Monicks: Unleashed

Thinking Critically

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Christianity

I’d like to see someone trying to pull this act today. Ha!

145 Responses to Christianity

  1. All The Worlds A Stage says:

    Amen brotha

  2. That makes a lot more sense than the official story. Thank you for clearing that up.

  3. anti_supernaturalist says:

    Start with one paranoid schizophrenic . . .

    Once upon a time schizophrenia like epilepsy was a divine gift . . . schizophrenia occurs in about 1% of the population worldwide. Its uniform cross-cultural and historic distribution point to its now well-established genetic origin.

    P/Saul of Tarsus (fl 50-60 CE) like Mohamed, like Francis of Assisi suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Each gets assailed by his own inner delusions of self aggrandizement and tortured by his brain generated demons.

    Schizophrenics believe that they are gods or supermen having unlimited powers. Or, they hear from gods and saints. Their voices beamed directly into their minds. Demonic voices criticize them and urge them to suicide.

    Religious thinking also appears as a symptom of schizophrenia. P/Saul of Tarsus after a mental breakdown “realized” that he had to sell the new faith in “Christ” to rubes and fools outside of an already credulous and superstitious group of know-nothings, the jews.

    The insane story — virgin birth and all — now launched, sixty year later (110 CE) “John” of the 4th so-called gospel perverted a Stoic doctrine of a rational “Logos” by positing “Christ” as an eternally divine avatar. Dying and reviving gods are a dime-a-dozen across the planet as phallic symbol of Spring’s fecundity and Autumn’s death and slow decay. Buddha, too, was a virgin birth, born not at the lowest chakra but at the level of the heart chakra, her side.

    As for “Jesus”? He is a wholly fictional character — an example of an early hellenistic jewish genre of historical character created from nothing but “terrorist” ideological propaganda. Similar fictional personas are those of Daniel (who defies a foreign king) and Judith (who beheads a non-existent enemy general).

    So…all the blather about what happened to “Jesus” on the Roman oppressor’s cross presupposes that the xian narrative contains some truth however mangled — in fact, “Jesus” existed no more than did “Daniel” or “Judith”.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  4. Slugsie says:

    Yup. Which is more likely, Mary had an immaculate conception, or she was raped by a Roman soldier?

  5. yo says:

    Fucken A.

  6. Mike says:

    So funny that the only way you can combat Christianity is with terrible humor.

  7. Elias says:

    There was a time when I would have thought this was funny.

  8. BlackMoor says:

    Haha this is awesome

  9. You believe in a book which has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd, and primitive stories; and you say that I am the one who is mentally ill?

    You are AWESOME!

  10. Brad Rhoads says:

    There’s no way Mary was lying. If she was, Joseph would have divorced her.

  11. callum says:

    clealry mary and joseph were never married, so sex was forbidden, they obviously had sex, therefor becomming preggerz, only way out of it is by blaming god, back then anyone would have beleived it… and they did…

  12. asdf says:

    It was not an affair, it was premarrital sex

  13. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    As a mental health professional, I believe that Paul has signs that suggest temporal lobe epilepsy, not paranoid, or any other type, of schizophenia.

  14. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The whole story was probably made up in order to make Christianity attractive to the Romans who were familiar with Greek and Roman gods with almost identical stories of miraculous births.
    The gospel stories of the birth and childhood of Jesus were late additions.  They twist many Jewish texts (Old Testament and others) to try to prove that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, as foretold by the prophets.  This included the “virgin” birth.  The Jewish texts used a word meaning only “young woman”.  The Greek translation of these texts used a word meaning either “young woman” or “virgin”.  In other words, the story of the virgin birth of Jesus was based on a textual mistranslation by the (presumably Greek speaking) gospel writers.
    Clergy educated in main stream divinity schools know this.  Evangelical clergy are rarely as well educated and are frequently unaware of this.  Laity, especially the evangelical variety, are even less familiar with biblical scholarship and so-called “textual criticism”
     

  15. Brad Rhoads says:

    This article addresses the issue of the word “almah”. In concludes with:
    “One cannot assert that the prophet was speaking of a virgin technically on the basis of the word almah. Nor can a serious student lightly dismiss the word as having no possible reference to a miraculous conception.”
    http://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/9_1/almah
     
     

  16. P1NK says:

    If you can’t laugh at yourself you’ve got no business laughing at anyone else…

  17. Pingback: Tweets that mention Christianity | Monicks Unleashed -- Topsy.com

  18. Ali says:

    THIS!  Seriously.

  19. Paige says:

    Oh, it’s not the only way.

  20. Shaun says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..
    So true.

  21. Nolan says:

    Yeah kinda like how believing that everything came from a explosion that came from where?

  22. Nolan says:

    It really sucks that so many Christians have been so crazy and judgemental it gives everyone of us a reputation and reason for things like this

  23. Hud says:

    And God came from where? “Oh he was just there, I don’t need any evidence or explanation of how God came to be there.” At least atheists and evolutionists can admit that it is a THEORY, and that if they don’t know something, they say they don’t, they don’t blindly believe everything a book says.

  24. Rexxar says:

    There is absolutely no way to know where the material for the big bang came from. My theory is that, like so many things, matter just happened. It could be that there was a massive amount of energy in the universe, and some random event caused a bunch of it to turn into matter (no, this does not violate thermodynamics). Where this energy might have come from is just unexplainable, pure and simple. We know that there is a constant amount of energy/matter in the universe. You can’t add any, and you can’t lose energy, it’s an infinitely large closed system. Since, according to the laws of thermodynamics, you can’t just create energy, it had to come from somewhere, right? Absolutely. Does that mean a space wizard called all the matter in the universe into existence? No. We cannot explain where the universe comes from any more than you can explain where god comes from. You cannot use this as a pro-god argument, please stop trying.

  25. Rexxar says:

    Good to know I’m not the only one aware of the horrid mistranslations in the Bible. A lot of what Christians believe now is just translators projecting their beliefs onto their work. Because, believe me, translating is a very subjective thing, there’s all the countless connotations of every word. You -have- to make assumptions, be biased, when you translate, it’s unavoidable.

  26. Rexxar says:

    The only reason I dislike organized religion is because it fosters zealotry. If all religious people just minded their own business, didn’t talk about their religious beliefs, and let everyone else do their own thing, we would have no problems. But, unfortunately, people don’t work like that, and we get people like the Westboro Baptist Church = Don’t get me wrong; I’d still be an atheist if groups like that didn’t exist, as the idea of a god doesn’t make much sense to me, but I would have no problems with religion itself.

  27. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Nolan, there’s no good reason for interpolating an incorporeal invisible being that looks like us (if we could see him)  into the picture, simply to explain something you don’t understand.  If you can conceive of an infinitely complex being with no known beginning then it should be a cinch to imagine an infinitely simple nascent universe with no known beginning.  It seems that energy and gravity are as eternal as we can understand and that random fluctuations in potential energy/gravity have been observed to occur in the Hadron collider from the “nothing” that is pure energy/gravity.  This is probably enough to start a universe from a singularity (infinitely compressed energy/gravity).  No infinite complexity is required (unless your religion requires you to believe it).

  28. Chris says:

    and with logic…

  29. Nuggets says:

    No, Mary WAS the immaculate conception. When she was conceived it was without original sin which is why she was chosen as the vessel to carry Jesus.
     
    If you’re going to hate on a religion at least know a little something before you make an ass of yourself.

  30. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Catholics believe that both Mary and Jesus were the result of “virgin” births.  Protestants only believe that Jesus was born this way as only he needed to be without sin.
    The explanation of why pregnancies without sex result in sinless humans is inconsistent with modern science.
    Nuggets:  critical analysis of something is not “hate”.   This goes on in science every day.  It is considered commendable in that realm.  There is no reason, apart from emotional prejudice, why critical analysis of the claims of a religion should not also be considered to be commendable.

  31. Nolan says:

    Im just saying, it makes more sense to me to believe that a omniscient being that is so grand that we cant even come close to understanding his very nature due to how young we are as a race, then that everything came from nothing. We as humans are generally to arrogant, look at how young we are. Who are we to come to conclusions scientifically about how our universe was formed when we will simply advance further and develope new theories? Im not trying to attack atheists or promote Christianity im just saying that there are many many things we dont understand yet and probably wont for a long time

  32. Nolan says:

    It’s true zealotry is a massive problem. I try to promote in my religious group and others to only spread the word like the Book tells us to only if people ask about it, because honestly I hate street evangelists it doesnt make any sense to scream about God and tell people they will burn if they dont follow him. that doesnt promote our faith

  33. Rob says:

    Arrogant? Arrogant to believe ourselves to be inconsequential blinks of an eye in an uncaring universe? Arrogant to believe our existence to simply be coincidence, to believe that the universe would be just fine without us (Honestly the universe would be healthier without us). I believe it to be arrogant to believe ourselves to be the pinnacle achievement of a supreme being. That this being cares what each one of us does day to day, and that this being has a plan for all of us. That this universe was created expressly for us to defile it is arrogant. To believe that of all of the universe we are the only life form is arrogant. Think before you write about what is, and what is not.

  34. which is why Catholics are wrong to begin with, since it never says the word “virgin” in conjunction with Mary anywhere in the bible.

  35. Reasoningman says:

    Callum,  if you can’t spell, don’t write.

  36. Nolan says:

    Ok Rob, I think your being rather hotheaded about this. Not once did I say the Universe was made for us. In my belief, naturally, It’s for God thats why he made it. And when did I say that we were the only created life form? I believe God has made many worlds, why wouldnt He? So please read what others say, and think before you right.

  37. Nolan says:

    I really don’t understand why a few of you are coming at me aggresively about this. Why is it so easy for some of you to believe that the universe came from nothing and so hard to believe it came from something thats greater then us in a unimaginable way? and please dont get me wrong I’m not one of the Christians that believe everything was made for us, thats just selfish and stupid.

  38. Joshua says:

    If she was lying how would Joesph had known? Unless the person (or persons) she slept with told him, and unless she was prone to lying, Joesph wouldn’t have had any reason to doubt her.

  39. Joshua says:

    That’s exactly it though, it isn’t “easy” to believe that the universe is the result of randomness, it however is easy to believe in a god. Worshiping that god, depending on the religion, is where it gets complicated; but the actual act of belief is easy.
    People are prone to not understand logic, easily corrupted by cognitive dissonance (creationists are a prime example), and view the world according to their innate bias towards their religion.
    In order to truly grasp a universe without a creator one needs to understand thermodynamics, logical proofs, and how with enough time the likelihood of a scenario gets higher. If you were to flip a coin, in sets of ten, eventually you would flip ten-straight heads and another set of ten straight tails; it could take millions of years or twenty minutes, it just isn’t that likely (improbable yes, impossible no).
    Beyond that there are so many other reasons that point to the likelihood that there isn’t a god. The lack of a universal language, the genetic similarities between us, chimpanzees (95-98%), and bananas(50%), and the overwhelming lack of tangible proof.
    We live in a world that condemns no-belief (this does vary region to region, but the majority do). Atheists are often viewed as amoral and evil. There are laws, unconstitutional laws, in the United States that ban atheists from taking office. And many religions condone the murder of a non-believer.
    So really it’s easier to believe in a god than to accept that there isn’t one and all of this is random beauty.
     

  40. Brad Rhoads says:

    It’s actually the first law of thermodynamics points so persuasively to God. If matter can’t be created or destroyed, where did it come from in the first place? Either matter itself is eternal (which the 1st law of thermodynamics says is impossible), or God is eternal. There can’t be an infinite regression of “where did that come from?”

  41. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Only if you are fairly scientifically ignorant, Brad.

    The current evidence suggests that energy and gravity are “eternal” and that matter derives from them, probably as the result of a random fluctuation in potential energy – the kind of thing that quantum physicists observe flicking into and out of existence in particle colliders – from “nothing” to “nothing”.
    Like everything else that we know of, the universe went from the simple to the complex.
     
    It is illogical and unnecessary to suggest that the universe began as the result of the projected thoughts of a super-complex matterless being that existed in nothingness and was never created from anything itself.  It gets even sillier when it is suggested that this complex matterless being has a mind that works like the biological minds that took millenia to develop.

    It gets especially crazy when theists insist that this matterless mind has a body that looks like a human man and that he created humans to look like him.  What use would a matterless mind have for arms, legs, eyes, ears, a mouth, a penis a bellybutton and breasts?

    Brad, your version of god does not fit the simple to complex pattern in the universe.  What it is supposed to be capable of certainly does not fit the law of thermodynamics which you quote.  This “god” is a socially supported fantasy.  It does not fit in the real world and universe.

  42. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    It is very unlikely that the stories of the birth of Jesus are anything other than myth.  They do not appear in the earliest Christian writings.  They are strong parallels to the mythology and beliefs of the Gentiles that changed the originally Jewish sect into an non-Jewish religion.
    Even if the story was true (and I claim that this is most unlikely) then it is very likely that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier.  The mind plays all kinds of tricks as the result of trauma.  She could have repressed the event and had a wish-fulfilment dream about the origin of her pregnancy which she then relayed to Joseph.  If she really believed her delusion then she would not be lying to Joseph.  It would be in the interests of Joseph’s mental sanity and social standing to also have a “vision” that supported Mary’s story.  Without these visions, the social consequences for Joseph, and especially for Mary, would have been very grim in that barbaric society.

    There are, of course, lots of other equally plausible explanations.  Yours is weak by comparison and not the most probable,

  43. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Your further problem is why Mary was not stoned for being impregnated by someone other than her future husband.  She was impregnated without her consent and apparently without her knowledge.  If someone impregnates a woman while she is asleep or unconscious in this society we call it rape and it is a criminal offence.
    According to the law given by the Yahweh god, Mary would be required to marry her rapist if he was an unwed man.   The rapist would have to pay a fine to the woman’s father.  There is no mention of the Yahweh god paying any kind of fine to Mary’s father or compensating Joseph for damaging his potential “property”.  So the Yawheh god was responsible for Mary’s pregnancy then he got away with breaking his own laws.
    In our current stage of moral development we believe that fathers are responsible for maintaining their child.  It seems that Yahweh simply abandoned it and the mother.  If the Yahweh god impregnated Mary then he is a criminal by our standards.
    How can you call this entity “good”?  Do you believe that men should follow this god’s example today?   Would you be happy if your daughter was raped by this god without her knowledge or consent?

  44. Nolan says:

    This comment is towards Rosemary below me, it wouldnt let me respond to your last comment. Rosemary you are suggesting that Brad is scientifically ignorant, that may be. I dont know the first thing of thermodynamics, but I’m finding you to be religiously ignorant. Your claims that my, the Christian God is silly and illogical/unnecessary I find to be rather offensive simply because you stated “It gets even sillier when it is suggested that this complex matterless being has a mind that works like the biological minds that took millenia to develop.It gets especially crazy when theists insist that this matterless mind has a body that looks like a human man and that he created humans to look like him.  What use would a matterless mind have for arms, legs, eyes, ears, a mouth, a penis a bellybutton and breasts” We as Christians believe that we are made in God’s image, but personnaly I dont think that has anything to do with physical appearance, its no doubt we’ve evolved and changed over the millenia. It’s the idea that our minds and souls are made in the image of God. We love, we create, we destroy. Does that seem silly to you as well?

  45. mike says:

    Are you kidding (“the only way you can combat Christianity is with terrible humor”)only  a moron would say  something like that , intelligent people have been very successful at disproving this ridiculous prehistoric myth  for years now , your response  to  this caption us  shows why  religion  is loosing ground  all over the civilize world , more and more of its followers much like you! have a very low I.Q and therefore cant  come up  with a good argument  for this fake dogma.
     

  46. mike says:

    I’m an atheist , and as an atheist I insist on accuracy from statements made by other atheists , so please before saying  something   research  your subject first

    Luke 1:34–38 (ESV)

    34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
    35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, …

  47. mike says:

    You do realize that you’re talking about the most ignorant segment of the middle eastern population right !.
     
    And in those days, and to some extent today, virgins where getting pregnant all the time, and they all said the child was the masaya.

  48. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Mike,  If you are going to make ad hominem attacks on people’s intelligence then you should take a little more care with your spelling and grammar :-)  Kettle, black, and all that.
    You should also consider who it is that you are maligning.  Many “new” atheists were once very sincere Christians.  Our IQ has not changed, just our knowledge and our facility to think critically about things which have emotional content.   If we are intelligent now, then we were intelligent back then, also.
    I think you have lost sight of the fact that the original statement is meant to be humorous, not truthful.  The likelihood of Mary conceiving by having an “affair” in that day and age is miniscule, but that possibility is more realistic than suggesting that she was impregnated by a non material being who provided a set of material DNA for the event, including the essential Y chromosome.
    That, my dear Mike, is the humorous point.  Laugh, for goodness sake!

  49. Jeremy says:

    It’s always funny to see how atheists and religious people argue over something nobody can prove or comprehend. There is just no way that we can know whether there is a God or not. If there is, who created him? Same with the dust and big bang. Who put the dust cloud up there? Our brains just aren’t capable of understanding that. Smart person should just leave it and be agnostic. I gotta give it to atheists though. At least they are believing in science that tries to find out things and don’t call anything “truth”, unless proven. Till then, there are only theories.

  50. mike says:

    But  you must admit  that , if you  cant  see it , touch  it , smell it,
    hear   it , and not see ANY  evidence of it , it stands to reason that acum
    razor comes in  and  proves that it  is  not there .

    Not to mention  the source of it , ignorant illiterate nomads  in the most
    desolate region of the middles east .
    I mean come on !.

  51. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    “Who put the dust cloud up there?”
    If you ask “WHAT put the dust cloud up there?” then scientists can give you an answer.
    There are also scientific hypotheses (NOT scientific theories) about WHAT caused the Big Bang.  For example, random fluctuations in eternal energy.  Because of its ambiguity, it’s best to avoid the word “theory” when discussing science.  Science gives it a very different meaning (= well supported explanation) from the common or garden variety alternative for the word (= “hunch”).
     
     

  52. Brad Rhoads says:

    Hi Jeremy,
    Here are 4 logical arguments for the existence of God. To me the 1st one is a slam dunk. It goes to the point you made.
     

    Cosmological argument – How could there be anything if there wasn’t a Cause (God) who was Uncaused (Romans 1:20)?

    Teleological argument – How could there be design in the world if there was no Designer (God – Psalm 19:1-6)?

    Moral argument – Why would people recognize right and wrong if there was no moral Law Giver (God – Romans 2:14,15; James 4:12)?

    Ontological argument – Where would people get the idea of a Perfect Being (God) except from God Himself (Act 17:27; Romans 1:19)?

    But it does require a step of faith. Of course so does an atheistic position. And unfortunately, to be agnostic is decision by indecision, also resulting in rejecting God.
    If you’re mind is made up, then no argument or even witnessing a miracle won’t matter (Luke 16:19-31). But God said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). And in the NT, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

    So a really good prayer is, “Jesus, I don’t if you’re there, but if you are, please show me somehow.”
    God’s Love,
    Brad

  53. Butch says:

    Christianity just combats other beliefs with mass murder. We just use comedy.. but we are wrong.

  54. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    These arguments were formulated by Christian and Muslim apologists centuries ago. They were demolished by philosophers such as Hume, Kant and Mill centuries ago and philosophers since then have demolished various “upgrades” to the formulae offered by modern day Christian apologists (such as William Lane Craig). Serious criticisms of these arguments have been offered by Christians themselves (for example, St. Thomas Aquinas). A basic Google search would have revealed this very quickly.
     
    These arguments are not compelling to those who have not been indoctrinated into an Abrahamic religion. The only people who use them or continue to be taken in by them are Believers who have an emotional need to bolster their continuing belief in some version of the Christian or Islamic gods. If you think they are good arguments then you are philosophically ignorant, lack the ability to think critically, fail to comprehend the flaws, are emotionally unable to accept and/or recall the flaws, or some combination of the above.
     
    What does this say about the people who led you to believe that these arguments were “good” ones? Are they lying, ignorant, intellectually naive or misinformed? What does it say about you?
     
    The moral to this story is that you should do a little sophisticated research before you post something on the web that could make you look like an arrogant idiot to those with more education. Unless you enjoy being a bigot, you should familiarize yourself with both sides of a case before making up your mind. This means reading articles from objective (usually academic) sources. It does <b>not</b> mean restricting yourself to biased summaries of the “other” side by those who have an emotional need to spread disinformation or obscure information that does not support their emotionally held belief system. That is intellectually dishonest or, at very best, poor scholarship.
     
    Move on. Don’t use these arguments again unless you want to appear to be stupid, or worse, dishonest.

  55. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Brad, These arguments and their logical failings are typically taught to elementary Philosophy students studying at international level universities. No-one with that level of education is likely to consider these four arguments to be “good” proofs of the existence of a Christian style “god”.
     
    Cosmological argument critiques
     
    http://web.ku.edu/~acudd/phil140-s25/sld006.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/
     
    – and hundreds more.
     
    Teleological argument critiques
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleological-arguments/
    http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/hume.shtml
     
    – and hundreds more.
     
    Ontological argument critiques
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontological_argument
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/
    http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theistic-proofs/the-ontological-argument/
    (This link includes summaries and critiques of just about every philosophical argument for the existence of a Christian-style god that has ever been made. You should definitely take a look at this before posting anything else on this subject. )
     
    – and hundreds more.
     
    Moral argument critiques
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_morality
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-arguments-god/
    http://www.calpoly.edu/~jlynch/moral.htm
     
    – and hundreds more.

  56. Phillip Z. says:

    Cosmological argument – How could there be anything if there wasn’t a Cause (God) who was Uncaused (Romans 1:20)?

    ((Seriously? this is your slam dunk? Let’s look at this with real logic and reasoning… if there is one uncaused cause, logic dictates that there can and must be other uncaused causes. Seeing that there are no uncaused causes, there cannot be a first uncaused cause. You cannot have it both ways, either there are uncaused causes or there aren’t. Now Science tells us that there are no uncaused causes, but it is logically impossible to have an eternal loop of caused causes. The philosophy in this is still very, primal, for lack of a better word. It doesn’t have a leg to stand on. In essence this argument for the existence of God is, if anything, weak and fallible.

    Teleological argument – How could there be design in the world if there was no Designer (God – Psalm 19:1-6)?

    ((This argument fails because it assumes that there is design in the world, when in fact what we have in reality is the illusion *if you will* of design. Having a basic understanding of how evolution works debunks this argument, and I’m sorry but Evolution is fact. It happened, it’s continuing to happen. The only thing that can be argued over on this topic is HOW evolution works, but however it works, it’s happening. When you take a good hard look at the reality of the world, even better the universe, the frightening truth is it’s all chaos, with isolated pockets of what looks like order…basically even in a random raging storm one can find, for however briefly a moment, a perfectly form funnel of leaves blowing across dust.))
    Moral argument – Why would people recognize right and wrong if there was no moral Law Giver (God – Romans 2:14,15; James 4:12)?

    ((This “moral law giver” you speak of is called our survival instincts. We evolved from a pack animal, the great apes. We have the pack mentality. Sure it’s been watered down since our days as animals but it’s still there and can be pin-pointed in many cases today. Furthermore, Morals are relative and are in no way set in stone such as a law. What is moral in one situation can be completely immoral in another situation and it gets more complicated than that! Something that you see as completely moral in every situation could be seen as completely immoral in the eyes of someone else. And guess what! Most of the time neither side is wrong or right! Basically there are no “Moral Laws”… not even our instincts because they can drive us to do some pretty immoral things for the benifit of survival… there for this argument in actuality holds no valid point))
    Ontological argument – Where would people get the idea of a Perfect Being (God) except from God Himself (Act 17:27; Romans 1:19)?

    ((Jumping to assumptions without doing research will always lead to the wrong answer my friend. History has shown the timeline of religion. It started as ignorance of our environment. Volcanoes, earthquakes, violent thunderstorms etc. As we became more self aware, we started trying to explain things around us. We explained these great events as caused by spirits. Spirits became the earth goddess and other god-like figures… then came the more defined gods *Egypt, Greek etc.* then many gods became One God *Jesus, Allah etc.*…I can’t wait for the next inevitable step! No God! WOO!))

    Have a nice day Brad, and please do educate yourself on all these topics fully and completely before spouting off baseless arguments before stating them as fact :)
     

  57. zack says:

    Wrong thats not the only way. the other way is through basic logic and a high schoolers understanding of science. humor works pretty good too though

  58. Joe says:

    If there was a “well-established genetic origin”, convergence rates between twins would be 100%. Unless you’re taking in to account the Diathesis-Stress model, but that doesn’t fit your point.

  59. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    @Joe
    Not so.
    You do not understand the complexities of genetics.  Many genes interact with the environment.  You may have a gene that can cause a condition, but it may not be triggered.  Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, the schizophrenias, are just some of the conditions which are caused by a combination of genetic inheritence and internal or external conditions that trigger the gene expression.
    Identical twins do not have identical environments because they do not inhabit the same body.

  60. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Genes do not always express themselves.  The degree of “penetrance” may be different for otherwise genetically identical twins or triplets.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penetrance

  61. francis says:

    I don’t necessarily think that the IQ of the relevant person changes when the graduate from theism to athesim, I believe that it is more important what we choose to do with that big ol’ brain.
     
    There is a quote that I think is relevant here (although I may be paraphrasing); Religion doesn’t provide any answers; it just stops you from asking questions.
     
    I think we can all agree (well, atheists can, anyway) that we are aren’t necessarily smarter, or cleverer, or have higher IQs (although it has been proven that we do, generally, so maybe the new found atheists were never meant to be theists in the first place?), but just that we are more enlightened :)

  62. Wade Julstrom-agoyo says:

    combat? like its some sort of battle. can’t you just have a sense of humor?

  63. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Nolan,
    When I was a candidate for a mainstream branch of the Christian religion my school required that we study the religious, historical and cultural background preceding and surrounding the development of Judaism and Christianity. We also studied the way the bible came to written and revised and the history of the way in which certain books came to be chosen for inclusion in one or other of the three existing “canons” that are each referred to by different sets of Christians as The Bible.  I don’t think that marks me as “religiously ignorant”.  On the other hand, it seems that your idea of “religious knowledge” is restricted to knowledge of your own preferred brand.
    You wrote:
    “We as Christians believe that we are made in God’s image, but personnaly I dont think that has anything to do with physical appearance, – - – It’s the idea that our minds and souls are made in the image of God.”
    “We as Christians” only refers to the subset of devout followers of Jesus of Nazareth who believe as you do.   There is no valid reason why this group has a better grasp of The Truth than any other group who identifies as Christian.  It is fallacious reasoning (see the No True Scotsman Fallacy) to dismiss those who disagree with your interpretation as “not real” Christians.
    As you admit, the idea is your own personal interpretation of the text.  This presumably supports the belief set of your own personal variety of Christianity.
    Your personal interpretation of the text is convenient, Nolan.   There is no good reason, other than wishful thinking, that this is what the original writers meant when they penned these words.   It requires that the word “image” be given a different meaning from its standard use at the time the text was written.  This is at best naive and at worst intellectually dishonest.
    If something is made “in the image” of something, then it means that they look like the other thing. Hence the biblical ban on “graven images” was a ban on idols that looked like the god they were supposed to represent.  The Ark of the Covenent, on the other hand, escaped this ban because it did not look like the Yahweh god that was supposed to reside within it.  (Had you forgotten that the Jewish god lived on earth in this structure for a while?)
    The creation mythology comes from the much earlier Epic of Gilgamesh which referred to a pantheon of gods, only one of whom was Yahweh, the desert war god. (And he wasn’t the god-in-charge either; that was El.)  In those days most of the gods were believed to look something like humans or some combination of human and animal.
    Your preferred interpretation is not only odd, but fatally flawed when taken to its logical conclusion.  You appear to be saying that amorphous things like “minds” and “souls” look like the “mind” and “soul” of your version of “god”.  What do you imagine that these formless things look like?
    If they merely “resemble” rather than “look like” the divine counterparts then what are the divine counterparts like?
    How much of the divine “mind” and “soul” did the Yaweh (or El) god copy?  It humans have identical copies of the mind and soul of the Yaweh and/or El god then does this mean that all human minds and souls are divine?
    If Adam and Eve were perfectly designed to resemble the El and/or Yahweh god then why were they not also gods?  Could it be that their divine education was incomplete until they learned the difference between “good and evil” on eating the fruit of the tree which supplied this knowledge?  Remember that the Yahweh and/or El god was angry with Adam and Eve because their new knowledge made them “like one of us”.  Apparently being too god-like was what was wrong.
    That, of course, is not the interpretation that you have been told to believe, is it?  If you apply some critical thinking, however, the classic interpretation is inconsistent with the actual text.
    Adam and Eve cannot have been reasonably punished for disobeying the god (whichever one it was) because when they ate the fruit they did not have the knowledge to know that it was wrong to do so.  How is that a “sin”?

  64. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Joshua,
    Fascinating stuff, especially about the bananas!
    I am curious to know whether I have 50 percent of the same genes as wild bananas or 50 percent in common with the domesticated man-engineered banana – the one Glen Beck believes has been perfectly designed by his version of “god”?
    What part of me is Beck banana?

  65. mike says:

    How does one become an atheist? This is a question that is often asked by theists as they try to understand the mentality of those that state that they don’t believe in a personal god or any god for that matter. They assume that a person just wakes up one day and decides to renounce the biblical God and become an atheist overnight. They say that you allowed yourself to be persuaded away from the faith by Satan and that you were led astray because you were not spiritually strong enough to resist the wiles of the “evil one.”

    In some cases your quest for knowledge is also questioned since they believe that all knowledge and understanding comes from God. According to Proverbs 1:7; “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; fools spurn wisdom and discipline.” (NJB) So if this is true then even searching for knowledge outside the context of a belief in God is sinful. In keeping with the suppression of knowledge the church conducted several inquisitions and attempted to keep everyone illiterate as long as they could. Later, when the bible was translated into Latin, English, and many other languages; they then tried to suppress the reading of certain books by actually making it illegal to own them.

    Humans in general are social animals; we seek out companionship and relationships. We long to meet people that share our opinions and views, especially when it has to do with what we believe. Religion is a societal phenomenon it gives people that sense of belonging. That is why most people don’t look towards beliefs that are going to harm their status within a society or alienate them from their peers. Atheism does just that and more! When you make it known that you don’t believe in God people look at you differently. They see you as a rebel and outsider and in some cases they think you are mentally imbalanced.

    Atheists have been associated with evil, immorality, arrogance, unpatriotic, etc. The road to atheism is so varied that there is no set way that one becomes an atheist. Some of the means to which they have come to atheism are irrational or emotional. A lot of people have leaned towards atheism due to having too many bad experiences with organized religions; others have left because religions doctrines could not satisfy their inquiring minds. When they asked difficult questions they were given the old “God has many mysteries that have yet to be revealed,” or the old “We will know all things when we get to heaven.”

    Some people were fortunate enough to never have been exposed to religion and so being an atheist comes easy to them. There are no doctrines to unlearn or renounce, there are no so called truths to discredit. They live in a world where science and observation can help them indicate fact from fiction and the word faith does not exist to these few.

    There are those that have been so deeply indoctrinated that even doubting that God exists causes them great stress and uneasiness. They lived and breathed according to what they believed to be the word of God. For these individuals the road to atheism is painful and paved with glass, it is hard to change your views and opinions on life after all those many years you have committed to believing and teaching about God. Those that were once clergy and had devoted a lot of time and energy to their beliefs are the ones for whom it is hardest to renounce those beliefs. There is a little joke amongst atheists that basically states that the best way to becoming an atheist is to read the bible. It is almost impossible to read the bible in its entirety and not come away disgusted with its deity and the bibles many obvious contradictions.

    The most glaring contradictions in the scriptures are contradictions of historical facts. The bible is wrong about the 400 year Egyptian enslavement of the Hebrews; to date there has been no archeological evidence to support this. Biblical scholars have come to even doubt the existence of Moses! The Red Sea which the Hebrews supposedly crossed on dry land is now thought to be a mistranslation of the Sea of Reeds. Not to mention the outright cruelty which God exercises freely to deal with mankind in the Old Testament. But nothing is crueler than the idea of an eternal place of torment called hell.

    According to the New Testament not believing in God is punishable by death and eternal torment in the afterlife! The road to atheism is actually not a single road since there are actually many ways to get there. Every individuals experience is unique and varied; therefore, there is no definitive way that one actually becomes an atheist. Atheism is a learning experience and a sort of growing up and growing out of superstitious beliefs. It is coming into the modern age and embracing change and seeking out knowledge about who we are and where we come from. Most importantly it is about where we are headed.

    Many theists demonstrate their blatant ignorance of facts when they state for instance that atheism is a religion! The beautiful thing about atheism is that not all atheists agree on a lot of subjects related to religion and the sciences. One of my favorite terms from the 1600’s is free-thinker and that is what makes atheism so special that fact that we are free to think whatever we want. We are not bogged down by rituals and dogmas or nonsensical doctrines; we are simply searchers of facts and truths. Therefore, atheism is not a religion and does not resemble one in any way.

    We don’t need a god to dictate to us what is moral and what is not. We understand that we get our morals from society and our own life experiences. We are not evil; anyone can be evil whether he be a theist or an atheist. We don’t accept the existence of gods, angels, demons, etc. We see the world from a naturalistic perspective and value life greatly because we understand the fragility of life. We live in the here and now, not hoping to live in some imaginary realm after death where the streets are paved with gold and life is eternal. We don’t waste time on delusions we live in the real world and are proud of who we are and what we as individuals may believe.
     
    this a quote from , Chatpilot , I admire him greatly 

  66. mike says:

    You obviously   didn’t read  my post   completely ,  humm  how strange  for a supposed intelligent person ,  and as for  my grammar  i think I’m  doing   pretty good considering  i must  use a  translator program,  so   DON’T BE SO JUDGMENTAL  , ITS ALMOST LIKE YOU  WHERE STILL A CHRISTIAN.
    I find  that using ad hominem’s when arguing  with a  religious pesron  makes it easyer for them to understand  just  how ridiculous I THINK THEY ARE ,  so   yes  i will  continue to ridicule them  at  every opportunity   i get .

  67. mike says:

    You obviously   didn’t read  my post   completely ,  humm  how strange  for a supposed intelligent person ,  and as for  my grammar  i think I’m  doing   pretty good considering  i must  use a  translator program,  so   DON’T BE SO JUDGMENTAL  , ITS ALMOST LIKE YOU  WHERE STILL A CHRISTIAN.
    I find  that using ad hominem’s when arguing  with a  religious person  makes it easier for them to understand  just  how ridiculous I THINK THEY ARE ,  so   yes  i will  continue to ridicule them  at  every opportunity   i get .

  68. Jacob says:

    Why is it so hard for scientist to believe that all matter is infinite. Every particle that we see is continually expanding and contracting so fast that we can not possibly comprehend the way everything came to be. From the combination of two cells comes 1 cell system which grows and expands. The explanation of the universe is as simple as life itself. It always has been and it always will be. There is no beginning and there is no end, only infinity. That goes for time, space, matter, dark matter, and every particle in the fabric that makes up our “universe”. I say universe because of the possibilities that there may be a multi-verse system in which there are alternate dimensions. My theory is that everything that ever has been or ever will be exists as it is now. when we see the creation of a new star, or the dying of another and the formation of a black-hole that is one universe converging with another. By a white-hole matter enters or by a black-hole transfers from one universe to another. If we look at how the human body works for example we start as two solitary cells that combine and form a new system “universe” they draw from another universe from a period of time before they split off and create an external system. From there the universe feeds from other systems it comes into contact with throughout it’s life time taking in and expelling energy. During it’s life it has the capability of creating a new universe. And even after it’s death it can break down and form a new universe. Every universe has the possibility of an end on a massive scale which we can not possibly comprehend. And there is the possibility of forming new universes. All matter that exists in a universe could one day be scattered upon an infinite number of other universes. Just like the particles that make up the fruit of a tree will become a part of our bodies and give us nutrition. The energy exerted by our sun may some day warm another planet in a distant part of another universe. Everything in reality is infinite. Every single thing came from something else, therefore reality is infinite. It’s difficult to grasp and to some people it may seem like I’m rambling but if you think about what I’m saying it makes perfect sense. In addition to my Theory of Expansion, which I am currently writing about in an attempt to submit to Scientific America, I can’t type the formula here but if there are any physicists interested I believe I may have deciphered Einsteins theory into a way to obtain the speed of light in order to travel great distances and possibly between universes. Just a theory of mine…. I am not atheist or agnostic I just have my own beliefs in how we all came to be. There could be a God or we could all simply be a coincidence in a random chain of events. who knows but the energy that it took to create all of existence continues on maybe in other forms but it adapts constantly. Time and reality are infinite.

  69. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    That’a a good summary of what I have come to learn about atheists.
     
    It is generally a long and troubled road there, if you were once religious.  I envy those who were never indoctrinated to begin with.

  70. Keenan says:

    And the whole Christianity being completely fiction and completely illogical?
    You seemed to miss that part, but i have your back ;)

  71. Keenan says:

    Um…… Original Sin came about when the Fall of Man occurred if i’m not mistaken… So the whole ideal of Mary’s heritage being free of original sin is a hoax and a lie. Sorry, even the bible disproves that statement.

  72. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    That narrative was written to align with the supposed prophecy in the Jewish sacred writings – after the invention of this idea by the early Christians who were trying to make the Jesus story attractive to Gentiles living in cultures where all the important gods were born of virgins.
    Mark’s gospel (the original) does not contain this magical story.  The original manuscript did not even contain the story of the resurrection, either.    Those passages were added later to make it consistent with the later gospels that drew on it for other material.  If it were “divinely inspired” then god would have got it right the first time :-)

  73. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The common belief at the time was that human “seed” was only available from the man.  The woman was believed to be only an incubator and to have no part in a child’s heritage.  That is why tracing Mary’s heritage back to King David makes no sense.  Joseph’s lineage back to King David makes sense – but only if he were presumed to be the father.  The gospels are confused about this, presumably because they were written by Gentiles who did not understand Jewish culture and beliefs.
    If the Gentile gospel writers had followed the Jewish beliefs about heritage then the only way that Jesus could have been traced back to King David was to show that the Yahweh god was born in that line.  That is why the whole story makes absolutely no sense to a Jew.

  74. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Your reference was written to conform to the party line.  There is a general consensus amongst the most internationally respected biblical scholars (from various religious traditions and none at all) that the virgin birth was a spurious addition to the original story.  That is not a spurious “argument from authority” because the reasoning is available for anyone to read.

  75. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    “Why is it so hard for scientist to believe that all matter is infinite.”
    A better science education than yours?  

  76. FallingRock says:

    That’s a really good observation. how true, Christians are so brain-washed (from birth, baptism, sunday school, the bible dribble, and evangelical yahoos, that they cannot think straight enough to raise their own doubts.
    All religions are immune to critical thinking about their own religion…it is an immune response to the religious virus (meme) they inherited.

  77. FallingRock says:

    I became an atheist by way of being a christian. I had few doubts until I spent 4 years in seminary learning the ins and outs in order to coddle, convince and convert others. What I learned made me so damn mad about the sham of this religion that I told god to FO and returned to my awestruck wonder of the mechanisms and beauty of existence as we discover it in a godless, purposeless, non-god-driven and undefiled universe. Mental freedom to abandon faith for evidence starts with the thrill of doubting silly things you never really wrestled with before.

  78. Fed up says:

    LOL!  Likes this

  79. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    I had a similar experience, but did not make it beyond first year.
    While I lived in a Catholic section of Indonesia the local seminary complained that it lost a large proportion of its candidates for the priesthood during their training.  Once they were educated enough to learn what the faith was really about, instead of what they mistakenly thought it was about, they left.

  80. Ryan says:

    Reading your comment, then reading hers… Now yours, now back to hers. I’m pretty sure she read it completely. If you’re using a translator, you should probably mention that in the first place, or hey, comment in your native tongue and let us translate. Freedom of speech and all that. Reading minds is not on Rosemary’s resume.

  81. Ryan says:

    No, Mary WAS the immaculate conception. When she was conceived it was without original sin which is why she was chosen as the vessel to carry Jesus.

    Because that totally sounds less ridiculous…

  82. Harmless Fuzzy Bunny says:

    @Rosemary, Re: Your March 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm reply to Nolan.

    You lost him at “my school required that we study”… Here in the People’s Theocratic Republic of Oklahomastan, I’m continually surrounded by people who have a similar attitude towards religion as Nolan. They study religion and their holy books like we study software licenses – scroll to the bottom and click “I Agree”.

  83. Robert says:

    Here’s the answer to your comment, Mike.  Feast on this:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbvr0m_the-intelligence-debate-stephen-fry_shortfilms
    Enjoy!
     

  84. Robert says:

    Here’s the answer to your comment, Mike.  Feast on this:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbvr0m_the-intelligence-debate-stephen-fry_shortfilms
    Enjoy!
     

  85. Disorganized religion also fosters zealotry.  Bigots do not need the consensual confirmation of their peers.

  86. I can’t see the relevance, Robert, but it’s a very powerful, eloquent and moving soliloquy and well worth listening to.

  87. Robert says:

    Rosemary, the relevance can be found when re-reading Mike’s first comment, which was, “So funny that the only way you can combat Christianity is with terrible humor.”  Whereas, the video, and the message that was so well presented was not “funny” nor terrible humor… but rather a direct assault on the Christian Church.

  88. ryan says:

    @mike- is it still prehistoric if there are still historic records of events that occurred during the specific time period? Also I very much agree that logic and science do a very good job of explaining specific happenings pertinent to our planet and the universe, however the large majority of science is theory, hypothesis and speculation. And while we can’t always agree on which side is right (religion or science) perhaps we should just let people coexist and believe, worship, etc. in whatever way they seem fit. Then possibly we could all come to the same conclusion that in reality, we don’t know anything about anything when it comes to the universe and how things were created. So maybe take into consideration that the human race as a whole has a very low I.Q. and very little understanding about anything. Then perhaps you can get off your high horse and except that some people believe in different things than you and that is okay. However I would greatly appreciate it if you could point out some scripture to me and then perhaps explain how science has debunked without any shadow of a doubt that something is false. Then you will be right and the other person will be wrong. But until then, stop being a judgmental asshole and trying being a compassionate and open minded human being. That’s what the bible says (minus the asshole part, sorry :( ) and at least they got that part right.

  89. ryan says:

    Christianity is a belief system which in no way shape or form endorses mass murder. However, corrupt men have used Christianity as a crutch to justify their horrible mass executions but that doesn’t mean that is how Christians act or believe. So please keep that in mind when using broad generalizations. I don’t go around saying all atheists are bitter, judgmental, and close-minded religion haters because that’s more than likely not true. So please just think of that before you lump all Christians into the same category.

  90. Nonofyourbusiness says:

    It’s not a question of IQ OR knowledge. To hate Christianity is actually juvenile (period).

  91. “To hate Christianity is actually juvenile”
    Nonofyourbusiness, this appears to be a bald personal opinion.  What proof do you have that it has any validity?
    What do you have to say about the large proportion of ex-Christians who do not hate the religion, but have simply come to find it nonsensical?  Since this position generally comes after a long period of study and reflection it seems more in line with maturation than the childlike behavior that accepts  beliefs which are not supported by robust and valid evidence.  This kind of belief without question is absolutely necessary for survival in the early years of childhood but is inappropriate in an adult, wouldn’t you agree?
     

  92. Luke says:

    Some very intelligent arguing going on here, Rosemary especially seems to be very knowledgeable across all fields – scientific and religious.
    In reply to mike’s: ‘How does one become an Atheist?’
    One quote (I say that, I’m paraphrasing as I can’t remember who said it or the exact words) I do like that really helps people to understand where atheists are coming from is this:
    ‘The moment you understand why you dismiss every other religion on this Earth, will be the moment you understand why I dismiss yours.’
    Or as Richard Dawkins would put it ‘I only believe in one less God than you do.’
    Theists seem to find the idea of atheism hard to grasp, but yet as monotheists, they don’t realise how close they are to being atheists. When you ask a Christian to think about why they dismiss Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, and the thousands of other religions in this world for their own, it usually dawns on them that giving up on their own religion is not a big step. They have already argued in their mind why these other religions are preposterous, and they make the connection to their own religion, applying the same arguments.

  93. Thank you, Luke.  I was well trained as a researcher :-)

  94. I checked.  You are correct.  My Protestant heritage trips me up from time to time.   According to modern Roman Catholic doctrine (as opposed to doctrinal position prior to the papal Marian encyclical), Mary was born to St. Anne and shielded from original sin at the time of her conception.  (We could well ask why the Yahweh god could not do this for everyone.  It didn’t appear to have anything to do with the “free will” of Mary).  This is supposed to cause Jesus to be born free of original sin without god needing to intervene in his case.  (So was “James the brother of Jesus” also free of original sin?)
    The “virgin birth” of Jesus was therefore necessary because he was supposedly the result of “seed” from the Holy Ghost of God rather than human “seed” from Joseph.
    Of course, this leads to all kinds of clashes with modern scientific knowledge about genetics and heritability, not the least of which is how the DNA of an immaterial being could be compatible with the DNA of a material being.
     
     

  95. Ryan, your personal interpretation of the Christian belief system is not universally shared by all Christians. It is, in fact, simply a subset of fairly recent interpretations of the Christian religion which have been considerably influenced by the growth of scientific knowledge and the changes that this knowledge has wrought in moral values and attitudes to human rights and social responsibilities.

    Throughout history there have hordes of people who believed/believe that murder is perfectly compatible with Christianity and, indeed, even prescribed by it.

    Hitler and his army is a good example. Hitler was a Catholic and his regime was endorsed by the Catholic Church. His army was full of devout Catholics and Lutherans who went to war with belt buckles inscribed “God with us” and sought to rid the world of infidel Jews whom they believed to be collectively responsible for the death of Christ. Or didn’t your pastor spin it like that?

    The Spanish Inquisition considered that it was torturing and murdering people to save souls and further god’s will on earth. So did the Crusaders. So did Calvin and Martin Luther as they assisted religious authorities to torture and burn people at the stake.

    And then there was the Salem witch hunts, echoed by modern day witch burnings in Africa with the help and blessing of the local Christian Clergy, the bloody fighting between the IRS and the followers of the Rev. Ian Paisley and the Christians in Sarajevo who slaughtered Muslims by the town load as a “religious cleansing” campaign.

    Now there are “non-religious” Christian parents who force their children to die in agony by insisting that they only follow the Biblical prescriptions for healing instead of providing their children with access to godless, but demonstrably more effective, modern medicine.

    These Believers had/have no less right to call themselves “Christians” than you do. It is all a matter of interpretation of scripture and religious preaching and tradition, and no human can legitimately claim to be infallible in that respect (although Popes have tried).

    The Great Big Christian Book of Religious Multiple Choice (aka some version of The Bible) provides plenty of arsenals for such points of view.

    In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying “I come not to bring peace, but a sword”.   On the other hand, the Sermon on the Mount, if followed, would prevent anyone from defending themselves, their family or their country.

    The Old Testament is full of examples of the Yahweh god’s murderous escapes and blood-thirsty injunctions. Unless this god had a personality change after the death of this half-caste son then his “unchanging” character should still think like this.

    It all depends on whose example you wish to follow: the Father’s example or the Son’s example.

    A good case can be made for following the war-like Father’s example. He is obviously the stronger of the two and the one to fear. He is the one with the “righteous” temper who sentences people to eternal torment and throws them in pits of fire. He is reputed to have abandoned his half-caste Son on the Cross and then prevented him from keeping his promise to return to earth in the lifetime of his first set of disciples.

    Perhaps you should join the U.S. Army and help to slaughter infidels like Yahweh commanded instead of turning the other cheek and refusing to go to war like his Son advised on the Sermon on the Mount. Have you considered that you might be following the wrong (weaker) divine persona? After all, Yahweh’s son was half alien (=human), wasn’t he?  Perhaps his human genes made him too soft. 

  96. Ryan wrote:

    “(T)he large majority of science is theory, hypothesis and speculation. And while we can’t always agree on which side is right (religion or science) perhaps we should just let people coexist and believe, worship, etc. in whatever way they seem fit.”

    Ryan, you are misinformed about what science is and how it works and therefore cannot draw a valid comparison between it and what religion is and how it works.
     
    Science begins with the observation of natural phenomena (=facts), speculates about what these mean, forms a working hypothesis and then tests it.
     
    That is, hypotheses and speculations in science are in the realm of cutting edge research which is seeking to expand the boundaries of knowledge. These tentative formulations are in the process of being tried out and tested and do not yet belong in the realm of established knowledge. It is not true that the bulk of science is in this yet-to-be-established state
     
    The results from the testing of a hypothesis is used to formulate a “scientific law” to describe what is observed and what to expect from observations in the future. “Scientific laws” are very different from “legislated laws” which humans may break but that carry a penalty if they are caught. The first is descriptive of what actually happens in certain circumstances, the second is proscriptive of what should or must happen if certain consequences are to be avoided.
     
    Results from a tested hypothesis can also be used to construct a “scientific theory” which explains how what is observed actually works and what this implies. A “scientific theory” must be constructed so that it can predict things and events and thus be tested in such a way that it is capable of being falsified (that is, capable of being proved to be at least partially inadequate). The construction of a scientific theory is is the pinnacle of scientific endeavor., not the beginning. “Scientific theories” are very different from common or garden variety “personal theories” which are little more than hunches or opinions, many of which cannot be rigorously tested or potentially falsified at all. The first is high-order explanatory, the second is low order speculative.
     
    The scientific method requires that a scientific theory (= higher –order explanation) be rigorously and relentlessly subjected to multiple attempts to undermine and disprove it. Each time it survives the theory is “confirmed”. If it survives repeatedly then it becomes “well-supported” and eventually it moves into the realm of “established knowledge”, which is the closest that scientific explanations get to being labeled as “proved”. There is always the possibility that some observation or piece of information will turn up that does not match the current “scientific theory” in which case the current explanation must be discarded or modified to fit the new data. A challenged theory is NEVER replaced with an earlier theory unless apparent flaws in the earlier theory are resolved and explained by the new data.
     
    So while it is true that established scientific knowledge consists entirely of “laws” and “theories”, these are not on an equal footing with similar sounding terms used in every day speech. In science a “theory” is the highest point in the system, not the lowest. Even the lowest order of science (informed guesswork) is still ahead of personal opinion, common hunches and philosophical speculation which do not need to be formulated in such a way that they are capable of being falsified or required to stand on valid and objective evidence.
     
    Religion has a very different approach to knowledge.
     
    Instead of observing facts and generating testable explanations to fit them, religion provides explanations (theories) and requires that the adherent find facts to fit them. Rigorous testing and attempted falsification of the explanations are vigorously discouraged. When these are attempted on the small sample of testable hypotheses which the religion generates, the results are “interpreted” to fit the existing dogma, usually by the use of ingenious semantic gymnastics.
     
    When religious dogma is changed to fit overwhelming dis-confirming evidence it is done minimally and slowly and often causes serious schisms. In the past schismatic disagreement was dealt with by torturing and killing those who dissented. Now that these methods result in unpleasant legal consequences there are about 30,000 recognized versions of Christianity, all of which believe that the other 29.999 groups are heretical. If you add in the millions of people who insist that they have a personal relationship with Jesus and are not affiliated with an “organized” religion, then there are uncountable differences of religious belief and practice based around the Christian religion.  (If there is a supernatural power at the root of these beliefs then it is a very poor communicator.)

    When this Dogma-Before-Evidence approach is applied to science it results, at best, in failure to progress or, at worst, delusions, illusions and falsehoods that can result in preventable suffering, death and disaster.
     
    The Vaccination-Causes-Autism campaign is a case in point. The faithful align themselves with bogus, fraudulent and irrelevantly credentialed scientists and health practitioners because their conclusions align with what the faithful wish to believe. They fail to acknowledge the legitimacy of the mainstream experts simply because they do not support their version of “science” and “truth”. For a real scientist, the case against the anti-vax position is overwhelming. The faithful, however, have spent too much time, money and emotion in fighting the hypothetical “enemies” of mainstream science, health officials, Bigoted Academics, Big Pharma and Evil Government that they cannot ever admit to being wrong.
     
    The influence of the Anti-Vax group has caused a large number of preventable deaths from diseases that would have been prevented or curtailed as the result of normal childhood vaccination programs. The worst hit group are the under twos. These babies and toddlers are dependent on the community’s vaccination-induced “herd immunity“ because they are too young to be vaccinated themselves. In other words, it is not just the children of anti-vaxers who are likely to be maimed or killed.
     
    In other words, the real scientific method is far more likely to come to a valid conclusion than the religious method, and far more likely to reduce suffering rather than needlessly cause it. The question of whether we let people believe whatever they want, regardless of the potential harm to themselves, their family, their nation or society at large, then becomes a moral issue.
     
    Religious beliefs result in actions and these actions have consequences. When the beliefs which create these actions are not based on objective evidence then the consequences can be very bad.
     
    When Creationists undermine science education in areas which control the text book contents then graduates throughout the nation are unable to compete for technical jobs with internationally trained graduates with the same number of years of education. When people vote to elect a President on the basis of his religious beliefs rather than his ability to run the country then this can lead to economic ruin for the economy. When Presidents lead their nation into a war because they believe it is the will of their god, then more than one nation suffers. When people, acting on their religious beliefs, cause harm to the planet through neglect then everyone suffers, including the generations to come. If these beliefs include the idea that supernatural bliss will only occur after the whole planet is destroyed they may deliberately cause this to happen.
     
    While you may be a perfectly responsible and well-socialized individual, in spite of your religious beliefs, many of your fellow Believers do not fit that description.  Are you really prepared to let them exercise their beliefs “in whatever way they see fit”?

  97. Ryan,
     
    Have you considered the unscientific nature of the story surrounding the birth of Jesus?  You have to explain how Mary got pregnant without having sex, where the male DNA components came from, which ones were dominant and/or expressed, what kind of Y chromosome was provided by the divinity, why DNA from a non-human source was compatible with human DNA, and so on.  It just does not scientifically compute.

  98. michel says:

    Talking about the virgin birth.
    The fact that the genealogies don’t match, the Messiah  had to be a direct descendant of King David
    Both the genealogies of Matthew and Luke show that Joseph was a direct descendant of King David. But if Joseph is not Jesus’ father, then Joseph’s genealogies are meaningless as far as Jesus is concerned, and one has to wonder why Matthew and Luke included them in their gospels. The answer, of course, is that the genealogies originally said that Jesus was the son of Joseph and thus Jesus fulfilled the messianic requirement of being a direct descendant of King David.
    Long after Matthew and Luke wrote the genealogies the church invented (or more likely borrowed from the mystery religions) the doctrine of the virgin birth. Although the virgin birth could be accommodated by inserting a few words into the genealogies to break the physical link between Joseph and Jesus, those same insertions also broke the physical link between David and Jesus.
    The church had now created two major problems: 1) to explain away the existence of two genealogies of Joseph, now rendered meaningless, and 2) to explain how Jesus was a descendant of David.
    The apostle Paul says that Jesus “was born of the seed of David” (Romans 1:3). Here the word “seed” is literally in the Greek “sperma.” This same Greek word is translated in other verses as “descendant(s)” or “offspring.” The point is that the Messiah had to be a physical descendant of King David through the male line. That Jesus had to be a physical descendant of David means that even if Joseph had legally adopted Jesus (as some apologists have suggested), Jesus would still not qualify as Messiah if he had been born of a virgin – seed from the line of David was required.
    Women did not count in reckoning descent for the simple reason that it was then believed that the complete human was present in the man’s sperm (the woman’s egg being discovered in 1827). The woman’s womb was just the soil in which the seed was planted. Just as there was barren soil that could not produce crops, so also the Bible speaks of barren wombs that could not produce children.
    This is the reason that although there are many male genealogies in the Bible, there are no female genealogies. This also eliminates the possibility put forward by some apologists that Jesus could be of the “seed of David” through Mary.
    Source,new testament contradictions 1995 by Paul Carlson.
    Michel Liberty

  99. Robert says:

    This blog/debate has degraded into a discussion of science vs. religion… where science, it is argued, is served up as the anti-religion and made to trump religion because it’s logical and verifiable – because religion relies on blind faith and myths.  However, I’d like to remind everyone that there really shouldn’t be a debate at all because religion is pure fantasy and hence the debate, in and of itself, gives credence and validity to religion.
    No matter what religion we think of, all religions concoct stories no more truthful than Harry Potter.  Each and every religion is a collection of fables.  The adherents to a faith (regardless of the faith) are both willing and oftentimes unwilling/unaware conspirators… blind, obsessed and needy lemmings looking for an external one-stop solution to (1) placate themselves about topics we can never fully comprehend, (2) answer questions of mortality, (3) avoid taking responsibility for our own actions, (4) justify our egregious behavior or guard against it, or (5) help us face life’s adversities and uncertainties.
    Time and time again science has given us answers to a multitude of questions -  debunking myth.  However, one would assume that the simple act of knowing that religion is fiction should be good enough.  Evidently it is not… because the human condition is so fraught with fear and lacking in comprehension that mortals rely on religion to fix mortality.
    We should admit that like all animals, we have limited intelligence.  Yes, we are more intelligent than other species, but certainly not all-knowing.  With our limited intelligence comes a cloud or veil that keeps us from truly knowing all that we aspire to know.  There’s nothing wrong with this as it is who we are as a species.  We must recognize that, in our lifetimes… in this day and age… we will never know everything, and we should stop filling in the gaps with makeshift fantasies such as heaven and hell and purgatory.  (In fact, most Christians believe in purgatory, whereas, purgatory was never once mentioned in the Christian bible.  It was made up by a pope to explain something.  It became doctrine over the centuries.)  So, believing in burning bushes or purgatory or Jesus being the son of god from an immaculate conception is nourishment to the willing ignorant.
    What people object to equally, however, is the actual or perceived challenge to their CULTURAL HABITS and ingrained way of life (in addition to their deity) by any open-minded discussion.  People are brainwashed from birth to think a certain way.  Any affront to this is abhorrent and resisted.  This is the basis of conservatism.  Aesthetes are an affront to more than merely blind faith.  We are an affront to peoples’ way of life.  We mock their obsession with the afterlife and mock their culture.  We mock their dogma.  We mock their parents and grandparents who’s legacies we cling to.  We mock their fears.  And in so doing, we call into question the very framework on which they hang their lives.  We actually diminish their lives because we mock their fantasies.  And it is painful.  So, I can understand why they resist so hard; although – to me – enlightenment would seem to be the preferential way to live.

  100. Jackie says:

    Rosemary,
    You had said earlier: “my school required that we study the religious, historical and cultural background preceding and surrounding the development of Judaism and Christianity. We also studied the way the bible came to written and revised and the history of the way in which certain books came to be chosen for inclusion in one or other of the three existing “canons” that are each referred to by different sets of Christians as The Bible.”
    What program/courses was this for? I have always wanted to learn these things.
    Better yet, are there any books you can suggest that has a breakdown of the development of Christianity?
    -Jackie

  101. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The course was the standard preliminary year for candidates for the Australian Methodist Ministry.  That church is now part of the Uniting Church of Australia so I imagine that the first year text books are different.  Besides, the texts will be out of date by now.
    A more up to date introduction to how the bible came to written can be obtained from the Standford Itunes library of lectures.  http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/historical-jesus/id384233911
    I am not too sure what to recommend concerning the development of the biblical cannons and 3rd and 4th century doctrinal creeds.  There is currently some controversy over who decided what and who was responsible for slaughtering those who disagreed and for destroying (by burning) all their books, at least all those that they could find.
    It’s an interesting thought:  if the Jewish version of Christianity had won the toss then all of Paul’s gentile-focused gospels might have been destroyed and the resulting religion and its history would have been massively different.
     
     
     
     

  102. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Update.
    Try these for information on the biblical canon.
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/larry_taylor/canon.html
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/NTcanon.html
    There are relatively readable.  Unfortunately, the subject is complex and there is nothing that is an easy-peasy read.

  103. Nicky P says:

    Let’s get serious for a minute. I’m going to italisize all of your grammatical and spelling mistakes.

    Are you kidding me? “The only way you can combat Christianity is with terrible humor”. Only a moron would say this(.) Intelligent people have been extremely successful at proving this is a ridiculous prehistoric myth. (for years would be redundant; create new sentence to avoid fragment) Your response to this caption shows why religion has lost ground throughout the (it would be civilized, not civilize, and it makes you sound pretentious) world. More (and more is once again redundant) of the christian faith, such as yourself, have a very low I.Q.(who the hell insults someone’s IQ? elementary school children?) and cannot come up with a reasonable argument for this fake dogma.

  104. jeff says:

    ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’…t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  105. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    @jeff
    “Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.”
     
    As universally recognized truth, this stuff is not easily verifiable at all.  But your grammar and spelling are.
    When you have mastered the use of spell and grammar checkers you could try checking for logical fallacies. With some intensive work you might make a little sense.
     
     

  106. Filipe says:

    Damn, you serious.

  107. Addison P. says:

    These comments are hilarious!

  108. Amanda says:

    Actually that’s not the only way to combat Christianity. We’ve also got knowledge and logic! Take your pick.

  109. Shutup says:

    Hey Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM, shut up!!

  110. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Hi Shutup.  I did!

  111. mel says:

    WHO CARES , WHO CARES , WHO CARES

  112. bill says:

    look at the rating!  I would say you have a very poor idea of funny

  113. Amanda says:

    I am baffled as to why so many intelligent people refuse to believe logic when it comes to the bible. Mary was not the first virgin birth to be wrote about in religious texts. Look it up. Also a lot of other stories from the bible were taken from other sources. Look it up. 

    But what really baffles me is how can people with such intelligence believe in such a thing as a talking burning bush, a virgin birth, a talking snake etc etc.. the list is huge. 

    Also I believe if your god was so great, he would not contradict himself. If you have truly read the bible in it’s entirety you would see how many contradictions there are.

    Do you know religon was made by man? Yes, religion was started in the beginning of times, when men could not understand such things such as rain or thunder, they called them gods.

    Anyone who believes in any religion  should really research these things. 

    How could knowledge be a bad thing? It’s not. Faith- believing in what you can not touch, see or prove, that is a dangerous thing my friends! Educate yourselves.

  114. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    You don’t understand the power of indoctrination completed before the person has developed the capacity for logical analysis and the power of emotional conversion built on at least the culturally acquired background of the belief.  In adulthood, logic fights against emotion and loses for everyone except independent thinkers and those with a considerable career experience in applying the scientific method.  Even then, you get heavily indoctrinated conservative types who resist applying logic to their emotionally held religious belief.
    Ultimately, there are always going to be personalities who are unable to rise above their early indoctrination in anything, including religion, and personalities (especially those with Asperger’s Syndrome) who are incapable of being socially programmed by religious beliefs.  Of course, this does not fit the indoctrinated beliefs of those from the Abrahamic religions who believe that everyone has an equal chance of “rejecting” their version of the divine, even if they have never been exposed to religious instruction in this area.  The belief is logically rediculous, of course, but indoctrinated Christians, Muslims and Jews cannot afford to see or admit that.

  115. Dan says:

    The conception of jesus by mary is funny.  The first time a woman tried to say she was impregnated by god (or gods) was by the mother of Romulus and Remus.  Apparently the ancient latins were more sensible back then because they killed the mother for breaking her oath of virginity and left the two boys to die.

  116. Alexander says:

    something is telling me that you are one of those “reluctant atheists” who remain extremely defensive in the face of criticism towards the religion that they supposedly cast away, perhaps that something is Jesus. OR NOT, IT DOESN’T TAKE A GENIUS TO SEE THE POLITICAL MOTIVES BEHIND MOST ORGANIZED RELIGION, ESPECIALLY CHRISTIANITY SO IF YOU “CHANGED SIDES” THAN GREAT FOR YOU. I LIKE PEOPLE WHO CAN ADMIT THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN WRONG. I must also point out that your assault against this man who feels that his belief has been attacked has actually just proved him right; you say that you are smart and you changed your mind about your religion, so, the obvious conclusion is that someone less smart than you may not have changed their mind. Also, for one who appears to take great pleasure by mixing in random and irrelevant science stuff into their comment in order to add length and/or the appearance of supportive facts you seem to know very little of history if you think that a wife wouldn’t have an affair and lie about it. All i learned from your rebuttal was that you really are still a christian deep down, you can’ let an attack on the religion go, and you still have no actual evidence in its defense. AND LET ME SAY RIGHT NOW THAT ALL THOUGH YOU MIGHT TRY TO POINT OUT THAT MY USE OF ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IS PROOF OF MY STUPIDITY I WILL SIMPLY SMILE AND SHAKE MY HEAD AT ANOTHER CHRISTIAN TRYING TO AVOID THE FACT THAT THEY “AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME.”

  117. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    @Mike/Alexander
    something is telling me that you are one of those “reluctant atheists”...”
    The “something” is wishful thinking, not logic or demonstrable facts.  It’s a good demonstration of the “mind reading fallacy”.  You claim to know more about the person than they do themselves. In spite of never having met the person or spoken to them at length you assume you know that their unconscious motivations are – and all without the benefit of a recognized qualification in psychotherapy. Now that’s stupid.
    These days psychoanalysis has been abandoned by almost all those with licenses to practice psychology and psychiatry.  It’s unscientific and not evidence-based.  So even if you had studied enough to get a recognized qualification in this area you would not be taken seriously by mainstream behavioral science professionals.
    We have no need to point to your use of CAPITAL LETTERS to claim that your intellectual level leaves something to be desired.  You cannot spell “although”;  Your arguments are not logical;  You cannot figure out what is “relevant” science and what is not;  You assert that someone says that they are smart when it is actually only your conclusion that they are.  Your limited knowledge of history leads you to the false conclusion that a first century Jewish girl is more likely to have had an “affair” than to have been raped by a Roman soldier (which is the non-evangelical Bible scholars’ opinion). 

    I am sure that you will, indeed, shake your head and convince yourself that you know better than those who disagree with your position.  All of the psychotic delusional patients I have ever met do exactly the same.  It does not prove that their thinking is any less detached from reality.
    During my training days I met a psychotic nun who was convinced that she could prove that one equals zero and that this was world shattering knowledge given to her by her version of god.  She just smiled every time a mental health professional suggested that she was mistaken in her assessment and told them that it was they who were mistaken.  When she recovered she had no memory of these events and found it difficult to believe that she had ever uttered such nonsense.  When you have completed your education perhaps you will also deny that you could ever have thought as you do now.  Perhaps.

  118. Alexander says:

    i must say that i had to read over that response several times before i found the actually valid criticisms of my somewhat emotionally driven rant. i sincerely apologize for so obviously offending you by insinuating that i might be so highly educated in psychology as you yourself most certainly are as do i apologize for not taking time correct my spelling of the word although, i simply didnt care. i thank you for pointing out that my description on the likelihood of a woman having an affair might not have offered enough clarity, however the matter remains that if the woman had been raped; she still would have tried to keep it a secret. 
    i must admit that your little story about the nun amused me, i found myself imagining a kid on the internet complaining about how their little sibling wrote what they wrote trying to convince their peers that the dont actually believe whatever it is that they said. i imagine that over the next few years, if anyone asks you about this little disagreement you might try the same thing, in case you didnt know; it doesnt work. i apologize if i made any spelling errors as they must offend you deeply and it is not my wish to upset you with naught but typos 
    PS i would appreciate it if you would list some of those “mainstream behavioral science professionals” as it would make me laugh to see my father’s name among them. and really, you still aint got shit on me

  119. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Father – competition – shoulder – chip = sad.

  120. Kevin says:

    The origin of living things from non living material is both rationally and scientifically unexplainable. The leap of faith it takes to accept that this occurred is remarkable. The presumed development of self replicating multi-cellular life from the unexplained  first “living material” takes an even greater leap of faith in that there is yet no scientific proof that this has or could have occurred “naturally”.

    Ernst Mayr, the legendary evolutionary biologist of the 20th century admits as much in his book “What Evolution Is” written in 2001. He identifies the need for energy and the ability to replicate as the major hurtles to life. Regarding replication he writes, “The invention of replication was more difficult…..There is no good theory for this.” He adds to that, “In spite of all the theoretical advances that have been made toward solving the problem of the origin of life, the cold fact remains that no one has so far succeeded in creating life in a laboratory.” P.43

    Atheists who point their finger at Christians and criticize them for believing things that are out of the sphere of rational and scientific explanation are I’m afraid pointing three fingers back at themselves.

    Quite frankly “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist!”

    By the way…there is a good book out by that name and I would highly recommend it to those reading this.
     

  121. mike says:

    Apparently  your not up on scientific discoveries , you know we are  in the twenty first  century right?.

    For your information  Craig venter the team leader for the group that mapped  human DNA as crated life synthetically .

    Here is the artical ,

    Craig Venter creates synthetic life form
    Craig Venter and his team have built the genome of a bacterium from scratch and incorporated it into a cell to make what they call the world’s first synthetic life form,
    Scientists have created the world’s first synthetic life form in a landmark experiment that paves the way for designer organisms that are built rather than evolved.
    The controversial feat, which has occupied 20 scientists for more than 10 years at an estimated cost of $40m, was described by one researcher as “a defining moment in biology“.
    Craig Venter, the pioneering US geneticist behind the experiment, said the achievement heralds the dawn of a new era in which new life is made to benefit humanity, starting with bacteria that churn out biofuels, soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and even manufacture vaccines.
    However critics, including some religious groups, condemned the work, with one organisation warning that artificial organisms could escape into the wild and cause environmental havoc or be turned into biological weapons. Others said Venter was playing God.
    The new organism is based on an existing bacterium that causes mastitis in goats, but at its core is an entirely synthetic genome that was constructed from chemicals in the laboratory.
    The single-celled organism has four “watermarks” written into its DNA to identify it as synthetic and help trace its descendants back to their creator, should they go astray.
    “We were ecstatic when the cells booted up with all the watermarks in place,” Dr Venter told the Guardian. “It’s a living species now, part of our planet’s inventory of life.”
    Dr Venter’s team developed a new code based on the four letters of the genetic code, G, T, C and A, that allowed them to draw on the whole alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks to write the watermarks. Anyone who cracks the code is invited to email an address written into the DNA.
    The research is reported online today in the journal Science.
    “This is an important step both scientifically and philosophically,” Dr Venter told the journal. “It has certainly changed my views of definitions of life and how life works.”
    The team now plans to use the synthetic organism to work out the minimum number of genes needed for life to exist. From this, new microorganisms could be made by bolting on additional genes to produce useful chemicals, break down pollutants, or produce proteins for use in vaccines.
    Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University, said: “Venter is creaking open the most profound door in humanity’s history, potentially peeking into its destiny. He is not merely copying life artificially … or modifying it radically by genetic engineering. He is going towards the role of a god: creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally.”
    This is “a defining moment in the history of biology and biotechnology”, Mark Bedau, a philosopher at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, told Science.
    Dr Venter became a controversial figure in the 1990s when he pitted his former company, Celera Genomics, against the publicly funded effort to sequence the human genome, the Human Genome Project. Venter had already applied for patents on more than 300 genes, raising concerns that the company might claim intellectual rights to the building blocks of life.
     
    Science wins again  against  silly  prehistoric belief, and religious liars.
     
    PS. contrary to popular lies , Craig venter is an Atheist  and he does NOT  believe in  GAAAAAWWWWWDDDDD.

  122. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    @Kevin
    This is an argument from ignorance and incredulity.
    You are not a recognized abiogeneticist and neither is the person you quote.  Moreover, this 20th century biologist had his book published in 2001.  It is now the 21st century and the year 2011.  A lot has happened in these last 10 years.  Even if this chap were an abiogeneticist his conclusions in the 2001 book would be out of date by now.
    Abiogenetisists do not have to create life to know how it happened.  The model is complete when it gets to the stage where something can reproduce and mutate in a way that would start the process of evolution.  All scientists have to do is make an educated guess about what happened and then to reproduce and confirm each of the steps in the process.  They have nearly completed this.
    It is now recognized that early life began with RNA sequences, not the more complex DNA.  The first cell walls were made from oil, not the sturdier stuff of complex and more permanent cells.  There are now clumps of laboratory-made self-replicating chemicals that mutate and change. And so on.
    The bigger question is how do you define “life”?  Today’s news has a story about the discovery of a virus that eats other viruses and makes them sick.  Viruses had been defined as “not life” by biologists, but they are now rethinking this conclusion.

  123. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Thanks, Mike.  You are obviously more up to date than I am.  I missed that article.  I suppose I could find it by doing an internet search but in the interests of my laziness would you mind providing an URL.  Thanks.

  124. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Found it!  Published 11 months ago.  Wow!

  125. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Science deals with evidence, not faith.  You deal with faith, not evidence.
    The three fingers are pointing back at you, Kevin  – and I think they are laughing.

  126. Kevin says:

    Let’s not get too carried away with all of this. A real quick search yielded the following:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/05/20/did-craig-venter-just-create-synthetic-life-the-jury-is-decidedly-out/

    But the reactions to Venter’s accomplishment have been mixed–while some celebratory headlines trumpeted the creation of artificial life, many scientists said the reaction was overblown, and took issue with Venter’s claim of having created a truly synthetic cell. Here, we round up a selection of responses from all corners of the science world.
    Bioethicist Arthur Caplan finds the philosophical ramifications of the work fascinating:
    “Their achievement undermines a fundamental belief about the nature of life that is likely to prove as momentous to our view of ourselves and our place in the Universe as the discoveries of Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin and Einstein.” [Nature News]
    But many experts say that since Venter copied a pre-existing genome, he didn’t really create a new life form.
    “To my mind Craig has somewhat overplayed the importance of this,” said David Baltimore, a leading geneticist at Caltech. Dr. Baltimore described the result as “a technical tour de force” but not breakthrough science, but just a matter of scale…. “He has not created life, only mimicked it,” Dr. Baltimore said [The New York Times].
    In addition, many experts note that the experimenters got a big boost by placing the synthetic genome in a preexisting cell, which was naturally inclined to make sense of the transplanted DNA and to turn genes on and off. Thus, they say, it’s not accurate to label the experiment’s product a true “synthetic cell.”

    Mike, “Science wins again  against  silly  prehistoric belief, and religious liars”

    I think your comment may overstate the situation a bit Mike and by the reaction of others it seems this is a real soar spot! I can understand why in light of the hard facts surrounding the issue.

  127. Kevin says:

    Let’s not get too carried away with all of this folks. A real quick search yielded the following from discover magazine blogs online which seems to indicate Dr. Mayrs conclusion still stands.

    But the reactions to Venter’s accomplishment have been mixed–while some celebratory headlines trumpeted the creation of artificial life, many scientists said the reaction was overblown, and took issue with Venter’s claim of having created a truly synthetic cell. Here, we round up a selection of responses from all corners of the science world.

    Bioethicist Arthur Caplan finds the philosophical ramifications of the work fascinating:

    “Their achievement undermines a fundamental belief about the nature of life that is likely to prove as momentous to our view of ourselves and our place in the Universe as the discoveries of Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin and Einstein.”

    But many experts say that since Venter copied a pre-existing genome, he didn’t really create a new life form.

    “To my mind Craig has somewhat overplayed the importance of this,” said David Baltimore, a leading geneticist at Caltech. Dr. Baltimore described the result as “a technical tour de force” but not breakthrough science, but just a matter of scale…. “He has not created life, only mimicked it,” Dr. Baltimore said.

    In addition, many experts note that the experimenters got a big boost by placing the synthetic genome in a preexisting cell, which was naturally inclined to make sense of the transplanted DNA and to turn genes on and off. Thus, they say, it’s not accurate to label the experiment’s product a true “synthetic cell.”

    Mike wrote, “Science wins again  against  silly  prehistoric belief, and religious liars”

    I think your comment may overstate the situation a bit Mike and by the reaction of others it seems this is a real soar spot! I can understand why in light of the hard facts surrounding the issue.

  128. michel says:

    Here we go  with the cheery picking again, will you religious fanatics ever stop, just  ignore the facts  from  a man that got the Nobel prize for  deciphering the mystery of life  and go with  the naysayers and pseudo scientists (probably Christian scientist ) (if you can handle that oxymoron) who want  to prove  some big daddy in the sky  is watching and judging us , i mean come on .

  129. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    @Kevin.
    You chose the one article that was issued by Fox News.  Of course this source will find people that would say things to keep their evangelical GOP audience happy.  You can always find people to support just about any point of view if you look hard enough.  Fox News does not have a good reputation for unbiased reporting now, does it?
    If you had been intellectually honest you have noticed that the general scientific reaction was very different.  You would also have noticed that the Fox News commentators got several things wrong.  Although the cell nucleus was based on the genome of an existing bacteria is was not only made synthetically but it contained new and different code, including an identifying sequence that was presumably placed at a point that is least likely to be subjected to mutation or other genetic or chromosomal changes.
    The fact that the synthetic genome was put into an existing walled cell does nothing to undermine what was achieved.  As even the Fox News article explained, many life forms borrow the structures of other life forms in order to reproduce.  The important point is that the genome worked, and when it reproduced, made its own cell wall from the synthetically created genomic code.  Material from the old cell did not survive into subsequent generations.  THAT is what is amazing.
     
     

  130. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    — continued.
    You should also have noticed that Venter and his team expected to be able to re-use and modify their synthetic code to several ways.  One plan was to gradually reduce the number of genes to see how few they could use and still create a replicating and functional cell.  The other plan was to add genes to the base to create bacteria that made proteins and chemicals that would be useful in medicine, environmental detoxification, and the manufacture of a renewable source of automobile fuel.  Like organisms that have been developed for such purposes by gene snipping, slicing and modification these new bacteria will be different from anything that natural selection has produced.  No “god” required.
     
    While we are on this topic, which somehow happens to be a long way removed from the topic of Monique’s original cartoon, are you aware that physicists are in the process of organizing an experiment that will create mini “Big Bangs” in the new particle accelator.  (If they have not already done this.)  They will be too small to cause problems or create another universe of this magnitude but they will nevertheless give scientists a better understanding of what happened around the time of the beginning of this universe.  Note that no “god” will be required to set these Bangs in motion either – just the application of the appropriate physics.
    Neuroscientists can create a “felt presence” which is generally misinterpreted as an experience of “god”,  by stimulating specific parts of the brain.  Mentalists can convert people to and from religions in minutes. Genetic engineers can create simple replicating life forms that are different from anything that has existed before.  Abiogeneticists can create replicating organic proto-life from inorganic material.  Physicists can create miniature models of the creation of matter and universes.
    The God of the Gaps is being given less and less to do as science progresses.  What is left to “explain” by introducing a miracle performing god into the equation that cannot be better explained by non-miraculous and predictable science?
     
     

  131. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    The mini Big Bang has already been created.  Here is the link to the news item.

  132. Kevin says:

    Fox News????

    Look at my post dated june 18, 3:08 pm (there are two similar posts one does not have the hyperlinks and one does) and you will see three links; one to the discover blog, one to nature news and one to the New York times.

    Sorry, no fox news conspiracy going on here.

  133. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Perhaps it was syndicated.  I saw that version on Fox News and noted how different it was from the reports issued by other sources, especially those emanating from academics.
    Where-ever it came from, the distortion was still the same.  Whoever wrote the article did not understand the science and was trying to provide journalist “balance” by finding people who disagreed with the otherwise positive reactions to the news.  The problem with that approach is that minor opinions are given undue emphasis and authority.  This was painfully apparent during the controversy over whether temerisol in vaccines caused autism spectrum disorders.  The only people who pushed this barrow were unethical or incompetent scientists and health professionals or faithful believers who were relatively ignorant of chemistry and statistical research tools.  It would be difficult to guess this from the way the press treated them as legitimate equals to the real scientists.
    Kevin, it is hard to take anything you say seriously after seeing you recommend the book “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” – to atheists.  The book is written for  Christians, not atheists.  It gives a straw man picture of atheism, provides “answers” to issues that do not bother real atheists yet does not provide logical answers to any of the issues that do bother them.  In the on-line atheist community this book is considered to be one of the very worst books written by a Christian apologist.  It contains more logical fallacies per page than most other books of this nature.
     

  134. Kevin says:

    You wrote, “The book is written for Christians, not atheists.”

    Based on your comment I have to conclude that you most likely have not read the book because the target audience does include non-believers as mentioned in the Forward and the Preface.

    If you have not read the book then your comments about it’s contents have to be taken with a grain of salt, not to mention that thet type of broad generalizations you make about the book make for good copy but fail to address any real specific issues from the book itself.

    Along the lines of evidence and reading books you might want to read my comment under the subject: “Signs You Might be Indoctrinated” (I believe its on page 2) where atheist Eve makes some interesting comments to which I responded.

    Perhaps I can reccomend a couple of other books you may find more appealing.

    “The Reason for God – Belief in an Age of Skepticism” by Timothy Keller.

    Then there is “The Case for the Creator – A Journalist Investigates the Evidence that Points to God” by Lee Strobel. Strobel was an atheist working as the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. I really enjoyed the story he told of his first hand experinces covering the contreversy surround teaching evolution in the public schools in West Virginia while still an atheist.

    I really found two books by Dr. Michael Denton to be very good. The first “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” points out from a biologists point of view the many problems with the neo-Darwinian model of evolution. The second is, “Nature’s Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe”.

    If you have not read either of the last two books I would refrain from parroting the many ill informed comments regarding the contents and purpose of his books that you may find on the internet as they are easily refuted when the books (especially his second one) are quoted accurately and in context.

    For example, Dr. Denton did not have a change of heart in writing his second book but was indeed arguing against the atheistic, Darwinian model of evolution that is found in the writing of such people as Ernst Mayr and Richard Dawkins. That Denton clearly rejects the neo-Darwinian concept of macro-evolution based on random mutation and natural selection alone is seen in the opening comments to the reader in his second book found on page xviii where he writes,

    “Clearly, if life’s design is indeed imbedded in the laws of nature and the major paths of evolution are largely determined from the beginning, than neither creationism nor Darwinism can possibly be valid models of nature”

     
    Furthermore In some of his closing comments on page 389 he writes,

     
    “All of the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition of traditional natural theology – that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facet of reality, from the size of the galaxies to the thermal capacity of water, have their meaning and explanation in this central fact.”


     

    and,
     

    “I hope the evidence presented in this book has shown, science, which has been for centuries the great ally of atheism and skepticism, has become at last, in these final days of the second millennium, what Newton and many of its early advocates had so fervently wished – the “defender of the anthropocentric faith.”
     

    You also wrote,  “Kevin, it is hard to take anything you say seriously after seeing you recommend the book “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” – to atheists.”

    Rule #1.  When you don’t like the message…..kill the messenger!
     

  135. MICHEL says:

    All this debate is interesting  , but it still boils down to  believing  in a god that no one ever sees, hears  or as any proof of ,to believe this rubbish   you  must avoid reality  and believe in  magic and the supernatural , I find it difficult to suspend reality  in  order to make myself feel better , i think   intelligent people  don’t really believe in god  its just  a crutch  for them to lean on.
     
    Whit all the proof  we have  that deity’s  are man made it makes me wonder how stupid or needy you have to be  to still insist  on  following these cults of death.

  136. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    Kevin,
    You are not the “messenger”, you are recommending messages.  When someone recommends material that is poorly argued flim flam then it undermines their credibility as a discerning intellect.
     
    This is backed up by your extended list of recommendations.  None of these books make arguments that meet the concerns of the atheist whose lack of belief in the existence of gods developed as the result of thoroughly investigating the claims of at least one version of one religion.
     
    When books like Lee Stobel’s offering are compared with college and graduate level treatments of religion they fall flat.  They do not stand up to intelligent scrutiny.  In spite of the claims that Christian apologists make about focussing their material to persuade atheists they very rarely acheive this aim.  The books are sold almost entirely to Christians:  that is where the money is.  These books make Christians feel comfortably superior.  They persuade Christians that their faith is on a firm footing and that there are easy answers to the those silly arguements that atheists use to excuse their evil life style choice and their decision to reject (their particular version of ) god.  When Christians start using the arguments contained in these books in debates with informed atheists they discover, to their surprise, that these arguments have large holes in them and that real atheists are as described in these books.
    The bottom line is that I am no more impressed with your logic than I am with the logic contained in any of the books you recommend.  You manage to make it very clear that your faith is unchallenged, probably because you just do not understand the topics you think you are destroying.
    If you were intent on finding real truth instead of shoring up an emotionally held belief system then you would have taken the scientist’s approach to truth finding:  you would have read and tried to understand material that challenged these beliefs.  If you have done so you don’t seem to have retained much as you do not address the problems which this material raises for your position.
    Have you read and digested the talkorigins section on Creationist Claims?  http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html#CH   If so, what do you think are the three strongest and most challenging points that it makes?  You cannot remember?  Perhaps you should ask yourself what is interfering with your ability to recall this material.  Reread the material, make notes, rate the arguments then make a decision.  See if you can remember the details of that decision by the end of the day.  Can you?  How about a week later?
    You can check the following links for an explanation of what is going on here and why you have trouble recalling contradictory material while having no difficulty recalling material that supports what you want to believe.  Your brain is playing tricks on you.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_memory_biases
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
     
     
     

  137. Kevin says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m getting ready to go to Haiti tomorrow to do volunteer work at a medical clinic in the Port Au Prince area so I’m afraid I will have sign off for the time being.

    I enjoyed being able to share my thoughts with any who may have had opportunity to read my comments.
    Kevin

  138. AussieJohn says:

    Its LOSING ground dude, and civilizeD world and no! exclamation marks mid sentence, OK?….agree with you completely, but if you’re going to mount an argument around smarts at least check your spelling.

  139. Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM says:

    @AussieJohn
    Ahem!  If you are going to correct spelling and grammar it is a good idea not to demonstrate the same kind of mistakes while you are doing it.
     
    For example, you should have written “It’s LOSING ground, dude” not “its LOSING ground dude”.  How about using a capital letter to start a sentence with, too.  “Agree with you completely” is correct, but not “….agree with you completely”.
    I agree with your qualified agreement, but not your demonstration of perfect spelling and grammar.
     
    All this seems to prove is that the average American Faith Patsy does not have a monopoly on poor standards of written English :-)  As a corollary, the exemplary diction of educated Christian apologists (like William Lane Craig) does not ensure that the standard of logic being expressed is of the same high caliber: it just makes it easier to read and more likely that the listener or reader will be unreasonably impressed by the well-expressed but specious reasoning, especially if it is also wrapped up in copious amounts of turgid philosophical jargon.
    The bottom line is that the strength of the evidence and the quality of the reasoning that connects it is what is really important.
     
     
     

  140. Dan Galeano says:

    Nobody could pull this shit off today. 

  141. Charlotte says:

    Your spelling is truly atrocious. This isn’t a matter of opinion. Dictionaries are freely available online.

  142. IronMike says:

    Religion is circular logic and thus remains the perfect bullshit. There is no proof of religious claims….you just need your faith and belief of a higher power. 

    Look at the ‘Bible Belt’ with all those faithful running around there is there less crime, divorce, racism….I didn’t think so. This is not the focus of my argument. 

    Religion is blatantly dishonest. It’s a fraud. The preceeding arguments are void. Religion is a joke on mankind. 

  143. Jesus says:

    It’s a joke, asshole.

  144. Pingback: Christianity — new and improved « Monicks: Unleashed

  145. Pingback: Christianity — new and improved « Monicks: Unleashed

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