Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meet the Flintstones


Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

... 38 percent agreed with the statement "God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago."

• Most of the Texans in the survey — 51 percent — disagree with the statement, "human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals." Thirty-five percent agreed with that statement, and 15 percent said they don't know.

• Did humans live at the same time as the dinosaurs? Three in ten Texas voters agree with that statement; 41 percent disagree, and 30 percent don't know...

What can we glean from this?
  • * This explains an awful lot about the nature of politics in Texas.
  • * It is not surprising that the rest of the world has passed us in math and science aptitude.
  • * Politics and religion are driving education ... to the detriment of a whole generation of children.
  • * You couldn't pay me to live in Texas.
I won't make this particular shortcoming into a Democratic or Republican thing. The poll didn't show a huge difference in responses by party affiliation. It definitely seems to be more a religious "thing".

I wholeheartedly believe in religious freedom but there are areas in which religion has no place, most notably education. I'm not saying there shouldn't be schools with religious affiliation but rather fact-based classes (math, science) should not be influenced by faith. If you want to have religion in your humanities, history, ethics and even writing classes - fine (just not in public schools). There is room for interpretation in those.

However, the age of the planet is not open for interpretation, especially on the scale we are talking about here: 10,000 years vs. 5 billion. Believing the world is 10,000 years old while living in a state whose wealth came from the decomposition of organisms over millions of years (fossil fuels) is an irony that is obviously lost on the average Texan. This goes beyond freedom of belief. We simply cannot afford to be this stupid and survive as a species.

"You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans." -- George Carlin


35 comments:

wunelle said...

How utterly depressing. It shows the truth in the little graph showing hunched apes gradually evolving to an upright posture and then onto Homo Sapiens, only to suddenly devolve back downward to the Cult of the Imaginary Friend.

CyberKitten said...

We should never underestimate human stupidity and our capacity for self-deception if it makes us feel good about ourselves....

I'm afraid that we are indeed too stupid to survive as a species. Smart enough to invent nuclear weapons and dumb enough to use them.

Laura said...

THIS IS FUCKING FRIGHTENING!

dbackdad said...

There is just a huge logical disconnect in these people. Honestly, unless you are Amish or something and forsake all technology, there is no way you can believe the world is 10,000 years old. Every single thing we use on a daily basis (phones, TV's, medicine, plastics, etc.) was derived from elements formed over millions of years and/or from equations based on that assumption.

SadieLou said...

Lance, in all seriousness, you don't think anyone can find any problems with Radioisotope dating or any other method of determining the age of rocks? Do you believe it's 100% infallible? I don't even want to discuss the age of the Earth, just how sure you are about the method scientists use to date rocks.
~Sadie

dbackdad said...

Sadie - Even if the only means of determining age of rocks was radiometric dating, that still wouldn't be a good argument. Young earth Creationists cherry-pick a few examples where the the results were inconsistent while ignoring the vast majority of results.

But radiometric dating is not the only means. Milankovitch cycles, stratigraphic superposition, and luminescence dating are also used and all give the same results.

I challenge you to find a single scientist who is the slightest bit persuaded by the young Earth arguments.

If people want to believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years, that is fine, but they need to be consistent and not be hypocritical about it. Stop trusting science in their daily lives if they don't trust it for the age of the Earth.

wunelle said...

Criticism of radioisotope dating, it seems to me, is similar to criticism of Darwinian evolution. Huge effort is made to find any tiny fault or latch onto any speculation, while no shred of skepticism is applied to the fairy tale which the same people grant as the default cosmological explanation.

I'm all for skepticism, of science as well as anything else. The thing is, scientists are themselves eager to find weakness in their own theories; that's how we move forward. Radioisotope dating is in widespread use (as you say, as one of many overlapping types of dating mechanism) because it has stood the test of scientific scrutiny.

Sadie Lou said...

I think it's mildly ironic that Christians can't attack the validity of certain scientific methods and the way in which answers are arrived it and yet atheists/agnostics have no problem being critical of the validity of certain methods of faith and the way in which *we* arrive at answers. I think we would all do well to seriously be objective about matters of science and matters of faith.
I have learned that science and faith can coexist in my world view. One does not cancel the other out.

"I'm all for skepticism, of science as well as anything else. The thing is, scientists are themselves eager to find weakness in their own theories; that's how we move forward."

You will find this true of critical-thinking believers as well.

I accidentally commented on a very old post of yours thinking it was current-but the thoughts I expressed stay the same.
:)

dbackdad said...

Sadie - I completely agree that both sides should be open to criticism. I am not the slightest bit resistant to arguing the fine points of both science and religion. I know you well by now and we are both just trying to find "truth", whatever that might be.

I showed Michelle your comment on the old post and she appreciated it.

wunelle said...

My point is not that Christians should not be critical of science; my point is that they should be equally critical in their thinking about their religion (which you claim "critical-thinking believers" are). I have never seen this; not once.

I mean no disrespect--I know we won't discuss our way to an agreement here--but I struggle to grasp what you can possibly mean by being "objective" about matters of faith! Is not faith out the door to the exact degree that one is looking for objective verification? And what of the billions of people who earnestly believe incompatible supernatural things?

At bottom, unless we are willing to admit that religion can tell us nothing concrete about the world, we must admit that--on statistics alone!--the majority of the world's believers are kneeling before a lie. I just can't accept that truth is all the billions of incompatible things we declare it to be.

And yet given that our particular faith is almost without exception the faith of the house or community into which we were born, then our whole view of the cosmos stems entirely from the proximity of our birth.

Obviously, there is no correlation between proximity and the truth of a proposition. We are arguing backward from conclusions.

CyberKitten said...

This is from Austin Cline:

In theory, it's possible for the scientific establishment to be mistaken on the age of the earth — they know this too, which is one reason why they tend to give
ranges of likely ages rather than precise ones (notice how creationists tend to give more precise numbers). If scientists are mistaken here, they might be
mistaken by a little bit or they might be mistaken by a lot — but just how likely is it that they could be mistaken by a factor of 460,000?? If they were off by a factor of 10 or even 100, it would be something of a scandal — scientists would be incredibly embarrassed to be so wrong, and that's true even if it turned out that the earth is much older than scientists currently think. To be off by a factor of 460,000 is almost unthinkable in any
scientific field, at least when you have multiple, independent lines of evidence that all point to the same conclusions. Just how likely is it that all those lines of evidence would all be so very, very wrong in the same way without
anyone noticing it?

[I think that's the crux of the matter. It's entirely possible that we've got the age of the Earth wrong - we have before. However, how likely is it that we've got is *so* wrong? It just beggers belief. The reason (some) people reject the old Earth idea is that ir raises far more questions about their belief system than they are happy with. From my persepective Young Earth ideas are simply a denial of - indeed a full blown flight from - reality.

dbackdad said...

CK said, "The reason (some) people reject the old Earth idea is that it raises far more questions about their belief system than they are happy with." That's it in a nutshell. It's cognitive dissonance. The preponderance of data can indicate one thing but if that conclusion goes against one's belief system, then all facts but the one that reinforces that system will be ignored. It's like watching a rainstorm and seeing all the raindrops falling down and happening to see one drop bounce off something and go up momentarily and then using that drop as proof that rain doesn't fall down.

SadieLou said...

wunelle-I appreciate your previous comment.
First, I'd like to clarify the difference between religion and faith.
I am not religious.
I am faithful.
Religion is a man made institution. The bible says in James that pure, undefiled religion is taking care of orphans and widows and that's about all the Bible has to say about religion. You're right, I don't think religion has much to say about anything.

What I mean about being objective about faith is to not judge it so harshly in the negative.
Often times, because I am a believer in that which is scientifically "unseen" it is assumed I am stupid. The way faith works is by arriving at a balance of mental understanding and spiritual understanding of my world view. I don't just look at things with my own (faulty/limited) logic and reasoning...I think it's very self-absorbed and arrogant to believe the world works according to my understanding of things. Who the hell am I? You know?
I try to be open to all kinds of information instead of shutting the door on things that don't exactly "fit" into my perceptions.

Some people think they have everything figured out and when they are faced with something that doesn't make sense to them or makes them uncomfortable, it is a common reaction to attack it, discredit it or dismiss it.
Why can't spiritual matters be given the same objectivity as a new scientific discovery?

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: What I mean about being objective about faith is to not judge it so harshly in the negative.

I judge it by what it does - or 'makes' people do and by what those people say. Most of which makes me view it negatively.

Sadie said: I don't just look at things with my own (faulty/limited) logic and reasoning...

So... You use someone else's? [looks confused]

Sadie said: I think it's very self-absorbed and arrogant to believe the world works according to my understanding of things. Who the hell am I? You know?

I think that the world 'works' how it works whether we understand it or not - however science understands the world *much* more than either faith or religion (if you want to separate the two).

Sadie said: I try to be open to all kinds of information instead of shutting the door on things that don't exactly "fit" into my perceptions.

That's a good way to be - open minded... but not so open minded that your brains fall out.

Sadie said: Some people think they have everything figured out and when they are faced with something that doesn't make sense to them or makes them uncomfortable, it is a common reaction to attack it, discredit it or dismiss it.

Sounds like people who reject Evolution - because it makes them uncomfortable about their faith (or religion).

Sadie said: Why can't spiritual matters be given the same objectivity as a new scientific discovery?

Because they are clearly *not* the same thing. Science relies on things like evidence, experiment, repeatability. Faith relies on what exactly? Divine revelation? Ancient texts of desert peoples? Hardly equivalent I think!

SadieLou said...

Cyberkitten-

*sigh* How long have we known each other and you still have to quote crap like "not so open your brains fall out"

To which I will repeat...
No Shit. LOL. Okay, moving on.

Here's the deal with people like you, Cy

First, get your head in the right frame of mind before I explain this to you, be thinking of Mulder and Scully's relationship in the X-Files show while I offer up this example...

Let's take you and me. Let's say that you and I take the same IQ test and I am far and away smarter than you according to the test results. Let's also say that we sign up for the same academic classes and I pass all the classes with perfect scores-and you struggle and pass with low grades.
Let's say, in a nutshell, I'm a genius and you're just average.

Now, let's also say that I'm a genius that is smarter than you AND I'm a Christian-I believe in God.

The fact is, belief in God has nothing to do with having intelligence or not having intelligence.
I don't have to prove to you that I am an intellectual and have worldly wisdom, but you could test me if it came down to it. I could take tests and prove that I'm smart and you would have to believe it. What you wouldn't be able to get your brain around is how I can be so smart and yet still believe in God.
And the problem you would be having is not with me but with Spiritual knowledge.
Not only am I smart by the world's standards, but I'm smart by God's standards too-I can understand spiritual things because I don't mix or confuse the two. I'm open to God's truth while having both feet firmly planted on the ground.
It's a duality. Your problem is that you think in order to believe you have to become some kind of variety of stupid.
You're willing to make assumptions about my intelligence because I believe in God.

That's just pathetic.
That's actually crazier than anything you can accuse me of.
Even though I can prove, by your own standards, how freakin' smart I actually am...maybe even smarter than YOU, your screwed up view of how the world works has to believe that I am actually stupid somehow.
Talk about faith!
At least I know you're smart. I don't have to think that because you don't believe in God, that makes you stupid. It just means you've closed your mind and your heart to anything that smacks of God and that's not stupidity that's just stubborn.
Look, it's like Star Wars.
I'm a Jedi and you're a Sith. Back to Mulder and Scully. Mulder was like this guy who was very vulnerable to the unexplained...he was on this quest for truth and he was willing to accept all varieties of explanations in order to get at the truth. Even when Scully was in his face telling him there was nothing mysterious about circumstances they were facing. But who always looked like the ass?
Mulder for being open minded?
Or Scully for being closed minded?

Scully.

CyberKitten said...

Wow, Sadie - Did I catch you on a (really) bad day?

Sadie said: The fact is, belief in God has nothing to do with having intelligence or not having intelligence.

True. As I've said many times, there are very bright believers and very stupid atheists, Intelligence has little or nothing to do with a persons belief, or otherwise, in God.

Sadie said: And the problem you would be having is not with me but with Spiritual knowledge.

A type of 'knowledge' I do not believe exists.....

Sadie said: Your problem is that you think in order to believe you have to become some kind of variety of stupid. You're willing to make assumptions about my intelligence because I believe in God.

Erm, no I'm not. I have no idea what your IQ is - not that it matters - as it has no relevance to what we're discussing. Theists and atheists see the same information and draw different conclusions because of their belief systems. Where you see God I see natural processes or nothing at all. We both think that the other is mistaken. I do not think your mistake is based on your personal stupidity and I expect that you do not think the same about me. There is something else going on and I'm guessing that its not a character flaw of either of us.

Sadie said: It just means you've closed your mind and your heart to anything that smacks of God and that's not stupidity that's just stubborn.

I call 'em as I see 'em. As far as I know there is no compelling evidence or argument that leads me to suspect (never mind believe) in the existence of God. That's not me being stubborn or closed minded. That's me being *reasonable* and *rational*.

Sadie said: Even when Scully was in his face telling him there was nothing mysterious about circumstances they were facing. But who always looked like the ass?
Mulder for being open minded?
Or Scully for being closed minded?

Mulder - every time.

wunelle said...

An interesting exchange. Here's my two cents' worth (in response to SadieLou's comment a couple up):

I appreciate the sincerity of the discussion; we're all just people on our spinning little globe trying to make sense of it all.

Your explanation hinges on the phrase 'spiritual understanding.' What does this mean exactly? What do you mean by 'spiritual?' What does it mean to understand something spiritually?

I fear this is a catchall for "that which I personally do not understand and cannot fathom has a material cause." Things belonging in this category used to me much more numerous than they are today; there's a lesson in that, I think.

As for intelligence, I agree with CK: this doesn't seem a realm where intelligence per se is the primary factor. But belief and faith are in their very essence anti-scientific. And practical opposition to science is to me, well, anathema. Science is about data and observation, and about acceptance of theoretical explanations of natural phenomena provisional to the strength of the supporting data. There is no 'belief' involved.

If it's wrong to think the world works according to our pitiful understanding, how does invoking the supernatural--an unidentifiable, unobservable (perhaps undefinable) realm which means something different to every person--bring us any closer to real understanding? What is understanding except an acknowledged awareness of that small but growing portion of observed data and supported provisional conclusions about our universe?

I don't think at all that scientists "believe they have it all figured out" when faced with what they don't understand--that would indeed be arrogant as well as self-contradictory. On the contrary, the scientific method demands our saying 'we don't understand this' when facing the unknown. The three most valuable words in science: "I don't know." Those may be the words of an agnostic, but never of the religious.

In my experience it's simply never justified to attribute any observable occurrence to a 'spiritual' explanation; there may be things which we simply haven't figured out, and may never figure out. But these must be admitted with simple frankness, not "explained away" with a deus ex machina. All of human history is chock full of people--usually church hierarchy--knowing and avowing things (and killing over them) that were later proved to have no spiritual underpinning whatsoever.

For my part, I reject the supernatural in every particular. This is a human invention, sustained for human (usually political) purposes.

dbackdad said...

"Can't we all just get along?" - (grin)

I won't pile on, Sadie. But, don't harsh my girl Scully. Your take on her points to your take on science. Because she analyzed things rationally and judged situations on things she could actually witness and analyze, you think she looked like an ass. Those are the exact reasons she did NOT look like an ass. That doesn't make her closed-minded at all. Being analytical doesn't mean ruling anything out. It just means not immediately assuming the mystical explanation.

You will never hear me saying that I KNOW there is no God. I will say I don't believe in God. I am perfectly open to the possibility provided evidence ever shows itself. Could you say the same thing? Could you honestly say that there is the possibility that God does NOT exist? If you can't, then who is closed-minded?

Shawn said...

Wait...wait...wait...does this mean the giant sea turtle didn't rise up with the world on it's back, or it did?

While I'm waiting to figure that one out, I won't be booking any trips to Texas. And the whole rise of biblical literalism at the expense of science and learning makes Europe look like a great place to live.

That's the place and the other side of the flat earth, just past the whales that swallow men who live in their bellies, where there are certainly more secularists than Texas and yet higher levels of social safety nets for fellow citizens.

What? You mean people can care about their fellow human beings without a christian bible to give them morals?

I'm not even an atheist and I can't get my head around the strange disconnect that so many people of faith have about things that challenge particular articles of their faith. Why nearly all Christians can blithely toss off parts of the Old Testament that are inconvenient like the whole mixed cloth bit because, they say, Jesus came and created a new covenant and yet cling so tightly to the creation story is beyond me.

Aw well, what do I know anyway?

Sadie Lou said...

Lance, I don't mind a dogpile. I quite enjoy it. That's why I always poke my head up in these kinds of discussions.

First, let's get this Scully thing straight. I thought the point of the show was the two distinct ways Mulder and Scully view the X-File. Scully comes at it with her analytical, logical, scientific brain and Mulder has all that and then his open mind towards the paranormal, spiritual, unexplained and usually, by the end of the show...Scully refuses to believe in vampires or something even though, clearly, something like that was happening.

"The Truth is Out There" and Scully very rarely could offer solutions with all her head knowledge and science.

Lance, "Could you say the same thing? Could you honestly say that there is the possibility that God does NOT exist? If you can't, then who is closed-minded?"

What? You're asking me to entertain the idea of something I'm 100% convinced of. That's like me telling you that you're closed minded because I won't doubt that Abe Lincoln didn't exist.
You *can't* say there is no God because you can't prove it. You can start investigating the truth about God though. Have you ever researched if Jesus existed? It's a good place to start. I mean, there are all kinds of important people in history that you just assume existed because the history books say so...do you ever doubt their validity?

"Spiritual Understanding" is a biblical term. I guess I can't bring it into a discussion like this, my bad. It's a very real concept to me though...lots of scripture about it.
It answers a lot of questions I have about why people don't believe.

Cy-You didn't catch me on a bad day, you just used a phrase that spun me out. Like if I said something like "There are no Atheists in foxholes" it's just a stupid thing you said that gets old.
And I was not suggesting I'm smarter than you, it was hypothetical for the sake of debate.

~S

CyberKitten said...

wunelle said: But belief and faith are in their very essence anti-scientific. And practical opposition to science is to me, well, anathema.

Agreed.

wunelle said: The three most valuable words in science: "I don't know." Those may be the words of an agnostic, but never of the religious.

Indeed.

wunelle said: For my part, I reject the supernatural in every particular. This is a human invention, sustained for human (usually political) purposes.

With you 100% on that!

dbackdad said: You will never hear me saying that I KNOW there is no God. I will say I don't believe in God.

Me too.....

Sadie said: Scully refuses to believe in vampires or something even though, clearly, something like that was happening.

Except for two things - it's a TV show and normally at the end of each programme there is no *evidence* available for Scully to change her mind. All she has is unusual events she often cannot easily explain. Mulder immediately jumped to supernatural conclusions despite a lack of evidence to support them. He operated on faith where the much more rational (and far better looking) Scully operated on evidence. I know who I'd back!

Sadie said: Scully very rarely could offer solutions with all her head knowledge and science.

Because she didn't have anything to base any solution on!

Sadie said: You're asking me to entertain the idea of something I'm 100% convinced of.

Then it would appear that we are a little more open minded than you are. I am willing to admit that I could be wrong and that God *could* exist. You, however, are not able to even conceive that you could be equally mistaken......

Sadie said: You *can't* say there is no God because you can't prove it.

I think it can be shown beyond reasonable doubt..... but very little can be proven *not* to exist.

Sadie said: Have you ever researched if Jesus existed? It's a good place to start.

Is it? Even if Jesus existed that doesn't really prove that God exists.

Sadie said: It answers a lot of questions I have about why people don't believe.

Oh? Maybe if you don't want to discuss it here you could post something over on your debate Blog about it.....

wunelle said...

The inability to prove the NON-existence of something is utterly moot; I can present a zillion different hypotheses any of which is as likely as any other to be true when its prime support is that it cannot be DISproven! By that logic your faith has a one-in-a-buzillion-to-the-buzillionth chance of being even remotely true. We must abandon this type of reasoning as the very first step of rationality.

(I 'know' there is no god in the same way as I 'know' there are not a trillion little green eight-armed accountants strung together in a ring between Saturn and Uranus. We have business claiming knowledge only of that which finds verification.)

If we're honest we must admit the simple fact that if we start with a blank slate we will be led at best to deism (the unmoved-mover, even though the superfluity of this is the very essence of what Darwin proved). Talking about the mythological construct of "Jesus" gets us nowhere, since the story is so obviously invented. There may have been a Jesus, but the merest skepticism tells us that his magical powers are a human invention.

Let us concentrate on what we truly don't know, and not invent unknowables as explanations for what we don't know.

(PS. I've never watched the X-Files, but we must take care not to let the water of the issues be muddied by the raw sewage of television entertainment.)

Sadie Lou said...

>>>PS. I've never watched the X-Files, but we must take care not to let the water of the issues be muddied by the raw sewage of television entertainment.

Oh, this is where we would have to part company. The arts and entertainments are an extension of ourselves. We learn a lot from the way in which we tell stories, even made up stories, to one another. We are unified in our love of the arts. I would never cut TV, Movies, Music or any other form of storytelling, out of a discussion.

CyberKitten, I will pose the question you suggested on our Round Table, thanks.

wunelle,
It's always ever so curious to me that the Bible is dismissed as human fantasy and nothing more.
I actually can't have a complete discussion about God and His existence with someone who has an understanding of the world that is limited to their own, personal experiences as 'the' reference point or litmus test for everything else.

I mean, how would someone with your way of thinking even be able to serve, effectively, on a jury in court of law? It appears that you would be unable to take anyone's word for fact.
Most of what we know as "history" is recorded events from personal testimonies-which is exactly what the Bible is.
*confused*
~S

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: CyberKitten, I will pose the question you suggested on our Round Table, thanks.

I'm sure that it'll make an interesting discussion.

Sadie said: It's always ever so curious to me that the Bible is dismissed as human fantasy and nothing more.

There are lots of different strands to the Bible - as far as I know (not ever having read a single page of it). Some of it has been shown to be historically accurate... but that doesn't mean that the rest of it should be taken as history (Genesis is a case in point) nor should it all be taken as 'gospel' because some of it happens to have been true.

Sadie said: I actually can't have a complete discussion about God and His existence with someone who has an understanding of the world that is limited to their own, personal experiences as 'the' reference point...

I'm not sure that such a person could exist. From birth we internalise other peoples viewpoints and experience (our parents of course) so unless you grow up alone on a desert island our worldviews come from a variety of humans experience.

Sadie said: It appears that you would be unable to take anyone's word for fact.

I think courts depend more on evidence than opinion - at least I hope so! As to judging the veracity of other peoples assertions - we all use a lifetimes experience and knowledge to make those kind of judgements.

Sadie said: Most of what we know as "history" is recorded events from personal testimonies-which is exactly what the Bible is.

The Bible is clearly *not* a stanard history book. It mentions more than once frankly unbelievable stories which we are supposed to take at face value. History is not made up of personal stories - yet again it is backed up by evidence from a multitude of sources including hard physical evidence that would, if pressed, stand up in a court of law. History is not simply hearsay.

wunelle said...

I hope Lance doesn't care that we keep extending his comment stream! (And I apologize for my long-windedness; concision is a talent I've never acquired!)

But of course the Bible IS human fantasy and nothing more to the majority of the world's billions who reject its divinity. It hasn't the slightest claim on any truth whatsoever beyond parroting the barest pro-social wisdom which predates monotheism by thousands, nay, millions, of years. It is mythology with some history mixed in.

You say you find this dismissal 'curious,' yet you yourself reject hundreds of 'sacred' texts in exactly the same fashion; you are an atheist exactly as I am concerning every faith except the particular one you've latched onto (for, as I said above, reasons of proximity alone). Your acceptance of the verity of the Bible goes right back to the beginning of this discussion: you question radioisotope dating and yet accept Biblical truth! Where is the consistency or coherence of this approach except as an arguing backward from conclusions as an exercise in religious apologetics?

"I actually can't have a complete discussion... with someone who has an understanding of the world that is limited to their own, personal experiences as 'the' reference point or litmus test for everything else."

Sure you can! That's every discussion you ever had. What else is there? Are you not contending that your 'experience' is just more extensive than mine (to include spiritual things that I fail to grasp)? And yet you can't quantify that experience. I believe you are confusing the terms 'experience' and 'hope.' Or do you think, say, the Gospels constitute 'experience' which you would honor? But do you not then need to apply the same critical scrutiny as you would apply to, say, a book like "An Inconvenient Truth" or my blog? Doesn't the fact that the Gospels (as our example) date from some 400 years after the Jesus figure's supposed death--accounts claiming to be truthful which were transferred in the intervening four centuries by word-of-mouth--destroy every shred of credibility in the improbable things they report? I submit that your life would be unlivable if you applied this credulity in any other sphere!

As for your final paragraph, you're talking about history and I'm talking about science. Of course ancient history comes to us via ancient texts, and they need to be treated with extreme skepticism as to their factual verity for that precise reason. They are full of fantastic thinking which modern minds reject as fictional (what would we think if a history of George Patton written three centuries from now said he could fly with his arms and throw lightning bolts?).

Lastly, are you saying that science does not belong in a courtroom? Of course we go by people's testimony when that is all there is (and we treat it skeptically accordingly; one party is almost always lying! Or do you propose taking everything that is said as 'fact'?). But do we not rely whenever possible on videotape evidence and DNA and the like? All due respect, but it seems like you have not thought this out very thoroughly.

You said above that you're not religious (which sounds perilously like one of Peter's denials, for which someone will expect you to crawl obsequiously back and ask forgiveness at some point), and yet your conception of the cosmos conforms, near as I can see, exactly to the Christian version.

Sadie Lou said...

>>> (not ever having read a single page of it).

That should be reason enough for me to stop discussing this with you. usually, people don't speak about, for or against, something they know absolutely *nothing* about except conjecture and speculation. That's crazy-pants.


>>>> I think courts depend more on evidence than opinion - at least I hope so! As to judging the veracity of other peoples assertions - we all use a lifetimes experience and knowledge to make those kind of judgements.

It still mostly comes down to testimony. The facts come from somewhere. Even "hard evidence" is presented by someone as a fact and we choose to believe it or not.



>>>>The Bible is clearly *not* a stanard history book.

How would you know? You haven't read a word of it. *wink*


>>>But of course the Bible IS human fantasy and nothing more to the majority of the world's billions who reject its divinity.
Just because billions of people believe it is fantasy-that doesn't make it so. Billions of people have believed many things that were eventually proven to be lies, so....
Billions of people also BELIEVE it is the truth.

>>>you question radioisotope dating and yet accept Biblical truth! Where is the consistency or coherence of this approach except as an arguing backward from conclusions as an exercise in religious apologetics?

I did not question radioisotope dating. If you look back, I questioned Lance about it. I was asking if he thinks it's without problems.

>>> Lastly, are you saying that science does not belong in a courtroom? Of course we go by people's testimony when that is all there is (and we treat it skeptically accordingly; one party is almost always lying! Or do you propose taking everything that is said as 'fact'?). But do we not rely whenever possible on videotape evidence and DNA and the like? All due respect, but it seems like you have not thought this out very thoroughly.

Of course not! There is hard evidence as well as testimonies in a court of law. We're not just discussing court cases where science is even an issue. I think it would be safe to assume that most court cases are a simple case of "your word against mine" in which a judge and/or jury is responsible for making the final closure in the matter. Have you ever sat in on a day's worth of small claims? It is always personal testimony we have to go off of and very little physical evidence.
What I am suggesting is that the Bible is personal testimony.

Religion is a man made institution.
The Bible says the word "religion" exactly 5 times:
Acts 25:19 (Show me Acts 25)
Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.

Acts 26:5 (Show me Acts 26)
They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.

Colossians 2:23 (Show me Colossians 2)
These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

James 1:26 (Show me James 1)
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

James 1:27 (Show me James 1)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

dbackdad said...

Sadie -- Whether Jesus existed or not does not prove the existence of God. It was men, after all, that declared the divinity of Jesus. Not unlike every other religion throughout history.

Concerning X-Files, you do realize that Scully was devoutly Catholic, don't you? It is possible to be a Christian and have a rational detachment. That's what Mulder's main weakness was - because of his inability to remain detached, he frequently was not able to keep his objectivity. And despite his beliefs in the paranormal, there is no indication that he was particularly religious.

Wunelle said, "I hope Lance doesn't care that we keep extending his comment stream! -- Are you kidding me? I love the company. It's usually fairly lonely over here. For all I care, you could talk about flickin boogers'. As they say, bad publicity is better than no publicity.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: people don't speak about, for or against, something they know absolutely *nothing* about except conjecture and speculation. That's crazy-pants.

I didn't say I knew absolutely nothing about it - unless you live under a rock such a thing is impossible - but that I've never read a page. I'm *far* from an expert on the book itself but I do know *something* about its contents. Oddly you 'spoke out against' Darwin recently - Have you read his 'Origin of Species'?

Sadie said: How would you know? You haven't read a word of it. *wink*

The Bible is a history book in the same (or similar) way that the Iliad is. You might be able to use it to find the real location of Troy but that doesn't mean the the Gods of Olympus are real too.....

Sadie Lou said...

I'm all for talking about flickin' boogers actually.
:D
And I have missed you guys!
((hugs))

dbackdad said...

I bet Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins have never used the term "crazy-pants" in their arguments. ha-ha-ha. And they are the lesser for it.

Sadie Lou said...

I like to keep it light over here. It doesn't go unnoticed that I have "known" you guys for like 6 years or so...we were reading and commenting on each other's blogs when I was pregnant with Andy and before, and he's going to be 5 this August!
So although we may get frustrated with each other and annoyed, I would never let anything come between these friendships we have built.
Even Mr. Prickles-I mean Cyberkitten. I knew his real name once...I forgot it because I don't think he likes to use it...was it Paul?
~S

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: Even Mr. Prickles-I mean Cyberkitten.

[laughs]. What ever do you think of me? I'm as easy going as they come..... [grin]

Sadie said: I knew his real name once...I forgot it because I don't think he likes to use it...was it Paul?

My *real* name? Why, it's Cyberkitten of course!

dbackdad said...

Cyberkitten, the artist formerly known as Paul.

Sadie Lou said...

*giggles*

Love it.

:D

Shawn said...

New York Times had an interesting article)about conservatives starting to link anti-evolution with anti-climate change teachings.

Seemed sort of timely.

Cheers!