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January 28th, 2014
10:37 AM ET

Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

(CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was).

Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.

In ancient Mesopotamia, a round vessel would have been perfectly reasonable - in fact, we know that this type of boat was in use, though perhaps not to such a gigantic scale, on the Mesopotamian rivers.

The ancient Israelites, on the other hand, would naturally have pictured a boat like those they were familiar with: which is to say, the boats that navigated not the rivers of Mesopotamia but the Mediterranean Sea.

This detail of engineering can and should stand for a larger array of themes and features in the flood stories. The Mesopotamian versions feature many gods; the biblical account, of course, only one.

The Mesopotamian versions tell us that the Flood came because humans were too noisy for the gods; the biblical account says it was because violence had spread over the Earth.

Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. Neither is history; both are theology.

What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”? Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. But not so fast.

Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.

More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.

(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.)

This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.

There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.

One version says the Flood lasted 40 days; the other says 150. One says the waters came from rain. Another says it came from the opening of primordial floodgates both above and below the Earth. One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. The other says he sent out a raven, once.

And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.”

Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? Certainly not.

If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense. And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.

Likewise, the relative age of the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts tells us nothing about their relative authority.

Even if we acknowledge, as we probably should, that the biblical authors learned the Flood story from their neighbors - after all, flooding isn’t, and never was, really a pressing concern in Israel - this doesn’t make the Bible any less authoritative.

The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.

There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important. But from a biblical perspective, its importance resides mostly in the way it serves to remind us that the Flood story is a malleable one.

There are multiple different Mesopotamian versions, and there are multiple different biblical versions. They share a basic outline, and some central themes. But they each relate the story in their own way.

The power of the Flood story, for us the canonical biblical version, is in what it tells us about humanity’s relationship with God. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. Sunflower

    I am still waiting to hear Pope on new discovery.

    January 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    secondly, the Universe and our existence is NOT just a cosmic accident. Life did emerge due to physical processes and evolved to better suit its environment's properties.

    Christians look at the world like a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' (thanks Douglas Adams)

    all the creatures of the world did not exist and then a world was made around us to suit our tolerances and abilities. the world exists and we have evolved beautifully to fit all the little niches.

    we are still working out the mechanics of the universe, and with so many brilliant minds we will work it out, but the truth is something spectacularly explained by physics and not by a bronze age god of genocide and misogyny and slavery and jealousy and demands to love me and worship me and tell me how amazing I am all day, every day.

    the Christian god is so obviously a god of primitive, tribal desert dwellers. Look somewhere bigger and better and brighter for your god if you must have one, but better still, try life in the real world without one!

    January 31, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      sorry ... this was supposed to be a reply to "Nope" below.

      January 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
    • M&M

      Bad doggy! Bad! Back to your cage!

      January 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
    • Nope.

      You really believe Christians think that way? Thanks for sharing your opinion, but it seems kind of biased.

      January 31, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        as only one of a myriad examples: primitive man came out or Africa between 125,000 and 60,000 years ago. This fact has been corroborated by studies of present-day mitochondrial DNA, combined with evidence based on physical anthropology of archaic specimens. Think of all the niches man has filled and how our bodies have changed in size, color, form, feature, to best live in these different environments. If your god just made an adam and an eve, how do you explain this? we weren't made with certain features to perfectly suit each environment and then magically placed in that environment – we evolved to suit our environment as we settled in it.

        this is so observable. why do christians deny this?

        January 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Nope.

          I think it is funny that actual Christians have contributed more to our understanding of the universe than you. And you try to paint this picture of the exact opposite.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Believers in all gods and no gods have contributed and the sum of that knowledge is that the bible (and other creation myths) is not literally true. Many commenters on here insist that it is literally true.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dyslexic: you say it's "NOT" an accident.
      you say the principles/processes brought order about (from chaos?).
      but where did the underlying *principles* come from? why are they ordered at all?

      it certainly stands in stark contrast to a quote like this:
      "In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."
      -Richard Dawkins

      you are still left with the same quandary that has Hawking guessing (and as a result being heavily criticized) in "Grand Design" – how do you get order from blind chaos?

      your central premise is apparently self-refuting.

      January 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        actually, not at all. try re-reading.

        January 31, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Dyslexic:
          you said: "the Universe and our existence is NOT just a cosmic accident..."
          is that a quote from someone else? or is that not your own words?

          February 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
  3. Reality #2

    Back on the topic:

    And yet again, the bigger question is did Noah even exist? Other than the OT/Torah is there any other evidence?

    And did Abraham and Moses exist? From the information (and lack thereof) available, no they did not. Added details are available upon written request

    January 31, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
    • brpark

      Without faith you will have no proof. With faith, proof is all around you. If you will not open your eyes then you must remain blind.

      February 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Be specific. What objective evidence is there of a god?

        February 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • igaftr

        brpark
        with faith, you accept things as proof without there being any proof at all.

        Noah's ark is a myth...there are WAY to many things wrong with the story making it IMPOSSIBLE, and NEVER happened...at least not on earth.

        You may choose to throw out everyother explaination for things and blindly follow your "god" but your book is what is blinding you.

        February 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
  4. CommonSensed

    Here I am. Amused this comment section is still going on.

    Amused.

    January 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
    • doobzz

      Considering that the article isn't even about Noah's ark, it is pretty funny. On the other hand, I think we are all just happy that it wasn't another pope article.

      January 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
  5. Noah

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63qgBPj2fFo&w=640&h=390]
    .

    January 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • tony

      Glory is cheap.

      Hard work to help the planet and it people counts infinitely times more.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        well said!

        January 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • M&M

          Awwwww. Doggie's owners let him out to play!

          January 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • doobzz

          Your stalker/fan is back with a new set of insults, DD. You won't need sunscreen.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Right on Tony!!

        R'amen!

        January 31, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
      • Kev

        Easy work to just assume what it means to infinitely help a planet and it's people when in reality you really don't have a clue.

        January 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • doobzz

          You mean like religious people routinely do?

          January 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • Kev

          Actually the religious merely believe that there is a higher power out there who has the big picture, but to those who assume that they know better than an all knowing deity, really would not have the big picture.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • doobzz

          I'm speaking of those who KNOW that their god is the true god, that they know what their god wants, and that it everyone else believes this too, the world will be a much better place.

          January 31, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • Kev

          I am referring to those non-religious who think they know better that their disbelief in a god somehow in of itself would automatically make this world a better place.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
        • doobzz

          Well, @tony didn't say that non belief would save the world. He said that hard work is more effective than songs about glorifying deities. You changed "hard work" to "non-belief" in your head and responded accordingly.

          February 1, 2014 at 1:31 am |
        • Kev

          So, in comparing hard work as being in opposition to reliance on deity, then guess what, you are stating that no religion is better than religion, especially since hard word does not have to be in opposition to reliance on deity.

          February 1, 2014 at 4:44 am |
        • doobzz

          Whatever, Kev. He never said that non belief will solve the world's problems. He just said work is more effective than singing about glory. If you want to make it out to be something it's not, you're going to do it no matter what the facts are. I couldn't care less.

          February 2, 2014 at 4:50 am |
  6. tony

    Actually Vic, if he is what he says he is, continuously violates the 9th commandment. Which puts him more in Satan's camp, than Jesus's.

    January 31, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
  7. Immortal Technique

    The voice of racism, preaching the gospels is devilish
    A fake church called the prophet Mohammed a terrorist
    Forgetting God is not a religion, but a spiritual bond
    And Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Qu'ran

    January 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  8. PeterVN

    As I read through the pathetic posts from the likes of ignorant, deluded fools such as Vic, I'm reminded of one of my favorite comments that I've seen here. It is very accurate and applicable to Vic:

    "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them."

    Short and to the point. And, sadly, accurate.

    January 31, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  9. Steve

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBRKY8Qx9YQ&w=640&h=390]

    January 31, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • Jake

      No idea who this person is, but the fact that it's news shows how rare it is for an atheist to become a Christian (without childhood brain-washing).

      January 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
      • Nope.

        How do you imagine I've been brainwashed?

        January 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Children do not have the capacity to form anything more than simpilstic ideas about beliefs. I grew up in a religious family. My parents were good people. But I feel like I was brainwashed. Certainly, I was at least indoctrinated.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • tony

          You are told that unlikely things are actually true, by large numbers of people you either find credible, or trust, or both.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Nope.

          No I'm not. I was allowed to leave my faith as an adult. No problem. I keep in touch with people I grew up with. Some are non-religious. Some have changed to other faiths. Some have remained in their childhood faith.

          Nobody seems to be brainwashed.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • tony

          So exactly how did you and they acquire faith in the first place? It's not something you can be born with. Else there would only be faith in the whole world.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Nope.

          Just like how you learned the language you are speaking and your understanding of history. We learned about it.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • tony

          So how did your teachers back up any stuff that the pupils might have found wnatinmg or disagreed with?

          Most people who have been brainwashed when young ( aka as educated, but falsely) don't realize, unless there is proof shown to them later, as adults, over time.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • Madtown

          like how you learned the language you are speaking
          ---–
          Yes, culturally. Religions developed differently, per different cultures. Another reason why none are "correct", they're basically a set of opinions.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Nope.

          We were allowed to ask questions.

          I'm familiar with what brainwashing is. We were not brainwashed. I also attended a very secular public school, so I was exposed to a variety of ideas.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • Jake

          I imagine your brain-washing went something like this:

          At an age when you were extremely impressionable and too young to remember, your parents began telling you stories from the bible as if they were the truth. Through evolution, children at that young age have learned that the best chance of survival comes from trusting your parents direction, whether it seems to make sense or not. By the time you start to have real thoughts of your own, the Christian story was already embedded in your midset as the truth. It came complete with ways to ignore evidence that contradicted your belief. It taught you that faith was actually a virtue and doubters were bad. Before you could reasonably consider the matters of the universe, you had already been provided your answer.

          In addition, you were likely part of a religious community and made to feel that you would be shunned to some extent if you believed differently. You may have actually continued to believe the stories and even if you didn't, you probably felt a great deal of pressure to pretend.

          That's how it goes for most at least.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • Nope.

          Phew, I wasn't brainwashed! It is just your imagination at play, not a fact.

          Now, how do we know you haven't been brainwashed? Let me imagine you were.... aw, yea.. so easy to just imagine I know things I don't.

          I'm imagining you were brainwashed! Therefore, you were brainwashed. Tada!

          January 31, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • Jake

          If the term brain-washing is too harsh for you, let's just call it mentally manipulated. No rational adult would believe in the far-fetched stories of religions if they hadn't been mentally manipulated. You believe in these things, so I have to conclude you were mentally manipulated.

          We are all of course shaped by our childhoods, but I don't think there's anything I picked up that is so wildly ridiculous as a religious belief. That's why I don't consider myself mentally manipulated like you were.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • Nope.

          Jake, you can decide that for yourself.

          But you don't speak for all rational adults. You haven't even proven to us that you are a rational adult. All you do is talk about your personal philosophy and preconceived notions of what religious people are like.

          I know people that demonstrate rational thinking (as in they are highly compensated and respected by the scientific community) that believe in God and are religious. And they haven't been brainwashed or mentally manipulated.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Jake

          Over 90% of leading scientists don't believe in god.

          http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm

          See what I did there? I made a claim and then backed it up with actual evidence.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • Jake

          As for rational thinking, please let me know what is wrong with this line of rational logic:

          – The bible is full of stories that we know are untrue. There are many many examples of this. Just a few: We know people can't walk on water, we know people can't turn water into wine, we know the earth has been around exponentially longer than the bible claims. Conclusion: The bible is a work of fiction.
          – Christians believe in a god as described in the bible. Since we know that at least much of the bible is fictional including claims of things god supposedly did, we know that the god described in the bible is fictional.
          – Since we know the god described in the bible is fictional, we can conclude that those who believe in this god are not rational thinkers who base their beliefs on knowledge and evidence. Rather, they base their beliefs on blind faith, ignoring contrary evidence.
          – I personally don't think Christians are born idiots, I think they come to their irrational views as a result of the mental manipulation they are forced to endure as children. Since otherwise rational people end up as irrational thinkers, I consider this mental manipulation to be essentially brain-washing.

          If you can seriously poke a hole in any of that, please do.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Nope.

          That study is from 1998?

          http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

          This study puts atheists at 17% of scientists.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope.

          "This study puts atheists at 17% of scientists."

          Believers insist they make up more than 83% of the population, which supports that a higher percentage of scientists are atheists than average.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • Jake

          If you look at the trend, the percentage is likely to be much higher today than it was in 1998. In reality, I suspect 100% of top scientists are atheists or in denial.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • Nope.

          Jake

          Who is "we"???? Just tell me what you believe. I don't care about what you *imagine* rational adults believe. You are not a rational adult! You are a human being. Imperfect and irrational. Just like every other human being. Nobody is completely rational. And thinking you are rational only leads you to arrogance, not intelligence! You don't believe in God. But that doesn't mean that the Bible has been proven as fiction. That is such an insufficient definition given the facts.

          For instance, the Bible describes miracles. Acts of God. Things men can't do. Just because we can't walk on water, doesn't mean God can't.

          And the Bible is a collection of books. Some is fiction, poetry, genealogies, parables, historical, fact, testimonies, personal reflections, letters written to groups, letters written to individuals. And so much more.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Nope.

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k&w=640&h=390]

          January 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope,

          "Some is fiction . . parables . . . personal reflections . . ., etc."

          So why should believers use it as an EXCUSE to trash other people "because the Bible says so"?

          January 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • Jake

          So, he's an atheist who accepts the reality that many Americans are religious. He also states that 60% of scientists are not religious in America! So what is your point? This supports what I've been saying. The 90%+ figure is top scientists to illustrate the point that the better you are at science, the more likely you are to be an atheist.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • Nope.

          They probably shouldn't Observer.

          Why do you trash people? They probably do it for the same reasons you do. Instead of worrying about why religious people are so hypocritical you should take a look at your own hypocrisy.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope.

          "Why do you trash people?"

          Besides HYPOCRITES who deserve it, who have I trashed?

          January 31, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • Nope.

          Jake

          Very few scientists are religious hating atheists. 60% are not religious, but that doesn't mean they don't believe in God. It definitely doesn't mean they are atheists. A high percentage are agnostic. Not atheist.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • Nope.

          Observer

          You've trashed hypocrites. Ironically you are a hypocrite, too. So, I think you should worry about yourself. And stop pointing out everyone else's shortcomings.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Here is a related but different statistic. 99.85% of earth and life scientists accept evolution as a fact. What percentage of those are religious, I don't know. But if they are religious, they are not creationists.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope.

          "You've trashed hypocrites. Ironically you are a hypocrite, too."

          Please give an example.

          Please also explain why I should NOT pick on people's shortcomings when that is the MAJOR topic of discussion for Christians on here who CONSTANTLY tell people how bad they are.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • Nope.

          Observer

          You mean they do the exact same thing you do?

          January 31, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope.

          "You mean they do the exact same thing you do?"

          So if some is HYPOCRITICALLY pointing out shortcomings, it is HYPOCRITICAL to point out their shortcomings? Get serious.

          Could you actually answer my requests above?

          January 31, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • Nope.

          Please explain why I should NOT pick on your shortcomings when that is the MAJOR topic of discussion for you on here as you CONSTANTLY tell Christians how bad they are.

          January 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • Science Works

          Beans are good too Nope !

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZzGXnYL5I&w=640&h=390]

          January 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope.

          It's too bad that you won't answer my questions, but I do understand.

          I know it's tough for you to accept that Christians who use the Bible as an EXCUSE to trash others are HYPOCRITES.

          WORLD CLASS HYPOCRITE - someone who tells others that they will go to hell for not believing all of a book that they themselves DON'T BELIEVE all of.

          As long as you are PICKING AND CHOOSING from the Bible, why not PICK the Golden Rule?

          January 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • Nope.

          It is too bad you don't see the irony in what you say and do.

          January 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • Observer

          Nope.

          Do you REALLY think it's at all LOGICAL to claim that if someone complains about someone else HYPOCRITICALLY criticizing them, that make them a HYPOCRITE, too?

          Please start being serious.

          January 31, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I have decided to believe by faith that Nope was brainwashed. That conclusion fits all the evidence within his explanations on this thread.

          February 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      he's a very brave man to be so gay and go back to a religion that hates him.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  10. Quest ion

    Who can read cuneiform?

    Who can write in cuneiform?

    Who can understand cuneiform?

    Who can translate cuneiform?

    Who can speak that language that was written in cuneiform?

    Just asking.

    January 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • Mila Kunis

      I can.

      January 31, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • Quest ion

        If I do not believe you; how can you prove it?

        January 31, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
      • Mila Kunis

        Sorry, I guess that was Kuniaform.

        January 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
    • Anonymouse

      Irving Finkle.
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Long way to set up something just to answer yourself as two more of your sockpuppets.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • Quest ion

        Are you a sock-puppet?

        January 31, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Anonymouse

          No. I'm Anonymouse.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  11. Vic

    Something to chew on, since we are talking Biblical times:

    Did you know that the Earth"s Electromagnetic Field—Geomagnetic Field—is constantly exponentially decaying—about 10% in the last 150 years—which indicates a young Earth that is less than 10,000 years old?

    January 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • Jake

      Did you know that we can disprove many things in the bible and therefore, know that it is a work of fiction? Did you know that means that the Christian version of god is also therefore fictional?

      January 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Nope.

        God is not fictional.

        January 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Jake

          The Christian idea of god is definitely fictional since it is defined by a fictional book. A more general concept of a god isn't fictional, it's just extremely unlikely and unsupported by any evidence. Regardless, any possible god has nothing to do with any existing religions.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Barcs

          Evidence?

          Hey Vic, stop lying with your false claims about science and the electromagnetic shield. Promote your faith by acting like Jesus did instead of attacking anyone who believes or proves otherwise.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Piccolo

          Frodo Baggins is not fictional.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Nope.

          Christians do not merely define God by a book. And there is plenty of evidence of God. It is not like Christian believers are all idiots or no less about science than you do. Actually a lot of people who trust the Bible and believe in Jesus know more about science, evidence and the Bible than you do.
          So, yea, in your opinion Jesus is fictional. But you are only qualified to make that statement for yourself.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Jake

          Oh, ok, then who defines the Christian version of god? Wait, let me guess, by not having a clear definition (or changing it constantly), it's impossible to disprove!

          And what is this evidence of the existence of god you speak of? I am amazed that it hasn't made the news.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          "Christians do not merely define God by a book."

          If only that were true for all of them. Ask a born again or other evangelical about what they believe the bible says about god. After all it is his unwavering unquestionable absolute word.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Nope.

          Each individual defines God for him/herself. Just like you do. You find what works best for you.
          I personally see evidence for God everywhere. Life, science and the entire universe points to a Creator. This is nothing new.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "Each individual defines God for him/herself."

          I define god as a pink leprechaun living on Rigel VII. You're okay with that, right? I'm every bit as correct in my beliefs as you, right?

          "the entire universe"

          How specific.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Jake

          Please provide just one piece of evidence that points to a creator. Just one.

          PS, you don't know me, so you're not in any position to make statements about what I "no" about science. But then, you're not in a position to claim that there is a creator either and you're doing that as well.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Madtown

          Each individual defines God for him/herself
          ---–
          Excellent news. This means no religion can label itself the "correct" one, and threaten non-believers with eternal punishment for not following the same ways.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Nope.

          @Jake
          I actually believe there is a creator. I know some very intelligent scientists that believe in God, so it is not true to say that science disproves God. For you personally it may. But you don't get to decide that for everyone else.

          Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., Nobel Prize winner in Physics: “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

          I agree with Taylor. What evidence points to a creator? Life. Plants. Animals. Cells. Biology. Chemistry. Music. Arts. Poetry. Laughter. Babies.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • Nope.

          Madtown

          Yes, no religion has all the answers. At least that is what my pastor tells me. She says our denomination doesn't get everything right. Nobody does.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Jake

          @Nope

          You seem to think everyone gets to have their own reality. That is not the case. There either is or isn't a god and if there is one, he is one particular way, not different for everyone. The Christian god is described by the bible which we know to be a work of fiction. Therefore, that god is fictional. Even if there is a god, it's not the one described by the bible. You're right, I don't get to define reality. Reality is just what is. You have the choice of denying relaity, but you don't get to define it either.

          "What evidence points to a creator? Life. Plants. Animals. Cells. Biology. Chemistry. Music. Arts. Poetry. Laughter. Babies."

          How do any of those point to a creator? If those things pointed to a creator, then wouldn't a creator point to another creator? And another one?

          January 31, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Nope,

          You haven't answered my question. I define god as a pink leprechaun living on Rigel VII. You're okay with that, right? I'm every bit as correct in my beliefs as you, right?

          January 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • Nope.

          "which we know to be a work of fiction."

          When you say "we", who do you mean? Atheists? Sure, atheists believe that. But not everyone is an atheist. And atheism isn't reality. Maybe for you. But for most people it is not. And most scientists are not atheists.

          "How do any of those point to a creator? If those things pointed to a creator, then wouldn't a creator point to another creator? And another one?"

          I see evidence for God in the brilliance of their design.

          Everything in our universe has been created. But that doesn't mean the Creator was created. Especially if that Creator exists outside our realm and is eternal.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Nope.

          Sungrazer

          Yea, that is awesome. Bertrand Russell would be so proud.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • Immortal Technique

          "I personally see evidence for God everywhere. Life, science and the entire universe points to a Creator. This is nothing new."

          Typical creationist idiocy. "I won't provide evidence, I'll just list a bunch of things and say it proves god with no connection whatsoever!" Why the constant dishonesty from creationists? WHY? Isn't bearing false witness a sin?

          January 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • Nope.

          Immortal Technique

          I'm not a creationist. At least not, unless calling The Big Bang Theory creationism since it was fathered by a man who believed in God.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • OTOH

          @Nope.
          "Everything in our universe has been created."

          Stating that all of existence (in our 'universe' or elsewhere) was "created" is loading the question. Of course a "creation" would have been "created"; but could it be *any* other way - a way which we don't know about? We don't know what we don't know yet.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Nope.

          OTOH

          Right. I don't know how everything was created. I know there are smarter men and women than me studying and exploring that aspect. I doubt anyone will ever find a definite answer to that question in my lifetime.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • sam stone

          which gods are not fictional?

          if you believe in a specific god, the god of abraham for example, i would bet you believe all the other ones are fictional

          January 31, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Science Works

          http://www.space.com/24496-universe-alien-life-habitability-big-bang.html

          January 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Nope.

          https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8847

          January 31, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Nope,

          Thanks for agreeing.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • Nope.

          Sungrazer

          Yea. But the fact is you don't believe in the pink leprechaun. You are just using a technique that a lot of atheists attempt to use. It doesn't disprove God.
          I honestly believe in God.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • Science Works

          And the White baptism dress Grandma is going to buy Nope ?

          January 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • Jake

          You're right, it doesn't disprove god. It just illustrates how ridiculous it would be to believe in such a far-fetched concept based on no evidence other than someone making it up and writing it down.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Nope,

          You said "Each individual defines God for him/herself". My leprechaun example, an admittedly extreme one, and perhaps one I should've avoided in this case, was not meant as a technique to disprove god. Sort of the opposite. I'm asking if any god is permitted. If I can define god how I want, is anyone allowed to tell me that I am wrong? If your answer is no, then it seems to render god meaningless. Nature is god, physics is god, poetry is god. The problem is people start wars over their conceptions of god.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • Nope.

          Sungrazer

          Most people don't start wars over God. I see evidence in my community that most crimes are committed over possessions and greed. A lot of wars are fought over property disputes, natural resources and political differences.

          Hey, I respect everyone's concept of God. Even if there concept is there is no God. As long as they don't start getting arrogant and make ridiculous claims like Jake does. If they do that, I'll call them out for acting irrational.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
        • Science Works

          Nope

          http://physics.about.com/b/2012/07/05/higgsboson.htm

          January 31, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • Jake

          Nope, when did I make a ridiculous claim? You're good at accusations, but not so good at explanations. A common theme with believers.

          January 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • Nope.

          Jake

          You keep saying "we" proved the Bible is fiction. Uh, who is "we"? And when did you guys do that?

          January 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • Jake

          "We" are humans. Thanks to the work of scientists, "we" know that the earth was not made in 6 days, is much older than the bible claims, etc. "We" know that the bible is not factually correct and therefore, a work of fiction. "You" don't seem to want to accept scientific proof and therefore "you" don't get to pretend that science and religion are compatible.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Sources please. Considering all the science points to a very different number.

      January 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • sly

      Very intriguing. There is a trove of compelling evidence recently that points at 1722 as the precise Creation Date – late morning around 10:52. (52 to the 10th power is the symbol for Heaven in the scriptures).

      This evidence comes from years of scholastic study, and the interpretation of the Mayan works.

      (In addition, there appears to be no photographic evidence prior to 1722 ... ).

      January 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        I love the addition.

        January 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • Vic

      This is a huge topic since the 1970's, and many scientists are involved. You can Yahoo or Google the topic and compare so many posts.

      January 31, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • Piccolo

        Negative, Ghost rider.

        January 31, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      There is a lengthy rebuttal on TalkOrigins. Why do you try and use science to support your beliefs but dismiss the science that says otherwise? Particularly when the "science" used to support your beliefs is done with the specific INTENTION to prove a young earth. This is not how science is done or knowledge progesses. Don't worry, my question is rhetorical, I know the answer already.

      January 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Piccolo

        But that would mean he'd actually have to read and learn about science. Why should he have to waste his time with that when blindly believing in god is so much easier.

        January 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          That is exactly why my question was a rhetorical one. I know that is one answer, but he would never admit it. Theists hold on so dearly to beliefs that aren't worth the hemming and hawing and cognitive dissonance. What does it matter if the earth is very old? They can't have a relationship with god if it is?

          January 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • ME II

      @Vic,
      Sea floor magnetic banding indicates that the geomagnetic field fluxuates and has completely reversed many times. The fact that it is currently "decaying" is only one part of an ongoing pattern.

      In other words if you disregard data you only get part of the picture.

      January 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
      • ME II

        "fluctuates"

        January 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
      • Vic

        Look it up thoroughly, the gains through the multipoles are less than the losses through the predominant—80% to 90%—dipole. It is a steady exponential decay. Accordingly, the Earth could have not been even near 10,000 years old.

        January 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Ha ha ha

          Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Less than 10000 years old? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

          January 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Jake

          Where did you go to school? You sound like you have a solid Rick-Perry's Texas education.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Please, point me to a source that says that because of this decay, the Earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old, where the author is not a creationist.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Madtown

          10,000 is the new 4.5 billion.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          Cite your source.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Immortal Technique

          In related news, I read somewhere that dinosaurs and humans lived together so it has to be true. OMG did you hear that the moon is so similar to the earth? IT HAD TO BE CREATED! OMG I just measured 10,000 miles of cubic water and that proves the bible! I heard that the molten core spins too fast for it to have occurred naturally! OMG THESE ARE ALL FACTS CUZ I SAY SO!

          January 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Barcs

          Proof of why home schooling is a bad thing.

          January 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • Damocles

          Yes, Vic, read it completely... the magnetic field has been around for roughly 3 billion years. It fluctuates. Yes, it is currently in decline, but it's declining from what was a high of 35% over normal.

          Not a decent try at all Miss Little, the sky is still intact.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
    • Pete

      Vic, if you actually care to learn why you are wrong you can start here:

      http://infidels.org/library/modern/dave_matson/young-earth/specific_arguments/magnetic_field.html

      January 31, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
    • tony

      I know that's untrue. It rotates unevenly and is thought to the combined result of more than one separate field produced at the core and above.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      It's not decaying exponentially and therefore doesn't prove that the age of the earth is less than the 4.5 billion years that it actually is.

      January 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Wow Vic that is more amazing than you can imagine. You do realize that you have hit the trip wire and are stuck . We know the earth is billions of years old and the magnetic field fluctuates constantly. Why do you strain so hard to make a statement of creation literally true, when we all know eternity is on a much different scale than we have in the time zone . By the way,tripping over the past is kind of a dumb way to proceed.

      January 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
    • G to the T

      Thomas G. Barne's 1973 magnetic field argument is based on obsolete models of the earth's interor. The Earth's magnetic field shows no evidence of having been continuously decaying.

      Next.

      February 1, 2014 at 11:27 am |
  12. JB

    Man, that original post didn't even last ten minutes before getting deleted. Let's try it again.

    Belief that the Noah's ark story is literal highlights just how foolish fundamentalist Christian belief is. I suppose it was fine to believe it in ignorant early ages; after all, it was a plausible explanation (at the time) of seashell fossils found on mountain tops. The problem comes when people cling to the ancient ignorant beliefs despite the knowledge gained from discoveries in geology, genetics, etc.
    What's wrong with considering advances in knowledge and concluding, "Oh, I guess I was wrong and that part wasn't meant to be taken literally, after all"? That doesn't require you to stop believing in your god or in the Bible, just stop believing everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. To dismiss facts and continue to insist on a literal interpretation just makes one look very foolish and childish, even to other Christians.

    January 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • Juliet

      And that's probably the primary reason fundamentalists look foolish to Catholics.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
    • tony

      And as the score of unbelievable claims mounts . . . . When do you draw the line and conclude that the whole thing is really just a historical con.

      Just before Jesus, everyone thought lightning was an angry god's temper tantrum.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jacob

      "... despite the knowledge gained from discoveries in geology, genetics,..."

      Add astronomy, physics, sociology, psychology, chemistry,... the list goes on and on. Why they want to stay stuck in the Bronze Age is beyond me.

      February 1, 2014 at 9:20 am |
  13. Gagarin

    Love yourself enough to never place all that is reserved for God into another human being. God never fails us. Humans fail constantly.

    January 31, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sam

      Yuri Gagarin?

      January 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • tony

      Unless you count all the tornado, flood, tsunami, volcano, earthquake deaths of course. And some victims get rescued – but by failing humans of course.

      January 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
  14. james

    what happened to my ability to post?

    January 31, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • WASP

      i stole it away. (evil laugh) buahahhahahahhahahahahahaha! XD

      January 31, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • james

        thanks.

        January 31, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • james

        nice of you to give it back.

        January 31, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
    • fyi

      james,

      Are you just missing the "Post" button? Lots of people have this problem lately for some reason. The phantom phinger in the general area of the former button works.

      Or are your posts not appearing? If so, Google "CNN Belief Blog WordPress automatic filter hints" and find a copy of the list.

      January 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Susan

        CNN's code appears to put a white borderless image where the Post button should be. Maybe they'll fix that some year...

        January 31, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
  15. Salero21

    "there are multiple different biblical versions."

    😀 😀 😀 HAHAHA NOT TRUE!! They lied they failed that's just one more proof that atheism is Total stupidity. If you lie you Fail! There is only ONE version that is Biblical!!

    January 31, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • ME II

      http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/

      January 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • Barcs

        Thank god that Salero is around to keep reminding us that theism is stupidity in full bloom in all seasons! The evidence just keeps adding up!

        January 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Salero21

          Thanks God you're one big piece of... evidence of the Total stupidity of atheism!! 😉

          January 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Barcs

          I know you are, but what am I?

          January 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Nothing constructive to add again...sad.
      Why so much hate and bitterness?

      January 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • The Truth

      They lied they failed that's just one more proof that Salero21 is Total stupidity. If you lie you Fail!

      January 31, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
      • Salero21

        That's one more proof that you're NOT the Truth but a lie and if continue to lie you're a failure a Total failure. Much in the same way as atheism is Total stupidity forevermore.

        January 31, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Oh ye troll of many monikers, by what name will you troll today?
      Salero21, Lol??, M&M, Ronald regonzo, Salvatore, Truth be Told, Thinker23, Atheism is not healthy... Tina, Dodney Rangerfield, Atheist Hunter, Captain America, Anybody know how to read, Just Sayin', InLook'nUp, Kindness, Bob, nope, 2357, Wow, !, Pervert Alert....

      January 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • Anonymouse

        You are exactly right, Doc. They are indeed the same person; he has even bragged on another blog that he uses multiple devices to hit abuse on to put posts under moderation so whole threads disappear. He thinks it's "funny".

        January 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • OTOH

        Is that the same on as faith/harri/bethany and the one who hijacks the long-established screen names of other people?

        January 31, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Anonymouse

          Yep.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Woody

      "atheism is Total stupidity" – Salero21

      And believing in an invisible Guy in the Sky, a belief for which no indisputable evidence to support the belief has EVER been produced, and is based on ancient nonsensical stories dreamed up by primitive, illiterate, supersti.tious Middle Eastern sheep herders, is the summit of intelligence. Right!!!

      January 31, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • Salero21

        Boy are you one big piece of... evidence that atheism is Total stupidity or what? 😀

        January 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
  16. tony

    Let's approach "the biblical type god exists vs. there likely is no god at all" argument froma different perspective.

    How about looking at biblical faith expectations and deciding if they are reasonably justified by the bible..

    According to the heaven theory, this complex, interesting and fundamentally beautiful world isn't anthing like good enough to live in permanently. And certainly big corporations and nations have done a lot of significant damage over the recent past coupla centuries. But all could be repaired with enough co-operation between us all.

    But religious belief does not require anyone to sacrifice anything, let alone their all, to make this world better for everyone, fix the many man-made problems, or even just leave it as you found it.

    Instead believers expect they can leave all the effort and garbage behind, at any time, simply because some some god or other will just take them to somewhere else that is clean, warm and perfect, for the rest of eternity, just for living here and praying instead of doing, for around 70 short years.

    Now does that sound like a resonable deal?

    January 31, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      1. YHWH loves me as Himself with all His life, just as I am, just the way I am no matter what!

      2. I love and enjoy my neighbor as myself just as he/she is just the way he/she is no matter what!

      3. My neighbor loves and enjoys me as himself just as I am just the way I am no matter what!

      4. We all love and enjoy one another as ourselves no matter what because YHWH loves and enjoys us all as Himself with all His Life just as we are just the way we are no matter what!

      January 31, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • tony

        So you are taking the "it's just another free lunch" perspective, regardless of whether you deserve any of them?

        You'll notice the rest of the ten commandments expct you to honor your father, mother and god, but not your home.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Barcs

        So basically, you, Yahweh and your neighbor are having or.gies. Good to know. Is Yahweh your fashion designer?

        January 31, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      The religious persons who believe they are going to heaven have never really given it a good long think. They are told heaven is the best and yet no one knows what it will be like, but everyone seems to want to go there. I know that an eternity in a cloudy ethereal plane of existence would be heII for me, i'd be bored in under half an hour. And for those of you who say "No, you won't be bored, you'll be in Gods presence!" bull shlt. Unless the human brain is some how fundementally changed to where we are no longer ourselves, you would get bored. Maybe you'd be able to make it a thousand years before that day of boredom would come, but come it would because there would be no point to your existence. Just another floaty spirit kept in Gods cloudy fish tank called heaven.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • tony

        It could be more like a lobster tank.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • sam stone

        i don't think that people who wish to be alive for eternity have considered the reality of it

        not to mention the idea that those they know who do not believe as they do will be tormented in a hellfire for the same amount of time

        January 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        I don't think they consider that they'd potentially be around people they may not have liked in this life or that they potentially might be spending that eternity with rapists; child abusers/peds. I think the concept of an afterlife devalues the only life we are guaranteed.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • sam stone

          i agree

          January 31, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Happy, eternity is along time. But time is very different in that it is backward and forward at the same time so it isn't really time. God told Moses that his name was I AM , that tells us something about infinity. He is ,was and will be at the same time. This is my lame attempt to explain infinity. It also helps explain how he can know the outcome from the beginning. Jesus said, before the world was ,I AM. Indicatimg the same character about infinity. Also, you don't get to take your brain with you to heaven as the gray matter can't live outside the earths' atmosphere.You take your soul which is eternal and indestructable .But you get to spend time with your' loved ones who have gone on before.

        January 31, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    And big chunks of conversation once again disappear without a trace.
    At least I know that the posting I made yesterday ti/tled "Science Facts" was blown off by someone "reporting abuse" – but what is going on with everything that simply vanishes?

    January 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • ORIGIN OF LIFE

      Administrator – Virus ?

      January 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • OTOH

      I don't know, Doc, but it sure is frustrating.

      CNN (and the Editors) should be ashamed of themselves for not taking care of this ongoing (for months and months) problem. It's a very unprofessional way to run a site.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Mmmmmmm

      What is up with that? It's getting more prevalent daily.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • Vic

      No one without "Administrative Privileges" can single-handedly erase comments and/or threads. Each user can report abuse only once per comment. Therefore, it must done at the CNN—System Administrator—end if not enough number of different users report abuse on the same comment and or/thread.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • ME II

        @Vic,
        You're assuming that someone hasn't figured a way around the 'once per user' limit. I suspect that simply having access to multiple computers would be sufficient.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Vic

          Yeah..but what are odds that's constantly the case? The deletion process has been swift and massive.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • ME II

          I suspect that someone with way too much time on their hands, or simply obsessed, has automated the process.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • OTOH

        Vic,

        It seems as if someone has several accounts and has figured out how many "reports" it takes to have posts removed. It's ridiculous that it has gone on for so long.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • Vic

          Yeah..but what are the odds that's constantly the case? The deletion process has been swift and massive.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • OTOH

          All they have to do is to get the first post in the thread deleted and all of the replies (yes, sometimes a 'massive' amount) are deleted too.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Vic

          we know that.

          What is seemingly happening here is that it is mainly done at the CNN's Computer System Administration end.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          "What is seemingly happening here is that it is mainly done at the CNN's Computer System Administration end."

          It is possible, but you don't have any way of knowing that and I don't see the incentive for CNN and/or Belief Blog folks to do that.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • OTOH

          Vic,

          Please try writing some emails to them:

          daniel.burke@cnn.com
          eric.marrapodi@cnn.com
          - and any other cnn techs that you can find out about -

          Maybe YOU can get through to them! I have done so several times with NO results, however.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Vic

          Daniel Burke posted before that any comments or concerns addressed to him can be posted on the CNN Belief Blog, and he would look into them.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • OTOH

          Vic,

          It looks like he does not.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Karen

          Following believers' standard "logic", if it isn't known who is doing the deletions, then it must be god doing that dirty work...

          January 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      Well based on the threads i've seen deleted enmasse, I would have to assume it's someone of a religious persuasion because they tend to delete the worst of the Christian moron troll posters and pretty much any atheist posts which they find hard to refute.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Alias

      Personally, I'm going to start saving posts I like in a text documnet.
      When they get reported and removed, I am goint to start re-posting them.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
  18. Charm Quark

    Vic
    As a deist, I am certainly open to a god/creator but am quite happy to say that I cannot accept any of the man made gods that the world currently worships. BTW since so many of our religious posters on this blog are Christian and most of those what I would call fringe cultists, what would you expect the conversations would be about? If there was a far wider spectrum of religions that were discussed, I am sure that someone would point out the contradictions in the Vedas, Quran, etc, For example when Romney was in the news comments on the Book of Mormon were frequent.

    January 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • Vic

      Like I said earlier, based on the point discussion regarding the personal conviction—Disbelief or Belief in [a] God, it would be about either the "Existence of God" or "Who God Is."

      January 31, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
      • Vic

        "..point of discussion.."

        January 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
  19. bostontola

    Assertion: The earth is spinning and revolving around the sun.

    Response: Bwahahaha. That is ridiculous. It is obvious that the earth is stationary. If it was pinning and revolving we would feel it and maybe even get flung off it.

    Reply: But we see phases of Venus and Mercury that only make sense if they are revolving around the sun.

    Response: OK, then they are going around the sun, and all that goes around the earth (see Tycho Brahe).

    Reply: The movement of a pendulum is consistent with the earth rotating on its axis.

    Response: consistent with doesnt prove anything.

    .
    .
    .
    .

    January 31, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • bostontola

      My point isn't that religious people are stupid, they are not substantially different than non-religious in intelligence. It is that people without scientific training and understanding that poo poo science based on ignorance and bias almost always turn out wrong and hold to these biases with tortured rationalizations. Just look at some comments below.

      January 31, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Christians don't "poo poo" science – science is nothing but a process. What Christians call out are some of the conclusions that are drawn from data.

        As I've said before, science is a process that interprets data. And how someone interprets that data is based on their paradigms. We all have the same facts to work from, that is, the same rocks, the same bones, the same stars... But we come to different conclusions based on preconceived notions of how we understand the world to work – and that is always based on faith.

        January 31, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          Since you are back. Any comment on chemosynthetic bacteria and the ecosystem that develops around hydrothermal vents with no energy from the sun required or an atmosphere. This is the type of life that maybe expected to be found (or its fossil remains) on Mars or Europa.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          If I didn't believe in the theory of gravity and believed instead in the theory of God's downward thrust, I could go to college and try to get a degree in rocket science but the fact is if I relied on my faith instead of accepting acctual peer reviewed science I would likely flunk, not to mention what problems I might cause if I did make it through school and went to work for NASA. I'm sure my calculations to overcome God's downward thrust would include prayer and no doubt we'd lose a few more astronauts.

          If you are misreading the data or only accepting data as true when it confirms a preconcieved notion then your conclusions are fated to be inaccurate and misleading at best.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          I never said that the sun was required... I only said that life comes from other life.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "If you are misreading the data or only accepting data as true when it confirms a preconcieved notion then your conclusions are fated to be inaccurate and misleading at best."
          -------
          I agree!!!

          January 31, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint Larry
          Cat got your tongue. You don't study the same facts and come to a different conclusion. You like Topher cover your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and shout NAH NAH NAH. There is proof that life has been created by only chemical reactions, you chose to ignore that. You go against the scientist that discovered soft dino tissue that says it is 64 million years old just because you have too lie about. You are pretty much a fraud.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          What in the world turned you so bitter? Atheists keep telling me that they can be moral without God... Is this an example of ungodly morality? I sure hope you don't teach your children to mock those who disagree with you.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          Life comes from other life. Incorrect. The life found at hydrothermal vents is created strictly by chemical reactions, no god required. Why would you deny this fact, look it up, quit being willfully ignorant.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          From what I've read, all that's happened around those vents is the formation of amino acids... That's hardly life...

          January 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          Strange comments coming from you after you posted...
          "You are wrong. And I don't care how a sinful world defines "saint".
          You don't care what the world thinks about anything that disagrees with your interpretation of what your idea of truth is, preaching lies by the likes of you must be fought against. If that offends you, tough, turn the other cheek and stop whining so un-Christ like.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Barcs

          Denying scientific conclusions is the most illogical thing you can do. Conclusions are set in stone and are results of experiments. Denying or disagreeing with hypotheses is understandable, but when people just ignore the conclusions of decades of work in favor of myths it really shows how far off the deep end they've gone.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          I think we need to teach our children to mock blatant intentional stupidity as well as teach them about winning and losing. I don't want my daughter on a soccor team where no matter what you do you win. There are right and there are wrong answers. There is a score that determines the winner and loser (or tie) of a game, we don't just get to make up our own rules because we feel like it.

          My 5 yr old daughter calls her blanket "Banklet" and I could just let her grow up thinking that is the correct english word but I don't, I correct her because I don't want her embarrassed someday in school when she get's corrected by a teacher in front of her friends. If you don't want your kids embarrased you may want to tell them what we actually know about the sciences, not what you hope to be true, otherwise they are likely to get laughed out of history, geology or science class.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          "your interpretation of what your idea of truth is"
          -------–
          Charm, it's hardly "my" interpretation. I gave you the scriptural definition of what a saint is, and it was pretty specific. Paul tells us that a saint is simply a follower of Christ. If you have a problem with that, then that's fine, but you'd have to explain why Paul was wrong in his definition.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint Lof A
          Well you read very little about hydrothermal vents, jesus, just do a simple search and you will see the whole ecosystem, from bacteria, clams, giant tube worms to shrimp. The data is there for you to chose to ignore of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          If you don't beleieve in God, then why do you swear by Jesus? Are you recognizing that He has authority to hold you accountable should you not be telling the truth? Since that's what swearing an oath by the name of Jesus is. Actually, it's like saying "may God kill me if I am lying."

          January 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          I simply used the previous statement of you of yours to point out that you really don't give a damn what others think or say, you have it all right. Nice duck of the question about chemical processes having the ability to create an ecosystem, no god needed.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA

          My jesus works around the house, does the gardening, cleans the pool and this year shovels the snow this year. What jesus do you think I was referring too, lots of people use that name in my area anyone in particular? Give me the last name, I can figure it out from there.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          "Nice duck of the question about chemical processes having the ability to create an ecosystem"
          ------
          Of course chemicals are involved in creating an ecosystem... That's what chemicals are... But life, that can only come from other life. Whether it's your mother in law, or the bacteria in her stomach, it all came from other life.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          This may be presumptuous on my part, but I don't believe you had "the help" in mind when you swore.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          Again you are wrong. The life formed at the hydrothermal vents developed from chemical reactions and diversified into different forms, look it up, quit being so obtuse. This type of life will be the first we find in other parts of the solar system. Why can't you admit that?

          January 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint LofA
          I take great pride in breaking your first four Christian commandments on a daily basis, why the hell would care? I am going to hell possibly but it will be The FSM hell with flat beer and aged str!ppers, such is my fate. I find your idea of hell as ridiculous as mine, we are even.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          "We all have the same facts to work from, that is, the same rocks, the same bones, the same stars... But we come to different conclusions based on preconceived notions of how we understand the world to work – and that is always based on faith."

          Not if you follow AIG or IRC:

          "By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information."
          (http://www.answersingenesis.org/about/faith)

          "The biblical record of primeval earth history in Genesis 1-11 is fully historical and perspi[]cuous, including the creation and Fall of man, ..."
          (http://www.icr.org/tenets/)

          "All origins research must begin with a premise.1 ICR holds that the biblical record of primeval history in Genesis 1–11 is factual, historical, and clearly understandable and, therefore, that all things were created and made in six literal days. "
          (http://www.icr.org/how-we-do-research/)

          @Charm Quark,
          "There is proof that life has been created by only chemical reactions, you chose to ignore that."

          This seems unlikely.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • St. Lawrence of Arabia

          "The life formed at the hydrothermal vents developed from chemical reactions and diversified into different forms"
          ------
          I just paged through about a dozen or so of the first results in a google search, but all I found was the language of speculationese – "may have," "could possibly," or the best one yet "we believe." Well, that belief statement puts it squarely into the "religion" category as far as I'm concerned. Never once did I see "life was observed to spring from chemicals in an isolated environment away from any other life forms so as to not taint the observation..." Or something to the like...

          January 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • ME II

          @Charm Quark,
          "The life formed at the hydrothermal vents developed from chemical reactions and diversified into different forms..."

          Sorry, but unless I'm mistaken this is one hypothesis among many. We don't know for certain how life began on Earth, yet.

          January 31, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          ME II
          Did I overstate my case, I maybe wrong, have been quite often. I would like to know if the discoveries at the deep sea hydrothermal vents have another explanation. It sort of boils down to what came first the chicken or the egg. Some theories state that organic matter may have filtered down through the oceans to the seabed and this is what precipitated the formation of life at the vents. But when measured the amount of that material filtered down can not explain the large ecosystems being produced today. Now if you go back 3 billion years the amount of life produced went upward into the oceans and produced the diversity of life and the production of an atmosphere that was conducive to life on land. An unproven theory to be sure, much like the unproven theory that some deity did it. I will pass on the hocus pocus until someone can tell me which of the dozens of creation myths is the correct one.

          January 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  20. bostontola

    All unproven assertions are NOT equal.

    1. Pegasus was real.
    2. There was a Big Bang that started our observable universe.

    Both are unproven.
    The first defies physics and biology, there are no fossils or other objective evidence in support of it. The only evidence is the written account of supersti.tious humans thousands of years ago.
    The second is supported by a broad range of objective physical evidence woven from different phenomena and measurement techniques. Astronomers found standard stars that must put out a known brightness, we can then tell how far away they are. We can measure the relative velocity of any star by its Doppler shift. In general, stars are moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. Just what is needed to describe a point expanding into a universe. The amount of hydrogen and helium measured matches what the physical theory predicts if the universe was one blob of hydrogen at one point. The Cosmic Background Radiation matches what would be expected with the universe expansion to date, and the distribution of galaxies matches the Cosmic Background Radiation distribution of mass. Not proof, but extraordinary coherence of objective evidence.

    I think we would all agree that these 2 unproven assertions are not equal. One is counter to known facts and without objective evidence, the other is aligned with the broad models of physics and supported by an enormous amount of objective evidence.

    January 31, 2014 at 10:59 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      However, like truth, the realization and implementation of a "proper" "scale" of reasonability (of a claim) is entirely personal. For some individuals, the influences upon them as a child cause them to feel that a biblical claim (like the flood) is about as plausible and likely that their car will start tomorrow as it has for the last 294 days in a row. Education–early on is key. As much as I fear Bill Nye is going to "lose" his debate with Hamm, he's doing it entirely for the right reasons. It's detrimental to teach kids an illogical scale of "possible" unproven claims.

      January 31, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • bostontola

        It may be personal and distorted by personal bias, but there are rational mathematical methods to help us detect when we are biased and undistort the scale. Many experiments have shown humans have bias (not a bad thing, it is beneficial in most cases), and it affects decision making. We know that and have developed techniques to help us "see" more clearly.

        January 31, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • ME II

        On the Ham-Nye debate, I'm also of two minds. On one hand I agree that such ridiculous ideas should not be given even a semblance of legitimacy, but on the other letting these groups fester in their own pseudo-science "worldview" is also dangerous and they should be exposed.

        January 31, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Thinker23

          The fact is that EVERY story we humans invented is based on some factual experience we've collectively and individually gathered and interpreted. Most if not all stories written in the Bible and other ancient text are allegorical poetic interpretations of real people and events. Just like it makes little sense to throw away poetry, Picasso paintings and fiction books because they do not reflect the reality objectively enough it makes no sense to reject everything in the Bible. It is more probable than not, in my opinion, that the flood stories are based on a REAL large scale flood.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • bostontola

          I personally don't think this debate will much affect on either side. I think the scientists are being too political in their reluctance to debate, saying that it only elevates Creationism by having them in a debate. Too many children are being mentally poisoned by the tactics of the Creationists. That risk must be taken to curb the Creationists in my opinion. That said, Bill Nye is the wrong person. He isn't a scientist and he isn't a skilled debater. Politically, a good debate could hurt the image of Christians more. It could make them look like a bunch of anti-science crack pots. Most aren't.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • bostontola

          Thinker,
          This atheist doesn't want to get rid of the fiction, fantasy, or art section of the bookstore. Just make sure each book is in the right classification.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Colin

          Bostonola – I like that analogy

          January 31, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • ME II

          @Thinker23,
          I'm running afoul of the word filter for some reason, but in short...

          There may be value in the Bible but it's not in the "science" parts of the Bible.

          There very well may have been a large regional flood in the ancient ME, but that is no reason to take the Genesis Flood story literally, especially when the evidence contradicts it.

          January 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • ME II

          @bostontola,
          Some very good points there.

          January 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • Alias

          Floods are relatively frequent and very destructive natural disasters.
          It only makes sense that te ancients would all have stories about gods punishising people with floods.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • Kev

          There are many bookstores that actually have a religion section separate in it's own niche. What's the deal about trying to classify it as fiction or non fiction when there really is no way to really to determine it one way or the other?

          January 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • ME II

          @Kev,
          "What's the deal about trying to classify it as fiction or non fiction when there really is no way to really to determine it one way or the other?"

          I think the point was that it shouldn't be in the Science or History section.

          January 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Kev

          The thing is that the analogy was about putting religion in the fantasy section when there is nothing there to actually classify it as such.

          January 31, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • Barcs

      Sorry Pal, but big bang IS proven. The trajectories of galaxies and stars is measurable. The background radiation from the BB is measurable. And it may have been the beginning of what we see as our universe today, but that doesn't mean it was the true beginning of everything.

      January 31, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • bostontola

        You must have a low standard of proof.

        January 31, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
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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.