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March 25, 2005 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Scientific American to stop reporting science, more creationism. There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming...But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.
posted by mr.curmudgeon (208 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Creationists try to use the second law to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw. The second law is quite specific about where it applies - only in a closed system must the entropy count rise. The Earth's not a closed system: it's powered by the sun. So fuck the damn creationists; Doomsday, get my gun! Word. Get up, get up.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:05 PM on March 25, 2005


April Fools, i hope?
posted by amberglow at 7:12 PM on March 25, 2005


Their being sarcastic, amberglow. And it is absolutely wonderful and spot-on.
posted by teece at 7:13 PM on March 25, 2005


they're
posted by teece at 7:14 PM on March 25, 2005


In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of socalled evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it.

Astrology was once considered serious science. In India it is still possible to get a degree in astrology. Evolutionism is not science. It can not be observed. It can not be repeated. It can not be tested.
posted by bevets at 7:19 PM on March 25, 2005


bevets, you are an idiot.
posted by mzurer at 7:21 PM on March 25, 2005


Wrong, wrong and wrong. Go away. Read some books. Come back soon.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:25 PM on March 25, 2005


Evolutionism is not science. It can not be observed. It can not be repeated. It can not be tested.

bevets proves once and for all, that both PT Barnum and Charles Darwin were right. Not only is there a sucker born every minute, they evolve!

How else do you explain this irrefutable logic?
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 7:26 PM on March 25, 2005


This book in particular.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2005


I've always like Scientific American. Good articles, good writing, and clearly good humor. I'm glad they're as bitter as I am about all this nonsense.

I firmly believe the stuff we fear (basically, Florida, Kansas, Ohio) is a passing phase... to be combated but not labored upon, as in time their ignorance will come to light and with any luck they will shame themselves and self-flagellate into bloody pulp, in accordance with their laws.

On preview!

Hey, bevets again!! Evolution is observed every day in every creature's form and function, and repeated every generation by the means of natural selection. It cannot be observed easily, but neither can a single electron - yet would you deny the electron his existence? We have faith in our method, and fortunately we are not blinded with the dogmas of yesteryear - our world is one of wonder and miracle, too, and our God is the truth, and thusly do we seek him: through the scientific method.

Go elsewhere with your systematic ignorance, Bevets, we do not care for your brand of enlightenment.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:29 PM on March 25, 2005


bevets: you are confusing Astrology and Astronomy. If memory serves, Ibn Sina (aka Avicenna) separated the two around 1015 CE. You should look into it.
posted by mlis at 7:29 PM on March 25, 2005


bevets, you are a bug. A lissencephalic homunculus; a syphilitic shmo. Be gone.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:31 PM on March 25, 2005


I'd like any creationist to explain something as simple as the human appendix.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:32 PM on March 25, 2005


Btw, I just spell checked "evolve" 'cuz it all of a sudden looked strange to me (I'm tired), using google (define: evolve) I got this:

"To transform a Pokémon into another Pokémon through the process of evolution defined in the Pokémon storyline. In the TCG, one evolves a Pokémon by putting the evolution card on top of the card for its previous stage."

Maybe we have been wrong all along? bevets wins this round!! But science will live to fight another day!!!
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 7:33 PM on March 25, 2005


That was awesome, excellent post.
posted by blacklite at 7:39 PM on March 25, 2005


A dissenting opinion merits this kind of invective? Heh. Be careful, bevets, you've stirred up the fundamentalists.
posted by gd779 at 7:40 PM on March 25, 2005


He's made a website full of harmful lies; response is justified.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:42 PM on March 25, 2005


uh... yeah. The reactions in this thread are embarassing for the evolutionists; one guy speaks out, politely, without insulting anyone, states his opinion (which I personally strongly disagree with), and you all leap on him, shout him down, insult him personally, etc. Makes this place seem very open for debate...
posted by jonson at 7:43 PM on March 25, 2005


BlackLeotardFront

Hey, bevets again!! Evolution is observed every day in every creature's form and function, and repeated every generation by the means of natural selection.

The opposite truth has been affirmed by innumerable cases of measurable evolution at this minimal scale-but, to be visible at all over so short a span, evolution must be far too rapid (and transient) to serve as the basis for major transformations in geological time. Hence, the “paradox of the visibly irrelevant”-or, if you can see it at all, it’s too fast to matter in the long run. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

We must ask first whether the theory of evolution by natural selection is scientific or pseudoscientific .... Taking the first part of the theory, that evolution has occurred, it says that the history of life is a single process of species-splitting and progression. This process must be unique and unrepeatable, like the history of England. This part of the theory is therefore a historical theory, about unique events, and unique events are, by definition, not part of science, for they are unrepeatable and so not subject to test. ~ Colin Patterson

It all starts with the fruit flys: 'See -- MUTATIONS' Everyone agrees fruit flys have genetic variation, and this is the hot talking point every evolutionist wants to discuss. Some time later you get the sales pitch: 'btw genetic variations over millions and billions of years trace back to a single common anscestor'. This is presented as no big deal, afterall 'See -- MUTATIONS'. Creationists object at this point and evolutionists become indignant: 'This has NOTHING to do with atheism (wink) 'See -- MUTATIONS' After you've hopped on the Darwin Bandwagon and gone down the road awhile someone brings up abiogenesis. This one is a bit tougher to swallow because there is no evidence for this -- not even a plausable story about how it may have happened but 'See -- MUTATIONS'. Years go by and somewhere you see a footnote: 'btw There is no God. Deism proved there was no Creator with Common Descent and then Atheism finished the job with abiogenesis. You've been a member of the Darwin Party so long that you recognize this as a truism. Time to spread your enlightenment around: 'See -- MUTATIONS'

MLIS

bevets: you are confusing Astrology and Astronomy. If memory serves, Ibn Sina (aka Avicenna) separated the two around 1015 CE. You should look into it.

http://internationalreporter.net/scripts/linesDetails.asp?id=156
posted by bevets at 7:43 PM on March 25, 2005


I suppose it is useless to argue with a man facing a white wall, if he keeps insisting that it is black.
posted by clevershark at 7:44 PM on March 25, 2005


SciAm just got a renewal for my subscription; bravo to them. Of course this is my brand of logic.

bevets, you are an idiot etc. etc.
What's with the harrasment on this poster? You don't like the post, fight back, like an EVOLVED human and debate the post. I can't help but look at some of the reactions and think "Knuckle draggers."

I believe evolution is a science, and is all around us. I am not a Christian and also have a hard time the human being, a sentient creature with opposable thumbs is a serious of accidents. Something else, who knows what.

Now, I am going to buy about 10 copies of SciAm - if its real...I hope so...
posted by fluffycreature at 7:49 PM on March 25, 2005


OK, let's go through this again.

Do you accept that we have genes? And that those genes are related to some of our characteristics? I'm going to assume you accept those things.

Do you accept that sometimes those genes change?

Do you accept that some combinations of genes will produce characteristics that make the creature more likely to reproduce?

So we have
1. Things change.
2. Things more likely to stick around are more likely to stick around.

That's evolution. It's simple. It's watertight. The challenge is to suggest why it might not happen.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:49 PM on March 25, 2005


Either you believe in an objective reality, or you don't.

bevets doesn't believe in an objective reality, so arguing with him is as useful as arguing with a stone. Let him think he knows what he is talking about. Meanwhile, the people that actually observe this reality, the one we live in, will be the ones gaining an understanding of it all, and advancing humankind.

You can believe that electron's don't exist. Have at it. It will be other people inventing computers, central power grids, etc. You can tell yourself evolution is "just a theory." It will be other people actually figuring out what it means to be an evolved and evolving organism.

Have fun in the dark ages.
posted by teece at 7:51 PM on March 25, 2005


That name sounds familiar.
posted by birdherder at 7:52 PM on March 25, 2005


Christ. If we're getting Fark's rejects on here, can we at least have 3horn?
posted by Arch Stanton at 7:59 PM on March 25, 2005


Those who feel bevets is being unfairly piled upon may want to check the poster's history. I didn't know myself, but I assumed he had a history here; lo and behold, he does.

Maybe so many shouldn't pile on, but, please try knowing what's going on before you act as if the (lefties/atheists/whatever floats your boat) are being irrational.


On topic: great, great article by Scientific American, thanks for sharing.
posted by livii at 8:04 PM on March 25, 2005


Bevets is SOOOO last week. Sorry, the FARK in me came out....
posted by alteredcarbon at 8:04 PM on March 25, 2005


Pretty_Generic writes "I'd like any creationist to explain something as simple as the human appendix."

If God didn't like to trick us, what would be the point of faith?
posted by orthogonality at 8:07 PM on March 25, 2005


"3-Dimensional math as in length, width and height
are erroneous when applied within a Cube like room
for they do not account for the 4-corner perspective
dimensions of difference as in '4-dimensional space'.
Solar system, Earth sphere and human body all have
a front, back and 2 sides which rotate between the 2
top and bottom poles - ceiling and floor parameters." - Stephen Jay Gould, "Educated Stupid: The Timecube Revelation"

"When I saw this bitch who had to be a winner
And the only thing on my mind was to run up in her
So I got her kind of tipsy with some Sex On The Beach
Then the bitch got hot and she wanted to eat" - Fresh Kid Ice, "The Complete Works of 2 Live Crew"

/bevets
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:08 PM on March 25, 2005


All people thinking the strong reaction to bevets was uncalled for: creationists and their ilk are among the worst kind of vermin crawling through the media these days. They lie all the time, they distort everything they read and their proclaimed ultimate aim is to destroy science and science education. Their aim is political and their weapons are modern marketing techniques, gullible or dishonest journalists and, obviously, the innocent bystanders. So, be careful when defending this people, they won't return the favor when the time comes to force your children's biology teachers to lie.
posted by nkyad at 8:08 PM on March 25, 2005


Bevets, the Stephen Jay Gould quote isn't doing the work for you that you think it's doing. Gould was a strong advocate of evolution and a furious opponent of creationism. He hated it when creationists quoted his arguments out of context, like you're doing.
posted by painquale at 8:17 PM on March 25, 2005


You don't like the post, fight back, like an EVOLVED human and debate the post.

That's just falling into the same trap the editorial was pointing out - this idea that we ought to treat any opinion, no matter how ludicrous or unsupported, with equal weight. Just because there's mountains of evidence, no need to get fanatical! (but see, it was a joke.)

If someone's going to try to support creationism, let them explain what it is first. The theory is "god did it". So, what is god made of? How does it work? Describe the mechanism of "god". Then we can talk.
posted by mdn at 8:21 PM on March 25, 2005


yet would you deny the electron his existence?

Probably, yeah. Even harder to see than the electron? His package.
posted by davejay at 8:22 PM on March 25, 2005


Er, by "his package", I was referring obliquely to the "his" portion of "denying the electron his existence"...not to Bevet's package.

The relative difficulty of seeing that is an exercise left to the reader.
posted by davejay at 8:22 PM on March 25, 2005


And on that same note, you're using Ernst Mayr to somehow argue against evolution?

You must be kidding.
posted by bshort at 8:26 PM on March 25, 2005


Bevets

Evolutionism is not science. It can not be observed. It can not be repeated. It can not be tested.

You say this meaning to reject Evolution (and science in general?) with it's own instruments, right?

Here's what concerns me: God is not observed. He can not be tested, or proved. In fact, the very nature of faith is that it exists in the absence of evidence. So, I can't imagine that you actually have any respect for empirical evidence, or that you find it reassuring in the slightest to have anything you believe upheld with said evidence.

If I'm wrong, please let me know.

If I'm right, then why are you here? What is it in your faith that you feel needs to focus on the mote in your neighbor's eye? Let's say Evolutionism is wrong, and Bevets is right. What you're doing here isn't any kind of missionary style conversion. You're trolling a weblog. Your attempts to debunk science (or at least Evolutionism) with schools of logic you don't have faith in and documentation you don't trust... why are you doing it? If belief in God is grounded in Faith, then why should you care enough about Science to debate it at all? That's the whole thing about Faith, it needs no justification. But yours seems to.

Am I wrong? Is your Faith strong, but you feel the need to correct others? Isn't that awfully Prideful? You're no Thomas Aquinas, here. You're not pushing our understanding of God and the Church to the benefit of all. You're grinding away in pointless arguments against people whose "problem," if they have one, is a lack of faith. How can you create faith with evidence? You're certainly not advocating the uncertainty of our universe as a basis for faith. You're just poking at science and evolution pejoratively.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you do respect science, and you find that it reinforces Creationism rather than Evolution. If so, why don't you supply the evidence? Negating Darwin still doesn't prove God, so where's the proof? Even if there is some, again, I ask "so what?" Why is it that Faith never comes into your discussions? What is it you're looking for here? It doesn't seem to be rational discussion because you don't discuss on topic and you only respond to your weakest opposition and rattle off the same quotes everywhere without ever debating the merits of an opponent's argument.

So, again, why are you so concerned with the mote in your neighbor's eye? What is it you want from us to satisfy your Pride? And why isn't Faith good enough?

posted by shmegegge at 8:28 PM on March 25, 2005


bevets, have you ever looked at mamabevets and papabevets and noticed how you look something like them but not exactlylike them? If you have a babybevets, have you looked at him/her and seen a little bit of yourself? Have you ever thought about how evolution is simply genetic change over time and realized that you bevetses prove it exists?
posted by PhatLobley at 8:31 PM on March 25, 2005


Also, wonderful piece by SA.
posted by PhatLobley at 8:32 PM on March 25, 2005


If you stop feeding the troll, it will go away or starve.

If you keep giving him delicious tidbits like you have been, you'll look around in a bit and find that somehow you're in talk.origins, or sitting across from a table with Serdar Argic beating you with a turkey leg.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:35 PM on March 25, 2005


bevets I don't think you should be rejected out of hand. Prior to becoming an atheist I viewed the theory of evolution much as you do. I became an atheist because I felt that the Biblical onotology and epistemology were both wildly fallacious - which is to say that my reasons were philosophical, not geological.

That being said, I no longer believe that creationism nor intelligent design accurately describe the means by which men were created.

The most important piece of knowledge I can convey to you is that the scientific method demands that each branch of knowledge never be complete. The more we observe the universe, the more accurate our theories describing it will become. It may be possible for our model of the universe to correspond with the state of the universe to within 99.999% or greater accuracy, but a full 100% accuracy is impossible without creating another, larger universe with which to describe the one in which we live.

The second most important piece of knowledge I can convey to you is the existence of the principle of emergent complexity, of which you may be unaware. I encourage you to at least gloss over the topic by reading wikipedia's entry on it. Ponder how this could apply to biological organisms, how it might provide an answer more complex and fulfilling than ". . . and MUTATIONS," and perhaps you will begin to fill in a major missing piece in your puzzle.

The third and final piece of knowledge is how life can possibly form out of basically inorganic molecules. Even within the multitude of soups of goo stewn about primordial Earth, it seems to require a leap of faith to believe that somehow the simplest of cells could form from them (it seems logical that virii and prions, simpler organisms than cells, only arose as parasites once complex organisms were already well-established). I had some notion of how it might be done via protein chains and the above emergent complexity, but even so that seemed a fairly weak explanation on which to base the existence of all life.

And so I turn your attention to meehawl's enlightening Metafilter comment, and this corresponding Wikipedia article.

I think that once you consider those two points, and take into account the principle of emergent complexity, you may arrive at a more satisfactory explanation as to how life might have arisen from seemingly nothing.
posted by Ryvar at 8:40 PM on March 25, 2005


*snaps* *snaps* to shmegegge

MeFi walks upright /without/ putting on a brownshirt.

ROU_Xenophobe If you stop feeding the troll, it will go away or starve.
I disagree, we have a discussion taking place. If a trolling post comes along, or perhaps the word of god is dropped into the blue, I think your suggestion is the wisdom of the day. Wave to the buggy and just drive by.

Did I mention I renewed my subscription to SciAm? *hint hint* You can just bet with this editorial they are going to be a target by certain well organized 'Americans."
posted by fluffycreature at 8:42 PM on March 25, 2005


If I could just post something about this Scientific American piece, I think this kind of heavy-handed polemic is really beneath them. I don't see what the point is of taking on these crackpot letter writers. Besides, I'm sure they get mail from left-wing critics complaining that they're too easy on the pharmaceutical industry or GMOs. This really makes them look like they have a political axe to grind.
posted by transona5 at 8:44 PM on March 25, 2005


Don't argue with Bevets. He's an evolution troll.
posted by bshort at 8:47 PM on March 25, 2005


Either you believe in an objective reality, or you don't.

teece doesn't believe in an objective reality, so arguing with him is as useful as arguing with a stone. Let him think he knows what he is talking about. Meanwhile, the people that actually observe this reality, the one we live in, will be the ones gaining an understanding of it all, and advancing humankind.

Those who feel livii is being unfairly piled upon may want to check the poster's history. I didn't know myself, but I assumed she had a history here; lo and behold, she does.

All people thinking the strong reaction to nkyad was uncalled for: evolutionists and their ilk are among the worst kind of vermin crawling through the media these days. They lie all the time, they distort everything they read and their proclaimed ultimate aim is to destroy science and science education. Their aim is political and their weapons are modern marketing techniques, gullible or dishonest journalists and, obviously, the innocent bystanders. So, be careful when defending this people, they won't return the favor when the time comes to force your children's biology teachers to lie.

When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff. ~ Cicero

shmegegge

Here's what concerns me: God is not observed. He can not be tested, or proved. In fact, the very nature of faith is that it exists in the absence of evidence. So, I can't imagine that you actually have any respect for empirical evidence, or that you find it reassuring in the slightest to have anything you believe upheld with said evidence.

Luke 1.1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

John 10.32 but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" 37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."

Acts 26.26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.

If I'm right, then why are you here? What is it in your faith that you feel needs to focus on the mote in your neighbor's eye? Let's say Evolutionism is wrong, and Bevets is right. What you're doing here isn't any kind of missionary style conversion. You're trolling a weblog. Your attempts to debunk science (or at least Evolutionism) with schools of logic you don't have faith in and documentation you don't trust... why are you doing it?

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/dp20050208.shtml

Ryvar

The most important piece of knowledge I can convey to you is that the scientific method demands that each branch of knowledge never be complete. The more we observe the universe, the more accurate our theories describing it will become. It may be possible for our model of the universe to correspond with the state of the universe to within 99.999% or greater accuracy, but a full 100% accuracy is impossible without creating another, larger universe with which to describe the one in which we live.

Would you say that evolutionism is 3% accurate or 97% accurate? How can your answer be verified?
posted by bevets at 8:59 PM on March 25, 2005


This really makes them look like they have a political axe to grind.

That's because they do. They have a great deal at stake in this current climate. How do you think Readers Digest would react if a largish group, being granted concessions by our government, came a-knockin' promoting illiteracy?
posted by davelog at 9:01 PM on March 25, 2005


Flips to current sciam issue's editorial.. Yup, there it is.
It even has a mockup of what this new issue would look like.

A Balanced Debate: Is The Earth Flat?
The Myth of the Atom
Let's Just Ignore CO2
Reason, Shmeason
posted by Physics Package at 9:12 PM on March 25, 2005


fluffycreature:

*snaps* *snaps* to shmegegge

MeFi walks upright /without/ putting on a brownshirt.


did you just call me a nazi? For asking a legitimate question of Bevets? What the fuck is wrong with you?
posted by shmegegge at 9:17 PM on March 25, 2005


sigh ...

*i'm telling you, we came from cleveland*

/no, detroit, that's where we came from/

*cleveland, i say, cleveland*

/detroit, damnit, detroit/

(from the back seat) "hey guys, was that a sign saying there's a bridge out ahead?"

*cleveland*

/detroit/

*CLEVELAND!!*

(from the back seat) "hey, guys, i think you'd better slow down"

/DETROIT!!!!/

the world might be a better place, if we started looking where we were going instead of arguing where we came from
posted by pyramid termite at 9:19 PM on March 25, 2005


Would you say that evolutionism is 3% accurate or 97% accurate? How can your answer be verified?

It can't, and such was neither my contention nor my point. We can never know how close our model is to accurately describing every causal relationship in the universe. Our progression towards a model of the universe cannot be measured - and even if we could, that number would be utterly irrelevant. All we can know, is that by continuing to observe and create increasingly accurate models of the universe via the theories arising from those observations, we will continue to draw closer to the truth.

My point was not to throw out some unverifiable number for you, shouting "Our model of biology is 97% right and therefore evolution MUST be true!" My point was to reinforce for you the basic principle of the scientific method - that one begins with no assumptions, and by constant observation draws closer to understanding how the universe works. If there is a biological model explaining the creation of modern man which better fits our observations of the fossil record, DNA, and other fields touched by evolution than evolution itself, then evolution will be discarded in favor of that model.
posted by Ryvar at 9:21 PM on March 25, 2005


Anyone who calls evolution evolutionism is probably too far gone to engage in debate.
posted by Chanther at 9:21 PM on March 25, 2005



I got that from a previous thread.
posted by bshort at 9:24 PM on March 25, 2005


Ok, since no one will actually read this, I'll say it.

Whether or not evolution is dead on....

It's 1000000000000% CLOSER than a higher being just shitting it out.

C'mon, have you seen a platypus? What the fuck? Can you just keep the religious crap in your pants?
posted by filmgeek at 9:26 PM on March 25, 2005


shmegegge

Ah, no - I was not calling you a Nazi. Actually applauding your post for advancing the discussion.

Look again.
posted by fluffycreature at 9:28 PM on March 25, 2005


"Here's what concerns me: God is not observed. He can not be tested, or proved. In fact, the very nature of faith is that it exists in the absence of evidence."

Then:

Luke 1.1...John 10.32...Acts 26.26

One can only debate faith from within the circle of faith with others of faith.

Faith has nothing to do with science or the scientific method.

Evolution is scientific.

So, then, why do some choose to take their faith outside the circle and try to argue against something (evolution) that has absolutely nothing to do with faith?

There is no reason one cannot have faith and believe in evolution. Nothing in the bible makes this impossible. Matter of fact, those who think otherwise are doing two things:

1) Limiting God and God's plan, which scripture after scripture tell us is something we will never fully know in this world. (i.e. why couldn't God be responsible for the mechanism of evolution since God created all?)

2) Limiting the gifts that God gave you BESIDES faith; eyes to see, a brain to think and reason with, etc. To say that these things don't matter is to say God's creation of them doesn't matter.
posted by UseyurBrain at 9:29 PM on March 25, 2005


useyurbrain ... *applauds*
posted by pyramid termite at 9:31 PM on March 25, 2005


Bevets

Okay, I'm going to assume that you're quoting the bible to say "There is evidence of God. It's in the bible." And also to say that you imagine yourself as doing similar work as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did, among others, by trolling MeFi. And also to say that you have quotations to spew that aren't from Darwinists.

So let me say again, you're trolling a weblog. You're not reinforcing or instilling faith here, and I doubt that you're even trying to. So please, be straightforward and in your own words try to tell me what it is preciesly that you hope to accomplish, here. Faith isn't even a word you've used on Metafilter, yet.

That link? Hardly a satisfactory explanation. Sure, it's a cute little logical twist to say that Secularism devalues human beings in a way that Christian doctrine values them, but it's not actually true. There're entire schools of non-religious philosophy dedicated to humanism and other methods of extolling the virtue of appreciating and helping your fellow man. So spare me. I doubt that you see yourself as saving souls, here. If you do, then explain your methodology to me, if you don't mind, because all I see is nitpicking and trolling.

Mind you, I'm not an atheist. I'm agnostic, which many religious folk find to be little more than a euphemism for atheist, but there you have it. If there's anyone on MetaFilter who's actually found reason to doubt Darwin, it's people like me. And if there's anyone on MetaFilter who sees the uncertainty of the universe as a basis for Faith, it's me. My reasons for not having faith are my own, but I'm curious about your reasons for being here. That's why I'm asking, "What is it you want to accomplish." Because as someone who sees the value and logic behind an argument for the value of Faith because of uncertainty, even I'm completely stumped trying to figure out what you're trying to prove, here.

Are you just here to say "Evolution isn't a scientific fact." and leave it at that? Surely you have a reason for wanting to point that out. Surely there's a larger point you'd like to make, except you're not making it.
posted by shmegegge at 9:32 PM on March 25, 2005


fluffycreature

whew. sorry for flaming out there. I saw it as a comparison, rather than a contrast. thank you for the compliment.
posted by shmegegge at 9:33 PM on March 25, 2005


Useyurbrain:

I wasn't saying that a person of faith can't talk about them... but why troll the internet about it? That was my point. If you read again, you'll see I'm talking about how he approaches the topic, and the possible reasons for it that his comments imply.

I suggest that he's doing this for reasons outside of virtue. That's my point. I don't see his work as missionary, just childish, and it makes me wonder at the plank within his own eye, and the strength of his faith.
posted by shmegegge at 9:38 PM on March 25, 2005


Bevets
What percentage is creationism accurate?
posted by pg at 9:39 PM on March 25, 2005


Shmegegge:

I was actually responding to his response to you. That was directed at Bevets.
posted by UseyurBrain at 9:41 PM on March 25, 2005


The opposite truth has been affirmed by innumerable cases of measurable evolution at this minimal scale-but, to be visible at all over so short a span, evolution must be far too rapid (and transient) to serve as the basis for major transformations in geological time. Hence, the “paradox of the visibly irrelevant”-or, if you can see it at all, it’s too fast to matter in the long run. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

painquale

Bevets, the Stephen Jay Gould quote isn't doing the work for you that you think it's doing. Gould was a strong advocate of evolution and a furious opponent of creationism. He hated it when creationists quoted his arguments out of context, like you're doing.

Please explain how I have quoted him out of context

Ryvar

My point was not to throw out some unverifiable number for you, shouting "Our model of biology is 97% right and therefore evolution MUST be true!" My point was to reinforce for you the basic principle of the scientific method - that one begins with no assumptions, and by constant observation draws closer to understanding how the universe works. If there is a biological model explaining the creation of modern man which better fits our observations of the fossil record, DNA, and other fields touched by evolution than evolution itself, then evolution will be discarded in favor of that model.

Scientists sometimes deceive themselves into thinking that philosophical ideas are only, at best, decorations or parasitic commentaries on the hard, objective triumphs of science, and that they themselves are immune to the confusions that philosophers devote their lives to dissolving. But there is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination. ~ Daniel Dennett

There can be no observations without an immense apparatus of preexisting theory. Before sense experiences become "observations" we need a theoretical question, and what counts as a relevant observation depends upon a theoretical frame into which it is to be placed. Repeatable observations that do not fit into an existing frame have a way of disappearing from view, and the experiments that produced them are not revisited. ~ Richard Lewontin

Facts do not "speak for themselves"; they are read in the light of theory. Creative thought, in science as much as in the arts, is the motor of changing opinion. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective 'scientific method,' with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

It is, in fact, a common fantasy, promulgated mostly by the scientific profession itself, that in the search for objective truth, data dictate conclusions. If this were the case, then each scientist faced with the same data would necessarily reach the same conclusion. But as we've seen earlier and will see again and again, frequently this does not happen. Data are just as often molded to fit preferred conclusions. ~ Roger Lewin
posted by bevets at 9:44 PM on March 25, 2005


Useyurbrain:

what is with me misinterpreting shows of support today?! fuck! thanks, though.
posted by shmegegge at 9:47 PM on March 25, 2005


Cheers to you, shmegegge, but something tells me this Bevets character isn't ever going to get around to addressing any of your questions. I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on this story. How 'bout it, Bevets?
posted by maryh at 9:57 PM on March 25, 2005


UseyurBrain while I would like to agree with you, you're quite simply wrong:

2nd Timothy 3:16 -
"16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

If all scripture is given by inspiration of God, it must be true. If it must be true, than Christians MUST accept on faith that the biblical account of Creation is literally true. This being the case, scientific theory as to the genesis of man and biblical dogma regarding the same can not be conjoined in the mind of any reasonable individual.

Bevets, I can carry this discussion no further until you have read the first three chapters of Meditations on First Philosophy by Descartes, the founder of all Western philosophy, in which he outlines why all knowledge must begin with the assumption of no knowledge. All Western philosophy and indeed the foundation of the scientific method itself arise from those first three chapters.

Chapters four through seven then attempt to provide a proof for the explanation of God, using an argument so crudely and visibly circular that it is referred to as "the Cartesian Circle," and these chapters are considered an example as to how even the most intelligent of philosophers and scientists can be swayed by zeitgeist or personal dogma. All scientists would arrive only at the same conclusion if there was no sociological bias, personal bias, difference in skill, and adherance to the scientific method. There are great variations in all of these attributes between all scientists, and thusly we demand that all theories be retested time and again to ensure their veracity.

Even if all of this were not the case Gould, Dennet, and Lewonton do not, despite your implication, speak for all scientists worldwide.
posted by Ryvar at 9:59 PM on March 25, 2005


maryh:

he might. he doesn't openly flame, or anything, so maybe he wants to talk about this.

That article is amazing, though! After Jurassic park, scientists actually said "hey, maybe there are some jurassic mosquitoes we can find!" and started looking for ancient amber deposits everywhere. I'm not kidding. Nothing came of it, though. But this! At the risk of people shouting newsfilter, might that be front page worthy?
posted by shmegegge at 10:07 PM on March 25, 2005


stop feeding the troll
posted by exlotuseater at 10:13 PM on March 25, 2005


stupid. I see it WAS on the front page. sorry.
posted by shmegegge at 10:13 PM on March 25, 2005


shmegegge: we . . . already had this party. It's just that . . . *looks at feet, shuffles* nobody invited you.
posted by Ryvar at 10:19 PM on March 25, 2005


sure are a lot of scared little boys whistling past the graveyard in here.
posted by quonsar at 10:20 PM on March 25, 2005


Whenever quonsar says something inscrutable I am always filled with this sense of dread that he was mocking me specifically.
posted by Ryvar at 10:26 PM on March 25, 2005


It seems like only a couple of weeks ago I was warning people of the fun they'd have once bevets came to visit, but they wouldn't listen...

That said... we can joke about it all we want, but these types are trying to lead us into the next Dark Ages. Faith over facts, belief over reality... I long for the days when these types weren't in public office.
posted by BoringPostcards at 10:46 PM on March 25, 2005


Ryvar writes "If there is a biological model explaining the creation of modern man which better fits our observations of the fossil record, DNA, and other fields touched by evolution than evolution itself, then evolution will be discarded in favor of that model."

You're right, but the point can be made even more strongly: it's not just that evolution is consistent with what we know, it's also consistent with what we don't know.

It has predictive and explanatory power: using evolution, we are able to say, "assuming evolution is correct, we ought to see this", and then when we do look, we see what evolution predicts.

We say, evolution tells us that meiosis helps to keep each paired chromosome like its opposite pair, because genes are exchanged in meiosis. Because meiosis only takes place in sexual reproduction, this allows us to predict that in asexual reproduction, paired chromosomes will diverge. when we look at bdelloid rotifers, we see what was predicted: their chromosomes do diverge, and we can even compare the chromosome divergence between pairs against the to the total mutational change in the entire bdelloid rotifer genome, to come up with a good idea of how long bdelloid rotifers have been reproducing asexually: abut 80 million years.

We say, evolution predicts that, since workers bees born to a queen with only one mate share more genes, on average, with their haploid nephews -- that is, males born to other workers -- than with their diploid brothers born to the queen, the workers will favor their nephews. And the prediction turns out to be true. We can also predict, using Trivers' work, that if the queen mated with more than one male, a nephew isn't necessarily more related, so the workers in that case won't favor nephews. And that also turns out to be true. (Bee examples from a recent and excellent FPP).

Note that in the bee example, we don't know what mechanism allows a worker to "know" how many mates her mother the queen has had, or the mechanism that, given that "knowledge" allows the worker to modify her behavior. We just know that the worker behaves "as if" she understood the genetic math involved, and knew the mating history. Of course, bees don't do genetics or math and probably don't even remember matings -- but we don't need to see the mechanism to predict that it and the behavior must be there: evolutionary theory predicted that bees would act like "as if" geneticists, and bees do.

Now that's power: evolution is such a very good theory that it tells us certain mechanisms must be there, and when we look, even if we're unable to see the mechanism, we see evolution's predictive powers proven true.

That's science: a physicist on being told about changing temperature in a room full of some gas, knows there's a relation between temperature and pressure because Boyle's law predicts it. The physicist doesn't have to go to the room himself, or ask what mechanism is responsible for the temperature change, or in what direction the temperature is changing, or really even what kind of gas in the room -- the physicist can with confidence predict that pressure and temperature are dependent on one another.

That's predictive power -- and we've just seen that evolutionary theory gives that same power to biologists. And just as Boyle's law applies to all rooms filled with gas, evolution applies to all living things -- including, and this is where the creationists are sometimes joined in an uneasy alliance with the academic Left -- even in human behavior.

Evolutionary theory tells us that genes which survive to reproduce increase in frequency. One way to increase the frequency of your genes, if you're male, is to kill other males' children. Lions kill lionesses' cubs in order to bring the lionesses into estrus. So do chimps. And humans, despite our culture and our learning and, according to the creationist, special creation by God, humans are animals too. So it should be no surprise that among humans, step-children are at far higher risk of abuse from step-fathers than are natural children. (And step-fathers are more likely to abuse step-children than are step-mothers.) Just because it's natural doesn't make infanticide and child abuse right, or exculpate abusers, but it does serve to explain some of the reason such abuse occurs.

Again, predictive explanatory power -- that's what distinguishes science from philosophy or theology or wishful thinking. Science isn't just consistent with what we know, it's consistent with -- it predicts -- what we don't yet know.
posted by orthogonality at 10:50 PM on March 25, 2005


Bevets, Lewontin is acknowledging the social apparatus present in the scientific method while still acknowledging the fact that as science becomes more prescise, it more accurately represents an empirical reality.

He then defers to Kuhn who explains that, while social pressures may cause the rejection of some theory, as science continues those anomalies may be reexamined in a time of crisis.

Science does exclude some valid experimental results in an irrational manner, but that does not necessarily mean that all rejected theories are correct.

Some are just crap and will be rejected out of hand.

Who's next to be quoted out of context?
posted by jmgorman at 10:53 PM on March 25, 2005


Stop with the feeding.
posted by bshort at 11:01 PM on March 25, 2005


orthogonality writes "Now that's power: evolution is such a very good theory that it tells us certain mechanisms must be there, and when we look, even if we're unable to see the mechanism, we see evolution's predictive powers proven true."

I append to myself: please remember that when Darwin proposed the theory of evolution, he'd not yet seen Mendel's work with cross-breeding peas (and unfortunately, never would), nor did anyone have any idea that DNA existed or by what mechanisms DNA operated.

All Darwin had to go on was what he could observe in the macro-systems of environments, not the micro-systems of cells: adaptation and variation occurred. So Darwin said, since this is happening, there must be something passed from each parent to its children, something that can and does change, but is stable enough that more advantageous forms of it can be favored and copied and so increase in frequency.

And that's what makes Darwin such a great scientist: with so few tools at his disposal, with no way to study the mechanism themselves, Darwin predicted that not only were the mechanisms there, but also they had to be there, and that they had to follow certain laws, laws he enumerated as the theory of evolution. That's his sheer brilliance: he was basically took a monumental black box, a black box containing all of biology, and with stunning accuracy, described what was inside the box he did not have the tools to open.

One hundred twenty years later, having opened that black box only to find it contains rank upon rank of nested boxes, we keep opening the newly revealed boxes and discovering that Darwin's prediction of what would be seen inside is a pretty damned close match for what we mere mortals can see and touch and experiment on.

That is to say, if Darwin were to reappear today, the details of genetics -- what sugars and bases DNA is made of, for example -- would surprise him, but the general overview of biology would be quite comfortably familiar to him. Because he literally wrote that book, and figuratively read the Book of Nature.
posted by orthogonality at 11:05 PM on March 25, 2005


ortho: that's a remarkable explanation. thanks for that. It kind of brings home the real impressive aspects of his work. I often forget that Darwin didn't know what a gene was, or what it was precisely that was passed on from generation to generation.
posted by shmegegge at 11:23 PM on March 25, 2005


I know others have posted similar points, but I just wanted to put this in cause I've been gone.
Bevets, please respond to these points, as they outline what appear to be a directly observable basis for evolution:

- Different phenotypes encounter systematically different rates of success in a given environment.
- Our genes describe and direct those phenotypes.
- Minor changes to these genes can result in relatively major or minor changes to a phenotype.
- These changes lead to an increase or decrease of the success of that gene set.
- Successful sets of genes are carried over to the next generation; less successful ones are eventually eliminated.

I don't see how these points are refutable given that they are supported by mounds of empirical evidence.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:27 PM on March 25, 2005


orthogonality, *thumbs up*

btw, are you a bioinformatics guy?
posted by growli at 11:32 PM on March 25, 2005


Soundbites do not an argument make, Bevets, and MeFi is not the place to be proselytizing.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:35 PM on March 25, 2005


Ryvar:

I... I see. No, no that's cool. No, really, it's no problem. No! Seriously, don't worry about me. I'm not bothered. Really, it's no problem. Ha. Kind of... funny, really. No, I'm fine. I'm gonna... I'm gonna go... now.
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 PM on March 25, 2005


Nice post, orthogonality. If this were MoFi I'd offer a banana.
posted by maryh at 11:46 PM on March 25, 2005


perpendicularity --er, orthogonality: some nice writing.

What most fascinates me about Darwin's core idea is that it is a simple tautology: that which is able to survive and reproduce, will survive and reproduce. Couple that with the notion that living things aren't static, but instead dynamic and ever changing, and one is off and running with evolution.

It's so simple. It is amazing it took so long for anyone to see it. But of course, the truly brilliant ideas often are very simple. Einstein's key contributions in 1905 were all extremely simple. Indeed, in relativity the only insight he really had was to simply trust the math. Lorenz had already come up with the theory of special relativity, he just didn't know it. Einstein saw it, and decided to run with, and accept what observation was telling him was reality, rather than assuming it was a hack to make a bit of math work.

That, in a nutshell, is what empiricism is all about. Believe what you find to be true, not what you want to be true (to say it badly).
posted by teece at 11:49 PM on March 25, 2005


Gee, the Bible sure is a neat story, isn't it?
posted by sian at 11:51 PM on March 25, 2005


I'd just like to point out that I was watching Inherit the Wind on Turner Classic today and it is amazing to me that we're still discussing this as a question so long after 1960, much less 1925. It would be like watching The Crucible on TV while the president still "hasn't made his mind up" about witches.
posted by pokeydonut at 11:52 PM on March 25, 2005


Orthogonality, there is one problem with what you're saying, though. While, yes, the predictive ability of correct theories is amazing, one must be careful not to fall victim to the fallacy of universality. That is, the assumption that theories can be universally applied.

This is why relativity was needed to correct Newtonian physics on the extreme upper end, and why quantum mechanics was needed to correct Newtonian physics on the lower end. We still haven't found the graviton, and there appears to be evidence coming out now that gravity does NOT work consistently over extremely large distances.

Our models of physics are far from finished.

At some point biology may encounter extrema and unknowns that demand a major revision to current prevailing theory. Darwin's predictions about mechanisms that could be there before he'd seen them could have been wildly wrong if he'd used his theory to attempt to predict qualities of these as-of-yet-unencountered extrema.

I guess what I'm saying is that you need to be careful about how far you run with that idea - a lot of awfully good scientists have been blinded by universality.
posted by Ryvar at 12:03 AM on March 26, 2005


Argh. Better Wikipedia link. Sorry about that.
posted by Ryvar at 12:08 AM on March 26, 2005


Bevets: next time you respond, try doing so in your own words.
You seem to find these quotes which although I think you feel they are somehow profound, I dont think they actually answer the questions that people are asking.
I think you will be more likely to make a point this way.
posted by phyle at 12:09 AM on March 26, 2005


growli writes " orthogonality, *thumbs up*

"btw, are you a bioinformatics guy?"


Nope. Bio's just a hobby(-horse) of mine.

It's the explanatory power -- that just amazes me every time. A constant sense of intellectual orgasm, like when you're listening to classical music and the resolving note is exactly what it should be, but better -- just the one, aha! that follows! oh wow, I see the mechanism in my head, it makes sense, it's not just right, it must be right, only that note fits.

It's the same feeling you get when it hits you exactly why the Boyer-Moore string search algorithm works (since DNA is isomorphic to a string of letters, this makes for a good comparison.) You see it, and then you say to yourself, well, it's not only obvious now, it's obviously the one (or one of very few) right answers, and then you think, and why didn't I see it myself, because now it seems so clear and obvious and inescapable. It's almost as if you did think of it yourself.

(Or (less so), the feeling when those random dot stereograms snap into place.)

It's like the first time you see the second orientation when looking at a Necker Cube. And then you force yourself to see one orientation and then the other over and over and then you marvel that at first it looked like a flat hexagon. Because now it's hard to see the hexagon, because you keep seeing the cube.

Or the mental thunderclap when you get why Genaille-Lucas Rulers work.

Like the first time you kissed anyone romantically, or your first kiss with someone you hadn't kissed before. It's a rush, and it's peaceful at the same time. For a brief moment, it's almost like the first kiss ever.

It's when something inside your head is permanently changed, and you are enlightened. An epiphany. It's the closest I ever get to religious awe, to that feeling that I'm part of God, that I extend beyond myself. That sense of connection.

And I get this from all sorts of good evolutionary biology. Like the bees FPP. At this point, some of the conclusions are similar enough to others I've seen that it doesn't hit me as hard, but there's still the "yes!, had to be!". I got that a lot from the bees FPP. "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" head nod, nod, nod, "yes it fits".

It's that eureka!, it just all fits into place feeling, and I guess I'm a bit addicted to that feeling.
posted by orthogonality at 12:12 AM on March 26, 2005


Pokeydonut - funny you should mention Inherit the Wind - I played it for my 11-year-old son recently, and was shocked at how apt it still was. Out of any number of Florida or Kansas towns you could still summon crowds every bit as bad as the rabble of the fictional Hillsboro. And as for Henry Drummond, he's got his own show on Fox.

Plus ca change....

Okay, maybe the troll is full now.
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:16 AM on March 26, 2005


*sharpens stick in preparation for armageddon/trolls...
posted by schyler523 at 12:40 AM on March 26, 2005


Evolution, unfortunately, doesn't seem to apply to idiots.
posted by c13 at 12:46 AM on March 26, 2005


Didn't thought Metafilter would allow for such long user names.
posted by foreverycomplexproblemthereisasolutionthatiswrong at 1:43 AM on March 26, 2005


> Evolution, unfortunately, doesn't seem to apply to idiots.

They can't reproduce if you don't respond to them, you know.

Evolution requires _selection_. Of genes, of memes too.

Choose which conversations you want to evolve.
Eschew those not worth furthering.
IF you don't like it, don't help it reproduce.

---
Apropos of which, the Sci. Am. April Fool's approach is great.
posted by hank at 1:52 AM on March 26, 2005


If creationism is true, why did He give men nipples?
posted by Balisong at 2:19 AM on March 26, 2005


Ryvar - UseyurBrain while I would like to agree with you, you're quite simply wrong:

2nd Timothy 3:16 -
"16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

If all scripture is given by inspiration of God, it must be true. If it must be true, than Christians MUST accept on faith that the biblical account of Creation is literally true. This being the case, scientific theory as to the genesis of man and biblical dogma regarding the same can not be conjoined in the mind of any reasonable individual.


You make this too easy. It's not. There, now you're quite simply wrong.
posted by chicken nuglet at 2:32 AM on March 26, 2005


It all starts with the fruit flys: 'See -- MUTATIONS' Everyone agrees fruit flys have genetic variation, and this is the hot talking point every evolutionist wants to discuss. Some time later you get the sales pitch: 'btw genetic variations over millions and billions of years trace back to a single common anscestor'. This is presented as no big deal, afterall 'See -- MUTATIONS'. Creationists object at this point and evolutionists become indignant: 'This has NOTHING to do with atheism (wink) 'See -- MUTATIONS' After you've hopped on the Darwin Bandwagon and gone down the road awhile someone brings up abiogenesis. This one is a bit tougher to swallow because there is no evidence for this -- not even a plausable story about how it may have happened but 'See -- MUTATIONS'. Years go by and somewhere you see a footnote: 'btw There is no God. Deism proved there was no Creator with Common Descent and then Atheism finished the job with abiogenesis. You've been a member of the Darwin Party so long that you recognize this as a truism. Time to spread your enlightenment around: 'See -- MUTATIONS'

orthogonality

You're right, but the point can be made even more strongly: it's not just that evolution is consistent with what we know, it's also consistent with what we don't know.

It has predictive and explanatory power: using evolution, we are able to say, "assuming evolution is correct, we ought to see this", and then when we do look, we see what evolution predicts.

That's predictive power -- and we've just seen that evolutionary theory gives that same power to biologists. And just as Boyle's law applies to all rooms filled with gas, evolution applies to all living things -- including, and this is where the creationists are sometimes joined in an uneasy alliance with the academic Left -- even in human behavior.


BlackLeotardFront

Successful sets of genes are carried over to the next generation; less successful ones are eventually eliminated.

I don't see how these points are refutable given that they are supported by mounds of empirical evidence.


In scientific controversies, there is rarely any argument about facts. It is rather their interpretation that is controversial. ~ Ernst Mayr

Another aspect of the new philosophy of biology concerns the role of laws. Laws give way to concepts in Darwinism. In the physical sciences, as a rule, theories, are based on laws; for example, the laws of motion led to the theory of gravitation. In evolutionary biology, however, theories are largely based on concepts such as competition, female choice, selection, succession and dominance, These biological concepts, and the theories based on them, cannot be reduced to the laws and theories of the physical sciences. ~ Ernst Mayr

Here is a useful summary:

If it is science, it is not evolutionism. If it is evolutionism, it is not science.


Scientists sometimes deceive themselves into thinking that philosophical ideas are only, at best, decorations or parasitic commentaries on the hard, objective triumphs of science, and that they themselves are immune to the confusions that philosophers devote their lives to dissolving. But there is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination. ~ Daniel Dennett

There can be no observations without an immense apparatus of preexisting theory. Before sense experiences become "observations" we need a theoretical question, and what counts as a relevant observation depends upon a theoretical frame into which it is to be placed. Repeatable observations that do not fit into an existing frame have a way of disappearing from view, and the experiments that produced them are not revisited. ~ Richard Lewontin

Facts do not "speak for themselves"; they are read in the light of theory. Creative thought, in science as much as in the arts, is the motor of changing opinion. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective 'scientific method,' with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

It is, in fact, a common fantasy, promulgated mostly by the scientific profession itself, that in the search for objective truth, data dictate conclusions. If this were the case, then each scientist faced with the same data would necessarily reach the same conclusion. But as we've seen earlier and will see again and again, frequently this does not happen. Data are just as often molded to fit preferred conclusions. ~ Roger Lewin


jmgorman

Bevets, Lewontin is acknowledging the social apparatus present in the scientific method while still acknowledging the fact that as science becomes more prescise, it more accurately represents an empirical reality.

He then defers to Kuhn who explains that, while social pressures may cause the rejection of some theory, as science continues those anomalies may be reexamined in a time of crisis.

Science does exclude some valid experimental results in an irrational manner, but that does not necessarily mean that all rejected theories are correct.

Some are just crap and will be rejected out of hand.

Who's next to be quoted out of context?


Evolutionism begins with the question 'If there is no God, how did we get here?' Darwin did his best to answer this question, but it is all a Dog and Pony Show stacked on a House of Cards. God exists, and He is our Creator.

pg

What percentage is creationism accurate?

I suspect most of it is wrong. Science is not competent to determine pre historic events. Here are the parts that are correct:

1) God is our Creator
2) The universe is several thousand years old
3) There was a universal flood
posted by bevets at 3:15 AM on March 26, 2005


My god is better than bevets' god, because bevets' god was incapable of creating a system that could run on its own and requres constant interference.

Bevets' god is a bit of a twit, actually.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:21 AM on March 26, 2005


orthogonality > bevets

until this post i hadn't realized that you can actually win a flame war.
posted by radiosig at 3:49 AM on March 26, 2005


I thought the theory of evolution was put forth in order to find the best explanation of the physical world? It may not be perfect, but I do believe it is the best, all encompassing theory out there. I don't even think most people take God into the equation when supporting evolution; it makes as much sense as His existence when you decide to eat a stroodle or a breakfast pastry of some type.

Also, even if you determined that some actor created present biology, what makes you scientifically conclude it was God, or that the force that did is your conception of God? Why couldn't it be aliens, or Prometheus? What's the basis of you assumption if we're being all scientific here?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:56 AM on March 26, 2005


you=your
It is early.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:57 AM on March 26, 2005


Bevets said:

Science is not competent to determine pre historic events. Here are the parts that are correct:

1) God is our Creator
2) The universe is several thousand years old
3) There was a universal flood


Doesn't this imply that while Science is not competent to determine pre historic events, Bevets is? Surely that's not what he meant to imply. But how can we know? If he has some reason to believe those things, he sure as hell isn't providing it. Maybe God speaks to Bevets, as he was said to do to Brady.
posted by shmegegge at 4:16 AM on March 26, 2005


Okay, here's my take on the Bevets matter, and unless given reason to I have nothing further to add:

1. Bevets supplies no evidence to support his points.
2. Bevets' method of answering direct questions is to quote Scientists (and occasionally classical poets and scripture) out of context so that it sounds like they're admitting they don't know what they're doing.
2a. When confronted about this, his only answer has been to point out that creationists are sometimes quoted out of context, too. This is presumably to excuse his own behavior.
3. His ultimate point seems to be that Evolution assumes God doesn't exist, when Bevets is perfectly well aware that:
3a. he does
3b. the universe (despite all evidence to the contrary) is several thousand years old
3c. there was a universal flood (which I presume means that it was a flood found in almost all ancient religions and myths, rather than a flood that extended over the entire universe).
4. Bevets' method of debate is known as The Appeal to Authority.
4a. This means that he tries to debunk an argument by showing how experts on the matter disagree or are unreliable, etc... This is a logical fallacy because it doesn't actually address the given argument.
5. When asked to clarify his position, by me, because it seemed like his motives were suspect, he declined to do so.

That is the evidence regarding Bevets' character and motivation. There is some minor interpretation thereof by me of the evidence, but I don't claim that my interpretations are necessarily correct.

What is ultimately lacking in that list is any indication that Bevets intends to debate the merits of the issue. While some MeFites have chosen to deride Bevets, the majority of the discussion in this thread has focused on meeting Bevets as a peer who deserved respectful discussion rather than flaming. However, I see no indication that Bevets has any intention of engaging in respectful discussion. Instead, he employs baiting tactics, derision, misinformation and diversion.

Bevets is a troll. I suspected it at first, explained my suspicion and asked him to clarify his point so that I could understand some interpretation of his discussion thus far that did NOT look like trolling, but he chose not to do so. His choice, I guess.

I suppose (and it is, of course, purely supposition) that in his mind, Bevets imagines his detractors as people who either can't or won't meet his arguments in civil debate and who choose to attack his character because they can't argue against him. In the case of a lot of us, if they're anything like me, this is simply untrue. For my part, I won't engage in further discourse with Bevets for one simple reason: He's not discussing anything. He's just being an asshole, and he seems for all intents and purposes to be intentionally misleading and derogatory.

Without evidence to the contrary, I'm now taking the position that bevets is a troll and a liar.

posted by shmegegge at 4:21 AM on March 26, 2005


and from now on I will refer to all uses of the Appeal to Authority fallacy as "pulling a Bevets."
posted by shmegegge at 4:25 AM on March 26, 2005


If it must be true, than Christians MUST accept on faith that the biblical account of Creation is literally true. This being the case, scientific theory as to the genesis of man and biblical dogma regarding the same can not be conjoined in the mind of any reasonable individual.


If this is your point of view, then an allegory must be taken as literal. There is a verse in the Old Testament (too lazy to find this early in the morning) that says the sun stood still in the sky and mountains jumped up and down, clapping their hands with joy.

Now, a reasonable person would say that didn't literally happen. But, if one takes the view that the Bible is literal and has no room for anything else (like reading the creation story realizing that the writer wasn't literally confining God's creation of the world to seven days), then you would have to believe that the sun did indeed stop in the sky (the world stopped in space) and that the mountains did indeed jump up and down and clap their hands.

Personally I think that is pure bunk, but to each their own.
posted by UseyurBrain at 4:36 AM on March 26, 2005


hee.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:38 AM on March 26, 2005


I think that the platypus is a great argument for God's wacky sense of humor.

See also : the many Far-Side cartoons on the subject. Half-baked earth, snakes, etc.

I don't believe in creationism. I just think it provides for good comedy.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:48 AM on March 26, 2005


This is the greatest thread of all time! It's got it all, including some of the best troll-control (TM) I've ever seen. The part about the mamabevets and the babybevets alone is worth the price of admission. I plan on reading this over and over. Thanks everybody.
posted by a_day_late at 5:18 AM on March 26, 2005


Caveat: I am an atheist and a materialist.


On his site, Bevets has a very large collection of quotes which (irregardless of whether they are arranged and presented out of context to convey an impression) point to many puzzles and issues with the theory of evolution. The website clearly represents a considerable amount of time, effort, thought, and research. Writing him off as mindless troll seems rather silly. I personally would be very much interested in (layman-digestible) discussion of many of those points.

Bevets:

I believe it is unlikely you are a Christian, and unlikely you will see the kingdom of heaven.

Why? Christ's own words to Nicodemus.

In your "Why I am a Christian" section of your website, you mention driving a car. This automatically makes you orders of magnitude wealthier than the poorest 20% of the world.

I'm willing to bet that a) you've never even remotely considered applying Christ's words to Nicodemus to yourself and b) you'll try to tell me that in THIS ONE INSTANCE Christ wasn't talking to everyone, just to Nicodemus.

I see no reason at all to respect the beliefs of people who don't themselves respect the teachings of the entity they profess to believe in. In my opinion, you, and most people professing Christianity in our world today would be regarded by Christ as Pharisees, not as his followers, and he would despise you. Why did Christ despise the Pharisees? Was it because they taught & sought to enforce false doctrine, false law? NO! they were teaching and enforcing the law of Moses. God's own rules, that he gave himself to the Israelites. Why did Christ condemn them then? Because their focus was on applying God's law to OTHER PEOPLE. How can you not see that this is what you are?
posted by lastobelus at 5:33 AM on March 26, 2005


My God's breath smells like God-food.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:57 AM on March 26, 2005


If this is your point of view, then an allegory must be taken as literal.

I am the vine, ye are the branches

etc.
posted by goethean at 5:59 AM on March 26, 2005


Oh my. The spillover from Fark has been getting bad, now Bevets is joining us. What's next, photoshop contests with big testicled squirrels?

Duke sucks.
posted by Mcable at 6:22 AM on March 26, 2005


A word on bevets's quotation style:

I've seen this "method" of refutation before. I'm a Hebrew Bible scholar. From time to time, I have the chance to sit on panel discussions to defend the Documentary Hypothesis, the regnant model for the composition of the Hebrew Bible. It holds that the present text is the product of a variety of hands and schools working over a protracted period of time and that it's possible to derive discrete, self-contained sources and to describe the process of their combination.

The model was proposed in its fullest form in 1886 by a German scholar, Julius Wellhausen. In the succeeding years, counter theories, expansions, corrections and all sorts of applications have been proposed. But the essential idea that the Pentateuch is the product of a variety of hands working over a long period of time remains the common scholarly assumption.

When I debate fundamentalists, though, I frequently see scholarly literature that I'm familiar with quoted back at me without context and presented as if it were a refutation of the dominant theory or an expression of scholarly doubt. I know my interlocutor is a troll, but the audience frequently does not. They implicitly assume that we have equal integrity and that my dialogue partner is citing valid counter-arguments. If I begin trying to put out fires, I lose because I become boring and bogged down in details.

So what to do? Keep the heat on. Always. Fundamentalists trot out these quotes from little florilegia that they pass around among themselves. The quotes comfort them. They remind them that the scholarly community is confused while they have the Truth. The only valid rejoinder is to remind them of the subjective foundation for their Truth.

For me, this means that I open the text, read it and analyze it and then ask my interlocutor to do the same. In short order, the elegance of the critical scholarly enterprise becomes apparent. I think the same applies here. If bevets cares to refute evolution by natural selection, the only posts that should be considered worth discussion are those that present evidence and counter argumentation.

Bevets takes a good start here by expressing first principles:

1) God is our Creator
2) The universe is several thousand years old
3) There was a universal flood


Now let's see some evidence.
posted by felix betachat at 6:22 AM on March 26, 2005


Writing him off as mindless troll seems rather silly
posted by lastobelus at 5:33 AM PST on March 26 [!]

Well, I've watched and debated bevets for years on fark, as well as having read his website, and I am still not convinced that he isn't an extremely persistent and thorough troll. I agree, probably unlikely, but to witness the constant, neverending refusal to acknowledge facts is, if not telling, frightening.

Bevets' education technique.
posted by jikel_morten at 7:05 AM on March 26, 2005


shmegegge

Doesn't this imply that while Science is not competent to determine pre historic events, Bevets is? Surely that's not what he meant to imply. But how can we know? If he has some reason to believe those things, he sure as hell isn't providing it. Maybe God speaks to Bevets, as he was said to do to Brady.

Deuteronomy 18.18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

Psalm 119.89 Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

2 Timothy 3.16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

God has spoken to everyone.

felix betachat

Bevets takes a good start here by expressing first principles:

1) God is our Creator
2) The universe is several thousand years old
3) There was a universal flood

Now let's see some evidence.


1) Genesis 1.1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2) Luke 3.23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph...36 the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech...38 the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
3) Genesis 7.17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished-birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

shmegegge

Bevets' method of answering direct questions is to quote Scientists (and occasionally classical poets and scripture) out of context so that it sounds like they're admitting they don't know what they're doing.
When confronted about this, his only answer has been to point out that creationists are sometimes quoted out of context, too. This is presumably to excuse his own behavior.


The point of the page is to show how easy it is to demonstrate a quote that has been taken out of context. I invite everyone to apply the same method to my quotes.

Bevets' method of debate is known as The Appeal to Authority.

As suggested above, not all Appeals to Authority are fallacious. This is fortunate since people have to rely on experts. This is because no one person can be an expert on everything and people do not have the time or ability to investigate every single claim themselves. In many cases, Arguments from Authority will be good arguments.

UseyurBrain

If this is your point of view, then an allegory must be taken as literal. There is a verse in the Old Testament (too lazy to find this early in the morning) that says the sun stood still in the sky and mountains jumped up and down, clapping their hands with joy.

Now, a reasonable person would say that didn't literally happen. But, if one takes the view that the Bible is literal and has no room for anything else (like reading the creation story realizing that the writer wasn't literally confining God's creation of the world to seven days), then you would have to believe that the sun did indeed stop in the sky (the world stopped in space) and that the mountains did indeed jump up and down and clap their hands.

Personally I think that is pure bunk, but to each their own.


Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; . . . Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the "days" of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. ~ James Barr Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University in England

lastobelus

I believe it is unlikely you are a Christian, and unlikely you will see the kingdom of heaven.

Why? Christ's own words to Nicodemus.


I have no idea what your point is. Could you give a reference?
posted by bevets at 7:42 AM on March 26, 2005


Oh, I see now! It must be true because it says so in the Bible!

Why didn't you just say so?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:51 AM on March 26, 2005


And now, for something completely different:

God hates Shrimp.
posted by spazzm at 7:56 AM on March 26, 2005


bevets, you've admitted that there are only some parts of the Bible you are certain of. You haven't given any indication of why you are certain of those parts and not others. You just are certain. And yet you have the limitless gall to accuse evolutionary biologists of bad science. You are wasting your life.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:58 AM on March 26, 2005



posted by spazzm at 7:59 AM on March 26, 2005


1) Genesis 1.1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Great. You misinterpret the Hebrew here, along with pretty much every Christian translation that follows the Greek Septuagint. The Hebrew reads actually:

"At the first part of God's making the heavens and the earth, the earth being an unformed waste and the spirit of God soaring over the deeps, God said, 'Let light exist.'"

See, the Hebrew text begins with an extended temporal clause that tells us what existed before God made light. We have an unformed waste (tohu va-vohu), the spirit/breath of God (ruah Elohim) and the deep sea (Tehom). Funnily enough, this latter is the name of an ancient Near Eastern goddess of chaos. In any case, the text you cite asserts several things, but it does not say that God created the cosmos.

2) Luke 3.23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph...36 the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech...38 the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Precisely why am I meant to think that genealogies given in the Christian gospel of Luke, written in Greek in the first century CE, are an accurate source for the dating of the cosmos?

3) Genesis 7.17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished-birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Again, problems of source and authority are evident here. But, the source you cite is itself internally contradictory.

Gen 6.19 tells us Noah took 2 of each animal and Gen 7.2 says he took 7. Which is it?

Gen 7.12, 7.17 and 8.6 say the flood lasted 40 days, while Gen 7.24 says it lasted 150 days. Which is it?

Plus the text begins twice. First in Gen 6.5-8, and again in Gen 6.9.

I can explain these discrepancies by reconstructing two separate, contradictory legends about a primeval flood. This internally confused narrative, in the absence of strong external corroboration, is hardly conclusive data in support of a universal flood.

Keep it coming, bevets, this is helpful!
posted by felix betachat at 8:01 AM on March 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


Also, don't miss:
God Hates Figs.

That's right. Figs.
posted by spazzm at 8:07 AM on March 26, 2005


Ever played a game of telephone? Know how "Banana" turns into "Duck-billed platypus" through ten people?

Imagine a game of telephone that has taken place over two thousand years.

How anyone can believe that the Bible is the authority just amazes me. It's like, never mind that there are thousands of other religions on earth and they might be right too, I'm just going to sit here and pretend that the Bible is right right right, and maybe my wish on a star will come true!
posted by sian at 8:49 AM on March 26, 2005


felix betachat *thumbs up*

In all my 15 years on the internets, this is quite possibly the closest I've seen a Creationist troll be hemmed in between scientific rigor on one side, and Biblical scholarship on the other.

MeFi *thumbs up*
posted by growli at 9:03 AM on March 26, 2005


Quit trying to evolve bevets, people: it doesn't work.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 AM on March 26, 2005


bevets have already evolved, they're just vestigial.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:15 AM on March 26, 2005


fff: I agree, but I assume there are some people on the fence here on Metafilter who have honest questions about evolution's validity, especially as regards contradictions with creationism. If we debate Bevets in good faith -- regardless of his trollishness -- it can only help us gather some adherents from people who are undecided.
posted by growli at 9:18 AM on March 26, 2005


I [heart] felixbetachat
posted by bshort at 9:20 AM on March 26, 2005


Bevets et al. Whats with all this bible quoting? It's just a collection of rather unreliable translations. Some more unreliable than others depending on your version. Is this an American thing? Then there is the interpretation of these "God given " facts. I'm not arguing your right to believe in a "supreme being". I'm arguing in what way you can bring unreliable sources to an argument. I might as well start quoting from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. - 2 cents.
posted by adamvasco at 9:21 AM on March 26, 2005


While we're at the 'bitching about arguing with religious people' stage.... what particularly galls me, is that when you point out how badly garbled things get in Telephone, they always argue that the Bible's translation was 'divinely inspired' and therefore perfect.

But then the same people will turn around and argue that 'thou shalt not kill' is a mistranslation, that it actually means 'thou shalt not murder'.... and so things like the death penalty are perfectly okay, since state-sanctioned killings aren't, by definition, murder.

So the Bible is literally perfect in all details, but they had a bit of a translation problem on a COMMANDMENT?!

If they didn't get the Commandments, the really important part, exactly perfect, how on earth can you assume they did a good job on everything else?

"Thou shalt not kill" is the first 'real' commandment... the ones before it are about spreading the religion. As soon as you get past the 'replicate the religion' section, this commandment comes first. And they got it wrong? While everything else is literally and exactly true???

What a crock.
posted by Malor at 9:45 AM on March 26, 2005


Bless you, felix betachat. Only a fool has said in his heart that there is no God, but only a fool believes everything he reads.

As to the continuing relevance of "Inherit the Wind," I was once involved in legal proceedings in opposition to the multi-million dollar, "Christ-centered" Ponzi scam run out of Tampa by the self-styled "Greater Ministries International Church." Proceeds collected from the rubes were invested--I am not making this up--in "blood diamonds" and mining ventures seeking same in Charles Taylor's Liberia--where the "Church" got scammed itself by the infamous Taylor and his gang!

The leader of Greater Ministries, former small-time grifter Gerald Payne, was sentenced to 27 years in jail for his part in the scam, which was "target marketed" to fundamentalist Christians in the Southeast and Midwest. Incidentally, The Greater Ministries scamsters were put out of business by Tampa federal District Judge James Whittemore, in the news himself this week for a sound decision in a 21st century analogue of the Scopes matter.

An "elder" of Greater Ministries established a maildrop "Christian financial advice" corporation in, of all places, Dayton, Tennessee--home of the Scopes trial, of course. His "corporation" would sponsor and stage debates between proponents of evolution and those, like bevets, who believed in the literal truth of Genesis; believers outnumbered sceptics at these shows. Elder Carl Thomas then had a carefully-selected, certifiably credulous audience of marks to which he pitched his "double your money back from God" Ponzi investments. He did well, by the way: a savvy crook, hallelujah.

As to the geneology of Joseph, Robert Ingersoll used to scoff at the perceived need of some Christians to connect Jesus to the house of David via man who was not, in the eyes of orthodox believers, supposed to be His Father! I am stunned to see that same dubious connection now proffered to support a calculation of the age of the earth--and I am no longer easily stunned! Elder bevets, if you actually believe this, I have some investments to discuss with you. . . Would you like to double your money and support Christian diamond mining in Liberia?
posted by rdone at 9:46 AM on March 26, 2005


"Thou shalt not kill" is the first 'real' commandment...
What's funny is that even Santorum, who uses religion as a club every chance he gets, has said he's rethinking his support for the Death Penalty. Either the "sanctity of life" means something in all situations, or it doesn't, i guess--or he's just up for re-election next year.
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on March 26, 2005


Where's bevets? I want to hear more from felix betachat before s/he finds something better to do.

Otherwise I'll have to stand in for our token fundy.
posted by recurve at 10:06 AM on March 26, 2005


Nice, felix betachat. Is this your field of study or are you just teeming with lots of random knowledge like many people here?


If all scripture is given by inspiration of God, it must be true. If it must be true, than Christians MUST accept on faith that the biblical account of Creation is literally true.

Don't construe this as taking bevets side, but the only thing I find more amusing then religious nuts telling me exactly how to interpret a religious text is hardcore atheists telling me exactly how to interpret a religious text.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:17 AM on March 26, 2005


Krrrlson: I spent the first 18 years of my life as a hardcore relgious nut BEFORE I became an atheist. I was beating my pastor at Bible trivia at age 8, and more to the point I understood the meaning behind the words.

Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to judge people until you know their circumstances a bit better?
posted by Ryvar at 10:27 AM on March 26, 2005


I'm very, very surprised nobody has confronted bevets with one of the simplest arguments you can lob at a "creationist":

Okay, so you believe in creationism. Cool. Me too. It's so obvious that the god Marduk, in his duel with Tiamat, cuts her into two halves which become the Earth and the sky, then uses Kingu's blood to create mankind. I mean how can anyone not see that this is clearly what...

Oh... wait, you didn't mean that creation? Oh. Sorry. I meant it's obvious that Odin and his brothers used Ymir's body to create the universe. Why else would the universe exist? Odin and his...

What? You didn't mean that one either? My mistake. I'm sorry. Which Creation Myth Did You Mean?

See, that's where you are. You're pushing a mythology. It's okay to believe in a mythology, I'm not going to attack you, but you have to realise you're picking and choosing one of many. You make the assumption that science does the same thing – that scientists are just picking and choosing theories that fit their own beliefs. This is naive. Science does not work this way. Some scientists may become motivated by an ideology, but that's not scientific, and science itself does not work this way.

The theory of evolution (theory being used in the scientific sense, not the fox-news sense) attempts to explain the real world, not explain away God, as you seem to think it does.

So, which creation myth is it you believe in? The most popular one? Your favorite one? The longest one, the shortest one, the bloodiest one, or the simplest one? You have plenty to choose from.
posted by odinsdream at 10:34 AM on March 26, 2005


Is this your field of study or are you just teeming with lots of random knowledge like many people here?

Do they have to be mutually exclusive?

I'm a PhD student in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies; I'm preparing for my qualifying examinations next month. Then I'm off to Jerusalem in mid-June for more language work and dissertation writing!

I don't know bevets at all, but I have to tell you that I'm actually quite sympathetic to a lot of fundamentalists. Not in terms of their metaphysics, which are uniformly barbaric, but in terms of their ethics and their respect for tradition. I had the opportunity to teach bible at a state University in the Bible Belt last year and found myself pleasantly surprised. I'd been freaking out over the thought of having to grapple with fundamentalists every day. Surprisingly, though, a great many of these students were eager to learn and extraordinarily sensitive readers of text. If I didn't attack head-on, I could usually nudge them gently toward the Enlightenment by citing ANE parallel traditions and by unfolding some of the aesthetic beauty of the text. I figured I'd let them work out the rest with their pastors.

For what it's worth, I think scorn and illiteracy with regard to the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity is a major weakness for the secular left. Battles that were won conclusively over a century ago have to be continually re-fought because the study of the bible isn't sexy. Let me tell you, I can't wait to get out and teach!
posted by felix betachat at 10:40 AM on March 26, 2005


Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; . . . Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the "days" of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. ~ James Barr Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University in England

felix betachat

1) Genesis 1.1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Great. You misinterpret the Hebrew here, along with pretty much every Christian translation that follows the Greek Septuagint. The Hebrew reads actually:

"At the first part of God's making the heavens and the earth, the earth being an unformed waste and the spirit of God soaring over the deeps, God said, 'Let light exist.'"

See, the Hebrew text begins with an extended temporal clause that tells us what existed before God made light. We have an unformed waste (tohu va-vohu), the spirit/breath of God (ruah Elohim) and the deep sea (Tehom). Funnily enough, this latter is the name of an ancient Near Eastern goddess of chaos. In any case, the text you cite asserts several things, but it does not say that God created the cosmos.

2) Luke 3.23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph...36 the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech...38 the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Precisely why am I meant to think that genealogies given in the Christian gospel of Luke, written in Greek in the first century CE, are an accurate source for the dating of the cosmos?


Genesis 1.5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years

Exodus 20.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Psalm 33.6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Jeremiah 10.12 But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.

Deuteronomy 18.18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

Psalm 119.89 Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

2 Timothy 3.16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

3) Genesis 7.17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished-birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Again, problems of source and authority are evident here. But, the source you cite is itself internally contradictory.


The fundamental error of JEPD is the assumption that God can not be trusted.

Matthew 22.29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."

John 3.12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?

John 5.46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?

Luke 17.26 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all."
posted by bevets at 10:46 AM on March 26, 2005


Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe...

[comedy gold]

--I believe something because a book tells me so.
--Why do you belive that the book is right?
--Because its the word of god.
--Why do you think that?
--Because the book tells me so.

For what it's worth, I think scorn and illiteracy with regard to the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity is a major weakness for the secular left. Battles that were won conclusively over a century ago have to be continually re-fought because the study of the bible isn't sexy.

See, the thing is, when those battles were settled, most of us assumed we can just move on.
posted by c13 at 11:10 AM on March 26, 2005


I like blivet's devotion to using biblical quotes above. I think in future when I am confronted with superior knowledge that I too shall quote a big load of pointless cobblers that utterly fails to display any semblance of thought.

Well done that man.
posted by longbaugh at 11:12 AM on March 26, 2005


bevets, you've trotted that quote out twice. Do you know James Barr's work? Have you ever read an entire book he's written? Barr is an excellent scholar. Sensitive, and actually a brilliant apologist for evangelical faith. But he is not a fundamentalist. Your quote comes (I think) from an essay he wrote called "The Bible and the Origins of the World". Do you know how the essay ends? Like this (please forgive the block quote):
The question is not whether the Bible is a 'scientific textbook.' In a certain sense, in certain parts of it, it was coming as near to being 'scientific' as it was in the power of the authors to be. But they had little information and little power or inclination to gain more. God, they knew, and rightly, was the source of the 'Wisdom' through which men have understanding, of the world around them as also of themselves and their fellow-men. But Wisdom worked through the human understanding. The idea that God had already directly revealed the final truths about scientific problems was far from their minds. In this respect the attempt to use the Bible as a final and unmodifiable authority on a scientific problem is a falsification of scripture. Creationism, whether theoretically justifiable or not, must deny the Bible just as much as any other modern movement has done.
Puts your quote in a somewhat different light, doesn't it, bevets?

My point in discussing Gen 1.1 was not to attack the notion that some biblical authors believe that God created the cosmos. It was to point out that the text you cited cannot be drawn upon as evidence for a doctrine of creation from nothing. The Priestly tradition which composed Gen 1.1-2.4 assumed that God's creative action took place upon matter that existed prior to creation. None of the quotes you cite substantially challenge this. This is so because creation from nothing, as a doctrine, is post-biblical. Ditto the absolute omnipotence of the deity. The biblical authors were busy fighting against the ancient Near Eastern combat myth (nicely summarized by odinsdream above). For them, it was sufficient to show that God's creation was sovereign and uncontested. Only after the marriage of Platonic philosophy and biblical myth was it necessary to argue that God created everything that exists. Which is why Philo and the translators of the Septuagint had such trouble with Gen 1.1.

Proverbs 8 is probably the best inner-biblical commentary on how the biblical authors imagined creation to have taken place. There, a partner, Wisdom (hokhman) describes how she was with God at the moment of creation as an amon. This term is difficult to interpret, but it probably means "fellow worker" or "architect". Even for the biblical authors, creation was a collaborative effort between God's attribute of Wisdom and prior matter.

In a similar fashion, Barr maintains, everyone's interpretation of scripture is a collaboration between the Wisdom which is within them and the matter of the text. One need not sacrifice one's rational faculty in order to read and interpret the bible. The biblical authors didn't, so why should we?

Honestly, bevets, rather than giving me another list of out of context citations, why don't you tell us what you gain by believing that the universe was created in 6 days? You say that the documentary hypothesis rests on a belief that "God cannot be trusted". I ask in return, why must revelation have been an all-at-one-moment event? The biblical prophets continued to receive revelations from God which transformed their understanding of the text. Spinoza himself maintained that his knowledge of the text was, in some sense, God-given. Why can't we do the same? More to the point, why are you afraid of exercising the same God-given freedom?
posted by felix betachat at 11:20 AM on March 26, 2005


bevets fears complexity, felix.
posted by odinsdream at 11:26 AM on March 26, 2005


i don't care how many times this dead horse gets beaten, it's NOT going to evolve
posted by pyramid termite at 11:33 AM on March 26, 2005


I spent the first 18 years of my life as a hardcore relgious nut BEFORE I became an atheist. I was beating my pastor at Bible trivia at age 8, and more to the point I understood the meaning behind the words.

My point is that the interpretation you were taught has nothing to do with how another interprets the Bible. The fact that some, or even a majority of Christians believe in something about the Bible doesn't really invalidate the opinions of other people, including other Christians, on the same text. I believe it is P_G's favourite false dichotomy that one cannot believe in the Judeo-Christian God without taking either the old or both testaments very literally. Religion evolves over time, why cannot the interpretation of the Bible?


Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to judge people until you know their circumstances a bit better?

OMG what are you a Nazi?
posted by Krrrlson at 11:39 AM on March 26, 2005


MeFi is a community. Bevets is not and doesn't want to be part of the community. In the past, members with a history of trolling have been removed. Hint hint.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:42 AM on March 26, 2005


I've e-mailed felix betachat, but I just wanted to publicly admire both his knowledge and his manners.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:22 PM on March 26, 2005


Felix betachat is awesome.
posted by painquale at 12:39 PM on March 26, 2005


Let's make him our new god!
posted by Krrrlson at 12:41 PM on March 26, 2005


I don't think that bevets is trolling-*covers head*

I'm not coming to his defense, his argument is fallacious and stupid.

Only, I've always known trolling to be something along the lines of,
posterA: "The president of the United States of America recently voiced his support of a new amendment to the constitution that would ban gay marriage. Is this the next step in a widening gulf between the administration and fairness?"

posterB: "U R TEH FAG FAGGOT! i no u, an i no u r gay. teh onlly resaon u put this up is becus u r gay! BEVETS STRYKES AGAIN WOOOOT!"

I waited a long time before posting this opinion of mine, because I'm afraid that I'm starting to gain the reputation of being some sort of conservative christian creationist. I am none of these things, and my Christianity has gotten people burned at the stakes since Jesus walked.
Only, I think it serves the discourse to have people like bevets around.
Creationism is infuriating! Because it is wrong and dumb! Just imagine how Darwin felt when they put his ideas on trial.
Let's keep fighting this thing, and let's keep bevets around. Without him, we'd just sit around, mentally jerking each other off.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:47 PM on March 26, 2005


I agree. I'd be lying if I said I valued bevets contribution here, but I don't think he's trolling.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:04 PM on March 26, 2005


ryvar: I spent the first 18 years of my life as a hardcore relgious nut BEFORE I became an atheist. I was beating my pastor at Bible trivia at age 8, and more to the point I understood the meaning behind the words.

Was your pastor a seven year old? Come on. Read that statement back to yourself and think about it.

"I spent the first 18 years of my life as a hardcore skateboarder BEFORE I became a surfer. I was beating dudes like Tony Hawk at the vert' at age 8, and more to the point, I made up those moves, man. Maybe you should, you know, read my personal autobiography that's available in every library before you try and disagree with me. Dude."

Krrrlson: Right on. I'll ask Jesus how he feels about it. Probably, and this is just a guess, I'll bet JC is down with a little help around the big house.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:05 PM on March 26, 2005


it serves the discourse to have people like bevets around

You are being way too kind here. It serves the discourse to have people like you around, because you will actually debate areas of contention. For example - the IMAX post.

All I see from B is a bunch of bible verses and miscellaneous quotes, which add very little to the discourse. In his last 50 line post, there was only 1 sentence of original opinion/argument. For another example of this - his contribution to the IMAX post.
posted by Bort at 1:11 PM on March 26, 2005


Let's force Bevets to wear the scarlet "T."
posted by a_day_late at 1:25 PM on March 26, 2005


Let's make him our new god!

Here's a graven image to get you started.
posted by felix betachat at 1:26 PM on March 26, 2005


Baby Balrog:
Actually I was being perfectly honest. I beat my pastor at Bible Trivia at age 8. He was no slouch, either, but I went to a private school where the first 45 minutes of every day were Bible class (my grandmother and mother taught at this school), every evening we had an hour of Bible study, Saturdays and Sundays were pretty much non-stop religious activity of some kind. I started reading pretty early, and much of that was pouring over the Bible, start to finish.

I believe the final question was how God answered King Hezekiah's request to live longer. My pastor said back 15, and I said back 10.
posted by Ryvar at 1:37 PM on March 26, 2005


"Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; . . ."

So, what is a 'world-class university'? I went to the seminary at Duke University. Does that qualify? Or, as I suspect, is it more along the lines of Oral Roberts or Liberty you speak of? Because in my 6 years of theology education, I rarely ever found anyone who took the Bible that literally.
posted by UseyurBrain at 1:40 PM on March 26, 2005


What an incredible thread. A better read than the article that spawned it.

My thanks to those who contributed their lucid comments on both the religious and secular fronts.

Bevets, not only can you pull biblical quotes from your butt, you're a veritable font of scientific quotes too! You have also demonstrated considerable mastery of circular logic, straw man, and appeal to authority defensive katas. I applaud your ape-like mimicry of human behaviour.
posted by C.Batt at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2005


Correct, Bevets is a small eared fool!

The whole idea of creationism is so laughable, when the facts supporting the theory of evolution are plain for us all to see.

A moment of your time, if you will, from Bevet's intellectual execution, to check out another collection of misguided fools who also believed in God:

Isaac Newton
Nicholas Copernicus
Johannes Kepler
Galileo Galilei
Michael Faraday
Kelvin (William Thompson)

Yes these intellectual light weights, men responsible for establishing the laws of planetary motion, men who collectively laid down the foundations of modern physics all believed in God.....Hmmmmm....Why would these eminent scientists.....Geniuses....Believe in God?

"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth"

Isaiah 40:22

The Bible stated that the earth is round and is suspended in space. Nicholas Copernicus didn't make this discovery until the 15th century, thousands of years later.

The perfect life form is an amoeba, it reproduces asexually, can survive in harsh enviroments....Why evolve into something as complex as a human?

Why evolve into a lifeform that takes 9 months to produce offspring?

Why evolve into creatures that can appreciate music, art, intellectual pursuits....Most importantly creatures who are able to display altruism.

Evolution, the survival of the fittest....

The whole concept is undermined everytime someone risks his/her life to save another. Why are there tens of thousands of accounts of folks running into burning buildings to save complete strangers, risking their own genetic line?

The theory of evolution is just that, a theory.

Finite minds limited by their attempt to explain everything within the 5 senses.....Bludgeoning believers with insults and leading the unsure into a maze of sophistry.

Arrogance shrinking from the concept of infinity.....

There is no missing link.....

The evolutionary concept of “survival of the fittest” is irrevocably flawed.
posted by fujikyoko at 4:26 PM on March 26, 2005


fujikyoko joined MetaFilter today. From the writing style, it's a pretty good guess that bevets has a new handle.
posted by gd779 at 4:42 PM on March 26, 2005


The Bible is no proof of anything scientific. Pulling verses out to make your point is weak.

And, what is wrong with saying God is responsible for evolution? Problem is that you want to LIMIT God's power when you dismiss evolution. What was your quote "Arrogance shrinking from the concept of infinity"?

As for evolution being 'irrevocably flawed'...using what method? Scientific or Biblical? If you are using Biblical then you have already discredited your argument.
posted by UseyurBrain at 4:55 PM on March 26, 2005


The perfect life form is an amoeba, it reproduces asexually, can survive in harsh enviroments....Why evolve into something as complex as a human?

All amoebas are not equal. If one amoeba is better suited to survival, through random chance, it will be more likely to survive. Often, species better suited for survival are more complex, as a result, more complex species survive. Since they survive, there is an incentive, you could say, to be more complex.

Why evolve into a lifeform that takes 9 months to produce offspring?

Having offspring that are more capable of surviving the environment is better than laying eggs that can be eaten, or birthing young that need constant protection. Everything cannot be instant, so gestation inside the mother allows a lot of the formation to take place in a protected environment.

Why evolve into creatures that can appreciate music, art, intellectual pursuits....Most importantly creatures who are able to display altruism.

Because communities of creatures survive better than one solitary creature by dividing the work of sustainable living amongst its members? Art and music are community glue.

Evolution, the survival of the fittest....

The whole concept is undermined everytime someone risks his/her life to save another. Why are there tens of thousands of accounts of folks running into burning buildings to save complete strangers, risking their own genetic line?


Because evolution is a macroscopic theory, it doesn't operate on a case-by-case basis. The time scale on which evolution occurs is enormous compared to your life-span. You are not a counter-example to evolution because you care about other members of your species (which, by the way, helps your species survive better).

The theory of evolution is just that, a theory.

Finite minds limited by their attempt to explain everything within the 5 senses.....Bludgeoning believers with insults and leading the unsure into a maze of sophistry.


Theory has a scientific meaning. It means "I propose the following solution. Can anyone help me figure out whether I'm right or wrong? I'd like to play with this idea until we get a better handle on it." Gravity was a theory. Relativity is a theory. The hubris you peg on scientists exists only in your mind, and possibly in some asshole scientists. Science itself does not bother with ideologies like you think it does. It works in the realm of observation, experimentation, reasoning, and coming up with possible solutions.


Arrogance shrinking from the concept of infinity.....

There is no missing link.....

The evolutionary concept of “survival of the fittest” is irrevocably flawed.


I... don't know what you're trying to say.

Listen, God is not at odds with science. It isn't a Science Versus God issue. Evolution is not anti-God. It might be anti-Your Interpretation Of God, but that's your fault, not evolution's, God's, or mine.

It seems your overall problem is that you believe you're the center of the universe. As such, you believe you yourself can be an example or a counter-example for or against evolution. This is selfish, and your selfishness is fogging your reasoning. If you die, it doesn't mean evolution failed, because evolution wasn't trying to help YOU survive. Evolution is the theory that those who are predisposed to surviving will have a better chance of surviving, and as a result, whatever genetic information they contain will be more likely to be carried on as compared to those without a good chance of surviving.

Yes, some of the "unfit" will survive and reproduce, and some of the "fit" will die off. Statistically, though, more of the "fit" will survive, and more of the "unfit" will die. This isn't a wacky idea, because "unfit" and "fit" are classifications that are DEFINED BY WHO SURVIVES. If you're not able to grasp this, you need to think on a larger scale. It isn't about your neighborhood, or your city, or your country. This is a macro-scopic, multi-generational, cross-species concept.
posted by odinsdream at 5:14 PM on March 26, 2005


Okay, I agree with Baby_Balrog and others.
"Troll" has gone from meaning "obnoxious person arguing merely to annoy" to "someone I don't agree with who doesn't give up immediately".

I apologise for my image posting.

And now, for something completely different:
Kissing Hank's A$$
posted by spazzm at 5:25 PM on March 26, 2005


No, wait. Bevets is deliberately ignoring logical reasoning - he is a troll.
I could make a list of all the logical fallacies he's committed, if I thought he'd be able to understand it.

Since we're all quoting people here, let me join the fun:
"Beware, the man of one book."
--St. Thomas Aquinas
posted by spazzm at 5:33 PM on March 26, 2005


spazzm - thanks for the link to http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/. I discovered the Church Sign Generator there. Good fun!
posted by ericb at 5:43 PM on March 26, 2005


Mmm... I'm not entirely sure. I'm not willing to qualify "ignoring logical reasoning" as "troll." I've been known to occasionally wax theological and make statements that defy logical reasoning. However...not at the expense of a well-balanced argument. Reason isn't everything. It certainly doesn't explain everything that I do. Yesterday I ate seven hot dogs. Then I got sick. Rational? Yes. Reasonable? No. mmm... hotdogs...agghllhglhghll....

I vote that we keep bevets around, sort of for the same reason that I keep salt on the dinner table. I never use it, but it's there just the same. And the dinner table without salt is lacking.

Heh. Plus it'd be sort of funny. Like, "Hmm...I wonder what crazy people think about this issue. Bevets?"
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:57 PM on March 26, 2005


ericb - that's hilarious.
posted by spazzm at 6:05 PM on March 26, 2005


I'm sure some MeFites can get creative with the Church Sign Generator . After all it's Easter Weekend!
posted by ericb at 6:09 PM on March 26, 2005


Defying logical reasoning is fun. Let's try it.
We begin with something simple, like modus ponens:
If A leads to B and A is true, then B is true.
Let's replace A and B with something else:
A = Jumping off a high bridge without a parachute, bungee cord or similar.
B = Getting splattered.
We observe that modus ponens still holds, since doing A will have the outcome B.
Now, if one thinks that B is not a desirable outcome, then what is the logical, reasonable thing to do?
The logical thing to do is defiantly not A.

If we were to defy logical reasoning in this case, we would do A (jump off the bridge with no cord etc.) and expect a different outcome (e.g. getting ice-cream) than B (getting splattered).

If someone repeatedly and ardently argues that jumping off a bridge is not dangerous and leads to ice-cream, well...
posted by spazzm at 6:21 PM on March 26, 2005


Having come to this thread about an hour ago (and having been entranced by it), I have learned so much from the informed discussion of many.

The comments of felix betachat, orthogonality, Ryvar, Shmegegge, UseyurBrain stand out. I applaud your contributions to this thread!
posted by ericb at 6:22 PM on March 26, 2005


Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; . . . Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the "days" of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. ~ James Barr Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University in England

felix betachat

Do you know James Barr's work? Have you ever read an entire book he's written? Barr is an excellent scholar. Sensitive, and actually a brilliant apologist for evangelical faith. But he is not a fundamentalist. Your quote comes (I think) from an essay he wrote called "The Bible and the Origins of the World". Do you know how the essay ends?

Puts your quote in a somewhat different light, doesn't it, bevets?


Evolutionists have often protested ‘unfair’ to quoting an evolutionist as if he were against evolution itself. So let it be said from the outset that the vast majority of authorities quoted are themselves ardent believers in evolution. But that is precisely the point ... The foundations of the evolutionary edifice are hardly likely to be shaken by a collection of quotes from the many scientists who are biblical creationists. In a court of law, an admission from a hostile witness is the most valuable. Quoting the evolutionary palaeontologist who admits the absence of in-between forms, or the evolutionary biologist who admits the hopelessness of the mutation/selection mechanism*, is perfectly legitimate if the admission is accurately represented in its own right, regardless of whether the rest of the article is full of hymns of praise to all the other aspects of evolution. ~ Andrew Snelling

* or the liberal Hebrew scholar who admits original intent

One need not sacrifice one's rational faculty in order to read and interpret the bible. The biblical authors didn't, so why should we?

This may be the most literate ad hominem fallacy in the entire thread. May I disagree with you without sacrificing my rational faculty?

The biblical prophets continued to receive revelations from God which transformed their understanding of the text. Spinoza himself maintained that his knowledge of the text was, in some sense, God-given. Why can't we do the same?

Why can't 2+2 be 'green'? (Assume I REALLY SINCERELY want it to be 'green')

Why do you assume God has transformed your understanding and not mine?


MeFi is a community. solid-one-love is not and doesn't want to be part of the community. In the past, members with a history of trolling have been removed. Hint hint.

C.Batt, I applaud your ape-like mimicry of human behaviour.

spazzm is deliberately ignoring logical reasoning - he is a troll.
I could make a list of all the logical fallacies he's committed, if I thought he'd be able to understand it.

"Hmm...I wonder what crazy people think about this issue. Baby_Balrog?"
posted by bevets at 6:26 PM on March 26, 2005


Ow. "definitely", not "defiantly".
posted by spazzm at 6:43 PM on March 26, 2005


Also, humans are technically apes, so anything anyone (including me) says in this thread will by definition be ape-like.

Ooook!
posted by spazzm at 6:49 PM on March 26, 2005


Bevets, remember how in Isaiah 44, the prophet mocks the man who builds an idol? He takes a piece of wood and works it over with his tools, cutting and shaping it to resemble the human form. The chips and shavings he uses to make a fire to cook with and the rest he bows down to worship. Of such a man, the prophet writes:
He shepherds ashes!
A deluded mind has led him astray,
And he cannot save himself;
He never says to himself,
"The thing in my hand is a fraud!"
By tearing the words of scholars and the words of scripture out of their context and fashioning them into an argument of your own devising, you do the same thing, my friend.

The issue is not whether or not taking statements out of context is "unfair" or not. No one here is your parent; no one can hold you to an ethical standard that you reject. The point is that if Barr intends to say one thing, then we are obliged to attempt to understand the subsidiary points he makes as elements on the road to that one thing. If we choose to do something else with those words, we mock Barr, we mock ourselves, and we mock the truth we might grasp together.

Likewise, if scripture is the product of complex historical and cultural forces, then we are obliged to try to understand those forces, as much as we are able, before we claim to speak for scripture. You still have not given me an alternative interpretation of Gen 1.1. Before I can begin to agree with you, I need to hear how and why you read the text as you do.

If I'm continuing to engage with you, bevets, it's because I don't want "the thing in your hand to be a fraud". When we shape things to match our desiring and then call those things divine, scripture tells us we are idolators. When we wrestle with God and men (Gen 32), God calls us "Israel."
posted by felix betachat at 6:54 PM on March 26, 2005 [2 favorites]


I am Satan. I enjoy cashews.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:22 PM on March 26, 2005


More quote fun!
"The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride."
--H.L. Mencken
posted by spazzm at 7:22 PM on March 26, 2005


"One man's religion is another man's belly laugh."
--Robert A. Heinlein

Tee hee.
posted by spazzm at 7:24 PM on March 26, 2005


Okay, one more:
"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love."
--Jonathan Swift
posted by spazzm at 7:30 PM on March 26, 2005


"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." -- Stephen Roberts
posted by boaz at 7:52 PM on March 26, 2005


"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me." -- Emo Philips
posted by boaz at 8:25 PM on March 26, 2005


"Troll" has gone from meaning "obnoxious person arguing merely to annoy" to "someone I don't agree with who doesn't give up immediately"

Fine, then he's not a troll, he's a serdar argic, or whatever you want to call people like that. Hell, the way that all his posts consist primarily of quotes makes me think that while he's not a bot like the original serdar argic, he's heavily bot- or script-assisted.

Either way, debating him serves the same purpose as debating an Eliza engine, or a wall -- conceivably illustrative to others, but of no direct use.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:57 PM on March 26, 2005


ROU_Xenophobe - I agree that he's a troll (as per my later post), but I still maintain that the word "troll" is thrown around much to casually nowadays. Cool?
posted by spazzm at 10:01 PM on March 26, 2005


Good lord what a train wreck.

All that I would have to say to bevets & co. has been said already. schmegegge:
Doesn't this imply that while Science is not competent to determine pre historic events, Bevets is? Surely that's not what he meant to imply. But how can we know? If he has some reason to believe those things, he sure as hell isn't providing it.

And felix betachat:
When I debate fundamentalists, though, I frequently see scholarly literature that I'm familiar with quoted back at me without context and presented as if it were a refutation of the dominant theory or an expression of scholarly doubt. I know my interlocutor is a troll, but the audience frequently does not. They implicitly assume that we have equal integrity and that my dialogue partner is citing valid counter-arguments. If I begin trying to put out fires, I lose because I become boring and bogged down in details.

So what to do? Keep the heat on. Always. Fundamentalists trot out these quotes from little florilegia that they pass around among themselves. The quotes comfort them. They remind them that the scholarly community is confused while they have the Truth. The only valid rejoinder is to remind them of the subjective foundation for their Truth.


For me, my take on it is in this thread on the Academic Bill of Rights. I was mightily pissed when I wrote this, but I'll spell it out in case someone decides to throw some invective my way and ask me to "respond to points" or something. The fundamentalist mindset uses the same authoritarian rhetorical techniques I see every day in China to control debate and keep everyone's opinions boring and homogenous. The Chinese government response (that filters down to everyone who decides to tow the official line) to accusations of bullying or anything really is to cry foul, whine as loudly as possible, go to great lengths to point out as soon in the conversation that other nations have often made the same mistake so you should go pick on them first, and make every attempt to censor, threaten, silence, or protect its "rights". These are exactly the same debating tools used by the fundamentalist quasi-religious BushCo. demographic to argue their points of view. It's sick. The Chinese officiary quote out of context, are the first in any debate to point out that others have problems too, but hey, accentuate the positive. They pull this "everybody knows X and your proposition is ridiculous" line every time someone comes at them with a well-formed argument. I'm sick of it all, from fundies, dictators, and dogmatists everywhere.

Yeah, I'm paranoid and a total conspiracy theorist about this shit. The fundies planted wire in my head, y'all, and those UFO's over Nevada are experiments in rapture-powered flightcraft. But what happens when you let debate get stupid is that people get stupid. That's not a good thing at all. Creationists suck, but bevets' kind need to be argued down by the likes of people like felix betachat, using that kind of argumentation. Everybody else, no talking during his posts. Show proper respect to a master debater at work.
posted by saysthis at 10:48 PM on March 26, 2005


fujikyoko writes "A moment of your time, if you will, from Bevet's intellectual execution, to check out another collection of misguided fools who also believed in God: [list of great scientists who also believed in God elided]"

Yes, but there's a crucial difference. No, I'm not going to engage in a cheap shot and say "But Bevets is not a great scientists, ha-ha-ha!"

The difference is that those great scientists you listed (all astronomers and physicists, none biologists, by the way*) all pre-dated Darwin and never had the opportunity to read Darwin's argument. Bevets has had that opportunity.

No less an atheist than Dawkins exonerates William Paley (of the Watchmaker Argument) for being a theist, and even goes do far as to indicate that before Darwin, Dawkins too would probably been a believer.


* Even today, polls of scientists show that it's the mathematicians and physicists who are most likely to believe their orderly universe was created by a god, and the biologists, used to the messy facts of life, red in tooth and claw, who are least likely to believe in god.
posted by orthogonality at 11:27 PM on March 26, 2005


orthogonality, there are a number of high profile bio-based scientists who clamor on for *cough* intelligent Design. Granted it is a small minority, but they are awfully vocal.
posted by edgeways at 11:37 PM on March 26, 2005


edgeways writes " orthogonality, there are a number of high profile bio-based scientists who clamor on for *cough* intelligent Design. Granted it is a small minority, but they are awfully vocal."

There's a guy who insists that Time is a Cube. Granted he is a small minority, but he is awfully vocal.
posted by orthogonality at 12:46 AM on March 27, 2005


"Show proper respect to a master debater at work."

Heh. I read that as something entirely different at first...

1. This is the internets. If you want respect, get a dog.
2. I agree that a reasoned argument deserves a reasoned response. But Bevets has not provided a reasoned argument - he's merely regurgitating 2000-year old superstitions that were disproven in 1859. He has not supplied any new data. He has not explained why all the data that contradict creationism is wrong.
Derision is a perfectly appropriate response.

Earlier in this thread someone likened having a reasoned debate with creationists to trying to talk sense into an Eliza-bot. I found this analogy most apt.
posted by spazzm at 1:15 AM on March 27, 2005


Synthesis.
posted by flabdablet at 4:31 AM on March 27, 2005


flabdablet writes "Synthesis."

While I assume your link is a joke, it's similar to something I was developing for an FPP. Take a look at Genesis 6:4, especially translations other than the KJV, and the apocryphal Book of Enoch. (Actually, given some of what's in Enoch, the idea doesn't work too well unless you assume Enoch describes a meeting of two groups of sapiens. But it does make one wonder about Blomfos and whether the "Great Leap Forward" took place there, or around Lascaux, or, here's the tantalizing bit from Enoch, if it was -- like the adoption of agriculture -- replayed several times. (A theory I'd be strongly inclined to doubt, but look at Steven Mithen's The Prehistory of the Mind.))
posted by orthogonality at 4:52 AM on March 27, 2005


felix (I think) said: Precisely why am I meant to think that genealogies given in the Christian gospel of Luke, written in Greek in the first century CE, are an accurate source for the dating of the cosmos?

A friend of mine was really into geneology, particularly a branch of her family that was Scandanavian. She could trace her lineage all the way back to the God Tyr via a series of local kings and petty lords.

fujikoyo: The perfect life form is an amoeba, it reproduces asexually, can survive in harsh enviroments....Why evolve into something as complex as a human?

A delightful strawman that reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of evolutionary biology.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:43 AM on March 27, 2005


KirkJobSluder writes "A friend of mine was really into geneology [sic], particularly a branch of her family that was Scandanavian [sic]. She could trace her lineage all the way back to the God Tyr via a series of local kings and petty lords."

Considering that twenty generations ago is only about five centuries, and at the 20th generation -- just that generation, not cumulatively -- back we each have 2^20, over one million, ancestors (of course there may be -- almost certainly are -- overlaps), and that if you go back far enough, the math predicts 80% of the ancestral population are ancestors of all the current population (and the other 20% of the ancestral population has no current descendents), it's probable that all of us are descents of any reproducing royal in our ancestral population.

So please call me "your highness orthogonality", and I shall call you Prince KirkJobSluder.
posted by orthogonality at 7:04 AM on March 27, 2005


Oh, and back to the original topic. SciAm always seems to come up with some great April Fools gags.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:30 AM on March 27, 2005


While I assume your link is a joke, it's similar to something I was developing for an FPP. Take a look at Genesis 6:4, especially translations other than the KJV, and the apocryphal Book of Enoch. (Actually, given some of what's in Enoch, the idea doesn't work too well unless you assume Enoch describes a meeting of two groups of sapiens.

Oh, 1st Enoch is a kick. It was reading that in college that first put me on this track. It's got it all: sex, war, demons, monsters, and...cosmetics. The best interpretation of it that I've read is by a scholar, Nickelsburg, who suggests that the text is a reaction to the cultural confrontation between Jews and Greeks during the Hellenistic period. The cultural anxiety felt by exposure to advanced military techniques and technology and different sexual practices gets worked out as a Pandora story of the origin of evil.

If you like that stuff, you should dig up a translation of 3rd Enoch. In that text, the patriarch Enoch goes up to heaven, sits on God's throne and gets transformed into a fiery angel called, swear to God, Metatron. It's awesome.
posted by felix betachat at 7:37 AM on March 27, 2005


Well, Enoch records that the angels, after ravaging the daughters of men, taught mankind about metal making, and "roots" and, yes, cosmetics. But Enoch was writing in the second century BCE, and by that time, the Hebrews already knew about those things. The Egyptians, before Exodus had metal, and agriculture, and the "(big-headed?) whore of Babylon" had face paints.
And all the others ["angels"] together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants.
And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures.
This just is not describing the state of Hebrew technology in the second century BCE. The "men" here described are pre-agricultural, and perhaps even pre-pastoral.

So how can it be the cultural clash between the Greeks and the Jews? What if it's a re-telling of a far older cultural clash between neolithic hunter gathers and an agricultural society?posted by orthogonality at 8:05 AM on March 27, 2005


You're obsessed!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:11 AM on March 27, 2005


A great thread.

I'd like to talk a little more about Richard Dawkins, a man who has spent his career attacking Christians for their "blind faith".

Did you know that he, too, holds a belief that cannot yet be proved?

".....I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all "design" anywhere in the universe, is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection....." - Richard Dawkins

But Dawkins, one the world's most eminent atheists is a mere novice compared with legendary British philosopher Antony Flew.

After 5 decades at the vanguard of evolutionary evangelism, Flew has now flown the nest of atheism.

".....The findings of more than 50 years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design....." - Antony Flew

The former professor at Oxford, university, had argued aggressively against the existence of God, publishing books such as Atheistic Humanism and Darwinian Evolution.

But in December 2004 the unexpected happened when Flew announced that scientific evidence led him to a belief in a creator.

"Science has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to prove life that intelligence must have been involved." - Antony Flew

So who are we to believe?

Dawkins declaration that the theory of evolution cannot yet be proved matters not.

He certainly has a motive for propagating the theory of evolution, making a fortune from his plethora of books on the subject such as "The Blind Watchmaker"and "The Devil's Chaplain"

Antony Flew's atheistic defection, must have poor old Dawkins crying in his prebiotic soup.
posted by fujikyoko at 8:13 AM on March 27, 2005


ortho, for me to agree with you, you'd have to show me some documentary evidence or make a convincing claim for strata in the text. This is interesting, actually, because Documentary style source division has been proposed for 1st Enoch as well. There are two discrete narratives of fallen angels combined in the present text. One, centered on Azazel, ascribes to the Watchers the promethean sin of sharing secret technologies. The other, centered on Semihaza, tells a story of sexual intercourse between the Sons of God and the Daughters of men. If this is true, you can push the date for these documentary sources back a bit. Maybe to the 4th century or so, but not much further.

The genre of the text is pretty well established as Hellenistic. There are a bunch of texts (Genesis Apocryphon, Jubilees, Joseph and Aseneth, etc) that are conventionally termed "re-written Bible". Essentially, the canon was starting to close and authors were writing stories to fill in the gaps of the narrative. The most plausible explanation for 1st Enoch is that it's an expansion on Gen 6.1-4. A scholar, Milik, did try to propose that it was a fragment of another pentateuch, but he was a bit of a crackpot.

Also, the text has strong apocalyptic elements, which dates it pretty firmly to the Hellenistic period. We have no apocalypses from before the 3rd century or so.

I think you're falling into the trap of reading with the text rather than reading it contextually. It's a story of origins and so you want to associate it with our own narratives of origin. You could do the same thing with Hesiod's Theogony, the Babylonian Atra-Hasis, the Epic of Gilgamesh, or any other primeval story. For me to buy it, you'd have to make a case for an early date. And I just don't see it here.
posted by felix betachat at 8:21 AM on March 27, 2005


fujikyoko writes " He certainly has a motive for propagating the theory of evolution, making a fortune from his plethora of books on the subject such as 'The Blind Watchmaker' [ ] and 'The Devil's Chaplain'"

Cheap shot. Let me remind you of the many many televangelists with mansions and private jets bought with the millions in "love offerings" made by credulous a fearful followers.

"Antony Flew's atheistic defection, must have poor old Dawkins crying in his prebiotic soup."

A funny line, but unlike Christians, Dawkins's beliefs don't rely on arguments from authority; without Flew, I'm sure Dawkins's atheism is as strong as ever.

"Did you know that [Dawkins], too, holds a belief that cannot yet be proved?

And unlike Christians, Dawkins forthrightly admits he can't prove this.
posted by orthogonality at 8:26 AM on March 27, 2005


felix betachat writes "For me to buy it, you'd have to make a case for an early date. And I just don't see it here."

I accept that Enoch was written in the second century BCE, and will accept on your word, that it's Hellenistic in genre. But why can't Enoch have been re-telling an earlier story, from an oral tradition or from texts that have not survived. Perhaps he's responding to the intrusion of Hellenistic culture by relating that, implicitly, to an earlier cultural clash?

How do we account for our knowledge that by the second century BCE, the Hebrews had had metals and agriculture and cosmetics for at least a millennia?

I bow to your superior knowledge of the subject matter -- I'm not seeking to argue, only to ask.
posted by orthogonality at 8:33 AM on March 27, 2005


ortho, you're the best. Really. If bevets is still listening, this should illustrate pretty clearly that the tools scholars use are not, in their essence, anti-Christian. They're general critical tools and canons of plausibility that get applied across the board.

Here, unless you can show me a reasonable line of argument defending an antique stratum in the text, I can't buy its antiquity. You'd have to give me an instance of allusion or quotation in another early source (Gen 6.1-4 doesn't count because I claim it as a provocation for 1st Enoch). Or a parallel narrative in another tradition. The fact is that these motifs in 1st Enoch are all uniformly Greek or late.

The origins of Israelite culture are pretty well established now in the scholarly mainstream. In the 2nd millenium BCE, the dominant culture in Syro-Palestine was a sequence of monumental Canaanite city-states running along the coastal plain. We have the library of one such city state, Ugarit, and it has some extraordinary, provocative parallels to material in the Hebrew Bible. Around 1400 BCE or so, these city states began collapsing. Hittites in the north and Egyptians in the south began attacking in Syro-Palestine and deporting populations to use in corvee labor projects. Refugees and outlaws fled to the previously uninhabitable Judean highlands and started carving out a meager existence. The Egyptians used chariots and couldn't effectively project power in the hilly region. The Amarna letters, a cache of correspondence between Egyptian overlords and Canaanite client states, refers to these people as apiru. It means something like "outlaw", but has been explained as etymologically related to the term ivri or "Hebrew".

So, in answer to your question, the Israelites had metal (bronze and some iron) because metal working had already been established in the Canaanite city states. Agriculture changed, obviously, because the highlands no longer permitted extensive cultivation. So they developed techniques of terracing, of building plaster-lined cisterns, etc. In short, they progressed technologically between the 12th and the 10th centuries BCE the way any other culture would: trial and error, incremental progress, and stealing ideas from the dominant cultures that surrounded them.

Finally, they had etiological narratives of their own for the emergence of these technologies. Gen 1-11 is a splendid account of the origin of culture that almost certainly has a basis in oral tradition. Maybe people were telling stories about fallen angels having sex with human women. But these stories were, until the 3rd century, not as interesting to them as the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Tubal-Cain, Noah, and the rest of them.
posted by felix betachat at 9:01 AM on March 27, 2005


A digression, but a related article in today's Boston Globe:
The Evolutionary Revolutionary
In the 1970s, Robert Trivers wrote a series of papers that transformed evolutionary biology. Then he all but disappeared. Now he’s back—and ready to rumble.
posted by ericb at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2005


ericb writes
The Evolutionary Revolutionary
"In the 1970s, Robert Trivers wrote a series of papers that transformed evolutionary biology. Then he all but disappeared. Now he’s back—and ready to rumble.


Work this up with links to his papers on kin selection and altruism and make it an FPP. Trivers is a god. (But not that kind of god, Bevets.)
posted by orthogonality at 9:38 PM on March 27, 2005


"But Dawkins, one the world's most eminent atheists is a mere novice compared with legendary British philosopher Antony Flew. [...] "Science has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to prove life that intelligence must have been involved." - Antony Flew

So who are we to believe?"


This is called appeal to authority, one of the logical fallacies, and therefore deserves no further response.
Furthermore, Flew's statement is argument from ignorance, which is also a logical fallacy.
posted by spazzm at 10:27 PM on March 27, 2005


Since I write books, I know how they are written. They are written by normal, if usually somewhat more talented than usual, people in a perfectly ordinary fashion, from their own minds and experience and research.

This is true for all books but one. This book.

The funny thing is, "this book" is one book if I'm talking to a Jew, another if I'm talking to a Catholic, or a Muslim, or a Mormon, or a Buddhist, or a Protestant, or a Hindu. Everyone agrees that virtually all so-called holy books are actually written by ordinary non-inspired people and are not holy at all. Except, of course, theirs.

Yet when I look at that book, the letters don't glow, or anything. I can find no reason to believe that that book is in any way different from any other book. It may have some ideas that are new to me, perhaps, maybe even some that will change my life, but a lot of regular books written by ordinary people can make the same claim. How can you tell, looking at that book, that it is that book, not some other book, that is the book?

Either the Christian Bible, and all so-called holy books, are books written by fallible mortals -- or they are all divinely inspired works cunningly disguised as books written by fallible mortals. Because there is nothing in the Bible that demands for its existence inspiration from God. Each and every word can easily be imagined to have been written by an ordinary person like you or me without even beginning to strain credulity.

And if you can't tell the difference between an actual God-inspired Bible and a Bible written by men who merely believed fervently in a God who did not actually exist as they imagined him, then in what sense does God actually exist? A God who inspires human action indistinguishable from that of uninspired men is no God at all. It is not folly to speak of such a God creating man in his image, rather than the reverse?
posted by kindall at 12:55 AM on March 28, 2005


kindall writes "Yet when I look at that book, the letters don't glow, or anything"

Metafilter: this book, the letters don't glow?
posted by orthogonality at 4:21 AM on March 28, 2005


In addition, citing flew in support of creationism is not kosher given his stated position.. Few admits that there is strong support for Dawinian evolution, but does not find that it explains the origin of the first organism. Of course, Darwinian evolution was not intended to explain the ultimate origins of life on Earth, so the limits on the scope of Evolution as a theory are well acknowledged.

Likewise, the Dawkins quote taken out of context is not the knock-down to evolution that is claimed. Dawkins comes from a practice of scientific skepticism in which "proof" is less important than "evidence." One can't prove gravity either, but there is quite a bit of evidence to show that Einstein's theory is the correct one.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:45 AM on March 28, 2005


Anthony Flew is now a deist of some sort - he believes in some sort of Aristotelian first cause, but describes the Islamic and Christian concept of God as 'cosmic Saddam Husseins' which would make him a rather odd poster boy for biblical inerrancy and creationism.

Alas though, it seems he hasn't been keeping up with the literature which rather damages his current credibility

I now realize that I have made a fool of myself by believing that there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction.

Taken from Flew's letter to Richard Carrier, 29 December 2004.
posted by Flitcraft at 10:52 AM on March 28, 2005


".....In my opinion, you, and most people professing Christianity in our world today would be regarded by Christ as Pharisees, not as his followers, and he would despise you. Why did Christ despise the Pharisees? Was it because they taught & sought to enforce false doctrine, false law? NO! they were teaching and enforcing the law of Moses. God's own rules, that he gave himself to the Israelites. Why did Christ condemn them then? Because their focus was on applying God's law to OTHER PEOPLE. How can you not see that this is what you are?..."

You make some great points here.

Personally I believe in the teachings of the gospel, however I fall short in a multitude of ways.

Ultimately I believe in free will, and the freedom to weigh up the evidence of Christianity, Darwinism, Hinduism, Hamsterism....and choose whatever you believe is correct.

I only chimed in on this thread because I felt there was a character assasination going on against bevets. Also that the implication was that only idiots could profess a belief in Creationism.

The only thing this thread proves is that their are unanswerable questions on both sides.

That's not to say my faith in Christianity has been shaken in any way, just that there is no way of proving either way.

I guess you could say for both sides that for those who believe, no explanation is needed, for those who don't no explanation is possible :)
posted by fujikyoko at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2005


Fuji: No, only an idiot could look at the evidence for Creationism and believe it was a valid theory about the creation of the world. Just like only an idiot could look at the evidence for Ptolemiac models of the cosmos and think that they accurately represent the solar system. I hate to be mean, but at a certain point there's just this suspension of disbelief that has to happen in order to view the Bible as anything but metaphor on scientific matters.
Because otherwise all of the arguments for Creationism are based on the logically rotted stair of Divine Revelation and the solipsism inherent in arguments like "God/Satan put fossils here to fool us." You might as well argue that we're all in the Matrix now, or that you've been in a coma and merely dreamed all of us.
posted by klangklangston at 2:40 PM on March 29, 2005


No, only an idiot could look at the evidence for Creationism and believe it was a valid theory about the creation of the world.

This society could do with a lot more of hearing that said.

It's time for rational people to lay it down: Creationism is stupid. Just flat-out state it. It's a simple fact, and only an idiot wouldn't recognize it as a fact.

You don't agree? Tough shit: Creationism Is Stupid. It. Is. Stupid.

This is not an arguable point: it is as true as the universe.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:04 PM on March 29, 2005


bevets is a bot.
posted by radiosilents at 7:12 PM on April 1, 2005


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