25 Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Christian

Ed Babinski found a website by former seminarian Craig Lee Duckett that has a lot of good stuff on it. This whole site is a work in progress. Be sure to see Duckett's online book, Descending Babel.

Here are 25 reasons why Duckett is no longer a Christian:

1) The world simply does not behave the way described in the Bible
2) The words used to define Christian Doctrine are representative of things whose existence cannot be 'proved' outside of language
3) The Fall of Adam & Eve (and resulting Doctrine of Original Sin) is incoherent and contrary when compared to scientific evidence and other doctrines
4) The concepts of Heaven and Hell are equally morally and ethically reprehensible
5) Historical Evidence shows much of the Old Testament was appropriated from earlier Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Canaanite, & Persian Myths
6) The Account of the Flood and Noah's Ark bears striking similarities to the Epic of Gilgamesh and other pre-dating Creation/Flood myths
7) Persian Zoroastrianism altered Jewish Doctrine during the Babylonian Captivity
8) The influence of the pseudepigraphal Book of Enoch on the mystical Good-Evil dichotomy of Christian Doctrine
9) The influence of Philo of Alexandria on the development of Christian Doctrine
10) The ancient gods and goddesses that were assimilated by the Hebrews to become Elohim EL & Yahweh YHWH
11) Myths of Dying-Resurrecting God-Men Born of Virgins that Pre-Date the Story of the God-Man Jesus
12) The Problem of Evil (Theodicy) and the Hiddenness of God
13) Natural (Empirical/Scientific) vs. Supernatural (Faith/Language-Based) Belief Systems
14) The Gospels are not 'eyewitness' accounts but anonymous third-person narratives
15) The 'Evolution' of the Christian Canon and Jesus' Godmanship
16) Saul/Paul of Tarsus and the 'Re-Creation' of the Christian Myth
17) Archaeology and Biblical claims
18) Biblical Criticism: Findings as to Who - What - When - Where - How - Why
19) The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenes
20) The Nag Hammadi Library, Ugaritic Texts, and Armana Tablets
21) Canonical and Extracanonical books, the Gnostics, and Church Councils
22) Examined objectively, the Bible is rife with errors, contradictions, misstatements, and inconsistencies
23) Belief, Doubt, Disbelief and Critical Thinking
24) Science and the Scientific Method
25) Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution

To see these things argued for by him read this. It contains some really good books for further reading!

59 comments:

ecualegacy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Seems like an awfully narrow view of Christianity. Does't this amount to a "straw man" argument? You implicitly define Christianity to require Biblical literalism, then you debunk Biblical literalism.

That is not the same as debunking any particular brand of faith and/or spirituality. Spirituaity is subjective and not empirical, and it can never be debunked.

"A-ha!" you say. "If it cannot be debunked, then it does not exist!"

This argument implicitly assumes the untestable hypothesis that everything is empirical. You assume that everything can be weighed, measured, tested and compared, or it does not exist.

Your irrational faith in empiricism is ironically amusing. I suspect you will have trouble seeing and acknowledging the irony.

There is more to this life than we can touch with scientific instruments. My Christian faith helps me deal with that. Yes, my faith has no rational basis. That's why it is called "faith," rather than "proof." I'm okay with that. Why aren't you?

--Stomper

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Stomper: Argument from Ignorance. Something that cannot be disproven doesn't imply that it's real. Can you disprove that there are flying unicorns? No, you can't. But that doesn't mean that they exist.

Your line, "If it cannot be debunked, then it does not exist" is backwards. See above for the real argument from ignorance. You're looking at it from the wrong way. Evolution can't be debunked. By your strawman argument, you're saying that since a scientific fact can't be debunked, it does not exist.

This is simply wrong. Something that cannot be debunked implies that it is a fact. Which means the argument that your strawman makes is backwards. Someone on my side would actually say that you're arguing from ignorance.

Since something cannot be proven, it must exist; just like my flying unicorn example. It can't be disproven, so it must exist. Like I said above, your arguments are wrong; especially when you try to come up with an argument that your opponents would use.

Anonymous said...

"irrational faith in empiricism?"

LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm not asking anyone to prove a negative proposition. My point is simply that some things (like faith) are not subject to empirical testing.

The scientific method holds that a hypothesis must be falsifiable, or "subject to being debunked." A strong argument against Intelligent Design as a "scientific" theory asserts that ID is not science because it is not falsifiable. ID cannot be debunked, and therefore, ID should not be treated as science.

I agree with this proposition (I certainly don't want public schools teaching ID as science), and that is what I meant when I rhetorically asserted that something does not exist if it cannot be debunked. I made that statement for rhetorical effect, so that I could then explain that falsifiability is only a requirement for empirical knowledge.

Falisifiability is not a requirement for faith, but empiricists commonly make the mistake of applying empirical tests to faith anyway. Then the empiricists claim that faith is flawed because it is not empirical.

That is like claiming that an apple is flawed because it is not an orange. Science and faith are separate, and only muddy thinking will let the two overlap. However, that works both ways.

Proponents of teaching ID as science are wrong, because ID is faith, not science (BTW, I am very comfortable with evolution). On the other hand, empiricists who try to scientifically disprove faith are likewise misguided.

It is very common for atheists and agnostics to put the burden of proof on those asserting faith. By definition, that is what agnosticism IS.

Thing is, I'm not the one creating a website to "debunk" any particular brand of faith. Craig Lee Duckett and the authors of this website are advancing a false proposition, that Christianity can be debunked.

I'm saying there is no logical way to do that. I don't have to "prove" the validity of Christianity in order to point out the logical flaws in the website's approach.

In fact, I will readily concede that my faith is irrational and not subject to proof. My point is, that admission does not "debunk" my faith -- and in fact, my faith cannot be debunked.

At best, the authors can only debunk some very limited Biblical assertions that are not critical to my faith in the first place. Everything on Mr. Duckett's list appears to be substantially true. So? What does that have to do with my faith?

--Stomper

PS: Curious to see if the first reply to my initial post will be edited or deleted. Do the site's stated policies apply in both directions?

Craig Duckett said...

Having determined through cautious inquiry the way the physical world operates, claims of disembodied spirits, angels, demons, miracles, virgin births, resurrected bodies, life-after-death, walking-on-water, levitation, talking animals, heavenly bodies being magically manipulated or halted altogether, a young universe, global floods, prophecies fulfilled, fiery ascensions, et al, can be measured against verifiable data and accepted either as attributes of demonstrable reality or rejected as fanciful myth, superstition, ancient philosophy, fearful or wishful thinking, cultic tales, societal epics, etc. For example, if belief in angelic messengers persists in the absence of any physical evidence of the existence of angels (and contrary to natural law simply because the story of angelic messengers is advocated in an ancient religious text), then tradition has taken precedence over the veracity of truth. The oft-offered argument that just because no one has actually encountered an angel doesn't mean angels don't exist can be applied to a dizzying array of fantastic creatures: unicorns, fairies, ogres, leprechauns, pixies, dragons, even one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eaters, all of whose existence defies logic, common sense, and the way the world works. Perhaps the reason no one has seen an angel is the same reason no one has seen unicorns, leprechauns, or fairies. Words in a book do not a supernatural entity make. Mental concept is no substitute for physical proof, nor does the ability to perceive existence infer existence (as some apologists have argued that the mental construct of god “proves” the existence of god). If it does, then Donald Duck would be a living-breathing being rather than a cartoon character simply because we can consider him intellectually, envision his attributes, argue his personality, or ask ourselves however sincerely What Would Donald Do?

If there is no physical evidence for a religious claim or if it is impossible according to the associated mechanics of natural law, then that claim should be considered a myth or superstition until which time it might, however improbable, be validated. Only through validation can something be considered true and not through the hollow assumption of faith or the tenacious advocacy of a religious belief system no matter how stirring. Tradition alone does not an angel make, nor a prophet, nor a messiah, and sincere belief is not enough. Religious doctrine must be seasoned and tested in the hot smithy of the real world and tempered by the fiery hammer-blows of available historical evidence, tales of local heroes, theological discussions and canonical examination. To deny the emergence and evolution of any particular religion separate from its cultural surroundings, environment, local and historical battles, and neighboring tribes each with unique traditions and customs, is to presume incorrectly it was born in a vacuum or sprang full and complete like Dionysus from the thigh of Zeus. All religions are derivative, extrapolated, interpolated. It is in discovering from whence they derived, their history, and the effects of contemporary customs and dissimilar religious beliefs, that the truth can be known. By refusing to acknowledge the broad recipe used to concoct a religious tradition, fundamentalist/evangelical believers do a disservice to their beliefs and to the very definition of truth itself.

In short, is adhering to a rigid faith really honest and ethical or is it the exact opposite?

It is not enough to simply parrot what you believe by way of creed or articles of faith or to merely recite without comprehension the often error-prone English translation of long disused languages. Each religion is but a small piece in a very large and intricate puzzle, and the fundamentalists, in refusing to look at the other pieces, even unaware that many other pieces exist, miss out on celebrating the larger diorama that comes with hard work and diligence and industry and exploratory knowledge. And yet it is these very fundamentalists who believe they know god's will, god's plan, and god's design for mankind simply by assuming the validity of their one piece of the puzzle while refusing to acknowledge all the other pieces scattered about the table.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what Craig says here, even though I am coming at it from the other direction. It is a bad idea for the faithful to tie their faith directly to the explicit truth of ANY mythology.

For these people, science undermines their faith, because they built their faith on false foundations. When confronted with science that contradicts their mythology, they must either (a) abandon their faith completely, (b) attack science and scientists as the "enemy," (c) stick ther heads in the sand and ignore the science, or (d) take a hard look at their faith, and rebuild it from the ground up (the rarest response).

Mr. Duckett's response, though, continues to confuse faith with mythology, and seems to treat all Christians as though we are all fundamentalists and Biblical literalists. Blurring these distinctions is erroneous at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst.

I strongly disagree with two of Mr. Duckett's premises:

1. He says: "Only through validation can something be considered true." That is the point I argued against in my prior posts. He has not addressed those arguments. Not everything is subject to empirical testing and measurement, and Mr. Duckett's assertion indicates that he has adopted the false premise to the contrary.

2. He says: "It is not enough to simply parrot what you believe by way of creed or articles of faith . . ." I disagree. Because faith is not empirical, the only way to flesh it out is to arbitrarily choose a creed. I have chosen to be a Christian primarily because I was raised as a Christian (indoctrinated? brainwashed? Perhaps). Christianity works for me, and I don't need any further justification than that.

Let me try to say it this way: it is always a mistake to say that a person's faith is true or false. We can say that a particular mythology is false, but truth and falsity are not attributes which can apply to faith.

The Bible tells me Jesus taught with parables. Those stories contained valuable lessons, regardless of their literal truth

Prove to me that there never really was a Good Samaritan or a Prodigal Son, and you are not shaking my faith. That's because I don't really care whether those stories are literally true -- I only care whether those stories teach me valuable lessons.

I apply that same principle to the entire Bible. I simply don't care whether angels really exist, whether God created the universe in 7 days, whether He flooded the entire world or parted the Red Sea. I am quite willing to believe that all those myths are false. That does not change my faith.

So you can debunk Judeo-Christian mythology, but it is a logical fallacy to contend that you can therefore debunk faith. Unfortunately, that is a fallacy held by people on both sides of the argument.

--Stomper

Craig Duckett said...

Is believing in something, anything, a more noble venture than erring on the side of caution, remaining aloof and skeptical when confronted by fantastic claims, asking questions, seeking answers, consulting a broad variety of sources and viewpoints in order to arrive at the 'truth' (whatever 'truth' might mean) no matter the outcome?

Or why should we concern ourselves with belief at all, what other people think or adhere to, whether someone else's beliefs are far-fetched, ridiculous, superstitious, irrational, destructive, wishful, childish, or patently impossible?

Because belief is two-handed. It is capricious and two-faced. It will embrace the invisible, the improvable and extraordinary, then turn around and reject common rocks and strata, the light from distant galaxies, the motion of the earth, mountains, canyons, geodesic time and gravity's rainbow.

Belief will nimbly invoke misdirected terms like "the Will of God," "inerrancy," and “revelation” yet stumble over the hard science of "transposons" and "endogenous retroviruses."

Fussy and particular, stubborn and finicky, belief seemingly picks and chooses whatever it desires and without good reason. Like a child offered candy from a box of chocolates, it samples only what it thinks it wants while assuming what it doesn't want to be inherently disagreeable and unsavory. At first glance this may give the appearance of conscientious decision-making, but it is not. A selective predilection is imprinted upon belief's fickle buds beginning at birth.

And so, can belief be trusted? Or is there something else going on, something most people never give much consideration, yet should really, if for no other reason than belief can often time be both a killer and a thief. It can steal our liberty and kill our passion, plunder sensible thought and murder enthusiasm, rob us of precious time and end up denying us our lives. For the sake of belief people often reject (and would reject for all others) the good things in life—spontaneity, physicality, mindful honesty, and personal autonomy. Because of belief people might denounce (or renounce) sexuality, open-mindedness, and spiritual emancipation, then turn around and embrace guilt and denial, doom and gloom, fear, trembling, retribution, vengeance. Sometimes belief will slide in the other direction and assume a stance of self-righteousness and complacency devoid of any compassion, ethical understanding, or moral indignation. For example, belief allows a great many people to casually accept (even callously defend) the horrible profanity of Eternal Damnation and the Deity who conceived it without their ever blinking an eye, or taking offense, or denouncing either as immoral and reprehensible. Belief will excite others still into selling all their possessions and fleeing for the hills to await Armageddon, into crowded restaurants wearing explosives, into cockpits of passenger planes to hasten a Holy War, into the promises of millennial-old writings whose tales of magic and the miraculous violate so much more than the inviolable laws of physics. Given its role in life-altering choices, it is apparent that belief should never be taken lightly but instead rationally and critically examined across many different avenues, deliberately reviewed and tested, probed and vivisected for any and all assumptions, gaping holes, and fatal flaws. For decades I have tested myself and my beliefs with such deliberation.

You see, belief by itself requires no proof and compels no evidence. Believing whatever you will is effortless and undemanding. You merely have to announce, "I believe in such-and-such and that's good enough for me!" and that's why belief can be so comforting and hard to deny. It alleviates your fears and gives you hope, because it's your belief after all. You allow yourself to believe in the exact thing that makes you happy or gives meaning to your life. It pampers you and allows you to deny all those scary thoughts that always seem to be encroaching, the purposeless of life, the hiddenness of god, the finality of death, nothingness, the long dark void. In the end, belief isn't about you and God, or you and Jesus, or you and Allah. Belief is about you and you, how much you're willing to admit and how much you strive to conceal. Deep down inside we all know what belief is really doing, what's really going on, but very few of us are courageous enough to dig that far. That would require lifting the pick-axe, hacking at the hard-pan, getting dirty, working up a good sweat.

Aspiring towards truth, on the other hand, is anything but effortless or undemanding. It compels hard work. It demands an investment of time and diligence most people are reluctant to give, a willingness to sacrifice in the very search for truth the solace and peace of mind afforded by simple belief, and a steadfast resolve to journey after truth even if it leads straight into the abyss. Unlike belief, truth promotes no remote victories or transcendental dividends; to the contrary, it may bestow difficulty, devastation, moral uncertainty, even mental distress. As the Hebrew Bible warns, " For as wisdom grows, vexation grows; to increase learning is to increase heartache. " (Tanakh, Ecclesiastes 1:18) yet for those who honor truth above all else, they wouldn't have it any other way.

When it comes to belief, anything goes. Anything's possible. Most people accept their own beliefs as common and natural occurrences of life, but so too are dreams. Simply dreaming something doesn't make it real or true, and the same can be said of beliefs. Beliefs alone cannot circumvent the laws of physics, defy rational scrutiny, or disregard the rules of evidence. And why is that? Because anyone can believe any darn they want, absolutely anything, without having to ground it in reality or require it adhere to the machinations of the world. If Uncle Max wants to believe that chocolate milk cures cancer, then so be it. Does his belief make it true, no matter how sincerely or earnestly he proclaims it? Absolutely not, because simply believing something true is not enough to mean it's true nor do the extents of one's convictions, personal resolve, or meaningful intentions. More is required, quite obviously, before the passion of belief might be transfigured into the universal likelihood of truth—honest inquiry, for one, and the stringent testing of beliefs using all available information, data, consideration, and evidence.

Still, when it comes to religion, ideology, or claims of the paranormal, a great many people will happily avoid making any serious inquiries or exploring critical evidence in order to entertain beliefs that are wholly unfounded, misguided, or outright impossible. They can readily tell you who and what they believe, they just can't tell you how or why, the implication being that the object of belief has become more important than the motive impelling belief, a compulsion that somehow overrides one's sincere obligation to confirm claims beyond surreptitious sidestepping or the disregard of physical reality.

While people may be loathe in admitting that their beliefs are motivated, it is only because the physiological and psychological kinetics of the belief process go unrecognized or are deliberately neglected. This is certainly understandable, given human nature. Harboring a belief is easy. It's effortless. It requires no exertion and urges no proof. Simple acknowledgment is all it takes and you're free to believe any outrageous thing you'd like. Truth seeking, as I've said before, is a different beast entirely. Seeking truth is hard work. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes a lifelong commitment. And above all else, it runs the risk of dismantling cherished beliefs while demanding a keen and piercing mindful honesty. Unless you're willing to be honest with yourself and admit your own biases and prejudices, hopes and wishes, phobias and fears, assumptions, preconceptions, ignorance and inexperience, you are not seeking truth but only ways to continue serving and preserving your own insulated belief system. To a truth-seeker this simply will not do, having conceded striving and suffering after truth a more irresistible vocation then working to perpetuate those creature comforts awarded by untested belief. For the sake of truth, the seeker is willing to sacrifice it all, even those placating promises of eternal life, and embrace the undying fires of hell. If God exists and condemns critical thinking and rational inquiry as immoral and ungodly, then the truth-seeker has no other recourse than to find a haven in hell, if not a heaven.

Understanding the nature of human belief requires much more than posturing or name-calling, an appeal to inconspicuous deities or ancient anonymously-written books, because at the heart of the matter lays an inherent sense of trust, a core set of beliefs imparted without our consent while we were small children, indoctrinated and inculcated at a time when we had no capacity to question, evaluate, test, or reject. Because we trusted our parents, our elders, other family members, the culture into which we were born, we had no reason to doubt the information instilled upon us and which continued to influence us (both consciously and unconsciously) as we grew older. As young adults we may have had the opportunity to evaluate these core beliefs as we tried on autonomy, even challenged some of them, but for the most part (and to the extent they've annealed and become an abstract condition of our reality) it is difficult for us to consider our beliefs dispassionately or objectively. We were taught how to believe before we learned how to evaluate, and so it is upon this foundation of core beliefs that our thought processes were progressively constructed, the knotty neural networks laid out. As adults when we, on those rarest of occasions, actually think about thinking or assume our thought process can approach some degree of objectivity, what we are unable to imagine (or less likely consider) is the extent by which our underlying belief system is influencing our ability to think plainly and clearly, ultimately subjectifying what we interpret to be straight-forward and matter-of-fact. Without putting our beliefs to the task, without digging backwards far enough or deeply enough, we will never approach the kind of objectivity necessary for critical thinking or to achieve any real sense of mindful honesty. We are in fact directly burdened by our childhood past, as much by a missing parent, spiteful divorce, death in the family, abuse or neglect, as by the unexamined patterns of thought sown there. And make no mistake about it—ten years, twenty years, thirty years after the fact—many of us cling to comforting beliefs and contorted arguments as an attempt to shield ourselves or neutralize sticky feelings still percolating along the painful edge of memory.

And therein lays the root of the problem. Down how many branches of the family tree must we trace to determine from how far back our core beliefs have been tapped like syrup, pressed from parent to progeny, over and again, through generations of children too young to ask why, before seeing it is our distant ancestors (wide-eyed and primitive by today's standards) from whom we've inherited our oldest beliefs, whether cherished, irrational, untested, or otherwise. From the shadows of our youth there lingers a vestige of antiquity and superstition reaching across the world, bewitching our perception of reality, encrypting it still with totems and taboos, gods and goddesses, devils, angels, miracles, magic. Like a taproot teasing drink from deep chthonic streams, we siphon belief from the aboriginal past, when the world was flat and the center of the universe and human beings the crowning centerpiece of creation.

With typical egotism and aplomb, we have made ourselves the stars of the show thereby assuring top billing, claiming headliner status around which the meaning of life revolves like attentive cherubim. Even the gods recognize our superiority and clothe themselves in flesh so they might weep real tears, wrestle with temptation, leave bloody footprints in the sand and bear the cross of human suffering. Anthropomorphism notwithstanding, we envision ourselves the center of the universe while manipulating the world from the center of our heads, like commuters steering sedans through heavy traffic. And yet we mustn't judge our egocentrism too harshly—we can only be where we are after all—and it seems we occupy a spot directly behind our eyes or between our ears or above our noses. It's a physical quirk of biology, this self-centeredness, because of the location of our brains and the adjacent portals of sight, sound, scent, and taste. We may touch with our whole bodies, but we feel inside our skulls, hear surround-sound voices, the incessant whispering of our own thoughts and emotions. On the other hand, reality is what happens outside our heads insomuch as it can be shared and confirmed by others. Reality is what exists irrespective of interior dialog, collective imagination, groupthink, or the million little assumptions we embrace to convince ourselves our view of reality is the right view, the real view, the true and righteous view.

Oh, if it were really that simple.

Anonymous said...

Very poetic. If there's logical argument buried in there, I didn't see it. Seems to boil down to blind faith in empiricism. I guess we all have to put our faith somewhere . . .

I agree that faith should not get in the way of the search for truth. In fact, that's one of the points I was trying to make above.

However, it is a logical fallacy to believe that the search for some objective truth will even approach the issue of faith. Faith is neither true nor false, by any objective measure.

Certainly, adherence to religious mythology has interfered with empirical science in the past, and it continues to do so today. So attack the abuse of religious mythology. I'm on your side with that one. Just don't expect me to surrender my faith -- any more than I expect you to stop worshipping empiricism as the answer to everything. It might be, but you can't prove that, can you?

--Stomper

Craig Duckett said...

Without relying on or deferring to words (which are by necessity abstract and artificial) everything we know, we know empirically (while even words are read using the eyes, heard through the ears, etc).

If we want to know if something is 'real' or not, all we have to do is ask ourselves whether we can experience it without the use of language (whether spoken, heard, written, or read).

If we remove all instances of language, what's left over, whatever is remaining, is reality. We can remove the word 'tree' and still experience trees; we can remove the word 'sky' and still experience the sky; but if we remove the words 'god' or 'heaven' or 'hell' or 'salvation' or 'soul', even broader words like 'faith' and 'belief', where are these to be experienced? How were they initially experienced, if not through the artifice of language?

We are natural beings, comprised of matter, and everything we know we have learned through our senses by empirical means. If we never heard the words 'god' or 'soul' or 'life-after-death' would we have any reason whatsoever to believe in their existence? I don't have to "worship empiricism" because I am, plainly and simply, made up of sensate matter and an empirical being. What else can I be? I can't escape it or separate myself from it. "Faith" seems nothing more than a hope in words to represent or stand-in for 'ideas' nowhere found in the 'real world', that exist only by way of definition. As such, faith is purely subjective since anyone can empower any groupings of words to define into existence things found nowhere in the 'real world'.

The bottom line: religion and faith by necessity rely on words to exist while the 'real world', the empirical world, the material world does not. Any 'faith' based on words is actually 'faith' in words and nothing more. In the absence of language there is no need for faith! In the absence of language faith isn't even an issue. In the absence of language there is only the sensed and sensual.

Pax et bonum,

--Craig

nick said...

Stomper, you missed one of Craig's critical points about faith:

...anyone can believe any darn [thing] they want, absolutely anything, without having to ground it in reality...

Is the faith of a Muslim equally valid as your own? How about the faith of a Hindu, or a Sikh, or a Scientologist, or a follower of Jim Jones? Why is irrational faith superior to empiricism? People make decisions based on their irrational beliefs, when these decisions affect public policy society often suffers as a result.

You're also saying your faith is a good thing, but Craig's "faith" in empiricism is short-sighted, so you are in fact trying to debunk his "faith." In any event empiricism isn't about faith, it requires evidence.

John W. Loftus said...

Stomper said...Yes, my faith has no rational basis. That's why it is called "faith," rather than "proof." I'm okay with that. Why aren't you?

We do not attempt to debunk irrationality here. It's impossible to do so if someone willingly embraces it like you do. We are attempting instead to debunk people who claim to be rational. Only people who claim to have a rational faith can be reasoned with. You on the other hand, are not. You are definitely delusional. Without a rational faith you have no way of rationally defending what you believe, and yet you do. People like this are blind. They adopt the faith they were taught and that's it. But truth? What's that to such a person? Nothing.

Unless you want to join the ranks of people who claim to have a rational faith, a correct one, one that can be rationally defended, I might as well hum a few bars in Braille.

Jamie G. said...

Craig,
I went to your site.....wow! I'll be spending quite a bit of time there. I am eagerly anticipating the finishing touches to your synopsis of your 25 reasons. Good stuff, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Can you taste, hear, see, touch or smell consciousness? No, you can only assemble circumstantial evidence for it.

How do you empirically measure consciousness? How does empirical science explain it? Science may eventually explain it, or science may never be able to explain consciousness. Does that mean consciousness does not exist?

Or does your conviction that consciousness exists force you to conclude that empiricism MUST be able to explain it someday? I call that faith.

We all make assumptions, once we get past "Cogito ergo sum." You are fooling yourselves if you think you can somehow "prove" your assumptions are better than mine.

I don't fool myself into thinking faith can ever be rational. How does that make me delusional?

There is no such thing as rational faith. That's an oxymoron. Of course you would rather debate someone willing to walk into that trap, and fool themselves into thinking they can "prove" anything about faith. But its not really a debate if you get to make all the rules and define the terms so that you never lose.

Why do you fear the possibility that there are parts of the human experience beyond the reach of empiricism? That's part of the beauty. I embrace that possibility -- and your only response is to dismiss me as a loon. Wow. THAT's a compelling argument.

--Stomper

PS I note that the first response to my first post has not been edited or deleted, despite the personal attack and obvious show of disrespect. That tells me everything I need to know about the objectivity of your site.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Nick:

I can't say whether the faith of another is more "valid" than my own. I can only say what works for me.

What are the criteria for determining "validity" of a faith? Again, that is like trying to assign values like "truth" or "falsity" to faith. Those empirical concepts do not apply, and that is the mistaken assumption underlying this entire website's STATED purpose.

Feel free to debunk Judeo-Christian mythology, and to attack the social utility of acts done in the name of religion. That seems to be your true purpose here, and if that were your stated purpose, I'd have no quarrel.

I never said an irrational faith (mine or any other's) is superior to empiricism. I am an empiricist myself. But I don't assume that empiricism has ALL the answers.

Faith and empiricism are not at odds, so long as they don't try to address the same issues. They complement each other.

And no, I'm not trying to attack anyone's faith in empiricism. I would just like for people to see that it is indeed just a different kind of faith.

You are all fooling yourselves if you think you are 100% rational. You are human beings, and 100% rationality is NOT an option.

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

Clarification: I should have said that RELIGIOUS faith and empiricism are not at odds.

--Stomper

John W. Loftus said...

Stomper said...There is no such thing as rational faith.

Then you may go on your delusional way. Also, you probably don't know what "faith" really is.

Adrian Miu said...

Stomper, why aren't you a deist? Why are you a christian when you don't believe most of the fairytales in the bible? Are you cherry picking God's words? Or the stories of christian heaven arroused your imagination so much that you fool yourself into believing that you are a "true" christian why denying the supernatural that you don't like?
Falsiability is not a requirement for all theories, just for those that we want to share with others. If a theory would not be falsifiable it would have no characteristic to differentiate it from a delusion and it is immoral to force your delusions onto others.
The problem with the unfalsifiability of faith theories is that they were accepted as normal by ancient people who didn't know better. Some still don't. No wonder some people don't accept evolution. They missed it by few inches.

Radical said...

As for empiricism; there comes a point when empiricism fails us and we have no other choice but to move beyond what we think we know and beyond the ways we think we can know something and are left to decide a thing with faith either way. That is why atheists are really agnostics because they believe that there is no God. For they can NEVER really make the claim that they know for sure that there is no God. Empiricism can not answer that question for them. Christians do not limit themselves to empiricism to rebut your argument then that Christians must also be agnostics. I call you agnostics because by limiting yourselves to empiricism, which ultimately fails, you define yourselves as agnostics.

Christians are not Christians as a "cop-out". Atheists must understand that they are posing their own prejudgments on faith and Christianity.

Science is a tool and can be misused.

Christianity is a lifestyle. It is a way to live that is not how we explain things, though things may be explained, it is more about salvation and redemption and forgiveness and getting to know God. Christians use science, there are Christians who are scientists.

So the argument that Christianity is a "cop-out" is based on the misconception that Christians use Christianity where science fails absolutely and that is all it is for us when in reality it is much more than that.

There are many problems of the theory of evolution. Many things just do not add up. As for evolution, the question of DNA and its complexities, also the human eye is another stumbling block for evolutionists. But because they limit evolution as a way of explaining things, they perceive Christianity the same way and accuse Christians of using an out dated method of knowing things, when in fact that is not what Christianity is, while they, even with evolution's apparent problems, hold fast to it and refuse to admit that either the theory of evolution is wrong or it must be reworked to either include a creator or and some other worldly interference.

Anything can be miss used. Religion can and has been. So can science.

A hammer can be used to pound nails into the framing of a house or it can be used to smash in a persons brains. Does this mean that hammers should be removed from the world? No, of course it does not. Our atheists friends realize this. They realize that anything can be used either to help or hurt, but the way they write about religion is as if it is the worst thing in the world. When what happened is that people were and are misusing it. There arguments that faith hurts people and should be removed is as ridiculed as if i were to say that fire kills people and should be removed.

Why I am not a deist and instead a Christian is because of Jesus Christ. I would not believe in God at all if God was not revealed to me through the life of Jesus Christ revealed in the gospels.

We can argue whether or not the gospels are reliable and they have yet to be proven absolutely unreliable when in fact they are more reliable according to your standards than many historical documents of that time that are accepted by your standards.

I say by your standards not because Christians don't ask questions and investigate, and it is because we do ask questions and investigate that we can refute many of your claims, but because unlike you when we read the gospels we read them in the spirit of God rightly dividing the word of truth.

I grew up down the street from a man named Joshua. We are both the same age, we went to the same school, both of our fathers were named Fred. We both dated the same girl named Heidi. We graduated from the same high school in the same year and were in many of the same classes. We are equal in hight and almost in weight. We have the same color hair but not the same color eyes. Our names are similar as well. So if a biographer was to write about both of our lives there would be a lot of places in his accounts that matched up and were similar. If only one manuscript of each account survived an nuclear holocaust and 4 thousand years later archeologist's found only fragments of them, they could conclude that we were the same person. This would be a possibility. But we were not the same person.

When a storm is coming, I always thought it was interesting that seagulls would fly inland. They knew it was coming. An event as big as the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is bound to felt and perceived long before it happened and also the affects of it would last long after it happened.

It is not the main reason, but one reason I believe in Christ is because I don't want people like the ones on this site trying to tell me how to live my life. I give that over to God because I believe he knows better. That's a statement of faith.

Benny said...

I agree with Stomper: the anonymous comment from 2:48 PM, June 19, 2007 does not belong here.

Radical said,

There are many problems of the theory of evolution. Many things just do not add up. As for evolution, the question of DNA and its complexities, also the human eye is another stumbling block for evolutionists.

I think your understanding of evolution is flawed; please elaborate on what you perceive as problems for evolution.

Rod Staff said...

Be careful what you ask for...


--I think your understanding of evolution is flawed; please elaborate on what you perceive as problems for evolution.--
Gladly...

As Lee Strobel explains: "The data at the core of life is not disorganized, it's not simply orderly like salt crystals, but it's complex and specific information that can accomplish a bewildering task—the building of biological machines that far outstrip human technological capabilities" (p. 244).

For instance, the precision of this genetic language is such that the average mistake that is not caught turns out to be one error per 10 billion letters. If a mistake occurs in one of the most significant parts of the code, which is in the genes, it can cause a disease such as sickle-cell anemia. Yet even the best and most intelligent typist in the world couldn't come close to making only one mistake per 10 billion letters—far from it.

So to believe that the genetic code gradually evolved in Darwinian style would break all the known rules of how matter, energy and the laws of nature work. In fact, there has not been found in nature any example of one information system inside the cell gradually evolving into another functional information program.

Michael Behe, a biochemist and professor at Pennsylvania's Lehigh University, explains that genetic information is primarily an instruction manual and gives some examples.

He writes: "Consider a step-by-step list of [genetic] instructions. A mutation is a change in one of the lines of instructions. So instead of saying, "Take a 1/4-inch nut," a mutation might say, "Take a 3/8-inch nut." Or instead of "Place the round peg in the round hole," we might get "Place the round peg in the square hole" . . . What a mutation cannot do is change all the instructions in one step—say, [providing instructions] to build a fax machine instead of a radio" (Darwin's Black Box, 1996, p. 41).

We therefore have in the genetic code an immensely complex instruction manual that has been majestically designed by a more intelligent source than human beings.

Even one of the discoverers of the genetic code, the agnostic and recently deceased Francis Crick, after decades of work on deciphering it, admitted that "an honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going" (Life Itself, 1981, p. 88, emphasis added).

Radical said...

Thanks for that Rod, its better when we work together I think.

Here Benny read this:

It is good to remember that, in spite of all the efforts of all the scientific laboratories around the world working over many decades, they have not been able to produce so much as a single human hair. How much more difficult is it to produce an entire body consisting of some 100 trillion cells!

Up to now, Darwinian evolutionists could try to counter their detractors with some possible explanations for the complexity of life. But now they have to face the information dilemma: How can meaningful, precise information be created by accident—by mutation and natural selection? None of these contain the mechanism of intelligence, a requirement for creating complex information such as that found in the genetic code.

Darwinian evolution is still taught in most schools as though it were fact. But it is increasingly being found wanting by a growing number of scientists. "As recently as twenty-five years ago," says former atheist Patrick Glynn, "a reasonable person weighing the purely scientific evidence on the issue would likely have come down on the side of skepticism [regarding a Creator]. That is no longer the case." He adds: "Today the concrete data point strongly in the direction of the God hypothesis. It is the simplest and most obvious solution . . ." (God: The Evidence, 1997, pp. 54-55, 53).

Calvinization said...

Evolution tells us that through chance mutations and natural selection, living things evolve. Yet to evolve means to gradually change certain aspects of some living thing until it becomes another type of creature, and this can only be done by changing the genetic information.

So what do we find about the genetic code? The same basic quality of information exists in a humble bacteria or a plant as in a person. A bacterium has a shorter genetic code, but qualitatively it gives instructions as precisely and exquisitely as that of a human being. We find the same prerequisites of a language—alphabet, grammar and semantics—in simple bacteria and algae as in man.

Each cell with genetic information, from bacteria to man, according to molecular biologist Michael Denton, consists of "artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction . . . [and a] capacity not equalled in any of our most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours" (Denton, p. 329).

So how could the genetic information of bacteria gradually evolve into information for another type of being, when only one or a few minor mistakes in the millions of letters in that bacterium's DNA can kill it?

Again, evolutionists are uncharacteristically silent on the subject. They don't even have a working hypothesis about it. Lee Strobel writes: "The six feet of DNA coiled inside every one of our body's one hundred trillion cells contains a four-letter chemical alphabet that spells out precise assembly instructions for all the proteins from which our bodies are made . . . No hypothesis has come close to explaining how information got into biological matter by naturalistic means" (Strobel, p. 282).

Werner Gitt, professor of information systems, puts it succinctly: "The basic flaw of all evolutionary views is the origin of the information in living beings. It has never been shown that a coding system and semantic information could originate by itself [through matter] . . . The information theorems predict that this will never be possible. A purely material origin of life is thus [ruled out]" (Gitt, p. 124).

The clincher

Besides all the evidence we have covered for the intelligent design of DNA information, there is still one amazing fact remaining—the ideal number of genetic letters in the DNA code for storage and translation.

Moreover, the copying mechanism of DNA, to meet maximum effectiveness, requires the number of letters in each word to be an even number. Of all possible mathematical combinations, the ideal number for storage and transcription has been calculated to be four letters.

This is exactly what has been found in the genes of every living thing on earth—a four-letter digital code. As Werner Gitt states: "The coding system used for living beings is optimal from an engineering standpoint. This fact strengthens the argument that it was a case of purposeful design rather that a [lucky] chance" (Gitt, p. 95).

zilch said...

Calvinization: you say

"So how could the genetic information of bacteria gradually evolve into information for another type of being, when only one or a few minor mistakes in the millions of letters in that bacterium's DNA can kill it?

Again, evolutionists are uncharacteristically silent on the subject."

You obviously have not read much about evolution. The origin of new genetic information by mutation, and the selection of useful mutations by natural selection, is the basis of modern evolutionary theory.

Er, you guys need to do some reading about evolution. A good place to start is Talkorigins.

Someone's quoting Michael Behe? Is this the same Behe who admitted under oath that astrology is a science", by his definition of "science"? ID is dead in the water: not one peer-reviewed paper in twenty years. It's all just PR, no science.

Benny said...

Rod Staff,

Just as a general note, I don't think Christian apologists like Lee Strobel should be cited in discussions about evolution or biology.

For instance, the precision of this genetic language is such that the average mistake that is not caught turns out to be one error per 10 billion letters. If a mistake occurs in one of the most significant parts of the code, which is in the genes, it can cause a disease such as sickle-cell anemia. Yet even the best and most intelligent typist in the world couldn't come close to making only one mistake per 10 billion letters—far from it.

How does this support the idea of God as designer? If God wanted to, he could've made the rate of error 0%, or are you saying that one mistake per 10 billion (with debilitating diseases as the result of these mistakes) was the best God could do? The existence of robust but imperfect biological systems argues more strongly for evolution than it does for an omnipotent designer.

So to believe that the genetic code gradually evolved in Darwinian style would break all the known rules of how matter, energy and the laws of nature work.

I know you said I should be careful what I ask for, but please do explain what rules and laws you believe are broken by evolution :)

In fact, there has not been found in nature any example of one information system inside the cell gradually evolving into another functional information program.

Au contraire!

In response to your quote from Behe's book "Darwin's Black Box", I give you the following:

First it will do no good to suggest that all the required parts of some biochemical pathway popped up simultaneously by mutation. Although this "solution" yields a functioning system in one fell swoop, it's so hopelessly unlikely that no Darwinian takes it seriously. As Behe rightly says, we gain nothing by replacing a problem with a miracle. Second, 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.

Behe's colossal mistake is that, in rejecting these possibilities, he concludes that no Darwinian solution remains. But one does. It is this: An irreducibly complex system can be built gradually by adding parts that, while initially just advantageous, become—because of later changes—essential. The logic is very simple. Some part (A) initially does some job (and not very well, perhaps). Another part (B) later gets added because it helps A. This new part isn't essential, it merely improves things. But later on, A (or something else) may change in such a way that B now becomes indispensable. This process continues as further parts get folded into the system. And at the end of the day, many parts may all be required.


LINK

Francis Crick, whom you quoted in closing, had this to say about creationism:

The age of the earth is now established beyond any reasonable doubt as very great, yet in the United States millions of Fundamentalists still stoutly defend the naive view that it is relatively short, an opinion deduced from reading the Christian Bible too literally. They also usually deny that animals and plants have evolved and changed radically over such long periods, although this is equally well established. This gives one little confidence that what they have to say about the process of natural selection is likely to be unbiased, since their views are predetermined by a slavish adherence to religious dogmas.

(The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search For The Soul, 1995)

Do you still think Crick supports your position?

Anonymous said...

from dictionary.com (italics mine):

faith
–noun 1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.


Please note that rationality is not a requirement for any of these definitions, and the second definition specifically excludes proof. If you can prove something empirically, then faith is not required and does not apply.

Faith only applies to things which cannot be proven, and thus have no rational basis. Hence, my shorthand statement that faith is irrational. Which definition of "faith" are YOU using?

If God's existence could be proven, then we would have no need for faith. Dozens of well-known philosophers attempted to logically "prove" the existence of God right up through the end of the Middle Ages (and I'm sure there are some uninformed amateurs still trying). They never succeeded, and they never could succeed.

Once you accept that there's no way to prove God's existence, then you must unavoidably conclude that faith is a matter of arbitrary choice. I choose to believe in the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*the small "c" indicates that "catholic" means "universal" in this context.


I'm not a deist because I choose to be a Christian. I choose not to believe that God created the universe and then abandoned it. There is no way to prove either position, but I'm okay with that.

As I said above, I chose to be a Christian because I was raised that way, and this faith is comfortable and rewarding for me. I belong to a United Methodist Church, and I teach Sunday School to adults and high school kids, but I do not evangelize or proselytize.

As I also said above, I am not a literalist. The Bible is full of stories with useful lessons, regardless of their literal truth. I believe that many Biblical accounts are not literally true, but the absence of literal truth is simply not important.

I also recognize that the Gospels were all written well after Christ's crucifixion, they are not eyewitness acoounts, and they may not be completely reliable. As a trial lawyer, I also know that even modern eyewitness accounts are far from reliable, so the Gospels really don't lose a lot of credibility there.

If anything, history and anthropology show us that oral traditions have generally been more consistent and reliable in societies with little or no literacy, because they HAD to be. So I believe that Jesus taught with stories (parables), and that Jesus actually told most or all of the stories attributed to Him.

The lessons in those stories have value, even if they are not exact reproductions of the words that came out of Jesus' mouth. So I don't CARE if the Gospels are 100% historically accurate.

Christianity is not "true" in any measurable, objective sense. Christianity works for me, and that is enough.

My point again: you can debunk Judeo-Christian mythology, and you can attack the social utility of acts done in the name of religion. I will agree that Christianity has been used and abused to justify all sorts of evil, and to motivate all sorts of good.

However, it is logically impossible to debunk faith itself. Logic has nothing to do with faith.

I agree with much of what "radical" said, but I don't believe ID is necessary. ID is a useful way to fill the gaps in evolutionary theory, but I am open to the possibility that science will eventually fill those gaps.

For example, it is not clear how the attributes of life (irritability, energy consumption, reproduction, etc.) all spontaneously appeared as inheritable traits at the same time, in the same single-celled creature, without divine intervention. It is not clear how the eye developed in stages, as there do not appear to BE any intermediate stages between light-sensitive patches on one end and liquid filled eyeballs with irises, adjustable lenses, and retinas on the other end.

So current science does not explain these gaps in evolutionary theory. I will not be surprised if science eventually does explain them, but until that happens (if it ever does), then ID fills the gaps nicely. That doesn't mean ID is science, and ID should never be taught as science. Empiricism and faith should never be conflated.

So Loftus, why do you keep saying I am delusional? That looks like an ad hominem attack, and makes you come across as someone who is unable to respond to the merits of my position(s). Seriously, what definition of "faith" are you using, and what do you consider to be proper, rational "faith"? Actually, you appear miffed that I'm conceding all your usual arguments, and leaving you nothing you can debunk.

If I failed to address any other points, let me know. I'll check back later.

--Stomper

Benny said...

Radical,

It is good to remember that, in spite of all the efforts of all the scientific laboratories around the world working over many decades, they have not been able to produce so much as a single human hair. How much more difficult is it to produce an entire body consisting of some 100 trillion cells!

Scientists not being able to do or explain something (yet) does not necessarily mean "God did it!". People used to credit lightning strikes as acts of gods due to lack of scientific understanding; that reasoning wasn't valid then, and it isn't valid now.

But now they have to face the information dilemma: How can meaningful, precise information be created by accident—by mutation and natural selection? None of these contain the mechanism of intelligence, a requirement for creating complex information such as that found in the genetic code.

What information dilemma? Intelligence is *not* a requirement for complexity.

Darwinian evolution is still taught in most schools as though it were fact. But it is increasingly being found wanting by a growing number of scientists.

Which scientists? I hope you don't mean Patrick Glynn, whose degrees are in English and American literature.

Since you quoted from his book, I thought you might be interested in reading the following rebuttal:

LINK

John W. Loftus said...

Stomper said...Please note that rationality is not a requirement for any of these definitions, and the second definition specifically excludes proof. If you can prove something empirically, then faith is not required and does not apply.

Are you being silly on purpose? There is an element of faith to everything we know ("justified true belief"), and there is an element of rationality to everything we believe. It's a continuum.

"confidence or trust in a person or thing". Now tell me how you decide to have confidence in a person or thing (like a tree limb you just climbed out on)? When you describe this you are going to offer REASONS! Reasons why you have confidence in a person or thing.

If you cannot give any such reasons then you can go on your merry delusional way. Anyone who shares such a viewpoint as you do can believe anything they want to. There is no point in even discussing these things.

secret destroyer said...

Your arguments have been addressed already if you had actually read what was written. There were other people cited besides the ones you had problems with. But the problems are your problems. Behe's words are taken out of context. Anything can be a science, if you understand the notion of conceptual schemes you would understand what he meant.

What about Werner Gitt?
What about Micheal Denton?
What about Patrick Glynn?

Do you have problems with their work?

If Duckett, a seminarian can comment on evolution than so can Stobel. According to your reasoning none of us can comment on 90% of what id discussed in this forum.

The evidence is their and you and other atheist evolutionist are too set in your ways to admit that what you thought was irrefutable evidence against God is actually betraying you and providing evidence for God. So you refuse to rework your THEORY. Yeah it is a THEORY based on out dated dogma and conceptual schemes. Your counter arguments are poorly and weak and as i have said do not account for all of ours and have already been addressed. It is time for you to "evolve" in your understanding of evolution. Stop living in the past. You are on your way out.

Benny said...

Calvinization,

I see that zilch has already made a response to you, so I'll just add the following in my usual link-manic fashion:

By asserting that data must have an intelligent source to be considered information, and by assuming genomic sequences are information fitting that definition, Gitt defines into existence an intelligent source for the genome without going to the trouble of checking whether one was actually there. This is circular reasoning.

Rebuttal of Werner's information-theoretic claims

Rebuttal of Michael Denton's book "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis

Benny said...

secret destroyer,

My post immediately preceding this one has links regarding Werner Gitt and Michael Denton. The link at the end of my post at 12:02 PM addresses Patrick Glynn's book. If you think the arguments raised in these links have all been addressed, feel free to point me to where this is done.

roundabout said...

Benny, all I see in your manic-links are frantic circular arguments by panic ridden evolutionists against the self-evident truth that evolution is very problematic, does NOT explain DNA is not a sufficient (does not even scratch the surface) answer to the question: Where do we come from?

Yes your links address the issues but it does so with assumptions based as facts, circular arguments a certain degree of biased optimism in favor of an outdated science and really just frantic reworking of old ideas and arguments. By linking to these poorly and weak articles you are only showing even more how evolution is a man made conceptual scheme that is betraying you and actually from investigating evolution scientists are beginning to posit in the undeniable possibility of an intelligent creator.

There will come a time when athiests will no longer be able to use evolution as a means to "disprove" the existence of God. More and more scientists are finding through investigating evolution that God is a very probable possibility. This time is actually upon us. Those of you who deny this are delusional. Christianity has triumphed over evolution. Why? Because evolution is a man made idea and thus it is not perfect and fallible.
It is time to abandon evolution and to open your minds to new possibilities. If you do not then you are going to be left out of a lot of conversations.


PROBLEMS OF EVOLUTION
1.Evolutionists are not open to all the evidence
1.The problem of equifinality
2.Evolutionists work with only one hypothesis
2.Evolution excludes rivals
1.Use of demarcation criteria
1.Science vs religion
2.Failure of demarcation criteria
3.Evolution fails its own demarcation criteria
1.Tentativeness
2.Testability
3.Falsifiability
4.Repeatability
5.Predictability

ringaround said...

Right on roundabout!

I'm not going to play some tired game with these guys. They are in denial. They are delusional.

People like this are impossible to reason with. One day soon evolution will be in the same ranks as astrology, just another bogus science. People like this, who have an irrational belief in an outdated irrational "science" are impossible to reason with.

They are so set in their dogma and conceptual schemes to see the truth of the matter.

Imagine if you were told your whole life that evolution disproved the existence of God only to be told that it does exactly the opposite.

Your first reaction would be denial and anger, then the rest of the grieving process would hopefully work out, and you would accept the facts and move on. But not the people here. They close their eyes and plug their ears to the real evidence. And they try and fight against it even as more and more of their scientists are abandoning them.

Evolution is a thing of the past deal with it.

Benny said...

secret destroyer/roundabout/ringaround,

The only frantic/panic-ridden person I see around here is you, masquerading as multiple users. I thought we were going to have a fruitful discussion about evolution, but it looks like you just want to play silly games. When you're ready to have an actual discussion, let me know, ok?

P.S. You might want to double-check the way you've numbered your "Problems of Evolution" :)

John W. Loftus said...

For those who are arguing on behalf of intelligent design, we've dealt with this at DC often. See here for example.

Anonymous said...

Loftus responded to me:

"Anyone who shares such a viewpoint as you do can believe anything they want to. There is no point in even discussing these things."

Aha! Then you DO understand what I have been saying. At least to this extent, we are agreed. Still waiting for an explanation for why that makes ME delusional. Or do you have your own super-secret definition of "delusional"?

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

Evolution happens. There's ample evidence of microscopic evolution, and there's even evidence of speciation at the macroscopic level. People who overstate evolution's weaknesses weaken their own credibility. Evolution may not explain as much as the empiricists would like, but that does not mean it is completely invalid.

The key, though, is to recognize that creationism and/or ID are not essential to one's faith. Regardless of my position on evolution, the Biblical creation myth does not survive empirical scrutiny. But disproving the literal truth of a Bible story is NOT the same as proving that God does not exist.

If you feel compelled to defend either of the two creation stories in Genesis, if your faith is so weak that it cannot survive that test, then you need to examine your own faith, and find a stronger foundation for it.

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

I read the articles in the links and it actually did not address the issues. It may have attempted to but it failed.
The simple fact remains: Evolution is full of problems. It is not even a real science. It is a historical science that can not be tested or proved. To use it to refute the existence of God is absurdity in absurdest.
Again also I must say that empiricism fails us. Here we go around and around. Evolution is fading away.

Anonymous said...

"Evolution happens. There's ample evidence of microscopic evolution, and there's even evidence of speciation at the macroscopic level. People who overstate evolution's weaknesses weaken their own credibility. Evolution may not explain as much as the empiricists would like, but that does not mean it is completely invalid."
According to your dogmatic dellusioned conceptual schemes maybe, but evolution is not a real science and these things actually never happened. The fruit fly experiment failed miserably. Also, the earth is too young for the the time is would take for us to evolve to where we are now.

inandout said...

"If you feel compelled to defend either of the two creation stories in Genesis, if your faith is so weak that it cannot survive that test, then you need to examine your own faith, and find a stronger foundation for it."

What do you know about faith? You have none. Your mind is too narrow.

Oops watch your step, looks like you just stomped in a whole pile of crap when you decided to try an d use a bogus science like evolution to disprove God. What do you know about anything?

Anonymous said...

So we agree that evolution does not successfully explain everything. Do you contend that no evolution has ever happened? Microscopically? Macroscopically? You refer to an unnamed "fruit-fly" experiment, but do you contend that there is no modern evidence of macroscopic speciation?

Accepting that there are weaknesses in evolution, do you contend that ID is somehow proven empirically? If so, then which brand of ID is allegedly "proven," and how is your brand of ID more empirical than evolution?

ID is a matter of faith, which does not belong in the science class. Evolution has its flaws, but it is the best empirical theory available.

Don't throw out evolution until a better theory comes along. More likely, our understanding of evolution itself will improve. Save ID for teaching from the pulpit.

--Stomper

nick said...

Stomper, you wrote:

How do you empirically measure consciousness?

If a psychologist were to "measure" your consciousness, he would probably start with a pen-and-paper test. Psychology, neurology, cognitive science and linguistics are all fields that study consciousness.

But I don't assume that empiricism has ALL the answers.

I don't think anyone assumes that, but why is it necessary to have all the answers? What is the problem with saying "I don't know?"

I would just like for people to see that it [empiricism] is indeed just a different kind of faith.

The problem with this is empiricism is based on evidence, faith is not, claiming they are equivalent doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

inandout said to me:

"Oops watch your step, looks like you just stomped in a whole pile of crap when you decided to try an d use a bogus science like evolution to disprove God. What do you know about anything?"

LOL. Did you even read my posts? I believe God exists. God's existence is a matter of faith, which is not subject to logical proof or disproof. Proving or disproving evolution does not affect God's existence. Which part of that did I fail to make clear?

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

Nick misquoted me out of context. Here's what I actually said:

"And no, I'm not trying to attack anyone's faith in empiricism. I would just like for people to see that it is indeed just a different kind of faith."

I never said empiricism itself is just a different kind of faith. Rather, I was referring to those who believe that empiricism will eventually have all the answers. That belief is itself a kind of faith.

Sorry if I did not make myself clear.

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Nick, there is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know." I say that all the time.

I have asserted repeatedly, in several different ways, that God's existence is NOT something I can "know," in any objective, empirical, provable way. Rather, it is something I choose to believe.

I get the feeling that I am undermining people's stereotypes about Christians. There are as many different variations on the definition of "Christian" as there are people who use that term. We don't all fit into a literalist, evangelical mold.

--Stomper

John W. Loftus said...

Stomper, according to Craig Duckett faith is a failure of reason.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, but failure is such a negative word. I understand that he has negative feelings about faith, and I clearly disagree. Is there any logical, empirical, quantifiable reason to say that faith is a negative rather than a positive, or is that just his personal opinion? if so, then please cite those reasons, rather than quote his opinion as though he is some kind of authority (even if he is, appeals to authority are rarely effective arguments, outside of the courtroom).

And please, don't dredge up the Crusades, the Inquisition, or other bad things done in the name of faith. I'm asking about faith itself. Is it really a bad thing? I know this is only anecdotal, but faith does me a lot of good, and makes me a better person.

--Stomper

John W. Loftus said...

Cute anon, but we aim to have a respectful discussion/debate here.

Stomper. Why can't we bring up the failures of faith? There are soooo many of them!

Anonymous said...

Don't you see a distinction between faith itself, and the way it has been abused? I think it was "radical," who posted the analogy to a hammer. It can be misused, to bash someone's skull in, but it is quite handy when used properly. We don't say the hammer failed, when it was used to bash someone.

Besides, for every example of faith being used as an excuse for evil, there are hundreds of examples of faith motivating charity and other good works. So it is really not helpful to point to bad things done in the name of faith, as evidence that faith itself is bad.

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

Moreover, the Crusades and the Inquisition were primarily caused by fear and ignorance, as well as economic and social pressures. Faith provided an excuse, but the fear, ignorance and pressure would have yielded the same results even without faith. Faith did not cause those events.

--Stomper

Adrian Miu said...

Even if Intelligent Design would be true it would not prove anything but Intelligent Design. ID is not a prove in favour of the Bible nor the Quran.

Even if the information contained in the DNA would be to complex to become from a natural process, even if the eye would turn out to be enbelievably complex and well-crafted it doesn't mean Yehova created an Adam and an Eve. And since all creationsts and intelligent designorists make that connection from the start they discredit themselves by displaying this intellectual dishonesty.

Have you visited www.truthism.com? When you deny evidence and logic you can reach any conclusion. Or you can PROVE that we were not created by reptilians for their own amusement? Don't tell me you apply empiricism methods to the claims of truthism.com?

As for the so called "holes" in th theory of evolution there are things science didn't figure it out completely but they are working gradually on it. Unlike the pope the scientists are not infailible.

But since you believe in answering prayers why don't you believers unite to pray god to give humanity the prove of intelligent design. We already figure it out that he doesn't answer the prayers for healing sickness, stoping wars and crimes. Maybe he got tired of billions of people looking up to the sky begging desperately for godly attention and and he'll answer this one. He gave Moses some awesome tablets, didn't he? So it wouldn't be such a big problem to give any of you some rock-solid evidence.

Adrian Miu said...

***I'm asking about faith itself. Is it really a bad thing? I know this is only anecdotal, but faith does me a lot of good, and makes me a better person.

Well, faith is not truth, for truth would stand scrutinity and would prove itself again and again. It's a saying "the truth shall set you free". So having faith is adminting that you are not free. Not free to be a better person (accidentally you say ou are). And that's bad.
To counter with another personal anectode, I am a better person without religion. But unlike the days when I was a christian (even if not a "real" christian :) ) I wait no reward for my good deeds and no punishement for my mistakes (except what society decides via the legal system or its members)

Anonymous said...

LOL.

adrian miu said:

"It's a saying 'the truth shall set you free'. So having faith is adminting that you are not free."

Adrian, take a course in logic, and then come back and try again. Or were you striving for comic effect?

--Stomper

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'm not a Chhristian because I want to get into Heaven, or because I want to avoid Hell. Christianity is more about how I live my life, than it is about what happens after I die.

Community service gives me earthly rewards of joy and inner peace, and I credit my Christian faith for the sheer power and scope of those earthly rewards. "As you did it for the least of these, you did it for me." Any further rewards after my death are just icing on the cake.

I also credit my Christian faith for providing some of the strength I need to resist temptation. I simply would not be as strong without my faith, and without the community of faithful at my church.

This is a large part of what I mean, when I say, "Christianity works for me."

--Stomper

nick said...

Stomper, what you are saying is Christianity provides a support group along with a set of guidelines, which is OK as long as you are not working to establish a theocracy, and you are doing something to help others, so good for you. However faith itself isn't some magic pixie dust, its just believing in something without any evidence. Its your support group that is helping you, so give credit where credit is due.

Anonymous said...

Yes, any support group would get me part of the way there. But the support group in question is brought together by a shared faith, so faith gets some credit for the existence of the support group. Plus, some of that benefit applies even when I haven't been to church in a while. Some of the benefit comes directly from my faith.

As for a theocracy? Ewww. The government screws up enough things already. Last thing I want is government dabbling in religion and screwing that up as well. Neocons offend me.

--Stomper

Gary Duell, ChFC, MBA said...

For myself, the real question is- even assuming "Christianity" can be defined -is "Christianity" a necessary or sufficient condition for virtuous behavior and happiness? No, obviously.