our relatives also have the exact same problems?

    mutations are the reason why ALL genetic diseases and deformities exist,

    This is false. Many deformities are caused by random abnormalities in development and have nothing at all to do with genetics.

    this rather easily accounts for alot of the problems you see in designed structures that have weakened now that they are outside of God’s light,

    That doesn’t explain why these structures are exactly like what we would expect if they evolved from other structures.

    To give you an example, the nerves running from our spinal cord go to strips of tissues around our body, with nerves coming from between a given pair of vertebra going to consistent strips of tissue in everyone. If you look from the chest to the abdomen, these form stripes. But once you start getting to the legs and bottom, they get twisted and look really strange, as they do in the head. That

    is, until you bend a person over so they are on all fours. Then suddenly the stripes go cleanly from head to the end of our body. In other words, the layout of the nerves in our body are oriented or a four-legged animal. This is exactly what you would expect if we evolved from a four-legged animal, but makes no sense if you think we are just getting worse (in that case, if anything, we would expect the stripes to be blurring or becoming patchy, not just rotating into a new orientation).

    I can list dozens of examples like this, ones that make perfect sense in terms of evolution but don’t look at all designed, even if we think the original design is decaying.

    This also supposes a far higher rate of mutation that scientists think should be happening, so by your logic we should be dropping dead from harmful mutations right left and center.

    This is utterly impossible in every sense of the word, and if I don’t believe evolution can do this, how much MORE ridiculous is this!

    But aren’t you arguing that this happened just a couple thousand years ago? We have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of new species just in the last couple hundred years.

    Fossils showing human foot-prints crossed with a Trilobite and another with a dinosaur have been found, both footprints are not perfectly clear and are disputed by evolutionists, you can find them on the internet, for my part they look like human footprints to me!

    These are well-known frauds. Even the creationists themselves have told people to stop bringing these up because they are such transparent frauds.

    well Human eyes are very, VERY close to those of squid, whom are VERY different, and our skin is closer to that of a pig than to primates)

    I would suggest you look up what “biochemistry” means.

    And no, our eyes are not that similar to a squid. Superficially they look similar, and they operate based on the same principles, but when you look at the details they are remarkable in just how different they are. Once again, this makes sense in evolution, where two species evolved the structures relying on the same basic principles in different ways. The same could be said for bat wings, bird wings, and pterodactyl wings. This doesn’t make sense from a design standpoint, Boeing wings and Airbus wings are pretty much the same.

    But seriously, man is responsible for his own downfall, so it’s man’s responsibility to find God himself and be forgiven of his sins,

    Technically no, he and she were not. The tree that the Adam and Eve ate from (supposedly) was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve didn’t understand the concept of right and wrong prior to this, so they had no way of knowing their actions were wrong. In our modern society we don’t punish people who didn’t understand that what they did was wrong because we consider this unjust. We say such people are not responsible for their decisions.

    He has been far more than patient and lenient and has provided us with more than enough chances and even provided us with easy means of reaching Him (through Jesus),

    Easy, right. So, can you tell me exactly what the requirements are for getting into heaven? At some points, Jesus (supposedly) says that just believing in him are enough. In other places, he lists numerous other requirements (such as good works).

    And what happened to Jesus’s promise about believers being able to move mountains? What happened to the promise that God would do anything that at least two of his followers asked for?

    He only wants our repentance and he will forgive us, God is very much willing to do so if only you overcome your pride and ask Him.

    Have any evidence that God actually exists? How do we know that there isn’t a God that rewards skepticism and doubt and punishes obedience to bronze-age stories?

  123. Mark Hansen

    Commonsense, I can see exactly why you haven’t found a biology textbook that answers your questions. No biology textbook gives “goddidit” as the answer.

    BTW, at least one of your answers to TBC’s rebuttals is nonsensical. To demonstrate:
    …12) Your finger have no muscles in them, if they did they would be too fat to use for the great many tasks that our hands can do, instead their movement is controlled through a complex network of nerves and tendons linking them to muscles in your forearms, these move your fingers, go ahead and look! How is this NOT a clear example of Intelligent Design!…”
    Which TBC answers with:
    If it was an example of intelligent design you would not see the nerves pass through a random, useless loop of tendon that is prone to inflammation that pinches the nerve and causes debilitating pain.

    There is really nothing that difficult about it. The bones would have had tendons to begin with (that is how muscles connect to bones in the first place). Our fish ancestors must have had them, as do lobe-finned fish today. As the tissue between the bones disappear to allow for more movement (which would have been beneficial in an incremental manner), the tendons would have remained, allowing the animal to still control its fingers.

    So you have it backwards, it is not that the fingers developed tendons, it is that they lost muscle. The tendons were always there…

    Which you then counter with:
    “…questions eleven and twelve asked about the human hands and feet and for the most part your rebuttal was decent, thought I’d like to say that these imperfections you see exist due to mutations of otherwise perfect genes into notably less perfect genes, as the design gets more and more tangled with you will see more and not less problems, mutations are the reason why ALL genetic diseases and deformities exist, this rather easily accounts for alot of the problems you see in designed structures that have weakened now that they are outside of God’s light, see originally they were perfect structures but have slowly decayed…

    So human fingers, which as you pointed out can’t have muscles because they wouldn’t work, did have muscles designed into them in the perfect humans that were originally around. So these perfect humans could do nothing with their perfect fingers. Do you see a problem there?

  124. Messier Tidy Upper

    @113. “me” :

    @ MTU’s bizarre rant – You sir, are a prize twat. I award you this special hat made of angry bees.

    Thankyou! [Smokes off the bees, enjoys the tasty honey.] It was delicious. ;-)

    And what the hell is an “all-American individual” anyway?

    An American individual – United States thereof – who is born and raised in the USA, who strongly upholds and supports American culture and its key values (democracy, capitalism, equality, the right to life, liberty & pursuit of happiness, the American way, etc ..) and doesn’t have divided loyalties or define herself / himself as some qualified, hyphenated part-American identity eg. African-American, Arab-American, heck even Irish American but is instead purely un-hyphenated-ly American.

    The term “African-American” is kind of puzzling to this outsider for a number of reasons not least that it usually refers to people born, raised and residing in the United States with no immediate connection to Africa barring a very distant ancestry. These people I would think would do far, far better to consider themselves as plain Americans rather than consciously or sub-consciously defining themselves as separate and other than just all-American.

    Also what is “African-American” even supposed mean other than having a certain skin colour – which should be irrelevant anyhow – and maybe a distant slave ancestor?

    Are the African-Americans meaning to say by terming themselves that that they hold African values or are of African culture – because Africa is a whole great continent with a range of different cultures from Libyan and Moroccan at the Northern end through to South African at the southern tip. Which African culture and what African elements are they meant to be identifying with – the ones of their long vanished distant tribal ancestors and Arab Slavers who sold them into slavery? The modern African cultures with dictatorships and tribal warfare like that most horribly displayed in Rwanada in the Hutu-Tutsi genocides? Why? Are they not now fully melded into the melting pot that is American culture?

    Yes, I know there was the whole sorry episode of civil wars, segregation and so on, I know the’re’s been past extrme racism and suffering. I’m not meaning to deny or minimise that – but that is all long over. Martin Luther King had a dream that all people be treated equally. Nowadays in US culture being black-skinned is if anything an advantage or so I gather. They get the benefits of “affirmative action” and they and their sub-cultures are celebrated in many different ways.There’s hardly any racism left – otherwise the ACLU would have better things to do than carry on about Hallmark cards that mentioned “black holes” like somehow *that* was racist?

    Would Obama have been elected if he had been a purely white-skinned man rather than a bi-racial one who is generally but dubiously considered – and applauded for being – “black”, I wonder?

    Would a white politician get the sort of pass Obama got if they nodded along to an equivalent of Jeremiah Wright’s ranting racist anti-American sermons and hung out with old communist terrorists like Bill Ayers?

    Does it [er.. dude, I'm talking of people here so I think you mean 'she' or 'he' there -ed.] fart the Stars and Stripes while swigging on a tankard of crude or what? Are you saying that people who are a product of several cultures are unsuitable for office? In America?

    No, I am NOT saying that at all.

    Do you need to take a course in reading comprehension or something?

    No, people who are products of several cultures are not unsuited for office in America at all.

    But it does seem to me that the best choice for the *President* of the United States of America is someone who was born in America ideally to Americans, raised in American culture, and is someone fully identifying as and upholding the values and culture of the USA.

    Someone who there is argument over his birth nation, someone born to a father who follows a religion that is waging a Jihad on America – and holds values antagonistic to and incompatible with mainstream American culture and values, someone who was raised in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation and a third world dictatorship at the time, someone who only half identifies themselves as American (the hyphenated prefix) who listens to anti-American speeches attending and loyally following an anti-American hate-monger and buddying up with Communist terrorists in his past; you really saying there aren’t some valid questions to be asked about *that* particular candidate’s suitability for the office of President of the United States?

    Really?

    I don’t care about skin colour – that can’t be helped & really isn;t relevant to anything.

    Politico-religious and cultural beliefs and choices, OTOH, are very much factors that need to be considered not glossed over in the messianic hysteria of black president! Wooh-hoo! Hope & change & yes we can!” that was Obamania.

    So is the substance and meaning of the candidates words and policies – “Hope” for what exactly- not Moon landings obviously! What “changes” precisely? “Yes we can” – do what? Spend more cancel the human spaceflight program? Try & fail to appease our deadliest enemies while snubbing and failing to support our closest allies?

    Critical thoughtand analysis and skepticism needs to apply to politics – even against saint Obama – too.

  125. Messier Tidy Upper

    There’s hardly any racism left today – otherwise the ACLU NAACP would have better things to do than carry on about Hallmark cards that mentioned “black holes” like somehow *that* was racist?

    See :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/14/the-hallmark-of-a-black-hole/

    Sorry, I got one minor fact wrong – it the NAACP and NOT the ACLU in that specific bit of nonsense.

    Also racism here is referring only to racism against African-Americans, sadly anti-Semitism seems to be on the rise once again these days. :-(

    Would a white politician get the sort of pass Obama got if they nodded along to an equivalent of Jeremiah Wright’s ranting racist anti-American sermons and hung out with old communist terrorists like Bill Ayers?

    See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers for more info.

  126. me

    @ MTU

    You said -

    “Would Obama have been elected if he had been a purely white-skinned man rather than a bi-racial one who is generally but dubiously considered – and applauded for being – “Black”, I wonder? ”

    Are you seriously asking whether a Harvard lawyer who has served as a senator would ever have a chance at being president without the ‘benefit’ of mixed parentage?

    And he was born in Hawaii and was for the most part raised there, being in Indonesia from the age of six to the age of ten, before returning and becoming a teenage pothead. Sounds like the fundamentalist indoctrination must have been real strong there.

    Personally, I think your comment – “I don’t care about skin colour – that can’t be helped” is your most revealing. Why would it need to be ‘helped’ in the first place?

    As far as your views on this subject go and repeated reassurances of colour blindness, thou doth protest too much, methinks.

  127. me

    also @ MTU

    and as for this little gem of yours-

    “Nowadays in US culture being black-skinned is if anything an advantage or so I gather. They get the benefits of “affirmative action” and they and their sub-cultures are celebrated in many different ways.There’s hardly any racism left”

    Hell, I can’t be bothered mincing words or making fun of you for this, you just come across as a total bigot is all.

  128. Messier Tidy Upper

    @107. TheBlackCat :

    MTU : “but I strongly feel the British were the best of Empires, more humane, more generous, more enlightened than most others with the only possible exception being the American one.”
    Tell that to the Tasmanians. Oh, right, you can’t, because the British labeled them as vermin (on the same level as rats and cockroaches) and exterminated every last one of them.

    Not quite true.

    See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Mansell

    & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Augustus_Robinson

    &

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_Aborigines#20th_century_to_present_day

    It’s an urban (historical) legend that the British wiped out the Tasmanian aboriginals. The truth is, predictably, much more complex and nuanced than that.

    I agree some dreadful things happened in history & yes, no empire even the british one is without blemish.

    Humans have always been pretty appalling & inhumane to their fellow humans at times. That’s human nature, sadly.

    There was so much rape going on agianst the Tasmanians, scientists were surprised half British half Tasmanian children weren’t around. They thought they had found a new human-like species that couldn’t interbreed with others. It turned out the British were just killing the babies as soon as they were born.

    Really? :roll:

    You got any actual evidence to back up that extraordinary claim.

    As far as I can recall neither the Spanish, French, nor Portuguese colonists outright exterminated an entire race, or did anything else nearly as horrible as what was done to the Tasmanians by the British.

    The Spanish wiped out the Incans, Aztecs and oh yeah, those original West Indian peoples that greeted Columbus. :-(

    The French? Well, maybe they just never got the chance to committ worse genocides because the British kept beating them at the Empire building game! ;-)

    More seriously, I’m pretty sure that the French were pretty appalling at times with their colonisation too. Algeria springs to mind.

    The Portugese were minor players but I think they were guilty of some horrific things in Angola just as the Belgians were in the Congo.

    I don’t think the British were perfect but they weren’t the worst offenders.

    Those were very different times and the understadning and thinking of people in those past eras is worlds apart from our comfortable modern understanding – that is made possible and made what it is by those past empires being in our history.

    Note too how well some of these nations have NOT done once they got their independence post-colonialism eg. Mugabe in Zimbabwe & you have to say maybe colonisation isn’t the worst thing in their histories and isn’t totally to blame for everything either.

    Also recall my comments in # 97 above on the lions or zebras metaphor.

  129. TheBlackCat

    Would a white politician get the sort of pass Obama got if they nodded along to an equivalent of Jeremiah Wright’s ranting racist anti-American sermons and hung out with old communist terrorists like Bill Ayers?

    Right, because no white politician who belonged to a church that wants to overthrow the U.S. government and implement a theocracy and whose husband belongs to a group that promoted seceding from the U.S. could be considering a likely candidate for president, right? No white politician who was born overseas and spent much of his formative years outside the U.S. could be a presidential candidate, right?

    My dad spent more of his early childhood in a non-Christian country than Obama did, a country that hated the U.S. far more than Indonesia, in fact the only country besides Britain to carry out an attack on U.S. soil and that we had just spent massive sums of money and American lives to defeat. Are you going to question his qualifications as an American as well? Any argument you use against Obama’s childhood applies 10 times over to my father.

    There’s hardly any racism left

    The very fact that we are having debates about Obama’s citizenship proves that is not the case.

  130. me

    “Are you going to question his qualifications as an American as well?”

    He might, y’know. And unfortunately the explanation will probably run for several pages.
    A mate of mine uses the phrase ‘eloquent incompetence’, and I think that just about nails it in this case.

  131. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 131. “me” : So instead of bothering to think, to read & consider what I *actually* wrote rather than what you just imagine is there you’re just going to name-call and insult me?

    You’re coming across as a total tool there. :-P

    @130. “me” :

    @ MTU : Are you seriously asking whether a Harvard lawyer who has served as a senator would ever have a chance at being president without the ‘benefit’ of mixed parentage?

    No, I’m seriously asking whether someone who was friends with a Communist terrorist, a fan and devoted supporter of a black supremacist hate-mongering anti-American preacher and whose main election slogans were meaningless nonsense would have had a chance of winning the Presidency if it wasn’t for the reverse racism implicit in the “Let’s have a black President! Any Black president!” mood with the last US election.

    And he was born in Hawaii ..

    I never said he wasn’t. ;-)

    Actually, technically, I never mentioned Obama by name there in that description of a candidate, of someone. The facts just happen to fit Obama almost perfectly. ;-)

    Obama says he was born in Hawaii. Well, of course he would. :roll:

    Do I believe him?

    You may be surprised to read that yes I *do* believe him on this particular matter. From what I’ve seen and heard on this issue, Obama almost certainly was born where he says he was.

    But note that I wrote specifically :

    Someone who there is argument over his birth nation

    Which is different from stating he wasn’t born American in America. Its that many people don’t think he was. I’m not one of them. But it is still a point against Obama because, right or wrong, there is that question mark and it does pose a slight problem for someone wishing to become POTUS.

    .. and was for the most part raised there, being in Indonesia from the age of six to the age of ten, before returning and becoming a teenage pothead. Sounds like the fundamentalist indoctrination must have been real strong there.

    Yeah, because abusing drugs and extremist Islam are really incompatible .. Oh wait, they’re not! :roll:

    Don’t you know where the word “assassin” comes from? ;-)

    No? It comes from the Arabic Ḥashāshīn (also Hashishin or Hashashiyyin) which were a Muslim band led by Hassan-i Sabbah, an Islamic cult leader, and who were drugged into thinking they’d seen paradise then sent off on deadly assassination missions.

    Too much ancient history? Consider that the Taliban get a lot of their income from the drug trade even today as do other terrorist groups.

    Islam condemns alcohol – you get flogged or imprisoned or whatever for having an alcholic drink in Muslim lands – but other drugs such as pot its not so opposed to.

    Personally, I think your comment – “I don’t care about skin colour – that can’t be helped” is your most revealing. Why would it need to be ‘helped’ in the first place?

    Big reading comprehension FAIL there “me”. You’ve missed my point entirely.
    What I’m saying there is that in contrast to skin colour which we cannot choose for ourselves (the sense of the word “help” that I was intending there) we can choose what we think and believe. I’ll admit though that I might’ve phrased that poorly.

  132. Messier Tidy Upper

    @133. TheBlackCat :

    Right, because no white politician who belonged to a church that wants to overthrow the U.S. government and implement a theocracy and whose husband belongs to a group that promoted seceding from the U.S. could be considering a likely candidate for president, right? No white politician who was born overseas and spent much of his formative years outside the U.S. could be a presidential candidate, right?

    Well no, of course not. Are you suggesting that background fits a real example or just asking a hypothetical if odd and futile question?

    My dad spent more of his early childhood in a non-Christian country than Obama did, a country that hated the U.S. far more than Indonesia, in fact the only country besides Britain to carry out an attack on U.S. soil and that we had just spent massive sums of money and American lives to defeat. Are you going to question his qualifications as an American as well? Any argument you use against Obama’s childhood applies 10 times over to my father.

    No, I’m not questioning your father’s qualifications.
    They’re totally irrelevant to this debate. Unless …

    Is your father running for President of the United States? I doubt it somehow!

    There does need to be a bit more scrutiny for those who are, y’know hoping to rule the entire nation and lead the free world.

    *****

    PS. Black Cat I’ve responded to your comment #107 too but its currently awaiting moderation.

  133. Messier Tidy Upper

    @134. “me” :

    He might, y’know. And unfortunately the explanation will probably run for several pages. A mate of mine uses the phrase ‘eloquent incompetence’, and I think that just about nails it in this case.

    “Insulting waste of time” certainly nails *your* case anyhow, “me”! :-P

    Insults are quick to post but they lack any actual validity so you might want to rethink your approach to posting here, “me”.

    Unlike you “me” I take the time to elaborate and back up what I’m saying with actual valid arguments and good reasons.

    Still I guess going into any depth surpasses your short attention span or something, does it “me”?

    Well I’m not changing my style to suit your ADD problem “me”. :-P

    But, perhaps, if you ask nicely next time I’ll try and see if I can put things in simple one-syllable words and so briefly that even you can understand. Or maybe not.

  134. Commonsense1208

    PayasYouStargaze said “Let’s assume your ignorant claim that all mutations are destructive. while in reality mutations can be beneficial or neutral depending on the environment.”
    I never said all mutations are destructive, what I said was most are bad, a mutation is basically a mistake made during replication, this is a loss or change in genetic information, if you were copying a text book and occasionally switched random letters or words around would it not make it harder to read, if whole sentences disappeared then vital information could be lost, these kinds of changes are rarely beneficial, though sometimes it does happen, such as disease resistance, rather than calling me ignorant perhaps you should read my comments with your eyes instead your arrogance
    “My question is, what did humans look like WHEN you believe we were created? What did our PERFECT legs and feet look like? What about the separate windpipes and gullets that we surely had? Did men not have nipples? Did we have an appendix? Did our eyes have blind spots? Some creationist must have sketched these out. I guess I could also ask why we then evolved into something so resembling other primates.”
    I would imagine that Adam and Eve would have looked like us in pretty much every way, at least at first glance, but their DNA would be pure and free of any bad genes or defects, their eyes would have lasted far longer than ours, and they would have been much longer lived (the Bible mentions people living several hundred or even over a thousand years, though whether this is based on lunar or solar years, I don’t know). You’re not the first person to ask me why men have nipples and I’ll tell you the same thing I told him, I don’t know why men have nipples and I really don’t care, although since you brought it up, what does evolution have to say about men having nipples? Where did they come from, they wouldn’t exist unless they had some kind of use at some time, I’m curious what that was?
    Me quoted my words “and even provided us with easy means of reaching Him (through Jesus)” and said “And where do we find Jesus then?”
    I don’t know why you bother asking such a simple question, but any child can tell you to pray and God/Jesus will hear you.
    “Cos I had a look in my local park, and found a few people who thought they were Jesus, but I’m not sure that counts as I didn’t think there was meant to be more than one of them about at a time and none of them gave me an easy means of reaching God. One of them was easy though, so the trip wasn’t entirely wasted.”
    There plenty of nutjobs in crazy-house who claim to be God, Jesus, some historical figure or whatever, yet the impact made by one particular man 2000 years ago has had unbelievably profound impact on mankind’s history ever since, his followers are now the world’s largest religion and of course there are people who attack his Word and followers with as much zeal any religious person ever did, people question whether Christ even existed which is just jaw-dropping considering the impact he had! You follow your own religion (that of atheistic evolutionism) which you hold in your heart with more conviction than “I” do for Christ, it’s impressive and inspiring!
    Now to TheBlackCat’s counter argument, thank you again for replying, actually I like the way you reply, it makes things easier!
    The Nucleus contains all the DNA and is essentially the brain of the cell
    “That is true in humans and other eukaryotes, but the vast majority of organisms on Earth don’t have a nucleus at all.”
    You are referring to prokaryotes (bacteria and cyanobacteria) which have no said Nucleus and their DNA free-floats around the cell… yes but you wanted examples of designed organelles, so I gave you one, er make that three!
    and the nuclear membrane control passage in and out of the nucleus, this membrane and it’s cousins the cell membrane are made up of layers of proteins and lipids and act as a semipermeable barrier against unwanted molecules and special openings called transporters and channels allow the ones they want in, it is not nearly as simple as it looks on paper, it’s a living wall that moves around, that can swallow large food goblets and become vacuoles (storage) leaving itself in a pinched position until it was reorganized.
    “I know how a cell membrane works. The basic principles are very simple, a lipid bilayer that we know forms spontaneously. More complex organisms have added random bits and pieces to it, but those are just add-ons, they are not necessary for the most basic membrane.”
    This oversimplifying it a bit much don’t you think! There are quite a lot of lipids and proteins that make up the cell membrane and they are arranged in a certain manner, the cell membrane is the “skin” of the cell and as I said it’s like a living wall that can move and absorb large food globs if necessary, it’s an amazing structure.
    The Ribosome is a miniature factory responsible for taking RNA and using it to make DNA,
    “What? No, that isn’t even remotely close to being right. The ribosome is a pair of RNA molecules that together are used to read other RNA molecules into proteins. It is nothing like a factory, in fact it uses very simple chemical reactions that are well-characterized. Ribosomes have nothing whatsoever to do with DNA.”
    Okay my bad, I stand corrected, Ribosomes use RNA to make proteins and stuff, I’ve been out of school too long.
    if it messes up in the smallest way it results in a mutation, which often causes great harm, most mutation end up destroyed afflicted cells so they eliminate themselves, very few mutations end up beneficial in any way, but even if they do, the mutation needs to be passed on offspring or it won’t go very far!
    “Actually, the vast majority of mutations do nothing at all, or only have a small effect. The DNA code is pretty resistant to mutation, so most mutations that have an effect tend to convert one amino acid into a different amino acid with similar properties. It is true that most mutations with an effect tend to be deleterious, but many organisms have multiple copies of a given gene (especially critical genes) so that is usually not a big deal.”
    I find it hard to believe that a mistake made during replication EVER have no impact, it seems to imply that that information was useless and served no purpose, as I said at the beginning a mutation is basically a mistake made curing replication, this is a loss or change in genetic information, if you were copying a text book and occasionally switched random letters or words around would it not make it harder to read, if whole sentences disappeared then vital information could be lost, these kinds of changes are VERY rarely beneficial, though occasionally it does happen, such as disease resistance or something,
    Golgi are the heavy industry of the cell and make complex proteins, other organelles and all sorts of stuff. They are big compared to most other organelles and are just as complex as any other.
    “Golgi are just extensions of the cell membrane. In fact that is exactly how they form during cell division, they are caused by the membrane pulling in and pinching off. Once again, not very hard for evolution.”
    And they produce all sorts of stuff for the cell, they are critical for that purpose, like factories.
    “Let me guess, you haven’t studied any biology past high school, have you?”
    Actually no I haven’t, though you apparently have, which explains why you can actually refute my points rather than insult me and use name-calling and arrogant language like other evolutionists do, I can’t stand such people. I have wanted to go to college, my problem is money (college is absurdly expensive and getting increasingly so) and not really knowing what to major for, I’d certainly take biology as a course if only to better understand it.
    my question how did such structures form from just organic compounds, even if you consider the most basic sort of living cell possible, it would absolutely have to able to use energy, acquire food, digest said food and utilize energy, and fulfill all life functions long enough to reproduce, and keep the cycle going.
    “Conditions were very different in early Earth. The oceans were soups of complex organic molecules that we know form spontaneously under such conditions.. Such complex soups are not around anymore,.”
    Does anyone else see it in this part, I do, let me point this out: You say “The first organisms would merely have had to take the basic building blocks and use them directly” but then you say “modern organisms need to take simple raw materials and build complex molecules out of those”…. I find this odd, you’re saying that way back when the ocean was filled with all sorts of complex organic molecules ready to go for the first life to use but modern life has to manufacture them from the beginning!… if these organic molecules can form spontaneously and do so all the time and are so commonplace as you’ve been saying, life today be jumping like crazy over the endless amount of them that would exist, why would they require a means to manufacture what is already abundantly available?!
    “As I said, the simplest organism would have been just a single RNA molecule (or similar molecule) that could act as a catalyst for its own formation. The basic building blocks, nucleotides, would have been floating around. These would have competed with each other for resources and evolved, eventually creating other molecules (like proteins) to help them.”
    And these basic RNA molecules would have found there into existing on their own right? So why don’t we see this in a laboratory experiment, you seem to imply it’s so easy for life to begin in this vast ocean of organic molecules and nucleotides and all the building blocks that existed at this time, I’m actually well aware that no real scientist believes this was so simple, they regard the beginning of life to of profoundly miraculous chance against all the odds!
    “We know that simple versions of the modern cell membrane form spontaneously. Any self-replicated molecule that found itself inside such a molecule would have had an advantage. These would have evolved proteins that help them better manipulate this membrane, add functions that give it new capabilites, and pinch it off when the molecules reproduce (these could have happened in any order, and happened very slowly). Once you have a basic lipid bilayer, everything else is simple, incremental improvements. Most of the organelles in the cell fall into one of two categories: bits of the cell membrane that have pinched off to form additional structures (the golgi aparatus and endoplasmic reticulum(?) are in this category), or other organisms that lived inside of an coopeted with another cell, eventually losing its own identity (mitochondria, chloroplasts, and probably lysosomes(?) and maybe the nucleus fall in this category).”
    The endoplasmic reticulum? Which is the highway network of the cell and comes in two forms (rough and smooth) I thought it was a largely temporary structure that got things where they needed to be and collapsed itself when no longer needed, it connects to the Nucleus and Golgi apparatus, I wasn’t aware of this having anything to do with the cell membrane, though I guess it have been connected to take incoming molecules and transport them, it seems sensible enough.
    Lysosomes? Which eat up unwanted waste, old organelles and stuff and act kind of like a white blood cell within a cell. I’ve never heard that one, would you care to elaborate on that a little more?
    As my third question you pointed to smaller strands of RNA, okay I can see a very basic lifeform being based on RNA, but even so you would have to have ENOUGH RNA to be able to cover all necessary information regarding cellular functions and reproduction,
    “No, it wouldn’t. All it would need to be able to do is take free-floating nucleotides and connect them together. Once this happened, evolution would take over and more complex functions would begin to evolve. Remember, all the raw materials would have been floating freely in the ocean. It was only after all these were eaten up that organisms would need to start evolving the ability to manufacture their own raw materials.”
    And even the smallest nucleotide would have to have some sort of consciousness guiding it (I believe all life in any form has some level of consciousness, based on that any living thing has movement and reacts to stimuli and acts on its own, consciousness is what makes it qualify as “life”), at what point would consciousness begin? Even if a very simple thought to merely do something like grow larger or replicate, at what point would this begin?
    By the way, if organic molecules and all sorts of organic molecules form spontaneously and are somehow able to make cells, then why have scientists had such a hard time creating life from such compounds, even in unrealistically “good” conditions for life to begin, these compounds have never been observed joining together to create any form of life.
    2 reasons: a lot of molecules, and a lot of time. We are talking about an entire ocean full of molecules for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. It is unreasonable to expect scientists to be able to produce them in a decade or so when we have tiny amounts of the molecules.
    What is so unreasonable about this, you’ve been saying how abundant organic molecules are and how things can form spontaneously and so on, you seem to imply that it’s easy for life to start on it’s own, in laboratory where scientist can control every aspect of the environment to the slightest detail they should be able to provide everything needed for life and stir it, move it around and give it time, why do you insist on this loopy idea that if enough time passes something will happen, if I wait for a deck of cards in a field to from into a card castle, will it ever on its own, no it needs a creator to patiently make it, but for your scenario you need a stimulus, perhaps lightning or thermal energy from ocean vents (last time I checked this was the latest idea on how life began), but even abundant energy will not automatically cause things to begin happening like you say.
    Question four asked about the ancient and present atmosphere, okay EVERYONE knows what photosynthesis is, anyone who doesn’t is either an infant or is criminally ignorant, but you ARE aware that photosynthesis as we know is strongly reliant on the light it receives, correct? If the sunlight changed in composition then plants would die because they couldn’t use that kind of light, in an atmosphere dominated by heavy clouds of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide the light from the sun would not have supported photosynthesis,
    “That would have been a problem if the clouds were dark enough to totally block out the sun, but if they were Earth would have been like Venus. It was never that dark.”
    It doesn’t have to completely block out the sun, sulfur dioxide particularly is well known for it’s ability to devastate ecosystems through acid rain, but photosynthesis would have to change and adapt as the atmosphere changed, this could potentially happen but would require the whole process to be reworked repeatedly
    and you forgot to explain the enormous amount of Nitrogen!
    “Nitrogen is. There is nothing surprising about that. Nitrogen is the fourth most common element after oxygen, but unlike oxygen is readily forms a diatomic form without needing life (N2), and it is remains a gas even at very cold temperatures (while much of the water in the solar system is ice or liquid), so it is not at all surprising.”
    Um… NO! Nitrogen is certainly NOT “the most common element in the atmosphere of every planet in the solar system” are you sure you meant to imply this! This doesn’t sound like you! Earth is the ONLY planet of which Nitrogen is a major component of the atmosphere! Just to give some statistics Mercury- has no atmosphere, Venus-96.5% Carbon Dioxide 3.5% Nitrogen 1% trace gases, Earth- 78.09% Nitrogen 20.95% Oxygen 1% trace gases, Mars- 95.32% Carbon Dioxide 2.7% Nitrogen 1.6%Argon .4% trace gases, Jupiter- 88.8% Hydrogen 10.2% helium almost negligible trace gases, Saturn-96% Hydrogen 3% Helium 1% trace gases, Uranus-83% Hydrogen 15% Helium 3% Methane almost negligible trace gases, Neptune- 80% Hydrogen 19% Helium 1.5% Methane almost negligible trace gases, Pluto- partial atmosphere that freezes and thaws made up of Nitrogen, methane and Carbon Monoxide, I was surprised that Venus and Mars had over 90% CO2, I didn’t think it was quite that much!, Nitrogen wasn’t even mentioned for any of the gas giants even in the ppm’s, and I couldn’t find the exact numbers for Pluto, I’m afraid I got you on this one!
    I’m pretty sure the gas planets are made up of huge oceans of Hydrogen and Helium, I wasn’t aware they had any significant amount of water, even if they do it would buried deep beneath the light hydrogen ocean,
    “No, they are made up of clouds of hydrogen, helium, and much smaller amounts of other molecules (like water). They may have a tiny hydrogen ocean at the very center, but they are almost entirely atmosphere. Hydrogen and helium are bey far the largest components of that atmosphere, but there is plenty of water (small by fraction, but huge by total amount because the planets are so large).”
    All the gas giants have huge amounts of hydrogen and helium, these make up virtually the entire atmosphere, at a certain depth, gravity compresses the gas into liquid form and creates the hydrogen/helium ocean I was talking about, have you ever heard of the comet Shoemaker, Levey 9 which broke into nine pieces and smacked into Jupiter? They exploded on the planet’s ocean showing this to be closer than previously thought, the comet gave us a lot of useful information about Jupiter including its role in the solar system as a punching bag for comets and rogue asteroids, better it than Earth!
    the Martian Ice caps are not made up of water, they are made up of CO2 Ice, and Pluto is made up of CO2 and methane ice,
    “Mar’s ice caps are a combination of water and CO2 ice, and there is massive amounts of water ice locked in permafrost throughout Mars. Pluto is thought to be 70% rock and 30% water ice.”
    Pluto seems to check out, and I found this about Mars “The volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters” yeah that’s pretty amount of water, though it’s still nothing compared to Earth which existing ocean would cover a flat surface by over a mile and the Earth has almost FOUR times the surface area of Mars so….
    actual water ice has been found in comets, planetary rings and etc, but it is not quite as common as you said it was!
    “It is far more common there than it is on Earth. The amount of water on Earth is actually tiny, much less than one percent, while for comets water makes a large fraction of their total mass.”
    True enough, but as far as I can tell the water from the planets, their rings, their moons and asteroids and comets simply do not add up, it seems that the Earth has taken a disproportionately huge percentage of the water in the solar system for it’s size.
    question six asked about the evolution of multicellular lifeforms, you said “They are also based on the same principles. They are no more specialized than many single-celled life forms” I have to admit, this made me laugh! Now… I KNOW you’re not ACTUALLY saying that bacteria even compare to Neurons in complexity or specialization, I KNOW THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU MEANT!!!!
    “You do realize that bacteria are not the only single-celled life form, right? There are many single-celled life forms that are far more complex than bacteria. There is a wide variety of complexity amongst single-celled organisms, ranging from extremely simple to about as complex as multi-cellular organisms. There is a wide variety of complexity in multi-cellular organisms, ranging from as complex as humans to almost about as complex as single-celled organisms. And there are a great many organisms that straddle the line, that are hard to categorize as single-celled or multi-celled.”
    Yes I know bacteria are not the ONLY single celled creatures, but they are by far the most numerous. Protists and Fungi can be single celled or many and all are more complex than bacteria, I took your statement to mean that most singled celled organisms are as complex/specialized as neurons and such, and like I said I knew you didn’t mean it that way, it was just too ridiculous! But it gave me a good laugh so I got carried away!
    “A good example is a slime mold. Most of the time they act as single-celled organisms. But under tough conditions they will link up and form slime that can move around as a single unit. It can even be taught simple mazes. Then, when it finds a suitable spot, some of the organisms sacrifice themselves to let the others turn into spores that escape.”
    I am familiar with slime molds, they are bizarre but fascinating creatures, don’t you think? They are really a bunch of fungal cells with no real cellular membrane between them, their nuclei and organelles float around a lot, it’s really a multi-celled creature though due to the many nuclei, but good example of a go-between, hard to say.
    “Even bacteria will form cooperative structures under tough conditions where the bacteria will divide up into specialized structures, with different cells taking on different roles. Some will even sacrifice themselves to let their close relatives survive.”
    That’s interesting, especially that last bit, seems bacteria have a grasp of honor and sacrifice, that’s impressive for such “simple” creature!
    gametes serve no purpose whatsoever other than reproduction and sperm have very strong flagella and are powered by extra mitochondria to race eachother to the egg, the winner well wins and they rest die.
    “Yes, but since they all have the same DNA, they still get to pass on their genes. So helping out their own clones is beneficial to them.”
    Uh no not true, Gametes have so many sets of chromosomes (how many depends on the species), and every set of chromosomes carries HALF of each parent’s genes, for example I have blue eyes, I do because I got the recessive blue eye gene from each of my grandfathers, this was a 25% percent probability because both my parents have brown eyes, I could have gotten the dominant brown eye gene form another egg or sperm, but I turned out with blue eyes, this is Mendelian genetics. Every sperm or eggs exact genetic sequence varies in some from another, they are not “clones” with the same DNA.
    “You do realize the difference between bacteria and protist, right?”
    Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled organisms, relatively small compared to the cells of the other kingdoms, lack nuclei and more complex organelles, and so on. Protists are Eukaryotes, can be single or many celled, can be producers (use photosynthesis to create their food) or consumers (eat other organisms for food), are notably more complex than bacteria, these are just basic differences I don’t care to go on.
    Question nine asked about hummingbirds, you pointed to helicopters, which was a BIG mistake because that set me up for a great comeback!
    You assume I wasn’t anticipating this comeback. I’ve dealt with plenty of creationists before, I have heard all your arguments literally hundreds of times before. Not one is the least bit difficult for anyone who has even a basic understanding of biology. To put it bluntly, this was a set-up, and you fell right into it.
    Yeah I can tell you’ve debated many creationist before, you clearly show that sort of experience in your counter-arguments, as for your little trap, it was rather well played and well explained, well done, but I’m not so easy to get mad and throw tantrums.
    though I never heard of any such system where there only two castes, you HAVE to have the queen obviously and workers… and drones (males) to reproduce, some have soldiers who are bigger and tougher to defend the hive, that’s three minimum or four that I can think of offhand.
    “First, you would only need drones and females. All workers are females, just some are sterile. The ‘workers” could also breed (as I mentioned, we still have ants alive today that don’t have queens, such as bulldog ants). Then, you could have workers, drones, and queens. Then, you could have workers, drones, queens, and warriors (the latter being more specialized workers). And so on and so on.”
    I know all the workers are infertile females, that’s basic knowledge of such colonies, I never of these particular ones without queens though or “bulldog ants”, thanks for giving me that info!
    thought I’d like to say that these imperfections you see exist due to mutations of otherwise perfect genes into notably less perfect genes,
    “Evidence please. Can you tell me what these mutations were? And why do all our relatives also have the exact same problems?”
    By “relatives” I assume you mean other animals whom we supposedly cousins with and so on, mutations happen and as I’ve explained many times now it’s a change or deletion of genetic information, it quite possible for something to have a mutation that was detrimental but it wasn’t enough to seriously hurt its ability to reproduce, people especially help eachother in times of need (it’s one our best qualities and it’s really basic decency), I can’t prove it through typed words outright, it’s something that you would want to observe in a laboratory experiment.
    mutations are the reason why ALL genetic diseases and deformities exist,
    “This is false. Many deformities are caused by random abnormalities in development and have nothing at all to do with genetics.”
    Again I stand corrected, some deformities are caused by environmental conditions in the womb or because of a lack of a certain nutrient though genetic diseases and genetic caused deformities still stands, chemicals caused children in Ukraine to be born without arms, they have shoulders and hands right off their shoulders, this was caused by chemical bound mutation.
    “This is utterly impossible in every sense of the word, and if I don’t believe evolution can do this, how much MORE ridiculous is this!”
    “But aren’t you arguing that this happened just a couple thousand years ago? We have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of new species just in the last couple hundred years.”
    …..? I’m arguing that perfectly formed creatures were born from God’s design, and these new species you’re saying we’ve seen… such as what, new breeds of dogs made through selective breeding are all still dogs and are simply a sub-species as are virtually anything else you can come up with, a truly new species would be it’s own creature, indistinguishable from any other and would not be interbreeding with other animals, the horse and donkey can interbreed to create a mule, which is almost always infertile but even if it can reproduce, it’s offspring will revert to being either horses or mules, can you give a few examples of such creatures?
    But seriously, man is responsible for his own downfall, so it’s man’s responsibility to find God himself and be forgiven of his sins,
    “Technically no, he and she were not. The tree that the Adam and Eve ate from (supposedly) was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve didn’t understand the concept of right and wrong prior to this, so they had no way of knowing their actions were wrong. In our modern society we don’t punish people who didn’t understand that what they did was wrong because we consider this unjust. We say such people are not responsible for their decisions.”
    This is my opinion but…. I think the tree was there as a test of Man as God’s new creation, and if they did take of the tree (which they did) He tested them yet again and wanted to see if they would acknowledge what they did, be sorry about it and take responsibility, instead… they hid from Him in fear, Eve blamed the whole thing on the serpent and Adam on her, I wholly believe God would have forgiven them right then and there had they merely repented right there, but they didn’t God decided He had to teach them a lesson, and that’s where this whole entire mess started!
    He has been far more than patient and lenient and has provided us with more than enough chances and even provided us with easy means of reaching Him (through Jesus),
    “Easy, right. So, can you tell me exactly what the requirements are for getting into heaven? At some points, Jesus (supposedly) says that just believing in him are enough. In other places, he lists numerous other requirements (such as good works).”
    ….? 1) absolute trust and faith in Christ and 2) simply showing your sincerity by living by His Word, any serious Christian will tell you the same.
    He only wants our repentance and he will forgive us, God is very much willing to do so if only you overcome your pride and ask Him.
    “Have any evidence that God actually exists?”
    I would say “look around you”, but I know you’ve heard that many times before already and since you clearly don’t see design in anything alive, that won’t work, and you’ve probably heard the prophecies bit many times also so I guess that won’t work either, I guess the last card in my hand is the amazing miracles God does throughout the world, many people have been healed for no “scientific” reason, including a boy who was days away from death due to polio, the doctor was an atheist and was in complete disbelief when he heard by telephone the boy had recovered, he went to the boy’s house in person to see if it was true… it was! Another man died of a heart attack, he could feel himself falling into hell and was terrified, he begged God to let him come back and promised he would tell others of it and God brought him back, he’s called Finalcall07 on YouTube, is he completely legit, ask him about it, he’s pretty convincing, I can see it in his eyes, there are literally thousands of cases like these, I myself was really sick when I was little and my mother and I prayed to God and I was cured by morning, I don’t give a damn what you or anyone else says about science and evolution and God, you can blabber on forever, but I KNOW God is VERY real and I will ALWAYS believe in Him!

  135. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Commonsense1208 : Please would you kindly put a bit of spacing into your posts?

    For instance, try put sentences on separate lines like

    this and its much easier on the eye & your readers.

    Plus even separate paragraphs for particular points such as this one for instance, and remember that a leaving a bit of white space is actually helpful in allowing people to read what you’ve said. It’s a pretty simple thing that you can do that just makes it much easier.

    Also if you don’t mind me saying so, please use italics for quotes to show who is talking – and for occassional emphasis. Plus you can also use bold for this purpose.

    Just use the greater than / lesser than brackets with i for italics and b for bold and blockquote for indentation.

    Thus [i] & then [/i] gives you italics if you replace the square brackerts with > & <

    Also [blockquote] gives you

    blockquote

    with the greater than / lesser than brackets and ditto [b]gives you[/b] bold.

    It may also be better if you have separate replies for separate people, personally I try to have individual responses to long comments and no more than three or five replies in a single comment. It just breaks things up a bit rather than having one huge “wall of text” that I gather gets frowned upon a bit.

    That’d be appreciated & hope this helps. Thanks. :-)

    ( … & to think folks were saying *my* posts were overly lengthy! ;-)

  136. TheBlackCat
    Right, because no white politician who belonged to a church that wants to overthrow the U.S. government and implement a theocracy and whose husband belongs to a group that promoted seceding from the U.S. could be considering a likely candidate for president, right? No white politician who was born overseas and spent much of his formative years outside the U.S. could be a presidential candidate, right?

    Well no, of course not. Are you suggesting that background fits a real example or just asking a hypothetical if odd and futile question?

    The first sentence describes Palin, the second describes McCain.

  137. Commonsense1208

    @Messier Tidy Upper sorry it got messed up a bit, I type my long comments on Microsoft Word because that’s easier for me, I set it up wrong anyway though, sorry!

    And I know my posts are annoying long, that’s just the way I am though since I have alot to say and would rather put it all down at once!

    You would REALLY hate me on Youtube because I’d have like seven or eight comments in a row, there’s a five hundred charcter limit for comments, I really hate it! and stupid little word read tests to prove you’re human and not a bot, you can barely read them (if indeed you can at all!).

  138. me

    MTU – I wasn’t name calling when I said you come across as a bigot, I wasn’t meaning it for insulting effect. You do come across as a bigot in a number of your posts.

    As for not bothering to post screeds, I’m half way through construction of some robotics at the moment and so wiring up the steppers seems like a better use of my time.

  139. TheBlackCat

    I never said all mutations are destructive, what I said was most are bad, a mutation is basically a mistake made during replication, this is a loss or change in genetic information, if you were copying a text book and occasionally switched random letters or words around would it not make it harder to read, if whole sentences disappeared then vital information could be lost, these kinds of changes are rarely beneficial, though sometimes it does happen, such as disease resistance, rather than calling me ignorant perhaps you should read my comments with your eyes instead your arrogance

    DNA is nothing like a book, so your analogy doesn’t help.

    I would imagine that Adam and Eve would have looked like us in pretty much every way, at least at first glance, but their DNA would be pure and free of any bad genes or defects, their eyes would have lasted far longer than ours, and they would have been much longer lived (the Bible mentions people living several hundred or even over a thousand years, though whether this is based on lunar or solar years, I don’t know).

    Were their retinas installed the right way around? You can’t have eyes that last much longer without fixing how the retina works. Did they have a carpal tunnel? Did they have a eurethra that goes through their prostate?

    You’re not the first person to ask me why men have nipples and I’ll tell you the same thing I told him, I don’t know why men have nipples and I really don’t care,

    And that is the difference between people who care about science and people who don’t. People who care about science want to know.

    although since you brought it up, what does evolution have to say about men having nipples? Where did they come from, they wouldn’t exist unless they had some kind of use at some time, I’m curious what that was?

    Men have nipples because women have nipples, and there is no reason for men NOT to have them. It is much harder for evolution to get rid of something like that than just to leave it. Women have certain structures that probably won’t get past the spam filter for the same reason, it is hard to not have them. That makes sense from an evolution standpoint, but not an intelligent design standpoint.

    I don’t know why you bother asking such a simple question, but any child can tell you to pray and God/Jesus will hear you.

    And then ignore you, despite explicit promises in the Bible to do otherwise.

    There plenty of nutjobs in crazy-house who claim to be God, Jesus, some historical figure or whatever, yet the impact made by one particular man 2000 years ago has had unbelievably profound impact on mankind’s history ever since, his followers are now the world’s largest religion and of course there are people who attack his Word and followers with as much zeal any religious person ever did, people question whether Christ even existed which is just jaw-dropping considering the impact he had!

    Right, because no made up character has ever had a major impact on society. Like, for instance, the Greek gods, Roman gods, Egyptian gods, Babylonian gods, and so on.

    You follow your own religion (that of atheistic evolutionism) which you hold in your heart with more conviction than “I” do for Christ, it’s impressive and inspiring!

    As someone said, “atheism is like a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby”

    You are referring to prokaryotes (bacteria and cyanobacteria) which have no said Nucleus and their DNA free-floats around the cell…

    First, archae also lack a nucleus. Second, DNA does not free-float around the cell, it is clustered together in a particular location, it just doesn’t have a membrane around it.

    yes but you wanted examples of designed organelles, so I gave you one, er make that three!

    No, you gave me an example of an organelle, you provided no evidence it was designed.

    “I know how a cell membrane works. The basic principles are very simple, a lipid bilayer that we know forms spontaneously. More complex organisms have added random bits and pieces to it, but those are just add-ons, they are not necessary for the most basic membrane.”
    This oversimplifying it a bit much don’t you think! There are quite a lot of lipids and proteins that make up the cell membrane and they are arranged in a certain manner, the cell membrane is the “skin” of the cell and as I said it’s like a living wall that can move and absorb large food globs if necessary, it’s an amazing structure.

    Once again, yes modern cell membranes are more complicated, but this is not a necessary property, it is something that would have been added incrementally over time. That is trivially easy for evolution do to once it had a basic membrane to work with. You are still stuck on the idea that the first organism would have been as complex as modern ones. It wouldn’t. A cell membrane can be much, much simpler than the membranes we see today and still serve its basic purpose, which is to keep the inside of the cell separate from the outside of the cell.

    The Ribosome is a miniature factory responsible for taking RNA and using it to make DNA,
    “What? No, that isn’t even remotely close to being right. The ribosome is a pair of RNA molecules that together are used to read other RNA molecules into proteins. It is nothing like a factory, in fact it uses very simple chemical reactions that are well-characterized. Ribosomes have nothing whatsoever to do with DNA.”
    Okay my bad, I stand corrected, Ribosomes use RNA to make proteins and stuff, I’ve been out of school too long.

    If you don’t know what you are talking about, maybe you should learn before presuming to lecture me on basic biology.

    if it messes up in the smallest way it results in a mutation, which often causes great harm, most mutation end up destroyed afflicted cells so they eliminate themselves, very few mutations end up beneficial in any way, but even if they do, the mutation needs to be passed on offspring or it won’t go very far!

    No, you aren’t listening. Ribosomes have nothing to do with DNA. If a ribosome messes up, all you get is a single malformed protein, which the cell has numerous mechanisms to deal with. This is because ribosomes mess up a lot, maybe even more often than they get it right. A mistake in a ribosome does not cause a mutation, which has to occur in DNA. In fact ribosomes never come anywhere near DNA in eukaryotes, they are always outside the nucleus.

    “Actually, the vast majority of mutations do nothing at all, or only have a small effect. The DNA code is pretty resistant to mutation, so most mutations that have an effect tend to convert one amino acid into a different amino acid with similar properties. It is true that most mutations with an effect tend to be deleterious, but many organisms have multiple copies of a given gene (especially critical genes) so that is usually not a big deal.”
    I find it hard to believe that a mistake made during replication EVER have no impact, it seems to imply that that information was useless and served no purpose, as I said at the beginning a mutation is basically a mistake made curing replication, this is a loss or change in genetic information,

    Once again, what you refuse to believe is irrelevant. You are again rejecting basic chemistry here. The DNA code is what is called “degenerate”. That means that several “words” (3 DNA base sequences) code for the same protein, and these seem to be grouped in ways that the most common sorts of mutations don’t actually change the protein.

    On top of that, most of a protein is fairly irrelevant, most of it can accept a wide variety of different amino acids with little or no effect. The actual important structural parts of a protein usually contain constitute a small fraction of the total length, and the important functional part (if any) usually only contains a handful (often just 3 or 4) amino acids.

    On top of that, many amino acids are pretty similar, and can be interchanged in many cases.

    Further, most of our DNA isn’t affected by mutation or not. Whether you believe in junk DNA or not, we can check which portions of our DNA are affected by a mutation, and the vast majority of it is not.

    if you were copying a text book and occasionally switched random letters or words around would it not make it harder to read, if whole sentences disappeared then vital information could be lost, these kinds of changes are VERY rarely beneficial, though occasionally it does happen, such as disease resistance or something,

    But DNA isn’t at all like a book in this regard, so what happens with a book isn’t relevant.

    Golgi are the heavy industry of the cell and make complex proteins, other organelles and all sorts of stuff. They are big compared to most other organelles and are just as complex as any other.
    “Golgi are just extensions of the cell membrane. In fact that is exactly how they form during cell division, they are caused by the membrane pulling in and pinching off. Once again, not very hard for evolution.”
    And they produce all sorts of stuff for the cell, they are critical for that purpose, like factories.

    First, no they aren’t like factories. Second, the vast majority of organisms on Earth don’t have them, so they can’t be that critical. The golgi aparatus is mostly used for post-transcription modification of proteins, but although it helps efficiency by concentrating the necessary enzymes it isn’t necessary for the process.

    “Let me guess, you haven’t studied any biology past high school, have you?”
    Actually no I haven’t, though you apparently have, which explains why you can actually refute my points rather than insult me and use name-calling and arrogant language like other evolutionists do, I can’t stand such people. I have wanted to go to college, my problem is money (college is absurdly expensive and getting increasingly so) and not really knowing what to major for, I’d certainly take biology as a course if only to better understand it.

    If you admittedly don’t know much of anything about the subject, what makes you think you are qualified to contradict practically ever biologist on the planet?

    Does anyone else see it in this part, I do, let me point this out: You say “The first organisms would merely have had to take the basic building blocks and use them directly” but then you say “modern organisms need to take simple raw materials and build complex molecules out of those”…. I find this odd, you’re saying that way back when the ocean was filled with all sorts of complex organic molecules ready to go for the first life to use but modern life has to manufacture them from the beginning!… if these organic molecules can form spontaneously and do so all the time and are so commonplace as you’ve been saying, life today be jumping like crazy over the endless amount of them that would exist, why would they require a means to manufacture what is already abundantly available?!

    Let me try the analogy thing. Lets see we drop a bunch of humans in field, give them some seed, and a few tons of food. Would they just continue eating the food forever? No, it would eventually run out, and they would have to start making their own food.

    This is the same thing that happened on early Earth. The complex organic molecules formed early on, but once life appeared it consumed them until nothing was left. Any time a new complex organic molecule formed it would almost immediately get eaten. As the food supply dwindled, organisms that could produce their own food — that is, algae — got an advantage, and the CO2 in the atmosphere started getting converted to oxygen.

    “As I said, the simplest organism would have been just a single RNA molecule (or similar molecule) that could act as a catalyst for its own formation. The basic building blocks, nucleotides, would have been floating around. These would have competed with each other for resources and evolved, eventually creating other molecules (like proteins) to help them.”
    And these basic RNA molecules would have found there into existing on their own right? So why don’t we see this in a laboratory experiment, you seem to imply it’s so easy for life to begin in this vast ocean of organic molecules and nucleotides and all the building blocks that existed at this time, I’m actually well aware that no real scientist believes this was so simple, they regard the beginning of life to of profoundly miraculous chance against all the odds!

    I already addressed this. We were dealing with massive numbers of molecules over massive periods of time, while scientists are dealing with negligible numbers of molecules over miniscule periods of time (relatively speaking).

    The endoplasmic reticulum? Which is the highway network of the cell and comes in two forms (rough and smooth) I thought it was a largely temporary structure that got things where they needed to be and collapsed itself when no longer needed, it connects to the Nucleus and Golgi apparatus, I wasn’t aware of this having anything to do with the cell membrane, though I guess it have been connected to take incoming molecules and transport them, it seems sensible enough.

    Once again, perhaps you should learn something about the subject before presuming to lecture others on the subject.

    Lysosomes? Which eat up unwanted waste, old organelles and stuff and act kind of like a white blood cell within a cell. I’ve never heard that one, would you care to elaborate on that a little more?

    There were some ideas that lysosomes might have originally been free-living organisms that cooperated with another organism, but this was never very confident last I heard.

    And even the smallest nucleotide would have to have some sort of consciousness guiding it (I believe all life in any form has some level of consciousness, based on that any living thing has movement and reacts to stimuli and acts on its own, consciousness is what makes it qualify as “life”), at what point would consciousness begin? Even if a very simple thought to merely do something like grow larger or replicate, at what point would this begin?

    It wouldn’t need any sort of consciousness, only basic chemistry.

    2 reasons: a lot of molecules, and a lot of time. We are talking about an entire ocean full of molecules for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. It is unreasonable to expect scientists to be able to produce them in a decade or so when we have tiny amounts of the molecules.
    What is so unreasonable about this, you’ve been saying how abundant organic molecules are and how things can form spontaneously and so on, you seem to imply that it’s easy for life to start on it’s own, in laboratory where scientist can control every aspect of the environment to the slightest detail they should be able to provide everything needed for life and stir it, move it around and give it time,

    Yes, if you give it enough molecules, and enough time, but once again we are talking about a massive numbers of molecules and huge periods of time here. I made this clear already.

    why do you insist on this loopy idea that if enough time passes something will happen, if I wait for a deck of cards in a field to from into a card castle, will it ever on its own, no it needs a creator to patiently make it, but for your scenario you need a stimulus, perhaps lightning or thermal energy from ocean vents (last time I checked this was the latest idea on how life began), but even abundant energy will not automatically cause things to begin happening like you say.

    Of course it would. We are talking about basic chemical reactions here. Claiming that it wouldn’t happen would require rejecting basic chemistry.

    It doesn’t have to completely block out the sun, sulfur dioxide particularly is well known for it’s ability to devastate ecosystems through acid rain, but photosynthesis would have to change and adapt as the atmosphere changed, this could potentially happen but would require the whole process to be reworked repeatedly

    As I explained already, sulfur dioxide is food for microbes even today. There are entire ecosystems in the deep ocean that rely on it for almost all of their energy. It probably would have been eaten up even before photosynthesis started, since the biological pathways are much simpler. And there is nothing strange about photosynthesis changing somewhat over time to accommodate changing atmospheric conditions, even today photosynthetic organisms can survive under an extremely wide range of conditions.

    Um… NO! Nitrogen is certainly NOT “the most common element in the atmosphere of every planet in the solar system” are you sure you meant to imply this! This doesn’t sound like you! Earth is the ONLY planet of which Nitrogen is a major component of the atmosphere! Just to give some statistics Mercury- has no atmosphere, Venus-96.5% Carbon Dioxide 3.5% Nitrogen 1% trace gases, Earth- 78.09% Nitrogen 20.95% Oxygen 1% trace gases, Mars- 95.32% Carbon Dioxide 2.7% Nitrogen 1.6%Argon .4% trace gases, Jupiter- 88.8% Hydrogen 10.2% helium almost negligible trace gases, Saturn-96% Hydrogen 3% Helium 1% trace gases, Uranus-83% Hydrogen 15% Helium 3% Methane almost negligible trace gases, Neptune- 80% Hydrogen 19% Helium 1.5% Methane almost negligible trace gases, Pluto- partial atmosphere that freezes and thaws made up of Nitrogen, methane and Carbon Monoxide, I was surprised that Venus and Mars had over 90% CO2, I didn’t think it was quite that much!, Nitrogen wasn’t even mentioned for any of the gas giants even in the ppm’s, and I couldn’t find the exact numbers for Pluto, I’m afraid I got you on this one!

    I was remembering incorrectly, I knew it was one of the largest, which is what I should have said. By the time I verified it and found I was wrong it was too late to fix it.

    The issue with Earth is that most of the carbon is locked up in life, and much of the oxygen is locked up both in life and in minerals (in other planets this is not as much of an issue, since these minerals only form when there is a lot of free oxygen and only life produces that). Someone who knows more about astronomy can probably say more, but it seems that the issue isn’t so much that there is a lot of nitrogen, it is that there is less carbon and oxygen due to it being locked up by life.

    All the gas giants have huge amounts of hydrogen and helium, these make up virtually the entire atmosphere, at a certain depth, gravity compresses the gas into liquid form and creates the hydrogen/helium ocean I was talking about, have you ever heard of the comet Shoemaker, Levey 9 which broke into nine pieces and smacked into Jupiter? They exploded on the planet’s ocean showing this to be closer than previously thought, the comet gave us a lot of useful information about Jupiter including its role in the solar system as a punching bag for comets and rogue asteroids, better it than Earth!

    No, it exploded in the atmosphere or a layer of water in the upper atmosphere. If the ocean was shallow enough for us to see the planet would be far denser than it is.

    Pluto seems to check out, and I found this about Mars “The volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters” yeah that’s pretty amount of water, though it’s still nothing compared to Earth which existing ocean would cover a flat surface by over a mile and the Earth has almost FOUR times the surface area of Mars so….
    actual water ice has been found in comets, planetary rings and etc, but it is not quite as common as you said it was!

    Wait, what? How do you get from there being less wateron Mars (which is not surprising, there is less of all volatile molecules on mars because of its low gravity), to there not being much in rings or comets? You never even mentioned those.

    True enough, but as far as I can tell the water from the planets, their rings, their moons and asteroids and comets simply do not add up, it seems that the Earth has taken a disproportionately huge percentage of the water in the solar system for it’s size.

    Numbers, please. You have provided nothing to back this us.

    Yes I know bacteria are not the ONLY single celled creatures, but they are by far the most numerous. Protists and Fungi can be single celled or many and all are more complex than bacteria, I took your statement to mean that most singled celled organisms are as complex/specialized as neurons and such, and like I said I knew you didn’t mean it that way, it was just too ridiculous! But it gave me a good laugh so I got carried away!

    I said “many” not “most”.

    I am familiar with slime molds, they are bizarre but fascinating creatures, don’t you think? They are really a bunch of fungal cells with no real cellular membrane between them, their nuclei and organelles float around a lot, it’s really a multi-celled creature though due to the many nuclei, but good example of a go-between, hard to say.

    Slime molds are not fungi.

    Uh no not true, Gametes have so many sets of chromosomes (how many depends on the species), and every set of chromosomes carries HALF of each parent’s genes, for example I have blue eyes, I do because I got the recessive blue eye gene from each of my grandfathers, this was a 25% percent probability because both my parents have brown eyes, I could have gotten the dominant brown eye gene form another egg or sperm, but I turned out with blue eyes, this is Mendelian genetics. Every sperm or eggs exact genetic sequence varies in some from another, they are not “clones” with the same DNA.

    Yes, I have pointed out the issues with haploid organisms before. It doesn’t change the fact that they carry the same genes as the rest of the body (half in a given gamete, but overall they carry all of the genes). Whether it is half or all isn’t relevant from an evolutionary standpoint.

    Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled organisms, relatively small compared to the cells of the other kingdoms, lack nuclei and more complex organelles, and so on. Protists are Eukaryotes, can be single or many celled, can be producers (use photosynthesis to create their food) or consumers (eat other organisms for food), are notably more complex than bacteria, these are just basic differences I don’t care to go on.

    You are comparing human cells to bacteria, but ignoring protists entirely when it is inconvenient to you.

    And bacteria can be photosynthetic as well, or produce energy from simple molecules like sulfur dioxide.

    By “relatives” I assume you mean other animals whom we supposedly cousins with and so on, mutations happen and as I’ve explained many times now it’s a change or deletion of genetic information, it quite possible for something to have a mutation that was detrimental but it wasn’t enough to seriously hurt its ability to reproduce, people especially help eachother in times of need (it’s one our best qualities and it’s really basic decency), I can’t prove it through typed words outright, it’s something that you would want to observe in a laboratory experiment.

    That still doesn’t explain why organism that are more closely related to each other have more mutations in common than organisms that are more distantly related.

    Again I stand corrected, some deformities are caused by environmental conditions in the womb or because of a lack of a certain nutrient though genetic diseases and genetic caused deformities still stands, chemicals caused children in Ukraine to be born without arms, they have shoulders and hands right off their shoulders, this was caused by chemical bound mutation.

    No, you aren’t listening. Many deformities are totally random, they don’t have any external cause besides just random errors during development. Our development is a pretty random and haphazard process, it is easy for things to go wrong for no particular reason. In fact the vast majority of embryos that are conceived (over 80% if I recall correctly) spontaneously die before the mother even realizes she is pregnant.

    …..? I’m arguing that perfectly formed creatures were born from God’s design, and these new species you’re saying we’ve seen… such as what, new breeds of dogs made through selective breeding are all still dogs and are simply a sub-species as are virtually anything else you can come up with, a truly new species would be it’s own creature, indistinguishable from any other and would not be interbreeding with other animals, the horse and donkey can interbreed to create a mule, which is almost always infertile but even if it can reproduce, it’s offspring will revert to being either horses or mules, can you give a few examples of such creatures?

    No, we have seen many new true species, species that cannot interbreed with their relatives. Just google it, it is easy to find.

    This is my opinion but…. I think the tree was there as a test of Man as God’s new creation, and if they did take of the tree (which they did) He tested them yet again and wanted to see if they would acknowledge what they did, be sorry about it and take responsibility, instead… they hid from Him in fear, Eve blamed the whole thing on the serpent and Adam on her, I wholly believe God would have forgiven them right then and there had they merely repented right there, but they didn’t God decided He had to teach them a lesson, and that’s where this whole entire mess started!

    The actual Genesis account says that the God kicked them out was because he was afraid they would eat from the Tree of Life and gain immortality, posing a threat to him.

    ….? 1) absolute trust and faith in Christ and 2) simply showing your sincerity by living by His Word, any serious Christian will tell you the same.
    He only wants our repentance and he will forgive us, God is very much willing to do so if only you overcome your pride and ask Him.

    So in other words you reject the portions of the gospels that claim that this is not enough?

    you’ve probably heard the prophecies bit many times also so I guess that won’t work either,

    Oh, you mean all those prophecies Jesus was supposed to have fulfilled but actually didn’t? Have you actually bothered to read the original prophecies? The gospels cherry pick a sentence or two out of a several paragraph long prophecy, when Jesus doesn’t come close to fulfilling the whole prophecy. If we are going by the prophecies, Jesus is most certainly not the messiah, since he doesn’t actually fulfill a single one.

    many people have been healed for no “scientific” reason, including a boy who was days away from death due to polio, the doctor was an atheist and was in complete disbelief when he heard by telephone the boy had recovered, he went to the boy’s house in person to see if it was true… it was!

    Do you have a source for this? Sounds like a pretty common urban legend. I am also not familiar enough with polio to know if spontaneous remission is common for it or not.

    Another man died of a heart attack, he could feel himself falling into hell and was terrified, he begged God to let him come back and promised he would tell others of it and God brought him back, he’s called Finalcall07 on YouTube, is he completely legit, ask him about it, he’s pretty convincing, I can see it in his eyes, there are literally thousands of cases like these,

    And there are similar cases for other religions as well. Near-death experiences are common, and coincidentally always seem to match up with the cultural expectations of the people involved. Frankly I don’t consider the last gasps of a dieing brain to be a reliable source of information.

    I myself was really sick when I was little and my mother and I prayed to God and I was cured by morning,

    Yeah, many sicknesses go away whether you do anything or not. People have actually looked at whether prayer (if you don’t know whether you are being prayed to) helps people recover, and it doesn’t.

    And what ever happened to Jesus’s promise that God would do anything you asked of him? What happened to his promise that nothing would be impossible for believers? What about his promise that if any two people asked something of God he would do it?

    Where are the regrown limbs? Where are the replaced eyes (I don’t mean curing blindness, I mean replacing a lost eye)? Why was God raising the dead a couple thousand years ago, but today can only manage things that are indistinguishable from random chance?

    I don’t give a damn what you or anyone else says about science and evolution and God, you can blabber on forever, but I KNOW God is VERY real and I will ALWAYS believe in Him!

    Yep, so do lots of other religions. Funny how so many people can be so sure of so many mutually exclusive things.

  140. Messier Tidy Upper

    @140. TheBlackCat :

    #133. TheBlackCat : “Right, because no white politician who belonged to a church that wants to overthrow the U.S. government and implement a theocracy and whose husband belongs to a group that promoted seceding from the U.S. could be considering a likely candidate for president, right? No white politician who was born overseas and spent much of his formative years outside the U.S. could be a presidential candidate, right?”
    MTU : Well no, of course not. Are you suggesting that background fits a real example or just asking a hypothetical if odd and futile question?
    The first sentence describes Palin, the second describes McCain.

    For real? Let’s see.

    Sarah Palin belonged to a church that wants to overthrow the U.S. government and implement a theocracy .. ?

    Checks wikipedia – Sarah Palin page :

    Palin was born into a Roman Catholic family.[9] Later, her family joined the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church,[283] which she attended until 2002. Palin then switched to the Wasilla Bible Church because, she said, she preferred the children’s ministries offered there.

    Checks Wasilla Assembly of God wiki-page & sees some nasty comments by senior pastor Ed Kalnins’ – “critics of Bush will go to Hell” & suchlike stuff but nothing on overthrowing the govt. & replacing it with a theocracy.

    Checks Wasilla Bible Church wikipedia entry – see’s something about one nasty leaflet against homosexuals and that the Church was attacked by an arsonist.

    So .. um .. from what I can see no calls from Palin’s church for overthrowing the US govt as alleged – unless there’s more information to back up that claim somewhere? Its certainly news to me. Not great sure but not as bad as you seem to be claiming.

    … and Palin’s husband belongs to a group that promoted seceding from the United States?

    Checks wikipedia page for Todd Palin :

    From October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000, he was registered to vote as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party.

    & from their wiki-page :

    Since its founding, the AIP has radically changed with respect to the issue of secession. At present, it does not support secession, though, at its founding, it did.

    Okay, interesting. Third largest party in Alaska apparently. Thanks, BlackCat that’s something new I’ve learnt today. :-)

    No white politician who was born overseas and spent much of his formative years outside the U.S. could be a presidential candidate, right?”

    Checks McCain’s wiki-page :

    John McCain was born on August 29, 1936 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, to naval officer John S. McCain, Jr. (1911–1981) and Roberta (Wright) McCain (b. 1912).[2] At that time, the Panama Canal was under U.S. control.[3]

    Okay, again something new. But my understanding is that US military bases are US territory right? So, technically, McCain was born on US *soil* – and it seems to be a legitimate exception to make for overseas military personnel and their kids. Oh & McCain’s father was an Admiral commanding the US fleet.

    Incidentally, I don’t think either McCain or Palin would have be great Presidents and wish the Republicans hadn’t put them up as candidates. They’d have done best, I think with Rudy Giuliani as 2008 Presidential nominee. Apparently (from that fount of all knowledge, wikipedia again) Giuliani is considering running in 2012 so that could still work out. We’ll have to wait & see.

    @141. Commonsense1208 : Fair enough – er, you do know you can edit your posts right? You get 15 minutes to click on & edit after you submit it. That’s never enough time for me to fix everything but could be worth keeping in mind.

    @142. me : Well that’s your opinion. But it’s wrong – & I find your accusations of bigotry offensive.

  141. PayasYouStargaze

    @137. Commonsense1208 :
    I see you addressed me but did not answer my question.

    “I never said all mutations are destructive, what I said was most are bad, a mutation is basically a mistake made during replication, this is a loss or change in genetic information, if you were copying a text book and occasionally switched random letters or words around would it not make it harder to read, if whole sentences disappeared then vital information could be lost, these kinds of changes are rarely beneficial, though sometimes it does happen, such as disease resistance, rather than calling me ignorant perhaps you should read my comments with your eyes instead your arrogance”

    As TBC says, DNA is nothing like a book. However you have to define genetic information for your answer make sense. Your ignorance is obvious because you make many claims that are wrong but make no effort to correct them. I know that my knowledge of biology is limited so I leave the complicated stuff to those who know better, as I said when I first addressed you. That is not arrogance.

    “I would imagine that Adam and Eve would have looked like us in pretty much every way, at least at first glance, but their DNA would be pure and free of any bad genes or defects, their eyes would have lasted far longer than ours, and they would have been much longer lived (the Bible mentions people living several hundred or even over a thousand years, though whether this is based on lunar or solar years, I don’t know).”

    Why did I see this coming? You said that we were perfectly designed and that all the flaws we perceive are due to disadvantageous mutations. So I gave you a list of faults which I hoped you would say were corrected in our original perfect form. Now you say we looked much like we do now. That doesn’t make sense. That means Adam and Eve were far from perfect and had all the faults we have.

    “You’re not the first person to ask me why men have nipples and I’ll tell you the same thing I told him, I don’t know why men have nipples and I really don’t care, although since you brought it up, what does evolution have to say about men having nipples? Where did they come from, they wouldn’t exist unless they had some kind of use at some time, I’m curious what that was?”

    TBC answered that but he gave the answer I would have given. Men have nipples because women have them. What does your belief say? What did Adam’s (not Eve’s) nipples do? Or did Adam not have nipples?

    You actually did a pretty bad job of answering my questions. Did Adam and Eve have seperate airways and gullets, meaning they could never choke on their food? What did their legs look like if they were perfectly designed for walking upright? Or perhaps they had four legs (kinda like a centaur) to get around faster? How many eyes did they have? Two is not enough. Could their elbows bend either way, because that would be useful and not require any more “information”? How about fat storage, did they have a means of limiting how much fat they could store to prevent them from becoming obese if they ate too much?

    I hope you can answer all of those questions, but any one of them would do. If you cannot answer any you should probably reconsider your faith in the bible, because it obviously isn’t telling you all you need to know.

  142. Messier Tidy Upper

    @101. kuhnigget :

    @ MTU: “It’s not the reading I get of what (#24) Rich Patrock was saying though.”
    Yeah, I’ve noticed you’re pretty good at reading into stuff only what you want.

    Well I understand Rich Patrock as saying one thing & you seem to be taking it totally differently. [Shrugs]

    Borrrrrrrring!(emphasis original.)

    Ruuuuude. :roll:

    Am I that rude to you Kuhnigget? No? Kindly show me the same courtesy as I do you please.

    “But Judeo-Christian (or descended from that heritage) *is* our culture!”
    Uh…so? Or maybe you’ve just proved my point, in that you level your accusations of relativism to every culture but your own.

    Huh? Do you know what cultural relativism even is?

    It’s saying all cultures are exactly equal, no culture is any better or worse than another.

    I think that’s a false belief. I do think Western culture (yes, our culture) that has produced science and the internet, that values human rights, that treats people equally regardless of skin colour etc .. is better than a culture that doesn’t do these things.

    I do think it is possible to say culture X is better than culture Y and that in turn is better than culture Z.

    So .. I don’t understand where that’s a problem or conflicting with what I said there?

    @103. kuhnigget :

    MTU : “In case you aren’t already aware the Judeo-Christian culture – especially the Jewish strand of it places a high value on good argument and good studying, questioning and learning.”
    Caught you red-handed.The tradition of argument, questioning, interpretation is a hallmark of Rabbinic Judaism, not the temple culture of Jerusalem, aka the Judaism of the Old Testament. In the temple culture, the word of the priests, using the construct of the Old Testament and the Pentateuch in particular, was the law. Period. Finite. .סוף הסיפור Only when that “handed down” knowledge was opened up to interpretation by latter theologians did Judaism allow itself more liberal interpretations of that holy writ. Once again, MTU, you rewrite history in order to justify your own modern credo.

    No, once again you appear to be misreading and misunderstanding me.

    When did I ever specify that the Jewish strand of our culture was restricted to the Judaism of Old Testament times?

    I was meaning the long and continuing (& still evolving) Jewish culture just as I’m referring to Western civilisation as it evolves and ,yes, improves throughout time.

  143. me

    “I find your accusations of bigotry offensive.”

    MTU, I find your views on lots of things offensive, from your demeaning generalisations of large groups of people to your apologist stance for barbaric homicidal empires, so I guess that makes us even.

  144. Messier Tidy Upper

    CORRECTION for clarity :

    ****

    @103. kuhnigget :

    MTU : “In case you aren’t already aware the Judeo-Christian culture – especially the Jewish strand of it places a high value on good argument and good studying, questioning and learning.”

    Caught you red-handed.The tradition of argument, questioning, interpretation is a hallmark of Rabbinic Judaism, not the temple culture of Jerusalem, aka the Judaism of the Old Testament. In the temple culture, the word of the priests, using the construct of the Old Testament and the Pentateuch in particular, was the law. Period. Finite. .סוף הסיפור Only when that “handed down” knowledge was opened up to interpretation by latter theologians did Judaism allow itself more liberal interpretations of that holy writ. Once again, MTU, you rewrite history in order to justify your own modern credo.

    No, once again you appear to be misreading and misunderstanding me.

    When did I ever specify that the Jewish strand of our culture was restricted to the Judaism of Old Testament times?

    I was meaning the long and continuing (& still evolving) Jewish culture just as I’m referring to Western civilisation as it evolves and, yes, improves throughout time.

    Are you trying to say that the later Rabbinical tradition of Judaism doesn’t count as contributing to Western civilisation? (As well as its basis in the Torah.)

    *****

    @74. Daffy :

    Messier: “I do think liberals & left-wingers tend to excessively venerate and give unearned respect to other “cultures” for the sake of it and inadvertantly denigrating their own culture and identity in the process. ”

    Generalize much? I could respond that conservatives always derogate other cultures while exalting and making lame excuses for their own, but it would be the same generalization.

    Sometimes generalisations are hard to avoid and make sense to use.

    Fish swim, birds fly – these are generalisations too – and, yeah there’s the very occassional exception that proves the rule. Penguins are flightless, lungfish can walk and so on. But in general, those statements are basically right.

    Still, you did defend Roman torture and slaughter as being some how better, while you criticized Mayans for the same thing. This was at best silly, and at worst racist.

    Mayans committed acts of torture and slaughter because they believed their Sun God required the blood of Human sacrifices to rise.

    The Romans committed acts of torture and slaughter for a whole range of somewhat more reasonable and less outright dumb reasons – politics, entertainment, etc .. There *is* a difference there.

    I’m not defending either culture and I think torture and slaughter are generally speaking pretty appalling and undesirable things.

    But remember Einstein’s relativity of wrong idea? The world isn’t flat and isn’t round – its an oblate spheroid – but saying its round is less wrong than saying its flat.

    Well in the same way the Mayans and Romans were both wrong – but the Mayans were more wrong than the Romans. Not that the Romans were right just less wrong on the continuum of better-to-worse . Comprendez?

    Also note that cultures are ideas – NOT people. Criticising cultures or elements of them is NOT the same as saying that *individuals* from any given culture should be treated worse or persecuted. Nobody should get persecuted or treated badly. But cultural ideas and public figures such as Obama & Palin are fair targets for legitimate criticism.

  145. PayasYouStargaze

    Actually MTU saying the Earth is round is entirely correct. It just isn’t very specific. But it is not wrong at all because round describes a variety of shapes such as circles, ovals, spheres, toruses, cylinders, spirals, helixes, etc. The term oblate spheroid is correct and more specific. Saying the Earth is a sphere would be wrong, but less wrong than calling it flat.

    (Edited to get my point accross better)

    *I’m not getting involved in your culture argument*

  146. Are you trying to say that the later Rabbinical tradition of Judaism doesn’t count as contributing to Western civilisation? (As well as its basis in the Torah.)

    Only if you try to lump it together on a historical par with Christianity, because the two are entirely separate at that point in history. Rabbinic Judaism didn’t set in until the 7th century or so, long after Christianity had taken over the west, and long after the basic tenets of Christianity had been set into stone, so to speak. Yes, it continued to influence western culture, but then so did Islam. (Islamic scientists rediscovered much of the Greek wisdom long forgotten by the west, and added a bit of their own.) So did Buddhism. So does Pastafarianism. So does atheism.

    My point is, and always has been, you cannot make blanket claims about the past based upon the present. Today’s Judaism is not yesterday’s. Today’s Christianity is not the same Christianity of Apostolic times. Today’s West is not the West of the past. Our modern culture has, of course, been shaped by these religions, but it has moved so far beyond the basic tenets of those creeds as to be an apple to oranges.

    As for cultural relativism, I know exactly what it is, and I don’t confuse it with moral relativism, as you seem to . All cultures are not alike, but to blanketly state that one is better than another simply because one puts people on the moon or creates the internet is silly. Those statements are only true if your culture places value on those things. A culture that doesn’t value materialism might not believe the same, nor particularly care.

    So, yes, it’s all relative. You can be perfectly content and proud of your culture without having to claim superiority.

    And BTW, in case you’re confused, I do not subscribe to moral relativism. I happen to believe that women are just as valuable as men (sorry Middle-eastern religions!), and that rational reasoning is better than superstitious mumbo jumbo (ditto!). But if someone else wants to believe differently, no skin off my nose…so long as they don’t try to force me to their way of thinking.

    And sorry, MTU, but I still think you have a tendency to rewrite history to suit your own needs, and I still think it’s borrrrrinnnnnngggggg!

  147. And by the way #2, I’m also aware that most everyone else bothering to read these comments probably think I am boring, too! Such is the power of the internet! Enabling pedants the world over!

  148. flip

    #123, Commonsense1208

    Is it me, or do all your Q&As come from some creationist “10 ways to [not really] defeat evolutionists” list?

    He only wants our repentance and he will forgive us, God is very much willing to do so if only you overcome your pride and ask Him.

    Only if god goes first. S/He’s got plenty to repent for, with all this disease and stuff. Why did god have to invent bugs for instance? They’re gross and bring germs, and certainly aren’t necessary for perfect human beings to live their lives happily.

    #128, MTU

    So when are you moving to the US, seeing as how it’s the best country in the world?

    PS. Are you Indigenous Australian? Or European-Australian? How far back up the line do you go in terms of figuring out when you become a hyphenated-insertcountryhere? For instance, I’m a third-generation Australian. But my father was born in another town than I was born. Does that mean my father’s birthplace makes me not from “my town”?

    Your argument smacks of “humans aren’t apes” kind of logic.

    #132, MTU

    I don’t think the British were perfect but they weren’t the worst offenders.

    This is where your logic goes out the window for me. How do you measure one atrocity against another? Is there some sort of pain/death/oppression measuring tool out there that I’m not aware of?

    Note too how well some of these nations have NOT done once they got their independence post-colonialism eg. Mugabe in Zimbabwe & you have to say maybe colonisation isn’t the worst thing in their histories and isn’t totally to blame for everything either.

    So spending decades or centuries trying to rebuild confidence, equality, liberty, democracy, freedom of the press, etc. is something that could have been better done *with* colonisation?

    MTU you are officially nuts. Any time you make a comment on another post about cultural relativism, I’m just going to skip over it.

    #135, MTU

    No, I’m seriously asking whether someone who was friends with a Communist terrorist, a fan and devoted supporter of a black supremacist hate-mongering anti-American preacher and whose main election slogans were meaningless nonsense would have had a chance of winning the Presidency if it wasn’t for the reverse racism implicit in the “Let’s have a black President! Any Black president!” mood with the last US election.

    Talk about tarring someone for someone else’s thoughts and actions. By the same logic, everyone in Adelaide who is friends with MTU, reads this blog and thinks the same way as MTU.

    But it is still a point against Obama because, right or wrong, there is that question mark and it does pose a slight problem for someone wishing to become POTUS.

    Do you consider Julia Gillard worthy of being PM since her parents weren’t Australian born? Did you ask to see her birth certificate? (Not that I am suggesting you would have voted for her, but she isn’t exactly ‘Australian’ by your standards) … Just wondering if you questioned her capabilities based on experience/ability to comprehend difficult topics… or whether you were more interested in where she was born. Do you demand the same things from politicians every time you go to the voting booth? (I know your opinions on political parties, so I’m taking a big grain of salt that you don’t do donkey votes)

    #146, MTU

    I do think Western culture (yes, our culture) that has produced science and the internet, that values human rights, that treats people equally regardless of skin colour etc .. is better than a culture that doesn’t do these things.

    I wonder if you’ve looked at Buddhism. Some of those Western tenets are just as strong in Eastern philosophy. (Confucious maybe… although I don’t remember exactly)

    I was meaning the long and continuing (& still evolving) Jewish culture just as I’m referring to Western civilisation as it evolves and ,yes, improves throughout time.

    Interestingly enough, I had to do one of the most absurd things the other day. I was present at a bris. Being female and atheist, I found myself completely at odds with a group of adults standing around taking photos of the circumcision as it happened. How anyone can think that Jewish culture has been modernised is beyond me! (Apparently, taking photos at a playground of your kids: not ok. Taking photos of a baby being circumcised: fine and dandy! Mazel tov!) There was no visible discussion of the merits of why this was being done or the Talmudic meanings of a bris, or anything. Just prayer in Hebrew, snip snip, flash flash (of the multiple cameras), congratulations… and oh by the way, “we buried the ‘leftovers’ in your backyard”.

    How is this better than watching ritual sacrifice from other cultures? (Or, for that matter, hot as absurd as “we buried the placenta in the backyard”?)

  149. flip

    #151. kuhnigget

    I don’t find you boring. I always enjoy reading your comments (you, Nigel Depledge and TBC are my favs).

  150. Mark Hansen

    Common-non-sense @ 138;
    “…I don’t give a damn what you or anyone else says about science and evolution and God, you can blabber on forever, but I KNOW God is VERY real and I will ALWAYS believe in Him!
    which I think translates as sticking his fingers in his ears and saying “lalalalala I CAN’T HEAR YOU”.
    Why didn’t you just say that at the start and not waste time asking for answers that you were always going to ignore anyway?

  151. @ Flip #153:

    Your check is in the mail.

  152. flip

    #155, kuhnigget

    Thank goodness. My involvement with conspiracies on other sites have bounced their cheques to me. At least with you I know the cheque will be good ;)

  153. Messier Tidy Upper

    @151. kuhnigget :

    And by the way #2, I’m also aware that most everyone else bothering to read these comments probably think I am boring, too! Such is the power of the internet! Enabling pedants the world over!

    Well, yes & no.

    Yes, the internet enables pedants (Raises hand, guilty as charged.)

    However, no, I don’t find your comments – or you judging from your comments – boring.

    Rude sometimes but not boring.

    I don’t agree with you, I’m not sure I get what your point is in #150 at all but a-n-y-h-o-w. Maybe later when I’m less tired.

    @152. flip : MTU you are officially nuts.

    Well, the rest of the planet’s crazy so why should I be any exception? So much madness in the world and each of us is permanently jailed in the confines of our own craniums unable to get out.

    Life is mad and sanity is rare.

    Get me off this planet! ;-)

  154. My point, MTU, is as it has always been.

    You have a tendency to rewrite ancient history in order to fit more perfectly with your modern world view.

    I believe doing such is malarkey, especially when it is done in order to “prove” the superiority of certain ancient cultures.

    And the fact that you don’t find my constant harping on this boring is yet further proof that you are, in fact, nuts.

  155. Get me off this planet!

    That can be arranged.

  156. me

    I’ll supply the rocket if you like, I’m sure I can find some nitrous and rubber from somewhere. Where do we need it delivered for launch? Oz is pretty big.

  157. Darth Robo

    —”designed structures that have weakened now that they are outside of God’s light”

    Commonsense1208, does this mean that your baseless assertion here means that your “scientific alternative” to evolution is Goddidit with magic?

    —”I would imagine that Adam and Eve”

    And that’s all. They never existed, unless you can demonstrate evidence to the contrary.

    —”You follow your own religion (that of atheistic evolutionism”

    Evolution makes no theological claims, and in fact, many theists accept evolution. Christians included. So are your arguments here directed against evolution or atheism? For science couldn’t care less about theism or atheism in any way shape or form. It only concerns itself with what can be scientifically demonstrated.

    —”very few mutations end up beneficial in any way, but even if they do, the mutation needs to be passed on offspring or it won’t go very far!”

    And since reproduction means passing our DNA to our offspring, you can see why this isn’t much of a problem.

    —”I find it hard to believe that a mistake made during replication EVER have no impact”

    Your beliefs are irrelevant to reality.

    —”And even the smallest nucleotide would have to have some sort of consciousness guiding it (I believe all life in any form has some level of consciousness”

    Have you ever heard of plants?

    —”I guess the last card in my hand is the amazing miracles God does throughout the world, many people have been healed for no “scientific” reason, including a boy who was days away from death due to polio”

    Has there been a scientific paper on this? Or on any of them? Just one? Does God heal amputees, or are you telling us that anecdotes are your only “evidence”?

    —”I prayed to God and I was cured by morning, I don’t give a damn what you or anyone else says about science and evolution and God, you can blabber on forever, but I KNOW God is VERY real and I will ALWAYS believe in Him!”

    If you don’t care about science, why are you here trying to tell us science is wrong about evolution? How is this entity’s existence determined scientifically? Which god is it and how can we tell? What exactly did it do, how did it do it, when did it do it and how can this be determined? What evidence do you have to support this? What useful scientific predictions does it make? How can this be tested? How can this be falsified? Why is your allegedly all-powerful universe-creating creator apparently incapable of such a simple thing like evolution and how did you determine god’s limits scientifically, and what other limits did you discover in the process?

    In other words, why don’t you simply be honest and just come right out and say that you reject science for theological reasons and that your alternative to science is Goddidit with magic? It would save everyone a lot of time, and your honesty would no longer be in question – something which your god frowns upon, does it not?

    Why is it whenever I ask for the science the fundies always disappoint me?

  158. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ 162. Darth Robo : Well fundamentalism (religious variety thereof) isn’t about science or what some consider reality but rather something that is beyond or above or at another angle to science altogether and the Reality of this is something that many here would question.

    —”I guess the last card in my hand is the amazing miracles God does throughout the world, many people have been healed for no “scientific” reason, including a boy who was days away from death due to polio” [Commonsense1208]

    Has there been a scientific paper on this? Or on any of them? Just one? Does God heal amputees, or are you telling us that anecdotes are your only “evidence”?

    See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles

    Belief in them is as contentious as belief in God.

    Many athiests have entirely closed their minds to the possibility that these could occur or be real.

    The Catholic Church among other groups, OTOH, has documented many of them -although science conflicting with Catholic is hardly a first! ;-)

    I’m not certain and keep an open mind, I’m agnostic withmitacle sas I am with God, seeing both sides putting strong cases albeit more convincing to those that are already on their side.

    why don’t you [Commonsense1208] simply be honest and just come right out and say that you reject science for theological reasons and that your alternative to science is Goddidit with magic? It would save everyone a lot of time, and your honesty would no longer be in question – something which your god frowns upon, does it not?

    I can’t answer for Commonsense1208 & I’m certainly no Creationist (agnostic leaning to humanist in personal religious identity ) but I suspect (s)he’d say that its more complicated that that.

    Perhaps the answer is that science need not be mutually exclusive with religion – that you don’t have to reject all religion or all science but take some middle road accepting each has validity in certain areas or of certain types?

    Maybe science and religion complenment each other and both are aspects of life rather than either area being the totality of all things?

    ****

    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
    - Albert Einstein. (Quoted in The Guardian Weekly, P. 42 “Einstein Versus God Round II” 2008 May 23rd.

    “How can anybody prove there’s a God? I said. “I can’t. There’s no mathematical formula or chemical composition that adds up to God, just like there’s no formula for love or hope or honesty. I don’t believe that God is dead. I can’t look around this world and believe that it came out of chance encounters of cosmic debris. But you know God doesn’t have to be believed in to exist.”
    - P. 491, ‘John Glenn : A Memoir’, by John Glenn with Nick Taylor, Random House, 1999.

    “[Soviet Cosmonaut Gherman Titov ] … also professed the official Soviet policy of atheism, as I learned when we fielded questions at the ends of our presentations. Someone asked’ “In communism you don’t believe there is a God. Did your spaceflight alter that?”
    “Not at all,” the cosmonaut said. “Only now there is proof for the Communist position. I went into space and didn’t see God, so that must mean God does not exist.”
    “Did you see God in space Colonel Glenn?” the questioner asked.
    “I didn’t expect to,” I said “The God I believe in isn’t so small that I thought I would run into Him just a little bit above the atmosphere.”
    - P.447-8, ‘John Glenn : A Memoir’, by John Glenn with Nick Taylor, Random House, 1999.

  159. Messier Tidy Upper

    @159. kuhnigget :

    “Get me off this planet!” [MTU]
    That can be arranged.

    Awesome! I’ve always wanted to be a space tourist! Thanks. ;-) :-)

    @158. kuhnigget :

    My point, MTU, is as it has always been. You have a tendency to rewrite ancient history in order to fit more perfectly with your modern world view.

    I don’t think so. Your misunderstanding or misinterpretating my comments as that doesn’t make it true. :-(

    What precisely have I rewritten in history? What have I ever said that hasn’t been factual or at least a reasonable interpretation of the facts?

    I believe doing such is malarkey, especially when it is done in order to “prove” the superiority of certain ancient cultures.

    Once again, you’re misunderstanding what I’m actually saying and what my position really is. :roll:

    I don’t think ancient cultures were superior to ours. I don’t think our culture is perfect either. But nor am I a cultural relativist saying all cultures are equal and there’s no way of judging their success and failures.

    Cultures are complex but at least a significant part of them is just ideas and ways doing and thinking about things.

    Now ideas can be right or wrong, good or bad, helpful or harmful right?

    I don’t think cultural ideas are any exception to that.

    Some cultural ideas are helpful – they make life better for more people, help a society spread and enable Humanity as a whole to progress and improve. An example of such an idea is equal treatment and equal rights for women. A culture such as our Western civilisation has benefitted from the idea of treating women to equal rights, equal pay, equal social status, etc .. (Yes, we’ve still got some way to go in this and other areas, but relatively [ ;-) ] speaking okay?)

    Ditto, gay rights and ending the previous culture of homophobia and replacing it with a culture that treats gay men and lesbians and transexuals and everybody else with a non-criminal sexual orientation as equal and deserving equal treatment and respect.

    A culture that enables gay people to live up to their full potential and have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else is better – in my mind – NOT equal to one that denies them all their rights and persecutes them like, oh say Iran’s Islamic culture where Ahmadinehjad denies that homosexual individuals even exist in his nation and hangs them if they’re caught.

    Would you *really* say, kuhniggget that a culture that is homophobic is equal to and deserves the exact same level of respect as one that persecutes people for their sexual orientation or one that abuses women and refuses to let them drive or even leave their homes without male permission?

    Cultures can be good at some things and terrible at others, the Mayans for instance were great at building but terrible at science – or at least at understanding that no, the Sun didn’t rely on human blood as its fuel source! Is that cultural idea equal to a cultural idea that says the Sun is a God but a benevolent non-human sacrifice needing god or one that says the Sun is a giant nuclear reactor fusing hydrogen into helium at its core?
    Can’t you see a sort of hierarchy of relative ideas there from one that is horribly wrong and harmful (Mayas)to one that’s wrong but not so harmful (Eyptian/ Roman & others) to one that is in essence correct? (Western scientific.)

    And the fact that you don’t find my constant harping on this boring is yet further proof that you are, in fact, nuts.

    Well , you keep me in suspense. I keep wondering are you finally going to get it this time or will you find yet another way to misconstrue and misunderstand my perspective! ;-)

    Also, you generally write well and entertainingly even when we disagree. ;-)

  160. Messier Tidy Upper

    Oh & “me” notice how I backed up my argument about cultures being better or worse than one another by using the benchmarks of how well or otherwise they treat women and gays?

    (Incidentally, the same also applies for Civil Rights for those with different skin colours and foreignors to those cultures too! ;-) )

    Gee, aren’t I a “bigot” to say that women and gays should be treated well and that cultures that allow them to fulfill their potential and live happy, equal lives are, *gasp*, actually *better* than cultures that murder and mistreat them just for being who they are! :roll:

    The “liberal” political Left are frequently hypocrites in that it is utterly inconsistent to support priviledging cultural ideas, supporting separate cultural rights for minority groups to practice harmful customs that cause real individuals needless pain and suffering *and* simultaneously support feminism, gay rights, human rights, etc .. Those are mutually exclusive, mutually antagonistic ideas.

    You *have to choose* between supporting either Culture or Feminism, Culture or Gay Rights, Culture or Human Rights.

    If they Left really believed in the causes they supposedly stand for then they’d be the strongest opponents of Cultural Relativism around! Well, that or the strongest opponents of feminism, gay rights and human rights around.

    I choose to support Gay Rights, Feminism and Human Rights over Cultural Relativism.

    I think that makes me the opposite of a bigot.

    A bigot would choose the other way opting for Cultural Relativism over feminism, human rights and gay rights. Treating the rights of cultures to hold bad ideas over the right of the victims of those ideas. Yes, inescapable logic says that all Cultural Relativists are bigots because they choose to promote cultural ideology over real people’s lives.

    What choice is yours?

  161. Messier Tidy Upper

    From the Wikipedia page linked in #163 :

    The Catholic Church claims to have confirmed the validity of a number of miracles, some of them occurring in modern times and having withstood the test of modern scientific scrutiny. Among the more notable miracles approved by the Church are several Eucharistic miracles wherein the Sacred Host is transformed visibly into Christ’s living Flesh and Blood, such as the Miracle of Lanciano.

    According to 17th-century documents, a young Spanish man’s leg was miraculously restored to him in 1640 after having been amputated two and a half years earlier[17] (see miracle of Calanda).

    Another miracle approved by the Church is the Miracle of the Sun, which occurred near Fátima, Portugal on October 13, 1917. Anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000 people, who were gathered at a cove near Fátima, witnessed the sun dim, change colors, spin, dance about in the sky, and appear to plummet to earth, radiating great heat in the process. After the ten-minute event, the ground and the people’s clothing, which had been drenched by a previous rainstorm, were both dry.

    Interesting, no?

    I’m not claiming these things are positive proof of God’s existence but how does / could science explain these things? It does seem some remarkable and very hard to scientifically explain things do occassionally happen.

    I presume that they would say the 17th century one was a lie or myth? Just dismissing it because they think it couldn’t happen. That the man was a liar perhaps? That everyone was just hallucinating or deluded at the second event maybe?

    But is that really true?

    Just like stones couldn’t fall from the sky & somebody famously said they’d rather believe two Yankee professors could lie than those professors accounts of seeing just that. Yet we know those professors were NOT lying, hallucinating or mistaken – and we now have plenty of meteorites in collections everywhere to prove that.

    This is part of the reason why I call myself agnostic not atheist. Why I keep an open mind on the topic.

    I don’t have any answers but I do at least *know* that I don’t have any answers unlike a number of people (on both religious and atheist sides) who, it seems to me, claim a lot more certainty on things than they really should and don’t seem to *know* how much we *don’t* know.

    Lt me be clear on this :

    Creationism is wrong.
    The evidence says so & the verdict is in on that and its dodgy, deceitful facade of “intelligent Design.”

    However, the existence of some sort of God or some sort of supernatural reality /dimension is not-so-clear-cut & the verdict, at least my verdict is not yet in.


  162. The Catholic Church among other groups, OTOH, has documented many of them -although science conflicting with Catholic is hardly a first

    I think it is more accurate to say the Catholic Church has accepted many of them. Their “documentation” is pretty much limited to anecdotal evidence, typically related by less-than-well-educated people and interpreted by people who are, let’s be polite, somewhat biased.

    If that is enough to justify an “open mind,” then I presume we might as well keep an open mind about flying saucers and anal probing aliens.

    But let’s not, okay?


    What precisely have I rewritten in history? What have I ever said that hasn’t been factual or at least a reasonable interpretation of the facts?

    Pretty much everything I’ve ever harped on, MTU. That last one is as good (koff!) as any. While you might not have “meant it,” your statement…


    In case you aren’t already aware the Judeo-Christian culture – especially the Jewish strand of it places a high value on good argument and good studying, questioning and learning.

    …is just patently false. “Judeo-Christian culture” did NOT in any way place a high value on good argument until quite late in its development. The Jewish temple culture which came to dominate the Yahweh worshipping people of the Levant, and which was responsible for collating, writing, or otherwise putting together the Pentateuch, valued nothing of the sort. To these people, the word of God, as expressed in their newly constructed holy writ, was the word, and that was that.

    You tend to do this a lot, MTU. You don’t seem to understand – or acknowledge, anyway – that the modern versions of these traditions have evolved greatly over time, and you cannot equate their modern incarnations with their ancient predecessors. Apples and oranges.

    Here’s another example, from your last reply to me:


    Cultures can be good at some things and terrible at others, the Mayans for instance were great at building but terrible at science – or at least at understanding that no, the Sun didn’t rely on human blood as its fuel source! Is that cultural idea equal to a cultural idea that says the Sun is a God but a benevolent non-human sacrifice needing god or one that says the Sun is a giant nuclear reactor fusing hydrogen into helium at its core?

    You are comparing an ancient, pre-technological society with a modern, scientific, technological one. Surely you don’t see the impropriety of that? The Romans, whom you’ve set up on a pedestal before, didn’t believe the sun was a giant fusion reactor. Neither did the Greeks! Nor the ancient Jews, or the Walla-Walla Indians of the American Pacific Northwest.

    Indeed, if you compare the Mayans and their skills and knowledge with the Romans or Greeks when they were at similar stages in their intellectual development, you’ll find they are not that far apart. The Greeks and Romans (and Jews) all were dedicated blood sacrificers, whose gods required constant appeasement. These traditions didn’t die out until well into the first millennium CE.

    This is why I find your statements about history so silly. You might as well be comparing a modern automobile with a horse and buggy and complaining because the buggy has sluggish acceleration on the freeway.


    But nor am I a cultural relativist saying all cultures are equal and there’s no way of judging their success and failures.

    Again, “that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    You seem to be equating cultural relativism (which you railed against in post #51) with moral relativism. The two are distinctly different.

    Cultural relativism simply means a culture’s achievements must be judged with that culture’s own values in mind. A culture that does not value putting a man on the moon, to use your example, cannot be faulted for not doing so while another culture that does value such an achievement gets the credit.

    Not every culture on this planet thinks the way the modern west does regarding these sorts of things, and for you to use them as examples that prove the west is better – as you did in post #95 – is just plain silly.

    Now, once again, being a cultural relativist is not the same as being a moral relativist. Yes, civil rights for gay people are terrific, and I hope to live long enough to seem them become commonplace in my own country, let alone Iran. And I’d like women to be treated as equals of men (something traditional Judeo-Christian culture had to be knocked over the head with before it started to sink in…not that it entirely has), again…in my own country as well as the rest of the world.

    And, for the record, with regards to rationalism, the U.S. probably is up near the top generally and theoretically speaking, in my opinion. I only wish it put its money where its idealistic mouth is and stopped waging war on so many damn people and selling so many weapons to so many two-bit dictatorships around the globe and stopped electing leaders who believe corporations are more important than people and try to roll back civil rights into the 1950s.

  163. TheBlackCat

    @ MTU: Phil has dealt with those “sun miracles” on this very blog. That is what happens when people stare at the sun for a long time, it isn’t a miracle.

    The case from 1640 is far from convincing, I’m afraid. According to the wikipedia article, even the person who described the supposed miracle said the documentation of the important parts was absent. Apparently all we have to go on is a few peoples’ words that the amputation even took place. The original leg conveniently went missing, so there is no way to show that there ever was an amputation at all.

    There are plenty of cases of people who claim to have limbs regrown, but none where there is actually documentation that the limb was ever removed in the first place. If there is good evidence for a miracle, I am all for it. But I am not just going to take someone’s word for it, there needs to be independent evidence.

  164. Messier Tidy Upper

    @167. kuhnigget :

    If that is enough to justify an “open mind,” then I presume we might as well keep an open mind about flying saucers and anal probing aliens. But let’s not, okay?

    Well, in my opinion the evidence for miracles seems a little stronger than that fror UFO’s and anal probing aliens. That’s just my view from my understanding of things & as I weigh up the various factors involved and I don’t necessarily expect you to share it.

    Judeo-Christian culture” did NOT in any way place a high value on good argument until quite late in its development.

    But, kuhnigget, I didn’t say or specify just *early* Judeo-Christian culture, I said & meant *all* Judeo-Christian culture, the modern mainstream and more sophisticated form(s?) *included*.

    You are effectively saying there that “Judeo-Christian culture” here means (always?) only one past very ancient form of specifically Jewish clture from one age – excluding all others – and also trying to say that’s what *I* meant by it too. Then you are saying that *I’m* the one rewriting history?!? [Shakes head ruefully.]

    My example there *does* indeed acknowledge and note the evolution of cultures as they develop and I’m not sure how you can possibly have missed that.

    Indeed, if you compare the Mayans and their skills and knowledge with the Romans or Greeks when they were at similar stages in their intellectual development, you’ll find they are not that far apart. The Greeks and Romans (and Jews) all were dedicated blood sacrificers, whose gods required constant appeasement. These traditions didn’t die out until well into the first millennium CE.

    The Mayans sacrificed – so I gather – lots of people every day in order to (they believed) keep the Sun rising.

    The Greeks had human sacrifice? Maybe, I can think of *one* specific example where Iphigenia (spelling?), King Agamemmnon’s daughter was supposedly sacrificed to provide a fair wind for Troy – that is a lone case. It is also mythological not necessarily RL and involves a story where the leader who committed that human sacrifice – Agamemmnon – later gets killed by his wife because of it. Which hardly shows widespread cultural acceptence of human sacrifice with the Greeks compared to the Mayans. There might have been more perhaps but if so I can’t remember hearing of them. There seems a bit of a cultural difference there – in the Greeks favour – to me!

    The ancient Israelites practiced human sacrifice?!? We have one clear mythological case – Abraham ordered especially by God to kill his son Isaac – which was prevented by God at the last minute and shown as an extreme. We also have one other possible case that I’m aware of with the story of Jepthah’s daughter – although that isn’t entirely clear and may be open to interpretation. (Eg. some rabbi’s will argue that Jepthah’s daughter’s “sacrifice” was joining the priesthood rather than actually being killed or so I’ve read.) Both of those are extremely early on in Jewish history, mythological rather than real life and are considered exceptuional cases rather than normal custom as with the Mayans. So .. huh? Again comparison seems to support my view not yours.

    You are comparing an ancient, pre-technological society with a modern, scientific, technological one. Surely you don’t see the impropriety of that?

    Well, one culture – ours – is the one that developed modernity and science and technology. The other cultures didn’t -or at least not as we know them.

    How is noting that fact somehow improper?

    The Romans, whom you’ve set up on a pedestal before, didn’t believe the sun was a giant fusion reactor. Neither did the Greeks! Nor the ancient Jews, or the Walla-Walla Indians of the American Pacific Northwest.

    I never said they did. I specified a difference in three stages between :

    1. Thinking as the Mayans did that the Sun was a God requiring Human sacrifices (worst),

    2. Thinking the Sun was a God that did NOT require human sacrifices (better.)

    &

    3. The modern scienctific view. (Best.)

    It shows there both how cultures can be ranked (on the harmfulness and relative wrongness of their beliefs) and also that cultures can change as the Romans used to *be* “the West” as we’re descended (culturally & distantly) from them.

    I’m sure future cultures will look at our one and think some of the things we did and attitudes we had were wrong too. (Eg. the changing “generation gap” over whether or not homophobia is an acceptable normal attitude or an unacceptable, very nasty form of bigotry.)

    – Part I — more later. ———–

  165. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (105) said:

    In order to replicate DNA, the cell needs to start with a short RNA primer which is attached to the template DNA strand by an enzyme called primase. The new DNA strand is then extended from the end of this fragment. The RNA primer fragment is then removed. This is why we need telomeres, in the middle of the DNA this gap gets covered over by the DNA elongation enzyme (which destroys any RNA it encounters), but at the ends this can’t happen, so the DNA gets shorter by the length of the RNA primer.

    Dang! Either my memory of first-year biochem lectures is faulty, or they didn’t tell us this.

    Hmmm … just realised those first-year biochem lectures were nearly 23 years ago. Maybe my memory is faulty.

  166. Nigel Depledge

    PayAsYouStargaze (110) said:

    Aww Nigel #89. You misspelled Siddeley

    Oh, man!

    That’s what I get from rushing my blog commenting, I guess.

    I would have expected better from the man I was planning to nominate for President of the Euro-Weenies chapter of the Cult Of Phil.

    Well, I never really considered a life in politics. If, however, I were asked and a sufficiently good argument were proposed to me, I would, of course, consider it my duty to step up as required.
    ;-)

    Then again, would the presidency of the European COP chapter be a more ceremonial post (like the presidency of the galaxy in HHGTTG)?

  167. Nigel Depledge

    WizDUmb (109) said:

    The anti-creationist sentiment and insulting language

    What anti-creationist sentiment? Or do you refer to the pro-reality sentiment?

    Creationism – in any of its forms – is wrong. It is a flat-out lie to teach it as if it were science.

    How can people have these extreme opinions when many scientists today are creationists

    You should support this with facts. Let’s have the names of some of these “creationists [who are] scientists”.

    IOW, I do not believe that any scientists are creationists. Unless you count Mike Behe as a scientist still. And his form of creationism is about the weakest form of it there is (IIUC, most American creationists would not even call him a Real Christian because he does not support biblical literalism).

    and many widely recognized evolutionists, including Dawkins and Darwin, have made statements that indicate that evolution is not based on fact?

    Go on, then, let’s hear you quote these statements. Or should that be quote-mine?

    Before buying the stuff you learned in a school forced to teach the THEORY of evolution, do a little research for yourself:

    Actually, I have done a fair bit of research myself.

    What I find is that every single argument supporting creationism is either logically flawed, based on misinformation or a flat-out lie.

    I have also seen enough real, hard evidence to convince me that Common Descent is proven beyond reasonable doubt. BTW, Common Descent is a key component of evolutionary theory.

    The ameoba, one of the “simplest” forms of life

    Nowhere near simplest. The members of the genus Amoeba are eukaryotes, which means that there are (at least) quadrillions of individual organisms on the planet that are simpler. All bacteria and archaea are simpler than Amoebae. As are all viruses.

    on our diverse and beautiful planet, has enough information in it’s DNA to fill hundreds of books- it is EXTREMELY complex.

    What exactly do you mean by “information”?

    If you mean the same thing as Billy Dembski does, then your comment has no meaning.

    What relevance does information have in the context of biological evolution? And why should we consider a large amount of “information” concentrated in a living organism to be such a remarkable thing? After all, simple chemistry can lead to substantial reductions in disorder, which some people would interpret as an increase in information.

    Also, what exactly do you mean by “complex”?

    If you mean the same thing that Billy Dembski means by the term, then again your comment is meaningless. Without a precise definition, complexity is a very subjective thing.

    You have classed Amoebae as the “simplest” organisms (which they are not). You also describe them as complex, which – in fact – they are not. As organisms go, being single-celled, they are relatively simple among eukarya. But they are also more complex than bacteria, archaea and viruses. In biology, the term “complex” is most often used only in a relative sense, because outside of that it has too vague a meaning and therefore too little utility.

    The fossil record, which should show countless transitional forms,

    It does.

    Moreover, modern biology offers us tens of millions of transitional forms. Every species is transitional between its ancestors and its descendents.

    has offered very many different species, which are specific to eachother and extremely rarely resembling transitional forms between species.

    Wrong. There are plenty of transitional fossils. Just because we may not have all of the related species (after all, fossilisation is a very rare event from the perspective of an individual organism) does not mean that some fossil species are not transitional.

    We actually have several dozen sequences of transitional fossils. If the fossil record were a little bit better – or if we were better at discovering fossils – we would have dozens more.

    Do you actually have any idea what you are talking about?

    Evolution requires more faith than creationism

    Rubbish – evolution is supported by all the available evidence. Creationism not only has no evidentiary support at all, but it defies logic, and defies known facts.

    , which is why such insulting language is used- an arrogant defense is required where a reasonable, intellectual, and yes, even scientific argument does not exist.

    This is so backwards.

    Reasonable, intellectual, scientific arguments – very convincing ones – have been made for evolution. Creaionists ignore them, as you will no doubt ignore the refutation of your comment here. The insulting, arrogant attack comes from the creationists. I have yet to see even one creationist argument that is founded in fact.

    To continue to doubt biological evolution – despite 150 years of evidence and logic – is both unreasonable and irrational.

  168. Nigel Depledge

    Commonnonsense1208 said:

    By the way, if organic molecules and all sorts of organic molecules form spontaneously and are somehow able to make cells, then why have scientists had such a hard time creating life from such compounds, even in unrealistically “good” conditions for life to begin, these compounds have never been observed joining together to create any form of life.

    To which TBC (126) responded:

    2 reasons: a lot of molecules, and a lot of time. We are talking about an entire ocean full of molecules for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. It is unreasonable to expect scientists to be able to produce them in a decade or so when we have tiny amounts of the molecules.

    >

    There’s a third reason too.

    The first life would have had no competition and no predators. Any life that began now would certainly be consumed before it got anywhere, even assuming it could find the raw materials to start off with.

    In a laboratory experiment, it may be possible to provide the relevant raw materials and eliminate any risk of competition or predation. However, under these conditions, the factors that TBC highlights become the most significant.

    Additionally, and tying all this together, we don’t yet know the exact conditions under which life on Earth began. Indeed, we may never know. Current experiments make reasonable extrapolations from what we do know, or make reasonable assumptions about conditions that pertained on the early Earth. But they may not be perfect.

    Finally, even if abiogenesis were divinely-driven in some way, evolution would still be a valid theory explaining biological change over time. Darwin, writing in The Origin of Species, allowed for one or several initial creation events to have occurred to form the starting point from which evolution took over.

  169. MTU…MTU…MTU…

    The Greeks had human sacrifice?

    BLOOD sacrifice! BLOOD! Now you are rewriting what I wrote, just to avoid the point!

    And just to be clear about the ancient Hebrews:


    First Samuel 1:15:

    Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

    “Thus saith the LORD of hosts … slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

    Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

    Or this one:


    Numbers 31:

    And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.

    And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep…

    (cut out various asses and sheep)

    And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.

    (cut out more asses and sheep)

    And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the LORD’S tribute was thirty and two persons.

    Get that part about “the lord’s tribute”? The ancient Jews weren’t talking about sheckels, MTU.

    But now back to the main point, yet again. You said:


    Well, one culture – ours – is the one that developed modernity and science and technology. The other cultures didn’t -or at least not as we know them.
    How is noting that fact somehow improper?

    It is improper, MTU, because you are comparing one culture that survived with one that did not. Had the Mayans survived, you cannot say they would not have developed the same level of science and technology as did the west.

    And no, before you try it, you cannot blame the Mayan’s demise on their blood sacrifice! All indications would seem to point to catastrophic agricultural failure based upon a combination of poor planning (chopping down forests, which lead to catastrophic erosion) and over population.

    In case you hadn’t heard, MTU, the ancient Greeks did pretty much the same thing. Their fondness for sheep and goats denuded the once-forested hills of Greece down to the bare rock. One of the reasons they were always fighting each other was over the right to pasture their livestock on their neighbor’s lands.

    And I’m sure even you can see the parallels with our own culture’s slash and burn record on the environment!

    So, honestly now, do you not see how these comparisons of yours are silly? Really? You don’t see it?


    I never said they did. I specified a difference in three stages between :

    No you didn’t! Not until just then! Back in post 164 you said, quote,


    Cultures can be good at some things and terrible at others, the Mayans for instance were great at building but terrible at science – or at least at understanding that no, the Sun didn’t rely on human blood as its fuel source! Is that cultural idea equal to a cultural idea that says the Sun is a God but a benevolent non-human sacrifice needing god or one that says the Sun is a giant nuclear reactor fusing hydrogen into helium at its core?

    Where in that quote do you mention anything about comparing different stages of those cultures? You don’t! You are comparing apples and oranges! Again! I caught you at it, and now I caught you trying to change your tune!

    So, blah blah blah! Same old tune!

    BORRRRRRRINNNNNNGGGGGGGG!

  170. Nigel Depledge

    Commonnonsense1208 (138) said:

    PayasYouStargaze said “Let’s assume your ignorant claim that all mutations are destructive. while in reality mutations can be beneficial or neutral depending on the environment.”
    I never said all mutations are destructive, what I said was most are bad, a mutation is basically a mistake made during replication,

    And what aspect of the word “mistake” carries a positive connotation, exactly?

    this is a loss or change in genetic information,

    How – precisely – is a mutation ever a loss of information?

    if you were copying a text book and occasionally switched random letters or words around would it not make it harder to read,

    Actually, in English it could. There are some very similar words with different meanings, where the switching of a few letters could change the meaning. And don’t get me started on punctuation.

    if whole sentences disappeared then vital information could be lost, these kinds of changes are rarely beneficial, though sometimes it does happen, such as disease resistance,

    Perhaps. But in a book, we would typically expect all words to convey meaning, but a genome is a wholly different thing. Are you aware of introns?

    rather than calling me ignorant perhaps you should read my comments with your eyes instead your arrogance

    But your ignorance is really, really obvious.

    First, you have used pathetic and repeatedly-refuted arguments against evolution as a crutch for your support of creationism.

    Second, creationism is – more or less by definition – ignorance. The fact that you support creationism means you support the propagation of ignorance.

    Third, a great deal of what you say is factually wrong.

    As TBC has mentioned, it looks like you have not studied biology beyond high school. Are you aware that some commenters here have studied biology beyond that level? That some of us really do know more about this stuff than you do?

  171. TheBlackCat

    But, kuhnigget, I didn’t say or specify just *early* Judeo-Christian culture, I said & meant *all* Judeo-Christian culture, the modern mainstream and more sophisticated form(s?) *included*.

    The problem is that this didn’t develop until long after other, non-Abrahamic cultures like the ancient Greeks and Romans developed such practices. You were asserting that judeo-christian culture was responsible for instilling this in western thought, but this is clearly not the case. It was primarily the ancient Greeks, and the re-discovery of ancient Greek manuscripts primarily preserved (and often expanded) by the Musliums, that was responsible for this. Jewish culture did not get this practice until over a millennium after the Greeks, and Christians fought tooth and nail to prevent it from coming back.

    Besides, the last thing Christians at the time would want to do is emulate Jewish culture. Anti-semitism was practically universal in Christian Europe until very recently, and was the official policy of the Catholic Church until after WWII and was the official policy of essentially all major Christian denominations at the time of the Enlightenment.

    I never said they did. I specified a difference in three stages between :

    1. Thinking as the Mayans did that the Sun was a God requiring Human sacrifices (worst),

    2. Thinking the Sun was a God that did NOT require human sacrifices (better.)

    &

    3. The modern scienctific view. (Best.)

    It shows there both how cultures can be ranked (on the harmfulness and relative wrongness of their beliefs) and also that cultures can change as the Romans used to *be* “the West” as we’re descended (culturally & distantly) from them.

    But that is simply different religious traditions, it has absolutely nothing to do with their knowledge of science. Morally one was worse, but scientifically, both were just as bad. You specifically said that Mayas were bad at scientific thought compared to the Romans, but justified this based on different religious traditions neither of which are the least bit scientific.

    And what makes you think the Mayas used human sacrifice to make the sun rise, anyway? What is your source for this?

  172. TheBlackCat

    All bacteria and archaea are simpler than Amoebae. As are all viruses.

    Viruses are generally not considered to be alive, since they are incapable of doing even basic biochemistry on their own.

  173. me

    @ MTU’s – “Oh & “me” notice how I backed up my argument about cultures being better or worse than one another by using the benchmarks of how well or otherwise they treat women and gays? ”

    Yes. I did. It’s a bit like watching someone trying to build a sandcastle out of their own crap before then trying to sell it as attractive accommodation for a family holiday by decorating it with pictures of kittens.

  174. Darth Robo

    .164 MTU:

    —”Many athiests have entirely closed their minds to the possibility that these could occur or be real. The Catholic Church among other groups, OTOH, has documented many of them -although science conflicting with Catholic is hardly a first! ;-) I’m not certain and keep an open mind, I’m agnostic withmitacle sas I am with God, seeing both sides putting strong cases albeit more convincing to those that are already on their side.”

    Well when it comes to a scientific discussion I couldn’t care less about atheism or theism. All I ask is for evidence to be presented. In the case of “miracles” all we have are anecdotes, which are every bit as valid as the claims put forward for ghosts, UFO’s, fairies and leprechauns. Fundies like to turn science discussions into theism vs atheism. I don’t let them.

    —”I can’t answer for Commonsense1208 & I’m certainly no Creationist (agnostic leaning to humanist in personal religious identity ) but I suspect (s)he’d say that its more complicated that that. Perhaps the answer is that science need not be mutually exclusive with religion – that you don’t have to reject all religion or all science but take some middle road accepting each has validity in certain areas or of certain types? Maybe science and religion complenment each other and both are aspects of life rather than either area being the totality of all things?”

    Sure, religion can be worth something to religious people in the realm of theology or philosophy – subjects which science doesn’t really address. But since fundies specifically take their religious objections into the scientific arena then all I ask them to do is stick to the scientific method. Since fundiewithoutcommonsense1208 has openly admitted that he/she doesn’t have the science to support their baseless claims, and what’s more, as openly admitted to not caring, then obviously it is not very complicated at all. Their alternative to science they reject for theological reasons is magic. I don’t have a problem with religion in and of itself, and have no problem with religious people who accept modern science, as these people are usually smart enough to draw the line between religion and science. How they deal with that philosophically I leave entirely in their hands. You won’t find me poking fun at religious people just for being religious; I reserve that for those who think their religious claims have any bearing on science. Quoting from various authorities in favour of religion is designed to make people feel better about holding religious beliefs but are ultimately irrelevant to the subject at hand – the validity or lack thereof of scientific claims. A subject which fundies are woefully inadequate to handle due to their complete and utter abject lack of education on the subject.

    —”Interesting, no? I’m not claiming these things are positive proof of God’s existence but how does / could science explain these things? It does seem some remarkable and very hard to scientifically explain things do occassionally happen.”

    Um, no. It demonstrates gullibility on behalf of those who accept such claims at face value.

  175. Darth Robo

    Does anybody think of the kittens?
    :(

  176. me

    I had to stop thinking of the kittens after the court gave me the restraining order…

  177. flip

    #157, MTU

    (Regrettably I got the blue screen of death and it deleted all my replies. So for now…)

    So the only thing you’re replying to in my post of #152 is the – unfortunate use of – ad hom? How disappointing.

    Get me off this planet!

    I’m with you! (Erm, I mean, I want to leave to!)

  178. flip

    #177 TBC

    I think you hit on the main issue: MTU consistently treats cultures as if there is no interchange of information between them throughout history. In reality, they all interact due to wars, colonisation, religion, or trade. But MTU seems to think the ‘Westerners’ never met the Chinese… etc.

    More than that, he seems to forget that people migrate; Australia is a big melting pot of different cultures. To say we’re all descended from ‘Western’ cultures is to forget Asian migration during the Gold rush (thank goodness, all that yummy food we can enjoy!), along with migrations of people *away* to other countries.

    The problem with comparing cultures is that ideas can cross ‘boundaries’.

  179. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (177) said:

    Viruses are generally not considered to be alive, since they are incapable of doing even basic biochemistry on their own.

    Well, I hesitate to open this can of worms, but my understanding is that there is no consensus over the status of viruses.

    However, a reasonable argument can be made that life is that which can evolve by natural selection. And viruses most certainly evolve by natural selection.

    More broadly, since the discussions included mere self-replicating molecules, I considered the inclusion of viruses to be meet.

  180. Nigel Depledge

    Kuhnigget (151) said:

    And by the way #2, I’m also aware that most everyone else bothering to read these comments probably think I am boring, too! Such is the power of the internet! Enabling pedants the world over!

    Yay pedantry!!

  181. Nigel Depledge

    Speaking in very general terms…

    @ TBC (I’ve lost track of how many comments addressing the creationist) -
    You have done a bang-up job of addressing all of the ignorance spouted by our new friend. And you pretty much beat me to it an all the major points.

  182. Nigel Depledge

    Flip (153) said:

    #151. kuhnigget

    I don’t find you boring. I always enjoy reading your comments (you, Nigel Depledge and TBC are my favs).

    Thank-you very much [blushes].

  183. Nigel Depledge

    Me (160) said:

    I’ll supply the rocket if you like, I’m sure I can find some nitrous and rubber from somewhere. Where do we need it delivered for launch? Oz is pretty big.

    Hey, you already have a launch site at Woomera. Admittedly it hasn’t been used in a very long time, but that’s because we Brits decided (after having blown up a few Pacific islands with our own nukes) to buy American. Of course, we had to share our tech with them to get them to sell us their missiles, but that seemed like a good idea at the time. With no need to develop our own missiles, we canned our rocket development programme.

    So, there’s another fine thing we Brits have done for you Aussies! ;-)

  184. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Nigel Depledge :

    Absolutely – along wth the cricket, we’ll never forget that! :-)

    @174. kuhnigget :

    BLOOD sacrifice! BLOOD! Now you are rewriting what I wrote, just to avoid the point!

    D’oh! I thought you”d written human sacrifices not blood sacrifices there, could’ve sworn that’s what you’d said. Okay, sorry, I misread you there.

    Get that part about “the lord’s tribute”? The ancient Jews weren’t talking about sheckels, MTU.

    They might not have been talking shekels true but its also not explicitly clear that they were talking about human sacrifices in the Mayan cut-their hearts out way.

    Had the Mayans survived, you cannot say they would not have developed the same level of science and technology as did the west.

    Or that they would have developed science had they continued to survive .. :roll:

    Is there anything to suggest the Mayans *were* developing towards science & away from human sacrifice beore they collapsed? I suspect not.

    So, honestly now, do you not see how these comparisons of yours are silly? Really? You don’t see it?

    Well, no, not really, I don’t.

    Yes, all cultures have been bad for the environment – that or they’ve been controlled by their environment to the point where they’ve stopped making progress, been reduced to asubsisitence hunter-gatherer lifestyle and then been conquered by those that have exploited – &yes, sometimes over-exploited their environments.

    Human nature, history, it ain’t always pretty or nice but its what results & what it is.

  185. Messier Tidy Upper

    CORRECTED & EXPANDED :

    @174. kuhnigget : So, honestly now, do you not see how these comparisons of yours are silly? Really? You don’t see it?

    Well, no, not really, I don’t.

    Yes, all cultures have been bad for the environment – that or they’ve been controlled by their environment to the point where they’ve stopped making progress, been reduced to a subsistence hunter-gatherer lifestyle and then been conquered by those that have exploited – &yes, sometimes over-exploited their environments.

    Cultures change & I don’t think I’ve ever disputed that or said our culture is permanent or not likely to change further for the better. Our current society is better than it used to be & still improving (see gay rights /homophobia & attitudes thereof) – relative to today, our culture used to be worse than it is now. Not equal but worse.

    Maybe the Muslims will evolve out of being what they are now and into something better – maybe they need our help in doing so which means us NOT just saying how they are now is okay. We ned to say no, your culture can and should imprve and this is what younee dto do -let’s start with your cultutres homophobia and misogny and anti-Semitism and worship /ideology of Jihadist terrorism.

    Maybe the Mayans would have evolved into something better & hopefully we will still keep improving our own culture.

    Didn’t you get that from what I said earlier?

  186. Messier Tidy Upper

    @176. TheBlackCat :

    “But, kuhnigget, I didn’t say or specify just *early* Judeo-Christian culture, I said & meant *all* Judeo-Christian culture, the modern mainstream and more sophisticated form(s?) *included*.” [MTU -ed]
    The problem is that this didn’t develop until long after other, non-Abrahamic cultures like the ancient Greeks and Romans developed such practices.

    Misisng my point again? *Sigh*

    I’m saying our culture (now) is all of our culture including all the influences over time that has made it what it is but also including how we’ve evolved. A good culture grows in many ways as well as just in territorial extent.

    You were asserting that judeo-christian culture was responsible for instilling this in western thought, but this is clearly not the case. .. Jewish culture did not get this practice until over a millennium after the Greeks, and Christians fought tooth and nail to prevent it from coming back.

    Oh gee, So Jewish culture has grown richer and deeper and more sophisticated over time! What news! *shock, horror! :roll:

    Yes, modern Jewish culture has more wisdom, more experience, more to draw upon than
    pats jewish culture, we’re better than we used to be.

    This is an argument *for* respecting as “equal” and keeping static cultures thathavennt grown and evolved in the same way? Really?

  187. Messier Tidy Upper

    CONTINUED :

    @176. TheBlackCat :

    Yes, modern Jewish culture has more wisdom, more experience, more to draw upon than
    past Jewish culture, we’re better than we used to be.

    This is an argument *for* respecting as “equal” and keeping static those cultures that *haven’t* grown and evolved in the same way? :-o

    Really? :roll:

    Besides, the last thing Christians at the time would want to do is emulate Jewish culture. Anti-semitism was practically universal in Christian Europe until very recently,

    I think most Jewish people *already* know that, The Black Cat, many all-too painfully well. :roll:

    Again, Christianity has improved and grown since then.

    Cultural Relativism would say that say that old 1930′s Christian culture where anti-Semitism was rife and utterly vile and caused horrendous human suffering was equal to modern not-so-much anti-Semitic culture.

    That is exactly the point I’d dispute about it.

    Racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic cultures just suck.

    They are objectively *worse* than cultures that are tolerant, pro-women and pro- gay rights.

    Yet saying so somehow makes *me* a bigot?! WTF!!!

  188. Can’t help but notice you missed the key point of my last post, MTU, namely, that you changed your tune when I caught you red-fingered in a…oh, shall we say, modest fib? To wit, changing your position from what you wrote, to what you later claimed you wrote. This is entirely consistent with your tendency to rewrite history to suit your own needs.

    But this is now too boring even for me, and obviously you’re not going to admit the error of your antipodean ways. I’ll wait for the next UFO nut to arrive to continue the ineffective lecturing.

    Kuhnigget out.

  189. Nigel Depledge

    @ Kuhnigget (194) -
    I agree.

    I’ve given up debating culture with MTU. Arguments on that topic (and one other that I prefer not to mention) are like water off a duck’s back.

  190. TheBlackCat

    I’m saying our culture (now) is all of our culture including all the influences over time that has made it what it is but also including how we’ve evolved. A good culture grows in many ways as well as just in territorial extent.

    That is not at all what you said. Do I need to remind you of your own words? (that is a rhetorical question, of course I do, as I have had to many times in the past) Here is what you actually said:

    Jewish culture places an extremely high value and gives enormous respect on scholarship and debating and is one of the very many “gifts of the Jews” to Western culture. It is one of the things that makes the Jewish culture perhaps the greatest of all those thousands of cultures humans have invented.

    Sorry, my criticisms are valid. It was not a “gift of the Jews”, it was anything it was a gift of the Greeks. The Greeks had it before the Jews did, and we got it from the Greeks (via the Muslims).

    This is an argument *for* respecting as “equal” and keeping static those cultures that *haven’t* grown and evolved in the same way?

    Please show me where I or anyone else in this discussion have said or even implied anything even remotely similar to this. I have not commented on the issue, everyone else who has said explicitly that they do not think this. I can tell you I am not a cultural relativist as you define it. Whether that bears any resemblance to how real cultural relativists define their position I don’t know, but given your past history I would be inclined to think it doesn’t.

    You are attacking a strawman (as usual). You accuse everyone else of relativism, and no matter how many times they remind you that they do not believe the things you claim they believe, you still insist on arguing against this. And now you randomly accuse me of believing it despite the fact that I have not said one word on the subject.

    Of course this is normal for your, you often make up strawman positions and attribute them to other people, insisting that they hold those positions no matter how many times they tell you otherwise, going so far as to accuse people of lying about their beliefs when they explicitly say they don’t hold the position you claim they hold.

    Although I guess if you can’t even keep your own position straight I guess it is not that surprising that you can’t keep anyone elses’ straight, either.

    I think most Jewish people *already* know that, The Black Cat, many all-too painfully well.

    You obviously didn’t, since it disproves your earlier statement that I quoted above.

    Yet saying so somehow makes *me* a bigot?! WTF!!!

    Where did I claim you were a bigot? (prior to here)

    You are a bigot, but this particular bit has nothing to do with that.

  191. TheBlackCat

    @ MTU:

    Why does this discussion seem so very familiar? Oh, I remember. The last time we were on the subject you made essentially the same arguments, except you claimed it was the early Christians that valued debating and questioning things.

    We smacked you down hard there, too, showing that your claims were totally and completely at odds with reality. Rather than admitting you were wrong, you dodged and weaved and played semantics games for a while and then just dropped out of the discussion entirely.

    Now you are back making the exact same claims for a totally different culture, and doing the exact same dodging and weaving and semantics games you played last time, and the time before, and every other time before that.

    I agree with the other, debating you is a waste of time.

  192. flip

    #188, Nigel

    You’re welcome! I always learn so much from you guys, which is why I keep coming back to these comments.

  193. me

    “Yet saying so somehow makes *me* a bigot?! WTF!!!”

    no, comments such as;

    “Obama is not actually African-American in the conventional meaning of the word – being half-”white” (American-American?) and of *Kenyan* immigrant-American not (ex-slave & longtime US resident) African-American ancestry; isn’t anyone in the USA bothered by the fact that you have a half- & hyphenated-American in office as President rather than an all-American individual?”

    and;

    “Nowadays in US culture being black-skinned is if anything an advantage or so I gather. They get the benefits of “affirmative action” and they and their sub-cultures are celebrated in many different ways.”

    are mainly what made you seem to be a bigot.
    You might not be, you might just be regurgitating arguments you heard elsewhere without checking them for content first.

  194. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Me :

    But those statements are purely factual!

    Are you denying that that’s Obama’s background?

    Or that “affirmative action” is discrimination based on race – one that elevates African-Americans at the expense of other ethnic groups?

    Bigotry is persecuting other individuals based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

    I do NOT do that. I treat all people equally on their merits and assess situations based on the facts. I don’t care what somebody’s skin colour, gender, sexual orinetation etc .. is.

    I think Martin Luther King was one of if not *the* greatest Americans of all-time as is Muhammad Ali and Morgan Freeman.

    I just don’t think culture is a good excuse to mutilate women’s genitals or hang gays or brutally stone to death as “adulterers” women that have been raped or practice human sacrifice supposed so the Sun rises.

    Individuals have rights and deserve to be treated well.

    Cultural ideas and practices do NOT.

    My objection to Obama (who, btw. I would’ve voted *for* in 2008 given the McCain-Palin alternative *if* I was American) is based on his policies – specifically the cancellation of the Lunar Return program and his appeasement of our enemies and other foreign policiy issues like his snubbing Israel and denying it the right to build on its territory as it chooses in the process. Isn’t it really pretty bigoted to persecute Israelis and Jewish people generally in order to suck up to all the Islamic Jihadistans and Muslim extremists?? Isn’t it?

    I don’t think a President whose skin was white would get the sort of pass on these issues as Obama has. I don’t think his being black-skinned stops him from being a bad president any more than Jimmy Carter’s white skin stopped him from being a dreadful president too. :-(

    So anyhow, what you’re effectively saying there is that I’m bigoted for simply noting the facts? :roll:

    I also notice that you and the other defenders of Cultural relativism here have NOT answered my question asked back in comment # 165 :

    You *have to choose* between supporting either Culture or Feminism, Culture or Gay Rights, Culture or Human Rights.

    If they Left really believed in the causes they supposedly stand for then they’d be the strongest opponents of Cultural Relativism around! Well, that or the strongest opponents of feminism, gay rights and human rights around.

    I choose to support Gay Rights, Feminism and Human Rights over Cultural Relativism. I think that makes me the opposite of a bigot.

    A bigot would choose the other way opting for Cultural Relativism over feminism, human rights and gay rights. Treating the rights of cultures to hold bad ideas over the right of the victims of those ideas. Yes, inescapable logic says that all Cultural Relativists are bigots because they choose to promote cultural ideology over real people’s lives.

    Culture or Human Rights, Gay Rights, Civil Rights & Feminism – What choice is yours?

    Your answer please!

  195. Messier Tidy Upper

    [Obama's] appeasement of our enemies and other foreign policiy issues like his snubbing Israel and denying it the right to build on its territory as it chooses in the process.* Isn’t it really pretty bigoted to persecute Israelis and Jewish people generally in order to suck up to all the Islamic Jihadistans and Muslim extremists?

    What about the “Palestinians” you might be thinking /asking?

    Simple. They are terrorists and we should NEVER negotiate with or try to appease terrorists.

    The Palestinians should NOT be negotiated with until they have completely given up terrorism – & proven that they have – and disarmed completely and accepted Israel’s right to exist. Anything else is encouraging terrorism.

    Accepting Arafat as suppsoedly “legitimate” before he’d demonstrably given up terrorism was a huge mistake, one of Israel’s worst. Accepting Hamas would be an even worse one. Far from being too harsh on the Palestinians and their other Muslim enenies, Israel has been too kind and too willing to appease them.

    Israelis, Jewish people and Westerners have a right to live free of terror. They have a right to have their rights respected – and to defend themselves from attack. Until the Muslim world accepts this, gets over its defeat at Jewish hands and stops its jihadist nonsense it should be fought as ruthlessly and efficently as needs be – NOT pandered to and humoured.

    Also the “Palestinians” were already given a state – its called Jordan and was split off from the original Mandate – and the “Palestinians” were originally just Syrians & Arabs anyhow, their “national identity ” being invented in the 1960-70′s after Israel had been formed and solely as an excuse to destroy the one Jewish nation on the planet.

  196. me

    hang on.. so you are saying Obama is deliberately and publicly persecuting Jews to appease Islamic extremists and that he is getting away with it because he is black?

    And that all Palestinians are terrorists and should move to Jordan?

    And yet are you still claiming not to be an unpleasant bigoted fantasist and also, almost unbelievably, are you still saying that you shouldn’t be hunted down on live television with genetically modified wolves armed with lasers as part of the latest bid by the Fox network to boost their ratings?

    But no matter. The reps from the production company will be along to visit you in the morning.

  197. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ me : Look at how Obama snubbed Israel and how he is preferring and trying to appease the Muslim world – populated by fanatical, murderous, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic bigoted Muslims versus his mistreatment of the Jewish State which is a tolerant, rational, democratic oasis of civilisation in the desert of barbarism that is the surrounding Middle East.

    Q.E.D. Case closed.

    @ 194. kuhnigget :

    Can’t help but notice you missed the key point of my last post, MTU, namely, that you changed your tune when I caught you red-fingered in a…oh, shall we say, modest fib? To wit, changing your position from what you wrote, to what you later claimed you wrote. This is entirely consistent with your tendency to rewrite history to suit your own needs.

    Kuhnigget, that’s just NOT true. I went through your previous post (#174) the only thing I didn’t respond to & refute was your last :

    So, blah blah blah! Same old tune!
    BORRRRRRRINNNNNNGGGGGGGG!

    Which, if you must have a response to, was simply disrespectful, rude and entirely your personal subjective opinion. I thought that part was unworthy of you and deserved to go ignored. :-(

    The rest of your post (#174) I went through carefully and refuted – see my comments #190 & 191 above.

  198. TheBlackCat

    Bigotry is persecuting otherindividuals based on their race, sexual orientation or religion.

    No, bigotry is judging people based on irrelevant factors, with those you provided being some examples.

    I do NOT do that. I treat all people equally on their merits. I don’t care what somebody’s skin colour, gender, sexual orinetation etc .. is.

    Except, of course, for atheists, who you have no problem judging without actually knowing their positions on an issue. If you don’t know their position, often even if you do know their position, you make up an imaginary one that is completely at odds with their stated positions, then argue against that.

    And Muslims, where you judge all members of the religion based on the actions of the worst members.

    Individuals have rights and deserve to be treated well.
    Cultural ideas and practices do NOT.

    Except, of course, for religions you like, which you give a free pass. Religions you don’t like you freely skewer, but if it is a religion you like heaven forbid (pun intended) anyone criticize that, then you are all over them no matter how true the criticisms may be.

    My objection to Obama (who, btw. I would’ve voted *for* in 2008 given the McCain-Palin alternative *if* I was American) is based on his policies -specifically the cancellation of the Lunar Return program

    Wait, what? The fact that he wants to go to Mars instead of the Moon is worth dismissing him as a horrible president?

    and his appeasement of our enemies and other foreign policiy issues like his snubbing Israel and denying it the right to build on its territory as it chooses in the process.

    You mean the same policy Bush supported? You do realize Israel signed a treaty saying they wouldn’t build on that land, right? And that it was land they conquered fairly recently? And that their own government agreed that the settlements were illegal?

    If a handful of Muslims squatters broke the law and started building on land they did not own, land their own laws said they were not allowed to build on, threatening violence if anyone tried to force them off, would you really be okay with that? I think given your past history the answer is pretty clear.

    This is what most people would call bigotry. You are throwing away the rule of law entirely because the victims are members of a group you don’t like. The law is the law, whether you like the victims or not.

    I don’t think a President whose skin was white would get the sort of pass on these issues as Obama has.

    Are you kidding me? You think that people aren’t upset about the lunar return program because he’s part-black? Yes, sorry, you are a blatant bigot if you think this. It is absolutely absurd.

    Do you have even the slightest clue what Bush got away with during his term in office? The stuff Obama has gotten away with isn’t even close.

    And Bush had it easy, there is not a single thing Obama has done that the Republicans did not fight tooth and nail to prevent. Even when he tried to implement their own ideas they fought him. And many members of his own party fight him as well, as opposed to Bush who got a free pass on just about everything from all Republicans and many Democrats as well.

    You really think Obama has gotten a free pass on anything? Have you not paid even the slightest bit of attention to how he has been treated?

    So what you’re effectively saying there is that I’m bigoted for simply noting the facts?

    No, you’re a bigot for applying different standards to ethnic or religious groups you like than you apply to those you don’t like. You are a bigot for making up facts and then reading racial motivations into those imaginary facts. You are a bigot for making up nasty positions for members of groups you don’t like and then using those to attack them. You are a bigot for ignoring the rule of law when the victims are members of a group you don’t like.

    I also notice that you and the other defenders of Cultural relativism here have NOT answered my question asked back in comment # 165 :

    Who is defending this version of cultural relativism? Name one person on this thread who says that all cultures are equal. Who has claimed this? I haven’t. kuhnigget explicitly said the exact opposite. So who is this question directed at?

    I asked you this before, but you totally ignored me (as usual).

    I just don’t think culture is a good excuse to mutilate women’s genitals or hang gays or brutally stone to death as “adulterers” women that have been raped or practice human sacrifice supposed so the Sun rises.

    You mean like the Jews did? Or Christians do right now? Do you have any idea what the Christians in Uganda are doing to gays as we speak? And guess who is responsible for that: Christians right here in this country. Close friends of many members of the U.S. government, I might add (not Obama, but many others).

    And you still have not answered my question: where did you get the idea that Maya sacrifices were intended to make the sun rise?

  199. TheBlackCat

    Look at how Obama snubbed Israel and how he is preferring and trying to appease the Muslim world – populated by fanatical, murderous, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic bigoted Muslims versus his mistreatment of the Jewish State which is a tolerant, rational, democratic oasis of civilisation in the desert of barbarism that is the surrounding Middle East.

    Thank you for proving our point.

    And I would like to re-iterate that Obama is merely continuing the same policy that both Clinton and Bush followed (and maybe others before, but I wasn’t paying attention to politics back then).

  200. me

    Also, if the Palestinian identity was invented in the 1960′s, why were the British, between 1923 and 1948, managing a state called The British Mandate of Palestine, containing Palestine on the west and Transjordan on the east, that included the area now called Israel and why can I find references going back to ancient Egyptian times indicating a Palestinian identity in that area?

    As far as the archaeological evidence goes, Palestine is claimed to be mentioned in an artifact from around 1100 BC and Israel is claimed to be mentioned in an artifact from around 1200 BC, so there isn’t really very much in it.

  201. me

    “his mistreatment of the Jewish State which is a tolerant, rational, democratic oasis of civilisation in the desert of barbarism that is the surrounding Middle East. ”

    I regularly read Haaretz.

    Arrests of jewish women by the state for daring to pray at the wailing wall.
    Segregation on buses for women in some areas, with threats of violence for non-compliance.
    Army Major-General calling for IDF soldiers who refuse to fight to be shot.

    I’m thinking of starting a protest group to support Israelis against the oppression of their government.

  202. TheBlackCat

    I do find it amusing that when people don’t join MTU in attacking Obama over these things, the only conclusion he can come up with is that it must be because Obama is part black. The idea that many people simply disagree with him on these subjects seems to be beyond him.

  203. flip

    #201, MTU

    Israelis, Jewish people and Westerners have a right to live free of terror.

    But Islamic people don’t?

    the “Palestinians” were originally just Syrians & Arabs anyhow, their “national identity ” being invented in the 1960-70′s after Israel had been formed and solely as an excuse to destroy the one Jewish nation on the planet.

    One could say the Jewish nation is also invented. Slightly off topic, but interestingly enough, the Jewish calendar changed due to the nation of Israel being created. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar#Karaite_calendar

    #203, MTU

    populated by fanatical, murderous, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic bigoted Muslims versus his mistreatment of the Jewish State which is a tolerant, rational, democratic oasis of civilisation in the desert of barbarism that is the surrounding Middle East.

    I had a reply, but TBC wrote it better than I did in #204.

    Kuhnigget had it right: you rewrite history for your own benefit.

    #204, TBC

    Everything you said, I agree with in its entirety and it’s said in far better terms than I could have put it.

    #207, me

    Not to mention that if you walked into any synagogue (hey MTU, there’s gotta be at least one in Adelaide!) men and women are separated. Apparently, women are just too distracting during prayer time. Are Muslim women separated during prayers in a mosque? (Jewish women may not have to cover their faces, but they do have to wear wigs if they’re married, and generally make themselves look dowdy. Another culturally relative artifact that MTU conveniently forgets)

  204. me

    “Are Muslim women separated during prayers in a mosque? ”

    Depends on the Mosque, some don’t really like women going there at all.
    Looking for evidence of an enlightened view of women among any of the Abrahamic dogmas is a bit tricky. Mohammad did say ‘if any among your women asks permission to go to the mosque, don’t stop her from going’, which seems nice enough, however it contains the assumption that the women have to ask permission from their menfolk, which is a common enough theme in Judaism, Islam and Christianity (and many other primitive tribal belief systems, such as golf).

  205. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (200) said:

    Bigotry is persecuting other individuals based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

    Not so.

    Bigotry is assuming that all people who share such a characteristic – be it skin colour, ethnic background, sexual preference or whatever – can be judged and considered as if they were all the same.

  206. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (200) said:

    I do NOT do that. I treat all people equally on their merits and assess situations based on the facts. I don’t care what somebody’s skin colour, gender, sexual orinetation etc .. is.

    Not really.

    You have claimed – without facts to back it up – that Obama was elected only because he is black. And then you went on to say – without demonstrating any relevance – that he wasn’t even “properly” black (my paraphrase of your words).

    TBC accuses you of (words to the effect of ) evasion and changing your tune and re-writing in your head what has preceded on the thread.

    I would say that, based on comments you have posted in this thread, TBC is correct.

  207. @ ^ Nigel Depledge & 204. TheBlackCat :

    Well I can only call things as I see them. I’ll consider what you’ve said here.

    Meanwhile, in Pakistan Muslim extremists have murdered yet again – one of their own ministers who has dared to oppose harsher blasphemy laws. :-(

    Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has been shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight in the capital, Islamabad. He was travelling to work through a residential district when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets, police said.
    Mr Bhatti, the cabinet’s only Christian minister, had received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws. In January, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who had also opposed the law, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards. The blasphemy law carries a death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. Critics say it has been used to persecute minority faiths. Mr Bhatti, 42, a leader of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), had just left his mother’s home in a suburb of the capital when several gunmen surrounded his vehicle and riddled it with bullets, say witnesses … [Snip] .. Pamphlets by al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab, a branch of the Taliban in Pakistan’s most populous province, were found at the scene. Tehrik-i-Taliban told BBC Urdu they carried out the attack. “This man was a known blasphemer of the Prophet [Muhammad],” said the group’s deputy spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan. “We will continue to target all those who speak against the law which punishes those who insult the prophet. Their fate will be the same.”

    Click on my name for more via the BBC world news site.

    Of course, saying such people are murderous, hateful, bigoted, loons is wrong, right?

    Islam sure is a religion of peace and love & kindness ain’t it? NOT! :-(

    The sort of story posted & linked above shows exactly how nice and gentle and willing to listen to reason and be tolerant towards others Muslims are. You’d have to be a “bigot” to oppose such a warm & fuzzy and happy sort of religion like this wouldn’t you? :roll:

  208. On culture changing over time – click on my name for an interview on (Aussie) ABC-TV’s Lateline news program with author and gay activist Armistead Maupin.

    Interesting and a bit happier than that last news item I linked.

    Like I said before, I disagree with your approach but I’ll reflect on what you’ve all written.

  209. @209. flip Says:

    #201, MTU – “Israelis, Jewish people and Westerners have a right to live free of terror.”
    But Islamic people don’t?

    Not if they’re the one’s who are CAUSING THAT TERROR!

    If they weren’t then I might agree with you – but the “terror” they’re living under is, frankly, they’re own durn fault. (Well their leaders anyhow, Muslims oppress most of their own people eg. women and moderates but that’s still Muslims doing the terrorising eg. see the news linked @#213.)

    If the Muslims were content to live in peace, Israel & the West would be quite happy to leave them be.

    Israel has tried many times and keeps trying to make peace. It’s even given up territory it won in costly combat from :

    * Egypt – which sorta worked getting a cold peace although the Jihadists murdered Anwar Sadat for being willing to compromise. :-(

    * and Lebanon, nope, that didn;t work with Hezbollah going to war with Israel & still presents a deadly threat to Israel’s survival.

    * and Gaza. Boy, did *that* peaceful gesture ever backfire – Hamas took over and still rules and presents an ever worse threat that will no doubt come to war yet again someday soon. That’s Palestinian gratitude for ya! :-(

    Obama is grovelling to the Jihadist world today too. Yet still the Muslims keep on being terrorists which rather suggests that the appeasement, the “lets-give-them-what-they -want-&-hope-they-be-nice-in-return” approach just doesn’t work. :-(

    How would *you* react in Israel’s shoes when faced with constant Jihadist hatred, the unceasing threat of homicide-suicide bombings and international terrorist attacks on your nationals threat and frequent rocket-fire from territories you generously returned to the terrorists? :-(

    One could say the Jewish nation is also invented

    Heck, for that matter I suppose you could say *all* nations are invented.

  210. Nigel Depledge

    MTU – no-one is suggesting that Muslim extremists do not exist.

    I have stated in the past – and you vehemently disagreed – that a credible argument can be made to understand their viewpoint of Israel, the UK and the USA (and I did not and do not for one moment condone the extreme actions that they take).

    By way of parallel, I have yet to see any credible justification for the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the UK and the USA.

    MTU (213) said:

    Islam sure is a religion of peace and love & kindness ain’t it? NOT!

    You inflammatory bigot!

    The actions of a minority of Muslims in no way typify the religion and its adherents as a whole. The last time you started having a go at Islam, I asked you if you had ever met any Muslims, and I do not recall seeing an answer. My guess is you never have, so you are really in no position to judge.

    At least an equal amount of horror and violence has been perpetrated in the name of Christianity. Does that mean that all Christians are terrorists? No, of course not.

    Just because the atrocities perpetrated in the name of Christianity mostly happened centuries ago does not make them any less real, yet you gloss over this as if they never occurred.

    Many acts of terror have been perpetrated in the name of Christianity mere decades ago (most of the violence in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and ’70s was Irish protestants and Irish Catholics having at each other).

    Islam is no better or worse than Christianity when it comes to either inspiring or providing some rationale for acts of terror.

  211. TheBlackCat

    @ Messier Tidy Upper : Thank you for completely and totally ignoring every single one of our points, then proving them all right in one post.

    You do realize that the guy who was killed was himself Muslim, right? He died standing up against the very things you stand up against. And he knew his life was in danger.

    Do you have the courage to do that? Do you have the courage to stand up to something you disagree with knowing you are probably going to be killed because of it? This Muslim did, and he did it for things you agree with. But you still lump him in with his killers.

    Around the same time, a Ugandan was murdered as well, most likely for daring to stand up against the anti-gay rhetoric there. These were Christians who were responsible this time, enforcing policies of the largely Christian government, policies enacted at the urging of Christian leaders in the U.S., people deeply connected with many members of the U.S. government. Of course you don’t mention that.

    And that ignores the fact that when Christianity had been around for the same amount of time as Islam has now, they were behaving much the same as the Muslims you decry now, perhaps even worse in some way. “Kill them all, and God will know their own”.

  212. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (215) said:

    Heck, for that matter I suppose you could say *all* nations are invented.

    Well, you could if you wanted to avoid recognising that your comment about Palestine being an invented nation is irrelevant.

  213. Nigel Depledge

    Me (202) said:

    And yet are you still claiming not to be an unpleasant bigoted fantasist and also, almost unbelievably, are you still saying that you shouldn’t be hunted down on live television with genetically modified wolves armed with lasers as part of the latest bid by the Fox network to boost their ratings?

    Yes! With audience voting!

    Much more cost-effective than the launch-into-orbit idea.

  214. @ ^ Nigel Depledge : So, I’m an “unpleasant bigoted fantasist” for supporting the idea that inalienable Human Rights over-ride bad Cultural Relativism and I should be murdered for saying so, eh? Well, ain’t that charming of you. :roll:

    @218. ND again – well, okay, saying “all nations are invented” is, I guess, sorta saying just that, in case you didn’t notice.

    @217. The Black Cat : You do realize that the guy who was killed was himself Muslim, right?

    Wrong. He was a Christian :

    Mr Bhatti, the cabinet’s only Christian minister, had received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws.

    So, no, I’m not lumping him in with his killers at all but *you* mistakenly are. :-(

    Maybe this indicates you should read and consider my comments (& links!) a bit better before jumping to false conclusions & maybe even offer me an apology, BlackCat?

    Ugandan anti-gay campaigns and Christian atrocities – yes, those are sickening too and I totally disagree with them. I don’t think *any* religion is perfect or has a spotless record.

    But that doesn’t excuse what Muslims do. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Do you have the courage to do that? Do you have the courage to stand up to something you disagree with …

    That’s what I’m doing here! ;-) :-P

    ..knowing you are probably going to be killed because of it?

    Honestly, I don’t know. I hope so.

    Fortunately, I’m lucky enough not to be living in a Muslim theocracy or for that matter any other type of theocratic or totalitarian state where expressing your opinion could be a death sentence.

    I’d like to keep things that way. Wouldn’t you?

    Oh & also stop dodging and ignoring it and answer my question please :

    Culture or Human Rights, Gay Rights, Civil Rights & Feminism – What choice is yours?

  215. Nigel Depledge

    @ TBC (204) -
    Agreed.

  216. TheBlackCat

    If the Muslims were content to live in peace, Israel & the West would be quite happy to leave them be.

    If that was the case they wouldn’t have blatantly violated the peace treaty by setting up the settlements in the first place. That wasn’t a reaction to violence, it was a blatant attempt to steal land that they had promised not to steal.

    Israel has tried many times and keeps trying to make peace. It’s even given up territory it won in costly combat from

    Which is a euphemism for “invaded and conquored parts of other countries”. Of course it is okay for a religion you support to invade other countries, steal their land, and force the residents off if the ones being invaded belong to a group you don’t like.

    And of course only a peace-loving country would set up a blockade of an entire occupied region and prevent even medicine from getting through.

  217. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (220) said:

    Nigel Depledge : Right, I’m an “unpleasant bigoteed fantasist”

    Um … case closed, I’m afraid. Yes.

    for supporting the idea that inalienable Human rights overrides bad cultural ideas and practices

    No, for being an unpleasant bigot, as you have repeatedly demonstrated by the way you judge all of Islam by the actions of less than 1% of Muslims, and the way you gloss over (i.e. ignore completely) similar actions perpetrated by non-Muslims.

    In case you are unaware, there is a fairly large Muslim population in the UK, and (roughly) 99% of them respect and abide by the rule of law. English law. (Or Scottish law, as applicable, obviously.)

    and I should be murdered for saying so, eh? Ain’t that charming of you.

    Aw, c’mon. I wanna see genetically-modified wolves with lasers!

  218. TheBlackCat

    Sorry, I didn’t read closely, I assumed you were talking about Salman Taseer, who was a Muslim and died standing up for the same thing (and his family got in a lot of danger for supporting him on it). Whatever the case, a Muslim did die standing up against these policies.

  219. TheBlackCat

    Culture or Human Rights, Gay Rights, Civil Rights & Feminism – What choice is yours?

    Everyone who has spoken on this issue has stated they support gay rights, civil rights, and feminism. I do as well. I don’t support the form of culturual relativism you talk about, and neither does anyone else here. I didn’t answer it because it is a stupid leading, strawman question that demanded we defend a position that no one here has claimed to hold.

    Of course you do this all the time. You fabricate positions out of thin air, claim your opponents hold those positions, then demand they defend your imaginary views. I have pointed this out to you over and over and over again, but you keep doing it.

    Are you just psychologically incapable of having an honest discussion? Are you just incapable of dealing with the positions people really hold, instead of the positions you imagine other people hold?

    Now will you answer my questions, such as:

    What makes you think the Mayas used human sacrifice to make the sun rise, anyway? What is your source for this?

    Who here has supported the version of cultural relativism you argued against?

  220. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (220) said:

    Fortunately, I’m lucky enough not to be living in a Muslim theocracy

    And what proportion of Muslims worldwide do you think there are who do live in a theocratic society?

    or for that matetr any other type of theocratic or totalitarian state

    What, like Israel, f’rinstance?

    where expressing your opinion could be a death sentence.

    There are plenty of parts of the USA where expressing certain opinions was – until very recently – as good as a death sentence. Hell, there are parts of Los Angeles where wearing the wrong colours is a very real death sentence. And are you claiming (as you seem to be) that there is no prejudicial violence in Australia?

    I’d like to keep things that way. Wouldn’t you?

    I think all of us here would like the whole world to live in peace and harmony. That cannot be achieved by oppression of an entire religion.

    Oh & ansewerr my question please :

    Culture or Human Rights, Gay Rights, Civil Rights & Feminism – What choice is yours?

    I will answer your question, but I’ll pose a few of my own first:
    What relevance does this question have?
    Has anyone here suggested we should respect a culture above the basic human rights as (for example) set out in the Declaration of Human Rights?
    What makes you think you or the USA – or any other nation – has the right to interfere in another sovereign nation’s internal affairs?
    Where does this right come from?
    Who has it?
    How is it conferred?

    So, my preference is for human rights (of which the other rights are simple subsets). But human rights do not automatically transcend the rule of international law, which seems to be what you are suggesting.

  221. @ ^ The Black Cat : Thanks for the apology.

    As I’ve said I’ll consider and reflect upon what you & others here have said.

    @ 223. Nigel Depledge :

    In case you are unaware, there is a fairly large Muslim population in the UK, and (roughly) 99% of them respect and abide by the rule of law. English law. (Or Scottish law, as applicable, obviously.)

    So .. you’re saying Welsh law and Northern Ireland law is broken by all of them then? ;-)

    (Sorry, the pedant in me couldn’t resist.)

    Maybe that’s true. But then they’re not the droids Muslims I’m looking for talking about! ;-)

    I wanna see genetically-modified wolves with lasers!

    So do I. But I’d rather they weren’t hunting me! ;-)

  222. TheBlackCat

    As I’ve siad I’ll considerand reflect upon what you & others here have said.

    Translation, “Things are getting too hot here, so I’m going to disappear for a week or two. When I come back I’ll act like this conversation never happened. I’ll ignore all the points you brought up here, repeat the same claims you refuted, repeat the same fallacies and errors you pointed out, and start the whole process all over again”.

    This is based on past instances of you saying this. Your “reflection” amounts to wiping every single word of this conversation, including your own, out of your brain (or at least pretending to).

    No matter how many times people point out the flaws and outright dishonesty in your approach, you conveniently forget it all immediately after you duck out of the conversation. You then come back and behave exactly the same as you did last time.

    I have news for you: we have a good memory. We haven’t forgotten your past behavior. We haven’t forgotten your past arguments. We haven’t forgotten your past promises to “reflect” on what we said. We will bring up this discussion the next time you try to pull one of these stunts. Don’t think that disappearing for a week or two will suddenly wipe the slate clean.

    I can’t speak for others, but I’m not letting you pull this again. The next time you appear I am starting again exactly where we left off. I am going to expect you to explain exactly what you “reflected” on about the stuff we said.

  223. @ ^ TheBlack Cat : Yeah, you do that. :roll:

    I do NOT think that is an accurate or fair characterisation of my conduct here. Old threads eventually just get *too* old.

    Also, I don’t think I’ve ever disappeared for a week or more – well maybe once when I was camping in Jan-Feb. last year. I find it very hard to stay away from this blog and while I might miss the very occassional day here & there, I’m usually around and commenting. ;-)

    @226. Nigel Depledge : I will answer your question, but I’ll pose a few of my own first:

    Okay, I’m over-tired and somewhat inebriated as always but I’ll try.

    What relevance does this question have?

    See my comment # 165 : “The “liberal” political Left are frequently hypocrites in that it is utterly inconsistent to support priviledging cultural ideas, supporting separate cultural rights for minority groups to practice harmful customs that cause real individuals needless pain and suffering *and* simultaneously support feminism, gay rights, human rights, etc .. Those are mutually exclusive, mutually antagonistic ideas.”

    Has anyone here suggested we should respect a culture above the basic human rights as (for example) set out in the Declaration of Human Rights?

    It seems that way to me. I think anyone supporting cultural relativism, supporting relativism that says cultures are equal and denying what I think is the reality that some cultures and some cultural ideas are positively harmful is implying this.

    (*Hah! what an oxymoron but yknow what I mean, I hope!)

    What makes you think you or the USA – or any other nation – has the right to interfere in another sovereign nation’s internal affairs?

    Complex question with a number of variables.

    One is that we have the power to do so – the USA is the world’s biggest superpower and my nation Oz is one of its closest allies. “With great power comes great responsibility” to quote Spiderman.

    Standing by indifferently while others suffer when we can prevent it, watching on while the good are jeopardised by that when we can make things better – *that*, to me, is unethical. If the USA & West won’t stand up for what they believe in, then who will?

    Two is realpolitick. Grim as it is, I think the reality is that cultures, like individuals & species are in a fight for survival and supremacy – see comment #97 :

    “Also on cultures and relativism again – it is a sad, stark fact based on historical precedent that cultures must choose between being metaphorical zebras or lions. A culture that expands and spreads, builds and invents, explores and colonises is a lion. A culture that does not is a zebra. Lions will eat zebras. If you want your culture, your friends and family to survive and do well, if you support the values and works of your culture and wish them to continue and do well then you just have to advocate being a lion and doing the “eating” rather than being a zebra and rolling over to be eaten.

    You can find this unpleasant and sad – I do myself – but I think that’s the (metaphorical) truth.

    Thirdly, because we’re the one’s who believe in these things, our priniciples and our ideas. If we don’t fight for them, stand up for them, fight to see that Human Rights and capitalism and “truth, justice and the Amercian way” to quote Superman spread then they won’t. If we don’t really believe in these values, if we don’t mind seeing women oppressed & gays hung in Muslim countries (or Christian one’s like Uganda or wherever else) then we can shrug that aside. I used to be super-idealistic once, years ago. I got cynical & disillusioned since then. But still something inside me, seeing injustice, seeing pesecution and horrible wrongness going down says – “No! We’ve got to stop this! This isn’t right!” & so, yeah, we should be consistent and defend our way of life, our values and what we think is the right ethical thing to do.

    Where does this right come from?

    To quote Chairman Mao : “the barrel of a gun.” ;-)

    More seriously, it is a mixture of ethical philosophy and political reality and maybe other things too. The right comes from us being the ones who can, who have the power and from our values and knowledge of what is best and what needs to be prevented.

    If I can turn the question around – why *wouldn’t* we have the right & responsibility to improve things for ourselves and the world and stand up for our culture?

    Who has it? How is it conferred?

    Everybody has it. How is it conferred? In our nations by the elections conveying the wishes of the people & by the strength & dedication of the military who uphold that law and defend us all.

    So, my preference is for human rights (of which the others are simple subsets). But human rights do not automatically transcend the rule of international law, which seems to be what you are suggesting.

    I disagree. In terms of ethics I think human individual rights are the most important thing. Ethically speaking anyhow.

    International law – like all law – can be an ass and can be brutal, cruel and wrong. :-(

    Sharia law is an example of this. Women get legally stoned to death and gays hung for their sexual orientation. That’s legal in some lands but dreadfully wrong.

    Until recently Libya was on the Human Rights Council of the UN. What sort of credibility does that give international law? The UN has passed umpteen zillion resolutions against israel and none against Al Quaida or Libya or North Korea. How much validity does that suggest the UN has?

    Now, I have to get some sleep .. as I said I will consider what y’all have said here.

  224. TheBlackCat

    I do NOT think that is an accurate or fair characterisation of my conduct here.

    Everyone in this discussion has been saying pretty much the same thing to you. So I am apparently not the only one who thinks this is a fair characterization. And this is not the first time I and others have pointed this out to you.

    Old threads eventually just get *too* old.

    You once did this on a thread the next day.

    Also, I don’t think I’ve ever disappeared for a week or more

    I guesstimate this is usually the amount of time you stay out of these discussions, although sometimes it much shorter. The amount of time isn’t really relevant, and if the time is shorter that only contradicts your above statement and supports mine.

    See my comment # 165 : “The “liberal” political Left are frequently hypocrites in that it is utterly inconsistent to support priviledging cultural ideas, supporting separate cultural rights for minority groups to practice harmful customs that cause real individuals needless pain and suffering *and* simultaneously support feminism, gay rights, human rights, etc .. Those are mutually exclusive, mutually antagonistic ideas.”

    Complete and utter baloney. This was not some vague question aimed at some random group somewhere else, this was a direct question to us. What is the relevance to people here.

    It seems that way to me. I think anyone supporting cultural relativism, supporting relativism that says cultures are equal and denying what I think is the reality that some cultures and some cultural ideas are positively harmful is implying this.

    Who has said this? As I asked you repeatedly, please point out anyone here who has said they supported or even implied that they support this version of cultural relativism.

    I keep pointing out that you are making up positions out of thin air and attributing them to other people, but you just keep doing it over and over and over again. You say you disagree with my characterization of your behavior, but you are doing it in the same post.

    or Christian one’s like Uganda or wherever else

    You keep ignoring that the U.S. is responsible for the events in Uganda. These are U.S. backed ministries that started this all. This is U.S. religious leaders, closely allied with leading members of the U.S. government, who got them to do this. The events in Uganda are the direct result of the very practices you are advocating.

    You talk as though Uganda is something that the U.S. should fix. They are events that the U.S. caused. Uganda is what happens when people do the things you are advocating here.

    Thirdly, because we’re the one’s who believe in these things, our priniciples and our ideas. If we don’t fight for them, stand up for them, fight to see that Human Rights and capitalism and “truth, justice and the Amercian way” to quote Superman spread then they won’t.

    Of course the U.S. doesn’t actually do that. They are only in favor of spreading “freedom” when the country doesn’t do their economic bidding. If a country cooperates economically then we will do everything in our power to support the worst dictators, tyrants, and mass murders alive today. And if they are economically irrelevant then the U.S. doesn’t care one way or another.

    So where does this moral authority come from? Where does the U.S. get off even pretending that it cares one bit about freedom in other countries.

    If I can turn the question around – why *wouldn’t* we have the right & responsibility to improve things for ourselves and the world and stand up for our culture?

    You are operating under the mistaken assumption that these methods are effective at accomplishing these goals. You first have to establish that this actually works, which it certainly doesn’t do consistently. The very fact that Al Queda exists at all proves it doesn’t work consistently. The very fact that we had to go into Iraq to oust the leader we put there shows that it doesn’t work consistently.

    Now, I have to get some sleep .. as I said I will consider what y’all have said here.

    As I said, we’ve all heard that before.

  225. me

    “Who has said this? As I asked you repeatedly, please point out anyone here who has said they supported or even implied that they support this version of cultural relativism.”

    In the interests of balance and having nothing else to do for five minutes, I have decided to fully support whatever version of cultural relativism it is that MTU is raving on about being bad and stuff. I’ve got no idea what it might be, but given he is so vehemently against it, it must be good for something, whatever it is. Y’know, I’ve heard it tastes a bit like chicken.

  226. flip

    #210, me

    Interestingly enough, Judaism is particularly sexist. 600+ laws for men; 200+ for women. Men pray three times a day; have no idea if there is any requirement for women. Certainly from memory there never seemed to be.

  227. flip

    #213, MTU

    Islam sure is a religion of peace and love & kindness ain’t it? NOT!

    Er, yes, it is. Have you noticed any Muslims/mosques in Australia (other than the usually nutty extremists in the news)? No? That’s because they’re peaceful and going about their lives in a way that apparently conflicts with your view of Islam. Isn’t it interesting to see that the Opera House has been blown up by extremists, or that we have constant riots on the streets by Muslim groups? Seen any people picketing local newspapers for not being respectful of Islam in comics? No? Or a majority of Muslims do anything to AVOID defending the extremists, including openly condemning them?… Why, when there are just so many Muslim people in Aus?

    And have you heard about those repeated beatings and prejudicial acts occuring WITHIN AUSTRALIA against people just because they are Muslim, or happen to look Muslim? (I posted something ages ago on another thread about that)

    Once again, you take one person/story and conflate it to ‘reflect’ the entirety of the group.

    You’d have to be a “bigot” to oppose such a warm & fuzzy and happy sort of religion like this wouldn’t you?

    All you have to do is be smart enough to figure out that one extremist doesn’t equal all of that religion’s followers. And then condemn the extremist whilst allowing the others to be untarnished by one person’s actions.

  228. flip

    #215 MTU

    #201, MTU – “Israelis, Jewish people and Westerners have a right to live free of terror.”
    But Islamic people don’t?

    Not if they’re the one’s who are CAUSING THAT TERROR!

    If they weren’t then I might agree with you – but the “terror” they’re living under is, frankly, they’re own durn fault. (Well their leaders anyhow, Muslims oppress most of their own people eg. women and moderates but that’s still Muslims doing the terrorising eg. see the news linked @#213.)

    You missed the point. See above comments about broad brushes. Some Jews are fighting back with violence too you know – or did you skip that bit in your news reading? This is why it’s so hard to get peace over there: a cycle of tit for tat is hard to break. Saying Israelis, Jews and Westerners have a right to live free of terror isn’t quite correct: those who are peaceful and lawful have a right to live free of terror, and the terrorists, whichever camp they come from, should be put in jail. That’s the bit you keep missing. People from both sides want peace; a small minority from both sides use violence.

    If the Muslims were content to live in peace, Israel & the West would be quite happy to leave them be.

    Stop f*ing thinking people see eye to eye amongst each group. There is as much difference between Jewish people and Islamic people, and within those groups, as there is difference between atheists, theists and agnostics. There is a spectrum of views, and that you can’t figure out this nuance says a lot about your particular biases.

    Yet still the Muslims keep on being terrorists which rather suggests that the appeasement, the “lets-give-them-what-they -want-&-hope-they-be-nice-in-return” approach just doesn’t work

    Strawman.

    How would *you* react in Israel’s shoes when faced with constant Jihadist hatred, the unceasing threat of homicide-suicide bombings and international terrorist attacks on your nationals threat and frequent rocket-fire from territories you generously returned to the terrorists?

    Utterly irrelevant and a strawman. However, purely for an intellectual exercise: I have distant relatives in Israel. I haven’t been myself and don’t ever plan to go; but I am raised Jewish. To say I have conflicting feelings is an understatement. I don’t want my family killed, nor do I like the idea of how they live. But I do not in any sense condone or agree with the concept of “our land”, as if the Torah had a right to turn people out of their own homes or the Holocaust somehow means we have the right to do to others what was done to us, and as if sharing (mitzvahs) weren’t a particularly Jewish/European tradition hammered home in Sunday school classes. Many of the European Jewish folk tales are about mitzvahs, sharing and helping one’s neighbours.

    I would hope in their situation I would try my best to share. I am well aware I live on someone else’s land in Australia, and if someone came to me with a land claim, I’d try a peaceful compromise. But that’s a particularly simplistic view and not one that’s very realistic in certain cases. Which is why I prefer other people to expertly advise and involve themselves in the issue.

    Also, in the words of my Holocaust surviving grandfather: I don’t hate them, I hate their actions. I try to live by that as best as possible.

    One could say the Jewish nation is also invented

    Heck, for that matter I suppose you could say *all* nations are invented.

    Well duh! The concept of the nation state is outdated anyway, what with all the international organisations and cross-border corporations and internet, etc. (In the back of my head I wonder if we’ll go Orwellian and end up with two competing countries)

    PS – Is this getting repetitive yet, given that I’ve said it numerous times, and so have others, about broad brushes?

  229. flip

    #220, MTU

    But that doesn’t excuse what Muslims do.

    That should be “but that doesn’t excuse what EXTREMIST Muslisms do”

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Especially when you’re Jewish and decide to go kill Muslims because they killed your family because your family killed Muslims because they killed other family members because…. (Exchange Jewish for Protestant and Muslim for Catholic… etc)

    Fortunately, I’m lucky enough not to be living in a Muslim theocracy or for that matter any other type of theocratic or totalitarian state where expressing your opinion could be a death sentence.

    Try reading the sedition laws. ASIO could be coming to get you right now (and sadly, that’s not even a joke).

  230. flip

    #229, MTU

    USA is the world’s biggest superpower and my nation Oz is one of its closest allies

    Australia is an ally like every other nation is an ally: we need to buddy up to America’s supermoney, seeing as how the world is very reliant on it being stable and the fact that they consume so much.

    Thirdly, because we’re the one’s who believe in these things, our priniciples and our ideas. If we don’t fight for them, stand up for them, fight to see that Human Rights and capitalism and “truth, justice and the Amercian way” to quote Superman spread then they won’t. If we don’t really believe in these values, if we don’t mind seeing women oppressed & gays hung in Muslim countries (or Christian one’s like Uganda or wherever else) then we can shrug that aside.

    Thirdly, because we’re the ones who believe in these things, our principles and our ideas. If we don’t fight for them, fight to see that the Koran is respected, women are to be submissive, men to be pious, children to be seen and not heard, fight to see that Islam is spread then they won’t. If we don’t really believe in these values, if we don’t mind seeing women dressed in bikinis and gays mincing about everywhere in Christian countries, then we can shrug that aside.

    If I can turn the question around – why *wouldn’t* we have the right & responsibility to improve things for ourselves and the world and stand up for our culture?

    I think you answered your own question.

    In our nations by the elections conveying the wishes of the people & by the strength & dedication of the military who uphold that law and defend us all.

    Until of course, certain politicians decide they don’t want to leave. Then the military works for them. (Sociologists say that one of the biggest factors in genocides occuring is that the military/police end up being aids to those in power)

    Sharia law is an example of this.

    Sharia law is international law? Since when? Or did you mean that it is internationally accepted by a certain group of people within a religion?

  231. flip

    #231, me

    LOL!

    #233, flip

    Correction for easier reading:

    Or a majority of Muslims do anything to AVOID defending the extremists, including openly condemning them?…

    Should be:

    Or a majority of Muslims that have actively defended peace and condemned the extremists, including openly decrying the fact that they have indeed, in Australia, been tarred with the same brush despite actually being peaceful themselves?

  232. TheBlackCat

    @ MTU:

    * Egypt – which sorta worked getting a cold peace although the Jihadists murdered Anwar Sadat for being willing to compromise.

    You mean like Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist for being willing to compromise?

  233. @ ^ TheBLackCat : Jewish culture and societyand religion condemns such politicial assassinations and that was *one* exceptional case. Muslim culture celebrates such murder in its name, such assassinations are commonplace and Muslims idol-worship the murderers.

    Think I’ve already stated here that no religion or culture is perfect & every religious, ethnic and human group ha sits fair share of nutters and extremists. :-(

    @226. Nigel Depledge Says:

    MTU (220) said: “Fortunately, I’m lucky enough not to be living in a Muslim theocracy.” And what proportion of Muslims worldwide do you think there are who do live in a theocratic society?

    Too many. :-(

    All those living in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the taliban-ruled parts of Afghanistan, Yemen, the Muslim parts of Sudan, the Hezbollah ruled areas in Lebanon, Hamas -ruled Gaza, & so on, ad nauseam ..

    I don’t know the exact percentage but *far* too many.

    “.. or for that matter any other type of theocratic or totalitarian state.”
    What, like Israel, f’rinstance?

    Wrong!

    Israel is a parliamentary democracy run by the Knesset – the Israeli equivalent of Congress or Parliament – click on my name for more info. via wikipedia.

    Judaism is Israel’s raison d’etre (reason for being) but it isn’t ruled by a council of Rabbis and isn’ a theocracy. balzes, the knesset even ha sArab-Israeli, Muslim, representatives.

    There are plenty of parts of the USA where expressing certain opinions was – until very recently – as good as a death sentence. Hell, there are parts of Los Angeles where wearing the wrong colours is a very real death sentence. And are you claiming (as you seem to be) that there is no prejudicial violence in Australia?

    Of course not, but I would say that that’s rare and not widelycondoned by society or legalised like how the Pakstani legal code ha sthedetah sentence for insulting Muhammad.


    I think all of us here would like the whole world to live in peace and harmony. That cannot be achieved by oppression of an entire religion.

    Is Islam even a legitimate religion or rather a political ideology akin to, well Communism and the one that can’t be named for Godwin’s sake?

  234. @216. Nigel Depledge :

    MTU – no-one is suggesting that Muslim extremists do not exist.

    But you *are* minimising their significance and glossing over them and the need to fight them. Plus ignoring how Islamic doctrine & Jihadist culture is directly supported by their way of thinking, their Islamo-fascist ideology. That’s how it seems to me. :-(

    By way of parallel, I have yet to see any credible justification for the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the UK and the USA.

    Getting rid of Saddam Hussein, liberating Iraq from that murderous dictator & his pyschopathic sons is justification enough in my book.

    I suggest you read more of what Christopher Hitchens has to say on that topic.

    MTU (213) said: “Islam sure is a religion of peace and love & kindness ain’t it? NOT!”
    You inflammatory bigot!

    You did read that news article right? :roll:

    What other conclusion can you draw?

    @237. flip :

    Or a majority of Muslims that have actively defended peace and condemned the extremists, including openly decrying the fact that they have indeed, in Australia, been tarred with the same brush despite actually being peaceful themselves?

    Are they? Have the Muslims done enough to condemn their extremists? Anywhere? Really?

    @236. flip :

    .. because we’re the ones who believe in these things, our principles and our ideas. If we don’t fight for them, fight to see that the Koran is respected, women are to be submissive, men to be pious, children to be seen and not heard, fight to see that Islam is spread then they won’t. If we don’t really believe in these values, if we don’t mind seeing women dressed in bikinis and gays mincing about everywhere in Christian countries, then we can shrug that aside.

    Well – do *you* believe those things? Really? :-(

    Of course they’re going to fight for what they believe in, for their nasty set of values such as misogyny, homophobia and the tyrannical Khalifate. That is exactly *why* we need to counter them by fighting for what *we* believe in & what our values are.

    The question here is – what values do you beleive in and what are you going to do to see they prevail? Whose side are you on?

    Sharia law is international law? Since when? Or did you mean that it is internationally accepted by a certain group of people within a religion?

    Sharia law is Islamic law that *they* wish to impose on the entire planet. It makes non-Muslims, women and many others second class citizens or worse. If imposed it would mean my death at their hands and very likely yours too – even *with* your constant apologising for them. Islam wants us all dead. It wants to destroy all that is un-Islamic in the Ayatollah’s eyes. It sucks. :-(

  235. Islam is the Dalek’s religion – or the closest equivalent to it on this planet. :-(

    @234. flip :

    I have distant relatives in Israel. I haven’t been myself and don’t ever plan to go; but I am raised Jewish. To say I have conflicting feelings is an understatement. I don’t want my family killed, nor do I like the idea of how they live. But I do not in any sense condone or agree with the concept of “our land”, as if the Torah had a right to turn people out of their own homes or the Holocaust somehow means we have the right to do to others what was done to us, and as if sharing (mitzvahs) weren’t a particularly Jewish/European tradition hammered home in Sunday school classes. Many of the European Jewish folk tales are about mitzvahs, sharing and helping one’s neighbours.

    So you’re arguing against your own family & their interests then? :-(

    And I thought *I* was messed up.

    Seems to me that the Jewish folk tales are of helping others and wise Rebbes and dangerous golems and doing good to fight for survival against persecution.

    OTOH, the Muslim folk tales are of the joys of Jihad, the conspiracy theories of how the Zionists and the “Great Satans” (that’s us folks! ;-) ) are to blame for absolutely everything bad that ever happens and the likes of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion the anti-Semitic Tsarist forgery that, I gather, is a best-seller in the Muslim world. :-(

    Also @ #226 Nigel Depledge :

    I think all of us here would like the whole world to live in peace and harmony.

    Me too. ;-)

    I want peace and harmony as well – I just can’t see us having it while Islamo-fascist Jihadists remain murderously rampant around the world & keep seeking to wipe us and our way of life out.

  236. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (227) said:

    So .. you’re saying Welsh law and Northern Ireland law is broken by all of them then?

    (Sorry, the pedant in me couldn’t resist.)

    And I think you’ll find that more than 99% of the laws that apply in Wales come from Westminster, i.e. English law applies in Wales. I’m less sure about Northern Ireland, but IIUC they have an assembly rather than a parliament, so English law would apply there too.

    I see your pedant and raise you some sophistry!

    Maybe that’s true. But then they’re not the droids Muslims I’m looking for talking about!

    Aaaaargh!!!

    So why are you tarring all of Islam with the same brush?

    And I quote:

    Islam sure is a religion of peace and love & kindness ain’t it? NOT!

    This comes from your comment #213. It sure looks like you are talking about all Muslims there.

    And then you wonder why people accuse you of changing your story.

  237. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (229) said:

    @226. Nigel Depledge :

    I will answer your question, but I’ll pose a few of my own first:

    Okay, I’m over-tired and somewhat inebriated as always but I’ll try.

    What relevance does this question have?

    See my comment # 165 : “The “liberal” political Left are frequently hypocrites in that it is utterly inconsistent to support priviledging cultural ideas, supporting separate cultural rights for minority groups to practice harmful customs that cause real individuals needless pain and suffering *and* simultaneously support feminism, gay rights, human rights, etc .. Those are mutually exclusive, mutually antagonistic ideas.”

    I’ve yet to see you provide any hard evidence that this occurs.

    Has anyone here suggested we should respect a culture above the basic human rights as (for example) set out in the Declaration of Human Rights?

    It seems that way to me.

    But if you cannot provide any examples, does this not give you pause for thought?

    Maybe you have over-interpreted a call for moderation, and ended up firmly convinced that someone further up the thread really did this, when in fact they did not?

    Do you acknowledge that such a misunderstanding is plausible?

    I think anyone supporting cultural relativism, supporting relativism that says cultures are equal and denying what I think is the reality that some cultures and some cultural ideas are positively harmful is implying this.

    So why is it that you persistently ignore the harm that our western culture of which you are so proud has perpetrated on its journey to get where it is today? And – in some views – the harm it still does?

  238. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (229) said:

    What makes you think you or the USA – or any other nation – has the right to interfere in another sovereign nation’s internal affairs?

    Complex question with a number of variables.

    One is that we have the power to do so – the USA is the world’s biggest superpower and my nation Oz is one of its closest allies. “With great power comes great responsibility” to quote Spiderman.

    Right back atcha with a quote from ST VI: “Just because we can do something, it does not follow that we must do that thing,”

    The ability to intervene does not alone justify intervention.

    Standing by indifferently while others suffer when we can prevent it, watching on while the good are jeopardised by that when we can make things better – *that*, to me, is unethical.

    I agree with this, but it lacks the complexity to whioch you alluded earlier. This feels like a very simplistic view, that lacks any consideration of the implication of one (or a few) sovereign nation(s) using military might to force another one to change its methods of governance.

    Do you not feel that trade embargoes or other kinds of boycott might be more ethical than threats of military action?

    If the USA & West won’t stand up for what they believe in, then who will?

    Erm … the citizens of those nations in which we see violations of human rights occurring? (Obviously, these things take time, but is it not better in the long run for change to come from within?)

    Two is realpolitick. Grim as it is, I think the reality is that cultures, like individuals & species are in a fight for survival and supremacy – see comment #97 :

    “Also on cultures and relativism again – it is a sad, stark fact based on historical precedent that cultures must choose between being metaphorical zebras or lions. A culture that expands and spreads, builds and invents, explores and colonises is a lion. A culture that does not is a zebra. Lions will eat zebras. If you want your culture, your friends and family to survive and do well, if you support the values and works of your culture and wish them to continue and do well then you just have to advocate being a lion and doing the “eating” rather than being a zebra and rolling over to be eaten.

    You can find this unpleasant and sad – I do myself – but I think that’s the (metaphorical) truth.

    Yes, that seems to be mostly what happens. However, the difference between you and I is that you seem to feel this is the way things must be, and I do not.

  239. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ 244. Nigel Depledge : However, the difference between you and I is that you seem to feel this is the way things must be, and I do not.

    Quite probably so, yes. I wish the world were otherwise – but I don’t think it is. :-(

    @ 243. Nigel Depledge : Do you acknowledge that such a misunderstanding is plausible?

    Yes.

    So why is it that you persistently ignore the harm that our western culture of which you are so proud has perpetrated on its journey to get where it is today? And – in some views – the harm it still does?

    I don’t think I do ignore it (past or present) I just think that, relatively speaking, it isn’t as bad as any other major culture. (Past or present.) I’ve already acknowledged that I don’t think we’re perfect or flawless and can – and hopefully will – still improve.

    This comes from your comment #213. It sure looks like you are talking about all Muslims there.

    That was specifically referring to the news article I linked there on the Pakistani assassination of the Christian anti-blasphemy law politician.

    I do think that that sort of mindset is typical of many (not all but a scarily large number of) Muslims.

    @ 244. Nigel Depledge : The ability to intervene does not alone justify intervention.

    I’m not so sure that’s true. If you are watching someone bash up somebody else whon is helpless to resist,if you are watching say a killer open fire on innocent people – and you have a gun and can stop further killing, further harm, by shooting the killer or threatening to prevent the person who is bashing another with it – would you not do so?

    Do you not feel that trade embargoes or other kinds of boycott might be more ethical than threats of military action?

    I don’t think those methods work. Not well enough. More often they just harm those who aren’t responsible for the problems while the dictators and other bad guys find ways around them. Sometimes force really is the best option.

    … the citizens of those nations in which we see violations of human rights occurring? Obviously, these things take time, but is it not better in the long run for change to come from within?)

    How many have to die and suffer in the meantime? How long do we leave it before speaking out or acting to stop it?

  240. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (229) said:

    Where does this right come from?

    More seriously, it is a mixture of ethical philosophy and political reality and maybe other things too. The right comes from us being the ones who can, who have the power and from our values and knowledge of what is best and what needs to be prevented.

    Which, roughly interpreted, seems to mean Might is right. Am I wrong?

    “Ethical philosophy” is just a way of saying we have decided we have the right to intervene in another nation’s internal affairs. It doesn’t justify that intervention.

    If I can turn the question around – why *wouldn’t* we have the right & responsibility to improve things for ourselves and the world and stand up for our culture?

    I’m not talking about improving things for ourselves, I’m talking about one nation intervening in the internal affairs of another. I’m not talking about standing up for our culture, I’m talking about forcing others to adopt it. For example, in what way does the government of – say – Bhutan impinge on your life? It doesn’t, right? You may notice that each and every nation that is anti-USA in any way has suffered in the past at the hands of western imperialism. What makes you think that we are not merely reaping what our predecessors have sown?

    Who has it? How is it conferred?

    Everybody has it. How is it conferred? In our nations by the elections conveying the wishes of the people & by the strength & dedication of the military who uphold that law and defend us all.

    That is purely internal policy. I was talking about the right of one nation to intervene in the internal affairs of another.

  241. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (245) said:

    Quite probably so, yes. I wish the world were otherwise -but i don’t think it is.

    And I believe the world can change.

    You seem not to.

  242. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Nigel Depledge :

    Human nature is what it is.

    The world is what it is.

    For good and for bad. We’ve potential for extremes in both.

    As long as we are humans then, no, I don’t think the world can change. Well, it *can* & does change constantly in some ways – technological capability, shifting politics and geography and so forth. Yet our basic human nature – which is sometimes pretty flawed and pretty horrible – remains what it is.

    Maybe we’ll evolve eventually into something better one day. No garantee of that. A possibility only – just as its possible “God” (?) is what we make in the future and then has time travel capability. A la Asimov’s Multivac’s ‘Last Question scenario.

    For now we have to live in the world as it is, not the world as we’d want it to be.

  243. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (248) said:

    For now we have to live in the world as it is, not the world as we’d want it to be.

    We must be the change we wish to see.

    Although less extreme, your attitude is the same as that of the Muslim extremists you deplore so readily.

  244. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (245) said:

    So why is it that you persistently ignore the harm that our western culture of which you are so proud has perpetrated on its journey to get where it is today? And – in some views – the harm it still does?

    I don’t think I do ignore it (past or present) I just think that, relatively speaking, it isn’t as bad as any other major culture. (Past or present.) I’ve already acknowledged that I don’t think we’re perfect or flawless and can – and hopefully will – still improve.

    So, which part of the behaviour on the Conquistadors is “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    Which part of the behaviour of the early colonists of what became the USA is “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    Which part of the behaviour of slave-traders is “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    Which part of the behaviour of the British Raj in India was “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    Which part of the behaviour of the USA towards the original inhabitants of Bikini Atoll was “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    Which part of the behaviour of the USA when it supported the tyrrany of the Shah of Iran in the 1970s was “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    Which part of the behaviour of the USA when it armed Saddam Hussein against the newly-theocratic Iran in the Iran-Iraq war was “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

  245. Nigel, you missed the most obvious one:

    Which part of the behavior of the USA when it financed, armed, and trained Osama bin Laden and the Afghanis who would become his murderous followers was “not as bad” as other cultures past or present?

    What goes around, comes around.

    (Sorry, couldn’t let that one slide. Back out o’ here.)

  246. TheBlackCat

    TheBLackCat : Jewish culture and societyand religion condemns such politicial assassinations and that was *one* exceptional case. Muslim culture celebrates such murder in its name, such assassinations are commonplace and Muslims idol-worship the murderers.

    Utter baloney. There was a great deal of condemnation from Muslims around the world for the assassination of Sadat, and there were plenty of Jews who supported Rabin’s assassination.

    Israel is a parliamentary democracy run by the Knesset – the Israeli equivalent of Congress or Parliament – click on my name for more info. via wikipedia.

    Judaism is Israel’s raison d’etre (reason for being) but it isn’t ruled by a council of Rabbis and isn’ a theocracy. balzes, the knesset even ha sArab-Israeli, Muslim, representatives.

    That is simply wrong. The state enforces religious rules handed down by religious authorities. The case of women getting arrested for praying in public locations is one such example, but there are many others.

    Is Islam even a legitimate religion or rather a political ideology akin to, well Communism and the one that can’t be named for Godwin’s sake?

    Are you kidding me? You honestly expect any sane person to not think you are a bigot after statements like this? Yes, it is a religion. Yes, like practically all religions (including Christianity) members of it have political aspirations. But to claim that it is not a religion is absurd and bigoted to the highest degree.

    Getting rid of Saddam Hussein, liberating Iraq from that murderous dictator & his pyschopathic sons is justification enough in my book.

    I suggest you read more of what Christopher Hitchens has to say on that topic.

    You mean the murderous dictator we installed and supported? He was a murderous dictator all along, the U.S. only opposed him when stopped cooperating with U.S. economic interests. There are plenty of murderous dictators the U.S. does everything they can to support, it is only the ones who don’t cooperate with us economically that are taken down.

    Are they? Have the Muslims done enough to condemn their extremists? Anywhere? Really?

    What would be “enough” in your mind? Is it is even possible for it to ever be enough? Do you even know how much condemnation there is?

    Sharia law is Islamic law that *they* wish to impose on the entire planet.

    Who is “they”? And what is “sharia”? There is no single version of sharia, it varies enormously from innocuous to awful (as do Christian rules, although there are more Muslims than Christians supporting the awful side). There isn’t even agreement amongst Muslims about what Holy books are actually valid.

    Don’t forget that many Christian leaders right here in the U.S are trying to enforce their own religious beliefs as law in the U.S. And they succeeded in Uganda, which you conveniently ignored (as usual).

    It makes non-Muslims, women and many others second class citizens or worse.

    Depends on the version.

    If imposed it would mean my death at their hands and very likely yours too – even *with* your constant apologising for them.

    Depends on the version.

    Islam wants us all dead. It wants to destroy all that is un-Islamic in the Ayatollah’s eyes. It sucks.

    No, some Muslims want us all dead. In fact for most of its history Islam was much more inclusive of other religions than Christianity was at the same time. They didn’t forcibly convert people like Christians did. The attempt to destroy competing religions is a more recent development, and only carried out by extremists, in many cases extremists the U.S. is responsible for putting in power.

    I’m not supporting Sharia, it is the last thing I want to see, but you characteriziation of what it says and what the goals of most Muslims would be laughably ignorant if it wasn’t so bigoted and wasn’t leading to massive discrimination against Muslims across the U.S. and wasn’t being used as a tool of conservative Christians to enforce their own brand of religious law around the U.S.

    So you’re arguing against your own family & their interests then?

    Wow. Just wow. Disagreeing with religious ideology and the policies of a particular country somehow make you “arguing against your own family & their interests”.

    It is obvious now. You are simply psychologically incapable of understanding that people could have legitimate disagreements with your conclusions. Did it ever occur to you that maybe he thinks that some of Israel’s policies are against the best interests of his family? Every Jew who has family in Israel that I know thinks that they are.

    Seems to me that the Jewish folk tales are of helping others and wise Rebbes and dangerous golems and doing good to fight for survival against persecution.

    OTOH, the Muslim folk tales are of the joys of Jihad, the conspiracy theories of how the Zionists and the “Great Satans” (that’s us folks! ;-) ) are to blame for absolutely everything bad that ever happens and the likes of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion the anti-Semitic Tsarist forgery that, I gather, is a best-seller in the Muslim world.

    Once again you make it clear that you are incapable of distinguishing the past and the present. You apparently don’t even know what a “folk tail” is, or you are being intentionally dishonest (given your past history I would bet on the latter).

    I want peace and harmony as well – I just can’t see us having it while Islamo-fascist Jihadists remain murderously rampant around the world & keep seeking to wipe us and our way of life out.

    Where you define “Islamo-fascist Jihadists” as “every Muslim everywhere”.

    I don’t think those methods work. Not well enough. More often they just harm those who aren’t responsible for the problems while the dictators and other bad guys find ways around them. Sometimes force really is the best option.

    You mean like the embargo Israel set up that prevents even medicine from reaching foreign lands they are occupying?

    How many have to die and suffer in the meantime? How long do we leave it before speaking out or acting to stop it?

    Let me ask you this: how many times has the U.S. invading a sovereign nation to set up governments there actually worked long-term?

    I don’t mean protecting a country that is being invaded by someone else, I mean invading an existing country that has traditionally lacked a republican form of government and setting one up resulted in a republican government that remained stable for a long period of time (a decade at least)?

    You seem to be operating under the assumption that this approach works, but I don’t think history supports this conclusion.

  247. me

    “Human nature is what it is.”

    Massively varied and with a vast range of complex motivations that are in a continual state of flux and genesis.

  248. flip

    #239, MTU

    Jewish culture and societyand religion condemns such politicial assassinations and that was *one* exceptional case. Muslim culture celebrates such murder in its name, such assassinations are commonplace and Muslims idol-worship the murderers.

    You’re still not getting it. I give up; you’ve got a big ol’ blindspot and are just as stubborn as creationists.

    I don’t know the exact percentage but *far* too many.

    [citation needed]

    Judaism is Israel’s raison d’etre (reason for being) but it isn’t ruled by a council of Rabbis and isn’ a theocracy. balzes, the knesset even ha sArab-Israeli, Muslim, representatives.

    No it’s not. Israel exists because the Jews didn’t want to have to deal with diaspora anymore. Judaism was the reason for the diaspora, because other people were prejudiced. Prejudice is why Israel exists.

    Is Islam even a legitimate religion or rather a political ideology akin to, well Communism and the one that can’t be named for Godwin’s sake?

    Is this a real question on a skeptical blog? ;)

  249. flip

    #240, MTU

    Are they? Have the Muslims done enough to condemn their extremists? Anywhere? Really?

    Many Muslims have spoken out in the MSM (Insight on SBS for example, news.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/index/id/337#overview, also see web extras, further reading on that page), whether it’s newspapers, on TV, forums, etc.

    The fact that you haven’t paid attention to it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, or that (dare I say, other) prejudiced people decry “but Muslims haven’t denounced the extremists!” – even though they have.

    I also refer you back to my previous comment on this matter:
    blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/09/24/texas-state-board-of-education-confirms-irony-is-dead/#comment-310126

    But you’ll ignore it, as usual.

    .. because we’re the ones who believe in these things, our principles and our ideas. If we don’t fight for them, fight to see that the Koran is respected, women are to be submissive, men to be pious, children to be seen and not heard, fight to see that Islam is spread then they won’t. If we don’t really believe in these values, if we don’t mind seeing women dressed in bikinis and gays mincing about everywhere in Christian countries, then we can shrug that aside.

    Well – do *you* believe those things? Really? :-(

    Really? You couldn’t figure out what I was doing there? Really?

    MTU you’re getting very obtuse.

    Of course they’re going to fight for what they believe in, for their nasty set of values such as misogyny, homophobia and the tyrannical Khalifate. That is exactly *why* we need to counter them by fighting for what *we* believe in & what our values are. The question here is – what values do you beleive in and what are you going to do to see they prevail? Whose side are you on?

    See above. Reread, go to Coles and buy a new irony detector if yours is broken. And also see above comments about circular infighting because each side says “we must fight for what is right”! I’m a pacifist, so I’m on the side of peace.

    Sharia law is Islamic law that *they* wish to impose on the entire planet. It makes non-Muslims, women and many others second class citizens or worse. If imposed it would mean my death at their hands and very likely yours too – even *with* your constant apologising for them. Islam wants us all dead. It wants to destroy all that is un-Islamic in the Ayatollah’s eyes. It sucks.

    So you admit that Sharia law is not international law as accepted by nations, their governments, or the organisations set up to create/follow them and is practiced by lawyers all over the world? Because I think that’s what Nigel meant (correct me if I’m wrong Nigel).

  250. flip

    #241, MTU

    So you’re arguing against your own family & their interests then?

    Oh, I’m getting close to breaking Phil’s rule now.

    I’m arguing for peace. I’m arguing for my family not to get hurt. I’m saying that’s it’s far more complicated than I understand or know. Muslims picking up weapons is not right. But I’m also arguing that Jews picking up weapons on behalf of themselves and their children is also not what’s right.

    I repeat from my above comment:

    Saying Israelis, Jews and Westerners have a right to live free of terror isn’t quite correct: those who are peaceful and lawful have a right to live free of terror, and the terrorists, whichever camp they come from, should be put in jail. That’s the bit you keep missing. People from both sides want peace; a small minority from both sides use violence.

    PS. See what I did there? Did I apologise for anything? No – I said prejudice from both sides is bad. Peace = good. Terrorism = bad. Non-violent people = peace. Violent people = jail. MTU = inventing strawmen. There, can you comprehend now?

    Seems to me that the Jewish folk tales are of helping others and wise Rebbes and dangerous golems and doing good to fight for survival against persecution.

    I was going to counter this, by in getting out the book I read full of folk tales, there are indeed some that deal with the Holocaust. I wouldn’t have called them folk tales, and it seems the book is a combination of folk tales, songs, Torah stories, jokes and even modern stuff. The tales that I was thinking of, and the ones that aren’t traditional (ie. modern), are
    totally not hidden messages about persecution.

    And in getting out my book to see, I note that it does include golem and other ‘nasties’. My memory was faulty on that; but the majority of the tales is indeed, more of the following… Talk about Sarah and sharing meals with strangers, and making donations and treating your children kindly, and being respectful, etc etc.

    They are not, as far as I’m aware, written by Rabbis. Just folk tales handed down, like any other folk tale, likely mainly from Europeans. If I had meant psalm, or Torah or Talmudic story, I would have said so.

    I quote from the inside table of contents from A Treasury of Jewish Folklore ed. Nathan Ausubel:

    “These are stories from Oral Tradition and adaptations from foreign-language sources”.

  251. flip

    #245, MTU

    I do think that that sort of mindset is typical of many (not all but a scarily large number of) Muslims

    Citation needed.

    If you are watching someone bash up somebody else whon is helpless to resist,if you are watching say a killer open fire on innocent people – and you have a gun and can stop further killing, further harm, by shooting the killer or threatening to prevent the person who is bashing another with it – would you not do so?

    You’re forgetting the third option, which is to negotiate and find a peaceful solution. Nigel is right: just because you have a gun, doesn’t mean you need to use it. (Some police don’t use guns, for example) Also, it’s not an either/or situation: we can use both threats of force and peaceful means to get there.

    PS. Read the sedition laws yet?

    #246, Nigel

    This! Everything you said!

    #252, TBC

    So you’re arguing against your own family & their interests then?

    Wow. Just wow. Disagreeing with religious ideology and the policies of a particular country somehow make you “arguing against your own family & their interests”.

    It is obvious now. You are simply psychologically incapable of understanding that people could have legitimate disagreements with your conclusions. Did it ever occur to you that maybe he thinks that some of Israel’s policies are against the best interests of his family? Every Jew who has family in Israel that I know thinks that they are.

    Thanks and thanks. Exactly right.

    Once again you make it clear that you are incapable of distinguishing the past and the present. You apparently don’t even know what a “folk tail” is, or you are being intentionally dishonest (given your past history I would bet on the latter).

    See my comment #256 for clarification of the folk tales.

    #253, me

    “Human nature is what it is.”

    Massively varied and with a vast range of complex motivations that are in a continual state of flux and genesis.

    Funny how MTU consistently ignores that bit.

  252. TheBlackCat

    #253, me

    “Human nature is what it is.”

    Massively varied and with a vast range of complex motivations that are in a continual state of flux and genesis.

    Funny how MTU consistently ignores that bit.

    He doesn’t ignore it consistently, he ignores it selectively. When it is a religion he likes, he is perfectly happy to accept this, and often insists on it. It is only when we are discussing a religion he doesn’t like (i.e. anything other than Christianity or Judaism) that he suddenly becomes incapable of understanding this.

  253. Nigel Depledge

    Flip (255) said:

    So you admit that Sharia law is not international law as accepted by nations, their governments, or the organisations set up to create/follow them and is practiced by lawyers all over the world? Because I think that’s what Nigel meant (correct me if I’m wrong Nigel).

    You have the right of it.

    I certainly do not include Sharia law when I say “international law”. To my mind, international law comprises those laws and statutes that are internationally agreed between the majority of nations. An example of international law is how far into an ocean a coastal country’s sovereignty extends. IIUC, there is a worldwide accepted standard, agreed as international law and recorded on the statute books of most nations.

  254. Nigel Depledge

    Flip (256) said:

    PS. See what I did there? Did I apologise for anything? No – I said prejudice from both sides is bad. Peace = good. Terrorism = bad. Non-violent people = peace. Violent people = jail. MTU = inventing strawmen. There, can you comprehend now?

    LOL!

    I like simple.

  255. Messier Tidy Upper

    Read your responses.

    Maybe – okay even definitely – I have issues here. (Long story.)

    But I still think Muslim extremists are the stuff of nightmares. :-(

  256. flip

    #258, TBC

    He doesn’t ignore it consistently, he ignores it selectively. When it is a religion he likes, he is perfectly happy to accept this, and often insists on it. It is only when we are discussing a religion he doesn’t like (i.e. anything other than Christianity or Judaism) that he suddenly becomes incapable of understanding this.

    So true, and for a number of other issues MTU has problems with.

    #260, Nigel

    LOL!

    I like simple.

    Evidently if I write it in plain English and not simplistic sentences, MTU doesn’t get it and invents his own meaning. Not that I think it will hammer home this time.

    #261, MTU

    But I still think Muslim extremists are the stuff of nightmares.

    No one would disagree with you there, only because you added ‘extremists’ to the sentence. Leave it out and we would start questioning you again.

  257. TheBlackCat

    @ MTU:

    Well, the first step is to admit that you have a problem ;)

    That being said, I think everyone here can agree with your second sentence. Of course that is true for any extremists, by definition. Muslim extremists are probably the worst, although there are a few who give them a run for their money. For instance some members of the ultra-right-wing militia movement (i.e. the Oklahoma City bombers), although those groups are much smaller.

  258. Nigel Depledge

    TBC (263) said:

    That being said, I think everyone here can agree with your second sentence. Of course that is true for any extremists, by definition. Muslim extremists are probably the worst, although there are a few who give them a run for their money. For instance some members of the ultra-right-wing militia movement (i.e. the Oklahoma City bombers), although those groups are much smaller.

    Go back a mere 25 years and the IRA was probably more active (and killed more people) than any Muslim organisation that wasn’t an actual army.

    And the IRA is (was?) an allegedly Christian organisation.

    The problem really isn’t Muslims – the problem is extremists.

  259. Pol Pot wasn’t Muslim, or Christian. As you say, Nigel, the problem is extremism of any form. And the complexities of the Khmer Rouge regime and the international community’s associations with it further illustrate how silly it is to talk of these things in simplistic terms of black and white.

  260. TheBlackCat

    Basque separatists in Spain were also pretty bad, the train bombing a few years back was originally blamed on them.

  261. Nigel Depledge

    @ Kuhnigget and TBC -
    Hmm, yes.

    Interestingly, if one looks into the origins of extremism, it seems to start with people who feel they have no voice.

    Give everyone a voice – i.e. give them a stake in a system that is at least vaguely democratic – and extremism seems to become less likely to start in the first place.

    For instance, I have seen it argued that GW Bush precipitated 11/9 by ceasing the US’s involvement as a peace-broker in the middle east. I’m not sure if this is right, but the broader point it makes is that ignoring the concerns of people who feel they have been wronged can initiate extremist activities or attitudes.

  262. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Nigel Depledge :

    For instance, I have seen it argued that GW Bush precipitated 11/9 by ceasing the US’s involvement as a peace-broker in the middle east. I’m not sure if this is right, ..

    To me, that looks like an awfully long stretch and a rather warped way of trying to blame Bush for absolutely everything bad in the world. Blame the former President Bush for what he’s directly responsible for and chose to do, sure, but other people and groups need to be accountable for themselves too.

    Osama bin Laden hated the West long before G.W. Bush was in power. Al Quaida attacked the World Trade Centre in 1993 too, remember. Bin Laden was an extremist pretty much from the start. He hates us for being non-Muslim, being powerful and happy and free – and nothing we do but surrender and become Muslims will appease him. :-(

    Also, what are the implications here? That US and Western foreign policy be determined by what our enemies like?? That they’re concerns and interests be placed ahead of our own?

    @ 264. Nigel Depledge & 265. kuhnigget : .. the problem is extremists.

    Yes, I agree with that.

    Mind you, it does appear like some religions and political philosophies have a tendency to produce more extremists and are inherently more extreme than others.

    PS. Wow this thread is still going?!?

  263. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (268) said:

    To me, that looks like an awfully long stretch and a rather warped way of trying to blame Bush for absolutely everything bad in the world. Blame the former President Bush for what he’s directly responsible for and chose to do, sure, but other people and groups need to be accountable for themselves too.

    Well, the argument ran along these lines:

    The Clinton administration was actively brokering peaceful dialogue between various factions in the region, and the Bush administration halted these talks.

    As I said before, I’m not sure if it is correct. If correct, then it is something we can lay at the feet of GWB’s administration.

    As you say, 11/9 was not the first attack on the WTC.

    BTW, we cannot for sure know bin Laden’s actual motives. He may be cynically manipulating Muslim extremists to serve his own agenda (rather than being an actual Muslim extremist himself).

    One hears and reads so much about people like this, and has to wonder how much salt to apply. For instance, I understand that Osama bin Laden was actually educated in the USA. I have heard that GWB worked for the bin Laden family at some point in his early career, but have not checked up to see how accurate this is.

  264. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (268) said:

    Also, what are the implications here? That US and Western foreign policy be determined by what our enemies like?? That they’re concerns and interests be placed ahead of our own?

    Bin Laden is only one person. We should ignore him and go our own way.

    Either way, if we can erode his power base – i.e. give his potential recruits a voice and a forum in which to be heard – then he will be unable to cause much more harm. If we react aggressively, we give him ammunition with which to recruit and convert more followers.

    Violence really does beget violence.

    He can see that he is affecting our way of life. Security checks at airports are becoming more intrusive, and the rules about what you may and may not carry with you onto a ‘plane are becoming ludicrous (certainly over here, where you may not carry more than a very limited quantity of any fluid). In the UK, laws now exist to give the police extra powers if terrorism is suspected. What were once regarded as our rights under statute have been altered to make the police more effective at combating terrorist threats. However, those same changes are (a) open to abuse, and (b) not necessarily effective.

  265. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Nigel Depledge :

    Bin Laden is only one person. We should ignore him and go our own way.

    Only one person yes, but a sadly influential one who runs the world’s most deadly terrorist organisation.

    The second part is pretty much what I’m saying too – except I’d add that we need to kill or arrest him – bringing him to justice and ending the threat he poses, one way or another – rather than just ignoring him.

    If we react aggressively, we give him ammunition with which to recruit and convert more followers.

    But if we don’t react agressively – do you really think he’ll just stop? Or will he (& those of his ilk) see it as weakness to be exploited and use it as an opportunity to keep growing and attacking us further? I don’t think you can appease such people & I don’t think its wise to try. Our policy on terrorism (all terrorists) should be unrelenting and non-negotiable : they must unconditionally surrender or be destroyed.

    have heard that GWB worked for the bin Laden family at some point in his early career, but have not checked up to see how accurate this is.

    Wikipedia says :

    Bush began his industry career in 1979, when he established Arbusto Energy, an oil and gas exploration company he financed with his education trust fund surplus and money from other investors, including Dorothy Bush, Lewis Lehrman, William Henry Draper III, Bill Gammell, and James R. Bath, the last of whom represented Salem bin Laden, a half-brother and cousin of Osama bin Laden. In 1984, Bush sold the company, hurt in the wake of the 1979 energy crisis, to Spectrum 7, another Texas gas exploration firm.

    Source : wikipedia page “Professional life of George W. Bush”, accesssed 2011 March 10th.

    Which seems to say that one of the bin laden family was an indirect investor in one of Bush’es companies. Not quite the same thing.

  266. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (271) said:

    Only one person yes, but a sadly influential one who runs the world’s most deadly terrorist organisation.

    And from whence comes that influence?

    From his ability to give people who feel powerless a way to strike at those who he alleges created that situation.

    The second part is pretty much what I’m saying too – except I’d add that we need to kill or arrest him –

    Killing him would turn him into a martyr.

    What better justice could there be than eroding his powerbase by giving his potential (and actual?) followers a stake in a democratic society. Then, he becomes just another harmless crackpot spouting conspiracy theories.

  267. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (271) said:

    But if we don’t react agressively – do you really think he’ll just stop?

    His ability to affect us relies on being able to motivate his followers. A common enemy – such as an aggressive USA – will unite various Muslims against the west. OTOH, if his potential followers have something to lose i.e. if they are part of a legitimate political process that empowers them to at least some degree, they are less likely to risk all by carrying out his plans.

    Without a following, he is just one guy.

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