Pennsylvania Judge Rules: Intelligent Design is Not Science | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Pennsylvania Judge Rules: Intelligent Design is Not Science

The Dover "monkey trial" (discussed in a previous blog entry here) ended exactly as it should have: With a ruling that defends the scientific method from those who would push it aside by force. Somewhere, Galileo is smiling.

picU.S. District Judge John E. Jones III's ruling (available here in Adobe PDF format; excerpts available here) also makes for some fascinating reading. My favorite part:

The history of the intelligent design movement (hereafter "IDM") and the development of the strategy to weaken education of evolution by focusing students on alleged gaps in the theory of evolution is the historical and cultural background against which the Dover School Board acted in adopting the challenged ID Policy. As a reasonable observer, whether adult or child, would be aware of this social context in which the ID Policy arose, and such context will help to reveal the meaning of Defendants' actions, it is necessary to trace the history of the IDM ...

Between the 1920's and early 1960's, anti-evolutionary sentiment based upon a religious social movement resulted in formal legal sanctions to remove evolution from the classroom ... As we previously noted, the legal landscape radically changed in 1968 when the Supreme Court struck down Arkansas' statutory prohibition against teaching evolution in Epperson, 393 U.S. 97. Although the Arkansas statute at issue did not include direct references to the Book of Genesis or the fundamentalist view that religion should be protected from science, the Supreme Court concluded that "the motivation of the [Arkansas] law was the same ... : to suppress the teaching of a theory which, it was thoought, 'denied' the divine creation of man." Edwards 482 U.S. at 590 (quoting Epperson>, 393 U.S. at 109) ...

Post-Epperson, evolution's religious opponents implemented "balanced treatment" statutes requiring public school teachers who taught evolution to devote equal time to teaching the biblical view of creation; however, such statutes did not pass constitutional muster under the Establishment Clause ...

Next, and as stated, religious opponents of evolution began cloaking religious beliefs in scientific sounding language and then mandating that schools teach the resulting "creation science" or "scientific creationism" as an alternative to evolution. However, this tactic was likewise unsuccessful under the First Amendment. "Fundamentalist organizations were formed to promote the idea that the Book of Genesis was supported by scientific data. The terms 'creation science' and 'scientific creationism' have been adopted by these Fundamentalists as descriptive of their study of creation and the origins of man." McLean, 529 F. Supp. at 1259. In 1982, the district court in McLean reviewed Arkansas's balanced-treatment law and evaluated creation science in light of Scopes, Epperson, and the long history of Fundamentalism's attackk on the scientific theory of evolution, as well as the statute's legislative history and historical context. The court found that creation science organizations were fundamentalist religious entities that "consider[ed] the introduction of creation science into the public schools part of their ministry." Id. at 1260. The court in McLean stated that creation science rested on a "contrived dualism" that recognized only two possible explanations for life, the scientific theory of evolution and biblical creationism, treated the two as mutually exclusive such that "one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution," and accordingly viewed any critiques of evolution as evidence that necessarily supported biblical creationism ... The court concluded that creation science "is simply not science" because it depends upon "supernatural intervention," which cannot be explained by natural causes, and is therefore neither testable nor falsifiable ... Accordingly, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas deemed creation science as merely biblical creationism in a new guise and held that Arkansas' balanced-treatment statute could have no valid secular purpose or effect, served only to advance religion, and violated the First Amendment ... {This ruling was further supported in the 1987 Edwards case.}

The concept of intelligent design (hereinafter "ID"), in its current form, came into existence after the Edwards case was decided in 1987. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child.

We initially note that John Haught, a theologian who testified as an expert witness for the Plaintiffs who has written extensively on the subject of evolution and religion, succinctly explained to the court that the argument for ID is not a new scientific argument, but is rather an old religious argument for the existence of God. He traced this argument back to at least Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, who framed the argument as a syllogism: Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer ... Dr. Haught testified that Aquinas was exlicit that this intelligent designer "everyone understands to be God" ... The syllogism described by Dr. Haught is essentially the same argument for ID as presented by defense expert witnesses Professors Behe and Minnich who employ the phrase "purposeful arrangement of parts."

Dr. Haught testified that this argument for the existence of God was advanced early in the 19th century by Reverend Paley and defense expert witnesses Behe and Minnich admitted that their argument for ID based on the "purposeful arrangement of parts" is the same one that Paley made for design ... The only apparent difference between the argument made by Paley and the argument for ID ... is that ID's "official position" does not acknowledge that the designer is God. However, as Dr. Haught testified, anyone familiar with Western religious thought would immediately make the association that the tactically unnamed designer is God, as the description of the designer in {ID tract} Of Pandas and People ... is a "master intellect," strongly suuggesting a supernatural designer as opposed to any intelligent actor known to exist in the natural world ... Moreover, it is notable that both Professors Behe and Minnich admitted their personal view that the designer is God ...

A significant aspect of the IDM is that despite Defendants' protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity ... The following is a representative grouping of such statements made by prominent ID proponents{:}

Philip Johnson, considered to be the father of IDM, develoepr of ID's "Wedge Strategy," which will be discussed below, and author of the 1991 book titled Darwin on Trial, has written that "theistic realism" or "mere creation" are defining concepts of the IDM. This means "that God is objectively real as Creator and recorded in the biological evidence ..." In addition, Philip Johnson states that the "Darwinian theory of evolution contradicts not just the Book of Genesis, but every word in the Bible from beginning to end. It contradicts the idea that we are here because a creator brought forth our existence for a purpose" ... ID proponents Johnson, William Dembski, and Charles Thaxton, one of the editors of Pandas, situate ID in the Book of John in the New Testament of the Bible, which begins, "In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was God" ... Dembski has written that ID is a "ground clearing operation" to allow Christianity to receive serious consideration, and "Christ is never an addendum to a scientific theory but always a completion" ... Moreover, in turning to Defendants' lead expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakeably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) {emphasis Jones'} ... As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition's validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe's assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.

Dramatic evidence of ID's religious nature and aspirations is found in what is referred to as the "Wedge Document." The Wedge Document, developed by the Discovery Institute's Center of Science and Culture (hereinafter "CRSC"), represents from an institutional standpoint, the IDM's goals and objectives, much as writings from the Institute for Creation Research did for the earlier creation-science movement ... The Wedge Doocument states in its "Five Year Strategic Plan Summary" that the IDM's goal is to replace science as currently practiced with "theistic and Christian science" ... As posited in the Wedge Document, the IDM's "Governing Goals" are to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies" and "to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God" ... The CRSC expressly announces, in the Wedge Document, a program of Christian apologetics to promote ID. A careful review of the Wedge Document's goals and language throughout the document reveals cultural and religious goals, as opposed to scientific ones ... ID aspires to change the ground rules of science to make room for religion, specifically, beliefs consonant with a particular version of Christianity ...

The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from "creation" to "intelligent design" occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court's important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs' assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled. Importantly, the objective observer, whether adult or child, would conclude from the fact that Pandas posits a master intellect that the intelligent designer is God ...

After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true {emphasis mine}, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science {emphasis also mine}. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) The argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employ the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research ...

ID is at bottom premised upon a false dichotomy, namely, that to the extent evolutionary theory is discredited, ID is confirmed ... This argument is not brought to this Court anew, and in fact, the same argument, termed "contrived dualism" in McLean, was employed by creationists in the 1980's to support "creation science." The court in McLean noted the "fallacious pedagogy of the two model approach" ... We do not find this false dichotomy any more availing to justify ID than it was to justify creation science two decades ago ...

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board's ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents ...

To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions ...

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom ...

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Uniteed States Constitution, and Art I, [Section] 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory of ID ...

Previous Comments

ID
103913
Comment

Bah. Morons worried about the past aren't paying attention to the future. The Future is more dangerous.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-12-21T11:28:42-06:00
ID
103914
Comment

Can't go with you on this one. It takes just as much "blind faith" to believe in spontaneous, unintentional creation via evolution as it does to believe the Bible account of creation by a supernatural God.

Author
brandon
Date
2005-12-21T12:40:31-06:00
ID
103915
Comment

It takes just as much "blind faith" to believe in spontaneous, unintentional creation via evolution as it does to believe the Bible account of creation by a supernatural God. - brandon Evolution is both fact and theory. If you need proof of evolution existing as fact, do a little research on anti-biotic resistance. The theory of evolution is not just about man being spawned from some mud puddle in primordial Earth. I can see tangible evidence of evolution but no tangible evidence of a God. Religion is superstition, myth, faith, [insert politically correct term here]... Not a science... Not a scientific method... It does not belong in a SCIENCE class. Wouldn't you be a little-more-than ill if you went to church for a year only to hear about evolution, mitosis, mitochondria, and sexual organs? Think of it like that and maybe you'll understand why it's dangerous to even contemplate teaching FAITH in a SCIENCE class (unless you're specifically talking about VMAT2 -- the "god gene"). Faith belongs in a theology class, philosophy class, or a Western Civ class (in an historical context)... Plain and clearly simple.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-21T13:46:55-06:00
ID
103916
Comment

I just don't get this debate. The creationist folks -- I refuse to use the phrase "intelligent design" as it's a slap at our intelligence -- are so set on the idea that one cannot believe in science and be religious. Yet how many extremely educated people do I know, a good number scientists, can manage to reconcile both science and their religion? This debate is on the intelligence level of Bill O'Reilly's "happy holidays" campaign.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-21T13:51:30-06:00
ID
103917
Comment

I can and do believe one can be both religious and believe in science. What I do not agree with are the current status quo findings in science that "prove" evolution. And Knol, there is a huge difference between macro and micro evolution. A bacteria changing and becoming resistant to anti biotics is not quite the same as a single cell organism becoming a human being. You cannot compare apples to oranges. Does change (evolution) occur? Of course. When I am down around the coast my skin turns a dark brown. If I moved there it would be permanent, but if I moved to a tree in the jungle I wouldn't eventually grow a tail. I know you have all heard this argument, but until someone offers a logical counterpoint to it, it makes sense to me. If a print shop exploded what is the likelihood that it would result in an Oxford Dictionary? None and no one would argue that chaos would create such intricate order, yet macro evolution demands that chaos created something far more complex: the organized universe and complex organisms that inhabit it. I choose to believe that intelligent and complex design demands and intelligent and superior Designer. I also believe that there is good, sound science that substantiates that belief. For the record, I do not want the Bible taught in public school, nor do I want prayer to be led by school officials (because I may not agree with what they would teach my child concerning the Bible or how they would lead my child in prayer). However, I do not think teaching intelligent design (without using or referring to the Bible) is the same as teaching religion. Just teach that there are other plausible theories besides evolution, and explain the science that supports these other theories. The whole evolution debate is a moot point in my family because I teach my children "creation science" and debunk some of the popular evolutionary sugar sticks in the home. They are not homeschooled, but attend public school and when they bring home the evolution things I show them the flaws in the theory that the textbooks, teachers and school board refuses to give them access to in the classroom.

Author
brandon
Date
2005-12-21T14:16:48-06:00
ID
103918
Comment

Brandon, do you honestly believe that no "logical counterpoints" exist to your arguments against evolution? That said, I admire your beliefs about prayer and Bible in the schools. You're reaching that conclusion based on something that people too often forget—that it shouldn't be up to public schools to tell your kids how or what to worship. Also, even though I disagree with your reasoning about evolution, I think you're doing the right thing: allow them to be taught conventional science and then give them counterparts at home. That is, assume they are smart enough to take in a lot of information and make up their own minds.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-21T14:22:59-06:00
ID
103919
Comment

Now that I can agree with if you want to teach "creation science" do it at home, not in PUBLIC school where my Tax dollar goes. Teaching ID in public school as science should be held in the same context as teaching the Ten Commandments in American History or Civics class because a judge in Alabama says they are the basis of our legal system. This entire debate is another attempt by the "RIGHT" to battle what they see is a continous attack on their Christian nation and is driven by huge bankrolls of money that is donated to ultra-right groups by well meaning but often misinformed donors.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-21T14:42:28-06:00
ID
103920
Comment

brandon, all theories--including gravity--involve a certain amount of faith, but it's not blind faith if there is a predictable pattern to a natural process. The case for evolution by natural selection as a mechanism (not necessarily the mechanism) responsible for the diversity of species is, in my view, overwhelmingly strong. One can make the case that other mechanisms are or were present, but I don't see how anyone looking at the fossil evidence, in particular, can come away with the impression that those who accept the theory of evolution by natural selection are at least making an honest and reasonable mistake. You would not grow a tail if you lived in the trees; this much is certainly true. But if, over a period of tens of millions of years, children born with a tail were more likely to survive and reproduce than children born without a tail, then odds are very good that your descendants would be more likely than not to have a tail. Even most intelligent design proponents concede that microevolution of this type can occur; it is almost exactly what happens when a strain of bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics. The individual bacteria do not; they are killed off. But the descendants that happen to have mutatations protecting them from the antibiotics are more likely to survive. That's how resistance comes about. Even with antibiotic resistance, natural selection is the operating mechanism. Most intelligent design proponents, and many full-fledged creationists, concede this. Their issue is with the concept of large-scale evolution, or macroevolution, which is a much larger claim and therefore much harder to prove. The trouble with intelligent design creationism is that it is not, strictly speaking, a scientific theory. It is a statement that scientific theories are inadequate, and that subsequently God (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) did it. This is because evolution by natural selection is the only plausible natural hypothesis that explains the diversity of life. Reject it, and by definition you must embrace the supernatural. This is, as pointed out above, a theological argument dating back at least to Aquinas, and I seem to recall reading some variation of it dating back to certain pre-Christian Greek philosophers. Science is knowledge; it is the tangible world. It is that which can be understood. God is, by definition, beyond these sorts of categories, so it makes no sense to speak of God-science, or the science of God. God can't be understood in those terms, and when we try we're like that apocryphal cosmonaut who went out into space and triumphantly proclaimed that God wasn't anywhere to be seen. That said, I'm with Donna on this. I was homeschooled K-12 and many of my friends were schooled in that way specifically so that they could be taught creationism rather than evolution by natural selection. No problem with that. My issue is with government endorsement of religious ideas. If the intelligent design movement had been headed up by ufologists instead of reformed creationists, then that would be one thing--but it is so obviously crafted as a Constitution-proof form of creationism that I can't abide teaching it in schools. And it does you no favors, either, winking and nudging the idea of macroevolution and leaving open the proposition that we were all created by Daleks or something. The doctrine of creation should be the doctrine of creation, and biology should be biology. The intelligent design movement dilutes both to the point of inanity. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-21T14:47:47-06:00
ID
103921
Comment

BTW- Welcome aboard, Dennis! Good to see you at the wedding. I hung the garter on one of my Buddha statues for now. :D

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-21T14:52:03-06:00
ID
103922
Comment

I'm sure that brought a smile to Buddha, speaking of which Barbara Walters had a nice little show on ABC last night about "HEAVEN" and although it was a somewhat watered down discussion of the subject it was entertaining and informative. With the current topic of ID, where would the Buddist weigh in on that?

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-21T15:19:32-06:00
ID
103923
Comment

This is an interesting argument and I know I'm too dumb to be in it as an old public school student who was forced to take chemistry, biology and physics although I instead signed up for physical education, bookkeeping, study hall, and typing. The Principal had it out for me. Anyway, my granddaddy who finished the third grade told me one time to "believe half of what you see and none of what you hear." I had to grow up a little to understand what he was talking about. Too many people talk about Science as if it's infallible, dependable, and always reliable. The truth of the matter is that mistakes are made in science on a minute by minute basis. We just don't get to see it. So, what is science, is science really science, and in so-called science aren't we being asked to beieve something works a certain way although it doesn't work that way on every occasions? And in science, aren't we often being asked to believe or experiment, at least temporarily, with something based on a hunch or guess. Is not faith also a component of science. Similarly, too many people talk about religion and science as if they're personally capable of understanding it ALL and discerning completely and infalllibly what is real and what isn't. I'm not surprised at all s to the reasons we don't have more great scientists. I happen to believe that even our smartest people aren't really that smart, and aren't smart enough to figure out empiraically or otherwise whether religion or science really explains creation. After all, why are we still having the debate? If memory serves me correctly, the late and great Clarence Darrow had a trial or mock trial many years ago on these same issues. I will have to go back and look at that and comment on it.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-21T15:22:54-06:00
ID
103924
Comment

***In a rush. Hope this makes some sense. May have to re-address certain points assuming I muddied them in translation. brandon, it is evident that you have never studied fractals or chaos theory if you believe that order does not naturally exist in and from chaos. If you can, I'd really like to see the science that backs your point on a supreme and intelligent designer. You make a reference to science backing ID. Also, I'd like to know how you propose ID/Creationism be taught without giving lip-service to a specific religion. There are entire theology and philosophy courses/discussions/classes on the beginnings of the universe and the religions... All those religions claim the beginning and are based on faith while claiming to be the "real one". Where would the facts come from that have been tested by the scientific method enabling them to be scientifically discussed? Who would decide which ID theories can be taught in Biology and science classes? Would the Buddhist concept of nothingness ride along with the Judeo-Xian God? How about all those Roman and Greek gods and goddesses? Can Ra have his day in the sun too? See what I mean? Do we also teach that the sun god is weak today and needs us to have a harvest meal and a yule log to rekindle its power? There's no way this argument is about teaching scientific alternatives to the strongest theory of our beginnings. It is a fundraiser and a wedge being used by extremists that are ill-informed. Just like the whole Happy Holidays fiasco. ID cannot even classify itself as a psuedo-science because it relies solely on faith with no points that stand the burden of proof. If we assume the Bible is correct, how do you explain a man living in a whale's belly and Noah herding and hoarding two of every single organism? The Bible itself evades reality too many times to stand the scientific method on any level. If, we were to allow ID to be discussed in a science class, a Pandora's box would open if/when a religion was exposed to skepticism and science. Why? Well, in the true vein of science, one must then ask -- where did X come from and what created X? Well, Y of course. But who or what created Y? This would be followed by the typical conundrum that challenges nearly all religions/faiths -- if god exists, god had to be created by something and that something was created by something. It then becomes a chaotic system of intelligence begets intelligence ad-infinitum. Do you want to do that with religion?

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-21T15:29:42-06:00
ID
103925
Comment

Do you really want to drag it into a forum where it will inherently be placed under a microscope and analyzed for all of its fallacies and illogical claims and deemed FALSE or a myth as it is deconstructed by methodology? Keep it in the churches, the coffee houses, the spiritual discussions, the theology classes... Don't destroy faith by placing it under a microscope... That is unless you're a skeptical cynic and enjoy that kind of thing. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-21T15:34:22-06:00
ID
103926
Comment

Do you really want to drag it into a forum where it will inherently be placed under a microscope and analyzed for all of its fallacies and illogical claims and deemed FALSE or a myth as it is deconstructed by methodology? If it's true, then it should stand up against your claims. I say test it out.

Author
JSU
Date
2005-12-21T16:01:53-06:00
ID
103927
Comment

Test what out? The claims in the Bible? OK... Here's a few you can begin with: - Living in the belly of a whale for more than 10mns - Building a structure large enough for two of every organism using limited resources including manpower - Not experiencing SERIOUS amounts of defects due to in-breeding post-Ark (although that could actually play into the evolution and extinction theories) - Seeing the kingdoms of the world from one specific point (as the devil did Jesus) - The Earth is less than 10k years old (tricky since all scientific tests prove this as fallacy already) Once we tackle those basic issues, we can really get dirty and have a discussion on whether Jesus existed or not and who has the facts to bring to the table.... In a scientific manner of course. It's all faith. Seriously! I have no problem with that... Seriously! But, I should not have to pay for it to be taught in a public school SCIENCE class unless, as I said earlier, the class is discussing VMAT2 and the idea that faith is easier for people with a specific mutation (one that obviously is becoming the norm). Feel free to create a theology, mythology or philosophy course (many schools have them already BTW) and discuss all of them but keep it understood that religion is not science... Faith is not science nor empirical... God, gods, goddesses, devils, morals, goods, and evils belong in church not a discussion regarding electrochemical reactions, fuzzy logic, cells dividing, or other phenomena that can be duplicated or repeated with little or no variation unless that variation is predictable on a grander scheme (Chaos). Of course, if you weren't talking to me about testing the Bible, please look-over this response and carry on. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-21T17:14:25-06:00
ID
103928
Comment

Right on, if you want to teach ID to your children do it at home, just as Brandon does or send your children to a church funded school. It is that simple. Leave the tax funded public schools alone. They have a difficult time as it is just teaching kids how to pass the government mandated achievement test. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-21T17:26:40-06:00
ID
103929
Comment

I have always had a problem with the old testament to a degree, most scholars would say it is used as a reference not as truth. If you chose to take it as truth or argue that it's purpose is to portray the truth then you have an argument. I have never looked to deeply into it because if adam and eve were the first and only then everyone is inbred. i.e. W. BTW imagine trying to figure out sex when you don't know how to talk or where to put it. Enough sorry In being non confrontational some professors would say to not take it as truth and that is easy enough. In a case against evolution there are so many things that have not cannot evolve fast enough in order to support existence. Heart valves, heart muscles, bones, skulls, appendages. How many creatures died without a heart valve and how could they reproduce fast enough to evolve? How many died and reproduced until their heart muscles contracted almost simultaneously? I realize i have strayed and this post is about whether or not to teach it in certain classes, but there are arguments for both, I have always acknowledged that. In response to the ABC Heaven story by barbara walters, it was watered down, just some feel good stories with a little investigation. The whole heaven and hell is another post when there are not so many W screwups to keep everyone else from posting.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2005-12-21T17:31:52-06:00
ID
103930
Comment

Knol - the bible tells us that God says" my ways are not your(mankinds) ways..." that segment alone tells me that God way of seeing your points are totally different than how you view the poits, as impossible. but God makes the possible, possible. think about mankind in general. we exist due to millions of cells joining togehter...amazing...can you explain that? no you and I can't, but it's real..pinch yourself and see..you're real..you're a living breathing thing, that moves around within a space and time of your own..amazing..I can't begin to understand that. I can't give that over to rational thought..it's not rational. evolution and creationism are both taught to us from babies..we and choice makers choose which side we want to be on. it's not predestined. well, if you're God you know it's pre-destined because of your creation..but we as humans don't know this. we are merely reactionary animals and react to what the information presented and choose. that is hat Life is about...choices.

Author
JSU
Date
2005-12-21T18:00:41-06:00
ID
103931
Comment

Ray, good post. You're thinking of the Scopes "monkey trial," which inspired the play/film Inherit the Wind. Knol, I don't buy into the Bible as a revealed document either, but I think you need to recognize that educated evangelicals are quite familiar with most of these criticisms and generally are prepared to address them. I'm sure Brandon has his own answers, but this is a good starting place. Bottom line: Most educated evangelicals are not afraid of open court. Whether you or I are persuaded by the answers they give is another issue entirely, but they do have answers that they consider satisfactory, and for the most part I suspect they knew they would find the answers satisfactory before they found them. Why? Because religion is ultimately about personal experience, not facts. There is no series of syllogisms that prove the divinity of Jesus. People believe it because they feel it, because they experience it, because it is part of their lives. It is not evidence. It is much bigger, much more central to their core of being, than evidence. It can't be postulated and abandoned like scientific theories can. This is a clear difference between religion and science, by the way. Stephen Hawking recently said that he no longer believes in Hawking radiation because another scientist made some compelling criticisms of the theory. He was happy to abandon that belief even though it was arguably the most famous contribution he had made to astrophysics, and a fundamental part of his system of thought. That's because he's a real scientist, and falsifiability is something he takes seriously as a matter of course. You would not as quickly see Pope Benedict XVI say that perhaps Jesus was not born of a virgin, or see the Dalai Lama say that the bodhisattvas may not exist, based on similar argumentation. The types of evidence used are different. Effective science is almost always propositional; effective religion almost never is. The issue is not so much that intelligent design would be defeated in the open court of biology as it is that intelligent design has no place in the open court of biology to begin with. Neither do ethics, by the way, which is where both "social Darwinists" like Nietzsche and Rand, and evangelicals who connect natural selection and social Darwinism, fall short. To say that something happens is not to say why it happens, or that it ought to happen. It is simply to say that it happens. Dennis, thanks for the heads-up on the documentary! I actually had that TiVo'd but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I always enjoy watching Barbara Walters' interviews. Re Buddhism and creation, that is an excellent, scholarly question. Wish I had an excellent, scholarly answer! All I can say is that the Buddha himself, in most texts, seems to have been largely silent on the issue. Some traditions of Buddhism teach that the Hindu gods (devas) are real, and so for them a creationist point of view may be appropriate. Some believe that the universe has always existed. Most living today, I think, accept secular explanations for the origins of the universe and the development of life. But there is no single Buddhist doctrine of creation per se. Superstar, the question of the evolution of complex organs--summed up by the question "What's the use of half an eye?"--is a very common one in this debate. Here's how I would probably answer it: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB300.html Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-21T18:20:52-06:00
ID
103932
Comment

http://www.atheists.org/evolution/ I could write a lengthy post on the ABSURDITY of religious faith but I am old enough to know when to "agree to disagree." I guess all I can say is "Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church." Ware Hodo

Author
Ware Hodo
Date
2005-12-21T19:28:45-06:00
ID
103933
Comment

Please, by all means feel free to write a lengthy post on what you regard as the absurdity of religious faith. That's one of my favorite arguments, no matter which side of the coin it comes from. For my part, I find absurdity in the whole debate. I agree with Carl Sagan, who once said that you've learned nothing about somebody when they tell you whether or not they believe in God--the concept of God being so vague, so outside the normal spectrum of human understanding, and (most critically) so dependent on individual interpretation that he thought the whole debate was rather senseless, though he generally classified himself as an agnostic or atheist. I would call him an agnostic atheist. I'm more of an agnostic theist; I believe in God as one to be addressed, as Ultimate Concern, as a cosmic "Thou," but whether or not God actually, objectively exists as a being is not something I feel qualified to address. Fortunately, I don't have to know God exists in order to believe in God. Overemphasizing God's existence can be hazardous to one's religious life anyway, because it reduces God to an object or a process. Martin Buber put it best: "This is the unexalted melancholy of our fate, that every Thou in our world must become an It." I feel similarly about other minds--whether other people experience subjective reality in the same way I do. I assume they do, but it's not really a very interesting question for me. Love, empathy, compassion--the range of inspiring human emotion drives me to believe that I should treat others as if they have ultimate cosmic value, regardless of whether they have souls, or whether their consciousness is irreducibly complex. I have less evidence for the subjectivity of others than I do of my own subjectivity, but I choose--I commit--to believe that other human beings are immeasurably worthwhile, that they are of supreme value. I don't always act in accordance to this belief, but then if I did, it wouldn't be much of a spirituality. It would be a rather mechanical process. The same goes for my relationship, as it were, with God. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-21T20:00:45-06:00
ID
103934
Comment

Very nice post. I also believe that other human beings are immeasurably worthwhile, so much so that they ARE my God, as I understand him. The power of people is the closest thing to a higher power that I have ever experienced. I feel that I have a relationship to this power but I realize that it is only a mechanical thing because that is all I am and all that is. From time to time I find myself with a jealousy for those who honestly believe in a God of definate stature - I think it would make parts of life much easier. However, my experience just doesn't allow it and that's all I have to go on. Ware

Author
Ware Hodo
Date
2005-12-21T20:15:16-06:00
ID
103935
Comment

Tom: "Because religion is ultimately about personal experience, not facts." This reminds me of Contact, starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey (for those too young to remember A Time To Kill, filmed in Canton, this was McConaughey's first major starring role). Dr Arroway (Foster) went through a "wormhole" tunnel to a super-advanced civilization, yet when she returned she had no proof that she did take such a trip. To her, the trip lasted about hours, though to everyone else on the outside she was always on Planet Earth (or perhaps never even left earth, i can't quite remember). This is according to the book not the movie. I distinctly remember the movie portraying some high govenment officials saying "somehow, the erased bit of camcorder film is 18 hours" (or to the effect). Of course, nobody not on her trip believed her, certainly not her science colleagues, though the reverend (McConaughey) did. Maybe this is a whishy-washy post, but I'll continue with it anyway. Experiences can be wrong, of course. But I'll tell you one thing. I certainly won't dismiss the possibility that God (or any other supernatural being) doesn't exist. It's almost like the question "how do you know what you senses tell you is actually the real world, and not just some elaborate illusion - with even your sensations of pain being illusory?" The only thing am solidly conviced of beyond any personal doubt is "I think, therefore I am". Anything else that depends on that belief is a matter of faith - whether evolution, religion, mathematics, or the existence of anything else at all. All I can do is live my life according to the law of reality and logic as I see them (while keeping an open mind, of course)

Author
Philip
Date
2005-12-21T22:26:06-06:00
ID
103936
Comment

"Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church." - Ware Hodo That should be a bumper sticker, Ware.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T07:51:21-06:00
ID
103937
Comment

Thank You Ware, that is wonderful thought. Every parent has a right to teach their faith to their children regardless of what it is. Teach it at home, at church, or even better teach it by example. Algebra is not taught at Sunday School, so leave ID where it belongs which is out of public school. Speaking of good shows on the tele the National Geographic Channel had some good ones on last night called the "Science of the Bible", and they were very good shows which I am sure will be repeated. One of the most interesting aspects of the show was the mistranslated words that appear in the Bible. For instance, many believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but in the orginial Greek text the word was not "virgin" but was "young woman". My therory is that the early church wanting to convert the pagans of Europe changed the word to give the birth a "supernatural" reason which the pagans would really like. Tom since you have done some writing on the Bible can you add anything to that issue, I know many folks who believe that the King James Bible is the "WORD" of God. I often get grief for stating that the reason for the King James was in short beacuse the King of England wanted to get a divorce and marry up with another royal tart so he started his own religion and hence he needed a new Bible. I might be wrong on my history but I think that is how the story goes.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-22T08:44:11-06:00
ID
103938
Comment

On second thought, I think I should skip the temptation to engage in an argument that no one can win. I've done my job by expressing the fact that science isn't mistake-proof, a panacea, another God, or a replacement for the God some of us choose to believe exist. An atheist can doubt God's existence but still believe the sun will come up tomorrow. Can science guarantee that will happen? Can science take the faith out of the expectation? I haven't seen God but I believe he/she/it exist because of the numerous miraculous things I have seen that no man is able to create or explain. I have seen many real life scientists. Rarely have I been impressed by their glaring lack of knowledge and power. What a pathetic presence Einstein was and many like him. Even if you like Einstein, he didn't create that famous theory. He merely discovered it. If you choose to believe that. The world is inundated with mini-gods - arrogant people who think a mystery can't possibly exist if they can't see it. The truth being told, there are innumerable simple and plain mysteries going on in our presence daily that most of us can't see or appreciate. The capacity and limitation of our individual minds and intelligence aren't any real test of what exist or don't exist in the universe. The various explanations and accounts of God have confused us all. We don't know what to beleieve as real and unreal, but I would never totally lean to my own understanding. Some would argue if there were a real God he wouldn't allow the confusion. Some would further argue if there were a real God he would stop all the wrongdoings and unwanted suffering. I understand the questions but can't claim to have any answers. idon't even claim to fully accept the explanations I've been given by preachers and the likes. My great problem with atheists is that most of the ones I've seen are quite unhappy and unfulfilled. Most I know are loners with destructive habits. Surely, this is not true of all, but true of the ones whose lives I'm familiar with. Similarly, they're some of the most stressed-out people I have ever met. Yes, Knol, I know we have similar difficulties.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T10:06:05-06:00
ID
103939
Comment

"What a pathetic presence Einstein was..." Nice "The capacity and limitation of our individual minds and intelligence aren't any real test of what exist or don't exist in the universe." There is no existance without conciousness. And as an athiest I wish you only the best. I truely hope your faith brings the nicest person out of you. Ware

Author
Ware Hodo
Date
2005-12-22T10:14:22-06:00
ID
103940
Comment

Ware, I wish the same for atheists. I ain't hating on anyone. I'm trying to learn, exist, thrive, love, help, and do all the good I can while I can. I pray and wish good things for those who don't even pray or acknowledge the God I believe in, just in case I'm right. This way hopefully we will all be blessed. Faith is already bringing the nicest person out of me. I'm less judgmental or non-judgmental since I know my limitations and seek all the grace and mercy I can get despite my obvious and known shortcomings and imperfections.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T10:26:01-06:00
ID
103941
Comment

Ray, your points deal more with God v no-god. I don't think they really deal with science v God/god. We've managed to go from a discussion of creationism v evolution to science v god... Similar but not necessarily the same since they invite different examples that do not relate. On the topic of science v faith/creationism: Science expects evidence and/or proof. Laws are nothing more than theory that has been proven to some degree. Science allows for unknown variables. It also allows for theories and "laws" to be obliterated, enhanced, altered, expanded. But, unlike religion, science will never seek to explain the unknown and deem a simple hypothesis as law. It will never claim something as truth that has not been tested, re-tested, and duplicated over and over. It doesn't require FAITH... It requires probability. Ray, you could consider probability "faith" but it really goes far beyond that. Probability expects a result based on documented or recorded experience... Variables with expected results can be applied to an hypothesis or theory and tested. Faith in a god cannot. Miracle + Faith == God <-- that equation cannot be tested since faith, miracles, and god are immeasurable variables that have no FIXED value. It's like saying X+Y=Z without knowing or determining the values of any one particular variable. All very irrational and cannot be proven scientifically. Water + Significant Heat == Evaporation <-- that equation can be tested scientifically because it is verifiable. You can take the physical water, heat it significantly and actually witness, document, and prove the equation. Even if the theory were wrong, it is proven scientifically, reasonably, and logically. While I have no problems with people having faith, believing in a god, or worshipping, I have a problem being told I'm wrong (through legislation, in classrooms, and in public) and should change my ways when there is NO PROOF to substantiate those claims by a specific church or person. They place the burden of proof on those that disagree with their evangelical or fundamentalist ways because they actually have no evidence they are right. This is exactly what's happening in America with ID v evolution and so many other politically charged wedges being spewed by the Fundraising Fundies. Until they can prove they are right with verifiable evidence, it's myth and should not be written into law or books of Science or History. THEY have to PROVE it. It is not up to the scientists and the free-thinkers to disprove something that evidently has no proof of ever existing.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T10:35:47-06:00
ID
103942
Comment

Yes, I did do a little shifting. A trick both of us are similarly skilled at. I'll admit I don't like the theory of evolution. So, I mostly close my mind to it and change the subject. You caught me that time. Are you a scientist? My guess is that you aren't. My experience has shown me that scientists while they have a strong belief in science, they also have a great fear of science because they readily see science's shortcomings as well. You have made a better argument favoring science than the last person I convinced of science's limitations. One of my best friend is a MIT graduated electrical engineer at Goddard Space Center in the Washington D.C. area. For years, no one could get him to even give religion in general or Christianity in particular a try. He picked a fight with me over the internet one day about religion with all our college buddies reading along. I aver the Lord was with me that day and before long I shut him completely up. I doubt that I have crystallized a belief in God without further doubt by him, but I certainly convinced him to study the bible and see if he doesn't gain previously unimagined knowledge, wisdom and insight. Even if you don't believe in God I don't see how anyone can doubt the bible and the like books don't provide some insight to life. But I'm finished with the God argument for now. I'm far to handsome to have derived or come from any 4 legged animal. Likewise, Carolyn, Donna, Ali, Latasha, Nona Henrix, Beyonce, Vivica, Halle, Racquel, Jane, and countless others are too beautiful to have ascended from something other than a mighty, magnificant, omnipresence, and all powerful God. Just as Arsenio Hall said in the movie "Coming to America" as he watched some 10 or more beautiful women in bathing suits turn and leave the stage, "when I see that ladies and gentlemen I know there is a god; man can't make it like that." A joke only to some.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T11:12:58-06:00
ID
103943
Comment

Dennis, on the topic of King James, revisions of the Bible, and the "Word of God" while also discussing history and scientific study, there are a million directions I can go. I spent many years (un)learning many aspects of my beliefs and faith based on learning more about the history of Christianity - not to mention mankind. I look at the Bible - specifically the New Testament - as riddled with problems and inaccuracies if viewed historically/scientifically. That doesn't mean it's not a good book/read and without lessons. Still, while the Old Testament is viewed as metaphor by most Jews I know and a learning tool (rather than the literal word of a G*d), Christians, especially fundamentalist or evangelical, tend to take the Bible as literal and questioning is the work of the Devil (*questioning and challenging would actually be Luciferian -- God's favorite angel that questioned and challenged far before he was cast from Heaven). The churches teach to rely solely on faith even if it disagrees with all logic (logic being a gift of God according to the book itself). People rarely, if ever, think about the problems with believing the Bible is historically accurate and the only true history of the world. Some examples of inaccuracies in the New Testament (and/or the Bible): - As far as I know, there are no original copies of the Gospels; also, many possible "Gospels" (also known as "The Heresies") were destroyed by the early, orthodox church or rulers because they disagreed with their POV. - There is no sound, historical evidence that Jesus even existed. Think about it... How many noted philosophers, nations, etc have documented Jesus during the LIFE OF JESUS? I mean, Jesus made BIG headlines in that time according to the Gospels... You'd think at least ONE of the great philosophers, Jewish leaders, scribes, etc (outside of Gospels) would have noted his name, his miracles, or his existence during his life. Hell, he managed to piss off a leader of an advanced and technical society... Surely someone in that civilization had the ability to document it. So, while the Gospels may be, in many ways, historically sound, they lack a respected source backing the stories. Anne Rice mentions many real places, real people, and real dates but Lestat won't be biting your neck unless you have an irrational faith in immortal, blood-feasting vampires. - If Jesus did exist (for instance we do find references of historic value dated to the Christ-era), most of the Gospels are still suspected of being hearsay and there is an amazing lack of proof that each author knew or experienced Jesus directly. - It is more likely that the Gospels were written by someone other than the disciples many years/decades after Jesus' estimated death. Most of the Gospels are suspected to be written at least 30-60 years after Jesus' death. Do the math on that. If you think the "authors" of the Gospels were indeed the names listed (though no autographed versions exist), that would put them at 80+ which FAR EXCEEDS the average lifespan of that era (I'm guessing to be somewhere around 30-35max). - The authors of the Gospel author Jesus' thoughts. What? I thought that, in and of itself, was considered heresy. Somehow, these authors wrote about what Jesus did when they were (according to their own words) NOWHERE to be seen. That is patently hearsay and presents a problem when analyzing as historically accurate or proof of existence. - King James is a primary example of how the Bible, even if the stories manage to pass the test of historic fact in many manners (including the existence of Jesus), have been edited and re-tooled for the purpose of the leaders, culture and/or times. Hell, take a look at the "Urban" Bibles, the "hip/slang" Bible, the feminist Bible, etc if you want to see the Bible become more watered down and re-purposed. Don't even get me started on the Catholic church... ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T11:13:29-06:00
ID
103944
Comment

I could go on but can't extend this break... You probably get my point. The Bible is riddled with inaccuracies, edits, re-tooling, and so much more... King James is a great example but is not the sole problem with literal Bible translations by many fundamentalists. Without doubt, it's a great read and has led many to change their lives in a positive manner but should be read with a deep understanding of the history of mankind and the history of the books that have been used to construct and destroy people, organizations, groups, and nations. If I could have one thing, it would be fundamentalists and evangelicals live as Christ allegedly did -- by example. He did not force, legislate, or preach to those not willing to partake.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T11:13:37-06:00
ID
103945
Comment

Are you a scientist? My guess is that you aren't. My experience has shown me that scientists while they have a strong belief in science, they also have a great fear of science because they readily see science's shortcomings as well. You have made a better argument favoring science than the last person I convinced of science's limitations. -Ray No, not a scientist but favor the scientific method. Still, I've never met a scientist or professor of science that does not admit to limitations in theories and laws of science. That's basically the essence of science itself -- to explain the unknown or unexplained in a scientific method that withstands challenge. Still, many of those limitations/holes are being illuminated through new technologies and sciences like physics. Science's shortcomings have no place in a discussion regarding religion or faith based on religion. It's non sequitur in nature. Again, we're arguing apples and oranges when there's no need. I don't disagree that religion and science do not both require some degree of expecation/faith/probability... I don't disagree that religion and science have unexplicable variables. That's where I was going when pointing out that we'd gone from one topic to another (which often happens when discussing evolution v creationism)... I prefer not to combine the topics of science and religion because they are not related and are impossible for me to correlate...

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T11:28:53-06:00
ID
103946
Comment

I don't know how we will be able to keep science and religion totally separate when so many atheists, disbelievers, and intellectuals use science as the ultimate source, measuring stick, test tube, or god to discredit, discount and obliterate religion. If you take away or separate science then there is hardly any arguably reliable way to test God's existence or the plausibility of religion to explain our existence versus evolution. Do you have a suggestion for another test or source for accuracy. Mind you, I do understand why you suddenly want to separate them. But I'm not going to let you unless you can provide a respected alternative. I've got to leave the office but I will keeping reading and thinking - loading my mind, so to speak. The little mind that I have left.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T11:50:08-06:00
ID
103947
Comment

Whoa... Ray, are you putting the burden of proof on me? I can drop an apple and predictably watch it fall according to scientific rules. Can you or someone you know turn water into eggnog? Can you raise the dead by simply touching them? Can I talk to your god please to ask a few questions? I have to prove why science and religion should not be discussed as similar entities? It would seem religious people should have to prove why they should. They are the ones confusing the two. Science exists to prove (and disprove) itself and its claims and explain the physical universe (not necessarily how and why the universe exists in the first place). Religion has no proof of its claims. Zero. We can't easily compare a rigorous model of probability, models, tested theories and laws (including debunked), and physical evidence to something that makes claims (from the waking dead to living inside fish to the sun being weak to inbreeding and polygamy to ghosts and angels, etc) but has no historic proof, repeating occurrence, or anything verifiable. It's all hearsay and leads to deconstruction of one or the other using either faith or logic and reasoning. We should probably define science to better understand why it's futile to butt it against religion for debating... Science's role is to produce models of the natural world that definitively reflect and predict the behavior of a natural system or systems. Science does not attempt to explain why the laws are or the origins of those laws. Scientists do not go from A directly to Z in science. They must go from A->B->C but may skip a few steps assuming probability; still, they must prove how/why they were able to jump to the conclusion. Much like your algebra class, you have to show your work or you fail and can lose all respect (ask the most recent laughing stock of science)! Religion does not rely on "show your work" as a necessity. It does not have rigorous rules to determine the realities of the claims by a specific religion. It allows for a singular person/group to define the laws in the name of the god(s). If you take Aristotle's four causes, you'll find that science (by definition) seeks to answer the material (what the thing consists of) and formal (what the thing is) while religion focuses on but does not prove the efficient (what made it happen) and final causes (why the event happened). The third and fourth causes may lead to further investigation but science cannot answer it without dealing specifically with the first and second. Religion skips the first and second and dictates (rather than proves) the third and fourth. This is why I cannot discuss them as opposite or similar. They share nothing but a few, minor variables and quests. We can discuss the (dis)similarities but I won't sit and chase that tail that will lead me to further deconstruct religion and eventually quote Friedrich Nietzsche only to piss off and unhinge the buckle of this here Bible Belt.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T13:22:17-06:00
ID
103948
Comment

Good thread here, folks. I was up til 7:30 finishing up what work needed to be done before Christmas and am about to stagger back to bed and take a nap, but later today I'll respond in more depth. Knol, always feel free to quote Nietzsche--I tend to think he had a mental age of 14 and is a perfect straw man for evangelicals for that reason (Bertrand Russell, IMHO, is oh so much better), but I think frankness in a discussion of this kind can do nothing but good. It's not like religious folks won't have any answers for what you're saying, and it ties into the broader discussion of what religion can and can't do. God is, BTW, entirely on topic for this thread. The discussion of religion and science is ultimately one about the nature of religion and the nature of science. I discovered this back when I moderated some listservs for the Metanexus Institute/Philadelphia Center for Religion and Science a few years back. As Carl Sagan once said: In order to bake a cake from scratch, first you have to create the universe. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-22T13:58:30-06:00
ID
103949
Comment

Yes Knol, you can talk to my God. (We do it all the time. I will ask him to give you a call or touch the next time I talk to him); I can turn water to eggnog or even wine (we do that all the time too), yes I can raise the dead by touching them. I would need to do a little lifting too, however, but a touch is involved. How did you know that old principal made me take Algebra too? As to whether creationism or the bible's view of creation is a science or not, who are we to know. We know too little to really know. I'll admit it's not science in the way we know science. I'm surprised those people spent so much time trying to position it as such. What is the judge other than another mere mortal who probably relies too heavily on his own understanding to determine what is and what isn't? The judge probably doesn't even have a good grasp of science himself. And don't forget that scientific theories are debunked on a common basis. All of us have to decide what we wish to believe and disbelieve. No one knows for sure what is right or wrong. I can ask you just as many questions about religion or God that you can't answer to my satisfaction, as you can ask me. Yesterday, I had decided to take just that view on the subject. I thought better of it today. In the end, I haven't proven anything to you and you certainly haven't proved anything to me. Irrespective of the foregoing, I have no problem choosing to respect and love you as my fellow man, and I believe the bible told me to do that. Where is the mandate or pronouncement to love your fellow man in science? I really don't care what view of creation is taught in school because we grow up and do what we choose to anyway. Just as with Santa Claus, I don't understand why people get so angry when they realize a premise isn't as solid as they thought it was. What did once believing in God and later disbelieving cost anyone? Did it make you a worse person. Did you sin less? How much fun did it stop you from having, if any? Now, I'm against people taking God and religion to condemn and harm people. And I realize some religious fools have done this to atheists, agnostics, homosexuals, peoples of different faith, etc.. It a better choice to not hate God (who is innocent) and instead to temporarily dislike or distance yourself from the fools who wrongly abused you.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T15:06:00-06:00
ID
103950
Comment

Interesting discussion between Knol and Ray. I think that both are correct to some degree. As Walker Percy said, paraphrasing Kierkegaard, science can tell us about everything under the sun except what it means to be born into the world, to live, and to die.

Author
Justin
Date
2005-12-22T15:17:16-06:00
ID
103951
Comment

"Where is the mandate or pronouncement to love your fellow man in science?" Actions through experienced consequence, that's where. I will only speak for myself saying that I have learned that treating other people in a non-offending manner is the easiest way through life in the long run. These people in turn are more likely (statistically) to treat me the same way in return. There is no obligation to behave this way (if you don't mind prison) and certainly no THREAT of eternal damnation. It's a statistically-weighed mechanical response to conditioning, as are all of our actions. This sounds very sterile on paper but it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy life immensely. I wish you all the best and expect that in return 83% of the time.

Author
Ware Hodo
Date
2005-12-22T15:36:10-06:00
ID
103952
Comment

Ware, what percentage of world powers (such as the USA, Britan, etc) were nice and kind to small powewrless countries who were nice and kind to them. Very few if any powers have become a world power without cheating, stealing, beating, and killing the weaker beings. Even you admit you don't expect the same about a third of the time. Did science compel, pronounce or mandate that white people treat Indians and slaves as Indians and slaves treated them? Or was it that white peoplle didn't listen. I don't want to make this a race thing, but I doubt any scrapping or fighting for survival group of people as a matter of course treat others as they want to be treated based on how they're treated. I wish they did but see little proof of it. It seems to me that too many people of all races are looking for personal or group advantages assuming there is any real unity in any of the groups. Yes, I know pronouncements or mandates from religion don't seem to make any difference either.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T16:00:28-06:00
ID
103953
Comment

"Did science compel, pronounce or mandate that white people treat Indians and slaves as Indians and slaves treated them?" - Ray Actually, science proved that Native Americans were equal minus a small difference in a tiny protein in the tiny DNA. That validation of equality removed the possibility for others to scream that other races are inferior. If I remember correctly, religion was used to keep/sell many blacks into and in slavery... It was also used to keep equality from the Black people throughout history.... It's still happening with LGBTs. Now, if we go your route, explain how religion has been used to torture THOUSANDS of innocents throughout history and has been the basis for MANY wars. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T16:06:42-06:00
ID
103954
Comment

I have never said religion hasn't been used to abuse people. I have always said it has been. Yes, religion was used to convince some black people they should remain docile and servants to whites. I'm well aware of this dark history. This is one of the great reasons many black folk, to this day, have a big problem with Christianity. I consider it a greater testament to the will and power of black folks to know this occurred but still believe there is a loving God that will grant them eternal life if they live by those mandates down here on earth. No one can give me a history on us I'm not aware of. Be sure to read what I actually said and not what you think or wish I said.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T16:18:24-06:00
ID
103955
Comment

Ray, I stated early in my post that I speak only for myself as an explanation of how an atheist can also be a humanist. "....I doubt any scrapping or fighting for survival group of people as a matter of course treat others as they want to be treated based on how they're treated. I wish they did..." Exactly my point. My 83% comment was an attempt at humor, not a factual number.

Author
Ware Hodo
Date
2005-12-22T16:21:55-06:00
ID
103956
Comment

I don't need to give any explanation to your last sentence Knol. We both know this has occurred. We both know it wrong, too. Those abusive bastards who carried these atrocities out get no props, sympathey, or understanding from me. They're no heroes or mentors to me.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T16:25:11-06:00
ID
103957
Comment

History is loaded with more examples of death and destruction wrought by mankind in the name of Christanity than any other religion on the planet, and Americans today look bewildered at a young Muslem blowing up in the name of Allah.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-22T16:33:05-06:00
ID
103958
Comment

But, Ray, why would you ask about pronouncements of love in science? It implies religion offers far more than science and that religion offers far more good because religion mandates love. The question didn't serve a purpose or did I miss an example/anecdote you were providing? Science has enabled mass-production at higher speeds of foods (which some may scoff at but starving people rejoice).... Science has offered second chances to people that were on their death beds... Science has offered clean water to villages, towns, and cities... Science has given you that fancy car to get to and from a foxy lady's house... Science has given you 30+ years more life compared to our ancestors of recent past... Science has allowed babies that would normally die a second chance... I could go on about the goods of science vs its bads (the atom bomb for instance). Scientists did it without a mandate of love. But, again, we're getting off topic. ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-22T16:37:15-06:00
ID
103959
Comment

Dennis, as far as I know, I have to say Amen to your comment. However, I bet they weren't practicing turning the other cheek, forgiveness, or letting the Lord do the punishing. They might have called the basis of their war Christianity but it wasn't. I neither hate nor comdemn Muslims or any other religious group of people. I don't beleieve we're right and everybody else is wrong either. I take lot of heat from my Christian brothers for not taking turning the other cheek literally. I likely want be able to do it but once or twice. Soon thereafter I'm likely to start fighting. I also understand why Gandhi said he would have considered becoming a Christian had he ever REALLY met one. Very few of us can even do what we claim we believe. We're weak and imperfect, even the few who are really trying.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T16:48:24-06:00
ID
103960
Comment

I'm worned out. Goodbye to all. Especially my friend Knoll.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-22T16:52:06-06:00
ID
103961
Comment

Well said by Gandhi and you as well Ray. My concern is best quoted I believe by CS Lewis, "If tyranny comes to America it will be draped in a flag and carrying the Bible".

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-22T17:05:29-06:00
ID
103962
Comment

Ray writes: One of the most interesting aspects of the show was the mistranslated words that appear in the Bible. For instance, many believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but in the orginial Greek text the word was not "virgin" but was "young woman". My therory is that the early church wanting to convert the pagans of Europe changed the word to give the birth a "supernatural" reason which the pagans would really like. My therory is that the early church wanting to convert the pagans of Europe changed the word to give the birth a "supernatural" reason which the pagans would really like. Tom since you have done some writing on the Bible can you add anything to that issue... Really good--and topical--question, dude. I'll do the best I can: Isaiah 7:14, the prophecy that the New Testament authors probably intended to fulfill by having Jesus born of a virgin, does indeed use the Hebrew almah--a word more literally meaning "young woman" than "virgin," though the technical meaning of the term is closer to "a young woman who is not yet married." Although one can theoretically lose one's virginity and remain an almah, it would not fall within social mores of the time (particularly since women tended to marry at age 14-16; Mary was probably very young)--so it would have been reasonable for the NT authors to read the word as referring to a virginal woman rather than merely an unmarried one, but the word doesn't refer directly to virginity. In Matthew and Luke, virginity is more explicit. In Matthew 1:18, for example, it is said that Joseph and Mary had not yet "come together" (though whether or not she had come separately does not seem to be addressed); in Matthew 1:23, which quotes Isaiah 7:14, the word used instead of almah is the Greek parthenos, which can be used to refer to virgins of either gender or to single women. So even here the virginity is not quite an essential meaning of the text, but it seems likely that this is what the author meant. Because stories of miraculous conception were very common at the time (it was said that Atia gave birth to Augustus with no help from human males), I suspect that the authors of the NT would have gone out of their way not to use ambiguous terminology on this point if they did not mean to say that Mary was a virgin, so a Christian interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 would favor the "virgin" translation of almah. But from a Jewish perspective, Isaiah 7:14 probably was not intended to refer to a virgin birth. My therory is that the early church wanting to convert the pagans of Europe changed the word to give the birth a "supernatural" reason which the pagans would really like. I think this is John Dominic Crossan's explanation as to why Isaiah 7:14 was interpreted as referring to a virgin rather than merely a young woman, though what he would have probably said was that the author was trying to show Christ's divinity by saying that he came to be in the same miraculous way that the Emperor Augustus had. This is also why Jesus gets all of the imperial titles--it was the Emperor of Rome who was called Lord, Savior, and Son of God, which is one of the major reasons why the Romans tended to get a little antsy about the whole Jesus thing. Virtually all of his honorific titles were originally used to refer to the Emperor, and used for Jesus to show that divine authority trumps empire. He was horning in on their territory. In the nativity story, Matthew and Luke essentially say "Up yours--he was born of a virgin, too!" Of course, it still certainly could have been true. Tom since you have done some writing on the Bible can you add anything to that issue, (Thanks for this, by the way--last year I couldn't spell hermeneuticist, and now I am one!) Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T04:26:55-06:00
ID
103963
Comment

Ray writes: I know many folks who believe that the King James Bible is the "WORD" of God. Which would at least solve the mystery of Shakespeare's identity, by establishing him as the undiscovered fourth person of the Trinity. I often get grief for stating that the reason for the King James was in short beacuse the King of England wanted to get a divorce and marry up with another royal tart so he started his own religion and hence he needed a new Bible. I might be wrong on my history but I think that is how the story goes. You're very close. The issue was not the Bible (which has a much more dull explanation), but the founding of the Church of England itself. Henry VIII wanted a divorce, purportedly because his wife was not producing any male heirs; Rome would not give him one; so he broke ties (though he didn't see it that way, and considered himself a loyal Roman Catholic to the day he died). There were other tensions between Britain and the Vatican at the time (most of the Popes of his era believed themselves to be the rightful rulers of the planet Earth, with all secular leaders either subject to their will or cast out of the Christian fold), so it could be argued that this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Personally, and I say this as a dual-affiliated Episcopalian, I think Henry VIII was just nutters. Had a nasty habit of killing his wives to get them out of the way. Elizabeth I is the real monarchial founder of the Church of England as far as I'm concerned, as she saw it as a separate church and took a real interest in making it work. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T04:27:13-06:00
ID
103964
Comment

A few random points. Dennis writes: History is loaded with more examples of death and destruction wrought by mankind in the name of Christanity than any other religion on the planet, and Americans today look bewildered at a young Muslem blowing up in the name of Allah. This is entirely true, folks. Go back 800 years and you will find the current "war on terror" scenario almost completely reversed, where Muslim culture looks on the whole educated, modern, civilized, moderate, and pro-science, and Christian culture looks on the whole uneducated, primitive, uncivilized, radical, and anti-science. That's an oversimplification, but the truth is that we have Greek philosophy because the Muslims saved it. Christian leaders of the period didn't seem to care about it, any more than the Taliban cared about the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Now that Christian culture tends to be friendlier to the secular world, the Muslim world is seen as extreme. But if we're not careful, the situation could easily reverse itself. We need to recognize that there's a hair's breadth of difference between the two faiths, and that either can be a "problem religion," and either can be a profound civilizing influence, depending on where its leaders and followers happen to be at a given time. [continued]

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T04:48:32-06:00
ID
103965
Comment

Knol writes: Science has enabled mass-production at higher speeds of foods (which some may scoff at but starving people rejoice).... Science has offered second chances to people that were on their death beds... Science has offered clean water to villages, towns, and cities... Science has given you that fancy car to get to and from a foxy lady's house... Science has given you 30+ years more life compared to our ancestors of recent past... Science has allowed babies that would normally die a second chance... I could go on about the goods of science vs its bads (the atom bomb for instance). Scientists did it without a mandate of love. But, again, we're getting off topic. ;-) And I think you folks are also seeing a science-religion values dichotomy where none exists. Francis Collins of the Human Genome Project, for example, is an evangelical Christian, and very conservative; his values informed his research. And you would be hard pressed to find a scientist for whom the deepest value is a commitment to science. Albert Einstein was a profoundly spiritual social reformer, among other things. Carl Sagan's focus was on the vulnerability of the human race. Even Richard Dawkins is primarily concerned about ridding the world of violence and war; that's what his entire issue with religion is based on. So I would say that most really dedicated scientists probably do commit to their work with a mandate of love, just as most intellectually honest religious people probably do care about integrity and reason. What we believe about the intangible aspects of what-is matters relatively little in the grand scheme of things, I believe. Sir Francis Bacon once famously said that atheism is more on the tongue than in the heart of man. I would go a step further and say that metaphysical beliefs in general, atheistic and otherwise, tend to be that way. Metaphysics is not the trump card; there are deeper values at play. 1 Corinthians 13 says it best: If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T04:48:40-06:00
ID
103966
Comment

Thank you Tom for your insight particularly on the Bible issues, looking at the Gospel strictly from a historical viewpoint I feel that the proper conclusion one should make is that little is truly known about the birth and early years of Jesus. Your example of the "virgin births" of Jesus and Augustus, as well as other historical questions, i.e. Bethlehem birthplace and the lineage to King David do appear to be the NT authors efforts to line up OT prophecy. In my opinion this explains why there is such a large time/information gap from Jesus's birth and his encounter with John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Was Jesus a follower of John the Baptist? How did John influence Jesus's ministry? But this get's way off the track of ID and public schools.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-23T08:45:36-06:00
ID
103967
Comment

My random round up of thoughts on this thread: To me, ID is a little too close to "we were brought here by aliens." If humanity is NOT part of the natural order of things, then it opens up some really silly ideas of our origins. Like space aliens. And, seriously, how does ID work? Did God create an Adam and Eve of all races? Or just one, and then how did we end up with such variety if we all come from one batch of DNA? And, seriously - is humanity the best that God could come up with? People, body and mind, are seriously flawed and prone to illness. If we had been designed from scratch, I think some things would have been done differently. Personally, I don't think that we're *so* freakin' special and awesome that we are the brainchild of the Ultimate. So unclear why brandon says that evolution can happen to viruses, but not to anything else. Why would there be one mechanism for micro-organisms, and another for larger creatures. We're all made of the same stuff. ID seems to be an attempt to make it clear that we're "special", the chosen creatures of God. As for me, I'm much happier believing that I am part of the existing cosmos, and not some random thing dropped into the pattern by space aliens. I find evolution to be a way more miraculous and awesome display of the power of Life and the 'Big Spirit' than the notion that we are not one with the rest of the planet. It really kind of gives me the heebee jeebies to think that I'm not related to my dogs and my cats and the trees and such. What's the point of being separate? As for the question of science vs religion in teaching ethics and values, I think it's pretty much a tie. Both are human constructs, and so prone to vast amounts of error and corruption. Science can give us ways of examining ourselves and the interconnectedness of life that can provide profound spiritual insights. It's when science (and religion, for that matter) is taken in a narrow context and a short time frame that things go awry. Another topic to look at is the definition of Truth. For some, a Truth has to be a Fact. Which is why some want to the bible to be seen as Fact. For others, Truth can be Factual or it can be simply Truth. So, the story of Genesis can be True without being factual. end of random thoughts of the day. Merry Chrstmas, Happy Solstice, Chipper Channukah, Kickin' Kwanzaa everybody.

Author
kate
Date
2005-12-23T10:28:18-06:00
ID
103968
Comment

Evolution evidence rated as top ‘breakthrough’ Two days after a federal judge delivered a heavy blow to the intelligent-design movement, the journal Science Thursday proclaimed that fresh evidence of evolution in action was the top scientific breakthrough of 2005. In the annual roundup, the journal's editors pointed to wide-ranging research built on the foundations of Charles Darwin’s landmark 1859 work ”The Origin of Species” and the idea of natural selection. Among the highlights: a study that showed a mere 4 percent difference between human and chimpanzee DNA, and studies documenting the splits in species of birds, fish and caterpillars. “Amid this outpouring of results, 2005 stands out as a banner year for uncovering the intricacies of how evolution actually proceeds,” the editors wrote. “Ironically, also this year, some segments of American society fought to dilute the teaching of even the basic facts of evolution.”

Author
kaust
Date
2005-12-23T12:34:26-06:00
ID
103969
Comment

Dennis, good post. Thanks for this. I would add that another reason for the time gap is because it was standard; Caesar's autobiography begins when he was 19, for example, and had his first administrative role. The idea of a comprehensive biography or autobiography, which discusses childhood in detail then moves chronologically through life until the very end, was not universally held at that point in history. But in the Bible book (which I owe you a copy of, BTW), I discuss the time gap a bit. The conclusion I lean towards in the book is basically the same one you present here--that Jesus was a follower of John the Baptist who slowly grew to eclipse his teacher. Though during Jesus' lifetime, this was not necessarily the case; more Roman historians wrote about John than Jesus, probably in part because he had a longer public ministry. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T14:47:41-06:00
ID
103970
Comment

Kate, good post. There is definitely a deus ex machina aspect to intelligent design from a scientific point of view, but for orthodox Christians there is the very real problem of reconciling biblical accounts of things with what secular knowledge tells us. I don't mean to belittle that struggle in my support for church-state separation, or my philosophical opposition to intelligent design and other forms of creationism. For folks who look at this ancient Bible and feel that God wants them to see it as accurate, as relevant, I suspect it's about more than feeling special. I definitely relate to natural selection being a huge part of one's worldview, though. The idea of common ancestry reminds me that we're all animals, which is a pretty significant factor in why I went vegetarian back in June. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T14:55:33-06:00
ID
103971
Comment

Knol, good stuff. I have a feeling that as genome sequencing work continues, we will see even more of a "family tree" begin to develop vis-a-vis other organisms. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-23T14:56:39-06:00
ID
103972
Comment

That is very interesting, did the Jewish historians write very much about John as the Romans did?

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-23T14:58:01-06:00
ID
103973
Comment

Tom a vegetarian, you must be hanging out at the Rainbow Co-Op from time to time, I did the V diet for about a year sometime back, it was fine but every now and then I just want a nice fat steak from a good ole, American cow....... Straight from the stockyard, pumped full of antiboitics and "mad cow" laced stock feed to the grill then to my plate.....dang I sure am hungry.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-23T15:04:37-06:00
ID
103974
Comment

I'll leave the Christian bashing to others. Sorry!

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-12-23T23:02:12-06:00
ID
103975
Comment

I can say so much about this issue, yet won't because there is always the possiblity any of us are wrong, regardless of where to stand (again, it may be wishy-washy, but it's not due to fear of getting involved - only because I'd gone around this track years before..then threw up my hands in exasperation and made my decision in a decidedly NON-dogmatic way). For the Record: I think "traditional" creationism, or even ID, is a red herring, as I perfectly accept that the bible was not written in a scientific genre, nor were the authors actually intending it to be of the scientific genre. It's as much literary, historical, archaeological, etc as anything IMO (and yes, debate in these fields is every bit as heated as in the physical sciences! On that note, a good pro-con site is Theologyweb.com "We Debate Religion...Seriously" (and they do live up to that tagline!) For the scope and purpose of science: Method for Finding Scientific Truth (the BEST explanation of it i know of on the web)

Author
Philip
Date
2005-12-23T23:42:57-06:00
ID
103976
Comment

Dennis writes: did the Jewish historians write very much about John as the Romans did? Good question. Some of the best Roman historians of the region--Josephus, most famously--were Jewish, but I don't think there was really a genre of contemporaneous Jewish historical writing at that point in history. Tom a vegetarian, you must be hanging out at the Rainbow Co-Op from time to time, Big fan of the place! I did the V diet for about a year sometime back, it was fine but every now and then I just want a nice fat steak from a good ole, American cow....... Straight from the stockyard, pumped full of antiboitics and "mad cow" laced stock feed to the grill then to my plate.....dang I sure am hungry. Ha! I can relate, my friend. A buddy of mine in New York is a strict vegetarian...except for once a month, when he goes out and gets a nice big cheeseburger. I can relate to that. My original plan going in was to become a chicken-and-fish-itarian--where I won't eat anything higher on the evolutionary scale than chicken--but I found it so easy to give up meat altogether that I just decided to go that route for now. Might revise it later. What did you eat during that year? Had the (very recent, I gather) Age of Processed Soy Protein arrived yet, or were you stuck with tofu and actual vegetables? That's my trouble; I actually gained weight when I started as a vegetarian because I essentially became a dessertetarian/cheesetarian/peanut-butteretarian/etc. I can respect why vegans go vegan, but something tells me that I'd even find a way to make a vegan diet fattening. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-24T00:19:39-06:00
ID
103977
Comment

Ironghost writes: I'll leave the Christian bashing to others. Sorry! Actually, I'm pretty proud of how this thread has gone so far in terms of not drifting in the direction of Christian-bashing, and I think I've done a pretty good job in my own posts of being respectful to the orthodox Christian position. I think we all realize here that we're dealing with an area of human thought that involves the most fundamental beliefs and the least amount of shared evidence. Science can tell us many things, but it gives us no clue whether we ought to be theists, agnostics, or atheists. Science is, in the final analysis, the study of evidence. When dealing with areas where tangible evidence is scant, it's pretty much silent. This comes around to another point I meant to bring up: I think intelligent design proponents understandably see evolution by natural selection as threatening to their worldview, and want the credibility of science to stand with them as they fight off that threat. I can understand the emotional impulse, but that's simply not what science is good for. In the final analysis, it is up to theologians to decide how the doctrine of creation can best fit within, or even reject, the framework provided by the scientific method. But to simply try to hijack the word "science" and use it to defend religion does no good for anybody. If evolution by natural selection is in fact an accurate theory (and I think there is overwhelming evidence that it is), then getting everybody hyped up on intelligent design (a) is only a temporary band-aid for the problem, as further evidence will no doubt strengthen the case for natural selection even further, and (b) an actual scandal, because those who base their faith on what "science" tells them by way of the intelligent design movement will live in fear of every newspaper science page, wondering if that's the one that will include evidence that tears their entire worldview apart. I've been there. It's not fun. Intellectual honesty is the best policy. Fortunately, there are some damned good theologians out there who can reconcile natural selection with a biblical worldview. Roman Catholic theologians tend to be especially good at this; even John Paul II said that evolution has become "more than a theory." Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-12-24T00:29:01-06:00
ID
103978
Comment

Same here, Tom. Thanks, all for demonstrating how diverse minds can have an intelligent conversation without it devolving into immature name-calling. Cheers to you all. I'm certainly smarter as a result of this thread.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-12-26T12:59:36-06:00
ID
103979
Comment

Tom, you're brillant. I can't tell you how much I've learned from you. If I could go to undergraduate school again, I'd major in Philosopy and Religion. I love the passage about "Love" from one of the Corinthians. I have used that in trials to great advantages. Kate, I like to have animal lovers on my jurys too. I have a good story about dogs that usually compel jurors to show great compassion and vote for life. I guess I should be ashamed of myself for telling such stories since I only like outside dogs, cats, etc. - can't come in the house.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-12-27T11:58:20-06:00
ID
103980
Comment

This is a shameless plug for Tom's book "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to the Bible". If you have enjoyed Tom's Biblical blogging then I highly recommend you get a copy of his book. You don't have to be a Beginner to enjoy the read, Tom presents an easy to read bible guide without clouding the subject with lot of opinion. He keeps to the principle of "keep it simple". Very informative and educational, Thanks Tom.

Author
Dennis
Date
2005-12-27T12:20:15-06:00
ID
103981
Comment

Now we hear from Rome on the papel view of ID http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5163960

Author
Dennis
Date
2006-01-22T21:43:08-06:00
ID
103982
Comment

Wow. Okay, my impression of Benedict XVI just went up about 15 notches. Thanks for the find, Dennis. I knew John Paul II was a fan of evolution--calling it "more than a theory"--but I had expected far less from his protege. Wow. Just wow. And thanks so much for the kind words, folks. I'm humbled! Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-22T22:03:07-06:00
ID
103983
Comment

What would happen to me here if I said I believe that God created science? I won't get grenades mailed to my house, will I? Gulp.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-01-22T23:59:17-06:00
ID
103984
Comment

Only if you subscribe to the Grenade-of-the-Month Club, but I hear they're going out of business anyway. Something about the whole 30-day-trial thing not working out... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-23T01:33:56-06:00
ID
103985
Comment

Your welcome Tom, it was not an easy find on the story, I think the dead whale in the Thames River got most of the headlines.

Author
Dennis
Date
2006-01-23T08:25:05-06:00

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