Red State Rabble: Dembski Flops In Oz

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Catherine Odson, a reporter for The University Daily Kansan described the evening this way:

Insistent, assertive questions nagged Monday night’s speaker, who felt his explanation of the scientific evidence of intelligent design fell upon “deaf ears.”

Audience members awarded both applause and laughter to the questioners who stepped publicly into the controversy over intelligent design in Kansas.

Dembski, who may have been led to expect a warmer reception for his ideas – he was in Kansas, after all – seemed to grow testy as questioner after questioner expressed doubt about his assertion that evolution is a failed theory and that patterns in nature are best explained as a result of intelligence.

Read more at Red State Rabble

Or Read Jack Krebs explaining why Dembski had decided to present alone.

Or read on for some observations

Ironically, on Uncommondescent, Dave Scott, self appointed Czar, makes the following comment

In an unsurprising act of cowardice, not a single Darwimpian defender of the faith scientist had the balls fiber to stand up to our fearless leader in Kansas yesterday.

Seems that Dembski was doing a good job himself at showing Intelligent Design to be scientifically vacuous.

At least Mark Brown, campus director for Campus Crusade for Christ seemed to understand the real issue:

Brown said truth should be a friend to both science and religion and that neither side should exclude concepts from the other side.

“Scientists shouldn’t be scared of divine intervention in the natural world,” he said.

All that work to distance ID from its religious foundations and then this…

60 Comments

The fact that Dembski and Co. take their message to a religious venue shows exactly what the debate is all about. Saying that ID is rooted in science is about as honest as cdesign proponentsists.

I’m glad to hear the reception was lukewarm; it warms the heart to see that complete fatalism is unfounded.

I can’t wait for the recordings :)

Things will shake out interestingly over the next couple of years. The creationists seem to be picking up the pace even as their faux science face is showing cracks. Are we going to see more “naked” creationism again, if all-stars like Behe and Dembski start faltering in “neutral” audiences?

I am really having trouble understanding that Mark Brown quote. Is there more context available? Was it something he said at the lecture/roast?

Brown said truth should be a friend to both science and religion and that neither side should exclude concepts from the other side.

Of what use is truth derived from authority, to science? On the other hand, scientific truths and concepts cast doubt on many religious beliefs. Why else would the religious attack science?

“Scientists shouldn’t be scared of divine intervention in the natural world,” he said.

Scientists who are not religious have absolutely no need to fear interventions from a divinity that doesn’t exist.

A scientist who accepts the existence of an interventionist god, should not only fear miraculous meddling in her data, but also ‘acts of god’ directed at her and her neighbors by way of retribution.

Scientists shouldn’t be scared of divine intervention in the natural world,” he said.

Religious people should not fear science. That’s what all this is about, is it not? They fear evolution, therefore they attack it.

“to stand up to our fearless leader”

Spoken like a true fascist!

Re: Ritchie: “Are we going to see more “naked” creationism again, if all-stars like Behe and Dembski start faltering in “neutral” audiences?”

Yes, I think we will see more “naked” creationism. Whereas the KKK, errr, CCC over in Kansas invited B.Dembski to represent intelligent design, the CCC over here in Davis, CA, invited Reasons To Believe (www.reasons.org) to present their “testable creation model.” This model, however, was a list of metaphors and predictions (some of which were identical to those made by evolution) for “testing” the bible. They literally said that they can put gOD in a test tube! Anwyay, Fuz Rana, while he was here, undercut ID saying that ID didn’t have a model, and now they’ve claimed victory in Dover. Clearly, they are trying to throw down ID while pulling themselves up, and I think they’ll be an interesting group to keep an eye on. It will be a change for the better. No more prevarication about what your movement is all about. Give me some of that ol’ time creationism…

Maybe “fearless leader” is now in contact with Boris & Natasha to warn them about the moose and squirrel. Especially the squirrel, it appears he is evolving wings.

Yes, I think we will see more “naked” creationism.

Well, of course. After the Maclean and Aguillard rulings, the creation ‘scientists’ decided that creationism, too, was all about religion after all.

Once you lose in court, there’s not much point in trying to hide it any longer, is there. (shrug)

What the hell is the matter with Kansas? Carry on my wayward sons.

“Scientists shouldn’t be scared of divine intervention in the natural world,”

But alas, how will we KNOW when such intervention has occurred? And if we figure out how we can KNOW, then what do we do with such KNOWledge? Can we harnass it and use it for practical applications? After all, a predictable/detectable hands-on-deity might come in handy from time-to-time. Perhaps we can utilize such KNOWledge in order to harnass the deities “divine intervention” on such things as world hunger and international poverty. Or perhaps less trivial things such as scoring touchdowns in football.

natural cynic wrote:

Maybe “fearless leader” is now in contact with Boris & Natasha to warn them about the moose and squirrel. Especially the squirrel, it appears he is evolving wings.

As someone of the age to have appreciated Rocky and Bullwinkle, I was also just picturing the – er, distinguished professor sporting a military uniform complete with Jolly Roger cap insignia, a monocle, and a Heidelberg dueling scar. (BTW, there are some plush ones for sale on eBay.)

For those unfamiliar with the meme, there’s a nice rendering here.

Yes, I think we will see more “naked” creationism. Whereas the KKK, errr, CCC over in Kansas invited B.Dembski to represent intelligent design, the CCC over here in Davis, CA, invited Reasons To Believe (www.reasons.org) to present their “testable creation model.” This model, however, was a list of metaphors and predictions (some of which were identical to those made by evolution) for “testing” the bible.

If the Jewish Creation Myth never existed, would today’s “creationist” have come up with “Creation Science” they now claim better explains the known data? And the answer is, not bloody likely.

Creationists have turned the process of discovery on its head - starting with an unchange-able conclusion (based on “God’s Word”) and making reality fit that conclusion. “Creation Science” is decidedly a negative pursuit (attacking ideas that contradict their foregone conclusion); rather than a positive endeavor that goes about validating its own ideas.

The fact that it has embraced an “all-hail-our-mavericks” approach; and to elevate movement “think-tanks” and talkingheads to star status is because the True Believers want desperately to have their religious faith validated. Despite their outward claims to certainty, biblical literalists are some of the most psychologically insecure people.

Well Rocket J., his buddies, and their arch enemies provide a perfect parallel. No matter how ludicrously his fiendish plan fails, Boris is always back in the next episode certain of impending victory. Of course, the ID crowd’s fearless leader and his lackeys lack the integrity of the real deal.

Gorbe writes, “But alas, how will we KNOW when such [divine] intervention has occurred?”

This is a great question. My question to Dembski (which you can listen to at the link below) pointed out that many Christians object to ID in part because it makes God responsible for only the improbable, and “blind materialistic” causes responsible for the probable. If interesed, you might try listening at

http://24.124.48.36:16080/Dembski.L[…]0Q&A.mp3

Is a transcript to the entire event available yet?

Proof that god intervenes: it’s called the Lied Center.

What the hell is the matter with Kansas?

They haven’t put out a good album in quite a while.

I’m sure there won’t be a transcript. I have put marginally acceptable sound files up at the Kansas Citizens for Science website at http://www.kcfs.org/cgi-bin/ultimat[…]f=3;t=001267

The american chronical has this article

Someday people will look back at recent opposition to Intelligent Design and see it as bordering on hysterical. Proponents of Evolution demand a complete monopoly over what is taught about the origins of life. They ignore the fact that scientific progress often springs from the interplay between accepted, contrarian and just plain wrong hypotheses.

Philosophers have debated the origins of the universe for more than two millennia. Was the universe created or did it always exist? Today most cosmologists favor the hypothesis that our universe was created–not because they have a religious agenda but because the Big Bang theory does a better job of explaining observable phenomena. Woe unto him, however, who dares to suggest that life’s underlying molecular machinery might also have been created.

Dembski, it seems, may have an important role to play in all this.

Off-topic: interesting article on the neurological effect of political bias. Note in particular that supporting one’s party regardless of their insanity apparently provides a boost to the pleasure centres.

And then people wonder why scientists insist on being so strict about the scientific method…

On the off-topic: Ouch. expect advertisers to start defining the “out” crowd more derisively. Also it gives me a little glimpse into my own psyche

Jack Krebs have you provided any commentary on this event anywhere? I am most interested in your take on it. From what little I have read so far the reviews seem to be mixed. Seems like somewhere I read the audience was about 1,200 pro-intelligent design folks with very little IDC opposition attending. In fact I got the feeling this was an IDC love in, but this brief report above suggests otherwise.

Since you were there can you provide us with some insight?

Julie Stahlhut: heh heh, FL does bear a distinct resemblance to Dembski. Or vice versa.

Evidence that Dembski was intelligently designed by cartoonists?

I don’t have much time to comment fully - hope to get around to that next week, but I’d say it was a mixed crowd. When there was spontaneous applause for Dembski (rather than the expected applause at the end of the talk) it was certainly from no more than half the crowd. As I think I said elsewhere, given that this was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ and given that Dembski said very little about religion, I don’t think this was a warm and fuzzy experience for either Dembski or the CCC. Now I know that the opposition usually has the questions at events like this, but Dembski was pushed on some things in the Q&A and he did some pretty heavy dancing in response, I think.

Poor journalism/opinion mongering strikes again:

They ignore the fact that scientific progress often springs from the interplay between accepted, contrarian and just plain wrong hypotheses.

Sure, bad hypotheses in science have, no doubt, helped to spur/refine good hypotheses in science. But religion isn’t a “bad hypotheses,” it is no hypotheses at all.

Take the position of the continents. Prior to the 1950’s most geological scientists (and creationists) were on the same page regarding the continents being fixed in place. The Plate Techtonics hypothesis came into being, it was vigorously attacked by geologists. But, because it had predictive and explanatory power, it over-came.

We’ve also had the steady-state/big-bang issues that have spurred greater insights, some of which bore fruit, while others failed (like some of Wheeler’s & Feynman’s work with Maxwell’s equations). I remember reading that Einstein had a competitor with his special & general theories of relativity (whose name escapes me, so much for the losers…) but his theory prevailed. Or Feynman’s work in QED. According to his accounts a new, unaccepted hypothesis regarding the proper endpoint of some particle/atomic coupling (or state) (hey, it’s been a decade, I can’t remember everything) was the catalyst for his understanding and directly lead to the work the earned him his Nobel prize he shared with two other physicists.

But what’s important, is that religion played no part in any of those issues. It doesn’t, and can’t, address or enhance them; rather, it sits there like an 800lb gorilla and says “GODDIDIT!”

BWE -

I may get kicked to the “bathroom wall” for this, but I’d like to respond to the suggestion, from the prior thread you linked, that religion does “more harm than good”.

My response is essentially a scientific one.

We do not, and to all extents and purposes, cannot, know whether “religion does more good than harm” or vice versa.

We can note that 1) religion, broadly defined, is a very common human activity and 2) people are often aggressive and disrespectful to one another. We can note that some aggressive behavior (a minority, but a substantial amount) has at least a superficial appearance of “religious” motivation.

We can not logically conclude from this that humans would be “nicer” without religion. We have no controlled experiment, and indeed, nothing resembling a controlled experiment. We have no idea what people “would” be like if they “weren’t” religious. It may seem trivially obvious that religion “caused” the inquisition; in fact, such situations are often the result of many interacting variables. On the individual level, we don’t know if, say, Pat Robertson, would be a nicer person, or if he might be even worse, if we do the thought experiment of “imagining Pat Roberston without religion”.

We do not know whether an imaginary world of “humans who don’t have religion” would be any nicer. Officially atheist societies like the USSR haven’t tended to be, but since Marxism can be extraordinarily similar to a rather fundamentalist religion, it’s probably not fair to say that any atheist societies have existed. We might argue that current polls show a lot of “not religious” people in Western Europe or some parts of South East Asia; they show a lot of religious people in those countries, too, though, and many of them have official churches.

My point is not, of course, that religion is good or bad, but that “religion” seems to be a part of human behavior for the forseeable future, and that we have no rational basis for “knowing” how people would behave “without religion”.

That requires a long answer. Do you know how to start a thread over at the bar is closed? I would say that you could make a long list of major wars and atrocities over all of recorded history, as well as political cruelty and particularly vicious individuals and look at religious motivations that might be apparent and see if there is any statistical corellation. I bet we could make groupings that might show a down side to religion.

My point in linking to my other post is that I and many others are simply mentally masturbating, following unwarranted assumptions to forgone conclusions and congratulating ourselves on our cleverness. (re: the link to the politics ignoring facts etc. article) I am worse about this than many of the thoughtful people here but there is a general undertone.

In no way am I saying that the scientific method is biased to forgone conclusions but people, in defending their “side” apparrently are. I didn’t realize that I was actually getting off on it. I supose I subconsciously knew because I mostly comment to amuse myself but that particular comment was a doosie. Jeez that was like having Sarah Jessica Parker and Agelina Jolie together, y’know?

Moses Wrote:

They ignore the fact that scientific progress often springs from the interplay between accepted, contrarian and just plain wrong hypotheses.

Sure, bad hypotheses in science have, no doubt, helped to spur/refine good hypotheses in science. But religion isn’t a “bad hypotheses,” it is no hypotheses at all.

No doubt, but I think you’ve unknowingly taken the author’s bait. In the previous sentence, the writer says:

Proponents of Evolution demand a complete monopoly over what is taught about the origins of life.

The real problem here is not religion per se (although that is certainly the writer’s motive, as we all know) but the inappropriate juxtaposition of “scientific progress” and “what is taught.” We’re talking about teaching school children, not doing scientific research. It is just as appropriate for evolution supporters to demand a monopoly in this venue as for holocaust acknowledgers to demand a monopoly over holocaust deniers, or (to concoct a more absurd and less politically hot example) for Roman Empire acknowledgers to demand a monopoly over Roman Empire deniers (a hypothetical group of 400 or so college history professors who might someday get together and sign a grandiose statement supporting the conclusion that the Roman Empire is a myth).

Proponents of Evolution demand a complete monopoly over what is taught about the origins of life.

I frequently refuse to respond to base-canards in arguments. I find them boring and mind-numbing. Many times I only respond to just one point, of many, made by an author because it is the only one that interests me. So don’t assume, please.

Proponents of Evolution do not demand a complete monopoly of what is taught about the origins of life (abiogenisis). Many people who find the Theory of Evolution to be rock-solid science also love fiction, mythology, comparative religion and are Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. and have a deep and fulfilling religious life. Some are atheists and want no religion in a science class, or are Christians who don’t want their children exposed to the literalist Christianity of the fundamentalists. But, for the most part, what these “evolutionists” want is that what you teach in science class is science and leave the religion at the door.

To me, and those like me, if you want to have a qualified teacher teach a comparative religion class on the “origins of life,” and include the creation mythos of multiple cultures and religions (native American, Hindu, Shinto, Persian, Norse, Greek, Celtic, Sumerian, Canaanite, blah, blah, blah) and leave evolution out of it (as it is NOT a religion) and don’t use it to elevate your particular brand of Christianity (whatever) I don’t believe a lot of “evolutionists” would be getting upset. OTOH, when you do something fake and ham-handed like Dover, Tejon and more to come. Forget it. We’re not stupid or blind.

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Philosophers have debated the origins of the universe for more than two millennia. Was the universe created or did it always exist? Today most cosmologists favor the hypothesis that our universe was created—not because they have a religious agenda but because the Big Bang theory does a better job of explaining observable phenomena. Woe unto him, however, who dares to suggest that life’s underlying molecular machinery might also have been created.

Created is a loaded word.

Anyway, here’s the funny part of this. They say the reason that scientists believe the universe was “created” is the evidence for the theory of the big bang. Then they suggest that people should believe that life was also “created” based on no evidence of this.

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Ok, the motivations of the leaders yes. The followers were motivated by territory? In the crusades? Charlemaigne? Whatever kind of tool it may be, religion is the tool used to get the soldiers to kill for you. Obviously the wars were over politics, but the justification (remember WMD’s?) was religion.

Gorbe Wrote:

But alas, how will we KNOW when such intervention has occurred? And if we figure out how we can KNOW, then what do we do with such KNOWledge? Can we harnass it and use it for practical applications? After all, a predictable/detectable hands-on-deity might come in handy from time-to-time. Perhaps we can utilize such KNOWledge in order to harnass the deities “divine intervention” on such things as world hunger and international poverty. Or perhaps less trivial things such as scoring touchdowns in football.

Now now, everyone knows God is already on a pull-cord. You just have to pay someone like Pat Robertson to do the pulling. He’s, uh, closer to the cord. Or stronger. Or something. Whatever, just send him money!

BWE, that excerpt you quoted is hilarious. Some people just aren’t satisfied with the freedom of their minds and churches. Scientists are despots for requiring accuracy, and reality itself is a big bully for contradicting their beliefs. The confusion of Big Bang theory and cosmic creation is also amusing. But the best part is:

…scientific progress often springs from the interplay between accepted, contrarian and just plain wrong hypotheses.

Translation: “We’ve been ruled useless in court, but even useless things have their uses.” What a doublethink spin! Orwell would be proud (or sick).

Bill Gascoyne -

Would you settle for Holy Roman Empire denialists?

Heribert Illig: Forget about the year 2000, we still live in 1703

… So the time between pope Gergorius XIII and Julius Caesar seems to be 300 years shorter than originally presumed. According to the thesis of Heribert Illig 297 years of fictious history have been inserted. For a fictious period of time - according to Illig from 614 to 911 - there cannot be authentic evidences. These centuries are also called the “Dark Ages” anyway for the historical deliveries are as rare as the archeological findings. Today we do not find any proof of colonization during the early Middle Ages in originally Roman cities. The historical sources are by no means contemporary, but have been written centuries later. Hundreds of Byzantinian towns seem to have been uninhabited during this time. The findings in islamc spain do not begin in 711 with the islamic conquest but not before the early 10th century - and so on.

The friend who passed this along to me from Germany in 2000 said it appeared to be a rising fad among some academics there.

Beer: …I don’t believe that there has been a war in the past 2000 years that really had religion as its true reason. The Crusades? Territory. Jihad? Territory. Holocaust? Whatever the bizarre logic was behind that, it wasn’t religion. …

Religion is bizarre logic, an institutionalization of prejudice/authority over evidence. It has coevolved with the bizarre logic of warfare over the millennia, to the point where the latter can scarcely move without it. A few religions seem to have sustained themselves without a military wing, so the dependence may not be equal.

The grunts on the ground, especially in modern wars, aren’t likely to get more personal “territory” out of their adventures. The survival calculus of combat as compared to staying home would keep all but the most desperate out of the army, if non-bizarre logic were to be applied. Without faith (in their leadership/mission), fighting forces tend to disintegrate rapidly.

How, without bizarre logic and the ingrained habit of accepting claims without evidence, would 160,000+ Americans (now minus 2,230+, and ~5 times as many maimed) find themselves wrestling for the “territory” of Iraq in this the fifth year of Bush II?

Make that “the sixth year of Bush II” (damnit).

Pierce R. Butler Wrote:

Would you settle for Holy Roman Empire denialists?

Short answer: No. Long answer: I have heard it said, quite seriously, that the “Holy Roman Empire” was in fact none of those, a three-fold misnomer, and belittling or even denying its actual existence is far from absurd.

The bizarro history referred to above can be Googled as “new chronology”. I first heard of it when Kasparov (world chess champion at the time) made some positive remarks about it, followed by some other chess player who seemed to feel that his history education was clearly superior to that of us North Americans. There was a brief article outlining the theory, and why it is wrong, in Skeptic magazine last year or 2004.

I have heard it said, quite seriously, that the “Holy Roman Empire” was in fact none of those, a three-fold misnomer, and belittling or even denying its actual existence is far from absurd.

I think it was Voltaire who’s credited with saying that the HRE was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire - but he was speaking more than 900 years after Charlemagne kicked the project into gear. At that time no one in western Europe questioned anything about it (at least where the Franks could hear them).

As for the historical insights of chess grandmasters:

April 13, 2005 Spassky joins Fischer against Jews

Contributing more evidence that chess players are crazy racists, former world champion Boris Spassky has signed a petition to ban Jewish organizations.

Many leading Soviet-era players were Jewish, including Garry Kasparov, officially the highest-ranked in the world but now retired. The intense competition created a “them and us” division between Jewish and non-Jewish players, who include Spassky. Although this is the first time that Spassky has given vent to anti-Semitic feelings in public, Fischer - whose parents were, in fact, Jewish - has frequently exposed himself as a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite.

BWE -

“I would say that you could make a long list of major wars and atrocities over all of recorded history, as well as political cruelty and particularly vicious individuals and look at religious motivations that might be apparent and see if there is any statistical corellation.”

Interestingly, the subtle error that I think you are making is a critical one to avoid in statistical testing of hypotheses. Correlation does not always mean causation. An unstudied factor could be causing both effects. In this case, the typical human brain could be aggressive, and could independently be religious. This would create the picture of religious, aggressive humans, even if neither condition “caused” the other.

By the way, it is a grave error to think that when humans claim, even sincerely, that they do something for a certain reason, that that necessarily is the reason.

And again, I repeat, we don’t know and can’t know whether “humans without religion” would have fought an equal number of wars or committed an equal number of atrocities. Do you see what I’m saying? Neither you nor I has any idea what “would have happened if humans were otherwise the same but didn’t have religion”.

Perhaps if “religion didn’t exist”, there would be less war. Or perhaps there would be more war. Or perhaps there would be exactly the same amount as war. We have no way of constructing humans who “are exactly like other humans, but not religious”. So we have no way to know. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation, I repeat for emphasis. The fact that humans are religious and humans fight is true, but it is equally true that every other common human behavior is is correlated with human war, at least in the sense that they more or less occur together, however coincidental the association may be.

There is a logical question you could ask. You could ask “are humans more religious when they are being aggressive than when they are not being aggressive”? This would be a rather weak test of whether or not religion has a causitive effect for aggression, at best, because this would be very hard to measure, and that there would be innumerable confounding variables. We might cautiously say, though, that if humans are equally religious, regardless of their state of aggression, that this is weak evidence against a religion/aggression causation.

Your unstated claim is that “If people can be made to give up their religious beliefs, they will be more humane and reasonable”. Or at least “People who have no religious beliefs are, as a group, more humane and reasonable”. But I would say that neither of these claims is supported by evidence. They could be true, but for all we know, the opposite could equally be true.

Again, I’m neither defending nor attacking religion. Indeed, showing that religion creates suffering would in no way argue for or against the “truth” of religion. I’m just pointing out that we have no logical reason, at present, to think that people would be “less mean” without religion.

Corrrelation does not always mean causation? Are you kidding? I’m not a friggin social scientist you know. I don’t think I said that.

I would say that you could make a long list of major wars and atrocities over all of recorded history, as well as political cruelty and particularly vicious individuals and look at religious motivations that might be apparent and see if there is any statistical corellation. I bet we could make groupings that might show a down side to religion.

and then in further clarification I said:

Ok, the motivations of the leaders yes. The followers were motivated by territory? In the crusades? Charlemaigne? Whatever kind of tool it may be, religion is the tool used to get the soldiers to kill for you. Obviously the wars were over politics, but the justification (remember WMD’s?) was religion.

The fact that humans are religious and humans fight is true

And the fact that the footsoldiers die for the glory of god, believing in heaven’s eternal reward may simply be non-causally related to the huge armies that charlemaigne raised to go kill the godless saxons under the grounds that they wouldn’t convert to christianity… http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm … I don’t think people would be a lot different maybe but it would be a hell of a lot harder to raise an army without god’s authority.

And sheesh, design of experiments? c’mon.

It wasn’t just footsoldiers who died for the glory of God. Many of the nobles were every bit as superstitious as the meanest serf–you don’t expect the military trade to attract subtle thinkers, do you? The fact that irrational religious faith is useful to rulers doesn’t mean that the rulers aren’t believers themselves.

I admire consistent hypocrites as I admire anybody who can ride two horses at once. I don’t think the skill is very common, though.

History is proof ! When Mullah Omar wanted to rid Afghanistan of the godless heathens running the country he had the most powerful tool known to warlords everywhere since the dawn of time. Create a world view and a totally righteous and mindless soldiery willing to fight for the “One true word of God”. Then show them the holy shroud of a prophet before battle that PROVES there was a prophet who for the greater glory blah blah blah. Seen the video ? The Taliban marched onto the outskirts of Kabul hitting their foreheads with a copy of the Koran the ungodly fled. This is recent history however EXACTLY the same thing happened when William the Conqueror realizing he could not rally the Normans to invade England got some sort of Religious relic from Rome with the assurance from the pope that the “One true word of God” was on their side and quickly raised his army. Why did they quickly fall into line? Just ask That comparative religious studies professor in Kansas.

harold wrote:

We do not, and to all extents and purposes, cannot, know whether “religion does more good than harm” or vice versa.

And I agree: Exactly the same kind of arguments – on both sides – can be made for any activity common to humans: sex, sport, desire for self-betterment, and work come to mind. Pick any activity, and you’ll find both upsides and downsides; you’ll also be unable to imagine or predict how large numbers of people would behave without the activity in question.

What I find ironic is that Krebs offered to go toe to toe with Dembski and Dembski refused. So I have to ask, who is the real coward?

*shrugs*

you don’t have to go back to the Inquisition or the HRE - the 20th century was the bloodiest in history. How many genocide type events were there? (killing outside of armed conflict) was religion behind them? used as a tool? lets summarize: Nazi’s killed 10 million people (6 million Jews, plus 4 million “undesirables” i.e. Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, political dissidents etc) Stalin and his ilk killed 20 million, Mao killed 30 million, add in “ethnic cleanings” in the former Yugoslav states, Iraq, Cambodia, Dharfor (still going on) western Africa (still going on) etc etc. Its is culture, ethnicity, politics, power, that drive Man’s inhumanity to Man

Man’s inhumanity to man is the underlying issue perhaps but if you are saying that religious ferver isn’t up there in dave’s top 10 ways to get the plebes to kill for you then that’s a different issue. I think my point was that more people have been killed in the name of god than have had their lives improved by believing in the magic promised in the religious mythologies.

Much religious thought can be about peace and harmony and good works but much religious rhetoric is about us -vs -them and them are rat bastards who need killin. Not just killin but draggin behind trucks and tyin ta fence posts and being in the guldang crosshairs.

Posted by BWE on January 26, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

Man’s inhumanity to man is the underlying issue perhaps but if you are saying that religious ferver isn’t up there in dave’s top 10 ways to get the plebes to kill for you then that’s a different issue. I think my point was that more people have been killed in the name of god than have had their lives improved by believing in the magic promised in the religious mythologies.

Much religious thought can be about peace and harmony and good works but much religious rhetoric is about us -vs -them and them are rat bastards who need killin. Not just killin but draggin behind trucks and tyin ta fence posts and being in the guldang crosshairs.

But much the same argument could be used against science and technology.

If we had not advanced technologically we would be unable to kill people by the millions.

Now before people accuse me of being anti-science, I am not. But it is a tool like any other, that can be used beneficially or destructively.

Don’t know how they did it, but AAAS has a banner ad running on Dembski’s blog. Chalkboard has “Teach only science in science class” on it. It appears just before the Vonnegut transcript entry.

Stephen/BWE– I think for the most part we are in agreement - my point is that in recent history massive killings were done NOT in the name of religion (Communist regimes in USSR and China were officially atheist). Has religion been a tool used by the powerful to oppress the weak or the “other” or motivate/justify the killing of another group- YUP - definitely in the “top 10” however, it is incorrect to say that is a flaw of religion- in the big picture, the nature of the tool used by the oppressor is irrelevant. - ok I’m done what was the topic of this thread again?

If we had not advanced technologically we would be unable to kill people by the millions.

Golly, one learns something new every day. But that leads me to ask, what sort of advanced technology was Tamerlane using?

If we had not advanced technologically we would be unable to kill people by the millions.

Sure we could. It’d just take a little longer to do.

After all, Attilla and Genghis Khan were pretty good at killing people, and all they had were swords, horses, and arrows. Of course, back then, there were far fewer people for them *TO* kill.

As a percentage killed of target population, I’d be willing to bet that the Israeli performance against the Amalekites was every bit as good as that of Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot.

Don’t know how they did it, but AAAS has a banner ad running on Dembski’s blog.

That’s OK – DaveScot will just ban them.

(grin)

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 26, 2006 02:47 PM (e)

… Golly, one learns something new every day. But that leads me to ask, what sort of advanced technology was Tamerlane using?

Farming which enabled a stable static society and specialisation in crafts. Then of course the weaponry. Bows, swords spears etc.

“Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org”

ouch…are we really that bad?

You guys are the 28640 best, thanks so much for the help.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on January 25, 2006 1:34 AM.

Another religious assault on education was the previous entry in this blog.

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