Psalms 14 redux: April fools = Atheists?

No GodAs I was making my daily rounds the other day on Facebook the status of one of my friends caught my eye. Because Facebook and especially statuses are incredibly bad places to hold sensible debates I have decided to post the comments that occured after that. If it is hard to follow I am sorry, but I truly hope that the participants might join in and begin commenting here in order to continue hashing this out…now that we have Intense Debate installed at RagingRev these sorts of things should be MUCH easier to facilitate. 

note!: I am changing the names of anyone that may not want to be identified…Just stuff I am making up

as you can see, it’s long, but I hope it will be worth it and I truly hope those involved will join in on the comments. Note also that I did remove a small side conversation and one other part but they were not important…we are at over 5000 words here.

 

Here is what it said:

Erich’s Status:  It’s Atheist Day! (The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”)

Bill says:

I am an atheist, but I am not a fool. Your statement is exactly backwards, because who is the bigger fool? One who uses logic and reason to define their way, or one who blindly believes in superstition, (faith)? Now, I don’t go around calling all of my religious friends “fools,” but you seem to have no problem dishing out such an insult.

Erich retorts:

I did not mean to offend, but the Scripture teaches it is foolish not to believe in God. Furthermore, on what basis do you assume logic and reason are accurate means by which to determine truth? That is as much of a presupposition (or “superstition”) as is faith. Everyone starts with basic presuppositions. Mine happen to lie in the belief in an ultimate reality that exists outside of man and which can explain man’s existence and why his logic and reason work. The presuppositions of an atheist cannot give him an explanation of why reason and logic even work, he merely assumes that they do. Not only that, if there is no God, there can be no right or wrong, only the whims of the powerful; survival of the fittest – might makes right. That won’t work.

Finally, it is very different to blindly believe in superstition (such as, don’t walk under a ladder) rather than to look beyond the physical world for an explanation of the physical world. Those are two different things.

 

I Chime in:

Matthew 5:22 “Whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire”.

Put a sombrero on the ground and start running around in circles because thats where this is headed.

http://ragingrev.com/2009/03/23/psalm-14-godless-bunch-of-fools/

 

Bill says:

This scripture you refer to was created in a time before science. If you look at human history, the main groundwork of Christianity was set in a time before science really came about. Therefore, there is no science in Christianity. Isn’t it just safe to say that we can move on from such beliefs now that we know much more about existence? Sure,the big questions haven’t really been answered, but I might as well believe in the flying spaghetti monster as I would Jesus Christ, because in all actuality there is no scientific evidence that such a man even existed in the first place, let alone performed magic tricks and ascended into heaven.

Me again:

That reason and logic work is not actually a presupposition that most Atheists hold, that the Scientific theory is valid is more like what we may have, but certainly not logic and reason, as logic and reason are obviously flawed across the spectrum of humanity. 

Atheism is only foolish to those afraid to imagine a life without a creator and a loving god, or an existence without the threat of hell or the reward of heaven. It is odd that religion relies on the most base of our instincts and emotions, almost as if it were developed to exploit those things…Fear based evangelism is by far the most successful way to bring about conversion, then comes shame/guilt/ or a manipulation of love, Me thinks it is far too convenient.

 

Bill again:

And the thing is that religion wouldn’t have gotten as far as it has without indocrination. If all parents and other adults waited until their children were grown to introduce to them the concept of religion, then ole’ Jesus might just be a footnote in history or the equivalent to a cult today. But no, instead parents instill this belief system in their children’s minds and of course they grow up thinking that it’s the utter truth. And Erich, you can have morals and be a good person without believing in the invisible man upstairs. Besides, the Bible teaches a lot of things that are not good, in fact, far from it.

 

Dawn proclaims:

Eric please refute these two guys and tell them in the name of Jesus we are praying for them.

Bill again:

Dawn, I know you mean well, but it is actually impossible for Erich to refute us in any way that would satisfy someone with a respect for reasonable debate. You can sell this ivisible product to people using the idea of faith, but you can’t win an argument with someone who doesn’t buy into it. It’s like going to a sword fight with a butter knife. Maybe you both should think about this: Religion can do some good on this Earth and it does in some ways, but it also does a lot of damage. How many people throughout history have died in the name of God? Answer: A sh*tload.

Dawn replies:

I understand your frustration with the gospel. I would offer a book for you to read–A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and refute the scientific facts there. I will continue to pray for you with all my heart and soul. If you want to truly see God at work I challenge you to join me in my mission work in Haiti. I know lots of people died for the gospel. I died to myself when I accepted Christ as my Savior. I would challenge you to research and see for yourself. I know without a doubt Christ lives and I have a hope of tomorrow. There is peace and joy like you never imagined in serving God. Try it you may like it. Keeping you always in prayer.

Matt, I challenge you to read Lee Strobel’s book a Case for Christ, then refute Erich’s comments. I will continue to keep both of you in my prayers. I am sure I have oversteepd my boundaries Erich I apologize, but I am sure your friends will find if they are willing and up to the challenge to read this book. He was also an atheist as well as CS Lewis. Read some of his literature also

I reply to Dawn:

Dawn, you are twisting our frustrations to fit with your worldview. It isn’t the “gospel” that is the main subject of this “offense”. As silly as the gospel sounds from the outside, a simple look at the Bible before anyone heard of the Gospel is enough to make a sailor blush. The gospel offends my sensibilities, not my morals, the old testament handles that part quite well.

I commend you for your work in Haiti, assuming you put less focus on proselytizing and more on helping people with things that they really need…food, water, homes, information etc…If you allow these individuals to continue living with no improved condition yet call it some sort of mission you are providing them with a false and invisible hope when that is nothing near what they need. I will always respect those that give their time to help others and I hope you fall in the former category. That would be rather offensive otherwise.

I died to self once too

Bill again:

There is no doubt in my mind that you believe in what you do truly, and that your intentions are very good. I’m sure also that your mission work is bringing some good to Haiti, (besides the dogma), because I know people that have worked on missions, (in their case it was with the church of Mormon), and I admire them and you greatly for passionately doing something that is not easy and does some good. However, this does not change my beliefs. Until there is tangible proof that Jesus Christ walked this earth and all that the Bible says is true, then I will not believe. And Matt and I both know that this day will almost certainly not come. On another note, I was a devout Christian for a lot of my childhood and it brought me nothing but grief. It took me a long time to shake those indoctrinated beliefs but I’m glad that I did, because I am a better person for it.

Me again:

Dawn, regarding Lee Strobel. Lee was an Agnostic…not an Atheist. I have skimmed over the books he has written with not even a touch of real evidence…anecdotes and “expert testimony” aside, there is nothing within his books that prove that God exists or that Jesus was deity. I will go through them again in case I missed it or perhaps you can point me to something that I may have missed.

I have a challenge for you as well, and that is to go to my website or friend me here on facebook and I will provide that challenge to you. I can be found @ http://ragingrev.com and I am always open to discussion of this nature

Know that I Have lived the Gospel, I have been gods bondservant- yet under the slightest criticism that god and his book began to crumble and I came out of that experience a freer person than I was before.

Bill again:

Matt makes a good point, mission work has to give needy people things that will help them survive, not just instill false hope in them. I hope that your mission is including some direct assistance there.

Dawn:

Please read the book I suggested. I think you will see differently. Thanks for the compliment on missions. It does fill a place in my life. I will not comment on anything again, just please read the book. Lee was also an atheist who researched his wife’s beliefs to prove her wrong, you might be suprised at what you find.

I Reply:

Too bad 🙁 I will do my part, I hope you will do yours as well. It wouldn’t be fair for me to answer your challenge while you get off easy now would it?

Like i said though, I’ve been there…I know the Bible far better than at least 95% of Christendom, both from a literalist and fundamentalist point of view as well as the point of view of a skeptic, I highly doubt that you, Erich, or Lee Strobel can possibly say anything to change my inability to believe. At this point it really isn’t even my choice

Dawn closes:

Matt, please read the entire book and i think you will find differently. I will not comment on anything again. I will continue to pray for you both. My mission includes medical, dental, construction as well as water projects and taking the gospel into other areas. I will continue to do this as long as I live. I believe this is a calling in my life. I will close with this-understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not understanding that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.

Logan comes up to bat:

Bill – “a time before science” – what does that mean?

Erich joines us after a lengthy absense:

Sorry I was away at work and missed all the fun stuff. I wasn’t trying to dodge the arguments, only trying to get a paycheck.

The summation of the whole matter, from my perspective, is this:

Everyone relies on presuppositions as foundational to everything they believe. It is impossible to operate without them.

Matt, you point out that logic and reason are flawed. I agree with you, but how did you arrive at that conclusion? Was it through experience? If so, then how can you trust your experience? You indicate that you once had experiences you trusted (related to God), that you now reject. So experience is not an absolute tutor, since it also leads people astray. How, then, can we know anything? Obviously, there must be presuppositions on which we base our understanding of reality. My presuppositions are simple: God exists, and he has revealed himself to us

I respond:

I will correct Bill for you Logan, A Time before we were at our current understanding of science…which is ever evolving. There were of course scientistst in these days, but it was limited greatly by the religious institutions of whatever given era we refer to. Galileo died because he defended sound science that we now know is true–why?, because the Bible did not support the idea. That is what Bill is referring to or if I am wrong he can surely correct me

Erich again:

Let’s take morality…

If God doesn’t exist, why is it wrong for me to kill my neighbor and take his wife as my own? How is it wrong to spread my genetic material to as many women as possible? If there be no God, there is no good or evil, only the whims of whomever be in charge, whether despots or democracies.

Jay chimes in now:

I agree with Erich’s main point and wish to add the following:

If man came about as a result of random mutation and chance evolution; then we came about through irrational forces that were not working intentionally (i.e., with a purpose in mind). If that is true, then where do our rational minds come from and can we trust them?

If we do not trust the accuracy of irrational thought, then why do we trust our rational minds which were created by irrational forces…

An atheist is forced to concede that his own mind cannot be trusted and therefore is left with the fact that his own through are meaningless.

Erich Responds to Bill:

Now Bill, to answer your point about Christianity being based in a time before science, I’m not sure that’s accurate. Science is not just what you learn in biology or chemistry; science is the obtaining of knowledge. While there was no practice of the modern Scientific Theory, there was careful scholarship in many disciplines as far back as the ancient Egyptians, which predates not only Jesus, but also Moses. Look at the pyramids! As for the claim that there is no historical proof for Jesus, that’s a bold assertion. Especially when you consider that there is stronger historical evidence for the existence of the man Jesus of Nazareth than there is for either Plato, Socrates, Homer, or even William Shakespeare! What proof do we have of William Shakespeare? No birth certificate, no baptismal record, no death certificate, no tomb, no bones, only his works and a few eyewitnesses. We have far more evidence for Jesus. Consider:

Many people who were against Christianity from the beginning wrote about Jesus. All before AD 100 Pliny wrote about him in the Epistles, Suetonius in The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Josephus in Antiquities, Tactus in Annals, and he is mentioned several times in the Jewish Talmud. All of these were written by people who were not Christians so why would they lie about it? Sure they often had a different view of Jesus as much of the time they were completely against him but they do say he was a revolutionist with crazy ideas who died by the cross. The Talmud even includes that he was guilty of witchcraft (miracles).

This is to say nothing of the thousands of Christians who were killed by the Romans for refusal to renounce belief in him, within thirty years of his death. History records this more certainly than it does the life of Leonardo da Vinci.

Jesus was the most influential person to have ever lived. He is the most written about and talked about person to have ever lived.

I Respond to Jay and Erich:

@Erich. I have dealt with morality a few times already on my blog. Morality and God are not mutually exclusive:

http://ragingrev.com/2009/01/14/atheists-morality-rehashed/

http://ragingrev.com/2008/12/21/robert-asks-on-the-morality-of-god/

http://ragingrev.com/2008/12/16/morality-and-god/

http://ragingrev.com/2008/11/15/atheist-experience-on-the-morality-of-god/

@Jay: Random Chance? Care to define that?

@Erich again (Regarding the argument about Christs Existence):  I’d love to know how any of this confirms the Deity of Christ, a cardinal doctrine in “orthodoxy”, or much less that man required a savior for any reason! the whole premise of religion needs to be examined, not just the existence of ONE LATE messiah archetype

Jay again:

@Matt: You don’t believe in random chance evolution? The theory of mutation? Do you believe in purposeful evolution?

I respond:

Mutation perhaps, is random, purpose is found later through natural selection. Evolution occurs because of a need in my understanding, mutation itself is random…but bad mutation will not produce good results…thats how it works, millions of mutations occur and only a few promote greater survival rates in the species.

Trev gets involved:

Here we go again: some more Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens acolytes.Bill is just flat out insulting when he attempts to place the Christian God in the same category as the “flying spaghetti monster.” Do these kind of caricatures and straw men contribute anything to the discussion? Since both of these atheists appeal to the laws of logic, I would be interested in knowing how either can account for them. The problem with demanding tangible proof for the existence of God is that such a request assumes that all questions are answered in the same way. Scientific knowledge is not the only knowledge even though Bill and Matt seem convinced that it is. I would ask them: how do they know that? Did they empirically verify the belief that only empirically verifiable statements are legitimate? What is even more startling is both these men probably still kiss their wives/girlfriends/mothers and set their alarm clocks at night. The atheist is a mass of contradictions.

I reply:

@ Trev, I am sorry but since Spiritual knowledge, or whatever knowledge you are trying to point to is not measurable it is going to be difficult to bring into an argument of this nature…to do so feels to me like a cop-out. I won’t argue for their being invalid, as I relied on faith for the majority of my short life, but right here and right now it just doesn’t feel relevant. Of course it is to one that depends on it and that I respect, you can’t very well deny that which you know spiritually unless you are willing to challenge your own perception, and trust me friend, that is a difficult and painful thing to endure.

Jay again:

@Matt: How can natural selection breed “purpose”. Also, please elaborate on “Evolution occurs because of a need in my understanding”. Natural selection can only explain that some things survive and others do not, it cannot explain purpose or meet any need in understanding.

I have a question for you, If you were walking down the road and say a cluster of stones that spell out “Hi Matt.” Would you assume this happened by random chance or that an intelligent being placed it there?

If random chance created it, then would you still believe the message

I respond once again:

@ Jay, 

Let me clarify, I believe i made a poor choice of words here, sorry about that.

Evolution occurs as a result of mutations being beneficial to a species…which fulfills the need to survive for that species which is the very reason why it actually works- it is the very definition of natural selection.

If i happened upon said stones I would assume that an intelligent being put it there, indeed i would, why? because I have seen men spell out things with stones and have yet to see anything other than human beings do this thing, it is still a logical fallacy to assume that GOD must have done something because it is so complex that we cannot understand it.

Random chance is not likely creating these things, that is the problem I am having with your use of the term Random Chance…Random CHance is assuming that life could not have happened outside of the sequence of events that it did…this too is untrue as many of the variables for life can be interchanged yet produce life

Bill comes back:

You know, you can say what you want about the idea that maybe all of what we know was created by some being and that it wasn’t chance, but what does that have to do with Jesus Christ? And Erich, there is no tangible evidence that Jesus Christ existed as a man, much less a spiritual being. If you’re so certain of this side of the argument, then emaybe you can list some of the evidence that’s out there. Tell me what has been found and no, scripture and such hearsay do not count. It has to be scientific.

Also, about the science comment earlier: I was simply saying that the way we view science today, involving the scientific method, did not exist back when the scriptures were actually being written.

Earlier you said this, Erich: “Furthermore, on what basis do you assume logic and reason are accurate means by which to determine truth?”

Erich, it’s very difficult to have a reasonable discussion to someone who would argue such a point. This statement is utterly absurd and it kind of taints everything else that you have to say on the matter.

And Trev, nice vocabulary but some of those statements just don’t make sense.

Erich responds:

Bill, I think it is absolutely legitimate to question how we can be sure logic and reason are the best means by which to determine truth.

Let me elaborate:

We use logic and reason to construct arguments and to make theories and examine our conclusions, etc. But, how can we be certain they don’t actually lead us astray? Who’s to say that logic and reason are infallible tools? 250 years ago, doctors used their logic and their reason to deduce that using leeches on patients with sicknesses would cure them.

So, you see, merely using logic and reason doesn’t lead one to discover truth. One must first have a correct premise. That is ultimately the larger question. What is your first premise, your presupposition?

If your first premise, upon which you base all your understanding, is that logic and reason will lead to truth, how did you derive that premise? Was it by logic and reason? If so, then your basis for knowledge is circular.

I believe logic and reason work because God ordered it so.

As a created being, we can be confident our minds operate within the confines of reality because we are made in the image of God. If we are the result of mere genetic mutations over time, there can be no certainty that our minds work correctly.

Trev responds to my last one and then Bill:

Matt- who ever said anything about spiritual knowledge? I merely asked you orBill to account for the laws of logic which neither of you seem to be able to do. In fact, no atheist can account for the laws of logic because his worldview does not support it. Matt, you continue to claim that you will not believe in the Christian God unless he presents himself (I presume in bodily form), yet seeking such kind of proof is contradictory to the definition of the concept for which you seek proof (i.e. the Christian God is invisible and immaterial). You ask me to prove the existence of God as if a measure of evidence would convince you. However, you are committed to certain presuppositions that would not allow you to believe in the Christian God (i.e. the only legitimate reality is one that is empirically verifiable, etc.). However, this presupposition is internally incoherent because you have not empirically verified it! So my question remains: how do you account for the laws of logic?

Bill- Your anti-metaphysical bias is really deteoriating the level of this discussion. You cannot simply avoid the question of how to account for the laws of logic with some form of special pleading. If I were to treat the question of the existence of God by just calling it a nonsense question you would not think that right of me either! 

As far as the scientific method goes, which you seem to rely so heavily upon, how do you know the future will be like the past? How do you know the sun will rise tomorrow? Have you empirically verified that? If your epistemological commitment is to this strong empircism (as it seems to be, since you keep up with your demands for scientific proof), then how do you know that if you drop a pen a thousand times that on the thousandth time it will not hover in the air? You may say, “Well past futures were like past pasts” but that is still begging the question, isn’t it? You still do not have any empirical basis for believing the future will be like the past. As for calling my statements nonsense, it is only nonsense to one who persists in dishonest caricature, misrepresentation, and special pleading and all the while does not realize he is a fish in the sea, wet without even knowing it. As Van Til said, “You climb up into God’s lap to slap him in the face.”

Bill Replies to both:

Erich, this is the thing: the world is a very chaotic place. I hear enough on the news every day to know that things are not perfect in this world. In fact, it’s far, far, far from it. We are all in a state of breaking down, that’s entropy. Of course one of the main reasons religion is so prevalent is that some people are deeply terrified of  that. I have accepted that when I die, there’s a very good chance that there is nothing after that. It’s kind of like before you were born, you know, non-existense. Do I know that for sure? No. But neither do you, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not. I think more people should join the club of I DON’T KNOW. Because remember, I’m not arguing that I somehow know the secrets of the universe. I am arguing that you don’t.

Trev, all of that abstract conversation makes some strange points, though they’re not really plausible. And even if they were, it still wouldn’t explain why all of you think that the Bible is literarly true. I’m assuming that because you can’t really be a Christian if you don’t believe fully in the word of God. So here are some Bible verses you should take a better look at:

“Samar’ia shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and ther pregnant women ripped open.

Hosea 13:16

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

[Moses] Numbers 31:17

Oh, and there’s much, much more than this. One verse even says that it’s ok to sell your daughter into slavery. I’d like to see you defend these passages.

And that goes for all of you in this conversation. If you truly believe in the scripture, then you’ll defend it.

I Finish:

@Trev asks:

“who ever said anything about spiritual knowledge?”

you said:

“Scientific knowledge is not the only knowledge even though Bill  and Matt seem convinced that it is. I would ask them: how do they know that? ”

I am working on an assumption , if my assumptoin is incorrect then you should provide a better example of just what type of knowledge exists outside of that which is gained via the scientific theory…i don’t know of any realm of knowledge that isn’t testable using the scientific model, If you know something here that I don’t please provide it

however the problem arises currently that keeps me from continuing this discussion via Facebook…it is such an inefficient medium and it is unavailable whilst I am at work…therefore you are all welcome to bring it over to ragingrev.com, the psalms 14 thread seems to me to be an ideal place unless you would be happier if i copied all of this content over to it on a new post.

Jay retorts:

@ Matt

You said “Evolution occurs as a result of mutations being beneficial to a species…which fulfills the need to survive for that species which is the very reason why it actually works- it is the very definition of natural selection”

If this statement is true, then how come the fossil provides no evidence of the mutations that were not beneficial to the species? Why don’t we see fossils of fish who had legs? Why do we see only the favorable mutations? (And please don’t counter with the arguement that they died out too quickly because wouldn’t we see that in some type of fossil record?)

@Matt: The example of the stones is this:

Do you believe your sense organs to be an accidental and unintended result, over ages of time, of perfectly impersonal, non purposeful forces? 

If so, then how can you trust these to understand information you regard as true or false? If our senses are only chance variations, brought about by natural selection, then how can we rely on them as guides of a truth that exists apart from themselves? Irrational does not create rational right?

How can you say your cognitive faculties are a product of chance, purposeless forces, yet place trust on those same cognitive faculties?

@Bill You said “there is no tangible evidence that Jesus Christ existed as a man, much less a spiritual being.”

This guy lays out a compelling argument that Jesus did exist.

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/jesusexisthub.html

Erich says:

Alright, everyone is just talking right past each other without answering the objections/questions presented. You can’t get anywhere with just questions and no answers. Another medium would be appropriate.

No more Erich’s profile, please. It’s filling up my inbox.

Bill Finishes:

ok, but I’m still waiting on someone to defend those Bible verses.

Jay That article did not even begin to change my mind. A lot of conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo.

  • Usually when someone invokes "case for christ" as proof of god's existence I'm willing to write them off as a lost cause right then and there.

    This argument seems a mixture of standard issue entry level christian apologetics and christian presuppositionalist apologetics (which comes dangerously close to solipsism).

    I'm sure they are out there but this highlights the need for an atheism FAQ. So that these kind of common arguments can be countered with the obvious reply.

    • Yea, I took the challenge at one point when someone asked me to read it…and I looked through the chapters and there was no evidence to be found…i just can't waste my time on a book of its length if the whole thing is nothing more than anecdotes and bad history from biased historians…if someone can tell me page numbers and such to look at specifically I may bother with it.

      Also, one thing I intend to do is something similar to an Atheism FAQ for noobs and Christians…just what we need is some Dogma lol..jk …but some of the more common arguments need to be dealt with for once and for all…so that the ray comforts of the world will shut the hell up with them

  • The problem with both theism and atheism is that you rely on belief. The theist believes in God and the atheist believes there is no God. This will only lead to endless and pointless debate (as the above and as has been throughout the ages).

    Rid yourself of the need to believe this or that. Open your eyes and see reality as it is. Do you believe in the sun or the moon or the rocks or the trees? There is no question of belief. The sun simply is.

    So many people walk around asleep. Wake up.

  • Love your new logo, by the way.

    Nice aesthetics and symbolism. Kudos to the designer.

    • thanks very much, I love the new logo especially…i have absolutely no skill when it comes to graphics and such…i was impressed at how fast he came up with it

      • Ben

        Inspiration struck. 🙂

        I'd been looking for a way to use that font for a while, I like it. At first I was going to put a clerical collar around it, but I didn't like how it turned out, so I came up with extending the i into an inverted cross.

        By the way, the stylesheet may need a bit of tweaking. The text in this edit box is white on a white background. It's rather inconvenient.

  • I still have to argue that the Atheist is NOT believing there is a god as opposed to believing that there is no god….its like saying that i believe in their being no Santa Clause vs not believing in Santa Clause…they aren't the same thing.

    as for the rest of your assertions…i agree

    • I don't really get the difference. Semantically, yes, they sound different, but the end result seems about the same.

  • I think there is so much more empowerment to believe that you are the driving force to your success, happiness, "morality," etc. Basically that you are responsible for yourself, so when you do well you can say "thank me" and not "thank god." I have a genetics degree and am an atheist. Some of the comments on here about natural selection and evolution are very rudimentary, which is to be expected, but please do some research on the "science" instead of just disregarding it, and I mean no offense. But if you want to discuss science, especially with someone who is a scientist you should respect what they have to say or do the research and take the classes yourself.

  • hi Krimzinking, thanks for dropping by.

    I absolutely agree, I feel like finally in my life I am able to take credit for the things I do…rather than praising a god that doesnt exist…its amazing to me in retrospect just how much religion can drag one down…that whole depravity of man thing i guess!

    I am certainly no geneticist…my understanding of genetics is rudimentary at best but I am an autodidact and i pick up things fairly quickly, it is a fascinating science and…well…far too complex for any one individual to have a full knowledge on. So if my own arguments were flawed…well…im learning…but i do agree that the Christians involved did a poor job explaining things on levels that they clearly did not understand…but that is to be expected….im still waiting on these folks to start responding here and debating this stuff…i might have to start making chicken noises to get them here!

  • You had to know you weren't going to get your point across. I'm sure the only thing you did was reenforce their belief of how "lost" atheists are.

    • yea, you pretty much always have to know that…but at the very least it should have made them think…if not just a little tiny bit. Plus people watching from the sidelines may be on the verge of giving up on faith…thats a good thing in my view…and i really enjoy it…so its cool

  • I think it's absurd that someone will call another foolish simply for having a different belief system. I caught this debate in a blog a very regularly read and was very disappointed to read all other comments were along the lines of "horray" as if anyone who isn't exactly like them must be dumb.

    • Frigga,

      I'm not saying anyone involved is dumb, i think they have horrible arguments that are based on poor understandings of the subjects at hand…i can't very well call someone dumb for believing the exact same thing I once did…I can say that they probably have had different experiences from mine, that they may not have done the same study that I have…but I don't think they are stupid…some of their arguments are beyond stupid…but i bet some of mine are too.

      If i have any advantage though over the average Atheist it is that I once believed this stuff, ad crazy as it sounds to me now I know how a person can get caught up in a belief system like Christianity and stick with it for life…so i understand the people in this debate…i used to be them. Occasionally however I do say things that are mean and hurtful, but i truly feel that anything like that is something I am more directing at my old self rather than anyone else…it frustrates me that I once spent so much of my time and effort on a god that I now find impossible to believe in.

      thanks for stopping by again, dont forget about me over here in my little corner of the web

  • I like how you excise what I said.

    I want to be important.

    • you are important…i just had to take that part out because it was too long and irrelevant to the rest of the conversation…i was scolded by you, i am obedient now…thanks

  • Jay

    Bill, concerning Hosea 13:16:

    This is a verse of judgment and I pray that God’s judgment. God is not a grandfatherly old Santa Clause; He is described as love (1John 4:8) and also a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). In regards to this verse, it is best to heed Jesus’ advice: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    Concerning, Numbers 31:17-18

    The women were being judged for seducing the Israelite but the young girls were innocent of this guilt and were graciously spared.

    These verses may offend your sensibilities, but they represent the fact that God, being the Creator, has a right to judge all mankind. We are all created by Him and we have no rights before Him. It is only through His mercy and grace that we live, move, and have our being. I implore you to repent of your foolishness and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because it is only through Him that you will escape the coming judgment.

    Consider how many warning are in the NT about the coming judgment! You may think that these are in here just to scare people, but have you truly considered that these men spoke because this great day of wrath is truly coming. Flee from the wrath to come and take the free offer of forgiveness and make peace with your Maker.

  • pdscott

    I've been reading this for the last two days and have been intrigued by the lack of respect on both sides for the free exchange of ideas. rev, I think, seems to be the best behaved and most willing to keep the exchange going for the "good of all." And I agree. The problem is that for a true debate to exist both sides have to be willing to concede defeat and regroup. For the most part that does not exist here. Yet. Lets see if we can keep this debate moving. I am a believer and while I am no scholar -biblically or scientifically – I do believe that the BEST way for us to move forward is by being willing to talk. It is very likely that I will never "win" a part of this debate in an atheists eyes, but then that's just part of the challenge isn't it.

    Let me first say that religion is a krok! And the VAST majority of "Christians" don't even see for themselves how utterly foolish it is to follow something – anything – and not understand why you believe it. Most christians blindly follow traditions and practices handed down by generations of people who didn't understand why they did what they did. So, if I may, I would like to suggest that for the time being we leave religious jargon out of this debate. If you can't explain or answer without using "church" words just keep thinking and praying for the right words. If your god can not help you them maybe He is not where you want Him. Or is it the other way around? The problem is I haven't seen anything in here that comes close to being an example of a "Christ-like" attitude. (forgive me atheists I just have to say this to these bible thumpers.) SO GET IT RIGHT! This is not a battle against atheists. This is a debate among brothers. So what, that we disagree. The discussion must continue. NO MORE NAME-CALLING.

    Now, back to the debate…

    OK. For arguments sake lets say there is no god. No all-powerful being that spoke the universe into existence. That it all happened by chance. Then what does exist? and where is the evidence that it exists. (I really wanted to find this quote before I posted it but I will find it.) Carl Sagan said that the necessary components for spontaneous creation of life do not exist on this planet. And that the only alternative is Special Creation. I don't believe i am miss quoting and I will correct if i did. Allbert Einstein said that any serious student of science will become aware of a spirit in the universe and that it's intelligence is vastly superior to ours. (I will find book, chapter and paragraph info and post)

    So my question is – Do you believe these scientists?

    • Hah, you sound to be as frustrated with the majority of Christians as I was when i was still a Christian…the church can be a frustrating bunch..what with their lack of understanding of their own beliefs and the really really sad thing is…most of the Christians I know have never even read the bible page for page…dont know what a Strongs is and wouldnt know a commentary if it smacked them in the face….I digress….

      @ the Carl Sagan "quote" I would like to see it word for word, as well as the Einstein one…but i think the following should be considered.

      1: Carl Sagan was clearly incorrect IF he said this, Spontaneous life requires very little…but all that it does require does exist on the earth and has for a very long time …everything needed to form protein bonds would be the hardest thing to come across and clearly we do have all of these things as it was a major component of primordial ooze…if we continue on this tangent surely I can find something more solid for you but for now that will suffice

      Einstein could have easily been referring to the shear vastness of the universe compared to his or out own current understanding of it….I don't know that for sure but it makes sense to me, either way whether or not a scientists believes in a higher authority or intelligence does not make it so. Richard Dawkins could come down from the clouds one day and say he just saw god and now believes in him…that wouldn't make it any more true for me.

      thanks for joining in btw

      • I apologize for my poor blog etiquette. I should have posted my correction here.

        Copied:
        I do have a correction. The Sagan quote was incorrect. I actually blended two quotes. The first was actually Sir Arthur Keith who said "Evolution is unproven and unprovable. We believe it because the alternative is Special creation and that is unthinkable." I can't find the book that came from but I will. the point is, That's not very scientific and he was a world renown scientist. Sounds more like a religious statement to me. You keep talking about evidence but nobody is actually presenting any.

        The other part of the quote was from Francis Crick, who I believe is still the leading authority on genetics and the structure of DNA. He said that while the building blocks of life(chemicals, molecules, etc) exist here they cannot spontaneously combine to create life on this planet. He believes that the oceans were seeded.

        I think the problem that all science faces is not finding evidence but interpreting the evidence. You can talk about the primordial ooze all day. But there is no evidence that it exists now or ever existed in the past. It is only a theory.

        • sorry i forgot to respond to this until now…

          The Keith quote certainly is not very scientific and I cannot throw my support behind that at all. People are, however, presenting evidence daily…im gonna do a nice long post on evolution one day…as soon as my own grasp is better

          Crick is dead, therefore I would like to know when this was said by him…because if it was during his work in the 50's, things have changed a lot sense then and his understanding in the 50's would not meet up with what we understand today. Laboratory tests have proven that if proteins are near one another they can and do attract one another and begin spiraling together if enough are present. just like how hydrogen and oxygen attract one another to form water, proteins attract one another, bond together, and begin creating DNA..

          it IS very likely that the ooze did exist in some form or another…we will cover that in the post i referred to earlier though

          • But proteins coming together to make DNA (which is not a protein, it is a poly nucleotide with phosphate backbone, deoxy ribose sugar, and nitrogenous bases) does happen, but just know that not all proteins attract one another, they have to have the right "lock and Key" and hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity, etc. However, this is very complex, and in no way could this have spontaneously been the origin of genetic material. To better explain how the complex nature of genetic material has arisen, think about RNA:
            1- it behaves as an enzyme in our own bodies, does not require other proteins for certain functions it carries out, like splicing of introns and exons.
            2- houses genetic material- can be a precursor for making proteins
            3- is single stranded – simple structure that does not require a huge set of proteins to make
            As we evolved, DNA took over because it is more stable because it is double-stranded, can house more information in a stable way, and offers a "safe" location of housing genetic material in the nucleus while allowing other macromolecules to carry out the "leg-work" of making protein.
            I know I am abbreviating a lot of science here, but if you have any questions about this just ask. A good start is to google "RNA world"

          • BTW, Crick never new about this "RNA world" hypothesis, so it just goes to show that science is growing, because it is "quantitative" and will only lead to more and more knowledge about our "origin." Yes, we may never know the answers but we can get pretty damn close if we choose science instead of blind faith in the supernatural.

          • pdscott

            I think what bugs me most about all this are statements like "it IS very likely…" and "hypothesis." I realize this probably makes me "closed minded" or something else you'd like to label me but when you talk so dogmatically about things that have no irrefutable proof you sound more like an evangelist than a scientist. We have more understanding today about the universe and when I look at everything that's out there and even in us it makes a WHOLE lot more sense that there is a grand designer than that random chance somehow formed unimaginable complexity. And ultimately thats what you believe. You can say it's because of scientific fact but you still only have a hypothesis not proof. To me, looking at most of the comments here, it looks more like you've simply changed religions.

  • Belief is simply "the state of accepting a proposition to be true". So yes, you do believe in the sun and moon. Those beliefs are true and easily justified but beliefs none the less. I did a blog post taking on this whole issue of the definition of belief. You can find it here: http://appleofdoubt.com/?p=134

    • Well, if you want to quibble about it that way…the sense of what I was trying to say is that it is irrelevant in that situation whether or not you believe. The reality of the sun and the moon (that they exist) is too ummm, real that it just hits you without anyone having to prove anything.

      A story:

      A philosophy professor was conducting an oral exam to his student. As the student was talking, the professor asked, "Wait, did you just say that reality depends on what you believe?"

      "Yes, sir," replied the student. "That's what I firmly believe."

      "Do you see that tree out there?" said the professor.

      "Yes," said the student.

      "So if you didn't believe with all your heart that that tree is there, then it doesn't exist?" said the professor.

      "Yes," said the student. "For me, there might as well be not tree there."

      "Ok," said the professor. "I want you to spend as long as you want believing with all your heart that the tree doesn't exist. When you think you have done so, I want you to run at full speed towards that tree. I will be watching you. If you don't crash into the tree, you get an A."

      • Well I'm both a pedant and a philosophy student so quibbling is what I do.

  • Religion is like a bowel movement—if you have a good one I'm happy for you, but I don't want to hear about it.

    • thats the thing, religion requires evangelism 90% of the time…sadly

      • It goes both ways. I'm not a Christian, I've since "fallen from Grace," but I do believe in a higher power. I just don't go around preaching it to everyone I meet because I don't follow a particular religion. I've met many non-believers, online and off, and while they say they don't want to hear about believing, they're more than willing to share why we shouldn't believe. I think both religious and non-religious people confuse words such as Faith, Hope, Belief, etc, as religious connotations only- I can have faith, hope and believe-without being religious.

  • the end result is out bodies in a grave…so yes…the result IS the same 🙂

  • I strongly believe that in your professional life God doest exist..The results are determined by your sheer diligence but in personal life God exist..as we indians believe the marriage is all written in lords door.

    Thats strictly my experience of life.

  • stopping by from EC to drop and say hi….
    I have 2 rules I dont discuss religion or politics-however i enjoy reading others views… I enjoyed your blog very much

  • I got a bucket of dirt sitting on my front porch. When one of these know it all scientist can great a human from that bucket of dirt then I might think about listening to their theory. Fact is they can't, most don't have the sense enough to grow a garden in dirt.

    The law of science states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so there goes the big bang theory out the window before anyone gets started on that one.

    Science that is based on what happened years ago is called worthless science. And that is what is wrong with our country. Maybe if they would start researching where we are going instead of where we have been they can make a difference in this world.

    I know there is a God. Because I ask him for strength to ignore all of these people that are so infatuated with proving he does not exist. And he gives it to me, and they do not get on my nerves, they make me laugh. On the other hand, the ones that do not believe in God will spend their whole life trying to prove something that they will never accomplish.

    Can you live life without worrying about what the other believes? If so, go and live life. If you cannot live life without worrying about the other person. Then you are not living in happiness.

    Use science to find cures for diseases.
    Use the Bible to find Love and Happiness
    Use your head for something besides a hat rack and we all will be better off.

    • The law of science states….don't you mean the law of thermodynamics…no you don't b/c you don't give a crap about science and didn't take the time to look up the meaning of what you are saying. LOOK IT UP! BIG BANG = SCIENCE = PROVABLE
      GOD= NON SCIENCE = NOT PROVABLE

    • BTW, you make me laugh….haha

      • I still have that bucket of dirt sitting out front on my porch.
        BIG BANG = Laughable.
        Next time I fart I need to check and make sure I don't leave a trail of Atheist behind me. Since you were created by a big bang.

        • It is easy to laugh at what you don't understand.

  • great post and debate…i shall not add fire to this endless debate, but i have to say that i don't understand why theists and atheists alike feel the need to exert their beliefs onto others in a way that is overwhelming. i seriously doubt that there will be a day where everyone will be theists or atheists…we're different like that, so please get over your ego and stop exerting on others to reaffirm your beliefs. 🙂

    prime example of exerting on others : http://siahshufen.blogspot.com/2009/03/if-atheist

  • TMinut

    From Science News, Feb 16, 2009, in an article called A Most Private Evolution, I loved this part:

    …Yet the most dramatic examples of the power of evolutionary theory may come from the strange and ugly stuff – biology that seems to dumb to have been designed. (Peacocks' tails and spiked male sex organs on certain beetles, large antlers on deer, etc.)

    I also enjoy the old joke where God and a scientist were arguing, they decided to prove they could each create life. When they each reached down for a handful of dirt to start making a man, God said to the scientist, "Oh, no you don't. Get your own dirt."

  • TMinut

    Dwayne, was there any reason for this?

    …most don't have the sense enough to grow a garden in dirt.

    It's not true and added nothing.

    About the horrible "commanded" or at least allowed treatment of women in the bible, I don't know what to say. Perhaps telling men they could keep the girls let the other women die without being raped first. The girls would have been raped and killed, this way they would have to be "taken care of." Better to say leave them alone but God is nothing if not realistic.

  • I couldn't follow those long debates, they were too long for me …

    Just a word, English word "fool" isn't very good translation for the original hebrew text.
    Ancient Hebrew "Naval be libo" could be translated as "unbeliever" with all moral connotations such as siner e.t.c. But it has nothing to do with modern English "fool" seen as opposite to logical thinking. Ancient people were thinking in a very different way than we do, more poetically.
    Ethymologically "naval" may be explained as " the leaf teared down from the tree"

  • To back up what i said briefly in previous comment
    I found satiated article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabal

    Quote :

    The root meaning of the name Nabal is wilt,[17] and came to mean failure,[18] and so gained the figurative meaning of being shamelessly improprietous;[19] in the Nabal narrative, he is described as living up to his name,[20] in addition to being surly and mean.[21] Traditionally Nabal is euphemistically translated as fool, for which a Hebrew synonym is kesil (literally meaning fool); scholars regard it as possible that some features of the Nabal narrative derive from primitive mythology,[22] and it is notable that kesil particularly referred to the constellation of Orion,[23] and was translated as Orion by the Septuagint.[24]

  • Intelligent life as we know it, didnt evolve from an ape. My question is, if that is true, how come apes arent still evolving into humans? Where are the species that are half ape, half human? Rev, I sure hope you find God again. I dont know what happened to make you feel this way, but God is real. His love, grace, and mercy have allowed you to continue on in your ways, and to write articvles like this. For the sake of there maybe being a God, do yourself a favor and don't blaspheme the name of God. May the understanding of his being surround you.

    • Do yourself a favor and question your existence, don't think you have the right answers because you do not. There is certainly nothing wrong with questioning man's existence, intelligence, capabilities, etc. It makes life more interesting and keeps things EVOLVING. To live a life free of judgment from an invisible man who may or may not like me wanking off every once in a while, is damn good.

  • SOMBRERO

    I think the place to really begin with all discussions of life, religion, God, atheism, religion — everything — is the issue of EXISTENCE. ARE 'you'? Do you REALLY exist? Does the world really exist? Does the universe really exist? Does existence EXIST?

  • ask a quantum physicist

  • Why do I get the feeling that nobody in that debate has spent much time learning about the theory of evolution or biology?

    You do see detrimental genes in the fossil record- every extinct species had enough of them to make it die out. Or perhaps if you're looking for individuals with a 'bad gene', you have to remember that complete fossils only form in specific conditions, and only a tiny percent of a population will ever be preserved. If one individual with a dodgy gene appears, but doesn't get a chance to breed, then you're highly unlikley to find any evidence of it.

    And you can, in theory, allow for the evolution of social traits like morality. In a nutshell, a human needs its group to survive. The group needs to get along, so humans that decide to 'kill their neighbours and steal their women' quickly find themselves without a group to survive with. Those that do best are the humans with a cohesive group.

    Dogs have a sence of 'right and wrong'. So to bonobos and chimps. Is someone going to suggest that these creatures also believe in a God or Jesus Christ of their own?

    • Probably because few have…I personally am just beginning to learn and admit that openly. Sadly my ignorance sitll puts me ahead of 90% of the population though.

      • Well, if there's ever any aspect of evolution (or genetics) that you don't understand, I'm happy to try to help you. (I've got some university genetics & bio under my belt). I imagine it could seem quite complicated at the beginning.

    • Tom Thumb

      I'll just add two points:
      1) Fossilization requires special conditions to occur. That is why not everything becomes a fossil, and why there are gaps in the record. Also, we haven't found every fossil on earth yet – more transitional forms are sure to be found later, as we keep digging.
      2) Regarding detrimental genes: not all mutations are preserved through natural selection (hence the "selection" – it's a mechanism to select the most fit adaptation at the time). Think of mules, ligers, and humans with genetic conditions that prevent them from producing children. As a specific example: women with Down Syndrome are sterile, and most men with Down Syndrome are sterile. DS is not an advantageous mutation in any case – before modern medicine and wealth, babies with the condition would have been killed or not lived very long due to their heart defects. Natural selection selects against DS, and the human species does not become solely populated by people with DS. Whether or not some amount of DS skeletons will be preserved as fossils for later scientists to dig up, that detrimental mutation will have existed. Extrapolate this to other life forms throughout time.

  • found this pretty interesting as I'm newly Agnostic…was a devout Christian for the better part of my life.

    • congratulations on leaving the faith…as hard as it is, for me at least, if has been very well worth the pain.

  • real..hard.. proof.. hmm, there is none from either side. god, or no god.. there is no proof either way. everyone has to do their own seeking and research to figure out their own beliefs.

  • Although this verse is in the Bible, I don't think it's meant to be thrown up in anyone's face. That is why when I posted a joke about the Atheists having a holiday–April 1 I felt guilty about it and realized it was really putting down people who didn't believe in God which is something God certainly wouldn't be pleased with so I deleted it the next day.

    • Very noble of you Karen…I too have had to look back at some of the things i have said and regretted it later…I think it is a sign of a person of integrity, so good on you for looking back at your actions and fixing it.

  • Anon

    Religion only has power over people because they are conditioned from birth to believe in it. If you were told something since you able to speak something, you are most likely going to believe it when you are older.

    • Amen, brotha…….I wish more people would realize that…….

    • pdscott

      While I agree in part with your statement, I think the "religious" tendencies of man are deeper. The thing is, man has a need to believe in something, a need to be part of something bigger than himself. Ultimately, it doesn't even matter if it's voluntary or coerced, to be a part of success is hugely rewarding. There are way too many examples in history of whole societies embracing ideals that were diametrically opposed to those they grew up with. For Example, in less than one generation Hitler turned an entire country against the Jews and the world. While there were Hitler youth that grew up in that system of belief, it was the parents that embraced it first. Obviously this is an extreme example but it makes my point.

      Religion is not just a learned set of beliefs imparted to children. It primarily comes from our need to put things in order and attribute some value to our existence. There are probably as many "belief systems"/religions as there are cultures in the world. What I believe you actually have a problem with is the religious organizations associated with the judeo-christian belief system. Catholicism, Protestantism anything related to christianity. These established organizations that allow people to follow a set of rules and practices that have been handed down for generations and have little if anything to do with day-to-day life. They cause people to be automatons that respond a certain way because "that's the way it is." not "thats what I believe and this is why…." But they are not alone in their failings. All other belief systems have the same propensity to create automatons, Including atheist and agnostic.

      BTW, join the debate give us a handle to call you by.

  • colin

    in response to the dumb question, "Why don’t we see fossils of fish who had legs?"
    we do.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12168265/

  • Brett

    This line of scripture is particularly hard to argue against since the believer will adopt it to be true and if you dispute it's validity you are immediately to be considered a fool. The common conception of a fool being someone with whom a rational debate is impossible. Thus the best counter to the argument in talking with someone from this perspective is to quote Matthew 5:22. Reason isn't something to believe in, it is something which all people possess the faculty to use whether they choose to or not is usually a question of expediency or emotion.

  • Kenny

    "Furthermore, on what basis do you assume logic and reason are accurate means by which to determine truth"

    Are you KIDDING me? Logic and Reason, the Scientific Method have proven themselves OVER and OVER again, but have been overseen ungraciously. I don't understand how these guys can spew their distrust of science when the very medium they're using to communicate is the direct result of logic, reason, and the scientific method.

    There is proof that we are approaching the "Truth" when Man made the first airplanes that could actually fly, the first spaceship that could travel to other planetoids, harnessing the power of atoms to create energy, and the list goes on and on and on. They're direct evidence of science being a window to "Truth" because they're evidence of us intimately understanding how the Universe works, building things based on those theories, and then successfully USING it to our benefit!

    How long have we had religion? Only tens of thousands of years? But did it get us closer to the "Truth"? Has Man made ANY advancements due to religion? No. It's organized Science that has – within its short time span of a couple hundred of years – that allowed us to save billions of lives through vaccines, connected us all through the invention of the internet and cell phones, etc. All of this, just by increasingly understanding the inner workings of the Universe. "Accurate means by which to determine truth", my ass.

  • Seth

    Trev, you are being very thick if you haven't noticed. You are trying to use the very laws of logic in order to disprove that logic works. Your argument, paraphrased, is that "Logic can't be proven since you can't show that it exists without actually using the logic you're trying to prove! Your argument is circular, and therefore moot!" Duh….. That's a very poorly drawn *logical conclusion* to your argument.

    First off, our senses are all we have of the universe. If you want to argue that what we sense isn't necessarily truth, then you're arguing the same thing as Plato when he gave the allegory of the cave wall. Give it up, that's not an argument that can be won by either side.

    Now, if we hold that what we sense is all we can know of the universe, then simple cause and effect is all you need as a foundation for logic. Logic works because it is built off of previous logical steps that we hold to be true *through extensive testing*. If, for one million attempts in a controlled environment, A follows B, A can be said to be caused by B. This is logic. If logic didn't work, then you wouldn't have a computer through which to have this argument. The amazing thing about logic is that it works *for everyone,* and the odds are highly favorable for it to work *even if we weren't here.* The only point in which logic fails certain people is when it is applied incorrectly.

  • Seth

    Jay,
    You want evidence for failed mutations? That *is* the fossil record. The vast majority of species that have lived on this planet *have all died through extinction.* If that's not evidence for non-useful mutations, I don't know what is.
    If you're looking for the more specific examples, like why aren't there fish with legs? Well, that's an easy one to answer. Mutations *that allow the being to survive* are inherently small. Massive mutation is almost always fatal, if not at least sterilizing. A fish would not grow legs because legs are highly adapted limbs formed through long term mutations, all of which were slight variations on the previous generation. You cannot get legs from fins in one generation. And even if you did, the rest of the internal wiring…. the genetic makeup of the fish, if you will… would not allow a fish that suddenly grew legs to survive!

    And last, your sensory organs…. It always comes down to the sensory organs…. *sigh*
    Your argument about irrationality can't beget the rational is somewhat obtuse as well. You're assuming evolution is irrational. Evolution may be driven by random events, but a random event that does not produce a mutation that does not produce "success" (which for this argument is simply defined by that ability to continue the species) is culled through "natural selection" (which we can also define as "lack of success" or "inability to breed"). Success, as defined, is an inherently rational event. "I need to be able to do X in order to stay alive long enough to breed" cannot be argued as irrational. Amusingly, logic and rationality go hand in hand, no? *Logically,* animal + sustenance + mate = offspring is both rational and logical. Also, *logically,* any organism that somehow evolves to the point where is can detect a potential predator or potential prey is immediately more prepared and better adapted to survival and *success.* What is amazing is that we have eyes that detect a specific spectrum of light in order to detect other creatures and potential food sources…. instead of pores in our faces that detect the infra-red heat signatures of everything in the world…. you know, like pit vipers do. Interestingly enough, our eyes are more specialized and better adapted to general existence than are pit vipers' IR detection pores, but that doesn't mean that pit vipers don't succeed. We, as humans, are better at success in general within certain living conditions. Pit vipers are simply better at success within their niche of the universe.

  • Seth

    And you! Ndfenceofobama…. You are correct. Humans did not evolve from apes. Humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. If you can't find the similarities between old world great apes and humans, you're being intentionally blind. If you want evidence, all you have to do is look at the various hominid skeletons we *have* recovered and see the similarities stretching back in time.
    It is not highly likely that we'll find a half-man half-ape. It's amazing enough that we've found as many fossils as we have, since it takes extremely specific conditions for fossils to occur. However, based off of tons of other evidence from *other species,* we can extrapolate! We can see general trends, have intermediary fossils, etc.. We may never have every piece of the puzzle, but like a common jigsaw puzzle, given enough pieces, you can get a reasonable picture of the whole.
    And to answer the reason why we don't see apes evolving into humans? That's easy… Apes are evolving into better apes. That's why.Apes and humans are *divergent* species sharing a common ancestor. We live in completely different environments and with different evolutionary pressures, therefore we are evolving along different lines.

    And lastly, I refuse to believe in a god out of fear that he might actually exist and be mad at me when I die. That's dumb. Religion is based on fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of retribution, etc. I will not fear those. I walk towards the unknown with a smile on my face.

  • I'd like to chime in on a misconception here. Evolution does not come about by random chance, it comes about by selection of traits that are adaptive to the environment., and changes, which occur over generations and are the result of maladaptive traits being weeded out by the environment, can be directly observed in fruit flies, who speciate within a human lifetime. Evolution is observable scientific fact, does not come about randomly, and doesn't deal strictly with genes anymore.(In scientific context, theory and fact are separated by far less because we use the term hypothesis for specific, smaller parts of an overall concept which we perform experiments to understand. We have observed evolution in action, its is a fact because of this. It is a theory(as opposed to a Law),because we do not understand it fully yet.) As a matter of fact, I would say that reason and logic came about because as flawed as they are, they do a whole lot better than nothing in most cases and clearly have benefited us in the past. Such as the logical observation that when I don't hold by bowling ball in the air, for the most part it always falls down. If we can assume that bowling balls fall down when dropped, we can put them in little plastic cradles or on the floor of the closet, rather than on the free-hanging shelf just above head height. This is essentially an empirical observation and an engineering decision to alter the environment and make it safer. Also, in the field of psychology we have come to believe that human behavior occurs lawfully, either in a soft-determinist perspective that believes we make make choices freely from the options in our environment, or a hard-determinist perspective that believes that choice is essentially an old way of explaining the cognitive processes that make up decision making and that depending on a learning history(Patterns of punishment and reinforcement that produce individual variation in behavior by strengthening or lessening it) and the environment will make an individuals choice pre-determined. These patterns of consequent results for behavior continuously change the way we think, and also the way we raise our children. Kids, in general, behave most like the parents that they grow up with. Behavioral evolution is fascinating because it happens so quickly, but we haven't been able to shake magical thinking. Also, science(empirical science) and behavior have an intrinsic relationship.

    As we understand individual behavior, it is the result of a combination of genetic factors and our interactions with the environment and the consequences that ensue. An antecedent event or a predisposition triggers a behavior(i.e. curious(antecedent) child wants to put his hand on the hot stove. If he succeeds and is burned, he is unlikely to participate in that behavior again, because it hurt. Comparing that to the scientific process of performing an experiment to determine the effects of an action reveals that it is an almost identical process, from hypothesis to experiment to application.

  • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

    I found a list of some scholarly research related to speciation events we have observed.