I never chose to lose my religion

Sent in by Joe Zamecki

I was raised by my devoutly Christian parents and sent to two private Catholic schools before high school. I don't remember the name of the kindergarten, and it's long since gone anyway, but for grades 1-8, I was sent to Holy Ghost Catholic School, in the Holy Ghost Parish, in the Houston-Galveston Diocese.

From the very beginning, Christianity was mandatory for me, and everyone else I knew. I believed it all at first, mainly because I was a child at the time, but also because until I went to high school, I had never met any non-Christians. My religious education was narrowly Christian in scope, to the exclusion of information about other religions and philosophies 99% of the time. We had religion classes where we studied the Bible (Good News Version) and another religion textbook. Religion classes were dominated by blatant Christian indoctrination. Around the time I was in fourth grade, I began to think more critically about religion and the clergy members around me. I asked myself questions about Christianity, instead of asking clergy members or teachers because I knew the questioning was absolutely not wanted. This was made clear to me over the years with the constant push for us students to just believe. The clergy members added to the silence here by making themselves very frightening to the children. This was the old classic tough nun and priest schooling.

Our nuns and priests taught classes and made up almost half of the school faculty. They were all on mission directly from Ireland. Now, no offense to Irish people, but these nuns and priests were used to living in Ireland, a land that time seems to have forgotten in regards to individual physical and mental liberty. (It's just a really conservatively run nation, that's all.) Well these were serious Catholic Irish clergy members, and the key word here is: strict. They seemed to be brand new to American-style liberties and free-thinking.

All of the physical punishment techniques you've ever heard of were employed by the clergy teachers, but also by the lay teachers. Corporal punishment was a hallmark of Holy Ghost School, when I was there. I was paddled at least five times, beginning when I was in first grade. And it was always for some insignificant infraction.

In sixth grade, we were using the Bible more and more in religion classes and in organizing school masses. (church services were held every Tuesday during school.) We were never required or even asked to read the entire Bible. I found this to be very suspicious, so I read it all. The first time, I didn't understand a lot of the terminology. Then I read it a second time after having learned more about those odd sayings like "...lie with a man, as with a woman," and "cast out." I learned that phrases and sayings like that in the Bible have deepear meanings than their literal words imply.

In reading the Bible, I figured out that the Bible is crap. It's not good literature, it's bad. It's not historical, it's mythical. It's not even good mythology. But most of all, it's totally unbelievable.

Then in seventh grade, we began to take physical science classes, and that involved the teaching of the theory of evolution. I was inspired by nature to begin with, but this class really put reality into perspective for me. Science class there began just like all other classes throughout the day, with a prayer. Then we sat down and learned about how the Earth is billions of years old, and life has been changing ever since it began here. It was the first school classroom I ever went to that had jars of dead animals all around the room. I thought, HERE is where evidence counts, and questions get answered.

In science class we also learned about the scientific experimental method. I eventually got around to putting "God" into the method, and it didn't work. It didn't help me answer anything, and in fact, having "God" in the question at all made the question open and unfinished. I tried to figure out how someone could prove a god exists using this method, and couldn't. I tried to find out who in the world was also trying to apply this method to "God" and I couldn't find anyone who ever did. At least not at the time, and with the biased library in our school.

Years of instituted silence, indoctrinated confusion, a serious problem with lacking answers and answers that were lacking, corporal punishment, a terrible playbook, and a quick glimpse of how honesty-minded scientists find answers to tough questions...all together convinced me that Christianity is a scam. But at that point, I was just moving from agnosticism to "immature Atheism." I was new to it all and had never read anything positive about Atheism up until then. The Bible is the ONLY book I can credit with helping me become an Atheist.

I tried other Christian churches and found the same ignorance, arrogance, and blatant lying in every one of those other churches. I studied other major religions and a few cults, and found the same basic problems in them too. After a while of studying religions, I REALIZED that I couldn't accept any of them.

I never chose to become an Atheist, or even to lose my religion. It simply happened. I couldn't help it. My honesty, courtesy of my parents, has prevented me from accepting wild and irresponsible claims like the ones presented by religions.

When I realized that I didn't believe in religions' claims anymore, I was about to graduate from that school. When graduation day came, and I walked up to receive my diploma, I remember thinking, "Does this mean we get to meet God now?" I didn't ask it...

Of course not. This is the lesson that taught me: If you want something done, and it's important, you need to either do it yourself, or find another human or humans to help. You can't expect for problems to be solved and eliminated by an invisible friend.

I'd love to hear from Christians who think they can convert me! Some Atheists don't like that, but I do, now that I'm all grown up and experienced. Please feel free to e-mail me: joezamecki at hotmail dot com

My Texas activism site is: www.atheists.org/tx

Also check out my Youtube videos: www.youtube.com/profile?userªjoeyjo

Thanks for reading and keep the skepticism!

68 comments:

jim earl said...

Thanks for your post, Joe. Now I know there are at least a few atheists in Texas! I'm an atheist from South Carolina and believe me, it's just as bad as any other bible belt state. The cretins are stuck knee deep in dogma and don't want any help getting out of the mud! I agree that atheists should speak up or lose what little freedoms the Bush Administration has left us. That goes for everyone, not just non-believers. Hell, the problem is that most people see no harm in government sponsored religion. That is, as long as the government sponsored religion is Christian. Try getting an "In Allah We Trust" banner up in your statehouse and see what I mean. The sad truth is that most people are ignorant when it comes to religion. They believe it to be a good and necessary thing. Anyway, thanks again for your post and keep up the good work.

UnBlinded said...

Hi Joe,

My path was very similar to yours, except that a few years ago, God's grace touched me and allowed me to believe that the Bible is in fact, God's revelation to man. The only thing I can say about your present spiritual state, is that I hope you at least tried to seek the Truth on your own. If you relied solely on those nuns & priests (as I had) and simply accepted evolution because of those few lectures in high school, you're really missing the big picture.

I've read books that atheists here claim to be the "final" word against God. Books from Sam Harris, Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins. And I will continue to read these books because I find it interesting to try and understand what facts have convinced people to become atheists. If you do (or have) read such books, I would also recommend you read a few other books to help you get the full picture. Try reading Michael J. Behe's "Darwin's Black Box", Kenneth R. Miller "Finding Darwin's God", C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and maybe start with some of Lee Strobel's books for an easier read. Personally, I would also examine what the Saints have to say. St. Augustine, St. Anne Catherine Emmerich, St. Thomas Aquinas are some I've enjoyed.

Sadly, even a believer like myself, was uncomfortable with the valedictorian in your video. I was uncomfortable because I don't have the courage to speak in such a way before so many people. It takes courage to speak so candidly about the need for repentance but the world definitely needs more people that shout it from the roof tops. She has a special gift of compassion for all her fellow students but, as demonstrated by comments on the video, she comes across as foolish. God's love and mercy are so immense we could never fathom the feelings He has for us all. This person's plea is just a mild reflection of the way God is begging us to come to Him. We all need to stop loving everything in this world except Him, the source of Love itself.

God bless,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Jim Arvo said...

Marc: "My path was very similar to yours, except that a few years ago, God's grace touched me..."

I see you are still trying to pedal your own personal theology here (although, in this instance, it appears that Joe did invite such comments, so I won't harp on that too much). I see you are still completely oblivious to the fact that telling "just-so" stories is not the same as making a cogent argument or proffering evidence. Where is your evidence for this god, Marc? Before you launch into more stories about how your god did this or that, please show us some credible evidence for her existence. Before you try to convince me that god wears a purple evening gown with patent leather pumps, I want to see some EVIDENCE for there actually BEING a god. Sorry if I sound like a broken record; just try to imagine how you sound to me (and multiply by ten).

Marc: "The only thing I can say about your present spiritual state, is that I hope you at least tried to seek the Truth on your own. If you relied solely on those nuns & priests (as I had) and simply accepted evolution because of those few lectures in high school, you're really missing the big picture."

Marc, your rhetoric is full of presumption and arrogance. You hope that Joe "at least tried to seek the truth" (implying that you have, and that you have found it) and you think people "accept evolution" because of "those few lectures in high school" (whereas you have a much deeper understanding, apparently). Can you not admit the possibility that Joe (and countless others) have sought the "truth" at least as earnestly and vigorously as you have, and has reached a different conclusion than you have? Can you admit that possibility, Marc? Please, I would like an answer.

Marc: "I've read books that atheists here claim to be the 'final' word against God...."

STOP. Who says ANY book is the "final" word on ANYTHING (except for fundamentalists, that is)? Please, either tell me specifically who said this, or admit that you are erecting a straw man. Thanks.

Marc: "...Books from Sam Harris, Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins. And I will continue to read these books because I find it interesting to try and understand what facts have convinced people to become atheists...."

Again, Marc, you cannot see the forest for the trees. It's not that there are "facts" proving there is no "god". Rather, there are NO facts that demonstrate that THERE IS A GOD. Do you see the difference? If you would be so kind, please write that down on a 3x5 card and refresh your memory before visiting us again. It would save us all a lot of time. Let's review: there are NO facts that disprove the existence of leprechauns living under my front porch, yet that is NOT sufficient reason to believe they are there. However, what is relevant is that there are NO facts indicating the PRESENCE of such beings. Therefore, I do not conduct my life as though there were leprechauns living under my front porch, no do I conduct my life as though there were any other invisible entities flitting about, and for the VERY SAME REASON. Please tell me if anything I just said is unclear.

Marc: "If you do (or have) read such books, I would also recommend you read a few other books to help you get the full picture...."

I and many others here have read book cases full of books that examine religion from every angle. I can tell you first-hand, after very extensive and earnest study spanning several decades, that the arguments put forth by religionists are extraordinarily weak; even the best of the apologists (which would include Plantinga, Clark, and Moreland, in my opinion) fail to gain even the smallest foothold despite laudable efforts. I've studied Behe and Denton too. Their science is shoddy, despite their credentials. Behe himself admits that he has never tried to verify anything in the lab and that, indeed, there is almost nothing that can be verified.

But, having said that, yes everybody, PLEASE DO read the best that Christians have to offer. Don't even bother with the tin-plated apologists like Strobel and McDowell. Go straight for the best and most honest apologists, and read what they have to day in detail if you have not already done so (and most here have). Once you have truly availed yourself to ALL sides of the theological arguments, you will be in a position to form a meaningful opinion--one that can be defended. I have done that, and I will continue to do so for the remainder of my days. In my opinion, there is virtually no doubt that the apologists have a losing argument. They have become masters at wishful thinking and creatively deploying logical fallacies that exploit people's innate biases.

Marc: "...It takes courage to speak so candidly about the need for repentance but the world definitely needs more people that shout it from the roof tops...."

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I strenuously disagree with you. First, I think it takes more courage to face reality than to cloak one's self in mystical magical thinking. And, no, we don't need more people exhibiting such histrionics during commencement speeches, but we could desperately use more people who are willing to use their minds to expose the mysticism that still engulfs our society--to our mutual detriment.

Steven Bently said...

Questions to Marc.

What is God's grace?

What is God's mercy?

What is a Holy Ghost?

What does a Holy Ghost look like?

What does a God look like?

What is a spirit?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Jim Arvo said...

By the way, while I suppose it is possible that Marc is a bicycle enthusiast who is "pedaling" while he writes, I intended to refer to his "peddling" of theology. Just thought I'd clear that up...

Peregrino said...

Wow. Joe's original post, unblinded's response, and Jim's response to unblinded are as well expressed as anything I've seen published. Unblinded needs to know that Roman Catholicism was Europe's best attempt at maintaining social order at a time when the supernatural was generally accepted by the rank and file as the fundamental guarantor of material security. Today we have well established principles and precedents of logic, civil authority, and, more important, verified knowledge that moots any supernatural alternative. Although the rank and file may pay lip service to the supernatural artifact of religion out of respect for tradition, they don't really believe it, and you know they don't. What they really believe in is anything that guarantees them material security, and civil authority has done that for centuries now. It is only the rarer thoughtful, insightful seeker like yourself who still takes religion seriously. Liberate yourself, unblinded, from the comforting but superseded ignorance of the past and step into a present of wonder, all the more marvelous because it is creating itself out of natural, understandable facts, and you are helping create it, as are all of us and everything else that exists. As a child you weened yourself from sucking your thumb. Now it's time to wean yourself from supernatural absolutism and mature into the wonderful world of infinite possibility.

ryan said...

When we read the apologists that unblinded suggests, we see quickly and easily that these things are written for those who have already believed, without question, the tenets of xianity. To provide an example:

The slaughter of whole ethnic groups in the ot is revolting, at least it is for those with their frontal lobe intact. But pat robertson, and I think, lee strobel, have an explaination. You see, god was being merciful. The descendents of those heathen idolators would have gone to hell, so god kills off the present generation, sends them to hell, and spares future generations.

By now, most of you are ready to hurl your BLT and chips. The difference between us and you, unblinded, is that we are able to question your jewgod; his bloodthirsty vengeance and his hell. xian apology makes no sense because you god makes no sense IN THE FIRST PLACE. We have questioned the source, and I, for my part, have little interest in quibbling over details and isssues.

And by the way, gk chesterton was a pompous asshole.

Joe Zamecki said...

Marc Unblinded,
I hope you actually read my original testimonial, because it doesn't sound like you did. I mentioned investigating other religions besides Christianity, and you act like there's only one religion to choose from. If you're arriving at that one religion without checking out other competing religions, no offense, but that's foolish. You're only going with the one that suits you, not your god.

I also said that the only book I can credit with helping me become an Atheist was the Bible. I don't care what other prominent Atheists write in their books, it won't make religion any more of a scam than it already is. Religious people finalized that centuries ago. And if the Bible won't convince me that your religion is correct, how can any other book by a Christian do it? How arrogant that is! Let your God speak for himself, if he can.

Otherwise, if you speak on his behalf, without demanding that he speak himself, your religion exists to satisfy YOU. Just like that orgasmic valedictorian. She worships for the thrill of it, which is self-gratification. There's nothing new in the Christian American lexicon. This is so easy! :o)

Joe Zamecki said...

jim earl,
Well we've just had the first US Congressperson to swear in using a Koran, because they're Muslim. In the Texas State Legislature, they just had the first ever Muslim prayer said at the start of the Senate session. Those two events angered a lot of conservative Christian politicians. Plus mosques are popping up all over America, and I say to the Christians who don't like it: "Welcome to our world! :o)~"

flicka said...

"...a few years ago, God's grace touched me and allowed me to believe that the Bible is in fact, God's revelation to man."
unblinded,
I would love to know exactly what happened that could suddenly make you believe such a thing as this. I can understand how you might believe in a higher power if a loved one was suddenly cured after you prayed, or something similar.(I wouldn't believe but I could understand). But for the life of me I can't figure out what God could possibly do to make someone accept the Bible, in total, as truth...just like THAT.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Joe,

Great testimony, mate! Although I come from a Protestant background, my deconversion story is extremely similar. Looking at the Bible, looking for evidence, and the unremittant search for objective truth ultimately led to rejecting the Christian faith.

Now as for Marc, I have very little to add to Jim's well-written rebuttal but something stuck out.

"...Kenneth R. Miller "Finding Darwin's God"...

I find it extremely amusing that you mention Dr. Miller (and Behe for that matter), Marc. Both are evolutionists. Behe just happens to think that natural selection can't fully account for complexity, and so is a proponent of design. And Miller disagrees with Behe concerning design, by the way.

Also, I'm surprised that you would recommend a book like "Finding Darwin's God" based on your previous attacks on evolution. In fact, I wonder if you've read it. In it, Dr. Miller basically tries to reconcile evolution to faith from the perspective of his acceptance of evolution. That is, he champions evolution and argues that faith is fully compatible with it. I'm in the middle of it right now, and I have to say that his position is decidedly at odds with yours as you've presented it elsewhere.

Then again, perhaps you are changing your position?

If you want links to what either Dr. Miller or Dr. Behe have said concerning evolution and complexity, I've got them. Just let me know.

And Marc, you should really follow Joe's advice and re-read this testimony. Joe says he did seek the truth on his own. That you missed this part is just another example of how you're choosing to ignore what's been said or are suffering from extreme cognitive dissonance.

Have a nice day!

Jim Arvo said...

Good points about Behe and Miller, JCS. That one totally zipped by me. Seems that Marc is applying "Kettle Logic" here, which was so named (apparently) by Sigmund Freud. Here's Freud's classic example of kettle logic: Somebody borrows a tea kettle from a friend. The friend later claims that the borrower put a hole in the kettle. The borrower's defense is thus:

First, I never borrowed your kettle.
Second, the kettle already had a hole in it when I borrowed it.
Third, I returned the kettle undamaged.

In other words, deploy every argument against a position you wish to defeat, whether or not those arguments actually make sense together. Marc does this by claiming: First, evolution is bunk, second, it's compatible with faith, and third, it proves that ID must be true!

Telmi said...

Unblinded,

"God's grace touched me and allowed me to believe that the Bible is in fact, God's revelation to man"

"God's love and mercy are so immense we could never fathom the feelings He has for us all"

Joe said that the Bible was the book that led to his deconversion from Christianity. I have heard similar comments from other people, in this as well as other forums. I myself became Ex-Christian [have long stopped considering myself a Catholic], just by reading the Old Testament accounts.

I fully concur with people who think of the Bible God as a capricious, malevolent, genocidal maniac, a sadomasochist, an egotist with a freakish [or psychopatic?]appetite for male animal meat and blood. Despite his so-called lovingness and omni-powers [coming wholly from the wishful imagination of his followers] he was, as many of the OT stories reveal, killing merrily and unjustifiably, and was very dependent on humans for assistance.

Jim Arvo criticized you for appearing unable to see the forest for the trees, and I think Jim is absolutely right. Are you suffering from cognitive dissonance? The Bible is clear. The way the Bible God has been portrayed, the pejorative terms used above to describe him would appear to be grossly inadequate.

It is apparent from the comments made so far, from yourself and others, that you are not capable of understanding what is presented to you. You appear to be someone who is blinded rather than unblinded.

Cathern said...

The Bible is it's own worst enemy. The Bible was one of the primary reasons I shitcanned Christianity. It's so full of crap, atrocities, inaccuracies, and contradictions that any sane person reading it would have to be revolted by it. -Vixentrox-

Anonymous said...

Mark (Unblinded):

I do not believe you've read any of the books you cite. You couldn't have. I de-converted shortly after reading 4 books by C.S. Lewis.

So, either you are lying or you are dense enough not to see what's going on with mythstianity.

Lance said...

Great testamony Joe. I have to agree about the bible being the book that really pushed me away from christianity. Not just the horrific things of the old testament, but the many commands to seek the truth. This is very hard for christians to understand when I explain that it lead me to dump christianity.

I read in Proverbs 2 that we are supposed to seek wisdom as if we are looking for buried treasure and hidden silver. Key words here being buried and hidden. Which meant to me that we don't know exactly where it is and we need to look in unexpected locations.

Now if we jump to John 5:39 Jesus tells the pharisees that study the scripture because they think that in them they have life. Meaning they were so focused on their holy book they could not see God. I did not want to be like one of them. They built all sorts of traditions and explanations up around a set of confusing and contradictory books, and Jesus tells them they completely fucked it up. Again, I did not want to be like them.

I looked at the large industrial-like christian church and saw all the traditions and explanations they put into place to explain why their god could be an asshole if he wanted to, and why he doesn't really do anything when you pray to him. It seemed as if modern fundamentalists had become the modern day pharisees.

Then when Jesus was about to leave and the disciples were freaking out, Jesus said he would send a "Helper". He did not say "I'll have a bunch of guys write a book for you that will cover it all."

So at this point it looked to me as if Jesus was saying "I would not write a book even if you wanted me to. You guys would totally screw it up even if I did."

Now combine this with all the crap, evil, superstition and just plain goofiness that people in the bible attribute to God, and I saw that if there was a God and a Jesus, then the bible was not written or inspired by them.

To be honest, I still vacillate now between being a deist, an atheist and a unitarian. I am still open to the idea of there being something bigger, and maybe even Jesus in some form, but the god and Jesus of the bible??? I don't think so.

But my point for Marc and other christians is that Jesus himself, in their own bible, did not like the way large groups of people handled holy books and organized religion in general. A good point to remember for a large group of people with at holy book and an organized religion.

I think you may need to embrace the mystery and give up your idea of a handy little book that gives you all the answers.

Lance

BigTex71 said...

I seriously doubt that Unblinded (Marc) will be back. If so, he is a glutton for punishment. BTW: isn't Gluttony one of the seven deadly sins (or whatever they are called.) :)

BigTex71 said...

Joe,

I am glad to see another Texan that has come to the same conclusion as I have. I don't feel so 'alone' now. :)

Epicurienne said...

I read the Bible all the way through 4 times when I was trying to believe in Christianity. Between the cruelty and the lack of logic, that was what de-converted me.

imaginary sky daddy said...

I know that evolution isn't the answer just as much as I know jesus isn't. Show me proof with my eyes that things are always changing their form, let me see the offspring of (all)living things look just a little different and I'll see that it's a "fact". Until then, nobody has the truth. How can anyone (believe), and that's plain and simply what it is, a belief, that living things do change their forms? We don't live long enough to see these changes taking place in a so called gradual way. Yes, evolution is just filled with apologies the same as christianity. Throw them out as much as you like, but they just don't hold water.

Joe Zamecki said...

Imaginary Sky Daddy,
You really think that things don't change? Not even you? Please. Every few years, your entire body is completely replaced, cell by cell. That's plenty of change right there for you to admit that things change. All life forms go through constant change. You just have to take some science courses and do some hands on research yourself. Please don't close your eyes to evidence just because you don't know how to obtain that evidence. Any thinking person can do the science necessary to verify that change is universal, but you can't just assume it's all wrong and be right. It's the best method for truth-seeking out there. Evidence!

UnBlinded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UnBlinded said...

Hi Joe,

My apologies, glad to here that you sought the truth on your own. I mistakenly focused more on your comments for evolution and science. With a statement like "I thought, HERE is where evidence counts, and questions get answered." I figured you might benefit to look as some of the books mentioned for extra facts on evolution. On that point though, seeking the truth, do you really believe we can find it through purely human efforts?

For flicka,
Some of my personal testimony can be seen in my March 13 & 17 posts in the "Following God's Example" testimonial at this site. I have more personal testimony in the "Insulting to atheists" testimonial.

Hi J.C.,
Good job, you are correct on the oddity of my inclusion of Miller as a recommended reading. I am embarrassed to admit that when I listed those books, I included Miller's book, which I had just starting reading. It looked good so far (nice cover and critiques).

J.C. said: "I find it extremely amusing that you mention Dr. Miller (and Behe for that matter), Marc. Both are evolutionists."

I don't know where you get this from but Behe is decidedly not an evolutionist, his entire book works to prove the existence of irreducible complexity. His conclusion for intelligent design is supported with facts on irreducible complexity throughout "Darwin's Black Box".

To quote his conclusion for intelligent design, page 204 of 10th anniversary edition:

"With these preliminary questions out of the way, we can conclude that the biochemical systems discussed in Chapter 3 through 6 were designed by an intelligent agent. We can be as confident of our conclusion for these cases as we are of the conclusion that a mousetrap was designed, or that Mt. Rushmore or an Elvis poster were designed. There is no question of degree for those systems, such as for the man in the moon or the shape of Italy. Our ability to be confident of the design of cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles as our ability to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components."

Behe does speculate that a designer may have created these complex biological systems billions of years ago but this does not take away from the fact that he concludes with intelligent design. Never does he wander toward a belief in evolution that compares to what you and other atheists at this site believe. On page 227 Behe says:

"Perhaps a speculative scenario will illustrate the point. Suppose that nearly four billion years ago the designer made the first cell, already containing all the irreducibly complex biochemical systems discussed here and many others. (One can postulate that the designs that were to be used later, such as blood clotting, were present but not "turned on". In present-day organisms plenty of genes are turned off for a while, sometimes for generations, to be turned on at a later time.)"

This is about as close to being an "evolutionist" that Behe comes. Not sure were you got your facts J.C.? Regardless of the way they contradict each other, I respect Miller and Behe, not because their both Roman Catholics as I am, but because they are working to reconcile science with God's creation. Having now better understood the different arguments presented by both of them, I have to say that Behe's book is far superior.

On your suggestion that I may be "suffering from extreme cognitive dissonance", let me present you with a better example of cognitive dissonance.

This is dialogue with Jim (in another thread and this one):

In "Warning to Fellow Christians".
On March 31 Marc wrote: "There is nothing that I could ever present to you that would help you find the truth...."

On April 1 Jim responded with: "Truer words were never spoken! Yes, Marc, believe it or not I completely agree with what you just said. There is absolutely nothing that you have to offer in the way of finding "truth", so you are absolutely correct to assert that you cannot help me in that endeavor."

On April 1 Jim responded with: "Can you please just leave now?"

In a subsequent post April 1: "Now, if you can give me some legitimate reason why your particular deity, among ALL other deities, past and present, is the real deal, and really truly exists, then and only then can we move on to whether this fantastic being has feelings or not, and then perhaps even what those feelings might be."

In "I never chose to lose my religion"
On April 10 Jim wrote: "Where is your evidence for this god, Marc?"

From her continual questioning, it's quite clear that Jim is not able to accept our agreed conclusion on April 1st that nothing I could present her would reveal the truth, as I and other believers see it. The facts are that I actually don't mind being questioned, I welcome it...but with at least some respect. Jim has continued to post with heavy condescension and unwarranted arrogance and for this reason I am losing patience with her.

You ask for evidence Jim, try re-reading "Darwin's Black Box" and pay attention to all his words. This book, unlike the stuff you've recommended is based on the facts for the complexity of life. I'd like to know where your proof is? At least I go and look for it [proof for atheism] in the books you recommend....but there's nothing to be found. Behe's logic is sound and irrefutable. Richard Dawking has written that anyone who denies evolution is either "ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked-but I'd rather not consider that)". With a quote like this, aside from his books' complete lack of proof, is this the kind of "scientist" many of you anchor your atheism on? Please try and find me a similar quote from any of the Christian authors I've mentioned. Good luck.

Jim wrote April 10: "I've studied Behe and Denton too. Their science is shoddy, despite their credentials. Behe himself admits that he has never tried to verify anything in the lab and that, indeed, there is almost nothing that can be verified."

Jim, I find this statement comical. I compare it to someone saying that a brain surgeon doesn't know what he's doing because he's never dressed the wound of his patients. Of course not, the hospital nurses do this work! I work with scientists and all of those that own the labs rarely, if ever, do any lab work. Their staff do the work. And even if Behe's lab techs had done all the work to substantiate his book, the data he presents is not refuted by anyone. The function of all of the complex systems he describes are accepted by all experts in his field, theists and atheists alike! So....what's your point?

I don't know if you actually found this "argument" from his book or some Google search but let me quote, for everyone, the source from Behe's book, page 185:

"Scientists are people, too, so we can ask how scientists know what they say they know. Like everybody else, scientists know things either through their own experience or through authority. In the 1950s, Watson and Crick saw a diffraction pattern produced by shining X-rays on fibers of DNA and, using their mathematical abilities, determined that DNA was a double helix. They knew by doing, from their own experiments. As an undergraduate I learned DNA is a double helix, but I have never done an experiment to show it; I rely on authority. All scientists rely on authority for almost all of their scientific knowledge."

Wow, based on this quote Behe's clearly incompetent, he's never done the experiment to learn that DNA is a double helix [please note sarcasm]. Well, enough on that one...

You'll have to find it in your heart to pardon my impatience because today, I just had enough.

May His mercy be upon us all...
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Jim Arvo said...

Marc,

You've said many things that I wish to respond to, but one jumps to the front of the queue. You quoted a reply of mine, apparently as an example of cognitive dissonance. It's such a lovely example, I'm going to quote your quote of me, but with emphasis added:

Marc: "On April 1 Jim responded with: 'Truer words were never spoken! Yes, Marc, believe it or not I completely agree with what you just said. There is absolutely nothing that you have to offer in the way of finding 'truth', so you are absolutely correct to assert that you cannot help me in that endeavor."

My statement was in response to your assertion that you could not help me to find the truth. It seems you have completely misunderstood my comment. You read it as being an admission that I am not open to your way of thinking, or to any evidence or insights that you have to offer (presumably due to my own cognitive dissonance). That is not what my statement asserted or implied. As I went on to explain more fully, what you have to offer is of no use to me, or to anyone else, as you steadfastly refuse to examine your own presuppositions. Any statement that is offered dogmatically, with no possibility of examining it, is only as good as its source--that is, it cannot stand on its own. Therefore, unless or until you can offer some reason that we should simply believe your stories (and, presumably, not those offered by adherents of other religions), then your dogma is not useful toward discerning what is true.

So, inadvertently, Marc, you did in fact provide an excellent example of cognitive dissonance--your own. You failed to see the plain meaning of my statement, most likely because it conflicted with your view of the world. Thanks for the textbook example.

I'll respond to more of Marc's distortions later. Her remarks are filled with distortions, so it's going to take a while to spell them all out to her.

.:webmaster:. said...

To Marc, the non-reading, book promoting, mystic:

Lehigh University (Where Behe teaches) Department Position on Evolution and "Intelligent Design":

The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department.

It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

link

UnBlinded said...

Jim said: "Any statement that is offered dogmatically, with no possibility of examining it, is only as good as its source--that is, it cannot stand on its own."

Then, considering you've read many of my posts, you should save yourself the effort and stop asking for this evidence of God from little ole' me. Is this reaching you yet or must you continue to twist everything to suit your "arguments". I don't claim to be an expert, I use sound expertise like Behe (and others) to demonstrate the case for creationism. You, on the other hand, provide nothing even remotely close to what Behe has presented. Oh yes, I almost forgot, he hasn't proved anything in the lab. Sheesh...

Thanks WM, for confirming the case that Behe is NOT a proponent for Darwinian evolution.

Christ lived. Christ resurrected and continues to live today. You absolutely don't need to believe any of it but if you're going to debate the issue, let's all continue to be respectful of each other's views and to discuss the issue with as much objective reasoning as everyone of us can muster.

Gob bless,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Jim Arvo said...

More responses to Marc....

1) When I said that Behe never tested his ideas in the lab, you had to take that as a literal statement about Behe donning a lab coat and physically doing the experiments himself. How ridiculous. Scientists "test their ideas in the lab" rarely by donning lab coats but by designing experiments to test the ideas. It's a figure of speech, Marc. Is that a figure of speech you are unfamiliar with? You'll note that I also said that there was virtually nothing that could be tested in Behe's theories. You did not respond to that. What experiment, Marc, did Behe ever propose that could confirm or disconfirm the existence of a designer? His argument for a designer is merely an analogy--there is no testable hypothesis there. He *did* offer a testable hypothesis with regard to irreducible complexity, but there is a gulf the size of the universe between that and the existence of a designer.

Here is the type of thing Behe offers in terms of testable hypotheses: Process X or structure Y is "irreducibly complex" (by his definition) in that if we were to remove any single component, the entire structure or process would fail to operate. To state that the process for blood clotting, or the functioning of the flagellum, is "irreducibly complex" is eminently testable. One could experimentally remove or otherwise disable each identifiable component individually, and see what happens. Does the process or structure then fail to operate as it did before? One could conceivably design experiments that would test this very idea. Behe never designed such experiments, much less had any underlings carry them out. (In fact, these are not trivial experiments.) Let us presume however, for the moment, that Behe is exactly correct: if we remove one enzyme from the blood clotting cascade, or one protein from the flagellum, then the process/structure fails to operate. Then we could indeed put Behe's label of "irreducibly complex" on the process/structure. Many scientists are happy to do just that. In fact *I* am happy to do just that in some instances.

Now, here's the big question. What does that show? Does it prove that all the components would have needed to evolve independently via natural selection before they could confer an advantage to the organism? No! Not by a long shot, and this is precisely where Behe's argument disintegrates into non-scientific mumbo jumbo. Not only is this assertion inherently untestable (by any means known today), but there are well-documented counterexamples. For example, the mammalian inner ear is "irreducibly complex" by Behe's definition, yet its formation from the jaw bones of amphibians is well documented in the fossil record. There are organisms that have "learned" to digest nylon using a complex multi-step process built from components that were previously put to other uses. Moreover, there exist much more primitive flagella than Behe was aware of, and the proteins of even very complex flagella serve multiple purposes within the cell. Behe has also ignored the fact that poorly-functioning processes may still be beneficial the organism. Poorly operating blood clotting is far preferable to no clotting at all. All of these facts are relevant to the hypothesis that such things can indeed come about through natural selection.

So, I give Behe a bit of credit for proposing something that is testable; however, the testable hypothesis is rather inconsequential. The mere existence of an irreducibly complex process or structure does absolutely nothing to disprove natural selection, let alone to prove the existence of a designer.

2) You've now quoted my request that you "go away" along side my requests for evidence several times. Is that a contradiction? Sure, I'll happily admit that. You are very annoying, Marc. I often wish you would go away because I don't have unlimited time to write these long responses. But if you decide to stick around, then I'm going to keep asking you for evidence of your god. So far, you've offered nothing credible, and you do not even appear to acknowledge the fact that some evidence is called for.

3) You want evidence for atheism, and you claim that the books I recommended (which books?) contain none. As I've explained several times now, asking for "evidence for atheism" is a non sequitur. It indicates that you are unclear on the very notion of atheism. I am an atheist, Marc, because I see no reason whatsoever to believe that your god exists, or any other god for that matter. There is no way to prove the non-existence of some entity based on empirical data (that is, while it is possible to do so in mathematics, it is not possible in science). Religionists are fond of pointing this out, yet they so often think it's deep and that nobody else can grasp it. Marc, YOU ARE MAKING THE FANTASTIC CLAIM. If you have nothing credible to support it, am I somehow obliged to believe it just because you do?

Before you twist what I just said, I'll add that as an atheist I actually do make many claims that are relevant to the discussion of god's existence, and when I make a claim I am obliged to support it with some form of evidence. For example, I claim that the prophecies that are often cited as evidence for the divinity of Jesus all admit infinitely simpler explanations than those offered by Christians. I back this up, for example, by examining the so-called prophecies themselves and pointing out that most are not prophecies at all, and by pointing to what is known about the process of midrash that was often invoked at the time the gospels were written (an even today). When I claim that an argument offered by a religionist is circular, I am obliged to point out the circularity, and to make explicit which premise subsumes the conclusion. When I claim that the major motifs of Christianity were present within older religions, and that borrowing of such motifs was common, I am obliged to (minimally) provide some scholarly works that support those claims. When I claim that there is overwhelming evidence for the evolution of life on Earth, I am obliged to provide some supporting evidence.

That's all I have time for at the moment. I'll remind you yet again: If you decide to stick around (and I sincerely hope you do not), you had better provide some evidence for your invisible deity or you simply cannot be taken seriously.

twincats said...

Fantastic post, Joe! I also admire the way you jumped right in there with unblinded Marc, too.

I thought Behe was a microevolution guy who rejects macroevolution; you know, he admits that bacteria and viruses mutate and evolve (since that's kind of hard to refute) but insists that sort of thing never has and never will result in any new species.

I found a citation on Talk Reason
http://www.talkreason.org/index.cfm?category=11
that says:

"Many creationists (for example Behe) often assert that the fact of microevolution meets no objection but that macroevolution cannot occur via a Darwinian mechanism of random mutations plus natural selection, and therefore has never been observed."

So, yeah.

Jim Arvo said...

Marc: "Christ lived. Christ resurrected and continues to live today. You absolutely don't need to believe any of it but if you're going to debate the issue, let's all continue to be respectful of each other's views and to discuss the issue with as much objective reasoning as everyone of us can muster."

Can you please remind me of what "objective reasoning" you've offered for the claim that "Christ lived"? Have you been "respectful" in your postings? I think not.

Where is your evidence that there is a god, Marc? It appears that you wish to convince us of this "fact," yet the closest you have come to producing any factual support for it is the work of Behe. Behe's work has failed to gain any respect among the scientific community because it is patently unscientific, as I have already explained.

You say I have offered nothing that approaches Behe's work. (I hope you don't mind too much if I take that as a compliment.) What claims have I made so far that you wish for me to back up, Marc? I've claimed that your arguments are tissue thin, and I've backed that up. I've claimed that Behe's arguments are unscientific, and I've backed that up. I've repeatedly asserted that you are incapable of examining your own presuppositions, and you've yet to utter a syllable in protest.

This is getting very tiring...

.:webmaster:. said...

To Marc, the Behe promoter who has never even read one book by any evolution or creationist author:

Can you honestly name one book on this topic you've read from cover to cover? If so, please do. I'd love to know where you've learned your viewpoint, so I can appropriately respect it.


And then could you please provide just one tiny shred of verifiable evidence that your god exists?

I really, really want to give your viewpoint its proper respect.


Thanks.

May reason guide us all out of the darkness of superstition.

Dave8 said...

"Behe additionally testified that the presence of irreducible complexity in organisms would not rule out the involvement of evolutionary mechanisms in the development of organic life. He further testified that he knew of no earlier "peer reviewed articles in scientific journals discussing the intelligent design of the blood clotting cascade," but that there were "probably a large number of peer reviewed articles in science journals that demonstrate that the blood clotting system is indeed a purposeful arrangement of parts of great complexity and sophistication." [18] (The result of the trial was the ruling that "intelligent design is not science and is essentially religious in nature".)[19]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreducible_complexity

If the entire Universe known to humanity is ever-changing, then Behe must present an argument that suggests at "one point" in time, change (evolution) was not a factor in form (biological) change in the Universe. Behe's argument is reduced to claiming that a "complex biological component" existed at some point in the universe that was not affected by its environment.

Behe provides his "dream world" view of existence, and then attempts to give it some credibility, by suggesting that "now", change is surely affecting all biological organisms, with evolutionary mechanisms. He attempts to mix the perfect past, with the ever-changing present, in order to give it credibility in the scientific community and in the religious community with one stroke.

Unfortunate, that his idea was neither original, interesting, nor accepted by the majority of his scientific peers.

The first step of the scientific method is to observe a natural phenomenon. Behe has never witnessed once, a perfectly formed organic component (resistant to change) that is irreducible... but it didn't keep him from jumping right on into step three, and hypothesizing an argument.

UnBlinded said...

Jim said: "Have you been "respectful" in your postings? I think not."

Marc said: "You'll have to find it in your heart to pardon my impatience because today, I just had enough."

It's still today Jim! ;) You find it disrespectful when someone points the weakness in your arguments? Or, was it that I referred to you as experiencing "cognitive dissonance"? Gee, I've never received that insult before. Oh, is it the sarcasm Jim?

Should I present the insulting and condescending statements you've made to me and many others since I've been browsing this site? Don't bother saying yes, I already did show how rude you are in another thread and you gleefully responded with "Thanks for the summary of my previous comments, Marc. I still think they're funny (and apt).". There's a Bible quote that applies and I'm sure you know which one.

You see Jim, you get what you give. You probably figured that because I'm Christian I would just let you have fun with your condescension and always reply without degenerating into your level of communication. If I were perfect, that might be true. But the facts are that if people continue to let abusive individuals like yourself continue abusing, there remains no hope that you'll ever learn. Maybe after today, you'll think twice to communicating with individuals with the same arrogance and condescension you often display. It's never too late to grow up and take ownership for your actions Jim.

Jim said: "I've claimed that your arguments are tissue thin, and I've backed that up. I've claimed that Behe's arguments are unscientific, and I've backed that up."

You've backed nothing Jim. If you want to believe that your existence, your ability to contemplate life, to experience emotions...love, is a product of evolution, enjoy. To me, atheism does nothing but cheapen life. This is certainly not a fact based argument for you to refute. This is my personal opinion. If you want facts, you already know which books to read. If they don't reflect God's truth to you, then the best any believers can do is to keep praying for God to intervene.

By the way WM, I've read all the Christian apologetics mentioned, cover to cover (many books from C.S. Lewis). Not done with Miller's book yet.

Gotta go, my wife and children are waiting outside!

You're all in my prayers (regardless of the fact that it means nothing to you).

Peace,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Jim Arvo said...

Marc,

Thank you for showing us the true Marc. You see, when one's beliefs are challenged, there are multiple ways that one can respond. First, there is the option to address the points that are raised as best you can, and to admit that you do not have the answers when that is the case; there is no dishonor in that. Another option is to attack the person who challenges you by mocking them, twisting their words, and insulting them. Need I point out that you have clearly taken the second approach?

You are extremely rude, Marc. Yes, I've made some jabs at you--mostly in jest. Do you think for a moment that I seriously wish to deliver electro-convulsive shock therapy to believers, and via the internet no less? That was a joke, Marc. Were any of your jabs at me made in jest? Seriously, I would like to know. I think not, but I could be mistaken. You've called me "arrogant", you called me "abusive", you've claimed that I do not bother to check my facts, you refer to me as "her" (a favor I then returned) when my gender should be clear from my name, you claim that I am making unfounded assertions (without being specific), you attribute nonsensical arguments to me, and all of this in lieu of attempting to address my questions.

My challenges to you were not in jest. I've challenged you, from the very first post, to defend your position. You are making a fantastic claim, and you apparently see no reason that you should be bothered to back it up. Where is the evidence for your god, Marc? Are you capable of examining your own presuppositions concerning god and the Bible? Why do you refuse to address these succinct questions and attack me instead? In truth, I don't really care whether you attack me or not; it makes little difference. If anything, it underscores my point--that you have nothing to support your claims. So, flail away, Marc. I'll continue to ask: Where is the evidence for your god? Can you examine your own presuppositions?

By the way, Marc, I was quite clear and specific (if brief) about my objections to Behe. Are you up to addressing them head on? If you have something substantive to say on the issue, I'll address your comments in kind. If you are dismissive or rude, I'll simply let your comments stand as they are. Fair enough?

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, is anybody out there actually buying any of Marc's BS?

A simple show of hands will do.










I didn't think so.

boomSLANG said...

Gotta go, my wife and children are waiting outside!

Waiting?.....or hiding ? lol

J. C. Samuelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. C. Samuelson said...

"Not sure were you got your facts J.C.?"

Behe's own mouth...

Snippets from Kitzmiller v. Dover:

Q. Is Darwin's theory of evolution inconsistent with your private religious beliefs?

BEHE: No, not at all.

...

Q. Do you consider yourself to be a young-earth creationist?

BEHE: No, I'm not.

Q. Do you consider yourself to be an old-earth creationist?

BEHE: No, I do not.

Q. Do you consider yourself to be a -- I'm not sure if the term is a special creationist or a creationist in terms of special creation. Either way, do you consider yourself that?

BEHE: Neither one, no.

...

*** What is Behe's actual, nuanced position? ***

BEHE: But evolutionary theory is in many ways very much more involved than some of the other ones that you mentioned. In particular, as I tried to make clear in my testimony, it has a number of parts which are -- which are together, under an aggregate, considered Darwin's theory of evolution. But again, as I tried to make clear in my testimony, not all of them are as well supported as other parts of the theory.

From an article I linked Marc to, which he apparently didn't read (color me surprised):

"MICHAEL BEHE, Biochemistry professor, Lehigh University; Senior fellow, Discovery Institute

"Sure, it's possible to believe in both God and evolution. I'm a Roman Catholic, and Catholics have always understood that God could make life any way he wanted to. If he wanted to make it by the playing out of natural law, then who were we to object? We were taught in parochial school that Darwin's theory was the best guess at how God could have made life.

"I'm still not against Darwinian evolution on theological grounds. I'm against it on scientific grounds. I think God could have made life using apparently random mutation and natural selection. But my reading of the scientific evidence is that he did not do it that way, that there was a more active guiding. I think that we are all descended from some single cell in the distant past but that that cell and later parts of life were intentionally produced as the result of intelligent activity. As a Christian, I say that intelligence is very likely to be God.

"Several Christian positions are theologically consistent with the theory of mutation and selection. Some people believe that God is guiding the process from moment to moment. Others think he set up the universe from the Big Bang to unfold like a computer program. Others take scientific positions that are indistinguishable from those atheist materialists might take but say that their nonscientific intuitions or philosophical considerations or the existence of the mind lead them to deduce that there is a God.

"I used to be part of that last group. I just think now that the science is not nearly as strong as they think."

And we could go back to Kitzmiller and find out how Behe admits his definition of science is much looser than the rest of the scientific community, so much looser that under his definition, astrology could be called a scientific theory. We could also learn how he doesn't bother to keep up on the latest science while making unfounded assertions. We could read Dr. Miller (also a Catholic and an evolutionist who Marc recently cited, apparently ignorant of his source's scientific leanings) refutes Behe (see here).

Behe is a biochemist who decided science was too strict, even as he didn't bother keeping up with current research, and though he accepts nearly everything about Darwinian evolution, he rejects natural selection's ability to produce complexity. As yet he has failed to produce any examples that have withstood scrutiny, some of which could've been dispensed with before he bothered to write his book, since scientists knew of them for some time (apparently, Behe was so far behind he wasn't aware that in 1969 the blood clotting cascade was discovered to be reducible - nearly 30 years before Behe wrote his book). In essence, he is an evolutionist who lost his way because he was too damn lazy to read.

Marc and Behe have a lot in common, apparently. At least in the reading department.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"Behe's logic is sound and irrefutable."

Wrong on both counts, as evidenced by numerous criticisms that have refuted his idea of ID. You just happen to like his answers better.

J. C. Samuelson said...

...apparently, Behe was so far behind he wasn't aware that in 1969 the blood clotting cascade was discovered to be reducible - nearly 30 years before Behe wrote his book..."

Just to clarify, research done in 1969 showed that dolphins lack part of the blood clotting cascade that Behe/Dembski promoted as irreducible, but they (apparently) weren't aware of that.

I didn't want anyone to think I was being absurd, since ID wasn't being debated at that time.

Jim Arvo said...

To J. C. Samuelson,

That article by Ken Miller is a very well-written critique of the claims put forth by the intelligent design crowd (and the claims about the flagellum in particular). I had no idea about the work done on the Krebs cycle. Good stuff. I applaud Miller for taking the time to refute Behe and Dembski. A good many scientists think it best to just ignore them (unless or until they come up with something of scientific interest). I can see their reluctance to be associated in any way with the pseudo-science of ID (e.g. Behe's own department), but it seems that too many people are being sucked in by it.

Also, that was a good catch on Behe. I knew I had read his comments to that effect before, but I couldn't put my finger on it. It's surprising that Behe is the darling of so many religionists, despite his overall acceptance of evolution. That's kettle logic again. Any scientist who manages to sneak god into the picture, by hook or by crook, seems to get broad support among religionists. Since they like the conclusion (I presume), they put up with the packaging. Evidence? Who needs evidence? It's all about reaching the "right" conclusion. So bass-ackwards.

Jim Arvo said...

Hi tigg13. Have you seen any hands go up yet? I think we're still at zero. Go figure :-)

eel_shepherd said...

UnBlinded wrote:
"...If you want to believe that your existence, your ability to contemplate life, to experience emotions...love, is a product of evolution, enjoy..."

Okay, think I will. There's more to it than "wanting to believe" it; there's a credible line of reason for believing it. This will seem strange to a religionist, as a member of a group which actually does just pick their beliefs on the basis of wanting them to be true.

The idea that atheists (and, by extension, all members of the species they belong to) could experience strong positive emotions as a function of evolution is explained easily enough by examining the likely fate of a creature which has evolved into something that walks around in a constant state of dysphoria. How likely is such a being to take part in the whole mating process? Not very. And, not taking part in the whole courtship/mating schtick, how likely is it to, therefore, reproduce? Such a creature will reach an evolutionary dead end.

See? No god requirement for that line of reason to function. So why add one?

dano said...

UnBlinded wrote:
"If you want facts, you already know which books to read. If they don't reflect God's truth to you, then the best any believers can do is to keep praying for God to intervene."

"You're all in my prayers (regardless of the fact that it means nothing to you).
Peace,
Marc"

Dan (unblinded by belief in magic writes:)
Yea, like, God is going to intervene, and make all of us here on Ex-Christian, like Mark, but he isn't going to do a damn thing about all of the suffering and injustice in the world, the starving babies, the babies being born with horrendous birth defects, the people suffering from diseases so awful that they are beyond belief, the innocent people being blown to bits, by the insane, Islamic version, of people like Mark.

I am certainly glad that there are so many prayers going up to our intelligent designer, asking him to make me a believer in magic and the supernatural!

It is so satisfying to know that, very soon, God is going to make me learn to, just, "Let go, and let God"
Dan

Steven Bently said...

You see this guy that claims to be unblinded has alot invested, mostly his stature in his community. He has taken a public stance in his community as a strong believer in invisible beings, with him thinking that it is (he) that is special because he has been given special wisdom and grace to see how the invisible holy spirit works and that we non-believers refuse to brilliantly see as he's been given the special gift of the spirit.

Little does he know that alot of us used to think just like him, we were told that if we would just believe and have faith that the Bible and all it's mysteries would be revealed to us and anyone not willing to receive this gift has fallen by the wayside.

Therefore, this site and it's posters has become a threat to this so-called unblinded person, because he has been convinced that he holds absolute truth about his beliefs as well as has convinced others in his community as well, so now he has to put up a front in order to look like he has been chosen to spread his beliefs on to us unsuspecting wayward sinners, in his mind.

Beliefs alter mental perception, that is their sole purpose to alter a change in the way a person normally thinks.

Religions and beliefs are strictly a form of mind control, and no one will believe you until they are ready to see it for themselves, cognitive dissonance.

Believers find comfort praising and praying to their favorite deities, it gives them a false feeling of approval that they need, seek and desire.

I wonder what people would be like if they had never heard of the bible or koran? Murderous wolves or barbaric lions, or just plan feral and useless and of no value to anyone, like us atheists.

UnBlinded said...

J.C.,

Personally, I consider Miller's article to be a very weak argument against irreducible complexity (IC). All I see here is people grasping at straws trying to maintain a Darwinian evolution that has no guidance from intelligence.

In discussing TTSS as being a sub-component of Flagellum, in order to refute irreducible complexity, he's only found a "loop-hole" to the original premise for IC. Miller has not disproved it in any conclusive way, far from it. As an analogy, if Flagellum is the bicycle I use to ride to work, then TTSS is the gear system of that bicycle. Just because I found this same gear system on my neighbor's recumbent bike doesn't mean that I can conclude that both bikes weren't designed.

Does anyone even pay attention to the complexity of the flagellum? One tiny little component of life, among millions.....all of you see this complexity yet believe that it came to exist through random events? People clearly give chance and oh yes, natural selection much more power than I've ever experienced in the real world.

Just because the dolphin's blood clotting system has a difference from our blood, does this make us conclude that IC is bunk? These systems are much too complex to have evolved naturally and we're now talking about two distinct species (IE. different designs).

With regards to the Krebs cycle, they are simply seeing that the various parts of my bicycle can have a purpose elsewhere. Yes, I've seen sprockets and nuts and bolts on many other human inventions. Does that mean that I believe that my bicycle could have evolved because all of it's parts have been found to exist for other purposes in this world? Does anyone here even appreciate the degree of complexity and intelligence that comes from putting the bicycle together?

I do happen to believe that anything is possible with God and that if He wanted it to be, we could have evolved over millions of years. The key here is that He made it happen, not chance. There's absolutely no way I would ever believe that random processes of mutation and natural selection could have created the world we live in. Something intelligent had to either guide the process, create it instantly or create the foundation of life billions of years ago with the capacity and built-in intelligence to "evolve" on it's own. Not chance, no way, no how.

In examining these arguments against IC and ID it's must be clear to everyone that a person's world view is the deciding factor on which side of the fence they fall. There is not enough data being presented by Miller to have all ID proponents put their hands in the air and concede "that's it, we come from nothingness". I do hope that many of you could at least agree with this point, nothing conclusive. Conversely, we, IC/ID proponents, despite the fact that we perceive the evidence as conclusive, can at least concede that there have been discoveries that help you maintain your case for evolution. If I shared your belief in evolution, no doubt I'd anchor myself on TTSS and the dolphin's blood. Why not, it keeps my hope alive. Yes, that's right, both groups have their own hope. You might think that you have irrefutable facts but you don't, atheists and theists both hang on to some degree of hope.

Jim said: "What does that show[referring to IC]? Does it prove that all the components would have needed to evolve independently via natural selection before they could confer an advantage to the organism? No!"
Jim's arguments for this (or as he puts it...how he's backed it up) are:
- a brief comment on the mammalian inner ear
- organisms that have "learned" to digest nylon using a complex multi-step process
- more primitive flagella than Behe was aware
- Behe has also ignored the fact that poorly-functioning processes may still be beneficial the organism

Each of these points does not, in any way, demonstrate how any of the complex biological systems discussed by Behe could have evolved with pure naturalism. You use these points as arguments for your beliefs but they only provide an argument by analogy. No one has ever demonstrated, in a detailed way, how any of the multitude of complex systems that make life, could have evolved.

As humans, we have been presented with an environment that is incredibly powerful in it's ability to keep people on both sides of the ID fence. At the end of the day, the side of the fence you fall on is a personal choice.

From spending time on this topic over the last few months, I now know that I can sleep very well at night knowing that I haven't missed some clinching argument that tells me that I shouldn't expose my children to the love of God. Aside from the lack of science to make my faith waver, I also have personal experiences that corroborate my beliefs. The Bible talks about humans being sinners, my experience with this statement is to agree conclusively. At the end of the day, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the side of the fence you fall on is directly related to whether a human agrees or disagrees with this point.

Steven Bently said: "I wonder what people would be like if they had never heard of the bible or koran? Murderous wolves or barbaric lions, or just plan feral and useless and of no value to anyone, like us atheists."

I appreciate that you're being sarcastic but regardless, let me just add that absolutely no one is useless and of no value. No one. We should all stand aghast to euthanasia, abortions, etc... Everyone has the capacity to love and be loved and everyone has the ability to have a relationship with their creator. Despite our sins, Jesus Christ will never refuse a sincere and honest plea.

Blessings,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

.:webmaster:. said...

Marc,

Even though you refuse to document a single book on this topic you've actually read, you present your self as an expert on the topic.

That's a bit silly, wouldn't you agree?

Anyway, even if evolution is one day found to be completely and totally false, how does that in any way support that your version of deity is alive and well on planet Earth?

Finding holes in ANY scientific theory does nothing toward PROVING there is a god and he has a virgin lover who is appearing to little children in Spain.

Now let me state here, I don't think you've found anything but one Catholic who for whatever reason desires to attempt to synchronize a portion of his religious convictions with his scientific training, and who apparently is finding little success or support from among his contemporaries.

Regardless, please present some evidence that your god and his virgin lover are bopping real.

Thanks.

May reason lead us all out of the crippling darkness of superstition and magical thinking. Amen.

Jim Arvo said...

I agree very much with what eel_shepherd and Steven said. eel_shepherd pointed out Marc's perception that we "choose" to believe the theory of evolution, which is quite revealing in itself. Many of the religionists I've communicated with here and elsewhere see belief as a "choice"; you chose what you want to believe based on... based on what? I suppose it's based at least partly on what "feels" right. But what's going to "feel" right? Those ideas that match our expectations which are, in turn, shaped by what we've been exposed to and also to some extent by our biology (e.g. there are remnants of "alpha-male" thinking in all of us, not to mention an innate tendency to attribute otherwise unexplained events to the desires of unseen agents). If that is so, then what the religionist does, unintentionally, is to form a worldview around their own desires and, well, prejudices. As I've often said, religion is a reflection of how one thinks, not a reflection of what is real.

Apparently, part of the mechanism that keeps such a worldview intact is insulation from other ways of thinking, and from questioning the basis of beliefs. It's no wonder that most religions foment violence and intolerance against non-believers, and place so much emphasis on emotions and "faith", as these are ready substitutes for the hard work of thinking and attempting to see past our prejudices. Note that I have asked Marc no fewer than five times (here and in other threads) whether he can examine his own presuppositions regarding god and the Bible, and he has completely ignored my question each time--sometimes quoting my nearby sentences, but skipping that central question. Interesting, no? Why is that such a terrifying question? Well, I think Steven sheds some light on that. The enormous edifice of religious belief is intimately tied into self-esteem, and it can be a major element in defining who we are. It must be protected at all costs (or so it seems to the believer). At some level, religionists must realize that they dare not examine what's in that black box called "faith" for fear of undermining everything they value; either that, or the concept is so completely alien to them that they literally cannot grasp what it might entail--a sad consequence of bringing all thoughts into submission for too long. For example, it's entirely possible that Marc has no idea what I mean by examining his own presuppositions, and for some reason cannot bring himself to ask for clarification (perhaps because I represent the embodiment of evil to him, or at least waywardness).

I'd be curious to hear what former believers think about what I just said. Some of what I said is borne out by Joe's fine testimony above (which, I fear, I have helped to co-opt through longwinded exchanges with Marc--sorry about that, Joe). I certainly don't claim to have it all figured out--far from it. Having never been a believer in any kind of deity as an adult, it's a perpetual challenge for me to figure out what might be going on in the mind of a given believer. I find it simultaneously intriguing and infuriating trying to communicate with Marc and believers of his ilk. I look to folks like Joe, eel_shepherd, dano, JCS, the WM, and many others here to provide some insight into such thinking, as they have a privileged view: they've been there, but are now free to examine it with something close to objectivity. By reading what you guys have to say, I've gained some insight into what drives such beliefs; alas, at this point I still can't claim anything more than novice status (despite much effort).

By the way, if any religionist (including Marc) would like to speak up and counter what I just said, feel free. I think this last invitation is in keeping with Joe's initial sentiment (which I applaud, by the way).

UnBlinded said...

Jim said: "Note that I have asked Marc no fewer than five times (here and in other threads) whether he can examine his own presuppositions regarding god and the Bible, and he has completely ignored my question each time--sometimes quoting my nearby sentences, but skipping that central question."

Lord give me patience! Jim, just because I haven't re-used your term "presuppositions" should not give you the freedom to say that I haven't addressed your question. My presuppositions are about as clear as day. Before I open any book, the moment I wake up, the first time I looked at my children, the moment I experienced tremendous loss, at each of these and all instances of my life I presuppose that there is an intelligent agent that is the Creator of this world.

Guess what, you have a presupposition as well. You think that chance and natural selection are powerful forces that can be used to explain all of life on earth. Your worldview and my worldview are fundamental to every thought that flows from our minds. We both carry these beliefs long before we crack the cover of any and all books we read on the topic.

I have no fear of loss if my worldview were removed from me, that's why I'm not afraid to read about arguments for evolution written by atheists. I have no fear because, today, based on the facts presented, I know that it can't be done. I hope you don't think that your worldview is any less anchored than mine. I looked at the facts for your presuppositions and they've continually proved to carry no conclusive weight. Don't get me wrong, I'll keep looking as a personal interest but I must say that I'll always pray and hope that nurturing my love of God and others is the first priority in my life.

Aside from science, I factor in many other points related to what God has done to reveal Himself to us. The Gospels are number one, of course. How about the 70,000 witnesses to the miracle of the sun at Fatima as but one example, here.

WM said: "Regardless, please present some evidence that your god and his virgin lover are bopping real."

WM, are you even reading the posts? Let me re-quote myself:

"As humans, we have been presented with an environment that is incredibly powerful in it's ability to keep people on both sides of the ID fence. At the end of the day, the side of the fence you fall on is a personal choice."

"Yes, that's right, both groups have their own hope. You might think that you have irrefutable facts but you don't, atheists and theists both hang on to some degree of hope."

I think the horse is dead now...but, I'm sure someone will prove me wrong. ;) Kidding aside, the topics we discuss are likely more serious that anything else you might be stressing about in your life.

God bless,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

Jim Arvo said...

Marc: "...In discussing TTSS as being a sub-component of Flagellum, in order to refute irreducible complexity, he's only found a 'loop-hole' to the original premise for IC."

It's not a loop-hole; it shows that one of Behe's fundamental assumptions is unfounded. Behe continually ignores the fact that natural selection proceeds largely by pressing existing structures into new uses. Biology is filled with such examples; Darwin himself catalogued dozens of them that remain wonderful examples to this day (e.g. Crayfish with complex jaws have fewer legs than those with simple jaws. Mammals, with complex inner ears, have simpler jaws than reptiles, which have no inner ear.) Behe's computations of spontaneous assembly ex nihilo are therefore completely meaningless.

Marc: "Miller has not disproved it in any conclusive way, far from it."

In a sense, you are correct. There is no way to disprove intelligent design for precisely the same reason that there is no way to disprove the existence of a god. Whatever we observe, it is in the realm of possibility that it is that way because that's how an infinitely powerful designer wanted it; end of story. Thus, neither the existence of god nor an intelligent designer is a testable hypothesis. The relevant question is not whether ID has been disproved (since that is impossible), but whether there is any legitimate reason to suppose it is true. Behe claims there are reasons to believe it is true; Miller and others examine Behe's reasoning and show that it is erroneous.

Marc: "As an analogy, if Flagellum is the bicycle I use to ride to work, then TTSS is the gear system of that bicycle. Just because I found this same gear system on my neighbor's recumbent bike doesn't mean that I can conclude that both bikes weren't designed."

Correct. Everything in the universe may have been designed. That's an untestable hypothesis. But is there any reason think that it actually was designed, other than ignorance about how something came to be?

Marc: "Does anyone even pay attention to the complexity of the flagellum?..."

Yes, of course. I have colleagues who attempt to model the workings of ribosomes which, I believe, are markedly simpler than even a flagellum. It's a daunting task, and I suspect it will not be fully understood for at least another decade--and that may turn out to be a gross underestimate. Just because something is complex, or I don't understand how it came to be, it does not entitle me to make conclusions about its origin.

Marc: "...all of you see this complexity yet believe that it came to exist through random events?"

That is completely wrong. To assert that such things come about through "random events" is to commit precisely the same error as Behe and legions of other creationists. Purely random events categorically do not create complex structures. Here is a simple analogy. All gene sequencers require a DNA sample to be replicated billions of times. Are the components dumped into a vessel and then assembled "by chance"? No. The replication depends on both randomness (i.e. buffeting by water molecules) coupled with the progressive hydrogen bonding of the base pairs. The latter constitutes a form of "memory" in the system, in that previous progress is retained while random jostling provides a primitive form of "search" through the space of possible configurations. (Clearly, this applies to all self-assembling molecules, not just DNA.) While randomness plays a vital role, to say that it all happens "randomly" completely misses the point. It is far from random. The same can be said for all biological functions. Randomness at the level of molecular buffeting is crucial, yet it is not what produces the large-scale structures--the latter depends very critically on feedback from the environment (e.g. "memory" of previous structures, natural or artificial selection, the action of enzymes or other molecules, changing concentrations, etc.).

Marc: "People clearly give chance and oh yes, natural selection much more power than I've ever experienced in the real world."

Part of what science does is to allow us to see past our everyday experiences. I'll bet you have never observed an uncaused natural event, or a particle pop into existence out of nothing, or a glacier form a lake, or a super nova explode, or a mountain form, or a black hole swallow a nearby star, or a subatomic particle split into quarks. None of these things are open to casual observation; they require painstaking research, and relentless testing and re-testing of ideas. Science allows us to see past our everyday assumptions.

Marc: "Just because the dolphin's blood clotting system has a difference from our blood, does this make us conclude that IC is bunk?"

Correct. Everything in the universe may have been designed by an intelligent designer. That is an untestable hypothesis. What the dolphin blood clotting cascade shows is that seemingly irreducible mechanisms are sometimes reducible. As I stated previously, I actually don't think that is the most significant blow to IC. I think there are no doubt many examples of mechanisms that are irreducibly complex in Behe's sense, even if the blood clotting cascade is not one of them. The really important question is what that implies.

Marc: "These systems are much too complex to have evolved naturally..."

That is the very point in question.

Marc: "With regards to the Krebs cycle, they are simply seeing that the various parts of my bicycle can have a purpose elsewhere...."

Yes, and that is what shows Behe's probabilities to be wildly inaccurate. So far as we know, biology works in an incremental fashion, building piece-by-piece from components already available, just like a DNA molecule builds a replica of itself by splicing together growing segments that are in turn built from available base pairs, not ex nihilo from C, H, O, and N atoms.

The probability of creating something as complex as the Krebs cycle ex nihilo is astronomically small. Nobody disputes that. It is, however, completely irrelevant, as nobody with even a modicum of biological understanding would suggest that it took place ex nihilo. When one observes that the major enzymes were already present, the probability goes up astronomically, as it is then a matter of fitting together large components.

Marc: "Does anyone here even appreciate the degree of complexity and intelligence that comes from putting the bicycle together?"

Sure. I think I have a reasonable appreciation for that. But life is not a bicycle. It's put together in a very different way. It has components that can self-assemble, it has many redundant components, it requires a constant input of energy to retain its form, it can reproduce and repair itself. All quite amazing, and all VERY different from any artifact that we KNOW has been designed. Hence, the implication that biological organisms must have been designed because bicycles have been is a crude argument by analogy. Could we not also use such an analogy to argue that organisms can last indefinitely with no input of energy? After all, that is true of EVERY machine that we know has been designed.

Marc: "I do happen to believe that anything is possible with God..."

Yes, precisely. That's what makes it an untestable hypothesis. Specifically, there is nothing that could count against the existence of an (abstract) god. (One can argue against the existence of a specific god, such as Yahweh, but that's another topic.)

Marc: "The key here is that He made it happen..."

That is precisely the point in question. You cannot simply present it as a fact.

Marc: "There's absolutely no way I would ever believe that random processes of mutation and natural selection could have created the world we live in."

Two things: First, natural selection is not random. Unless you can come to grips with that, you will continue to make incorrect inferences about the process of evolution. Second, what you just stated is that your opinion is impervious to evidence. Of course, that's your prerogative. But if that's the case, then I strongly suspect that you have no real interest in learning about the science of evolution. If so, that's too bad. It's a fascinating topic with a rich diversity of evidence from many fields, all pointing to the same conclusion.

Marc: "Something intelligent had to either guide the process..."

That's precisely the point in question.

Marc: "In examining these arguments against IC and ID it's must be clear to everyone that a person's world view is the deciding factor on which side of the fence they fall."

I agree with you in a sense. If your worldview precludes being persuaded by evidence, or if it hinges on certain key dogmas that must be accepted at all costs, or if it lends too much credence to one's intuition, then I think it precludes learning from what science has to offer. On the other hand, if one is willing to follow the evidence, and to refrain from making conclusions that have no factual support, then I think one is in a much better position to see beyond one's preconceptions.

Marc: "There is not enough data being presented by Miller to have all ID proponents put their hands in the air and concede 'that's it, we come from nothingness'."

Of course not. They will no doubt continue to press their case. Let them.

Marc: "I do hope that many of you could at least agree with this point, nothing conclusive. Conversely, we, IC/ID proponents, despite the fact that we perceive the evidence as conclusive, can at least concede that there have been discoveries that help you maintain your case for evolution."

Excellent! Yes, I agree. Nothing has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That is true today, and it will continue to be true for the foreseeable future. However, that is not to say that all things are equally likely. While it's possible that people actually have been abducted by aliens and had their insides probed, I don't think it's very likely.

Marc: "If I shared your belief in evolution, no doubt I'd anchor myself on TTSS and the dolphin's blood. Why not, it keeps my hope alive."

What you just said is that you will continue to be a religionist, no matter what camp you are in. Nobody in science "anchors" themselves to dogmas--at least not intentionally. The job of science is to discern what is so, and cast off what is in error. While there are certainly egos and emotions involved, the process as a whole is deliberately designed to minimize the effects of such. Moreover, most scientists try their best not to be swayed unduly by subjective factors.

Marc: "...You might think that you have irrefutable facts but you don't, atheists and theists both hang on to some degree of hope."

That's a dogmatic assertion. Science is not religion, Marc. Religions place "hope" and "faith" on a pedestal, and deem some "facts" to be so by fiat, or by appeal to what one feels. Those attitudes are the antithesis of science. In science, one poses questions in as unbiased a fashion as possible, then humbly accepts nature's answer.

Marc: "Each of these points [that Jim made regarding Behe's argument] does not, in any way, demonstrate how any of the complex biological systems discussed by Behe could have evolved with pure naturalism. You use these points as arguments for your beliefs but they only provide an argument by analogy. No one has ever demonstrated, in a detailed way, how any of the multitude of complex systems that make life, could have evolved."

I think you've misunderstood. There is a great deal of fossil evidence documenting the evolution of the mammalian inner ear (a multi-part mechanism involving several bones) from the more complex jaws of reptiles. We have simpler jaws than reptiles; we lack the double hinge that allow reptiles to swallow very large prey. This fossil record documents a gradual migration of the bones in the reptilian jaw to the mammalian inner ear. Biochemistry confirms this through homology. As the inner ear is (presumably) irreducibly complex in Behe's sense, it is a clear demonstration of how existing structures can be pressed into different services, leading to "irreducibly complex" mechanisms. The same is so for the organisms that digest nylon, which presumably evolved since the advent of that artificial substance. The biochemical mechanism for the digestion is again (presumably) irreducibly complex in Behe's sense, yet it appears to have evolved by combining and modifying existing mechanisms.

The main point is this: Behe's analysis continually disregards the fact that structures and processes in an organism can serve dual and sometimes redundant purposes. Over time, under differing environmental pressures, one process may become more important while the other less important. When one the redundant processes disappear, what is left is something that is "irreducibly complex", in the same way that the rock structures in Arches National Park are "irreducibly complex". Both appear to be "impossible" to form one part at a time until one considers that the parts originally played different roles, and at one time there were other parts present that were redundant (i.e. the rock matrix surrounding the arch also supported the arch).

Marc: "As humans, we have been presented with an environment that is incredibly powerful in it's ability to keep people on both sides of the ID fence."

Perhaps that's how it appears from your side of the fence. Nothing even approaching this analogy is evident from the side I am on. To mainstream science, creationism, ID, and IC are strange fringe groups that are best ignored (in general) as I say, unless or until they have something of scientific significance to offer. That hasn't happened yet. But who knows... it's possible.

Marc: "At the end of the day, the side of the fence you fall on is a personal choice."

Again, maybe that's so from your perspective. You seem to like the conclusion of ID, and seem to invest a great deal of emotional stock in it. That's your prerogative. But please don't assume that that is how other people reach their conclusions. I, for one, would abandon the notion of natural selection quite willingly if it were shown to be in error. Why would I want to hold on to an idea that is wrong? There is far more opportunity to contribute something useful, and to learn new things, when one discards outmoded ideas. History is very clear about that. But as things stand, evolution by natural selection remains unfalsified, it has made thousands of detailed predictions that have been verified, and it remains our best hope of understanding how to craft a truly sustainable society. It fits the facts as we know them today.

Marc: "From spending time on this topic over the last few months, I now know that I can sleep very well at night knowing that I haven't missed some clinching argument that tells me that I shouldn't expose my children to the love of God."

Personally, I expose my children to my unrelenting love, and engender a passion for learning, thinking, and asking questions. But that's my choice, isn't it?

Marc: "...The Bible talks about humans being sinners, my experience with this statement is to agree conclusively. At the end of the day, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the side of the fence you fall on is directly related to whether a human agrees or disagrees with this point."

You put the cart before the horse. I (we) do not believe in your concept of "sin", as I (we) do not believe in your god. I follow the evidence as best I can, Marc. If there is no evidence, I cannot justify believing in something for the sake of feeling secure, or fulfilling a desire. If there were evidence of your god, Marc, I'd gladly give it all due consideration, for it would be the most important evidence in history.

Marc: "...Despite our sins, Jesus Christ will never refuse a sincere and honest plea."

You just did something unexpected, Marc; you clearly articulated a testable hypothesis. Let me probe you on that a little. I personally know of a couple who lost a child to brain cancer. They were devout Christians, and prayed continually for months that god might allow their beloved daughter to live. They held endless prayer vigils. Their daughter's entire 6'th grade class prayed that she might live. Now, if your hypothesis is correct, it seems to me that one of several things must be the case: 1) I am making up this story (and the thousands of similar stories are also made up), 2) the requests made in prayer were not sufficiently "sincere" or "honest", or 3) Jesus really DID answer their prayers, but not in the way they expected. Perhaps there are other possibilities as well. Feel free to add to my list, but please do tell me how your hypothesis holds up. Thanks.

dano said...

With people like Marc, and Neo, and Paul, and all the other self proclaimed Christians who come to this site because they think they have a special talent for making black, "white," and night, "day," you can never give them an alternative for explaining the irrefutable facts of reality.

If you show them an example of unintelligent design, such as the vestiges of lower forms of life, that we all are blessed with, in our physiology and Neurology, they will always completely ignore it, and find something completely irrelevant to debate.

If you show them all of the starving, and sick people in the world, they will say "God works in mysterious ways"

IF you tell them (The Christian apologists), that the 19 young men who flew airplanes into the world trade center were deeply religious, they are incapable of understanding that.

There is something in the brain of a person like Sam Harris, that is so, "freeing," and so, powerful, that lets him see the obvious destruction, caused by faith in the supernatural, and for some reason, that "something" is lacking in the brain of these people who come to this site to witness to us.

The "Unblinded's" will always be around, but it is up to us to keep hitting them in the face with reality, otherwise advancements in science, like stem cell research, and discoveries like the Earth rotating around the Sun, will stall.

I sincerely give thanks to all of you hard-core realists on this sight. Your logic and common sense help me make it through the day. You guys are my heroes, and the Unblinded's are simply to be pitied, till they grow up!
Dan

.:webmaster:. said...

This is Marc's EVIDENCE for his god and his virgin lover:

"As humans, we have been presented with an environment that is incredibly powerful in it's ability to keep people on both sides of the ID fence. At the end of the day, the side of the fence you fall on is a personal choice."

"Yes, that's right, both groups have their own hope. You might think that you have irrefutable facts but you don't, atheists and theists both hang on to some degree of hope."

Marc, that's evidence of nothing. That's your assertions. However, thanks at least for replying.

My reason deliver us all from the horrific blindness of superstitious ignorance and its crippling effect on people's ability for rational thought.

Jim Arvo said...

That horse aint dead yet...

Marc, can you EXAMINE your presuppositions about god and the Bible? Thank you for admitting that you too actually have presuppositions, and that they influence your thinking. That means you are human, like the rest of us. I suppose that's progress.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Marc,

Does anyone even pay attention to the complexity of the flagellum?

Certainly! Many well-qualified scientists have done so. And it is indeed a complex piece of organic "machinery." However, it has also been demonstrated that it is not the example of irreducible complexity that Behe was proposing.

...all of you see this complexity yet believe that it came to exist through random events?

Natural selection is not random. Once again, chance plus non-random natural selection equals complexity according to the evolutionary model. Now, this does not preclude a god of some kind (or a designer), but it does describe the mechanisms by which complexity in biological systems arise in nature. So far, scientists have not uncovered any evidence of complex systems that can't happen via natural processes.

Just because the dolphin's blood clotting system has a difference from our blood, does this make us conclude that IC is bunk?

At the moment, yes. Like the failure of the flagellum to pass scientific testing as an IC system, it does demonstrate that it can't be counted as a good example of IC. The point is that ID hasn't met the necessary requirements to qualify as a scientific theory. It does make several testable scientific claims, but so far, each of them have been falsified.

These systems are much too complex to have evolved naturally and we're now talking about two distinct species (IE. different designs).

One part assertion, one part tautology. Dolphins are a different species, but they are still mammals. In other words, they even fall under the same definition of "kind" that creationists sometimes use. If mammals have an irreducibly complex blood clotting cascade, then we should have evidence that the cascade functions only as long as all the necessary elements are present, regardless of species within mammalia. Behe's example has been shown wrong.

With regards to the Krebs cycle, they are simply seeing that the various parts of my bicycle can have a purpose elsewhere.

Which is precisely the point. An irreducibly complex system is one in which no parts can have any other purpose, thus rendering the system useless if one or more is missing. You've just stated an argument against intelligent design, Marc. It occurs to me that you're not really understanding what irreducible complexity means, exactly.

According to Behe, IC means:

"By irreducibly complex, I mean a single system which is necessarily composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution. Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually, it would have to arise as an integrated unit in one fell swoop for natural selection to have anything to act on." [Emphasis added]

You've been saying that any complex biological system must have been designed. This assertion is not supported by anyone in the scientific community, including Dr. Behe. Behe is - according to his own words (below) - not arguing for irreducible complexity at the organ or organism level. Thus, even from a design standpoint, your bicycle example is not analogous to what ID proposes.

"Q. Fair enough. You don't make claims about irreducible complexity at the organ level?
BEHE: That's correct.
Q. Or at the organism level?
BEHE: That's correct."

...and (Behe seems to be describing you below, Marc)...

"Q. Intelligent design, as a scientific proposition and the individuals who advocate for it, are arguing for intelligent design beyond the cellular level?
BEHE: Some people certainly do, based not on my argument but other arguments.
Q. So it's not based on your argument?
BEHE: Yes."

...and...

"Q. And we don't rule out natural explanation for all of these amazing phenomena, do we?
BEHE: Well, you're going -- I don't rule out natural explanations for anything, including intelligent design.
Intelligent design does not rule out natural explanations."

Furthermore, he has not done any tests himself. It is entirely an inductive argument:

Q. In any event, you have not undertaken the kind of test you describe here for any of the irreducibly
complex systems you have identified?
BEHE: I have not.

Another reason the Krebs cycle is important as demonstrated in the article is that it can be used to demonstrate how ID proponents are against scientific discovery. Just to clarify, here is the relevant section of that article:

"Since this paper appeared, a study based on genomic DNA sequences has confirmed the validity of this approach (Huynen, Dandekar, and Bork 1999). By contrast, how would intelligent design have approached the Krebs Cycle? Using Dembski's calculations as our guide, we would first determine the amino acid sequences of each of the proteins of the cycle, and then calculate the probability of their spontaneous assembly. When this is done, an origination probability of less than 10 -400 is the result. Therefore, the result of applying 'design' as a predictive science would have told both groups of researchers that their ultimately successful studies would have been fruitless, since the probability of spontaneous assembly falls below the 'universal probability bound.'"

Translation: Dembski's model predicted failure, but the evidence shows they were successful. In other words, Dembski would discourage scientists from even studying complex systems, if they don't fall within his arbitrarily determined boundary.

Additionally, Behe argued in Kitzmiller that studies into the immune system to determine it's evolutionary or design mechanism would be fruitless. That is, he says that scientists shouldn't study this, because they won't find anything. He was then presented with 58 peer-reviewed articles describing the exact sort of study he says shouldn't be done, plus several books, all the while admitting he hasn't published any peer-reviewed studies of his own regarding IC or ID, and that he hasn't conducted (and doesn't intend to conduct) any experiments of his own. Put simply, he just thinks IC is so, and doesn't need any proof (or perhaps, less proof than normally required for a theory). It is entirely an inductive argument.

There's absolutely no way I would ever believe that random processes of mutation and natural selection could have created the world we live in. Something intelligent had to either guide the process, create it instantly or create the foundation of life billions of years ago with the capacity and built-in intelligence to "evolve" on it's own. Not chance, no way, no how.

No evidence of any sort will ever convince you, in other words. You just refuse to consider the idea. Is this accurate?

In examining these arguments against IC and ID it's must be clear to everyone that a person's world view is the deciding factor on which side of the fence they fall.

The American Scientific Affilliation (they're Christian), most of whom accept evolution and reject the arguments for IC and ID (or at least want evidence for it), demonstrate your statement as false. The Affiliation of Christian Geologists, most of whom accept evolution and reject the arguments for IC and ID (or at least want evidence for it), demonstrate your statement as false. Dr. Miller demonstrates your position as false, as does Dr. Francis Collins (Director of the Human Genome Project). Clearly, world view is not the deciding factor, because all of these people share your faith (or at least a form of it).

If I shared your belief in evolution, no doubt I'd anchor myself on TTSS and the dolphin's blood.

My acceptance of evolution is not "anchored" on these things. These are but two examples from a mountain of evidence that you reject out-of-hand, because as you admitted, you refuse to accept any evidence that doesn't agree with your world view.

I haven't missed some clinching argument that tells me that I shouldn't expose my children to the love of God. Aside from the lack of science to make my faith waver...

What an absurd statement, Marc. Maybe my memory is faulty, but when has someone here argued that because of a scientific theory, you have to give up your faith? Yes, in my opinion your faith is misplaced, but it is not because I accept evolution. And let me remind you that you came here and challenged evolution yourself. When you first posted (on "Insulting to Atheists"), you were the one who raised the issue of evolution, not us. I haven't looked at that thread in awhile, and maybe someone could correct me, but I don't recall anyone implying that you should reject faith simply on the grounds that evolution is a valid theory. What I have seen is reply after reply trying to show the flaws in your arguments, requests for evidence, and suggested resources and arguments for evolution (in response to your assertions about it).

There are many reasons to question religious faith, and not all of them have been discussed in the threads. Many are discussed in the articles posted here, or in personal testimonies. Still others can be found elsewhere. The science supporting evolution simply demonstrates that one aspect of creation myths (that of sudden emergence of fully-formed animals, plants, and humans) around the world are inaccurate. Other sciences have uncovered evidence that challenges the other aspects of creation myths. But creation myths aren't the whole story behind faith, are they?

J. C. Samuelson said...

Jim,

It's surprising that Behe is the darling of so many religionists, despite his overall acceptance of evolution. That's kettle logic again. Any scientist who manages to sneak god into the picture, by hook or by crook, seems to get broad support among religionists. Since they like the conclusion (I presume), they put up with the packaging.

I agree completely. You've probably noticed I've quoted quite a lot from Kitzmiller. If you read it, you find not only that Behe is pretty candid about it being inductive reasoning that leads him to believe design, but also that it is possible under their model that the "designer" might no longer exist.

Of course, the notion of a designer in itself poses many problems scientifically. But like you said, it's amazing how believers will latch on to just about anything that seems to support their faith.

I'd never heard of "kettle logic" before. I like that! :)

BTW, did you ever receive an email from me? If not, would you be kind enough to drop me a line, I have a question for you.

Dave8 said...

Marc: "I hope you don't think that your worldview is any less anchored than mine."

If by "anchored" you mean, the ontological relationship between our intrinsic understanding of "being", and the external reality - No. However, if anchored/stable is understood to be based on the understanding of "Truth", then - yes.

"Truth", occurs when there is a perfect alignment between one's intrinsic (mental self) "truth", and extrinsic (extra-self) "truth".

Marc, this entire engagement falls down to intent. The "intent" and spirit of science is to bridge that gap between intrinsic knowledge and the external reality, to find Truth. That is science's journey, and it's a long steady march towards that goal.

Many of religion, don't feel compelled to march forward towards that goal, as... most all religionists hold their intrinsic "truth" as "Truth". When someone says they are IC, ID, Christian, Catholic, etc., what they are saying is... they have the "Truth", journey over.

At this point, the religionist goes about figuring out how to wrap the reality that surrounds them onto their "Truth".

So, science and theology, to include ID, are attempting to reach different goals. Science is seeking Truth, about the proper perception of "reality". Theology is seeking to force/change "reality" and religious "truths" to "Truth". Even, Behe concedes on this point.

When you suggest we all have "hope/faith", I would agree with you in a most general sense.

However, the hope of science is to reach a coherence of intrinsic to extrinsic truths that form "Truth". The hope of theology, to include ID, is to subjugate extrinsic truth, in order to elevate intrinsic truth - incoherence/incoherent. Thus, there is no balance/equal sign, found in religion, it is hierarchical and under a collectivism paradigm for the most part.

The implication of the above paragraph is that the road to coherence/harmony is based on a personal prejudice towards rational thought. The road towards a religious worldview that is incoherent is based on an affinity towards irrationalism.

Marc: "I looked at the facts for your presuppositions and they've continually proved to carry no conclusive weight."

And... that is because dear Marc, the presuppositions of science are founded on natural links between "being" and Nature - coherence. You can argue all day long, and write a million words on this blog, the fact remains, any presupposition made with the intent to link "being" with "Nature" can be de-conflicted over time to become "coherent" Truth.

The most apparent fact here Marc, is that you are not interested in finding coherent "Truth".

There could be this great discussion, I suppose, on which of the two methodologies are more valuable. It would be the argument between a rationalist and an irrationalist belief system.

My vote, on spirituality... one can't reach the Maslow hierarchy state of "self-actualization", until they reach harmonic inner-peace - coherence of mind to reality. That is not possible, if one is using irrational thought. Irrational thought, marks a stop of progress towards "self-actualization"/peace, and is likely due to an attachment to a lower level need not being met.

Ayn Rand was asked, "What is the most dangerous philosophical concept a man can follow?"

Any Rand: "A single concept? If I had to make a choice, I would say irrationalism, because it involves everything else." [FHF 78, Lecture, "Cultural Update" (Boston, Ford Hall Forum 1981)]

The one key factor in my belief system is that it's based on the goal of being rationally supportable. I am a rationalist, which implicitly makes me an "atheist" towards all those who qualify their god in terms of supernatural, transcendent, etc.

Marc, when you say there is no weight towards rational thought. What I hear is... The Maslow need being met, through irrational/incoherent belief is greater in weight, and more important than the gains I may receive through rational belief.

I can only suggest that those who have lived in the shoes of the irrationalist and rationalist can give a proper perspective on the topic. If you find yourself trying to be honest about Truth, then, attempt to understand the pros and cons of differing philosophies.

To jump into the details of science, while not understanding its basic intent or philosophical underpinnings is useless for the most part. Even if you find something interesting, you have no way to make a true relational assignment to the knowledge gained.

Philosophy is indeed about instilling in humanity the confidence that we can "become", but once that is understood, one chooses a philosophy to facilitate that "becoming".

If in your becoming, you choose to live incoherently, then... understand the sacrifice you make towards your spirituality/self-actualization. Yes, we all live in some form of incoherence, but should we seek/accept/revel in it, would be the question.

My spirituality (state of mental harmony) is worth more than any religion... without "being", nothing else cognitively "exists".

Ayn Rand, was asked, "What is wrong with the prevalent philosophy of today?" to which she responded...

Ayn Rand: "Irrationalism, altruism, collectivism... (3) Collectivism. The view that the individual has no rights, that a collective (society or some other group) holds all rights, and may dispose of any individual as it pleases, and that its power over the individual is unlimited." [NC 69, Radio Program, "Night Call" (March 1969)]

Marc, when others have unlimited power over you, you no longer exist; you are nothing but an extension of their will. Many have left religion, based on that very fact alone.

To suggest ID isn't presupposed to irrationalism, and engaged in collectivism is purely puerile from my point of view. However, that's a rational point of view, based on personal experience, research, and testimonials; it may hold no weight for you. It will however, ring true for those who have lived on both sides of the fence.

Marc: "Does anyone even pay attention to the complexity of the flagellum?"

Surely, a rational explanation, will not satiate the appetite for the irrationalist.

Enjoy your search for whatever incoherence/irrationalism will bring you and your family. May you be blessed in life, by the same virtue you pursue.

Dave8 said...

Correction, I stated, "Any Rand: "A single concept?"... Should have read, "Ayn Rand:..."

And, so goes spell check.

Gahdangsonbit said...

Thank you, dave8, for quoting Ayn Rand, one of the sharpest minds to dissect the dangers to freedom and human advancement posed by the irrationality and mysticism of religion. Her philosophy she called "objectivism" is worthy of serious study. It should be more familiar to ex-christians, I think.

Dave8 said...

Gahdangsonbit, yes, she was a great thinker :-) If anyone wants to read her objectivist philosophy, here's a link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_%28Ayn_Rand%29

There is value added by learning from those who have gone before :-)

Ayn Rand was asked, "Can't a person use another man's ideas, or must he think solely on his own?"

Ayn Rand: "It's not wrong to accept an idea originated or discovered by another, provided you don't accept it on faith, but conclude by your own rational judgment that it is true. In this respect, philosophy is in the same position as the physical sciences. It's not wrong to accept a scientific truth discovered by someone else. If you go into medicine, for instance, you need not discover everything from scratch. But whether its science or philosophy, you cannot claim to know or understand or accept an idea if you merely memorize it or take it on faith. You must use your mind--your rational judgment. Man is the only species that can transmit knowledge. It is proper to learn from others, provided you don't claim authorship. You learn from those who went before you, and then you originate your own ideas when and as you can." [NC 69, Radio Program, "Night Call" (March 1969)]

Take care.

UnBlinded said...

Jim said: "Personally, I expose my children to my unrelenting love, and engender a passion for learning, thinking, and asking questions. But that's my choice, isn't it?"

Because Marc said: "From spending time on this topic over the last few months, I now know that I can sleep very well at night knowing that I haven't missed some clinching argument that tells me that I shouldn't expose my children to the love of God."

Obviously, my sentence was not exclusive. To be clear, I choose to give them unconditional love as opposed to unrelenting love but that's likely because of my beliefs....I know that we are all imperfect beings. I also teach them not to judge any person or group of persons and to never carry any resentment for anyone. Excluding Sunday church time and some prayer time, the love of God I expose them to is mostly, I pray, manifested by the way I give them of my time, the way my wife and I love each other, the way we reveal to them that we are also imperfect by apologizing when we've done something wrong, etc... My wife and I are active people and we consider that health, one of God's gifts, should to be respected and as such, family time is often enjoying outdoor fitness activities. Many of you might think that I'm some kind of militant Christian with them but that is actually far from the truth. I will always respect their freedom to choose life's path and beliefs. If they do something that is contrary to what we consider to be the right choice, we definitely let them know. It's our job to guide them as much as possible, once they are on their own, they are in God's hands. We'll never close the door on them, ever and we'll always love and support them. God gives us freedom out of respect, we should give our children the same gift, all the while praying that Wisdom guides us all on our journey. One quick thing to note about human freedom, we Catholics believe it to be our weakness as well. I shared all this because I think that some of you think I'm some kind of 24/7 Bible quoter and that my poor children might be dealing with a constantly overbearing Bible-thumping Dad. The world is a grand and fascinating place and it's good to love the gift of life by loving and learning through the whole experience, despite and through the difficulties we face with suffering. The Bible is our guide during our time on earth.

Marc said: "At the end of the day, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the side of the fence you fall on is directly related to whether a human agrees or disagrees with this point."

Jim said: "You put the cart before the horse. I (we) do not believe in your concept of "sin", as I (we) do not believe in your god."

I agree completely and I stand by that statement. You've hit the nail on the head and it's a doozy isn't it. If a person can go through life believing that all of his/her imperfections are the unfortunate result of societal impact (IE. upbringing, psychological predispositions, etc...), then they are fooling themselves. This is what our society has come down to, nobody takes ownership of their actions.

Oh, the poor child became a rapist because of the abusive upbringing he lived. Yes, that's correct, it is possible that that child's parent didn't appreciate the immense gift and responsibility that God gave them and they failed to give that child love and knowledge of God. With the evil, yes evil, that surrounds all of us, without being anchored to God, we are as free to be moved about like a leaf in the wind. Our life will be guided by our self-interest, our egos and we may find ourselves on a path to perdition. Our selfishness will cause us to live out terrible sins. Sins that all of us burry under the carpet and figure, oops better not do that again. You have them and I have them, the only difference is that through faith, love of God and hope, I believe in His promise.

Jim, on your last question, point 3) would be my answer. But then again, you already knew that... I think that my response to Alanh from another thread, below, elaborates on my stance.

Alanh said: "OK Marc, you're not saved, you're incredibly blessed and guided by Jesus. Do you believe AIDS is divine justice?"

Marc answered: "Actually Alanh, I do believe that God has saved me. Because of my freedom, it is possible that I fall back into mortal sin and risk eternal loss but I endeavor to stay as close to Jesus as possible by repenting often of all my venial sins. To disbelieve in my salvation would be to succumb to pride, by believing that God isn't good enough to forgive me. As well, I would also be succumbing to despair. Till my last breath, I will hope, pray and believe that Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient for my salvation. All the while working to be steadfast to His word by seeking His will in all aspects of my life.
Do I believe that AIDS is divine justice...I think that all suffering is divine justice. You might argue with the case for innocent suffering (IE. a child born with HIV) but we could never fully understand His reasons. In light of the accepted Truths, I could argue that this child might pass away during the age of innocense and find salvation from this disease. Or, that the suffering child was going to bring an adult to repentance and salvation. Or, that having this child pass away, was going to put an end to a family line that is immersed in sin and God knew that it had no possibility of bearing fruit. The bottom line is that I think we can never fully comprehend the mystery of suffering. In the face of all "innocent" suffering (I quote because man is born into sin) I think that God's answer to how He can bring anything good from this type of suffering....lies in the cross. God's answer to innocent suffering was hanging on a cross over 2000 years ago. The only truly righteous one that ever suffered, Jesus, brought the greatest gift to humanity, salvation."

WM, it's true that I didn't give you the evidence you asked. I did give you my answer, you'll need to make a choice. This isn't evidence, if you want evidence you'll have to try using the same approach as others and as an ex-christian, you already know this... Read the new testament, the apologetics if you wish and above all, offer up a sincere and honest prayer for help! Yes, unfortunately, the cart before the horse...

J.C.
With regards to the Krebs cycle, of which I honestly know nothing about (except what you guys have told me), you should note that I don't recall Behe offering up this cycle as something to strengthen IC. A cycle seems to be a much more likely reducible system that a biological machine. Nevertheless, let me reiterate, they never proved or even came close to demonstrating how the Krebs cycle came to exist, they only showed that it's parts exist elsewhere. Not much strength in that, no?

J.C. said: "Maybe my memory is faulty, but when has someone here argued that because of a scientific theory, you have to give up your faith?"

Implicitly, only all the time. How many times have we Christians been told to go pray to their "sky daddy" or that all of you are so happy to have left that "cult". You speak of reason and rationalism as being the only truth therefore you imply that the faith Christians have is ridiculous because it lacks scientifically verifiable evidence. So yes, you do constantly state and suggest that we should leave our faith because it lacks scientific theory. It may not be stated explicitly because of a particular theory but you certainly call us all foolish for believing in something that isn't verifiable. Yet, you don't acknowledge your own credulity to believe in Darwinian evolution, which has no verifiable proof of it's own.

J.C. said: "Natural selection is not random. Once again, chance plus non-random natural selection equals complexity according to the evolutionary model."

Sorry J.C. but you do believe that chance and/or random events are an incredible force of nature. You might try masking it by coupling "chance" with "natural selection" but you'll get nowhere without chance. Without chance, life could not have lifted itself up with it's own boot straps. In the computer world, it's said that the Operating System (OS) boots up (IE. by it's own boot straps)...but many of us know, these computers have the fundamental "intelligence" (a piece of software called BIOS) to start the OS. In my opinion, the same thing should and does apply to life, God. I believe that pure evolutionists, as yourself, bypass the beginning of life by jumping far ahead to the "chance" with "natural selection" stage, regardless of the fact that even this stage has no real scientific strength of it's own.

Dave8 said: "Marc, when others have unlimited power over you, you no longer exist; you are nothing but an extension of their will. Many have left religion, based on that very fact alone."

Dave8, you are correct that we Catholics believe that our goal is to be an extension of God's will. Everything we do should be aligned with His will. All of us true believers have come to recognize that when we don't do His will, we get reprimanded. He is watching over us all more closely than I watch over my newborn child. One thing God reveals fairly quickly once you give your life to Him, is that choosing His will, is the only one true path to peace and joy. I've suffered some since I answered His call and acknowledged my failures, but the suffering I've experienced pales in comparison to sufferings I experienced while living my life dictated by my own will....letting the "winds" of the earth lead me to any dark place it desired. I know that suffering in this world is unavoidable and I know that I could easily be exposed to a level of suffering that would risk making my faith vanish. For this reason, I will always pray that our entire family is protected from any tremendous work of evil that could make us crumble and fall away from God's grace. God knows my limitations and I believe that He will never expose me to more than I can handle.

Blessings,
Marc
http://www.tlig.org/
http://www.garabandalny.com/

.:webmaster:. said...

Is anyone else tired of reading Marc's repetitively circular and illogical meanderings through his own self-made reality?

If so, send me a message by clicking here.

May reason guide Marc out of his delusional thinking, and may he be unsuccessful in infecting his fellow creatures with his mental disability, for that would be true blessing.

www.deliverusfromevil.com

boomSLANG said...

Perpetually obstinate Christian fundamentalist(Marc) said:

[my responses in bold]

Obviously, my sentence was not exclusive.[What's "obvious", is that perpetually obstinate Christian has no evidence for his "belief"] To be clear, I choose to give them(his kids) unconditional love[as opposed to the "love me, or I'll set you on fire" policy of his bible "God"] as opposed to unrelenting love but that's likely because of my beliefs[yes, everything for his "beliefs", because of his being indoctrinated to the point of losing his "self", and thus, not being self-confident enough to make a simple judgement-call, himself]....I know that we are all imperfect beings.[yes, "imperfect". However, that is relevant to nothing, namely that a "perfect" invisible being exists] I also teach them not to judge any person or group of persons and to never carry any resentment for anyone.[That's very commendable, but one can teach a child those things without teaching them that there exists an invisible "magistrate" in the clouds---one who "teaches" us what to "teach"]Excluding Sunday church time and some prayer time, the love of God I expose them to is mostly, I pray, manifested by the way I give them of my time, the way my wife and I love each other, the way we reveal to them that we are also imperfect by apologizing when we've done something wrong, etc...[With the exception of the redundant "God" presuppostion, and "prayer"---which has been proven to be utterly useless(waste of time)--- again, one can do ALL of those things to shape a child's well-being, and not believe in invisible beings] My wife and I are active people and we consider that health, one of God's gifts,[The word "God" again. Presuppositional, AGAIN. Notwithstanding, it begs the question of what perpetually obstinate Christian calls it when one is born unhealthy, or becomes unhealthy later in life---since it would seemingly be the complete opposite of a "gift"] should to be respected and as such, family time is often enjoying outdoor fitness activities. Many of you might think that I'm some kind of militant Christian with them but that is actually far from the truth.[Since when does what we think matter? Hmmmm...I "think" marc is perpetually obstinate, and his "belief" dead-ends at "I believe". That hasn't stop his blathering on about it] I will always respect their freedom to choose life's path and beliefs.[I wonder if perpetually obstinate Christian would respect their "freedom" to choose to become Atheists? According to his "holy book", he should kill them] If they do something that is contrary to what we consider to be the right choice, we definitely let them know.[Sure. And if they become rebellious, perpetually obstinate Christian can "stone them", according to his "Holy book"] It's our job to guide them as much as possible, once they are on their own, they are in God's hands.[Yes, I hope Allah "looks out" for them. God bless them] We'll never close the door on them, ever and we'll always love and support them.[Seems like the humane thing to do. Need I mention that one needn't believe in invisible beings to do those things? Nah] God gives[Bzzzzzzzt!!!! Evidence, please] us freedom out of respect, we should give our children the same gift, all the while praying that Wisdom guides us all on our journey.[Praying is useless--seems perpetually obstinate Christian has A.D.D., too]One quick thing to note about human freedom, we Catholics believe it to be our weakness as well. I shared all this because I think that some of you think I'm some kind of 24/7 Bible quoter and that my poor children might be dealing with a constantly overbearing Bible-thumping Dad.[Trust me, I'll survive just fine if perpetually obstinate Christian decides NOT to share anything more. Of course, evidence would be nice, but as we know, he HAS none] The world is a grand and fascinating place and it's good to love the gift of life by loving and learning through the whole experience, despite and through the difficulties we face with suffering.[True, yet, zero relevance to a deity] The Bible is our guide during our time on earth.[If the bible is "our guide", I wonder why perpetually obstinate Christian doesn't just kill non-believers?..instead of annoying them to death?]

SCRAM!..beat it!

Jim Arvo said...

Marc,

You've made quite a number of simple-minded statements about responsibility and society, inventing non-existent straw men, then huffing and puffing and blowing them over with self-righteous piety. Your most recent remarks about Behe indicate that you've absorbed absolutely nothing that we've said or directed you to. That's fine, Marc. Not everybody has the inclination or the disposition to ponder scientific arguments and grasp their significance, particularly when they challenge our worldview. But it does imply that we've reached the end of useful discussion with you. Wouldn't you agree? I'll close this much-too-long exchange with you with one of your quotes:

Marc said "With the evil, yes evil, that surrounds all of us, without being anchored to God, we are as free to be moved about like a leaf in the wind."

Yes, I'm sure that's what you believe; that evil surrounds you, and only a life line to some magical invisible deity can save you. Good luck with that, Marc. Seriously. Good luck with that. Are we done now? I sincerely hope so.

Dave8 said...

Marc: "To be clear, I choose to give them unconditional love as opposed to unrelenting love but that's likely because of my beliefs...."

Irrational. Your unconditional belief and your religious doctrine regarding unconditional love don't align.

Catholic doctrine, suggests an omnipotent God deliberately created children, knowing that many would be submitted to his eternal torture chamber.

To be irrational, is to be delusional. To be delusional, places oneself in a position of perpetual conflict with their external reality, which causes pain, suffering, and ultimate misery.

Marc: "I know that we are all imperfect beings."

Irrational. You believe you are imperfect, yet you have no perfect standard by which to measure yourself.

Effect on your life, and those you teach this concept to.

Layer 4 Maslow's Pyramid:
-Esteem/Self-Respect: Without the ability to know perfection, while at the same time accepting oneself as biologically deformed/abnormal, creates an environment where an individual will perpetually spin in a mental cycle, where they are attempting to solve a known intrinsic truth (they are valuable), and what they have been conditioned to believe (imperfect, invaluable, etc.). A person in this state, will have problems, while in this spin cycle with self-respect and self-worth.

Marc: "I also teach them not to judge any person or group of persons and to never carry any resentment for anyone."

Irrational. Your belief and your religious doctrine regarding concern for non-believers don't align.

Marc: "Excluding Sunday church time and some prayer time, the love of God I expose them to is mostly, I pray, manifested by the way I give them of my time,..."

Irrational. Your lack of spirituality/self-actualization, based on needs not being met, has caused you to create a false-self, while stuck in the lower levels of Maslow's pyramid.

Yes, Marc, you are a false-self to your children, and they know that, children don't know much, except what they witness. It's the purest form of truth for them.

Children, and even adults have a need to be recognized as special and valuable, by themselves first, and as part of a social group. We need to be more than just a featureless face in the crowd, we need to be known and appreciated, else we have no "I"/Identity.

"Survivors of low-nurturance childhoods who were shamed too often (taught self-contempt based on sin at birth, etc.) as young children often endlessly search for the special-ness and praise that they never got.

Paradoxically, their false self discounts praise when it's offered ("I really don't deserve it..."). Until recovery releases them from this endless quest, such burdened, unaware people are never really free to achieve..."

Marc; "...the way my wife and I love each other, the way we reveal to them that we are also imperfect by apologizing when we've done something wrong, etc..."

Irrational. You teach your children, that dysfunction is hereditary, but that it's okay, as long as they are willing to apologize for their disgraceful natures. An act, thus is replaced by the self, and attacked, per your statement.

It's okay to be humble, and ponder on one's actions. It's not okay mentally to have contempt of one's own being, and that is exactly what original sin, and "our sinful nature", teach.

Marc: "My wife and I are active people and we consider that health, one of God's gifts, should to be respected and as such, family time is often enjoying outdoor fitness activities."

Irrational. You consider your physical health a blessing of your God, but your same God has blessed you with a biologically damned nature. Selective rationalization, doesn't work Marc.

Marc: "Many of you might think that I'm some kind of militant Christian with them but that is actually far from the truth. I will always respect their freedom to choose life's path and beliefs."

Irrational. You attack the very "being" and "nature" of your children, and then suggest they have a "choice" in life? All your children know, and trust, is what comes from you Marc. You make them like you were made, psychologically.

What you seem to respect, is that if they become rational, and find their true-self, by making it up the levels of Maslow's pyramid, that you will still love them with your false-self, which permeates false/shallow-love.

The question may become Marc, will your children "respect" the shallow-love you present to them, or will they see past your self-predicated shallow sense of "self", and love the true-self they can see, instead.

Of course, there is always the option for continued dysfunction, being passed from one generation to the next.

Marc: "If they do something that is contrary to what we consider to be the right choice, we definitely let them know."

Yet, your words are hollow; they respect authority at their age, not the truth of your words.

Marc: "It's our job to guide them as much as possible, once they are on their own, they are in God's hands."

Irrational. You've suggested to them, that they are already in God's hands, which is in a dysfunctional state of being. You've set them up to believe, they will never be "truly" on their own... that their very existence and self-worth, etc., will always be measured by "something else", called a "God", that isn't defined. Thus, we have children trying to measure themselves against an "undefined" standard, perpetual dysfunction.

Marc: "We'll never close the door on them,"

Irrational. Your God did that according to you, and original sin. Your God created Hell, before the Garden, thus, your God had already pre-ordained that there would be an eternal door slammed on his very creation.

Marc: "...ever and we'll always love and support them."

Irrational. Your love and support are as dysfunctional as your God created you to be.

Marc: "God gives us freedom out of respect,..."

Irrational. You are now creating words for your God. Your doctrine, does not say, your God created freedom for you... on the contrary, your freedoms were stripped in a Garden of his choosing/creation. Thus, god doesn't "respect" you any more, than the freedom he has limited you with.

Marc: "we should give our children the same gift,..."

Irrational. If you did what your God did, it would be called child abuse. If you trained your children to break the law, you'd be giving your children the same gift your God gave humanity.

Marc: "...all the while praying that Wisdom guides us all on our journey. One quick thing to note about human freedom, we Catholics believe it to be our weakness as well. I shared all this because I think that some of you think I'm some kind of 24/7 Bible quoter and that my poor children might be dealing with a constantly overbearing Bible-thumping Dad. The world is a grand and fascinating place and it's good to love the gift of life by loving and learning through the whole experience, despite and through the difficulties we face with suffering. The Bible is our guide during our time on earth."

Irrational. Your bible is contradictory to your comments. The best you can hope to do Marc, is repress your children from ever taking a course on biblical history, else they will learn the truth of its history, and it's contradictions to your very words. Then, once again, they'll have to choose dad's word over the bible; I wonder which one they'll choose.

Marc said: "If a person can go through life believing that all of his/her imperfections are the unfortunate result of societal impact (IE. upbringing, psychological predispositions, etc...), then they are fooling themselves. This is what our society has come down to, nobody takes ownership of their actions."

Irrational. You suggest that people are transferring responsibility to an external source, called society, etc., yet you are transferring that same responsibility for human dysfunction to the very entity you respect - your God.

Marc: "Oh, the poor child became a rapist because of the abusive upbringing he lived. Yes, that's correct, it is possible that that child's parent didn't appreciate the immense gift and responsibility that God gave them and they failed to give that child love and knowledge of God."

Irrational. The God in the bible at a minimum allows unpunished rape to flourish.

Marc: "With the evil, yes evil, that surrounds all of us, without being anchored to God,..."

Irrational. If everyone is surrounded by your understanding of "evil", then your God cannot manifest himself in our lives on this planet.

Marc: "we are as free to be moved about like a leaf in the wind."

Irrational. No, the Christian tradition, suggests that everyone is born of "sinful natures". We were "pushed" in a direction, and are tumbling down a hill, that isn't free to blow like a leaf, that's free to fall like being tossed out of an airplane.

Marc: "Our life will be guided by our self-interest,..."

And, your self-interest is greater than the welfare of your family.

Marc: "...our egos and we may find ourselves on a path to perdition."

Irrational. Your "God", set humanity on that path, based on Christian/Catholic tradition.

Marc: "Our selfishness will cause us to live out terrible sins."

Irrational. Your false-self believes that humanity is destined towards destruction, in order for you to hold onto your irrational belief, that gives you comfort in some form - that's selfish.

Marc: "Sins that all of us burry under the carpet and figure, oops better not do that again. You have them and I have them, the only difference is that through faith, love of God and hope, I believe in His promise."

Irrational. You have no grounds to suggest that anyone on this site, is sinful - you do not know anyone in person on this site. It's selfish for you to use people on this site, to support your own mental shortcomings.

Marc: “I do believe that God has saved me."

Irrational. You suggest you have free-will, but then suggest that the very God than damned you at birth, saved you as well - that's pre-destination, and free-will does not exist.

Marc: "Because of my freedom,..."

Irrational. It's irrational to believe that the very God who damned you at birth knowingly and purposefully... came around and saved you. If your God is omnipotent, then you aren't "ever" free, to act of your own accord.

Marc: "...Do I believe that AIDS is divine justice...I think that all suffering is divine justice. You might argue with the case for innocent suffering (IE. a child born with HIV) but we could never fully understand His reasons."

Irrational. You have no problem, thinking and speaking for your God, earlier, based on non-doctrinal opinion, but then you choose to not engage topics where you feel that it would damage your belief system.

Marc: "In light of the accepted Truths,..."

Irrational. You have no "Truth" established up to this point. Again, a Truth is something that you mentally hold that can be validated in the external reality. You have yet to show a Truth to be valid.

Marc: "I could argue that this child might pass away during the age of innocence and find salvation from this disease. Or, that the suffering child was going to bring an adult to repentance and salvation. Or, that having this child pass away, was going to put an end to a family line that is immersed in sin and God knew that it had no possibility of bearing fruit."

Irrational. "All" people are "immersed" in sin according to your belief Marc. "Using" a child, as a sacrifice offering, in order to do "something greater", is immoral to most anyone, except perhaps your God. There is an "age of innocence", it contradicts with the Catholic teaching of "original sin".

Marc: "The bottom line is that I think we can never fully comprehend the mystery of suffering."

Irrational. Yet, you believe you can "completely" comprehend all the "other" facets of your belief system, which are based on the same presupposition - God.

Marc: "In the face of all "innocent" suffering (I quote because man is born into sin)..."

Irrational. Then, there is no "age of innocence".

Marc: "I think that God's answer to how He can bring anything good from this type of suffering....lies in the cross."

Irrational. You suggest you can't completely know the finer points of suffering, yet... you continue to dig a hole. If your children started waffling as much as you have here, you'd suspect they were lying quite frankly.

Also, your answer, although "not complete" according to you, suggests that your ever-loving god, who created all suffering, made it right, by torturing his self/son on a cross. Suffering undoing further suffering, but all done by the same God. A perpetual cycle of suffering.

Marc: "God's answer to innocent suffering was hanging on a cross over 2000 years ago. The only truly righteous one that ever suffered, Jesus, brought the greatest gift to humanity, salvation."

Irrational. Whether a Trinitarian or non-Trinitarian view, suffering isn't made right by perpetual suffering... Yes, perpetual Marc, we are still here, and exposed to original sin and damnation at birth.

Marc: "Read the new testament, the apologetics if you wish and above all, offer up a sincere and honest prayer for help! Yes, unfortunately, the cart before the horse..."

Irrational. Presupposition of God, as others have stated. The books of the bible, can not be aligned with the reality posed by Christianity/Catholicism. The books can be aligned to a natural historical past, but never aligned to meet a supernatural realm, where a God exists, as an editor.

Marc: "A cycle seems to be a much more likely reducible system that a biological machine."

Irrational. All life, even in the most reductionist form, is part of a process/cycle. If all is part of a system/cycle, and cycles are reducible, then all "life” and everything else must be considered equally reducible. Else, someone makes the mistake of choosing which forms can and can not be reduced.

Marc: "Nevertheless, let me reiterate, they never proved or even came close to demonstrating how the Krebs cycle came to exist, they only showed that it's parts exist elsewhere. Not much strength in that, no?"

Irrational. If all the pieces to a puzzle exist in Nature, then there is much strength in that. Much, more strength than suggesting a supernatural force outside of Nature came and created customized pieces.

Marc: "Implicitly, only all the time. How many times have we Christians been told to go pray to their "sky daddy" or that all of you are so happy to have left that "cult". You speak of reason and rationalism as being the only truth therefore you imply that the faith Christians have is ridiculous because it lacks scientifically verifiable evidence."

Irrational. I proposed, as has many philosophers over the years, that irrationalism can be held as an intrinsic/personal truth. That is not ridiculous, but it is a fact that it causes mental instability. The science is found in psychiatric journals, of which you obviously will not read, or likely comprehend if you can't get the Krebs cycle down, which is taught in freshman/sophomore biology courses at most universities.

Marc: "So yes, you do constantly state and suggest that we should leave our faith because it lacks scientific theory."

Irrational. I implied you should leave in order to reach mental harmony between your intrinsic truth and the extrinsic reality in which you live, as it creates mental harmony and a sense of "being", or mode of "spirituality".

Marc: "It may not be stated explicitly because of a particular theory but you certainly call us all foolish for believing in something that isn't verifiable. Yet, you don't acknowledge your own credulity to believe in Darwinian evolution, which has no verifiable proof of it's own."

Irrational. Some research the findings of evolutionary science; they likely don't worship evolution that makes it less credulous. It's credulous to believe that "change" is a universal constant, but hasn't affected the "changes" in biological forms of life for thousands of years.

Marc: "Without chance, life could not have lifted itself up with its own boot straps. In the computer world, it's said that the Operating System (OS) boots up (IE. by its own boot straps)...but many of us know, these computers have the fundamental "intelligence" (a piece of software called BIOS) to start the OS. In my opinion, the same thing should and does apply to life, God. I believe that pure evolutionists, as yourself, bypass the beginning of life by jumping far ahead to the "chance" with "natural selection" stage, regardless of the fact that even this stage has no real scientific strength of it's own."

Marc, I specialize in communications theory, and what you seem to suggest is that there must be an initial intelligence required for the 'design' of the Universe.

Ayn Rand, when asked, "How do you account for life and the wonders of the universe on the basis of accident or chance, without the concept of design?, responded...

Ayn Rand: "The consistency of nature, the fact that nature follows certain laws; is not a product of design, but of the Law of Identity--the fact that things are what they are. Since contradictions cannot exist--since an existent cannot be itself and not itself at the same time--the result is an orderly, non-contradictory universe. In material nature, nothing happens by chance or by design--that's a false alternative. They happen according to the Law of Identity: things act and interact according to their natures. This is not chance. Chance is a concept pertaining only to human ignorance. When we don't know the causes of some event, we say it happened "by chance." [NC 69, Radio Program, "Night Call" (March 1969)]

Marc: "Dave8, you are correct that we Catholics believe that our goal is to be an extension of God's will."

Irrational. Then there is truly no free will.

Marc: "Everything we do should be aligned with His will. All of us true believers have come to recognize that when we don't do His will, we get reprimanded."

Irrational. And, how would you counter the argument made by someone who believes in the laws of Karma.

Marc: "He is watching over us all more closely than I watch over my newborn child. One thing God reveals fairly quickly once you give your life to Him, is that choosing His will, is the only one true path to peace and joy. I've suffered some since I answered His call and acknowledged my failures, but the suffering I've experienced pales in comparison to sufferings I experienced while living my life dictated by my own will....letting the "winds" of the earth lead me to any dark place it desired. I know that suffering in this world is unavoidable and I know that I could easily be exposed to a level of suffering that would risk making my faith vanish. For this reason, I will always pray that our entire family is protected from any tremendous work of evil that could make us crumble and fall away from God's grace. God knows my limitations and I believe that He will never expose me to more than I can handle."

Irrational. You suggest you are surrounded by evil, yet, your very God is responsible for tremendous suffering. This is the God you choose to protect you from future suffering? And, on a final note, it didn't go unnoticed that you failed to accept the charge that your belief system is "irrational", when aligned with that of reality. This is where your conflict resides intrinsically.

eel_shepherd said...

UnBlinded wrote:
"...Till my last breath, I will hope, pray and believe that Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient for my salvation..."

And then, later in the _same_ post, also wrote:
"...I know that suffering in this world is unavoidable and I know that I could easily be exposed to a level of suffering that would risk making my faith vanish..."

UnBlinded, you've truly outdone yourself. To find these two contradictory statements, we don't have to go rooting around in different threads, nor even two different posts, from two different days, within the same thread. We can find them co-existing within the same post. No cognitive dissonance there, no.

Also, I can't help but notice that in the first quote, you are able to predict [!] what you _will_ believe in the future. No mean feat, that. Clearly your beliefs are not a function of what you've learned from your experiences, or you wouldn't be able to predict them ahead of time.

Wish I could predict where the eels were gonna be; it'd save a lot of riding come round-up.

Steven Bently said...

I'm setting here LMAO, you guys just ripped poor ole unblinded to shreds and then boomy poured lighter fluid all over him, now if I could just find a lighter...lol

Turns out that Marc was indeed the strawman himself that he constantly invents in his own head.

Now just where did Toto get to?

You guys crack me up, I love it..TC

Telmi said...

Marc,

Would you accept that your God is an ASSHOLE? Would you like me to review biblical passages that show that not only has he been portrayed an ASSHOLE, but a genocidal maniac, a malevolent psychopath, an egotist and a freak, a hypocrite and a liar etc?

eel_shepherd said...

SelfBlinded wrote:
"...With regards to the Krebs cycle, they are simply seeing that the various parts of my bicycle can have a purpose elsewhere. Yes, I've seen sprockets and nuts and bolts on many other human inventions. Does that mean that I believe that my bicycle could have evolved because..." [and then there's some follow-up]

The one core fact that stands in the way of religionists abandoning their [false] analogies between living beings and various metallic contraptions is that, on this planet, carbon holds a unique place and role. Here, lemme give this next sentence its own paragraph, just so you can't say that somehow it slipped past you in the shuffle.

On Earth, carbon is different from the other elements, and has no analogue.

There. I feel better now. Carbon is the only element on this planet that does organic stuff. Forget about your machinery analogies; they're not worth snot.

dano said...

Just in case anyone thinks they are sitting comfortably, and have been prepared by the Catholic Church for a smooth transition from this life to the next, read this!

Here is a whole list of reasons why the Baptist church says the Catholics are going to hell!
Dan

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Roman%20Catholicism/catholic_heresies-a_list.htm

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