Atheist Activists Seek to Stop Bible Distribution in Oklahoma Schools

Reading Bible pdA prominent atheist activist organization has sent letters to school districts throughout Oklahoma in an effort to stop Bible distributions in public schools.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent the letter to 26 school districts after it was made aware that Jamison Faught, son of Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee), had distributed Bibles with Gideon International to schools throughout the state.

“It is unconstitutional for public school districts to permit the distribution of Bibles as part of the public school day,” the letter, written by Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, reads. “Courts have uniformly held that the distribution of bibles to students at public schools is prohibited.”

The correspondence also likened Gideon International to child predators in sharing the Scriptures with children.

“Parents carefully instruct their children not to accept any gifts from strangers. The Gideon practice of distributing bibles to schoolchildren teaches them to ignore that guidance,” Seidel stated. “This predatory conduct is inappropriate and should raise many red flags.”

He asked that the districts prohibit Bible distribution efforts at public schools in the future.

The matter came to the attention of FFRF after Faught had posted about the evangelistic effort on his Facebook page.

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“Spending the morning with fellow Gideons passing out Bibles to 5th grade students in Checotah, Eufaula and Stidham,” he wrote.

Faught also responded to a friend who expressed surprise that he was allowed to do so, “Last several years, we’ve been able to do it at every school in McIntosh, Okmulgee and Ofuskee counties except one or two. Last year, the Checotah principal not only personally took us to each classroom, but he helped us hand them out!”

Word then reached FFRF, which regularly fights against Bible distribution in schools, spurring the organization to send out letters in an attempt to halt the practice.

But there is no word yet as to whether any of the school districts that receive the correspondence will respond or agree to FFRF’s demands. Faught’s father is supportive of his son’s evangelistic endeavors, and doesn’t believe that officials should back down for the atheist organization, which he says uses “scare tactics.”

“Passing out the scriptures—you certainly can’t be blamed for that,” he told the Associated Press. “The great thing about Oklahoma is that I’ve been at a lot of school activities where—at least in our area—we still pray before football games. Some people pray before meetings and certainly honor our God-given rights.”

Jamison Faught also told the New American that student receipt of the Bibles is completely voluntary.

“We don’t force Bibles on anybody. We simply ask if anyone would like them,” he said.

As previously reported, the first textbook used in the American colonies even before the nation’s founding, “The New England Primer,” was largely focused on the Scriptures, and was stated to be popular in colonial schools for at least one hundred years. It used mostly the King James Bible as reference, and spoke much about sin, salvation and proper behavior.

“In Adam’s fall, we sinned all,” it read, in teaching children the alphabet, using Adam as an example of the letter A.

In 1647, the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed “The Old Deluder Satan Act,” which required that children be taught to read so they could learn to read the Bible.

“In being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, … and that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers in Church and Commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors, it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof, that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read,” it read in part.


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  • Joe

    Be careful what you wish for. If you let the Bible in, you let everything else in as well. You might not like that result.

    http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/20/florida-schools-hand-out-satanic-colouring-books-to-children-5028532/

  • Jon

    I love it when children are given a book about hate, slavery, genocide, forced abortion, incest, and what you should do if you decide to rape a woman. (sometimes your own sister or father.) All included in the Bible. If you need me to reference the verses, maybe you should take some time and read this hideous book that you worship.

    • Bill

      Its too bad you dont understand what it says…….

      • Craig Reynolds

        All foundational texts of the Big Three – Islam, Judaism, and (pick any) Christianity, say just about any and every damn thing under the sun from approving slavery and bigotry to saying be nice to your neighbor to admonishing for the killing of strangers. These works can be sliced and diced in so many ways that they can work equally for murderous psychopaths or the perfectly pious. They’re fascinating as literature but ultimately deadening and deadly.

    • Tara

      I’ve read it, cover to cover and any references to the slavery, genocide, incest….those things occur now, and they certainly occurred then. Did God tell people to do those things then? No. Now? No. Rules you likely refer to in the old Testament were rules set up for Israel to set themselves apart from other nations. No where in the Bible does God promote hatred. Man does, many times, even in God’s name, but that doesn’t mean God said it was ok. People are quick to blame God for all things evil and it’s man who is evil; not God.

      • Joe

        Ordering his people to slaughter the Canaanites down to the last child?

        Wait. That’s like it was THEN. or…

        Your misunderstanding what they meant my slaughter….

        I guess it isn’t hatred if God does it… because well…. hes GOD.

        Oh, and don’t get me started on child sacrifice. This includes his supposedly own son. How loving he was to have his own son killed for other people. Wow. Reminds me of the line in Shrek that went something like, “You may lose your life, but that is a risk I’m willing to take.”

        The Old Testament was so evil, that the priests had to create a new addition to the Bible to fix it without getting everyone to revolt.

        • MC

          “Oh, and don’t get me started on child sacrifice.”

          Child sacrifice? You mean in the Bible where it condemns the practice?

          Leviticus 18:21 (NASB)
          ~’You shall not give any of your offspring to
          offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.

          Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NASB)
          [Dt 10]
          “There shall not be found among you
          anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses
          divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a
          sorcerer,
          [11] or one who casts a
          spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
          [12] “For whoever does
          these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable
          things the LORD your God will
          drive them out before you.

          2 Kings 21:6 (NASB)
          He made his son pass through the fire, practiced
          witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did
          much evil in the sight of the LORD
          provoking Him to anger.

          Jeremiah 7:31 (NASB)
          “They have built
          the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn
          their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did
          not come into My mind.

          “The Old Testament was so evil, that the priests had to create a new addition to the Bible to fix it without getting everyone to revolt.”

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

          “Ordering his people to slaughter the Canaanites down to the last child?”

          Yes, because the males would grow up and do the same as their fathers. Better to save their souls that lose it.

          You don’t believe in God, so what do you blame when atheists commit atrocities like Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao did?

          • William T. Robbins

            Slavery in the Bible was exactly like it was in America. They owned people, for life. Stop lying.

            Stalin et al? Tu quo que fallacy, which is also an admission that your position is wrong.

          • Bill

            Nope. And not that it matters to you, but the Bible doesnt support slavery, it condems it. Thats just your misunderstanding….

          • William T. Robbins

            I suggest you read the book for yourself and stop repeating the lies people tell you to defend it. If you have read it then you are simply lying and I have no use for you.

          • Bill

            I have read it, many times. But I’m afraid you aren’t reading it with understanding….

          • William T. Robbins

            What a cop out! The bible doesn’t mean what it says it means what you understand it to say. Even when that conflicts with what it actually says. The indentured servitude you point to only applied to Hebrew men. And even if your argument held any water indentured servitude is immoral, which is why it is prohibited in the same amendment that prohibits slavery.

          • Joe

            “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.”

            Leviticus 25: 44-46

          • Bill

            If I thought you’d actually listen to its meaning, I’d be happy to explain it to you. But I doubt very much you’d listen with an open mind. Maybe I’m wrong? Let me know if you can do that. Example: If you and I were at the same store and it was raining outside. Your inside the store and I’m outside. I come rushing in to get out of the rain. I say : Wow, its raining cats and dogs out there. Would you look outside and tell me I’m a liar? You don’t see any cats and dogs. Or would you know that it was “raining hard”? “Context”, is the issue….

          • Joe

            While you might right about some statements, Christians (and other religions) pick and choose which they interpret literally and which they choose it interpret as an allegory.

            In this way, some Christians don’t look at it as “slavery” but as whatever different context they use as a reason to look at it differently. Typically people do this with the Bible to avoid having conflict with the issues they are morally opposed to. In essence, they are rationalizing their own morality with what the Bible preaches.

            However, it doesn’t change the fact that the Bible does indeed say that. What is written there is up for interpretation, and just because you see it that way, doesn’t mean everyone sees it that way. Isn’t that why there are something like 41000 different denominations of Christianity? I would say some of them read the Bible VERY LITERALLY. Someone with no filter of a priest believing in such a book could very well assume it means that slavery is OK. I believe the Southern Baptist denomination was created to include slavery as a viable and moral behavior.

            This is the problem. You and I (and most people) know that slavery is bad. Many of those people that know it is bad, believe in the Bible. Some of those people read the Bible literally and recognize that it says that slavery is OK. Some of those people come to the conclusion that slavery is indeed ok because the Bible says it is so (and over rules their own internal morality). So in this case, the Bible has motivated people to believe that slavery is right and just.

            This is where the immorality of the Bible comes out. It is not acceptable as a moral authority all all. Many Christians that claim to follow the Bible, yet ignore these precepts despite recognizing them as the “word of God”.

            To me it is all quite hypocritical. In essence, your morality is no different than mine if you interpret the Bible in a way to meet your own morality. Only difference is I’m not lying to myself about it.

          • Bill

            So to make your long story short. You refuse to listen to anyone that might show you that your wrong. Is that what your saying? Cause that’s what I’m hearing…….And NO, the Bible does not condone slavery. Next subject, unicorns maybe…………

          • Joe

            I apologize about the long story, but sometimes length is needed to tell the correct story. Here is the shortened version.

            Assumption: Bible is the word of God.

            Conclusion: The words within are the foundation of the belief of Christians.

            I listed multiple sections of your Bible above that listed translations that dictate the RULES ON HOW TO OWN AND TREAT A SLAVE.

            Then you tried to excuse it by telling me I didn’t read the context.

            I question your logic in reading the above Bible references and thinking there is ANY context in where that is acceptable.

            Short enough?

          • Bill

            What does the phrase ” its raining cats and dogs” mean?

          • Joe

            It means its raining heavily outside.

            Of course, when I say its raining enough that the parking lot is flooded, I don’t expect someone to think what I really meant is it is foggy outside.

            The passages I mentioned above are so specific, only a delusional person would think it suggested anything else.

          • Bill
          • Joe

            So people could sell themselves or their children into slavery. Ok and? Does it not make it slavery? People in power can put people in situations easily where they could not afford to live on their own thus putting them into slavery.

            I am still trying to figure out where you decry the Bible as moral?

            The article you posted basically said it wasn’t slavery because they were voluntary slaves due to economic conditions. They also don’t mention the fact that often they sold their children (historical fact). In the end they were still slaves by the articles own definitions! The method they got there was irrelevant in a morality discussion.

          • namelessghost

            Sorry, Bill, but you’re wrong. The Bible does, in fact, condone slavery. Apparently you have no idea what the word “condone” means.

          • Joe

            Um. Are you talking about indentured servitude?

            That was during 1200-1500 AD. Nice try.

          • MC

            Um no, try reading for comprehention.

          • Joe

            I cant comprehend comments with no argument.

          • MC

            No, you just can’t comprehend facts. Most atheists can’t.

          • cobalt100

            Christians are not the only ones that deal in facts. Muslims and Mormons do too. Atheists don’t believe in facts, eh porkchop?

          • Joe

            You got that backwards. Atheists use evidence. Christians (Mormons included no matter what Christians like to think) and Muslims use mythology.

          • Joe

            Only thing we have are facts. The Bible is fiction written by men. You just drink the Kool-Aid.

          • MC

            Prove Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.

          • Joe

            People don’t rise from the dead. So I think you are the one that needs to prove that zombies are real.

          • MC

            Again, prove the Ressurection didn’t happen.

          • Joe

            Your only defense for Jesus’s resurrection is the fact that someone can’t prove that he did not rise from the grave? You sir are a nut case. Your question also doesn’t really mean anything since you can’t prove that a single miracle from another religion did not occur either.

            The fact you even believe that is a valid defense is proof enough that religion is a poison to our society. You don’t even have enough education to understand what a basic evidence driven argument is.

            in the Bible, Jesus’ resurrection is considered a miracle. It is a miracle because it defies every known physic in science we know. It goes against the natural state of things. So no matter what argument or excuse you wish to put on here, you will still always have to prove that your miracle actually happened.

            Till you can do that, or at least you admit that your argument is idiotic. I’m going to treat you like I would any crazy homeless person on the street. which is to avoid you like a plague.

          • MC

            Why are you having a problem with proving Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? You say rising from the dead defies the natural state of things and physics. Why would that be hard for God who created physics and everything else? Just because it goes over your head doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Now, prove that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? You can avoid me but you can’t avoid the question. Prove to me that God doesn’t exist? This is your assertion so back it up.

          • Joe

            Everyone is born an Atheist. You had to learn your religion.

            Science provides some answers and many questions to why we exist. This evidence leads us to conclusions, however not one of them is a God. This is because it deals with the natural world.

            We know that when something dies, it is dead. The only place the dead rise is in the movies and other fictional stories. This is basic rules of nature. Thus if someone tells me that some thing rose from the dead, then I am going to need proof that it happened.

            Your problem is everything that you do not know is instantly filled with “God”.

            Why did little Johnny die? Well God had a reason for it.

            Why was there a tsunami that hit Japan. They didn’t believe in God enough.

            What’s inside a Black Hole? God will tell us when he wishes us to know.

            It is ridiculous. I laugh when I see a football player get in front of a camera and thank Jesus for giving him the ability to win. Of course there were 31 other teams with Christians on them too…. I guess God/Jesus ignored all them.

            So to answer your question, I have no need to prove God doesn’t exist, because until he shows he exists he is nothing.

            Meanwhile, explain to me why you don’t believe in Zoroaster or Allah or Zeus? You can not prove they don’t exist either. So must we assume they exist too?

          • MC

            “Everyone is born an Atheist. You had to learn your religion.”

            Actually, scientists don’t believe that.

            “This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,” writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people “are only aware of some of their religious ideas”.

            “Scientists have discovered that “invisible friends” are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

            The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It’s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.”

            “From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates,” says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.”

            ➽➽➽”These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, “Religion and the Unaffiliated”, 2012).⬅︎⬅︎⬅︎

            ” While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people—only 13 per cent of adults—agreed with the statement “humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element”. For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present.”

            ” When researchers asked people whether they had taken part in esoteric spiritual practices such as having a Reiki session or having their aura read, the results were almost identical (between 38 and 40%) for people who defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheist.

            The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list (“I believe in God”, “I believe in some sort of higher force”, “I believe in no higher consciousness”) is little more than a detail.”

            “If a loved one dies, even many anti-religious people usually feel a need for a farewell ritual, complete with readings from old books and intoned declarations that are not unlike prayers. ➽➽In war situations, commanders frequently comment that atheist soldiers pray far more than they think they do.”⬅︎⬅︎

            ” Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don’t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which “The Universe” somehow has a purpose for humanity.

            ➽➽➽In the US, only 20 per cent of people have no religious affiliation, but of these, only one in ten say they are atheists.⬅︎⬅︎⬅︎ The majority are “nothing in particular” according to figures published in New Scientist.”

            “But if a belief in cosmic justice is natural and deeply rooted, the question arises: where does atheism fit in? ➽Albert Einstein, who had a life-long fascination with metaphysics, believed atheism came from a mistaken belief that harmful superstition and a general belief in religious or mystical experience were the same thing, missing the fact that evolution would discard unhelpful beliefs and foster the growth of helpful ones. He declared himself “not a ‘Freethinker’ in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition” (“Einstein on Peace”, page 510).⬅︎

            ➽Similarly, Charles Darwin, in a meeting with a campaigner for atheism in September 1881, distanced himself from the views of his guest, finding them too “aggressive”. In the latter years of his life, he offered his premises for the use of the local church minister and changed his family schedule to enable his children to attend services.”⬅︎

            “Science provides some answers and many questions to why we exist. This evidence leads us to conclusions, however not one of them is a God. This is because it deals with the natural world.”

            Right, science deals with the natural world, it cannot disprove God.

            “We know that when something dies, it is dead. The only place the dead rise is in the movies and other fictional stories. This is basic rules of nature. Thus if someone tells me that some thing rose from the dead, then I am going to need proof that it happened.”

            Actually no, we have more documentation that Jesus rose from the dead than about any person in history.

            “Your problem is everything that you do not know is instantly filled with “God”.

            No, everything we know and don’t know is from God.

            “Why was there a tsunami that hit Japan. They didn’t believe in God enough.”

            Nature.

            “What’s inside a Black Hole? God will tell us when he wishes us to know.”

            God already knows what’s inside a black hole, just because we don’t is irrelevant, man didn’t make the black hole.

            “It is ridiculous. I laugh when I see a football player get in front of a camera and thank Jesus for giving him the ability to win. Of course there were 31 other teams with Christians on them too…. I guess God/Jesus ignored all them or they weren’t “Christian” enough.”

            The answer could have been no for the rest, why is that so hard to understand? Where does it say that God will grant us wishes, where does it say all prayers will be answered the way we want them to be? Matter of fact, we are told, “Thy will be done”.

            “So to answer your question, I have no need to prove God doesn’t exist, because until he shows he exists he is nothing.”

            He shows his existence everyday. Atheism is your worldview, your truth claim is, “God doesn’t exist”, so the burden of proof is on you. Now prove that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? And if you don’t or cannot know if God exists then you are an agnostic.

            “Meanwhile, explain to me why you don’t believe in Zoroaster or Allah or Zeus?”

            Zoroaster wasn’t God, never said he was God, although the Bahá’í Faith claims he was one of the manifestations of God. I didn’t find that convincing.

            “The student of Zoroastrianism is confronted by several problems concerning the religion’s founder. One question is what part of Zoroastrianism derives from Zoroaster’s tribal religion and what part was new as a result of his visions and creative religious genius. Another question is the extent to which the later Zoroastrian religion (Mazdaism) of the Sāsānian period (ad 224–651) genuinely reflected the teachings of Zoroaster. A third question is the extent to which the sources—the Avesta (the Zoroastrian scriptures) with the Gāthās (older hymns), the Middle Persian Pahlavi Books, and reports of various Greek authors—offer an authentic guide to Zoroaster’s ideas.
            A biographical account of Zoroaster is tenuous at best or speculative at the other extreme. The date of Zoroaster’s life cannot be ascertained with any degree of certainty.”—Encyclopædia Britannica

            And for Islam and Zeus, I didn’t find their truth claims convincing, and Muhammad was just a man, he wasn’t God, he didn’t rise from the dead, he died like mortal man. They don’t believe Jesus is God, yet they can’t prove he wasn’t. As for “trolling”, sorry I’m a Christian, this is a Christian site, you’re the atheist, you’re the one who’s trolling, why else would you be here? Do you think you’re going to change a Christian persons mind by your failure to prove your assertions? Seriously, look in the mirror and be honest for once.

          • Wan Lee

            It is ridiculous to ask someone for proof that something doesn’t exist. If you have a claim to make, such as there was a guy named Jesus and he died and rose from the dead for our sins, then you must come with proof to back up your claim, not just make the claim then demand everyone else prove it didn’t happen.

          • Wan Lee

            Prove he did.

    • Liz Litts

      If you knew anything about the Bible that you have not picked up from liars and con men , you would know that these things were left in there as examples of what not to do–and FYI-incest is forbidden in Mosaic law-this shows me that you have not read for yourself. Are you too lazy to read for yourself? Too lazy to think for yourself? Or do you like being lied to?

      • Joe

        Tell me again how Noah repopulated the Earth?

    • Jay Mark

      Those who do not understand the Bible will make comments such as you do. If you read through the entire Bible, you will see that the Bible makes references to cultural law, but does not condone it. Jesus’s message in the New Testament is one of love and mercy. He died on the cross to save those who believe. Those who do not believe are condemned. It’s your call. If you want to be a brazen atheist, then so be it.

  • BarkingDawg

    The FFRF is correct. Courts have not looked favorably on this in the past.

  • Tim Raynor

    Love how that last part of the article is trying to make the argument for breaking the law as being justified because of colonists way before the Constitution. Matters not what rules or laws they made in those times in whatever territory. What matters is everything after the Constitution and all the cases dealing with Public Schools and religion. FFRF is only “reminding” states and districts what the federal laws are. If you don’t agree with it, then your fight is with Congress and the Constitution, not the FFRF.

    • Bill

      Not true!

    • Liz Litts

      Tim like all gullible dupes you only ‘know’ what you have been told-why not read and research for yourself –

      • Tim Raynor

        I have researched the laws extensively in this area. Did you have a question or are all your responses going to be insults?

  • Bill

    Go Oklahoma!

  • bowie1

    Yet, atheists have no problem in pushing their own agenda and making it compulsory in the public schools.

    • cobalt100

      Those militant atheists are almost as bad as the Christian wackos who want to interrogate people at supper time.

    • infidel1000

      Right. Pushing our agenda that everybody should keep their various religious dogmas from being pushed on school children. Just keep your child indoctrination in your own churches and homes. Don’t attempt to brainwash my children or grandchildren, and I won’t do the same to yours. Keep your religion out of government so that government can keep out of your religion. You can’t have freedom OF religion without freedom FROM religion.

      • Bill

        “of” and “from” are two different words…..

        • Joe

          Very good! If you remember that and the fact that Evolution is not real, you will have graduated Catholic High School. Congratulations!

        • infidel1000

          Yes. Do you have a point to make?

    • Joe

      The “agenda” of keeping religion outside of schools, including the belief that god does not exist? Be glad that you cant get us all in there. We’ve proven our point much better than yours. You’d lose converts.

  • cobalt100

    These Christian thugs and bullies want everyone else to believe what they believe. They pick on 9 &10 year-old kids. The Gideons are predators. That book is not sacred or holy. It was written by homeless men who were ignorant and stupid. Many hotel chains have purged their rooms of this unreadable book.

    • Liz Litts

      They ignorance around here just astonishes me!!! ‘Christian thugs and bullies’ ? Sounds like you lifted that from some foaming at the mouth looney. ‘Written by homeless men”? oh boy-put down the Kool aid.

    • MC

      Wow, the ignorance and bigotry is strong with you.

      • cobalt100

        May Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, greatly increase your suffering here on Earth.

        • MC

          Your hate and bigotry is strong with you, little man.

          • cobalt100

            Some say a Christian’s brain is very small.
            Still others say, they’ve none at all. HA!

  • Tara

    sorry, but aren’t everyone’s rights equal? Pffft………. What if it were Qurans being passed out? Would the ffrf be so quick to jump all over that? I’ll be curious to see if it does happen, because Islam is already in schools. If they don’t go after Muslims too, apparently God is who they fear most and why the need to censor the Bible is so strong.

    • Liz Litts

      True. I have not heard of any case where the FFRF has gone after Muslim pray rooms being provided to students or Islam being taught in the classroom.

      • Liz Litts

        If any ‘regilion if being pushed these days it’s Islam-so where are they-I’ll you-they think Christains are an easy mark . that we will lay down and be lied about and walked over-we have to stop! When these people are stood up to they run away with their tail between their legs. All it takes is informed people who don’t scare and know the real laws of the land.

        • infidel1000

          Is there a muslim organization like the Gideons? Do they provide free korans for motel rooms, and try to get schools to allow them to hand them out to school children? But that’s exactly what the gideons do with bibles, in just about every part of the country at one time or another, and the bible belt is always fertile ground for them to go and break the law without penalty, all the time. Sometimes they get their wrist slapped like this, but they often get no heat at all because people are intimidated by the thought of their good christian neighbors maybe keying their car, breaking their windows, poisoning their dog, or having their kids harassed and bullied at school or worse.

          • Liz Litts

            Apparently you have not been paying attention to what is going on in public schools lately

          • infidel1000

            So provide a link.

          • MC

            Hotels/Motels aren’t government owned. They can do what they want as they see fit.

          • infidel1000

            So, you would LIKE to see korans in the drawer next to your bible, as well as millions of muslim religious icons scattered across America, just like crosses everywhere you turn? You would be OK with drastically increased muslim visibility everywhere you look?

          • MC

            No problem. Unlike atheists, I don’t get tummy aches and headaches from religious symbols. I’m not weak minded.

          • infidel1000

            Oh I BET you would just love to see muslims handing out korans at school and recruiting kids to join muslim prayers too, right? LOL

          • MC

            They have that right under the constitution. If you don’t like it then try changing the constitution. Simple.

          • infidel1000

            Wow-your self-delusion knows no bounds.

          • MC

            So, instead of a logical argument you go for an ad hominem fallacy? LOL! Now, are we or are we not protected under the constitution? If you don’t like the constitution then have it changed. It really is that simple.

          • infidel1000

            You can’t argue with a crazy person. No ad hominem fallacy. Just an observation. You seem very thin-skinned, too.

          • MC

            Why, do you try and argue with yourself a lot? I mean, it’s just an observation, right? It’s you atheists who are thin skinned, you guys get tummy aches from religious symbols.

            “American Atheists, Inc. filed suit to keep the so-called Ground Zero Cross from being included in the museum, which opened in May. But American Atheists, in its court filings, suggested that even the thought of it made them nervous and gave them an upset stomach.”.

            “In a story about the lawsuit, news website Examiner.com quoted from the court documents: “Named plaintiffs have suffered … dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”

            Oh poor babies, all that suffering. Did you get diarrhea too?
            Talk about weak minded and thin skinned. HAHAHAHAHA!
            You’re right, you really can’t argue with crazy atheists. Q.E.D.

            Wake me when you have something intelligent to say because now you’re just a bore.

          • MC

            Why, do you try and argue with yourself a lot? I mean, it’s just an observation, right? It’s you atheists who are thin skinned, you guys get tummy aches from religious symbols.

            “American Atheists, Inc. filed suit to keep the so-called Ground Zero Cross from being included in the museum, which opened in May. But American Atheists, in its court filings, suggested that even the thought of it made them nervous and gave them an upset stomach.”.

            “In a story about the lawsuit, news website Examiner. quoted from the court documents: “Named plaintiffs have suffered … dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”

            Oh poor babies, all that suffering. Did you get diarrhea too?
            Talk about weak minded and thin skinned. HAHAHAHAHA!
            You’re right, you really can’t argue with crazy atheists. Q.E.D.

            Wake me when you actually have something intelligent to say because now you’re just an irrelevant bore to me.

      • infidel1000

        Apparently, you haven’t looked very hard.

    • namelessghost

      If the Quran was being passed out to children in public schools, you can bet your last dollar that Christians would be jumping all over it just as much as atheists. Probably even more so.

      • Tara

        my point was, if Qurans were passed out, would atheists go on as much about it as they do when it’s the word of God. There are already prayer rooms and mats provided in some schools, and Islam has been introduced into regular studies in some schools as well. I have never seen a story about atheists going after Muslims. Only Christians. In light of the push for Islam everywhere, I keep waiting for those who cringe at the mere mention of God to freak about Islam in schools, but nope. It’s too bad many who are so against God don’t actually read the Bible and see that everything they’re doing is exactly what God said they’d do in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3: 1-3 – “1But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good.” But, secular society only focuses on what God says is sin, and society doesn’t like being told that anything it does is not ok or wrong if it’s something they deem a desire that just has to be fulfilled no matter the cost. We live in an age that is described in these verses and Idk about anyone else, but those characteristics are not conducive to a loving, peaceful world. It’s anything but, but hey, don’t let anyone pass out a bible to share an alternative to living like these verses; that’s just an awful thing to do. Sad………….

        • Paul Hiett

          Your claim that atheists only “go after Christians” is extremely naive, and extremely ignorant. First, we don’t “go after” anyone. We simply don’t want religion to be a part of government or public education. Mind you, that means ALL religion, not just yours, not just Islam, but all of it. Religion belongs in your places of worship and in your homes.

          People like you seem to forget that not everyone subscribes to your way of life, and nor should they be forced into it. Live and let live, Tara.

          • MC

            There is no law against reading ones Holy book or praying in school or government places. All religions are protected under the constitution.

        • Joe

          Do you want to remove all Qurans in the public school system?

    • infidel1000

      From FFRF’s website:

      http://ffrf.org/faq/feeds/item/13685-ffrf-letters-alerts-protest-mixing-state-church
      Muslim prayer time protested in school

      The Foundation sent a letter Jan. 3 following up on an earlier complaint about Edison High School, Edison, N.J., facilitating Friday prayer times in the school gym for Muslim students.

      FFRF Senior Attorney Rebecca Markert’s initial letter, last October, noted the principal’s September memo to all staff regarding Friday prayer called Jummah or Jumu’ah. (A new memo, with later calendar dates added, went out in November.)

      Markert wrote, “Our complainant informs us that some of the Muslim students ‘have been granted permission to perform their Friday prayers during rotating periods, 10, 11, 12.’ We further understand that these students are excused from these periods for 15 minutes in order to pray. It is also our information and understanding that these students are granted access to the high school auditorium for their prayers.”

      The district responded negatively Nov. 1 to FFRF’s request that the practice stop.

      “Given the history of this practice, we believe the Friday prayer practice will continue during 2011,” Markert’s second letter said. “Edison High School violates the Establishment Clause each time Muslim students are released from their normal classroom obligations to pray in the school auditorium.”

      • Liz Litts

        Point taken-but I have not heard of any actions since then.

        • infidel1000

          FFRF doesn’t go looking for violations. They act when someone with standing reports one to them. The fact is, muslim violations are rare while christians commit the vast majority of them, In part because they constitute the overwhelming majority, and in part because many christian sects have an agenda to force their religion on everyone else by using the force and power of the government. Just how many incidents does it take to convince you? If someone tries to force the koran down the throats of public school children like this, and someone like a parent makes a complaint to them about it, they will be there, I assure you.

  • Jay Mark

    As a Christian man posting on a Christian site, I will say that I am in favor of the Gideons making New Testaments available to young people. Knowing what the Gideons do, I know that students are not coerced into taking the NTs. The FFRF acts like a terrorist organization. It’s up to the parents to say “Yes” or “No. The outsiders have no right to criticize in this case.

    • Bryan Whiteaker

      Jay, you are posting your comment as a Christian man. If you were posting your comment as a Muslim, Jew, Atheist, or member of some other religious viewpoint, you would probably understand that religious instruction is up the responsibility of the individual parents, and not up to the Gideons or the public schools that are shared by all faith/non-faith traditions. Churches are meant for exactly this purpose (and not schools).
      If you were on the outside of Christianity, this should all become clear (and you might even find it insulting or view it as an assault from this new perspective).
      As a thought experiment, I recommend stepping in the shoes of a person of differing or no faith and see how it looks from their point of view.
      I hope this helps to more clearly explain the actual problem.

      • infidel1000

        Or try to imagine that the muslim brotherhood is in your school accosting students with korans and hadiths, haranguing them that Mohammed is “the way”, if you can. See?

        • MC

          At what schools are Christians “haranguing” students? Although, standing on public property preaching Christianity or Islam is protected under the constitution.

          • infidel1000

            So you would approve of muslim extremists standing on the sidewalk just outside of school property telling fifth graders about mohammed and trying to pawn off korans on them, I gather.

          • MC

            They are protected under the constitution just like every one else.

          • infidel1000

            You didn’t answer the question. If this happened anywhere in America, the christian community would go apoplectic. Yes, they could do that. But if you can to do it ON school property, then THEY can do it too. Just because something is technically legal, it doesn’t mean it is moral, or that someone SHOULD do it. The point is, it is christians who are throwing the door open to sharia law by their own insistence on having their own version of it imposed on society by breaking down the barriers between church and state. When the muslims run through this hole like a fullback behind a blocker, the two religions will be facing down each other. This is what religious wars are made of.

          • MC

            I did answer the question, they have a right just like everyone else. And you need understand what “seperation of church and state means”. And no, it’s you atheists who will bring sharia law to America, you’re the ones who go around calling each other, “islamaphobes”. You keep trying to take away the rights of Christians and something else will fill the hole.

      • MC

        Passing out Bibles and “teaching” are two separate things. The students can accept the free gift and take it home, or reject it. No “teaching” involved.

        • Bryan Whiteaker

          Materials that are distributed at schools, whether or not they actually are, appear to children to be endorsed and supported by the school. This is one of the reasons they are handed out at schools- to make them appear valid and truthful. Children are much more impressionable than adults.
          Would it be OK if Islamic, Satanic, and Atheistic literature were equally available as well as books from any and all religious viewpoints? This would take up a lot of room/time/school resources, but I would say that this would be the only other fair way of doing it.
          But I still prefer none at all- that is what Temple and Church is for… not school. Let each parent instruct their children according to their own conscience.

          • MC

            All that matters, by law, is if the schools do or don’t endorse something. It doesn’t matter if they “appear” that way. That’s not how the law works.

            “Would it be OK if Islamic, Satanic, and Atheistic literature were equally available as well as books from any and all religious viewpoints?”

            Absolutely! They are ALL protected under the constitution. Why are you afraid of learning about world religions? Do you stay awake at night fearing knowledge?

            “But I still prefer none at all- that is what Temple and Church is for… not school.”

            That’s your right to think that way but religious people have the right to read, pray, and worship anywhere they like, even in public schools. It’s protected under the constitution. You might want to keep religion in “temple and church”, but your opinions are irrelevant to the constitution.

          • Bryan Whiteaker

            MC,
            I am very glad to see we are both aware that all religious viewpoints are protected under the constitution!
            I never argued that they weren’t. Or that people couldn’t read, pray, and/or worship, anywhere they like. They are welcome to (obvious exceptions include at school during learning sessions in class, where it is not an open reading time).
            On a separate note, schools are different from other public spaces as it is compulsory for children to be there by law (they are part of a captive audience whether they like it or not).
            Also, thank you for your concen about my sleeping habits, but I sleep very well and don’t fear knowledge at all (I welcome it!). I think you may have read something extra into my actual comments there. I can forgive you for that.
            I enjoy learning about world religions and learning from their mistakes (like history).
            I think we do disagree on whether public schools are an acceptable place for childhood religious indoctrination though. To me it is obvious that it is wrong (even “scummy”) to try to get kids to join your cult, or church, or organization before they are able to make rational decisions for themselves.
            What do you think? Are schools just like any other public forum (spoiler alert- they legally are not!)?

    • infidel1000

      Jay, the FFRF does not become involved until someone with standing, like a student or a parent, makes a complaint. The Gideons have a multimillion dollar budget and legal council representing them. Why shouldn’t their individual targets, in this case innocent children, be afforded the same? They are not “outsiders” anyway. We are all Americans, aren’t we?

    • Joe

      Why is it up to the parents to say “Yes” or “No”?

      Its because the kids are not old enough to know any better yet!

      I will not have you or anyone else sticking this vile book in children’s hands.

      To me, its no better than if you were handing out crack pipes to children.

      “The outsiders have no right to criticize in this case.”

      Sounds like cult speak. I have EVERY right to ridicule, mock, abash, or CRITICIZE your practice. I will also be making sure it remains illegal to do so.

      Have a nice day.

  • DoktorFuturepast

    I’m actually okay with this…

    As long as the Torah, Q’ran, Sruti, book of Zen koans, Lectitio Divinitatus, and the Broken Winged Crane are also handed out. It’s only fair.

    • BarkingDawg

      What about the satanist’s coloring book?

    • Joe

      Oh! We can’t be left out. The God Delusion needs to be on the required reading list too.

    • MC

      I have no problem with that, it’s all protected under the constitution.

  • infidel1000

    It’s illegal. This is from FFRF’s website:

    Courts have determined that allowing bible distribution at public schools—especially to elementary students who cannot make the distinction between private religious speech and state-sponsored speech—is unconstitutional not only because it appears to be government endorsement of Christianity, but also because of the social pressures students feel to accept the bibles. Moreover, these practices infringe parents’ rights to direct the religious, or non-religious, upbringing of their own children.

    In one of the leading federal court decisions on this topic, Berger v. Rensselaer Central Sch. Corp., 982 F.2d 1160 (7th Cir. 1993), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which encompasses Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, held that classroom distribution of Gideon bibles to fifth-graders violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In striking down the school district’s policy permitting Gideons to distribute bibles at the schools, the court stated, “. . . the Gideon Bible is unabashedly Christian. In permitting distribution of ‘The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ along with limited excerpts from the Old Testament, the schools affront not only non-religious people but all those whose faiths, or lack of faith, does not encompass the New Testament.” It is significant that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand this decision, just as it let stand Tudor v. Board of Education of Rutherford, 14 J.N. 31 (1953), cert. denied 348 U.S. 816 (1954) four decades earlier. The law is clear.

    Courts have almost unanimously agreed that distribution of bibles in elementary schools—either actively or passively—is unconstitutional because young elementary school children are considered too impressionable to make the distinction between private religious speech and school-sponsored speech.

    Anyone, including members of religious groups, may distribute bibles on public sidewalks. School districts cannot restrict or prohibit distribution of religious materials on public sidewalks or streets. If a Gideon representative or other individual is distributing religious literature on a sidewalk near a public school, it is important to determine whether it is a school sidewalk or a public sidewalk. If the school owns the sidewalk, school officials must request the representative to move down the block or go across the street to hand out bibles.

    You may not like it, but it’s the truth. If you don’t believe it, google the court cases yourself.

    • Bill

      “It’s illegal. This is from FFRF’s website:”, thats from there point of view. Two sides to every coin……

      • Joe

        Agreed. Hard to find as much legal bases to dispute their position though. They listed several cases where that opinion has been upheld.

      • infidel1000

        No. It’s the opinion of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States, which refused to hear the appeal.

  • Mr. Avatar

    We must demand and petition the supreme court revisit the ‪#‎1stamendment‬ and get it right!!! {Congress makes the laws}. Nothing there about a separation – is there? All it says is Congress cannot establish a religion and not impede the free exercise of religion. And yes they are impeding the free exercise of religion.

    • BarkingDawg

      Do you actually think that SCOTUS will rule that it is constitutional to distribute bibles in schools?

      I sincerely doubt it.

    • Paul Hiett

      You mean you think they’re impeding on YOUR religion, right? Have you been speaking out in support of the Muslim kids being allowed to pray in school that this same organization has spoken out against?

    • Joe

      I wonder how many more important things SCOTUS is worrying about. I am sure having giant crosses be put on school properties is a little petty for them to deal with right now.

  • http://TheSecularRoundTable.com/ Aeolus
    • Liz Litts

      The reason that incedents like these are left in the Bible is to show that David, Moses, Peter and the rest were not ‘Plaster saints’ they did dumb stuff like the rest of us. If you will read the backround of the account-you will find that Saul had by this time pretty much turned his back on God. Other wise he would not have thought of asking David to do this. Saul was trying to get out of his promise that he made when David killed Goliath. This is another reason why you need to not life an isolated incedent out of context . When we reject God we become vile-that is why Jesus came to earth -in human flesh- to die for us. I would suggest the next time you read the word Of God, you ask Him to show you what it really says. Right now you are being blinded by what other people say about the Bible. I would challenge you to start fresh-forgetting opinions. James 1:5 says ‘if any of you lack wisdom ask God who gives generously and ungrugeingly and it will be given to you.

      • infidel1000

        It takes some incredible mental gymnastics and a thick prayer rug along with a good dose of credulity, most likely aided and abetted by years of indoctrination to see it this way, IMHO.

      • Joe

        Dumb stuff = “Turned back on God”?

        That’s one of the few things he did right.

      • MC

        Don’t feed the atheist swine, better to save your pearls.

  • Stuart Luppescu

    I don’t think citing practice or preachings of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is a very good argument here. Roger Williams was about to be executed there for heresy (yes, *executed*) so he fled and established the state of Rhode Island. It was just to avoid practices like this that the separation of church and state clause was included in the first Amendment.

  • Fredstar Elnino

    What is so wrong about bible distribution? I can’t just believe my eyes that this is happening in the USA. I’m from the Pacific and I’m so appalled.

  • jmichael39

    All but two of the first 108 universities founded in America were Christian. This includes the first, Harvard, where the student handbook listed this as Rule #1: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

    In 1777. Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase bibles which were to be distributed throughout the 13 colonies! And in 1782, the United States Congress declared, “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

    • Joe

      Which law is that? Citation please. Its against the constitution to create such a law anyways, so it would be thrown out by the SCOTUS even if it existed in the first place.

      • jmichael39

        Stephen Girard, a French immigrant, died in Philadelphia. His estate of over $7 million dollars was left with the stipulation that it be used to start an orphanage and school that did not allow the Bible. The city rejected this plan to separate the Bible from the education of our youth.

        In a case that went before the United States Supreme Court (Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 1844), the court ruled unanimously (9-0) that the Bible could not be extracted from the education of our youth.

        Daniel Webster, who argued the case on the behalf of the government said this:

        If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; If we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian religion, if we and they shall live always in the fear of God and shall respect His Commandments…we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country;…But if we and our posterity neglect religious instruction and authority; violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

        The U.S. Supreme Court rendered its unanimous opinion, stating:

        And we cannot overlook the blessings, which such men by their conduct, as well as their instructions, may, nay must impart to their youthful pupils. Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the college – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay teachers? Certainly there is nothing in the will that proscribes such studies. Above all, the testator positively enjoins, “that all the instructors and teachers in the college shall take pains to instill into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality, so that on their entrance into active life they may from inclination and habit evince benevolence towards their fellow-creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer.”
        ——————————————————–

        Public Law 97-280
        96 STAT. 1211
        97th Congress

        Joint Resolution

        Authorizing and requesting the President to proclaim 1983 as The “Year of the Bible”

        Whereas the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people;

        Whereas deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlement of our Nation;

        Whereas Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States;

        Whereas many of our great national leaders-among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson-paid tribute to the surpassing influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as in the words of President Jackson that the Bible is “the rock on which our Republic rests”;

        Whereas the history of our Nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families, and societies;

        Whereas this Nation now faces great challenges that will test this Nation as it has never been tested before; and

        Whereas that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people: Now, therefore, be it

        Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to designate 1983 as a national “Year of the Bible” in recognition of both the formative influence the Bible has been for our Nation, and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

        Approved October 4, 1982
        ———————————————————

        Northwest Ordinance – “Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged”

        • Joe

          Thank you for putting one of the most thought out arguments on this subject with some actual evidence and not some contrived emotional plea.

          I had not known about this specific case, and I had to do some research on it.

          A couple things I learned.

          1) This occurred during a time where Protestants and Catholics were near at arms with one another in the city and they couldn’t decide on which Bible to use in public schools, so there was quite a lot to learn from this action alone.

          2) In the actual case, the plaintiffs sued for one reason only. To get the inheritance of several million dollars to be spread out among family members instead of being given to the city.

          So essentially, this case wasn’t about religious right in the school. This was a battle to who got inheritance money.

          The case was brought on the basis, that inheritance money could to not be given to the city, but only to individual person(s) and could not exclude people of faith in its employment (missionaries and preachers were excluded from being hired in the will, he wanted a secular school/orphanage/college). They tried to use this argument to essential “steal” the money from going where the deceased wanted it.

          The city opted to defend that instead they should strike the line in the will prohibiting the hiring of preachers in the school, in order to make it “legal”.

          The Supreme Court sided with the city.

          So there is some misleading comments in the above article ( you could have left the link instead). First, it had nothing to do with a Bible, but instead the hiring of people that taught faith. Secondly, the argument was about money and not faith specifically. The motivation of the suit was greed.

          This case has been used in many debates since in argument of both sides of the Church and State matter. One is the way you used it, where it is suggested that the SCOTUS did not support the concept of separation of Church and State, as well as using it as an example WHY we should support separation of church and state.

          You see, 1844 was also the year for the Philadelphia Nativist Riots. Where Protestants rioted against the influx of Irish Catholics. So “Christianity” wasn’t so solidified quite yet, but instead were fighting among one another. There were even fights about which Bible to teach the children.

          Is this what we want to stoop to? The moment we have religious teaching in our schools, we risk fighting over what dogma to have using the children as pawns. Be satisfied with your ability to teach them yourselves in your home and church, instead of playing politics with the minds of our children.

          • jmichael39

            Every court case has ancillary topics it addresses. While the pertinent questions of each case are (supposedly) thoroughly addressed in the opinion, the points made concerning the ancillary issues are of value to the degree to which they address that issue. That was the intent of sharing that quote, nothing else.
            As for what we ‘will stoop to’…the religion of secular humanism/atheism has already stooped to the point of utterly omitting all other religions from our public arenas, including our schools. They have, through a backdoor, become the official religion of our country which our founders never wanted.

          • Joe

            While Atheists promote a secular government, we have also supported freedom of religion. We have too many different beliefs in our country to allow any one religion to impose through government their views.

            We do not impose a “religion” (fallacy argument btw) as you say. You do not find Dawkins and Jillette on school reading lists nor should you, nor do you have Atheists passing out materials on a school campus.

            So please, don’t try to drag us down to your level. The only group trying to subvert our education and government is yours.

            Btw. Given an equal share of time and resources in a school setting, I would bet on Atheism. So you better hope you do not get your way. We don’t hide the evil parts of the Bible like preachers do.

          • jmichael39

            Unfortunately the only religion promoted by government is the religion of secular humanism/atheism. It is the only religion permitted in our schools.

            Its not a fallacy argument…when only one view of anything is permitted then that view is imposed. If you wanna play semantics about the definition of ‘imposed’, feel free. But I’m not playing that game right now.

            ‘subvert’? now who’s logic is fallacious.

            “nor do you have Atheists passing out materials on a school campus. ” – is happening in Florida, Orange County CA, and Kentucky that I’m immediately aware of. And unless you have personal knowledge of every public school’s reading lists, I highly doubt you know with certainty that no school has their books on their reading lists. Yet another logical fallacy.

            “Given an equal share of time and resources in a school setting, I would bet on Atheism” – considering your religion has nearly unfettered access to the schools and make certain no other religion has any access, I’m not sure how you arrive at that level of confidence. You’ve have unhindered control over our schools and you still can’t seem to destroy opposing religions. And one more logical fallacy

            “We don’t hide the evil parts of the Bible like preachers do.” – How laughable. You hide ALL parts of the Bible from people. And in so doing, also hide your own evils from them as well. That’s what happens when you impose your religion on others. The Islamic extremists do the same thing in the countries they rule. You’re in good company. You’re on winning streak for logical fallacies. Keep going.
            You know there’s a simple way to get rid of Christianity. Even Paul, one of the early church fathers, knew it. If you can refute the resurrection of Christ, all of Christianity falls apart. Care to try?

          • MC

            Great job refuting Joe’s fallacious arguments. His assertions are based on emotion and straw man arguments, easy to burn down.

          • infidel1000

            Your assertion that “secular humanism/atheism” is a religion is a laughably false and easily destroyed prevarication. It has no deity, no dogma, and no scripture. It simply means the employment of empirically evidential facts, using logic and critical thinking to determine their validity, and not ancient dogma designed by bronze age priests to keep the local shepherds in line. It’s not a “view”. It’s simply the lack of an establishment of religion that is prohibited by the establishment clause in the first place. The government is simply not allowed to support, endorse, or preach any religion whatsoever, and that includes people working in the capacity of a government employee, like a school administrator or a teacher. It takes a lot of gaul to assert that a school principal allowing or even aiding in the violation of the law is simply exercising his “freedom of religion”.

            And yes, atheists and even satanists are distributing materials in this places. Why? Because christians were so insistent on doing it that the other groups could do it too-and they are having to fight for the right to do so, every inch of the way. Pretty soon, Islamists will be setting up shop too. Proud of what you started?

            As far as the bible goes, atheists hide nothing.

            It is christians who deny all the brutality and barbarity of the god of the bible, just like muslims do for the koran and the hadith. Atheists, for the most part would be happy if christians who have not would actually have a critical reading of it, because those with half a brain would realize just how barbarous and brutal it is.

            And the best way to refute the resurrection of Christ would be to state the obvious: There’s not a shred of historical evidence for it. But facts or the lack thereof never deterred a believer from hanging on to superstitious dogma, because of their ingrained fear of divine retribution.

          • jmichael39

            Poor man…atheism IS a religion. Being A-Theist does not equal being A-Religion.

            You’re here, aren’t you? Spreading your religion. Its always funny watching atheists try to defend their belief system and then argue they’re not religious. LMAO.

            “The evidence we have does not lead to a conclusion that a god of any kind exists, so we can not believe in one. That is all.” – That’s your choice. If you can honestly look at the order and design in the universe and honestly tell yourself that there actually is no designer to it, go for it. But stop pretending like that actually makes you sound logical and rational.

            “Now disliking religion is a section of Atheists called anti-theists (of which I am one). ” – Well, at least you admit to being a hate-filled bigot. Most don’t get to the point of self-awareness.

            “We’ve read your fairy tales and found them lacking in morals and substance, and believe actually following that crap is detrimental to society.” – so you’d like to just hang all the theists and burn their churches down? Lovely. Or would you just prefer we all be sent to some re-education camps until our minds are reprogrammed to agree with YOUR worldview? And you think OUR religion is lacking morals. You’re hateful and bigoted towards an entire group of people and would prefer to have us and would worldviews removed from society. I’ll take the flaws of Christians over that sort of ‘morality’ anytime.

            “So I don’t see your point.” – I never expect an atheist to ‘get’ my point. But that’s okay, I love exposing so-called rationalists like you as the irrational bigots you are.

            “so you might want to be careful what you wish for.” – LMAO, you honestly think we’re intimidated by your irrationality?

            Think about it. Atheism is essentially a negative existential worldview. You live by a NON-belief. It is not believing in a god or actively believing there is no God or choosing to not exercise any belief or non-belief concerning God, etc. Whichever flavor is given to atheism, it is a negative position.

            I don’t hear any evidence for the validity of atheism. There are no “proofs” that God does not exist in atheist circles; at least, none that I have heard–especially since you can’t prove a negative regarding the existence of God. Of course, that isn’t to say that atheists haven’t attempted to offer some proofs that God does not exist. But their attempted proofs are invariably insufficient. After all, how do you prove there is no God in the universe? How do you prove that in all places and all times there is no God? You can’t.

            Besides, if there was proof of God’s non-existence, then atheists would be continually using it. But we don’t hear of any such commonly held proof supporting atheism or denying the existence of God. The atheist position is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove since it is an attempt to prove a negative. Therefore, since there are no proofs for atheism’s truth and there are no proofs that there is no God, the atheist must hold his position by faith.

            Faith, however, is not something atheists like to claim as the basis of adhering to atheism. Therefore, atheists must go on the attack and negate any evidences presented for God’s existence in order to give intellectual credence to their position. If they can create an evidential vacuum in which no theistic argument can survive, their position can be seen as more intellectually viable. It is in the negation of theistic proofs and evidences that atheism brings its self-justification to self-proclaimed life.

            There is, however, only one way that atheism is intellectually defensible, and that is in the abstract realm of simple possibility.

            There is another problem for atheists. Refuting evidences for the existence of God does not prove atheism true anymore than refuting an eyewitness testimony of a marriage denies the reality of the marriage. Since atheism cannot be proven, and since disproving evidences for God does not prove there is no God, atheists have a position that is intellectually indefensible. At best, atheists can only say there are no convincing evidences for God that have been presented so far. And even that is subjective. They cannot say there are no evidences for God because the atheist cannot know all evidences that possibly exist in the world. At best, the atheist can only say that the evidence presented so far has been insufficient.

            Some atheists recognize the gravity of this situation; and therefore when pressed for evidence, they take a stand that can be boiled down to “Science has disproven God.” However, there are several reasons that show this claim to be both enormously brittle and not well thought out. But first, to understand the rationale behind the position, a little history is necessary.

            But the question facing the militant atheists was, “How will we get rid of religion?” The apparent agreement was to use science as its bedrock and tool to replace the need for religion. This tactic is nothing new and was the same position put forward by Thomas Huxley in the 1800’s when he sought to install scientists as the new priests for humankind. This “faith” in science is not science at all but scientism, which says that science and science alone is the singular way to discover truth.

            While science has indeed delivered many great gifts to humankind, the hopes atheism has for scientism replacing religion are ill-founded. First, scientism is self-refuting. The statement “we should only believe what can be scientifically proven” cannot be scientifically proven (because it is a philosophical statement), and so based on its own criteria it should be rejected.

            Second, it ignores other much-respected and used methods for obtaining knowledge. For example, the legal/forensic/historical method of discovering truth is used every day and is very well-respected. The legal method does not ignore testimony or facts because they are not empirically reproducible or testable. By a process of elimination and corroboration, the legal method allows history and testimony to speak for itself until a verdict is reached beyond a reasonable doubt and the balance of probability is achieved.

            Third, scientism has proven disastrous from a moral perspective. Militant atheism asserts that if religion can be banished, then humankind will have peace and harmony. But even a cursory look backwards at history since the Enlightenment says otherwise. Instead of resulting in peace, the Enlightenment ushered in one secular bloody revolution after another that climaxed in the twentieth century–producing the largest mass grave in history. Ironically, one of atheism’s chief heralds–Nietzsche–predicted (correctly) that because he and others had supposedly killed God in the nineteenth century, the twentieth century would be the bloodiest ever.

            Lastly, rather pointing away from a transcendent Creator, advances in science have–more than ever–confirmed the existence of a theistic God. The death of the steady state theory and the current understanding that the universe as we know it exploded out of nothing into existence, the incredible fine tuning of the universe for human life, the confirmation of specified complexity like DNA that in a single strand contains digital information equivalent to 600,000 pages of intelligence and is mathematically identical to a language all act as pointers to an intelligent source that is behind it all.

            In truth, atheism’s position on science commits the logical fallacy of the false dilemma. Atheism demands that a person choose between science and God when in fact no such division needs to occur. Such a requirement can be likened to a person being forced to choose between (1) the laws of internal combustion and (2) Henry Ford–as to why a car exists. The fact is the two choices are not contradictory but complementary. The atheist misses the important difference between agency (Henry Ford) and mechanism (internal combustion). In the same way, God is the intelligent agency and efficient cause behind everything with His natural laws and mechanisms carrying out His intentions to produce His desired-end result.

            In the end, the atheist cannot rely on science to disprove the existence of a transcendent Creator and is forced into the admission that atheism itself is not a fact but instead a belief system that relies on faith. The real clash is not between science and religion but between the atheistic/naturalistic and the theistic worldviews.

            See http://www.carm.org for additional details of this argument.

          • infidel1000

            Now you’re just rambling. Your argument is bankrupt. It’s obvious you’ve grasping at straws. You’re even quoting things I never said.

          • jmichael39

            You’re sounding more and more like you have nothing intelligent to say about this…I’ll take this to mean you have nothing of substance to say about the issue. Thanks

          • infidel1000

            Neither do you.

          • jmichael39

            Considering I posted a very lengthy and highly intelligent post and your response was purely dismissive, I’d say you’re FOS. But that’s okay. What else can I expect from a troll.

          • infidel1000

            Yeah-you’re a legend in your own mind.

          • jmichael39

            still wondering when the atheists who troll this site are actually going to show us that they have the ability to engage in a rational debate.
            Yet another fool fades away at the first sign of a intelligent debate.
            Go back under your rock. infidel. You’ve been exposed as just another intellectual fraud

          • infidel1000

            Nothing intelligent comes out of your mouth. Lifelong indoctrination has apparently wiped out your ability to reason, if you ever had any in the first place.

          • jmichael39

            LMAO…you’re forgetting the very long, fact filled posts you convenient ignored, moron. Go back under your bridge…maybe the next Christian you try to troll will tremble at your asinine insults.

          • infidel1000

            Such a nice christian… I’ve met better. Sorry, numb nuts. You wouldn’t recognize a fact if it slapped you in the face. AMF.

          • jmichael39

            Aww, poor infidel was depending on me being a nice, docile Christian and kiss his sorry behind. How precious. Considering you seem to avoid facts, I’m not sure what you’re doing even talking about them.

          • infidel1000

            Go ahead, fool. I’ll even turn the other cheek, since you don’t practice what you preach.

          • jmichael39

            You poor fool, you’ve already been beaten senseless. You’re too stupid to realize what a buffoon you are and amazingly incompetent you are when it comes to debating.

          • Karl Mamer

            “the atheist cannot rely on science to disprove the existence of a transcendent Creator”

            I’ve never known an atheist try to disprove the existence of a god. I’m sure there are some uninformed people that do. But most atheists I know simply don’t accept the reality of any entity (god or bigfoot) until there is compelling, positive evidence for that entity’s existence.

            “Atheism demands that a person choose between science and God when in fact no such division needs to occur.”

            Which atheists demand that? I don’t require people to choose between science and a god. I fully accept one can believe in a god that’s beyond testing. A god that hides from any kind of testing is not a god I’d waste time worshiping, mind you. Still, I’m curious which atheists demand this choice?

          • jmichael39

            The answers to your questions are in the rest of the post, if you care to read it. And in the link provided. I have no doubt its a lot of reading. But feel free.

          • Karl Mamer

            Sorry for jumping in at the tail. I only pose one real question. My first comment is not a question. I agree. The vast majority of atheists I know do not use science to disprove your god entity claim. The burden is on the person claiming there exists a god or bigfoot or dinosaur in the congo or whatever.

            My question is which atheists demand a person chooses between science and your god entity? Sorry, I did not find the answer to that question in the thread. You’re free to summary the answer or simply ignore it.

          • jmichael39

            Karl, I would agree that the majority of Atheists I meet don’t ‘try’ to disprove the existence of God scientifically. My comment was that “some atheists” try. However, that being said, there are many occasions when, in the course of a debate with an atheist, the throw the statement that science has disproved the existence of God. Not that they try to disprove it. They simply think that science has. Or, at least, they try to use that argument with me as though by those very words I won’t have anything further to argue with them.

            As for your question, that choose is clearly implied when they make statements arguing that no rational person would believe in the existence of God and similar comments. As though believing in the existence of God precludes you from being rational. And much like the above issue, I am often attacked as a Christian as being anti-science. That specific accusation is very common. Of course, I can’t be certain that they really mean it or are just being irrational themselves.

          • Karl Mamer

            I would not doubt some atheists claim “science has disproved the existence of God” or words to that effect. That would certainly not be the consensus opinion of any atheistic community or so-called “leader” I’ve ever read or encountered. To me it’s like trying to argue all Christians are dumb because you’ve encountered some dumb Christians.

            “no rational person would believe in the existence of God and similar comments”

            A belief in a god is certainly not founded in an objective consideration of the evidence. And atheists will freely, and correctly, make that claim. However, that goes not get you to:

            “Atheism demands that a person choose between science and God when in fact no such division needs to occur.”

            Again, atheists I know have very little problem with, say, Ken Miller or multiple accomplished scientists now and throughout history who have been theists. The choice atheist make is when theists claim there is an evidence based approach to a belief in the god of your choosing.

          • jmichael39

            I don’t know if anyone has ever taken a census of what atheists believe in regard to whether science has disproved the existence of God. If they have, I haven’t seen it.

            “A belief in a god is certainly not founded in an objective consideration” – it could easily be argued that neither is a disbelief in the existence of founded upon an ‘objective’ consideration of the evidence. Everyone’s views on such issues are skewed by subjectivity. How else can two people view the very same information and come to two different conclusions. I could take the Resurrection account as a good example. There are about 15-25 pieces of data surrounding the resurrection account that are commonly accepted as factual by scholars from all along the spectrum. Data, such as “Jesus died by Roman crucifixion” or “Jesus’ disciples experience something that they believe was a risen Jesus”. And no matter how people view these acceptable facts, there are inevitably differing conclusions to try to explain them. Even some pretty out there ones, like, “Jesus was an alien.” So, the bottom line is that we all have to deal with our own subjective ‘demons’ when analyzing such things.

            “evidence based approach to a belief in the god of your choosing.” If I understand you correctly, I agree. The modern views of Intelligent Design preclude any theological arguments. In other words, while they attempt to scientifically prove that the universe is designed and thus there is a designer, they don’t attempt to inject into those arguments their own theological arguments as the nature and character of that Designer. They leave that to the theology classes, not the science classes. Of course, the base argument against that by atheists and anti-theists is commonly that the presumed theology of that designer is injected by implication. Which is likely true on a case by case individual basis, but is hardly an argument against allowing for the discussion of ID as science.
            Thanks, btw, for the calm and respectful debate. Its a pleasure to have the discussion. I have honestly not found too many on this or similar sites who are willing to speak in disagreements but with respect.

          • Karl Mamer

            “I don’t know if anyone has ever taken a census of what atheists believe in regard to whether science has disproved the existence of God. If they have, I haven’t seen it.”

            I’ve not seen such a study either. Until then, I would not make an argument based on “what atheists believe”, or at least not without sufficient caveats.

            “it could easily be argued that neither is a disbelief in the existence of founded upon an ‘objective'”

            It’s called the null hypothesis. It’s well grounded. “There is a living dinosaur in the Congo.” The null hypothesis for this proposed entity is “there isn’t until there is sufficient evidence there is.” It depends on what you mean by disbelief. I don’t accept claims of any entity until there is sufficient evidence. Santa, your particular god, bigfoot, a dinosaur in the Congo, space aliens. I accept these are all possible. To each claim I also, based on what we know, assign varying plausibility. How presents appear under my tree is very well described by the “mom and dad” model and does not require an appeal to a Santa entity with powers that seem to defy what we know of the physical world. Bigfoot, again, I assign a low probability. There’s a lack of fossil evidence, in a day and age where modern society encroaches everywhere, we should see one or two bigfoots occasionally hit by logging trucks, etc. The attributes you have to ascribe to a bigfoot that defy detection in this day and age seem strained and improbable (they are psychic, they can turn invisible). I ascribe the existence of space aliens a high probability, given the size of the universe. However, I assign the likelihood they’re visiting earth low based on what we know about physics and the lack of evidence for aliens among us.

            One can indeed try to argue the universe or human existence requires a creator/designer based on positive evidence. However, in the ID debate, I’ve not seen much, or any, positive evidence beyond “since you can’t explain x, therefore a creator.” “The flagellum does not appear to me capable of having evolved, therefore it had to be designed.”

          • jmichael39

            Yes, I know what a ‘null hypothesis” is. And, frankly, that’s the point of what I said. The idea of “sufficient” is highly subjective. I heard a lecture once from a professor of philosophy. He gave a really great definition of what belief is. I wish I could remember the exact wording he used. It was so succinct. Essentially, what he tried to explain is that you can relate belief to a scale. As you accumulate information about a subject, you could place your level of belief in that something on that scale. When your level of belief falls between 50 and 100%…when you can claim you believe more than you don’t believe, then you essentially believe in that something. That’s much of you’re referring to with your “sufficient evidence” point. And my point is that point of “sufficient evidence” is subjective. And frankly, that subjectivity should be taken into account, though it hardly ever is on any subject.
            Its interesting that you bring up the likelihood of there being life on other planets being great in your mind. If you had asked people who study those things back in the sixties and seventies…I would bet most, if not all, would have agreed. But when it was first proposed that there must surely be life on other planets, they were only using, I believe, two criteria that other planets would need in order for life to exist. That was in the 60s, I believe. Since then, scientists have been adding to that list of criteria. And the list now stands at over 200 criteria necessary for life to exist as it does here. The statistical analysis based off those 200+ criteria now makes it statistically very unlikely that life exists on another planet. I’m not sure I agree or disagree. But I think the statistical probably is much, much lower than most people accept these days.
            That same field of statistical probability has been used in the field of biblical prophecy. There are well over 400 Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah of Israel. A great many of them are vague. But a statistical analysis has been done taking only 40 of the most clear prophecies and their fulfillment in the life of Jesus. And the statistical probability of one person fulfilling those prophecies stands at such an astronomical number that it would be rationally impossible to deny that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah of Israel.
            That, of course, is dependent upon a validation of the historicity of the life of Jesus and the books that document His life. Which is an entire field of study unto itself.
            I’m sure, based upon everything else you’ve written, you’re just being simplistic for the sake or time in saying what you say about the ID argument. I would not be surprised if you’re the one person I’ve debated on this issue who has actually read the Black Box or Darwin’s Dilemma or some other such ID books. But if you haven’t I highly recommend them. You’re the one person I’ve spoken to whom I believe who not like making conclusions on a subject without reading both sides of the argument.
            Thanks again.

          • Karl Mamer

            “The idea of “sufficient” is highly subjective.”

            Indeed. But that’s the nature of the market place of ideas inherent in how science progresses. What constitutes sufficient evidence for any one scientist to accept a theory gets averaged out. There is not one bright goal post.

            ” And the list now stands at over 200 criteria necessary for life to exist as it does here.”

            Define “life as it exists here”. I’m not talking about life as it exists here. I’m talking about any form of life that meets the general definition of life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_process . Neither you or I can say what possible routes nature can take to get to intelligent life. We have one way on the table. There can be others. In a known universe of 200 billion galaxies, each with 200 billion stars, my own personal opinion is there maybe be several life forms that have evolved intelligence in a unique way.

            “But a statistical analysis has been done taking only 40 of the most
            clear prophecies and their fulfillment in the life of Jesus. And the
            statistical probability of one person fulfilling those prophecies stands
            at such an astronomical number that it would be rationally impossible
            to deny that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah of Israel. ”

            Curiously, the official birth story North Korea leaders are written to match Korean mythology. It’s kinda what people have been doing well before the ostensible birth of your Jesus character. It’s really easy to argue legitimacy for your leader or your messiah candidate if you you can simply write your own story in a way that fulfills a well known prophesy. I dunno, maybe the decades-after-the-fact authors of the gospels wrote accurate histories or, as many theologians argue, they wrote slanted histories to argue that their version of the messiah is the right one.

            ” I would not be surprised if you’re the one person I’ve debated on this
            issue who has actually read the Black Box or Darwin’s Dilemma or some
            other such ID books.”

            No. But I’ve read and listened to many debates by ID proponents and I’ve yet to see any offer positive evidence for ID. If you know of two or three compelling lines of *positive* evidence, I’d be happy to examine them. By positive evidence I don’t mean “gaps”. “Evolution offers no evidence-based model for this therefore it can only be explained by a creator.” By positive evidence I mean “If x is true, we should observed y. We have found y.”

          • jmichael39

            Thanks again for maintaining a cordial and intelligent discussion.

            “There is not one bright goal post.” – you’re absolutely correct. It becomes a matter of predisposition, in my experience, as to which “goal post” each person takes aim at.

            “Define “life as it exists here”” – You’d have to go back and re-read Sagan’s piece back 1966 to figure that out. From what I remember from my readings, he just said “life”…not even “life here”. Outside the realm of what we know of life as we experience it, it becomes pure science fiction to think of other forms of life that can survive under completely different criteria. Who knows, maybe there is an entire life form that can survive when surface temperatures are a 1000C….or -240C. Or maybe there is an entire form of life that could survive on a planet that didn’t have a “Jupiter” in its galaxy to pull most of the passing meteors to its surface. Who knows what’s possible. The true irony of those 200+ criteria science has established as necessary for there to be life…at least life as we know it…is that by their own calculations, even we shouldn’t be here. The odds of there being life on THIS planet are so incredibly high that it is essentially statistically impossible that we’re here. For me, I find it far less speculative that there is a Creator of those 200 Billion Stars etc. than that there are other forms of life somewhere on any of them. And frankly, considering the sheer statistical ‘miracle’ life on this planet represents, even if there IS life on other planets, I’m gonna have to suggest it is likely just as statistically miraculous.

            I don’t know where North Korea came into this. I would love to hear about that. But I am more curious about what pre-Jesus stories you’re referring to. And by the manner in which you speak of Jesus as a “character” and his birth as his “ostensible birth”…I get the sense that you don’t perhaps even believe that Jesus ever existed. Is that an accurate conclusion for me to make?

            Forgive me for making a suggestion, but oral debates, even by scholars in the field, tend to come up far short in providing a thorough discourse of the subject. They’re fine as a sort of supplement to having read books on the subject. But as stand-alone sources, they’re pretty weak on the thoroughness front. That’s why I’ve taken time to read books from proponents of ID and from opponents of it. In order to see greater details. Your description of how you see ID doesn’t match, at all, what I’ve read from books. I’m sure if you’re like me, adding a new book or two to your reading list isn’t all that tempting. But if the inclination arises, I’d love to hear your thoughts on either of those books I mentioned.

          • Karl Mamer

            Again, I’m saying “life”. You or I are have no clue how chemical systems on other words may evolve systems that match the definition of “life”.

            “The true irony of those 200+ criteria science has established as necessary for there to be life…at least life as we know it…is that by their own calculations, even we shouldn’t be here. ”

            Saying “life here arose from a most improbable chain of events, therefore a designer” is the same as saying you arose from a most improbable chain of events. The odds your parents met. Their parents met. They conceived you on that particular day. The odds of getting another exact you out of a womb is beyond plausible. Therefore you’re a miracle baby. Yeah, me too. Me and 7 billion other people. The real way to understand it is if you have a system of reproduction, you will get something. You cannot say what you’ll get, but you can say you will get something. You cannot say if you rewind the tape you’ll get the same out come. Just as the odds of a given person winning the lottery is dim, someone is going to.

            And, ultimately, you can’t say what the odds are of anything with one data point. What’s the odds of life in this universe? Well, we know it’s 100% It happened.

            So, if you have a system of replication with modification in some chemical system, I do not find it unbelievable in some circumstances you will get a system that matches the definition of life.

            “I don’t know where North Korea came into this.”

            I give this as a modern day example of how humans take existing mythology and claim “their” guy is the living embodiment of that mythology to give “their” guy legitimacy. I do not find it compelling that unknown authors years after the fact, familiar with how “their guy” should have fulfilled certain cherry picked prophesies, wrote stories about their guy fulfilling these cherry picked prophecies.

            “But I am more curious about what pre-Jesus stories you’re referring to”

            Do you think inventing a biography to match anticipated prophecy is a post-Jesus invention? Like, no one did that before Jesus?

            “I get the sense that you don’t perhaps even believe that Jesus ever existed.”

            I do find favor with the mythicists position. I’ve not seen compelling evidence that there was a historic Jesus. And more so than I’ve seen compelling evidence there was a savior called Prestor John.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prester_John

            People, after the fact, invent saviors, claim they are real, and will come rescue them. Cargo cults are a good modern day example.

            “Your description of how you see ID doesn’t match, at all, what I’ve read from books”

            I would like to think I’ve read enough ID blogs and online publications that I don’t have to spend $30 to read one of their books when their materials are available to me for free and I’ve been able to read those. But, I’m human. I could have missed the positive evidence offered. If you’re familiar with the positive evidence, I’d love to know 2 or 3 lines of positive evidence you find most compelling.

            “Forgive me for making a suggestion, but oral debates, even by scholars in the field, tend to come up far short in providing a thorough
            discourse of the subject.”

            Indeed. As we both agree, the real debate is in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Despite the ID movement being well funded, they really do publish very little in the peer reviewed literature and spend most of their time lobbying why their “god of the gaps” arguments need to be legally thrust to the front of the line.

          • jmichael39

            “You or I are have no clue how chemical systems on other words may evolve systems that match the definition of “life”.” – All you’re doing at this point is admitting that what we take beyond what our senses can perceive and our minds can conceive is by faith. I’m perfectly fine with that conclusion. For it admits that there are truths out there that are beyond our current abilities to even observe, let along replicate.

            “Saying “life here arose from a most improbable chain of events, therefore a designer” is the same as saying you arose from a most improbable chain of events…..” – Your grasping at straws a little bit here in trying to compare the statistical probabilities or two human on one planet meeting and conceiving a child to that of the universe creating the perfect environment for those two humans (or any other beings) existing, let alone meeting, let alone creating another human being.

            But what you have done is slid yourself directly into the path of a very common argument for the existence of a God…the argument of causality or of first cause.

            “I do not find it unbelievable in some circumstances you will get a system that matches the definition of life.” – that’s fine. You’re more than welcome to your own belief system. I think it is just as legitimate that I believe that a “Designer” put all this in place the way it is. I am perfectly content believing in an uncaused cause for the universe and all life in it. And I don’t even have to begin the move to the theological side of things to try to argue that this ‘Designer” is the God of the Bible.

            “I give this as a modern day example of how humans take existing mythology and claim “their” guy is the living embodiment of that mythology to give “their” guy legitimacy.” – well, let’s look at this. How would we know whether these ‘myths’ are true or not? We would analyze the so-called prophecies and the so-called fulfillments of those prophecies and determine the historicity and accuracy of both the prophecies and their fulfillments.

            I suppose you could just summarily toss them out as absurd. But that wouldn’t honestly or intelligently discredit them, would it? Since I have no clue about these so-called prophecies about N.Korea, I’ll leave that to you. I DO know about the messianic prophecies and their supposed fulfillment. Frankly, your only chance of refuting them would be to determine that either the prophecies aren’t saying what scholars think they are saying or that Jesus never actually historically fulfilled them. Feel free to take either approach. I’ll be happy to read anything you wish to present. You’ve earned that much respect.

            “Do you think inventing a biography to match anticipated prophecy is a post-Jesus invention? Like, no one did that before Jesus?” – In all honesty, that question is irrelevant. Even if there are instances in history where biographies were invented to match an anticipated prophecy, you’d be required to prove that’s the case with regards to Jesus. And knowing how to evaluate historical documents as I do, and understanding the exegesis of the messianic prophecies, as I do, I’m more than confident that you would not be able to make that proof. That being said, I’m more than happy to afford you the opportunity to do so, if you wish.

            “I do find favor with the mythicists position. I’ve not seen compelling evidence that there was a historic Jesus.” – I suspected as much. Its a convenient way to dismiss Christianity in its entirety to think that Jesus never even existed. I’d be curious how you evaluate historicity and historical documents…and what you observe in historical documents that lead you this belief. I do find it rather interesting that you would be so willing to believe in the possibilities that exist beyond literally anything we know scientifically, but reject the historical evidence we have for the existence of a single human being.

            “I’d love to know 2 or 3 lines of positive evidence you find most compelling.” – very good question. I will give this some good thought to narrow things down to what you request. Since I’m at work right now, allow me until this evening to go through my books at home and narrow things down.

            “the real debate is in the peer reviewed scientific literature” – unfortunately, I have to disagree with you on this. There is clearly something going on the science community to prevent ID papers from being peer reviewed. The one instance I know where an ID paper was published, the science community went crazy and literally ruined the career of the man who published the paper.

            Here’s a link on Meyer’s site that discusses the event. There are numerous links to various other sources that add light to the story. I’ll leave it to you to read and determine the credibility of it.

            http://www.discovery.org/a/2399

          • Karl Mamer

            “All you’re doing at this point is admitting that what we take beyond what our senses can perceive and our minds can conceive is by faith.”

            I’m admitting I accept we’ve not yet discovered all possible chemical systems and can’t rule something out (ie life could emerge by more than one path, just as eyes have evolved along different paths). I’m not sure where faith comes in. “I accept you could be a medical doctor.” I don’t have faith you could be one and let you cut me open.

            “For it admits that there are truths out there that are beyond our current abilities to even observe, let along replicate.”

            Sure. But because we don’t know something doesn’t mean therefore “god” or “magical dragons” or “psychic bigfoots” wins by default.

            ” Your grasping at straws a little bit here in trying to compare the
            statistical probabilities or two human on one planet meeting and
            conceiving a child to that of the universe creating the perfect
            environment for those two humans (”

            No. I’ll state it again. If you have reproduction you’ll get people, assuredly. The probability of predicting the exact you coming out of a womb is small. Very small. But you can’t conclude you’re a miracle because a system that will reliably produce something has produced you. You could have been anything else with equal probability. By the same token, if you have chemistry, you’re going to get chemical reactions. I do not find it improbable more than once, chemistry has resulted in a system that began replication with modification and eventually evolved into what we’d define as life.

            “But what you have done is slid yourself directly into the path of a very common argument for the existence of a God…the argument of causality or of first cause.”

            Because you can’t conceive of a universe that caused itself or came from nothing doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be. The universe doesn’t have to be sensible to you in all things. After all, we both agreed at the start “there are truths out there that are beyond our current abilities to even observe, let along replicate.” It can be true the universe needed no cause and this is beyond your ability to observe or replicate. Yes?

            Whether you agree or not, I don’t find “the universe needed a first cause therefore that has to be god!” a compelling argument. I’d rather settle with “I don’t know” than insist upon an explanation. I’d rather settle with “I don’t know where my socks went” than settle for my sister’s “sock stealing troll coming into your room at night” entity. I also see evidence that indicates something can come from noting in QM.

            “that’s fine. You’re more than welcome to your own belief system. I think it is just as legitimate that I believe that a “Designer” put all this in place the way it is.”

            Yes. My entire point was how I personally assign the likelihood of different propositions.

            “How would we know whether these ‘myths’ are true or not? We would analyze the so-called prophecies and the so-called fulfillments of those prophecies and determine the historicity and accuracy of both the prophecies and their fulfillments.”

            Well, evidence leads many to believe Troy was a real city. Not a myth despite being in a mythological story. So, I would take all claims found in religious books on a case by case basis. Slaughter of the innocence? Ummmm. Show me the evidence. 2 millions Jews moving across the middle east. Ummm. Show me the evidence.

            “Frankly, your only chance of refuting them would be to determine that either the prophecies aren’t saying what scholars think they are saying or that Jesus never actually historically fulfilled them. Feel free to take either approach. I’ll be happy to read anything you wish to present. You’ve earned that much respect.”

            My job isn’t to refute them. If you would like to claim Jesus is the fulfillment of prophesy because there’s a story about him that seems to match stories written 1,000 years before his time, then I would suggest “okay, maybe or maybe people simply wrote a fictitious biography to match known mythology and lend legitimacy to their guy.”

            Your claims men years after the fact wrote a biography and this biography matches prophecy they knew well their guy had to match to be the one true guy, I simply don’t find compelling. At all. You do.

            “Its a convenient way to dismiss Christianity in its entirety to think that Jesus never even existed.”

            In your opinion. But that’s not my opinion. Again, whether you claim there’s a Jesus or Achilles, I’d like to see historical evidence either existed. Yes, we know likely Troy existed, But that doesn’t mean there was an indestructible man named Achilles.

            “but reject the historical evidence we have for the existence of a single human being.”

            I’ve seen no historical evidence. That’s the problem. I’ve seen none for Jesus or Achilles. I’ve seen people make up saviors, like Prestor John.

            “There is clearly something going on the science community to prevent ID papers from being peer reviewed.”

            Ah. A conspiracy! Curiously, this was argued in McLean v Arkansas regarding creation “science” in education. Creation lawyers argued there was a systematic conspiracy to deny papers being published. The judge asked “could you cite these papers”. They had none.

            “The one instance I know where an ID paper was published, the science community went crazy and literally ruined the career of the man who published the paper.”

            I know ID people claim that many times. And I guess if you only went to the your friend’s ex wife, you’d get a very different picture of who your friend is. There’s always more to a story.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sternberg_peer_review_controversy

            I don’t see how his career was ruined.

          • jmichael39

            “I’m admitting I accept we’ve not yet discovered all possible chemical systems and can’t rule something out ” – yet you rule out the possibility of a Designer? Seems rather odd.

            “I’m not sure where faith comes in.” – we have literally no tangible evidence for any other chemical means of life developing. It takes pure faith to believe we simply to discover them. And here you are believing that very thing.

            Fact is that are even serious issues relevant to the idea of any form of biological or chemical evolution.

            1) There no viable mechanism to generate a primordial soup.

            2) Unguided chemical processes cannot explain the origin of the genetic code.

            3) Random mutations cannot generate the genetic information required for irreducibly complex structures.

            4) Natural selection struggles to fix advantageous traits into populations

            5) Abrupt appearance of species in the fossil record does not support Darwinian evolution

            6) Molecular biology has failed to yield a grand “Tree of Life”

            7) Convergent Evolution challenges Darwinism and destroys the logic behind common ancestry.

            8) Differences between vertebrate embryos contradict the predictions of common ancestry.

            9) Humans display many behavioral and cognitive abilities that offer no apparent survival advantage

            10) Neo-Darwinism has a long history of inaccurate Darwinian predictions about vestigial organs and “Junk DNA”.

            11) Neo-Darwinism struggles to explain the biogeographical distribution of many species.

            See the full article here: http://www.discovery.org/a/24041

            “But because we don’t know something doesn’t mean therefore “god” or “magical dragons” or “psychic bigfoots” wins by default.” – nobody is saying by ‘default’ anything. But neither can you logically dismiss God…or what God represents in the origins discussion. While I don’t dismiss the possibility of there being realities beyond what we currently observe or understand, I also don’t see those possibilities as negating the possibility (and for many of us, the probability) of a Designer or an uncaused cause. Yet, you somehow think that so long as the possibility exists that there is yet another link in the origins chain that we have not yet discovered that this somehow eliminates the viability of a Designer. And you offer no proof to justify this belief.

            “Well, evidence leads many to believe Troy was a real city. Not a myth despite being in a mythological story.” – And how do we know whether Troy was a myth or not? We study historical documents in conjunction with archaeology. The preponderance of evidence leads to the more rational conclusion.

            If there is no contradictory evidence, if you don’t wish to take the existing documentation on its surface then you simply take it by faith. The only evidence for the slaughter are the account in Matthew and certain other historical documentation regarding the character of Herod that does not contradict the account. The fact that the Jerusalem Post for the period around 4 BC has not been excavated yet neither adds nor detracts from the account. So while there is minimal evidence FOR the massacre, there is literally no contradictory evidence. So neither assertion can be made with deep conviction.

            As for the Exodus, there’s plenty of evidence for it. You would do well to either watch the documentary, Patterns of Evidence or get the book. The evidence is substantial.

            “I do not find it improbable more than once, chemistry has resulted in a system that began replication with modification and eventually evolved into what we’d define as life.” – while I never once described my birth…or any birth…as miraculous, I do find it quite intriguing that while there is yet to be a single shred of evidence to show that chemical reactions can produce life, you still cling to the faith that science will yet discover it. While you may be tempted to think the Miller-Urey experiments back in the 50s produced amino acids, later evidence showed that the chemicals they used in their experiments were nothing like the atmosphere of early earth and thus were fruitless experiments.

            “Because you can’t conceive of a universe that caused itself or came from nothing doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be.” – I didn’t say that. Science continues to say it. The very nature of the expanding universe has supported the scientific world’s idea of a ‘big bang’ cause of the universe. Yet there is utterly nothing but philosophical conjecture as to what caused the bang or brought about the existence of that matter the big bang led into becoming what we know today.

            “My job isn’t to refute them…maybe people simply wrote a fictitious biography to match known mythology and lend legitimacy to their guy.” – Of course its not your ‘job’. If you wish to reject the historicity of the existence of Jesus and the events of His life accounted by the disciple of His, that’s your privilege. But you’ll forgive me if I consider that a rather intellectually dishonest approach. Have you even reviewed, for a start, the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus? Or are you just taking the word of someone you read once?

            “I’ve seen no historical evidence. That’s the problem.” – that was a quick answer. So let me give you some.

            Instead of Achilles and Jesus, let’s look at Alexander the Great and Jesus. You believe Alexander the Great existed, I would presume. So what evidence do we have of his existence. Everything we know about Alexander the Great come from five sources written 300+ years after his death. There are no eyewitness accounts of his life. So why do we believe…or more importantly, why do historians believe he really existed? Because of archaeology and the effect of his life on proceeding history.

            Likewise, to determine if Jesus was a real person, we need to seek evidence for his existence in the following areas:

            Archaeology
            Early non-Christian accounts
            Early Christian accounts
            Early New Testament manuscripts
            Historical impact

            rchaeologists have also discovered numerous places and relics that agree with the New Testament accounts of Jesus. Malcolm Muggeridge was a British journalist who considered Jesus a myth until he saw such evidence during a BBC television assignment to Israel.

            After reporting on the very places written about in the New Testament account of Jesus, Muggeridge wrote, “A certainty seized me about Jesus’ birth, ministry and Crucifixion…I became aware that there really had been a man, Jesus….” – Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered

            20th century archaeological discoveries have verified the existence of Caiaphus and Pilate…two characters key to the Jesus accounts whom many thought never existed until discoveries were made.

            Until 2009 there was not tangible evidence that the town Nazareth ever existed. Now we know it did. While these don’t affirm the existence of Jesus, they do affirm the realities of some elements of the accounts. And that’s just two examples of hundreds, btw.

            Many, of the years, have decried the lack of extra-biblical documentation of the existence of Jesus. Yet, the reality is that there are very very few documents that we have from the first century, period. In fact, there are incredibly few historical documents from that time period that record the existence of Julius Caesar. Yet I bet you no doubt of his existence.

            Flavius Josephus writes of James, the “brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ” –

            Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 423. The quote is from book 20 of the Antiquities.

            Josephus also said the following: “At this time there was a man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified, and he died. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was thought to be the Messiah.” – p.279 of the same book.

            Early Roman historian, Tacitus, wrote that Christus (Greek for Christ) had lived during the reign of Tiberius and “suffered under Pontius Pilate, that Jesus’ teachings had already spread to Rome; and that Christians were considered criminals and tortured in a variety of ways, including crucifixion.”

            Suetonius wrote of “Chrestus” as an instigator. Most scholars believe this is a reference to Christ. Suetonius also wrote of Christians having been persecuted by Nero in a.d. 64.

            Pliny the Younger…Emperor Trajan…Emperor Hadrian all spoke of Christ and early Christians.

            Several early pagan writers briefly mention Jesus or Christians prior to the end of the second century. These include Thallus, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion and Lucian of Samosate,

            In total, nine early non-Christian secular writers mention Jesus as a real person within 150 years of his death. Interestingly, that is the same number of secular writers who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor during Jesus’ time. If we were to consider Christian and non-Christian sources, there are forty-two who mention Jesus, compared to just ten for Tiberius. Yet I’m betting you would never question the existence of Tiberius as you now question the existence of Jesus.

            Everything revealed in these extra-biblical documents perfectly affirm what we know from the NT documents.

            Early Christians wrote thousands of letters, sermons and commentaries about Jesus. Also, creeds which speak of Jesus, appeared as early as five years after his crucifixion.

            These non-biblical writings confirm most New Testament details about Jesus, including his crucifixion and resurrection.

            Incredibly, over 36,000 complete or partial such writings have been discovered, some from the first century. These non-biblical writings could reconstruct the entire New Testament except for a few verses.

            Each of these authors writes of Jesus as a real person. Christ-mythers disregard these accounts as biased. But the question they must answer is: How could a mythical Jesus have so much written about him within a few decades of his life? How, or better yet, WHY would hundreds and thousands of these people perpetuate a myth…to the point of dying for that belief? I could some…or even many dying for a lie, but there would be little doubt that SOMEONE would…at the point of their martyrdom, renounce Jesus as a myth. None one record exists of such a person in the post-resurrection early church.

            Many skeptics of Jesus summarily reject the New Testament accounts as biased…as you seem to be doing. Yet, not one of those skeptics seems willing to treat biblical documents in the same manner as they would any other historical documents. Some, even mistakenly think of the Bible as one document, simply because some early church fathers, some 250 years after the last document was written, decided to united these books as one collection of what they believed were divinely inspired documents. They could have decided to include any number of documents they, themselves had written…or documents written in the second, third or even fourth century. Instead they chose to include only those documents they were certain were the writings of those who had been eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life.

            And what IS the bible? If nothing else, from a purely historical perspective, it is 66 independent historical documents written over a time period of 1500 years, by 40+ authors of differing backgrounds using various writing styles and addressed to a variety of audiences. Each and everyone of them must and should be treated as any other historical document.

            Cambridge historian Michael Grant, an atheist, argues that the New Testament should be considered as evidence in the same way as other ancient history:

            “If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.”

            Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels (London: Rigel, 2004), 199-200.

            The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are the primary accounts of Jesus’ life and words. Luke begins his Gospel with these words to Theophilus: “Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.”

            Noted archaeologist Sir William Ramsey originally rejected Luke’s historical account of Jesus. However, he later acknowledged, “Luke is a historian of the first rank.… This author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.… Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.”

            The earliest accounts about Alexander were written 300 years after him. But how close to the life of Jesus were the Gospels written? Would eyewitnesses to Jesus have still been alive, or was there enough time for a legend to have developed?

            In the 1830s, German scholars argued that the New Testament was written in the 3rd century, much too late to have been written by Jesus’ apostles. However, manuscript copies discovered in the 19th and 20th centuries by archaeologists proved these accounts of Jesus were written much earlier.

            William Albright dated all the New Testament books “between about a.d. 50 and a.d. 75.” John A. T. Robinson of Cambridge dates all New Testament books by a.d. 40-65. Such early dating means they were written when eyewitnesses were alive, much too early for a myth or legend to develop.

            I could continue, if you still doubt that Jesus actually existed.

          • Karl Mamer

            “yet you rule out the possibility of a Designer”

            Where did I do that? It’s possible. But I see no reason to invent that entity at this point, any more so than I need to invent a sock steeling troll to explain the depletion of my sock drawer. Maybe, but there are a lot of other explanations based on known phenomenon we should explore before inventing a new entity.

            “we have literally no tangible evidence for any other chemical means of life developing”

            That’s not a faith proposition. That’s an “I don’t know” proposition.

            “The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution”

            http://www.discovery.org/a/24041

            I could comment at length on all of these but that would spin off 10+ conversations, no doubt. Could you pick the two you find most compelling and I’d be happy to look at those “problems”.

            I trust these “gaps” are not your positive evidence for ID? Even if all 10 are true and totally make evolution impossible, you simply don’t get to insert “therefore the only possible explanation is a designer”. You now have 200 years of research ahead of you to establish ID, just like it took science 200 years to establish evolution as unifying theory of modern biology.

            “Yet, you somehow think that so long as the possibility exists that there is yet another link in the origins chain that we have not yet discovered that this somehow eliminates the viability of a Designer.”

            I don’t think I’ve ever spoken of proof. I’ve taken pains to explain acceptance of claims based on an examination of the evidence. Such acceptance is always tentative if new evidence emerges. What I suggest is before I accept X must be explained by a designer we have no evidence for, I would pursue other explanations that are based on processes we currently know or processes that are suggested by what we currently know. For example, a new syndrome, we may not know what causes it, but we don’t invent psychic death rays to explain it. We first consider if its caused by something we know. And if not, then something we may not know of but suggested as plausible: a new class of virus or some environmental chemical or psychogenic.

            “And you offer no proof to justify this belief.”

            If you would like to know what evidence I weigh for my acceptance of anything I’ve stated I think is plausible, just ask. I’m not trying to convince you of what I accept as plausible. I’m trying to explain why I don’t find your claims compelling.

            “If you wish to reject the historicity of the existence of Jesus”

            I reject it in so far as I reject the existence of Prestor John. Maybe but the Jesus story is consistent in my opinion with other mythological beings.

            “accounted by the disciple of His”

            Since the authors of the gospels are only attributed by tradition and written decades after the fact, it’s pretty hard for me to accept these are the words of his disciples.

            “Have you even reviewed, for a start, the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus? ”

            Yes. Hence, why I still prefer the null hypothesis. Jesus is a mythological figure until there’s sufficient evidence. Everything I’ve read is consistent with Jesus being a mythological figure and I’ve seen no smoking gun evidence to make me think differently. Surely, you don’t believe a miraculous being like Achilles is real because he’s written about in a book that has some historical correspondence?

            “So why do we believe…or more importantly, why do historians believe [Alexander the great] really existed?”

            We have multiple histories from unbiased sources, coins, statues, archeological evidence, language and pottery changes that follow his supposed conquests, etc. Maybe he didn’t exist but there was some reason suddenly Hellenic culture spread and spread in a way that is consistent with the histories of Alexander the great. It’s not unreasonable, then, to accept the guy stamped on coins in Persia and called Alexander the great are stamped Alexander the great because there was a real Alexander the great that demanded his face be stamped on those coins.

            “The only evidence for the slaughter are the account in Matthew and certain other historical documentation regarding the character of Herod that does not contradict the account. ”

            Right. The only evidence is in a holy book meant to paint their guy in a certain way. I’ve got a bridge… I would suggest if Herod slaughtered so many small children this atrocity might have been attested to beyond one gospel written years after the fact.

            “As for the Exodus, there’s plenty of evidence for it.”

            Could you cite two or three compelling lines of evidence for the Exodus?

            “I do find it quite intriguing that while there is yet to be a single shred of evidence to show that chemical reactions can produce life”

            There are many lines of evidence this is possible.

            https://str.llnl.gov/str/September02/pdfs/09_02.1.pdf

            http://www.mendeley.com/research/organic-synthesis-simulated-interstellar-ice-analogs/

            “While you may be tempted to think the Miller-Urey experiments back in the 50s produced amino acids”

            As my links demonstrate, research into abiogenesis has moved well beyond this 50 year old experiment. It was a nice starting point but science changes after five decades.

            “Yet there is utterly nothing but philosophical conjecture as to what caused the bang or brought about the existence of that matter the big bang led into becoming what we know today.”

            Well, you can say that only if you ignore the research that goes into that:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brane_cosmology

            “Likewise, to determine if Jesus was a real person, we need to seek evidence for his existence in the following areas”

            I applaud your dedication to cutting and pasting this to get it fully before my eyes but you could have linked it or attributed it in some way:

            http://jesuschristprayers.com/jesus-christ-is-real-and-he-is-the-true-god/

            The problem with the histories (Tacitus etc.) at that site, is all that they really say is “some people believe there was a guy called Jesus and did some stuff.” That’s not very compelling to me. Again, that’s like saying “Some people in ancient Greece believe there was an Achilles and did some stuff therefore he’s real.”

          • jmichael39

            Unbelievable….I had literally responded to almost everything you’d said and then clicked one of your links and lost it all. I will try again tonight, when I have more time. Sorry.

          • Karl Mamer

            Yeah, that last one I had to compose in word and then paste in. Thank you for actually being willing to engage in debate without name calling. One of the reasons I like talking to creationists, theists, psychics, etc. is because they challenge my assumptions and force me to understand how we know what we know. I learn a lot about science and history in the process. I do not pretend I’ll ever convince you of my position and you probably won’t convince me of yours. I’m sure smarter people than me or you have tried and failed to convince either of us.

          • jmichael39

            Unfortunately, I can’t copy and paste it from Word. When I do, the formatting is completely screwed up for whatever reason…probably from my inadequate knowledge of Word

          • Karl Mamer

            What I do is compose in word, then paste into notepad (I use Windows), and then paste into the comment box. For some reason Notepad doesn’t monkey with formatting.

            Anyway, maybe to bring this into focus.

            1) My intent is to explain why me, an atheist (and I would guess many other atheists you encounter in life), does not find compelling the things you find compelling. I would like to convey the notion that I don’t dismiss them out of hand. But I have reasonable reasons why the evidence isn’t sufficient for me. I think we both agreed in science a theory’s acceptance by the scientific community (say, cause of a disease) is an aggregate of people in the scientific community and there is no bright line. Some scientists may accept a theory based on a few studies. Some require large, definitive studies. If you’re curious about the evidence I weigh to assign, say, “life is probable some place else in the universe”, I’d be happy to provide it. You’re also free to comment why you don’t find that compelling.

            2) I don’t think I’ve ever seen ID advance positive evidence for ID. Their evidence takes the form of “gaps”. We can’t explain X therefore “designer” is the only possible explanation. Curious if you know of any.

            3) Of the 10 supposed problems for evolution, I’d like to know the two you find most compelling. And I’ll try to explain why I don’t view them as compelling.

            4) I don’t see any evidence for Exodus as described in the bible. You claim there’s evidence. I’d like to know a couple lines of evidence you find compelling.

            5) Any mention of Jesus in history takes the form of “there’s a body of people who believe Jesus lived and did some stuff”. Histories are filled with documentation of the mythological beliefs of cultures. That someone simply reports someone believes something is not compelling. But I might have missed a work of history that doesn’t take that form.

          • jmichael39

            –Great, you’re an agnostic, and not an atheist. Glad to hear it. That makes things easier.

            –“That’s not a faith proposition. That’s an “I don’t know” proposition” – Sure it is.

            “Faith” – 1. confidence or trust in a person or thing. How did you do this? Read those links you gave at Wikipedia and Medium…they are all about theoretical physics. Not one proof is even offered. They provide theories based upon some facts and OTHER theories. You’re willing to trust these theoretical physicists and their theories and believe them. That’s faith, by definition.

            2.belief that is not based on proof — not a single shred of proof is even offered…it all being theoretical physics…and yet you believe it. That’s call faith.

            Or maybe you’re not believing these theories…you merely find them intriguing…and, to you, viable. Yet it seems truly astounding that you would have such little trouble accepting the viability of something so deeply theoretical, while rejecting reams of evidence for the existence of Jesus. While I consider you a deeply intelligent and rational person from everything else you’ve written, I find this part of you contrarian to the rest of your character.

            “I trust these “gaps” are not your positive evidence for ID?” – no that was not my response to your other question. I have decided, after reviewing the books I’ve read that I need to give some deeper thought to narrowing things down to the two points most pertinent.

            “Could you pick the two you find most compelling and I’d be happy to look at those “problems”” – since you were referring to chemical evolution, just take the first two in the list, since they deal with chemical evolution.

            “Maybe but the Jesus story is consistent in my opinion with other mythological beings.” – rather than conclude that you’re making these prejudgments about Jesus being mythological before seeing the evidence, why don’t you tell me the path you took to reach the conclusion that Jesus never existed?

            “Since the authors of the gospels are only attributed by tradition and written decades after the fact” – 1) the vast majority scholars accept a dating of the entire NT as between 45ad and 70ad…except for the Gospel of John and Revelations (written by John)…as John is known to have lived to approximately 95AD. Many of the early second century church fathers were disciples under John and testify to this. 2) Why would you reject the writings of eyewitnesses to Jesus life, while accepting the writings about Alexander the Great which weren’t written until 300 years after his death? Would it be because you’ve already decided that Jesus was a myth and these disciples of his had to be lying to create and perpetuate this myth? I hope not. It doesn’t mesh with everything else you’ve shown yourself to be.

            Its likely that very reason that affords you the luxury of utterly and completely ignoring all but one of the numerous sources I showed you that affirm the reality of Jesus. You brush off most of it because I chose to cut and paste information you may or may not have willingly read otherwise and then bring up Tacitus with some lame argument regarding the wording Tacitus uses. If Tacitus were my only non-Christian source, I can understand picking at those words. But he is obviously not the only source I brought up.

            Why ignore the other eight non-Christian authors? It is getting a little tiresome to see you analogize Jesus to other historical figures or mythological figures and then fail to use the same criteria for determining whether Jesus ever really existed that you do for the others.

            “We have multiple histories from unbiased sources, coins, statues, archeological evidence, language and pottery changes that follow his supposed conquests, etc” – We have histories from unbiased source, archaeological evidence, tens of thousands of documents all affirming the existence of Jesus…as well the life altering reality that simple fishermen, tax collectors and women were able to convince a world that Jesus not only existed, but died by Roman crucifixion and, according to the written and verbal testimony of many of these people, rose from the dead. You want to call these people liars? You’d better have a good reason why they would make up such lies in a political environment that assured them death by horrible means. You want to call them delusional? All of them. Then you’d better come up with some semblance of evidence to show this to be at least a rational explanation. You’re going to have to come up with a better excuse than that you’ve just not seen sufficient evidence. There is ten times more evidence for the reality of Jesus than for virtually any other person who ever existed in ancient times.
            Even your persistence in trying to compare Jesus to Prestor John is ridiculous. The entirety of this legend came from a single letter in the 12th century. Anyone who would try to compare such flimsy historical documentation to what we have historically about Jesus is, at best, grasping a false analogies.
            I get that some people don’t want there to have been a real Jesus. Because then if there was a real Jesus they’d have to deal with every other historical event relating to Jesus, including his miracles, His claims to being the Son of God, His messianic credentials, and His death and resurrection. I get that it’s just easier for them to reject Him as ever having lived. But I don’t see you as being that sort of person, Karl. Which baffles me about you. You seem to have a very rational approach to everything else. I just don’t get how you can look at the evidence I presented and literally ignore it. At least that’s how it appears. All I ask is that you use the same standards of evidence for determining whether Jesus really existed to any other historical figure. And at this point, it honestly doesn’t seem that you’re doing that.

          • Karl Mamer

            Sorry. Didn’t see this response.

            -Great, you’re an agnostic, and not an atheist. Glad to hear it. That makes things easier.

            There are endless debates in the atheism as to what that word means. I’m sure Christians debate whether or not Mormons or Catholics or Jdubs can properly call themselves Christians. My definition is “Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.”

            But you’re free to label me anything you wish. My position is simply “I lack a belief in your god, his god, her god, gods of the past, bigfoot, fairies, and the Lochness Monster.”

            –“That’s not a faith proposition. That’s an “I don’t know” proposition” – Sure it is.

            I’ll let you believe what you choose here.

            “they are all about theoretical physics. Not one proof is even offered. They provide theories based upon some facts and OTHER theories. You’re willing to trust these theoretical physicists and their theories and believe them. ”

            I wasn’t offering proof. I was suggesting we both look at an unknown. You find “god did it” plausible. I accept there are other avenues to explore before we have to invent a god entity to explain a physical reality like a universe that’s in front of our eyes. Hypotheses about where the universe came from are built on what we know already, built on math that, when tested, seems to have correspondence in the real world, and suggest ways of testing and falsifying those hypotheses.

            “That’s faith, by definition.”

            There’s a difference between trying to understand the world through faith and science. I can set what it would take to falsify a theory or hypothesis. Could you set a goal post of what evidence it would take for you to abandon your belief in your god?

            If you try to define something as equivalent by only looking at what appears to be equivalent, it’s no surprise you will conclude they’re equal. You could claim a cat is a dog by comparing similarities. Both have fur, tails, eat meat, have litters, etc. Behold. There are so many similarities they must be the same! But, we also have to look at what’s different between cats and dogs. By the same token, falsification is an important difference between faith and science.

            “Could you pick the
            two you find most compelling and I’d be happy to look at those
            “problems”” – since you were referring to chemical evolution, just
            take the first two in the list, since they deal with chemical evolution.

            No problem.

            “No Viable Mechanism to Generate a Primordial Soup”

            First, for some, the “primordial soup” hypothesis of the origin of life is dated.

            http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/study-tests-theory-that-life-originated-at-deep-sea-vents

            Back in the 1980s, HIV was originally thought to be related to a sheep virus. But virologists figured out HIV was closer to SIV. The only people who would be impressed with an article titled “10 problems with HIV causes AIDS” that lists the sheep virus hypothesis as a gaping problem would be people who didn’t know this was 30 year old hypothesis abandoned a long time ago.

            “Unguided Chemical Processes Cannot Explain the Origin of the Genetic Code.”

            Cannot? Why is he so certain? There seems to be at least three competing (and complimentary) hypotheses:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3293468/

            Those look like explanations, to me. “There are no black swans.” Here’s three black swans.

            “the vast majority scholars accept a dating of the entire NT as between 45ad and 70ad”

            At your most recent end 45 ad is still 12 years after the fact. Again, a story written even 12 years after the fact I do not find compelling. I did my honors thesis on urban legends. I have something of an idea how oral legends can change over even a short period of time.

            “Why would you reject the writings of eyewitnesses”

            Because I have no evidence the gospels, by anonymous authors and only attributed by tradition, are the writings of eyewitnesses.

            “because you’ve already decided that Jesus was a myth and these disciples of his had to be lying to create and perpetuate this myth?”

            No. That’s not the way legends change over time. The myth of the “savior” Prestor John did not start as a lie, either.

            “that affirm the reality of Jesus. You brush off most of it because I
            chose to cut and paste information”

            No. I stated those sources outside of the bible don’t say anything other than “some people in this region have a certain belief.”

            “We have histories from unbiased source”

            Again see above for my comment on this.

            “archaeological evidence”

            None that I’ve seen.

            “tens of thousands of documents all affirming the existence of Jesus”

            All written decades after the fact. Not compelling.

            “as well the life altering reality that simple fishermen, tax collectors and women were able to convince a world that
            Jesus not only existed, but died by Roman crucifixion and, according to the written and verbal testimony of many of these people, rose from the dead. ”

            And an illiterate sheep herder named Mohammed was able to convince millions of the truth of the Koran. A handful of playwrights in Ancient Greece convinced millions of the reality of Zeus. Surely you don’t find that compelling.

            “You want to call these people liars?”

            Being human and hearing what you want to hear doesn’t make you a liar.

            “assured them death by horrible means”

            Who died, exactly? What is the evidence they died for the reasons you think they died? People die for mistaken beliefs all the time. Just a few weeks ago, a family here in Canada let their daughter die of a curable cancer based on a belief that a new age quack in Florida could cure her.

            “You want to call them delusional?”

            I’d call them human, susceptible to all the cognitive failings we have wired into our brain. The same cognitive failings you and I struggle with every day.

            “Even your persistence in trying to compare Jesus to
            Prestor John is ridiculous. The entirety of this legend came from a
            single letter in the 12th century.”

            I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prester_John#Origin_of_the_legend
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12400b.htm

            But granting that, it’s not controversial this legend was widely believed. And if your claim is true, it’s evidence that it doesn’t even take much (just a single letter) to establish a savior figure in the minds of a population.

          • jmichael39

            “I was suggesting we both look at an unknown. You find “god did it” plausible.” – the difference is that I’m not offering the “God thing” as an alternative to there maybe being some sort of other form of life on other planets. I don’t think that the Designer theory is, at all, dependent upon there only being this earth’s forms of life.

            What I have also rejected with the 10 Flaws site I shared, is that the major premises of Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism are deeply flawed in their attempts to attribute origins and deep causality.

            “At your most recent end 45 ad is still 12 years after the fact. Again, a story written even 12 years after the fact I do not find compelling” – So what, from an historicity perspective, it doesn’t get any more compelling. For example, while you cavalierly suggest that “maybe Alexander the Great never lived”, you find the documentation and other material evidence for his life compelling enough to not have serious doubt that he did exist. My points continue to be you should use the same criteria concerning Jesus’ existence. The evidence is more numerous and more contemporary to His life and yet you find yourself incapable of believing HE existed. For someone so astute and intelligent, I’m very very tempted to think you’re deeply prejudicial in this matter.

            “Because I have no evidence the gospels, by anonymous authors and only attributed by tradition, are the writings of eyewitnesses.” – There’s more than sufficient evidence both internally and externally that identifies all four authors of the Gospels. It would seem you either refuse to accept that evidence, in which case I ask, why? Or you simply have made your conclusions without having seen the evidence. In which case, I ask, why?

            http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/thompson/gospel_authorship.html

            “Like Prestor John, the legend changed and was embellished as it was told and retold.” – that’s a bold assertion to make regarding Jesus. What evidence do you present to substantiate that there’s been any serious embellishment of the facts regarding Jesus’ life?

            “No. I stated those sources outside of the bible don’t say anything other than “some people in this region have a certain belief.”” – if that’s what you think, then you most assuredly DID NOT read the quotes I shared. And your certainly didn’t follow up with that by read any more on the subject. Especially Josephus’ quote, but all of them, for that matter. I’m highly disappoint that you would choose to mischaracterize those extra-biblical quotes or simply choose to bluff your way past them like this. It is deeply out of sync with the rest of your character.

            “None that I’ve seen.” – or chosen to see before making your judgments.

            An ossuary, which is a medium-sized box in which human bones were placed for permanent burial after the flesh had all decayed away. This practice was employed for only a brief period of time from about B.C. 20 to A.D. 70. The box is made of a soft, chalky, limestone, common to the area. The contents have long since vanished.

            An inscription has been etched into the side which reads, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” in the Aramaic script of the time. Careful studies, including scrutiny under a scanning electron microscope show the inscription to be genuine. The patina, or oxidized surface equally covers both box and the interior of the etched letters. The recognized expert on such matters, Dr. Andre Lemaire, concludes: “I am pleased to report that in my judgment it is genuinely ancient and not a fake.”

            All three names used were common in that era, but seldom was the deceased’s brother mentioned, unless that brother was noteworthy. To have all three listed, in correct Biblical relationship certainly supports the possibility of this being the ossuary of the Biblical James.

            http://www.icr.org/article/has-archaeological-evidence-for-jesus-been-discove/

            Other archaeological findings are secondary in one sense…while they don’t affirm the existence of Jesus, they do affirm the Gospel accounts of very important elements of the message. For example…for a very long time, there was no evidence of there every being a Roman leader in Jerusalem by the name of Pontius Pilate. Many skeptics would point to the fact we have nothing historically, outside the gospels, to show this man ever lived, let alone put Jesus to death. Recent archaeological findings have revealed the Pilate was real. There are now multiple such affirmations of the Gospels accounts historical accuracy.

            “Who died, exactly? What is the evidence they died for the reasons you think they died?”

            James, the brother of Jesus, died a martyr’s death… Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius

            both affirm this in their writings.

            Peter was crucified upside down, Eusebius affirms this.

            Andrew – Hippolytus tells us, Andrew was hanged on an olive tree at Patrae, a town in Achaia.

            Thomas was thrust through with pine spears, tormented with red-hot plates, and burned alive.

            Philip evangelized in Phrygia, where hostile Jews had him tortured and then crucified.

            Matthew was beheaded at Nad-Davar
            You can pretend all you want that the 27 historical documents, which were later placed in a collection called the New Testament, or the writing of 2nd and 3rd Generation Christians shouldn’t be treated exactly the same way as any other historical document, but it doesn’t change the fact that they should be treated that way. You can think them deluded, liars, conspirators, myth-makers, fools, or whatever you want. But unless and until you can come up with some substantive reason why we should NOT consider those documents, in conjunction with the non-Christian documents and archaeological evidence sufficient to believe that Jesus DID live and that the events of the NT are as the disciples remember them. You want to play games and think that the gospel writers embellished the events of Jesus life in order to make your view of the world seem more acceptable, feel free.
            But at this point, I’ve decided that I cannot trust you to view the historical evidence of Jesus with the same light that you view the historical evidence for any other historical figure. Because you have prejudged Jesus to be a myth, you skew your view of all evidence through those lenses. That is unmistakably your M.O. in this instance. While I respect your intelligence and thoughtfulness on many levels, I have concluded that it is impossible to debate you on this issue because of your prejudice. You speak of cognitive failings. Well, this is one of yours. I have tried to show this to you by exposing how you view historical evidence differently for JEsus than you do for anyone else. But you’re obviously not convinced. Therefore, it would be best if we end this debate while cordiality is still somewhat the rule of order.
            It was enlightening to engage in this discussion with you. I wish you the best.

          • Karl Mamer

            “”the difference is that I’m not offering the “God thing”

            as an alternative to there maybe being some sort of other form of life on other planets. I don’t think that the Designer theory is, at all, dependent upon there only being this earth’s forms of life.”

            Well, that’s good. So I take it then you look at the gaps and don’t find that compelling evidence for “god is needed”?

            “their attempts to attribute origins and deep causality”

            I don’t quite follow what you’re saying here.

            “So what, from an historicity perspective, it doesn’t get any more compelling.”

            Not to me. Sorry.

            “My points continue to be you should use the
            same criteria concerning Jesus’ existence.”

            I do. And it is lacking in my opinion.

            “I’m very very tempted to think you’re deeply prejudicial in this matter.”

            I can’t convince you what to think. I could argue you are too ready to accept this as evidence without giving it the proper skepticism.

            “There’s more than sufficient evidence both internally
            and externally that identifies all four authors of the Gospels.”

            I’ve not seen that evidence. And that does not appear to be the consensus of scholars.

            “What evidence do you present to substantiate that there’s been any serious embellishment of the facts regarding Jesus’ life?”

            Oh, slaughter of the innocence that never happened, a census that never happened. For starters.

            “if that’s what you think, then you most assuredly DID NOT read the quotes I shared.”

            I did.

            Tacitus on Christ. Written AD 116. Not a contemporary report. He gives a history of Nero. He notes Nero tried to blame Christians. People reading this history might at that point wonder “where’d these Christians come from?” And gives the accepted origin of their name. If a Raelian was in the news, I might just report “they take their name from the space god Rael”. Sorry, you may read more into that then I do. But I see no reason to think it’s anything other than “x people believed y”.

            If you have a historical reference you find more compelling, I’d be happy to examine it again in light of how you think I’m proceeding.

            An inscription has been etched into the side which reads, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”

            So Jesus has flesh and blood brothers?

            “but seldom was the deceased’s brother mentioned, unless that brother was noteworthy.”

            “For example…for a very longtime, there was no evidence of there every being a Roman leader inJerusalem by the name of Pontius Pilate. ”

            That’s weird because he was known via Tacitus’ writings from centuries ago.

            “There are now multiple such affirmations of the Gospels accounts historical accuracy.”

            Again, because a work of fiction is set in a historical setting does not provide evidence for the reality of the characters. By this evidence, Achilles is real.

            “James, the brother of Jesus, died a martyr’s death… Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius”

            Clement of Alexandria was born about 100 AD. I don’t find it compelling someone died for a religious belief. Muslims do that all the time. It does not lend historical accuracy to the claims. You claim James, brother of Jesus, died for his belief. So, could you document that? Maybe he was executed for theft. I don’t know. Show me the black swan.

          • jmichael39

            Be well, Karl. Rather than waste my time, once again, pointing out your inconsistent application of criteria for judging the historical value of ancient documents, I’m just going to end this now. You’re clearly not interested in treating anything you already consider to be mythological in the same way you treat things you consider historical. If and when you finally decide to stop prejudging the ancient roots of Christianity and are willing to apply the same common standards of evidence for those roots let me know. Then we can chat again. Until then, it is clearly a waste of my time.

          • Karl Mamer

            ” You’re clearly not interested in treating anything you already consider
            to be mythological in the same way you treat things you consider
            historical.”

            That’s your opinion and you’re welcome to it. And absent the ability to write multi page essays that develop my position, I’m not sure how to detail that this opinion is simply wrong.

            But I’m always willing to try and understand what’s compelling to theists and what’s not compelling. A real struggle, I’ve found, is simply getting theists to even summarize WHAT they find compelling. I think that speaks a lot about how some theists approach their belief. Uncritical. And I’m always happy to lay out what I find compelling and why and what I don’t find compelling and why. That may not be how you approach understanding people.

          • jmichael39

            All told, I’m sure you’ve written dozens of pages of your thoughts. My opinion is based solely upon that. Unless you’re either simply incapable of properly articulating your thoughts, you’ve made very clear that you’re incapable of viewing any historical evidence for Jesus/Christianity outside your myth prejudice. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being that way. It just simply means I would be wasting my time presenting evidence to you…evidence from which the vast majority of scholars in this field have absolutely no problem admitting prove that Jesus was not a myth, but, in fact a real person.
            You’ve chosen to taken a path that denies that the preponderance of evidence supports the view of these many scholars. That’s your choice…and is not even remotely an opinion of mine. In fact, my opinion of you, until recently, was that you are an intelligent, rational, open-minded person. In fact, I still have that opinion concerning you, except in this area. For some reason, you’re simply not capable of applying the same standards of rationality to Jesus as you are to everything else.
            If you want to deny that, that’s your choice. You’ve had ample opportunity to view the evidence and either refute it factually and logically or accept it. You’ve chosen, for the most part, to simply brush it off, ignore it or dismiss its relevance without being willing to treat historical evidence relative to other historical figures in the same way. You’ve assumed Jesus is merely an urban legend and thus treated him and all evidence about his life in the same manner. That’s your choice. My choice is to no longer engage in a debate with someone who refuses to view historical evidence in a consistent and/or commonly accepted scholarly manner.
            I do find it ironic that you’re more willing to accept the viability of some never before seen primordial chemical soup creating life from nothing on some distant planet than you’re willing to accept substantive tangible evidence that a particular human being lived on this planet 2000 years ago. Call me crazy, but that, to me, is not rational. While it lasted, it was a pleasure to engage…blessings.

          • Karl Mamer

            “you’ve made very clear that you’re incapable of viewing any
            historical evidence for Jesus/Christianity outside your myth prejudice.”

            I could just as easily level the same charge at you. I could just as easily say you place too much credence in certain interpretations because they confirm your religious belief and don’t properly consider alternative interpretations.

            But, again, I note I’m only trying to explain to you what I (an atheist) find compelling and not compelling. You will, no doubt, encounter many atheists who share my view. And you should be better “armed” to deal with them after this experience. Again, sorry, I do not find compelling what you find compelling. This is why I’m an atheist.

            “You’ve chosen to taken a path that denies that the preponderance of evidence supports the view of these many scholars.”

            Yes. The mythicist position is a minority position among historians and theologians. As a non expert, I find it compelling.

            “You’ve had ample opportunity to view the evidence and either refute it factually and logically or accept it. ”

            Again, I’m not making any effort to refute your claims. I’m making an effort to show you what claims I find compelling and not compelling and the reasons why.

            “I do find it ironic that you’re more willing to accept the viability of
            some never before seen primordial chemical soup creating life from
            nothing ”

            You, perhaps, missed the part where I’m skeptical of the primordial soup hypothesis.

          • jmichael39

            “I could just as easily level the same charge at you. I could just as easily say you place too much credence in certain interpretations because they confirm your religious belief and don’t properly consider alternative interpretations.” – That’s hilarious. While EVERYONE walks into a situations like this with a certain amount of subjective views, I’ve made it very clear that I approach the evidrnce forthe existence of Jesus in the exact way I approach the evidence for the existence of any historical figure, such as Alexander the Great. You, on the other hand, consider Jesus a myth already and thus view all evidence as mere urban legend. To hell with the fact that the evidence for his existence is greater than that of most any other historical figure. But you go right ahead and make your accusations. They obviously make you feel better about your own shortcomings.

            “Yes. The mythicist position is a minority position among historians and theologians. As a non expert, I find it compelling.” – Of course you do…it fits your prejudiced, pre-conceived views. It gives you the freedom to continue to pretend you don’t have to account for the realities of Jesus. It allows you to remain an intellectual coward.

            “Again, I’m not making any effort to refute your claims.” – Of course not. You can’t. Even if you wanted to you can’t. All you can do is cling to your pathetically irrational preconceptions, in hopes that you articulate posts will ward off the people who can expose your ignorance and prejudice on the subject.

          • Karl Mamer

            ” I’ve made it very clear that I approach the evidrnce for the existence of Jesus in the exact way I approach the evidence for the existence of any historical figure, such as Alexander the Great”

            You think that. But that’s not what I observe. You draw a false equivalency between the evidence for Alexander the Great and the evidence for your Jesus character. As I’ve noted, we have evidence Hellenic culture spread to Persia. We have this via changes in the language, changes in pottery, art, etc. There is clearly a reason for this rapid spread. Historians claim there existed a guy named Alexander the Great and he conquered certain regions over a given time frame. There’s a temporal correspondence between the claimed feats of Alexander and these changes in language, pottery, art, coins, etc. It’s reasonable for me to believe, then, these known changes were a result of a man leading an army across Europe, the Middle East, and into Persia.

            Turning to claims your Jesus character existed, there is no comparable level of evidence. Yes, your potential fiction cites real cities and real leaders. Just as the Illiad uses a real historical backdrop to tell a tale of gods and demi gods. Yet, I see no *contemporary* changes in language, art, coinage, pottery, etc. as Jesus moved across Palestine. Certainly, people believing the myth after the fact changed art, language, and pottery as they moved around trumpeting their god.

            You also further made my point with your acknowledgement that Prestor John was based on one single letter. I doesn’t take much to ignite a population into believing in the reality of a mythological figure if that myth comes along at the right time and right place.

            “You, on the other hand, consider Jesus a myth already and thus view all evidence as mere urban legend”

            I could explain the null hypothesis again but you’ve assured me you already know what that means. Maybe there was a Jesus, Prestor John, Achilles, Krishna, etc. But I’ll assume they’re myths until I see sufficient evidence they existed.

            ” It gives you the freedom to continue to pretend you don’t have to account for the realities of Jesus.”

            One can accept Jesus was a historical figure, just like you can accept Kim Jong Il or Elvis or Pythagoras were historical figures, and still not accept the mythology attached to all of those figures. Sorry, you’d be no further along, ultimately with an Atheist is you dug up Jesus’s birth certificate. Huzzah. Pythagoras was real. So I guess you must then believe in all his miracles?

            http://www.carolgoodman.com/Content/Pythagoras_More_than_A_Mathematician.asp

            “Of course not. You can’t. Even if you wanted to you can’t. All you can do is cling to your pathetically irrational preconceptions,.”

            Clearly, I’ve refuted the two most compelling “problems” with evolution you posted. To review:

            Primordial soup is a problem: Yeah, 50 years ago. Origin of life research has moved beyond that model.

            There’s no explanation for the origin of the genetic code: I gave you three explanations.

            ” in hopes that you articulate posts will ward off the people who can expose your ignorance and prejudice on the subject”

            Skeptics question your evidence. Cynics question your motivations.

          • jmichael39

            “And the best way to refute the resurrection of Christ would be to state the obvious: There’s not a shred of historical evidence for it (the bible doesn’t count as evidence).”

            Really? Who says? The Bible is a collection of 66 completely separate historical documents. Their historical validity is well accepted and at least as equally valid as any historical document.

            As with any historical document that attempts to record historical events, it is, of course, best to have multiple sources to support the historical information presented. But the fact that often times we have but one source to speak to an historical event has never prevented us from presenting the information in that document as accurate. Our confidence as to its veracity may be diminished somewhat by the reality that we have but one document but we still hold the document as valid unless and until a contradictory document is presented.

            One of the biggest mistakes amateur historians make in rejecting the Bible is the fact that we look at the Bible as merely one document. But that is an erroneous view. It is a collection of documents. Sixty-six documents written over 1500 years by more than 40 authors of very different backgrounds and even nationalities. The fact that some people 300 years after the last of those documents was written decided to pool those documents together into one collection should not distract one from viewing each book in that collection as a separate historical document.

            For example, when Matthew writes about the resurrection account, and then John writes about it also, it is historically valid to look at those two accounts as two completely different accounts. The two documents were written decades apart for two completely different audiences. Just because those people in 325 AD decided to pool Matthew and John’s gospels into one collection of church documents does not invalidate their individual accounts, nor does it invalidate their support for each other’s account.

            Does that mean we’re supposed to immediately accept the resurrection as a reality? No. Not at all. What it does mean, though, is that we can accept as a fact that many of the early Christians BELIEVED they had an experience which they interpreted as an encounter with the risen Jesus. THAT is how historians work.

            The next step is to then seek out other documents and archaeological evidence that would either support that claim or refute it. Is there extra biblical evidence that supports the notion that the early followers of Jesus believed they had encountered a resurrected Jesus? Yes, they’re is plenty of extra biblical evidence to support that notion.

            Please note, the assertion here is NOT that Jesus actually rose from the dead. But only that his followers BELIEVED they encountered a risen Jesus.

            Paul even talks about this in another biblical document, his first letter to the Corinthian Christians. In what we see as chapter 15 he writes,

            “14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise.”
            He openly accepts that if Christ didn’t really rise from the dead, then he and others who say He did are ‘false witnesses’…liars. So, there is little denial that the early Christians believed they encountered the risen Jesus. Either that or it was one of the greatest conspiracies in the history of humanity.
            Is that so difficult for you to accept as true?

            If you’re going to reject the historicity of the events recorded in those 66 documents, then you will have to refute their validity in understanding the historical events they document exactly the same way you would refute the historicity of any other historical document. I would be more than happy to go through the historical evidence of the resurrection account with you and let you determine for yourself what to believe happened and what not to believe.
            And when I say the ‘resurrection account’…I’m NOT asserting that Jesus actually rose from the dead. I merely accept certain historical facts and then make my own conclusions based off those facts. And I will make sure that I only include facts that have multiple sources of evidence for them AND that those facts are broadly accepted by the vast majority of scholars in these fields. In other words, the evidence is compelling enough that the vast majority of scholars, no matter their own conclusions about those facts, accept as true.
            If you wish to participate in that discussion, let me know. I’ll present the facts and let you draw your own conclusions.

          • Joe

            Atheists do not have a religion. So arguing that Atheists are spreading their religion is a fallacious argument. Its sad I even have to explain that to you.

            The evidence we have does not lead to a conclusion that a god of any kind exists, so we can not believe in one. That is all. Nothing more nothing less. Now disliking religion is a section of Atheists called anti-theists (of which I am one). We’ve read your fairy tales and found them lacking in morals and substance, and believe actually following that crap is detrimental to society. Now we do not teach that in school either. So I don’t see your point. Repeating lies over and over doesn’t make you right (unless you are a politician).

            If we do come to the point where religion is in school. I will make sure that the anti-theist message is right there along side your Bible, so you might want to be careful what you wish for. My primary goal is a neutral place for kids to learn. If that can not be had, then perhaps actually attacking the message of the Bible in schools will have to be a plan B. Is that what you would like?

          • jmichael39

            Poor man…atheism IS a religion. Being A-Theist does not equal being A-Religion.

            You’re here, aren’t you? Spreading your religion. Its always funny watching atheists try to defend their belief system and then argue they’re not religious. LMAO.

            “The evidence we have does not lead to a conclusion that a god of any kind exists, so we can not believe in one. That is all.” – That’s your choice. If you can honestly look at the order and design in the universe and honestly tell yourself that there actually is no designer to it, go for it. But stop pretending like that actually makes you sound logical and rational.

            “Now disliking religion is a section of Atheists called anti-theists (of which I am one). ” – Well, at least you admit to being a hate-filled bigot. Most don’t get to the point of self-awareness.

            “We’ve read your fairy tales and found them lacking in morals and substance, and believe actually following that crap is detrimental to society.” – so you’d like to just hang all the theists and burn their churches down? Lovely. Or would you just prefer we all be sent to some re-education camps until our minds are reprogrammed to agree with YOUR worldview? And you think OUR religion is lacking morals. You’re hateful and bigoted towards an entire group of people and would prefer to have us and would worldviews removed from society. I’ll take the flaws of Christians over that sort of ‘morality’ anytime.

            “So I don’t see your point.” – I never expect an atheist to ‘get’ my point. But that’s okay, I love exposing so-called rationalists like you as the irrational bigots you are.

            “so you might want to be careful what you wish for.” – LMAO, you honestly think we’re intimidated by your irrationality?

            Think about it. Atheism is essentially a negative existential worldview. You live by a NON-belief. It is not believing in a god or actively believing there is no God or choosing to not exercise any belief or non-belief concerning God, etc. Whichever flavor is given to atheism, it is a negative position.

            I don’t hear any evidence for the validity of atheism. There are no “proofs” that God does not exist in atheist circles; at least, none that I have heard–especially since you can’t prove a negative regarding the existence of God. Of course, that isn’t to say that atheists haven’t attempted to offer some proofs that God does not exist. But their attempted proofs are invariably insufficient. After all, how do you prove there is no God in the universe? How do you prove that in all places and all times there is no God? You can’t.

            Besides, if there was proof of God’s non-existence, then atheists would be continually using it. But we don’t hear of any such commonly held proof supporting atheism or denying the existence of God. The atheist position is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove since it is an attempt to prove a negative. Therefore, since there are no proofs for atheism’s truth and there are no proofs that there is no God, the atheist must hold his position by faith.

            Faith, however, is not something atheists like to claim as the basis of adhering to atheism. Therefore, atheists must go on the attack and negate any evidences presented for God’s existence in order to give intellectual credence to their position. If they can create an evidential vacuum in which no theistic argument can survive, their position can be seen as more intellectually viable. It is in the negation of theistic proofs and evidences that atheism brings its self-justification to self-proclaimed life.

            There is, however, only one way that atheism is intellectually defensible, and that is in the abstract realm of simple possibility.

            There is another problem for atheists. Refuting evidences for the existence of God does not prove atheism true anymore than refuting an eyewitness testimony of a marriage denies the reality of the marriage. Since atheism cannot be proven, and since disproving evidences for God does not prove there is no God, atheists have a position that is intellectually indefensible. At best, atheists can only say there are no convincing evidences for God that have been presented so far. And even that is subjective. They cannot say there are no evidences for God because the atheist cannot know all evidences that possibly exist in the world. At best, the atheist can only say that the evidence presented so far has been insufficient.

            Some atheists recognize the gravity of this situation; and therefore when pressed for evidence, they take a stand that can be boiled down to “Science has disproven God.” However, there are several reasons that show this claim to be both enormously brittle and not well thought out. But first, to understand the rationale behind the position, a little history is necessary.

            But the question facing the militant atheists was, “How will we get rid of religion?” The apparent agreement was to use science as its bedrock and tool to replace the need for religion. This tactic is nothing new and was the same position put forward by Thomas Huxley in the 1800’s when he sought to install scientists as the new priests for humankind. This “faith” in science is not science at all but scientism, which says that science and science alone is the singular way to discover truth.

            While science has indeed delivered many great gifts to humankind, the hopes atheism has for scientism replacing religion are ill-founded. First, scientism is self-refuting. The statement “we should only believe what can be scientifically proven” cannot be scientifically proven (because it is a philosophical statement), and so based on its own criteria it should be rejected.

            Second, it ignores other much-respected and used methods for obtaining knowledge. For example, the legal/forensic/historical method of discovering truth is used every day and is very well-respected. The legal method does not ignore testimony or facts because they are not empirically reproducible or testable. By a process of elimination and corroboration, the legal method allows history and testimony to speak for itself until a verdict is reached beyond a reasonable doubt and the balance of probability is achieved.

            Third, scientism has proven disastrous from a moral perspective. Militant atheism asserts that if religion can be banished, then humankind will have peace and harmony. But even a cursory look backwards at history since the Enlightenment says otherwise. Instead of resulting in peace, the Enlightenment ushered in one secular bloody revolution after another that climaxed in the twentieth century–producing the largest mass grave in history. Ironically, one of atheism’s chief heralds–Nietzsche–predicted (correctly) that because he and others had supposedly killed God in the nineteenth century, the twentieth century would be the bloodiest ever.

            Lastly, rather pointing away from a transcendent Creator, advances in science have–more than ever–confirmed the existence of a theistic God. The death of the steady state theory and the current understanding that the universe as we know it exploded out of nothing into existence, the incredible fine tuning of the universe for human life, the confirmation of specified complexity like DNA that in a single strand contains digital information equivalent to 600,000 pages of intelligence and is mathematically identical to a language all act as pointers to an intelligent source that is behind it all.

            In truth, atheism’s position on science commits the logical fallacy of the false dilemma. Atheism demands that a person choose between science and God when in fact no such division needs to occur. Such a requirement can be likened to a person being forced to choose between (1) the laws of internal combustion and (2) Henry Ford–as to why a car exists. The fact is the two choices are not contradictory but complementary. The atheist misses the important difference between agency (Henry Ford) and mechanism (internal combustion). In the same way, God is the intelligent agency and efficient cause behind everything with His natural laws and mechanisms carrying out His intentions to produce His desired-end result.

            In the end, the atheist cannot rely on science to disprove the existence of a transcendent Creator and is forced into the admission that atheism itself is not a fact but instead a belief system that relies on faith. The real clash is not between science and religion but between the atheistic/naturalistic and the theistic worldviews.

            See http://www.carm.org for additional details of this argument.

          • Joe

            “so you’d like to just hang all the theists and burn their churches down? Lovely. Or would you just prefer we all be sent to some re-education camps until our minds are reprogrammed to agree with YOUR worldview?”

            Really? Straw man much? Alcoholics are detrimental to society and those around them too. I don’t think I’ve ever threatened anyone with violence. I merely have a different opinion of your made up fairy tale that you worship. I’ve learned a long time ago, you cant help someone that doesn’t want help. I only push back when you push your alcoholism on me. Also, religion is very much like a drug.

            “Poor man…atheism IS a religion.”

            Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

            “I never expect an atheist to ‘get’ my point. But that’s okay, I love exposing so-called rationalists like you as the irrational bigots you are.”

            Not sure how you can call Atheists “irrational” when you are worshiping an invisible magic zombie in the sky and Atheists beliefs typically fall in the category of science. Also bigotry assumes hatred of the person. I don’t hate Christians themselves, I dislike the dogma they worship. There is a difference. I don’t blame most Christians because they never had a chance to have free thought. They were brought up with it. Much like someone in other parts of the world are Hindu or Muslim. It is a hard thing to let go.

            “…Science has disproven God” and ” Refuting evidences for the existence of God does not prove atheism true anymore than refuting an eyewitness testimony of a marriage denies the reality of the marriage.” and “You live by a non-belief”

            Nope. Re-read my definition. Evidence doesn’t point to God existing. That doesn’t mean he has been proven to not exist. There is a difference. The challenge is that religion is taught. No one comes up with that crap by themselves. Therefore we are all born Atheists before our parents and community teach us otherwise. So in order for Atheists to believe in a God, God (or his followers) have to prove he exists.

            I kinda laugh every time someone brings up that Atheists need to prove that no God exists despite religion being a taught belief. Can you prove that Thor didn’t exist? What about Zoroaster? You can not disprove them either. So by putting the onus on us to prove God doesn’t exist, you argue that ALL gods exist based on inability to prove them false.

            Atheism is a conclusion. How I live my life is different from religion in the sense that I guide myself without a magic Book.

            “Second, it ignores other much-respected and used methods for obtaining knowledge. For example, the legal/forensic/historical method of discovering truth…”

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          • Joe

            “But the question facing the militant atheists was, ‘How will we get rid of religion?’ ”

            Militant suggests activity against religion directly. Atheists are fighting a defensive battle to keep religion outside of school. Have have done nothing to attack peoples right to worship.

            Also the “How will we get rid of religion?” is a straw man argument. Atheists don’t think that.

            “Fine Tuning”

            Fallacy where religion labels something with a term that implies intelligent design, and then uses the term/argument to say it proves intelligent design is true. Evidence does not work that way.

            “Atheism demands that a person choose between science and God when in fact no such division needs to occur.”

            Straw man argument again. Atheism does not do that. It is Christians that make it so. The Bible conflicts with science as it comes to different conclusions. Christians that understand science yet worship still need to rationalize those differences. In doing so they are ignoring statements in the Bible.

            Tell me again why there are 41,000 or so different Christian denominations and what makes yours right?

            As for your last statement, I agree with the worldview part. Science is a tool to learn about our natural world around us and does not necessarily disprove a God. However belief in a taught concept without evidence is kinda ludicrous. The Bible on the other hand attempts to explain the natural world as well as the supernatural.

            The clash comes when there are two different explanations for the natural world. Science provides evidence, the Bible does not. This damages the Bible’s credibility as a source of history or truth.

          • jmichael39

            ” Atheists don’t think that” – You don’t know what all Atheists think. You’re very persistent in accusing me of logical fallacies only to immediately commit your own logical fallacy. You have no clue what anyone but yourself thinks. To argue that you do is pure arrogance and hogwash.

            “Atheism does not do that. It is Christians that make it so” – There you go accusing me of a logical fallacy only to do the very same thing you suggest is a logical fallacy on my part. Do I take your assertion seriously? Or do I just dismiss it as a logical fallacy as you do whenever you don’t like something I claim? Rather than avoid your assertion, I’ll present one reality. While Christianity has accepted science on numerous levels, including the assertions of microevolution, which I would presume would be the first element of science that Christians would be assumed to reject, most atheists would summarily reject ID arguments as “not real science” purely because the conclusions of ID are theistic in nature.

            ” The Bible conflicts with science as it comes to different conclusions.” – Really? Did someone tell you that or do you just assume it be that way? The Bible was far ahead of its time in understanding scientific truths long before our scientists discovered them. For example, the Bible speaks of the lands separating…a reality geologists didn’t discover until the past 100 years. The bible long ago spoke of a spherical earth that is independent in space (something Copernicus didn’t teach up the 1500s). The bible teaches that the stars are too numerous to count. Yet scientists prior to Galileo though there were perhaps no more than a thousand stars. Now we know there are billions just in our own galaxy and there are billions of galaxies. The bible talks of the rotation of the earth as well. The Bible talks of the ocean currents (Ps. 8). Matthew Maury is commonly known as the father of oceanography. He was among the first to discover and chart systematic ocean currents. Maury claimed that his research was inspired by Ps 8:4-8. Ecclesiastes speaks of the hydrological cycle of the winds long before science discovered them. It wasn’t until the 19th and 20th centuries that we began understanding that diseases were passed through microscopic organisms. Yet the bible teaches this ages ago. I could go on if you wish.

            “However belief in a taught concept without evidence is kinda ludicrous.” – And you assume that all evidence must be scientific? Or no? That in order for something to true it must be proven scientifically?

            “The Bible on the other hand attempts to explain the natural world as well as the supernatural.” – First of all, the Bible is not a single book. It is 66 uniquely different documents. Not a single one of them attempts to explain the natural world. There are poetic books in the Bible. There are historical books in the Bible. There are prophetic books in the Bible. There are letters written to specific groups of people in the Bible. Those 66 documents represent a significant part of our historicity of ancient times. Much of what is recounted in the Bible has been verified by extra-biblical documents and archaeological evidence.
            Please note, I’m not suggesting you have to agree with the theological conclusions the authors of those documents came to or that anyone else reading those documents come to. But the historicity of the various books of the Bible has been validated.
            The fact that you would suggest that a document’s historicity is tarnished by some sort of incomplete, incoherent or inaccurate scientific assessment is terribly fallacious. By that logic ANY document that is later proved to be somehow partially or completely inaccurate as to its scientific facts should be instantly tossed out as being also historically non-credible. By that logic, should be toss out, as non-credible, a science book that contains something in it that is found to be inaccurate about history? I am certain you would not agree with that happening to other books written. So why do you do that with the Bible’s 66 documents?

          • Joe

            I gave you the definition of atheism. In order to be an atheist you must fit the definition of being an atheist. Using that definition I showed you that it was indeed not a religion. There is no existing fallacy.

            if you can’t understand at least that then there is really is no need to keep discussing this with you.

          • jmichael39

            “Atheism is [the inmate’s] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said.

            The Supreme Court has said a religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being. In the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins, the court described “secular humanism” as a religion.

            religion:

            “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects”

            “something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience”

            atheism:

            “the doctrine or belief that there is no God.”
            So sorry you can’t figure this out. But there’s little doubt whatsoever that atheism is a religion.
            But I’ll take your unwillingness to address the rest of my posts to mean you have no rebuttal. Thank you. Have a nice night.

          • Joe

            Well, I’m glad that there is an Atheist on the Supreme court that…. wait. You mean there isn’t one? And they are going ahead and labeling our beliefs for us? That is good to know.

            Now that you have defined us to what you want us to be. Is there anything else? Amazingly enough, we have had a very long time ignoring what you thought of Atheists. I don’t know why I should start caring now.

          • jmichael39

            How the heck would you know whether the justices in those cases (yes there were more than one) are atheistic or not? Do you even know WHO the justices in those cases are? I highly doubt it. So spare me your persecution complex.
            You define yourself by your beliefs. Sorry if you don’t like how that turned our for you.

          • Joe

            An Atheist Supreme Court Justice would be all over the news. So I feel safe in the assumption that there are no Atheists in the SCOTUS.

          • jmichael39

            why would anyone ever be made aware of such a thing? It is not part of the vetting process for justices. Unless a justice were to say something publicly there is literally no reason it would be public knowledge.

          • Joe

            It would be nice if it was this way, but this is the realm of politics. If it was suspected he was an Atheist, there would be religious based questions to try to drag it out and use it against him. Heck, there are even laws in some states preventing an Atheist from holding office.

          • infidel1000

            Your churches and homes are not adequate for the purpose of worshipping your deity? Do you feel that your religion will suffer if you cannot employ the power and resources of the government to support and proselytize your dogma, forcing every unwilling citizen to be continually bombarded by its propaganda? And when you do, whose dogma is it to be? Fundamentalists? Catholics? Evangelicals? Muslims? Should there be a competition, or a war, to establish the supreme religion of the land? Shall we teach our children religious superstition and divine American exceptionalism instead of science and mathematics, and history, so that we can fall even further behind the rest of the world in technology, medicine, and foreign affairs than we already have?

          • jmichael39

            I could ask you the same questions about YOUR religion. Why, for example, is it such a threat to your fellow atheists that the scientific evidence in support of intelligent design be taught to our children and allow them to make their own choices about the science of it? And spare me the logical fallacy that ID is not real science. It is only considered ‘not real science’ by atheists/secular humanists because the basic conclusion of ID stands in stark contradiction to the fundamental dogma of atheism. There is nothing in the ID curriculum that advocates any particular religious view of the nature and character of this Designer…only that the evidence supports a Designer of the universe. The ID scientists choose to leave the argument about the character and nature of that Designer to the theologians and individuals. Notice I say, the “ID scientists” choose to leave that argument to theologians and individuals. There ARE many individuals who try to promote their own theological view of the Designer as science. That is NOT what the ID scientists do.

          • infidel1000

            We can’t ignore the central fact of this issue.
            And that is that ID is not real science.

            Study this case. It’ll answer all your questions and set you straight about all the fallacies you have about it, if you are really interested in the truth. Here’s a primer:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

            Otherwise, I wasn’t talking about this so I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince you, since you are apparently not interested in learning the truth anyway.

          • jmichael39

            “And that is that ID is not real science.” – and that’s not real logic. Well, it is, its just fallacious logic. But don’t let that stop you from believing it.
            Thanks for ignoring the rest of the post. I’ll take that to mean you have no intelligent rebuttal. Have a nice evening.

          • infidel1000

            Putting lipstick on a pig does not constitute science. ID is a scam. A rewrite of biblical creationism that simply fails to mention the bible or a god.
            Kitzmiller v Dover exposed the sham of ID to the nation.
            Post something intelligent and perhaps I’ll respond.

          • jmichael39

            already responded…try again.

          • jmichael39

            I would love to know the answer to a simple question…have you ever opened and read a book on ID? I’m curious because not a single person I’ve ever debated on this issue of the scientific nature of ID have never done so. Which seems rather strange. I mean, most of them have merely read some one else’s ‘review’ of some ID book. And here they are repeating a declaration by someone who is supposedly quite intelligent that ID is not real science. Its astounding really. That anyone would accept such a fallaciously illogical statement as fact. While I can respect an argument of disagreement as to the scientific conclusions made by ID scientists, it wreaks of self-serving bully-ism to simply dismiss it as not ‘real’ anything. No real Scotsman would ever believe such nonsense….yes that was sarcasm.

          • infidel1000

            I’ve read a few magazine articles about it but no books. I consider the source. I read a book about “young earth” “theories” and it all seemed ridiculous to me. I don’t even remember the name. I consider the source, and look at who’s writing it and what their motivations are. The whole idea of ID is just a cheap rewrite of creationism with the bible and god parts omitted, so as to seem to the credulous to be legit. Kitzmiller v Dover contains testimony that indicates the documentation of the very process of the “Discovery Institute” and others to camouflage the morphing of creationism into ID. So called “ID scientists”, though in some cases accredited, have never brought a peer reviewed study into a major scientific publication. The excuse is that they are not allowed because of “political correctness” or some such rot to present their religious convictions as scientific fact. If ID is analyzed with the microscope of the scientific method, It simply doesn’t hold up. If I thought you’d read it critically, I’d recommend that you read the transcript. I doubt you would, though.

          • jmichael39

            Well, first of all, the vast majority of ID scientists are not young earth advocates.

            Second magazine articles written by ID scientists? or about them?

            Third, Behe’s response to Kitzmiller

            (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation.

            It does no such thing. The Court’s opinion ignores, both here and elsewhere, the distinction between an implication of a theory and the theory itself. As I testified, when it was first proposed the Big Bang theory struck many scientists as pointing to a supernatural cause. Yet it clearly is a scientific theory, because it is based entirely on physical data and logical inferences. The same is true of intelligent design.

            (2) The argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s.

            The dualism is “contrived” and “illogical” only if one confuses ID with creationism, as the Court does. There are indeed more possible explanations for life than Darwinian evolution and young earth creation, so evidence against one doesn’t count as evidence for the other. However, if one simply contrasts intelligent causes with unintelligent causes, as ID does, then those two categories do constitute a mutually exclusive and exhaustive set of possible explanations. Thus evidence against the ability of unintelligent causes to explain a phenomenon does strengthen the case for an intelligent cause.

            (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.

            To the extent that the Court has in mind my own biochemical arguments against Darwinism, and to the extent that “refute” is here meant as “shown to be wrong” rather than just “controverted”, then I strongly disagree, as I have written in a number of places. If “refute” is just intended to mean “controverted”, then that is obvious , trivial, and an injudicious use of language.. A “controversial” idea, such as ID, by definition is “controverted.”

            (4) ID is predicated on supernatural causation, as we previously explained and as various expert testimony revealed. … (21:96-100 (Behe); P-718 at 696, 700 (“implausible that the designer is a natural entity”).

            Again, repeatedly, the Court’s opinion ignores the distinction between an implication of a theory and the theory itself. If I think it is implausible that the cause of the Big Bang was natural, as I do, that does not make the Big Bang Theory a religious one, because the theory is based on physical, observable data and logical inferences. The same is true for ID.

            (5) ID proponents primarily argue for design through negative arguments against evolution, as illustrated by Professor Behe’s argument that “irreducibly complex” systems cannot be produced through Darwinian, or any natural, mechanisms. (5:38-41 (Pennock); 1:39, 2:15, 2:35-37, 3:96 (Miller); 16:72-73 (Padian); 10:148 (Forrest)).

            In my remark here I will focus on the word “cannot.” I never said or wrote that Darwinian evolution “cannot” be correct, in the sense of somehow being logically impossible, as the court implies (referencing exclusively to Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses). In its use of the word “cannot” the Court echoes the unfair strategy of Darwinists to force skeptics to try to prove a negative, to prove that Darwinism is impossible. However, unlike in mathematics or philosophy, in science one cannot conclusively prove a negative. One can’t conclusively prove that Darwinism is false any more than one can conclusively prove that the “ether” doesn’t exist. With this unfair strategy, rather than demonstrating empirical plausibility, Darwinists claim that the mere logical possibility that random mutation and natural selection may in some unknown manner account for a system counts in their favor.

            In the history of science no successful theory has ever demonstrated that all rival theories are impossible, and neither should intelligent design be held to such an unreasonable, inappropriate standard. Rather, a theory succeeds by explaining the data better than competing ideas.

            (6) Professor Behe admitted in “Reply to My Critics” that there was a defect in his view of irreducible complexity because, while it purports to be a challenge to natural selection, it does not actually address “the task facing natural selection.” (P-718 at 695). Professor Behe specifically explained that “[t]he current definition puts the focus on removing a part from an already functioning system,” but “[t]he difficult task facing Darwinian evolution, however, would not be to remove parts from sophisticated pre-existing systems; it would be to bring together components to make a new system in the first place.”

            I “admitted” this “defect” in the definition of irreducible complexity in the context of discussing (in passing, in a long article) a zany hypothetical example that Robert Pennock concocted in his book, Tower of Babel. Pennock, a philosopher, wrote that a complex watch could be made by starting with a more complex chronometer (a very precise timepiece used by sailors) and carefully breaking it! — So therefore a watch isn’t irreducibly complex! As I testified I have not bothered to address Pennock’s point because I regard the example as obviously and totally contrived — it has nothing to do with biologically-relevant questions of evolution. That the words of my article are quoted by the Court without any reference to the context of Pennock’s silly example appears invidious and is certainly confused.

            (7) Although Professor Behe is adamant in his definition of irreducible complexity when he says a precursor “missing a part is by definition nonfunctional,” what he obviously means is that it will not function in the same way the system functions when all the parts are present.

            Yes, it’s obvious that’s what I meant because that’s exactly what I wrote in Darwin’s Black Box: “An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism)…” (DBB, p. 39) If it doesn’t work the same way when a part is missing, then it can’t be produced directly, which is just what I wrote. Nonetheless, I do agree that, for example, a computer missing a critical part can still “function” as, say, a door stop. That hardly constitutes a concession on my part.

            (8) Professor Behe excludes, by definition, the possibility that a precursor to the bacterial flagellum functioned not as a rotary motor, but in some other way, for example as a secretory system. (19:88-95 (Behe)).

            I certainly do not exclude that bald possibility merely by definition. In fact in Darwin’s Black Box I specifically considered those kinds of cases. However, I classified those as indirect routes. Indirect routes, I argued, were quite implausible:

            Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one can not definitely rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. (DBB, p. 40)

            University of Rochester evolutionary biologist H. Alan Orr agrees that indirect evolution is unlikely:

            we might think that some of the parts of an irreducibly complex system evolved step by step for some other purpose and were then recruited wholesale to a new function. But this is also unlikely. You may as well hope that half your car’s transmission will suddenly help out in the airbag department. Such things might happen very, very rarely, but they surely do not offer a general solution to irreducible complexity. (Orr, H. A. Darwin v. intelligent design (again). Boston Review [Dec/Jan], 28-31. 1996)

            There is no strict logical barrier to a Darwinian precursor to a bacterial flagellum having functioned as a secretory system and then, by dint of random mutation and natural selection, turning into a rotary device. There is also no absolute logical barrier to it having functioned as, say, a structural component of the cell, a light-harvesting machine, a nuclear reactor, a space ship, or, as Kenneth Miller has suggested, a paper weight. But none of these has anything to do with its function as a rotary motor, and so none of them explain that actual ability of the flagellum.

            A bare assertion that one kind of complex system (say, a car’s transmission) can turn into another kind of complex system (say, a car’s airbag) by random mutation and natural selection is not evidence of anything, and does nothing to alleviate the difficulty of irreducible complexity for Darwinism. Children who are taught to uncritically accept such vaporous assertions are being seriously misled.

            (9) Notably, the NAS has rejected Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity by using the following cogent reasoning:

            [S]tructures and processes that are claimed to be ‘irreducibly’ complex typically are not on closer inspection…. The evolution of complex molecular systems can occur in several ways. Natural selection can bring together parts of a system for one function at one time and then, at a later time, recombine those parts with other systems of components to produce a system that has a different function. Genes can be duplicated, altered, and then amplified through natural selection. The complex biochemical cascade resulting in blood clotting has been explained in this fashion

            Well, that’s a fine prose summary of the theory, but there is precious little experimental evidence that random mutation and natural selection can do what the NAS claim they can do. As I testified, in the 19th century prominent physicists overwhelmingly believed in the ether, not because of positive evidence for it, but because their theories of light required it. The “ether,” however, does not exist. Nor do experiments exist that demonstrate the power of natural selection to make irreducibly complex biochemical systems, either directly or indirectly–proclamations of the National Academy notwithstanding. Again, children who are taught to mistake assertions for experimental demonstrations are being seriously misled.

            (10) Professor Behe has applied the concept of irreducible complexity to only a few select systems: (1) the bacterial flagellum; (2) the blood-clotting cascade; and (3) the immune system. Contrary to Professor Behe’s assertions with respect to these few biochemical systems among the myriad existing in nature, however, Dr. Miller presented evidence, based upon peer-reviewed studies, that they are not in fact irreducibly complex.

            In this section, despite my protestations the Court simply accepts Miller’s adulterated definition of irreducible complexity in which a system is not irreducible if you can use one or more of its parts for another purpose, and disregards careful distinctions I made in Darwin’s Black Box. The distinctions can be read in my Court testimony. In short, the Court uncritically accepts strawman arguments.

            I could go on…and really should…but I’ll take a chance that you’re open mind enough to read the response on the website:

            http://www.discovery.org/f/697
            MORE in the next post

          • infidel1000

            I am neither a lawyer or a scientist and am not about to attempt to dissect this or any other dissertation line by line or point by point.. It would be a huge waste of my time. However, it seems to me that all these descriptions are just an example of sour grapes, and the result of an organization, with huge financial resources, and its attempts to keep its quest alive by obfuscation and misdirection. ID is simply a return attempt of creationism after its rejection from scientific consideration a decade earlier. This seems to me a redraft of the same. Creationism to biology is analogous to alchemy to chemistry or astrology to astronomy. Yet nobody tries to seriously push these defunct disciplines as “science” anymore. There’s no religious component to them, and nobody cares about them. But creationism, OTOH, is elevated in the eyes of believers, because of the obvious addition of a “creator”, which provides a religious (and in this country reads “christian”) starting point. In short, ID is just a logical extension of creationism, which, when it failed to convince anybody in the scientific community of its validity, had to seemingly drop its religious component in order to continue in its quest to subvert the true meaning of science, and to include god in everything we do and are. ID starts with a premise, that the universe is intelligently designed, and works backwards from there. Science does not work like that.

            Creationists (ID ers, if you prefer) are certainly entitled to attempt to get their ideas published and accepted as scientific theory. However, I think we all (including you) know that their real agenda is simply to increase and put the patina of scientific endorsement on religious faith, which is really not science, now, is it?

            That’s all I’m going to say about this. That’s my opinion, and I’ll leave it to the scientists and creationists and lawyers to hash out.

          • jmichael39

            ” am neither a lawyer or a scientist and am not about to attempt to dissect this or any other dissertation line by line or point by point.. It would be a huge waste of my time.” – In other words, you’ve never read a single article or paper or book by an ID scientist and have nothing of substance to add to the debate. But you’re gonna hang on every word spoken by those who agree with YOUR subjective, prejudged opinion on the issue of ID and try to use those words to sound intelligent on a subject you know nothing about. Thanks for clearing that up.

            “it seems to me that all these descriptions are just an example of sour grapes, and the result of an organization, with huge financial resources, and its attempts to keep its quest alive by obfuscation and misdirection” – LMAO…how truly funny. You won’t attempt to actually refute Behe’s rebuttal on the court’s decision, BUT you’re SURE its just sour grapes. Where DO you come up your logic?

            “This seems to me a redraft of the same.” – not that you’re a scientist or anything. Nor have you actually READ any ID material. You’re just sure it must be a retread. Why? Because somebody told you so. And you actually can get through life with this level of intelligence without falling down constantly?

            “But creationism, OTOH, is elevated in the eyes of believers,” – you’re kidding, right? Do you honestly believe that atheistic/secular humanistic scientists summarily reject ID because of the science of it? You’re laughable. They reject it because it violates a fundamental dogma of their religious beliefs. ID requires a person to believe in a Designer. While it never advocates any theories about the identity or character of this Designer, it is clear to any secularist/atheist that even giving ID the time of day opens the door to people believing in some sort of supernatural being. You likely reject ID for the same reasons. You can’t afford to give it any semblance of energy or time to read the material from ID scientists. To do so would essentially challenge your worldview. And the irony of all that is that all you so-called atheists/secular humanists like to beat your chests about how scientific you are and how rational and open minded you are. How you let the facts lead you to truth. And here you are doing the very thing you accused theists of doing…prejudging based upon your belief system…and not on the science. Yeah, yeah, I know, Real Scotsman don’t consider ID real science. Having a judge make the same logical fallacy doesn’t negate its fallacy.
            And of course, rather than actually refute the science of ID, like a good Alinski-ite, all you have to do is associate it with a label that carries demeaning ramifications to it. So what if ID is the natural off-shoot of Creationism. Designer, Creator…they latter is more religious sounding…so what? Even our founding fathers had a sense that we were ‘created’. Do you want us to change the Declaration of Independence wording because it offends you? I know Obama did in a couple of his speeches. Even Einstein believed there was a design to the universe and that implied there was a designer. What’s so scary about letting people decide for themselves? Oh I know, it might mean that more people might actually believe in that so-called fairy tale, huh? How hypocritically shallow.
            Some opinion…read only the stuff that agrees with your opinion, then try to sound like you’ve actually come to some logical conclusion based upon facts. LMAO.

          • infidel1000

            You’re a liar. You are attributing to me things I never said. Then, you presume to tell me how I think, and you are way off. And then you criticize me for not running off on a wild goose chase to cover all the “facts” you keep vomiting all over the aether, and I simply won’t bite. You use your pseudo-intellectualism to make connections between belief and reality like some sort of deranged psychotic, call me names, like an “Alinski-ite”, whatever that is, (In an apparent attempt to impress with your kaleidoscopic intellect) and just generally exhibit your total lack of a grasp on reality.

            I didn’t bring up the subject of ID. You did. You’ve said your peace. I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t care to peruse every crackpot scientific “theory” that some organization has a vested interest in propagandizing. You can believe any ridiculous thing you want. I don’t care. Just keep your religion out of the government and the public schools. Content yourself to browbeat those in private schools and your own kids into belief in heaven and hell, and all the sordid details involved. But you don’t have the right to inflict that on mine. If you try, you’ll have a fight on your hands.

            So you can stop your pathetic attempts at bullying now. You don’t scare me, so why don’t you just shut up and move along. As far as I’m concerned, this conversation is terminated.

          • jmichael39

            You’re funny, Infidel. You can’t even begin to engage in an intelligent debate. You rely on little more than logical fallacies and then get pissed when I call you on it. It would fun to engage in something of substance with you. However, you can’t seem to think for yourself and the depth of your resources seem to end at Wikipedia. Time to go back to the minors, little man. You’re way out of your league.

          • infidel1000

            I refuse to lower myself to your level of engagement. You are an arrogant, boorish, condescending misanthrope and I will not engage you further. Go ahead and have the last word. I know you can’t resist.

          • jmichael39

            In other words, you’re too freakin’ scared to engage in anything intelligent. Like I said, an intellectual fraud.

          • jmichael39

            Behe’s response address several of your other cogent points.

            But here I wish to respond to you point about peer-reviewed studies.

            This is where things get dicey. First, of all, there was ONE such peer reviewed article submitted and published by Smithsonian.

            The science community have acted like bullies when it comes to science that they personally find offensive. ID is one of those fields. Stephen Meyer submitted an article to The Proceedings which is published at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution. Initially, the paper was rejected, but the editor of the publication wrote to Dr. Meyer what he needed to do to make the paper publishable. Meyer did everything that was suggested, and the paper was published in 2004. That’s when all hell broke loose.
            If you read the article below, it explains what happened and provides several links to other articles with further details about the incident. It seems pretty evident from this event that there is a concerted effort being made to simply keep ID papers out of science journals and then they belittle the science of ID because it hasn’t been peer reviewed. Rather bully-ish if you ask me.

            http://www.discovery.org/a/2399

    • infidel1000

      That was before we were a nation. They found that it was a mistake to mix religion and government. The Constitution changed all of that. None of those schools that had any basis in the government could enforce those declarations after the ratification of the Constitution. Only the private ones could.

      • jmichael39

        Just because they chose not to make one denomination the official religion of the nation, does not equate to not mixing religion with government. They left the states to determine whether they wanted official state denominations. Which is why many did for decades after the founding.

        Aside from that the various ways in which our government definitively included religion without our country’s core public arenas is evident throughout the early decades of this country.
        ITs time to give up the notion that freedom OF religion equates to freedom FROM religion. You don’t like it, tough cow patties.

        • infidel1000

          The 14th Amendment destroyed that notion once and for all, too. Over 100 years of jurisprudence backs it up. Separation is the law of the land. If you want to live in a theocracy, I hear Mecca is nice this time of year…

          • jmichael39

            Logical fallacies…like your false dichotomy…are a wonderful way to distract attention away from the flaws in your argument.

            The Bill of Rights was originally written to apply only to the actions of the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment was the first to contain prohibitions on the actions of states.

            Soon after its ratification, the Supreme Court held in the Slaughterhouse Cases (1873) that the Fourteenth Amendment should be understood to apply only to the plight of former slaves and assuring their equal treatment under law. As time went on, however, the amendment was read more broadly and the doctrine of incorporation emerged.

            When the Supreme Court uses the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities Clause or Due Process Clause to rule that a state law or policy has violated a Bill of Rights protection, it is said to have “incorporated” that protection. For example, the Court incorporated the Establishment Clause in Everson v. Board of Education (1947), freedom of speech in Gitlow v. New York (1925), and freedom of the press in Near v. Minnesota (1931).

            Justice Hugo Black argued for “total incorporation,” or that the Fourteenth Amendment meant that all Bill of Rights protections now applied to the states. The Court, however, has used “selective incorporation,” applying some protections but not others. The Court has not applied the Seventh Amendment, for example, to the states. Why is that?

            Did the Congress that passed the Fourteenth Amendment (June 13, 1866) or the states that ratified it (July 9, 1868) intend that the Amendment incorporate, in whole or in part, the Bill of Rights? It is a telling indictment of the incorporation doctrine that nowhere in the Fourteenth Amendment does it say anything about incorporating any part of the Bill of Rights. The wisdom exercised by Chief Justice Marshall in Barron v. The Mayor and City Council of Baltimore (1833) should be followed here. In writing about the applicability of the Bill of Rights to the states, Marshall clearly explains why such was not the case:

            “Had the framers of these amendments intended them to be limitations on the powers of the state governments, they would have imitated the framers of the original constitution, and have expressed that intention. Had congress engaged in the extraordinary occupation of improving the constitutions of the several states, by affording the people additional protection from the exercise of power by their own governments, in matters which concerned themselves alone, they would have declared this purpose in plain and intelligible language.”

            It is inconceivable that if such a thing took place that such a significant doctrine as incorporation would be so veiled that it would take years before some Supreme Court judge discovered that there was such a thing.

            To read the full paper from which the last portion of this post is derived, please go to http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/03/12/the-14th-amendment-and-the-bill-of-rights/

            While judicial activism might seem appealing when the actions of the judiciary endorse one’s subjective political interests, it is hardly an endorsement of the original intentions of the framers of both the Constitution and the 14th Amendment (in this case). There is a reason why we have an amendment process within our Constitution, to allow for us to change the Constitution to mean something different than it was originally written.

            As the above site shows, the original intent of the 14th Amendment was NOT to incorporate the Bill of Rights to the states at all. It is only by judicial activism that it has come to mean that. While that may be appealing to an atheist, such as yourself, no objective analysis of this activism would conclude it was the intention of the 14th amendment writers.

            I understand your pleasure in knowing what activists in the courts have down in the past 75 to 100 years. I’m sure that’s wonderful for you. But you’ll forgive if I call “BS” on your claims that this country was NOT founded upon Christian principles and intended to be so. I openly admit that this is not what this country is about today. But you’re FOS if you think that’s not how it began and clearly was for the first 150 years or so.

            Nothing has changed in the Constitution…only the manner in which our judiciary applies it. And if that’s how you want our judiciary to be, don’t be surprised when they use that same activism to endorse policies that you don’t particularly like…even though they’re not constitutional.

        • infidel1000

          Does the Constitution give you freedom from islam, hinduism, and secular humanism? Yes? Then you have freedom FROM religion. I rest my case.

          Oh, and states can’t establish religions. If they could, the ones that are kookie enough to do so would surely have them. Why aren’t there any?

  • Kachina

    I have yet to see Christians stand up against Atheist and win. I have yet to see Christians stand up for their own beliefs against the invasion of Islam in our Public Schools. I have yet to witness Christians stand up against abortion. I have yet to see Christians march in our streets for Christ. UNIFY the Churches and create a WALK FOR JESUS, nationwide and worldwide ON Ascension Day 2016! I WANT to see Christians take part in how our country is being Created for future generations! WALK FOR JESUS campaign…. It is time~

    • MC

      “I have yet to see Christians stand up against Atheist and win.”

      Then open your eyes, it happens a lot.

      • Kachina

        It is time Christians stand up for America and frankly MC I just do not see it happening.

  • Wan Lee

    Religion belongs in church and at home, not in school or any other public place.