Brontosaurus is Back! New Study Finds They Aren’t Apatosaurs After All

By Jon Tennant | April 7, 2015 6:00 am
brontosaurus

Specimen YPM 1980, at Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, was first classified as Brontosaurus, then Apatosaurus excelsus, and in the current study is deemed Brontosaurus after all. Photo by Mark Ryan via Flickr

Brontosaurus is one of the most recognizable of all prehistoric beasts, which is even more remarkable when you consider it only ever existed for a fleeting moment in history.

In 1903, only a couple decades after it was discovered, Brontosaurus was demoted. Leading scientists at the time decided that the fossils found in the western U.S. were merely a species within the genus Apatosaurus. Museum specimens were renamed, textbooks were rewritten, and Brontosaurus was relegated to history’s dust heap. Today the iconic dinos don’t even have a Wikipedia page.

But that may all be set to change once again. A new study, taking into account recently discovered specimens, claims to have set the record straight, establishing Brontosaurus as a scientifically valid genus once again.

Tracing Relationships

The research, led by Emanuel Tschopp at the Unversidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal, delves deep into anatomical details to investigate the evolutionary relationships of a large and important group of sauropods known as diplodocids. Diplodocidae is the dinosaur family that includes Apatosaurus, as well as other iconic dinosaurs like Diplodocus. These animals are renowned for their enormous body sizes, sweeping necks and small heads, and long, whiplashed tails, and are known from North and South America, Europe, and Africa.

Tschopp and his colleagues took as objective an approach as possible in crafting their dinosaur lineages. Instead of the traditional approach, plotting how similar each species is to the others, they instead opted to use a specimen-based protocol: analyzing each individual animal, regardless of its previously assigned species. This technique, though time-consuming, allowed them to look exhaustively at variation within each species, as well as between different species. The advantage of this is that, since many individual diplodocid specimens are quite fragmentary or incomplete, they can be combined to form anatomically overlapping units for analysis.

Tschopp identified nearly 500 key aspects of diplodocid anatomy, and used this as the basis to reconstruct how related the individual specimens are based on how many of these characteristics were shared.

“The differences we found between Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus were at least as numerous as the ones between closely related genera, and much more than what you normally find between species,” explained Dr. Roger Benson, a co-author of the study from the University of Oxford.

The findings were published in the open access journal PeerJ.

bronto timeline

Bringing Back Brontosaurus

One of the reasons why researchers face uncertainty in taxonomy (the naming of organisms) is that there are no clearly set rules for what defines one species or genus from another. So while scientists are as objective as possible in the identification and naming of new species, this means that there is always a hint of subjective bias involved. This is especially so in paleontology, as the usual test for species independence through identification of reproductively isolated populations is a little difficult for animals that have been extinct for millions of years.

So specimen-based anatomical comparisons are probably the best existing method to determine dinosaur relationships. In this case the research was bolstered by numerous dinosaur discoveries in recent years. By finding other dinosaurs that are anatomically similar to both Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus, researchers were able to better discern the small differences between them.

Close examination of fossils used to originally name Brontosaurus showed that often previously overlooked aspects of its shoulder blade, vertebral column, and ankle bones were in fact unique to this animal, and enough to distinguish it from Apatosaurus. These include the shape of the chevrons, a series of bones underneath the vertebral column that many reptiles possess.

Study authors Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus inspect a Galeamopus sp. skull.

Study authors Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus inspect a Galeamopus skull. Image by Octávio Mateus

And Brontosaurus actually appears to contain three distinct species, all from around 157-151 million years ago in the western U.S. This means that the biodiversity of dinosaurs at this time may have been much higher than previously thought.

As if this wasn’t enough, Tschopp also noted that additional specimens from Colorado and Wyoming previously assigned to Diplodocus hayi were distinct enough to be independently assigned to a new genus, Galeamopus. As well as this, the new study shows that some genera are probably invalid, with Dinheirosaurus from Portugal being indistinct from another from the U.S., Supersaurus.

March of Sauropod Science

While this study might cause a few arguments in the scientific community, it is a nice hat tip to how scientific research truly progresses. Even hypotheses that have remained stable for 100 years can sometimes fail the test of time, and be overthrown based on new discoveries, new analytical methods, and a deeper understanding of how to evaluate evolutionary relationships.

“It’s the classic example of how science works,” said Prof. Octavio Mateus, a coauthor of the study. “Especially when hypotheses are based on fragmentary fossils, it is possible for new finds to overthrow years of research.”

But rarely will it overthrow years of research to the delight of dinosaur-lovers everywhere. Welcome back, Brontosaurus – you were sorely missed!

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  • Stephen Singer

    • Dain Q. Gore

      It could have happened.

      • donl

        Not as your picture depicts!

        • conradg

          Hey, that’s a photograph!

          • donl

            Right!

  • KMN

    Yay!!

  • Empress Natalie

    Wait…it was 1903 that Brontosaurus was de-named? How do we know what it is then? It should have been completely erased by the time most of us came around, right? Or did I just have The Worst dino books a kid could find in the early 80s? So confused…but so glad Bronto’s back!

    You were always Brontosaurus in my heart. Right beside Pluto’s planetary status.

    }:)

    • http://www.erif.org/ Kaolin Fire

      From wikipedia ~

      The length of time taken for Rigg’s 1903 reclassification of Brontosaurus as Apatosaurus to be brought to public notice, as well as Osborn’s insistence that the Brontosaurus name be retained despite Rigg’s paper, meant that the Brontosaurus became one of the most famous dinosaurs. In fact, “Brontosaurus” often appears as a synonym for Dinosaur (2.) itself.

      As late at 1989, the U.S. Post Office issued four dinosaur stamps, Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Pteradon (a misspelling of Pteranodon, which is actually a pterosaur rather than a dinosaur) and Brontosaurus, for which it was accused, amongst other things, of “fostering scientific illiteracy.” The Post Office defended itself (in Postal Bulletin 21744) thus:

      Although now recognized by the scientific community as Apatosaurus, the name Brontosaurus was used for the stamp because it is more familiar to the general population.

    • Mike Richardson

      Yeah, I had some old dinosaur books with Brontosaurus in it (always in swamps) when I was a child. And the T-rex walking upright and dragging its tale. And they’ve also recently changed the image of Spinosaurus to a mostly aquatic quadruped — Jurassic Park III got it partly right, at least with the aquatic part. But I always liked the Brontosaurus name better than Apatosaurus anyway.

  • David Miller

    Another example of the superiority of science over religion. Science is ever self-improving through self-questioning, evaluation of data & experimentation. Meanwhile religion is mired in the darkness of unquestioning dogmatism. After 3,500 years of judaism, 2,000 years of christianity & 1,400 years of islam, with millions in money & millions of people studying their moldy scriptures, are we any closer to attaining a better life? Meanwhile, in just 66 years science took us from the Wright Brother’s 1903 biplane to Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moonwalk. Nothing speaks louder than success, while the silence of failure is deafening. Too bad there’s so many deaf to success but attuned to dumbness!

    • tiorbinist

      You are living the progressive myth. Science Historians have been slowly rediscovering the (now) amazing fact that science as epitomized by Isaac Newton’s Scientific Method has never and could never have developed anywhere but in Christendom.

      Without the Judeo-Christian Religion, Science would not be.

      • Robert Mauro

        Uh, what? That’s sarcasm, right?

        • tiorbinist

          Uh, no, it is not sarcasm. It is what academics are beginning to admit to.

          If you want an interesting insight into what I’m talking about (since it is obvious that you don’t believe it) try looking up Galileo. You’ll find the story changes. Prior to the mid-19th century, Galileo is seen as somewhat of a hero, grouped with Copernicus and Kepler, who widened the existing knowledge of astronomy from the accepted Aristotelian view of circular orbits and the Earth as the Center of the Universe.

          In the mid-19th century, there are suddenly a pair of books on the subject of the War between Religion and Science, one published in England by John William Draper, the other in America by Andrew Dixon White. In their hands, Galileo became at the least an agnostic (a term coined by Draper’s friend Thomas Huxley which did not exist in relation to theology in Galileo’s time, let alone the concept) if not a full-fledged heretic, whose dogged efforts to break through the ignorance of the 17th Century Catholic Church to bring enlightenment to the world that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The price for this scientific advance, of course, was Galileo being threatened with the Inquisition (heated pincers and The Rack and all) and Excommunication, finally being placed under arrest for the remainder of his life, under which he withered and died (some tellings place him in a dank dungeon, while others claimed it came as pneumonia, a result of having to stay in a damp cave while travelling to Rome to be persecuted.)

          White, who had been President of Cornell University, parleyed his credentials into a measure of Authority for his similar book. It also is a fascinating study in 19th century fiction passed off as an unbiased, scientific history.

          Scholars now admit that Galileo did not set himself against the Church simply because the Church was “backward”: in fact, the Church had been working hard to keep up with natural philosophy, adopting Aristotle when arabic translations of his works were translated into Latin, taking on Platinus and Galen as their works became available. In fact, Galileo’s problem, it is now recognized, was his innate ability to make people feel that he was belittling them, and driving them to want to put him “in his place”. He did this to Kings and Electors, Chancellors and Deans, and Cardinals (most of whom were highly educated in humanities and secular philosophy as well as theology.) He was, indeed, placed under house arrest after being forced to recant his book… but the recantation was based on his lack of sufficient evidence, not on his being right in the face of the hidebound Church. And in house arrest, he was placed in a villa on the edge of Rome, given a stipend so he was never in danger of suffering, and allowed passage to Paris for treatment of illness in his old age (which lasted until he was 78: not bad for an age in which the average lifespan has been estimated at 35.5 years.)

          No, most of what you were taught in school has been carefully rewritten and edited to obscure the contributions to Science of Christianity, and to instill the presumption that atheism is scientific and wise, while religion, especially the Christian religion, is stupid. (Exactly the approach that Galileo took, by the way: his book, which he had to recant, cast the believer in the Aristotelian view as Simplicio, while his view was put in the mouth of the Master.)

          As it happens, many otherwise agnostic or atheist Science Historians are discovering that Science, in the form of peer-review and a formal Scientific Method, has never sprung up in any society other than Western Europe, a heritage that America shares, both inheriting it and damning it along with our English and Continental brothers.

          No sarcasm. Just researchable, verifiable fact.

          • Dain Q. Gore

            In that sense, we also wouldn’t have had the Enlightenment, and its Deist (not strictly Christian, but not atheist either, so no one can “claim” them) founders of the documents which talked of crazy things like not having a monarchy and the inalienable rights of its citizens.

          • tiorbinist

            A) If you can show how avoiding the progressive takeover of education and invention of the Religion vs. Science myth after 1850 would have prevented, modified or significantly affected the Founders, a mere 60 years before, please do tell us. Last I heard, time machines were limited to better-quality fiction than Draper and White churned out.

            B) The “sordid history” of Christianity stands up fairly well both long-term and short-term to the other religions available for comparison. Islam is making it’s 1400-year old history come alive again for us to see, as I write. The Hindus had their Thuggee cult (and the much more recent Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), Aum Shinrikyo, the Manson ‘Family’, there’s no shortage of violence and evil. Granted, Christianity has had it’s share of evil to atone for, _and_ suffer for.

            It is interesting that you assign Social Darwinism to Christianity, though, since it is simply political (and obviously so) and can’t even be supported from scripture.

            However, admitting that mankind is pretty good at being pretty beastly, and manages to carry on with and without claims of religious inspiration.

            What would Jesus do? Do you happen to remember what he did with the animal sellers and money changers in the Temple courts?

          • Dain Q. Gore

            You might be surprised to hear I agree with you more than I disagree. Read it more carefully-the Roman church-state (hence Aristotelian science) and misapplied secular ideas are what makes the history of Christianity so sordid. Absolutely, none of these things are supported by scripture, and in fact the scripture was rewritten to justify much of it!

            This is also historically verifiable, as Christ himself had nothing to do with any of these things (if he even existed). The popes and presidents, however, did.

            As regards Jesus in the temple, yes, he was throwing people out (violently so) for Romanizing the one place left in Jerusalem that was considered distinctly Jewish. He didn’t want Caesar’s (who was worshipped as a civic god) coin in the temple. Separation of church and state (but especially state-as-religion) in the purest sense.

          • tiorbinist

            Separation of Church and State (absent from the text of the Bill of Rights). Right to bear arms (because it is a requirement of a well-regulated militia being needed for the security of a free state), freedom of speech, security against unreasonable search and seisures…The Constitution has undergone the same kind of rewrite (which is actually reinterpretation) as the Bible.

            It’s interesting that you lay a claim to the Bible having been rewritten. Are you referring just to King James’s mandated modifications to support Divine Right of Kings? He managed to miss all that stuff where God tells Moses on Sinai, then again Samuel, to tell the people “When they demand a king” they’ll end up giving him their best, children, belongings, money, animals, land, etc… and they do, and they do. The warning was wasted on the Israelites, and again on every Nation which has adopted a monarch, and is now happening to the US, as the elected President works harder and harder to make of himself a King.

            Only… the current pretender to the throne seems more consumed with emulating Charles I of England than, say, Saul or even the Sun King. I’d never have imagined that America might have to consider regicide.

            Separation of church and state doesn’t belong in a Constitutional discussion. The Constitution denies, forbids (specifically) inhibits the _Federal Government’s law making body_, the Congress, from making any law “respecting” “an establishment of Religion”. In modern parlance, those phrases are different than they were in 1791. It doesn’t say that Religion should be excluded from government, that governers at any level were forbidden from having, practicing and being influenced by their religion. It does say that the Congress can’t make law “respecting” “an establishment of Religion”. They’ve violated that in the tax code, but by inference while, on the face of it, claiming that they aren’t. Specifically, no establishment of Religion has to get Federal tax exempt status by application to be exempt from Federal taxation. But if you want to get state taxation, you can keep expensive books of all your expenditures, incomes, donations in both directions, etc. with expensive certifications, or you can get Federal tax exemption, which the state then accepts without question. Carrot and stick, but not written fiat.

            The important point is that the framers wanted to limit the Federal Government, the agent of “these many several states”, not to limit state governments from putting limits or infringements on religion, arms, etc, _within_ their states.

            As for rewriting the Bible, the Catholics have long included the Apocrypha and Pseudipigrapha (sp?) in their version, and the Protestants have a bunch of translations, some of which are so paraphrasiacal as to make Jefferson’s cut-n-throwaway job look sound, but the actual texts they have been translated from have proven (Q’umran, for instance) to be spot-on. Not bad for thousands of years of written copies.

            All of which, set aside a moment: Doesn’t it seem that the Church has gotten farthest afield from the intentions of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit every time they’ve tried to make an institution or business of themselves?

            The Catholic Church can be argued to have polluted itself by changing the outward display of baptism into an official act of entry, filling the ranks of Clergy with men of learning (or not) but little actual calling, institution of convenient doctrines based on temporal concerns (vide indulgences). And now, we have Protestent churches adopting the business interpretation of “Vision”…

            On the other hand, can any government offer anything to approach Sister Theresa, as a singular example, but not a unique case?

            Compare this to, just as an instance, Islam, who have done marvelous things for Muslims, while enslaving and murdering infidels. Or those who have taken on Transcendental Meditation, extracted from India’s Hindu tradition, who claim that all it takes to improve a community is 1% of them practicing deep TM, often carefully omitting all influences on the communities studied.

            And, finally, Science. Only in the Judeo-Christian ethic is it not only allowable, but commanded for mankind to study nature. Pantheists are discouraged from experimentation by the prospect of the indwelling spirit in ‘everything’ getting angry. The Greeks’ creation story (involving a 3rd-rate demiurge working with preexisting material) bases spoilage on the idea of matter having an intrinsic ‘form’ or purpose, and when used for another purpose, the matter, itself, rebels. (This is why Aristotle wasn’t bothered when his observations might have indicated that orbits weren’t perfectly circular: matter doesn’t always do what it ought to, so circular the orbits stayed until a Christian, free to demand that Creation made by a Rational God, inspected by Man made in His image, can be expected to be rational.)

            So the Greeks were great observers and came up with some pretty interesting ideas, but lacked a method to obtain a level of knowledge beyond what they observed and cared to hold to a high standard. The arabs, for all that they did civilization a favor by preserving the writings of the Greeks, operated largely at a technician-level. It took Western Civ’s Natural Philosophers, armed with knowledge that they had Permission from the Most High to dig into the secrets and an _expectation_ that it was possible to find and understand them to create Science as we know it.

            And it took Western Civ, armed with the desire to elevate itself (individually and en masse) which drove the movement to eradicate God’s part, and try to take it on for ourselves. Thomas Huxley and John Dewey (in England and the US, respectively) are the ones who ensured the demise of Science as Newton understood it, by replacing the Christian Church with a narrative of progressivism. Huxley was quite open about it, in fact: he even called his lectures “Lay Sermons” and wrote of the benefits of replacing the Christian Church with “the Church Scientific”.

            It becomes pretty easy after about 1850, to see the effects on society, how war was waged, how atrocities (formerly attributable to individual pride and greed operating within the immense power of a Religion) could now be accomplished for the same reasons, inside the auspices of increasingly powerful and rich Governments, including ours.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Pagan Emperor Constantine ordered the Jesus myth and all its 12 versions to be cleaned up to create a state church and a church tax to fund the failing Roman Empire. Problem was the gentile scribes did not know Jewish Law and made huge mistakes re convicting someone in a court of law late at night and during Passover. This proves on its face the entire Jesus myth is a forgery (redundant). Too bad for you that you catlickers cant continue with your lies and fabricated myths. Grow up.

          • tiorbinist

            Of course, all ‘intelligent’ people judge all things older than themselves based solely on the singular worst example, hence, all Americans are bigots because the Constitution calls for Census which counts slaves only as 3/5’s of a count and Indians not-at-all (despite the well-documented _fact_ that this was to avoid stuffing slavery states with Representatives in the House, because they could legally force their slaves to vote as their owners desired, in those states, and that Indians on reservations had specifically chosen not to become Citizens, and therefore were not to be counted in a Census of citizens.) Oh, yes, and all Rock music is bad, because various heinous murderers claim it influenced them. And don’t forget that all chemicals are bad, and “no one should ever have to eat chemicals”, even though everything is made of chemicals, and the food-faddists who claim this are too ignorant to differentiate between synthetics and natural and “organic”…

            Simply put, your argument ignores _everything_ other than the single pack-o-lies adopted by a psychotic narcissist and his band of lawless creeps who happily used others’ desire to obey the law by creating laws based on their own lies and greed. Yes, surely Nazis invalidate 5000+ years of Judeo-Christian Religion in Western Civilization.

            Which is why you speak German, Italian or Japanese today, right?

          • tiorbinist

            First off, “the Jesus Myth” is a very young myth, created by progressives and having nothing to do with history, Jesus, or actual Myths. You could do with more diligence in your preparation.

            You are simply illustrating my point: by repeating the positivist myth and progressive agenda talking points, you simply propagate the wrong that was done to you, you don’t make anything better.

            As for your claim that the “gentile scribes” didn’t know “Jewish Law”, all you prove is that you know nothing about the recorded history, nothing about Jewish Law, nothing about the Scribes (a poor translation which abets your continuing lack of understanding) and the word “Gentile”. Since Gentile has always described those who were not under Jewish Law, the idea that the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin were Gentiles is as accurate as claiming a group of people to be inorganic.

            If you don’t know the meaning of the words, it makes your arguments not only impossible to debate, but incomprehensible, and show you to be inarticulate. Hardly the best way to start.

            Since you don’t understand how the Mosaic Law was transmitted, how the Laws applied to the Israelites, how the Israelites became known as Israelites and Judeans, the history of the two portions of Israel, the work of the Judges, Prophets, and Kings, the definition of Sacrifice nor it’s meaning in Mosaic Law, nor the reason Jesus came, it’s not hard to see why you would adhere to such a fabrication as Truth. But it does not, by any means, make you an Authority. Your credentials were neatly forfeited by your first statement.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Jesus did not exist. Brain science is looking into how people like you speak in terms of a present tense experience when you were not there when the mythical Jesus through people out of the temple. Grow up.

          • Dain Q. Gore

            And Brain Science is also looking into the Backfire Effect. The only way Nons can and will outpace religious people is to have more children, not to post rants to strangers in comments sections.

          • Judy Weismonger

            You forgot the power of the “word” in which a large number of only semi brainwashed, or the brainwashed still sitting on the fence…will pay attention, and THINK about just what kind of Christian Police State the US will turn into if those like you manage to destroy American democracy. Sorry, you nit wit, but the US was not founded on mob rule, or religion. Otherwise, you would not be attempting to make some kind of ineffectual comeback in which you believe you can “out breed” people who think.

          • tiorbinist

            Large quantities of snarl words, but no actual meaning. You preach relativistic nonsense, make idiotic predictions, and generally display a lack of knowledge which is frightening in someone so willing to campaign against non-existent political functions (Christian Police State? Tell us how that comes from the Beatitudes, the Great Commission, or “They shall know you by your love for one another”?)

            Your idea of “founded on” seems to be “they read a book and founded a club”, but the United States of America was founded on many things you no longer believe in: refusal to be pushed around by a distant, self-appointed authority, desire for self-rule, willingness to sacrifice life and limb and family to establish a Nation in which others could be secure in life, limb and family. The precepts which caused the Colonists to understand the need and desirability of separating from England and forming their own country were founded upon nearly 2000 years of Christianity, with more than 3000 years of Judaism before that, and by that fact was the country founded on religious principles.

            There wasn’t even an existent term, “agnostic” before 1840 (it was coined by Thomas Huxley, who, not incidentally, continued to teach Sunday School while denying a sure knowledge of Christ) and for centuries, Bedlams were inhabited by the few who were insane enough to claim atheism. There was no non-religion to account for the precepts of governance, freedom, independence and self-rule that went into the Declaration and Constitution. So to claim that the country was not founded on religion is to say it was not founded on anything at all…. so why, then, do you believe it happened?

          • tiorbinist

            Brain science is based on the positivist and progressive myths, and is as qualified to come up with any conclusion that denies those beliefs as any other True Believer.

            Oh, but I forget, Science Is Truth.

            Except Science has never _been_ truth. Even those who professionally claim science as their life’s work will, when pressed to tell the truth, admit that Science’s job is to approach reality with models which work, and which are replaceable the instant more or better data is available.

            Your reliance on Science is your reliance on your understanding of Science, which is flawed. Until you recognize that Science is not Truth, you will not be able to produce a better response to anything that challenges Science than “Science says….”, no matter how little Scientists agree with you.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Jesus did not exist. Ergo its irrelevant what the myth would do. Mythical Jesus did not even know about germs, duh. Mythical Jesus when faced with a car accident would not even know to call 911 for an ambulance. Why are you christians so stupid.

          • tiorbinist

            Your claim that ‘Mythical Jesus did not even know about germs, duh’ is interesting. You don’t know about germs. It’s easy to tell, because you talk like someone who has heard rumors of something, and has no personal knowledge at all of what that thing is, nor how to deal with it.

            More interesting, is that you preach it like a True Believer, you carry out rituals, washing your hands, using an anti-bacterial hand cream, maybe anti-bacterial soap, maybe anti-bacterial wipes, and you feel clean…

            But you have no idea how many bacteria live _in_ your body, and what would happen to you if they all just stopped living. You have no actual knowledge of how Man’s attempts to control bacteria have given rise to resistant strains; not even a clue to the mechanism by which anti-bacterials work, and why they should fail.

            You believe that bacteria evolve to become better, without a clue of the mechanism, without an idea as to why that isn’t True, but is taught. And yet, you scoff at Jesus, claiming he didn’t know about them, on no actual evidence, whatsoever. Where is _your_ authority to make these claims? Are you really empowered by your ignorance? Or are you simply a willing, gleeful pawn in a political race to your own subjugation and destruction, without the beginning of understanding of why it is being done to you, what you have to gain or lose by continuing to accept it without complaint, what you sell cheaply every time you make your repeated, ignorant claims.

            Which is sad.

          • tiorbinist

            What Jesus would do, is what he has done: Look into the hearts of individuals, and not blame them for what others do, but hold them responsible for what they, themselves do.

          • Hans Oei

            Thanks Tiorbinist. Some descriptions on your arguments really enlightened me.-

          • Judy Weismonger

            Liars for Jesus at it again. And you cant figure out why Athiesm is increasing each year and your churches are emptying out …its because you continually lie.

          • tiorbinist

            Actually, it is because _you_ continually lie.

            Anyone with the slightest knowledge of reality knows that “a lie makes it twice ’round the world before Truth has had time to get her boots on”.

            Think about it: before 1850, the things you say would have been viewed by society as insanity. Now, they’re no less insane, but society has been modified, on purpose, to make it look good. Making bad look good is what con men do. And there’s no shortage of them, on both sides: Preachers claiming that God will take their lives if they don’t raise so much money before next Wednesday, ‘Authorities’ like Dawkin claiming they have the right to set the limits of the debate, but no one else can. It’s not hard to see that both of them are frauds, but you’ve chosen to follow the latter, and claim that you’re an independent thinker by parroting his claims.

            The fact remains, that you have no clue about the subject you pontificate about, and your continued gum-beating is not furthering your claims. Why you would campaign so heartily for those who profit from your ignorance, to your own deficit, is beyond me. I far prefer to debate with people who know something, even only one thing, that is true about the subject of debate.

            You prefer to ‘argue’ from made-up things: truth is so repugnant to you, apparently, that you can’t even manage to stick with the few facts your heroes use to make their empty arguments seem full, under the twisted excuse for logic they employ.

            You simply spew hate and ignorance, while pasting up posters with big red arrows pointing to your head, labeled “empty”.

            And yet, for someone to tell you that Jesus loves you (even while you rail against him with lies and calumny), you would automatically respond that they are Haters.

            And never do you see the contradiction.

        • donl

          If it isn’t then it’s just plain stupidity…hoping on sarcasm!

      • donl

        Oh bull!

        • Judy Weismonger

          You catlickers demand that you have a right to control science and human beings. We reject your hegemony and stupidity. Grow up.

      • Sam Bull

        We will just ignore that Roman Catholicism has systematically suppressed science through the ages then? Enough of this nonsense!

        • Kirtidev Bhatt

          How about Galileo’s torture on the rack and Newton and Darwin both died without publishing their magnum opus because of their fear of offending religious dogma!

        • LaLunaUnita

          Gregor Mendel, commonly called the father of genetics, was a Moravian monk fully supported by the Catholic church. He lived and researched in a monastery. Saying that the Catholic church “systematically suppressed science” truly is nonsense.

          • Judy Weismonger

            You cited one example where the church approved… when there are 1000s of examples of christian oppression of science in the past and continue today. Just wait till CRISPER comes on line. You mental dwarf christians will be screaming that we are “playing god” in the same way the church rejected 1000 other medical interventions. Grow up and stop telling such whoppers. We know what religion does to those it cant control, religion is the biggest tragedy of humankind.

        • tiorbinist

          Please enlighten us all with a specific list of science which the Roman Catholic Church has systematically suppressed “through the ages”, will you? And when you do, cite your sources, specifically whether they were written prior to 1850 or after. I think you’re in for a surprise.

          • Sam Bull

            OK. All the stuff that’s anti pope is lies because it wasn’t written ages ago. How’s this; “World-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said Thursday that the
            late Pope John Paul II once told scientists they should not study the
            beginning of the universe because it was the work of God.” AP 6/15/2006. let’s please face it. Your fairy tales, used and abused by centuries of corrupt and even murderous popes, may be a great comfort to you but they have no place in a scientific context.

          • tiorbinist

            Sorry, I was asking you for specifics, not more brain-mash ravings.

            Incidentally, when Hawking was in the prime of his mental abilities, he published a book, where he acknowledged that it was outside the realm of science to attempt to ‘prove God’ or disprove Him. His reasoning was straight-forward and rational. The next edition of the book (which happens to be “a Brief History of Time” ) recanted the Science-appropriate recognition that a God who existed before time and created time could not be ‘proven’ within a frame of reference which relies on time to allow observation, in favor of a load of orthodoxy which the Scientific Community’s keepers can accept.

            Go ahead, find the first edition, and any later one, and verify it for yourself.

          • Judy Weismonger

            You liar for jesus, he stated exactly what the pope said. Religion rots the brain and you are a prime example.

          • Judy Weismonger

            abortion
            birth control
            choosing the life of the fetus over the mother
            disallowing hysterctomies
            stem cell research
            use of ether during labor and delivery
            RU486
            tubal ligations
            condoms
            Shall I go on you christian liar for jesus.

        • Judy Weismonger

          Its a mystery why christians dont get it that christianity is a myth and a proven forgery and we are NOT going to swallow such lies.

          • tiorbinist

            It is a mystery, actually, why you believe progressive myths concocted in the 1800s to support a bunch of self-seeking philosophers who wanted to pretend they were scientists.

            Only it is not a mystery at all.

            You have been educated in schools which start before first grade, filling your head with lies which you believe with all your heart. Why? Where’s the conspiracy? That’s easy to anyone who actually learns beyond their schoolbooks.

            The scientific real of psychology was invented. I’ll help you out here, because ‘invented’ might be a hard word, having been misused so much by your educators. It was invented, i.e., cooked up in the mind of a man, and presented to his students as a convenient truth, then taught to future generations as Truth because it was so convenient. Sounds like your description of Christianity, doesn’t it?

            But no, it was W. Wundt who invented it. He wanted the study of the mind to be science, not philosophy, because philosophical study was never conclusive, didn’t lend itself to mathematical models, didn’t generate useable statistics, and wasn’t recognized as a science. So he invented a science by taking philosophy and removing the soul from the definition of humans. “To Wundt, a thing made sense and was worth pursuing if it could be measured, quantified, and scientifically demonstrated. Seeing no way to do this with the human soul, he proposed that psychology concern itself solely with experience. ” (Linni and Kass, The Leipzig Connection)

            Once the science of psychology was established, focusing only on ‘experience’, using stimuli and measuring response, ‘scientific’ papers could be written, peer-reviewed, published in scientific journals, and _recognized_ as science! Of course, the science of psychology relied on its practitioners convincing everyone that there was no need to consider the soul, otherwise people would recognize that their “science” was as scientific as a science based on the motion of heavenly bodies which started with no stars or planets in its defined space.

            This need lined up well with Thomas Huxley’s cohort’s studies which indicated that English ‘scientists’ would not be able to teach their ‘science’ to “ignorant Welsh farmer’s boys” while they still believed in Christ: thus the beginning of the lies about religion. In England, then, almost a copycat act, in America, books appeared, authored by… basically by a professional writer and the retired chancellor of Cornell University, proclaiming that a war existed between Religion and Science, and that Religion had been oppressing science for millennia.

            The lies were thickly applied, the books were presented to students as justification for disregarding religion as anti-science (with the warning that they’d better fight hard to establish science as Truth, because if they didn’t the whole of Civilization would vanish, and oh by the way, so would their jobs.)

            You believe those lies today. You think that science produces truth, you believe that the computer models of the Climate Scientists are Truth, you believe that Christ never happened. You are unconcerned with the archaeological findings of the last century continuously disprove the progressive historians’ claims of no God, no Hebrews, no Christ, etc. You Believe. You are the very destructive religious person you so hate and scream against: In the face of evidence, you Believe, and you (without any logic or sense) want to destroy those who don’t Believe as you do.

            That’s the real problem here, isn’t it? You are so tied up in trying to assure yourself that God doesn’t exist and that you don’t owe Him anything that you have become the very object of warning that all the Progressive myths warn against!

        • conradg

          Not really true. After the debacle with Galileo, the Catholic Church actually became quite supportive of science, even encouraging it, and accepting its results. Unlike many Evangelical Protestants, for example, it fully accepts evolution and the age of the earth/universe that science has come up with.

      • David Miller

        Scientific method had several fits & starts before christianity. The ancient Greeks had it until Hellenistic absolutism & corruption stifled it. The Romans rekindled it after conquering the Greek mediterranean, only to have the christians crush it with their faith, giving us the Dark Ages. The early muslim caliphates had it, only to have growing islamic fundamentalism crush it. The European Renaissance gave scientific observation & experimentation a new chance, then the Wars of the Reformation almost extinguished it. At every turn religion has been the bane of science. As for Isaac Newton, he had to tread carefully due to his unorthodox beliefs if he was to avoid Galileo’s fate at the “mercies” of the religious authorities of the day. If anything it speaks volumes that science could advance DESPITE religion, not because of it.

      • Judy Weismonger

        Wrong. Religion is why science and progress are 2000 years behind. Grow up, there is not one verse in the bible that respects individuality, research, or infidels who are apostates and have a different view of nature, or let the chips fall where they may when data and proof are counter to the churchs’ demand for obedience

        • Judy Weismonger

          why do you Liars for Jesus even bother to make such stupid claims when we know the bloody and oppressive history of the church. The silly buybull didnt even know what caused people to become sick and blamed it on sin, punishment by god, demons, and satan. Invading every science website with your christian lies and stupidity is not going to change what christianity is….a myth and a fraud, and a forgery. Grow up.

          • tiorbinist

            Why do you True Believers make such stupid claims when you know the bloody and oppressive history of Science? Do you deny the “medical research” done upon Jews and Romani by the Nazi regime? Do you understand how wrong Science has been, and the damage they have caused until they realized and corrected their mistakes? Do you even know about thalidimide?

          • Judy Weismonger

            The very fact that you did not get polio, scarlet fever, mumps, diptheria, virulent pneumonia, measels, and whooping cough and DIED is why SCIENCE trumps your imaginary god, the bible, and all religions…. NO religion has ever promoted any science that prevented people from getting ill.

          • tiorbinist

            Actually, this is the most illogical statement you have made yet.

            The fact is, I haven’t been inoculated against some of those bogeymen because of allergies, and yet, haven’t caught them and died. Is this because of your science? I doubt it. I doubt that you have even a surface knowledge of how antibodies work, what inoculations do, and how allergies and the immune system operate with and against each other.

            But that’s alright, neither the vaxxers nor the anti-axxers seem to bother with the actual science, either.

            As for “NO religion has ever promoted any science that prevented people from getting ill” you contradict yourself so many times in one statement that it’s amazing you don’t evaporate in a cloud of dubious illogic.

            First, if you looked at the Old Testament (rather than merely looking at other people’s interpretations of it) you find that God set His People apart with a set of very scientific-looking precepts: Don’t eat anything with cloven hoof (avoiding trichinosis for His People), and the laws concerning both white spots on people and on the walls of their dwelling helped them to avoid leprosy and fungal invasion of their homes.

            But far more important is the concept of a religion _promoting_ science. In fact, as has been shown by many modern science historians, who are finally rebelling against the progressive “positivist” approach to history, have been re-discovering that the Judeo-Christian religion is the _only_ religion (inculding atheism) which has promoted science. In the simple precept of “Go forth and subdue the Earth”, the God of the Jews (whom you claim is a myth) gave us permission, nay, an _order_ to become scientists.

            The Greeks didn’t. They believed in Creation by a 3rd-rate demi-urge, working with pre-existing matter which was imbued with ‘form’: a predisposition. And where the demi-urge forced matter into ‘form’s it wasn’t meant to be, corruption would happen: age, sickness, rot, etc. They thought the planets moved in circular paths, even though their own measurements showed that they didn’t: it didn’t matter to them, because their Gods were capricious, so it made sense to them that the Creation was capricious.

            Despite the claims for Islam and the arabs in general, a subjective look at their history shows that they were great preservers of knowledge (through translations from greek to arabic, which were translated to latin in the era we call Medieval), wonderful technicians, but didn’t do any actual science, as it is defined today.

            The first scientific experiment on the lines of Newton’s Scientific Method is recorded in the book of Daniel. I’ll let you actually read it yourself, so you can see if you can detect real science in action!

            The Big Names of science: Newton, Copernicus, Halley, Lord Kelvin, Galileo, those who actually formed hypotheses and experiments which could prove _or_ disprove them, they were all Christians. The medical researchers who sought to “ease the suffering brought by the Fall” didn’t fear to experiment, having been told to do so (go forth and subdue) and knowing beforehand that a rational answer could be expected because God is a rational God, and made us in His image.

            No, you have religion to thank for the science which brought about the very vaccines that you claim I benefited from because of Science, not Religion.

            So, really, your entire argument is based on emotion and bluster. Not terribly scientific, is it?

          • Judy Weismonger

            Hitler was and remained a Roman Catholic. The Vatican issued passports for the German high command to escape at the end of the war. The Vatican never excommunicated Hitler. And on every German soldier’s belt it was written: “got und mitt”…meaning god is with us. On page 76 of the English version of Mein Kampf written by Hitler, Hitler said “he was commissioned by god to get rid of the Jews, the killers of Jesus.” Chrisitanity and dictatorships were always hand in hand with each other…until the Functional ATheist Founders of the US removed all religious laws from the American court system.

          • tiorbinist

            Sorry, my stock comes from Ukrainian Jews. I don’t bear responsibility for Hitler, and plenty of my relatives fought him. I’m not a Catholic now, nor have I ever been, and I still don’t bear responsibility for what the Pope says.

            Your ‘Functional ATheist Founders’ of the US failed to be functionally atheist. Jefferson was a known Deist. George Washington’s inauguration speech might be an interesting read for you.

            And of course, while the Constitution forbids the Federal Government from writing laws which favor “an establishment of religion”, most of the states had “an establishment of religion” in their governmental makeup. The original colonies still have more than a smattering of Congregational Churches, which were used simultaneously as government gathering places and places of religious worship. Many of the Founding Fathers were Anglicans, the very Pilgrims were Protestants who came here after living in exile in Holland for years. Neither group shed their belief in God when they came to America.

            You should be careful using “Functional Atheism” as part of your argument, since the term is a concoction of Christians, used to describe the struggle inherent in Christians to believe that “if anything is going to happen, I’m going to have to do it”. It is an interesting philosophical side issue to the Lordship of Christ, and not even slightly a condemnation of Christianity. Your misuse of it to infer that the Founding Fathers didn’t believe in God, Christ, Christ’s saving Grace, etc, is a simple lie-by-omission-and-hoping-no-one-knows-what-it-means. Sorry, you’re just wrong.

            Further, you’re pretty ignorant of the American court system if you believe that the Founding Fathers “removed all religious laws” from the American court system. I leave that for you too tend to, since it isn’t very hard to find out the truth on this, as long as you bother with first sources, and not progressive interpretations of sources.

        • tiorbinist

          A very good demonstration of the effects of Progressivism.
          Can you site sources for your ideas? Can you back up, scientifically, your premise? Or do you simply BELIEVE these things, because they were taught to you all through your life, and in reality you have no more clue where they came from than any other mindless bigotry?

          Try to remember, you have been indoctrinated into progressivism, taught a purposefully-revised history, and inculcated to Believe that Science is Reality.

          It makes it very hard to see past the programming.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Science has ZERO to do with Progressivism, which is just another name for socialism and tribalism. And do you think that Christianity or Islam is any different than socialism? One demands you obey the state, and the other demands you obey an imaginary god…..or be punished.

            Science is about observation and discovery. It is not a political party. But, science demands that most honorable, honest, moral, and ethical behaviors…something that Christianity and Islam are not acquainted with and will lie and tell fibs and fables, to promote a religious police state. For our own good of course.

          • tiorbinist

            And here is the crux of the matter: Prove that God doesn’t exist!

            For that matter, explain why you are so vociferous about God not existing. After all, do you waste your time beating people down who believe in Man-caused Global Warming, despite the lack of actual evidence of global temperature change over the last 2 years?

            The global warming alarmists work from a set of fictitious evidences, largely predicated on the predictions (40 years ago) that Manhatten would now be covered with ocean waters 20feet higher than they were in 1988, bolstered by the “hockey stick graph”, a statistical farce so bad that its creators have been repeatedly called on the carpet by their own fellow scientists for lack of statistical acumen and failure to keep up with statistical techniques, and computer models which continue not to model anything real. But you’re perfectly happy with the President’s claim that Man-caused Global warming is a more important security issue than ideologically radical Islam, which would gladly have you thrown off a roof, not because you are particularly a bad person, but because you don’t Believe what they Believe.

            You really need to think through the Beliefs that you spout, because you are continuously mistaking reality for the tenets you hold… and you are fighting a war to convince others that God is a stupid _idea_, while demonstrating that your own ideas are….

            I refuse to say it.

      • conradg

        This is actually true. Science got its push from Christian monastics and theologians who decided that the natural world could be investigated on its own merits, and did not have to abide my theological ideas. That opened the door to scientific investigation, often conducted by monks themselves, which didn’t happen in any other culture in the world before that time.

    • John Gallien

      Why do you even bother? It’s obvious. Lead a life based on the facts of reality, using reason as your guide, and be happy and content about it, because every day you have the ability to learn something new and fascinating. You don’t have to constantly compare it to religion. It’s not worth it, and religion is not worthy of the comparison. You only stir up the ridiculous arguments you see on some of the other replies to your comments (for example, assuming anyone who goes by reason as opposed to faith is a “progressive”)…and they can go on and on about all sorts of irrelevant things.

      • tiorbinist

        Heh. Nice speech. Shame it isn’t based on anything real.

        The dislocation of Science from reality is a fundamental requirement of making use of Science. You can’t build a rocket ship while you are still trying to get the exact value of PI in decimals. And yet, even the Romans in 400BC could estimate how much stone was necessary to make a Circus (which they did in every major population center they conquered, because the conquered were so much more likely to settle under Pax Romana if their pugnacious tendencies were focused on Games, rather than Battles.)

        This confusion over “Science = Reality, Religion = fantasy” is artificial, and has been impressed on you throughout your schooling.

        And you don’t even know the definition of progressive as I am using it. Without knowing the meaning of two words, you can prove yourself the most ignorant of men: Progressive and Positivist. Learn them, and find out why your Science Teachers don’t ever mention the mistakes that Scientists make, don’t admit or even mention that Newton was a Christian, and for that matter Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus!

        And ask yourself-since you think that all it takes to be happy and content is to Believe that Science, as reported to you by the media, is Reality, just how happy and content are _you_?

        It is a fair question. It deserves a fair answer.

        • John Gallien

          Oh please. I actually went to parochial school grades 1-8. The “dislocation of science from reality”? While scientists make mistakes and some are dishonest, and some have been corrupted by questionable philosophy as well as religion, the purpose of science is to understand reality through a process of logic and reason. The best way to do this is through experimentation and induction (see “The Logical Leap – Induction in Physics” by David Harriman). You don’t have to know everything to build a rocket ship as you say, only enough to apply the science you do know to the technology of building a rocket ship. Yes, Newton and others were religious. They lived in a very religious time. They rose above it. Their discoveries were made through a process of reason, logic, and induction from experiments, not by faith and revelation. It is the method you use to discover the facts of reality that is important, not whether in some other aspect of your life you are religious or not. Descartes, for example, did not use experimentation, but deduced a lot of his science from his basic assumptions. Most of what he came up with did not correspond to the facts of reality.

          • tiorbinist

            To an extent, what you say is true. But you ignore the remaining parts of the Scientific method, just as the politicians and managers do: Independent verification, peer review and kicking out the current assumptions when new discoveries render them invalid.

            Take “Climate Science”, as an example. Before any real work was done to verify their claims, they went straight to “The time for discussion is past, the Science is Settled, the time for action is NOW!!!!!” Does that fit the scientific method?

            The purpose of science is to arrive at a useful understanding of reality, though, it is not and never has been “to understand reality”, because somethings about reality defy understanding until you understand the approximations of reality very very well.

            And a major shortcoming of our education system is that it has forgotten that Science does not exactly express reality, and by definition, cannot be proclaimed to do so.

            Good enough is actually useful. Exact may consume one’s entire life without producing anything useful.

            And that’s the “hard sciences”, physics, chemistry, biology. The so-called soft sciences are even more hand-wavy, and they have no choice: Take Evolution and the Big Bang. I don’t know about you, but for the last forty years, it has been “accepted science” to insist that the Scientific Theory of Evolution _is_ the story of “Where we came from”, and yet it has holes in it that you can drive a Mastadon herd through without touching the edges. The pure Belief that people hold in Evolution is incredible. If it were applied to Fairies, a la Peter Pan, we wouldn’t be able to walk for the darn things piling up shoulder-deep. And yet, DNA ‘signature’ theory has blown the taxonomy which blew linnean taxonomy out of the water out of the water, and the next wonderful probe into our molecular existence is guaranteed to overthrow some of the more tenuous conclusions of DNA theory. (Incidentally, you probably aren’t a monkey’s uncle, but if DNA studies are correct (to a reasonable, logical limit) you might just be a cousin to an ocelot.)

            And, in a paper that has rocked the world of origins, the Big Bang theory has been put out the door, because the long-sought theoretical proof, which everyone who was anyone in Physics was certain was a sure bet, turns out to not have been discovered, but rather was observed because of dirty lenses on a satellite telescope.

            All of which Science takes in its stride: Science doesn’t care if every one of its most hard-held tenets is uprooted and replaced with more accurate data tomorrow.

            But _people_, now that’s a different story. People need to have something less tenuous than Science…while needing to have something more solid than Science at the same time. So they’ve co-opted the term, redefined it behind the scenes, and now, have been teaching it to unsuspecting kids like you and I used to be, yea, even in Parochial Schools (who, perhaps out of embarrassment over Galileo, and perhaps because the Catholic Church has always worked hard to try to make the discoveries of Nature’s evidences part of their world view, and are no more likely to throw it over than any public-school indoctrinee, have endeavored to teach the same Science as the public schools).

            Your claim that Newton and “the others” “rose above” their Religion is false, and I dare you to prove it, using their own words. After all, Kepler broke into a burst of praise in his scientific journal on a fairly regular basis as the Glories of the Heavens reassured him of the might of God. Copernicus was happy to cast his books into a technical ‘cookbook’ as the Church demanded, rather than as an iconoclastic refutation of the Church. And Newton never recanted Christ nor his Church, but all of these men (a very small sampling) were encouraged by the Bible in their search of Nature for her secrets, and the possibility that they might alleviate the suffering of their fellows caused by the Fall.

            Things you would know if science history hadn’t been turned on its ear in favor of cool-sounding utopian myths and fantasies penned by the likes of Dewey, Huxley, Draper, Wright, et. al.

          • John Gallien

            While you have made several good points, you are skirting the main issue. (Although I didn’t say it specifically, I was alluding to the Climate Change issue when I mentioned that politics and ideology are becoming a driving force in science over actual scientific facts. This is not science, it is ideology trumping science.) The real issue is not whether scientists have proposed theories that are incorrect or only partially correct, or whether theories have been accepted as fact for a period of time and later proved to be false, whether totally or at least in part. “The Logical Leap – Induction in Physics” by David Harriman details instances of this, where incorrect theories were fully accepted by the scientific community almost as dogma and those challenging the theory were considered crackpots. Eventually, as more and more evidence came to the forefront for the new theory, it had to be accepted based on the facts, or the ones accusing others of being crackpots were actually viewed that way themselves. The book shows that when the correct scientific method is applied, it enables the truth to be determined. For this to happen, of course, you need rational people willing to evaluate theories based on facts with the use of reason and logic. Good scientists are always challenging accepted theories by testing them. Hence, your comments on how some theories have been replaced by better theories – this is the scientific process: it allows theories, even established theories, to be challenged. Religion has no role here. Belief systems are just that and go on for centuries because they cannot be challenged. You either believe it on faith or you don’t – no discussion. In other words, the ideas are accepted on faith as opposed to a rational thought process. To the extent that a religion defends its beliefs on an argument based on logic and facts, it is using a rational scientific thought process to that degree. So the opposing forces here are not religion vs. science (with both being vaguely defined so you can manipulate and stretch them to mean anything you want them to mean), but faith vs. reason. So let’s not parse words about what I meant when I said “rose above”. What I meant was that Newton used the scientific method (experiments with a process of induction) to reach his scientific conclusions, not religion. In other areas of his life, I understand that Newton was quite religious. This may have hindered his scientific research to some extent, but he “rose above” this and was willing only to accept facts as revealed by his experiments in order to arrive at his scientific conclusions. He looked down on any other approach as mere speculation.

          • tiorbinist

            You skirt your own real point: you start from the assumption that religion hinders science, but there is no real justification for that presumption.

            Think about what hinders science–doesn’t it boil down to pride, willingness to lie (a little or a lot) to get ahead (greed, in its most rationalizable form), and disbelief in the scientific method?

            climate science is a good example: their adherence to unproven, aether-era hypotheses which are still unproven, and really bad statically algorithms, all draped with a dark-priesthood level of denial of opinion to any who are not members of the clique characterize their work. No less than Neil deGrassi Tyson has declared the reliance on carefully-protected computer models with presumption for input and alarmist outputs amounts to playing video games on really expensive hardware, on someone else’s quarter.

            There is nothing other than your wish to express the dark forebodings your teachers have attached to all your school lessons, that continuous suspicion of religion (although I’ll bet you don’t have a personal, clear definition of religion), to call out the unknown bandit they’ve told you are going to steal your dinner if you allow them to keep their [insert long comma and hyphen-loaded list of accusations here]beliefs.

            And it is obvious: yeah, Newton might have been a Christian, but he didn’t let it get in the way of science!

            You can’t even believe his own words on the subject, because you haven’t read them. All you know of him is what 165 years of ulterior-motive scholarship has constructed, to present to school students.

            Consider this: a short time ago, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, debated Ken Hamm on Evolution vs. Creation. Through the debate, Nye kept emphasizing how important to the future of America it is that Evolution is taught in schools, going so far as to threaten that if Evolution is not taught in schools, America’s ascendency in World Science circles would cease overnight.

            What he never once did, however, was address why he should feel this way. Another thing he didn’t do was address a single one of Hamm’s points.

            Now I don’t subscribe to Hamm’s young-world view of creation, but I can tell the difference between a debate and a pair of side-by-side speeches, one trying to introduce debatable points, the other operated as a pep-rally for the orthodox view, complete with threats of disaster for anyone who strays from the Faith. Nye was simply disdainful for Hamm, dismissing him as, not a heretic, not a challenger, not the other side in a debate, but as a danger to orthodoxy.

            Then the media weighed in: Nye was declared the winner of the debate. The parallel to the last set of Presidential debates is painful. Why would the supposed spokesman for the orthodoxy get top marks for a debate he barely participated in? I suspect it is solely because he hit the correct talking points: it doesn’t matter if Evolution is a myth- all that matters is that it be taught. And when I see something being taught because it is more important to teach it than to care about the value of the content, I want to know what _is_ important.

            And it is pretty obvious that what is important is Evolution’s value as part of a stimulus-response chain. To Progressives, it is more important to ensure that students are trained to respond to Science as Truth, and anything related to Christianity as False.

            You are exhibiting that kind of response. Don’t you wonder why Christianity is portrayed in such a false light while others are Celebrated? Why our government is so reluctant to critique radicalized Muslims for doing what is written in their scriptures while it is so overbearing against Christians who even try to do what is written in their scriptures?

          • John Gallien

            This is getting a little tedious, so I’ll reply one last time since you ignore my comments only to make your own points. Let me explain my comments on religion a little more in depth. Christianity and, I assume, Judaism, were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment, at least in the “West”, and have become more rational because of this while still holding on to a large portion of their faith-based beliefs (i.e., they don’t throw people in jail anymore for having heretical beliefs – part of this is because they can’t due to the part of the world they operate in, but most of it is because they have been influenced by the Enlightenment and see force as the wrong way to approach their belief system). To the extent that these religions, or any religion, integrates, or attempts to integrate, rational explanations for their beliefs, the better they are for it. Islam, which didn’t go through the Enlightenment, is much less rational, expecting its adherents to believe everything verbatim in their sacred books – these are the serious followers of Islam. As in Christianity, there are all sorts of “followers” who don’t necessarily believe everything their religion tells them, but it seems that Islam has many more serious followers than Christianity and Judaism (by serious, I mean believe in everything or mostly everything their religion preaches: example – there are a lot of ideas that the Catholic Church preaches that Catholics choose to ignore, at least in the more educated countries like the USA). Parenthetically, I should add, faith taken seriously leads to belligerence, as in certain factions of Islam. If you can’t have a rational discussion to discover truth, but can only get truth from God (Allah), revelation, or sacred texts, then rational discussion of issues is out. And, if everyone must believe in “your” (Islam) beliefs, then they must be forced to believe this, since they can’t be persuaded (you are either a believer or not). You just need a self-righteous personality (vs. a meek one) to bring on the force; hence, many peaceful Muslims as well as some belligerent ones. In addition, faith-based beliefs, to the extent they are held by anyone, do not lead to discovery. Most people have mixed premises and philosophy – sometimes being rational, sometimes not, depending on the issue – and yes, this includes many scientists as I’ve noted before, a comment ignored by you. So, this issue can’t be neatly divided into a scientist being always rational, and a very religious person (in the “West” at least) always going by faith. The rational side of Newton made great discoveries, his faith-based side did not….or are you saying that his discoveries were based on faith and revelations – using the info in the bible verbatim with no further rational thought, as opposed to scientific inquiry? That is the only point I am making, so let’s not muck it up by using the words “religion” and “science” as some sort of floating abstractions with no meaning. I actually agree with your climate science comments, and Tyson denigrates himself by coming out in favor of global warming. I’ve also previously acknowledged the errors perpetrated under the banner of science, so I won’t go over that again as you will probably just ignore it since these comments don’t fit in the little box that you would like to put me in. The only thing that matters is a rational thought process, not the labels (science and religion). But if you understand the meaning of “science qua science” and “religion qua religion”, then you see that one adheres to a rational thought process and one relies on faith for truth – that’s what these terms mean; the fact that people are inconsistent (believing in faith sometimes and reason other times) doesn’t change this – whoever they may proclaim they are, scientist or not. I don’t care about the debate between Nye and Hamm. Neither can claim to be the only spokespersons for Creationism and Evolution. Most of the debate on this subject is due to the fact that we have socialized government schools. If our school system were private, parents could pick the schools and the subjects they wanted their children to learn. The parents that picked the better more rational schools would predominately have better educated children with a better shot at being successful. Government’s control of education should be phased out as soon as practical, but this won’t happen because both conservatives and liberals believe in government education (which they euphemistically call “public education”). A free market system in schools would provide an affordable education system for everyone (they would be relieved of the burden of having to pay for government schools first whether they wanted to use them or not). Oh, since you think that I just parrot everything my teachers taught me, do you think they taught me that last point?

          • tiorbinist

            Ok, so you have laid out your tortured and shortsighted interpretation of your indoctrination. Congratulations, I’m sure your teachers are proud of you. They’re also proud of your inability to see past the indoctrination they’ve handed you on a silver platter.

            You claim that the schools are all run by socialists. We’d be a lot better off if they were. You claim that parents have no choice, so you are entirely ignorant of home schooling, insulated from the real world, as you have been taught to be. You can’t care less about the debate between Evolutionists and Creationists, because you’ve been taught, and swallowed whole, that there is no debate of significance.

            We get it.

            What a shame that you, while you illustrate every point I’ve made, are incapable of recognizing it.

            You are a poster boy for Progressivism.

            You are also suffering from massive delusions which the recent rise if ISIS and the rest of active Islam should have shaken you loose of, especially if you had even a tiny inkling of the history of Islam and the Arab civilization that preceded it.

            But, no, you’re so proud of your iron-clad defenses against reality that you will argue in favor of those who continuously lie to you.

            And yet, in your empty screed, it is easy to see that you can’t make sense of the world you live in, and are taking on completely illogical myths to try to fill in the gaps.

            Carry on, ensure that your children and everyone else’s, get the same ‘socialist schooling’ that you claim you hate while defending the propaganda you’ve been fed, as if it is Truth. And for progressivism’s sake, don’t ever do any research to find out why you persist in obvious lies, even while you posture against them.

            After all, if you disturb your carefully-constructed comfort, the one gift and most debilitating weapon given to you and used against you, you might have to do something about it, rather than settling back and mewling impotently against those who bother.

          • John Gallien

            Well, well, well – a reply full of insults….is this what you consider civil discourse, or is it just willful ignorance in order to advance your own agenda with a screed of your own. While I stayed with the issues in my reply to you, trying to explain my position, just about your entire reply was nothing but insults….an interesting insight into your “soul”, mindset, method of operation. Apparently, you believe you are the only independent thinker (you and those that think exactly like you). You infer that anyone you disagree with has been brainwashed by their teachers. Since you have inferred incorrectly many things that I did not say, I’ll explain. I didn’t say our “public” schools were run by socialists – only that government schools are a type of institution that is a socialist institiution. You get that simple fact don’t you? You do understand what socialism is don’t you, and that in a socialist system, the government would run the schools. I didn’t say there weren’t any alternatives to public schools – but you do have to pay for government schools first before you even consider the alternatives – a payment that could put the alternatives out of reach for many families. I didn’t say I could care less about the debate between Creationism and Evolution, only that the issue has been raised to a higher level because parents on both sides have concerns about what their children are taught; and since we have public schools, and schools have to make choices as there is only so much time in the day, schools can’t teach every theory about everything. This issue and many others would be a private discussion between the parents and the school in a private education system, and not raised to the level of debate that it is artificially raised to because of the controversy of what should be taught or not taught in public schools….not that a debate between Creationism and Evolution is not worthwhile in its own right. Is that so hard to understand? Are you starting to get and idea of what a sincere interpretation of what other people have written might be? I’ve heard from people in favor of home schooling that there are others trying to prevent it. They may have said it is actually illegal is some places, but I’m not sure of that. So , I’ve answered your incorrect inferences without calling you brainwashed, detached from reality, suffering from massive delusions (in my brief comments on religion and Islam, you have no idea what my position is on ISIS), or any of the other insults you like to throw out. Try it sometime, you might find it liberating. Maybe the anger will subside and you will feel better about yourself.

          • tiorbinist

            You complain of insults, but you repeatedly have asserted that you are right because I am ignorant. When someone can’t actually focus on the subject, being the first to insult, then accuse your imagined opponent of being insulting is an ingrained progressive liberal habit, but not an excuse for discussion or debate.

            You demonstrate ignorance of obvious subjects. You claim that schooling leaves no choice, and yet for 35 years, we’ve homeschooled our children without persecution. We’ve also done it without government subsidy of any kind, while paying taxes to the state and federal government to support other people’s kids being educated in the subsidized public schools for 18x/year what we paid out of pocket.

            I don’t infer that people with degrees are brainwashed (as you so impolitely, but accurately put it) because they disagree with me, but because they (like you) profess pride in their carefully-cultured indifference, if not open hostility to reality.

            Which isn’t to say I don’t have degrees, myself, but at least I suffered the academic system in my 50s and 60s, rather than merely having been spoonfed an unending stream of progressive positivism.

            Be honest — without a trip to the dictionary, you can’t even begin to define positivism, let alone give an accurate definition of progressivism.

            Where I come from, that kind of ignorance of things that directly affect a person is not something to be proud of.

          • John Gallien

            Ha, Ha, Ha! You incredibly pompous a**. Complaining? I’m not complaining. I actually try to see the best in people, so I thought you were so tied up in expressing your viewpoint, you didn’t realize how incredibly bombastic you are! You make the ridiculous point that because you home schooled your children and paid taxes for public schools, everyone else has the means to do that. You assume that since you live in an area where you could home school your kids, it must be that way everywhere. I guess you believe it’s okay for the government to put roadblocks in your way, because if you can overcome them, everyone else can. After all, everyone has the exact same resources and circumstances in order to be able to do that.

          • tiorbinist

            Well, it’s funny. You started this with your grand Life Philosophy, telling everyone that “religion isn’t worth comparison with” “the facts of reality”. You (elsewhere in the larger thread) proclaimed that “Scientific method had several fits & starts before christianity. The ancient Greeks had it until Hellenistic absolutism & corruption stifled it.” Great stuff, as far as speechifying, and hard to beat for pompous. (Not incidentally, there is only one written record of a Greek philosopher considering an approach that might rise to the definition of Newton’s Scientific Method, and no record that he, nor his followers, ever bothered to try it out: Other than that, the Greeks did a great deal of looking at things and devising really good reasons why they shouldn’t bother understanding them any better than poorly. You’d have done far better to take note of Daniel’s proposal of the hypothesis that he and the other young men of Israel would flourish on veggies alone, rather than eating the meat of the King, which had been offered to idols, along with the following experiment and independent assessment of the outcome. Compare that to the Greeks’ observations of orbits, which proved that they weren’t perfect circles, and their response: oh, hey, we can’t expect to get good results from a poorly-made Universe, so we’ll just pretend that they are circular.)

            Your plaintive bleat about how deprived everyone else is, because I could afford to homeschool my children, well, there’s not much that can be done with a bald-faced liar. As it happens, homeschooling your children has nothing to do with income. It has a lot to do with priorities. But then, bigmouth narcissists have trouble understanding that their personal aggrandizement and pleasure is a very fleeting phenomenon, while the education of their children will last past their own death, and on to generations in the future. Your broadcasts of your short-shortsightedness and consumerist priorities don’t make you an authority on anything: just a follower.

            The fact still remains that you are a byproduct of the education system that taught you to hate religion without having any idea what it is, to believe in Science without understanding what it is, and to pontificate on the benefits of your horse while it’s throwing a shoe and the race.

            As for government putting roadblocks in your way, how can you rail against it, when you feel that its the government’s job to make your way clear? Your weak attempt at irony makes it clear that you’re entirely in agreement with the government taking care of you and everyone else because “After all, everyone has the exact same resources and circumstances in order to be able to do that.” You say it, without even recognizing that you are announcing to the world that you suffer from the very progressive agenda attitude you claim you’re against.

            But no, I’m the bombastic one.

            Your laughter is hollow, but you have managed to do one thing. You’ve evoked pity in me for you.

            You’ve also risen to the level of victim, i.e., the pig I’ve stupidly been trying to teach to sing. So out of pity, since you can’t seem to make yourself stop responding to me, and for your sake because it is really not my intention to aid you in demeaning yourself, you can have the last word, and pat yourself on the back for winning the ‘debate’.

          • John Gallien

            You’re right – I did start it, but I meant it more as mild reprimand to someone who was stating his opinion sarcastically, just like you do. I thought it was inappropriate even though I agreed with his basic premise, and just encouraged replies in the same vain, which of course, happened. My basic problem with you is that you go on about things I never said or even implied, as you do once again above. In your last post, you make assumptions about my politics. Please provide a quote in all I’ve written that I said the government should take care of you. Quite the opposite – the government should protect individual rights – period. Which also implies that the government should not confiscate its citizens wealth for any other purpose; which means no funding government schools and no welfare state. But you wouldn’t really know that, because you don’t ask – you just make your bizarre assumptions. Seems like you’re spinning a wheel and whatever it lands on, you decide to pontificate about. See how you can muck that one up to mean something totally opposite of what I just said, pompous one. It is hilarious that you pity me. I can at least have civil discussions with people that want to explore issues in a civilized manner. Have you ever had one with anyone that disagreed with you without spouting your pompous, superior “intellect”? Oh, and by the way, I do commend you for having the correct priorities and home schooling your kids. In addition to giving them facts on basic subjects like math, science, and literature, I hope you taught your kids to think independently, which is the best gift you can give them – to use their own minds to figure things out, and the method that’s required to do that.

          • Elijah

            OK, First off, Evolution is not a THEORY, it is a fact. When people has they do not believe in evolution, they are simply denying the existence of biodiversity. You are probably referring to the debate and controversy over which we came from fish and monkeys. We do share a common ancestor with them, but we did not come from them individually.

          • John Gallien

            I think you’re replying to the wrong person. I didn’t mention evolution.

          • Elijah

            True I was replying to an argument used by CH

        • David Miller

          So let’s look at fantasy & reality from the perspective of science & religion: Talking snakes & donkeys – Fact according to the bible. Virgin giving birth after fornication with a “holy” ghost – Fact according to bible. Earth is flat – Fact according to bible. The universe revolves around the Earth – Fact according to bible. The dead come back alive – Fact according to bible. Give me a break!

          • tiorbinist

            Most of your “facts from the Bible” are meaningless and u debatable without citation, including the translation. Far preferable would be some sign that you had ever bothered to make an effort to tell if the translation you use has any kind of relation to originals, which have considerable more verification against archeological discoveries (Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance).

            There are All manner of mistranslations, intentional and unintentional, produced by guys who think that misuse of donations to keep them in limos is Christian, largely based on isolated phrases taken out of context.

            You seem, also, to work with the progressive “miracles haven’t happened to me, therefore they don’t exist as a filter. Has it occurred to you that you haven’t been personally introduced to a Top Quark, and by your criteria, quarks must not exist, either. Which takes more effort (not that effort has anything to do with reality) to believe in miracles, or to believe in subatomic particle?

    • donl

      Good comment…thankyou..hope others feel it as well

    • Sam Bull

      Furthermore, Evolution and the Big Bang are so much more wonderful stories than the fairy tales that priests spout, who would cling to such nonsense?

      • CH

        There is no science to support either evolution or the big bang. Please see the definition of science. Theories yes, science no!

        • John Gallien

          So, it looks like we have something we might agree on – the big bang theory. I recently completed reading “The Logical Leap – Induction in Physics”, in which the author, David Harriman, shows some of the history of science and indicates the correct scientific method (induction) that has led to discoveries vs. other methods which lead to errors. Near the end of the book, he discusses some of the more recent theories, like the big bang. It was originally proposed in 1931 by George Lemaitre, an astrophysicist who was also a Catholic priest. It has gone through some changes and refinements as outlined on pages 251-253 of the book. However, as this theory evolved, due to further observations, the theory has had to be modified with several unsubstantiated hypotheses: dark energy, dark matter, inflation. Harriman quotes astrophysicist, Eric Lerner, as follows: “The big bang theory can boast of no quantitave predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles”. Harriman goes on to say that despite this, “the vast majority of physicists regard the theory as proven, in the same way that astromomers five centuries ago regarded Ptolemy’s theory as proven. The central question asked by these physicists is not: What is the nature of the universe? but rather: What must the universe be like in order to conform to big bang theory?” If you think this is a strike against science, it is not as the book explains the correct method (and thought process) that needs to be used to arrive at valid scientific discoveries. He goes on to say that scientists who question the big bang theory and look for other explanations are “dismissed as heretics”. “As befits a creation myth, the big bang is treated as religious doctrine and cosmologists play the role of theologians protecting the faith.”

          • CH

            There are more areas that we may agree on. As a conservative I find many points in Ayn Rands thinking true and compelling. I just can’t embrace it completely as my philosophy for life. Have enjoyed the give and take

          • John Gallien

            Same here. I’m new at this, but our exchange was respectful and refreshing.

          • Proud Conservative Mom

            That’s great when it can happen. 😉

          • LaLunaUnita

            I appreciate the recap very much; I have often wondered why the Big Bang is so globally accepted and also wondered what observations are made now that give evidence for such certainty about “back then”. The observations made for evolution are clear and forthright (if we’re going to take the top 2 scientific theories that people consider to be diametrically opposed to “religion”).

          • Judy Weismonger

            Science corrects its conclusions and continually expands its knowlege….BUT.religion and especially Christianity uses blackmail, extortion and threats that if you do not believe their religious garbage you will be sent to hell to suffer forever. Never mind that an Atheist cannot morally. or ethically believe in religious myths especially based on threats. Christians are moral cowards.

      • Judy Weismonger

        There is a huge amount of data and mathematics and science experiments to suport The Big Bang and Evolution. Now what does any religion and especially Christianity have to support its claims? Zero. And there is not one single original (keyword) document or artifact in existence to prove anyone ever heard of Jesus or Christianity in the 1st or 2nd century AD. Claims of copies or spewings of nonexistent prophets are not proof of anything either in a court of law, in science, or by common sense. Christianity is a 3rd and 4th century AD calculated fraud and a forgery.

      • tiorbinist

        Oddly the Big Bang has been constantly criticized for being “too much like the Creation myth” by the progressives. So… why cling to such nonsense as the Big Bang, if you’re too big to cling to the Creation story?

    • CH

      Sorry, but your biblical ignorance is showing. It’s mans rejecting the truths of scripture that brings such darkness and using science to destroy each other. When biblical teachings and science agree, the very best of mankind is displayed. Our constitution and hospitals are prime examples.

      • David Miller

        Which truths? That the Earth is flat? That the heavens revolve around the Earth? That a virgin give birth after fornication with a “holy” ghost to a babe that happen to be the ghost himself? Gives a new meaning to mutherfuker doesn’t it? Talking snakes? Seas opening & closing? Food raining from the skies? And that is just bad science. How about the moral “truths” such as selling daughters into slavery? The subjection of women? Stoning to death your shitty-mouthed kids? Killing gays? Ordering slaves to be obedient to masters, don’t escape & if they do, to return back to their masters?

        • CH

          Once more you are ignorant of the scriptures. The clearly teach the earth as a ball which hangs on nothing. The rest of your tirade is the teachings of men, not the bible. As far as faith goes, you seem sure all you know and experience is the grand result of one big happy accident. If you are correct, the there is no foundation for a moral or ethical code, and the abuse of evolved accidental cosmic slime has no meaning. So do what you can or what you want without concern for anything else. Truly be your own god.

          • John Gallien

            You are correct to believe this as philosophy over the ages has not had an answer to the monopoly religion has over morality and ethics. Until, that is, 1957, when Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand was published. This novel shows what an ethical system, not based on religion, would be. This novel is only the tip of the iceberg, as Ayn Rand followed up with many non-fiction works on her philosphy, which she called Objectivism. When I read Atlas Shrugged may decades ago, it hit me as the most moral book I had, and have, ever read. If you are young, or passionate about your beliefs, you owe it to yourself to read this this book. It will lead you to a lifetime of intellectual pursuit on many levels and many issues.

          • CH

            Thanks, but I’m an old guy who was familiar with Ayn Rand many years ago. Your right, she does have a workable philosophy if you believe either that everything came from nothing or it is a steady state universe that has always existed as it is now. Words like love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy have very limited value. There is no real justice and the scales never balance. It is a civilized survival of the fittest. Science says that no data or information is ever lost, like matter. If so I believe at some point all will be reconciled in absolute justice.

          • John Gallien

            Sorry to hear that, but your characterization of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is a little off base, assuming I understand you correctly. She had nothing to say about the origins of the universe, leaving that to science. Philosophy can only create the framework through epistemology (how do we know what we know) to allow science and a rational thought process to fluorish. To move on to another point, it’s not that love, forgiveness, etc. have limited value – they are put in context along with rationality, independence, justice, honesty, integrity, pride, self-esteem, etc. A couple of examples: Love, Ayn Rand said, is a response to values – that is, it’s a response to what you value in another person; whether this love is a love of friendship or romantic love. Love is not what you feel towards someone you consider to be depraved and evil. Some religions, Christianity for example, say you should love everyone. Really? And how is this different in the spiritual realm than prostitution is in the physical? Can you or should you love a mass murderer, for example? And forgiveness – forgiveness for what? An honest mistake by an otherwise honest person – yes, of course. If someone lies to you and causes you harm, or does something else to cause you harm – do you just forgive? It depends on the severity of the infraction and the total context of the situation. And if you forgive and they do it again? Christianity would tell you to turn the other cheek. Why? Don’t you have any value not to be harmed by someone else? Yes, forgiveness has limited value when viewed in a certain context….the context is whether your life is the standard of value to you, and whether you have earned enough self-esteem to deem yourself worthy to live. Or are you unimportant and unworthy and you should be willing to sacrifice yourself for others….not just loved ones; all others, even the depraved, whoever they may be, believing you will be rewarded in an afterlife. This is a philosophy of death. Ayn Rand’s is a philosophy of life – not just for the talented, but for everyone willing to live while respecting the rights of others. In terms of survival of the fittest, if individual rights are protected, everyone can reach their full potential if they are willing to apply themselves. Does this mean that some might only have the ability to make it to “the first rung of the ladder” (so to speak)….possibly, but they’ll be driving around in vehicles and using electronic devices that their wildest imagination would never have conceived; because they live in a socio/politico/economic system which allows those much more talented than them to flourish. Such is the so-called survival of the fittest under Capitalism, a system based on the protection of individual rights (this is the proper definition of Capitalism, and Ayn Rand wrote an essay explaining this). Yes, there are income differences under Capitalism, but it hurts no one, because wealth is not a static quantity. Wealth is created by rational, thinking, productive people. On the other hand, wealth is confiscated in mixed economies (which is our economy – a mixture of controls and freedom), communism, and socialism, as has been demonstrated over and over. Note: so-called crony Capitalism is a form of socialism, or more accurately facism, where the government grants favors to certain companies – this is not the free market, it is a mixed economy. Much of this (socialism, communism, the mixed economy) is justified on the basis of the “common good” – but there is no “common good” since we are all individuals. The Common Good, in practice, means the good of some at the expense of others.

          • CH

            Many good points, yet your definition of love is being defined by society and therefore has no anchor or base to measure it’s accuracy. A study of the Hebrew words in the writing of the Ten Commandments provide a base line for measuring love. Your right it’s not a feeling it’s an action.

            “To move on to another point, it’s not that love, forgiveness, etc. have limited value – they are put in context along with rationality, independence, justice, honesty, integrity, pride, self-esteem, etc. A couple of examples: Love, Ayn Rand said, is a response to values – that is, it’s a response to what you value in another person; whether this love is a love of friendship or romantic love.” Her philosophy is based on “I”. There is no real rationale or justice in a system based on “I”, except for “I”.

            Try thinking on a longer time line. 70-100 years are insignificant compared to eternity. If 70 to 100 years is all there is, then truly all is vanity. If the grave is the end then we are truly just the product of a mindless evolution and are no more or less than the ancient slime that preceded us.
            Thanks for the conversation.

          • John Gallien

            Okay, so you really don’t know much about Ayn Rand’s philosophy based on your comments above. I get it.

          • CH

            When working with counterfeit money, one does does not study the counterfeit, rather they focus on the real or true, so the counterfeit becomes apparent no matter how close it is. The Scriptures were here long before Ayn Rand and will still be relevant long after she is forgotten. You are a smart man, yet you are unstudied in the worlds most published book. You seem to be swayed more by the hearsay about the Bible than actually studying it for yourself. Someday, may you see your need and it’s solution.

          • John Gallien

            Amen, brother. Couldn’t have said it better myself, except reversing the role of Ayn Rand and Scriptures in your comments above. Now, wasn’t that an illuminating discussion. Why is it that people that follow Scripture seem to always resort to their little snide remarks when explaining their position? It’s not convincing to anyone that doesn’t share your view, but I suppose it gives you the satisfaction of concocting a clever little put down. You advocate love, but quickly resort to snide remarks. We all have limited time, so if understanding what Ayn Rand has to say is not on your priority list, I understand. But it’s not counterfeit – it is a way to understand morality through a rational thought process.

          • CH

            snide
            snīd/
            adjective
            1.
            derogatory or mocking in an indirect way.
            “snide remarks about my mother”
            synonyms:disparaging, derogatory, deprecating, insulting,

            I don’t think I was snide. I was direct in my assessment of both our views. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • John Gallien

            Well, actually you gave no facts to support your view. Ayn Rand is counterfeit is your argument. Ayn Rand hasn’t been around as long as scriptures. Yes, snide.

          • CH

            Here are some observations:

            if you read to her lectures, you will notice with what frequency and ease she branded any viewpoint she did not share as not merely mistaken but “irrational” or “mystical.” In other words, anything that challenged her particular model of reality was not merely wrong but “irrational” and “mystical” — to say nothing, of course, of its being “evil,” another word she loved to use with extraordinary frequency.

            No doubt every thinker has to be understood, at least in part, in terms of what the thinker is reacting against, that is, the historical context in which the thinker’s work begins. Ayn Rand was born in Russia: a mystical country in the very worst sense of the word, a country that never really passed through the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment in the way that Western Europe did. Ayn Rand herself was not only a relentless rationalist, she was profoundly secular, profoundly in love with this world, in a way that I personally can only applaud. Yet the problem is that she became very quick on the draw in response to anything that even had the superficial appearance of irrationalism, by which I mean, of anything that did not fit her particular understanding of “the reasonable.

            Then:

            Here are five big differences I see between the theologies of Christianity and Randism:

            1. Jesus preached the virtue of selflessness; Rand wrote a book called “The Virtue of Selfishness” (1964). Altruism is evil, she argued, and egoism the only true ethics.

            2. The Apostle Paul called the love of money the root of all evil. Rand wore a dollar sign brooch and saw to it that a florid dollar sign stood guard by her casket at her funeral. She also put a love letter to the almighty dollar on the lips of one of her “Atlas Shrugged” heroes, copper magnate Francisco d’Anconia (a speech Ryan has said he returns to repeatedly when pondering monetary policy). There d’Anconia calls money “the root of all good.”

            3. “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke. And he says in the Gospel of Matthew that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” In the Gospel according to Ayn Rand, however, it is the “traders” (“job creators” in modern parlance) who like Atlas carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, while the poor are denounced as “moochers” and “looters.”

            4. The hope of the Christian gospel is the kingdom of God, but Rand’s objectivist philosophy opposes “collectivism” at every turn. “Man – every man – is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake,” the inventor John Galt proclaims in “Atlas Shrugged,” “and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.”

            For Ayn when it’s over at the grave .. all is vanity and you never know why.

          • John Gallien

            First, let me applaud you for explaining your position. And you did it without misquoting Ayn Rand, although I would say your explanation of her positions was selective. I’ve read just about everything Ayn Rand has written (I read “Virtue of Selfishness” (VOS), but from your comment, it doesn’t seem that you did – I don’t know). Ayn Rand was not a name-caller. If she thought something was born of “mysticism” or “irrationalism”, she thoroughly explained why. And, unfortunately, philosophy has been dominated by it for a long time – hence, her position, but not without thorough explanation.

            To your points:

            1. In VOS and her other works, she painstakingly showed why self-sacrifice (altruism) is wrong and immoral, and why rational self-interest is moral. She did this in many ways, in many essays. She rejected that the choice in this matter was between sacrificing oneself to others vs. sacrificing others to yourself, the common choice given to people to support the view that altruism is the moral alternative. She saw this as a false alternative. The real alternative was honest people not using each other as sacrificial animals but dealing with each other as traders (as you note). To do this, one must first deal directly with reality and produce the goods and values we need to live. In an advanced society, we can do this as honest traders – trading value for value, goods and services for goods and services. You can either deal with other people as traders, or by using force. There are no other alternatives. And she didn’t leave “trading” only to economic pursuits. She showed that the proper interaction between people is trading value for value in the “spiritual” (of the mind and morality) realm as well. For example, why do you choose friends – because you despise them or because you see something to value in them.

            2. and 3. As you suggest, in Atlas Shrugged, Francisco responds to the comment “money is the root of all evil” with a five page speech showing that this viewpoint is mistaken – one of the most moral passages I have ever read. This speech was reprinted in her non-fiction book, “For The New Intellectual”, which has an introductory essay, and then a series of quotes from her novels. Have you ever read “the money speech”? I find it breathtaking in its clarity and morality, and it keeps on building as you read it. Yes, the term “moochers” is a little harsh (though not the term “looters” by which she didn’t mean the poor, by the way), but it has much more to say about what money really is than that. She explains what the “root of money” is in that speech as well – how it is made by honest people, and what it represents when made honestly (and what it represents when it is made dishonestly). Why, as you say, is it “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. Are rich people automatically judged guilty and immoral? When Ayn Rand said traders carry the weight of the world, she did not mean only the greatest innovators and captains of industry. She meant anyone that dealt with the facts of reality (as opposed to manipulating other people for their gain). Anyone that was a productive person – however much their talent and hard work allowed them to be productive.
            4. Yes, yes and yes. We are all individuals first, not collectives. By “achievement of his own happiness”, as you quote, Ayn Rand meant not by trampling over other people, but instead by being a productive human being. Yes, you are worth it. Yes, you are not a sacrificial animal to be sacrificed to the collective. While she wrote much about this, I think the most eloquent passage was the brief speech made in her short novel, “Anthem”, which can also be found in “For the New Intellectual”. Another misunderstood aspect of Ayn Rand is that she was against charity. She was not if, as she said, it was done in a non-sacrificial manner (and she explained what she meant by this). What she acknowledged was that for anything to be given away, it must first be produced. So, first and foremost, productive effort was the primary virtue. Someone that produces nothing cannot give anything away.
            You seem to rail against the fact that when you die, you die. Do you think any of us likes that? Wouldn’t it be better if we went to heaven and lived on? Wouldn’t anyone want this? If wishful thinking were king, I think even Ayn Rand would be in favor. The only problem is the facts of reality get in the way – a real bummer. If it makes you feel good that there’s a heaven, believe it if you want. But because you want it, or wish for it, doesn’t make it true. I find so many things so wonderous about this universe we live in, what happens after we die doesn’t occupy much of my thought, since it can’t be proven and all of it is mere speculation. I didn’t always feel this way – being brought up a Catholic, I thought about this much more when I was younger. Now, there are so many other fascinating things to think about, I don’t worry about ideas like this that have no evidence to support them. I think, like all things, this is a mindset that people have.
            So, no, her philosophy of life is not counterfeit. It is a guide to living a moral and happy life without abusing other people, and without relating to each other as sacrificial animals to the “common good”. Either trade or sacrifice – the choice is yours. We’ve had a lot of sacrifice for the common good, or for the fatherland, in this world as the Nazis, Soviet Union, Communist China, Khmer Rouge of Cambodia and many others have shown.

          • LaLunaUnita

            I’ve been fascinated by the exchange between you two, and appreciate getting to read a very civil discourse that hasn’t devolved into name-calling. :) To answer your question about why is it “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”: the common interpretation for this passage is that a man who is rich has many earthly concerns – to produce, maintain his wealth, maintain property and persons/employees and all the myriad issues that come with having wealth. Therefore, it is considered to be more difficult for him to focus on God’s calling to us in this world – commonly referred to as “seeking God’s kingdom”. It is also considered to be more difficult for a rich man to evaluate which concern should be more important: the earthly or the spiritual, because he has put much effort and much of himself into the accumulation of wealth. It is harder to leave that part of one’s identity, when you’ve got an aptitude for it. This is not to say that it is impossible or even improbable. Many followers of Christ are and have been wealthy. However, for a poor college student, who believes that they have received a divine calling to go work with children in Southeast Asia, it might be easier to drop everything and pursue what they believe to be a divine calling, than it would for a real estate magnate who must decide between following a calling and keeping up the business she worked so hard to build and which is the livelihood of many people and provides for her own family’s needs (for example).

          • Judy Weismonger

            Religious Liars for Jesus are so use to lying that if he merely saw the title of one of Ayn Rands books sitting on a book shelf he would have claimed to have read it.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Ayn Rand was correct that any one who disagreed with her had ZERO proof that their claims were anything more than an opinion usually scripted from silly religions or police state socialism. If any one of the whiners or your self could prove your claims (police state socialism is good …or divine thingies and gods exist) Rand would have considered it. Ayn Rand demanded rigorous honesty and ethics of which neither socialism or religion have been able to demonstrate they have any….. Grow up.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Everything in the scriptures is counterfeit because the entire kit and kaboodle of Judeo-Christianity was stolen from previous religions. There is not one single original concept in the buybull. Grow up.

          • tiorbinist

            She doesn’t know anything about the Ten Commandments, either, so it’s no surprise that she doesn’t know much about Rand.

            It is a monumental waste of time to debate someone who can’t hold up their side of the debate, isn’t it?

            No fun at all.

          • Judy Weismonger

            The Ten Commandments is total crap. It leaves out Thou Shalt Not keep slaves, beat women, tell religious lies, abuse children, treat women as unequal human beings and not have the same rights as men, commit mass murder based on racism, or because human beings have a different religion…or no religion. You are again a chronic and probably a genetic liar because you are religious. Neuroscience is about to figure out why the religious are such insistent liars.

          • Judy Weismonger

            And epistomology is exactly why religion is false based on forgeries and myths and demands to be obeyed and has zero respect for individual rights with its very own pope ass-umed to be appointed by an imaginary god thingie.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Prove a god created it all and you can dismiss Ayn Rand. Funny, but you silly religious twits cannot even prove Jesus existed much less a god. Grow up.

          • tiorbinist

            While you continue to spew your intolerant hate typing, you have missed an important fact: Your Science has just recognized the work of a pair of scientists who, based on the discovery of dirt on the lens of the famous Hubble gravity wave experiment, have concluded that the so-called Big Bang can’t have happened. For science, this is good: it simplifies a bunch of things that couldn’t be explained before. But it is also a blow for those who believe that the Big Bang replaces God’s act of Creation: now there’s no scientific explanation for why anything is here at all, since it didn’t all come from nothing.

            We don’t have even a smidgen of that problem: the Big Bang was distasteful to some Scientists because it allowed the possibility of a religious origin (i.e., the guy who proposed it even alluded to it being attractive to him because it would allow a scientific explanation for Creation!) A Creation that worked along Big Bang lines would work for us, we just would impute it to God (since no one ever could explain, scientifically, where the original size-less collection of whatever that exploded came from) and a Universe that just Happened is equally more likely to be a Creation event.

            Not so much for Science: the True Believers all will have to change their story about it all happening because “Nothing exploded” (although that will probably relieve y’all of the laughter from Christians on that particular popularized explanation). And it’s awful hard to claim that Science is Inviolable, pristine, pure and perfect when its greatest tenets keep flip-flopping. So here’s a conundrum for you: all you silly Science-as-Religion twits now have to come up with some way to prove that God doesn’t exist.

            The best part: Your boy Dawkin already decided that you can’t use any evidence to prove your side.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Ayn Rand said tell the truth based on logic, reality, proof, and respect for individual rights. Now compare Ayn Rand to religion which threatens believers to “believe the church or you will be sent to hell to suffer forever.” No contest. All religions belong to the ash heap of history.

          • John Gallien

            Judy, I’ve read your comment above (which is the best of them vs. your several other comments below). While I agree with your general thoughts on this, there is no need to be insulting and toss accusations out so freely. There are many types of religious people, and many take a rational approach to religion, as best as that can be done; that is, they try to make sense of it in a more benevolent way than it was originally intended. There are people who take religion seriously and that’s where we get the fanatics; an example being the jihadists of Islam; but most people interpret religion through a rational filter, saying to themselves that religion can’t really mean this – for example, they say to themselves that Christianity can’t really mean I should sacrifice myself entirely for the benefit of others, it must just mean I should be nice to my fellow man and try to help them out while still trying to make the best of my own life. This is putting a rational spin on it, but that’s how they get by and they can find quotes in the bible to justify this. I personally think they are evading what religion actually says, but that doesn’t make them evil or even ill intentioned. They are just trying to make sense out of life and how to be a good person and they have only religion to work with – so they ignore the more extreme message of religion and “tone it down” to be more palatable to them – into something they think is the correct way to live. Ayn Rand, however, put all of this in a consistent context with her philosophy, so religion is not needed (my other comments on this post explain why). I don’t think you advance your ideas by throwing insults at people. It is not a way to have a rational discussion. It doesn’t take much thought or intellect to insult people – it takes much more effort to explain your ideas.

          • Judy Weismonger

            Anyone who is religious has the premise that a god exists, who listens to them, and by being religious they have a right to determine other people’s legal rights because they not only speak for god, but are carrying out “god’s will.” This is what is wrong with ALL religions.

          • John Gallien

            You are correct to the extent that someone who accepts religion on faith only (and does not try to inject some rational thought into it),does exactly what you mention above. However, most people are not fully consistent, mixing elements or religion (faith) with elements of reason. In order to convince them of your viewpoint, you need to appeal to their rational side. Throwing out insults is not the way to do it.

          • tiorbinist

            You speak nonsense. Religious is a word, it has a meaning. Someone who is religious is someone who is involved with, imbued with, or relating to a religion. Further dictionary entries add such terms as pious, scrupulously faithful, conscientiously faithful, etc. Not one word about obligatory faith _in_ something or someone.

            You are as religious about science as I am about Jesus. But religion has little to do with relationships: religion is all about ritual, recognizable symbology. If fact, you are more religious in this definition than many born-again Christians, whose efforts are focused on their relationship with Christ, and other people.

            What’s wrong with _All_ religions is that once the meaning behind the rituals and actions fall away, the rituals and actions are empty: just as your lack of understanding of the ‘Science’ you claim you adhere to make you religious, and not authoritative.

            And the best part is that you aren’t actually preaching science. Nowhere do you admit that Science is fallible, although, by its very nature and definition, it must be. If, for instance, one part of Science is right, and the Earth’s poles are due to trade places in the next century, all the sciences based on the presumption of Magnetic North being in the Arctic are going to become wrong, and need to be revised. An oversimplification, but apt: many of the claims you make about history are based on modern, scientific historiography, and this has changed drastically in 170 years: in another 100 years, everything you now claim about the past (including your claim that Moses ripped off Zoroaster) may change polarity of the Truth-Falsity scale.

            Where will you be then?

          • tiorbinist

            John, The fanatics of the Christian Religion tend to be the like of Sister Theresa, the first-century martyrs, etc. People whose only distasteful acts were to let others treat them badly, and whose own actual acts (later centuries of mysticism aside) were to love others, do what they could for them, and trust in Jesus.
            The acts similar to jihadism in Christianity were often influenced by those who were more interested in temporal power than eternal position. Even still, if you can point out even a thousandth of the number of Islamic jihadists amongst Born-again Christians, I’ll be more than glad to investigate them and see for myself if they were acting scriptural or whether they, themselves, were heretics, disobeying Jesus while they performed their atrocities.

            And this doesn’t even touch on the fact even saved Christians are still sinners: we don’t become super-humans, or ‘the next step in the evolution of Humanity’ or any such carp. The difference is that the Committed Christian seeks to be more like Jesus. And we know where that got Him.

          • John Gallien

            As I’ve said to you before, the real issue isn’t between religion and secularism, but between faith and reason. To believe something on faith means to believe it without any rational reason, and also to believe that no rational reason is required. When you believe something on faith, you accept the fact that there is no rational explanation, and therefore you can’t get into a rational discussion with anyone to convince them you are correct. You can only point to some ancient texts (scripture) that says it is so, or point to something else that says it’s so (God revealed the truth to you, for example). If you are pointing to something that does not offer a rational argument, then you are believing something on faith. When rational discussion is not allowed, AND if one feels it necessary that all others must believe as one does, then the only recourse is force (this is where the jihadists are at). To the extent that a religious person (or a secularist for that matter) uses a rational thought process, then they would try to persuade someone else of their beliefs. Most people have mixed premises, whether they consider themselves religionists or secularists, and employ a combination of faith and reason.

          • tiorbinist

            You have argued this before, and I have accepted that you hold this set of definitions, without necessarily ascribing to them myself.

            This has nothing to do with my point: You can’t claim that every person who accepts, on faith, a religion is automatically a jihad-ready extremist. For centuries, accepting Christianity on faith was the societal norm: even people who considered themselves rational, reason-driven people took Jesus’ saving grace on faith, without causing mini-black-holes to suddenly appear and consume the Earth. (OK, a bit of sarcasm there.)

            The point I was making is that the real Christian Jihadist sets out to change the world by alleviating suffering, attempting to repair the damage caused by the Fall through actions of kindness and love. The Crusades were not operated by Sister Theresas: it was implemented by Kings and Lords and Popes who were far more concerned with earthly and temporal power and money than with spiritual growth, eternal worth, self-sacrifice and Christ’s Glory. If you doubt it, look at the byproduct of their Crusades: opulent wealth on display in Cathedrals, ornamented armor, massive kingdoms and serf-crushing political control. Where in this is even a glimmer of Jesus’ beatitudes, Paul’s exhortations to focus on the Eternal kingdom and deny self, what of James’ claim “show me your faith, and I will show you my works” as proof of his faith?

            Simply put, it is irreconcilable to claim you are a mass murderer in the name of Jesus, or a Political Leader who has subjugated masses for the Glory of God: God has no need of men murdering men to his glory. (Look at Ananias and Saphira. Then look at what we’re told to endure, how Christians should turn the other cheek, give your extra to one who doesn’t have, etc. etc. etc.)

            There is no mechanism hidden in the Christian Scriptures (OT and NT, so that includes the Jews) which would trigger a jihadist incident in a parishoner/church-member. So there’s no justification in comparison being a Christian Believer to being a jihadist.

          • John Gallien

            You are replying to an argument I never made – I never said that “that every person who accepts, on faith, a religion is automatically a jihad-ready extremist”. That is specifically why I put “AND” in caps in my comment above. I do think it does require more than believing something on faith. It is possible that you can believe something on faith and be a very meek person, not wanting to hurt anyone else, and also believe in “live and let live” – or that you interpret your religion as being peaceful. However, the combination of believing something on faith AND also believing that all others must also believe as you believe, otherwise they are evil, leads a person with a somewhat belligerent, self-righteous personality to do what the jihadists do.

          • tiorbinist

            Now, compare Judy Weismonger to Ayn Rand. Rand, at least, took some effort to learn what she was talking about. She also, for someone who has bothered to read her writings, says a lot of things that Mz. Weismonger would find very unpalatable.

            But why let reality get in the way of a good speech?

          • Judy Weismonger

            The buybull says the sun revolves around the earth; stars are lights shining down from the windows of heaven. How sad your religious education has left you so uneducated and a mental dwarf.

      • Judy Weismonger

        wow here we go again, christians making scientific claims they cant back up…many ancient people knew a lot about astronomy. The jews and later the moslems stole every thing they claim about science from the Zoroastrians. Keep telling lies and whoppers because you are the poster boy for why so many people are concluding they are Atheists. Grow up.

        • tiorbinist

          Yes, here we go again, someone who has demonstrated repeatedly that her knowledge of Science and Scientific Method consists of blind belief in anything that someone with a Science Degree tells here, even if they precede it with “This is dumbed down to your level because you can’t possibly understand how we hypothesize that it really works”.

          And now, Enter the Zoroastrians! Let us all forget (scientifically!!!!!!!) that Zoroaster founded his religion 600 years before the ‘common era’ (BCE, coined by modern members of the Church of Science, founded by Thomas Huxley in the mid-19th Century to avoid having to say “Before Christ”, but to keep the “BC” part because they couldn’t actually function without it) and therefore could not have had anything available for the Jews to steal when the Mosaic law was codified (although ‘modern scholarship’ is split between the positivist crew, who have been deleting archaeological evidence according to whim, and ‘traditional scholarship’ which accepts that the contents of the Torah existed in verbal form for a millennium longer than the modernists accept. This, in itself, leads to an interesting accordion-like structure between ‘modern scholarship’, with a world that is billions of years old, but Humanity only a few milenia, and the traditionalists, with a young Earth and over 5 millennia of Human existence since the Creation. Logic would dictate that it should be more comfortable the other way around!)

          None-the-less, by the time Zoroaster did his thing, he had (at the least) the Code of Hammurabi (dated by ‘modern scholarship’ at 1760 BCE) which had been around for over a millennium to be pilfered from. Moses hardly needed to steal from Zoroaster to create the Jewish Law, which the same ‘modern scholarship’ claims couldn’t have existed before the 2nd century BCE (when the earliest hard-copy is supposed to have been created). He would also have had plenty of sources to steal from, if he were simply like some other, 7th Century Scripture-writer I could name.

          It’s easy to claim that this came from that (The Jesus Seminar proves that easily enough) and end up disregarding the source that exists in favor of the one that was merely hypothesized to fill an equally hypothesized hole, as justification to ignore the extent document. It’s a lot harder to admit that maybe Jesus wasn’t Mythical, and maybe Science isn’t Truth, incontrovertible and designed to be flawed, lest we forget to bother to _do_ science, in favor of _worshiping_ it.

    • Justin Arwood

      This thread, including the OP, makes me wonder how in the world an article about dinosaurs could lead to a display of such religious intolerance.

  • GEAH

    I thought the science was settled.

    I look forward to the Discover headline: Global Cooling Is Back! It Isn’t Heating Up After All!

    • Sam Bull

      Wait no more. Much of the research has turned up the hypothesis that global warming will lead to…an ice age! Watch this space….

      • tiorbinist

        Gotta love a “science” which fortuitously happens to turn up evidence every 30-40 years that flops ‘reality’ on it’s head, just in time for the latest political faddism.
        When the “climate scientists” turn up one verifiable experiment that proves that the atmosphere can act like a greenhouse, wake me up. _That_ will be different.

        • Judy Weismonger

          Some scientists have become infected with religion, and like the religious can no longer separate reality from religious fantasies. I think there is good evidence that with the lack of solar flares in a 206 year solar cycle we are entering 30’years of very cold weather. No, god is not punishing us because 32 states now allow same sex marriage.

  • jerryglen

    Nice to know he’s back. After all he was alive 150 M yrs ago and he was only demoted for 100 yrs, maybe he didn’t notice.

  • bwana

    I’ve missed Brontie! I grew up with a concrete Brontosaurus sculpture in our local playground and kinda like him…

  • ericdenman

    tiorbinist: thank you for an outstanding discussion…as a former adjunct in philosophy and Catholic school kid, I am amazed at how poorly informed the public is regarding the Catholic Church and science and the crucial role of Judeo-Christian heritage in the formation of Western culture, the US and the progress of science. We no longer are educated in who we are and how we came to be. For this we will pay the price of losing the tremendous progress Western man has made on this good earth.

  • JJKM

    Interesting discussion, but when tiorbinist descends into silly right-wing ideology about the big-bad Obama, then you just have to laugh and assume the rest of what he says is just as poorly researched and dependent on right-wing urban legends..too bad, but I couldn’t take him seriously after that.

  • Adrian Meli

    Fascinating. It is one of the first “dinosaurs” I learned about as a child. I didn’t even know enough to be missing them.

  • LaLunaUnita

    We’ve been educated in much the same manner, but clearly with different teachers. :) I think the basic difference with what your priest said and what I believe is that neglecting one’s current commitments (let’s take the obvious examples of spouse and children) and instead giving all away would not be faithful to the gifts from God/commitments made before God (i.e., said spouse and children) that are already established. Ideally, a person would not marry or make children without first considering whether it was a holy calling for them to do so. This calling, if it is what the person is called to do, supersedes a different, later calling that they might want to explore. Let’s say the real estate magnate thinks it would be more fun to head across the world; it’s appealing to that person, she is tired of her life. Well, if that’s the issue, too bad – she committed to certain aspects of her life, made a promise before God, and chose to raise children. Keep those commitments first. What appears to be a “selfless calling” would be pursued for selfish reasons. On the other side, I do see the influence of your upbringing when you feel that our poor college student has been “browbeaten” by a calling to serve. Yes, sacrifices are made to do work in less affluent countries, but sacrifices are made to stay put and pursue our own goals, too. My experience with medical missionaries, educators, etc., seems to indicate that their education and goals are fulfilled when they answer a “call to serve” – generally, I have not met any who had other goals that they felt were shuffled aside. Some failures and trials may have helped to refine their life’s track, positioning them so that a call to service became the most realistic and appealing option, however, this could objectively be ascribed to circumstance. So maybe this whole “call” thing goes back to a basic personality trait they already had, or some such, and is manifested consciously in their own minds as a divine call. My sympathies that you experienced guilt laid on you by others in the name of religion for wanting to pursue things that you thought would be better for you. I know that some people teach this as a hard and fast way of living, but I also know that I am loved by a God of Love, who wants what is best for me as an individual and as part of a religious collective. So I take part in my religion as though it is a partnership, and work toward developing in ways that I think support both my wellbeing and the betterment of mankind (which I would term “seeking the Kingdom of God”). I do understand and believe that martyrs are real and their sacrifices are real, but I also believe and understand that they made choices that ultimately led to joy for them. If it’s not you, it’s not you, and God loves the selfish and weak as much as he loves the strong (at least I hope he does, because I’m not one of the strong!). So, morality for me is to stay away from the things that wedge a divide between me and God. This would include anyone who tells me that I need to stay away until my heart and mind are in the right place, because the only one who can make me right IS God and if I’m not communicating out of fear, guilt, and shame, that’s the same as choosing not to communicate out of doubt, mistrust, or any other reason. This priest or whomever – I would say to him, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” OK, sorry, I got on my soapbox. I’ll stop now!

    • John Gallien

      Many good points. I think most of it could be explained without any reference to God. That is, ones obligations should be fulfilled (within the appropriate context), and there is no need of a reference to God to explain this. My comment about a young person (or anyone for that matter) being brow beaten into serving others is something that I think a significant number of people go through. Others, like yourself, find a way to reconcile service to others with being a good person, while also maintaining that they still have a right to their own life, family, and career (and other pursuits that make them happy without feeling any guilt about this). If every decision you make is not wrapped in a context of a choice between doing something for yourself (and therefore being selfish, and feeling guilty about this) or doing something for others (and therefore being virtuous), then I see that as a good thing. I think this is a way that a healthy individual can try to make sense of the demands of religion. I don’t, however, think that is what most religions preach. After all, Christ died for us because we are sinners – because we are not good, and we were never good since we were born with original sin. But many people ignore this, believeing that religion can’t really mean this (it does), and therefore put their own spin on it and weave it into something that isn’t quite so evil, but that can still be a life affirming way of thinking. They accept religion, but only on their own terms – hence, what I mean when I say that they don’t take religion too seriously.

  • Barlion

    Actually it is so engraved into pop culture that they decided to rename a dino as Brontosaurus. Fact is that the scientist lied to get his name in the books. It happened with Disney’s lemmings and, most recently, Dr. Wakefield and the MMR vaccine causing autism. It is becoming more and more difficult to believe scientists now days. They seem to be more concerned with fame and money than legit research.

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