NCSE’s second webinar: Lobbying policymakers to defend and improve science education

| 41 Comments

NCSE has just announced the second webinar in its ongoing series, to be held on December 18, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. PST. The webinar will focus on “[s]topping bad legislation and encouraging policymakers to support strong science education…,” according to NCSE.

The webinar will be led by Josh Rosenau, Programs and Policy Director for NCSE; Vic Hutchison, professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, and founder and past president of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education; and Dena Sher, legislative counsel at the ACLU’s national office. You may register for the webinar here.

We reported on NCSE’s earlier webinar here.

41 Comments

As you listen to the webinar do consider though; Improving science education is good and it does extend to more things than evolution, but I think that there is a place for the Bible it can teach more about people and the journey of people than evolution alone could ever teach, it mainly deals with humans that are in our form. There is a perspective in the Bible that should be acknowledged as it can explain the nature of people outside the limits of the skeleton; both humans and animals assisting them to know how they can help themselves and how they can help others to grow into something hopefully better, and continually observing this in the present day. It can also explain why people do some of the things they do, and how you should view circumstances. It is a book involved in the kingdom we live in, and it gives the mind something to grasp while evolution takes it’s time to reveal itself to be a true explanation or not as the case may be. The Bible might not be in the right place to be used in a science class but it is a source of guidance when science cannot explain what it has discovered and why it’s there in the first place.. agreed DNA seems to be revealing some sought after answers.

Sorry Marilyn, wrong again.

First,The bible is no science. It wasn’t written to be science, it cannot be interpreted as science and it should not be used in place of science. If you want to learn something from the bible you should do it in comparative religion class or ancient literature class, or somewhere more appropriate.

Second, it is futile to wait for evolution to reveal itself to be true or not. The theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation available for the diversity of life on earth and that is why it should be taught as science. It doesn’t matter if we have all of the answers or not. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. It is the best scientific explanation and it should not be replaced with religious beliefs, ever.

Why do religious people always seem to think that their religious beliefs are the only thing that matters and that everything else is unimportant? The bible says that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Do you think that that is advice concerning salad dressing?

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

Marilyn said:

As you listen to the webinar do consider though; Improving science education is good and it does extend to more things than evolution, but I think that there is a place for the Bible it can teach more about people and the journey of people than evolution alone could ever teach, it mainly deals with humans that are in our form. There is a perspective in the Bible that should be acknowledged as it can explain the nature of people outside the limits of the skeleton; both humans and animals assisting them to know how they can help themselves and how they can help others to grow into something hopefully better, and continually observing this in the present day. It can also explain why people do some of the things they do, and how you should view circumstances. It is a book involved in the kingdom we live in, and it gives the mind something to grasp while evolution takes it’s time to reveal itself to be a true explanation or not as the case may be. The Bible might not be in the right place to be used in a science class but it is a source of guidance when science cannot explain what it has discovered and why it’s there in the first place.. agreed DNA seems to be revealing some sought after answers.

DS said:

Sorry Marilyn, wrong again.

First,The bible is no science. It wasn’t written to be science, it cannot be interpreted as science and it should not be used in place of science. If you want to learn something from the bible you should do it in comparative religion class or ancient literature class, or somewhere more appropriate.

It might not be science but it is as thought provoking. I agree it should have its own place.

Second, it is futile to wait for evolution to reveal itself to be true or not. The theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation available for the diversity of life on earth and that is why it should be taught as science. It doesn’t matter if we have all of the answers or not. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. It is the best scientific explanation and it should not be replaced with religious beliefs, ever.

I don’t think evolution should be replaced with religion but I do think that science can be a bit cold without belief in God that’s my opinion only. I do believe that Eve came from no other but from man and man is unique.

Why do religious people always seem to think that their religious beliefs are the only thing that matters and that everything else is unimportant? The bible says that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Do you think that that is advice concerning salad dressing?

I could answer do you think giving God thanks and praise is something to do with rose water.

I have to say after hearing the views of people here and findings people have made that I can see why there is foundation for the possibility one species could come from another, and that each might not be individuel.

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think that the Biblical stories are original ancient writings?

Marilyn said:

I have to say after hearing the views of people here and findings people have made that I can see why there is foundation for the possibility one species could come from another, and that each might not be individuel.

Congratulations, Marilyn. That’s a big step to have made. Way back in the day, it had taken scientists many decades to reach a consensus on that position. Coming to grips with new and dramatically different ideas is never easy. But the exploration of those ideas can be very rewarding.

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

Scott F said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think that the Biblical stories are original ancient writings?

I believe they are true I don’t -think- that they are true. I think we as a human race have lost a lot of merit on the things we should be able to do, but I also think we are gaining merit in things we can do now. We might lose a talent by gaining another.

The bible talks about Egypt but doesn’t talk about the pyramids or the writings on their walls that are there for us to see, it also talks about the Romans what happened between –them- is real history but we wouldn’t know what happened unless someone had written about it or passed down word of mouth through the ages, I didn’t know what happened between them until I read it in the history books. The bible talks about people who believe in God and Jesus and the message that was put in the bible and chose to believe in the way of life it guides too been the best way. I think that there was a reason behind the writing of the bible and much of its advice is good advice. Thanks all for your reply’s.

Marilyn said:

phhht said: What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

Fiction stories don’t have rainbows? It is impossible for a fiction writer to look up in the sky, see a rainbow, and incorporate such a thing into a largely fictive story?

The presence of rainbows gives equal support to the Bible and the Muppet Movie. If you don’t think a rainbow makes the Muppet Movie more likely to be real, you shouldn’t think a rainbow makes any other story more likely to be real.

Marilyn said: The bible Book of Mormon talks about people who believe in God and Jesus and the message that was put in the bible Book of Mormon and chose to believe in the way of life it guides too been the best way. I think that there was a reason behind the writing of the bible Book of Mormon

See, the problem with your defense of the bible is that your argument applies equally well to multiple, contradictory theologies. Which means its not a very good reason to believe at all (or at least, it can’t be used to choose between theologies, because it doesn’t support any one more than any other).

The discussion of the bible has absolutely nothing to do with the teaching of good science, unless of course you try to substitute the bible for science or to teach about the bible in science class. That is what educators should avoid. It doesn’t matter if you think the bible is “true” or not; It doesn’t matter if you think that the bible teaches good values or ethics. The fact is that science is the way in which we understand the natural world, to pretend otherwise is to mislead students. Keep religion out of science classes, that is the way to defend science education.

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

I’m trying to ask you, what are the bases for those assumptions, as you say I might call them. Why do you make them?

In other words, why assume that any parts of the Bible are true? What makes you think that biblical gods and zombies and talking snakes are real? How can you tell that they are not fiction, just like the gods, zombies, and talking snakes in contemporary fiction? After all, the rainbow is just as real today.

For an atheist like me, it is frustrating that the Christians who post here on this site either cannot or will not say why they believe what they do. I suspect that this reticence is symptomatic of religious belief in general: believers are filled with the conviction of faith, but are unable to articulate why.

DS said:

The discussion of the bible has absolutely nothing to do with the teaching of good science, unless of course you try to substitute the bible for science or to teach about the bible in science class. That is what educators should avoid. It doesn’t matter if you think the bible is “true” or not; It doesn’t matter if you think that the bible teaches good values or ethics. The fact is that science is the way in which we understand the natural world, to pretend otherwise is to mislead students. Keep religion out of science classes, that is the way to defend science education.

And if an educator insists on using the Bible in a science classroom as a science textbook, that decision immediately shows that the educator has absolutely no (good) values, nor ethics.

Especially since substituting religious texts in place of science or competent curricula ALWAYS REQUIRES DELIBERATELY DECEIVING AND DELIBERATELY MISLEADING THE STUDENTS.

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

Even the Enuma Elish or the Epic of Gilgamesh, both of which predate the earliest Biblical texts by thousands of years, are “ficitiously similar spin offs”?

Are you implying that the Sumerians and Babylonians are magical time-travelling plagiarists, and that that should be taught in history classes?

As you listen to the webinar do consider though; Improving science education is good and it does extend to more things than evolution, but I think that there is a place for the Bible it can teach more about people and the journey of people than evolution alone could ever teach

Absolutely true. Not only is the Bible a component of traditional rituals that some people practice for spiritual or social reasons, it is an excellent source of information for diverse fields, including but not limited to ancient history, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, etc.

The place for the Bible is not in the science classroom, except if something like the physical methods used to date an archaeologically important Bible manuscript are under discussion.

There are numerous places for the Bible, though - university courses, private study groups, church pulpits, libraries, book stores, private homes, etc.

Under wobbly tables, atop smashed bugs…

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

I’m trying to ask you, what are the bases for those assumptions, as you say I might call them. Why do you make them?

In other words, why assume that any parts of the Bible are true? What makes you think that biblical gods and zombies and talking snakes are real? How can you tell that they are not fiction, just like the gods, zombies, and talking snakes in contemporary fiction? After all, the rainbow is just as real today.

For an atheist like me, it is frustrating that the Christians who post here on this site either cannot or will not say why they believe what they do. I suspect that this reticence is symptomatic of religious belief in general: believers are filled with the conviction of faith, but are unable to articulate why.

The basis of my assumptions is in the integrity of the writer as I read the accounts of what experiences people had in the bible I assume them to be true. I do think the inspiration for it came from God there are no biblical gods apart from God himself though it does say there are many lords and many gods but God himself is the creator and worthy of being the all mighty God, he’s the star of the show so to speak.

You could say why assume anything at all about anything.

When you talk about zombies I assume you mean Lazarus and the girl perhaps the lepers. As a child I was amazed to think that any of them could be cured but now I expect that any of them could be especially leprosy and including those thought to be dead but that is a very rare happening but it has happened, and people do come out of comers if you don’t give up on them and look after them and not think the impossible could happen but yes for some it doesn’t.

The snake or serpent may have taken fruit from the tree and given it to Eve without even speaking but the gesture could have spelt out what was assumed but it was not right, anyone can assume something but find they were mistaken hopefully no harm is done.

For a lot of people their faith can be very personal, I think it is based on a series of events that come together in an enlightenment.

So you have no reason to believe anything in the bible other than because you want to believe it. Good to know. You have no evidence, no way to form any hypothesis to test and no way to determine which parts are real and which parts are not. This is not science. You are certainly entitled to your beliefs, just don’t try to pretend they are science. As others have pointed out, to do so would be to violate the code of ethics espoused in the text you are so eager to defend.

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

I’m trying to ask you, what are the bases for those assumptions, as you say I might call them. Why do you make them?

In other words, why assume that any parts of the Bible are true? What makes you think that biblical gods and zombies and talking snakes are real? How can you tell that they are not fiction, just like the gods, zombies, and talking snakes in contemporary fiction? After all, the rainbow is just as real today.

For an atheist like me, it is frustrating that the Christians who post here on this site either cannot or will not say why they believe what they do. I suspect that this reticence is symptomatic of religious belief in general: believers are filled with the conviction of faith, but are unable to articulate why.

The basis of my assumptions is in the integrity of the writer as I read the accounts of what experiences people had in the bible I assume them to be true. I do think the inspiration for it came from God there are no biblical gods apart from God himself though it does say there are many lords and many gods but God himself is the creator and worthy of being the all mighty God, he’s the star of the show so to speak.

You could say why assume anything at all about anything.

Indeed, it would be best if we could assume nothing. But we must assume, so the best we can do to avoid blind error is to assume as little as possible, assume as rationally as possible, and understand to the extent possible WHY we make the assumptions we do.

For example, you say that you judge the Bible to be truthful based on your sense of the writers’ integrity - but you go on to speak of the reality of gods, one of the very things I see no reason to assume at all. Why do you assume God is real? What makes you think that?

When you talk about zombies I assume you mean Lazarus and the girl perhaps the lepers.

Yes, I mean Lazarus, but also Ezekiel’s dry bones, etc.. Most particularly, I mean the whole crop of zombies that rose from their tombs after the Crucifixion, according to the book of Matthew. I mention them because, of course, your very Christ is one of them, a reanimated corpse risen from his tomb, very like those on The Walking Dead. How can you tell that the Biblical zombies, including Jesus, are real, but the walking dead are not?

For a lot of people their faith can be very personal, I think it is based on a series of events that come together in an enlightenment.

Is that the case for you? What was the series of events?

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

I’m trying to ask you, what are the bases for those assumptions, as you say I might call them. Why do you make them?

In other words, why assume that any parts of the Bible are true? What makes you think that biblical gods and zombies and talking snakes are real? How can you tell that they are not fiction, just like the gods, zombies, and talking snakes in contemporary fiction? After all, the rainbow is just as real today.

For an atheist like me, it is frustrating that the Christians who post here on this site either cannot or will not say why they believe what they do. I suspect that this reticence is symptomatic of religious belief in general: believers are filled with the conviction of faith, but are unable to articulate why.

The basis of my assumptions is in the integrity of the writer as I read the accounts of what experiences people had in the bible I assume them to be true. I do think the inspiration for it came from God there are no biblical gods apart from God himself though it does say there are many lords and many gods but God himself is the creator and worthy of being the all mighty God, he’s the star of the show so to speak.

You could say why assume anything at all about anything.

Indeed, it would be best if we could assume nothing. But we must assume, so the best we can do to avoid blind error is to assume as little as possible, assume as rationally as possible, and understand to the extent possible WHY we make the assumptions we do.

For example, you say that you judge the Bible to be truthful based on your sense of the writers’ integrity - but you go on to speak of the reality of gods, one of the very things I see no reason to assume at all. Why do you assume God is real? What makes you think that?

When you talk about zombies I assume you mean Lazarus and the girl perhaps the lepers.

Yes, I mean Lazarus, but also Ezekiel’s dry bones, etc.. Most particularly, I mean the whole crop of zombies that rose from their tombs after the Crucifixion, according to the book of Matthew. I mention them because, of course, your very Christ is one of them, a reanimated corpse risen from his tomb, very like those on The Walking Dead. How can you tell that the Biblical zombies, including Jesus, are real, but the walking dead are not?

For a lot of people their faith can be very personal, I think it is based on a series of events that come together in an enlightenment.

Is that the case for you? What was the series of events?

To me God is plausible.

Gods are real in the way for example the Egyptian gods are real in the sense they were made objects of, though they were not real they definately had influence on their lives so were real in that way. But they were not the real God almighty we need to separate the fact that gods can be made away from the existence of the almighty God to understand what the other gods are. What I think doesn’t make God real; not believing doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. He just wants people to stop worshiping false gods and turn to him because he is the one who gives the true requirement for life. I think God is real because he doesn’t underestimate people but knows them. Without Him there becomes a void, not believing leaves a void, believe and faith fills a void, expectation of him fulfilled or not, these are only my views phhht.

Zombies in the films are portrayed by the imagination of the film maker and there artistic expression and can differ from one to another, these days filmmakers seem to be alike in their portrayal. A person who is raised from the dead in biblical terms becomes a whole person again if not a better person, Jesus was raised from the dead but still had his wounds, but then he went up into the clouds to be with His father.

Ephesians 5:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55, Being dead into something or being dead right means you are purely engrossed into that circumstance. I take the bible’s meaning to be those who are truly faithful to God. I cannot show you any material evidence only say that I personally believe that these incidents could have taken place.

I for one am not planning on dying for a long time yet hopefully lots of living to do.

Elijah and Elisha - Ezekiel’s dry bones, I think they were far more advanced in science than we are today and could take someone’s DNA and set it motion to become its form again and quickly.

Marilyn said:

Ezekiel’s dry bones, I think they were far more advanced in science than we are today and could take someone’s DNA and set it motion to become its form again and quickly.

Marilyn, I am not being sarcastic here. I am genuinely puzzled. You appear to be saying that the “dry bones” Ezekiel saw come to life in Ezekiel 37 was an example of advanced science. That is, accomplished by methods that we do not know, but by natural means, not supernaturally by the simple expression of God’s will.

But this is not what the scripture says. Ezekiel says (37:1-) that “the Lord’s hand was on me, and he carried me out by His spirit and set me down in a plain that was full of bones.” That is, Ezekiel is reporting a vision, seen in the spirit.

He says (v 3) The Lord “said to me, ‘O man, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘Only you, Lord God, know that.”

That is, only God can know and accomplish such a thing. And indeed, only the Lord God does it.

But after the bones are restored to living flesh and given the breath of life, God explains to Ezekiel the meaning of the vision. That is, He will restore the people of Israel and return them to their Holy Land. This is therefore a parable - and a parable is a story with a meaning symbolising the real world, but parables are fiction.

So what I’m saying is that you’ve taken a story that was certainly about the supernatural power of God, described in the first place as a vision, and in the second place as a parable whose meaning was explained, and you seem to have done two separate operations on it.

First, you’ve taken it as non-fiction, despite the fact that Ezekiel says he saw this in the spirit, and that it is explained as a parable. Second, you’ve attributed the restoration of the bones not to God, but to science.

Do you really mean that?

Marilyn,

This is the last time I am going to try to tell you this. This is a thread about defending the teaching of science. Any discussion of the bible, god or gods, magic or sorcery is completely irrelevant and should be taken to the bathroom wall. Why do you insist on expounding on your religious beliefs on a science site? Get a clue girl.

Dave Luckett said:

Marilyn said:

Ezekiel’s dry bones, I think they were far more advanced in science than we are today and could take someone’s DNA and set it motion to become its form again and quickly.

Marilyn, I am not being sarcastic here. I am genuinely puzzled. You appear to be saying that the “dry bones” Ezekiel saw come to life in Ezekiel 37 was an example of advanced science. That is, accomplished by methods that we do not know, but by natural means, not supernaturally by the simple expression of God’s will.

But this is not what the scripture says. Ezekiel says (37:1-) that “the Lord’s hand was on me, and he carried me out by His spirit and set me down in a plain that was full of bones.” That is, Ezekiel is reporting a vision, seen in the spirit.

He says (v 3) The Lord “said to me, ‘O man, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘Only you, Lord God, know that.”

That is, only God can know and accomplish such a thing. And indeed, only the Lord God does it.

But after the bones are restored to living flesh and given the breath of life, God explains to Ezekiel the meaning of the vision. That is, He will restore the people of Israel and return them to their Holy Land. This is therefore a parable - and a parable is a story with a meaning symbolising the real world, but parables are fiction.

So what I’m saying is that you’ve taken a story that was certainly about the supernatural power of God, described in the first place as a vision, and in the second place as a parable whose meaning was explained, and you seem to have done two separate operations on it.

First, you’ve taken it as non-fiction, despite the fact that Ezekiel says he saw this in the spirit, and that it is explained as a parable. Second, you’ve attributed the restoration of the bones not to God, but to science.

Do you really mean that?

Ah that story I’d forgotten it it’s such a lovely vision, I see it as a vision that would take place in reality. And so God can do science what do you know, but what God does is not science and the bible says it is falsely called science or magic as He abores magic, He creates reality but for some reason our minds think because we cannot do it no one else can including God. Thanks for this scripture Dave Luckett.

DS said:

Marilyn,

This is the last time I am going to try to tell you this. This is a thread about defending the teaching of science. Any discussion of the bible, god or gods, magic or sorcery is completely irrelevant and should be taken to the bathroom wall. Why do you insist on expounding on your religious beliefs on a science site? Get a clue girl.

Here’s to defending and improving science education it is a subject that is very important to the well being of this planet and more than likely others as well.

By all means Marilyn. Let’s teach good science so we can get back to reanimating people from dead bones like they used to do in the good old days. You know, on accounta how god hates magic so much and all.

Marilyn said:

DS said:

Marilyn,

This is the last time I am going to try to tell you this. This is a thread about defending the teaching of science. Any discussion of the bible, god or gods, magic or sorcery is completely irrelevant and should be taken to the bathroom wall. Why do you insist on expounding on your religious beliefs on a science site? Get a clue girl.

Here’s to defending and improving science education it is a subject that is very important to the well being of this planet and more than likely others as well.

And are you aware that using the Bible in place of a science textbook in a science classroom is tantamount to guarding a fortress by pouring kerosene and other flammables all over the battlements while locking the guards in their rooms and setting fire to the powder magazine?

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marilyn said:

phhht said:

Marylin, why do you think the Bible tells true stories?

What makes you think that gods and talking snakes and zombies are real in the Bible, but not real in American Gods, Harry Potter, and The Walking Dead?

What is it about the Bible that distinguishes it from other, similar fiction?

How can you tell the difference?

The Bible is original ancient writings whereas others that are fictitiously similar are just spin offs.

What makes you think the Biblical stories are true stories? It cannot be only that they are old.

How can you tell that they are not ancient fictional writings?

Not everything in the Bible is fictitious I base a lot of my assumptions as you might call them on the rainbow’s existence that at least is true.

I’m trying to ask you, what are the bases for those assumptions, as you say I might call them. Why do you make them?

In other words, why assume that any parts of the Bible are true? What makes you think that biblical gods and zombies and talking snakes are real? How can you tell that they are not fiction, just like the gods, zombies, and talking snakes in contemporary fiction? After all, the rainbow is just as real today.

For an atheist like me, it is frustrating that the Christians who post here on this site either cannot or will not say why they believe what they do. I suspect that this reticence is symptomatic of religious belief in general: believers are filled with the conviction of faith, but are unable to articulate why.

The basis of my assumptions is in the integrity of the writer as I read the accounts of what experiences people had in the bible I assume them to be true. I do think the inspiration for it came from God there are no biblical gods apart from God himself though it does say there are many lords and many gods but God himself is the creator and worthy of being the all mighty God, he’s the star of the show so to speak.

You could say why assume anything at all about anything.

Indeed, it would be best if we could assume nothing. But we must assume, so the best we can do to avoid blind error is to assume as little as possible, assume as rationally as possible, and understand to the extent possible WHY we make the assumptions we do.

For example, you say that you judge the Bible to be truthful based on your sense of the writers’ integrity - but you go on to speak of the reality of gods, one of the very things I see no reason to assume at all. Why do you assume God is real? What makes you think that?

When you talk about zombies I assume you mean Lazarus and the girl perhaps the lepers.

Yes, I mean Lazarus, but also Ezekiel’s dry bones, etc.. Most particularly, I mean the whole crop of zombies that rose from their tombs after the Crucifixion, according to the book of Matthew. I mention them because, of course, your very Christ is one of them, a reanimated corpse risen from his tomb, very like those on The Walking Dead. How can you tell that the Biblical zombies, including Jesus, are real, but the walking dead are not?

For a lot of people their faith can be very personal, I think it is based on a series of events that come together in an enlightenment.

Is that the case for you? What was the series of events?

To me God is plausible.

Gods are real in the way for example the Egyptian gods are real in the sense they were made objects of, though they were not real they definately had influence on their lives so were real in that way. But they were not the real God almighty we need to separate the fact that gods can be made away from the existence of the almighty God to understand what the other gods are. What I think doesn’t make God real; not believing doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. He just wants people to stop worshiping false gods and turn to him because he is the one who gives the true requirement for life. I think God is real because he doesn’t underestimate people but knows them. Without Him there becomes a void, not believing leaves a void, believe and faith fills a void, expectation of him fulfilled or not, these are only my views phhht.

Zombies in the films are portrayed by the imagination of the film maker and there artistic expression and can differ from one to another, these days filmmakers seem to be alike in their portrayal. A person who is raised from the dead in biblical terms becomes a whole person again if not a better person, Jesus was raised from the dead but still had his wounds, but then he went up into the clouds to be with His father.

Ephesians 5:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55, Being dead into something or being dead right means you are purely engrossed into that circumstance. I take the bible’s meaning to be those who are truly faithful to God. I cannot show you any material evidence only say that I personally believe that these incidents could have taken place.

I for one am not planning on dying for a long time yet hopefully lots of living to do.

Elijah and Elisha - Ezekiel’s dry bones, I think they were far more advanced in science than we are today and could take someone’s DNA and set it motion to become its form again and quickly.

You know, Marilyn, I figured that you couldn’t say why you believe what you do.

In that respect, you’re like every other Christian who posts here. You believe - you’re filled with faith - but you have no reason for your belief.

You apparently need no grounding in reality to support your convictions. You believe in God, but you cannot show anyone a god. You cannot say how to detect a god. You cannot cite a single, solitary effect in reality which is unambiguously due to gods. Yet despite that utter absence of any reality check, you still believe.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised. You are, in my view, a victim of a delusional illness, one which causes you to believe in things which do not exist.

So this will probably be my last communication with you. Thanks for trying.

You are, in my view, a victim of a delusional illness, one which causes you to believe in things which do not exist.

Mental illness is a serious problem.

Mentally ill people struggle not only with real disorders, but with stigmatization and denigration.

I realize that phhht is not someone who would do any of this deliberately, but borrowing the vocabulary of clinical medicine to “pathologize” common traits that are not associated with either production of distress, nor severe difficulties in social or cognitive functioning IS stigmatizing people who struggle with real mental illness.

I really think that claims that vast swaths of the asymptomatic population suffer from a “delusional illness” should limited to the BW.

We may like it more when psychiatric terminology is inappropriately borrowed to refer to something we disagree with, than when it is inappropriately borrowed to deal with something we do agree with. A claim that all people who self-identify as religious have a “delusional illness” may be somewhat well-received here, whereas a claim that all “atheists” suffer from a “delusional illness” (easily seen in other venues) would be appropriately disdained. However, ultimately, either of these claims belittles the situation of people who genuinely struggle with illnesses characterized by delusions.

Although psychiatry and psychology are not physical sciences, they do operate within the framework of the scientific method. Every effort is made to justify clinical categories through hyothesis testing and expert consensus. Untrained individuals who use psychiatric terminology are exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger effect, and that is a psychological term that I am NOT mis-using.

harold said:

You are, in my view, a victim of a delusional illness, one which causes you to believe in things which do not exist.

Mental illness is a serious problem.

Mentally ill people struggle not only with real disorders, but with stigmatization and denigration.

I realize that phhht is not someone who would do any of this deliberately, but borrowing the vocabulary of clinical medicine to “pathologize” common traits that are not associated with either production of distress, nor severe difficulties in social or cognitive functioning IS stigmatizing people who struggle with real mental illness.

I really think that claims that vast swaths of the asymptomatic population suffer from a “delusional illness” should limited to the BW.

We may like it more when psychiatric terminology is inappropriately borrowed to refer to something we disagree with, than when it is inappropriately borrowed to deal with something we do agree with. A claim that all people who self-identify as religious have a “delusional illness” may be somewhat well-received here, whereas a claim that all “atheists” suffer from a “delusional illness” (easily seen in other venues) would be appropriately disdained. However, ultimately, either of these claims belittles the situation of people who genuinely struggle with illnesses characterized by delusions.

Although psychiatry and psychology are not physical sciences, they do operate within the framework of the scientific method. Every effort is made to justify clinical categories through hyothesis testing and expert consensus. Untrained individuals who use psychiatric terminology are exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger effect, and that is a psychological term that I am NOT mis-using.

Then by all means, Harold, tell me what term I should use for someone who exhibits beliefs that are firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument. What do YOU call that condition, if not delusion?

I am perfectly prepared to defend my beliefs against charges of delusion. I do so by reference to objective, empirical reality. Indeed, I am eager to see any evidence whatever to support claims for the reality of god. But none is ever forthcoming.

You just don’t like the fact that many religious believers are deluded. You think it gives unnecessary butt-hurt to the deluded to say so.

Well, I don’t care. It gives ME unnecessary butt-hurt to be continually exposed to the baseless superstitions and indefensible certainties of the religiously deluded. I really don’t care whether you’re offended by my use of a common, widely-understood, non-specialist term like “delusional.” That you do so makes you look like an authoritarian prig.

In all fairness, Marilyn persisted in making obtuse and irrelevant off-topic posts long after she was told that it was inappropriate to do so. All of her posts should have been sent to the bathroom wall. I’m not sure if she is as far down the rabbit hole as Byers, but they both seem to take great pleasure in yanking chains and being generally inscrutable. Even if they are agreeing with you, they do it in such a way that you are not sure whether they actually agree or not. And when they disagree with you, you can’t be sure exactly what they are saying, so you can’t even argue with them. If they persist in disrupting these threads, I guess they can’t complain if they get called names. They can always leave, or at least go to the bathroom wall.

You just don’t like the fact that many religious believers are deluded. You think it gives unnecessary butt-hurt to the deluded to say so.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I do NOT have the same objection to the term “deluded”, which not a technical term referring specifically to mental illness. It’s the appropriation of technical terms from psychiatry to pathologize behavior that I objected to.

DS said:

In all fairness, Marilyn persisted in making obtuse and irrelevant off-topic posts long after she was told that it was inappropriate to do so. All of her posts should have been sent to the bathroom wall. I’m not sure if she is as far down the rabbit hole as Byers, but they both seem to take great pleasure in yanking chains and being generally inscrutable. Even if they are agreeing with you, they do it in such a way that you are not sure whether they actually agree or not. And when they disagree with you, you can’t be sure exactly what they are saying, so you can’t even argue with them. If they persist in disrupting these threads, I guess they can’t complain if they get called names. They can always leave, or at least go to the bathroom wall.

Here your critique is directed uniquely at Marilyn.

If you were to appropriate terms that describe the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, or stigmatized ethnic or cultural groups, then you would also be insulting those groups of people, and implicitly endorsing the stigmatization they endure. That is what I am objecting to.

Most people who have seen my comments realize that I am not fond of amoral right wing politicians who pander to ignorance and bigotry. However, I don’t insult those politicians by calling them “special education students” or “schizophrenic”, or “as amoral as the Danish*”, (*imaginary minimally controversial example of ethnic bigotry based on the assumption that anti-Danish bigotry would be vanishingly rare in the US, although not necessarily everywhere). That’s because doing so would implicitly endorse the idea that developmentally delayed, mentally ill, or Danish people, are not only deserving of discrimination and stigma, but so deserving that my chosen insult for people I don’t like is to analogize to them.

harold said:

You just don’t like the fact that many religious believers are deluded. You think it gives unnecessary butt-hurt to the deluded to say so.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I do NOT have the same objection to the term “deluded”, which not a technical term referring specifically to mental illness. It’s the appropriation of technical terms from psychiatry to pathologize behavior that I objected to.

What term should I use, then, harold? What term is sufficiently euphemistic and inoffensive to your ears for my use instead of “delusional disorder”? Or must I simply sit down and shut up? After all, you know best what I should say, and I wouldn’t want to offend your tender sensibilities.

In all fairness, Marilyn persisted in making obtuse and irrelevant off-topic posts long after she was told that it was inappropriate to do so. All of her posts should have been sent to the bathroom wall.

I do not consider Marilyn to be in a class with the Byers troll - she seems to be earnestly trying, which you cannot say about any of our real trolls. But clearly she cannot get past her preconceptions, any more than the rest of us can get past ours (sorry to talk about you in the third person, Marilyn).

I agree with Harold, incidentally, that religious believers may be deluded but they are not necessarily delusional, and that we should certainly not suggest that all religious people are mentally ill. If you start saying that all deluded people are mentally ill, you will have a helluva lot of mentally ill people on your hands.

Matt Young said:

I agree with Harold, incidentally, that religious believers may be deluded but they are not necessarily delusional, and that we should certainly not suggest that all religious people are mentally ill. If you start saying that all deluded people are mentally ill, you will have a helluva lot of mentally ill people on your hands.

Could you clarify your distinction between “deluded” and “delusional”?

Do you consider the deluded or the delusional to be mentally healthy?

Personally, I think we DO have a hell of a lot of mentally ill people on our hands. After all, I am one of them. Religion is the common cold of delusional disorders, and that’s only religion. Mental illness appears to me to be near-pandemic.

Could you clarify your distinction between “deluded” and “delusional”?

Sure! They are intervals along a continuum, but I wd say that someone who trusted Bernie Madoff was deluded, whereas a schizophrenic who hears voices is delusional in the sense that Merriam Webster defines it:

a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs

Harold is better equipped to answer your question, but delusional is a technical term in psychiatry and is not the same as deluded. Religious believers such as those you criticize may be deluded (I think they are), but they are not necessarily delusional, and it is certainly inappropriate to claim that they are mentally ill. Rather, they cannot get past their preconceptions, just as you or I cannot get past some of ours.

Matt Young said:

Could you clarify your distinction between “deluded” and “delusional”?

Sure! They are intervals along a continuum, but I wd say that someone who trusted Bernie Madoff was deluded, whereas a schizophrenic who hears voices is delusional in the sense that Merriam Webster defines it:

a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs

Harold is better equipped to answer your question, but delusional is a technical term in psychiatry and is not the same as deluded. Religious believers such as those you criticize may be deluded (I think they are), but they are not necessarily delusional, and it is certainly inappropriate to claim that they are mentally ill. Rather, they cannot get past their preconceptions, just as you or I cannot get past some of ours.

So, if I understand you correctly, deluded people are only a little delusional, and delusional people are greatly deluded.

When I say delusional, I mean “suffering from or characterized by delusions.” By “delusion”, I mean “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.”

Do you have an alternative hypothesis to explain the religious believer’s delusions?

Your contention, phhht, is that religious belief is itself “contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder”.

This relies on two elements, both false.

The first is the error of the marketplace. What is “generally accepted” is not the same as what is. One might go further and remark that religious belief is in fact not “generally accepted” to be contrary to reality or rational argument, but that is irrelevant, for it commits the same error.

The second is that religious belief is not “contradicted by reality or rational argument”. This is not made out. It can be rationally defended as a possible construction of reality. It is simply inevident, which is a different proposition entirely. That proposition is enough for me to reject religious belief, on the basis of least hypothesis. But that is a matter of opinion, and I am content to allow others a different opinion.

May I suggest that your interactions with others would be less strained if you were to follow that principle?

Dave Luckett said:

Your contention, phhht, is that religious belief is itself “contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder”.

This relies on two elements, both false.

The first is the error of the marketplace. What is “generally accepted” is not the same as what is. One might go further and remark that religious belief is in fact not “generally accepted” to be contrary to reality or rational argument, but that is irrelevant, for it commits the same error.

The second is that religious belief is not “contradicted by reality or rational argument”. This is not made out. It can be rationally defended as a possible construction of reality. It is simply inevident, which is a different proposition entirely. That proposition is enough for me to reject religious belief, on the basis of least hypothesis. But that is a matter of opinion, and I am content to allow others a different opinion.

May I suggest that your interactions with others would be less strained if you were to follow that principle?

I am completely content to allow others different opinions. In fact, I solicit other opinions.

The definition of delusion may be flawed, but it is not mine to correct. I think it is workable. As to other opinions, what is your definition of delusion? Can you give one which does not suffer from the flaws you perceive in the one I used?

It seems that you deny the nature of religious belief. I have yet to encounter a defense of religious belief which is based on objective, empirical evidence - and I assert that such evidence provides the best, indeed the only, means at our disposal to distinguish the real from the unreal, the correct opinion from the incorrect one.

But this conversation does not belong here, but at the bathroom wall. If you choose to continue it, I’ll meet you there.

We’ve been there before, phhht. I am aware of your opinion on the matter. So long as you are aware that it is an opinion, that others have the right to hold contrary opinions, and that your definition of “delusion” “may be flawed”, I am content to leave it there.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 6, 2013 8:02 PM.

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