Ray Comfort's Anti-Darwinian Travesty

By Chris Mooney | November 20, 2009 9:44 am

comfort-origin-of-speciesSheril posted yesterday about the outrageous (and breathtakingly arrogant) attack on the legacy of Darwin that is Ray Comfort’s psuedo-Origin of Species. Almost simultaneously, a copy of the Comfort book–for it is not Darwin–showed up in the office of the Knight Science Journalism Program here at MIT. Clearly, these books are being deftly circulated.

The National Center for Science Education is refuting Comfort’s staggeringly long and misleading introduction, so I needn’t say more about it. But flipping through the book, there was one highly dishonest aspect that struck me–font size.

Comfort’s introduction is in big font and nicely spaced. You can breeze through those fifty pages, almost like reading Harry Potter. By contrast, Darwin’s text at the back is in tiny, cramped font, a real trial to get through. Gee, what part of the book do you think students are intended to read?

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, even though I am. It appears creationists like Comfort will even stoop to manipulating font sizes in their arrogant and ignorant quest to undermine knowledge.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Education

Comments (149)

  1. Woody Tanaka

    I don’t know why you would be surprised. He is a religious fanatic. Just about all of those people (and far too many among the so-called “moderate” religious) do not care one whit about intellectual honesty, ethics or personal responsibility. In fact, they appear to believe that such things are evil when they would get in the way of spreading their irrationality. So long as they can get some kid to shut his brain off and become a Jesus-bot, then no tactic is too low for them.

  2. SLC

    Re Woody Tanaka

    In addition to being a religious fanatic, he is also a moron.

  3. Sorbet

    How dare you insult Harry Potter?!

  4. It’s all about Ray.

    I wonder if Kirk Cameron is bright enough to catch onto that fact after a few years.

    I’m not betting my life on it.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  5. I posted this on my FB page yesterday morning after receiving my copy Tuesday: “Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing! What is apparently a republication of Darwin’s “Origin of Species” is a covert publication by Creationists! It sure is interesting how their lack of ethics is so evident in doing this!” I’ve received many interesting (supportive) responses.

  6. Jason

    Religious zealots are aggressive, scientists and intellectuals are (by in large) too passive. It’s certainly cruel but any of these zealots who distribute this sort of material should be denied the benefits that science has provided. No more modern emergency medical care (back to prayer for you and when you break that leg, hope you know how to splint it properly), no more computers to distribute your material, no more sterile environment when you give birth (after all God created that bacteria for a reason, don’t deny Him now!). And so on.

    I know it’s a little Atlas Shrug-y, but maybe that’s just what these zealots need to understand.

  7. J. Marie

    I wonder if Comfort realizes he may be injuring his efforts. I would hope that a lot of the peeps receiving those books can easily see through such a scam.

  8. M. Schriver

    While it is true that the agenda in the distribution of the books is the opposite of what Darwin might have intended you have got to wonder if he would have wanted more or less copies of his text in circulation. As long as the tiny font text is true to the original (and I have not heard anyone say that it isn’t) then the rigour of the science and the thought of the author are still communicated. Remember, Osiander wrote a horrible contrarian forward to Copernicus’ book but we remember Copernicus not Osiander. Truth endures in the long term.

    The only adequate response to this move is for Dawkins to come out with a copy of the Bible with an athiestic forward. I’d buy that for a dollar.

  9. toasterhead

    7. J. Marie Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I would hope that a lot of the peeps receiving those books can easily see through such a scam.
    ____________

    It’s a good point. After all, he is handing the books out at American colleges and universities, mainly to students who have had at least twelve years of education in the post-”No Child Left Behind” U.S. education system, with all its focus on critical thinking and reasoned inquiry.

  10. Woody Tanaka

    “As long as the tiny font text is true to the original (and I have not heard anyone say that it isn’t)”

    I heard that some material was excised, like a chapter or two. Don’t have a cite/ref., just passing it along for what it’s worth.

  11. Daniel

    I think the points he made in the introduction are viable. Who would argue that “nothing can’t create something”?…. which is a scientific impossibility. Pretty simple. The theory of evolution was falsified by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics years ago (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder). The real question is why are we still teaching the THEORY of evolution in are schools today?

  12. Woody Tanaka

    LOL… That was a good impression of a brain-dead creationist, Daniel. But no one is that foolish and ignorant to present that lame argument anymore. Good impression, though.

  13. Anna K.

    Hmmm.

    Re the font trick, this goes right along with what I tell my wide-eyed little descendents about advertisements:

    Ignore the big letters and the pretty pictures, my duckies, and read the fine print!

  14. Jim N.

    Dishonesty thy name is Ray Comfort!!

  15. Victor
  16. John Kwok

    Ray Comfort is yet another mendacious intellectual pornographer.

    BTW, I missed this on CNN, but Ken Miller has a great takedown on Comfort:

    http://ncse.com/news/2009/11/miller-comfort-cnn-005172

  17. MutantJedi

    @9 toasterhead :) haha.

    It’s exactly these pillars of reasoning that Comfort is targeting.

    @11 just for fun, wrap your head around vacuum energy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy

  18. The only reason I believe in evolution all those years was because I had been taught it (brainwashed) all my life by the media and the school system. Without realizing it, I had been hoodwinked into accepting that assumption / preconceived notion that all the evidence of the world around us should be interpreted by natural causes at the exclusion of God having been involved. If you accept that assumption then the “logical” conclusion is: atheistic evolution. However the moment you acknowledge God, that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, as He indicates in His Word, evolution is immediately exposed for the ridiculous and absurd theory that it is!

    The atheist believes:

    Nobody X Nothing =Everything.
    Non-life produced Life (which violates the Law of Biogenesis).
    Non-consciousness produced consciousness.
    Chaos produced order.
    Things like logic and morality are not absolute but evolving. Is rape actually, absolutely, evil, or relatively?
    There is no meaning or purpose to life. We are the result of countless accidents.
    There is no ultimate justice.

    The Christian believes:

    God created everything from nothing.
    The eternally living God created life.
    God has eternally been conscious.
    Logic and morality and founded on God’s eternal and absolute nature. Things like lying, stealing, rape, murder are actually and absolutely evil.
    God created us with a purpose.
    God has appointed a day in which He will the judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained: Jesus Christ. He gave evidence of this to all by raising him from the dead.

  19. gillt

    Daniel” The real question is why are we still teaching the THEORY of evolution in are schools today?”

    Things evolve; this is an observable (and teachable) fact.

    When you’re ready, try taking another swing at it.

  20. SLC

    Re Daniel

    The theory of evolution was falsified by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics years ago (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder). The real question is why are we still teaching the THEORY of evolution in are schools today?

    Isn’t it about time that the creationist get some new material. The notion that the 2nd Law is incompatible with evolution has been debunked so many times that it is incredible that clowns like Mr. Daniel still spout it. Mr. Daniel, the 2nd law applies to closed systems. The earth is not a closed system (ever hear about the sun). Therefore, the 2nd law doesn’t apply to the earth. Period, end of story.

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    How about not-Atheists like Prof. Ken Miller? I would conclude from Mr. Corchados’ comments that he has been brainwashed by religious crackpots like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort except that the assumption that he has a brain is highly dubious at best.

  21. SLC

    Re Daniel

    The theory of evolution was falsified by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics years ago (the fact that nature brings things toward disorder). The real question is why are we still teaching the THEORY of evolution in are schools today?

    It really would be nice if the creationists got some new material. The notion that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is incompatible with the theory of evolution has been debunked so many times that it has become boring. However, for the 5000th debunking, the 2nd Law only applies to closed systems. The earth is not a closed system (ever notice that big old sun out there). Therefore, the 2nd Law in not applicable to the earth. Period, end of story.

  22. SLC

    Somewhat OT but is Mr. Mooney or Ms. Kirshenbaum planning to comment on the story of the hacking of emails from the climate research center at the Un. of East Anglia in Great Britain? Even as someone who accepts the theory of global warming, I have to say that the revelations are rather disturbing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/20/AR2009112004093.html?hpid=sec-tech

  23. @SLC,

    Nice ad-hominem. Please respond to my points instead of attacking me personally!

    Regarding Ken Miller, whatever he believes in I know one thing: He does not believe in the one true God. The god he believes in is one that he made up with his own imagination. It is not the real God revealed in Scripture! So in a sense he is still an atheist, he does not believe in the one true God.

  24. @SLC

    Also a question, is the universe a closed system? Just wondering.

  25. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    1. The question as to whether the universe is a closed system is totally irrelevant to the theory of evolution. Entropy can decrease in one place, provide that an equal or greater amount of entropy is created elsewhere. Thus, for instance, decreases in entropy on the earth are compensated by increases in entropy on the sun. By the way, AFAIK, the question as to whether the universe is a closed system is not totally settled. If, as some astrophysicists speculate, there are an infinite number of universes (the multiverse hypothesis), it may well not be closed.

    2. Mr. Corchado hasn’t made an argument to be responded to. He has made a number of assertions which are not supported by any facts or evidence, other then by citing the Christian bible. By the way, which version of the bible is Mr. Corchado referring to? The KGV, the Vulgate, original text written in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Latin?

    As for his assertion that Ken Miller is an atheist, for his information, Prof. Miller takes communion every Sunday at his local parish church and says grace over every meal.. But, I suspect that Mr. Corchado doesn’t consider Roman Catholics to be true Christians. Somehow I suspect that god, if she exists, has not appointed Mr. Corchado the dictator of the world to decide who is a true Christian and who is not.

  26. @SLC

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on whether the universe is closed or not. I was just wondering what you thought.

    Hey! Why are you speaking about me isn’t of speaking to me?!

    OK, let me see. What Bible translation am I referring to? I read many of them. I mostly use the NKJV and the ESV, and when reading in Spanish I use the Reina Valera or La Biblia de las Americas. Not sure why you are interested in this?

    As for my arguments, you’re right I did mostly just state them instead of argue them. Which of the statements do you disagree with? Lets talk about the morality assertion. In atheism, morality is relative is it not? If we evolved from inanimate matter and are still evolving, and there is not fixed moral Law or a Judgment at the end, then is anything actually, absolutely, really “evil”? PZ Myers says “NO!” He said on his blog:

    “First, there is no moral law: the universe is a nasty, heartless place where most things wouldn’t mind killing you if you let them. No one is compelled to be nice; you or anyone could go on a murder spree, and all that is stopping you is your self-interest (it is very destructive to your personal bliss to knock down your social support system) and the self-interest of others, who would try to stop you. There is nothing ‘out there’ that imposes morality on you, other than local, temporary conditions, a lot of social enculturation, and probably a bit of genetic hardwiring that you’ve inherited from ancestors who lived under similar conditions.”

    With that in mind I ask you? Is systematically murdering infertile prostitutes absolutely evil? The Christian says “YES. This is a violation of God’s moral Law, “Thou shalt not murder”. Infertile prostitutes are invested with the dignity of being made in the image of God and so murdering them is always, absolutely, actually EVIL.” What do you say?

    As far as Ken Miller, I would rather not get into that discussion. The only thing I will say is that I took communion every Sunday at church for years without being a Christian! Also, I’m not the judge of who is or is not a Christian. God is. And in His Word He describes what is a real Christian and then instructs us that we “will know them by their fruits”. If the professing Christian does not have the fruit of being a Christian then he is not a Christian. One of the fruits of being a Christian is (this should be obvious) believing Christ’s Word.

    God bless you,
    Adiel

  27. Mike

    At least Darwin got something right! Even a fool can write a book.. God bless all of you.

  28. Anna K.

    :-)

    SLC — well said.

  29. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado @ #26

    If Mr. Corchado is reading translations of the Christian bible, how does he know that these translations are accurate? Without a knowledge of Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek, the answer is that he has no way of knowing as these were the original languages used. As a matter of fact, it is well knownthat much poetic license was used in the production of the KJV and present day scholars have concluded that its’ accuracy is highly questionable.

    As for the murder of prostitutes, what does that have to do with the theory of evolution? It is my information that Joshua of Nazareth befriended an alleged prostitute, Mary Magdalene (although I understand that there is some dispute as to whether she was, in fact, a prostitute).

    As for Prof. Ken Miller, he says he is a Christian and I have no reason to dispute him. Any more then I have reason to dispute Dr. Francis Collins self identification as a Christian. Currently Dr. Collins is the director of the US National Institutes of Health and he says that he is an Evangelical Protestant who also accepts the Theory of Evolution.

    Re Mike @ #27

    II haven’t got the slightest idea what Mr. Mike is talking about.

  30. John Kwok

    @ SLC -

    Keep up the good work. These are among your best posts here at the Intersection IMHO. Too bad Adiel is incapable of understanding basic concepts in chemistry and physics.

    @ Adiel -

    Not only is Ken Miller a Christian, but he is, by his own words, a devout Roman Catholic Christian. Admittedly this has surprised many undergraduate students of his, but he does acknowledge this on the very first day of his introductory Biology course at Brown University.

    You may find useful reading his postings here at his website:

    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km

    BTW in the interest of full disclosure, I assisted Ken in his very first debate against a creationist – someone out of the Ray Comfort school of Young Earth Creationism – Henry Morris, the Vice President of the Institute of Creation Research many, many years ago when Ken was a newly arrived assistant professor of biology at our undergraduate alma mater, Brown University (I was an upperclassman then.).

    Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy your current memberships in the Dishonesty Institute IDiot Borg Collective and in the Answers in Genesis Dalek Collective, though, on second thought, you are certainly enjoying them in light of your comments here which are so pregnant in their breathtaking inanity.

    Live Long and Prosper (as a DI IDiot Borg drone and an AiG Dalek Clone),

    John Kwok

  31. @SLC

    Seriously? Thats your argument? That unless you can read the original languages you have no idea what the Bible says? lol

    I’m not sure why you keep insisting on ONLY talking about the theory of evolution. We can talk about that if you like. However, obviously, that is not the only thing I’m talking about when I ask you the question about morality. What I was talking about was atheism.

    But yeah, Christians believe that animals adapt to their environment but within limits, or as the Bible says, that animals reproduce after their own kind (somewhere along ‘family’ biological classification). For example, we certainly believe that coyotes, wolves, and pit-bulls share a common ancestor: an ancient dog. What we lack faith in is the unscientific belief that elephants, apples, sharks, and Buzz Aldrin share a common ancestor. In other words, we believe in adaptation with limits. We lack faith in adaptation without limits. We believe that a cow and a bull left on an “earth-like” planet for millions of years will never produce the diversity of life we see on our planet. We believe that there will be limits to their descendants. Perhaps after a million years we will find small cattle, hairy cattle, big-headed cattle, etc. We don’t believe that we will find descendants of the cows who are now mosquitoes, or iguanas, or giraffes, or philosophers.

    What do you think? You leave a bull and a cow on a planet for millions of years. and somehow, by adapting to their environment, they survive continental drift and all sorts of natural disasters, etc. What kind of diversity do you expect to find in the descendants of these cattle? Do yo expect to find limitless adaptation or adaptation “according to its kind”, that is, with limits?

  32. Bruce

    @ Adiel

    “with that in mind I ask you? Is systematically murdering infertile prostitutes absolutely evil? The Christian says “YES. This is a violation of God’s moral Law, “Thou shalt not murder”. Infertile prostitutes are invested with the dignity of being made in the image of God and so murdering them is always, absolutely, actually EVIL.”

    According to PZ Myers our culture would outlaw this but not everyone agrees
    eg:

    Leviticus 21:9
    And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.

    You may be happy to embrace the morals of your religion, please do not attempt to foist them on me and mine or assume that as an atheist I cannot co-exist succesfully with my fellow man

  33. Bruce

    @ Daniel

    “Who would argue that “nothing can’t create something”?…. which is a scientific impossibility.”

    And yet…here we are!

  34. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    1. Relative to the issue of translations of the bible in modern languages, allow me to provide Mr. Corchado with an example. In Samuel 7:14, it says, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel. “God with us.” I believe that this passage is in the KJV. The problem is that the word virgin here is the result of a mistranslation from Aramaic into Greek. The original Aramaic word is well known to refer to biblical women who were manifestly not virgins (some of them were married). There is a fine discussion of this issue in an appendix to Richard Dawkins’ book, “The Selfish Gene.”

    2. The problem with the use of the word “kind” is that it has no scientific validity. In fact, creationists are famously unable to explain how it fits into the Linnean classification scheme, which is accepted by all biologists. By the way, the botanist, Carolus Linnaeus who developed the scheme was a creationist.

    3. I have a flash for Mr. Corchado. Humans and chimpanzees have a common ancestor that lived some 6 million years ago. Recent advances in the technology of DNA decoding have produced the smoking gun, namely that human chromosome 2 has been demonstrated to be the result of the fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13. The link below is a video recording of part of a presentation by Prof. Ken Miller, provides an excellent discussion of this finding.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8FfMBYCkk

  35. John Kwok

    @ SLC -

    It’s actually chromosomes 3 and 21 in the chimpanzee if I’m not mistaken, but you are correct about the chromosomal fusion.

  36. SLC

    Re John Kwok

    The chimpanzee chromosomes have been renumbered. In Prof. Millers’ presentation at Case Western Reserve, which I just reviewed again, he specifically mentions chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13 as the chromosomes that have fused, with the centromere corresponding to 13 having become inactive.

  37. Vindrisi

    Mr. Cochado,

    You claim to have “believed” in evolution for years, yet the arguments you put forth against evolution are ones that were refuted years (in some cases decades) ago, and are based on a misapprehension of what evolutionary theory really says. Do you think it is possible that when you “believed” in evolution, you really didn’t know much about it? Do you think it is possible that the sources you are drawing your arguments against evolution from are similarly misinformed? Have you actually delved into any of the scientific literature? Have you gone to a college-level introductory evolution text such as those by Ridley or Futuyma? I think you you do so, you will soon find that a great many of aspects of evolution that you find so manifestly silly are really bits of misinformation, and that the theory actually holds far different positions than you think. You don’t have anything to fear from this if you are certain you are correct. As it stands, you seem to be attacking from a position of ignorance, casting aspersions based on false hearsay. What would Christ think of you doing this? What do you think he would think of Mr. Comfort, who manifestly tells lies about evolutionary theory? Do you think Christ would rejoice to know that he has supposed followers who lie in his name?

    On a broader point, if you are Christian, you must believe that God created the universe. Science studies the universe assuming only natural processes (in the parlance of the nineteenth century, assuming that God affects the universe using only secondary causes emerging only originally from his will as the primary cause). The body of scientific knowledge and theory stems from this effort. Like it or not, the findings of science that have stood the test of time, such as evolutionary theory, have done so because they fit the universe – that is they come from reading the book of the world that would have been, from your point of view, authored by God himself. As such, if you find that the universe must be other than it is on the basis of your reading of the Bible, is it not more likely that the interpretative stance you are using in reading the Bible is incorrect? On a similar note, if your interpretation of the Bible requires that you hold God to have the attributes of a monster (indeed, the fundamentalist version of God puzzles me, for it is so monstrous and evil, I don’t understand why anyone would worship such a deity, even if they did believe in it. How does one believe in and worship a God who would wantonly slaughter billions, and call oneself a good person? I don’t understand this), and not of a supreme and benevolent deity, why do you not consider that your interpretation might be incorrect? If your interpretation makes you act to others contrary to Christ’s admonition that we treat others as we would have others treat you, are you not setting your interpretation above your veneration of Christ?

    Granted, I am not a Christian, so perhaps that is why these things make no sense to me, so perhaps you might enlighten me.

  38. Pastafarian

    I’d like to see Corchado give us the “true God Christian” justification for Comfort plagiarizing major portions of his ‘introduction.’

  39. @SLC

    I don’t know what translation you’re reading but 1 Samuel 7:14 reads, “14 Then the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered its territory from the hands of the Philistines. Also there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.”

    Regarding the use of the word “kinds”, the book of Genesis was written 3,500 years ago, way before biological systems were thus classified. As I said, we believe that the biblical classification would fall somewhere along the family biological class.

    Please answer my question about the cattle? Do you believe that what can “evolve” from them is limitless or do you believe there are limits? Creationists believe there are limits!

    Regarding chimps and humans having a common ancestor, the experts at the Discovery Channel say that the discovery of Ardi shows that this idea is “totally and completely wrong”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_z2xmCA9g8. That is the problem with evolutionary “science” (evolution is not a science but a fairy tale), it is always changing its mind. Listen, just because we share characteristics with animals does not = common ancestor. It is evidence of a Common Creator!

    The reason you see the fossil record and DNA as evidence for limitless adaptation is because you look at the evidence through naturalistic presuppositions. The problem is not the evidence. The problem is the biased filter you use to interpret the evidence. My whole contention in my original post was that your naturalistic presuppositions are self-contradictory and internally inconsistent. If naturalism is true then you have no basis for knowing anything.

    For example, please answer me this, on what basis you do believe that your sense are reliable? I take it that you trust your senses, right? On what basis you assume that your senses are giving you accurate information about the outside world?

  40. @Vindrisi

    “As such, if you find that the universe must be other than it is on the basis of your reading of the Bible, is it not more likely that the interpretative stance you are using in reading the Bible is incorrect?”

    The Bible is crystal clear that God created the universe in six days, thousands of years ago. Read Genesis 1.

    I don’t find that the universe is other than what the Bible says it is. The universe I see around me is exactly what I would expect to find according to the Bible. The reason you see it differently is because naturalistic presuppositions have snuck themselves into your interpretive grid without you noticing. For example, the Bible talks about a catastrophic, earth-rearranging, massive, worldwide flood. Taking God’s word at face value what do I expect to find? What would you expect to find? Answer me that. Stand on my presupposition for a minute (the Bible is God’s Word) and tell me, what sort of evidence would you expect to find if there really was such a flood?

  41. @Bruce

    You didn’t answer my question. Maybe you’re not an atheist? My question is to the atheist, is systematically murdering infertile prostitutes concentration camp style absolutely evil?

    The Bible says that it is. Period. What saith the atheist?

  42. Vindrisi

    The Bible is crystal clear

    You are proceeding from a particular interpretation. How do you know your interpretation is correct? Did God tell you himself that those passages are to be read literally? Are you taking into consideration that it might be metaphor? What justification do you have for disregarding that possibility? If it is really crystal clear, why has there been argument over what exactly is meant by that passage and pretty much every other passage in the Bible by both Christians and Jews for 2000 years? Have you fully surveyed the literature? Augustine dealt with this issue. How do you deal with his arguments? What of Aquinas? It sounds like you have elevated your interpretation of the Bible to the level of God. There is a word for that: Bibliolatry. You, sir, are an idolater.

    As to your science questions, I think you need to sit down with some introductory texts on geology and biology. Your ignorance of science is as glaring as your ignorance of your own religion.

  43. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    1. I don’t know what translation was used. I am using the text of Handels’ Messiah. The cover notes identify the phrase as coming from Samuel 7:14.

    2. Mr. Corchado is a liar. The video to which he linked is not from the Discovery Channel. It is a presentation which was produced by a fundamentalist religious organization and which stole brief portions of interviews with Richard Dawkins and Richard Leakey which were part of Discovery Channel programs. Contrary to Mr. Corchados’ claim, no such claim relative to Ardipithicus was made on the Discovery Channel program on the subject.

    3. Mr. Corchado still has not addressed the issue of the fusion of two ape chromosomes being identified as human chromosome 13. Before commenting, I would suggest that he watch the attached Youtube presentation by Ken Miller.

    4. According to the Linnean system, apes and humans are in the same family.

    5. Given sufficient time, some 3.5 billion years since primitive life began on the earth, it is quite possible for humans to have evolved from simple single cell creatures. For instance, the evolution of a land based wolf-like mammal into a whale has been documented by no fewer then a dozen intermediate forms.

    6. The only way to do science is to look at the world through the prism of methodological naturalism. What Mr. Corchado is proposing is that we stop doing science. Appeals to supernatural explanations iare science stoppers. As an example, Issac Newton, the most important scientist who ever lived (although some have argued for Charles Darwin or Albert Einstein), appealed to supernatural explanations to explain the stability of the Solar System over long periods of time. A hundred years later, Laplace proved using Newtons own laws of motion and perturbation theory, that the interplanetary interactions would not cause the Solar System to become unstable. When asked by Napoleon as to what part god might play, he famously responded that he had no need of that hypothesis.

  44. Bruce

    @ Adiel

    “What do you think? You leave a bull and a cow on a planet for millions of years. and somehow, by adapting to their environment, they survive continental drift and all sorts of natural disasters, etc. What kind of diversity do you expect to find in the descendants of these cattle? Do yo expect to find limitless adaptation or adaptation “according to its kind”, that is, with limits?”

    Clearly you have not met my brother-in-law. Your scenario is not relative to evolution on earth, obviously, which did not start with a single mature bovine species. However, lets just consider it for a minute (and assume that the bull is not infertile). Cattle are not an independent species, they require a symbiotic world on order to survive. Their gut contains a huge variety of micro-organisms – including bacteria, fungi and protozoa. These organisms are crucial for the cow to convert grass into energy. Grass, grass is a symbiotic plant (remembering that the cow will die without the oxygen it creates) and requires a minimum of 17 minerals; sunlight (obviously ignoring creation order in Genesis); water; darkness – and a favourable environment to survive. Now obviously for the grass to survive there must be something that predates on the weeds that kill the grass, not to mention the various assortment of animals that propagate the weeds or feed on the microbes etc in the cow dung or the predators or parasites etc that feed on them yada yada yada… you see where I’m going here? So, in a few million years there may well be some cows (though I’m betting something ate them) but any world that can sustain cows and grass is more than capable of allowing other evolutionary processes also and to suggest that no other species will arise is more than a bit iffy, surely.

    It’s worth noting that the above is off the top of my head. I know little of evolutionary theory and ended up here through something to do with Ray Comfort (who knows less than me apparently). I am an atheist because I just dont get the whole god concept and saw a list of what my “beliefs” are and that just bugs me. List your Christian beliefs if you must but do not presume mine. I am a person without a belief in any god, I do not require a replacement system. Evolution is not atheism however tenuously you may try to link it, evolution is merely evidential whilst your god myth is exactly that – a myth.

  45. @SLC

    The text in question is actually Isaiah 7:14. For your case to hold you would have to prove that almah cannot mean virgin. Even if it can also be translated as young maiden, how do we know that Isaiah had in mind a virgin? Because God fulfilled the prophecy by sending His Son into the world through a virgin.

    The video that I linked to included a clip from the Discovery Channel.

    Regarding Ken Miller’s video, I have seen that video before. Here is an article that exposes the faulty assumptions: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/tale-of-two-chromosomes

    OK, so you believe “given enough time” animals can evolve to limitless possibilities. A parakeet can evolve into a dinosaur, an iguana, a scientist, and a flea. Correct?

    Regarding: “The only way to do science is to look at the world through the prism of methodological naturalism.” No wonder you see no evidence for God’s hand in the natural order! You have excluded His involvement a priori. Essentially, what you are saying is that even if God exists, using your system, you will never know. Its like closing your eyes and saying, “I see no evidence for God.”

  46. @SLC

    Regarding apes and humans being classified into the same family according to the Linnean system, so what? We know by divine revelation that God created humans distinct from the animal order in that He created us in His image and likeness. The fact that we were created in His image is the reason why we can invent things like the internet while apes are still out there playing with sticks. It is also the reason why you innately know the difference between good and evil. You know that systematically murdering mentally disabled people is evil. That is because God has written the work of His Law in your heart and given you a conscience that bears witness! The same God who has written the work of His Law in your heart is the One who has appointed a day in which He will judge you in righteousness. He has given evidence of this coming day of judgment to every one by raising Jesus Christ from the dead!

    Your friend,
    Adiel

  47. Bruce

    @ Adiel

    “You didn’t answer my question. Maybe you’re not an atheist? My question is to the atheist, is systematically murdering infertile prostitutes concentration camp style absolutely evil?
    The Bible says that it is. Period. What saith the atheist?”

    I’m sorry, I thought that the Bible advocating the burning of girls who acted as whores was enough to demonstrate that the morals of your religion were not for me and that Christians do not see it as evil since it is there in black and white (I note that you did not deny this you just reiterate that the Bilbe says so, tell me that the Leviticus quote is in error?). I also assume that you are trying to set some sort of trap of definitions and what is acceptable culturally but – what the hell – of course the killing of infertile prostitutes is indefensible and I can work this out for myself.

  48. Pastafarian

    “We know by divine revelation that God created humans distinct from the animal order in that He created us in His image and likeness.”

    No, you BELIEVE that, based on nothing other than the allegedly divinely inspired words of ancient texts that have seen numerous translations, re-interpretations and SIGNIFICANT DELETIONS to make it less inconsistent (while still leaving it full of inconsistencies). Your faith may be admirable, but it is based solely on that- faith – you have no evidence that would meet even the most minimal tests under the scientific method.

    On the other hand, we have significant EVIDENCE that your parakeet descended from theropods – so yes, given the ability to turn back on certain genes (a skill that is increasing daily), that parakeet likely could become a dinosaur.

  49. John Kwok

    @ SLC -

    Both of us are wrong. Apparently there is still strong experimental data showing that Human Chromosome 2 arose via fusion of Chimpanzee 2a and 2b chromosomes. Monica Rodriguez, a Stanford University geneticist has an elegant explanation here, in response to a questioner who wondered whether “Design” would be a better explanation than evolution:

    http://www.thetech.org/genetics/ask.php?id=264

    @ Adiel -

    Neither devout Roman Catholics Guy Consolmagno – a Jesuit brother and the Vatican Astronomer (as well as a noted planetary scientist ) – nor Ken Miller invoke Jesus Christ or Yahweh when conducting their scientific activities. In fact, i have heard both say that their faith has no place period in their scientific considerations when they are working as scientists (They were both members of a Science Faith Religion panel at last year’s second annual World Science Festival here in New York City. Both actress Cameron Diaz and I were among the several hundred people who heard them speak at one of The New School’s auditoriums.). Nor does devout Conservative Jew – and prominent ecologist – Michael Rosenzweig, who was a graduate school mentor. Nor, frankly, do any religiously devout scientist even consider making a blessing of the kind you’ve indicated (@ 46). What Linneaus didn’t know is that he had established a system of taxonomy from which it was possible to infer “kinship” between different taxa; it is because we are closely related to chimpanzees and the other Great Apes that we happen to lie on nearly identical branches of the same taxonomy.

    @ Pastafarian -

    Vertebrate paleontologist Jack Horner has proposed in his recent writings, including a book, that it might be possible to switch on “turned-off” genes within chickens to create a living non-avian theropod dinosaur (Remember, of course, that technically, all birds should be regarded as highly “derived”, quite specialized, maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs.).

  50. SLC

    Mr. Corchado has still not replied to the fusion argument of ape chromosomes or to the evolution of whales. By the way, the Hebrew bible also says that Joshua caused god to stop the sun in the sky for a day. I assume that Mr. Corchado thinks that it really happened. Of course, the fact that it violates the laws of physics and other civilizations that were around at the time of Joshua somehow failed to take note of this occurrence troubles him not in the slightest.

    Mr. Corchado also failed to respond to the charge that appeals to the supernatural is a science stopper. Let me then provide a couple of other examples since the stability of the solar system example apparently concerned him not in the slightest.

    1. In 1889, an experiment, perhaps the most important experiment ever performed in the history of science, was performed by Michaelson and Morley. The idea was to measure the absolute speed of the earth through the aether which was assumed to provide the medium for electromagnetic waves. They came up with a null result. Now, people with the mentality of Mr. Corchado would infer that the result was due to god diddling with Michaelsons’ equipment so as to prevent him from observing the earths’ motion. Obviously, that’s a science stopper as no further investigation is required. However, an obscure employee of the Swiss Patent office, like Laplace, found such a supernatural explanation wanting and proposed a scientific explanation. His scientific explanation was the Special Theory of Relativity.

    2. In the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, experiments appeared to show that atoms consisted of a nucleus and electrons revolving around the nucleus, much like the planets in the solar system. Unfortunately, such a model was untenable because electrons moving in elliptical orbits are accelerated and accelerated charged particles radiate electromagnetic radiation. Thus, the atoms would quickly collapse. Now the Corchados’ of the world would offer as an explanation, god interfering with the system and preventing the electrons from radiating electromagnetic radiation. However, a couple of physicists named Bohr and DeBroglie were not content with such a supernatural explanation and proposed a scientific explanation. They proposed that electrons revolve around the nucleus in stationary orbits that is to say that only certain discrete energy levels are allowed. In this model, accelerated electrons can only radiate electromagnetic radiation when transitioning from one discrete energy level to another and thus the atom would be stable. This scientific explanation led to the theory of quantum mechanics which along with the theory of relativity are the backbones of modern physics.

  51. Pastafarian

    Kwok:

    Yeah, Horner is big on the idea of genetically recreating a dinosaur. Researchers have already caused chicken embryos to develop teeth by switching on some genes.

    I’d give it less than 20 years before someone brings about some form of pseudo-theropod using genetic engineering on a bird – but my bet would be the base will be a flightless bird like an emu – though I think a true dino would require a higher percentage of oxygen in its atmosphere.

  52. Pastafarian

    John Kwok:

    Horner is a big advocate of re-engineering a dinosaur, though I tend to think you would do better starting with something like an emu or other flightless bird.

    Researchers have been growing teeth in chicken embryos since 2003 – I’d expect some kind of pseudo-theropod withing the next couple decades.

    But I think a true dinosaur would require a higher percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere.

  53. Tristan Croll

    Adiel:

    “OK, so you believe “given enough time” animals can evolve to limitless possibilities. A parakeet can evolve into a dinosaur, an iguana, a scientist, and a flea. Correct?”

    No. Incorrect. Completely, utterly and irrevocably incorrect. No evolutionary biologist believes that.

    Evolutionary theory states that species evolve due to each individual having very slight additions and modifications compared to its parent(s). What this means in practise is that the process of evolution is profoundly limited, in that in each generation it can only work with what was present in the parents, plus a very, very small amount of extra added due to random mutations.

    What the theory of evolution most emphatically does not state is that any existant species will evolve into any other existant species. It’s always simply gradual, undirected modifications of what’s already there.

    I’m not entirely sure what picture you get in your head when you think about the theory of evolution, but it seems to be some sort of tangled crayon-scribble, with no clear pattern of any sort – bulls giving birth to mosquitos, that kind of thing. That’s not what the theory states at all – never has, never will.

    The best metaphor for what it actually states is a tree: one trunk, then a whole bunch of branches, then all the species currently in existence as the leaf-bearing twigs right at the outermost. What you don’t see in a tree is one twig growing back together to merge with another twig – particularly not twigs from distant parts of the tree.

    As many here have already suggested, please learn about what the theory actually says before you go on the attack. Otherwise you’re simply lying to yourself – and that, I’ve heard, is a sin.

  54. John Kwok

    @ Pastafarian -

    Well we do have dinosaurs today…. they’re just highly modified maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs known as birds. I think we have known of chicken embryos with teeth for decades, though you’re probably right that it’s been only fairly recently that we’ve been able to induce teeth production artificially. As for Horner, his a very interesting idea, but I think he’s overly optimistic in thinking we could create a living fascimile of a non avian theropod dinosaur any time soon.

  55. @Bruce

    Regarding the passage you posted, twist not the Scripture lest you be like Satan! The Scripture is not telling everyone everywhere to go around searching for whores to burn down. That Scripture has to do with God governing His nation, a specific nation in a specific place and time, the ancient nation of Israel, and judging the people who were part of that nation. The same God who commanded the Israelite people during the Mosaic Covenant to stone Sabbath breakers, and homosexuals, and fornicators, is the same God who today warns that “all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire.” In other words, unless you repent, you too will likewise perish. In that passage it wasn’t a case of it being good to stone sinners to death. It was the case of God judging sinners with death, and doing it through the hand of an Israelite. However, in the coming judgment, at the end of the age, it is God Himself who will personally cast sinners, and liars, and atheists, and fornicators into Hell.

    Regarding my question about whether the atheist has any ground on which to say murdering prostitutes is evil, you have not provided a basis for saying that it is evil.

  56. @Tristan Croll

    Wait a second, I don’t believe that evolution teaches that bulls give birth to fleas! At least not in a single shot like the way you described. My question is, do you believe there are limits to what can evolve, over a “billion gazillion” years, from a given species? From a cow and bull, is it possible that their descendants, over billions of years, through slight gradual imperceptible modifications and mutations, etc, to result as diverse as the life on this planet is? Or are there limits? Creationists believe there are limits! What do you believe?

  57. John Kwok

    @ Adiel -

    So do “evolutionists” believe in “limits” too, but not what you are thinking. Your analogy (@ 55) is patently absurd, since we have to consider the phylogenetic history of the species in question. Just as you would assume that – as someone who doesn’t have any Caucasian grandparents (but I have cousins who are of mixed Caucasian and East Asian background) – that I would not possess any Caucasian traits, then how can you assume that there is possibly any direct relationship between bulls or fleas or that, over vast spans of time, a cow and (a) bull would somehow be responsible for present day Earth’s biodiversity when we don’t see anything remotely resembling a cow (or a bull) until sometime approximately 40 million years ago. Fleas are substantially older than cows (or bulls) by hundreds of million of years but they have substantially different phylogenetic – in plain English, you could say genealogical – histories that do not demonstrate anything but a most distant kinship.

    It’s why you’ll never see a crocoduck, even if Ray Comfort might contend that one could have existed. Crocodiles split off relatively early from the phylogeny (again, think geneaology) that would result first in dinosaurs, then eventually in maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs and their highly specialized descendants: living birds.

  58. @John Kwok

    lol at you actually believing that dinosaurs evolved into birds.

    But OK, as far as my question, refer to my post 36 in which I clarified the question.

    I will say this though, I’m glad to see that you believe there are limits to evolution. You’re closer to beliving Genesis 1 than you thought.

  59. @John Kwok

    I meant my post 56.

  60. Pastafarian

    Kwok: But Paul Sereno at least has dubbed one of his Sahara crocodilians the ‘DuckCroc’ – no idea if that was an intentional tweak of Comfort & Cameron, though.

  61. Vindrisi

    Mr. Corchado,

    You continue to show no understanding of the actual content of evolutionary theory and the body of evidence that supports it, and yet you persist in your attacks. I notice you have refused to deal with my question as to what Christ would think of what you are doing. Do you really think it is proper to bear false witness in his name? Do you really think he would have his heart warmed to know that you are falsely denigrating others in his name? Is this really what you think living to glorify him entails? You have not answered, so I do suspect that you know you are behaving in contravention of the dictates of your own purported religion. I wonder, in fact, if you are lying about being Christian at all. You are here, after all, behaving in ways that reinforce the most negative stereotypes of Christians to a fair number of people to whom those stereotypes bear a great deal of weight. To do so is not to advance Christianity, but to undermine it. Is that what you intend?

  62. SLC

    Re John Kwok @ #49

    I also checked with Prof. Millers’ Dover testimony and he definitely referred to chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13 with the centromere in 13 becoming inactive after the fusion. I now recall that, subsequent to Dover and his presentation at Case Western Reserve, the ape chromosomes were renumbered as 2a (previously 12) and 2b (previously 13) because of the correspondence with human chromosome 2. Previously, chromosomes were numbered in order of decreasing size.

    Re Corchado @ #45

    The text in question is actually Isaiah 7:14. For your case to hold you would have to prove that almah cannot mean virgin. Even if it can also be translated as young maiden, how do we know that Isaiah had in mind a virgin? Because God fulfilled the prophecy by sending His Son into the world through a virgin.

    Excuse me, Mr. Corchado has it ass backwards. The burden of proof is on him to show that Isaiah meant virgin. If Isaiah meant virgin, he would have used the Aramaic word for virgin. The sequence of events here is that the book of Isaiah is written using a word which evidence from other parts of the bible indicates does not mean virgin. The word is then incorrectly translated into Greek by a later scholar. After the demise of Joshua of Nazareth, someone who reads Greek sees the word virgin in the Greek edition and then assumes that the former was the subject of a virgin birth. I submit that my explanation makes more sense then Mr. Corchados’ comment which is nothing more then grasping at straws.

    Re John Kwok, Vindrisi, Tristan Croll, and Pastafarian

    It appears that Mr. Corchado may be a Poe who is just getting his jollies by rattling our cages. It is hard to believe that a grown man could be as ignorant and moronic as he appears to be.

  63. All I’m trying to show is that we all believe that there are limits to adaptation, both the Christian and the most ardent Darwinian. I am not acting in contradiction to the Lord’s commands. He has clearly revealed that He in fact created the world and that He created different animals to reproduce after their own kinds. This clearly contradicts abiogenesis and common descent. Even if I knew nothing abo
    ut evolution at all, and in fact I know more about it than you think, but even if
    I knew nothing at all, I still know its false since it contradicts the Scripture
    .

  64. The ultimate authority in all things is not the faulty and sinful reasoning of man, reasoning that is founded on false presuppositions. The ultimate authority in
    all things is the revealed Word of God. It is better to trust in the Lord than to
    put confidence in man. This is not to say that the evidence contradicts the Scri
    pture. What contradicts the Scripture is man’s fallen and sinful interpretation o
    f the evidence. The Bible is clear: In the beginning God created the heavens and
    the earth. You are a descendant of Adam. A sinful, rebellious, fallen descendant
    of Adam, as am I. There is a judgment coming. God has provided a Savior, His own
    Son. Up until now, God has overlooked your ignorance, but at this moment He commands you to repent of your sins and foolishness, and trust the Savior.

  65. Vindrisi

    Mr. Corchado,

    Then you are insisting on God being a dishonest trickster who made a universe that contradicts what you would insist he did. Again you cast aspersions on God for the sake of your interpretation of the Bible. You are an idolater whose behavior denigrates Christ. He would weep to see you so misappropriating his name for your lies and arrogance. You may be a fundamentalist, but you are certainly not a Christian.

    And, please, go and read over an introductory evolution text along with some geology and genetics. You desperately need it. Reflect also on the damage you do to Christianity by acting the way you do. I have hope that you are not quite completely blinded by your arrogance and ignorance.

  66. John Kwok

    @ Adiel -

    The only “limits to evolution” that I accept – and which has been demonstrated consistently and substantially for generations of biologists – is that of phylogenetic history (in plain English, as a somewhat accurate metaphor, genealogical history). However, when you hear of “history” with regards to biology, it is usually referred to as evolutionary history. I was merely trying to educate you by drawing upon reasonable analogies between one’s family history (genealogy) and the history of life as documented not only via the fossil record, but also via the molecular “foot prints” left in our DNA. Unfortunately, all you’ve demonstrated here is that you are quite simply an utter, intellectually-challenged fool who is definitely enjoying his joint memberships in both the Dishonesty Institute IDiot Borg Collective and the Answers in Genesis Dalek Collective.

    While I, myself, am not religious, I don’t thank that GOD would have deceived us into thinking that life on Planet Earth does have a grand and glorious history that demonstrates how each and every distinctive phylogenetic history (genealogical history) has wrought into being the current state of our planet’s biodiversity. You, on the other hand, seem all too content in believing that GOD is a “dishonest trickster”, as Vindrisi (@ 65), has so aptly noted. IMHO that not merely cheapens your theological view of GOD but it also makes a mockery of anyone who thinks that GOD is truly omniscient and omnipotent and an entity who, in Einstein’s immortal words, “does not play dice with the universe”.

  67. John Kwok

    @ Vrindisi -

    I concur completely with your opinion of Adiel (@ 65). IMHO Adiel isn’t a Christian, but instead, a Xian fanatic.

  68. @Vindrisi

    I disagree. I think you are the one casting aspersions on God for the sake of your interpretation of the evidence. You are using unbiblical presuppositions to interpret the evidence. A Christian should not accept the atheistic philosophy of methodological naturalim to interpret the world around us and then based on their conclusions interpret the biblical text. It should be the other way around. Since the Bible is God’s infallible innerrant Word, we should stand on the Word of God and based on His revelation interpret the world around us.

    What you are saying is,”The atheistic interpretation of the universe is correct, interpret the Bible in light of naturalistic assumptions.”

    What I’m saying is,”The Bible is the ultimate standard,interpret the evidence in light of divine revelation”.

    Here is an example of how the atheistic, naturalistic presupposition is blinding to its adherents… The Wikipedia articles on Louis Pasteur and spontaneous generation say that, “Spontaneous generation… is an obsolete theory regarding the origin of life from inanimate matter” and that Pasteur’s broth experiment, “was one of the last and most important experiments disproving the theory of spontaneous generation.” With that said, how do atheistic scientists believe life on earth began? SPONTANEOUS GENERATION. Either that or aliens who themselves spontaneously generated put us here as Dr. Dawkins hypothesized.

    The Bible says that the eternally living God created life on earth.

    God is not a “dishonest trickster”. He has told us plainly that He created the heavens and the earth and given life to every creature. The dishonest trickster is the devil. Satan’s scheme is not new, its the age old deception: “Has God indeed said?”

    Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!

  69. Kwok and I both believe that adaptation has limits! The Bible says that the limit is at the “kind” level (believed by some to fall somewhere along the family biological class).

    Humans and ape-like creatures however were created distinctly. The Bible makes this much crystal clear:

    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
    29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

  70. Vindrisi

    Mr. Corchado,

    You are a Bibliolater plain and simple who denigrates Christianity with your requirement that God have been dishonest in his construction of the universe if your theology is to be taken seriously. Cast aside your arrogance, correct your ignorance, cease your lies and attacks on honest people, and re-evaluate your beliefs. As it stands, you worship your own interpretation of a book, and that makes you an idolater by Christian standards. If you were honest with yourself, you would see this, but it seems honesty, honor, and good will are alien to you. Christ would have wept to know how ones like you would twist his name and message. I don’t believe in Satan, but if I did, I would think you be a good approximation of the sort of person I would expect he would have working for him, complete with attendant lies and distortions.

  71. @SLC

    Isaiah wrote in Hebrew not Aramaic. The word he used can be translated as either virgin or young maiden (the word does not preclude virgin as you claim). Also, what kind of a “sign” would a young maiden giving birth be? The whole point of the passage is that God will give a “sign”. Finally, the Gospel writers were just as moved by the Holy Spirit to write what they wrote as Isaiah was. The Gospel writers make it clear that Jesus was in fact, born of a virgin. The problem that you have is that you don’t believe the Scripture!

  72. John Kwok

    @ Adiel -

    I strongly endorse Vrindrisi’s observation (@ 69) that you are someone “who denigrates Christianity”. Having met “real” Christians like Vatican Astronomer – and Jesuit Brother – Guy Consolmagno, biologist Ken Miller, and an uncle who is a retired Methodist minister, you are quite simply someone who professes belief in “Christianity” but has yet to demonstrate in any of your bizarre rants and raves posted here that you truly abide by Christ’s teachings. I am certain that if Christ did return today, he would cast ample scorn on yours, Comfort’s and Cameron’s, twisted, perverted, distortions of his teachings and probably claim that you all were no better than the Pharisees he so rightly condemned in his teachings.

  73. @Vindrisi

    Which Christ do you refer to? The historical, biblical Christ? Or the one you made up with your own imagination which is idolatry? The biblical Christ said:

    “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” ” (Matthew 19)

    Here we see that God created Adam and Eve. At the beginning. Male and female. And that it was God who instituted marriage. And that marriage was designed by God to be between a man and his wife. And that divorce is sinful.

    How do you interpret the Lord’s words?

  74. Vindrisi

    And Christ would be pleased with you casting aspersions on honest people with your dishonesty and lies? Christ would be pleased with you denigrating him for the sake of your particular ahistorical, literal interpretation of the Bible – an interpretation not supported by the committee under the Pope in the third century that put the Bible together? You are an idolater, and a hateful, dishonest one at that. I feel very sorry for all the Christians who will have to cope with the ill will ones like yourself engender toward them for the sake of your own arrogance and ignorance.

  75. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    Isaiah wrote in Hebrew not Aramaic. The word he used can be translated as either virgin or young maiden (the word does not preclude virgin as you claim)

    So Mr. Corchados’ claim is that the word in question sometimes refers to virgins and sometimes refers to women who are not virgins. Then it must be the case that there is no word in Aramaic or Hebrew that specifically refers to virgins, or presumably Isaiah or whoever wrote that particular phrase would have used it. Since Mr. Corchado has admitted that he doesn’t read either language as he only is able to read translations, he has no way of knowing this.

  76. Vindrisi

    In regard to your point, SLC, it is interesting to note that, while ancient Greek was one of the largest languages of its time with upwards of 250,000 words, ancient Hebrew was among the smallest, with less than 10,000. This meant that, while Greek had words that were incredibly precise, conveying very, very small differences in meaning, Hebrew’s words often had a great many meanings which were sometimes even contradictory. This meant that the exact meaning of a word was either highly contextual, or deliberately vague (while Greeks loved precision, Jews really liked ambiguity). The word used in the Hebrew in the passage in question has very, very broad meaning. Under Ptolemy the word was rendered by the 70 man committee in charge of producing an authorized Greek translation as “parthenos”, which only means “virgin”. The Eastern Church has explicitly recognized this problem, and holds that certain mistranslations such as this were divinely inspired. Of course, we also run into the problem inherent in trying to convey exact meanings and concepts using languages: languages always change, and it is impossible to be absolutely clear as to what was meant by a writer. Recognition of this, of course, has significant implications for those insisting on both the inerrancy and literal interpretation of the Bible without an authority held to be able to speak on the exact meaning of the text, as the Church holds itself to be. And that goes to problems in the very idea of the idea of “sola scriptura”. I doubt that Mr. Corchado has thought much on these issues.

  77. @SLC

    What value will your Isaiah 7:14 cannot ever mean virgin argument have on the Day of Judgment? Seriously.

    Please drop your childish word games and consider these important serious issues. Did life come from non-life? Did the universe really pop into existence from nothing without a cause? Is evolution really limitless? Can prokaryotes really evolve into parakeets, dogs with tails and wagging tongues, supermodels, and oranges? Is life really meaningless and purposeless? Can a strict naturalistic philosophy account for morality, the laws of logic, the reliability of the senses?

    Do you assume the basic reliability of your senses? We all do. If atheism is true, on what basis do you assume your senses are reliable? Assuming something without a good basis is the very definition of irrationality, right? Please tell me, on what basis do you trust the reliability of your senses?

  78. @Vindrisi

    Who is the final authority on interpreting the words the Church uses to convey its interpretation of the biblical text? And who is the final authority for interpreting the interpreter’s interpretation?

  79. @Vindrisi

    Also, I’m not sure I am authorized to interpret your post. Please someone interpret it for me. And then, will someone else please interpret the interpreter’s interpretation. And will someone else please step up and interpret for me the second interpretor’s interpretation of the first interpretor’s interpretation! etc

  80. Vindrisi

    The Church holds that it has supreme authority to interpret scripture (which it put together in the first place, after all) by virtue of divine sanction transmitted by apostolic succession. While there are obvious issues with this from an outside perspective such as mine, at least it makes sense and is internally consistent. Your position isn’t. But then, you have made it clear that you are dishonest, dishonorable, not really Christian, arrogant, ignorant, and, frankly, rather childish, so no surprise there. Really, Mr. Corchado, do Christ a favor and glorify his name by casting aside your hatred, your arrogance, and your ignorance.

  81. @Vindrisi

    Jesus Christ expected people to understand the Scriptures! Did he not rebuke the Sadducess for not knowing the Scriptures? After he rose from the dead, he rebuked two of his disciples for being slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken. And he asked them, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” He expected them to have understood the prophecies concerning His death and resurrection!

    When Paul preached to the Bereans he also gave them a commendation. Why did he commend them? Because they received his word glady and did what? They searched the Scriptures daily to find out if Paul’s message was true! If it was commendable to examine the Apostle’s teaching by the light of Scripture how much more ought we to examine every teaching this fallen and sinful world throws at us.

    We ought to examine the theory of evolution in the light of God’s Word and if it doesn’t line with up the truth, we ought to reject it and expose the lie. At th
    e end of the day in whom are you putting your trust, God or man?

  82. Vindrisi

    Interesting that you will not deal with the issue. Perhaps you sense the difficulty, and do not wish to confront it. Perhaps you are simply the dishonest, dishonorable, childish poser who wishes to disgrace Christ that you appear to be.

  83. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado @ #77

    Did life come from non-life?

    Yes.

    Did the universe really pop into existence from nothing without a cause

    Not to play word games with Mr. Corchado but it depends on what he means by a cause. The universe came into existence via the so-called big bang. As to what preceded the big bang, that’s not a sensible question because time did not exist before the big bang. For instance, decay of radioactive elements such as C14 has no cause. It’s strictly a stochastic process, like roulette or dice.

    Is evolution really limitless?

    As Mr. Kwok and Mr. Croll have explained to Mr. Corchado in several comments, in considerable detail, on this thread, evolution is not limitless. Apparently, Mr. Corchado, in addition to his pigheadedness is unable to read.

    Can prokaryotes really evolve into parakeets, dogs with tails and wagging tongues, supermodels, and oranges?

    Yes, although not in 6000 years.

    Is life really meaningless and purposeless?

    No. the purpose of life is to procreate.

    Can a strict naturalistic philosophy account for morality, the laws of logic, the reliability of the senses

    Mr. Corchado erroneously conflates methodological natural with philosophical naturalism. Issues of morality are part of philosophy, not science. I suggest that Mr. Corchado read the Dover testimony of Prof. Barbara Forrest for a discussion of why methodological naturalism is totally distinct and separate from philosophical naturalism. The fact that Mr. Corchado refuses to confront is that methodological naturalism is absolutely essential to doing science. To cast it aside is tantamount to no longer doing science.

    Do you assume the basic reliability of your senses?

    No. However, in doing science, the senses are augmented by intelligently designed equipment (e.g. telescopes, microscopes, computers, etc.).

    If atheism is true, on what basis do you assume your senses are reliable?

    Once again, Mr. Corchado insists on conflating methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. Science has nothing to say about whether philosophical naturalism is true, except to point out that no scientific evidence has yet been presented to indicate the existence of the supernatural. However, many religious scientists are quite content to take the position that the existence of god is not a scientific proposition on the basis that it cannot be falsified.

  84. Woody Tanaka

    “At the end of the day in whom are you putting your trust, God or man?”

    First, prove that this “God” fellow even exists. Then, we can determine whether he is someone in whom to trust.

    (And if he turns out to be the fellow described in the Old Testament, then anyone who would trust such an evil, childish, megalomaniacal psychopath like the God described in those book is quite nuts, but that’s another story.)

  85. SLC: evolution is not limitless

    Agreed! Read Genesis 1.

    SLC: Yes, prokaryotes can really evolve into parakeets, dogs with tails and wagging tongues, supermodels, and oranges.

    I disagree. I believe that adaptation, even the adaptation of prokaryotes, has limits. Finches’ beaks adapts to their environment. Whether short-thick beaked orlong-thin beaked they are still within the finch family!

    SLC: the purpose of life is to procreate.

    According to YOU. Right? Different people claim different purposes. Who is the authority that determines which is the actual purpose? If atheism is true, then it iss all subjective. There is no transcendent purpose and no actual external intended reason for us to exist. Time + chance + matter has no intended purpose. We are the results of countless mindless accidents aiming at no particular goal and with no specific purpose. If atheism is true, life is meaningless and purposeless!

    Also, according to your subjective opinion that procreation is the ultimate purpose, Josef Fritzl has achieved his purpose in life! Good for him!

    The true purpose of life is to know and love and worship God. The reason God made us, the reason we exist, is that we might glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

    SLC: Mr. Corchado erroneously conflates methodological natural with philosophical naturalism.

    Philosophical naturalism says that nature is all there is and everything is explainable by natural causes.

    Methodological naturalism is the idea that science must be done under the assumption that philosophical naturalism is true. In other words, they claim, the scientist must pretend that philosophical naturalism is true in order to do true science.

    This begs the question: What if philosophical naturalism is false? What if God created life on earth, would methodological naturalism ever arrive us at this conclusion? Or would it forever lead us on a wild goose chase? Does this methodology preemptively preclude God?

    I believe that this methodology, while it certainly has it purpose, is inherently limited. It is naive to think this methodology answers everything. It rigs the game in the favor of the atheistic naturalist. It is doing science with a foregone conclusion: God didn’t do it. This is very similar to how the creationist does science! The creationist does science with the foregone conclusion: God created the heavens, the earth, and all life . The evolutionist does science with the foregone conclusion: God didn’t do it.

    SLC: no scientific evidence has yet been presented to indicate the existence of the supernatural

    Because your definition of scientific evidence precludes the existence of the supernatural!

    SLC: Yes. (Life came from non-life)

    Because you assume that the Bible is false and atheistic naturalism is true. Right? Why do you assume these things?

    SLC: Issues of morality are part of philosophy, not science.

    That was not the question. The question is, how do you account for morality?

    SLC: No [I do not assume the reliability of my senses]. However, in doing science, the senses are augmented by intelligently designed equipment (e.g. telescopes, microscopes, computers, etc.).

    But don’t you use your senses to make and look through the telescope? How do you know that what you are “seeing” is an accurate reflection of reality? If your brain and eyes and sense of touch and smell are the results of time + chance + matter, how do you know that we evolved right? Perhaps these deceptive senses “just work” for our survival. The fact that they work does not mean that they accurately reflect reality. Again, I ask, if atheism is true, on what basis do you assume that your senses are reliable?

  86. @Woody Tanaka

    The God of the Old Testament says that sin blinds us and makes us prejudice against Him. Is it possible that your sinfulness has made you biased against God? Seriously think about it. You see God as evil because He is holy and punishes sinners (think Sodom and Gomorrha, the world-wide flood, adulterers being stone to death, etc). However the fact that God judges sin is the very thing that reveals God’s righteousness and justice against evil. God is holy and pure and righteous and just. His eyes are too pure to look upon evil. He hates wickedness with all HIs heart! This makes Him praiseworthy not condemnable! Perhaps the reason you don’t like this is because, since you yourself are sinful, God’s righteousness against sin is opposed to you personally and threatens you?

    Also, please know, that it is the God of the Old Testament who took upon Himself the form of a man in Jesus Christ for you. He came into the world as a man, lived a perfectly obedient and sinless life, and gave His life as a ransom for many. He took your sins upon Himself and suffered the wrath of God that you deserve. Three days later He rose from the dead and defeated death. Through Jesus, God is not able to JUSTLY forgive you of your sin and grant you eternal life. This is the love of God for sinners like you. But you must repent and put your trust in Him.

  87. ******CORRECTION******

    Through Jesus, God is NOW able to justly forgive you of your sin and grant you eternal life. This is the love of God for sinners like you. But you must repent and put your trust in Him

  88. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    Methodological naturalism is the idea that science must be done under the assumption that philosophical naturalism is true

    Absolutely and positively false. Read Prof. Barbara Forrests’ Dover testimony.

  89. Bruce

    @
    @ Adiel

    “That Scripture has to do with God governing His nation, a specific nation in a specific place and time, the ancient nation of Israel, and judging the people who were part of that nation”

    So when he slaughters those in the path of the Israelites its just a judgement and all men are not equal in the eyes of your god. When he slaughters children by his or an Israelite hand he judges them worthy of execution?

    “The same God who commanded the Israelite people during the Mosaic Covenant to stone Sabbath breakers, and homosexuals, and fornicators, is the same God who today warns that “all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire.” ”

    Some of us just see that as voices in the head. Presumably the same voices that are commanding Nigerian Christians to burn witches.

    “However, in the coming judgment, at the end of the age, it is God Himself who will personally cast sinners, and liars, and atheists, and fornicators into Hell.”

    What with the brutal and bloody history of Christianity and other religions God can have a day off that day, there will be no-one left to cast into Hell “personally” (why create a being just to cast into Hell anyway – and was Isaac not rewarded with many slaves for telling a lie in your moral tome).

    With regards to evil, you can argue semantics if you like but killing is obviously anti-social. We, as a species, can measure ourselves by how we treat others including lawbreakers. We, as a civilised society, can measure ourselves by how we treat those who may offend us but do us no harm including – for some – homosexuals, atheists and fornicators (no shortage of them in the bible!). Think of breaking the speed limit in a car, we managed to outlaw that without recourse to your book, all it requires is consensus. I have been to countries where religious law is the only law and I wont be going back anytime soon. Follow your own path to your god as you wish but neither he nor you have a monopoly on morality, some of us can think for ourselves and if we care for our society enough we should be able easily to differentiate between right and wrong and the grey areas in between that you clearly fail to recognise. If we use the moral compass of your god (or others) we will be lucky to find the door, never mind salvation.

  90. Woody Tanaka

    Adiel

    Again, where’s the proof that this “God” chap even exists and isn’t just the fantasical imaginings of ignorant goat herders a few millenia ago??

    Further, the notion that the Old Testament God is “holy” or “good” is absolute nonsense to anyone with the ability to read, reason and possessing a conscience. If such a freak even existed, the fact that he would murder so many innocent babies and children in his pathetic temper tantrums (see, e.g., Sodom, Gomorrah, world-wide flood, etc.) is prima facie proof that he is not holy, but wholly evil and unworthy of anything but scorn. It makes me question the sense of anyone who would lower themselves to worship such a beast.

  91. @Woody Tanaka

    The person, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Who do you say that Jesus Christ is?

  92. Woody Tanaka

    @Adiel
    “The person, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    How is that proof of God? If I were to take your claims by what you belief, you are essentially answering my call for proof of God by pointing to the story of God. That’s not proof.

    But, no matter, what then is your proof that these things regarding this Jesus fellow (especially the resurrection part) actually occurred and wasn’t just a story embellished upon a story embellished upon a story??

    Further, it doesn’t matter who I say that Jesus Christ is. I’m not making the claim that he is the utmost being in the universe; you are. Whether I think he was a wholly fictional character; a real person who was too stupid to get out of the way of the local religious authorities and the Roman Empire; or an mixture of both, is compeletly irrelevant.

    The questions that are relevant are: what proof do you have 1) that such a thing as a God exists, and 2) that this Jesus fellow is actually him.

    Further, tell me, seeing as how you believe the truth of those stories about Sodom and Gomorrah and the floods, you must believe that there were innocent, precious babies, infants and children, in the very dawn of life, whose lives were brutally and horrifically snuffed out by burning and drowning. They died shreiking in fear, pain and terror. How can you live with yourself, worship this thing that could do such an evil, dispicable act to innocent babies?? How can burning infants to death is consistent with an all-loving, all-forgiving, just being?? Why would you want to worship a mass, serial baby killer, about the most dispicable thing imaginable??

  93. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    Since none of the authors of the Christian bible ever met Joshua of Nazareth, heard him preach, observed his execution, or would have known who he was if he walked into a room, their information is all second or third hand. That’s called hearsay and is unacceptable in US courts because it can’t be cross examined. Thus, there is no more direct evidence that such an individual ever lived then there is in the existence of the tooth fairy.

  94. SLC says:

    “Since none of the authors of the Christian bible ever met Joshua of Nazareth, heard him preach, observed his execution, or would have known who he was if he walked into a room, their information is all second or third hand

    But what does God’s Word say?

    The Apostle Peter said:

    “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

    The Apostle John said:

    “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

    The Apostle Paul said:

    “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. “

  95. @Woody Tanaka

    The God of the Bible is just as terrible as He is wonderful. Read Deuteronomy 28:15 till the end of the chapter. More than that, in the New Testament He warns that He will punish every unrepentant sinner with eternal conscious torment in Hell. God is a just Judge who is angry with the wicked every day.

    On what basis do you judge God? What is the standard that you are using? Is it a relative standard rendering it ultimately meaningless? Or is it an objective, absolute, transcendent standard by which a person can actually call something evil? Do you know what the ultimate standard of morality is? The nature of God. The higher standard that you are unwittingly appealing to, by which you judge God as evil, is the perfectly righteous nature of God!

    The reason God judged those nations as He did, and will judge the word as He will, is because He is a holy God who abhors sin. Wickedness, your wickedness, is an abominable and repulsive stench to His nostrils. It makes Him want to throw up (Revelation 3:16). Your unrighteousness infuriates Him with a holy and white hot righteous indignation. We ought to be thanking Him that He has not cast every single one of us into Hell already. Think about it! How many acts of fornication take place in America every single day? How many porn movies are made and watched every hour? How many unborn babies are murdered every day? How many blasphemies (as the ones you are posting) are committed every day and God patiently holds back the full force of His judgment against us?

    Regarding whether the babies were innocent (as innocent as the unborn in the womb who are slaughtered by the millions by murderers) in a sense they were. They had committed no personal evil. In a sense they weren’t as they were sons of Adam and are sinful by nature. At the end of the day, since we know that God is perfectly righteous and just and it is impossible for Him to be otherwise lest He stop being God, we must conclude that His judgments were righteous. God is the standard.

    However there is a HUGE difference between the infinitely holy and spotlessly pure and perfectly righteous and just God judging a nation or a people, and a sinner murdering people. God cannot murder people. He righteously judges people. Only sinners with wicked motives murder people.

  96. @Woody Tanaka

    Now, I have a question for you…

    Please read the following and tell me how you understand it. How would you summarize this chapter of Scripture:

    1 Who has believed our report?
    And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
    2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
    And as a root out of dry ground.
    He has no form or comeliness;
    And when we see Him,
    There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
    3 He is despised and rejected by men,
    A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
    And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
    He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
    4 Surely He has borne our griefs
    And carried our sorrows;
    Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
    Smitten by God, and afflicted.
    5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
    He was bruised for our iniquities;
    The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
    And by His stripes we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned, every one, to his own way;
    And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
    7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
    Yet He opened not His mouth;
    He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
    And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    So He opened not His mouth.
    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
    And who will declare His generation?
    For He was cut off from the land of the living;
    For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
    9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
    But with the rich at His death,
    Because He had done no violence,
    Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
    He has put Him to grief.
    When You make His soul an offering for sin,
    He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
    And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
    11 He shall see the labor of His soul,and be satisfied.
    By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
    For He shall bear their iniquities.
    12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
    And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
    Because He poured out His soul unto death,
    And He was numbered with the transgressors,
    And He bore the sin of many,
    And made intercession for the transgressors.

  97. Tristan Croll

    Time to leave this one, I think. A lost cause – brain’s irrevocably fried, by the looks of it.

  98. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    Unfortunately, the individuals named by Mr. Corchado didn’t write the books of the Christian bible. Thus, everything in the text consists of hearsay, not admissible.

    Re Tristan Croll

    I doubt very much that Mr. Corchado ever had a brain to fry. However, he is typical of the type of mentality that one finds among the born agains. Their minds are made up, the facts are irrelevant. I encountered such an individual who called himself Jon S several years ago over at Jason Rosenhouses’ blog. And the bottom line is, it is futile to attempt to have a discussion with such persons.

  99. Woody Tanaka

    @Athiel,

    You still keep referring to God and Jesus, yet you’ve STILL not given me any proof, whatsoever, that these people/person or whatever, actually exists. Surely, you would not devote your very life to something unless you’ve established for certain, it exists. Given the magnitude of the commitment you’ve expressed here, surely there must be a plethora of overwhelmingly objective evidence establishing this God to whom you devote your whole life. Right? You wouldn’t give up you whole life chasing after something without concrete, irrefutable objective evidence that it even exists. Right? So, please, share with me the evidence that this God you are talking about actually exists.

    So until you come up with some evidence that this God exists, I can’t take three thousand year old threats about him shaking his thunder stick at the bad people all too seriously. The Deuteronomy section you cited reads like the same trick most religions have, whereby failure to follow the rules results in horrific retribution, or other childish nonsense. It’s just a lame attempt used to scare people into suppressing their reasoning and to blindly follow the religious leaders who accumulate (earthly) power in the religion. You can see that, right?

    I judge this God character, as everyone judges everyone else, by using the intelligence, reasoning and ethical sensitivity which has resulted from billions of years of evolution and applying it to the facts at hand. And under that basis, any being who would burn and drown wholly and completely innocent babies, infants, toddlers and children is evil. You may define evil in such a way that burning a child to death is fine with you (in fact, you seem to think that burning babies en mass is an expression of “perfect righteousness”), but that doesn’t change the fact that the act is evil to all but, perhaps, sociopaths.

    Further, these infants, babies and children were wholly innocent. The nonsense of them being “children of Adam and sinful by nature” is nothing more than post-hoc justification (so that you don’t have to face the fact that you worship someone who gets his jollies killing and torturing babies and kids), coupled with a little blaming of the victims. Besides the fact that there was no Adam (Genesis is a myth no different than the story of Loki and Zeus), no one is “sinful” or “wicked” by nature. First, “sin” is a nullity. It is a metric devised by those seeking power as a way of holding power over the powerless. It doesn’t actually correspond with anything in life outside of the power structure of religion. Further, the word “innocent” means nothing if it means that suckling babies deserve – deserve!! – to be burned to death. Surely you cannot believe such evil nonsense. Right?

    And God murdered many, many people, in the stories you believe, often in cold blood.

    As for the quote from Isaiah, I’d say that it is a discussion of the messiah, which the Jews believe one day will come and be super keen. It is a fairly typical idea in many religions: “If you continue to believe and you are downtrodden, don’t lose the faith and you will be rewarded one day.” It’s kind of like the opposite of the Deuteronomy cite you mentioned earlier, with the same goal of furthering the power of those in control, by preventing rational though.

    Any idea when I might get some of that proof of the existence of God and Jesus from you?

  100. Aaron Tobias

    Woody,

    From totally secular historians – entirely apart from the Bible – we can determine the following about Jesus:

    1) He existed (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, the Jewish Talmud)
    2) He was born of Mary, the daughter of Helo, with some doubt as to who His father was (Talmud)
    3) He did miracles (Josephus, Talmud)
    4) He claimed to be God (Rabbi Eliezer)
    5) He was called the Messiah (Josephus)
    6) He had a brother named James (Josephus)
    7) He was crucified…(Josephus, Talmud, Tacitus)
    8)…on the night before Passover… (Talmud)
    9)…at the hands of Pontius Pilate (Josephus, Tacitus)
    10) Jesus had disciples (Talmud)
    11) Shortly after His death, His disciples began saying that He was raised from the dead (Josephus, Talmud)
    12) Christianity spread like wildfire, beginning in Jerusalem and reaching into Rome within a few years (Josephus, Tacitus)
    13) Christians in the first century worshipped Jesus (Pliny the Younger)

    As for God, there’s plenty of proofs that He exists, too:

    The laws of science say: all things were put into motion (Newton’s Law of Gravity – all things in motion was caused to be moved by something else)… at a singular point in time (2nd Law of Thermodynamics)… at a certain place (The Expanding Universe)… by an outside source (1st Principle of Causality). These laws are LAWS of science – not theory. In addition the sciences (including the science of statistical probability) drown out the idea that life could have arisen by random chance. The science of statistical probability show that prophecies given in the Bible could not have been fulfilled by some random person or chain of events.

    Yes, God has left His fingerprints everywhere, in nearly every realm of study. We just have to be so brave as to objectively examine them.

  101. SLC

    Re Woody Tanaka

    Riochard Dawkins said it best.

    <I.Richard Dawkins
    "Yahweh: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.""

    Re Aaron Tobais

    1. Excuse me, the Talmud was written long before the alleged person Joshua of Nazareth was born.

    2. Josephus never met him and was only repeating second and third hand stories he had heard.

    3. He also had two sisters.

    4. By the way, not all Christian denominations agree as to the relationship between Joshua and James. The Roman Catholic Church thinks they were cousins. The Eastern Orthodox Church thinks that they were 1/2 brothers with James being the son of Joseph of Nazareth by an earlier marriage. Mainline Protestant churches think that James and the two girls were younger siblings of Joshua who were born to Mary and Joseph in the usual way.

    5. The spread of the new Christian faith is certainly impressive, although it didn’t really take off until Constantine recognized it ias the official religion of Rome. I would also point out that the Mormon faith has also enjoyed an impressive spread (as has Islam) despite the overwhelming evidence that Joseph Smith was a fraud of the first order.

    6. Mr. Tobias is apparently unaware that not all events in physics have causes. For instance, as I mention previously in this thread, radioactive decay has no cause; it is purely random in nature, just like roulette and dice. There is thus no reason to believe that the big bang had a cause (it could have been due to a momentary random discontinuity in the quantum vacuum). There is thus no such law as the Law of Causality.

    7. Apparently Mr. Tobias is quoting the phony statistical reasoning of William Dumbski in claiming that life could not have arisen through random events. Total poppycock.

  102. Vindrisi

    You count the Talmud, a rabbi, and Josephus as secular historians? Moreover, are you not aware that ancient historians very often didn’t differentiate between documentary evidence and hearsay? Have you read ancient historians? Aside from Thucydides, they were constantly citing the occurrence of miracles and rumors of miracles, always in places they had not seen. And if you are taking what the ancient historians at face value, you might also have to find yourself believing their statements that the Christians engaged in cannibalism, completely lacked morals, and believed that, as Aurelius wrote, the soul was saved by pure obstinacy. Your argument from the ancient histories is sloppy at best and completely non-persuasive to those not already persuaded to believe it.

    Same to your “arguments” from science, which also show that you don’t know much about science.

    Frankly, I don’t understand the urge to claim definitive proof of any god given that belief in a god is supposed to be based on faith, and not evidence. Making what are essentially dishonest arguments to justify belief, then, seems both a matter of missing the point and of giving insult to your god and religion.

  103. Woody Tanaka

    @Aaron,

    Even if we use your dubious description of the Talmud as “secular”, these historical accounts can establish nothing more than that people believed that there was a historical man who preached in that time and place, for whom many miraculous things are attributed, who was executed by the local religious and/or civil authorities. None of that establishes that he was a god, god-like, a demi-god, an avatar of god, or God. What I’m looking for is concrete, objective evidence that God exists, such that it would justify devoting my whole life to him. Not too great a demand, I mean, you wouldn’t buy a car unless you thought you were getting your money’s worth, right?

    As for your discussion of God, modern science shows that at least the first and fourth things you list are false, (see, e.g, radioactive decay and virtual particles) so your conclusion that this somehow proves that God exists is a non-starter. Further, even if it did establish that there was a god, it doesn’t establish the existence of the petulant, evil bastard in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Further, statistical probability does not show that abiogenesis is impossible. Most arguments making such assertions are laughably flawed and display little knowledge of actual science.

    I don’t know what predications in the bible you are talking about, but I’ve yet to see any predictions in the bible that wasn’t a fanciful reinterpretation of a previous writing, known to the latter writer or a retconning of the Old Testament to fit the New.

    It would be easy for a God such as the one you claim to exist to have put an absolutely unmistakable and specific piece of knowledge in the bible that could not have been known to the people who wrote it to show that it was not fanciful writing by men, but something that could only be explained as being from god or time travelers. Something like the distance in light years to the 50 nearest stars, or a metes and bounds description of the American continents, or the volumes of the planets and moons, or a description of the major structures in the bottom of the seas, or the genome of a fruit fly, or many, many similar things. THAT would be an impressive thing. Instead we get some laughable science and something like, “Isaiah said ‘stripes’ and Jesus was whipped. PREDICTION!!!” The fact that all these so-called biblical predictions have nothing going for them but interpretation and cloudy language discloses them to be parlor tricks, at best.

    I am brave, and I am objectively looking for these supposed fingerprints, which is why I keep asking for them. Surely if all of you religious folks devote your very lives to this personage, you would have irrefutable, rock-solid, easily seen, and unabashedly objective evidence that, as a preliminary matter, he exists. That’s all I’m asking for. Really. It’s not too difficult, if such evidence exists.

  104. Aaron Tobias

    Alright! That’s encouraging. So… let’s begin **cracks knuckles**

    1) You asked for proof God or Jesus existed. I gave you proof Jesus existed. Done. Who He was has now become the question (addressed in a minute).

    2) The critique of the sources. They are valid and most are secular, but realize your argument about the ‘secularness’ of the Talmud backfires against you. Why? Because the Talmud, while maybe not ‘secular,’ is quite OPPOSED to Christianity and Jesus. So anything that it – the enemy of Christ – verifies about the life of Christ can be banked on. The testimony of your enemy is one of the greatest proofs there is. If your enemy agrees with you – and to his detriment – then it is certainly true. And SLC – no it wasn’t written before Christ. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Your ignorance darkens your entire post.

    3) Science. Neither Newton’s LAW of Gravity nor the Principle of Causality have been proven false. Not a bit.

    4) Life from nothing? This was proven false back in the 1800s! Life does not come from non-life. And evolution was borne in the scientific era when flies spontaneously rose from meat, the cell was a simple blob of gel, and the universe was infinite. It is an outdated theory held onto by desperate men who still believe in fairy tales. Stanley Miller’s famous experiments have long since been discredited by the non-religious scientific community. Life cannot come from non-life; it is one of the most basic principles of science.

    5) God revealing secrets of nature. In regards to science, the Bible and was well ahead of the world’s curve. It revealed – before science or discovery and found these things – that there were currents in the ocean, that light had division, that the life of a man was in the blood (as opposed to the practice of ‘bleeding a man’ to cure him of sickness as was popular up until only a century ago), that the earth was round, AND that it was ‘suspended on nothing.’

    6) Prophecy. Your statement betrays the fact that you have never researched this. The prophecies given are extremely specific, telling of future kingdoms, who – by name – would overthrow Babylon and how he would do so, how the city of Tyre – in two stages at two different times – would be laid waste and what would be occurring there even 2600 years later, what kingdoms would follow Babylon, how those two kingdoms would be overthrown by Greece, and how that kingdom would be divided into four lesser kingdoms. He also gave to Daniel the details of the future progression of world kingdoms – even minute, intimate details of the royal families. These are not vague, mystic prophecies. And even beyond these that I’ve listed, concerning a future, coming messiah, the Bible said where, when, and how this ‘savior’ or Messiah would be born. It also predicted this Messiah’s lineage and that he would be preceded by a herald. Then it said that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, predicting the exact date. It says that this Messiah will be rejected by his people, plotted against, sold for pieces of silver by a friend, that this money would be used to buy a potter’s field, that he would be crucified (described 600 years before crucifixion was invented), that he would be thirsty during the crucifixion and that thirst would be satiated by vinegar, that his side would be pierced, and that they would cast lots for his clothing. Then a man shows up filling all of these ‘prophecies’ to a ‘T.’ Coincidence? No. And the science of statistical probability has been applied to only a few of these prophecies and has been shown that it is impossible for these to have been fulfilled by a random person. No, someone KNEW what was going to happen before it did. How? Only one explanation is suitable.

    I love your final statement, for that describes ME. I am a skeptic by nature. I HAVE to have proof. And it is because of said proof that I believe. Not because some old guy in a church robe told me or anything… because I’m a skeptic and I need proof to believe. I would LOVE to share this with you if you’d like. Of course, in this forum it is difficult – nay, impossible – to give EVERYTHING to you… but enough to whet your appetite. I would love to explore every one of these points with you further, in-depth, dealing with every objection you have. You’re right: it’s not too difficult if such evidence exists. I will continue on this forum, but if you’d like to go even deeper in a more workable arena, feel free to email me at nubnubnub1@yahoo.com.

  105. Vindrisi

    Aaron,

    You honestly think you have answered the criticisms of your “arguments”? Really? You are either delusional, completely unacquainted with rules of argument or evidence, or are simply another dishonest evangelical. I might point out that you concepts about science are also woefully misinformed.

    As to your statement:
    Only one explanation is suitable.

    Not even close. Look over your work again, step out of your dogma a bit, and you will see the foolishness of what you said there. As it stands, your argument ends up being the usual evangelical requirement of belief prior to acceptance of the basis of supposed basis of belief.

    Mind you, I don’t begrudge you the right to belief that provides you with meaning and comfort in life, but to dishonestly claim evidence and argument to compel others to hold your belief, that I do have a problem with. It speaks to poor thinking if not poor character. Do you think Christ would be proud to have a negative stereotype such as the one you are portraying of his followers held out so boldly to non-Christians? All you are doing here is confirming highly negative perceptions of Christians.

  106. SLC

    Re Aaron Tobias

    I stand corrected relative to the timing of the Talmud. However, the notion that the Talmud is a non-religious document is piffle.

    As for the existence of Joshua of Nazareth, there is not a jot or a tittle of written contemporaneous testimony of anyone who ever met him, anyone who ever heard one of his sermons, or anyone who witnessed his execution. It’s all hearsay and hearsay is not admissible in any court in the US.

    Would Mr. Tobias care to describe to us what the cause of radioactive decay is? He can’t because there is no cause.

    Would Mr. Tobias care to provide a soure for the information that the scientific community has discredited Stanley Millers’ experiment. The only question about the experiments is whether the initial conditions of the earth at the time of the appearance of the first replicators was the same as the conditions in the experiment.

    By the way, Mr. Tobias has made the same mistake that all creationists make in conflating the theory of evolution with the theory of abiogenesis. The theory of evolution describes what happened after the first appearance of life, defined as the appearance of the first replicators. Abiogensis is the theory of how life first appeared. The two theories are entirely separate as evolution is a problem in biology while abiogensis is a problem in chemistry (the big bang from which the universe began, by contrast is a problem in physics).

  107. SLC

    Re Aaron Tobias

    By the way, according to Wikipedia, the Talmud is in two parts, one written about 200 CE, the other about 500 CE. These hardly count as contemporaneous accounts.

  108. Aaron Tobias

    SLC: The tradition held through the Jews – the enemies of the cross – was handed down from those present and were thus preserved by the Jews. Had Jesus never existed, they would have either 1) maintained that in the Talmud, 2) simply NEVER mentioned Him, or 3) denied that He ever existed (which would be the best thing for their theological viewpoint). But they did none of these. They acknowledged His existence and their reasons for rejecting Him as the Messiah.

  109. Vindrisi

    SLC
    I think you are going a bit far in dismissing Jesus’ existence. There are enough references to him in Roman primary sources to support his existence and possession of a small following at the time of his execution. It at least seems the more parsimonious explanation to me for the references. I also buy the outline of his execution by Pilate described in the gospels because they fit with what we know of both Pilate and of how the Romans and others would have reacted to anyone claiming to be king of the Jews (Judea was under Roman rule, and a person claiming the throne without Rome’s blessing was a security threat) or a messiah (the Jewish leaders were afraid of what such a person might cause – and what happened in the Bar Kockhba revolt under Hadrian proved them right to worry) in a way that I don’t think a purely made up account would. To be clear, though, I don’t think there is much that can be said about the historical Jesus, but I don’t think his existence can be simply disregarded.

  110. Aaron Tobias

    Vindrisi:

    And how, sir, are you to arrogantly stand there and claim that I have no evidence? Have you asked for any? Have you examined it? You, then, are accusing me of the very thing that you are doing: making assumptions based on a preconceived bias.

    And from this straw man that you have created, you then assault my character. Jesus, sir, commanded that I stand for truth in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. I am only attempting to reason in the midst of biased attacks from anti-supernaturalists. We have had no banter on this issue and yet you attack me. You, in turn, are completing the stereotype of the athest: a person that will not examine the evidence presented before him but instead hides behind his own preconcieved ideas of reality using personal attacks to make himself feel superior. So what are we to do?

    How about a logical, coherent, and respectful conversation? Both of us will, no doubt, enter into it with BOTH of our ideas of reality; our preconceptions. But that is no reason for us to dismiss each other’s arguments: it is reason to examine them. My email remains posted; feel free to engage me in a civil manner.

  111. Vindrisi

    the Jews – the enemies of the cross

    So Aaron’s an anti-Semite, too. Fancy that. Jesus the Jew would have been so proud to count you as a follower, I’m sure.

  112. Woody Tanaka

    1) Actually, my initial request, albeit to another poster, was for proof that God exists. He pointed to the stories about Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, etc. I then asked for proof of Jesus, with the assumption that it would be in context of him being God, not just some jerk schlepping around Jerusalem who couldn’t keep himself off of a Roman cross. I don’t doubt that such a man could have existed, nor would I find it particularly interesting, absent the “he is also God” angle.

    2) The testimony of an enemy can taken into consideration as to its veracity, but it only establishes that the source doesn’t have that one cause of error. It doesn’t establish, however, that they are free from error on other grounds, like repeating stuff without first-hand knowledge, ignorance, etc. A perfect example is the “miracle” bit. Everyone in those days believed that miracles happened. So that the Talmud asserts that people said that Jesus did miracles doesn’t really add anything. Further, even if all the non-secular stuff was considered, it still doesn’t establish the whole “God exists and Mary’s boy be he” thing I’m looking for.

    3) Science has absolutely established that things can be put in motion without being caused to be moved by another thing, and has also firmly established that not everything that exists or moves in the universe has a direct cause. Again, see, radioactive decay and virtual particles. Thus, this so-called proof of God is false.

    4) What was disproved centuries ago was spontaneous generation, not abiogenesis. While we do not have a complete understanding of the pathway that it actually took, the possible pathways are clear and being studied to this day. Much work, though, needs to be done. Further, there are literally billions of data points pointing to not only the fact that evolution has occurred and is occurring, but also that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is one of the, if not the main driving force of evolution. To reject it in the 21st century is delusional or silly. Evolution is more well established than just about any other theory in science. You might as well believe that disease is caused by evil spirits.

    5) First, ocean currents are not, in any sense but poetic, “paths of the seas.” Second, I’m not sure what you even mean by “light has division.” Light, itself, is divisible, in the sense that certain spectrums can be blocked out or separated or emitted separately, but light, itself, is continuous. Third, you must be joking if you think that pre-biblical ancients did not understand that if life was not sustainable without blood. They practiced animal sacrifices (and cut each other in wars) specificallly to remove the blood in order to end the life. While bloodletting was practiced, there was no illusion that the blood was unnecessary; rather it was based on superstitious beliefs that science since showed to be false. Further, Isaiah talks about the circle of the earth. The Earth is not a circle, it is an irregular oblate sphereoid. Moreover, to say that the Earth is “suspended on nothing” is meaningless when you remove the object of that sentence from the bottom of a gravity well. However, to the extend that it can be construed to say that nothing is acting upon it to keep it in place (not that the Earth is “in place” in any sense of that phrase), that would be false, as both gravity and inertia are at place to suspend the Earth approximately 1 A.U. from the Sun.

    Of course, the bible also abounds “scientific miracles” like cud-chewing hares, four legged grasshoppers and pi being equal to 3.

    6) As for the prophesies, please, set forth exactly what prophesies were made and how they were fulfilled in life. Detail this amazing specificity. I am actually interested.

    Don’t bother with the Jesus fulfilling OT stuff, though, because it doesn’t take a genius to write the NT to “fulfill” stuff in the Old, so we can’t say that they were prophesies, or just stuff made up to make it look like the Old Testament was fulfilled. For example, I could, today, write a story about a man who lived and died in the 1950s who would fulfill “prophesies” that I might concoct from the text of “Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter.” That doesn’t mean that they’re prophetic. The same with the New Testament.

    Oh, and don’t forget, to explain how it a “prophesy” for the book of Daniel to discuss things that happened prior to the book was written.

    If you believe you have the proof of God and Jesus, where is it? Pointing to vague interpretations in an old book tells me nothing, because whose to say that the authors of those books were being truthful?

    You’ve said that you are a skeptic by nature and that you need proof of things. Tell me, what is the proof that made you sure that these people who wrote this book, none of whom you’ve ever met, and none of whose veracity you can judge, are worth listening to, especially given the multitude of things in the book that are flat-out wrong (such as the entirety of Genesis, e.g.), and the often hideous and evil nature of the supposedly ‘good’ God, Jehovah/Yahweh??? Playing fast and loose with poetic translation and misstating modern science is not proof, in my opinion. I’m genuinely curious to hear what was so strong that it made you devote your life to this idea.

    Also, if you are such a big skeptic, surely there must be something of traditional Christian, Protestant doctrine that you are so skeptical about that you reject it as nonsense. Please share with us what they are. (Perhaps you believe that God was being unabashedly evil when he burned all those babies, infants and children to death at Sodom and Gomorrah?? I hope so, at least.)

    Finally, there is no need to discuss this anywhere but here, in this public forum.

  113. Woody Tanaka

    1) Actually, my initial request, albeit to another poster, was for proof that God exists. He pointed to the stories about Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, etc. I then asked for proof of Jesus, with the assumption that it would be in context of him being God, not just some jerk schlepping around Jerusalem who couldn’t keep himself off of a Roman cross. I don’t doubt that such a man could have existed, nor would I find it particularly interesting, absent the “he is also God” angle.

    2) The testimony of an enemy can taken into consideration as to its veracity, but it only establishes that the source doesn’t have that one cause of error. It doesn’t establish, however, that they are free from error on other grounds, like repeating stuff without first-hand knowledge, ignorance, etc. A perfect example is the “miracle” bit. Everyone in those days believed that miracles happened. So that the Talmud asserts that people said that Jesus did miracles doesn’t really add anything. Further, even if all the non-secular stuff was considered, it still doesn’t establish the whole “God exists and Mary’s boy be he” thing I’m looking for.

    3) Science has absolutely established that things can be put in motion without being caused to be moved by another thing, and has also firmly established that not everything that exists or moves in the universe has a direct cause. Again, see, radioactive decay and virtual particles. Thus, this so-called proof of God is false.

    4) What was disproved centuries ago was spontaneous generation, not abiogenesis. While we do not have a complete understanding of the pathway that it actually took, the possible pathways are clear and being studied to this day. Much work, though, needs to be done. Further, there are literally billions of data points pointing to not only the fact that evolution has occurred and is occurring, but also that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is one of the, if not the main driving force of evolution. To reject it in the 21st century is delusional or silly. Evolution is more well established than just about any other theory in science. You might as well believe that disease is caused by evil spirits.

    5) First, ocean currents are not, in any sense but poetic, “paths of the seas.” Second, I’m not sure what you even mean by “light has division.” Light, itself, is divisible, in the sense that certain spectrums can be blocked out or separated or emitted separately, but light, itself, is continuous. Third, you must be joking if you think that pre-biblical ancients did not understand that if life was not sustainable without blood. They practiced animal sacrifices (and cut each other in wars) specificallly to remove the blood in order to end the life. While bloodletting was practiced, there was no illusion that the blood was unnecessary; rather it was based on superstitious beliefs that science since showed to be false. Further, Isaiah talks about the circle of the earth. The Earth is not a circle, it is an irregular oblate sphereoid. Moreover, to say that the Earth is “suspended on nothing” is meaningless when you remove the object of that sentence from the bottom of a gravity well. However, to the extend that it can be construed to say that nothing is acting upon it to keep it in place (not that the Earth is “in place” in any sense of that phrase), that would be false, as both gravity and inertia are at place to suspend the Earth approximately 1 A.U. from the Sun.

    Of course, the bible also abounds “scientific miracles” like cud-chewing hares, four legged grasshoppers and pi being equal to 3.

    6) As for the prophesies, please, set forth exactly what prophesies were made and how they were fulfilled in life. Detail this amazing specificity. I am actually interested.

    Don’t bother with the Jesus fulfilling OT stuff, though, because it doesn’t take a genius to write the NT to “fulfill” stuff in the Old, so we can’t say that they were prophesies, or just stuff made up to make it look like the Old Testament was fulfilled. For example, I could, today, write a story about a man who lived and died in the 1950s who would fulfill “prophesies” that I might concoct from the text of “Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter.” That doesn’t mean that they’re prophetic. The same with the New Testament.

    Oh, and don’t forget, to explain how it a “prophesy” for the book of Daniel to discuss things that happened prior to the book was written.

    If you believe you have the proof of God and Jesus, where is it? Pointing to vague interpretations in an old book tells me nothing, because whose to say that the authors of those books were being truthful?

    You’ve said that you are a skeptic by nature and that you need proof of things. Tell me, what is the proof that made you sure that these people who wrote this book, none of whom you’ve ever met, and none of whose veracity you can judge, are worth listening to, especially given the multitude of things in the book that are flat-out wrong (such as the entirety of Genesis, e.g.), and the often hideous and evil nature of the supposedly ‘good’ God, Jehovah/Yahweh??? Playing fast and loose with poetic translation and misstating modern science is not proof, in my opinion. I’m genuinely curious to hear what was so strong that it made you devote your life to this idea.

    Also, if you are such a big skeptic, surely there must be something of traditional Christian, Protestant doctrine that you are so skeptical about that you reject it as nonsense. Please share with us what they are. (Perhaps you believe that God was being unabashedly evil when he burned all those babies, infants and children to death at Sodom and Gomorrah?? I hope so, at least.)

    Finally, there is no need to discuss this anywhere but here, in this public forum.

  114. Aaron Tobias

    Wow. That’s nice. I guess that throws out the civil, repectful conversation. But just to elaborate for others… **sigh**

    The Jews persecuted the CHRISTIANS. That’s what I mean by enemies of the cross. THEY considered the cross and Christians to be an offense and their enemies. I am the furthest thing from an anti-Semite; I highly respect them and their place in this world. As a Christian, I consider them my brethren.

    But then again, you don’t try to understand, do you? You just make things up and condemn people on your whims, don’t you?. **Sigh**

  115. Vindrisi

    Um, Aaron, who said I am an atheist?

    Again, Aaron, to people who don’t already believe what you believe, your arguments are completely non-compelling, and, frankly, make little if any sense. Step outside of your dogma, and look at them and you will see that if you are honest.

    You called the Jews “enemies of the cross”. That is an appellation that has been a hallmark of Antisemitism for 2000 years now. And yes, many Jews throughout history have considered the Christians to be enemies – the fact that Christians have tried to exterminate them a great many times in the past 1700 years or so might have something to do with it.

    Again, you are showing yourself here to be the kind of dishonest and dishonorable Christian who only serves to denigrate other Christians and who would have shamed Christ by the association of your dishonesty and lack of honor with him.

  116. Vindrisi

    Um…who said I am an atheist? Makin’ some unfounded assumptions there, boy-o.

    Aaron, do you realize that “enemies of the cross” is an appellation of the Jews has been a hallmark of Antisemites for 2000 years? If you don’t want to be recognized as one, you might not want to use their words. Also, yes, many Jews have considered Christians to be their enemies. The many, many times that Christians have tried to exterminate them over the centuries might have something to do with that.

    And, really, look at your arguments again. To someone who does not already believe exactly what and as you believe, they are completely non-persuasive and, indeed, nonsensical. Are you really so blinkered and dishonest that you can’t see that?

    You really are coming across as the sort of dishonest and dishonorable Christian whose obnoxious and aggressive cluelessness discredits all Christians, and would be a shame to Christ himself.

  117. Woody Tanaka

    I probably should have written:

    “For example, I could, today, write a story about a man who lived and died in the 1950s who would fulfill ‘prophesies’ that I might concoct from the text of books written before the 1950′s.” (In retrospect, the references to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter don’t make any sense referring to a man from the 1950s.)

  118. SLC

    Re Aaron Tobias

    Mr. Tobias, the man who proclaims a LAW OF CAUSALITY has now been asked 4 times to tell us what the cause of radioactive decay is. We are awaiting Mr. Tobias’ response with bated breath.

    Re Vindrisi

    Point taken. However, it should be noted that there were a number of itinerant preachers traveling around giving sermons at that particular point in time so they might well be conflating several of these individuals with a single person. Still and all, I stand by my claim that there is no written record of any first hand witnesses to the existence of Joshua of Nazareth. The accounts are all second hand or worse. Mr. Tobias’ so-called evidence is piffle.

    Withe respect to the alleged execution, I recall reading that Pontius Pilate was not entirely happy with the crowds’ choice of Barabbas as clearly the latter whose position was off the Romans would have appeared to be a greater threat to the formers’ position then Joshua.

    Incidentally, the Muslim account of the events on Good Friday says that the man executed was Judas Iscariot and that Joshua was told by Pontius Pilate to get out of Dodge and don’t come back. They aren’t entirely clear as to where he went, although Damascus has been mentioned.

  119. Vindrisi

    SLC,

    I think we are in agreement on the historical Jesus. You are certainly correct that there are no first-hand accounts (at least non-mythologized ones if we accept that at least part of the gospels were written by people actually familiar with Jesus the person). I had not thought of the point about conflation of multiple itinerant preachers. I tend to think that would result in the basic story corresponding to a single individual, with subsequent elaboration by addition of elements from others.

    I don’t really get your point about Barabbas. Could you clarify if you get a moment?

  120. Aaron Tobias

    “Finally, there is no need to discuss this anywhere but here, in this public forum.”

    Alrighty… but it’s gonna get full… quick! But what the heck… In an effort to keep it concise and focused,

    1) Cool. I understand the context better now. After all, it’s a ridiculous thing to say that a first-century rabbi named “Jesus” (and filled the general profile given) never existed.

    2) Enemy testimony: we both agree it’s some of the best available, and what the Talmud corroborates is that Jesus performed what, we’ll say, “appeared to be” miraculous events. The source of these “miracles” may be disputed (as you pointed out), but it corroborates the gospel accounts that he performed miraculous signs regardless of how you interpret that. Not a biggie, though.

    3) I will, since it’s been mentioned twice now, examine radioactive decay and ‘virtual’ particles. On a quick note, though, on radioactive decay: is it similar (or the same thing as) Proton decay? Because Proton decay also points to the fact of a universe at the mercy of entropy – thus proving that it cannot be infinite and had a definite beginning. How does proton decay speak against either of the two principles/laws of science that you brought up? But despite this, within the context of the argument, Newton’s law is trivial and the Principle of Causality does come into play. My main points through science, however, stand: the universe is not eternal or infinite but had a specific beginning. What cause it? That’s where the principle of causality comes into play… “whatever has a beginning has to have a cause.” Just letting you know the context.

    4) Spontaneous generation vs. abiogenesis (vs. panspermia?). We both agree the origins of life itself is scientifically still up in the air. You speak of evidence of evolution, to which I agree with to some extent but still maintain some reservations. As do MANY scientists, by the way. There are far too many holes to call it the ‘most established of any theory.’ Were this the case, you wouldn’t have scientists by the boat-load jumping ship (http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org is one example).

    5) This was a simple, “Where is it,” “Here it is” thing. You asked, I answered. In short, the point was simply to point out many scientific facts that the Bible had pegged before we ever really figured it out. You addressed some, some you didn’t. But this isn’t bad for a book that never even makes it its goal to give science as an evidence for God. It’s just a side-note in the narrative. But in the Bible, there ARE two main proofs that are vocalized throughout: predictive prophecy and the person and resurrection of Jesus Christ. THAT is what the Bible offers as proof (science has just helped out over the past 150 years). And that is what you and I address in the next point:

  121. Aaron Tobias

    6) “As for the prophecies, please, set forth exactly what prophesies were made and how they were fulfilled in life. Detail this amazing specificity. I am actually interested.”

    This is encouraging, and I hope you’re honest. Myself, I LOVE ancient literature and history, so anything of this sort is interesting regardless. And these ancient documents make some claims that we can examine. This, however, is a HUGE topic and will require much typing in this restrictive format. Don’t get me wrong, though – I don’t mind it at all since this will be displayed for all here, and not just kept between you and I.

    Before I start, there is one problem: preconceptions. You say, “I am actually interested,” but then negate that by saying, “don’t bother with the Jesus fulfilling OT stuff, though.” That, my friend, is a big part of it – but fret not, we WILL examine the issues you raised. In addition, I’m sure it would be beneficial for you to not just sit here at the computer and have me spoon-feed you this information, but instead, grab a Bible and read these things for yourself. Do a little true research of your own, not trusting me or the detractors… but come to an informed decision on your own free of any (if possible) bias.

    Ok… prophecy. Let’s start with the ones I mentioned.

    a) Overthrowing of Babylon by Cyrus and Medes/Persians, Isaiah 44:27-45:7

    Isaiah, written in the 8th century BC, gives the name (Cyrus) of the man who would overthrow Babylon and the manner in which he would do so. A century and a half after Isaiah’s death, this prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus the Great of Persia. Though Babylon had been under a long siege, the Babylonians thought they were secure, having stored 20 years worth of supplies and having the Euphrates flow through the city. But on the night of October 12, 539 BC, the Persians, having diverted the Euphrates upstream, sent troops under the wall, through the channel and opened the gates to the city, allowing the Persian army—led by Cyrus—to walk into the city and conquer it with little or no resistance from the Babylonians. It is said that some Babylonians didn’t even know of the ‘regime change’ for many days. Both Herodotus and Xenephon describe this event.

    b) The Fate of the City of Tyre, Ezekiel 26:1-14

    This passage tells of the destruction of the city of Tyre; but it says not only that it would be destroyed, but how and what it would be like afterwards. An excerpt beginning in verse 4:
    “And they will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ declares the Lord God…”

    The passage continues on and names Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (by name) as the one who would destroy Tyre, gives details of how he would do it, and how a future people would continue the conquest and destruction of Tyre, including “throwing your stones and your timbers and debris into the water” (vs. 12) and that Tyre would be a place for “the spreading of nets” (vs. 14).

    The fulfillment? During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (586-573 BC), he laid siege to Tyre for 13 years. This siege was unsuccessful, however, as Tyre had a renowned navy that Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t match and so they were able to keep their city supplied. During these 13 years, the Tyrenians used this navy to move their entire city out to an island about 8 or 900 yards off the mainland. When Nebuchadnezzar finally broke through the walls, he was furious to find only very few people remaining. He destroyed the city and left, leaving the Tyrenians in their safe-haven on the island.

    Fast forward 250 years: in 332 BC, Alexander the Great took his shot at Tyre. Unable to conquer the city, after 7 months of a blockade, Alexander threw the ruins of the city into the sea, scraped it flat, built a causeway to the island, and destroyed the city. Fulfilling the prophecy to a ‘T.’

    c) In Daniel 2:31-44, we read of a prophecy regarding future kingdoms that describes Babylon (the existing one of the time), Medo-Persia and Greece (while Greece was just an isthmus with a few independent city-states), Rome, and the future ‘Kingdom of God.’

    d) In Daniel 8, we read of a prophecy similar to this, but it reveals that Medo-Persia will be the next world empire to arise followed by Greece. Here, Greece is predicted by name to rise after Medo-Persia. But this would have been a ridiculous statement of the time – Greece at this time was not a nation, but an area comprised of dozens of separate, individually governed city-states. This would be akin to saying that Yugoslavia would be the next country to rise to world domination. Here’s the detail:

  122. Aaron Tobias

    6) “As for the prophecies, please, set forth exactly what prophesies were made and how they were fulfilled in life. Detail this amazing specificity. I am actually interested.”

    This is encouraging, and I hope you’re honest. Myself, I LOVE ancient literature and history, so anything of this sort is interesting regardless. And these ancient documents make some claims that we can examine. This, however, is a HUGE topic and will require much typing in this restrictive format. Don’t get me wrong, though – I don’t mind it at all since this will be displayed for all here, and not just kept between you and I.

    Before I start, there is one problem: preconceptions. You say, “I am actually interested,” but then negate that by saying, “don’t bother with the Jesus fulfilling OT stuff, though.” That, my friend, is a big part of it – but fret not, we WILL examine the issues you raised. In addition, I’m sure it would be beneficial for you to not just sit here at the computer and have me spoon-feed you this information, but instead, grab a Bible and read these things for yourself. Do a little true research of your own, not trusting me or the detractors… but come to an informed decision on your own free of any (if possible) bias.

    Ok… prophecy. Let’s start with the ones I mentioned.

    a) Overthrowing of Babylon by Cyrus and Medes/Persians, Isaiah 44:27-45:7
    Isaiah, written in the 8th century BC, gives the name (Cyrus) of the man who would overthrow Babylon and the manner in which he would do so. A century and a half after Isaiah’s death, this prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus the Great of Persia. Though Babylon had been under a long siege, the Babylonians thought they were secure, having stored 20 years worth of supplies and having the Euphrates flow through the city. But on the night of October 12, 539 BC, the Persians, having diverted the Euphrates upstream, sent troops under the wall, through the channel and opened the gates to the city, allowing the Persian army—led by Cyrus—to walk into the city and conquer it with little or no resistance from the Babylonians. It is said that some Babylonians didn’t even know of the ‘regime change’ for many days. Both Herodotus and Xenephon describe this event.

    b) The Fate of the City of Tyre, Ezekiel 26:1-14

    This passage tells of the destruction of the city of Tyre; but it says not only that it would be destroyed, but how and what it would be like afterwards. An excerpt beginning in verse 4:
    “And they will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ declares the Lord God…”

    The passage continues on and names Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (by name) as the one who would destroy Tyre, gives details of how he would do it, and how a future people would continue the conquest and destruction of Tyre, including “throwing your stones and your timbers and debris into the water” (vs. 12) and that Tyre would be a place for “the spreading of nets” (vs. 14).

    The fulfillment? During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (586-573 BC), he laid siege to Tyre for 13 years. This siege was unsuccessful, however, as Tyre had a renowned navy that Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t match and so they were able to keep their city supplied. During these 13 years, the Tyrenians used this navy to move their entire city out to an island about 8 or 900 yards off the mainland. When Nebuchadnezzar finally broke through the walls, he was furious to find only very few people remaining. He destroyed the city and left, leaving the Tyrenians in their safe-haven on the island.

    Fast forward 250 years: in 332 BC, Alexander the Great took his shot at Tyre. Unable to conquer the city, after 7 months of a blockade, Alexander threw the ruins of the city into the sea, scraped it flat, built a causeway to the island, and destroyed the city. Fulfilling the prophecy to a ‘T.’

  123. Aaron Tobias

    6) “As for the prophecies, please, set forth exactly what prophesies were made and how they were fulfilled in life. Detail this amazing specificity. I am actually interested.”

    This is encouraging, and I hope you’re honest. Myself, I LOVE ancient literature and history, so anything of this sort is interesting regardless. And these ancient documents make some claims that we can examine. This, however, is a HUGE topic and will require much typing in this restrictive format. Don’t get me wrong, though – I don’t mind it at all since this will be displayed for all here, and not just kept between you and I.

    Before I start, there is one problem: preconceptions. You say, “I am actually interested,” but then negate that by saying, “don’t bother with the Jesus fulfilling OT stuff, though.” That, my friend, is a big part of it – but fret not, we WILL examine the issues you raised. In addition, I’m sure it would be beneficial for you to not just sit here at the computer and have me spoon-feed you this information, but instead, grab a Bible and read these things for yourself. Do a little true research of your own, not trusting me or the detractors… but come to an informed decision on your own free of any (if possible) bias.

    Ok… prophecy. Let’s start with the ones I mentioned.

    a) Overthrowing of Babylon by Cyrus and Medes/Persians, Isaiah 44:27-45:7
    Isaiah, written in the 8th century BC, gives the name (Cyrus) of the man who would overthrow Babylon and the manner in which he would do so. A century and a half after Isaiah’s death, this prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus the Great of Persia. Though Babylon had been under a long siege, the Babylonians thought they were secure, having stored 20 years worth of supplies and having the Euphrates flow through the city. But on the night of October 12, 539 BC, the Persians, having diverted the Euphrates upstream, sent troops under the wall, through the channel and opened the gates to the city, allowing the Persian army—led by Cyrus—to walk into the city and conquer it with little or no resistance from the Babylonians. It is said that some Babylonians didn’t even know of the ‘regime change’ for many days. Both Herodotus and Xenephon describe this event.

  124. Aaron Tobias

    Ooops. Lots of Reposts. Number 119 was the full reply. Because it didn’t post right away, I thought it was too big, so I pasted parts of it in hopes to get it on. Then it all did. Sorry.

    SLC: “Mr. Tobias, the man who proclaims a LAW OF CAUSALITY has now been asked 4 times to tell us what the cause of radioactive decay is. We are awaiting Mr. Tobias’ response with bated breath.”

    SLC, I don’t just go over and jump on wikipedia and form an opionion based on 3 minutes worth of study. I’m going to go research this, plain and simple, and after much research will then have a truly informed opionion. I hope you follow my lead.

  125. Aaron Tobias

    Ok, guys… it was fun, but now I gotta go home. Think about it… read. RESEARCH. Again, my email’s posted, so feel free to email me. Also, for your further research:

    “Darwin’s Black Box – a Biochemical challenge to Evolution.” Michael Behe

    “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” Norman Geisler

    “The Case for Christ” Lee Strobel.

    Do yourself a favor, be honest, and check it out. You have nothing to lose.

    Peace.

  126. SLC

    Re Aaron Tobias

    On a quick note, though, on radioactive decay: is it similar (or the same thing as) Proton decay? Because Proton decay also points to the fact of a universe at the mercy of entropy – thus proving that it cannot be infinite and had a definite beginning. How does proton decay speak against either of the two principles/laws of science that you brought up?

    Proton decay is, AFAIK, at the moment a hypothesis as the proposed half life of a proton is many, many orders of magnitude greater then the current age of the universe (13.7 billion years). The likelihood of ever observing a proton decay is virtually zero.

    By ordinary radioactive decay, we are referring to atomic nuclii such as C(14) with a half life of 5500 years. Or a neutron with half life of 15 minutes. By the way, Newtons’ laws of motion are not applicable on the scale of the atom or the atomic nucleus. That’s why quantum mechanics had to be developed.

    The dissent from Darwin petition courtesy of the Dishonesty Institute, is so vague and general that Richard Dawkins could, in good conscious, sign it. Most of the signers either have no expertise in biology or have degrees from diploma mills or fundamentalist religious institutions. There is virtually no dissent in the biological community from the first 4 parts of the theory, as described by Ernst Mayr (even the Dishonesty Institutes’ Michael agrees with them). Namely, an old earth, extinction, non-existence of most animals, including humans in the distant past (Haldanes’ no cats in the PreCambrian), and common descent. The only issue currently outstanding is the relative importance of natural selection vs genetic drift.

  127. Vindrisi

    No one who is intellectually honest or knows really anything about evolutionary theory could in good conscience recommend anything by Behe for consideration. That you brought that up says you are either ignorant, or a liar.

    And again, your religious arguments require prior belief and suspension of rational thought to be convincing at all. Do really not see that?

  128. mark

    Non-living matter has never been observed creating living matter.

    Never has a creature been observed giving birth to an entirely new species. Never. It simply does not exist in the fossil record. Nor at any time in recorded history. Therefore, evolution is an unsupported theory at best and a grown man’s fantasy at worst.

    Macro-evolution is a fantasy: fish->amphibian->reptile->rodent->ape->human being. Pure fantasy.

    Micro-evolution is fact.

    If macro-evolution were true, there would be as many intermediate species as there are “completed” species in the fossil record. In fact, there would be more intermediate species than “completed,” since “completed” is the final form, but it would have taken thousands, if not millions, of intermediates to reach the “completed” form. But, proof of intermediates does not exist. What exists is speculation that some creatures may be intermediates due to certain similarities. But there are biological similarities between animals today. Horses and dogs, for example. Doesn’t mean one is an earlier form of the other.

    Fossilized bone fragments are not proof of evolution.

    Physical similarities between unlike creatures is not proof of evolution either. To assume ancestry because of physical similarities is unscientific. Animals need not be related to be similar.

    Therefore, belief in macro-evolution is unscientific.

    It is faith.

    True science is provable.

    True science is factual.

    Anything less than a fact is a theory.

    Evolution is a theory.

    Evolution is not science.

  129. John Kwok

    @ Vrindisi -

    Or it could be that Mr. Tobias is just as delusional as Mikey Behe, who is a most “superb” mendacious intellectual pornographer, demonstrating in his two books his woeful ignorance of modern biology, especially evolutionary biology.

  130. WoodyTanaka

    @Aaron Tobias

    1) No, it most certainly is not ridiculous thing to say that a first-century rabbi named “Jesus,” (or, more exactly, the non-translated and transliterated version of the name) filling the general profile never existed. In fact, there are those who do research in this area who believe that there was no such person and that the Jesus of the New Testament is a wholly fictitious character. All I said was that if there was such a real person, absent the “I am God” angle, such a person would be wholly and completely uninteresting to me.

    2) No, we do not agree that so-called “enemy testimony” is “some of the best available.” No testimonial evidence is “some of the best available,” regardless of source. Testimonial evidence is, by its very nature, flawed. Enemy testimony simply lacks one of the many possible indicia of unreliability. Nor do I agree that the Talmud corroborates anything. I am not a Talmud expert, so I can’t say what it says. To the extent I said anything, it was the reverse: the fact that everyone in that age believed in miracles is clear reason not to take on face value any claims in literature of that age that miracles occurred.

    3) “On a quick note, though, on radioactive decay: is it similar (or the same thing as) Proton decay?” No.

    “My main points through science, however, stand: the universe is not eternal or infinite but had a specific beginning. What cause it?” We don’t know. We don’t know if there was a cause, or even if “cause” has any meaning when we’re talking about the Big Bang, which wasn’t just an explosion of matter and energy at a specific place and time, but was an explosion of space and time, itself. So trying to apply temporally dependant concepts like “cause” to an event which spawned time, itself, is a massive category error.

    “That’s where the principle of causality comes into play… ‘whatever has a beginning has to have a cause.’ Just letting you know the context.” But the point is that that is simply not true. Not everything that has a beginning has to have a cause.

    4) No, we don’t agree that “the origins of life itself is scientifically still up in the air.” We don’t know the exact specifics of the origin of life (and we may never know for certain), but nothing about life or the biochemistry of life is such that a wholly natural, scientific explanation for the origin of life is impossible or even unlikely.

    Further, as to evolution, while there are questions in the nitty gritty details, the broad strokes and even alot of the fine details are agreed to by most every knowledgeable and serious scientist, and virtually every single biologist in the world. Dobzhansky was correct in stating that nothing in biology makes sense, except in light of evolution. As I said previously, there are literally billions of data points to support the fact of evolution and its processes. This is easily one of the best supported theories in science.

    There are a few people who object to evolution for religious reasons, but that has nothing to do with the science, but with religion. They exhibit a mindset similar to an earlier poster on this thread to essentially said that if the data and the bible don’t agree, then you throw out the data!!! That kind of nonsense is what that website you referred to is all about.

    But, please, name these scientific “holes” that you believe exist, if you can. I’d be interested in hearing what you think these holes are.

    5) “This was a simple, ‘Where is it,’ ‘Here it is’ thing.” But there was not “it” there. You said that the bible had revealed “secrets of nature” yet nothing you mentioned fit that bill or even came close. (And which ones didn’t I address??) Do you have any of these “secrets of nature” or are you withdrawing the claim?

    Also, I noticed you didn’t answer my questions, so I will pose them again:

    1) You claim to be a skeptic; is there anything in traditional Christian, Protestant doctrine that you are so skeptical about that you reject it as nonsense?

    2) (Here’s one that was only implied, so I’ll ask it outright) Do you believe that God committed an evil act in burning to death all the innocent babies, infants and children at Sodom and Gomorrah, and drowning all the innocent babies, infants and children during the Noachian flood??

  131. WoodyTanaka

    6) The reason why the Jesus fulfilling OT stuff has to be ignored has nothing to do with prejudgment, but is because the events in the NT undoubtedly came after the statements in the OT. Thus, to anyone with a little skepticism (and you claimed to be a skeptical person) and who can do simple reasoning must conclude that it is less likely that actual prophesy took place and much more likely that the actors in the NT stories took the actions they did, (or the NT writers write the stories as they did) with the conscious effort to appear to fulfill the OT. This would not be “prophesy”; it would be playacting.

    Further, your discussions of Isaiah and Daniel are interesting, but you must be aware that scholarly thought believes currently that Isaiah was not the work of a single author and that the sections you refer to post-date the events they describe and were included by a later author. Further, that Daniel was written after the so-called prophetic events in question. What proof do you have that these scholars are wrong?

    Moreover, I read Isaiah 44:27-45:7, and nowhere in there did it say “Babylon” nor is there anything about the Persians diverting the Euphrates, troops sneaking through the empty river channel, nor the city being taken without bloodshed. There are some vague poetic references into which people can read whatever they like (and the name Cyrus, which, as previously noted, was possibly/probably added later), but no real prophesy.

    Next, I read Ezekiel 26:1-14. Don’t see anything in there about the navy transporting the people to the off-shore island, nor is there anything about the Alexander the Great destroying the city. In fact, it specifically says that Nebuchadnezzar’s men, after busting into the city, will do all kinds of evil stuff, including “slay your people by the sword” which, if you are correct, was done by Alexander. Further, it also says that Tyre will “never be rebuilt” and yet it is, today, rebuilt and is the fourth largest city in Lebanon. So I don’t see where this “T” is.

    Next, I read Daniel 2:31-44. Nowhere in there does is say “Babylon” “Medo-Persia” “Greece” or “Rome.” It talks about an inferior second kingdom, a “bronze” kingdom ruling over the whole world, and a fourth kingdom, strong as Iron. First, Medo-Persia was an empire not a kingdom; Greece was never a kingdom, nor did it rule over the whole world (in fact, until Alexander made most of it part of his Macedonian Empire, it wasn’t even all part of the same polity.) Finally, although Rome was a kingdom early on, that kingdom was not much to speak of and certainly not “strong as iron.” To the extent later Roman entities were comparable to iron, they were not kingdoms, but a Republic and Empire, respectively. So there is some creative reworking of some vague language, but nothing specific and nothing prophetic.

    Further, in Daniel 8, there is mention of Greece, but, again, if it were written in the second century BCE, it would be well after Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great. So describing a Greek Macedonian Kingdom as being strong would be no stretch. Again, what proof do you have that Daniel was written in the sixth century BCE, and no the second?

  132. SLC

    Re Vindrisi

    One only has to read Prof. Behes’ testimony during cross examination at the Dover trial where he was forced to admit that the definition of science would have to be changed to accommodate ID and that his proposed change would include astrology as science. Whatever scientific reputation the good professor had was totally destroyed by his testimony.

    As for the comment about Barabbas, although he was condemned for being a thief, he was suspected of being part of a revolutionary group that ambushed and murdered Roman Soldiers. Pontius Pilate would certainly have considered him to be a greater threat to the Roman establishment in Palestine then Joshua who was actually far more of a threat to the Hebrew priests who ran the religious establishment therein. After all, it was Joshua who allegedly said render on to god the things that are god and to Caesar the things that are Caesar, which I would interpret as meaning don’t diss the Roman authorities.

  133. Vindrisi

    @SLC

    Huh. I hadn’t heard that about Barabbas. I think you are right, if that is true, that he would have been seen as the greater manifest threat, but I don’t really think they had any choice in executing Joshua/Jesus. Like I said, with Judea a protectorate of Rome with an unruly and odd majority ethnic group, the Romans couldn’t afford to take chances with people claiming to hold positions such as king if they weren’t sanctioned by Rome. It was likely part of standing orders from the emperor that un-sanctioned kings or, in Judea at least, anyone calling himself the Messiah, be executed if caught. Sure, being part of a small revolutionary group that had killed Roman soldiers was a clear threat, but certainly not more than someone who could act as potential figurehead and rallying point for a rebellion. That was an easier way of preventing them. I do wonder if they would have been less strict if Judea weren’t so close to Parthia and thus extremely strategically significant…

  134. John Kwok

    @ mark -

    If you saw, for example, two Angelina Jolies sitting beside each other (or Zachary Quintos or Jodie Fosters or Dalai Lamas or even yours truly), the odds would be extremely remote that they would be closely related, unless of course there was molecular biological evidence indicating close relationship (e. g. twins or triplets). But due to the exchange of genetic material, however improbable it may be, such similiarities do occur. In a roughly analogous way then, we see for example, bat wings resembling those of pterodactyls or the fins of cetaceans superficially resembling those of highly derived (“advanced”) teleost fish like , for example, mackeral, barracuda, and other swift predatory teleost fish. Here, however, it is not the mere accidentaly reshuffling of genes as I have indicated in my first sentence, but rather, instead, similar environmental pressures have led to natural selection acting on individual populations of rather diverse, and quite often unrelated, species, yielding what German paleontologists in the 19th Century referred to as “bauplane” (in plain English, you could call it “body form” or “body plan”.). So, from the perspective of having similar environmental pressures acting upon “primitive” archosaurian thecodonts and the earliest precursors of bats that you would see eventually the emergence of unrelated taxa like pterodactyls and bats who merely resemble each other with regards to their adoption of similar, almost identical, modes of flight based on similar evolutionary “restructuring” of their skeletal and muscular systems.

    What I have discussed above in admittedly a rather crude fashion (So you may comprehend) is something known as “homology”, which has been recognized by biologists even before Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin independently discovered the Theory of Evoluion via Natural Selection. But you see this not only with respect to skeletons and muscles, but even, at the molecular level too. Claiming that GOD created pterodactyls or bats by some kind of Divine fiat may be, emotionally speaking, a satisfactory answer to you, but it does not explain how “GOD did it”. Moreover, as a Deist, I do not think that GOD would attempt to deceive us into thinking that somehow all of Earth’s biodiversity came into existence suddently, whether it was 6,000 years ago or 4 billion years ago, while leaving ample trails of evidence in the form of the fossil record and molecular DNA sequence data that points to strong ties of kinship between different species if such species share many of the same traits that they seem to have in common (In cladistics, such traits are referred to as shared “primitive” or symplesiomorphic traits.).

    Microevolutin and macroevolution are two ends of an evolutionary spectrum which have been witnessed and documented by scientists for nearly two centuries. New species are evolving now as I write this, with some of the quickest divergence times noted for example, with rats that have been “marooned” on desolate islands, other metazoans and even plants. In his laboratory at Michigan State University, eminent microbial ecologist Richard Lenski has had a more than two-decade long experiment on lab-cultivated populations of the bacterium E. coli, and, more than once, has produced what could be described as new species. Even in a large booming metropolis like London, evolutionary biologists have found to their amazement that a new mosquito species evolved within the London Underground subway system sometime in the last cenury and a half. Therefore, in plain English, Evoluion is a fact, a well-corroborated scientific fact, and it is a fact that still continues, as Darwin himself noted in the final sentence of his book “On the Origin of Species”:

    “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

  135. Three days later, He rose again. <– The foundation of Christianity and the assurance that Judgment Day approaches.

  136. Woody Tanaka

    “Three days later, He rose again. <– The foundation of Christianity and the assurance that Judgment Day approaches."

    But what proof do you have that this is anything other than a completely fictional and mythical story from a more ignorant age?

  137. The Word of God.

    The Old Testament prophesied the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah.

    Read Isaiah 53 which was written 800 BC.

    The New Testament records the fulfillment.

    “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. ” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

  138. SLC

    Re Adiel O. Corchado

    And of course, the individual who wrote the excerpt that Mr. Corchado quotes wasn’t present at either the alleged execution or the alfleged resurrection and, in fact, never met Joshua of nazareth, never heard one of his sermons, and wouldn’[t have known who he was if he entered a room.; Hearsay, not exceptable.

  139. Vindrisi

    Adiel,

    Does it not occur to you that, given that the individuals who wrote the New Testament books were well versed in the text of the Hebrew Bible (and many more deuterocanonical texts, given that the Hebrew Bible wasn’t even standardized until the late first century CE), that maybe, just maybe they could have written the story of Jesus with those prophesies in mind? You can’t exclude that possibility. I really don’t understand why you don’t get that making such unjustified jumps in logic and then arguing entirely from scripture is really not persuasive to those who don’t already believe in what scripture says. You don’t given any indication that you even consider the points of view of others who don’t believe as you do, and you have no idea how poor a light that puts you, and by association, your religious beliefs. As it stands, you are doing nothing more than reinforcing very negative stereotypes of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. What is becoming clear, though, is that you believe because you believe, and others should believe as you believe, because if they believe as you believe, then they would have to believe as you believe. It is awfully recursive. I do not begrudge you or anyone else the right to believe as you wish in doctrines that really have no objective basis. However, I find it amazing that individuals such as yourself will not admit that you lack objective bases for your beliefs, and thereby retain some humility that you might be wrong. Such humility is good, because it prevents you from being unnecessarily hurtful or destructive to others. I see no such humility in you. I see instead an unthinking and rather thuggish certainty that is dangerous.

  140. W. Benson

    I suggest Comfort actually read Hitler before trying to link Darwin to the Nazis.
    In Mein Kampf, Hitler makes only the vaguest reference to evolution and none at all to Darwin, Haeckel, Galton or other enemies of the righteous. However, in justifying eugenics — which seems to be the main reason creationists like Comfort hate him — Hitler (1926 – Mein Kampf) writes: “Why should it not be possible to induce people to make this sacrifice [celibacy] if, instead of such a precept, they were simply told that they ought to put an end to this truly original sin of racial corruption . . . [and] be brought to realize that it is their bounden duty to give to the Almighty Creator beings such as He himself made to His own image.” Here Hitler seems less interested in evolving a super-race than in returning Aryans to their God-perfect original state. Like Hitchens says . . .

  141. Woody Tanaka

    Adiel,

    If all you have to go on is the fact that the story appeared in a book, so what? There are many books which claim to be holy, just like yours. And the fact is, as Vindrisi points out, it would be nothing for the NT actors to act (and NT writers to write) so as to appear to fulfill “prophesy” from the OT. That’s not even a good magic trick, let alone proof of divinity.

  142. Concerned

    As an agnostic I have long insisted on respecting the views of those of faith because, I thought, true faith required dedication and quiet introspection. Now I see that faith is a rock under which to hide; a reason to stop asking questions. Adiel and his/her ilk will never take you up on the offer to learn anything. I’m done trying to find common ground. The bible thumpers are hopeless.

    Two words for Adiel, who keeps harping on the question of morality: reciprocal altruism. Look it up yourself, Addy. Unlike these very kind people here, I’m not doing your homework for you. My guess is that you will not bother; you’d rather offer up some bible passage or creationist drivel and dance with glee in your ignorance. Have at it, you.

  143. Eileen

    I received a copy of Comfort’s book at Indiana University South Bend. The first thing I noticed was not only the font size but that he cited a childrens genetic web site- now that’s a real primary source for college students. Ray Comfort is a sad excuse for his cause.

  144. Len

    Adiel,

    Appreciate your comments in this lively discussion! You have injected numerous valid points for all to ponder. However, to discuss any topic especially the nature of the universe intelligently with close minds is fruitless as you have found. When people resort to ad-hominems, changing subjects and spurious facts, you know they are disparate!

    Science is not the problem but rather the people such as your discussion partners here that cause discord and confusion by carefully selecting their facts, moving from one correct answer to that of another, etc. to promote their agenda, the ability to come to grips with individual responsibility for their actions.

    Be Blessed

  145. Concerned

    Hi Len,
    A very eloquent way to add nothing to the conversation. You are also very wrong. Almost every one here has indulged Adiel by responding rationally and coherently to her arguments, and she failed to rise to the occasion. And you congratulate her! Keep those blinders on, my friend.
    May the force be with you.

  146. To Adiel and his/her intellectual compatriots: You are right. You know you are right. So trying to convert these heathen is simply indicative of the fact that you have too much idle time on your hands. The notion that you are doing it to somehow save their immortal souls is daft. You are simply meddling. Cut it out! Go volunteer in Haiti (Not right now. You’d just be in the way. Go when the TV reporters all leave and the rebuilding starts.) To the rationalists, both religious and agnostic: arguing with the wilfully ignorant is entertaining, but it rots the synapses. Listen to some Beethoven.

  147. I am the radio host of Shock Radio at w w w .shockawenow. n e t
    I had Ray Comfort on my show we took live calls from those who believed in evolution.
    I was impressed at how well Ray was able to prove that atheism and evolution are both in error.

    In fact DNA now proves intelligent design

  148. Gareth

    Could you evolutionists please state all the evidence you have for evolution. Because all the evidence that I have seen has been repeatedly proven to be hoaxes, misrepresentations and blatant lies. evolution is not science. in fact it never happened, hte earth is only a little over 6000 years old and they have found much evidende on this that governments and various other organisations have suppressed in order to spread thier religion of evolution to prepare the world for the coming of the anti-christ. I fear for your souls and your eternal destination. God created the earth and all that is in them in 6 literal days. no evolution, no billions of years. one day this will be clear to all.

  149. Louise

    Gareth is clearly still in primary school. The spelling and ignorance prove it. Good luck with senior science!

    And I believe in god, but I’m still sane enough to accept the truth of evolution. They’re not mutually exclusive. Ray Comfort is the worst kind of Christian, spewing lies and spreading ignorance – it gives all Christians a bad name.

    And Adiel! Man, I don’t know what’s up your butt, but it really isn’t moving, is it? Just accept that some people’s beliefs are different to yours! The bible is pretty contradictory, you’re best just to take the good morals and positivity out of it (like the psalms) and ignore the rest – it’s targeted at a different civilisation than ours, and as long as you live a good life and be honest and kind, I think you’ll be fine. I think God is out there, but I also think he’ll be willing to talk to atheists. After all, he’s the one who gave everyone free will, right? It’s unjust to punish them for using their brains.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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