The Bathroom Wall

| 210 Comments

With any tavern, one can expect that certain things that get said are out-of-place. But there is one place where almost any saying or scribble can find a home: the bathroom wall. This is where random thoughts and oddments that don’t follow the other entries at the Panda’s Thumb wind up. As with most bathroom walls, expect to sort through a lot of oyster guts before you locate any pearls of wisdom.

The previous wall got a little cluttered, so here is a new one.

210 Comments

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For art connoisseurs - this one should look nice on your bathroom wall

Exclusive Noah’s Ark Painting and Thought Provoking Books!

The specific thought provoked is, Man, that is some dumb shit.

Gotta love the dinosaur over in the pond on the left. Or is it Nessie?

DYLSEXICS UNTIE!

Holy shit that Is a dinosaur. There are some stupid sons of bitches in the world.

What is even dumber is that they have a marine dolphin in the pond too. There is also a T-Rex and a Raptor behind the tree.

I’m reminded of the wise scholar Eric Cartman, who said, “Will someone put this retard out of his misery?”

I like the feeble attempt to include all the different “species” of humans as well, including Republicans (the white guy wearing the Oxford shirt, clutching volume 1 of the Left Behind series) and hippies.

I assume the woman on the path towards the back is carrying a pot on her shoulder which contains two representatives of each species of flea.

Wow. Didn’t even notice there’s a dude wearing an oxford carrying a bible. wonder how that fits with ‘authentic’ and ‘most accurate’.

So obviously the dumbass who painted this ‘accurate’ depiction shouldn’t have a guy with an oxford shirt and a bible ‘4500’ years ago, any more than he should have a t-rex there. But what I’d Really like to know is, what the hell is Hitler Cartman doing there?

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~sbstory/

Goddamn, that is funny. Maybe James Dean and Elvis are in there somewhere. They only have one Panda that I can find. Maybe it’s a crack on this Blog…

Steve Wrote:

Holy shit that Is a dinosaur. There are some stupid sons of bitches in the world.

A dinosaur?

There are several. I’ve spotted so far -

T. Rex (behind the tree)

Velociraptor sp. (Theropod?) (other side of same tree)

Big sauropoda (in pond)

Ankylosaurus or Glyptodont? (behind woman in green dress with jug)

Pteranodons (flying out of the trees to upper right)

Dinos with spiny frill on back (3 by the rapids, and another beside the ostriches)

Big mastadon (behind rhinos)

What is that nibbling the bushes behind the zebra?

Other hilarious bits noted -

- That’s the fattest orangutang I’ve ever seen. - don’t think that rooster can take along all 4 hens and that duck will have to leave at least 1 chick back. - The guy with the Bible? Why not put a Timex on his arm while were at it. Looks like the woman talking to him is dressed in trailer park chic. - The wolf laying down with the lamb? Talk about allegorical smacking on the head! - I like the apparently iron claw hammer in Noah’s belt. - Note the ostrich with it’s head in the sand. Priceless. - And the turkeys shall fly like the eagles!

Oh, man, how did I miss the zoom-in feature?

The things behind the zebras are baluchitherium(s). An Oligocene relative of the rhino, and possibly the largest ever land mammal.

Interestingly enough, typing “baluchitherium” into google’s image search leads to this picture of a skull (note the source!): http://www.creationism.org/books/pr[…]edicmt10.htm

Oh, wait, even better. Here’s the legend: http://www.biblelandstudios.com/legend.htm

Just like the “Jack Shea” comment, this painting is suspicious. Suppose this is a joke? This can’t be anyone’s earnest effort. Bragging about the painting’s accuracy is a clue.

This reminds me, I used to pay for school by tutoring HS and college kids math and science (because like we’ve seen on this page, not all HS teachers are worth a shit). And one kid I tutored math for went to Friendship Christian School in North Raleigh. He really needed help with biology, too, but his dad wouldn’t allow tutoring for that. His mom was much more reasonable, and tried to get it to happen, asking me if I could just tutor him in the uncontrovertial parts. She got a surplus textbook for me to look over.

Holy shit.

First, it was being used for HS juniors, but was about a 6th-grade-level book. Not a page went by in this ‘biology’ textbook that didn’t have some religious claims. But mostly it was just absurd. “Jesus designed over 1 million nehrons into each kidney!” etc.

I have heard of, and seen, creationist astronomy textbooks, and others, but not had the chance to review them.

Some background on Bibleland Studios - naming of the studio

Steve Wrote:

Just like the “Jack Shea” comment, this painting is suspicious. Suppose this is a joke? This can’t be anyone’s earnest effort. Bragging about the painting’s accuracy is a clue.

That sounds highly plausible Steve. Perhaps it’s some kind of parody a la the Landover Baptists. I hope it’s a joke anyway.

The artist, Elfred Lee, has also painted other things. Here for instance is his rendition of Loni Anderson.

http://www.webworldmall.com/elfredl[…]ed_LONI.html

So look at the wolf with the lamb in its paws. Which one made it into the Ark? Or did things go on on the boat that violate the Biological Species Concept? And all those other sheep look awfully placid at the thought of becoming fish food.

Dave, holy crap. Like creationist argument, it’s so bad it’s good. Get a load of that Reagan one too.

http://www.webworldmall.com/elfredlee/

It just struck me that we haven’t heard from Charlie Wagner lately. Good. I hope that trend continues. One less anti-science ding-dong. Now if only the other 2 would cease to pester.

I’m Terry Rawls, and I approved this message.

Here are a few definitions to decorate the bathroom wall.

“The Wedge Strategy”: Gaining leverage by applying the thin end of credibility to the thick end of the population.

Dembski’s “Explanatory Filter”: A device made of smoke and mirrors that only transmits circularly polarized illumination.

Dembski’s “No Free Lunch”: How making a meal of science comes at the expense of one’s own palatability.

Behe’s “Irreducible Complexity”: The state of a thesis comprising several interacting propositions, wherein the demolition of any one of the propositions causes its proponent to assert that no damage has been done.

Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box”: A type of mouse trap contrived to keep unwitting victims permanently in the dark.

Nelson’s “Ontogenetic Depth”: 1. The minimum depth of distraction that must cover an unsupported concept before it can be marketed as science. 2. A measure of the distance, in terms of generalizations and evasions, between an ill-defined metric and a fully developed buzz-phrase able to spawn new misconceptions. 3. The foot-in-mouth insertion depth at which one realizes that marching bands are not a good analogy for ontogeny.

Hmm…

I think we overloaded their server guffawing at the painting. I got a connection timeout.

BTW, hello to fellow North Carolinian Steve. Go Pack!

This seems an appropriate place to point out that Jonathan Wells (himself, something of an Icon of Creationism) is always going on about the credulity of “Darwinists”. But here’s an example of the kind of thing Wells apparently finds perfectly sensible. Pointing this out, of course, makes me an anti-religious ad-hominizer. But does there not come a point where pre-commitment to irrational premisses [sic] becomes relevant to criticism of others’ reason?

GO PACK!

Russell Wrote:

But does there not come a point where pre-commitment to irrational premisses [sic] becomes relevant to criticism of others’ reason?

The creationists who are always accusing us of denying the clear evidence against evolution because we went into our experiments looking for it would probably agree.

Truer words were never spoken, than these by Chris Hitchens:

I’m an atheist. I’m not neutral about religion, I’m hostile to it. I think it is a positively bad idea, not just a false one. And I mean not just organized religion, but religious belief itself.

and here are some good interviews with Hitch which deal to some extent with this.

http://www.secularhumanism.org/libr[…]ns_16_4.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/w[…]otFound=true http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/t[…]itchens.html

There are better ones, but I’m pressed for time.

Mutations within humans? Can’t be!

Musclebound Boy Inspires Doctors June 24, 2004

(AP) Somewhere in Germany is an extremely strong toddler: born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold seven-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. The boy - whose name is being withheld to protect his privacy - is reported to have muscles twice the size of other kids his age and half their body fat.

Medical researches say DNA tests show the reason: he has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.

The discovery, reported in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, represents the first documented human case of such a mutation.

[Further text and pictures are available all over; this is from CBS News.]

Fiona

Just in case anyone particularly hates me commenting on their words, all you have to do is bulk it up to 2100 words, and it’s guaranteed that unless I already know the author to be of some quality, I ain’t reading it.

David Harmon commented (#5320) regarding games theory & altruism to strangers:

“ .… in that situation, the evolving behavior responds to collective experience, rather than individual memory. For example, our pre-hominid primate ancestors had encounters with snakes. The ones who tried to be too friendly with them, or even failed to avoid them, often died as a result. A few million years of selection, and not only man, but all the primates, have an instinctive fear of snakes.

Among ourselves, we deal with strangers first by testing them with various social rituals, while giving them the once-over out of the corner of our eyes. …”

Hm. Analogy between hard-wired caution with snakes and ideal which is shared by many cultures of altruism to strangers sounds nice. But in practice the latter is more of an “ought to be” than an “is”. So where is the competitive advantage? Maybe just another example of our trickiness.

On which point, earlier postings on talking (signing) animals reminded me of the contrast in the Odyssey between the behaviour of the (human) Nestor who welcomes Telemachus and makes sure he and his followers have eaten their fill before asking if they’ve come as traders or pirates, and the non-human Polyphemus who can talk well enough but who blurts out the same question to Odysseus without any preliminaries. Don’t know why I mentioned that really, unless it’s to reinforce David’s point.

It does occur to me though that applying Darwin’s useful theory to cultural traits that aren’t evidently inherited is well on the slippery slope towards the ism in Darwinism.

I will scan it for mention of me, though.

Are you suggesting that a woman must go to court before getting an abortion after 12 weeks? As a member of the ACLU, I’ll bet Steve would have a cow if that were the case!

No, I think the trimester rule is better than the conception or birth demarcation. Anyway, whoever said I cared much about abortion? I don’t. Going to court to get a medical procedure, though, is bad for several obvious reasons.

Steve … work with me here and indulge me for just a

minute, okay? Most people are okay with the idea that

a man named Jesus of Nazareth actually lived and was

crucified by the Romans. Will you grant that?

No. It’s possible, but it’s certainly not well established.

If so, then will you grant that He claimed to be God?

Whatever else you may or may not believe, the Bible

makes the claim that Jesus Christ is God.

So here we have a direct confrontation to your

ideology. You say there is no God. Jesus says: Hello!

I Am God!

A character in a book written by unknown authors from a primitive time says he’s a magic being, and I’m supposed to get verklempt? No.

“Whenever a poet or preacher, chief or wizard spouts gibberish, the human race spends centuries deciphering the message.” - Umberto Eco

The Bible describes him as patient, compassionate and Holy

I’m sure Pravda described Stalin as selfless and glorious. “Nobody in the world did more for the sake of working people.” But if a human treated Job like god did, we’d throw him in jail, or, in some states, execute him.

if God exists and he’s all-powerful AND evil, do you REALLY think he’d let you get away with believing he doesn’t exist and basically thumbing your nose at him? Do you think he’d let ANY of us live in peace, if he’s really evil? Was Hitler evil? Do you think Hitler would let you get away with anything if he was in control?

I didn’t say the god character wasn’t capricious.

I will scan it for mention of me, though.

Are you suggesting that a woman must go to court before getting an abortion after 12 weeks? As a member of the ACLU, I’ll bet Steve would have a cow if that were the case!

No, I think the trimester rule is better than the conception or birth demarcation. Anyway, whoever said I cared much about abortion? I don’t. Going to court to get a medical procedure, though, is bad for several obvious reasons.

Steve … work with me here and indulge me for just a

minute, okay? Most people are okay with the idea that

a man named Jesus of Nazareth actually lived and was

crucified by the Romans. Will you grant that?

No. It’s possible, but it’s certainly not well established.

If so, then will you grant that He claimed to be God?

Whatever else you may or may not believe, the Bible

makes the claim that Jesus Christ is God.

So here we have a direct confrontation to your

ideology. You say there is no God. Jesus says: Hello!

I Am God!

A character in a book written by unknown authors from a primitive time says he’s a magic being, and I’m supposed to get verklempt? No.

“Whenever a poet or preacher, chief or wizard spouts gibberish, the human race spends centuries deciphering the message.” - Umberto Eco

The Bible describes him as patient, compassionate and Holy

I’m sure Pravda described Stalin as selfless and glorious. “Nobody in the world did more for the sake of working people.” But if a human treated Job like god did, we’d throw him in jail, or, in some states, execute him.

if God exists and he’s all-powerful AND evil, do you REALLY think he’d let you get away with believing he doesn’t exist and basically thumbing your nose at him? Do you think he’d let ANY of us live in peace, if he’s really evil? Was Hitler evil? Do you think Hitler would let you get away with anything if he was in control?

I didn’t say the god character wasn’t capricious.

if God exists and he’s all-powerful AND evil, do you REALLY think he’d let you get away with believing he doesn’t exist and basically thumbing your nose at him? Do you think he’d let ANY of us live in peace, if he’s really evil? Was Hitler evil? Do you think Hitler would let you get away with anything if he was in control?

Come to think of it, the fact that I do get away with calling a thug a thug, might suggest that the all-knowing all-powerful thug isn’t around.

Indeed, steve, the all-knowing all-powerful thing is a lot more forgiving than you might expect, given the Old Testament track record (and the admission of fundies that the New Testament changes nothing wrt to God’s laws).

Perhaps the all-knowing all-powerful thing knows that you are going to find Jesus and become the most forceful and articulate ID advocate the world has ever seen!!!! It’s all there for the taking, steve. I expect you could have your own satellite TV station in a year or two, max. Casey Luskin would be lovin’ you. Dembski would be citin’ you. And Charlie Wagner would be telling everyone he knew you way back when.

Every man has his price, GWW. I would champion ID ten ways to Sunday if the pot was sweet enough. But why would they pay me? IDiots will work for free. Hard to compete against crazy.

roger wrote:

Isn’t the primary explanation for newer (and improved!) life forms due to survival of the fittest rather than cooperation?

According to Darwin in Descent of Man, cooperation and altruism make “fitness” in social species. Altruism is a survival advantage in social species, he says, specifically with regard to humans.

Cooperation, therefore, IS “survival of the fittest.”

What in the world did you think that phrase meant?

Steve:

I would champion ID ten ways to Sunday if the pot was sweet enough.

Kent Hovind seems to be doing okay, tax problems notwithstanding. Would $100,000 year, after taxes (assuming you couldn’t shelter them in your “church”), be sweet enough?

Personally, I think I’d need a virtually guaranteed $1,000,000/yr, after taxes, to flip. And a couple million up front.

yeah, that’ll do. For a few million a year, creationists, you’ll get a Physics BS-holder (next year) to do the following:

1) Give 3 weekly 30-minute speeches at churches of your choosing. I will provide PowerPoint, with lots of artificially-geometrical cell part diagrams in primary colors. Also included, 30-minute Q-A session. (misleadingly oversimplified animation optional)

2) Write no fewer than 104 letters per year to various scientifically-illiterate organizations such as school boards, assuring them ID is scientific and demanding at least ‘equal time’.

3) Occasionally pretend to have a Ph.D.

4) 4 blurbs written for creationist books, using phrases like “stunningly annihilates the Darwinist paradigm” and “Evolution, you are about to become extinct!”

5) Frustrate debate opponents with assertions like “Evolution? You guys still haven’t found your precious ‘Missing Link’, have you? So it’s an unproven theory.”, “Are you saying scientists never make mistakes? I’ll tell you who doesn’t make mistakes. God.” and “Were you around 3 so-called ‘billion’ years ago? No? So you admit you have no idea what happened.”

6) Whole new irrefutable terms, like “Intelligent Specificity”, “Actual Irreconcilable Complication”, and “Specified Design”

7) Consultant promises not to say “You Would think that, you dumb Okie.” for the term of the contract, or a week, whichever comes first.

For an annual service contract fee, I can furnish slightly modified definitions for any such terms, every six months, indefinitely.

(fine print: comments made by The Consultant after term expired to the effect of “I was faking it for the Benjamins” shall not be interpreted as creating a legal liability with respect to the terms of this contract. Consultant retains no liability for anything.)

Steve I may jump the gun and do it before you. They’ll hire me first since I have no science qualification at all and will fit in better with there PHDs currently making science claims. I may have to pay royalities to you for your quotes…or I could just mangle them a bit and state that they where mine.

No credentials? Pay some degree mill a few bucks and scrawl a ‘dissertation’ and you too can get a Ph.D. It’s a tried and true method. for instance, you can go to Patriot University like Kent Hovind. Look at their website if you want some laughs:

Graduate courses are availible in the following ten areas:

Old Testament New Testament Theology Biblical Languages Christian Education Pastoral Ministries Christian Counseling Evangelism & Missions Science and History English

What, no “AC Repair”, or “Business/Medical Office”?

I think they’re a little defensive:

Do Buildings Provide a Quality Education?

I encourage anyone in search of amusement to check them out.

http://www.patriotuniversity.com/

Their science grads must be real geniuses after mastering this curriculum:

http://www.patriotuniversity.com/un[…]r-UG-Science

PZ should feel like a fraud for teaching nonsense like “Developmental Biology 4181” and “Neurobiology 4003”.

I can only imagine what that english program is like. “English 4: The Apostrophe–Our Baffling Nemesis.”

Wayne, the quotes–you don’t even have to mangle them. Get somebody to sue you and then talk about how the establishment is trying to shut you up. ;-)

Besides, they’re not really mine, they’re such old retreads. Anybody can throw their brain in neutral and blather creationism for hours. Like has been talked about here, the fact that anyone listens to them and argues back is a victory for them. It gives them respectability.

O lordy, I just can’t stop looking at that Patriot University (or P.U.) stuff. They provide sample pages of their workbooks. I challenge anyone to read them without falling off your chair.

http://www.patriotuniversity.com/Re[…]plepages.pdf

My favorite question is

Managers are people who _______ things, but leaders are ________ who do the _________ thing; and for spiritual leaders the _______ thing is to _______ Jesus Christ.

That certainly dwarfs the education I’ve received at NCSU. No wonder I don’t understand creationism.

WOooo nice clip art.…those work books professionalism rivals some of the work books my son had in 1st grade!

Russell asked: where in the Bible does Jesus actually claim to be God…

There are several examples… here’s a few…

…the Jews were well aware that their God referred to himself as “I AM”. When Moses was receiving the 10 Commandments from God he asked: Who shall I say sent me? What is your name? (Exodus 3:13) God responds in the next verse: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Isreal, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (forgive the King James English, that’s the only Bible I have close by)

So this was well known by the Jews for centuries when Jesus came along. While having a dispute with the religious leaders who were questioning Jesus’ qualifications they asked him –essentially who do you think you are? They ask: “You are not yet 50 years old and you have seen Abraham?” (John 8:57)

Here’s Jesus’ answer: “Truly, truly, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” This is not a typo. Jesus uses the incorrect grammar on purpose.

Their response was to take up stones to stone him to death because they recognized this as blatant blasphemy. (Equating himself with God)

In John 10:30 Jesus says: “I and my father are one.”

In John 14:9 Jesus says: “…he that has seen me has seen the father.”

In other places Jesus claims to be the “bread of life”; “the way, the truth and the life”; “the light of the world”; “messiah”, etc, etc. There are a lot more, but I’ve been accused of “witnessing”! (Shame, shame!) So I better stop or I might convert you! (Hope that helps, though!)

Bob: My original question was: “In the broad scheme of things, if there is no God, what IS the meaning of life?” You responded: “Your question, first of all, presupposes that there IS - or perhaps MUST BE - some over-arching meaning to life, which is at best a conjecture. I’d ask YOU a question -what is your proof that there IS meaning to life?”

That, in fact, speaks directly to the point I was making that without God in the picture, there is no evidence of any “meaning” to life. Rather, we are simply products of meaningless chance. Any meaning we find in our lives, while applaudable, has no bearing on the “system” responsible for our existance. I don’t quite know what to say, it appears you object to the fact that I’m agreeing with you.

By contrast, we disagree about the ramifications if there is a God. With a creator, our “meaning” is defined as whatever his desire was in creating us. I disagree that “servitude” or unwarranted adoration was his motivation. Otherwise he’d have simply created robots who couldn’t complain about their situation. I assert that a loving relationship was his desire.

You characterize a conceivable God as being: “a fickle and insecure Cosmic Trickster so desperate for love that It made us in order to have worshippers, and then demanded that adoration under the threat of eternal damnation, which It invented solely for the purpose.”

See my previous post addressing Steve’s concept of an “evil” God for my take on this. You have to understand the implications if God is evil, or even an insecure, cosmic trickster as you suggest. This would be like the class prankster/bully with UNLIMITED power. Not a pretty picture. If God wanted to trick you, you’d be tricked! My God revealed himself, his motives, desires and some of his attributes in the Bible.

Bob also writes: “I accept being witnessed to on those occasions when I intentionally invite it. This is not one of those occasions. Your faith is yours, and seems sincere, but you’re witnessing.”

So let me see if I’m understanding you, Bob. You post a comment addressing an issue raised in a series of posts primarily between Wayne F and myself in which you speak to the issue at hand (that is, in fact, and has been an openly theological debate in nature), offer your take on it, share your world view and pose a question back to me. When I answer, I agree with at least part of your conclusions and comment on that while offering more of my world view to Wayne and whoever else is interested. This you label “unvited witnessing”? It would seem to be okay for you to offer your views of God, but if I do it’s “witnessing”?

Wayne:

Sorry I didn’t have time to address any of your comments. My son broke his arm today so I was at the hospital. The crazy thing is my wife broke her ankle last week! I hope I’m not next!

Wayne Francis Wrote:

Steve I may jump the gun and do it before you. They’ll hire me first since I have no science qualification at all and will fit in better with there PHDs currently making science claims. I may have to pay royalities to you for your quotes … or I could just mangle them a bit and state that they where mine.

I’ll do you one better. I’ll find human footprints right next to dino prints in the creek behind my house. Now where’s my gardening trowel?

Ah, well boys do that…I did it when I was young…actually I dislocated my elbow but hey my arm was bending in a way it wasn’t supposed to. sign his cast for me.

This is another problem I have with many people that teach god is all knowing and completely good.

Well the only way I can see that is if god’s definition of good and ours is the same. Much of the bible is about fear.… fear th lord thy god. As I’ve quoted from the bible above god says he is a Jealous god. Jealousy is not a good trait to have.

The way I look at it I live my life properly. Not really to god’s rules but to the way I would want to be treated. If this is god’s rule to then so be it but that is not why I follow it.

Roger Wrote:

With a creator, our “meaning” is defined as whatever his desire was in creating us

I’ve got a few issues with this. You probably don’t even realise. 1) God would not have a sex. You should not call God “he” or any male form. How is a singluar god male? 2) Would your life be over if there was no god Roger? Is the misterious purpose to life which you don’t even know that important?

I think this could be one of the biggest reasons religion was invented by man if there is not a god. So many people are afraid. Afraid that when we die there might be nothing else so they would naturally invent something on the other side of death. Now personally I’m sceptical. I don’t know what is after death but I refuse to worry about it one way or the other. It is not something I can control

Other issues I have is if god is all knowing God could not have created us with free will. For if god knows everything now and forever then our action are preordained and thuse we have no free will. God is not all knowing. Genesis 4 tells us that. Why would god need to ask questions. For that matter why would god stir Cain into a jealous murderous state. God scolds Cain, Cain kills Able, God asks where Able is. Either god is all knowing and god knew this would cause Able’s death by being mean and scolding Cain simply because Cain is a farmer or God is not all knowing. The second option means god is not perfect. Another indication that god is not perfect … how can a perfect being create imperfect items?

Lastly I have a problem in that if God wanted to create us god made us a lot more complicated then we need to be. If I was a god and wanted companionship I would not create such complicated beings when I would have the power to create simpler beings that had the same cognative powers.

I will not be outdone. MY human/dino footprints will be initialed by Adam.

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Just an aside: isn’t it interesting thatt religious people can’t come up with a coherent story even though they aren’t handicapped by having to provide any evidence for the truth of their ideas? You’d think that it would be easy for believers to make up a consistent account of God and creation granted that for them faith is a sufficient basis for making any claim they like any time they want to make it. i guess day dreaming is harder than it looks.

i don’t think it would be hard to come up with a more rational set of stories. But the funny thing about religions is, the older one is, the more biographical knowledge about its origins and originators becomes lost, and that brings a kind of immunity to disproof. David Koresh was a few years ago. Everybody knows he wasn’t supernatural. CNN was there. Joseph Smith was 150 years ago or whenever. People were around, but they’re dead now. It’s harder to show he was full of shit. Jesus? The bible? Who has any idea who wrote that, whether they were crazy, or corrupt, or whatever. Maybe if it’s less susceptible to attack it’s easier for people to swallow? I don’t know. It seems to me that the more rational religious people should realize that there’s no more reason to believe in the bible as the koran or the bhagavad-gita or the code of hammurabi, anyway. Do you think that people just coincidentally happen, 90% of the time, to decide that the best religion is the one their parents and community had?

As far as coming up with new stories, though, it’s rare anyone invents distinctly new religious writings. (I’m not including analyses/popularizations, I just mean brand new revelation) Perhaps because doing so is an act of craziness or fraud. So the mutation rate for religion is low, if revealed writings are the DNA. The religions still change though, in a manner analogous to epigenetic changes, via culture and movements and politics and such. Heh. Creationists would tell you their religion sprung fully-formed from the mind of god and whichever of his press secretaries they believe in. But scholars can show you that little pieces came from previous religions, floods came from here, sacrifices from here, etc. Evolution/creation all over again.

Wayne, you’re right to hit on the idea that omnipotence and free will are incompatible. If god knows what you’re going to do, you have no ability to do otherwise.

I used to try to explain this to a catholic guy I knew (who stole $250 from me later, but what do you expect) thusly: According to the total omnipotence, god could tell me “Hey, Next Thursday, at 11:35 am, Jerry’s going to cook a Denver omelette. And not a very good one.” and I could tell you (Jerry), “Hey, Jerry. You don’t have any free will. And to prove it, I will tell you something you are going to do, and are incapable of changing. Next Thursday, at 11:35 am, you’re going to cook a Denver omelette. There are no two ways about it. Fly to Djibouti, cut your arms off, throw yourself off the MGM Grand in Vegas, you will cook that omelette, and it will suck, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You cannot choose to do otherwise. So when next thursday rolls around, and you want to prove me wrong, what will you do?” He could never explain how he still had free will in that scenario, but he never stopped believing. I have yet to stop believing he was a dumbass.

He did, by the way, try to say lots of words he hoped would do the trick, most of them premised on the idea that god was ‘outside of time’ and somehow that was legitimate and did the trick. On those occasions, he never understood that all he was doing there was invalidating causality. When you get to break the laws of rational thinking, lots of stuff is possible! You can be free to choose something which you have to choose because in the future you freely choose it. It was around this time I started to realize that the costs of debate can easily outway the benefits…

In fact religions change drastically as they develop, and some of the stages in the development of sacred stories can be recovered by carefully studying how the succeeding layers of scripture were laid down like geological strata. For example, the oldest version of the Christ story we have is in the Letters of Paul. In the letters, Christ’s crucifiction and resurrection are spoken about in very general terms. No details. The Christ of the letters is more mythic than legendary, a take off on the endlessly repeated theme of the dying and rising God. The novelistic embellishments that create the illusion of a real Jesus accumulated later as the gospels were put together. Anybody who has ever written a short story or novel in the realistic style knows how its done. You add piquant little touches that no honest historian would have any way of knowing . You report speeches verbatim that nobody recorded at the time. If some circumstantial detail is unknown to you—how meetings of the Sanhedrin were actually conducted, for example–you just make them up figuring that your readers won’t know either. Eventually, you end up with a sacred story that is far more believable than any accurate account could ever be. If Christ always says just the right thing, it’s for the same reason that John Galt in Atlas Shrugged always says the right thing. The author has taken pains to make him perfect.

Please note, by the way, that regarding the New Testament as fiction is not quite equivalent to claiming that the people who cooked it up were acting in bad faith. It’s an obvious induction from the history of a religions that the faithful everywhere and always invent freely and without scrupple. Actually, everybody pretty much understands that–they just think their religion provides an astonishing exception to an otherwise universal rule.

Wow… after reading all your comments I’ve come to realize how utterly idiotic my belief in God & Jesus is! Lucky for me (or unlucky depending on your point of view) Paul warned me in 1st Corinthians 1:23 that the Gospel is foolishness to the Greeks (or gentiles). So I guess I’ll hang on to my foolishness a little while longer. And I’ll keep posting if for nothing else than to provide you with some cheap amusement every now and then.

Wayne, thanks again for your comments and perspective… more Dr visits today, my son is going to have to have surgery to correct his broken bones! He’s taking it pretty well though. I’d ask you guys to pray for him but… naaa! (On the other hand, it does bring up the question of what could possibly happen if an atheist, like say, Steve, were to pray! An interesting question, don’t you think?! : )

Actually something occured in all this that I should share with you. I’m sure you’ll find the rational answer, but we deluded simpletons like to think of this as God working in our lives…

My son went out on his bike with the dogs (labs) yesterday and one of them stopped right in front of him so he slammed on the brakes but stopped too quickly and came off the front of the bike. (This is what caused the broken bones) This happened quite a distance from our house. At the same time I was at the computer typing one of my long-winded posts for you guys. My wife says to me: “Would you please go check on David.” So I did but he was not back yet. So, after more prompting from my wife, I decided I’d better go look for him. After driving a bit I found him. He was walking back to the house and it was obvious he’d had an accident.

Later on he asked me: “What made you come looking for me?” I said “Your mother, why?” He said, “Well, after I crashed I prayed that God would send you.”

Now I realize you’ll probably think the story is embellished or even contrived, but I know it happened ‘cause I experienced it!

Anywhoo.. Wayne, you mention “fear” and “jelousy”. I don’t think the connotation of fear as it’s used most of the the times in the Bible means what we think of today. I would substitute “respect”. As far as jealousy, you say it is not a good characteristic… I question that, but again maybe we are just quibbling over semantics. I would expect my wife to be “jealous” if she saw me paying too much attention to another woman… if not, I would question her love for me. God calls himself “jealous” in the sense that he wants us to “have no other gods before him.” Now IF God is real and IF he’s the only one, then I can understand if he gets a little miffed when his creations start calling rocks or trees or pop stars their “God”.

You write: “1) God would not have a sex. You should not call God “he” or any male form. How is a singluar god male? 2) Would your life be over if there was no god Roger? Is the misterious purpose to life which you don’t even know that important?”

Good questions… because they make me think. You say God would not have a sex… hmmm. Okay, I guess your god wouldn’t, but the God of the Bible is described that way. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Jesus claimed to be God, and he, in fact, was male.

Would my life be over if there was no God? Hmm… well under my world view, yes, because God created me! You’re obviously not asking that, though! Well apparently Steve doesn’t think so! That’s encouraging! : )

Really, that’s kind of a difficult question to answer. Certainly it would leave me feeling a lot of different things. Foolish, perhaps, for believing in something that doesn’t exist. And yet at the same time it would give me even more questions as to what really IS the explanation for reality. Evolution, even if it were true, doesn’t explain the “why”. I’d want to know that.

So I guess I’m confortable with my current delusions!

You write: “Other issues I have is if god is all knowing God could not have created us with free will. For if god knows everything now and forever then our action are preordained and thuse we have no free will.”

Steve agrees by saying: “Wayne, you’re right to hit on the idea that omnipotence and free will are incompatible. If god knows what you’re going to do, you have no ability to do otherwise.”

I like Steve. You know exactly where he stands! BTW, it’s omniscient (all knowing) not omnipotent (all powerful). In fact, I like you both, but I disagree with your logic. Fore-knowledge does not negate free will, it simply means that given all the possible outcomes, God already knows which one you’ll choose. You still make the choice, he just knows which one you’ll choose in advance. Seems like I’ve seen some Star Trek episodes that play with this concept but I can’t quite remember which ones. Doesn’t The Matrix deal with this concept too? I think it’s the Matrix Reloaded, if I remember right. The prophet lady.. what’s her name? The Oracle, already knows what… shoot!, I can’t even remember his name, Kenau Reeves? … Oh yeah! Neo will choose before he chooses to do it. She doesn’t have the complete picture, like God does, but it’s the same concept, he still decides freely and he decides to do exactly as she predicted. She even tells him in advance what he’s going to do, much like your scenario, Steve. It’s only when we get to the end of the movie that we understand why he chooses as he does. The fact that he choose as she predicted does not negate the fact that he still had other possible choices.

Fiona writes: “Roger, your logic seems meandering and, well, illogical to me. Please do clarify. Do you believe that there is an a priori “meaning” to the existence of humans?”

My logic, Fiona, follows my brain patterns, and unfortunately, meandering is just the way it functions! No doubt, a mutation gone bad somewhere along my evolutionary chain!

By “a priori” are you suggesting “cause and effect” or something else? Do I believe there is a “meaning” to life, as in some hidden agenda of the creator, or perhaps some mystery we’ve yet to solve? No. I believe the Bible, so I believe God has revealed the reasons for creating us. This answers my question of “why are we here?”

Granted, that hypothesis is just way too simplistic for someone like Steve who believes I’m a victim of a bunch of creative imposters as well as my own gullability. Who knows? He may be right. I may be crazy! But at least I have an answer to the question, however naive and shallow it may be.

Wayne writes: “Why would god need to ask questions.”

In a technical sense, he wouldn’t. So why does he? There could be several reasons. I’m not very smart, but I can think of at least 2… 1. He believes that questions are the best method to communicate truth to the questionee or 2. He intentionally limits his knowledge in certain areas to see how we’ll respond

You then ask: “how can a perfect being create imperfect items?”

Why would perfection have to create perfection? That is how you choose to define God, not necessarily how he may define himself. On the other hand, Genesis argues that the world WAS “good” when it was created, but when sin entered the picture (as a result of man’s free choice) it (negatively) affected everything.

Wayne writes: “Lastly I have a problem in that if God wanted to create us god made us a lot more complicated then we need to be. If I was a god and wanted companionship I would not create such complicated beings when I would have the power to create simpler beings that had the same cognative powers.”

Well Wayne, sounds good, and if you ever get to be God feel free to try it out. In the mean time the Bible, correctly or incorrectly, gives a different picture. Maybe God likes a good challenge? I would ask: Why would you have a problem with this when you are comfortable accepting scientific theories as fact before you have all the facts?

In the end, as you point out, you have a problem with God. It would seem, if he exists, you’ll have to address those concerns to him someday. If he, she or it doesn’t exist, as Kim Possible would say: “No big!”

Take care!

I will not be outdone. MY human/dino footprints will be initialed by Adam.

I was sitting here honestly wondering how easily I could get time off work to go down to the beach, get some photos of sea-gull tracks alongside my own, and stamp the word “(c)YHWH” on the sand alongside..

Roger,

Sorry about your son’s accident, hope everything’s going okay. I stumbled downstairs at 0430 this morning, heard a strange noise, and discovered a burst pipe water leak in the Christmas Village/sitting room ceiling, merrily drip-dripping through the chandelier onto a coffee table, then the carpet, and slowly making its way through the floor to the basement. Damned poly pipe. Or maybe God’s punishing me for doubting?

Your statement is that there is only meaning to life if the Christian God exists and created man in His image. You further state that that meaning is whatever His desire was when He created us, and you then define that desire as a “loving relationship.”

By your statement then, your claim of “meaning to life” is predicated on the existence of a supernatural creating entity outside of natural law, and therefore beyond the boundaries of Science and objective empirical evaluation. So you cannot, in fact, offer any credible evidence for there being any “meaning to life” - the Christian/Judaic myth cycle does not qualify as credible evidence. So you neither answered my question nor agreed with me, and I certainly did not prove your point. The “loving relationship” you state as the “meaning to life” is, I think, clear evidence of “a fickle and insecure (and capricious) Cosmic Trickster so desperate for love that It made us in order to have worshippers, and then demanded that adoration under the threat of eternal damnation, which It invented solely for the purpose.” On reflection, though, perhaps “eternal damnation” is excessive – how about Death and Destruction, Plague and Pestilence?

You said, concerning your beliefs, “I know that some people hold to a literal seven days, some do not. Some hold that the earth is relatively young, some do not. I don’t know. The jury’s still out for me.” I can only assume then, in the absence of anything more specific, that you have no particular problems with YEC and Noah’s Flood, surely a testament to the dangers of not giving God his declared due, and one hell of a case of overkill - a global catastrophe which covered the peak of Mt. Everest by more than a few feet and destroyed every living creature on the planet (guilty and innocent alike) save Noah, his family, and their 2by/7by menagerie, who were safely ensconced on an impossible feat of hand-tool engineering. Let’s not forget, either, Sodom and Gomorrah. Didn’t your loving God command the angel-sheltering believer to send his wife (or daughter?) out to be gang-raped to death by the horny mob? And we can’t forget Job and that tribulations test - to prove a point to Satan, wasn’t it?. So much for the dubious rewards of fulfilling His desire. At some point, I would guess that we’d also need to visit the long list of diseases and viruses He so thoughtfully provided, all of which seem to be equal opportunity scurges, striking without regard for quality or quantity of Godlove. Sounds like a capricious Trickster to me. Your faith is dependent on a collection of anonymous and arbitrarily assigned; at least occasionally contradictory; and inaccurate in real world terms two thousand and more year old scriptural writings – claimed by some to be the inerrant word of God. Since you’ve offered no specifics on your belief, I must assume you’ve got no opinion one way or the other here either? The best that can be said for the Bible is that there’s a whole lot of metaphor and allegory contained within its pages. Fear of the dark has led our family tree to tens of thousands of years of God-making, and to the extent that helps someone get through the night, I guess there’s no particular harm done. Unfortunately, though, over the course of our history as a species, it doesn’t seem to have stopped there. My apologies for the witnessing remark. You could probably make the same charge back at me.

Let it be known that while I’m agnostic I fully support my son’s belief in god.

I’ll accept your definition of “jealousy” that god feels but god takes it beyond that and acts upon it and not only to those that made god jealous but those that decend from that sinner.

roger Wrote:

I would expect my wife to be “jealous” if she saw me paying too much attention to another woman

True but lets change this from your wife to a past girlfriend. Agian fine for the past girlfriend to be jealous but when she threatens you, your children, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren that is NOT good.

I’d prefer to believe a god that created us would be more accepting. God Dammning man and 3 more generations is akin to me chopping my son up into little pieces when he is older because he said he though my ex-wife’s new partner was a good guy then doing the same to my grandchildren etc.

roger Wrote:

You say God would not have a sex … hmmm. Okay, I guess your god wouldn’t, but the God of the Bible is described that way. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Jesus claimed to be God, and he, in fact, was male.

It doesn’t make sense. A “God” that is alone and creates with life with no partner is asexual. Unless, here is where I get struck down by lighting, god’s penis is a vestigial organ. Surely it would not be used for sex and hmmm does a god need to eat and drink? Does a god need legs? Seems walking wouldn’t be nessicary for a god that is everywhere in space and time. I say that god is defined as a man because man needed to describe god. Women at that time where … hmmm … still are by many people concidered inferior. If we where peacocks god would be a woman because females are dominate in that species.

I find it interesting that you adhere to some parts of the bible as absolute truth but others you define as alagory

As for your son’s accident. Just as I can not disprove or prove god I can not prove or disprove esp. Realistically to me both are as possible as the other and both could be true. Thus your wife’s asking about your son could have been devine intervention, it could be because of some form of esp, it could be that your wife being a woman and via evolution and typically responcible for welfare of the children of millions of year have a better sense of when things are not quite right and you son was gone to long, it could have been getting time for lunch or dinner she wanted him to do something and asked you, or it could be some weird quantum entanglement between mother and child that occurs because our brain is like a quantum computer (not I don’t beleave this one at all) but the former are all possible. I would ask if it was the first why god didn’t warn you? Not to stop the event but why go through your wife? Seems god shouldn’t have any trouble getting in contact with the person god knows will act upon gods message directly.

As far as your description of our freewill. 100% omniscence still doesn’t leave us with free will in my view.

Roger Wrote:

BTW, it’s omniscient (all knowing) not omnipotent (all powerful).

Hmm don’t you think a god that can create and destroy the universe and knows everything is all powerful? But yes omniscient is what I meant thank :)

Roger Wrote:

He intentionally limits his knowledge in certain areas to see how we’ll respon

Would not thsi be the equivalent to us lieing to ourselfs? If a god is outside of time, which I believe the god of the bible would have to be, and knows everything now and forever and is everywhere then I don’t believe this perfect being should close gods eyes, so to speak, to see what happens especially when god would know the overall outcome from imperfect beings. It would be like me putting a baby on a ceramic tile surounded by a metalic electric floor and seeing if the baby to crawl even if the baby was told to stay where it was.

Agian problem isn’t with a god or and all knowing god but a god that is supposed to love us above all else doing what god has done. “Opps the baby moved onto the electric floor, I better let a few generations pass then I’ll pick one of the babies offspring to spare and kill all the others because I didn’t like the stupidity the originall baby had”

Genesis is all about fear not respect. Fear god because if you don’t respect god you’ll face eternal damnation. I always tell people never ask a question of me if you don’t want to hear the honest answer to and know what the answers might be before hand.

So here we have the god of the bible that says “Believe what you want for you have free will, but know what you will believe in because I am omniscient, and if you don’t believe in me (which I know you, you, you, you and you won’t) I’ll damn you”

I guess I do this with my son. I give him choices and let him know the consequences of his choices. The difference is I’m not all knowing and I don’t claim to be perfect and all good. Other difference is my punishment doesn’t wipe my son out of existence like will happen to me by Jesus and God if the bible is right.

Roger Wrote:

Why would you have a problem with this when you are comfortable accepting scientific theories as fact before you have all the facts?

1) you might not mean it this way but most creationist do. The way you wrote that makes it look like the scientific theories most of us believe in have more holes then picture. Given the data we see the current Theories match the available facts we have. We might get new facts that force us to change the theory but we can only go on what we know of at this time.

As far as why god made life as complicated as god did if biblical account is true will not be known until we meet god for ourselves. It just doesn’t makes sense to me giving the facts that we see in my opinion.

I often wonder why god would use a flood to wipe out almost all life on earth. 1) Seems, again, over complex given that god of the bible would be omnipotent. 2) discriminates against land animals as surely most ocean animals would survive just fine. 3) Did god miracle all the species to Noah’s location? I won’t get into the whole range of problems that would have occurred with keeping all the animals fed and cleaning up after their waste on a ship just 175m x 25m x 18m and the fact that. Also just the insect alone is staggering. Anywhere from 6 to 30 million different species of insects.

Again my agnosticism stems from a lack of evidence. A biblical god is falsified by the evidence but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a god.…just means I don’t think god would be a older man with a great white bushy beard.

Oh and about you feeling “foolishness” if you find out you are wrong.…don’t. If I find out I’m wrong about something I learn something new and move on. I didn’t feel any weird emotions when I figured out Santa didn’t exists. It was actually around Easter and I started putting it all together that if the Easter bunny actually brought us all the candy and painted eggs etc why did they sell so much of it in the stores. Then all the pieces starting falling into place. I actually felt very enlighten. Again not saying you are wrong but I personally can’t make sense of it all given the facts we have at this point. Perhaps when god parts the sky showing gods face or when Jesus comes and wipes all non Christians from the face of the Earth or even just some O.T. large scale miracles happen then I’ll reassess my philosophies but I fear it would be to late for me. Then again god may be a god that will only save those that believe in evolution because that is the way god created all life and thinks its blasphemy for anyone to think different given all the evidence god left behind and god especially disapproves of Christian biblical literalists for believing works of man fraudulently passed for god’s word

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This page contains a single entry by Prof. Steve Steve published on June 22, 2004 12:47 PM.

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