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Are dinosaurs the real reason young Christians in college desert their faith?

Readers will recall that geneticist Todd Wood offered an apology recently for involvement he may have had with Tim Stafford’s The Adam Quest, which—he felt—did not treat young Earth creationists like hmself fairly. Here’s Stafford giving his own view at HuffPo:

One of the scientists I profile in my book, the well-known paleontologist Mary Schweitzer, teaches at North Carolina State University. She says that many of the undergraduates who take her course, “Dinosaur World,” come from conservative churches. “They see the data for evolution, and they are placed in an uncomfortable position, splitting their heads and their hearts. They usually choose to walk away from their faith.

Somehow I doubt that is the actual reason. Most often, I suspect, the real reason is the discovery that Biblical values against lying, stealing, casual relationships of all kinds, and corruption generally are just so not cool any more. They are not how the top people got where they are. The dinosaur is a respectable excuse because he is irrelevant to all that, and dead anyway

What do we want for our children? What do people on both sides want for their children? Most people would say that they want their children to be scientifically literate, and to have a chance at a career using science.

But today, being scientifically literate and having a career in science are two different things.

“Scientifically literate” means understanding why falsification is important, just for example. Having a career in science may mean campaigning against it because it threatens cherished beliefs, like the multiverse.

See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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80 Responses to Are dinosaurs the real reason young Christians in college desert their faith?

  1. Somehow I doubt that is the actual reason. Most often, I suspect, the real reason is the discovery that Biblical values against lying, stealing, casual relationships of all kinds, and corruption generally are just so not cool any more. They are not how the top people got where they are.

    Well, that’s idiotic. You really think students are taught by professors that lying and cheating are cool in college, and that lying and cheating is how the professors got on top, and the students conclude that lying and cheating are cool and that’s why they abandon the faith? Have you ever dealt with or talked to any actual college students experiencing the science-vs-faith issue?

    This specific going-to-college issue has been known for decades, and the root cause of the common “crisis of faith” is known too: students find out that evolution/old earth actually does make sense, and does have tons of evidence, and that they were lied to (intentionally or not) by their church/pastors/community/home schooling that taught them a line of imaginary bull about origins throughout their upbringing. THAT’S what causes the crisis of faith! Some people can separate the creationism out from the Christianity and remain Christians, generally of a theistic evolution sort. Other people wonder if their religion was so wrong about such a relatively simple and checkable scientific issue, what else might they be wrong about, and sometimes (not always) they slide all the way to atheism, sometimes of an angry sort still mad at how they were lied to and misled by professional ignoramuses promoted by their church.

  2. You really think students are taught by professors that lying and cheating are cool in college

    Speaking of honesty, Nick Matzke, consider yourself personally invited to answer my 10-question quiz in the ID thread. Why, I’m surprised you haven’t taken part yet. Surely a veteran of these discussions will be able to pass the quiz with flying colors!

  3. Teaching evolutionism as a fcat is a lie, Nick. Teaching we are here by a matter of chance is not science, Nick and that is all your position has.

    Formation of the earth? Lucky cosmic collisions. Humans? Accumulations of/ culled genetic accidents.

    IOW the “cause” are lying, shameless professors. There isn’t any evidence for blind watchmaker evolution, Nick. YOU can’t even provide a testable hypothesis for such a scenario.

  4. Having counseled college students that were on the brink of losing their faith, at least some fraction were on the brink of leaving because the creation evolution issue.

    I knew one student who was an agnostic that was more willing to convert after I had the chance to encourage her to read Robert Jastrow (Old Universe) and Michael Denton (also Old Universe).

    Hardline YEC I think can be damaging to faith if it is taught as all or nothing. It is bad if there is an unwillingness to say, “a literal reading of the Bible suggests YEC, but the data in hand don’t make a convincing case, yet”. If instead, you get the standard line, “you’re sinning and attacking Christianty for thinking otherwise, there must be some sin in your life causing you to doubt doubting, you need to read the Bible and see that God created the world 6000 years ago”. Of course the youth will leave. That’s bullying, that’s not a reasoned defense of the faith.

    Expressing doubt in certain conservative circles is treated by some church circles like ID proponents expressing questions in secular circles. Lot’s of bullying, not real dialogue, not empathy.

    Yeah, I nearly left the church because of it. I was victim of it, and I had no end of resentment toward other YECs because of it, which is sometime reflected in my posts at UD.

    misled by professional ignoramuses promoted by their church.

    For once I agree with Nick. Lots of those types in the church. Authoritarian bullies. Usually not the professional pastors who are more diplomatic, but other parishioners.

    I was a science student, I sometimes thought to myself, “You studied the bible at a bible college. I can study the bible too. How about some credible arguments instead of recitation of creeds.”

    I think Nick tells it like it is. Nancy Pearcey and I occasionally attended the same church in Virginia (she lived a half mile from me before moving) after I returned to the faith. When I read her book Saving Leonardo I was shocked when she described how anti-intellectual and intolerant of doubters the modern conservative protestant church had become. I was shocked because that’s exactly how I saw that culture and she was willing to tell it like it is.

    Amazing that I remained a creationist, and not only gone from Old Earth Creationist, to Young Earth Creationist. Why? Because I had the chance to examine the evidence and arguments for myself and to argue with guys like Nick Matzke and Wesley Elsberry and others to see if they could defend evolutionary theory. I concluded the case against Darwinism and OOL was a rout, the case for ID reasonably circumstantial, and the case for YEC weak and inconclusive, but not totally refuted, and the case of youth in dinosaurs, pretty convincing. The distant starlight and long and intermediate term radiometric dating are still thorns in the side of YEC, but I think there is a great God out there, and if he intends for us to discover a solution, it will be found.

    So thank you Nick Matzke for helping me see the light. Debating you those like you like Richard Hoppe, Pim van Meurs, Andrea Bottaro with your guys ad hominems, your put downs, your equivocations, your non-sequiturs, your obvious desperate bias were instrumental in my return to the Christian faith. You helped convince me evolutionary theory is so vacuous that it can only be defended with distortions, equivocation, circular reasoning and worse bullying than what I suffered from fellow creationist. So as much I resented my fellow YEC, I’ve come to resent evolutionists even more.

    Each time I debated you, I got more reassurance all you had was smoke and mirrors.

    I came to this debate 13 years ago, and people like you were instrumental in making me a believer in ID because you behaved exactly like some of the creationist bullies I had to deal with. Thankfully, the debate isn’t settled by personalities in the end, it is settled by the coherency of explanations.

    So yes, regrettably I agree with

    misled by professional ignoramuses promoted by their church.

    except I would instead say amateur ignoramuses since professional clergy usually weren’t the sore spot but rather fellow parishioners.

  5. A couple of weeks ago, New York City pastor Timothy Keller tweeted about college students turning from faith in Christ. He said when he visits with students who are struggling, his first question is often “who are you sleeping with?” Dinosaur history is a symptom, not the cause.

  6. “They see the data for evolution, and they are placed in an uncomfortable position, splitting their heads and their hearts. They usually choose to walk away from their faith.”

    Strange, I went to college to disprove my parents’ PoV wrt our place in history, ie we are special and did not evolve from non-humans. And all I found was a glossy narrative based on imagination as opposed to any known materialistic mechanism.

    Now I don’t understand why any human would want to be related to chimps.

  7. scordova:

    Hardline YEC I think can be damaging to faith if it is taught as all or nothing. It is bad if there is an unwillingness to say, “a literal reading of the Bible suggests YEC, but the data in hand don’t make a convincing case, yet”.

    As a Christian, I am just as angry and disgusted with young-earth creationists as I am with Darwinists. The whole thing strikes me as an evil (or shall I say, Satanic?) ploy to drive smart people away from Christianity.

    The doctrine that the entire Bible is the inerrant word of God, that it should be read and understood literally and that humans walked with dinosaurs is evil and idolatrous, IMO. I don’t care if this comes out as offensive to some because the whole thing pisses me off to no end. That is the way I see it and no, I am not sorry for saying it. I always try to tell it like I see it.

  8. Romans 1:18-19 (NASB)
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

    Colosians 2:8 (NASB)
    See to it that no one takes you captive ['spoil' in the KJV] through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

  9. A couple of weeks ago, New York City pastor Timothy Keller tweeted about college students turning from faith in Christ. He said when he visits with students who are struggling, his first question is often “who are you sleeping with?” Dinosaur history is a symptom, not the cause.

    If that’s the case, it proves exactly my point about bullying. Points the accusing finger first, doesn’t even to bother to ask and listen.

    And this from Wikipedia:

    On creationism, Keller states his view is not strictly literal and that evolution is “neither ruled in nor ruled out” in his church.[18] For instance, Keller has written on theistic evolution for the Biologos Foundation.[19]

    So much for apologetics! I have to be a little restrained here because he is a pastor and elder in my denomination (PCA), and folks in my church in Virginia know him.

    But in the case of Keller, is he right there with Nick Matzke advocating evolution and then he wonders why someone might leave the faith when a “science” theory shows little need of God in the creation of life. Glad I didn’t have a Darwinist sympathizer like Keller for my pastor.

    misled by professional ignoramuses promoted by their church.

    In the case of a Darwinist sympathizer conservative pastor given all the data we have, yeah I agree.

    Keller in his own words sympathizing with Darwinism:
    http://biologos.org/uploads/pr....._paper.pdf

    Dinosaur history is a symptom, not the cause.

    In this case Keller is a willing accessory to belief in evolution and old aged dinosaurs. Sorry to disagree so vehemently with a Pastor in my own denomination, but Dr. Keller, I’m glad a Darwinist sympathizer like you was not my pastor. And he wonders why someone might leave the faith?

  10. As far as “deserting their faith” – I’d say it was more a case of “deserting their parent’s faith”, and I’d agree it was mostly a case of the anti-Christian environment, more than the specific topic of evidence for evolution v creation.

    One caveat – I think this is true for the vast majority of “casual” Christian students (claim to be Christian but after “deserting the faith” you don’t really see any lifestyle change), or “noisy” Christian students (emotional, loud proclaimers of righteousness who eventually can’t handle the ridicule because being the “good kid” doesn’t win them praise like it did in high school and/or church back home). Rarely were either of these sincere to begin with (IMHO).

    On the other hand, there is a small minority of quiet, thoughtful Christian students who are adversely affected specifically by evolutionary preaching. Students who have internalized their belief, but have trouble reconciling their belief with the constant pressure from peers, professors and publications.
    These are naturally the type of person who will resent the argument from authority that they sometimes get from their YEC-believing authority-figures growing up. When confronted with the “easy-wins” against YEC like radioactive elements and distant starlight, it can be a crisis of faith.

    One only has to examine the vitriol spewed by Nick above to see the kind of pressure applied on Bible-believing kids when they get to college. I think “dinosaurs” get the blame because professors in evolutionary-fields tend to take radical atheism and open anti-religion to higher levels than, say, your average accounting or engineering professor.

  11. @7 Mapou,
    I can’t speak for all YEC’ers, of course, but personally my belief in God as Creator serves as the foundation for my belief. If God didn’t Create Adam as first man, and Adam’s sin didn’t bring death into the world, and Jesus didn’t have to die because of that sin, Christian doctrine starts to get a little fuzzy for me. So I’m going to have to respectfully agree to disagree – young earth creation is a very important part of Christianity, and should be defended vigorously.
    That is the way I see it and no, I am not sorry for saying it. I always try to tell it like I see it.

  12. As a guy who’s never been a YEC, I’d have to agree with the view that the real problem usually has very little to do with ‘the truth of evolution’. I’ve talked to far many people, even people who were vehement about ‘the truth of evolutionary theory!’, whose extent of knowledge basically cashed out to “all the scientists say it’s true!”

    It follows particularly if you look at any course requirements for a college education. Unless you’re going into a scientific field – and frankly, most students are not – you’re going to get piecemeal exposure to the relevant science at best. But man, you will get sometimes professors speaking derisively about Christianity or creationism in english or political science courses.

  13. drc466 @11,

    Look man. I am not in a good mood, right now. Don’t even address me, alright? I got no respect for you and your kind. I am not afraid of you nor am I deterred by either you or the Darwinists and the atheists. You are all one of a kind, IMO, purveyors of lies and deception. The devil is your God and you can all kiss my asteroid. How about that?

  14. The reason I left Christianity isn’t because of the donosaurs. It is because I found out that the Trinity was contrived, not derived.

  15. 15
    CentralScrutinizer

    Joe, you can be a Christian and reject trinitarianism

  16. Can one be a Christian even if you don’t accept Jesus is God?

  17. Joe @14,

    The Trinity is nonsense and a lie, of course. Jesus himself said “I and the Father are ONE” and “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”. This is analogous to the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is pure yin and yang.

  18. scordova @9

    I totally agree that Keller’s thinking on evolutionism misses the mark. However, he does correctly convey that Christianity is ultimately about a relationship with Jesus Christ, and when an individual has a weak relationship with Him, or does something to damage the relationship, rather than repent, they may start looking for a way out. It is unfortunate that Keller currently does not see the slippery slope that a dogmatic evolutionary professor provides for a student whose relationship with Christ is strained. I pray that soon, Keller will realize his own unbiblical position regarding evolutionism.

  19. Nick Matzke writes,

    You really think students are taught by professors that lying and cheating are cool in college,

    http://www.bestcollegereviews.org/cheating/
    See for yourself. Students will do what they need to do to get a passing grade, get the degree, and hopefully get the job that will eventually make them a lot of money, which is what is defined as “success” in today’s world.

    In 1980, a New York City district attorney charged 11 public-school teachers with forging or falsifying their own educational records to get promotions and wage hikes. The district attorney said that they would not be prosecuted, though, because they should not be “singled out for committing acts which were rampant [among teachers] throughout the entire New York City school system.”

    Here in Georgia, there is a scandal involving the superintendent of a school district as well as many teachers. Read it for yourself: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/02/.....g-scandal/

    Please don’t pretend that it doesn’t happen. It does, and with more regularity than you think.

    and that lying and cheating is how the professors got on top,

    Falsifying research is nothing new. Don’t pretend that it doesn’t happen. Again, read it for yourself: http://abovethelaw.com/2013/11.....ng-ethics/ (and enjoy the irony that the professor who lied is teaching ethics, of all things).

    From Northwestern University in Chicago: http://articles.chicagotribune.....-professor

    and the students conclude that lying and cheating are cool and that’s why they abandon the faith? Have you ever dealt with or talked to any actual college students experiencing the science-vs-faith issue?

    What else would the students conclude? If success is defined as making money and owning a lot of things, and students see professors or teachers doing these things while falsifying research, doctoring records, or exaggerating on their resumes, then what else is one to assume?

  20. My first comments on this site after a year of lurking or so. I just wanted to weigh in on a few things. Just by way of my background – I’m a YEC, have an M.S. and am a user researcher for technology products.

    1) I think that anyone who calls themselves a Christian and who doesn’t have the wherewithal to withstand the wolves in sheep’s clothing at college doesn’t deserve the moniker “Christian”. Anyone who loves their Christian faith will have no problems finding answers to most of the challenges that their professors are offering. And those questions that are still unanswered by YEC are certainly still conceivably answerable in the future. Heck, naturalism/materialism should be dead based on Quantum Mechanics alone. YOUR PROFESSORS DON’T HAVE A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE THEORY! You are going to throw away knowledge of the Creator and salvation from moral culpability for WHAT? For a nihilistic materialism that can’t possibly be true? That is not a Christian, I’m sorry. That’s not someone who truly values their faith.

    2)Christianity is irrevocably tied to at least 2 tenets of YEC.

    -1 Death being the result of sin. Why? Because the incarnation and death of Jesus makes no sense without the foundation that the curse brought about. Otherwise you end up with a Christianity that denies the Atonement, and makes Jesus into a really great example, perhaps a prophet. This is what liberal Christianity looks like. It has the veneer of Christianity, but it is really some sort of other thing. It is Theistic, not Christian in a Biblical sense.

    -2 Less directly, Christians MUST believe that a world wide flood is responsible for the way the geologic column looks. Although the flood is of more historically meaningful than theologically meaningful, it matters that that the column does not stand for the naturalist explanation of it. If there is not flood story, then the Geologic column becomes the story of either evolution or some iterative design experiment. Either way, death came before the fall the story in the Christian scriptures is a lie or, at best, a metaphor that renders the Christ story meaningless.

    If you throw away the meaning of death and the historical event of the flood, you throw away the substance of Christianity.

    Now, I have no problem with people struggling with this. I think that instead of throwing away their religion, many people believe incompatible things. I have great respect for the people actively dealing with this struggle. I just think that in the end, they will probably end up coming up YEC if they want to maintain an active and lively faith.

  21. Nothing to do with dinosaurs, but one of the reasons I “deserted the faith” during college was due to watching the drama club’s production of Inherit the Wind. I remember walking away from the theater thinking how horrible religious people were and how noble scientists were. Then I happened to read Edward Larson’s Summer for the Gods about the real story of the Scopes trial. It took a while for me to accept how wrong public perception was about the trial participants and how naïve I had been to think the caricatures presented in the theatrical production were in any way connected to reality. If science really were just about the facts and truth and reproducible results, there is no way this propaganda would have been created or allowed to continue. Looking back now, I would describe the experience of watching this play as a version of “2 minutes of hate” from 1984.

  22. Joe,

    I left Christianity without leaving Jesus Christ.

    You can do the same.

    Stephen

  23. scordova @9

    I totally agree that Keller’s thinking on evolutionism misses the mark. However, he does correctly convey that Christianity is ultimately about a relationship with Jesus Christ, and when an individual has a weak relationship with Him, or does something to damage the relationship, rather than repent, they may start looking for a way out. It is unfortunate that Keller currently does not see the slippery slope that a dogmatic evolutionary professor provides for a student whose relationship with Christ is strained. I pray that soon, Keller will realize his own unbiblical position regarding evolutionism.

    My view is that regarding a college student struggling with their faith, there is probably no one-size-fits-all solution, and it takes discernment to understand what one is dealing with.

    For example, I know I shouldn’t eat certain foods to excess, but I do. If I reach out and ask help in dealing with this it is not a question of belief of right or wrong, but a cry for encouragement to avoid that food.

    So we might say we have students that:

    1. aren’t actively involved in sin, don’t want to sin, but have serious intellectual doubts that the Bible is even true (that was me 13 years ago)

    2. actively involved in serious sin, believe in the Christian faith, but like craving bad foods is really not so much needing intellectual conviction but strength to change and endure

    3. someone involved in serious sin, wants to just sooth his conscience and persuade himself he can do his own thing

    4. someone now actively hostile to the faith

    Personally, I wouldn’t even deal with #3 and #4, if someone decides the want out and will actively find ways to suppress the truth, no point in talking.

    For #2, one might have to be a bit of a coach.

    For #1, I would treat as the Lord dealt with John the Baptist when John was having doubt, the Lord told him to consider the evidence (the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised). In the modern day it entails dealing with the physical evidence. There was absolutely NO ONE in my circle that could answer my questions about science and archaeology, I had to learn it on my own, and sometimes had to learn through the process of arguing with guys like Nick. :-)

    There are probably many other nuanced situation that are not in my list.

    I think sometimes we look at the Bible and see the Lord rebuking people for lack of belief, but sometimes we have to know the context. The Lord rebuked the children of Israel especially because they were witnesses of miracles, and same for the Lord rebuking the Apostles. His tone however was different for John the Baptist facing death and not understanding (perhaps) why the Messiah was letting him be imprisoned rather than being a saved from physical imprisonment. Paul’s tone in Act 17 was very different for people that had no regard for the Bible, and that really is the model of apologetics toward the modern world.

    One of my occasional ministries is the Freethinkers at James Madison University. I meet a lot of Christians in that group just on the brink of leaving the faith, and they happily share their questions with me, and I try to answer as best as I can. For all those that were at the brink that I met, I’m pleased to say, none of them left the faith, and I’m glad I had a chance to play a small part.

    One in particular heard the seesaw arguments between myself and one of Nick’s associates at Pandas Thumb who is a professor at James Madison, Jason Rosenhouse. I’m pleased to say, the evidence won the day and the student remained a Christian, but it took many weeks of dialogue, and the young man was an extraordinarily gifted chemistry student.

    There were other science students, particularly biology students who attended my ID talks. I knew they came to my talks because they got to hear stuff they wouldn’t hear in church. :-)

    22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment[g] stained by the flesh.

    Jude 1:22-23

    PS
    And now the Superbowl is starting

  24. Nicely stated, Sal.

    What infuriates me is when professors present their pet theories as fact, misrepresent what’s currently believed in Science or what’s recorded in the Bible, and use browbeating tactics against students who hold different opinions, including eye-rolling, shaking their head in disbelief, ridicule, and in some cases blatant discrimination. Students are ill-equipped to deal with such bullying while trying to remain respectful and pass the class with an acceptable grade.

    These are all reprehensible abuses of their positions of authority regardless of the position being promoted, attacked, or defended.

    For example, I “learned” that

    o Judaism (and Christianity) is simply another Canaanite religion.

    o Yahweh had a consort/wife named Asherah (not true, Asherah in the Septuagint is sacred grove or shrine in Greek, note the similarity with the goddess Ashteroth).

    o The Bible promotes rape, forcing women to marry their rapists (laughably false). The Bible distinguishes between forcible, illicit, and seductive sex. The penalty for rape is death. In contrast, less than 5% of rapists in the U.S. serve any time in prison for their crime.

    o Psalm 29 among others was plagiarized word-for-word from an earlier Ugaritic text recovered in Ras Shamrah (there’s only a similarity in that both are ancient near eastern poetry, and they both glorify the power of God in nature).

    o Genesis is a derivative of the Epic of Gilgamesh—that Yahweh battled Yam of the great deep in both mythologies.

    o The story of Jesus Christ is simply a version of the story of Apollo.

    o That the Bible never claims that the Messiah will have a virgin birth (while the Masoretic text uses the word Almah, young woman, the pre-Christian Septuagint uses the word Parthenos, virgin, which is also confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls).

    o That Psalm 22:16, never said that they pierced his (Messiah’s) hands and his feet. In Hebrew, the difference is between k’ari (like a lion) and karu (pierced, dug, or burrowed) and has been attributed to a convenient scribal error shortening a vav/waw to a yod (which is possible), and accidentally inserting an aleph (oops, I had a spazz attack and my hand slipped). A pre-Christian Dead Sea scroll fragment confirms the word karu, pierced.

    o That the 69 “weeks” (literally sevens) from the time of Artaxerxes’ proclamation to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple until “Messiah is cut off” (which can be confirmed using calendar calculations) cannot have been a prophecy because Jews don’t consider Daniel to be a prophet.

    And so on.

    Incidentally, according to one source, when Jesus answered John’s query from prison, he left out one part of the old testament quote, namely that “prisoners will be set free.” This might well have been a coded communication from Jesus letting John know that he would not be freed. Check it out.

    -Q

  25. Personally, I believe that the main reason that many YEC Christians in college find their faith shaken is because of their adherence to rigid, dogmatic interpretations that are foisted upon them by authoritarian leaders in their local congregation. It is relatively easy to sway such persons away from their seemingly-bulletproof beliefs because they simply reveal a personality that desires to follow in-line with a strong authoritative voice. Such a person’s rigid, but brittle foundation, is easily destroyed by another authoritarian voice; they simply trade one unfounded belief for another.

  26. The whole ‘young earth’ doctrine is easy refute both scientifically and Biblically. It is a pathetically absurd doctrine. Anybody who is careful to read the ancient text of the book of Genesis (using an interlinear Hebrew-English translation) can see that the Adam in the garden of Eden is not the same person as the Adam outside of the garden. In fact, the first Adam does not even represent a single person but a race of beings who were originally both male and female (androgynous). The garden of Eden story is highly metaphorical, what with symbolic fruits and trees and a talking, deceiving snake. Some Biblical scholars have argued convincingly that Genesis is a compilation of several stories written by different authors.

    People lose their faith in Christianity because, when they grow up and go out into the world, they realize that so much of what they were taught in church is just a pile of bovine excrement. The Darwinists and atheists, of course, waste no time to capitalize on this. And they are winning.

  27. Mapou, you are the only person I have ever seen claim that:
    “the Adam in the garden of Eden is not the same person as the Adam outside of the garden.”

    So apparently only a few (or one) people are “careful to read the ancient text of the book of Genesis (using an interlinear Hebrew-English translation)”?

  28. You really think students are taught by professors that lying and cheating are cool in college . . .

    Folks, I think Nick might be referring to the tactics of the NCSE, or those associated with or defended by the NCSE. You know, the Dover tactics. Or the attacks on Sternberg. Or the more recent tactics by what’s-his-face, the climate alarmist who impersonated a board member of a private organization and carried out illegal acts.

    Ya know, as long as it’s for the right cause.

    Or come to think of it, maybe Nick does have a conscience and that is why Nick left the NCSE . . .

    —–

    All kidding aside, I do have to agree that there are plenty of people within the faith community who do a disservice to the faith community by taking unreasonable/unsupportable positions and sticking to them with tenacity.

    —–

    That said, we do need to correct the egregious misrepresentation Nick put forward:

    “. . . students find out are indoctrinated that evolution . . . actually does make sense, and does have tons of evidence, and are bullied and intimidated, both scholarly and professionally, if they dare question the evolutionary storyline . . . and that they were lied to (intentionally or not) by their church/pastors/community/home schooling professors and teachers that taught them a line of imaginary bull about materialistic origins throughout their upbringing.”

    There. Fixed it.

  29. Joe @ 14

    The reason I left Christianity isn’t because of the donosaurs. It is because I found out that the Trinity was contrived, not derived.

    Contrived implies deliberate scheming at some point in the past – explain who schemed and with what incentive.

  30. Mapou.

    If what you said is true, then you should be able to support your androgynous man theory by pointing to a historically prevailing pattern that Jews interpreted Adam as a race of people. Good luck finding such historical case.

    Keep in mind, this is not a mere plead to authority, this is a challenge to your claim that it’s so obvious to anyone that reads an interlinear Hebrew-English translation… surely, if that is true, then Jews will refer to Adam as a race, and not a single man. What do you think the prevailing pattern is in Jewish history? I think you will find that it was always a single man… not a race.. and because of this, your assertion of some obvious androgynous man claim falls flat on it’s face.

  31. Mapou. To be a bit more clear as it regard to the point above… when I am referring to your ” androgynous man claim”… I’m referring more in particular to the ‘Adam’ = ‘a race’ claim, not the physical properties of the first man.

  32. BTW: In general the androgynous man(race) claim relies on interpreting this verse:

    [Genesis 1:27 - NASB] “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

    To interpret the part “male and female He created them” to mean that individual people (of whoever was created) were all male and female within each individual… thus androgenous…

    Claiming that this is ‘clearly the case’ has fairly obvious fatal flaw. How/where? Because the logic used is that man(kind) is made male and female is being applied to the unit individual, and as such means that individuals are male and female. However, there is no reason to assume that this is referring to individuals in the race view, especially since it is more than one person… Because using the same reasoning – if not better – one can more simply read this to mean the group is male and female, in the sense that the group is made of male and female…. Just like we use in modern vernacular, you can say a coed group is both male and female… Does that mean coed groups are made of androgynous people? Clearly not.

    In fact, it is odd to make the distinction between male and female at a start if people asexual beings..and thus male and female have no initial meaning.

  33. I believe the problem that Joe and others have with the doctrine of the Trinity, is that instead of taking Father Son and Holy Ghost as aspects of the Holy Trinity, concepts, the Church, taking its lead from Christ’s own oft-iterated words, refers to them as ‘persons’, and holds them to be such.

    This seems to be where the problem lies, the paradox, the mystery. And, yet, Joe, should we not expect the mystery and paradoxes to proliferate the closer we approach our transcendent God?

    However there is an aspect to all this which the Catholic Church identified long, long ago: and that is the family aspect of our God, unique to Christianity. We are told by Christ in the Gospels that all fatherhood comes from God the Father… and, of course, fatherhood predicates a family.

    But it doesn’t stop there by any manner or means, in view of the Vine, the Mystical Body of Christ, wherein, by adoption, the children of Light will be incorporated, as sort of spiritual clones of Jesus, the Head of the Body. And, moreover, we are in communion with our deceased relatives in purgatory of Heaven, having access to them through our prayers.

    What tickles me to bits, as a returned Catholic, after leaving the Church in infancy, is that frequently prayers of the liturgy, when we pray to any member of the Most Holy Trinity involve petitioning the other two members, as well.

    And the same goes for petitioning the saints and holy souls; almost all, if not indeed all, other than in the litanies, will end by petitioning the grace and good offices of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    It’s a ‘family’ religion through and through in the most exalted sense of that word; one we’re not that familiar with outside the context of the Faith, yet which finds its fulfilment in the life of the Holy Trinity and the Communion of Saints.

    I read recently that the great convert, scholar-priest and bible-translator, Ronald Knox, remarking on how the Catholic church was composed of the whole ‘world and his wife’ in terms of social classes, rogues and vagabonds of every stripe, as well as more obvious saints (though he didn’t put it quite like that) almost boasted that the Catholic church was the only one where you could see a notice in the porch, ‘Mind your umbrella’!

    Oddly enough, I remember a nun in West Australia saying to me, ‘If you bring a prayer book, don’t leave it in the church, or it will disappear!’

  34. ‘Joe,

    I left Christianity without leaving Jesus Christ.
    You can do the same.

    Stephen’

    That’s interesting SteRusJon. I did the same at one time, without realising it.

  35. Mapou

    As a Christian, I’ll let Christ help me with this. Matthew 19:

    4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

  36. Mapou @ 17

    The Trinity is nonsense and a lie, of course. Jesus himself said “I and the Father are ONE” and “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”. This is analogous to the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is pure yin and yang.

    Christ helps us again. John 17:

    20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

  37. Matzke:

    This specific going-to-college issue has been known for decades, and the root cause of the common “crisis of faith” is known too: students find out that evolution/old earth actually does make sense

    They don’t “find out” anything. They are told what to believe about Evolution and they are trained not to question it. It’s little more than indoctrination into a new religion. Get kids into a room, shut the door, and tell them if they don’t agree with you, then they’re stupid. Gee, I wonder what they’ll end up believing after a couple years?

    This is why we are left with the pitiful situation today where millions of Darwin-drones are shuffling around claiming the very instance of a mutation is evidence that fish can turn into people given enough time. Your religion’s strength in numbers is based on confusion and equivocation.

  38. suckerspawn:

    Mapou

    As a Christian, I’ll let Christ help me with this. Matthew 19:

    4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

    Thank you. Actually, this was the verse that convinced me that the original humans were both male and female, i.e., androgynous. Jesus was responding to a question from the Pharisees about the legality of divorce. What Jesus is saying in that verse is that, in the beginning, male and female were not separate (divorced) and that this is the reason that man and woman become one flesh in marriage.

    Of course, this is what the book of Genesis says if you read it carefully.

  39. sixthbook:

    Mapou, you are the only person I have ever seen claim that:
    “the Adam in the garden of Eden is not the same person as the Adam outside of the garden.”

    So apparently only a few (or one) people are “careful to read the ancient text of the book of Genesis (using an interlinear Hebrew-English translation)”?

    You know, when Jesus exhorted his followers with the words “search and you shall find”, he was really telling them to become researchers, i.e., scientists. In the old days, research used to be a pain in the asteroid. But now, widespread literacy, the internet and Google have changed all that. Nobody has an excuse anymore unless you are poor and do not know how to read.

    So, to repeat the wise words of the Master, search and you shall find.

  40. Mapou @ 38

    suckerspawn:

    Mapou

    As a Christian, I’ll let Christ help me with this. Matthew 19:

    4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

    Thank you. Actually, this was the verse that convinced me that the original humans were both male and female, i.e., androgynous. Jesus was responding to a question from the Pharisees about the legality of divorce. What Jesus is saying in that verse is that, in the beginning, male and female were not separate (divorced) and that this is the reason that man and woman become one flesh in marriage.

    Of course, this is what the book of Genesis says if you read it carefully.

    As I stated above. This does not more easily mean what you are interpreting it to mean. Also, there is a subtle inconsistency in your interpretation.

    The quote above reads: 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

    You are interpreting the them to mean a race of individuals. I don’t think a YEC would disagree in the sense that it is referring to mankind (the two people Adam and Eve).

    So, the they refers to mankind. Though, you thnk the they were a race of androgynous – consequently asexual – people.

    And then reading further that it means all of the individuals in the race(mankind) were male and female. That is, when it says ‘male and female’, you apply this to the unit individual (which isn’t specified in the quote) – but you do not apply it to mankind itself (which is specified as evident by the word they).

    But if you take that the they applies to the “they” (mankind), and say it is saying THEY were male and female… then imposing the male and female on the individual (which was never mentioned in the text) on the group, you end up with a population that is male and female…made up of males..and females… not male-female hybrids.

    So, MANKIND was male and female… not every individual of mankind.

    Again, if we say… a coed group (analogous to mankind as a group) is male and female… we clearly do not mean that the coed group is made of hybrids.

  41. 41
    CentralScrutinizer

    Clive @20: If you throw away the meaning of death and the historical event of the flood, you throw away the substance of Christianity.

    Not it you consider the entire framework to be one of allegory. This is how many early Christians and Jews interpreted the OT.

    What might be, for example, the substance behind the Adam-sin-death allegory? A vast rebellion against the Elohim, in which pre-incarnate humans (the real you and me) took place. Your current incarnation is an prison cell with no recollection of this vast rebellion. Is this the reality of the situation? If may or may not be, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that the OT narrative need not be literal AT ALL for the death of Jesus to be efficacious against the rebellion for which it stands against.

  42. Was there a watery flood according to the bible… If not why the specific assertion in 2 Peter:

    2 Peter 3:3-6(NASB)
    3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
    ——
    If it’s an admonishment of a sort to think not that the world at that time was destroyed by water..then what else could this possibly mean?

  43. JGuy @38,

    Look man, just give it a rest. If the scriptures wanted to mean “males and females” (plural), it would have said so. Instead, it said “male and female”, adjectives that mean masculine and feminine. Besides, being created man and woman is not a reason that a man should be joined to his wife and the two shall be one flesh. You insult my intelligence and the Master’s intelligence with your banalities. The reason that a married man becomes one flesh with his wife is that male and female used to be literally ONE flesh in the beginning. This is what the Master meant, IMO.

    You know, I suspect you are some kind of Bible preacher. If so, you should either resign your position or start teaching your congregation to stop taking your word for what the Bible means and do their own research and reach their own conclusions. Otherwise, you are in danger of the judgement. Those who lead the little ones astray will be held accountable and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. You’ve been warned.

    One of my mottos is, don’t take my word or anybody else’s word for anything. Do your own research and if you keep searching, you will find.

  44. 44
    CentralScrutinizer

    jguy @42: Was there a watery flood according to the bible… If not why the specific assertion in 2 Peter:

    That’s not “the Bible”, that’s a dubious text that contained within most Christian Bibles. Whoever wrote it (probably not the apostle Peter) apparently believed in a literal flood narrative. Good for him. But he seems to be kindergartener just like most literalists.

  45. CentralScrutinizer @41 Not it you consider the entire framework to be one of allegory. This is how many early Christians and Jews interpreted the OT.
    ——————————————————-
    Actually I agree that much of the Old Testament in an allegory. This is pretty standard doctrine. The Jews are an image of the church. The sacrifice of the lamb foreshadows the sacrifice of the Christ. That being said, they are an allegory that actually lived and breathed. Jesus was referred to as a “Second Adam” in that he was beginning a new people. Be that as it may, there is no sense that Jesus looked at the old testament as an allegory only. He spoke of it as actual history. And he should know, he was there.

    Also, what’s the point of an allegory when you can tell the actual historical story? So you’re saying God decided to not tell us what actually happened, and make up a story that didn’t happen to prove a spiritual truth? The actual story would have been superior to the “Allegory” in every way.

    I think that anyone in love with the allegory concept is afraid to have faith that God actually spoke through the scriptures. Sure, if the scriptures are proven false, then by all means lets be honest, but there is little reason to give up on them thus far. Flood geology has much going for it. In fact, it explains what we see so much better than the eons described by the modern naturalist, uniformitarian doctrine. Masses of bones, oil deposits, trees running through multiple strata, human products in coal deposits, carbon in everything, dinosaur blood vessels, and more. I might not have all the answers, but I believe the bible describes the world we live in better than Darwinist world view. I am more and more confident every day.

  46. I was reared as a fundamentalist Baptist in the Upper Midwest. On Sundays, my family attended Sunday School and Bible Study, paired with morning and evening services, respectively. (Both of my parents taught SS classes, and my father led the morning Children’s Church service.) Wednesday night meant both Bible Study and Prayer Meeting, and some Thursday evenings found me participating in soul-winning and visitation events with my father. The church took a firm stance on Biblical literalism and inerrancy, distancing itself even from the GARBC, which it called “hypocritical” and “left-leaning.”

    I also attended the church-run school, complete with daily Bible Studies and Friday Chapel services, for the first nine years of my education. I was pressured during all of that time to become either a pastor or missionary, just as the girls my age were pressured to become the wives of pastors and missionaries.

    One could say that, as a youngster, I had a little bit of Bible — or at least a particular pastor’s interpretation of it — thrown my way. :)

    After four years of a public education at the local high school, however, I was leaning more toward Literature or Biology, and my decision to ignore the “warnings” of my church and to attend a public Division II university, also in the Upper Midwest, had nothing to do with evolution. On the contrary, I was a staunch YEC who had read Gish, Denton, et al, and as an eleventh-grader had written a research paper proposing that the Genesis Flood had ultimately been responsible for exterminating the dinosaurs.

    While earning a B.S. in Zoology, I never once heard a professor or fellow student badmouth a Creation Scientist, as we called ourselves in those days. Everyone always answered my questions patiently, attentively, and seriously. After graduating, I worked as a TA for some Comparative Chordate Morphology dissection labs before transferring to the Communications department (and eventually finishing my M.S. with them).

    I want to point out that evolution wasn’t the only reason I walked away from my faith. Here are a few others:

    * Anthropology
    * Comparative folklore / mythology / religion
    * Scholarly approach to Old and New Testaments
    * GOTG
    * Personal experience with agnostics and atheists practicing humility, compassion, and moderation without fear of suffering supernatural disfavor
    * Personal experiece with self-proclaimed Christian men abusing their wives, with self-proclaimed Christian parents abusing their children, and with self-proclaimed Christians acting so un-Christ-like

    But evolution was one of the most important to me, mostly because of my childhood fascinations with — geek alert! — taxonomy and paleontology. And after studying both Scientific Creationism and evolution in pretty detailed fashion, this former Born Again Christian honestly concluded that a Dobzhansky paraphrase was in order: Nothing in Biology makes more sense than evolution, at least at the level I was studying it. While dissecting cats, sharks, salamanders, etc, I personally never saw common design; instead, I saw descent with modification, a concept supported by the ideas outlined in “Origin” — comparative anatomy, biogeography, artificial selection, homology, etc.

    Naturally, this change in my worldview forced me to reject a literal interpretation of some passages of Genesis, but I still attended a more modern Baptist church for two years before finally walking away from it all (for the reasons listed previously). That was twenty years ago, and it was a move I’ve never regretted.

    Since then, endogenous retroviruses, human chromosome 2, and the prediction and discovery of Tiktaalik have all provided additional support for evolution. The details and mechanisms will undoubtedly be revised over and over again as new facts are uncovered, but the ideas that populations change over time, and that all life on Earth is descended from a single common ancestor (or a small number of common ancestors), are most likely here to stay.

    My $2E-02…

  47. 47
    CentralScrutinizer

    “Also, what’s the point of an allegory when you can tell the actual historical story? So you’re saying God decided to not tell us what actually happened, and make up a story that didn’t happen to prove a spiritual truth?

    This is exactly what I’m saying.

    “The actual story would have been superior to the “Allegory” in every way.”

    I disagree. The literal story is a parable for spiritual kindergarteners. A mere schoolmaster or tutor for the unenlightened. That why Jesus could tell people to hang the law and prophets on a single command: agape your neighbor as your self. And why Paul could call the Torah a mere “school master.” (Shocking to any Torah loving Jew!) And how when God gave a command about feeding oxen, “do you think it’s really oxen that God cares about?” Answer: no.

    Point is: the literal story is irrelevant once you know the real message behind it all.

    Is a literal Adam and Eve necessary? No. The whole human race is cursed for some reason that is not precisely spelled out in the pages of the Hebrew scripts. The Adam and Eve story is an obvious turn-about contra the ideas from Sumer floating around. The concepts were already fairly familiar and so were adopted and modified for a purpose.

    Is a literal flood necessary? No. The point was the whole earth, except a chosen few, are doomed, and will be destroyed. God will save his few. Again, the writer lifted a well known Sumerian flood tale and adapted to his purposes. What counts is the message behind the story.

    At this point, people who know anything about the physical sciences and the history of the Levant and Sumer should know better than to believe the tales at face value.

    YECs abd Biblical literalists just look foolish. It’s a new day and you are expected to stop drinking milk and grow up and deal with strong meat. And by the way, while you’re arguing about all of this, don’t forget to love your neighbor as yourself.

  48. 1) I think that anyone who calls themselves a Christian and who doesn’t have the wherewithal to withstand the wolves in sheep’s clothing at college doesn’t deserve the moniker “Christian”.

    Welcome to UD clive, but even as a YEC Creationist creation, I find that remark callous and insensitive to struggling Christians in college. That’s exactly the attitude toward those trying to hold on to faith that doesn’t help and is contrary to Scripture:

    22 And have mercy on those who doubt;
    Jude 1:22

    Harsh rebukes are probably in order for those that have seen miralces with their own eyes like many in the Bible, but not for those described in Jude 1:22 for what ever reason. Frankly, you go around looking down your nose at other people who are struggling but genuinely trying strikes me as arrogant.

    -2 Less directly, Christians MUST believe that a world wide flood is responsible for the way the geologic column looks.

    Not even all YEC’s believe that. Again you just berate fellow believer’s who you just don’t agree with. I can tell you many of God’s children who suffer persecution for the name of Christ may not believe that or even care. And the standard that Christ gives for his favor being upon a believer is that they are persecuted for his name.

    There is a difference between being mistaken and being a compromiser (a label YECs like Sarfati uses against other Christians). A compromiser deliberately changes the intended meaning of the Bible knowing what he is doing is inconsistent with truth, whereas a mistaken person merely misreads it and is mistaken.

  49. Mapou @ 43

    Look man, just give it a rest.

    Silence the opposing view. Yet, you compare YEC with Darwinist.

    If the scriptures wanted to mean “males and females” (plural), it would have said so. Instead, it said “male and female”, adjectives that mean masculine and feminine.

    Huh? Nobody is arguing that it should read “males and females”.

    All you’re showing is that we apparently agree that God did not make a bunch of males and a bunch of females at the beginning. But you’re managing, even if unintentionally, to illustrate how the literal first couple is consistent with scripture here, as it would be single male and single female comprising mankind at the beginning – where the woman would have been made from the man.

    Besides, being created man and woman is not a reason that a man should be joined to his wife and the two shall be one flesh.

    You completely misrepresent the interpretation of a first couple (i.e. one man & one woman). Why?

    The first couple interpretation holds that woman was made from man. So, it only make sense that they are one flesh when man and woman get married. And this is also why Genesis 2:23 also makes sense in the original man & wife couple interpretation:

    The man said,
    “This is now bone of my bones,
    And flesh of my flesh;
    She shall be called Woman,
    Because she was taken out of Man.”

    In contrast, a race of androgynous asexual beings (that you call “Man”) does not make ready sense in that context. Because you would have to read that the female gender (woman) was being taken out of the “Man” (i.e. the race of andro-asexuals) not from male. As such, then what do you do with the non-mention of males? Neither male of female is an androgynous asexual being… So, why only specify woman (female) coming from some androgynous asexual race you call Man (no single gender)… while forgetting to mention man (i..e the male gender) coming from the androgynous asexual race known as Man.

    Clearly. An original literal male made first, with woman being made immediately after from part of that man makes clear and ready sense.

    You insult my intelligence and the Master’s intelligence with your banalities. The reason that a married man becomes one flesh with his wife is that male and female used to be literally ONE flesh in the beginning. This is what the Master meant, IMO.

    Hogwash…. and a classic case where one claims to be intellectually insulted while actually insulting another in one breath. If you have an intelligent clear case, then state it… don’t deride with broad statements. But so far, you have admitted to opinions. So, don’t be offended if others have different opinions.

    You know, I suspect you are some kind of Bible preacher. If so, you should either resign your position or start teaching your congregation to stop taking your word for what the Bible means and do their own research and reach their own conclusions. Otherwise, you are in danger of the judgement. Those who lead the little ones astray will be held accountable and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. You’ve been warned.

    This wouldn’t be the first time you extrapolated incorrectly. Furthermore, you are simultaneously insinuating that you have the correct interpretation while calling it an opinion..while deriding a simple explanation.

    Heed your own advice.

    One of my mottos is, don’t take my word or anybody else’s word for anything. Do your own research and if you keep searching, you will find.

    Don’ worry. I won’t take your word for it.

  50. Mapou, So sorry you have such strong feelings against YEC Christians. I do find it a bit ironic though that you yourself have such quirky interpretations of the Bible (that may be held by only a handful of people, or maybe even just one person!) but yet you have the gall to call out YEC ideas (that follow the plain meaning of Scripture and have been the main view of Christians throughout history til the 20th century) as having little biblical support and being heretical! That would be news to most of the Early Church Fathers.

    I don’t know what principles of hermeneutics you have decided upon, but with those principles, it looks like you can make the Bible support any number of wild ideas.

    You don’t have to be a YEC to become a child if God, but let’s hope you use more reliable hermeneutics when it comes to who Jesus is and how to be saved. You certainly don’t want to go wrong there.

    I think you got a bit too passionate back there and said some things that I hope you regret.

  51. CentralScrutinizer makes this bold proclamation to Joe:

    “Joe, you can be a Christian and reject trinitarianism.

    You and Mapou may think that the deity of Christ is a non issue, but again, here you are going against the historical teaching of the Church and interpretation of Scripture.

    Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.”

    Jesus argued for his own divinity at times, accepted worship, fulfilled prophecies that speak of Him as God, forgave sins(which only God can do), etc. Besides, Jesus is the Word and the Word is God.

    The divinity of Christ is perhaps the most common area where cults go astray. Your proclamations and beliefs are not supported by Gods Word or historical Christianity. It’s hard for me to believe that God would have allowed so many “believers” to go astray for so much of history.

    If only Central & Mapou had been there to prevent the Church from going astray!

  52. 52
    CentralScrutinizer

    tjguy,

    Many of the “church fathers” made statements that flatly disagree with you with regards to the trinity, i.e, the philosophical Nicean type trinity dogma. At any rate, I did not say that Jesus was not “divine.” Nor did I say he was “not God.” I said the trinitarian dogma is false. Your bias just took it too far.

    I happen to think that there are vast numbers of beings who belong to the “Yahweh Elohim” group (yes, it’s a group), and Jesus is surely one of them, in fact, the most important one with regards to this earth. So before you throw stones at me for rejecting “Jesus as God” you might want to find out what I think first.

  53. Mapou says to Jguy:

    “You know, I suspect you are some kind of Bible preacher. If so, you should either resign your position or start teaching your congregation to stop taking your word for what the Bible means and do their own research and reach their own conclusions. Otherwise, you are in danger of the judgement. Those who lead the little ones astray will be held accountable and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. You’ve been warned.”

    Wow! Isn’t it interesting what passages he accepts and what ones he rejects?!

    Now Jguy is in danger of the judgment for not believing Mapou’s unique interpretation of Gods Word, but instead teaching/believing I the tried and true doctrines that have defined Christianity since Jesus’ time. Amazing!

    To arrive at that conclusion, how many hundreds of verses does he have to deny?

    Mapou, you call yourself a Christian, but you don’t believe Jesus is God. You conveniently dismiss whatever verses do not fit your particular beliefs. You use language that is not fitting for followers of Jesus and treat others who disagree with you rudely. You deny the plain meaning so Scripture and make up your own personal view of the Bible. Then you have the nerve to threaten others with judgment who do not accept your views. And you see no problems with that!

    Hmm. Please forgive us if we do not join your group/cult.

    Jn 7:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

    Jesus

  54. My comments . . .

    Trinity. The word is not used in the Bible, but there seems to be an intimate relationship between facets of God. God is only described, not dissected in the Bible, so the probability for the details of God to be incomprehensible to us is 100%.

    YEC. I wasn’t there and neither was anyone else, so we have changeable scientific speculation on the one hand, and purported revelation on the other. Isn’t the latest OOL theory that life started about 9 billion years ago? Yeah, go figure.

    Christianity. Many people claiming to be Christians do not exhibit any of the qualities of Jesus. There’s a profound lack of peace, joy, love, generosity, and wisdom in their lives. If I nail a sign to a tree that reads “Horse,” it does not make the tree a horse.

    Evolutionary mythology. Everyone has some goofy ideas. Here’s mine.

    Early on after the OOL, symbiotic relationships began to form between organisms, providing a competitive advantage over solo organisms. Variation began as random mutation, followed by meiotic cell division and recombination, which was a precursor to sexual reproduction. Eventually, the symbiotic relationships evolved into two types: the Variants and the Actors.

    * Variants. These organisms had extremely high reproduction rates and mutation rates, which was the primary source of genetic variation on Earth. Evolution was rapid in the Variants. Key to their survival was the sharing of genetic information with the Actors, who in turn, provided a safe, consistent, and optimal environment for the Variants. Eventually, the Variants evolved into common gut flora, losing nearly all of their symbiotic evolutionary function.

    * Actors. These organisms were the recipients of a rich source of genetic variation that they used for specialization for the benefit of the Variants, and in competition with other sets of Actors. We recognize specialized Actors today as internal organs and systems that have completely lost their independence. Actors typically mutate and reproduce far too slowly to have evolutionary significance.

    Now, off we go to hunt for data to support this brilliant new theory. Thousands of experiments and research papers will be created to piece together in a Frankenstein manner a Plausible Story. If I can stimulate a religious backlash, I’ll soon have millions of devoted followers. Statues will be cast in my honor, universities will name buildings after me, long strings of people waiting to be processed like DNA will be called “queues” in my honor!

    -Q

  55. tjguy @48,

    I reject your argument because I don’t believe there ever was a first couple. It is my firm conviction that the Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden story is 100% allegorical. The tree of life, the tree of knowledge, the devious talking snake (this alone should be a big clue), the angels with the flaming swords, etc., it is all allegorical, IMO.

    I disagree with New Testament accounts of a first couple. I strongly suspect that some jackasses in the early Christian Church inserted their own cr*p in the New Testament that don’t belong there. The only book they did not mess with, IMO, was the book of Revelation because they had no clue what it meant and they still don’t.

    I disagree with the concept of an original sin by a first couple. I think it’s all BS. The garden of Eden story is just a symbolic way of showing that humans were given a chance to prove their righteousness and they failed the test. That is my view. Take it or leave it.

  56. tjguy:

    Mapou, you call yourself a Christian, but you don’t believe Jesus is God.

    That is a bold faced lie.

    You conveniently dismiss whatever verses do not fit your particular beliefs. You use language that is not fitting for followers of Jesus and treat others who disagree with you rudely. You deny the plain meaning so Scripture and make up your own personal view of the Bible. Then you have the nerve to threaten others with judgment who do not accept your views. And you see no problems with that!

    You have no right to indoctrinate others into believing that your understanding of the Bible is the correct one. As a follower of Jesus, I smoke pot, I drink beer and wine and I hang around prostitutes, homosexuals and drug addicts. That’s what I do. Why? Because they make no pretense of being righteous like some other people I know. Two of my favorite characters in the Bible are Rahab the prostitute and the woman with the alabaster perfume box who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair.

  57. Mapou,

    Apologies if I misunderstood your posts. Which part is the lie? that you claim to be a Christian or don’t believe that Jesus is God? Or both?

    Didn’t you say that you don’t believe in the Trinity?

    I was assuming that you meant that Jesus was not God.

    Maybe I misread a post. Sorry!

    As a follower of Jesus, I smoke pot, I drink beer and wine and I hang around prostitutes, homosexuals and drug addicts. That’s what I do. Why? Because they make no pretense of being righteous like some other people I know. Two of my favorite characters in the Bible are Rahab the prostitute and the woman with the alabaster perfume box who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair.

    Jesus hung around with sinners as well, so obviously that is not wrong in and of itself. But He had a specific purpose in doing so. He didn’t do it simply because they made no pretense of being righteous, although He hated that as well.(the Pharisees) He sought to lead them to repentance, to lead them out of that lifestyle and into a relationship with Him in which they follow Him as their Lord. So, it’s not hanging around with them that is the issue. It is why you do so that is the issue. Do you do it because you are seeking to build relationships with them and introduce them to Jesus? Or do you do it simply because you like that atmosphere? If the latter, then you are not loving them like Jesus wants you to or like He would. But accepting them, loving them, and caring for them in order to lead them to Jesus is great! You have all these unsaved friends and God wants to use you to reach them for Jesus! What a great opportunity you have!! Be a light for Jesus right there where He has put you. Speak the truth in love!

    The woman with the alabaster perfume box is a great story isn’t it? She is an excellent example of what Jesus desires of His followers. He wants them to love Him above all else, leave their life of sin, and follow Him as their Lord. He is able to change people’s lives like no one else!

    You are responsible for your own lifestyle choices. You can’t follow Jesus and remain in your sin. Jesus said to those who claimed to believe in him yet didn’t follow Him, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, but do not do what I say?” Their actions showed that they really had not believed in Him as their Lord and Savior. True faith effects our life, our values, our words, our thoughts, and our actions.

    If we truly have come to know Him, He will change us little by little. I’m just saying that your attitude towards other Christians here and your choice of language is not loving and doesn’t seem to be what Jesus would desire of His disciples. But I’ll let you decide that for yourself. I have let my emotions get the best of me as well. No one is perfect. I’m just saying, even if you vehemently disagree, there is no reason to get nasty to your Christian brothers or to the Darwinists.

  58. Mapou says:

    I reject your argument because I don’t believe there ever was a first couple. It is my firm conviction that the Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden story is 100% allegorical. The tree of life, the tree of knowledge, the devious talking snake (this alone should be a big clue), the angels with the flaming swords, etc., it is all allegorical, IMO.

    I see. And all the other inspired NT writers were also mislead by the Holy Spirit as well, right? The good thing about making it an allegory is that then you are basically free to assign whatever meaning you want to it. No one can tell you it is right or wrong.

    I disagree with New Testament accounts of a first couple. I strongly suspect that some jackasses in the early Christian Church inserted their own cr*p in the New Testament that don’t belong there. The only book they did not mess with, IMO, was the book of Revelation because they had no clue what it meant and they still don’t.

    I see. No evidence for this, but since it doesn’t fit with your interpretation of Genesis, then you have to assume things like this to keep your interpretation consistent.

    Interesting that you think the book of Revelation was not tampered with. And they had no clue what it meant and still don’t? I see. But you do, right? Hmm. We had to wait for Mapou to come on the scene to finally understand the book of Revelation? Seems a bit arrogant doesn’t it? And why in the world would you assume that your own personal view of Revelation is anywhere near the truth?

    I disagree with the concept of an original sin by a first couple. I think it’s all BS. The garden of Eden story is just a symbolic way of showing that humans were given a chance to prove their righteousness and they failed the test.

    Well, your approach to Scripture seems a bit backward. Scripture is truth and we don’t decide what we agree with and disagree with or what is true and what is cr*p. No, we allow ourselves to be taught, instructed, trained, and equipped by God’s Word. It sits in judgment on us, not vice versa.

    God gave us the Bible to reveal His truth, not for us to judge what we like and dislike or so that we would accept whatever parts sound good while cutting out the parts we don’t like.

    Your approach to God’s Word turns it into Mapou’s Word and therefore it loses all meaning – IMO.

    Mapou, thanks for sharing your views. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. But, please, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then for the sake of His name, can’t you treat others – even those horrid YECers – with the love and respect that Jesus does? The command to “love your neighbor as yourself” applies to all of us.

  59. Hi Central,

    You said:

    Many of the “church fathers” made statements that flatly disagree with you with regards to the trinity, i.e, the philosophical Nicean type trinity dogma. At any rate, I did not say that Jesus was not “divine.” Nor did I say he was “not God.” I said the trinitarian dogma is false. Your bias just took it too far.

    Yes, there were disagreements among the Church Fathers, but those who disagreed were labelled as heretics and cults.

    Apologies if I misunderstood what you are saying. But I don’t think I did. You do not believe that Jesus is “God” in the sense I was meaning.

    I happen to think that there are vast numbers of beings who belong to the “Yahweh Elohim” group (yes, it’s a group), and Jesus is surely one of them, in fact, the most important one with regards to this earth. So before you throw stones at me for rejecting “Jesus as God” you might want to find out what I think first.

    Central, are you a Mormon? This sounds similar to their ideas. Vast numbers of gods? So you are a polytheist? Whatever you are, these views do not agree with the Bible. God is one. That was the central Jewish creed. The Bible does not teach that there is a Yahweh Elohim” group at all.

    You accuse me of throwing stones for rejecting Jesus as God, but I’m right. You ARE rejecting Jesus as the one and only true God. You may view him as a god among many others, but that is not what I meant by saying “Jesus is God” – one with the Father.

    “Jesus is the most important god with regards to this earth?”

    What does that mean? Are there other less important gods? What are their names? What are their roles? Can we pray to them? Can they save us? Are there other gods that have significance to other “earths”?

    Where do you see this in Scripture? Or is this just your New Age religiosity coming through? Once we leave Scripture, there is no end to the possibilities of things we can dream up. But that is specifically why God gave us His Word – so we would know what to believe.

    I don’t mean this in a mean way, but again, it is hard for me to believe that no one every figured this out until you came along in the 21st century.

    Sure, the word Elohim is plural, but even so, the same writer who used that word wrote the Jewish doctrinal creed “The Lord our God, the LORD is one.” It could be a reference to the Trinity or it could be the plural majesty use of the word where the plural is used to try and express the great majesty of the one being described.

    The Bible is very clear that there is only one God and one Savior, yet both God the Father and God the Son are referred to as God and Savior. It is from clear teachings like this that we arrive at the doctrine of the Trinity. Anyway, volumes of theological works have been written on this as you know, so I doubt we’ll get too far here on this board with that subject. We’re probably already off topic.

  60. Central @ 47


    Point is: the literal story is irrelevant once you know the real message behind it all.


    Or maybe:

    Point is, once you reject the literal (plain) meaning of the story, you can never know for sure the real message behind it all.

    Interpretation becomes almost impossible if you don’t take the plain meaning of the words. Poetry of course cannot be interpreted as such, but Genesis is history. It is written as history. All the biblical writers inspired by the Holy Spirit took it as history, including Jesus Himself. This is the strongest evidence that we should as well. Of course, if we saw them interpreting it allegorically, that would be one thing, but that is not the case.

    Just trying to understand your thinking here. Central, why would God start out the Bible with an allegory?

    Why wouldn’t He tell us the true story?

    I mean He could have told us that He created life and then that life slowly changed into all different types of living creatures over long periods of time. This would have been very understandable to even people back then even if they didn’t know how the things changed.

    But, no. The Bible is clear that He created everything. It says that all over Scripture. Creation is one of the 3 great works of God that He is praised for. The other two are the Exodus from Egypt and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus through which He redeemed us.

    There is no indication it is allegory, so, if it is, Bible interpretation would seem to be hopeless! How would we ever know – especially since other inspired authors of the Bible were deceived as well? Are we in debt to Darwin for this new knowledge? I hardly think so.

    Is a literal Adam and Eve necessary? No. The whole human race is cursed for some reason that is not precisely spelled out in the pages of the Hebrew scripts. The Adam and Eve story is an obvious turn-about contra the ideas from Sumer floating around. The concepts were already fairly familiar and so were adopted and modified for a purpose.

    OK, this is your opinion. Great. But don’t you think it would be difficult to trust a God who has arbitrarily cursed the whole human race for some unknown reason?

    Why do you insist that the reason the Bible gives is wrong? That doesn’t make sense. Even the NT in passages that are NOT allegorical take this as truth.

    Why do you insist the Adam and Eve story originated from some ideas floating about in Sumer. Why couldn’t it have been that the ideas in Sumer are corruptions of the original teachings of the patriarchs? You are probably a believer in the debunked JEDP theory that says that the Torah was not written until very late and was written by many different authors.

    Is a literal flood necessary? No. The point was the whole earth, except a chosen few, are doomed, and will be destroyed. God will save his few. Again, the writer lifted a well known Sumerian flood tale and adapted to his purposes. What counts is the message behind the story.

    Again, you assume the Sumerian flood tale is the original. You don’t know this – you just assume this. Fine, but wouldn’t it make more sense to see the biblical story as the original and the flood stories in cultures all around the world as corruptions of that story as people spread out and populated the earth after the flood?

    What counts is the message behind the story? The message is important too, but the trustworthiness of Scripture is called into question if all these things present as truth as just made up fairly tales. Jesus believed in the flood and Peter wrote about a global flood as well and prophesied that in the last days people would come to deny the flood.

  61. Querius@54,

    Evolutionary mythology. Everyone has some goofy ideas. Here’s mine.

    Interesting idea. I like the Variants vs. Actors part – each group both helping and depending on the other while evolving differently.
    Plus, it fits the evidence about as well as any other ideas out there:

    Eventually, the Variants evolved into common gut flora, losing nearly all of their symbiotic evolutionary function.

    while

    Actors typically mutate and reproduce far too slowly to have evolutionary significance.

    Needs a name, though, and unfortunately “Q Theory” is already taken: http://qtheory.net/. But I will always think of Queue now whenever I find myself waiting in line somewhere!

  62. Passerby11,

    I’m sorry you had a bad experience with YEC believers. I’m even more sorry that you have rejected your faith, but I’m sure it was no flippant decision on your part.

    I just wanted to respond to this sentence at the end of your post:

    Since then, endogenous retroviruses, human chromosome 2, and the prediction and discovery of Tiktaalik have all provided additional support for evolution.

    I’m sure you know that there are answers for each of these issues you brought up, but just in case you have not seen them, here they are:

    Articles on the endogenous retrovirus issue:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/search/?q=endogenous+retrovirus&search=Go

    Chromosome 2:
    http://creation.com/chromosome-2-fusion-1
    http://creation.com/chromosome-2-fusion-2

    Tiktaalik:
    http://creation.com/tiktaalik-pelvis

    God bless!

  63. 63
    CentralScrutinizer

    tjguy: Jesus is the most important god with regards to this earth?

    I didn’t say Jesus was “a god.” What I said was “I happen to think that there are vast numbers of beings who belong to the “Yahweh Elohim” group (yes, it’s a group), and Jesus is surely one of them, in fact, the most important one with regards to this earth.”

    The members of the Yahweh Elohim comprise one group, one family. They are the one Yahweh Elohim, the “One God.”

    “Are you a Mormon”

    No.

    As for the rest of your reply, I have neither the time nor interest to discuss it all in this forum except to say that thirty years ago my views were similar to yours. Now they are not. Your mind is made up apparently. I find that a pity because there much to see that you are not seeing. Take care.

  64. CentralScrutinizer:

    I didn’t say Jesus was “a god.” What I said was “I happen to think that there are vast numbers of beings who belong to the “Yahweh Elohim” group (yes, it’s a group), and Jesus is surely one of them, in fact, the most important one with regards to this earth.”

    The members of the Yahweh Elohim comprise one group, one family. They are the one Yahweh Elohim, the “One God.”

    I, too, believe that God is many beings in one. In fact, I think there are billions of them, a whole civilization. They think of themselves as ONE because they are truly in harmony with one another. However, I don’t think that Jesus is just one of the billions. Jesus is a part of Yahweh. He is the physical face of many billions and they speak as ONE.

    I have this hypothesis that when Jesus died for our sins, billions of Elohim died with him: a life for a life. They had to pay the price for each one of us, otherwise it would be the end of humanity. That is true love. Karma is the universal conservation law of the spiritual realm. What is borrowed must be returned in full.

    One day, humanity will become part of Yahweh and we will be ONE with them as well.

  65. F/N: Those interested in a framework of Christian thought rooted in the historic summary views outlined in Creeds and based on the confession of the Apostles, martyrs and confessors etc, will I believe find here on helpful, which includes a discussion on why the orthodox Christian view of God is triune. I simply note for reference, as UD is not a place for theological disputes and debates. By and large such simply feed scapegoating stereotypes. KF

  66. Hi, tjguy -

    Thanks for the reply. Please don’t feel sorry for me because I’ve rejected my faith. I have four children, ages 7 to 22, and I’m thankful nearly every day that they’re not growing up in what Sagan called a demon-haunted world.

    [Side Note: They could have if they had wanted to. My two more spiritually minded ones went through phases where they professed belief in a god and attended services with their fundamentalist Baptist friends. Their mother and I always encouraged such exploration, confident that our values could take the Pepsi Challenge against anyone else's any day of the week. ;) On a similar note, one of our sons attended services at Buddhist and Hindu temples while he was in high school, an interest that was also supported.]

    Thanks, too, for the Tiktaalik link. Regrettably, nearly all of Nunn’s points are either wrong or irrelevant, the latter because no one is arguing that Tiktaalik walked on land like a fully formed tetrapod. In the Wrong department, Nunn implies strongly that Tiktaalik is nothing more than a typical bony fish, but that description is such an oversimplification as to be a falsehood. Tiktaalik possessed a neck, lacked a dorsal fin, and featured an amphibian-like skull (e.g., shape and size, mouth and dentition, internal and external nostrils, etc).

    Additionally, the older tracks in Poland don’t pose any problem for evolution, as the Canadian Tiktaalik population could be descended from the same (or similar) population that gave rise to the Polish tetrapods. Further, Nunn contends there’s nothing exceptional about Tiktaalik’s pelvis, even though it’s a perfect example of what’s expected in a transitional form.

    As remarkable as Tiktaalik is as a specimen, the manner by which Shubin’s team discovered it is IMO even more remarkable: They were deliberately searching exposed, late-Devonian rocks — in the tundra of Ellesmere Island, no less! — because they had the idea that said rocks provided the best opportunity to discover the fossilized remains of a creature that no one had ever seen before (or, truthfully, would otherwise ever have reason to think even existed). That creature was an animal with traits common to lobe-finned fishes as well as amphibians, an idea inspired by 150+ years of observations, data-quantifying, hypothesizing, testing, reformulating, retesting, and doing it all over and over and over again.

    When the animal in question was precisely what the team found, the prediction that had been made across deep time and global space was confirmed. It’s akin to an astronomer pinpointing the location of a planet two years hence, or predicting the return of a comet to the year, month, and day.

    It’s the kind of thing that science is all about. :)

  67. PB11:

    If I’d grown up in the Hyles-Anderson tradition, I probably wouldn’t be a believer today either.

    Actually, that might not be true. I grew up Bible Methodist, which might best be described as the Arminian’s answer to Hyles-Anderson and Bob Jones. And my path took me through a fundamental Baptist (KJV-only, of course) church of the Hyles-Anderson mold (I even went to their big summer rally thingy–I forget what it was called), then to a GARBC college, and finally to an independent Bible church. I’ve rejected a lot of the culture and tradition in which I was raised, but never my faith, in large part because I was able to understand that these were two very disparate things.

    I’ve never had enough faith to be an atheist, though. Even if I were to accept that evolution was the best explanation for the origin of the species (which I could see myself doing), there is still just way too much left unexplained:

    * the origin of something
    * the origin of matter
    * the origin of information
    * the origin of physical laws
    * the origin of life
    * the origin of consciousness
    * the origin of morality

    For me, materialism just isn’t up to the task, and atheistic approaches to explaining the above always strike me as unbelievably empty and lacking. Seriously. Shockingly so. Nor can I find the requisite faith to believe in the starry-eyed promises of future explanations, always just around the corner.

  68. Piltdown2@61 remarked

    Interesting idea. I like the Variants vs. Actors part – each group both helping and depending on the other while evolving differently.
    Plus, it fits the evidence about as well as any other ideas out there:

    Thank you, and yes, that was exactly my point. I can easily make up a plausible scientific story, and then locate and emphasize the facts that seem to support it.

    Then, as an unethical Darwinist professor, I would try to force (er, enlighten) my students to choose between my bold, remarkable, brilliant, rational, intelligent scientific theory . . . and their stupid, illiterate, redneck superstition upon which I would heap ALL the ills and inequities of the world.

    -Q

  69. Phineas @67:

    I’ve never had enough faith to be an atheist, though.

    . . .

    Nor can I find the requisite faith to believe in the starry-eyed promises of future explanations, always just around the corner.

    Well said.

    Reminds me of what Behe called the “promissory note” of evolutionary explanations. With the due date that keeps receding into the forever future and we never get to cash the thing in.

  70. Hi, Phinehas -

    Good call on the Hyles-Anderson connection. It sounds like our backgrounds might share many similarities.

    I’m not sure I understand something you said, though. When you claimed that you don’t have “enough faith to be an atheist,” were you saying that because you see evidence of design in things, that everyone else should, too? Just curious.

    I like your list of questions that science doesn’t currently answer to your satisfaction, but I don’t understand why the first four points are on there. By its own rules, science can’t explain the origin of the universe — or all matter or physical laws — in terms of anything before the moment of the Big Bang. Fortunately, JPL specialists can still factor theories about gravity into their spaceflight equations, even though they can’t explain the origin of matter. :)

    (And just like chemists can reference the periodic table to predict the outcome of a chemical reaction, even if they don’t know how the elements came into existence, paleontologists can employ the theory of evolution to discover Tiktaalik, even if they don’t yet know the manner by which the first self-replicating molecules were assembled.)

    But if anyone, atheist or otherwise, claims that science can make testable predictions about anything that might have occurred prior to the BB, that person probably has a poor grasp of science or is trying to push an agenda.

    Re: your last three points… I think morality is the easiest to explain scientifically (see: signs of altruism and basic morality in chimps and other animals). Consciousness has already been shown to be a product of brain function, but the riddle of life will probably be solved before consciousness is fully understood. Much of the related research over the past 50 years or so is chronicled in books like “The Tangled Wing” and “The Blank Slate.”

    And the progress really isn’t all that slow, is it? It might have taken nearly 150 years after the publication of “Origin” to discover Tiktaalik, but look at how long it’s taking to discover a cure for cancer or a practical alternative to fossil fuels. With money from governments and corporations, and support from ever-improving genomic sequencers, it’s possible that our scientific knowledge about genetics and the brain will improve vastly over the next 10-50 years.

    Regardless, it’s unfair to fault people for saying, “If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings,” especially when the vast majority of them lived and died long before the Wright brothers made history at Kitty Hawk.

  71. 71
    CentralScrutinizer

    PasserBy11: Consciousness has already been shown to be a product of brain function

    Who? Where? When?

    The only thing that is demonstrable empirically is correlation, not causation. Nobody (that I know of) doubts the the brain is responsible for the particular experiences that consciousness experiences, but nobody has shown that the brain causes consciousness.

  72. CentralScrutinizer
    nobody has shown that the brain causes consciousness.

    Consciousness isn’t detected in people whose brains are dead but whose bodies are kept alive artificially. Further, medical science continues to discover which parts of the brain are associated with our feelings and drives, the basis of our personality, and the facilitating role played by neurotransmitters.

    OTOH… People who replace their hearts or other vital organs with machines, or even with organics from other species, don’t suffer adverse effects to their consciousness.

  73. Consciousness isn’t detected in people whose brains are dead but whose bodies are kept alive artificially.

    Consciousness isn’t ‘detected’ at all in the sense that would be necessary here. It’s inferred by the presence of – among other things – physical reactions to stimulus. That’s one of the reasons why situations like this pop up at times.

    You stated that consciousness was shown to be a product of brain function. You were wrong – CS replied that all we have are correlations. We don’t have even the beginning of a scrap for any explanation of how the brain produces or ’causes’ consciousness.

    You can point out that impairing the brain has an effect on the mind – but that’s not being doubted, nor is it necessary for the claim you’re trying to argue against. This is precisely why you have eliminative materialists who respond to the problem of consciousness and intentionality and otherwise by arguing that such things don’t even exist to begin with.

  74. 74
    CentralScrutinizer

    PasserBy11: Consciousness isn’t detected in people whose brains are dead but whose bodies are kept alive artificially. Further, medical science continues to discover which parts of the brain are associated with our feelings and drives, the basis of our personality, and the facilitating role played by neurotransmitters.

    Again, at best it’s correlation, but causation. Scientifically, nobody knows what consciousness is. So how anyone say neurons in a particular configuration and mode causes it?

    The brain may be an interface to consciousness, and not a generator of it. It’s impossible to say at this point because we cannot directly detect consciousness. You can’t point a device at it and say, “there it is.” At best you can see that certain neural areas are active when a subjective report is given by a conscious entity, i.e, a human subject.

    At this point. Nobody knows the degree the brain “causes” or “generates” consciousness. You claim is false.

    How do you get from neurons in a certain configuration to the subjective experience of blue that you experience?

    Ponder it awhile, your ponderings may shock you.

  75. Greetings everyone.

    From the way I see it, consciousness can only be detected by physical means if it is subject to the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.

    I do not see consciousness having a value of mass or an energy value.

  76. 76
    CentralScrutinizer

    seventrees: From the way I see it, consciousness can only be detected by physical means if it is subject to the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics.

    Even granted that, what would such a detection look like? What could it look like? How can you cross the rubicon of detected effect and subjective experience of, say, the color blue? And then, how could you be sure it was the actually the consciousness in question and not a buffer “field” of somekind between the neural networks and something else? Something primary? You can’t. Not even in principle. The best the materialists (like Dennet) can offer is to simply deny it exists. Well screw him and the horse he rode in on. In that respect he’s a complete idiot. Obviously so. Astoundingly so.

  77. Greetings.

    CentralScrutinizer

    Even granted that, what would such a detection look like? What could it look like? How can you cross the rubicon of detected effect and subjective experience of, say, the color blue?

    I do not know. But if it can be detected in principle, then what one can say is that “We do not know how to cross the rubicon, but we have seen it.”

    The subjective experience of blue can still be described objectively in terms of frequency, which can then be described in terms of energy. Consciousness needs to follow this principle of being converted to energy terms if it is detectable by physical means.

    Something that just hit me: If consciousness is subject to the laws of thermodynamics, why is telekinesis said to be false in principle? It is said one reason it is false is because it violates the laws of thermodynamics (I’m guessing it is the second law they have in mind). Consciousness, if it is detectable by physical means, should necessarily have an energy value. This energy from the brains of those who perform telekinesis is simply influencing matter around them. It will be like the force from a distance, like gravity.

    I hope I have not misunderstood something.

  78. nullasasus: The Rom Houben story is a hoax, tough possibly unintentional. His facilitator held his hands along a keyboard (which there was no reason to even believe Houben could see). She then typed “his” words, probably by way of ideomotor effect. Effectively, she was communicating “his” thoughts by the equivalent of a ouija board. By itself, this doesn’t mean anything, but the situation could not pass basic tests (such as showing him an object while she was out of the room and then having her/him type it out).

    This is all fortunate, because it implies that he was not in fact undergoing twenty years of living hell, as “his” writing implied, but rather is in a genuine vegetative state. Instead, the sad part (besides the basic fact of his condition) is that the facilitator would be so emotionally manipulative of the family, possibly without realizing it herself, and that so much of the media would fall for it.

  79. PB11:

    I’m not sure I understand something you said, though. When you claimed that you don’t have “enough faith to be an atheist,” were you saying that because you see evidence of design in things, that everyone else should, too? Just curious.

    Not really, no. I was just talking about me and my faith, not about everyone else at all. Further, the focus of that particular statement wasn’t really on seeing the evidence of design in things, though that is certainly a factor for me. I simply find that it is easier/more intellectually satisfying/less taxing on credulity for me to believe that God exists than to believe that He doesn’t, based on the entire sum of my life experiences, knowledge, and philosophical musings.

    I like your list of questions that science doesn’t currently answer to your satisfaction, but I don’t understand why the first four points are on there. By its own rules, science can’t explain the origin of the universe — or all matter or physical laws — in terms of anything before the moment of the Big Bang. Fortunately, JPL specialists can still factor theories about gravity into their spaceflight equations, even though they can’t explain the origin of matter.

    I apologize for any confusion, but where did you get the idea that my list is about what “science” doesn’t answer? I’m merely pointing out that in trying to build a comprehensive and consistent Weltanschauung, it is important to me that these questions get answered in some intellectually acceptable manner. The fact that science cannot, in principle, answer a number of them does tend to rule out scientism as a viable candidate for me. Naturalism and materialism face similar challenges, for how could matter be responsible for the existence of matter? For me, the list is about a number of things that I believe exist for which not-God appears entirely inadequate to explain their existence.

    (And just like chemists can reference the periodic table to predict the outcome of a chemical reaction, even if they don’t know how the elements came into existence, paleontologists can employ the theory of evolution to discover Tiktaalik, even if they don’t yet know the manner by which the first self-replicating molecules were assembled.)

    You will note that neither chemistry nor the origin of the species, as such, were on my list. So, mathematicians can employ math to solve real-world problems even if they don’t know why our universe contains mathematical concepts to begin with. OK. For me, pointing out that mathematicians can use mathematics doesn’t make issues about the origin of logic, reason, and math suddenly go away. My curious mind remains unsatisfied, and implied promises of “don’t yet know” sound awfully hollow and empty to my ears.

    Re: your last three points… I think morality is the easiest to explain scientifically (see: signs of altruism and basic morality in chimps and other animals). Consciousness has already been shown to be a product of brain function, but the riddle of life will probably be solved before consciousness is fully understood. Much of the related research over the past 50 years or so is chronicled in books like “The Tangled Wing” and “The Blank Slate.”

    “Signs of altruism and basic morality in chimps and other animals,” doesn’t even come close to answering questions about the origin of morality for me. Seriously, it is completely lacking as an explanation in satisfying my desire to understand what could possibly account for the existence of morality to point out that some chimp behavior could be interpreted as analogous to moral behavior. How does that begin to explain how each one of us has a powerful, internal conviction that it is absolutely necessary and right to compel other free agents concerning what they ought or ought not do? How exactly does labeling chimp behavior in a certain way get us from is to ought?

    And the progress really isn’t all that slow, is it? It might have taken nearly 150 years after the publication of “Origin” to discover Tiktaalik, but look at how long it’s taking to discover a cure for cancer or a practical alternative to fossil fuels. With money from governments and corporations, and support from ever-improving genomic sequencers, it’s possible that our scientific knowledge about genetics and the brain will improve vastly over the next 10-50 years.

    Sure it’s possible. It’s also possible that God will return to rapture His church in the next 10-50 years. Or not. The possible is a huge category, but not one that is particularly helpful in satisfying the curious mind. At least not for me. And to be honest, I’m tending to see more and more of a trend where science bumps up against barriers that appear to grow larger and more impenetrable the more they are studied. As you’ve said, my list certainly includes things that are inaccessible to science, and I feel reasonably confident that each one of the items on it will continue to strongly resist not-God explanations. Confident enough that this seems to me the most sturdy ground on which to build my faith as well as the most intellectually fulfilling world and life view.

  80. PB11:

    As an example of the kind of not-God explanations that I find completely lacking, we have this little gem:

    Nothingness is inherently unstable

    You see, I’m pretty sure that nothingness is inherently nothing, and the moment it becomes inherently something, then it is no longer nothingness. Further, the something that it inherently is then requires an explanation that nothingness did not require. But this is the avant garde, the bleeding edge, the state-of-the-art in not-God explanations. It’s right up there with emergence (otherwise known as “poof”) as explanations go.

    I simply cannot find enough faith in these sorts of explanations to begin to build anything that I could find satisfying as a world view, or that I could convince myself wasn’t self-deceptive on some level.

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