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Atheists to start 1-800 hotline for doubters
The group Recovering from Religion plans to start a helpline for people struggling with religious doubts.
June 4th, 2013
03:08 PM ET

Atheists to start 1-800 hotline for doubters

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – Who can people call when religious doubts arise, but they're afraid to talk to their faith leaders or families?

A group that helps people "recover" from religion says it's ready to pick up the phone.

Recovering from Religion, which has about 40 support groups in the U.S. and Britain, plans to launch a hotline that will offer doubters an anonymous place to ask difficult questions and find communities of like-minded nonbelievers.

The group plans to staff the help line 24 hours a day and is modeling it after services like suicide prevention hotlines.

Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering from Religion, told CNN that the mission is to help people, not convert them to atheism.

“A lot of the times they just need someone to talk to," Morehead said.

The 1-800 number has yet to be named. Recovering from Religion is trying to raise $30,000 by June 30 to fund "The Hotline Project" with up to 40 counselors.

Ideally, the help line would be live by the holiday season, said Morehead, which is often a difficult time for people struggling with religious doubts.

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

The idea for the hotline sprang up after calls came in to the Recovering from Religion phone line from people who were questioning their faith and needed to talk to someone. Morehead said she gets a few calls every day and hundreds of e-mails a month from people seeking counseling.

From there, she said, it seemed a hotline that provided a permanent, anonymous place to talk to someone was the best option.

"Coming out" as a nonbeliever or even a doubter can often be extremely difficult, Morehead and others say. In addition to the existential worries, budding nonbelievers run the risk of alienating family and friends.

The help line’s volunteer counselors will be trained to not engage in religious debate, Morehead said. Instead, they will try to give callers “practical, action-oriented solutions.”

When someone first calls the hotline, the counselor will start by simply asking the caller to talk about his or her personal story, said Morehead.

Later, the counselor and the caller might work on an action plan. The caller's goals may concern formally leaving religion altogether, but Morehead said that counselors will also offer advice on finding a new faith or connecting with a local community of nonbelievers.

Some blogs have questioned the hotline, however, calling it a ploy to increase the number of atheists in America.

Headlines like “New 1-800 Number Funded By Liberals To Convert Christians to Atheists,” for example, have cropped up at a number of conservative blogs.

Morehead said her critics fail to grasp the point of Recovering from Religion.

“Most of the people who contact us are working their way towards disbelief, so of course we are very equipped to handle that,” Morehead said. “That is not the goal, though, or the job of the facilitators.”

Photos: 'Born-again' celebrities

This hotline is not completely unique in the world of religious "nones" – people who either don’t believe in God or don’t affiliate with any religious beliefs. Atheists have long discussed disbelief in the comfort of online anonymity.

“We have seen how important the Internet is, especially young people questioning their faith, and this provides them with another resource with a different focus,” said Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance. “For people who want more guidance, I think this resource will be very valuable.”

Services that help religious doubters have thrived recently.

The Clergy Project, an online community for preachers who no longer believe in God, has grown from 52 to nearly 500 people since its founding in 2011, said Teresa MacBain, the former executive director of the project.

MacBain, a former pastor who converted to atheism, called the help line "another way for people to contact someone anonymously and discuss the struggles they are having for their beliefs.”

“If this project had been around when I found the Clergy Project, I would have used it.”

MacBain said she plans to get training as one of the counselors and hopes to be answering calls when the service launches.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • United States

soundoff (3,878 Responses)
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  3. webpuppy

    Perfect. Over the years I have described myself to others as a "recovering catholic" or that I had been "deprogrammed". Love it. Love Hitch. Love Gervais. They are my "deities"

    July 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
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  5. Books of Creationism and Intelligent Design are banned from public schools

    Because children deserve genuine scientific knowledge not religious nonsense.

    June 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  6. LIGHT

    For those atheists who don't believe in anything, and for Christians who don't believe in Quran please read this:

    Do not these disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were an integrated mass, which We then split, and from water We made all living things? Will they not believe even then? (21:30)

    With power did We construct Heaven. Verily, We are expanding it. (51:47)

    On that day We will fold the heaven, like the folding of a book. Just as We initiated the first creation, We will revert it. This is Our promise. We will certainly fulfill it. (21:104)

    The greatness of the Quran, which stated 1400 years ago that the universe was created from the one primordial wholeness(which we are calling the big bang theory), that it expanded, and that it would shrink back -at a time when all scientific evidence was lacking- is understood better today with the advance of science and the discovery of the mystery of the universe.

    See how Quran is talking about the past, the present and the future of the universe very accurately where no else can do it.

    Now show us what did the Earth or the Nature said to us.

    June 28, 2013 at 2:47 am |
  7. maximo

    And even
    "More Scientists Endorse Darwin's Doubt: Meet Biologist Mark C. Biedebach" – See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/06/more_scientists073871.html

    excerpt:

    Meyer asserts that those who believe neo-Darwinian (or any other conceivable materialistic) processes provide a satisfactory explanation for the existence of life on earth must invariably resort to a metaphysical assertion known as methodological naturalism. This is the view that it is possible to explain all features and events that occur in the natural world by reference to exclusively natural causes. (This has sometimes been called "exclusionary methodological naturalism," because a purposive intelligence, mind, or conscious agency is excluded as a cause.)

    But Meyer argues that to restrict methodological naturalism in such a way renders one blind to the possibility that intelligent design is the best, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of the new information necessary for new cellular network circuitry or a new body plan (whenever previous transitional fossils do not exist).

    Meyer's attack is really against "macroevolution" (large scale population change). Michael Behe (in The Edge of Evolution) points out that there is abundant evidence for "microevolution" (smaller population change), but there is a boundary at which the evidence for microevolution stops and evidence for macroevolution either doesn't exist, or any clues that do exist are beset with problems so serious that explanatory attempts boil down to "just-so-stories." This leaves macroevolution sitting atop a boundary (or wall) with an outlook no better that that of Humpty Dumpty.

    June 28, 2013 at 2:19 am |
  8. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    Hotline Project meets its $30.000 goal!

    June 22, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Money money money

      Was that the goal? Thirty dollars? Or were you aiming for a comma?

      June 26, 2013 at 5:28 am |
  9. faith

    the new testament claims in no uncertain terms that jesus christ is the son of god. him, his divinity, his person, is why the books and letters were written describing him, his life and mission, his work, his words, the miracles, the love, his stand against hypocrisy. no one has found evidence proving it is inaccurate in 2,000 years. not bad, huh?

    controversies have come and gone. theories challenging every conceivable idea to prove it is nonsense have failed. his redeeming power is as alive and pertinent this moment as ever. in fact, to anyone who wants to know him right now, he is more than capable of revealing himself to your hungry heart.

    June 21, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • Science

      And here it is faity you can have se-x create babies but not talk about IT unless the red horn-y devil did it right ?

      June 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  10. Who needs the 1-800 #? Call the Gospels of St. John

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    June 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Observing

      A thousand butts up getting exercise is healthier than one but stuck in a chair complaining.

      June 26, 2013 at 5:32 am |
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  12. laststonecarver

    The battle between Light and Darkness – that is basically religious belief –
    That Light = Good, and that Darkness = Evil –
    That the god = Light, and that no god = Darkness –
    Maybe it would not be as confusing (to the point, at which, one needs to call the atheist hotline), if you just take the time to understand Light and Darkness –

    For instance:
    In the Art world light and darkness define the work, and give it depth and beauty, and some believe a truth or realness –
    Both light and darkness exist in a well made work of art –

    In the world of Science, what would be the point of research, if there would be no possibilty of definition – if everything was known – if there was no way to know –

    In the world of thoughts, the Mind, their are light moments, and dark moments – sometimes you just need to lighten up a little, when dark thoughts cloud your mind – and sometimes you need to darken your thoughts with seriousness, when you get too light headed –

    Can you imagine the Universe without both light and darkness?
    Can you imagine, in just your little world, your environment, without light and darkness?

    The battle isn't really about Religion vs Science – or a god vs satan – or a believer vs an atheist –
    It is not even a battle at all, it is just your understanding of Light and Darkness -

    June 20, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  13. maximo

    Updating ...

    As I said, he raises a point that I think science minded atheists would want to explore:
    Why does he not understand macroevolution? Period.

    Responses thus far:

    1. ignore him since he is a Christian
    2. ignore him because I am a Christian
    3. make stuff up (linCA)
    4. change the topic
    5. he's looking at a naked strawman (redzoa)
    6. he's basing his conclusion on hearsay (redzoa)

    June 20, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • maximo

      oops – wrong thread

      June 20, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Anon

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OgAXbyzP5g&w=640&h=390]

      June 20, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Maximo: "Why won't you believe this guy????"
      Atheists: "Ummm.. because he immediately disqualifies HIMSELF and says HIMSELF that he is not an authority on evolution." '
      Maximo: "Why won't you believe this guy????"
      Atheists: "Ummm... he does not work in evolutionary science and says that he is unfamiliar with the precise methods involved"
      Maximo: "Why won't you believe this guy???"
      Atheists: "Ummm.... we're jerks?? What answer are you looking for, here?"

      June 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • maximo

      capt obv,

      go to original thread; the one just under this one ... 10:48pm post

      June 20, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  14. maximo

    Does evolution explain all of life we see today?

    An layman with respect to evolution, gives us an insider's view of what goes on behind the closed doors of academia.
    JAmes M. Tour is one of the top 10 cited chemists in the world. He has co-authored over 450 scientific papers and has over 35 patents and current professor at Rice University.

    http://www.jmtour.com/personal-topics/the-scientist-and-his-%E2%80%9Ctheory%E2%80%9D-and-the-christian-creationist-and-his-%E2%80%9Cscience%E2%80%9D/

    If thats too lengthy, here some of more relevant excerpts:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-world-famous-chemist-tells-the-truth-theres-no-scientist-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/

    Professor James Tour reminds me of the honest young boy, who said, "But, momma, THE EMPORER HAS NO CLOTHES"

    June 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      All this was answered in the other place you posted this.

      Is this the same as quoting Jenny McCarthy on MMR vaccinations and autism?

      June 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • maximo

      Yes, but simply calling this highly accomplished and well respected, world renowned chemist a "liar" is not an appropriate answer.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • maximo

      typical but dishonorable response when one cannot confront facts and ideas is to resort name calling and red herrings

      June 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Observer

      maximom

      Does your expert also believe in unicorns, talking animals and that the earth suddenly stopped spinning for a day?

      June 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • maximo

      observer,
      fallacy: red herring

      June 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Observer

      maximo,

      Fallacy. If he is as smart as you think, we both know that he likely doesn't believe in unicorns, talking animals and that the earth stopped spinning.

      Do you?

      June 20, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • LinCA

      Tour is a fundamentalist christian with a scientific education and career. He appears to struggle with reconciling science with his faith. Jumping to the conclusion that "goddidit" whenever he can to keep his faith alive. He will gladly insert his god, and of course only his, into any void or gap in scientific knowledge. Whether these gaps and voids are real or merely perceived.

      He claims to be not a creationist, or proponent of ID, but only because he seems to dislike the negative connotation of the label, not because he isn't one.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • maximo

      Observer, propaganda

      LinCA, propaganda

      Does your preoccupation with is religious faith prevent you from addressing the substance of what he says?

      June 20, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • HotAirAce

      LinCA, I think you are correct. I noticed the same thing with jboom's hero Meyer who wants everyone to believe that ID is not based on religion.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Observer

      maximo,

      Sorry you missed the question. Here it is again:

      If he is as smart as you think, we both know that he likely doesn't believe in unicorns, talking animals and that the earth stopped spinning.

      Do you?

      June 20, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • maximo

      Folks, you cannot discredit this guy. He is the real deal. Research all you want on google.

      *co-author of over 450 scientific publications
      *over 38 patents
      *one of the top ten cited chemists in the world
      *professor at Rice University

      June 20, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • maximo

      observer, I honestly have no idea what spiritual beliefs he holds

      June 20, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Observer

      Maximo,

      Do you think he believes in unicorns, talking animals and that the earth stopped spinning? Is he smarter than that?

      June 20, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • LinCA

      @maximo

      You said, "Does your preoccupation with is religious faith prevent you from addressing the substance of what he says?"
      There is no substance to what he says. His claim, just like that of other pseudo-scientists, is that he doesn't believe there is a natural cause for the origin of life. He inserts his beliefs into the gaps of scientific knowledge, and expects his scientific credentials to convince others of his position.

      His position about his god creating life is no more reasonable than the Easter Bunny farting it into existence. There is no reason to believe the supernatural explanation without evidence of the supernatural. His position on the origin of life is religion, not science.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • LinCA

      @maximo

      You said, "Folks, you cannot discredit this guy. He is the real deal. Research all you want on google."
      He's a chemist, not a biologist, and more than anything, he's a believer. He expects you, and other gullible sheeple, to buy his religious position by trading on his scientific credentials.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • maximo

      LinCA, you did read the links or else you would not have posted what you did. You are not even close to describing what he says. Smear campaigns usually have at least a grain of truth to them. Yours is inane! Slander. Shame on you. You have discredited yourself.

      He is not trying to convince anything of anyone. His methods are indeed scientific. Something that you science-minded people should be care about. In science, we should welcome dissent. His whole point is not to dissent even, he justs wants a chemical explanation. One that he as a lead chemist can understand. Read for yourself:

      On Professor Tour’s Website, there’s a very revealing article on evolution and creation, in which Tour bluntly states that he does not understand how macroevolution could have happened, from a chemical standpoint (all bold emphases below are mine – VJT):

      "Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

      …I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? … Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me."

      The fact that this is not the least bit of a curiosity to you and that you rush to judgement by slandering him shows that you are thinking more like a sheep than a scientists. You guys ought to welcome him. A chance to shine. Explain it to him. Show him where are the clothes of the empororer!

      June 20, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • maximo

      LinCA,
      Biology and chemistry are intertwined silly!

      June 20, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • maximo

      observer,
      fallacy: irrelevant

      Object your honor, what maximo thinks of James M. Tour's spiritual beliefs are completely irrelevant

      June 20, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Whatever opinion one may have on the guy's beliefs, his scientific contribution cannot just be ignored as a result of these beliefs.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • LinCA

      @maximo

      You said, "Yours is inane! Slander. Shame on you. You have discredited yourself."
      Bullshit.

      Tour is nothing more than a believer who is so indoctrinated that he'll take his fairy tale over science anytime he can find any excuse. He'll take a fairy tale explanation over scientific facts, simply to cling to his delusion. He doesn't even claims to have evidence for his faith based claims, he just elects to believe them. He wallows in his ignorance. And instead of saying that there are things he, or even the scientific community, doesn't know, he clings to his fairy tale.

      He may be a gifted chemist, but when it comes to the origin of life, or macro-evolution, he's nothing more than a deluded believer and creationist.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Observer

      maximo

      "what maximo thinks of James M. Tour's spiritual beliefs are completely irrelevant"

      lol. You only brought his writings up BECAUSE of what you think of his spiritual beliefs. You didn't fool anyone but yourself.

      Being totally AFRAID to answer questions just shows how little you really believe deep down in what you are saying.

      When you can actually answer questions, then you will begin to have credibility. Try again tomorrow. Good luck.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • Observer

      @I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      "Whatever opinion one may have on the guy's beliefs, his scientific contribution cannot just be ignored as a result of these beliefs."

      I completely agree. My point is that if he is as smart as maximo thinks he is, it's highly likely that he doesn't believe much of the non-scientific nonsense in the Bible.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Observer

      True. I know he's not convinced by evolution (which in the 21st century is usually a sure sign of mental retardation). However, Tour has never struck me as a talking snakes guy. Still though, the comments by some would suggest that his works should be discounted just because of his opinions in another field.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • maximo

      observer,

      My faith honestly does not hinge on whether or macroevolution is proven to be false.
      My children are taught evolution. I don't show them all the creation science websites and materials. Whether its old earth evolution or whatever, it does not matter. Old earth creation / evolution is not inconsistent with the faith and teachings of theology and spirituality of ancient Christianity – that of the EOC.

      (Not sure what you mean by being afraid to ask questions. The OP focus is on what its on. Open a new thread if you want to discuss something else.)

      As I said, he raises a point that I think science minded atheists would want to explore: Why does he not understand macroevolution? Period.

      So far I have heard only these responses:

      1. ignore him since he is a Christian
      2. ignore him because I am a Christian
      3. make stuff up (linCA)
      4. change the topic

      June 20, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • fred

      By Dr. Fazale Rana

      A recent study of Isoxys (marine crustacean) fossils from the Maotianshan Shale of China provides important new evidence for creation. The study reveals that a complex and expansive ecology existed in the period known as the Cambrian Explosion, the time when advanced multicellular animals suddenly appeared on Earth. The natural process of biological evolution cannot explain the concurrent appearance of a highly advanced ecology in conjunction with the explosive introduction of the first true multicellular animals. On the other hand, the biblical creation model readily accommodates this feature of the fossil record.

      -Source: Jean Vannier and Jun-Yuan Chen, “The Early Cambrian Colonization of Pelagic Niches Exemplified by Isoxys (Arthropoda),” Lethaia 33 (2000): 295-311

      June 20, 2013 at 1:13 am |
    • fred

      "The obvious conclusion, so it seems to me, is that evolutionary naturalism can’t sensibly be accepted. The high priests of evolutionary naturalism loudly proclaim that Christian and even theistic belief is bankrupt and foolish. The fact, however, is that the shoe is on the other foot. It is evolutionary naturalism, not Christian belief, that can’t rationally be accepted."-Alvin Plantinga

      Feduccia's team raises serious questions about the validity of the most widely held evolutionary explanation for bird origins. Feduccia says that "[t]he theory that birds are the equivalent of living dinosaurs and that dinosaurs were feathered is so full of holes that creationists have jumped all over it, using the evolutionary nonsense of 'dinosaurian science' as evidence against the theory of evolution."
      -source:4.Alan Feduccia, Theagarten Lingham-Soliar, and J. Richard Hinchliffe, "Do Feathered Dinosaurs Exist? Testing the Hypothesis on Neontological and Paleontological Evidence," Journal of Morphology 266 (2005): 125-66.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry, Maximo, quoting christians in order to support christianity is an inherently flawed tactic.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • redzoa

      Macroevolution is supported by the fossil record and by the readily observable relationships between this evidence and extant forms. We can readily observe the progression and have validated numerous evolutionary predictions, most notably in the identification of intermediate/transitional species. Macroevolution is further supported in the phylogenetic relationships of extant organisms (including the concordant phylogenetic relationships of ERVs and other parasitic genetic elements). Recently, this phylogenetic evidence has extended to support predicted evolutionary relationships between extant and extinct forms (i.e. Neanderthals, mastadons, and if one includes collagen sequences, T. rex). The relationship between microevolution and macroevolution is validated in application, e.g. using evolutionary relationships to identify particular classes of genes correlated to a wide variety of developmental and disease states. Importantly, the genetic distance can be traced through evolutionary lineages to identify when particular genes arose, but more importantly, has allowed validated predictions of where in a given genome we should find "molecular fossils," e.g. our defunct gene for egg yolk protein (still waiting for a reasonable ID explanation for this observation). In addition to vestigial molecular fossils, we can point to any number of anatomical vestigial traits supporting macroevolution, e.g. the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the appendix, male nip-ples, arrector pili, etc, etc. ID/creationists like to invoke "common creator/common design" but this simply fails when considering the validated evolutionary predictions of where defunct genes should be found. Additionally, this ID/creationist argument fails in light of clear examples of common forms with discrete evolutionary lineages and accompanying discrete genetic const-itutions (e.g. new world v. old world vultures, etc). By any reasonable measure, ID's designer is hopelessly inept, hopelessly redundant, or ever conveniently indistinguishable from the known mechanisms underlying evolution.

      Furthermore, we have observed the expected level of diversification within the available time scales, i.e. speciation events. Additionally, as the referenced author indicates, microevolution is not questioned (which should anger any ID sympathizer who denies the ability of mutation and selection to produce novel functionality at the molecular level). As speciation is a demonstrated natural phenomena, where do macroevolution deniers (particularly those who accept deep time) claim the barrier exists between this level of divergence and higher order taxonomic divergence? How do they explain the rather dramatic examples of evolution of significant biological features, e.g. the Pod Mrcaru lizards? The typical response, relying on an erroneous demand that all pieces come together in an immediate "grand paroxyism" is ignorant at best; hopelessly disingenuous at worst (just in case Chad is reading . . .).

      To Tour's credit, at least he dismisses the creationist denial of radiometric dating; however, his opinions, which are targeting an area outside of his actual research area, are worth only as much as the evidence and arguments he presents. In the cited pieces, I see no actual discussion of the evidence, just anecdotes.

      If Tour is claiming "the emperor has no clothes," it's because he's either looking at a naked strawman or, as his anecdotes suggest, he's basing his conclusion on hearsay.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • fred

      Even if evolutionary theory were completely wrong, that would not make Christianity right.

      So far there is no evidence that supports the crazy Christian claims of talking snakes, young earth, virgin birth, Adam and Eve (or was that Steve), and so on. Evidence so far mostly supports evolution, at least the modern state of evodevo science. The details will continue to be worked out, but it is very clear that the evidence supports evolution.

      Christianity is a compete farce. Seriously, you'd have to be pretty stupid or gullible to believe any of it. And as usual, one has to ask, if a creature such as the Christian god created our world, why did he make it look like he didn't?

      Wake up and smell the coffee already. Christianity is on its way out among smart people. All we can hope for is that the Islamists stop breeding so rapidly; that is a whole other can of idiots.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • maximo

      tallah,

      Your comment simply falls into category #1.

      As I said, he raises a point that I think science minded atheists would want to explore:
      Why does he not understand macroevolution? Period.

      So far I have heard only these responses:

      1. ignore him since he is a Christian
      2. ignore him because I am a Christian
      3. make stuff up (linCA)
      4. change the topic

      June 20, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • fred

      Christianity is a *complete* farce.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Chester and Joe

      Fred: "Adam and ...Steve" = good one. 4 thumbs up! You rock our world!

      June 20, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your source says this himself: "Although I have read about a half dozen books on the debate, maybe a dozen, and though I can speak authoritatively on complex chemical synthesis, I am not qualified to enter the public discussion on evolution vs. creation."

      He instantly disqualifies himself from this discussion. So why do you quote him?

      June 20, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • maximo

      redzoa,

      Why not send your explanations to Tour?
      There are many others like Tour.

      What is the layman to do?
      Atheists claim any evolutionist that claim the theory is not as solid as the media would have us tghink are immediatley branded as heretics with delusional motives.

      There are more and more.

      I know junk DNA was (is?) hailed by evolutionists as evidence against good design. Yet we are discovering more and more that this junk DNA has purpose. Certain vestigial organs have purpose whence we once that they did not (gall bladder, appendix).

      It seems we have a "Darwin of the Gaps" just as much as you think we have a "god of the gaps".

      June 20, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • redzoa

      @fred – Feduccia is a clear outlier and his work has been well addressed in the literature. The irony here is that ID/creationists see Feduccia as supporting their claims, where in reality, his (albeit largely rejected) alternative hypothesis is still firmly based in evolution.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • guster

      maximo, do the world a favor and stop embarrassing yourself. Google "argument from ignorance", stupid.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • maximo

      tallah, your quote does not show him to be delusional.

      I'll answer anyway.

      I posted it because a world leading chemist does not understand macro evolution. He says he has sought out explanations from numerous scientists, professors of science and even from Nobel prize winners. But they all said they didn't know! Maybe he is not hooking up with the right people. The bigger point is that there are numerous scientists saying they agree evolutionary theory explains macroevolution but those very same people do not understand how. (Though I suspect most of them understand redzoa is posting here.) The bigger point is the emporer/clothes question.

      So when folks say that 90% of scientists believe in evolution, how much of that is emporer/clothes?

      June 20, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • guster

      Re 1., maximo, if only we could ignore Christians. There is hope that such a day will come soon.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • maximo

      guster,
      that was constructive

      June 20, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      He himself says that he is unqualified. He can admit it. Why can't you?

      June 20, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • maximo

      tallah,
      you already asked that and I answered it.

      You did not respond.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Maximo, who did he ask? He doesn't give any names. Without facts, he's just making unfounded claims. But that is totally consistent with being a believer.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:13 am |
    • guster

      Trying to discredit some of the smartest and most diligent people on the planet (scientists) seems a sign of desperation and a lost argument.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • tallulah13

      Maximo, he answered the question before you did. He admitted himself that he is unqualified. Any answer you make for him is pointless.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • maximo

      Updating ...

      As I said, he raises a point that I think science minded atheists would want to explore:
      Why does he not understand macroevolution? Period.

      Responses thus far:

      1. ignore him since he is a Christian
      2. ignore him because I am a Christian
      3. make stuff up (linCA)
      4. change the topic
      5. he's looking at a naked strawman (redzoa)
      6. he's basing his conclusion on hearsay (redzoa)

      June 20, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • guster

      It is Christianity that is destructive (and murderous).

      June 20, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      guster

      It's humanity that is destructive and murderous.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Updating (maximo)

      Maximo...here's an addition:

      7. I'm unwilling to listen and consider other's answers because they aren't answers I like and don't fit my pre-determined conclusions (maximo)

      June 20, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • maximo

      S3-B,

      To which reply would you be referring that would fit into your category #7?

      I think they all fit into one of the 6 categories.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • redzoa

      @maximo
      "Why not send your explanations to Tour?"
      Tour didn't post them here . . .

      "There are many others like Tour."
      I don't need to point you to the numbers of scientists practicing in the relevant fields who accept evolution over ID/creationism as you likely already know the truly overwhelming disparity.

      "What is the layman to do?"
      Perhaps actually learn the science before cutting and pasting flawed arguments from ID/creationist websites? Or at the very least, perhaps abstain from commenting on topics they have no intent of actually investigating to a degree that would provide competence, but rather where the only intent is apologetics.

      "Atheists claim any evolutionist that claim the theory is not as solid as the media would have us tghink are immediatley branded as heretics with delusional motives."
      Please spare me the martyr/persecution/conspiracy lines of argument. The issue here is whether the claim is supported or not and as you didn't see fit to respond to my pointing out Tour's failure to identify specific deficiencies, I take this as your concession that his claim, as provided in your linked articles, was supported not by citing evidence, but rather by referencing anecdotes.

      "There are more and more."
      Maybe as a function of population growth, but not as a proportion of scientists versed in the relevant disciplines.

      "I know junk DNA was (is?) hailed by evolutionists as evidence against good design. Yet we are discovering more and more that this junk DNA has purpose. Certain vestigial organs have purpose whence we once that they did not (gall bladder, appendix)."
      Here, you betray your understanding of genomics and what a vestigial feature is. In the case of the former, you should investigate the history of the phrase right up through the recent ENCODE debacle and the response. In the case of the latter, some function is not synonymous with original function/function in other organisms and you ignore those examples which clearly provide no benefit. Frankly, I find it laughable that anyone still points to the appendix as a putative design feature, i.e. our internal time bomb.

      "It seems we have a "Darwin of the Gaps" just as much as you think we have a "god of the gaps"."
      Only to those who, in their a priori faith-based incredulity, fail to adequately fill the gaps with what the science actually says.

      Feel free to have the last word, but perhaps, you might instead take some time and do some research which doesn't begin with an ID/creationist website.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      True Hal

      but one of the most effective and dangerous vehicles for that destruction and death is religion.....tells you who you should hate...who needs to die....and is a license to disengage your brain.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:32 am |
    • redzoa

      @maximo – Here's an idea, rather than listing responses, why not actually delve into the evidence you believe supports his position. Are you conceding your position is simply vicarious?

      June 20, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      you know, redzoa, that's a really good point. As a Christians I was always offended when folks told me my faith no original thinking or ideas or stories.

      And with the exception of "love your enemies," Christianity offers nothing original. (Sadly, they can't even comply with Luke 6:27.)

      So "vicarious" is a helpful term in the context of having a "position." Thanks for that.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:47 am |
    • redzoa

      @S3B-Viking – I agree that the one of the most profound contribution of Christ was the challenge to go beyond the 2nd greatest commandment and affirmatively love your enemies. If I'm reading you correctly, then I would also agree that although an example (be it Christ or Tour or Hitchens) may serve to inform our positions, actual application and understanding must come from personal engagement. Only then might we enjoy the integrity born of actual experience and first-hand knowledge.

      June 20, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Exactly, redzoa.

      Many an armchair Christian who fails to consider the content, history, and validity of the beliefs they are commanded to believe.

      Sadly, not only is there no original thinkiing...there is very little actual thinking going on in the pews.

      But that fits the American culture...eucharist and circuses.

      June 20, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • maximo

      redzoa, You made some good points. I am not an evolution expert. I am a lay person. (What I know of evolution comes from reading popular science magazines (i.e Scietific American) for the past 20 years.) But a person need not become an expert in the field to understand and share James M. Tour's point.

      "The issue here is whether the claim is supported or not and as you didn't see fit to respond to my pointing out Tour's failure to identify specific deficiencies, I take this as your concession that his claim, as provided in your linked articles, was supported not by citing evidence, but rather by referencing anecdotes."

      You are focusing on the smaller point – the one that lay people will not resolve on this forum.

      The bigger point to my OP is that a leading chemist has boldly stated that no scientist can explain evol to him and that there are a lot of scientists in various fields that give lip service in public saying they believe in evolution, but behind closed doors admit they do not understand it. Tour's emporer/clothing comparison is the point. Not that he's looking at a strawman or basing conclusions on hearsay. Not that he's trying to critique evol.

      June 20, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Science

      Hey fred bite the bullet take the test and find out where the evolution trail goes .

      as you know about the prayer bot above ................chad .

      DNA tests reveal Prince William's Indian ancestry

      By Peter Wilkinson, CNN

      updated 12:48 PM EDT, Fri June 14, 2013

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/14/world/europe/britain-prince-william-india/?iref=obnetwork

      June 22, 2013 at 7:49 am |
  15. Million $ question

    What must I do to call myself an atheist?

    June 19, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Answer

      Suspend 'belief'

      June 19, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Science

      Hery Million $ question ...............Body Parts ?

      More patients getting lab-grown body parts

      Monday Jun 17, 2013 | Malcolm Ritter for The Associated Press

      http://www.newsdaily.com/article/052515d80064779863780a31ff055dc4/more-patients-getting-lab-grown-body-parts

      And previous page.

      June 19, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's extremely simple. Just don't believe in any god.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:39 am |
  16. Shortest phone call in history

    Customer: "Hello I don't believe in God"
    Operator: "Neither do I. Thanks for calling"

    June 19, 2013 at 8:08 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.