Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Intelligent Design (not so intelligent)

Alright, here's something that's a bit more relevant. Pennsylvania parents are suing local schools that have added "intelligent design" to the science curriculum.

What is happening to the state of education in this country?? I was a biology major in college and I'll be the first to admit that the theory of evolution is exactly that: just a theory. But it's the best explanation we have (based on physical evidence) as to where we came from and how species are related. It looks at fossils, bone structure, DNA, etc. and draws conclusions based on evidence. In addition to giving a reasonable explanation about our existence, it helps students understand the scientific process of making observations and coming up with theories.

It's wrong to not push our students to think and learn about the world. Intelligent design tells us nothing! To say, "We can't explain it, so it must be God" is such a lazy cop-out. It's like how in ancient times people thought that the gods were responsible for thunder and lightening, but now we know what causes it. How can we be teaching ignorance and laziness?

- Jean Chen

93 Comments:

At 3:15 PM, Blogger wanda said...

Why not teach the children all possible scenarios? Then let them choose which they will embrace?

 
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At 3:54 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

Yeah, like Wanda said let's teach all of the scenarios. How about this scenario, the devil created the Universe and everything in it and made up the idea of God in order to play with humans minds. Yeah, that's a good scenario.

Or how about this scenario, our Universe is actually the inside of a locker of another life forms bus station (MIB).

Or, aliens from another dimension created our Universe by rubbing to rocks together.

Intelligent design is a ridiculous concept to teach children. It ignores ALL of the FACTS (look up cosmic background radiation and what it proves). Once you know the facts, you'll see why intelligent design is a farce.

Besides, EVERYONE knows we were created by Zeus and his crew, or was it the Sun god and his crew, or the Invisible man and his crew, or .....

Get it???

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Markkind said...

There's a ton of books on conservative websites that talk about intelligent design. I didn't really understand what it was until this post.

I must say, teaching intelligent design rather than evolution is just begging for our children to become illiterate. This reminds me of the "whole language" VS phonics debate that resulted in unparalleled illiteracy. Why must people insist on wrecking what was a fine school curriculum?

I understand the faith based argument and as much as I sympathize with the christian folks, keep that stuff at home. If you want to teach your children that there's no such things as dinosaurs or evolution, hey, it's your house and your kid. However, it's the school functions to expose children to what the facts are and that's all. Bringing intelligent design will only muddy already screwed up school system.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger jody wysteria said...

I've always believed evolution the product of intelligent design. Consider the new theories on co-operation and symbiosis.

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

The idea “present all possible scenarios and let the children choose” I think points to one of the main problems in political discourse right now.

Science works because only ideas that do not fail rigorous tests of experimental scrutiny are left on the table.

However valid theories may be by the standards of other fields (philosophy, theology), they have no place in science if they are not testable and if they offer no predictive power.

It’s true that we can never “prove” that evolution is true – we cannot prove anything in science, we can only fail to disprove it. However, the basic ideas of mutation and selection are useful and have predictive power in explaining the emergence (and the rate of emergence) of viruses and bacteria that are resistant to our drugs.

The number of people who support an idea has nothing to do with its validity. This is something that is currently lost on the national media – it doesn’t need to become lost in our classrooms as well.

 
At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a time when some people believed faith in Christianity would be destroyed if we permitted teaching the concept that the Earth revolves around the Sun. It is inconceivable to me that anyone would stake the ultimate test of belief on something so flimsy. This is not what religions are about.

Indeed, there are more practicing Christians in the world now than there were when the Earth/Sun debate seemed so dire, and they may even sway a greater proportion of the inhabitants of our planet. And very, very few of them find their faith disturbed by the idea that the orbit of the Earth is more easily described as an ellipse around the Sun.

It seems our Fundamentalist friends could learn from this experience. Science does not deal with the fundamental issues of Religion. It does not describe "right" and "wrong", or model how we may best live in company with the rest of mankind. It does not speak to our longing for meaning. Science can tell us only If this happens, Then that will follow. It provides no evaluation of the "good" or "bad" of the outcome.

The Religious can only make themselves fools if they stake their theological lives on denying the validity of predictions that can eventually be demonstrated and repeated. And, indeed, a prediction is not Scientific unless it can be demonstrated and reliably repeated. That's pretty much the definition of Science. Far better for them to encourage great minds to continue to explore the endless wonders and mysteries of the physical world, and to provide a framework for the understanding of that world that cannot be shaken or muted by what we learn.

-- The Green Man

 
At 5:04 AM, Blogger Lone Ranger said...

The field of Intelligent Design does not come from thologists or philosophers. It has nothing to do with religion and is not supposed to be threatening to biology teachers.

The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection -- how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

What is not so intelligent is closing your mind to possibilities because of your disdain of those who have a belief in a god.

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger caseyeh said...

Last night a debate on MSNBC on the topic on intelligent design, hosted by Pat Buchanan. He challenged the sole atheist / evolutionist on the program (Pat had three fellow defenders of Creationism on the panel) with the question, "So, who created the universe?" Note that B begs the question by asking "Who?" It must have been a person, or a superperson, that "created" the universe, right?

Yes, evolution is a theory. But that term is being misunderstood and abused in this debate. It's not a theory like Linus's Great Pumpkin theory is a theory. It is a scientific theory based on a huge base of facts.

How about demanding Sunday schools teach the Peter Cottontale Theory of Easter alongside the story of Christ's death and resurrection? Why not let the kids choose whether they want to believe that the son of God died and was brought back to life or that, on Easter morning, a huge rodent in a vest will come hopping down the bunny trail and leave brightly colored eggs for all the good little children? Give them the choice between competing theories.

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger Christiana said...

I've got a number of points here.

First of all, the school district is not teaching Intelligent Design instead of evolution. Essentially what they are saying is: "There are some things that current evolutionary theory does not fully explain. That may just be because we do not understand them yet. Some people believe that a higher being has 'designed' living things in an intelligent way."

If you do not believe that there are gaps in current evolutionary theory, all you have to do is study it. I studied a fair amount of Biology and Biochemistry, as well as an entire semester on evolutionary theory in college, and there are quite a few things that are difficult to explain with simple evolution. "Darwinian" evolution, by the way, has been largely set aside, not as inaccurate, but as oversimplistic.

Do these gaps prove evolution wrong or intelligent design right? No, they don't. They simply demonstrate that our understanding of what happened is incomplete. Personally, I feel that simple evolutionary theory is insufficient to explain the origins of life. Can I prove it? No. It could just be that revisions to the theory are needed. After all, there have been many revisions made to the theory since the Beagle landed in the Galapagos Islands.

Want an example? The phrase "survival of the fittest" is no longer part of current evolutionary theory, not because natural selection does not exist, but because it is frequently true that the 'fittest' species goes extinct anyway through sheer bad luck. Or a particular species might prove immune to one disease, allowing it to survive, even if the other species are better at hunting, finding shelter, reproducing, etc.

The point here is that evolution does not explain everything, not even in a theoretical way. Many of these gaps are hand-waved away with answers like: "Well, that is what must have happened" that require just as much faith as Intelligent Design.

Does that mean evolution is wrong? Again, I say no. It just means that it is not the only available explanation, or even necessarily the best.

My other pet peeve on this subject is that even in places where evolution is the only theory taught, it is frequently taught wrong. See the points above that are almost universally ignored. In addition, some of the classic examples of evolution are terrible.

Anyone remember the series of pictures detailing the evolution of the horse? Turns out it was completely bogus. The first two pictures turned out to be unrelated to the others.

Another example? The white and grey moths. There were white moths living on white-barked trees. Then, when the air started getting polluted, the tree bark got darker. The white moths were easy to see against the bark, and soon there were grey moths all over. Natural Selection? Yes. Evolution? No. There were both white and grey moths at the beginning. There were both white and grey moths at the end. All that happened is that the ratio changed.

So, I don't know that schools need to be forced to teach Intelligent Design, but if all they are going to teach is evolution, they should at least be teaching it properly. (P.S. I am sure that some teachers are teaching it correctly, but all of the elementary and secondary teachers who I have ever heard explain the theory had profound misunderstandings.)

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger Fred LeBaron said...

I'd like to affirm Lone Ranger's thoughtful comments. Intelligent Design does not deny the existence of dinosaurs, posit the time frame for the creation narrative, or even impose the adoption of a biblical worldview. What it does do is suggest that the theory of evolution is inadequate when it comes to explaining the origins and complexity of life, and in particular human life, as it actually exists. One analogy that I've heard from ID proponents is that just as it would be unreasonable to assume that a tornado blowing through an electronics warehouse would result in the assembly of a television set, it is unreasonable to believe that an organ with the complexity of say, the human eye, has resulted from the random interaction of a primordial chemical soup and some lightning. Phillip Johnson, a UC Berkeley law professor, has been a leading exponent and developer of ID theory. The following article is an interesting introduction to him and his ideas:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/12/ING92A899T1.DTL
He uses another vivid illustration of the fundamental(oops, probably a bad word in this context) thrust of the ID hypothesis: "You don't produce the front page of The Chronicle by taking Scrabble letters in a cup and spilling them out on this table." I find his arguments and examples fairly commonsensical, and certainly not threatening to a scientific and enlightened view of the universe. As further evidence of the compelling nature of the ID approach, I cite the recent shift in opinon of Antony Flew, an English academic, long time noted atheist and evolutionary theory missionary, who has recently come to change his views, basically as a result of an ID analysis. Check out his thoughts here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,141061,00.html. Here's a sample: "At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew (search) has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England." The unwillingness to come to grips with the actual ID argument by those opposed to discussing this theory, is also addressed in the Johnson interview, in a way that explains a good deal of the vehemence expressed by some of the posters here: "It's the Darwinists who are religious dogmatists," he said. "The Darwinian revolution allowed the professional scientists to replace the clergy as the priesthood of society. Every society has a priesthood. The priesthood is the body of experts which has exclusive license to tell the creation story to that culture." Darwinian theory simply doesn't explain the origins and complexity of life, nor does it really attempt to do so -- unless it is adopted as a philosophical and fundamental belief about the origins of life, into which evidence must be forced with the enthusiasm and energy of Procrustes.

 
At 11:21 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

This may sound offensive to the polished PC, but I believe they teach Creationism as a tool to control people. There's a certain mindset that makes a person liable to 'faith' and that can be easily manipulated.

I personally don't think that anything that can't be back up by plausible, scientific evidence shouldn't be taught in science classrooms. If the kids are so interested in religion, make a theology elective.

I'm not a huge fan of religion or schools, both foster in general a stunted mindset and inhibit creativity. I can back this up from life experience; I sat in art class copying terms from a dictionary for three days.

Education in general is going down the tubes, but it illustrates to us on a smaller (though not by much) scale how much easier it is to dictate rather than draw out some common sense.

However I'm not saying I have any pure views here, mine are as slanted by experience as anyone else's.

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Trevor said...

"it is frequently true that the 'fittest' species goes extinct anyway through sheer bad luck." How can the writer possibly know this?

Some of the comments on thias site absolutely amaze me, the above quotation being a prime example. Here in England, I don't think we have considered "Intelligent Design" as being worthy of any consideration at all and it is frightening to read the exhibition of such a massive lack of logical thinking in inhabitants of the World's greatest power.

Please remember who last built a national psyche on faith only -please!

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger dennis toledo said...

A scenario is not a theory...a theory, at least one based on the scientific method is constantly and vigorously tested by other scientiss...if other scientist can produce evidence (thru observation and or experiment) that undermines that theory and then their evidence or experiment is checked and replicated (peer reviewed) by other scientists then the theory in question is delegitimized....Creationist, Intelligent Design proponents simply provide hypotheses, and opinion, they make observations and may experiment but as of yet I have not heard of their willingness to allow the type of peer review that is required of a theory (evolution is being tested and reviewed on a daily basis...repeat it is out there to be criticized......and tested on a daily basis ever since Darwin published it)...to simply state that another point of view must be allowed simply because it is another point of view is ludicrous.....evolution is a detailed and exhaustive theory that explains how life on this planet evolved and provides the evidence to support each and every detail....Simply stating that other noted scientists think that intellignet design might be possible....is not enough to validate a thery...simply beliefing that some other force must be at work because it is your opinion is not a theory....if they do then they need to go thru extensive peer review and prove it....
Those of you who have ever traveled on an airplane...how about you get a choice between flying on a commericial airliner or trying an alternative scenario of jumping off a cliff and praying for a miracle to take you safely from NYC to Buffalo (with you baggage and carryon intact)....which would you choose??? By the way what is so perfect about an eye that makes you think it had to have been designed by some kind of intelligent force...with all the ways an eye can be fooled, or become short-sighted or farsighted or blind any number of short comings...believe me if you took the time to get into the detail you would see that the design of living things and systems, while truly at times marvelous, is far from intelligent..especially if that intelligence..and I assume we're talking about God is deemed to be omnipotent and perfect....

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

You think "Intelligent" Design is bad? Look at the Abstinence Only Programs the government is sponsoring. They actually teach that masturbation can cause pregnancy!!! I can't believe that's even possible in this day and time. That the government of the richest nation in the world, a nation with one of the most highly educated populations, is supporting blatant lies in education is unfathomable! Going back to the Dark Ages isn't going to help this country. Teach religion at home, not in school.

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger flika said...

Christiana is right on and pretty much articulated my frustrations with the majority of people misunderstanding the theory of evolution. Or oversimplifying it.

Trevor needs to understand that an example of the "fittest species" going extinct due to sheer bad luck is what happened to the dinosaurs (if you believe that a comet wiped them out). Or take a look at pretty much any species of animal which has gone extinct due to humans hunting them or destroying their habitat. Plus, how do you define what is the most fit? Is it living to reproduce children? Is it your grandkids living to reproduce ten more generations?

Anyone with a clear and in depth understanding of the theory of evolution will agree with Christiana and her thoughts on the theory of evolution and it's oversimplification. And she's right: schools need to be teaching it properly and yes, there needs to be and probably will be a number of revisions to it in the future.

It's the same as with any other scientific theory invovling, for example, atoms and molecules. Can we see atoms? No, but we form theories about their behavior based on observations on how scientific equipment reacts. And by the way, the whole notion of electrons circling around a nucleus in a fixed orbit is a gross oversimplification of how scientists think atoms actually behave.

That said, I disagree with Christiana about also teaching Intelligent Design in schools. It's just a lazy excuse with no scientific merit. Let's work on revising and updating the theory of evolution and teaching our students to think. Like Sarah said, "The basic ideas of mutation and selection are useful and have predictive power in explaining the emergence (and the rate of emergence) of viruses and bacteria that are resistant to our drugs.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Cleisthenic Arbitrator said...

Will The Unintelligent Please Resign:

The Christian right at this point is clinging to the idea of "irreducible complexity" as a disproof to the theory of evolution. Kenneth Miller completely dismantles those arguments (and has a lot of other articles in there as well) and presents some really good reasons why we evolved from space dust.

http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

Then check out my personal stygian phillippics against the saturnine subtleties of our sedated society:
http://antithesisofme.blogspot.com/



-The Cleisthenic Arbitrator

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger Christiana said...

Ah, now this is a debate! I love it.

First, thank you, Flika, for addressing Trevor's question about my 'survival of the fittest' comment. I will concede that perhaps I should have worded that statement differently. Rather than saying 'It is frequently true' I should have said that there are several scenarios where such a thing could understandably happen.

Next, thank you, Cleisthenic Arbitrator, for posting the link to that article regarding the flagellum and the concept of irreducible complexity. I want to suggest though that the reason that current theory suggests that life originated from space dust is because experiments have suggested that having life arise from the 'primordial soup' is looking less and less likely.

Back to the article on irreducible complexity though, I think it contains a lot of good points and gave me a lot to think about.

My only real complaint with the article is that he is clearly writing something intended to persuade, not merely reporting the facts, and as such, he makes a lot of the same mistakes that he chastises his opponents for. In particular, examine this sentence he uses in describing an intelligent design supporter. "He assumes what he is trying to prove."

Yet throughout the article, the author is making arguments that can be simplified to: 'We don't know how it happened, but they can't prove that it didn't, therefore, we win.'

Intelligent Design, at least the version that I support, is not saying that things are "impossible" or that their arguments have "proven" that evolution cannot happen. (Admittedly, some people say things like that, but I think that they represent the rhetoric faction, rather than the scientific faction.)

The scientific version of Intelligent Design is not saying that evolutionary theory is impossible, it is saying that the odds against it happening by random chance are so small as to be very unlikely, making the concept of deliberate design seem more plausible in comparison.

What the author does throughout his article is require that ID proponents prove a negative. It's a quandary really. The debate essentially goes like this: Evolutionists say "This is what we think happened." IDists say "Well, it seems extremely unlikely to me that that could happen randomly." Then Evolutionists say "Well then, prove that it didn't."

It's the existence of God all over again, though this time the positions are reversed. It is the religious side this time that is being asked to prove a negative.

So what's the answer? Let me reiterate what was perhaps not clear in my previous post. I don't know. Evolutionary theory has not satisfactorily explained to me how living things, and particularly human beings, could have arisen from nothing by sheer random chance. Because, (independent of this debate,) I believe in God, Intelligent Design seems like a plausible possibility to me. But let me quote now from the last section of that article, something that I agree with thoroughly.

Selection Quote: "In any discussion of the question of "intelligent design," it is absolutely essential to determine what is meant by the term itself. If, for example, the advocates of design wish to suggest that the intricacies of nature, life, and the universe reveal a world of meaning and purpose consistent with an overarching, possibly Divine intelligence, then their point is philosophical, not scientific. It is a philosophical point of view, incidentally, that I share, along with many scientists. End Quote

To my mind, the details are interesting, but not essential. What should be taught in schools? Evolutionary theory should be taught (properly!), including the fact that there are some gaps that we do not know the answers to. I do not support teaching only intelligent design, or even presenting it as a scientific theory. To my mind, it is not a scientific theory, it is simply one possible explanation for the things we still do not understand about the origins of life.

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Jason Mulgrew said...

intense!

love,
jason mulgrew
internet quasi-celebrity

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Oh man, I was going to comment on this, but I forgot that every single instance of this issue being opened for discussion results in an outpouring of uninformed rhetoric from both sides.

Both theories are faith-based. It's just that one of them freely admits it. What's ignorant and lazy is reducing Intelligent Design to a flippant "cop-out" accusation.

If anybody comes up with a way to discuss this issue on the basis of facts and evidence (i.e. without the emotion and opinion factor), please let me know. I'll be the first to sign up.

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

The “intelligent design” position used to be called the teleological argument, in philosophy AND religion. So, despite what the Lone Ranger says, the intelligent design argument, when it comes to the creation of the Universe, IS a theological AND philosophical argument. It was that way thousands of years ago when the philosopher, Plato argued for, it was that way 800 years ago when philosopher priest, St. Thomas Aquinas argued for it, and it was that way 300 years ago when the philosopher priest, William Paley argued for it as well. Lone Ranger, I think it’s called equivocation. But anyway….

Firstly, natural selection (survival of the fittest) and mutations ARE the processes that drive evolution. Those who think that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution may want to go read upon evolution again. What do people think evolution is? When it comes to an individual species, it’s the “winning out” (survival) of characteristics that allow that variation of the species to continue on. When it comes to the moths that Christiana talks about, it is the grey moths’ characteristics that allow it to now be the dominant variation of the species. If the white moth (I remember the story as brown moths) doesn’t move on it will eventually be totally eliminated. That is all that evolution states, no more, no less.

Mutations take place, evolution doesn’t say how; it could be the environment, random genetic sequencing, or even “intelligent intervention”. But the thing is, if the mutation isn’t beneficial that variation of the species will get “selected” out of existence. That is all evolution says.

With respect to humans, evolution says that earlier forms of man, i.e., australopithecines, Neanderthals, etc., could not compete with the mutated forms of man, Homo sapiens, and therefore, were either killed or reproduced out of existence. Although I did see this family the other day that might be the first stages of an australopithecine comeback.

Evolution doesn’t explain everything, that’s not its job. But the point is “intelligent design” explains absolutely nothing. You can usually verify the validity of a theory by showing, or simply stating, how that theory can be refuted. For example, if multiple forms of man walked the Earth together, or there was no change in the moth ratio, or if mutations only resulted in more species and no decrease in the original species, this would be proof that evolution is not solid. And you can do this with ALL sciences, that is, state what it would take to disprove the theory.

The problem with intelligent design is that you cannot even theoretically disprove it. What would it take to disprove the idea that God played a role in the creation of the Universe? No matter what you say, Creationist will argue “Well, God chose to do it that way”. That is bogus!!! They’re saying that, even if the exact OPPOSITE of the theoretical result that they predicted occurred, that would STILL prove the existence of intelligent design. That’s preposterous.

This is like saying, “I have a new bullet proof vest that can stop the bullet from a .357 magnum.”, and then you shoot the test guy wearing the vest and tear a whole in the vest, the test guy, and the idiot standing behind him. But then conclude, “My vest worked perfectly.” Everyone would say, “What the hell are you talking about.” But this is exactly what the Creationist want children to be taught. Even if the exact opposite result occurs, it proves the “theory”. That’s not science, that an agenda for the spread of ignorance.

Finally, for proponents of “intelligent design” (Creationist), wouldn’t God be like the most perfectly ordered thing in the Universe? Wouldn’t God’s make up be so perfect that you couldn’t help but look at him and say, “Damn, who’s your designer?” Of course, it would have to be. If you see order in the human structure (our brains, lungs, eyes, etc., all of this, according to you, couldn’t have happened by chance), wouldn’t you see even GREATER structure in God? And wouldn’t you have to conclude, using your argument, that God had a designer? But stay true to yourselves, and answer this tough question the way you answer ALL tough questions, and you’ll see why intelligent design should not be taught in schools.

 
At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason Intelligent Design should not be taught as Science is simply because it holds no predictive power. There is no experiment that can be performed, where you propose "If I establish these conditions, then God will come down and design me something." It doesn't matter how many people who have spent their lives working as "Scientists" say an idea has merit. One of the beauties of the Scientific Method is that it allows independent verification, and does not rest on the force of opinion or persuasion. Unless Intelligent Design can propose repeatable results, it is not a Scientific theory.

-- The Green Man

 
At 5:54 AM, Blogger ari said...

Christiana said:
"Evolutionary theory has not satisfactorily explained to me how living things, and particularly human beings, could have arisen from nothing by sheer random chance."

If Christiana is expecting evolutionary theory to explain the origin of life, she will be waiting a long time. Evolution makes no attempt to explain the origin of life. The theory only addresses how mutations in genetic code occur based on ability to survive and most importantly reproduce.

Anti-scientists will typically use three arguments against science.

First, they'll say it's just a "theory" and propose alternative scenarios calling them "theories" even when there is no scientific validation. This argument essentially attacks the scientific method itself by creating confusion around its terminology.

Second, anti-scientists will demand that a scientific theory answer questions not addressed in the theory (like Christiana did above). Anti-scientists demand of Evolution an explanation of the origin of life. They ask Relativity to explain how the universe began knowing there will be no answer to these questions forthcoming. This is just a form of rhetoric.

Third, anti-scientists will extend their second argument and put forth the premise that only an unknowable, unproveable (and un-disprovable) force is responsible for the complexities in our reality that are not currently addressed by science. They point out that science can't disprove their premise so they must be right and scince has failed. This is sheer arrogance and ignorance of science.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

Without getting into the debate over whether Intelligent Design or Evolution is a more valid theory for explaining human existence (there are clearly people already posting on here who are far more qualified than me to make those judgements), I'd like to pick up on the point The Green Man made above.

If the issue here is what is taught in school science lessons, then I'm afraid the Creationists must accept that it is evolution. The Green Man, rightly, points out that something scientific can be tested independently: it is an observable phenomenon that can be repeated if the correct conditions are set. This is absolutely the case with natural selection - Christiana mentioned the moths as an example of this - which is the basis of evolution. Creationists point to the so-called "missing link" as an example of a flaw with evolutionary theory, but this is merely a gap in our knowledge of history. That there are gaps in our knowledge of the HISTORY of human evolution, does not mean that the science of evolution itself is flawed.

As the Green Man also points out, there are no conditions that can be set that would cause the repetition of the divine Creation. Ergo, Creationism is not science, and is not a scientific theory. This does not mean that it's not true, just that believing in its occurence is an act of faith. It is therefore absolutely the case that Creationism should not be taught in schools as an alternative to evolution, or, indeed, in science lessons at all.

In Britain, there is space in the school syllabus for "Religious Education" in which children learn about the faiths and beliefs of all religions, with obviously the majority of time being spent on the big three: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This is the place for creation theories to be put forward, and if a child determines that they make more sense to them than what they are learning in their science lessons, then they are free to choose faith.

That the United States goes (too far, in my opinion) down the road of an absolute separation of church from state is its own choice, but it is not an excuse for trying to sneak religion (or rather, Christianity) in through the "back door" by presenting parts of it as scientific theory. As your First Amendment has been interpreted to forbid the teaching of religion in public schools, then the religious amongst you will have to send your children to private religious schools, or rely on the church to provide that part of your child's education.

For me, I think space should be made in the school curriculum for religious education lessons similar to what we have in Britain, as this way you can be sure that children are getting a balanced view of all religions (not exposure to, or preference of, one over the others, as is provided by private schooling or church education), and nothing that is fundamentally unscientific is being presented to them as scientific fact. In my opinion, this is more in line with what the Founding Fathers wanted when they drafted the First Amendment - not the absence of any religion from schools and public life, but the avoidance of one being endorsed by government as superior to the others.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has, over the years, disagreed with me; to America's detriment, in my opinion.

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger Christiana said...

William said: Firstly, natural selection (survival of the fittest) and mutations ARE the processes that drive evolution.Not quite true. Mutations drive evolution, natural selection acts as a filter, promoting the successes and expelling the failures, so to speak. I am not denying the existence of natural selection or mutations. I was only disputing the popular phrase “Survival of the fittest”, as simplistic and misleading. It implies a drive towards increased complexity when in reality, evolutionary theory states that the mutations are random, and the results of natural selection changing from minute to minute based on things that may or may not have anything to do with the organism’s “fitness.” Someone mentioned the meteor that killed out the dinosaurs. It could be argued that the surviving mammals were more fit because they proved able to survive the meteor impact, but what if the meteor had never come? Odds are, the dinosaurs would still be around, because without the meteor, they were more fit. So “fitness” is a very subjective quality that changes based on the environment.

William said: When it comes to the moths that Christiana talks about, it is the grey moths’ characteristics that allow it to now be the dominant variation of the species.Indeed, the moths are an example of natural selection, but not of evolution. There were both colors of moth before, and both colors after, only in different ratios. There were no mutations involved, only a change in gene frequency. No adaptation, no increase in complexity. Natural selection, yes. Evolution, no.

Yet this also serves as an example of what I was just saying above. The distinction of which color moth was more fit depended entirely on their surroundings, which changed because of factors that had nothing to do with the moths. Hypothetical example: What if one species of moth reproduced quicker, were larger, stronger, healthier, but then they all died because of the color of the tree bark? “Fitness” is subjective.

William said: “intelligent design” explains absolutely nothing. You can usually verify the validity of a theory by showing, or simply stating, how that theory can be refuted.A valid point, but I did say in my above post that I don’t feel that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory, nor should it be taught as such. It is one possible explanation for the gaps found in evolutionary theory. I just don’t think that we should pretend the idea doesn’t exist just because it involves God. I don’t think that it means we have to abandon science. My personal belief is that Biology and Biochemistry are fascinating either way.

William said: For example, if multiple forms of man walked the Earth together, or there was no change in the moth ratio, or if mutations only resulted in more species and no decrease in the original species, this would be proof that evolution is not solid.But all of your examples are of natural selection, not evolution. They are not the same thing. It’s kind of like saying that a car and gasoline are the same thing. Evolution is a complex theory based on the observable fact of natural selection.

William said: No matter what you say, Creationist will argue “Well, God chose to do it that way”. That is bogus!!! They’re saying that, even if the exact OPPOSITE of the theoretical result that they predicted occurred, that would STILL prove the existence of intelligent design. That’s preposterous.Agreed, and when I hear supporters of ID try to make claims like that, I wince and wish they would stay out of the debate. However, science does similar things. If evidence is discovered that conflicts with existing theory, they don’t just start over from scratch, they modify the theory to incorporate the new data. That is the scientific process. If a hypothesis based on intelligent design is disproved based on new evidence, a new hypothesis is generated, based on the original, but modified to incorporate the new data.

I will concede that there are a lot of bogus arguments being floated by the ID people, but the Evolution folks reactions can be just as specious. When an ID supporter points out something not adequately explained by existing evolutionary theory, there is a tendency for the evolution supporters to throw up their hands and say “Just because we don’t know how it happened doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

They have a point, but it just demonstrates that the ID people are not the only ones that accept things on faith.

William said: Finally, for proponents of “intelligent design” (Creationist), wouldn’t God be like the most perfectly ordered thing in the Universe?Yes, but His structure is unobservable except in the context of His creation. It’s like speculating about an ancient culture based on bone fragments and shattered pottery. But to address your larger question, “Who designed God?”, I’m afraid you aren’t going to get very far by insisting that religious people are taking certain things on faith. Of course they do, that’s the whole point.

The Green Man said: The reason Intelligent Design should not be taught as Science is simply because it holds no predictive power.An excellent point, and the very reason that I said above that Intelligent Design should not be taught as ‘a scientific theory’ because it is not scientific. The science involved is merely pointing out that there are holes in current evolutionary theory. That is what needs to be taught in schools. That evolutionary theory itself is evolving as new evidence and data are coming to life. I’ve said over and over that I think evolution should be taught correctly, warts and all. The problem to my mind is not the absence of God in the classroom, but rather that Evolution as taught as though it is a perfect theory that explains everything beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Ari said: If Christiana is expecting evolutionary theory to explain the origin of life, she will be waiting a long time. Evolution makes no attempt to explain the origin of life.Ah, well, when I used that phrase, I was including everything from the “origin,” of life to the continued development and ‘evolution’ of modern species. I had no intention of limiting the discussion only to how life first came about. However, I dispute your claim that evolution does not attempt to explain the origin of life. If the processes being hypothesized for the first appearance of biological molecules is not an evolutionary theory, then what is it? At what point does evolution kick in? Amino acids or RNA? DNA or proteins? Prokaryotic or Eukaryotic? This relates back to the survival of the fittest issue as well. Who is to say that a protein is more ‘fit’ than a random chain of unfolded amino acids? Fit for what?

Joe Cross said: Creationists point to the so-called "missing link" as an example of a flaw with evolutionary theory, but this is merely a gap in our knowledge of history. That there are gaps in our knowledge of the HISTORY of human evolution, does not mean that the science of evolution itself is flawed.When the theory is that one point led to the other over millions of years of infinitesimally incremental changes, it strikes me as a little strange that there aren’t more fossil examples of these intermediate stages. Lots of examples of point A, lots of examples of point M, lots of examples of point Z. Virtually nothing for B through L or N through Y. Does that mean it didn’t happen? No. But to me it indicates more than a simple gap in history. Of course, that is not the hill I want to die on, so to speak. Despite the excellent article linked to above, the concept that speaks more to me is still irreducible complexity. In my studies I have come across dozens of examples of biological features where intermediate stages would actually hinder an organism, not help it. Does that mean that it didn’t develop gradually anyway? No, but I have a really hard time believing that it was random, and that’s what current evolutionary theory requires.

That said, I agree with Joe’s thoughts on making comparative religion classes available again. If those were available and evolution was taught correctly, I would be entirely satisfied. But if I could do just one thing for this debate, not just here, but everywhere, it would be to remove the word “prove” from the discussion altogether. Scientific theories cannot be ‘proven’. Intelligent Design (again, not a scientific theory, only a possible explanation for gaps in scientific theories) cannot be proven. All we can do is look at the evidence and determine which explanation seems to be the most plausible. If you look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion than I have, I’m okay with that. I’ll only ask that you not tell me that yours is proven and mine is a cop-out.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

There's a lot of cross-over in our sentiments, Christiana, even though we appear to be on ideologically opposing sides. It is eminently refreshing to experience someone prepared to engage with the ideas of others. Facts are our friends, yes, but ideas are equally so. They just need the correct forum for their expression: in this case, religious education classes.

Your final sentence "I’ll only ask that you not tell me that yours is proven and mine is a cop-out." is fair enough. I think, however, that the "evolution crowd" only start pointing to Creationism (or ID, it amounts to the same thing) as a "cop-out" when they're put on the defensive by attempts by Christian groups to get Creationism on the scientific curriculum, where we agree it doesn't belong.

As a scientific theory, it IS a cop-out, based as it is on not only unprovable, but untestable, assumptions. As a religious belief, though, it is perfectly valid. It is Creationist groups that want it to be regarded as both, and so it is my feeling that they are the ones stirring the issue.

So, to rephrase your final paragraph from my perspective: "If you look at the evidence and come to a different conclusion than I have, I’m okay with that. I’ll only ask that you not tell me that yours is based on science."

Also, this: "When the theory is that one point led to the other over millions of years of infinitesimally incremental changes, it strikes me as a little strange that there aren’t more fossil examples of these intermediate stages."
The first part here is a good summary of evolutionary theory. The second part though, is an illogical departure from it: if you accept that we are talking about "infinitesimally incremental changes" over millions of years, then you are showing an understanding of the vastness of the concept. Why, then, would you think it strange that the intermediate stages aren't evidenced by more fossils? Of the billions of human beings that have walked the Earth it is likely we'll only ever find fossils or remains for the tiniest fraction of them, and even if we do find them, categorising them and plotting them on the chart of human development is a complex task. If we have found some, - "Point A, point M and point Z" - all suggesting the existence of a linear development of the species over the millenia, then I ask you how much more evidence you need? Do we have to find the remains of a human being from every year of human existence, to prove the development was consistent with evolutionary theory? Then would Creationists accept it as more likely?

Of course they wouldn't, because this issue is not about proving a scientific theory. It is about Christians attempting to throw their political weight around to ensure that generations to come grow up believing the same things they do. Their's is a deeply held religious conviction, and no amount of scientific evidence will shake it. I deliberately avoided in my first post discussing the relative merits of the two theories because to compare them is inherently pointless. Neither side will ever convince the other, no matter how much evidence is presented.

The issue to focus on, then, is the one I mentioned earlier that Creationists consistently bring up - should Creationism be taught in schools as an opposing theory to evolution? The answer has to be no, because one is science, the other is faith. Science cannot, should not, compete with faith, which is why faith must stay out of science classes.

At this point I refer anyone still reading to my above post, which offers my solution to the problem of how Creationism could and should be taught in schools.

 
At 2:07 AM, Blogger solidstates said...

Wake up!

There is a media blackout on what's going on in Ohio.

Want to see reality:

http://votefraudinfo.blogspot.com/2004/12/freedom-fighters-in-ohio-call-for-help.html

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Russ said...

I wonder if there's a place for both in the schools? Evidence suggests the Earth and Universe are billions of years old but after all, what exactly is a "year"? Could the seven days it supposedly took to create the heavens and the earth really be much more than the human mind can grasp?

I honestly believe there is a "Supreme Being" or God if you will. This sort of thing (Earth, Humanity, Life) doesn't just happen by complete accident. I also believe that the biblical definition of seven days is much different than our interpretation of that timeline.

What do you all think about the remote possibility of the two theories existing in harmony? Is that even possible? Just more food for thought.

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger D. said...

Intelligent Design used to be called Creationism until anti-evolutionary forces changed the name to make it more palatable to mass consumption. I agree with a previous post who said that Creationism is taught as a way to control people.

There's not doubt that evolution exists. Whether it's taught incorrectly or not is irrelevant. Whether there are gaps in the theory of evolution (there are) are irrelevant. The fact is, it's been proven over the past 150 years to be true.

All the development of drugs, forensics, medicine are BASED ON EVOLUTION!

I think the reason people are so against evolution is because it doesn't give them a simple answer to the meaning of life.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:12 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

When I was a mathematics major, I had an instructor who wouldn’t let you use a mathematical theorem until you had proven that it held true. Needless to say, I switched majors and made mathematics my minor. But anyway, I would love for this same type of logic to be used for ALL school subjects. That is, if you can’t prove it, you can’t use it.

Of course, I don’t mean make children prove that humans are mammals or that the Sun is a star, etc. I mean make those in that field of study prove what they are saying holds true. Despite what Creationist say, evolution has been proven repeatedly. But what Creationist want scientist to do is prove how evolution worked at every point during human existence. The problem is, we are evolving right now. I would like to think that I am the next step in the evolutionary cycle.

I would love for the Creationist to try and prove ANY of their biblical claims. Proved that snakes talked, prove that burning bushes talked, prove that the Sun stopped moving, prove that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, etc. Or better yet, PROVE that the Bible itself is TRUE!!!! If you want to hear some double talk or monkey logic, ask a Creationist to prove that the Bible is the word of God. Note: I’ve done this repeatedly and it’s like listening to Clinton say “That depends on what is is.” Or whatever it was he said.

A lot of people in this link seem to be getting the ideas of conjecture, hypotheses, and theory mixed up. Try looking at this sight to clarify those concepts; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory, what you will notice is like some on this link have said repeatedly, but were obviously ignored, a theory can be TESTED. If you tell me that if you do A, B will occur, and then I do A and B occurs, and others INDEPENDENTLY do A and B occurs, then you have a THEORY of what will happen if do A. If you cannot test it, IT IS NOT A THEORY. Quit trying to equate Creationism with Evolution, one is a conjecture and the other is theory. A theory is not a guess, or an unsupported idea, a theory is backed up by facts. The Bible is backed up by threats!! If you don’t believe you’ll burn in HELL.

Make Creationist prove their position, because you’ll find out that they cannot. Mathematics, Science, Astronomy, Biology, Computer Science, etc. isn’t based upon faith. These things are based upon factually PROVABLE theories. Creationism is not!!! In fact, there is more accurate science and FACTS in a Spiderman comic than there is in Creationism. Should we start teaching our children about the Marvel Universe? Come on people, this is a trick by Creationist to get “scientific” legitimacy. The Bible, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus (yes, that’s right, I said Santa Claus), should be kept were they belong, in childhood fairy tales.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Russ said...

I'm sorry but I don't equate the Bible with the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. While I personally am a person of faith, I recognize it was written by many different individuals and assembled as passages several thousand years ago. Much of what was written then is like our "blogs" of today.... concepts, beliefs, assertations, and ideas by many different people of the time. The notion that the Bible is this mysterious book that was written by God and comes from the heavens is complete B.S.

I do not think it is the Government's job, the public school system's job, or George Bush's job, to cram religion down my throat or yours. If I want to pursue it I should be able to, and if I choose to do so, I should not be persecuted for it.

I would like to think the God I beleive in is a forgiving and understanding god and that I won't burn in Hell if my thoughts aren't exactly A, B, and C. A person can be religious about anything. The concept of worshiping a super being or God in the form of modern day religion is altogether different. Be you Christian, Muslim, or Jew, or any of the others for that matter, the concept remains the same - the beleif in an all powerful, all knowing God.

I think if a person can have the slightest bit of faith and beleive, they are truly "saved". Whether they choose to live their life in the name of religion or for the sake of spreading their faith is a personal decision they must make on thier own. I don't think living a "secular" life leads to Hell.

I think the two (intelligent design and evolution) can and do exist side by side. It appears the only ones who don't want the other side taught in any way shape or form are the extremes on both sides.

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger D. said...

The two cannot be taught side by side. One is religious dogma and the other is scientific theory. Two completely different subjects.

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Lee Long said...

as to one being a religious viewpoint and the other 'scientific' is a shut out technique that is just not working .
Could it be that Evolution isn't science but instead a Naturalist Philosophy?
This refers to an AP Online story -

Theory of Evolution Still in Doubt BOSTON, Jul 03, 2000 (AP Online via COMTEX) -- Scientists have made enormous progress building upon the theory of evolution in the 140 years since it was first proposed by naturalist Charles Darwin. But some are particularly puzzled by one unsolved mystery: Why do so many people continue to have their doubts? A Gallup Poll conducted last year found that 47 percent of Americans believe God created human beings, while 49 percent accepted the theory of evolution - that mankind developed over millions of years from more primitive species. "I think all that shows is that most Americans are woefully badly educated in science, which is our fault, not theirs," said Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. Could it be that people are looking at it from a Worldview perspective and choose to use or discount any science underpinnings? Author (Niles Eldridge) who just recently wrote The Triumph of Evolution says; "I have come to see that religious traditions in general - and concepts of God in particular - reveal a lot about how people see themselves, and how they see themselves fitting into the natural world" This (from an avowed evolutionist) correctly addresses the issues in creationism versus Darwinism. He adds, "It's only their stories about how they got that way that tend to be fanciful." Darwinism versus Creationism is really not science versus Religion or better yet, fact versus faith but naturalistic philosophy versus the Christian worldview. To a Christian, taking God out of the universe cuts to the core of what they believe - you have taken the foundation out from under them and they suddenly are without meaning - an accident of magnificent proportions. On the other side, these fanciful stories in Genesis put God in the control of a world that the philosophy of naturalism cannot live with. A war is predictable because of the opposing philosophies and science doesn't have much to do with it, except conveniently providing a place to hide your underlying philosophies (note that Creationists also try this).

Richard Lewontin (Harvard Geneticist) wrote an article arguing for the superiority of science over religion (he groups with UFO's and channeling) - in it he admits that science has its own problems. It has created many of our social problems and many scientific theories are no more than "unsubstantiated just-so stories." Nevertheless, "in our struggle between science and the supernatural," we "take the side of science." Why? "Because we have a prior commitment to materialism." I looked up Gould's Harvard evolution class and found a student discussion board. In a discussion thread about increasing complexity I noticed that no one would dare to question the theory of evolution, they were simply trying anything that would still support their fixed view.

Scientists, who almost universally accept evolution, believe all the evidence is on their side. Facing activists who want creationism taught alongside evolution in public schools, they say they'll have to make a stronger case to the public. Notice that Evolutionists are scientists and creationists are 'activists'! Is this unbiased journalism? A stronger case is just not education on the same tired old unscientific theories - creationists will need something more. Gould is one of several prominent scientists involved in a new Evolution Education Research Centre, based at Harvard and McGill University in Montreal. The premise is that Americans and Canadians - about half of whom also have their doubts about evolution - aren't being convincingly taught the science that supports the theory. "If students understand well evolution, but for religious reasons say 'I still cannot accept that because of my religious beliefs,' then we in the educational community say we respect that," said Brian Alters, a McGill science-education professor who is leading the center. "But that is not the case, we usually find." Linda Holloway, who was chairwoman of the Kansas Board of Education when it voted last year to remove most references to evolution from the state's curriculum, said she welcomed efforts to teach evolution more effectively. "I think that's great. I think this whole discussion is great," she said. "Evolutionists are putting out their information and people who have different viewpoints are putting out theirs. I think that's healthy." The center plans to disseminate its research through teachers conventions and seminars, and on a Web site. But the main target is university-level science education professors, who will train the next generation of high school teachers. In a study of 1,200 college freshmen, Alters found 45 percent of those who doubted evolution had specific misunderstandings about some of the science that has been used to confirm the theory - for instance carbon dating techniques that determine the age of fossils. The recent widespread scientific acceptance of the 'Big Bang theory' has many scientists scrambling to make it fit with natural selection - what caused this big bang? While Genesis has the answer I'll not ask you to believe such nonsense but instead to keep trying to modify the theories to make it fit your underlying philosophy (call this science). I find it interesting that Eldridge (Fossils : The Evolution and Extinction of Species ) has moved from the widely accepted gradual evolution theory to the sudden transformation caused by the extinction of a species - conveniently this fits the absence of fossils in transformation - now it fits. "We need to find out why people don't understand evolution," Alters said. "Then we need to craft lessons, activities, curricula to specifically address that." The debate over teaching origin theories dates back to 1925, when John T. Scopes was charged with violating Tennessee law for teaching evolution in high school. Scopes' conviction was later were overturned. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court barred states from requiring the teaching of creationism in public schools where evolution is taught. The Kansas school board's decision last year rekindled the debate. Alters and Gould both say Americans' attitudes toward the teaching of evolution are more complex than they first appear. The Gallup Poll conducted last year also found 68 percent of Americans favored teaching both creationism and evolution in the public schools. By a margin of 55 percent to 40 percent, they opposed replacing evolution with creationism. Those results were based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,016 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 25-27, 1999. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In closing・. I agree with Chuck Colson (1) when he writes, "We can no longer allow naturalists to treat science as a sanctuary where their personal philosophy reigns free from challenge." Eldridge was right when he said, "・concepts about God reveal a lot about how people see themselves・" An additional survey question that would have made this report clearer needed to be added; "What is your view of God? We might find that no amount of additional education will address the differences which are really incompatible Worldviews.

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger D. said...

Evolution isn't an opinion based on a gallup poll. It's based on scientific data. I don't know why you want to deny the fact that life has evolved since all our medical and forensic sciences are based on evolution.

 
At 6:50 AM, Blogger William C. White said...

Just stop for a second and look at Lee Long's reasoning. Look at all of the logical fallacies that exists: Argument to numbers (popularity), appeal to authority, equivocation, etc. It's ridiculous!!! You cannot reason with Creationist, they will not let the FACTS interfere with their theories (and I'm being REALLY nice calling this garbage a theory).

These people will try to argue whether or not rain is wet. You cannot reason with those who lack the ability to reason. They don't seem to recognize that GRAVITY is a theory, ATOMS are a theory, and so on.

To give them ANY leeway is to give them more than what they deserve. Make these Creationist prove the accuracy of the Bible. Better yet, make them prove that God actually exists. Don't give them ANYTHING!!! Because if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile.

Here's one for you Creationist: Prove that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist. Prove that the tooth fairy doesn't exist. Prove that the Santa Claus (yes, I'm back on Santa Claus, the dude owes me money) doesn't exist. Because the first question my child will ask is, "How do you know an intelligent designer exists?" and if you're going to have this garbage in the schools, you better be able to answer her.

What makes this entire debate so silly is that MOST Christians don't even know what is IN the Bible. They don't understand the Bible (which is understandable, I don't understand contradictions and inconsistencies either), and a surprisingly large number of them can't even READ the Bible. That is amazing!!

The best way to handle Creationist is to treat them like the weirdo down the street, "Leave them alone, but keep a close eye on them."

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger pealsup said...

First off, unlike what someone said down low, there are not inconsistancies or contradictions in the Bible if you know context. You can take a verse here and a verse there and make them look contradictory, but if you read the entire context of the passage, they aren't.

But, to my point. Asking someone to believe that we descended from monkeys, or if you go back even farther, amoeba, is a lot harder to believe than the existence of God.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

I think you're being a bit unfair, William. No Creationism and Christianity are not logical, that is why believing in them is an act of faith. You say to give Christians nothing, but I say you should give them the right to believe what they like, and practice whatever religion they like. That is the least they deserve, and it is a principle enshrined in the First Amendment.

As you can tell from my previous posts, I don't think Creationism should be taught as science, or in science lessons. I think we've established it has no place there. Unlike the Supreme Court, though, I feel religion does have a place in schools. People should be given the chance to learn about all religions, as this is the way to making us a more tolerant society. Christians are not all weirdos, in the same way Muslims are not all terrorists. Perhaps if we were all better educated about the various religions in school, these sorts of attitudes would stand less of a chance of prevailing.

It is a mistake to insult the intelligence of Christians, merely because they choose to believe in something different to you. I'm all for freedom of speech, but generalising and stereotyping achieve nothing. Christians and Christianity have contributed much to our society: much of our law and most of our moral values are based on teachings in the Bible. There are other influences, yes, but Christianity deserves credit too. Meanwhile, Newton, one of the true geniuses of history, was a devout Christian who believed that by studying science, he was studying, and getting closer to, the works of God. Before you set off on a rant about all the harm that Christianity has done over the years, I'll stop you and let you know now that I am aware of it. I'm merely making the point that a lot of good has come from Christianity too.

Anyway, this is an emotive issue, and I sense that you are letting your feelings get the better of you, but the simple fact is that people have the right to believe whatever they like. They just shouldn't be allowed to teach it as science when by any conceivable definition it is not.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger William C. White said...

I was misunderstood, I'm not saying that Christians cannot believe what they want to believe, they can believe whatever they want. What I'm saying is that their beliefs should NOT be given the same weight as scientific theory. If you give them any leeway on that position, they'll use it to try and assimilate everyone.

I don't care if you're a Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Satanist, or whatever, your religious conjectures should be taught in your homes, churches, gathering places or wherever. They should not be taught in schools.

As for pealsup's assertion that the Bible does not contain contradictions or inconsistencies. What Bible have you been reading. What you call context, others call double talk. If pealsup so desires, you can follow my link and get in on the debate about biblical inconsistencies. I'd like to understand the context.

I'm not saying that Christian people have not done anything productive, I'm saying that the Christian religion, like any other religion, has not done anything productive. Just because a notable scientist was a "Christian" (whatever that is), does not mean anything. He didn't use Christian logic to become a notable scientist, if he had he wouldn't have become a notable scientist. No, he used "scientific logic" to become a notable scientist.

Do Christians recognize that if you allow Christianity into schools (and lets be honest, that is what this is all about), you will also have to allow Satanism into school. Are Christians prepared for that? Of course, they aren't.

I don't care what a scientist's motives are, I don't care if he did it for God, the love of science, or for the nookie. What I care about is his science. Hitler's scientist came up with some good scientific findings, should we give credence to Nazism because of that? No, all we should do is look at and understand the science and move on.

I'm sure that most Christians are lovely people, just as most Satanist are lovely people. They are just misguided and need something to believe in. So, I say, if you want to believe in something, BELIEVE IN ME. I'll do the best I can to help you, and unlike your biblical God, I won't kill you when things don't go according to plans.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

William, I seriously think you need to calm down. Like I say, this is an emotive issue, but your ire clouds your judgement. You generalise far too much, and that's your downfall: I disagree that there is no place for religion in schools, but I agree there is no place for it in science lessons. It should be taught as part of a "Religious Education" class, that teaches the values and principles of all religions, or at least as many as possible. Yes, Satanism would be included in that, but I think it is fair to say that as much time be devoted in the class to a particular religion as is proportional to the amount of people following it. In the case of Satanism, that won't be very much.

Indeed, if you want to get empirical about it, what is actually classified as a "religion" (as opposed to a cult) is determined by the number of people specifying it on their census forms. I suspect that Satanism, therefore, would be classified as a cult and therefore there would be no requirement to teach it in classes focussing on major religions.

It is my sincere belief, however, that by removing religion of any form from public schools, you are only encouraging segregation, mistrust, and misunderstanding between the major faiths. These groups need to interact and learn about the others in order to better tolerate each other. Don't try to tell me that the First Amendment forbids religious education classes, because I'm aware of what it says and I don't believe it does any such thing. It has been interpreted in that way in the past by the Supreme Court, however, and so that's the law.

Anyway, to say that Christians somehow don't realise that allowing religion in schools would mean allowing religions they don't like (you mention Satanism) is again a massive generalisation. Christiana above is a Christian, and she is happy for the teachings of all faiths to be presented in schools. There are some evangelicals who seek to promote Christianity in schools above all else, and I hold these individuals in as much contempt as you - it is their wishes that are expressly forbidden by the first Amendment.

Please, though, stop grouping all Christians together and then applying uniformally negative labels to them - even when you admit that they are mostly "lovely", it is in a patronising outburst in which you conclude they are "misguided" because of their beliefs. Even I find this insulting, and I'm not a Christian.

Finally, to address your point about Newton. You argue that although Christian people have done good things, the religion as a whole has not. This is simply not the case. It's not something that appeals to me, but it has inspired many people to do great and wondrous things. Some of our greatest works of art, architecture and literature have been produced through religious inspiration. Yes Newton's achievements were scientific, but what drove him, his inspiration, was his religion - it was that belief that he was looking into the works of God that motivated him. So we can thank Christianity for that. You are correct with your point about the Nazis: we shouldn't give credence to Nazism because of the achievements of its devotees. Neither should we necessarily give credence to Christianity because of the achievents of ITS devotees, but this is in no way what I was suggesting. All I am saying is that we should not treat Christianity with utter contempt, as you do, when it has done so much to aid human development. We should condemn parts of it, but be thankful for others. Whether you choose to believe in it or not is up to you. I'm not even asking you not to mock it: some awful crimes were perpetrated in the name of Christianity, just look at the Spanish Inquisition. These crimes deserve our contempt, and by making a mockery of those elements of the church that allowed or justified them, we perhaps ensure that such abuses will not happen again. It is wrong, though, to universally condemn the entire religion when so much of what it has achieved is good; and it is absolutely wrong to condemn or stereotype all those who follow it, when they have as much right to believe it as you do to not.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Eric Wakeling said...

I didn't read every post, but I read most. I am a Christian and I am a pastor. I believe in a blend of ID and Evolution. I believe that there must have been a Creator at some point. I also believe in what is called a Long Day theory. That in the Creation story the seven days were not literal 24 hour periods which allows for the obvious fact that our world is not only thousands of years old. This is a brief description of what many books have been written about.

Also, please try not to label every Christian as what you see on TV with the televangelists and the two Pats (Robertson and Buchanan). There are many people striving to be authentic and compassionate in a world where many others are posing as "Christians" for political causes and other reprehensible things. I believe in Jesus Christ and His message of love, hope, and peace. Feel free to join me in my journey by checking out my blog.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger D. said...

I don't care what a scientist's motives are, I don't care if he did it for God, the love of science, or for the nookie.
lmaoo! that's hilarious. He's right! Science is about the discovery of knowledge based on tests that can be recreated over and over again. Religion is based on faith alone.
Your faith in Christ is not a science. It's a religion and should be kept that way. STOP trying to pervert science by comparing it to a religion.

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger Lee Long said...

D.
Do you honestly not care whether a scientist has an agenda, a belief system that could cloud his/her scientific endeavours? Reminds me of the 'discovery about 5-7 years back where two scientists had concluded that homsexuality was caused by a particular part of the brain - turns out that both 'scientists' were avowed homsexuals and most of the findings were tainted to say the least. I am only asking why evolutionists are so dogmatic in their support of this theory of evolution - where is the openess to new probes? From this view, it sure looks like both are beliefs based on faith - ask yourself what would happen to your worldview if evolution was proven wrong? Then examine it and see if you have created a bridge too long to cross.......
and painting the ID theory as 'Christian' gives evolutionists a quick way out without letting honest probes into a theory. I will admit that many Christians have jumped on this bandwagon - but you would have to say with good reason. thanks for debating.....lee

 
At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Lee, your case of the two scientists promoting certain politically motivated findings is a great example of the way the Scientific Method works. One of the basic understandings of Science is that, sometimes, individuals are wrong. It's a process that is designed to deal with individual error. So two guys who go off on their own agenda and present a particular set of findings can absolutely be mistaken. That's OK -- there is room for that in Science.

No one experiment proves anything Scientifically. Before something is accepted as "valid" by Scientific standards, other people have to reproduce the experiments, critique their failings, and present any contradictory results. The idea is that a series of experiments, sliced and diced different ways by different people with differing agendae, eventually winnow out the parts that are consistent from the parts that were flukes or misrepresentations.

Scientific Theories are broad frameworks that bring together a large amount of such data and explain them in a way that includes all of the particular findings that are reproducible. One of the important points of this is that the details of our understanding may change. Indeed, the Scientific Method insists our descriptions must change, as data is discovered that does not fit earlier versions. Those who criticize Evolutionary Theory because they see disputes between various groups of scientists about its application, actually highlight one of the strengths of the Scientific Method. These differences show that the Scientific Community is continually working to bring our understanding more in line with the facts, as we discover new evidence.

The bottom line here is that you have to be willing to allow your belief in Intelligent Design to be changed by future discovery if you want it to be discussed in the same arena as Evolution and other Scientific Theories. If your belief is inflexible and immutable, you are not playing the same game. Do you see how that's different?

-- The Green Man

 
At 1:53 AM, Blogger William C. White said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:24 AM, Blogger William C. White said...

Of course Lee won't see the difference, his agenda will not allow him to see the difference. This problem has been explained to Creationist in every possible way, they just will not hear anything you say until you say that the fictional Bible is just as legitimate as your mathematics textbook. And that will not be occuring anytime soon on my part.

As for Joe Cross, are you suggesting that the length of time that a classroom subject, if religion were allowed into schools, should be taught should be based upon the number of people who believe in that religion? That's not education. In fact, what you are suggesting is unconstitutional. The Constitution is designed to protect the minority opinion from the majority opinion. And yes, the First Amendment does forbid religious education classes in the context that you are talking about.

Also, I don't know where you got your definition of religion from. I KNOW federal law does not allow the government to define religion based on the number of people who practice it. Satanism is as much a cult as Christianity is a cult. Remember, Satan is introduced in Chapter Two of the Bible. So, if someones interpretation of the Bible is that Satan is actually God and that everyone is reading it wrong, how can you justify giving Satanism 10 minutes of class discussion and giving Satanism Version Two 60 minutes of class time? You can't, and the law says you cannot do that.

What is a "Religious Education Class"? I thougt we were talking about Creationism. Now you want Christians to be able to teach their religion in school. Damn, that was fast. Like I said, give them an inch and they'll take a mile. Besides, isn't that what churches are for? Isn't that what parents are for? When a student goes onto higher learning they are free to take "Religious Education" classes. That's what I did. What's the agenda in trying to program young kids into believing in God early. I know, once they have been programmed as children to believe in the absurd, its easier as adults to get them to commit atrocities in the name of that religion.

You say I generalize too much? What if Christianity is 100% wrong, would I still be generalizing? You can't generalize if what you're saying is correct!!! Prove I'm wrong and then say I'm generalizing. Otherwise your just begging the question. My "downfall" will only come when I am proven wrong, otherwise I will be standing just as strong as I was in the beginning.

It doesn't matter what people say they are willing to do (Christiana allowing in all faiths), eventually what will happen is what you proposed previously, majority rule. The religion with the higher classroom representation gets the most air time. I can't believe you even suggested that one.

Also, you still seem to be saying that it is wrong "to universally condemn [Nazism] when so much of what it has achieved is good..." You see how I am able to take out your reference to Christianity and replace it with Nazism and still get YOUR idea across.

Note: Let's say you have 3 groups of Christians; Group 1 says that ALL of the Bible is to be interpreted literally, Group 2 says that ALL of the Bible is to be taken figuratively, and Group 3 says that some parts are literal and some parts are figurative. Can they ALL be correct? Can X be greater than Y, equal to Y, and less than Y, ALL at the same time? Of course not, and similarly, two of the Christian groups above would have to be OUTRIGHT WRONG. So, why would we teach kids a belief that is outright wrong. That is why you make them prove it first. But what religious pacifist want you to believe is that ALL of the groups can be correct at the same time. Creationist want this as well, because if they can get any one of those groups in (the inch), they can transform it into one of the other groups at will (the mile).

Why are Christians so unwilling to prove their "science"? If you can prove it, you'll get a classroom right next to the Astronomy Lab. It's just that simple, prove it and you're in. Is that asking too much? It is if what you're saying isn't true.

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger Russ said...

Christians are unwilling to prove what the Bible says, because they cannot - it is all based on faith. You can't prove faith - you either have it or not. For that reason it deserves no place in our tax-subsidized public school system.

If people want to learn about God, Jesus, and the Bible they can get their weekly dose during Sunday services or Sunday school. If that's not enough for them, let them follow those TV evangalists all decked out in their gold and $5000 suits to their heart's content.

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger Toad734 said...

Its a bit more than a theory, we may not have all the pieces put together but, Ill bet these same idiot parents would love it if they tought their kids that the world is only 10,000 years old and God made man out of dust on the 6th day, which is the worst theory out there, the hardest to prove and has the least evidence supporting it of any other theory that explains how we evolved, its a lot less believable and a lot less logical. If they want to teach their kids about God send them to church or a Catholic school, but dont spend my tax dollars teaching kids that some invisible guy waved a magic wand and poof here we are eating fruit in a garden and conversing with fucking snakes.

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger Jeanne Marie said...

I went to a christian school growing up, and I learned the formation of the world was when the promodial (sp?) soup got together, God went "Presto". I assumed they just didn't know what happened and was thoroughly shocked when I got to college.

Those students, if kept under that program, may experience the same shock.

 
At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

William, I would prefer to let Lee answer for himself. It's pretty clear you don't think the same way he does, so I can't imagine how you know what he's going to say.

How are you going to win someone over to appreciate the beauty and the utility of scientific reasoning by shouting at them? You're following the method you most despise. If you really think Science is a better way to figure out how the world works than shouting, you'll get that across more clearly by using the method and showing how it pays off. If you feel you can't reason with Creationists, I don't know why you keep answering them.

-- The Green Man

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger son-in-law said...

As a practicing Christian myself, I think "creationists" project fear in the wrong direction. Stop worrying about a separation of church and state (a governing principle stemming from the U.S. constitution that many Christians believe to be authored and ratified by inspired men), and start worrying about separation FROM religion. Why in the world would you leave the instruction of your children to only a schoolteacher who you may have met once in your life? Take some responsibility for you child’s spiritual education!

Public education is for secular learning, the home is for spiritual guidance and education. Faith without works is dead, if you have a problem with a secular teaching, teach your children the correct principle. I don’t want my children or anyone else’s child to pass up the discovery of the next penicillin because some “creationist” parents group told his or her school that the scientific method and the discoveries it has given mankind are not infallible and thus not noteworthy. The whole point of the scientific method is that it is just that, fallible. A thorough scientific education teaches that science is constantly working to improve and correct itself.

As a Christian, I believe that science attempts to explain God’s creations, and that one day, science and faith will merge when our understanding is made perfect. Until then, we should study both sides of the spectrum in order to gain the greatest understanding of the world around us. I believe that the glory of god is intelligence, and parents have just as big of a responsibility to encourage learning as schoolteachers. A levelheaded schoolteacher would never be against a parent taking an active role in teaching their child good morals and faith that encourage good behavior and active learning, so let schoolteachers do their job!

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

Don't bother Green Man, I've been trying to get that point across to William for some time now, to no avail.

William, you fundamentally misunderstand and miscontrue everything I say, to suit your agenda. I repeat: I am on your side. I too, am a sceptic. I only think you need to be more reasoned in your arguments and flexible in your outlook. You have moved on from insulting Christians, which I already took exception to, to now insulting me personally.

You accuse me of attempting to "take a mile" when given an inch, but this is based on an incredibly simple misconception of what I said. You ask "What is a Religious Education class?" Please re-read my post more carefully, as I tire of explaining it.

I loved this part: "Also, you still seem to be saying that it is wrong "to universally condemn [Nazism] when so much of what it has achieved is good..." You see how I am able to take out your reference to Christianity and replace it with Nazism and still get YOUR idea across".

My sentence, as you suggest, stated that it is wrong "to universally condemn Christianity when so much of what it has achieved is good...". I stand by this. Your sentence, with the word Christianity replaced with Nazism is incorrect, from my point of view on the basis that is my opinion that Nazism didn't achieve anything good. You are mistaking the people who hold certain philosophical positions from the philosophical positions themselves. If you cannot make that distinction, then you will struggle, as you are, in this debate.

Now, this is the part of the First Amednment that pertains to religion: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
I don't see anything there preventing religious education classes. If you want to get into what Thomas Jefferson said in his letter to the Danbury Baptists subsequently (the line about there existing a "wall of separation between Church and State") then I would remind you that that is not law. It has merely been used by a previous Supreme Court to interpret what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the First Amendment. They decided, in light of that evidence, that the First Amednment was intended to keep all religion out of schools. Fine, that's what the Supreme Court says. I just happen to disagree with it, I don't think it was the intention of the First Amendment at all and I think educating kids about religion at school cannot be a bad thing. I had religious education classes myself, here in the UK. They didn't make me a Christian, let alone a Creationist. I was not indoctrinated, as you fear. I was merely enlightened as to the beliefs and motivations of many of the people on the planet: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists - all of them.

You ridicule my suggestions for ways to incorporate as many and as valid religions as possible into the classes. I would challenge you to come up with better ideas rather than just mock mine, but since you don't believe in the idea of the classes in the first place, the point is academic. That's what makes me think that your ridicule was intended as a personal insult, rather than a genuine attempt at debate. Water off a duck's back, my friend. There are people far more worthy of my ire than you, in this world.

I do say you generalise too much. You challenge me to prove you wrong. I'm afraid you're arguing on the side of science. Science works by people proving themselves RIGHT. You should work on that, instead of challenging people to prove you wrong all the time (exactly as proponents of ID do). You are constantly saying "Christians say this" and "Creationists do that". That is called generalising. Maybe I was being overly dramatic when I said it would bring about your "downfall", but I was attempting to help you: to warn you off doing it too much as it undermines all of your arguments, some of which are good. You wrongly interpreted it as some sort of threat.

By the way, my idea that something defined as a religion, as opposed to a cult, comes from the number of people specifying it on their census forms comes from how things work here in the UK. I'm fairly sure it works on a similar system over there, and even if it doesn't, the Federal government will have some sort of system for making the distinction. Again, though, it is academic since you refuse to countenance the original suggestion of religious education classes.

On a final point: I'm a mediator by nature. I don't take extreme posiitons. I lean one way or the other, and let people know which way I go, but I'm open to the other side and will defend it if I feel it is being unfairly represented (hence my defence of Christianity in this case). In an attempt to stay neutral, I am very careful with my language, with what I say, and with how I say it. I would appreciate it if you took the same care when reading what I have written, as I am becoming bored of having to explain myself as a result of your own misinterpretation. If you respond again in the same manner, that is, with an accusatory tone and without any evidence of having paid close attention to what I have said, then I shall probably not respond.

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

Do me a favor, Joe Cross, DON’T HELP ME!!!! I’ve gotten along for 33 years without your help, and I’m sure I’ll get along for 33 more without your help. Quit trying to analyze me, and my emotions, and focus on the debate. If I wanted saved, I’d go to Church (That’s a good one.)

Let the WRITTEN EVIDENCE show, you wrote: “Yes, Satanism would be included in that, but I think it is fair to say that as much time be devoted in the class to a particular religion as is proportional to the amount of people following it. In the case of Satanism, that won’t be very much.”

I responded with: “Are you suggesting that the length of time that a classroom subject, if religion were allowed into schools, should be taught should be based upon the number of people who believe in that religion?”

And you’re telling me I misunderstood you? Okay, MEDIATOR.

You say: “...Creationism and Christianity are not logical…”

I say: “They are misguided and need something to believe in.”

Aren’t these about the same?

Insulting Christians? I ask them to prove their beliefs and I’m insulting them? I ask that they follow the established rules for proving a theory, like everyone else has to do, and if they do not, their religion “should not be taught in schools.” And you’re telling me I’m being disrespectful? Okay, MEDIATOR.

You write: “I would challenge you to come up with better ideas rather than just mock mine,…”.

I had ALREADY written:
1. “Isn’t that what churches are for?”
2. “Isn’t that what parents are for?”
3. “When a student goes onto higher learning they are free to take “Religious Education” classes.”
4. “Your religious conjectures should be taught in your homes, churches, gathering places or wherever.”

Aren’t these ideas? Yet you claimed that I responded “with and accusatory tone and without evidence of having paid close attention to what [you] have said,..”. It’s obvious from the above who is “paying attention” and who is not. MEDIATOR.

Also,
1. The United States has NOTHING like what you are talking about with respect to religious classification. What you are describing is UNCONSTITUTIONAL over here.
2. It is only generalizing if it is NOT true.
3. Evolution has proven itself, biology has proven itself, and astronomy, physics, and mathematics have proven themselves. HOW ELSE CAN I PROVE THAT I AM RIGHT?????? It is now the opposition’s job to prove (by showing) were the above sciences have erred, or simply prove what they are saying is true.


For the record, TRUTH is the only side I have. If Christians, or any other religious group, proves their ideas, I will defend their positions too. But I will NOT defend someone, who will not prove their position, and argue that they shouldn’t have to prove their position. That’s your job, MEDIATOR.

For Anonymous, scientific reasoning doesn’t need to win anyone over. If people don’t believe rain is wet, fire is hot, and Evolution is real, that’s their problem. I answer Christians because I don’t want them to ever say that no one said or showed them that their reasoning was wrong. I’ve done it repeatedly; I’ve showed the flaws, inconsistencies, and outright lies. Besides, I am using the scientific method; all I am doing is extending the offer to them to use it as well. If shouting, “THE RULES ARE THE SAME FOR EVERYONE.”, scares some Christians off, so be it. I don’t want people to agree with me because I appealed to their emotions, or stroked them the right way. I want them to agree with me because what I’m saying is true.

Also, once you’ve “debated” with Christians for 15 – 20 years, you CAN (Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to shout), know what they are going to say. In fact, if you’ve studied reasoning, or have taken a debate class, you would know that one of the most important ideas in reasoning is to KNOW what the other guy is going to say. Whether you agree with him or not, know his position(s), and be prepared to refute that position if possible. The fact that you write: “I can’t imagine how you know what he’s going to say”, lets me know, at the least, you were not very good in debate class, if you even took that class. For the record, I ACED my class!!!!!

But anyway, the ball is in the Creationist’s court, prove your position?

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

I fear the only debate school you attended, William, was the "Bill O'Reilly School for Shouting Down an Opponent". You have proved nothing, merely asserted your position very strongly. All I did was ask you to calm down, you respond by insulting me.

Ask yourself, what is the point of debating? Is it adversarial point scoring? Or is it persuading people of your point of view, gradually changing minds? If you think the former, congratulations, you win; but no one was playing against you because it's pointless and childish. If you think the latter, then I'm afraid you've done poorly, having succeeded only in turning someone who started as a friend and on your side into a bitter enemy.

I'm glad to hear you aced a class, but your arrogance astounds me. You demonstrate a characteristic I had previously only attributed to arch-conservatives: the inability to tolerate difference in others, and the absolute unwillingness to give credence to any ideas that are not your own. Sorry to continue analysing you, but I'm not going to argue the toss over creationism/evolution with you for two reasons: 1) No-one and nothing will change your mind, however hard they try, and 2) I essentially agree with you! We're on the same side! I'm only trying to preach tolerance; alas, you seem determined to reject it.

I'm aware you will only respond to this by further seeking to mock me. As I said earlier: water off a duck's back. If that's the game you want to play, continue.

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

Slavery, segregation, lynching, opposition to equal rights for women and minorities, homosexual hatred, etc. These are just a few of the things Christians are known for in the United States. I don’t know about UK Christians, but US Christians are DANGEROUS. I’m not talking about the quiet US Christians who just sit back and let the others spit their hatred and intolerance, I’m talking about the powerful, political US Christians who believe that atheist should not be able to hold public office.

Quote from George Bush Sr.: “..I don’t know that atheist should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

Quote from Pat Robertson: "When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. "What do you mean?" the media challenged me. "You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?" My simple answer is, "Yes, they are."

Quote from Reverend Jerry Falwell: "I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"

Quote from Pat Buchanan: "We're going to bring back God and the Bible and drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America."

Quote from Josh McDowell: "Tolerance is the worst roar of all, including tolerance for homosexuals, feminists, and religions that don't follow Christ."

You can find many more at this link: http://www.ethicalatheist.com/docs/separation_church_state.html

Maybe the UK has the luxury of tolerating Christians, but the American Christian is a different animal. Their goals are assimilation of the weak, and the destruction of all who oppose them. Do all American Christians think like this, probably not. But those who don’t usually sit back and let the above speak without challenge. Note: George Bush Sr. made his statement BEFORE he became President!!!

If I seem intolerant, it’s because I know what I’m dealing with. If I have to choose between being intolerant and free, or tolerant and locked up, or worse dead, I’m going to choose intolerance every time.

Besides, how intolerant is a person who says, “Prove your position.” Or “What am I missing in reading the Bible?” That’s not intolerance!!! That’s giving the opposition every chance in the world to explain their position. They choose not to explain their position, but rather choose to tell me I’m going to burn in Hell for asking them to do so.

And for the record, you cannot shout down people who have every opportunity in the world to state their position, and prove their position. Anyone, including Christians, can post their positions on this issue. How can I stop them from doing that? They choose not to post their positions. Don’t get mad at me for asking them to PROVE their positions. Earning points or changing peoples minds are irrelevant to me, stating the facts and letting people state their facts is all I care about. I don’t care about ANY opinion on scientific issues when those opinions are not backed up by facts. That is not intolerance, I don’t care how many times you say it is. Letting someone state the facts on their opinion is never going to be interpreted as intolerance, and I’ve given Creationist every opportunity to state the facts on their opinion.

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger son-in-law said...

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At 10:50 AM, Blogger son-in-law said...

Mr. White

First, asking someone to “prove” his or her faith is an oxymoron.

Faith (f th) NOUN: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

Second, resigning to the position that “Christians” are responsible for all of the hatred and intolerance in the world is a misguided, ignorant, and prejudiced notion. Evolution itself was used as a tool for extreme intolerance and cruelty at the hands of godless “scientists” that claimed certain races were inferior, or had not “evolved” as far as the Caucasian. i.e. craniologists, Hitler, etc. etc. etc. The truth is that anyone who is intolerant or close-minded, AHEM, is the real enemy, no matter what their religious or scientific beliefs are.

The bottom line is that the scientific method is fallible, and you will never be able to prove otherwise anymore that I am able to “prove” the existence of a God. Science and religion each have their place (refer to my post above). To insult one’s faith in God by asking them to “prove” it reveals your misunderstanding of religion and faith altogether.

As for the issue at hand, teaching creationism in public schools, see my post above. I must have not gotten the Christian memo informing me of our imminent takeover of the public school system or U.S. Government. Manage your use of the word “most” carefully when describing any tendency within a group. A ballot asking to allow the teaching of creationism in public schools would never even approach popular approval in this Christian majority country. It would definitely not have this Christians vote.

"I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details." -Albert Einstein

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

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At 2:02 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

Mr. T,

I only ask Creationist to “prove” their faith because they're asserting that it is NOT a faith but rather a theory, just like the gravitational theory, atomic theory, and evolutionary theory. Is it unreasonable to ask that the subjects taught in our public schools not be based on faith? But rather on theories derived from observable and testable facts? I don't think that is unreasonable at all.

Secondly, show me where I said that “'Christians' are responsible for all of the hatred and intolerance in the world.”

Thirdly, “Evolution itself was used as a tool for extreme intolerance and cruelty at the hands of godless 'scientist'...”? Do I need to tell you the religious affiliation of almost every single one of these scientist? For the record, Quote from Hitler: “Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work.” Yes, it's clear from his statement that he is “godless”. Remember, before you get an attitude, you brought it up, I didn't!!!

Besides, I really don't see you're point here anyway. Are you saying that because evolution was being used in a negative way that the theory is, therefore, invalid? Is atomic theory invalid also? What about propulsion theory? Is the science behind guns, airplanes, submarines, rockets, etc. invalid because these instruments are used in a negative way? The fact is, evolution can be used to create a human who is more likely to have certain characteristics. Evolution does not get involved in the debate as to whether ANY characteristic is inherently better than the next. If you want to apply the laws of “natural selection” to human conduct, then quite simply, if having a sloped forehead will get you killed if you enter country A, evolution says that country A will have very few people with sloped foreheads. Right or Wrong, evolution is still working.

It's easy to call someone closed minded, saying it over and over doesn't make it right. If I ask Christians, “How can an army, backed by an all powerful God, be stopped by another army just because the opposing army has chariots made of iron?” or “Do you believe that the Earth was created before the Sun?”, does that make me close minded? If asking someone questions that challenge their cherished beliefs makes me close minded, then I guess I'm close minded.

I know of people who actually believe that comic book writers are “unknowingly”, and some knowingly, being inspired by an omnipotent being into writing their comic book stories. In other words, they actually believe that there IS a Marvel Universe, or that there IS a DC Universe. They also tell me that, through these comics, God is trying to communicate to us, to show us what we will eventually evolve into, what we have the potential of becoming. In other words, it is their religion. Am I being close minded when I tell them that The Hulk, Superman, Spiderman, or Spawn does not actually exist? Should we allow them to teach this religion in our public schools?

Do I have to speak with every Christian before I can say something about ALL Christians? Does the World Chess Champion have to play every person on Earth before he can be labeled World Chess Champion? Do you have to talk to every Nazi before you can say that all Nazis are racist? There are certain beliefs that a person must have to belong to a certain group. I have actually talked to “Christians” who were not sure whether or not they believed that Jesus actually existed. I pointed out to them that you are NOT a Christian if you do not believe that Jesus existed. Am I generalizing? A Christian is one who follows Christ. If you do not believe in Christ, you are not a Christian. It's not my rule, it's THE rule. Am I still generalizing? If you do not believe anything in the Bible is true, you are not a Christian. Why, Jesus is in the Bible. Am I still generalizing?

Yeah, it's easy to call someone close minded, no matter how much they explain their position and show you the flaws in your position. It's just another ad hominem attack, which means you are ignoring what the person is saying, which would make you close minded. You're not close minded if you believe that the Earth is WELL over 10,000 years old. No, that's not close minded, that's educated!!!!

Since you seem to like Einstein (I guess this is an appeal to authority), Einstein came up with cosmological constant, which was later shown, using the scientific method, to be wrong. Hubble later showed that the Universe is expanding, which has been subsequently proven to be true over, and over, and over. That damn scientific method!!! If we could only figure out some way to get rid of it. Hmmm.

But I guess if Einstein says that God exists, it has to true! Cause Einstein was never wrong.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger son-in-law said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger son-in-law said...

First of all, I agree that Creationism should not be taught in schools, so you really need to get over that some Christians may actually agree with you on this point.

In showing the indiscretions of a few past evolutionists, I was simply showing that “science” is no more innocent than religion when it comes oppression of the “other.”

Third, you proved my point by mentioning scientific laws that have been proven false. Who is to say that tomorrow someone does not come up with a theory that is considered by scientists to be superior to the ideas set forth by evolution? If you really believe what you said in your last paragraph, you will have to agree with me that this may happen.

Here are the first three of your atheist ten commandments (suggestions, whatever):

1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thee art told.
2. Thou SHALT constantly seeketh knowledge and truth.
3. Thou SHALT educate thy fellow man in the Laws of Science.

http://www.ethicalatheist.com/docs/ten_commandments.html

Well, here is a law of science for you, the “truths” that science gives us are constantly changing. Why should you constantly be seeking truth if science is absolute?

Answer: It’s not, it is constantly changing as more information is gathered and new theories are tested.

When someone comes up with a better theory than evolution, are you going to “convert”? Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Your own “commandments” prove my point, thanks for the url!

I repeat, religion is not a science. Asking someone to prove his or her faith shows lack of understanding of what faith actually is.

“…the American Christian is a different animal. Their goals are assimilation of the weak, and the destruction of all who oppose them. Do all American Christians think like this, probably not. But those who don’t usually sit back and let the above speak without challenge.”

Just for the record, this statement you made implies ALL AMERICAN CHRISTIANS support or participate the “destruction” and “assimilation” of “the weak.” Yes, that is generalizing and prejudicial. Why don’t you take a look at the statistics on humanitarian aid to starving countries by religious groups? They amount to far more than any government or “atheist” group combined. I think your enemy is extremism, you are really barking up the wrong tree with this “American Christian” thing.

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

Mr T.,

When did I become an atheist? I did a google search on a comment I knew George Bush Sr. had made, to show his intolerance, and that was one of the sites that popped up. And now I'm an atheist, with commandments and everything? WOW!!! Like I said, give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

You seem to think that a change in theory totally discredits the original theory. No scientific theory, that was based upon the scientific method, has EVER been totally discredited. Name one!!! Just because people say they are using the scientific method doesn't mean they are doing it. What Einstein had said up until his cosmological constant theory, which wasn't based upon ANY tests, was absolutely true. And it still holds true. The only thing Hubble observed, and tested, was that the Universe was expanding. That is the only part of Einstein's theory that changed. The ENTIRE theory was not shot down. That NEVER happens to a scientific theory that was derived from the scientific method. If you know of one, PLEASE show me.

Copernicus theorized that all of the planets orbited around the Sun in perfect circles, Kepler showed that they were actually elliptical orbits. These are the kinds of changes in theory that take place, NOT the major overhaul that you seem to think take place.

Besides, I never said a scientific law was proven false. You might want to slow down and actually READ WHAT I WRITE, rather than create weak straw man analogies and proceed to dismantle the things that YOU WRITE.

You write: “Well, here is a law of science for you, the “truths” that science gives us are constantly changing. Why should you constantly be seeking truth if science is absolute?”

The only “truths” in science are the facts, and the facts NEVER change. How the facts are interpreted may change, but the facts themselves NEVER change. This is an important distinction that you probably won't understand (and I'm basing that statement on the FACT that you constantly change what I write in order for it to make sense in your mind).

Look up logical fallacies, and see how many you spit out every time you write something. You would be amazed. Or maybe you wouldn't be.

Finally,

I wrote: “Do all American Christians think like this, probably not.”

You wrote:”... this statement you made implies ALL AMERICAN CHRISTIANS support or participate the “destruction” and “assimilation” of “the weak.” ”

Your inability to read and understand what someone writes is your business. I know you wish you could edit my words and make them say what you said I said, but you can't. So you're going to have to live with the FACTS of what I, William White, say. You call it generalizing, like I said before, it's not generalizing if it's true.

 
At 11:56 PM, Blogger D. said...

Mr. Z you seem to have a problem understanding what the scientific theory represents. Science does not oppress anyone.
These theories are based on laboratory tests that can be recreated over and over again. That's not opression if scientists say there is no deny evolution because the observations prove it true.
Creationists are asking us to believe that there's a divine being which created the world as a way to control people.
They don't care about truth or knowledge. This is strictly about power and control.

 
At 12:33 AM, Blogger checkitontheinside said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger D. said...

ID and Creationism are the same thing. You just changed the name to make it more appetizing and sound more scientific.
ID is not a scientific theory it's just Creationism re-packaged as something else.
You know that Evolution is based on science and is not religious based so this scares you. Instead of being insecure about your faith why not accept the God created evolution and then you can satisfy your childish need for an Intelligent Design in a religious context. Just keep it out of science because it doesn't belong there.

 
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