home
RSS
July 8th, 2014
01:01 PM ET

Eye for an eye: The Bible's role in revenge attacks

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - This past Sunday, six Israelis were arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy. Israeli officials admitted the likelihood—already acknowledged by many—that this killing was carried out in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Both sides have stepped up their aggression in the past few days, with rocket launches from Gaza into Israel and Israeli airstrikes against Gaza.

It’s a familiar cycle: attack for attack, murder for murder. Such patterns are familiar from conflicts across the world, but they have a special resonance in the Holy Land.

After all, it was from Israel, nearly 3,000 years ago, that this famous concept spread.

The Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible says, “The penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

The Book of Deuteronomy uses even stronger language: “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

And the Book of Leviticus says again, “Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The injury he inflicted on another shall be inflicted on him.”

Few biblical laws are repeated three times; this is one of those few. It is known as the lex talionis, or “law of retaliation,” and it would seem to be central to the biblical worldview.

Flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence: Why now?

This law is often brought as evidence that the Bible cannot be a reliable guide for modern morality: Who today would truly advocate for this kind of retributive justice?

It seems barbaric that the penalty for arson, for example, would be burning the arsonist to death—this sounds like something out of the Middle Ages, not out of the 21st century.

Though famously biblical, lex talionis isn’t a biblical creation at all.

It was already present in the famous Code of Hammurabi, from the 18th century BCE: “If an upper-class man should blind the eye of another upper-class man, they shall blind his eye,” and so on through breaking bones, knocking out teeth, etc.

Earlier Mesopotamian law codes, two generations before Hammurabi, take what we would consider a more civilized approach to the matter:

“If a man bites the nose of another man and thus cuts it off” —don’t ask— “he shall weigh and deliver sixty shekels of silver; an eye, sixty shekels; a tooth, thirty shekels …”

It turns out that the oldest codes in the Near Eastern legal tradition, Sumerian laws from the 21st century BCE, also have payment in place of retaliation.

The concept of “eye for an eye” isn’t really representative of some primitive state of humanity—it’s actually a development from an earlier system of monetary compensation.

Yet it was not a permanent shift; some of the earliest interpreters of the Bible read the lex talionis as advocating for monetary compensation: the value of an eye for an eye.

This remains a very common interpretation even today—quite likely as an attempt to make the biblical custom seem less harsh in comparison to contemporary cultural and legal norms.

Has the Middle East crisis reached a tipping point?

In the Talmud, the fundamental Jewish legal text, there is an extended discussion about the phrase “eye for an eye,” with multiple rabbis arguing, and the text concluding, that the phrase means nothing other than financial compensation.

Eventually, in Judaism the literal reading of lex talionis came to be associated with heresy.

There is another important aspect of “eye for an eye” that is often overlooked: in the Bible, the law prescribes that the punishment be leveled against the offending individual by the state.

It is not permitted for the victim himself to turn around and inflict the same injury on the aggressor. On this the Bible and modern law agree.

But another biblical legal tradition provides the exception to this rule, and it too has enjoyed a long life down to the present: the idea that in the case of premeditated murder, someone from the family of the victim is appointed the “blood-avenger.”

The notion of putting a murderer to death is common enough even today (see: death penalty). But not so the idea that it is the obligation of the victim’s family, rather than of a central government.

This biblical passage enshrines in law the retaliatory instinct of anyone whose close relative has been injured. And it is this instinct that we see playing itself out in the Middle East today.

The problem, both between the two nations and for the rest of the world, is defining which side is playing which role. Both Israel and Gaza believe themselves to be the blood-avenger, and the other to be the murderer.

Yet even in the case of blood vengeance, biblical law at least keeps the system under the watchful eye of the elders, who arbitrate the claims of the respective parties, just as in the more direct cases of lex talionis.

Nowhere in the world is the Bible more alive and its traditions more present than in Israel and Palestine, the lands from which the holy book emerged.

Was teen's death a revenge killing?

As the conflict between the two parties worsens, yet again, comparisons with the kinds of retaliation and blood vengeance found in the Bible grow more and more apt.

And so, therefore, does the need for a third party to play the part of arbitrator: to settle the price of monetary compensation, to declare the terms of retaliation, and to put a stop to the cycle of blood vengeance.

That's a role the Bible calls for someone to fill - and we're all still waiting.

Joel S. Baden is the author of “The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero,” and professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Ethics • Foreign policy • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Opinion • Palestinians • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (3,582 Responses)
  1. colin31714

    Related to Bostontola's post below, yesterday I asked Dalahast 2 questions, and I would still be interested in his answers:

    1. If God/Jesus does not read your mind, how does he know what your prayers are?
    2. If God/Jesus does not intervene in human affairs, how does he answer them?

    July 18, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • Dalahäst

      My understanding is that it is not about me getting God to do my will. God is not some magical sky wizard that I've manipulated to do my bidding by saying the right words or joining the correct religion. My prayers are to seek God's will and to ask for the power to carry that out. God's will for me is to live under love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Living that way is freedeom.

      For me, I believe the Lord's Prayer addresses how to pray. The Prayer of St. Francis is another good example of a prayer that I beleive demonstrates what my prayers should be like.

      These are good questions. I don't know exactly how God hears our prayers. Or exactly how he answers them. Or exactly how he intervenes in human affairs. It is a mystery to me. I do know faith without action is dead. For me, a good prayer is followed up with action on my part.

      July 18, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • ragansteve1

        Excellent response! Well said.

        July 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        How exactly do you know that any of it happens? The hearing of prayers, the response, the intervention, etc.?

        July 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Often times through other people.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          So other people know how a supposed God hears prayers and intervenes?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I wouldn't put it that way. I don't know exactly how it works.

          If I'm praying for knowledge of God's will and the power to carry that out – and I find part of the Prayer of St Francis to be a good example of that:

          Grant that I may not so much seek
          To be consoled, as to console;
          To be understood, as to understand;
          To be loved as to love.

          How else do I know if I'm carrying that out but through other people?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          How does YOU carrying something out have anything to do with whether a supposed God heard your prayers or intervened?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm praying for the only thing I have power over. What I do and how I do it. Isn't this the reality that God created for us to live in? I am responsible for my actions. God doesn't need me to tell Him what to do and how to do it. I have to focus on what I've been given. I have never said God hears my prayers, obeys me and intervenes in the way it appears you are suggesting I do.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,

          "What I do and how I do it....I am responsible for my actions. ... I have to focus on what I've been given. "

          All this seems to be about you, how does a supposed God affect that?

          "I have never said God hears my prayers, obeys me and intervenes in the way it appears you are suggesting I do."

          I never said anything about a supposed God obeying you. I asked how you know one actually hears you and intervenes when appropriate?

          July 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          What do you mean by that 'God hears me and intervenes when appropriate'?

          The question I start with: What does God want me to do? It sounds like you are trying to suggest I believe it is about what can I get God to do for me. I think the key in approaching God is for myself is seeking practices that encourage humility. It is His world, not mine. He is the Creator, I'm the creature.

          July 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          "It sounds like you are trying to suggest I believe it is about what can I get God to do for me"

          I am not trying to tell you what you believe, nor do I appreciate the reverse. What I'm trying to figure out is simply how do you know if a supposed God hears your prayers?

          ""The question I start with: What does God want me to do?"

          So if you only ask for what God would want and presume that everything is already as God intends, then what is the point of praying?

          July 19, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          So if you only ask for what God would want and presume that everything is already as God intends, then what is the point of praying?

          Praying is for the pray-e...it makes the helpless and couch potatoes feel like they're doing something to help when actually they would be more useful and get more done if they just go wash a window.

          July 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There are many examples of people who believed in prayer, like Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, JR, who testified to the strength it gave them to face an angry, powerful and hostile power that hated them. I have experienced this to be true in my own life. The benefit of prayer, which doesn't take away from any of my contributions to society and other people, is something I can not deny. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it.

          It has been suggested to me by men and women wiser than I that i should do it. I've tried it. And I've kept trying it. I can't say exactly how, but I do know it works. I'm going to keep doing it.

          July 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          I let myself get diverted from the original "How do you know God hears you" to "What's the point".

          Basically, if I understand correctly, it makes you feel better, like meditation etc.. Nothing wrong with that, if it helps, great. But you have no way of knowing, unless I'm mistaken, that a supposed God hears your prayers or intervenes in the physical world, for whatever reason.

          p.s. The appeal to authority doesn't help.

          July 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, it doesn't always make me feel better. It is helpful, yes.

          The knowledge is based on experience. It is hard to explain. I'm hesitant to put limits on God – the idea that God intervening is what confuses me. This thread started from an earlier conversation where the OP was saying I believed certain things – and I was hesitant to agree with him.

          God is God, right? It is His world. He gives us limited freedoms. I think He plays a part in our world. I don't know if intervening is the right word.

          I get a lot of guidance through prayer. Think of it as getting help to make the next right decision.

          Appeal to authority? It was an illustration using people that we are probably all familiar with. That really was an example for idiotmaximus, who asked what the point of praying was. I'm trying to help you guys understand what prayer is for me. I used to think what you suggest. But not so much anymore.

          July 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          I don't know what it is that you think I "suggest". I'm not tying a supposed God hearing you with him intervening. I'm simply asking 1) how do you know a supposed God hears your prayers, and 2) how do you know that he engages with this world, if he does.

          For example, you say that you get guidance. Is that guidance that you would not have come up with on your own? Does it provide you with knowledge that could not have gained on your own?

          July 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Like I already said, I don't know exactly how. Experience? Serenity? Testimony? Peace? Love? Wisdom? Courage? It is odd because this thread started on an assumption of Colin's, meant as an insult, that I believe God hears my prayers and than answers me by intervening in history changing things to my advantage. That is really not the type of relationship I seek with God. Not at all a magical sky wizard like some insist.

          The key to prayers, in my opinion, is humility. What changes? Me. There is evidence that this change is good. That change, which has spiritual roots in nature, comes from God. That is my experience.

          July 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          "The key to prayers, in my opinion, is humility. What changes? Me. There is evidence that this change is good. That change, which has spiritual roots in nature, comes from God. That is my experience."

          I have no problem with prayer changing you for the better, although I think you could get the same benefit from mediation. What I fail to understand is how you know the change "comes from God", as you put it.
          However, I won't beat this dead horse any more.

          July 19, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It can be tough to understand. I used to have extreme difficulty with it, too. A lot of it is still mysterious to me.

          July 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          By "tough" you seem to imply that it is understandable, i.e. that it makes sense. I disagree.

          July 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I tried to help makes sense of it for you. That is why I was trying to explain, not debate. It does makes sense to a lot of people.

          July 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. It doesn't make sense to you. But you aren't in charge of what does and doesn't make sense in this world. Especially not for other people. It does make sense to other people. If it didn't make sense to me, I would abandon it.

          July 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Dalahast,
          “A lot of it is still mysterious to me.”
          “If it didn't make sense to me, I would abandon it.”

          Apparently not.

          “It doesn't make sense to you. “

          You misunderstand, I think. I wasn’t saying that it didn’t make sense to me. I was questioning whether it made sense at all. You claim that you know that God hears your prayers, if I remember correctly, and yet you have presented no way of knowing that.

          (...and here I thought this dead horse was already well beaten.)

          July 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Whoops, didn't mean to do that second reply. I didn't see my first reply.

          Context of this thread started with Colin calling me dishonest for describing what I THOUGHT another poster said.

          I told Colin that was odd, because he often to claim he KNOWS what I believe.

          Which is basically a magical sky fairy who grants my wishes and changes history to my benefit.

          I never said I know how, why or exactly what it entails when God hears my prayers. I was trying to explain what the prayers I say are like. And for some reason you are insisting I answer questions to something I don't think I ever stated.

          I have prayed for guidance. And found something answering that kind of request in the form of an unexpected person giving me a book that provides an answer. Or finding a spiritual message from a source that I didn't expect to give me an answer. Or to witness some act in public, whether a stranger unexpectantly buying me a meal or some other amazing thing happening. Often times these come at a very challenging time – like being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or following the death of a loved one.

          Sorry if I can't answer your question to your satisfaction. I'm trying.

          July 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        How do you know that the "will of God" answer that pops into your mind after prayer isn't just your own personal desire that you've given this justification? After all, someone else could pray to God and "receive" the answer that they should abandon their family, or do something else that we, as outsiders, may find selfish, but that they could justify as being for the better good, right?

        Often, "God's answers" to prayer are "hard" ones, yes? So, it's not like he wouldn't tell someone to do something that seems unfeeling and selfish. Jesus himself told this apostles to abandon their families after all, so who are we to judge what someone else receives through prayer? Maybe all those televangelists are being earnest when they report that God told them to raise millions for their bank accounts and to pay for their expensive cars? Who can comprehend the mind of God, after all?

        Should I assume that prayer may be a mystery to you, but you still know that it's real because you "see" it working, right? I wonder what you would say to people who say the exact same thing about astrology, good luck charms, homeopathic cures, or any of the other similar things?

        July 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In my experience, my selfish decisions reflect my will. My selfless ones reflect God's will. I can find examples of both in my life. I pray for more of the selfless ones.

          I don't know what you mean that often, "God's answers" to prayer are "hard" ones.

          I don't believe Jesus told his disciples to abandon their families. I see it as an analogy about how the truth can divide people.

          I don't turn to televangelists to know the will of God. That type of thing is not for sale.

          It works for me. You can assume what you will. Astrology and good luck have not worked for me. I've had some success with homeopathic cures, even heard my doctor proclaim there is no science to back it at this time but he sees positive results. Keep doing it.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "my selfish decisions reflect my will. My selfless ones reflect God's will."

          Do your selfless decisions make you feel good? Do they make you feel happy and fulfilled doing things for others? If so then why is that reward not selfish itself? Are you not self serving in helping others to get that reward which you call Gods blessing? I help others because it makes me feel good but I understand that ultimately it is selfish in nature as I do it because it makes me feel good.Would there be as many physicians if none ever got to experience returning a once sick child to their parents? There are real internal rewards for helping those in need, you just label that internal feeling as divine.

          The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here and the way to be happy is to make others so.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          NBHA

          – Do your selfless decisions make you feel good?

          Not always.

          – Do they make you feel happy and fulfilled doing things for others?

          No. Sometimes it wears me out. It can be overwhelming. Those in need can be very demanding. It is stressful. I've tried to help others and have had them steal from me. I can understand why Jesus sometimes needed a break and took rest.

          – Are you not self serving in helping others to get that reward which you call Gods blessing?

          No. That is not exactly how God blesses.

          – I help others because it makes me feel good but I understand that ultimately it is selfish in nature as I do it because it makes me feel good.

          I'm glad you feel good about yourself.

          – Would there be as many physicians if none ever got to experience returning a once sick child to their parents?

          Uh...

          – There are real internal rewards for helping those in need, you just label that internal feeling as divine.

          No I don't.

          – The time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here and the way to be happy is to make others so.

          I'm generally a happy person, but there are some times that are not happy. Some places are not happy. I can't make others happy. That is usually up to them.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I make both selfish and selfless decisions according to my own will, so I really don't see how you can divide your own so evenly between God and yourself. Maybe your idea of God boils down to just your better nature? If so, why call that "God"?

          I've heard some Christians claim that their decision to forego an abortion that's for a woman's health, or kicking their gay kid out of the house were the product of prayer, that these were "hard answers", but still ones that required obedience because they came from God. If you don't believe that God would give such answers, doesn't that still support the hypothesis that it's all just people finding justification to do what they want to do?

          Didn't Jesus abandon his own family? I seem to recall his family coming to get him (which would be odd if they had actually experienced the nativity narratives) and his rejecting them. His disciples were 12 adult Jewish males, so it's difficult to see all of them being bachelors without any family responsibility.

          I gave televangelists as an example. I have no reason to reject their claims that what they do comes after finding answers through prayer, just as you claim.

          Lots of things "work" for people, like astrology and the others I listed. The real key is finding out whether they actually work the way believers think they do, of if they're just convincing themselves of that, right? Homeopathic cures may work simply due to the placebo effect. That wouldn't justify the expense for such little bottles of water, correct?

          July 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          kudlak

          That is something I have considered. I don't believe my idea of God boils down to just my better nature. That is not what I call God. There is more to it than just that.

          For me, prayer works. And God is more than just an idea that can be boiled to be my better nature. I'm going to focus on what works, instead of worrying about what I think doesn't "work" for other people.

          July 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Every last exhaustive scientific proof reveals that all we see and know is the result of cause and effect."

          fred,

          Every last exhaustive proof reveals that everything we see and know is the result of the natural, and yet you appeal to the supernatural and metaphysical without justification. Then when I say "we don't know if everything is cause and effect" you go on a screed about how that is not supported by what we do know. I think you either need to apply that line of reasoning to your "supernatural" garbage or you need to drop this line of logic....you contradict yourself and come off quite disengenuous.

          Also I think you should respond to the point django made.

          July 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          It may not be what you call God, but that may be all your God is nevertheless. What's your reason for believing otherwise?

          Like I said, all kinds of new-agey stuff is sworn to work by people. It doesn't seem likely that they all do, especially when you believe in a rival source for such power.

          Now, if there was only some method that could be used to help sift the real from the delusion, eh?

          July 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Or God might be more than it is possible for a limited human mind to conceive.

          I often wonder what compels people to believe in new-agey stuff. Or even naturalism. Or scientism. Or atheism. It is not like I've only considered my way and refused to look at any other. I do what is best for me. To my own self I must be true.

          There is a method I know of. It works well for me.

          July 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          If it turns out that God is more than our limited human minds can conceive, then we're all wrong, but at least I would be justified in not believing the silly models of God that believers propose, correct?

          I've always wondered how believers can be so sure that God is actually "good", "loving", "moral" and so on if he's also supposed to be beyond our comprehension? Seems like an obvious contradiction to me; something that's only supposed to work as an apologetic against problems with the prevailing God model while, in fact, it works equally well against all the positive aspects of that same model.

          Well, you've got to believe in something, right? Is it so wrong to try limiting your beliefs only to things that have objective evidence to back them up? People can so easily delude themselves, after all. I'm interested in believing what has the greatest potential for actually being true, not just what I want to be true. That's the method that I prefer. It may not lead me to saviours, or ultimate truths, but it still works for me.

          July 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't care if you try to limit your beliefs only to things that have objective evidence to back them up. I've never said it was wrong. I don't know how you can believe in love, compassion, forgiveness and hope if you do that, though. And those things are very important to being a human being. If I was a robot I imagine your philosophy would be useful. There is no objective evidence to proves limiting your beliefs to things that only have objective evidence is a good thing. Or wise. Or even intelligent. You have to use something other than objective evidence to explain why that works for you.

          I don't have any problem with what you believe. It is when you try to tell me what you imagine I believe is where I take issue. What you express about me and "believers" is usually not backed by objective evidence. More speculation and guessing.

          July 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I can believe in love, compassion, forgiveness and hope because I have objective evidence that things things are real. I've witnessed compassion, experienced love both personally and between others, saw people's hopes fulfilled and dashed, sought forgiveness and gave it. I did all that both while believing that God was real, and after. It follows then that God was an unnecessary factor in all these emotional responses. these things are not alien to the 2/3s of humanity who do not believe in God, right?

          Humans have emotional attachments to things. I recognize that, and the inherent problem that has on our better judgment. Once you fall in love with a thing (or a person) it tends to blind you to it's limitations and faults, right? That's why I find it interesting to hear Christians commonly describe their love of Jesus as being more powerful than any other form of love they've ever experienced. Engendering that level of love in something must really make seeing it's faults difficult, if not nearly impossible, correct?

          July 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I didn't say God was a necessary factor in all those emotional responses. Not at all. I was saying there is no objective evidence to back them up.

          Sorry, but it appears you used subjective evidence to back your understanding of those.

          And it appears you offer me subjective evidence to counter my belief in God.

          Just because feelings like love can misguide us, doesn't mean it always will. Especially when reason is also present in love.

          July 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          There are whole medical and scientific fields which study emotions in both humans and other animals. The people who do not experience healthy emotions tend to be diagnosed as mentally ill, even sociopathic. I think that I can safely conclude that belief in emotions is not purely subjective.

          Love doesn't always misguide us, but playing on people's emotional attachment has been very successfully used in marketing. Maybe you were "sold" God through a play on your emotions?

          TTFN

          July 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Who do you think sold God to me? And who is to say that belief in God is a bad thing? Stronger, braver, wiser, more intelligent, more scientifically minded men and women than I have believed in God. I have to remember that, too. A lot of believers in God have contributed more to science and our understanding of logic than me, too. I don't think it is wise to dismiss them as being all misguided. Or wrong. Or needing to be more like the atheists that oppose them on religion blogs.

          Thanks for sharing your opinions on the matter. Peace!

          July 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          If God were just a product, it would be one everybody gets to custom design for themselves. There is no outside example that anyone can compare their notions of "God" to, right? Gather a dozen believers in a single room and you could easily get a dozen different opinions about what "God" actually is. So, how can you ever know for sure that you have the genuine article?

          If God is so incomprehensible, maybe no human has ever understood what any actual God is, which would also mean that the God that humans have been worshipping never truly existed, correct?

          Belief in God doesn't have to be a bad thing, but the same goes with any other religious, supernatural or new age belief. All of it can make people happy, but I'm interested in what's actually real, and claims about gods don't impress me much in that regard.

          I'm sure that a lot of people with superset!tions and prejudices have also contributed to the world. Just yesterday, I was reading how many of the original suffragettes happened to also be extremely racist, especially towards asian immigrants. Doesn't take away from their accomplishments. It just makes them human, and even "good" humans can hold onto some bad ideas, right?

          July 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Dal,
        I have been reading and sometimes responding to this thread, and a few others in this blog, for several weeks. I think I have come to a conclusion. I don’t know that it will help you, but for me I think it is the answer. I believe that it is not possible to explain spiritual things to people who do not believe. There will always be another explanation. Rather than believe that God exists and that He acts in our behalf, there will be some physical reason for the event or issue. That is simply a result of the difference between people who believe in God and a spiritual world and those who believe in a matter-energy/chance world only.
        1. You and I might be able to agree that there was some intervention by God when I was leaning over a toilet after surgery choking on a blood clot, prayed, and the clot came loose immediately. But they will have a different explanation—always.
        2. You and I might be able to agree that there was some intervention by God when I was diagnosed with cancer and found that I had recently moved to the immediate area of one of the top three cancer centers in the U.S. But they will say coincidence, or some such thing.
        3. You and I might be able to agree that there was some intervention by God when I find that I am advising a Catholic student who brings up the Holy Spirit’s work out of the blue, and I just happen to have bought a Catholic Bible (of no particular us to me) a few days before. But they will have another answer.
        I could go on with examples from my life about how prayer was answered, and answers were provided without my even praying. But I am afraid they will fall on deaf ears here.
        Have a great day! I appreciate what you are doing.

        July 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Thanks. I appreciate what you share, too.

          July 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Alias

          Raganstetv1 You said
          "Rather than believe that God exists and that He acts in our behalf, there will be some physical reason for the event or issue. That is simply a result of the difference between people who believe in God and a spiritual world and those who believe in a matter-energy/chance world only."
          From my point of view, it is unreasonable to give god credit for things when a physical reason can be found. Can you please explain why you would say "god did it" when there is physical proof he was not involved?

          July 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Alias, Show me the physical proof that He was not, as you say, involved. Then we can talk.

          July 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "Alias, Show me the physical proof that He was not, as you say, involved."

          You are inappropriately shifting the burden of proof.

          "I believe that it is not possible to explain spiritual things to people who do not believe."

          This is backwards. I don't believe in these things because they have not been sufficiently explained in a credible way and I find natural explanations more likely. You imply that not believing is some sort of condition / handicap / deficiency that we can't overcome.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Strike my first point. I misread something in your conversation with Alias.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Sun, I am not sure I understand your post. But if I understand anything about it, I will just say that Alias said, "Can you please explain why you would say "god did it" when there is physical proof he was not involved?" I simply asked him to provide his proof. He didn't and so I can't say much about it.

          As for your main point, if I get it right, I do not believe you have a defi ciency, or whatever. I simply believe that many of you have made up your minds based upon what I referred to in my post to Dal as the "matter-energy/chance" philosophy. The esse nce of that philosophy is that there is nothing existing except what we can touch, see or sense in some ph ysical form. I cannot explain spiritual events or issues using a material par adig m and you all, or again most of you, will not admit any other kind of evidence. So, there you have it. Either you believe in a spiritual life or you don't. I can give examples as I did to Dal, but if you all insist on theorizing a material explanation for my experiences, there is little I can do to help you see my per spective.

          I do admire Dal for his fort itude with you all. It gets pretty tires ome for me.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          I posted a follow up to strike my first point due to a misread on my part.

          I am an avowed materialist, to be sure. If you give me an example of a spiritual event, perhaps I can explain why. No guarantees.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Thanks, Sun. Well, I gave you three that address the topic at issue in the post, which was god's intervention in our lives. I don't think God zaps us with lightning or yells at us from a cloud. I have heard people say that they have heard Him speak to them, and I don't doubt them. But that's not something that has happened to me.

          Probably the most clear examples of God's communication with me is a sudden feeling of peace and assurance when I have taken the first step in a decision that I have been praying about. As for intervention in times of stress, I cannot tell you how many times I have sensed confidence that I do not possess in making tough decisions.

          Now, I am no psychologist, but I have taken enough psych courses to know that you or someone on this site will have a psychological explanation for what I experience. And that's fine. If it works for you, I am not one to object.

          But then, you have to explain the "coincidences" that I listed in my post to Dal. I just generally don't believe in coincidences. And I particularly do not believe in as many as have happened to me.

          Thanks,

          July 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          ragansteve1,

          My apologies, I'm guilty of having read only the first paragraph above and not your three examples. I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis and I wish you all the best. I am concerned now that my comments may be construed as insensitive, but that is not my intention. Transitioning awkwardly now..

          I personally would file #2 and #3 under the law of large numbers. Let's say that the chances of something like that happening to any one person are 1 in a million. Completely made up but a place to start. Those are very long odds. But it also means that every single day, 7,000 people around the globe experience something like that. Even for events that are 1 in a billion, there are still 7 people every day who would have such an experience. It's simply inevitable.

          July 19, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Sungrazer

          I conducted a web search for something with more explanation / analysis. I refer you to this:

          http://www.skepdic.com/lawofnumbers.html

          July 19, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Not to worry Sun,

          I am totally frustrated with disqus. I have a somewhat lengthy response that I cannot find a way to get past the censors. Basically, it says that if this were a single event like a birthday among all other birthdays or a lottery number among all other lottery numbers, I could agree easily. But getting to that city also included human decision-making, and my wife a job and me a job (and a second change of jobs) and a lot of other details as well. So, I can't say I believe large numbers account for all of that. BTW: I have been cancer free for seven years as a result of that move, Praise God. So no worries about my situation.

          July 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          So frustrating. They need to give us a way to identify the offending word. For me it's usually t.it or c.um.

          Yesterday I drove to the grocery store. I began to follow a car with a Colorado license plate, JK78543. Of all the license plates I could've seen, I saw that one! Think of all the decisions and events in my life that led me to that moment, and all the decisions and events in the other driver's life that led him to that moment. Amazed? No? What if I change the license plate to be from the state where I grew up and change the letters and numbers to my initials and birthdate? Now that's a story worth telling. But I wouldn't assign any significance to it. I could also find "meaning" in it if it was the state where I was born, or the state where I last lived, or if the numbers were the PIN to my debit card, or the numbers I wore when playing athletics in high school. It's a remarkable coincidence, but only in hindsight. What would truly be amazing if it were predicted; then I would sit up and pay attention.

          My sister in law's mother died of cancer, in a very small town a long way from any hospitals of note. She was a devout woman from a devout family; all those prayers to save her life went unanswered. My grandfather's life decisions led him to take a job at a factory where 80% of the men there contracted cancer through no fault of their own. He died as well. God can't be credited with positive intervention and also excused for either the lack of it or for negative intervention.

          One more illustrative story. Like my license plate story, it is invented, but I wouldn't be surprised if something like it actually happened. A Malaysian wakes up late or hits traffic and misses the flight that disappeared. Or he misses the flight that was shot down. As a Malaysian, he is Muslim. He thanks Allah. "A coincidence? No, Allah directly intervened. Praise Allah, the one and only true god."

          July 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • Prayer is a waste of time.

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise. Prayer makes you fat.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer messes up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him and frothy to find out.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid stuff.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer wastes time and is completely useless.

      July 19, 2014 at 10:56 am |
  2. bostontola

    Some believers have logic envy. They don't seem to be satisfied with their faith. They want their beliefs to make rational sense so they create pseudo logical arguments. Why? Can't you just be happy with your faith? Logic can't disprove God, why try to use it to prove God?

    All you do when you put these arguments out there is demonstrate a lack of understanding of logic and science. See below:

    Vic: "For this universe, which is physical and ever-changing, hence finite, hence cannot be infinite/eternal, hence temporal, hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause."

    Theo:
    1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence
    2) A causal chain exists
    3) no causal chain is of infinite length
    4) Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality
    5) That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist
    6) This eternal, supernatural enti.ty we call, God.

    These are deeply flawed arguments. Just be happy in your faith knowing we can't prove it false.

    July 18, 2014 at 10:48 am |
    • Sungrazer

      My position is that logic alone can't prove anything. This is what I see as the main problem with Anselm's ontological argument.

      Even if Theo or Vic constructed an argument with a valid conclusion stemming from its premises and free of fallacies, it is still only logic. There would need to be a demonstration that it conforms to reality.

      I would like to hear if others disagree.

      July 18, 2014 at 11:28 am |
      • Sungrazer

        Although I think I would say you can DISPROVE with logic but you can't PROVE.

        July 18, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • bostontola

        Sun,
        I'm sure you don't mean logic can't prove anything, it is used to prove many mathematical and logical statements. I assume you mean logic can't prove statements regarding physical theories. That I agree with. Logic is a process of rules. They are applied to a premise. If the premise is unproven or not defined, then perfect logic applied to them draws unproven conclusions. I know of no premises regarding the universe that are proven, so applying logic proves nothing.

        That said, applying illogical argument is even worse. Applying logic to a plausible premise can lead to plausible conclusions. Applying illogical argument to any premise leads to unfounded conclusions without plausibility, much less proof.

        July 18, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • Sungrazer

          Yes, I was not precise. I meant that I feel that logic alone cannot prove the physical existence of something. Your "physical theories" is better phrasing.

          July 18, 2014 at 11:48 am |
      • colin31714

        A=B; B=C; therefore A=C, no?

        July 18, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Sungrazer

          Sorry, see above response to bostonola.

          July 18, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  3. Reality

    Obviously, Theo, Vic Dalahast and answerscot have not completed the free on-line Berkley course on evolution nor have the read the recommended historic Jesus references so why bother having discussions with them?

    July 18, 2014 at 10:03 am |
    • Reality

      Oops, forgot a comma between Vic and Dalahast.

      July 18, 2014 at 10:15 am |
    • Dalahäst

      I seriously doubt I would disagree with very much from that online course, I glanced at it. It seems very matter of fact. I've also read most of your precious historic Jesus references – some of them I was familiar with before you started posting, to the level of spamming, over hundreds of times over the past year.

      July 18, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • colin31714

        Every wondered why there is a whole school of research dedicated to getting at the truth about Jesus AS OPPOSED TO what Christians believe? What does that tell you about the veracity of those beliefs? There is no such thing as the "Historical Napoleon" for example to help us get to the truth about him.

        July 18, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Of course I've wondered . I'm more interested in knowing the truth; not just what a vast majority of the Christians believe. Sometimes the vast majority of people are wrong.

          July 18, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • colin31714

          Indeed. I agree. So, to get to the truth about what Jesus did in his 33 years on Earth, what would you do? How would you approach it?

          July 18, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I ask a lot of questions and consider sources outside of my comfort zone. I keep an open mind. I'm careful not to rush into a judgement. I become weary of those who discourage doubt, inquiry or investigation. I'm not afraid to ask tough questions to those in leadership roles.

          July 18, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • ausphor

          Dala...and yet from time to time you have defended, too strong, not criticised the creationist beliefs of the likes of Theo and Topher who are the exact opposite of what you stated in your last post. Is that part of keeping an open mind or simply live and let live?

          July 18, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Can you provide an example of that? I don't recall I've ever defended creationism. It always appears there is more than enough people criticizing, ridiculing, demeaning and insulting those 2. Why are you so concerned that I'm not? I generally stay away from creationists vs evolutionists debates. Sometimes they creep into a discussion and I can't avoid it, but to be honest I'm extremely tired of the discussion.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • ausphor

          Dala..
          I could be mistaken but I thought I remembered you saying that you found those two provided you with information if not insight. It is tiresome but can you imagine what America would be like if a creationist theocracy ever gained power in all three branches of government. As far fetched as the idea is, it is better to ensure that does not happen than be complacent.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think you might be mistaken. I have seen eye-to-eye with them on other issues. I just don't recall ever supporting creationism. I don't want to live under any kind of theocracy.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I don't want to live under any kind of theocracy."

          That is very good to hear. Please tell all your religious brethren as well to follow your example of not trying to legislate your religiously held morality and let secular society work uncontrained free of the current blue laws and religious litmus tests it now supports.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          A secular government is a Christian ideal. That is why our predominately Christian nation has supported one for so long. I have no religious brethren, whatever you imagine that to be, to preach that to. They probably already support our system. Sorry, bud!

          July 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
  4. Theo Phileo

    panspermia (which was cited by Hawking numerous times) – noun Biology – the theory that life exists and is distributed throughout the universe in the form of germs or spores that develop in the right environment.

    alien – a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.

    A germ is a creature. Do me a favor atheists, don't put words into my mouth. If you don't like what Hawking believes, then don't believe him.

    July 18, 2014 at 7:35 am |
    • midwest rail

      Says the guy who regularly misrepresents what others say. Ah, the dishonesty continues unabated. Welcome to the party.

      July 18, 2014 at 7:39 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Please show me how what I said was a misrepresentation and not a summation.

        July 18, 2014 at 7:42 am |
        • midwest rail

          " Do me a favor atheists, don't put words into my mouth."
          Right here, Theo. You, scot, "truth"follower, all inhabit the same rarified air of your own making – a supposed moral high ground pedestal on which you've placed yourselves. Said pedestal is a fabrication.

          July 18, 2014 at 7:48 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          You say that I put myself on a pedistal because I write a one-sentence summation of Hawking's statement that he believes panspermia is possible?

          July 18, 2014 at 7:59 am |
        • midwest rail

          No, Theo. There was more than one sentence in your post. I'm sure you can count.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:03 am |
        • Sungrazer

          it's a complete misrepresentation. Believing aliens seeded Earth with life is very different from what he actually said.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Doesn't Dawkins believe something like this as well?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • MidwestKen

          Topher,
          Does Dawkins think it is possible that life might have been seeded here from non-terrestrial origins? Yes, I think he does.
          Does he believe that it actually happened that way? I doubt that he would commit to any specific hypothesis, given the current lack of evidence.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I have to admit, at first I thought Theo made up another definition but I did eventually find the definition of alien as "a creature from outerspace" though it was the 4th listed and was not found in the Merriam-Webster definition but is found on dictionary.com

          I find it funny though that Theo seems to be trying to point out that Hawking alluded to alien origins of life but forgets that he and every single religious person on the planet believe that aliens seeded, and in fact created our planet. What is God and his angels and demons if not completely alien to us and our world?

          July 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • colin31714

      I posted the full quote from Hawkins. It is clear that he does not "believe this." He cites it, along with local abiogenesis as two possible theories for the original development of life on Earth. In your quote you say he "believed aliens seeded the Earth" which makes it sound like he is some nutter who thinks spacemen were dropping micro-organisms on the planet. Your animus toward Hawkins is presumably due to one of his other observations – that there is no reason to believe in any god, much less the Judeo-Christian god. So, you tried to discredit him by making him sound like a cook.

      Hakings' point is that quantum physics and the other laws of physics as we currently understand them allows for a Universe that does not require (or even allow for) a magic-divine being as some kind of ultimate cause. The kindergarten logic of the believer that those who accept big bang as the furthest back we can go in this iteration of the Universe means they think "something can't come from nothing" is as much a misrepresentation of Hawkins' view of the cosmos as your articulation of his view of pansp.ermia was.

      July 18, 2014 at 7:47 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        I posted the full quote from Hawkins. It is clear that he does not "believe this." He cites it, along with local abiogenesis as two possible theories for the original development of life on Earth.
        --------------
        As I said, he believes it's possible.

        In your quote you say he "believed aliens seeded the Earth" which makes it sound like he is some nutter who thinks spacemen were dropping micro-organisms on the planet.
        -------------------–
        Well, first, I never said anything in detail, as it was a one-sentence summation of the idea. Next, extraterrestrial germs are still extraterrestrial. And I never said anything about their level of development or mode of transportation.

        Your animus toward Hawkins is presumably due to one of his other observations – that there is no reason to believe in any god, much less the Judeo-Christian god. So, you tried to discredit him by making him sound like a cook.
        ---------------------
        I don't have any atti.tude about him, but the Bible does call him a fool (Romans 1).

        Hakings' point is that quantum physics and the other laws of physics as we currently understand them allows for a Universe that does not require (or even allow for) a magic-divine being as some kind of ultimate cause.
        -------------------
        That just means that you can't really prove anything with mathematics if it doesn't align with reality. If you think you can, then let me tell you about a professor who proved that zombies are real by mathematically describing their rates of zombie transmission by using math.

        The kindergarten logic of the believer that those who accept big bang as the furthest back we can go in this iteration of the Universe means they think "something can't come from nothing" is as much a misrepresentation of Hawkins' view of the cosmos as your articulation of his view of pansp.ermia was.
        --------------------–
        My position is simply that
        1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence
        2) A causal chain exists
        3) no causal chain is of infinite length
        4) Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality
        5) That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist
        6) This eternal, supernatural enti.ty we call, God.

        July 18, 2014 at 7:58 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey theo midwest rail nailed it.

          https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

          July 18, 2014 at 8:10 am |
        • colin31714

          Theo, you said, My position is simply that

          1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence
          2) A causal chain exists
          3) no causal chain is of infinite length
          4) Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality
          5) That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist
          6) This eternal, supernatural enti.ty we call, God.

          Well, you omitted a few very, very important steps didn’t you

          7) This god is the Judeo-Christian god
          8) It made the entire Universe less than 10,000 years ago, complete with Adam and Eve and later there was a Worldwide flood and Noah and his ark is actual factual history
          9) about 2,000 years ago, it impregnated a Greco-Roman Jewish virgin with itself gave birth to a human being and then had it sacrificed to itself to forgive the original sin of Adam and Eve.
          10) 1-9 is based on a collection of 2,000 + year old Jewish writings.

          Now, to address 1-5.

          1. “nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence “ Why not?
          2. “A causal chain exists “ Another assumption on your part.
          3. “no causal chain is of infinite length “ Ditto
          4. “Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality “ A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool. Creating a logical conundrum for yourself by the first 3 assumptions and then “solving” it by an appeal to magic is only convincing yourself.
          5. “That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist “ Well, even if we accept your appeal to mysticism, why could your god not itself have a creator. Even if (according to you) the chain cannot be infinite, what makes you so confident it stops at your god? Why not one or two links later?
          6. “This eternal, supernatural enti.ty we call, God.” No, you call it “God.” Many others call it the “God Delusion.”

          July 18, 2014 at 8:12 am |
        • djangoboy

          Theo:
          My position is simply that
          1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence – not necessarily true, the Universe itself could be the cause of its own existence

          2) A causal chain exists – no doubt true

          3) no causal chain is of infinite length – that is your supposition, not necessarily true

          4) Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality – not necessarily true, there are plenty of completely physical hypotheses that do not require supernatural intervention; none are of course "proven" but they rest on much more solid evidence than your supernatural being does

          5) That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist – let's suppose for the sake of argument that the chain of causation has to stop somewhere; it is just as legitimate to suppose that it stops with the Universe, or that your supernatural being is not the final link in the chain

          6) This eternal, supernatural enti.ty we call, God. – giving it a name doesn't make it any more legitimate

          At least you do state that this is YOUR position. There are those of us who see things otherwise. It is at least as legitimate to see the Universe as eternal, without beginning or end, as to posit an unseen supernatural being with those characteristics – perhaps more so, since we do at least have concrete evidence of the Universe. The Big Bang, if that is indeed a correct hypothesis, is not necessarily THE beginning, it was just the beginning of our present Universe, the latest in an endless cycle. If your mind cannot accept the concept of an eternal Universe without cause, then I guess you have to believe in your God.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Huh? How can something be its own cause? It would have to "be" before it "is" in order to create itself....

          July 18, 2014 at 8:22 am |
        • colin31714

          "How can something be its own cause." Well, the way your god is is by an appeal to mysticism and magic. Nothing can be its own cause (until its my turn, then my gad can be).

          July 18, 2014 at 8:24 am |
        • colin31714

          "How can something be its own cause." Well, the way your god is is by an appeal to mysticism and magic. Nothing can be its own cause (until its my turn, then my god can be).

          July 18, 2014 at 8:24 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Magic? Really? OK.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:30 am |
        • colin31714

          Well, what would you call it?

          July 18, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I would call it aloe. Aloe with lidocaine works magic on a sunburnt nose. So if the universe created itself, it had to have been through the use of enough aloe.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:35 am |
        • colin31714

          No matter how you cut it Theo, once you use the argument of "everything must have a cause" to assume into existence you god, you then have to address why it need not have a cause (and then why that logic cannot simply be applied to the Universe itself so as to take your god out of the equation altogether.)

          July 18, 2014 at 8:38 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "everything must have a cause"
          -------------
          Now look who is MISREPRESENTING... Never have I said that "everything" must have a cause. Quote me, show me where I have every written that.

          What I have said is that "every physical enti.ty" (or something of the like). But never "everything."

          July 18, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • colin31714

          Still, explain how you can conclude a god because the Universe must have a cause, but then say your god does not have a cause? Have you not broken the very assumption you used to get to your god.

          I think you would agree that a retreat to magic or mysticism is not a valid answer, right?

          July 18, 2014 at 8:48 am |
        • bostontola

          My position is simply that
          1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence
          ==> Assumes that there is a reason. That has not been established. Can you establish this?
          2) A causal chain exists
          3) no causal chain is of infinite length
          ==> This is an unsubstantiated assertion. Can you explain why this must be so?
          4) Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality
          5) That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist
          6) This eternal, supernatural enti.ty we call, God.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:52 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I think you would agree that a retreat to magic or mysticism is not a valid answer, right?
          ---------------------
          Sure, I'll agree to that. But I think we also need to define terms. I say that because if someone is attempting to prove a point by using a math equation that doesn't align with observable reality, then I think that qualifies as a retreat into mysticism.

          Still, explain how you can conclude a god because the Universe must have a cause, but then say your god does not have a cause? Have you not broken the very assumption you used to get to your god.
          -----------------–
          It's based on the premise that causal chains can not be of infinite length. Before you dismiss it outright, just answer me how a causal chain can be of infinite length? How would you explain the existence of the causal chain in the first place, since by definition, a causal chain is a series of cause and effect. If you make the chain infinite length, then what you have done is to make it an effect without a cause, and that doesn't exist.

          Any causal chain can have any number of different effects, but only one ultimate cause.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:54 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          My position is simply that
          1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence
          ==> Assumes that there is a reason. That has not been established. Can you establish this?
          ------------------–
          Is this sentence, the word "reason" is synonymous with "cause." No physical enti.ty is the cause for it's own existence. To refute, show me first, how something can create itself, and then show me an example.

          3) no causal chain is of infinite length
          ==> This is an unsubstantiated assertion. Can you explain why this must be so?
          -----------------------–
          Because an infinite causal chain is an effect without a cause, and this is impossible.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:58 am |
        • colin31714

          Theo, I need to go, as it is 9. Pick up the debate later. One cause I think we can agree on – no work causes no money.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:01 am |
        • bostontola

          3) no causal chain is of infinite length
          ==> This is an unsubstantiated assertion. Can you explain why this must be so?
          -------––
          Because an infinite causal chain is an effect without a cause, and this is impossible.
          ==> that is false. A finite causal chain would imply an effect without a cause, an infinite causal chain says every effect has a cause.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          No problem, go make bacon!

          July 18, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          A finite causal chain would imply an effect without a cause, an infinite causal chain says every effect has a cause.
          ---------------------
          Huh? Please demonstrate how a finite causal chain (only one cause for many actual or possible effects) implies that there was NO actual cause...

          July 18, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • bostontola

          A finite chain has a first element. That element has no cause by definition.

          An infinite chain allows a cause for all elements.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          A finite chain has a first element. That element has no cause by definition.
          ----------------------
          True.

          An infinite chain allows a cause for all elements.
          -----------------------
          An infinite causal chain cannot explain its own existence. How did the series of cause and effect become a series of cause and effect in the first place? If there was no "first cause" then there would be no effects to follow that cause, and thereby create a causal chain.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Give us an example of a first cause in reality, no supernatural cause please. thank you.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • bostontola

          A finite causal chain would imply an effect without a cause, an infinite causal chain says every effect has a cause.
          -------
          Huh? Please demonstrate how a finite causal chain (only one cause for many actual or possible effects) implies that there was NO actual cause...

          A finite chain has a first element. That element has no cause by definition.
          --------
          True.

          OK, now you accept my argument that finite chains are the chains with a cause less element. Now answer my original question. Can you demonstrate why infinite chains are impossible?

          An infinite chain allows a cause for all elements.
          -------–
          An infinite causal chain cannot explain its own existence.
          ==> Why does a chain need to explain it's own existence? How does that bear on the existence of infinite chains?

          How did the series of cause and effect become a series of cause and effect in the first place?
          ==> I don't know. How does the lack of understanding provide evidence either way?

          If there was no "first cause" then there would be no effects to follow that cause, and thereby create a causal chain.
          ==> That is a misunderstanding of what an infinite chain is. That argument assumes a first cause, thus becoming a circular argument. An infinite chain is an independent alternative to a first cause. Unless you can show why an infinite chain is impossible, it is a valid alternative. If it is a valid alternative, your third axiom is invalid and thus your logical argument is broken.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Give us an example of a first cause in reality, no supernatural cause please.
          -----------------–
          By "reality" I as.sume that you mean "physical?" As in, a "physical" cause for the "Physical universe." If that's the case, then I can't. But I don't think that anyone else can either, because that would require the possibility that something can create itself, and that's impossible.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Vic

          On the finite chain:

          A finite chain of cause-effect is of this existence; therefore, its first cause is already created, hence an effect of the "First Cause" which we believe is God.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • bostontola

          Vic,
          I understand that. We live in the physical universe. You recognize a power beyond that physical universe. I can define the total universe to be the physical universe plus all powers beyond the physical universe. Within the total universe, what was the cause?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:00 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          OK, now you accept my argument that finite chains are the chains with a cause-less element. Now answer my original question. Can you demonstrate why infinite chains are impossible?
          ----------------------
          Yes, because infinite causal chains are effects without a cause. By that, I mean that it cannot be shown how the causal chain became a causal chain. If you are looking at something that appears to be an infinite causal chain, then that means that you merely are looking somewhere in the middle and have not traced back far enough to see the cause.

          An infinite causal chain cannot explain its own existence.
          ==> Why does a chain need to explain it's own existence? How does that bear on the existence of infinite chains?
          --------------------------
          Because if there was no ultimate cause, then there can be no effects. In other words, without a cause, even an infinite series of cause and effect can not exist.

          How did the series of cause and effect become a series of cause and effect in the first place?
          ==> I don't know. How does the lack of understanding provide evidence either way?
          --------------------–
          Logic. Without a cause, an effect can not exist (infinite OR finite series)

          Unless you can show why an infinite chain is impossible, it is a valid alternative. If it is a valid alternative, your third axiom is invalid and thus your logical argument is broken.
          ------------------------–
          Show me a causal chain without a cause, and it will only then be a valid alternative to the "first cause."

          July 18, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo and Vic
          What you are saying is we don't know what the first cause could possibly be, but because we believe in a supernatural god we will give him the distinction of creating the first cause. Which begs the question, what caused god other than the minds of men that made him up from nothing?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • Sungrazer

          "5) That supernatural cause could not itself have a cause, because infinite causal chains do not exist"

          This is special pleading by definitional fiat. You are attempting to exempt god from having a cause but there is no support for this statement. It is just your say so.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • djangoboy

          In all this discussion of cause and effect, it should be pointed put that "cause and effect" is not a scientific law or principle; it is philosophical. Nonetheless Christian apologists are fond of citing it as though it is a fundamental law of science.

          Bertrand Russell: All philosophers, of every school, imagine that causation is one of the fundamental axioms or postulates of science, yet, oddly enough, in advanced sciences such as gravitational astronomy, the word “cause” never occurs. … The law of causality, I believe, like much that passes muster among philosophers, is a relic of a bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm.

          From Quantum Diaries: Cause and effect went out of favor as a cornerstone of science about the time quantum mechanics was developed. Quantum mechanics is non-deterministic with events occurring randomly. Within the context of quantum mechanics, there is no reason or cause for an atom to decay at one time and not at another. ... even outside quantum mechanics there are problems with cause and effect. Much of physics, as Russell observed, does not explicitly use cause and effect. The equations work equally well forwards or backwards, deriving the past from present as much as the future from the past. Indeed, the equations of physics can even propagate spatially sideways rather than temporally forwards or backwards.

          Since the Big Bang is often described of as a quantum event, there is no need for causality.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          This is special pleading by definitional fiat. You are attempting to exempt god from having a cause but there is no support for this statement. It is just your say so
          -----------------
          In order to say this, you'd first have to show how causal chains can exist without a cause. That is, how infinite causal chains can exist.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • Doris

          Theo: [ "My position is simply that
          1) nothing in this physical universe is the reason for its own existence
          2) A causal chain exists
          3) no causal chain is of infinite length
          4) Only the supernatural (that which exists outside of physical reality) can be the ultimate cause of all physical reality
          etc, etc. "]

          Theo, you are simply putting limitations on that which is currently unknown.

          We simply don't have enough information to conclude that only a finite causal chain is the only physical effect of this universe coming into existence. #3 is a problem no matter which way it is argued so the limitation of possibilities is glowing in #4. You continue to claim you know the extent, the limit of all physicality. The BVG Theorem doesn't even attempt that, so why would we think you would have proof of anything more?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          In all this discussion of cause and effect, it should be pointed put that "cause and effect" is not a scientific law or principle; it is philosophical. Nonetheless Christian apologists are fond of citing it as though it is a fundamental law of science.
          --------------
          I never said that the Law of Causality was scientific. I have said though that science is absolutelty useless in cosmogony. And I have also proven that truth is not solely determined by that which is scientifically ascertained. It may be a popular view since the Endarkenment that science is the sole determiner of truth, but that's just not so.

          "“Only those things which can be objectively and empirically verified are true.”
          NOTE: This statement cannot be objectively or empirically verified as being true…

          July 18, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          You have repeatedly demonstrated a circular argument that assumes a first cause. You can't even recognize you are doing so.

          Bottom line, you have no argument that an infinite universe is impossible that doesn't rely on that circularity.

          An infinite universe is a valid alternative to first cause. As such, your 6 point position is not a logical certainty.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • Vic

          For this universe, which is physical and ever-changing, hence finite, hence cannot be infinite/eternal, hence temporal, hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause.

          Since the universe had a beginning and is physical, ever-changing and finite, there must be a cause that is outside the universe's beginning, realm and time, and is not subject to it, that is non-temporal—without beginning nor end, hence NON-CHANGING, hence Eternal, hence UNCAUSED, hence Metaphysical, hence "First Cause."

          As a Christian, I believe that LOGICAL MUST "First Cause" is God Almighty, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, y'all have fun with the conversation, I'm outta here. I've got vacation prep. to do. I'm going to South Carolina beaches next week, and it is my full intention to impersonate a beached whale. When I'm not getting sun burnt or fishing, I plan on shagging on the Grand Strand. Hasta Lasagna! (Starts playing Jimmy Buffet and Zac Brown)

          July 18, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • bostontola

          "I have said though that science is absolutelty useless in cosmogony. "
          Theo,
          We all have our biases, but you wear yours on your sleeve. While science absolutely does not have all the answers, it is a gross overstatement to say it is useless in cosmogony. What we understand through science has eliminated many primitive ideas regarding cosmogony created by various tribes/societies.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • Doris

          I wrote: "We simply don't have enough information to conclude that only a finite causal chain is the only physical effect of this universe coming into existence."

          Let me clarify that. What I mean is: "We simply don't have enough information that all that is or has been physical is exactly the same as the apparent causal chain that seems to start as our universe comes into existence." Reflecting on the BVG Theorem, Vilenkin is careful in telling us of the limitations of the Theorem covers.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • djangoboy

          Theo: In order to say this, you'd first have to show how causal chains can exist without a cause. That is, how infinite causal chains can exist.

          Not so. You were the one who made the claim that they can't exist. It is up to you to prove your assertion.

          Once again, cause and effect it NOT a scientific principle, it comes from philosophy.
          Ditto for First Cause.
          Causality is not found in quantum physics.
          The Big Bang is described as a quantum event.
          Therefore, no causality required.

          Q: Which came first, the chicken of the egg?
          A: Yes.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • bostontola

          Vic,
          "For this universe, which is physical and ever-changing, hence finite, hence cannot be infinite/eternal, hence temporal, hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause."

          Almost every step in your 'hences' are not logical nor definitive nor observable conclusions.

          You didn't answer my question regarding the first cause in the total universe.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • Sungrazer

          "In order to say this, you'd first have to show how causal chains can exist without a cause. That is, how infinite causal chains can exist."

          No, I don't. I only have to point out that exempting god from having a cause is special pleading. I could argue that the universe is uncaused. If I do so only to escape from being backed into a philosophical corner, then I am just special pleading. I would need to demonstrate why/how the universe is caused. In fact, you need to demonstrate why it is not for your argument to work.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:29 am |
        • bostontola

          Django,
          Interestingly, science can definitively answer the question, what came first, the chicken or the egg? The egg. Chickens came from earlier birds, birds came from reptiles. Reptiles have eggs. Eggs came before all birds, not just chickens.
          : )

          July 18, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Sungrazer

          Vic, you are using fancier and more precise language to do your own special pleading. One could invent any number of things. What if a team of 1 million gods created the universe?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • djangoboy

          Oh, great, now Vic chimes in. Another country heard from.mJust when I thought this had gotten beat to death.

          Vic, your arguments are just as unconvincing to the non-believers here as ours are to you. Why don't we just call it a day, this is getting tiresome.

          BTW, even if there WERE a First Cause (which I do not in any way concede), it doesn't mean that it was the Christian God.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Sungrazer

          I wrote: "I would need to demonstrate why/how the universe is caused. In fact, you need to demonstrate why it is not for your argument to work."

          I meant: "I would need to demonstrate why/how the universe is UNcaused. In fact, you need to demonstrate [how it could not be uncaused] for your argument to work."

          July 18, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • djangoboy

          Theo: So if the universe created itself, it had to have been through the use of enough aloe.

          Now THERE"S an argument I can relate to! It had to be pretty bright, what with a Big Bang and all that.

          July 18, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause."

          Vic,

          That argument creates a paradox and is therefore flawed. In order to have "cause and effect" you need "time". There was no "before" until the universe existed so you cannot have a "cause" before "time" existed.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          The Divine nature of the Bible rings out resolving the issue of causation with the first words "In the beginning God". Personal opinions and beliefs are just that, personal opinions and beliefs without affect upon causation. All existing substance has causation while non-existing substances do not exist because it is impossible for them to exist. Non-existing substances cannot cause themselves to exist because their very concepts contain a contradiction. Conceptual existence and non existence also are subject to causation. The human mind cannot comprehend non existence only the absence of existing substances or concepts. The impossibility of non existence is self evident.
          In the beginning God, regardless of substance or concept, is the alpha and omega of existence itself which cannot be denied and is causation given that which is self evident.
          The atheist is free to reject all manner of anthropomorphic accounts of God but cannot reject agency of causation.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "The atheist is free to reject all manner of anthropomorphic accounts of God but cannot reject agency of causation."

          fred,

          1. Yes we can. 2. Your post is full of unfounded assertion. 3. The proper answer is "we don't know".

          July 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          All substance known to man are caused. Is there a substance you are aware of that was not brought about by cause and effect?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          See point 3 above.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • djangoboy

          believerfred: The atheist is free to reject all manner of anthropomorphic accounts of God but cannot reject agency of causation.

          Yes, we can, because causation is not necessary in science. You're a bit late to the discussion fred. Let's review:
          From Quantum Diaries:
          Cause and effect went out of favor as a cornerstone of science about the time quantum mechanics was developed. Quantum mechanics is non-deterministic with events occurring randomly. Within the context of quantum mechanics, there is no reason or cause for an atom to decay at one time and not at another. The rise of quantum mechanics and the decline in the prominence of cause and effect are probably indeed cause and effect. However, even outside quantum mechanics there are problems with cause and effect. Much of physics, as Russell observed, does not explicitly use cause and effect. The equations work equally well forwards or backwards, deriving the past from present as much as the future from the past. Indeed, the equations of physics can even propagate spatially sideways rather than temporally forwards or backwards.

          The Big Bang is widely described as originating in a quantum fluctuation. No cause required.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "All substance known to man are caused."

          cause: noun: a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition. verb: make (something, typically something bad) happen.

          make: form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create.

          The First Law of Thermodynamics: the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.

          So we have a "substance" called matter which is merely stored energy that cannot be created nor destroyed but merely transforms from one form to another. The energy of the universe may have always existed which is the only theory that does not require inventing a new more complex entlty to explain how this energy got here. Occam's razor states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Therefore I believe in an eternal, mobius strip like universe that has likely gone through countless transitional forms of which our current state is just one. This is the answer that requires the fewest assumptions and thus should be the default theory until evidence is found to suggest another origin theory.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          We do not know is not possible given all the evidence available. Every last exhaustive scientific proof reveals that all we see and know is the result of cause and effect. Posters on this board constantly give evidence as justification for existence without purpose or design yet as you well know there is no such evidence. If you had one shred of evidence that ruled out causation you would present it. I do not know is nonsense you have evidence that rules out that possibility. Now, your need to speculate that the sky daddy of the atheist exists addresses your bias and also explains why atheists like to claim tooth fairy as real

          July 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • djangoboy

          fred, you're either not paying attention or willfully ignoring this:
          Quantum physics does not require causation.
          The Big Bang was a quantum event,
          Therefore the Universe as we know it had no cause.

          What part of that do you not understand?

          July 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Every last exhaustive scientific proof reveals that all we see and know is the result of cause and effect."

          fred,

          Every last exhaustive proof reveals that everything we see and know is the result of the natural, and yet you appeal to the supernatural and metaphysical without justification. Then when I say "we don't know if everything is cause and effect" you go on a screed about how that is not supported by what we do know. I think you either need to apply that line of reasoning to your "supernatural" garbage or you need to drop this line of logic....you contradict yourself and come off quite disengenuous.

          Also I think you should respond to the point django made....

          July 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • believerfred

          djangoboy

          "Yes, we can, because causation is not necessary in science."
          =>You need to limit the scientific fields you wish to address as this blanket statement does not hold. The majority of evolution theory, biochemical relationships and just about most fields I can think of involve change in states of matter and energy. Even time itself exhibits causation as do all known and conceptual 12 dimensions of creation.

          "From Quantum Diaries"
          =>bunch of bloggers with little experience so you need to separate the true science from their scientism

          "Quantum mechanics is non-deterministic with events occurring randomly."
          =>It is non-deterministic because we must establish boundaries and landscape otherwise comparative amplitudes become meaningless. Random events within a subset of non random forces are never non-deterministic.

          "Within the context of quantum mechanics, there is no reason or cause for an atom to decay at one time and not at another."
          =>That is a nonsense statement absent context. Quantum mechanics can only in abstract account for decay it does not affect the rate of decay.

          "even outside quantum mechanics there are problems with cause and effect. Much of physics, as Russell observed, does not explicitly use cause and effect."
          =>comments regarding Russell appear out of context as what you are suggesting is that there is no need for dependent variables in physics. Please give me an example where a 2 dimensional field (or greater) can be expressed without a dependent variable.

          "The equations work equally well forwards or backwards, deriving the past from present as much as the future from the past. Indeed, the equations of physics can even propagate spatially sideways rather than temporally forwards or backwards."
          =>tensors do not have cause and effect they only have direction within any given set. Tensors do not propagate spatially they define vectors.

          "The Big Bang is widely described as originating in a quantum fluctuation. No cause required."
          =>Wrong. Quantum flux requires inferred mass and is dependent upon weak force. You have given an example of cause and effect which is the opposite of what you intended. You suggestion is speculative by the way in the first place.

          July 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • believerfred

          djangoboy
          "Quantum physics does not require causation."
          =>again, that is because we establish the landscape for analysis purposes only. Let me give you a very simple example. You yell CAUSATION as loud as you can. I run some calculations to measure the wave length and velocity of that sound. There is no cause and effect in my analysis but there is cause and effect from you yelling CAUSATION.

          "The Big Bang was a quantum event,"
          =>Don't hold your breath as quantum mechanics and general relativity are in conflict as to singularity. We are all waiting on the edge of our seats for an acceptable theory of "quantum gravity" otherwise the lid will blow off the Big Bang once again.

          "Therefore the Universe as we know it had no cause."
          =>sorry but, unless you want to trash general relativity mass and a "spark" was required.

          "What part of that do you not understand?"
          =>The Pink Elephant in the middle of the room, but I am glad you have it all figured out

          July 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • believerfred

          blessed is the cheesemaker
          "very last exhaustive proof reveals that everything we see and know is the result of the natural, and yet you appeal to the supernatural and metaphysical "
          =>You perhaps mistook my reference to God. I said what you and I believe or what our opinion is regarding God does not change the divine words "in the beginning God". Since you "don't know" could we agree on "In the beginning was agency"?
          =>that was my point, everything we know screams cause and effect. I did not bring up agency with intelligent intent as my preference but it is the prevalent preference as to causation. The scientific community still views the Big Bang as causation even though singularity is a preferred neutral term.
          =>all pre big bang cosmology remains speculative as do all "spontaneous creation" or "something out of nothing" mussing.
          =>When you say I don't know it is you who has an opinion/belief that goes against all known evidence and scientific consensus. Your speculative position that something unknown or other than causation exists is without merit. I am very open to anything that makes sense as to what this event or substance is. However, it does not exist based on all evidence and there is no such thing as non existence in substance or concept

          July 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • believerfred

          believerfred
          Blessed are the cheesemakers
          "you appeal to the supernatural and metaphysical without justification"
          =>I call them reasons to believe
          All scientific evidence and consensus to date favors causation which I see as agency.
          All scientific evidence to date confirms creation was not out of the known natural.
          An infinite number of universes are required to for the probability of the existence of intelligent life to be realistic.
          Awareness is not tethered to the physical but relationship with the physical
          There is no such thing as non existence physically or conceptually
          Agency of time and space must be outside our subset of existence and predate singularity
          Our known world is configured to be appear concentric
          Probability of intelligent life in only 14 billion years is one out of ten to the power of 127 assuming one universe.
          Personal experience confirming personal testimony of billions who have experienced something greater than that which is limited by the natural

          July 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          =>Since you "don't know" could we agree on "In the beginning was agency"?
          NO…”I don’t know” is not a truth claim….”In the beginning was agency” IS a truth claim. There is no reason to accept that it was so. Could there have been an agency….I don’t know…neither do you. Was there a first cause? I don’t know…neither do you. Was there an agent even if there was a first cause…I don’t know…neither do you.

          =>The scientific community still views the Big Bang as causation even though singularity is a preferred neutral term.
          The singularity is the term used for the beginning of the known universe…I have never heard it referred to as a “cause” in and of itself…nice try.

          =>all pre big bang cosmology remains speculative as do all "spontaneous creation" or "something out of nothing" mussing.
          All religious supernatural creation claims are not just speculative…they are spurious. And yet you make claims they are absolute.

          =>When you say I don't know it is you who has an opinion/belief that goes against all known evidence.
          “I don’t know” is neither an opinion nor a belief. Now you are just being intellectually dishonest. I would still like to know why saying “I don’t know” is anywhere near making a claim of a first cause or especially an agency of first cause. You appeal to science only when it suits you. Science has never made a claim of “cause” as to the beginning of the known universe so “I don’t know” is more than reasonable…it perfectly describes the state of human knowledge to this point.

          July 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          =>I call them reasons to believe

          I call them baseless assertions.

          =>Personal experience confirming personal testimony of billions who have experienced something greater than that which is limited by the natural.

          Your (and everone elses) personal experience is by definition “personal”. That is why we need science…to verify and test claims….your supernatural claims have failed the test over and over and over. According to the logic you used in “cause and effect” you should reject “supernatural” as an explanation…but you don’t and that is why you are being intellectually dishonest.

          July 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          "your supernatural claims have failed the test over and over and over"
          =>seriously? Lets go through them:
          All scientific evidence and consensus to date favors causation which I see as agency.
          =>This is a true statement unless you want to redefine cause and effect as something it is not. Again, please give me one falsifiable example of where cause and effect is not evident in a change of a state of matter. If you want to hang your hat on singularity because 14 billion years gives you some wiggle room to claim you "do not know" I would hope bias alarms are going off in you head. How do you convince yourself that all other known change in the state of matter or energy has cause yet you carve out this one................and it is a big one at that.
          As to agency that is my personal belief based on experience with agency

          All scientific evidence to date confirms creation was not out of the known natural.
          =>this is a negative confirmation as science can only observe the natural thus even with all the talk about someday we will know the evidence confirms the observation that day never has come. Each day confirms what is self evident

          An infinite number of universes are required to for the probability of the existence of intelligent life to be realistic.
          =>this is the conclusion of Stephen Hawking in response to fine tuning and other requirements for our existence that had to come together just right and in certain order

          Awareness is not tethered to the physical but relationship with the physical
          =>there is no evidence that thought for example is hard wired. Any suggestion that thoughts cease to exist when the mind changes focus is speculative.

          There is no such thing as non existence physically or conceptually
          =>This is self evident as you cannot conceptualize non existence other than in terms of known existing properties being absent.

          Agency of time and space must be outside our subset of existence and predate singularity
          =>ok, agency is a poor choice of words. However, there is something or nothing at the boundary of our universe and it cannot be nothing as nothing does not exist.

          Our known world is configured to be appear concentric
          =>In all directions our horizon is limited to 14 billion years

          Probability of intelligent life in only 14 billion years is one out of ten to the power of 127 assuming one universe.
          =>I am not aware of anyone arguing the numbers only excuses to justify existence

          Personal experience confirming personal testimony of billions who have experienced something greater than that which is limited by the natural
          =>I have had the experience which conformed to the pattern of other experiences, been there done that and bought the shirt.

          July 19, 2014 at 1:29 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          =>seriously? Lets go through them:
          All scientific evidence and consensus to date favors causation which I see as agency.

          Yes lets… verified supernatural claims…
          1.
          Short list

          =>How do you convince yourself that all other known change in the state of matter or energy has cause yet you carve out this one................

          I already responded to this issue…and even if I accepted that there was a first cause (which I don’t)…it wouldn’t matter, you a make a whole baseless claim beyond that. And like I said from the beginning cause requires time…no time…no cause.

          =>this is a negative confirmation as science can only observe the natural thus even with all the talk about someday we will know the evidence confirms the observation that day never has come. Each day confirms what is self evident

          Yeah funny how science is able to differentiate between someone making stuff up concerning the world we live in and what really happens. I think you would make a great snake oil salesman though.

          An infinite number of universes are required to for the probability of the existence of intelligent life to be realistic.
          =>this is the conclusion of Stephen Hawking in response to fine tuning and other requirements for our existence that had to come together just right and in certain order.

          So what?….he doesn’t believe in an agent or thinks science supports it….you going to quote those positions as well or are you just going to quote mine to support you unfounded assertions? And it doesn’t matter what he thinks…it matters what he can demonstrate…that is his opinion…good for him. I am not saying he is wrong but his hypothesis is unproven.

          =>there is no evidence that thought for example is hard wired. Any suggestion that thoughts cease to exist when the mind changes focus is speculative.

          Any conclusion that thoughts exist independent of physical brains is absolute, unscientific hogwash.

          There is no such thing as non existence physically or conceptually
          =>This is self evident as you cannot conceptualize non existence other than in terms of known existing properties being absent.

          So… then there was never a “time” when there was non-existence…I said that from the beginning.

          Agency of time and space must be outside our subset of existence and predate singularity
          =>ok, agency is a poor choice of words. However, there is something or nothing at the boundary of our universe and it cannot be nothing as nothing does not exist.

          Ummm…OK, should be easy to prove…Oh that’s right you admitted you can’t so that is just another baseless assertion.

          Our known world is configured to be appear concentric
          =>In all directions our horizon is limited to 14 billion years

          So? That wasn’t always the case…and scientists don’t believe we are in the “center” of the universe…that has never been a scientific claim. I can’t even believe you made that argument….so dishonest.

          Probability of intelligent life in only 14 billion years is one out of ten to the power of 127 assuming one universe.
          =>I am not aware of anyone arguing the numbers only excuses to justify existence

          Actually it is 1 out of 1 …. 1 known Universe….1 example of life, so really it is 100%

          Personal experience confirming personal testimony of billions who have experienced something greater than that which is limited by the natural
          =>I have had the experience which conformed to the pattern of other experiences, been there done that and bought the shirt.

          Good for you…now prove it. Because I don't trust you based on your say so.

          July 19, 2014 at 2:15 am |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "even if I accepted that there was a first cause (which I don’t)…it wouldn’t matter"
          =>Please clear your mind for moment that God is and that first cause has any supernatural agency. Can you think of one thing that does not involve cause and effect or came about as the result of known or inferred forces? I remain puzzled that in the face of self evident and scientifically validated observations of causality in any change of matter and energy you could think this is not the way our natural world works.

          "And like I said from the beginning cause requires time…no time…no cause."
          =>It appears you are addressing pre big bang cosmological arguments which are speculative and I agree with you we don't know. Conceptually however, we end up back at the something or nothing position. There cannot be nothing before our time because nothing does not exist and there is no such thing as non existence. If there is something then that something must exist within our time even though it may not be sequenced or observed as we know it. Past, present and future are the ways we see time in a linear fashion and have since the first organic blob. We do not know how to see it any other way. "In the beginning God" is an eternal position of existence itself not some gray haired wizard, so don't let the term raise your anti theist alarm to depth com 3. We may be in agreement as to time yet not on the same standing eternally.

          "Yeah funny how science is able to differentiate between someone making stuff up concerning the world we live in and what really happens."
          =>can we agree that science is limited to evaluation of the natural using only known natural laws and tools made with and limited to the natural. In short can we agree science is self limiting? Can we also agree there is knowledge that is not subject to scientific evaluation i.e there are things you just know that cannot be falsified?

          "So what?….he doesn’t believe in an agent or thinks science supports it…"
          =>Hawking is a militant atheist when it comes to a personal God and an atheist as to any god or gods. His statement regarding impossibility of intelligent life based on known requirements is one based on pure probability analysis not opinion. It is accepted fact. Just because we exist does not change the probability anymore than flipping a coin heads changes the probability of heads on the next flip. He made it clear and that was why he ran to multiverse as it allowed for an infinite number of universes. His thoughts on multiverse are as you say speculative but the probability of intelligent life is an accepted statistic.

          -darn, gotta run again will try and follow up latter.

          July 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          =>I remain puzzled that in the face of self evident and scientifically validated observations of causality in any change of matter and energy you could think this is not the way our natural world works.

          As I have said fred, It could be the case. But it is not proven that it is. And with your knowledge of scientific understanding you should easily know that the “we don’t know for sure” position is the one taken by the scientific community regarding the issue. Cause and effect are a property OF our universe…saying it is an explanation FOR our universe is a whole nother issue. You know this so please don’t patronize me.

          "And like I said from the beginning cause requires time…no time…no cause."
          =>It appears you are addressing pre big bang cosmological arguments which are speculative and I agree with you we don't know. Conceptually however, we end up back at the something or nothing position.

          No we don’t…you do.

          "Yeah funny how science is able to differentiate between someone making stuff up concerning the world we live in and what really happens."
          =>can we agree that science is limited to evaluation of the natural using only known natural laws and tools made with and limited to the natural. In short can we agree science is self limiting? Can we also agree there is knowledge that is not subject to scientific evaluation i.e there are things you just know that cannot be falsified?

          No we can’t. If I share with you a mathematical equation, you and I can both agree on the truth of the equation. It is a “shared” reality. If you claim a reality that we can’t “share” because it cannot be objectively verified it is opinion… nothing more.

          =>Hawking is a militant atheist when it comes to a personal God and an atheist as to any god or gods. His statement regarding impossibility of intelligent life based on known requirements is one based on pure probability analysis not opinion. It is accepted fact. Just because we exist does not change the probability anymore than flipping a coin heads changes the probability of heads on the next flip. He made it clear and that was why he ran to multiverse as it allowed for an infinite number of universes. His thoughts on multiverse are as you say speculative but the probability of intelligent life is an accepted statistic.

          It is not accepted fact….but hypothetically let’s say it is…we are no closer to you claim of an “agent of first cause.

          July 20, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Cause and effect are a property OF our universe…saying it is an explanation FOR our universe is a whole nother issue."
          =>causality is first priority for research results to have any meaning. In physics experiments are designed such that any any potentially confounding variables are neutralized. The same applies in chemistry yet becomes more difficult in say biology as to evolution theory. This is why good arguments can be made by young earth creationists as to veracity of man evolving from inorganic matter yet almost impossible to say the earth was less than 35 million years old no matter how much we warp the 3 major dating methods and impossible to claim the molecular elements of water are other than what they are.
          When you say "I don't know" you can only say that as the substance of first cause not the existence of first cause otherwise you are making an argument for the existence of supernatural. The reason is that all accepted scientific results must neutralize potentially confounding variables. To say there is substance outside the natural laws assumed as a constant is an argument for the supernatural.
          If you claim the methodology of neutralizing potentially confounding variables limits possibilities to that of the natural then you also make an argument for the supernatural never to be observed by science due to it's methodology.
          No matter how you look at it scientific claims must be right 100% as a single fail invalidates. To say you don't know shows that you have knowledge that you belief as fact which cannot be observed or falsified by science. This is the part of your existence that still recognizes there is something greater than self.

          July 21, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          "No we can’t. If I share with you a mathematical equation, you and I can both agree on the truth of the equation. It is a “shared” reality. If you claim a reality that we can’t “share” because it cannot be objectively verified it is opinion… nothing more."
          =>No. There can be only one reality of which everything you are is one subset and everything I am is another subset. Your subset and my subset overlap such that they are 90+ percent identical while both of us are 100% contained within the boundary of the whole of reality. We are not identical philosophically in an area as small as a mustard seed of our subsets. Can you guess what's coming next.............with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains.

          "we are no closer to you claim of an “agent of first cause."
          =>Spinoza and Einstein were not atheist but knew better than to say "I don't know". Spinoza made an excellent argument for God and Einstein was fascinated by the God of Spinoza. The God of Spinoza was in short a place card holder for the unimaginable wonder of it all, as given there is no such thing as non existence. Such a minimum expression is necessary as atheism is self conflicting and "I don't know" is not an answer in the presence of that which is self evident.
          =>I find it interesting that Hawking in rejecting a personal God has spent the last 15 years in search of a unifying theory. He is looking to replace what Jesus said is. Jesus came so you could be one with the Father as He is one with the Father. The unifying theory at best will attempt to explain in scientific terms what Jesus said in love. Forget the math Blessed, the power of one is LOVE and cannot be reduced any further......

          July 21, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          As to your first post the long and short if it…it is BS. You want to claim an “outside of the universe” cause for the universe. But then will use special pleading to attempt to not have to answer what “caused the cause”. What is self- evident is that you use science, logic and quotes only to the point that they support your religious agenda. And that is fine for you. But please don’t pretend I am the one making untenable claims. Regarding our present scientific knowledge regarding the origin of the universe, or if there is an actual origin, the answer is “we don’t know”. If you want to argue those points I suggest you go argue with physicists and cosmologists. They may have opinions one way or another but they don’t claim the issue is settled as you do.

          =>No. There can be only one reality of which everything you are is one subset and everything I am is another subset. Your subset and my subset overlap such that they are 90+ percent identical while both of us are 100% contained within the boundary of the whole of reality. We are not identical philosophically in an area as small as a mustard seed of our subsets.

          And how do you propose to differentiate between someone who is experiencing a reality they cannot demonstrate to be real, someone who is delusional, some who is not delusional but is just wrong, and someone who is lying? In your “reality” you can’t.

          =>Can you guess what's coming next.............with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains.

          Well there is a testable claim. I will await the demonstration of you earth moving abilities…

          I also find it interesting you brought up Einstein. Einstein mathematically “proved” black holes…but he did not actually believe they existed. The real proof was in the observation which came much later. Needless to say I really don’t think Einstein would agree with you on what is “self evident”.

          =>I find it interesting that Hawking in rejecting a personal God has spent the last 15 years in search of a unifying theory. He is looking to replace what Jesus said is.

          I don’t think Hawking gives a rip what Jesus said. His attempt at a unifying theory had nothing to do with anything in the bible or in Christianity.
          Jesus is very over rated.

          July 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "And how do you propose to differentiate between someone who is experiencing a reality they cannot demonstrate to be real, someone who is delusional, some who is not delusional but is just wrong, and someone who is lying? In your “reality” you can’t."
          =>Science does a great job sorting out fact from fiction when it comes to observable physical and falsifiable events and substances. Relative morality is viable gauge as is the absolute morality of God to determine right and wrong. Reality is not changed by the perspective of an individual however it is effected by and affected by the response of individuals based on their perspectives. God is reality by virtue of the fact reality reflects God regardless if God is real or imagined. God exists because there is no such thing as non existence in the physical or conceptual (if you conceptualize a unicorn it exists in concept not physical unless observed in the physical).

          "Well there is a testable claim. I will await the demonstration of you earth moving abilities…"
          =>one can test and establish if the mountain was moved or not, however the claim is not falsifiable. It is not falsifiable for the same reason all supernatural events are not (scientific methods precludes it)

          July 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I am not interested in claims that are unfalsifiable...that is the path to self-delustion.

          But yes I believe in god as a concept.

          "Relative morality is viable gauge as is the absolute morality of God to determine right and wrong."

          Since you cannot demonstrate your god or any god, the claim of absolute morality is itself relative. It depends on your relative version of god.

          July 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          Einstein was fascinated with the God of Spinoza: "We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul as it reveals itself in man and animal". The soul Einstein mentioned was not the notion of soul as theology sees it as he rejected any notion of a theological God. Your concept of God is unique as with everyone else. Spinoza'a concept of God as with Einsteins seems to fit your view (with the exception their view sees the observable as divine) "complete law and order in a world which objectively exists". A good summary of Spinoza's proof of God can be found in Spinoza's Modal Metaphysics @: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza-modal/

          As to my prior comments regarding "I don't know" I just noticed a quote from Einstein; " I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist." That said I admit I was wrong and stand corrected.

          The rest of this quote is interesting if you have not read it before:
          "Your question [about God] is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations."

          July 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • bostontola

      Theo,
      Are you asserting that Hawking believes that 1. Panspermia happened, or 2. Panspermia is one of multiple possibilities for life's origin on earth?

      July 18, 2014 at 7:57 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Hawking gave panspermia his endoresement on April 7, 2009 (panspermia.org)

        In a presentation on April 7, 2009, physicist Stephen Hawking stated his opinion about what humans may find when venturing into space, such as the possibility of alien life through the theory of panspermia. (potiori.com)

        “ Life could spread from planet to planet or from stellar system to stellar system, carried on meteors. ”
        —Stephen Hawking, Origins Symposium, 2009

        "It is extremely unlikely that life could spontaneously create itself, but I don’t think that’s a problem with this theory. It’s like winning a lottery. The odds are astronomical, but … someone hits the jackpot."

        July 18, 2014 at 8:09 am |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          I've read the entire text, the full context. I am asking what you are asserting regarding what Hawking believes.

          You said; "If you don't like what Hawking believes, then don't believe him."

          So what are you asserting he believes?

          July 18, 2014 at 8:15 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I'm asserting that I need some more aloe. I tend to turn the color of the CNN banner, so I need some more aloe. Oh, the stuff with lidocane is the best. WOO HOO!!! Grand Strand Myrtle Beach, here we come!

          July 18, 2014 at 8:28 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Ugh, look atheists, I'm DONE with this topic because it's STUPID. Hawking "endorses," "likes," "thinks interesting," "approves of," "believes possible" the idea of panspermia. If you don't like that Hawking endorses it, then don't believe him.

      July 18, 2014 at 8:12 am |
      • colin31714

        I have no problem with panspe.rmia. A little more likely than six days and a talking snake.

        July 18, 2014 at 8:15 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, I have no problem with steaks. About medium well, butter, salt, pepper, and a little Texas Pete. I'm going to the beach next week, and may even make it to Myrtle Beach and go to a shag club. I haven't been to Myrtle since I was a little guy, so I'm REALLY looking forward to it.

          I also have no problem with salt water. Or sand. I may even come home with a mason jar full of sand so I can smell it every now and then – then I can be like Captain Jack Sparrow and sing "I gotta jar of diiiiiiirt, I gotta jar of diiiiiiiirt..."

          July 18, 2014 at 8:20 am |
      • bostontola

        Theo,
        You keep characterizing the Hawking statements as beliefs.

        I recognize Panspermia as a possibility. I personally don't believe it happened. I do believe that active chemicals have been imported from space. They may have been involved in moving the chemistry toward life.

        There is a difference between recognizing a possibility and believing it happened.

        What are you asserting that Hawking believes?

        July 18, 2014 at 8:21 am |
      • djangoboy

        No one has a problem with Hawking's acceptance of panspermia. It's your assertion that he says that aliens seeded the Earth that is the problem. This implies intent, which implies some level of intelligence, even if you did not use those exact words. Splitting hairs with dictionary definitions and ignoring the context of Hawking's remarks – that's the problem.

        And if you're really through with this topic, prove it by not insisting on getting the last word in.

        July 18, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I may even do a little surfing next week. Granted, Cape Hatteras has much better waves than Charleston or Myrtle, but they'll do. We're gonna take out cast nets and fishing poles and get a good and thorough sunburn, and I don't care if the only thing I catch is water. It'll be just me, my wife, and Jimmy Buffet.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:27 am |
    • ausphor

      If you don't like what Theo Phileo believes, then don't believe him. We don't believe your creationist delusion, haven't you noticed by now?

      July 18, 2014 at 9:14 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “delusion” as follows: “Something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated; a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also, the abnormal state marked by such beliefs.”

        The last clause is significant: intellectual and moral delusion have permanent effects on the mind and heart. Believing lies causes the mind to begin to operate abnormally and to exist in a state that is not healthy and perhaps even dangerous, both for itself and for others.

        This is what the Bible calls “sin,” and a core element of our sin is our delusion that God does not exist.

        July 18, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          LOLOLOL Comedy Gold!!!!

          July 18, 2014 at 9:26 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Phileoism (also known as Topherism) the ability of a person to reject all knowledge that conflicts with that persons a priori beliefs.
          Delusion in your case is the ability to reject reality in favor of apologetics.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey theo – thinking about a kickstarter deal – turning the BB into a comedy show ?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • joey3467

          Something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated; a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also, the abnormal state marked by such beliefs.”

          This describe Theo almost perfectly.

          July 18, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • Science Works

          By the way theo chapter 1/scene 1 ( but it is actually chapter 23 in funny book) could start with this maybe...

          Creationist Scenario for the Origin of the Universe by Gerardus D. Bouw .

          There is like 276 chapters/scenes theo – where to end eh ?

          July 18, 2014 at 10:56 am |
    • MidwestKen

      Theo Phileo,
      There is a large differnce between believing "that life on this planet was seeded by aliens", (as you stated on July 17, 2014 at 11:57 am) and believing that it is possible that life here was seeded by aliens.

      One means you think it actually happened; the other means you haven't ruled it out.

      This is why you are being accused of misrepresenting Hawking's view.

      July 18, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • midwest rail

        When you inhabit the moral high ground like Theo believes he does, what's a little misrepresentation among friends ? By the time it trickles down to the lowly, it may look true, coming from such a high pedestal and all.

        July 19, 2014 at 7:37 am |
    • thesamyaza

      ....

      Atheist says, Extraterrestrial/ an organism from outer space

      Christians Extrademensional / A supreme being from another Dimension.

      Me dose it really fucking matter, were her lets focus on the know and if we got time the future

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O7jmmSYI9U&w=640&h=360]

      July 19, 2014 at 4:33 am |
  5. Reality

    Putting the current religious idiocy and horror of the current Middle East in perspective:

    Strong circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god (or did they all die as martyrs?)

    Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

    July 17, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
  6. kenmargo

    As you all know, a civilian plane was shot down today.
    Lies have led the U.S. into war.
    School shootings are happening so frequently, It doesn't shock us any more.
    People protesting against CHILDREN fleeing from crime and poverty.
    Israel and Palestinians doing their annual deadly clashes.

    Sadly I could list 100 more instances of violence.

    Whers is god? What is he doing? Why is he standing by? It doesn't matter if it's christianity, islam or judaism
    There's more violence by the day.

    I know religious people will make excuses for their version of god. Some excuses will be laughable, some will make you scratch your head. I do know one important factor. God has an reason to not help those that don't believe, but what about the people that do? I don't need the bible to believe. I need the man himself. So far that man is lacking.

    July 17, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
    • austin929

      good thoughts! I am appalled too. The sheriff blew my best friends head off in an eviction a month ago and he was mentally handicapped. He was barricaded in his house and he had 100 grand in his house and they went in and shot him in the face.

      On July 3, 1988, Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) was shot down by USS Vincennes on the Bandar Abbas-Dubai rout, which resulted in the loss of life of 290 innocent civilian from six nations including 66 children. There were 38 non-Iranians aboard. – See more at: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/shootingdown_iranair_flight655.php#sthash.mJNUgWrB.dpuf

      July 17, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
      • austin929

        my best friends step dad, rather. He had been in that home since 1998.

        July 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          This article says he had previously moved out
          http://journalstar.com/news/local/911/man-killed-after-exchanging-gunfire-with-deputy-during-eviction-attempt/article_a3e2baa1-f521-505c-b1eb-405ab129df7b.html

          July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
      • Doris

        Oh my, sorry to hear about that austin. So your friend had money, but because of his handicap wasn't paying hist rent/mortgage? Was he trying to defend himself with a gun?

        July 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
        • Doris

          (the step-dad rather)

          July 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
        • austin929

          Doris, he had brain damage. He was the step father of a US senators son. and yes, he owned 14 guns. His front door was barricaded.

          in case you arent up to date on the use of capital punishment, its only for murderers.

          Doug was murdered.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Let me get this straight austin...........He had mental issues, yet had a hundred grand in the house and was able to barricade the door.

          Despite these mental issues, he had 14 guns! HIs problem was with the NRA, not the police.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • LaBella

          Austin, with all due respect, he wrote letters to the sheriff's office and police saying he would kill them if they tried to evict him; they also said he was pointing a shotgun at them when they broke through the barricade.
          They didn't know it was unloaded. It presented imminent danger.
          I get you don't respect authority, but you also don't get to make up your own laws because you don't like the prevailing ones.

          Where was the senator? Why didn't he make sure his step-dad was taken care of, that his home was up to date on the mortgage payments? As far as the law was concerned, he was a squatter...

          I am sorry for this man, and my condolences to your best friend; I wish someone had stepped up to the plate before this whole episode escalated as far as it did.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Austin: That's a tragic loss and I'm sorry. Let me ask though, do you believe that stricter regulations need to be put in place for gun owners? I find that 14 guns and being mentally unstable tend to be potential for disaster to begin with.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:38 am |
        • Alias

          Austin,
          You are out of touch with reality and Doug deservered to get shot in the face.
          You and your friends are not so special that you deserve to be treated differently than the rest of us.
          If you threaten the poice and point guns at them, you deserve to get shot in the face.
          Seek professional help before you get innocent people killed.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • austin929

      Ken , the prize is not this piece of dirt. the kingdom is eternal. we are promised hardships because reality is that the devil rules the world for now.

      The beast is growing stronger.

      July 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
      • kenmargo

        oh, so the devil is the man now! This is like wrestling! You have good guys (god) and bad guys (devil). Vince McMahon is laughing to the bank with this P.T. Barnum scheme.

        July 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Awesome imagination Austin! Seriously though, if it is how you CLAIM it is...then your god isn't so powerful after all...is he???

        July 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        If your god is all powerfull...he must like have the Beast around...hey maybe they're bffs!

        July 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          It was only like a month or two ago that I got your username. It was thanks to a Jeopardy! question. Otherwise, I'd still be in the dark.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "It's not to be taken literally...."

          It's my favorite part of Life of Brian...funny on so many levels.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:20 am |
        • Vic

          Regarding your moniker, as it is brought up, it reminds of and I actually believe it is a parody of one of the "Beatitudes" the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of. That "Beatitude" is "Blessed are the Peacemaker."

          July 18, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • Vic

          "Blessed are the Peacemakers"

          July 18, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Vic,

          If you would like to understand the reference you can god to youtube and put in

          "Monty Python Sermon on the Mount"

          It does not make fun of Jesus or what Jesus said...it makes fun of people and how we get things wrong...even if we were there.

          July 18, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • LaBella

          Well, that and BATC lives in Wisconsin, too, right? : )

          July 18, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Nope...don't live in Wisconsin....I like Cheese....Cheeseheads not so much...

          July 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • LaBella

          Now, I wonder why I thought you did?
          Sorry. Wasn't trying to cast aspersions. I must have you mixed up with someone else.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No issue Labella, no offense taken.

          I don't really hate Cheeseheads but I am more of the "Norse" variety...if you get my reference.

          Are you "Akira" by chance?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • LaBella

          BATC,
          Yes, I am. I suddenly had my account rendered useless, and many of my posts just disappeared as if I never existed. Even within the WP account.
          Mr. Burke and the folks at WP had no explanation as to why this happened, so I created another account.
          My Akira account still won't let me post.
          Weird. Ah, well.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • LaBella

          And, yes, I get your reference, although I am more of the Ursine fan, myself...

          July 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Austin, if you think that this "piece of dirt" is so awful, feel free to move on. This "piece of dirt" is the only home we as humans have, and as far as I'm concerned, it's a better prize than we deserve.

        July 18, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • Vic

      Actually that is a testimony to "Free Will" that God gave to man and a demonstration of the folly of man.

      God created the universe and life in it, gave man "Free Will" and revealed right and wrong, it is man that is to be blamed for doing such wrong.

      July 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Thank you for proving praying is a waste of time if "free will" rules. Why pray for peace if God has nothing to do with it?

        July 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • Vic

          We also believe in and pray to God out of our "Free Will," it is up to God, Who Is Sovereign and Divine, what to do with our prayers, whether we know how or not.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Like I wrote. Excuses, excuses.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
      • HeavenSent

        Heaven sent us cancers too numerous to mention, dysentery, bubonic plague, AIDS, pneumonia, arthritis, and countless other diseases. Not to mention the odd tsunami.

        Thank you god, you jerk.

        Amen.

        July 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • Vic

          Since the fall of Adam & Eve, God relegated man and this life realm to mortality and a curse. It is a fallen world that we need to endure its trials and pass the "Test of Faith" till the end of time.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • bostontola

          A large portion of human death through history has been at the 'hands' of other creatures ( viruses, bacteria, microscopic animals, macroscopic animals, etc.). I thought God gave humans dominion over all of them.

          Genesis 1
          26 Then God said, o“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

          God is supposed to be omnipotent. God supposedly conferred dominion of all creatures to humans. Unless Satan is a peer of God, he can't take that dominion away.

          The fact is, humans do not have dominion over these creatures. We are their prey in many cases. This is another biblical statement in direct conflict with reality.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
        • Doris

          I see what you mean, boston. I mean if crud can creep, I would think it was included in what He said.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I believe Genesis later describes how mankind gave up its dominion over the Earth.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          That would be great if the bible states humans do not have dominion. Please let me know that verse, I am not aware of that.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • Vic

          That was before the fall and relegation. With the fall, man incurred mortality, expulsion and curse.

          July 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The had dominion in the Garden of Eden. One of the consequences of their decision was leaving that world.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • bostontola

          Folks,
          I know humans lost immortality, not dominion. I never saw a verse that revoked man's dominion. Please provide that verse because it has great implications.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • Doris

          Yeah, I'm not familiar with any verse, but I forgot about those upgrades that some people talk about. I have heard about "the fall" – I think that happened with God 2.0 (Os eXaggeratin'), then you have the new covenant God 3.0 (Lyin') and I guess when the Mormons came along some bought that upgrade God 3.5 (Mountain Lyin').

          July 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Genesis 3 seems to describe a scenario where mankind loses the dominion God granted them.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • Doris

          It's been a while since I read that. It seems almost like could have started off as an explanation as to why childbearing and farming are not easy.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Doris

          like it could have....

          July 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • Doris

          (with attribute to the deity coming some time later)

          July 17, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea, it kind of does.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I just read it again. I got no revocation of dominion. Man must work for his living, then return to the dust, but no revocation of dominion over the creatures.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • Doris

          We need believerfred here if we are talking Genesis. No one does it like fred. I'll tell you what – no lying, if I knew when and where fred was going to be preaching Genesis 1, I would go just to hear him do it.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think when God predicts to Adam that "thorns and thistles" would come from his work, we can read between the lines that he had lost dominion and was subject to the fallen world. He also says there would be "enmity" between mankind's offspring and the serpent. It appears some of that dominion was given away, taken away or lost.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • Doris

          Maybe boston because there was a dominion over the creeping stuff before and now God made the serpent creep and able to bite the ankle that's supposed to show some change in the order of dominion. Just guessing of course.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          The conference of dominion was explicit. The revocation would not be useful if you have to read between the lines. I don't get anything close to revocation even reading between the lines. Scanning the web, almost every Christian bible site declares man's dominion is in effect. I have to agree given my own read.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Doesn't he give dominion to Adam and Eve? Does that mean you should have it to? Or did something change? A quick search for "lost dominion" produces sites that suggest something different than you do.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • Doris

          I do think, given the odd reactions from some very literalist commenters (not so much here, but more so in some of the busier blog areas of cnn for instance), it does seem that concept of man's dominion is crucial. Sometimes, even when just discussing genetic similarities between humans and other mammals, for example, literalists suddenly become very defensive and accuse you of trying to demean human dignity just by discussing biology. So at least to some, one would think they have a view that man has dominion over all other living things.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • colin31714

          Yes, there are many different 21st Century interpretations about what the Yahwist source meant when they (or "he" if you prefer) wrote that part of Genesis. I guess I have never considered late Bronze Age regional Jewish mythology relevant to a country founded more than 1776 years later on the other side of the planet.

          We might as well be struggling to determine hidden meaning in ancient Hindu or Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is no more or less relevant.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          And what do you mean by dominion? What if the Hebrew word for dominion means “to take responsibility for"? Not to dominate, but more like being stewards of the world we live in. What if being stewards of the world is foundational to what it means to be human?

          What if dominion is not to serve our own wants and desires, but to serve the best interests and well-being of this world together?

          July 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't have a literal understanding of these origin stories. I think they reveal a truth that is deeper than any literal story is capable of telling us. This is one of the beautiful ways human beings determine meaning. And below the literal surface of these stories is something bigger than my casual reading first produced for me.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • bostontola

          What if? Every Hebrew scholarly interpretation of the original Hebrew is that the word means 'rule over'. Jewish interpretations of the rest have no revocation of dominion. The vast majority of Christian interpretations don't have revocation. It's quite a stretch to make revocation fit. But it's all there for your own personal interpretation, so everyone is enti.tled to their own meaning.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • Doris

          I think that's great Dala, whether the text said or meant it that way or not. And maybe the oral stories from whence that came had that intent. Some definitely do have a different idea, where depending on their perception of your correctness, they will assign you to a level in the order of dominance, as in a caste system. Salero seems to like to do that.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, what if. Perhaps the story is referring to taking care of the creation. Not having the power to make the world to subdue to our will.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I'm sure that the believers will be working overtime, making excuses for their helpless, ineffective god.

      July 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        Nah, I've never once made an excuse for God. He is in no need of defending and He answers to no one.

        July 17, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
        • colin31714

          Well, because gods are, ultimately, a reflection of one's own worldview, outsourced to give it false credibility, an absolute unanswerable dictator does avoid a lot of difficult questions, doesn't it?.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          If the actions of the biblical god are to be relied upon as true, he certainly has a lot more to answer for than I do.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          How you treat others, especially those different from you, is a better reflection of one's own worldview.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Sun

          In a few a few short years daisies will be pushing up through your skull, as they will mine. God will continue in His eternal existence, undeterred by your current protests.

          July 18, 2014 at 2:21 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Colin

          Silly boy. Surely you realize that your futile, although desperately relentless, attempts at belittling faith are simply subterfuge, a means of masking your own accountability to your Creator? No?

          I'd be curious to know Seth's take on this. ( Don't worry, I won't bring him up again. That pseudonym attack really was priceless).

          July 18, 2014 at 2:59 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey dev are you related to this guy by chance ?

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/17/maryland-gop-candidate-is-a-neo-confederate-who-believes-in-creationism-but-not-state-laws/

          July 18, 2014 at 7:03 am |
        • Sungrazer

          "God will continue in His eternal existence, undeterred by your current protests."

          So, what, sucks for me? The power he has to exist after I no longer do, and to brush away my protests while I still do, excuses him? Might makes right? Sycophants are rewarded while those with grievances are punished?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Let's look at a few things regarding the problem of evil.

      1. The purpose of this life is not happiness, contrary to what you may have heard or read. The purpose of this life is too know God, live for Him and reach a lost a dying world with the Gospel.
      2. We live in a fallen world due to man's rebellion against God.
      3. God works with eternity in view. An atheist may only look at this finite life as all there is. Death to an atheist would be a horrible thing I would think. However, death of a Christian is a blessing for then the Christian enters a place for all eternity where there is no more crying or pain or death. How does God wrong the Christian by taking he/she out of the world and into His presence?

      July 17, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
      • djangoboy

        You have obviously never talked to an atheist about death. Christians cannot imagine that anyone could possibly contemplate death without having the "assurance" that a beautiful heavenly existence awaits them, but in fact most true atheists (as opposed to those who are simply indifferent, which is a growing segment of the population) have given this quite a bit of thought and have come to a different conclusion. Speaking only for myself, I believe that our time is limited – we are conceived, are born, live, and then die, and that's it. After we are gone, we are in the same state as we were before our birth – nonexistence. It was OK then, it's OK now. We live on in our children, and/or in the impact we have had on others. We live on in the things we did while in this world, good or bad (we hope mostly good). We live on in the memories of those whose lives we touched. And the Universe goes on just as before, in its inscrutable way. To us, that's quite beautiful. We don't require hope of some glorious life after death in the presence of some God, we're quite happy with what we believe we have.

        July 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          "We live on in our children, and/or in the impact we have had on others. We live on in the things we did while in this world, good or bad (we hope mostly good). We live on in the memories of those whose lives we touched."

          I liked this part. Well said.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Thank you for the honest response. I don't mean the following questions in a mocking way. Just trying to get a better idea on your personal views. Would you say you have no hope for your future? That death is coming and there is no hope of escape? Do you think about this often or is this something you try to avoid thinking about?

          July 17, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • djangoboy

          I appreciate the questions and the intent. Yes, I actually think about death often, and meaning, and my (our) place in this mysterious Universe. I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of answers, but I find the questions and the quest to be the interesting part. I don't think in terms of "escape." Death for me is a natural part of the life cycle, and it comes to us all. It does not frighten me, and I am perfectly OK with the idea that I will not live on in any form after my body dies, other than the ways mentioned above. I can understand why some people cannot handle the idea of death's finality and therefore require a belief in some afterlife, including a glorious reunion with lost loved ones (which is not mentioned in the Bible, by the way, contrary to popular belief). I find such beliefs unconvincing, and I'm quite content with mine.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • djangoboy

          And by the way, at the age of 68, I am a lot closer to the end of my life than most people, so I try to make the most of what I have left.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          The Bible does seem to indicate that we will be able to recognize people in Heaven.

          Matthew 8:11

          "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven."

          It is certainly reasonable to infer that we Christians will recognize saved loved ones in Heaven.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • djangoboy

          That's a pretty broad inference. Actually, the idea of reuniting with loved ones in Heaven was never a part of church doctrine until relatively recently – the afterlife was all about being united with God. The idea only came into being in the late 19th century in – where else? – the US. After the devastating losses of the Civil War, people were searching for comfort and found it in a book called "The Gates Ajar," which depicted Heaven as a place where people led normal lives in their "spiritual bodies," with houses, families, and regular activities. Since then, it has found its way into mainstream Christian belief, but really there is no place in the Bible that states such a thing, except by the broadest "inference."

          July 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Would you say you have no hope for your future?"

          I can "hope" I have a million dollars buried in my back yard....my "hope" has no bearing on the truth of the matter.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Answer a few questions for me if you would.
          1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life?
          2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
          3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy)
          4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.)
          If you’re like me, you are a self professed lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterer at heart or some form thereof. A holy God must punish wickedness, otherwise He wouldn’t be just. Given your confession, will you be guilty or innocent? If you’re like me and everyone else on this board, you are guilty. However, God provided a way for salvation through the blood of His innocent Son who took the punishment on the cross, that we might be declared innocent. Think of it like this. You’re in a court room. you’re guilty as you’ve professed. Someone walks in and pays your fine for you. Now the judge can legally dismiss your case and let you go. This is the gospel message. What you must do is repent (turn from your sins) and follow Jesus as Lord. This following is enabled by God when He gives you new desires and a heart that wants to please God instead of the flesh.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Also, keep in mind that the Bible is very clear that those in hell will be able to recognize individuals. See the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. Also, reference Luke 13:28.

          Individuals will be able to recognize others.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ahhh, the self hating diatribe is back...I've missed the Ray Comfort screed.

          (oops I just lied there)

          And in court if you are convicted of a crime worthy of death or even incarceration no one could pay for your crime but you, so your analogy fails.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:40 am |
        • Sungrazer

          It's bizarre, because it's self-hating, but it's also an abdication of personal accountability.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:55 am |
        • Sungrazer

          "Also, keep in mind that the Bible is very clear that those in hell will be able to recognize individuals."

          Mark Twain:

          "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

          July 18, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • djangoboy

          tf: "Also, keep in mind that the Bible is very clear that those in hell will be able to recognize individuals. See the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. Also, reference Luke 13:28. Individuals will be able to recognize others."

          I checked those passages. Luke 13:28 – "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." (KJV) And in Luke 19, the rich man sees Abraham and Lazarus. Big deal. Recognizing prophets is a far cry from a joyous reunion with with loved ones in Heaven, which was the subject of the discussion.

          July 18, 2014 at 7:11 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life?
          2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
          3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy)
          4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.)"

          Why the broken-record syndrome tf???

          Lust is a thought crime, so not really a crime. I'm in a serious common-law relationship (yes, I know in your small-minded view that is wrong but your opinion on my life matters little...much like your imaginary friends supposed opinion)...I can look at another man and think he's 'hot'...I harm no-one by thinking that.
          Taking your gods name in vain is only a crime to Christians and does not pertain to everyone...you can't be punished in a Secular country for doing so.
          We don't need a god or religion to tell us not to lie or steal...we're not so weak. The prisoner population is made up of .07% Atheists, the rest would be believers...now normally I would say it is due to the vast majority of the population being Christian but the number is so minor, it's hard to see it that way. So before preaching look at your own ilk and skip the hypocrisy.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:06 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Ken,

      If there is no God, why can't us smart apes learn how to get along with one another?

      I don't think peace can be found in the world.

      Is violence increasing, or the death toll?

      http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2013/02/was-20th-century-really-most-violent.html?m=1

      July 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
      • kenmargo

        "If there is no God, why can't us smart apes learn how to get along with one another?"

        What?????

        I don't think peace can be found in the world.

        Get rid of guns and god and guess what, PEACE.

        Is violence increasing, or the death toll?

        Trust me. Both.

        July 17, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Get rid of guns and God and people would find another way to kill each other. Killing was going on long before guns were invented and long before the Abrahamic God was well-known. Guns are simply a means to an end. And God is not the problem in the Middle East or anywhere else. IMHO

          July 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " And God is not the problem in the Middle East or anywhere else. IMHO "
          Perhaps not. But religion, and it's adherents, certainly ARE a problem. IMO

          July 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Midwest, Well, several years ago I read a very astute piece (IMHO) in a rather liberal journal that outlined the need for water in the region, how Israel controls most of it near the Med, and how Palestinians want to control it. Add to that both thousands of years of tribal warfare and the political insertion of the Jewish state into Palestine by the UN and America's support of Israel and there is little reason to believe religion per se is a primary cause. The battle would be on even if the Israelis believed in Thor and Odin (or Allah, for that matter).

          July 18, 2014 at 3:26 am |
        • midwest rail

          And what is it that keeps them separated, keeps them from cooperating and sharing ? Religious differences. In their everyday lives, there will be secular symptoms, but it is religion that separates them and keeps them at odds.

          July 18, 2014 at 5:10 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Midwest, Let me ask a question. Suppose the immigrants continue to pour into the US and eventually take over huge parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (Just suppose with me for a moment and I'll get to the point.) Then LaRaza pleads its case with the UN and the UN declares those areas part of Mexico. If there is conflict that follows, is that a war between protestants and Catholics? Or, is it simply a fight for land and political power?

          July 18, 2014 at 8:50 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Get rid of guns and god and guess what, PEACE."

          Well said, religion tends to be at the root of most issues in this world.

          July 18, 2014 at 8:58 am |
      • dandintac

        Well Robert–maybe we're not quite smart enough to end it.

        Consider this though, regarding the well-docu-mented violence of the 21st century. There are a number of obvious sociological reasons for this.

        One is technology. It makes a difference when you have a machine gun to mow down the charging enemy. Just a couple of centuries earlier, rifles had to be reloaded after each shot. Our technology has advanced tremendously. and technology increases efficiency–that includes efficiency in killing each other.

        Also, there was a far larger population in the 20th century, which means people were packed in closer together. Also, it was easier for people to move great distances, again due to technology, so different nationalities and cultures are bound to collide, and with a greater number of people, that means a greater number of people to kill and be killed.

        Now I don't blame religion for the bulk of it. Most of the war death in the 20th century was caused by nationalism, with a few other factors in the mix–greed, pride, alliances, border disputes, racial prejudice and so on. But religion is definitely in the mix, and is a significant factor. And while the other issues that cause war seem to have receded, religious conflict seems to be escalating. I think it's because everything else can be negotiated, borders and so on, but religion cannot. Only temporary truces are possible when it comes to religion.

        I would also say that if there is a god, he clearly does not listen to or answer prayers–at least not the ones that matter most. Either that, or he is not all-powerful or all-good. The best that can be said is that he has not provided effective guidance and tutelage, given the constant religious strife going on somewhere in the world every single moment of our lives. The evidence for this is clear and overwhelming.

        July 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "If there is no God, why can't us smart apes learn how to get along with one another?"

        Well it certainly isn't due to a lack of gods.

        July 17, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      Ken, With all due respect, after reading your responses to austin and your responses to others in the past, I am not sure you are really looking for answers from Christians. So, let me ask a couple of questions.

      Would you really like living under a God who would do what you are asking?

      Would you really like a God who took control of every aspect of our lives?

      Would you really want a God to make all of your decisions for you?

      If any of those answers are no, then you don't want God to control every violent act committed by humans. We cannot have our cake and eat it too.

      So, why blame God? Why not blame the humans involved? Better yet, why don't we work toward real solutions to the violence rather than blaming anyone?

      Must my humble opinion.

      July 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Sorry, Just not "Must."

        July 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • Reality

      o WHERE WAS YOUR GOD(S) WHEN THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE:

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things GOD'S CREATURES Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      July 17, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
      • djangoboy

        For at least part of that time, I think he was too busy determining the outcome of football games.

        July 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
  7. austin929

    I know that anti Christ christian demons like Hitler and the crusaders were bad.

    but what if Jesus Christ did not command people to forgive one another?

    what would the world be like?

    I do not respect the government I see it as an non-ligitimate fraud parasite murderer and a bank cult.

    lucky for them, I am only obedient to the creator who tells me to forgive.

    July 17, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
    • austin929

      people who don't repent are hard to forgive. like the hitlers of another flavor that surround me.

      July 17, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
    • Doris

      "non-ligitimate fraud parasite murderer "

      austin, I'm just trying to understand where this austintatiousness comes from. do expressions like that just pop into your head already assembed, or is it more of a slower step-by-step consideration?

      July 17, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
      • austin929

        Doris , the government is lousy. and the United states in my opinion in the last 15 years has become an out of control menace to the world.

        American exceptionalism is narcissistic. you all sing songs with joy about bombs and fly bombers over sports games and people love it.

        absolute brainwashed dumb as.ses. Ok ever since hitler, people have watched war on the television invention and it entertains people. News anchors are mostly ex models raving about garbage and people have nothing better to worry about than the deluded lies that these people invent.

        July 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I'm hoping they emerge fully-formed. It would be terrible it he had to give serious thought before coming up with his unintelligible utterings.

        July 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Well, Austin, I don't think the government cares if you respect it or not. It remains the power in this country. Feel free to leave. I'm sure no one will mind.

      July 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Typical knee-jerk response from a jerk. Can't abide any criticism of your precious all-perfect America, can you? Everyone has to toe the line, support America no matter what it does, no matter how much suffering it causes in the rest of the world OR to its own people, because AMERICA, F–U–C-K YEAH!

        July 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Keep your religion Austin....we've already heard from you that you'd be a very violent person without it. Better yet, locate the nearest asylum and tell them your delusions and how much you hate the country you reside in and what you wish could happen, I'm sure they'll be happy to find you a nicely padded room.

      July 18, 2014 at 8:53 am |
  8. lunchbreaker

    Previously scot posted some 9 or so facts that disproved evolution that he cut and pasted from somewhere. BUt wherever he got them I found the exact same rules posted on a cite claiming that because evolution on earth is false, obviously we were put here by aliens.

    Why did I post this?

    1. Why is Theo constantly bringing up Hawking's views on aliens?

    2. Disproving evolution still does not prove any God?

    July 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
    • SeaVik

      I know the answer to #1. Theo thinks that saying Hawking thinks that we could have come from life forms from another plant, this is an example of one of the best scientists believing in crazy things. He has employed a similar tactic suggesting that it's crazy to think we evolved from other organisms. To paraphrase, he usually says, "You think I'm crazy for believing the earth is only thousands of years old? Well at least my views aren't as crazy as those scientists who think we came from a fish or aliens!"

      He fails to realize that views based on evidence, however amazing they might be, are not crazy since there is a reason to have those views. Views based on an ancient book of fiction that completely conflict with the evidence we have available are crazy.

      July 17, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        Aliens seeding Earth with life: Crazy

        Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, doesn't-have-a-beginning, doesn't-have-an-ending, exists-outside-of-space-and-time god crosses his arms and blinks and Earth gets populated with life: Not crazy

        July 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • djangoboy

          Blinks? Judging by how things turned out, it's probably more like "farts."

          July 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          djangoboy,

          For video of this debate, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVmdCAT7Rc8

          July 17, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • djangoboy

          HA-HA!!! I knew it all along!

          July 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
      • kudlak

        Yet, all it would take are a few stray microbes attached to one of our Mars rovers taking hold to prove that "aliens" could indeed seed a planet, so it really isn't all that far-fetched, right?

        July 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Based on evidence??? OK, show me life anywhere in the universe other than on planet earth. I'll wait.

        July 18, 2014 at 7:27 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey theo – microbial life ?

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717125043.htm

          3.7 billion years ago.

          July 18, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Theo: Do you agree with the number Science posted or do you believe the age of the earth to be a mere 6000 years old?

          July 18, 2014 at 8:48 am |
  9. TruthPrevails1

    Does anyone know what happened to Rainer?

    July 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
    • SeaVik

      He probably made a deal with his god that he would give up the internet if Germany won the World Cup.

      July 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
      • tallulah131

        He probably got beat up by football hooligans when he tried to preach temperance at a victory celebration.

        July 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
    • LaBella

      Maybe he got frozen out of BB and WP like I did. Even though neither can explain why that happened.

      July 17, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
    • djangoboy

      Good riddance.

      July 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
  10. Reality

    Back to the topic:

    The solution is easy. Now we just have to convince five billion sufferers of various forms of the Three B Syndrome (Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their religions). Once again, the solution specific to the Muslims and Jews:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. .

    Added details previously presented.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    July 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  11. Vic

    Beloved Readers,

    Whatever happens in this world and in your life, please remember, this is ALWAYS available as you are:

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVpxfDgVaec&w=640&h=360]

    July 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Youtube is generally available to anyone with internet access, but thanks. I sometimes use it to watch "Sabotage". You gotta love the Beasties.

      July 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
  12. colin31714

    Theo, I am continuing our discussion here, as the thread was getting cu.mbersome. To put matters in context, you claimed that Hawkins believed intelligent aliens seeded life here on Earth. I took issue with that comment as a gross misrepresentation of Hawkin’s position on panspe.rmia and you cited an article to prove your point. Below is the pertinent part of the article so readers can draw their own conclusions.

    “But we don't know how life first appeared. The probability of something as complicated as the DNA molecule being formed by random collisions of atoms in the primeval ocean is incredibly small. However, there might have been some simpler macromolecule which then built up the DNA or some other macromolecule capable of reproducing itself.

    Still, even if the probability of life appearing on a suitable planet is very small, since the Universe is infinite, life would have appeared somewhere. If the probability is very low, the distance between two independent occurrences of life would be very large.

    However, there is a possibility, known as panspe.rmia, that life could spread from planet to planet, or from stellar system to stellar system, carried on meteors. We know that Earth has been hit by meteors that came from Mars, and others may have come from further afield. We have no evidence that any meteors carried life, but it remains a possibility. An important feature of life spread bypanspe.rmia is that it would have the same basis, which would be DNA for life in the neighborhood of the Earth. On the other hand, an independent occurrence of life would be extremely unlikely to be DNA based. So watch out if you meet an alien. You could be infected with a disease against which you have no resistance.

    One piece of observational evidence on the probability of life appearing is that we have fossils of algae from 3.5 billion years ago. The Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago and was probably too hot for about the first half billion years. So life appeared on Earth within half a billion years of it being possible, which is short compared to the 10 billion year lifetime of an Earth-like planet. This would suggest either panspe.rmia or that the probability of life appearing independently is reasonably high. If it was very low, one would have expected it to take most of the 10 billion years available. If it is panspe.rmia, any life in the solar system or in nearby stellar systems will also be DNA based.

    While there may be primitive life in our region of the galaxy, there don't seem to be any advanced intelligent beings. We don't appear to have been visited by aliens. I am discounting reports of UFOs. Why would they appear only to cranks and weirdoes? If there is a government conspiracy to suppress the reports and keep for itself the scientific knowledge the aliens bring, it seems to have been a singularly ineffective policy so far. Furthermore, despite an extensive search by the SETI project, we haven't heard any alien television quiz shows. This probably indicates that there are no alien civilizations at our stage of development within a radius of a few hundred light years. Issuing an insurance policy against abduction by aliens seems a pretty safe bet.

    Why haven't we heard from anyone out there? One view is expressed in this Calvin cartoon. The caption reads "Sometimes I think that the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the Universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
    More seriously, there could be three possible explanations of why we haven't heard from aliens. First, it may be that the probability of primitive life appearing on a suitable planet is very low. Second, the probability of primitive life appearing may be reasonably high, but the probability of that life developing intelligence like ours may be very low. Just because evolution led to intelligence in our case, we shouldn't assume that intelligence is an inevitable consequence of Darwinian natural selection.

    It is not clear that intelligence confers a long-term survival advantage. Bacteria and insects will survive quite happily even if our so-called intelligence leads us to destroy ourselves. This is the third possibility: Life appears and in some cases develops into intelligent beings, but when it reaches the stage of sending radio signals it will also have the technology to make nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. It would therefore be in danger of destroying itself before long. Let's hope this is not the reason we have not heard from anyone.

    Personally, I favor the second possibility, that primitive life is relatively common but that intelligent life is very rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.”

    July 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      No, Colin, I never said "intelligent." That is a word that you chose to use, not me, and neither did Hawking. Therefore your point is moot.

      July 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        he question of abiogenesis is a profound one to which we haven't yet discovered any solid answers.
        The seeds of terrestrial life may have come from space.
        Ja.panese scientists sealed up Bacillus subtilis spores and other various organisms in a vacuum chamber and simulated the conditions of space exposure over a period of 250 years. In the end. half the sample survived.
        So maybe the Star Trek "founder" theory is correct!
        J. Craig Venter, the geneticist who decoded the human genome, has been absorbed in the study of virii for a number of years. He has discovered millions of new viruses – but perhaps the most interesting is the Mimi virus which mimics certain bacterial life. Mimivirus is so much more genetically complex than all previously known viruses, not to mention a number of bacteria, that it throwing our whole conception of the branching "tree of life" into disarray.
        It has proven that some viruses have an ancestor that was much more complex than they are now. The Mimi virus is at least as old as the other branches of life, which strongly suggests that viruses were involved very early on in the evolutionary emergence of life.
        It is a kind of "missing link" in the study of life's emergence, demonstrating how nucleated cells first appeared.

        So the long and short of it is that we don't yet know anything for sure, but we're accu/mulating data at a fantastic pace in our investigations. As we discover more and more about the natural processes involved in the development of biological life, the less feasible the Creator god hypothesis becomes – not the least of which is the anthropocentric Abrahamic God.

        July 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          not the least of which is the anthropocentric Abrahamic God.
          ------------------
          I'll only touch on this point. The God of the Bible is certainly NOT shown to be anthropocentric. There is only one reason that God does anything, and that is for His own glory. Even our own salvation is for His glory, so it seems almost a secondary point that we derive any benefit from it at all.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "I'll only touch on this point. The God of the Bible is certainly NOT shown to be anthropocentric. There is only one reason that God does anything, and that is for His own glory."

          So is your point that he isn't anthropocentric, he's egocentric?

          July 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
          – Genesis 1:26

          If man is not the predilect object of Creation, then why did God give us dominion over the entire planet?
          If God is not concerned with humanity, why did He send His only begotten Son to die for our sins?
          Why did He inflict His wrath on certain groups of people? Or kill every single creature on Earth (save for that which could fit on a floating zoo) because He was unhappy with humanity?
          Especially form a Creationist perspective, the entire Universe in its endless complexity and unfathomable grandeur – exists solely so that Human beings can exist (the fine tuning argument).

          July 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Alias

          BREAKING NEWS
          They salvaged a stock pot from the Titanic that had a bible verse scratched into it. This has lead leading scientists to accept two long debated theories:
          1) Lobsters really are scorpion mermaids
          2) God sank the ship to save the lobsters that were still alive in the kitchen.
          Let's show some respect folks. it looks like Theo mow has indisputable proof of his god.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • djangoboy

          The great unanswered question in most panspermia discussions is how the organic matter and water that was dumped onto Earth came into being in the first place. It is now well known that vast amounts of water and over 120 molecules, including complex organic molecules, are found in interstellar space, having been created by stars and nebulae (the Orion Nebula alone churns out huge amounts of water). So it is no longer necessary to explain how complex organic molecules could have originated on Earth – they didn't! They are "stardust" and were brought here (and to other planets as well) by comets, meteors, and other debris.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The original organic compounds were obviously brought to Earth by the Galactic Overlord Xenu when he detonated the atomic bomb in a volcano that disembodied and discombobulated the Thetans.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Doc,
          Yeah, God loves His elect, but that we are not the priority of His affection.

          Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

          The whole purpose in creation and of our salvation is to accrue to the glory of God: In the counsels of eternity past, before creation, the Father proclaimed His love for the Son, and desired to express that love by giving Him a gift; that gift was in the form of a redeemed humanity – love often shows itself in gifts, and divine love gives divinely, and without limits. The Father, in an expression of His love for His Son, determined that He would create a world, and that He would allow that world to fall into sin, and that He would recover from it a redeemed humanity that He would then give to His Son as a bride to Him so that this redeemed humanity could forever and ever, for all eternity glorify His Son. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:24 that when the end comes, and all who will be redeemed by God have been redeemed, The Son will then take that redeemed humanity and Himself and turn over that gift back to God in a reciprocal act of love. (John 17)

          July 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • kevinite

          After all you went on Doc about the early developent of certain viruses billions of years ago means that it is less and less feasible for the notion of any creator god let alone an Abrahamic God and the one word that comes to mind is "how?" How does all of that mean that there is possible way that it could not all come from any god and epecially in way would it come from an Abrahamic God; a God who does want to be made of in the first place but would rather have us develop faith in that God?

          July 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • kevinite

          Sorry meant to say "....any way possible..."

          July 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • LaBella

          Xenu!

          July 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        What did you imply by saying, "Just look at Stephen Hawking and how he believes that life ion this planet was seeded bt aliens."? Back pedal much, Theo.

        July 17, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          What Hawking was saying was that he felt that it was possible that life on this planet came from aliens... How is that any different? Maybe the problem is in perception rather than delivery.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          My point is you make snarky remarks about a person like Hawking in an attempt to discredit him while at the same time groveling at the feet of a biased apologist like Dr. James White.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Grovel?" Now who's being snarky?

          July 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo
          The term "aliens" implies little green men or some other sentient life that purposely did it...far different than dust of previous life in distant galaxies making it here through spce...THAT is the difference...which you already know. You misrepresent what he said...basically trying to create a strawman to discredit Hawking.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "What Hawking was saying was that he felt that it was possible that life on this planet came from aliens..."

          Is that so far-fetched to think that it might be possible that life on earth originated from some form of life from elsewhere?

          July 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          SeaVik, Actually that is exactly right. And the life that our lives came from is God.

          July 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "And the life that our lives came from is God."

          Hilarious.

          July 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • djangoboy

          "And the life that our lives came from is God."

          Gimme a break.

          July 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • kevinite

          So what is so more hilarious about God being this alien life bringer as opposed to just saying that life here on Earth began elsewhere out there?

          July 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey ragansteve1

          Really life came from it ? So your mom and dad did not do it – to funny !

          July 17, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • Science Works

          Oops too funny – or ragansteve1- what came first the chicken or the egg ?

          July 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          The chicken.

          July 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey ragansteve1 nice try.

          http://www.if-lscience.com/plants-and-animals/what-came-first-chicken-or-egg

          July 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
        • Science Works

          ragansteve1 – take the dang dash out of if-lscience for the url to work.

          July 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          ScienceW, yeah well that's a good theory too. But actually I like the abs below the theory better.

          July 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Science Works

          yeah ragansteve1 and it commanded the storks to drop-em right ?

          Dumbo Look Out for Mr. Stork

          {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dODSHuvuoTM}

          July 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          No, no. Chicken, not stork. And the ABS are what amazed me. That woman has incredible abs.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        I can't believe the gall of this reply. No, you didn't say "intelligent". But that doesn't render anything moot and you continue to demonstrate that when your dishonesty is called out, your favorite tactic is to deflect and dodge.

        You said:

        "I apologize if my comment seemed abrupt to you, but it was nonetheless on par with his own words."

        Which is not AT ALL on par with what Hawking said. Aliens seeding Earth with life does not equate with the possibility of panspermia for Earth and other worlds, and nowhere does he indicate he is talking about DIRECTED panspermia.

        July 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Of course God is egocentric! His primary characteristic is jealousy.
        Why else do you think He demanded animal sacrifice?

        "The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history."
        [Robert Heinlein]

        July 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          he likes the smell of the burning flesh apparently ...

          July 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • djangoboy

          And terrifying children, apparently (see story of Abraham and Isaac).

          July 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
      • LaBella

        Doesn't negate the fact that you chose to misrepresent what Hawking said, Theo,
        Just that you don't want to refute it because someone added a word to his opinion before he corrected your....misrepresentation....in what Hawking DID say.

        July 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        And another thing: Let's say Hawking is questioned and he says "Yes, I do believe aliens intentionally seeded Earth with life." I could be wrong, but my impression is that you would consider this nutty. It would be an unusual view, sure, but in my view, it's not crackpot. If humanity survives itself, we will almost certainly seed another world with life. But until Hawking says something like that, you are mischaracterizing what he is saying, to put it mildly.

        July 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Theo Phileo: No, Colin, I never said "intelligent." That is a word that you chose to use, not me, and neither did Hawking.

        Oh, so they could have been stupid aliens?

        I've read the Hawking interview that you cited earlier. Nowhere does he say that life on Earth was seeded by aliens of any sort. As others have pointed out, he was talking about panspermia, the idea that "life could spread from planet to planet, or from stellar system to stellar system, carried on meteors." (his words) No mention of alien intervention. As usual, Theo, like his compatriots in the religious antiscience crowd, has misrepresented statements by a reputable scientist in order to support his own position.

        July 17, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          panspermia (which was cited by Hawking numerous times) – noun Biology – the theory that life exists and is distributed throughout the universe in the form of germs or spores that develop in the right environment.

          alien – a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.

          Bacteria is a creature. Do me a favor atheists, don't put words into my mouth. If you don't like what Hawking believes, then don't believe him.

          July 18, 2014 at 7:33 am |
        • djangoboy

          Go back and read Hawking's statements again. With one possible exception – "Is there alien life out there" – every time he uses the word "alien" he is clearly NOT talking about bacteria. He is using it to mean some sort of sentient being that is capable of space travel.

          July 18, 2014 at 7:46 am |
      • believerfred

        Blessed are the cheesemakers
        "you appeal to the supernatural and metaphysical without justification"
        =>I call them reasons to believe
        All scientific evidence and consensus to date favors causation which I see as agency.
        All scientific evidence to date confirms creation was not out of the known natural.
        An infinite number of universes are required to for the probability of the existence of intelligent life to be realistic.
        Awareness is not tethered to the physical but relationship with the physical
        There is no such thing as non existence physically or conceptually
        Agency of time and space must be outside our subset of existence and predate singularity
        Our known world is configured to be appear concentric
        Probability of intelligent life in only 14 billion years is one out of ten to the power of 127 assuming one universe.
        Personal experience confirming personal testimony of billions who have experienced something greater than that which is limited by the natural

        July 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • believerfred

          oopps this was posted in the wrong section, please ignore

          July 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    Mohammed spent a lot of time up mountains, slaying goats and rap.ing children,

    Jesus spent a lot of time around the docks and managed to feed the 5000 on fish.

    And that, people, is the difference between gross prophet and net prophet.

    July 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • colin31714

      That was actually pretty funny!

      July 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • kenmargo

      L O L

      July 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
    • Doris

      Good one! lol

      July 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • djangoboy

      You sure he wasn't slaying children and raping goats?

      July 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
  14. TruthPrevails1

    I think between Theo, awanderingcot, topher and a couple of others here we could come up with a new version of Trailer Park Boys...the biblical version where instead of sitting around drinking they sit around praying.

    July 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Theo, Topher and Scot went for a walk in the woods one day and came upon some tracks. Theo said "Those are bear tracks." and Topher said, "Nope, them are deer tracks." and Scot shook his head and said "No no, you're both wrong, those are Bigfoot tracks..." and they were still arguing when the train hit them...

      July 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        NBHA, thanks, I needed a good laugh.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Oh, that's good!

        July 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • kenmargo

        L O L

        July 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I suspect drinking may play a part too...
      I suppose Austin could make a good Bubbles, what with his fixation on kitties (squished or otherwise).

      July 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Alias

      Are you suggesting that they could take Al Yankovic songs and change the words to bible verses?
      Interesting, but I'd rather listen to banjo music.

      July 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Bible verses to banjo music....as Theo's little chickens and Austin's squish kitties and Topher's pink dinosaurs (the exact ones that were on the Ark) dance around.

        July 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • djangoboy

          Could we work in a crocoduck or two?

          July 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Been watching the new Weird Al videos today... Word Crimes is pretty awesome (though I wasn't familiar with the song it is parodying)

        July 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • LaBella

          It's a parody of Robin Thicke's nasty song "Blurred Lines"; as usual, WAY improved upon the original.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • joey3467

          While the song is terrible if you happen to be into half naked women the video is pretty great.

          July 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • LaBella

          Lol, Joey. Being a hetero female, I didn't find anyone at all in that video to me appealing...

          July 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "Word Crimes" is fantastic!

          Me, I am a user of the Oxford comma.

          July 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • LaBella

          Vampire Weekend?

          July 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    I'm surprised that there have been no new articles since last week.

    July 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • tallulah131

      No kidding. You have that report that the Pope allegedly claimed that 1 in 50 priest are pedophiles, you have that sickening incident in Arizona where radical FLDS members allegedly half buried a kitten in cement as a warning to a former member (the poor thing was trapped for hours and later died). I guess these things don't matter to CNN.

      July 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • LaBella

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/13/331166102/pope-reportedly-says-that-1-in-50-clergy-are-pedophiles

        July 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • tallulah131

          This should be a headline on this blog.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Tallulah: Or perhaps this one "Atheists Are 0.07% of the Federal Prison Population, Threatening Fact for Christian Fundamentalists" (http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/why-atheists-make-85-percent-americas-scientists-and-07-percent-its-prison)

          July 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          LaBella
          I recently saw an episode of Frontline, that talked about the vatican, the Vatileaks scandal. There not only are many gay priests, but most of the vatican heirarchy are gay. Theree is a very strange subculture where many of the high up frequent gay nightclubs and private parties. One said ( and I paraphrase) When I have the vespers on, I am a priest, I take them off because this body has needs, so I take care of those needs, then put the vespers backl on, and I am a priest again. They all act like the past is completely unimportant.

          It really is amazing how extremely corrupt the entire RCC is.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • LaBella

          Yeah, it kinda sorta should be, I agree.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • LaBella

          Igaftr, I have read that before; the who celibacy thing is supposedly voluntary in the first place, and as you've pointed out, is rather untenable for either gay people it hetero. It should be done away with.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • igaftr

          And By the way...1 in 50 would be only 2%...the number of gay priests and higher is quite a bit higher than the world average, and higher than in any other religion...which is explained( at least in theory of why that is the case) in the frontline I saw...they estimated it is closer to one in 5

          July 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Science Works

          And the pope said who was he to judge . But someone did not like this.

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/17/missouri-catholic-diocese-fires-lesbian-church-worker-after-her-marriage-appears-in-newspaper/

          July 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • LaBella

          Of course, igaftr, but I believe the Pope was talking about pedophiles, not gay priests.
          Pedophile =/= gay.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          Yes, I know gay does not mean ped0phile, but that also was addressed. Both, by the way the RCC sees it, go against the whole celibacy thing. It shows the hidden culture and the psychology of the acceptance. The same culture that hides the "abomination" of being gay, is the same culture that hides all other $exual inconsistancies, like ped0philia...they basically handle both the same way...kind of a don't ask don't tell, if you see, be blind, if you hear be deaf.

          It speaks to the entire hypocricy of the Vatican leadership.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • LaBella

          Well, they've had a long time to perfect their schtick, igaftr.
          The "see no evil" trio comes to mind.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The FLDS are anything but kind to apostates – even when the only reason someone is branded such is because Warren Jeffs had another "divine revelation".
        A good litmus test for whether a religion is a cult is to find out how the treat apostates.
        Shunning is one thing, but cults like the FLDS and Scientology are known to harass those who dare to question, let alone leave the church.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • tallulah131

          The whole LDS is just a sick church. I don't understand how anyone can look at the origins of the thing and take it seriously.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Brigham Young was particularly disgusting as evidenced by his contributions to the LDS "Journal of Discourses".

          July 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • LaBella

        Tal, did that kitten incident happen again?
        The stories on it that I found were 2 years old...please tell me this isn't their preferred MO.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Of wow! My mistake. My sister mentioned it to me two days ago and I think she thought it had just happened, so I didn't even check the date. It's just the one time as far as I can tell. Thank you for bringing this up. (not that it makes things better for that poor baby, but I'm glad it appears to be a one-off!)

          July 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • LaBella

          Oh, thank goodness! Because if it were a pattern...I can't even...

          July 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Doris

          Even still, the article did make it sound like it was part of a rash of incidents at the time. Also of particular interest there was the reaction by local authorities, supposedly also of the FLDS.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Before we go postal on priests or others, we should take a look at the proportion in the population. "The prevalence of pedophilia in the general population is not known,[30][63] but is estimated to be lower than 5% among adult men.[30] " The 30 refers to "Seto MC. (2009) Pedophilia. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology 5:391–407."

        I am not a particular defender of the Catholic Church but we need t be fair. Based upon the quotation, the incidence likely would be far fewer than for males in general. Just saying.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Here is the problem with equating the general populace to the church in terms of abuse. The problem isn't that 2% of them are pedophiles, the problem is the rampant covering up of these crimes instead of immediately notifying the authorities, the slap on the hand recieved by many who were caught and instead of putting a spotlight on them and making an example of bad behavior and outing the pedophiles to be put on trial for their crimes they are moved to another parrish where they often repeated the abuse on more victims. They covered it up all in the name of protecting their organization from the stain of being human, the stain of being imperfect, fore they had a vested interest in making themselves seem above reproach.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          No argument there. The coverup, as with many crimes and scandals, is often worse than the crime itself. Perhaps not in this case, but in many political cases it is.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • tallulah131

          The general populace doesn't claim moral superiority, nor does it have the power and authority of the catholic church. One would hope for better vetting from a group that claims to speak for god.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Yes, one would hope for that but humans are . . . human. Having been responsible for hiring in a past life, I can empathize with the challenge.

          July 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
    • bostontola

      I'm thinking that our CNN belief blog editors may be taking some summer vacation time.

      July 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        LOL, that is what I was just thinking...

        July 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I've never worked a place where they didn't leave at least one person to cover the workload. Must be nice.

        July 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
      • Doris

        That's why I started copying headlines from other articles into the tale of two soccer-luvin Popes article.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • tallulah131

          They should pay you.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • colin31714

      I'll say, and the Synod of the Church of England just admitted women bishops, the Jews and Muslims in Palestine are at each other's throats again, and a new dinosaur with 4 wings was just dug up in China (no doubt planted by Satan).

      I also think atheists just shot down the Malaysian airline over Eastern Ukraine, according to Scotty.

      July 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Shot down at 32,000 feet... no run of the mill terrorists can do that... it takes a professional military to pull something like that off... and shooting down an unarmed commercial squaking aircraft is indeed heinous

        July 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • colin31714

          Yep, I wouldn't be surprised if it was an accidental act by the Russian or Ukrainian military. May be intentional, but I see little value to either side in doing it and a lot of downside.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • Woody

        Colin, you know the fundies won't fall for the old Satanic 4 winged Chinese dinosaur trick.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        It is all exactly as prophesied in Revelation.
        We are in the Last Days! Are you Rapture Ready?
        It isn't too late to prepare for the Tribulation.
        Llet old Doc Vestibule cleanse you of your sins for the low, low price of 10% of your net worth.
        Get brand name indulgences as discount prices!
        But wait.... there's more
        Act now and I'll throw in a FREE Websorcism! Cleanse your demons via webcam from the comfort of your own home!
        Cash only and in small bills.

        July 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Alias

          Just for the sake of argument, what if my net worth is negative?

          July 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Alias It's all good. You can't take your bills with you either.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Alias

          But he wants 10% of a negative number, so I get to send him a bill?
          Suddenly I'm interested in this.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          We're talking about eternity here!
          Don't you want to ascend bodily to Heaven while all the heathens, atheists, gays, pinkos, commies, Muslims, Catholics, and other assorted heretics suffer the wrath of swarm of armour clad locusts with the head of a man, the hair of a woman, the mouth of a lion and the tail of a scorpion?
          Get a second mortgage, a payday loan, max out your credit cards – sell your bodily fluids if you have to.
          God don't want no cheapskates in Heaven, brother.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
  16. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    I know a lot of fancy dancers,
    people who can glide you on a floor,
    They move so smooth but have no answers.
    When you ask "Why'd you come here for?"
    "I don't know" "Why?"

    July 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • LaBella

      Meow. Love Cat Stevens.

      July 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Did you see his RRHoF ceremony? He sounded exactly the same... an ageless voice.

        July 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • LaBella

          Noooo...I'll have to You Tube it.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          He sings 'Father & Son," Wild World' and 'Peace Train'

          July 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    Theo

    Perhaps you didn't notice my question from yesterday –
    How old was Mary when God planted his ghost seed in her?
    By the moral standards of the time, it was perfectly normal for a 12 – 14 year old girl to be married off.
    Would you consent to your 13 year old daughter's marriage to a 30 year old man, or would you consider that immoral?

    July 17, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Mary's age is a question of cultural norms and standards, not of morals. The Bible nowhere says at what age someone must be in order to be married.

      In this culture, where marrying so young is not normally done for various reasons, no, I wouldn't approve. But if we are talking about just the age difference and in their particular culture (if in fact the numbers that you gave are accurate, and I admit that I don't know one way or the other), then I don't know how, in that culture that there was anything wrong with it.

      July 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        So in certain cases, like statutory ra/pe, it isn't a question of objective morality but of cultural norms?
        Where, in your head, is the delineation? Which societal taboos are a result of immutable, divinely mandated morals and which are relative to the time/place/society?
        If statutory ra/pe was OK in ancient Israel, was ancient Greek pederasty also moral in that time and place?

        July 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          I think you people fail to realize that LIFE EXPECTANCY WAS ONLY 35 TO 40 YEARS OLD THEN....marrying at 15 was very common up to the 17 – 18th century.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Theo's position is that morality is objective and immutable – written on the hearts of all men by God Himself.
          If someone is sinful today, it was sinful 2,000 years ago.
          For Theo to say that morality has changed in relation to increased life expectancy would be self-defeating for him.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Something, not someone....

          July 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • colin31714

        Theo, you said, "Mary's age is a question of cultural norms and standards, not of morals." what is the difference?

        July 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        So you agree that morality is relative to time and place then? I thought you were one who said that morality is objective?

        July 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
  18. igaftr

    scot
    you said "'yeah well, despite crying and whining i didn't research it and prove you can try hanging labels
    on me all you want'

    Those are YOUR words, right from your post... I of course took it out of context...see what you do with others work, can be done to you. Do you like people misrepresenting what you said scot?

    July 17, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • bostontola

      awanderingscot is a libelous liar. Samples of his/her works offered as evidence:

      From scot referring to Darwin – "by his own admission he was totally wrong"
      ==>Darwin never said he was totally wrong. Darwin was honest and openly expressed where he had results he himself couldn't understand (over a century ago). Darwin didn't know about Mendelian Genetics yet, never mind DNA (Mendel was a Christian friar and a meticulous scientist), and recognized that the lack of rules of heredity was a gap in his theory. Of course, that gap has been closed shut now.

      From scot regarding Archaeopteryx – a forgery, feather imprinted in wet cement on slab and counterslab
      ==> First of all there are multiple Archaeopteryx fossils in museums. They have been scrutinized by scores of scientists from around the world. To accuse these people that are doing their job honestly of the crime of forgery is unconscionable. This is done with absolutely no evidence, just the stubborn position that it must be false. Even so, why accuse people of crimes?

      From scot regarding Australopithecus afarensis – "Lucy", another thoroughly discredited hoax, a modern version Piltdown man.
      ==>Similar to the Archaeopteryx, Lucy has been examined by scientists from around the world. To accuse them of committing a hoax with no supporting evidence is immoral.

      We can discuss the science, what it means, the methods used, the verification approaches used, etc., criticism is welcome in science, it is built in. Unfounded accusations are not welcome in science or any other human endeavor. The people that make them should be shunned. Those people that lie and impugn the reputation of honest people are not worthy of engaging in discussion with because they are not arguing in good faith.

      scot has demonstrated that he/she will lie and cast aspersions in a transparent attempt to bolster his/her case. That person needs help.

      July 17, 2014 at 11:10 am |
      • colin31714

        I LOVE that guy. He is a legend! Imaging how boring this blog would have been over the last few days without Awanderingscott on it.

        July 17, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • bostontola

          What's strange is how bad a liar he/she is. He gets trapped and lashes out with a lie that can be shown false with little to no effort. Then he/she lies again to cover it up. Rinse and repeat. He sucks at lying but keeps doing it.

          It's not funny to me when he makes false accusations regarding the character of honest people. That crosses the line for me personally.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • colin31714

          Yeah, I understand, but its a bit like when "Comical Ali" claimed on TV that the Iraqis were beating the Americans back during the second gulf war. Meanwhile the US Army was ransacking his office a few miles away in central Baghdad. Nobody takes Scotty seriously.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Yeah, blunderingscot it incredibly intellectually dishonest. When called out for his misrepresentations, he simple restates them over and over. He seems to believe what Joseph Goebbels said, that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it's true.

        Here's a typical scot approach, from this discussion:
        scot: Darwin said A, thereby refuting his entire theory of evolution.
        response: Yes, but A was just the preamble to B, the point of which was that A was actually incorrect.
        scot: Yes, but he still said A.
        response: But in B he immediately showed A to be false!
        scot: But he still said A. I am quoting him directly.

        This is popular ply by the anti science/antievolution crowd, take a quotation by a reputable scientist out of context, or leave out the salient parts, and use that as a weapon against evolution. Sadly, there are far too many ignorant people who are swayed by such arguments, mostly in the United States it seems.

        July 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      scot will argue a point until even HE realizes he is starting to sound foolish ... then he reverts to insults.

      July 17, 2014 at 11:16 am |
  19. jonathanlk

    If this is in the context of Israel and Hamas, I think Israel has taken out 100 eyes for one eye. No Israelis have been killed or wounded, last I heard, and over 200 Palestians had been killed, and over 1000 wounded in retaliation. I agree it is barbaric and all these barbaric religions that are the source of so much mass violence, suffering and terrorism from the crudsades, the Inquisitions, and Jihads. f The more original Biblical reference to retaliation was from the mythical character Jesus (invented by Constantine at the first council at Nicaea in 325, and modeled after his own 'prophet' the Sun God, Mithra, and named Jesus Christos to combine the Celtic God Hesus and the Indian God Krishna, whose Latin name was Christos, into one God) who said 'turn your other cheek' (when struck in the face). As far as retailiation, goes, remember every rule has its exception. How far are you going to go with that? If someone is evil toward you, is it truly ever good to be evil back? Think about it. Confucious warned about revenge, saying in so many words 'if you are on a mission of revenge, dig two graves, one for yourself'. Justice is not about revenge and punishment, its purpose is mainly to protect the innocent and their inalienable rights.

    July 17, 2014 at 9:42 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      mythical character Jesus (invented by Constantine at the first council at Nicaea in 325
      -------------–
      This is a lie. Here's proof.
      In the Biblical Manuscript P72, dating from 175-200AD, and containing the entire text of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude, in this, we find 2 Peter 1:1 – “…our God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” proving that the deity of Jesus was NOT a construct of Emperor Constantine (Roman Emperor from 306-337) as was proclaimed by Dan Brown in his book “The DaVinci Code,” but rather, this was a central teaching of the disciples from day 1. The deity of Jesus can also be seen in many other Papyri from long before Constantine, such as in P46 (175-200AD) and P66, dating from around 200AD.

      You need any more proof that Dan Brown was a writer of fiction?

      July 17, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        Do you have any proof that Saul or Tarsus wasn't a writer of fiction?

        July 17, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Yeah, he was a Pharisee. And if that means nothing to you on the matter, then consult a Jew.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          in other words, no, there is no proof that Saul or Tarsus wasn't a writer of fiction.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Red Herring.
          The point is that the assertion that Jesus Christ (or His deity) as being an invention of Constantine is fiction, pure and simple. And it is proven so by a simple study of Biblical manuscripts. I've said it before that textual criticism should be a required study before anyone says anything about the Bible, because it clears up any obvious misunderstandings just like this.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • Doris

          The notion of Paul being a fiction writer and the notion that Jesus was an invention are two very different notions, Theo.

          That you would misrepresent the original notion so poorly leads me to wonder what else you may misrepresent so easily; what else you may buy into so easily with such misunderstanding.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Doris

          And although you call that notion by ausphor a red herring, there is good reason to consider those two notions as distinct, especially when all of what Paul has to say (outside of his own alleged personal experience) is hearsay.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Doris

          It's also reasonable to keep those two notions distinct considering what might be viewed as a political push to add credibility to Paul's writings about the miraculous since there was little there beyond hearsay. The stamp of approval that appears in Peter 2, where now, most NT scholars agree that it is unlikely that Peter authored Peter 2.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • Doris

          Then years later, attempting to defend the Gospel stories in their entirety, what do several of the early Christian apologists of the day resort to (Justin Martyr and others): the devil performed plagiarism in reverse time order to confuse the faithful....

          Scaring people into belief seems to often been an effective tool in the ancient world....

          July 17, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • Doris

          Analogia Scriptura – using scripture to explain scripture, courtesy of the first person to translate the Bible into English from Hebrew and Greek (William Tyndale). One of the first notions of Analogia Scripura is that the Bible is God's Word and free from contradiction. From that then comes, why I would call the art of making it all seem to be non-contradictory – the scripture is the scripture's interpreter. No wonder these people are thinking in circles. I guess that if one starts with the premise that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then not only does this notion of AS help explain the Bible, it also validates it as well (huge eyeroll).

          Of course when you bring up AS as a subjective influence (simply along with Tyndale's or anyone else's translation not to mention many other factors preceding) when arguing the existence absolute divine moral truths, the apologist gets quiet and tries to run down another avenue.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Had much caffeine today Doris?

          July 17, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          and there you see a classic Theo dodge ...

          July 17, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Doris

          Actually, Theo might be right about the caffeine part..lol. Plus I should have opted for the fruit croissant, not the chocolate. It's way too early to be this frisky.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          And, just to call you out on a minor technicality, no, Mr. Tyndale did not invent the idea of Analogia Scriptura. It is found in scripture itself. The idea comes from many places all throughout Scripture, but I'll list just a few here.

          2 Peter 1:20-21 – no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God

          Colossians 2:18-19 – truth does not come from modern “visions”

          Galatians 1:6-10 – if anyone teaches another gospel, he is accursed

          2 Peter 3:14-16 – intentionally distorting Scripture is a damning sin

          1 Corinthians 4:6 – do not go beyond what is written

          Proverbs 30:6 – Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

          Deuteronomy 12:32 – Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

          Revelation 22:18 – I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

          2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • SeaVik

          "And it is proven so by a simple study of Biblical manuscripts."

          Why do you continue to act like the bible is proof of anything? You ignore actual scientific evidence, but think an ancient book of fiction qualifies as evidence? You clearly only accept incredibly weak evidence consistent with your world view and disregard rock-solid evidence that conflicts.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "And it is proven so by a simple study of Biblical manuscripts."

          Why do you continue to act like the bible is proof of anything? You ignore actual scientific evidence,
          --------------------
          Actually, SeaVik, the SCIENTIFIC evidence is that the Biblical Manuscript P72 that shows Peter's description of the divinity of Jesus flat out proves that it was not an invention of Constantine, since it was written as much as 150 years before Nicea. In this case, it is YOU who are ignoring the evidence.

          but think an ancient book of fiction qualifies as evidence?
          -----------------
          Your opinions on the Bible are of no consequence in this case, since the manuscript evidence proves the point that Constantine in fact did not invent the divinity of Jesus.

          You clearly only accept incredibly weak evidence consistent with your world view and disregard rock-solid evidence that conflicts.
          --------------------------
          Weak evidence? OK, tell you what. Refute Manuscript P72 before you call it weak evidence.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • SeaVik

          "Actually, SeaVik, the SCIENTIFIC evidence is that the Biblical Manuscript P72 that shows Peter's description of the divinity of Jesus flat out proves that it was not an invention of Constantine, since it was written as much as 150 years before Nicea. In this case, it is YOU who are ignoring the evidence."

          Great. Who cares? I couldn't care less who invented Jesus or wrote the bible. My point was simply that the bible is not legitimate evidence of anything whatsoever.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          My point was simply that the bible is not legitimate evidence of anything whatsoever.....

          Fiction never is evidence of anything....that's why they call it fiction...this so called Jesus was fiction...no empirical or any eye witnesses ....nothing...... NO evidence of him..

          July 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Doris

          Theo: I.e., "Galatians 1:6-10 – if anyone teaches another gospel, he is accursed"

          Well it would make sense that if there is paranoia within many of the books of the Bible, that one using the technique of AS can easily relate those.

          It reminds me of someone at the local farmer's market who, each year claims their eggplant is the best in the area. It isn't bad, but I went to another market in a nearby neighborhood and found someone who always seems to have fresher, better eggplant. I guess in different ways, both of them might feel accursed.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Doris – ...the scripture is the scripture's interpreter. No wonder these people are thinking in circles."

          Well said.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          "The impression is often given that these early manuscripts (including P72) help us get back to what the authors originally wrote. Instead, they reveal that we can only guess what was originally written and that was written was changed within decades, often for purely doctrinal reasons."
          "If the New Testament books really were inspired by an omnipotent God, why was He unable to prevent their being changed within decades of being written, by people acting in His name?"
          Steven Carr
          Apologists have been changing the supposedly inerrant word of God for centuries to suit their purpose and that includes your twisted interpretations Theo.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          My point was simply that the bible is not legitimate evidence of anything whatsoever.
          -----------–
          Now, now, SeaVik, you cannot have it both ways. Afterall you just admitted that the manuscript is evidence that Constantine did not invent the divinity of Jesus, so clearly the Bible IS evidence to some things after all.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Apologists have been changing the supposedly inerrant word of God for centuries to suit their purpose and that includes your twisted interpretations Theo.
          --------------
          Mr. Carr has apparently not studied the New Testament Doc.uments at all then.
          Search Youtube for Dr. James White's lecture on "The Reliability of the New Testament Text" and he pretty much discredits everything in your quote.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Now, now, SeaVik, you cannot have it both ways. Afterall you just admitted that the manuscript is evidence that Constantine did not invent the divinity of Jesus, so clearly the Bible IS evidence to some things after all."

          I did? I said, "Great. Who cares." That's the second time in a row you've put words in my mouth. I don't know or care who made up the stories in the bible. You care, but also don't know.

          My point is, the content of the bible much of the content of the bible has been disproven so it's not appropriate to use it as evidence. Even if you think the bible is true, the people you're debating do not, so it's not valid evidence.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Dr. James White, is director of Alpha and Omega Ministries a Christian apologetics organization, hardly an unbiased source. Your lot really hangs together in your fantasies, don't you?

          July 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • jhg45

        left a few words out, be careful not to mislead about the almighty God and his son, our savior Jesus Christ, (Son of God)

        July 17, 2014 at 10:31 am |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        Of course we all knew that Dan Brown was a writer of fiction, now about your proof that Saul of Tarsus was not; we are waiting.

        July 17, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Paul wrote to existing churches and to pastors on a variety of different topics, and one does not present an air of confidence if one is telling a lie when he knows very well that there are witnesses who saw the same things that he saw, and could call him out should he tell a lie. He mentioned that most of 500 witnesses to the resurrection of Christ still lived, and should the reader desire, could speak with them about what they saw to see if what he spoke of was false (1 Cor. 15:6).

          Jude authenticates Peter's writings as being authentic, and Peter authenticates Paul's writings as being authentic.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Doris

          As I said above, most NT scholars do not think that Peter authored Peter 2 where that stamp of approval appears, Theo.

          And of course, to this day the authorship of Jude is highly debated.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          but all you have is people's writings about other people's writings about other people's claims about other people's writings ...

          July 17, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          most NT scholars do not think that Peter authored Peter 2 where that stamp of approval appears, Theo.
          -----------------
          You really must qualify your statement by stating the truth, that "most LIBERAL NT scholars..." For it is the liberal theologians (Ehrman, the Jesus Seminar, etc) who would lay aside all if it does not conform to their notions of political correctness.

          And of course, to this day the authorship of Jude is highly debated.
          --------------–
          Once again, only by some liberal theologians.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          but all you have is people's writings about other people's writings about other people's claims about other people's writings ...
          ------------------
          Unfortunately, one of the errors that we still suffer from that began with the "EnDARKenment" is the idea that truth and knowledge only comes from that which can be scientifically proven. But, to make the claim that "Only those things which can be objectively and empirically verified are true" is to make a self-defeating claim because the statement itself cannot be objectively or empirically verified as being true…

          And don't forget, that textual criticism backed up by the findings of archeology are a very good evidence to the veracity of the Bible. I point to the 1994 discovery of the Tel Dan Inscription as proof of that. And the same can be true of the Edomites spoken of in the Bible – that many scientists scoffed at the idea as if they were a made up people, that is, until the discovery of the city of Petra. And on, and on, and on.

          Although the scientific community is constantly proving the veracity of the Bible, bear in mind that science is extremely handicapped in dealing with certain issues (such as cosmogony), and to deal with those types of issues, one has no recourse but to take that which is subjective as his only evidence.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • SeaVik

          "Once again, only by some liberal theologians."

          Proof that even biblical experts can interpret the bible in many different ways.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Proof that even biblical experts can interpret the bible in many different ways.
          ------------------
          Sure! And it shouldn't come as any suprise, I mean, we're all human and prone to error. Just look at Stephen Hawking and how he believes that life on this planet was seeded by aliens.

          July 17, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • LaBella

          Papyrus 72 (72, Papyrus Bodmer VII-IX) is an early New Testament papyrus. It contains all the text of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude. Paleographically it had been assigned to the 3rd or 4th century.[1] (Wiki)

          I wonder why some manuscripts are canon while others, dated to the same time, aren't.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "we're all human and prone to error."

          True. But for some reason, you don't seem to recognize this when it comes to yourself and your particular interpretation of the bible.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "Although the scientific community is constantly proving the veracity of the Bible..."

          Glad to see you're not one of those who thinks the scientific community has an agenda to refute anything tied to religion... right? And of course, what they continue to discover is archaeological evidence of some people, cities, and cultures described in the Bible, but not the supernatural elements of it.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • joey3467

          As large as the universe is I feel that there is a 100% chance that there is intelligent life somewhere else in the universe. I also feel that there is a 0% chance that the god described in the bible exists. So if I had to bet I would go with Hawking over the bible. I also highly doubt he meant aliens in the same way that Theo is using it. Of course the only way creationists can make a point to support their position is to lie and misrepresent what others said.

          July 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • LaBella

          "Proof that even biblical experts can interpret the bible in many different ways.
          ------
          Sure! And it shouldn't come as any suprise, I mean, we're all human and prone to error. Just look at Stephen Hawking and how he believes that life on this planet was seeded by aliens."

          Hawking is a Biblical expert?

          July 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Doris

          Political correctness? That's absurd, Theo. Show me anything from Ehrman or those who share his opinion that shows a basis for thinking Peter as not the author of Peter 2 grounded on political correctness. That sound much more like reasoning from a theologian.

          Linguistic differences from 1 Peter, its apparent use of Jude, allusions to 2nd-century gnosticism, and more – does any of this so far sound like political correctness?

          July 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "Just look at Stephen Hawking and how he believes that life on this planet was seeded by aliens."

          Could you share your source for this? All I can find is that he has suggested as a possibility that life on Earth originated as a result of panspermia. I have found no indication that he believes in directed panspermia.

          You seem to think him nutty for this, but you yourself believe that life was directly seeded here.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          but not the supernatural elements of it.
          ---------------
          Of course not. If the supernatural by definition is an incursion into the natural relm by that which is not governed by natural laws, how can tools who only work within natural laws detect that which stands outside of them?

          July 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • igaftr

          Theo is misrepresenting Hawking again, he has been called out on it before.

          Hawking did not say life was seeded by aliens. What he was saying is that life, or rather the building blocks of life, could have existed in some galaxy that has since been destroyed. Tiny pieces of those building blocks could then have traveled to earth, and helped spark life here. So the pieces would be alien to our galaxy, hence claiming aliens seeded the earth. It is a valid hypothesis, yet theo attempts to twist it to make even Steven Hawking sound like a nut.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "theo attempts to twist it to make even Steven Hawking sound like a nut."

          Don't worry. Anyone who thinks Steven Hawking is a nut and Theo is rational is already too far gone.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • colin31714

          Theo, you crossed the line with Hawkins comment. He never said that. He made the entirely reasonable point that microbial life on Earth, or some of its complex building blocks, may have drifted in from outer space. That is entirely possible and reasonable. Misquoting the man in order to discredit him is highly dishonest, the kind of thing we would expect from Dalahast or Scott.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Colin,
          I apologize if my comment seemed abrupt to you, but it was nonetheless on par with his own words.

          http://www.panspermia-theory.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87:stephen-hawking-why-we-should-go-into-space&catid=24:videos&Itemid=97

          July 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Theo,

          What you said is not at all on par with what he said. You said he believes aliens seeded Earth with life. He brings up panspermia as a possibility for Earth and other worlds, and nowhere does he indicate he is talking about DIRECTED panspermia.

          -–

          However, there is a possibility, known as panspermia, that life could spread from planet to planet, or from stellar system to stellar system, carried on meteors. We know that Earth has been hit by meteors that came from Mars, and others may have come from further afield. We have no evidence that any meteors carried life, but it remains a possibility. An important feature of life spread by panspermia is that it would have the same basis, which would be DNA for life in the neighborhood of the Earth. On the other hand, an independent occurrence of life would be extremely unlikely to be DNA based. So watch out if you meet an alien. You could be infected with a disease against which you have no resistance.

          One piece of observational evidence on the probability of life appearing is that we have fossils of algae from 3.5 billion years ago. The Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago and was probably too hot for about the first half billion years. So life appeared on Earth within half a billion years of it being possible, which is short compared to the 10 billion year lifetime of an Earth-like planet. This would suggest either panspermia or that the probability of life appearing independently is reasonably high. If it was very low, one would have expected it to take most of the 10 billion years available. If it is panspermia, any life in the solar system or in nearby stellar systems will also be DNA based.

          July 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
      • colin31714

        Doris – just FYI, the Wycliff English bible preceded Tyndale. Tyndale was the first to access the Hebrew texts, Wycliff relied on the Vulgate.

        July 17, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • colin31714

        Theo said, "The point is that the assertion that Jesus Christ (or His deity) as being an invention of Constantine is fiction, pure and simple". And I agree. There are many surviving writings referring to Jesus that pre-date Constantine, including the entire New Testament.

        OF course, none of this means Jesus was anything other than a human being, but he certainly was not a construct of Constantine.

        July 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • ausphor

        that what was written...

        July 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          mythical character Jesus (invented by Constantine at the first council at Nicaea in 325 .....

          IN COLLABORATION WITH THE THEN BISHOP OF ROME......who promised Constantine the western Roman empire that had been lost if he agreed...he did and regained the western Roman Empire but it only lasted 12 years and was lost again...but by then Rome had the Jesus story out there that they authorized and this was the beginning of the so called Dark Ages since the bishop destroyed all the Greek science with the burning of the LIBRARIES AT ALEXANDRIA so he could write the history of the WORLD HE WANTED.......JESUS IS NOT EVEN A NAME USED IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

          July 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
    • igaftr

      jonathan
      see this.
      http://www.vox.com/2014/7/14/5898581/chart-israel-palestine-conflict-deaths
      This shows the isrealis and palestinians deaths in the conflict since 2000.

      Isreal is absolutley the aggressor in their illegal seizure of land.
      They have also destroyed over 28,000 homes, while they have lost nearly none, and built thousands on land that is not theirs.

      See "5 broken cameras"...a film by a Palestinian film maker, dokumenting the Isreali tactics of aggression and occupation.

      July 17, 2014 at 10:08 am |
      • Doris

        Then you add in the installation of obstruction to health facilities, confiscation and obstruction to water rights, etc., it's quite an ugly scene.

        July 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
  20. midwest rail

    Take your pick of the topic at hand. Be it evolution, same s.ex marriage, the abuse scandal, etc... there is nowhere to be found a more intentionally dishonest group than the Christians who regularly post here. Yes, there are exceptions. They are, sadly, few and far between.

    July 17, 2014 at 9:35 am |
    • tallulah131

      No kidding. Half the time I wonder if the lot of them are trolls, because I've never elsewhere encountered such a mendacious group of christians as I have on this blog.

      July 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • igaftr

      It Reminds me of the "worlds foremost authority on the Loch Ness Monster" as he was presented in a dokumentary. (there are several apparently)...but this one was a marine biologist, a doctor in fact, ( I forget the name and it is unimportant) who was convinced he could find Nessy using scientific method. He searched for over 30 years, including sonar mapping in fine detail the entire loch....his conclusion...
      People will believe whatever they want to believe. If two people (or more, such as a church) who believe the same thing get together, they will bolster each others beliefs.
      Just look at the visitors to this site that think they will be preaching to the choir only to find free speech is at work, not "fellowship"...some are shocked and try to tell those who don't believe that they have no business here.
      There is no Nessy by the way.

      July 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Advertisement
About this blog

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.